Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Book review: One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus

Book Summary
The Breakfast Club meets Pretty Little LiarsOne of Us Is Lying is the story of what happens when five strangers walk into detention and only four walk out alive. Everyone is a suspect, and everyone has something to hide. 

Pay close attention and you might solve this.

On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.

Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule. 
Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess. 
Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.
Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.
And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High s notorious gossip app. 

Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention Simon's dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who s still on the loose? 
Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.

Flo's Review
This has been sitting on my TBR shelf for awhile, but I was finally inspired to pick it up due to the author's upcoming visit to my area. 

I'll start with the cover love. What a fun cover! It perfectly illustrates the story you will be reading. I enjoyed reading the different points of view from the four main characters. I liked determined Bronwyn best, followed by Addy's character growth throughout the story. 

The story included several twists, and they just kept coming. I am never good and figuring things out, so I always found myself surprised by these little things -- especially involving one particular character. And though I had an idea what actually went down as far as the big picture, I definitely didn't know all the details. 

I love The Breakfast Club, as I am sure a lot of people do, so it's great marketing to mention that in the top of the book blurb. This was a book that I had fun with as I was on the journey that the story took me on. I look forward to hearing Karen M. McManus speak next month more about how the story came together.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Cover Reveal: Bring Me Their Hearts by Sara Wolf

In a new series Publishers Weekly has listed as “one of the most anticipated YA's of 2018”, we're excited to share the cover for Bring Me Their Hearts! NYT bestselling author Sara Wolf delivers a fast-paced, gritty fantasy sure to thrill fans of Holly Black, Sabba Tahir, and Sarah J. Maas.

Book Summary:

Zera is a Heartless—the immortal, unaging soldier of a witch. Bound to the witch Nightsinger ever since she saved her from the bandits who murdered her family, Zera longs for freedom from the woods they hide in. With her heart in a jar under Nightsinger’s control, she serves the witch unquestioningly.

Until Nightsinger asks Zera for a prince’s heart in exchange for her own, with one addendum: if she’s discovered infiltrating the court, Nightsinger will destroy Zera’s heart rather than see her tortured by the witch-hating nobles.

Crown Prince Lucien d’Malvane hates the royal court as much as it loves him—every tutor too afraid to correct him and every girl jockeying for a place at his darkly handsome side. No one can challenge him—until the arrival of Lady Zera. She’s inelegant, smart-mouthed, carefree, and out for his blood. The prince’s honor has him quickly aiming for her throat.

So begins a game of cat and mouse between a girl with nothing to lose and a boy who has it all.

Winner takes the loser’s heart.


This book sounds great, and I'm thrilled that Book Nerds gets to participate in the cover reveal. So...are you ready to see it? Click on the "Read More" below:

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Cover Reveal: All Your Perfects by Colleen Hoover

I love me some Colleen Hoover, so I was super excited to see that US Weekly shared a cover reveal and excerpt for her latest book, All Your Perfects, which publishes later this year?

Wanna see?


(Click on the 'Read More' to see the cover!)

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Book review: Ink, Iron, and Glass by Gwendolyn Clare

Book Summary
Can she write a world gone wrong?

A certain pen, a certain book, and a certain person can craft entirely new worlds through a branch of science called scriptology. Elsa comes from one such world that was written into creation by her mother—a noted scriptologist.

But when her home is attacked and her mother abducted, Elsa must cross into the real world and use her own scriptology gifts to find her. In an alternative 19th-century Italy, Elsa finds a secret society of pazzerellones—young people with a gift for mechanics, alchemy or scriptology—and meets Leo, a gorgeous mechanist with a smart mouth and a tragic past. She recruits the help of these fellow geniuses just as an assassin arrives on their doorstep.

In this thrilling debut, worlds collide as Elsa unveils a deep political conspiracy seeking to unlock the most dangerous weapon ever created—and only she can stop it.

Flo's Review
I was definitely intrigued by this book as soon as I read the summary. It was a fast read -- I read the entire thing over the course of two sessions, which is something I haven't done in awhile.

The style of writing is definitely different. I can't describe it, exactly, but it's very .... matter-of-fact. Succinct, maybe? I think the reason this is so jarring is because it is in contrast to the world being described. Fantasy writing tends to be beautiful and flowery, especially when you're creating a beautiful world. And not that the world of Veldana is not beautiful. And also, to be clear, I am not saying this is a good or bad thing. It is just a noticed and unique trait. It also made me take a little longer to get absorbed into the world than I usually would.

But I also struggled with Elsa at first. She never really had any friends her age in Veldana, and it sounds like her mother at a big part in shaping her personality -- and she had just experienced a trauma. But she was kind of hard to stomach at first. So much so that I was happy when she came around and warmed up to Porzia, Faranz, and Leo, even if she did it so quickly that it felt a little unnatural.

Speaking of Porzia and Faranz -- I loved them both! I think I liked them better than Elsa and Leo, honestly. Porzia juggled responsibility to her parents with loyalty to her friends and did it well. Faranz was just awesome. Loyal, a good listener, friendly, dependable, wicked smart. I wish he and Elsa had been the ones with the romantic tension, instead of Elsa and Leo. Though I do understand why it had to be Leo, in terms of the story. Still.... #TeamFaranz

Leo...he was supposed to be the swoony love interest, but I just wasn't feeling him. I understood why Elsa felt the desire to fight for him, and he was the comic relief in the story.  I honestly can't pinpoint why I didn't connect with him, but I just didn't. 

The world building was definitely the strength of this story. The idea of being able to create new worlds simply by writing them is so, so cool. The main characters had the chance to explore several different worlds and it was really neat to go inside them and see the differences and similarities to Earth. Clare had to really think about the what it would take to write a world, starting with the basics: gravity, oxygen, etc., and I could tell how well thought out the concept of scriptology was.

Towards the end of the story, the characters face a challenge that felt very cliche to me. But, because I never see these things coming, I was surprised by the twist at the end. The Epilogue succeeded in hurting my heart, and I think I'll be picking up the next book in the series to see what these characters do.

Ink, Iron, and Glass publishes on February 20, 2018.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Review: The Becoming of Noah Shaw by Michelle Hodkin

The Becoming of Noah Shaw (The Shaw Confessions, #1)

Jacque's Review:

The Becoming of Noah Shaw is the first book in the Shaw Confessions series, which is described as a companion to the Mara Dyer series.  To me, a companion novel or series can be read independently, which is not the case with this book.  The story picks up after the end of The Retribution of Mara Dyer and assumes the reader has a considerable amount of knowledge of events that took place in that series.  Any of the events that were vital to this story were briefly touched upon to refresh the reader, but I would not recommend reading this book if you haven't already read the Mara Dyer series.

I will be the first to admit that Noah Shaw is one of my all time favorite characters, so I was ecstatic when I heard there was going to be another series from his point of view.  He is just as charming as ever, but we get to see first hand how his "gifts" are impacting his life.  He can not only heal himself and others, but he is able to see the pain and suffering of other "gifted" individuals as if he were in their bodies at the time of the incidents.  There is a sudden increase in the number of apparent suicides of "gifted" teens, so Mara, Noah and their friends begin working with some new gifted characters that are introduced in this book to bring the violence to an end.

Noah and Mara's brother Daniel refuse to believe Mara is involved in the deaths, but another character insists she is behind it.  They not only need to stop the deaths, but also clear Mara of these accusations.

Overall, I thought this was a great start to the new series.  I had no idea what to expect and I was shocked by many of the revelations.  There is a major event that takes place at the end of the book, which completely changes the game for the gifted.  Their lives have been irrevocably changed and I can't wait to see how things will unfold in the sequel.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Audiobook review: A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle

Book Summary
It was a dark and stormy night; Meg Murry, her small brother Charles Wallace, and her mother had come down to the kitchen for a midnight snack when they were upset by the arrival of a most disturbing stranger. 

"Wild nights are my glory," the unearthly stranger told them. "I just got caught in a downdraft and blown off course. Let me be on my way. Speaking of way, by the way, there is such a thing as a tesseract".

Meg's father had been experimenting with this fifth dimension of time travel when he mysteriously disappeared. Now the time has come for Meg, her friend Calvin, and Charles Wallace to rescue him. But can they outwit the forces of evil they will encounter on their heart-stopping journey through space?

Flo's Review
I'd read this book as a child, but I all I remembered about it was that I loved it. Since the movie is coming out in a few months, I wanted to remember the story, so I did a re-read. Or a listen, if you will. I was excited to see that the audiobook is narrated by the author herself, so I that's the route I chose.

Let's start with the unfortunately...if you have read any of my reviews before, you know that my, reading pet peeve (I guess you could call it) is when I don't like the main characters. And, guys? I just couldn't with Meg. It was okay that she was stubborn and impatient....but she was also so whiny and she wanted everybody to do things for her, fix things for her. Now, this is part of her character growth by the end of the story and also she has a good excuse for her behavior toward the end....but that didn't make it any easier. And reading someone whining as opposed to hearing it is probably a little better. Unfortunately, in this instance, Mrs. L'Engle did such a great job as a whiny Meg that it made a lot of the audiobook kind of a "suffer through" experience. But enough of the 'dark planet' type talk (tee hee hee)!

I am glad I did a re-read because I am pretty sure that I did not pick up on all the religious elements in the book as a child. I won't describe them here in case they could be considered spoilers, but I am interested to see how they will be handled in a secular movie.

Speaking of the movie -- the re-read accomplished what I hoped it would. I am now even more excited for the movie! I can't wait to see Mrs. Who, Mrs. Which, and Mrs. Whatsit. I can't wait to see how they portray all the different worlds. I can't wait to see if they did a Maze Runner type thing where the main character in the book is annoying, but in the movie is perfectly fine. March 9th can't some soon enough!

How about you? Did you read this book as a child? Are you excited for the movie?

Friday, January 12, 2018

Review: Crossed by Ally Condie

Crossed (Matched, #2)

Jacque's Review:

I really enjoyed Matched, the first book in the series, and gave it 5 stars.  This book, however, seemed to have a much slower pace.  It took forever for things to really pick up, which could cause some readers to lose interest.  I will tell you, the ending was definitely worth plugging through some of the slower parts.

Ky and Cassia alternate telling the story, so we get to see what is happening to both of them through out the book.  Ky was sent to the Outer Provinces, essentially to die, because he is an "Aberration".  Cassia is sent to a work camp to train for her new job assignment, but escapes to look for Ky.  In the process, she meets Indie and learns more about the rebellion.

Ky is leery of the rebellion because his father was one of the leaders.  It ended up getting both of his parents killed, but he no longer wants to live under the control of the Society. He meets another boy who is interested in the rebellion and they decide to escape, taking a young boy named Eli with them. 

Throughout the journey we learn more about the rebellion and how it has infiltrated all levels of the Society.   Xander even makes a surprise appearance and we learn one of his secrets, thanks to Ky.  He doesn't tell Cassia, because he doesn't believe it is his secret to tell, but it could make a drastic impact on how things turn out in Reached.

Overall, I enjoyed Crossed and look forward to seeing how the series will conclude.  I'm not sure Ky is really the best choice for Cassia, so I hope she keeps her mind open to the possibility of Xander.  

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Review: One Paris Summer by Denise Grover Swank

One Paris Summer

Goodreads Overview:

Most teens dream of visiting the City of Lights, but it feels more like a nightmare for Sophie Brooks. She and her brother are sent to Paris to spend the summer with their father, who left home a year ago without any explanation. As if his sudden abandonment weren't betrayal enough, he's about to remarry, and they’re expected to play nice with his soon-to-be wife and stepdaughter. The stepdaughter, Camille, agrees to show them around the city, but she makes it clear that she will do everything in her power to make Sophie miserable.

Sophie could deal with all the pain and humiliation if only she could practice piano. Her dream is to become a pianist, and she was supposed to spend the summer preparing for a scholarship competition. Even though her father moved to Paris to pursue his own dream, he clearly doesn't support hers. His promise to provide her with a piano goes unfulfilled.

Still, no one is immune to Paris’s charm. After a few encounters with a gorgeous French boy, Sophie finds herself warming to the city, particularly when she discovers that he can help her practice piano. There’s just one hitch—he’s a friend of Camille’s, and Camille hates Sophie. While the summer Sophie dreaded promises to become  the best summer of her life, one person could ruin it all.

Jacque's Review:

Sophie grew tremendously as a character throughout this book.  She started out as a teen who was afraid of everything.  She was in a foreign country where she couldn't speak or understand the language, which was definitely a disadvantage.  Add in the wicked step-sister, Camille, who repeatedly set her up for failure and it was destined to be the longest summer in history.  

On the plus side, she was in a beautiful city full of places to explore.  I went to Paris a few years ago and loved reading about many of the places we visited.  The catacombs, Notre Dame, the Eiffel Tower, and Versailles... just to name a few.  

When she meets Mathieu she hopes her luck has finally changed.  Unfortunately, she discovers he is one of Camille's friends, who were all instructed to make her life as miserable as possible.  Fortunately, Mathieu is not under Camille's spell and offers to help her learn French.  He even offers to let her use his piano to practice.  A cute love story develops between the two, but Camille is determined to sabotage any thoughts Sophie may have of wanting to move to Paris permanently.  

Overall, this was a fun summer read with an entertaining YA love story.  I loved Sophie, Mathieu, and Sophie's brother Eric, but Camille and Eric's friend Dane were obnoxious.  I can somewhat see where Camille was coming from, but I felt like her actions were well beyond realistic.  I detested both of those characters and often wished I could delete them from the story.  I think the overall impact would have been much better without some of their antics, but I still enjoyed the story.  

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Book review: The Anthology Part 1 by Garth Brooks

Book Summary
The first five years were filled with high adventure, with dreams coming true, with new friendships beginning and old friendships growing. Most of all, though, the years were filled with music being made. We thought about songs night and day, chased the things. I was surrounded by songwriters, musicians, producers, engineers, managers, by people who lived to make music, and we got to see the world through songs. There were a lot of firsts, one after another: First time leaving Oklahoma for Nashville, first time hearing one of our songs on the radio, first time hitting number one. We won’t ever get to go through all those firsts again, but this book is my chance to get together with the people who shared the experiences and together remember how it all went down. This book gathers what comes to our minds when we think of the first five years and the songs that came to life during that time.
Inside these pages you’ll find the music that got released in those first five years, five CDs of it. But you’ll also find a few recordings that we’ve never shared, some of my favorites. You’ll find photographs that have never been made public, behind-the-scenes images from before the first record and others from during the journey. There are artifacts from the vaults, things I’ve saved myself, bits and pieces of this history that mean a lot to me. I’ve always wanted to bring people closer to what I saw, what I experienced. This feels like the closest I’ve come to doing just that. 

Flo's Review

I love Garth Brooks. Love him. I have for years. He has so many songs that make up the soundtrack of my life: "The Dance" and "Standing Outside the Fire" to name a couple. So when I saw this book at the library, I knew I had to read it. This is a classic coffee table book. It takes the reader through the first five years by going through his first five albums and talking about several songs from each album. Every so often, Garth shares a little story or reflection on his life/his music. 

This book was a lot of fun. I went through reading about the songs I knew (admittedly, there are several that I didn't) and I really enjoyed learning about how they came into existence. The writers for each of songs were identified and often contributed to the stories. My favorite parts were the ones where Trisha Yearwood shared her experience, because I love her and I love them together. 

If you are a Garth fan, I think you'll enjoy giving this a read or a skim. I think there is going to be Part 2 coming, and I look forward to reading that one as well.

Monday, January 1, 2018

New Year, New Books!

Happy New Year! I am so excited for 2018 and all the good books coming out!! Let's dive right in with three titles I am looking forward to in January.


Mez's Magic (The Lost Rainforest #1) by Eliot Schrefer - publishes January 2, 2018
The Lion King meets Wings of Fire in the magical rainforest kingdom of Caldera in this new middle grade animal fantasy series from New York Times bestselling author and National Book Award finalist Eliot Schrefer.

Caldera has forever been divided into those animals who walk by night and those who walk by day. Nightwalker panthers, like young Mez and her beloved sister, have always feared daywalkers as creatures of myth and legend. Until the eclipse.

Now Mez has discovered that she can cross the Veil and enter the daylight world. Her magical power has unknown depths, but she must rush to discover it after a mysterious stranger arrives at her family’s den, bearing warnings of a reawakened evil.

Saving Caldera means Mez must leave her sister behind and unite an unlikely group of animal friends to unravel an ancient mystery and protect their rainforest home.

Beneath the Haunting Sea by Joanna Ruth Meyer - publishes January 9, 2018
Sixteen-year-old Talia was born to a life of certainty and luxury, destined to become Empress of half the world. But when an ambitious rival seizes power, she and her mother are banished to a nowhere province on the far edge of the Northern Sea.

It is here, in the drafty halls of the Ruen-Dahr, that Talia discovers family secrets, a melancholy boy with a troubling vision of her future, and a relic that holds the power of an ancient Star. On these shores, the eerie melody of the sea is stronger than ever, revealing long-forgotten tales of the Goddess Rahn. The more dark truths that Talia unravels about the gods’ history—and her own—the more the waves call to her, and it may be her destiny to answer.

Smart Cookie by Elly Swartz - publishes January 30, 2018
Frankie knows she’ll be in big trouble if Dad discovers she secretly posted a dating profile for him online. But she’s determined to find him a wife, even if she ends up grounded for life. Frankie wants what she had before Mom died. A family of three. Two is a pair of socks or the wheels on a bicycle or a busy weekend at the B&B where Frankie and Dad live. Three is a family. And Frankie’s is missing a piece.

But Operation Mom is harder to pull off than Frankie expects. None of the Possibles are very momish, the B&B’s guests keep canceling, Frankie’s getting the silent treatment from her once best friend, and there’s a maybe-ghost hanging around. Worst of all, Gram and Dad are definitely hiding secrets of their own. 

If a smart cookie like Frankie wants to save the B&B and find her missing piece, she’s going to have to figure out what secrets are worth keeping and when it’s time to let go.

What books are you most looking forward to in January? Let us know in the comments.