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.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Book Summary
In the year 2044, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he's jacked into the virtual utopia known as the  OASIS. Wade's devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world's digital confines, puzzles that are based on their creator's obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them. When Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade's going to survive, he'll have to win—and confront the real world he's always been so desperate to escape.

Flo's Review
Ready Player One has been on my TBR for the longest time! I have several friends with good taste who have read and loved it. Several months ago I snagged the e-book on sale, but it stayed unread on my Kindle. Then, spurred by the latest movie news and friends who loved the audiobook, I decided to give the audiobook a try.

Best. Decision. EVER.

There were times when I was driving down the road and my heart was literally racing. (I mean, this is not uncommon when I drive in Miami -- LOL! -- but I mean my heart was racing from what was happening in the story.) I wanted Will Wheaton, the amazing audiobook narrator, to go faster so I could stop sitting on the edge of my seat! He did such an incredible job of suspenseful reading! Every time Wade was going through a challenge I was holding my breath the whole time and freaking out to myself, worrying that he would fail. 

I don't want to age myself, but let's just say that I was around for some of this stuff described in the book. That was pretty cool. I enjoyed visualizing the TV shows, commercials, movies, songs, and products in the context of this story. Ready Player One was full of surprises, twists, and "OMG, no he didn't!!!"/ "OMG, no they didn't!!!" moments. I can't recommend this book highly enough. A 5 out of 5 star read for sure! 

This is going to a fantastic movie, and I can't wait to see it on the big screen!

Mary's Review: Den of Sorrows (The Grey Wolves Series Book 9)

Den of Sorrows, The Grey Wolves Series, Book 9

Author: Quinn Loftis Release Date: March 25, 2016

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Review and Giveaway: The New Guy (and Other Senior Year Distractions) by Amy Spalding

Book Summary
A ridiculously cute, formerly-famous new guy dropping into your life? It's practically every girl's dream. 
But not Jules McCallister-Morgan's. 
I realize that on paper I look like your standard type-A, neurotic, overachiever. And maybe I am. But I didn't get to be the editor of my school's long-revered newspaper by just showing up*. I have one main goal for my senior year-early acceptance into my first choice Ivy League college-and I will not be deterred by best friends, moms who think I could stand to "live a little," or boys. 
At least, that was the plan before I knew about Alex Powell**.
And before Alex Powell betrayed me***.
I know what you're thinking: Calm down, Jules. But you don't understand. This stuff matters. This is my life. And I'm not going down without a fight. 
* Okay, I sort of did. But it's a sore subject.
** I mean, I guess everyone knows about Alex Powell? Two years ago, you couldn't go anywhere without hearing about viral video boy band sensation Chaos 4 All. Two years ago, Alex Powell was famous.
***Some people think I'm overreacting. But this. Means. War.

Filled with romance, rivalry, and passive-aggressive dog walking, Amy Spalding delivers a hilariously relatable high school story that's sure to have you falling for The New Guy.

Flo's Review
The New Guy had so many elements that speak to me directly. For starters -- Alex Powell is a former boy band member. If you know me, you know that I still love, love, love New Kids on the Block and The Backstreet Boys. And others, but especially those two. Then, there's the issue of new media causing the death of print journalism. As a former magazine editor and journalism major, I know very personally the struggle around this. 

But I just did not like Jules, and that caused me to struggle a bit with this book. She has blinders on in her life as she looks to her goal of getting into Brown University. This makes her goals and things to do more important to her than anything relating to her loved ones. I guess I would have liked for her to grow out of that by the end of the story. If she started off with the blinders and then by the end realized, through all the events in the story, that her life experiences and relationships are just as important -- and maybe even more important -- than getting into the college she wants, then that would have been cool. But her moms (I love them!) try to tell her this over and over. So does her best friend and so does Alex. But it all seems to go in one ear and out the other, and by the end, she does seem to have really changed. I also felt that her loved ones gave her too many passes and she just kept using them without reciprocating. "Oh, your phone died for the 89th time in a week and a half? That's okay, Jules, we're still cool." 

Besides Jules, I really did enjoy the other characters. As I said before, her moms were fantastic, and I loved the relationship she had with them. Her group of friends were also fun and seem like the type of people I'd want in my wolf pack. And of course -- Alex. *swoons* He may be book boyfriend worthy. He was willing to be with Jules on her terms just because he wanted to be with her. And he just sounds super hot!

The New Guy comes out April 5, 2016. Thank you to The Novl for sending me a copy in exchange for my honest review.

Looks like I once again ended up with an extra copy. Let's give this away! Giveaway will run until the end of the month. Good luck! Rafflecopter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Review and Giveaway: Shadow Magic by Joshua Khan

Book Summary
Thorn, an outlaw's son, wasn't supposed to be a slave. He's been sold to Tyburn, an executioner, and they're headed to Castle Gloom in Gehenna, the land of undead, where Thorn will probably be fed to a vampire.

Lilith Shadow wasn't supposed to be ruler of Gehenna. But following the murder of her family, young Lily became the last surviving member of House Shadow, a long line of dark sorcerers. Her country is surrounded by enemies and the only way she can save it is by embracing her heritage and practicing the magic of the undead. But how can she when, as a girl, magic is forbidden to her?

Just when it looks like Lily will have to leave her home forever, Thorn arrives at Castle Gloom. A sudden death brings them together, inspires them to break the rules, and leads them to soar to new heights in this fantasy with all the sparkle and luster of a starry night sky.

Flo's Review
I love it when I am surprisingly blown away by a book! Not that I wasn't expecting to like this one. I first heard about it on Twitter,  and the author heard my interest and graciously offered to send me one of his personal ARCs for review. 
I had been intrigued when I first heard about it because it's a middle grade fantasy and I immediately thought of Percy Jackson and how much I love those books. The author of those, Rick Riordan, in fact offered a fantastic review of this book:  

I flew through the majority of this book in a few hours. Right from the start, we are immediately put into the action, and it doesn't let up until the very last page. In fact, it just keeps getting more intense. And, oh, the plot twists! There were lots of clues left for the discerning reader, but I am one of those who never sees anything coming. I almost think it's more fun that way because then I'm like, "Oh my gosh!! No way!!" A lot of people aren't who they seem and you don't know whether to believe they did the things they've been accused of or not. But our hero, Thorn, never fails to see the good in people and that gives the story such heart. He's a peasant, yes, but his actions are those of a hero. 

Lily, Lady Shadow, grew tremendously throughout the novel. Towards the beginning it was a lot of whining and petulance, but by the end she is making big decisions well, with wisdom as well as heart. These two characters, Lily and Thorn, seemed a little old for 13 years old, but I suppose both of their life circumstances made them have to grow up fast. It also should be noted that our story takes place in Gehenna and is filled with dark creepy things like zombies and necromancers. They wear all black and it's cold and dreary all the time. But it's Lily's home and she loves it. She had a great line something like [I'm paraphrasing], "Most people just see the dark gargoyle statues, but I see where I played when I was little. Most people just see the dark halls, but I see ..." etc etc. Not to mention, Lily isn't at all a dark and evil human being: she has deep feelings and emotions and takes her responsibility as Lady Shadow seriously. 

Shadow Magic did a great job of explaining and introducing the world without it ever feeling like an information dump. We were never bogged down while reading about the canon and the rules of this fantasy world. Six brother Princes founded six houses of magic. Each specialized in one of the 4 elements, and then light and dark rounded them out. 

I think this is a standalone, but it would be fun to see 5 more books -- each out taking place within each of the other houses. Josh, you in?? I'll definitely read those!

Shadow Magic comes out April 12th and I definitely recommend it for those who love a light and fun action-packed fantasy novel. (Yes, I did just call a book about a place called Gehenna "light" and "fun." Lol. See you're intrigued, right?!)

Giveaway: Win an ARC of Shadow Magic
Not long after Josh sent me a copy of Shadow Magic, I received another one from Disney. So this one I'll give away! U.S. only (I'm sorry), and it will end on the day the book comes out, April 12. Enter via the Rafflecopter below. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Book Summary
Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life—steady boyfriend, close family—who has never been farther afield than their tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex-Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair-bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life—big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel—and now he’s pretty sure he cannot live the way he is.

Will is acerbic, moody, bossy—but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected. When she learns that Will has shocking plans of his own, she sets out to show him that life is still worth living.

A love story for this generation, Me Before You brings to life two people who couldn’t have less in common—a heartbreakingly romantic novel that asks, What do you do when making the person you love happy also means breaking your own heart?

Flo's Review
Holy cannoli. I'm still in book hangover mood trying to write this review, but here goes. I'd heard about this book for awhile, but I didn't really know what it was about. But then I saw the movie trailer (posted below) a few weeks ago and decided that I wanted to read it before seeing the movie later this year. I did see everyone's reactions to the trailer: "I'm gonna cry!!" That's all I knew.

This book was intense. I don't want to say too much about the plot because I went into it not really knowing what it was going to be about and that, I think, made it a richer experience for me. But this book was definitely way heavier than I thought it would be. Not in a bad way. Definitely not in a bad way. I have a pretty solid stance on this issue, and this book made me consider the alternative. Will I do a 180 on my beliefs? Probably not. But it absolutely makes me understand and empathize. It gives me the reality of a different perspective and the worldview of those making the choice.

I loved Lou. She is honest, passionate and compassionate. And I applaud her bizarre sense in fashion! Lou and Treena's relationship was lovely and honest. The Q&A in the back of the book touches on this, and Jojo explains how she finds the relationship between sisters mesmerizing: "What I'm most captivated by is that ability to be at each other's throats one moment and yet totally bonded and presenting a united front in the next." #truth, Jojo. 

The characters can be frustrating, but their lives are frustrating -- I'm looking at you Will and Camila Traynor! So you want to be cross with them, but you just can't. 

I am so excited for this movie. After reading the book and then watching the trailer again, I see how the movie might do a wonderful job bringing this story to life. But everyone was right: I am SO going to cry. A lot! How am I going to handle actually watching some of these more emotional scenes?!? Seeing them played out in front of me?! I'm kinda getting teary eyed just thinking about it...

This book has some fantastic quotes. I listened to the audiobook and followed along with a copy from the library, but I may have to buy my own copy of the book just so I can highlight and flag some of these. This is my favorite, said by Will: “You only get one life. It's actually your duty to live it as fully as possible.”

I absolutely encourage you to read this book. It will make you cry, as has been mentioned. But I loved that it made me question and expand my mind to be open to understanding the whys of something I can't fully understand. But it also made me smile -- a lot. It made me laugh. I was frustrated with the characters, then I felt sorry for them. Then I wanted to give everyone a hug. Basically -- the full range of feels.

But back to the movie. Here's the trailer. If you haven't read the book, it won't spoil you. If you have read the book, it will immediately bring back all the feels: 

Question for you, if you're read Me Before You: the reviews for the sequel, After You, are not stunning. I know, and a lot of reviewers admit, that it can be hard to follow up something so great like Me Before You was. Have you read After You? Knowing that I will probably not like it as much as Me Before You, is it still worth reading?

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Win an Allegiant movie prize pack with tons of swag & free movie passes!

Lionsgate Entertainment and their new movie ALLEGIANT have hooked us up with a giveaway! Once lucky commenter will receive a prize package of VIP advanced screening passes (for two) and movie swag, including movie posters, t-shirts, hats and temporary tattoos!

Entry Rules: Comment on this post on our Facebook page (it's pinned to the top): https://www.facebook.com/BookNerdsAcrossAmerica/, Twitterhttps://twitter.com/booknerdsblog/status/704871881397157888, and/or Instagramhttps://www.instagram.com/p/BCb5QDTngr1/?taken-by=booknerdsacrossamerica.  And, YES, you can enter on one or two or all three places!

From the comments we will randomly select one grand prize winner! Contest ends Friday, March 11. Good luck!