Monday, October 20, 2014

Kiss Kill Vanish by Jessica Martinez

Book Summary
Valentina Cruz no longer exists.
One moment, she was wrapped in Emilio’s arms, melting into his kiss. The next, she was witnessing the unthinkable: a murder in cold blood, ordered by her father and carried out by her boyfriend. When Emilio pulled the trigger, Valentina disappeared. She made a split-second decision to shed her identity and flee her life of privilege, leaving the glittering parties and sultry nightlife of Miami far behind.
She doesn’t know how to explain to herself what she saw. All she knows now is that nothing she believed about her family, her heart, or Emilio’s love, was real.
She can change her name and deny her past, but Valentina can’t run from the truth. The lines between right and wrong, and trust and betrayal, will be blurred beyond recognition as she untangles the deceptions of the two men she once loved and races to find her own truth.

Flo's Review
This was an interesting one for me, in that it took me literally months to read the first third of the book. I was not connecting with Valentina at all. She didn't seem to have too much of a personality at the beginning...I felt like I was just reading about her poor miserable life and seeing her revisit the past over and over and over in her head. Except, she wasn't even revisiting the past concretely. She was hung up on one event and feeling sorry for herself because she didn't have the money and the easy life she did before. There was really nothing about her that made me think, "Oh poor Valentina -- I wonder how things turn up for her."

Until about halfway through the book. It was almost night and day for me. There comes a point in the story where Valentina decides to stop waiting and to take action. THIS is where the story begins. From there, I flew through the rest of the book. There were several mini twists throughout the story that were quite surprising, and then a BIG twist toward the end that I didn't see coming. And by this part of the story we've gotten to Action Valentina. She is conflicted because of her love for people who have basically lied to her for her whole life. But she makes a decision and goes with it and I admire her for following through. 

It was a hard first half, and I truly feel like that part could have been cut at least in half but probably even more. But I'm glad I pushed on through to the end and got to know who Valentina Cruz is. The last lines in the book are perfect.

Thank you to the publisher for providing me with an ARC of this book for review.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Before You Break by Christina Lee

Book Summary
A college baseball star isn’t supposed to have skeletons in his closet. But Daniel Quinn is hiding a past so dark, he refuses to let anyone get close. Except there’s something about Ella Abrams that goes beyond attraction—something that makes him want to open up.
Ella has suffered enough heartache to fill one of her psychology textbooks, but she keeps that part of herself hidden behind a bubbly exterior. Until she receives an anonymous call while working a suicide help line and the voice on the other end touches something inside of her that she can’t ignore.
Soon Ella and Quinn’s physical connection heats up, even as their revealing hotline talks intensify. But by the time Ella realizes that her seductive jock and her sensitive caller are the same guy, it might be too late to save him—or to stop herself from falling too far….

Flo's Review
Happy book birthday to Before You Break! I feel in love with Christina Lee when I recently read All Of You. So when I discovered that Before You Break was being released in print, I was all over it! 

Once again, I flew through the book in a day. Christina Lee is great like that -- you don't want to put the book down, and then all of a sudden it's several hours later and you're done. I love books like that! I enjoyed this story, but not in the same way I enjoyed All of You. While Bennett could make the list of Fictional Boyfriends, Quinn was just too broken for that. This was a story about his healing. I cannot even fathom carrying around the guilt he did. I felt like Gabby did every time Daniel called the hotline and let a little more go, and really took to heart what she was saying. 

I liked seeing a good amount of Avery in this book, and now I'm completely sucked in! Looking forward to seeing how Rachel comes around in Whisper to Me!

Thank you to the publisher for providing me with this review copy.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Driving with the Top Down by Beth Harbison

Book Summary
Three women, two weeks, one convertible: sometimes life doesn't take you in the direction you expect...
Colleen Bradley is married with a teenage son, a modest business repurposing and reselling antiques, and longtime fear that she was not her husband’s first choice. When she decides to take a road trip down the east coast to check out antique auctions for her business, she also has a secret ulterior motive. Her one-woman mission for peace of mind is thrown slightly off course when sixteen year old Tamara becomes her co-pilot. The daughter of Colleen’s brother-in-law, Tamara is aware that when people see her as a screw-up, but she knows in her heart that she’s so much more. She just wishes her father could see it, too. 
The already bumpy trip takes another unexpected turn when they stop at the diner that served as Colleen’s college hangout and run into her old friend, Bitty Nolan Camalier. Clearly distressed, Bitty gives them a story full of holes: angry with her husband, she took off on her own, only to have her car stolen. Both Colleen and Tamara sense that there’s more that Bitty isn’t sharing, but Colleen offers to give Bitty a ride to Florida.
So one becomes two becomes three as Colleen, Tamara, and Bitty make their way together down the coast. It’s a road trip fraught with tension as Tamara’s poor choices come back to haunt her and Bitty’s secrets reach a boiling point. With no one to turn to but each other, these three women might just discover that you can get lost in life but somehow, true friends provide a roadmap to finding what you’re really looking for.

Flo's Review
I really wanted to like this book. I chose it as the first of several audiobooks I'd received to review because I just loved the concept -- three gals, a road trip. "How fun!" I thought. "They will get into all kinds of fun adventures! It will make me want to grab my besties and hit the open road!"

Unfortunately, it did not. Admittedly, their lives all kinda sucked (except for Colleen, who was just making her own drama for no good reason), but this book to me was basically just them whining about how horrible everything is for 350 pages. There was literally one point in the book where Colleen and Bitty are sitting at a bar engaging in a "who has the crappier life right now??" match. I can't. I cannot. I know you had to show these characters hitting rock bottom so you can see them starting to climb their way up, but I think I would have enjoyed this book more if it was more climbing and less descent and groveling around at the bottom. The happy ending for the gals was pretty much right at the end. The rest of the time they were just driving around and brooding in their own heads. I made myself push through it, though....

...and that is how I shall transition to end on a good note. Usually, if I really don't like a book, I am okay with just stopping it. Ending the road trip, so to say. But for some reason, I had to keep going with this one. I must have felt vested in the characters. And I also liked the "money" quote  -- this is great, and I can see why it inspired the title:

"You are not alone. Don't make the same mistakes I did. Don't keep everything bottled up inside. Open up. It's like" -- she looked around, then gestured at the car -- "it's like driving with the top down. Technically, you're more vulnerable, and everyone can see what would otherwise be hidden inside, but its the only way to fully enjoy the sun and the wind and life. It's so much better than keep it all closed up!"

Thank you to Macmillan Audio for the chance to review this audiobook.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Percy Jackson's Greek Gods by Rick Riordan

Rick Riordan and the big, beautiful book. I grabbed this image from his blog: rickriordan.blogspot.com/.
Book Summary
A publisher in New York asked me to write down what I know about the Greek gods, and I was like, Can we do this anonymously? Because I don't need the Olympians mad at me again. But if it helps you to know your Greek gods, and survive an encounter with them if they ever show up in your face, then I guess writing all this down will be my good deed for the week. 
So begins Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, in which the son of Poseidon adds his own magic--and sarcastic asides--to the classics. He explains how the world was created, then gives readers his personal take on a who's who of ancients, from Apollo to Zeus. Percy does not hold back. "If you like horror shows, blood baths, lying, stealing, backstabbing, and cannibalism, then read on, because it definitely was a Golden Age for all that." 

Flo's Review
I wish Percy Jackson was around when I was studying Greek mythology in high school! Percy's voice makes these classic tales come alive in a new way that kids today will relate to and find interesting. I listened to this audiobook and I literally laughed out loud and several points in the stories. I have read the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, along with all the Heroes of Olympus books to date, and I am really glad that Rick Riordan wrote this book to give some more back story and explanation to the gods. The stories of the most of the gods have been talked about briefly or referred to in both of the Percy Jackson series, but that was all I knew of them. It was great to learn more about how Athena sprung from the head of Zeus, for example. I also enjoyed learning about how the Olympian gods overthrew the Titans. I definitely did not know any of the Titan back story, and I really enjoyed learning about that. I have to give props to the audiobook narrator, who was fantastic. Percy writes with a lot of personality, and the narrator did a great job of really bringing forth Percy's thoughts and reactions with his voice.

Now I really want Rick Riordan to write Carter and Sadie Kane's Egyptian Gods. Can do, Rick?!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

GIVEAWAY: Salt & Storm by Kendall Kulper

Book Summary:
A sweeping historical romance about a witch who foresees her own murder--and the one boy who can help change her future.

Sixteen-year-old Avery Roe wants only to take her rightful place as the witch of Prince Island, making the charms that keep the island's whalers safe at sea, but her mother has forced her into a magic-free world of proper manners and respectability. When Avery dreams she's to be murdered, she knows time is running out to unlock her magic and save herself.

Avery finds an unexpected ally in a tattooed harpoon boy named Tane--a sailor with magic of his own, who moves Avery in ways she never expected. Becoming a witch might stop her murder and save her island from ruin, but Avery discovers her magic requires a sacrifice she never prepared for.

Giveaway!!
Happy book birthday to Salt & Storm by Kendall Kulper! How awesome does this book sound?!? Lucky for you, the Book Nerds ended up with two! (Not to mention, we can make a rhyme any ole time!) Anyways, we're giving away the extra copy via the Rafflecopter below. Good luck!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, September 22, 2014

Release Day Blitz: Forsaken by Kristen Day




Once you’ve been touched by darkness, it never leaves you…

Abandoned by her parents as an infant; seventeen year old Hannah spent her childhood wading through countless foster families until being adopted by the Whitmans three years ago. Unfortunately, Atlanta’s high society wasn’t quite ready for Hannah…or the strange events that plague her.

Chilling visions of murder, unexplained hallucinations, and a dark, mysterious guy who haunts her nightmares all culminate to set in motion a journey of self-discovery that will challenge everything she’s ever believed; not to mention her sanity.

Sent to live at The House of Lorelei on Bald Head Island, NC for ‘kids like her’, Hannah quickly realizes things are not what they seem. Her fellow ‘disturbed’ teens are actually the descendants of mythical Sea Gods and Goddesses. And so is she.

But when Finn, the ghost from her dreams, appears in the flesh; her nightmares become reality and her dark visions begin coming true. Inexplicably drawn to him, she can’t deny the dangerous hold he has on her heart. The deadly secrets he harbors will ultimately test her courage and push the boundaries of her love.

She must decide if she is ready to embrace the ancient legend she is prophesized to be a part of. The fate of all the descendants will forever depend upon it.

Purchase on Amazon: http://bit.ly/ForsakenRDB

Purchase on Smashwords: http://bit.ly/XziTwd




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, September 21, 2014

Famous in Love by Rebecca Serle

Me and author Rebecca Serle at BEA 2014
Book Summary
The romantic story of a girl who gets plucked from obscurity to star in the next major feature film franchise based on a book and the ensuing love triangles she gets entangled in on—-and off screen. 
Meet Paige Townsen, Rainer Devon, and Jordan Wilder…When Paige Townsen, a young unknown, gets cast in the movie adaptation of a blockbuster book series, her life changes practically overnight. Within a month, Paige has traded the quiet streets of her hometown for a crowded movie set on the shores of Maui, and is spending quality time with her co-star Rainer Devon, one of People’s Sexiest Men Alive. But when troubled star Jordan Wilder lands the role of the other point in the movie’s famous love triangle, Paige’s crazy new life gets even crazier.In this coming-of-age romance inspired by the kind of celeb hookups that get clever nicknames and a million page views, Paige must figure out who she is – and who she wants – while the whole world watches.


Flo's Review
Question: You're sitting at home on my couch on a rainy Saturday wanting a fun little escape. What do you reach for?
Answer: Famous in Love, of course!
I was lucky enough to pick up this book at BEA earlier this year and meet author Rebecca Serle. She was so sweet and I felt so bad because she was also injured! But since then I've been wanting to read her book. As you (may or may not) know, I am on staff at a Hunger Games fansite -- Down With the Capitol. One of the gals over there recently read and reviewed the book, so that moved it back up in my mind.  

This book was adorable and there's so much to enjoy about it. First of all -- I loved both guys!! Both were amazing!! Usually in love triangles I have a clear personal choice, but not with Rainer and Jordan. This made me more sympathetic to Paige's dilemma. Don't ask me how you're going to choose between them, girl! I don't know!! (But, if or when you do choose, can you send the other one my way? I'm just saying. Hook a sister up!!) Rebecca did a great job at writing about the romantic tension between Jordan and Paige. I loved their scenes! But then, how could you not love Rainer?! He was amazing, too! He was fun, and made everyone feel comfortable and was very honest and accommodating with Paige. Swoon! ...really, I could continue to gush over these boys, but I guess I should move on now.

Another thing I really liked about this book was the interweaving of real and celebrity life. Like, one moment we're reading about Paige and her two BFFs hanging out at each other's houses, going to the movies, hanging out in the library, going to protests. It's all very real and normal. Then we're reading about how Paige is reading movie scripts from her agent and her refrigerator in her personal condo in Hawaii is perpetually stocked with her favorite foods. It kind of gave me a feel of celebrities as real people. Paige, who feels like the overlooked youngest child and works at a small knick knack store, is suddenly this movie star. She wasn't born as a cover story. She became. On that note, it was nice to see her struggling with it, too. To admit to herself that this is her dream come true, but also that she is getting screamed at by the director and not sleeping nearly enough. 

One question regarding August was left open and I want to know the answer!! I think I'm supposed to infer it maybe from what happens to Paige, but I don't know!!

This book comes out October 21, 2014 and if you are obsessed with YA books turned movies and the actors involved, you will love it! Even if you're not, I think you'll still enjoy reading Paige's "it should be a dream come true but really it's not even though it is" story about becoming a movie star.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

Book Summary
Hopeless romantic Isla has had a crush on introspective cartoonist Josh since their first year at the School of America in Paris. And after a chance encounter in Manhattan over the summer, romance might be closer than Isla imagined. But as they begin their senior year back in France, Isla and Josh are forced to confront the challenges every young couple must face, including family drama, uncertainty about their college futures, and the very real possibility of being apart. 
Featuring cameos from fan-favorites Anna, √Čtienne, Lola, and Cricket, this sweet and sexy story of true love—set against the stunning backdrops of New York City, Paris, and Barcelona—is a swoonworthy conclusion to Stephanie Perkins’s beloved series.

Flo's Review
Yay for Isla! I read most of this book on a day I was feeling blah, and it provided the perfect escape. Really, what can be better than falling in love in Paris?!? I had forgotten just how much I love how Stephanie Perkins writes characters. When I grow up, I want to write characters like Stephanie. Her characters aren't characters -- they become REAL to me. I know them. Because she describes every mannerism, every flaw, every  beauty. You see these characters are whole people and not just actors in a scene. And, of course, I loved loved loved seeing Anna, St. Clair, Lola, Cricket, and Meredith again. This book made me want to go back and read Anna and the French Kiss again. And this book wrapped up the trilogy so nicely and perfectly. 

Another little thing I liked about this book was Lola's relationship with Kurt. My nephew has autism, and it just warmed my heart to read about a guy who has autism but still has a fun, adventurous life -- and, more specifically, a friend to stand by him like Lola stands by Kurt. Their friendship is so great: they will always be there for and support each other, but they also understand that they need to give the other space to let that person fly.

There were times in the story when I wasn't a fan of Isla. Her insecurities and their effect on the relationship annoyed me a little bit. Like, rabbits for example. (This will make sense if you've read the book.) Of the three stories, I have to say that I loved Anna and the French Kiss, then Lola and the Boy Next Door, and then Isla and the Happily Ever After, in that order. But what an amazing, amazing trilogy. I'll have to say that this is my favorite YA contemporary trilogy.

Jacque's Review:

It has been over two and a half years since I finished reading Anna and the French Kiss and Lola and the Boy Next Door.  I honestly could not remember who Isla was prior to starting the book, but I did not feel bad once I remembered.  She had a VERY small part in Anna and the French Kiss.  She is a year younger than Anna and Etienne and attends SOAP...the School of America in Paris.  She has a huge crush on Josh, who was good friends with Etienne, and is a very talented artist in her grade.

Both Josh and Isla are from New York City and have attended the School of America in Paris together for three years.  They are both home for the summer between their junior and senior year and bump into each other at a local cafe.  Isla just had her wisdom teeth removed and is more outgoing than normal, thanks to some pain killers.  This was just the thing these characters needed to break the ice.  Isla has been in love with Josh since her freshman year and he has secretly been interested in her as well.

After visiting Paris last year I was really excited to read this story, which included many of the sites I visited.  Isla's best friend since childhood, Kurt, is obsessed with the catacombs, the underground tunnel system in Paris.  If you have never been there, here are a couple of the pictures I took.  It isn't something most tourists know about, but I would HIGHLY recommend taking a tour if you are even in Paris.  



I'm sure everyone wants to know how Anna, Etienne, Lola and Cricket are woven into this story, but I'm not going to spoil it for you.  I will simply say that Stephanie had a brilliant way of bringing all of these characters together for a short period of time.  Isla has a chance to interact with Josh's friends and we are able to see how their lives and relationships have progressed.

The one thing I can say about Stephanie Perkins is that she writes the most lovable characters.  They are all very unique and their stories are far from perfect.  They make mistakes along the way, but they become better people because of what they learn on their journey.  While I always appreciate a Happily Ever After, it has a greater impact when it doesn't come handed to you on a silver platter.  This is a brilliant series that I consider a MUST read for any young adult fan.  

Friday, September 12, 2014

Little Bee by Chris Cleave

Little Bee

This book was recommended to me by one of the physicians I work with quite some time ago.  One of my blog friends gave it one star and another co-worker said it was "okay", so I have been putting it off.  I needed an audio book and this was available, so I downloaded it.

This book was well outside my comfort zone, but it was a thought provoking story.  It is a fictional story about two British journalists, Sarah and Andrew O'Rourke, who travel to Nigeria on vacation.  At the time, there are oil wars going on and there is a lot of violence in the area.  They venture outside of their hotel compound and encounter two Nigerian girls and some "soldiers" for lack of a better term.  The journalists return to England, but the events that took place in Nigeria have irreparably altered them.  

The story is told from both Sarah and Little Bee's point of view.  (Little Bee is one of the Nigerian girls.)  When we are first introduced to Little Bee she is in a British Immigration Detention center.  She fled Nigeria after the encounter with the journalists for her own safety and is seeking refuge from Great Britain. Sarah and Little Bee's world eventually collide and their story unfolds in this novel.

Overall, I thought this book was okay.  I debated between giving it 2 or 3 stars and settled on 3 because it is well written and I can appreciate the author's message about immigration.  The story just wasn't my cup of tea.  It portrays fear and terror and contains a lot of violence.  The ending was also left open, which I don't usually care for.  In this case, the reader can put two and two together to interpret what happens, but the ending is very depressing.  That is probably why the author did not include the additional few pages it would have taken to tie up the loose ends.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart


Book Summary:
A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.

We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from National Book Award finalist and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart. 

Read it.
And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.

Flo's Review
Yup. THAT is the book summary. It got a lot of pre-publication hype and again -- look at that summary! I knew I had to read it. I loved this book! For one thing, the writing is unique and beautiful ("He is...ambition and strong coffee." I love that description of Gat! I want to meet someone intense like him just so I can describe that person that way.) 

The story struck a perfect balance between keeping you questioning and moving the plot forward. It gave you enough of a story line and enough about the characters that you were invested -- you felt you knew the Sinclairs and enjoyed reading about their summer experiences. But, at the same time, you knew -- as Cady knew -- that there was more that you didn't know. And so I wanted to keep reading to find out the more. Throughout the story, at good intervals, information is dropped in tidbits that makes you realize...whoa. Maybe you don't know the Sinclairs like you thought you did. I was thoroughly impressed because I knew going into the story that there would be a big twist -- that's all you see when you read the reviews. But I had no idea what the twist could be. And throughout the story I was reading, knowing that something was going to happen. But I had NO IDEA what it could be. And then when I got to it? I was FLOORED. I had NO IDEA. I finished this a couple of days ago and am still in book hangover mode. (The only thing I didn't get is why they're called the Liars? Did E. mention that? Or did I miss it?) Anyway, I definitely recommend this one. 

Jacque's Review:

This is one of the books that I picked up at BEA a few months ago.  I was fortunate to receive a copy because they were out of tickets and the line was really long.  Flo was in line, but wanted to get another book...so she gave me her ticket!!!  Squeeee!!!!


We Were Liars has a very Kennedy feel to it.  The Sinclair family is extremely wealthy and owns an island a few miles from Martha's Vineyard.  Tipper and Harris Sinclair live in the largest house on the island and built three additional houses for their three daughters.  Each summer their children and grandchildren spend the entire summer relaxing and playing on the island.  Their three daughters are very materialistic and spend a lot of time fighting over who will inherit the houses, money, art...all the way down to the tablecloths.

Three of the grandchildren (Johnny, Mirren, and Cadence) are close in age and develop a strong friendship, but they only interact with one another during the summers.  Mirren's mother is divorced and brings her new boyfriend and one of his nephews, Gat, for the summer.  He is the same age as the three cousins and becomes the fourth member of The Liars.  He returns each summer and is essentially part of the family.  During their fifteenth summer on the island, Cadence was involved in an accident.  She can't remember what happened and has terrible migraines as a result.  The doctors advised her mother to let Cadence remember the events on her own, so nobody in the family will tell her what happened.

The majority of the book takes place two years after the accident...summer seventeen.  Cadence returns to the island for the first time since the accident and begins to remember small details.  I was absolutely shocked when Cadence eventually pieces everything together.  Until the last thirty pages I NEVER would have suspected the ending.  In retrospect, there were clues throughout the book, but they were very subtle.  I was so emotionally involved and connected with the characters that the ending brought me to tears.

This is the first book written by E. Lockhart that I have read and it was well worth the wait in line at BEA.  I gave it five out of five stars on Goodreads and would highly recommend it.  If you have read any of her other books, we would love to hear your thoughts.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Still Point by Katie Kacvinsky


Happy Book Birthday to Katie Kacvinsky and Still Point!!  
Still Point is the third and final book in the Awaken trilogy.  It is about a futuristic society in which technology has taken over.  There is very little face to face interaction and just about everything is done through a computer.  The grass and trees are plastic, dating is done exclusively online, and everything you do is monitored.  Maddie and her friends, who are referred to as the Digital School Dropouts, have been fighting to unplug society and bring back face to face schools.

There is a new character introduced in this book, which definitely adds a twist to the story line.  Jax was intercepted by Justin and his team of dropouts when he was about to get arrested for fighting the digital system.  Since then, he has been helping the cause in a more behind the scenes fashion.  Maddie met him during an online museum tour when she was still in Digital School and decides to contact him to see if he will help their cause.  I don't want to give away any spoilers, but he becomes an integral part of the story.  He teaches Maddie that there is a Middle Ground (Hint Hint...that is the name of the second book in the series) and she doesn't have to be such an extremest.  We can use technology as a tool, but we don't need to rely on it for everything.

This series should be considered required reading for most of the younger population.  I'm just as guilty as the next person when it comes to constantly checking messages on my phone and tweeting friends hundreds of miles away while ignoring the people sitting in the same room with me.  This series not only brings to light an escalating problem in our society, but really encourages readers to evaluate their own behavior.  I'm going to make a conscious effort to limit the amount of time I spend online outside of work.  I really don't need to check my Facebook and Twitter accounts countless times a day.  Katie teaches us that we need to focus on the now and live in the moment or life will simply pass us by.

I would like to thank Katie and her publisher for providing an ARC of Still Point.  I thoroughly enjoyed this series and would highly recommend it to all of our followers who read YA.

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.

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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!