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My Progress:

11 / 30 books. 37% done!

2024 Literary Escapes Challenge

- Alabama (1)
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My Progress:

23 / 51 states. 45% done!

2024 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

My Progress:

16 / 50 books. 32% done!

2024 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge

21 / 50 books. 42% done!

Booklist Queen's 2024 Reading Challenge

My Progress:

43 / 50 books. 86% done!

2024 52 Club Reading Challenge

My Progress:

38 / 52 books. 73% done!

2024 Build Your Library Reading Challenge

My Progress:

25 / 40 books. 63% done!

2024 Pioneer Book Reading Challenge

15 / 40 books. 38% done!

2024 Craving for Cozies Reading Challenge

My Progress:

9 / 25 books. 36% done!

2024 Medical Examiner's Mystery Reading Challenge

2024 Mystery Marathon Reading Challenge

My Progress

6 / 26.2 miles (second lap). 23% done!

Mount TBR Reading Challenge

My Progress

22 / 100 books. 22% done!

2024 Pick Your Poison Reading Challenge

My Progress:

58 / 104 books. 56% done!

Around the Year in 52 Books Reading Challenge

My Progress

42 / 52 books. 81% done!

Disney Animated Movies Reading Challenge

My Progress

60 / 165 books. 36% done!
Friday, August 07, 2015

Light, Warm-Hearted Holiday Novel Engaging, Enjoyable

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Things can't get much suckier for Chloe.  She's stuck working her cashiering job at GoodFoods Market on Christmas Eve, all day long.  Not only will she be dealing with cranky customers for hours on end, but—thanks to getting caught in a snowstorm—she'll be doing it while looking like a drowned rat.  On the upside, she'll be working with her very hot crush, Tyson Scott; on the downside, drowned rat.  

As the day goes on, things go progressively wrong for Chloe, until something truly awful happens:  the charity box, into which GoodFoods customers have been putting cash donations all month, is almost empty.  An estimated $10,000 is missing. Since no one is fessing up to the crime, the store manager makes the "Younglings"—Chloe, Tyson, and four other teenage cashiers/baggers—stay after closing for questioning.  With every extra minute Chloe has to spend in the break room, she grows increasingly frustrated.  Not only does she want to get home and enjoy the holiday with her family, but she's worried about her plummeting blood sugar.  On top of everything else that's happened, a diabetic coma is definitely not what she needs right now.  It's pretty clear to Chloe that the only way out of the mess they're all in is to find out who stole the charity money.

Chloe doesn't know any of her fellow suspects very well, but she has certain suspicions about each of them.  The more she gets to know them, however, the more she realizes how wrong she's been to stereotype them.  As the Younglings work together to solve the mystery of the stolen money, Chloe makes some startling discoveries and some surprising friendships.  Is it possible that a day she thought would be the worst of her life might turn out to be the very best? 

You can probably tell from the description of Top Ten Clues You're Clueless by Liz Czukas that it's a fun, warm-hearted novel.  Just because it's a light read, though, doesn't mean it doesn't have an important message.  As Chloe gets to know a group of kids who are diverse in ethnicity, culture, and experience, she realizes the dangers of making broad assumptions about people.  Through seeking help with her diabetes, she also learns to trust others with her own secrets.  It's the relationships between the characters that stand out in this novel, especially since the charity money thief is fairly obvious from the get-go.  Being a Type 1 diabetic myself, I did find some inconsistencies with how Chloe deals with her condition (like, if she's together enough to have a glucometer in her locker, why doesn't she have some glucose tabs stashed in there, too?).  Petty issues aside, I enjoyed this engaging holiday novel, which brought back fond memories of working at the BYU Creamery as a college student.  Just like Chloe and her co-workers have games they play to pass the time, we had a whole lot of fun with Guess the Major ...

(Readalikes:  Um, I can't think of anything.  Can you?)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for language (two F-bombs, plus milder invectives) and sexual innuendo

To the FTC, with love:  I received an e-ARC of Top Ten Clues You're Clueless from the generous folks at HarperCollins via those at Edelweiss.  Thank you!

Kiss Kill Vanish A Rare and Worthwhile Read

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Valentina Cruz's pampered life as the daughter of a wealthy Colombian art dealer ends the minute she witnesses something she was never supposed to see—a murder ordered by her father and executed by her boyfriend.  Sickened to her core, the 17-year-old flees Florida, ending up in Montreal.  There, "Jane" lives in a rented closet, earning enough to live on by posing for a pretentious young painter and busking with her mandolin.  Valentina's bare bones existence in Canada is a far cry from the glittering world she left behind, but it's a much more honest life than she's ever known before.  

When a face from her past shows up in Montreal, Valentina doesn't know what to do.  Should she return to Florida and face her father?  Or keep running, knowing his henchman will never stop looking for her?  After a shocking death rocks her world, Valentina must make some fast, life-altering decisions.  With no one to turn to, she has to put her trust in the most unlikely of allies.  Will the risk pay off?  Can she save herself and those she loves?  Or, is she walking right into a trap that will leave her as anyone else who dares to cross her father?

Kiss Kill Vanish, the newest novel from YA author Jessica Martinez, is an exciting, fast-paced thriller.  Valentina's hard-scrabble battle to create an honest existence for herself makes her not just sympathetic, but also admirable.  It's easy to root for her, even if she sometimes seems ridiculously naive.  While I found the plot of Kiss Kill Vanish to be a *little* far-fetched, it definitely kept me engrossed.  Martinez's vivid, engaging prose makes up for what the novel lacks in believability.  Solid YA thrillers are difficult to come by, so, while this one has its flaws, it remains a rare and worthwhile read.

(Readalikes:  Um, I can't really think of anything.  Can you?)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for language (no F-bombs), violence, depiction of illegal drug use, and sexual innuendo/references to sex

To the FTC, with love:  I received an e-ARC of Kiss Kill Vanish from the generous folks at HarperCollins via those at Edelweiss.  Thank you!
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