Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Book Review: How to Hook a Hottie by Tina Ferraro

How to Hook a Hottie CoverA hilarious young adult chick lit novel with a matchmaking plot

How to Hook a Hottie by Tina Ferraro
Reading Level:
Young Adult
Release Date: January 8, 2008
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Pages: 208
Source: Purchased
Reviewed By: Kate McMurry

Seventeen-year-old Kate has a her life planned out, and it doesn't include college, which she considers a waste of valuable time. She's determined to make her first million no later than twenty-five as a successful entrepreneur, and she's convinced the way to do that is to keep her eyes open and not miss a good opportunity. Which is why she is ready, willing and able when the chance of a lifetime falls in her lap.

A hunky jock named Brandon asks her to an important athletic banquet and, overnight, she goes from a social nonentity to a guru on dating as the girl who's hooked the biggest hottie around. Offers start pouring in of quick cash for dating advice, which Kate is delighted to accept. The only problem is, she can't handle this gig without masculine input. Fortunately, her best friend's older brother, Dal, who's a senior and a hunk in his own right, is willing to take on the job--for a hefty percentage of the take.

This book is laugh-out-loud funny. Kate is an adorable, quirky heroine, and her encounters with desperate girls, clueless Brandon and cleverly conniving Dal are hilarious. Tina Ferraro is fantastic at romantic comedy. Her writing style is smooth. Her plots are comically convoluted, and she knows how to write a strong, sympathetic heroine. I highly recommend this book, and her other two romantic comedies, The ABC's of Kissing Boys and Top Ten Uses for an Unworn Prom Dress.

For other similar books, I recommend also The Oracle of Dating by Allison van Diepen and A Match Made in High School by Kristin Walker.

Heroine: 5

Subcharacters: 5

Writing: 5

Chick-Lit Comedy Plot: 5

Overall: 5

Monday, November 21, 2011

Intervew at Tina's Book Reviews

Tina's Book Reviews has posted an interview and a giveaway with us (Kate McMurry and Marie August). The interview can be found here. We are also posting a copy of this interview below:

Welcome to The Saturday Spotlight, a weekly feature showcasing debut, Indie, self-published and authors who specialize in Ebook publishing. This week I have the pleasure introducing readers to:

Authors of Girl Vs.Ghost
Find out more about Marie at~Web~Goodreads Find out more about Kate at~Web~Goodreads

Hi Kate and Marie, welcome to TBR's, please tell us about yourself.
We are a mother-daughter writing team who joined together to write young-adult (YA) fiction because we discovered we can both get a lot more done together than we ever could separately. Girl vs Ghost, a YA, paranormal, romantic comedy targeted primarily at teens age 12-16, is our debut published novel.
Kate completed masters work English education and creative writing at the University of Missouri. She has worked professionally as a technical writer, English teacher, private writing coach and editor. She instilled her love of reading and writing in Marie, who has been creating stories since she was a small child, with Kate’s enthusiastic encouragement. Marie is also an artist with a B.A. in visual arts from George Mason University. She has been illustrating her stories all her life, up to and including being commissioned to create the cover and internal illustrations for Girl vs Ghost. As a special promotion for our book, Marie produced a webcomic of the first chapter which is posted at She also writes and illustrates a fairytale webcomic called The Fox and the Firebird at

What inspired you to write the Misdirected Magic trilogy?
Kate experimented with adult romantic comedy, picture books and a middle-grade novel prior to Marie suggesting to her a few years back that we write a YA paranormal romantic comedy together, a genre that clicked for both of us. Marie is a huge fan of manga, which are Japanese graphic novels, and the animated films based on manga story-lines called anime. The vast majority of the protagonists of these stories are teenagers, and they have served as an inspiration to her for the kind of YA plots she would like to write. Marie and Kate have also shared and discussed current YA novels for many years, especially paranormal ones, and Kate has continuously enjoyed reading YA fiction since her own teen years. We both feel that the famous piece of writer’s advice, “Write what you love to read,” definitely applies to us for YA fiction. For both of us, it is our favorite genre, particularly paranormal comedy, because there are so many opportunities for humorous incongruity in contemporary fantasy plots.
Have any authors or books inspired or encouraged you in your writing journey?
Every time we read a YA novel that we love—which is quite often in today’s amazingly vibrant YA marketplace—it motivates us all over again to continue writing within this exciting genre. In particular, we are inspired by talented authors of YA paranormal comedy, including Janet Rallison, Tera Lynn Childs, Suzanne Selfors, Wendy Toliver, Rosemary Clement-Moore, Maryrose Wood, Alex Flinn, Ebony McKenna and Meg Cabot

What are you reading right now?
Kate is reading Julie Kagawa’s Iron Prince (Book 4, Iron Fey series. Marie is reading Trial by Fire (Book 2, Raised by Wolves series) by Jennifer Lynn Barnes. .
Do you have any future books in the works?
Girl vs Ghost, is Book 1 of the Misdirected Magic Trilogy. Book 2, Witch vs Wizard, and Book 3, Spells vs Spirits, are currently scheduled to be released in 2012.

Thank you, Tina, for interviewing us on your wonderful blog!
**And thank you girls for stopping by and being on the spotlight today. Wishing you the best of success for the Misdirected Magic Trilogy.


Today Kate and Marie are offering a brand new copy of Ghost vs. Girl to one reader here at Tinasbookreviews. There is also an option for a Kindle copy-for international entry's. To enter please just leave a comment. Physical copies are available to US entry's only. No PO Boxes will be allowed. Please leave a link to your profile page or email. Winner will be drawn Nov 26, 2011.

Girl Vs. Ghost
Isabel Lindley doesn’t believe in magic, but her best friend, Tripp, is obsessed with witchcraft. Strictly as a favor, Isabel agrees to help with a spell and is shocked when the ghost of a teenage boy splat-lands in her bedroom. Her friend is thrilled—even though only Isabel can see or hear the ghost—but Isabel is horrified. She’s the most ordinary sixteen-year-old girl on the planet. What is she supposed to do with a ghost who doesn’t know his own name, how he died, or why the heck he’s tied to Isabel with a psychic chain? Her only hope to take back her life is to help him solve the mystery of his demise so he can go to the Light. Or wherever. She’s not particular, as long as the ghost is gone.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Book Review: Also Known as Rowan Pohi by Ralph Fletcher

Also Known as Rowan Pohi Cover
Enjoyable YA aimed at teen boys who are reluctant readers

Also Known as Rowan Pohi by Ralph Fletcher
Reading Level:
Young Adult
Release Date: November 15, 2011
Publisher: Clarion Books
Pages: 208
Source: Amazon Vine
Reviewed By: Kate McMurry

Fifteen-year-old Bobby Steele and his best friends, Big Poobs and Marcus, are students at the dreary, underfunded, local secondary school, Riverview High. They regularly hang out at the local IHOP, a restaurant where teens from the ritzy private school Whitestone Prep--AKA "Stonys"--can also be found. One day out of boredom, Bobby and his friends decide to create a fake boy and fill out an application for him for Whitestone. They name him Rowan and choose the last name "Pohi," which is IHOP spelled backward.

The three of them are amazed and rather intimidated when their application is actually approved, and they mutually agree that the joke has gone far enough. Big Poobs and Marcus immediately move on, but everything Bobby has ever wanted is at Whitestone, and it becomes a temptation he can't resist to pass himself off as Rowan Pohi.

I liked Bobby very much. He is a sweet guy, forgiving of his mother, who deserted their family because his father physically abused her, and tolerant of his father, who is working hard to make restitution to his family for what he did. Bobby is very protective and caring of his five-year-old brother, who is an endearing child.

The tone of the story is wistful and sad for the most of the book. I was strongly rooting for things to turn out well for Bobby, who is a very talented runner, an excellent writer, and has exceptional social skills along with being blessed with good looks. He is the kind of boy who, if he can get a good education, can go very far in life.

There is an interesting love triangle in the book with Bobby drawn to a rich, beautiful girl as well as a smart but average-looking girl who is of his same social class.

Without being preachy, the story makes topical references to recent drastic cuts in funding to public schools and how enormously greater are the opportunities in life for young people who are able to attend good schools. The relationship of Bobby to his friends rather reminds me of the movie Good Will Hunting, though this story is much less complex.

This is a fast and easy read that reluctant readers would enjoy. It is good to see a male protagonist in YA. The cover is something that might appeal to boys such that they would not feel embarrassed to be caught reading the book.

Other than one non-explicit make-out session, the book is entirely PG and suitable for teens 12-15. And even in that one scene, Rowan's attitude is romantic rather than purely lustful. He's a good boy--but not a boring boy.

Hero: 5

Subcharacters: 4

Writing: 4

Plot: 4

Overall: 4