How to Be Popular

Title: How to Be Popular
Author: Meg Cabot
Publisher: HarperTempest – HarperCollins
Release Date: March 18, 2008

Do you want to be popular?
Everyone wants to be popular—or at least, Stephanie Landry does. Steph’s been the least popular girl in her class since a certain cherry Super Big Gulp catastrophe five years earlier.
Does being popular matter?
It matters a lot—to Steph. That’s why this year, she has a plan to get in with the It Crowd in no time flat. She’s got a secret weapon: an old book called—what else?—How to Be Popular.
What does it take to be popular?
All Steph has to do is follow the instructions in The Book, and soon she’ll be partying with the popular kids (including school quarterback Mark Finley) instead of sitting on The Hill Saturday nights, stargazing with her nerdy best pal Becca, and even nerdier Jason (now kind of hot, but still).
But don’t forget the most important thing about popularity!
It’s easy to become popular. What isn’t so easy? Staying that way.

Meg Cabot has done it again – betwitched readers with a fun, cute, quick read that will have them laughing and sympathizing, sometimes at the same time. And even though the plot was a little predictable, my attention never wavered. And again, despite being over 300 pages long, I finished the book in less than a day. Cabot really gets into the writing voice of her characters, which is a major part of why I breeze through them so quickly, but it’s not a bad thing, at all. I laugh when Steph laughs, I understand her reasoning, and even though I might know that something is going to go wrong, I am still completely on Steph’s side because she seems so sure of herself. It’s like having someone tell me that I’m wrong, as of course, as a very stubborn person, I’m right until proven wrong. It’s very easy for me to get caught up with the main character due to how alive and close she seems because of the writing style and voice.

The other characters were great, too. I loved Becca – she was so naive and cute, I couldn’t help but love her and feel kind of bad for her, but still. And Steph’s family was great. Her mom was a funny pregnant lady, and her grandfather was definitely someone who held the story together with his connection to Steph. Without him in the story, the book definitely would not have been as good. And then Jason. His frustrations were rather obvious, but that didn’t prevent them from being any less funny, especially with Steph’s obliviousness. Cabot seems to have a knack for writing oblivious heriones who don’t realize what’s right in front of her nose, but it seemingly never gets old. But back to Jason. His witty comments, genuine friendship, and the history between him and Steph was endearing, to say the very least. (And yes, he’s hot, too. And intelligent). There are some very funny scenes, but he also really cares about his friends, and it really made me wish that he was my boyfriend. *Sigh*

Overall, the plot was fun and the style was captivating, but the characters definitely made the story go above and beyond what I expected. I highly recommend this book to any teenager; Meg Cabot will reel you in hook, line, and sinker, making you want to come back for more.

~Yours Truly

**Note: I recommend this book to ages 13 & up due to sexual references and some profane language.

Weekend BookBlogger Hop: 35

The BookBlogger Hop is hosted by Billy from Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer every weekend. Basically, if you blog about ebooks, answer a question provided and if you link to their post in your blog, you can add your blog to their list of participants. This week’s question is:

What is your favorite series that you’ve finished all the books (more than 3 books) to?

I’d definitely say either J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series or Cassandra Clare’s City of Bones series. I have read all of the books in City of Bones so far, and definitely plan on reading City of Heavenly Fire when it’s released!

All American Girl

Title: All American Girl (Book 1 in All American Girl)
Author: Meg Cabot
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: March 25, 2008

Top Ten Reasons Samantha Madison is in Deep Trouble
10. Her big sister is the most popular girl in school
9. Her little sister is a certified genius
8. She’s in love with her big sister’s boyfriend
7. She got caught selling celebrity portraits in school
6. And now she’s being forced to take art classes
5. She’s just saved the president of the United Statesfrom an assassination attempt
4. So the whole world thinks she is a hero
3. Even though Sam knows she is far, far from being a hero
2. And now she’s been appointed teen ambassador to the UN

And the number-one reason Sam’s life is over?
1. The president’s son just might be in love with her

Unfortunately, I read this series out of order. When I read the back of this book, I knew it sounded familiar. I had forgotten that I had read the sequel a little while ago – Ready or Not. I did go back after finishing the book, though, and reread my review of the sequel, and I must say, the first book definitely lives up to it. It was just as fun and light-hearted as the first, and definitely a quick read. Despite being almost 400 pages long in the paperback I read, I had started this book this morning and breezed right through. And, even though it was fun and cute, there were definitely emotional points in the plot where I really felt bad for Sam. She’s a good friend, though, and I loved her for that, and it was cute how naive she was a times.

I liked being introduced to David this way. It was nice to finally see how they met, and realize how perfect they are for each other, despite their rocky start to the relationship. Sam’s parents were, well, parents, and like every teenager, Sam’s nerves were pretty fried by them. Her sisters, though – now that’s funny. I laughed a lot (although inwardly, for the most part, since I was at school and didn’t want people staring at me like I’m a wacko) when I got to parts with Lucy and Rebecca. Not only were their matter-of-fact tones and expressions almost audible and visible, but the dialogue and Sam’s reactions to them were hilarious. The family dynamic is definitely where a lot of the fun stemmed from.

Sam when on a nice little journey, and her realization at the end was cute. I loved the conclusion with Sam and David’s notes, and from what I recall, it flows nicely into the second book. Can’t wait to read another Cabot book!

~Yours Truly

Weekend BookBlogger Hop: 34

The BookBlogger Hop is hosted by Billy from Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer every weekend. Basically, if you blog about ebooks, answer a question provided and if you link to their post in your blog, you can add your blog to their list of participants. This week’s question is:

Have you ever been to BEA, and if so, do you recommend attending? Any good advice for first-time attendees?

I have never been to BEA YET; however, I am going this year. If you want, though, The Story Siren has a post about it here. And, I’ll be writing a post about my first BEA this week!

Weekend BookBlogger Hop: 33

The BookBlogger Hop is hosted by Billy from Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer every weekend. Basically, if you blog about ebooks, answer a question provided and if you link to their post in your blog, you can add your blog to their list of participants. This week’s question is:

What is your guilty pleasure read?

I’d probably pick the ones that were turned into TV shows, like Avatar, or Gossip Girl, etc. I don’t know what it is about it, but there’s something about those short books in such a long series that makes me feel so silly about sharing that I read them, although I don’t read them often. I know, you’re thinking “Yeah right, she’s just saying that because it’s her guilty pleasure. Really, she owns all of them and just sits up in her room hording them when she’s not devouring them.” But really, I only read them occasionally, and I don’t own any of them! I think that’s part of what makes it a really weird guilty pleasure. So what’s yours?

Heist Society & Uncommon Criminals

Title: Heist Society (Book 1 in Heist Society)
Author: Ally Carter
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Release Date: February 9, 2010

For as long as she can remember, Katarina has been a part of the family business—thieving. When Kat tries to leave “the life” for a normal life, her old friend Hale conspires to bring her back into the fold. Why? A mobster’s art collection has been stolen, and Kat’s father is the only suspect. Caught between Interpol and a far more deadly enemy, Kat’s dad needs her help. The only solution is to find the paintings and steal them back. Kat’s got two weeks, a teenage crew, and hopefully enough talent to pull off the biggest heist in her family’s history—and, with any luck, steal her life back along the way.

This is an amazing book. I loved Kat, I loved Hale, and all of the other teenage thieves as well. You’ve got the comedy in the Bagshaws, the geek in Simon, the girly-girl in Gabrielle, and the “responsible adult” in Marcus. Of course, the father figure of Uncle Eddie, and Kat’s actual father, make for a very interesting family dynamic. By adding Nick, an outsider, into the midst, you could just tell how close-knit the family is, despite their differences. There was a ton of adventure and suspense involved; Arturo Taccone was a large source of that tension! The plot was smooth and the well-done third person writing connected it very well; it was so fluid and very much in touch with the characters, too – so much so that at points I forgot that it wasn’twritten in the first person, I felt so knowledgeable about the characters, especially Kat.

It’s very similar to Ally Carter’s Gallagher Girl series, which I love, so definitely check these out if you liked those. Despite the similarity, though, there is still that unique twist that she put on it with the storylines, the inside jokes, etc. I loved the plot, the characters, and everything about the book. I’m very happy that I chose to buy this book from B&N the other day rather than any other book. The cover is really cool, too – I love how the painting is reflecting in the sunglasses, and how the same cover model (or a very similar cover model) is used for the series, which brings me to:

Title: Uncommon Criminals (Book 2 in Heist Society)
Author: Ally Carter
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Release Date: May 29, 2012

Katarina Bishop has worn a lot of labels in her short life: Friend. Niece. Daughter. Thief. But for the last two months she’s simply been known as the girl who ran the crew that robbed the greatest museum in the world. That’s why Kat isn’t surprised when she’s asked to steal the infamous Cleopatra Emerald so it can be returned to its rightful owners. There are only three problems. First, the gem hasn’t been seen in public in thirty years. Second, since the fall of the Egyptian empire and the suicide of Cleopatra, no one who holds the emerald keeps it for long — and in Kat’s world, history almost always repeats itself. But it’s the third problem that makes Kat’s crew the most nervous, and that is . . . the emerald is cursed. Kat might be in way over her head, but she’s not going down without a fight. After all, she has her best friend — the gorgeous Hale — and the rest of her crew with her as they chase the Cleopatra around the globe, dodging curses and realizing that the same tricks and cons her family has used for centuries are useless this time. Which means, this time, Katarina Bishop is making up her own rules.

Again, with the cover, I really liked the reflection in the sunglasses, but more than that, I feel as though we got to see more into the characters. Kat is feeling really lost as a girl, and Gabby’s sudden lack of confidence because of the job, and Hale’s uncertainty and hurt despite his wealth and theft skills. This job tears down certain walls because in order to succeed, they couldn’t have those obstacles in the way. New members of the family are introduced (or should I say legends, when it comes to Uncle Charlie?), and you really come face-to-face with legends and feel their awe. However, I did think that the end was a little confusing – I had to reread a few sections a couple times in order to put faces to the action, but other than that, I adored this book even more than the first. The whole Kat/Hale thing is coming around a little bit (I sooooo can’t wait to see what happens with them in the third book), and everything about the characters and plot makes me slightly regret not buying the third book with the first two. However, my wallet thanks me, and so does my OCD because I have the first two in soft-cover and they only had the third one is hard.

So, I highly recommend this series to pre-teens and teens alike. If you liked The Gallagher Girls, you’ll like these as well. The writing style, the plotline, and the characters will capture your heart and imagination – I mean, could you think about stealing priceless paintings or a giant emerald out from under the noses of the best security teams – and theives – in the world? You’ll be breathless with excitement and suspense, waiting to see what the best junior theives in the biz will do next!

Weekend BookBlogger Hop: 32

The BookBlogger Hop is hosted by Billy from Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer every weekend. Basically, if you blog about ebooks, answer a question provided and if you link to their post in your blog, you can add your blog to their list of participants. This week’s question is:

What was the last book you read that was recommended by someone else? Did you like it?

I think Bloodrose by Andrea Cremer was the last book I read that had been recommended to me. My cousin had loved Nightshade, so she started me on the series, and then I told her about the following series that begins with Rift. So, seeing as I finished the series and was hungry for more, yes, I loved the book. 🙂