Tuesday, May 17, 2011


Title: Vixen

Author: Jillian Larkin

Pages: 421

Review: ****1/2

Summary (From Goodreads): Jazz . . . Booze . . . Boys . . . It’s a dangerous combination.

Every girl wants what she can’t have. Seventeen-year-old Gloria Carmody wants the flapper lifestyle—and the bobbed hair, cigarettes, and music-filled nights that go with it. Now that she’s engaged to Sebastian Grey, scion of one of Chicago’s most powerful families, Gloria’s party days are over before they’ve even begun . . . or are they?

Clara Knowles, Gloria’s goody-two-shoes cousin, has arrived to make sure the high-society wedding comes off without a hitch—but Clara isn’t as lily-white as she appears. Seems she has some dirty little secrets of her own that she’ll do anything to keep hidden. . . .

Lorraine Dyer, Gloria’s social-climbing best friend, is tired of living in Gloria’s shadow. When Lorraine’s envy spills over into desperate spite, no one is safe. And someone’s going to be very sorry. . . .

Review: Will someone please build a time machine to take me back to the 1920's?? Please?

After a slightly slow beginning, Vixen sucked me in and didn't let go. The drama! The jealousy! The flappers! I simply couldn't get enough! Have any of you guys seen Chicago (the movie)? It reminded me of that story in some points (especially at the end, which I won't give away here, but trust me), but waaay better. And speaking of the end, um WOW! THERE's a twist if I ever saw one! But I'm going to shut up now.

I felt almost as if each of the girl's stories could have been almost individual novels, but they were so tightly woven together that having each side the the story added depth and intrigue to the novel. Each girl had a different view and different life experiences, and thus each girl offered a different vantage point on the situation they all shared.

For once, my favorite character in a romance novel wasn't the male lead--it was Gloria. She knew her obligations, and she knew how much was riding on her. But she also knew how much she wanted a different life. And once the reader sees the reality of her predicted future, you have no choice by to pray she can somehow get the life she wants--but how?! Clara is a close second, and then come the boys.

Oh, the boys. Another reason I think I'm a teenager in the wrong decade. Be it Marcus, the suave ladies' man who happens to be Gloria's best friend, or Jerome, the icon of Gloria's forbidden life, the boys in this novel kick butt. They are tough, but smooth; sharp, but kind. But the 1920's were the years of women--more specifically, the flappers.

This book awoke my lifelong dream of being a flapper. I know, I know, smoking kills and is terribly disgusting and drinking in excess is never wise, especially as a teenager--but the dresses! The hair! The Charleston! I want to be that rebel woman with the devil-may-care attitude with the pearls and short dress. So, please, that time machine?

Recommended for: historical fiction junkies and romance lovers

The sequel, Ingenue, comes out August 9, 2011!!!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

What Happened to Goodbye

Title: What Happened to Goodbye

Author: Sarah Dessen

Pages: 402

Rating: ****1/2

Summary (from Goodreads): In the past two years, Mclean Sweet has moved four times. At each stop, she assumes a new persona, but it never quite works. Whether she's an effervescent cheerleader or an intense drama queen, nothing can permanently dispel the turmoil and rage at her mother since her parents' divorce.

Review: Not the best summary there, my dear Goodreads. What Happened to Goodbye cannot be described in two sentences.

Sarah Dessen has done it again. FINALLY she has released a new book, and it has lived up to the hype. Her writing is once again flawless and gorgeous. It draws me in until I can't put the book down! Honestly, she inspires me as a reader and a writer.

Now, I finished WHTG approximately 45 minutes ago, so I'm still processing. Please excuse any ramblings in this review, as my thoughts are still fresh and unrefined.

This book left me with a very different taste that I am used to from Sarah Dessen--it reminded me in some ways of Lock and Key, in which the male protagonist, Nate, has just as many secrets and issues to work out as the female lead, Ruby. This makes sense, as Sarah Dessen named Dave and Nate the "oddballs" of her love interests in this article...that apparently no longer exists. Sorry about that. But Mclean and Dave's relationship is similar to that of Ruby and Nate in that they aren't an obvious couple--they just kind of meld together to the point where you know they love each other, and they know it, and they know the other person loves them, but they don't feel the need to announce it.

Anyway, Mclean is a fabulous protagonist. Who hasn't ever wished they could start over and be someone else? Especially if you know it's only temporary. I know I have, and I'm looking forward to the opportunity to start over in a sense at college in the fall. However, Mclean's various personas are her way of hiding from what's going on in her real life, her Mclean life. That is, until she moves to Lakeview. She makes friends, real friends this time, to her own amazement. For once, she doesn't want to leave. She's actually being herself, and she doesn't want to risk losing the people who actually like her for who she is, not who she claims to be.

Let me just say that I loved the basketball references in this book. Basketball is basically my life, so I could relate to Mclean's near-obsession with her father's alma mater. I feel like basketball is often an underrated sport in this country, so it was quite nice to have it addressed as a "religion", the way of life for most of Mclean's new gang (which is ironic, since she's moving around to get away from the implications of the basketball world...but that's beside the point).

To those who have read Dessen's other novels, have you noticed a trend among the mothers? There is always a riff between the protagonist and her mother in some way. My friend pointed this out to me after Along For the Ride, and now What Happened to Goodbye has followed suit. Perhaps this is just supposed to generally reflect the stereotypical mother-daughter problems of teenage years. However, Sarah Dessen's books never strike me as stereotypical. Thoughts?

Maybe because I read it so fast, or maybe because I'm still processing, but What Happened to Goodbye didn't have the WOW factor I've found in Dessen's other books, like Just Listen and Along for the Ride. Maybe because I could relate to those girls' stories more that Mclean's broken family life. I don't know. HOWEVER! What Happened to Goodbye is an AMAZING novel that adds to Sarah Dessen's brilliance as a writer. The only problem? Now I'm counting down for her next book.

Recommended for: all teenage girls--or even young-adult women, or even moms.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


The cover of the long-awaited finale to the Hush, Hush Trilogy has been released! What do you all think?

I'm intrigued! Obviously Patch is saving Nora from something....but what? And why?!

Hollywood Crush (found on Teens Read and Write) had an excerpt from Silence:
He closed the distance between us, and just when I thought he'd drawn me against him, he stopped, holding himself in check. I exhaled, trying not to cry. He leaned his elbow on the door jam, just above my ear. He smelled so devastatingly familiar, soap and spice, the heady scent bringing back a rush of memories so pleasurable, it only made the current moment that much more difficult to bear. I was seized by the desire to touch him. To trace my hands over his skin, to feel his arms tighten securely around me. I wanted him to nuzzle my neck, his whisper to tickle my ear as he said private words that belonged only to me. I wanted him near, so near, with no thought of letting go.

"This isn't over," I said. "After everything we've been through, you don't get the right to brush me off. I'm not letting you off that easily." I wasn't sure if it was a threat, my last stab at defiance, or irrational words spoken straight from my splintered heart.

"I want to protect you," Patch said quietly.
He stood so close. All strength and heat and silent power. I couldn't escape him, now or ever. He'd always be there, consuming my every thought, my heart locked in his hands; I was drawn to him by forces I couldn't control, let alone escape.
"But you didn't."


Here is the synopsis for Silence:
The noise between Patch and Nora is gone. They've overcome the secrets riddled in Patch's dark past...bridged two irreconcilable worlds...faced heart-wrenching tests of betrayal, loyalty and trust...and all for a love that will transcend the boundary between heaven and earth. Armed with nothing but their absolute faith in one another, Patch and Nora enter a desperate fight to stop a villain who holds the power to shatter everything they've worked for—and their love—forever.

I feel like the sneak peek completely contradicts the synopsis. I can't wait!

Silence will be released on October 4th.