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The Rest of Us Just Live Here By Patrick Ness

The Rest of Us Just Live Here By Patrick Ness
Published 27 Aug 2015 By Walker Books

Goodreads

Summary: What if you aren’t the Chosen One?

The one who’s supposed to fight the zombies, or the soul-eating ghosts, or whatever the heck this new thing is, with the blue lights and the death?

What if you’re like Mikey? Who just wants to graduate and go to prom and maybe finally work up the courage to ask Henna out before someone goes and blows up the high school. Again.

Because sometimes there are problems bigger than this week’s end of the world, and sometimes you just have to find the extraordinary in your ordinary life.

Even if your best friend is worshipped by mountain lions.

Award-winning writer Patrick Ness’s bold and irreverent novel powerfully reminds us that there are many different types of remarkable.

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If you’re looking for a book about superheroes, then this book isn’t for you.

I’ve never read any of Patrick Ness’ previous work, so I went into this without expectations. But now I see why people say he’s brilliant. What I like about this book is that Patrick Ness took a typical story about Chosen Ones and made it into something simpler. Something so uncool that it became cool. Patrick Ness wrote a book about a group of ordinary friends who just want to graduate. How much simpler can you get?

The book begins with a group of friends discussing graduation, and noticing a group of Indie kids disappearing. The Indie kids are described as the Chosen Ones — constantly worrying and busy trying to save the world, where all Mikey and his friends want to do is graduate and talk about that new transfer kid.

What makes this book more interesting is that every chapter starts out with whatever is going on with the Indie Kids. In a way you’re getting a story within a story that correlates and helps complete the bigger picture.

Now, if the plot is too simple for you (yeah, I know, a bunch of kids and an apocalypse plot, sheesh) the characters are going to sell it to you. Seriously. The Rest of Us Just Live Here is character-driven. I appreciate that Patrick Ness took the time to create such a diverse group of friends. They’re so diverse that they become relatable. There’s bound to be someone in the group that you can relate to, or know someone just like them. The characters are what makes the book special to me. I honestly believe that if this book was real and in present moment, we are these group of friends.

Personally, I wanted to give up on this book. The first few chapters were confusing, and slightly boring that I just wanted to return the book and move on. But I’m glad I continued reading because I became completely invested in it.

The Rest of Us Just Live Here is maybe not everyone’s up of tea. Maybe it’s too simple, or too boring for most. Maybe it lacked the plot that people are looking for. But throw away all your expectations and strip it to its bare minimum — The Rest of Us Just Live Here is an average book about average people. And that’s all there is to it.

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Drama By Raina Telgemeier

Drama By Raina Telgemeier
Published 1 Sept 2012 By GRAPHIX

Goodreads

Summary: PLACES, EVERYONE!

Callie loves theater. And while she would totally try out for her middle school’s production of Moon Over Mississippi, she can’t really sing. Instead she’s the set designer for the drama department stage crew, and this year she’s determined to create a set worthy of Broadway on a middle-school budget. But how can she, when she doesn’t know much about carpentry, ticket sales are down, and the crew members are having trouble working together? Not to mention the onstage AND offstage drama that occurs once the actors are chosen. And when two cute brothers enter the picture, things get even crazier!

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Two years ago I read Raina Telgemeier’s Smile for the #AntiBullyingReads challenge and absolutely loved it. Last year, I decided to pick up her other book, Drama and fell in love again. (Note: I wrote this review when I read it last year. Posted it on Goodreads — forgot to post it here. Enjoy!)

Drama offers the same writing and illustrative style that will be familiar to those who have read Smile. Drama revolves around Callie, an enthusiastic set designer for her school’s productions and theatre lover. Similarly to Smile, Drama not only focuses on Callie’s journey as a set designer for Moon Over Mississippi, but also touches on other relatable issues like fitting in, falling in love and acceptance.

Drama is Raina Telgemeier’s original work (unlike Smile which is an autobiography of the author), and is also told in a graphic novel format, but Drama is just as good as Smile. Drama offers the same qualities that Smile had — it was relatable, it was funny but it was also heartwarming. Drama also delved a little bit LGBT, with some gay characters and I loved how Callie had interactions with them and the different storylines that she had with them.

Drama is a wonderful book that talks about important and relevant issues in an approachable manner and I think people of all ages could enjoy reading this book. I would have given this a full 5 stars, but I knocked off 1 star because sometimes I felt that it was a wee bit too focused on the relationship aspect rather than the theatre production, though I definitely appreciate the author’s efforts in trying to bring in the theatre element as much as possible.

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Diamonds Are Forever By Michelle Madow

Diamonds Are Forever By Michelle Madow
The Secret Diamond Sisters #3
Published 27 Oct 2015 By Harlequin Teen

Goodreads

Summary: It’s cold outside, but the drama is hot!

The Diamond sisters jet to the mountains for spring break, and Savannah’s flirt-mance with an international pop star heats up as her pursuit of stardom succeeds. But is this romance meant to be, or has the right guy been in front of her all along? Meanwhile, Courtney takes the next step with her secret boyfriend—and future stepbrother—and as their parents’ wedding approaches, the pressure’s on to reveal their relationship.

Peyton’s figuring out a plan for her future, but she still feels guilty about getting her former bodyguard fired and wonders if she can get over him in the arms of someone else. But the biggest bombshell will change everything once again, because Madison’s ready to tell the huge secret she’s uncovered. And with the boy who betrayed her but who could be the love of her life fighting for his own life, she might need the Diamond sisters more than ever.

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The end.

I am so sad to say goodbye to the Diamond girls. It had been such a good series. I admit, this book isn’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea. It isn’t one of those action packed, super intelligent Young Adult books. The plot of this series (and this third instalment) is simple. Perhaps a little cliche, and this time, a little predictable but it is still good. I’m not going to knock it down because it isn’t what people would call an “intelligent” book.

Diamonds are Forever picks up a little after the ending of its second book, Diamonds in the Rough. After the ending of Diamonds in the Rough, I anticipated and expected a lot from Diamonds are Forever. Diamonds are Forever was predictable and its ending was a little rushed. Nevertheless, Diamonds are Forever came to a good conclusion. Everyone had their own happy endings, and I like that about this series. One of the main things that hooked me about this series from the start is the characters. Madow weaved in the different characters well. The sisters had their own colour and personalities. They are as typical as they come, but they had their own merits.

I wish that Diamonds are Forever would have elaborated more on Adrian’s back story. After the crazy revelations in the second book, it would have been good to know what really went down with Adrian back in the day. Still, the main focus of the story is about the Diamond sisters — so I won’t complain about that much.

I am so intrigued by the ending. I hadn’t expected Brianna to get her own chapter at the end, but she DID. And now I’m expecting a whole spin off based on Brianna’s story. Kind of like what they did with the Gossip Girl series, with Jenny Humphrey’s character. I don’t know if that is what Madow wants to do or has in mind, but I am all for it!

Now… can someone pick it up as a TV show already? This series is just as crazy addictive as Gossip Girl. I don’t see why it shouldn’t get its own TV series!

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Wedding Night By Sophie Kinsella

Wedding Night By Sophie Kinsella
Published 13 May 2014 By Dial Press

Goodreads

Summary: Lottie just knows that her boyfriend is going to propose, but then his big question involves a trip abroad — not a trip down the aisle. Completely crushed, Lottie reconnects with an old flame, and they decide to take drastic action. No dates, no moving in together, they’ll just get married . . . right now. Her sister, Fliss, thinks Lottie is making a terrible mistake, and will do anything to stop her. But Lottie is determined to say “I do,” for better, or for worse.

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Sophie Kinsella does it again! I fell in love with Sophie Kinsella after reading her first Shoppaholic book and decided to give her standalone book I’ve Got Your Number a try. I’ve said it before but Kinsella just has her way of making her characters feel so alive. They’re funny, witty, a little bit crazy, but they feel like people I could be friends with forever in real life. And that’s exactly how I felt reading Wedding Night.

Wedding Night is told in two different perspectives, Lottie (our main character) and her sister Fliss, who is Lottie’s big sister. Lottie is convinced that her boyfriend of three years is going to marry her, but when he has other plans for her, she finds herself in the arms of her summer love fifteen years ago, Ben, who proposes to her — and of course Lottie says yes! In comes Lottie who is desperately trying to stop Lottie and Ben from getting married and so is Lorcan, Ben’s well…. maybe best friend.

You can never go wrong with a Sophie Kinsella novel. Its fun, funny and simple. Perfect for lazy days and beach reads. Of course, like every other chick lit, it may not be everybody’s cup of tea and the plots may overlap with each other, but hey, if you’re going to read a chick lit, it might as well be from the queen of chick lits herself. Read this, laugh, and cry. You can thank me later.

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Love, Rosie By Cecilia Ahern

Love, Rosie By Cecilia Ahern
Published 1 Dec 2006 By Hachette Books

Goodreads

Summary: Sometimes you have to look at life in a whole new way…

From the bestselling author of PS, I Love You comes a delightfully enchanting novel about what happens when two people who are meant to be together just can’t seem to get it right.

Rosie and Alex are destined for one another, and everyone seems to know it but them. Best friends since childhood, their relationship gets closer by the day, until Alex gets the news that his family is leaving Dublin and moving to Boston. At 17, Rosie and Alex have just started to see each other in a more romantic light. Devastated, the two make plans for Rosie to apply to colleges in the U.S.

She gets into Boston University, Alex gets into Harvard, and everything is falling into place, when on the eve of her departure, Rosie gets news that will change their lives forever: She’s pregnant by a boy she’d gone out with while on the rebound from Alex.

Her dreams for college, Alex, and a glamorous career dashed, Rosie stays in Dublin to become a single mother, while Alex pursues a medical career and a new love in Boston. But destiny is a funny thing, and in this novel, structured as a series of clever e-mails, letters, notes, and a trail of missed opportunities, Alex and Rosie find out that fate isn’t done with them yet.

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Love, Rosie is absolutely adorable. I’ve been waiting ages to get my copy in the library but there’s always a million other people waiting for it. So I gave up, went on a short getaway to a neighbouring country, and bought the damn book. I flew through Love, Rosie so quickly, that I needed and wanted more. I have yet to see the movie but I worry that what I envisioned for Love, Rosie would be ruined.

Love, Rosie is told in a series of emails between Rosie and her best friend Alex. It starts from where they are merely kids and continued on as adults. Love, Rosie is your typical contemporary romance, but the email chains gives it a new twist. Its interesting, fascinating almost, kind of like you’re peeking into someone’s personal inbox. And it’s not just between Rosie and Alex — you get to see interactions between Rosie and her sisters, Alex and his brother, and so on. The story is absolutely heartbreaking, the ending sort of bittersweet.

Love, Rosie is something I would definitely recommend for those of you looking for a contemporary adult romance book that isn’t too cheesy but definitely a quick read!

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Suicide Notes From Beautiful Girls By Lynn Weingarten

Suicide Notes From Beautiful Girls By Lynn Weingarten
Published 7 July 2015 by Simon Pulse

Goodreads

Summary: They say Delia burned herself to death in her stepfather’s shed. They say it was suicide.

But June doesn’t believe it.

June and Delia used to be closer than anything. Best friends in that way that comes before everyone else—before guys, before family. It was like being in love, but more. They had a billion secrets, tying them together like thin silk cords.

But one night a year ago, everything changed. June, Delia, and June’s boyfriend, Ryan, were just having a little fun. Their good time got out of hand. And in the cold blue light of morning, June knew only this—things would never be the same again.

Now Delia is dead. June is certain she was murdered. And she owes it to her to find out the truth…which is far more complicated than she ever could have imagined.

Sexy, dark, and atmospheric, Suicide Notes from Beautiful Girls will keep you guessing until the very last page.

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I’m a little torn about Suicide Notes. Not because it was bad, but because I just had such a hard time accepting the ending.

I didn’t dislike Suicide Notes; in fact, if anything, I really enjoyed it. The writing pace was quick and the chapters were short; the writing itself was beautiful. The premise was captivating yet simple enough for me to read without having to think. The book is written mostly in June’s perspective, which later switches with the “unseen” main protagonist, Delia. Delia and June used to be best friends — Delia is the more spontaneous friend and June is the more reserved friend. The storyline is so familiar; its been done so many times in YA contemporaries but Suicide Notes managed to make itself stand out from the rest.

Now here’s where things get interesting.

Delia is dead.

And so begins June’s journey to look for answers about what happened to her former best friend. The chapters are short and quick, so I read the book rather quickly. There wasn’t any moments where I felt like the books dragged on for too long or it was boring. It kept me interested, kept me wondering, keep me excited.

Suicide Notes had so much potential — but I failed to understand why things happened the way it did. The ending frustrated me. I don’t understand why June allowed herself to be controlled this way; why did June give in? Towards the end I wanted more of Delia’s voice because June just became annoying.

Overall, Suicide Notes is still pretty good. Its a quick read and for many this can easily be read within one or two seatings. I enjoyed it despite getting frustrated with it towards the end. I would still recommend this book; especially if you’re into mysteries. Pretty good, had potential to be even better, but hey, to each their own!

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Style By Lauren Conrad

Style By Lauren Conrad
Published 5 Oct 2010 by HarperCollins

Goodreads

Summary: You’ve seen Lauren Conrad on TV and red carpets, looking fabulous whether she’s going casual for a day with friends or dressed for a night out. Now Lauren reveals how you can adapt her classic, understated style for yourself.

In her first-ever style guide, Lauren offers tips on how to create your own unique look, shares her favorite sources of inspiration, and identifies the absolute must-haves for any fashionista’s wardrobe. Along the way, she examines her fashion evolution, from California-casual teen to camera-ready style icon and clothing designer.

From beauty advice and hair secrets to how to shop vintage or find the perfect T-shirt, Lauren Conrad Style unlocks the mysteries of being effortlessly chic. With Lauren’s guidance, you’ll look and feel stylish every day.

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I find it so hard to properly review Style by Lauren Conrad mainly because self help books are so subjective that its really hard to review this book without completely leaning to one side.

I think Style is a hit or miss, depending on who is reading it — and for me, it is a miss. I have loved Lauren Conrad since her Laguna Beach days and I know she went to fashion school and is very successful so I picked up Style hoping to learn more than I already know. I’m in no way an expert on the topic of fashion and style but a lot of what’s taught in the book is stuff I already know or what I assume is “common knowledge” — for things such as the little black dress (because it seems like every fashion magazine, blogs, etc talk about the LBD). In a way, I didn’t feel like I learnt much from her book because of prior knowledge. But again — this book would be good for someone who is looking to revamp their wardrobe or their look or possibly those of a younger age group than me.

Owing to personal circumstances, there’s not a lot in her book that I can follow. This is of course different for individuals, but for me, personally, there isn’t much I can adopt. I can tweak it a little bit but there’s only so much I can do.

Style covers 3 main topics: fashion, beauty and lifestyle. This goes from essential clothing items, how to shop, makeup and hair and dressing for different occasions. I did particularly like the jeans section, mixing prints, how to dress for your figure and the make up section but that’s about all that I liked.

I don’t think it’s necessary for me to have this book — I think for me, I’m better off sitting in the library copying down the little pointers I want mainly because not everything is applicable to me. I don’t know if there is a specific targeted audience, but I feel like it would be better for teens looking to build their wardrobe. But again, there’s so many beauty and fashion gurus and books out there that can help you, so my suggestion is to really flip through the book to see if its going to be useful for you, before you buy it.

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The Good Girl By Mary Kubica

The Good Girl By Mary Kubica
Published 29 July 2014 By Harlequin MIRA

Goodreads

Summary: One night, Mia Dennett enters a bar to meet her on-again, off-again boyfriend, but when he doesn’t show up, she leaves with an enigmatic stranger.

At first Colin Thatcher seems like a safe one-night stand, but following Colin home will turn out to be the worst mistake of Mia’s life.

 

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Holy effin’ crap.

I read The Good Girl a while back and this book still haunts me. Part of me is slightly disappointed with the ending, but a large majority of me loves this book. I don’t tend to read hyped books, but I took a plunge because the premise sounded really awesome. And it is.

The Good Girl, for the most part doesn’t disappoint. It’s about a girl who goes missing and when she returns she isn’t herself and has lost parts of her memory. In fact, she goes by a whole other name and a completely new persona. The book is told in three different POVs: her mom, Mia/Chloe and Colin (her kidnapper). I really enjoyed the different POVs. It really gave you a full, detailed story from everyone’s perspective which really added to the story. Same events, different thoughts. I think the POV gave room for not only more information but also dug into their character individually. You could see how things changed for them and how their character developed overtime.

In terms of POVs, I think The Good Girl has executed it well. I particularly enjoyed Mia’s POV and her transition into becoming Chloe and Colin’s perspective, mainly because it’s different and interesting to look at things in the eyes of a kidnapper. Mia’s mom mainly delves around what she hasn’t done for Mia and has a story arc of her own with the detective and their search for Mia. It was interesting, but it wasn’t as interesting as following the “main” story itself. I felt that because her mom’s POV is somewhat delayed and also revolves around post-kidnapping, it wasn’t as impactful as what happened during.

My issue with The Good Girl is perhaps the ending. It felt a little flat to me, and after all that happened and the action and drama, the ending almost fizzled out. It was unexpected (for me at least) but I kind of wish something else would have happened. But I think because of the ending, it propelled Mia to become more and more isolated. I think psychologically, Mia feels attached to Colin and the ending just broke her.

One other issue is that I felt that sometimes Mia’s mom’s “sense” that so and so happened to her daughter in a dream or something was really over the chart. I understand that it’s a real thing and does happen, but at the time I read it, it felt so forced like it was input into the story just so the detective can actually DO SOMETHING.

Overall, The Good Girl was worth the hype. It was engaging, interesting and I flew threw the book. Even after I was done I kept thinking about it and I wanted to read it again. Definitely a book to recommend everyone especially if you darker/crime/thriller books. I am shocked that this is a debut novel because it is FANTASTIC. Highly recommended!

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Look Where We Live! By Scot Ritchie

Look Where We Live! By Scot Ritchie
Published 1 April 2015 By Kids Can Press

Disclaimer: I received a review copy c/o the publisher via Netgalley.

Goodreads

Summary: This fun and informational picture book follows five friends as they explore their community during a street fair. The children find adventure close to home while learning about the businesses, public spaces and people in their neighborhood. Young readers will be inspired to re-create the fun-filled day in their own communities.

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Look Where We Live is interactive, fun and refreshing.

Look Where We Live discusses about our local community and regardless of where you live in the world, this is certainly something that most people can relate to. There are different aspects that this book takes you through, such as different occupations, different locations and so on.

Look Where We Live really allowed both my younger sister and I to integrate ourselves into the community and really allowed us to have a discussion about our own local community and what we see on a day to day basis. Books like Look Where We Live are important, and its great for daily discussions and reflections. It helps us to really see our community as it is, and how different people, big or small can really play their part in the community.

This book is great for character building as well. I believe there was a page that discusses cutting queues, which is something I’m sure most of us dislike but have to put up with. Again, Look Where We Live is really a simple book about the surrounding community, but there is a lot more to the book than meets the eye.

I particularly love books that are interactive and can set discussions going. To me, those are the elements that I am looking for when reading books to my younger sister and the kind of books that I want to bring into my classroom.

Overall, a wonderful read. Recommended for young children, but could certainly see the worth in bringing such a simple book into a middle grade class or to be read to slightly older kids.

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Max the Brave By Ed Vere

Max the Brave By Ed Vere
Published 5 June 2014 By Puffin Books

Disclaimer: I received a review copy c/o the publisher via Netgalley.

Goodreads

Summary: Are You My Mother? meets I Want My Hat Back in this hilarious picture book featuring your new favorite kitty

Max is a fearless kitten. Max is a brave kitten. Max is a kitten who chases mice. There’s only one problem—Max doesn’t know what a mouse looks like! With a little bit of bad advice, Max finds himself facing a much bigger challenge. Maybe Max doesn’t have to be Max the Brave all the time…

Join this adventurous black cat as he very politely asks a variety of animals for help in finding a mouse. Young readers will delight in Max’s mistakes, while adults will love the subtle, tongue-in-cheek humor of this new children’s classic.

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I loved Max the Brave.

I’m always on the lookout for children’s books for my younger sister and trying to get her to be more interested in books. Max the Brave was perfect.

In some ways, Max the Brave was very interactive. Max is a cat who is trying to be more brave and catch a mouse — the thing is, he doesn’t know what a mouse looks like. So off we go following Max and his journey to look for a mouse. He travels, meeting an array of different animals, big and small, in his hunt to catch a mouse.

Max is always asking: are you a mouse? Which really gets the interactive part going. My sister is consistently responding to the book, yelling out answers — which is when I know a book is great for kids and for use in class. It also gets a discussion going: is Max brave?

The story that Max the Brave tells is so simple. Yet, it is so interactive and enabled me to have a lovely discussion with my sister about bravery and animals. I love it so much that I’m considering borrowing a copy from my local library to bring it into my classroom for my students to enjoy.

Definitely recommend Max the Brave for the younger ones — and would definitely be great in the classroom!

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