Friday, December 20, 2013

BIR 2013: The Fourth Stall III by Chris Rylander

Best I've Read 2013 is coming to an end, and for the last day I'm featuring the third book in one of my favorite series. The Fourth Stall III by Chris Rylander. What I love about these books is that they are written for Middle Schoolers, but the humor and storytelling is just as fitting for an adult. Who doesn't want to read about the life and times of a middle school bookie doing business out of an abandoned bathroom at school. That sentence alone should be enough to get you to pick them up!

Back in April when I reviewed the book I said that I missed these characters. Like really missed them! With everything else I read it's sometimes hard to remember how fun and easy reading can be. This book, this whole series is just fun to read. I read it and I nod along and giggle and wink back when the story winks- I love that Rylander has his characters acknowledge the Godfather connections, the silliness that is Scarface and the undying love that fans have for the Cubs and it's true. These books make you feel like you know the characters and you miss them when you aren't reading about them and the minute you dive into one of the books it feel a little bit like saying hello to old friends. That's really how all the best books should make you feel!

For more about Chris Rylander and the Fourth Stall check out his awesome website.

I hope everyone enjoyed BIR 2013. Check out all the other blogs at the Best I've Read website.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

BIR 2013: Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality by Elizabeth Eulberg

We are getting close to the end of Best I've Read 2013 and today I'm excited to be sharing a great book from one of my all time favorite authors, Elizabeth Eulberg. This book is so much fun and, as with all of Eulberg's books, is full of humor and heart. What I alwasy love about Eulberg's books is that the main characters are believable. They are girls struggling with who they are and who they want to be and over the course of the book you see them make mistakes, get stronger and become amazing young women. Plus, the books are just plain fun!

Don't mess with a girl with a Great Personality. Everybody loves Lexi. She's popular, smart, funny...but she's never been one of those girls, the pretty ones who get all the attention from guys. And on top of that, her seven-year-old sister, Mackenzie, is a terror in a tiara, and part of a pageant scene where she gets praised for her beauty (with the help of fake hair and tons of makeup). Lexi's sick of it. She's sick of being the girl who hears about kisses instead of getting them. She's sick of being ignored by her longtime crush, Logan. She's sick of being taken for granted by her pageant-obsessed mom. And she's sick of having all her family's money wasted on a phony pursuit of perfection. The time has come for Lexi to step out from the sidelines. Girls without great personalities aren't going to know what hit them. Because Lexi's going to play the beauty game - and she's in it to win it. (from

For more about Eulberg check out her website

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

BIR 2013: Monsters by Ilsa J. Bick

It's day three of Best I've Read 2013 and it's only fitting that this book is the last in a trilogy. I initially reviewed this book for Eve's Fan Garden in October, and because I hadn't read the first 2 books the publisher was nice enough to send me hard copies of all three books in the Ashes Trilogy. It was an amazing and difficult trilogy to plow through. I had to take several breaks because there was just so much happening and it was hard to take all of it in. In fact when I first reviewed Monsters I said: 

"There is so much emotion packed into these books that I needed a mental break. I was hurting for the characters by the end of Shadows and while I wanted to know how it would all turn out, I was afraid to move forward. This is mostly because Bick does the one think that I appreciate in a good book for then anything. She doesn't sugar coat or hide the bad things in life. And when the world is falling apart there are a lot of bad people and bad things are happening. Good people are left with choices that may lead them to do things they otherwise wouldn't, to turn a blind eye when others are in pain and to choose their own life over the good of many others. Bick shows us all of that, and it's painful and hearth breaking and in the very end it's finally hopeful."

I still feel that way about this entire series. Bick is an extremely honest writer, and in this books, as in her others I would squirm in my seat and mutter to myself as I read  because the story was so real and at times uncomfortable that is was hard NOT to have a physical reaction! And the characters were so easy to love, which made it very easy to get drawn into the story.  

This is a really fantastic trilogy and I'm glad I was able to read them all!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

BIR 2013: Reality Boy by A.S. King

Yesterday I featured Hysteria by Megan Miranda, which was one of the first books I read in 2013. Today I'm featuring and reviewing the last book I read, Reality Boy by A.S. King. I read a lot of books on my iPad, but there are a few authors that I buy their books hardbound. They simply demand to be on shelf. A lot of those authors are the first YA authors I discovered a few year ago when I started reading a lot, and A.S. King is one of those authors. So when Reality Boy came out I had to grab it up and dive in.

My Ramblings:
This story centers around a teenager named Gerald, who when he was 5, was thrust into the spot light on a Super Nanny style show. King does an amazing job weaving the story in a way that you see Gerald's entire life unfolding- from his time on the show to the present day as he tries to escape his past. All the while we find out more and more about why Gerald is the way he is, and that what you see in front of the camera isn't the whole truth, or even the truth at all. We see Gerald at his absolute worst as he tries to come to terms with who he is and who he wants to be. He struggles mightily and doubts that he has it in him to become more then the little boy in front of the camera. Yet, through it all King manages to keep a clear thread of hope, that there is more out there for Gerald if he can just figure out how to get it.

I kept wavering on how I wanted this story to end, what I wanted for Gerald and what I wanted to happen to the people who made him who he is. In the end King tied it all up in a satisfying ending. Gerald isn't perfect, his life isn't perfect, but as you close the book you get the sense that he will be okay.

Gerald Faust knows exactly when he started feeling angry: the day his mother invited a reality television crew into his five-year-old life. Twelve years later, he’s still haunted by his rage-filled youth—which the entire world got to watch from every imaginable angle—and his anger issues have resulted in violent outbursts, zero friends, and clueless adults dumping him in the special education room at school.

Nothing is ever going to change. No one cares that he’s tried to learn to control himself, and the girl he likes has no idea who he really is. Everyone’s just waiting for him to snap…and he’s starting to feel dangerously close to doing just that.
In this fearless portrayal of a boy on the edge, highly acclaimed Printz Honor author A.S. King explores the desperate reality of a former child “star” who finally breaks free of his anger by creating possibilities he never knew he deserved. (from

For more on A.S. King and her books check out her website
And don't forget to visit the Best I've Read website to see what all the other participating blogs are up to this week. 

Monday, December 16, 2013

BIR 2013: Hysteria by Megan Miranda

It's that time of year again! Best I've Read 2013 is in full swing. It's a little smaller this year, but the participating blogs are still featuring the best of the best from this year. When I thought back to the books that stuck with the most, one of the first ones that came to mind was Hysteria by Megan Miranda. I actually read this book almost a full year ago, and it's stuck with me since then.

This book has some amazing twists and turns, and every time I thought I had it figured out or I felt the story line playing out, Miranda would mix it up and send her characters a new way. I loved that not everyone was what they seemed in this one. To see my full review check here.