Queen of Babble Review

queen-of-babble

Unfortunately, the Meg Cabot’s Queen of Babble had some king-sized problems.

Queen of Babble follows Lizzie Nichols, a recent college graduate with a big mouth, who travels to London for the summer to spend time with her boyfriend. However, plans her plans do not go as expected. Soon, Lizzie finds herself at a chateau in France with her friends to help with a wedding. There she meets Luke, the chateau owner’s son, and finds herself falling for him.

Since high school, I always loved Meg Cabot books. Most of the books I checked out between freshman and senior year were either Meg Cabot or Sarah Dessen. I loved how Meg Cabot’s colorful and fun writing stood apart from other books. I’m disappointed to say, however, that I did not really enjoy Queen of Babble.

One of my main issues with this book was the main character, Lizzie. After recently graduating college, potentially moving to New York, and spending the summer in London, I expected Lizzie to act a little more mature. However, Lizzie’s voice actually reminded me of a character from a younger YA book. After a brief encounter with her boyfriend, she planned their entire lives together. She built him up to be this wonderful guy after meeting him one time, despite warnings from her friends. After awhile, her character really irritated to me.

Another issue I had with Queen of Babble was the pacing. If you want to read this book, do not read the summary from Goodreads because description is the entire book. When I was reading, I was surprised that I was already around 40% through the book and Luke still didn’t appear in the book. Furthermore, a lot of the book repeated what happened in earlier parts of the book just to different characters. Even though Lizzie is the “queen of babbling,” sometimes it became a little too much. I found myself skipping paragraphs where she repeated the same information over and over.

As a result, the romance part of the book suffered. Lizzie doesn’t meet Luke until far into the book, which means there is little time to see their relationship develop. Especially since Luke has a girlfriend when Lizzie arrives, readers are only given a few cute moments between the characters. Even though this book is very chicklit, I expected a little more out of their relationship.

Overall, Queen of Babble was okay, but not my favorite Meg Cabot book. Since it took awhile for me to become interested in the story and I wasn’t the biggest fan of the main character, I give this book two out of five stars.

Allie Finkle’s Rules for Girls: Stage Fright Review

stage-fright

Lights, camera… action! Allie Finkle takes the stage in the fourth book of the Rules for Girls series.

In Allie Finkle’s Rules for Girls: Stage Fright, Meg Cabot’s middle grade heroine auditions for a role in her class play about recycling. Every girl in the class covets the main role, Princess Penelope, who wanders through the recycling forest while hiding from the evil queen. Much to Allie’s dismay, Mrs. Hunter casts her as the evil queen.

Last read, I read the first Allie Finkle book. I expected a cute book with a nice message for young readers. I was surprised to find myself laughing out loud at Allie’s crazy antics. Even though I didn’t like the fourth book as much as the first book, Stage Fright offers a lot of laughs and good messages for younger readers.

I think the best aspect of this book is Allie Finkle’s attitude. Unlike many novels featuring characters of the same age, Allie does not disrespect her parents or incite petty drama between her friends. Allie acts extremely mature and supports her friends even when one of her friends gets the part she wanted in the school play and acts mean towards her. Many of her rules are extremely relatable and useful for readers. She also provides many witty observations about the other students in her class.

Another aspect I enjoyed about this book were Allie’s rules. A lot of books for this age range also utilize rules within their books. However, I think Allie’s rules stand out from the other similar books. All of Allie’s rules, which are listed at the end of the book, are extremely useful and relatable for readers. I especially liked the rules in this book because they encouraged readers to be nice to others, do the best with what you are given, and to support your friends.

Overall, Stage Fright is a nice addition to the Allie Finkle series. While the beginning was a little slow for me, it really picked up in the middle and end. I rate Allie Finkle’s Rules for Girls: Stage Fright as four out of five stars.

The Brittany Awards Part Two: Middle Grade Books

the-brittany-awards

Throughout the month of December, I am awarding my favorite books that I read throughout 2016. There are four categories (picture books, middle grade books, young adult books, and overall favorite books) with 5 winners and 3 honorable mentions in each category. Last week, I chose my top five favorite picture books (see the winners here). This week, I will choose the winners for my top five middle grade books that I read in 2016.

For each winner, I will include a link to the review, my rating, and an excerpt from the review (if there is a review of the book on my blog). For middle grade books, I decided on a top six with two honorable mentions. Here are my choices for favorite middle grade books of 2016, in no particular order:

1.) Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan (★ ★ ★ ★ ★)

The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #1)

“Percy may be a Half Blood, but the book about him is full of action, humor, and heart.”

2.) Jessica Darling’s It List: The Totally Not Guaranteed Guide to Popularity, Prettiness, and Perfection by Megan McCafferty (★ ★ ★ ★ ★)

Jessica Darling's It List: The (Totally Not) Guaranteed Guide to Popularity, Prettiness & Perfection

“Megan McCafferty did the perfect job of capturing the middle school voice and creating characters and situations that are extremely relatable. I think this book is hilarious, but also provides meaningful advice to the book’s target audience.”

3.) Judy Moody Declares Independence by Megan McDonald (★ ★ ★ ★ ★)

Judy Moody Declares Independence (Judy Moody #6)

“Life, liberty, and the pursuit of moodiness.”

4.) Clara Lee and the Apple Pie Dream by Jenny Han (★ ★ ★ ★ ★)

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“Clara Lee and the Apple Pie Dream was a cute fall book that was surprisingly deep. Going into this book, I didn’t expect to uncover a really deep message, but I think Jenny Han did a great job of tackling an interesting theme for younger readers.”

5.) Wonder by R.J. Palacio (★ ★ ★ ★ ★)

Wonder

“Wonder by R.J. Palacio is an inspirational middle-grade novel with well-developed and authentic characters…”

6.) Allie Finkle’s Rules for Girls: Moving Day by Meg Cabot (★ ★ ★ ★ ★)

Moving Day (Allie Finkle's Rules for Girls, #1)

“I absolutely LOVED this book. Allie Finkle was a hilarious protagonist with sass and spunk.”

 

Here are my honorable mentions for the middle grade category:

1.) Miss Popularity by Francesco Sedita (★ ★ ★ ★)

Miss Popularity (Miss Popularity #1; Candy Apple #3)

“While the main character, Cassie Knight, embodies the Texas girl stereotype, she is also a great role model for girls.”

2.) Sincerely by Courtney Shienmel (★ ★ ★ ★)

 Sincerely, Sophie; Sincerely, Katie

“When I picked up Sincerely, I was expecting a fluffy and lighthearted book, but it was much deeper than that.”

What was your favorite middle grade book of 2016?

#ThrowbackThursday: Middle Grade Mini-Reviews 2

mini review

Allie Finkle’s Rules for Girls: Moving Day by Meg Cabot

Allie Finkle is a fourth-grade geode collector and best friend of crybaby Mary Kay until her parents announce that they are moving across town, meaning she will have to go to a new school, make new best friends, and get rid of her geode collection. Allie, determined to not move to a possibly haunted house, does everything she can to stop the move.

I absolutely LOVED this book. Allie Finkle was a hilarious protagonist with sass and spunk. All of the characters were very realistic and every situation Allie found herself in was fun and interesting! After reading this book, I’m definitely interested in reading more books in the series to see what happens to Allie. I give this book five out of five stars.

From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess by Meg Cabot

Middle schooler Olivia Grace’s world is turned upside when she finds out her sister is Princess Mia Thermopolis, meaning she is also a princess of Genovia. Olivia Grace’s dream comes true when she has the chance to meet her dad and live with Mia and him in Genovia. Things get complicated when her guardians refuse to release custody.

I think younger readers who have never read The Princess Diaries series will enjoy this book, however I had some problems with it. I think the protagonist, Olivia Grace, is adorable, but doesn’t have as much personality as some of Meg Cabot’s other characters. I think most of the book was a sequence of events used to set up the rest of the series. That being said, if you read the final Princess Diaries book, I’d probably skip this one because this book is pretty much identical to the ending of Royal Wedding. I give this book three out of five stars.

Sincerely by Courtney Shienmel. 

Sincerely by Courtney Shienmel consists of two books (Sincerely, Sophie and Sincerely, Katie) and follows two 11-year-old pen pals, Sophie and Katie. In Sophie’s story, Sophie deals with her best friend ditching her for a different group of girls and her parents’ divorce. Then, Katie struggles to gain attention from her parents and best friend while organizing a charity run for an earthquake in Mexico.

When I picked up Sincerely, I was expecting a fluffy and lighthearted book, but it was much deeper than that. Both Sophie and Katie struggled with extremely real problems and both of their stories were very character driven. Every character was multi-dimensional and greatly added to the story. This book does have one minor swear word, so if you are a parent and aren’t comfortable with this, then I wouldn’t recommend buying this book for your child. I rate this book four out of five stars.

May Reading Wrap-Up

wrap up

Here is a list of all the books that I read this month and my thoughts on them:

What books will you be reading next month?

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books I Really Love But Feel Like I Haven’t Talked About Enough

top ten

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the Broke and the Bookish. This week’s theme is “Ten Books I Really Love But Feel Like I Haven’t Talked About Enough.” Here’s my top ten!

1.) The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks

Even though I haven’t really been able to get into Nicholas Sparks books, I did love The Last Song. I loved the beach setting and how Ronnie’s relationship with her father grows throughout the book.

2.) It’s a Mall World After All by Janette Rallison

I first read this book in middle school and every time I reread it, I laugh even harder. Sometimes it’s hard for me to find humorous contemporary books that I like, but Janette Rallison’s books always make me laugh out loud!

3.) Just One Wish by Janette Rallison

This book by Janette Rallison is the perfect blend of humor and heart. I loved this book in high school, so I can’t believe it haven’t mentioned it more!

4.) Avalon High by Meg Cabot

Avalon High is a retelling of King Arthur, so usually that would be something that wouldn’t draw me in. However, I loved this book and definitely recommend it.

5.) The Giver by Lois Lowry

I actually first read The Giver for a class in college and I was surprised by how quickly I read through it. I haven’t read any of the other books in the series yet, but this makes me want to read the rest.

6.) Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta

Saving Francesca is like a book that takes a similar plot that you would see in a movie, but gives the characters more depth. I think it’s a great book if you want a fun story line, but with deep characters.

7.) Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! by Mo Willems

This book is absolutely hilarious and every person I’ve showed this book to falls in love with the pigeon.

8.) Peaches by Jodi Lynn Anderson

I remember loving this book and reading through it in one day. It takes place in the summer and has unique characters that you can’t help but love.

9.) The Juliet Club by Suzanne Harper

This book drew me in because who wouldn’t want to spend the summer in Italy? Sending a letter to Juliet is also a fun idea that you can actually do yourself!

10.) Secret Santa by Sabrina James

Today I posted a review of Spring Fling by Sabrina James (you can read my review here) and it made me remember how much I loved Secret Santa by the same author. The plot of this book is just like a high school movie, which I love!

Final Countdown Friday: Meg Cabot

meg cabot books

Day 5 of Blogentine’s Day where I countdown the books by one of my favorite authors

I started reading Meg Cabot’s books in elementary school, starting with the Princess Diaries series. I remember going to the store and my mom let me pick out a book. I already had the first book in the series, my sister chose the second book, and I picked the third (probably because it was pink).

The third Princess Diaries book

Whenever I want to read books with a light and fluffy romance, I always grab for Meg Cabot. I’ve reread her books a few times and love them more each time that I read them. Here is a countdown of my favorite young adult Meg Cabot books (excluding the Abandon series, the Mediator series, Vanished, and Jinx):

9. Airhead series

I like Emerson Watts, but she isn’t my favorite Meg Cabot character. I also wish this was more of a standalone novel. I’ve only read 2/3 of the books in this series and while I do want to know how it ends, I never find myself going out of my way to read it.

8. Pants on Fire

I really like the main character Kate in this book because she isn’t the typical Meg Cabot character. I like the story line and relationship in this book, but it isn’t my favorite and I don’t find myself rereading this book as much as some of Meg Cabot’s other books.

7. How to be Popular

Since many of Meg Cabot’s characters scoff at popularity, it is refreshing to see a character who strives for popularity. How to be Popular is a fun, quick read that I remember rereading every year that I was in high school.

6. and 5. Nicola and the Viscount/Victoria and the Rogue

 

 

 

 

 

 

I read both of these books when I went on vacation to the beach and they were perfect beach reads. Both are historical fiction books that follow similar plots. They are the perfect romances to read when you want a quick and light read.

4. Avalon High

I really like reading Avalon High over and over to pick up on little details that I didn’t notice the first time around. I love how Ellie refuses to believe her role is over in the story and fights until the end. There’s also a Disney movie based on this that definitely doesn’t do this book justice.

3. Teen Idol

Every time I read Teen Idol, I laugh out loud. All of the characters will remind you of someone you went to high school with and everyone has though about a movie star coming to their school. I really like the less obvious love interest and Jenny’s compassion for others.

2. All-American Girl series

I reread All-American Girl at least twice a year. There are only two books (so it is a lot quicker to go through than the Princess Diaries) and it always makes me laugh out loud. I love how Samantha realizes who she really is and stands up for herself at the end.

  1. Princess Diaries series

The Princess Diaries and All-American Girl are very close in my book, but the Princess Diaries wins out because I love seeing Mia grow from the awkward girl in high school into a leader who takes control of her own life. I’ve always identified with Mia’s character and appreciated her relationship with Michael.

What is your favorite Meg Cabot book?