Wednesday, July 11, 2012

My Sister's Stalker by Nancy Springer

My Sister's Stalker
Rig is just living a typical teenage life. His parents are divorced and he lives with his eccentric mother. His sister Kari, short for Karma, lived with their dad before she went off to college. Rig misses his sister and after numerous calls and texts, he Googles her. He comes across a fan site for her featuring some creepy pictures that seem to have been taken through her bedroom window. He seeks help from his mother, but she is always willing to believe the best in people and thinks that it’s cute. Therefore, Rig is forced to seek out his dad, whom he has a difficult relationship with. Rig’s family has to get to the bottom of the stalker issue before Kari gets into real danger.
I read this book because it was less than 100 pages, and sounded somewhat decent. Well, I was wrong . This was the worst book that I’ve read in a LONG time. And I read a lot of books. The writing is choppy and juvenile, which I can forgive because a 15 is supposed to be narrating the story. The basic idea of this novel is interesting, but I think it could have been better told. The plot was basically like “Bam! Bam! Bam!” with one bullet being thrown after another. It was unrealistic, though I know these things do happen, and had be rolling me eyes the entire time. As you can see though, it wasn’t so completely horrible that I finished it. There was no character development and some very unbelievable events.
But the ending. OMG. It was really stupid. That’s the only way that I can put it. If the author had chosen a different ending, I would have been like **sigh** what a waste of my time. But now I am angry! LOL. So I will tell you about the ending and not worry about spoiling it for you because I hope you spend your time reading a better novel. Basically, Rig is like “I feel creepy because I had to think like the stalker would” and his dad is like “ohh, that’s called incest. But it’s okay!” And you’re like “that was a completely stupid little paragraph to put in there”. Argh! Just frustrating! Anyways. Don’t read this book. 1 out of 5 stars.

Fair Coin (Coin #1) by E.C. Myers

Fair Coin (Coin, #1)

Ephraim (what an awesome name!) comes home after school and finds his alcoholic mom passed out with pills in her hand. He immediately calls 911 and she is taken to the hospital. Ephraim's mom had attempted suicide because she had identified Ephraim's body earlier because he had been hit by a car and died. Ephraim is puzzled and finds the fake Ephraim's personal items in his mom's purse. Among them he finds a library card with a picture of him and having his name (very strange considering he never lost his) and a coin. Being the coin collector he is, he knows that there is something strange about the quarter. It doesn't face the right way and identifies Puerto Rico as being a state. Ephraim later receives some anonymous instructions saying to wish upon the coin. He goes for it, and wishes that his mom would be more normal. Surprisingly, the next morning he wakes up to the smell of bacon and a healthy breakfast. Since the coin had worked, he begins to make more wishes. Maybe now he can get Jena, his longtime crush, to finally notice him. Or maybe he can solve other problems. But when his wishes begin to have small side effects, Ephraim must figure out what he is supposed to do next.

We've all made wishes before. On shooting stars, 11:11, coins before throwing them into fountains, eyelashes, birthday candles, you name it! Or at least I have. Fair Coin was an awesome book! At first it seems like a fantasy paranormal book, but it soon grows to be way more than that! The plot, imagination, and mystery and amazing and the characters are realistic and exciting. It’s seriously an AWESOME story if you can follow along with it.

And also, the cover is so pretty that it deserves to be noted. And I LOVE the title. A fair coin means that you have an equal chance at getting heads and tails, so I think that it’s really appropriate.

The only thing that kept me from giving this novel 5 stars was how it was a little confusing. About halfway through, my face was like O_o... because I was thoroughly like “wait, what?" I think this would be an awesome story if I ever read it a second time, just because I know a little more about what’s going on and I can read it a little slower and more carefully, rather than just plowing through the book because I wanted to know what happened. So, I suggest taking notes. I’m not kidding you! It was a little mind boggling.

I recommend Fair Coin if you’re into dystopian, sci-fi novels or if you liked the Uglies by Scot Westerfeld (I think his name is :P). I look forward to the next book in the series, which made me extra excited because I didn’t know that this was a series! I’m also wondering what more there is to write about. Hmm… Anways, 4.5 stars out of 5.

Sugar and Spice (L.A. Candy #3) by Lauren Conrad

Sugar and Spice (L.A. Candy, #3)

In the concluding novel of the L.A. Candy series, Jane has her game face on. She knows that people have lied to her, and she’s ready this time. This time around, she’s sworn off guys, but what happens when Caleb and Braden both want her? What is she supposed to do? And what about Scarlett? She’s having her own troubles with Liam and her family. And of course we have Madison. But she has her own skeletons (figuratively) that she’s trying to keep in the closet.
This was my favorite book of the three. My thoughts on the writing and the series remain the same. They’re just fun afternoon novels! The plot twists in this novel were really unsuspected and I especially liked the ending and Jane’s decision with guys. If you enjoyed the other two books in this series, I would recommend reading this last one. It really pulls everything together. And I am looking forward to reading Lauren’s second series soon. :) 4 out of 5 stars.

The Darlings by Cristina Alger

The Darlings: A Novel

Paul Ross married Merrill Darling, not knowing about the foreign life he would be thrown into. He became used to an elite New York life. Due to economic hardships, Paul loses his job. But luckily (or unluckily, however you choose to think about it), Carter Darling (Paul's father-in-law) offers him a job to oversee a legal team at his company. Then a large-size scandal shakes the company and that Darlings are thrust into the public eye, but not in a good way. Paul receives some information and must decide whether he wants to save himself and Merrill, or protect his family's name. As you read on through this novel, you realize that things on the outside are not always how they appear to be, and there is so much more to know.

I originally wanted to read this because I read a review for it in Entertainment Weekly and they mentioned it as being "like Gossip Girl", and of course the fangirl in me was like "GOSSIP GIRL” and put it on my to-read list without further thought. After reading it, I reflect back on its “gossipgirlness” and realize that the only things they have in common are that they take place in New York, they are part of the elite upper class, and there is a scandal. That’s all. LOL.

I thought the concept of this book was pretty interesting, but I think it would have been better for me to know more about the whole Wall Street issues before reading this. The good things about this novel were the interesting moral dilemmas, because I do love to contemplate those. I also loved the romantic part of this novel. And when I say “romantic” I don’t mean there’s a huge romance aspect, I just mean that I love the way that Paul and Merrill think of each other and their thoughts in the narrative. They truly, truly love one another and the author describes it perfectly. I fell in love with Paul a little bit just because it was so adorable how much he loves his wife.

Otherwise, I found this novel to be really slow and LONG. It was kinda boring to be honest. I also had a somewhat difficult time following all the character’s narrations. There is seriously like 7 people telling the story (not through 1st person) and they have similar sounding names, so I don’t know. It’s probably me haha. I probably would have been more into the story if the author had done a Jodie Picoult thing where there are different fonts and easily divided chapters of different narrators.

I think this book would make an interesting movie but as a novel, it was just okay for me. The end was really cool though, in my opinion! 3 out of 5 stars.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Sweet Little Lies (L.A. Candy #2) by Lauren Conrad

Sweet Little Lies (L.A. Candy, #2)

In the sequel to L.A. Candy, Jane returns to L.A. after a picture scandal with Madison by her side. Even though Madison is helping Jane now, we all know she has something more devious planned. Scarlett, Jane's best friend, tries to warn her about Madison. But Scarlett is also facing her own drama regarding guys. The lies continue to grow...

My review of this novel is pretty much like the first. I think it's a cute, fun story with likable characters. My only complaint is how they are supposed to be on a "PG rated reality show", a "family show", yet they go out to clubs, drink, party, and hook up with guys. Is that family rated? If you consider Jersey Shore to be a family show, then maybe! And also, the girls on the show are 19, underage to be drinking and going to clubs. So how is that okay to show on a TV show? Anyways... Sweet Little Lies is a nicely paced novel with plenty of "Hollywood drama". Enjoyable, but forgettable. A good summer read though and I will be reading the next one. 4 out of 5 stars.

The Hunger Pains: A Parody by the Harvard Lampoon

The Hunger Pains: A Parody

In case you couldn't tell by the title or the cover, this short story is a parody of the well-known Hunger Games. Instead of Katniss Everdeen you have Kantkiss Neverclean, who volunteers in her sister's place to take part in the annual Hunger Games. She has to figure out how to survive and learn who to trust.

Haha! What a funny book. I am not one to defend the Hunger Games and all the little things that the Hunger Pains "ruined". Instead, I laugh at all the flaws that become apparent. The things that I enjoyed about this novel were the obvious name changes and how everything was exaggerated in a silly way. I especially liked how they poked fun at Peeta, or "Pita", who is described as "doughy" and having a large head. LOL. And I really like Peeta! (And Josh Hutcherson). So, all in all, if you liked the Hunger Games, aren't going to throw a fit about the parody, and are in need of a laugh, read this book. It's short enough too! 4 out of 5 stars.

dancergirl (WiHi #1) by Carol M. Tanzman

dancergirl (WiHi, #1)

Ali's friend films a video of her dancing and puts it up on the Internet. Soon, she is known to everyone as "dancergirl". Some people admire her, but others are jealous and bitter at the attention she is receiving. Before long, there are other videos of Ali dancing. But the new videos weren't approved by Ali and they seem to be filmed through her bedroom window. Ali receives numerous threats and she and her friends work together to get to the mystery of her stalker.

Well... I am sorry to say that I didn't enjoy this book. It was seriously a very, very, very long read and I couldn't find myself getting into it. The plot idea is interesting, which is why I picked it up in the first place. The first few chapters are confusing when the characters are being introduced and such. But aside from the interesting plot twists, I found the whole "viral video" thing to be a little unrealistic. Like the "staring in the halls", "everyone's a hater/lover" thing. I did enjoy how I was trying to figure out who Ali's stalker was with her, because I knew exactly as much information as she did. This book was just mehh to me. I wouldn't recommend it. 2 out of 5 stars.

**Also, I apologize for this short review. I am trying to catch up on all my reviewing :)

Faking 19 by Alyson Noel

Faking 19

Alex is a smart, popular, beautiful Orange County girl who is best friends with the most popular girl in school. It may seem like she has it all, but she is having family problems, failing all her classes, and might not even graduate. But she wasn’t always doing so poorly in school. The first two years of high school she was a straight A student and was involved in many honors classes and extra curricular activities. After that, her life started going downhill. As a way to escape her troubled life, her friend M (yes her name is M) start making trips to L.A. on their own. They meet Trevor and Connor, rich older guys who are from Britain. So that they don’t seem immature and underage, they lie and say that they are 19 (hence the title) and attending college. But soon Alex learns that lying isn’t going to get her anywhere and that the people she is close to are not who she thinks they are. She must reevaluate her life and decide what to do with her future.

This is the second time that I’ve read this novel and I enjoyed it even more the second time. I am also a SoCal girl, and I enjoy living vicariously through Alex and M lol. The story is fun, interesting, and easy to follow. I really appreciated how this novel is more than it seems to be. There are definitely a lot of good messages in here. You actually learn a few things about life, because it’s more than a frivolous novel about partying and lying. Faking 19 is not a love story and it is more than chick-lit. It is realistic and the characters are well-developed. I strongly recommend that you read this novel. It is short, fun, and has some important themes. 5 out of 5 stars.