Saturday, December 31, 2011

Mysterious Covers of 2011

Here are my favorite mystery covers of books I read in 2011

What were some of your favorites???

Friday, December 30, 2011

Best Books of 2011

Here's my 3rd annual report on my favorite books this year. I can't of course choose just one (I did read 365 after all) Check out the 2008, 2009, and 2010 posts. Unless stated the following books are teen titles. These are the books I've read this year and not only 2011 books. Also there are several books I could have used for many categorizes, but I chose not to duplicate them too much because there were SO many great books that I read this year. Enjoy the list!

Best Covers (separate post here and come back tomorrow for my favorite mystery covers)

Best Faerie/Fairy: Faerie Ring

Best Fun Nonfiction: Seventeen Style

Best Nonfiction: Count on Us

Best Science Fiction: Outside In

Best Werewolf: Trial By Fire

Best Art: Darker Still (review coming soon)

Best Contemporary: Lola and the Boy Next Door

Best Adult Contemporary: Turn in the Road/ Rose Cottage (not reviewed)

Best Gothic: Circle of Fire

Best Ghost: Ghost Huntress the Discovery

Best Paranormal: Die for Me

Best Adult Paranormal: Chicagoland Vampire series

Best book that reminded me of Jane Austen: Kat, Incorrigible

Best Adult Regency: Eleven Scandals to Start to Save a Duke's Heart (not reviewed)

Best Children's Picture Book: Love, Mouserella / Detective Blue (both reviewed on goodreads)

Best Verse Novel: Day Before

Best Book I Never Would Have Read on My Own: Putting Make-up On Dead People (review for review in VOYA)

Best Teen Princess: Royal Treatment

Best Adult Princess (or the Kate + Will tie in) To Marry a Prince (not reviewed)

Best Tween Princess: Tuesdays at the Castle

Best Series Ending: Last Sacrifice

Best Adult Series Ending: 1225 Christmas Tree Lane / The Summer Garden

Best Spin-off: Bloodlines and Medusa Plot

Best New Chapter in a series: Uncommon Criminals / Demonglass

Best New Series: Pledge / Belles

Best Tween Series: Canterwood Crest / Goddess Girls

Best Mythology: Sweet Venom / Touch of Frost

Best Tween Mystery: Midnight Tunnel

Best Mystery: Liar Society / Clarity

Best Adult Mystery: To Have and to Kill / Decadent Way to Die

Best Historical Fiction: Traitor in the Tunnel

Best Adult Historical Fiction: The Wallflower series

Best TV/Movie tie-in: Deadly Storm - Castle

Most Haunting Read: Dear Bully

Best Short Stories: Enthralled

Best Novel about Girls with Brains: Shut Out

Best College Book: Love Story

Best Snarkiness: Paranormalcy / Never Sit Down in a Hoop Skirt....

Best Craft Book: Stamp It! (no review)

Best Graphic Novel: Stepping on Roses

Best Dystopian: Legend / Divergent

Best Time Travel: Hourglass

Best Road Trip: Amy & Roger's Epic Detour

Best Survival: Wolf Storm

Best Holiday Book: Home for the Holidays

Best Adult Holiday Book: Wallflower Christmas

Best Adult Food Book: Death by Dozen

Best Fantasy Paranormalcy

Best Kiss: Demonglass / Shut Out

New Author to Watch: Marie Lu / Veronica Roth

Best Action: Medusa Plot

Best Library: Touch of Frost

Best Dragon: Dragon Flight

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Best YA Cover 2011

Here are my favorite covers for YA books I read in 2011

What are your favorites??

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Review: Last Breath

Claire and her friends are battling a new fight. Eve and Michael are engaged, but no one in the town is eager for the marriage to take place. Instead, both sides are fighting this union.

Claire also notices that something's going down inside the vampire community - something they're not sharing. Instead, they're insisting that everyone stay inside.

Claire learns that an enemy of Amelie has arrived. Vampires are going missing. Amelie is scared. Claire can't imagine what has her so rattled. She knows one thing - if Amelie feels threatened, the danger is worse than ever before.

Can Claire and her friends once again help save Morganville or will this really be the end of everything?

My Thoughts: I really love this series - for the uniqueness of the vampires, for Claire's determination and strength, for Claire and Shane, for Michael and Eve, for Claire and Eve, and all the action and drama. Like all of them, this book had a creepiness factor. I loved watching Claire trying to unravel information about this new threat that no one can see. I really liked the different perspectives, which is new. A fantastic new chapter to an amazing addictive series!

Cover Thoughts: I love the white and the blue together and how it relates to the book

Source: My Library

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Tween Tuesday Review: A Boy At War

Adam's father is a Navy man. Adam's used to moving and making new friends. However, he's having a harder time of it in Hawaii.

He thinks he might have made a new friend, but Davi's Japanese. America is on the brink of war with Japan. Adam's father doesn't want him to befriend Davi. He believes that Adam's actions reflect on the family, and more importantly on himself. He forbids Adam from hanging out with Davi.

Adam's already promised to go fishing with Davi early the next morning. He rises, intending to go apologize, and break off their friendship. But the allure of fishing is too great. Together, Adam, Davi and Davi's cousin sneak onto Pearl Harbor where they spend the morning fishing.

Their peaceful morning's interrupted by planes flying overhead. At first, Adam thinks they're in a movie. It's not too long before he realizes that that planes are Japanese and they're bombing the ships in Pearl Harbor. His father is on one of those ships.

Adam and his friends race for shore, but they're dodging bullets, bombs, and suspicious people. Can they get to safety before one of them is seriously injured?

My Thoughts: I chose this book for our middle school book club at the library. It's a popular book with the teens. Also I wanted to read something connected with Pearl Harbor for the 70th year after the attack on Pearl Harbor. I really enjoyed it. I liked the action. I liked reading about Adam's family life and life on the island. I really liked what happened after the attack. I think I'll continue and read A Boy No More.

Cover Thoughts: It doesn't entirely match the story, but it fits in nicely

Source: my Library

Monday, December 26, 2011

Monday Matinee: Larry Crowne

I enjoyed this movie - I feel like both critics and users didn't, but I liked it.

I love Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts. He was quirky, funny, and charmingly clueless. She was smart, sassy, and needed someone to make her laugh.

I liked that she was a professor. I liked that he went back to school

I loved the bike scenes

George Takei was funny

and so was Gugu Mbatha-Raw

I didn't like:
She was married and I know that was explained....but still.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

I hope that all of you get to spend time with your family and friends

In a warm place with lots of laughter, fun, and of course books!

Merry Christmas!!!!!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Happy Birthday to me

My husband took me out for a wonderful excursion -a royal tea and a viewing of the Princess Diana exhibit (which was marvelous). I felt like a Princess and we had the greatest time.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Adult Review: The Summer Garden

Luke met Moira in Ireland over the holidays. She's the granddaughter of the man who once stole his grandmother's heart. Together they traveled around Ireland looking at pubs.

Luke's finally decided on a life path - he's going to open an Irish pub in Chesapeake Shores. He's working hard to transform a former restaurant into his dream.

Moira shows up unexpectedly accompanying her grandmother on his visit. Luke's overjoyed to see her. In fact he hasn't been able to get her out of his head. She helps him improve his ideas for the pub.

With his mind so focused on the pub and his future, Luke isn't sure it's the right time to talk about the future. However, he might just lose Moira if he doesn't starting talking about what their future might hold.

My Thoughts: I really loved this book. As it's the end of series I adored, it's hard to say goodbye! I loved Moira, especially with her photography. I loved watching the pub go from building to a place I'd love to hang out. I loved watching Dillon and Nell rekindle their old romance. I love these characters. Most of all, I wish Chesapeake Shores was a real place. Sheryl Woods creating an amazing series with wonderful complex characters, an enchanting town, and romance that warms the heart.

Cover Thoughts: Fantastic

Source: Netgalley - comes out January 31st

Fun Fact: This is also the book I chose to complete my personal reading challenge for 365 books this year!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Night with Celtics

Last night, my husband and our best friend went to see the Celtics preseason opener - which was super fun.

We got into Boston early and when to Quincy Marketplace for dinner and to take a look at the decorations.

Then we made our way to the Garden with a quick stop to see Gary in the studio

Here's warm ups. KG is there and Ray's shooting at the foul line.

The game:

My awesome sign - I ADORE Rajon Rondo

A great night out!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Adult Review: Baby it's Cold Outside

Sloan's best friend is dealing with a crisis in Alaska. She begs Sloan to come rescue her. Sloan, not happy with life in New York City, travels to her side.

Grier's father died, providing for her in his will. She didn't know him. Plus he had another daughter. Grier's fighting for her inheritance and the town is clearly taking sides. Grier's miserable. Sloan attempts to show the town's people the side of Grier she sees.

Together they form a bond with local girl Avery. Together they talk about heartache, men, and everything in between. They laugh over drinks, pancakes, and their own gossip. The town's frost begins to thaw as the Sloan and she sassy ways gain notice.

They catch the eye of the three town matriarchs who want nothing more than to see their grandson's married and quickly. It's the reason they host the bachelor action each year. Sloan enters the auction on a dare from one of the grandsons - Walker. But she's also writing a freelance article on the event. Could Walker be something more than just a fling on a cold winter's night?

My Thoughts: The start of a trilogy - with great friends, romance, and a quaint town. I loved Sloan and her sassy smart-alack ways. I liked Walker. I loved the Grandmothers. I love the setting, I can feel the cold whipping through me. A cute story to read on a cold winter's night. I'm looking forward to Grier and Avery's stories

Cover Thoughts: Cute

Source: My Library

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A look at Rainshadow Road

I can't tell you how excited I am for this book. I simple LOVED Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor - which has the same setting as this new trilogy.

Here's the author chatting about her new series:

I'm excited for the bits about glass artistry. That's always interested me. I'm excited for the magic, the stories about the brothers, and those colorful characters!

Rainshadow Road comes out at the very end of February and I can't wait for it!!!

Tween Tuesday Review: Tuesdays at the Castle

Princess Celie loves Tuesdays because that's when the castle expands. It might grow an extra room or an extra wing. Celie loves Tuesdays and loves to explore the new rooms. She's making an atlas to help everyone else find their way.

Her parents leave to go see her brother graduate from Wizard's College. She's sad to be left behind with her older brother and sister. When a member of the guard comes back with the news of their death, Celie can't believe it.

Everyone knows that Castle Glower holds the real power, but few believe in it. Celie believes in the castle. She can feel it's power. Since the castle hasn't changed her parent's room, she's sure they are still alive somewhere.

When another threatens the throne, Celie does what she can to make sure her family stays in power. She has a little help from her sister and brother and of course, the castle.

My Thoughts: An adorable enchanting read. I ADORED the Castle. I loved Celie for her strength, sense of humor, and brilliance. I loved Rolf and even the very proper Lilah. Everything I've read by Jessica Day George is simply amazing and Tuesdays at the Castle is no different. While everything is wrapped up, I can't help but wish this is the first in a series.

Cover Thoughts: Really Cute

Source: My Library

Monday, December 19, 2011

Reivew: The Pledge

Charlie has a secret - a deadly secret. In a society where language determines your class, she has the ability to understand all languages.

She can't let anyone know her secret, but somehow a mysterious but cute stranger figures it out. Part of her thinks she can trust him, but the other half of her doesn't trust anyone.

When the kingdom starts taking precautionary measures against rumors of rebel forces attacking the city, Charlie and her sister must flee to safety. There she uncovers the truth about the Queen and her desires. The truth will change her life forever.

My Thoughts: LOVED this book. I loved that language was SO powerful in this world. I loved Brooklyn. I loved the idea behind the Queen and her power. I loved Charlie and her sister. They had an incredible bond. I loved the rebels and their secrets. I'm so happy this is the start of a new series because I can't wait to read more!

Cover Thoughts: Great!

Source: My Library

Video: check out the fan trailer I made here

If You Like...Holiday Romances

If You Like… is a feature highlighting blogger recommendations for books, authors, TV shows, movies, and music based on the things you already know and love. This week’s post includes recommendations for holiday romances.

If you like holiday romances, you might like

Sunday, December 18, 2011


If you follow me on twitter, than you know I'm addicted to PINTEREST.

It's a great place for craft ideas (among other ideas) I got a number of craft ideas for Christmas presents this year and some I'm saving for next year!

I also love looking at libraries and bookish pins. I did get an email with a link to the 25 most beautiful pins for bookworms

I've got a board with great graphics to use for book displays.

Have you become addicted yet?

Sunday Matinee: Sherlock Holmes Game of Shadows

I loved this movie!

It was dark, funny, and sweet at times.

I loved the cameo with Rachel McAdams

The wedding was sweet.

I love the skulking in dark corners and trying to figure out the puzzle

I loved the stag night and the bits with Mycroft Holmes

I loved the game of minds between Sherlock and his opponent.

I loved the bit about the horses.

I love scenery, it makes me want to go to England ASAP

Oh, I LOVED the dancing scene.

I don't think there was anything about the movie that I didn't Like. Have you seen it yet?
Your Thoughts?

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Mysterious Saturday Review: Button Holed

Josie has a huge day ahead of her - one that could make a name for her new button store. When she arrives early to get a head start on the opening day, she discovers two men in her store.

They've tossed the store. After a few threats they leave her alone. With the store a disaster, she works double time to get it read for her guest.

A famous actress is checking out her store for buttons for her wedding dress. She's marrying a Prince, but she's already Hollywood Royalty.

The week turns out to be a disaster when the next day, Josie finds the actress in her store - dead. She was murdered.

Josie can't get the images of murder out of her mind. When she discovers a unique button on the floor, she knows it doesn't belong in her collection. As an expert, she aids the police investigation with research. Could her knowledge help solve a murder?

My Thoughts: A Wonderful start to a new series and I just LOVED the button store. After reading it, it made me want to get out all my grandmother's old buttons and play with them like I did when I was young. I loved the Hollywood spin. I loved Detective Riley. I can't wait to see where this new series will go!

Cover Thoughts: LOVE it!

Source: Purchased

Friday, December 16, 2011

Review: Audition

Sara's a high school junior when her world changes overnight. A small town girl from Vermont, she's chosen for a ballet scholarship in hopes of becoming a professional dancer.

Her entire life changes when she accepts the scholarship and moves to New Jersey. She lives with a host family - away from all her friends and family.

It's lonely for her. Most of the girls have known each other forever. It's hard to not feel left out. It's hard to break through their circles. It's also hard with the teacher making negative remarks about your dancing.

Sara isn't sure she's cut out for a life of dancing. She isn't ready to give it all up though, especially when she meets Remington. He's an older boy who dances, but lives for choreography. Could he be the answer to her loneliness?

My Thoughts: Loving the ballerina stories lately! I loved that it was in verse. I loved the emotions of loneliness, wonder, and frustration that shone through. I felt her pain at changing her life, her frustration with perfecting her life, and her loss as her family and friends moved on without her. I loved the view into the ballet world. I hated Remington, but I understood Sara's choices. Overall - an emotional read with despair and hope that kept me turning the pages.

Cover Thoughts: Great cover!

Source: My Library

Read Also: Bunheads

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Review: Traitor in the Tunnel

Mary's sent undercover to Buckingham Palace to quietly find a thief in the midst. The thief is stealing from the White Drawing Room.

Mary's posing as a domestic maid in the palace. While she's working hard at both jobs - she's finding it harder to uncover any information about the thefts. No one is forth coming with information.

Just when Mary thinks this case might be her first failure, she follows someone into a secret tunnel in the pantry. The tunnels lead to a secret project that James is overseeing. Now, Mary must conquer her fears of talking to him again and possibly join forces with him again.

My Thoughts: I ADORE this series! It's one of my favorites and I'm so happy there's one more coming! I loved Mary going uncover as a maid for Queen Victoria. I loved learning more about the Queen's household - especially the No Gossip rule. I love the romance between Mary and James - it's quite heated. I really enjoyed the personal part of Mary's story where she deals with her father and her emotions. One part of the story made me sad but I'm interested to see where it goes. A wonderful addition to this historical fiction mystery series that I simply devoured.

This book comes out February 28th

Cover Thoughts: LOVE it!

Source: from the publisher Candlewick - THANK YOU!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Books I'm Dying to Read: February Edition

Here are the books I can't wait to read which are coming out in February:

Traitor in the Tunnel: I ADORE this historical fiction series filled with mystery and a dash of romance. I actually read this one, and it's fantastic! GoodReads - Out February 28th

Wings of the Wicked: I really need to read Angelfire, but I've heard awesome things about this series GoodReads - Out Feb 1st
Fine Art of Truth or Dare: LOVE the cover - love art - and it's being compared to Anna and the French Kiss, which I adored. GoodReads - out Feb. 16th

The One that I Want: Love Jennifer Echols! GoodReads - out Feb 7th in paperback or now as an ebook)
Garden Intrigue: 9th in the this adult spy/romance series which I adore GoodReads - out Feb 16th

Summer Garden - The end of the O'Brien family saga series, another adult series. I'm sad to see this series end. I'm reading this one right now and so far, it's adorable. GoodReads - out Feb 1st

Hunger Games Movie illustrations: I'm looking forward to reading about the movie production - I'm going to wait until after the movie comes out as I don't want to be spoiled. GoodReads out Feb 7th

Article 5 A dystopian novel where Ember's mother's been arrested by the boy that Ember loved. Her mother's always followed the rules. GoodReads out Feb 1st

Chopsticks: I just read this one for review (coming soon) and it's so different than other books - a mystery/love story told through pictures and text. GoodReads - Out Feb 2nd

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Tween Tuesday Review: Savvy

13 is a special birthday for Mibs's family. It's when they get their special supernatural power - their savvy. Sometimes it's something they can't control - like Fish and his ability to control the weather or Rocket who can control electricity.

The night before Mibs's birthday, the phone rings. Her father's been in an accident. Her mother and Rocket head for the hospital leaving Fish, Mibs, Samson, and Gypsy with their grandfather.

On the day of her birthday she wakes up. After the few first moments of the day, she thinks she's figured out her savvy. When the preacher's wife hears, she swoops in to save the day. Only Mibs doesn't want the day saved. She only wants her father back home. During the day, she looks for a way to escape - for a way to reach her father's side.

When a man selling pink Bibles arrives at her party, she jumps into the back of bus -except she's not the only stowaway. Before she knows it, Mibs's is on a journey that will make her savvy clear, that will scare her family, and that will change her.

My Thoughts: I read this for our 4th and 5th grade book club. I enjoyed the story. I really liked the relationship between the two families of siblings. I liked how the secret came out slowly and the families melted together to become friends. I loved the different Savvy. I thought Lester and the waitress were amusing. A sweet tale filled with wonderful descriptions.

Cover Thoughts: I like now that I understand it, but it's not something that captured my interest before I read the book

Source: My Library

Monday, December 12, 2011

If You Like Stories About New Adulthood

If You Like… is a feature highlighting blogger recommendations for books, authors, TV shows, movies, and music based on the things you already know and love. This week’s post includes recommendations for stories that take place during new adulthood.

If you like stories about new adulthood, you might like

Review: Code Talkers

At the tender age of 6, Kii Yazhi was taken away from his family and put into school. At the school, they were forbidden to talk Navajo. Instead they must practice their English. They were also given new clothes, new haircuts, and above all a new name.

Ned grew up at the school learning English. Before long, the country was engaged in WWII. Ned wanted to go and fight, but he promised his parents he would wait a year. After the year was over, he entered the Marine Corps, lying about his age.

There he learned about a special program for those who spoke Navajo. He joined this program and learned that he would have to keep his life a complete secret.

He and other Navajo speakers created a code where they sent messages back and forth. It was a code the leaders were convinced the Japanese couldn't crack.

My Thoughts: I've always wanted to read this book and so I chose it for the book club at the library. It as good, a bit different than what I expected. Ned shares his viewpoint from the war, which were equally interesting and horrifying. He narrated the book as if he were telling his story to his grandchildren. Normally, I don't like that interaction between the reader and the story, but for this book, it works. I loved learning about a piece of history I knew nothing about previously.

Cover Thoughts: Great - simple but effective

Source: my Library

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Historical Fiction Challenge: Wrap Up

I pledged to read 15 historical fiction titles during the year. I know that I didn't read all the ones I listed. Actually, I never got around to reading many of them even though I wanted to read all of them. Let's see how I did.

1. Sphinx's Queen
2. Vixen
Midnight Tunnel
5. Kat, Incorrigible
6. Orphan of Destiny

7. Cleopatra Confesses
8. In the Shadow of the Lamp
9. Faerie Ring
10. Secrets of Sophia Mussgrove
11. Book of Tormod
12. Silver Sea
13. Time Riders
14. Darker Still (review coming soon)
15. Traitor in the Tunnel (review coming soon)