Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Harry Potter Identity Crisis!

From the very first time I read the Harry Potter series, I always fancied myself a Hufflepuff. I just have that personality, I think. And -- let's be honest -- I really like the idea of being right next to the kitchen. Just saying.

Then Pottermore came along and confirmed what I knew all along: I was a Puff, through and through. This was good because by that point I already owned a Hufflepuff t-shirt, keychain, and other house memorabilia. 

A few months ago on #FourDay, when the Insurgent DVD was released, I was sent a set of Fatheads with various Divergent images and sayings. There was a life size Four along with other things. But the one thing that really stuck with me was this simple saying:

This is what I chose to hang on my wall, right above my desk. Not too much later (actually, it might have even been a little before), I got a letter from a friend. She had printed out various Bible verses and quotes, but this was the one that I liked best:

I cut it out and put it in my wallet. It traveled around with me like that for at least a few months.

Now to the crux of this story:

A few weeks ago, when I was in Los Angeles for the Mockingjay Part 2 movie premiere, my friend and I did a tour of the Warner Brothers Studios. They had a lot of really cool things, but my favorite part was all the Harry Potter memorabilia! Clothes and props and books, oh my! I was in magical heaven! One of the things they had was The Sorting Hat. Like the actual hat from the movie. And they had someone working there who sat you down and put the hat on you to let it sort you. So cool! So, of course, I did it, and ......

IT PUT ME INTO GRYFFINDOR! I was sorted in Gryffindor by The hat!! 
So, long story short, I am having a huge identity crisis and I don't even know who I am anymore!! (Besides overly dramatic, apparently.) Are the random quotes and pictures about courage and bravery that have recently caught my eye a sign of where I'm truly supposed to be?! Is this my house??

Fitch Path by Todd Corley

A Cautionary Tale About A Moose, Millennials, 
Leadership & Transparency
by Todd Corley

About the Book

As the Millennial (Generation Y) workforce swells and iGens (Generation Z) increasingly enter the workforce, the demand for trusted, transparent and authentic leadership is reaching 'fever pitch'. Driven by social media and unfazed by privacy concerns, younger generations are forging cultural shifts that are upending traditional leadership values and practices. Resisting the call for hyper-ethical workplaces, [Baby Boomer] leaders in favor of "business as usual" find themselves and their organizations at grave risk.

Fitch Path is a cautionary tale about how to navigate generationally-driven shifts in beliefs and values. It goes inside the iconic brand, Abercrombie & Fitch, and explores how Millennials and iGens reshaped the self-conscious symbol of American youth and coolness and forged cultural transformation.

Author Todd Corley, former Abercrombie & Fitch (A&F) Senior Vice President & Global Chief Diversity Officer and liaison to the A&F Board of Directors’ Corporate Social Responsibility Committee, witnessed first-hand the impact of Millennials and rising iGens during his ten years at Abercrombie & Fitch from his office at the World Headquarters located on Fitch Path in New Albany, Ohio (2004 – 2014). His tenure at Abercrombie & Fitch overlapped several high profile discrimination cases including Gonzalez v. Abercrombie, which was at the epicenter of a $50M class-action settlement mandating his position be created and EEOC v. Abercrombie, which was argued
in front of- and decided by-the U.S. Supreme Court fifteen months after he decided to leave the company. In that case, the U.S. Supreme Court rendered an 8 – 1 decision on June 1st, 2015 in favor of a Muslim woman who wore a hijab to her job interview.

In Fitch Path, he examines the needs, wants and expectations of the emerging workforce majority recognizing that by 2020, Millennials and iGens will represent nearly 60% of the US workforce and offers solutions to help prepare today's leaders and organizations for the inevitable reality: transparency is the new normal.

Fitch Path serves as a generational marker, recognizing current challenges, signaling approaching opportunities and helping us all understand the coming shifts. It outlines four guiding principles – transparency, authenticity, persistence & optimism – and offers battle tested strategies for managing today’s workplace. The lessons learned are transferable and applicable across industry and sector (public vs. private).

Links to Purchase

Monday, November 23, 2015

Faking Normal by Courtney C. Stevens

Faking Normal

Jacque's Review:

Faking Normal is a YA contemporary about a high school junior named Alexi.  She is struggling emotionally after an assault that took place a couple of months prior to the start of the book.  She has been hiding her pain from her family and friends, but she can’t fool Bodee. 

Bodee and Alexi have known each other since childhood, but they were nothing more than acquaintances until the death of Bodee’s mother.  They are both concealing their secrets as best they can, but they can see through each other's pain.  As their friendship builds, they begin to confide in one another.  They help each other cope in healthier ways than they resorted to on their own.  Together, they regain their strength and confidence.  

I don’t want to give away too much of the story, so I will simply say this was an exceptional book.  I have to thank Amy Plum, author of the Revenants series, for sharing it with me.  Amy tweeted about it a while back, but that is probably the only time I have heard of this book.  I added it to my to-be-read list and I am thankful that I did.

The story was very well written and presented a difficult subject matter in a way that readers can learn and benefit from.  The only thing I can compare it to is Bitter End by Jennifer Brown, which I also loved.  I never would have picked up either of these books based solely on the descriptions due to the heavy topics, but they left a lasting impression that I will not soon forget. 

I would highly recommend Faking Normal to every YA reader.  This is the type of book I would have loved to have read as part of an English class growing up.  The story is gripping and the characters are engaging.  Students would enjoy reading this book while learning in the process.  

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Stacking the Shelves: Week of November 22

I (Flo) decided to jump on the Stacking the Shelves train! As Tynga explainsStacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!"

Book Nerd Jacque also shares this over at her blog, so be sure to check that out as well! But here's what I got this week. Warning: It's a little crazy!! 

BOUGHT. Yes, all these. Not one of these books was more than $4. I got them all either at my library book sale or at the Miami Book Fair. The Miami Book Fair had several $1 books, and that's what a lot of these are. 


WON. Thank you again Owl Always Be Reading!

GIFTED. The one in the middle is for my niece, and really I should have added the other two titles to the FOR REVIEW picture.
What a week! What did you get this week? I'd love to know. What is one of the best deals you've ever gotten from a library sale or book fair?

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Gratitude Giveaway Hop

I truly am lucky to be a blogger. I love that I get to read a lot of great books, which I love to do, and then share my thoughts with you all. I love that people actually read my thoughts! I love fangirling over books and authors. I love the friendships I have made in the blogger community. I love all the warm hearts and fun times.

Thank you for allowing me to do this.

We're going to make our giveaway super simple. To enter, all you have to do is follow up on Instagram: http://instagram.com/booknerdsacrossamerica/. Leave a comment with your Instagram name and email address and viola! (You can also email if you'd prefer: booknerds at booknerdsacrossamerica dot com.)

The prize!

One winner will get a copy of a book that all the Book Nerds adored: Die For Me by Amy Plum. And, as a bonus, you'll get a bookmark signed by the author, too! In case you need convincing, here are the Book Nerds swoony reviews of this series:

Die For Me
Until I Die
Die for Her (novella)
If I Should Die

Again, thank you for your support of Book Nerds Across America. Now hop on to the others:

Friday, November 13, 2015

Books I Broke Up With: I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

Book Summary
Jude and her twin brother, Noah, are incredibly close. At thirteen, isolated Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude cliff-dives and wears red-red lipstick and does the talking for both of them. But three years later, Jude and Noah are barely speaking. Something has happened to wreck the twins in different and dramatic ways . . . until Jude meets a cocky, broken, beautiful boy, as well as someone else—an even more unpredictable new force in her life. The early years are Noah's story to tell. The later years are Jude's. What the twins don't realize is that they each have only half the story, and if they could just find their way back to one another, they’d have a chance to remake their world.

Flo's Review
When I first started blogging many ears ago, I borrowed the concept of breaking up with a book that I could not finish. I like the analogy. Me and my current read are both giving and receiving to/from each other, but sometimes we cannot synchronize and we have to go our separate ways. That happened with I'll Give You the Sun and I HAVE NO IDEA WHY.

I loved, loved, loved The Sky is Everywhere. And I heard from multiple people that I'll Give You the Sun was even better. I couldn't wait to dive in. And honestly? This book has everything going for it. First, the cover is beautiful! Look at how pretty and colorful it is! #coverlove. I listened to the audiobook and the narrators were awesome Jesse Bernstein and Julia Whelan, both who I've listened to perform audiobooks before. The writing is incredible. It is so unique and full of life. Jandy Nelson paints with her words, filling up a while palette with every single hue and direction under the sun. 

But I was struggling. I told myself to give it to 100 pages, which is my normal cut off. (If a book hasn't grabbed me by then -- NEXT!) I made it to about 120-something with a little extra push on my part. And, honestly, I'm not completely sure why. Could it be because it was so overhyped for me that my expectations were unrealistic? Maybe. Could it be because I was listening to the audiobook, and sometimes that slows down the story? Perhaps. Or maybe the twins were just so eccentric that I felt I couldn't relate to either one of them? Could be.

I think, however, we just didn't connect. This is what scares me as a writer, but is the honest truth of any relationship. Have you ever dated that boy who was "good on paper"? He had all the qualities on your checklist of a perfect mate, but there just wasn't any attraction, any spark between you two? I'm guessing that's what happened here. Jandy Nelson did everything right, but I just didn't connect with I'll Give You the Sun. It makes me sad, but it's all a part of life. There are many other books in the sea. 

Thursday, November 12, 2015

#MockingjayPart2 Giveaway! Win an awesome prize pack!!


Lionsgate Entertainment and their new movie MOCKINGJAY PART 2 have hooked us up with a giveaway! One lucky commenter on one of our social media sites will receive a prize package of movie swag, including posters, t-shirts, temporary tattoos, and Mockingjay pins!

Entry Rules: Comment on this post on our Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram page with the official hashtag #MockingjayPart2. From the comments we will randomly select one grand prize winner. (Hint: If you comment on all 3 sites, that's 3 entries!!)

Facebook: http://facebook.com/booknerdsacrossamerica
Twitter: https://twitter.com/booknerdsblog
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/booknerdsacrossamerica/

Blog Tour and Giveaway: November 9 by Colleen Hoover


Fallon meets Ben, an aspiring novelist, the day of her scheduled cross-country move. Their untimely attraction leads them to spend Fallon’s last day in L.A. together, and her eventful life becomes the creative inspiration Ben has always sought for his novel. Over time and amidst the various relationships and tribulations of their own separate lives, they continue to meet on the same date every year. Until one day Fallon becomes unsure if Ben has been telling her the truth or fabricating a perfect reality for the sake of the ultimate plot twist.

Can Ben’s relationship with Fallon—and simultaneously his novel—be considered a love story if it ends in heartbreak?

What a sweet book! I was drawn in right from the beginning and got upset whenever I had to stop reading. I loved the concept behind the story. I loved the idea of taking what you remember as a horrible day and turning it into a good day. November 9 ended up being significant to both these characters for many different reasons. Some of what Ben says borders on cheesy romance, but most is just straight up sweet and adorable. The way he makes Fallon feel like she's "f-ing beautiful" not in spite of her scars, but including her scars, takes my breath away. These two had unbelievable chemistry -- I was hot just reading it! *fans self* There's a bit of a twist at the end that I didn't see coming, because I never see these things coming. (I remember because I had to put the book down RIGHT AT THAT PART and I was not okay about it!) All the love for Ben and & Fallon! I hope you were able to pick up November 9 on November 10. If not -- it's not too late! Go grab it!

Colleen Hoover is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Slammed, This Girl, Point of Retreat, Hopeless, Losing Hope, Finding Cinderella, Maybe Someday, Ugly Love, Maybe Not, and Confess. She lives in Texas with her husband and their three boys.

Twitter: @ColleenHoover
Instagram: @ColleenHoover

Atria Books Paperback | 320 pages | ISBN: 9781501110344 | November 10, 2015 | $16.00
eBook: 320 pages | ISBN: 9781501110351 | $7.99

Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1gYxxak
Books-a-Million: http://bit.ly/1WGKE0y
Indiebound: http://bit.ly/1NHeBaQ

Don’t miss Colleen on tour for NOVEMBER 9

Now for the fun….the #November9 Contest!
Enter the Rafflecopter to win a prize bundle of one signed copy of NOVEMBER 9 and a pair of #November9 sunglasses! (5 prize bundles in total) Contest is open until November 30th.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Invisibility by Andrea Cremer and David Levithan


Jacque's Review:

Invisibility is about a boy named Stephen who has been invisible his entire life.  His grandfather is a cursecaster and placed the curse on his mother well before he was conceived.  Nobody has ever been able to see him until Elizabeth moves into his building.  He starts to get his hopes up that the curse may be wearing off, but he quickly discovers that others are still not able to see him.  But why can Elizabeth see him? That is the BIG unanswered question.

I enjoyed seeing how Stephen's life changed once he could actually engage with the world.  While it was a shock to Elizabeth when she found out he was invisible, it allowed Stephen to become friends with her brother Laurie, who is the go-getter in the group.  If it weren't for Laurie, the book probably would have come to an abrupt half less than halfway through.  Laurie decides that they need to set out on a quest to uncover the truth behind Stephen's curse with the hopes of finding a cure.

The rest of the book is a whirlwind of bad magic.  Stephen's grandfather arrives in New York and there are evil curses showing up everywhere.  Not just the petty curses the spellseekers are used to seeing in New York, but much bigger things that rival Stephen's curse.  Elizabeth meets an older woman with abilities similar to hers, but not nearly as powerful.  The woman teaches her the history of spellseekers and cursecasters while helping her hone her skills.  

The book culminates with an epic battle, but the ending was a huge disappointment.  After everything Elizabeth, Stephen, and Laurie went through, I was expecting a certain ending.  The authors left a sense of hope for the future, but in this case, I think they needed to spell it out.  

I debated between 2 and 3 stars and decided to go with 3 simply because it wasn't as disappointing as the other books I have already given 2 stars.  On the other hand...it wasn't nearly as good as some of the books I have given 3 stars.  I really wish Goodreads would allow 1/2 stars because this book is definitely more of a 2.5 than a 3.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Richelle Mead Coming to South Florida

If you live in the South Florida area do we have some amazing news for you. The ever amazing Richelle Mead is going on tour and guess what she will be stopping by our favorite indie book store! Richelle will be at at Books & Books on Sunday, November 15th at 1:00pm. The event will be held at their Coral Gables location.

Signing Guidelines:
-Richelle will sign three books per person, one will be personalized and the other two will just have signatures (have a friend bring three more books!)
-You may bring books from home
-Pictures will be allowed if time permits
-Many bookstores have perks for buying Soundless from them, like going to the front of the signing line. Check back here or contact your store to find out any other details, such as line policies or tickets.

If you pre-order a SIGNED copy of the breathtaking, new fantasy novel from bestselling author RICHELLE MEAD from these indies below you will receive (drum roll, please) an additional EXCLUSIVE DELUXE COVER!

Isn’t that awesome? You can pre-order from the participating stores HERE. Please make sure you take a look at their specifications (some don’t take online orders, and some ONLY take online orders so when in doubt give them a call!!).

Now to top everything off with an extra layer of awesome. Our local Geek Girl Brunch chapter has an amazing opportunity for you all. 

Who's ready to meet Richelle Mead?!
We have had many conversations with Books & Books to make sure this event is smooth and fun for you lovely ladies. We are being set up to have a meet and greet with Richelle prior to the signing event that will be open to the public. GGB will have the opportunity to get together and enjoy a continental breakfast and mimosa for $20 each at Books&Books. We will then be introduced to Richelle and be given a wrist band so when the signing begins, we can be first in line to get our books signed!The event will be capped at 50, being held at the Coral Gables Books & Books on Sunday, 11/15 at 11 am. 

If you live in South Florida and want to attend the brunch (Believe me, you do NOT want to miss out on this amazing brunch.) head on over to Geek Girl Brunch to sign up and become a member. If you have any additional questions on how to get into the brunch head on over to their Facebook and they'll sort everything out for you. 

Hope to see you all there! 

Friday, November 6, 2015

WIN an Advance Copy of The Greatest Zombie Movie Ever by Jeff Strand

The Greatest Zombie Movie Ever
Author: Jeff Strand
Release Date: March 1, 2016
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Jeff Strand gives readers a sneak peek at his latest novel The Greatest Zombie Movie Ever. 

After producing three horror movies that went mostly ignored on YouTube, Justin and his filmmaking buddies decide it’s time they create something noteworthy, something epic. They’re going to film the Greatest Zombie Movie Ever. They may not have money or a script, but they have passion. And, after a rash text message, they also have the beautiful Alicia Howtz—Justin’s crush—as the lead.

With only one month to complete their movie, a script that can’t possibly get worse, and the hopes and dreams of Alicia on the line, Justin is feeling the pressure. Add to that a cast of uncooperative extras and incompetent production assistants, and Justin must face the sad, sad truth. He may actually be producing The Worst Zombie Movie Ever…

About Jeff Strand:
Jeff Strand has written more than twenty books, and is a four-time nominee (and four-time non-winner) of the Bram Stoker Award. Two of his young adult novels, A Bad Day For Voodoo and I Have A Bad Feeling About This, were Junior Library Guild picks. Publishers Weekly called his work “wickedly funny.” He lives in Tampa, Florida.

Excerpt from The Greatest Zombie Movie Ever:
The vampire, whose fangs were too big for his mouth, turned to the camera and hissed.
"Don't look at the camera," said Justin Hollow, the director.
"I keep poking my lip on these things," said Harold, spitting the plastic fangs out onto the ground. He hadn't been a very frightening example of the undead before, and he was even less scary with no fangs and a thick line of drool running down his chin.
"Cut!" shouted Justin, loud enough to be sure that the command was heard by his production crew of two. "C'mon, Harold. Stay in character. We're three hours behind schedule."
"I don't care. I hate this. You promised that I'd get all the girls I wanted. So where are all of the girls I want?"
Justin let out his thirty-ninth exasperated sigh of the night. "The movie has to come out first."
"It's not even a real movie."
Justin bristled. It was a full body bristle, head to toe, which he hadn't even realized was physically possible. Bobby, who handled sound recording, and Gabe, who handled everything else, both stepped back a couple of feet. Neither of them truly believed that they were about to witness a murder, but they wanted to get out of the splash zone, just in case.
Had this been one of Justin's movies, he would have very slowly lowered his camera, stared directly into Harold's eyes with a steel gaze, and then after an extremely dramatic pause asked "What...did...you...just...say?"
His actual response, delivered in a squeakier voice than he would have allowed from his actors, was: "Huh?"
"I said it's not a real movie." Harold started to wipe the fake blood off his mouth. It didn't come off, and probably wouldn't for several days. Justin had planned to feel guilty about this later, but now he wouldn't bother. "Nobody's ever going to see it. You probably won't even finish it."
"I finished my last three movies!" Justin insisted. "I got hundreds of hits on YouTube!"
That statement was technically accurate, though it was the lowest possible number of hits you could get and still use "hundred" in its plural form. The only comment anybody posted about his latest film had been "This twelve year-old filmmaker sort of shows promise," which really frustrated Justin since he was fifteen.
Harold shrugged. "This is a waste of time. I've got better things to do on a Friday night."
"Nobody ever said this was going to be easy," said Justin, who had indeed said that it was going to be easy when luring Harold into the role. "You can quit now, but what are you going to think about your decision ten years from now?"
"I'm going to think, wow, it sure is nice to be such a well-paid dentist."
Harold walked off the set. It wasn't an actual set, but rather a small park near Justin's home, where they were filming without a permit. Justin knew he should shout something after his ex-actor. Something vicious. Something devastating. He thought about shouting "You'll never work in this town again!" but, no, it had to be something that Harold would consider a bad thing.
"Fine!" Justin shouted. "But when we record the audio commentary track for the Blu-Ray, I'm going to talk about how you abandoned us, and how much happier everybody was with the new actor who took your role, and how we all agreed that he should have been cast in the first place, and how he had so many girlfriends that he couldn't even keep track of them, and how they all found out about each other and had a great big awesome catfight in his front yard! And I'll pronounce your name wrong!"
Harold continued walking, apparently not heartbroken.

Pre-Order The Greatest Zombie Movie Ever:

Enter to Win an Advance Copy of The Greatest Zombie Movie Ever:

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Thursday, November 5, 2015

The Empire Strikes Back: So You Want to Be a Jedi? (Star Wars: Episode V) by Adam Gidwitz

Book Summary
Will you become the next great Jedi?
Acclaimed, New York Times best-selling author Adam Gidwitz delivers a captivating retelling of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back as you've never experienced before, dropping you right in the middle of the action. You are Luke Skywalker, taking your first steps toward becoming the greatest Jedi in the galaxy. But the way will not be easy, and the power of the dark side is strong....

Flo's Review
As I said in my review of A New Hope: The Princess, the Scoundrel, and the Farm Boy by Alexandra Bracken, I know the general idea behind Star Wars, and of course iconic characters and lines, but the last time I watched the series I was kid and I remember none of it. After reading Alexandra's retelling, I watched A New Hope. My next step was to pick up this retelling by Adam Gidwitz. This is read, so now I'm ready to watch The Empire Strikes Back. Then I'll start reading Tom Angleberger's retelling of Return of the Jedi.

Adam Gidwitz writes for kids, so right away there was a difference in tone between this and the first one. I was okay with it, though. Made it easy to read and had me chuckling at points. Not knowing how the story goes down, excited was I to see Yoda introduced. (Note: I thought about writing this entire review in Yoda-speak, but I thought it'd get too complicated -- for me. Lol). 

While Alexandra split her story up into three parts by dividing it among three different POVs, Adam chose to tell his in second person. So the reader is Luke Skywalker. That was cool -- I liked it. He also included a whole alphabet worth of Lessons directed to you (the reader) about how to become a Jedi. He took it and turned it into something you can do in this day and age. Another nice touch to the story. 

This entire series is a good way to introduce kids and teenagers to this classic story in a modern way and package that might interest them more than simply watching the old movies. I think they are succeeding. 

Two down, one to go.

Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer

Book Summary
If life were fair, Jam Gallahue would still be  at home in New Jersey with her sweet British  boyfriend, Reeve Maxfield. She’d be watching  old comedy sketches with him. She’d be kissing  him in the library stacks.

She certainly wouldn’t be at The Wooden Barn, a therapeutic boarding school in rural Vermont, living with a weird roommate, and signed up for an exclusive, mysterious class called Special Topics in English.

But life isn’t fair, and Reeve Maxfield is dead.

Until a journal-writing assignment leads Jam to Belzhar, where the untainted past is restored, and Jam can feel Reeve’s arms around her once again. But there are hidden truths on Jam’s path to reclaim her loss.

From New York Times bestselling author Meg Wolitzer comes a breathtaking and surprising story about first love, deep sorrow, and the power of acceptance.

Flo's Review
I have to be honest: I saw a copy of this book at some book event, available for me to take. But I read the book summary and didn't think I would be into it. So I left it. Fast forward to about a month or so ago when I learned that author Meg Wolitzer would be coming to my favorite bookstore Books & Books. I decided to give Belzhar a chance before meeting her. (Which actually didn't end up happening because I got a flat tire and missed the event! Boo. But at least I still read the book. :)

I can honestly say that I'm not quite sure how I feel about the book. I don't know how many stars to give it. 3.5 maybe? Right in the middle? 

I liked it. The stories unfolded slowly and Meg definitely kept me invested until the end because I wanted to know everyone's story in Special Topics in English. I listened to this one on audiobook and the reader was good. But I didn't like the way Griffin did a complete 180 because of one single event. And Jam...if you've read the book and want to know my thoughts on her and why she brought down my rating of the book, I'll post it under Spoilers on Goodreads.

This book was outside of what I would usually read, so I am glad that I had an opportunity to do so.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Stacking the Shelves: Week of November 1st

I (Flo) decided to jump on the Stacking the Shelves train! As Tynga explainsStacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!"

Book Nerd Jacque also shares this over at her blog, so be sure to check that out as well! But here's what I got this week:

Yes, I have multiple copies of this book. But it's one of my favorites, and for awhile there it was $2 on Amazon. And it's so pretty! How could I say no?!

                 From the library:

These are all audiobooks. Jandy Nelson and Meg Wolitzer are coming to Books and Books on Monday, November 2. I just finished reading Jandy's book The Sky is Everywhere and I loved it, so I'm eager to start on I'll Give You the Sun. I'm participating in the TLCReadAlong to read all the Lunar Chronicle books before Winter, so I'm hoping to catch up with Cress.  

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson

Book Summary
Adrift after her sister Bailey's sudden death, Lennie finds herself torn between quiet, seductive Toby—Bailey's boyfriend who shares her grief—and Joe, the new boy in town who bursts with life and musical genius. Each offers Lennie something she desperately needs... though she knows if the two of them collide her whole world will explode.

Join Lennie on this heartbreaking and hilarious journey of profound sorrow and mad love, as she makes colossal mistakes and colossal discoveries, as she traipses through band rooms and forest bedrooms and ultimately right into your heart.

As much a celebration of love as a poignant portrait of loss, Lennie's struggle to sort her own melody out of the noise around her is always honest, often uproarious, and absolutely unforgettable.

Flo's Review
Warning: Full on gushing to commence. I'd certainly heard about this book before. I remember one particular tweet from one of my Twitter followers: "Who hasn't read The Sky Is Everywhere? I just want to know for unfollowing purposes." Next Monday, author Jandy Nelson will be coming to my favorite book store Books and Books in Miami, so I wanted to read this before meeting her. Wow. Wow. Wow. What a beautifully written story. It is very honest, which I love. Lennie is not all pain and she's not all happiness. Her thoughts her hilarious and very realistic. Teenagers are not in one place, and especially one going through everything Lennie has been through as of late. 

Joe Fontaine made me smile every single time I read about him. What a happy, lovely boy. I want that happy boy in my life. Even though there was a scene that I knew was coming, it still hurt me right in the feels having to read it. Gram and Big are the best, and I loved reading about those two quirky characters. I listened to this on audiobook, and at the beginning and end of each disc there was clarinet music. Beautiful, perfect clarinet music. And the audio narrator, Julia Whelan, is full of expression and was a perfect Lennie. 

I could go on, but it would just be me continuing to gush. I've heard nothing but great things about Jandy Nelson's other book, I'll Give You the Sun, so I may have to dive into that next.

Stacking the Shelves: Week of October 25

I (Flo) decided to jump on the Stacking the Shelves train! As Tynga explains

"Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!"

Book Nerd Jacque also shares this over at her blog, so be sure to check that out as well! But here's what I got this week:


I've read this one, and I was lucky enough to meet Samantha and Jodi at BookCon this year where they gave out and signed the sequel Off the Page. This was a $5 Book Depository buy that I just couldn't resist. Isn't the cover beautiful?! Now, as Ariel would say, my collection's complete!

What did you get this week?

Monday, October 26, 2015

The Distance Between Us by Kasie West

The Distance Between Us

Jacque's Review:

The Distance Between Us is about a seventeen year old girl named Caymen Meyers.  Her mother became pregnant with her at a young age and her parents essentially disowned her.  Her father fled before she was born and his wealthy parents paid her mother to keep quiet.  As a result, her mother is the only family she has ever known.  

Her mother used the money to open a doll store, which has been their life ever since.  They live above the store and Caymen helps out whenever she isn't in school.  She has learned from her mother's experience and years of warnings to never trust the rich.  This is why she was immediately put off when the charming, attractive, and obviously rich Xander Spence entered her store.  As their relationship begins to build, she is constantly doubting his motives.  

As the story progresses, Caymen begins to realize her mother has been keeping things from her.  She begins to question everything she was taught and finally allows herself to live her own life and make her own decisions.

First of all...how could anyone not love Xander Spence?  He started out a bit conceited and sure of himself, but underneath the pretty exterior he is very thoughtful and sweet.  Caymen, on the other hand, is sarcastic and snarky.  While it was funny at times, I felt like she was masking her own insecurities and shortcomings by lashing out at others.  Her misguided stereotypes prevented her from opening up to others and expanding her horizons.

I enjoyed the story, but I felt like the fact that Xander is very wealthy and Caymen is poor was a forced subject in the book.  Rather than focusing on the feelings, relationships, and events of the story the reader is constantly reminded of the fact that he is rich....and the rich can't be trusted.  Caymen constantly feels like she is playing Cinderella and eventually the coach will turn into a pumpkin and it will all come to an end, even though Xander never gives her a reason to believe that is the case.

This is the first book by Kasie West that I have read. Overall, I enjoyed the story and characters and thought the dialog was well written.  As her writing evolves, I hope she will give her readers a little more credit and allow them to interpret things for themselves.  Not everything has to be spelled out in black and white and certainly not multiple times.

Pivot Point is the next book by Kasie West that I plan on reading.  I have read some decent reviews and would love to hear your thoughts on that series.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Stacking the Shelves: Week of October 18th

I (Flo) decided to jump on the Stacking the Shelves train! As Tynga explains

"Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!"

Book Nerd Jacque also shares this over at her blog, so be sure to check that out as well! But here's what I got this week:

James Dashner's Mortality Doctrine series

So You Want to Be a Jedi by Adam Gidwitz and Beware the Power of the Dark Side by Tom Angleberger

For review:
November 9 by Colleen Hoover

An Infinite Number of Parallel Universes by Randy Ribay

Book Summary
As their senior year approaches, four diverse friends joined by their weekly Dungeons & Dragons game struggle to figure out real life. Archie's trying to cope with the lingering effects of his parents' divorce, Mari's considering an opportunity to contact her biological mother, Dante's working up the courage to come out to his friends, and Sam's clinging to a failing relationship. The four eventually embark on a cross-country road trip in an attempt to solve--or to avoid--their problems. 

Told in the narrative style of Akira Kurosawa's RASHOMAN, AN INFINITE NUMBER OF PARALLEL UNIVERSES is at turns geeky, funny, and lyrical as it tells a story about that time in life when friends need each other to become more than just people that hang out.

Flo's Review
Let's start with the cover love! Isn't it gorg?! It's even prettier IRL. 

I read AN INFINITE NUMBER OF PARALLEL UNIVERSES in one sitting. I sat down on my couch Friday night with a nice Riesling, and my butt didn't move until I was at the end. It flew by. The first part of the book goes through the same week four times -- each time from the perspective of a different main character. It was really cool to see everyone's individual thoughts and where their minds were when they were together in the same scenes. 

Then the second part of the book takes us on the road. I had expected a road trip story coming in, so I was a little thrown that it took so long for us to get there. But maybe that's okay because the road trip was painful and awkward. Not the writing -- the characters! It was supposed to be painful and awkward. These 4 kids are socially awkward and are all suffering through what they see as major issues. So now you throw them all together in a small space for a long period of time and it's sooo uncomfortable. One or two of the characters even realize throughout the book that they know more about their friends' game identities than they actually do about their friends.

Throughout the road trip the kids met several different characters who came in to impart knowledge, wisdom, food for thought. Then they excited stage right. I liked that. Instead of one Dumbledore type figure, you had all these unlikely wise men and wise women. I'll let you read the book to see why they might appear, at first glance, to be unlikely teachers for the kids. But they all are, and I think that might be my favorite part of the book. Very cool.

Thanks to Merit Press for sending me a copy of this book for my honest review.