(Review) The Allegra Biscotti Collection

TITLE: The Allegra Biscotti Collection book 1
AUTHOR: Olivia Bennett
PAGES: 256
PUBLISHER: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
PUB DATE: November 2010

SOURCE: I obtained an ARC of the book when I went on a tour of Sourcebooks. Thanks to Paul for putting this book in my hands.

Emma Rose is SO not a diva.

She doesn’t want her turn on the catwalk—she’d rather be behind the scenes creating fabulous outfits! So when a famous fashionista discovers Emma’s designs and offers her the opportunity of a lifetime—a feature in Madison magazine (squeal!)—Emma sort of, well, panics. She has only one option: to create a secret identity.

And so Allegra Biscotti is born.

Allegra is worldly, sophisticated, and bold—everything Emma is not. But the pressure is on. And Emma quickly discovers juggling school, a new crush, friends, and a secret identity might not be as glamorous as she thought.

This is the first book in a new series by Olivia Bennett. I am not sure how many books are planned for the series but I did find out that book two Allegra Biscotti: Who What Wear comes out in June 2011.

When I first got this book in August I wanted to read it right away because it sounded good but I managed to put it away so that I could read it closer to the release date.

I just have to say that my ARC cover is the same as the finished copy. I love the cover and it goes so very well with the book. Looking at it you see that its just like a sketch pad. Specking of sketching through out the book there is sketches and doodles on all the pages which I loved.

Well I picked up this book this morning and read it all today. I had a hard time to put it down.

I also loved that along with the chapters being numbered they were also titled so it gave you some what of an idea what the chapter would be about.

Okay about the book, Emma Rose is a grade eight student at a private school that her mother teaches at. Emma is like your typical girl who loves clothes and being unique and creative in what she wears but the thing that sets her apart is that one day she is hoping to make it big and become a designer. We learn right away that she has a game she plays every morning when she is on the subway to school and that is to design an outfit from the time she gets on the subway until her stop for school. She must take one item from people to make it an wow outfit. So Emma is always sketching.

At her father’s company Laceland she has a little studio set up where she puts her drawings into real pieces of clothing. One day Paige Young, who is a senior fashion editor of her favorite magazine, Madison, is in her father’s company looking at laces for her wedding dress. On her way out she spots Emma’s creations. She loves them and is curious to know the designer. A panicked Emma makes up a name and hopes that will be the end of it but its not Paige is intrigued by the pieces and wants to work with the designer.

What will Emma do? Can she pull of the scheme before its too late? What will happen when she is found out?

When Emma is not creating and designing she is at school. Struggling with her grades, a crush on a popular boy (Jackson) and loosing her best friend Holly to the popular girls known as the Ivana Bees. Will Emma be able to keep it all or will the secret identity and the secrets blow up?

copyright 2010, Cindy (Cindy’s Love Of Books)
If you are reading this on a blog or website other than Cindy’s Love Of Books or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.

(Review) Fledgling: Jason Steed

TITLE: Fledgling: Jason Steed
AUTHOR: Mark A. Cooper
PUB DATE: September 2010
PAGES: 240
PUBLISHER: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

SOURCE: I received an Advance Readers Copy from Paul at Sourcebooks when I met up with him this summer.

COVER: I just noticed that the finished copy of the cover is different from the ARC edition and the difference is the shadow of the guy isn’t on the ARC copy. Still the same I like the cover.

Tormented by his mother’s death…
Taken for granted by his father…
Trained in deadly martial arts…

Jason Steed is looking for a place to call home. He finds what he’s looking for in the Sea Cadets—an elite group of British youngsters being groomed for lifelong service in the military. But when a routine training exercise goes awry, Jason finds himself in the middle of a secret mission. The future of the world hangs in the balance…and Jason might be the only one who can save it.

I never heard about this book until Paul handed it to me when I meet up with him this summer and he raved about it so I was curious about it so I read a bit of the first chapter and I have been dying to read it every since then but with it only coming out in September I decided to wait.

Well I picked up this weekend to read and I have to say I really really enjoyed it and had a hard time to put it down.

The book takes place in 1963 and I have to say honestly that most books like this doesn’t appeal to me but I have to admit that very quickly it didn’t feel like I was reading the book in that time period and at times I was like What? One example of this is when Jason is in Catherine’s bedroom and there is a picture of Jimmy Osmond and the Osmond’s hanging on her wall.

Jason is an eleven year old boy who is fearless (saves the Queen’s daughter and stands up to bullies), independent (this is due to the fact that his mother died when Jason was born and his father is always away because he is a naval officer in Her Majesty’s Navy) and a learner (learned how to speak Chinese and karate, he is the youngest to hold a black belt plus several other belts as well).

Jason has grown up in Hong Kong which lead him to wanting to learn to speak Chinese and to learn karate. In Hong Kong he developed his skill to the much surprise of many people who said he would never get his black belt because he was too young but he proved them all wrong.

When his father comes home from the Navy he informs Jason that they will be moving to London. This is something Jason isn’t all the keen on but quickly makes the most of it and wants to join the Sea Cadets even if it means lying about his age. In sea cadets he impresses his instructors with his skill and knowledge.

For summer vacation Jason will be spending it with Sea Cadets and doing some training with his regiment and several others from the UK although what seems like a harmless training quickly turns into a life and death situation. Will Jason be able to get out alive? Will what he’s learned be able to help him and others survive? Curious to know what its all about? Then go and pick up the book.

I think this would be a great book for a reluctant male reader because there is enough going in action to hold there attention plus its a quick read and not alot of pages.

What you might not know is that Fledgling, Jason Steel was actually self published in 2008 and it developed a huge following that Sourcebooks decided to take over and reprint the book.

Book two is called Boudica, Jason Steed and there is no release date as of yet and a book three is in the works.

Here is what Boudica, Jason Steed is about:
Triad Oath: If any of my sworn brothers are killed or arrested, I shall seek revenge.

If I do not do so I will be killed by myriads of swords.

Boudica; the Dragon Leader of the shadowy criminal organization known as

the Triads, has her evil plan exposed by Scotland Yard Undercover Intelligence

Unit. When she finds out it was with the help of Jason Steed who she had

once trusted. Jason finds himself in the cross hairs of an unforgiving blood

thirsty predator with harrowing consequences.

You can check out Mark A Cooper‘s website by clicking on his name. There is alot of great info to go along with the book on there.

copyright 2010, Cindy (Cindy’s Love Of Books)
If you are reading this on a blog or website other than Cindy’s Love Of Books or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.

(Review) The Aristobrats

It’s all about the Attitude

Parker Bell knows the secret to beauty is pretty simple–wearing the right clothes isn’t as important as how you feel in them. Popularity is like that too. It’s all about attitude. You have to picture who you want to be and then just imagine that’s who you already are.

This year Parker and her three best friends have made their way to the top of the populadder at Wallingford Academy. And they’re ready to use their Aristobrat status to help spread positive vibes throughout the school. But when the girls are assigned to produce the seriously lame school webcast, their popularity plummets! Will this tragedy destroy the girls’ status? Or their friendship? Or both?

TITLE: The Aristobrats
AUTHOR: Jennifer Solow
PUB DATE: September 2010
PAGES: 224
PUBLISHER: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
SOURCE: ARC was picked up when I went on a tour of Sourcebooks. Thanks Kay.

One of the best things about blogging in my opinion is getting the chance to read an author that you might not normally read or heard about. This is the case with Jennifer Solow, I have never heard of this author before getting the chance to read The Aristobrats. She actually has another book out called THE BOOSTER and it came out in 2006 in hardcover and then 2007 in paperback.

THE ARISTOBRATS is her first middle grade book. All I have to say is that this is a fantastic middle grade book and a must read.

I am no where near being a middle grader but that didn’t stop me from enjoying this book because Parker and her three best friends (Kiki, Plum, and Ikea) are going through what I went through and that was to be accepted. Although in their case they are aiming to be popular.

Parker is entering the 8th grade and she says this will be the best year ever because she will get her dream guy (Tribb), she will climb to the top of the populadder, and in what I call ruling the school. Do you remember saying that? I sadly do remember saying that when I was in elementary school but that changed once I hit junior high school.

Things start out okay but we all know that even though it looks great it will quickly turn for the worse and thats what happened in a blink of an eye its gone and the girls are fighting to gain in back. The girls are forced to produced the school’s lame webcast show and for Parker she might be forced to leave the private school, Wallingford Academy because her mother might not be able to afford the tuition.

Will the girls be able to turn the lame school webcast (with no viewers) into something special that will leave the school talking or will it ruin the girls friendships?

I love it when I can relate to something in the book and there was one part that I could relate to and that was when Tribb is talking to Parker near the end of the book about them being friends only. You can tell Parker is a little hurt (heart broken) by this and who wouldn’t be and if I could tell Parker one thing from my perspective is that he might have hurt you but 20 some years later you could end up with a great friend.

I love the cover of the book because its a cover that actually goes with the book (something we rarely see) such as the school crest, the friendship rings and the picture of the girls.

I am curious if this will become a series. I hope it does as I would love to see what happens to Parker.

If you are curious about Jennifer Solow then check out her blog.

Thanks again to Kay at Sourcebooks for providing me with this book to read and review.

copyright 2010, Cindy (Cindy’s Love Of Books)
If you are reading this on a blog or website other than Cindy’s Love Of Books or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.

School of Possibilites Review

TITLE: School of Possibilities
AUTHOR: Seth Parkkola
PUB DATE: June 2010
PUBLISHER: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
PAGES: 368
GENRE: Juvenile Fiction/Middle Grade

Storm Steele is an impossible child.

Or so his parents believe thanks to the influence of his evil “step-monster.” Now Storm is being forced to attend the School of Possibilities for troubled youth. But Storm notices that something strange is going on at his new school. The students are not…normal.

Soon he’s being spied on, followed by classmates—and worst of all, forced to accept the headmaster’s perfectly behaved daughter as his girlfriend. He can feel himself becoming more obedient, more like his classmates. Storm tries to resist, but he doesn’t understand how or why the school is controlling him.

Can Storm escape—or will he be turned into a zombie of “good” behavior like everyone else around him?

I want to send out a huge thank you to Kay at Sourcebooks Jabberwocky for sending me an advance readers copy of the School of Possibilities.

I have to let you know that I did enjoy reading this book and really got into it near the end where I was having a hard time to put it down because I had to know what happened.

The book is told in the first person, Storm and he is your typical 12 year old boy. What gets him into trouble is the fact that he hopped on a train going no where really and gets caught. He has done this a few times.

His parents aren’t together anymore and his dad is with his new girlfriend Verity. She has a daughter, Mona. Verity works at the School of Possibilities and offers to get Storm into the school as his last chance to change his life around because in her words he is labelled as an impossible child.

As I was reading this I kept thinking that this is like the movie The Stepford Wives. How everything has to be perfect and everyone is like zombies and you basically sell your soul to the devil and obey every rule and be like everyone except yourself.

When Storm enters the school he is told that he must give up his favorite past time which is skate boarding and find a new hobby and get new friends because basically what he has now just is working for him as the headmaster says.

He quickly realizes that this isn’t an ordinary school. The adults are in charge and all the students are like zombies with no real thoughts of their own. They are told how to behave and if you don’t you have consequences and are disciplined with some rather odd methods such as they use the model of the hangman game for every wrong behavior you get a mark.

Of course it seems like the odds are stacked against Storm and it makes you feel as though they are setting him up to fail instead of helping him. He receives his first punishment and that is a girlfriend and she just happens to be the headmaster’s daughter, Bridgette.

As you are reading this you can’t help but want to root for Storm and see him succeed. The only question is can Storm escape before its too late?

copyright 2010, Cindy (Cindy’s Love Of Books)
If you are reading this on a blog or website other than Cindy’s Love Of Books or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.

The Pony Whisperer: The Word On The Yard Review

TITLE: The Pony Whisperer Book 1 The Word On The Yard
AUTHOR: Janet Rising
PUB DATE: June 2010
PUBLISHER: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
PAGES: 199

Pia has always told her pony everything…but now he’s talking back!

It’s hard being the new girl in town—new school, new stable, new rivalries. It seems Pia’s only friend is her pony, Drummer. But horses can’t talk…can they?

Suddenly, all the horses are talking—to Pia! Now she can understand Drummer, and does he have a lot to say! Who knew this sweet-looking horse would have such an attitude. When news of Pia’s pony-whispering power spreads, her popularity grows and she finally feels like she belongs…that’s when everything starts to go wrong.

*Please note that book cover and about the book were taken from the Sourcebooks site.*

This was orginally published in 2009 in the UK but Sourcebooks has bought the US rights to the book. Its a smash hit in the UK.

I want to thank Heather from Sourcebooks for sending me The Pony Whisperer: The Word on the Yard to read and review. This is such a cute and fun book to read. The perfect book for middle grade girls and/or girls who love pony/horses.

Pia and her pony, Drummer have had to move because her parents got divorced. She moved with her mom. So everyone is starting new. Of course when you move somewhere new its always hard to fit in. Pia is having a hard time adjusting to a new place and before long it seems like Pia is quickly made an enemy out of Cat who thinks she is all that. Can Pia and Cat get along?

When Pia takes Drummer for a ride, he is excited to be out and about that it seems like he has thrown her off him. She lands to the ground. Getting up she notices this strange stone and picks it up. This little statue is going to change Pia’s life.

While holding it she hears a voice, she looks around but sees no one but Drummer. She quickly realizes its Drummer speaking. Is that even possible? Word gets out and before Pia realizes it she is popular and in demand.

With her new popularity and power “Pony Whisperer” she gets invited to do a tv show. With all the excitement she forgets her statue and wonders if her gig is up? Thankfully James comes to her rescue but will he spill the beans?

I was pleasantly surprised while I was reading this because Michael saw me reading it and he asked me about the book and I was telling him what it was about and he said he would like to read it. (have it read to him)

Anyways the next book in the series is called Pony Whisperer: Team Challenge and Sourcebooks will be publishing this book very soon. I am not sure when but as soon as I find out I will share it with you.

Thanks again Heather for sending this book to me.

copyright 2010, Cindy (Cindy’s Love Of Books)
If you are reading this on a blog or website other than Cindy’s Love Of Books or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.

Hailey Twitch is not a Snitch Review

TITLE: Hailey Twitch is not a Snitch
AUTHOR: Lauren Barnholdt
ILLUSTRATOR: Suzanne Beaky
PUB DATE: May 2010
PUBLISHER: Sourcebooks/Jabberwacky
PAGES: 160

Seven-year-old Hailey Twitch knows three things for sure: who she’s the boss of, how to throw a tantrum, and above all, how to get exactly what she wants. But all that changes when Hailey gets paired up with annoying Addie Jokobeck on the class project. No matter what Hailey does, she can’t seem to change her teacher’s mind.

At home, a cranky Hailey is feeling sorry for herself when – poof! — Maybelle, a magic sprite, comes flying out of Hailey’s dollhouse. Maybelle’s on probation with the Department of Magic, and on a special mission to get Hailey to have fun.

The only problem? The invisible Maybelle starts causing a lot of trouble, and when Hailey’s teacher wants to know who’s to blame, Hailey takes responsibility. After all, Hailey Twitch is not a snitch! Now if only Hailey can convince the Department of Magic that Maybelle has reformed.

Please note that the book cover and about the book was taken from the press release I was sent.


I have to send a huge thank you to Carrie from Sourcebooks for contacting me about this book and for sending it to me to read and review.

I am really happy to tell you that Hailey Twitch is not a Snitch is being released today. If you have a child who loves chapter books then I highly recommend this. Amazon has it rated for children 4-8. Not sure if that is the right age group since its a long book.

I heard about Lauren Barnholdt last year and I bought a few of her books. I ended up pushing them further down on my TBR pile because they were books I bought and figured I could read and review them later but after reading this one I am curious to read her so I am probably going to bring Two-Way Street with me to NY.

I have to say that I loved Hailey Twitch is not a snitch. Hailey is seven years old and in grade 2. One day in class, the teacher has a special project for the kids. They will be studying a place and they have to present a food from that area and dress in a custom. Its part of Diversity Week.

Hailey is really excited and is eyeing her potential partner Antonio but her bubble is quickly popped when the teacher says your partners will be the person you sit next too. Her partner is Addie and Hailey doesn’t really like her because she is boring and not fun. So Hailey goes home upset.

Alone in her room she wishes she was a princess so that she can buy her way out of being Addie’s partner. Suddenly something flies out of the doll castle. Hailey is shocked. She discovers she has a spirit and that only Hailey can see her. Her name is Maybelle. Maybelle wants to learn how to be fun.

Maybelle is trying to bond with Hailey will trying to impress the Department of Magic. Unfortunately it seems like Maybelle is causing more problems then expected as she is following the rules and trying to keep Hailey from doing bad things. Hailey is getting into trouble at school, at home and with Addie. Maybelle is trying to help Hailey but everything she does just doesn’t work. Hailey is your typical kid trying to push the buttons to see how far she can go.

I had to laugh when Hailey came up with the idea to make braces out of paper clips. They have paper clips, super glue and a wrench. Now we all know what super glues does. Needless to say the girls ditch the super glue idea and use denture cream instead. When Addie’s mother comes into the bathroom she almost dies. The girls have made a mess of the bathroom and ruined her towels. I could just picture this and funny enough Suzanne did a great job in illustrating this for me.

This book was a quick and fun read and I am dying to read the next book to find out what happens because Hailey Twitch is not a snitch ended like this:

“No time for small talk,” he says. Then he pushes up his glasses and looks at me kind of seriously. “We need,” he says “to talk about Maybelle. And it is very important.” Yikes….

Is that not a cliff hanger? Hmm what is so important?

The next book in the series is called Hailey Twitch Saves the Play and the release date is November 2010.

You can check out Lauren’s site Here

copyright 2010, Cindy (Cindy’s Love Of Books)
If you are reading this on a blog or website other than Cindy’s Love Of Books or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.