Review of Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul Letters – Letters of Life, Love and Learning

   This book is a nice collection of letters that have been received by the authors of the Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul series.

   The letters were sent in by teens, parents, and teachers who were touched by the stories they read.  Some share stories about helping out in the community and others thank the authors for publishing the books that helped them get through a rough situation.  The publishers also reached out to people who had their stories published in the series to get updates on their lives.

   My favorite letter in the book came from a teacher working with “reluctant readers” who used “Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul II” as a text book and was able to transform her students into better readers, writers, and learners. Some of them even had articles published in newspapers! I thought that was really cool.

   If you’re a fan of the Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul books, you’ll probably like this book.


A Review of Polly: A Novel by Amy Bryant

The back cover reads: “If you’re looking for Polly Clark, she’ll be the girl wearing Doc Martens and a Bad Brains T-shirt at the punk show. She’ll be (almost) losing her virginity to a high school dropout, accompanied by the Beastie Boys’ “No Sleep Till Brooklyn.” She’ll be looking for her artistic soul while trying to solve the mysteries of guys, life, her seriously dysfunctional family . . . and herself.In eight chapters, Polly is shaped by eight relationships in this honest, tender, original, and utterly endearing story of one girl’s stumbles and successes in the world of punked-out 1980s suburban romance — the unforgettable debut of an extraordinary new voice in contemporary fiction.”

The book is about a girl named Polly Clark who lives in Reston, VA with her mom and step-father.  Music is a huge part of the story: starting off with The Go-Go’s and ending with grunge in the early 90’s as she’s in college.
  Each of the eight chapters is named after which guy she likes or is dating during that time period.  The story covers her life from eighth grade to college and during that time, she never really finds what she’s looking for in a relationship. 
  Her relationship with her parents seems strained at times, but her mother does care about her.  She’s usually surprised when William, her step-father, does something nice for her.  Her friends are a major part of the story and they help her get through some tough times.  I’m happy that she had them and they made the story better.
  Once she goes to college things start out rough for her, but they get better after the traumatic events in the Brendan chapter.  She discovers that she really likes art and she gets closer to her college friends.  She also seems to grow up a bit and be more careful.
  It was really neat reading about all of the 80’s punk and hardcore bands since I’ve listened to most of the ones mentioned in the book (The Ramones, Minor Threat, etc.).  I also liked the interview with the author that’s in the back of the book.  It gave some great insight into the story, much of which is based on the author’s own life as a teenager.

Review of Betrayed (House of Night #2) by P.C. & Kristin Cast

Betrayed is the second book in the House of Night series. I like how the story progressed over the course of the book. The first few chapters are a recap of the first book, Marked, and then the story picks up a month after it left off.
In this book, the reader learns more about Zoey’s affinities as well as the affinities of her friends, she gains an ally, loses a friend, makes an enemy, and her love life stays complicated. She still can’t choose between fellow fledgling Erik or her human ex-boyfriend, Heath, whom she’s Imprinted with.
I liked seeing Zoey get more comfortable with her powers and her place as the leader of the Dark Daughters, but I do feel like she bosses her friends around a bit. A new character named Jack was introduced and I’m interested to see what his role in things at the House of Night will be.
I’ll be reading the third book, Chosen, as soon as it gets to my house.

Review of The Medium by C.J. Archer

The Medium by C.J. Archer is about a girl named Emily Chambers who is a medium living in historic London.  Her and her sister, Celia, perform séances for people.  During one of the séances, a demon is unleashed from an amulet that Celia purchased from a street vendor. The book is the story of the events that followed.

I like Emily’s character because she’s not a ditsy society girl.  She’s intelligent and has a mind of her own.  Unfortunately, that gets her into trouble as it wasn’t considered ladylike during the time in which she lived and she has to be accompanied by a male most of the time.  Her and Jacob are the main characters, while George and Celia are kind of secondary characters.  George is featured more than Celia though.

Jacob is a spirit sent from the Otherworld (spirit realm) to help her catch the demon and Emily is also trying to solve the mystery of his murder.  He’s different from most spirits because he appears solid to her instead of see-through like the other spirits.  She can also touch him. The two end up having feelings for each other and grow closer as things get more dangerous.

George Culvert is an expert in demonology and helps Emily a lot by escorting her places and helping her get meetings with suspects.  He has feeling for her, which she doesn’t return, and I felt a bad for him.  He ends up being a good friend to her though.

The story itself is pretty good.  It slowed down a little bit near the halfway point, but picked right back up and had some good action in the second half.  I feel like this book can be read on it’s own, but I want to read the rest of the trilogy.  The kindle edition is currently free on Amazon.

Review of Marked by P.C. & Kristin Cast (House of Night book 1)

My best friend has been trying to get me to read this series for years now, and I regret not taking her advice sooner.  This book is a really good start to the series.

The authors do a great job with the characters and setting. The vampire school sounds really cool!  I love that the authors did their research regarding the religion aspect. If that was off, it would’ve ruined the whole story for me.

I like Zoey as a character. The way she talks and the way her thought process works is very true to her age (16). Her friends are pretty great too. I was happy for her that she made friends at the new school. Damien is my favorite.  He’s smart, witty, and gay. Excellent!

The book has quite a bit of action and magic, which kept the story interesting.  I really liked seeing Zoey’s affinities manifest.  She even gets a potential boyfriend.  There’s some swearing, incase that bothers anyone.

I’d recommend it to anyone who likes young adult paranormal, magic, and/or vampire books.

My review of Bargain Fever: Our Obsession With Getting More For Less by Mark Ellwood

I received this book through a First Reads giveaway on

Mine is an Uncorrected Proof with the name Bargain Fever: How to Shop in a Discounted World.  It started off well, and I really liked the section about couponing, but it slowed down a lot in the middle of the book and never really picked back up.  I feel like the author spent too much time discussing the amount of Louis Vuitton rip offs you can find on the street and how certain managers and creative directors of companies got fired after the companies lost money due to limiting or not offering discounts. 

It does give a lot of good information about how sales work and how sales and discounts have changed with the times.  If you’re interested in sales and marketing, this would be a great read for you.  It just wasn’t what I expected.