Something Like Fate: A Chick Lit Wednesday Review

Something Like Fate by Susane ColasantiLani knows that fate is the real deal. She and best friend Erin are spending their junior year of high school learning about all different tools of fate from astrology to numerology. All of these things that other people dismiss or call silly bring order to Lani’s world and help explain who she is and why.

Erin couldn’t be more different from Lani, but she feels the same way. Bound together after a dramatic childhood event, Lani can’t imagine her life without Erin. And Erin feels the same way. What could possibly come between them?

Lani is sure the answer is nothing.

Until Erin starts dating Jason.

The more Lani and Jason start talking, the more they connect. But how can Lani be connecting with her best friend’s boyfriend? How can something feel so fated when it is so the wrong thing in Something Like Fate (2010) by Susane Colasanti?

Find it on Bookshop.

I’m a big fan of Colasanti’s books. Although her novels always focus on soulmates, Colasanti always brings something new and original to the table. Unfortunately in the case of Something Like Fate that original spin is something that already came up in The Unwritten Rule by Elizabeth Scott.

Both books have their strengths–what Something Like Fate does well is examine changing friendships and high school dynamics. The story is a satisfying, if sometimes familiar, romance with the added touch of a narrator who is as passionate about astrology as she is about the environment.

The main problem with Something Like Fate is actually that Colasanti wrote her peripheral characters too well. Instead of rooting for Lani and Jason, I found myself wishing Connor played a more prominent role.

Possible Pairings: How to Love by Katie Cotugno, A Little Wanting Song by Cath Crowley, The Boy Book by E. Lockhart, Drawing the Ocean by Carolyn MacCullough, Vibes by Amy Kathleen Ryan, The Unwritten Rule by Elizabeth Scott

Stop SOPA: A Chick Lit Wednesday Substitute

On Jan 24th, Congress will vote to pass internet censorship in the Senate, even though the vast majority of Americans are opposed. We need to kill the bill – PIPA in the Senate and SOPA in the House – to protect our rights to free speech, privacy, and prosperity. We need internet companies to follow Reddit’s lead and stand up for the web, as we internet users are doing every day.

You can find all the info here: http://sopastrike.com/

Please take a moment today to contact Congress, Strike Against SOPA and PIPA makes it really easy: http://sopastrike.com/strike

“So this is the new year. I have no resolutions.”

I meant to post this closer to the new year, but I suppose the sentiments remain true even if they are not posted on schedule.

I don’t believe in making new year’s resolutions. A new calendar doesn’t necessarily mean it’s time to change things, and even if it did, resolutions just aren’t my style. I just don’t like them.

I like setting goals. I like having hopes. I like making wishes. Those are what I do instead of resoluting things.

My reading goal for 2012 is 100 books. If I hit that before the year is out, I’ll raise it. It is the only concrete goal I have for 2012.

It feels weird, still, to be living in 2012–a year that sounds like something out of a futuristic sci-fi novel–and it feels even weirder to be living in that year as an adult when I still feel like I’m doing everything wrong in that arena and there are so many things I need to fix as soon as I possibly can.

I know how I need this year to go, but I don’t know that resolutions or goals will help things go my way. Instead, I just want to be happy this year. I want to be well. I want to be creative. I want to get the things I need even if they may not be the things I thought I would have at this point. And I want to be present in every moment.

2012 is just starting and, if I can help it, I don’t want to miss anything good.

What about you, dear readers? What do you hope 2012 has in store for you?

Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy: A Chick Lit Wednesday Review

Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy by Ally CarterLast term Cammie Morgan met her first boyfriend. She also staked out his house, ran surveillance on him, and had to make up a whole entire life just to be with him. Only to be forced to break up with him when he came too close to the truth.

Cammie is a Gallagher Girl, a student at the prestigious Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women–young women who plan to be spies that is.

After dating and losing the one boy who saw her as more than “the Chameleon” she usually is at school Cammie is back for a new term ready to once again blend in. She even plans to follow the rules this time.

But things are different at the Gallagher Academy. New security measures. Mysterious guests. A new op code named “Blackthorne.” And those are just the beginning of Cammie’s problems as everything she thought she knew as a Gallagher Girl is put to the test in Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy (2007) by Ally Carter.

Find it on Bookshop.

Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy is the second book in Carter’s Gallagher Girl series which began with I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have To Kill You.

When I finished the first book in this series, I was not sure if I would keep reading. The premise–a boarding school for spies in training–was genius. Cammie and her friends were likable and authentic in a way that only girl geniuses learning to become spies can. Still, something never clicked in that first volume where Cammie spent all her time obsessing about . . . a boy.

Nonetheless, this was a series I wanted to like. So when I heard the end of the series arc was slated for book 6, I decided to give Cammie and the Gallagher Academy another chance.

I’m so glad I did.

Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy has everything I wanted from I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have To Kill You and then some. New characters, new challenges, plus lots of action and humor make this book a winner. While the book follows in the same vein as the first of the series, Carter keeps things fresh with twists and turns (and did I mention the new characters?!) that keep both the reader and Cammie on their toes.

Possible Pairings: Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger, Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers, The Agency by Y. S. Lee, Kiki Strike: Inside the Shadow City by Kirsten Miller, Divergent by Veronica Roth, These Vicious Masks by Tarun Shanker and Kelly Zekas, Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

Miss Print Book Club this January

As some of you might already know, I run an online book club where we read and discuss a new book every two months.

The book club is reading my favorite book from 2011 this January and February: The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater. Discussion questions are already posted on the Scorpio Races discussion tab and waiting for your thoughts.

Our next two books will be:

Fracture by Megan Miranda (March/April)

and

Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld (May/June)

Hope to see you all in the discussion threads!

***If you would like to join the Miss Print Book Club go to http://missprint.wikispaces.com/ and click join now in the yellow bar near the top of the page. After that I’ll email you asking to confirm and then you’re in and ready to start talking books!

Liked Wonderstruck? Why not visit the American Museum of Natural History with the author?

Brian Selznick’s latest book Wonderstruck touched on a lot of different subjects and visited several places, with one of the most prominent being the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.

During the holidays I visited AMNH to see their origami tree.

Thanks to Mr. Selznick and Scholastic, you can visit the museum any time–with Brian Selznick!–to see the different museum exhibits that played important parts in Wonderstruck from the Wolf Diorama to the Ahnighito Meteorite.

The main page for the virtual field trip can be found here: http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/collection/vitural-field-trip-teaching-resources

If you just want to jump in feet first here’s the actual tour video: http://www.scholastic.com/teachbrianselznick/assets/video.htm

(Thank you to Alexandra Wladich at Scholastic for sharing this super fun resource with me back in December.)

Blog Book Giveaway: The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight[CLOSED]

One of my early 2012 favorites came out earlier this week: The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith. (You can read my review here on the blog.)

Thanks to the publisher, I have an ARC to give away to celebrate.

**THIS GIVEAWAY IS OPEN TO US READERS ONLY **

TO ENTER: Leave a comment below (with a valid email in the email form field) telling me why you’re excited to read this book (or what you liked about it if you already read it).

This giveaway will run until January 10, 2012 when a winner will be selected via random number generator.

If I do not hear from the winner by January 12, 2012 I will have to pick a new winner.

Thanks again to Little Brown for providing this ARC to give away.

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight: A Chick Lit Wednesday Review

“There are so many ways it could have all turned out different.”

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. SmithIf she hadn’t forgotten the book, if she had tried on the dress sooner. If she hadn’t given herself a paper cut while printing her ticket, or lost her cell phone charger, if there hadn’t been traffic on the way to the airport. If she hadn’t missed the exit, or had run a bit faster to the gate.

Maybe it wouldn’t have mattered anyway. Who ever heard of a plan leaving on time? Who would have thought that four minutes could change everything?

Instead of being on her plane, Hadley is trapped in the crowded airport watching it leave for England–without her–as she contemplates whether it will be worse to be late for her father’s second wedding or to miss it altogether. It should be one of the worst days of her life.

But, somehow, it isn’t. Instead Hadley meets the perfect boy in the airport waiting area. His name is Oliver. He is 18C. Hadley is 18A. And, somehow, through twists of fate and strange coincidences Hadley’s worst day might turn into something better in The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight (2012) by Jennifer E. Smith.

Find it on Bookshop.

Set over the course of twenty-four hours (with chapter headings that include the time in both Eastern Standard and Greenwich Mean Time), The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight is a fast, funny  read.

Smith perfectly captures the dizzying feelings of serendipity and chance in her writing. Hadley and Oliver are both realistic, witty characters that readers will root for throughout the story. Strangely for a novel set largely in an airport waiting terminal and on an airplane itself, Smith’s settings are strongly evocative bringing Hadley’s fear of small spaces and the daunting foreign landscape of London to life.

What makes The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight especially appealing is that it packs so much into such a small book (256 pages, hardcover). As the title suggests there is, of course, a love story but Smith also expertly captures the essences of both Hadley and Oliver’s characters while also writing a refreshingly honest story about family and dealing with the consequences of divorce.

Possible Pairings: Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan, The Voting Booth by Brandy Colbert, What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen, In a Perfect World by Trish Doller, The Lost by Sarah Beth Durst, Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens, In a Perfect World by Trish Doller, An Abundance of Katherines by John Green, The Last Little Blue Envelope by Maureen Johnson, Love and Other Train Wrecks by Leah Konen, The Miles Between by Mary E. Pearson, Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins, Tonight the Streets Are Ours by Leila Sales, The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon,  Roomies by Sara Zarr and Tara Altedbrando

*This book was acquired for review from the publisher at BEA 2011

Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick: A Review

Au Revoir Crazy European Chick by Joe SchreiberPerry Stormaire had no intention whatsoever of attending his senior prom. Not when his band had their first ever actual gig in an actual club in New York City.

Unfortunately his parents have other ideas when the foreign exchange student staying with Perry’s family expresses her wish to attend prom before going home to Lithuania.

Why Gobija Zaksauskas wants to attend prom is anyone’s guess. Frumpy, quiet, not to mention epileptic it seems like Gobi’s entire mission as a foreign exchange student was to blend into the background.

All of that changes on prom night.

As Gobi embarks on a night-long mission of vengeance, Perry is dragged along–sometimes literally–for the ride. A week ago Perry’s biggest problems were choosing a college and working up the nerve to defy his father. Now, Perry isn’t even sure if he’ll make it through his prom night in one piece in Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick (2011) by Joe Schreiber.

Though completely improbable and often needing a lot of suspension of disbelief, Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick remains a fast exciting read of pure escapism with refreshing humor and oddly authentic characters for such an outlandish story.

Schreiber has created a fun blend of unlikely adventure and the more usual coming-of-age story. Structured with college essay question at the start of each chapter, Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick perfectly captures the panic and scrambling so often associated with the college search and application process.