The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks cover
The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks
by E. Lockhart
Goodreads | Book Depository | Amazon
Release Date: March 25th 2008
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Series: Stand Alone

Goodreads description: Frankie Landau-Banks at age 14:
Debate Club.
Her father’s “bunny rabbit.”
A mildly geeky girl attending a highly competitive boarding school.

Frankie Landau-Banks at age 15:
A knockout figure.
A sharp tongue.
A chip on her shoulder.
And a gorgeous new senior boyfriend: the supremely goofy, word-obsessed Matthew Livingston.

Frankie Laundau-Banks.
No longer the kind of girl to take “no” for an answer.
Especially when “no” means she’s excluded from her boyfriend’s all-male secret society.
Not when her ex boyfriend shows up in the strangest of places.
Not when she knows she’s smarter than any of them.
When she knows Matthew’s lying to her.
And when there are so many, many pranks to be done.

Frankie Landau-Banks, at age 16:
Possibly a criminal mastermind.

This is the story of how she got that way.

I like E. Lockhart’s Ruby Oliver series and I’m excited about We Were Liars. I’ve wanted to read Frankie for a while but actually happened upon it when I was looking for a book to check out with Not A Drop to Drink.

Frankie goes to a private boarding school and there’s a boys only secret club. After a summer of growing and transformation, she becomes involved with a member of the society, but she can never really be a part of the club. The club seems fun and tightly knit, so she isn’t happy they won’t let girls in. She mischievously becomes a player in the club while still being an observer.

I really liked this book. It was kind of nothing like I expected, and that only made me like it more. Frankie doesn’t hate herself, but she has confidence issues that seem common. She’s pretty but she isn’t exactly a standout, she is kind of in the middle. She’s smart and quirky. She wanted to be a part of something, she wanted more, she refused to sit back and let them tell her she couldn’t. She manipulated the situation and had to face the consequences of it. I liked that the story didn’t really go how I expected it to go, and I felt like Frankie did learn a lesson. I also liked Michael, but I won’t go into a whole thing about him, since it’s Frankie’s story.

There were things about Frankie that were annoying. She had some extreme moments where I wanted to tell her to calm down, and some of them were sort of normalish teen behavior, but some were out there. She might have pushed a few things too far. She wasn’t always fair to everyone, and some of her reasoning behind actions were probably immature. That being said, my annoyances weren’t major and I mainly enjoyed the book.

rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks isn’t perfect, but I found it enjoyable. Frankie is strong, makes mistakes, and can be selfish. I liked it. I think E. Lockhart is a fun author, and I plan to read whatever she writes (as long as it sounds interesting, anyway). I don’t think this one is for everyone, but maybe if the boarding school and secret group thing sounds interesting to you, you should check it out!

E. Lockhart’s website and twitter!

All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill [thoughts]

All Our Yesterdays coverAll Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill
Goodreads | Book Depository | Amazon
Release Date: 
September 3rd 2013
Publisher: 
Disney Hyperion
Series: Al Our Yesterdays #1

Goodreads description: What would you change?

Imprisoned in the heart of a secret military base, Em has nothing except the voice of the boy in the cell next door and the list of instructions she finds taped inside the drain.

Only Em can complete the final instruction. She’s tried everything to prevent the creation of a time machine that will tear the world apart. She holds the proof: a list she has never seen before, written in her own hand. Each failed attempt in the past has led her to the same terrible present—imprisoned and tortured by a sadistic man called the doctor while war rages outside.

Marina has loved her best friend, James, since they were children. A gorgeous, introverted science prodigy from one of America’s most famous families, James finally seems to be seeing Marina in a new way, too. But on one disastrous night, James’s life crumbles, and with it, Marina’s hopes for their future. Marina will protect James, no matter what. Even if it means opening her eyes to a truth so terrible that she may not survive it… at least, not as the girl she once was. Em and Marina are in a race against time that only one of them can win. All Our Yesterdays is a wrenching, brilliantly plotted story of fierce love, unthinkable sacrifice, and the infinite implications of our every choice.

I saw All Our Yesterdays getting a bit of buzz from bloggers, and I like time travel anything. For some reason, even with interest and positive reviews, I wasn’t really super excited about it. However, I was pleasantly surprised!

Em is the main character and she’s in a bad future where time travel is possible. Other versions of herself and a friend named Finn have gone back in time to try to correct/stop something big, but it never works out. She has managed to leave herself clues on what to try next. Along with Finn, she goes back in time to see if one thing she doesn’t want to do will save the future. I really enjoyed how the book was set up with alternating POVs from the same person in different times.

Sometimes I get weird about small details, but I felt like this story kept focus on what happened during the time travel and the story rather than time travel itself. There was some science and paradox talk, but I felt like it worked. There was nothing huge that bugged me, and I didn’t feel like it was too complicated. The situation of trying to change the world before it goes wrong and trying to decide what changes to make and if you can hurt someone you love  if you knew it would make the better place and prevent awful things from happening. It was thought provoking and very interesting.

I liked all of the characters, I was even intrigued by the “bad guy.” Em was determined and I enjoyed her so much. She went through some tough things, but she grew and I liked how the book handled her transition and how she dealt with her feelings for the past and her past self.  I also enjoyed Finn and would have liked even more of him! I think I would have liked a little more of their memories and time together, too. The romance was not the book’s focus, and I liked that, but I was curious about that some parts that were left out and would have liked to get to know them better. While I enjoyed them all, I didn’t really fall in love with any of them.

4 star rating

All Our Yesterdays hooked me early on, and I read most of it in one sitting. It was engrossing, and I kept thinking about it all day after I finished. I wanted more! This is a book I can see myself enjoying again. I would also love to read more of Cristin Terrill’s work and even though I have no idea what the rest of the series will involve, I’m excited about it! I recommend All Our Yesterdays, but especially if you like time travel.

Cristin Terrill‘s website and twitter!

Series Post: Heist Society by Ally Carter

The Heist Society

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I’ve seen these books around a lot and didn’t want to read them because of the covers. I’m weird about faces on covers. I can’t actually remember who it was I saw talking about the Heist Society books the other day that made me think, “Oh, maybe they’re good,” but I’m glad I decided to give them a chance! AND Ally Carter is from Oklahoma, which I didn’t know until after I read the series and followed her on twitter, but I love finding out people are from Oklahoma!

Heist Society | February 9th 2010 | Disney-Hyperion | goodreads | amazon | book depository

A good thief is always a good liar.”

An Introduction to a family of criminals! A young girl at boarding school, framed for a terrible crime. Kat (short for Katarina) Bishop is attempting a normal life at the Colgan School. She has left a life – and family – of crime. However, the life and the family will not leave her.

Kat’s friend Hale retrieves her from boarding school because her father is in trouble. Her father, Bobby, is a con man but another con man, a dangerous one, believes he stole some very high-end paintings. However, while Bobby has stolen a lot of things, he did not steal the paintings in question. To save her father from certain violence for a crime he didn’t commit, she gathers a team of teens to steal the paintings back from an (almost) impenetrable museum.

Uncommon Criminals | June 21st 2011 | Disney-Hyperion | goodreads | amazon | book depository

After learning more about art that was stolen by Nazis from her experience in the Henley, Kat assumes a Robin Hood role of returning important stolen goods. She takes an interest in small, solo jobs. She gains a reputation for being a noble thief that will help retrieve lost or stolen valuables. When someone comes to her for help retrieving half of the supposedly cursed Cleopatra diamond, she can’t refuse.

Kat calls her team together again and they set out to steal a legendary piece. As they perform the con, they start to believe the curse might be real. They also realize they’re not the only ones running a con!

Perfect Scoundrels | February 5th 2013 | Hyperion Books for Children | goodreads | amazon | book depository

The con lies closer to home this time when Hale’s family is involved. After his grandmother Hazel dies, Hale is withdrawn. Kat can understand that he’s upset and she doesn’t know how to help. Shockingly to the rest of his family, Hale is named head of the family company. However Marcus, a loyal servant to the Hale family, and friend to the youngest Hale, believes the will that was read is a fake and asks Kat to locate and steal the grandmother’s real will. Kat is reluctant to do anything that might hurt Hale, but she knows how important the truth is.

While trying to steal the will, they discover it isn’t the only thing that’s wrong. Hazel’s lawyer is a liar and wants to bring the company down. The gang, this time including Uncle Eddie and other adult members of the family, runs a con to protect Hall’s family and company from demise.

Review-ish

Issues: It was a bit difficult to believe teens could run such elaborate cons. Kat is fifteen when the first book starts up and Hale is sixteen. It did made sense that they had a brilliant hacker and most of the them grew up learning the tricks and honing skills. There were also some “hmm” moments with bad guys and just, how did they not get caught moments. However,  it was not a big enough deal to diminish any enjoyment for me.

Heists: High tech museums, legendary emeralds, and the corporate world all require a lot of planning. Part of being a good thief is research but a lot of it is being able to roll with the punches. It also requires a few costumes, accents and charisma! Add in some hacking, surveillance, forgery and explosives and what more could you ask for? PLUS, every heist has a name and there are some good ones!

Family: I loved how the series focused on the family aspect. It’s a crime family and they deal with some serious stuff, but they all really care for each other. They hang out in Uncle Eddie’s kitchen and he tells them stories. They all go to Paraguay (or is it Uruguay?) for family heists. Kat thinks she wants to step away from the business, but she still loves her family. Hale is incredibly drawn to the family, he doesn’t need anything they might steal but the closeness is something he craves.

Romance: I also liked the romance! The first book doesn’t get too into the romance, but it’s obvious Kat and Hale like each other and have chemistry. The thing I really love about the romance is that, yes, they both find the other attractive but they both care about so much more than that. Hale wants to be part of Kat’s family and he wants to help her. He wants her to be safe. He’s protective of her, but not in an overbearing/douchey way. He just CARES! Kat is bashful about Hale even though she likes him and they’re close. She doesn’t know everything about him (like what his W’s represent!) but she knows he’s always there when she needs him and she wants to be there for him, too. They are just great, and it felt like more than a simple teenage romance.

Characters: There were so many great characters that made the series! From Uncle Eddie, the mastermind of the family, to Simon, the computer whiz, and Angus and Hamish, the brothers that like to blow things up, this series is full of characters to connect with! The main characters are the ones I fell in love with:

Kat: She loves her family and wants what’s best for them. She wants a life outside of the family business, but she’ll do anything to help them. She’s a thief but she definitely has a strong sense of morality. 

Hale: “Kat sometimes wondered if that kind of self-assurance was something only very old money could buy.”  He’s suave but he’s also genuine and vulnerable. His family is rich and absent, leaving little Hale all alone. He does have an awesome butler, Marcus, who is actually more like family. Hale and Kat met on a heist gone wrong and she “stole” him. He adores Kat and there’s some great friendship and flirtation between the two. There’s also the mystery of his name: W. W. Hale the Fifth goes only by Hale and Kat has no idea what the W’s stand for! And after 3 books, I don’t either!

Gabrielle: I love characters that change your mind! I was annoyed with her when she was introduced. I thought she was an air head, but she proved me wrong, wrong, wrong.  She is smart and beautiful and she will not let you forget it. She is an asset to every heist. She’s also a great cousin and friend to Kat, she listens and gives advice Kat needs to hear, even if she doesn’t want to listen!

These books were fun! I can see myself rereading them and telling anyone that needs a happy, quick series to sink into to get this series! I’m interested in reading the Gallagher Girls series now, too!

Check out Ally Carter’s website and twitter!

Review: Nantucket Blue by Leila Howland

Nantucket Blue coverNantucket Blue by Leila Howland
Goodreads | Book Depository | Amazon
Release Date: May 7th 2013
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Series: it seems like a sequel (Nantucket Red) is coming out next summer!

Goodreads description:For Cricket Thompson, a summer like this one will change everything. A summer spent on Nantucket with her best friend, Jules Clayton, and the indomitable Clayton family. A summer when she’ll make the almost unattainable Jay Logan hers. A summer to surpass all dreams.

Some of this turns out to be true. Some of it doesn’t.

When Jules and her family suffer a devastating tragedy that forces the girls apart, Jules becomes a stranger whom Cricket wonders whether she ever really knew. And instead of lying on the beach working on her caramel-colored tan, Cricket is making beds and cleaning bathrooms to support herself in paradise for the summer.

But it’s the things Cricket hadn’t counted on–most of all, falling hard for someone who should be completely off-limits–that turn her dreams into an exhilarating, bittersweet reality.

A beautiful future is within her grasp, and Cricket must find the grace to embrace it. If she does, her life could be the perfect shade of Nantucket blue.

Confession: I have never been to an actual beach. I live in Oklahoma, the very middle of the country, and I have never seen the ocean. I have seen lakes and I love them, but they are not the same. I have always wanted to see the ocean and spend time on the beach but for some reason, it hasn’t happened yet. Sometimes beach reads are fun to read (like this one!) and sometimes they just taunt me (okay, still this one).

Cricket plays lacrosse at an all-girl school in Rhode Island. She is ready for summer and the chance to spend time with her crush Jay before he leaves for a summer in Nantucket. She spends most of her time with her best friend Jules and her family. She loves Jules’s family, especially her mother Nina. Her own parents are divorced; her father has a new family and her mother has become a bit withdrawn. With Jules’s family, she finds a connection she desires and a place to belong. When they invite her to spend the summer on Nantucket with them, it seems like a dream come true.

All that changes when a member of Jules’s family unexpectedly dies and Jules begins to drift away. She cancels their summer plans to go to Nantucket together. Cricket believes Jules just needs time and will realize that she really needs her best friend. In a show of desperate independence, she decides to go to Nantucket anyway to be there for Jules and be around Jay. Unfortunately, neither Jules nor Jay are happy to see her when she arrives.

Cricket expects a summer of flirting, friendship, and the beach. Instead, she deals with the death of someone important and the loss of a friendship. She finds a job as a chambermaid in a hotel. She also helps an author write a biography on a recently dead senator. She words hard, makes new friends, and spends more time alone. She has a diary (written in a book of Emily Dickinson poems) her mom wrote when she was young and on Nantucket. In her solitude, she learns a lot about herself and her mother. Somewhat surprisingly, she starts spending time with Jules’s little brother, Zack, and sparks fly.

I have to admit that I wasn’t really sure what to think of Cricket in the beginning. A lot of things she did/said about her crush and others were annoying and catty, but seemed sadly realistic for high school girls. Cricket is very earnest, which isn’t really a bad thing, but when mixed with a natural naivete it can be a bit much. However, it’s easy to remember how young she is and how much she has to learn. She makes mistakes but she takes responsibility for them. She stands up for herself even when she knew she had made a mistake, which I think is really important. Just because you make a mistake doesn’t give someone the right to treat you badly. It was also interesting to see her family versus what she wanted in a family. Her relationship with both parents was frustrating, but it was great to see her reach out to her mother.

Jules is consumed by grief and it makes her angry. It’s natural to be angry when you’ve lost someone, and it’s understandable to lash out. There’s definitely some leeway there, but she takes advantage of it. Jules doesn’t care about anything, she doesn’t care about destroying a friendship or changing. It’s difficult to continue feeling sympathy for her when she’s so combative and hateful.

I liked the romance and I really liked Zack. I actually have some weird thing about the guy being younger (I know, it makes no sense) but I thought they were cute and they worked. I tend to like best friend’s brother/sibling stories, and I never really get why a friend wouldn’t want you dating someone in their family. I thought the romance was sweet and imperfect. It was “forbidden” but they both actually cared about each other. It made me smile like an idiot and Zack is probably my favorite character.

I liked Cricket’s road to knowledge, as sad and lonely as it was at some points. Cricket discovers a lot about who she is and what she wants from life. She finds out how she wants to be treated and how she wants to treat others.

I enjoyed Nantucket Blue and it made me want to visit Nantucket in a serious way! The setting was fun, and it felt very homey. The story wasn’t as light as I expected, but I do see myself reading it again! I thought it kind of ended in a weird place, so I’m very excited about Nantucket Red!

4 star rating

Check out Leila Howland’s website and twitter!