Friday, May 22, 2015

Review: From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess by Meg Cabot

From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess (Book #1) by Meg Cabot

Published: May 19th 2015

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Page Count: Hardcover, 192 pages
Source: Purchased
Genre: Middle Grade
Find The Author: WebsiteTwitterFacebook
Buy This Book: AmazonBook Depository
Add It To Your GoodReads Shelf
Olivia Grace Clarisse Harrison has always known she was different. Brought up by her aunt's family in New Jersey, book-and-music-loving Olivia feels out of place in their life of high fashion and fancy cars. But she never could have imagined how out of place she really was until Mia Thermopolis, Princess of Genovia, pops into her school and announces that Olivia is her long-lost sister. Olivia is a princess. A dream come true, right? But princesses have problems too. In FROM THE NOTEBOOKS OF A MIDDLE SCHOOL PRINCESS a new middle grade series, readers will see Genovia, this time through the illustrated diaries of a spunky new heroine, 12 year old Olivia Grace, who happens to be the long lost half-sister of Princess Mia Thermopolis.
The original Princess Diaries series sold over 5 million copies in the US (15 million worldwide), spent 82 weeks on the USA Today bestsellers list, and inspired two beloved films.

Omg. Omg. The most adorable, cutest thing EVER! I loved, loved, loved The Princess Diaries when I was younger. Meg Cabot is one of my all-time favorite authors. It’s been a few years since Forever Princess was released. But, now, the Gods have answered and not only do we get a Mia-and-Michael-Wedding (The Royal Wedding coming to book shelves and reading devices soon!) but also a BRAND NEW LONG LOST RINALDI.
It’s official. Mia’s Dad gets around.
And the result is Olivia Grace.
This is something you just HAVE to read with the little girl (or boy!) in your life that loves Princesses. It’s a great way to introduce a whole new generation to the Princess Diaries origins. They can read about Olivia Grace and then when they get her big sister’s stories, and then when they are done (it might take them their entire rest of their childhood because there’s a ton of books in that series) they can catch up to the rest of us and read all about The Greatest Royal Wedding Ever Since Kate and Will. (If not greater).

Also - it’s illustrated by Meg Cabot. Who knew that Meg Cabot could illustrate? I did as I have been obsessively following her blog since I was like Olivia Grace’s age. Maybe a little older, lol. She does a beautiful job bringing Olivia Grace and her world to life. We even get to see Princess Mia sketched!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Freebie Week - 10 Books We Want to See on Screen

Top 10 Tuesday is an original feature and a regular meme hosted at The Broke and The Bookish!

Top 10 Books We Want to See on Screen

This week is a freebie week, meaning we get to choose what kinds of lists we want. We wanted to list books we'd love to see on a screen! What books would you love to see come to your screen?

1. The Summer Series by Jenny Han
2. Shade Series by Jeri Smith-Ready
3. The Mediator Series by Meg Cabot
4. The Wolves of Mercy Falls by Maggie Stiefvater
5. Soul Screamers Series by Rachel Vincent

1. Daughter of the Moon Series by Lynne Ewing
2. Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen
3. Julia's Chocolates by Cathy Lamb
4. Heather Wells Series by Meg Cabot
5. The Ordinary Princess by M.M. Kaye

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Review: Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen

Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen

Published: May 5th 2015

Publisher: Vikings Juvenile
Page Count: Hardcover, 359 pages
Source: Purchased
Genre: Young Adult
Find The Author: BlogTwitter, Facebook
Buy This Book: Amazon, Book Depository
Add It To Your GoodReads Shelf

Peyton, Sydney's charismatic older brother, has always been the star of the family, receiving the lion's share of their parents' attention and—lately—concern. When Peyton's increasingly reckless behavior culminates in an accident, a drunk driving conviction, and a jail sentence, Sydney is cast adrift, searching for her place in the family and the world. When everyone else is so worried about Peyton, is she the only one concerned about the victim of the accident?

Enter the Chathams, a warm, chaotic family who run a pizza parlor, play bluegrass on weekends, and pitch in to care for their mother, who has multiple sclerosis. Here Sydney experiences unquestioning acceptance. And here she meets Mac, gentle, watchful, and protective, who makes Sydney feel seen, really seen, for the first time.

The uber-popular Sarah Dessen explores her signature themes of family, self-discovery, and change in her twelfth novel, sure to delight her legions of fans.

Warning!: You’re going to want to eat all the pizzas, french fries, and lollipops. EVER.

There is a good reason Sarah Dessen has a crown in the Queendom in the land of YA authors. She creates awesome characters in real, heart-tugging situations.
Sydney is a girl who is lonely. She is (almost frightening so) over-looked by her parents in lieu of a brother who can’t seem to get his act together and whose actions resulted in a tragedy for someone innocent. For some writers this is a perfect recipe for a girl who gets interrupted, a character who starts to rebel, and to be honest - I wouldn’t have blamed Sydney at all if she started to act out. The thing is...Sydney’s a good kid. She tries her best in school, tries to follow the rules, and has the biggest heart ever.
Enter Chathams and Co. AKA her new best friend, her future boyfriend, and a variety of awesome cast members that make you want to jump into the book and eat a Yum-Yums while hiking in the woods while listening to someone talk an insane amount about the deeper meaning of music. They adopt her into their crazy, tight-knit, loud world. Sydney starts to come to life, starts to have the moments and experiences a girl her age should have, and it kind of completely rocks. Unfortunately, home life isn’t as good. Plus, there’s this family-type of friend of her brother’s that is...CREEPEHHHH! Her parents literally leave alone with him overnight. I wanted to get inside the book and shake things until they realized how shady this guy really was. Thankfully - her friends have a clue. And it’s through them and a angel of a friends-mom that she begins to come to terms with the conflict inside of her and the emotional consequences that her brother’s actions have had on her.
It’s not without it’s drama, it’s not without it’s up and downs, but the ending is good and looks to a brighter, healthier, pizza-filled future for Sydney and the people around her.

Top favorite things about this book :
  • Imagery. Pizza restaurant, the sound of bluegrass, the Chatham’s awesome house, the cold freezer-type of feeling of her home, Yum-Yums.
  • Mac Chatham. He’s adorable, kind, gentle, protective, and patient. I want him to clone himself and send said clone into our world so I can set him up with our teenage sister (or me, if that clone was a few years older! lol). Also, that guy has like some serious willpower to withstand the amount of junk-food his sister and friends consume. Seriously. The dude needs a medal.
  • Layla Chatham. She’s the best friend everyone wants to have come sweeping into their lives. She, from the very, very beginning, is on our girl’s side. Even though there’s some conflict between them - they’re the best friends that are going to be old and gray together. I just feel it.
  • David Ibarra. He didn’t get a lot of up and close time but he made an impact. A big one.

My rating? Four out of five. And a official recommendation for any mood, phase, time of life.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Review: Neverland by Shari Arnold

Neverland by Shari Arnold

Published: April 7th 2015

Publisher: CreateSpace
Page Count: Paperback, 358 pages
Source: Netgalley
Genre: Young Adult
Find The Author: BlogTwitter
Buy This Book: Amazon
Add It To Your GoodReads Shelf

It’s been four months since seventeen-year-old Livy Cloud lost her younger sister, but she isn’t quite ready to move on with her life — not even close. She’d rather spend her time at the Seattle Children’s hospital, reading to the patients and holding onto memories of the sister who was everything to her and more.
But when she meets the mysterious and illusive Meyer she is drawn into a world of adventure, a world where questions abound. 
Is she ready to live life without her sister? Or more importantly, is she brave enough to love again?
In this modern reimagining of Peter Pan, will Livy lose herself to Neverland or will she find what she’s been searching for?

This book is a total love letter to the fantastical and beloved world created by JM Barrie. With that being said…It is also a thoughtful, caring look into the world of grief, innocence, and the challenges of the whole coming of age process.

It was solidly written, possessed a creative premise, and delivered strongly. The main character isn’t one of those characters that you end up kind of hating - she’s a caring young woman going through a huge experience. A girl who just wants to do the right thing. The world and imagery that Arnold creates to express the world of JM Barrie is beautiful and enticing. At one point (mild spoiler alert!) I seriously wanted to dress up in a costume and go take over an abandoned carnival. The ending was satisfying and bittersweet and happy. A great recipe for a YA novel.

Yet, I struggled a little bit to write this review. I couldn’t quite pinpoint what was going on. Like, it has all the ingredients and I definitely, absolutely recommend it for a future read. However... I didn’t feel an emotional connection the way I normally do with characters like Livy Cloud. I feel the same way about my little sister as she did hers. And I would be crushed beyond belief if I ever even came close to losing my sister the way she did hers. It just...I think that there was so much discussion and actions and not enough time spent on emotions.

She was grieving and lost but the plotline was so focused on Meyer and the outside forces working around her that she never became a real, grieving person for me. She was going through some massive things and her parents..her friends...the little girl she was trying to all should have hit a more deeper emotional punch with the reader than it actually did. It was a good read, a good story, and a good tribute to JM Barrie. It just...wasn’t all that it could have been. Of course, I’m like one of those people that NEEDS to be able to connect with the main character. I wonder if it had been written from Meyer’s view point if there would be a connection problem.

Either way, I give it….four out of five stars. Why? Because as I said before - written solidly, creative premise, solid plotline, and a completely magical twist on a beloved and known fairy tale.
Go read it - Did you like it??? Did you relate to Livy Cloud??? Am I crazy or did you have the same difficulties? Please come back and discuss - I’ll keep an eye out for your comments! :)

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: All Time Favorite Authors

Top 10 Tuesday is an original feature and a regular meme hosted at The Broke and The Bookish!

Top 10 Favourite Authors

It is tough to narrow down to even 10 authors, let alone 5 since I’m sharing my Top 10 with my sister, but I’ll do it...

  1. Lucy Maud Montgomery
  2. Lisa See
  3. Philippa Gregory
  4. JK Rowling
  5. Paulo Coelho

I’m all distressed. Liza started before me and took one of my all time favorites - this is what happens when you’re not the early bird!

Here are favorites (not necessarily in order):

  1. Louisa May Alcott
  2. Meg Cabot
  3. Brian Jacques
  4. Sarah Addison Allen
  5. Sue Monk Kidd

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Happy Birthday Liza!

(No, she's not harassing me. Lol. It's very sweet - she's supporting me.)

Twenty six years ago (well, over twenty six years. Birthday was in January) I was born into a crazy, messed up life. It was about as close as a soap opera as you'll get in real life. I think the forces-that-be knew it and gave me my sister. Technically speaking, as I am younger, I was given to her. I've never really thought of it that way. She's always been a special gift. We've gone through about as much as sisters can go through. We were separated for some (language warning) dumb as fuck reasons for years growing up. When she was allowed to come back into my life was always stopped by the barrier of distance, crazy grown ups, and the fear that we'd be separated again. But, every conversation and every visit was worth it. She is without a doubt - my person. She always was and always has been.

We still don't live in the same state, lol. And right now we don't even live in the same continent! She has lived a beautiful, crazy international life. Given birth (in freaking SIBERIA) to two clever and lovely children. Married this Russian guy she met on the internet who keeps hanging around strumming on his guitar and knocking her up (lolol, I love him. As far as brother-in-laws go - he's the best). And me? I'm constantly aspiring to be a grown up. I'm entirely unsure if I'll actually get there...but you never know, miracles happen!

Through out it all - the good and the bad, the sad and the happy - Liza has been there as much as she could. Most sisters wouldn't have survived what we went through growing up. But, we were blessed with this...this thing. It feels like a cord - like gravity pulling towards the earth core. She's always encouraging, always smart, always there. She listens to all of me without judgement or expectations or drama. She doles out encouragement and pep talks like no other and makes me feel sane and understood when I share my crazy. Sometimes I think our brains are like synced on some brain wave level thing that scientists have yet to discover. She's full of the rare, precious kind of love : unconditional.

Happy Birthday, Liza. You're my person. And without you - my life is just too messed up. You have it all, all the love. You are stuck with me forever. FOREVER. *insert manic evil genius laugh here*. I love you. :)


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Inspiring Quotes from Books

Top 10 Tuesday is an original feature and a regular meme hosted at The Broke and The Bookish!



  1. “I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will, which I now exert to leave you.” Jane Eyre (Bronte). | Why: You’ll find this quote often on my tumblr, twitter, facebook, and so on. It’s one of my hands down favorite quotes of all time. Jane Eyre has been a favorite since I had to read it in High School. The strength of Jane’s moral character, her strength to be free and to be strong in doing so is expressed so clearly in this line. It definitely always resonated with me. I need to be the captain of my own ship, I got my eye on the horizon, and while the rocky waters might slow me down - I’ll get there on my own damn terms, thank you very much! This quote is just one of many things that fuels my journey onward.
  2. “If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden.” Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett). | Why: A poetically put twist on ‘Half glass full’ within the context of a classic, children’s book. One of my personal favorites. Miss Mary (not at all contrary!) was always a favorite of mine.
  3. “Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book.” A Fault In Our Stars (John Green) | Why: I am a book lover. And there have been SOOO many times that I’ve experienced that weird evangelical zeal. Hell, I experienced it with The Fault In Our Stars. You can’t sleep. You can’t think of anything else. It becomes the adult version of a blankie that you have to carry with you at all times. This book that has overtaken your heart, soul, and BRAINNNN is the best thing that has ever happened to you and you have to tell it on the mountain! Yea, this quote expresses that emotion.
  4. “She was made up of more, too. She was the books she read in the library. She was the flower in the brown bowl. Part of her life was made from the tree growing rankly in the yard. She was the bitter quarrels she had with her brother whom she loved dearly. She was Katie's secret, despairing weeping. She was the shame of her father stumbling home drunk. She was all of these things and of something more...It was what God or whatever is His equivalent puts into each soul that is given life - the one different thing such as that which makes no two fingerprints on the face of the earth alike.” A Tree Grows In Brooklyn (Betty Smith) | Why: We are all made up of different things. Our parts piece together from the ground and the sky and the stuff in between to make up who we are. Betty Smith eloquently and simply puts that when describing her main character. We are all the good and bad, the heritage in our blood, the future out of our sight. We are unique. And no one is a-like. And if you think different or you’re feeling down - come back, read that quote, and remember you’re you and being you is a good place to be.
  5. “
Loneliness is the human condition. Cultivate it. The way it tunnels into you allows your soul room to grow. Never expect to outgrow loneliness. Never hope to find people who will understand you, someone to fill that space. An intelligent, sensitive person is the exception, the very great exception. If you expect to find people who will understand you, you will grow murderous with disappointment. The best you'll ever do is to understand yourself, know what it is that you want, and not let the cattle stand in your way.” White Oleander (Janet Fitch) | Why: This quote is a bit dark but truthful. What always bring me strength and hope from this quote is the end. “The best you’ll ever do is to understand yourself, know what it is that you want, and not let the cattle stand in your way.”. The fact is, unless it’s the case of a soulmate, you aren’t going to find someone who understands you. The desire to find someone who understands you stems from the need to find someone to complete you. To be your other-half. And that’s a rare thing indeed (hence mostly-only true in the case of soulmates). So what do you do? Understand yourself, figure out what you want, and go for it. Just do yourself and the world around you a favor - be as positive as you can, lol, and don’t go killing your ex-douchebag-lovers!

  1. "Hello, babies. Welcome to Earth. It's hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It's round and wet and crowded. At the outside, babies, you've got about a hundred years here. There's only one rule that I know of, babies—God damn it, you've got to be kind." - Kurt Vonnegut (God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater) This definitely is self-explanatory, I think! :)
  2. “I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story. From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn't quite make out. I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn't make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.” - Sylvia Plath (The Bell Jar) This is a long one, but even though I'll be 30 in a few days, this resonates with me just as much as it did as a teen.
  3. “Waiting is painful. Forgetting is painful. But not knowing which to do is the worst kind of suffering.” Paulo Coelho (By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept) Right in the feels, right? Paulo Coelho is amazing at that. This is my favourite book of his.
  4. “It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.” J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone) Such a true and meaningful quote. I love this series and J.K. Rowling.
  5. “If you want to know what a man’s like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.” - J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire) Another HP quote. I probably could go on and on with these, because the book series was full of wisdom and memorable quotes.