4 out of 5 stars
Publisher: Walker Childrens
Date: January 2012
Page Count: 400
Reading Level: Ages 13-17
Piper, Cassidy, Mei, and Izzy have been best friends their whole lives. And they’ve always agreed on one goal: to get out of tiny Paris, Texas, and see the world. The school’s foreign exchange program seems like the perfect escape: Piper will go to the original Paris; Mei will go to China; Cassidy will go to Australia; and Izzy, unable to afford the program, will stay at home. To add spice to their semester away, and to stay connected to their best friends, the girls start The International Kissing Club, a Facebook page where they can anonymously update one another and brag about all the amazing guys they’re meeting. After all, these girls are traveling abroad: amazing guys abound at every turn! But sometimes fun, flirty vacation flings turn into more serious romances, and sometimes you don’t return from abroad the same person you were. Will the girls’ relationships-and their friendships-be able to survive?
When I saw the premise to this book I though it was so funny and I though to myself, has anyone kept points like this before? I think I would have fit right in with the girls (Piper, Cassidy, Mei, and Izzy). If joining the schools foreign exchange program wasn’t good enough, starting The International Kissing Club (IKC) Facebook page would have been. Spending a semester overseas and no only do you get to experience culture, sightseeing, and amazing people and food… but you get to kiss foreign boys too… AND you can get points for it??! I think I’d call that a total win-win. Where can I sign up? Okay, Okay… I’m too old to do this now, but I would have totally down for it (If I would have been brave enough.)
Piper picks Paris for art. Cassidy picks Australia to get away from her troubles in Texas, Mei wants to go to china, hoping she’ll find her biological parents there, and Izzy picks Costa Rica so she can learn all about the Rain Forest. Disappointment comes early when Izzy can’t join in on the international fun because there isn’t enough money for her to make the trip. But she’s determined to make the best out of a horrible situation. She goes to work on Tanner Colt’s farm, the hottie quarterback of her dad’s football team. There’s just one little problem…he’s Pipers current crush and we know that you don’t kiss your best friends love interest, even if said boy might not be interested. Even if Piper is kissing her way through Paris- it’s the number one best friend rule.
It’s a summer to remember! Piper is kissing in Paris, Mei is trying to fit in with the people in China (and being very unsuccessful), Cassidy is having fun learning to surf, and poor Izzy is on a stinking farm! How will this summer turn out… it’s interesting to say the least, especially when word gets out around school about the IKC Facebook page. What will happen when the school finds out how they spent their time kissing when they should have been learning?
This was definitely a fun read but we also learn what true friendship is all about. My only dislike came when the chapters skipped ahead. One minute a character was doing this and then the next chapter, time skipped a month ahead. Sometimes I felt like I was being told how it happened instead of getting to experience it for myself. All in all, this didn’t hinder my feelings for the book. It was fun and if this book interests you, I recommend you give this a read!
You can check out an excerpt HERE
How about start your own International Kissing Club? Ivy Adams gives us the rules. How many points can you earn?
The Official Rules and Guidelines for the International Kissing Club
- Kiss and be kissed often
- One point per kiss. Three points if it really makes you shiver…
- Bonus points: Five points for two guys in one week and ten points for three
- Kiss and tell
Meet the Author (read more about them here)
IVY ADAMS is the pseudonym for three friends and writing partners: Emily McKay, Shellee Roberts, and Tracy Deebs. Though The International Kissing Club is their first novel together, they have written more than thirty novels between them. They shop, gossip, and watch movies in Texas. Look for The International Kissing Club on Facebook. (Barnes&Noble)
Visit The International Kissing Club website.
Around the World in 80 Kisses: Smooch Post #2
The International Kissing Club by Ivy Adams is the story of four best friends: Piper, Cassidy, Mei, and Izzy–the misfits of Paris, Texas. Their whole lives, they’ve dreamed of escaping small-town life and seeing the world. So when Piper is the victim of an embarrassing prank that goes viral online, she gets the idea that the girls should escape via the school’s international exchange program, in search of fun, love and internet redemption.
Ivy Adams is the pseudonym of for three friends and writing partners: Emily McKay, Shellee Roberts and Tracy Deebs. They shop, gossip and watch movies in Austin, Texas.
ACR: What or who inspired the story of the International Kissing Club?
IA: The kernel of the story was originally inspired by the globe-trotting exploits of a fellow writer, who in a previous career had traveled to all of these amazing places and been romanced by men the world over. It was perfect for a chick lit-ish type book. However, that never got off the ground. But we loved the idea and thought it would be really cute for a young adult novel, so we reworked it and ta-da! The International Kissing Club.
ACR: Travel around the globe being romanced by men the world over, what a horrible career they had. *Jealous*
ACR: A lot of writers create playlists that help inspire their story or fit a particular scene. Are you one of the many author’s with a playlist? If so, can you share the artists and titles with us?
IA: Yes, music is definitely an inspiration for writing. When planning out a scene I’ll find a song that I think informs the mood I’m reaching for and play it over and over and over–it drives my family nuts. Sometimes, I’ll print out the lyrics of a song and put them up at my desk, so as I’m working I have a reference for the spirit I’m trying to convey with the words. For IKC, there was a separate playlist for each girl and their individual story/romance. But, when I first heard “Young Blood” by the Naked and the Famous I just loved it and thought it captured perfectly everything we were trying do in the book–it’s an anthem to youth and first love and feeling lost and making mistakes but realizing that all of that is okay, that you’re okay. I turn up the radio every time I hear it.
ACR: Very good song lyrics for this song. I can’t say I’ve heard it before. I’ve found the song and video here on YouTube for those who want to take a listen.
ACR: Can you tell us one thing about Piper, Cassidy, Mei and Izzy that no one knows?
IA: Each of us wrote a different girl: Tracy wrote Piper, Shellee (me) wrote Cassidy, Emily wrote Izzy and we all worked on Mei. What happened when we wrote them was that we ended up writing ourselves into these characters. It wasn’t intentional and we didn’t even realize we were doing it at first, but these girls became a real reflection of us, our own internal issues, and our friendship in many ways. Tracy really is Piper–bubbly and dramatic; Emily is imminently practical and super eco-conscious (her whole house runs on rain water) just like Izzy; and Cassidy and I were separated at birth: snarky and fierce on the outside, terrified and neurotic on the inside. Mei is the best of all of us–smart and driven with a bit of rebel. If we’d all grown up together like our characters did, I’d like to think we’d have been best friends then as well.
ACR: It’s nice to see there is a piece of you all within these pages!
ACR: You joined the foreign exchange program, what country do you go to and what kind of boys do you hope to find?
IA: My favorite question! Right now, I have a deep yearning to visit Buenos Aires, Argentina. South America seems so sensual and mysterious to me. I love the language, the music and want to learn the tango, drink coffee and wine in the little sidewalk cafes along the cobblestone streets of the city, and walk in the footsteps of Jorge Luis Borges–one of my favorite authors. Then I’d go to the pampas and see the gauchos, Argentinian cowboys. Mmmm, cowboys.
ACR: Mmmm indeed. I think I’ll just tag along with you and follow in your footsteps. Though I think I’d be go with any place that has a foreign accent. The culture, the food, the music, the sightseeing….someone take me away!
Thank you so much Shellee for stopping by…this was a very fun interview! Now who wants to enter an awesome giveaway?? See the details below:
Leave a comment telling us where you’d go on a foreign exchange program and be entered to win the Around the World In 80 Kisses weekly prize and also become eligible to win the Grand Prize, a Kindle Fire.
For a list of all our Smooch Posts you can visit and earn more entries to win, visit us here.
In the spirit our my wonderful and yummy Thanksgiving tradition, I wanted to do something different. So I’ve selected a few titles from the books I’ve read that have made me “THINK.”
Now most of these book don’t have that awe expiring, life changing moment or anything but they gave me pause and left me thinking long after the book was closed.
Salvaged and Rise are two fantastic books about coming back after a tragic event and using your family, friends, and faith to find hope, love and forgiveness. It’s has strong morals and values on life and love that can be influential to those of any age.
Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma. This book had a very strong impact on me and they way I looked at incest. I know the thought alone sounds horrible but I’m a firm believer that you shouldn’t judge something you know nothing about and this book made me realize that there are relationships in the world like this. Maybe not for this exact reason but the bottom line for me…who am I to say you have no right loving the person you love? Very thought provoking, very heartbreaking. The BEST book I’ve read….EVER!
The Secret Year by Jennifer Hubbard. This was a small book that I pickup merely because it was $3. But it me wonder how I would react if the person I loved, had been in a relationship with for a year, secretly–died. How would I deal with their death when know one else knew about you were together? Quite a thoughtful book.
Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion. Now this was NOT a book I would have thought I would have liked. It’s about zombies. Never read a book about them, so I had no idea what to expect. It was fantastic. If a story is written well enough, you can give feelings to a piece of paper and make the reader have feelings for it. I felt the the main zombie in this book. I wanted him to get the girl-even if he did eat the brain of the girls boy friend (accidents happen, a zombie has to eat after all, right?) This book is being made into a movie and I can’t wait to see the adaptation of it.
We the Animals by Justin Torres. This book was a book recommendation. I wouldn’t have picked it up on my own. With an unexpected ending, it was a very real-life book. Even though it was a work of fiction, I felt like I was reading someone’s auto biography. I laughed and cried and it made me feel like there are people out there living this kind of life and going through similar trials as they grow up. It was a great read.
So, how can you win one of these awesome books? Just fill the form out! No requirements, prize depends on where you live (US or International) Contest ends December 3rd at midnight! Good Luck!
The Stefne Miller Bundle: US only
- 1 signed copy of Salvaged (Book #1)
- 1 signed copy of Rise (Book #2)
- 1 Salvaged leather cuff/bracelet
- 1 Bookmark
- 1 Christmas Card signed by Stefne.
1 International winner can choose 1 of the following from The Book Depository (if they ship to your address):
- The Secret Year
- Warm Bodies
- We the Animals
Take Romeo and Juliet. Add The Outsiders. Mix thoroughly.
Colt and Julia were secretly together for an entire year, and no one – not even Julia’s boyfriend – knew. They had nothing in common, with Julia in her country club world on Black Mountain and Colt from down on the flats, but it never mattered. Until Julia dies in a car accident, and Colt learns the price of secrecy. He can’t mourn Julia openly, and he’s tormented that he might have played a part in her death. When Julia’s journal ends up in his hands, Colt relives their year together at the same time that he’s desperately trying to forget her. But how do you get over someone who was never yours in the first place?
I wasn’t sure what to expect with this book. It came out early 2010, and since that was before my reading habit kicked in, I hadn’t heard too much about it. But the clearance table at my local bookstore convinced it was a book I needed to buy, considering it was only $3.00. Those are my kind of deals.
Anyway…coming in at just under 200 pages, I wondered just how deep this story could become if it was supposed to be about a tragic story of Colt and Julia’s secret relationship. But my suspicions were laid to rest once I let the story consume me. Colt was from the Flatts and Julia, from Black Mountain. Both places hate the other. Blackwater was an upper class rich community that looked down at the people from the Flatts. The people from the Flatt’s saw Blackwater people as stuck-up, and always getting what they want.
But when Colt and Julia get together, it doesn’t matter where they are from. They continue to met in secret, sharing everything about themselves… and they have a lot of sex too…let’s not forget about that. But their relationship was more than just the physical; they were able to be themselves around each other when they couldn’t around their friends. For one year, they their relationship a secret. And then Julia dies in an unfortunate car accident.
We all know losing someone is hard, but to lose someone whom has been your secret obcession for a year is so much worse. You can’t grieve openly, or have others console you. You have to go at it alone, and that’s just what Colt did after her death.
Jennifer Hubbard played out the emotions of Colt perfectly. The story is told from his point of view and she nailed Colt’s teenage voice perfectly.
It’s a heartbreaking story. You’re taken on a journey through Colt’s relationship with Julia and the time they shared together and we’re pulled through the grief he felt from her death. The Secret Year is a wonderfully told. If you haven’t picked up this quick read, I’d recommend you do so.
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH)
Date: August 2011
Page Count: 128
5 of 5 starsSynopsis: Three brothers tear their way through childhood— smashing tomatoes all over each other, building kites from trash, hiding out when their parents do battle, tiptoeing around the house as their mother sleeps off her graveyard shift. Paps and Ma are from Brooklyn—he’s Puerto Rican, she’s white—and their love is a serious, dangerous thing that makes and unmakes a family many times. Life in this family is fierce and absorbing, full of chaos and heartbreak and the euphoria of belonging completely to one another. From the intense familial unity felt by a child to the profound alienation he endures as he begins to see the world, this beautiful novel reinvents the coming-of-age story in a way that is sly and punch-in-the-stomach powerful. Written in magical language with unforgettable images, this is a stunning exploration of the viscerally charged landscape of growing up, how deeply we are formed by our earliest bonds, and how we are ultimately propelled at escape velocity toward our futures.
From all the books I’ve read in the past, I learned to never judge them by their covers. Its what’s inside the matters. Now after reading We the Animals, I learned to never judge a book by its size either. It’s only about 120 pages, but within those pages is so much story. It’s told from the point of view of the youngest of three brothers, and the hard life they lead with their mother and father. It’s not your normal continuance of a story. Instead, with each passing chapter, we get pieces of their life…the good, the bad, and the ugly.
The mother works the graveyard shift and a lot of days, she wakes up not knowing what day or hour it is. The father can’t keep a job, he’s loving to his family but also, at times, abusive and short tempered.This book reads like an autobiography even though it isn’t. The story felt real, as if I were getting a peek into their lives, seeing all the good and bad that comes along with raising a family when you’re young, over worked and always feeling like you’re never going to get ahead in life.
There were times that made me laugh and times when I was angry and upset over the way the father treated his wife and kids. I cried at the sweet moments they all had together. But there were times I cried over the heartbreak and what they had to endure.I watched their story unfold piece by piece, making me believe that there are families out in the world like this. They love their family one minute and hate it the next. Their life sucks. They do the best they can to get by with what the have. It’s life. It’s not everyone’s life, but I think it’s more than we may realize.
Torres writing–it’s stellar! I found my self reread parts, thinking to myself, “Wow!” I don’t know how to describe it. Poetic. Lyrical. Whatever the technical term is, it’s beautiful. Some lines fill you with goodness, or inspiration, while others cut you to the core, and fill you with sadness. With writing like this, I predict Torres has a long writing career ahead of him.
I don’t think I would have picked this book up on my own, it’s not my normal kind of read, but when I hear someone raving goodness over another book, I become intrigued. I like to have my views widened, my eyes open to the world around me and We the Animals did just that. So I send a special thanks to Adam over at Roof Beam Readers for intriguing my curiosity with his raving review. I encourage you to head on over to his blog and check it out, because he’s able to break down a book so much better than I can and he touches on so much more. His reviews are always spot on…so go have a look!
Let me wrap up by saying, I highly recommend this book. Does it have a warm and fuzzy happy ending– no. Does it make you step back and realize that this could very well be someone’s family, someone’s life– yes. I’m thankful to have read it.
It’s honest, it’s heartbreaking, it is fantatic.
You can visit Justin Torres website HERE for more information on him and We the Animals. Or you can buy this book from the following locations:
WINNER= KARI from A Good Addiction
It’s that time of year again…Contest Craze 2011. Hosted by the fabulous Cindy over at Princess Bookie.
I’ve decided to participate this year with a fun contest for everyone called, “What’s the first line?”
It’s simple. I’ve given you 4 book titles along with 3 lines taken from their pages. It’s up to you to pick the correct 1st line. Now it doesn’t matter if you’ve read the books or not… It’s just fun to guess!
You get 1 entry just for participating and up to 4 extra entries for each line you guess correct.
What’s the prize? You can choose from the following:
This contest is open to EVERYONE… if Book Depository.com will ship to your address. You can check HERE if you’re not sure.
Contest will run from Oct 22-26th. The winner will have 2 days to respond to my email or another winner will be chosen. Good Luck!
NAMELESS by Kyle Chais
Gallery Books/Karen Hunter Publishing
Pub Date: January 10, 2012
They are the Nameless; names are for those with masters and they have none. They live in the Nameless realm, awaiting their inescapable execution.
From the beginning of man, they have witnessed the blackest crimes committed. Witnessed the crops of Earth watered with crying blood spilled by man, woman, and child. But there is something that torments them. It is the simple logic that grips the back of their throats and will not let go. No matter how much they beg, no matter how much they pray, they will one day be executed by God, but humans will remain forever.
The Nameless and the Human world collide. One nameless meets Aurick Pantera, a sleazy drunk about to be murdered by a gang over his debts. One who is condemned for his supposed wickedness feels compassion, possesses the body of Aurick and saves his life.
Soon he discovers the delights for the smell of roses, touch of seashells, and the taste of women. With the belief that any bad situation can be flipped into good, he uses Aurick’s body to live life to the fullest- become a rock star, have a successful psychiatric practice, and pursue superstar journalist Helena Way.
Three years of living the good life, in a twisted turn other nameless take notice of his impossible achievements and begin appearing to Aurick. They give him the opportunity of a lifetime. To take back the eternal life they felt they were cheated out of. They prepare for a war not even their Creator could imagine. Aurick stands at the center of it all. Does he join the ranks to return to former divine glory jeopardizing the lives he has come to love or can he accept execution to protect them? Faced with this impossible choice, does a third option exist?About the Author: Kyle Chais was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. His debut novel, NAMELESS, was written when he was sixteen years old and homeless.
That’s my WOW for the week. I think this one sounds different from anything I’ve read before. I can’t wait to read it! You can preorder your copy now at the following places:
Book Depository: Paperback
What are you waiting on? Leave a link or comment to your WOW and I’ll check it out!
Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine.
After reading Divergent this past week, I feel compelled to do a W.O.W post since I don’t hardly do them. Anyone who has read and loved Divergent, can’t wait to get their hands on book 2, Insurgent! I think the cover is beautiful and I’m left wondering, like so many others, what will happen to Tris and the others a new war sparks up between the fractions.
But we will have to wait until May 2012 to find out. Until then, here’s a look at the cover and the synopsis. Are you desperately waiting for this like I am?
One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.
Tris’s initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.
New York Times bestselling author Veronica Roth’s much-anticipated second book of the dystopian Divergent series is another intoxicating thrill ride of a story, rich with hallmark twists, heartbreaks, romance, and powerful insights about human nature.
That’s my WOW, what are you waiting on? Leave a link or comment to your WOW and I’ll check it out!
Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine.
Publisher: HarperCollins Children’s Books
Format: Hardcover , 496pp
Age Range: Young Adult
Series: Divergent Series #1
5 out 5 Stars
What is it about a book that makes you say WOW? Did it make you cry? Give you that warm and fuzzy feeling when you were done? Did you think about it every moment you’re mind is let free to wonder and all you cold think about was the book you just read? These are all things I think are signs of a great book. For me, DIVERGENT is all I can think about. I thought the concept was brilliant to me. I think the synopsis best describes it:
In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself. During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she’s chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she’s kept hidden from everyone because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves… or it might destroy her. 2344
Beatrice comes from Abnegation- the selfless but she’s not so selfless compared to those in her faction. When she joins Dauntless, Beatrice gets a new start and a new name–Tris. It’s not long before Tris learns she’s different and what she is could mean death. The Dauntless are the brave ones. They thrive on being strong and learn to control their fears, if they have any. They jump on and off moving trains, jump off high buildings, extreme fighters, embellish in tattoos and body piercings, and wear black. This is the faction Beatrice chooses to join for the rest of her life– if she can get through the extremely tough initiation process. If she fails, she will be factionless and it is better to be dead than to be factionless, so the stakes are high.
Veronica Roth’s writing style is superb. She completely blew my mind with this book. I haven’t stopped thinking about the society and the characters within it; their weaknesses, and the amazing growth they went through. I cannot wait to get my hands on Insurgent (Divergent, #2). If you have not read this book, GO NOW! It’s a must read! Absolutely one of the best books I’ve read this year.
You can read the first 100 pages of DIVERGENT here.
Visit Veronica Roth’s blog here.
Princess Bookie is hosting a very fantastic and fun contest: Recreate Cover Contest. I participated last year and had fun using my very limited photoshop skills and I wanted to give it a try again this year. She’s giving away some really cool prizes and I figured, it couldn’t hurt to try.
I chose Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma. It has been one of my favorite reads this year.
So here is the original cover:
And here is my newly created cover:
So there you have it! I’d love to know what you think. And of course, I would very much appreciate your vote when the time comes!