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! :)