Tag: Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing

Throwback Thursday Review: Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson.

Posted April 22, 2021 by Rowena in Reviews | 10 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson.Reviewer: Rowena
Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: May 4, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First Person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 368
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books

Amy Curry thinks her life sucks. Her mom decides to move from California to Connecticut to start anew--just in time for Amy's senior year. Her dad recently died in a car accident. So Amy embarks on a road trip to escape from it all, driving cross-country from the home she's always known toward her new life. Joining Amy on the road trip is Roger, the son of Amy's mother's old friend. Amy hasn't seen him in years, and she is less than thrilled to be driving across the country with a guy she barely knows. So she's surprised to find that she is developing a crush on him. At the same time, she's coming to terms with her father's death and how to put her own life back together after the accident. Told in traditional narrative as well as scraps from the road -- diner napkins, motel receipts, postcards--this is the story of one girl's journey to find herself.

This review was originally posted on April 28, 2011.

Always listen to Ames when she recommends a book to read because she always hits it out of the park with her book pimps. This is one of the books that Ames told me a long time ago to read and though I really wanted to read it, I kept putting it off until finally…I picked it up and couldn’t put it down.

Oh man did I love this book. It starts off great and ends spectacular. I loved it. Every bleeping single thing about it. I really enjoyed getting to know Amy through her adventures but also getting to know Roger as well. I’ll be honest and tell you that I seriously wanted to go on a road trip after reading this book. It was that fantastic!

One of the things that I really enjoyed about this book was the traveling journal that Amy kept throughout the trip. Seeing the receipts for the places that her and Roger ate at made me that much more apart of their journey. I thought it was adorable.

Even though this book was a little on the light side, I think Matson did a wonderful job of keeping us right smack dab in the middle of Amy’s grief. She didn’t make light of it or breeze over it in the story, she added it to the story and I appreciated the addition. Once we finally got the entire story, I already knew it but still, it was nice how she slid that in and didn’t just leave us hanging with it all. I’m glad that we found out exactly what happened. I felt like Roger, finding out bits and pieces of it until Amy was ready to tell the story.

I can’t remember ever feeling like the story slowed or dragged because for me, I couldn’t read this book fast enough. When I was finished with the book, I went back and read through my favorite parts of the book. Yes, I enjoyed the book that much. I thought that both Amy and Roger were great characters that I’d love to revisit over and over again. I can already tell that this book is going to be one of my comfort reads in the future, one of those books that I come back to just because.

I definitely recommend this book, it was light and cute and just an all around great read. If you’re looking for something light, contemporary and cute, this is the book for you. The characters are charming, the story flows nicely and you’re not going to want to put it down. Just a fabulous all around read.

4 out of 5


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Review: Virtuosity by Jessica Martinez.

Posted October 26, 2011 by Rowena in Reviews | 4 Comments

Main Character: Carmen Bianchi
Love Interest: Jeremy King
Series: None
Author: Website|Facebook|Twitter|Goodreads

Now is not the time for Carmen to fall in love. And Jeremy is hands-down the wrong guy for her to fall for. He is infuriating, arrogant, and the only person who can stand in the way of Carmen getting the one thing she wants most: to win the prestigious Guarneri competition. Carmen’s whole life is violin, and until she met Jeremy, her whole focus was winning. But what if Jeremy isn’t just hot…what if Jeremy is better?

Carmen knows that kissing Jeremy can’t end well, but she just can’t stay away. Nobody else understands her—and riles her up—like he does. Still, she can’t trust him with her biggest secret: She is so desperate to win she takes antianxiety drugs to perform, and what started as an easy fix has become a hungry addiction. Carmen is sick of not feeling anything on stage and even more sick of always doing what she’s told, doing what’s expected.

Sometimes, being on top just means you have a long way to fall….

I’ve never in my life played the violin before and to be honest, I’ve never been tempted to either. But after I put this book down, I wanted to play the violin something fierce. I wanted to whip out the violin that I didn’t have and step onto the hotel balcony that I wasn’t at and just start playing my heart out. Yeah, that’s my way of telling you guys that I enjoyed this book…heaps!

When this book first started, not a lot was going through my head but before I knew what was what, I was in the middle of the book and I couldn’t read the words fast enough. I enjoyed getting to know Carmen Bianchi even though she wasn’t easy to take at times. There were times when I wanted to pull her hair or stomp on her foot but I kept reading because I was invested in what would happen next. I wanted to know, very badly. I was intrigued by Jeremy King and the relationship that blooming between the two of them.

These two characters are celebrities in their world but I wouldn’t have known who they were. After reading this book, I wanted to know who they were. I wanted to hear them play together and I wanted to hear them play not together. I wanted to call my friend who did grow up playing the violin and ask her if she still had it and if she could teach me how to play. I knew that I would get over it before the lessons actually started and I also know that she knew it too.

Both Carmen and Jeremy’s characters were well written. I wasn’t left thinking that I didn’t know who they were at the end. At the end of the book, I knew Carmen and Jeremy like they were my own friends. I rejoiced in their accomplishments and I worried about them when they were going through the downs. Seeing what Carmen went through and seeing her struggle trying to come into her own made for some great reading and I’m glad that I got to know her. She was interesting and she was raw and I was happy with the way things turned out for her in the end.

I couldn’t stand Carmen’s Mom but I adored Clark. I was so glad that Carmen had both Clark and Heidi in her life to keep her grounded. She needed them and it took Jeremy coming into her life for her to realize it. Jeremy’s character was one of those characters that I wasn’t expecting to like quite as much as I did but I did. The love he had for his family and then for Carmen was too cute for words and I was a total fan.

Overall, this book was a great introduction for me into the world of violin musicians. The pressure these young musicians are under, the spotlight that was blinding was all really interesting to read about and I enjoyed it all. Kudos to Jessica Martinez for writing a story that totally captured my attention and a little bit of my heart. =)

..and that’s your scoop!

Buy the book: B&N|Amazon|Book Depository
Book cover and blurb credit: http://barnesandnoble.com

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Review: Past Perfect by Leila Sales.

Posted September 28, 2011 by Rowena in Reviews | 7 Comments

Main Character: Chelsea Glaser
Love Interest: Dan
Series: None
Author: Website|Facebook|Twitter|Goodreads

All Chelsea wants to do this summer is hang out with her best friend, hone her talents as an ice cream connoisseur, and finally get over Ezra, the boy who broke her heart. But when Chelsea shows up for her summer job at Essex Historical Colonial Village (yes, really), it turns out Ezra’s working there too. Which makes moving on and forgetting Ezra a lot more complicated…even when Chelsea starts falling for someone new.

Maybe Chelsea should have known better than to think that a historical reenactment village could help her escape her past. But with Ezra all too present, and her new crush seeming all too off limits, all Chelsea knows is that she’s got a lot to figure out about love. Because those who don’t learn from the past are doomed to repeat it….

This was the perfect book to end the summer on a high note. I’ve never really thought about re-enactment camps one way or another, at any part of my life. They never made it to my radar apart from the hour and half that I spent watching Sweet Home Alabama all those many years ago but after reading this book, I wish I had spent a summer of my youth at a reenactment camp. I wish I had a war going with the Civil War kids, pranking each other and falling for the wrong boy. This was such a fun book, I couldn’t put it down. Leila Sales did a fantastic job of making me laugh at least every other sentence.Chelsea was a fabulous main character. Most of the time, I’ll love a main character if I want them to be my best friend but with Chelsea, I wanted to be her. She was that awesome. I spent most of this book laughing because of the things that went through Chelsea’s head. The things that she thought, she things that she said, everything was just awesome. Her thought processes had me cracking up no matter where I was when I was reading this book (mostly at work). She’s not always right, she’s not always happy or depressed or sad but it didn’t matter because no matter what she was, or how she was feeling, I adored her.

The secondary characters in this story stood out for me as well. I mean, her best friend Fiona was fabulous and the boy Brian who had a massive crush on Chelsea kept me giggling all throughout the book. Even the others like Tawny and Nat and Dan. Whoa boy, that Dan. I adored him and thought he was just the cutest thing. I felt for him after everything went down with Chelsea but man, did I adore that boy.There was a time or two when I wanted to knock some sense into Chelsea but never once did I think, “Oh man, I think I may hate her” because she was just too much fun to not like. Watching her stumble her way through her forbidden romance, her feelings for her ex and everything made for such an entertaining story that I’m trying my darndest to not shout from the rooftops that this book is great and you need to pre-order it now. This book is full of the good stuff and anyone who is a fan of awesome contemporary stories will enjoy this one, I promise!

..and that’s your scoop!

Buy the book: B&N|Amazon|Book Depository
Book cover and blurb credit: http://barnesandnoble.com

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Review: Ambitious by Monica McKayhan.

Posted August 30, 2011 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Main Character: Marisol, Drew
Love Interest: ??
Series: Premiere High Series, Book 1
Author: Website|Facebook|Twitter|Goodreads

There’s only one thing tougher than getting in to Premiere High: Staying in…

At Premiere School of the Performing Arts, nicknamed Premiere High, talent is a must and competition is fierce. But the payoff is worth it. Some of the biggest stars in music, movies and dance are on the alumni list. New student Marisol Garcia dreams of taking her place among them one day. And being chosen to take part in a local dance contest where a film role is the prize could possibly be her first step into the spotlight.

Almost as big a challenge: getting Drew Bishop to see her as more than a friend. But Drew is preoccupied with his own dilemma of either playing basketball, which could be a free ticket to college, or pursuing the stage where he really comes alive. But every dream comes with a price. And as Marisol becomes consumed with winning, the once straight–A student risks losing everything. Starting with her parents’ approval, her friends and her place at Premiere High…

After I read the blurb for this book, that old TV Show Fame went through my head and while I never watched the show, I remember that my older sisters did and loved it. I thought I’d give this book a try and see if it was something I’d enjoy.
Now that I’m finished with the book, I’m not quite sure what I think. I mean, the book was a quick read but I never really connected with any of the characters. This is a story that follows some students from Premiere High School of Performing Arts. Premiere High is for the gifted and talented kids in dancing, acting and music. Any of the arts, really. It shows what each student goes through while attending this school. Only the best of the best get in and only the bestest of the bestests stay in the school.
Mari is a dancer and new to the school. She’s met some nice people who have become her friends but she’s starting to realize that starting this new school is taking her farther and farther away from her friends from her old school and she’s trying to juggle all the old with all of the new and everything is pulling her in different directions. On top of that, she’s got a crush on a boy at school who is flirty spice with everyone.
Drew was the basketball star of his old high school before he transferred over to Premiere to go after his dreams of becoming an actor. He wants to hone his craft so that he could grow up to be a famous actor and he’s really good at what he does so with his father’s blessing, he transfers and his dilemma is trying to come to grips with falling from the ranks of the most popular at his other school and becoming just a regular person at Premiere. His father doesn’t understand his need to become an actor as he’s an athlete and sports is what he knows but I liked that his father didn’t stop Drew from going after what he really wanted.
This book had a lot going for it in the sense that there was a lot going on and it was easy to follow along with everything but the overall character development fell a little flat for me and while I enjoyed it, I didn’t absolutely love the book. I just thought the book was okay. The pacing was good but the characters didn’t jump out at me and I know that I won’t remember much about this book or the characters weeks from now. I wanted to enjoy it more than I did and I’m kind of bummed about that. So while it wasn’t the worst book in the world, it wasn’t the best either.
..and that’s your scoop!

Buy the book: B&N|Amazon|Book Depository
Book cover and blurb credit: http://barnesandnoble.com

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Review: Fury by Elizabeth Miles.

Posted August 24, 2011 by Rowena in Reviews | 3 Comments

Genres: Paranormal Romance

Main Character: Em, Chase
Love Interest: ??
Series: Furies, Book 1
Author: Website|Facebook|Twitter|Goodreads

Sometimes sorry isn’t enough….

It’s winter break in Ascension, Maine. The snow is falling and everything looks pristine and peaceful. But not all is as it seems…

Between cozy traditions and parties with her friends, Emily loves the holidays. And this year’s even better–the guy she’s been into for months is finally noticing her. But Em knows if she starts things with him, there’s no turning back. Because his girlfriend is Em’s best friend.

On the other side of town, Chase is having problems of his own. The stress of his home life is starting to take its toll, and his social life is unraveling. But that’s nothing compared to what’s really haunting him. Chase has done something cruel…something the perfect guy he pretends to be would never do. And it’s only a matter of time before he’s exposed.

In Ascension, mistakes can be deadly. And three girls—three beautiful, mysterious girls—are here to choose who will pay.

Em and Chase have been chosen.

It was very hard for me to get into this book because right from the jump, I wasn’t a fan of either Em or Chase. When I get into a book, I expect to find some redeeming qualities in the main characters but it was really hard in this book because Em wasn’t very loyal and Chase was selfish and too emo for my tastes. I understood that they were both teens and teens are selfish and into themselves but usually the protagonists are likable but there wasn’t much to find likable about the two of them.

So this story follows Em and Chase as they make their mistakes and then pay the price for them. Em’s best friend Gabby goes away on a family vacation to another country and Em moves in on her boyfriend, Zach. I really hate when girls think that the douchebag they’re dating is the best kind of person, especially if said guy is their best friend’s boyfriend. It’s one thing when they genuinely fall in love and struggle with hurting the best friend but when this guy is totally dicking you and your best friend around and everyone knows it but you still think that he’s this knight in shining armor.
It was only after everything hit home with Em that I began to soften in my attitude toward her. I had to keep reminding myself that she was young and she was finding out who she was because if she’d been older, I would have hated her guts but as the story wore on, I started hating Ty and Ali and the other cousin that I forgot her name. The furies. What bitches those girls were.
With Chase because throughout most of the book, we didn’t know what he did- I didn’t not like him as much as I didn’t like Em but as with Em, the more I read, the softer I got on Chase.
I didn’t think they deserved the raw deal that they got. I mean, Em did something pretty shady but she didn’t do it because she wanted to steal Zach away from Gabby. She had genuine feelings for him and made the mistake of acting on them. As for Chase, he wasn’t this bad kid with no conscience. He tried to stay out of trouble for his Mom because she worked hard for him and he cared that his best friend was such a crap head to girls.
I couldn’t believe half the crap that went down in this book. Chase and Em did some pretty messed up things but they didn’t deserve the crap that they went through in this book. They didn’t kill anyone, they didn’t set out to hurt anyone- they were just some selfish teens that had to learn the hard way that karma is most definitely a bitch.
Overall, this story had me reading so fast because I had to know what was going to happen and while I’m glad that I finished the story, I can’t say that it was the most enjoyable read. It was pretty intense and I wanted to hurt someone for putting those poor kids through all of that. They deserved to be slapped upside the head and to spend as long as it took to make it up to the people that they wronged but they didn’t deserve the wrath of the furies. I can’t say that this book is my favorite read of the summer but it was interesting and it did hold my attention throughout the entire book so that’s gotta count for something, right?
I stayed mad throughout this entire book, first when things were going down with Em and Zach and then when we find out what Chase did to make the furies notice him and the way that it all ended made me want to punch something because they’re not done raising their hell on earth so there will be another book. Will I read it? I’m not sure.
..and that’s your scoop!
Buy the book: B&N|Amazon|Book Depository
Book cover and blurb credit: http://barnesandnoble.com

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