Pub Writes

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Archive for July, 2014

All Four Stars by Tara Dairman

Posted by Caitie F on July 10, 2014

Title: All Four Stars13598351
Author: Tara Dairman
Hardcover:  288 pages
Pub Date: July 10, 2014
Publisher: Putnam
Rating: +++

Summary from pub:

Gladys Gatsby has dreamed of becoming a restaurant critic for New York’s biggest newspaper–she just didn’t expect to be assigned her first review at age 11. Now, if she wants to meet her deadline and hang on to her dream job, she’ll have to defy her fast-food-loving parents, cook her way into the heart of her sixth-grade archenemy, and battle Manhattan’s meanest maitre d


This is a cute middle grade novel that will make you want to rush into the kitchen – or make reservations and a nice restaurant if you are like Gladys’ parents.

The plot is cute, but there is a little too much sneaking around and using people for my taste. She learns from it and makes up for it a little, but reading this as an adult, I wanted there to be better choices.

It doesn’t help that her parents don’t seem like characters, they feel like caricatures of parents that don’t cook. Some of the other adults are better, but not much. It pulled me out of the concept too many times.

The main character is bright and inquisitive, which really makes her shine. Reading her reviews is a lot of fun and that was my favorite part of the book. It also made me want to go cook and bake more!

Overall, it is a fun book and great for young want-to-be cooks and critics.

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Landline by Rainbow Rowell

Posted by Caitie F on July 7, 2014

Title: Landlineland
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Hardcover: 308 pages
Pub Date: July 8, 2014
Publisher: St Martin’s Press
Rating: +++++

Summary from pub:

Georgie McCool knows her marriage is in trouble. That it’s been in trouble for a long time. She still loves her husband, Neal, and Neal still loves her, deeply — but that almost seems besides the point now.

Maybe that was always besides the point.

Two days before they’re supposed to visit Neal’s family in Omaha for Christmas, Georgie tells Neal that she can’t go. She’s a TV writer, and something’s come up on her show; she has to stay in Los Angeles. She knows that Neal will be upset with her — Neal is always a little upset with Georgie — but she doesn’t expect to him to pack up the kids and go home without her.

When her husband and the kids leave for the airport, Georgie wonders if she’s finally done it. If she’s ruined everything.

That night, Georgie discovers a way to communicate with Neal in the past. It’s not time travel, not exactly, but she feels like she’s been given an opportunity to fix her marriage before it starts . . .

Is that what she’s supposed to do?

Or would Georgie and Neal be better off if their marriage never happened?


I have loved everything Rainbow Rowell has written and especially love that she writes both adult and young adult books. I would love to see more authors with that kind of versatility!

One thing Rainbow Rowell does so well is she makes you feel so much while you are reading her books and this was no different. I laughed and cried. I cared about these characters like they were real people because they felt like real people! I got angry with Georgie sometimes, but I also understood her and how hard it must be to balance everything. Neal was totally justified in leaving without her, but I wanted him to keep trying. They had real, believable flaws and that made them both amazing characters.

But the premise is even cooler – she could use an old phone and call Neal of the past when they were in college together and almost didn’t make it the first time after a big fight. It was a great way to set the book in two different time periods and show their story. As a married person, it really made me think about communication in my own relationship and how everything changes (in really awesome ways for the most part).

This is another smart, funny, and touching book from Rainbow Rowell. I am sure I am not alone when I say that I can’t wait to see what she writes next.

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The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

Posted by Caitie F on July 6, 2014

Title: The Coldest Girl in Coldtowncoldest
Author: Holly Black
Hardcover: 419 pages
Pub Date: Sept 3, 2013
Publisher: Little, Brown for Younger Readers
Rating: +++++

Summary from pub:

Tana lives in a world where walled cities called Coldtowns exist. In them, quarantined monsters and humans mingle in a decadently bloody mix of predator and prey. The only problem is, once you pass through Coldtown’s gates, you can never leave.

One morning, after a perfectly ordinary party, Tana wakes up surrounded by corpses. The only other survivors of this massacre are her exasperatingly endearing ex-boyfriend, infected and on the edge, and a mysterious boy burdened with a terrible secret. Shaken and determined, Tana enters a race against the clock to save the three of them the only way she knows how: by going straight to the wicked, opulent heart of Coldtown itself.


I thought I was done with vampire books. I didn’t really want to read any others, but I have heard wonderful things about this book, so I got it out of the library. Wow was it good. I think it is my favorite vampire book ever.

The problem is, I don’t want to spoil anything. I went in just knowing what the back cover said and I think that is one of the reasons I enjoyed it so much. The concept of a Coldtown is interesting and is what I think the government would actually do if an outbreak happened.

Just know the characters are great, the story is thrilling, and the writing is incredible. You won’t be able to put the book down. Don’t start reading it right before bed, because you will keep reading for an extra hour or so no matter what time you have to get up in the morning.
Even if you think you have seen and read it all, give this book a chance. Holly Black knows how to write suspenseful, interesting horror books.

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Doll Bones by Holly Black

Posted by Caitie F on July 5, 2014

Title: Doll Bonesdoll
Author: Holly Black
Hardcover: 247 pages
Pub Date: May 7, 2013
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Rating: ++++

Summary from pub:

Zach, Poppy and Alice have been friends for ever. They love playing with their action figure toys, imagining a magical world of adventure and heroism. But disaster strikes when, without warning, Zach’s father throws out all his toys, declaring he’s too old for them. Zach is furious, confused and embarrassed, deciding that the only way to cope is to stop playing . . . and stop being friends with Poppy and Alice. But one night the girls pay Zach a visit, and tell him about a series of mysterious occurrences. Poppy swears that she is now being haunted by a china doll – who claims that it is made from the ground-up bones of a murdered girl. They must return the doll to where the girl lived, and bury it. Otherwise the three children will be cursed for eternity.


I have heard so much about this book and am going to LeakyCon in less than a month, so i wanted to read some Holly Black books and my library had this one!

If you pick it up, stick with it through the first few chapters. Both my husband and I thought it started really slowly. He gave up, but I went on with it and am so glad I did!

The book was the perfect mixture of strong characterization, a quest, and some creepiness. Growing up is hard and all three characters deal with it in different ways. I think young readers will be able to connect with at least one of them. They are all going through different struggles with growing up, but they are all relatable. I really thought Poppy’s perspective was interesting. At one point, she says “I hate that everyone calls it growing up, but it seems like DYING.”

While that wasn’t my experience, I think it was an experience a lot of kids have when they can;t just play anymore, hormones kick in, and their friends move into different cliques and apart. Holly Black just seems to get that.

But it isn’t just a coming of age story, it also a creepy adventure that every kid dreams of. Loved every moment of that, especially when they complained about all the walking.

The doll is SO creepy and the real story is even creepier. I love a good ghost story and it delivered

This is a great book and I understand why it has so much acclaim.


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The Great Greene Heist by Varian Johnson

Posted by Caitie F on July 4, 2014

Title: The Great Greene Heist
Author: Varian Johnson
Hardcover: 240 pages
Pub Date: May 27, 2014
Publisher: Arthur A Levine Books
Rating: ++++

Summary from pub:

Jackson Greene swears he’s given up scheming. Then school bully Keith Sinclair announces he’s running for Student Council president, against Jackson’s former friend Gaby de la Cruz. Gaby wants Jackson to stay out of it — but he knows Keith has “connections” to the principal, which could win him the presidency no matter the vote count.

So Jackson assembles a crack team:  Hashemi Larijani, tech genius. Victor Cho, bankroll. Megan Feldman, science goddess. Charlie de la Cruz, reporter. Together they devise a plan that will take down Keith, win Gaby’s respect, and make sure the election is done right. If they can pull it off, it will be remembered as the school’s greatest con ever


I am trying to read as many Leaky Con authors I can before the conference at the end of the month and i knew I had to try this book. Not only did it sound awesome, but I love that the cover shows diverse characters! It is great that we are talking about diversity in books, but we need to actually read and support the books that are diverse.

And I really support this book. You should go out and buy a copy because it is so much fun to read! These kids are smart, funny, insecure, and completely realistic. i liked that the book didn’t center around the jocks, but didn’t make it like no one liked these main characters. They were your normal kids who liked art, games, tech, and sports. They were not stereotypes at all which was fantastic.

So many of the staff felt just like school staff when I grew up. There were some really nice secretaries, and one who was REALLY racist. She thought all Asian kids were the same kid and said things like “kids like you” to the protagonist. It was hard to read, but it was accurate. There are people like that and it is a struggle kids have to deal with every day unfortunately.

Overall, this book was great. The heist was incredible. The characters were awesome. I even loved how they kids had parents and interacted with their parents. I understand why so many books leave the parents out, but it is a really important relationship and it was great to see.

When I first started the book, I was a little confused. I actually had to check online to make sure it wasn’t a sequel, since it kept referring to things that happened last year. It wasn’t a sequel and more information comes out, but it was confusing at first!

This is a great book that I would give to any middle grade reader I know. There really is something for everyone!


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Three Mini Reviews- Pretty Monsters, Guards! Guards!, and Every You, Every Me

Posted by Caitie F on July 3, 2014

From time to time, I don’t have enough to write a full review, so I make some smaller reviews of several books in one post. This is one of those times – here are three books I at least started during the read-a-thon back in April

Title: Pretty Monsters pretty
Author: Kelly Link
Hardcover: 390 pages
Pub Date: Oct 2, 2008
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Rating: +++

Summary from pub:

Kelly Link has lit up adult literary publishing, and Viking is honored to publish her first YA story collection. Through the lens of Link’s vivid imagination, nothing is what it seems, and everything deserves a second look. From the multiple award-winning The Faery Handbag, in which a teenager’s grandmother carries an entire village (or is it a man-eating dog?) in her handbag, to the near-future of The Surfer, whose narrator (a soccer-playing skeptic) waits with a planeload of refugees for the aliens to arrive, Links stories are funny and full of unexpected insights and skewed perspectives on the world.


Like most short story collections, there were stories I liked more than others. Some were absolutely fantastic, and some I read three pages of an skipped because I didn’t care as much. The theme of it is really great and it was easy to transition from one story to the next. The writing was always good, even if I didn’t love the story.


Title: Guards! Guards!guards
Author: Terry Pratchett
Paperback: 355 pages
Pub Date: July 31, 2001 (Originally 1989)
Publisher:  HarperCollins
Rating: +++

Summary from pub:

Here there be dragons and the denizens of Ankh-Morpork wish one huge firebreather would return from whence it came. Long believed extinct, a superb specimen of draco nobilis (“noble dragon” for those who don’t understand italics) has appeared in Discworld’s greatest city. Not only does this unwelcome visitor have a nasty habit of charbroiling everything in its path, in rather short order it is crowned King (it is anoble dragon, after all . . .).

To the rescue come Captain Vimes, Constable Carrot, and the rest of the Night Watch who, along with other brave citizens, risk everything, including a good roasting, to dethrone the flying monarch and restore order to Ankh-Morpork (before it’s burned to a crisp).


I have wanted to try the Discworld series for a while, but it is so large that I didn’t know where to start. Several people recommended the City Watch books, and Guards! Guards! was the first. It was fine. There were several story arcs in the books, and there were a couple I just didn’t like very much, so it made it very hard to get into. I have a couple of other books in the series that I will try because I like the idea of the series and really loved some of the book, but not all of it.


Title: Every You, Every Meevery
Author: David Levithan
Hardcover: 245 pages
Pub Date: Sept 13, 2011
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Rating: +++

Summary from pub:

In this psychological tale, a tormented teen named Evan starts to discover a series of unnerving photographs—some of which feature him. Someone is stalking him, messing with him, threatening him. Worse, ever since his best friend Ariel has been gone, he’s been unable to sleep, spending night after night torturing himself for his role in her absence. And as crazy as it sounds, Evan’s starting to believe it’s Ariel that’s behind all of this, punishing him. But the more Evan starts to unravel the mystery, the more his paranoia and insomnia amplify, and the more he starts to unravel himself.


This book was pretty creepy and unnerving. The photos make it feel real and add a lot to the book. I really like Levithan’s writing and the story, I just wanted a little more to it. I wanted to know the characters more and feel a bigger connection. The strike-through text made it difficult to read at times and other authors have used it more effectively. It is incredibly creative and I love how it used photographs as they added so much more and made it nothing like the average book, it just felt like it was missing something..


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The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennett by Bernie Su and Kate Rorick

Posted by Caitie F on July 2, 2014

Title: The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennett 18775255
Authors: Bernie Su and Kate Rorick
Hardcover: 228
Pub Date: July 1, 2014
Publisher: Touchstone
Rating: +++++

Summary from pub:

There is a great deal that goes into making a video blog. Lizzie Bennet should know, having become a YouTube sensation over the course of her year-long video diary project. The Lizzie Bennet Diaries chronicled Lizzie’s life as a twenty-four-year-old grad student, struggling under a mountain of student loans and living at home with her two sisters;beautiful Jane and reckless Lydia. What may have started as her grad student thesis grew into so much more, as the videos came to inform and reflect her life and that of her sisters. When rich, handsome Bing Lee comes to town, along with his stuck-up friend William Darcy, things really start to get interesting for the Bennets’ and for Lizzie’s viewers. Suddenly Lizzie, who always considered herself a fairly normal young woman, was a public figure. But not everything happened on-screen. Luckily for us, Lizzie kept a secret diary.

The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet provides more character introspection as only a book can, with revelatory details about the Bennet household, including Lizzie’s special relationship with her father, untold stories from Netherfield, Lizzie’s thoughts and fears about life after grad school and becoming an instant web celebrity.


Did you watch The Lizzie Bennet Diaries on YouTube? Are you a fan of Pride and Prejudice? Do you love contemporary novels about family, friendship, and love? If you uanswered any of those questions, you need to read the book. And if you haven’t seen the YouTube channel, watch it before, during, or after you read it!

I loved this series on YouTube and the book made me love it even more. It lets you really see inside Lizzie’s head and explains some things that are vague in the videos. It makes everyone more sympathetic too. Except for Wickham. Some people don’t deserve any sympathy.

The story of the Bennet family fits so well as a modern retelling. Lizzie is strong and smart, Jane is kind and sweet, with her own bits of strength, and Lydia is…well, let’s just be glad no one gave her a microphone or she may have turned out a little like Miley Cyrus. Social media makes the drama more dramatic and I only yelled “USE YOUR WORDS” at the book a couple times.

This is one of the best books of the year and has made me want to watch the YouTube series all over again!


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Gods Behaving Badly by Marie Phillips

Posted by Caitie F on July 2, 2014

Title: Gods Behaving Badlygods
Author: Marie Phillips
Hardcover: 293 pages
Pub Date: Dec 10, 2007
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Rating: ++++

Summary from pub:

Being a Greek god is not all it once was. Yes, the twelve gods of Olympus are alive and well in the twenty-first century, but they are crammed together in a London townhouse–and none too happy about it. And they’ve had to get day jobs: Artemis as a dog-walker, Apollo as a TV psychic, Aphrodite as a phone sex operator, Dionysus as a DJ.

Even more disturbingly, their powers are waning, and even turning mortals into trees–a favorite pastime of Apollo’s–is sapping their vital reserves of strength.

Soon, what begins as a minor squabble between Aphrodite and Apollo escalates into an epic battle of wills. Two perplexed humans, Alice and Neil, who are caught in the crossfire, must fear not only for their own lives, but for the survival of humankind. Nothing less than a true act of heroism is needed-but can these two decidedly ordinary people replicate the feats of the mythical heroes and save the world?


If you would love to see what the Greek gods of the Percy Jackson books would look like if they were in an adult book, look no further. They were manipulative in that middle grade series, but that is nothing compared to how they act in this book and it is fantastic.

Can you blame them? They are gods no one believes in anymore and their power is dwindling, so when they use what is left, they make it count. Sure, mostly it is vengeance (the book starts with Apollo turning a woman into a tree because she doesn’t want to sleep with him), but everything in mythology shows that is what they would be like. It may not be right, but it is entertaining!

The humans in the story, Alice and Neil are great as well. They are just good people trying to make their way in the world who get caught up with these gods. Their goodness makes it a lot more interesting, especially when they have to try to be epic heroes. I especially love Neil and his reactions to the gods.

This is overall a really fun book to read. If you want something a little more light-hearted and quick, this would be an excellent choice.


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Top Ten Favorite Classics

Posted by Caitie F on July 1, 2014

Thanks to The Broke and the Bookish for hosting and picking such great topics! This week’s topic is top ten favorite classics. I just went with the traditional classic for this one. In no particular order, except for the first one as it is my favorite book of all time! I have no included plays, or it would be almost all plays.

1. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee



2. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen


3. 1984 by George Orwell


4. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne


5. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte


6. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury


7. Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald


8. Candide by Voltaire


9. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley


10. Persuasion by Jane Austen


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