Tag Archives: Book Reviews

9 Realistic Fiction Books I Really Think You Should Read-B.I.R.T.Y.S.R Volume 14

24 Mar

Hi!

Realistic FictionUnfortunately, since I was so busy with rehearsals, school, and just plain writer’s block, I wasn’t able to post my Books I Really Think You Should Read for February. To make up for it though, I have an extra-awesome post for this month all about Realistic Fiction! It isn’t one of my favorite genres, but there are a few realistic fiction series I love and would definitely recommend! :) So, without further ado, here are nine of those books that I really think you should read…

The Mother Daughter Book Club series by Heather Vogel Frederick / Read my review of the second book here.

If you read my review of the second book, Much Ado About Anne, you probably know about how much I love the Mother Daughter Book Club series! My sister recommended it to me, (and her recommendations are usually pretty great), and since she owns most of the books, I’ve been enjoying them non-stop:) I can’t wait to start Pies and Prejudice. 

Reel Life Starring Us by Lisa Greenwald / Read my review here.

Oh, another recommendation from my sister! I read this in 2012 on her kindle in only a couple of days, and loved it! The main characters, Chelsea and Dina are so fun and relatable to read about, plus the whole book has an entertaining plot and awesome cover:)

The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy by Jeanne Birdsall / Read my review of the third book here.

Okay, before I even talk about how amazing this book series is, let’s just acknowledge how amazing the full title is. That makes you want to read it, doesn’t it? Yes, yes it does.

Anyways, I love the Penderwicks, (especially the youngest, Batty) and their endless adventures, and I am telling you that you have to go and read these right now. Well, after you finish reading my post, of course :)

6390352Scones and Sensibility by Lindsay Eland / Read my review here.

This book is pretty fluffy and cute:) The protagonist, Polly delivers sweets from her family’s bakery on her (purple!!) bike around town, and while she’s at it, she decides to try out her matchmaking skills! Oh, and by the way, Polly talks like she’s in the middle of a Jane Austin novel…what else could you want in a book?

400000000000000971906_s4The Main Street series by Ann M. Martin / Read my reviews of two of the books here and here.

The Main Street books are each not very long, but there are eleven of them, (which I obviously all own:) ), so if you get hooked (which you will be if you read the first one,) there’s no need to worry! I personally think there’s nothing better than curling up on the couch with a fun book like this and just reading it until you finish!

Models JKT REPRINTS.inddModels Don’t Eat Chocolate Cookies by Erin Dionne / Read my review here.

I loved Erin Dionne’s other books, The Total Tragedy of a Girl Named Hamelet, Moxie and the Art of Rule Breaking, and Notes From an Accidental Band Geek, but my favorite might have been Models Don’t Eat Chocolate Cookies! (Although it may be a tie with Moxie..) The story is original, the writing is spot on, and the characters are believable and interesting. A perfect read for realistic fiction lovers!

The Sisters Club by Megan McDonald / Read my review here.

Filled with fun doodles, lovable characters, and a silly but interesting plot, the Sisters Club is one of those funny books that you say you’ll only read one chapter of, but then end up finishing in one night! I love to read about the hilarious mix-ups of the Reel sisters, Alex, Stevie, and Joey, and I invite you to do the same.

Wonder by R. J. Palacio

Ah, I love Wonder! My class was reading it as a read aloud at school, and we started it a couple of months ago, but then, my school decided to give each student and teacher in my grade a special edition copy of it…so now I can just read it whenever I want! Yay! Happy smiley faces! But, really, this is a wonder-ful book.

The Flower Power series by Lauren Myracle

Don’t you just love that sort of cartoon-y cute style they used for the cover? I personally just love the whole design of it, especially since the girls on it look almost exactly like how I pictured them in my head while I was reading this whole series.

Anyways, got a little off-topic there, but the Luv Ya Bunches series is about four girls named Katie-Rose, Yasmine, Violet, and Milla who only have their flower-power names in common, and no one would have ever expected to become best friends. But if only mean girl Modessa would stop meddling…

What are your favorite Realistic Fiction books?

Lulu:)

Much Ado About Anne-A Book Review

20 Feb

Hi!

Much Ado About Anne by Heather Vogel Frederick 

Summary: Megan, Cassidy, Jess, and Emma mother’s have bad news…they’ve invited snooty Becca Chadwick and her mother to join their book club! Becca’s annoying remarks and constant teasing creates big problems for the girls…even on live TV, but that’s not the least of their troubles. Jess’s family is in danger of losing their historic home, Half Moon Farm! The girls are determined to raise enough money to save it, even if it means teaming up with Becca…

My Thoughts: The Mother Daughter Book Club is one of my sister’s favorite series, so a couple of weeks ago, I decided to read the first book, (to learn more about it, click here,) and I loved it, so I couldn’t wait to get started on Much Ado About Anne. Heather Vogel Frederick’s writing is entertaining and extremely detailed, so it really makes the reader feel like they’re right there with the characters. Speaking of the characters, they were also really relatable and distinctive, and it was easy to find something you liked or at least found funny about them, depending on the situation (coughMrs.Chadwickinthewoodscough). I also thought it was really interesting how the Mother Daughter Book Club books take place over the course of one year, and how each chapter (which switches between the four main characters’ points of view) are each a different month. This does create some plot holes though, but I think that for the most part, they’re handled smoothly.

WARNING! Spoilers Ahead! Read At Your Own Risk!

Anyways, in the beginning of the book, Megan, Cassidy, Jess, and Emma find out that their mothers have invited Becca Chadwick (Megan’s old not-so-nice friend who constantly teases the other three girls) and her snooty mother to join their book club. As I was reading this, I immediately thought “Oh no.” because Becca was pretty awful to Emma, Jess, and Cassidy before. (She even stole Emma’s notebook and read the poem she wrote about a boy she liked out loud…in public…in front of her crush!!!!!) Obviously, they weren’t very happy about this, (which resulted in a pretty hilarious prank:)) but Megan did stick up for Becca, so I was very interested to see if their friendship would start again. And so, although I’m still not a big fan of Becca, I am warming up to her, and I was glad that we got to learn more about her in this book. Eventually, she does get a bit nicer, (but don’t get me wrong, she still teases Jess, Emma, and Cassidy) and you do end up having sympathy for her. It must be hard having such an…um…overbearing mother.

In this book, the Mother-Daughter Book Club decides to read L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables Series, (read my review here!) which I read and really enjoyed, so I was eager to see how Heather Vogel Frederick would incorporate some of the ideas into Much Ado About Anne, like she did with Little Women in The Mother Daughter Book Club. There were some obvious ones, like Emma calling Becca a “Pye”, (a reference to one of Anne’s annoying classmates, Josie Pye) and accidentally giving a TV host an awful mixture to drink, (like when Anne gave her friend Diana wine by mistake at a tea party). There were also some bigger ones though, that turned into whole storylines: After the MDBC and the “Fab Three” (Becca and two of her friends,) declare a truce, they team up to save Jess’s home, Half Moon Farm, like when Anne saved Green Gables, (although these were done in very different ways;))

To finish off, I just wanted to say how well-developed and fun the characters are! Each one is very different, so as I said above, it’s easy to find at least one that you relate too, but they still all go together and make the story interesting. I can’t wait to see what happens next with these girls, (especially Megan and Emma; they’re my favorites!) as they grow up and continue the book club!

Overall, this was an entertaining book with fun characters and an interesting plot that I give four and a half stars out of five.

Lulu:)

The Time Traveling Fashionista and Cleopatra, Queen of the Nile-A Book Review

12 Feb

Hi!

The Time Traveling Fashionista and Cleopatra, Queen of the Nile by Bianca Turetsky

Summary: When 12-year old vintage fashionista, Louise Lambert tries on a brilliant lavender grecian-style dress, she finds herself transported back to Ancient Egypt, or so she thinks…it turns out that Louisa is on the set of the 1963 movie, Cleopatra, working as a costume designer’s assistant. She can’t wait to see some of her favorite stars and the amazing costumes and props, but when Louise puts on a beautiful pearl necklace, she ends up in Egypt thousand of years ago, this time for real! Can Louise find a way to avoid poisonous snakes and deadly plots, navigate the fascinating castle, and get home before she’s discovered as a fake?

My Thoughts: I just love the Time Traveling Fashionista series so much! The other two books, where Louise finds herself on board the Titanic and in Marie Antoinette’s palace were simply amazing, and this one was no exception! The writing is simply extraordinary, there are gorgeous full color drawings scattered throughout the pages, and you get to learn about the different time periods Louise travels too, (and their fashions! Those drawings are just gorgeous!)

In book three, after going to the mysterious Traveling Fashionista Sale, Louise first travels back to the set of the movie, Cleopatra, in the body of the costume designer’s assistant Joan. While she’s there, she meets one of her favorite actresses, Elizabeth Taylor, and gets to experience what it felt like to work on the set of one of the most expensive movies ever made. I really enjoyed reading about Louise’s time there because there was so much going on, but author Bianca Turetsky did a really good job of not making it too confusing for the reader, but still capturing the fast-paced mood of the setting. Unfortunately, Louise only spent a couple of chapters there, so the reader isn’t really able to get to know any of the characters, but I was interested in the costume designer, Irene Sharaff. I would have preferred for Louise to have spent much more time on the movie set because it just felt rushed and too short.

And even though I would have preferred her to have spent more time in the costume department, reading about Louise’s adventures in Cleopatra’s time was really intriguing. When she was back on the movie set, she tried on a pearl necklace that looked like another prop, but really belonged to the famous Egyptian queen, Cleopatra, and brought Louise back to Ancient Egypt as one of her hand maids. The necklace is then taken away, leaving Louise with no way to get back home, which although creates problems for the main character, it allowed me enough time to get lost in the ancient setting and get to know the different characters. I was super interested in the confident and clever Cleopatra because so little is known about her. Bianca Turetsky did a wonderful job of showing Cleopatra as a strong, super cool, and smart leader, while still making her a believable character. I also like that facts about the time period were woven in with the story, so that even though you’re learning about Ancient Egypt, it doesn’t feel like a history lesson. My favorite part of the book though, would definitely be seeing the awesome drawings of all the fashions, (seriously, I would totally buy a book that was just of the pictures:))

Alright, now onto Louise: I thought that she was a really entertaining and likable main character because even though she gets to go on all sorts of super cool time-traveling adventures, her real life problems and clumsiness made her very relatable. She was also really sweet and funny, and I always love to read about when she first arrives in a new time because she has no idea who is who and where to go, and always just ends up in the wrong place. (I laughed when she said “Awesome” in front of Cleopatra when they were about to sneak out of the palace.)  I’m also looking forward to when Louise and Stella meet up at the next sale, (or somewhere else that isn’t 18th century France,) and to learn more about Mrs. Lambert’s time as a fashionista and how it will connect to Louise’s adventures.

So, overall I give this book four and a half stars out of five, and I really recommend it!

Lulu:)

The Princess In The Opal Mask-A Book Review

14 Jan

Hi!

The Princess in The Opal Mask by Jenny Lundquist

Summary: Elara lives in a poor village with a horrible family that adopted her only for money. She has no memory of her parents and doubts that she’ll ever learn anything about them until her school teacher gives her a book he claims belonged to Elara’s mother…

Princess Wihla has been told to wear a mask all her life, but never why. She’s known to the villagers as the “Masked Princess”, someone to worship or fear, but never just as Wihla. And then with rumors of war, she’s forced to leave the home she has always known and travel to a land she was told was awful.

When these two girls’ paths cross, they’ll find themselves in the midst of an adventure full of secrets, opals, lies, danger, runaways, royals, and secret passages that will change them forever!

My Thoughts: I didn’t really know what to expect with this book, but the summary on-line sounded promising so I tried it out, and it was AMAZING! Once I had read the first page I was immediately sucked into Wilha and Elara’s worlds, and at some points  I barely even noticed I was reading! (It felt more like everything was playing out in my head) The writing was very well done; full of detail, suspense, and interesting characters. I also thought that the author did a really good job switching between each girl’s point of view and making you feel what they were feeling.

WARNING! From this point on, this review contains SPOILERS! Read at your own risk!

One of the few flaws of the book was sequencing. Because the book alternates from Wilha and Elara’s points of view, some events are skipped over or end abruptly. (For example, you don’t get to read about when Elara poses as Wilha at the noble dinner, yet the characters refer to it.) Other than that though, I didn’t really have any problems with this book, and I enjoyed every suspenseful chapter! (And when I say suspenseful, I mean suspenseful! Every chapter leaves you wanting to know what happens next, which makes it impossible to put the book down! You can probably imagine my surprise when I was just starting Part 2 and then found myself at Part 3!)

Anyways, onto the characters…I’ll start with Elara since she was introduced first…Elara was probably one of my favorite main character in the whole book because she is so awesome, funny, brave, bold, and daring. She does have a few unlikeable qualities of course, but that is what makes a character interesting. Elara was also a bit unpredictable and independent, so you were always guessing what she would do next, (I had no idea if she would stay and pretend to be Wilha or run away and start a new life with the opals.) She even shows her softer side in some parts of the story, like when she was with the squire (who actually turned out to be Stefen…which was kind of confusing), Ruby and Leandra, Cordon, and even with Wilha!

Speaking of Wilha, she was not the stronger main character at first, and in the beginning I didn’t really like her. As the story went on though, I started to warm up to her, and she really did have lots of character development later on. I was super intrigued by the whole Opal Mask mystery thing, and why she was forced to wear the mask all the time (the explanation is really unexpected because…wait for it…Elara and Wilha are twins!!!!!!!! Which kind of leads into the rest of the plot because Elara ends up posing as Wilha…)  Continuing, it was really when Wilha fled the castle that I started liking her because she started to become more independent, and discover her own person. Oh, and when she fled the castle she went to work at this dress shop, and met this boy named James, and he has this really cute crush on her:)

Moving on, my least favorite people in the book were the royal advisors or “Guardians” as they’re also known as. They were so mean and I didn’t understand their ideas or plans at all about Wilha and Elara. My suspicions of their evilness were confirmed later when one of them attempted to murder Wilha and burn down an entire kingdom. Some other characters I didn’t really like were the Odgens, the family that adopted Elara only for money because they were so cruel and greedy. Mrs. Odgens treated Elara like dirt, and Mr. Odgens did nothing to stop her. The worst thing of all though was when their daughter Serena got engaged to Elara’s best friend Cordon, who expressed no positive feelings towards Serena before and had already promised to marry Elara.

On a happier note, Stephen was super nice to Elara at first which got me all excited because they would be so cute together…but then when he found out Elara was the “Masked Princess” (well, actually she isn’t, but she was posing as Wilha so she kind of was…) he got mean and annoying. Finally though he changed his tone and the book ended with a romance between the two of them that I hope will continue in future books!

Overall, The Princess in The Opal Mask was a thrilling book that I give four and a half stars out of five!

Lulu:)

Cat O’Nine Tails-A Book Review

5 Jan

Hi!

To read my reviews of the first three books in the Cat Royal series, click here, here, and here

Cat O’Nine Tails by Julia Golding

Summary: Adventurous orphan Cat Royal has been spending the past few months with her friend Frank’s noble family, and she’s bored out of her mind. Soon though, she must join the crew of the Royal Navy ship, Courageous, on an adventure to America where she’ll discover a plot to get rid of Frank, have to disguise herself yet again, and meet the native people. Can Cat save her friends…and herself before it’s too late?

My Thoughts: (This includes some spoilers, so read at your own risk!) By now I’ll be surprised if you don’t know about my Cat Royal book obsession…if you don’t, I am extremely obsessed. It was so interesting to read about Cat’s adventures at sea and in America because it was different than the usual setting of London. There was so much adventure and suspense throughout the story that kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time. The writing was so well done, full of details and development, that makes it so hard to put the book down!

In every one of Cat Royal reviews, I’ve said how much I like Cat as a main character because of her wit, boldness, fun personality, and tendency to get into trouble, but all of her great qualities were really highlighted in this book because of all the situations Cat had to use her smarts to fix/get out of. I also found it really interesting how she changed from the time she was with her friends on the ship to the time when she was with the Wind Clan. Speaking of the Wind Clan, Kanawha was nice and funny, and it made me so happy when she befriended Cat, plus she was brave and resourceful. It was really entertaining to read about Cat’s experiences there too, since she was so out of her element, but since she still tried, it ended up being pretty funny:) Anyways, even though Cat was in lots of danger on the Courageous, luckily she had her friends Pedro, Frank, and Syd there too. Pedro was a good friend to Cat as always, but I wish he was featured a little more like he was in the previous stories because he’s always such a good character. Frank changed a lot over the story from being all fancy at the ball in Bath to being stuck on the ship where he had to learn to be more adventurous and independent. In the beginning of the book, I was so worried for Syd because he had disappeared when he was supposed to come back, and Cat, Frank, and Pedro couldn’t find any trace of him for a while until Mr. Dixon tricked them. They then found him stuck on the ship, without any of his money from touring across the country with his awful manager, so I hope that he’s able to get it back later in the series. Later on the ship, there’s this really cute moment with Syd and Cat that made me get all excited and jump up and down:)!! Moving on, Mr. Dixon tricking them was so unexpected! I couldn’t believe what he had done to his cousin Frank, but at least Cat was able to get her revenge…on horseback…in the middle of an elegant party…(it will make much more sense if you read the book.) Finally, Billy showed up yet again, this time at a ball Cat was attending with Frank…and then he kissed her!!!!! That totally caught me by surprise, and I really hope that more will be explained in the next book.

Overall Cat O’Nine Tails was super awesomely amazing, and I give it five out of five stars!

Lulu:)

The Last Present-A Book Review

4 Jan

Hi

To read my reviews of the other books in the Willow Falls series, click here, here, and here.

The Last Present by Wendy Mass

Summary: When their friend Connor’s little sister Grace falls into a frozen state on her tenth birthday, best friends Leo and Amanda must go on a magical adventure to save her. After not speaking for a whole year, the two are able to travel back to each of her birthdays to stop the mysterious shock. Can they save Grace and discover the secrets behind their small town of Willow Falls along with the help of some old friends?

My Thoughts: I really enjoyed the first few books in the Willow Falls series, (11 Birthdays, Finally, and 13 Gifts) and I was so excited when I found out this book was coming out! It was fun to see that some of my favorite characters from the other books were in this one again, and that it was told from the point of view of Amanda, who I really enjoyed reading about in 11 Birthdays. The setting of Willow Falls was just as mysterious and interesting as it usually is, and I thought that it was really cool to read about Amanda and Leo going back in time to see Grace’s (and someone else’s) birthdays there! (It was also pretty cute to see some of the characters like Rory and David when they were younger:))  This book continued most of the story lines that were in the previous stories (like when the kids go to the premiere of the movie that was filmed in Finally,) and made sure we know what happened with them, but still made sure there was something for the characters to do, (so it wouldn’t all end abruptly at one moment.)

There were lots of familiar characters in this book, plus a couple new ones and they were really developed. Luckily, you also discovered what secrets some of them (mainly named Angelina;)) were hiding. Most of the story was told from the point of view of Amanda, with a short epilogue by Grace, and I found her to be a likable and interesting main character. It was super fun to read about her and Leo going back in time, and ending up looking completely different, and then there was this really unexpected moment, and um…yeah, I won’t spoil it:) Anyways, along with Leo who was pretty goofy and sweet they made a great pair of main characters that will keep you entertained throughout the whole story. And of course, Angelina (the mysterious lady who has magical powers and a duck birthmark, and makes an appearance in every book) showed up again, this time only at the end and beginning because she goes away for the middle of the story (cue dramatic music!) Moving on, Tara and Rory (the main characters in Finally and 13 Gifts) made lots of appearances in this book also, which was good since I really liked reading about them before. Although they made me laugh and I liked the parts of the story that included them, I wish they were featured a little more. Even though Grace is frozen for most of the time except a couple of chapters I thought I should mention some magical things happen with her and her brother Connor in the past and present of the book. (But that’s all I’m going to say because if I tell you about them I’ll give away so many spoilers.) Finally, other characters like Jake (he and Rory are so cute together:)), Rey (his phrases are pretty funny), Bucky (he was acting pretty strangely) and David (there’s this really sweet moment with Tara and him at the end when he gets back from visiting his dad:)) are in the book too!

Overall The Last Present was an awesome closing to a wonderful series that I give four and a half stars out of five!

Lulu

Den Of Thieves-A Book Review

20 Dec

Hi!

To read my reviews of the first two books in the series, click here and here. 

Den of Thieves by Julia Golding

Summary: Cat Royal is back…and this time she’s heading to France! When the Theater Royal is closed for renovations, Cat is left with nowhere to go…until Mr. Sheridan sends her to Paris to act as his spy! Disguised as a ballerina, Cat joins the crowded streets of Paris and learns about the revolution. But when the French King flees the country, Cat’s friend Frank’s family is accused of helping the royal family to escape. In order to save her friends, Cat will need the help of a gang of thieves, a rebel lord, and her wits…and then there’s the little matter of settling a deal with her least favorite gang leader back in England!

My Thoughts: Although I missed the entertaining setting of the Theater Royal, Cat still brought her usual suspenseful adventure with her to France! I loved reading about Cat’s experiences in the streets of Paris, which were jam-packed with wit and danger from the very moment she arrived. (In Cat’s first day there, she was almost hanged by a crazed mob, and was robbed by a very interesting gang of thieves.) Every page left you wanting to know what would happen next, which, by the way, makes it really hard to put the book down at all:) Not only that, but Cat’s relationships with her friends (and enemies!) were further developed, and I look forward to seeing where they go in the next few books. Anyways, with it’s several unique settings, plots, and characters, Den of Thieves was full of the same humor and excitement that makes me love the Cat Royal series so much!

In all of my reviews of the Cat Royal books, I’ve talked about how Cat is one of my favorite book characters because of her courage, quick-thinking, humor, boldness, and tendency to get into trouble, but in this book, you were really able to see more of her feelings, and stubbornness. In the first part of the story, I felt so bad for Cat as she roamed the streets of London to find somewhere to go, and when she finally did she was cheated out of her most personal possessions:( Luckily, Cat was back to her usual good spirits by the time she was in Paris, and was caught up in all sorts of mysterious plots! Another character I enjoyed reading about in this book was Frank, who was showcased a bit more this time around, which made me happy because he’s been such a good friend to Cat in the past. He was really able to cheer Cat up when she was in her funk, and was helpful for Cat to have in France, (even if he did get the two of them lost in the beginning:)) I was so worried for him when he had to go into hiding, and I was even more worried for Lizzie, the Duke, and Duchess since they were taken to jail! Speaking of Lizzie, I was so excited when I read that she would get to see Johnny again, but then her very annoying cousin who doesn’t even make an appearance in the book had to go and ruin their plans!!!!! Don’t worry though, Lizzie does get a happy ending, (I just don’t want to spoil the it for you…) Continuing, JF was acting a bit suspicious at first, but I was surprised to see how his feelings for Cat grew, and how he tried to rescue her, and even saved her from a deal with a certain gang leader who has awful taste in furniture. Which annoying gang leader am I talking about you may ask…why Billy Shepard, recurring antagonist of course! Oh, and he does have awful taste in furniture from how Cat described it. Besides that, he was acting just as evil as usual, and his very creepy obsession with Cat seems to be growing and growing throughout the series, for now though, Cat is safe, but I’m sure she’ll get into more trouble with him in the next book. Finally, although Syd was absent for most of the story, there was a pretty big surprise moment in the beginning that I don’t want to spoil…but it made me jump in surprise…seriously. So, for now, you’ll just have to go and read this awesome book that I give five out of five stars (again!) yourself!

Lulu:)