*REVIEW* 45 Pounds (More or Less)


Here are the numbers of Ann Galardi’s life:

She is 16.
And a size 17.
Her perfect mother is a size 6.
Her Aunt Jackie is getting married in 8 weeks, and wants Ann to be her bridesmaid.
So Ann makes up her mind: Time to lose 45 pounds (more or less) in two months.

Welcome to the world of informercial diet plans, terrifying wedding dance lessons, endless run-ins with the cutest guy Ann’s ever seen—and some surprises about her NOT-so-perfect mother.

And there’s one more thing. It’s all about feeling comfortable in your own skin -- no matter how you add it up!

45 Pounds (More or Less) by K.A. Barson is a funny and touching look at a topic that many women can relate to: the struggles we face with weight, body issues, and meeting societal ideals of beauty and attractiveness. I think it's interesting that I read this book in the aftermath of the Abercrombie & Fitch scandal where their less-than-attractive-himself CEO got diarrhea of the mouth and basically said he's anti-fat and "uncool" people *eyeroll*. Maybe he needs to read this book to see inside the mind of a teenage girl dealing with body and self-esteem issues. In fact, anyone who has ever made fun of a "fat girl" should read this book!

45 Pounds (More or Less) introduces us to Ann, an overweight teenage girl who has struggled with her weight her entire life. Not helping matters is her perfect size 6 mother who has never been shy to criticize the way Ann looks. A hilarious, but horrifying, encounter in a dressing room at a ultra-hip store, coupled with the fact that Ann will be a bridesmaid in her aunt's wedding, leads Ann to order a diet plan off an infomercial.

As Ann battles the bulge, and the lure of her food addiction, readers will be taken on her journey and will find themselves rooting for the girl inside. Add in a new potential best friend, a possible love interest, and some shocking realizations about Ann's mother, and this book will have you sold.

I really enjoyed this book. As someone who has struggled with weight for the past ten years (most of my adult life), I could really relate to what Ann was going through. I challenge you to read this book and NOT root for Ann, it's impossible. This book is very touching and relevant, but it also has a great deal of humor and hope. Just writing this review is making me want to read it again! I really think there's something in this one for everyone, whether you've struggled with weight or not. Because most of us have something we're insecure about, some family member that makes us feel less-than sometimes, or friends who aren't really friends at all.

Seriously, READ THIS BOOK. You won't regret it! It'll be a perfect addition to your beach read pile come summer. Enjoy! *XOXO*

Expected publication date: July 11, 2013 by Viking Juvenile

*REVIEW* Alienated


Two years ago, the aliens made contact. Now Cara Sweeney is going to be sharing a bathroom with one of them.

Handpicked to host the first-ever L’eihr exchange student, Cara thinks her future is set. Not only does she get a free ride to her dream college, she’ll have inside information about the mysterious L’eihrs that every journalist would kill for. Cara’s blog following is about to skyrocket.

Still, Cara isn’t sure what to think when she meets Aelyx. Humans and L’eihrs have nearly identical DNA, but cold, infuriatingly brilliant Aelyx couldn’t seem more alien. She’s certain about one thing, though: no human boy is this good-looking.

But when Cara's classmates get swept up by anti-L'eihr paranoia, Midtown High School suddenly isn't safe anymore. Threatening notes appear in Cara's locker, and a police officer has to escort her and Aelyx to class.

Cara finds support in the last person she expected. She realizes that Aelyx isn’t just her only friend; she's fallen hard for him. But Aelyx has been hiding the truth about the purpose of his exchange, and its potentially deadly consequences. Soon Cara will be in for the fight of her life—not just for herself and the boy she loves, but for the future of her planet.

Alienated by Melissa Landers was such a pleasant and fabulous surprise for me! I went into it not knowing what I would end up thinking and feeling about it but let me tell you-- this book is AMAZING. I can't wait until it releases so I can snag my own copy! And the best news? It's the first in a series... a series that is sure to captivate all who read it.

Alienated introduces us to Cara, future valedictorian of her high school who has been chosen to host the first L'eihr exhange student. While she's slightly apprehensive, and her boyfriend and best friend's reaction to the news definitely isn't helping matters, Cara knows this is a unique opportunity to skyrocket her career before she even sets foot on a college campus. What Cara wasn't counting on was forming an intense attraction to Aelyx, her exhange student. Aelyx is gorgeous and intelligent and the two end up forming a bond that shocks them both.

As the bond between Cara and Aelyx deepens, paranoia and anti-L'eihr emotions start plaguing the town. It soon becomes unsafe for Cara and Aelyx to go anywhere without police protection. A shocking confession from Aelyx throws Cara for a tailspin just as things are becoming more and more dangerous. Will Cara and Aelyx be able to survive the storm, or will their worlds separate to never collide again? All will be revealed in this magical tale by Melissa Landers.

This book is SOOOOOO amazing!!! I really wasn't expecting to love it the way that I did and don't you just love it when a book does that to you? I could NOT put it down and even after I was forced to sometimes (boo work!) the story stayed with me. I adore Cara and Aelyx, they are both wonderful characters. And the whole concept of the L'eihrs is fascinating. I can't wait to learn more about them in the next book!

For those who are leery due to the whole "alien" thing, rest assured: This book has WAY more than sci-fi going on. It's romantic, funny, entertaining, anxiety-provoking at times, and just plain awesome. I'm super sad it's not releasing until February because I want to read it again! As will you once you've read it the first time. This book? Total keeper. Enjoy! *XOXO*

Expected publication date: February 4, 2014 by Disney Hyperion

Work Woes

UGH! Work has been sooooo insanely busy lately, I haven't had a chance to update the blog in almost a week. My boss had her baby 5 weeks early and while I'm super happy for her cause he's healthy and so stinkin' adorable, it's put things into a tailspin at work trying to wrap up state standardized testing and getting ready for graduation. The end of the year in a high school guidance office is chaotic enough without having to do the work of someone else.

Whine-fest over! I've got a couple reviews to get up this weekend and I haven't done a Perfect Pins post in forever so be expecting some new stuff soon. Peace! *XOXO*

*REVIEW* Triangles


A cruise ship. A beautiful island. Two sexy guys. What could possibly go wrong?

In the Bermuda Triangle—a lot.

Hoping to leave behind the reminders of her crappy life--her father's death years ago, her mother's medical problems, and the loser who’s practically stalking her--seventeen-year-old Autumn Taylor hops on a ship with her sister for a little distraction. When she wakes up in the Bermuda Triangle, she fears she's gone nuts for more than one reason: that loser’s suddenly claiming they're a happy couple... a hot guy is wrapping his arms around her and saying "Happy Anniversary"... and suddenly, she’s full of bruises, losing her hair, and getting IV medication. Autumn visits the ship's doctor, hoping for a pill or a shot to make the craziness go away. Instead, she's warned that these "alternate realities" could become permanent.

She just has to ask herself one question—how the hell is she going to get out of this mess?

Triangles sounded like it would be a lot of fun and mostly, it didn't disappoint. The beginning was a little rough but once things got moving, it ended up being a cute and meaningful tale.

Triangles introduces us to Autumn, a teenage girl dealing with the fallout from serious family drama. Her father passed away years ago and a horrible accident has left her mom in a coma, leaving her older sister as her sole guardian. Tensions have been high so Autumn is thrilled to be going on a cruise to leave all her problems behind. Little did she know, her problems would follow her with a vengeance...

As the cruise ship enters the Bermuda Triangle, each day Autumn wakes up facing a new and highly altered reality. She finds herself in a serious relationship with a smoking hot guy who is a little aggressive with his sexuality, a very serious relationship with a boy who has been following her around in her real life like a puppy dog, and she even wakes to find herself living the life of a cancer patient. The same themes from her real life flow through her altered realities leaving Autumn struggling to figure out what lessons she should be learning. Will Autumn manage to figure things out in time, or will she be trapped in an altered reality for the rest of her life?

Sooooo... all in all, this ended up being a really good book. But let me tell you, I DESPISED Autumn in the beginning of this book. Like really and totally despised her. I was hoping she would fall overboard to never be heard from again! I found her unnecessarily cruel, moody, bratty, and obnoxious. But as the book goes along, you start to see the things in Autumn's past that have led her to be the way that she is. And believe it or not, you start to feel empathy for the little witch.

By the end of the story, you can't help rooting for her, and especially for her and Joey. What a sweetheart! Seeing Autumn work through her feelings of guilt, loss, and fear is really special and the ending will make you smile. See for yourself when it releases next month. Enjoy! And as always, HAPPY HAPPY READING! *XOXO*

Expected publication date: June 18, 2013 by Spencer Hill Press

*REVIEW* The Distance Between Us


Seventeen-year-old Caymen Meyers studies the rich like her own personal science experiment, and after years of observation she’s pretty sure they’re only good for one thing—spending money on useless stuff, like the porcelain dolls in her mother’s shop.

So when Xander Spence walks into the store to pick up a doll for his grandmother, it only takes one glance for Caymen to figure out he’s oozing rich. Despite his charming ways and that he’s one of the first people who actually gets her, she’s smart enough to know his interest won’t last. Because if there’s one thing she’s learned from her mother’s warnings, it’s that the rich have a short attention span. But Xander keeps coming around, despite her best efforts to scare him off. And much to her dismay, she's beginning to enjoy his company.

She knows her mom can’t find out—she wouldn’t approve. She’d much rather Caymen hang out with the local rocker who hasn’t been raised by money. But just when Xander’s attention and loyalty are about to convince Caymen that being rich isn’t a character flaw, she finds out that money is a much bigger part of their relationship than she’d ever realized. And that Xander’s not the only one she should’ve been worried about.

THIS BOOK WAS AWESOME! I literally read this book in less than 24 hours... 24 hours that included a full night of sleep and a full day of work. I had my nose buried in this book every chance I could get, it was that addictive. Putting it down felt like TORTURE. Right this very second, LEAVE THIS PAGE and go add this book to your TBR list. Immediately!!! You will not be sorry! Read on to find out why.

The Distance Between Us introduces us to Caymen, a teenage girl who lives above a doll shop with her mom. Her mom had gotten pregnant when she was younger by a rich boy, a boy who ran for the hills. Caymen's mom was also disowned by her parents so it has just been Caymen and her mom, living paycheck to paycheck, for as long as Caymen can remember. Making fun of rich customers has become a hobby and Caymen never imagines she will look at a rich person any differently... that is, until she meets Xander.

Xander is special, different, and surprising, and though she tries to fight it every chance she gets, Caymen finds herself falling for him despite his immense wealth. A shocking revelation comes to light though that makes Caymen doubt everything Xander has told her, and everything they were building with each other. Caymen also realizes that there is a lot she has been kept in the dark about, things that could change her life forever. Will Caymen learn the truth about who she really is? And even if she does, will it be too late for her and her mom to move forward with each other? All is revealed in this phenomenal tale by Kasie West.

THIS BOOK. THIS BOOK!!!! Please do yourself a favor and SERIOUSLY add this book to your TBR pile right this very second. It was unbelievably addictive, awesome, romantic, funny, and more! I LOVE Caymen. One, her name is so original and adorable and she is SO incredible. I love her wit and her humor and her STRENGTH. Girlfriend has got it going on and is one of those characters that everyone is going to fall in love with. And Xander? SWOOOOOOOON!!! PERFECT YA boy: hot, sweet, caring, observant, persistent, romantic, and yeah, rich. HELLLOOOOO! What's not to love? The chemistry between those two is so hot and jumping off the page, you'll have to drop the book!

Can you tell I liked this one just a little bit? It is going to be one of THE books of the summer. PERFECT beach read that you will not want to put down. So bring an umbrella and a ton of sunscreen cause you will be on that beach for hours, unable to unhook yourself from this story. Enjoy!!! SNAP it up July 2nd and then spend the day falling in love with it just like I did. Happy Reading! *XOXO*

Expected publication date: July 2, 2013 by HarperTeen

Waiting on Wednesday (41)


In the tradition of Go Ask Alice and Lucy in the Sky, a harrowing account of anorexia and addiction.

She was a good girl from a good family, with everything she could want or need. But below the surface, she felt like she could never be good enough. Like she could never live up to the expectations that surrounded her. Like she couldn’t do anything to make a change.

But there was one thing she could control completely: how much she ate. The less she ate, the better--stronger--she felt.

But it’s a dangerous game, and there is such a thing as going too far...

Her innermost thoughts and feelings are chronicled in the diary she left behind.

Expected publication date: June 4, 2013 by Simon Pulse

I cannot wait to get my hands on this book. I work in a high school as a counselor and see girls struggle with eating disorders frequently and think that this book will be really good for me, not only as insight into how a sufferer thinks and feels, but as a jumping off point of conversations that can sometimes be very difficult to have. Books with meaning are often the ones that stay with us the most. Here's hoping this book lives up to all I'd like it to be.

*REVIEW* The Vow


No one has ever believed that Mo and Annie are just friends. How can a guy and a girl really be best friends?

Then the summer before senior year, Mo’s father loses his job, and by extension his work visa. Instantly, life for Annie and Mo crumbles. Although Mo has lived in America for most of his life, he’ll be forced to move to Jordan. The prospect of leaving his home is devastating, and returning to a world where he no longer belongs terrifies him.

Desperate to save him, Annie proposes they tell a colossal lie-—that they are in love. Mo agrees because marrying Annie is the only way he can stay. Annie just wants to keep her best friend, but what happens when it becomes a choice between saving Mo and her own chance at real love?

I was really excited to read The Vow, but that excitement quickly turned to disappointment as the beginning of this book was very slow and frankly, a little boring. Thankfully, the end redeemed the book quite a bit and it ended up being a decent read. I rated The Vow 3 of 5 stars on Goodreads.

The Vow introduces us to Annie, a teenage girl living a smothered existence due to her parents and their extreme overprotectiveness. Lena, Annie's older sister, disappeared on an ordinary walk home and the fallout from that event has shaped Annie's and her parents' lives in many ways. The one amazing thing in Annie's life, other than her art, is Mo, her best friend. Mo's family is from Jordan but Mo has lived in America his whole life... that is, until his father loses his job, and his work visa, and the entire family must leave the country or face deportation.

Annie comes up with the perfect plan-- her and Mo will get married, enabling him to stay in the country he loves. Unfortunately for the friends, this is not as simple of a plan as they originally thought. Legal issues force Annie to hurt those she loves the most, including the new boy in her life. Friendship, loyalty, legality and more collide in this tale by Jessica Martinez.

Like I said before, the beginning of this book is SLOOOOOOOW. I knew the premise from the synopsis and it felt like we were just NEVER going to get there! But mid-way through, the book picks up some steam and things get very, very interesting. I'm glad I stuck it out because to be honest, I was about to call it as a DNF about 100 pages in. I'm glad I didn't because it ended up being a decent book that I think many people will end up enjoying. You just have to stick with it through it's snail-pace beginning.

To see for yourself, snap it up when it becomes available mid-October. Enjoy! And as always, HAPPY HAPPY READING! *XOXO*

Expected publication date: October 15, 2013 by Simon Pulse

Weekend Plans: Iron Man and Relay for Life

I've got QUITE the weekend planned... I am OBSESSED with Iron Man and am sooooooo excited about Iron Man 3 coming out TODAY!!!! The husband and I are headed to the theater right after work to catch the movie in IMAX 3D. Bring on some RDJ! *squeeeeeee*

Then tomorrow it's all about giving back... the family and I are headed out to Relay for Life to help raise money for cancer research. My family, as I'm sure many of yours, has been touched by cancer and it feels good to be able to give back. Makes for a super long weekend but it's definitely worth it.

I hope you all have a wonderful and productive weekend this first weekend in May. And Sunday is Cinco de Mayo, y'all! Have something spicy and live up your day! Enjoy! *XOXO*
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