Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Tween Tuesday Review: Hollywood Dead Ahead

* 5th book in the 43 Old Cemetery Road *

Hollywood wants to make a movie out of the story from 43 Old Cemetery Road. As usual the three put the decision to a vote. Seymour wants to go to Hollywood. Olive decides to go. Ignatius isn't sold on the idea, but as two's the majority, he goes along it with it and signs the contract.

When they arrive in Hollywood, Olive's stunned that no one's interested in her. Worse, they don't believe she exists. Seymour's not allowed to play himself until he tricks the director. Ignatius undergoes hair and teeth remodeling. Soon, he's absorbed in the culture.

The movie company's coerced a retired actress to make her final appearance in the film - too bad she didn't read the contract before signing it. Neither did Ignatius. They both missed out on key elements on their contracts. Can Olive talk sense into everyone and get everything straightened out before everything they've worked to achieve is ruined?

My Thoughts: I LOVE this series - it's quirky, funny, and clever. I love the epistolary style, the funny names, and the great illustrations. I started reading this series for our 4th and 5th grade book clubs. Every time we read the first one with a group of kids, they love it. I really loved Olive in this book. She imagines she was going to live out her dreams, but then got even instead.I loved her interactions in Ivana, the legendary actress. A very fun addition to this charming series!

Cover Thoughts: Perfect
Source: my Library

Top Ten Tuesday

This week's topic: Words/Topics That Instantly Make Me Buy/Pick Up A Book. I've never thought about this before, but it's very interesting. Mostly I follow authors, but here's what makes me take notice for YA

  1. Game of Thrones - Love GRRM 
  2. Spy 
  3. Spells
  4. Summer Romance
  5. Christmas 
  6. Jane Austen retelling
  7. Regency England
  8. Princess
  9. Treasure Hunting
  10. Heist

Monday, April 29, 2013

A Visit to Random House

On Monday I had the good fortune to accompany the Western CT YA Librarian Round Table to Random House. It's a crazy long travel day (6 hours total), but it was worth it! We got there a little bit early and had time to look around the lobby. They had bookcases on the two walls filled with books from the pasts century. Of course I just had to take pictures.

We then met Wendy Lamb who took the group of 13 librarians to her office, where we talked about book covers, the editing process, and we got to take a quick peek at a few manuscripts. We then chatted with Stephanie who talked with us about pictures books.

Did you know that an author and illustrator might never meet?
We got to see some art and take a look at the process of editing a picture book manuscript including art and the written world. F&G (Fold and Gather) is how pictures books are printed to take a look at color. It's ARC of the picture books.

We then took of tour of where all the magic happens.

They have a awesome wall for illustrators (when they moved - they moved the wall too)
Look, it's Babymouse!!!

It's Duck and Goose

Then we had lunch while chatting with several lovely editors/publishers/interns. We talked about book covers, social media and teens, e-readers vs print books, and of course upcoming books.

Here are the ones that I can't wait to read:

Beautiful and the Cursed (which I found an ARC in my goodie bag - there might have been squealing). Set in Paris - with gargoyles who are protectors. A missing brother. A Forbidden Romance.

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library: This sounds super duper fun! Lots of puzzles. Kids overnight in the library. Tagged as a cross between Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and A Night in the Museum.

Gated: Contemporary Dystopian - a gated community after 9/11. One girl meets a boy outside the compound and has to ask herself some tough questions.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Adult Review: What She Wants

 * The 3rd book in the Life in Icicle Falls series*

Jonathan's always been a nerd in love with the girl from next door. When his fifteenth high school reunion is announced for the summer, it might be the right time to change his image. He signs up for a membership to the gym. When his sister learns of his plans, she convinces him to learn how to dance.  She's also threatened to take him clothes shopping. Jonathan's hoping that this will finally be chance to tell Lissa how he feels. He just wishes that he knew how women think.

His buddies are all having relationship trouble. Adam's wife kicked him out. Kyle wants to impress a woman at work, but he's not having any luck. When Jonathon attends a library booksale with his sister, he overhears women talking about romance books. It sparks an idea. Could he read romance books and uncover what women really want in a man?

My Thoughts: I love this charming town and the people in it! The small town charm where everyone knows your business makes for a sweet, fun read.  I love the concept behind this book, using romance novels to understand women and figure out what they want in a man. I love how Jonathan started reading them and his poker buddies found out. He wasn't embarrassed - he thought they might be able to use them in their relationships. I love how they shared the books and talked about them - what might work and what might not.  I can't wait to read  more about Life in Icicle Falls. 

Cover Thoughts: Cute
Source: My Library

Friday, April 26, 2013

Yesterday and Today: Bookish

I'm having a fun couple of book days - yesterday I had the amazing opportunity to go to Random House for a quick tour and lunch with some of the editors, which was fabulous. I'll share more on that over the weekend.

Plus, today Kim and I are Skyping with Gordon Korman!!!! Read more about why we're doing that at my librarian blog.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Review: Grass is Always Greener

 * 3rd Book in the Belles trilogy *

Izzie and Mira have had a rocky start - their secrets have been splashed over the newspapers, their friends have stabbed them in the back, and the family drama just keeps happening.

Izzie's aunt has secrets from her mother's past - but Izzie isn't sure she can trust her aunt after Zoe abandoned her twice. She's not sure she wants to give up the opportunity to talk with her especially since Izzie's still reeling her from her grandmother's death.

Mira's trying to hold it all together. She's worried about Izzie. Her boyfriend's moving. Plus she's dying to plan her sweet sixteen party.

Can the girls recover from all their ups and downs and just enjoy life?

My Thoughts: I"m sad that this trilogy is over because I'm come to love the characters. I love watching Izzie adjust to her new life, without leaving her old self behind. In this book, I liked how she tries to blend her group of friends - even though it's a major struggle. I love the romance, the family drama, and watching the sisters interact. Mira's grown with the influence of Izzie and with her art. I love reading about her painting; it softens her. A fantastic conclusion to the trilogy! I can't wait to see what Jen Calonita writes next!

Cover Thoughts: Cute
Source: My Library

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

What's On My Hold List (46)


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.
Lawless: I just love the cover - it looks so fun! A school for kids on the wrong side of the law.
Digital photographer's guide to dramatic Photoshop effects: I'm trying to learn more about Photoshop for work. 

Apple Orchard: The cover on this is beautiful - and this start of a new series sounds sweet.

The Heiress: 1920s in London - sounds like a book to read while I"m missing Downton

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday

 Top Ten Books I didn't realize how much I would Love. There are books I know I"m going to love - either from the reviews or the early buzz or because I've read and loved the author's previous books. Here's a few that took me by surprise and I'm so happy that they did,

Dying to Meet You: I read this for a book club and LOVED it! I've read all the books so far in the series and each is funny and clever!
Secrets of My Hollywood Life: I read this as an ARC - not really getting the cover at first. It kind of turned me off, but once I got into the story, I was hooked! I've read everything Jen Calonita writes. 
Vampire Academy: I wasn't crazy about the cover - but the story pulled me right in.
Ender's Game: My husband made me read this one,
Game of Thrones: My husband made me read this one too, and GRRM has become one of my favorite authors.
The Daughters:  I loved these girls and rooted for them
Dear Mr. Potter: I was surprised by how much I loved this book and how many emotions it brought out.
Origin: I wasn't sure I was going to like this book, but I really felt for Pia.
Girl in the Steel Corset: I wasn't sure Steampunk is for me, but I loved this one!
Brightly Woven: I fell in love with this book - such a great story. 

Tween Tuesday Review: Jessica Darling's It List

* New Middle Grade novel featuring Jessica Darling (from Sloppy Firsts - out in September *

The day before she starts 7th grade, Jessica's sister drops by with a list on how to achieve popularity. Until then, Jessica wasn't nervous at all. but now she's wondering if Bethany's right and 7th grade decisions can change the course for the rest of your life.

The list is short, but Jessica attempts to achieve the goals. On her first day of school, she wears something different - a vintage t-shirt of The Who. She tries out for the cheer team, even though she's terrible. She earns a secret place of the school mascot - a seagull.

She doesn't have a boyfriend - there's no one remotely close to becoming her boyfriend either. She's friends with some popular girls but she almost can't stand them. Is the list really working for her or should she give up?

My Thoughts: I loved Sloppy Firsts, so it's great to meet 7th grader Jessica Darling. I love meeting Hope and seeing their relationship develop. Marcus Flutie makes an appearance in an adorable but funny way.  As a reader of the previous series, it's great to see these characters again, but of course new reader will enjoy meeting them for the first time. A funny look at life in middle school - finding new friends, discovering your strengths, and laughing off your mistakes. I devoured this book in one sitting - looking forward to more snarky yet sweet Jessica Darling.

Cover Thoughts: It's not the final cover - but I like it!
Source: from the publisher

Monday, April 22, 2013

Review: Dark Triumph

 * companion novel to Grave Mercy *
Sybella's on a mission for the covenant  -she's forced to remain a part of her father's household. Her father's a monster. She's only there to gain information and hopefully use her skills to kill him when the time's right.

Unfortunately, he doesn't bear death's mark. Sybella wonders how that can be when he's done so many terrible deeds. Sybella must walk on eggshells so no one understands her true purpose. It means lying, sneaking around, and trying not to let her real emotions shine through.

When Sybella receives a mission to rescue a man in the dungeons, she comes up with a plan. She struggles to get the Beast from the dungeon to the waiting cart. She's dumbfounded when the man makes it impossible for her to return to the house.

Now she's stuck nursing him back to health as they make their way towards the Duchess. Sybella has news from her father's household. As soon as they arrive at the Duchess's fortress, they have work to do. Sybella's father isn't giving up until he achieves his goal. He has more plans in the works. Can Sybella and the Beast help save the Duchess's kingdom from falling into the wrong hands?

My Thoughts; Grace Mercy was one of favorite books from last year.  I couldn't wait to get my hands on this one. Plus I had very high expectations for this book and it didn't disappoint me! I ADORED it!! Sybella's story is darker and slowly comes out during the story. While her story's heartbreaking, it's also uplifting. She has hope even though she's a fierce warrior, and seeks vengeance. I love the slow-building but intense romance. I enjoyed the political intrigue, the scheming, and the evil plots (which were icky, but ingenious.) I loved seeing Ismae, Duval, and the Duchess again. I liked how each book focuses on a different main character but updates you on the previous characters. A fantastic book full of danger, death, and romance that I couldn't put down!

Cover Thoughts: Great
Source: My Library
Up Next: Moral Heart comes out in 2014 

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Adult Review: When Summer Comes

*Book 3 in the Whiskey Creek series*

Callie's spending the summer taking time off. She's hiding devastating news from her friends and family. She needs a liver transplant by the end of the summer or she might no be long for this world.

One night, she hears a commotion outside the farm house. A man's been seriously injured by two dogs. He's wary of the police but needs medical attention. Callie helps him out as best she can. He's too weak to travel and his bike needs repairs.

She makes him an offer he can't refuse. He will help her fix up the farm house in exchange for a place to stay.  As the summer goes on, Callie's health starts to slightly fade. She's still not willing to tell her friends and family and give up her freedom. Her bargain with Levi allows her to live life on her own terms, plus she just might fall in love for the first time.

My Thoughts: The Whiskey Creek novels revolve around a group of friends from high school. They meet each week for coffee - which is nice tradition. Each novel focuses on a different member of the group, but I love hearing about the whole group. Callie's summer plans were bitterweet - as she planned to hide out on the farm where she spent happy days until she could no longer take care of herself. Medically there was nothing she could do to improve her situation; she simply planned on enjoying the time she had left. I liked the interactions between Levi and Callie - they were sweet with each other and teased each other. I enjoyed their blossoming romance. I laughed, I smile, and I cried. I'm looking forward to reading more about this group of friends.

Cover Thoughts: Sweet
Source: My Library

Friday, April 19, 2013

Mini Review: Here's to You, Rachel Robinson

*Sequel to Just as Long as We're Together *

Rachel's back together with her BFF Stephanie and their new friend Alison. Things are mostly normal between the three of them. Then Rachel's brother comes home expectantly. He's been kicked out of school. Charles isn't happy to be home and he's making his feelings obvious. It's hard for Rachel to be in the same room with him. She's trying to make the best of things, as always, but with so much going on, she's beginning to crack under the pressure.

The Good: I LOVED Just as Long as We're Together - I read that as a teen over and over again. It wasn't until college that I learned there was a sequel - but I was too afraid to read it. What if I didn't like it....that was just silly. Of course I liked the book. I liked revisiting old favorite characters. It was different coming from Rachel's perspective but I liked learning more about her. She's serious, determined, and smart. Part of me both liked and hated the ending. I wanted more. I think there should be book from Alison's POV!

The Bad: The covers (both this one and the old hardcover) are terrible - which is unfortunate.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Adult Review: Starting Now

* Book 9 in the Blossom Street Series, but you could read this separately *

For years, Libby Morgan's been working her butt off hoping to make partner. When her boss calls her into his office, she never expected to be fired. He even told her to carve out a life for herself. She vows to find a job by the end of the day...but four months later, she's still looking for work.

She's decided to join a gym to get rid of the late night ice cream pounds and convinces her lawyer friend Robin to join her. Libby starts knitting again after visiting a yarn store on Blossom Street. After knitting several hats, she joins two teens in their trip donating them to the local hospital. 

There she's asked to volunteer to rock the babies. At first, it's awkward, but soon, Libby comes to love it. She's softening around the edges. While she's still looking for work, she's finding out more and more about herself. She has friends in Robin, Lydia (who owns the knitting shop), Lydia's daughter Casey and her friend Ava, and a doctor at the hospital. Could getting fired be the best thing that ever happened to her?

My Thoughts: Even though I knew it was coming, my heart broke of Libby in the beginning of the book. I enjoyed watching her discover a life outside of work. She blossomed into a well-rounded and wonderful person. It was just the type of book I needed to read as I too tend to let work consume me. I love the Blossom Street series for the blend of generations of characters, second chances, and a time to fall in love again. I wish these places and characters were real so could visit them!

Cover Thoughts: Cute - I love the yarn
Source: My Library

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Books I'm Dying to Read: June Edition

Here's a list of books I can't wait to get my hands on come June!

Famous: Love the Canterwood Crest series! (Called One on Goodreads but Famous on B&N)
Curse of the Ancients: Super fun series. I still need to read The Trap Door...

Diva Frosts a Cupcake: Love this series and cupcake wars! Sounds delicious...
Monument to the Dead: I still need to catch up on this series, but it's a fun one!

Moon and More: LOVE Sarah Dessen! So excited for her new book.
How (not) to Find a Boyfriend: Can a girl have brains and be beautiful and popular?
Rules of Summer: Read this one and LOVED it!!! - review

Stroke of Midnight: I really enjoyed If the Slipper Fits and this looks great - crime-solving, danger, and romance.
Sum of All Kisses: Huge Julia Quinn fan - really enjoy the Smythe-Smith books.

You Look Different in Real Life: What happens when reality mixed with entertainment?
Spies and Prejudice: Spies combined with Pride and Prejudice = pure fun. I read this one - check out my review.

Wig in the Window: Currently reading this one - great so far!
Playing with Fire: The start of a new series for spies!

Infinityglass: Can't wait to read the conclusion of the trilogy!
Gameboard of the Gods: Start of an adult series by Richelle Mead with romance, action, suspense....sounds great.

The Heist: New Janet Evanovich series - suspense and action with a FBI heroine and a crook.
Big Girl Panties: Stephanie Evanovich is Janet's niece. I can't wait to read this one!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Top Ten Books

This week is a rewind. I'm choosing Top Ten Books I Want To Reread. I have a hard time re-reading books unless it's for a book club. There are SO many books that I want to read that i'ts hard to take the time to re-read something. Sometimes that's a problem in series books because I forget what happened previously. Usually instead of re-reading multiple books, I stop reading the series, which I hate! Part of it, I think is I don't want to the series to end. Either way, I need to get better at re-reading. 

Secrets of the Immortal Life of Nicholas Flamel: I really love this series, but when I started reading The Warlock, I couldn't remember what happened before. I want to re-read the first four books and then read the last two.

Percy Jackson: I read the first three and LOVED them. The fourth book came out and I didn't snag it first. Then too much time went by and I forgot most of what happened earlier. 

Song of Ice and Fire series: My husband and I have been reading Dance of Dragons forever...he reads them aloud and it seems we never carve out time for it. I also forget things that came before, so he spends time recounting the details that I've forgotten.

Tween Tuesday Review: Stolen Magic

 * Book 3 in the Kat,Incorrigible trilogy- Kat, Incorrigible review and Renegade Magic review*

Kat's sister Angeline is finally able to get married and the whole family's traveling for the wedding. Kat can't wait to see her older married sister Elissa, who will join them there. Unfortunately, Angeline's soon to be mother-in-law is not excited about the match.

The family hopes to make a grand entrance at the estate but an accident with the carriage changes that. As they arrive with an old family friend, Mrs. Carlyle doesn't mince words. She doesn't give them an opportunity to freshen up from the road. She's sent Fredrick to fetch a cousin, whom she wishes he would marry instead of Angeline. She makes it perfectly clear that she's not behind the wedding and will do everything in her power to make Angeline's life miserable.

Kat's trying her best to behave, but during the conversation, she notices her nemesis Lady Fotherington outside. Kat rushes to greet her. She does not have good news - someone stole the magical portals. Without them, Kat will never become part of the Order.  Can Kat recover the missing portals thus saving England while helping her sister?
My Thoughts: I'm sad this trilogy is over, but it's a great ending. I've loved the blend of Regency England with magic. I love Kat's wild and crazy ways. I love her magical abilities, how she speaks her mind, and how she's always getting into trouble. She's a lovable character, the kind to always root for as she is strong, fierce, and loyal. I enjoyed watching Angeline battle Mrs. Carlyle, while Kat's family tried to be proper (but failed miserably . I loved the magical scenes. A delightful end to the trilogy, but I'm looking forward to seeing what Stephanie Burgis writes next!

Cover Thoughts: Love it!
Source: For Review

Monday, April 15, 2013

Catching Fire Teaser Trailer

This looks SO good! I can't wait until November!

Recap: Little Brown Preview

On Thursday, I had the good fortune to attend the fall preview for Little Brown books. It's always an exciting day. I headed out on the train with a great book (Starting Now by Debbie Macomber - review coming later this week). At the event, we heard about great upcoming teen, tween, and picture books. These are some of my favorites:

Picture Books:

You Were the First by Patricia MacLachlan and illustrated by Stephanie Graegin
A sweet looking book on the first child of the family - the little elephant on the cover is in all the illustrations. Perfect for older siblings with babies on the way or just a nice family story. I got a chance to look at it, but I want to read it and take a closer look at it.

The First Drawing by 
Could the very first drawing have been created by a child? A historical imagining...that starts and ends with a modern child.

Mr Tiger Goes Wild! by Peter Brown
Ling and Ting Share a Birthday by Grace Lin
Jessica Darling's It List by Megan McCafferty
A new middle school series about Jessica Darling from Sloppy First (and others)! This was my train book on the ride home and I devoured it (review coming soon). She meets Hope and Marcus Flutie. Perfect for fans of the book or introducing middle grade readers to a new series. 


Pretenders by Lisi Harrison
At the end of the year, five high school freshman were named most outstanding - someone didn't agree and that someone stole their journals as proof that they were pretenders.

Unbreakable by Kami Garcia
Love triangle - a powerful demon - murder -Illuminati combine in this book by one of the co-authors from the Beautiful Creatures series. There's also a movie deal in the works for this Da Vinci Codesque book

Roomies by Sara Zarr and Tara Alebrando
The summer before college - two girls from opposite sides of US meet over emails - sounds great! 

If you're on twitter, check out the #lbyrpreview for more info about other upcoming books!