Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Review: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak


I've been wanting to read this book for a long time, but it took the DVD release to finally move it to the top of my TBR pile.  I've read nothing but great reviews, but the subject matter and length of the book were major deterrents for me.  I remember watching Schindler's List when I was in college.  The movie was very well done, but it was heart wrenching to say the least.  I was not ready for a 552 page book that could possible lead me down the same path.

The story is told from Death's point of view and takes place in the late 30's to mid 40's.  Death was extremely busy during this period due to the events in Nazi Germany and the onset of WW2.  He first crosses paths with Liesel Meminger when her six year old brother dies on a train due to illness.  It is at his funeral where she steals her first book.  The grave digger drops his handbook and Liesel picks it up.  At the time she does not know how to read, but she cherishes the book anyway.

Her foster father, Hans Hubermann, is not the strongest reader in his own right, but he takes it upon himself to teach her how to read.  Each night when Liesel wakes from her nightmares, Hans is always there ready to read with her.  Throughout the book Liesel begins to understand the importance of words.  She not only enjoys reading, but she begins to write as well.  She even help others cope by reading to them at their homes and in the bomb shelter during the raids.

Throughout the book we see what life was like for the German poor.  Children were starving and families were torn apart.  Any resistance to the Nazi party's wishes brought further pain to not only the resister, but their loved ones as well.  Liesel, Hans, and Rosa Hubermann walked an even more dangerous line.  They befriended a Jewish man named Max and hid him in their basement.

With Death as the narrator, I did not feel like the story was as heart wrenching as it could have been.  He gave the reader plenty of advance warning as to what was eventually coming.  There were no surprises like the one I received at the end of The Fault in Our Stars.  I had plenty of time to accept what was coming, but the last 50 pages still required tissues.  You will not want to read the ending out in public.

The epilogue leaves the reader on a happier note and provides a sense of closure to Liesel Meminger's story.  I just wish one additional detail had been provided.

Overall, this was an exceptional book.  I gave it 5 stars on Goodreads and would recommend it to any reader.  I've already requested the DVD from the library.

Monday, August 25, 2014

NEW RELEASE: The Write Stuff by Tiffany King



Blurb:


Twenty-two-year-old historical romance writer Nicole Blake, or N.S. Blake to her readers, hasn't taken an official poll, mind you, but she is convinced she may be the only romance author on the planet who is still a card-carrying member of the virgin club.



Not that she hasn't tried to end her membership. Life just keeps finding pesky ways to interfere. With no prospects on the horizon, Nicole begins to feel like the closest she will ever get to experiencing a man is within her own stories.


Opportunity presents itself in the form of hot-as-sin-on-a-lollipop-stick bartender/premed student Alec Petropoulos, who agrees to be the cover model for her upcoming book. Sparks fly instantly between them, and Nicole begins to entertain the possibility that she's finally found the right guy to hand over her tattered V-card. 


Alec has all the makings for a perfect one-night-stand candidate except, much to Nicole's surprise, he seems to be the only man in existence not interested in bagging a virgin.



Stuck between a rock and a stubborn male, what's a virgin to do? Seduce him, of course. How hard could it be? If it works for the characters in her stories, why wouldn't it work for her?


After all, what happens under the cover…stays under the cover.

Buy Links:







About Tiffany King



USA Today Bestselling author Tiffany King is a lifelong reading fanatic who is now living her dream as a writer, weaving Young Adult and New Adult romance tales for others to enjoy. She has a loving husband and two wonderful kids. (Five, if you count her three spoiled cats). Her addictions include: Her iPhone and iPad, chocolate, Diet Coke, chocolate, Harry Potter, chocolate, zombies and her favorite TV shows. Want to know what they are? Just ask.



For information on any of Author Tiffany's titles, visit her blog at www.authortiffanyjking.blogspot.com



Where to connect with Author Tiffany



Twitter- @AuthorTiffany



Facebook- AuthorTiffanyKing



Pinterest- Tiffany King






Goodreads- Tiffany King



Mary's Review:

For many years now I have had a serious Author Crush on Tiffany King (It's okay she knows) 

When I read the blurb, I wanted to read this RIGHT THEN! I love the whole concept of the story. I mean, come on you have a virgin and a hot guy, what could go wrong?

Then I stopped .... a virgin? .... a hot guy?  .... hasn't this been done a million times? I became worried that maybe this was going to be too 'cookie-cutter'.  

When I started reading I knew from 2% into the book this was going to be like nothing else! I WAS RIGHT!

Nicole has probably become one of my favorite characters that Tiffany has written. She has flaws and I love that. I also love that she's real and I can relate with her. I can remember feeling some of the same things that she did at that age. I loved that!!

Then there's Alec. Yep, my new book boyfriend! (Are you shocked by that?) Oh, how I drooled on my kindle for this guy, and then other times he sort-of mad me a little mad. But, hey, he's a guy (fictional or not they get under your skin every once and a while)

I laughed a lot in this book. I did yell a few times. BUT, I LOVED IT ALL!!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Landline by Rainbow Rowell -- Listen to an audio sample and WIN a signed audiobook!


The Book Nerds were able to snag a signed audiobook of Rainbow Rowell's Landline that we are now giving away to one lucky winner! Can't decide if you want this? Here's our review. Still can't decide? Here's a sample:


Basically, you want this. Enter via the Rafflecopter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Note: If you already entered the giveaway on the book review post, your entry will be counted.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Storm Siren by Mary Weber

Book Summary 
In a world at war, a slave girl’s lethal curse could become one kingdom’s weapon of salvation. If the curse—and the girl—can be controlled. As a slave in the war-weary kingdom of Faelen, seventeen-year-old Nym isn’t merely devoid of rights, her Elemental kind are only born male and always killed at birth — meaning, she shouldn’t even exist. Standing on the auction block beneath smoke-drenched mountains, Nym faces her fifteenth sell. But when her hood is removed and her storm-summoning killing curse revealed, Nym is snatched up by a court advisor and given a choice: be trained as the weapon Faelen needs to win the war, or be killed. Choosing the former, Nym is unleashed into a world of politics, bizarre parties, and rumors of an evil more sinister than she’s being prepared to fight . . . not to mention the handsome trainer whose dark secrets lie behind a mysterious ability to calm every lightning strike she summons. But what if she doesn’t want to be the weapon they’ve all been waiting for? Set in a beautifully eclectic world of suspicion, super abilities, and monsters, Storm Siren is a story of power. And whoever controls that power will win.

Flo's Review
Storm Siren was one of those books that I'd never heard of until I reached BEA, but then I grabbed on a whim. This is a big thing because I flew to BEA this year and so I was trying as much as possible to minimize the number of books I took. But look at that cover, guys. It's gorgeous! And then it sounded like a fun fantasy read as well.

Fast forward to a few months later when I'm tweeting the author at 2 a.m. whining how she ripped my heart out and left us with a MASSIVE cliffhanger. (She totally did.) 

I enjoyed meeting these characters. Nym -- you wanted to feel sorry for her, but she didn't want you to. Adora was the definition of crazy. But unfortunately, in a scary way -- like she's nuts because you don't know what'll she'll do. And I fell in love with Colin the second I met him. Colin was funny and fun, but also was deeply supportive and caring. Team Colin! 

The story did seem a little slow around the middle...I think maybe some of the journeying and training and partying could have been condensed or something. Toward the end we get back to the reveals and the action, culminating in the aforementioned cliffhanger. I'm really looking forward to seeing how the situation at the end of the book plays out and how Nym will be in light of everything that happened. 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Giver - Movie Review

Flo's Review
A note of caution: If you haven't read the book, then you may want to skip this review for now. What you need to do is go pick it up immediately and read it and then come back, k? I will spoil the book here, but not the movie. That being said, I will share some details of the movie, so if you're super sensitive to any advance hints before you see it, then proceed with caution.

So, one of my favorite books of all time is being released as a movie this Friday. It turns out that The Giver movie has been in the making for EIGHTEEN YEARS. 18 years. Odeya Rush, the female lead, is not even that old yet. I was lucky enough to get a ticket to an advance screening about an hour before it started. I was just expecting another regular advance screening, but it ended up being more. (Yes, I seem to do this a lot.) Fathom Events was screening live coverage from the red carpet premiere in New York City for about an hour before the movie was shown. This was pretty cool! I really enjoyed seeing the interviews with all the cast members. I loved Katie's and Odeya's dresses, and Brenton Thwaites is a little cutie. A sadly surprising part of the live cast was finding out about Robin Williams' death that day from a very emotional Jeff Bridges. I would also be remiss if I forgot to mention that we got these stylish sunglasses:

My future's so bright because I don't live in an dystopian society. Shades are a must!
I usually try to stay away from reading reviews of things that I want to review myself -- so while I haven't read any reviews of this movie, I have heard about the general tone. I will say this: I liked this movie. I enjoyed it. If someone wanted to go see it again, I would. But, I enjoyed it as a movie in its own right...not necessarily as an adaptation of my favorite book. Does that make sense?

Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

Book Summary
Amy Curry is not looking forward to her summer. Her mother decided to move across the country and now it's Amy's responsibility to get their car from California to Connecticut. The only problem is, since her father died in a car accident, she isn't ready to get behind the wheel. Enter Roger. An old family friend, he also has to make the cross-country trip - and has plenty of baggage of his own. The road home may be unfamiliar - especially with their friendship venturing into uncharted territory - but together, Amy and Roger will figure out how to map their way.

Flo's Review
I have literally wanted to read this book ever since I've known of its existence. A few weeks ago, I saw a copy at the library and grabbed it on a whim. So this past weekend, when I was wanting to get a summer read in before the start of school and fall, I picked it up. I'm definitely glad I did!

The cool thing about this book was the written out playlists, notes about each state, and pictures that were interspersed in the text. I felt that Amy and Roger falling for each other happened in a way that was very realistic, and I was thankful for that. It's tricky to have two people falling for each other in such a short amount of time and have it be convincing, but Morgan Matson sold me very well on Amy and Roger. It was also really fun hearing about the different state specialty food and drinks. Having lived on the East Coast all my life, I only get to enjoy In-N-Out burger on vacations. But having grown up in Tennessee, I am very familiar with Krystal and sweet tea.  After reading this book, I definitely want to enjoy a Brown in Kentucky and the fast food place where Roger's friend took them in Kansas. Eating the local favorite is definitely a must do when you travel. I loved seeing the different state mottoes and of course the Connecticut one was perfect for the story. 

I generally don't live my life with regrets, but one thing I do regret is not ever taking the coast to coast road trip, either after high school or after college. There are just so many places in my own country that I would love to explore, and this kind of trip is a rite of passage similar to the summer backpacking Europe or studying abroad. (I did neither.) That being said, I would NOT want to be stuck on the Loneliest Road! I think my eyes would start to cross after driving on the same road and seeing no one for about 2 to 3 hours. 

We never did find out exactly what Roger said to Hadley about Amy, and I wonder if that was in a version that got cut, or whether it really was just to be left to our imagination.  I also liked the Amy! versus Amy comments, because I think we all at some point feel like we aren't acting as we're expected to or as we think we should. "I should be more enthusiastic, I should be better at this," we think. But the "should be" self is not the real self, and that's better and more honest.

I am taking a mini road trip in about a month, from Washington D.C. to Pittsburgh. This book definitely made me more excited to hit the road. Because as we know from numerous cliches and as is reaffirmed in this book, the journey -- and not necessarily the destination -- is where the fun is.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Landline by Rainbow Rowell with GIVEAWAY


Book Summary:

Georgie McCool knows her marriage is in trouble. That it’s been in trouble for a long time. She still loves her husband, Neal, and Neal still loves her, deeply — but that almost seems besides the point now. Maybe that was always besides the point. Two days before they’re supposed to visit Neal’s family in Omaha for Christmas, Georgie tells Neal that she can’t go. She’s a TV writer, and something’s come up on her show; she has to stay in Los Angeles. She knows that Neal will be upset with her — Neal is always a little upset with Georgie — but she doesn’t expect to him to pack up the kids and go home without her. When her husband and the kids leave for the airport, Georgie wonders if she’s finally done it. If she’s ruined everything. That night, Georgie discovers a way to communicate with Neal in the past. It’s not time travel, not exactly, but she feels like she’s been given an opportunity to fix her marriage before it starts . 

Is that what she’s supposed to do? Or would Georgie and Neal be better off if their marriage never happened?

Flo's Review:

Jacque and I were lucky enough to score ARCs of this one at BEA this year. We reviewed Fangirl last year and both really enjoyed it, so we were definitely excited to make Rainbow's new book for adults one of our read alongs. I enjoyed a couple of things about this book: First, the concept is really cool. I have always been fascinated with the idea of time travel so the idea of making a phone call to someone at a time in your past is so cool and so intriguing. Second, I loved Seth and Scotty. Namely Seth. The scenes at the office with those two were by far my favorite in the book and often had me chuckling out loud.

Unfortunately, this book was a DNF (did not finish) for me. There were two reasons that I couldn't really get into it. First was all of Georgie's internal dialogue and the dismal state of her marriage. It was written really well. Too well. I read to escape, and I find it hard to enjoy a book when the main character is miserable the whole time. Frankly, it brings me down. And that's not what I want to be feeling as I read. Anxiety of a struggling marriage? Too real. I don't want to turn to fiction for that. I can call one of my girlfriends and listen to her over-analyze the state of her marriage instead. That's not fun for me to read, and I (mostly) read for fun.


Secondly, the book is largely made of flashbacks. I've ranted before on my feelings about flashbacks. I understand why they can be necessary. But if it gets to the point where the story doesn't seem to be moving forward at all because all the authors keeps doing is flashing back, then I cannot deal. I need a story to have forward motion to hold my interest, and quite simply, you can't keep moving forward if you keep looking back. 


I tried to keep reading, but in the end I decided that if I'm going to spend time reading a Rainbow Rowell book, it should be Eleanor and Park, which I've heard from so many people is made of amazingness, but which I haven't read. 


Jacque's Review:

This is one of the books that I was really excited to pick up at BEA this year.  I loved Fangirl and couldn't wait to read her latest release.  When Flo told me she had to pull the plug after about 16 chapters, I was a little nervous. 

Georgie is in her mid 30's and is the mother of two young girls.  She works long hours as a comedy writer for a television series while her husband, Neal, is a stay-at-home dad.  He does an amazing job of taking care of the girls, the house, cooking, and in general holding the family together.  Just before Christmas Georgie and her writing partner, Seth, pitch their dream show to an interested network.  Now they need to write a few episodes to present at a meeting just after Christmas.  The only problem is that Georgie and her family were planning on traveling to Omaha to visit Neal's Mom for the holiday.  Georgie decides to stay in L.A. to work while Neal takes the girls as planned.

Georgie and Neal's relationship has been strained for a while and this may be the last straw.  Georgie tries to call Neal's cell phone several times after he leaves, but she can't get through.  She finally resorts to using her Mom's landline to call Neal's Mom's landline and miraculously she is able to reach Neal.  There is one apparent catch.  Neal sounds a lot younger than he does now.  He sounds like he did when they first started dating and his Dad is apparently still alive. (He died several years ago.)  Rather than finding a time machine, Georgie has a phone that takes her back to Neal as he was in 1998.  Will she be able to repair their relationship now that she knows how things play out 15 years later?  That is exactly what Georgie attempts to do.

The flashbacks allow the reader to see how Georgie and Neal's relationship developed and where things went off track.  The concept of a landline taking one back into the past is an ingenious idea in this cellular world.  Much like a Walkman or a VCR, children today probably don't even know what a landline is.

The only complaint that I have about this book is the fact that we don't get to know Neal very well.  We witness Georgie's struggles, but we don't know how the separation is affecting Neal.  Is Georgie reading more into the situation than is necessary?  Is she overreacting?  We don't know because we have no idea what Neal is thinking.  

The separation is a reality check for Georgie.  She begins to realize what is most important in her life and I was happy to see her take action.  The ending was perfect, but I don't want to give away any spoilers.  If you enjoy Sarah Dessen's books, I would highly recommend Landline.

And now for the GIVEAWAY!



While at BEA, we were also lucky enough to pick up a signed audiobook of Landline. We'll give it away to one lucky commenter below who answers this question:

If you had an opportunity like Georgie to talk now to someone in your past, who would it be and what would you say to them?

Don't forget to include an email address with your comment so we have a way to contact you if you win. Good luck!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Open Road Summer by Emery Lord

Book Summary
After breaking up with her bad-news boyfriend, Reagan O’Neill is ready to leave her rebellious ways behind. . . and her best friend, country superstar Lilah Montgomery, is nursing a broken heart of her own. Fortunately, Lilah’s 24-city tour is about to kick off, offering a perfect opportunity for a girls-only summer of break-up ballads and healing hearts. But when Matt Finch joins the tour as its opening act, his boy-next-door charm proves difficult for Reagan to resist, despite her vow to live a drama-free existence. This summer, Reagan and Lilah will navigate the ups and downs of fame and friendship as they come to see that giving your heart to the right person is always a risk worth taking. A fresh new voice in contemporary romance, Emery Lord’s gorgeous writing hits all the right notes.

Flo's Review
I started this weekend in the mood for a fun summer read before the start of fall. Most of my teacher friends start back at school tomorrow, and I realized that I hadn't really read a summer book this summer. A few weeks ago, I'd checked out Open Road Summer from the library, so it was all ready for me to pick up. I'm so glad I did! This book was perfect for what I was looking for! I officially have a new Book Boyfriend by the name of Matt Finch. So sweet, so understanding, so flexible -- and he's hot! And he sings! AND he writes songs about his girlfriends!! Sign me up! I thought that Matt and Reagan were perfect for each other. The fact that they both came with baggage made it easy for each of them to relate to the other and bring out the best in each other. Dee was absolutely adorable, and I loved her friendship with Reagan. Infinity pinkie lock? Perfect! 

As some of you may know, I am a HUGE fan of my favorite bands, so another thing I really enjoyed about this book was the setting. I enjoyed reading about life on the road, and I really liked the different songs and how they fit into the story. I found myself making up melodies for them in the my head and then humming them at random times. True story. Can "Open Road Summer" be a real, recorded song? Because the version in my head is fantastic! I've had a recent conversation about the fact that paparazzi will take a picture of a celebrity after she's just had lunch and then claim she's pregnant, so I just had to LOL when that came up in the book. I'm glad Emery talked about that ridiculousness though. 

Admittedly, I didn't like Reagan at first. But that was because I was seeing the image of herself that she was trying hard to present, with her short shorts and high heels. But the more I got to know her and see that she was more than that, the more respect I had for her. As I mentioned before, I loved Dee and I loved Matt. Jimmy was also great. 

I believe this is Emery Lord's first book, and I can't wait to see what she has in store for us next! 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

If I Stay Tour Recap and GIVEAWAY!

Photo credit: https://twitter.com/ifistay
In case you haven't been avidly keeping up with everything about this upcoming movie like I have, let me tell you -- there is a tour going on right now and it is incredibly awesome! I was lucky enough to experience it this past weekend and want to share some of the wealth. But first let me tell you about it!

Thursday night was a pre-screening of the the movie and a party. Personally, I was just expecting it to be a regular pre-screening where you go, watch the movie and then head out. Boy was I (happily!) mistaken! After I had checked in and received my wristband, I made my way to the area where staff members were walking about offering delicious mini munchies: fish, veggies, pizza, you name it! We were also given a ticket for a free drink.

On one side of the room, they had a tattoo station set up:


You got to choose from a few different designs. This one was my favorite:


 But the coolest thing they had was this Machine of Amazing:

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Silver Shadows by Richelle Mead

Flo's Review
Since I was late to start this series, Silver Shadows was the first book I actually had to wait for. I had to wait about a month, and it was torture! (Don't hurt me, guys! Lol). But I would say it was worth the wait. I was struck by a few things about this book. First of all, the horribleness. I don't want to give away spoilers and talk about what happened, but a lot of it was simply horrible. No other way to describe. And what got me the most was that Richelle Mead didn't make it all up I think -- there have probably been similar things done to people in our history. And THAT is what destroyed me.

I love the way that Richelle Mead took the common phrase "things fall apart" and turned it around. (I know, this started in Fiery Heart, but it continues in this one.) That phrase is very passive and submissive, suggesting that things will go badly and there is nothing you can do about it. But Sydney and Adrian disagree -- the center WILL hold, they tell themselves. Because they will make it hold. They have turned themselves from victims into fighters, and I love that.

Of course, Richelle left us with a BIG cliffhanger for the final book in the series, and now I have to wait it out for months and months like everyone else...*sighs*.

In the meantime, I will try to get the Frostbite movie going, so I can get a glimpse of Adrian on the big screen.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Andromeda by Amy Bartelloni

Book Summary
Ten years after a pandemic swept the globe, survivors were forced into factions and camps in order to survive. Jade and Sera are two orphans who have found refuge in a government camp. It's there where Jade falls in love with a young soldier, Anyon. But Anyon has his own secrets, carefully guarding a past that involves Sera. Before Jade and Anyon admit their feelings to each other the camp is attacked and they're separated. Jade knows to lead Sera to Albany, the last free camp in the east, but the road is dangerous. Not only must they dodge pockets of infection, but they're threatened by drifters and gangs. When they arrive in Albany, they find it deserted. Anyon and his friend Malachi are close on their heels, but not close enough. The Provisional Government is on a mission, and no one is quite prepared for what lies ahead.

Flo's Review
I met Amy in a line at BEA and she was very sweet! I was quite intrigued with her book as she was telling me about it, so I made sure to follow up on it when I got back. Andromeda starts off with a very The Testing/I Am Legend feel. Jade and Sera are trying to make it to Albany, where they have agreed to meet up with friends from the government camp where they were living. We see the journey through their eyes and also through the eyes of Anyon and Malachi, who they are going to meet. The story alternates points of view between the two sets of travelers and is interspersed with flashbacks that help us learn more about these characters. 

It's a very intriguing concept, but unfortunately I felt that the first part was just a little too long. My little attention span just barely made it to Albany with the girls, and it didn't quite make it to the guys arriving later on. I skimmed the rest of the book from that point on and it seems like we get some big reveals after that point, and an intense looking showdown/final scenes with the government towards the end.  I could easily see this book as a movie or TV show. I liked how Andromeda tied into these kids' story, and really, how could you not love Sera?! She put a smile on my face every time with her intuition and optimism.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers

Book Summary
The convent views Sybella, naturally skilled in the arts of both death and seduction, as one of their most dangerous weapons. But those assassin's skills are little comfort when the convent returns her home to the life that nearly drove her mad. And while Sybella is a weapon of justice wrought by the god of death himself, he must give her a reason to live. When she discovers an unexpected ally imprisoned in the dungeons, will a daughter of Death find something other than vengeance to live for?

Flo's Review
Reading this book has been a long time coming for me. I loved Grave Mercy and immediately wanted to read this one when I was done. But life got in the way, and it ended up getting pushed back on my TBR list. It was BEA that bumped it back up again -- I was lucky enough to get a copy of Mortal Heart which I am eager to read, and I knew I needed to read this one first.

I pretty much spent the first half of the book feeling sorry for Sybella. Poor girl could not get a break! Horrible upon horrible. But it was interesting to me that she saw herself of undeserving of true respect, love, and sacrifice, when that is what she operates by. But I'm pretty sure if I had suffered everything she had, I would feel the same way. You think it can't get more horrible, then she would go and tell Beast about another secret she needed to confess.

Speaking of Beast -- #TeamBeast! I had to chuckle a bit with this because she really just thinks of him and refers to him as Beast, and I think that's awesomely hilarious. Also, Beast is pretty amazing. He and Sybella are pretty much perfect for each other and I loved cheering for them from the first time they met and throughout their adventures together. 

I also really enjoyed the fact that Ismae and Annith were both considerable characters in the story. Even though this was Sybella's story I felt that the three books mold and fit together seamlessly. I loved how being Death's daughter means different things for the Ismae and Sybella than it does for the convent, and I'm really looking forward to hearing from Annith.

Also, I enjoy historical fiction and the nerd in me really enjoyed reading Robin's "Author's Note" at the end explaining how she intertwined fact and fiction.

Monday, July 28, 2014

The Promise of Amazing by Robin Constantine

The Promise of Amazing

Jacque's Review:

Wren is a sixteen year old girl who attends a private all girls school.  She has two best friends, Jazz and Maddie, and works part time at her family's catering hall, the Camelot.  She is the quiet, studious type that never gets into trouble.  Immediately this was something I could relate to.  I also went to an all girls school and primarily hung out with two girls with similar personalities.

Grayson (Gray) was recently expelled from the all boy's school, St. Gabe's, for writing and selling term papers to other students.  He is smart, popular, and was the star of the varsity lacrosse team.  Attending the public school without his friends or a lacrosse team is a wake up call for him.  He no longer wants to be involved in the illegal activities his private school friends were involved in, but they will not let him walk away.  

One of the running jokes within the catering operation is who gets to serve the mini hot dogs.  While working a wedding, Wren landed this undesirable tray and went about her job of distributing them to the guest.  This is where she meets Grayson.  He is hanging out with a group of friends and proceeds to make fun of the "weenie girl".  It was all fun and games until Gray choked on one of the weenies and Wren had to give him the Heimlich maneuver.  From this point on there is an undeniable attraction between the two, but their road to happiness is not an easy one.  

I do not want to give away any spoilers, so I will leave the description at that.  Overall, I enjoyed the story.  I loved both of the main characters, but I found Gray's friends to be extremely frustrating.    Luke is a self centered bully and Andy is a spineless pothead.  Every time they worked themselves into the story, I had to stop reading.  I understand that conflict is needed within a story, but Luke caused WAY more than his fare share.  

I ended up giving this book 3 out of 5 stars.  I think a few more date nights and a little less of Luke would have helped to balance out my frustration level.  

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Breathe, Annie, Breathe by Miranda Kenneally

Book Summary
Annie hates running. No matter how far she jogs, she can’t escape the guilt that if she hadn’t broken up with Kyle, he might still be alive. So to honor his memory, she starts preparing for the marathon he intended to race. But the training is even more grueling than Annie could have imagined. Despite her coaching, she’s at war with her body, her mind—and her heart. With every mile that athletic Jeremiah cheers her on, she grows more conflicted. She wants to run into his arms…and sprint in the opposite direction. For Annie, opening up to love again may be even more of a challenge than crossing the finish line.

Flo's Review
I loved this story so much, for so many different reasons. First of all was the way I could relate to Annie. I hate running, too! So the idea that she couldn't even do two laps around her school track at the beginning of the book, yet she is training to run a marathon was fascinating to me. As I was reading, I found myself thinking that her program with Matt sounded really cool. If I could find a Matt, I might consider doing it. Might. But on the flip side, I loved this story because I couldn't relate to it. Annie grew up without a lot of money, but this is not the focus of the story -- and I love that. Because she never sees herself as a victim. It's just a fact of life that she lives in a trailer and her mother never graduated high school because she got pregnant. But Annie is working hard for her dream of going to college. And while she is madly in love with Kyle, when he proposes and asks her to give that all up, so does not. I really admire that. 

Another reason I loved the story was because I grew up in Tennessee. Not a town like the one Annie is in, but close enough where the scenery she describes reminds me of home. And I had friends that went to MTSU, so it was really cool to read about that. I loved Annie's personality -- Miranda Kenneally wrote this story to where Annie's voice is so distinctive -- you feel like you're just sitting down with her over a beer and she is telling you this story. She has a sense of humor and I really enjoyed her thoughts and interactions with the other characters. I loved that this is kind of the fifth book in a series, but is also a stand alone. I haven't read any of Miranda's other books, but I did not feel like I was coming into the middle of the story or that I was lost about what was going on in any way at any time.

In case you missed it, I loved this story. There are a few components, though, that I didn't necessarily love. First of all, Annie deals with a sense of guilt throughout the book -- she feels like it it her fault that Kyle died. I can certainly understand why she feels like that, but that is never really resolved -- for lack of a better word. I don't think she tells anyone that she thinks Kyle's death is her fault, so no other character can offer her absolution. And she does not ever give it to herself. Similarly, I don't know how I feel that Jere has Annie go ziplining and then she's like, "Okay, I understand why you're an adrenaline junkie." And she starts to equate Jere being an adrenaline junkie to how she should take risks in her life and such. It's almost like she now thinks it's okay...and I don't know if I do. I know it would be unrealistic for Jere to end the book with agreeing to never take any risks again, but maybe a middle ground between the extremes of Annie condoning versus Jere never doing anything risky again. Finally, there is something that happens to Annie and Jere near the beginning of the book that I don't think needs to be part of their story at that point in order for their story to be what it was.

I loved the multiple meanings of the title: Breathe, Annie, Breathe. What an amazing title! Because on one level it is referring to her remembering to breathe while she runs. On another level, it's about her needing to remember do things to move her forward in life and out of being stuck in grief. It can also refer to her having to remember not to snap at her Mom every time she mentions Kyle, to slow down her heart rate when physical contact with Jere speeds it up, to make it gracefully through an awkward situation like with her friends or Kyle's family or at the Roadhouse. Basically, it's like a call of, "You can do this!" Which brings us back to why I love this book. 5 of out 5 stars!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Everneath by Brodi Ashton


Jacque's Review:

This series has been on my TBR list since December of 2011, but for some reason it never made it to the top of the list.  I always loved the cover with the bright red dress and the swirling smoke...or clouds...I was never sure which.  (I'm not going to spoil it for you, but you will learn what the smoke is pretty late in the book).

Nikki Beckett's mother was killed by a drunk driver prior to the start of the book.  The depression and sense of loss combined with her insecurities about her relationship with Jack pushed her towards Cole.  He had a mysterious way of taking away all of her pain.

She later learns that Cole is an Everliving and uses human emotions as his source of energy.  He feeds on her for 100 years, which equates to 6 months in human time.  This time period is referred to as "the feed".  She should have wasted away to virtually nothing, but for some reason she survived.  Now Cole believes the two of them can rule the underworld.  The only problem is Nikki's love for Jack never diminished.  She refuses to go with Cole to the Everneath and returns to the surface for her last six months with Jack and her family.    

 At first I was a Cole supporter and thought the two of them would make a great couple.  That was before I met Jack.  Once I could see Jack and Nikki's love and devotion to one another it was clear that they belonged together.  They began researching mythology with the hope of finding a way to free Nikki.  With time running out, they need to work quickly or they could lose each other forever.  

Everneath was an excellent debut novel for Brodi.  I was captivated from the very beginning and didn't feel like the story lagged at any point.  Brodi added a unique twist at the end that I did not see coming until very late in the story.  It set up the second book beautifully and left the reader anxiously anticipating Everbound, which is the second book in the series.  Without this change in direction, I don't think there would have been much of a plot line remaining.

I will give you advance warning.  DO NOT read the synopsis for Everbound until you have already finished reading Everneath.  There is a large spoiler revealed in the synopsis and I was a little upset when I read it. I don't think I will read the synopsis for a book further along in a series ever again.  I have heard other bloggers complain about this, but this is the first time I have experienced it first hand.  

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella


Jacque's Review:

I needed an audio book  for a road trip, so I looked on the library's site to see what was available.  I LOVED I've Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella and decided to give another one of her books a try.

This book was just okay for me.  If I were reading a print copy, I may not have finished it. Since I was stranded in the car for 12 hours each way to and from Vermont with nothing better to do, I kept listening.

Laura Lington is a twenty some year old girl from London.  (The narrator had a British accent, which was a bonus.)  When we first meet her she is getting ready for her Great Aunt Sadie's funeral.  Sadie died at the age of 105 in a nursing home where she had been living for many years.  Her remaining family never really knew her, but Laura's Dad and his brother Bill agreed to hold a funeral.  During the service Laura is approached by Sadie's ghost demanding that they stop the service.  She simply can't leave this world without her dragonfly necklace.  Laura is the only person who can see Sadie, but she proceeds to stop the service by declaring Sadie was murdered and there needs to be an investigation.

Laura has been under a lot of stress lately and thinks she is finally going crazy.  What other explanation could there be for seeing and hearing a ghost?  Sadie appears to be close to Laura's age in her ghostly state and loved the twenties.  Not only does she want Laura to find the necklace, but she plans on living life to the fullest while she is still here.  She talks Laura into asking an American business man named Ed out on a date and wants her to dress in vintage 20's clothing and makeup.  She agrees to go along with the ridiculous plan because she wants to do something nice for Sadie.  She didn't really know her while she was living, but she is determined to make it up to her now.

Throughout the story Laura and Sadie develop a real friendship and begin to use their talents to help one another.  They are a great team and with Sadie's help, Laura is finally able to get her personal and professional life back on track.  It was a nice story with some surprising twist at the end, but I was never engaged to the point in which I couldn't stop listening.

I really enjoyed the portion of the book where Laura takes Ed on a tour of London.  I went to London last September and visited all of the same locations, so I could totally relate.  I just wish there had been more interactions with Ed.  Those were definitely the high points of this story.

I've heard great things about all of Sophie Kinsella's Shopaholic books, so I will probably read the first book in that series the next time I want a Kinsella book.  Unless this is the ONLY Sophie book you haven't read, I would probably select one of her others before starting this one.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Release Day Blast: Hearken (Daughter Of the Sea #4) by Kristen Day

Hearken ( Daughters Of the Sea #4 ) 
Now Available!
7/22/14

Haven't read the first 3 in the series?! Get caught up while they are on sale!

★SALE!! Only $.99 cents each!★ 
Daughters of the Sea Series! 


When the evil you fear is born from within, who will save us…from ourselves?

Sometimes our souls hear what our minds and hearts refuse to accept. It will whisper its continuous cadence until we're strong enough to glimpse the truth. But when the soul's whispers morph into screams, we're forced to gaze into the mirrors of time and see ourselves for who we really are.

 Grappling with her newfound leadership position, Stasia begins to experience a recurring nightmare of murder, as well as curious reveries about a violet-eyed girl who can control the moon. When tragedy grips the Tydes and several important relics are stolen from the Sons of Daimon, Stasia’s Council leaves for the forgotten island of Atlantis. Unfortunately Atlantis harbors its own secrets, and they are all calling to Stasia. As her nightmares become worse and she begins to lose control of her mind, those around her must find a way to reach her…and fast.

 Olivia Campbell is used to getting what she wants, when she wants it. But destiny never asked Olivia what she wanted. Being Chosen to be a Paladin at birth had not been something she wanted, and she definitely hadn’t wanted her charge to be Anastasia. Unfortunately their irritatingly persistent Atlantean guide, Sebastian, seems to know all about her and the secrets she’s been hiding. As she fights to protect Stasia from an unknown force, Olivia’s own courage and loyalty will be tested in ways she never imagined. Will she be able to tell Stasia the truth before it’s too late for them both.    

Purchase your copy of Hearken today!

Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/BN-KristenDay


About Kristen Day
 
  I am a southern belle at heart with a crazy streak that desperately tries to escape at every opportunity. I love all things nostalgic, rustic, and quirky. I've been told I see the world through rose-colored glasses, but I prefer to think of them as kaleidoscope glasses - swirling and morphing reality into something I can digest (who hasn't pretended those pasty lima beans were really kiwi strawberry jelly beans?).  When I'm not writing I'm making jewelry, painting, drinking sweet tea, watching the discovery channel, or going on random adventures in the mountains of North Carolina with my amazing husband.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Four: A Divergent Collection by Veronica Roth

Book Summary
Fans of the Divergent series by #1 New York Times bestselling author Veronica Roth will be thrilled by Four: A Divergent Collection, a fourth volume in the Divergent series. Readers first encountered Tobias Eaton as "Four" in Divergent. His voice is an integral part of Allegiant. Readers will find more of this charismatic character's backstory told from his own perspective in Four: A Divergent Collection. When read together, these long narrative pieces illuminate the defining moments in Tobias Eaton's life. The first three pieces in this volume--"The Transfer," "The Initiate," and "The Son"--follow Tobias's transfer from Abnegation to Dauntless, his Dauntless initiation, and the first clues that a foul plan is brewing in the leadership of two factions. The fourth story, "The Traitor," runs parallel with the events of Divergent, giving readers a glimpse into the decisions of loyalty--and love--that Tobias makes in the weeks after he meets Tris Prior.

Flo's Review
I had already read The Transfer when it was first released, but I decided to wait to read the other ones until I could read them all together. I'm glad I did. This collection of stories was fantastic! I really enjoyed seeing things from Four's point of view, but even more than that, I enjoyed learning more about the past of Dauntless. I was not expecting the events that went down in The Son, and reading The Traitor made me want to go back and read Divergent again. This volume did a great job of showing more about Dauntless. In Divergent, Four talks about how the faction is changing from what it used to be, but that's all he says. When I was reading it, I was so caught up in Tris' story and the her initiate class's drama, that I didn't stop to think about how Dauntless was different. Like how the initiates used to do combat training with pads, and the idea wasn't to beat each other but to build camaraderie among them. So cool! And how the current system with Tris and the eliminations came around? Fascinating. I just really enjoyed this book, and if you enjoyed the Divergent trilogy then this is a great addition. 

Our Divergent Reviews
Flo's review of Divergent: http://www.booknerdsacrossamerica.com/2011/03/divergent-by-veronica-roth.html
The rest of the Book Nerds' review of Divergent: http://www.booknerdsacrossamerica.com/2011/05/divergent.html
Book Nerds review of Insurgent: http://www.booknerdsacrossamerica.com/2012/06/insurgent-by-veronica-roth.html

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Fiery Heart by Richelle Mead

Flo's Review
The fourth book of the Bloodlines series starts off with everything going pretty well and happy considering the circumstances of Sydney's situation. She is living her life on her own terms -- enjoying herself and making progress in all fronts of her career. But then things get messy...

I enjoyed several things about this book. First of all, I love poetry. I love Adrian Ivashkov. Mix the two? OMG. *stops to catch breath* Second, we got to see more of Rose and Lissa than we have in previous Bloodlines books, and it's always neat when they make an appearance. I really, really enjoyed reading Adrian's point of view -- that man --er, vampire -- is always funny, but his thoughts as well as his comments was great.

If you are on Twitter at all, you've probably ascertained that this book ended in quite the evil cliffhanger. I have NO IDEA how Richelle Mead is possibly going to make everything okay, and I am simultaneously scared to find out along with being so excited I can barely wait! Thank goodness Silver Shadows comes out in a few short weeks!

Monday, July 7, 2014

The Indigo Spell by Richelle Mead

Flo's Review
I have to admit -- this one is probably my least favorite of the Bloodlines series so far. There were two main story lines in this book, and I wasn't really attracted to either one. I didn't like or trust Marcus Finch and felt that Sydney was too quick to do both. The story line with Ms. T. felt a little bit forced to me -- like we just needed a reason to have Sydney and Adrian spend a lot of time together, so this is what we've come up with. That being said, it was a quick read and fit very well into the series as a whole. Also, some things literally made me laugh out loud -- Hopper the callistana, for one. AYE for another. Okay, basically I love Adrian. The sweet and then shocking ending of this book made me happy that I had The Fiery Heart on hand to pick up right away.