Friday, January 30, 2015

99 Fictional Boyfriends on the blog, 99 Fictional Boyfriends...

If there's one thing that unites the Book Nerds, it's our love of fictional men. Earlier this year, Flo, Jacque, and I  were talking about them (of course!) when we came up with the idea of sharing a HUGE list of our favorites. Could we do it? We love a lot of these boys!

We decided to go big or home -- so we are bringing you NINETY NINE different boys that we love. Yes, as in almost 100! And the crazy thing? It wasn't that hard!

Here is my list (Mary!):

Hunger Games

Significant Series
Daughter of the Sea Series
Grey Wolves Series
Delta Project Series
Sweet Olbivion
Daughter of Zeus Series
Covenant Series
The Premonition Series
On Dublin Street
Madly Series
The Vampire Agape Series
Mr. Darcy
Pride & Prejudice
Keegan Chronicles

Lucas Brooks
Trying to Score

Shea Adler
Taking Shots

The Patrick Chronicles

Eden Trilogy

The Boy Who Sneaks in my Window

The Vicent Boys Series

Elemental Mysteries

Taking Chances

Crash Series

Star-Crosses Series

Wanted Series

Wanted Series

Lucas Sharp
The Ice Series
Max Crawford
The Ice Series
Marc Kane
The Ice Series
Levi Carr
The Penalty Kill Trilogy
Bold as Lover Series

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Retribution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

Book Summary
Mara Dyer wants to believe there's more to the lies she’s been told.
There is.

She doesn’t stop to think about where her quest for the truth might lead.
She should.

She never had to imagine how far she would go for vengeance.
She will now.

Loyalties are betrayed, guilt and innocence tangle, and fate and chance collide in this shocking conclusion to Mara Dyer’s story.

Retribution has arrived.

Flo's Review
Michelle and I at the Miami Book Fair in 2014
Honestly, I am not sure what to say about this book. Did I like it? I did. I was listening to the audiobook, but then HAD to know what was going to happen once I got closer to the end, so I abandoned the audio and read the last 100 pages. At the same time, though, I discovered I have a low threshold for ... gross stuff? There were definitely a few scenes that I had to skim over because if I read them (or listened to them) closely, I felt I would be sick imagining them. Sometimes the situations that characters found themselves in seemed a little too coincidental, even though they weren't. ('s hard to do this in a non-spoilery fashion.) This book reminded me a lot of Allegiant in that I felt there was a lot of information dump in this volume. We spent the first two books being like, "WHAT is going on???" and just finally got answers here. Thankfully, though, it was not all information dump and there was some good action as well. This book also reminded me a bit of The Young Elites because with that book Marie Lu set up to write a story about a villain. Both of these books remind you, and Mara even talks about it toward the end of this one, that sometimes the villain is not all bad, and starts from a place of good intentions. I loved how this ended! I was told what it was going to do by a few people, I think, before I got to read it, but it was still really cool how it played out. I'm curious to hear if Jacque died in her chair when Noah Shaw started speaking words of love en francais?

Jacque's Review

After reading the first two books in the series, this was one of my absolute favorite YA series.  We had to wait over two years between the release of the second and third books, so I was beyond anxious for the release.  Perhaps my expectations were unrealistic, but this book didn't quite live up to my expectations. 

Michelle inserted chapters throughout the book which told the story of Mara's ancestors.  This provided a history of the "superpowers" Mara and her friends possess.  We also come to understand the motivations behind the research that is being conducted at Horizons, which shed some light on not only the characters' pasts and onset of their conditions, but also their future. 

We eventually learn if Jude is "real or not real" and how he is connected to Horizons and Dr. Kells.  I wish there could have been a way for Michelle to tell this story without using quite so much graphic violence.  I read a lot of adult murder mysteries, so I am not opposed to violence as a whole.  I just didn't think it was fitting for this series and specifically not when it was associated with Mara.  It didn't bother me in the least when Mara "punished" a character with her powers, but it was a completely different story when she had to defend herself by traditional means. 

The biggest disappointment had to be the lack of Noah throughout the story.  I don't want to give away any spoilers, but he did not have nearly the presence that he had in the first two books.  He is one of my favorite YA characters and is probably the sole reason I loved the first two books as much as I did.  Without his presence, it felt like something was missing. 

Overall, I felt like the story tied everything together and provided a satisfying ending.  While it didn't live up to my 5 star hopes, it was still an entertaining story and a nice conclusion to the series.  The last 100 pages that Flo referenced above was the saving grace for me.  It probably doesn't take a rocket scientist to determine what must have occurred around this point, but I flew through the last 100 pages.  If only the entire book could have been like that I would have given it 5 stars like the previous two.  (Yes...Noah had several quotes that were beyond swoon worthy.  That is what I probably love about him the most along with his arrogant and confident demeanor.) 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

99 Fictional Boyfriends on the blog, 99 Fictional Boyfriends...

If there's one thing that unites the Book Nerds, it's our love of fictional men. Earlier this year, Mary, Flo and I were talking about them (of course!) when we came up with the idea of sharing a HUGE list of our favorites. Could we do it? We love a lot of these boys!

We decided to go big or home -- so we are bringing you NINETY NINE different boys that we love. Yes, as in almost 100! And the crazy thing? It wasn't that hard!

So without further ado, here is Jacque's list. Let me know in the comments who you agree/disagree with! And stay turned for Mary's list next week.

Edward CullenTwilight - Stephenie Meyer
Shay DoranNightshade - Andrea Cremer
Lucas Delos Starcrossed - Josephine Angelini
Vincent DelacroixDie for Me - Amy Plum
Etienne St. ClairAnna and the French Kiss- Stephanie Perkins
Logan KeeleyShade - Jeri Smith-REady
Noah ShawMara Dyer - Michelle Hodkins
GanseyRaven Cycle - Maggie Stiefvater
GrayFirst Comes Love - Katie Kacvinsky
Prince MaxonThe Selection - Kiera Cass
W.W. Hale the FifthHeist Society - Ally Carter
DaxFarsighted series - Emlyn Chand
LeviFangirl - Rainbow Rowell
Zachary GoodeGallagher Girls - Ally Carter
Will KillianGhost and the Goth - Stacey Kade
Adrian IvashkovVampire Academy - Richelle Mead
GavrielThe Coldest Girl in Coldtown - Holly Black
Garrick TaylorLosing It by Cora Carmack
Landon LucasEasy by Tammara Webber
Shane McAllisterWVMP Radio Series - Jeri Smith-Ready
Zane BradshawProject Paper Doll Series- Stacey Kade
Wes BakerThe Truth About Forever- Sarah Dessen
Nate CrossLock and Key- Sarah Dessen
Cricket BellLola and the Boy Next Door- Stephanie Perkins
Julian Fineman Delirium series - Lauren Oliver 
LoganSnakeroot - Andrea Cremer
Koldan HoldtRender by Stephanie Fleshman
DashDash and Lily's Book of Dares- Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
Cade WinstonFaking It by Cora Carmack
David CooperThis Side of Salvation - Jeri Smith-Ready
Augustus WatersThe Fault in Our Stars- John Green
DexterThis Lullaby- Sarah Dessen
Grayson BarrettThe Promise of Amazing - Robin Constantine

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy with Autism by Naoki Higashida

Book Summary
You’ve never read a book like The Reason I Jump. Written by Naoki Higashida, a very smart, very self-aware, and very charming thirteen-year-old boy with autism, it is a one-of-a-kind memoir that demonstrates how an autistic mind thinks, feels, perceives, and responds in ways few of us can imagine. Parents and family members who never thought they could get inside the head of their autistic loved one at last have a way to break through to the curious, subtle, and complex life within.
 Using an alphabet grid to painstakingly construct words, sentences, and thoughts that he is unable to speak out loud, Naoki answers even the most delicate questions that people want to know. Questions such as: “Why do people with autism talk so loudly and weirdly?” “Why do you line up your toy cars and blocks?” “Why don’t you make eye contact when you’re talking?” and “What’s the reason you jump?” (Naoki’s answer: “When I’m jumping, it’s as if my feelings are going upward to the sky.”) With disarming honesty and a generous heart, Naoki shares his unique point of view on not only autism but life itself. His insights—into the mystery of words, the wonders of laughter, and the elusiveness of memory—are so startling, so strange, and so powerful that you will never look at the world the same way again.
In his introduction, bestselling novelist David Mitchell writes that Naoki’s words allowed him to feel, for the first time, as if his own autistic child was explaining what was happening in his mind. “It is no exaggeration to say that The Reason I Jump allowed me to round a corner in our relationship.” This translation was a labor of love by David and his wife, KA Yoshida, so they’d be able to share that feeling with friends, the wider autism community, and beyond. Naoki’s book, in its beauty, truthfulness, and simplicity, is a gift to be shared.

Flo's Review
My nine-year-old nephew has autism. So with my sister and our family, I've been on the journey of life with an autistic child: the ups, the downs, the hope, the despair, the good days, the bad days. It is not a journey for the faint of heart, and admire for sister and brother-in-law for the patience and grace with which they walk it everyday.

I forget when or how I heard about this book, but I have been wanting to read it for quite awhile. For some reason, now was the time it happened. My initial reaction was one of sadness. It's literally every few answers that Naoki talks about hating himself because he has no control over his body. He talks about how his greatness sadness is knowing that he causes other people pain and sadness, but there is nothing he can do about it. For him, life is perpetually trying really hard but never quite getting it. It's trying to remember things and then forgetting. It's uncomfort and despair. 

But Naoki talks a lot about things that make him happy. And it's little things. Nature and a simple action. Familiarity. The sound of his own voice. Water. Jumping. I loved this and understand why it was chosen as the title for the book:
But when I’m jumping, it’s as if my feelings are going upward to the sky. Really, my urge to be swallowed up by the sky is enough to make my heart quiver. When I’m jumping, I can feel my body parts really well, too—my bounding legs and my clapping hands—and that makes me feel so, so good.
This book has mixed reviews, and I admit that I can see the other side. This is the side that wonders how a 13-year-old boy can write like this. Especially one with autism. I wonder if there was any, "This is probably what he means" that happened in the process from Naoki to the the machine to the person who was writing down what he was pointing to, to the person who wrote it down on paper, to the person who translated it in English.

But enough of it is so juvenile and raw that I believe it must be this boy. I'm glad I read this book. I came away with some take aways that I will remember when interacting with my nephew, and that is what Naoki says he wanted with this book. 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Rosie Dunne by Cecelia Ahern

Book Summary
Rosie and Alex are destined for one another, and everyone seems to know it but them. Best friends since childhood, their relationship gets closer by the day, until Alex gets the news that his family is leaving Dublin and moving to Boston. At 17, Rosie and Alex have just started to see each other in a more romantic light. Devastated, the two make plans for Rosie to apply to colleges in the U.S. She gets into Boston University, Alex gets into Harvard, and everything is falling into place, when on the eve of her departure, Rosie gets news that will change their lives forever: She's pregnant by a boy she'd gone out with while on the rebound from Alex.

Flo's Review
Oh my gosh. Where do I even start with this book?! Okay. I spied the audiobook on sale for $2 (that's right -- TWO dollars!) over Thanksgiving at my favorite used bookstore so of course I grabbed it. After a good month plus of just listening to Christmas music in my car, I decided I was ready for an audiobook again. This is the one I chose. 

I was sucked into it right away. The main characters, Rosie and Alex, are from Dublin and the audiobook readers all had Irish accents! It was great. This is a book of written correspondence -- letters, emails, Instant Messages (you can tell it was written in the '90s/early '00s), invitations, cards, and so forth. I do want to pick up a copy of the book to see what they actually look like in print. Now that I think about it, it's kind of ironic that I was listening to an audiobook about written correspondence. But along with the spot-on accents, the audiobook had theme-fitting music interspersed (like 'Pomp & Circumstance' around a graduation, for example) so it worked. 

Rosie and Alex were both such lovable characters. Both of them -- but especially Rosie -- had some tough breaks, but they both charged ahead with life and pushed through. We saw these two through times they were tight as thieves and times when they fought. We saw them support each other's dreams and decisions, but also call each other out. And OH the many near misses! My little heart could hardly take it!

Ruby was a great secondary character as an older, supportive voice of reason for Rosie. She played that role with some tough love, and she and Rosie were almost tied for sense of humor. The second to last scene of the book is absolutely perfect.

I discovered shortly after I started reading it, that it was re-released with the title Love, Rosie and it is being made into a movie! With two actors who I adore as Rosie and Alex -- Lily Collins and Sam Claflin:

See? Adorable! So in conclusion, go read this book! It's a cute read, it's absolutely lovely and you'll be looking for the "silence" of your own when you're done!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater

Book Summary
There is danger in dreaming. But there is even more danger in waking up.

Blue Sargent has found things. For the first time in her life, she has friends she can trust, a group to which she can belong. The Raven Boys have taken her in as one of their own. Their problems have become hers, and her problems have become theirs.

The trick with found things though, is how easily they can be lost.

Friends can betray.
Mothers can disappear.
Visions can mislead.
Certainties can unravel.

Flo's Review
"Omg just finished Blue Lily Lily Blue, hoping for Flo to finish it too so we both can share the FEELS."

I saw the above tweet from one of my friends when I was about halfway through this book. It came at the right time because the book really wasn't holding my attention at this point in my reading. As always, Maggie's writing is absolutely beautiful and poetic, and I wish I could be Maggie Stiefvater when I grow up. But overall, I was kind of, "Eh." New characters appeared and I thought to myself, "Hmm, that's interesting." And then I set it aside and read another book. 

But then I was spurred into action by Cindy (author of above tweet) who promised me huge plot twists. So I read on. Not much later -- HUGE PLOT TWIST. The entire end of this book was just this twisty, pretzely thing. I finished it about 30 minutes ago and I'm still in book hangover mode. I love it. I love that feeling. Here are some other things I loved about this book:

1. Adam and Ronan. Their interactions made me smile every time and literally had me chuckling aloud at some points.

2. Adam's character development: Some of you may remember that back in the time of Book #1, I was actually Team Adam. I've always been drawn to his doggedness and his work ethic. But he made some great revelations about himself and his relationships in this book. He is evolving, he is becoming. I love it.

3. The Murder Squash song: Because-- what?!?! LOL!

This book leaves me with sooo many questions!! I can't even fathom how the Raven Cycle will end. I can't wait to read it. 

Jacque's Review

The primary focus of this book is not only on finding Glendower, but also Blue's mother who left at the end of the last book.  Ronan and Adam develop a stronger relationship as they combine their skills to strengthen the ley line.  We also discover why Ronan is working so hard to restore the "power" to his family farm.  

There are a few additional characters that appear throughout this book.  Malory, the older gentleman Gansey worked with in England while researching their ley line, came to stay with the Raven Boys for a while.  He added some insight into what Gansey was like several years ago as well as assisting with the search for Glendower.  Colin Greenmantle is not only the new Latin teacher at Aglionby Academy, but he has a connection with the Gray Man and ultimately to the Raven Boys.  His wife, Piper, becomes a major character towards the end of this story as well.    

One character dies in this book, which was completely unexpected.  This rattled the remaining characters and is forcing them to continue their quest to find Glendower at a more rapid pace.  If death can come so suddenly and without ceremony, it could happen to anyone.  With the foretold death of a certain character in the first book in this series, it is even more important to those with this knowledge to find Glendower and receive a favor.  

I have thoroughly enjoyed this entire series so far and can't wait to see how it will conclude.  I am confident Blue and Gansey's relationship will continue to develop and they will find Glendower, so they can live happily ever after.  Authors never make it quite that easy for us, but that is what I will be hoping for until the release of the final book next October.

Read our other reviews about The Raven Cycle:
The Raven Boys:

Flo Loves Adam Parrish:

The Dream Thieves:

Friday, January 9, 2015

99 Fictional Boyfriends on the blog, 99 Fictional Boyfriends...

If there's one thing that unites the Book Nerds, it's our love of fictional men. Earlier this year, Mary, Jacque and I were talking about them (of course!) when we came up with the idea of sharing a HUGE list of our favorites. Could we do it? We love a lot of these boys!

We decided to go big or home -- so we are bringing you NINETY NINE different boys that we love. Yes, as in almost 100! And the crazy thing? It wasn't that hard! 

So without further ado, here is Flo's list. Let me know in the comments who you agree/disagree with! And stay turned for Mary's list next week, followed by Jacque's list in two weeks! 

Jacob Black Twilight
Ren LaRoche Nightshade
Quentin Jacobsen Paper Towns
Jules Die for Me
Adam If I Stay
Peeta Mellark The Hunger Games
Four Divergent
Lucas Sharp Melting Away the Ice
Ro Icons
Logan Awkward
Will Cooper Slammed
Percy Jackson PJO & Heros of Olympus
Jem Infernal Devices
Jace Wayland Mortal Instruments
Hector Girl of Fire and Thorns
Dmitri Vampire Academy
Fang Maximum Ride
Duval Grave Mercy
Kent Before I Fall
Chaol Throne of Glass
Oliver Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight
Day Legend
Mal Siege and Storm
Elder Across the Universe
Barrow Rift
Sam Shiver
Xander Matched
Bishop Panic
Tucker Unearthly
David All American Girl
Kostas The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
Will Infernal Devices
Finnick Hunger Games

Thursday, January 8, 2015

When We Met by A.L. Jackson, Molly McAdams, Tiffany King, and Christina Lee

Book Summary
Today’s premiere New Adult authors combine their talents to tell four original stories from inside one house. When four girls decide to live off campus together as juniors at a college in Michigan, they expect it to be their best year yet. Little do they know, it’s a year that will change the rest of their lives.

Flo's Review
As I mentioned earlier this week, I was in a novella-reading mood this weekend, so when my eyes landed on this book of four short stories, I scooped it up. What a neat concept! These are four different stories about four different women, but they are roommates. There are glimpses of the other three girls in each of the stories, so it is easy to see them as a unit, even though each one could stand alone. I would love to hear more about the writing process. Did they go in order? Because I feel like maybe A.L. Jackson and Molly McAdams could have switched for 1 and 2, but Christina's story definitely needed to be last. 

Of the four, I think I enjoyed Courtney and Dalton's story the best. Chloe and Blake's is second. The other two were good stories as well, but a bit intense for a Saturday night novella. I thank Berkeley/NAL for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review, and I think I will try to read more from all four ladies.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

The Queen by Kiera Cass

Book Summary
Before America Singer's story began, another girl came to the palace to compete for the hand of a different prince…. Don't miss this digital original novella set in the captivating world of Kiera Cass's #1 New York Times bestselling Selection series. This prequel story takes place before the events of The Selection and is told from the point of view of Prince Maxon's mother, Amberly. Discover a whole new Selection with this inside look at how Maxon's parents met—and how an ordinary girl named Amberly became a beloved queen.
Flo's Review
I put this one on hold at the library as soon as it came out, but apparently it wasn't soon enough! This novella was released on December 2 and I finally got it on January 3. Needless to say, I quickly finished what I was reading and went straight to this. 
This was my favorite of The Selection novellas so far. Well...maybe behind The Prince. Kiera did a good job with consistency here. That's what I most enjoyed about this. Those who have read the books know Prince Maxon's father to be a certain way, and I was really happy to see that his character in this novella is believably on par with the King he becomes. 
It was also really neat just to see another Selection process. Reading this made me even more excited for The Heir, which is the story of America's daughter Selection. I need that book NOW.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Cross Country Christmas by Tiffany King

Book Summary
With the holiday season upon her, Jamie Foster is once again stressed about making her yearly visit back home to Woodfalls, still single. Fate intervenes in the form of Grant Johnson, a boy she grew up with, who catches the same flight while returning home from a business trip.
When a malfunction sends their plane crashing down on the runway upon takeoff, Jamie and Grant decide to rent a car and make the nine-hundred-mile drive home together. Ironically for them, anything that can go wrong does as they face one hysterical hurdle after another.
Christmas may finally bring Jamie the gift of love she has always wanted if she and Grant can manage to overcome a few obstacles along the way. Ho-ho-ho!

Flo's Review
I was in a novella-reading mood this weekend, so I when I was flipping through my Kindle and saw that I had downloaded this, I figured I should read it before the we got too far away from Christmas. I'd remembered reading the Amazon reviews about how it was a bit unrealistic that pretty much EVERYTHING went wrong for these two and I'll have to agree with that. The small car and the speeding ticket didn't really do much for the plot. Everything else, though a bit much, made sense with the progression of the story.

Grant Johnson. How many of us know a guy like that. Soo annoying...yet, really hot. The guy you want to not like, but you just can't help it because he's so darn charming! Tiffany King did a great job giving us that guy and showing Jamie's struggle with him. The other characters in the story were cozy people, and I think that's a great way to describe this novella. Cozy. So if you are in the holiday spirit, grab some hot chocolate, curl up on the couch with your blanket and try making your way to Woodfalls with Jamie and Grant.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch

Book Summary
A heartbroken girl. A fierce warrior. A hero in the making.
Sixteen years ago the Kingdom of Winter was conquered and its citizens enslaved, leaving them without magic or a monarch. Now, the Winterians’ only hope for freedom is the eight survivors who managed to escape, and who have been waiting for the opportunity to steal back Winter’s magic and rebuild the kingdom ever since.
Orphaned as an infant during Winter’s defeat, Meira has lived her whole life as a refugee, raised by the Winterians’ general, Sir. Training to be a warrior—and desperately in love with her best friend, and future king, Mather — she would do anything to help her kingdom rise to power again.
So when scouts discover the location of the ancient locket that can restore Winter’s magic, Meira decides to go after it herself. Finally, she’s scaling towers, fighting enemy soldiers, and serving her kingdom just as she’s always dreamed she would. But the mission doesn’t go as planned, and Meira soon finds herself thrust into a world of evil magic and dangerous politics – and ultimately comes to realize that her destiny is not, never has been, her own.

Flo's Review
First of all -- cover love! How pretty is it?! As soon as I read the summary, I knew that I wanted to read this book. What a fun concept! It's kind of ironic that this book and Frozen both came out around the same time, because both speak to the beauty of winter. Which, as a Florida girl through and through, takes a lot for me to appreciate. LOL. 

I felt for Meira at the beginning of the book and cheered her on enthusiastically during her first big thing. (I know -- purposely vague. I'm trying to be spoiler free!) Then when she had something happen that she didn't like because she couldn't control it...part of me understood. The other part was like, "Honestly, girl? You could have it a LOT worse." (Yes, later I felt really bad for thinking that.)

For awhile now I've been seeing the quote, “Someday we will be more than words in the dark,” so I felt a nice sense of familiarity when I encountered it in the book. And after that -- WOW. What a perfect, perfect phrase for what was going on. So bittersweet and so descriptive. So much emotion and exposition in one single sentence. It's perfect. 

Finally, let's talk about the boys. I loved them both! But between you and me, I loved Theron just a little bit more. 

I'm scared about what will befall all the characters I've come to love as my own family in the second book in this series: Ice Like Fire. I cannot wait to spend time with them again.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories edited by Stephanie Perkins

Book Summary
If you love holiday stories, holiday movies, made-for-TV-holiday specials, holiday episodes of your favorite sitcoms and, especially, if you love holiday anthologies, you’re going to fall in love with MY TRUE LOVE GAVE TO ME: TWELVE HOLIDAY STORIES by twelve bestselling young adult writers, edited by international bestselling author Stephanie Perkins.

Flo's Review
I was in the library hold queue for this book and literally picked it up on the way to the airport to fly back to my parents' house. I'm really glad I got it! I enjoyed the twelve stories a lot. Some of them had some fantastical elements, and while those were fun, I think I tended to like the straight up contemp stories the best. And now I will try to rank them, starting with my most favoritest. Here goes!

It's a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown by Stephanie Perkins 

Midnights by Rainbow Rowell 

Angels in the Snow by Matt de la Peña 

Welcome to Christmas, CA by Kiersten White

What the Hell Have You Done, Sophie Roth? by Gayle Forman

Star of Bethlehem by Ally Carter 
Beer Buckets and Baby Jesus by Myra McEntire 

Polaris is Where You'll Find Me by Jenny Han 

Krampuslauf by Holly Black 
Your Temporary Santa by David Levithan 

The Girl Who Woke the Dreamer by Laini Taylor 

The Lady and the Fox by Kelly Link