Tricked (The Witches of Santa Anna, Novella 2)


Tricked (The Witches of Santa Anna, Novella 2) by Lauren Barnholdt and Aaron Gorvine

Ever since that disastrous party at Raine’s house things have been strange for Natalia. Brody asked her out, just to get under Cam’s skin. Cam’s acting as if he and Raine are more than just friends, even though he swears they aren’t, and that she’s the one he’s interested in. And Raine and her little groupies, Becca and Teri , are actually being friendly towards her.

And if things couldn’t get any stranger than they already are Derek, a mysterious stranger from Natalia’s past resurfaces. Shocked and scared, all Natalia could hope for is that he leave her alone.

What secret is Natalia hiding? And will Derek threaten to expose it?

Tricked the second novella in The Witches of Santa Anna series, co-written by Lauren Barnholdt and Aaron Gorvine, is a roller coaster ride of twists, turns, and mixed emotions. Full of high school drama, Tricked continues to build the overall story, but falls short when it fails to supply answers to the questions it has raised.

The characters that reappear in Tricked are solid, and grow steadily. They are well realized, and even more realistic. Natalia, for example, is more sure of herself, more assertive, and has really stepped into the heroine role she was created for.

Tricked is a fun read, that will leave readers wanting more. And lucky for them, there’s eight more to follow.

Book of the Week: Hooray for Amanda & Her Alligator

Book of the Week, Children's

Hooray for Amanda & Her Alligator by Mo Willems

Published: 2011 by Balzer & Bray

Reasons why I liked this book, and chose it as Book of the Week:

I said it before, but in case you forgot, I’ll say it again: I love alligators. And think books with and/or about alligators are great!

I think Mo Willems is a genius!

The writing is witty and sharp, and doesn’t underestimate children or their sense of humor.

The end papers are fun – its Amanda and her friend alligator dancing around. It’s like they are telling you this book is going to be a riot!

I love how even though this is a picture book it is broken down into six and a half chapters. And these chapters all focus on one specific topic: surprises!

I love Amanda. She enjoys going to the library, reading books,and learning about different subjects like how to make you own jet pack and how to climb things and make money off of climbing things.

I think this book shows kids to read without regret.

Alligator scares easily. He even manages to scare himself. It’s really funny!

I love how honest Amanda is. When something tickles Alligator’s tail, Amanda tells him it’s a price tag worth seven cents. He’s upset and when he asks why no one wanted him she’s honest, and tells him: “No one wanted to buy you because they knew you were meant to be my best friend.”

It shows that *true* friends will always be honest with you, no matter how hurtful the truth may be.

Alligator has an awesome thinking cap. And it really helps him give Amanda the perfect surprise!

When Alligator is bored he gnaws on Amanda’s head. Not only does this not hurt Amanda (thankfully!) but it seems as this happens often.

I love how this book in a roundabout way celebrates books and promotes reading.

I agree with Amanda: “Books beat boredom.”

Amanda isn’t only wise, but she’s also an old soul. I love that about her. And love how it shows that children are getting smarter every moment.

I love how the book shows that there is always room for new friends.

I love how this book shows the importance of having a hobby. It’s keeps one’s occupied and expands the mind. Alligator has great hobbies: singing silly songs, playing dress up, and making discoveries.

I love how Amanda and Alligator have a new friend: Panda! Yes, this book just got ten times better! (I love pandas even more than gators!)

Panda makes funny faces. And Panda also wears a tutu.

Claimed (The Witches of Santa Anna, Novella 1)


Claimed (The Witches of Santa Anna, Novella 1) by Lauren Barnholdt and Aaron Gorvine

If the first day of school went how Natalia Moore had planned, her life would be near perfect. She’d meet a group of girls who’d be her lifelong circle of friends. She’d meet not just a hot guy, but the hottest guy around – think R. Pattz minus the whole vampire thing. And she’d never get lost. Not once in her new, unwelcoming school.

None of those things happen. Instead she ends up getting lost trying to find her home room and jams her fingers in her locker. At this point Natalia can only hope to go unnoticed. But Campbell Elliot notices her. He’s no R. Pattz, but he’s close. He’s tall, dark, and smoldering. He’s also spoken for.

Reigning “it” girl Raine Marsden has marked her territory, and will stop at nothing to make sure Natalia knows just who she’s messing with. Will Natalia survive this whole new breed of … well, witches?

Short and sweet Claimed is the first book in a series of nine novellas. Co-written by authors Lauren Barnholdt and Aaron Gorvine, the novella’s plot line is intriguing and will pull readers in instantly. However, it cuts off quickly, leaving readers needing to move forward with the series.

The characters are interesting, but aren’t fully developed within this first novella. Full of twists, turns, and secrets Barnholdt and Gorvine excel at making readers want more – more drama, more answers, more Witches of Santa Anna.

Claimed isn’t strongly written, but that’s not saying that it is awful. In truth, it’s a formulaic story: new girl meets hot guy that girl has already sunk her claws into, drama ensues. But this will not stop readers from wanting to read on to, not only find out what happens to Natalia, but also what secrets she’s keeping.

Book of the Week: Wag

Book of the Week, Children's

Wag by Patrick McDonnell

Published: 2009 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Reasons why I liked this book, and chose it as Book of the Week:

The author didn’t just write this awesome book, but is also the writer of Mutts Comics!

The dog’s name is Earl…great name for a dog (if you ask me).

I wish I had a dog like Earl.

I love books about dogs, especially when the dog is the main character.

McDonnell has captured the exact sound a dog’s tail makes when it’s wagging excitedly – “fwip, fwip, fwip.”

I love how this book is about finding what makes us happy. Even if what makes us happy is simple.

I love how it shows how dogs are generally happy animals. Earl is a very happy dog. He’s tail wags when he sits in a field, when it snows, when his belly’s rubbed, and when he eats.

I love how the message of this book is simple: love.

It’s a simple story, and well written. The illustrations though really make this book come alive.

This book doesn’t just feature Earl, but two other lovable characters: Mooch and Jules.



The Fortunes of Indigo Skye


The Fortunes of Indigo Skye by Deb Caletti

As far as Indigo Skye is concerned life is great. She has a family who loves and appreciates her. She has a job at Carrera’s, the local diner, that she loves. It’s full of good-natured, salt of the earth friends. She has a boyfriend who doesn’t mind her wobbly ass, even if sometimes she does. Life is perfect, even though she’s near penniless.

Until a new customer, nicknamed “Vespa Guy,” enters the diner and Indigo’s life. Not only does he enter her life, but ultimately he changes it forever when he leaves a two point five million dollar tip. Vespa Guy doesn’t want anything in return. All he wants is a promise. A promise that Indigo will live a bigger and better life.

The money that was supposed to make her and her family’s life all the better ends up making her life worse, much worse. People always say money changes everything. But will it change Indigo Skye?

The Fortunes of Indigo Skye, written by author Deb Caletti, is based around a basic question that everyone, at one point or another, has asked them: what would you do if you had a million dollars? Caletti excels at not only answering this question, but also puts perspective on how money can effect, not only ones life, but ones self. The plot is genuinely realistic, thought-provoking, and honest. Like the plot, Caletti’s writing is fresh and sharp.

The Fortunes of Indigo Skye is largely character driven. Full of unforgettable characters, each one plays a pivotal role in not only Indigo’s life and world, but the overall storyline. Readers will connect instantly with Indigo. Like her name she is an original character with a big personality, and an even bigger heart. Readers will be enchanted and endeared by her personality as well as her faults.

Caletti has managed to write a serious book that is still fun-filled and fancy free.

Book of the Week: Cloudette

Book of the Week, Children's

Cloudette by Tom Lichtenheld

Published: 2011 by Henry Holt and Company

Reasons why I liked this book, and chose it as Book of the Week:

This book is original. It’s the first book I’ve seen and read where all the characters are clouds.

Cloudette is small, petite, and loves being that way!

I really identified with Cloudette.

I love how this book shows the importance of accepting one’s self for who they are.

It shows how everyone and everything in this world is important, no matter it’s size.

The illustrations are great! They vary in shades of blue, and are simple yet fun. But the writing really carries Cloudette.

I love how Cloudette is proud of all the things she can do: sneak through tight spaces,  always find a good spot to watch fireworks,  and makes friends (big and small) easily.

This book really shows that it’s natural to get a case of the blues once in a while.

Cloudette realizes that even though she’s small, she can do big and important things.

Without a whole, boring science lesson, this book offers a brief lesson on the importance of clouds and all the things they do: help water plants, help rivers flow, and best of all, produce snow

I love Cloudette’s adventurous spirit, not to mention helpful and considerate.

The book shows what hard work and perseverance will get you.

I love how this book showed how nature works, and how everything in nature is dependent on something out. It shows that we all need a little help sometimes.