Sunday, October 27, 2013


Cherry is happy with her life.  She is proud of her work at Burrito Barn because she rolls the perfect burrito every time.  School is not really Cherry's thing, but she is getting through it and plans to graduate even if she isn't planning on continuing her education by going to college like her father wants.  Recently, her longtime boy friend proposed and she accepted.  She knows her life won't be exciting, but there's nothing wrong with predictable and secure.

All that secure predictability changes on the day that she saves the life of a famous movie star.  When Ardelia Deen begins choking on a piece of meat from her Burrito Barn burrito, Cherry leaps into action and performs the Heimlich maneuver saving the life of the star. 

The next thing Cherry knows she is being invited to crazy parties, meeting other movie stars, and being offered a job.  That job is to help select the lucky woman whose womb will carry the baby of Ardelia Deen.  For some reason Ardelia believes Cherry has a special talent as a kind of advisor like no one else surrounding the famous star.

Will Cherry's sudden catapult into the world of Hollywood change her simple down home nature?  Will the temptations of parties with unlimited supplies of drugs and alcohol and handsome, sexy actors make Cherry forget those who really matter?

Author John M. Cusick captures the world of the rich and famous to a tee.  Readers wanting glitz, glamour, and romance are sure to be attracted to this book.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

BANG by Lisa McMann

Jules is returning to school for the first time since she saved the day and the life of her boy friend Sawyer.  Her internal injuries are healing and her arm is still in a cast, but the visions that got her into the mess are thankfully gone.  Another positive is now that Sawyer knows how she feels about him, he has revealed he feels the same way about her.  It seems that all the drama is over. 

Although she may be grounded, she is able to be with Sawyer when they are at school, and with her brother Trey's help, she might be able to figure out other ways to be with the guy she now realizes she loves.  If she can avoid her crazy father and work hard in the family restaurant, she may be able to regain her parents' trust and life just might return to normal.

Normal doesn't last long when Sawyer admits to Jules that he is now experiencing a vision that involves several gunmen and a school shooting.  Why is Sawyer now having these frightening visions?  What could it mean and will Jules be able to help him?  When things start getting out of control, Jules and Sawyer accept Trey's help as they try to figure out exactly when and where this new tragedy will unfold.  They are determined to stop it or at least warn someone in time to lessen the destruction Sawyer sees predicted in his vision.

Author Lisa McMann continues her Visions series with BANG.  The action is immediate and intense just as readers have come to expect from McMann.  This fast-paced read won't disappoint.

Friday, October 18, 2013


According to Ezra Faulkner, everyone will experience a tragedy that will forever shape the rest of their lives.  In other words, an event that will be "the beginning of everything."

In the first few pages he tells of the tragedy that shaped the young life of his childhood best friend Toby.  Although, their friendship lost some of its closeness after the event, Ezra still admired his friend's ability to carry on after the horrific incident.

Ezra, an excellent tennis player and ok student, about to wrap up his junior year by taking his hot girl friend to the prom, almost loses everything when he is severely injured in an accident with a hit-and-run driver.  Now permanently sidelined from tennis, he is walking with a cane and trying to pick up the pieces of his life. 

Surprising things begin to happen when Ezra meets Cassidy.  She is different than the other girls in his circle of friends, but since those folks have pretty much abandoned him, he decides it's time for a change.  He begins hanging out with his old friend Toby again as well as this new girl Cassidy and their fellow members of the debate team.  Will these people turn things around for Ezra or will his world be turned upside down just when he thinks he has started living again?

THE BEGINNING OF EVERYTHING by Robyn Schneider is a must read.  Both guys and girls can relate to Ezra and his determination to put his life back together again.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

FALLOUT by Todd Strasser

Todd Strasser takes readers back to mid-1962 to experience the tension and fear created by the Cuban Missile Crisis and the impending threat of nuclear attack.  Although, the Cold War never became an actual war and no missiles were fired, many bomb shelters were constructed in private homes across the country.  Strasser's own family had such a shelter, and during the early 1960's he grew up in fear of what would happen if there was an attack.

Scott Porter's father built the neighborhood's only bomb shelter.  It wasn't a secret, and in fact, made Scott and his little brother Sparky the butt of some ugly jokes. 

When they weren't busy with school and homework, Scott and his friends played ball, watched Rocky and Bullwinkle, and snuck into the Lewandowski's garage to steal frozen cheese cake.   If they took the time to pay attention to the news and the adult world, they heard talk of President Kennedy and an evil Russian leader threatening the safety of the United States.  Some of Scott's friends dismissed the talk as boring and unimportant, but Scott paid attention and spent sleepless nights worrying about the terrifying possibility of war with Russia.

When the unthinkable happens and the sirens go off, Scott's father hustles them down the ladder and into the shelter.  Before he can secure the heavy metal hatch, the neighbors arrive and some of them are able to force their way into the dark, subterranean room.  The space meant for a family of four now had more than twice that number trying to get comfortable for the two week stay until it was reportedly safe to return to the surface. 

What would happen when the food ran out, tempers flared, and living conditions deteriorated? 

FALLOUT focuses on a terrible time in our history that today's teens know very little about.  Snippets of information in history class can't compare to the first hand experience Strasser brings to this story.  It's definitely one you won't want to miss.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

A REALLY AWESOME MESS by Trish Cook and Brendan Halpin

I'll be completely honest - I totally judged this book by the cover.  Love it!  How could you pass this one up?  And, what's inside the cover didn't disappoint.

Justin and Emmy meet at Heartland Academy.  It's not exactly what they had planned for the summer, but their less than positive attitudes and behaviors resulted in their respective families packing them up and shipping them out.

Justin downed a handful of Tylenol in what he called a "cry for help."  That cry was misunderstood, and when it was topped off by his father walking in on a mind-blowing sexual experience between Justin and an attractive young girl, Justin found himself with a one-way ticket to Heartland. 

Emmy's temper and frustration with a failed relationship cause her to make some colorful comments on Facebook that land her at Heartland.  She ends up in therapy for anorexia and her conflicted feelings about having been adopted from China.  Although she desperately misses her sister, she refuses to acknowledge the issues she has with her adoptive parents.

Along with a colorful cast of characters, Justin and Emmy are adjusting to the mandatory therapy sessions and restricted activities of Heartland (jokingly referred to as Assland) Academy.  By putting their heads together, they manage to plan a crazy caper than involves a road trip, the state fair, and a barn full of prize-winning hogs. 

Authors Trish Cook and Brendan Halpin create a story about troubled teens that lives up to the cover blurb, "Living takes a lot more guts than giving up."  Don't miss this one!