Book Review: We'll Always Have Summer

Book Review: We'll Always Have Summer by Jenny Han

First sentence: "On Wednesday nights when I was little, my mom and I would watch old musicals."

From the back: "Belly has only ever been in love with two boys, both with the last name Fisher. And after being with Jeremiah for the last two years, she's almost positive he is her soul mate.


Conrad has not gotten over the mistake he made when he let Belly go, even as Jeremiah has always known that Belly is the girl for him. So when Belly and Jeremiah decide to make things forever, Conrad realizes that it's now or never -- tell Belly he loves her, or lose her for good. Belly will have to confront her feelings for Jeremiah and Conrad and face a truth she has possibly always known: She will have to break one of their hearts."

My take: Sigh. Long sigh. It has been a long while since I've read a series of books back to back. I barely finished book two -- and I was diving into book three. I devoured the series. Yes. It was THAT good. When I finished book two, I made up my mind I wanted her to wind up with Conrad. Jeremy was sweet. They were best friends. But Conrad... wow. Belly grows up a lot throughout this series. I wasn't sure I liked her so much in books one and two. But I felt all of her pain in this third and final book of the "summer" series. My only regret... and it's a huge one... is that the series is over. I recommend you go to a bookstore and buy all three. Because if you read one, you have to read two and then you will most assuredly need to read three.

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Chick Loves Lit

Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers (April 26, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1416995587
ISBN-13: 978-1416995586

My Rating: A

Book Review: It's Not Summer Without You

Book Review: It's Not Summer Without You by Jenny Han

First sentence: "It was a hot summer day in Cousins."

From the back: "After spending every single summer at Cousins Beach, Belly's life is about to change. Since her brief relationship with Conrad fizzled out this past winter, she'll be staying home for the first time. Her best friend, Taylor, has lots of plans for them -- boat parties and tanning by the pool and new boys to obsess over. But when Jeremiah calls and says that Conrad has disappeared, all roads seem to lead back to the beach house. Will Belly spend another summer chasing after Conrad, or will she finally be able to let him go?"

My take: I am hooked on this series. In fact, I finished this one quickly last night and am already half-way through the third and final book in the series. I'm sure there are those of you who have read this series who have your favorite Fisher boy. Jeremy or Conrad? These books are an easy read and I can relive my youth vicariously through Belly. Belly is a good strong character but she sometimes can be a spoiled, rotten mean young lady. But reading the things she does, I can't help but think I wold have done some of the things in exactly the same way. I can't wait to finish the third book -- but I have to tell you -- I'm already hoping she ends up with ... I'll tell you when the third book review is posted.

If you've reviewed the book, leave a comment here and I'll post a link to your review!

Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers; Reprint edition (April 5, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1416995560
ISBN-13: 978-1416995562

My Rating: A

Book Review: The Summer I turned Pretty

Book Review: The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han

First sentence: "We'd been driving for about seven thousand years."

From the back: "When each summer begins, Belly leaves her school life behind and escapes to Cousins Beach, the place she has spent every summer of her life. Not only does the beach house mean home away from home, but her favorite people are there: Susannah, her mother's best friend, and her sons, Conrad and Jeremiah. Belly has been chasing Conrad for as long as she can remember, and more than anything, she hopes this summer will be different. Despite distractions from a new guy named Cam and lingering looks from Conrad's brother, Jeremiah, Belly's heart belongs to Conrad. Will he offer his to her? Will this be the summer that changes everything?"

My take: I really enjoyed reading this book. It was light and breezy like a summer should be. But it was serious too. Touching on more serious issues than which bikini to wear to the pool or what to wear to the bonfire. It's about other things like death and dying. Divorce and resentment. Jealousy and spite. The tender time when a girl is caught between being a little girl and being a bigger little girl. I finished this one and picked up the 2nd one in the series and can't wait to get into that one as well. I recommend this book to readers of Sarah Dessen and Jennifer Echols.

If you've reviewed the book, leave a comment here and I'll post a link to your review!

Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (April 6, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1416968296
ISBN-13: 978-1416968290

My Rating: A

Book Review: Don't Breathe A Word

Book Review: Don't Breathe A Word by Jennifer McMahon

First sentence: "Are you sure this is right?" Phoebe asked, doing her best to sound like a chipper, adventure-loving girl."

From the back: "On a soft summer night in Vermont, twelve-year-old Lisa went into the woods behind her house and never came out again. Before she disappeared, she told her little brother, Sam, about a door that led to a magical place where she would meet the King of the Fairies and become his queen.

Fifteen years later, Phoebe is in love with Sam, a practical, sensible man who doesn't fear the dark and doesn't have bad dreams -- who, in fact, helps Phoebe ignore her own. But suddenly the couple is faced with a series of eerie, unexplained occurrences that challenge Sam's hardheaded, realistic view of the world. As they question their reality, a terrible promise Sam made years ago is revealed -- a promise that could destroy them all."

My take: This is the second book by Jennifer McMahon that I've read this month. I like the way she writes and weaves a story. Some of the spots in this book were predictable, but it didn't detract from the enjoyment I got from reading it. On the cover it asks "Are you one of the chosen?" Throughout the book Phoebe talks about her childhood and her mother's strange demise. She talks about the door under the bed and the shadow people. When things start piecing together as the book winds down, you start wondering was it the fairies or something more sinister? Was it some sick, twisted pedophile who abducted Lisa? Things start leaning one way and then they are thrown in a different direction. I totally enjoyed the book and think you will too -- if you like a good mystery with a bit of paranormal and magic thrown into the mix as well. I look forward to reading more work by Ms. McMahon.

If you've reviewed the book, leave a comment here and I'll post a link to your review!

My Random Acts of Reading
Eve's Fan Garden

Paperback: 464 pages
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Original edition (May 17, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0061689378
ISBN-13: 978-0061689376

My rating: A

Book Review: Possession

Book Review: Possession by Elana Johnson

From the back: Good girls don't walk with boys. Even if they're good boys -- and Zenn is the best. He strolled next to me, all military with his hands clasped behind his back, wearing the black uniform of a Forces recruit. The green stripes on his shirtsleeves flashed with silver tech lights, probably recording everything. Probably? Who am I kidding? Those damn stripes were definitely recording everything. Walking though the park in the evening is not technically against the rules. Good people do it all the time. But walking through the park with a boy could get me in trouble. When darkness fell, another rule would be broken.

My take: This book had great promise. I love Dystopian. But after reading awhile I realized it was one adventure after another. Reading more like a series of disjointed short stories than a smoothly flowing novel. I was over half-way through when I started wondering what was really going on. Where were we headed. Were the main characters really going anywhere or was there a method to their madness. I'm not sure I ever got it. Over 400 pages that could have been much shorter. Honestly, I could not get into this book and hate saying that about any author's hard work.

If you've reviewed the book, leave a comment here and I'll post a link to your review!

Taming the Bookshelf

Hardcover: 416 pages
Publisher: Simon Pulse (June 7, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1442421258
ISBN-13: 978-1442421257

My rating: D

Book Review: Promise Not to Tell

Book Review: Promise Not to Tell by Jennifer McMahon

First sentence: "Touch it," she said.

From the back: "Forty-one-year-old school nurse Kate Cypher has returned home to rural Vermont to care for her mother who's afflicted with Alzheimer's. On the night she arrives, a young girl is murdered -- a horrific crime that eerily mirrors another from Kate's childhood. Three decades earlier, her dirt-poor friend Del -- shunned and derided by classmates as "Potato Girl" -- was brutally slain. Del's killer was never found, while the victim has since achieved immortality in local legends and ghost stories. Now, as this new murder investigation draws Kate irresistibly in, her past and present collide in terrifying, unexpected ways. Because nothing is quite what it seems... and the grim specters of her youth are far from forgotten."

My take: I really enjoyed reading this book. The weaving of past and present and intertwining it into a believable ghost story and murder mystery. The characters were colorful. I liked the main character, Kate. As a young girl, new to the area, Kate lived in a commune with hippies. An outsider who just wanted to fit in. So much so, that she betrayed her only friend, Del to gain the "respect" of the more popular, better adjusted children at school. Del was Kate's best and only real friend and Kate let her down when it mattered the most. I won't tell you what happens in the end, but it's a good ending with a surprise twist or three. If you like a good who-done-it murder mystery with a bit of paranormal on the side, you'll enjoy reading this book.

If you've reviewed the book, leave a comment here and I'll post a link to your review!

Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Harper Paperbacks (April 10, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0061143316

My rating: B

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