Monday, July 28, 2014

Review: Chapel Wars

Holly's grandfather dies and leaves his wedding chapel to her in his will. She's 16, but loves the chapel. At first, she's beyond happy, but then she learns the truth.

The chapel's in serious financial difficulty. Holly must make some hard choices - offering services that her grandfather refused in hopes of getting out from under debt and keeping the chapel.

On top of that, she's fallen for the grandson of her family's worst enemy.  Dax is amazing and perfect for Holly. She knows she can't keep their relationship a secret. She's terrified to lose anything else, but can she really juggle everything?
My Thoughts: I really enjoyed this contemporary read. I felt bad for Holly - losing her beloved grandfather. That happened to me in high school and it's not easy to forget. I like how she made the hard choices in order for the chapel to survive, including her inventive ways to make more money. Dax was a great distraction - showing him around Vegas in hopes of changing his mind about the city, which was a great way to show off the normal side of the city. I loved Holly's friends and how she was one of the guys. Walking the tightrope of balancing grief and hope, The Chapel Wars explores a range of emotions following the death of a loved one.

Cover Thoughts: Love it
Source: My Library

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Mysterious Saturday Review: Diva Wraps it Up

 * Book 8 in the Domestic Diva series* 
The holiday season is Sophie's favorite time of year - that is until this year. During an office parry, a friends falls from his balcony. He's taken to the hospital where they discover he's been taking too many blood thinners.  It's lucky he fell because the doctors caught it just in time.

Another neighbor falls off the roof and the ladder looks suspicious. It may have been tampered with.  Someone else is almost electrocuted while hanging up Christmas lights; the wires look frayed. What is happening around the neighborhood - is it just a string of bad luck or something more sinister?
My Thoughts: I wasn't sure about reading a holiday book so early. Even though I love them, I usually start reading them starting in October. But this actaully made me start thinking about Christmas and I created this canvas of pictures. 

I really enjoyed this book - from the decorating to baking the cookies to visiting the toy store. Even though the neighborhood had issue after issue, they did their best to remain cheerful and helpful. I like how Sophie and Nina reached out to Mrs Scorggins. As always Natasha is over the top - but so much fun to read. Everyone seems to have a secret - that's not staying secret for long. A great addition to this charming series.

Cover Thoughts: Love it
Source: My Library

Friday, July 25, 2014

SummerTime Review: Open Road Summer

Books perfect for the beach or to read by the pool

  Reagan's made some bad choices recently, but she's excited to go on tour with her BFF Dee. Dee, known to the world as Lilah Montgomery, is the hottest country star around. Dee's nursing a broken heart of her own.

When a scandalous looking picture emerges of Dee and her ex-boyfriend, Dee's torn up. Reagan does her best to help her friend, but it's almost impossible to cheer her up. The record label decides to add a wholesome opening act in hope of sparking romance rumors in the tabloids.

Dee and Matt are interested in each other - they're almost like brother and sister. The more time Reagan spends with Matt, the stronger her feelings for him grow. Could this be the start of something?

My Thoughts: OMG - I loved this book, a perfect debut novel. I'm a fan of country music - I like how many of the songs tell a story, so I enjoyed the moments where Dee and Matt wrote together and reading the lyrics.  I love the friendship between Dee and Reagan - the love, the laughter, and the loyalty. I love how the walls come down and they make each other stronger. While I would never want to be famous, I liked how you saw an inside look at fame and how it takes control over your life. I loved the "in the moment" scene and the banter between Reagan and Matt. The book looks up to all the buzz, it's beautiful and fantastic. Go Read it if you haven't!

Cover Thoughts: Love it!
Source: Sent for review (Thanks Anna!)

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Review: Year of Luminous Love

Three best friends graduate high school and start thinking about the future.  

Ciana wants to hold on to her family farm, go to college, and fall in love. When she meets a guy at a club, she realizes it could lead somewhere.

Unfortunately it's the same guy her BFF Arie's been crushing over for years. When Arie spots him again, her crush returns full force. Ciana doesn't want to tell Arie about her crush - not when Arie is finally in remission and deserves every happiness.

Both Ciana and Arie are concerned about Eden and her relationship with Tony. He might have rescued her once, but he's bad news. Ciana takes matters into her own hands to spread a little happiness among her BFFs.
My Thoughts: I really enjoyed this book about three friends trying to figure out their future plans after high school. I used to read a lot of Lurlene McDaniel books in middle school. I haven't read her in a while and it brought me back. I loved the trip to Italy and how they explored the country together. I liked their friendship and how they were there for each other. I'm glad that Eden was able to get away and enjoy her time, although I felt bad for her mother. I liked how this book talked about deeper issues: cancer, cutting, abusive relationship, and parental failures - but at the same time, it wasn't too dark and there were plenty of light moments. A great book on friendship, loyalty, and taking a chance on love.

Cover Thoughts: Ok
Source: My Library

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Books I'm Dying to Read: September Edition

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

The Jewel (The Lone City, #1)Get Even (Don't Get Mad, #1)
Jewel: I have this from BEA and it looks super good. Forbidden Romance
Get Even: Tagline = Breakfast Club meets Pretty Little Liars - sold!

Shattered (Scorched, #2)The Social Media Experiment
Shattered: I really liked the first one and dragons!
Social Media Experiment: A behind the scene look at popularity and what it costs

Death Is Like a Box of ChocolatesNightmares Can Be Murder
Death is like a Box of Chocolates: First in a new series - combined book and chocolate store.
Nightmares Can be Murder: First in a new series - where friends meet once a week to talk about their dreams. A murder resembles a recent dream talked about...

The Red PencilLittle Author in the Big Woods: A Biography of Laura Ingalls Wilder
Red Pencil: A novel in verse that could be hard to read -but an important read about inner strength 
Little Author Big Woods: Loved the Little House books as a kid, looking forward to learning more about the author.

Sealed with a Lie (Two Lies and a Spy, #2)The Fine Art of Pretending (The Fine Art of Pretending, #1)
Sealed with a Lie: Really liked the first one - Kari must now rescue her little brother
Fine Art of Pretending: Aly wants to shred her tomboy image and snag a date for the upcoming dance.

CraftFail: When Homemade Goes Horribly WrongUnderwater Puppies
CraftFail: Saw this while browsing at BEA and it looks hilarious. I'm a big lover of Pinterest, but we've all had crafts that fail.
Underwater Puppies: I really liked Underwater Dogs, have no doubt this will be cute too

Illusions of FatePoisoned Apples: Poems for You, My Pretty
Illusions of Fate: Donwton Abbey meets Cassandra Clare - sounds good!
Poisoned Apples: Poetry of fairy tales next to a modern world - hard to describe but sounds like a powerful read.

Raging Heat (Nikki Heat, #6)Stirring the Plot (Cookbook Nook Mystery, #3)
Raging Heat: Love the Castle books - Rook and Heat become at odds over a case 
Stirring the Plot: Book 3 set near Halloween and a spooky soiree turns deadly

The Vault of DreamersAfterworlds
Vault of Dreamers: I have this from BEA - what if your dreams were not your own?
Afterworlds: I have this from BEA too - sounds like it has a Pride and Prejudice vibe. It's huge, so I need to set aside of chunk of time to read it. 

He's So Fine (Lucky Harbor, #11)In Your Dreams (Blue Heron #4)
He's So Fine: Love Lucky Harbor - so excited for the next trilogy.
In Your Dreams: Love this series! How CUTE is this cover? And it's Jack's story.

Wouldn't It Be Deadly: An Eliza Doolittle & Henry Higgins Mystery (Eliza Doolittle & Henry Higgins Mystery, #1)To Fudge or Not to Fudge
Wouldn't it be Deadly: Mystery featuring My Fair Lady characters - yes please!
To Fudge or not to Fudge: 2nd book in the series about a girl trying to keep her family hotel from going under while also making fudge in small tourist town.

The Ninja Detectives 2 (w.t.)The Fires of Calderon (The Balance Keepers, #1)Jessica Darling's It List 2: The (Totally Not) Guaranteed Guide to Friends, Foes & Faux Friends
Ninja Detectives 2: Really enjoyed the first one - looking forward to the next case.
Balance Keepers: Start of a new MG series with an underground society
Jessica Darling 2: I have this one and can't wait to read more of Jessica Darling and how she navigates 7th grade.

The Christmas Bouquet (Chesapeake Shores, #11)The Prince Who Loved Me (The Oxenburg Princes, #1)
Christmas Bouquet: I adore the O'Brien family books, especially Christmas ones.
Prince who Loved Me: A Scottish Cinderella tale - love that cover

Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass #3)
Heir of Fire: Read it - loved it. One of my favorite reads this year and one of my favorite series.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Characters on a deserted island

So this week's topic is characters you'd want with you on a deserted island...and mine might be a little different than others. And I didn't quite make it to 10.

Hermoine - to talk about books, her magical bag, and her amazing magical skills.
Princess Mia - surely Genovia will send people looking for her
Katniss - she could catch food, if all else failed
Kat Bishop (Heist Society) - if anyone could find a way off the island, it would be her
Sera (Deep Blue) - she might be able to find us a way off the island by way of water
Gilbert - you do need a guy on the island and I believe he was my first book boyfriend
Artemis Fowl - with his smarts, he could also find a way off the island

Plus, a dog. Because you always need a dog. Right now I'm blanking on a dog character (one that doesn't die), but it's important to have a dog.

Tween Tuesday Review: All Stars

101 Athletes Every Fan Needs to Know

I have an issue with sports books and the discrepancy between men highlighted and women highlighted. While this book still isn't great, it's better.

What I wanted to see: 
What about the women who played baseball in the WWII era? Or the women who play softball?
Why is there only one woman talked about in basketball section?
What about the women hockey players?

The Good:
The section on Olympics was excellent in terms of the women to men ratio. 

The photographs are amazingly in this book. The Super Stats and Fast Stats are great sources of breakout information and entertaining stats. Kids and teens alike will enjoy this one. 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Review: Homeroom Diaries

Cuckoo had an emotional breakdown, which landed her in a mental institution for a few days. Now since her mother abandoned her, she's been staying with a neighbor.  School isn't great either - but she does have a fantastic group of friends.

She and her friends are determined to create a better atmosphere in their school with Operation Happiness. Plan after plan fails, but Cuckoo isn't about to give up. She knows that the nations can come together and makes the school more livable - that is until someone take a prank way too far.

Why do people suck so much and can they ever change?
My Thoughts: I wasn't not expecting this book to be so dark and to cover so many topics. I felt horrible and proud of Cuckoo for most of the book. I loved her inner strength and her determination Of course I loved her bookish ways and the recent books that popped up during the book. I liked the blend of the diary format with the drawings. The format is perfect for venting feelings and for Cuckoo to show us how she feels. Bullies - unwanted sexual advances - suicide - mental health - parental abandonment - this book packs quite the punch and makes your root for the Freakshow.

Cover Thoughts: When I looked at the pink - I thought it was going to be a much lighter kind of book
Source: Sent for review