July 30, 2013

Top Ten Tuesdays: Best Beginnings and Endings


Pies & Prejudice (The Mother-Daughter Book Club, #4)    
Jess stares at me in disbelief.  "What do you mean, you're moving to England?"

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler
Claudia knew that she could never pull off the old-fashioned kind of running away.  That is, running away in the heat of anger with a knapsack on her back.  She didn't like discomfort; even picnics were untidy and inconvenient: all those insects and the sun melting the icing on the cupcakes.  Therefore, she decided that her leaving home would not be just running from somewhere but would be running to somewhere.  To a large place, a comfortable place, an indoor place, and preferably a beautiful place.  And that's why she decided upon the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

Palace of Stone (Princess Academy, #2)
Miri woke to the insistent bleating of a goat. [I love how the line from the first book is repeated.]

Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy (Gallagher Girls, #2)
"Just be yourself," my mother said, as if that were easy.  Which it isn't.  Ever.  Especially not when you're fifteen and don't know what language you're going to have to speak at lunch, or what name you'll have to use the next time you do a "project" for extra credit.  Not when your nickname is the Chameleon.
Not when you go to a school for spies.

The Last Olympian (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #5)
The end of the world started when a pegasus landed on the hood of my car.


The Healer's Apprentice (Fairy Tales #1)
While a group of acrobats performed in the center of the tables, raising cheers and shouts of astonishment from the crowd, Wilhelm and Rose slipped out a side door.  Hand in hand they hurried toward the stairs and the life that had been planned for them since before they were born.

The Fairest Beauty
If Gabe's life was a book, it was time for the next chapter.  And he was ready.

Cinder (Lunar Chronicles, #1)
Soon, the whole world would be searching for her—Linh Cinder. A deformed cyborg with a missing foot... A mechanic with no one to run to, nowhere to go. But they would be looking for a ghost.

The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games #1)
[These are a few of the lines on the last page, but they're not the last one.] 
"One more time?  For the audience?" he says.  His voice isn't angry.  It's hollow, which is worse.  Already the boy with the bread is slipping away from me.

Double Crossed: A Spies and Thieves Story (Gallagher Girls, #5.5; Heist Society, #2.5)
Maybe Macey was right and they would meet again.  Then Kat thought about her new friends on the right side of the law and wondered whether that would be a good thing  or a bad thing.  But in the end she merely shrugged, knowing at the very least it would be interesting.  Knowing, in her gut, it might just be the beginning.

July 27, 2013

An Interview With a Fellow Blogger: Sunny Duvall

There's an awesome book blogger I've been following for at least two months now.  I'm still not entirely sure how I found her blog, but I'm glad I did.  Go check out Sunny's blog over at Blue Sky Bookshelf.  And guess what?  Today's her birthday, so that gives you another reason to pop over to her blog.


1. How did you get started reviewing books?
Like any book blogger, I felt the continual frustration of not finding anyone I could discuss books with. I had my sister and my mom, but we all still had slightly different tastes and didn't read the same books. So after my older sister started a blog, she nagged (she would call it "urged") me to do the same. Finally, I started making up my own reviews and when I realized I liked it, I decided to keep on doing it. 

2. What's been the highlight of your blogging career?
Hm. It sounds so shallow, but reaching a few hundred followers. It was my own goal. (Of course, a big highlight is meeting so many people...but you'll hear about that in a second.)

3. What's your favorite part of blogging?
Meeting so many people! From authors to bloggers to blog readers, all the wonderful bookish people. I hadn't realized before how many genuinely nice people there are. Also, that authors really are as down to earth as everyone always claimed they are. 

4. Who's your favorite author and why?
ALLY CARTER! Her series was the first YA series that I got hooked on. She writes amazing books. It's about SPIES and a boarding school and cute boys and kick-butt characters with goosebump-inducing scenes. Also, another really awesome series about thieves. You just can't beat 'em. I got to meet her this year so there's another highlight! 
[Hurrah for Gallagher Girls and Heist Society!  I love Ally Carter and her books, too.]

5. Describe your dream spot to read.
Paris, France. Or in Rome. I'd play Italian music and eat a European treat and it would be lovely. Other pick would be Central Park in NYC in the fall. 

6. Favorite fairytale?
It's hard to narrow down! Out of Disney or the retellings I've read, it would have to be Mulan...and Beauty and the Beast...and Aladdin :) 

7. Quick! 5 book recommendations for teens.
The Gallagher Girls by Ally Carter
All books by Janette Rallison or Meg Cabot
Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce (or the whole series, which I just finished)
Seven Daughters and Seven Sons by Barabara Cohen and Bahija Lovejoy
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Thanks so much for letting me interview you, Sunny!  It was an honor, and I had fun thinking up the questions.  Can't wait to read more of your reviews. ;) And I just wanted to mention how fab I think your button is (seen above).

July 25, 2013

Book Review: Fangirl


Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Grade: D
This book was an ARC provided by my local indie bookseller in exchange for an honest review.
Summary: Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan . . .

But for Cath, being a fan is her life — and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words . . . And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?

Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?

And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

This is not going to be a normal review.  I will not be dividing this post into The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly because, unfortunately, there was a lot of bad and ugly.

I enjoyed the premise of the book.  As a member of multiple fandoms, I know what it's like to wait for each new book, wait every week for a new episode, and be the biggest fan.  So I got very excited when I first heard about Fangirl. But then on almost every page, there was an instance of foul language, which was immediately off-putting.  I was not comfortable with most of the romance or the fan fiction that Cath writes.  I did enjoy how Cath's relationship with her twin sister and dad were explored (minus the language).  But altogether, this book was a let-down.  It felt like page after page of Cath just writing her fan fiction and not growing as a person.  Would I recommend it?  Honestly, no.  I suppose I should've learned from when I checked Rainbow Rowell's Eleanor and Park out of the library and did not get past the third page when I saw the f-bomb used for the eighth time.  Ah, well.  Live and learn.

July 23, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Words/Topics That Make Me Not Pick Up a Book & Teaser Tuesday

Since I didn't participate when TTT did words/topics that make them pick up a book, I'll be doing half-and half.  Let's start with topics that will make me not pick up a book.

1. Vampires.  Just...yuck.
2. Werewolves.  They're like vampires.
3. Okay, paranormal in general.  It's just not something I enjoy.
4. Wizardry/witchcraft.  It goes against my Christian beliefs, and I'm not comfortable with magic in most books unless it's used well in a fairytale. (I use some form of magic in my fairytales.
5. Horror novels.  I'm the type of person who is easily influenced, in a sense.  Stuff that I read and see on TV or in a movie affects me.  It can often seem real to me and will cause anxiety.  And this is totally crazy, but the first time I read The Hunger Games, I had anxiety.  It was just so intense and realistic.  Now I can read them, no problem.

Now for topics that make me pick up a book.

6. Bookworm/books/book club.  If the book in some way revolves around books, then I'm a happy camper.  I love reading about fellow bookworms.
7. Princesses.  Whether modern or historical, princesses are awesome.  Note that I'm not talking about fairytales here but real life monarchies. Or fictional monarchies in a historical or modern setting.
8. Chicago. Books set in the city that's fairly near and dear to my heart are something I'd pick up.  So many novels are set in California!  I'd love to see more Chicago, more Virginia, and more France.
9. Mythology.  This is an iffy topic.  Sometimes, I feel like it's used incorrectly and goes against my Christian beliefs.  Other times, it's just fiction and I will read it. (Percy Jackson fits into this last category.)
10. Fairytale retellings.  I love fairytales, but I am picky when it comes to retelling.  Melanie Dickerson and Marissa Meyer have done splendid jobs. 

Hosted by Should Be Reading

~Grab your current read
~Open to a random page
~Share two (2) "teaser" sentences from somewhere on the page
~BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! ( make sure that what you share doesn't give away to much away! You don't want to ruin the book for others!)
~Share the title & author too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR lists if they like your teasers!
- Then go on over to Should be Reading and share your teaser in her comments section!

This week, I'm just angry.  I'm angry at him for not telling me about the letter and angry at my friends for acting like he was never here, but mostly, I'm angry at myself for letting my guard down so completely - for accepting this whole thing as perfectly normal.
-page 323, Time Between Us by Tamara Ireland Stone

Time Between Us (Time Between Us, #1)

On Friday, I bought three books, Time Between Us being one of them.  I checked this book out of the library a few weeks ago, and it's a delight to reread it.  It's very mild when it comes to language and romance, so you should definitely give it a try. ;)

July 18, 2013

Cover Love #3

So today one of my favorite authors officially unveiled the cover of her new book.  I actually saw the cover a few months ago when some website (not the author's announced the book).  But now I've seen a bigger picture of it, and boy, am I excited!

The Captive Maiden by Melanie Dickerson

Happily Ever After ...Or Happily Nevermore? Gisela's childhood was filled with laughter and visits from nobles such as the duke and his young son. But since her father's death, each day has been filled with nothing but servitude to her stepmother. So when Gisela learns the duke's son, Valten---the boy she has daydreamed about for years---is throwing a ball in hopes of finding a wife, she vows to find a way to attend, even if it's only for a taste of a life she'll never have. 

To her surprise, she catches Valten's eye. Though he is rough around the edges, Gisela finds Valten has completely captured her heart. But other forces are bent on keeping the two from falling further in love, putting Gisela in more danger than she ever imagined.

I loved Melanie's first three fairytale retellings, and I am super excited for this one.  Cinderella with a bit of Ivanhoe is how Melanie has describe The Captive Maiden.  And I love the cover.  The dress is so elegant, and the color is lovely.  I love the white, gray, and blue.  Everything complements each other well.  The cover also hints at which fairytale this book retells while not being too cliche (I don't see a glass slipper).  October cannot come soon enough.

July 17, 2013

Book Review: Rapunzel Untangled

Recently, I started participating in ARCycling, and today my first two books arrived.  I spent the last three hours reading the first and I'm ready to review it.

Rapunzel Untangled

Rapunzel Untangled by Cindy C. Bennett
Grade: B-
Summary: Rapunzel is not your average teenager. 

For one thing, she has a serious illness that keeps her inside the mysterious Gothel Mansion. And for another, her hair is 15 feet long. Not to mention that she’s also the key to ultimately saving the world from certain destruction. But then she meets a boy named Fane, who changes all she has ever known, and she decides to risk everything familiar to find out who she really is. 

Filled with romance, adventure, and mystery, Rapunzel Untangled is one story you won’t want to put down. Discover the true meaning of love and friendship in this modern twist to the classic fairytale.

The Good: Rapunzel was an enjoyable character.  I liked how there was so much she didn't know about our world so Fane (the love interest) had to teach her a lot.  It added a bit of humor.  And as y'all know, I like fairytale retellings.  This one was a good twist while keeping the original tale intact.  Gothel was a good villain, and Fane was a good love interest.

The Bad: There were quite a few plot holes.  I don't like when a book introduces information and doesn't follow through with it.  I also felt like there were several elements too similar to the Disney movie Tangled, like the author had used that as her base point instead of the original fairytale.

The Ugly: A lot of the main plot revolved around some spirituality that I'm not comfortable with.  It felt very Satanic, and I'm not comfortable with that.  Gothel was mixed up in a ton of demonic activities.  So that's why I didn't enjoy this book as much as I could've.

I went into Rapunzel Untangled enthusiastic and optimistic.  I came out feeling sort of let-down.  The book didn't live up to my expectations.  If you don't feel comfortable with the stuff I mentioned in the Ugly section, I don't recommend this book.  If it doesn't bother you, then give Rapunzel Untangled a try.

July 16, 2013

Teaser Tuesdays-July 16th

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

He did that thing you do when you're a summer person getting your first delicious taste of the beach.  He dug his toes into the sand, kicked a bit at the surf, then crouched down and let the water fizz through his fingers.
-page 13, Sixteenth Summer by Michelle Dalton

Sixteenth Summer

I absolutely adore Sixteenth Summer.  This is my first reread of it, and then it'll be going back to the library this weekend.  I'm hoping to finish it quickly because this bookworm got books for her birthday today.

July 13, 2013

Interview With Heather Vogel Frederick, Author of The Mother-Daughter Book Club

So this week, I had the honor of interviewing the fabulous Heather Vogel Frederick.  She wrote my favorite series (The Mother-Daughter Book Club) and some other amazing books (Once Upon a Toad, the Spy Mice series, etc.).

(That's my signed copy of Once Upon a Toad.)

I emailed her and asked six questions, so here they are with her answers.

First question: What type of novel instantly catches your attention in a bookstore and why?
Well, I know we're not supposed to judge books by their covers, but ... let's face it, covers are important!  More often than not, though, the first thing that catches my eye is the author's name, especially if it's a friend, or someone whose books I love.  Beyond that, if it's a subject that interests me (I'm a history wonk, so am often drawn to non-fiction), I'll check it out, or if it's on a bookstore's "Staff Picks" shelf, I'll give it a look as well.

2. How did you go about finding an agent and publishing your first book?
Actually, I published my first book before I found my agent. When I finished writing THE VOYAGE OF PATIENCE GOODSPEED, I sent it off to Kevin Lewis, an editor at Simon & Schuster that a friend had recommended.  He very kindly called me a short time later, and basically gave me lots of praise and then said, "But honey, nothing happens for the first 100 pages -- you forgot the plot!" I will never be able to thank him enough for taking the time to give me a brief master class over the phone on how to plot, and for suggesting a few tweaks to beef up the storyline. I revised the manuscript, sent it back to him, and S&S published it.  It was only after the book came out that I set about looking for an agent. (Who is the most excellent Barry Goldblatt, by the way.)

3. What's your favorite fairytale? 
I can't pick just one!   Diamonds and Toads. The Twelve Dancing Princesses. Sleeping Beauty. Beauty and the Beast. The Fisherman and His Wife. Rapunzel.  There are far too many fabulous fairy tales to choose from!

[I think I fangirled a bit at her choices.  Those are some of my favorites!]

4. One of my favorite jokes/puns in The Mother-Daughter Book Club series is the "whole nine yards" exchange between Mrs. Wong and Megan in Home for the Holidays.  Do jokes/puns like that come naturally when you're writing, or do they take planning? [Side note: I've found that most of the jokes in my books take a bit of planning.  I don't think humor is one of my fortes!]
They come naturally.  Not necessarily in the first draft, but naturally. Writing for me is very organic -- things just tend to sprout and grow.

5. Can you give any hints about upcoming writing projects?
Yes! I just finished the first draft of my new book, ABSOLUTELY TRULY (coming in Fall 2014). It's set in a world that my Mother-Daughter Book Club readers will feel entirely at home in -- a small town like Concord, Massachusetts, but a fictional one in New Hampshire this time. Truly, the main character, moves there with her family to take over a small bookshop, where there's a mystery afoot...

[And this is where my reaction looked something like this...

That is super exciting news, don't y'all agree?]

6. Quick!  5 book recommendations for teens.
SPINDLE'S END by Robin McKinley. (I also love her books BEAUTY and ROSE DAUGHTER, both retellings of Beauty and the Beast.)  I CAPTURE THE CASTLE by Dodie Smith (who also write 101 DALMATIONS).  ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS by Stephanie Perkins. HOPE WAS HERE by Joan Bauer (anything by Joan Bauer). DAIRY QUEEN by Catherine Gilbert Murdock. 

I want to take a moment to thank Heather again. (I've probably thanked her a dozen times already.)  Hopefully my first interview didn't go too poorly, and I hope y'all liked it!

July 10, 2013

Putting the Bookworm in Bookworm/Future Author

That is the pile of books currently on my bedroom floor (except it's now by my nightstand so I'm less likely to trip over it; I am not known for my balance and grace).  As of now, I've read four of the books (Falling for Hamlet, Sixteenth Summer, Divergent, and The Fault in Our stars), but there's still a lot more to go!

July 9, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Best/Worst Movie Adaptations

People always say the movie isn't as good as the book.  That's often true.  But some movies are a good adaptation.  After all, a director's vision is different than the author's, and you can't fit an entire book into two hours.  So here are 5 books that I think had good adaptations, and five that I think didn't.

A weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

1. Pride and Prejudice: Both the 1995 mini-series and the 2005 movie definitely did the book justice.  I liked how the mini-series stayed so true to the book, but I liked the cast better in the 2005 version.
2. The Hunger Games: It stayed fairly true to the book.  I enjoyed getting a glimpse of the Gamemakers; their actions confirmed a lot of Katniss's thoughts and the commentary from Caesar and Claudius was a good substitution for the book's narration.
3. Charlotte's Web (animated): Okay, sure, it wasn't exactly the same as the book.  But this was a childhood favorite of mine.  And since I was in a musical production of Charlotte's Web, I can sing along... :)
4. Little Women (1994): This was one of the movies of my childhood.  I had (probably still have it) on VHS, and I would watch it whenever I had a cold or the flu.  Little Women was one of my favorite books when I was little, so that certainly helped.
5. The Help: I've read the book and watched the movie, and I actually found the movie to be better.  All the actresses, especially Octavia Spencer, brought such life to the characters and made them seem like Aibileen, Minny, Skeeter, and all the rest were real people.  Plus, I found the movie to actually be more appropriate than the book.

And now for the worst.

6. Ella Enchanted: I saw the movie before I read the book (although my mom wanted me to read the book first, it was checked out at our local library), but I liked the book much more.  The way they changed it was horrendous.  I could tolerate the singing.  But not how the plotline changed so drastically.
7. Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief: Just...no.
8. The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian: I'm talking about the recent adaptation.  I mean, this one wasn't horrendous, but it was pretty darn awful.  All the changes ruined it quite a bit.  And Susan and Caspian liking each other? What was up with that?
9. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Johnny Depp version): I mean, what was that?  It was horrifyingly creepy and nothing, nothing can rival Gene Wilder's version.  He's the perfect version of Willy Wonka-eccentric but still remotely normal.
10. Tuck Everlasting: I never liked the idea of a grown-up Winnie.  To be honest, the book was pretty disturbing, too.

And a couple honorable mentions (these didn't quite make the best adaptations list).
A Walk to Remember (Even though it had its differences from the book, I still loved it and cried.)
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (Well done, and a beautiful use of CGI.)

July 7, 2013

Book Review: Starstruck

Here's another lovely book review for y'all. :)


Starstruck by Rachel Shukert
Grade: C+
Summary: Every week they arrive in Los Angeles--beautiful and talented young hopefuls who dream of becoming stars. It's all Margaret Frobisher has ever wanted—and when she's discovered by a powerful agent, she can barely believe her luck. She's more than ready to escape her snobby private school and conservative Pasadena family for a chance to light up the silver screen.

The competition is fierce at Olympus Studios and Margaret—now Margo—is chasing her Hollywood dreams alongside girls like Gabby Preston, who at 16 is already a grizzled show-biz veteran caught between the studio and the ravenous ambition of her ruthless mother, and sultry Amanda Farraday, who seems to have it all--ambition, glamour . . . and dirty secrets. Missing from the pack is Diana Chesterfield, the beautiful actress who mysteriously disappeared, and there are whispers that Diana's boyfriend—Margo's new co-star—may have had something to do with it. Margo quickly learns that fame comes with a price, and that nothing is what it seems.   

Set in Old Hollywood, Starstruck follows the lives of three teen girls as they live, love, and claw their way to the top in a world where being a star is all that matters.

The Good: The setting is fabulous-Old Hollywood.  How fun is that?  I've heard many people worried that this book would be about modern day Hollywood, and they were glad it wasn't.  Me, too.  Old Hollywood is a time and place that fascinates me.  Margo, Gabby, and Amanda were diverse characters, each one with a unique personality and story to tell.

The Bad: First of all, too many elements felt too much like adult content for a young adult novel.  A lot of Amanda's situation made me uncomfortable (y'all have to remember I'm a Christian who prefers good and pure books, even if they're not Christian fiction).  There's a minor storyline with a minor character that didn't sit right with me (more in The Ugly section).  And then... SPOILER there's all these moments where Margo's looks are compared to Diana Chesterfield and Margo even has a pin like Diana's, and I think Margo is going to end up being Diana's daughter or something, but no.  Nothing ever happened there.  It was all just because Margo is Diana's replacement. END OF SPOILER.

The Ugly: There was a fair bit of language.  I don't believe I saw the f-word, but I know I caught the s-word at least once.  Romance got a bit passionate at times.  One guy turns out to be gay, and while I don't hate gays, but the whole situation felt weird to me, especially in Old Hollywood.  Obviously, that would happen back then, but I just didn't like it.

I went into this book, hoping I'd love it, and I finished it with disappointment.  It didn't live up to any of my expectations, and a good deal of it left a bitter taste in my mouth.  So, unfortunately, Starstruck will not go on my To Buy list.

July 4, 2013

Cover Love #2

First of all, happy Independence Day, everyone (well, my American followers).

It's my second Cover Love, hosted by Bookshelvers Anonymous, and I think I've chosen a good book for today.


Entwined by Heather Dixon

Azalea is trapped. Just when she should feel that everything is before her . . . beautiful gowns, dashing suitors, balls filled with dancing . . . it's taken away. All of it.

The Keeper understands. He's trapped, too, held for centuries within the walls of the palace. And so he extends an invitation.

Every night, Azalea and her eleven sisters may step through the enchanted passage in their room to dance in his silver forest.

But there is a cost.

The Keeper likes to keep things.

Azalea may not realize how tangled she is in his web until it is too late.

Y'all know how I love fairytales.  That's what really drew me to the cover of Entwined when I saw it in Barnes & Noble.  I love the fanciful designs around the edges and how a castle can be glimpsed in the distance.  Yes, a girl in a dress is overdone, but I don't care. It's a beautiful dress, and we don't see the girl's face.
Entwined is in my stack of books from the library, and I hope to start it soon.

July 2, 2013

A Double Feature Book Review

Falling for Hamlet

Falling for Hamlet by Michelle Ray
Grade: B+
Summary: Meet Ophelia: a blonde, beautiful high-school senior and long-time girlfriend of Prince Hamlet of Denmark. Her life is dominated not only by her boyfriend's fame and his overbearing family, but also by the paparazzi who hound them wherever they go. As the devastatingly handsome Hamlet spirals into madness after the mysterious death of his father, the King, Ophelia rides out his crazy roller coaster life, and lives to tell about it. In live television interviews, of course.

Passion, romance, drama, humor, and tragedy intertwine in this compulsively readable debut novel, told by a strong-willed, modern-day Ophelia.

The Good: I learned don't just a book by its cover (I really don't like the cover).  I found myself wishing I had known about this book in May so I could've read it before performing 5-minute Hamlet with my Shakespeare class.  I got a lot of new insight into Ophelia (and Hamlet and Horatio, for that matter).  I enjoyed how the author left the original play intact whilst adding her own twists.  And how stuff from the original was fit in. (Poor Yoricks! To be or not to be... The play. Ophelia and the flowers.)

The Bad: There was an added character (one of many to add to the story's modern feel) named Sebastian.  He rubbed me the wrong way and felt so unnecessary to the story overall.

The Ugly: The language and levels of romance (and also some implied stuff) were a bit iffy for me.  I've read the original, so I think Michelle Ray took a lot of what Shakespeare hinted at and translated it into actual scenes.  Most of the language was tolerable.  The worst words were used in textspeak abbreviations.

I truly liked Falling for Hamlet.  It gets a B+ because of language and romantic content.

Sixteenth Summer

Sixteenth Summer by Michelle Dalton
Grade: A
Summary: Anna is dreading another tourist-filled summer on Dune Island that follows the same routine: beach, ice cream, friends, repeat. That is, until she locks eyes with Will, the gorgeous and sweet guy visiting from New York. Soon, her summer is filled with flirtatious fun as Anna falls head over heels in love. But with every perfect afternoon, sweet kiss, and walk on the beach, Anna can’t ignore that the days are quickly growing shorter, and Will has to leave at the end of August. Anna’s never felt anything like this before, but when forever isn’t even a possibility, one summer doesn’t feel worth the promise of her heart breaking….

The Good: Pretty much everything.  Michelle Dalton's characters are lifelike.  I loved all the random little things, like the Mobius strip bracelet, ice cream, the picnic towards the beginning, and so much more.  This was one of the sweetest summer romance books I've read.  So if you hate summer romances, I guess this book isn't for you... I literally finished this book 20 minutes ago, and I'm still riding on that book high.  I also think I'm still stuck in Anna's world.  Which isn't a bad thing.  Even her routine summer is more exciting than mine.

The Bad: I don't want to spoil anything, but let me just say that rain in romances is so cliche.  I mean, it can rain, but it shouldn't automatically be this big romantic moment.  Like I said, this is a summer romance, so if you go into it expecting much else, you won't get it.  Yeah, there are mini subplots but they aren't the main focus.  I would've liked something like in Nicholas Sparks's The Last Song where there is so much more than a summer romance.  At the same time, I fell into Anna and Will's world and couldn't break out.  I spent the whole book hoping and wishing for them.

The Ugly: Hardly anything.  Only PG language, and the worst Anna and Will do is make out and kiss a lot.  But it's sweet and romantic and almost movie-like.

The verdict: READ THIS BOOK.  Seriously.  It's going in my list of favorite books.  I don't care if it's fluff.  Sometimes a girl needs fluff.  Life shouldn't be serious all the time.