Friday, July 31, 2015

Jesse's Girl by Miranda Kenneally

Jacque's Review
This is the first book by Miranda Kenneally that I have read and I absolutely loved it.  Jesse is an eighteen year old country music star and Maya is a high school senior who is an aspiring musician.  Her musical taste is more towards the 80's, so getting paired with Jesse for a job shadowing assignment by her principal was not nearly as appealing as it would have been for most girls her age. 

Jesse and Maya have a very awkward first encounter, but their day of shadowing turned out to be one of the best days of either of their lives.  Picture Ferris Bueller's Day Off... Nashville style.  Maya realizes how talented Jesse is and begins to really appreciate the musical advice he gives her.  For Jesse...Maya is a breath of fresh air that he has desperately been needing.  Life in the music business has caused him to isolate himself from everyone except his immediate family and managers.  He has been burned so many times by his supposed "friends" that he has a hard time trusting anyone.  Maya manages to show him that he can still have a life while maintaining his career.

I haven't given a book 5 stars in a while, but this one was definitely worthy.  I was completely engaged and actually finished the entire book during a lengthy travel day with my family.  My husband even commented that I needed to get my head out of the book.  Once I was finished...I still couldn't put it down.  I was flipping back through to reread some of my favorite scenes and quotes. 

Flo's Review
Jesse's Girl was on my "Must Get" list at ALA Midwinter earlier this year. I loved Breathe, Annie, Breathe and was looking forward to this one. Well, Jacque and I have both agreed that we need to take a trip to Nashville because of Jesse Scott. It's been awhile since I've met a boy worthy to add to my Book Boyfriend List, and I feel like Jesse definitely earns a spot. This was a quick and breezy read -- I read the whole thing over the course of a few flights. It also made me want to read Miranda's first book that takes place in the same town, Catching Jordan.

I had an interesting relationship with this book. I didn't love Maya because I thought, "Okay, she wants to be a singer, but she doesn't want to sing in front of anybody?! How does that make any kind of sense?!?" But then I realized why I was so perturbed by this: because I am doing the exact same thing. I bet even my fellow Book Nerds don't know that I am currently writing a book. It's a YA contemporary and I'm in love with my main characters. It's about halfway done right now. But I don't really talk about it, and no one else has even read parts of it. Maybe I need Jesse Scott to come to my house and threaten to fail me if I don't finish it and give it to my friends to get their feedback. Come to think of it, that's not a bad idea...

Monday, July 27, 2015

The Lunar Chronicles Read Along

The Book Nerds decided that our August Book of the Month is going to be Cinder by Marissa Meyer. None of us has ever read it, and it's been on all our TBRs. We were finally spurred to action by the fact that Flo found the audiobook at the library and started listening.

Fast forward to a few days later when we stumble upon this post on The Book Addict's Guide about a Lunar Chronicles Read Along! It's going August through December and reading all the books...which means that they are also reading Cinder in August! Coincidence, much?! It only makes sense for us to join in and read them all! Here's how's we start:

CINDER | August 1st – August 31st
  • 8/1 – 8/7:  Chapters 1-9
  • 8/8 – 8/14: Chapters 10-21
  • 8/15 – 8/21: Chapters 22-30
  • 8/22 – 8/28: Chapters 31-38
  • Week of 8/30/15: Post review and/or recap
We'll also be tweeting from @booknerdsblog with the #TLCReadAlong hashtag. 

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Paper Towns: Night On The Towns Locket Giveaway!

We had the chance to attend Thursday night's Night on the Towns event for the Paper Towns movie and had a blast! The movie was fantastic, and I definitely recommend it. Don't know what it's about? Check out my review of the book here:

They were giving away posters and these super cute lockets at the event, and we were able to snag one for you guys! Want to win it? Visit our Facebook page: and leave a comment on the giveaway post.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The Trials by Stacey Kade

The Trials (Project Paper Doll, #3)

Jacque's Review: 

The Trials is the third and final book in the Project Paper Doll series and resumes pretty much where the previous book left off.  Zane is missing and Ariane is back in her quarters at GTX after being captured by her creator, Dr. Jacobs.  She believes Zane  is dead and feels she has nothing further to lose in the trials.  She is willing to sacrifice herself to ensure that no future alien/human hybrids are produced.  She continues to hone her skills while devising a plan to wipe out all of the major players in the trials.

Everything is going as planned until she discovers that Zane is alive and is now a part of the trials.  What???  How can a human become part of this competition?  You will need to read the book if you want to find out :)

The majority of the book focuses on the trials, which are held in Chicago.  My step-sister lives in Chicago, so I have had the chance to tour and see many of the landmarks, museums, etc. that are mentioned throughout the book.  Using real locations helps to more accurately visualize the setting.  It also allowed Stacey to focus on the plot and character development, which is definitely a plus.

The pace and action continued to escalate as the stakes increased throughout the trials.  The contestants realize not everyone is going to come out of this competition alive, but there is more on the line than they ever imagined.  They will need to work together if any of them wants to walk away from this alive.

Overall, this was an excellent conclusion to the series.  There were several surprises and a few new characters to keep the story interesting.  The relationship development between Zane and Ariane was very believable and the characters remained true to themselves.  I also loved the tie in between the the first book and the conclusion.  While "The Rules" may have changed, there will always be rules to follow as long as GTX and similar corporations are in existence.

I thoroughly enjoyed both her Project Paper Doll and Ghost and the Goth series and would definitely recommend them to any YA fan.

Monday, July 20, 2015

BLOG TOUR: Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid

By Taylor Jenkins Reid

At the age of twenty-nine, Hannah Martin still has no idea what she wants to do with her life. She has lived in six different cities and held countless meaningless jobs since graduating college, but on the heels of a disastrous breakup, she has finally returned to her hometown of Los Angeles. To celebrate her first night back, her best friend, Gabby, takes Hannah out to a bar—where she meets up with her high school boyfriend, Ethan.

It’s just past midnight when Gabby asks Hannah if she’s ready to go. Ethan quickly offers to give her a ride later if she wants to stay.
Hannah hesitates.
What happens if she leaves with Gabby?
What happens if she leaves with Ethan?

In concurrent storylines, Hannah lives out the effects of each decision. Quickly, these parallel universes develop into surprisingly different stories with far-reaching consequences for Hannah and the people around her, raising questions like: Is anything meant to be? How much in our life is determined by chance? And perhaps most compellingly: Is there such a thing as a soul mate?
Hannah believes there is. And, in both worlds, she believes she’s found him.

Taylor Jenkins Reid is an author and essayist from Acton, Massachusetts. She is the author of Forever, Interrupted and After I Do. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Alex, and her dog, Rabbit. You can follow her on Twitter @TJenkinsReid.

MAYBE IN ANOTHER LIFE by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Atria Books/Washington Square Press Paperback | 352 pages | ISBN:  9781476776880 | July 7, 2015 | $16.00

eBook: Atria Books/Washington Square Press | 352 pages | ISBN: 9781476776897 | July 7, 2015 | $11.99

Grab the high-res cover here



Click on the arrow to read Flo's review of Maybe in Another Life.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

United We Spy by Ally Carter

Book Summary
Cammie Morgan has lost her father and her memory, but in the heart-pounding conclusion to the best-selling Gallagher Girls series, she finds her greatest mission yet. Cammie and her friends finally know why the terrorist organization called the Circle of Cavan has been hunting her. Now the spy girls and Zach must track down the Circle’s elite members to stop them before they implement a master plan that will change Cammie—and her country—forever. 

Flo's Review
I made it! I started my Gallagher Girls journey two months ago with the first book, and now I've finally finished out this series. I think my problem with this book came with the fact that I was listening to the audiobook. And maybe listening to all 6 of them back to back with no breaks was a bit of overload. All I know is that this book dragged a little for me. I was ready for the wrap up. I wanted the girls (and Zach) to complete the mission and end everything.

There were a few little juicy reveals in this one and the introduction of a new little character who I loved.

Overall, this was a fantastic series! I enjoyed the time I spent at the Gallagher Academy, and yes -- my favorite parts, I think, were the ones that took place at the school. It was nice to see all the girls growing up, especially Cammie, Liz, and Macey. Ally left the characters in a good spot, and I was felt happy and sure about all their futures as I bid them adieu like a proud big sister.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

One Moment in Time by Lauren Barnholdt

Book Summary
The second book of Lauren Barnholdt's exiting Moment of Truth series: three books, three girls, one life-changing senior trip.
When the email arrived in Quinn Reynolds's in box on the morning of her flight to Florida, she sent it straight to her trash folder. The last thing Quinn needed was to be reminded of the pact she made with her ex–best friends—the one where she promised she would do something crazy before graduation.
But that was before everything on the trip went wrong.
Now, after a lifetime of playing it safe, Quinn figures that she might as well get a little wild…after all, what does she have to lose? When Abram, a local boy she met on the beach, asks her to hang out, she says yes. But while a vacation romance could be the best way to fulfill the pact, it might be the worst thing for her heart.…
Each book in this trilogy is told from the perspective of a different girl—Lyla, Aven, and Quinn—former best friends who, back in freshman year, wrote emails to their future selves about the one thing they hope to accomplish before they graduate. Over the course of the series, each girl will learn about life, love, and the truth about the fight that ended their perfect friendship.

Flo's Review
I basically knew as soon as I finished Heat of the Moment that I was in for all three of these books. I just think it's a really neat concept to have these three girls stories happening on the same trip and release them all around the same time. (Yay, no yearlong wait!) And my favorite part of this book was the scenes where Quinn's path crossed with Lyla, Aven, or both. They made me want to go back to Heat of the Moment and read them again from Lyla's point of view, so I could remember what she was thinking of the situation as it happened. Unfortunately, like with Heat of the Moment, I didn't like the main character. Quinn was quite judgmental of others, and I'm not sure if that aspect of her personality was much changed by the growth she underwent throughout the novel. I did enjoy Abram, though. 

We've got one book left. I can't comment on Aven's character yet, but she has the potential to be my favorite of the three. And I'm looking forward to seeing the conclusion that it just beyond the final scenes of these last two books. I hope it's a good one.

Armada by Ernest Cline

Book Summary
Zack Lightman has spent his life dreaming. Dreaming that the real world could be a little more like the countless science-fiction books, movies, and videogames he’s spent his life consuming. Dreaming that one day, some fantastic, world-altering event will shatter the monotony of his humdrum existence and whisk him off on some grand space-faring adventure.
But hey, there’s nothing wrong with a little escapism, right? After all, Zack tells himself, he knows the difference between fantasy and reality. He knows that here in the real world, aimless teenage gamers with anger issues don’t get chosen to save the universe.
And then he sees the flying saucer.
Even stranger, the alien ship he’s staring at is straight out of the videogame he plays every night, a hugely popular online flight simulator called Armada—in which gamers just happen to be protecting the earth from alien invaders. 
No, Zack hasn’t lost his mind. As impossible as it seems, what he’s seeing is all too real. And his skills—as well as those of millions of gamers across the world—are going to be needed to save the earth from what’s about to befall it.
It’s Zack’s chance, at last, to play the hero. But even through the terror and exhilaration, he can’t help thinking back to all those science-fiction stories he grew up with, and wondering: Doesn’t something about this scenario seem a little…familiar?
At once gleefully embracing and brilliantly subverting science-fiction conventions as only Ernest Cline could, Armada is a rollicking, surprising thriller, a classic coming of age adventure, and an alien invasion tale like nothing you’ve ever read before—one whose every page is infused with the pop-culture savvy that has helped make Ready Player One a phenomenon.

Flo's Review
Sheng-lee for Armada! Sheng-lee means "victory" and look for it in the book -- that's all I'll say about that :). No wait -- one more thing. I'm calling it that there is totally going to be Sheng-lee! swag and memes surrounding this book. Calling it right now. 

I have to start off by saying that I have never read Ernest Cline's other famous book Ready Player One. Although I have been told by numerous friends and even one of those online quizzes that I need to do so. Based on everything I have heard about it, I believe it is a good book and that Ernest Cline is a good writer. So when I saw the description for Armada, I was intrigued. When I saw the author, I was even more intrigued. Secondly, I have to say that I am not a gamer. The closet I've gotten to identifying with gamers is playing Super Mario Brothers on the original Nintendo. (Dang it! Just aged myself.) And I couldn't even beat it, guys. The highest I got was level 8.2, or maybe even 8.1. And if I heard "The princess is in another castle" one more time...

Okay, on to the book! Armada is divided into 3 phases. Basically, I thought nothing happened in the first phase, the second phase was amazing, and the third phase was rushed. Let me break it down:

Phase One -- My problem here is that it was all information dump. We needed the information and the background, but in giving us the information, I didn't feel like Cline was telling a story and moving it forward. Part of the reason was because a lot of what he had to tell us took place in the past. Then he had to describe the game in detail in order for Phase Two to make sense. And in all that, I didn't really feel like I was reading a narrative as much as I felt like I was reading a summary or background report.

Phase Two - This Phase ROCKED. This is the story right here. Phase Two was where the action, the drama, the romance, the emotion, the suspense -- all of it! -- happened. Cline threw a big surprise at us that I honestly probably should have seen coming, but I totally didn't. We met a ton of awesome new characters who I came to know and love. There's a love interest and a bad guy, revelations, and killer action. The writing was tight and suspenseful, and I eagerly kept turning the pages to see what was going to be thrown at us next. I loved this Phase. 

Phase Three - So after all that awesomeness, I felt like this phase was more of a, "Oh yeah...we should probably end up the story somewhere. Um.....let's do this? And how about this? And maybe this? But not explain anything, just mention it. The end." Cline's strength in this book is writing the action, battle scenes of Phase Two. This Phase felt like an afterthought, like it was added because someone suggested that it be added. It didn't have the emotion and the heart of Phase Two.

Armada comes out July 14th, and though it had it problems, it's worth picking up. Also, check out the website: It's a countdown clock right now, like in Phase Two. I can't wait to see what it will become.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

The Fine Art of Pretending by Rachel Harris

The Fine Art of Pretending (The Fine Art of Pretending, #1)

Jacque's Review:

Aly is the one person Brandon connected with after his father died three years prior to the start of this book.  Since then, they have become best friends, but dating has been out of the question.  He is the star of the baseball team and is part of their school's A-list.  He isn't interested in a serious relationship and chooses to casually date a variety of girls.

Aly is friends with some of the elite, but doesn't consider herself part of that group.  With only her senior year remaining, she decides it is time to get noticed.  She buys all new clothes and makeup, gets a new hair style, and begins to step out of her comfort zone with one goal in mind.  She wants to land a date to homecoming with the hottest guy in the school, who is none other than Brandon's friend Justin.  What better way to get Justin's attention than to pretend to be dating Brandon...Right?  WRONG!!! Aly and Brandon's entire plan backfires when they begin to realize there may be more to their relationship than either of them is willing to admit.

This was a cute and entertaining story, but I felt like the drama dragged on a lot longer than it should have.  The reader, as well as all of Aly and Brandon's friends, could see what was going on, but Aly and Brandon were too stubborn or afraid to propel the story forward.  I felt like I was stuck in a rut for the longest time, but when I finally broke was over.  The ending was what I expected, but after all of the drama, there should have been a few more chapters to cap things off.  Perhaps that is part of Rachel's plan with the companion novel that is scheduled to be released in 2016.  It will focus on Justin, but hopefully there will be some updates on Aly and Brandon to provide some sense of closure to their story.

I ended up giving this book 3 out of 5 stars because it didn't quite live up to my expectations.