November 29, 2011

REVIEW: Shut Out by Kody Keplinger

Most high school sports teams have rivalries with other schools. At Hamilton High, it's a civil war: the football team versus the soccer team. And for her part,Lissa is sick of it. Her quarterback boyfriend, Randy, is always ditching her to go pick a fight with the soccer team or to prank their locker room. And on three separate occasions Randy's car has been egged while he and Lissa were inside, making out. She is done competing with a bunch of sweaty boys for her own boyfriend's attention 

Then Lissa decides to end the rivalry once and for all: She and the other players' girlfriends go on a hookup strike. The boys won't get any action from them until the football and soccer teams make peace. What they don't count on is a new sort of rivalry: an impossible girls-against-boys showdown that hinges on who will cave to their libidos first. But what Lissa never sees coming is her own sexual tension with the leader of the boys, Cash Sterling...

I liked the stance that Keplinger took on the whole teen sex thing. Considering that the novel was about a sex strike, I think that she executed the whole thing really well, not coming across as preachy or as if she was promoting it. She presented a variety of aspects, from both sides of the field (get it?!).

The novel also tackled a lot of views about sexuality and expressions of, something that makes you think, but not in an "ugh! philosophy and decisions are hard!" sort of way. I also think that it is also really brave of Keplinger to write a book about sex, as most authors wouldn't have the heart to attempt it.

I did like the characters, especially Lissa. It was refreshing to see a heroine who wasn't strong all the time. I think that her idiosyncrasies were what helped bring her alive, and it really worked.  Also - I LOVED Cash and Chloe, they were hilarious at times and just seemed perfect for their roles at other times. The dialogue was enjoyable and really made the novel that bit more realistic.

I thought that some aspects of the novel were a bit predictable, but I guess that not everything can be a surprise.

Shut Out is based on the Greek play Lysistrata by Aristophanes, and I think that Keplinger does a great job portraying it; it was converted well for a modern audience.

Shut Out is a novel that you should definitely read, don't be off by the sex talk, it doesn't go into detail.
It's a great, light read and you'll really enjoy it if you're a girl ( just awk-ward if you're a guy) 13-17 or so. Maybe (you know, just maybe) because of the feminine perspective and about girls not having sex with guys.

P.S. Here are some good reviews that explain it more - I really suggest that you read a few of them at least - it's worth it!

A great way to put it, found at 's review:

"The concept of SHUT OUT comes from the Greek myth LYSISTRATA; so clearly while I wasn’t paying attention to classics and Greek myths in high school English class, Kody Keplinger was buzzing with fantastic book ideas. But seriously, the idea of this book fascinated me. I love how Keplinger was able to take a concept from such an old story and completely breathe new life into it. The rivalry had me intrigued from the beginning, and when the girls rallied together against the boys, I was completely hooked."

Other Reviews
Girls In the Stacks Vlog
@ The Story Siren
@ Shana Talks
@ The Reading Fever

November 26, 2011

Blog of the Week

The blog of the week is something I decided to do to acknowledge all the hard work that goes into blogging. All  the hours shackled to a desk, typing furiously to get that review just right, just working yourself to the bone in general. (you know what I mean.) Oh! and don't forget the long hours that the slave master forces you to read for...

This week I would like to acknowledge Rebecca of Reading Wishes  , she's a newbie to the blogging world and she has plunged in with her head above water, producing reviews better than I did when I started and just having a good looking blog in general!

Congratulations, and all those who haven't visited Reading Wishes before - check it out. And all those that have - Make sure to visit again (insert evil laugh here)!

I present you, Rebecca with a badge of honour (in my books at least!)

What a great banner too!

November 19, 2011

REVIEW: The Cardturner by Louis Sachar

How are we supposed to be partners? He can’t see the cards and I don’t know the rules!

The summer after junior year of high school looks bleak for Alton Richards. His girlfriend has dumped him to hook up with his best friend. He has no money and no job. His parents insist that he drive his great-uncle Lester to his bridge club four times a week and be his cardturner—whatever that means. Alton’s uncle is old, blind, very sick, and very rich.
But Alton’s parents aren’t the only ones trying to worm their way into Lester Trapp’s good graces. They’re in competition with his longtime housekeeper, his alluring young nurse, and the crazy Castaneda family, who seem to have a mysterious influence over him.

Alton soon finds himself intrigued by his uncle, by the game of bridge, and especially by the pretty and shy Toni Castaneda. As the summer goes on, he struggles to figure out what it all means, and ultimately to figure out the meaning of his own life.

Louis Sachar returns with an amazing novel that everyone of all ages will love; witty, insightful and  refreshing addition to the YA world, The Cardturner is a definite MUST READ.

I loved the main character of Alton, probably one of the best characters from all the books that I have read. He's sarcastic, genuine and well written, he had the depth of a real person, you felt yourself aligned with his emotions, actions as well as laughing at his attitude to towards his ex-girlfriend and best friend.
The other characters were all unique and each contributed to making the novel the fantastic story that it unquestionably is.

The novel is straightforward, while in non-bridge gibberish (I'll explain in a minute), The Cardturner is extremely easy to read and has a light-hearted mood that makes you feel content, happy. However, the whale that is presented to most people while reading this book is what happens when the little picture of a whale appears (don't get scared now!) Optional to read, the text that comes after the whale is an explanation of what is happening in the game in bridge terms - lessons for bridge if you will. Now, don't stress, at the end of this part, there is a few sentences in a box that explains what has happened in very simple, non-bridge terms.

Another aspect that was great about the book and also widens the audience is that it is narrated by a guy, and about a guy (mostly!). It's really invigorating to read a book centered around a male main character as it is quite rare.

As you may have noticed from my ranting from how much I love every aspect of this book, I suggest that you get a copy of this book ASAP or sooner!

You will find that Sachar has done it again and that's why I would recommend this book to anyone over the age of 12, (12+),  male or female. Enjoy!

Other Reviews:

@ Teen Books
@ Daisy Chain Reviews
@ The New York Times
@ Helena Pielichaty's Diary of a Children's book writer
@ Wake County Library

Fun Fact: Louis Sachar also wrote Sideways stories from Wayside School, the children's series.

November 11, 2011

Truth & Dare Giveaway

Hi Everyone,

Sorry for the late notice, but the Luisa Plaja Truth and Dare Giveaway closed yesterday.

Good luck to all who entered, the winner will be contacted and announced soon.


November 10, 2011

Layout Problems

Hi Everyone,

As you may have noticed, I have been having problems with my blog lately, with only one post on the main page.

I am working to fix this, and in the mean time, I hope that my temporary template is okay!

Thank you,


Au Revoir Crazy Night Circus...

I love the look of these books, they sound original and have refreshing plot lines (by the look of it). And don't forget the covers, of course!

by Erin Morgenstern 

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night. 

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway—a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands. 

True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus 
 per­formers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.
Written in rich, seductive prose, this spell-casting novel is a feast for the senses and the heart.

by Joe Schreiber 

Perry Stormaire is a normal high school senior– he is busy applying to college and rehearsing with his band –until he agrees to go to the prom with the Lithuanian exchange student who is staying with his family. It turns out that Gobi Zaksauskas is not the mousy teenager that she seems but rather an attractive, confident trained assassin. Instead of going to the prom, Perry finds himself on a wild ride through the streets of New York City as Gobi commandeers the Jaguar his father lent him for the prom in order to take out her targets. Perry learns a lot about himself – and ends up with some amazing material for his college application essays.

And here are some great pictures from the purely pictures of books tumblr, book lovers never go to bed alone.

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