Tuesday, January 11, 2011


Okay...I've decided to make more of a commitment to this blog.  I have worked on the blog for over a year and have only posted 40 times!!  Commitment issues?  Maybe...
Anyway, I am hoping to post three to four times a week.  We shall see where that leaves the blog at the end of 2011!

We finally got settled after a December move.  Therefore, I was only able to read a few books over the break.  Still working towards 100 this school year!

Attila the Hun: Leader of the Barbarian Hordes (A Wicked History Series)

Okay....I kind of feel like I shouldn't count these books.  They are kind of short and do include some pictures, but....I'm counting them! 

These books are sooo interesting. I'm the kind of girl who just likes the facts...not into wordiness when it comes to nonfiction.  The books from this series hit the spot.  I learned some fascinating information about Attila the Hun and never got distracted (not a small feat for me!).  I have a few more in my TBR stack.
Rated: 4
Recommended for: History buffs....lower level readers

 Lost for Words
Alice Kuipers

Mournful over the loss of her sister Emily, teenager Sophie just can't seem to move on.  She no longer confides in her best friend, Abby, nor does she communicate often with her mother.  Sophie is lost. She begins seeing a counselor who encourages her to keep a notebook.  On paper, Sophie is able to confront tragic events from the past in bits and pieces.  She is also able to express her hope that one day she will be able to live without obsessing over her loss.  Sophie becomes friends with Rosa-Leigh, the new girl at school.  Rosa-Leigh writes poetry and Sophie begins to write as well, finding it soothing to concentrate on something positive.
Tensions increase when Sophie's mother decides to return to work and attend a support group.  This leaves Sophie with the impression that her mother is "over" Emily.  She lashes out at her mom and becomes more introverted than before.  Finally, she faces the attack that occurred to both she and Emily and is able to reconnect with her mother.

Okay...I really liked this book, but it was so sad.  I was sad for Sophie...I was sad for her mother...I was sad for Emily.  Although this seems like a typical depressing teen book, there is some suspense with the author revealing only small facts about the "attack" until the end of the novel.  The suspense kept me reading because in all honesty, I don't care for sad novels.  Alice Kuipers also wrote Life on the Refrigerator Door which I reviewed earlier this year.  That one is also quite a tearjerker. 

Rated: 4.5
Recommended for: readers who like Nicholas Sparks, Lurlene McDaniel, Jodi Picoult...students who may have experienced a loss such as the main character

Veronica Chambers

Beatrice "Bee" Wilson has the world by the tail: she's a college Freshman in New York City, she's dating a popular guy on campus, and she has a job tutoring a hottie rap artist.  Things are going great....until her boyfriend, Brian, dumps her after a romp-gone-wrong.  Bee is wallowing in self-pity and...eating.  She spends a few weeks enjoying all of the treats life has to offer and is then miraculously "discovered" eating lunch with her friend Chela at Dean and Deluca.  She interviews for a highly-coveted spot as a plus-size model in the new Prada campaign...and she gets the job.  It doesn't take long before the world knows Bee Wilson.  This is a great way to get revenge on an ex, but also a great way to make new enemies.  One of which is Savannah Hughes, another model.  Keeping up with college classes and modeling is tough on Bee and she begins to see that she doesn't have much in common with her old friends.  Soon after Bee becomes famous, Brian "decides" that he made a mistake and he wants to date her again.  Bee, being a typical young woman, loves the attention from her ex and lets him back into her life.  After a few hilarious mishaps and some downright dirty deeds, Bee's career is hurting.  She and Chela make up and she reconnects with her hot tutoring students, who is now a rising star.  Will Bee fix her mistakes and go back to modeling?

Hmmm...what can I say about this book?  I enjoyed reading it, but I do think there are some problems.  I LOVE the idea of having a plus-size teenage girl as the main character.  It seems that there are many girls who could identify with Bee, except....she is drop-dead gorgeous and is "found" eating in a deli.  Now...I truly believe that no matter the size, all women are beautiful, but...this is not realistic.  It is easy for Bee to accept her body...she makes tons of money and is famous for her looks.  What about the bigger girls who know this will not happen for them?  Can they learn to accept and love themselves without scoring a modeling contract?  Not sure about this part of the author's message, but I do applaud Chambers for lots of things in this book.  It IS entertaining.  I found it easy-to-read and I was eager to find out what would happen with Bee and the rapper.  She also corrects the stereotype that overweight people just eat whatever they want.  Bee takes care of herself.  She eats right and exercises often, but accepts that her body is curvy, not bony.  Chambers also provides a lesson in what can happen when people see themselves "above" others.  Bee has some not-so-shining moments once she becomes famous, but soon realizes that those she left behind are the ones that she can lean on in tough times.

Rating: 3.5 stars
Recommended for: those looking for a chick-lit type of book