Friday, May 30, 2014

Book Covers and Prom Dresses

Inspired by Epic Reads, last year I created this post on my librarian blog. I still am a fan of those long flowing dresses on covers (or even short ones). I would love to match up my favorite book cover with a dress and go to prom - if I was still in high school. I wouldn't ever want to go back to high school, it is, I never went to my high school Prom. I attended someone else's and it was an interesting night (let's just leave it at that.) Tonight is prom night at the local high school. 

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Review: Allies and Assassins

 * first in a new series *

Prince Anders is found - murdered in his bed with no signs of forced entry. Whoever killed him had access to him. Now, his younger brother Jared will take his place as ruler. His first priority  is to hunt down his brother's killer. He's supposed to trust and rely on the Council of Twelve, but he soon discovers a web of double crossings, deceit, and personal gain.

In his investigation, Jared learns that he really didn't know his brother and now he's not sure who to trust. While the main suspect's captured, the kingdom breathes a sigh of relief. However, the apprentice to the physician doesn't believe his guilt. She still believes that real murderer is on the loose.

The closer she comes to finding out the truth, the more bodies drop. Who is really behind the death of the Prince?
My Thoughts: When I first heard this book pitched at a book event, it was described as a teen Game of Thrones with Welsh folklore inspiration. With those two ideas blended together, I was hooked. I knew this was a book for me. I confess that I read this six months ago. I loved it. I wasn't sure it was the start of a series, but that cliffhanger ending left me little doubt at the end.  I really liked Astra - and how she wouldn't let go just because everything seemed to fit. I liked Jared and how he struggled to see his friends and his enemies. I wasn't always happy with his choices and I'm curious to see how they will play out in the next  book. There's a little bit of something for everyone in this book.  I devoured this it- loving the plot twists, the danger, the action, the betrayals, and the ending. A smashing debut for this historical fantastical murder mystery. 

Cover Thoughts: I liked it
Source: ARC from Little Brown

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Rewind

This week's topic is a rewind - a free topic. I'm choosing the third week (when I wasn't participating in this meme yet). Fun book titles - I find at times, I want to read books on covers and/or titles. Here are some titles I find amusing and/or clever. Many of them are cozies.

Teen Books:
Drums Girls and Dangerous Pie
The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things
Complete History of Why I Hate Her
Forgive My Fins
52 Reasons to Hate my Father

Buffalo West Wing
Sinister Sprinkles
Rest in Pizza
On Borrowed Time 
9 Rules to Break When Romance a Rake

What titles make you giggle?

Tween Tuesday Review: Eddie Red Undercover

After Eddie and his dad witness a fight in an alley, he draws the perp's face perfectly, gaining the admiration of the police department. The next day, they offer him a job.

They don't tell him any details of the case, but they set him up in various art museums around the city. He's posing as an art student, but his main job is to use his photographic memory to remember faces. Once he gets home, he draws those faces.

As time goes on, Eddie becomes Frustrated with the lack of progress made on the case. Soon they might abandon it all together. Eddie can't let that happen, so he sneaks a look at the file in the detective's desk.  He works with his friend to figure out the case. Could he be on to something?
My Thoughts: The start of a new mysteries series with a young main protagonist who is smart, curious and impulsive (which often gets him into trouble.) I like that Eddie's illustrations are included in the book. I like him and his hyper but really smart friend Jonah. I like how Jonah took matters into his own hands to come up with an answer. I loved the art /photographic memory angle. A fun book with puzzles, drawings, danger, and action.

Cover Thoughts: Great
Source: The library

Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day post from last year

This still holds true.

Review: What I Thought Was True

For the official start of summer, here's a perfect summer book:

Gwen Castle lives on an island of the coast of Connecticut. The island's divided by year rounders and those summer people. Instead of working at her father's restaurant, she has an opportunity to make more money working as a companion for a older lady.

Gwen decides to take the job because she want more for herself than this island. She doesn't want to be a cleaning lady like her mother. She doesn't want her father's restaurant. She's not sure what she wants, but she believes she's not going to find it on this island.

This summer's different - she argues with her friends, maintains politeness at her boss, worries about her future, and falls for a summer guy.
My Thoughts: A fabulous summer read about coming to terms with yourself and everyone else. I loved the island feel and the moments by the water. I felt bad for all the secrets, but in sharing them, they made everyone stronger. I really liked Mrs. Ellington (I kind of want to be like her when I'm that age).  I really liked Emory - especially the moments between him and Cass. I liked the romantic tension between Gwen and Cass.  I liked how they circled the relationship - between the past and the present. I liked the slow unveil of what happened between the two of them and between other boys and Gwen. The portrayal of sex in this book was realistic and frank with the characters trying to figure out what everything means and how it works for their relationship.

Cover Thoughts: Perfect
Source: My Library

Sunday, May 25, 2014

New Adult Review: Recklessly Royal

* Sequel to Suddenly Royal

Cathy and Princess Catherine are two different people - and Cathy doesn't get to relax very often. With her BFF getting married to her brother, it's the perfect time to celebrate. At the bachelorette party, she meets Sam's friend David.

The next day, she's embarrassed by her behavior - what she remembers of it.  But surprisingly, he makes me laugh it off. After spending more time with him, Cathy begins to relax in his company. Could he be dating material?
My Thoughts: I love this series - loved seeing glimpses of favorite characters from the previous book. I enjoyed reading abut Cathy's life - the constant pressure, the paparazzi, and the royal duties, but also the perks and joys from that lifestyle. I felt terrible for Selene, but glad that Cathy looked after her. I loved Cathy's passion for art. Even though I saw the end twist coming, it was a fun book to read, especially since I love reading about royals.

Cover Thoughts: Cute
Source: Purchased.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Mysterious Saturday Review: Bran New Death

* First in a new series *

Do to a falling out in her job, Merry decides to let go of her apartment in New York City and head upstate to her inherited property. Merry hoped the castle would sell, but now she's glad she has somewhere to go and escape all the drama.

The castle's much bigger that Merry imagined and it comes with trouble attached. After being awakened in the night, Merry discovers a dead body on her property. While she spies someone fleeing into the woods, it's not exactly an alibi. Plus, as a new addition to the community, Merry can't be sure the police don't consider her a suspect.

As she finds her way around town and meeting people, it doesn't hurt to ask a few questions. It becomes clear to her that something much bigger is happening and that it could also involve the death of her uncle. 
My Thoughts: I love Wynter castle and I'm so glad that Merry came to check out the property. It has so much potential - I can't wait to see how she fixes it up.  I liked the baking of muffins - savory and sweet. It made my mouth water. I liked the small town - as usual, gossip spreads like wildfire.  I enjoyed meeting the quirky townspeople with Merry and trying to figure them out. A fun cast of secondary characters - I really liked Shilo (and her bunny), Binny and her shop, Lizzie, and Pish - I think he's going to be funny, but a handful.  A Great start to a new series.

Cover Thoughts: Perfect
Source: My Library

Friday, May 23, 2014

Summer Planning: STEAM movies

In trying to plan summer movies, I become frustrated. The release dates don't allow for lots of advance planning for new releases. But I did want to add one to the mix of STEAM movies and some TV shows. So I created a list. Some of these you can use in multiple categories, but I just used them once. 

Iron Man
Big Bang Theory (TV show)
Jurassic Park
Despicible Me
Bones (TV show)
Apollo 13

Real Steel
Eagle Eye
Social Network
Die Hard 4
Minority Report

October Sky

Mona Lisa's Smile
City of Bones
She's All That
Black Swan
Sisterhood of the Traveling Pans
Girl with a Pearl Earring

Beautiful Mind
Mean Girls
Good Will Hunting
Stand and Deliver

I'm going to show Real Steel and do a short Brushbots which a YA Librarian friend of mine Kristi shared at a round table meeting - making it a Watch and Learn program.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

BEA tips (5)

Last year I ran a series of advice on things I learned from attending Book Expo America and this year I'll add to it. I'm officially going and I'm super excited about it!

It's a week away! Get your face out there

A lot of peoples' names I might not recognize, but I know your blog name. Add your blog name to your name tag. Or your twitter handle.  I spend a lot of time reading people's name tags. 

Add a photo of yourself to your blog. 

Confession: Online, I'm much more out-going, but in person I'm pretty shy. There are times that I feel silly going up tom someone and starting a conversation because I know them online. 

I'm trying my best to get over that. I know that it's a book expo and everyone there loves books just as much as I do, so it shouldn't be hard...but it is. 

This is me (my hair is a little shorter now), say Hi if you see me, and I'll promise to do the same!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Mini Review: WWI for Kids

 This book comes out a month before the 100 years anniversary of the dominoes that led to the Great War that changed the world

The Good: I love the set up of the book - lots of photos, sidebars, activities, and maps that break up the text. I love how well rounded this book is - not just looking at one country's part in the war, but following everything has a whole. I liked reading about the secret treaties and how both sides didn't want to anger the Americans to bring them into the war. I liked reading about the tactics of war and the ideas of the leaders that failed. 

The Bad: I'm not crazy about Kids being in the title, because I think it's a book that would work well with teens and that might put them off from choosing this book (although it's kind of a nit picky thing)

Overall Thoughts: An excellent resource for anyone looking to learn more about the war - and very timely. 

On My Holds List (82)

My Librarian friend Jess from I Read to Relax came up with a great idea.  It's to highlight the books on hold at the library. I usually have 20-40 items checked out at the library and another 20 items on hold. 

Adult Books:
That Summer: Love her Pink Carnation series - looking forward to this stand alone.

Boiled Over: Enjoyed the first in the series set in Maine, looking forward to seeing what happens next.

The Devaney Brothers : Michael and Patrick  - loved the first book about this family, eager to see how they reunite with their younger brothers. 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Friendship Books

This week's topic is Friendship books. I tend to think of friendship books as sisterhood books - female friends. That's not to say I don't appreciate books where guys and girls are friends or books about guy friendships. When you talk about friendship books, sisterhood books are the first that come to mind. Here are a mix of tween and teen books.

The Daughters (Daughters Series)It's Raining CupcakesTake the Reins (Canterwood Crest Series #1)Roomies
The Wig in the WindowGirls Dinner ClubThe Lonely Hearts ClubUnbreak My Heart
Summer State of MindI'd Tell You I Love You, but Then I'd Have to Kill You (Gallagher Girls Series #1)

Tween Tuesday Review: Ava and Pip

Ava and her family like playing with words.  She thinks about entering a writing competition, but she's not sure what to write about until her sister's birthday party is canceled.

Ava writes about the girl who had a party on the same day, causing those invited to attend her party and not Pip's party. As a consequence, her sister's birthday was ruined. Ava wins an honorary mention and her story's printed in a booklet.

When Bea confronts Ava, Ava begins to see things from a different perspective. After Ava apologizes, they become friends. Ava and Bea work out a plan to break Pip out of her shell? Will Pip agree to their plan or will she dismiss the idea?

My Thoughts:  I loved this book about sisters, family drama, writing, and friendship. I felt bad for Pip who's terribly shy. I felt bad for Ava because she often felt neglected in parental attention. I liked how she a Bea became friends and were able to put this whole mess behind them. I loved how Bea wanted to help Pip and came up with a plan. I loved the relationship between the sisters and how it changed as they both grew from this experience. A moving fun novel filled with hope and humor. 

Cover Thoughts: Cute
Source: my Library

Monday, May 19, 2014

Adult Review: The Blonde

What if everything you knew about Marilyn Monroe was a lie? What if she was a Russian spy and her affair with JFK was a set-up? How did she come to spy for the Russians and what kind of information about the President did she pass along?
My Thoughts: From an historical point of view, this was a fascinating read on the life of Marilyn Monroe. I liked learning more about her life and how Anna Godbersen (A YA author with her first adult novel) mixed her public life with her private one. It's a bold look at Hollywood and spies during the Cold War. While this smart woman used her feminine ways to get the job done, she also naive in some ways and smart in other ways - making her a complex character.  I enjoyed reading this book especially the plot twist at the end. 

Cover Thoughts: Great
Source: Sent for review

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Adult Review: Devaney Brothers

Two brothers, abandoned as boys learn there's more to life than a career.

Ryan owns a bar in Boston, one night a woman comes in looking for help. With some pushing from an old friend, Ryan reluctantly helps out. Maggie comes from a large family and when she learns he doesn't have a family she invites him for the holidays.  Ryan doesn't know how to explain about his past, so he simply declines.  But there's something about Maggie that gets under his skin.

Sean responds to a fire, where he meets a young boy who apartment was burned in the fire. Deanna's a single mother, struggling to raise her son and keep a roof over her head. When the apartment building burns down, she loses everything. She moves in with a friend, hoping to get back on her feet soon. Sean goes what he can to help out.
My Thoughts: I hated the brother's history of family life - so sad and heartbreaking - but I loved meeting them as kind and caring adults. I loved watching both of them change as they fell in love and wanted more for their lives. I loved Maggie's persistence. I enjoyed her family and their banter together. I loved Deanna's son - he was smart and sweet. I loved the interactions between him and the adults in his life. Ruby was fun and sassy. The two brothers were so similar. I'm glad they found happiness in life. I'm so looking forward to reading more about this family.

Cover Thoughts: Cute
Source: My Library

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Mysterious Saturday Review: Drizzled with Death

* first in a new series *

Dani's family supplies the syrup for the annual Sap Bucket Brigade Pancake Eating Contest.  This year it looks like her grandfather will win yet again when the only other competitor still eating galls face first into her plate - dead.

Alansa wasn't well liked after taking control over land that had plenty of common uses from the town. Instead of honoring those uses, she manipulated her way into the town and took away privileges as she saw fit.

Dani doesn't need the hassle of murder questioning her products. It's hard enough getting her family on board and now she has to weather this storm too. What she really needs to do is solve the murder to keep her business alive and thriving. 
My Thoughts: I enjoyed this new series set in New Hampshire. I really enjoyed the side plot of the animals loose around town and how Dani had a knack for helping recapture them. It added humor to the story. I really liked learning more about the sugaring process. Plus it made me crave pancakes. I liked the family dynamics - the squabbling and the respect for their grandmother. I enjoyed Dani and her feisty spirit. A fun start to a new series.

Cover Thoughts: Great
Source: Purchased

Friday, May 16, 2014

Upcoming Book Review: Famous in Love

Paige loves acting. When auditions are being held for her BFFs favorite book series about to turn blockbuster movie, she decides to go for it.

She's blown away that she wins the role of the lead actress. Paige has no idea how much her life is about to change. She flies to Hawaii for filming.

Her hard work isn't paying off. The Director's unhappy with her performances and yells at her most of the time. The more she tires, the harder she fails.

Plus as Paige starts getting to know her co-stars, she realizes there's clearly a past between them. Rainer's been trying to smooth things over with the director for her. When Jordan arrives on set, Paige realizes she acts better opposite him. How will she choose between them when they both help her?
My Thoughts: I can't imagine having the whole world watching your acting debut, catching you in moments where you have to explain what really happened to your friends and family, or trying to figure out who you love while the world weighs in. Paige seems to handle all this pretty well - aside from a few mistakes. She's strong and feisty. I love the book turned blockbuster movie and I liked learning more about the movie business. The love triangle was interesting - I know that many readers seem to be over the triangle, but if it's done right (and in this case, it is) than it works for the story. A fantastic fun book that I devoured on the train and almost panicked when I thought I might not have time to finish it.

Cover Thoughts: Cute
Source: ARC for review
Publication Date: October 22nd

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Upcoming Book Review: Just Like the Movies

Prom season's coming up and the boys are starting to get creative with asking their dates. Marijke can't wait to see how her boyfriend will ask her. She's also still waiting for him to use the L word - his action speaks volumes, but she wants to hear him say it.

Lily's mother is always looking for romance and it sours Lily's view. Not to mention the one guy Lily's crushing over doesn't know she's alive. After her mother bails on their girl night for a guy, she spots a movie theater showing Titanic.

After a fight with her boyfriend, Marijke also ends up at the theater - crying. They end up ditching the movie and going for coffee where they talk for the first time, confiding in each other. A plan is born - one worthy of Hollywood. They will use Hollywood scenes to help them achieve their goals. 
My Thoughts: I love this book - for the Hollywood angle and the movie references. I love that they watched movies to try to figure out the best tricks/tips to use. I loved how Marijke took a long hard look at her relationship to see why things weren't the way she wanted and why she was insecure in it. I loved the paintball scene. I really liked Lily and how she wanted something better for her mother, but at the same time, she's so mad at her mother. I loved how Lily and Marijke became friends. Kelly Fiore is an author to watch - her debut novel Taste Test was one of my favorite reads last year and her sophomore book hit it out of the park. I love her books and can't wait to read what she comes up with next.

Cover Thoughts: Loved it
Source: Won an ARC
Publication Date: July 22nd

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

BEA tips (4)

Last year I ran a series of advice on things I learned from attending Book Expo America and this year I'll add to it. I'm officially going and I'm super excited about it!

Inside BEA:
Do: Take pictures with your favorite authors or bookish friends
Do: Stop your favorite authors on the floor to chat for a minute
Do: Chat with people in line near you, odds are you'll be seeing them in lines for the next few days
Do: Have a book with you, sometimes the lines are really long
Do: Pack some food/snacks. While there is food in the center, it's usually fast food and pretty pricey. Snacks will give you more time before the hangry feeling sets in
Do: Bring a rolling suitcase to check (Cost $3, but worth it)
Do: Have the best time ever! 

Don't: Forget that the wireless is crap in the building - turn it off so your phone battery doesn't die.
Don't: Grab more than one of the same ARC - even if there's a huge pile. 
Don't: Push your way through the crowds to grab an ARC (politeness is always welcome)
Don't: Stop in the middle of the aisle to chat, it blocks people 

Outside BEA:
I don't know how people have the energy for this because at the end of the day (including the fabulous publisher parties and whatnot), I'm exhausted and just want to collapse in my room. But afterwards, I see people's blog talking about extra touristy things they did, places they visited, and shops they went to. I'm always jealous and amazed by these posts.

I would love to venture out more. Usually I stick pretty close to my hotel area, but maybe this year, I'll see something new.

Last year (and hopefully this year), I'll make a stop at Crumbs for some delicious treats!

So figure out your priorities and do what's right for you. 

Books I'm Dying to Read: July Edition

Here's a list of books I can't wait to get my hands on come July - perfect for summer reading

In the Mood For Love: I love this small town romance series set in Vermont
Sweet Spot: Really liked her debut novel - this one a the prequel.

Lucky Me: Breaking Chain letters - this takes me back! 
Memory Maze: Really liked the first book. Excited to see what will happen next.

Silver Shadows: OMG - after that last cliffhanger, I really need to read this one!
On the Fence: Secrets and a romance with the boy next door? Yes please!

Embers and Ash: The final book in this action packed trilogy
Midnight Thief: A thief and a knight joining forces - in order to survive.

Wildflower: Loved this one - my review
Just Like the Movies: Loved this one - review coming soon.
Bridge from Me to You: The new girl in town and football hero find each other - one has a secret, one has a problem. They fit together.

Young World: Sickness - population destroyed - teens saving the world
No Dawn without Darkness: I read the first book and need to read the second.

Through to You: One note can change everything
Kiss of Deception: A Princess keeping a secret can't go through with her marriage under false pretenses and everything changes.

Year of Chasing Dreams: This cover caught my eye, I used to love Lurlene McDaniel as a teen. It's time to start reading her books again.
Swan Point: More in the Serenity Sweet Magnolia series!!!