Booky Thoughts and Me

Book reviews and pondering thoughts of a down to earth person

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Book Review: The Education of Hailey Kendrick

The Education of Hailey Kendrick by Eileen Cook

Publication Date: January 4, 2011

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Source: Library

Synopsis (Goodreads): Hailey Kendrick always does exactly what’s expected of her. She has the right friends, dates the perfect boy, gets good grades, and follows all the rules. But one night, Hailey risks everything by breaking a very big rule in a very public way…and with a very unexpected partner in crime. Hailey gets caught, but her accomplice does not, and Hailey takes the fall for both of them.

Suddenly, Hailey’s perfect life–and her reputation–are blowing up in her face. Her friends are all avoiding her. Her teachers don’t trust her. Her boyfriend won’t even speak to her for long enough to tell her that she’s been dumped.

They say honesty is the best policy–but some secrets are worth keeping, no matter the cost. Or are they?

Personal Thoughts: I loved this book! Hailey is a very well developed character that would be Miss Goody Two Shoes, rather than enjoy her life. She’s a teachers dream: participates in class, does all her homework and extra credit assignments, and is just .. well .. perfect. She doesn’t break any rules and goes by the book. She has amazing friends, a perfect boyfriend and goes to a well to do boarding school. So why does she feel out of place?

All that changes in a life changing moment one night and the consequences are not what she is expecting. Through a lot of trial and error events, Hailey learns more about herself and those around her than she had known in the past. I loved how her character and attitude developed over time and by the end of the book you could tell that she had grown up a bit. 🙂

There are a lot of funny parts in the book, which I can’t mention because I don’t want to spoil it, but the crazy stuff that happens just made me love the book even more.

A lot of the secondary characters didn’t actually feel very secondary. The main group felt developed and in the loop so we got to know them pretty well. Kelsey, Drew, Joel and Tristan were a great bunch, although Kelsey did some things that aren’t really best friend material. Overall, great entertaining book. Eileen Cook has done it once again. Keep up the great work!


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Book Review: Unraveling Isobel

Unraveling Isobel by Eileen Cook

Publication Date: January 3, 2012

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Source: Library

Synopsis: (Goodreads): Isobel’s life is falling apart. Her mom just married some guy she met on the internet only three months before, and is moving them to his sprawling, Gothic mansion off the coast of nowhere. Goodbye, best friend. Goodbye, social life. Hello, icky new stepfather, crunchy granola town, and unbelievably good-looking, officially off-limits stepbrother.

But on her first night in her new home, Isobel starts to fear that it isn’t only her life that’s unraveling—her sanity might be giving way too. Because either Isobel is losing her mind, just like her artist father did before her, or she’s seeing ghosts. Either way, Isobel’s fast on her way to being the talk of the town for all the wrong reasons.

Personal Thoughts: When I first read the summary and saw that there would be ghosts involved I was hooked. You know me, I like my ghosts and anything to do with the paranormal. 🙂 Although the book has ghosts, it wasn’t actually scary, just intriguing to see what they would do and what would happen next.

The relationship that Isobel has with her mother isn’t exactly a love relationship and we can tell right off the bat. I mean what kind of mother would marry someone within meeting them of  3 months and force her daughter to move to a new school in her senior year? Isobel shows her displeasure in having to move, especially since her house guests (aka her step-dad and her hot step-brother) aren’t exactly welcoming.

It was interesting to see her struggle with her sanity and seeing whether she was turning insane (it runs in the family). If it was one character I couldn’t stand, it was Dick.(the step father) Right from the start I could tell that there was just something off about him and he seemed to be really creepy.

One thing that I would have liked to see more of is the mystery surrounding the estate. It felt  like it was too short and done over quickly.  Otherwise this book was a great quick entertaining read. I finished it in one day, mainly because I wanted to find out what was going on surrounding the mystery of the house. Eileen Cook is starting to grow on me as an author. All the books that I have read so far have been awesome 🙂 Keep up the great work Eileen Cook!

Rating: 4/5 Stars

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Book Review: What Would Emma Do?

What Would Emma Do? by Eileen Cook

Publication Date: December 30, 2008

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Source: Library

Synopsis (Goodreads): Thou Shalt Not Kiss Thy Best Friend’s Boyfriend…again…

There is no greater sin than kissing your best friend’s boyfriend. So when Emma breaks that golden rule, she knows she’s messed up big-time…especially since she lives in the smallest town ever, where everyone knows everything about everyone else…and especially since she maybe kinda wants to do it again. Now her best friend isn’t speaking to her, her best guy friend is making things totally weird, and Emma is running full speed toward certain social disaster. This is so not the way senior year was supposed to go.

Time to pray for a minor miracle. Or maybe, just maybe, it’s time for Emma to stop trying to please everyone around her, and figure out what she wants for herself.

Personal Thoughts: I loved this book! It was one of those books where a character would grab at you and not let go. My favorite would have to be Emma. The things that she goes through and the way that she handles things, especially towards the end, shows that things are not always what they are meant to be.  She knows what she wants and she knows what she needs to do in order to get it. The determination and dedication that we see from her for her love of track really reflects what kind of person she is. 

To be honest, the whole ‘drama’ thing that was going on throughout the book didn’t really do anything for me. It just felt silly and not that believable. I’m not saying it couldn’t happen in real life, but there were just too many loop holes.

Emma, Colin and Todd were characters that were truly developed throughout the book and I felt that I could relate to them. All the other characters, I felt,  were on a need to know basis and we just knew simple surface things about them. Eileen Cook did a great job with the pacing of the story and it never felt like the plot was dragging or being too slow. Right from the beginning something already happened and the our ride began.

Rating: 3.5/5 Stars


Cover Reveal: Descendant

Descendant-front-cover-RGB copy
Descendant by Nichole Giles
Publication date: May 1st 2013
Publisher: Rhemalda Publishing
Genre: YA Paranormal
Synopsis: Seventeen-year-old Abigail Johnson is Gifted.
Blessed—or cursed—with Sight and Healing, Abby lives an unsettled life,  moving from place to place and staying one step ahead of the darkness  that hunts her. When she arrives in Jackson, Wyoming, she is desperate  to maintain the illusion of normalcy, but she is plagued with visions of past lives mixed with frightening glimpses of her future. Then she  meets Kye, a mysterious boy who seems so achingly familiar that Abby is  drawn to him like he’s a missing piece of her own soul.
Before Abby can discover the reason for her feelings toward Kye, the  darkness catches up to her and she is forced to flee again. But this  time she’s not just running. She is fighting back with Kye at her side,  and it’s not just Abby’s life at stake.
Author Biography:
Nichole Giles had early career plans of becoming an actress or a rock star, but she decided instead to have a family and then become a writer. Writing is her passion, but  she also loves to spend time with her husband and children, travel to  tropical and exotic destinations, drive in the rain with the convertible top down, and play music at full volume so she can sing along.

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Book Review: The Almost Truth

 The Almost Truth by Eileen Cook

Published: December 4, 2012

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Source: Library

Synopsis (Goodreads): Sadie can’t wait to get away from her backwards small town, her delusional mom, her jailbird dad, and the tiny trailer where she was raised…even though leaving those things behind also means leaving Brendan. Sadie wants a better life, and she has been working steadily toward it, one con at a time.

But when Sadie’s mother wipes out Sadie’s savings, her escape plan is suddenly gone. She needs to come up with a lot of cash—and fast—or she’ll be stuck in this town forever.

With Brendan’s help, she devises a plan—the ultimate con—to get the money. But the more lies Sadie spins, the more she starts falling for her own hoax…and perhaps for the wrong boy. Sadie wanted to change her life, but she wasn’t prepared to have it flipped upside down by her own deception. With her future at stake and her heart on the line, suddenly it seems like she has a lot more than just money to lose…

Personal Thoughts: I loved this book. It had a lot of plot twists, turns and surprising events. The pace was good and it didn’t lag anywhere, so I kept on reading more and more to find out what was going to happen next. Sadie was a great character. She has a strong personality and doesn’t let any bumps get in the way of her dreams.

Rating: 4/5 Stars

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Book Review: If I Tell

If I Tell by Janet Gurtler

Published: October 1, 2011

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Source: Library

Synopsis (Goodreads): “It was like watching a train wreck. I wanted to look away but couldn’t take my eyes off them.” IF ONLY …If only I hadn’t gone to that party. I never would have seen what I did. Jackson wouldn’t have driven me home. I wouldn’t have started to fall for a guy just out of reform school. I could go back to pretending everything was normal. I wouldn’t be keeping a secret from my mom that could blow our family apart …

Personal Thoughts: This was one of those books that I had to put down when I finished it and think about it for a while. I have not read any books by Janet Gurtler before this and now that I have, I know that I have been missing out on a great author. Her writing invokes something deep within you, takes a grab of you and won’t let go, even after you have completed the book. It has a distict style that sometimes tells you everything and nothing at the same time. As soon as you started to read, you knew that something major had happened, yet you didn’t know what until later on in the book. That sense of suspense and mystery is there right from the start.

The main character, Jaz, caused herself quite a bit of stress and drama due to what she saw and couldn’t tell anyone. If she told someone about it, she would have saved herself a lot of heartache. Gurtler’s writing style is really unique and through it you able to see the inner struggle of Jaz and those around her. The family struggles, the interracial issues and her friends issues force Jaz to take a closer look of who she really is and evaluate her life, before moving on and trying for a fresh start. There are a few lessons that the author fits into the story to make us, the reader, think about our own views and perspectives and the world around us. This is a book that once it’s put down will still stay with you after you have finished reading it.

Rating: 3/5 Stars

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Book Review: Giving Up The Ghost

Give Up The Ghost by Megan Crewe

Published: September 15, 2009

Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.

Source: Library

Cass McKenna is no ordinary high school student. She has a special talent that no one knows about. She’s able to see and talk to ghosts. She prefers their company to ‘breathers’- people who are alive. Ghosts aren’t complicated and they are dependable, but  best of all they can provide Cass with all the dirt on anyone in school. She loves dirt and she is on a mission to do one thing– expose the posers and the fakes, the popular kids that think they are above everyone.

Things change when the VP of the student council discovers her secret and goes after her. Tim wants her to help him contact his deceased mother and Cass agrees, but only on her terms. As they start to spend more time together, Cass starts to realize there is more to Tim than she originally thought. He’s not like them, he’ s his own person and he desperately needs help, more so than she originally believed.

With everything that is going on in Cass’ life, she starts to think that maybe it is time to give life-  and people, another chance. It is time to move on with her life and live her life.

Personal Thoughts: The first thing that grabbed my attention was the cover. I absolutely love the cover! The mixture of the dead and the living is a perfect balance. The title was the significant part to the book and it stands out on the cover, more than the author’s name. I loved Cass’ character, personality and who care’s attitude. She was put in a tough spot when she started seeing ghosts and she dealt with it the best way that she could. The plot concept of getting the dirt on people from talking to ghosts was an original one. I mean there is no proof of how you got the information and who is next. Cass definitely had an advantage to bring people’s lives down and make their lives miserable if people messed with her. There’s a reason why no one approaches her.

The strange friendship that Cass and Tim was fascinating to follow. It wasn’t a typical boy meets girl kind of story. Both pushed each other away, even when they wanted to do the exact opposite.

This book is not a fluffy romance, but an interesting look on a girl who had her life turned upside down, given a talent that she didn’t want, and gave help to someone who’s life was in a delicate balance. It has dark themes of the paranormal, death, suicide and teen angst. The author wrote in a way that it wasn’t too dark  but still realistic enough to make it believable. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants a different take on high school and teenage life.

Rating: 4/5 Stars