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Review: The Juliet Club

Author: Suzanne Harper
Series: N/A
Publishing: May 27, 2008/HarperTeen/402 pages
Format Read: Paperback
Source: Borrowed
Classroom shelfability: Yes
Review Blue Egg 3
Summary (from GoodReads): Italy . . . Shakespeare . . . but no romance? Kate Sanderson inherited her good sense from her mother, a disciplined law professor, and her admiration for the Bard from her father, a passionate Shakespeare scholar. When she gets dumped, out of the blue, for the Practically Perfect Ashley Lawson, she vows never to fall in love again. From now on she will control her own destiny, and every decision she makes will be highly reasoned and rational. She thinks Shakespeare would have approved.So when she is accepted to a summer Shakespeare symposium in Verona, Italy, Kate sees it as the ideal way to get over her heartbreak once and for all. She’ll lose herself in her studies, explore ancient architecture, and eat plenty of pasta and gelato. (Plus, she’ll be getting college credit for it–another goal accomplished ) But can even completely logical Kate resist the romance of living in a beautiful villa in the city where those star-crossed lovers Romeo and Juliet met and died for each other? Especially when the other Shakespeare Scholars–in particular Giacomo, with his tousled brown hair, expressive dark eyes, and charming ways–try hard to break her protective shell?”In fair Verona, where we lay our scene . . . ”

My Thoughts: Gotta love a good Shakespeare/travel to Italy/YA romance. This was a light, fluffy fun read complete with some “meh” writing but all-in-all a cute and satisfying beach read.
Some of the writing made me cringe but in the book’s defense I’m more “A” than “Y” so perhaps I just have a lower tolerance? It was definitely high school chatty-type writing that served it’s purpose but kinda grated on my nerves.
Kate is your typical YA star – pretty but doesn’t know it, grumpy but still had at least one good friend, headstrong but easily wooed by a pretty boy. And, Giacomo fits his mold perfectly as well.
The story is predictable but I’m a super for Shakespeare so I can’t complain much. 😉
Don’t let my cynicism prevent you from picking up this perfect Spring Break read. It is definiely “good” and it sure is fun. It would find space on my classroom’s book shelf but maybe not my shelf at home.

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Review: The Truth About Forever


Author: Sarah Dessen
Series: N/A
Publishing: May 11, 2004/Penguin Group/374 pages
Format Read: Paperback
Source: Borrowed
Classroom shelfability: Yes
Review Blue Egg 3
Summary (from GoodReads): That’s what Macy has to look forward to while her boyfriend, Jason, is away at Brain Camp. Days will be spent at a boring job in the library, evenings will be filled with vocabulary drills for the SATs, and spare time will be passed with her mother, the two of them sharing a silent grief at the traumatic loss of Macy’s father.But sometimes unexpected things can happen—things such as the catering job at Wish, with its fun-loving, chaotic crew. Or her sister’s project of renovating the neglected beach house, awakening long-buried memories. Things such as meeting Wes, a boy with a past, a taste for Truth-telling, and an amazing artistic talent, the kind of boy who could turn any girl’s world upside down. As Macy ventures out of her shell, she begins to wonder, Is it really better to be safe than sorry?
My Thoughts: I was really nervous about this book. I am typically not a YA “regular” fiction kinda gal. I don’t really like books that don’t have some type of fantasy/paranormal/alternate universe thing goin’ on. I’ve always said “I don’t like reading books about real life or drama – I have enough of that in my own life!” Which is totes true, y’all.
For years I’ve heard wonderful things about Sarah Dessen and decided to pick up The Truth About Forever. The cover seemed the least offensive – no one was hugging on the beach or standing under the sun kissing.
The good news? I liked it! I really liked it! The bad? I “liked it” – didn’t love it, wouldn’t read another Dessen book, probably, but hey, progress is progress.
Dessen IS good at what she writes. The characters and the plot were both well developed. I felt connected to her characters, I was invested in their stories. There were just enough romantic elements without being overbearing. And I’ll admit it: I may have teared up at the end.. so sweet!
I typically find that YA books about teens, heartbreak, love, etc are pretty painful to read. Not true with Dessen. Everything was well balanced and she weaved a story that held my attention and had my rooting for and against all the right characters.
So, why 3 eggs? It was just “meh” to me. Perhaps I’m biased – I shouldn’t review non-fantasy/paranormal/adventure YA books because they really just aren’t my cup of tea. It was fun to experience the emotions of falling in love, having a great best friend, etc. but I’ve gotta be honest: I’d much rather prefer some magic or dare I even say it… vampires.
I think most people would enjoy this book. As I said, it is well written and it’s engaging. Dessen is a good author and there is no denying that. In addition, I’d put this on my classroom shelf – my kids would eat this book up. For my genre specific loving readers, this may be one to skip if you’re picky like me.

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

Oh Monday. You’re back. UGH.

I *finally* finished The Night Circus (cue the Hallelujah singing cherubs) and posted my review yesterday.

This week I decided to try another Kristin Cashore book!

Graceling was good (see review here) but I was a little underwhelmed and mentioned that I wanted more Bitterblue and Leck… well, my friends, ask and you shall receive! Kinda.

At the suggestion of one of my GoodReads friends, I picked up Bitterblue at the library and am already digging it. SO much better than Graceling! And, I get my Bitterblue along with some Leck, Po, and Katsa tied in. NICE. So far, so good. I hope it keeps up the momentum, mystery, and overall goodness.

In other book related news, I got tickets to see NEIL GAIMAN! Woohoo!! Hubby and I (along with some of my internet book club friends) will be off to be enchanted by NG himself in June. Just stare at his wonderfulness until my post tomorrow, go ahead:

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Playing Catch-Up

Whew, it’s been quite a week! I just started classwork for a Reading Endorsement through my school district so I can finally do what I was born to do– be a reading teacher. As a result, I’ve read hundreds of pages this week… of textbooks… booo!

Today, I shall play catch-up on the blog and do the memes I missed in additon to giving an update of what I’m reading. You can expect a review or two on Sunday!

So, let’s go.

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

This Monday I was in the middle of “The Night Circus” by Erin Morganstern. Shockingly enough, I really wasn’t thrilled with this book. But, more to come in my review on Sunday… {ooh, anticipation!}

Top Ten Tuesday!

This week’s list is the Top Ten Characters I Would Crush On If I Were Also a Fictional Character. Um, I don’t need to be a fictional character to crush on these “people” but let’s run with it.

1. Ronald Weasley: Ron’s always been my go-to guy… funny, goofy, not super aware of how good looking he is, and definitely kind-hearted.

2. Peeta Mellark: He’s a baker and good at decorating cakes. I mean, DUH.

3. Finnick Odair: Can I use “DUH” again as a reason? No? Okay, fine. Finnick is a typical sexy “bad boy” with a heartwrenching back story. LOVE IT. LET ME FIX YOU.

4.  Gilbert Blythe: Anne of Green Gables is one lucky girl. Gilbert is the childhood sweetheart type that I’ve had a crush on since my mom read me the first book when I was in elementary school.

5. Cas Lowood (Anna Dressed in Blood): Cas is a ghost hunter. Pretty cool. He’s funny, sarcastic, snarky, and pretty much my husband IRL.

6. Matthew de Clairmont (A Discovery of Witches): Matthew and I go back and forth. He is that high school boyfriend that you have issues with (“let me do my own thing, Matt!”) but that you can’t help but love. Plus, he’s a vampire. Whoops- spoilers!

… I can’t believe it but that’s all I’ve got, folks. I’m pretty pick about my men and these are the top 6 that made the {current} cut.

Still with me, dear reader? Okay, good. I’d do a Booking Through Thursday post but didn’t like the topic for the week so Imma skip it.

What I Finished This Week: The Night Circus by Erin Morganstern

What I’m Currently Reading: Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore

I think I’ll end it here for now. Like I said, look for a review on Sunday.

And, I’d be a terrible person if I didn’t share: the top 1,000 NOOK books are 50% right now. It’s Friday, you just got paid, right? I’m an economics teacher and I’m here to impart some wisdom — always pay yourself first. That means, pay yourself in books. GO GO GO!

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Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I Recommend the Most

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week they pick a fun topic for a top ten list. This week’s list is the “Top Ten Books I Recommend the Most.”

Wow, what a loaded list. It is really difficult for me to choose my top ten all time favorite books, because isn’t that what this list is really asking for? Eek! I’ll do my best. All top tens are subject to change, friends, so don’t hold me to it!

1. The Harry Potter series. You aren’t going to make me just pick one, right? I’d pick Azkaban if I really had to.
2. The Hunger Games series.
3. A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
4. Cinder by Marissa Meyer
5. The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
6. The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
7. Switched by Amanda Hocking
8. The Other Bolyen Girl by Philippa Gregory
9. The Chronicles of Chrestomanci Vol. 1 by Diana Wynne Jones
10. Anne of Green Gables series by L.M. Montgomery


Booking Through Thursday

Booking Through Thursday is a weekly meme about (mostly) books and reading!

This week’s question: Happy Spring Equinox, everyone! What book are YOU choosing to celebrate with?

My answer: Ahh, Spring. A time for flowers, prom, young love, and … allergies. My allergy meds and sinus rinse are out and ready. Let’s do this.

Most years in Florida we breeze right over spring and go straight to summer. This year the weather is still cool-ish, which is lovely, but I am more than ready for the flip flops, shorts, bikinis, and 2 months off that the summer brings! So, Spring? Hurry up. 😉

To get to the point, I’m reading Torn by Amanda Hocking.

Torn is #2 in the Trylle trilogy and I am DIGGIN’ it! I’m not super far into it but I love the twist, I still love Hocking’s writing, and I’m feeling massive amounts of troll love. Hocking is too good of a writer.. I can’t put her books down and just love how fresh the Trylle series feels. Hopefully I’ll still be gushing about it when I finish the trilogy.

So, what are you reading?

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Review: Entwined

Author: Heather Dixon
Series: N/A
Publishing: March 29, 2011/ Greenwillow Books/472 pages
Format Read: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Classroom shelfability: Yes
Rating: 3 Eggs!Summary (from GoodReads): Azalea is trapped. Just when she should feel that everything is before her . . . beautiful gowns, dashing suitors, balls filled with dancing . . . it’s taken away. All of it.

The Keeper understands. He’s trapped, too, held for centuries within the walls of the palace. And so he extends an invitation.

Every night, Azalea and her eleven sisters may step through the enchanted passage in their room to dance in his silver forest.

But there is a cost.

The Keeper likes to keep things.

Azalea may not realize how tangled she is in his web until it is too late.

My Thoughts: Before I get started I need to make it clear that the 12 Dancing Princesses is my all-time favorite fairy tale. I love finding books that retell the story in a different light but usually find myself disappointed with the retold versions. I felt pretty underwhelmed by this book. Perhaps I hold 12 Dancing Princesses spin-offs at too high a standard or just assume I’m going to adore them and don’t… Either way, this turned out to just be an average read for me.

First: hot dayyummm, that cover is SWOON WORTHY. I love it!

To be fair, there were a few really good things I liked. I thought the characterization of the king was WONDERFUL. He really made the book for me and I loved watching the girls’ relationship with their father change.

I also really enjoyed the concept of hidden passageways, swearing on silver, and those adorable sugar tongs. In addition, Dixon is very skilled at description writing- there are some very beautiful pictures tied up in her words! Her description of the forest was downright stunning.

What I didn’t like: the girls. For some reason, Azalea really was irritating to me. She was feisty which I appreciated but just didn’t strike me as the heroine Dixon was trying for. The rest of them? Pretty boring.

I usually don’t have a hard time with suspending disbelief but I had a hard time believing everyone was a-okay with the final, VERY MAGICAL part of the book. I know that our main characters were aware of magic but for some reason the fact that all of the other characters were cool with (spoiler) girls being trapped in mirrors just felt not believable to me. I feel like Dixon needed to clear up whether or not everyone was aware that magic still existed or not. But, alas, I am not an author.

Keeper was just okay to me. He could’ve been creepier and I was sometimes unclear what was actually happening at his soirees.. were other “dancers” there? Speaking of dancing, the girls absolute adoration of dancing got a little too involved for my taste. In my mind, just because the book is based on dancing doesn’t mean the characters have to be obsessed with it. But, again, see comment: I am not an author.

Overall, I just felt a little let down. Dixon weaves a beautiful, somewhat boring story.  Many people describe her writing as relaxing but it made me more sleepy than anything. The plot was fairly predictable (I knew exactly who Lea, Bram, and Clover were going to marry when their respective partners were introduced). That said, there were some really nice, new elements that she explored.

Like I said, maybe it’s my affinity for this fairy tale that always makes me score re-tellings lower than they probably should be. I think many people would enjoy this book (that cover is gorgeous!!) and it most certainly has classroom shelfability.