Source: Bought from Amazon

Girl at Sea by Maureen Johnson (Book Review)

Posted June 1, 2012 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult / 5 Comments

Girl at Sea by Maureen Johnson (Book Review)Girl at Sea by Maureen Johnson
Published by HarperTEEN on May 17, 2007
Genres: Contemporary Fiction, Contemporary Romance, Romance
Pages: 323
Format: eBook
Source: Bought from Amazon
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5 Stars
Sometimes you have to get lost . . .

The Girl: Clio Ford, seventeen, wants to spend the summer smooching her art-store crush, not stuck on a boat in the Mediterranean. At least she'll get a killer tan.

The Mission: Survive her father's crazy antics. Oh, and also find some missing underwater treasure that could unlock the secrets of civilization.

The Crew: Dad's wacky best friend Martin, his bizarre research partner Julia, her voluptuous daughter Elsa . . . and then there's Aidan, Julia's incredibly attractive, incredibly arrogant assistant.

What's going on behind Aidan's intellectual, intensely green eyes, anyway?

As Clio sails into uncharted territory she unveils secrets that have the power to change history. But her most surprising discovery is that there's something deeper and more cryptic than the sea-her own heart.

. . . to find what you're looking for

Like I mentioned a few days ago in my review of The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, I adore themed reads. So… naturally, I read this on a transatlantic cruise that spent half its time in the Mediterranean Sea, which is where this book takes place. I mean, seriously. The reading conditions could not have been more perfect. As Clio lounged around her dad’s luxury yacht, I was sitting on my balcony overlooking the Med, picturing everything and totally knowing what she was seeing as I read. Needless to say, I loved this book. But I just loved it because. You know what I mean? There’s not a lot for me to say specifically. As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. Maureen Johnson is made of win. She threw in history, mystery, adventure, suspense, romance, and humor. I love all those things!! Honestly, I was not suspecting the adventurous and suspenseful elements in the story. I was pleasantly surprised, and could not tear through the pages fast enough. Oh, and the chapter titles in this book are funny too!

2. I liked Clio a lot, but it took me a while to decide. She spent way too much time complaining about the terrible summer aboard a luxury yacht, with side trips to amazing Italian towns. I mean, come on. Who would NOT want that? She whined too much. But once she decided maybe things weren’t so bad, I got to see more of her. She’s completely relatable on so many levels. She’s an artsy (like me!!) teenager with real concerns about her life, real dreams, and real frustrations. Her parents are divorced, and she hardly sees her dad. So now he’s called her up and taken over her summer. She has to leave her job, her crush, her friends, her life, and go float around with a boat full of strangers and her eccentric dad. Of course she’s annoyed, and that’s part of the fun. Her inner thoughts are so funny, yet so real. I know I’d feel the same way.

3. I also really liked the supporting characters. Clio’s dad is so eccentric, it’s almost unbelievable. I laughed a lot. I liked Elsa more than I expected. She’s this gorgeous, perfect person… haha. I usually dislike characters like that because the focus is on how wonderful they are instead of important things. She was real, and did not act like she knew how pretty she was. Aidan is wonderful. He’s a nerd with a mysterious, attractive side as well. His bickering with Clio was too funny.

4. Yes, this is a cute beach read, but it’s not all fluff. There’s deep issues here, like dealing with a barely-there relationship between a daughter and estranged father and discovering what kind of person you want to be. Clio goes through a lot of self discovery. She has time to think and work things through. I really liked seeing her progress.

5. The book is a little slow in the beginning, but boy does it pick up! Like I said, I was completely thrown off guard with the direction this book went. I loved it, though, and really enjoyed the twists and turns.

6. I found so many quotes I loved! I’m not usually one to write down book quotes, but Maureen’s writing just forced a pen into my hand. I had to leave my quote book inside my cabin, since I was worried it would blow off my balcony. I was having to get up and down so many times to go in and write something in it, that I finally just sat on it. Here are some of my favorites:

  • “You know things are pretty bad when your mind is having crisis talks with your suitcase.”
  • “Clio had the strange flash that this was what the person who invented cheese must have been like–a blond goddess.”
  • “Something about this boat screamed, ‘I am a very popular model in the world’s oil-bearing regions. I cost more than your soul!'”
  • “I’ve always wanted to be in a relationship based on local sandwiches.”

Bottom line, this book made me a Maureen Johnson fan for life. I’ll admit, it’s the only one of hers I’ve read… oops! I discovered her on Twitter, and think she’s hilarious. And now I love her books too! I’d recommend this to lovers of YA contemporary romances, beach reads,  adventurous travels, and treasure hunts.


The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith (Book Review)

Posted May 28, 2012 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult / 9 Comments

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith (Book Review)The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith
Published by Poppy on January 2, 2012
Genres: Contemporary Fiction, Contemporary Romance, Romance
Pages: 236
Format: eBook
Source: Bought from Amazon
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4 Stars
Who would have guessed that four minutes could change everything?

Today should be one of the worst days of seventeen-year-old Hadley Sullivan's life. Having missed her flight, she's stuck at JFK airport and late to her father's second wedding, which is taking place in London and involves a soon-to-be stepmother Hadley's never even met. Then she meets the perfect boy in the airport's cramped waiting area. His name is Oliver, he's British, and he's sitting in her row.

A long night on the plane passes in the blink of an eye, and Hadley and Oliver lose track of each other in the airport chaos upon arrival. Can fate intervene to bring them together once more?

Quirks of timing play out in this romantic and cinematic novel about family connections, second chances, and first loves. Set over a twenty-four-hour-period, Hadley and Oliver's story will make you believe that true love finds you when you're least expecting it.

I’m kind of crazy about themed reads, so I read this on a 5-hour flight to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. I figured I’d try and bring to my flight the kind of magic I’d heard that this book contained! Sadly, I did not meet a sexy English boy who stole my heart at 32,000 feet, but my flight time flew much faster than usual! The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight is a cute, simple story about two people in the right place at the right time. As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. Jennifer totally captures the annoyance of and hectic happenings at an airport. I just kept nodding and nodding as I read about people rushing from one metal tube to the other, hoping to catch it in time to be successfully flung across the ocean/country to their final destinations. The “fasten seat belt” light illuminated in the book at the same time it did on my plane. It was highly amusing, and I know that reading the book under the same conditions the characters were under really enriched my experience with it!

2. The 24-hour love story totally worked for me. Hadley and Oliver are two very real people that the whole “love at first sight” thing actually worked for. And it was convincing! They had a lot of time to kill in the airport and on the long flight, and they talked about deep things, not just their favorite colors or hobbies. Even though it took place in such a short amount of time, I did not see it as insta-love. The progression was slow and believable, as they fell into “like” instead of “love” first. A lot of books skip the “like” phase, which is actually my favorite. I love the tension and vulnerability that comes with “like”.

3. Hadley and Oliver are easy to relate to. They each had family issues that built the framework of their characters. As the story progresses, we learn more about these issues, and how they help one another cope because they both understand. They were able to connect on a deep level rather quickly, which added to the believability of their relationship. Oh, and Oliver is pretty swoon-worthy. I kinda have a crush on him.

4. The story was a little slow, but sometimes that’s just what you need! It was a breath of fresh aira snapshot of a simple, run-of-the-mill, everyday event that should have been boring and annoying, but turned out to be something amazing. Who on earth likes flying? Please tell me, and then tell me what medicine you’re on to make you feel that way. This book gave me hope that maybe flying is a worthwhile thing to do! :P

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight made me smile. Was there a lot of depth? No, not really. But that’s kind of exactly what I needed. It was a quick, sweet book that made me think about the small things in life. I would recommend this to lovers of contemporary romances, flawed characters, and people who, like me, need a reason to go on ahead and board that flying metal tube.


Caribbean Crusing by Rachel Hawthorne (Mini Book Review)

Posted February 11, 2012 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult / 5 Comments

Caribbean Crusing by Rachel Hawthorne (Mini Book Review)Caribbean Crusing by Rachel Hawthorne
Published by HarperTEEN on April 15, 2004
Genres: Contemporary Fiction, Contemporary Romance, Romance
Pages: 336
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought from Amazon
Amazon Add to Goodreads
0.5 Stars
The perfect summer story of a girl, several boys, and a cruise ship full of possibilities.

Lindsay has never been on a cruise, but she knows exactly what she wants to do now that she is: climb a waterfall, snorkel, meet lots of cute guys, and look for one perfect guy for a summer fling.

But her to-do list isn't going according to plan, especially when she discovers that it's impossible to have a fling-when you're actually falling in love.

About a week before I was leaving on a cruise, I ran into the bookstore hoping to find cruise books. I love reading books that sync with a vacation I’m on. I found this in the young adult section, and thought it sounded like a cute read for my upcoming week of floating around in the Caribbean.

However… I was annoyed by this storyline. This girl is on an amazing trip, and do you want to know what she’s most concerned with? Losing her virginity. Yes. That’s her main focus. Does anyone else agree that this is poor subject matter to center a book around? There was no plot other than Lindsay’s frustration with being a virgin. Still. Because at 18, surely she should have slept with numerous guys, right? That’s what high schoolers do, right? Every guy she meets makes her think, “Oh! I could sleep with him… Better be nice!” And I can’t tell you how many “hot body” descriptions I read. I was nauseated. I find it rather frustrating that such a book was written, and then placed in the young adult section. This is where 12-year-olds are instructed to buy books from. Is this seriously a lesson they should be taught? And not only was she looking for sex, she was looking for it with no strings attached. A fling. Seriously? Shallow! And of course she couldn’t see a love interest if he smacked her over the head. So she was shallow and dumb. Lovely. I see no reason why she should be someone a teenage girl should look up to.

When I wasn’t downright annoyed at this book, I was bored. I’ve been on cruises. MANY. There is SO much more to write about than this. I can list countless numbers of interesting cruise ship plots. This one just made me want to throw it overboard. Since I don’t litter I didn’t, plus I would have hated for a cute sea creature to suffer as a result of my frustration. I really can’t say I’d recommend this to anyone.

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