Monday, January 30, 2012

An Apology

I have to apologize for not being around much last week and this week. We have just had a rough couple of weeks for my family and my work.

Last week we lost both of my husband's grandmothers. They were really wonderful ladies, and women I am so glad I got to know. One of the deaths was expected, but the other caught us completely off guard--we are still all in shock. We will miss them greatly.

To top that off, last week we had a bit too much excitement in my library. Last week there were four people shot in our little town, all within a short distance of our library. On Thursday they arrested a man they first suspected of being the culprit here in our library. For several hours on Thursday they couldn't decide if they were going to evacuate us or lock us down. Luckily, he wasn't the shooter, but that didn't do much for the library's image. How do we bounce back from that kind of negative publicity? How do we let people know it is safe to keep coming to our library.

Like I said, it was a rough week and as a result, I didn't get much reading done. This past weekend we spent time with my husband's parents, and all of us are just so wiped out at this point, we don't have the energy to do much other than attempt to take it day by day.

So I apologize in advance if I am a little distant this week, and maybe the next couple of weeks. We have a lot going on, and are just trying to make it through one day at a time.

I can't tell you how much I enjoy blogging and sharing what I read with all of you, this blog is my place for sharing my love of books. I plan to get back to that as soon as I can.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Book Review: Truth by Julia Karr

Title: Truth
Author: Julia Karr
Genre: Teen Fiction, Dystopian Fiction
Publication Date: January 19, 2012
Publisher: Puffin
ISBN-13 Book: 9780142417720
Source: I received a copy from the author for review as part of the {Teen} Book Scene Tours. This is my honest review.

TruthTruth by Julia Karr

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Nina Oberon is back in this sequel to Karr's XVITruth takes place immediately after XVI ends.  Nina and her sister are still attending school, and living with their grandparents.  When Child Protective Services issue a writ declaring Nina's grandparents unsuitable guardians, and Pops finds himself arrested by B.O.S.S. Nina and her sister find themselves in a whole lot of trouble.  What will happen to them, how will they elude the government this time?

Something about Karr's writing style just draws me into her novels.  I don't know what it is about the way she writes, but it is so accessible and inviting even when I am tired after a day of work.  A couple of times I was so tired when I got home I didn't want to read until I picked up Truth then I became so engrossed that I didn't want to put it down.

This novel is definitely a continuation of the first.  Which means, you really must read the first to understand the situations in this novel.

That being said, I really enjoyed this sequel.  Although not as thoroughly terrifying as the first novel, this one definitely had you  on the edge of your seat as you watched Nina try to navigate the system once more.

Karr's dystopia is very involved and heavily regulated.  It is a world where the media runs the nation, and because of their antifeminist tendencies, they have created a world where it is dangerous to be a woman.  Once again sex is a central topic in this novel, but it is only really talked about.

Nina Oberon is becoming more and more of an adult as these novels progress, and it is refreshing to see a character change and grow.  She is a strong female character who wants to do the right thing, and seeks to make her world a better place.

Overall this is a wonderful continuation of the series.  In many ways, this book was even better than the first.  Karr knows how to build tension and keep the reader engaged.  Her writing just keeps getting better. I love these novels and can't wait to read more.

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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Book Review: Silence by Becca Fitzpatrick [Audio]

Title: Silence
Author: Becca Fitzpatrick
Genre: Teen Fiction, Fantasy
Publication Date: October 4, 2011
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
ISBN-13 Book: 9781442426641
Publisher Audio CD: Simon and Schuster Audio
ISBN CD: 9781442343818
Length:  8 CDs (Approximately 9.5 hours)
Narrator:  Caitlin Greer
Disclosure:  I received a copy of the audio book for review from Simon and Schuster Audio through Audiobook Jukebox (  This is my honest review!

Silence (Hush, Hush, #3)Silence by Becca Fitzpatrick
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Warning:  This review may contain spoilers from the previous novel Crescendo.

This third installment in the series takes place shortly after book two, Crescendo leaves off.  At the end of Crescendo Nora is been kidnapped by the Black Hand.  At the beginning of Silence we discover the desperate extremes Patch is willing to go to rescue her.  When she finally is returned to her mother, a lot has changed.  First Nora has no memory of the events of the last five months and second her mother is now dating Hank Miller, the father of her enemy Marcie Miller.  She knows there are gaps in her memory and she knows not everyone is telling her the truth, especially about a dark eyed boy that keeps popping up in her scattered memory.

Since this is the third book in the series, Fitzpatrick doesn’t waste any time thrusting the reader into the story.  The characters are familiar and we know their history.  What we can’t figure out is why their stories differ so completely from the ones we read in the past two books. 

While amnesia tends to be a bit cliché in books these days, given the powers of the characters I found it to be a believable motif, and it definitely lets her move from Nora’s captivity at the end of Crescendo to the events of this book without a lot of drawn out scenes and explanation.  In fact, I think it was great that we didn’t have to experience Nora in captivity. 

Once again the nephilim and the fallen angels are preparing for battle.  While I enjoyed Silence while I was reading it, in the end I was left feeling a little disappointed and felt that it kind of fell flat.  In essence we don’t learn anything new in this novel until the very end.  There was no new information, no new events; we basically waited for Nora to get her memory back so we could progress with the story once again.  It was good for a refresher of events, but kind of stalled the progress of the series.

The ending sets us up for a new playing field and for an exciting conclusion in the final installment in this series.  I am anxious to know what happens next.

I listened to the audiobook for this novel and found that it was a pleasant way to experience the book.  Given how much of the book rehashes the previous novels, I found myself less impatient listening to the book than I would have been had I been reading it.  The audio format suits this book well and is a good way to get through this novel. 

The audiobook is produced by Simon & Schuster audio and read by Caitlin Greer.  Greer does an excellent job narrating, and is clear and believable as the voice of Nora Grey.  Sometimes the male voices seem a bit stretched, but this is common with almost any narrator reading for the opposite sex.  Alter Graham (sp?) reads the first chapter, and it was worth listening to the audio just to hear Patch’s voice come from a male reader.

The production of this novel is well done.  The volume is consistent throughout the book and the quality is very good.  The pacing for the narration is perfect and the audio flows smoothly.  The audio is definitely a good way to get through this third novel.  In fact, there were several days when I found myself sitting in the car listening to the book even though I had arrived at my destination.

Overall, this was a good book, but it could have been better.  I felt that we spent too much time rehashing events that occurred in the previous books.  I still like the series and can’t wait to see what will happen in book four.  

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Saturday, January 21, 2012

Adult Book Review: A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

Title: A Discovery of Witches
Author: Deborah Harkness
Genre: Adult Fiction, Fantasy
Publication Date: February 8, 2011
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN-13 Book: 9780143119685
Source: I purchased a paperback copy of this novel from Meijer. This is my honest review!

A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy, #1)A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
When scholar Diana Bishop calls up the manuscript Ashmole 782 from the Bodlein library in Oxford, she has no idea how that single act will change her life.  Born a witch, but refusing to have anything to do with her magic, Diana has suddenly caught the interest of witches, daemons, and a very alluring vampire.  Soon she is being pursued and threatened by witches who believe she knows more than she is letting on, by daemons who want her to give them the manuscript, and by a vampire who may want more from her than just the manuscript.
To be completely honest I have to admit that my friend, who wasn’t able to finish the book, was right—there is a bit too much mooning over how handsome Matthew is and how perfect he is.  Like in the novel Twilight we are told over and over how perfect, strong, white, and handsome the vampire Matthew Clairmont is to the protagonist.  I can see how that grated on her, and why she couldn’t go any further with this novel, but I really wish she had finished it. 

I will admit that on the surface this novel has the ability to come off as a bit of a Twilight for grownups, but the mooning over the perfectly handsome vampire who insists to our charming protagonist that he is a dangerous creature who could lose control and kill her is really where the similarities end.  Unlike the protagonist of the other mentioned vampire novel, Diana Bishop is a strong and capable woman.  She is a scholar who wants nothing more than to work on her keynote address for an upcoming conference when she unwittingly calls up a book on alchemy that soon has the world of paranormal creatures buzzing.

While a little slow in the beginning, this novel definitely picks up the pace at the end.  Strangely the slowness of the beginning didn’t turn me off the novel.  For some reason it felt right for this book, it made me savor each chapter and appreciate the time I got to spend with the book.  I honestly didn’t want to turn that last page knowing I would have to wait until July to find out what was going to happen next.  Even now, having just finished it last evening, I find myself wanting to go back and reread the novel and spend more time with these characters.

Speaking of characters, you can’t help but like spunky and defiant Diana.  It was a bit frustrating seeing her do something dangerous because of her defiance, but on the other hand I liked that the heroine of this novel could stand up for herself.  Yes, she does get a bit moony over Matthew, but tell me, do you know any girl or woman who hasn’t gotten moony over someone at least once.  Sickening as it may be to some, sometimes we don’t always think with our brains; sometimes we see candy and we like it.  The fawning over Matthew does lessen later in the novel, when the events and action begin to take over and despite the fact that this bothered my friend, I was able to get past this without much effort.

Matthew was a puzzle whose pieces were slowly doled out over the course of the novel.  Each little tidbit was fascinating, and it really answers the question what would you do if you could live forever.  He has known history firsthand, and to a historian like Diana that knowledge itself is what draws her to him—not merely his looks.  His instincts and his long life have made him a protector of the weak—strange for a vampire, but he has been living among humans for many years.  When he first meets Diana he sees a witch who has never learned to use her power, and who can’t protect herself from other witches.  It makes him feel like he needs to shield her, and try to protect her from this world she has shut out of her life. 

The other characters are equally fascinating Ysabeau especially intrigued me.  Diana’s aunts are a fun lot, and so are many of the creatures we meet in this novel.  I still want to know more about Marcus, Miriam, and Nathaniel, so I hope we get to see them again in the next novel.

This novel would probably be called more of a romance than general fiction, but the adventure, the history, and mystery will keep non-romance readers interested.  It is definitely a page turner and I can see why it has garnered such good reviews and a place on the bestseller lists.

You are probably wondering why I gave a book where I have acknowledged flaws a 5 star review.  To be absolutely and completely honest, it is because I loved the book.  It hooked me on the first page, and though I could see the flaws my friend pointed out they didn’t matter to me.  This book was an engrossing read.  It was a book where I wanted to savor every page.  I liked the characters, the romance, the action, the magic, and the history.  It blended all those aspects well, and no matter where I was in the book I wanted to keep reading.  Maybe it was because this book gave me something that has been missing from my reading choices lately, and I admit I whole heartedly want more.  I only hope the second book is as good as the first.

Overall, this is one of my favorite books.  How can I tell?  I can tell because I just finished the book yesterday and already I want to go back and reread it.  That hasn’t happened to me for a very, very, long time.  If you like adventure, with romance, and some history give A Discovery of Witches a try.  The sequel Shadow of Night comes out July 10, 2012—I’m not sure I can wait that long.          

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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Author Interview with Julia Karr author of Truth the Sequel to XVI

Today I have the pleasure of welcoming Julia Karr to my blog.  A year ago when I read her first book XVI I was amazed by the strong character she had created in Nina Oberon, I was thrilled to read this latest installment and see what has changed in Nina's life. Welcome, Julia, to my blog.

Author Interview with Julia Karr

1. Where is the most unusual place you have ever written any parts of you novels?

Probably the most unusual place would be in the bathtub.

2. Do you have any writing rituals or any specific place you have to be when you write?

I can write just about anywhere, but I have to have fed the cats and dog first. I must have a cup of tea - gunpowder green - when I’m getting started.

3. What was your most embarrassing moment?

In writing? Cause boy, I’ve had a ton of embarrassing moments in my life! But... in writing, probably when I was querying agents. I sent out XVI (which has a pretty memorable title) to a particular agent. He asked for a partial and then declined. Two months later, I accidentally queried him again - same query letter! He politely responded that if he wasn’t interested in the first place, he wouldn’t be again. I wanted to die!

4. What one thing would you like readers to take away from your novels?

That we need to question what’s going on in our government and we need to be sure that we don’t take the word of the media about what’s really going on around us. We have to dig deeper and find out the truth about things for ourselves. Also - and this is a big ALSO... Girls are as capable as guys of doing pretty much anything. Girls do not need to be protected and molly-coddled (I always wanted to use that word!) - unless they’re injured or sick or in some condition where you would be protecting anyone, male or female. We’re all people - we’re all capable.

5. Do you have any other projects in the works?

I do.

6.  Can you tell us about them?

Not right at this moment - hopefully soon!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Book Review: Dragonswood by Janet Lee Carey

Title: Dragonswood
Author: Janet Lee Carey
Genre: Teen Fiction, Fantasy
Publication Date: January 5, 2012
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
ISBN-13 Book: 9780803735040
Source: I purchased and ebook version for my nook. This is my honest review!

DragonswoodDragonswood by Janet Lee Carey
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
When Tess is accused of being a witch, and then tortured to reveal the names of her best friends, she and her two best friends must leave their perilous lives behind in their small village to escape the witch hunter. Unsure who to trust and with nowhere safe to run, Tess and her friends are helped by a mysterious huntsman who Tess had seen in her visions; a man who may know more about the kingdom’s affairs than he lets on.  

I was really looking forward to this novel.  It sounded so intriguing, and like a good engrossing fantasy.  I was looking for something completely set in a fantasy world, and this novel fit the bill. 

Dragonswood starts off with a bang and a lot of action.  At the very beginning Tess is accused of witchcraft, and then tortured.  This was the type of beginning that really hooks me as a reader.  It was fast and action packed. 

After a great start, however, the novel slows down considerably—perhaps even too much.  There were later parts that dragged by so much so that I was tempted to put the book down.  Still the need to know what was going to happen and where the novel would go kept me reading. 

Tess is a likable character who is realistically flawed.  She only knows what she has been told and is ignorant of much of the world.  I like the fact that Tess’s character is so well rounded.  She makes mistakes and has flaws, and that made her so much more real than even her two best friends.

Overall, there were some parts of the story that could have been better developed, and some loose ends that were too neatly tied up at the end, but all in all this was an interesting book to read.  While you may notice some connections with Carey’s book Dragon’s Keep, it is not necessary to read Dragon’s Keep to enjoy Dragonswood although doing so may provide you with some background and history that will be useful.

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Friday, January 6, 2012

I Kiss a Lot of Frogs: Finding My Next Great Read

I know I have been a little on the quiet side lately--still reviewing, but not much commentary.  I blame it on illness.  I got zapped with bronchitis, laryngitis, a sinus infection, and did you know you could pull muscles in your neck from coughing--found that one out the hard way.  Anyway, while I have been a bit under the weather I have used the opportunity to catch up on some of my reading--if I can't talk, why not read.

Last night I was pondering what to read next. There are always so many great books coming out it is sometimes hard to choose.  Most of the time I have a booked up reading list with deadlines looming, but for once it seems like I have caught up and now have the chance to pick and choose what I want to read.

In some ways this is more daunting than the deadlines.  With so much to choose from, what do I read next?  Like so many others I have my TBR shelf stuffed full of books I haven't read yet, so of course it makes sense to grab one of those, but what if none of those strike my fancy?  I have read two outstanding fantasy novels recently--high fantasy, and I want more.  I want another book that makes me feel as wonderful as those two did.  Then I look at my shelf and shake my head nothing seems like those book--no suitable read-a-likes. 

So what do I do when I can't find what I am looking for?  I pick up several books and just begin reading the first few pages.  The one that holds my interest may be my next read.  The ones that don't, go back to the TBR pile.  Sometimes I start several before I find one that hooks me, but this tells me something about my reading.  I have to have a good beginning.

Authors, are you listening?  Beginnings are everything.  If I can't get past the beginning, getting to the stunning conclusion you wrote at the end will be difficult if not impossible.  I am the type of reader who needs to be hooked from the first page, and the scary part of that is that I am not alone.  When I booktalk to teens in the library so many of them tell me that they just couldn't get into the novel.  It may be a fabulous book, but if it doesn't hold their interest in the beginning, only the persistent readers will make it to the stunning conclusion. 

Teens have so much going on in their lives, and with everything happening so fast, a novel needs to draw them in quickly and keep their attention.  The only way around this that has worked for me has been reading audio books--I can get past a slow start with a good audio, but most of the kids I see aren't big audio fans. 

So what do I recommend, start your books out with a bang!  Grab my attention so that you aren't another frog, and instead become the next prince charming I will be spending my time with.  I guess that makes me sound like book slut, but what can I say I am always looking for that next great book.  :)

Books with Great Beginnings:

  • Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins--dramatic, very dramatic
  • Silence by Becca Fitzpatrick--this latest installment had me salivating at the beginning
  • Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder--on the way to the gallows
  • Dragonswood by Janet Lee Carey--witches, torture, how will she escape
  • Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross--love the action
  • Notes to Self by Avery Sawyer--this e-book really hooked me
  • The Summoning by Kelly Armstrong--this one had chills going down my spine

Whether you start it off with action or intrigue, a book needs to give me a reason to keep reading.  What about you?  What makes you eager to start a new book?  What books with great beginnings would you add to my list?

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Book Review: Notes to Self by Avery Sawyer

Title: Notes to Self
Author: Avery Sawyer
Genre: Teen Fiction, Realistic Fiction
Publication Date: November 20, 2011
Publisher:  Avery Sawyer, via Smashwords
Sold by: SMASHWORDS - EBKS  (Available from either Amazon or Barnes and Noble)

Source: I received a copy from the author for review. This is my honest review.

Notes to SelfNotes to Self by Avery Sawyer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
All Robin remembers is that she and Emily both climbed up the Sling Shot at Fun Towne, and then they fell.  When Robin wakes up she can’t remember the details of that evening, but knows there is something important there.  Worse, Emily hasn’t woken up yet and Robin must learn to live her life anew with the results of a traumatic brain injury.

I can’t tell you how much this novel amazed me.  The premise intrigued me from the beginning, but the writing and the story are so engrossing I couldn’t put it down.  Robin is a likable narrator who is struggling to put her life back together after the fall.  She knows there is something about that night that she is missing and she wants so badly to remember, but when she can’t even remember how to take a shower, how can she expect to remember that one night.

The character development in this novel is well done.  You can believe that Robin is a real person, and you can feel and understand her pain.  Her support system is so small you really can see how hard it is for her to find people she can really trust.

The story often flashes back to memories from Robins past, and especially memories of Emily.  This isn’t at all distracting to the story, and adds quite a bit of dimension to the writing.  You can see how she and Emily got to the places they are now, and it does much to further the character development.

Overall this novel was a fast and interesting read.  I highly recommend it to readers of realistic fiction.  It was definitely a hard one to put down.

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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Book Review: Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick [Audio]

Title: Crescendo
Author: Becca Fitzpatrick
Genre: Teen Fiction, Fantasy
Publication Date: October 19, 2010
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
ISBN-13 Book: 9781416989431
Publisher Audio CD: Simon and Schuster Audio
ISBN CD: 9781442334199
Source: I checked out both the book and the audio from my local library. This is my honest review!

Crescendo (Hush, Hush, #2)Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
After surviving a near death experience, Nora Gray hopes that life can return to normal.  All she wants for the summer is to avoid her nemesis Marcie Miller, spend time with her hot guardian angel boyfriend Patch, and pass summer chemistry.  What she gets though is far from what she had hoped.  Patch starts acting weird and hanging out with Marcie and after a huge fight he and Nora part ways; leaving Nora reeling and her mother setting her up with the new guy in town, Scott Parnell, who may have more to hide in his shady past than even Nora is prepared to deal with. 

Crescendo takes up right where Hush, Hush left off.  Nora and Patch are back again, but not everything is going as smoothly as Nora had planned.  Something is up with Patch and he isn’t sharing, and suddenly Marcie Miller is butting into her life and making it miserable. 

We met most of the characters in the first novel, so we didn’t need to go into a lot of detail with this one.  We still wonder what Marcie’s grudge is against Nora, and eventually do get more insight into this dysfunctional relationship.  Vee is back and as flippant as ever.  I think one of my major complaints in the first novel was that Vee seemed so oblivious to Nora’s feelings.  That is still somewhat true, but in the end Vee is always there for her—the one person she can count on in a pinch. 

Scott Parnell is a new character in this novel, and something definitely isn’t right with this bad boy.  Even Nora’s mother senses it.  Scott is definitely hiding something that will keep the reader anxious to find out exactly what is going on with him.

Nora was a bit of a frustration to me in this novel.  I had very little sympathy for her problems with her relationship with Patch because so much of it was her own doing.  She jumped to a conclusion and then shoved Patch out of her life based on her false assumptions.  I guess though that is what makes these relationships interesting. 

I must admit this novel had some surprises in store for me.  There were some aspects of the plot that I had figured out ahead of time, but Fitzpatrick was still able to pull a few surprises.  Not bad for a middle novel, and in some ways more fulfilling than the first.

The audio version of this novel is produced by Simon and Shuster Audio and read by Caitlin Greer.  Greer does an excellent job narrating and her voices feel true to the characters.  As with any female narrator, the guys come out a little stretched, but Greer still makes them believable.  The audio is definitely worth a listen if you don’t have time to pick up the book, and is very well done. 

Overall, you definitely need to read the first book in this series Hush, Hush to understand what is going on in this novel.  I will say though, for a middle book this one stood up pretty good and kept this reader interested.  This is a must read if you wish to continue with the series—and the cliffhanger at the end will have you clamoring for book three Silence.

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Monday, January 2, 2012

Book Review: The International Kissing Club by Ivy Adams

Title: The International Kissing Club
Author: Ivy Adams
Genre: Teen Fiction,
Publication Date: January 3, 2012  (YEP, It comes out tomorrow!!!)
Publisher: Walker Childrens
ISBN-13 Book: 9780802723185
Source: I received a copy from the author for review as part of the {Teen} Book Scene Tours. This is my honest review.

The International Kissing ClubThe International Kissing Club by Ivy Adams

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Four teen girls, best friends, have wished their entire lives to get out of their small town of Paris, Texas.  When the opportunity arises for the four of them to participate in a foreign exchange program the girls jump at the chance.  Piper will go to Paris, Mei to China, Cassidy to Australia, and Izzy will remain in Texas because her parents can't afford her trip.  Four girls, 10 weeks, and many exciting experiences, new guys, new kisses, but will they be the same people they were before they left?  Welcome to the International Kissing Club.

There is no way to avoid the comparison.  The first thing I thought of when I saw this book listed was Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (SOTTP).  As much as I would like to there is no escaping the comparison.  There is even an allusion to that series in this novel that definitely made me chuckle.  Like SOTTP, this novel features four best friends separating for the first time in their lives. Each teen has her own reasons for wanting to leave their tiny town and start fresh somewhere else.  Like SOTTP, these girls are searching for identity, and to some extent their first real encounter with love.

The characters in this novel are easy to relate to--you know them or have even been them.  First there is Piper, who longs to escape the bullying and harassment of the queen bee of their school Germaine.  Ever since falling victim to a cruel pageant prank, Piper has been known as Kiss the Pig Girl.  Every where she goes the nickname and insulting oinks follow.  She longs to get away and go somewhere where she can find a boy who isn't familiar with her notorious past.

Mei is the overachiever trying to prove that she is worthy of her adoptive parents who love her.  She is the smart sensible member of the group, but she really wants to know more about who she really is.  Little does she realize that in China, the students will see her as one more Chinese girl among millions--one that was unwanted.

Cassidy is the only daughter of a single mother who had her while she was a teenager.  Her family has lived in Paris for generations, and Cassidy longs to seek adventure elsewhere.  She wants to escape the stereotypes of her small town life and have people know her for who she is rather than where she is from. 

Finally ther is Izzy whose breakup with her boyfriend has left her reeling.  She had hoped to get away from her chaotic family life and the painful memories of her breakup, but when her irritating older brother breaks his hand and has no hope at a football scholarship, Izzy is forced to give up her trip and stay without her friends in their small town.

While they are apart the girls form the International Kissing Club, a Facebook page for them to share their adventures and conquests.  But the page becomes so much more as more and more people begin to follow and support these young adventurers. 

The technological aspects of the story, and various pop culture references may eventually date the story, but the themes of growing up and searching for your own identity will remain true.  All of these young women are charming characters who you would want to know.  You can even see bits of yourself in each of them.  The novel manages to tackle serious topics such as bullying, and identity without taking itself to seriously.  I love that this novel could make me laugh and cry.

Overall this charming novel is a great addition to the realistic fiction genre.  I can see it appealing to fans of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and many others.  This is a really fun read.

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