Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Review: 738 Days by Stacey Kade

738 Days was my top priority on Friday at BEA.  I left Columbus, Ohio at 7:00 AM to ensure I arrived before 1:00, which was when they were going to start passing out tickets for this signing.  Stacey didn't think there would be a problem with them running out of tickets, but I wasn't taking any chances.  I've read all of her books, except Bitter Pill, and really wanted a signed copy to add to my collection.

The story is told with an alternating point of view.  Amanda Grace was abducted at the age of fifteen and was held captive for 738 Days.  The book starts out with a look at her rescue, but flashes forward to a couple of years later.  She is still dealing with anxiety and her family life remains strained from the incident.  

Chase Henry is a famous actor who has fallen from grace.  Success got the better of him and he found himself lost in a life of alcohol, which led to a number of bad choices.  He has been sober for ten months and wants to get his life and career back on track.  He is filming a movie near Amanda Grace's hometown and his publicist insists it would be a great career move for him to invite her to the set.  It was his picture on a poster that gave her the courage to survive, so the connection makes complete sense.

Amanda decides to take Chase up on the offer and they settle on a mutually beneficial agreement.  She will help him with some publicity while he allows her the chance to branch out from her overly protective life and family.  What neither of them expected was for their troubled pasts to provide a real connection between them.  They provide a sense of comfort and support to each other that both has been desperately needing.  As their feelings begin to escalate, the shaky ground their relationship was built on threatens to tear them apart.  Add in a crazy celebrity stalker and this book is full of romance, action and suspense.  

738 Days is by far my favorite of Stacey's books, which is definitely saying a lot.  She is one of my favorite authors and I would highly recommend reading any of her books.  I gave this book 5 stars and enjoyed every page from start to finish.  The pacing was perfect and everything wraps up nicely in one novel, which is rarely the case anymore.  

Please be advised that 738 Days is NA and not her typical YA.  There is some adult language and content that readers may not expect based upon her previous novels.  The "adult scenes" were very well written and not over the top, but the added spice definitely keeps the pages turning.  I really hope she continues to write NA since this book was an absolute pleasure to read.

As a side note...Stacey, you totally underestimate yourself.  After reading this book, the tickets should have been gone within minutes :)

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Midsummer's Eve Giveaway Hop

You guys don't know how much I've been looking forward to summer! I have amended hours at work. There are long lazy summer days, lying around sipping beer or lemonade with your favorite book. Then there are the Summer Nights, as best described by one of my favorite bands Rascal Flatts:

Anyway, no matter how you plan to fill your summer days and summer nights, the Book Nerds would like to give you a book to help you do so! Enter via the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win a SIGNED COPY of Wink, Poppy, Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke! Seriously, look how cute this is:

Unfortunately, it's got to be U.S. only (sorry guys!) Good luck and enjoy the lovely, lazy, hazy days of summer!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
And when you're done here, you can hop on:​

Monday, June 20, 2016

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Guest post by A Week of Mondays author Jessica Brody 

ELLISON “ELLIE” SPARKS: An idealistic, ambitious sixteen-year-old junior with a lot on her plate.

Those were the first words I ever wrote about Ellie Sparks. They were written in a synopsis for my publisher when I was first trying to sell them on the idea for a book called A WEEK OF MONDAYS.

Of course, you can’t write an entire book about a one-sentence character. Just like you can’t live your entire life as a one-sentence person. But every character has to begin somewhere. And this is where Ellie began for me.

As an idealistic, ambitious sixteen-year-old junior with a lot on her plate.

In my mind, this is who she had to be. I thought, if you’re going to write about a girl who relives the same horrible Monday over and over again, trying to “get it right,” these are the adjectives that must describe her. She has to be idealistic enough to think she can fix everything in her life. Yet, she also has to be ambitious enough to try it. And how else are you going to fill seven Mondays with interesting storylines if the main character doesn’t have a lot on her plate.

So there was Ellie. And there was me, ready to write her, thinking I understood her. Thinking I knew everything I needed to know about her.

This is the writing process for me. I start with an idea of who someone is. I draw a box around them, like an identity fence. I stuff them inside and I lock the gate. I tell them, “This is who you are. Don’t try to change that. Don’t try to be or do anything else. I don’t have time for detours. I’m on a deadline.”

I never learn.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

WIN: Miss Peregrine Tote Bag!

So remember how Jacque was excited to grab a Miss P. tote bag from BEA? It is pretty cute, right?!

Well, we can't keep the cuteness to ourselves so we're gonna share the wealth! Want to win one?  Just let us know in the comments who your favorite of Miss P.'s kids is. Don't forget to include your email address. We'll give this a random (U.S.) commenter. Good luck!! Contest ends June 30, 2016.

Also, don't forget to jump in on #5PeculiarYears: 

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Happy Book Birthday to Gifted by H.A. Swain!

I'm currently reading this one and so far so good! Let us know in the comments if you plan to read it, too! 

Book Summary
In Orpheus Chanson's world, geniuses and prodigies are no longer born or honed through hard work. Instead, procedures to induce Acquired Savant Abilities (ASAs) are now purchased by the privileged. And Orpheus's father holds the copyright to the ASA procedure.

Zimri Robinson, a natural musical prodigy, is a "plebe"--a worker at the enormous warehouse that supplies an on-line marketplace that has supplanted all commerce. Her grueling schedule and her grandmother's illness can't keep her from making music--even if it is illegal.

Orpheus and Zimri are not supposed to meet. He is meant for greatness; she is not. But sometimes, rules are meant to be broken. Here is a thriller, love story, and social experiment that readers will find gripping--and terrifying.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

The Siren by Kiera Cass

Book Summary
Love is a risk worth taking.

Years ago, Kahlen was rescued from drowning by the Ocean. To repay her debt, she has served as a Siren ever since, using her voice to lure countless strangers to their deaths. Though a single word from Kahlen can kill, she can’t resist spending her days on land, watching ordinary people and longing for the day when she will be able to speak and laugh and live freely among them again.

Kahlen is resigned to finishing her sentence in solitude…until she meets Akinli. Handsome, caring, and kind, Akinli is everything Kahlen ever dreamed of. And though she can’t talk to him, they soon forge a connection neither of them can deny…and Kahlen doesn’t want to.

Falling in love with a human breaks all the Ocean’s rules, and if the Ocean discovers Kahlen’s feelings, she’ll be forced to leave Akinli for good. But for the first time in a lifetime of following the rules, Kahlen is determined to follow her heart.

Flo's Review
Okay, let's start with Cover Love! Look at this beauty! The back cover and the flaps continue with the beautiful blue-green ocean waves. I only actually read the last 50 or so pages, and I kept turning the book over to look at it. 

So, let's throwback. I would say maybe a year ago I was in Barnes and Noble (aka my second home) and what do I see in the clearance bin?

I grabbed it, of course, as soon as I realized what it was -- a pre-Selection Kiera Cass book! It's been sitting on my shelf since then, and I finally pulled it down when I started listening to the audiobook. Fun fact: changes were made! I thought I would be able to match the audio of the edited Harper version with this earlier version of the book, but that's not the case. The writer in me is curious and may go back and read this other version just to see what was changed. I only read the first few pages, skimmed the middle a bit, and read the last few pages and those were different in the new version.

But back to The Siren 2016! I wasn't expecting to love it as much as I did. Sure, I always enjoy Kiera's stories. They are cute and they make me smile. But this one had a depth that, to me, the Selection series didn't quite have. It was beautiful and intense and my heart ached for all of these characters. I'll start backwards and talk about the sisterhood of sirens. Kahlen talks a lot about the myths and stories that we (humans) believe of sirens. This shows the kind of research that Kiera did into the topic for the book and was fascinating. I loved how she took the general idea that sirens were soulless and completely turned it around to these beautiful and fun girls who are every bit as "human" as your best friend. They go out, they shop, they dance, they travel, they dream, and they are dedicated to each other. But they must also find a way to live with the fact that they kill people. Elizabeth shops. Miaka paints. Kahlen researches. I love how each girl dealt with what they did in such a unique way.

Akinli, of course, is adorable. What I love most about his and Kahlen's relationship is how it shows that we can connect with others through more than our words. Kind of a deeper Little Mermaid type scenario. Deeper because Akinli wanted to learn more about the person Kahlen was, and he told her about the person who he was.

The Ocean...I don't know how to feel about her. I understand where she's coming from, but I also don't. I can see how she loves, but she is not good at showing love. She is a complex character who plays both the hero and the villain, who gives life but also takes it away, who has deep emotions but comes off cold. She's full of contradictions, and like I said, by the end I came to understand (I guess...) her, but I don't think I really came to like her.

And finally Kahlen. She is so complex. It's just interesting to me to compare her to American and Eadlyn. Not that the two royal ladies didn't have some things they were going through, but Kahlen to me had so much more soul and emotion. She hating taking lives and could never let that go. She carried all the lives with her, through her scrapbooks. She carried her dreams of falling in love and having a beautiful wedding. She carried her sisters by taking care of them. She carried the Ocean, as she was the favored siren. And as the book progressed she carried even more -- heartache for Akinli, pain for her sister Padma, secrets of Aisling's. She was seen as the best siren because she was the most obedient, but I think of them all she wanted the most to experience the depth of humanity.

The Siren had a lovely, beautiful ending. I closed the book with tears in my eyes and a smile on my face.

I'd definitely recommend this one! Just don't go into it expecting it to be like the Selection series, because it is most definitely not.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

All the Feels by Danika Stone

Book Summary
College freshman Liv is more than just a fangirl: The Starveil movies are her life… So, when her favorite character, Captain Matt Spartan, is killed off at the end of the last movie, Liv Just. Can’t. Deal.

Tired of sitting in her room sobbing, Liv decides to launch an online campaign to bring her beloved hero back to life. With the help of her best friend, Xander, actor and steampunk cosplayer extraordinaire, she creates #SpartanSurvived, a campaign to ignite the fandom. But as her online life succeeds beyond her wildest dreams, Liv is forced to balance that with the pressures of school, her mother’s disapproval, and her (mostly nonexistent and entirely traumatic) romantic life. A trip to DragonCon with Xander might be exactly what she needs to figure out what she really wants.

Flo's Review
I hate to be cheesy, but his book really did give me #AllTheFeels. First of all, as a HUGE fangirl myself, I kind of understand Liv. Kind of. Liv's obsession is on the extreme side, honestly, but I do understand it at the root. I read this entire book in one day. It was that easy breezy to go through! Each chapter is named a quote from a different fandom and that's #awesome. And a lot of the text is actually text conversations, so that fact also made this a quick read.

Xander is lovely! I love his name, I love his quirkiness, and I love that he calls Liv "dearest." (Makes me...wait for it....SWOON. Get it?! This is Swoon Reads book?!?! I'm here all day, folks. :) I love the way their relationship progressed, starting off as besties and then realizing that this comfort they have with each other is so much more.

Part II of this book takes place at Dragon Con. I've been to New York Comic Con, and I've been to lots of book conventions, but I've never been to Dragon Con. I've heard about it before, though. And now, reading this second part of the book, I absolutely wanna go!! 

All the Feels is exactly what is promises: a light fun romance that will make you proud to be a fangirl and will definitely leave you with -- that's right, I'm going there -- ALL the feels! It comes out June 7, 2016 and you should definitely add it to you summer reading list!

Thank you to Macmillan to providing me with an advance reader's copy in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, June 3, 2016

The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead

Book Summary
Big and sweeping, spanning from the refined palaces of Osfrid to the gold dust and untamed forests of Adoria, The Glittering Court tells the story of Adelaide, an Osfridian countess who poses as her servant to escape an arranged marriage and start a new life in Adoria, the New World. But to do that, she must join the Glittering Court.

Both a school and a business venture, the Glittering Court is designed to transform impoverished girls into upper-class ladies who appear destined for powerful and wealthy marriages in the New World. Adelaide naturally excels in her training, and even makes a few friends: the fiery former laundress Tamsin and the beautiful Sirminican refugee Mira. She manages to keep her true identity hidden from all but one: the intriguing Cedric Thorn, son of the wealthy proprietor of the Glittering Court.

When Adelaide discovers that Cedric is hiding a dangerous secret of his own, together they hatch a scheme to make the best of Adelaide’s deception. Complications soon arise—first as they cross the treacherous seas from Osfrid to Adoria, and then when Adelaide catches the attention of a powerful governor.

But no complication will prove quite as daunting as the potent attraction simmering between Adelaide and Cedric. An attraction that, if acted on, would scandalize the Glittering Court and make them both outcasts in wild, vastly uncharted lands…

Flo's Review
*Sigh* So...The Glittering Court. I listed to this one on audiobook, and while I loved the inflection that the narrator's voice was able to carry, this probably wasn't the best bet for audio because it felt really long. From the start, I didn't really connect with Adelaide. This is the second book I've read in a row about someone from a high position being knocked down several levels. The changing of Adelaide's circumstances did change her, but....I don't know. She still felt a little judgmental to me.  I always struggle with books when I don't like at least one of the main characters, so this was the first strike for me. Cedric was okay, but eeeehhhh. I didn't really feel swoony over him. 

Secondly, I am sad to say that I did not like the last third of the book. The plot took a completely different turn from what was supposed to be a story about the Glittering Court, and I became disenchanted and bored. I will talk a bit more about this later, but I really enjoyed reading about everything involving the Glittering Court, and I didn't feel like the last part of the story was about it at all. It honestly felt like a completely different story to me. 

But let's end on a high note. The concept and execution of the Glittering Court was fascinating to me. I loved reading about Adelaide's experiences in both the houses and seeing her relationship with her friends. I just read that this is supposed to be a trilogy with the other two books talking about the other two main girls, and I think I might enjoy them. I'd love to hear more about Tamsin and what happened to her, and Mira was just a complete mystery, so we'll see what her deal is.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Review: Killer Instinct by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Killer Instinct (The Naturals, #2)

Killer Instinct is the second book in the Naturals series and picks up about six weeks after the end of the previous novel.  The Naturals (Cassie, Dean, Michael, Lia, and Sloane) all have gifts that allow them to read people and situations, which is an obvious benefit to an agency such as the FBI.  Cassie and Dean are natural profilers, Michael can read emotions, Lia is a human lie detector, and Sloane is a wealth of knowledge and statistics.

After putting their lives on the line to catch a serial killer in The Naturals, the teens have been instructed to only work on cold cases.  To ensure they stick to the plan, Agent Sterling (the Director's daughter and Agent Briggs's ex-wife) moves into the residence to supervise and evaluate the program.  Her opinion could lead to the disbanding of the program, but that doesn't stop the team from investigating a local murder with the same MO as Dean's incarcerated serial killer father.  As the number of bodies begins to add up, the FBI agrees to officially pull the naturals into the active investigation.  

Throughout the story we learn more about Dean, his relationship with his father, and the events he was exposed to as a child.  It is also revealed how the love/hate relationship between Michael and Dean developed.  I felt like both of these characters came a long way towards strengthening their relationship, which will only help the group dynamic moving forward.  When push came to shove they had each other's back and even extended themselves to help one another, which was a huge step in the right direction.

This is the first YA murder mystery series that I have found that I thoroughly enjoy.  The characters are very unique and the stories are engaging from start to finish.  I looked forward to reading this book each day and simply did not want to put it down.  The only aspect that I could do without is the love triangle between Cassie, Dean, and Michael.  It was beginning to wear thin during the first book and continued for the majority of Killer Instinct.  I believe we have worked past it, which should relieve some of the tension between the characters in All In, which is the next installment in the series.

It was announced in the closing chapters that there will be a change in how The Naturals program will operate moving forward.  I don't want to give anything away, but it will definitely open up the possibilities for the series moving forward.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

SPLASH INTO SUMMER Giveaway Hop - The Square Root of Summer

Oooh, I love summer! Pool parties, long nights that are still light outside, 4th of July, amended work schedule, and the list goes on and on! I am so ready for this fun in the sun, relaxing mindset time of the year! Really -- it's the perfect time to get lost in a good book. So to help you do that, we are giving away an ARC of The Square Root of Summer by Harriet Reuter Hapgood. Here's the summary:

Gottie H. Oppenheimer is losing time. Literally. When the fabric of the universe around her seaside town begins to fray, she's hurtled through wormholes to her past:

To last summer, when her grandfather Grey died. To the afternoon she fell in love with Jason, who wouldn't even hold her hand at the funeral. To the day her best friend Thomas moved away and left her behind with a scar on her hand and a black hole in her memory.

Although Grey is still gone, Jason and Thomas are back, and Gottie's past, present, and future are about to collide—and someone's heart is about to be broken.

With time travel, quantum physics, and sweeping romance, The Square Root of Summer is an exponentially enthralling story about love, loss, and trying to figure it all out, from stunning debut YA voice, Harriet Reuter Hapgood.

This is a US only contest.  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Now that you're done here, do hop on:

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Review: Shade Me by Jennifer Brown

Shade Me is the first book in a new series by Jennifer Brown.  All of her previous books are stand alone novels, so this is a little different for her.  

Nikki Kill is a high school senior with a condition referred to as synesthesia.  When she sees numbers and letters they present themselves to her as colors.  This is very distracting when she is trying to study; therefore, she has never been a strong student.  She also associates colors with emotions and can read people based upon the colors she sees.  

Nikki doesn't see the benefits of synesthesia until she begins investigating the attack on fellow classmate Peyton Hollis.  Peyton is from a very wealthy and powerful family and is practically royalty within their school.  The two girls didn't hang out in the same circle of friends and never actually spoke until the night of Peyton's attack.  For some unknown reason, Peyton called Nikki when she knew her life was in danger.  Nikki is determined to uncover the truth behind the attack, but the deeper she digs the more dangerous things become.

In addition to YA I read a number of adult mysteries and thrillers, so I was intrigued by this book from the start.  Jennifer wove a number of clues throughout the story and included more than enough action to keep the pages turning.  There is even a bit of a romance mixed in to spice things up.  

I was surprised by how Jennifer ended this story and almost felt like it could have been wrapped up in one novel.  There are some loose ends, but not enough to make this a series based solely on this one case.  I'm almost wondering if Nikki will begin working with the officer who investigated this crime, Chris Martinez, to help solve future cases or cold cases.  It would be a great way for her to put her synesthesia to good use and it could be the basis for a great series.  Jennifer gave us bits and pieces of information about Martinez's past, but I think there is a lot more to him than we know.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Review: Bought for the Greek's Revenge by Lynne Graham

First, a congratulation is in order for Ms. Lynne Graham because this is her 100th book! How amazing is that? How many authors can even say that? *claps* Great job Ms. Graham.

Now, for my review:

I received this beauty from BEA at the Harlequin's booth! I was deeply excited since I have read several of Ms. Graham's books before. Now, let's dive in.

What I liked:  I liked the plot line! I thought it was going to be the same old Billionaire story line, but this one has some twists and turns I didn't see coming. I like when that happens. Ella is a strong female character and is trying to save her family's financial issues. Nikolai has a whole other plan and at first I took him for a complete jerk ... but as the story goes on Nikolai has a big ol' back story and I saw him in a different light.

What I didn't like: Even though there were twists and turns a couple of them didn't seem to 'flow' with the story well. They seemed to just POP up and made me have to re-read a few parts again.

Overall: This is a GOOD book and I would recommend for others to read.


The Crown by Kiera Cass

Book Summary
When Eadlyn became the first princess of IllĂ©a to hold her own Selection, she didn’t think she would fall in love with any of her thirty-five suitors. She spent the first few weeks of the competition counting down the days until she could send them all home. But as events at the palace force Eadlyn even further into the spotlight, she realizes that she might not be content remaining alone.

Eadlyn still isn’t sure she’ll find the fairytale ending her parents did twenty years ago. But sometimes the heart has a way of surprising you…and soon Eadlyn must make a choice that feels more impossible—and more important—than she ever imagined.

Flo's Review
Aww, I'm going to miss the world of The Selection! As you may recall, The Heir might be my favorite book of the series. Perhaps rivaling with the first book, The Selection. I just really enjoyed reading about Eadlyn and her boys. So the day this book came out, I had it in my hands. My heart is so happy with this! I closed the book with a smile on my face and complete contentment with how I was leaving the characters. I am so proud of Eadlyn and how she has grown up, and I can also say the same thing for other characters, such as Josie. As with the other Selection books, this one was a quick read that I was able to complete in a 3 hour flight to Chicago for BEA. If you haven't read any of The Selection series and are looking for something light and fun, I'm definitely recommend them. Here are our reviews:

The Elite:
The Queen:
Happily Ever After:
The Heir:

Sunday, May 22, 2016

The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan

Book Summary
How do you punish an immortal?

By making him human.

After angering his father Zeus, the god Apollo is cast down from Olympus. Weak and disorientated, he lands in New York City as a regular teenage boy. Now, without his godly powers, the four-thousand-year-old deity must learn to survive in the modern world until he can somehow find a way to regain Zeus's favour.

But Apollo has many enemies - gods, monsters and mortals who would love to see the former Olympian permanently destroyed. Apollo needs help, and he can think of only one place to go . . . an enclave of modern demigods known as Camp Half-Blood.

Flo's Review
I love me some Rick Riordan! Ever since I picked up the first Percy Jackson book on a whim, I'm excited to read anything this man puts out. Sometimes it doesn't quite work for me (Kane Chronicles), but most of the time I've got nothing but love.

Apollo's voice is quite different from Percy's or any demigods, and I applaud Rick Riordan for being able to write it consistently so. I think at one point my status update was "I can't with Apollo!" because maaan is this god-turned-human arrogant. But if you think about it -- he's a god, so the big head makes sense. But the beauty in this book was Apollo's character growth. Is he still arrogant at the end of the book? Yep. But he has also picked up some of the best traits of humans: dedication, perseverance, love, loyalty. The story dragged for me a little bit in the middle, but I think this was because of the combination of two factors: 1) it's the first in a series, so a lot of explanation needed to happen; and 2) I was listening to the audiobook, and that sometimes makes books seem slower. I loved seeing some of my favorite demigods from Riordan books past. There was also QUITE a plot twist that I did not see coming!! I'm looking forward to seeing how Apollo reacts to things in the next part of his trials.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Review: My True Love Gave to Me - Twelve Holiday Stories

My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories

I have had this book on my TBR list for over a year and a half.  I wanted to read it over the holidays, but in typical holiday fashion, things came up and I didn't get around to it.  With Summer Days and Summer Nights being released May 17, 2016, I needed to tackle this one before I found myself even further behind.

I downloaded the audio book from the library and listened to the first five or six stories while I trained for my next half marathon.  Each story is about 50 minutes long, which helped push me a little further than the 35 - 40 minutes I had been running each day.  I listened to the last half of the book during my five hour drive to BEA and the time literally flew by.

The stories were all very different and I enjoyed seeing how the various authors expressed their personalities and styles.  I have read several books by Holly Black, Ally Carter, David Levithan, Stephanie Perkins, and Rainbow Rowell, but the rest of the authors were new to me.  Not new to me in the sense that I haven't heard of them, but rather they have been on my TBR list forever and I simply haven't gotten around to reading their books yet.  I was really impressed with  Kiersten White and Gayle Forman's stories and will have to bump their books further up my TBR list.

Overall this was a very entertaining collection of stories that will put anyone in the holiday spirit.  I would, however, recommend taking a break between each story to allow yourself time to process what you have read before moving onto the next.  When I listened to the stories back to back in the car, I found the transitions to be a bit awkward.  It was more enjoyable for me when I started each story with an open mind.  For example, moving from a contemporary romance to a supernatural story involving a mysterious disappearing elf was easier to process when I listened to them independently.  

Thursday, May 19, 2016

BookExpo America Day 2

Friday was a FULL day at BEA.  The first item on the agenda was to pick up one of the Miss. Peregrine bags they were handing out Thursday morning.  I saw a number of people walking around with them in the afternoon, but they were out by the time I arrived.  I also grabbed a bag from Penguin and a Twin Peaks bag.

Then I was off to meet Emily Giffin. She is the author of Something Borrowed and Something Blue.  I really enjoyed her other novels and was excited to receive a copy of First Comes Love.  It is an adult contemporary scheduled to be released June 28th.

The next item on the agenda was to get a copy of Dog Man by Dav Pilkey.  This is the ONLY book my 11 year-old son requested that I pick up for him at the convention.  Preston loves his Captain Underpants series and was ecstatic to receive a signed copy.  I also couldn't pass up the Slytherin stationary/journal/wax stamp set since it was half off and came with the Harry Potter sticker book.  Preston is definitely a Slytherin, so this was a must have.

Next I was off to meet Mary Engelbreit.  I love all of her cartoon drawings and even took one of my messenger bags my mother-in-law made for me out of her crown fabric.  I asked her if she has a Scottish Terrier since they are in so many of her drawings.  She said she used to, but now she just draws them because they are cute and fun to draw.  

The rest of the day was devoted to waiting in line for signed copies of The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater, Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake, Stealing Snow by Danielle Page, and The Amateurs by Sara Shepard.  As you can see, I did pick up a few additional books along the way.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Thursday at BEA - Fierce Reads Blogger Event

BEA was in Chicago this year, which is a pretty easy drive for me from Columbus, Ohio.  I arrived around noon on Thursday with the hopes of meeting Ransom Riggs, David Levithan, and Stacey Kade.

I missed Ransom by an hour or so, but I was thrilled to meet David Levithan.  I tried to get his autograph at BEA 2014 when I was in New York, but it didn't work out.  It felt like I ran into him everywhere this time around and was surprised by how personable and accessible he was.  Even when he wasn't at a signing or a show event, he was hanging out in the booth .  I even saw him passing out copies of Maggie Stiefvater's The Raven King during her signing.

Then I was off to see Stacey Kade, who I have been Facebook and Twitter "friends" with since meeting her at RT back in 2012.  I loved her Ghost and the Goth and Project Paper Doll series, which are both YA.  738 Days is her first NA novel, which is scheduled to be released June 7th.  I will try my best to have my review up prior to the release.

That evening Mary and I attended the Fierce Reads blogger event at the Berghoff, which was definitely one of the highlight of our trip.  THANK YOU Fierce Reads for the invitation!!

Below is a picture Fierce Reads shared on their twitter page thanking the bloggers.  Mary and part of me made the photo, so I had to share it :)

This is about as crazy as it gets at a book event, so I will caption this one Authors Gone Wild.

From left to right are Kami Garcia, Marissa Meyer, Caleb Roehrig, and Leigh Bardugo.

Here I am with Marissa Meyer, the author of the Lunar Chronicles series.  I've read the first two books in the series (Cinder and Scarlet) and LOVE this series.  It amazes me how creative and imaginative she is.

I haven't read any of Leigh's books, but her The Grisha and Six of Crows series are both on my TBR list.  I think I'm going to start Six of Crows first since Flo gave it a 5 star review.

Caleb was definitely the life of the party.  The Book Nerds will be reading his debut novel, Last Seen Leaving, as our June read along.  The release date isn't until October, but we can't wait that long.  If you have the chance to meet him, keep an eye out for the little purple hat he is wearing.

Kami Garcia was a completely new author to me.  I looked her up on Goodreads and she has quite a few books and series currently available.  I have obviously been living in the dark.  We received a copy of The Lovely Reckless, which is a contemporary YA romance scheduled to be released October 4th.

When we left the party, we each received a bag containing Last Seen Leaving, The Lovely Reckless, Heartless by Marissa Meyer, and George Orwell's 1984 along with some other great swag.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Blog Tour: The Square Root of Summer by Harriet Reuter Hapgood

This Is Who I Am Now

From the publisher: Because time capsules and the idea of capturing who one is at one specific moment are such major themes in the book,
​ t
he blog tour theme is This Is Who I Am Now
ou answer a series of questions about your life 
​in late Feb/early March
. You save the answers in a safe place. On the blog tour date, you post those answers
the answers to the same questions as they apply to you in early May, to see how much your life has changed 
in just a few months.

So, are you ready! Here goes:

  • What Brings You The Most Joy In Life?
    • Feb/March 2016: Spending time with my loved ones. Coffee. Sleeping. A really good book. Fangirling.
    • May 2016: Looking forward to the many summer adventures I have planned.
  • What Are You Reading?
    • Feb/March 2016: Siren's Song by Mary Weber and Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
    • May 2016: The Square Root of Summer by Harriet Reuter Hapgood
  • What Is Something You’re Really Looking Forward To?
    • Feb/March 2016: My trip to Iceland in April
    • May 2016: Upcoming Disney trip and BEA/Bookcon
  • What Is One Thing That’s Worrying You?
    • Feb/March 2016: My house is dirty and I'm always too tired or too busy to clean it. When am I going to have the time and energy to commit?!
    • May 2016: Work. Times one thousand.
  • What Is Something That You Always Have With You?
    • Feb/March 2016: Snacks
    • May 2016: My new Fitbit!
  • What Is Something That You Wish You Could Change?
    • Feb/March 2016: More time to sleep, read, and write.
    • May 2016: Again, a situation at work.

That was fun! I really enjoyed looking at how quickly things can change. I always like reflecting like this, because I can assure myself that things that I wish I could change and that are worrying me now may not be in three more months.

I'm currently reading The Square Root of Summer, so look for my review soon! (Psst! There may or may not also be a GIVEAWAY involved.... *whistles innocently*)

About the Book

This is what it means to love someone. This is what it means to grieve someone. It's a little bit like a black hole. It's a little bit like infinity.

Gottie H. Oppenheimer is losing time. Literally. When the fabric of the universe around her seaside town begins to fray, she's hurtled through wormholes to her past:

To last summer, when her grandfather Grey died. To the afternoon she fell in love with Jason, who wouldn't even hold her hand at the funeral. To the day her best friend Thomas moved away and left her behind with a scar on her hand and a black hole in her memory.

Although Grey is still gone, Jason and Thomas are back, and Gottie's past, present, and future are about to collide—and someone's heart is about to be broken.

Author Links/Info
Add THE SQUARE ROOT OF SUMMER to your to-read list on Goodreads.
Join in on social media with #SquareRootofSummer and #thisiswhoIamnow
Visit Harriet's website and follow her on Twitter and Instagram!

Monday, May 2, 2016

Genius: The Game by Leopoldo Gout

Book Summary
Trust no one. Every camera is an eye. Every microphone an ear. Find me and we can stop him together.

The Game: Get ready for Zero Hour as 200 geniuses from around the world go head to head in a competition hand-devised by India's youngest CEO and visionary.

The Players:
Rex- One of the best programmers/hackers in the world, this 16-year-old Mexican-American is determined to find his missing brother.
Tunde-This 14-year-old self-taught engineering genius has drawn the attention of a ruthless military warlord by single-handedly bringing electricity and internet to his small Nigerian village.
Painted Wolf-One of China's most respected activist bloggers, this mysterious 16-year-old is being pulled into the spotlight by her father's new deal with a corrupt Chinese official.

The Stakes: Are higher than you can imagine. Like life and death. Welcome to the revolution. And get ready to run.

Flo's Review
I was not expecting to enjoy Genius as much as I did. I literally devoured this book in two settings. And the first time I set it down, it was only because it was waaaay past my bedtime on a random weeknight. From the start, this book immediately draws you in. These three kids (and later, their friends and competitors in The Game) are wickedly smart and even though I never fully understood what was going on in their minds, it was still explained well enough to where I could see where they were coming from. 

Rex, Tunde, and Painted Wolf are believable friends and I really enjoyed seeing them meet each other for the first time and their interactions throughout the story. Tunde was my absolute favorite! He, in my opinion, had the scariest and highest stakes of the three (at least for a good while), but he was always happy, exhilarated, and in awe. He was a lot of fun to read. Kiran, too, was an interesting character. Just because he is very complex and secretive, and I wanted to go all Painted Wolf on him and know what his real deal was. 

The other competitors were well-done, too, because a whole group of child and teenage geniuses is bound to be a quirky bunch. That ending though! I am scared for these three main characters...I have a feeling things are going to get a lot worse for them before they (hopefully!) get better. Mr. Gout, when is the next book coming out?!?! I need it in my life immediately.

Genius: The Game comes out May 3rd and I recommend you add it to your cart at the bookstore or online. (Let's be honest: with all the books publishing May 3rd you'll be there anyway! Might as well snag this one, too!)

5 out of 5 enthusiastic stars!

Thank you to Macmillan for providing me with an advance reader's copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. 

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Tim Palen: Photographs from the Hunger Games

Book Summary
In exclusive collaboration with Lionsgate, Assouline presents Tim Palen: Photographs from The Hunger Games. Compiled in one deluxe volume, Palen’s portraits capture each character with striking intimacy and transform the high-octane adventure of the films into exquisite visual art. Through Palen’s unique lens, characters become icons, immortalized as the beloved characters the world has embraced.

Flo's Review
I simply adore The Hunger Games. It is one of my favorite book and movie series of all time. Whenever I have seen this book in bookstores, I've eyed it longingly. By pure luck, I was able to find a great deal for it on Amazon, so I snagged it.

When I got it, I just couldn't stop staring. It is gorgeous! Simply beautiful. I finally had the opportunity to sit down with it last night and go through the entire book cover to cover. Tim Palen really does have a gift for capturing images that show so much more than physical characteristics. Through these images, I could see Amandla Stenberg capturing Rue's gentle heart, Jena Malone capturing Johanna Mason's fierceness, and Natalie Dormer capturing Cressida's defiance. But there was also another layer. None of the characters came off just one way, or just the way they were supposed to. Rue was also vulnerable, Johanna was emotionally scarred, Cressida was also afraid. 

I have been on the journey with The Hunger Games movies since the very beginning, so I also remember all the campaigns for the individual movies, and it was nice to see them gathered into one place. This is a book that will stay on my coffee table, and I'm sure I'll pick it up randomly again and again to skim through. I'm also sure my guests will enjoy admiring it as well.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey

Book Summary
For readers of Cassandra Clare's City of Bones and Leigh Bardugo's Shadow and BoneThe Girl at Midnight is the story of a modern girl caught in an ancient war.
Beneath the streets of New York City live the Avicen, an ancient race of people with feathers for hair and magic running through their veins. Age-old enchantments keep them hidden from humans. All but one. Echo is a runaway pickpocket who survives by selling stolen treasures on the black market, and the Avicen are the only family she's ever known.
Echo is clever and daring, and at times she can be brash, but above all else she's fiercely loyal. So when a centuries-old war crests on the borders of her home, she decides it's time to act.
Legend has it that there is a way to end the conflict once and for all: find the Firebird, a mythical entity believed to possess power the likes of which the world has never seen. It will be no easy task, though if life as a thief has taught Echo anything, it's how to hunt down what she wants . . . and how to take it.
But some jobs aren't as straightforward as they seem. And this one might just set the world on fire.

Flo's Review
The Girl at Midnight is a classic case of a book that's been on my TBR for awhile, but then I'm finally spurred to bump it up and read it when I receive the ARC of book 2. Let's start this review with a quick minute of Cover Love. It's so purple and pretty! Firedrakes are there really horrible murderous creatures, but whenever I read about them, I just thought of this pretty, calming book cover. Lol

I listened to this one on audio and for the most part that went well. Julia Whelan did a great job of distinguishing her voice between the characters in a way that matched their personalities. The downfall was that this book took a really long time to get into. Being the first book in a fantasy world, a lot of book 1 falls on explaining the world and how it works. With this one, I think the combination of that fact and the feeling of audiobooks sometimes going slower than reading, made me really struggle in the beginning. I almost DNF but decided to push through. At about 41% through the book, the story really started to take off.

The second thing about this book was that I read the reviews beforehand and many of them compare this book to another popular YA book series. This made me a little nervous, because I did not really connect with that other series. I read the first book and then didn't read the next two, although I own them. I am purposely not telling you the book series, because knowing what happened in the first story and seeing all the comparisons between that and this became kind of a spoiler for me. I was still surprised at the end of Midnight, but not as much as I would have been -- some of the connections had already been made.

Those two points aside, I really started to enjoy this story and by the end I was exploding with feels. Oh, I want my ships to happen! Not just the main one (that's a thing regardless), but the other one! I'm really hoping they become a thing in book 2. The interesting thing about how this book ends is that I have absolutely no idea where Melissa Grey is going to go with the story now. I kind of like that! It will have a distinct feel of a whole new story, but also feel familiar as we continue on the journey with Echo, Ivy, the Alla, Caius, Jasper, and Dorian. And the bad guys, of course.