Monday, July 8, 2013

YA Review: The look by Sophia Bennett

The Look by Sophia Bennett

Age Range: 12 and up

Series: None

Genre: Contemporary

Hardcover: 336 pages

Publisher: Scholastic/Chicken House (March 1, 2013)

Source: Publisher via NetGalley (thank you!)

Rating: 5 of 5 stars 

About the Book:

Can she be a supermodel and a super-sister? She finds her answer in just one look.

Two sisters, both beautiful in different ways: Fifteen-year-old Ted has got "The Look." That's what the scout for the modeling agency tells her, and she can't believe her luck. But just as Ted's jet-setting off on her new career, Ava is diagnosed with cancer. Can Ted be a supermodel and a super-sister? Or will she have to choose between family and fame? With their worlds turned upside down, the girls have to look past appearances, look deep inside, to figure out what really matters.

About the Author:

Sophia Bennett won first place in the second annual LONDON TIMES/Chicken House Children's Fiction Competition with her debut, SEQUINS, SECRETS, AND SILVER LININGS, a novel that combines her long-standing obsession with fashion with her keen desire to write for young readers. Sophia lives with her husband and children in cosmopolitan London, England. 

My Thoughts:

This book is NOT what I was prepared for. I expected a light, fluffy, humorous story about a girl stumbling into becoming a model. And for the first few pages, that's exactly what it is. But there is so much more to the story. Even though cancer is mentioned in the synopsis, I was not prepared for it when it showed up.  As a result, I spent a couple of really late nights bawling my eyes out.

The characters are wonderful. I love them all. Ted is such a sweetheart and she develops such a wonderful relationship with her sister, Ava. I love the journey that Ted goes on, how she finds herself, and how she refuses to compromise her standards.

The book is well researched and it's obvious that the author has done her homework. I haven't read many cancer books, but modeling seems to be a very popular topic right now. Combining the two creates this amazing, tension filled world that Ted and her sister must learn to navigate. The sisterhood in this story is simply beautiful.

I loved it. I loved it. I loved it!


Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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Thursday, July 4, 2013

Review: The Rose Throne by Mette Ivie Harrison

The Rose Throne by Mette Ivie Harrison

Age Range: 12 and up

Series: The Rose Throne #1

Genre: Fantasy

Hardcover: 400 pages

Publisher: Egmont USA (May 14, 2013)

Source: Publisher via NetGalley (thank you!)

Rating: 4 of 5 stars

 About the Book:

Richly-imagined fantasy romance from the author of Princess and the Hound, a tale of two princesses--one with magic, one with none--who dare seek love in a world where real choice can never be theirs. For fans of Megan Whalen Turner, Catherine Fisher, and Cassandra Clare. 

Ailsbet loves nothing more than music; tall and red-haired, she's impatient with the artifice and ceremony of her father's court. Marissa adores the world of her island home and feels she has much to offer when she finally inherits the throne from her wise, good-tempered father. The trouble is that neither princess has the power--or the magic--to rule alone, and if the kingdoms can be united, which princess will end up ruling the joint land? For both, the only goal would seem to be a strategic marriage to a man who can bring his own brand of power to the throne. But will either girl be able to marry for love? And can either of these two princesses, rivals though they have never met, afford to let the other live?

About the Author:

My name is pronounced "Metty" like my mother's "Betty." It is Danish, and we were all named after ancestors. I guess by the time they got to number nine (out of eleven), it was getting tricky. So I got the funny Danish name no one knew how to prounounce. In Denmark, it should be "meta" like "metaphysical." It's from the Greek for "pearl." And no, it's not short for anything. Not even Mediterannean.

My first book, THE MONSTER IN ME was accepted for publication in 1999 and was published in 2002. My second book, MIRA, MIRROR was published in 2004. The latest book, THE PRINCESS AND THE HOUND , was published in 2007. A sequel, THE PRINCESS AND THE BEAR, came out in April of 2009.

I now live in Utah with my husband and 5 children, ages 5 to 14. I write during nap time, or at 4 in the morning, or while the broccoli for dinner is burning. Whenever I get a chance. I love to write the kind of books that I love to read. And I love to discover what is going to happen next, just like a reader would. I also do some racing in triathlon.


My Thoughts:

This is such an interesting book. There are many characters that hold a lot of sway in how the story turns out. It is a well developed fantasy with feminist undertones. It surprised me that I didn't get irritated by this. But the author weaves it into the story in such a way that it doesn't feel preachy or awkward. In fact, many of those aspects make the book more interesting and give the characters life.

The characters are diverse in their personalities, desires, and abilities. There are many different levels of danger, ambition, and motivation for each of them.  Generally, they are likable, with the exception of the ones you are supposed to dislike. While Ailsbet's self-pity party does get annoying, she grows into herself and learns to control her own destiny as much as she can.

The ending hints that this will become a series, and I can't wait to see where the story goes after this.


Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
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Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Review: Geek Girl by Holly Smale

Geek Girl by Holly Smale

Age Range: 12 and up

Genre: Contemporary

Series or Stand Alone: Stand Alone

Paperback: 378 pages

Publisher: HarperCollins Children's Books (February 28th 2013)

Source: Publisher via NetGalley (thank you!)

Rating: 4.5 of 5 stars!



About the Book:

“My name is Harriet Manners, and I am a geek.”

Harriet Manners knows that a cat has 32 muscles in each ear, a “jiffy”
lasts 1/100th of a second, and the average person laughs 15 times per
day. She knows that bats always turn left when exiting a cave and that
peanuts are one of the ingredients of dynamite.

But she doesn’t know why nobody at school seems to like her.

So when Harriet is spotted by a top model agent, she grabs the chance to
reinvent herself. Even if it means stealing her best friend's dream,
incurring the wrath of her arch enemy Alexa, and repeatedly humiliating
herself in front of impossibly handsome model Nick. Even if it means
lying to the people she loves.

Veering from one couture disaster to the next with the help of her overly
enthusiastic father and her uber-geeky stalker, Toby, Harriet begins to realize that the world of fashion doesn't seem to like her any more than
the real world did.

As her old life starts to fall apart, will Harriet be able to transform herself before she ruins everything? 

Amazon | Goodreads | Facebook

About the Author:

Holly fell in love with writing at five years old, when she realized that books didn't grow on trees like apples. A passion for travel, adventure and wearing no shoes
has since led her all over the world: she has visited 20 countries, spent two years working as an English teacher in Japan, volunteered in Nepal, been bartered for in Jamaica and had a number of ear-plugs stolen in Australia, Indonesia and India.

As a teenager, she also did a little modelling in the hope that eventually she would be sent somewhere exciting.

She wasn't.

Holly has a BA in English Literature, an MA in Shakespeare, and currently lives either in London or @holsmale.

Website | Twitter

My Thoughts:

This is what a young adult novel should be. It's laugh out loud funny
with a quirky, totally adorable and geeky heroine that sees the world
differently.  Oh my goodness, I just love this book!

Harriet is a wonderful character to read about and she has some
fantastic light-bulb moments throughout the course of the story. She
learns to accept and love herself the way she is, no excuses and no
apologies.  The other characters are fun and quirky in their own way and
add to the humor and insight of the book.

There are a couple of mild expletives, but everything else is very
clean. If you like clean young adult humor, then this is a good choice.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 
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