Monday, June 4, 2012


Author: Scott Westerfeld
Book 1: The Uglies Series

This book was incredibly well written, and packed with psychology and fascinating ideas about human nature.  I was hooked from the very beginning.  It takes place in the future, when the human race as we know it has expired.  In this new way of living, people go through stages in life.  They start as "Littlies," then when they turn 12 they are "Uglies."  On their 16th Birthday, "Uglies" go through an intense operation to make their features perfectly symmetrical into the ideal way people should look, and are then referred to as "Pretties."  The idea is that anyone that looks normal is hideous, and that all imperfections must be done away with, down to height, size, skin tone, and even eye color.

Tally, like all the rest of the people in this city, has been brainwashed to believe that she is nothing until she gets to turn pretty.  Her new friend helps her open her eyes to a new way of thinking, and she begins to slowly embrace a new idea of the right way to live.  When things go catastrophically wrong, Tally is forced to make difficult choices and stand for her beliefs based on very recent discoveries.  It is a very intense story full of unexpected twists and turns, and fascinating ideas on the way the human mind works.  There are so many aspects at play that bring the characters to life and allow readers to personally relate.

Warning:  Giant cliffhanger ending!  Have the second book ready to go! :)

My Recommendation: High

Friday, June 1, 2012

The Princess Academy

The Princess Academy
Author: Shannon Hale
Book 1: Princess Academy Series

Shannon Hale always does a wonderful job creating a new world in her stories; a world that has both enough similarities to our world that we can relate to the characters, and enough differences to fascinate a reader. The Princess Academy was no exception.  Young Miri lives in a small village up on the mountain that is quite separated from the rest of the Kingdom.  This village has its own customs, and really only interacts with anyone else during trading season.  The rest of the kingdom views the village as lesser people, ignorant, unintelligent and undignified.  When the news is brought out that the Prince will choose his bride from this small, excluded village, all girls in the proper age range are forced to participate in the "Princess Academy," where they will learn to be worthy of the Prince's hand in marriage.

The book takes us with Miri along her journey of self discovery as she develops her own talents and helps others do the same.  A sweet fairy tale with some adventurous and magical twists, this book is a fun, light read with an intriguing plot and a pleasing ending.

My Recommendation: Medium-High

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Lemon Tart

Lemon Tart
Author: Josi S. Kilpack
Book One: Sadie Hoffmiller Culinary Mystery series

I was very impressed with this book and its many unique qualities.  First of all, you don't typically see a mystery/suspense story centered on a nearly 60-year-old woman as the main character who saves the day.  However, the author did it so brilliantly that I ended up LOVING the leading lady, Mrs. Sadie Hoffmiller.  She is feisty and spunky, and her age provides for wonderful humor, and still allows for an action-packed story.  I read this book in a day and a half; it was so intense I couldn't even put it down!  It may be my favorite murder mystery I've read.  It keeps you hypothesizing and changing your mind throughout the entire book until the alarming truth comes out at the very end in a dire situation for Mrs. Hoffmiller.  You will feel scared, angry, sad, heart-broken, happy, alarmed, and relieved over and over throughout this intense (and very clean/family-friendly) novel.

A Perk:  Sadie Hoffmiller is a wonderful cook, and every few chapters, the author inserts a recipe for the food Sadie had been cooking.  How clever and fun!

My Recommendation: High

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Fools Rush In

Fools Rush In
Author: Janice Thompson
Book One: Weddings by Bella series

If you want a fun and uplifting romantic novel, you have found it!  I loved this book!  It is a fictional story based on an Italian family that lives in Texas.  Bella has just taken over the family Wedding Business, and the story takes us through her journey of overcoming her fears and branching out of her comfort zone- becoming a successful manager of "Club Wed," while also finding and falling in love with the man of her dreams.  The adorable characters in this story provide comic relief, sad and happy emotions, inspirational messages, and just feel-good fun!  If you are looking for a light read to make you feel good about life, this is the book for you.

Another perk- at the end it gives you a list of cheap and easy beauty tips that are used by some of the characters in the story.  I may just have to try some!

My Recommendation: High

Friday, May 25, 2012

The Bake Shop Ghost

The Bake Shop Ghost
Author: Jacqueline Ogburn
Illustrator: Marjorie A. Priceman

This is a wonderful children's book with super fun illustrations.  The old lady at the bake shop is the best baker in town, and her food is loved by all.  She has no family so when she dies the bakery is sold.  The new owners of the Bake Shop are haunted by the ghost of the old lady who was such an incredible baker.  The story goes on to tell how they made peace with the ghost so they could continue on to create a successful shop.  It is a very sweet story with a moral of having kindness and serving others.

My favorite part:  the delicious chocolate cake recipe at the end of the book!  It is sooo good!

My Recommendation:  High

Step One: Open Up a Book

So when I graduated from college in December, 2011, I set a goal to read books.  For the last 4 1/2 years I had read nothing but text books, and any joy I had found in reading had significantly diminished.  But I remembered reading good books and always loving them, so I decided that now that I have time, I am going to reestablish that joy I once had for reading.

However, I was very out of the habit.  It seems like modern technology, Facebook, Hulu, Twitter, Computer Games, just get our attention and suck our time away.  So then I had the brilliant idea of using technology to help me in my goal!  First, I bought a Kindle.  Seriously, I recommend it.  It's way easier to read that little tablet than it is to hold tons of pages open.  So that helped.  But now I have decided to take that technology one more step, and create a blog!

So here at "Open Up a Book" I will regularly post reviews on books I have read and what I thought of them.  It will keep me motivated to read, and hopefully help others find good ones!  I love Children's Books and I love Fantasy Books, so those are probably the types of books you will see the most of here.  But I will try to expand my genres a bit :)

Step one is simply to open up that book!  Happy reading!!