Review: The Lipstick Laws by Amy Holder

The Lipstick Laws
Amy Holder

Product Details:
Reading level: Young Adult
Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: Graphia (April 4, 2011)
ISBN-10: 978054736306
Source: ARC from publisher in exchange for a review

The Lipstick LawsAt Penford High School, Britney Taylor is the queen bee. She dates whomever she likes, rules over her inner circle of friends like Genghis Khan, and can ruin anyone's life with a snap of perfectly manicured fingers. Just ask the unfortunate few who have crossed her.

For April Bowers, Britney is also the answer to her prayers. April is so unpopular, kids don't even know she exists. But one lunch spent at Britney's table, and April is basking in the glow of popularity.

But Britney's friendship comes with a high price tag. How much is April willing to pay?
This was "Mean Girls" in book form. I laughed out loud at some points in the book, but at the same time I couldn't help picturing Lindsay Lohan and her crew as the main characters. It was (in my opinion) pretty superficial. In fact, it felt like reliving the worst of high school cliques all over again. I can see how teenage girls would eat this book up like candy, though. They are so snarky that it would appeal to that inner (insert 5 letter word here).

I'm going to go ahead and say that I'm going to give this a 3. I have to give it a three because I know my students would fight to read this book. I KNOW it would appeal to them in ways that I cannot understand. Now, adult me, however, would not give this anything close to a three.

The characters were flat. I'm glad that April finally came to terms with her imperfections and all, but it was such a rushed realization that it was hard for me to buy. Plus, she spent the entire book drooling over this guy that she nick-named "Mr. Hottie-Body," but I to the life of me don't know why he earned that name. There may have been some quick description of him towards the beginning, but it obviously didn't stay in my mind. That is a problem. If a character is supposed to be so fantastic that I should drool over him with the main character, I need a little bit more to go on. As far as I'm concerned, there was no personality/character development. Very disappointing.

I could keep my list going with a few other dislikes, but I don't think it's necessary. There were a few positives in the book that are worth mentioning.The main thing that I liked was the humor. There were some lines that should be etched in stone for all to see! Talk about hilarious. My favorite is the line, "I really expected him to have a major freak-out fest over this. I mean, everyone knows he's crazier than a shaved mule in a toboggan race." How can you not laugh at that? The mental image is priceless! There was a good bit of tongue in cheek humor throughout the novel. Of course, there was a lot of cliched humor as well. Take it with a grain of salt, I guess.

If you want a fun, not heavy or sophisticated summer read, this would be fun. It's worth checking out from the public library. I'm not so sure I would buy this book.

Blog Hop and Follow Friday (19)

Follow Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Parajunkee’s View. This week’s question comes from Nicki J. Markus: The magic book fairy pops out of your cereal box and says “you and your favorite character (from a book of course) can switch places!” Who are you going to switch with? 
I really can’t think of a particular book that I would want to be a part of, but I have a genre preference. I would love to be in one of the fairy tale retellings that I’ve read. The only problem is, I only want to be there during the good times. Most characters in the books that I’ve read have too many problems. I don’t want to add to my strife. =)  So, maybe The Goose Girl. OH! I would love to be in a Tamora Pierce book. Yes! That’s it. Alanna from the Alanna series. That would be a good switch.

Book Blogger Hop

The Book Blog Hop is hosted by Crazy for Books, and has such a great question this week! It is: What author would you most like to meet?

That is such an easy question for me! I adore Laurie Halse Anderson! Love. Her. Speak and Twisted are two of my favorite books. Not to mention that I have read every YA book that she has written. Laurie Halse Anderson has an amazing way of writing about tough subjects in a beautiful, almost poetic style.

I would also like to meet Tamora Pierce. She is the reason I love fantasy novels. Plus, she has an entire series (the Alanna series) that features a kick-ass heroine with MY name. Is there any other reason to want to meet her? I think not!

NEW! Sarah Porter (Lost Voices) Website

Lost Voices (Lost Voices (Trilogy))Okay, so I have to admit that I am extremely excited to find that the fabulous Sarah Porter has a website now! If you have no idea who she is, you need to get with the program. For real. Check out her website here.

Oh, and I got a spot on her website! Freak yeah! (Sorry. I'll work on curbing my enthusiasm.) Ok, not me per se, but a snippet of my review made it on the website. You can check that out here. Or, you can read my entire review of the phenonmenal, awesome, "insert other adjective here" book by checking out my complete review.

Wait, there is more...

The synopsis from the back cover of book #2, titled Waking Storms (how appropriate) has finally been released! Hooray! As much as I loved the first book, this one sounds even more amazing. Seriously. I knew that the boy Luce saved would be important! All my speculating was right! Here is the synopsis for Waking Storms:

"We have lingered in the chambers of the sea, by sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown, till human voices wake us, and we drown."

After parting ways with her troubled mermaid tribe, Luce just wants to live peacefully on her own. But her tranquility doesn't last long: she receives news that the tribe is on the verge of collapse and desperately needs her leadership. Anais, their cruel queen, wants Luce dead. Dorian, the boy Luce broke mermaid law to save, is determined to make her pay for her part in the murder of his family. And while the mermaids cling to the idea that humans never suspect their existence, there are suddenly ominous signs to the contrary.

But when Luce and Dorian meet, they start to wonder if love can overpower the hatred they know they should feel for each other. Luce's new friendship with an ancient renegade mermaid gives her hope that her kind might someday change their murderous ways. But how can Luce fulfill her rightful role as queen of the mermaids without sacrificing her forbidden romance with Dorian?

Full of miraculous reunions and heart-pounding rescues, this haunting second installment in the Lost Voices Trilogy finds Luce eager to attempt reconciliation with humans—as long as war doesn't break out first.

Still more...

Sarah Porter is also hosting a contest. For all the girls out there that fantasized about being a mermaid (you know you did, so don't deny it), now is your chance to live vicariously through one of the upcoming characters! Porter is offering a "name a mermaid" contest. I love this idea! I was so one of those kids that pretended to be a mermaid in the swimming pool. I even asked for fins for a birthday once. (I'm still working on making a pair. For my neice, of course.) The link wasn't working on my computer for the contest, so I couldn't add it in. If you get it to work, let me know!

Waking Storms will be released July 2012! I can't believe we have to wait an entire year!

Review: Flawless

Lara Chapman

FlawlessSarah Burke is just about perfect. She's got killer blue eyes, gorgeous blond hair, and impeccable grades. There's just one tiny--alright, enormous-- flaw. Her nose. But even comparisons to a beak don't bother her much. Sarah's got the best best friend and big goals for print journalism fame. But on the first day of senior year, Rock Conway walks into her journalism class and, well, rocks her world. Problem is, her best friend Kristen falls for him too. And when Rock and Kristen stand together it's like Barbie and Ken come to life. So when Kristen begs Sarah to help her nab Rock, Sarah does the only thing a best friend can do. She agrees.
One of my all time favorite stories is Cyrano de Bergerac. So, when I found out that this story is a modern day retelling of that classic tale, I jumped for joy. I enjoyed this version immensely.

In Lara Chapman's Flawless, a young teenage girl has the misfortune of being born with an enormously large honker. But don't feel bad for Sarah; she is a strong and determined girl. With the help of her best friend Kristen--aka Barbie-- they put the taunters in their place and manage to implement an inpenetrable aura of self-confidence. But that's only on the outside. Inwardly, both Sarah and Kristen have major insecurities.

Like the classic version, Sarah has a way with words. A gift, actually. She can spin out prose that would make both Cyrano and Shakespeare turn green with envy. Kristen, however, is a bumbling (albeit extremely sexy) idiot. At least in the area of the fine arts. When Rock enters their world, it becomes very clear that this walking Adonis has a functioning brain. Kristen instantly snags Rock with her flirty ways, but it seems like Rock is interested in Sarah's intellect. That's a major problem for Kristen. She needs Sarah's brain to impress Rock. (I mean, Kristen offered to arrange a meeting with his favorite poet-- Walt Whitman! Hysterical.)

Sarah, being the great best friend that she is, allows herself to be roped in to one of the most insane schemes of all time. She becomes Kristen's voice (via e-mail and Facebook), and Rock's muse. You can imagine the misadventures that ensue from this horrible decision. Classic stuff. It kind of reminded me of Steve Martin's movie Roxeanne. Through all of this, however, there is a lessoned to be learned, and Sarah learns it the hard way. Just like my buddy Will says, "To thine own self be true."

If you're familiar with the original story, this one is pretty easy to predict. It really is a retelling. One thing that I do love about this story, however, is the incorporation of Hawthorne's The Scarlett Letter. How powerful. In case you're wondering, Sarah and Rock have the same literature class together. They have to disect quotes from The Scarlett Letter and apply it to real life. Chapman picked wonderful quotes to illustrate the conflicting nature of her characters. It also helped that the literature class's annual theme was "love."

I couldn't decide if I wanted to give the story 3 or 4 starts. I love Cyrano so much that it's hard to compare a contemporary version to such a piece of perfect literary fiction. But on its own, Flawless, was a good story. The plot was consistent, the characters believable, and the overall story was true to Cyrano. There was even a little lesson about loyalty (to yourself and others) in there. So, I ended up marking it as both 3 and 4 (which I guess is really 3.5). Make of it what you will.

Oh, and if you haven't seen the movie Roxeanne or read Cyrano de Bergerac, you really need to get with the program. You might enjoy this book even more if you had something to compare it to. It is a retelling, afterall.

Cover Reveal: Goddess Interrupted + back cover synopsis

I've got to say that I am SUPER excited about this. Even more so after reading what this book is going to be about. Without further ado, here is what the author Aimee Carter has to say about the second book in the Goddess Test series (Goddess Interrupted):

Taken straight from her blog post on GoodReads:

Kate Winters has won immortality.

But if she wants a life in the Underworld with Henry, she'll have to fight for it.

Becoming immortal wasn't supposed to be the easy part. Though Kate is about to be crowned Queen of the Underworld, she's as isolated as ever. And despite her growing love for Henry, ruler of the Underworld, he's becoming ever more distant and secretive. Then, in the midst of Kate's coronation, Henry is abducted by the only being powerful enough to kill him: the King of the Titans.

As the other gods prepare for a war that could end them all, it is up to Kate to save Henry from the depths of Tartarus. But in order to navigate the endless caverns of the Underworld, Kate must enlist the help of the one person who is the greatest threat to her future.

Henry's first wife, Persephone.

Now, I don't know about you, but the fact that Persephone becomes an important character in this book seriously piques my interest. BIG TIME! We were made to dislike her in the first book, so this should be interested. I mean, really, fiance and ex-wife escapading around to save the main man in their lives? Yeah, awkwardness will ensue.  

Oh, and the cover was revealed at BEA. If you're like me, you had no idea about that little tidbit because you weren't there either! So for the rest of the world, here is the cover for Goddess Interrupted. I think it is gorgeous. I like it so much more than the first book's cover.


I'm so glad I came across this information on Goodreads! I'm even more excited for 2012 now. (My trip to Alaska is high on my list of most anticipated events of 2012, but this gets a spot too.)

Mythological Mondays (3)

Thanks to Bonnie at A Backwards Story for this awesome all things myth weekly meme.

Okay, for this week's Mythological Mondays I decided to go with an old favorite. I found a copy of Caroline Cooney's The Goddess of Yesterday at my local library's annual book sale. I've never read anything by her before, so I wasn't sure what  to expect. I can tell you what I got, however-- a whole heaping lot of AWESOME. Here's a snippet from Amazon:

Goddess of YesterdayThe dramatic and bloody siege of Troy is one of the oldest and best of human stories, and in Goddess of Yesterday Caroline Cooney tells it afresh through the eyes of Anaxander, the daughter of the king of a tiny Greek island. As a child she is taken as a hostage to the island of King Nicander. When she is 13, marauding pirates sack the palace, killing everyone but her. Anaxander frightens them off by pretending to be the goddess Medusa, with the help of an octopus as a hairdo. When she is rescued by the ships of King Menalaus, she assumes the identity of a princess, Nicander's daughter, and becomes a royal guest. When Menalaus's cold and vain wife, Helen, runs off to Troy with her lover, Paris, Anaxander goes along to protect Helen's baby son. Within the walls of Troy, she is torn with conflicting loyalties as the bronze-clad warriors of Menalaus land their ships on the plains below the city and war is imminent.
Yep, that's right. It's a story about Helen of Troy. Complete with a Trojan Horse and all. Oh, and don't forget about Cassandra the cursed prophet of Troy. She's in there too.

I've always wondered what Helen of Troy was like. I just couldn't believe that she could leave her kingdom for some studly foreigner. This book does a fantastic job of portraying Helen of Troy as a (for lack of a better word) bitch. Seriously. Cold hearted. But Helen isn't the focus of the story. The real story lies in Anaxander and her many horrifying experiences. She is the epitome of a strong-willed protagonist. It was hard to believe she was meant to be so young throughout this whole story. She is cunning, smart, strong, loyal, and compassionate. I loved her role in the book.

If you haven't read this book, you should certainly check it out. It satisfies my love of all things myth related, while offering plenty of action and adventure (and romance). How could you ask for more?

What do you do when...

What do you do when you agree to read/review a book, but once you start reading it you find it is NOT suited to your taste at all? Yeah, that's the predicament I find myself in as we speak.

I started reading a Hollywood murder mystery that really seems good. The synopsis on the back cover sounds intriguing and suspenseful. However, there are so many F-bombs and other curse words littering the pages that I have a hard time reading the content. I feel like I'm reading the screen play for Pulp Fiction. Not to mention that some of the content is more risque than what I usually read. This is certainly a mature read, and I tend to stick with middle grades and YA. I mean, the whole point of my blog started because of a need within my classroom. This book could never see the fluorescent lights within my classroom walls. Granted, the kids would want to read it because it is mature and taboo, but I'm pretty sure the Boss Man would call me into his office on this one.

So what do you do in situations like this? Do you tell the author that you can't read the book like originally planned because of the language? Should I offer to pass the book on to another blogger for review (any takers?), or do I offer to send that book back to him?

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

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