These Books Aren't All New??

Books are expensive. I tend to pick and review books that are both new & old. Many of these books you will be able to find on the shelves on your library as opposed to the front of your bookstore.

I believe that there are many hidden gems from years gone by & I enjoy highlighting those as well as today's best sellers.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Six Rules Of Maybe, Deb Caletti


Teenaged Scarlett's life turns upside down when her needy sister comes home pregnant and with a new husband. This tale of getting what you need and giving too much is filled with the meaning of true love.

Scarlett avoids her life by trying to orchestrate the lives of those around her. Her sister sucks the air out of any room with her neediness and Scarlett's carefully orchestrated life blows up in her face.

I didn't care the the wrapped-up-with-a-bow ending, but this is a great YA read.

Fall To Pieces, Mary Forsberg Weiland


Mary Forsberg Weiland is the longtime girlfriend and wife of troubled Stone Temple Pilots front man Scott Weiland is a typical tale of rock star meeting model and one leading the other out of control.

While she recounts her story candidly, it just didn't seem shocking or terrible to me. Maybe it's just because stories like this are unfortunately, a dime a dozen. Forsberg Weiland at times seems to be name dropping just for sport.

It's truly a harrowing tale, but somehow this one didn't grab me.

The Exile Of Gigi Lane, by Adrienne Maria Vrettos


If you're ready to suspend all disbelief to read a YA book than this one might be for you, but it was too much of a stretch for me, even though I'm an ardent YA fan.

While I finished this book, I can't really reccomend it.

The Fortunes Of Indigo Skye, Deb Caletti


Indigo Skye is a small town girl who's life changes in an instant when left a life changing amount of money as a tip.

What could be a predictable story is handled well by Caletti, who has a whole string of YA novels. The characters are real and honest and this is a great summer read.

Secrets Of My Hollywood Life, Jen Calonita


TV soap star & teen sensation Kaitlin Burke needs a break from her over-managed, over-scheduled life. During her hiatus she hatches a plan to attend a local high school.

Employing her hair & make-up artists, and relying on an english accent learned for a movie, she does just that. Her frenemy and co-star decides to turn the tables and tries to ruin her career.

The first in a series of 4 books about the teen is fun, light summer fluff.

What I Thought I Knew, Alice Eve Cohen


This is a searingly honest tale of a 40-something woman confronting a surprise pregnancy. She struggles even further when it seems apparent that her baby is going to be born handicapped in one way or another due to a case of medical malpractice.

Cohen unflinchingly recounts her feelings of wanting a late term abortion and even her indecision months after the baby is born as to whether or not to give the baby up for adoption.

This isn't a happy book, but the love triumphs message is a good one.

Huge, Sasha Paley


In Paley's YA book two very different and somewhat one dimensional girls head off to fat camp. Wil, short for Wilhelmina, is the overweight daughter of two health club guru's and an embarassment to her parents. They send to her fat camp against her will where she meets April. April's a poor girl who saved money for a year to attend. (Far-fetched given that the camp is $7,000 and April is from a poor family.)

Paired up as roommates the inevitable hating each other relationship slowly (and predictably) evolves into friendship. The book rolls along pretty well until the ending, where everything is wrapped up in a neat bow that doesn't ring true to the book.

Too many cliches and predictable outcomes fuel this fat camp tale.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Finding Grace, Alyssa Brugman


Starting college Rachel is hired to care for Grace, a brain-damaged woman. Rachel first tackles her job with her typical perfectionist style, but learns to love Grace and her story as the book goes on.

I found this book to be moving and real. I cared about the characters and the story was really engrossing. Highly recommended!

The Notebook Girls, Julia Baskin, Lindsey Newman, Sophie Pollitt--Cohen & Courtney Toombs


This real life notebook kept by 4 freshmen at Manhattan's Stuyvesant High School is a great look into their lives, as they experienced it. The book is mostly un-edited and produced in the girls actual handwriting with drawings and whatever else they saw fit to put in it at the time.

Ending in their junior year the girls show all aspects of themselves from whiny to giving, likeable and not, the way we all really are in high school. It's a great summer read & one that's hard to put down.

Prairie Tale, Melissa Gilbert


Prairie Tale is a sometimes self serving, sometimes unflinching look at the life of Melissa Gilbert, or Half Pint from the show Little House On The Prairie. Not bad, not great.

The Sisters Anitpodes, Jane Alison


This story of 2 families who become close and then end up switching husbands and mixing up the families, seems crazy until you realize that it's a true story. I think had this book been a work of fiction there would be more details, more depth to part of the story, but I think Alison did the best she could to peel back the layers of her crazy, confusing life.

This story is so compelling, it's really worth the read.

Grosse Pointe Girl, Sarah Grace McCandless


Grosse Pointe is one of the most affluent parts of Michigan. McCandless portrays perfectly the teenaged Emma, too self-absorbed in her own teen drama to even pay attention to her own parents divorce.

Us children of the 80's will recognize all of the cultural references with fondness. I didn't think the illustrations went with the book. It's a bit choppy in parts, but this was a fun trip back in time through the eyes of a spoiled girl that I never got to be.

The Importance Of Being Famous, Maureen Orth


Orth shines the light on celebrities who will do anything to be famous and even more to stay famous. This is an unflinching look at what makes a celebrity and those of us who make them who they are.

The Sweetheart Of Prosper Country, Jill S. Alexander


Austin Gray is a teen girl who's kept too close by her mother, afraid of life after losing her husband in a car accident one rainy Christmas Eve. Sick of her sheltered life and sick of being bullied, Austin sets out to change her life, learning the truth in the process.

This book is filled with great characters that will keep you reading & cheering for Austin.

Positively, Courtney Sheinmel


This tale of a girl infected with HIV is moving and heartfelt. With her mother dies of AIDS, Emmy is forced to go live with her father and step-mother, adults she is not close to and does not feel at home with.

Her frustration at being sent away to summer camp for kids with HIV and AIDS gives way when she finds herself feeling at home with these kids who share her situation and understand her feelings.

Please Stop Laughin At Me, Jodee Blanco


This tale of childhood bullying will hit a chord with anyone who has been hurt by bullies. Blanco takes an unflinching look back at her life and how the pain of being bullied shaped the woman she is today and the journey it took to get her there.

Raising Jake, Charlie Carillo


This book is great. I loved it. A father and son, both lose their way and find a new one, together. An awesome story of family and the meaning of love and forgiveness.

The Amazing Adventures Of Dietgirl, Shauna Reid


I fell in love with Shauna Reid & I think you will too. Her battle with her weight take her from her home in Australia to Scotland (or was it Ireland?) Read this one!

John Lennon The Life, Philip Norman


At 684 pages, this is not for the faint of heart, but I love biographies. The Life has tons of Lennon information I hadn't heard before and it seems to be really well researched. Not light summer reading, but for me it was worth the time.

You Better Not Cry, Augusten Burroughs


I'm a long-time fan of Augusten Burroughs, but this one seemed a little more forced, like little bits and pieces just patched together. It's not his best, but if you're a fan of Burroughs, it's worth the read.