Proud Professional Reader

Professional Reader

About the Blog

Welcome to Paula and Sarina's Book Blog! Avid readers, hard core fan girls of fictional literary male characters, proud library captains. We started this blog because of our love for reading YA novels and decided to share our thoughts on the books we read. We hope you enjoy our blog and contact us if you have any questions :)

Followers

Powered by Blogger.

Follow by Email

Saturday, 29 June 2013

Name: Audrey, Wait!
Author: Robin Benway
Date Published: April 10, 2008
Grade: A-

Goodreads Summary: California high school student Audrey Cuttler dumps self-involved Evan, the lead singer of a little band called The Do-Gooders. Evan writes, “Audrey, Wait!” a break-up song that’s so good it rockets up the billboard charts. And Audrey is suddenly famous!

Now rabid fans are invading her school. People is running articles about her arm-warmers. The lead singer of the Lolitas wants her as his muse. (And the Internet is documenting her every move!) Audrey can't hang out with her best friend or get with her new crush without being mobbed by fans and paparazzi.

Take a wild ride with Audrey as she makes headlines, has outrageous amounts of fun, confronts her ex on MTV, and gets the chance to show the world who she really is.

Review: This book was unique to say the least. I was thrilled to find a summary of a book that was so different from anything that I had ever read, and when I kept on reading glowing reviews, I knew I had to pick it up. While I never found Audrey, Wait! to be the kind of book that sucked me in and kept me reading until the last page, overall, I thought it was a great book with a great story.

I think my favourite part about this book was the narration. After breaking up with her musician boyfriend, Audrey taught that she could turn the page and start a new life. Little did she know, a song, titled after the last words her ex-boyfriend ever said to her, would go national and take the world up in a storm. All of a sudden, she's no longer a normal teen that deals with just school and work. Now she has to deal with fans and paparazzi. Audrey's voice was so sassy and funny that it made this read a lot more entertaining. Actually, her voice reminded me of Jessica Darling a bit which I know preaches out to a lot of avid YA readers.

Keeping the book light, the romance was refreshing rather than consuming the storyline. While it was ever present, there wasn't a swoon worthy romance going on, but a nice one that kept the book interesting to read while the book carried on. It wasn't bad, it was different. A good different.

Overall, I liked Audrey, Wait! very much based on its unique storyline and sassy voice. I highly recommend this book to readers of the Jessica Darling series and basically any other person who loves a witty narrator!

Happy reading!

~SARINA


Friday, 28 June 2013
Name: My Life After Now
Author: Jessica Verdi
Date Published: April 2, 2013
Grade: A

Goodreads Summary: Lucy just had the worst week ever. Seriously, mega bad. And suddenly, it's all too much—she wants out. Out of her house, out of her head, out of her life. She wants to be a whole new Lucy. So she does something the old Lucy would never dream of.

And now her life will never be the same. Now, how will she be able to have a boyfriend? What will she tell her friends? How will she face her family?

Now her life is completely different...every moment is a gift. Because now she might not have many moments left.

Review: When I first read the synopsis for this book, I really didn't know what to expect. The summary on Goodreads was intriguing; What drastic, life changing challenge will Lucy be having to face? I wondered. This book really exceeded my expectations; It was heartwarming, thoughtful, well written, and informative- with just the right amounts of realism, romance, self discovery, and dream chasing thrown in as well. 

Lucy is a sixteen/seventeen year old actress in the making, a smart and talented girl who has her entire future ahead of her. After what seems to be an awful week, she makes some bad decisions that leads to a life changing event- Lucy is diagnosed with the sexually transmitted disease, HIV. My Life After Now shows how Lucy transforms from being ashamed of herself and shutting those she loves out of her life, to a girl ready to make the best of the rest of the life that has been given to her with the ones she loves. Along the way, not only does Lucy learn a ton about HIV/AIDS, she learns how to love again- She learns to love herself, even with what she considered an "infection running through her", and she learns to love the people around her again.

I loved Lucy as a character. Although she made plenty of mistakes, this made her relatable, real, and her flaws only proved how realistic her and her story was. Lucy was funny at times, and still completely fearless when she needed to be. The connections she had with her friends and parents (the two gay dads aspect of the book made it really fun to read!) were also really enjoyable to read because of the genuineness of all the characters. The romance felt powerful as well, and because both Lucy and Evan were such developed characters, I found myself being more and more drawn in by their story.

It felt really nice to read a book that tackled such a serious issue, an issue that normally is avoided. The author, Jessica Verdi, did an amazing job of informing the readers, and at the same time, keeping us engaged. I loved this book. Not only does My Life After Now bring awareness of HIV/AIDS to the lives of teenagers, it also reminds us that life is short, and that we should make the best of what we can. I highly recommend this book to those ready for an addictive, highly compelling, and eye opening read. 

Happy reading!

PAULA :) 

Name: The Forsaken (The Forsaken #1)
Author: Lisa M. Stasse
Date Published: July 10, 2012
Grade: B

Goodreads Summary: As an obedient orphan of the U.N.A. (the super-country that was once Mexico, the U.S., and Canada), Alenna learned at an early age to blend in and be quiet—having your parents taken by the police will do that to a girl. But Alenna can’t help but stand out when she fails a test that all sixteen-year-olds have to take: The test says she has a high capacity for brutal violence, and so she is sent to The Wheel, an island where all would-be criminals end up.

The life expectancy of prisoners on The Wheel is just two years, but with dirty, violent, and chaotic conditions, the time seems a lot longer as Alenna is forced to deal with civil wars for land ownership and machines that snatch kids out of their makeshift homes. Desperate, she and the other prisoners concoct a potentially fatal plan to flee the island. Survival may seem impossible, but Alenna is determined to achieve it anyway.

Review: The Goodreads summary is what initially drew me in so quickly about this book. Lately, I've been really falling in love with dystopian novels. Along with this whole Lost similarity, with an island and a higher power controlling things, and different "sides" of the island, mixed in with a bit of Lord of the Flies and Hunger Games, I had very high expectations for The Forsaken. 

Let's start off with what I liked. It was definitely a refreshing read because it was so different compared to the young adult novels I've been reading lately. The Forsaken is a very fast paced book, filled with action and adventure, I never found myself bored and my eyes leaped from page to page, desperately wanting more. Along with the many mysteries lurking within the story, there are also many twists hidden for the readers as the book goes on, which is always fun to read. 

Although this novel did have a "romance" in it, 1) there was an annoying love triangle (which I found unnecessary and tiring to read) and 2) I never quite believed in the relationship between Liam and Alenna because it all happened so fast. She literally met him, talked to him once, and then they decided they were "apparently" in love with each other.  It was pretty hard to feel their connection because they rarely had moments that showed their true personalities. Which leads me to my next point- most of the characters didn't really have much of a personality, especially Alenna, the protagonist. I don't think she showed enough emotion at all, and even when she did, it was boring to read. I didn't really like Alenna- her priorities seemed muddled up. At times, she would be like "Yeah! I'm an independent girl ready to go fight for myself and keep on trekkin'!" and then the next thing you know its all "I miss Liam.". LITERALLY THOUGH. It was irritating jumping back and forth between her two identities. Also, there tended to be a sentence italicized randomly every so often. I don't think it made the sentence any more dramatic. It was just weird. 

Overall, I really enjoyed The Forsaken because of its quick pace and really interesting, engaging story line. Although this book was definitely not perfect, with its flat characters and questionable romance, I will definitely stick with the series and I anticipate the release of The Uprising, which is the second book in the Forsaken series. 

Happy reading!

PAULA :)


Tuesday, 25 June 2013
Name: The Moon and More
Author: Sarah Dessen
Date Published: June 4, 2013
Grade: C+

Goodreads Summary: Luke is the perfect boyfriend: handsome, kind, fun. He and Emaline have been together all through high school in Colby, the beach town where they both grew up. But now, in the summer before college, Emaline wonders if perfect is good enough.

Enter Theo, a super-ambitious outsider, a New Yorker assisting on a documentary film about a reclusive local artist. Theo's sophisticated, exciting, and, best of all, he thinks Emaline is much too smart for Colby.

Emaline's mostly-absentee father, too, thinks Emaline should have a bigger life, and he's convinced that an Ivy League education is the only route to realizing her potential. Emaline is attracted to the bright future that Theo and her father promise. But she also clings to the deep roots of her loving mother, stepfather, and sisters. Can she ignore the pull of the happily familiar world of Colby? Emaline wants the moon and more, but how can she balance where she comes from with where she's going?

Sarah Dessen's devoted fans will welcome this story of romance, yearning, and, finally, empowerment. It could only happen in the summer

Review: Okay, so ever since, like, grade eight, I have always loved Sarah Dessen novels. Her books were actually what sparked my love for young adult novels. With stories such as The Truth About Forever, Just Listen, and Along For the Ride, along with her amazing male characters such as the swoon worthy, lovable Wes and the comforting, silent, strong Owen, and finally, the quirkily intriguing Eli, Sarah Dessen really set some high standards for herself. Unfortunately for Dessen fans such as myself, I found The Moon and More extremely disappointing for a number or reasons: the whole plot in general, the "love interest", and the lack of developed characters. As I dove into this book a couple days ago, I was looking for a refreshing, summer read; However, personally, I found that the book lacked interest, romance, and it was unnecessarily long. 

The novel centered around Emaline, this eighteen year old girl, as she basically just lived her life during the summer. I found it boring. Nothing that exciting or engaging ever truly occurred; I think it had the potential to be a really great read because Sarah Dessen chose such a beautiful setting for her book- a small town by the ocean, one where everyone knew everyone, a place with a board walk, a beach, and even a ferris wheel. The setting screamed perfect, especially for a young adult book. However, throughout the novel, I found myself questioning the whole point of the story multiple times. There was so many little things going on, but nothing felt significant enough to be the main point of the story. Also, it felt so choppy, as if the scenes were disconnected, resulting in a confusing and tediously drawn out story.

I couldn't relate to Emaline very much either. Although I did respect how she stood up to Luke, there was nothing that drew me in about her. She seemed like a "goody goody" type girl, one who was good at literally everything- lacking flaws (which resulted in a boring character). It felt as if she was missing personality, and constantly being pushed around by everyone around her. However, I do give her credit for her somewhat sassy and "bad-ass" (quoted from the book itself) responses at times. Secondly, OH MY GOD THEO WHAT. So Emaline's apparent "love interest" of the summer was first portrayed as this really quirky in all the right ways, super-in-love-with-her boy, Theo, while her boyfriend Luke, was presented as this over-confident, average guy. Then, as if Sarah Dessen suddenly and completely changed her mind about the two, the roles were reversed multiple times and boom bada boom we have ourselves a mess here. I'm still unsure whether or not there was a love story. I mean Theo, the apparent love interest (I think) ended up  being the most arrogant, condescending, and down right pretentious "love interest" I have ever met. I didn't feel any connection or chemistry between Emaline and Theo, it was really rough. Apart form Morris who I found funny, the rest of the characters in the book were pretty flat and undynamic as well.

I might have been very harsh in my review on The Moon and More, but I had pretty high expectations for this new Sarah Dessen novel. I've seen mixed reviews about it and I'm sure this disappointment is not faced by everyone... But personally, if you're looking for a looonnng read filled with lots of eye rolling and exasperated sighs and no romance whatsoever, I think that this is definitely the book for you. 


Monday, 24 June 2013
Name: How Zoe Made Her Dreams (Mostly) Come True
Author: Sarah Strohmeyer
Date Published: April 23, 2013
Grade: B+

Goodreads Summary: From Sarah Strohmeyer, author of Smart Girls Get What They Want, comes this romantic comedy about one girl's summer job from hell. Think The Devil Wears Prada set in Disney World.


When cousins Zoe and Jess land summer internships at the Fairyland Kingdom theme park, they are sure they've hit the jackpot. With perks like hot Abercrombie-like Prince Charmings and a chance to win the coveted $25,000 Dream & Do grant, what more could a girl want?

Once Zoe arrives, however, she's assigned to serve "The Queen"-Fairyland's boss from hell. From spoon-feeding her evil lapdog caviar, to fetching midnight sleeping tonics, Zoe fears she might not have what it takes to survive the summer, much less win the money. Soon backstabbing interns, a runaway Cinderella, and cutthroat competition make Zoe's job more like a nightmare than a fairy tale. What will happen when Zoe is forced to choose between serving The Queen and saving the prince of her dreams?

Review: How Zoe Made her Dreams (Mostly) Come True was definitely a fun read. A fluffy one, as well. I think if was a great way to kick off the summer because it was so easy, warm n' fuzzy, and light-hearted to read.

Firstly, what made me pick up the book was the idea behind it. I was super excited to read about the adventures of Zoe and her perky, loyal cousin Jess as they journeyed through Fairyland, basically what is the equivalent to Disneyland. The story was mostly about this group of teenagers who all worked and lived in Fairyland for the summer, as actors who played "Disney characters", such as Cinderella, Snow White, Prince Charming,  Little Red Riding Hood, etc. This whole premise really intrigued me, because I had never heard of anything quite like it before. In the end, I thought Sarah Strohmeyer executed this idea pretty well, although at times it was confusing.

The story started off pretty slow, to be honest. I didn't really feel the book until a third or so of the way in. When the characters each began to develop more, I only then began to get sucked into the book. One of the main reasons I liked this book, is because I really liked the main character. Zoe was super sassy when she needed to be, she was funny and independent, she didn't make any really stupid decisions, she tried hard, she was selfless, and all the while, she was still just a teenage girl going through a time patch in her life. There was never any angst between Zoe and her cousin Jess either; Jess was always loyal and faithful towards Zoe, and she never doubted Zoe's intentions. I loved their relationship because it was so unwaveringly strong- none of this backscratching and turning against each other stuff we see so often in most Young Adult novels these days. Finally, I also really liked the chemistry between Zoe and her love interest (I'll omit his name for spoiler reasons). I found it believable and adorable right from the get-go.

I ended up giving this book a B because of it's "climatic" scenes. I don't know if this is just me, but I began getting a bit confused while reading the scenes- maybe that was the author's intention? To portray the chaos going on? However, during these scenes, I found it hard to keep up with the story line because so much happened in such a short period of time, my brain never really processed any of it. Furthermore, all of the problems in the book seemed to be solved just like that *snaps fingers*. Seriously though, everything was resolved unusually quickly, it felt pretty forced and really quite unrealistic.

Other than those little problems, I thought the overall story line was really well done! It is evident to see that Sarah Strohmeyer is very talented at interweaving different stories to make one giant plot that ends up fitting together quite nicely. The writing was engaging, smart, and funny- I even found myself laughing out loud a couple times. This was definitely the right book to start off the summer with, as it was such a fun, light read, it gave me lots of momentum to pick up some more books and dive right in them.

...And they lived happily ever after (with their books)!

What are you guys reading this summer?

PAULA :)

Name: The Book of Broken Hearts
Author: Sarah Ockler
Date Published: May 21, 2013
Grade: A


Goodreads Summary: When all signs point to heartbreak, can love still be a rule of the road? A poignant and romantic novel from the author of Bittersweet and Twenty Boy Summer.

Jude has learned a lot from her older sisters, but the most important thing is this: The Vargas brothers are notorious heartbreakers. She’s seen the tears and disasters that dating a Vargas boy can cause, and she swore an oath—with candles and a contract and everything—to never have anything to do with one.

Now Jude is the only sister still living at home, and she’s spending the summer helping her ailing father restore his vintage motorcycle—which means hiring a mechanic to help out. Is it Jude’s fault he happens to be cute? And surprisingly sweet? And a Vargas? Jude tells herself it’s strictly bike business with Emilio. Her sisters will never find out, and Jude can spot those flirty little Vargas tricks a mile away—no way would she fall for them. But Jude’s defenses are crumbling, and if history is destined to repeat itself, she’s speeding toward some serious heartbreak…unless her sisters were wrong?

Jude may have taken an oath, but she’s beginning to think that when it comes to love, some promises might be worth breaking.

Review: First and for most, I would like to apologize on behalf of both me and Paula that we are sososososo sorry that we have not posted in such a long time! The school year was winding down, and with exams and everything, it was hard to dedicate much time to the blog. But now exams are over and summer has begun, and we are thrilled to read and review more books! The first book of the summer for me was The Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler. I got this book, and it was teasing me from my bookshelf while I was studying for exams, so I decided that a few pages wouldn't hurt. Fast forward a few hours, I had finished the book. It was that good.

This book follows the life of Jude Hernandez as her father recently developed Early Alzheimer's. In hopes of recovering any part of his memory, she decides to hire a mechanic to restore an old Harley of his. One problem - the mechanic she hired just so happens to come from the one family she has swore to her sisters to stay away from. The Vargas Family.

Jude was a phenomenal character. Lately, I've read many books where the main character is slightly annoying (okay I usually can't stand them), but I could sympathize well with Jude. Her struggles, her hold backs, everything seemed to make sense, and I highly enjoyed that. At first glance, Alzheimer's doesn't seem like a make it or break it disease. But reading this book, I realized that it was. The family dynamic between Jude, her sisters, and her parents was so well written that I felt like I was experiencing all the pains of the Hernandez family.

And the boy. Emilio Vargas, what can I say. He said the right things, he did the right things, he even made me feel the oh so right things. Emilio was a perfect character to balance out Jude, and they complemented each other so well. A perfect romance for a summer read.

Overall, this book was exactly what I needed when I needed it. Sarah Ockler has always been on my reading radar, but this book sealed the deal. Her writing is phenomenal, and there's nothing more I can say that could explain how good this book was. If you're looking for a story to start off your summer, I highly suggest picking this one up!

Happy reading!

~SARINA


Tuesday, 4 June 2013
Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/ weekly meme created at The Broke and The Bookish. Because your admins here at From Covers to Covers love the idea of making funny and interesting lists, we are really excited to participate in these weekly challenges. 








This week's topic can be interpreted many different ways. From vacations, to road trips, to studying abroad, and to flying, travel stories tend to be really good because they help characters find their identities which can be quite interesting to read. Oh, and the cute love stories are also very enjoyable! ;) Here are some of our favourite books that feature travel:

1. Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
2. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
3. Saving June by Hannah Harrington
4. The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith
5. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares
6. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
7. Just One Day by Gayle Forman
8. Where She Went by Gayle Forman
9. Paper Towns by John Green
10. Two-Way Street by Lauren Barnholdt

What are some your favourite reads about travel?