Babe in Boyland - Jody Gehrman

Babe in BoylandBabe in Boyland by Jody Gehrman

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Natalie writes an advice column for her school newspaper. Working under the alias Dr. Aphrodite, she gives advice to teenage girls about how to deal with their current, future or past boyfriends. It isn’t until she receives a backlash of comments from angry or just annoyed guys about Dr. Aphrodite’s one-sided advice that Natalie realizes she knows almost nothing about love, and even less about guys. She decides to write an undercover story, and transforms herself into Nat Rogers, and enrolls in the all-boy school in town. It is there she meets Emilio, and her tricky role becomes even more unstable.


This was a very cute, light-hearted read. Natalie is a great character, down to earth and very likable. I really enjoyed Natalie’s experiences, many times I was laughing out loud at some crazy thing that is happening to her, but the best part of the book is her learning that guys and girls really aren’t so different. They may say different things, and behave in different ways – but both act differently with different people, and are expected to behave a certain way. Jody Gehrman really touches on one of the main problems between guys and girls, how we put on a show for the opposite sex thinking that it will make them like us better. From afar it looks like some kookie flamingo dance (my words, not the authors).

I loved the happy ending. Well, let’s face it, I love happily endings period, but Emilio was too sexy and nice to leave unattached and confused. Plus, it’s always nice to get the warm and fuzzies when everything works out, right?

Like I said, this was a cute book. No award winning material here or ground breaking or even a new concept – but it was entertaining and fun. So many crazy situations and conversations that make you want to groan or laugh out loud. It leaves you wanting to go cut your hair and try it for yourself (I do not, however, recommend it!)

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Cloaked - Alex Flinn

CloakedCloaked by Alex Flinn

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Utilizing a myriad of faerie tales, Alex Flinn writes a story about Johnny, a young man who works practically full time at his family’s shoe repair shop to help his mother make ends meet. He really takes the bulk of this responsibility on, especially because his mother works 2 jobs and still waits for his father, who disappeared years ago, to walk through the door at any minute. The fact that they are in a desperate situation really hits home when he goes home to find that the electricity has been turned off…again. So when he is offered a mission by the princes of __?__ to find her brother who has been turned into a frog, despite his reservations on her sanity (she THINKS her brother is now a FROG), he is finding that the benefits of this offer are just too good to pass up. It doesn’t take Johnny long to figure out that everything that the Princess had claimed is true when she hands him a magic cloak that will take him where ever he wishes. Soon he is off on the adventure of his life time. He is soon joined by his best friend, Meg, and between the two of them – they find the frog and are able to save the day, but of course not without trouble.


Honestly, I saw that Alex Flinn was writing another book, and got excited. I think I was first in line in the library’s copy of the audio book. I do love modern versions of faerie tales, and Alex does a great job with them. Cloaked was a good book. It was very cute and silly, and at times a little bit cheesy, but that doesn’t really take away from the appeal of the book. This is not a “serious” book – when you sit down and read (or listen in my case) you’re in for a light, fun ride. If you don’t expect more, then you’ll be satisfied.

The title of the book threw me a bit. I was a little surprised that this book was a retelling of Princess and the Frog (and others) and not Little Red Riding Hood – I hadn’t read the summary at all, I just saw the book, downloaded it and got started. I guess that is a good thing since Red is a bit popular right now, and it would undoubtedly gotten compared with the current book/movie.

I enjoyed Johnny as the main guy. I thought he was honest and fun, if not a bit slow on the uptake at times. He does have his heart in the right place, his mother being a major priority in his life. But especially at the beginning, he really seemed to think that money was the only and best solution to any and all of this problems. So this makes Meg’s role even more perfect, because she helps to balance him out completely.

I would speak to the other characters of this book, but there were so many and compared to Johnny and Meg, they played very minor roles in the grand scheme of things. There really was so much going on in this book – even more than I realized. At the end of the audiobook there was a breakdown of all the different Tales that were used and a basic summary of each one. I was glad to know I knew many, and was surprised still by some of the others I didn’t know.

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If I Stay - Gayle Forman

If I Stay (If I Stay, #1)If I Stay by Gayle Forman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Mia and her family is in a terrible car accident that leaves her entire family dead and Mia in a coma.  The thing is, she’s also awake in some other form, watching her life go on around her body as well.  She watches as her friends and family members gather about her, willing her to survive, while she remembers her life with her parents and her brother, Teddy, and her boyfriend Adam.  The ultimate point is for her to decide, will she go on living or join her family in death?


If I stay is a heart-wrenching story about Mia and a review of the past few years of her life prior to the accident.  It mainly focuses around the relationships between her and Adam and her and her family.  The book as a whole was rather serious, and melancholy, even in the good parts of her memories, which makes sense due to the nature of the book.

I love Adam.  He was the boyfriend we all wished we had at some point or another.  Not many guys will save up a ton of money for concert tickets as a first date, let alone try to come up with plans as to how to break into ICU just to see their girlfriend.  Mia’s parents were okay, if not a little casual about her and Adam’s relationship.   I mean, he was allowed to spend the night?  Her mom took her to get birth control as soon as she started dating?  Parents should be parents, not best friends.  The “best friend” parent happens in books frequently, but usually the downside to that kind of parenting plays out as well.

This book was very well written, and there really isn’t much to not like.  I just can’t say that I loved it because I’m not all that into sad books.  In fact, typically I avoid them at all costs.  I read to feel good and happy.  Reading is an escape from reality.  I don’t mind throwing in a serious or sad book every now and then, it’s good for a change, but it’s just not my favorite type.

So the question is…will I be reading Where She Went?  Well, the answer is, I won’t run away from it.  If it ends up as a download from the library, I could see myself adding it to my list of books without thinking twice, but I can’t say I’m chomping at the bit to get to it.  I’m interested in reading a book from Adam’s perspective though – I like it when books are written from the guy’s point of view.  I’m just not really looking forward to much more melancholy.  I’ve had my fill for the month I’d say.

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Before I Fall - Lauren Oliver

Before I FallBefore I Fall by Lauren Oliver

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Samantha Kingston relives the same day for 7 full days; the day of her death.  Each day is unique and has different discoveries, and outcomes, but regardless, she wakes up again in the morning to the same alarm and the same greeting from her sister.


AWESOME BOOK!  Amazing writing! Spellbinding, thought provoking, happy, sad, laughable.  I am just amazed at this book.  At first I thought it was going to annoy me, because the narrator sounds very young (which, duh, she is suppose to be a teenager) and she doesn’t do male voices all that well.  They are consistent, but not great or anything.  Oh, and there is a TON of valley-girl-like talk.  That annoys me.  But the more you move into the book, the more the story line moves along, and the valley-talk just so perfect. I was also worried about the whole “Groundhog Day” feel…which did actually get a little bit old the last couple of times.  I was actually starting to think, “common already!” but it wasn’t that bad.

Sam progresses so much through the book, each day she discovers something new about herself, or about how her actions have affected someone else.  She learns first hand daily (er, the same day over and over) how much what we say and do can cause a ripple effect through to other people.  It is important.  Maybe even more so when you are considered “popular” and so many other people look up to you.  I was so glad when Lauren threw in the Starbuck’s scene at the end, because it did change an entire scene (nope, not giving it away) and in this one instance, the actions of Sam and her friends wasn’t the only blame.  Another so true aspect of the book, even when Sam starts to change things in her day to make things better, she often says that people are being “selfish” and how things effect her.  It really took a long time for her to see that same selfishness in herself – but I think this is a hard lesson for a lot of people to learn.

It has been a REALLY LONG time since I’ve felt extreme chemistry between a boy/girl relationship in a book.  Sam and Kent were amazing!  I loved watching their relationship unfold bit-by-bit…which would be very difficult since one party doesn’t realize it’s happening at all.  But it isn’t just Sam and Kent’s relationship that was awesome.  Sam and her friends were the perfect best friend group.  The fought, teased, were mean to each other, and goofed off like crazy teenagers.  They were more real than many of the friends in  books I’ve read lately were.

This was truly an amazing book.  The writing was great.  Lauren Oliver wrote an extremely serious book in a very light-hearted way.  I liked that I could laugh and smile and everything – but the story was actually very sad.  When it was time to be serious, the tone was very serious.  I think that most teenagers should read this book, or one like it – because bullying really is a problem, and I do think that there are many times that people are not thinking about how what they say or do are really effecting others.  Many people have no thought for anyone but themselves and how they feel at that moment.  If it makes them look good, funny, or even popular, the consequences really aren’t thought out. 

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Paranormalcy - Kiersten White

Paranormalcy (Paranormalcy, #1)Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Evie is a teenager who wants nothing more than to be normal. To go to high school, to have a boyfriend, a kiss, a locker, but these things are impossible, because of her gift. Evie can see through the glamor of every known paranormal. Vampire, werewolf, faerie – it matters not, she can see right through their beautiful exterior into what they really are. This makes her a great asset to the IPCA, an organization charged with tracking and keeping all paranormals in line. It isn’t until after Evie meets a new kind of paranormal, a boy who is the color of water, but who can shape-shift into just about any person of his relative height and build, that Evie starts questioning who she is and why she can do what she does. Lend is immediately drawn to Evie because she is the first person who has ever seen the real him. It is through Lend’s gentle questioning and pushing that Evie discovers that her gift is not the only thing that keeps her from being normal, but that keeps her trapped working for IPCA. She discovers that she herself is a paranormal, but it appears that she is also in high demand.


This book starts of with a bang with Evie performing a “bag and tag” on a vampire, which sets an excellent pace for this fun adventure. I enjoyed Evie’s story and discovery. She is a very well rounded teenager who not only just wants to be normal, but is capable of accepting that her life is anything but. She’s well adjusted to who she is, even when she discovers that she may be something more, this does not cause her to tail spin into an identity crisis. Regardless of what was going on in her head, she was still the same, caring teenager with the capacity to think things through and make decisions of right and wrong on her own. I respected and enjoyed her integrity. I commend Kiersten White for not putting us through torture of the “woe is me, what am I going to do” that I find in a lot of books. While Evie did suffer a little bit of this – she still was always moving forward and trying to do what she thought was best.

Another thing I loved about this book was that it was very entertaining, and provides the fantasy/sci-fi twist that I love in books, but it's also appropriate for young teenagers as well as older ones. I'm 30, and found it very entertaining, but if a 12 year old would ask if it would be a good book, I could answer yes without hesitation!

My only disappointment was the abrupt ending. I felt like there were questions that could/should have been answered. I know that perhaps the idea was a cliff hanger ending to prep for the next book, but I just felt unfulfilled instead. WHAT is Evie used for real? I mean, she has to serve a purpose in society. At least that was what I was expecting – that she was going to end up being some huge missing puzzle piece on the circle of paranormal life – and while it was sort of touched on that, I don’t think it was addressed clearly enough. Oh well…maybe in the next installment. And I’m pretty sure there IS a next installment.

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The Trylle Trilogy - Amanda Hocking

Ascend (Trylle Trilogy, #3)Ascend by Amanda Hocking

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


I read this trilogy back-to-back, so instead of three books I feel like I've read on big book.

In Switched Wendy is just starting out at another new school.  She has a way of getting into trouble with students and teachers.  Mostly she just doesn't fit in at all.  Her mother is in a mental institute for trying to kill her when she was six years old, claiming that she wasn't her daughter - but that she was some kind of monster.  Apparently, her mother wasn't too far off from the truth.  At her new school, Wendy meets Finn, who introduces her and walks her through her new life as a Trylle (Troll in english).  Wendy was a changling, and it is time for her to come home.  But it gets even better (and what could be better than dark, handsome Finn as your guide?), Wendy isn't just any Trylle, she's the princess. 

In Torn it's time for Wendy to accept her role as princess and trying to behave like one, especially after she's been kidnapped for a second time.  This time by her father.  After a dramatic rescue, Wendy is stepping up to her duties - and doing whatever she can to do what is best for her (future) kingdom.

is Wendy's true thrust into power.  She is married to a great friend who will walk next to her and help her lead her kingdom into victory and into change.  But how does one kill an immortal king?


I read all three of these books over a sick weekend, when I was stuck mostly in bed.  This is not to speak bad of the trilogy, the thing is, I actually probably stayed in bed even more because of the books.  The trilogy was very well written.  Wendy is a great main character, a strong person who grows from a defiant teenager into a true leader determined to do some good.  I was really impressed with the story because there were many times I was thinking that Amanda Hocking was going to go in one direction with the story - and ended not taking that route at all.  The only plot point that I got right (and was happy about) was her marriage to Tove. 

So what I wasn't happy about (and this is SPOILER - so please discontinue here if you want to read)

I wanted Finn!  I completely, COMPLETELY understand why Wendy chose not to go with him.  He didn't fight, he didn't stand up for her.  He was sucked into society.  I got it.  But Amanda, why did you have to write it that way??  They shared some amazing, steamy moments.  Much, much better than any moment with Loki in my opinion.  I understand why Loki ended up being the better fit.  But STILL.  Ugh.

Oh, and this is how much I didn't care for Loki.  I didn't trust him.  I wanted him to betray her, so she'd go back to Finn.  If that wasn't going to happen, I also wanted Tove to step up and give her a strange fit of passion and the happy ever after in that direction.  I never had eyes for Loki.  But I'm not the author.  And I do understand why the book went the direction it did. (I keep saying that.  I want to impress that this was a trilogy worth the read though!!)

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Free books, free books, free....ebooks!

I just wanted to let you all know about a limited time opportunity to get some free books. So get your ereader, or ipod, or whatever you reading device preference is...and download some books:

Lydia Bennet’s Story by Jane Odiwe
  • Her new release Mr. Darcy’s Secret just came out on February 1st
Love at First Flight by Marie Force
  • Her new release Everyone Loves a Hero just came out on February 1st
The Greatest Knight by Elizabeth Chadwick
  • Her highly anticipated release, To Defy a King will be released March 1st


The Replacement - Brenna Yovanoff

The ReplacementThe Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


In the town of Gentry, strange things are known to happen.  Creepy things like babies that are switched for  scary, sick and dying creatures.  Like unexplainable things happen over night that have no explanations at all, or people who just don't fit in wandering the streets.  But the townsfolk look the other way, after all they are a prosperous town, a town that was never even hit by the depression.  They are blessed.

Mackey was one of those strange creatures swapped out for a normal baby, one of the very few who actually survive the exchange.  He and his family know exactly what he is, his friends and classmates just know that he's different.  Mackey gets by day by day, but some things are changing within him, and just living is getting harder.  Next thing he knows he is approached by Tate, a classmate who suspects who or what he is, and begins asking for answers regarding the recent death of her baby sister.  The more he gets to know Tate and gets wrapped up in her sister's story - the more involved he gets with the "other" members of the town of Gentry, and can no longer just sit back and pretend like nothing is going on.


I think I made a mistake by listening to this book via audio book instead of reading it.  The language of this book was very dark and meloncholy.  It paints a very gray, damp picture.  Mackey, who is the narrator, is very depressed in his speech even.  All of this combined with chapter upon chapter of him just figuring out about his kind and why he is the way that he is - made the book seem to drag on on the beginning.  It wasn't until Mackey really decides to help Tate that I really started getting interested in the book.  I felt like the book was finally starting to go somewhere definite.

Mackey had several very well established relationships that sort of solidified him.  I do think this was a very active and very important aspect of the book.  Without these relationships he would not have been able to survive, but it takes Mackey a long time to really understand and appreciate this. This particular aspect of the story was my favorite moving line - because to me it helped move him from less of a creature and into more of a person, mostly because he himself felt the same way.

I really did like the language of the story.  I love it when a book is able to paint a picture, and leave an impression.  I liked the dark feel to the book.  Like I said, I think my mistake was in listening to the book rather than reading it.  Some books just aren't good audio books, and it has nothing to do with the author or the narrator, but just the book itself.

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