Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Audiobook review: The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

Book Summary
A young girl in Harlem discovers slam poetry as a way to understand her mother’s religion and her own relationship to the world. Debut novel of renowned slam poet Elizabeth Acevedo.

Xiomara Batista feels unheard and unable to hide in her Harlem neighborhood. Ever since her body grew into curves, she has learned to let her fists and her fierceness do the talking.

But Xiomara has plenty she wants to say, and she pours all her frustration and passion onto the pages of a leather notebook, reciting the words to herself like prayers—especially after she catches feelings for a boy in her bio class named Aman, who her family can never know about. With Mami’s determination to force her daughter to obey the laws of the church, Xiomara understands that her thoughts are best kept to herself.

So when she is invited to join her school’s slam poetry club, she doesn’t know how she could ever attend without her mami finding out, much less speak her words out loud. But still, she can’t stop thinking about performing her poems.

Because in the face of a world that may not want to hear her, Xiomara refuses to be silent.

Flo's Review
This book spoke to me on many levels. Mostly, as a poet. It has been awhile since I've done so, but I used to write a good deal of poetry. Xiomara's story took me back to the summer between high school and college, when I finally felt confident enough to actually share my words for the first time. It was slam poetry, but I did read a poem aloud. So as I was reading about The Poet X, the Poet Flo was relating.

 I love poetry because of the beauty in the assembly of words. With a poem, you can have no idle ones -- every word counts. And when you read them aloud, how they come together, the rhythm they make, counts too. This is an entire book of verse and I was here for it for 100%.

Especially the audiobook! The audiobook is read by Elizabeth Avecedo, so I really felt like I was hearing things the way she heard them when she first wrote them down. Want to see what I mean? Elizabeth Acevedo came to my favorite local bookstore Books & Books and I snagged this video of her reading from The Poet X. Enjoy!

Monday, March 19, 2018

Upcoming Book Release: Finding Felicity by Stacey Kade


Felicity meets Fangirl in this contemporary novel about a young woman who must leave behind her fantasy life—inspired by her favorite WB show from the 1990s—and create a real one at college.

Caroline Sands has never been particularly good at making friends. And her parents’ divorce and the move to Arizona three years ago didn’t help. Being the new girl is hard enough without being socially awkward too. So out of desperation and a desire to please her worried mother, Caroline invented a whole life for herself—using characters from Felicity, an old show she discovered online and fell in love with.

But now it’s time for Caroline to go off to college and she wants nothing more than to leave her old “life” behind and build something real. However, when her mother discovers the truth about her manufactured friends, she gives Caroline an ultimatum: Prove in this first semester that she can make friends of the nonfictional variety and thrive in a new environment. Otherwise, it’s back to living at home—and a lot of therapy.

Armed with nothing more than her resolve and a Felicity-inspired plan, Caroline accepts the challenge. But she soon realizes that the real world is rarely as simple as television makes it out to be. And to find a place where she truly belongs, Caroline may have to abandon her script and take the risk of being herself.

Why you should read Finding Felicity:

I have read almost all of Stacey's books and enjoyed each and every one of them.  She has said on more than one occasion that readers will enjoy Finding Felicity even if you haven't watched the television show, but I felt like I needed to have a basic understanding of the characters if I wanted to fully appreciate the book.  All of the episodes are available on the ABC app, so I watched the first two and was pleasantly surprised.  I had no idea what the show was about, but I found it to be very funny and highly entertaining. Now I can hardly wait to read Finding Felicity!  The timing couldn't be any better because I leave for spring break the Thursday after the release.  Thanks to Stacey I already have a copy of the book downloaded to my eReader, so you can count on a review shortly after my return. 

Links to Purchase the Book:

If you would like to purchase a copy of Finding Felicity here are a couple of links.

Chapter One Excerpt:

Bustle posted an excerpt from the first chapter, which can be found here.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Audiobook review: Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Book Summary
Moving to a space station at the edge of the galaxy was always going to be the death of Hanna’s social life. Nobody said it might actually get her killed.

The sci-fi saga that began with the breakout bestseller Illuminae continues on board the Jump Station Heimdall, where two new characters will confront the next wave of the BeiTech assault.

Hanna is the station captain’s pampered daughter; Nik the reluctant member of a notorious crime family. But while the pair are struggling with the realities of life aboard the galaxy’s most boring space station, little do they know that Kady Grant and the Hypatia are headed right toward Heimdall, carrying news of the Kerenza invasion.

When an elite BeiTech strike team invades the station, Hanna and Nik are thrown together to defend their home. But alien predators are picking off the station residents one by one, and a malfunction in the station’s wormhole means the space-time continuum might be ripped in two before dinner. Soon Hanna and Nik aren’t just fighting for their own survival; the fate of everyone on the Hypatia—and possibly the known universe—is in their hands.

But relax. They’ve totally got this. They hope.

Flo's Review
Obsidio, the final book in the Illuminae trilogy, comes out next week, so I wanted to get Gemina under my belt so I'd be ready. I listed to Illuminae and really enjoyed it, so I was excited to learn that my library had Gemina on CD. 

If you are not familiar with this trilogy, the book is composed of documents and other forms of correspondence. It's a visual experience, so it is interesting to hear it translate to audiobook. Somehow, it is always fantastic! I really enjoyed listening to Gemina! The voice of Hanna sounded exactly as I thought she would, and I always love listening to Steve West (even despite the character he voiced!) And the Analyst, too -- I love hearing his voice! But if I'm being honest, my favorite part of the audiobook was being able to hear "I Wanna Lick Your Lollipop" sporadically throughout the story! (I kid, I kid...kind of.)

Even though the story felt a little long, a common and unfortunate side of listening to more than 650 pages being read to you, it never lagged. Several twists kept surprising me throughout the story. I loved to hate Cerberus. Who knew the word "Bless" could ever annoy me so much?! And, WOW, on the plot twist at the end! So creative and fun. I loved it.

I am very happy that I will soon have Obsidio, so I can how this whole crazy saga shakes down. If you haven't read or listened to any of the Illuminae books, you are coming in at a good time -- you can marathon them. If you have read them, which did you prefer: Illuminae? Or Gemina?

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Review: Invaded by Melissa Landers

Invaded (Alienated, #2)

Jacque's Review:

Invaded is the second book in the Alienated series.  In the first installment, we were introduced to some L'eihr exchange students who were sent to earth to help foster an alliance. We didn't really know why their leaders were interested in an alliance, but it was clear none of the exchange students really wanted to be there.

Things didn't exactly go as planned during the exchange.  As a result, Cara is sent to L'eihr to help establish the new colony that is intended to integrate the humans and L'eihrs.  Her boyfriend Aleyx and his friend Serene must return to earth to repair the alliance.  As much as he hates life on earth, he will do anything to be able to return to L'eihr to be with Cara. Cara, however, is beginning to question her decision to move to L'eihr.  The food is terrible, there is no privacy, their version of gym class is equivalent to boot camp, and someone is trying to set her up for failure.

I enjoyed learning more about life on L'eihr and seeing what it was like for Cara to try and blend into such a different culture.  It is never easy being different, but this was taken to a new extreme.  She was top in her class at her high school on earth, but she is nowhere near as advanced physically or academically compared to her new peers.

Aleyx has his own issues to deal with.  There is an extremist group that continues to jeopardize his safety and the success of the alliance.  We also learn more about Serene and her abilities as an emotional healer.  She does a great job of helping others, but she doesn't have anyone on earth who can return the favor.

Overall, I enjoyed the story and have already started reading the final book in the series.  As you can imagine, a long distance relationship spanning a galaxy can certainly put a strain on a things.  Cara and Aleyx survived this difficult period and it is now time to sit back and relax on their new colony.  Unfortunately, the last few chapters hinted that there may be more drama to come and life on the colony may not be a walk on the beach like they are hoping for.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Review: Love Show by Audrey Bell

Love Show

Goodreads Overview:

Hadley Arrington is the career-driven Editor-in-Chief of her university’s prestigious newspaper. Jack Diamond is a laid back student whose good looks have made things even easier than they need to be. She’s the girl who came out of nowhere and kissed him in the rain. He’s the boy who made her do something crazy.

When the stakes seem too high, they have to decide if they’ll let their love show or if they’ll walk away for good.

Jacque's Review:

I am a fan of Tammara Webber's books and follow her on twitter.  A few years ago she recommended Love Show, so I added it to my TBR list and purchased the ebook.  It sat on my nook for quite a while, but it finally made it to the top of my TBR list when I finished the book I was currently reading at my son's swim meet.

Hadley is finishing up her senior year of college and wants to become a war correspondent.  She is fluent in arabic and is ready to jump into the action.  She refuses to listen to her family and friends about how dangerous her decision may be.  Her job choice also puts a strain on her unconventional relationship with Jack.  From the very beginning she created all sorts of rules for their relationship, which were supposed to protect her from the one thing she fears the most....falling in love.  Her mother has been married and divorced more times than you can count and she is determined to put herself ahead of any relationship, but she may throw away the one thing that has ever made her truly happy.  

Another story line involves her openly gay roommate who is dating someone who "can't" come out of the closet.  We get to see how that changes him emotionally as well as the hoops he has to go through in that type of situation.  The relationship is not a healthy one, but he refuses to see how it is impacting him until it may be too late.

Love Show was an outstanding read.  It is new adult, so there is definitely some adult content/romance throughout.  I loved the characters, even though I found Hadley's decisions to be extremely frustrating at times.  I wanted to shake her and make her see things more clearly.  Until the last few chapters of the book it was like she had tunnel vision and would only allow herself to focus on her career and her job at the newspaper.  She couldn't see what she was literally right in front of her face.  The ending was satisfying, but it wasn't an easy road to get there.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Review: Onyx by Jennifer Armentrout

Onyx (Lux, #2)

Goodreads Overview:

Being connected to Daemon Black sucks…

Thanks to his alien mojo, Daemon’s determined to prove what he feels for me is more than a product of our bizarro connection. So I’ve sworn him off, even though he’s running more hot than cold these days. But we’ve got bigger problems.

Something worse than the Arum has come to town…

The Department of Defense are here. If they ever find out what Daemon can do and that we're linked, I’m a goner. So is he. And there's this new boy in school who’s got a secret of his own. He knows what’s happened to me and he can help, but to do so, I have to lie to Daemon and stay away from him. Like that's possible. Against all common sense, I'm falling for Daemon. Hard.

But then everything changes…

I’ve seen someone who shouldn’t be alive. And I have to tell Daemon, even though I know he’s never going to stop searching until he gets the truth. What happened to his brother? Who betrayed him? And what does the DOD want from them—from me?

No one is who they seem. And not everyone will survive the lies…

Jacque's Review:

Onyx is the second book in the Lux series.  In this installment Katy discovers some new powers she has developed since Daemon healed her at the end of Obsidian.  She needs to learn how to control them before others discover her secret.  She must also learn how to defend herself from the Arum and others who seem to be after her and her alien friends.

In addition, we are introduced to Blake.  He is a new student from California who immediately takes an interest in Katy.  She decides to go on a date with him to distract herself from her feelings for Daemon, which was never going to happen.  She quickly learns that Blake isn't the "normal" boy she was looking for.  His arrival in West Virginia was more than a simple job transfer for his uncle.

This book was a great addition to the series.  There was a ton of action, humor, danger, and romance to keep the pages turning.  I don't think there was ever a true love triangle, since Katy was always hung up on Daemon, but I was happy to see that element removed by the conclusion.  If the series wasn't steamy enough already, I think it will take a step in that direction now that they have admitted their feeling for each other.  In addition, Daemon and Katy make some remarkable discoveries towards the end of the book.  While I will miss one of the characters that was lost, I look forward to learning more about the new characters that arrived unexpectedly.   

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

A Wrinkle in Time Blog Tour

I am super excited to be a part of the A Wrinkle in Time blog tour! I recently did my re-read, and now I am just counting down the days until the movie comes out (March 9th -- so close!)

For the Book Nerds Across America stop on the tour, I am going to share with you some of my "life quotes" a la Mrs. Who. For those who need a refresher, Mrs. Who does most of her talking to Meg, Calvin, and Charles Wallace by answering questions with quotes from famous people.

As for me, I have always felt inspired and motivated by reading quotes from people I admire. Throughout my life, there has been a few quotes that have really spoken to me deeply. These quotes have hit just the right chord in me to inspire me to go beyond myself. Here they are:

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths." 
--Proverbs 3:5-6

"We never how high we are until we are called to rise." 
--Emily Dickinson

"Sometimes you have to take the leap and build your wings on the way down."
--Kobi Yamada

"Be brave."
--Veronica Roth

"...I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived."
--Henry David Thoreau

"Cherish your vision; cherish your ideals; cherish the music that stirs in your heart, the beauty that forms in your mind, the loveliness that drapes your purest thoughts. If you remain true to them, your world will at last be built."
--James Allen

"I am not afraid of the storm for I am learning to sail my ship." 

--Louisa May Alcott

"You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don't make money your goal. Instead, pursue the things you love doing, and do them so well that people can't take their eyes off you." 

--Maya Angelou

"I see so many people living like this is a dress rehearsal. This is your life. You have to live it."--My Dad

“Traveling is the great true love of my life. I have always felt it...that to travel is worth any cost or sacrifice. I am loyal and constant in my love for travel... I feel about travel the way a happy new mother feels about her impossible, colicky, restless newborn baby─I just don’t care what it puts me through. Because I adore it. Because it’s mine. Because it looks exactly like me.” 

--Elizabeth Gilbert

“Don't ask what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
--Howard Thurman

I would love to hear some of your favorite quotes! Please share one or some. And when you're done, check out the rest of the stops on the tour:
The Tour Schedule

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

You Say It's Your Birthday!: Where I Live by Brenda Rufener

Happy book birthday to Where I Live by Brenda Rufener! This one sounds unique and powerful, and I'm looking forward to checking it out.

Linden Rose has a big secret--she is homeless and living in the halls of her small-town high school. Her position as school blog editor, her best friends, Ham and Seung, and the promise of a future far away are what keep Linden under the radar and moving forward.

But when cool-girl Bea comes to school with a bloody lip, the damage hits too close to home. Linden begins looking at Bea's life, and soon her investigation prompts people to pay more attention. And attention is the last thing she needs.

Linden knows the only way to put a stop to the violence is to tell Bea's story and come to terms with her own painful past. Even if that means breaking her rules for survival and jeopardizing the secrets she's worked so hard to keep.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Movie Review: Love, Simon

Movie Summary
Everyone deserves a great love story. But for Simon it's complicated: no-one knows he's gay and he doesn't know who the anonymous classmate is that he's fallen for online. Resolving both issues proves hilarious, scary and life-changing.

Flo's Review

I love Love, Simon. I recently made a point of reading the book Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda so that I would be ready for the movie. Man, did I love that book. (Read my review here.) 

Last week, I was lucky enough to see an advance screening of the movie! It looked my expectations in the eye and said, "Oh, you think you know how good this movie will be? Hold my beer." I had hoped going in that it would be adorable like the book was adorable, but I honestly didn't expect to love it as much as I did. I seriously loved it so much! 

Yes, it met the Adorable factor I was hoping for, that was in the book and raised it a level. But it was also really funny. I didn't expect to be cracking up as much as I was. I laughed and I cried and it made me nostalgic for my group of high school friends. You know, the ones that you'd just drive around town with listening to music and talking? The ones who knew you better almost as well, if not better, than you knew yourself? Simon's friends were all amazing in this and their relationship was perfect -- it felt genuine and not forced in the slightest. Jennifer Garner and Josh Duhamel as Simon's parents were also killer.

I think if you've read the book and you liked it, then you will like this movie. It did a good job of sticking pretty closely to the book. But I also really think this will be one of those book-to-movies that can stand on its own. I think it will be able to attract fans and viewers outside of those who have read the book, and that these fans will come to know and love the book through the movie first.

Love, Simon comes out March 16th in the U.S. and I already told a friend I would go with her and see it again. And I already can't wait. 

Audiobook Review and Author Visit: Unearthed by Meagan Spooner and Amie Kaufman

Book Summary
When Earth intercepts a message from a long-extinct alien race, it seems like the solution the planet has been waiting for. The Undying's advanced technology has the potential to undo environmental damage and turn lives around, and Gaia, their former home planet, is a treasure trove waiting to be uncovered.

For Jules Addison and his fellow scholars, the discovery of an alien culture offers unprecedented opportunity for study... as long as scavengers like Amelia Radcliffe don't loot everything first. Mia and Jules' different reasons for smuggling themselves onto Gaia put them immediately at odds, but after escaping a dangerous confrontation with other scavvers, they form a fragile alliance.

In order to penetrate the Undying temple and reach the tech and information hidden within, the two must decode the ancient race's secrets and survive their traps. But the more they learn about the Undying, the more their presence in the temple seems to be part of a grand design that could spell the end of the human race...

Flo's Review
From the moment I heard this book was a cross between Lara Croft and Indiana Jones in space, I was intrigued. What a great concept! I don't know much about Lara Croft, but the Indiana Jones movies were definitely a part of my childhood.

This book was fast-paced and a lot of fun. I enjoyed seeing how Jules and Mia figured out the various   puzzles that the Undying left behind. And I adored Mia and Jules together. I loved their relationship, from beginning to end.

Amie and Meagan came to my local bookstore, Books & Books, and I couldn't have been more excited. The two of them together are the best, and they are both so sweet, fun, and approachable.

I just love them, though!
They talked about the audiobook at the event and how they were excited to have Steve West narrating Jules. I knew him from the A Torch Against the Night audiobook and he does have a very enjoyable voice. (Seriously, though. Find a sample to listen to if you can!) Needless to say, he did a great job here as well. And so did Alex McKenna, who read Mia. But one thing I know about myself is that I have an audiobook limit. I can only do about 8 CDs max before it starts to seem too long. And this one was ten. Maybe that's why I struggled with the end. The last bit of the book seemed to drag a little bit for me? Or maybe I just enjoyed being with Jules and Mia and the puzzles and their brains better than anything else.

This is a duology, which is refreshing. I am looking forward to seeing everything wrap up in the next book.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Book review: One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus

Book Summary
The Breakfast Club meets Pretty Little LiarsOne of Us Is Lying is the story of what happens when five strangers walk into detention and only four walk out alive. Everyone is a suspect, and everyone has something to hide. 

Pay close attention and you might solve this.

On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.

Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule. 
Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess. 
Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.
Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.
And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High s notorious gossip app. 

Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention Simon's dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who s still on the loose? 
Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.

Flo's Review
This has been sitting on my TBR shelf for awhile, but I was finally inspired to pick it up due to the author's upcoming visit to my area. 

I'll start with the cover love. What a fun cover! It perfectly illustrates the story you will be reading. I enjoyed reading the different points of view from the four main characters. I liked determined Bronwyn best, followed by Addy's character growth throughout the story. 

The story included several twists, and they just kept coming. I am never good and figuring things out, so I always found myself surprised by these little things -- especially involving one particular character. And though I had an idea what actually went down as far as the big picture, I definitely didn't know all the details. 

I love The Breakfast Club, as I am sure a lot of people do, so it's great marketing to mention that in the top of the book blurb. This was a book that I had fun with as I was on the journey that the story took me on. I look forward to hearing Karen M. McManus speak next month more about how the story came together.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Cover Reveal: Bring Me Their Hearts by Sara Wolf

In a new series Publishers Weekly has listed as “one of the most anticipated YA's of 2018”, we're excited to share the cover for Bring Me Their Hearts! NYT bestselling author Sara Wolf delivers a fast-paced, gritty fantasy sure to thrill fans of Holly Black, Sabba Tahir, and Sarah J. Maas.

Book Summary:

Zera is a Heartless—the immortal, unaging soldier of a witch. Bound to the witch Nightsinger ever since she saved her from the bandits who murdered her family, Zera longs for freedom from the woods they hide in. With her heart in a jar under Nightsinger’s control, she serves the witch unquestioningly.

Until Nightsinger asks Zera for a prince’s heart in exchange for her own, with one addendum: if she’s discovered infiltrating the court, Nightsinger will destroy Zera’s heart rather than see her tortured by the witch-hating nobles.

Crown Prince Lucien d’Malvane hates the royal court as much as it loves him—every tutor too afraid to correct him and every girl jockeying for a place at his darkly handsome side. No one can challenge him—until the arrival of Lady Zera. She’s inelegant, smart-mouthed, carefree, and out for his blood. The prince’s honor has him quickly aiming for her throat.

So begins a game of cat and mouse between a girl with nothing to lose and a boy who has it all.

Winner takes the loser’s heart.


This book sounds great, and I'm thrilled that Book Nerds gets to participate in the cover reveal. So...are you ready to see it? Click on the "Read More" below:

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Cover Reveal: All Your Perfects by Colleen Hoover

I love me some Colleen Hoover, so I was super excited to see that US Weekly shared a cover reveal and excerpt for her latest book, All Your Perfects, which publishes later this year?

Wanna see?


(Click on the 'Read More' to see the cover!)

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Book review: Ink, Iron, and Glass by Gwendolyn Clare

Book Summary
Can she write a world gone wrong?

A certain pen, a certain book, and a certain person can craft entirely new worlds through a branch of science called scriptology. Elsa comes from one such world that was written into creation by her mother—a noted scriptologist.

But when her home is attacked and her mother abducted, Elsa must cross into the real world and use her own scriptology gifts to find her. In an alternative 19th-century Italy, Elsa finds a secret society of pazzerellones—young people with a gift for mechanics, alchemy or scriptology—and meets Leo, a gorgeous mechanist with a smart mouth and a tragic past. She recruits the help of these fellow geniuses just as an assassin arrives on their doorstep.

In this thrilling debut, worlds collide as Elsa unveils a deep political conspiracy seeking to unlock the most dangerous weapon ever created—and only she can stop it.

Flo's Review
I was definitely intrigued by this book as soon as I read the summary. It was a fast read -- I read the entire thing over the course of two sessions, which is something I haven't done in awhile.

The style of writing is definitely different. I can't describe it, exactly, but it's very .... matter-of-fact. Succinct, maybe? I think the reason this is so jarring is because it is in contrast to the world being described. Fantasy writing tends to be beautiful and flowery, especially when you're creating a beautiful world. And not that the world of Veldana is not beautiful. And also, to be clear, I am not saying this is a good or bad thing. It is just a noticed and unique trait. It also made me take a little longer to get absorbed into the world than I usually would.

But I also struggled with Elsa at first. She never really had any friends her age in Veldana, and it sounds like her mother at a big part in shaping her personality -- and she had just experienced a trauma. But she was kind of hard to stomach at first. So much so that I was happy when she came around and warmed up to Porzia, Faranz, and Leo, even if she did it so quickly that it felt a little unnatural.

Speaking of Porzia and Faranz -- I loved them both! I think I liked them better than Elsa and Leo, honestly. Porzia juggled responsibility to her parents with loyalty to her friends and did it well. Faranz was just awesome. Loyal, a good listener, friendly, dependable, wicked smart. I wish he and Elsa had been the ones with the romantic tension, instead of Elsa and Leo. Though I do understand why it had to be Leo, in terms of the story. Still.... #TeamFaranz

Leo...he was supposed to be the swoony love interest, but I just wasn't feeling him. I understood why Elsa felt the desire to fight for him, and he was the comic relief in the story.  I honestly can't pinpoint why I didn't connect with him, but I just didn't. 

The world building was definitely the strength of this story. The idea of being able to create new worlds simply by writing them is so, so cool. The main characters had the chance to explore several different worlds and it was really neat to go inside them and see the differences and similarities to Earth. Clare had to really think about the what it would take to write a world, starting with the basics: gravity, oxygen, etc., and I could tell how well thought out the concept of scriptology was.

Towards the end of the story, the characters face a challenge that felt very cliche to me. But, because I never see these things coming, I was surprised by the twist at the end. The Epilogue succeeded in hurting my heart, and I think I'll be picking up the next book in the series to see what these characters do.

Ink, Iron, and Glass publishes on February 20, 2018.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Review: The Becoming of Noah Shaw by Michelle Hodkin

The Becoming of Noah Shaw (The Shaw Confessions, #1)

Jacque's Review:

The Becoming of Noah Shaw is the first book in the Shaw Confessions series, which is described as a companion to the Mara Dyer series.  To me, a companion novel or series can be read independently, which is not the case with this book.  The story picks up after the end of The Retribution of Mara Dyer and assumes the reader has a considerable amount of knowledge of events that took place in that series.  Any of the events that were vital to this story were briefly touched upon to refresh the reader, but I would not recommend reading this book if you haven't already read the Mara Dyer series.

I will be the first to admit that Noah Shaw is one of my all time favorite characters, so I was ecstatic when I heard there was going to be another series from his point of view.  He is just as charming as ever, but we get to see first hand how his "gifts" are impacting his life.  He can not only heal himself and others, but he is able to see the pain and suffering of other "gifted" individuals as if he were in their bodies at the time of the incidents.  There is a sudden increase in the number of apparent suicides of "gifted" teens, so Mara, Noah and their friends begin working with some new gifted characters that are introduced in this book to bring the violence to an end.

Noah and Mara's brother Daniel refuse to believe Mara is involved in the deaths, but another character insists she is behind it.  They not only need to stop the deaths, but also clear Mara of these accusations.

Overall, I thought this was a great start to the new series.  I had no idea what to expect and I was shocked by many of the revelations.  There is a major event that takes place at the end of the book, which completely changes the game for the gifted.  Their lives have been irrevocably changed and I can't wait to see how things will unfold in the sequel.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Audiobook review: A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle

Book Summary
It was a dark and stormy night; Meg Murry, her small brother Charles Wallace, and her mother had come down to the kitchen for a midnight snack when they were upset by the arrival of a most disturbing stranger. 

"Wild nights are my glory," the unearthly stranger told them. "I just got caught in a downdraft and blown off course. Let me be on my way. Speaking of way, by the way, there is such a thing as a tesseract".

Meg's father had been experimenting with this fifth dimension of time travel when he mysteriously disappeared. Now the time has come for Meg, her friend Calvin, and Charles Wallace to rescue him. But can they outwit the forces of evil they will encounter on their heart-stopping journey through space?

Flo's Review
I'd read this book as a child, but I all I remembered about it was that I loved it. Since the movie is coming out in a few months, I wanted to remember the story, so I did a re-read. Or a listen, if you will. I was excited to see that the audiobook is narrated by the author herself, so I that's the route I chose.

Let's start with the unfortunately...if you have read any of my reviews before, you know that my, reading pet peeve (I guess you could call it) is when I don't like the main characters. And, guys? I just couldn't with Meg. It was okay that she was stubborn and impatient....but she was also so whiny and she wanted everybody to do things for her, fix things for her. Now, this is part of her character growth by the end of the story and also she has a good excuse for her behavior toward the end....but that didn't make it any easier. And reading someone whining as opposed to hearing it is probably a little better. Unfortunately, in this instance, Mrs. L'Engle did such a great job as a whiny Meg that it made a lot of the audiobook kind of a "suffer through" experience. But enough of the 'dark planet' type talk (tee hee hee)!

I am glad I did a re-read because I am pretty sure that I did not pick up on all the religious elements in the book as a child. I won't describe them here in case they could be considered spoilers, but I am interested to see how they will be handled in a secular movie.

Speaking of the movie -- the re-read accomplished what I hoped it would. I am now even more excited for the movie! I can't wait to see Mrs. Who, Mrs. Which, and Mrs. Whatsit. I can't wait to see how they portray all the different worlds. I can't wait to see if they did a Maze Runner type thing where the main character in the book is annoying, but in the movie is perfectly fine. March 9th can't some soon enough!

How about you? Did you read this book as a child? Are you excited for the movie?

Friday, January 12, 2018

Review: Crossed by Ally Condie

Crossed (Matched, #2)

Jacque's Review:

I really enjoyed Matched, the first book in the series, and gave it 5 stars.  This book, however, seemed to have a much slower pace.  It took forever for things to really pick up, which could cause some readers to lose interest.  I will tell you, the ending was definitely worth plugging through some of the slower parts.

Ky and Cassia alternate telling the story, so we get to see what is happening to both of them through out the book.  Ky was sent to the Outer Provinces, essentially to die, because he is an "Aberration".  Cassia is sent to a work camp to train for her new job assignment, but escapes to look for Ky.  In the process, she meets Indie and learns more about the rebellion.

Ky is leery of the rebellion because his father was one of the leaders.  It ended up getting both of his parents killed, but he no longer wants to live under the control of the Society. He meets another boy who is interested in the rebellion and they decide to escape, taking a young boy named Eli with them. 

Throughout the journey we learn more about the rebellion and how it has infiltrated all levels of the Society.   Xander even makes a surprise appearance and we learn one of his secrets, thanks to Ky.  He doesn't tell Cassia, because he doesn't believe it is his secret to tell, but it could make a drastic impact on how things turn out in Reached.

Overall, I enjoyed Crossed and look forward to seeing how the series will conclude.  I'm not sure Ky is really the best choice for Cassia, so I hope she keeps her mind open to the possibility of Xander.  

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Review: One Paris Summer by Denise Grover Swank

One Paris Summer

Goodreads Overview:

Most teens dream of visiting the City of Lights, but it feels more like a nightmare for Sophie Brooks. She and her brother are sent to Paris to spend the summer with their father, who left home a year ago without any explanation. As if his sudden abandonment weren't betrayal enough, he's about to remarry, and they’re expected to play nice with his soon-to-be wife and stepdaughter. The stepdaughter, Camille, agrees to show them around the city, but she makes it clear that she will do everything in her power to make Sophie miserable.

Sophie could deal with all the pain and humiliation if only she could practice piano. Her dream is to become a pianist, and she was supposed to spend the summer preparing for a scholarship competition. Even though her father moved to Paris to pursue his own dream, he clearly doesn't support hers. His promise to provide her with a piano goes unfulfilled.

Still, no one is immune to Paris’s charm. After a few encounters with a gorgeous French boy, Sophie finds herself warming to the city, particularly when she discovers that he can help her practice piano. There’s just one hitch—he’s a friend of Camille’s, and Camille hates Sophie. While the summer Sophie dreaded promises to become  the best summer of her life, one person could ruin it all.

Jacque's Review:

Sophie grew tremendously as a character throughout this book.  She started out as a teen who was afraid of everything.  She was in a foreign country where she couldn't speak or understand the language, which was definitely a disadvantage.  Add in the wicked step-sister, Camille, who repeatedly set her up for failure and it was destined to be the longest summer in history.  

On the plus side, she was in a beautiful city full of places to explore.  I went to Paris a few years ago and loved reading about many of the places we visited.  The catacombs, Notre Dame, the Eiffel Tower, and Versailles... just to name a few.  

When she meets Mathieu she hopes her luck has finally changed.  Unfortunately, she discovers he is one of Camille's friends, who were all instructed to make her life as miserable as possible.  Fortunately, Mathieu is not under Camille's spell and offers to help her learn French.  He even offers to let her use his piano to practice.  A cute love story develops between the two, but Camille is determined to sabotage any thoughts Sophie may have of wanting to move to Paris permanently.  

Overall, this was a fun summer read with an entertaining YA love story.  I loved Sophie, Mathieu, and Sophie's brother Eric, but Camille and Eric's friend Dane were obnoxious.  I can somewhat see where Camille was coming from, but I felt like her actions were well beyond realistic.  I detested both of those characters and often wished I could delete them from the story.  I think the overall impact would have been much better without some of their antics, but I still enjoyed the story.