Friday, August 31, 2012

The Ghost and the Goth by Stacey Kade -- YA Review

 The Ghost and the Goth by Stacey Kade -- YA Review

Image from Goodreads

Alona Dare–Senior in high school, co-captain of the cheerleading squad, Homecoming Queen three years in a row, voted most likely to marry a movie star… and newly dead.

I’m the girl you hated in high school. Is it my fault I was born with it all-good looks, silky blond hair, a hot bod, and a keen sense of what everyone else should not be wearing? But my life isn’t perfect, especially since I died. Run over by a bus of band geeks—is there anything more humiliating? As it turns out, yes—watching your boyfriend and friends move on with life, only days after your funeral. And you wouldn’t believe what they’re saying about me now that they think I can’t hear them. To top it off, I’m starting to disappear, flickering in and out of existence. I don’t know where I go when I’m gone, but it’s not good. Where is that freaking white light already?

Will Killian–Senior in high school, outcast, dubbed “Will Kill” by the popular crowd for the unearthly aura around him, voted most likely to rob a bank…and a ghost-talker.

I can see, hear, and touch the dead. Unfortunately, they can also see, hear and touch me. Yeah, because surviving high school isn’t hard enough already. I’ve done my best to hide my “gift.” After all, my dad, who shared my ability, killed himself because of it when I was fifteen. But lately, pretending to be normal has gotten a lot harder. A new ghost—an anonymous, seething cloud of negative energy with the capacity to throw me around—is pursuing me with a vengeance. My mom, who knows nothing about what I can do, is worrying about the increase in odd incidents, my shrink is tossing around terms like “temporary confinement for psychiatric evaluation,” and my principal, who thinks I’m a disruption and a faker, is searching for every way possible to get rid of me. How many weeks until graduation? 
-- Blurb from Goodreads

Details: Hyperion Book CH, Released 2010, Ebook, 281 pages
Genre: YA
Source: Library
Links: Goodreads and Amazon

Stars? 4/5

In one sentence? Kade made me like - and cheer for - the girl everybody hated in high school.

Review: I didn’t expect to like Alona but I did. She’s the cheerleader, prom queen, the girl everybody wanted to be. As I was reading I kept thinking of the song “Girl Next Door” by Saving Jane with lyrics like:
She is the prom queen I'm in the marching band
She is a cheerleader I'm sitting in the stands
She gets the top bunk I'm sleeping on the floor
She's Miss America and I'm just the girl next door
And my favorite line: ‘Everybody loves her but I just wanna hit her’

As Alona navigates the afterlife with help, and not so much help, from Will, a guy she wouldn’t so much speak to when she was among the living, we learn that she’s got problems just like the rest of us. Alona is interesting and complex, she’s a survivor. She says what she thinks even though she lacks tact and doesn’t know how to be nice. Her storyline gave her a chance to grow and lead her to places, and choices, she hadn’t expected.

Will was a guy I liked. I saw him struggle with his own issues including his ability to see ghosts and 'the thing his father did'. While teaching Alona about the afterlife he also has things to learn from her and his own journey to take.

I thought the book was nicely paced, there were mysteries and questions that spanned the entire book, keeping my attention and making me want to keep going. Though Kade tied up the story nicely there were still interesting places to go and I’m looking forward to the next book.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Hot Stuff by Flo Fitzpatrick – Romance Review

Hot Stuff by Flo Fitzpatrick – Romance Review

Image from

She said Yes.

Tempe Walsh is fluent in ten languages - and she can't say no to adventure. Next stop: India! Her mission: find the priceless - and mysterious - statue known as Shiva's Diva. Her man: Briggan O'Brien, a sexy Irishman on the run from the Mumbai Mob. Brig has a strange way of doing business, whatever that business may be. And she's still not sure how she ended up in his arms when the shooting started - but what if her bullet-deflecting earrings don't work the next time?

Brig's too busy to explain why everyone's after the fabulous figurine - he's having a devil of time just keeping one gorgeous American girl out of danger. And there's only one place left to hide: a Bollywood movie complete with villains, lovers, and a mother-in-law from hell. Hey, there's a happy ending - if anyone can find the script...

Details: Zebra, Released 2005, MM paperback, 320 pages
Genre: Romance
Source: purchased
Links: Goodreads and Amazon

Stars? 5/5

In one sentence? Need I say more than: Irish hero?


Confession: I love this book.

The story starts with a bang –and knives – and the action doesn’t stop. We’re kept guessing throughout the twists and turns and until the very last minute we’re left wondering how it’ll turn out.

I loved the way Fitzpatrick brings her characters to life. I love Tempe Walsh and her red hair and her constant need to eat. I love Briggan O’Brien and his Irish brogue and blather and his many facets. As Tempe says, “My Riverdale Robin Hood had a gift for chicanery and sneaky behavior.” (pg. 269) Even their imperfections are endearing; Brig will scale buildings and walk a tightrope but he’s paralyzed by snakes and haunted by loss. The secondary cast of characters are just as interesting, Asha, the homesick Bollywood film star, and her on-again-off-again fiancé and director, Jake.

Romance is certainly there between kidnappings, elephants and gaelic curses, as is the undeniable chemistry between Tempe and Brig. “He stares at you all the time … It wasn’t because you were just any old person he’d gone on the lam with. The man has it bad. With a capital B, A, and D! It’s as if he’s been looking for you for years and now that he’s found you, well, he’s not losing you.” (pg. 161)

The story left me smiling, wanting curry, samosas and my very own Brig.

What I wanted more of: everything. I wished Fitzpatrick had made a series following Brig and Tempe on their adventures.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Witches of the Glass Castle by Gabriella Lepore -- YA Review

The Witches of the Glass Castle by Gabriella Lepore -- YA Review

"Being a teenager can be hard - all those new conflicts, all those expectations - but when you add to this potent brew the discovery that you're the heir to strange, magical powers, well, then you're really in for trouble...

Sixteen-year-old Mia and seventeen-year-old Dino are siblings like any other - they don't always get on but deep down they are fiercely loyal and protective of one another. But then, when one day Mia seemingly accidentally unlocks their witchcrafting heritage, it soon looks as if their new powers will tear them apart. Sent off to an ancient castle to learn their art, brother and sister struggle to come to terms both with their new selves and with the often perplexing relationships that their intoxicating new world opened up to them." - Blurb
Details: Book Guild Publishing, Released 2011, Paperback, 255 pages
Genre: YA
Source: won in a giveaway
Links: Goodreads and Amazon

Stars? 4/5

In one sentence? A quick and enjoyable read.

Though Lepore uses a popular trope she created a fun read with mostly likable characters and some unique elements. I thought Mia was a bit one dimensional, I would have liked character development in the line of what we saw from Colt. The charming, cocky Colt. I adored him, his constant statements of his superiority and his ... unique ideas about chivalry. (By the way I liked the way Lepore found to connect them) Lepore did a good job of showing Colt struggle between his growing attachment to Mia and his Hunter upbringing. A problem I had? (Spoiler alert: love? They're in love? Really!?)

What I wanted more of? Explanations. I felt the world was underdeveloped, there was little about the lore and about the Arcana and Hunters.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

In which I say hello!

Hello world! I'm so glad to meet you.

Introduction time. I'm Clever Girl and I read. A lot. One of my New Year's resolutions for 2012 was to read 365 books in 2012. It's the beginning of August and I'm already at 270. As I said, I read a lot. I read fiction, mostly romance and young adult. I don't intend to talk about everything I read because (for the most part) I believe in 'if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all'. That said, I reserve the right to write whatever I want to.

Reviews: I'm going to write about what I read. What I think, what I like, what I wanted more of, what I'm left wondering and whatever else I feel like.

Rating system:
5+ = perfect
5 = amazing
4 = good
3 = okay
2 = not for me
1 = I'll pretend this never happened

So let's get to the books...