Friday, December 31, 2010

The Cinderella Society

The Cinderella Society (ARC)

Author: Kay Cassidy

Publisher: Egmont

Pages: 320

Read Time: 4 days

Rating (1-5): 4

Tag Words: 2011 2010 debut author challenge, Secret Societ, High School, Cinderella, The Wickeds, The Charmings, leadership, girl power, Clean Read

My Summary:
Jess Parker has always felt like an outcast, on the brink of popularity and acceptance; as a cheerleader she still remains on the outside looking in. Then she meets the Cindy’s and finds the acceptance she has been longing for all her life while others remain targets for The Wickeds. What can one girl do against an army?
My Review:

I loved the heart of this story, the girl power, the confidence, the truthfulness on what it’s like to be a young girl in today’s world. The whole book was very symbolic of the true lives of the ‘Girl Next Door.’ I found myself reminding my brain, “no wicked chatter” while facing down a mirror earlier today. That was great, and I think Cassidy succeeded in writing from her heart.

Cassidy is also a great writer, and a good storyteller. Her female characters are likable, but flawed, and you feel surrounded by your best friends while reading the book. Sarah Jane, or SJ is amazing. I want to be her, or at least have a daughter like her! My problem was in the details, really.

This story is perfectly unbelievable and a bit “too,” if you know what I mean. I usually chide authors on not making strong enough choices, well Cassidy makes up for their lack of drama. This book was not about balance, it was go big, or go home, and by the time you got around to understanding exactly how a group of teenage girl bullies- called Wickeds- were such an international deal, the book was about twenty pages to being over. I just couldn’t wrap my mind around the monumental repercussions of the “Cindy Mission” until it was too late.

My other major problem has a name, and that name is Ryan who is not Jessica’s soul mate, at least, he shouldn’t be. Some male love interests are accused of being too perfect, but I think Ryan was too calculated, and no, I don’t think they are the same thing. Ryan is flawed, yes, but he is flawed in such a way that makes him robotic and uncomfortable to have a literary crush on. Alec is my man, and I hope he sweeps Jess off her Glass Slippers in book two!

Notes on the Names: Really fabulous names to go with the characters Cassidy put so much time into. I can’t decide if Cassidy picked the perfect name for each, or if the beauty of each of the ‘Cindy’s’ brought out the stellar qualities of every moniker. I would like to point out that there is a Gabrielle and a Gwendolyn in the book, which made me smile, one being my name, the other being my future daughters name.

Thoughts on the Cover: Do the boxes bother no one else? They look cheap! I can see where the cardboard isn’t fully secured just right. (ARC copy) That is driving me up the wall. I hope the second book cover has something to do with the Charm bracelets!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Out With A Bang!

I can’t believe it! It’s the end of 2010 and we only have two more days to READ… well, for the year.

The books I am planning to read/ am reading are:

The Cinderella Society by Kay Cassidy

The Secret Life of Prince Charming by Deb Caletti

Falling In Love With English Boys by Melissa Jensen

If I read more than that I will be shocked, but happy. It’s not like three books in three days is stunning, really it’s pathetic, my record is four books in a day. Yes, I’m lame, but for some reason whenever I NEED to do something I get the initiative to do other things. What is wrong with me?

I am hosting a Mini-Challenge for you to all participate in!

The rules:

You must be an official Challenge Participant, signed up on Mr. Linky. I will check.

You must be a Follower of The Mod Podge Bookshelf. Click the follow button on the right. I will check.

You must be a US resident, I’m sorry, I wish I was richer!
I’m doing this hoping some of my readers will join the challenge, and some of the participants will become followers! Hooray!

The Challenge:

Leave a comment on my blog telling me the character you felt the most connection with in 2010 and why you had such a strong bond with him or her.

If you wish to be entered to win the prize include your e-mail address!

The Prize:

You by Charles Benoit

And some Secret Swag...
Why that book:

I love the irony the title has in reference to my challenge and it is a 2010 debut author read, so, there you go.

Happy reading and have a blessed New Year!

Gabrielle Carolina

Hope in Patience (ARC)

Hope in Patience by Beth Feldbaum

Ashley is struggling to recover in a small Texas town, called Patience after being freed from the tyranny of her stepfather. For as long as she can remember, Charlie has been raping her, and her mother has been ignoring it. For as long as she can remember being raped has been her only identity. For as long as she can remember nothing has changed.For as long as she can remember, she has been broken. For as long as she can remember life has been hopeless

Can she find Hope in Patience?

My review:

Oh, boy, here we go.

This book is the straw that broke the camels back for me. I finally am going to talk to you about a growing trend in the YA world.

The sub-plot.

I am not the blogger to discuss politics, this is not a political digest blog. I am usually put off by characters who flagrantly do not share my morals, values and ethics, but I do review around them because an opinion does not, or should not, a YA fiction book make. Agreed? No matter your political stance can you agree to that? Awesome, you’ll get to the heart of this review if you do.

Hope in Patience is a book trying to sell a liberal world-view to unsuspecting teen readers masquerading as a book on the healing process of a rape victim. Oh, man, I can feel the giant squids of anger. Remember, you don’t know my political opinions, I could be a liberal for all you know, I’m just reviewing what happened between the pages of a book truthfully here.

Still with me? I’m glad. Now, just because I said “masquerading” does not mean I think the book was devoid of the plot it advertised. The scenes with Dr. Matt and Ashley are amazing, as a psychology major going for her doctorate in child psychology I think you should believe me when I tell you that Ashley’s response to her healing journey and Dr. Matt’s methods of helping are phenomenal, realistic, truthful and heartfelt.

Any book that turns a story about healing from a serious and painful lifestyle of being raped, into a one-sided political and religious statement will never be recommended on my blog. No matter my own political views, this is just unacceptable. I will never tolerate any book that shows flagrant intolerance of Christians, people with liberal viewpoints, people with conservation viewpoints, those whose skin is black, white, or purple, when you turn a story to become a subliminal and angry agenda, I will call the author on it and tell you the truth.

In the case of Hope In Patience, Feldbaum’s true thesis behind this book is that small-town America is currently filled with one-minded, cruel adults and sheep-like young Christians who are unwilling to accept the enlightened views of the liberal-minded and are wrong in everything they believe. Secretly, they are afraid of exposure because they all know they are all wrong and narrow-minded.

I want to stress that if the author had gone the other way, showing intolerance for those who profess a liberal world-view, or those who are atheists as evil, vile and stupid human beings, I would have given the same review.

Alright, I am getting off my soap-box, which I bring out only occasionally, when a book review, let me stress that, when a book review warrants it. I couldn’t escape talking about it this time, the sub-plot ended up overwhelming the entire book and instead of concluding the novel using the main plot, the author summed things up using the sub-plot. When the author makes those choices, they become a part of your review, like it or not.

Now, here is a more traditional review:

The characters were imbelievable. Outside of Dr. Matt’s office, the character’s were too extreme to be legitimate. The book is an angry book, it’s intolerant of people who think differently than the author and I felt angry reading it, not just for the reasons above, but because no one stuck by Ashley. I really hated her mother, Charlie, her grandparents and the judge. If this has been the authors only experience with people, I am very, very sorry for her, but there are in fact judges who believe in justice, parents who will stand by you, and Christians who love people.

Notes on the Names: I thought they were very small-town Texas, traditional, some trendy choices. Nothing added or subtracted from the book.

Thoughts on the Cover: I loved this cover, the model’s posture is perfect for the way Ashley crawled into herself, but the setting, the clothes, they all offered a brighter tomorrow. This cover does support the main plot to a T.

The Best and Hardest Thing

The Best and Hardest Thing by Pat Brissom

After having sex to shed her good-girl image, Molly finds out she is pregnant.

My review:

This is a childish book written about adult issues.

The Best and Hardest Thing was written in verse, not my favorite form of YA literature, because I find most authors trap themselves. The emotional journey can be stunted easily in a verse book, this rang very true for Brissom’s writing.

My other major malfunction was that the book lacked motivation. Molly didn’t want to be a good girl, why? Molly thought sex was the answer, why? Molly also has mommy issues that are brought up once and then the theme is cut short, instead of being solidified.

What the book lacked in plot, structure and emotion it did not make up for in poetic brilliance. The poems rhymed. Let’s just say it did not surprise me to see that Brissom had made the leap to YA from children’s picture books.

In conclusion I feel like the author put all her thought into an amazing title and then just flamed out. Too bad, I really love the title.

Notes on the Names: I cannot remember any of them; I had to flip through the book to find Molly’s name. Obviously, this book did not make an impression.

Thoughts on the Cover: It’s an obvious model cover I liked. You know what the book is about, her pregnancy, needless to say, won’t shock you.

Blogger Survey the Third

I am (finally) announcing the winners of the Midwinter’s Eve Giveaway Hop! selected the winners!

The Holly Cupala Bookmarks go to:

Uniquely Moi Books



The Stephanie Perkins Bookmarks go to:



Chi Kittie


I will be e-mailing the winners.

And now for the third part of the Blogger Survey!

22. Favorite genre?

Contemp romance, Dystopian, historical fiction and “issues” books

23. Genre you rarely read (but wish you did?)

I love Meg Cabot, she writes just the right amount of fluff into her contemporary stories, Robin Benway all wrote a great, hilarious (less fluffy) book called Audrey, Wait! I wish that I could find more “funny” books like these.

24. Favorite biography?

A Chance to Die: The Legacy of Amy Carmichael by Elisabeth Elliot

25. Have you ever read a self-help book?

I have.

26. Favorite cookbook?

I am allergic to cooking. The oven is allergic to me. Microwaves are my friend.

27. Most inspirational book you’ve read this year (fiction or non-fiction)?

Harmonic Feedback by Tara Kelly did amazing things to me, I suggest everyone read it.

28. Favorite reading snack?

I always chug insane amounts of water when I read. I drink close to 20 cups a day.

29. Name a case in which hype ruined your reading experience.

It hasn’t really, I mean, a good book is a good book, if I don’t like it my reason is not “It’s too popular!”

30. How often do you agree with critics about a book?

I never agree with profession critics. I think we should officially change their name to ‘Cynics.’ Pro-Cynics are unhappy people who like to take their frustration out on music, movies and books. BrittLitt from Reading Nook and I agree very often, Miranda from Just Read and I are mostly in sync, but when we have a difference of opinion I am on the con side of things while she is pro.

31. How do you feel about giving bad/negative reviews?

I feel no qualms about posting negative reviews, I have posted something like 5 truly, horrendously negative reviews in my few months blogging. My “job” is to tell the truth, not sugar-coat things. I will support my reasons for not liking the book, I am not just going to go “off” on a book, that is not fair.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Best I've Read 2010 on The MPB

Hello to all Page Turners, and all Authors!
This is the Award Post for 2010 on the Mod Podge Bookshelf. The Messenger Photography original I am illustrating with can be used at any winner’s discretion, as long as you don’t break the legalese I have written for my company and my blog. (Follow the link)

All these books were read by me in 2010, but are not necessarily 2010 debuts (I read a ton of those too!)

I happened to read the entire Hunger Games series this year, so in order to have a diverse awards post, I’m pulling all three books out of the running. They would clean up, no contest. Katniss and The Hunger Games set a new bar for me, as far as “spectacular” goes.

You can see my full list of books I read this year Here, until January first.

The Characters of 2010

Favorite protagonist: Katniss…? No, can’t do it! In that case, Tally Youngblood, from the Uglies series wins!

Favorite Hero and Heroine (inspired by Jaz): (Katniss and Peeta) So we will be going with Katsa and Po both from Graceling by Kristin Cashore (funny, both couples are K+P!)

Character I most identified with: A tie, between Drea from Harmonic Feedback by Tara Kelly and Margaret ‘Maggie’ Bennett from Faithful by Janet Fox

Character I would read a spin-off novel for: Anastasia from After by Amy Efaw

Couple I would read a Spin-off novel for: Caleb and Lindsay from Winter Longing by Tricia Mills

Most Crush-worthy Male: Cabel Strummer from The Dream Catchers series by Lisa McMann

Least Crush-worthy Male: Nate and Todd from The Lonely Hearts Club by Elizabeth Eulberg

Favorite literary couple this year (inspired by Elise): Drea and Justin from Harmonic Feedback by Tara Kelly

Couple I most wish would break-up: Sarah and John from I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore

Series and Sequels

Best start to a series (inspired by Kapri): My Name is Memory by Ann Brashares

Favorite series completed in 2010: Dreamcatchers Series by Lisa McMann

Favorite series read in 2010: (Hunger Games) The Uglies Series by Scott Westerfeld

Book I won’t be reading the sequel to: Elixir by Hilary Duff

Book I wish would have a sequel: This is an honest-to-goodness tie between Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver and Sea by Heidi Kling

Favorite sequel read in 2010: Specials by Scott Westerfeld

Sequel I am most looking forward to in 2011: The Trust by Tom Dolby

The Hype

Book that lived up to the hype: The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary Pearson

Book I feel didn’t deserve the hype: If I Stay by Gayle Foreman

2010 debut that deserved more hype: Beautiful Malice by Rebecca James

Book I read in 2010 that deserves more hype: The Last Summer (of You and Me) by Ann Brashares

Me, Myself and My books

Book that had me laughing: Audrey, Wait! By Robin Benway

Book that had me crying: Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah

Book that got me interested in the history: Anastasia’s Secret by Susanne Dunlap

Book that made me want to fall in love: Halo by Alexandra Adornetto

Book that made me think: Unwind by Neal Shusterman

Book I now quote: The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson

Book that gave me an education: After by Amy Efaw

Book I was most surprised to like: Adios, Nirvana by Conrad Wesselhoeft

Book I most want to read again: Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Best in show!

Best Paranormal: Firelight by Sophie Jordan

Best Contemporary: Harmonic Feedback by Tara Kelly

Best Mystery: All Unquiet Things by Anna Jarzab

Best Romance: Leaving Paradise by Simone Elkeles

Best Dramatic Romance: Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles

Best Historical Fiction: The Lacemaker and the Princess by Brubaker Bradley

Best Middle-Grade book: Princess For Hire by Lindsay Leavitt

Best Adventure: Graceling by Kristin Cashore

Best sci-fi: The Host by Stephenie Meyer

Best Dystopian: C’mon, Hunger Games HAS to win this one.

Best “issues” book: Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Best Fey story: Wonderous Strange by Lesley Livingston

Best Supernatural: Stork by Wendy Delsol

Best Clean and Tasteful Book: The Clearing by Heather Davis

Best Classic read in 2010: Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

Best Unexpected ending (the following ‘bests’ inspired by PinkStuff) The Deadly Sister by Eliot Schrefer

Best love triangle: Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac by Gabrielle Zevin (in this case it’s a love square!)

Best unique plot: Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

Best book written in Verse: Identical by Ellen Hopkins

The Covers

Most Beautiful Model Cover: Halo by Alexandra Adornetto

Most beautiful non-model cover: Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

Least favorite cover of 2010: The Last Full Measure by Ann Rinaldi

Cover that best fits it’s book: You by Charles Benoit

Cover that made no sense to me: Beautiful Malice by Rebecca James

Cover that goes a step beyond, to photographic genius: A Blue So Dark by Holly Schindler

Cover I have the best idea how to re-do: Tell Me A Secret by Holly Cupala

Awarding the Names

Coolest Author Name: Gabrielle Zevin, author of Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac (yeah, I’m biased, but I really love her name!)

Most original character name: Clea from Elixir by Hilary Duff

Name that best suits the character: Penelope Hayes from Rumors by Anna Godbersen

Name I wish I could change: Connelly from The Beautiful Between by Alyssa Sheinmel

Book full of bad name decisions: I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore

Names like the perfect sibling set: Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

Quote of 2010: A tie between “When the pain passes, that’s when you really lose people.” From the ARC of Lauren Oliver’s Delirium and “Sometimes, at night, I can feel your soul beside me.” From the ARC of Alexandra Adornetto’s Halo.

And finally, the Awards for Best Book Read in 2010, Favorite Debut Author book read 2010, and Favorite Author of 2010 go to:

Favorite book read in 2010: The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson

Favorite Debut Author Book read in 2010: The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson

Favorite Author of 2010: Lauren Oliver, author of Before I Fall and Delirium

Congrats to these winners, you have all been a special part of The Mod Podge Bookshelf this year!

Waiting on Wednesday (11)

Waiting on Wednesday is a meme created by Breaking The Spine to spotlight some pre-release books bloggers are itching to get their hands on!
I’ve decided to do things a bit differently here on the Mod Podge Bookshelf. As a penniless and raged college student, I can’t afford to just drop everything and buy a book at full price when it’s first released, sometimes there’s some waiting involved. So, not only will I spotlight pre-release books from my wishlist, but also books on my wishlist that have been released recently that are not in my possession.
Here we go!

The Last Little Blue Envelope by Maureen Johnson
Entangled by Cat Clarke
A Need So Beautiful by Suzanne Young
Gabrielle's bookshelf: currently-reading

Go Ask AliceWuthering HeightsEclipseWicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the WestRedeeming LoveTwo-way Street

More of Gabrielle's books »
Gabrielle's currently-reading book recommendations, reviews, favorite quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

In a Heartbeat flat lines

In a Heartbeat by Loretta Ellsworth

Eagan is dead, left to a fate of remembering her life...

Amelia is brought back from the brink of death by Eagan’s beating heart...

How will these two strangers find peace?

My review:

This is the first book I feel so-so on. There is nothing really to hate and there is nothing to really love. The plot is predictable, I got half-way through it and just stopped reading; I could see exactly what was happening and I wanted to tell the main characters very badly that they were being oblivious to the bloody obvious.

I didn’t feel captivated by either of these girls. Instead of having two characters each with a mixed bag of traits and qualities, Ellsworth split one personality between two characters. The result: one was “too” everything and the other was “not enough.” Boring, predictable and annoying after awhile.

I recently read and reviewed Lurlene McDaniel’s newest novel, Heart to Heart and though I an a non-compare blog, when the books are this similar I think it is fair to tell you which I recommend you pick up. If this subject matter, two girls sharing one heart, interests you read Heart to Heart and skip over In a Heartbeat.

And here is my cliche, predictable final thought: In a Heartbeat flat lines.

Thoughts on the Cover: I really love this cover and I adore the font, which looks like a heart beat monitor. It's genius, kudos to the designer.

Notes on the Names: Eagan means Fiery-Spirit and is a masculine name. I know this because I am Irish, and I have considered this name, for a boy, before. I didn’t like to read about a figure-skater with a boys name. Amelia means hard-worker or industrial, I love the name, but it just felt like a name for this character, instead of a contributing factor to the plot.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Daily Dose (8) Speak Now!

Daily Dose!

As much as I love a good YA read, or a fabulous name, this blog represents my love for photography. That is why I love Holly over at Good Golly Miss Holly, well, there are many reasons and I rec her blog to the moon and back, but her new meme is wonderful and I am glad to participate.

I think this is the best way to “get to know me.”

The best way to know someone is to know what they find beauty in. You’ll see snow, fireworks, foxes and polar bears. Books, of course, kisses and true love captured on film. I may be too pretentious for my own good, but there will be a deep and moving quote or two. Come with me to Paris, Capri and New York City. Who knows when I will be the one behind the camera, but I assure you, it’s one of the best places to find me.

How MPB’s DD works: I will never post pictures best classified as “porn.” I will not post quotes with filthy language and I am not going to be making political statements. However, you may see skin, just not anatomy, sarcasm is widely acceptable and God will be mentioned in a Holy light. I hope that none of that makes you uncomfortable. The first picture shown every week will be the theme. I hope the story is easy to understand and fun to look at.

All pictures are from the most amazing (addictive) site called We <3 It.

In honor of the coming New Year (can you believe it is 2011 already?!) I am going all Taylor Swift and Speaking Now! We all make New Years resolutions, but in order to do that I think you need to reason through the year that is passing; what did you learn? These are some confessions in beautiful photography, still no political statements, but a few statements of faith, hope and love, but the greatest of these is love.