Saturday, April 26, 2014

AUDIO BOOK BLITZ: The Daughters of Zeus Series by Kaitlin Bevis

Daughters of Zeus Book #1
By- Kaitlin Bevis
Genre-YA Paranormal

There are worse things than death, worse people too.

The "talk" was bad enough, but how many teens get told that they're a goddess? When her mom tells her, Persephone is sure her mother has lost her mind. It isn't until Boreas, the god of winter, tries to abduct her that she realizes her mother was telling the truth. Hades rescues her, and in order to safely bring Persephone to the Underworld he marks her as his bride. But Boreas will stop at nothing to get Persephone. Despite her growing feelings for Hades, Persephone wants to return to the living realm. Persephone must find a way to defeat Boreas and reclaim her life.


Thursday, April 24, 2014

This Side of Salvation by Jeri Smith-Ready

Book Summary
Everyone mourns differently. When his older brother was killed, David got angry. As in, fist-meets-someone-else’s-face furious. But his parents? They got religious. David’s still figuring out his relationship with a higher power, but there’s one thing he does know for sure: The closer he gets to new-girl Bailey, the better, brighter, happier, more he feels. Then his parents start cutting all their worldly ties to prepare for the Rush, the divine moment when the faithful will be whisked off to Heaven…and they want David to do the same. David’s torn. There’s a big difference between living in the moment and giving up his best friend, varsity baseball, and Bailey—especially Bailey—in hope of salvation. But when he comes home late from prom, and late for the Rush, to find that his parents have vanished, David is in more trouble than he ever could have imagined...

Book Nerds Jacque & Flo with Jeri at the RT Convention a few years ago.

Flo's Review
The Book Nerds LOVE Jeri, so you know we were all over this book as soon as it came out! Like, I didn't even know what it was about and I put it on hold at the library -- and I was #1 in the hold queue, thank you very much! 

There were so many things I loved about this book -- I kind of don't know where to start. I loved that different points of view were given and all were given a chance. There were a lot of what some may call "fanatical" views that some of the characters held, but they weren't written about in a judgement kind of way. That's one of the best things about David and Bailey's relationship -- their views on religion weren't the same but she tried to understand him and he tried to understand her. And they learned from each other.

I felt really bad for David because he felt such responsibility for his parents. Understandable, but a lot for a kid to take on. I loved the ending for being realistic, happy, and hopeful. I loved that when David was all in something, he was ALL in. Bailey, baseball, Kane, even trying to help his father. I usually don't like stories that aren't told linearly and this one is not. But I understand why it was done that way, and I can see how that takes quite some skill on the writer. This book was such a breeze to read -- I got through most of it on a short flight, where the guy sitting next to me was like, "Wow! You almost read the whole book on this flight!" 

And, of course, I have to mention that my name is in the book! Yes, Jeri has suggested that this cat was named after the lead singer in Florence + the Machine, but in my happy bubble it's totally named after me:

Jacque's Review:

The story is told from David Cooper's point of view.  He is a sixteen year-old high school student who is anything but your typical boy.  Prior to the start of the book he experienced the traumatic loss of an older brother and turned to religion as a means of coping.  Meanwhile, his father went completely off the deep end.  He lost his job and stated talking in "Bibleish"....he only uses bible quotes when speaking.  I can't even imagine how many hours Jeri must have spent researching possible bible quotes to apply to conversations about the weather, video games, school, baseball and other every day situations.

David and his older sister Mara are home schooled, but David is the star pitcher for the local high school team.  They attend community college and other courses outside of the home and seem to have a fairly normal social life....even though bringing friends home is a complete embarrassment unless their Dad is away.

David's parents believe the Rush...aka the going to take place in a couple of months and want their children to give up everything in preparation.  While David thinks his parents are crazy, he goes along with their wishes with one stipulation...his Dad has to seek counselling when the Rush doesn't happen. 

While the book has a religious undertone it by no means tries to influence anyone's beliefs.  It is more of a mystery as David, Mara, his girlfriend Bailey, and his best friend Kane try to solve the disappearance of his parents.  We get to experience a teenage boy's first experiences with dating from his perspective...which were VERY amusing.  We also get to spend a lot of time inside the head of a star athlete.  What is he thinking during a game, what goes into his training, etc.

Overall, I felt like this was a very well written and enjoyable story.  I gave it five out of five stars and would recommend it to all of my friends who are fans of YA.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

Bernadette Fox is notorious. To her Microsoft-guru husband, she's a fearlessly opinionated partner; to fellow private-school mothers in Seattle, she's a disgrace; to design mavens, she's a revolutionary architect, and to 15-year-old Bee, she is a best friend and, simply, Mom. Then Bernadette disappears. It began when Bee aced her report card and claimed her promised reward: a family trip to Antarctica. But Bernadette's intensifying allergy to Seattle—and people in general—has made her so agoraphobic that a virtual assistant in India now runs her most basic errands. A trip to the end of the earth is problematic. To find her mother, Bee compiles email messages, official documents, secret correspondence—creating a compulsively readable and touching novel about misplaced genius and a mother and daughter's role in an absurd world.

Flo's Review
This book is SO much fun. It reads as a simple, light-hearted story, but with these crazy characters Semple is saying so much about our society. There were points in this book where I was almost literally LOL. Many I was just smiling and shaking my head. For starters, who wouldn't like to outsource their daily chores to India? I kind of wish I had my own Manjula -- except minus how that ended up. I was literally having a conversation about neighbors and their plans while reading the whole scene with Audrey and Bernadette and the blackberries. The gem of this book is that the situations are all ones that we can relate to, and then they are taken to the extreme to show how silly they really are. "Mercedes parents"?! Lol! Drivers in Seattle?! That could be anywhere in the U.S.! The portrayal of Microsoft and TED Talks?! Hilarious! Because we all understand. Then, of course, there is the mystery of where Bernadette went. I never solve these things so I definitely didn't know until it was explained. 

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone living in these times, and I think I will start doing so. Go pick it up! You won't regret it.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

BOOK REVIEW: Sparrows for Free by Lila Felix


There are skeletons in every closet. Some stay quiet—and some rule your soul with an iron fist.

Ezra is ruled by the ghosts of his past—and needled by the guilt they create. Not only does he have to manage his own guilt—his friends are forced to bear the weight as well. He lives in limbo, never dreaming of anything that lies beyond the grave.
In his mind, he’s a murderer, pure and simple.

Hide and seek is Aysa’s game. She begs for small spaces and empty places. But, she secretly desires so much more.
When they find each other, a hope for something new is sprung.
But Ezra’s skeletons are out for blood.

“I hide shock well. I’m a pro at hiding. I have no idea that whatever he had to tell me would be so personal—so heartbreaking. But, I quickly remembered that heartbreak was all around him every time he turned around. He needs no more empathy or sympathy in his life. He craves someone to give him a different take on a tired situation.
And different is practically my middle name.”


I haven't reviewed any book lately because I have had health issues. The fact is I've depressed a lot lately, to the point that I don't want to get out of bed. 

But today was different for me. My Kindle had been yelling my name for the past couple days, and today I picked it up. My 'to-read' has been out of control, so I decided just to read the first book that was on my shelf and this was it.

I have a cardinal rule when I read and review books: NEVER EVER compare authors. EVER!

I'm breaking that rule today. 

I've always loved book that suck me in, and don't let me go. I love books, that make me laugh, cry, yell, and scream.  I love that they send me  away from the reality that slapping me in my face. 

Jane Austen is my go to author when I need this. I need that 'old world' behavior, and forget about everything that is here. 

Rachel Higginson is the next author. I pick her because she is such an amazing author that she actually made me break my Kindle in her Star Crossed Series (that is a true series).

So, when I started Sparrows for Free I was thinking: Okay, a love story, blah blah, past tribulations, blah blah, happy ever after.

But I needed that...I needed something to take away the pain I've felt lately.

Well, I'm nothing but a big, dumb idiot! Because I have spent the last three hours, bawling my eyes out at this amazing story written by the fabulous mind of Lila Felix!!

How could I have thought this was just going to be 'just another story'? Especially when it comes from Lila. 

See, I have loved Lila since her very first book! But, I get a little worried when 'another' book comes out, because some authors become 'cookie-cutter'. I mean it's just the same story over and over. And I knew this wasn't her "Love and Skate Series", so YES, I was worried.

Again, I'm nothing but a big, dumb idiot! 

The first scene held me and didn't let me go. Ezra and Aysa are two people that have secrets from their past that are controlling their present lives. 

I wanted to slap Ezra through most of the book. Not because he was a jerk (well, not the whole time), but he was a whiny girl at times. NOW, don't start yelling at me. He DID go through something traumatic and he should work through it. But,  I still wanted to slap him.

Then Aysa. Oh that poor girl! Her past reminded me a lot of my own, and I could truly relate to her pain.

NOW, I loved how they found each other, and began to 'connect' and work through stuff! 

BUT .............. I AM NOT HAPPY ABOUT THE ENDING ........ NOPE .............. NO WAY!!! 

Now, Lila usually ends with a ending that I can handle, but this cliffhanger just .... gggrrrr ... I just wanted to Facebook her and just say:


YEP.... I wanted to say that !!!

However, I want to thank her! Thank you Lila, because through Aysa and Ezra words I found hope in my own personal situation. I need to remember there is hope in every situation, whether it's fictional or real.

Thank you Lila! Thank you for helping me, even if you didn't know. 

This book (and the next one) has earned a place on my 'go-to' shelf. 

For that, I love you!!

Friday, April 4, 2014

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

Jacque's Review:

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is an interesting take on the whole vampire phenomenon.  There are walled off communities where vampires and those who are "infected" are supposed to live.  People who are infected are not vampires, but they have been bitten by a vampire and could turn into one if they succumb to the urge to drink human blood.  The urge is relentless, so most infected individuals eventually turn.  If they are able to resist the urge for 88 days, the infection wears off and the individual remains human.  There are some humans who were trapped when the walls went up as well as humans who volunteer to go into the Coldtowns for the vampires to feed on.  Most of the volunteers are hoping they will eventually be turned into vampires, but that is rarely the case since the vampires need to protect their food supply.

Tana is a 17 year old girl who was at a party with a bunch of her friends when there was a vampire attack.  Tana and her ex-boyfriend, Aidan, are the only survivors.  They help a vampire named Gavriel, who was being held captive by the attackers, to escape as well.  The three of them travel together and check themselves into the local Coldtown, which is where the majority of the story takes place.

Flo and I decided to select The Coldest Girl in Coldtown for our April read along after reading all of the amazing reviews when this book was first released.  I was expecting it to be the next Twilight, Vampire Academy, or WVMP Radio series, but it fell short.  While I liked the story, there was definitely something missing.  It never really grabbed and held my attention until the last 100 pages.  It is my understanding that this is supposed to be a stand alone novel, but I honestly believe a sequel containing A LOT more of Gavriel would be a far superior book.  I loved all of the scenes when he was present, but they were far and few between until the very end.  The ending was also left open, so Holly could easily resume the story at some point in the future.  While I am not counting on there being a sequel, I would DEFINITELY read it if there is. 

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Mrs. Poe by Lynn Cullen

Jacque's Review: 

Lynn Cullen is coming to Ohio State to speak this May, so a co-worker suggested that I read Mrs. Poe.  It is well outside my normal comfort zone, but I decided to tackle this piece of historical fiction. 

I really didn't know much about the life of Edgar Allan Poe, besides The Raven and a few of his other works I may have read in high school, prior to reading Mrs. Poe.  His father left when he was around two and his mother died about a year later.  He went to live with a wealthy family, who sent him to various boarding schools and provided little to no financial or emotional support as he was growing up.  As a result, he was poor and lacked confidence.  He ended up marrying his 13 year old first cousin when he was 23 years old.  The book implied that she was actually the more mature of the two at the time. 

As his popularity and success increased, his finances didn't appear to improve substantially.  He did, however, connect with another poet much closer to his age.  It is believed that a relationship between the two developed. 

This story is told from the perspective of Mrs. Osgood, the "other woman" in Mr. Poe's life.  They had many of the same friends and attended the same literary functions, which brought them into contact with one another rather frequently.  Mrs. Poe even took an interest in Mrs. Osgood's writing and they developed a very awkward relationship. 

Lynn does a remarkable job of incorporating 1800's terminology and culture into this page turning romance.  After only a few chapters, I couldn't put this book down.  I would let myself read 1 more chapter...then another...until it was well past my bed time a few consecutive nights in a row.  The story paints a brighter picture of Poe's life than I believe was actually the case, but that is the benefit of fiction.  Overall, it was a very entertaining story that I would recommend to any fan of historical fiction.

After reading Mrs. Poe, I am eager to hear Lynn Cullen speak.  I will be sure to post an update with any comments she has on the book, her inspiration, etc.