Thursday, April 28, 2011

Review: The Anti-Prom by Abby McDonald

Book Reviewed: The Anti-Prom (ARC)
Author of the Book: Abby McDonald
Publication Date: March 08, 2011
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Recommended Ages: 14 and Up
Type: Young Adult Fiction
Page Count: 288 Pages
Date Finished: April 22, 2011
Reviewer: Roshini
Acquired/Source: Received ARC through mail from Abby McDonald/Candlewick Press for an honest review.


Synopsis:
Three unlikely allies team up for a night of rebellion, romance, and revenge in a high-stakes dramedy from acclaimed young author Abby McDonald.

They’ve spent years at the same high school without speaking a word to one another, but that’s all about to change. Popular Bliss was having the perfect prom until she found her BFF and boyfriend making out in the back of a limo. Bad girl Jolene wouldn’t be caught dead at the prom, yet here she is, trussed up in pink ruffles, risking her reputation for some guy - some guy who is forty minutes late. And shy, studious, ├╝ber-planner Meg never counted on her date’s standing her up and leaving her idling in the parking lot outside the prom. Get ready for The Anti-Prom, Abby McDonald’s hilarious, heart-tugging tale about three girls and one unforgettable prom night.(Via Goodreads)

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Review:
Prom has never been this exhilarating before! Three girls, never really spoken a word since this night, gang up to go against the tragedies of each of their Prom nights. Prom night for these three will be something never heard of before, made up of sweet revenge to the crushed and blooming romance to the most unlikely of the three.
Bliss is the stereotypical, popular, queen bee of the school. The book starts out in her perspective, describing what she finds in the limo. Jolene is the bad girl, the girl you don't want to mess with since her name is included in so many rumors around the school. Bliss seeks her assistance to get revenge on her so called BFF. These two unlikely pair find Meg, the invisible until now, as their way to get the revenge by making her drive them around. The rest of the novel deals with how each girl solve their dilemmas in life. The adventures that they go through while reaching their answers is what creates the plot for most of the book.
Abby McDonald writes an exceptional story line on the theme of realizing who you are and who you can be. The three girls share an incredible bonding experience-all the while plotting to ruin a prom. The writing style of the author has each chapter narrated by switching off between characters. This really shows the contrasting personalities of the three girls. The reader gets a more in depth view of each of their minds instead of getting only one of them. This style creates an exhilarating read instead listening to one character drone on and on while you really want to know what is happening to the others.
The novel really showed me how friendships can develop over a matter of hours between people who are complete opposites. The romance that was in The Anti-Prom was near the end, but amazingly sweet. The one thing that I didn't like was that Bliss was way too over stereotypical. If Abby had made her a little bit more realistic, it would have improved Bliss's character by miles. There were numerous humorous scenes in the book that made me laugh out. Some of these scenes bought the book together to add on more color to it.
The Anti-Prom was an incredible read that had an fantastic effect on me. It will bring out this power on anyone who picks it up! I enjoyed reading the book and it was different then the usual novels about prom nights.
Buy the Book

Add to Goodread TBR List

-Thank you to the publisher for sending out a copy of the ARC to me for the review!-

Rating:
4: Super, but not a superior! Worth reading...

*The copy of The Anti-Prom that I received was an ARC. The published copy may have changes or edits to the text. Please check the final copy for anything about The Anti-Prom.*

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Author Interview: Roisin Meaney, Author of Semi-Sweet



Today, I have an interview with the fabulous author, Roisin Meaney about her book Semi-Sweet. I already have a review up for Semi-Sweet, so be sure to check that out as well! In the review there is also a giveaway for two finished copies of Semi-Sweet for two winners! Without delay, ladies and gentlemen, I present my interview with Roisin Meaney! Thank you so much for joining us, Roisin!

Born on 3rd September.

A published author of three books for adults and two for children, Roisin has also written numerous articles for journals and newspapers. She worked as an advertising copywriter for a number of years, and brings a vast amount of experience to
the editing team.
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1. Give us (the readers of Bookish Delights) five words that describe your book, Semi-Sweet, meaningfully.

Warm, funny, varied, Irish, real.

2. What was your inspiration for Semi-Sweet? How about the personality of each of the characters and the characters themselves?

My inspiration was my love of baking. Hannah Robinson is probably mostly me; Adam is the male friend I'd like to have; Nora is based on someone I know (and wish I didn't); Geraldine and Stephen are amalgams of lots of my friends' parents; Vivienne, God help her, is all made up!

3. Where does all the magic happen? For example, do you have any special spots that you can just plop down and write?

Well, I write at the kitchen table, which is pretty ordinary, but my house is in a lovely quiet cul de sac where the loudest noise comes from the birds on my neighbour's trees...it's the ideal setting for a writer.

4. When did you first began writing?

In 2001, in San Francisco. I moved over there for a year to write my first book.

5. What is your favorite cupcake flavor?

Coffee and walnut....although strangely I'm not a big coffee drinker, prefer tea.

6. Do you travel with your writing, for ideas?

I travel when I can, usually to writers' retreats as I find I usually write loads there. I've been to retreats in France, Spain and Newfoundland - although my favourite retreat is right here in Ireland, the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in County Monaghan. Whenever I'm stuck for an idea I sneak up there for a week. Works every time.

7. If there was no possible way to write, what would be your next career pick?

A baker. Failing that, a florist. Failing that, I'd like to paint murals in children's rooms and children's hospital wards.

8. What is the one question you are sick of answering in all of your interviews?

Where do your ideas come from? I have no idea but thank God they're still coming!

-I don't know-I guess whatever comes to my mind that the blog readers might like....


9. What do you feel like doing when you have writer's block?

Going to Monaghan - see number 6 above - or if I can't do that, a little shopping usually helps to unblock me!

10. What was the best compliment and toughest criticism given to your work?

I suppose the compliment would be getting to the number one spot in the Irish bestseller list with The Last Week of May. As to the toughest criticism, I'm lucky in that I've never got a bad review but some might be a little lackluster and say nothing much. That's about as bad as it's got, touch wood.

11. Do you have any advice to aspiring writers?

I think all I can advise is just find the time and sit down and do it. If it's in you, you need to let it out. If you can write, it'll come out the way it's supposed to.

12. Finally...The question everybody hates......What was the most embarrassing thing that ever happened to you?

Gosh, so many I can't settle on one....I'm always putting my foot in it! Talk first, think later, that's me!


Thank you so much for doing an interview with Bookish Delights! We hope you visit again for more of your books!


Check out Roisin's Sites:

Roisin's Site

Roisin on Facebook

Roisin on Goodreads


Roisin's Book: Semi-Sweet



Hannah Robinson is just about to open the doors to her new shop Cupcakes on the Corner when out of the blue her boyfriend Patrick announces that he's leaving her for another woman. Faced with starting a business on her own, Hannah begins to wonder if her life-long dream has just turned into a nightmare. So her best friend Adam sets his birthday as a deadline - seven months to make her shop a success, or walk away from it all. And as Hannah immerses herself in her new business, she soon discovers that she's too busy to think about Patrick and his now pregnant girlfriend ...or to notice an increasingly regular customer who has recently developed a sweet tooth for all things cupcake. But while Hannah is slowly piecing her life back together, family friend Alice's is falling apart. Her husband Tom's drinking is getting out of control and things are about to get a whole lot worse. As the seven-month milestone approaches, Hannah must decide her future. And while she's figuring out what's reallyimportant, it becomes clear to everyone that happiness in life, and in love, is all in the making. (Via Goodreads)

Buy Semi-Sweet:



Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Review: The Reckoning by Kelley Armstrong



Title: The Reckoning

Author: Kelley Armstrong

Release Date: April 6, 2010

Publisher: Orbit

Pages: 391

Finished Reading: September 5, 2010

Source: I got my copy from the library.

Synopsis (via Goodreads): Only two weeks ago, life was all too predictable. But that was before I saw my first ghost. Now, along with my supernatural friends Tori, Derek, and Simon, I’m on the run from the Edison Group, which genetically altered us as part of their sinister experiment. We’re hiding in a safe house that might not be as safe as it seems. We’ll be gone soon anyway, back to rescue those we’d left behind and to take out the Edison Group . . . or so we hope.

In a Sentence: When you’re a genetically altered teenager who can raise the dead, you have to be careful who you trust.

Overall Rating: 5

Plot Rating: 5

Character Rating: 5

Writing Rating: 5

Review: Excellent third book in the series. I loved the way that the story played out. It was extremely believable. Her characters are so vivid and real that you can easily get lost on their adventures.

The story picks up right where the last one left off. The twists in the story in regard to who the group should trust were unexpected as was the reality of the situation as to who and what the Edison Group really was.

Chloe’s decision in the end was not something that I expected her to do, but she’s such a strong female character that I really should have expected it or something like it.

Cover: The cover is relevant to the story.

Review: Review of Rebel Angels by Libba Bray


Title: Rebel Angels

Author: Libba Bray

Release Date: December 26, 2006

Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers

Pages: 548

Finished Reading: September 20, 2010

Source: I won my copy of the book from Randombuzzers.com.

Synopsis (via Goodreads): Ah, Christmas! Gemma Doyle is looking forward to a holiday from Spence Academy, spending time with her friends in the city, attending ritzy balls, and on a somber note, tending to her ailing father. As she prepares to ring in the New Year, 1896, a handsome young man, Lord Denby, has set his sights on Gemma, or so it seems. Yet amidst the distractions of London, Gemma’s visions intensify–visions of three girls dressed in white, to whom something horrific has happened, something only the realms can explain. . . .
The lure is strong, and before long, Gemma, Felicity, and Ann are turning flowers into butterflies in the enchanted world of the realms that Gemma alone can bring them to. To the girls’ great joy, their beloved Pippa is there as well, eager to complete their circle of friendship.
But all is not well in the realms–or out. The mysterious Kartik has reappeared, telling Gemma she must find the Temple and bind the magic, else great disaster will befall her. Gemma’s willing to do his intrusive bidding, despite the dangers it brings, for it means she will meet up with her mother’s greatest friend–and now her foe, Circe. Until Circe is destroyed, Gemma cannot live out her destiny. But finding Circe proves a most perilous task.

In a Sentence: As Christmas comes and goes, Gemma and her friends are pulled deeper into the mystery of the realm as they are forced to content with polite society and their inevitable graduation from Spence and presentation to society.

Overall Rating: 5

Plot Rating: 4

Character Rating: 5

Writing Rating: 4

Review: Wonderful, wonderful book! Such a great sequel to A Great and Terrible Beauty. I love how Libba Bray continues to develop her characters, including the Realm, even after we think we know all there is too know! The ways in which she slowly divulges the back story belonging to Gemma and her friends is a wonderful lure that pulls you through the book.

The only negative aspect that I found in this novel is that, sometimes, Bray spends too much time describing things that feel trivial. For example, at this point, her long descriptions of the realm make the story drag as do the constant reminders of the unpleasant aspects of her family and their habits and attitudes.

I enjoyed the addition of Lord Denby to the story, even though I didn’t find him overly likeable. In addition, although I know the secondary story about Ann and the theater are intended to make you like Ann more and understand her plight and woes, it mostly just annoyed me.

The mystery surrounding Circe unfolded in a way that I did not expect and was pleasantly surprised that I didn’t figure it out until the main characters did.

Cover: The cover could have been more in tune with the purpose of this book.

Review - Beyond the Dead Forest by Steve Groll

Beyond the Dead Forest: The Bizarre Adventures of Carter and Kat
By: Steve Groll
ISBN: 978-1-61566-436-8
Published by: Tate Publishing
Released on May 4, 2010
420 Pages

Back Cover (Description from Amazon):
It just appeared one day out of nowhere--a dead forest that the partners had never seen before. Carter and Kat think they know every tree, river, and rock within five miles of their homes, but this section of wood, completely devoid of life, was not supposed to exist. Stepping through a doorway into a bizarre world filled with darkness, terror, and death, they embark on a quest to discover the greatest treasure of all. Aided by a strange old man they called the Guardian, and armed with spiritual weapons, their wits, and a growing arsenal of wisdom, they battle against forces of darkness that are determined to destroy them. Hitch a wild ride with the arrogant Mr. Stewborn with a raving madman in hot pursuit. Come stay awhile in the inescapable People Rule Inn and experience a place where nightmares are real. Travel through the depressing Valley of Shadows, and meet dark creatures you have never imagined. Join Carter and Kat as they venture Beyond the Dead Forest and discover, with our heroes, the unsurpassable riches of wisdom that can empower you to change your life and your world.


 Review:
This story is unlike any I have ever read before. I feel like if I had known Steve Groll, it would have been a whole lot of parables manipulated into this plot. Kat and Carter get into the weirdest, most imaginative, and craziest situations that I couldn't have possibly thought up. In every situation there is a lesson  to be learned, without fail.

Carter and Kat are unlike any children I know, but I guess that's why they embark on this journey. They are constantly tested, tempted to go down the wrong paths, and no one was who them seemed to be. It was a tough journey. I honestly don't know if I could have gone through it when I was their age. These children act a whole lot older than they actually are, I would have liked to see them as teenagers, rather than as children. It would have been a tad bit more believable.

There are a lot of secrets hidden in the pages of this book, in people's names, names of hotels and even in the locations themselves.  I felt like I was watching a TV show, I could see myself seated on the couch every week waiting for the next episode of Beyond The Dead Forest. I think this should be made into a TV show, it would be phenomenal.

The book is a little hard to get into at first, but give it a couple chapters and you'll be hooked. I learned along with the characters in this book. I learned to be a better person and how to appreciate people around me. The way the author wrote this book had me feeling for the side characters, even if the people you are cheering for are just in the chapter and you never here from them again. It was a little heart-breaking--I wanted the character to stay but alas I knew it was good-bye until another interesting character appeared on the scene.

The cover of this book didn't draw me in at all, I was kind of turned off by all the black trees. The dragon on the front, when I first saw it I thought it was a bat. I don't think that the cover is a very good representative of this book, so don't judge this book by the cover. Make sure that you grab this one right off the shelf because it's definitely worth the read! I can't wait to read more books written by Steve Groll, when you finish reading this book I know you'll feel the same! :)


About the Author(taken from here):
Author of the award winning Ebook Visual Illustrations, Steve Groll, has written and published his first novel "Beyond the Dead Forest: The Bizarre Adventures of Carter and Kat." Groll has worked with children and families for over 40 years. Steve's goal is to write suspenseful adventures that take place in strange worlds and that are both intriguing and profound. Though his novel is geared to older children and younger youth, many adults enjoy the excitement, and wonder at the wisdom found in his uniquely dark, tense, and personally challenging novel.

Steve Groll is currently the children’s pastor at First Southern Baptist, Palm Springs, CA. Over the years, he has had a special calling and love of working with children. He has served as camp pastor, guest speaker at children’s retreats, led children’s revivals, and taught, trained, and administered all ages in the area of Christian education.

Book Trailer:

Monday, April 25, 2011

Review + Giveaway!: Semi-Sweet by Roisin Meaney


Book Review: Semi-Sweet
Author of the Book: Roisin Meaney
Publication Date: Today! April 25th, 2011
Publisher: 5 Spot
Recommended Ages: 16 and Up
Type: Adult Fiction
Page Count: 400 Pages
Date Finished: April 23, 2011
Reviewer: Roshini
Acquired: Received ARC through mail from publisher for an h
onest review.

Synopsis:
Hannah Robinson is just about to open the doors to her new shop Cupcakes on the Corner when out of the blue her boyfriend Patrick announces that he's leaving her for another woman. Faced with starting a business on her own, Hannah begins to wonder if her life-long dream has just turned into a nightmare. So her best friend Adam sets his birthday as a deadline - seven months to make her shop a success, or walk away from it all. And as Hannah immerses herself in her new business, she soon discovers that she's too busy to think about Patrick and his now pregnant girlfriend ...or to notice an increasingly regular customer who has recently developed a sweet tooth for all things cupcake. But while Hannah is slowly piecing her life back together, family friend Alice's is falling apart. Her husband Tom's drinking is getting out of control and things are about to get a whole lot worse. As the seven-month milestone approaches, Hannah must decide her future. And while she's figuring out what's really important, it becomes clear to everyone that happiness in life, and in love, is all in the making. (Via Goodreads)
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Review:
The first thing that happened when I looked at this book was that my stomach started menacingly growling for the delicious looking cupcakes on the front cover of Semi-Sweet!
Semi-Sweet has it all. Drama, romance, cheats, new businesses, and incredibly edible sweets.
Have you ever noticed how many books are coming out these days with centerpieces of food? What makes Semi-Sweet different from all of these other novels is the flow of the writing of Roisin Meaney! This acclaimed and best-selling Irish author writes a book that shows the daily and life troubles of each character with immense detail and skill.
Hannah Robinson's life is turned into a hectic nightmare the second her boyfriend Patrick leaves her for another. This other woman later on, is found out to even be pregnant! Now, Hannah must figure out her love life while opening a new cupcake bakery in a small, Irish town. At first, Hannah is supported by her mother and best friend, Adam. Adam gives her a challenge, live through seven months of the shop-until his birthday and if she can survive that she will keep on with the shop. If she can't make it to his birthday, she can just step away from it all.
Alice has her own problems. She has a husband who is turning into an alcoholic...and she can't stop the metamorphous. While trying to stop a long marriage from the runes, she goes through a lot of events. Some are heartbreaking, others life-changing.
Roisin Meaney really goes into detail about each character by playing out each person's hopes, thoughts, and words into sections of the book. Each small little section in a chapter has a different eye point. She switches from character to character for each little scene.
Though the book was kind of lingering near the middle, the rest of it really had a phenomenal story! Anyone who loves food and learning lessons of life would find this book to be a perfect match.

My Thoughts on the Cover:
Like I said at the beginning of my review, the book really brings out the cupcake cravings in you! I love how it shows all the exotic flavors that Hannah goes out with. The bicycle also gives out this small town feel to it. The cover shows the feel of the novel in whole.
*Thank you to 5 Spot and Roisin Meaney for sending out the ARC for review!

As of today, people in the U.S. can go out and buy a copy of the book! Or you could buy it online...its up to you!

Check out Roisin's Blog:

Rating:
4, Super, but not superior. It's totally worth buying!

Giveaway Time!!!
There are two copies of Semi-Sweet for two winners!!! Thank you to Roisin Meaney/ 5 Spot Publishers!
Please...U.S. Only...I'm on a strict budget!!!
There are extra entries!!!
I hope you guys become a follower!!! (Whoever is new)
This starts on April 25th, 2011 (the book is published this day) and ends on May 13th, 2011!!!


Once again, thank you to the generous donations of the publishers! They donated two finished copies of Semi-Sweet for a giveaway here!!!


GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED
-Winners will be up shortly and notified!





-Roshini