Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Review: Shade Me by Jennifer Brown

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, May 23, 2016

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

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

Now, for my review:

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

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

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

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


The Crown by Kiera Cass

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

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

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

The Elite: http://www.booknerdsacrossamerica.com/2014/01/the-elite-by-kiera-cass.html
The Queen: http://www.booknerdsacrossamerica.com/2015/01/the-queen-by-kiera-cass.html
Happily Ever After: http://www.booknerdsacrossamerica.com/2016/02/happily-ever-after-by-kiera-cass.html
The Heir: http://www.booknerdsacrossamerica.com/2015/05/the-heir-by-kiera-cass.html

Sunday, May 22, 2016

The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan

Book Summary
How do you punish an immortal?

By making him human.

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

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

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

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

Friday, May 20, 2016

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

My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories

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

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

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

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

Thursday, May 19, 2016

BookExpo America Day 2

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Thursday at BEA - Fierce Reads Blogger Event

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

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

This Is Who I Am Now

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

So, are you ready! Here goes:

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

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

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

About the Book

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, May 2, 2016

Genius: The Game by Leopoldo Gout

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5 out of 5 enthusiastic stars!

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

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Tim Palen: Photographs from the Hunger Games

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

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

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

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

Saturday, April 30, 2016

The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, April 28, 2016

The Sword Thief by Peter Lerangis (39 Clues #3)

The Sword Thief (The 39 Clues, #3)

Jacque's Review:

The third book in the 39 Clues series brings a few of the participants together to work as a "team." 

 Amy and Dan were warned at the start of the contest not to trust ANYONE, but they don't really see another option.  Nellie, their au pair/nanny, just departed Venice on a flight to Japan while they remain stranded at the Venice airport.  Without Nellie, they are forced to accept help from their Uncle Alistair, who has betrayed them on at least two occasions.  He graciously allows them to travel with him on his private plane, but he really just needs their help to determine the next destination in the race.  

While in Japan, we learn about Hideyoshi, who is the first son on the Tomas side of the family.  He was a great warrior and tried to conquer most of Asia.  In an unusual turn of events, the Kabras appear with Nellie and join the alliance between Amy, Dan, and Alistair.  They all have a piece of the puzzle necessary to find Hideyoshi's treasure and hopefully their next clue, which they discover could be in Korea.  They travel to Alistair's home in Korea to continue their investigation.  

Ian begins to soften and Amy believes they are developing a real friendship.  This eventually backfires and the kids are left wondering why they trusted any of their relatives in the first place.  Fortunately, they didn't share ALL of the information they had leading to the next clue and even gave the Kabras some misinformation.  

If they can just get out of the trap the Kabras left them in, they may still be in the race.  

There wasn't much interaction with the other relatives in the contest this time around.  Amy and Dan did encounter the Holts early on in the book, but we didn't see them after that.  Jonah Wizard didn't make an appearance at all and we left Irina Spasky in the dust somewhere on the way to Japan.  We will see if any of them show up in the fourth book, which appears to be taking us to Egypt.  

I didn't think this book was quite as good as the first two in the series, but it is still holding my son's attention, so we will continue on.  He loves the Hawaii Five-O television series, so he was intrigued by the fact that the Yakuza were mentioned in the book.  They are the 'bad guys" that are often referenced in Five-O, so there was a tie in that he could understand.  He was also intrigued by the swords and possible treasure that could be found along the way. 

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Inside the World of Die for Me by Amy Plum

Book Summary
The ultimate resource for fans of DIE FOR ME, and the go-to guide for anyone who wishes to walk with revenants. With character profiles, in-depth revenant history, and previously unreleased deleted scenes, INSIDE THE WORLD OF DIE FOR ME will plunge you deeper into the realm of all things revenant. Explore the locations where your favorite stories happened, test your level of revenant knowledge in the trivia game, see exclusive images from the books, explore the minds of the kindred through their point of view pieces, and much more.

Flo's Review
This is basically the Revenant SuperFan guide. It's been a minute since I've read the Die for Me series and I didn't get the chance to read all the novellas that came after, so this was a nice way to get refreshed on what happened and then 100% caught up with everything that happened after. 

My favorite part was seeing pictures of actual places in Paris (and some other locales) where scenes in the story took place. I almost wish I had this as I was reading, so that I could have looked at the picture and then read the scene. I also really enjoyed hearing about how the idea for revenants came to be and how Amy ultimately got to the events of If I Should Die.

Our reviews of the series:

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

Friday, April 15, 2016

What I Told My Daughter: Lessons from Leaders on Raising the Next Generation of Empowered Women by Nina Tassler

Book Summary
In What I Told My Daughter, entertainment executive Nina Tassler has brought together a powerful, diverse group of women—from Madeleine Albright to Ruth Bader Ginsburg, from Dr. Susan Love to Whoopi Goldberg—to reflect on the best advice and counsel they have given their daughters either by example, throughout their lives, or in character-building, teachable moments between parent and child.

A college president teaches her daughter, by example, the importance of being a leader who connects with everyone—from the ground up, literally—in an organization. A popular entertainer and former child star urges her daughter to walk in her own truth, to not break glass ceilings if she yearns to nurture a family as a stay-at-home mother or to abandon a career if that’s her calling. One of the country’s only female police chiefs teaches her daughter the meaning of courage, how to respond to danger but more importantly how not to let fear stop her from experiencing all that life has to offer. A bestselling writer who has deliberated for years on empowering girls, wonders if we’re unintentionally leading them to believe they can never make mistakes, when “resiliency is more important than perfection.”

In a time when childhood seems at once more fraught and more precious than ever, What I Told My Daughter is a book no one concerned with connecting with a young girl can afford to miss.

Flo's Review
I skimmed through this book on a short plane ride. This is a collection of little essays/letters/etc., so it's nice because you don't have to read it cover to cover. You can pick and choose from women you've heard of or titles that seem interesting. These women shared their own perspectives on what it means to raise empowered women. Some told specific stories about themselves and what they learned through their actions, while others told stories about their children and what their daughters taught them. 

This little collection gave me hope. Change starts at home, at the family level, and if there are great women like this teaching their daughters to be great women, then the positive chain will continue as their children have children and so forth. 

Thank you to Atria Books for providing me with a copy in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Morning Star by Pierce Brown

Book Summary
Darrow would have lived in peace, but his enemies brought him war. The Gold overlords demanded his obedience, hanged his wife, and enslaved his people. But Darrow is determined to fight back. Risking everything to transform himself and breach Gold society, Darrow has battled to survive the cutthroat rivalries that breed Society's mightiest warriors, climbed the ranks, and waited patiently to unleash the revolution that will tear the hierarchy apart from within.

Finally, the time has come.

But devotion to honor and hunger for vengeance run deep on both sides. Darrow and his comrades-in-arms face powerful enemies without scruple or mercy. Among them are some Darrow once considered friends. To win, Darrow will need to inspire those shackled in darkness to break their chains, unmake the world their cruel masters have built, and claim a destiny too long denied - and too glorious to surrender.

Flo's Review
This trilogy has really taken me for a ride. I have seriously been on all sides of the field with it. I set aside both of the first two books because they weren't holding my attention. Then I picked them back up, of course, which is why we are here. While reading the first two books I also skimmed through a lot of the detailed war scenes, as they were quite complex and not quite capturing me. 

But Red Rising and Golden Son both had these intense endings -- especially Golden Son. So when it was time for Morning Star, I wasn't sure how things would go. Morning Star is also quite hefty at 524 pages, and I tend not to do well with books that seem to take me forever to read.

Ahh, but this book! It was a beauty and a roller coaster. My emotions were everywhere: I laughed, I cried, I was happy, I was sad, I was doubtful, I was hopeful -- everything. It did seem to take me forever to read, but unlike the first two books I did not ever set it aside in exchange for other books, and I did not skim through entire battle scenes. This one kept my attention. As always, Darrow remains clever and I love to see how his plans shake out. He never loses his compassion, even in the face of the horrors of war, and I applaud him for that. There were several twists that I didn't see coming and a good amount of scenes that literally made me cry. 

Morning Star ended very well, and I am satisfied with where we have left these characters. This series is going to be one that I recommend widely, to various people with different tastes and levels of love for reading.

Friday, April 8, 2016

The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson

The Girl Who Played with Fire (Millennium, #2)

Jacque's Review:

The Girl who Played with Fire is the sequel to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, which introduced us to Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist.  Blomkvist is a journalist who uncovered a huge corporate scandal as well as a dark secret within the Vanger family.  Lisbeth is a "researcher" Blomkvist hired to assist him with his investigation.  She is actually a hacker with a photographic memory and a genius level IQ, but she has a very troubled past.

This installment starts out innocently enough with Mikael and his magazine, Millennium, getting ready to publish another ground breaking piece involving sex trafficking in Eastern Europe and Sweden.  They are collaborating with a journalist, Dag Svensson, and his girlfriend, Mia Johansson, who is completing her thesis on the subject.  They plan on publishing an entire issue of the magazine devoted to the topic as well as Dag's book, which will expose several prominent figures in the community.

The publication is put on hold when it is discovered that Mia and Dag have been murdered.  Lisbeth is considered the prime suspect because her fingerprints are on the murder weapon, but Blomkvist insists the murders must be related to what the couple had been working on.  The murderer has to be one of the individuals they were getting ready to expose in Dag's book, but the police and media are dead set on finding and convicting Salander.

The remainder of the book is a brilliantly woven investigation into the murders of Mia and Dag, which simultaneously digs deep into Salander's past.  We discover why she was considered incompetent as a minor, institutionalized and ultimately placed in the custody of a legal guardian.  It should have been clear to anyone who met Salander that she is far from incompetent, but she does struggle with aggressive behavior and lacks social skills.

Salander communicates with Blomkvist throughout the book via messages delivered to his hard drive.  She hacks into his system and he responds with a corresponding word document left in a folder on his desktop.  Together they put together the pieces Mia and Dag had been missing, why they were murdered, and who was responsible.

I never would have guessed who was behind "all the evil" as Lisbeth so accurately described it.  Once the individual is identified, it becomes clear the danger Salander and Blomkvist are in and what must be done if either of them plan on coming out of this alive.

I was completely shocked by the way Larsson chose to end this novel.  There is a third book in the series, which I assume will tie up loose ends, but we are left hanging in the balance.  I though for sure there would be an epilogue or something to explain what happens after the final scene, but that was not the case.  I guess I will need to read The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest sooner than I was originally planning.

This is an extremely well written murder mystery.  I gave it 5 stars on Goodreads and would highly recommend it to adult readers.  The subject matter is NOT suitable for children.  There is a considerable amount of adult language and content that I would probably classify as NC-17 if this were a movie.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Flo's Book Nerd Lent Challenge 2016: How did she do?!

So...if you are cradle Catholic like me, you have heard about the Lenten Loophole. Basically, this means that you are still doing what you're supposed to be doing, but maybe in an out-of-the-box kind of way that will benefit you. There's no shame. We've all done it.

Well, that's what happened to me and this challenge. The reality is, I didn't get to either one of these two pictured books  :( I am a little sad about it, because I really do want to read both. Unfortunately, my time constraints and immediate TBR did not allow it.

However, my goal was to read outside my comfort zone, and more specifically non-YA. I did complete one book and start another one that falls within those parameters. Remember Ready Player One? Straight up Science Fiction, my friends. And same with my current April read, which I started during Lent: Morning Star by Pierce Brown.

So did I read The Flight of the Silvers and Reveries of a Solitary Walker? No.
Did I read outside my genre, by completing and starting two Science Fiction books? Yes.

Lenten Challenge successful.
(And that is how the Lenten Loophole works.)

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Penguin Teen Tour

Alison Goodman, Alwyn Hamilton, Rachel Hawkins, Sabaa Tahir, and April Genevieve Tucholke came to my favorite bookstore Books and Books on Tuesday, Mach 22nd and I was able to attend. These ladies were all fantastic and I had such a great time! The stop was the first one on the tour and some great questions were asked and answered. I took some fun pictures that I'm just now pulling off my phone and wanted to share. I'm not sure why I didn't get a picture with Rachel :( #FloFail

With Sabaa Tahir. If you haven't read An Ember in the Ashes, drop what you're doing so and read it immediately!

Love this pic with April Genevieve Tucholke!

With Alwyn Hamilton 

Alison Goodman is so adorable!

Friday, April 1, 2016

Mary's Booknerd Lent Challenge

I know this is a week late...but it's been a busy week!!

For my Lent Challenge I decided to not pick a number of books, like I did last year, but just a theme. My theme: Paranormal. It seems like forever since I read a lot of good paranormal books.

Here's the list and a short review of each:

Alien Commander's Bride (Draconians #1): (a novella)  I've never been a BIG dragon reader. Sure there's been dragons in the story, but never as hot as Nash and the Draconians. In this story the world has been taken over by Dragons (aka the Draconians). They want to mate and to do that they need human woman. Therefore, the woman sign up for the lottery. Then they are matched with their mate. Nash is the Commander of the Draconians and H-O-T! Lexi Garcia is trying to save her family and she signs up for the lottery. This is a short book but full of hot sex scenes and a deep connection to the humans and dragons!!

Alien Warrior's Mate (Draconians #2): (a novella) Of this whole series this is by far my fave! This sweet, kind Loretta is just trying to take care of her grandmother and siblings and did the right thing by going to school and gaining her MBA. Then came the dragons! Mylash is also my favorite dragon as well! He's a lot like Loretta, but in a hot male dragon form!

Alien Fighter's Woman (Draconians #3): (a novella) Tabby is an amazing character in this series. Rough around the edges, but wants to do the right thing. The problem: her mate: Oro! Talk about a thick skull. I felt bad for the dragon at times, but other times I wanted to shake him.

Alien General's Wife (Draconians #4): (a novella) Of all in this series, I think this is the longest book! And thank goodness it is. This is the action packed one I'd been hoping for. Indigo is a relatable character, but her mate and General, Vlosh, I didn't get this dragon at all!  Sometimes, I just skipped the parts of him alone. He's...strange!

Alien Architect's Bride (Draconians #5): (a novella) This one I have a like/dislike complex with. There's parts I like because of the interactions with the humans and dragons and dislike but this dragon, Joss, a big jerk! Seriously. I don't mind an alpha male type, but OMG ... just no!!! Overall, it's my least fave of the series.

New Beginnings (Others of Edenton 0.5): YES!! I have fallen in love with this series!! Everyone stop what you're doing and just go buy all these books!! That's what I did when I finished this first one. I came across this series by accident. It popped up on my "Recommend Reads" from Amazon. I never even heard of this author before, but I won't forget her name now! Even though I usually love just reading a whole series of one type of paranormal, this has them ALL! I didn't think I'd like it, but OMG I totally do!

Slater is the Alpha of Edenton. Jess moves into town from another pack, because she had to get away from her jerk of an Alpha. Of course neither are looking for mates, but who ever stops looking for their one true love. However, there's a lot more to this story than just love. So much more!!!!

In Too Deep (Others of Edenton #1): Fallon and Brody are by far my favorite couple in this series (thus far). Fallon and Brody are two broken souls and when they connect it hard to see them both fighting it. But, their dark pasts and secrets are why they're so strong now!!!

Shadows of the Past (Others of Edenton #2): Amethyst and Hayden! *sigh* I love these two. Then you add in Preston (oh, yes! More Others!) and you can have yourself a party! Well, not really, but it's a serious love triangle that keeps you flipping through the chapters. This one has A LOT of action in it as well. I made have shed a tear or two near the end!

Falling into Place (Others of Edenton #3): This comes with a warning (I'm not spoiling anything it's in the blurb) but this is a very sexual book, a lot more than the others thus far. So, if that isn't your thing, skip this one. Like the others, this is a bit darker and there are seriously violent scenes. Robert, Liz, and Termaine are three characters you won't forget! Ever!

Breaking Free (Others of Edenton #4): Devlin and Jamie ... wow! I think Jamie is one of my faves in this series. She's down-to-earth and her back story is very sad, but touching too. She's come a long way ... bring in Devlin! Another Other with a dark past trying to find his way ... oh and does he ever!!

Mending Scars (Others of Edenton #5) I know I said Fallon and Brody were my faves ... that's until this book!! Preston and Dacia...OMG! I really disliked Dacia up until this point. She's super-duper annoying and a real pain! No joke! But when you see her trails and past and why she's the way she is ... well, you can make the judgement call. Preston is still swoon-worthy! I adore him and in this book you find out EVERYTHING about him!!

Light In Darkness (Others of Edenton #6) Oh Lincoln! That sweet, kind angel! I adore him and throughout this series I just want to protect this kid! He's so precious! (Then again, he is an angel!) Victoria, Ms. Vampire, is (portrayed) to be the opposites of Lincoln, but like always we don't get the whole story until you read through! These two ... hot ... hot ... hot!

Now that's all I did for the Lent Challenge. However, I'm on this one: Blissful Agony (Others of Edenton #7) and there's more to come!!!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Remember to Forget by Ashley Royer

Book Summary
In Remember to Forget from Watty Award-winning author Ashley Royer, Levi has refused to speak since the tragic death of his girlfriend, Delia, and can't seem to come out of his depression and hindering self-doubt. Desperate to make some positive change in Levi’s life, his mother sends him to live with his father in Maine. Though the idea of moving from Australia to America seems completely daunting, Levi passively accepts his fate, but once he lands faces personal struggles and self-doubt at the same time he and his dad battle through resentment and misunderstanding. And then, while at therapy, Levi meets Delilah, a girl who eerily reminds him of someone he lost.

Flo's Review
I had an interesting experience with this book. I was not familiar with the story from Wattpad, and I wouldn't necessarily call myself a One Direction or Five Seconds of Summer fan, so I was kind of going in blind with this story. I struggled for the first bit of it. Levi was just downright mean to his friends and family. Yes, it is definitely from a place of intense pain and self-dislike, but it was still rough. Ashley did such a good job of getting us into the head of a depressed person that I was starting to feel depressed myself while reading it. Note: This is actually a compliment. Having never personally suffered with depression, it is somewhat a foreign head space for me. But there was such depth in Levi's character that I, reader, could feel and understand where he was. That being said, I am glad that I did not read this all in one sitting, because that would have been way too much for me.

After spending some time away from the story, I returned to see Levi struggling with opening himself up and moving on. From that point on, I was hooked. While I don't necessarily know how I feel about the loose idea that "this girl helped me get over that girl," I did like Delilah. She, too, was a very realistic character. I would like Aiden to be my neighbor and bestie -- what fun we'd have! Loved his character.

Remember to Forget comes out April 5th, 2016.

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