Thursday, 6 February 2014

Review #14 - Sweet Valley High #14 - Deceptions by Francine Pascal

Whose gonna drive you home, tonight ?,

In an unexpected change of personality from Elizabeth, she willing embarks on a forbidden endeavour with the seductive Nicholas Morrow when she agrees to go on a date (she sees this as act of kindness, I see it as the sign of a break-up with Todd) to the most expensive restaurant in Sweet Valley the following Sunday. 

She figures that she'll be okay because it's Todd's mothers birthday that day so he won't want to hang out with her. She decides not to tell anyone about the date except Enid as a confidant and advice giver.

Jessica, unaware of this misdeed,  decides that taking computer lessons from Sweet Valley's resident expert (surprisingly not Winston :o, but a never previously mentioned randomer Randy)will lure Nicholas to her (his family owns a colossal computer cooperation).

She takes the lessons too far when she gets him to hack into the schools database in order to change her grades. They both end up getting caught but fortunately Liz's persuasion powers prevent them from being punished.

Elizabeth goes on her date with Nicholas (they both decide that they should just be friends which is the only reason Liz went in the first place) and Todd's at the restaurant to celebrate his mother's birthday. 

Panicking, she pretends to be Jessica and he believes her until he goes to her house to apologise to
her for mistaking Liz as Jess at the restaurant, Jess reveals she never left the house that evening.

Todd and Jess are both unsurprisingly furious but Jess decides that any boy who prefers Liz to her is unworthy of her attention anyway.

Todd, however, hasn't forgiven her that easily and the silence between them is lethal when Elizabeth is asked to review his teams championship basketball game. Todd plays badly because his mind is on Liz, not the game.

Nicholas, saviour to the masses, explains to Todd at half time that it was his fault Liz betrayed Todd because of his pressurising.With this revelation boosting his confidence Todd wins the championship.

Liz  is on a sorrowful walk home refusing to go to the celebratory party for fear of seeing Todd when Todd finds her, of course,  and they have a passionate make up kiss.

But it's practically law that Sweet Valley has to end on heart-stopping cliff-hanger and this one was definitely one to beat them all. The twins are at the party when they get a phone call from their parents who explain that Tricia, Steven's girlfriend who has leukaemia, is in intensive care and she could die at any minute!

This ending hit me like a ton of bricks - "Not Tricia.How will Steven survive ? Who will Jessica bitch about now ?" was all I could say for 5 minutes afterwards. I think I'll cry if she dies.

The side story was hilarious and the main story was excellent for this month  but I'm waiting for a Sweet Valley book where Jessica's the star - it's been all about Liz lately and I bet Jess is not best pleased.

Can't wait (yet am also dreading because of the death aspect) for #15 !

Verdict : 5 stars !

Babysitter's little sister review next time,

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Review #13 - Sweet Dreams #68 - Lovebirds by Janet Quin-Harkin

Down Under,

Failed to surpass the previous two (and only two I've read) Sweet Dreams books, but still heart-warming and definitely a perfect choice for Valentine's month.

The plot of all the Sweet Dreams books are so original : Tiffany is an unintentional prejudice brat from New York but must join her father on his filming trip to Australia for a safari documentary while her Mother goes on her honeymoon. 

On the trip, she meets a millionaire's son, Bruce Dawson, and soon falls for him and his love for protecting the environment. The love is requited.

 Tiff goes through a complete attitude change after saving koalas in a forest fire (literally couldn't make this stuff up) and having to fight for survival in the wilderness.

There's  just one thing separating Tiff and Bruce's love - he lives in Australia, she in New York. When Bruce discovers that he's been accepted to UCLA, Tiffany decides to move into her fathers house as she can't deal with her mothers attitude, the same attitude as she used to have. This end was definitely the sweetest part.

That little subheading I used is particularly fitting as Tiff refers to Men at Work as one of the only things she knows are from Australia in the beginning.Simply couldn't resist.

I particularly enjoyed the setting of this book, it has me convinced that I need to travel to Australia. I also adored the monumental character development of Tiffany which you don't often get in 80's and 90's YA.

Need to read more of these this month.

Verdict : 5 Stars !

Sweet Sweet Valley is my next subject matter,

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Review #12 - The Babysitters Club #42 - Jessi and the Dance School Phantom by Ann M. Martin

When We Dance,

February has begun. Therefore,in the theme of the season, I shall be reading and reviewing as many books as I can with a romance theme. It'll be mainly general romance books but there will be some Nancy Drew mysteries and horror books with a romance theme as well.

Here's the first book that I finished this month :

Proving yet again mysteries reign supreme, this is the second book I've read from Jessi's perspective (the other being the rather uneventful book #75 - Jessi's horrible prank) and I can already make the judgement that she's my second least favourite BSC member because her personality is rather boring.

In this one, Jessi receives threats after being cast as the lead in her dance schools latest production and she,with help from the rest of the club, must use her powers of deduction to discover who the saboteur is. 

Meanwhile, The club are gearing up for the Pet Show (another of Kristy's great ideas, no suprise there) in which their charges will showcase the best attributes of their animals in order to win prizes. There's dispute on who shall win and which sibling gets to enter each pet but in the end all the kids get prizes. 

The main thing I enjoyed about it was that there was a heavy focus on ballet and it had me wishing I had done it - not to receive death threats though. 

The side story was the weakest of all the books that I've read so far but it was still fun.

Another disappointing thing was that there weren't many babysitting anecdotes although there were many Nancy Drew references which I much appreciated.

Verdict : 5 Stars !

Next we have a Sweet Dreams Review,

Monday, 3 February 2014

Review #11 - Dear Bruce Springsteen by Kevin Major and Michael J Fox Rant

Baby we were Born to Run,

I apologise for not posting in a while - too busy gushing over my new Walkman (aka my one true love) and Teen Wolf (Belting out 'Win in the end' and desiring to go surfing).

Speaking of Michael J. Fox, Back to the Future is in great danger of being destroyed by the idea of it being turned into a musical. I should probably explain that, in my opinion,  Back to the Future is one of the best films (possibly THE best trilogy) of all time. Seriously if you haven't seen it drop everything and watch it NOW !

Therefore I almost screamed in terror when I found out  - nobody else can play Marty and Doc and nothing else can re-create the greatness of one of the best films ever.We need to create time travel so this abomination of an idea can be erased.

Anyway, onto happier thoughts :
The only reason I originally picked this up was because of the title (I'm a huge Bruce fan in case you didn't already know) it was an added bonus that the plot line was also pretty appealing and that it just so happened to be YA from the 80's. I squealed even more when I realised it was entirely written in letter format - which is one of the best formats I think. 

What I ended up with was a surprise... But certainly a pleasant one at that. It had depth, raw emotions and I felt as if I had an interpersonal relationship with Terry. 

The easiest way to describe the plot would be that it seems unintentionally to follow the same theme pattern as Bruce's albums :
We begin with Greetings from Ashbury Park - Terry's naive and only just beginning to grow up(like Bruce was when he made the album). He still thinks his parents will stay together.

Then we move onto The Wild, The Innocent and The E.Street Shuffle - Sadness mixed with Happiness (like the album) Terry's parents are separated but he's made a new friend who shares his musical dreams - Terry wants to be a Rockstar.

Born to Run - Bruce and Terry's breakthrough. Terry purchases a secondhand electric guitar and amplifier - his first step in the door in music.

Darkness on the edge of town, The River and Nebraska - All sad albums ( well The River not as much as the other two). Terry attempts to date but his first relationship falls through and saddest of all he sees the harsh reality of how his Dads been living after the divorce (he moved to a different city). This part was very emotional as I was almost in tears at the part where his Dad comes after him in the bus station.

Born in the U.S.A - None of the other albums had been released when this book was written so this is the album the book ends on. The end and by far the happiest (and best) part of the book, the same words can be used to describe that album in my opinion.

Terry hosts a charity concert and headlines with 'Dancing in the Dark' and drags his new crush on stage. It turns out the love is requited and she's a Bruce fan too so she has my vote. Terry also accepts his stepfather and has a proper relationship with his father. He stops writing the letters because he no longer needs to escape life.

I'd definitely recommend this to Bruce fans as it's basically a homage to him and is packed with references yet it also has a lot of depth to it too.

Verdict : 4 Stars !

Babysitters Club review on it's way,

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Review #10 - Saturday Night series by Caroline B. Cooney

Dancing in the Dark,

A series that focuses on four dances that five very different girls attend.

The plot is basically this for each of the girls in each book:

The schools golden girl who suddenly finds herself pregnant in book one. 

She recovers from this by the second book and nothing exciting really happens to her until the fourth book when she gets a job travelling round the world with an author

Unfortunately, in every single book of the series, Anne's main story is repetitive - she breaks up then gets back together with boyfriend and father of her child, Con, which shows weakness in character development as well as plot.

Bossy and commanding Kip is the organiser of the dances and often the saviour of them as well - she put out a forest fire in book two and resolved petty crime in book one. 

Kip meets Mike (utter annoyance) at the end of book one and finds herself torn between him and a waiter named Lee in book two, who she ends up with.

However, book 4, Kip is boyfriendless in the end but has a promising future in New York at college.

Beth Rose 
Previously a wallflower, Beth is transformed by Gary's love in book one when he pity's the fact that she's dateless. 

In book three, she has a brief romance with one of Kip's younger brothers but in book four she meets photographer Jere who she ends up with.

Not part of the same group as the other girls, Molly actually does everything to destroy them.

In book one, she invites a drunk college guy to the dance. Next , in book two, she starts the
aforementioned forest fire and tries to drive Con and Anne apart.Book three, she attempts to get the girls arrested for false drug possession. 

Finally, in book four, her attitude is changed dramatically when she falls for Blaze who she ends up with.

I saved the best for last, Emily definitely has the best plot by far.

Making a dramatic entrance in book one, Emily barely makes it to the dance when her and her date the sweet, dashing Matt get caught in a storm with dangerous electrical wires surrounding them as they try to save a dying man after crashing their car.

In book two, Emily is kicked out of her house and almost attacked by Molly's date from book one.

The most romantic yet, in book three Matt proposes to Emily and book four follows her denial about the proposal when Matt gets an overseas job. She and Matt fortunately get a happy ending.

Overall Opinion

On the whole, this series probably should've stopped at book one with a passage at the end about the futures of the girls as the characters plots don't really develop.

Verdict : 3 Stars !

Dear Bruce Springsteen review tomorrow maybe,

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Review #9 - Sweet Valley High #13 - Kidnapped ! by Francine Pascal

I always feel like, Somebody's watching me,

Although it failed to triumph the greatness of the previous book in the series (see my review) it was still one of the best Sweet Valley High books because of it's stellar ingredients : drama, far-fetched plot, a crazed stalker on the loose and Jessica's seductive flirting - which just about puts her on the same wave length in craziness and danger as the stalker.

The plot continues directly from the previous book : 
Elizabeth has been kidnapped by a mental orderly, Creepy Carl, at the hospital where she's working as a candy striper. 

Unaware of these events, Jessica leaves for the rich,new and attractive Morrow's party where she meets Regina. She's the only Sweet Valley High character I know with a disability (she's deaf) and the star of a similar Sweet Valley High book #26 - Hostage which is just as good.

There's also Nicholas, her brother whose in college who Jessica has her sights set on - don't get your hopes up a Jessica, have you read the plot of the next book ? 

After days in darkness and days of Jessica crying, Elizabeth is saved due to a slip up at the hospital where Carl mistook Jessica for Elizabeth - yet more proof why being a twin is better.

The novel ends with Elizabeth meeting Nicholas who gazes at her adoringly upon sight and Liz knows she's in for trouble.

Basically, it was like a slightly inferior version of my favourite Sweet Valley book - Sweet Valley High #7 - Dear Sister.

Another thing that made me love this book even more was that it's got me obsessed with the Sweet Valley High tv show because the three part episodes of this were absolutely amazing. 

They add in the additional story of Carl (or as he is known in TV show, Peter) escaping from prison after being arrested for kidnapping Liz and kidnaps Jess. Still not as good as the books though but equally satisfying.

Can't wait for #14 - Deceptions !

Verdict : 5 Stars !

Look forward to a series review soon of the Saturday Night series,

Monday, 27 January 2014

Review #8 - The Babysitters Club #40 - Claudia and the Middle School Mystery by Ann M. Martin

The only thing Claudia is guilty of is bad spelling,
No picture for this  because it's the collection cover.  I understand it's pretty unacceptable that this post is almost a week late. 

But at least it's here now :

I've decided that, even though I've only read two books from her perspective, Claudia is my second favourite babysitter and Mary Anne is my least favourite - hence me not reading any books from her and reading books from all the other  babysitters.

I absolutely adored the storyline of this one - Claudia is accused of cheating in Maths test off one of the best students in the class and must somehow prove her innocence therefore solving the mystery of    why the other girl cheated.

Here's the reason for hating Mary Anne in this one : she actually thinks Claud cheated and says so but when the other babysitters get angry at her she bursts into tears so they forgive - Slap not hug Claud !

The main reasons for my love for this were : there were lots of anecdotes about babysitting, mystery's always tend to be my favourites and Janine was in it a lot (she's my favourite non-babysitter).

Although it wasn't as good as possibly my favourite ever Babysitters club book and the only other Claudia book I've ever read (I plan to change that soon) The Babysitters Club #2 - Claudia and the phantom phone calls it was still excellent.

Verdict : 5 stars !

Sweet Valley review coming soon,