Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Real Real ~ Emma Maclaughlin & Nicola Kraus

Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Pub. Date: May 2009
Age Range: 12 and up


Imagine there was never a Laguna Beach, a Newport Harbor, the shimmering Hills. Imagine that your hometown—your school—is the first place XTV descends to set up cameras.

Now imagine they've trained them on you.

When Jesse O'Rourke gets picked for a "documentary" being filmed at her school in the Hamptons she's tempted to turn down the offer. But there's a tuition check attached to being on the show, and Jesse needs the cash so she can be the first in her family to attend college. All she has to do is trade her best friend for the glam clique she's studiously avoided, her privacy for a 24/7 mike, and her sense of right and wrong for "what sells on camera." . . . At least there's one bright spot in the train wreck that is her suddenly public senior year: Jesse's crush has also made the cast.

As the producers manipulate the lives of their "characters" to heighten the drama, and Us Weekly covers become a regular occurrence for Jesse, she must struggle to remember one thing: the difference between real and the real real.

Let me start off by saying I am not really into reality TV @ all! I find it to be a tad torturous. I do watch The Real Housewives in all its incarnations & The Real Housewives of Orange County is my fave! Hands down The Real Housewives of Orange County is a guilty pleasure. I don't consider it reality foolishness, I rather think it is me hanging out w/ older galpals. I don't give a hoot about The Hills unless they have eyes. I only want to lounge @ a beach -- Laguna or Jones!

I do believe that Lauren & Kristin were the most promising to emerge from fakeality TV. I am a real television lover & think there is way too much "reality" on the small screen & miss the days of must see TV. I do tune into DWTS while channel surfing. Idol - fugetaboutit!

So, imagine my surprise when I found myself loving Emma Maclaughlin & Nicola Kraus' The Real Real! I wondered if the fact that it was set on Long Island played into my adulation.

Hmmm. What about the fact I am 20-25 mins from the coveted Hamptons. Nah! I was raised on the Island & I'm not impressed. So, what was it that had me enjoying my time w/ Jesse? Jesse!

Emma Maclaughlin & Nicola Kraus' YA debut is a winner! The Real Real is real real impressive. Emma Maclaughlin & Nicola Kraus skillfully advoided getting caught up in a cache of redundancies & over the top histrionics! Brava ladies! Brava!

The Real Real is the perfect beach read but make sure to set a timer to roll over & slather on the SPF because you will definitely become part of The Real Hampton Beach happenings.

I loved how Maclaughlin & Kraus mentioned the CW when mentioning the fictitious Park Avenue Confidential -- juicy goodness like a crisp, succulent gala apple. Delish.

Maclaughlin & Kraus created characters that are genuine -- whether they are genuinely good or greedy fame & fortune seekers.

Jesse is an amazing, caring & intelligent young adult who has integrity. She has morals - yep, imagine a reality star that isn't caught up w/ the fake fake! Yippee! Hats off to Maclaughlin & Kraus for this endearing quality in the delightful Jesse!

Drew is also a refreshing addition who is charming & diverting. Toss in the wicked fame & fortune hunters & you've got a spectacular read.

The Real Real isn't brimming w/ mindless fluff & senseless drivel. The Real Real delivers a message behind the tantalizing tale.

Maclaughlin & Kraus penned an edgy, entertaining & savvy look into the world of reality TV w/ The Real Real.

The Real Real is not to be missed missed.

Grab a copy of The Real Real & enjoy the dog days of summer!

Check out Emma Maclaughlin & Nicola Kraus @

Monday, July 13, 2009

Pandora's Daughter ~ Iris Johansen

Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Pub. Date: April 2008

@ the age of 15, Megan Blair was orphaned & raised by her Uncle Phillip. Now an Atlanta pediatrician, Megan hears terrified voices.
Disclosure arrives when childhood friend Neal Grady, who is now a shadowy government agent, appears to apprise Megan of her psychic powers. Neal is also there to warn her: Molino-the merciless villain who murdered Megan's mother, concluding her touch killed his son-is targeting Megan next.

Molino thinks Megan was born to an ancient Sephardic family of psychics & plans to force her to reveal the location of the Ledger, a book that contains the family's secrets & finances. Molino then plans to kill her, if Megan, Neal and Neal's sidekick, Jed Hartley, don't get to him first.

Looks like another dud from the camp of Johansen. I think it is best to stick to the books featuring Eve Duncan & company !
Bottom line, this was . Boring!
It was a contractual fulfillment plain & simple. Johansen was trying way to hard to make a name for herself in the paranormal arena. NOT! Johansen better stick to telling stories she knows how to write or shut down the computer.

Check out Iris' books featuring Eve & the interesting characters Johansen is capable of creating @

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

You've Been Warned ~ James Patterson & Howard Roughan

Publisher: Little, Brown & Company
Pub. Date: September 2007


Kristin Burns is making her way in New York City. Her photos are being considered at a major Manhattan gallery, she works by day with two wonderful children, and the man of her dreams is almost hers for keeps. But just as everything she's ever wanted is finally within reach, her life changes forever--with one murderous nightmare. Kristin wakes up every morning from the same chilling, unforgettable dream. And suddenly, it's visiting her during the day too. As her life turns stranger by the minute, Kristin is haunted and terrified. Is it all in her head? Or is the nightmare becoming her life? Kristin searches desperately for what's real through the lens of her camera, only knowing two things for sure: that no place is safe and the fate of everyone she loves lies in her hands.

It is obvious Patterson is going for quantity & not quality in this bizarre but boring attempt @ infusing supernatural elements into You've Been Warned.

I think he was trying to branch out into the supernatural arena -- maybe it was my mind trying to grasp the dreadfully peculiar happenings.

Patterson's signature short chapters, speedy nonsensical storyline & ever present co-author is packaged into a snoozefest.

You've Been Warned...

Grab the Tylenol.

Walk Run away!!!

I love Patterson's Alex Cross series but this novel is best stored away for when there is a toilet paper shortage!

Check out James Patterson @

Eyes Like Stars ~ Lisa Mantchev

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Pub. Date: July 2009
Age Range: Young Adult
Theatre Illuminata Series


All her world's a stage.

Bertie Shakespeare Smith is not an actress, yet she lives in a theater.
She's not an orphan, but she has no parents.

She knows every part, but she has no lines of her own.

That is, until now.

Enter Stage Right

NATE. Dashing pirate. Will do anything to protect Bertie.

COBWEB, MOTH, MUSTARD SEED, and PEASEBLOSSOM. Four tiny and incredibly annoying fairies. BERTIE'S sidekicks.

ARIEL. Seductive air spirit and Bertie's weakness. The symbol of impending doom.

BERTIE. Our heroine.

Welcome to the Theatre Illuminata, where the actors of every play ever written can be found behind the curtain. They were born to play their parts, and are bound to the Theatre by The Book--an ancient and magical tome of scripts. Bertie is not one of them, but they are her family--and she is about to lose them all and the only home she has ever known.

Open Curtain

Looks like Eyes Like Stars may be the breakout read for 2009!

Lisa Mantchev's Eyes Like Stars kicks off like gang glitter busters!

It is hard to fathom Eyes Like Stars is Lisa Mantchev's debut. With Mantchev's lyrically stunning prose you are taken to a bewitching world resplendent in drama, humor, romance & whimsicality.

Mantchev is a phenomenal storyteller. Eyes Like Stars is an inspired novel overflowing w/ luminosity.

Mantchev has created a delectable cast of alluring, amusing, salty & sprightly characters.

Mantchev's audience will just crave even more from The Théâtre Illuminata. There are times when you can't seem to turn the pages fast enough & there are times when you want to ease up because when you reach the end of Mantchev's engaging fairy tale you will be chomping @ the bit for Book Two in The Théâtre Illuminata trilogy.

Beatrice Shakespeare Smith is as effervescent as champagne bubbles on New Years Eve. Bertie is capricious, determined, fun-loving & vibrant.

Mantchev's description of the fairies is spot on! Fairies are adorable, devilish, frolicsome & pugnacious. Brava to Lisa for capturing the precise essence of Cobweb, Moth, Mustard Seed & PeaseBlossom.

Eyes Like Stars is strikingly scribed with Mantchev's fervent & scintillating dialogue. The storyline is an imaginative & an authentic fantasy extravaganza!

Whew! Mantchev possesses the goods to create a mystical contemporary fairy tale that would make Hans Christian Andersen rush to The Théâtre Illuminata for front row seats!

I do want to mention some may be confused in the beginning of Eyes Like Stars w/ all the scene changes & théâtre jargon but trust me once the stage is set -- you will enjoy the show!

Lisa Mantchev is a visionary talent & you will not be disappointed!

I'd like to share one of my favorite quotes:

"The only reason I'm friends with any of you is because I outgrew the vonTrapps, one annoying Austrian at a time"

Grab a copy of Eyes Like Stars.

Eyes Like Stars should be packaged with an eye mask, cucumbers, cupcakes & scrumptious fudge : }.*Hint*. lol.

Don't say I didn't warn you...

So, wanna Taste the Bad Candy ?!