Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Book Review: The 6th Target by James Patterson

The 6th Target (Women's Murder Club, #6)

The 6th Target is the sixth book in the Women's Murder Club (WMC) series.  In this installment Lindsay Boxer, a San Francisco homicide detective, is called to the scene of a shooting on a ferry boat.  Four people are dead and one of the members of the WMC is seriously injured.  There are a slew of witnesses, but the shooter manages to escape.  

Lindsay is also investigating a series of incidents that have occurred in Cindy Thomas's apartment building.  Cindy is a reporter for the local newspaper and one of the four members of the WMC.  She got a great deal on this new apartment, but she is beginning to wonder if this move was a big mistake. 

There is a third case that develops when a child prodigy is abducted along with her nanny at a local park.  The family is very wealthy, so Lindsay assumes a ransom note will soon follow, but the kidnappers never make contact with the police or the family.  When Lindsay discovers this isn't the first incident involving a gifted child and a nanny, she begins to connect the dots.

District attorney Yuki Castellano is called in to prosecute the ferry shooter.  With video footage of the shooting clearly showing the defendant in action, this should be a slam dunk case.  She even has a number of witnesses who can clearly identify the defendant, but she knows she will need to proceed with caution.  She is up against a high profile defense attorney who will leave no stone unturned.

This was another great addition to the series.  I love seeing how the characters evolve and how their combined talents can solve some of the toughest crimes.  The books are action packed and relatively fast reads, but this series is still a major commitment.  There are currently sixteen books available and I'm sure there are more to come.  

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Book to Movie: Love Was Near and Trust Fund

This is not a traditional book to movie, but a related duo. YA novel Love Was Near is a companion novel penned by the writer/director of the film Trust Fund. I think this is a neat idea because the novel gives more depth and back story to the movie. Here is a little bit about both of them.

Trust Fund
Written and directed by Sandra L. Martin and produced by Isaac Alongi, TRUST FUND tells the story of Reese Donahue (Jessica Rothe) a young aspiring writer from Chicago. She’s spent her whole life working hard to keep from working, living the life everyone wishes they had. Until she discovers the secret that forces her to choose between the predestined life that she knows so well and what appears to be the destiny her mother wanted her to have. She’s lured into betraying her father and chasing after a life she dreams is better than the one she already has. When Reese returns home with nothing but regret, the forgiveness of her father teaches her what it means to love.

Click out a clip from the movie:


Love Was Near
In addition to the home video release, Martin wrote the YA novel LOVE WAS NEAR, which gives young adult fans a chance to find out what happened outside the screen and fills in the missing pieces from the film. Readers find out exactly what Reese is thinking in her book as they are transported along on a very personal journey. As she sprinkles in childhood memories with her everyday struggles they will discover what happened in the Donahue family before the movie begins. Reese shares her dreams and confessions, then asks fans to share theirs as they answer questions about their identity, purpose, and life plan. Reese is ready to forget some of the things she’s done, but before she slams this chapter of her life shut, she takes a final glance back and finds she still has plenty to learn about life, love and the risk of trusting others.




Do you plan to check out the movie, the book, or both? Let us know in the comments!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Audiobook news: MINECRAFT by Max Brooks

minecraft, max brooks
You know I love audiobooks, so I was happy to see the news that Jack Black and Samira Wiley (from OITNB) are each narrating the book Minecraft: The Island by Max Brooks (who wrote World War Z).

Book Summary
MINECRAFT: THE ISLAND is the first official Minecraft novel with the Mojang stamp of approval. In the tradition of iconic stories like Robinson Crusoe and Treasure Island, MINECRAFT: THE ISLAND tells the story of a new hero stranded in the world of Minecraft, who must survive the harsh, unfamiliar environment and unravel the secrets of the island.

Washed up on a beach, the lone castaway looks around the shore. Where am I? Who am I? And why is everything made of blocks? But there isn’t much time to soak up the sun. It’s getting dark, and there’s a strange new world to explore!

The top priority is finding food. Then it’s not becoming food. Because there are others out there on the island . . . like the horde of zombies that appear after night falls. Crafting a way out of this mess is a challenge like none other. Who could build a home while running from exploding creepers, armed skeletons, and an unstoppable tide of hot lava? Especially with no help except for a few makeshift tools and sage advice from an unlikely friend: a cow.
In this world, the rules don’t always make sense, but courage and creativity go a long way. There are forests to explore, hidden underground tunnels to loot, and an undead horde to defeat. Only then will the secrets of the island be revealed.


Audiobook Details
MINECRAFT: THE ISLAND (Narrated by Jack Black)

By Max Brooks, narrated by Jack Black
Random House Audio/ On sale July 18, 2017
Audio DN ISBN: 9780525495734

MINECRAFT: THE ISLAND (Narrated by Samira Wiley)
By Max Brooks, narrated by Samira Wiley
Random House Audio/ On sale July 18, 2017
Audio DN ISBN: 9780525590064

Do you plan to listen to either one, or both? Let us know in the comments.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Book Review: Bitter Pill by Stacey Kade

Bitter Pill

Jacque's Review:

Bitter Pill is one of Stacey's earlier releases that was published using the name Stacey Klemstein in 2008.  The book was edited and re-released in 2013 under Stacey Kade.

Rennie Harlow grew up in a small town and moved to Chicago after high school.  She graduated from college, got married, and had a great job.  Life was moving along smoothly until she discovered her husband was having an affair with his paralegal.  She moved back to her hometown and is now living in the apartment above her mother's garage while working as a freelance writer for the local paper.  As if being divorced and returning home isn't scandal enough, trouble constantly surfaces around her.  She has discovered not one, but three dead bodies over the past year and the townspeople are definitely talking.  

At the beginning of this book she finds the body of the local pharmacist.  She arrived early that morning to pick up her mother's medication and became concerned when the store was still dark and Doc Hallacy didn't open the door promptly at 8:00 a.m., which has been his routine for as long as she can remember.  As an investigative reporter she takes it upon herself to assist the attractive young sheriff, Jake Bristol, with the investigation.  Not only does she need to clear her name, but the first hand knowledge will make for a great story in the paper.

This is a light and sometimes humorous murder mystery.  Rennie isn't a skilled investigator, but she is personable and people feel comfortable talking to her.  She also has great intuition and can think outside the box.  That is why Bristol allows her to unofficially assist with the investigation and often invites her along to watch how people respond in various situations.  Being young and naive she finds herself in some dangerous situations and doesn't always interpret the clues correctly.  Especially when the warnings are directed at her.

I have enjoyed all of Stacey's book, but I would have to list this one towards the top.  738 Days is probably my favorite with Bitter Pill a close second.  I would recommend this book to any reader and not just someone looking for a mystery.  I flew through this book in only a couple of days and was definitely surprised by the ending.  It wasn't at all predictable and was highly entertaining from start to finish.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Book Review: Elegy by Tara Hudson

Elegy (Hereafter #3)

Elegy is the third and final book in the Hereafter series.  I was fortunate to pick up an ARC at the 2013 RT convention.  I kept meaning to read it, but for some reason it never made it to the top of my TBR list even though I read the first two books immediately after they were released.  As part of my 2017 New Year's Bookish Goals I decided it was time to complete some of the series I started in previous years, but never got around to finishing.  My goal was to complete 5 series, but I have already finished 7 with the conclusion of this book.

The Hereafter series is about a ghost named Amelia who is trapped between the "light" and "darkness"...AKA heaven and hell.  There are "Seers" who are humans with the ability to see ghosts.  Joshua is a seer, but he is also a boy Amelia saved from a tragic accident, which results in their ability to physically touch each other.  (Amelia ordinarily can't touch humans without passing through them.)  This is definitely a bonus since Amelia and Joshua have been dating the entire series.  They would like nothing more than to continue their happy existence forever, but the Demons from the Netherwold will not stop until they claim Amelia.

When she refuses to turn herself over, the Demons decide it is time to take matters into their own hands.  When the violence begins to strike a little too close to home, Amelia is forced to make a decision.  She formulates a plan and solicits the help of some unlikely candidates to hopefully end the evil once and for all.

I thought Tara did a excellent job of tying up all of the loose ends in this series, but I was shocked by the lack of detail at the very end.  We can see how things end at the present time, but there are far reaching implications that are never mentioned.  There was an epilogue which tried to soften the ending, but it doesn't really accomplish what most readers were likely hoping for.  A short story or a an additional chapter set well into the future would have been the icing on the cake for me.


Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Book Review: Ensnared by A.G. Howard



Ensnared (Splintered, #3)

Jacque's Review:

Ensnared is the third and final book in the Splintered series and picks up a month or so after Unhinged ended.  Alyssa needs to figure out a way to save Wonderland from the destruction Queen Red cast upon it.  Without the help of Jeb, Morpheus or her Mother she must enter the looking-glass-world to rescue the people she loves most.  If she can complete this first mission, she plans on defeating Queen Red once and for all and taking her rightful place on the throne.

The love triangle between Jeb, Alyssa, and Morpheus plays an even larger part in this book .  Love triangles aren't usually ideal, but it was an essential part of this story.  The two guys bring out the best in Alyssa in both her human and netherling worlds.  I have been on Team Morpheus since reading Unhinged, but I gained a greater appreciation for Jeb the longer he and Morpheus worked together.  I don't want to give away how this situation plays out, so I will simply say it wasn't at all what I was expecting.  

I was very satisfied with the conclusion of this series.  The magical elements and mutant creatures contained in AnyElsewhere provide the perfect backdrop for this twisted tale.  There is plenty of danger and action mixed with the two love stories to keep the pages turning.  All of the characters have grown by leaps and bounds since the beginning of this series.  It was great to see them working together to reach a common goal.  I would have preferred a bit more detail in the Epilogue, which I was pleased to discover is likely provided in Untamed, the collection of short stories released after Ensnared.  I have already added it to my TBR list and hope to get to it soon.


Tuesday, July 11, 2017

You Say It's Your Birthday!: Love and Other Alien Experiences by Kerry Winfrey

A very happy book birthday to Love and Other Alien Experiences by Kerry Winfrey! This looks like a cute weekend read -- I hope to be able to curl up with it, a blanket, and a cup of tea one day soon!


I'm never going outside again. 

Mallory hasn't left the house in sixty-seven days--since the day her dad left. She attends her classes via webcam, rarely leaves her room (much to her brother's chagrin), and spends most of her time watching The X-Files or chatting with the always obnoxious BeamMeUp on New Mexico's premier alien message board.

But when she's shockingly nominated for homecoming queen, her life takes a surprising turn. She slowly begins to open up to the world outside. And maybe if she can get her popular jock neighbor Brad Kirkpatrick to be her homecoming date, her classmates will stop calling her a freak.

In this heartwarming and humorous debut, Mallory discovers first love and the true meaning of home--just by taking one small step outside her house.
 

Monday, July 10, 2017

It's 'I READ YA' Week!

I don't know about y'all, but I'm a big YA fan and I'm proud of it! So I love that we are celebrating it this week! Every day starting today and going through next Monday, July 17th, there will be a daily social media challenge. We're going to try to join in when we can and hope you can as well. Here's the lineup:

Monday, July 10: Tell us what you believe #YAStandsFor
Tuesday, July 11: Tell us about the YA book that helped you find your voice
Wednesday, July 12: Give a shout-out to your favorite fictional literary hero
Thursday, July 13: Swap a YA book about the positive power of friendship with your bestie
Friday, July 14: Create a graphic showcasing an inspirational YA quote
Saturday, July 15: Choose a YA book and share 3 important life lessons you took away from reading it
Sunday, July 16: Acknowledge a YA book you believe should be taught in high schools
Monday, July 17: Snap a pic of the YA book you believe everyone needs to read

If you are able to join in, don't forget to tag your posts with #YAStandsFor. See you out there!

Blog Tour: Until it Fades by K.A. Tucker


ABOUT UNTIL IT FADES:
Twenty-four-year-old truck stop waitress and single mother Catherine Wright has simple goals: to give her five-year-old daughter a happy life and to never again be the talk of the town in Balsam, Pennsylvania (population three thousand outside of tourist season).

And then one foggy night, on a lonely road back from another failed date, Catherine saves a man’s life. It isn’t until after the police have arrived that Catherine realizes exactly who it is she has rescued: Brett Madden, hockey icon and media darling.

Catherine has already had her fifteen minutes of fame and the last thing she wants is to have her past dragged back into the spotlight, only this time on a national stage. So she hides her identity. It works. For a time.

But when she finds the man she saved standing on her doorstep, desperate to thank her, all that changes. There’s an immediate connection, and it’s more electric than the bond of two people who endured a traumatic event. It’s something neither of them expected. Something that Catherine isn’t sure she can handle; something she is afraid to trust.

Because how long can an extraordinary man like Brett be interested in an ordinary woman like Catherine...before the spark fades?

FLO'S REVIEW:
This is my first K.A. Tucker book and I really enjoyed it. I was impressed that there was an element of surprise in there, slid in. Well done, K.A.! Catherine was a relatable character, a fact which gave this story that much more of the fairy tale appeal. The best thing about Catherine was that people let her down in the past, but she was still a good enough person to help a fellow human being in need. She says that anyone would have done what she did, but that's not true. Would I have stopped and tried to pull a person from a burning car? Maybe? I don't know. But it's definitely admirable.

Though it was frustrating to read her lack of belief and trust in Brett, it was also completely understandable. I think I would totally feel the same way and have the same thoughts she did, and I don't even have her trust issues with men. My heart went out to Keith! K.A., can you give us a Keith story? I'd love to see his H.E.A. Also, Lou and Leroy for the win! Catherine needed an advocate and someone she could trust on her side to make it work. Lou was perfect. Brenna was simply adorable. She's so sweet and innocent, and no matter what she says or does, you can't help but love her. I felt Misty was kind of used as a plot piece at the end, but overall it was nice to have a foil (as far as views on love and romance) to Catherine to balance the story out.

Until It Fades kept me turning the pages as I rooted for the happily ever after ending in this fairy tale story. I'd recommend you pick it up -- you can see the bottom of this post for some links to do so.

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



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
K.A. Tucker is the author of He Will Be My Ruin and the Ten Tiny Breaths and Burying Water series. She currently resides outside of Toronto with her husband, two beautiful girls, and a Chug.


UNTIL IT FADES by K.A. Tucker
Atria Paperback | ISBN: 9781501133381 | On sale: June 27, 2017 | 368 pages | $16.00
Atria eBook | ISBN: 9781501133398 | On sale: June 27, 2017 | 368 pages | $7.99


FIND K.A. TUCKER ONLINE:

ORDER:
Amazon
 

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Book review: I Believe in a Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo

i believe in a thing called love, maurene goo
Yellow and pink are my favorite colors.
Book Summary
Desi Lee believes anything is possible if you have a plan. That’s how she became student body president. Varsity soccer star. And it’s how she’ll get into Stanford. But—she’s never had a boyfriend. In fact, she’s a disaster in romance, a clumsy, stammering humiliation magnet whose botched attempts at flirting have become legendary with her friends. So when the hottest human specimen to have ever lived walks into her life one day, Desi decides to tackle her flirting failures with the same zest she’s applied to everything else in her life. She finds guidance in the Korean dramas her father has been obsessively watching for years—where the hapless heroine always seems to end up in the arms of her true love by episode ten. It’s a simple formula, and Desi is a quick study. Armed with her “K Drama Steps to True Love,” Desi goes after the moody, elusive artist Luca Drakos—and boat rescues, love triangles, and staged car crashes ensue. But when the fun and games turn to true feels, Desi finds out that real love is about way more than just drama.

Flo's Review
I Believe in a Thing Called Love was literally the last book I was able to get at ALA Annual this year. I had to leave the show immediately after her signing to make my flight back home, but I wasn't missing it! And since it was on top of my book pile, that made it in the easiest and best choice for my plane read. 

Let's start with Cover Love: this cover alone describes the book. Light, flowery, and fun. The fact that Desi and Luca are black and white also suggests that there is a layer of seriousness and depth underneath, which is true. Desi's mom died, so she was mostly raised by and lives with her Appa (father). This is the basis of Desi's character, as she never wants to worry her Appa because she is grateful for him and never wants to upset him. The relationship between Desi and Appa is fantastic and so fun to read! These two know each other inside out and the ways they interact so well conveys their relationship. 

I believe that I adore these pins!
I loved reading about the K dramas! What a fun, unique concept to base a story around. They sound like they'd be right up my alley. Lots of drama leading up to the single kiss for the lovers you've been rooting for. I could totally see myself marathoning a ton of them. 

There was more than meets the eye to Luca -- he had a depth to him as well, and I really enjoyed discovering it along with Desi. I also enjoyed journeying with Desi through her first love as she experienced everything that went along with it and realized that there was more to love and life than going by the steps. I read the majority it of  on the plane, and it didn't take me long to finish the rest.

I Believe in a Thing Called Love is a fun and creative story that's well worth your time! I'm looking forward to reading more of Maurene Goo.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Audiobook review: Once and For All by Sarah Dessen

sarah dessen, once and for all
Book Summary 
As bubbly as champagne and delectable as wedding cake, Once and for All, Sarah Dessen's thirteenth novel, is set in the world of wedding planning, where crises are routine. 

Louna, daughter of famed wedding planner Natalie Barrett, has seen every sort of wedding: on the beach, at historic mansions, in fancy hotels and clubs. Perhaps that's why she's cynical about happily-ever-after endings, especially since her own first love ended tragically. When Louna meets charming, happy-go-lucky serial dater Ambrose, she holds him at arm's length. But Ambrose isn't about to be discouraged, now that he's met the one girl he really wants. 

Sarah Dessen’s many, many fans will adore her latest, a richly satisfying, enormously entertaining story that has everything—humor, romance, and an ending both happy and imperfect, just like life itself.

Flo's Review
Sarah Dessen's novels are like a warm hug. Seriously, that is the feeling I get when I read them. Like, "yes, life is crazy and sometimes sad, but you are warm inside this friendly embrace. And here, have some chocolate chip cookies fresh from the oven."

Once and For All particularly spoke to me because it is about a family that runs a wedding planning business -- and I am in the middle of planning my own wedding. But along with that, it addresses the questions of forever and second chances. Louna was a little too reticent and inflexible to me at times, but she was realistic based on the trauma she experienced.  I adored Ethan and Ambrose: Ethan for his perfection, and Ambrose for his imperfection. They were both amazingly lovable characters. Also, can I hire William to run my life?! I love him!

I listened to this one on audio and the narrator did a wonderful job. Seriously, I can't love on this book enough. All the warm fuzzies! If you love Sarah's other books, this one won't disappoint. And if you've never read any of hers, this wouldn't be a bad one to start with.


Thank you to Penguin Random House for providing me with the audiobook in exchange for my honest review.

Book review: Grace and the Fever by Zan Romanoff

grace and the fever, zan romanoff
Book Summary
In middle school, everyone was a Fever Dream fan. Now, a few weeks after her high school graduation, Grace Thomas sometimes feels like the only one who never moved on. She can't imagine what she'd do without the community of online fans that share her obsession. Or what her IRL friends would say if they ever found out about it. 

Then, one summer night, the unthinkable happens: Grace meets her idol, Jes. What starts out as an elusive glimpse of Fever Dream's world turns into an unlikely romance, and leads her to confront dark, complex truths about herself and the realities of stardom.

Flo's Review
I am obsessed with the New Kids on the Block. And the Backstreet Boys. Basically, boy bands: I love them. So when I heard about this book, I was excited to lose myself in the world of fandom. 

The main character, Grace Thomas, is secretly a Fever Dream fan. She goes for a run one night and happens upon one of the members. So starts this whirlwind of parties and clubs and paparazzi and more. Unfortunately, I never connected with Grace. I don't know...I kind of feel like this book did a lot of "tell" and not that much "show." I never really deeply felt Grace's love for this band. And throughout the book I felt like I was reading a story, not like I was engrossed or involved with it.

I did like Jes, and it was interesting to see this take on what is the reality of celebrities' images and personalities versus what their fans create for them. And I appreciated the honest and realistic ending. 

Thank you to Random House for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Book review: Ghost Attack (Monster Itch #1) by David Luber

monster itch, david luber
Book Summary
This was one monster of an itch . . .

When Alex and his cousin Sarah are visiting their grandparents, Alex gets terrible red, itchy hives. Yikes! He's allergic to a ghost! Even worse, the ghost won't leave him alone -- he wants Alex and Sarah's help. Can they solve the ghost's mystery and get rid of Alex's awful rash before it ruins everything?

Flo's Review
Well, this book was simply adorable! I loved that it was a little mystery and ghost story rolled into one. The plot was really well done. Even though this was a children's book, it was still a very sophisticated story. It was long enough to really tell a full, good tale -- but short enough to hold a child's attention. I would definitely recommend this one for your children...as long as they're not afraid of ghosts!

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

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Audiobook review: A Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi

a crown of wishes, roshani chokshi, audiobook
Book Summary
An ancient mystery. An unlikely union. For one young princess in a state of peril, a dangerous wish could be the only answer…

She is the princess of Bharata—captured by her kingdom’s enemies, a prisoner of war. Now that she faces a future of exile and scorn, Gauri has nothing left to lose. But should she trust Vikram, the notoriously cunning prince of a neighboring land? He promises her freedom in exchange for her battle prowess. Together they can team up and win the Tournament of Wishes, a competition held in a mythical city where the Lord of Wealth promises a wish to the victor. It seems like a foolproof plan—until Gauri and Vikram arrive at the tournament and find that danger takes on new shapes: poisonous courtesans, mischievous story birds, a feast of fears, and twisted fairy revels. New trials will test their devotion, strength, and wits. But what Gauri and Vikram will soon discover is that there’s nothing more dangerous than what they most desire.


Roshani Chokshi is so sweet! And can we talk about these awesome boots she has on?!
Flo's Review
I adored this book, y'all. Adored. This story was everything I wanted in a magical competition. My favorite part of The Star-Touched Queen (TSTQ), the predecessor and companion novel to this one, was the beautiful, rich, lyrical writing. I'm so happy to say that A Crown of Wishes (ACOW) had this as well. Alaka was so unique and creative, and reading this story had me feeling like I was just walking around with my mouth agape, taking everything in.

But what was missing for me in TSTO was delivered in ACOW. A story that drove me forward and made me want to know its conclusion. I wondered how Vikram and Gauri would would get past the trials put before them, and I cheered them on when they did. 

My absolute favorite part of this story was the romance. Vikram and Gauri had such delicious romantic tension. Their feelings for each other felt alive in a way that Maya and Amar's never did to me. Throughout this novel I was smiling as Vikram and Gauri traded barbs back and forth. Their banter was everything. So well done! And their characters complimented each other perfectly: Gauri with her physical strength and Vikram with his mental strength. But both similar in their driven personalities. The two of them together made perfect sense.

I listened to this one on audiobook and the narrator did a great job. Vikram calls for a tone that is always slightly teasing in its cadence, while Gauri needs to be passionate and direct. The narrator, Priya Ayyar, did a fantastic job delivering both of these.

The Star-Touched Queen and A Crown of Wishes came to me at the same time, with the explanation that they are companion stories and that I didn't need to read TSTQ in order to understand ACOW. This is true, but I'm so glad that I did. It was so great to see characters and refer-backs in ACOW to TSTQ and understand them.

I'd also read several reviews where people who liked TSTQ preferred ACOW, and I too fall into this category. I like TSTQ. But this book was so well done on so many levels. I adored it.

Review of The Star-Touched Queen: http://www.booknerdsacrossamerica.com/2017/05/book-review-star-touched-queen-by.html.

Thank you to Macmillan Audio for providing me with this audiobook in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Book review: Internet Famous by Danika Stone

internet famous, danika stone
Book Summary
High school senior and internet sensation Madison Nakama seems to have it all: a happy family, good grades, and a massive online following for her pop-culture blog. But when her mother suddenly abandons the family, Madi finds herself struggling to keep up with all of her commitments.

Fandom to the rescue! As her online fans band together to help, an online/offline flirtation sparks with Laurent, a French exchange student. Their internet romance—played out in the comments section of her MadLibs blog—attracts the attention of an internet troll who threatens the separation of Madi’s real and online personas. With her carefully constructed life unraveling, Madi must uncover the hacker’s identity before he can do any more damage, or risk losing the people she loves the most… Laurent included.

Flo's Review
I was super excited for this. As you recall, I simply adored Danika Stone's first release All the Feels. So I was definitely on board with reading her sophomore release. In the beginning, I was enjoying it immensely. Laurent is super hot, and I really enjoyed reading about Madi's relationship with Sarah. (As a aunt of a child with special needs, I love that Danika included the character of Sarah in the story. And I love even more the Author's Note she included at the end of the book about Sarah. Thank you, Danika!)

So, there was family drama, online drama, school drama and a cute boy. All that was great. I think the story could have just been about those and been complete and fun. Unfortunately, I wasn't feeling the troll story line. Maybe because I've never (thankfully!) had an experience with a troll. But the troll just seemed too extreme. To the point of being ridiculous. And there were a few characters in the story, 2 in particular that I can think of, who seemed underdeveloped to me. One was only shown for his personality trait and that was all we got. (It was extreme, of course.) The other seemed to be in the story -- her actions and all -- only so Maddie could wonder, "Is this person the troll?" Once she was eliminated from contention, that was it. We never got any explanation for her behavior. Mrs. Preet also seemed to me too extreme. She ended up reading to me as a character, a plot piece, and not a fully developed human being. Maybe if we got to understand her a little bit more, and maybe if we got to see her act differently at some point, she would have seemed more real to me.

The way this story was written, including texts, pictures, Tumblr posts, etc. complimented the story nicely and also made this a quick, effortless read. I enjoyed Madi and Sarah's, as well as Madi and Laurent's relationships. 

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

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Review: Obsidian by Jennifer Armentrout

Obsidian (Lux, #1)

Jacque's Review:
I bought a copy of Obsidian at the 2013 RT convention to have signed.  Mary and a few others told me I had to read it, yet it has remained on my TBR shelf ever since.  In fact, I didn't have a clue what it was about until I started reading it a couple of weeks ago.

Katy Swartz is originally from Florida.  After the death of her father her mother decides to relocate to West Virginia for a change of scenery.  Jennifer Armentrout is from WV, so she is clearly giving her home state a little love, but I can't imagine how that would impact a high school senior.  In addition, her mother chose to live in a REALLY small town filled with "strange" people.
Katy is a book blogger, so it was funny to hear her geek out about her In My Mailbox or Waiting on Wednesday posts.  A shipment of books would arrive and it was like Christmas in July.  She was also worried about getting a new library card, which I'm sure would be at the top of my to-do list if I moved, so Katy should definitely appeal to most readers.
Living next door to Katy are the Black twins, Dee and Daemon.  They will be starting their senior year as well and Katy quickly becomes best friends with Dee.  On the other hand, her relationship with Daemon is very hot and cold to say the least.  He can be sweet one minute and a complete ____ the next.  Katy can't figure out why Daemon and his friends think there is something inferior about "her kind" until she begins to notice some unusual things.  Daemon and Dee seem to move faster than humanly possible at times.  Daemon can swim under water WAY longer than he should be able to.  After witnessing several more dramatic events, she take the news that they are aliens pretty well.  The fact that there are beings known as Arum trying to kill her Luxen friends, and now her due to her association with them, is a different matter. 
Overall, I thought this was an action packed and tension filled start to the series.  Once we got past the whole "you aren't one of us" issue and the truth was out there, the story really began to flow.  Katy must guard their secret with her life and she is forced to do so on more than one occasion.
The only issue I had with the book was the word choice.  I'm sure everyone has seen the posts about why moist is the worst word ever and shouldn't be used.  She didn't use that word, but there was another cringe worthy word used on at least two occasions that needed to be removed.  If you have read the book and would like to guess the word I'm referring to, please leave a comment and I will be sure to reply.  Maybe it is just me, but I'm guessing not...
There are 5 books in the series, so it is a bit of an undertaking if you want to start this series.  I can tell you that the ending of this book left me wanting to jump right into the next book, but  I'm committed to reading the books on my spring TBR list first.  I will be sure to include Onyx on my Summer TBR list!

Oh, hey! Remember that time I met Daemon Black at Apollycon?! 
Flo's Review
Literally, multiple friends have been bugging me to read this series, basically since this first book published in 2012. I even own the entire series already, in the Lux volumes and on audiobook. Several times it made it close to the top of the TBR pile, but it just never pushed through. Until now.

Like Jacque said, I love that Katy is a book blogger. I was totally understanding her activities and feelings towards her book blog. This book definitely had a Twilight feel to it: "we're obviously attracted to each other, but you're fighting it -- why?" and "what are you? I don't think you're human...?" Luckily, I do love Twilight so I was all on board. I also bring up this similarity because I think this series has the potential to get better as we get more into the story. Obsidian had to cover a lot of the exposition, so from here on out I'm looking forward to seeing the situations these characters are put into and how they'll react. I don't know that I'll be able to jump into Onyx right away, but I do think I'd like to slowly make my way through this series. 

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Book Review: Out of Sight, Out of Time by Ally Carter.

Out of Sight, Out of Time (Gallagher Girls, #5)

Out of Sight, Out of Time is the fifth book in the Gallagher Girls series, which is about a group of students attending an all girls boarding school for spies.  At the end of the previous book, Cammie set out on a mission to complete an investigation her father started before his disappearance.  The Circle has been after her for an unknown reason for over a year and she is finally going to take matters into her own hands.

Her first error; however, was not taking anyone with her.  I'm sure any good spy would agree that backup is essential.  She doesn't want to endanger any of her friends when the only person they are after is her.  The problem is, when she wakes up in a foreign location having no recollection of her entire summer, she has no one to help jog her memory. 

The majority of the book involves Cammie and her friends trying to piece together clues to uncover where Cammie went last summer, what she discovered, and where things went so terribly wrong.  

I have enjoyed this series from the beginning and can't wait to dive into the final book in this series.  The girls started their senior year at the beginning of Out of Sight, Out of Time and graduation is quickly approaching.  They will soon be out in the real world, but I'm not sure the real wold will be any more challenging than the missions they have already completed.

The Gallagher Girls and Cammie's boyfriend Zach, who is also a spy, have learned that there are moles in the highest levels of government all over the world.  People they thought they could trust have been working against them, but they now have the upper hand.  They can finally take the offensive to bring the Circle down once and for all.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

You Say It's Your Birthday!: The Evaporation of Sofi Snow by Mary Weber

sofi snow, mary weber, thomas nelson

I couldn't be more excited about the release of The Evaporation of Sofi Snow by Mary Weber! I enthusiastically read and reviewed Mary's Storm Siren trilogy (links below), so I was thrilled to hear about her next book. Here's the description:

Ever since the Delonese ice-planet arrived eleven years ago, Sofi's dreams have been vivid. Alien. In a system where Earth's corporations rule in place of governments and the humanoid race orbiting the moon are allies, her only constant has been her younger brother, Shilo. As an online gamer, Sofi battles behind the scenes of Earth's Fantasy Fighting arena where Shilo is forced to compete in a mix of real and virtual blood sport. But when a bomb takes out a quarter of the arena, Sofi's the only one who believes Shilo survived. She has dreams of him. And she's convinced he's been taken to the ice-planet.

Except no one but ambassadors are allowed there.

For Miguel, Earth's charming young playboy, the games are of a different sort. As Ambassador to the Delonese, his career has been built on trading secrets and seduction. Until the Fantasy Fight's bomb goes off. Now the tables have turned and he's a target for blackmail. The game is simple: Help the blackmailers, or lose more than anyone can fathom, or Earth can afford.


Do you plan on picking up Sofi Snow?


Storm Siren Love
StormSiren:http://www.booknerdsacrossamerica.com/2014/08/storm-siren-by-mary-weber.html

Siren'sFury:http://www.booknerdsacrossamerica.com/2015/03/sirens-fury-by-mary-weber.html

Siren'sSong: http://www.booknerdsacrossamerica.com/2016/03/sirens-song-by-mary-weber.html

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

You Say It's Your Birthday!: Tuesday, May 30, 2017


A very happy book birthday to these beauties!


One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

Dark Breaks the Dawn by Sara B. Larson

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

Royal Bastards by Andrew Shvarts


Which of these titles are you most looking forward to?

Monday, May 29, 2017

Book review: The Worst Fairy Godmother Ever! (The Wish List #1) by Sarah Aronson

Book Summary
Q: What do you need to become a great fairy godmother?

a) kindness
b) determination
c) gusto
d) all of the above

Fairy-godmother-in-training Isabelle doesn't know what gusto is, but she's pretty sure she has what it takes to pass fairy godmother training with flying colors.

But then Isabelle is assigned a practice princess who is not a princess at all. Nora is just a normal girl -- a normal girl who doesn't believe in fairy godmothers, or wishes come true, or happily ever afters.

Isabelle has to change Nora's mind about magic and grant a wish for her. If she can't, Isabelle will flunk training and never become a great fairy godmother!
 

Flo's Review
This was straight up adorable! All pink and sparkles! The main character, Isabelle, is not one for studying or reading the rules. But she learns really well through experience. Isabelle is a character that I think little girls will be able to relate to well. Even though her world is different from ours, she struggles with issues and temptations just like her readers. 

And would you believe that this little book ended on a cliffhanger?! It's true! I am seriously curious about what's going to happen in Book 2.

I was never reading this book without a smile on my face. I will be giving this book to my little niece in hopes that she has as much fun reading it as I did!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Book review: The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

star-touched queen, roshani chokshi
Book Summary
Fate and fortune. Power and passion. What does it take to be the queen of a kingdom when you’re only seventeen?

Maya is cursed. With a horoscope that promises a marriage of death and destruction, she has earned only the scorn and fear of her father’s kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her whole world is torn apart when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. Soon Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Neither roles are what she expected: As Akaran’s queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar’s wife, she finds something else entirely: Compassion. Protection. Desire…

But Akaran has its own secrets—thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Soon, Maya suspects her life is in danger. Yet who, besides her husband, can she trust? With the fate of the human and Otherworldly realms hanging in the balance, Maya must unravel an ancient mystery that spans reincarnated lives to save those she loves the most…including herself.
 

Flo's Review
I had the pleasure of meeting Roshani at ALA Annual this year in Orlando, and she was just the cutest and sweetest! This made me even more excited to read her books. I had heard a lot of good things about The Star-Touched Queen, so I was very glad to discover that it lived up the hype.

A lot of times we get variations of the same story in YA, and specifically in YA fantasy. I am not dissing the trend, as I love a good Greek retelling. (Remember Greek Week on the blog?) But there are two particular things I loved about The Star-Touched Queen and the first was its uniqueness. This is a not story I was familiar with, or had heard before. I did not know what it was was, so I didn't see it as trying to be something, or a twist on something. It was just a beautiful story in itself. (I should also add that I went in blind, knowing nothing about what this book was about, so every time Maya made a new connection I was completely surprised.)

The second thing that I loved about The Star-Touched Queen is the world-building. This book is rich in it. The descriptions are lush and fill all your senses. It was the imagery and the world that transported me in this story. The plot was good, the romance was good, the supporting characters were intriguing (Kamala was hilarious!), but admittedly those did not keep me turning the pages of this book. What drew me into this one was reading about the Night Bazaar and the many rooms in Akaran.

On a final note, I listened to this book on audio, and the reader did a great job! As soon as I finished this story, I immediately started listening to A Crown of Wishes, and I am so happy to be transported back into this fascinating world.