Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Fat Cat by Robin Brande

Cat is smart, sassy, and funny—but thin, she’s not. Until her class science project. That’s when she winds up doing an experiment—on herself. Before she knows it, Cat is living—and eating—like the hominids, our earliest human ancestors. True, no chips or TV is a bummer and no car is a pain, but healthful eating and walking everywhere do have their benefits.

As the pounds drop off, the guys pile on. All this new found male attention is enough to drive a girl crazy! If only she weren’t too busy hating Matt McKinney to notice. . . .

This funny and thoughtful novel explores how girls feel about their bodies, and the ways they can best take care of their most precious resource: themselves.

Interesting, quick, educational read. 
Cat is overweight and doesn't like it but doesn't feel a need to change it (probably goes back to being insulted by her friend, Matt).  But she does change thanks to a science fair project, which is really intense. She chooses to eat healthy, no processed food, sugar, etc and the pounds start falling off. She also turns off electronics, walks and doesn't use the phone. Except for emergencies. 
Cat is sassy and smart. Cat and her BFF are great characters and their growth are shown from beginning to end. I just wish Cat would be a tad bit nicer to Matt, the guy who hurt her feelings four years ago. 

What I liked:
Cat's BFF (she's awesome!) & her boyfriend
Wanting to change my bad eating habits

What I disliked:
How long Cat held a grudge. It got a little old.

Rating: PG 15
L: a little
V: No
S: kissing, making out


Friday, January 27, 2012

We'll Always Have Summer by Jenny Han

It's been two years since Conrad told Belly to go with Jeremiah. She and Jeremiah have been inseparable ever since, even attending the same college-- only, their relationship hasn't exactly been the happily ever after Belly had hoped it would be. And when Jeremiah makes the worst mistake a boy can make, Belly is forced to question what she thought was true love. Does she really have a future with Jeremiah? Has she ever gotten over Conrad? It's time for Belly to decide, once and for all, who has her heart forever.

First line:
"On Wednesday nights when I was little, my mom and I would watch old musicals."

The last book of the Summer series. Phew!
The last book to finally find out who Belly chooses.
Even though I knew who she would choose because of the alternate chapters of one of the brothers, Jenny Han made it hard for the reader to decide who would be the right one.
Jere is cute and funny and sunshine.
Conrad is brooding and dark and deep.
But one of the them loves her enough to give her up to make her happy.
When  Jere and Belly announce they are getting married, everyone is against it, mostly because they are too young. The sad part is everyone thinks the couple is getting married because Belly's pregnant. Belly's still a virgin. A few people even asked her why she has to get married? Why not just live together first? She's conflicted about that idea, but mostly because of the pressure.
Jenny also did well portraying the couple as immature and young. They drove me nuts as they tried to plan the wedding and get an apartment because they are so young. Jere doesn't have a job; he dad pays for everything. Belly has a waitress job during the summer. Seriously, how are these two going to survive? Jere wants the apartment closest to campus so he can be near his frat brothers. Belly wants one not filled with parties.
The angst Belly goes through when she sees Conrad again. It's heart wrenching. I wanted her to just decide already. She wanted to do what was right. She loves both brothers. Only one will really take care of her.

Rating: PG 15
V: Someone gets punched
L: Yes. "F" bombs
S: No. Kissing.

What I liked:
The tension
Belly's a virgin throughout the series
A satisfying ending with a little heartbreak

What I didn't like:
"F" bombs. They take me out of any story


25% test (p. 73):
"So it wasn't such a big deal after all, my not living with them. Life goes on, I guessed. I felt a little wistful, imagining what it would be like if I was still the fourth. Shay was really good at doing hair, and Lynn loved to bake cupcakes. It would be fun.
Anika sat down on her bed. "I'll be fine. I'm just...surprised."
"Me too."
When she didn't say anything else, I asked, "Do you think I'm making a huge mistake?"
In her thoughtful way, she asked, "Does it matter what I think?"
"It's not for me to judge, Iz."
"But you're my friend. I respect your opinion. I don't want you to think badly of me."
"You care too much about what other people think." she said it with sureness but also tenderness.
If anyone else had said it--my mother, Taylor, even Jere--I would have bristled. But not with Anika. With her, I couldn't really mind. In a way it was flattering to have her see me so clearly and still like me. Friendship in college was different that way. You spend all this time with people, sometimes every day, every meal. There was no hiding who you were in front of your friends. You were just naked. Especially in front of someone like Anika, who was so frank and so open and incisive and said..."

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

It's Not Summer Without You by Jenny Han

Can summer be truly summer without Cousins Beach?
It used to be that Belly counted the days until summer, until she was back at Cousins Beach with Conrad and Jeremiah. But not this year. Not after Susannah got sick again and Conrad stopped caring. Everything that was right and good has fallen apart, leaving Belly wishing summer would never come.
But when Jeremiah calls saying Conrad has disappeared, Belly knows what she must do to make things right again. And it can only happen back at the beach house, the three of them together, the way things used to be. If this summer really and truly is the last summer, it should end the way it started--at Cousins Beach.

First line:
"It was a hot summer in Cousins."

It's hot in Cousins in more ways than just summer. Cousins is the beach house where Belly and her mom and brother visit friends. Only this time, Susannah is dying. And Conrad told Belly he doesn't love her. And Jeremiah does. It's a brotherly love triangle.
It's a rough summer for Belly. She's use to going to the Cousins beach house every year. This year Susannah is gone, Conrad hasn't called her back and Taylor, the BFF, is pushing Belly to get over Conrad by making out with another guy, and Belly's own mom is distant.
Jeremiah, Conrad's brother, called Belly in a panic and asked if she could help him find Conrad who's disappeared from college.
This is the way most of them end up at Cousins again. It's not as pleasant as years past. It's awkward with Conrad and Belly since he dumped her/she yelled at him. And Jeremiah wants a chance with Belly if Conrad's over her.
All the characters have matured a little since the last summer. I wished Belly would get over her lifelong crush of Conrad. He doesn't treat her well at all.

Ms. Han brings this summer romance story to life with her details, internal dialogue, characters and writing.

What I liked:
Great summer read

What I didn't like:
Taylor's attitude
Belly's obsession with Conrad

Rating: PG13
V: No
L: Yes: swearing + couple of "F" bombs
S: Kissing, making out

25% test (.69):
"...loved him more than anything. Because, he was everything. And I hated that, too.
"Connie's having a hard time with all of this. It's a lot." She paused and pushed my hair out of my face, her hand lingering on my forehead as if I had a fever. As if I was the one who was sick, in need of comfort. "Don't let him push you away. He needs you. He loves you, you know."
I shook my head. "No, he doesn't." in my head, I added, The only person he loves is himself. And you.
She acted like she hadn't heard me. "Do you love him?"
When I didn't answer, she nodded as if I had. "Will you do something for me?"
Slowly, I nodded.
"Look after him for me. Will you do that?"
"You won't need me to look after him, Susannah, you'll be here to do it," I said, and I tried not to sound desperate, but it didn't matter.
Susannah smiled and said, "You're my girl, Belly."
After lunch, Susannah took a nap. She didn't wake up until late afternoon, and when she did, she was irritable and disorientated. She snapped at my mother once, which terrified me. Susannah never snapped at anybody. Nona tried to put her to bed, and at first Susannah refused, but then she gave in. On the way to her bedroom, she gave me a little halfhearted wink.
Jeremiah came home around dinnertime. I was relieved..."

Friday, January 20, 2012

The Girl Who was on Fire

Katniss Everdeen’s adventures may have come to an end, but her story continues to blaze in the hearts of millions worldwide.
In The Girl Who Was on Fire, thirteen YA authors take you back to Panem with moving, dark, and funny pieces on Katniss, the Games, Gale and Peeta, reality TV, survival, and more. From the trilogy's darker themes of violence and social control to fashion and weaponry, the collection's exploration of the Hunger Games reveals exactly how rich, and how perilous, protagonist Katniss’ world really is.
• How does the way the Games affect the brain explain Haymitch’s drinking, Annie’s distraction, and Wiress’ speech problems?
• What does the rebellion have in common with the War on Terror?
• Why isn’t the answer to “Peeta or Gale?” as interesting as the question itself?
• What should Panem have learned from the fates of other hedonistic societies throughout history and what can we?

The Girl Who Was On Fire covers all three books in the Hunger Games trilogy.

Great eassys from today's popular authors. Each with a unique view and great insights on the Hunger Games trilogy. I finished this book with more respect for Suzanne Collins than before. Worth reading if you loved the Hunger Games books!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Why Do I Write Reviews?

There are a few answers to that question:

I read over a 100 books a year and reviews were taking over my writing blog
Friends were asking for good books to read (and my puny brain couldn't remember all the ones I really liked or the reviews)
Finally: It's a great way to practice my writing. On days I can't sit and write in my story, I can sit and write a review.

My blog, The Book Addict, is a place I post reviews for all the books I read. I read about 100 books a year. My reviews have evolved over the few years this blog has been up and running. I found the best way to improve my blog and reviews was to just. keep. writing.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Diary of an Anorexic Girl by Morgan Menzie

Morgan Menzie takes readers through a harrowing but ultimately hopeful and inspiring account of her eating disorder. Her amazing story is told through the journals she kept during her daily struggle with this addiction and disease. Her triumphs and tragedies all unfold together in this beautiful story of God's grace.
Features include: daily eating schedule, journal entries, prayers to God, poems, and what she wished she knew at the time. It's the true story of victory over a disease that is killing America's youth.

Easy, quick read with a teen girl voice written in journal entries.
Blythe is a typical teen girl who wants the attention of the cute boy, fit in and enjoy high school. Unfortunately, she catches on to the notion that if she's skinnier all her dreams will come true. This scary idea takes her down a path of self-destruction, manipulation and deception. All along she is asking God for help.
I feel for Blythe. I don't understand her need to starve herself or exercise for so long. But I did come to understand aneroxics more. At the end of the book are tips such as what NOT to say to someone you suspect has an eating disorder. Very enlightening.

Rating: PG
V: no
S: no
L: no


25% test (p. 43):
"Oh well, we all make sacrifices.
School starts back up in a few days, and I'll be back tot he old routine. Christmas disrupted my whole regimen. It's a miracle I was able to keep the weight down. i've never been so ready to get out from under the family's watchful eye in my life!"

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Queen of Common Cents by Michelle Snow

From how to extend the life of your lipstick to how to save money by making your own yogurt, best selling food storage author Michelle Snow can help you start saving your time and money today! With 1001 tips and facts for ever aspect of your life, you'll wonder how you managed your home without them before. Enjoy this must have book and start saving today!

I'm happy to be part of this book tour!

The title says it all! And it's not kidding! There are 1001 Tips in this book. Also, Ms. Snow adds recipes, quick mixes, stories and facts.

Here are a few random tips:
  • Heavy cream that has been whipped and dolloped onto wax paper and frozen freezes well. Just allow 10-15 minutes to defrost.
  • Ever wonder how many shrimp are in the 1 pound package you bought at the market? Well, here's hos to read a shrimp bag: Cunt 21/25 means there will be between 21 and 25 shrimp in the bag.
  • Make gifts from plant cuttings or seeds from your garden.
This is a good book to keep handy.

Check out Michelle's book website here and her author website here.

Here is a calendar of the book tour.

Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday


26 27  28 29 30 31

Good Family Reads/ Keeping Up with the LDS Bookstores/
1 2 3 4 5 6 7

Bee’s Knees Reviews/ Taffy’s Candy/ Why not? Because I said So/
8 9 10

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai

No one would believe me but at times I would choose wartime in Saigon over peacetime in Alabama.

For all the ten years of her life, Hà has only known Saigon: the thrills of its markets, the joy of its traditions, the warmth of her friends close by . . . and the beauty of her very own papaya tree.
But now the Vietnam War has reached her home. Hà and her family are forced to flee as Saigon falls, and they board a ship headed toward hope. In America, Hà discovers the foreign world of Alabama: the coldness of its strangers, the dullness of its food, the strange shape of its landscape . . . and the strength of her very own family.
This is the moving story of one girl's year of change, dreams, grief, and healing as she journeys from one country to another, one life to the next. 

First line:
1975: Year of the Cat
Today is Tet,
the first day
of the lunar calendar.

A history lesson of Saigon's people written in free verse and set in two countries; Vietnam and America.
A lesson of patience, love, family, endurance, bullying, sacrifice and generosity.
Ha is a young girl living in Saigon on the verge of war. Her family slips on a navy ship defecting from Vietnam and sails to a land of promise, America. The voyage is hard. Trying to fit into an all white school is even harder. But the strength of her family and friendship in unusual places guides and helps her.
I read this easily in one day. The images of a young girl relearning a whole new life stuck with me throughout the next few days.
Worth reading out loud to children/students to give them a good perspective of a person of a different nationality and their struggles.

Rating: PG
V: Bullying
L: No
S:  No


25% test (p. 65):

"In the Dark
Uncle Son visits
and whispers to Mother.
We follow Mother
who follows Uncle Son
who leads his family
up to the deck
and off the ship.
It has been said
the ship next door
has a better engine,
more water,
endless fuel,
countless salty eggs.
Uncle Son lingers
without getting on
the new ship;
so do we.
Hordes pour by us,
beyond us."