Thursday, February 25, 2016

The Maze of Bones by Rick Riordan (39 Clues #1)

The Maze of Bones  (The 39 Clues, #1)

My 5th grade son has been enjoying all of the Who Is / Who Was books for the better part of this school year.  He really enjoys non-fiction, but his teacher wanted him to experiment with fiction as well as increase his reading stamina by selecting a longer book.  He decided to give The 39 Clues a try.  

In the past he has struggled with story lines that were too far from reality, so this seemed like a perfect fit.  39 Clues is about a couple of siblings, Amy and Dan, whose aunt Grace recently passed away at the beginning of the book.  All of the Cahill descendants are given the choice of taking a check for one million dollars or forfeiting the money for a chance to participate in a scavenger hunt.  They will need to track down clues, but only one individual or team can win.  The contest will be very dangerous and should not be entered into lightly.

Amy and Dan decide to participate in the challenge.  Being minors, they don't have the financial resources most of the participants have at their disposal.  They even have to solicit the help of their au pair (nanny) in order to purchase plane tickets, check into hotels, etc.  

I found this book to be both entertaining and educational.  Reader have the opportunity to learn about Benjamin Franklin and places that were significant in his life such as Philadelphia and Paris.  Riordan did an excellent job of keeping the story realistic while inserting some action and elements of danger, which kept my son continuously engaged.  I felt like this series was equally as informative as the Who Is and Magic Tree House books, but it was presented in a way that children do not feel like they are receiving a history lesson.  It as fun and exciting and allows children a chance to feel like they are part of an adventure. 

Preston has the first 10 installments in the series and plans on reading the next book after he completes another "I Survived" book.  What I find to be unique about this series is that there are several different authors throughout the course of the series.  I will be interested to see if the future books read the same way as the first or if there is an obvious change based upon the different styles of the authors.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Happy Book Birthday: Faking It by Gabrielle Tozer

About the book
Josie’s hot new boyfriend James can’t keep his hands off her, she’s moved into a share house in the city, and she’s scored a coveted job as indi website’s junior writer. But life wasn’t meant to go that smoothly, so when indi’s features editor Sia announces she’s pregnant and needs time off, the pressure is on for Josie to prove to her editor Liani that she’s got what it takes to be a real journalist. Loved-up Josie is also on a mission to lose her virginity to James (if they can get past second base without laughing, arguing, being interrupted, or freaking out!). And if that’s not enough, Josie’s battling with bong-smoking room-mates, mag-girl frenemies, and confusing feelings for jaded travel writer, Alex. High on the fabulous perks from her new job at indi, Josie’s life seems pretty close to perfect—even though she still hasn’t mastered her hair straightener. But when Josie is suspected of stealing from one of magazines’ rising queen bees at a luxurious media junket, she is thrown into a mystery of lies, theft, and deceit that threatens to ruin her reputation, love life, and career forever. Does Josie have what it takes to be a real journalist? Will she be able to prove her innocence without losing her job at indi (and her mind)? And what will Josie do when Alex comes to her rescue when no-one else does, not even James...? Yep. 18 just got a whole lot more complicated.

About the author
Gabrielle Tozer is an Australian author, journalist and editor. In addition to Gabrielle’s work on Dolly, Cosmopolitan, DisneyGiRL, Mamamia and FamilyFun, she has also written for creative journals such as GOfish and Take It As Red. Born and raised in regional New South Wales, Gabrielle now works at Pacific Magazines and lives in the heart of Sydney. FAKING IT, out 2/23, is the follow up story to her first YA novel, THE INTERN. Say hello:,, and

Friday, February 19, 2016

Happily Ever After by Kiera Cass

Flo's Review
Happily Ever After is a collection of novellas from the Selection world, as follows. (The hyperlinked ones will take you to our published reviews):

-The Prince (with the two bonus chapters), Maxon’s novella
-The Guard, Aspen’s novella
-The Queen, Amberly’s novella
-The Favorite, Marlee’s novella
-Three scenes from Celeste’s POV
-Lucy’s scene (bonus scene from The One)
-The bonus epilogue
-Where are they now?
-A map
-Various illustrations

My favorite part of Happily Ever After was definitely the illustrations! This is such a pretty book! I checked it out from the library, but I think I will need to buy it to add to my collection -- especially if I can get Kiera to sign it. As far as the stories (lol, of yes -- those too!), I definitely loved reading the Epilogue and I really enjoyed The Favorite, which I hadn't read before now. I also enjoyed the Departure scene from Celeste's POV.

Happily Ever After is a good little dip for fans of the Selection who want to lose themselves in the world again. And, true to the title, it is the perfect completion and goodbye. If you're a fan of the series, I think you will enjoy this collection and should definitely pick it up.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Joyride by Anna Banks

Book Summary
A popular guy and a shy girl with a secret become unlikely accomplices for midnight pranking, and are soon in over their heads—with the law and with each other—in this sparkling standalone from NYT-bestselling author Anna Banks.

It’s been years since Carly Vega’s parents were deported. She lives with her brother, studies hard, and works at a convenience store to contribute to getting her parents back from Mexico.

Arden Moss used to be the star quarterback at school. He dated popular blondes and had fun with his older sister, Amber. But now Amber’s dead, and Arden blames his father, the town sheriff who wouldn’t acknowledge Amber's mental illness. Arden refuses to fulfill whatever his conservative father expects.

All Carly wants is to stay under the radar and do what her family expects. All Arden wants is to NOT do what his family expects. When their paths cross, they each realize they’ve been living according to others. Carly and Arden’s journey toward their true hearts—and one another—is funny, romantic, and sometimes harsh.

Flo's Review
So Anna tweeted a few weeks ago that she would be willing to send out an audiobook of Joyride in exchange for an honest review. I was all over that, of course! I love audiobooks and was super excited to snag one.

I am not really into talking politics, but this is a very interesting book to be reading during the current presidential election...! I'll just leave that there.

The only problem I had with the audiobook was that the guy reading Arden sounded like a 45 year old man and not a 17 year old boy. The girl reading Carly was great, though. I definitely found myself getting sucked into the story. For the majority of the book, I could not with Julio! Carly is a teenage girl and deserves some time to be a girl. She already had to grow up to fast and work too hard. 
There was a twist that I did not see coming, and then the end had me holding my breath along with our two main characters. Great pacing on that final scene, and a satisfying ending. 

Finally the line: "Do I have you like you have me?" <3 <3 <3  New favorite!

Monday, February 15, 2016

The Fifth Wave by Rick Yancey

Book Summary
After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it's the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth's last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie's only hope for rescuing her brother--or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.

Flo's Review
The Fifth Wave movie comes out January 22, and I wanted to be sure to read it before seeing it. I figured I'd ask Jacque and Mary if they wanted to make it this month's read along, and they were on board with the idea. It took me awhile to read this one, because I was trying to read it during the busy month of December and starting back in January, which -- as we all know -- can be a busy, busy time with little extra time for extras. But I was finally able to finish on my way to ALA Midwinter.

Flo and author Rick at the Miami Book Fair in November 2015
I liked this story! I enjoyed reading Cassie -- she has great attitude, humor, and perseverance. I liked the weight that a promise held for several characters of the book. This book can be read on a deeper lever, as Rick Yancey explores what is means to be human. It's not just physical, but it is in our reactions, emotions, and more. I had the opportunity to see Rick Yancey speak at the Miami Book Fair in November 2015 and he explained how he had often seen alien invasion type books and/or movies where humans in all their awesomeness can defeat the aliens and YAY! humans. And not that humans aren't awesome, but he was really into the exploring the idea -- what if the aliens are really smart and clever as well? I was definitely blown away by some of the things they orchestrated and how much thought and planning went into the waves. Rick Yancey also has some deep and beautiful, highly thought-provoking prose that will just casually come out of his character's minds as they are fighting to survive.

This book is full of action, and as I was reading it, I was thinking of what a great movie it will be. I am very happy that I was able to read it when I did, and I can't wait to see these characters on the big screen!

Final question: I've talked to a few people who didn't love the next book in the series, The Infinite Sea. Have you read it? Should I give it a go?

Jacque's Review:

Like Flo, I really enjoyed The 5th Wave.  It was action packed and unpredictable, which kept me constantly wanting to know what would happen next.  As the pieces of the puzzle began to come together, I became so engrossed that I didn't realize how close to the end I was.  Then, it just stopped.  I was reading an ebook, so those things can easily happen, but I was still shocked.  There were so many loose ends and unresolved issues that there HAD to be a few more chapters I was missing.  WRONG!  

That is when I went to Goodreads and discovered there is a second book in the series.  I immediately tweeted Flo and was like, how can this be?  Fortunately, The Infinite Sea is available, so I guess I will be reading it in the near future.  I certainly can't leave these wonderful characters in limbo for all eternity....or perhaps that is what the "Others" would like for me to do.  

The final book in the series, The Last Star, will be released on May 24, 2016.   I was beyond excited to see that I will be able to conclude the series without having to wait even a few months between books.  Flo's timing in selecting this series couldn't have been better.  

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Mary's Booknerd Lent Challenge 2016

Oh it's that time of year again!!

I have to say this is one of my fave challenges we do. Last year I read 40 books, but sadly, I'll not be able to do the same this 2016!

However, I thought I would do a 'theme' Lent Challenge. I currently have 12 paranormal books listed on my Kindle as 'unread'.

There it is...I will read all 12 paranormal books and get you all snappy/funny/serious reviews (whatever the book brings!!)

Happy Ash Wednesday!!!

Flo's Book Nerd Lent Challenge 2016!

I explain these at the bottom of the post... :)
You may or may not know that we have been blogging for more than 5 years! And we're still here! We just love it so much.

In 2012, the Book Nerds decided to do different challenges for Lent. We had a lot of fun with it! Here was mine: Read a Stand Alone book. I picked that because trilogies and series were all over the place (they still are!) and I wanted to enjoy a single book with a single story that ended there. As you can see, I hit the jackpot with my choice of The Fault in Our Stars. This was the first John Green book I read, and the rest is history! I encourage you to click on 2012 on the sidebar at the right hand side of the page, and then click into March to see what Jacque, Mary, and Teri did.

We had so much fun with the Lenten challenges that we decided to do them again for 2016! Lent this year starts on February 10th and goes until the end of March. (If you are interested in the religious explanation behind Lent, you can read that here.) This year, for my Book Nerd Lenten Challenge, I am going to...

****Drum roll****

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Jacque's Book Nerd Lent Challenge

Shade Me 

It is once again time for the Book Nerds Lent challenge.  I am currently knee deep in books I "NEED" to read for one challenge or another.  For example, I have been reading a ton of ebooks and listening to audio books lately for the COYER (Clean Out Your E Reader) challenge.  As a result, this review copy Flo sent me is still sitting on my desk unopened. 

 My first goal will be to complete Shade Me by Jennifer Brown.  I've only read one of her books in the past, Bitter End, and really enjoyed it.  Her books often deal with difficult topics, so they are definitely outside my comfort zone, but are usually well worth the read.  

Elegy (Hereafter #3)

Part two of my challenge will be to read Elegy by Tara Hudson.  This is the third and final book in the Hereafter series.  I read the first two books shortly after they were released and was REALLY excited when I received this ARC at the RT Convention in.......2013.  No, that is not a typo.  This book has been sitting in my home office for almost 3 years now.  I definitely think it is time to see how this series concludes.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Starflight by Melissa Landers

Flo's Review
We shared the book summary for Starlight when it was released on Tuesday. So let's jump right into my review! 

First of all: Cover love! I really like how the stars are shimmering in an arc and the contrast it provides on the purple and black cover. High five cover designers!

This book is about Solara's and Doran's journey around the universe, and as a reader I really did feel like I was on a journey. This was a bad and a good thing. I almost felt like I was reading not one cohesive story, but a mash up of different events that took place at different times on different planets. I don't know why, but it kinda felt like, "Okay, there's at a new planet and here's a heist/scene where everything goes wrong. They escape. A few weeks goes by on the Banshee, but we are told about it, we don't read about it. Then here we are a new planet and a here's the new heist that they need to pull off..." And repeat. Not that I didn't enjoy reading about the different happenings, because I did. 

For some reason, I wasn't really into Solara either. I think there was potential to make the reader emphasize with her more by telling more of her backstory or showing us more how she came to be the handy mechanic that she is. But there was kind of a disconnect there, and it left me feeling indifferent towards her. I did really enjoy watching Doran's story unfold and seeing his character arc from beginning to end. Doran and Solara also had hot, amazing romantic tension! Whew! Those two really had some great scenes.

It's a testament to how well Melissa Landers did in getting me to know her characters that I got teary eyed at he end. Someone at the end -- Solara, I think? -- says that the Banshee crew is a family, and they really are. They all have skeletons in the cloest and they are far from perfect, but they have each others' backs. It looks like this is the start of a trilogy or a series or something, so I'm interested to see what's in store for them next.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Happy Book Birthday: Starflight by Melissa Landers

A very happy book birthday to Starflight by Melissa Landers! Here is the synopsis:

Life in the outer realm is a lawless, dirty, hard existence, and Solara Brooks is hungry for it. Just out of the orphanage, she needs a fresh start in a place where nobody cares about the engine grease beneath her fingernails or the felony tattoos across her knuckles. She's so desperate to reach the realm that she's willing to indenture herself to Doran Spaulding, the rich and popular quarterback who made her life miserable all through high school, in exchange for passage aboard the spaceliner Zenith.

When a twist of fate lands them instead on the Banshee, a vessel of dubious repute, Doran learns he's been framed on Earth for conspiracy. As he pursues a set of mysterious coordinates rumored to hold the key to clearing his name, he and Solara must get past their enmity to work together and evade those out for their arrest. Life on the Banshee may be tumultuous, but as Solara and Doran are forced to question everything they once believed about their world—and each other—the ship becomes home, and the eccentric crew family. But what Solara and Doran discover on the mysterious Planet X has the power to not only alter their lives, but the existence of everyone in the universe...

We are currently reading and enjoying it! Look for our review this week. (While you wait, you can check out our review for Melissa's book Alienated.)