Sunday, August 28, 2016

Whatever.: or how junior year became totally f$@ked by S.J. Goslee

Book Summary
Hilarity ensues when a slacker teen boy discovers he's gay, in this unforgettably funny YA debut.

Mike Tate is a normal dude. He and his friends have a crappy band (an excuse to drink cheap beer and rock out to the Lemonheads) and hang out in parking lots doing stupid board tricks. But when Mike's girlfriend Lisa, who knows him better than he does, breaks up with him, he realizes he's about to have a major epiphany that will blow his mind. And worse--he gets elected to homecoming court.

It's like the apocalypse came, only instead of nuclear bombs and zombies, Mike gets school participation, gay thoughts, and mother-effin' cheerleaders.

With the free spirit of The Perks of Being a Wallflower, the raw voice of Winger, and characters reminiscent of Freaks & Geeks, this debut YA offers a standout voice and a fresh, modern take on the coming-out story.

Flo's Review
It was interesting that I just happened to read this one so shortly after Been Here All Along by Sandy Hall. The two boys in BHAA are both simply huggable and adorable. I wouldn't call Mike or Wallace huggable or adorable. But what I liked about Mike were his group of friends. They were constant and dependable. Even those that struggled a bit with Mike's news came around in the end. Lisa was interesting. Despite her craziness, you can tell she really does care for Mike. This was an easy and fast read, which I largely completed in the span of a few hours. 

The play on the title is great because at the core level, Mike says "Whatever" a lot. But on the deeper level, this book is a lot about things changing and being able to roll with the punches -- being able to say, "Okay, whatever" and embrace the crazy roller coaster that is emotional, beautiful unpredictable life.

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

Hamilton: The Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter

Book Summary
Lin-Manuel Miranda's groundbreaking musical Hamilton is as revolutionary as its subject, the poor kid from the Caribbean who fought the British, defended the Constitution, and helped to found the United States. Fusing hip-hop, pop, R&B, and the best traditions of theater, this once-in-a-generation show broadens the sound of Broadway, reveals the storytelling power of rap, and claims our country's origins for a diverse new generation.

HAMILTON: THE REVOLUTION gives readers an unprecedented view of both revolutions, from the only two writers able to provide it. Miranda, along with Jeremy McCarter, a cultural critic and theater artist who was involved in the project from its earliest stages--"since before this was even a show," according to Miranda--traces its development from an improbable perfor­mance at the White House to its landmark opening night on Broadway six years later. In addition, Miranda has written more than 200 funny, revealing footnotes for his award-winning libretto, the full text of which is published here.

Their account features photos by the renowned Frank Ockenfels and veteran Broadway photographer, Joan Marcus; exclusive looks at notebooks and emails; interviews with Questlove, Stephen Sond­heim, leading political commentators, and more than 50 people involved with the production; and multiple appearances by Presi­dent Obama himself. The book does more than tell the surprising story of how a Broadway musical became a national phenomenon: It demonstrates that America has always been renewed by the brash upstarts and brilliant outsiders, the men and women who don't throw away their shot.

Flo's Review
My fiance always makes fun of me because I am kinda obsessed with special features on DVDs. I will buy or not buy movies based on what extras they can show me. I just think it's really cool to see the behind the scenes, see the actors as people and not just their characters, see how the world-building translated from book or screenplay, and so forth. So when I saw that there was a book about my new obsession Hamilton, I wanted to read it right away.

I really enjoyed it. There were two elements. First, all the lyrics for the musical numbers were included. But in addition to those, Lin added notes in the margins. It was like reading an annotated book from the author. I was fascinated! I loved hearing more about the history, Lin's thought process, behind the scenes tidbits, and such. The other element was the story of how the play came to be, and more about the actors. These were interspersed throughout the musical numbers, so you never got bogged down in one element or the other. It was set up very nicely and made this big book very easy to fly through. My other favorite part was all the pictures of the play. Having never seen the play, I really liked seeing how things were actually staged and how they appear on stage. I also enjoyed the little surprise that's in the book and play, and not the cast recording CD.

If you are a Hamilton fan, I think you will really enjoy this. And if you are not a Hamilton fan, this could easily become your way in. Either way, it was fun and definitely worth picking up! 

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Been Here All Along by Sandy Hall

Book Summary
Gideon always has a plan. His plans include running for class president, becoming head of the yearbook committee, and having his choice of colleges. They do NOT include falling head over heels for his best friend and next door neighbor, Kyle. It’s a distraction. It’s pointless, as Kyle is already dating the gorgeous and popular head cheerleader, Ruby. And Gideon doesn’t know what to do.

Kyle finally feels like he has a handle on life. He has a wonderful girlfriend, a best friend willing to debate the finer points of Lord of the Rings, and social acceptance as captain of the basketball team. Then, both Ruby and Gideon start acting really weird, just as his spot on the team is threatened, and Kyle can’t quite figure out what he did wrong…
 

Flo's Review
You guys. Can I gush for a few minutes here?! I opened up Been Here All Along after having finished a book I was "meh" about.  And--and--it was like I couldn't read this one fast enough! I flew through about 60% of it, and then forced myself to go to bed because it was a school night. Then the next day (today) I easily finished off the rest. I think this book was just what I needed right now! It was full of so many good feels!! Gideon and Kyle are the cutest boys ever and I just love them individually and together and want to hug and kiss them both! Seriously, though, on the feels. The full range! I laughed at the phrase "Kyle-sexual" and was scared for what I knew was going to happen toward the end. I was nervous when the boys were nervous. They are both awkward and imperfect, but they fit together so well. There were two things I didn't quite jive with, but they are minor -- first, we find out something about Kyle around halfway through that I don't know how it wasn't discovered before. They try to explain, but ehh.... And second, I didn't quite get Esra's role in the story. Did we need to be outside of the Gideon-Kyle-Ruby circle a little? Maybe that was the thought, but I don't think we did. Esra just seemed a little random to get so much space and his own POVs. But, like I said, those are minor concerns. Overall I am sitting here thinking about this book with a huge smile on my face. It is simply ADORABLE.

 Been Here All Along comes out August 30, 2016 and you need to make it happen! There's a giveaway for it on Goodreads - go forth and enter!  

Thank you to Macmillan for providing me with an advanced reader's copy in exchange for my honest review.

The Baby by Lisa Drakeford

Book Summary
When Olivia opens the bathroom door, the last thing she expects to see is her best friend Nicola giving birth on the floor – and to say Nicola is surprised is an understatement. She’s not ready to be a mum, and she needs Olivia’s help. But Olivia has her own problems – specifically her bullying boyfriend, Jonty, and keeping an eye on younger sister Alice. And then there’s Nicola’s friend Ben, who’s struggling with secrets of his own … 

Flo's Review
This was a unique concept. Parents are gone and teenager throws big party at house? Not uncommon. Best friend has baby in your bathroom? Not common! This was a fast read. I read the majority of it in a day. It was light and easy, which sometimes you just need. 

My favorite part of it was the 5 separate POVs telling the narrative straight through. Each of them took a month: Olivia, Nicola, Jonty, Alice, Ben. Instead of having the 5 POVs tell the same story, we started with one and ended with the fifth, five months later. Unfortunately, while the idea was neat, it made the story feel a little disjointed. The different POVs connected, of course, but loosely. I actually kind of feel like it would have been better to hear the whole story from the five different POVs. I also had trouble bonding with any of the five. I don't know....none of them really stood out for me where I was rooting for her or him strongly. I think maybe the actual birth of the baby was the biggest part of the story, and the rest of the it just felt like extended character descriptions. It might actually have played out better to have the five different POV/character descriptions leading up to the party and then ending with the birth. Then some sort of epilogue or "Where Are They Now?" to show us that they've all grown from the experience. 

The Baby releases in the U.S. on October 25th, 2016. Thank you to Scholastic for providing me an advanced reader's copy in exchange for my honest opinion.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

Book Summary
For years, Gansey has been on a quest to find a lost king. One by one, he’s drawn others into this quest: Ronan, who steals from dreams; Adam, whose life is no longer his own; Noah, whose life is no longer a lie; and Blue, who loves Gansey… and is certain she is destined to kill him.

Now the endgame has begun. Dreams and nightmares are converging. Love and loss are inseparable. And the quest refuses to be pinned to a path.
 

Flo's Review
There is always that nervousness that comes with reading the final book in a trilogy or series. Unfortunately, this book can have the power to make or break everything that has come before it. (No pressure! Lol). So I was both excited and nervous when I picked up The Raven King. But I had no cause for worry. Honestly, this book may have been my favorite of the four. I was really into the character's relationships, dynamic, growth. I tweeted Jacque at one point that I had so many feels about this book. I simply loved how the relationships progressed, especially one that I did not see coming. (Even though it was hinted at in the other books. I just missed it.) The end was realistic, painful, and honest; and I appreciated that about it. It was also complete. I closed the book happy to have left everyone in a good spot. (Although one I still hurt about.) Then Maggie tweeted about this coming up:
Eeeep! Sign me up!! 

Overall, I was super impressed with this series. Because when I started it I was like, "It's pretty good, I guess, but a little odd." By this book, I was all in. The writing is beautiful and lyrical, the characters are hopeful and flawed, and there is enough to make the imagination smile. If you are looking for something completely different from anything you have read before, then I'd recommend you pick up this series.

On a side note, if you have read the first three books of the trilogy and just need a refresher before you start TRK, Maggie wrote summaries of The Raven Cycle on Recaptains that are past awesome: 

The Raven Boys
The Dream Thieves
Blue Lily, Lily Blue

And here are our reviews of The Raven Cycle:

The Raven Boys
The Dream Thieves
Blue Lily, Lily Blue

Sunday, August 21, 2016

The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee


Jacque's Review:

I received an ARC of Katharine McGee's debut novel, The Thousandth Floor, at BEA.  The August 30th release date is less than two weeks away, so you will not have to wait long if you don't already have a copy.

The story is set in New York City in the year 2118.  The majority of the city has been taken over by a MASSIVE tower that is 1000 stories tall. There is transportation within the tower, schools, restaurants, businesses, etc.  The more affluent you are the higher you live in the tower, which brings me to an introduction of the characters.

Avery and Atlas Fuller live on the 1000th floor.  They are siblings by adoption and have just about everything they could ever want.  They are extremely wealthy, attractive, and popular, but there is one think they can't have that could destroy them both.

Eris Dodd-Radson lives on the 985th floor.  She is a social butterfly and is Avery's oldest friend.  Life as she has always known it is threatened by a secret that is revealed early on in the story.

Leda Cole lives on the 962 floor and is Avery's best friend.  They have never had any secrets between them until Leda returns from her summer away from the tower.  The secrets compound throughout the story and neither girl can trust the other by the end.

Cord Anderton lives on the 967th floor.  His parents died in a plane crash, so he lives by himself in the massive apartment until his older brother shows up unexpectedly.  

Watt Bakradi lives on the 294th floor and is a computer genius.  He developed a quantum computer that can hack into just about any system, which allows him to generate some additional income.  His "online services" brings him into contact with some of the upper floor kids previously mentioned.

Rylin Myers lives on the 32nd floor.  She had to quit school to support herself and her younger sister and takes a job working as Cord Anderton's maid.  Their relationship becomes more complicated as they begin to develop feelings for each other, but Rylin still has unresolved "issues" with her not quite ex-boyfriend.

Throughout the book we discover that everyone within  the tower has a secret.  There is a very delicate balancing act that must be maintained or everyone will come crashing to the bottom.  If they do not play their cards perfectly their secret may become exposed and life as they know it will cease to exist.

Katharine told the story from a number of the characters' points of view.  This allowed the reader the opportunity to witness all of the drama as it unfolded from just about every possible angle. If you think the Real Housewives have drama, you haven't seen anything like this.  I can't wait to see how everything will play out in the next book in this series.  

Summer Blog Promo Tour: Wrap Up!

Can't believe this is the last time I'll be uploading this fun little image into a blog post. This was my first time participating in the Summer Blog Promo Tour and I had an absolute blast! I loved the creative ideas that I was asked to write on, and I loved hearing from the other bloggers as well.

I encourage you to visit all of these ladies' blogs, listed here in the order we featured them:

Sunday, July 3rd:

The Cozy Little Book Nook 

Sunday, July 10th:

Perks of Being a Book Nerd 

Sunday, July 17th:

He Said Books or Me 

Sunday, July 24th:

Downright Dystopian 

July 31st:

The Left-Handed Book Lover 

August 7th:

A Bookish Mess 

August 14th:

The Book Bratz 

Until next year!

Friday, August 19, 2016

Blog Tour and Giveaway: It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover

IT ENDS WITH US
BY COLLEEN HOOVER

"Colleen Hoover reminds readers that love is a fragile thing, built from courage, hope, and tears. Every person with a heartbeat should read this book."
– Kami Garcia, #1 New York Times bestselling author

Visit www.ItEndsWithUsBook.com for teasers, tour dates and more.

ABOUT IT ENDS WITH US:
Lily hasn’t always had it easy, but that’s never stopped her from working hard for the life she wants. She’s come a long way from the small town in Maine where she grew up—she graduated from college, moved to Boston, and started her own business. So when she feels a spark with a gorgeous neurosurgeon named Ryle Kincaid, everything in Lily’s life suddenly seems almost too good to be true.

Ryle is assertive, stubborn, maybe even a little arrogant. He’s also sensitive, brilliant, and has a total soft spot for Lily. And the way he looks in scrubs certainly doesn’t hurt. Lily can’t get him out of her head. But Ryle’s complete aversion to relationships is disturbing. Even as Lily finds herself becoming the exception to his “no dating” rule, she can’t help but wonder what made him that way in the first place.

As questions about her new relationship overwhelm her, so do thoughts of Atlas Corrigan—her first love and a link to the past she left behind. He was her kindred spirit, her protector. When Atlas suddenly reappears, everything Lily has built with Ryle is threatened.

With this bold and deeply personal novel, Colleen Hoover delivers a heart-wrenching story that breaks exciting new ground for her as a writer. Combining a captivating romance with a cast of all-too-human characters, It Ends With Us is an unforgettable tale of love that comes at the ultimate price.

FLO'S REVIEW:
I decided to go into this one blind. I heard that it was a personal book for Colleen, but that was all I knew about it before I started reading. (Well, I mean, besides the pretty cover. Look at that cover! So pretty!!) This reminds me of the time Jacque had the Book Nerds read Bitter End by Jennifer Brown. (My review for that is here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/678934731?book_show_action=false). The plots of these two stories were also similar, though Bitter End deals with high schoolers and It Ends With Us has adults. But I enjoyed both the stories for the same reason. The situations were believable: the characters were real and flawed -- not all good or all bad. Colleen did such a powerful job writing this -- I couldn't just see Lily's dilemma and thought process -- I could feel it, too. Which is important. Because if this was all head, the answer and the resulting actions would be easy. But it's not all head. There is love involved. But at the end, the choice Lily made was out of love she had for her loved ones. The supporting characters in this story were phenomenal; I loved Marshall and Allysa. And Atlas? Well, I would scour Boston looking for Atlas! *swoons* I applaud Colleen for sharing this story with us. It's an emotional read, but it's worth it.

....and hey! You can win it after the page break! ;-) (See what I did there?!)

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Summer Blog Promo Tour: The Book Bratz

I kind of love that for the last stop on the Summer Blog Promo Tour, we get to feature the gals behind this whole great thing -- The Book Bratz! Thanks so much to Amber and Jessica for coordinating this. It's been so much fun!

One of the beauties of having multiple people at Book Nerds Across America is that we get to share a variety of opinions. I thought it might be fun to extend this out, so I found a book that Jessica and I had completely opposite opinions on and you can read both our reviews side by side. (Or back to back, as the layout is.)

So, without further ado...

We Were Liars 
by E. Lockhart


Jessica's Review
I wasn't crazy about We Were Liars. At all. Which sucks, because I know so many people that said it was a great book, and I was hoping that it'd be a great book for me, too. This book, summed up in a sentence, is about a girl named Cady who comes from this rich, white, perfect American family, except for the fact that all of the mothers are divorced and everyone's racist and crazy and oh yeah, she hit her head.  For the longest time I felt like I didn't feel any sort of plot evolving whatsoever. I felt like I was just following Cady and her crazy family for 227 pages of pure rich-people crazy.

One thing that really, really bothered me was the really random line breaking. All of a sudden
the book
would go like this and
it had absolutely no
rhyme or reason
And
I couldn't
take 
it.

Like, what? I really didn't understand. There wasn't anything significant about those lines or the specific breaking up of them. It was cut off at random parts. For artistic affect, maybe? But I wouldn't call that artistic. More like mildly irritating.

The end of this book, however, it really screwed me up. Big time. I was left with a giant question mark above my head. I'm a logical person, so naturally I want answers. Things about that ending just didn't make any sense at all. The ending messed with my head a little bit. And totally didn't make sense to me. But like the summary said, I'm supposed to lie about the ending and not tell you anything. All in all, We Were Liars felt like a book with such a small plot to me, nothing important happening and nothing being elaborated. This book just wasn't my cup of tea, but that doesn't mean that somebody else may not enjoy it! I encourage everyone to pick up this book and give it a try. It's gotten raving reviews alongside some "meh" ones. It all depends on where you stand. I'm still glad I picked up this book and gave it a shot. I just wish I felt differently about it.

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

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

So! What do you guys think?? Did you love it, hate it, or were you somewhere in between??

Saturday, August 6, 2016

The Cabin: Win an ARC and Read Chapter 1

Book Summary
There may only be one killer, but no one is innocent in this new thriller from Natasha Preston, author of The Cellar and Awake.

When Mackenzie treks to a secluded cabin in the woods with six friends, she expects a fun weekend of partying, drinking, and hookups. But when they wake to find two of their own dead and covered in blood, it's clear there's a killer among them.

As the police try to unravel the case, Mackenzie launches her own investigation. Before long secrets start to emerge, revealing a sinister web of sins among the original seven friends. The killer is still free. Every one of them is a suspect. And Mackenzie starts to realize that no one is innocent…
 

Win an ARC!
Sounds pretty creeptastic, amirite?! It comes out September 6, 2016, but thanks to our friends at Sourcebooks, we are able to give away an ARC! (U.S. and Canada only) Enter via the Rafflecopter. Contest runs from August 5th to August 12th.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Read the First Chapter
Want a little more info before you decide if you want to enter? Read the first chapter after the page break.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Goldfish Blog Tour


We are lucky enough to have the opportunity to be the last stop on the Goldfish Blog Tour! If you've been following the Tour the whole time, I hope you enjoyed it! If you are new to the Tour and/or to Goldfish, you can check out a synopsis of the book at the end of the post. But for now, let's talk about...


Synchronized swimming

I realized that I didn't know much about the sport and wanted to learn more, so I consulted the Olympics website for more information. There I found out that at the turn of the 20th century, Australian swimmer Annette Kellerman toured the U.S. performing water acrobatics. Then, another lady named Katherine Curtis had the idea of putting the water acrobatics to music. Her students performed at the 1933-34 Chicago "Century of Progress" fair, and their routine was called....wait for it...synchronized swimming. But it wasn't until 1984 that it became an Olympic sport for the first time. And fun fact: rhythmic gymnastics and synchronized swimming are the only exclusively female Olympic sports. (I got all that info here: https://www.olympic.org/synchronized-swimming.)

If you want to follow along with synchronized swimming in Rio, you can do so here: https://www.rio2016.com/en/synchronised-swimming and here: http://www.nbcolympics.com/synchronized-swimming.

Finally, I wasn't able to embed this, but here's Russia's 2004 Olympic Gold win: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WDi8J4g-pUk.

Enjoy!

Book Summary
Lou Brown is one of the fastest swimmers in the county. She’s not boasting, she really is. So things are looking pretty rosy the day of the Olympic time-trials. With her best mate Hannah by her side, Lou lines up by the edge of the pool, snaps her goggles on and bends into her dive… 

Everything rests on this race. It’s Lou’s thing.

… or it was. She comes dead last and to top it all off Hannah sails through leaving a totally broken Lou behind.

Starting again is never easy, particularly when you’re the odd-one out in a family of insanely beautiful people and a school full of social groups way too intimidating to join. Where do you go from here? Finding a new thing turns out to be the biggest challenge Lou’s ever faced and opens up a whole new world of underwater somersaults, crazy talent shows, bitchy girls and a great big load of awkward boy chat. 

Lou Brown guides us through the utter humiliation of failure with honesty, sass and a keen sense of the ridiculous. This girl will not be beaten.


Sunday, July 31, 2016

Summer Blog Promo Tour: Lefty Reads

I don't know about you all, but I am loving being part of the Summer Blog Promo Tour! I hope you are enjoying meeting all these fun bloggers! Today we get the opportunity to hear from Lefty over at The Left-Handed Book Lover!


Hello there, friends! My name is Lefty and I am the mystical unicorn gallivanting about over at The Left-Handed Book Lover! I'm so excited to have the opportunity to talk to all you Book Nerds about a book series that holds a very special place in my heart. Just a warning--this post gets a bit personal.


THE VAMPIRE ACADEMY SERIES BY RICHELLE MEAD

This series came to me at a very pivotal time in my life, and I can't help but think it was fate for me to happen upon it. 

Let me set the scene for you: I was in eighth grade (six-ish years ago), and the vampire phenomenon was at its peak. My family had fallen on hard times and my dad, brother, and I were moving several hours away from the town I was born and raised in to go live with my other brother. The sun was setting, we had the U-Haul stuffed with all our worldly possessions, snacks for the road wedged between my brother and me, and our emotions clogging our throats. We were just about ready to begin this new adventure in our lives, but my dad wanted to make one more stop before we got going: Publix. 

I cannot for the life of me remember what my dad went into buy, but I know that I, in my Superman pajama pants, followed him in. As he waited in line to check out, I saw a little magazine/bestsellers display, and among the different titles I spotted Vampire Academy. Thus, the love was born. I saw the word "vampire" in the title and I begged my dad to buy it for me without a clue as to what it was even about (thank goodness it didn't end up being, like, vampire erotica or anything). 

My dad probably shouldn't have bought it for me. We weren't exactly in an ideal financial position, but my dad has always been the type of parent to supply me with book after book with only minimal complaint. So, he purchased it. And then we were off to our new home. I cracked the book open the minute we got back to the U-Haul and delved into the world accompanied by the light of a flashlight. At one point, my brother wanted to sleep and complained about the flashlight, so I hid under a little blanket tent to continue reading. 

While my brothers and my dad unloaded boxes from the U-Haul when we arrived at our new house, I kept devouring Mead's world. I finished the book the next day. I wanted to stay up until the last page, but my brother and I were sharing a room and he made me put it down and go to sleep. 

And then I was a goner. Somehow I convinced my oldest brother to buy me Frostbite, the second book in the series, and all the books after that. 

I found friends and familiarity in the pages, both of which I'd lost in real life. I got to read about a fierce and brave woman as she struggled with isolation and her identity, the same way I was. I slipped into a world full of snarky vampires and a Russian god. Somehow, what I was going through didn't feel as heavy because I had the comfort of this book series. Somewhere along the way, I began to understand this fictional world more than I understood the world I was living in.

The Vampire Academy books saved my sanity. I had to move towns several times after that, and each time my life got pushed off its rails, I'd turn back to Richelle Mead's words for stability. This series made me realize that books were the one thing I could count on in at a time in which everything else around me felt so ephemeral. I could count on the characters to be there for me, and I could count on the world to sweep me away. 

Books henceforth became my #1 source of happiness, and to this day, they're a vice that I still cling to to. 

Additionally, I felt so connected to the Vampire Academy series that I began writing fanfiction about it, which led me to work on original writing and discover my passion. Now, my entire life revolves around books in some way. Currently, as an English and creative writing double major, I'm dedicating thousands upon thousands of dollars to, essentially, study the art of books. And in the future I hope to make a career out of books--reading AND writing them. 

Aww! Thank you so much for sharing this, Lefty! What about you guys? What is a book or a book series that holds a special place in your heart?

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Summer Blog Promo Tour: Downright Dystopian

Ready to learn about another awesome blogger?! This week we are featuring Krystianna at Downright Dystopian. As bloggers, I'm guessing we all have a range of posts and reviews...some are a struggle to write up, whereas some just roll off our fingers. I was curious to find out which blog post Krystianna has written that was her favorite:

I've been blogging for four years, yet my favorite blog post is actually a rather recent one! It's my book review ofIlluminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff. The book absolutely blew me away and revamped my love for reading. I was going through a bit of a struggle because I had been wanting to watch Netflix shows instead of reading, yet that book made me want to just read everything! It was such an amazing read and I actually used gifs from Grey's Anatomy to help explain my feelings for it. The post is my favorite because it got me into using gifs in posts and is a reminder of why I love to read. Finding that hidden book that is a gem is what makes it worth while!


Thank you, Krystianna! This book is definitely on my TBR. Have you guys read it? 

In a fun flip, I'm featured on Downright Dystopian today, so check out my thoughts on book-to-movie adaptations while you are looking around!

Friday, July 22, 2016

After You by Jojo Moyes

**Warning: This book summary and review will spoil the book Me Before You. If you have not read Me Before You, first read our review, then go read the book because it's amazing. After you've done all that, you can proceed to this review.**

Book Summary
“You’re going to feel uncomfortable in your new world for a bit. But I hope you feel a bit exhilarated too. Live boldly. Push yourself. Don’t settle. Just live well. Just live. Love, Will.”

How do you move on after losing the person you loved? How do you build a life worth living?

Louisa Clark is no longer just an ordinary girl living an ordinary life. After the transformative six months spent with Will Traynor, she is struggling without him. When an extraordinary accident forces Lou to return home to her family, she can’t help but feel she’s right back where she started.

Her body heals, but Lou herself knows that she needs to be kick-started back to life. Which is how she ends up in a church basement with the members of the Moving On support group, who share insights, laughter, frustrations, and terrible cookies. They will also lead her to the strong, capable Sam Fielding—the paramedic, whose business is life and death, and the one man who might be able to understand her. Then a figure from Will’s past appears and hijacks all her plans, propelling her into a very different future...

For Lou Clark, life after Will Traynor means learning to fall in love again, with all the risks that brings. But here Jojo Moyes gives us two families, as real as our own, whose joys and sorrows will touch you deeply, and where both changes and surprises await.
 

Flo's Review
I loved Me Before You so much. So much. But when I heard there was a sequel, I was immediately hesitant.  I read an interview with the author. In it, she explained how she wrote After You because the readers wanted to know what happened to Lou. In other words, the sequel was never planned. Sometimes this ends up well, but sometimes it does not. (I will give no examples, but I am sure you can think of one or a few.) But the publisher was kind enough to offer me a copy in exchange for my review, so I decided to give it a chance...

...and I couldn't do it. It is a DNF for me at 139 pages; I am just not compelled to read any more. Part of it is me as a reader. I know that I personally do not do well with stories where the whole story is the MC Being Sad. The MC remembers and is Sad. Or hates his/her life and is Sad. Or misses someone and is Sad. I definitely understand sadness, and recognize it as a very human and very important emotion. But...I just can't do so much of it. 

But also, there was nothing that really hooked me to the new characters. They all elicited a solid, "Ehhh" type feeling from me. And the old characters that were quirky and fun and that I loved in Me Before You sadly did the same thing.  

Maybe if I had read further, I would have been cheering Lou on instead of wallowing in sadness with her. Maybe the old characters would be fun and familiar again. Maybe I would have learned to like and even love the new characters. But I don't think I'll ever know.

This is one of those stories that got an interesting range of reviews on Goodreads -- people either really seemed to enjoy or really were not feeling it. So I am curious to know what side you fall on? Or do you fall in the middle?

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

Book Summary
In a kingdom by the sea…

In a secret world where half-angel warriors are sworn to fight demons, parabatai is a sacred word.

parabatai is your partner in battle. A parabatai is your best friend. Parabatai can be everything to each other—but they can never fall in love.

Emma Carstairs is a warrior, a Shadowhunter, and the best in her generation. She lives for battle. Shoulder to shoulder with her parabatai, Julian Blackthorn, she patrols the streets of Los Angeles, where vampires party on the Sunset Strip, and faeries—the most powerful of supernatural creatures—teeter on the edge of open war with Shadowhunters. When the bodies of humans and faeries turn up murdered in the same way Emma’s parents were when she was a child, an uneasy alliance is formed. This is Emma’s chance for revenge—and Julian’s chance to get back his brother Mark, who is being held prisoner by the faerie Courts. All Emma, Mark, and Julian have to do is solve the murders within two weeks…and before the murderer targets them.

Their search takes Emma from sea caves full of sorcery to a dark lottery where death is dispensed. And each clue she unravels uncovers more secrets. What has Julian been hiding from her all these years? Why does Shadowhunter Law forbid parabatai to fall in love? Who really killed her parents—and can she bear to know the truth?

The darkly magical world of Shadowhunters has captured the imaginations of millions of readers across the globe. Join the adventure in Lady Midnight, the long-awaited first volume of a new trilogy from Cassandra Clare.
 

Flo's Review
I wrote once that Cassandra Clare could write her Shadowhunters walking down the street and I would love it. And still -- yes. I listened to Lady Midnight on CD audiobook. It was 17 CDs long and almost 20 hours. According to Goodreads, it took me a month to do, but it felt like longer. But I loved every single minute. This audiobook is fantastic. Usually my patience for long audiobooks is waning, but I listened to this one from the beginning to the end. The narrator, Morena Baccarin, may now be one of my favorites. She voiced the characters so distinctly, yet so fitting for their descriptions. She portrayed pain, love, annoyance, and the entire range of emotions in her reading. So so well done.

It did not take me long at all to fall in love with Emma and the Blackthorns. The characters are described so beautifully and so lovingly, that I felt as I read that I had loved them for a long time too. I laughed with them, I cried with them, I worried about them. I felt their love and their pain and their fear. I was not just reading this story -- I was deep inside it, deep inside their lives.

Cassandra Clare sometimes gets talk for continuing to write about Shadowhunters, and not anything else. But honestly? She's so good at it! Why stop?!? I will read it all!! I have no doubt that this new series, The Dark Artifices, will rival The Mortal Instruments and the Infernal Devices in epicness.

I had forgotten how Cassandra Clare likes her cliffhangers, and this one was no different. 5 out of 5 stars for this excellent book!

Monday, July 18, 2016

A WEEK OF MONDAYS - Blog Tour!


Jessica Brody's A Week of Mondays goes on sale August 2, 2016 . For this tour, bloggers are talking about the Monday they would MOST like to re-live for seven days straight and the Monday they would LEAST like to re-live for seven days straight.

Yes! Seven Mondays of THIS in a row!
My perfect Monday would start with my alarm going off. But instead of being the annoying buzzing that I usually hear around 7 a.m., it would be the voice of Russell Crowe around 11 a.m. He would be saying, "Good morning, beautiful Flo. Work is canceled today; however, you are still getting paid for it. You're welcome. In about 15 minutes, your front doorbell will ring, and it will be Matt Damon delivering you brunch, complete with mimosas." I don't snooze it, in hopes that he will keep talking. He stops, though. Oh well.

Exactly 15 minutes later, the doorbell rings. I have thrown on a cute little tank top and boxer shorts, so when Matt sees me upon the opening the door he says, "You are adorable, Flo! Here is your breakfast. By the way, the mimosa glass is magical. It will have a continual full glass of mimosa, no matter how much you drink." He sets it on my table, gives me a kiss on the cheek, and walks off.

This is great! I sit down, sip my magical mimosa and notice there are two books waiting for me. One is A Week of Mondays by Jessica Brody. The other is an ARC of my most anticipated read. It's a pre-ARC actually. The ARCs aren't even out in the while, but I have a copy to read. I get lost in these for several hours, so I am thrown for a loop when I get a text message. It says, "Hey Flo! I know you are behind on Wahlburgers, so I am bringing you all the seasons on DVD, complete with lunch from the restaurant: your favorite burger, sweet potato tots, and a keg of Wahlbrewki. I feel a marathon. Can I bring Joey, too? xoxo Donnie." What a minute! Did Donnie Wahlberg from NKOTB just say he is coming over with his bandmate Joey McIntyre?!? I quickly respond, "Yess!!!" He texts back a smiley face emoji.

About 30 minutes later, Donnie and Joey are at my doorstop with DVDs and lots of food. They walk right in like they own the place and head straight to the couch. This is happening! Thank goodness I decided to take a shower and put on my cutest NKOTB t-shirt. We watch Season 3 (since I've seen 1 and 2 already) and it's the best thing ever. The guys are cracking on each other and on me, and it's so chill. I''m freaking out, but not -- ya know?!

After the season finale, Joey says, "We've got a surprise. Come with us?" Naturally, I nod numbly and follow them out of my front door....where I see a limo waiting! There is a limo outside my door! I turn to look at them. Donnie smiles and nods. I go running and dive in. A collective squee fills my ear and I look around to see my fiance, my sister, and my closest friends! My fiance gives me a kiss on the cheek. "Ready for a road trip??" he asks.

To be continued....

This is the WORST Monday ever!
My Monday would start with my alarm going off. But instead of being the annoying buzzing that I usually hear around 7 a.m., it would be the voice of Russell Crowe around 11 a.m. He would be saying, "Good morning, beautiful Flo. Work is canceled today; however, you are still getting paid for it. You're welcome. In about 15 minutes, your front doorbell will ring, and it will be Matt Damon delivering you brunch, complete with mimosas." I don't snooze it, in hopes that he will keep talking.

Unfortunately, the next time the alarm goes off, it's actually the annoying buzzy alarm. I blink in surprise. While trying to orient myself, I grab my cell phone. I have gotten approximately 15 texts and voice messages from work asking me why I'm running late.

Oh well. Another week begins...

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Summer Blog Promo Tour: He Said Books or Me

I'm pretty sure that the Summer Blog Promo Tour (#SBPT) is one of my new favorite things about summer! This week we have the pleasure of welcoming Valerie from He Said Books or Me. The tagline for her blog is "...I still think of him from time to time." HA! I love it! Thanks for stopping by, Valerie, to talk about your favorite blogging related experiences and memories:

Val here from He Said Books or Me. I excited to be here today and to talk with Flo and you about some of my favorite blogging related experiences and memories!
This is hard topic for me because I am not sure it is one single thing. To give you a little background, I have been blogging at He Said Books or Me for about a year now. Throughout the last year, I have had a chance to do many things. I frequently participate in blogger reading challenges. I also get a chance to be part of Twitter chats. I have had a chance to attend two Book Con events. I have done some of the book memes like Waiting on Wednesday or Top TenTuesday. I have written over 100 book reviews. Now, I have the chance to be part of the Summer Blogger Tour and collaborate with other bloggers!  All of these have been wonderful.

The best part though? It is without a doubt the other people in the book community. I love getting to know people and about the books that they are passionate about!  I love having conversations about things that I enjoy and finding out what sparks that joy in other people. I love that books can bring people together!  I love that they can challenge you to think about topics you have never considered. I love that people can have a difference of opinion and that is okay! There is so much to be said for the book bloggers out there in the world!
What is your favorite part of the book community? Are there book blogger experiences that you have had that you think I should try out? Let's discuss!
Thanks to Flo for letting me stop by the blog today!

Monday, July 11, 2016

Review: Last Seen Leaving by Caleb Roehrig

Last Seen Leaving

Jacque's Review:

Flynn is a high school sophomore whose ex-girlfriend, January, is reported missing.  The breakup was a relatively recent turn of events, so he becomes a prime suspect.  In an effort to discover the truth, and clear his name, he uncovers a number of discrepancies.  January had been lying to him and just about everyone he "interviews" about her disappearance.

We don't have the opportunity to meet January before her disappearance, but there are several flashbacks to Flynn's encounters and conversations with her.  Her mother recently married a wealthy politician and her life was turned upside down.  She was forced to transfer to a private school, her home life was a disaster, and she was distancing herself from all of her friends.  She was under a considerable amount of pressure from her step-father and his campaign manager, but all of these factors combined don't seem like enough to make her run away.  

In addition to the mystery, the book focuses on Flynn coming to terms with who he is as an individual.  I loved his personality and sense of humor from the beginning, but admitting the truth allowed him the chance to finally be himself.  He was essentially forced to come out and wasn't prepared, but I felt like Roehrig did an excellent job of portraying Flynn's feelings and experiences in a very realistic manner.  Everything wasn't champagne and roses and I certainly wouldn't expect it to be. 

There were several twists that I did not see coming, including the ending.  I felt like the story wrapped up nicely, but there is still the possibility for a second book in the series. 

I gave this book 5 stars and will definitely add whatever Caleb releases next to my TBR list.  This book was very well written and is highly entertaining.

Flo's Review:

So Jacque is the resident crime thriller reader of the Book Nerds. (I mean, Mary and I read them, too, but Jacque the most I think.) So fitting her review is first. I will start with agreeing with her last statement: this book was really well done. The past few nights I found myself up late at night reading this...and then I decided that I needed to wait until daytime to read further! (This is why I'm not big into murder mysteries, etc...I spook easily!) Another tidbit about me as a reader: I never guess who dunnit. Never. You know some people are all, "I totally figured it out before the book was over!" or "It was clearly this person!" Me? Legit never. So while I was reading all these twists and turns, I was totally believing what Flynn was believing the whole time. At one point I thought I had a suspect and I was all upset because I liked that person, but it didn't end up being that person. (Of course.)

All this to say that Last Seen Leaving had me puzzling, in suspense, kinda creeped out, questioning almost everyone in the story....Caleb sucked me in completely! I opened that book and got lost in the web of mystery. And even after I finished, I was still thinking about it -- putting together pieces in my head, realizing connections, and so forth.

But Last Seen Leaving was also funny! Even though it's an intense story and subject, I found myself literally laughing out loud several times at Flynn's thoughts and flashbacks. I tend to not like too many flashbacks in a story, but the ones here were enough to give context to the story, but not too much to take you out of the current action.

Last Seen Leaving comes out in October, and I would recommend picking it up...but maybe not late at night! ;-p

Mary's Review:

Okay, I'm going to be the BookNerd to admit this first...I had no clue (in the world) who Caleb Roehrig was prior to BEA.  However, all of us BookNerds were lucky enough to meet him at BEA & let me tell you this guy is a dream! And I'll even tell you it's one reason why we read this book so fast! He's a dream!

Onto the book...

What I liked:

I've backed off my mystery love here lately. Nothing has seemed to 'grab' me and keep me hooked in. However, there's something about this book I just couldn't put down. Flynn, is OMG! (Yes, that's a descriptive word!) He's funny, caring, and desperate to find January. Every time a new character came up I was on the edge of my seat to see the clues and figure out if they had 'done it'. It's a real page-turner! Each chapter there's a new surprise, a bit of foreshadowing, and a few laughs.

What I didn't like:

I have to agree on Flo with this one...Flashbacks! I'm not a huge fan of them either, BUT...BUT...Caleb doesn't bombard you with them & they are necessary to the story. However, it's the only thing I didn't particular care for.

This book is a must read! A must have! It's due out in October and it'll be a great 'FALL' read! I would recommend it to everyone.


Sunday, July 10, 2016

Summer Blog Promo Tour: Perks of Being a Book Nerd

It's time to meet another blogger! Yay! I am super excited about this one, because it's Kat from...


Another Book Nerd! What great taste! I love her blog already, just based on the name. I mean, besides the obvious Book Nerd love, it also references a book and movie I loved, The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky.

We decided it only made sense for Kat to share some fun book nerdish goodies, so without further ado...



Do you want all of her stuff?! I want all of her stuff! Thanks so much Kat!