December 31, 2009

Interview with Melissa de la Cruz

Melissa de la Cruz is the author of the bestselling THE VAN ALEN LEGACY, as well as a variety of novels for adults and young adults. She's also written for a variety of magazines, including one of my favorite publications, McSweeney's. She's a bicoastal woman, living in both Los Angeles and New York. She has personal familiarity with the setting of the Blue Bloods series, as well as many of her other works. In addition to the Blue Bloods series, she's currently working on the spin-off, which will begin with WOLF PACT in Spring 2011.


1. How do you balance writing a large number of series (Blue Bloods, The Ashleys, The Au Pairs)? (Do you have a favorite?)

The Au Pairs and Ashleys have ended already, now I have the Blue Bloods series and am starting two new paranormal series, Wolf Pact, which is a Blue Bloods spinoff and follows Bliss's adventures as she looks for the Hounds of Hell, and The Witches of East End, which is an adult paranormal series, about a family of witches who shake up a fictional town in the Hamptons.

Blue Bloods is definitely close to my heart, since it was my first paranormal series, but I am really excited about Wolf Pact and Witches as well. They're all quite different – Wolf Pact is very action-oriented and grittier than Blue Bloods, while Witches, since it is an adult series, has more adult themes, and is a bit more droll, but also sexier. I take my time and write each book on its own, I can work on all three when they are in the beginning stage but once the book really gets going I need to concentrate and I tend to finish the one whose deadline is nearest during the end stage.

Book Cover

2. How did you come to write "vampire" books? Was there anything specific that led to the creation of the Blue Bloods series?

My editor for Au Pairs asked me if I wanted to try my hand at a horror/fantasy book and I came up with Blue Bloods. I had always, always wanted to write a big epic fantasy but I never thought anyone would give me the chance to write one given my fashion/chick-lit background. So I feel very grateful that Disney took a chance on me. I feel like Blue Bloods is the book I've always meant to write.

3. What kind of books did you read as a kid? What are some books you've read recently and enjoyed?

As a kid I was a voracious reader and I read everything from the classics to Sweet Valley High and Sweet Dreams. My absolute favorites were Stephen King's books especially The Dark Tower Series, and Tolkien's Lord of the Rings.

Now that I'm an adult I don't reach much fantasy, I like to read the kinds of books that I would never write myself – I read cooking memoirs. Anything by Ruth Reichl and Anthony Bourdain. On the YA side I recently read Elizabeth Scott's Love You Hate You Miss You and Frank Portmann's King Dork and I loved loved loved both.

Book Cover

4. You've also written several books for adults. Do you approach adult literature differently from young adult?

Not really – I think Blue Bloods is really for all ages. And so are my adult books. I think the adult series will be sexier in nature and it deals with some adult themes like politics and that sort of thing, but I just write for myself. And I wanted to write a fantasy book that was like Grey Gardens mixed with Alexander McCall Smith and Julian Fellowes.

5. Your bio says you've also worked as a fashion and beauty editor. (Any tips for the winter?) How have your job experiences influenced your writing?

I feel very lucky that I was able to work in the magazine industry. It helps you develop a thick skin, and sharpens your instincts. As a former beauty editor: moisturize, moisturize, moisturize for the winter! My work covering the glittery scene gave me a lot of material to use when I was starting Blue Bloods. But I feel like the story has taken its own course, and I haven't worked at a magazine for almost a decade now, and I like exploring new worlds and new themes.

December 30, 2009

Review: Fade Out vs. The Van Alen Legacy

Book Cover

By Rachel Caine
Released Nov 3 by Signet
Review copy provided by publisher
Read my reviews of CARPE CORPUS and LORD OF MISRULE

The Morganville Vampires is not my favorite vampire series, but it's one that holds steady and comes up with something interesting for each book. I expected FADE OUT to be the start of a new arc. Instead, Rachel Caine only teases with what is to come. FADE OUT focuses on a standalone story in addition to snipping a few loose ends. It works very well, as newcomers can pick up FADE OUT from the store without becoming too lost.

Claire's out of sorts because Eve has been cast in A Streetcar Named Desire, and now she's hanging out with her costar Kim. It doesn't help that Kim is clearly into Shane - who admits to Claire that they had a one-night stand. Michael has a shot at fame, but he can never leave Morganville. And Myrnin is more dangerous than ever, which makes me ridiculously excited. (Apparently, I am the kind of person who thinks daffy, mostly friendly characters who ultimately look out for number one and will stab you in the back without blinking are awesome to read about. In real life I avoid people who would betray me.)

The story moves along at a nice clip, which is good since Caine doesn't have many pages to waste. (The short page count always leaves me wanting more, but it does keep the story tight.) Amelie clearly has plans for Claire, and they aren't looking like plans anyone would want to participate in. Caine has always done a good job of keeping the vampires threatening even when they ally with the humans, and she continues in that vein not only with Amelie and Myrnin, but with Michael, who the readers and characters first knew as human.

I liked the breather of a standalone story, but FADE OUT has me ready for the next arc. I hope Caine continues to write books that deliver in and of themselves while contributing to the Morganville Vampire series as a whole.

Book Cover

By Melissa de la Cruz
Released Oct 6 by Disney Hyperion
Review copy provided by publicist

I thought the Blue Bloods series was awesome when I first came out. It was an interesting premise (reincarnation instead of eternal life), played with Christian mythology, and centered around a pun. All bonuses in my book. But while Caine has been dazzling me with her pacing, Melissa de la Cruz is lacking.

Part of the problem is the way she divides the novel between the narrators: Schuyler, Bliss, and Mimi. Each girl gets about five pages before the book zooms off to the next narrator. As soon as I would get into one girl's voice and story, I would be reading a different segment. I got frustrated wanting to know what would happen to someone who I wasn't reading about. Eventually I started reading by skipping and reading one girl's story as a whole, then reading the next. Short chapters are usually a ploy to keep you reading, but it felt like it slowed me down.

What helped even less? I didn't find all three of the stories compelling. Most of the story movement occurs in the last third of the novel. I think the most frustrating part is when everyone goes back to school. Who wants to read about the characters going to school when we could be reading about the battle for the fate of the world?

I'm not saying THE VAN ALEN LEGACY was a complete loss. There were some big developments at the end, and hopefully they'll cause big reactions in MISGUIDED ANGEL. de la Cruz built up some momentum, and now she needs to keep that up. Especially since the series began so promisingly.

Come back tomorrow for a short interview with Melissa de la Cruz.

December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!


I'm saying it just a little early. (Also, I took this photo last year, but my part of Texas is having a white Christmas, oddly enough.)

December 22, 2009

Last Minute Gift Ideas

Everything I said last year stands.

Don't forget, you can always make a gift to charity in someone else's name. Here's some book related options:

Inside Books: Fight recidivism by providing Texas inmates with free books (Spanish textbooks are always in demand.)

Leave a Mark, run by The Page Flipper and Lauren: Buy a unique, marked up book to help First Book, or make a direct donation

Book Angel Michelle: Help a community build its first library (Details on where to send the books here, as well as details on the prizes offered by the awesome bloggers helping Michelle)

Book Wish Foundation: For two dollars, you can help build a library in a refugee camp

Now for book suggestions!
(Note: I haven't read most of these. They're things that I would find fun as a gift, and don't think are common enough that someone would already own a copy.)

HOW TO SEW A BUTTON: And Other Nifty Things Your Grandmother Knew by Erin Bried

Book Cover

I can sew a button (who can't?), but this book promises the secret to folding a fitted sheet perfectly. I would kill for my fitted sheets to not look like they were folded by a blind amputee.

BEST FOOD WRITING 2008 edited by Holly Hughes

Book Cover

I have a thing for food porn. Don't judge me.

WHO SHOT ROCK AND ROLL: A Photographic History, 1955-Present by Gail Buckland

Book Cover

Photography, music, and sociology. This book looks to be both beautiful and thought-provoking.

TOKYO VICE: An American Reporter on the Police Beat in Japan by Jake Adelstein

Book Cover

Satisfying a love of East Asia and gangster stories in one fell swoop.


Book Cover

Doesn't the title say it all? Pop culture and one of the greats, two irresistable passions. (Like TOKYO VICE!)

MUSE AND REVERIE by Charles de Lint

Book Cover

Tired of formulaic urban fantasy? One of the fathers of the genre, de Lint once more writes stories set in the town of Newford. I'm sure his writing is as gorgeous as always.

OTOMEN by Aya Kanno

Book Cover

I've read this series, but don't own it. I love the way Kanno plays with gender. (Plus the art is cute.)

DEVIL'S KISS by Sarwat Chadda

Book Cover

Horror story with elements of paranormal romance for YA readers? Sounds awesome.

Of course, I'd also pick and choose from anything I reviewed favorably.

December 21, 2009

Review: Nanny Returns and The Real Real

By Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus
NANNY RETURNS available in hardcover from Atria Books
THE REAL REAL available in hardcover and paperback from HarperCollins
Review copies provided by publicist

Book Cover

I adored THE NANNY DIARIES, once I finally read it. (In the interest of full disclosure, for years I thought it was a biography of Fran Drescher. While I loved The Nanny, I didn't particularly have the urge to read about the star.) It's exactly what satire should be: ruthless, yet hilarious. It skewed the rich and the way they treat the help, in a portrait that seemed at once over-the-top and authentic. NANNY RETURNS never quite reaches those heights, though I ultimately enjoyed the novel. The main problem lies in the fact that 95% or so of the book is a major downer. (My mom agrees, in case you care.)

NANNY RETURNS begins twelve years after the events of THE NANNY DIARIES. Nan and her husband Ryan (the Harvard Hottie) have just moved back to New York, buying a run down building they hope to renovate and partially rent out. But soon Ryan has to return abroad for his job and the repairs keep going wrong.

And Grayer X, the boy Nan used to nanny, has tracked her down after finding her goodbye video eviserating his father and pleading with his parents to pay attention to him. His life isn't going so hot either. The Xes are divorcing, leading his mother to retreat into substance abuse. He needs to get his little brother Stilton into boarding school where he'll have supervision and care. Pretty soon, Nan is once more wrapped in the life of the Xes.

And then it gets worse. And worse. And while things end on a positive note . . . Nan's house still isn't habitable. A woman wronged by her employers is never heard from again. Children in trouble don't get the help they need. (Not even Grayer. He may manage to help Stilton out, but kid needs therapy.) Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus manage to keep their writing light and to inject humor into the proceedings, but they can't entirely disguise that they're grim proceedings indeed.

(It occurs to me that THE NANNY DIARIES works in almost the exact opposite way: things keep getting better and better until a hella depressing ending.) I could've easily hated this one if McLaughlin and Kraus's writing weren't so enjoyable, or if they didn't make Nan, Grayer, and several others so worth rooting for. But while fans of THE NANNY DIARIES will want to pick this up, it might not make the best Christmas gift. That is, unless you have someone you want to make cry. (Disclaimer on the crying: Monsters, Inc. made me cry. I'm easy.)

Book Cover

On the other hand, THE REAL REAL is a much frothier confection, much like the drings protagonist Jesse once served at a faux-Starbucks. She's enlisted to star in a reality show, with the rich kid clique and her equally cash-strapped crush. Unfortunately, her best friend is left out. Reality isn't interesting enough for the producers and scripted scenes quickly follow.

The blurb proclaims that Jesse struggles between telling "the difference between real and the real real." That's not quite true. Jesse never forgets that the show is bull. What she struggles with is the way the show affects her real image, and the way it's pressures cause her to act in real life. Participating in The Real Hampton Beach means Jesse can go to college she wants, but it may cost her everything else. To me, the plot McLaughlin and Kraus actually wrote is way more interesting than another nice girl becomes mean girl story. Jesse sometimes makes mean decisions, but she remains a basically decent person.

I breezed through THE REAL REAL. I assumed it would be a guilty pleasure, like the few reality TV shows I watch (The Bachelor(ette), Beauty and the Geek), but it quickly turned into a real pleasure. Unlike NANNY RETURNS, I fully recommened THE REAL REAL as a Christmas gift for a teen girl. At the very least, it may put her off ever wanting to appear on a reality TV show.

December 16, 2009

Review: Fallen

By Lauren Kate
Available Dec 8 from Delacorte
Review copy provided by publisher

Book Cover

I was excited about FALLEN, considering fallen angels are still fresh and I enjoyed HUSH, HUSH. Unfortunately, FALLEN is boring and there's no payoff.

Now, I know authors have little control over titles, so it may not be Lauren Kate's fault that the book is titled FALLEN. However, in a story in which you leave most of the plot threads dangling, what you resolve is important. Letting one of the reveals be that several of the characters are fallen angels just doesn't work in a story titled FALLEN. Nor does revealing that the heroine is a reincarnation doomed to die work when the prologue sets up the fact she is a reincarnation doomed to die.

However, I could forgive that if the plot and/or characters were interesting. Then I'd want to read the next book (tentatively titled TORMENT) in order to see how everything plays out. As for characters . . . well, everyone sympathetic is dead or evil by the end of FALLEN. Luce and Daniel, the leads, have no recognizable motivations.

Luce pursues Daniel (to the extent of stalking him) because she feels drawn to him. Daniel avoids her when possible and is rude when she's too persistant. I've gotten used to the mean urban fantasy crush, but that usually leads to witty banter (a la HUSH, HUSH). FALLEN plays it like Daniel needs to get a restraining order. And Luce's other option? Well, Cam invites her to social events as well as dates, gives her gifts, and generally acts nice. She sometimes gets a bad vibe, which I could buy, except she leads the guy on. FALLEN would be a lot more fun if it had the guts to make Luce a crazy obsessive who perhaps really did kill her former boyfriend. Instead, she's making the right choice by choosing the boy uninterested in her because he's secretly into her due to their past relationship. The supernatural elements make everything work out for her. (I believe nurture does affect nature. It would be neat if Daniel wasn't interested in her every life.)

Then there's Daniel's motives. He needs to be Luce's boyfriend or something bad happens. (Her dying is apparently better than the other bad thing. It's not explained why Luce's boyfriend is important.) She dies young, after falling in love, in every life. He's tried staying away before, and it never stops the cycle. So . . . he acts mean and keeps both of them unhappy even though it won't work and gives someone else a chance to step in and seduce her. That makes sense.

Cam's motives as the other guy are unexplained. Kate sets him up to be bad, but there's really only one scene where he acts it. Heck, the ending makes it look like he really does care for Luce. He's basically the bad guy because the good guys say he's bad. (Why are they good? Because they fight him.)

As you can see, pointing out the flaws in making the characters sympathetic also points out some of the plot holes. While there is some excitement in the end action scenes, they come too late. The rest is interminable Luce moping with perhaps two mysterious accidents. It would help if Luce acted worried and threatened instead of preoccupied with stalking someone.

I'm really not sorry for any spoilers. Just back away from the pretty cover before it's too late.

ETA: The writing isn't particularly great either. I think I lost it when Kate described the forest as "bosky." (For those who don't know, bosky is a great SAT word that basically means there are trees and/or shrubs. Y'know, those things that make a forest a forest.)

December 15, 2009

Book Blogger Holiday Swap

This year I participated in the Book Blogger Holiday Swap. In my infinite wisdom, I signed up with my apartment address instead of my permanent address. So this is a note to my Secret Santa: my roommate is watching the mail and opening my packages for me. I'll know what you got me and hey, it's only a three hour drive. Thank you!

(I'm still waiting for my santee to get his or her gift. I really hope he or she likes it! I am a bad gift buyer. I like to just take people shopping and buy the gift there. No muss no fuss.)

*Button by Daniel

Since I was talking about gifts, a friend gave me a new winter art to use:

Bob the Evil Faerie 2

I <3 it.

December 10, 2009

Lotus Lowenstein's My-Life-Is-Merde-but-Have a Bonnes-Fêtes-Anyway Blog Tourapalooza

Welcome to Lotus Lowenstein's My-Life-Is-Merde-but-Have a Bonnes-Fêtes-Anyway Blog Tourapalooza! My review looks pretty boring next to this interview with author Libby Schmais and protagonist Lotus Lowenstein. Not to mention if you collect all of the words du jour you can win a pretty fabuleux prize.


Interview with Libby Schmais, author

1. You've previously written two adult titles, THE PERFECT ELIZABETH and THE ESSENTIAL CHARLOTTE. Do you think there was a difference between writing for an adult audience and a young adult audience? Did you know THE PILLOW BOOK OF LOTUS LOWENSTEIN would be YA when you began writing it?

Book Cover

No, I didn’t know that THE PILLOW BOOK OF LOTUS LOWENSTEIN was a YA book when wrote it, and I think that was a good thing, because I didn’t have a lot of preconceptions of what a YA novel should be like. So, I wasn’t trying to use any different kind of writing style, just to be true to the character.

2. Lotus's diary follows her English assignments on THE PILLOW BOOK OF SEI SHONAGAN, perhaps the most badass of Heian era court-style poets. (Murasaki Shikibu would beg to disagree, I'm sure.) How did you come to intwine your story with this somewhat obscure classic?

I agree with you about Sei Shonagon, although I’m going to have to go back and do some research on Murasaki Shikubi. When I read The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagan, I was just so impressed with the beauty of the language and how modern it was that I wanted to introduce people to it in a fun, non-academic way.

[IBWB Note: Murasaki wrote THE TALE OF GENJI, and her diary is available in English translation.]

3. Lotus is a devoted Francophile. What about you? If you could live in one country, aside from the US, which would you choose and why?

I’m not quite as much of a Francophile as Lotus, but I would love to live in another country. I think I could be quite happy in some little town in the South of France. I love the food, it’s beautiful there and the health care system isn’t bad, either.

Book Cover

4. Both you and Lotus are Brooklynites. What is different between setting a novel somewhere you're very familiar with and somewhere that you aren't (such as Montreal, where the French Club visits)?

I think it’s definitely easier to set a novel in a place you are very familiar with, since you already have the sounds and the smells locked into your memory. But the advantage of using an unfamiliar setting is that you are looking at it through a fresh perspective. Also, in my case, I used it as an excuse to take a trip to Montreal.

5. One of the major conflicts in the book is the fight between Lotus and best friend Joni over Sean, whom they both consider the perfect guy. What is your own perfect man like? Would you even consider a non-exclusive relationship?

I think the perfect guy is one who you feel perfectly comfortable with, which is how I feel about my husband Sam. I’ve been with other guys who tried to change me, and that only leads to unhappiness. And I definitely couldn’t deal with being in a non-exclusive relationship – I don’t like to share.

Interview with Lotus Lowenstein, protagonist

Book Cover

1. Hello Lotus! Most of my readers haven't read your diary, so why don't you say something about what it's about.

Bonjour blog readers! Je suis thrilled to be here! My diary tells the story of a few months in my life when everything was coming together and falling apart at the same time. I fell in love, lost my best friend, began to understand the meaning of life and learned a few makeup tricks.

2. You've got a great french vocabulary, but your grammar is somewhat lacking. What's the hardest part about learning the language for you? Will you still love the culture even if you never learn to speak the language?

It’s true my grammaire is often a probleme, as my French teacher Mme LeFevre would be happy to tell you, but I think the most important thing is to have a real feel for the language, and a good accent, which I definitely have. So, I don’t worry too much about details of grammaire. I’m sure once I move to France, I’ll pick it up anyway, n’est ce pas?

3. How did you and Joni first become friends? Have ya'll ever exhibited the same taste in guys before?

Joni and I have been friends forever, but Sean is the first mec (guy) we’ve ever both liked and it almost ruined our friendship, which was très traumatique for both of us. But merci dieu, we are best friends again and both single, for the moment, although there are a few mecs I have my eye on.

4. You kept a diary before, but the real impetus for your pillow book was Mrs. G's assignment. How does your public diary differ from your personal one? What is your favorite line by Sei Shonagan?

I have no private diary anymore. I believe in sharing everything with the public. All my thoughts, sans censoring. Since we were talking about guys, here’s a good quote from Sei Shonagon on the subject “Men really have strange emotions and behave in the most bizarre ways.” So vrai!

5. You've been trying to lose weight with the help of FRENCH WOMEN DON'T GET FAT. What's your favorite part of the French diet? What dissatisfies you about your body?

I am actually very satisfied with my body. I am perfectly in proportion, and have a kind of Rubenesque charm. The only raison I was trying to lose weight was so I could fit better into couture and the antique clothes of my grandmère.

Thanks for visiting IBWB, Libby and Lotus!

Merci for having us!!!

Now, what you're really waiting for:

Today’s French Word du Jour is mec (which means "guy"). If you collect all the French words du jour on the Blog Tourapalooza, you can enter a contest to win fabulous prizes (a $25 Sephora gift card and a personally autographed Pillow Book!). Once you’ve visited all the blog tour stops and collected all the words, email the complete list of words to with the subject line “French Word du Jour Contest.” All e-mail entries must be received by midnight (EST) on December 21, 2009. The winner will be selected at random on December 22, 2009. Be sure to include your name, e-mail address, and daytime phone number with your entry (If you're under age 13, give your parent's contact info). The complete My-Life-Is-Merde-but-Have-a-Bonnes-Fêtes-Anyway Blog Tourapalooza schedule can be found at Our next tour stop is Book, Line, and Sinker on December 11. See you on the road, mes amis!

Review: The Pillow Book of Lotus Lowenstein

By Libby Schmais
Released Dec 9; Review copy provided by publicist
This is part of the Lotus Lowenstein's My-Life-Is-Merde-but-Have a Bonnes-Fêtes-Anyway Blog Tourapalooza - stay tuned for my interview!

Book Cover

THE PILLOW BOOK OF LOTUS LOWENSTEIN is exactly what it says: the diary of young francophile. Though the book is short there's a lot going on. Lotus starts a club, falls in love, fights with her best friend, gets a job, raises the money to go to Montreal, and sides with her brother against her parents. (I love the scene where she keeps calling paradiddles something ridiculous. And for those who are curious, a paradiddle is a four stroke pattern, alternating then doubling, ie RLRR LRLL RLRR LRLL. It's used both to show you're cool, or on tenors and a set in order to move from drum to drum without crossing your arms. That's your percussion lesson of the day.)

At first, I found Lotus's personality somewhat grating. Her habit of tossing French words into statements brought back visceral memories of fangirl Japanese. (I wondered if Libby Schmais was doing in on purpose the first time I saw a mention of THE PILLOW BOOK OF SEI SHONAGAN.) The first thing that really made me laugh was Lotus's desire to walk on cobblestones in heels; I've done it, it's not that exciting.

But Lotus's voice grew on me. She's somewhat clueless about adult lives, leading her to be rude to a coworker and such. But she's more perceptive about people her own age than she realizes, as represented by her conversations with her chess prodigy younger brother. What really made me love her is how she handles the love triangle between herself, Sean, and Joni. There's nothing wrong with being honestly non-monogamous, but anyone still in high school is too young too pull it off. It usually takes extra work to make sure no one gets hurt in an open relationship.

I think many guys would find this book too girly, but that young girls will enjoy it immensely. Lotus has an irrepresible personality and an ultimately charming voice. Besides, you might learn something about French culture. Or at least get hungry from all the references to cheese. (Why oh why can I only afford cheddar, jack, and colby? I want that little bag of small cheeses that I could buy at Sainsbury's. So delish.)

December 9, 2009

"Waiting on" Wednesday: Dream Life

"Waiting On" Wednesday was started by Jill.

Don't you love second chances? I enjoyed the 10th Grade Social Climber books, but found Lauren Mechling's first solo effort DREAM GIRL somewhat disappointing. But a little good will goes a long way. DREAM LIFE comes out January 12, and I'm hoping for the best. Here's the just released trailer:

Dream Life by Lauren Mechling -- Trailer from Richie Williams on Vimeo.

Description from Amazon:
Claire Voyante's first semester at Henry Hudson High School was eventful, to say the least. As she heads into her second semester, things are calming down a bit. But Claire has a few secrets that are getting harder to keep. Her biggest secret of all? The onyx and ivory cameo necklace her grandmother gave her for her 15th birthday. Ever since she started wearing it, her dreams have been coming to her in black and white and turning out to be oddly prophetic.

Becca’s been hanging out with her old prep school friends and never seems to have time for Claire anymore. And soon, Claire discovers why—there’s a secret group of society girls with a mysterious identity. And, turns out, a mysterious enemy who’s out to get them. The second she sniffs out trouble, Claire jumps on the case. But is it someone close to Claire who’s in danger again—or could it be Claire herself whose life is at stake?

December 7, 2009

Review: what i wore to save the world

By Maryrose Wood
Read her guest blog and my review of HOW I FOUND THE PERFECT DRESS
Review copy provided by Penguin

Book Cover

This is the third in the series that began with WHY I LET MY HAIR GROW OUT. There may be spoilers for the first two books in this review, so be warned. The half-goddess Morganne, generally known as Morgan, needs to figure out what colleges she wants to apply to. It doesn't help that her grades and SAT score are mediocre, and her resume has a distinct lack of extracurriculars. But the thing to distract her from her search just came up - an e-mail from her boyfriend, desperate and needing her help in Wales.

I must admit, I enjoyed her prospective university being Oxford. It's really fun to see something about the Bodleian in writing and think, "I stayed next door." (I don't think it matters now to say that I was staying at Brasenose, if I haven't said it before. Not like anyone can track me down there now.) However, it really bothered me that people kept talking about her applying to Oxford. You don't apply to Oxford, you apply to one of the colleges that make up Oxford.

But the reason I can worry about little things like this is that the plot runs so smoothly. Morgan is worried for Colin, but at the same time worried he'll discover that faeries are real. He does remain amazingly oblivious despite being in the center of some majorly weird activity, including cheerleading unicorns. (Why would unicorns have a passion for pom poms? We do generally think of them as blonds.)

My only regret is that the end makes this Maryrose Wood's last novel about Morgan. (From her site, she is beginning both a new middle grade and YA series next year.) I suppose she could write more in the world, but she does tie everything up for now. I'll miss an enjoyable series, but be glad that Wood did not drag it out. And I must say, I think this series makes a good gift with the gorgeous covers. I know I gave a friend WHY I LET MY HAIR GROW OUT for Christmas since she's studying in Ireland this spring and summer. (I am both excited for her and jealous.)

If you liked the previous novels in this series, you'll like WHAT I WORE TO SAVE THE WORLD as well. If you haven't read the first two, it stands fine on its own but will probably have more emotional resonance if you know the characters already.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...