Book Review: Secret Society Girl by Diana Peterfreund

Secret Society Girl

Title: Secret Society Girl (Secret Society Girl #1)

Author: Diana Peterfreund

Publisher: Dell

Pages: 291 Paperback

My Rating: 5/5 stars

In a fabulous blend of the bestselling traditions of Prep and The Devil Wears Prada, Secret Society Girl takes us into the heart of the Ivy League’s ultraexclusive secret societies when a young woman is invited to join as one of their first female members.

Elite Eli University junior Amy Haskel never expected to be tapped into Rose & Grave, the country’s most powerful—and notorious—secret society. She isn’t rich, politically connected, or…well, male.

So when Amy receives the distinctive black-lined invitation with the Rose & Grave seal, she’s blown away. Could they really mean her?

Whisked off into an initiation rite that’s a blend of Harry Potter and Alfred Hitchcock, Amy awakens the next day to a new reality and a whole new set of “friends”—from the gorgeous son of a conservative governor to an Afrocentric lesbian activist whose society name is Thorndike. And that’s when Amy starts to discover the truth about getting what you wish for. Because Rose & Grave is quickly taking her away from her familiar world of classes and keggers, fueling a feud, and undermining a very promising friendship with benefits. And that’s before Amy finds out that her first duty as a member of Rose & Grave is to take on a conspiracy of money and power that could, quite possibly, ruin her whole life.

A smart, sexy introduction to the life and times of a young woman in way over her head, Secret Society Girl is a charming and witty debut from a writer who knows her turf—and isn’t afraid to tell all…. 

I’ll start this off plain and simple, you need to read this series! I cannot stress it enough! Secret Society Girl, the first of four books in the series, follows the life of a college junior named Amy. Things are going perfectly well for her. She is getting good grades, has a great job as editor at the lit magazine, and her best friend Lydia and her always have a good time together. Amy’s life is turned upside down when she is initiated into Rose & Grave, the most infamous secret society in all of Eli University’s past. Up until that year it has been known that this society has only initiated men so it definitely stirs up a ruckus when half of the new tap class is women. Amy jumps feet first into a world of secrets, lies, and scandals!

This isn’t your typical Y.A. novel. In fact it isn’t Y.A. at all since the main character is 21. BUT for anyone reading this, I highly recommend it. It is good enough for me to read and re-read it a few times (a few really meaning five times). The characters show a wide range of personalities, the author’s attention to detail is superb, and it is laugh out loud, funny book.

One downside of this book is that there are A LOT of characters. Amy has many society brothers and sisters as well as friends outside of the society. However, if you are anything like me you will come to love each and every character. I will only be highlighting a few on this review. First there is Amy. This girl only sees herself as your average-Joe. Come on! She is attending one of America’s most elite colleges and manages to get awesome grades; she is so much more than average! Amy is hilarious, witty, sarcastic, and confident. In so many ways she reminds me of my best friend and I (perhaps that is why we enjoy this book so much). Amy’s crazy thoughts, funny comebacks, and lists (this girl loves lists as much as I do, and that’s really saying something!), will make you instantly fall in love with her. Amy’s best friend, Lydia, is a great side character. The two girls are best friends and roommates. Diana did a wonderful job on making their relationship seem real and authentic. The two girls have very different personalities. Where Amy is funny and outgoing, Lydia is level-headed and realistic. The two girls argue, disagree, and care for each other so much; you just couldn’t help but wish you were best friends with them too! Amy’s society brothers and sisters play a large role in all four books. There is a prissy, beautiful trust-fund baby, a wonderfully hot player, the political good guy, an over-the-top lesbian; the list goes on and on! It may be a little bit overwhelming at first to have all these new characters thrown at you at once but Diana does such a wonderful job describing and staying true to each character, that you quickly come to know each and every one of them.

The detail, research, history, and mythology put in this book are fantastic! Details regarding the college make me, a college student living at home, realize what the experience must be like. From the gorgeous building to the not-so-gorgeous co-ed showers, I felt like I was right on campus with Amy. History and mythology play a big part in this book especially when it comes to Rose & Grave’s theme. Characters such as Persephone are mentioned a lot in the book so I imagine there must have been a lot of research and knowledge used to make it even more enjoyable.

Beware of when reading this book in public. I have been caught numerous times laughing out loud and snickering at funny scenes while reading this book (all four books for that matter). There are some less-than-glamorous moments that Amy must encounter in Secret Society Girl but Diana off-sets hard situations with sarcastic and witty humor. The one-liners, whether said out loud or thought in Amy’s head, are the ones that really got me going!

Well there you have it readers, that is nearly 900 words on why I think you should read Secret Society Girl. Do it, because I guarantee you will not be disappointed. Diana Peterfreund’s laugh-out-loud novel will transport you to the world of Eli College where hot guys, hidden tombs, big secrets, and lots of mystery intermingle.

Tune In Tuesday (2)

 

Tune in Tuesday is hosted by the lovely Ginger @ GReads so you should head on over and link up! It is a great way to bounce from blog to blog and discover what others are listening to! I love music, all types of music but there is so much out there that I haven’t heard of before. Thanks to Tune In Tuesday, I can find some awesome, talented singers/bands. One of my favorite bands is We The Kings. I have seen them in concert about 5 times and they never disappoint. Their sound is very upbeat and fun to dance & sing to (plus the lead singer, Travis, has red hair; I have a thing for people with red hair. I know, it’s weird). I hope you enjoy their music as much as I do!

*That’s me rocking out in my signed We The Kings shirt. Be jealous.*

The first video is the song that got me hooked on this band! Check Yes Juliet is still my favorite song by We The Kings. The second song is a cover that We The Kings did. Caught Up In You, originally performed by .38 Special, is one of my favorite songs from the 80’s. We The Kings singing it makes me love it any more.

We The Kings: Check Yes Juliet

We The Kings: Caught Up In You (cover)

Teaser Tuesday (2)

This awesome meme is hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Teaser Tuesday asks you to take the book you are reading, flip it to a random page, and share two sentences (no spoilers though!). Sounds easy enough, right? Well it is, plus it is a great way to see what others are reading!

Right now I am reading Chime by Franny Billingsley. I am just adoring it already and I’m only a few chapters in!

Let’s review the rules, Briony: What, above all, mustn’t you forget? You mustn’t forget to hate yourself.

~Chime by Franny Billingsley, page 24~

So what do you think of that? Leave a comment and let me know; I’ll be sure to check out your teaser as long as you leave the link!

Book Review: Solid by Shelley Workinger

Title: Solid (Solid #1)

Author: Shelley Workinger

Publisher: Self Published

Pages: 222 paperback

My Rating: 3.5-4/5 stars

Source: I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest and thoughtful review

Eighteen years ago, a rogue Army doctor secretly experimented with a chromosomal drug on unknowing pregnant women. When he was killed not long after the children were born, any knowledge and evidence seemed to die with him – except for the living, breathing, human products of his work.

Almost two decades later, the newly self-proclaimed “open-book” military unearths the truth about the experiment, bringing Clio Kaid and the other affected teens to a state-of-the-art, isolated campus where they soon discover that C9x did indeed alter their chromosomes, its mutations presenting as super-human abilities. The military kids, who come from across the nation and all walks of life, come into their own as lighter-than-air ‘athletes’; ‘indies’ as solid as stone walls; teens who can make themselves invisible and others who can blind with their brilliance.

While exploring her own special ability, forging new friendships and embarking on first love, Clio also stumbles onto information indicating that the military may not have been entirely forthcoming with them and that all may not be as it seems…

I am turning into a nerd; an even big nerd than before because I now find myself reading more and more sci-fi books. And what’s more is I find myself really enjoying said sci-fi books. I can now add Solid to my list of books that I enjoy!

Solid follows a young girl named Calliope Kaid, Clio (my hometown’s name!) for short. Clio assumed she was just your average, teenage girl until an anonymous source claims that her with about 100 other 18-year-olds possess a special deformity on their 9th chromosome. This deformity is due to the drugging of their pregnant mothers by an army doctor many years ago. This defect causes some to shine extra bright, disappear, block people away, or even possess super speed & strength. The kids are all sent to this secret camp where they will be taught how to harness their powers. There, Clio meets an odd mix of friends that soon become her largest support system. Not long after arriving at camp things start to get very strange; even stranger than teenagers being able to disappear. With phone and internet down, no contact from the outside world, and staff keeping secrets from the teens, they all become very suspicious. Clio and her new group of friends embark on a secret mission to discover the truth behind their powers.

There were some things about this book I loved and some parts I just didn’t care for but all in all it was a really enjoyable read!

The storyline was well thought out and interesting. I can imagine that science fiction is a hard genre to write in. Not only do you have to think beyond reason but you have to keep it simple enough for readers. Shelley did a fabulous job on both accounts! Her reasons for these kids “deformities” were interesting and far-fetched but she kept it simple (not stupid!). Science, biology, chemistry, are subjects I can’t wrap my brain around but I found it extremely easy to follow this story. I did not get lost in over-complicated terms or over-the-top scientific ideas.

I loved the characters. Clio is a strong individual. This huge curveball is thrown at her and she hardly even flinches. She just takes what life gives her and deals with it. The new friends she meets at school are all very great characters. Her new best friend, Bliss, is shy, sweet, and considerate. Miranda is not so shy and definitely not so sweet, but she definitely has her moments. Garrett is the total goof-ball. No matter what situation they’re all in, he can find a way to cheer them up. Last but not least there is Jack. Clio is attracted to Jack from the moment they met. He is funny, sweet, smart, cute, pretty much the perfect guy. His only flaw: he is the oddball at school. He seems to contain none of the special powers so I am hoping that is revealed in the next book!

So plus points definitely go to plot and characters. However, the timing and “connections” for characters were a little off for me.

At many points throughout the book, I found myself wanting it to slow down A LOT. While reading the book it seemed to jump from scene to scene rather quickly; one moment Clio was at a dance enjoying herself and next thing I know she is alone, upset in her room. However, Shelley did say that the finished copy of the book has a slight difference with smoother transitions so that could very well be fixed!

As far as connections between characters go, I found it a bit awkward. The fast-paceness of the story plays into the awkwardness of it all. The relationships between Clio and most her friends were flawless. The characters seemed real and the connections between them reflected that. However, when it came to the relationship between Clio and Jack, I was a bit turned off. After two short conversations and a few lusty stares, they were getting ready to kiss. If the timing of the story slowed down a bit (see above paragraph) and showed more of a connection between the two I would have been happy. It just seemed like one moment they were strangers and the next thing I know they were all each other ever wanted. BUT as the book went on I saw that the two worked very well together. I just wish that the start of their relationship was a bit more realistic.

Solid by Shelley Workinger is a science-fiction novel to look out for! It is a fast-paced, interesting novel full of suspense, secret missions, and totally kick-butt characters (literally and figuratively). What more could you ask for!?!

In My Mailbox (9)

IMM is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren. It is a way for book bloggers to post what they have received for review, borrowed from a friend, bought at the bookstore, or picked up at the library. This has been a slow week for me, so not much on the list but still some good stuff! (All summaries are courtesy of Goodreads.com):

Won:

April & Oliver by Tess Callahan (signed)

Best friends since childhood, the sexual tension between April and Oliver has always been palpable. Years after being completely inseparable, they become strangers, but the wildly different paths of their lives cross once again with the sudden death of April’s brother. Oliver, the responsible, newly engaged law student finds himself drawn more than ever to the reckless, mystifying April – and cracks begin to appear in his carefully constructed life. Even as Oliver attempts to “save” his childhood friend from her grief, her menacing boyfriend and herself, it soon becomes apparent that Oliver has some secrets of his own–secrets he hasn’t shared with anyone, even his fiance. But April knows, and her reappearance in his life derails him. Is it really April’s life that is unraveling, or is it his own? The answer awaits at the end of a downward spiral…towards salvation.

My thoughts: Thanks so much to The Mod Podge Bookshelf for hosting this awesome contest. I was stunned when I found out I won. April & Oliver is an adult romance but I am still very excited to read it. It sounds romantic, dramatic, and just awesome!

Half-blood swag from Jennifer L. Armentrout (signed)

My thoughts: Thanks so much to Jennifer for the awesome guitar picks and the promotional card for Half-blood. Jennifer hosted this contest on Twitter and was kind enough to send me this. Can’t wait until Half-blood is available!

Well that’s it for my not-very-full-but-great mailbox (maybe next week will be a better one)! I’d love to hear what you got in your mailbox so leave a comment & link and I will be sure to check it out!

Follow Friday/Book Blogger Hop (1)

*This is inspired by Parajunkee so make sure you head over and join the fun!*

Give us five BOOK RELATED silly facts about you:

1. More times than not, I read the last page of the book before I start it. It is the worst habit ever and it often times ruins the surprise, but I can’t seem to stop.

2. I am an avid re-reader. I re-read books all the time. My favorites like The Truth About Forever or The Secret Society Girl series have been re-read twice, or three, or five times.

3. My bookshelf is organized; to the point where I am quite anal about it. All books are organized by author’s last name, first name, books not in a series, than books in a series IN ORDER. That way I know when sneaky little book thieves come in and try to take my lovelies.

4. I don’t have a library card and do not intend to get one (for at least a couple more years). A few years ago when I was 16, I went to go sign up with a library membership so I could get some fabulous books. They told me you needed to be 18 to get a library card;blasphemy! So now I boycott the library.

5. I won’t start reading a series until I have all published books of that series. For instance I have The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han but I wont start reading it until I have the next two books.

*This is inspired by Crazy for Books so make sure you head over there and join the fun!*

If you could physically put yourself into a book or series…which one would it be and why?

This is a hard question to answer! As far as paranormal books/series that I would love to be a part of, I would have to say Cassandra Clare’s The Mortal Instruments series. I mean come on, I’d love to kick some demon butt! For the realistic-fiction side of things it would for sure be Diana Peterfreund’s Secret Society Girl series. I would love to go to an elite college and then be a part of one of the world’s most secretive clubs.

Book Review: Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John

Five Flavors of Dumb

Title: Five Flavors of Dumb

Author: Antony John

Publisher: Dial

Pages: 338 hardcover

My Rating: 4/5 stars

The Challenge: Piper has one month to get the rock band Dumb a paying gig.

The Deal: If she does it, Piper will become the band’s manager and get her share of the profits.

The Catch: How can Piper possibly manage one egomaniacal pretty boy, one talentless piece of eye candy, one crush, one silent rocker, and one angry girl? And how can she do it when she’s deaf?

Piper can’t hear Dumb’s music, but with growing self-confidence, a budding romance, and a new understanding of the decision her family made to buy a cochlear implant for her deaf baby sister, she discovers her own inner rock star and what it truly means to be a flavor of Dumb.

If there was an award for most unique story line, Five Flavors of Dumb has my vote! This story was so refreshing, new, and just purely wonderful!

The main character, Piper, is a loner. She blends into the background. Every day she goes to all her classes, gets good grades, plays chess during lunch, and then goes straight home. One day however, Dumb, the school’s top band, plays an impromptu performance on school grounds. Piper is completely entranced with their energy. She may not be able to hear a single note (Piper is deaf, by the way), but she can just feel their power emanating from the stage (literally and figuratively). Before she knows it, Piper is managing Dumb. This sends her on one wild roller coaster of ups and downs. With tracking down the homes of dead rock stars to trying to find a paying gig for Dumb, Piper is sure on one interesting adventure.

 Aside from the book having the most interesting premise that I’ve ever read Antony’s writing was beautiful. The dialog between characters flowed nice and easy but he somehow managed to fit extremely touching words into them. One that stands out the most to me and I feel fits the book perfectly is:

“Honestly, one day you will wake up and say that (“That’s not me at all”). And no matter what godforsaken mess Kallie ends up with today, she will too. And so will Tash, and everyone else who comes in here. But you’re worrying about the wrong thing. Don’t worry about wanting to change; start worrying when you don’t feel like changing anymore. And in the meantime, enjoy every version of yourself you ever meet, because not everybody who discovers their true identity likes what they find.”

-Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John, pg. 234

That is some deep stuff, right? The whole story was filled with all these intellectual and “make-you-think” moments without weighing it down and coming off as cheesy. Instead, it made me like the book even more.

The characters were also very well done! Piper is realistic, spunky, sarcastic, and genuine. She sure has a lot of problems for a girl of only 18 years of age. She is deaf, her college fund has been depleted, her best friend moved away, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. No matter what situations life may throw her way, Piper takes it all in stride. Piper also shows an incredible amount of growth throughout the novel. Even though she was only the manager of the band, Piper, in my eyes, became a rock star too. Her personality blossomed, her confidence grew, and she became a pretty kick-butt manager.

There for her through it all was her messed up family and her five flavors of dumb, the band.

Piper’s family was a little bit screwed up, completely dysfunctional, yet so realistic. She has a workaholic mother, a father who won’t accept the fact that she is deaf, a younger brother who gets into trouble every five seconds, and a baby sister, who was once deaf but due to a very expensive surgery, can now hear. The family fights, argues, disagrees, they have their ups and down but in time they learn to work together and be there for one another. That was something spectacular to see.

As for Piper’s band mates, what a quirky bunch of kids! Josh, lead singer of the band, is hot, has talent, and loves himself a little too much. Will, the band’s guitarist was quiet, reserved, and seemed to say no more than 20 words the whole book. (If there was one complaint about the characters, it would be about Will. I would have liked to hear a little more from him!). Tash is the hardcore rocker of the group. She gives off a very tough, very angry vibe all of the time but once you get through that tough exterior of hers, she is actually pretty sweet. Kallie, the belle of the ball, is the eye-candy of the band. She is sugar-sweet, extra pretty, and has no instrumental talent at all. Kallie is one of my favorite side characters! She has an up-beat, positive personality throughout the whole book regardless of what terrible situations she was in. Last but not least is Ed, the nerdy-rocker. He is one of Piper’s best friends and one of the last guys you would think to be the band’s drummer. Loved Ed! He helped Piper out at all the right times, pulled the band closer together whenever they needed it, and I have a little thing for drummers, so I pictured him being really cute!

It wouldn’t be a book about a rock band without a little reference to the music genre, right? Well Antony, sure knew what he was talking about! From Dumb’s punk-rock sound to the mentions of classics like Kurt Cobain and Jimi Hendrix, this book was lined with musical notes (figuratively, not literally, although that would be very cool!).

 A little bit of self-discovery, a little bit of determination, a little bit of funky characters, and a lot of Rock and Roll; Five Flavors of Dumb is in a category all its own. If you are looking for a refreshing, upbeat story, than this book is for you!