Sunday, August 12, 2018

Book review: A Touch of Gold by Annie Sullivan

Book Summary
King Midas once had the ability to turn all he touched into gold. But after his gift—or curse—almost killed his daughter, Midas relinquished The Touch forever. Ten years later, Princess Kora still bears the consequences of her father’s wish: her skin shines golden, rumors follow her everywhere she goes, and she harbors secret powers that are getting harder to hide.

Kora spends her days locked in the palace, concealed behind gloves and veils, trying to ignore the stares and gossip of courtiers. It isn’t until a charming young duke arrives that Kora realizes there may be someone out there who doesn’t fear her or her curse. But their courtship is disrupted when a thief steals precious items from the kingdom, leaving the treasury depleted and King Midas vulnerable. Thanks to her unique ability to sense gold, Kora is the only one who can track the thief down. As she sails off on her quest, Kora learns that not everything is what it seems—not thieves, not pirates, and not even curses. She quickly discovers that gold—and the power it brings—is more dangerous than she’d ever believed.

Midas learned his lesson at a price. What will Kora’s journey cost?

Flo's Review
I had fun with this book! From the moment I first heard about it many months ago, I was looking forward to it. The idea behind the book, following King Midas' golden daughter is just so unique and clever. From the beginning, I was swept up into Kora's well-created world. It was easy to keep the turning the pages as the first stirrings of romance and adventure heralded what was to come in the story. 

But A Touch of Gold was not predictable in the slightest. It changed course much like the ship Kora was on would change course, as new information discovered at several points throughout the story caused me to question everything I thought I knew about these people. (Seriously, though -- trust no one! Lol). The villain was deliciously horrible and the character growth that both Kora and her cousin Hettie undergo is inspiring. The romance plays out with a twist, but I'm happy with the way it ended up and I think other readers will be, too. 

A Touch of Gold comes out August 14, 2018.

Thank you to Blink YA Books for providing me with an advanced reader's copy in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Mystery Blogger Award!

So, guess what?! The Book Nerds have been chosen for the Mystery Blogger Award! {insert happy dance} Um, it turns out we were actually nominated for this back in April and I just now saw it because #FloFail. Whoops. At any rate, better late than never, right?! Right!

Here are the rules of the Award:

1. Put the award logo on your blog.
2. Thank whoever nominated you and include a link to their blog.
3. Mention the creator of the award and provide a link to their blog as well. (Maggie @okoto enigmas blog)
4. Tell your readers three things about yourself.

5. Nominate 10-20 people.

6. Notify your nominees.

7. Ask your nominees any five questions of your choice, specifying one weird/funny question.
8. Share a link to your best post(s).

1. I'll be taking care of this as soon as I'm done with this post. Excited for the new bling!

2. Thank you, thank you, thank you to Catfairy Books! I am so sorry I just now saw this! If anyone is reading this who hasn't seen her blog yet, you should definitely check it out. She updates regularly, is writing a magical realism book, uses lots of fun pictures and GIFs, and loves Dawson Creek! Basically, it's a win all around:

3. Thanks to Okoto Enigma's Blog for starting this fun:

4. Let's see...these are going to be completely random. 1) I'm not a fan of olives. 2) Today (August 8) is the 28th anniversary of my sister seeing our favorite band, New Kids on the Block, in concert for the first time. My parents told me I couldn't go because I was too young, and I legit am still sad about it to this day. 3) I own 4 sets of the Hunger Games trilogy books. It might even be more, honestly, but I can think of 4 of them at this current moment. 

5. 10-20?!?! Hah! I don't think I know that many people. How about 1-2? That's better. So any of the owls at Owl Always Be Reading and Jacque at Jacque's Book Nook -- you're up. I suggest not waiting 4 months like I did....

6.  I'll be taking care of this as soon as I'm done with this post. 

7. Here are Catfairy's questions with my answers:

1) If you were stuck in a television show which show would you want to be stuck in?
Maybe because I'm thinking of Catfairy, but Dawson's Creek might be fun. I'm also currently obsessed with Disney Fairy Tale Weddings...if being stuck in that show means that I would get to have Disney weddings over and over again, then sign me up!
2) If you could travel anywhere around the world where would you go?
Greece and Ireland are on my bucket list! Anyone want to come with??
3) What is your most life-altering book?
Probably The Hunger Games. That book and series got me into fandom and through fandom I met some really great friends and people! I also had so, so many amazing experiences. And it's all because of my love of Peeta Mellark....oh, and Katniss.
4) We always say that the book is better than the movie! Although if you can pick one movie that is actually better than the book which movie would you pick?
Good question! Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. I cannot wait for part two this November!
5) Now for my silly/funny question! You’re stuck on a deserted island! What boy/girl band member would you want to be stuck in a deserted island with? 
Joey McIntyre from New Kids on the Block!
I swear I am not coping out, but I had so much fun with these questions that I am passing them on to my nominees!

8. Best post? Well, here's one I'm super proud of:

Monday, August 6, 2018

Blog Tour: The Wedding from Hell, Part 2: The Reception by J.R. Ward

The Wedding from Hell
Part 2: The Reception
by J. R. Ward
Available: August 7, 2018
Gallery Books | E-book Original
ISBN: 9781982105372 | Free

The Wedding from Hell, Part 2: The Rehearsal Dinner is the exciting second adventure in J.R. Ward’s three-part ebook serialization: The Wedding From Hell. This exclusive prequel to her upcoming standalone suspense, Consumed (available in Fall 2018) takes us back to the night steamy arson investigator Anne Ashburn and ‘bad boy’ firefighter Danny Maguire will never forget.

About the Book:
The Wedding From Hell, Part 2: The Reception: As the wedding from hell continues, Anne and Danny find themselves walking the delicate balance between professional distance and explosive attraction. Will the desire they feel last through the night and change their lives? Or are they doomed to part after one night of passion?

About the Author:
J.R. Ward is the author of more than thirty novels, including those in her #1 New York Times bestselling Black Dagger Brotherhood series. There are more than fifteen million copies of her novels in print worldwide, and they have been published in twenty-six different countries around the world. She lives in the South with her family.

 Video from J.R. Ward:

Read an excerpt from the book after the page break.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Audiobook review: Shopaholic to the Rescue by Sophie Kinsella

Book Summary
Becky Bloomwood and a hilarious cast of beloved family and friends (plus one enemy!) set off in a van to find her missing father, last heard from in Las Vegas.

Becky’s father Graham and her best friend’s husband, Tarquin, have disappeared from Los Angeles saying simply they have “something to take care of.”

But Tarquin’s wife Suze who is Becky’s best friend, and Becky’s mother Jane, are convinced the two men are hiding something and are in danger—their imaginations run wild. They must track them down!

Hijinks ensue as husband Luke drives Becky, daughter Minnie, Jane, Suze and other favorite Kinsella characters across country from LA to Las Vegas in search of the missing men.

Becky feels deeply guilty about ignoring her father while he was in LA, in addition Becky feels her enemy Alicia is threatening her friendship with Suze.

Flo's Review
I took an impromptu road trip last weekend and needed something fun to keep me going as I drove. Booknerd Jacque has recently discovered the Shopaholic series, and maybe that inspired me to finally listen to this audiobook that I picked up at a conference several years ago.

Shopaholic to the Rescue picks up right where Shopaholic to the Stars left off. I haven't read Stars, so while I wasn't completely lost, there were a lot of references to events from that last book that I didn't get. Also, the last book in the series that I read in full was Shopaholic and Sister, so there were some new characters I hadn't met. 

But I still adored this story. I believe it's the final book in the Shopaholic series and I got a little misty eyed at several points of it. But I feel like it left all the characters in a good place, with a satisfying conclusion. 

In this one, Becky has visibly grown. Her musings are still quirky and fun to read, but she is far from the woman we met in Confessions. One of the main story lines in this book is that Becky does not want to shop for herself, and I think it's completely brilliant that in the last book in the series she is having the opposite problem as in the first. That being said, Derek Smeathe is in this book, and I loved the circle effect of having him play a role in this story.

True to any Becky Brandon (nee Bloomwood) story, the situations the characters find themselves in are so bizarre and fun to read. This book is a road trip, so we got to see several scenarios through Becky's eyes: a big county fair, Las Vegas, Sonoma, and more. Becky steals the show as always, but I had fun with the other characters as well: her mom and Janice, Eleanor, Danny, Tarquin, and even Alicia B*-Longlegs were all a delight to read.

There is a scene with Elvis toward the end of the story that really did make me tear up. So perfect and well done. And "Becky's 11?" I love it!

This is a delightful, fun, satisfying conclusion to the Shopaholic series, and I am really glad I read it! 

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Book Review: See How They Run by Ally Carter

See How They Run (Embassy Row, #2)

Goodreads Overview:

Inside every secret, there's a world of trouble. Get ready for the second book in this new series of global proportions--from master of intrigue, New York Times bestselling author Ally Carter. 

Grace's past has come back to hunt her . . . and if she doesn't stop it, Grace isn't the only one who will get hurt. Because on Embassy Row, the countries of the world stand like dominoes, and one wrong move can make them all fall down. 

The twists get twistier and the turns get even more shocking in the second thrilling installment of Embassy Row.

Jacque's Review:

In this installment Grace is already aware of what really happened to her mother, but she doesn't know why.  She discovers there is a secret society of women who have guarded Adria's secrets and has been influencing its history for at least 1000 years.  While the history books show that men have been ruling Adria for centuries, it is their sisters, wives, mothers, and grandmothers who are really in control.

When violence breaks out on the small island, Grace will do anything to solve the murder and clear the name of her brother's best friend, Alexei.  Grace has always thought of Alexei as another brother, but perhaps there is more to their relationship? When the violence continues to escalate and the targets become her closest friends and family she begins to unravel the truth.  She is not safe in Adria and she must continue running.  When presented with the choice of fight or flight, she always chooses to run, but she may not be able to outrun whoever is after her this time.

This was another page turner that contained a ton of action and even more secrets to unravel.  The majority of the book took place during a large festival on the island, which added a chaotic atmosphere to an already stressful situation.  Grace and her friends don't know who they can trust and the one man who she perceived as her enemy for the past three years turns out to be the one person she can trust with their lives.

I simply couldn't wait to see how this series concludes. I downloaded the final book in the series while I was still reading the last few chapters of See How They Run.  I started reading Take the Key and Lock Her Up yesterday and it is off to a great start.  We are a long way from a happily ever after, but hopefully Ally is moving us in that direction.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Book Review: Twelve by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Twelve (The Naturals, #4.5)

Goodreads Overview:

Cassie Hobbes has been working with the FBI since she was a teenager. Now twenty-three years old, she and her fellow Naturals have taken over running the program that taught them everything they know. As a unit, they're responsible for identifying new Naturals--and solving particularly impossible cases. When their latest case brings back a ghost from their past, Cassie and the other Naturals find themselves racing against the clock--and reliving their own childhood traumas.In a small, coastal town in Maine, there has been a rash of teen suicides--or at least, that's what the police believe. Mackenzie McBride, age twelve, thinks differently. Desperate to make herself heard, she stands at the top of a lighthouse, threatening to jump... unless the FBI agents who rescued her from a kidnapper at age six come to hear her out. Enter the Naturals. It doesn't take Cassie long to realize that Mackenzie isn't bluffing: she truly is convinced that the suicides are murder, and she really will jump if she can't get the FBI to believe her. To the outside world, Mackenzie is nothing more than a traumatized child. But so was Cassie, once upon a time. So were Michael, Dean, Sloane, Lia, and Celine. With a storm rolling in off the ocean and Mackenzie's position becoming more precarious by the moment, the Naturals have very little time to get to the truth about the deaths--and about twelve-year-old Mackenzie McBride.

Jacque's Review:

I originally thought Bad Blood, book 4 in this series, was supposed to be the last.  This novella was a pleasant surprise that I jumped right into after finishing Bad Blood.  Our favorite Naturals are now 5 years older and a few of them are currently at the FBI academy becoming agents.  Celine is already an agent, so they can now work cases with a badge in the group without the aid of their mentors Agents Briggs and Sterling.  Briggs is now the director of the FBI and continues to provide the Naturals with the support they need, but is far more hands off than he used to be.

Being a novella, this story was short and sweet and provided a great introduction to a possible new Natural with a unique new ability.  There was also a hint towards the fact that Cassie's half sister may also be a Natural in the making.  She certainly had a traumatic childhood, which is a contributing factor, so the potential is there.

I loved seeing the team working together again and sincerely hope there are more cases in their future.  I would love to see this series turn into a King and Maxwell type of series where the Naturals continue working cases without always being in the direct line of fire.  These young adults have a lot of potential and I would hate to see their talents brought to a close so soon.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Book Review: The Emperor's Code (39 CLues #8)

The Emperor's Code (The 39 Clues, #8)

Goodreads Overview:

As the race to find the 39 Clues builds to its explosive finish, Amy and Dan must explore an ancient culture and steal a Clue guarded by thousands of the world's best-trained soldiers. It's the most dangerous Clue search yet. As their enemies crowd in, Amy and Dan find themselves separated for the first time ever. The choice lies before them - find the next Clue, or find their way back to each other.

Jacque's Review:

My son and I have been reading this series together and we are both thoroughly enjoying it.  He isn't a big fan of reading, but the action and adventure coupled with the real life history is keeping him engaged.  In fact, he finished almost this entire book during a long car ride yesterday.  

This portion of the race focuses on China.  We learned about the last Emperor, Mt. Everest, and Chinese martial arts.  We also get a glimpse into the life of Jonah Wizard, one of the Cahill cousins competing in the race for the 39 clues. He is an entertainment superstar and part of the Janus branch.  He has made appearances throughout the series, but this is the first time that I can remember him being an integral character.  

When Dan gets separated from Amy he decides to join forces with Jonah until he can find his sister.  He doesn't have any money and with their cell phones not working in China, his options are limited.  He begins to realize the Janus's can't be trusted and he breaks off on his own again.  Amy and Dan continue to follow the clues independently until they are reunited, thanks to something Grace told them about years ago.

Amy and Dan struggle to come to terms with what "Branch" they belong to, but they realize they are not defined by their family history.  They aren't like their evil family members and they can see that they have made the right decisions when presented with moral dilemmas.   Their combined resources allow them to decipher a clue the others probably think is lost forever.  In addition, Dan's discovery provides them with a lead towards another clue the rest of the family is most likely unaware of.  If they can manage to leave town without a tale, they may be able to get a jump on the competition. 

Get out your flip flops and sunscreen because it sounds like the Cahill kids are on their way to the Caribbean!  I can only imagine what we will learn about from that are....Pirates????

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Audiobook review: The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli

Book Summary
Seventeen-year-old Molly Peskin-Suso knows all about unrequited love—she’s lived through it twenty-six times. She crushes hard and crushes often, but always in secret. Because no matter how many times her twin sister, Cassie, tells her to woman up, Molly can’t stomach the idea of rejection. So she’s careful. Fat girls always have to be careful.

Then a cute new girl enters Cassie’s orbit, and for the first time ever, Molly’s cynical twin is a lovesick mess. Meanwhile, Molly’s totally not dying of loneliness—except for the part where she is. Luckily, Cassie’s new girlfriend comes with a cute hipster-boy sidekick. Will is funny and flirtatious and just might be perfect crush material. Maybe more than crush material. And if Molly can win him over, she’ll get her first kiss and she’ll get her twin back. 

There’s only one problem: Molly’s coworker Reid. He’s an awkward Tolkien superfan with a season pass to the Ren Faire, and there’s absolutely no way Molly could fall for him. Right?

Flo's Review
This has been one of those "I want to read you, but you will remain on my shelf and somewhere on my TBR" books. Until a few weeks ago, when I found the audiobook at the library and decided to take the plunge. (Full confession: I wasn't loving the audiobook I was currently listening to, so it was an easy distraction!) I am happy to report that I simply adore this book! Adore. I'm super happy because I didn't love Leah on the Offbeat, but this gave me all the happy feels of Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda.

What I loved most about it was this: it was 100% real. Molly is 100% real. In this day and age, so many YA books include these kickass protagonists who know exactly what they want in life and what they should do, and then they have no problem doing it. It's empowering and I absolutely love it. ...but was I like that at 17 years old? No. I was more like Molly. Molly who lives so much in her head. Molly who questions so many things. Not that Molly didn't know who she was, because she did. She had a great sense of self and was strong and loyal in her beliefs. But she also had the realistic hopes and fears of a teenager. And what I loved about her was this: Molly Peskin-Suso is quietly brave. She doesn't dismantle a dystopian society, no, but she steps outside of her comfort zone and she takes chances. I adore this girl.

Random funny note: the audiobook narrator was fantastic, but it was just funny hearing how she read Abby, because her Abby was nothing like Alexandra Shipp (who was Abby in the Love, Simon movie and is so now how I picture her.) But I also loved how the characters from Simon appeared a few times in this book. So fun!

This is the type of book you want to pick up and hug, because it's so adorable and so lovely. If you haven't had the chance to try Unrequited yet, I definitely recommend you do so!

Monday, July 23, 2018

Book Review: Bad Blood by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Bad Blood (The Naturals, #4)

Goodreads Overview:
When Cassie Hobbes joined the FBI's Naturals program, she had one goal: uncover the truth about her mother's murder. But now, everything Cassie thought she knew about what happened that night has been called into question. Her mother is alive, and the people holding her captive are more powerful—and dangerous—than anything the Naturals have faced so far. As Cassie and the team work to uncover the secrets of a group that has been killing in secret for generations, they find themselves racing a ticking clock. New victims. New betrayals. New secrets. When the bodies begin piling up, it soon becomes apparent that this time, the Naturals aren't just hunting serial killers. They're being hunted.
Jacque's Review:
Bad Blood is the fourth book in the Naturals series.  While some series can be read as stand alone novels, this certainly is not one of them.  In fact, it has been a while since I read All In, book three in this series, and it took me several chapters before things started falling in place again.  If you are new to this series, DEFINITELY read them in order.
I absolutely love the characters and their abilities and hope Jennifer will someday write a spin off series with the teens a little older solving crimes that do not hit so close to home.  I am always up for a good murder mystery and it would be a lot of fun reading some independent stories similar to the King and Maxwell series or even the Stephanie Plum books where we have a core group of characters solving a different case each book.

We were introduced to a new character with a different "natural ability." This provided a new dimension to the story and would be a great addition to Michael, Dean, Cassie, Lia and Sloan's abilities.  I have enjoyed seeing how the Naturals have formed a family and become closer throughout this series.  Dean and Michael in particular were always at odds, but even they provided readers with some warm and fuzzy moments in addition to their witty jabs at one another.
I was shocked at how everything unfolded at the end of this book.  Bad Blood definitely has new meaning and was not what I anticipated from the title.  Cassie is faced with an unthinkable decision after years of tracking down the people she thought were responsible for her mother's murder.  In addition, we discover characters from prior books who were far more than they seemed at the time. 
While writing this review I discovered there is a novella, which is 4.5 in the series.  I thought this was the end of the series, but now I can look forward to another 128 pages.   They alluded to certain things at the end of Bad Blood that were so open ended, that I couldn't believe this was the absolute end.  I am ecstatic to see that it is not.  I am heading to my library app to request Twelve while the story is still fresh in my mind. 
If you enjoy YA and murder mysteries, this is a highly entertaining series with some amazingly talented characters.  

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Blog Tour: The Wedding from Hell, Part 1: Rehearsal Dinner by J.R. Ward

The Wedding from Hell
Part 1: The Rehearsal Dinner
by J. R. Ward
Available: July 17, 2018
Gallery Books | E-book Original
ISBN: 9781982105365 | Free

Don’t miss #1 New York Times bestselling author J.R. Ward’s three-part ebook serialization: The Wedding From Hell. This exclusive prequel to her upcoming standalone suspense Consumed (available in Fall 2018) takes us back to where it all started between arson investigator Anne Ashburn and ‘bad boy’ firefighter Danny Maguire. The Wedding From Hell is a sexy standalone novella that sets up Consumed’s storyline, leaving fans hungry for more and dying to snatch it up.

About the Book:
It’s a classic recipe for disaster: Take one bridesmaid who thinks pink is the root of all evil, mix with a best man who’s hotter than a four-alarm fire, add in their explosive sexual attraction, a nightmare bridezilla, two cat fights, and an emergency call, and you have the wedding from hell.      

Experience the sizzling start of Anne and Danny’s intense relationship. Is this the start of something good...or just an erotic one-night stand that rocks their world, but must never be repeated?

About the Author:
J.R. Ward is the author of more than thirty novels, including those in her #1 New York Times bestselling Black Dagger Brotherhood series. There are more than fifteen million copies of her novels in print worldwide, and they have been published in twenty-six different countries around the world. She lives in the South with her family.

Read an excerpt from the book after the page break.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Audiobook review: A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir

Book Summary
The highly anticipated third book in Sabaa Tahir's New York Times bestselling EMBER QUARTET.

Beyond the Empire and within it, the threat of war looms ever larger.

The Blood Shrike, Helene Aquilla, is assailed on all sides. Emperor Marcus, haunted by his past, grows increasingly unstable, while the Commandant capitalizes on his madness to bolster her own power. As Helene searches for a way to hold back the approaching darkness, her sister's life and the lives of all those in the Empire hang in the balance.

Far to the east, Laia of Serra knows the fate of the world lies not in the machinations of the Martial court, but in stopping the Nightbringer. But while hunting for a way to bring him down, Laia faces unexpected threats from those she hoped would aid her, and is drawn into a battle she never thought she'd have to fight.

And in the land between the living and the dead, Elias Veturius has given up his freedom to serve as Soul Catcher. But in doing so, he has vowed himself to an ancient power that will stop at nothing to ensure Elias's devotion--even at the cost of his humanity.

Flo's Review
Wow. What a roller coaster of emotions this book took me through! It culminated at the end when I was driving from work literally yelling out loud at my audiobook because of the situations our three main characters found themselves in and the choices they made. Then, I had to have to have a full text conversation with with a friend who'd recently finished it about all the reveals and plot twists. Unsurprisingly, I saw exactly NONE of them happening. "Sabaa is a genius," my friend said. I 100% agree.

After listening to the audiobook for A Torch Against the NightI knew that I wanted to read Reaper the same way. The three narrators read their characters so, so well. Laia's reader is feminine but fierce, innocent but daring. Helene's is strong, with a touch of vulnerability hidden deep beneath. And Elias is Steve West. (Confession: I love Steve West and will listen to pretty much any audiobook he reads.) 

Moussa (I'm sorry if I'm spelling this wrong) was an interesting character who I hope we see a bit more of in the final book. I was happy to see the hard-fought for character growth of Darin in the novel. And, without being spoilery, l love one of the conversations at the end of the book and what it means for the next novel. I cannot wait to see how it will all shake down in book 4. 

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Book review: The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo

Book Summary
From the author of I Believe in a Thing Called Love, a laugh-out-loud story of love, new friendships, and one unique food truck.

Clara Shin lives for pranks and disruption. When she takes one joke too far, her dad sentences her to a summer working on his food truck, the KoBra, alongside her uptight classmate Rose Carver. Not the carefree summer Clara had imagined. But maybe Rose isn't so bad. Maybe the boy named Hamlet (yes, Hamlet) crushing on her is pretty cute. Maybe Clara actually feels invested in her dad’s business. What if taking this summer seriously means that Clara has to leave her old self behind? 

With Maurene Goo's signature warmth and humor, The Way You Make Me Feel is a relatable story of falling in love and finding yourself in the places you’d never thought to look.

Flo's Review
Why did I wait so long to read this?!?! I've had it sitting on my TBR pile for months now and felt like reading a light, fun, romantic YA this week. I asked hubby and Twitter which one I should go for and they both said The Way You Make Me Feel, so in I went.

So how did it make me feel? Warm. Fuzzy. Happy. Let's start with the cover love. Look at the pretty! It's such a great color combination -- fun, but not in-your-face intense. Happy and calming at the same time.

I adored I Believe in a Thing Called Love, and Goo's sophomore effort did not disappoint. It's been awhile since I've been able to add a new book boyfriend to my list, and Hamlet definitely makes it. Hamlet is everything! I love that he is all energy and optimism and random. More importantly, he is open where Clara is guarded. Their relationship works so well because he is just what she needs to bring her out. Any other type of personality would just bring up her sarcasm and dismissal, but Hamlet made her want to take a hard look at herself. But without forcing her. I cannot say enough about how great the two of them are.

Just like I Believe in a Thing Called Love, I was so delightful to read the relationship between Clara and her dad, Pai. It's the exact opposite of the whole "parents absent from the kid's lives" in YA thing, and it's realistic and refreshing. I also liked the friendship between Rose and Clara. They went from being enemies to BFFs super fast -- it might be a tad unrealistic, but I like them so much better as friends that I did not care. The awkwardness was so cute. 

Two things prevented me from giving this 5 out of 5 stars. First, Clara was kind of a jerk at the beginning. She was hard to swallow. I read several reviews where people DNF because they didn't like her and how she treated people, and I understand. Usually when I don't like the protagonist, I struggle with the book. I don't know what kept me engaged here. Maybe I subconsciously knew that she would get better? Maybe because everything else about the book -- the writing, especially -- was so good? Luckily, Clara got better really quickly.

Secondly, toward the end there is suddenly this whole, "I love LA! I have pride in my diverse city!" thing going on. Like, it's hit pretty hard. I guess there were subtle references to this idea throughout the book, but definitely not enough to make me think that this was an important part of the story. So when the last chapter kept going on and on about it, I felt it read a little random. Like an add-on. "Here's the story, and P.S. Gooooo Los Angeles!"

But everything else I adored. ADORED. I flew through this book in two evenings. When I finished it, I set it down and immediately exclaimed, "Adorable!" I had a big smile on my face, too. It made me so happy. So if you're up for a book that will be fun and easy to read and will make you happy, look no further than The Way You Make Me Feel.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Book review: Hope Never Dies by Andrew Shaffer

Book Summary
This mystery thriller reunites Vice President Joe Biden and President Barack Obama for a political mashup full of suspense, intrigue, and laugh out loud bromance.

Vice President Joe Biden is fresh out of the Obama White House and feeling adrift when his favorite railroad conductor dies in a suspicious accident, leaving behind an ailing wife and a trail of clues. To unravel the mystery, “Amtrak Joe” re-teams with the only man he’s ever fully trusted—the 44th president of the United States. Together they’ll plumb the darkest corners of Delaware, traveling from cheap motels to biker bars and beyond, as they uncover the sinister forces advancing America’s opioid epidemic.

Part noir thriller and part bromance novel, Hope Never Dies is essentially the first published work of Obama/Biden fanfiction—and a cathartic read for anyone distressed by the current state of affairs.

Flo's Review
I mean, where do I even start with this book?! Did you ever think you'd be in world where "Obama/Biden fanfiction" is a thing?! 

So this book is cray, basically. But in a good way. It's meant to be fun, and it's fun. I had a good time reading it. Shaffer did such a great job with Joe. I could see him thinking these crazy things and saying these crazy things and even doing (some of!) these crazy things. Like, here's an example: have you ever played the game "Cave, Marry, Kill"? (We did this a LOT on the Hunger Games Fireside Chat back in the day. In fact, I think "Cave, Marry, Kill" might be a spin on another game that I can't think of the name of right now.) Anyway, Joe and Barack are having like a slumber party, basically, in a shady motel (and this isn't even the weirdest part of the book, folks!) and Joe tries to start a game of POTUS, SCOTUS, or FLOTUS:

"It's a game we used to play in the Senate, while we were waiting our overnight filibusters, I name three women, and you say who you'd like as your--"
"You got it."

I won't reveal how the game went, because #spoileralert.

But interspersed in the book are some great quotes -- I have a lot of page flags in my copy. For example, here's a nice inspirational one:

"You've got to have patience. It takes more than eight years to build a legacy--and it takes more than a term or two reshape the world. Change happens incrementally."

A large part of this book is the focus on the bromance between Joe and Barack. Indeed, it actually reads like a romance novel in some parts (as it's meant to). The beginning of the story starts with Joe idling away at home, looking at all the pictures of Barack out doing water sports and having fun. He feels like Barack just dropped their BFFedness -- yes, I think I just made that word up -- after the two of them left office. His feelings play a part in the plot of the novel. Because, oh yes, these two are running around Delaware trying to solve a murder.

I would be interested to hear how much research Shaffer had to do about Joe Biden for this novel. Because I believe a lot of it is based on fact, and it's just embellished and added onto to get the fiction.

This was a quick read, definitely a tongue-in-cheek kind of affair. It publishes July 10, 2018. Let's end on a final, inspirational quote:

"As long as you have hope," he said, repeating his words from that day, "you're still in the game."
"And when you lose it?" I asked, echoing a field organizer's question.
"You can't lose it. Hope never dies."

*Thank you to Quirk Books for providing me with a copy in exchange for may honest review.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Blog Tour: She Loves You (Yeah Yeah Yeah)

Hi everyone! I am so excited to be hosting a stop on the blog tour for She Loves You (Yeah Yeah Yeah) by Ann Hood. I adored this book for many reasons (read my review here), but mostly because I *love* boy bands and had so much fun reading a book about a girl who loves a boy band.

I have been a boy band lover since I was 9 years old. Wanna hear about some of my favorites?! Yay! Here we go:


Favorite band member: Joey McIntyre
Favorite song on most recent album: We Were Here 
Favorite memory: Sooo many. Probably my first New Kids on the Block cruise, which I think was 2010? (Fun fact: That's where I met Book Nerd Jacque!)

Favorite band member: Brian Littrell
Favorite song on most recent album: Show 'Em (What You're Made Of)
Favorite memory: Tie between my first BSB concert, which was the Into the Millennium tour back in 2000 and meeting Brian for the first time five years ago.

Favorite band member: Ooohhh, I don't know if I have a favorite, honestly.
Favorite song on most recent album: Motownphilly isn't on their most recent album, but how can I deny the epicness of that song?!
Favorite memory: When Shawn Stockman threw me a rose TWICE! As in, at two different concerts he threw me a rose!! <3

Favorite band member: Again, I don't have a particular favorite.
Favorite song on most recent album: River
Favorite memory: Probably seeing them at Mixtape festival about three years ago...I had a great spot and that was a really fun day.

Favorite band member: Taylor Hanson
Favorite song on most recent album: I prefer their old stuff, so maybe "I Will Come to You"
Favorite memory: My best friend and I were obsessed with Hanson in high school. It was just fun sharing that fangirl with her.

Favorite band member: Sergio Calderon.
Favorite song on most recent album: Eyes Closed
Favorite memory: Watching the show Boy Band religiously ever week and talking about it on Twitter.

Okay, I could go on... N'Sync, 4th Ave, Take That, O-Town, BBMak, etc etc etc...but then we'd all be here all day. 

I've LOVE to hear about your favorite boy band and why you love them! Tell me all about it in the comments.

Thank you for visiting my stop on the blog tour!

Filled with love, hope, and longing, this is a novel for readers of all ages." - Holly Goldberg Sloan

Bestselling author Ann Hood crafts a funny, heartfelt story of a girl growing up in the heart of Beatlemania.
The year is 1966. The Vietnam War rages overseas, the Beatles have catapulted into stardom, and twelve-year-old Rhode Island native Trudy Mixer is not thrilled with life. Her best friend, Michelle, has decided to become a cheerleader, everyone at school is now calling her Gertrude (her hated real name), and the gem of her middle school career, the Beatles fan club, has dwindled down to only three other members--the least popular kids at school. And at home, her workaholic father has become even more distant.

Determined to regain her social status and prove herself to her father, Trudy looks toward the biggest thing happening worldwide: the Beatles. She is set on seeing them in Boston during their final world tour--and meeting her beloved Paul McCartney. So on a hot August day, unknown to their families, Trudy and crew set off on their journey, each of them with soaring hopes for what lies ahead.

In her signature prose, Hood crafts an extraordinary story of growing up, making unexpected connections, and following your dreams even as the world in front of you--and the world at large--is changing too fast.

Ann Hood is the author of the best-selling novels The Book That Matters MostThe Obituary WriterSomewhere Off the Coast of MaineThe Red Thread, and The Knitting Circle, as well as the memoir Comfort: A Journey Through Grief, which was a New York Times Editor's Choice and chosen as one of the top ten nonfiction books of 2008 by Entertainment Weekly. She has won two Pushcart Prizes as well as a Best American Spiritual Writing Award, two Best American Food Writing Award, and a Best American Travel Writing award. A regular contributor to the New York Times, Hood's short stories and essays have appeared in many publications, including PloughsharesTin HouseTravelerBon AppetitOMoreThe Wall Street JournalThe Washington PostThe Paris Review, and others. She is the editor of the anthologies Knitting Yarns: Writers Writing About KnittingKnitting Pearls: More Writers Writing About Knitting, and Providence Noir. Hood is also the author of books for children, including the middle-grade novel, How I Saved My Father (And Ruined Everything Else), and the ten-book Treasure Chest series for young readers. Her new memoir, Morningstar: Growing Up with Books, will be published in August. She lives in Providence, Rhode Island, and New York City, and is married to the writer Michael Ruhlman.

June 18 – BookHounds YA 
June 19 – In Wonderland 
June 20 – It’s Just About Write 
June 21 – Dotters Daughters Picks 
June 25 – Ms. Yingling Reads 
June 26 – Sweet Things