Book Review: C.Y.A.: Covert Youth Agency: The Case of Tangled Love

Title:  C.Y.A.: Covert Youth Agency: The Case of Tangled Love (Volume 1)
Author:  Jason Ancona
Series: Covert Youth Agency #1
ISBN:  145372463X
Publisher:  CreateSpace
Pub. Date: 2010
Source: From Author
Genre:  Young Adult/Mystery
Pages: 258
Rating:  3/5

From Goodreads:  An elite group of nerds fight injustices by running a clandestine operation in high school. The C.Y.A., a.k.a. Covert Youth Agency, hacked into the digital school sign and posted their message: – – – If ever you’re in need of help and you have nowhere else to go, seek out the C.Y.A. We’re always watching and we’re here for you – – – Peter “Pi” Samuels, a fourteen-year-old sophomore, runs the shadow operation. Pi’s obsessed with the high school band’s lead violinist, who’s as beautiful as the music she plays. When she contacts the C.Y.A. to find out if her boyfriend cheated on her at a party, Pi’s objective becomes clear. Prove that her beau was unfaithful. Then maybe Pi will be the perfect shoulder to cry on. Pi schemes to destroy his love’s boy-toy, all while avoiding a deranged coach bent on exposing an untraceable geek squad for hire. The Covert Youth Agency.

My Reveries and Ramblings:  Covert Youth Agency is a young adult novel about a group of young high school students who use their intelligence and individual talents to fight “crime” in school.  Peter or “Pi” is the leader of the C.Y.A. (Cover Youth Agency).  Tollhouse is the chubby yet hilarious field agent.  Lightman is the computer genius.  All three make up the C.Y.A.  In this particular case, Vera, Pi’s crush, doesn’t know whether or not her boyfriend cheated on her at a party.  She hires the C.Y.A. to find out.

This book reminded me so much of when I was younger.  I loved the pop culture references.  I really liked the songs mentioned throughout such as “You Belong With Me” by Taylor Swift-there is a whole scene kind of like the music video, which I consider one of my favorite scenes in the book.  Tollhouse reminded me of Chunk from The Goonies.  I could relate to each CYA member in a different way. For example, I felt for Pi because of his unrequited love and since he looked young for his age.  There were only two things I had a problem with: -1-a lot of clichés and -2- I really don’t think high school boys/guys would where Heely’s to school.  I wasn’t sure what to think of the clichés only because I thought in clichés when I was 13, 14, and 15.  The Heely’s shoes seemed more like elementary to middle school fashion-not so much high school.

Overall I really enjoyed this book.  It was an easy and fun read.  It brought me back to when I thought the world would end if the guy I liked didn’t like me back.  This book was like Agent Cody Banks meets Recess meets Codename Kids Next Door.  I hope you all enjoy this book.  The next book comes out on March 1, 2011.  I will definitely continue reading the series.  I give it 3/5.

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The Case of Tangled Love

Book Trailer:

Book Review: My Antonia by Willa Cather

Title: My Antonia
Author: Willa Cather
Series: Great Plains Trilogy #3
ISBN:  1583485090
Publisher: New Millennium Library
Pub. Date: 1918
Source: Paperback
Genre:  Classics, Historical Fiction, Realism
Pages:  232
Rating:  3/5

From Goodreads: It seems almost sacrilege to infringe upon a book as soulful and rich as Willa Cather’s My Antonia by offering comment. First, published in 1918, and set in Nebraska in the late 19th c., this tale of the spirited daughter of a Bohemian immigrant family planning to farm on the untamed land (“not a country at all but the material out of which countries are made”) comes to us through the romantic eyes of Jim Burden. He is , at the time of their meeting, newly orphaned and arriving at his grandparents’ neighboring farm on the same night her family strikes out to make good in their new country. jim chooses the opening words of his recollections deliberately: “I first heard of Antonia on what seemed to be an interminable journey across the great midland plain of North America,” and it seems almost certain that readers of Cather’s masterpiece will just as easily pinpoint the first time they heard of Antonia and her world. It seems equally certain that they, too, will remember that moment as one of great light in an otherwise unremarkable trip through the world.

Ántonia, who, even as a grown woman somewhat downtrodden by circumstance and hard work, “had not lost the fire of life,” lies at the center of almost every human condition that Cather’s novel effortlessly untangles. She represents immigrant struggles with a foreign land and tongue, the restraints on women of the time (with which Cather was very much concerned), the more general desires for love, family, and companionship, and the great capacity for forbearance that marked the earliest settlers on the frontier.

As if all this humanity weren’t enough, Cather paints her descriptions of the vastness of nature–the high, red grass, the road that “ran about like a wild thing,” the endless wind on the plains–with strokes so vivid as to make us feel in our bones that we’ve just come in from a walk on that very terrain ourselves. As the story progresses, Jim goes off to the University in Lincoln to study Latin (later moving on to Harvard and eventually staying put on the East Coast in another neat encompassing of a stage in America’s development) and learns Virgil’s phrase “Optima dies … prima fugit” that Cather uses as the novel’s epigraph. “The best days are the first to flee”–this could be said equally of childhood and the earliest hours of this country in which the open land, much like My Ántonia, was nothing short of a rhapsody in prairie sky blue. –Melanie Rehak

My Reveries and Ramblings:  My Antonia by Willa Cather is about the friendship between a boy, Jim, and an immigrant girl, Antonia.  Willa Cather’s novel deals with issues such as immigration, suicide, prejudice, and unrequited love.  My Antonia is a charming coming-of-age story set in the late 19th c.  The characters are realistically written.  The story is narrated by Jim and is a compilation of memories from his childhood and young adult life-mostly revolving around Antonia.

To be honest, I did not want to read this book-mostly because it is a realist work.  I’m not a huge fan of realism-I find it quite depressing.  I still wonder why I decided to take a class on American Literature that concentrated on Realist works. Since I had to read and write a paper on a realist work, I was dreading it.  But it truly surprised me.  I did not expect to like it at all.  I recommend you read this if you like classic American Literature.  Even if you don’t, it’s still a good read; and by far my favorite of all the books/short stories I had to read for that class.  I give it 3/5.

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My Ántonia

The following is a clip from the movie (and yes, that is Neil Patrick Harris as Jim)

From Book to Movie: I Am Number Four

I won’t be posting that much this week because it’s finals week.  However, I get to go home on Saturday (YAY!). So starting Sunday-ish, I’ll be reading like crazy!  I can’t wait for my sister to read the Fever series (all I’ve been talking about lately, apparently)-I’m bringing the books back for her.

So I haven’t read this book, but it’s one my TBR list.  I saw this trailer the other day and thought “I have to read this!”  It looks awesome. I Am Number Four comes out Feb. 18, 2011 Have you read the book?  What did you think?

A Post for Barrons

I finished Dreamfever the other night (review will probably be posted this week)-WHAT AN AMAZING BOOK! I can’t get Jericho Barrons out of my head for a minute (and I wouldn’t want to)So OF COURSE I went online and googled him (the stalker of fictional characters that I am) and I found this which made my night SOOOO much better. On Karen Marie Moning’s website she has an interview with the actor/character that was the inspiration for JZB– Eric Etebari from TNT’s Witchblade.  This interview is sooo good and there is even an uncensored interview with him (which is EVEN better) Click here to read the interview OR click here for the unscensored interview.

And then of course, there’s this:

Book Review: Nightshade by Andrea Cremer

Title: Nightshade
Author:  Andrea Cremer
Series: Nightshade #1
ISBN: 039925482X
Publisher:  Philomel
Pub. Date: 2010
Source: Hardcover
Genre: Paranormal, Romance, Young Adult, Fantasy
Pages:  454
Rating:  3/5

From Goodreads:  Calla Tor has always known her destiny: After graduating from the Mountain School, she’ll be the mate of sexy alpha wolf Ren Laroche and fight with him, side by side, ruling their pack and guarding sacred sites for the Keepers. But when she violates her masters’ laws by saving a beautiful human boy out for a hike, Calla begins to question her fate, her existence, and the very essence of the world she has known. By following her heart, she might lose everything— including her own life. Is forbidden love worth the ultimate sacrifice?

My Reveries and Ramblings: Calla, an alpha werewolf, is set to be mated (or married) to Ren, another alpha werewolf.  When patrolling the woods, Calla comes across Shay in the woods injured and threatened.  By saving his life, she could be sentenced to death.  She doesn’t think she will ever see him again.  When he shows up at school, Calla is asked by her future master to watch over him.  Their newfound friendship turns into love and Calla must not only choose between Ren and Shay but also between playing it safe or learn the truth.

Okay, so for starters-I love Ren.  He is attractive, an alpha, hot, nice, caring, hot, confident, hot, and oh, did I mention-hot?  As you can tell-I’m completely team Ren.  Now that I got that out of my system, I can continue.  Calla, the protagonist, is strong, both physically and mentally.  She’s not a push over.  She and her “pack” all attend Mountain High School with Ren and his “pack.”  Andrea Cremer puts an interesting spin on werewolves and the paranormal.  This isn’t your normal werewolf story (you know, all that full-moon-tortured-soul stuff).  This is a love story that forces the reader to feel torn and conflicted.  The characters are very realistic (besides the paranormal element) and layered.  Each one has realities that they are forced to face.  Because they serve their masters they do not have a choice in who they marry (although, they can make requests) or where they live.  Disobedience usually involves death.  The other option, though, is to suffer at the hands of a dark shade-like creature that reminded me a lot of the dementors from the Harry Potter series.  There were several suspenseful scenes; and of course there is a bit of a cliff hanger.

I read this book in one day (at the airport and on my flights).  When I finished it, I wasn’t really sure what to think.  I liked it and I didn’t like it.  I thought it was interesting and definitely creative.  I liked the world Cremer built.  However, I really didn’t like Shay.  I wouldn’t mind him being like the “best friend” but I just don’t like him.  Also, I didn’t trust him.  He kept pressuring Calla to do things that if discovered she could be punished/killed.   I decided about a day after I finished it that I liked it and that Shay was the reason why I felt odd about it. I give it 3/5.  I can’t wait until the sequel Wolfsbane comes out.

*If you read the book, highlight the area below, if not then I’m warning you that there are spoilers:

That last scene when Calla asked Ren to give her and Shay some time to get away really showed how much he loved her.  Then she just ripped his heart out (not literally).  That made me so mad.  Poor Ren.

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Nightshade (Nightshade, #1)

BB&R Book Playlist:


Book Trailer:

Like Dandelion Dust Trailer

After watching the trailer for the movie Like Dandelion Dust, I had to put the book on my TBR list.  It looks really good.  Here’s the synopsis of the book from Goodreads:

Jack and Molly Campbell can imagine no greater happiness than sharing their lives with their adopted son, Joey. Then, suddenly one day, their joy is dispersed like dandelion dust in the wind: A judge rules that four-year-old Joey must be returned to his biological father. As the Campbells desperately search for a solution, they begin to grapple with the moral core of life’s problems. A heart-wrenching, ultimately uplifting novel.

And here is the trailer for the movie which came out in September.  I will definitely be looking for this when it comes out on DVD.  Better stock up on my tissue boxes:

Book Review: Faefever by Karen Marie Moning

Title:  Faefever
Author:  Karen Marie Moning
Series:  Fever #3
ISBN:  0385341636
Publisher:  Delacorte Press
Pub. Date: 2008
Source: Paperback
Genre:  Paranormal/Romance/Mystery/Dark Fantasy
Pages:  327
Rating:  4/5

From Goodreads:  He calls me his Queen of the Night. I’d die for him. I’d kill for him, too. 

When MacKayla Lane receives a torn page from her dead sister’s journal, she is stunned by Alina’s desperate words. And now MacKayla knows that her sister’s killer is close. But evil is closer. And suddenly the sidhe-seer is on the hunt: For answers. For revenge. And for an ancient book of dark magic so evil, it corrupts anyone who touches it. Mac’s quest for the Sinsar Dubh takes her into the mean, shape-shifting streets of Dublin, with a suspicious cop on her tail. Forced into a dangerous triangle of alliance with V’lane, an insatiable Fae prince of lethally erotic tastes, and Jericho Barrons, a man of primal desires and untold secrets, Mac is soon locked in a battle for her body, mind, and soul.

My Ramblings and Reveries: After Mac’s encounter with the Lord Master, she decides to learn how to defend herself against Voice (what the Lord Master uses to control people).  Barrons, in all his mysteriousness, agrees to help her.  Although his help is more like bullying but I guess “pot-A-to, pot-Ah-to.”  On top of that, Mac also has to deal with the other sidhe-seers attacking her, the rivalry between Vlane and Barrons, and the murders caused by the Sinsar Dubh.

Grrrr! I want to know what Barrons is- the mystery deepens in this installment.  Mac learns more about Barrons and his past, but it only raises more questions that he is unwilling to answer.  Mac also starts spending more time with Vlane, much to Barrons dismay.  During one of their meetings, Vlane tells Mac about the Lord Master (his history).  Almost every time Mac is with Vlane, Barrons appears with no warning whatsoever.  Then he storms off upset about something (hmm, I wonder).

This book was soooooo good.  And the end- what a cliffhanger! But I guess I should have seen it coming since the previous Fever books have had cliffhangers.  This one, though, was especially brutal.  What I disliked: I found some of the scenes with the other sidhe-seers annoying.  Personally, they seem to be completely unhelpful to Mac and her quest.  I don’t trust them.  This isn’t my favorite of the Fever books but I still love it.  I give it 4 Kisses 🙂

AND now for those of you who read the book, highlight the area below (Warning: spoilers):

AHHH! I don’t know what to think anymore.  I thought I was completely team Barrons but then he practically abuses Mac during the Voice lessons.  What’s with that?  Every time he did that I became sooooo angry with him and was shocked!  I thought he liked her (not showing it but deep down in side).  And then Vlane comes in and is helpful, sexy, and patient with Mac and doesn’t force her to do anything.  It’s just so frustrating.  (at least I own Dreamfever now so as soon as break starts-2 weeks, I can read it!)  That ending!!!!!!!!  This is what was running through my head at the very very end:  “WHAT?!?!?!? NOOOOO!  NO NO NO NO NO !! Where’s Barrons? Where’s Vlane?”

It was almost too much- in terms cliffhanger endings.

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Faefever (Fever, #3)

A really good music video (Barrons in this video is how I pictured him):