Saturday, January 21, 2012

Review: Suite Scarlett

Title: Suite Scarlett
Author: Maureen Johnson
Published: 2008 by Point
Version: Hardcover
Obtained: Library

Scarlett Martin has grown up in a most unusual way. Her family owns the Hopewell, a small hotel in the heart of New York City. Her nineteen-year-old brother, Spencer is an out of work actor facing a family deadline to get his career in order. Eighteen-year-old Lola has the delicate looks of a model, the practical nature of a nurse, and a wealthy society boyfriend. Eleven-year-old Marlene is the family terror with a tragic past.

When the Martins turn fifteen, they are each expected to take over the care of a suite in the once elegant, now shabby Art Deco hotel. For Scarlett's fifteenth birthday, she gets both a room called the Empire Suite, and a permanent guest named Mrs. Amberson. Scarlett doesn't quite know what to make of this C-list starlet, world traveler, and aspiring autobiographer who wants to take over her life. And when she meets Eric, an astonishingly gorgeous actor who has just moved to the city, her summer takes a second unexpected turn. 

With Mrs. Amberson calling the shots, Spencer’s career to save, Lola’s love life to navigate around, and Marlene’s prying eyes everywhere, things won’t be easy. Before the summer is over, Scarlett will have to survive a whirlwind of thievery, Broadway glamour, romantic missteps, and theatrical deception.

The show, as they say, must always go on.

First Sentence:
"On the morning of the tenth of June, Scarlett Martin woke up to the sound of loud impromptu rap penetrating her thin bedroom wall from the direction of the bathroom next door."

This is my first Maureen Johnson book, and let me say it won’t be the last. I simply adore her writing style. She could write a novel about sea slugs and I would read it. 

As the story goes, Scarlett lives in a family-run hotel in New York city. Her family is getting a bit behind on money, for a reason none of them like to articulate. Then Mrs. Amberson comes and infiltrates Scarlett’s summer. Suddenly she’s making money, helping with her brother’s play and meeting a cute actor.

I quite loved the characters in this novel. From Chip, Lola’s rich boyfriend, to Billy Whitehouse, Mrs. Amberson’s friend, all the people were intricately described. Scarlett herself is a tad boring, but her life is anything but. With Mrs. Amberson having her running around doing everything, having to deal with her family’s issues, and figuring out Eric, the cute actor, Scarlett lives a harried life.

Spencer and Scarlett have this amazing relationship due to spending so much time together when they were younger. They hang out, talk about everything, and share so many inside jokes and looks, it’s hard not to be envious. Until of course, they have a falling-out, which happens a couple times. One extra thing I loved, Spencer’s “skill”. All the fake falling and crazy antics were fun to read.

------------------(Slight Spoilers)-----------------------------------------------------------------------
By the time I’m writing this review, I’ve read Scarlett Fever as well, but I would just like to make it known that I didn’t really like Eric that much in this book. I mean, he was nice, but something was always off with him. I think Scarlett was just desperate for male attention. He just SEEMED too perfect. Which sometimes (not often), perfect is okay, but in this case it just felt false, like he was hiding something.
------------------------------------(Done with Spoiler-y Section)----------------------------------

Maureen Johnson is the most CREATIVE, AMUSING, AND INTERESTING writer. There are these sparkling moments of “Oh my goodness, that was so randomly creative”. No matter if it’s describing the neighbors, giving Spencer and Scarlett an inside joke, or having Scarlett ad-lib, Maureen has spot-on spontaneity. It is a treat to read her writing, and I have been won over completely.

Content Warning: I’m pretty sure there is mild language, and definitely kissing.


4 Pigs

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Saturday, January 7, 2012

In My Mailbox (4)

In My Mailbox is a weekly (or however sporadically you feel like it) meme in which bloggers list the books they’ve recently received to review. This was instigated by The Story Siren.


Legend – Marie Lu

What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic's wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic's highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country's most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.
From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths - until the day June's brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family's survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias's death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.

I got this as a late Christmas present from my brother and sister. Since I desperately wanted this, I am a very happy girl. Can’t wait to start it!!!



Masquerade – Nancy Moser

1886, New York City: Charlotte Gleason, a rich heiress from England, escapes a family crisis by traveling to America in order to marry the even wealthier Conrad Tremaine. She soon decides that an arranged marriage is not for her and persuades her maid, Dora, to take her place. What begins as the whim of a spoiled rich girl wanting adventure becomes a test of survival. As for Dora, she lives a fairy tale complete with gowns, jewels, and lavish mansions--yet is tormented by guilt and the presence of another love that will not die. Will their masquerade be discovered? Will one of them have second thoughts?  Will love win out? There is no guarantee the switch will work. It's a risk. It's the chance of a lifetime.

I bought this at Lifeway for 35% off! :)
I’ve already started it, and it’s great so far.



The Agency: The Body at the Tower – Y.S. Lee

Now nearly a full-fledged member of the Agency, the all-female detective unit operating out of Miss Scrimshaw’s Academy for Girls, Mary Quinn is back for another action-packed adventure. Disguised as a poor apprentice builder and a boy, she must brave the grimy underbelly of Victorian London – as well as childhood memories of fear, hunger, and constant want – to unmask the identity of a murderer. Assigned to monitor a building site on the clock tower of the Houses of Parliament, Mary earns the confidence of the work crew, inching ever nearer her suspect. But if an irresistible desire to help the city’s needy doesn’t distract her and jeopardize her cover, unexpectedly meeting with an old friend – or flame – just might.

I got this out of the library and read it all that day. This series is completely incredible!!!!



The Scorpio Races – Maggie Stiefvater

Some race to win. Others race to survive.
It happens at the start of every November: the Scorpio Races. Riders attempt to keep hold of their water horses long enough to make it to the finish line. 
Some riders live.
Others die.
At age nineteen, Sean Kendrick is the returning champion. He is a young man of few words, and if he has any fears, he keeps them buried deep, where no one else can see them. 
Puck Connolly is different. She never meant to ride in the Scorpio Races. But fate hasn't given her much of a choice. So she enters the competition - the first girl ever to do so. She is in no way prepared for what is going to happen.
As she did in her bestselling Shiver trilogy, author Maggie Stiefvater takes us to the breaking point, where both love and life meet their greatest obstacles, and only the strong of heart can survive. The Scorpio Races is an unforgettable reading experience.

I have heard many good things about this book, it sounds amazing, and I’m so thrilled to have it in my hands, even if it is a library copy.

Did you obtain any great books this week/fortnight/month/year/[insert amount of time here]?

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2011 Round-Up

I read a total of 90 books in 2011. YAY!

Because I started the blog in February-ish, I didn’t get to review all of those, and neither do I have clear records of them, but as far as I can figure, I read 90.

Here’s the final 2011 list by month (with links!).

January/February 2011:

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn – Mark Twain

The Amaranth Enchantment – Julie Berry

Inside OUT – Maria V. Snyder

Skeleton Key – Anthony Horowitz

Wildwing – Emily Whitman

The Maze Runner – James Dashner

Outside IN – Maria V. Snyder

Artemis Fowl – Eoin Colfer


March 2011:

Impossible - Nancy Werlin

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer - Mark Twain

Fahrenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury

Artichoke's Heart - Suzanne Supplee

Hex Hall - Rachel Hawkins

The Adoration of Jenna Fox - Mary E. Pearson


April 2011:

The False Princess - Eilis O'Neal

The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald

Beautiful Creatures - Kami Garcia, Margaret Stohl

Enthusiasm - Polly Shulman

Climbing the Stairs - Padma Venkatraman

REREAD - Aurelia - Anne Osterlund

Girl in the Arena - Lise Haines 


May 2011:

Leviathan - Scott Westerfeld

Behemoth - Scott Westerfeld

Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment - James Patterson

The Season - Sarah MacLean

Maximum Ride: School’s Out - Forever - James Patterson

A Farewell to Arms - Ernest Hemingway

Maximum Ride: Saving the World and Other Extreme Sports - James Patterson

Defying the Diva - D. Anne Love

REREAD - To Catch a Pirate - Jade Parker

Extraordinary – Nancy Werlin

The Miles Between – Mary E. Pearson

Enclave – Ann Aguirre

Divergent – Veronica Roth

Exile – Anne Osterlund

Eagle Strike - Anthony Horowitz


June 2011:

Maximum Ride: The Final Warning - James Patterson

Maximum Ride: Max – James Patterson

Sorcery & Cecelia (or) The Enchanted Chocolate Pot - Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer

Maximum Ride: Fang – James Patterson

Maximum Ride: Angel – James Patterson

Restoring Harmony - Joelle Anthony

Pirates! – Celia Rees

Demonglass – Rachel Hawkins

Incarceron – Catherine Fisher

Between Shades of Gray – Ruta Sepetys

Flawless – Lara Chapman

How to Build a House – Dana Reinhardt

Once A Witch – Carolyn MacCullough

Reincarnation – Suzanne Weyn

Uncommon Criminals – Ally Carter


July 2011:

Tiger’s Curse – Colleen Houck

Blood Red Road – Moira Young

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks – E. Lockhart

Anna and the French Kiss – Stephanie Perkins

Princess of the Midnight Ball – Jessica Day George

Starcrossed – Josephine Angelini

Hourglass – Myra McEntire

Before I Fall – Lauren Oliver


August 2011:

Confessions of a Triple Shot Betty – Jody Gehrman

Life of Pi - Yann Martel

Withering Tights – Louise Rennison

Beauty Queens – Libba Bray

The Boyfriend List – E. Lockhart

Awaken – Katie Kacvinsky

Wrapped – Jennifer Bradbury

Delirium – Lauren Oliver


September 2011:

Steel – Carrie Vaughn

Always A Witch – Carolyn MacCullough

Wither – Lauren DeStefano

The Magnolia League – Katie Crouch


October 2011:

There You’ll Find Me – Jenny B. Jones

A Need So Beautiful – Suzanne Young

Waterfall – Lisa T. Bergren

All These Things I’ve Done – Gabrielle Zevin

Lola and the Boy Next Door – Stephanie Perkins

One Night That Changes Everything – Lauren Barnholdt


November 2011:

Cascade – Lisa T. Bergren

Dark Mirror – M. J. Putney

Pride & Popularity – Jenni James

Goliath – Scott Westerfeld

Suite Scarlett - Maureen Johnson

The Son of Neptune - Rick Riordan

Across the Universe - Beth Revis

Scarlett Fever - Maureen Johnson


December 2011:

Girl of Fire and Thorns - Rae Carson

Entwined - Heather Dixon

Unwind - Neal Shusterman

Miss Match - Erynn Mangum

Rematch - Erynn Mangum

Match Point - Erynn Mangum

Torrent - Lisa T. Bergren

The Agency: A Spy in the House - Y.S. Lee


Some Favorites:
Not in order of love…just order of random.


Inside OUT and Outside IN – Maria V. Snyder
I loved this dystopian series! I loved the claustrophobic feeling, the characters, the plot, everything!



Hex Hall and Demonglass – Rachel Hawkins
This series is completely hilarious and fun, and I can’t wait for the next installment, Spell Bound, coming out this year!


Climbing the Stairs – Padma Venkatraman
Such a revealing view into the time period and the culture. Amazing characters, and great ending!


Leviathan, Behemoth, and Goliath – Scott Westerfeld
Another completely amazing series by Mr. Westerfeld! I loved the growth in the characters and the fun plot.


Divergent – Veronica Roth
I, along with everyone else, completely adored this debut novel. With the strong female lead, Tris, the mysterious Four, and the crazy ending, this series is shaping up to be rather incredible. I can’t wait for Insurgent, due out in May!


Between Shades of Gray – Ruta Sepetys
I will NEVER forget this book. It’s so powerful and moving.


Blood Red Road – Moira Young
Such a fantastically insane story with strong characters and a promising future as a series! I CANNOT WAIT FOR REBEL HEART THIS YEAR!!!


Before I Fall – Lauren Oliver
Lauren Oliver made all of her readers depressed (in a good way?) with this beautifully heart-breaking story.


Wither – Lauren DeStefano
This was DEFINITELY one of the most memorable, incredible books I read this year. The suspense, creepiness, and open ending, promises an excellent sequel in Fever, coming out in February.


There You’ll Find Me – Jenny B. Jones
The first book I ever received from Booksneeze was amazing! I fell in love with Christian fiction all over again.


Waterfall, Cascade, and Torrent – Lisa T. Bergren
With the crazy never-ending adventure, beautiful romance, realistic characters, and satisfying ending, Lisa creating an unforgettable series.


Girl of Fire and Thorns – Rae Carson
This just might be my favorite book of 2011. I loved watching Elisa mature and become the hero she was meant to be. I loved the brutality of the author, to kill off people I love. I loved the completely craziness of the adventure, the setting, the desert, the forest, EVERYTHING. I NEED the sequel, The Crown of Embers, out now instead of Fall 2012!


Unwind – Neal Shusterman
I put off reading this for so long. I CAN’T BELIEVE I DID THAT! THIS BOOK IS FREAKING AMAZING!!! It’s so intense, horrible, thought-provoking, wonderful, fascinating, and terrifying. Holy Crap. Read this. Now.

That’s the year in review! :)
Now the little “Books by Month” part in my side-bar will be refreshed for 2012!

I hope everyone else has amazing books to look back on as read in 2011. For me it was completely excellent year in many ways.

I hope 2012 brings you a fantastic year in books!

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