Saturday, August 1, 2015

Beach Reads In August Giveway Hop


The theme of this hop is a book I couldn't put down, and I'm taking it back. The book I'm giving away is The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery. What a magical little story! I was thrilled to find out that they were doing a movie. I mean, look at how cute this looks?!


One of my favorite quotes of all time is from this book -- you might have heard it before:

"It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.” 

I was fortunate enough to snag an extra copy of the YA edition so I'm giving it away. Enter via the Rafflecopter. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Done here? Then by all means, hop on:

Friday, July 31, 2015

Jesse's Girl by Miranda Kenneally


Jacque's Review
This is the first book by Miranda Kenneally that I have read and I absolutely loved it.  Jesse is an eighteen year old country music star and Maya is a high school senior who is an aspiring musician.  Her musical taste is more towards the 80's, so getting paired with Jesse for a job shadowing assignment by her principal was not nearly as appealing as it would have been for most girls her age. 

Jesse and Maya have a very awkward first encounter, but their day of shadowing turned out to be one of the best days of either of their lives.  Picture Ferris Bueller's Day Off... Nashville style.  Maya realizes how talented Jesse is and begins to really appreciate the musical advice he gives her.  For Jesse...Maya is a breath of fresh air that he has desperately been needing.  Life in the music business has caused him to isolate himself from everyone except his immediate family and managers.  He has been burned so many times by his supposed "friends" that he has a hard time trusting anyone.  Maya manages to show him that he can still have a life while maintaining his career.

I haven't given a book 5 stars in a while, but this one was definitely worthy.  I was completely engaged and actually finished the entire book during a lengthy travel day with my family.  My husband even commented that I needed to get my head out of the book.  Once I was finished...I still couldn't put it down.  I was flipping back through to reread some of my favorite scenes and quotes. 

Flo's Review
Jesse's Girl was on my "Must Get" list at ALA Midwinter earlier this year. I loved Breathe, Annie, Breathe and was looking forward to this one. Well, Jacque and I have both agreed that we need to take a trip to Nashville because of Jesse Scott. It's been awhile since I've met a boy worthy to add to my Book Boyfriend List, and I feel like Jesse definitely earns a spot. This was a quick and breezy read -- I read the whole thing over the course of a few flights. It also made me want to read Miranda's first book that takes place in the same town, Catching Jordan.

I had an interesting relationship with this book. I didn't love Maya because I thought, "Okay, she wants to be a singer, but she doesn't want to sing in front of anybody?! How does that make any kind of sense?!?" But then I realized why I was so perturbed by this: because I am doing the exact same thing. I bet even my fellow Book Nerds don't know that I am currently writing a book. It's a YA contemporary and I'm in love with my main characters. It's about halfway done right now. But I don't really talk about it, and no one else has even read parts of it. Maybe I need Jesse Scott to come to my house and threaten to fail me if I don't finish it and give it to my friends to get their feedback. Come to think of it, that's not a bad idea...

Monday, July 27, 2015

The Lunar Chronicles Read Along


The Book Nerds decided that our August Book of the Month is going to be Cinder by Marissa Meyer. None of us has ever read it, and it's been on all our TBRs. We were finally spurred to action by the fact that Flo found the audiobook at the library and started listening.

Fast forward to a few days later when we stumble upon this post on The Book Addict's Guide about a Lunar Chronicles Read Along! It's going August through December and reading all the books...which means that they are also reading Cinder in August! Coincidence, much?! It only makes sense for us to join in and read them all! Here's how's we start:

CINDER | August 1st – August 31st
  • 8/1 – 8/7:  Chapters 1-9
  • 8/8 – 8/14: Chapters 10-21
  • 8/15 – 8/21: Chapters 22-30
  • 8/22 – 8/28: Chapters 31-38
  • Week of 8/30/15: Post review and/or recap
We'll also be tweeting from @booknerdsblog with the #TLCReadAlong hashtag. 

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Paper Towns: Night On The Towns Locket Giveaway!


We had the chance to attend Thursday night's Night on the Towns event for the Paper Towns movie and had a blast! The movie was fantastic, and I definitely recommend it. Don't know what it's about? Check out my review of the book here: http://www.booknerdsacrossamerica.com/2012/05/paper-towns-by-john-green.html.

They were giving away posters and these super cute lockets at the event, and we were able to snag one for you guys! Want to win it? Visit our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/BookNerdsAcrossAmerica and leave a comment on the giveaway post.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The Trials by Stacey Kade

The Trials (Project Paper Doll, #3)

Jacque's Review: 

The Trials is the third and final book in the Project Paper Doll series and resumes pretty much where the previous book left off.  Zane is missing and Ariane is back in her quarters at GTX after being captured by her creator, Dr. Jacobs.  She believes Zane  is dead and feels she has nothing further to lose in the trials.  She is willing to sacrifice herself to ensure that no future alien/human hybrids are produced.  She continues to hone her skills while devising a plan to wipe out all of the major players in the trials.

Everything is going as planned until she discovers that Zane is alive and is now a part of the trials.  What???  How can a human become part of this competition?  You will need to read the book if you want to find out :)

The majority of the book focuses on the trials, which are held in Chicago.  My step-sister lives in Chicago, so I have had the chance to tour and see many of the landmarks, museums, etc. that are mentioned throughout the book.  Using real locations helps to more accurately visualize the setting.  It also allowed Stacey to focus on the plot and character development, which is definitely a plus.

The pace and action continued to escalate as the stakes increased throughout the trials.  The contestants realize not everyone is going to come out of this competition alive, but there is more on the line than they ever imagined.  They will need to work together if any of them wants to walk away from this alive.

Overall, this was an excellent conclusion to the series.  There were several surprises and a few new characters to keep the story interesting.  The relationship development between Zane and Ariane was very believable and the characters remained true to themselves.  I also loved the tie in between the the first book and the conclusion.  While "The Rules" may have changed, there will always be rules to follow as long as GTX and similar corporations are in existence.

I thoroughly enjoyed both her Project Paper Doll and Ghost and the Goth series and would definitely recommend them to any YA fan.

Monday, July 20, 2015

BLOG TOUR: Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid

MAYBE IN ANOTHER LIFE
By Taylor Jenkins Reid

ABOUT MAYBE IN ANOTHER LIFE:
At the age of twenty-nine, Hannah Martin still has no idea what she wants to do with her life. She has lived in six different cities and held countless meaningless jobs since graduating college, but on the heels of a disastrous breakup, she has finally returned to her hometown of Los Angeles. To celebrate her first night back, her best friend, Gabby, takes Hannah out to a bar—where she meets up with her high school boyfriend, Ethan.

It’s just past midnight when Gabby asks Hannah if she’s ready to go. Ethan quickly offers to give her a ride later if she wants to stay.
Hannah hesitates.
What happens if she leaves with Gabby?
What happens if she leaves with Ethan?

In concurrent storylines, Hannah lives out the effects of each decision. Quickly, these parallel universes develop into surprisingly different stories with far-reaching consequences for Hannah and the people around her, raising questions like: Is anything meant to be? How much in our life is determined by chance? And perhaps most compellingly: Is there such a thing as a soul mate?
Hannah believes there is. And, in both worlds, she believes she’s found him.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Taylor Jenkins Reid is an author and essayist from Acton, Massachusetts. She is the author of Forever, Interrupted and After I Do. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Alex, and her dog, Rabbit. You can follow her on Twitter @TJenkinsReid.


MAYBE IN ANOTHER LIFE by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Atria Books/Washington Square Press Paperback | 352 pages | ISBN:  9781476776880 | July 7, 2015 | $16.00

eBook: Atria Books/Washington Square Press | 352 pages | ISBN: 9781476776897 | July 7, 2015 | $11.99


ASSETS:
Grab the high-res cover here

FIND TAYLOR ONLINE:

ORDER:

Click on the arrow to read Flo's review of Maybe in Another Life.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

United We Spy by Ally Carter

Book Summary
Cammie Morgan has lost her father and her memory, but in the heart-pounding conclusion to the best-selling Gallagher Girls series, she finds her greatest mission yet. Cammie and her friends finally know why the terrorist organization called the Circle of Cavan has been hunting her. Now the spy girls and Zach must track down the Circle’s elite members to stop them before they implement a master plan that will change Cammie—and her country—forever. 

Flo's Review
I made it! I started my Gallagher Girls journey two months ago with the first book, and now I've finally finished out this series. I think my problem with this book came with the fact that I was listening to the audiobook. And maybe listening to all 6 of them back to back with no breaks was a bit of overload. All I know is that this book dragged a little for me. I was ready for the wrap up. I wanted the girls (and Zach) to complete the mission and end everything.

There were a few little juicy reveals in this one and the introduction of a new little character who I loved.

Overall, this was a fantastic series! I enjoyed the time I spent at the Gallagher Academy, and yes -- my favorite parts, I think, were the ones that took place at the school. It was nice to see all the girls growing up, especially Cammie, Liz, and Macey. Ally left the characters in a good spot, and I was felt happy and sure about all their futures as I bid them adieu like a proud big sister.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

One Moment in Time by Lauren Barnholdt


Book Summary
The second book of Lauren Barnholdt's exiting Moment of Truth series: three books, three girls, one life-changing senior trip.
When the email arrived in Quinn Reynolds's in box on the morning of her flight to Florida, she sent it straight to her trash folder. The last thing Quinn needed was to be reminded of the pact she made with her ex–best friends—the one where she promised she would do something crazy before graduation.
But that was before everything on the trip went wrong.
Now, after a lifetime of playing it safe, Quinn figures that she might as well get a little wild…after all, what does she have to lose? When Abram, a local boy she met on the beach, asks her to hang out, she says yes. But while a vacation romance could be the best way to fulfill the pact, it might be the worst thing for her heart.…
Each book in this trilogy is told from the perspective of a different girl—Lyla, Aven, and Quinn—former best friends who, back in freshman year, wrote emails to their future selves about the one thing they hope to accomplish before they graduate. Over the course of the series, each girl will learn about life, love, and the truth about the fight that ended their perfect friendship.

Flo's Review
I basically knew as soon as I finished Heat of the Moment that I was in for all three of these books. I just think it's a really neat concept to have these three girls stories happening on the same trip and release them all around the same time. (Yay, no yearlong wait!) And my favorite part of this book was the scenes where Quinn's path crossed with Lyla, Aven, or both. They made me want to go back to Heat of the Moment and read them again from Lyla's point of view, so I could remember what she was thinking of the situation as it happened. Unfortunately, like with Heat of the Moment, I didn't like the main character. Quinn was quite judgmental of others, and I'm not sure if that aspect of her personality was much changed by the growth she underwent throughout the novel. I did enjoy Abram, though. 

We've got one book left. I can't comment on Aven's character yet, but she has the potential to be my favorite of the three. And I'm looking forward to seeing the conclusion that it just beyond the final scenes of these last two books. I hope it's a good one.


Armada by Ernest Cline

Book Summary
Zack Lightman has spent his life dreaming. Dreaming that the real world could be a little more like the countless science-fiction books, movies, and videogames he’s spent his life consuming. Dreaming that one day, some fantastic, world-altering event will shatter the monotony of his humdrum existence and whisk him off on some grand space-faring adventure.
But hey, there’s nothing wrong with a little escapism, right? After all, Zack tells himself, he knows the difference between fantasy and reality. He knows that here in the real world, aimless teenage gamers with anger issues don’t get chosen to save the universe.
And then he sees the flying saucer.
Even stranger, the alien ship he’s staring at is straight out of the videogame he plays every night, a hugely popular online flight simulator called Armada—in which gamers just happen to be protecting the earth from alien invaders. 
No, Zack hasn’t lost his mind. As impossible as it seems, what he’s seeing is all too real. And his skills—as well as those of millions of gamers across the world—are going to be needed to save the earth from what’s about to befall it.
It’s Zack’s chance, at last, to play the hero. But even through the terror and exhilaration, he can’t help thinking back to all those science-fiction stories he grew up with, and wondering: Doesn’t something about this scenario seem a little…familiar?
At once gleefully embracing and brilliantly subverting science-fiction conventions as only Ernest Cline could, Armada is a rollicking, surprising thriller, a classic coming of age adventure, and an alien invasion tale like nothing you’ve ever read before—one whose every page is infused with the pop-culture savvy that has helped make Ready Player One a phenomenon.

Flo's Review
Sheng-lee for Armada! Sheng-lee means "victory" and look for it in the book -- that's all I'll say about that :). No wait -- one more thing. I'm calling it that there is totally going to be Sheng-lee! swag and memes surrounding this book. Calling it right now. 

I have to start off by saying that I have never read Ernest Cline's other famous book Ready Player One. Although I have been told by numerous friends and even one of those online quizzes that I need to do so. Based on everything I have heard about it, I believe it is a good book and that Ernest Cline is a good writer. So when I saw the description for Armada, I was intrigued. When I saw the author, I was even more intrigued. Secondly, I have to say that I am not a gamer. The closet I've gotten to identifying with gamers is playing Super Mario Brothers on the original Nintendo. (Dang it! Just aged myself.) And I couldn't even beat it, guys. The highest I got was level 8.2, or maybe even 8.1. And if I heard "The princess is in another castle" one more time...

Okay, on to the book! Armada is divided into 3 phases. Basically, I thought nothing happened in the first phase, the second phase was amazing, and the third phase was rushed. Let me break it down:

Phase One -- My problem here is that it was all information dump. We needed the information and the background, but in giving us the information, I didn't feel like Cline was telling a story and moving it forward. Part of the reason was because a lot of what he had to tell us took place in the past. Then he had to describe the game in detail in order for Phase Two to make sense. And in all that, I didn't really feel like I was reading a narrative as much as I felt like I was reading a summary or background report.

Phase Two - This Phase ROCKED. This is the story right here. Phase Two was where the action, the drama, the romance, the emotion, the suspense -- all of it! -- happened. Cline threw a big surprise at us that I honestly probably should have seen coming, but I totally didn't. We met a ton of awesome new characters who I came to know and love. There's a love interest and a bad guy, revelations, and killer action. The writing was tight and suspenseful, and I eagerly kept turning the pages to see what was going to be thrown at us next. I loved this Phase. 

Phase Three - So after all that awesomeness, I felt like this phase was more of a, "Oh yeah...we should probably end up the story somewhere. Um.....let's do this? And how about this? And maybe this? But not explain anything, just mention it. The end." Cline's strength in this book is writing the action, battle scenes of Phase Two. This Phase felt like an afterthought, like it was added because someone suggested that it be added. It didn't have the emotion and the heart of Phase Two.

Armada comes out July 14th, and though it had it problems, it's worth picking up. Also, check out the website: http://earthdefensealliance.com/. It's a countdown clock right now, like in Phase Two. I can't wait to see what it will become.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

The Fine Art of Pretending by Rachel Harris

The Fine Art of Pretending (The Fine Art of Pretending, #1)

Jacque's Review:

Aly is the one person Brandon connected with after his father died three years prior to the start of this book.  Since then, they have become best friends, but dating has been out of the question.  He is the star of the baseball team and is part of their school's A-list.  He isn't interested in a serious relationship and chooses to casually date a variety of girls.

Aly is friends with some of the elite, but doesn't consider herself part of that group.  With only her senior year remaining, she decides it is time to get noticed.  She buys all new clothes and makeup, gets a new hair style, and begins to step out of her comfort zone with one goal in mind.  She wants to land a date to homecoming with the hottest guy in the school, who is none other than Brandon's friend Justin.  What better way to get Justin's attention than to pretend to be dating Brandon...Right?  WRONG!!! Aly and Brandon's entire plan backfires when they begin to realize there may be more to their relationship than either of them is willing to admit.

This was a cute and entertaining story, but I felt like the drama dragged on a lot longer than it should have.  The reader, as well as all of Aly and Brandon's friends, could see what was going on, but Aly and Brandon were too stubborn or afraid to propel the story forward.  I felt like I was stuck in a rut for the longest time, but when I finally broke free....it was over.  The ending was what I expected, but after all of the drama, there should have been a few more chapters to cap things off.  Perhaps that is part of Rachel's plan with the companion novel that is scheduled to be released in 2016.  It will focus on Justin, but hopefully there will be some updates on Aly and Brandon to provide some sense of closure to their story.

I ended up giving this book 3 out of 5 stars because it didn't quite live up to my expectations.

Friday, June 26, 2015

The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

The Naturals (The Naturals, #1)

Jacque's Review: 

The Naturals is one of those books that I noticed on several Stacking the Shelves posts a couple of years ago.  I picked up a copy, but it wasn't really at the top of my TBR pile until now.  I'm participating in the COYER scavenger hunt and needed to read a book written by an author with three names.  I scanned all of my unread books and this one practically jumped out at me.

I can't believe I didn't start this series sooner.  I have been reading the Stephanie Plum, Women's Murder Club, King & Maxwell, and Kay Scarpetta murder mystery series for years, but this is the first time I have come across a YA version.

Cassie is a seventeen-year-old girl with a natural ability to read people.  Her mother was murdered five years ago and her father is overseas in the military.  When she is asked to join an FBI program for teens with various natural abilities, she jumped at the opportunity.  The program is supposed to sharpen their skills while helping the FBI solve cold cases.

Dean is the only member of the group who is a natural profiler like Cassie.  Michael is a natural at reading emotions, Leah is a walking lie detector, and Sloane is an encyclopedia who can spit out facts and statistics on just about anything.  One day, The Naturals stumble upon an active murder investigation their supervisors are working on.  Cassie is immediately drawn to it because of the similarities with her mother's case.  They begin working the case and are pulled further into the killer's world than any of them could have imagined was possible.  I was completely shocked when I discovered who the killer was and couldn't believe the lengths he/she went to.

Overall, this was an excellent start to the series.  I was completely captivated throughout the book and I loved the characters.  I gave the book 4 stars and I can't wait to see what happens next in Killer Instinct.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han

Book Summary
Lara Jean didn’t expect to really fall for Peter.
She and Peter were just pretending. Except suddenly they weren’t. Now Lara Jean is more confused than ever.
When another boy from her past returns to her life, Lara Jean’s feelings for him return too. Can a girl be in love with two boys at once?
In this charming and heartfelt sequel to the New York Times bestseller To All the Boys I've Loved Before, we see first love through the eyes of the unforgettable Lara Jean. Love is never easy, but maybe that’s part of what makes it so amazing.

Flo's Review
I gave the first book in this duology, To All the Boys I've Loved Before, 3 stars. And I think that rating will stay steady for this book. I got all caught up in the rush of excitement for this release that what I forgot for awhile was that while I liked the first book, I didn't love it.

Then when I started reading this one, I remembered. Again, it was cute. This is a cute story. Lara Jean is cute and her family is cute. It's kind of hard to describe, but even though there were things happening in the story, I kind of felt like there weren't. I felt as I was reading through it that I was just reading Lara Jean's diary or seeing a snapshot of her day to day life. Which is okay, I guess. But it didn't really hold my interest. This book took me a long time to get through. I never felt like I had to pick up to see where the story was going to go. In the end, what motivated me to pick it up was that it was due back to the library.

All the above being said, I enjoyed many things about this book.  It has an overall safe and homey feel to it. Lara Jean reminisces a lot with other characters, and it's to happy, carefree childhood days. I loved hearing the stories from her and John Ambrose McClaren. Speaking of John Ambrose McClaren, he's the best. And there is a line from Peter at the end of this book that still makes my little heart swoon just thinking about it.

Conclusion: Not a page turner, but a smile bringer. And that's good, too :)

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Don't Judge a Girl by Her Cover by Ally Carter

Book Summary
When Cammie "The Chameleon" Morgan visits her roommate Macey in Boston, she thinks she's in for an exciting end to her summer break. After all, she's there to watch Macey's father accept the nomination for vice president of the United States. But when you go to the world's best school (for spies), "exciting" and "deadly" are never far apart. Cammie and Macey soon find themselves trapped in a kidnappers' plot, with only their espionage skills to save them.
As her junior year begins, Cammie can't shake the memory of what happened in Boston, and even the Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women doesn't feel like the safe haven it once did. Shocking secrets and old flames seem to lurk around every one of the mansion's corners as Cammie and her friends struggle to answer the questions, Who is after Macey? And how can the Gallagher Girls keep her safe?
Soon Cammie is joining Bex and Liz as Macey's private security team on the campaign trail. The girls must use their spy training at every turn as the stakes are raised, and Cammie gets closer and closer to the shocking truth.

Flo's Review
On the whole, I'm enjoying this series a lot. I already have the next audiobook in my car and ready to start listening to, and Book #5 is in the mail. This story was a great one for learning more about Macy -- we got to really see more into her character and I really enjoyed that. Also, the love between the best friends is great.

But, honestly, this book bugged me. I just could not with Cammie. I think I'm getting old, because my main issue was that she BROKE EVERY SINGLE RULE BASICALLY. REPEATEDLY. And then -- she NEVER got punished for it! Basically, the book went like this.

1. Cammie is told specifically not to do something.
2. Cammie does it anyway
3. Cammie is caught and then brings up how her dad is dead and cries so she is consoled and not punished.
4. Repeat.

Sometimes in there she is given a talking to from her Mom and/or aunt. Which is basically like, "That was bad, Cam. Okay, moving on!" Of course she is going to keep breaking rules if she is never punished for doing it. (Listen to me: I'm not even a Mom yet and I sound like a Mom! Lol. But for real though...) There is one particular instance where her Mom was like, "If you do this again, you won't be able to do X." So what does Cammie do? The same thing again! And does she still get to do X? Yes, she does! 

I understand from a literary standpoint that Cammie can't be stuck at school for the action of the story to move forward, but I also think it's very unrealistic that she basically just breaks rules left and right with her roommates and whatevs, that's cool. 

Let's see how I feel in Book #4. 

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Soundless by Richelle Mead

Okay, Richelle Mead is actually signing The Ruby Circle here, but see that stack of books next to her? That's Soundless. And I got one. So this picture totally works for this review.
Book Summary
From Richelle Mead, the #1 internationally bestselling author of Vampire Academy and Bloodlines, comes a breathtaking new fantasy steeped in Chinese folklore.
For as long as Fei can remember, there has been no sound in her village, where rocky terrain and frequent avalanches prevent residents from self-sustaining. Fei and her people are at the mercy of a zipline that carries food up the treacherous cliffs from Beiguo, a mysterious faraway kingdom.
When villagers begin to lose their sight, deliveries from the zipline shrink and many go hungry. Fei’s home, the people she loves, and her entire existence is plunged into crisis, under threat of darkness and starvation.
But soon Fei is awoken in the night by a searing noise, and sound becomes her weapon.
Richelle Mead takes readers on a triumphant journey from the peak of Fei’s jagged mountain village to the valley of Beiugo, where a startling truth and an unlikely romance will change her life forever...
 

Flo's Review
I devoured this book in a day. It was a crazy, crazy travel day full of unpredictability and literally including trains, planes AND automobiles. But I started Soundless earlier in the day and finished it that night when I finally, finally made it home.

My favorite thing about this book was the uniqueness. I have not read a lot of books based in Chinese folklore, so I really enjoyed the images that this world painted in my mind. Secondly, I was impressed with the amount of research this story must have taken. According to her author bio, Richelle "has always had a particular fascination with mythology and folklore." But I'm sure this unique story probably took some research. Then, there's the idea of being soundless. How do you describe sound? It had been gone from Fei's village so long, that there weren't even words for it. All the ways I can think of describe a sound right now involved these type of sound words, so it was really neat to read about Fei's challenge with this. Finally, if Richelle wasn't a rock climber, then she had to have done some research on techniques and challenges to help her with Fei's trips up and down the mountain.

The beginning felt a little bit rushed to me. Fei makes a really quick choice in what may have been a few hours or even an afternoon, but to the reader it felt instantaneous. I wasn't expecting the ending, and it was entirely magical. It left me with a smile on my face. 

Soundless will be released in November 2015, and it's worth you picking up. This story is a fast read and it's unique and magical. Also, what a pretty cover!


Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy by Ally Carter

Book Summary
Cammie Morgan is back, and it's clear that her life hasn't calmed down since the events of I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You. At first, giddy anticipation is in the air. Gallagher Academy, Cammie's elite spy school, is hosting a visit from a covert training center for boys. Soon after the boys' arrival, though, everything goes dangerously awry when a series of security breaches are discovered at the academy. Worse yet, teenage agent-in-training Cammie is being blamed for the penetration. With the school's top-secret status at risk, the Gallagher Girls have to work quickly to save their beloved school. 

Flo's Review
A great book second book! Now that we are familiar with Cammie's world and the cast of characters, it was really nice to enjoy their interactions and shenanigans. I have so many questions, though! If you've read the book and want to help a girl out, my spoilery review is on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1283816804

This book continued the theme that being a teenage girl can seem just as hard as being a spy. This is what makes the series, but that being said, there was kind of an overuse of the phrase: "The girl in me..... The spy in me..." 

I am really enjoying this series! Cammie and her friends are fun, dedicated, and loyal. Reading about their classes and assignments is fascinating. On to Book 3!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

Book Summary 
Laia is a slave. Elias is a soldier. Neither is free.
Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.
It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.
But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.
There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.

Flo's Review
I was lucky enough to pick up a copy of this ARC at ALA Midwinter in Chicago this January. I had heard such great things about it was always "one of the next books" I was going to read. Then I discovered that author Sabaa Tahir was going to be one of the authors signing at an event at McNally Jackson's bookstore in New York City while I was there for BookCon. I brought my copy of Ember to get signed, and I ended up choosing it as the book to read while I traveled, based entirely on the fact that it was the largest book I was carrying. (Well, also because it's my book club's read for June.)

I didn't expect to finish it so quickly but due to traffic and weather and other uncontrollable things, I spent a lot more time traveling than I expected. Thank goodness for this book! There were several times where I was sitting in a cab freaking out that I wouldn't make it somewhere on time and then I thought to myself, "There's nothing I can do about it, so let me just read." In the anxious state I was in, not all books would be able to completely take my mind away from the present. But Ember did.

I think my favorite part of this book was that I continuously switching my ships! Basically, whenever there was a romantic scene I was like, "Aww! I like these two together!" Then the next romantic scene, even if it was one of the same characters as the previous and a different character, I thought, "Aww! But I like these two together, too!"

The world was action-packed and terrifying. I would never ever ever want to live in it.  We got such great backstory on these characters, that with the exception of a few, I understood their actions and sympathized with them. The things these characters were asked to do were horrifying and fascinating -- I was so sad for them, but I couldn't stop reading. I was impressed with how they handled them. 

It looks like the sequel finally got the green light, and thank goodness! I don't think anyone would be okay with leaving the story how the ended. 

Monday, June 8, 2015

The Duff: Movie Review and #DuffParty Giveaway!


The Duff by Kody Keplinger was one of the first books I reviewed for Book Nerds Across America. I enjoyed it, and I was interested to learn that they were making it into a movie. I vaguely wondered how exactly they would translate the book plot to a movie, and I later learned that they did not. I won't get into how the book differs from the movie -- you can simply Google "the duff movie versus book" and you'll be bombarded with the differences.

Unfortunately, I never got to see the movie in the theaters, so I was scoping out when it would be available in digital and DVD format so I could rent it. Enter The Duff Twitter account: https://twitter.com/TheDUFF. They asked me how I would throw a #DuffParty and I answered them -- and then I won! All the goodies you see listed above!

The official The Duff Viewing Party was on 5/30 when I was at BookCon, but I invited a friend over the following weekend for our belated #DuffParty:

Popcorn is popped, nail polish and manicure kit is out and ready...

...and drinks are served! Cheers!
We both agreed that the movie was cute and Robbie Amell is adorable. My friend recognized Bella Thorne from Blended, which I've never seen. We thought all the actors gave great performances. Overall, this is a cute, fun movie to watch with your girlfriends on a chill night in...

The Giveway!
...so we're going to help you do just that! Two (2) winners will each receive:

  • 2 Duff popcorn cases
  • 2 Duff manicure kits
  • 2 Duff nail polish sets

We'll run this contest until June 22. To enter, simply do what I did to win -- tell us (in the comments) how do you do a Duff viewing party? Be sure to include your email address so we can contact you if you win!

Sunday, June 7, 2015

BookCon 2015!

Awesome lanyard, amirite?!
I was super sad that I couldn't go to BEA this year because of work, but I was excited to see that BookCon was going to be 2 days this year. All day Saturday and all day Sunday? I could do that! I hopped the first flight out Saturday morning and made it to the Javits Center in New York City around 11:30 a.m., about an hour and a half after the Con began.

I went to the exhibit hall first, where the publishers started strong -- books, t-shirts, and all types of swag were being handed out! There were a LOT of people at BookCon and the lines were crazy long, but everyone was really nice. One of my favorite parts about book conventions is actually meeting new people in line. It's just so much fun to talk about your favorite books and book characters with people you GET YOU, you know?!

Saturday was a fun day, but it took me awhile to get into my groove. I missed out on some books and some signings that I was hoping to catch, but that's just part of it. I definitely still got some great books and signings. I was wandering around the exhibit hall when I saw Leigh Bardugo in the Macmillan booth! She wasn't signing books yet, but I was able to get the cutest picture ever:

Friday, May 29, 2015

Juneterview! Meet Sara at The Great Catsby


Happy almost-June everybody! Can you believe 2015 is almost halfway over?!? Well, as I was wandering around the blogging world I learned of Book Bloggers International Juneterviews. The idea is bloggers interviewing bloggers in a fun and creative way. I was paired up with Sara from The Great Catsby, and first of all -- I love her blog! Cats! Drinks! Books! What's NOT to love?!

For our Juneterview, we came up with the questions to ask each other and decided to answer them visually. (Side note: This is super fun and everyone should try it!)

The questions:

1. What is your favorite emoticon and why?

2. Favorite book/drink pairing?

3. What five books do you always find yourself recommending to people who ask you for book recommendations?

4. You somehow roped someone into writing your memoirs. What's the name of your book?

5. Other than old books, what would you say is the best smell in the world?

6. Which title in your bookshelf are you least likely to read in public?

7. If you could pick any character from a book to be your sibling, who would you pick?

8. If you were to imagine the pages of the book you are currently reading to be miles, what is the furthest place you could get to? (aka 300 pages is 300 miles.... what's 300 miles from you....)

The answers:

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Blog Tour with GIVEAWAY: Nowhere But Here by Katie McGarry

Nowhere But Here RDL Banner  

We are absolutely thrilled to bring you the Release Day Launch for Katie McGarry's NOWHERE BUT HERE! NOWHERE BUT HERE is a Young Adult Contemporary Romance and is a part of Katie McGarry’sThunder Road Series, published by Harlequin Teen. Grab your copy today!!

Nowhere But Here - cover

Amazon ** Kobo ** BAM ** Barnes & Noble ** iBooks ** IndieBound

Add it to your Goodreads Now!


About NOWHERE BUT HERE: An unforgettable new series from acclaimed author Katie McGarry about taking risks, opening your heart and ending up in a place you never imagined possible  Seventeen-year-old Emily likes her life the way it is: doting parents, good friends, good school in a safe neighborhood. Sure, she's curious about her biological father—the one who chose life in a motorcycle club, the Reign of Terror, over being a parent—but that doesn't mean she wants to be a part of his world. But when a reluctant visit turns to an extended summer vacation among relatives she never knew she had, one thing becomes clear: nothing is what it seems. Not the club, not her secret-keeping father and not Oz, a guy with suck-me-in blue eyes who can help her understand them both. Oz wants one thing: to join the Reign of Terror. They're the good guys. They protect people. They're…family. And while Emily—the gorgeous and sheltered daughter of the club's most respected member—is in town, he's gonna prove it to her. So when her father asks him to keep her safe from a rival club with a score to settle, Oz knows it's his shot at his dream. What he doesn't count on is that Emily just might turn that dream upside down. No one wants them to be together. But sometimes the right person is the one you least expect, and the road you fear the most is the one that leads you home.

See an except from NOWHERE BUT HERE after the jump.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

On the Fence by Kasie West

Book Summary
For sixteen-year-old Charlotte Reynolds, aka Charlie, being raised by a single dad and three older brothers has its perks. She can outrun, outscore, and outwit every boy she knows—including her longtime neighbor and honorary fourth brother, Braden. But when it comes to being a girl, Charlie doesn't know the first thing about anything. So when she starts working at chichi boutique to pay off a speeding ticket, she finds herself in a strange new world of makeup, lacy skirts, and BeDazzlers. Even stranger, she's spending time with a boy who has never seen her tear it up in a pickup game.
To cope with the stress of faking her way through this new reality, Charlie seeks late-night refuge in her backyard, talking out her problems with Braden by the fence that separates them. But their Fence Chats can't solve Charlie's biggest problem: she's falling for Braden. Hard. She knows what it means to go for the win, but if spilling her secret means losing him for good, the stakes just got too high.
 

Flo's Review
What a cute and fun story! I had started this back when I had a copy of the e-book ARC a year ago. I stayed up late one night reading it because it was going to expire off my Nook and I wanted to finish it before that happened. Unfortunately, I couldn't do it, and the book was gone with me only about halfway through. Fast forward to ALA Midwinter this January when I was able to pick up a copy of the book from the Harper booth. I was on a cruise this weekend and needed something fun and light to read while sunning on the cruise ship deck. On the Fence came with me. 

Even though it had been several months since I had read it last, I was able to pick up the story right where I had left off. I loved the relationship between Charlie and her brothers. Being a girl who often finds herself hanging out with just guys and has even heard the comment, "You're like one of the guys!" I could relate to Charlie in some way. But what I really enjoyed about this book was Charlie coming into her own. At the beginning she only sees herself as this tomboy type, but as the story develops she taps into her feminine side and has to learn how to meld the two. There is something almost magical about having these secret conversations in the middle of the night, back to back on the fence. It facilitates an openness and honesty that real life cannot. Charlie and Braden may have gotten to the point where they end up by the conclusion of the story, but it would have taken a lot longer without the fence.

This was my first Kasie West book and I'm ready for more! I have The Distance Between Us on my Nook and a physical copy of The Fill-In Boyfriend, and next time I want a fun read, I'll have to reach for one of those.