Girlfriend Material by Melissa Kantor Review

Kate was just an ordinary sixteen-year-old girl that never had a boyfriend and wants to spend her ordinary summer with her best friend. In Girlfriend Material by Melissa Kantor, Kate’s mother dragged her away from the perfect summer halfway across the continent to spend it staying with people she hadn’t seen since she was six. They were practically strangers to her! Not only has Kate’s parents’ relationship always been far from perfect, but Kate really starts to worry when her mom starts flirting with an old high school flame. The worst part was when she told her dad, he acted like he didn’t care. She’s not just worried about her parents, but her best friend back home all of the sudden has a boyfriend and never takes time to talk to her. Then Kate meets Adam. He seems perfect! Adam is popular, enjoys reading, and is really attractive. Kate enjoys being with him, and is thrilled thinking about how their relationship might grow and develop! Then she discovers a terrible secret that changes everything she ever thought about Adam…

I enjoyed most the very well defined relationships in Girlfriend Material right from the beginning. I didn’t really like how it sometimes felt like Kate was just feeling sorry for herself. Aside from those two things, the book was very good and a very quick read! I like how easy it was to picture exactly what Melissa Kantor wanted to paint in the readers mind because of her detailed descriptions. Kate was forced to spend all summer completely out of her comfort zone. She was staying in a stranger’s house, she didn’t have any friends, and her best friend, Lauren, was spending all her time with her new boyfriend. Kate had a summer full of changes, and they all made her focus on what was really important.  All around, Girlfriend Material was a very well-rounded novel!

You can read the first chapter here.

Rating:

Title: Girlfriend Material

Author: Melissa Kantor

Format: Hardbound

Page Nos.: 272

ISBN:  978-1423108504

Publisher: Hyperion Book

Release Date: June 2010

Reviewer: Jillian

Sunrise Over Texas by M.J. Fredrick Review

Kit follows her husband to the Texas frontier only to have him pass away. Sunrise Over Texas byM.J. Fredrick begins in 1826 with Kit having been left behind at a fort in Indian Country by the Texas military with few reserves and her mother and sister-in-law to care for. Kit does whatever it takes to keep the women alive, even going so far as to fire the cannon at the wall daily so the Indians will believe that the soldiers are still in the fort. As the food stores are getting depleted an stranger rides up to the gates and then collapses. Kit decides she has a duty to care for him but worries that it puts her family and herself at risk of starvation or even worse.

Trace Watson is a man haunted by the death of his beloved wife in childbirth. Not caring where he goes, Trace is surprised to wake up in a strange cabin with a beautiful woman taking care of him. As Trace recovers, he realizes the perilous position the women at the fort are in and how much he admires and is attracted to the determination and courage Kit displays. Despite having to traverse through Indian and outlaw territory, Trace decides to take the women to civilization.

Sunrise Over Texas is a fun read about the Texas frontier. The determination of Kit to do whatever is required to keep her family alive despite dealing with her grief. The author went a direction I totally didn’t expect in the middle of the story. I don’t like to give spoilers in my reviews, but if you are looking for a novel that goes somewhere unexpected but believable, this novel is it. I enjoyed Sunrise Over Texas by M.J. Fredrick, it was a nice quick read.

You can read an excerpt here.

Rating:

Title: Sunrise Over Texas

Author: MJ Fredrick

Format:  ebook

ASIN: B0041KLBEY

Publisher: Carina Press

Release Date: September 2010

Available for purchase: Amazon.com, CarinaPress.com

Reviewer: Jessica

**I received a copy of this book from NetGalley but was not required to provide a review and it did not impact my review in any way.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 Books-to-Movie Report

I presume you have read the book and watched the movie. It never ceases to amaze how excited people get for movies and how fully they embrace the characters. Yes, I was one of the crazy people eagerly waiting in line for the 12:01 Thursday showing. I have to admit that I felt slightly out of place while waiting in the line because I didn’t dress up like one of the characters.

I was disappointed that the movie didn’t include the interaction between Dudley and Harry when the Dursleys were leaving. I thought it was very telling that regardless of what had happened to Dudley (and let’s be honest, gaining a pig’s tail and being almost killed by a Dementor where horrible experiences for Dudley to go through) he felt like Harry was family and that Harry should be with them.

The scene with all the Harrys was incredibly well done. Fleur snuggling up to Bill and commenting how she didn’t want him to look at her were awesome!  I was glad we finally got to meet Bill, who plays a larger role in the book than he has played so far in the movies. Harry riding in the sidecar with Hagrid was fabulously done, I loved the added excitement of Hagrid driving on the road to the chase scene. I thought the portrayal of the wand doing magic without Harry’s control was well done, in the book it was a much more subtle movement but for us to actually see it, I think, the movie required something more obvious.

Two of my favorite characters in both the novels and the movies are Fred and George.  The scene where George is injured was touching and had just the right amount of humor to keep with the characters of the twins. I really laughed in the movie when George comes down for breakfast with the toothbrush stuck in the hole, so very George.

What did you think of the wedding scene? Originally I was disappointed because Harry wasn’t disguised as someone else but then I realized it is better for us visually to have Harry be Harry instead of trying to keep another character straight in a movie that is full of secondary characters. I LOVED Fleur’s wedding dress, I thought it was gorgeous!

Prior to rereading the book the weekend before watching the movie, I had forgotten how many people died in this last book.  While all the deaths made me sad (now I am just discussing the deaths in this first part of the movie), there are two deaths that really hit home for me: Hedwig and Dobby. The first time I read the novel I cried when Hedwig died, it was such a telling moment hitting home the senseless death suffered by the innocent. I did like how the movie changed Hedwig’s death from being trapped and helpless in her cage to being because she was trying to protect Harry. Dobby’s death was also very difficult. Dobby was such a huge supporter of Harry despite everything he went through. I could sympathize with Harry’s desire to make a gesture to show how much Dobby meant by digging the grave by hand for Dobby.

One of the recurring themes in both the novel and the movie is the need for friends and family to help make you a better person and to help you with what you have to do. All the previous novels and movies has stressed this theme, but I felt this movie really hit that theme home. I think this is why Harry prevails and Lord Voldemort fails.  Hermione is the logically one, she can figure out the puzzles and do the complex magic necessary. Harry is the action one, he can rush in and get what needs to happen done.  Ron is the practical one, it is Ron that keeps Harry from being stupid and Hermione from being too logical. The most telling of this in the movie was after the battle in the cafe where Ron is the one who told the two what needed to happen to get everything done. It is only when Ron is back with the trio that they successfully destroy the horcux and are able to figure out what else they need to do to defeat Lord Voldemort.

One thing I was disappointed that they left out of the movie was the story line with Kreacher. In the novel (for those of you who haven’t read it) Harry gets Krecher to give him the information he needs about RAB and the locket. Kreacher had protected the locket and was so upset about it being gone because of his affection for Regulus Black. Once the trio realizes this, Harry gives Kreacher the fake necklace to have. After receiving the necklace, Kreacher completely changes his attitude about the trio, making the Black house into a home and cooking for them. I thought this story line was necessary to show how the accepted attitude to other creatures was wrong. I also thought this experience made Harry and Ron more trusting of other creatures (Hermione had always had a different attitude towards them, which is why she formed the S.P.E.W club) and made the trio’s trusting of the goblin later in the novel more believable. It also was the antithesis of the new Ministry’s goal with the statute showing all other creatures below the Wizards, including the “mudbloods” and their treatment of the mudbloods.

Lastly, I want to talk about the scene where Harry and Hermione kiss naked. I felt that the nudity wasn’t necessary as the point was gotten across without the nudity. What did you think? What did you think about the movie overall?

Are you as excited for the second part as I am? Here on NovelReaction.com we will be reading the book again when the second part comes out so we can discuss the second part of the book and movie  and both together. I was unable to find a trailer for the second part but this teaser trailer gives us some great hints as to what is to come.

Trash Course by Penny Drake Review

Terry Faye loves her job as a private investigator but she may be in over her head on this case, literally. Trash Course by Penny Drake has Terry doing a welfare check on two older gentlemen, little does she realize that the two men are hoarders and that their house is a booby-trapped maze.  When the welfare check turns up two dead bodies Terry is sure that her case is solved, then one of the bodies is determined to be too young to be one of the gentlemen.  The case is further complicated by the determined efforts of reporter Zack Archer to assist, unasked, with the investigation.

Weaving through the mounds of newspapers and canyons of boxes, Terry is almost overwhelmed by the sheer number of items stored in the house.  She is hired by the older gentlemen’s niece to find important family documents including the missing will and to try and figure out where the missing gentleman has gone.  Terry finds herself attracted to the mysterious Zack and relying more and more on his presence in searching through the mound of garbage in the house.  When the danger escalates  Terry is forced to rely on Zack even though he may be involved in the missing gentleman.

I am a Hoarders fan and have to admit that I chose this book because of the hoarding aspect.  Drake’s description of the garbage and treasures piled in the house is realistic and I found myself shuddering in one scene where Terry is walking across a large number of bugs that are living in the piles of stuff.  Trash Course is told from the first person point of Terry and feels very informal but gives you a keen insight into the thought process of Terry. The first person point of view also does a great job of helping build the suspense as you (the reader) have no idea what the other characters are thinking.  Zack was a great hero, at once both mysterious and open. I enjoyed the novel but be aware that there is quite a bit of swearing and the use of the “f” word.

Rating:

Title: Trash Course

Author: Penny Drake

Format:  ebook

ASIN: B004322F4U

Publisher: Carina Press

Release Date: October 2010

Available for purchase: Amazon.com, Carina Press

Reviewer: Jessica

**I received a copy of this book from NetGalley but was not required to provide a review and it did not impact my review in any way.