Friday, August 21, 2015

Friday Cuteness: Or, Fun Things in My Inbox (6)

This is a new series on my blog of random fun things, usually book-related, that are emailed to me, and I think you guys would like to hear about. Got something you want to share? Hit my contact button and send it to me!

So have you guys heard about the Goosebumps movie? Check out the trailer!

I think this is a really awesome premise, probably the coolest way of making a respectful Goosebumps movie possible. The trailer made me laugh, and it's kind of cool seeing all the things I recognized. I'm excited - are you guys?

Peace and cookies,

Monday, August 17, 2015

YA Review: Pieces of Me

Pieces of Me by Amber Kizer

Published: February 11th, 2014 by Delacorte
Genre: Mostly contemporary YA, with a little bit of a paranormal theme
Binding: ARC
Page Count: Mine is 208 plus a bunch of extras, and goodreads says the finished copy is 304.
Part of a series? No, standalone.
Got via: It was sent to me to review, right around when it was about to come out, and yeah, I suck. At least I only suck worth a year instead of several years? I can't believe a year and change has passed already. At least I can blame school this time!
Amazon / Book Depository / Indiebound

Summary (from goodreads): When high school oddball and introvert Jessica Chai is killed in a car accident, her parents decide that Jessica would have wanted her organs donated to those who so desperately need these gifts of life. But Jessica is angry about dying and being dismembered.

Taking the idea of cell memory to the next level, not only do the recipients get pieces of Jessica, but gets pieces of their memories and lives moving forward—she knows what they know and keeps tabs on their growth, recovery, and development. This begins her journey to learn her purpose as she begins to grasp that her ties to these teenagers goes beyond random weirdness. It's through their lives that Jessica learns about herself, as she watches the lives she literally touched continue to interlock.

Review: It is really, really hard to talk about books that emotionally wallop you. Especially in a way that's anyway coherant. If you want me to talk about my broken feels and sobs, then I can do that, but actually wording may take me a minute. As you can tell by the fact that I just used "word" as a verb.

I actually started this one, read about the first chapter, and put it down because I wasn't in the right place emotionally to read this one. I was fine, but I knew after reading that first chapter that I needed a little more sleep and a little less emotional rawness to finish the book. I will say this - the first two or three chapters are almost the heaviest of book. There's a lot that happens in those chapters that is particularly impactful. Most of the rest of the book explores the relationship between the five main characters and those around them, their growth and journeys.

Plot Talk: Jessica is ambushed at school by girls at her school who cut off her hair in the hall without her consent. They give her an invitation to a Halloween party as payoff, essentially, and on the way to the party, Jessica is killed in a car crash. Her organs are donated to several people, but we see four in particular. Samuel, who recieves Jessica's kidneys and pancreas, Vivian, who has cystic fibrosis and is given her heart and lungs, Lief, who gets a tissue and cartilege and stuff to repair a nearly destroyed knee, and Misty, who is the recipient of Jessica's liver.

Over the book, they connect with each other, and Jessica watches over all of them, moving from one to another, but unable to affect them. And that's kind of the deal - I don't want to spoil anything for you.

Characters: Jessica's initial chapters while she's alive are stifling. The haircut - which I really appreciate that it's treated like the assault that it is - is shocking, and uncomfortable. Her interactions with her mother, especially, are heavy, like they press down on you as you read them. Those chapters are almost exhausting. Funnily enough, after she dies, things get somewhat lighter. Jessica, while dealing with some of her own "hey, I'm dead" issues, is more of a passive observer to the others. The connection of her "pieces" in them allows her to understand what they're thinking and feeling, which makes her a very interesting narrator, without limiting what she should be able to know. Once you get used to that premise, it works well.

There were other donations made from Jessica's body, but we only follow the four I mentioned. All are linked to Jessica in some way, and I like finding out the different ways. Each is unique in their journey, what they need to learn and experience, and also their thoughts on their transplants. I really enjoyed seeing how they connected, almost like a spiderweb of connections.

Due to having five main characters, the cast is fairly large, but even the smaller side characters were good. They were vibrant, and well-rounded, despite many of them not having a ton of "screen"time. The writing is very strong when it comes to that aspect, to make so many characters be so unique in a book that is not that long, comparatively. The parents, especially, and their relationships with their children, each had different issues and nuances. It's very strong characterization and character writing.

PG-13 stuff: I like how on ARCs they sometimes put the recommended age on it. This one says 12 and up, and frankly I think that'd be fine. I didn't notice much for language, really, or drinking, or sex, or any of those things that people get worked up about. The subject matter of death is obviously emotionally heavy, so that's what you need to think about, but I think a mature reader of that age range would be fine.

Cons, complaints, bad stuff, etc.: I didn't like the bashing of popular, conventionally pretty girls. You know, thin, blonde, popular, pretty, fashionable. Girls like that obviously do have more privilege than many other people, but living up to social expectations isn't easy, and there is often a tremendous amount of pressure on them. In this society, it's not easy to be a girl in any shape or form, and I really dislike when books do the "you're not like other girls" thing. Girls don't deserve this treatment, no matter how popular they are.

Cover comments: I like it. It's very pretty. I LOVE the lettering. The kind of broken, splotchiness of it is really cool. But, and maybe this is because I've been reading a lot of 80s/90s books which often have covers that are very representative of something that happens in the book, but it kind of bothers me that Jessica is shown barely mid-back length hair, when either she should have hair that's very, very long, down around her hips, or pixie-cut. But it is a very pretty cover, if a little bland, and not exactly original.

Conclusion: While I had really busy year, I'm kind of sad I put this off for so long. I am glad that I was able to give it the time it deserved, and to be in the right place emotionally to read it. The characters were wonderful, I liked the premise, and the ending made me all sniffly. I really enjoyed this one, and I'm glad I finally got around to reading it. Highly recommend this one, and I give it four out of five roses.

Other notes:

- I watched Dead Like Me recently and some of this kind of reminded me of that. Probably just because I did just watch it. But if you're a fan of that, or If I Stay, or either of them, you might enjoy this.

That's about it, I think. Have you guys read this one? What did you think?

Peace and cookies,

Friday, August 7, 2015

Friday Cuteness: Or, Fun Things in My Inbox (5)

This is a new series on my blog of random fun things, usually book-related, that are emailed to me, and I think you guys would like to hear about. Got something you want to share? Hit my contact button and send it to me!

Have you guys seen this?

I know they're saying it's a fanmade video, and not an official teaser for the upcoming Netflix adaptation of A Series of Unfortunate Events, but it's pretty incredible either way! I'm also just a teensy bit skeptical about that, just because of the nature of the series, but we'll see!

(There's, like, creepy crawlies and leeches and stuff in this, just fyi.)

What's your theory? Are you excited about the Netflix show?

Peace and cookies,

Monday, August 3, 2015

YA Review: Glamour

Glamour by Andrea Janes

Published: March 12th, 2014
Genre: Paranormal YA
Binding: Paperback
Page Count: 209 plus a good handful of extras like an interview and other books
Part of a series? I do not believe so.
Got via: For review back in 2014, and yes, I am terrible. I'm trying to catch up! This is my second review book and I'm only like a week into vacation! *hides in shame as to-review pile threatens her*
Amazon / Book Depository / And here's the two website links, for the physical version and the ebook version.

Summary (from goodreads): Townie. That's what eighteen-year-old Christina Sundy is. All year round she lives in a one-stoplight town on Cape Cod, and when summer comes, she spends her days scooping ice cream for the rich tourists she hates. So when one of them takes a job in the ice cream shop alongside her, she's pissed. Why does a blonde and perky Harvard-bound rich girl like Reese Manning want to scoop ice cream anyway?

Something else weird is happening to Christina: tiny blue sparks seem to be shooting off her fingers. It isn't long before she realizes the truth about herself — she's actually a powerful hereditary witch. But her newfound powers are too intense for her to handle and, in a moment of rage, she accidentally zaps Reese into another dimension.

So that no one will notice that the rich girl has disappeared, Christina casts a disguising spell, or "glamour," and lives Reese's life while she tries to find a retrieval spell. But as the retrieval spell proves harder than anticipated, and as she goes about living Reese's life without anyone on the outside noticing the switch, Christina realizes that there's nothing to stop her from making the glamour permanent... except, of course, her fellow witches, a 16th century demon, and, just maybe, her own conscience.

Review: I have mixed feelings about this one. Overall, I enjoyed it, and I think it's an interesting little book, but there were things that bothered me, and things I thought could have been done better. I liked the witchcraft angle, because that's something I don't read very much of, and I enjoyed the strong, varied cast of women in the book. However, I think the whole thing probably could have used another round of editing, both to make the voice stronger and to catch a few of the typos/grammar errors I noticed. The bad doesn't cancel out the good, but this would not be a fair review if I did not mention the bad.

So let's keep going!

Plot Talk: The plot is basically what the summary says. Girl gets magic, girl accidentally zaps other girl into oblivion, girl has to take over her life to keep her parents from finding out, girl battles with the temptation to keep her "easier" life, etc. It's a solid plot. Not so minimal so as to be boring, but not so convoluted as to be too complicated for what is a relatively slim book.

Characters: Our main character is Christina, a stubborn, slightly sullen teen girl who works in an ice cream shop in the summer. One day she realizes she has a natural talent for witchcraft, when strange things start happening because of her. While I generally like "unlikeable" characters, she does start out somewhat whiny. Frankly, that's a little annoying. She has a very narrow world view, and it's only over the course of the book that her viewpoint broadens, and she begins to think a little more about others. One of the things Christina needs to learn in the book is actually to stop whining, so I did really enjoy her growth of as a character. Because of how she grows and learns throughout the book, I don't have that much of a problem with the whininess at the beginning... once I got past it.

One of my favourite parts of this was how many women there are. Most of the main characters are women, and the most important characters are. They are all different and strong and weak in different ways, and unique, and their different relationships are very important throughout the book. The book thrives on female relationships, and that was lovely.

PG-13 stuff: There's a fair amount of language, and some more mature subject matter, but nothing I'd freak out about.

Cons, complaints, bad stuff, etc.: Again, another round of strong editing probably would have been good. While there were some typos/grammar errors, I also found the voice a little unpolished towards the beginning, almost with too much backstory and "telling". I also was not entirely fond of the POV switching. I felt like those were some of the weaker scenes, and they fit strangely with Christina's narration, which was the majority.

One thing I really didn't like was one of Christina's revenge pranks with her magic. She makes a girl she works with who's mean to her fat. She makes her "so fat she wasn't even wearing normal clothes". That's just... that's not funny. Being fat is not a punishment, and gaining weight is not something to be ridiculed. In a book that is so full of wonderful women, turning around and seeing your body used as a joke like that isn't exactly pleasant.

Cover comments: I really like the cover. I think it's really arty and pretty. I would actually like the cover art as a print, please, because it's gorgeous.

Conclusion: All in all, I did enjoy this one. I liked the witchcraft theme, I liked the cast of women, I liked a lot of the themes of the book. I also liked the voice once we got into the swing of things. There were moments that made me ugly-snort, and some very emotionally true moments. While I really didn't like the fat-shaming, and did have other issues, they weren't enough to completely throw me off the book. Keep the fat-shaming, because dude, not cool, but otherwise, I would recommend this. It loses points for the fat-shaming and editing issues, but Glamour gets three roses out of five from me.

Other notes:

- Apparently "real" witches don't like Wiccans? What'd Wiccans ever do to you?? :P Let people have their religion and chill.

- Seriously, this town doesn't have one place where plus sized clothes are sold? What'd fat people ever do to you??

Peace and cookies,

Monday, July 13, 2015

MG Review: Rise of the Darklings

So my province is kind of on fire, and we're advised not to really go outside, so that kind of sucks for actually Doing Things... but I'm getting a lot of reading and reviewing done!

Rise of the Darklings by Paul Crilley

Published: September 28th, 2010 by EgmontUSA
Genre: MG Fantasy
Binding: Hardcover
Page Count: 333 plus the about the author and acknowledgements
Part of a series? Yes, it's book one of The Invisible Order series, with a second book published in 2011.
Got via: I got it for review ages and ages ago because I'm a terrible person, and nobody cares about me anymore, but I feel bad leaving books sent to me unreviewed, especially when I like them, so here we are.
Amazon / Book Depository / Indiebound

Summary (from goodreads): Emily Snow is twelve years old, supporting herself and her younger brother on the streets of Victorian England by selling watercress. One early winter morning on her way to buy supplies, she encounters a piskie--a small but very sarcastic fey creature that has been cornered by a group of the Black Sidhe, piskies from an opposing clan. She rescues him and unknowingly becomes involved in a war between the Seelie and the Unseelie, two opposing factions of fairies that have been battling each other throughout the long centuries of human history, with London--and England itself--as the ultimate prize.

When the Invisible Order--a centuries-old secret society of humans that has protected mankind from the fey's interference--gets involved, things really start to get complicated.

Now she is the central figure in this ancient war that could permanently change Earth. With no one to trust, Emily must rely on her own instincts and guile to make the right choices that could save her family and all of mankind.

Review: Man, I would have loved this as a kid. A practical but spirited heroine who turns out to be incredibly important to the world, London, fairie type creatures. This so totally would have been ten year old me's jam. As an adult, I still really enjoyed it. I loved how much mythology is used, how much I recognized, and I did really like Emily. While I wasn't absolutely in love with this one, I think it would be a great rainy day read for kids.

Plot Talk: Emily's parents have disappeared, so she's left to take care of herself and her younger brother. One morning, she stumbles across a fight between mysterious creatures, piskies, and is drawn into their world. Basically, what the summary says much better than me. The pacing was fine, and I had no real problems with the plot itself.

Characters: Emily's a good character. She's like the female equivalent of the male "Chosen One" that can be very prevalent in fantasy, including middle grade fantasy. She's practical but feisty, stubborn, caring, protective, and I really enjoyed reading about her. I kind of loved the practical side of her personality, because it's a lovely strength to showcase that isn't strictly physical. Her relationship with her brother was nice, too, although he doesn't get much time for characterization.

I did enjoy the other characters. The villains are good villains, and I never knew exactly who to trust. I also liked her friend Jack, who's a thief, and I know I would have liked him as a kid, too. I do wish there had been more women, though, especially since almost every female character was a villain. Just, more women, please!

PG-13 stuff: You're pretty much good here. Maybe some implied violence that would make some sensitive readers uncomfortable, but pretty much nothing graphic.

Cons, complaints, bad stuff, etc.: Again, I wish there had been more women, particularly positive ones. I also didn't completely connect with the writing of this one all the time. There was nothing particularly wrong with it, but it just didn't draw me in as much as I would have liked.

Cover comments: I quite like the cover. It's a really good representation of what happens in the book, and it fits the book well. I think it's "neutral" enough to be attractive to many young readers, and the lettering is also really neat. Maybe they could have thrown the title onto the front of the book instead of just the spine, but otherwise we're cool.

Conclusion: While it didn't rock my world, this was a solid read, and I wouldn't really have any hesitation recommending it to kids. I absolutely adored the wonderful mythology elements, there's a lot of action and adventure that would appeal to a wide audience, and I really liked Emily. I am also interested in the sequel, and would have seen if I could order it from the library, except for my library card expired on me, and it's Canada Day, so I can't renew it until tomorrow. All in all, I give it three and a half roses.

Peace and cookies,

Friday, July 10, 2015

Friday Cuteness: Or, Fun Things in My Inbox (4)

This is a new series on my blog of random fun things, usually book-related, that are emailed to me, and I think you guys would like to hear about. Got something you want to share? Hit my contact button and send it to me!

Random House sent me an email recently that had some really cool stuff in it. First of all, let's talk about the book:

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

To be released October 20th, 2015

(Summary from goodreads, but also it's the same one in the press release they sent me.)

This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do.

This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet's AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it's clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she'd never speak to again.

Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.

Amazon / IndieBound / Book Depository

This sounds really cool, and the website has several neat features like videos and character profiles, with new things being released each month around the 20th.

I particularly like this video.

What do you guys think? Is this one you're be interested in?

Peace and cookies,

Monday, July 6, 2015

Things I've Read Recently (19): Summer Books

If you're new around here, Things I've Read Recently is a series of posts I do that are basically mini-reviews of books that I either forgot to review, didn't have enough to say for a full review, or just didn't want to do a full post about for whatever reason. Sometimes they're themed, because that's fun.

A World Away by Nancy Grossman

Published: July 17th, 2012 by Disney Hyperion, but the paperback I have came out about a year later.
Genre: Contemporary YA
Binding: Paperback (obviously)
Page Count: 394 + acknowledgements
Part of a series? No.
Got via: The library.
Amazon / Book Depository / Indiebound

Summary (from goodreads): Sixteen-year-old Eliza Miller has never made a phone call, never tried on a pair of jeans, never sat in a darkened theater waiting for a movie to start. She's never even talked to someone her age who isn't Amish, like her.

When she leaves her close-knit family to spend the summer as a nanny in suburban Chicago, a part of her can't wait to leave behind everything she knows. She can't imagine the secrets she will uncover, the friends she will make, the surprises and temptations of a way of life so different from her own.

Every minute Eliza spends with her new friend Josh feels as good as listening to music for the first time, and she wonders whether there might be a place for her in his world. But as summer wanes, she misses the people she has left behind, and the Plain life she once took for granted. Eliza will have to decide for herself where she belongs. Whichever choice she makes, she knows she will lose someone she loves.

Thoughts: My first "summer" book and it's got a cover that's rainy and gloomy. SO SUMMERY. I borrowed this one as another possibility for my English project, but honestly, the cover made me unsure if it would work more than anything. I think the hardcover cover works so much better for the book. The paperback cover is pretty, yes, but it made me wonder whether it'd be a serious book, or a "Amish Girls Gone Wild" type book - whether it'd be respectful to the subject matter, basically.

I enjoyed this, and I liked the relationship Eliza has with the women in her life (that's kind of a theme with me, you may notice), but sometimes these books can feel almost voyeuristic, in a way. It's obviously an interesting subject matter, but it's just... kind of one of those moral questions I'm not sure about, you know? Also, I wasn't a big fan of any of the romances in it, there was a serious lack of nannying, and the drinking game mentioned was the most boring drinking game ever. "Let's sit around counting and watching each other get drunk." Seriously, why not just drink if you're gonna drink?

All in all, this was fine, not amazing, and I'm left with questions it can't answer. Better coming-of-age and family story than a romance, though.

A Summer in Paris by Cynthia Baxter writing as Cynthia Blair

Published: Originally in 1992 by Fawcet Juniper, but there was a Kindle copy released in 2013, and I'm using the cover of that because it's prettier.
Genre: Contemporary YA
Binding: Paperback
Page Count: 214 plus about the author, a summary of another book, and that "order more books through the mail" page books used to have.
Part of a series? Nope.
Got via: Bought in a library sale post-weeding.
Amazon for the Kindle version, and you can find copies on Abebooks.

Summary (from goodreads): Nina Shaw loves everything French and always has. From cooking to irregular verbs, she can't get enough. For as long as she can remember, she has dreamed of going to Paris, and this summer, if she can convince her reluctant parents, she will, taking with her a secret that she has been keeping for years....

Kristy Conner thinks she can't compare to her little sister's acting career or her older sister's beauty. She might as well go to Paris, since her parents don't pay attention to her anyway. Maybe some Paris glamour will rub off on her....

Jennifer Johnson has absolutely no interest in anything remotely connected with Paris. She wants to spend her last summer before college hanging out with her boyfriend. But her parents think travel will broaden her interests, so she has no choice but to spend eight boring weeks with a dull old couple - unless she can open her eyes and her heart....

Although none of them knew it, Nina, Kristy, and Jennifer were about to embark on an exciting adventure they would always remember.

Thoughts: I may be having a situation in the future where it may be better to have less stuff than I currently do, along with my house just needing a generous round of summer cleaning. One area where I should do some weeding is definitely books, but I don't really like getting rid of books without having read them, regardless of what kind of book they are. So, I've been reading a lot of really random books, like this one.

This book is only a few months older than me, and honestly I'm hoping that I've aged better than this. It is quite dated, especially when it comes to the language, and how the characters speak. The writing style especially is very different from what we're used to today, and I actually had a hard time connecting to it. It's not a very long book, but it took me a while longer to read than I'd expect.

However, it was pretty cute. At the time it was published, it would have been a good beach or summer read. Not too heavy, lots of romance, Paris. Also, the cover on the copy I have is mostly identical to the one on the right, except it is much pinker. That could actually be a weird age thing, though, because the back of the book is yellow, except for along the spine where it becomes the kind of pinkish colour it is, pretty unevenly. I really don't know what that deal is, but regardless, it does seem like a very summer-y book. It is is set in summer, obviously, but it's also that kind of mindless "It's 30 degrees and sunny and I'm outside" read.

I didn't love it, honestly, and I will probably get rid of it now that I've read it, but I'm kind of glad I did read it before I do that, and if you're a Paris lover who wants something lighter and fluffy, you may wanna consider grabbing the Kindle edition of this since it's only a few dollars.

Oh, and one of the plotlines reminds me a lot of Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown, so if you do get this or have read this, tell me, because I would love to talk about that!

Jenna's Dilemma by Melissa J. Morgan

Published: March 17th, 2005 by Grosset & Dunlap
Genre: Contemporary MG
Binding: Paperback
Page Count: 148 plus an excerpt of the next book.
Part of a series? Yes, it's one of 25 books in the Camp Confidential series.
Got via: I'm not sure. Possibly a yard sale. It's in very good condition, barely read.
Amazon / Indiebound / Abebooks

Summary (from goodreads): Summer camp means lots of things: new friends, roommates, bug bites, bathroom duty...But it's also a chance to be on your own and to reinvent yourself. A shy girl can become the belle of the ball, and a jock might find new competition. Natalie, Jenna, Grace, and Alex have all found themselves at Camp Lakeview for different reasons. And each is keeping a secret. But if everyone is hiding something, how will they ever become friends?

Jenna Bloom is a Lakeview legacy. She's been coming to camp for three years and so have her siblings. All of her siblings. Jenna used to think that was cool, but lately she's been dying for some independence. Bubbly, outgoing Jenna has always been known for her pranks. But now her jokes are less and less funny. Are the family ties pulled too tightly-or is there something else going on?

Thoughts: This is really, really cute. It's one of those "girl groups doing things" books, you know? Think Baby-Sitters Club or Sleepover Friends, but modernized. Or that one series, Camp Sunnyside, would probably be pretty similar. (I own a copy of one, but have not read it.)

I have not read any of the other books in the series, but judging by the excerpt and how these things go, I'm going to guess they're fairly formulaic, somewhat unrealistic in tone or voice, and pretty predictable. However, I don't really have a problem with this book. It is really cute, and it would be really good for the intended audience. There are a ton of girls, and they're all different, and they don't act older than their ages. The plots are appropriate for the age of the character, as are their characterizations and emotional arcs. I really have no problems with this. This is a great summer book for young girls, and I will actually be keeping this because it was both adorable and would be great for kids in my life.

Plus the cover is absolutely adorable. It's a perfect cover for this book, really, and the change after book 7 is very strange to me. The later covers look much older, like for an older audience, than I'm assuming the books that follow this one are. But I don't have those ones, so I'll stick with liking this cover a whole lot! The colours are all sunset-y, and it just screams summer.

Killer Cruise by Jennifer Shaw

Published: September 23rd, 2008
Genre: Contemporary YA
Binding: Paperback
Page Count: 344 plus an excerpt of another book
Part of a series? Nope.
Got via: Apparently I bought it from the drug store for four dollars, according to an old blog post, but I totally did not remember that.
Amazon / Book Depository / Indiebound

Summary (from goodreads): ONBOARD FACILITIES

Pool 1, Caribbean Deck
Met hot crewmember while soaking up the sun!

The Santorini Restaurant, Olympia Deck
Heard about last year's mysterious disappearance on board. What could have happened?

Movie Theater, Fiesta Deck
Still can't stand horror flicks. Too scary.

Paris Boutique, Panama Deck
Then again, so was my near-death fall overboard last night . . .

Glamorama Spa, Bermuda Deck
Must relax. No one's trying to kill me—I'm just being paranoid.

Club Paradise, Diablo Deck
But what if someone does want me dead?

Thoughts: This was very fluffy and cute. This kind of reminds me of the modernized version of A Summer in Paris with added murder, or a more modern/fluffier Fear Street book. It is not groundbreaking or incredibly deep, but if you're expecting it to be, you're going in with the wrong idea and you're going to be disappointed. I mean, there are pink hearts on the cruise ship and on the anchor, people.

This is a very unrealistic, somewhat shallow, very fluffy book. It's the kind of thing that's perfect for reading next to the pool or on the beach where you can stop in the middle and go take a dunk, or fall asleep partway through, and not really get lost. The characters' outfits are described constantly, in a way that actually reminds me of the Baby-sitters Club (two references in one post - that's a new record), there's a ton of romance, there are multiple pop culture references which do date the book somewhat - and it's fun. It's definitely something you can read with very little thinking. The premise is pretty silly - a rich 16 year old on a cruise meeting a hot guy, shopping all the time, and eating tons of great food - but it's enjoyable to read about something so removed from my reality.

It's brain candy, basically. Go in expecting it to be what it is, a fun, fluffy summer read without a ton of substance, and maybe read it outside in the sun, and you may enjoy it. I thought it was kind of ridiculous, but in a good way, and quite enjoyed it. It gets to keep its spot on my shelf.

Here's a quick amusing thing - the excerpt at the back is for Sleepless by Terri Clark which looks cute in this same kind of way. But there's also Sleepless (Cyn Balog) and Sleepless (Thomas Fahy). Wouldn't that be a fun blog post?

What are you guys reading this summer?

Peace and cookies,