Archive for the ‘self improvement’ Category


I have had a streak of excellent reads the last few months! Only one book I reviewed did not make this recommend blog. Maybe that supports my theory that the best writers are writing for YAs.

Robin’s first book, Evolution, Me & Other Freaks of Nature, was a 2008 BBYA book, and FAT CAT is on the fast track to be a winner for next year. Catherine, Cat, is a brilliant teenager with a knack for scientific inquiry, which is put to the ultimate test during a yearlong science project to be judged at a high school level fair in the spring. Through the luck of the draw, Cat draws a picture from which she uses herself as the primary scientific experiment and observation. This project is anything but ho-hum. Amanda, Cat’s best friend, is beside her all the way. I want Amanda for my best friend. Along the way, Cat discovers that she has become a “guy magnet” and has a crash course in repelling guys. Cat has to face a four-year hurt by her former best friend, Matt. She cooks her way into the hearts of all around her. But does she win the competition? Does Cat understand what has happened to her?

I liked Cat; her focus, her commitment to herself. And what does her story come wrapped in: a funny, well-paced story that YAs will love reading.

ENDERS’ Rating: *****

Robin Brande’s Website (I suggest following her website if you are a writer).

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This sequel to Lucky tells the story of the middle sister, Allison, of the recently-rich-now-“broke” Avery family. Allison has a wicked sense of humor, is quite bright, and views herself as the ugly duckling of the family. One night in a dream she trades her cell phone to the devil in a deal to make her gorgeous in the eyes of seven people. Will the deal create opportunities or tragedies? What is wrong with her demented cell phone? Maybe it was not a dream, but a real deal. Vail does a great job of creating a unique story for Allison, leaving Phoebe on the fringe and introducing Quinn, the eldest sister, more. This easy and humorous novel, about true friends and family connections, will surely be a hit among readers enjoying light, realistic fiction. Like Lucky, another great cover!

ENDERS’ Rating: Looking forward to Quinn’s novel!

Rachel Vail’s Website


“We do stupid things when we’re hurt. But let me save you some grief. When you feel bad, it’s often best to do nothing at all.” Couldn’t we all have used that a time or two? Along with Molly’s widower, advice-giving dad, live her three bachelor uncles. The chorus of advice and platitudes from the uncle-crowded back seat of her dad’s truck zipping to Aunt Tip’s Bangee’s Wake Irish pub is hysterical. Molly wants to do what is right for herself..if only others would let her! Molly O’Keefe has a slimy boyfriend that everyone knows that he only wants to “ravish and toss” her. Molly is prone to giving in to her self-centered, carpe diem buddy Vanessa. She ends up in The Girl Corps, red cape and all, to discover some strength to deal with the Trevor situation and even more.

ENDERS’ Rating: Fun read that keeps you turning the pages!

Stacey Goldblatt’s Website and Blog



Ernie tries to keep a low profile, a challenge since his large size marks him “fair game” to taunts and tricks of high school jocks. The new guy, Will, his Jack Sprat, defends Ernie. The bullying escalates. Luckily, the boys have more in common than the school terrorizing. They are fishermen: Ernie is into freshwater trout, and Will is into open ocean. The boys decide to introduce each other to their style of fishing, Will’s first. Will’s father launches Ernie, Will and Sam, Will’s ornery little brother, into the brink alone while he scurries to the closest bar. Catching “THE ling” quickly escalates into a horrible accident that changes Will forever. For a short time the jocks avoid the boys, but then Ernie is brutally attacked and Will plots revenge for his friend. Ernie’s Uncle Max, a writer and Ernie’s guru, tells him that he needs to follow his gut feelings, to act rather than wait. Will Ernie act soon enough?

ENDERS’ Rating: Heavy topic in a quick and compelling package!

CRH’s Website


Whoo hoo!!! Doin’ my happy dance! The third of the Making Lemonade trilogy is in my family room. Years of asking, “When is the third coming out?” has ended!
LaVaughn is now an achieving, thoughtful senior in high school. Her anchors of “Guidance Man” and Dr. Rose have grounded her despite closures of science lab classes and the threatened closure of her school library. Jolly is attending classes for her GED, little Jeremy and Jilly are beautiful and inquisitive joys, and LaVaughn has been accepted into the Women in Science grant program. Slow-speaking and deep-thinking Patrick attends a special academy at “the U,” with a lab key!

LaVaughn definitely has a scientific mind. She observes, tests and presents results. These results will affect her life, Patrick’s life, Jolly’s, Dr. Moore and especially Jilly and Jeremy’s. But her scientific mind blocks her from the most humane of experiences: forgiveness.

Watch for the dramatic conclusion: It is in chapter 105. Have tissue handy.

ENDERS’ Rating: READ IT NOW!

Virginia Euwer Wolff Article