Book Review: Girl Guide: 200+ Tips for High School Survival by Courtney S. King

Title: Girl Guide: 200+ Tips for High School Survival
Author: Courtney S. King
Genre: Non-Fiction, self-help
Publisher: self-published
Publication Date: September 2012 
Pages: 122 pages
Rating: 3.5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
Girl Guide: 200+ Tips for High School offers advice for teen girls entering or continuing high school. From primping for prom to decoding dudes, the first book in the Girl Guide series offers an array of advice for the sometimes difficult, but exciting four years of high school.

My Review:

I dreaded starting high school. My mother had just decided to go back to work full-time after taking 20 years off to raise use children and I had to change from the school all my friends were going to and go to a different one… one where I knew no one and was a little scared of. I was going to have start taking public transport (instead of being driven every day) and I hated the uniforms and… well… I was a pretty miserable 12-year-old.

I think I could have used this practical guide back then. With thirteen different parts each covering a different facet of school and growing up, there are hints and ideas of how to deal with classes, friends, boys and other things.

This little book is put together in such a clever way. There’s a quote and a supply list prefacing each part with not only physical items necessary but qualities a person might need to possess to achieve whatever task they are attempting – courage is definitely something that is necessary in most endeavours and high school is no different. There were a few times when I felt like the book was a little rigid in its instructions and needed a bit more flexibility in the language used – but as suggestions there is a lot of good and practical advice in the book. The chapter on boys may have relied a little too heavily on stereotypes and didn’t really mention the hazards of labelling people but that’s incredibly minor and I feel a little petty for even bringing it up.

I loved the websites mentioned to check out – weheartit is adorable! – and thought that including them in the book was a brilliant idea.

This is a cute little guide that I think would be a great tool for anyone starting high school to check out. The information included it generalized enough to be useful no matter your nationality (although I did have to google D.B.Q.’s) and I really enjoyed Courtney’s style of writing – I had a bit of a giggle when I read she mentioned that high school is nothing like it’s portrayed on Degrassi.

Thanks Courtney for providing me with a digital copy to review.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon

Top Ten Tuesday: Series I Haven’t Finished…

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.

Each week they will post a new Top Ten list that one of our bloggers over at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join.

The topic this week is: Top Ten Series that I Haven’t Finished Reading

I always try to finish a series if I’ve started it – and that’s a huge reason why I haven’t started reading a lot of series because one I start I feel compelled to finish them. It’s why I’m still reading the Dark Hunter series by Sherrilyn Kenyon despite the fact I think they jumped the shark a few books ago…

Jumping a shark whilst still wearing a leather jacket? And that’s why I love Happy Days…

But generally I have finished most series that I start. Unless I’m waiting on a new instalment to be released.

I did manage to find ten series that I haven’t finished and I broke them down into a couple of categories:

Didn’t finish due to boredom:

Maybe it’s something to do with vampires but for some reason I can’t finish these series. The Vampire Diaries I started reading after I watched the show and I just couldn’t work out why they changed Elena’s appearance so much.. it was to the point where it frustrated me to read it. With the House of Night – I have the second book right here on my desk but it’s underneath… 38 other books that I plan to read before getting to Betrayed. And as for The Morganville Vampires? I read five and each one was just like the last. They’re good but I think I needed a break before I overdosed on the cliffhangers that seem to occur in every single book.

Didn’t finish due to feeling old..

These books make me feel about a hundred years old… I’m not sure what it is about them but I feel an elderly person who hates this new fangled thing called “Rock and/or Roll” when I read them. I may have been one of the few people in the world to have preferred the Percy Jackson film to the book… the book that I didn’t actually manage to get past the first few chapters of…

My eyes were bigger than my stomach…

When I was little, I was a bit of an annoying child. When asked at meal time how hungry I was I would always say I was starving. By the time dinner got to the table I’d only have a few bites and then I’d be full. My imagination and eyes were so much bigger than my appetite…

These books are a bit like that because I have a bit of an addiction to buying boxed sets. I love them. They get to sit on my shelves and look all pretty making all my other books jealous thinking that I can’t wait to read them all and find a new favourite series! But then after they graduate to the shelves they just sit there and I never get around to reading them. The Immortals still has the plastic shrink-wrap on them that was there when I bought it. And well… I’m ashamed that I bought the first three Inheritance books just because the box is just so pretty!

Other assorted reasons:

  • Anne of Green Gables by LM Mongromary – because I can’t imagine the story after Anne and Gilbert have children. As far as I’m concerned the last few books never existed
  • Dexter by Jeff Lindsay* – because after the third book I had nightmares for a month regarding pottery kilns… I’m not sure I want to subject myself to that again
  • Downside Ghosts by Stacia Kane* – after trying to mentally translate the speech of those from the Downside in book one, I’m not quite up to doing it again in the future books.

 

* = these series are more adult and not exactly YA appropriate.

 

 

 

Book Review: Speechless by Hannah Harrington

Title: Speechless
Author: Hannah Harrington
Genre: Realistic Fiction, Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: Harlequin Teen 
Publication Date: August 2012 
Pages: 384
Rating: 5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
Everyone knows that Chelsea Knot can’t keep a secret…

Until now. Because the last secret she shared turned her into a social outcast — and nearly got someone killed.

Now Chelsea has taken a vow of silence — to learn to keep her mouth shut, and to stop hurting everyone else. And if she thinks keeping secrets is hard, not speaking up when she’s ignored, ridiculed and even attacked is worse.

But there’s strength in silence, and in new friends who are, shockingly, coming her way. People she never noticed before. A boy she might even fall for. If only her new friends can forgive what she’s done. If only she can forgive herself…

My Review:

Sixteen year old Chelsea Knot has a secret. And despite the fact that it’s not her secret to tell doesn’t stop her from drunkenly spilling it during her best friend Kristen’s New Years Party.

The fall out was something Chelsea never could have expected. One classmate in hospital and two more responsible – Chelsea has a choice. Keep quiet or turn two of her friends in to the police… one of which happens to be her best friend’s boyfriend.

Choosing to do the right thing gets herself in trouble when Chelsea has to deal with fall out – social isolation and bullying – and ends up choosing a vow of silence as “running [her] mouth has hurt enough people already – the lease [she] could do is shut up.” After being removed from everything she once thought she was, the silence – both self-imposed and from those she once thought of as friends – makes Chelsea completely re-evaluate who she is and what she wants from life.

I enjoyed reading this book mostly for the strength of the main character, Chelsea. At first she comes across as a puppet for the queen bee, Kristen, but as the novel goes on she’s not as self-centred or vapid as she seems. She has internal fortitude and shows internal strength and a maturity she didn’t have at the start. I was impressed with her choices – not necessarily the drunken sharing from the start of the novel but even that was done with no intended malice – and the caring attitude  she starts to show.

This novel shows the cruelty of high school and just how quickly the tables can turn. But it also shows how kind and forgiving people can be. Asha and Sam are fantastic characters that I very quickly grew to love. Despite how Chelsea’s actions effected their friend, Noah, they embrace Chelsea – vow of silence and all – forgive her and accept her as their friend.

This is a great story about the power of gossip and how something as seemingly harmless as spreading rumours can result in life changing circumstances.

 

Thanks to Harlequin Teen and NetGalley for the review copy.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon / Book Depository 


Book Review: Frostbite by Richelle Mead

Title: Frostbite (Vampire Academy #2)
Author: Richelle Mead
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Vampires, Magic,
Publisher: Razorbill (an imprint of Penguin)
Publication Date: April 2008
Pages: 327
Rating: 4 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
Rose loves Dimitri, Dimitri might love Tasha, and Mason would die to be with Rose…

It’s winter break at St. Vladimir’s, but Rose is feeling anything but festive. A massive Strigoi attack has put the school on high alert, and now the Academy’s crawling with Guardians—including Rose’s hard-hitting mother, Janine Hathaway. And if hand-to-hand combat with her mom wasn’t bad enough, Rose’s tutor Dimitri has his eye on someone else, her friend Mason’s got a huge crush on her, and Rose keeps getting stuck in Lissa’s head while she’s making out with her boyfriend, Christian! The Strigoi are closing in, and the Academy’s not taking any risks… This year, St. Vlad’s annual holiday ski trip is mandatory.

But the glittering winter landscape and the posh Idaho resort only create the illusion of safety. When three friends run away in an offensive move against the deadly Strigoi, Rose must join forces with Christian to rescue them. But heroism rarely comes without a price…

My Review:

At St. Vladimir’s, Rose and Lissa’s lives have gone back to normal. With help from medication Lissa’s mood seems to have stabilized and with all the extra training, Rose has caught up with her classmates despite having missed two years worth of instruction.

Rose has an important Guardian test but before she could undergo assessment she and Dimitri stumble upon the site of a massive Strigoi attack. In the name of safety, the school decide to go to an exclusive ski resort for the holidays to get out of the way of the Strigoi assassins. But things are anything but safe on the slopes. Rose’s mother arrives with the Moroi she protects and a strange Royal keeps popping up everywhere Rose turns. To top it off Rose finds herself battling her feelings for Dimitri and protecting her friends from the Strigoi… and from themselves.

I loved the first one book in the series and this was a great follow-up. Rose is just as feisty and strong. Lissa’s entertaining and I liked the development of her powers, her relationship with Christian and her accepting her position amongst the Moroi as the representative for the Dragomir Royal Family.

This book is a lot more concerned with the politics of the race as well as their evil enemy, the Strigoi, with less attention paid to the dynamics of high school. I liked how the series is progressing and I can’t wait to read the third book however I missed Rose interacting with the rest of the students at St. Vladimir’s.

In terms of action – this book had a lot. There was a lot of violence, murder and a fantastic fight scene towards the end of the book that near broke my heart. I loved the new characters of Tasha and Adrian who were introduced and I can’t wait to read the next book to see what we find out next – about the world of the Vampires and about just what happens next in Rose’s life romantically.

 

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon / Book Depository 


Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish People

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.

Each week they will post a new Top Ten list that one of our bloggers over at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join.

This week’s topic is: Bookish People – authors, bloggers, people who read… if they’re at all bookish then they’re allowed on the list.

I’m one of those people who have a list a mile long of authors they’d like to meet. After reading a book I’ve loved I often wish I had a chance to meet the author so I could assault them with all the questions I’ve accumulated whilst reading their novel. My questions are usually rather standard and I can usually find the answers online (because they’ve been asked a thousand times before) but I’d still love the chance to meet them and see what they’re like in person.

So my top ten YA authors that I want to meet are:

1. Richelle Mead (author of the Vampire Academy and Bloodlines series)

2. Alexandra Adornetto (author of the Halo series) -She got her first book published at just 14 years of age… I’m sort of amazed by her.

3. J.K. Rowling (author of the Harry Potter series and soon to be released The Casual Vacancy) – I’m a huge Harry Potter fan… and that would explain why I’ve been a member of a HP role play site for over three years.

4. Meg Cabot (author of the Princess Diaries and Mediator series)

5. John Green (author of Our Fault Amongst the Stars) – Okay, so I’ve never read any of his books but I’ve seen his videos and have spoken to many nerdfighters and he seems hilarious.

6. Marissa Meyer (author of The Lunar Chronicles series)

7. Kelley Armstrong (author of the Darkest Powers trilogy) – Okay, so this one is sort of cheating because as much as I love her Darkest Powers trilogy, I adore her adult series, Women of the Otherworld. 

8. Brigid Kemmerer (author of the Elemental series) – she seems so incredibly lovely from her tweets and I’d love to know what was going to happen in Spirit.

9. Jaclyn Moriarty (author of A Corner of White) – I read this book a few weeks ago and adored it. I’d love to see the woman behind the story.

10. Melina Marchetta (author of the Lumatere Chronicles #1) – I met her once and she was fantastic. I’d love to see her speak again.

 

Okay, so there’s my list. It’s amazing how 80% of my list happen to be for authors that I’ve read in the past month… There are so many others that I’d love to meet but I think it’s probably for the best that I just leave it at 10.

Book Review: Confessions of an Angry Girl by Louise Rozett

Title: Confessions of an Angry Girl (Confessions #1)
Author: Louise Rozett
Genre: Realistic Fiction, Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: Harlequin Teen 
Publication Date: August 2012 
Pages: 384
Rating: 2.5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
Rose Zarelli, self-proclaimed word geek and angry girl, has some confessions to make.

…1. I’m livid all the time. Why? My dad died. My mom barely talks. My brother abandoned us. I think I’m allowed to be irate,don’t you?

2. I make people furious regularly. Want an example? I kissed Jamie Forta, a badass guy who might be dating a cheerleader. She is nowenraged and out for blood. Mine.

3. High school might as well be Mars. My best friend has been replaced by an alien, and I see red all the time. (Mars is red and “seeing red” means being angry—get it?)

Here are some other vocab words that describe my life: Inadequate. Insufferable. Intolerable.

(Don’t know what they mean? Look them up yourself.)

(Sorry. That was rude.)

My Review:

Soon to be fifteen-year-old Rose Zarelli feels like everyone she loves has abandoned her. Her father died recently in Iraq and as a result her mother is a shadow of her former self and doesn’t seem to notice that Rose still exists. Her older brother Peter has moved away to go to college and has a new life there and her best friend from the time they were in pre-school, Tracy, is more interested being a cheerleader than being there for Rose.

Understandably, Rose is feeling a little angry.

Now as September rolls around, Rose has to try to deal with the pressures of high school as well as trying to cope with losing her father.

There are a lot of issues dealt with in this book. Losing a loved one, first crush, drunken parties, teen sex. Rose is a character that whilst I didn’t always like her or how she dealt with certain situations, I did admire her overall for her actions and decisions. She didn’t always choose the easy way out. I really felt for her at times because I could see a lot of myself in her and I think that a lot of other people would be able relate to Rose in a similar way. I liked how the book addressed the topic of teen sex and sexual health. Not many books do that and I liked how uncertain about the whole topic Rose was. But I felt like some parts were a little unfinished – did the nurse ever call Rose with the results? – and could have done with some closure.

I think the part of the novel that touched me most was the dealings Rose had with her best friend Tracy – this is where I felt like this could have been my teenage diaries being narrated. And I loved how Rose dealt with the situation.

As far as her love interests go? I couldn’t really see many redeeming features for either Jamie or Robert. Jamie is the boy who is all kinds of bad for her and essentially only recognizes her existence because her brother called in a favour. He’s also sort of flat in terms of personality. This may be because Rose is sort of infatuated with him and the story is told in first person but I just couldn’t like him. He needed to do something more for me to really believe that he liked Rose – and not just because of Angelo’s recommendation that he does. Robert does show in the end that he’s not as bad a guy as one might think but it was too little, too late. I think I would have liked it if Angelo was the man of Rose’s affection.

This story isn’t action packed and drama filled – it’s rather a journey of an everyday girl dealing with life and I liked that about it. It’s full of heartbreak and learning to with life after a family has broken apart. I liked how this book focused on a teenage girl’s grief and feelings of abandonment.

I did feel like this book could have been left as a standalone novel and I was surprised to see that there is a sequel being released next year.

 

Thanks to Harlequin Teen and NetGalley for the review copy.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon / Book Depository 


Book Review: A Corner of White by Jaclyn Moriarty

Title: A Corner of White (The Colours of Madeline #1)
Author: Jaclyn Moriarty
Genre: Fantasy, Magic, Adventure
Publisher: Macmillian Australia
Publication Date: October 2012
Pages: 432
Rating: 5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
Madeleine Tully lives in Cambridge, England, the World – a city of spires, Isaac Newton and Auntie’s Tea Shop.

Elliot Baranski lives in Bonfire, the Farms, the Kingdom of Cello – where seasons roam, the Butterfly Child sleeps in a glass jar, and bells warn of attacks from dangerous Colours.

They are worlds apart – until a crack opens up between them; a corner of white – the slim seam of a letter.

A mesmerising story of two worlds; the cracks between them, the science that binds them and the colours that infuse them.

My Review:

She knew this.
That philematology is the science of kissing.
That Samuel Langhorne Clemens is better known as Mark Twain.
That, originally, gold comes from the stars.

The summary both perfectly sums up this book and at the same time doesn’t begin to touch on why I enjoyed reading it so much.

A Corner of White is a tale of two cities – or more appropriately, a stories of two worlds. Madeline Tully, a fifteen year old who lives with her mother in the English city of Cambridge. After running away from her father two years ago, the two of them have made a life for themselves in the colourless and drab college town.

In a parallel world where seasons change moment to moment and the rare Butterfly Children with magical powers appear in glass jars, the Kingdom of Cello is home to a boy named Elliot Baranski. Having lost his uncle and father to a purple attack, Elliot has made it his mission to track down the colour who took his dad away and bring him home.

Madeline and Elliot stumble upon a crack in the fabric between the worlds and start writing to one another. With lives so different and yet eerily similar, the two come to grips with the voids in their own lives and try to live full lives again.

I loved the Kingdom of Cello. I’ve read a few novels with parallel universes but never have a read a world that is so similar to the present day in which I live – and yet at the same time so incredibly different. The idea that colours can cause blindness, brutality or influence one’s thoughts and feelings so tangibly is such an interesting and brilliant concept.

Madeline and her comrades at Cambridge in the World are characters that I enjoyed reading about. Belle and Jack are believable as slightly eccentric sidekicks with their own little quirks. Elliot is a likeable hero too. He’s strong and brave but he has enough flaws of his own to keep him interesting. I loved how Madeline and Elliot were so different and yet so similar.

This novel is interesting, imaginative and beautifully written. The colours – real or flat, in the World or in the Kingdom of Cello – were interwoven throughout in a way that made the worlds collide in such a way that made me believe in the existence of Cello. I thought it was so clever how the author managed to combine the real with the imaginary, magic with science, whilst still delivering a story that kept me interested right up until the last page.

With thanks to Pan Macmillan and the Reading Room for the review copy.

Amazon / Book Depository