Monday, March 3, 2014

Review: Ready to Wear (Sew Zoey #1)

Title: Ready to Wear (Sew Zoey #1)
Author: Chloe Taylor
Publisher: Simon Spotlight
Released: June 4, 2013

Thanks YABC for sending this book my way!

Summary:
Over the summer, fashion-loving Zoey Webber gets the best news ever: Her middle school is getting rid of uniforms! There’s just one problem. Zoey has sketchbooks full of fashion designs, but nothing to wear! So with a little help from her best friends Kate and Priti, she learns to make her own clothes. She even begins to post her fashion design sketches online in a blog. That’s how the Sew Zoey blog begins, and soon it becomes much more.

Zoey’s quirky style makes her a bit of a misfit at middle school, but her Sew Zoey blog quickly gains a dedicated following. Real fashion designers start to read it! Yet even as her blog takes off, Zoey still has to deal with homework, crushes, and P.E. class. And when the principal asks her to design a dress for the school’s fashion-show fund-raiser, Zoey can’t wait to start sewing! But what will happen when her two worlds collide?


Review:
The first book of the Sew Zoey series is everything that I like in a middle grade book. This book will most certainly appeal to young fashion lovers. Zoey is a creative young lady that gets the idea from her two best friends to start a blog of all of her fashion sketches. The blog inspires Zoey to actually start creating some of her very own designs. The process of her learning how to sew was funny and cute. 

My one complaint about this book is about Zoey's blog. When Zoey writes a post, her voice sounds older than she is. The dialogue she has with her friends and classmates seems much more true to age. I also know technology is a huge part of everyone's lives but I would hesitate to let my own middle-schooler have a blog and interact with followers that I didn't know. I'll be interested to see how and if this discussion comes up in other books of the series. 

Ready to Wear isn't just a book for aspiring designers. It is a book that focuses on friendship, family and hard work. I'm hoping that the rest of the series is just as delightful and sweet as this first one is
.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Review: Better Off Friends

Title: Better Off Friends
Author: Elizabeth Eulberg
Publisher: Point

Thanks to Jen at Jenuine Cupcakes for sending this to me!
Summary:

WHEN HARRY MET SALLY . . . for teens, from romantic comedy star Elizabeth Eulberg. For Macallan and Levi, it was friends at first sight. Everyone says guys and girls can't be just friends, but these two are. They hang out after school, share tons of inside jokes, their families are super close, and Levi even starts dating one of Macallan's friends. They are platonic and happy that way. Eventually they realize they're best friends -- which wouldn't be so bad if they didn't keep getting in each other's way. Guys won't ask Macallan out because they think she's with Levi, and Levi spends too much time joking around with Macallan, and maybe not enough time with his date. They can't help but wonder . . . are they more than friends or are they better off without making it even more complicated? From romantic comedy superstar Elizabeth Eulberg comes a fresh, fun examination of a question for the ages: Can guys and girls ever really be just friends? Or are they always one fight away from not speaking again -- and one kiss away from true love?

My Review:

I'm a huge fan of Elizabeth Eulberg. Every time I sit down to read one of her books, I know I won't be disappointed. 

What I loved: So many things. I really enjoyed the flip flop between Macallan and Levi. Their voices were distinct but it felt so natural to read both of their perspectives. They meet in seventh grade and the book follows their relationship over the next five years. The evolution of their friendship was fun to read. They had a natural, witty banter between them and it was fun to get lost in their conversations.

I LOVED how Eulberg was able to convey how complex their feelings for each other are. Everyone knows that relationships are not two-dimensional and there are many sides and feelings involved in each one we have. Because of the alternating POV's I felt like I was really inside of their heads and really understood how deep their feelings were. It made the story believable and and engaging.

What left me wanting more: Nothing. I love, love, loved it!

Final Verdict: If you are looking for a fun, sweet romance look no further.


Thursday, February 20, 2014

Review: Wedding Wings (Disney Fairies: The Never Girls Book 5)

Title: Wedding Wings
Author:  Kiki Thorpe
Publisher: Random House/Disney

Summary:

Gabby is going to be a flower girl in a wedding! But a Never Land fairy hidden in her basket causes big trouble on her big day. Tinker Bell and the Disney Fairies star in a magical early chapter book series for girls ages 6 to 9—The Never Girls!

My Review:

I've loved all the books in the Never Girls series. However, none have made me laugh out loud like Wedding Wings. 

Once again, the clumsies and the fairies meet up for another adventure, this time at a wedding. When a fairy explores the set-up for the wedding reception, she causes all kinds of funny fairy trouble. The girls and the fairies have to work together to save the wedding and the results are a sweet, magical event. 

If you have a young reader who is making the transition to chapter books, I encourage you to give this series a chance. The Never Girls series has a lot to offer a young reader and I can't wait to see what happens next!


Thanks to YABC for the chance to read and review this!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Review: Suddenly Royal

Title:  Suddenly Royal
Author: Nichole Chase

Released: November 2013

Summary:

Samantha Rousseau is used to getting her hands dirty. Working on a master's degree in wildlife biology while helping take care of her sick father, she has no time for celebrity gossip, designer clothes, or lazy vacations. So when a duchess from the small country of Lilaria invites her to dinner, Samantha assumes it's to discuss a donation for the program. The truth will change the course of her life in ways she never dreamed . . . As crown prince of Lilaria, Alex D'Lynsal has had his share of scandalous headlines, but the latest pictures in the press have sent him packing to America and forced him to swear off women. That is, until he meets Samantha Rousseau. She's stubborn, feisty, and incredibly sexy. Not to mention heiress to an estate in his country, which makes her everyone's front-page news. While Sam tries to navigate her new world of politics and wealth, she will also have to dodge her growing feelings for Alex. Giving in to them means more than just falling in love; it would mean accepting the weight of an entire country on her shoulders.

My Review:

Anyone that knows me and my reading tastes, knows that I LOVE books with this type of story line. I love a good "royal" themed novel. Suddenly Royal exceeded my expectations and ended up being a fun, endearing story.

What I liked: I really enjoyed Samantha's character. At first I wasn't sure I would be able to get behind her 100% but by the end I was rooting for her completely. Samantha goes through quite the emotional journey throughout this book and I think readers will appreciate her growth and self-discovery. I appreciated that this wasn't just a "random girl becomes a princess" story. There is a lot more to it. The relationships Samantha has are true and honest and we see more than just a fancy house and a title.

Of course, I couldn't talk about what I liked without mentioning Crown Prince Alex. I think he is what you picture when you think of a prince. Dare I say, he is a good mix of both Prince William and Prince Harry. I love the chemistry between Samantha and Alex. They have some great moments between the two of them.

What left me wanting more: Nothing. This book was the perfect blend of royalty and romance.

Final Verdict: This is a charming book. I definitely recommend it. However, there are some *steamy* moments. Definitely not for the younger readers.



Thanks YABC for the chance to read and review this!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Review: Bright Before Sunrise

Title: Bright Before Sunrise
Author: Tiffany Schmidt
Publisher:  Walker Childrens

Thanks, Jen for sending me this one!  I loved it!

Summary:

When Jonah is forced to move from Hamilton to Cross Pointe for the second half of his senior year, "miserable" doesn't even begin to cover it. He feels like the doggy-bag from his mother's first marriage and everything else about her new life—with a new husband, new home and a new baby—is an upgrade. The people at Cross Pointe High School are pretentious and privileged—and worst of all is Brighton Waterford, the embodiment of all things superficial and popular. Jonah’s girlfriend, Carly, is his last tie to what feels real... until she breaks up with him. For Brighton, every day is a gauntlet of demands and expectations. Since her father died, she’s relied on one coping method: smile big and pretend to be fine. It may have kept her family together, but she has no clue how to handle how she's really feeling. Today is the anniversary of his death and cracks are beginning to show. The last thing she needs is the new kid telling her how much he dislikes her for no reason she can understand. She's determined to change his mind, and when they're stuck together for the night, she finally gets her chance. Jonah hates her at 3p.m., but how will he feel at 3 a.m.? One night can change how you see the world. One night can change how you see yourself.

My Review:

I was initially intrigued by this book because of the fast-paced, one night can change everything hook. I was immediately drawn into this story line and could not read fast enough.

What I loved: Tiffany Schmidt takes readers on a one night, life-changing journey of Brighton and Jonah. The chapters alternate between them. Sometimes that can bog a story down and readers can get caught up in the alternating view points....but not in this case. The flip-flop between Brighton and Jonah highlights both of their insecurities and their very different ways of dealing with their issues. I loved reading how their thoughts and actions changed throughout the course of the night. 

This story happens in one night so don't expect an intense romance. Instead, enjoy Brighton and Jonah's journey of friendship, self-discovery, and a few smooches along the way. 

What left me wanting more: Nothing. I loved it all!

Final Verdict: You won't want to miss out on this one. Prepare to pick it up and read it in one night. 

**This review has also been posted on YABC**


Review: Be With Me

Title:  Be With Me (Wait For You #2)
Author: J. Lynn/Jennifer L. Armentrout
Publisher: William Morrow

Thanks to YABC for the chance to read and review


Summary:

From the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Wait for You

Do Teresa and Jase have a real shot at getting together or will life get in the way?

Teresa Hamilton is having a rough year—she's in love with her big brother's best friend, but he hasn't spoken to her since they shared a truly amazing, mind-blowing, life-changing kiss. Then she got out of a terrible relationship. Now an injury is threatening to end her dance career for good. It's time for plan B: college. And maybe she'll have a chance to convince Jase that what they have together is real.

Jase Winstead has a huge secret that he's not telling anyone—especially not his best friend's incredibly beautiful sister. Even though he and Teresa shared the hottest kiss of his life, he knows that his responsibilities must take priority. He certainly doesn't have time for a relationship. But it doesn't help that all he can think about is kissing the one girl who could ruin everything for him.

As they're thrown together more and more, Jase and Teresa can't keep denying their feelings for each other. But a familiar danger looms and tragedy strikes. As the campus recovers, the star-crossed couple must decide what they're willing to risk to be together and what they're willing to lose if they're not. . . .

My Review:

Dare I say that I love Jase more than Cam? Because I do. Yes, there it is, I said it. J. Lynn once again delivers a fantastic NA story that had me sitting down and reading until I finished. 

What I loved: One thing that I love most about this series is how readable it is. When I sit down with one of J. Lynn's books I know I need to clear my schedule for the next few hours because there is no way that I will be able to put the book down. Tess and Jase are both likable characters. They are fun, energetic and fiercely loyal to those they trust. They both have issues in their pasts that weigh on them and these lead to some pretty dramatic moments between the two of them. Along with a physical chemistry that is off the charts they have the ability to really see each other and understand what makes them the way they are. They really are a great match. And really ladies, when you're feeling down in the dumps a cute guy showing up with a cupcake can fix almost anything, right?

What left me wanting more: Nothing, except I could have used a few more chapters of Jase but maybe that's just me. 

Final thoughts: Fans of Wait for You will adore Tess and Jase's story. And don't worry, Cam and Avery make many appearances along the way.


This review has also been posted on YABC.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Review: From the Mist (Disney Fairies: The Never Girls Book 4)

Title: From the Mist
Released: July 23rd, 2013
Rating:  4 stars

Summary:  Kate, Mia, Lainey, and Gabby are special girls. They know how to travel to Never Land, and this time Kate is craving an adventure. She gets her wish when mysterious mist horses arrive in Pixie Hollow and one takes her on a journey through the magical island. Tinker Bell and the Disney Fairies star in a magical early chapter book series for girls ages 6-10--The Never Girls!

My Review:
The seven year old me would have been so excited to read this installment of the Never Girls Series. In this book, Kate takes an amazing journey through the island with a magical mist horse. I loved how her ride was written. I would want to ride on one of those horses too! Neverland seemed especially enchanting with the added bonus of the mist horses. 

This series continues to be one that I would recommend to young readers that are fond of the magic of Disney. You could pick this one up as a stand alone, although I would recommend reading all of the adventures the girls and the fairies have. I think your young reader will read one and want more!