Discussion: Reunited – Hilary Weisman Graham

reunitedTitle: Reunited[Amazon]
Author: Hilary Weisman Graham[website]
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Genre: Contemporary
Source/Type: Purchased/Hardcore
Reviewed by: Andi & Michelle

Publisher Description:
1 Concert
2000 Miles
3 Ex-Best Friends

Alice, Summer, and Tiernan are ex-best friends.

Back in middle school, the three girls were inseparable. They were also the number one fans of the rock band Level3.

But when the band broke up, so did their friendship. Summer ran with the popular crowd, Tiernan was a rebellious wild-child, and Alice spent high school with her nose buried in books.

Now, just as the girls are about to graduate, Level3 announces a one-time-only reunion show.

Even though the concert’s 2000 miles away, Alice buys three tickets on impulse. And as it turns out, Summer and Tiernan have their own reasons for wanting to get out of town. Good thing Alice’s graduation gift (a pea-green 1976 VW camper van known as the Pea Pod) is just the vehicle to get them there.

But on the long drive cross-country, the girls hit more than a few bumps in the road. Will their friendship get an encore or is the show really over?

Discussion:
Michelle
: Road trip!!!!

Let me kick it off by saying this was one of the more realistic road trip books out there.  Not a lot of kitchy tourist stops or Americana to be had like some others in the genre.  I enjoyed that it was more of a right of passage and a bonding experience.  That the three (completely opposite) girls who drifted from BFFs to strangers came back together for a post-graduation last hurray felt real to me.  Not only that but the circumstances that brought them all to this place and time made perfect sense.

Andi: That’s a very good point. There was no stopping at the world’s biggest ball of twine, or seeing a massive ball of lint or some dead celeb’s grave stones. It was basically a story about three girls figuring out who they are and where they belong while holding on to something from their past, something that was completely pure and innocent before adolescence screwed everything up. But I have to admit I couldn’t shake the comparison to that Britney Spears’ movie Crossroads.

M:  Totally!  Thankfully there wasn’t that really annoying Britney Spears character though.  Speaking of which who was your favorite?  I found Alice to be just a tad bit too annoying.  Her desperation for the threesome to reconnect and for the trip to go smoothly was just slightly overbearing.  I get it, I do, and it wasn’t completely off-putting.  Her behavior did fit her personality in that anal retentive and needy way but it still felt way too desperate given the amount of time the girls had been separated from their childhood friendship.

In looking at the three I would say that Tiernan was my absolute fav.  Her attitude had me laughing and rooting for her.  The underlying vulnerability gave her that rootability that I enjoy in a character.

A: Tiernan was my favorite too. She was the one with spunk and had a spark about her that made her likable. Alice I didn’t find believable at all and Summer just seemed to vapid for me. And I hated that she kept talking to that jerk of a boyfriend. She wasn’t a strong girl at all. Now Tiernan, she was the one that stood up for herself and she had the best attitude. And some of her one liners were priceless. You could tell she acted “cool” and that being there didn’t mean anything to her, but I think it meant the most to her by far.

M:  That’s interesting because even though I wasn’t a huge Summer fan either I do think she was the character that developed most throughout the story.  She went from being the whiney popular girl who thought the other two were beneath her to being someone who was finally able to put herself on the same level as her peers.  In doing so she also got a backbone and gave the loser boyfriend the boot.

Alice being the doormat seemed to stay pretty stationary throughout the story.  She had her moment of strength at the end but even that felt slightly weak to me.  Like she was being forced into it so that she could have her “moment” of change like Summer and Tiernan did.

A: Yeah, Alice didn’t grow or do anything as a character for me at all. To me she was the girl that would raise her hand at the end of class when the teacher asked if anyone had questions and would say they needed homework. She was too much of a goody goody and I felt she judged her friends and never once loosened up and enjoyed herself with them. Actually to be honest she really got on my nerves and had to have been the most annoying teenager ever!

M:  HA!  Didn’t you just loathe those nerds?!  So, the roadtrip…

First, I’ll say that it made me think of you a little bit because the boy band was reminiscent of NKOTB and I know how you love you some of the boys!  The fact that they were road tripping to catch their farewell concert was inspired.  As reasons go this one was a good choice.  It, as we’ve mentioned, was a trip that was filled with pretty realistic events.  They met some quirky people, made some romantic connections, and ultimately found parts of themselves that they’d been long denying.  All without visiting the world’s largest ball of twine.

What I *really* appreciated was the fact that Tiernan’s mom showed up.  That even though her daughter left on the trip without telling her she didn’t just wave it off and leave fixing their problems for when she got home.  She chased her down and gave her crap.  I liked that a lot.

A: Me love NKOTB? What gave you that idea?! Could it be the four concerts I’ve gone to recently, the Danny Wood pin in my office or the New Kids hoodie I’m rocking in my Twitter profile pic?! HA

But seriously I totally agree with you. The reason for the road trip was so cute and innocent. It was something you don’t usually see in books. It kept the trip kind of cool and fun without it being a cliche mess of a road trip.

And I agree about Tiernan’s mom. In most books the parents just don’t seem to care about their children and they just let them runamuck, but I loved that Tiernan’s mom physically went after her and talked to her. Do I think it is believable that she would just be okay with the road trip after one chat with her daughter, not really, but it was a nice change of pace for her to go after her.

What did bother me though was the band part at the end. That was just way too out there for it really even happen! The chances of that are so slim that it took away some of the believability that had been building.

M:  Yea the believability scale of that ending was way more than I would expect not just the contest but the very end where it got wrapped up with a little bow.  That would NEVER happen.

Having said that I did enjoy this book.  It was a nice piece of fun and and certainly a quick entertaining read.  Definitely one to pick up after reading something more intense or dark.

Continue Reading

Giveaway and Some Help {CLOSED}

You still have plenty of time to sign up for my giveaway of a Miranda Kennealy pre-order of her next book, out March 1st, a nail polish color that matches your favorite football team, and a magnetic penguin book mark. Odds are looking good right now so sign up, sign up, sign up!

Also help me decide which pre-order to get myself. I’m terrible at making decisions and need your help. 🙂

Continue Reading

NOOK/Kindle Book Hoarding?

So I was looking at my NOOK and Kindle apps on my iPad and couldn’t believe how many books I have had on both that I haven’t even thought about touching or forgot about being there! It got me thinking, am I a book hoarder(okay, okay, no comments from the peanut gallery!) or do I just have to buy something when I see a book deal, especially when it comes to books? This got my mind going and I asked a few friends if they would mind showing me what is on their NOOK/Kindles. Every week for the next 6 weeks I will share just what they shared with me and then you can decide, is it book hoarding or one of a good thing?

First up is Amanda. I became friendly with Amanda on Twitter this year due to our love of books, TV, and a good laugh at Mariah Carey’s expense(she totally leaves herself open to the ridicule…just sayin!) Amanda likes a variety of things all of which you can read about at her blog Maestra Amanda’s Bookshelf. Below is Amanda’s Kindle app on her iPad. As you can tell Amanda has an eclectic taste in books that range from the super popular Fifty Shades of Grey to Hold Me Closer Necromancer to the book version of the soon to be released movie, Beautiful Creatures.

amandakindle1

1) Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia
Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she’s struggling to conceal her power, and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.

Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town’s oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.

In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything.

2)The New World by Patrick Ness
In this dramatic prequel to the award-winning Chaos Walking Trilogy, author Patrick Ness gives us a short story of Viola’s journey to the New World.

3) Hold Me Closer, Necromancer by Lish McBride
Sam leads a pretty normal life. He may not have the most exciting job in the world, but he’s doing all right—until a fast food prank brings him to the attention of Douglas, a creepy guy with an intense violent streak.

Turns out Douglas is a necromancer who raises the dead for cash and sees potential in Sam. Then Sam discovers he’s a necromancer too, but with strangely latent powers. And his worst nightmare wants to join forces . . . or else.

With only a week to figure things out, Sam needs all the help he can get. Luckily he lives in Seattle, which has nearly as many paranormal types as it does coffee places. But even with newfound friends, will Sam be able to save his skin?

So there you have it, Amanda’s Kindle. Stay tuned for next week when you get a look at my friend Heather’s Nook and Kindle apps.

Continue Reading

Monopoly Money Monday and a Vote

Welcome to another installment of Monopoly Money Monday. This Monday I am going to spend my fake $100.00(okay, a tad over) on books. Well Pre-Order books from Amazon that is. It’s funny because you would think it would be easy to buy 100 bucks worth of books but it’s actually really hard. Not hard to pick out the books, but to narrow it down to just $100. But after much struggle I narrowed it down to 9 books** that come out over the next couple of months. Now under no circumstance is this list in any order or the only ones I’m dying for. These are just the ones I could “afford”. Without further ado:

madnessThe Madness Underneath(Shades of London Series) by Maureen Johnson
Price: $11.98
Release Date: February 26, 2013

After her near-fatal run-in with the Jack the Ripper copycat, Rory Devereaux has been living in Bristol under the close watch of her parents. So when her therapist suddenly suggests she return to Wexford, Rory jumps at the chance. But Rory’s brush with the Ripper touched her more than she thought possible: she’s become a human terminus, with the power to eliminate ghosts on contact. She soon finds out that the Shades— the city’s secret ghost-fighting police—are responsible for her return. The Ripper may be gone, but now there is a string of new inexplicable deaths threatening London. Rory has evidence that the deaths are no coincidence. Something much more sinister is going on, and now she must convince the squad to listen to her before it’s too late.

thingsThings I Can’t Forget by Miranda Kenneally
Price: $9.99
Release Date: March 1, 2013

Kate has always been the good girl. Too good, according to some people at school—although they have no idea the guilty secret she carries. But this summer, everything is different…

This summer she’s a counselor at Cumberland Creek summer camp, and she wants to put the past behind her. This summer Matt is back as a counselor too. He’s the first guy she ever kissed, and he’s gone from a geeky songwriter who loved The Hardy Boys to a buff lifeguard who loves to flirt…with her.

Kate used to think the world was black and white, right and wrong. Turns out, life isn’t that easy…

imposterImposter(Slide series) by Jill Hathaway
Price: $11.98
Release Date: March 26, 2013

What if a killer took control of you?

Vee Bell’s gift (or curse) of “sliding”—slipping into the mind of another person and experiencing life, briefly, through his or her eyes—has been somewhat under control since she unwillingly witnessed the horrific deaths of her classmates six months ago.

But just as things are getting back to normal, Vee has a very bizarre experience: she loses consciousness and finds herself in a deserted area, at the edge of a cliff, with the broken body of the boy who took advantage of her on the rocks below.

As Vee finds herself in stranger and stranger situations with no memory of getting there, she begins to suspect that someone she knows has the ability to slide—and that this “slider” is using Vee to exact revenge on his or her enemies.

brokenThe Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler
Price: $11.46
Release Date: May 21, 2013

Jude has learned a lot from her older sisters, but the most important thing is this: The Vargas brothers are notorious heartbreakers. She’s seen the tears and disasters that dating a Vargas boy can cause, and she swore an oath—with candles and a contract and everything—to never have anything to do with one.

Now Jude is the only sister still living at home, and she’s spending the summer helping her ailing father restore his vintage motorcycle—which means hiring a mechanic to help out. Is it Jude’s fault he happens to be cute? And surprisingly sweet? And a Vargas?

Jude tells herself it’s strictly bike business with Emilio. Her sisters will never find out, and Jude can spot those flirty little Vargas tricks a mile away—no way would she fall for them. But Jude’s defenses are crumbling, and if history is destined to repeat itself, she’s speeding toward some serious heartbreak…unless her sisters were wrong?

Jude may have taken an oath, but she’s beginning to think that when it comes to love, some promises might be worth breaking.

criminalCriminal by Terra Elan McVoy
Price: $11.20
Release Date: May 7, 2013

Nikki’s life is far from perfect, but at least she has Dee. Her friends tell her that Dee is no good, but Nikki can’t imagine herself without him. He’s hot, he’s dangerous, he has her initials tattooed over his heart, and she loves him more than anything. There’s nothing Nikki wouldn’t do for Dee. Absolutely nothing.

So when Dee pulls Nikki into a crime – a crime that ends in murder – Nikki tells herself that it’s all for true love. Nothing can break them apart. Not the police. Not the arrest that lands Nikki in jail. Not even the investigators who want her to testify against him.

But what if Dee had motives that Nikki knew nothing about?

Nikki’s love for Dee is supposed to be unconditional . . . but even true love has a limit. And Nikki just might have reached hers.

rightRight of Way by Lauren Barnholdt
Price: $10.98
Release Date: July 9, 2013

Here are Peyton and Jace, meeting on vacation. Click! It’s awesome, it’s easy, it’s romantic. This is the real deal.

Unless it isn’t. Because when you’re in love, you don’t just stop calling one day. And you don’t keep secrets. Or lie. And when your life starts falling apart, you’re supposed to have the other person to lean on.

Here are Peyton and Jace again, broken up but thrown together on a road trip. One of them is lying about the destination. One of them is pretending not to be leaving something behind. And neither of them is prepared for what’s coming on the road ahead…

thousandThousand Words by Jennifer Brown
Price: $10.98
Release Date: May 21, 2013

Ashleigh’s boyfriend, Kaleb, is about to leave for college, and Ashleigh is worried that he’ll forget about her while he’s away. So at a legendary end-of-summer pool party, Ashleigh’s friends suggest she text him a picture of herself — sans swimsuit — to take with him. Before she can talk herself out of it, Ashleigh strides off to the bathroom, snaps a photo in the full-length mirror, and hits “send.”

But when Kaleb and Ashleigh go through a bad breakup, Kaleb takes revenge by forwarding the text to his baseball team. Soon the photo has gone viral, attracting the attention of the school board, the local police, and the media. As her friends and family try to distance themselves from the scandal, Ashleigh feels completely alone — until she meets Mack while serving her court-ordered community service. Not only does Mack offer a fresh chance at friendship, but he’s the one person in town who received the text of Ashleigh’s photo — and didn’t look.

15thFifteenth Summer by Michelle Dalton
Price: $9.99
Release Date: May 7, 2013

Chelsea isn’t looking forward to her summer at the lake. It’s the first time her family has been there since her grandmother died, and she can’t break out of her funk. But her summer takes a turn for the better when she meets a boy who works in the bookstore. Josh is cute, sweet, funny…and best of all, seems to like her as much as she likes him. As the days pass by in a blur of boat rides, picnics, and stolen kisses, she can’t believe how lucky she is. No one has ever made her feel so special, or so beautiful.

But Chelsea knows her days with Josh are numbered. She’ll be heading home at the end of the summer—and he’ll be staying behind. Will this be Chelsea’s summer of love? Or will it be the summer of her broken heart?

annalolaIsla and the Happily Ever After(no cover available) by Stephanie Perkins
Price: $11.98
Release Date: September 17, 2013

Falling in love in the world’s most romantic city is easy for hopeless dreamer Isla and introspective artist Josh. But as they begin their senior year at the School of America in Paris, Isla and Josh are quickly forced to deal with the heartbreaking reality that happily-ever-afters aren’t always forever. Their romantic journey is skillfully intertwined with those of beloved couples Anna and Étienne and Lola and Cricket, whose paths are destined to collide in a sweeping finale certain to please fans old and new.

So there you have it, the 9 books I would buy right now if a) the were all out already and b) I had $100.54 laying around(told you I went a little over budget). But really who are we kidding? You all know I will be buying all of these anyway. But man is it fun to pretend today.

*all book descriptions have come from goodreads.com

**Honorable mention: Requiem by Lauren Oliver, The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen, The Elite by Kiera Cass, Dare You To by Katie McGarry, How I Lost You by Janet Gurtler

And because I love books, I’m letting you all vote on which one I should buy. Please fill out the form below and I will pre-order the one with the most votes by February 11th.

Continue Reading

Second Chance Sunday – Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally

In honor of Super Bowl Sunday Second Chance Sunday is brought to you by:

Second Chance Sunday – Catching Jordan by Miranda KenneallyCatching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally
Published by Sourcebooks, Inc.
on December 1st 2011
Format: Paperback
Source: Gifted
Amazon, Goodreads

ONE OF THE BOYS

What girl doesn't want to be surrounded by gorgeous jocks day in and day out? Jordan Woods isn't just surrounded by hot guys, though-she leads them as the captain and quarterback of her high school football team. They all see her as one of the guys and that's just fine. As long as she gets her athletic scholarship to a powerhouse university.

But everything she's ever worked for is threatened when Ty Green moves to her school. Not only is he an amazing QB, but he's also amazingly hot. And for the first time, Jordan's feeling vulnerable. Can she keep her head in the game while her heart's on the line?

thoughts1

To say I was excited for this book is an understatement. A book about football and cute boys? Sign me up. I mean how could you go wrong with two of my favorite things! And Kenneally didn’t let me down. She took what could have been a typical story of finding out what you wanted may not be what you need and made it into more than that.

Jordan is a funny, sassy, tough QB of her high school football team. She has the respect of all the guys on her team and her coach. She isn’t a girly girl or a primper. She is a tomboy that loves the game of football and wants nothing more then to play college ball and to gain the support of her NFL pro father. She has worked hard for this, her spot in life and doesn’t want it to be taken away. And then comes Ty. Ty literally flips Jordan’s whole world around leaving her feeling like she was sacked in the end zone, changing everything she thought she knew and wanted and complicating things.

Complicating things even more is Henry. (And in a complete fan girl moment I must admit I am head over heels for him. LOL). Henry has been Jordan’s bestie for ten years. The two of them are closer then close and when he starts acting weird Jordan is left grasping for something to hold on to. He backs off and Jordan freaks out because Henry is everything and I can’t say I blame her.

I have to say my favorite part of this book was the friendship between Jordan and Henry.
I loved how they were with one another. It is very rare to find a friend that is your soulmate and I truly think these two were that for one another. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed every character in this book. From the other guys on the team to the cheerleaders, to Jordan’s parents. Every single one of them added to the story, but Henry and Jordan were the shining light.

Miranda Kennally’s debut was an amazing mix of smiles and tears and laughter and yearning. Add in a Tom Brady and a Nomar Garciaparra mention and this girl is sold! Awesome awesome book. Can’t wait for more from her.

reread4

Continue Reading