29 February 2012

Book Review: Amplified


Book Details
Author: Tara Kelly
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR); First Edition edition (October 25, 2011)

When privileged 17-year-old Jasmine gets kicked out of her house, she takes what is left of her savings and flees to Santa Cruz to pursue her dream of becoming a musician. Jasmine finds the ideal room in an oceanfront house, but she needs to convince the three guys living there that she's the perfect roommate and lead guitarist for their band, C-Side. Too bad she has major stage fright and the cute bassist doesn't think a spoiled girl from over the hill can hack it. . . 

In this fresh new novel by critically acclaimed author Tara Kelly, Jasmine finds out what happens when her life gets Amplified.

Rating: 4/5

Amplified tells a story about a 17-year old girl, Jasmine Kiss (that’s the name) who needs a break from school so opted to defer her studies (in Stanford) to pursue a musical career. Since her father could not fathom the logic of her decision, he dad kicked her out of the house.

After being sheltered all her life, Jasmine found herself with her car (already broken), homeless, no job and a small amount of her savings. When she stumbled on a perfect ad for a house, she dives for it. Once she got there, Jasmine needs to prove herself first that she could really play and if she’s willing to share a house with three other guys who are in a band.

The guys are part of the band who called themselves C-Side. There’s the leader of the band who also plays the drums, Bryn. Felix whose hair is blue, he plays the keyboards and lastly Veta, the lead singer of the group and became closest to Jasmine. Lastly there’s Clover aka Sam, who plays the bass.

Primarily Sean and Jasmine didn’t get along. I like Sean, and I think he’s almost tangible and existent. There is only one thing wrong with this guy – HE IS SO NOT OVER HIS EX! This makes the love angle of this story quite interesting, especially when this EX is bitchy and wants to get back with him.

Aside from the EX, I really didn’t like her father and I wish there was a conclusion to their fight. Yes, he was an ass for letting go of Jasmine and not supporting her decisions. He doesn’t even call her when she doesn’t initiate. I wish there was an enlightening in their relationship before the story concluded.

I love her best friend, Jason, he may be far away but at least he kept the communication going and asks about her well-being. He is really sweet, although he rarely pops out of the story, and everything through phone. It would’ve been really nice if he showed up.

I like that Amplified is gay-sensitive/friendly. Jason and Veta are gay and it was pointed out nonchalantly like its just normal – which is definitely reality. It’s just amazing!

The ending – okay, I didn’t expect it. There are things I wanted answers and conclusions, but nevertheless, it was satisfactory. It was almost open-ended with a glimmer of hope. Over all, I love reading Amplified and I would recommend this to friends who (a) loves music (b) wants to pursue their dreams (c) cannot move on from their relationships.

Favorite Quotes
"I really wanted something, giving myself permission to screw up wasn't an option"

"He'd probably spent as much time practicing scales as he had jacking off."

"First loves can fuck you up."

27 February 2012

Book Review: Why We Broke Up

Book Details
Author: Daniel Handler
Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (December 27, 2011)


Min, precocious and equally obsessed with classic cinema and good coffee, broke up with Ed, a popular math-loving jock who secretly carries a protractor. Daniel Handler weaves this heartrending story of first love and other powerful firsts as Min reveals, item by item, what's in the box she's leaving on Ed's doorstep. As readers learn why these two unforgettable characters broke up, the significance of these simple love tokens, beautifully illustrated by Maira Kalman, charmingly unfolds. Written with an emotional depth that allows both adult and teen readers to revisit memories of heartbreak and find pieces of themselves in Min--and maybe even Ed, Why We Broke Up will leave you wondering how Handler knows exactly what it's like to be a teenage girl in love. --JoVon Sotak

Rating: 3/5

Let me tell you why the book, WHY WE BROKE UP by Daniel Handler, a book I have been anticipating since its release in December of last year did not meet my expectations.

The story started with Min making her way to deliver a box-filled with memento to Ed, her ex-boyfriend. With each of it served as a chapter, she reveals their short-lived relationship and enumerated the reasons why they broke up. 

Min was described as pretty, but not beautiful. Ed described her as either “arty” or “different” – this is the reason why she caught his attention. She wanted to become a film director and often aligned her daily life scenarios on several films which are very unfamiliar to me or perhaps most of the readers since almost all of them were shown in the 1920s. While Ed is your typical jock – and although Min was not the type of girl to sit on the bench and cheer, she begins to spend time in the gym and watched Ed practice. Although Ed is way out of her league, he makes her feel loved and special. Joan, Ed’s sister who seems to be fond of Min warned her about his brother right away. Saying that she’s too mature for him – well, Min is too mature for a YA heroine.

She may be in high school but her thoughts, speech and action is akin to someone who grew up in the early 20th century. Now, how does this intelligent girl make all those bad decisions on love? Well, perhaps love has its way of making the most intelligent among humankind dumb? People make mistakes and not-so-smart decision when it comes to love but when you are as wise as Min – I think you would be more careful and logical with your decision. In between reading all those reasons why they break up, I wonder, a lot of times why Min stayed for him for a long time since he is obviously so wrong for her? They don’t even have anything in common.

The story is written by Daniel Handler aka Lemony Snicket. I adore The Series of Unfortunate Events, and of course, I was hoping I would like this one too. I like it at some point, I appreciate the illustrations and all those quirky reasons why Min broke up with Ed. But at the end I got bored, and that, Mr. Handler, is why we broke up.

Favorite Quotes
"Put your hair up, Min. The secret ingredient is not your hair."

"If he’s not gay and he hung out with you the whole time, he wanted to be. It’s boyfriend or want to be boyfriend or I guess gay. Those are the choices."

25 February 2012

Book Review: Ditched, A Love Story

Book Details
Author: Robin Mellom
Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Hyperion Book CH (January 3, 2012)

High school senior Justina Griffith was never the girl who dreamed of going to prom. Designer dresses and strappy heels? Not her thing. So she never expected her best friend, Ian Clark, to ask her. Ian, who promised her the most amazing night at prom. And then ditched her.

Rating: 3/5

Ditched had me at its cover: a pretty girl, disheveled, in a weird prom dress. It may not belong to my favorite set of books, but it doesn’t mean I don’t like it.

Ditched is a funny book, my breather in between heavy YA and regency romance. Ian and Justina’s friendship started when she decided to drop her hobby of kissing boys and Ian caught his girlfriend kissing another guy. Now, months later, Justina is going to break her kissing-the-boys fasting on prom night after realizing her feelings for Ian. But everything has been a disaster, starting with the blue dress her mom picked for her. Then several other incidents happened – ending with Ian ditching her on prom night. She tells the whole story the following morning in a 7-Eleven to Gilda and Donna, putting the puzzle together and explaining what happened to every single thing found on her dress.

I love Ian, and he has his personal reasons why he ditched Justina. You wouldn’t help but like him because he’s very nice and kind. His friendship with Justina would make you wish you have a best friend like this one in high school.

Ditched’s plot is well developed, I like the transition each chapter. I like the picture with the arrows all over the dress, telling readers the history behind it.

Robin Mellom did not only show the reality in teenage parties: vices such as smoking, underage drinking and sex but she also integrated responsible driving.   

If you want something funny, short and nice – this is the book to read.

Favorite Quotes
Guys don't know the power we hold over them with the right tint of lip gloss.

The neck massage: signature move of a Professional Boyfriend