Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Blog Tour: The Wedding from Hell, Part 1: Rehearsal Dinner by J.R. Ward

The Wedding from Hell
Part 1: The Rehearsal Dinner
by J. R. Ward
Available: July 17, 2018
Gallery Books | E-book Original
ISBN: 9781982105365 | Free

Don’t miss #1 New York Times bestselling author J.R. Ward’s three-part ebook serialization: The Wedding From Hell. This exclusive prequel to her upcoming standalone suspense Consumed (available in Fall 2018) takes us back to where it all started between arson investigator Anne Ashburn and ‘bad boy’ firefighter Danny Maguire. The Wedding From Hell is a sexy standalone novella that sets up Consumed’s storyline, leaving fans hungry for more and dying to snatch it up.

About the Book:
It’s a classic recipe for disaster: Take one bridesmaid who thinks pink is the root of all evil, mix with a best man who’s hotter than a four-alarm fire, add in their explosive sexual attraction, a nightmare bridezilla, two cat fights, and an emergency call, and you have the wedding from hell.      

Experience the sizzling start of Anne and Danny’s intense relationship. Is this the start of something good...or just an erotic one-night stand that rocks their world, but must never be repeated?

About the Author:
J.R. Ward is the author of more than thirty novels, including those in her #1 New York Times bestselling Black Dagger Brotherhood series. There are more than fifteen million copies of her novels in print worldwide, and they have been published in twenty-six different countries around the world. She lives in the South with her family.

Read an excerpt from the book after the page break.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Audiobook review: A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir

Book Summary
The highly anticipated third book in Sabaa Tahir's New York Times bestselling EMBER QUARTET.

Beyond the Empire and within it, the threat of war looms ever larger.

The Blood Shrike, Helene Aquilla, is assailed on all sides. Emperor Marcus, haunted by his past, grows increasingly unstable, while the Commandant capitalizes on his madness to bolster her own power. As Helene searches for a way to hold back the approaching darkness, her sister's life and the lives of all those in the Empire hang in the balance.

Far to the east, Laia of Serra knows the fate of the world lies not in the machinations of the Martial court, but in stopping the Nightbringer. But while hunting for a way to bring him down, Laia faces unexpected threats from those she hoped would aid her, and is drawn into a battle she never thought she'd have to fight.

And in the land between the living and the dead, Elias Veturius has given up his freedom to serve as Soul Catcher. But in doing so, he has vowed himself to an ancient power that will stop at nothing to ensure Elias's devotion--even at the cost of his humanity.

Flo's Review
Wow. What a roller coaster of emotions this book took me through! It culminated at the end when I was driving from work literally yelling out loud at my audiobook because of the situations our three main characters found themselves in and the choices they made. Then, I had to have to have a full text conversation with with a friend who'd recently finished it about all the reveals and plot twists. Unsurprisingly, I saw exactly NONE of them happening. "Sabaa is a genius," my friend said. I 100% agree.

After listening to the audiobook for A Torch Against the NightI knew that I wanted to read Reaper the same way. The three narrators read their characters so, so well. Laia's reader is feminine but fierce, innocent but daring. Helene's is strong, with a touch of vulnerability hidden deep beneath. And Elias is Steve West. (Confession: I love Steve West and will listen to pretty much any audiobook he reads.) 

Moussa (I'm sorry if I'm spelling this wrong) was an interesting character who I hope we see a bit more of in the final book. I was happy to see the hard-fought for character growth of Darin in the novel. And, without being spoilery, l love one of the conversations at the end of the book and what it means for the next novel. I cannot wait to see how it will all shake down in book 4. 

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Book review: The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo

Book Summary
From the author of I Believe in a Thing Called Love, a laugh-out-loud story of love, new friendships, and one unique food truck.

Clara Shin lives for pranks and disruption. When she takes one joke too far, her dad sentences her to a summer working on his food truck, the KoBra, alongside her uptight classmate Rose Carver. Not the carefree summer Clara had imagined. But maybe Rose isn't so bad. Maybe the boy named Hamlet (yes, Hamlet) crushing on her is pretty cute. Maybe Clara actually feels invested in her dad’s business. What if taking this summer seriously means that Clara has to leave her old self behind? 

With Maurene Goo's signature warmth and humor, The Way You Make Me Feel is a relatable story of falling in love and finding yourself in the places you’d never thought to look.

Flo's Review
Why did I wait so long to read this?!?! I've had it sitting on my TBR pile for months now and felt like reading a light, fun, romantic YA this week. I asked hubby and Twitter which one I should go for and they both said The Way You Make Me Feel, so in I went.

So how did it make me feel? Warm. Fuzzy. Happy. Let's start with the cover love. Look at the pretty! It's such a great color combination -- fun, but not in-your-face intense. Happy and calming at the same time.

I adored I Believe in a Thing Called Love, and Goo's sophomore effort did not disappoint. It's been awhile since I've been able to add a new book boyfriend to my list, and Hamlet definitely makes it. Hamlet is everything! I love that he is all energy and optimism and random. More importantly, he is open where Clara is guarded. Their relationship works so well because he is just what she needs to bring her out. Any other type of personality would just bring up her sarcasm and dismissal, but Hamlet made her want to take a hard look at herself. But without forcing her. I cannot say enough about how great the two of them are.

Just like I Believe in a Thing Called Love, I was so delightful to read the relationship between Clara and her dad, Pai. It's the exact opposite of the whole "parents absent from the kid's lives" in YA thing, and it's realistic and refreshing. I also liked the friendship between Rose and Clara. They went from being enemies to BFFs super fast -- it might be a tad unrealistic, but I like them so much better as friends that I did not care. The awkwardness was so cute. 

Two things prevented me from giving this 5 out of 5 stars. First, Clara was kind of a jerk at the beginning. She was hard to swallow. I read several reviews where people DNF because they didn't like her and how she treated people, and I understand. Usually when I don't like the protagonist, I struggle with the book. I don't know what kept me engaged here. Maybe I subconsciously knew that she would get better? Maybe because everything else about the book -- the writing, especially -- was so good? Luckily, Clara got better really quickly.

Secondly, toward the end there is suddenly this whole, "I love LA! I have pride in my diverse city!" thing going on. Like, it's hit pretty hard. I guess there were subtle references to this idea throughout the book, but definitely not enough to make me think that this was an important part of the story. So when the last chapter kept going on and on about it, I felt it read a little random. Like an add-on. "Here's the story, and P.S. Gooooo Los Angeles!"

But everything else I adored. ADORED. I flew through this book in two evenings. When I finished it, I set it down and immediately exclaimed, "Adorable!" I had a big smile on my face, too. It made me so happy. So if you're up for a book that will be fun and easy to read and will make you happy, look no further than The Way You Make Me Feel.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Book review: Hope Never Dies by Andrew Shaffer

Book Summary
This mystery thriller reunites Vice President Joe Biden and President Barack Obama for a political mashup full of suspense, intrigue, and laugh out loud bromance.

Vice President Joe Biden is fresh out of the Obama White House and feeling adrift when his favorite railroad conductor dies in a suspicious accident, leaving behind an ailing wife and a trail of clues. To unravel the mystery, “Amtrak Joe” re-teams with the only man he’s ever fully trusted—the 44th president of the United States. Together they’ll plumb the darkest corners of Delaware, traveling from cheap motels to biker bars and beyond, as they uncover the sinister forces advancing America’s opioid epidemic.

Part noir thriller and part bromance novel, Hope Never Dies is essentially the first published work of Obama/Biden fanfiction—and a cathartic read for anyone distressed by the current state of affairs.

Flo's Review
I mean, where do I even start with this book?! Did you ever think you'd be in world where "Obama/Biden fanfiction" is a thing?! 

So this book is cray, basically. But in a good way. It's meant to be fun, and it's fun. I had a good time reading it. Shaffer did such a great job with Joe. I could see him thinking these crazy things and saying these crazy things and even doing (some of!) these crazy things. Like, here's an example: have you ever played the game "Cave, Marry, Kill"? (We did this a LOT on the Hunger Games Fireside Chat back in the day. In fact, I think "Cave, Marry, Kill" might be a spin on another game that I can't think of the name of right now.) Anyway, Joe and Barack are having like a slumber party, basically, in a shady motel (and this isn't even the weirdest part of the book, folks!) and Joe tries to start a game of POTUS, SCOTUS, or FLOTUS:

"It's a game we used to play in the Senate, while we were waiting our overnight filibusters, I name three women, and you say who you'd like as your--"
"You got it."

I won't reveal how the game went, because #spoileralert.

But interspersed in the book are some great quotes -- I have a lot of page flags in my copy. For example, here's a nice inspirational one:

"You've got to have patience. It takes more than eight years to build a legacy--and it takes more than a term or two reshape the world. Change happens incrementally."

A large part of this book is the focus on the bromance between Joe and Barack. Indeed, it actually reads like a romance novel in some parts (as it's meant to). The beginning of the story starts with Joe idling away at home, looking at all the pictures of Barack out doing water sports and having fun. He feels like Barack just dropped their BFFedness -- yes, I think I just made that word up -- after the two of them left office. His feelings play a part in the plot of the novel. Because, oh yes, these two are running around Delaware trying to solve a murder.

I would be interested to hear how much research Shaffer had to do about Joe Biden for this novel. Because I believe a lot of it is based on fact, and it's just embellished and added onto to get the fiction.

This was a quick read, definitely a tongue-in-cheek kind of affair. It publishes July 10, 2018. Let's end on a final, inspirational quote:

"As long as you have hope," he said, repeating his words from that day, "you're still in the game."
"And when you lose it?" I asked, echoing a field organizer's question.
"You can't lose it. Hope never dies."

*Thank you to Quirk Books for providing me with a copy in exchange for may honest review.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Blog Tour: She Loves You (Yeah Yeah Yeah)

Hi everyone! I am so excited to be hosting a stop on the blog tour for She Loves You (Yeah Yeah Yeah) by Ann Hood. I adored this book for many reasons (read my review here), but mostly because I *love* boy bands and had so much fun reading a book about a girl who loves a boy band.

I have been a boy band lover since I was 9 years old. Wanna hear about some of my favorites?! Yay! Here we go:


Favorite band member: Joey McIntyre
Favorite song on most recent album: We Were Here 
Favorite memory: Sooo many. Probably my first New Kids on the Block cruise, which I think was 2010? (Fun fact: That's where I met Book Nerd Jacque!)

Favorite band member: Brian Littrell
Favorite song on most recent album: Show 'Em (What You're Made Of)
Favorite memory: Tie between my first BSB concert, which was the Into the Millennium tour back in 2000 and meeting Brian for the first time five years ago.

Favorite band member: Ooohhh, I don't know if I have a favorite, honestly.
Favorite song on most recent album: Motownphilly isn't on their most recent album, but how can I deny the epicness of that song?!
Favorite memory: When Shawn Stockman threw me a rose TWICE! As in, at two different concerts he threw me a rose!! <3

Favorite band member: Again, I don't have a particular favorite.
Favorite song on most recent album: River
Favorite memory: Probably seeing them at Mixtape festival about three years ago...I had a great spot and that was a really fun day.

Favorite band member: Taylor Hanson
Favorite song on most recent album: I prefer their old stuff, so maybe "I Will Come to You"
Favorite memory: My best friend and I were obsessed with Hanson in high school. It was just fun sharing that fangirl with her.

Favorite band member: Sergio Calderon.
Favorite song on most recent album: Eyes Closed
Favorite memory: Watching the show Boy Band religiously ever week and talking about it on Twitter.

Okay, I could go on... N'Sync, 4th Ave, Take That, O-Town, BBMak, etc etc etc...but then we'd all be here all day. 

I've LOVE to hear about your favorite boy band and why you love them! Tell me all about it in the comments.

Thank you for visiting my stop on the blog tour!

Filled with love, hope, and longing, this is a novel for readers of all ages." - Holly Goldberg Sloan

Bestselling author Ann Hood crafts a funny, heartfelt story of a girl growing up in the heart of Beatlemania.
The year is 1966. The Vietnam War rages overseas, the Beatles have catapulted into stardom, and twelve-year-old Rhode Island native Trudy Mixer is not thrilled with life. Her best friend, Michelle, has decided to become a cheerleader, everyone at school is now calling her Gertrude (her hated real name), and the gem of her middle school career, the Beatles fan club, has dwindled down to only three other members--the least popular kids at school. And at home, her workaholic father has become even more distant.

Determined to regain her social status and prove herself to her father, Trudy looks toward the biggest thing happening worldwide: the Beatles. She is set on seeing them in Boston during their final world tour--and meeting her beloved Paul McCartney. So on a hot August day, unknown to their families, Trudy and crew set off on their journey, each of them with soaring hopes for what lies ahead.

In her signature prose, Hood crafts an extraordinary story of growing up, making unexpected connections, and following your dreams even as the world in front of you--and the world at large--is changing too fast.

Ann Hood is the author of the best-selling novels The Book That Matters MostThe Obituary WriterSomewhere Off the Coast of MaineThe Red Thread, and The Knitting Circle, as well as the memoir Comfort: A Journey Through Grief, which was a New York Times Editor's Choice and chosen as one of the top ten nonfiction books of 2008 by Entertainment Weekly. She has won two Pushcart Prizes as well as a Best American Spiritual Writing Award, two Best American Food Writing Award, and a Best American Travel Writing award. A regular contributor to the New York Times, Hood's short stories and essays have appeared in many publications, including PloughsharesTin HouseTravelerBon AppetitOMoreThe Wall Street JournalThe Washington PostThe Paris Review, and others. She is the editor of the anthologies Knitting Yarns: Writers Writing About KnittingKnitting Pearls: More Writers Writing About Knitting, and Providence Noir. Hood is also the author of books for children, including the middle-grade novel, How I Saved My Father (And Ruined Everything Else), and the ten-book Treasure Chest series for young readers. Her new memoir, Morningstar: Growing Up with Books, will be published in August. She lives in Providence, Rhode Island, and New York City, and is married to the writer Michael Ruhlman.

June 18 – BookHounds YA 
June 19 – In Wonderland 
June 20 – It’s Just About Write 
June 21 – Dotters Daughters Picks 
June 25 – Ms. Yingling Reads 
June 26 – Sweet Things 

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Book Review: Shopaholic Takes Manhattan by Sophie Kinsella

Shopaholic Takes Manhattan (Shopaholic, #2)

Jacque's Review:

This is the second book in the Shopaholic series and it is just as funny and entertaining as the first.  When we left Rebecca (Becky) Bloomwood at the end of Confessions of a Shopaholic, she had just worked out all of her shopping difficulties.  She had amounted a large amount of debt, but everything was now on the upswing.  With a new job, a fantastic boyfriend, and most importantly...no debt...she is determined to stay on track with the help of her flatmate Suze.

It doesn't take long for Becky to start "investing in her career."  She "needs" to have various items to wear on her TV show, or to help her write her self help book, or to take on a weekend holiday.  Before you know it, she is once again over her head.  To make matters worse, she accompanies her boyfriend Luke on a work trip to New York City.  She will get to spend a couple of weeks in the Big Apple hitting all of the glamorous shops and boutiques.  If all goes well, Luke and Becky will move to New York so Luke can concentrate his efforts on his office in New York and she will be a star on American television.  

Everything is on shaky ground with regards to Luke's expansion efforts and Becky's financial troubles soon become public knowledge.  She is humiliated and watches everything she worked so hard for fall apart.  Just when she thinks she will never get a break, she stumbles upon some very useful information that could turn everything around.  She also devises a strategy that just might erase her financial problems.

I absolutely love all of the dialogue and British vocabulary used in this series.  While I can't relate to the woes of a shopaholic, I couldn't help but love Becky.  There are so many laugh out loud hilarious situations that could only happen to her.  It was also funny to see some of the cultural differences and how she integrates into American society.  While I understand the reasons for the plot twists, I wish there could have been more to Becky and Luke's relationship.  Obviously, that is likely what is coming next in Shopaholic Ties the Knot, but it felt like there was constant tension between the two of them.  He was so focused on expanding into the United States that he lost focus on everything else in his life.  The last couple of chapters definitely redeemed him, but it took a long time and a lot of external assistance for him to come to his senses.  

If you are looking for a fun summer read I would definitely recommend this series.  I can't wait to read Shopaholic Ties the Knot and just discovered there is a Confessions of a Shopaholic movie!!  I had no idea.  I'm sure it wasn't an award contender by any means, but it has to be hilarious.  If you have seen it, let me know what you thought of it.  I'm going to see if I can find it on Netflix/Prime ext. for this weekend's movie night.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Book Review: A Painted House by John Grisham

A Painted House

Goodreads Overview:

Until that September of 1952, Luke Chandler had never kept a secret or told a single lie. But in the long, hot summer of his seventh year, two groups of migrant workers — and two very dangerous men — came through the Arkansas Delta to work the Chandler cotton farm. And suddenly mysteries are flooding Luke’s world.

A brutal murder leaves the town seething in gossip and suspicion. A beautiful young woman ignites forbidden passions. A fatherless baby is born ... and someone has begun furtively painting the bare clapboards of the Chandler farmhouse, slowly, painstakingly, bathing the run-down structure in gleaming white. And as young Luke watches the world around him, he unravels secrets that could shatter lives — and change his family and his town forever....

Jacque's Review:

Back in the early 90's I read most of Grisham's books as soon as they were released.  I was in high school then and had plenty of time on my hands during the summer and on school breaks.  I have been trying to catch up, which is an almost impossible feat since I'm in the same predicament with a number of authors and series, but I keep plugging away.

This book was very different from any of his other books that I have read.  It did not involve a lawyer or some epic case that needed to be solved.  Instead, we are taken to a small cotton farm in Arkansas.  The story is told from the viewpoint of Luke Chandler, a seven-year-old boy who lives with his parents and grandparents.  He dreams of one day playing baseball for the St. Louis Cardinals and moving far away from the farm, where he spends long hours picking cotton six days a week.  Sunday is a day for rest and worship.  

Luke's sheltered lifestyle takes a real turn in the summer of 1952 when he witnesses not one, but two murders.  As the number of secrets compound throughout the story, it almost becomes too much for him to bear.  He begins acting differently and the adults get suspicious, but he knows he needs to keep quiet to protect himself and his family.

This wasn't my favorite Grisham book, but I did enjoy the story.  He did a great job of taking us back to a time and place most readers have little experience with.  There was plenty of drama, gossip, and scandal to keep the pages turning, but it wasn't the fast paced read I am used to from Grisham.    

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Book review: She Loves You (Yeah, Yeah, Yeah) by Ann Hood

Book Summary
The year is 1966. The Vietnam War rages overseas, the Beatles have catapulted into stardom, and twelve-year-old Rhode Island native Trudy Mixer is not thrilled with life. Her best friend, Michelle, has decided to become a cheerleader, everyone at school is now calling her Gertrude (her hated real name), and the gem of her middle school career, the Beatles fan club, has dwindled down to only three other members--the least popular kids at school. And at home, her workaholic father has become even more distant.

Determined to regain her social status and prove herself to her father, Trudy looks toward the biggest thing happening worldwide: the Beatles. She is set on seeing their final world tour in Boston at the end of the summer--and meeting her beloved Paul McCartney. So on a hot August day, unknown to their families, Trudy and crew set off on their journey, each of them with soaring hopes for what lies ahead.

Flo's Review
This book, y'all. It has so many of my favorite things. I can relate to it on so many levels. First of all: the Beatles. My best friend and I became obsessed with them in high school and for awhile, I asserted that they were my favorite band. (Now they tie with New Kids on the Block...more on that later.) But I love the Beatles. When I was in high school, I did my big World History class project on the "Paul is Dead" phenomenon. Around that time they released at least a few Beatles Greatest Hits albums, and I had them all.

Needless to say, I adored the subject of this book. Each of the chapters was named after a Beatles song and I loved it so much. Trudy, the main character, shared random fun facts about them, and it was interesting to read about people's reaction to them during the time they were at the biggest. (Was that really the reaction to the Revolver album when it was released?? Interesting!)

So I loved this book because I love the Beatles. But now I have to talk about fangirling over my (other) favorite band. If you know me (or follow me on Twitter), you are probably aware that I am a HUGE New Kids on the Block fan. HUGE. I started loving them when I was nine years old, so though I wasn't exactly Trudy's age (she's 12), I was in that same age range. My sister and I, along with two of her friends, started a New Kids on the Block fan club. We made and sent out newsletters and everything. So Trudy's Beatles Fan Club? Right there with it! I feel you, Trudy Mixer.

My favorite parts of the book happened near the end. I will be vague, but if you're afraid of being spoiled at all, maybe skip this paragraph.
The scene on the subway with everything singing. YES. I've been there. I know that feeling, and it's incredible. And the scene going into the concert when everyone's arms are linked together. That too. And cheering on the George girl! I've been there. In fact,  the whole fan club plan -- how it is planned and executed -- I have been there several times. This story on some levels is my story of loving a boy band so so much, and I loved the feeling that I got when reading this book because of it. Exhilarated and nostalgic. 
End of kind of spoilery but not really section.

Okay, so the book itself. I actually really enjoyed reading about a young girl growing up in the '60s in America. Are there more MG or even YA books like this? I'd love to read them! I loved that it was a time when you would go to the record store, buy an album, and then come home and just sit there listening to it with your family and/or friends. And Trudy's dad at dinner -- he would ask questions that foreshadowed how things are today like, "What do you think about playing music in elevators?" or "What do you think about disposable diapers?" Those were just fun to read.

This book would have gotten a perfect 5 stars out of 5 stars score from me, except for one thing...I kind of couldn't stand Trudy. I found this little girl to be snobby, entitled, and judgmental, and it made it hard for me to read at times. I loved the story and what was going on, but I really didn't like to hear her thoughts about her classmates or how she seemed to think everyone's world should revolve around her.

But that one dislike couldn't dampen my love of this book! She Loves You (Yeah, Yeah, Yeah) publishes on June 26, 2018 and if you're a nostalgic fangirl like me, I think you might love it, too.

Stay tuned to Book Nerds Across America for more coverage later this month of She Loves You (Yeah, Yeah, Yeah).

Thank you to Penguin for sending me an advance reader's copy in exchange for my honest review.

Review: United by Melissa Landers

United (Alienated, #3)

Jacque's Review:

United is the third and final book in the Alienated series.  In this installment, the alliance between Earth and L'eihr is being threatened by another alien race.  They demand that all humans and L'eihr's return to their homes or they will destroy both civilizations.  Of course, Cara and Aelyx are not going to go down without a fight.  They are determined to return to the colony and the life they have worked so hard to build together.  

This book was action packed as Cara and Aelyx fight off not only another alien race, but also the hybrids from L'eihr, who are working with the enemy to sabotage the alliance. They recruit Cara's brother Troy, Aelyx's sister Elle, and his best friend Serene, but the odds certainly are not in their favor.  They have already witnessed the power of their competition and both of their governments have agreed that it is in their best interest to terminate the alliance.

Overall, I loved Aelyx and Cara throughout this series, and was happy with how it concluded.  There were a few situations in this book that were VERY far fetched, even for fiction.  Of course, the end result likely gave readers the warm and fuzzy feeling were likely looking for, but you couldn't help but roll your eyes and think... Seriously?  Instead of spending quite so much time on the unrealistic elements, I wish there would have been a larger focus on life on the colony.  After the first two books, I was kind of over all of the drama that was keeping Cara and Aelyx apart.  I would have enjoyed reading more about how the humans and L'eihrs begin working together and seeing the colony flourish.

Alienated was definitely my favorite book in this series, but they were all very entertaining.  I especially enjoyed listening to them on audio.  I read the first book, but listened to the final two.  The narrator did an AMAZING job with the different character's voices.  I especially loved her interpretation of Aelyx's personality.  

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Review: Don't Kiss the Messenger by Katie Ray

Jacque's Review:

Don't Kiss the Messenger was about a group of athletes at a private high school.  It actually came across as more like a college setting since the students lived on campus and had the intense focus of collegiate sports vs. the more relaxed setting I see in our community high school programs.  The students are recruited, watch game tapes, have two a day practices, study tables, and tutors to make sure they remain academically eligible.

CeCe is the captain of the volleyball team and a star player.  She is well respected on campus, but she is constantly looking down on her appearance because of a scar she received in a car accident when she was ten.  She has a number of guy friends, but doesn't think a relationship is a possibility for her.

Emmett Brady is a senior transfer student and the new starting quarterback.  CeCe meets him in her Shakespeare class when they end up getting paired up together for a class introduction exercise.  She quickly learns there is a lot more to him than football.  He is a gifted music student, intelligent, and extremely good looking.  While she is interest in him, she believes someone like him couldn't possible be interested in someone like her.

Emmett starts dating Bryn, who is a transfer student on the volleyball team.  She is beautiful, but reminded me of Paris Hilton.  Her idea of a deep conversation was "He's Hot" or "You have nice hair."  Emmett would have ditched her after the first date if it weren't for a little scheme CeCe and Bryn devised.  It would be better for Bryn to communicate with him via text and email to break the ice....AKA so she could get CeCe to help her sound more intelligent.  Well...as you can imagine the plan backfires every time Emmett and Bryn are together and she can't string a few words together on her own.

Emmett and CeCe really start to hit it off via email and their friendship is quickly growing from their in class interactions.  They have a lot in common, but will she find the courage to tell him she is really the "messenger."

Overall, I loved reading all of the interactions between Emmett and CeCe.  They definitely had chemistry and were drawn to each other's personality and interests.  I wish their relationship would have been the major focus of the book, but perhaps that is what will take place in the next installment in this series.  I understood the Beauty and the Beast references with the really pretty girl and the scarred girl, but the constant focus on looks was a bit overwhelming.  I was more interested in Emmett's music, CeCe's crazy stunts, and the campus sports scene.  Those are the things I will remember most vs. who was considered pretty and who was not.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

A Fierce Unboxing!

I received a few upcoming books from Fierce Reads and thought I'd share my fun of discovery about the titles with you. Enjoy! Featured in this video:

Dear Heartbreak: YA Authors and Teens on the Dark Side of Love by Heather Demetrios
This is a book about the dark side of love: the way it kicks your ass, tears out your heart, and then forces you to eat it, bite by bloody bite. If you’ve felt this way, you’re not alone…

In this powerful collection, YA authors answer real letters from teens all over the world about the dark side of love: dating violence, break-ups, cheating, betrayals, and loneliness. This book contains a no-holds-barred, raw outpouring of the wisdom these authors have culled from mining their own hearts for the fiction they write. Their responses are autobiographical, unflinching, and filled with love and hope for the anonymous teen letter writers.

Featuring Adi Alsaid, Becky Albertalli, Libba Bray, Heather Demetrios, Amy Ewing, Zach Fehst, Gayle Forman, Corey Ann Haydu, Varian Johnson, A.S. King, Nina LaCour, Kim Liggett, Kekla Magoon, Sarah McCarry, Sandhya Menon, Cristina Moracho, Jasmine Warga, and Ibi Zoboi.

The Boneless Mercies by April Genevieve Tucholke

A dark and gorgeously drawn standalone YA fantasy about a band of mercenary girls in search of female glory. Won in a major six-house auction!

Frey, Ovie, Juniper, and Runa are the Boneless Mercies—girls hired to kill quickly, quietly, and mercifully. But Frey is weary of the death trade and, having been raised on the heroic sagas of her people, dreams of a bigger life. 

When she hears of an unstoppable monster ravaging a nearby town, Frey decides this is the Mercies' one chance out. The fame and fortune of bringing down such a beast would ensure a new future for all the Mercies. In fact, her actions may change the story arc of women everywhere.

Full of fierce girls, bloodlust, tenuous alliances, and unapologetic quests for glory, this elegantly spun tale challenges the power of storytelling—and who gets to be the storyteller. Perfect for fans of Maggie Stiefvater, V.E. Schwab, and Heidi Heilig.

Attucks!: Oscar Robertson and the Basketball Team That Awakened a City by Phillip Hoose
The true story of the all-black high school basketball team that broke the color barrier in segregated 1950s Indiana, masterfully told by National Book Award winner Phil Hoose.

By winning the state high school basketball championship in 1955, ten teens from an Indianapolis school meant to be the centerpiece of racially segregated education in the state shattered the myth of their inferiority. Their brilliant coach had fashioned an unbeatable team from a group of boys born in the South and raised in poverty. Anchored by the astonishing Oscar Robertson, a future college and NBA star, the Crispus Attucks Tigers went down in history as the first state champions from Indianapolis and the first all-black team in U.S. history to win a racially open championship tournament—an integration they had forced with their on-court prowess.

From native Hoosier and award-winning author Phillip Hoose comes this true story of a team up against impossible odds, making a difference when it mattered most.

Audiobook review -- Note to Self: Inspiring Figures Write to the Young People they Once Were by Gayle King

Book Summary
Gayle King shares her favorite inspiring letters from the popular CBS This Morning segment Note to Self, in which twenty-first century luminaries pen advice and encouragement to the young people they once were.

What do Congressman John Lewis, Dr. Ruth, Kesha, and Kermit the Frog wish they could tell their younger selves? What about a gay NFL player or the most successful female racecar driver? In Note to SelfCBS This Morning cohost Gayle King shares some of the most memorable letters from the broadcast’s popular segment of the same name. With essays from such varied figures as Oprah, Vice President Joe Biden, Chelsea Handler, and Maya Angelou—as well as poignant words from a Newtown father and a military widow—Note to Self is a lovely reflection on the joys and challenges of growing up and a perfect gift for any occasion.

Flo's Review
This audiobook right here was a conglomeration of so many of my favorite things about books and audiobooks. I love audiobooks. I love autobiographies read by the author. I love the whole 'letter to my younger self' trope. (I'm calling this a trope, because I've seen it done at least two other times that I can think of. What do you think? Do you consider it a trope?)

Anyway, this audiobook takes all of those things and ups the game by about 50. Because this is a combination of a whole bunch of amazing people reading their letters to their younger selves. I love that we get to hear them all. The letters were all fantastic. I was literally teary eyed listening to most of them. So many were sad but also hopeful. So many stories of overcoming. A lot of people with strong faith. These letters, all together, display what it mean to be human -- to doubt, to love, to challenge yourself, to overcome, to learn, to grow. 

The only bad thing about listening to the audiobook as opposed to reading it was that there were so many great quotes that I would have loved to flag, underline, highlight. 

At the end of the book, Gayle King encourages the reader to write her own letter to self. It's a great exercise. I did one for my review of Dear Teen Me and really enjoyed it.

All the hearts and stars for Note to Self!

Thursday, June 7, 2018

YA Prom is TODAY!

"It's prom season! To celebrate this exciting time of year and also to spread the love for A PROM TO REMEMBER by Sandy Hall, Swoon Reads and Fierce Reads are joining forces to throw a YA Prom! 

This will be an online event where we'll be inviting anyone who'd like to participate to share a mood board (or photo collage) on Twitter highlighting their dream YA prom dates, outfit, ride, or whatever else they'd like to share. We'll be encouraging people to share these pics with the hashtag #YAPromToRemember on June 7th!"  --text from Swoon Reads and Fierce Reads

Prom! Oh, how fun! OF COURSE I am joining in! Let's see...what will I have for my prom...

I actually really like this dress that I've just worn for two weddings in a row now....shh... no one at #YAPromToRemember needs to know!


Caguas trolley
Mkt3000 dot com at en.wikipedia [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], from Wikimedia Commons
I've most commonly seen these being used for weddings, and I don't imagine that when I was in high school my parents would have been down with renting me a trolley for the night, but for my #YAPromToRemember?! Totally.

Peeta! Peeta Mellark will always be my #1 book boyfriend, and thus is the boy I'd take to my #YAPromToRemember. I'm sure he would get a night off from the bakery to attend prom. 

Search the hashtag #YAPromToRemember on Twitter to see some more prom photos!

Learn more about A PROM TO REMEMBER after the page break.

FURYBORN Spotlight Tour

    Book Info:
Title: Furyborn
Author: Claire Legrand
ISBN: 9781492656623, Hardcover
Release Date: May 22nd, 2018
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

·        Praise for Furyborn
“A page-turner. Readers will find the complex and flawed characters immensely relatable. The two narratives are deftly interwoven, and plot twists will keep teens on the edge of their seats.”                                       
 —School Library Journal, popular pick

“A dark yet rousing adventure story that combines passion and danger at every turn.”

High stakes, epic scope, intense action, and sweeping mythologies.”

Strikingly vivid prose… the nearly five hundred pages race by in stunning fashion. This is a must-have for fans of Marchetta’s Lumatere Chronicles (Finnikin of the Rock, or Cashore’s Graceling.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s BooksSTARRED Review

“Beautiful, brutal, heart-stopping, and epic, Furyborn is a world to lose yourself in—just bring weapons. It’s dangerous there.”
Laini TaylorNew York Times bestselling author of Strange the Dreamer and the Daughter of Smoke and Bone saga

Legrand has created magic on every page. Flawed, smart, and fierce heroines kept me dazzled and breathless. Furyborn is explosive and stunning.”
Mary E. PearsonNew York Times bestselling author of The Remnant Chronicles and The Jenna Fox Chronicles

·        Summary:
The stunningly original, must-read fantasy of 2018 follows two fiercely independent young women, centuries apart, who hold the power to save their world...or doom it.

When assassins ambush her best friend, Rielle Dardenne risks everything to save him, exposing herself as one of a pair of prophesied queens: a queen of light, and a queen of blood. To prove she is the Sun Queen, Rielle must endure seven elemental magic trials. If she fails, she will be executed…unless the trials kill her first.

One thousand years later, the legend of Queen Rielle is a fairy tale to Eliana Ferracora. A bounty hunter for the Undying Empire, Eliana believes herself untouchable—until her mother vanishes. To find her, Eliana joins a rebel captain and discovers that the evil at the empire’s heart is more terrible than she ever imagined.

As Rielle and Eliana fight in a cosmic war that spans millennia, their stories intersect, and the shocking connections between them ultimately determine the fate of their world—and of each other.

·        Book Site Link:

·        Furyborn Video Trailers Link:

·        Goodreads Link:

·        Buy Links:

·        About the Author:
Claire Legrand is the author of several novels for children and young adults, most notably The Cavendish Home for Boys and GirlsSome Kind of Happiness, and Winterspell. Claire lives in Princeton, New Jersey. Visit claire-legrand.com.

·        Social Media Links:

Read an excerpt from the book after the page break!