Saturday, October 22, 2016

Adult Review: Chasing Lady Amelia

 * Book 2 in the Keeping up with Cavendishes series *
Lady Amelia dislikes all the rules of society. She hates being told where to go and what to say. If she has to deal with on more thing, she'll scream. After a family squabble, she retires to her room. Leaning out the window, she hears a man singing. And decides to follow him.

She escapes her house, escapes her family, and escapes society. She meets the man singing. He's stunned to learn her identity the next morning. He's even more stunned upon learning that she has no desire to return. Instead, she creates a story and he plays along.

They hide from the world and live in the moment. But they must hide their tracks because if anyone discovers them, she will be ruined.
My Thoughts: I loved the first book and devoured the second. I'm longing for the third book and so hoping for a fourth book. I love how this book overlapped with the first story, we had bits and pieces from the first book simultaneously. I enjoyed Amelia's desire for escaping society.I adored the part where she stepped out of her painful shoes at the ball and the scandal that caused. With all the rules she must learn and follow, I can sympathize with her need for escape. I liked how her family was in part responsible for her escape.  I love how she played tourist for a few days - knowing exactly where she wanted to go and what she wanted to do. I loved her time with Alastair. I felt badly for the hero and how he lost his family and had to deal with his uncle who despised him. I like how his uncle's demand played out. I liked how Amelia didn't tell her family about her perfect days, how she was heartbroken to discover the truth about Alastair, and how it all turned out. I can't wait for Lady Claire's story next. 

Cover Thoughts: I love how she's fleeing
Source: My Library
Up Next: Lady Claire is All That - out in December
Library Recommendation: Highly recommended for all romance sections

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Redemption Blog Tour

Welcome to today's stop on the Redemption Blog Tour. I'm happy to be a part of it! I was so excited when Anne contacted me, I adored both Aurelia and Exile. Of course I wanted to read the ending of the trilogy!

Aurelia and Robert learn of turmoil in their homeland. Although they've exiled themselves across the water, their hearts turn heavy at the news. Tyralt is under attack and a friend arrives on their doorstep asking for their help.

Aurelia knows she can't turn away from her homeland. She's still not convinces she the right person for the job, but as always with Robert by her side, she's willing to try.

Going back puts her life in danger, but Aurelia can't leave her homeland in the hands of her treacherous sister any longer. It's time she takes a stand. 
My Thoughts: I was so happy to read this book and I wasn't disappointed. I loved it from the first page until the end. I liked watching both Robert and Aurelia come into their own. I liked the strategies, the defiance, and the determination.  I loved meeting people from the homeland. I love how Aurelia grew and how she took control of her life.  A fantastic ending to a wonderful trilogy.

Source: ARC for review
Final Thoughts: If you're a Aurelia and Exile fan, you won't want to miss this ending!

About the Author:
portrait-tree Anne Osterlund grew up in the sunshine of Eastern Oregon and graduated from Whitworth College. She lives in a cute little yellow house with her best feline friend, Simba, and her own library of young adult books. She enjoys immersing her students in language, literature, and imagination. Anne has written five novels: Aurelia, Exile, Redemption, Academy 7, and Salvation. She has dreams of many more in the future. Unveil the intrigue on her website.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Picture Book Review: Ada Twist, Scientist

Ada's curiosity makes her question Everything! Her favorite question WHY sometimes gets her into trouble.
My Thoughts: Loved this one too. I adore this series of characters who explore the world and their place in it. I love how Ada questions everything. I love how her parents encourage her questions (not always by writing on the wall). I like how she observed the world. I love that her first word was WHY? I love how she doesn't give up, but puzzles out the answer. I like how she experiments on the family cat and that's she's placed in the thinking chair afterwards. But not even that stops her. Great pictures. Fantastic Story. Perfect for encouraging young minds.

Cover Thoughts: Adorable
Source: My Library
Library Recommendation: Perfect for ALL libraries and required reading for schools.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Character Names

This week's topic is Ten Characters I'd Name A Child/Dog/Cat...
meme from The Broke and the Bookish 
Dog Names:
Castle from Richard Castle
Ghost from Game of Thrones
Holmes from Sherlock Holmes
Darcy from Pride and Prejudice
Ranger from Stephanie Plum
Draco from Harry Potter

Child Names:
Arya: Game of Thrones
Anne from Anne of Green Gables
Hermoine from Harry Potter
Alanna from Song of the Lioness 

Monday, October 17, 2016

Black Widow: Red Vengeance Excerpt and Giveaway

By Margaret Stohl
Release: October 11th, 2016

Emotions are dangerous, which is why the graduates of Moscow’s famed spy school the Red Room are taught to keep their enemies close and their loved ones at a distance. Black Widow and Red Widow, also known as Natasha Romanoff and Ava Orlova, forgot that lesson once, and they won’t forget it again.

But the Widows have inherited something else from their shared Moscow past: a relentless need for vengeance—Ivan Somodorov is dead, but his network of terror remains.

While the Widows search South America in order to extinguish a smuggling operation with ties to their old nemesis, their own Red Room not only attempts to assassinate them both but also hacks their secure S.H.I.E.L.D. network. As a result, Ava and Natasha find themselves thrust into a trying mission of international intrigue that takes them throughout the world and back to New York City, where their friends Dante and Sana become unlikely targets as well.

Once again, nothing is as it seems, no one can be trusted, and no one is safe—not unless the Widows can stop a conspiracy involving stolen nuclear warheads, mind-altering chemical weapons, and ultimately, betrayal by old friends and enemies alike.

Margaret Stohl is the #1 New York Times best-selling co-author of the Beautiful Creatures novels (also a major motion picture) and the author of the instant New York Times best seller Black Widow: Forever Red, as well as a contributor to multiple Marvel comics. Previously, Margaret was a veteran of the video game industry, working as a writer and designer before co-founding 7 Studios with Lewis Peterson.

Find Margaret Stohl on Twitter and Instagram.

Black Widow: Red Vengeance




Nothing like the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center, thought Natasha Romanoff— for terrorists, crackpots, and basic criminal scumbags. As always, there were no visions of sugarplums dancing in the Black Widow’s cold red head.  The S.H.I.E.L.D. agent glanced up at the green-needled monolith—dusted with snowflakes and twinkling with lights and Swarovski crystals, the centerpiece of Manhattan’s annual   holiday party—and thought two words.
Merry Christmas?  Try: target package.
Natasha knew that the famed Rockefeller Center tree was larger-than-life in a score of dangerously useful ways. Symbolic significance? Check. Media coverage? Check, check. Mass casualties? Check, check, check. She sighed and touched her earpiece. “Black to base. No sign of their Alpha.”
“Copy that, but don’t park your sleigh just yet, Black.” Coulson’s voice crackled into her ear as she moved through the crowd. “And check in with Red. We’ve lost her signal.”
“Copy that, base. Black out.” She kept moving.
A sea of raised arms, all holding cell-phone cameras, now saluted the hundred-foot Norway spruce from every side, as if the yuletide monstrosity had crash-landed on some worshipful alien planet and assumed the role of supreme leader. Yeah, a planet of sardines, more than a million a day, all packed squirming into one snowy city block, Natasha thought.
And for what? To see a freaking plant.
It was a stormy Saturday afternoon in December, a bad time both for crowds and weather, which meant these were die-hard tree people—Natasha just hoped not literally.
Tourists plus terrorists? That always ends well.
The potential for disaster was staggering. Eyes up, defenses down—not one dazed worshiper was looking anywhere but the supersized tree—even though there was an entire holiday parade moving down Fifth Avenue at the far edge of the block.
Ever since the yuletide crowd had begun to surge and climb over the sludge-banked metal barricades at the edges of Rockefeller Center plaza—the corner of Fifty-Ninth and Fifth—the NYPD had given up. Now they just cursed the cold afternoon, waiting out the end of their shifts on the safe side of the roadblocks, their breath curling upward in raggedy white puffs. And they’re strictly donut patrol, not top command. That had probably been a factor in the strategic acquisition of this target, she thought. Human gridlock with only Paul Blart on your tail—
Natasha touched her ear again. “Red, what’s going on? Ava? You lost?”
All she got back was static.
That’s not a good sound—
“Hey, happy holidays,” said a harried-looking mom in a cheery red fleece, pushing a stroller zippered in plastic up the curb next to Natasha. “Great snowsuit--“
Natasha nodded, eyeing the kid as the patch of red disappeared into the snowflaked crowd. Don’t get distracted, Romanoff. Do your job and maybe this time nobody gets hurt. She hitched her pack higher, pushing on toward Fifth Avenue.
Yeah, right.
The odds were good that this op was going to end in casualties—and that, soon enough, the red in the snow wasn’t going to be fleece. Natasha’s hooded “snowsuit” was a CBRN (Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear) state-of-the-art mop suit that only resembled snow gear; really, it was lined with filtering charcoal and striped with M-9 detection paper so she could gauge what was being thrown at her in any given hot zone. And the goggles around her neck weren’t for skiing but surviving—a mouth guard flipped down from inside, like a collapsible gas mask. (Dire biological functions aside, the whole getup also lowered the odds that one of the Black Widow’s many superfans would recognize her infamous red hair. Oh, the price of super hero superstardom..)
But it was the contents of her rucksack that really set her apart. Her requisition S.H.I.E.L.D. ruck held an M183 demolition charge assembly with enough C-4 (sixteen charges in all) to flatten a city block, if that’s what it came to.
Unlike the rest of Manhattan, Natasha Romanoff hadn’t come for the tree. She was there to take out the unknown number of hostiles who were plotting to use Rockefeller Center as holiday bait for civilian casualties. Her alpha priority was their leader, who had threatened to launch the largest and most sophisticated chemical-weapons attack in the nation’s history.
When it hit, the Northeast Megalopolis, the Boston-Washington corridor that was home to more than fifty million people, would be flooded with aerosolized chemical particulates. The invisible, odorless microbes would seize control of human neurons and eventually destroy them—unless Natasha could destroy the as-yet-unidentified dispersal devise before the Alpha triggered it, somewhere on this street, sometime on this day, at some point during this parade.
But no pressure.
This wasn’t the first time she had carried a satchel charge through the streets of a populated area; off the top of her head, there had been Pristina and Grozny and Sana’s and Djibouti and Bogotá before now. She had infiltrated Serbian revolutionaries and Chechen guerillas and Yemeni pirates and Somali armed forces and Columbian mercenaries—but then, they had already known they were at war. It didn’t make the ops any less devastating, only less of a surprise; those buildings had long been riddled by bullets, roads ravaged from IEDs, walls chiseled with rat holes for hostiles at every turn. Those cities had become operational theaters way before she’d gotten the call; everyone who could leave had already left.
At least, that was how Natasha had rationalized it to herself.
This, on the other hand, was midtown Manhattan. This was a holiday attack perpetuated on American soil in the clear light of day during prime traffic for the highest-density urban population in the country. It was the sort of bad business only attempted by the depraved coalition of psychopaths grasping for global attention—because it worked. Every lethal move the opposition made brought them closer to achieving the desired result, to producing the headlines—the worst! the deadliest! the bloodiest!—that could shape or rule an era and force a country to its knees.
Not if someone stops them first.
She checked her watch.
Come on, Ava. Where are you?
They didn’t have this kind of time to waste. For the next two hours, the parade would still be going, and Rockefeller Center would still be jammed with civilians. The timing wasn’t an accident. Pearl Harbor was hit at 7:53 a.m.; the first of the Twin Towers was 8:45 a.m. If the attack succeeded, today would be worse by an order of magnitude.
From where Natasha stood, she knew she could shake up a Coke and spray fifty people without so much as tossing it. If she had to use it, the effect of a single stick of C-4 in a place like this, on a day like this, at a time like this, would be unimaginable. If she didn’t use it, the number of people affected by the chemical attack would probably be worse. There was no easy answer, and there never had been.
Twenty-eight years of peace. She’d read it in one of Ava’s S.H.I.E.L.D. Academy assignments, citing a journalist named Chris Hedges.
That’s all the quiet this planet has ever known, since the beginning of recorded history. How can one person change that?
Even if that one person happened to be the Black Widow.
But it’s not just you; there are two of you now, she scolded herself. I don’t know why you keep forgetting that. Red and Black, remember? You don’t always have to be so alone, Natashkava—
“Natashkava!” She heard Ava’s voice while her back was still turned. “I found the Alpha. Right around the corner. There’s just one thing—“
Natasha heard it in Ava’s voice before she saw it. The flinty hardness, the push of adrenaline that inflected every syllable.
The betrayal.
Her hand went immediately to the back of her waistband.
It’s not there—
Now the voice was louder, harsher. “Touch one hair on that Alpha’s head and I’ll shoot,” Ava said. “And I mean it.”
“I know,” Natasha said, raising her hands in surrender. And as she slowly turned to face all that remained of her family, she also found herself staring down the barrel of her own Glock revolver.

Prizes: Red Widow is back!
One (1) winner from your site receives:
·         Copies of both Black Widow: Forever Red and Black Widow: Red Vengeance;
·         a branded Black Widow bag and pin.

Giveaway open to US addresses only.
Prizing and samples provided by Marvel Press. Thanks to Marvel Press for sending me a copy, and for providing a prize pack!

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Mysterious Saturday Review: The Great Shelby Holmes

John Watson, an Army brat moves into a new building where he meets Shelby Holmes. At first he isn't too sure about her, but right now she's the only person he knows. He asks to tag along on her walk with her dog.

They run into a school mate of Shelby's who is devastated because her dog has gone missing. Shelby takes the case and allows John to tag along. Can they solve the case?
My Thoughts: Honestly, the name and the cover sold me on this book (not to mention the author.) I was pleasantly surprised when I realized the narrator wasn't Shelby Holmes, but John Watson. I loved seeing the neighborhood through his eyes when he walked with Shelby. I loved his initial meeting with Shelby and how she grew on him. They make an unlikely pair, but they're refreshing. I enjoyed the case and meeting the family. I like John's mother and how she isn't sure that Shelby is the best person for John to befriend. I liked her backstory too. Plus the illustrations are charming. I can't wait to read more about this pair.

Cover Thoughts: Adorable
Source: My Library
Library Recommendation: Perfect for both middle school and public libraries - highly recommended. 

Friday, October 14, 2016

Mini Review: Way Back Home

 * Book 3 in the Wildflower Trilogy *
Bird's rocking the road tour, giving it her all every night with her brother and her best friend helping her out. Life on the road is mostly great, but there's a moment when Bird just wants to be herself for the night, and of course it backfires. Chaos ensues. 
The Good:
The bus tour
Life on the road
No parents
The romance
All the pressure
That reporter!

The Bad:
It's over. I loved reading about Bird and her world. I'm sad the trilogy ended, but it was a great read.
Overall: A really fun series for anyone who loves country music, books about rock stars, and Taylor Swift