Wednesday, July 31, 2013

If You Like Pins (2)

At work last week, I made a few similar reads pins...

Summer Rules - summer books - family drama, relationships, and growing up

Prom and Prejudice - all about Prom

Harry Potter

Wolverine Movie

Have you seen it yet? Here's a look at the movie through books - check it out

What's on My Hold List (55)

My Librarian friend Jess from I Read to Relax came up with a great idea.  It's to highlight the books on hold .

Stroke of Midnight: A fairy-tale romance with a fantastic cover

Vicks: The Polar Bear Cub: Polar bear's year inside a zoo

Three Ninja Pigs: The title got me imagining...

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Tween Tuesday Review: Naples!

One night a great-aunt shows up unexpectedly. Zia Donatella loves cooking.  Alfie and Emilia join her in the kitchen.  Zia Donatella starts talking about Naples, the sights and sounds on the streets. Then she urges the siblings to imagine themselves there before taking a bite of zeppole.

One moment, Alfie and Emilia are in their kitchen and the next, they're not.  They find themselves in a pizzeria, where they spot a boy their age.

He confirms their suspicion that they are indeed in Naples, Italy. Unsure what else to do, they tag along with him to the market. It's festival night in Naples; the judges are looking for the best pizza. Marco's family is determined to win back the title.  Can the siblings help save the day and get back home? 
My Thoughts: The first in a new series for tweens filled with food, adventure, and fun. I loved reading about the streets of Naples and learning more about the city. I liked Marco's views on making pizza and his belief in the market-place for the best ingredients. I liked how the three tried to lose the spy following them, through the catacombs. I liked learning about the family drama understanding more about the tradition of pizza. A fast read with fun sketches that liven the excitement of the book. I'm looking forward to where the siblings travel next. 

Cover Thoughts: Cute
Source: ARC from BEA
Publication Date: September 3rd

Monday, July 29, 2013

Guest Post: Ted Goeglein

From the author of Cold Fury and the upcoming Flicker and Burn - out August 20th. I really enjoy these books featuring the Chicago mob, danger, and lots of action. Welcome Ted!

Hiding in Plain Sight 
Sometimes the best way to preserve a place is for the general public to ignore it. If enough years pass and a location doesn’t alter its appearance too much, people get used to it to the point of invisibility.
Throughout the COLD FURY trilogy, I use many real Chicago locations that have existed for decades. Few rival the Green Mill Cocktail Lounge for pure, undiluted criminal history.
Originally opened in 1907, The Green Mill was secretly owned by Al Capone less than twenty years later. In FLICKER & BURN, I mention a thug named ‘Machine Gun’ Jack McGurn who served as Capone’s chief enforcer. He was an Outfit killer who enjoyed his work, pressing a nickel into the hands of his victims as a trademark.
Although unproven, it’s believed that McGurn planned and carried out the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre on February 14th, 1929, when seven members of a rival gang were lined up and shot, execution style. As a reward for being such a skillful murderer, Capone gave McGurn part ownership of the Green Mill. The place became renowned for Jazz and the famous musicians who performed there.
Capone was sent to jail in 1932 and McGurn’s end came soon afterward. On February 13, 1933 – one day before Valentine’s Day – he was gunned down in a bowling alley. A valentine card was pressed into one of his hands; the other held a single, cold nickel.
The Green Mill has lived on through a succession of owners who’ve barely changed a detail from McGurn’s day. The sign, bar, bandstand, booths, murals, and Jazz are the same as the day he died. Passing through the door is like drifting into 1927. Most Chicagoans don’t notice the Green Mill because it exists; if it were gone, the absence would be glaring.
It’s an apt metaphor for the criminal world that my protagonist, Sara Jane Rispoli, is a part of in FLICKER & BURN. The Chicago Outfit is here, there, everywhere, and nowhere, all at the same time. 

This just in...Ted's in Trouble. Again.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Mysterious Saturday Review: Passion of the Purple Plumeria

 * Book 10 in the Pink Carnation series *

One night, Miss Gwen overhears a Opera singer talking about precious stones to the French foreign minster. As soon as she returns to her lodgings, Jane informs her that her sister is missing.

Agnes Wooliston and her roommate have vanished at least a week ago from Miss Climpson's seminary. Together Jane and Miss Gwen head back to England to search for the missing sister.

As they arrive at the school, Colonel William Reid appears. He's Lizzy's father, who has been in India for years. As neither Miss Gwen nor Jane want to give up secrets regarding the Pink Carnation, they simply ask several questions as to the girls' escape.

The Colonel believes Lizzy might have gone to Bristol to see her sister. Miss Gwen and he travel there together. Only, Kat doesn't live in the same house. They find in a run down apartment, with little money, washing laundry. Colonel Reid can't believe his eyes. It's clear Lizzy hasn't been there. Not sure what else to do, the pair make tracks towards the coach. However, they're ambushed on the way and the Colonel's stabbed in the side. As the attackers run off, they make a remark on how they weren't told the pair would be armed.

Someone doesn't want the girls to be found. Could they have been captured because of Agnes's tie to the Pink Carnation or is there another more sinister plot at work?

My Thoughts: I love this series. I love how the time changes from 1805 to present day where Eloise and Colin are looking for the same jewels that the opera singer mentions. In the present day story, I like that Eloise and Colin are thrown together with Jeremy under the pretense of making their relationship more...cordial. I love learning more about Colin's family history and the relationship between Eloise and Colin.

In the time of the Pink Carnation, I love Miss Gwen. She's bright, witty, and has a sharp tongue to match her mind.  She's fearless and enjoyed the spy game. I admire her strength and her journey from a spinster to being second in command to Jane as well as Jane's protector as her chaperone. I liked finding more out about Miss Gwen's past.  A fantastic addition to this charming series.

Cover Thoughts: Great - love the purple dress
Source: Sent for review
Due Date: August 6th

Friday, July 26, 2013

Mini Review: Sports Illustrated Kids: Stats! The Greatest Number in Sports

Lots of sports facts based on stats.

The Good: Great pictures and interesting facts make this a fascinating read.

The Bad: Does Sports Illustrated Kids think women don't play sports? While the book's full of professional male sport teams -there's nothing about any professional women's sports teams - no one from the WNBA. Plus there's only a handful of women's stats. Is it really that hard? These altheles weren't even mentioned:  Billie Jean King, Wilma Ruldoph, Jackie Joyner-Kersee. What does it say to the teens today about women's sports?

 Here's how it could be been better:
  • There was a 2 page spread on Ironmen - men who played significant consecutive games - where is the post for women?
  • There was a two page spread for Babe Ruth as well as Michael Jordan - but Babe Didrikson wasn't even mentioned in the book
  • There was a photo with Michael Phelps and his 8 gold medals, but no mention of any woman with multiple medals.
  • There were tons of NBA stats - but nothing for women. Is there no WNBA player with stats on blocking, assists, free throws, 3 point percentage...nothing?
  • There's a two page spread on the fastest men in the world, but nothing about women's track.
  • There is many mentions of remarkable plays in men's sports, but not in women's. What about Kerri Strug - how many steps did she sprint on a badly sprained ankle to vault the women's gymnastics team to gold? 

Overall: I know this book will be popular - but I think it's giving teens the wrong view of sports. I just hope some of them look at it and ask where are all the women? 
It makes me want to write a book about women's sports.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Summer Author Blitz: Alexia Purdy

Don't forget: *Facebook Even Friday July 26th at 3 pm.*

Welcome Alexia (for more about the author - check out:

Why YA?
I love this genre. It's versatile and always represented that time in one's life where your ready to explore. It was also my favorite genre to read since I was like 8! I wanted to write stories for other young minds like I enjoyed in my childhood to teen years.

Why New Adult?
New adult is fairly new to me. I love the aspect of Adults who haven't quite found their ways. 

How do you get your ideas?  Do you use real events in your novels and if so, can you describe one?
I use a mix of both real life and my highly imaginative mind. I make up a lot, I dream it up, brain storm it up and everything in between. I think about other worlds and stories all day, they just come to m.

How do you come up with your titles?
I brainstorm them to see what fits best to the story. I also check to see that there are not that many books with the same title to have a somewhat unique spin on it.

Where do you write best?
I write on the couch, in my jammies, best late at night with snacks.

I read on your website that you design your covers, can you describe your process?
I do a lot of just stock photo hunting to find stuff I could use in my future novels and current ones. Once I find them, I save them and buy the ones I think would serve me best. Then, I work on it for a day or two until it's done. It's like a painting, using photos instead. It's fun and relaxing and I love vibrant colors. Doing my own has taught me a lot and I will continue to do graphics until I can perfect it.

I love that you have a playlist for each of  your novels of songs that inspired your writing. How do you determine what songs to listen to?
I pick a few that remind me of the story or characters. Then when I'm done listening to those, I will usually hit random on the radio or spotify is rather good at suggesting stuff I might like, and try something new. I add any songs that strike my fancy for the story I'm immersed in at that moment.

Do you have a favorite library experience?
The library I frequented as a child had an interesting architecture inside. There were floors held up on hug columns which made them look like tall mushrooms and I loved standing on them peering over the rails to all the thousands of books all over. That and the school library when I was in third grade, it was a magical place because I read everything I could that year.

What was the last book you’ve read that you’ve been recommending to everyone?
I just finished Armored Hearts by Melissa Tuner Lee & Pauline Creeden. Yes I'd recommend it, it was an awesome fusion of fantasy and steampunk with a splash of romance in it.

Teen Review Thursday

Here's what teens are reading and talking about this summer in Norwich. I love seeing what teens think about the books they're reading.

Delirium: 4 stars
This book was wonderful. I loved the internal conflict between following the rules of the government or falling in love and be named as an invalid like her mother. The plot is very fast paced. I couldn't put it down. I can't wait to get the sequel in my hands!

True Legend: 4 stars
True Legend was a really good book. It was filled with suspense and action. If you understand sports you will love this book. I also love all of Mike Lupica's books so I recommend those too.

Latte Rebellion: 3 stars
If the latte means more then just a caffeinated drink to you, this story may be relatable. "The Latte Rebellion" is mostly centered around raising awareness about people of mixed-race, but even if you're not, it's a good reflection on stereotypes and categorizing people. Overall however, I think many people can make a connection to the main character, Asha, in some way.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

What's on My Hold List (54)

My Librarian friend Jess from I Read to Relax came up with a great idea.  It's to highlight the books on hold .

Always on My Mind: Love this series - just caught up with it. 

The Irresistible Blueberry Bakeshop & Cafe: Looks like a delicious read and a CT author.

Rules for Disappearing: This looks great, but Anna from Anna Reads loved it!

If You Like Pins

At work last week, I made a few similar reads pins:

My favorite Sarah Dessen book

Percy Jackson - I think people will come in looking for similar reads after the second movie release

Grave Mercy - some fantasy/historical fiction reads

For John Green

I plan on making more, but these just got me started.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday

This week's topic is the opposite of April 30th's topic: Top Ten Words/Topics That Will Make You NOT pick up a book. Mostly when I read, I'm looking for a good that will make me happy - not one that will make me cry. Most of my turn-offs stem from not wanting to be depressed while reading. That doesn't mean that there aren't exceptions to the rule.

Cancer - hits too close to home
Heartbreaking/Heart Wrenching/Tugs at your heart strings - I want to read happy books, not books that makes me cry.
Horror - I hate being scared
Cruelty to animals
Animals as main characters
Narrators that talk to the readers

Tween Tuesday Review: Gone Fishing

Sam can't wait to go fishing with his Dad - just the two of them.  But when his sister joins them, he thinks the day is ruined. After she gathers all her stuff and they finally arrive at the lake, Sam believes she is scaring the fish away. Will his perfect fishing day be ruined?
My Thoughts: A fun book with a cute story that explores various forms of poetry. I love the relationship between the siblings and that the book took place during the day. I like the poetry explanation at the end of the book; it's a helpful learning tool for poetry types.

Cover Thoughts: Cute
Source: ARC sent for review

Monday, July 22, 2013

Review: School Spirits

Izzy Brannick has been training her whole life to fight monsters. Her sister disappeared one night when they were taking down a group of witches. Since then, her mom's been over-protective.

Now Izzy has her first solo job. There's activity happening in a high school - murder by ghost. Izzy's job is to infiltrate the high school, figure out what's going on, and stop it. She's never gone to high school before.

Almost immediately, she befriends Remy - who turns out to be the leader of the ghost hunting society at school. Remy tells her of the ghost legend. Before long, Izzy experiences seeing the ghost herself.

Her mom's giving her a strict deadline on finishing the assignment, but Izzy's not sure she wants to leave high school and her new friends behind.
My Thoughts: A spin-off series from Hex Hall featuring her cousin. I loved this book, it had the same feel as the Hex Hall books - romance, ghosts, mysterious happenings, a new girl in school, and snarkiness. I love that Izzy's research into high school included reading teen magazines and watching hit TV shows (which reminded me of something on ABC Family). I hope there's more book coming with Izzy as the main character because there were several unanswered questions. 

Cover Thoughts: Similar to Hex Hall
Source: My Library

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Mysterious Saturday Review: Secret of the Skeleton Key

Cody recently moved to town and she's fitting in with three other students - all of whom enjoy puzzles, codes, and games.

One night, Cody and Quinn are outside talking when they see their next door neighbor spying on them. He tries to signal them, but they don't understand the code. Early the next morning, a fire breaks out in the house.

At first, it seems normal, but two cousins are lurking around the place, talking about finding a hidden will. Should the club find out what's really going on?
My Thoughts: A fun start to a new series filled with codes, clues, and friendship. I love the clubhouse the four friends share and they stash of books and puzzles they keep inside. I love how the four of them work together. A great start to an interactive series that will keep readers guessing. 

Cover Thoughts: I like the creepy effect - very nice
Source: Sent for review

Friday, July 19, 2013

Adult Review: Big Girl Panties

Holly meets Logan on one of her worst days. She looks a mess and she's forced to sit next to him on an airplane. She can already hear his thoughts, they're broadcasted all over his face.

She brings up the fact that her husband died, leaving food as a comfort. He surprises her by making her an offer she can't refuse. Logan's a personal trainer and he's willing to help her take back control over her life.

Holly decides to take him up on his offer. Soon she's working out and making better food choices. She's also spending quite a bit of time with Logan. Could there be romance in the air?

My Thoughts: From the moment I heard about this book from PW, I was excited to read it. I devoured this book - and loved it. I loved Holly - she's strong, determined, and a wise ass. I loved her banter with Logan. I loved watching her struggle to love herself and to find peace with her body. It's hard to feel comfortable in your own skin; I thought Evanovich portrayed the ups and downs nicely. Holly worked out, kept a food journal, and tried leaving her guilt behind her. 
I liked watching Logan's reaction to Holly, how he started falling for her without realizing it and what that would mean to him. I liked the dual perspectives. A fantastic debut novel and an author to watch.

Cover Thoughts: It's ok, but it doesn't give away lot of information about the book
Source: BEA where I got to meet the author, who was super sweet!

Twitter Party: In Time

I really loved Darkest Minds and IN TIME takes place between Darkest Minds and Never Fade.


When: Wednesday, July 24, 2013 from 8:00-9:00 p.m. EST

How: Be sure to follow@AlexBracken@HyperionTeens, and @TheBookCellarX and use #InTime during the 1-hour event to ask questions LIVE and win prizes.

·      To join the party, just search #InTime on Twitter.

 ·         Watch for questions from @TheBookCellarX and win awesome prizes including promo codes for In Time, autographed copies of The Darkest Minds, compass necklaces, and a $200 Visa card!

 ·         Ask Alex questionsenter giveaways and chat with other partygoers—just use the tag #InTime in all of your party tweets!

 Tweet your questions for @AlexBracken now using #InTime and participate on Wednesday, July 24th for her live responses!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Teen Review Thursday: Middle School

Two different teens reading and talking about this series during the summer in Norwich. I love seeing what teens think about the books they're reading.

Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life: 4 Stars

this book is about a boy name Rafe khatchadorian. he is just starting middle school. and his goal is to be remembered. and what best way can you be known other than by breaking the rules. so when Rafe set out to break every single rule in the rule book at school he just might accomplish that with a little help from his imaginary brother.

Middle School: Get Me Out of Here: 4 stars
Rafe Khatchadorian is a Kid who doesn't seem to always follow the rules until, he moves to the crowded city of (any city you want).He goes to a new school, The Cathedral School of Arts, where when he first walks in he has a whole new experience. He befriends an unusual kid, Matty the Freak. Rafe and Matty had great times until they took a field trip to the local Art Institute, where the class could get ideas for the upcoming Spring Art Show. While the children were in the gift shop Rafe leaves the gift shop with Matty's book bag as soon as he leaves, WEE OOH WEE OHH, the gift shop alarm goes of. The security officer took a non-purchased item out of Matty's bag. Matty was sent to the principals office. The next day at school Matty got mad at Rafe for ratting him out. At 5th period Rafe's art project was sabotaged. Rafe knew it was Matty. Rafe couldn't take all of these pranks so he left in the middle of the night back to his hometown Hills Village... Read the book to find out what's next!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

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!

Find Me: A hacker determined to find a killer because it just got personal - sounds awesome
Heaven is Paved with Oreos: Sarah's journal as she leaves home and travels to Rome with her grandmother - loved Dairy Queen

Frozen: Looking forward to this new series by Melissa de la Cruz and her husband.
Burning Sky: Saving the world + Forbidden Love sounds like the perfect combination to the start of a trilogy.

Deadly Heat: Love this series - the ending of the previous book killed me.
Bride Wore Size 12: Can't wait to read more in this funny adult mystery series - love Heather and Cooper
Year of Billy Miller: Kevin Henkes read the first chapter at SLJ Day of Dialog. It was funny and charming. Can't wait to read the rest.
Wake up Missing: I really like her previous books -concussions, secret plots, and escape. Sounds like a great combination to me.

Chaos of Stars: Love her previous books - excited for this one, the human daughter of Egyptian gods.
Russian Roulette: The last of the Alex Rider books - love this series.
Two Lies and a Spy: love the title, haven't heard much about it, but it sounds awesome

Sweet Legacy: Loved the first two books, can't wait to see how it ends.
Scorched: You had me a dragons!

True Spies: Really loved the first book, so happy there's a second one!
Lightning Bay: Love this series! (no cover yet according to Goodreads, it's out this month)
Always on My Mind: Love the Lucky Harbor series, currently reading book 7. These books are perfectly wonderful.

Cave of Wonders: I really like this series - I need to catch up on it.
Case of the Time-Capsule Bandit: Learned about this a BEA - sounds really good. 

Secret Pizza Party: Loved Dragons Love Tacos, happy for a new book and who doesn't love pizza?