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I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill YouI’D TELL YOU I LOVE YOU BUT THEN I’LL HAVE TO KILL YOU by Ally Carter Book Review
Series: Gallagher Girls, #1
Publication Date: April 25th 2006 by Hyperion
Rating: – Acceptable |

Book Summary: Cammie Morgan is a student at the Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women, a fairly typical all-girls school-that is, if every school taught advanced martial arts in PE and the latest in chemical warfare in science, and students received extra credit for breaking CIA codes in computer class. The Gallagher Academy might claim to be a school for geniuses but it’s really a school for spies. Even though Cammie is fluent in fourteen languages and capable of killing a man in seven different ways, she has no idea what to do when she meets an ordinary boy who thinks she’s an ordinary girl. Sure, she can tap his phone, hack into his computer, or track him through town with the skill of a real “pavement artist”-but can she maneuver a relationship with someone who can never know the truth about her?

Cammie Morgan may be an elite spy-in-training, but in her sophomore year, she’s on her most dangerous mission-falling in love.

I’d Tell You I Love You But Then I’d Have to Kill You Book Review Overview:

  • Love the concept but the plot was a little lacking; the book is definitely a lot more development than anything else
  • I love the family dynamics and I can’t wait to read more between Cammie and her mom
  • Will definitely check out the rest of the series because there’s nothing better than teenage spies!

So, I’D TELL YOU I LOVE YOU, BUT THEN I’D HAVE TO KILL YOU by Ally Carter is basically the contemporary version of my much-loved Agency series by Y.S. Lee (in case you don’t know about the books: Victorian girl spies… yep!). It is also one of those books that I’ve known about for years but never picked up. Cammie Morgan is a student at the Gallagher Academy. Despite the deceiving facade, the Gallagher Academy is not your ordinary boarding school; it is an academy where the brightest girls are training to be spies. They are experts in just about everything: foreign languages, hand-to-hand combat, weapons… but when it comes to boys, these girls are absolutely clueless.

I’D TELL YOU I LOVE YOU by Ally Carter is such a quick and easy read and I enjoyed every moment of it. I really loved the set up of the characters so I didn’t mind much that the plot was a bit lacking. Nothing really happened. The tension in the novel came more from Cammie sneaking around trying to see Josh, rather than the romance itself. Because no one knows what the Gallagher Academy really is, the school has a reputation of being a school for rich, snobby girls. So on top of the fact that Cammie cannot tell Josh that she is a spy-in-training, she also cannot tell him that she goes to the Gallagher Academy because she doesn’t want him to think she is stuck up. It was fun to read about Cammie’s dual lives – especially because I knew the duplicity couldn’t last for long.

Cammie was such an easy character to relate to that I had no problems getting into the story. I easily related to her boy woes and her constant overanalyzing of anything that had to do with Josh. I was able to put myself into Cammie’s shoes which made I’D TELL YOU I LOVE YOU by Ally Carter a lot more enjoyable to read.

One of the highlights of I’D TELL YOU I LOVE YOU, BUT THEN I’D HAVE TO KILL YOU by Ally Carter is the interpersonal relationships between the girls. I loved how close she was to her best friends, Bex and Liz – especially because she doesn’t have any siblings. Furthermore, I love the development of the friendship between Macey and the other girls. Despite their differences, they were able to forge a friendship. I also loved reading about Cammie and her mother. They have a strange relationship due to the fact that her mother is the headmistress of the school, but I think it’s quite obvious that they both want to be closer to one another. I can’t wait to see how this mother/daughter relationship develops in the future books. All in all, Carter has written a fantastic book with strong, female bonds in I’D TELL YOU I LOVE YOU, BUT THEN I’D HAVE TO KILL YOU.

Overall, I enjoyed Ally Carter’s I’D TELL YOU I LOVE YOU, BUT THEN I’D HAVE TO KILL YOU. I wish the plot had a bit more substance, but hopefully the next few books in the series will make up for that. I enjoyed getting to know Cammie, Bex, Macey, Liz, and Josh and I can’t wait to read more about them in the rest of the Gallagher Girls series.

Other Book Reviews:
Girls Just Reading
Have You Read This One?
Portrait of a Book

About the Author

Ally CarterAlly Carter is a writer living and working in the Midwest. She loved school so much she kept going…and going…and going…until finally she had to graduate. Now she has degrees from Oklahoma State University and Cornell University and a house and a job and other very grown-up things.

Her life is either very ordinary or the best deep-cover legend ever. She’d tell you more, but…well…you know…

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Permalink Permalink Category Book Review, Three Stars - , , , , , , | Words 1323 words

You are here: Home » Hahaha Funny

THE SHADOWS by Jacqueline West
Series: Books of Elsewhere, #1
Publication Date: June 15th 2010 by Dial Books for Young Readers
Rating: |

Summary: Old Ms. McMartin is definitely dead. Now her crumbling Victorian mansion lies vacant. When eleven-year-old Olive and her dippy mathematician parents move in, she knows there’s something odd about the place—not least the walls covered in strange antique paintings. But when Olive finds a pair of old spectacles in a dusty drawer, she discovers the most peculiar thing yet: She can travel inside these paintings to a world that’s strangely quiet . . . and eerily like her own Yet Elsewhere harbors dark secrets—and Morton, an undersized boy with an outsize temper.

As she and Morton form an uneasy alliance, Olive finds herself ensnared in a plan darker and more dangerous than she could have imagined, confronting a power that wants to be rid of her by any means necessary. It’s up to Olive to save the house from the dark shadows, before the lights go out for good.

Review Overview:

  • Full of humor and wit
  • Finally, a book with talking animals that I actually enjoyed

I decided to tackle THE SHADOWS after reading a bit of Jacqueline West’s writing during my past internship. I don’t read too many middle grade novels, though I ought to, so THE SHADOWS was a refreshing change of pace to my reading pile.

Olive moves into an old Victorian house over the summer. After exploring the house’s various rooms, Olive discovers a pair of old spectacles that allows her to jump into the various portraits throughout the house. The concept of THE SHADOWS, the first book in the Books of Elsewhere series, reminds me a bit of the old Nickelodeon cartoon Chalk Zone. The idea was well executed and the paintings came alive in my imagination.

This book is quite funny. I don’t know if it’s middle grade humor in general or just simply West’s writing that cracks me up into a fit of giggles. Olive’s parents nerdy jokes sometimes went right over my head, but I adored their geeky ways. Olive was a great protagonist. I love how she isn’t characterized as traditionally book smart. Unlike her scholarly parents, Olive has no talent for math. Instead, she has more of an artistic streak. As a person who loves humanities, I was really glad to read about a protagonist who excelled in the arts.

Believe it or not, this is one of the few instances where I find the talking animals okay – in fact, they were more than okay. Horatio, Leopold, and Harvey added wit and humor to the novel and it would not have been the same without them. The three cats were fantastic secondary characters. They each had a vibrant personality. They made me giggle.

I did start to feel frustrated by the storyline halfway through the book. I thought the pacing started to drag. However, the pacing did pick up towards the end of the novel.

THE SHADOWS ties up nicely, so I am curious to know what’s next for Olive in the following Books of Elsewhere novels.  This isn’t my new favorite middle grade series, but I did enjoy reading it. I will definitely continue on with the series, but I might pick up the sequel in audiobook format.

About the Author

This is Jacqueline West. Jacqueline loves dogs of all shapes and sizes, is sadly allergic to cats (though she manages to write about them without developing a rash), and is at least a little bit afraid of all fish larger than a hot dog bun. If you are sharing a pizza, she will ask for the crust pieces. Don’t get her talking about Kurt Vonnegut, Tori Amos, Northern Exposure, or Sylvia Plath, or you’ll be sorry. Jacqueline lives amid the bluffs of Red Wing, Minnesota, with her husband and her dog, a Springer Spaniel mix named Brom Bones.

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Comments 8 comments

Permalink Permalink Category Book Review, Three Stars - , , , , , , , , | Words 962 words

You are here: Home » Hahaha Funny

DRINK SLAY LOVE by Sarah Beth Durst
Publication Date: September 13th 2011 by Margaret K. McElderry
Rating: |

Summary: Pearl is a sixteen-year-old vampire… fond of blood, allergic to sunlight, and mostly evil… until the night a sparkly unicorn stabs her through the heart with his horn. Oops.

Her family thinks she was attacked by a vampire hunter (because, obviously, unicorns don’t exist), and they’re shocked she survived. They’re even more shocked when Pearl discovers she can now withstand the sun. But they quickly find a way to make use of her new talent. The Vampire King of New England has chosen Pearl’s family to host his feast. If Pearl enrolls in high school, she can make lots of human friends and lure them to the King’s feast — as the entrees.

The only problem? Pearl’s starting to feel the twinges of a conscience. How can she serve up her new friends—especially the cute guy who makes her fangs ache—to be slaughtered? Then again, she’s definitely dead if she lets down her family. What’s a sunlight-loving vamp to do?

Review Overview:

  • Plot seems silly, but it’s so entertaining. Durst is not afraid to poke fun at vampire cliches.
  • Giggle-worthy; I laughed out loud reading this.
  • Fantastic secondary characters but I do wish the romance was upped just a bit.

The whole novel seems really silly when you think about it, but it was so silly that it was entertaining. Pearl, a fierce vampire, gets suddenly staked by a rainbow-pooping, oh-so-mythological unicorn one night and she can suddenly walk in sunlight. There are a ton of vampire books in the market and it’s pretty much safe to say that this one is nothing like what’s out there. And can I just say title love?

What I love most about DRINK SLAY LOVE is that it really doesn’t take itself too seriously. Though a vampire novel, it makes fun of typical stereotypes and even pokes fun of Twilight (hah, which really amused me). I’m not that into paranormal and vampire books in general. If you know me, the only vampire series that I really love are the Sookie Stackhouse books (guilty pleasure adult series that the True Blood show is based off of) and Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy series. This one was just so refreshing and the summary was just so inviting. I wanted to see how Durst would take what is now such a cliche and turn it something into her own.

To be honest, I was a bit wary of the execution at first. When I started reading, I think I had to put it down after a chapter or two, read a historical romance novel, and then come back to it. I am so glad that I did. It was fun to read from Pearl’s perspective. I loved how she described humans as snacks, but not in a weird, gross, and creepy way. She was funny and the humor of the novel overall makes this such a delightful paranormal book to read. It isn’t dark. Based on the play on the title (Eat, Pray, Love), you can just tell that this will be a fun, light-hearted book.

Surprises? Yeah there were a few. I thought I can usually see things coming, but this time, I was mistaken. Things definitely got interesting when a big surprise was dropped on Pearl. I gasped out loud and started giggling. Yeah, it was that bad but it was really giggle-worthy. The fact that Sarah Beth Durst was able to thrust me into Pearl’s perspective so much that I also got blind-sided needs to be applauded. This rarely happens to me.

Evan and the secondary characters are just to die for. This definitely gets a four-star rating based on the fun characters alone. I’d hate to spoil anything about the book so you’d just have to read it for yourself to see the vast array of different characters and what roles they play in the novel.

There is a tad bit of romance in DRINK SLAY LOVE but I wished that it was upped a bit more. The ending was satisfying, but I craved for just a little more romance-wise. The chemistry between Pearl and Evan was super fun so the ending was a bit anti-climactic. Definitely don’t make this a deal-breaker for you. It’s a really slight complaint to an overall fun read. Furthermore, Pearl and Evan’s relationship was a great contrast to Pearl and Jadrien’s. Human vs. the arrogant self-centered bad-boy vampire. Fun times.

DRINK SLAY LOVE is a fun, light-hearted vampire novel that would be a great read for reluctant paranormal readers such as myself. And yes, I can’t believe that I actually put fun and light-hearted in the same sentence with vampire, but you better believe it. This is not your stereotypical vampire novel. Don’t pick this up expecting that.

About the Author

Sarah Beth Durst is the author of young adult novels Drink, Slay, Love, Enchanted Ivy, and Ice from Simon & Schuster, as well as middle grade novels Into the Wild and Out of the Wild from Penguin Young Readers. She has twice been a finalist for SFWA’s Andre Norton Award, for both Ice and Into the Wild.

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Comments 9 comments

Permalink Permalink Category Book Review, Four Stars - , , , , , , , , | Words 1252 words

Folded in my arms you’re a butterfly in reverse
you're giving up your wings inheriting my curse
- Maggie Stiefvater, Linger

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