Sunday, July 31, 2016

Summer Blog Promo Tour: Lefty Reads

I don't know about you all, but I am loving being part of the Summer Blog Promo Tour! I hope you are enjoying meeting all these fun bloggers! Today we get the opportunity to hear from Lefty over at The Left-Handed Book Lover!

Hello there, friends! My name is Lefty and I am the mystical unicorn gallivanting about over at The Left-Handed Book Lover! I'm so excited to have the opportunity to talk to all you Book Nerds about a book series that holds a very special place in my heart. Just a warning--this post gets a bit personal.


This series came to me at a very pivotal time in my life, and I can't help but think it was fate for me to happen upon it. 

Let me set the scene for you: I was in eighth grade (six-ish years ago), and the vampire phenomenon was at its peak. My family had fallen on hard times and my dad, brother, and I were moving several hours away from the town I was born and raised in to go live with my other brother. The sun was setting, we had the U-Haul stuffed with all our worldly possessions, snacks for the road wedged between my brother and me, and our emotions clogging our throats. We were just about ready to begin this new adventure in our lives, but my dad wanted to make one more stop before we got going: Publix. 

I cannot for the life of me remember what my dad went into buy, but I know that I, in my Superman pajama pants, followed him in. As he waited in line to check out, I saw a little magazine/bestsellers display, and among the different titles I spotted Vampire Academy. Thus, the love was born. I saw the word "vampire" in the title and I begged my dad to buy it for me without a clue as to what it was even about (thank goodness it didn't end up being, like, vampire erotica or anything). 

My dad probably shouldn't have bought it for me. We weren't exactly in an ideal financial position, but my dad has always been the type of parent to supply me with book after book with only minimal complaint. So, he purchased it. And then we were off to our new home. I cracked the book open the minute we got back to the U-Haul and delved into the world accompanied by the light of a flashlight. At one point, my brother wanted to sleep and complained about the flashlight, so I hid under a little blanket tent to continue reading. 

While my brothers and my dad unloaded boxes from the U-Haul when we arrived at our new house, I kept devouring Mead's world. I finished the book the next day. I wanted to stay up until the last page, but my brother and I were sharing a room and he made me put it down and go to sleep. 

And then I was a goner. Somehow I convinced my oldest brother to buy me Frostbite, the second book in the series, and all the books after that. 

I found friends and familiarity in the pages, both of which I'd lost in real life. I got to read about a fierce and brave woman as she struggled with isolation and her identity, the same way I was. I slipped into a world full of snarky vampires and a Russian god. Somehow, what I was going through didn't feel as heavy because I had the comfort of this book series. Somewhere along the way, I began to understand this fictional world more than I understood the world I was living in.

The Vampire Academy books saved my sanity. I had to move towns several times after that, and each time my life got pushed off its rails, I'd turn back to Richelle Mead's words for stability. This series made me realize that books were the one thing I could count on in at a time in which everything else around me felt so ephemeral. I could count on the characters to be there for me, and I could count on the world to sweep me away. 

Books henceforth became my #1 source of happiness, and to this day, they're a vice that I still cling to to. 

Additionally, I felt so connected to the Vampire Academy series that I began writing fanfiction about it, which led me to work on original writing and discover my passion. Now, my entire life revolves around books in some way. Currently, as an English and creative writing double major, I'm dedicating thousands upon thousands of dollars to, essentially, study the art of books. And in the future I hope to make a career out of books--reading AND writing them. 

Aww! Thank you so much for sharing this, Lefty! What about you guys? What is a book or a book series that holds a special place in your heart?

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Summer Blog Promo Tour: Downright Dystopian

Ready to learn about another awesome blogger?! This week we are featuring Krystianna at Downright Dystopian. As bloggers, I'm guessing we all have a range of posts and reviews...some are a struggle to write up, whereas some just roll off our fingers. I was curious to find out which blog post Krystianna has written that was her favorite:

I've been blogging for four years, yet my favorite blog post is actually a rather recent one! It's my book review ofIlluminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff. The book absolutely blew me away and revamped my love for reading. I was going through a bit of a struggle because I had been wanting to watch Netflix shows instead of reading, yet that book made me want to just read everything! It was such an amazing read and I actually used gifs from Grey's Anatomy to help explain my feelings for it. The post is my favorite because it got me into using gifs in posts and is a reminder of why I love to read. Finding that hidden book that is a gem is what makes it worth while!

Thank you, Krystianna! This book is definitely on my TBR. Have you guys read it? 

In a fun flip, I'm featured on Downright Dystopian today, so check out my thoughts on book-to-movie adaptations while you are looking around!

Friday, July 22, 2016

After You by Jojo Moyes

**Warning: This book summary and review will spoil the book Me Before You. If you have not read Me Before You, first read our review, then go read the book because it's amazing. After you've done all that, you can proceed to this review.**

Book Summary
“You’re going to feel uncomfortable in your new world for a bit. But I hope you feel a bit exhilarated too. Live boldly. Push yourself. Don’t settle. Just live well. Just live. Love, Will.”

How do you move on after losing the person you loved? How do you build a life worth living?

Louisa Clark is no longer just an ordinary girl living an ordinary life. After the transformative six months spent with Will Traynor, she is struggling without him. When an extraordinary accident forces Lou to return home to her family, she can’t help but feel she’s right back where she started.

Her body heals, but Lou herself knows that she needs to be kick-started back to life. Which is how she ends up in a church basement with the members of the Moving On support group, who share insights, laughter, frustrations, and terrible cookies. They will also lead her to the strong, capable Sam Fielding—the paramedic, whose business is life and death, and the one man who might be able to understand her. Then a figure from Will’s past appears and hijacks all her plans, propelling her into a very different future...

For Lou Clark, life after Will Traynor means learning to fall in love again, with all the risks that brings. But here Jojo Moyes gives us two families, as real as our own, whose joys and sorrows will touch you deeply, and where both changes and surprises await.

Flo's Review
I loved Me Before You so much. So much. But when I heard there was a sequel, I was immediately hesitant.  I read an interview with the author. In it, she explained how she wrote After You because the readers wanted to know what happened to Lou. In other words, the sequel was never planned. Sometimes this ends up well, but sometimes it does not. (I will give no examples, but I am sure you can think of one or a few.) But the publisher was kind enough to offer me a copy in exchange for my review, so I decided to give it a chance...

...and I couldn't do it. It is a DNF for me at 139 pages; I am just not compelled to read any more. Part of it is me as a reader. I know that I personally do not do well with stories where the whole story is the MC Being Sad. The MC remembers and is Sad. Or hates his/her life and is Sad. Or misses someone and is Sad. I definitely understand sadness, and recognize it as a very human and very important emotion. But...I just can't do so much of it. 

But also, there was nothing that really hooked me to the new characters. They all elicited a solid, "Ehhh" type feeling from me. And the old characters that were quirky and fun and that I loved in Me Before You sadly did the same thing.  

Maybe if I had read further, I would have been cheering Lou on instead of wallowing in sadness with her. Maybe the old characters would be fun and familiar again. Maybe I would have learned to like and even love the new characters. But I don't think I'll ever know.

This is one of those stories that got an interesting range of reviews on Goodreads -- people either really seemed to enjoy or really were not feeling it. So I am curious to know what side you fall on? Or do you fall in the middle?

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

Book Summary
In a kingdom by the sea…

In a secret world where half-angel warriors are sworn to fight demons, parabatai is a sacred word.

parabatai is your partner in battle. A parabatai is your best friend. Parabatai can be everything to each other—but they can never fall in love.

Emma Carstairs is a warrior, a Shadowhunter, and the best in her generation. She lives for battle. Shoulder to shoulder with her parabatai, Julian Blackthorn, she patrols the streets of Los Angeles, where vampires party on the Sunset Strip, and faeries—the most powerful of supernatural creatures—teeter on the edge of open war with Shadowhunters. When the bodies of humans and faeries turn up murdered in the same way Emma’s parents were when she was a child, an uneasy alliance is formed. This is Emma’s chance for revenge—and Julian’s chance to get back his brother Mark, who is being held prisoner by the faerie Courts. All Emma, Mark, and Julian have to do is solve the murders within two weeks…and before the murderer targets them.

Their search takes Emma from sea caves full of sorcery to a dark lottery where death is dispensed. And each clue she unravels uncovers more secrets. What has Julian been hiding from her all these years? Why does Shadowhunter Law forbid parabatai to fall in love? Who really killed her parents—and can she bear to know the truth?

The darkly magical world of Shadowhunters has captured the imaginations of millions of readers across the globe. Join the adventure in Lady Midnight, the long-awaited first volume of a new trilogy from Cassandra Clare.

Flo's Review
I wrote once that Cassandra Clare could write her Shadowhunters walking down the street and I would love it. And still -- yes. I listened to Lady Midnight on CD audiobook. It was 17 CDs long and almost 20 hours. According to Goodreads, it took me a month to do, but it felt like longer. But I loved every single minute. This audiobook is fantastic. Usually my patience for long audiobooks is waning, but I listened to this one from the beginning to the end. The narrator, Morena Baccarin, may now be one of my favorites. She voiced the characters so distinctly, yet so fitting for their descriptions. She portrayed pain, love, annoyance, and the entire range of emotions in her reading. So so well done.

It did not take me long at all to fall in love with Emma and the Blackthorns. The characters are described so beautifully and so lovingly, that I felt as I read that I had loved them for a long time too. I laughed with them, I cried with them, I worried about them. I felt their love and their pain and their fear. I was not just reading this story -- I was deep inside it, deep inside their lives.

Cassandra Clare sometimes gets talk for continuing to write about Shadowhunters, and not anything else. But honestly? She's so good at it! Why stop?!? I will read it all!! I have no doubt that this new series, The Dark Artifices, will rival The Mortal Instruments and the Infernal Devices in epicness.

I had forgotten how Cassandra Clare likes her cliffhangers, and this one was no different. 5 out of 5 stars for this excellent book!

Monday, July 18, 2016


Jessica Brody's A Week of Mondays goes on sale August 2, 2016 . For this tour, bloggers are talking about the Monday they would MOST like to re-live for seven days straight and the Monday they would LEAST like to re-live for seven days straight.

Yes! Seven Mondays of THIS in a row!
My perfect Monday would start with my alarm going off. But instead of being the annoying buzzing that I usually hear around 7 a.m., it would be the voice of Russell Crowe around 11 a.m. He would be saying, "Good morning, beautiful Flo. Work is canceled today; however, you are still getting paid for it. You're welcome. In about 15 minutes, your front doorbell will ring, and it will be Matt Damon delivering you brunch, complete with mimosas." I don't snooze it, in hopes that he will keep talking. He stops, though. Oh well.

Exactly 15 minutes later, the doorbell rings. I have thrown on a cute little tank top and boxer shorts, so when Matt sees me upon the opening the door he says, "You are adorable, Flo! Here is your breakfast. By the way, the mimosa glass is magical. It will have a continual full glass of mimosa, no matter how much you drink." He sets it on my table, gives me a kiss on the cheek, and walks off.

This is great! I sit down, sip my magical mimosa and notice there are two books waiting for me. One is A Week of Mondays by Jessica Brody. The other is an ARC of my most anticipated read. It's a pre-ARC actually. The ARCs aren't even out in the while, but I have a copy to read. I get lost in these for several hours, so I am thrown for a loop when I get a text message. It says, "Hey Flo! I know you are behind on Wahlburgers, so I am bringing you all the seasons on DVD, complete with lunch from the restaurant: your favorite burger, sweet potato tots, and a keg of Wahlbrewki. I feel a marathon. Can I bring Joey, too? xoxo Donnie." What a minute! Did Donnie Wahlberg from NKOTB just say he is coming over with his bandmate Joey McIntyre?!? I quickly respond, "Yess!!!" He texts back a smiley face emoji.

About 30 minutes later, Donnie and Joey are at my doorstop with DVDs and lots of food. They walk right in like they own the place and head straight to the couch. This is happening! Thank goodness I decided to take a shower and put on my cutest NKOTB t-shirt. We watch Season 3 (since I've seen 1 and 2 already) and it's the best thing ever. The guys are cracking on each other and on me, and it's so chill. I''m freaking out, but not -- ya know?!

After the season finale, Joey says, "We've got a surprise. Come with us?" Naturally, I nod numbly and follow them out of my front door....where I see a limo waiting! There is a limo outside my door! I turn to look at them. Donnie smiles and nods. I go running and dive in. A collective squee fills my ear and I look around to see my fiance, my sister, and my closest friends! My fiance gives me a kiss on the cheek. "Ready for a road trip??" he asks.

To be continued....

This is the WORST Monday ever!
My Monday would start with my alarm going off. But instead of being the annoying buzzing that I usually hear around 7 a.m., it would be the voice of Russell Crowe around 11 a.m. He would be saying, "Good morning, beautiful Flo. Work is canceled today; however, you are still getting paid for it. You're welcome. In about 15 minutes, your front doorbell will ring, and it will be Matt Damon delivering you brunch, complete with mimosas." I don't snooze it, in hopes that he will keep talking.

Unfortunately, the next time the alarm goes off, it's actually the annoying buzzy alarm. I blink in surprise. While trying to orient myself, I grab my cell phone. I have gotten approximately 15 texts and voice messages from work asking me why I'm running late.

Oh well. Another week begins...

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Summer Blog Promo Tour: He Said Books or Me

I'm pretty sure that the Summer Blog Promo Tour (#SBPT) is one of my new favorite things about summer! This week we have the pleasure of welcoming Valerie from He Said Books or Me. The tagline for her blog is "...I still think of him from time to time." HA! I love it! Thanks for stopping by, Valerie, to talk about your favorite blogging related experiences and memories:

Val here from He Said Books or Me. I excited to be here today and to talk with Flo and you about some of my favorite blogging related experiences and memories!
This is hard topic for me because I am not sure it is one single thing. To give you a little background, I have been blogging at He Said Books or Me for about a year now. Throughout the last year, I have had a chance to do many things. I frequently participate in blogger reading challenges. I also get a chance to be part of Twitter chats. I have had a chance to attend two Book Con events. I have done some of the book memes like Waiting on Wednesday or Top TenTuesday. I have written over 100 book reviews. Now, I have the chance to be part of the Summer Blogger Tour and collaborate with other bloggers!  All of these have been wonderful.

The best part though? It is without a doubt the other people in the book community. I love getting to know people and about the books that they are passionate about!  I love having conversations about things that I enjoy and finding out what sparks that joy in other people. I love that books can bring people together!  I love that they can challenge you to think about topics you have never considered. I love that people can have a difference of opinion and that is okay! There is so much to be said for the book bloggers out there in the world!
What is your favorite part of the book community? Are there book blogger experiences that you have had that you think I should try out? Let's discuss!
Thanks to Flo for letting me stop by the blog today!

Monday, July 11, 2016

Review: Last Seen Leaving by Caleb Roehrig

Last Seen Leaving

Jacque's Review:

Flynn is a high school sophomore whose ex-girlfriend, January, is reported missing.  The breakup was a relatively recent turn of events, so he becomes a prime suspect.  In an effort to discover the truth, and clear his name, he uncovers a number of discrepancies.  January had been lying to him and just about everyone he "interviews" about her disappearance.

We don't have the opportunity to meet January before her disappearance, but there are several flashbacks to Flynn's encounters and conversations with her.  Her mother recently married a wealthy politician and her life was turned upside down.  She was forced to transfer to a private school, her home life was a disaster, and she was distancing herself from all of her friends.  She was under a considerable amount of pressure from her step-father and his campaign manager, but all of these factors combined don't seem like enough to make her run away.  

In addition to the mystery, the book focuses on Flynn coming to terms with who he is as an individual.  I loved his personality and sense of humor from the beginning, but admitting the truth allowed him the chance to finally be himself.  He was essentially forced to come out and wasn't prepared, but I felt like Roehrig did an excellent job of portraying Flynn's feelings and experiences in a very realistic manner.  Everything wasn't champagne and roses and I certainly wouldn't expect it to be. 

There were several twists that I did not see coming, including the ending.  I felt like the story wrapped up nicely, but there is still the possibility for a second book in the series. 

I gave this book 5 stars and will definitely add whatever Caleb releases next to my TBR list.  This book was very well written and is highly entertaining.

Flo's Review:

So Jacque is the resident crime thriller reader of the Book Nerds. (I mean, Mary and I read them, too, but Jacque the most I think.) So fitting her review is first. I will start with agreeing with her last statement: this book was really well done. The past few nights I found myself up late at night reading this...and then I decided that I needed to wait until daytime to read further! (This is why I'm not big into murder mysteries, etc...I spook easily!) Another tidbit about me as a reader: I never guess who dunnit. Never. You know some people are all, "I totally figured it out before the book was over!" or "It was clearly this person!" Me? Legit never. So while I was reading all these twists and turns, I was totally believing what Flynn was believing the whole time. At one point I thought I had a suspect and I was all upset because I liked that person, but it didn't end up being that person. (Of course.)

All this to say that Last Seen Leaving had me puzzling, in suspense, kinda creeped out, questioning almost everyone in the story....Caleb sucked me in completely! I opened that book and got lost in the web of mystery. And even after I finished, I was still thinking about it -- putting together pieces in my head, realizing connections, and so forth.

But Last Seen Leaving was also funny! Even though it's an intense story and subject, I found myself literally laughing out loud several times at Flynn's thoughts and flashbacks. I tend to not like too many flashbacks in a story, but the ones here were enough to give context to the story, but not too much to take you out of the current action.

Last Seen Leaving comes out in October, and I would recommend picking it up...but maybe not late at night! ;-p

Mary's Review:

Okay, I'm going to be the BookNerd to admit this first...I had no clue (in the world) who Caleb Roehrig was prior to BEA.  However, all of us BookNerds were lucky enough to meet him at BEA & let me tell you this guy is a dream! And I'll even tell you it's one reason why we read this book so fast! He's a dream!

Onto the book...

What I liked:

I've backed off my mystery love here lately. Nothing has seemed to 'grab' me and keep me hooked in. However, there's something about this book I just couldn't put down. Flynn, is OMG! (Yes, that's a descriptive word!) He's funny, caring, and desperate to find January. Every time a new character came up I was on the edge of my seat to see the clues and figure out if they had 'done it'. It's a real page-turner! Each chapter there's a new surprise, a bit of foreshadowing, and a few laughs.

What I didn't like:

I have to agree on Flo with this one...Flashbacks! I'm not a huge fan of them either, BUT...BUT...Caleb doesn't bombard you with them & they are necessary to the story. However, it's the only thing I didn't particular care for.

This book is a must read! A must have! It's due out in October and it'll be a great 'FALL' read! I would recommend it to everyone.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Summer Blog Promo Tour: Perks of Being a Book Nerd

It's time to meet another blogger! Yay! I am super excited about this one, because it's Kat from...

Another Book Nerd! What great taste! I love her blog already, just based on the name. I mean, besides the obvious Book Nerd love, it also references a book and movie I loved, The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky.

We decided it only made sense for Kat to share some fun book nerdish goodies, so without further ado...

Do you want all of her stuff?! I want all of her stuff! Thanks so much Kat!

Friday, July 8, 2016

EXCERPT: The Angels' Share by J.R. Ward

If you had the chance to read The Bourbon Kings by J.R. Ward, you might be chomping at the bit to see what else can possibly happen to these characters! I know I am!! Lucky for us, the second book, The Angels' Share, will be released this month, on July 26th. While you wait, we're happy to share a little excerpt from the book to tide you over. Find it after the page break. If you need a little refresher on what's going on, here is our review of The Bourbon Kings.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Summer Blog Promo Tour: The Cozy Little Book Nook

This is my first time participating in the Summer Blog Promo Tour, and I'm excited to be a part of it! Once a week throughout the summer, I'll be featuring a blog/blogger on my page. And to start us off...Brooke from The Cozy Little Book Nook! You can visit her blog here: I love the header image...makes me want to curl up with a book right now!

I asked Booke to tell us about how she would spend a day with any character in a book. Without further ado, here's Brooke to tell us about hanging out with America Singer from The Selection series:

Hi I’m Brooke from The Cozy Little Book Nook and I’m here today to talk about what I would do if I could spend a day with any character in a book. Well I think the character I have to go with is America Singer in The Selection, but you know, after she got married and had the kids; or maybe even in the middle of Eadlyn’s Selection.  I think it would be super fun to spend a day in Angeles at the Palace and just chat with her.

I’m sure America would also have many more stories about her own selection, and how she dealt with the other girls and how the other girls are since she probably would have stayed in touch with them. Getting the inside scoop of all the events would be amazing since I want to know all about what happened during the Selection.

Since I also play piano and America does too, it would be cool to play with someone who used to play for a living. She’s incredibly skilled so it may be intimidating .

It would also be fun to hang out with her sister May and Marlee and Lucy, because in the books, we really only heard about America’s side of the stories and they would probably have a lot of things to talk about, including boys, the kids, and who their picks are for Eadlyn’s selection. Even just hearing about what they would do during the Selection would be really fun; I mean, we have novellas but the only one that’s really in depth is Marlee’s and very little of Lucy’s. We know that May may have lucked out and actually got a better deal out of being royalty since she gets to travel so I would want to hear about where she has been.

Another thing we could do is go shopping because these ladies all have wonderful senses of style and would probably know some good places to shop.

I guess it could be weird since I’m younger than even Eadlyn but you know, it’s my dream :) Getting advice from older people can be extremely valuable so that would be super fun.

That’s it for my day with America. It’s really packed so there won’t be a dull moment ever. Now if only this could actually happen...well I can dream :)

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Freedom to Read Giveaway Hop

The Prize: An ARC (advance reader's copy) of What the Dead Want by Norah Olson. This book releases on July 26th and here is the description from Goodreads: 

16 -year-old Gretchen takes photographs to understand the world around her, a passion her mother Mona fostered and encouraged when she was still around. Since her mom disappeared years ago, Gretchen and her dad have lived on their own in New York City, haunted by Mona’s absence.

When Gretchen’s great aunt Esther calls unexpectedly to tell her that she has inherited the pre-Civil War mansion on her mother’s side of the family in upstate New York, Gretchen understands nothing except that her aunt needs her help. But what she finds there is beyond her imagination. The house is crumbling apart, filled with stacks of papers and journals from decades, even centuries past, and it’s crawling with rodents. It’s also full of secrets and a legacy of racism and violence so reprehensible that the ghosts of the past are exacting revenge on the living.

Somehow the mystery of Mona’s disappearance and the atrocities that happened on the land during the Civil War are inextricably intertwined, and it’s up to Gretchen to figure out how…before even more lives are lost.

Enjoy via the Rafflecopter, U.S. only, and good luck to you!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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