Book Review: Will the Real Prince Charming Please Stand Up – Ella Martin

Will the Real Prince Charming Please Stand Up? by Ella Martin
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Published Date: June 30, 2014
Publisher: Astraea Press Publishing, LLC
Buy Link: https://amzn.com/B00LF5W9I0

There is just something that draws me to these ‘brother’s best friend’ novels, I love the kind of taboo, ‘I’m not supposed to like you,’ scenario, and usually it’s mixed with having known said best friend for many years. They are always pretty sweet. The cover of Will the Real Prince Charming Please Stand Up? is also eye catching – so it’s no wonder I decided it was a good use of an Audible credit.

What I Loved: Honestly, I really loved the relationship between Bianca, and her brother. They were the perfect mix of that annoying relationship most siblings have, and family who love and support one another. Even though there were hints of it, there wasn’t really a lot of “I’m big brother, stay away from sister” kind of thing going on, until it became apparently necessary. Bianca’s friends were pretty awesome too, they were a great group of friends who knew each other inside and out, the kind of friends I dreamed of having when I was in High School myself.

Bianca was actually a solid character, with the normal flaws you would find with a typical 15 year old High Schooler. She had her own mind, and knew what things in her life were important. As she was dating Dante, she would often say things like, “you expect me to choose you over my friends of xx years?” Though she was trapped in the idea of having her first boyfriend, someone whom girls fell over themselves to date – she did have some reasoning skills. I do think that this book did a good job of showing how just a few words or actions can open you up to manipulation, and worse, how easily girls can be manipulated. Especially when it comes to things like self esteem, just a few words can cause many girls to doubt themselves. I think this is real, and the book does serve as a good warning against that.

Not So Much: I really didn’t care for the narrator of this story. Bianca and her friends were typical high schoolers, and used slang that is popular now, however while I was listening to the book, they (Bianca especially) came off as extremely whiney. As I think back on the book, I’m really not sure that this was the author’s intention…and as a mother, I CAN.NOT.STAND the whining voice! It took me an extra long time to listen to this book, and I nearly gave up on it because of the narration. That would have been unfortunate, because I did love how this story wrapped up.

The Verdict: I do not recommend the Audiobook of Will the Real Prince Charming Please Stand Up, however I do recommend reading it. This is very age appropriate, and can actually help empower girls who might find themselves stuck in a manipulative relationship see things from a different perspective. Maybe. The book is clean.

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Book Review: V is for Virgin – Kelly Oram

Title: V is for Virgin
Author: Kelly Oram
Genre: YA – Romance

Buy Link:  http://amzn.com/B00AJUVJN8

Blurb (from Goodreads): 
When Val Jensen gets dumped for her decision to stay a virgin until marriage, the nasty breakup goes viral on YouTube, making her the latest internet sensation.
After days of ridicule from her peers, Val starts a school-wide campaign to rally support for her cause. She meant to make a statement, but she never dreamed the entire nation would get caught up in the controversy.

As if becoming nationally recognized as “Virgin Val” isn’t enough, Val’s already hectic life starts to spin wildly out of control when bad boy Kyle Hamilton, lead singer for the hit rock band Tralse, decides to take her abstinence as a personal challenge.

How can a girl stay true to herself when this year’s Sexiest Man Alive is doing everything in his power to win her over?

My Review:
Kelly Oram is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. I am loving her YA stories so much. I recently re-read Cinder & Ella for the 3rd time since November, and once I was done I decided to pick up V is for Virgin.

What I Loved: Well, for starters I loved Val from the start! She was such a strong person with convictions that I could relate to. I had a somewhat similar experience to her, not in the standing on lunchroom tables sort of way, but I did have my best friend at the time basically indicate that I either hung out with her new group of friends, (and partook of the drugs and alcohol) or I didn’t. I didn’t and I wouldn’t all through Jr High and High School. I grew up with that stuff around me – I knew what the results could bring, I wanted nothing to do with it. So ….I just didn’t. I didn’t get ridiculed for it, but I did lose someone who was very important to me. Anyhow, I digress, I loved Val not only because she was strong, but because she was funny. She was quick witted, and passionate. All admirable qualities.

I loooooved the heat between Val and Kyle. I’m a little bit of a sucker for the ‘all up in your personal space’ kind of passion. I enjoy it in books almost as much as I enjoy it when my husband surprises me like that. And that is pretty much Kyle’s signature move.

I think the issue of being/feeling pressured to have sex as a teenager is tackled pretty well in this book. It is a BIG deal. And honestly, I hated how many of the characters were portrayed as whining that they weren’t ‘getting any’ because – why has this become such an everyday occurrence? What is wrong with this being special. And I mean really special? Not something that is expected of you with every passing boyfriend or girlfriend. I felt like both ends of the spectrum were laid out pretty well. I felt like my personal convictions were adequately portrayed as well as how others feel on the matter. A very fair assessment.

Not So Much: I didn’t realize when I picked this book up that it was a part of a series. (If two books can be considered a series.) The first book stands alone well enough, but no one is NOT going to want to pick up A is for Abstinence. But I really wanted it to be a stand alone. ::insert my own pouty face here::

The Verdict:        

Go buy Kelly Oram’s books! Clearly this particular book has sex talk in it…but it is a clean book. Good for teens.

Book Review: Dead Girl – Tessa Marie

Title: Dead Girl
Author: Tessa Marie
Genre: YA – Coming of Age, Bullying, Romance

Buy Link:

Blurb:  If her mother wasn’t watching, Kylie Presby would punch Queen Bee, Natalie Silvers, in the face -again. But as Kylie wipes her tears away with the layers of toilet paper encasing her car, she knows she can’t retaliate like she did last time. Her dead mother wouldn’t approve. Kylie no longer cares about popularity. Invisible would work just fine.

Then the new kid, Braydon, mysterious, good looking and too clever for his own good, shows up and sacrifices his social status, becoming Kylie’s shield from the front line assault. After enough chocolate ice cream and movies it’s as if they’re best friends. Crazy, since Kylie knows so little about him.

As Natalie continues her relentless attacks on Kylie another person deals with his own line of bullies. Jack Stine was popular until his deepest secret was revealed and his friends abandoned him. Kylie and Jack bond over their tormentors and form an unbreakable friendship.

Three lost souls each with a story that binds them together, but will it be enough when the bullying goes too far and secrets are revealed?

My Review:
I’m on a roll here.  It is completely unintentional that I keep picking up these books that have to do with school bullying, self-esteem issues and the like.  Maybe I should start paying more attention to blurbs, but when we’re talking about already loved and trusted authors – I rarely find the need to do so.

What I Loved:  I will never get tired of authors writing about things that matter.  I’ve already said it, but books speak volumes, and change lives.  If only we could get the books that matter into the hands of as many people as possible.  I love sparkly vampires as much as the next person, but I also love books that compel me to be a better person, to love others more and to not give in to mainstream.  And that is what Tessa Marie does in Dead Girl.

I really liked the fact that Kylie is not a flawless person.  She makes mistakes, and there were times I wasn’t very found of her as a person.  Every character in this book had lessons to learn and character development, and at some point, they all said or did things that made me think, ‘what the heck, man?’  But I felt like this contributed to the story and made it more realistic.

If I am completely honest, I feel like this is the best book (that I’ve read) by Tessa Marie to date.  I was engrossed from the start and I had to know what happened to Kylie, Braydon, and Jack.  I was intrigued by their secrets.

Not So Much:  I really would have liked to have seen some additional consequences for the biggest culprits of bullying.  I know that there are some ‘natural consequences’ at play, but gosh – expulsion from school or something.  Or I might have been happier if the school started a campaign or something proactively against bullying.

The Verdict:          

Even if I did want more at the end, I do feel like this story was perfectly executed.  I loved it!  I look forward to whatever is next from Tessa!  This is another book perfect for younger and older teenagers.

Book Review: You Can’t Catch Me – Becca Ann

Title: You Can’t Catch Me
Author: Cassie Mae writing as Becca Ann
Genre: YA – Romance, Coming of Age, Self Image, Bullying

Buy Link:  http://amzn.com/B01C0SEWDA

Blurb (From Goodreads):
My body suuuucks. After lounging around on my butt all summer (okay, so maybe that was my bad), this body decided to become something completely foreign. So now I’m trying to make the track team and I feel like I’m a baby learning to walk again.

A couple pounds wouldn’t have been so bad. Work those off, run like a mad woman, no problem, yeah? But no. I’ve also developed a couple of things that I definitely didn’t have before. And now my guy friends are all sitting in a pool of drool as they not-so-subtly stare at my chest.

Combine all that drama with the fact that the new track coach is getting major flack for being a little chunky, and all I’m trying to do is convince the team that I’m not running slower because of her coaching style.

Oh, and did I mention that I’m totally falling face-first in “like” with some guy I met in a cemetery? And no one understands it just because he’s also a little chunky. But he’s also adorable and wonderfully weird and I don’t care what they say, his look sure does it for me.

But… I don’t know… how can I be in “like” with someone, when I have no clue how to like myself anymore?


My Review:
Cassie Mae (Becca Ann) is on my exceptions list for 2016, so naturally I couldn’t wait for You Can’t Catch me to be released.  I even pre-bought the book, but then was also given a ARC copy for review!  Part of the excitement I felt for this book was Cassie’s own excitement for it’s release.  Obviously, she’s excited about all of her releases, but the purpose behind this book, I think, made it just a bit more exciting, or at least that was my perception.

What I Loved:  A theme that seems to be reoccurring in the books that I’m reading this year is that they seem to have a bit to do with self image and bullying.  It’s not purposeful, but it just seems to be happening, and honestly I love it, because it means authors are starting to write about these things a bit more. I am one of those people who can be ‘spoken to’ via books, they become so real to me and there are times when the message shatters me as much as my own life experiences do.  That is why I love this growing trend, and hope that it continues and we see more and more books dealing with the hard things in life and that empower our youth and even adults to take action, or make a change.

I always love Cassie’s writing.  She is a pro at writing characters that I want to know in real life.  I especially loved both Ginger and Oliver because of their awkwardness.  The rambling while nervous, and goofiness of these characters is so perfect.  Ginger is so positive, even though this book deals with her own self-image issues, even in all of that she is positive.  She sees good in people that others can’t see.  She is an inspiration to be a better person.  She’s also real; there is nothing more real than someone who has trouble accepting things about themselves – even if they can easily accept those same traits in someone else without a second thought.  Ginger did what I did as a teenager, and probably most teenagers still do; she looked at others and wondered if they are going through the same things, if they are having the same self conscious thoughts.  (To any teenager who happens by this review – yes.  They are.  Yes.  They do.  If there’s anything I’ve learned as an adult, it’s that no matter how alone you feel in your skin – it’s so very likely that someone close to you is struggling with the same things.  Maybe not in the same exact way since we are all different, but they are.  I promise!)
Oliver, I could picture Oliver immediately from his dark hair to his freckles and tall robust build.  He was a bit self-deprecating and a Momma’s boy – and I loved him.  He was sweet and, yes, awkward.  But I loved his role in this book, and that was to provide Ginger with a place where she felt like herself, and not judged by her body or her abilities, or the expectations she felt she had to live up to.  
Not So Much:  Ginger had some friends, specifically boy friends, who took notice of the physical changes in her and reacted like…boys.  In the end, I kind of would have liked to have seen them realize how their behavior might have hurt Ginger.  I think it was eluded to, but maybe it just wasn’t as fleshed out as much as I would have liked.
The Verdict:         
Yet another book I implore you to get into the hands of all the teenagers around you.  I feel like this message on self image, and learning to love yourself for who you are is beautifully done.  The story is not bogged down with too much sadness, but there are parts that make you really hurt for the characters in this book, not just Ginger.  Mostly though you’ll be smiling and giggling at the antics and rooting for Ginger to win this race.  You Can’t Catch Me is a clean book – and appropriate for younger teens as well as older.