Friday, February 28, 2014

Upcoming Book Review: Wildflower

 * Comes out July 1st *

Bird's family plays country music on the road. One night her father can't speak, so he acts Bird to fill in for him. At first, she's really nervous but soon she's shinning in the spotlight.

In the audience is a man from one of the biggest recording labels. He's wants a meeting. When her dad gets back, the family has a meeting of their own to share the news. The label doesn't want the family - just Bird.

Bird's really excited for the opportunity, but she has to think about the business side of the deal. Could she achieve her dreams and become a star?
My Thoughts: If you're a fan of Taylor Swift, Bird's rise in the music industry is just the book you're looking to read. I felt bad for Bird's family because they all put their lives on hold for their traveling band and now only Bird's given the opportunity of a lifetime. I think the constant travel would be hard on everyone - the togetherness, the tight spaces, and the physical fatigue of being on the go at all times.  I love how Bird accidentally comes into the spotlight and how she copes with it. I like watching her make business decisions, standing up for her ideas, and embracing the spotlight. I loved the songwriting moments, the video shoot, and the first time she heard her song on the radio. I loved the romance with her and a family friend - their easy banter and their soda quest.  A fabulous novel that made me sigh with happiness and want to read more about Bird as soon as possible.

Cover Thoughts: Cute
Source: ARC for review
Fun Fact: The final book will have some cool bonus music swag

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Review: Manor of Secrets

Lady Charlotte knows she's destined for marriage, but she longs to marry for love and not duty. Her mother's trying to match her with a Lord, but he seems as dull as dish soap.

Lady Charlotte longs for adventure. During a garden party, she and a friend discover a servant girl sneaking towards the lake. They follow her and are shocked to discover her wading. After Janie leaves, Charlotte decides to follow her example. She wants to be brave and to feel freedom.

This desire for adventure leads her to seek out the kitchen maid and strike up a friendship with her. As they begin to share confidences, trouble starts brewing. Can a friendship between upstairs and downstairs really last? 
My Thoughts: I really enjoyed this historical fiction set in the Downton Abbey era. I felt bad for both girls - each stuck in their respective rolls and each wanting something more from life. I like how they came together and made each other stronger and different. Scandal, intrigue, betrayals, judgmental friends, family secrets, and romantic plots kept me turning the pages fast to find out what happened next. 

Cover Thoughts: I really like it, although I wish Janie was in the background
Source: My Library

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

A Day at the Big Book Getaway

Over the weekend I had the good fortune to attend the 2nd Annual Big Book Getaway at Mohegan Sun. I'm not sure where I was last year, because I don't remember hearing about it, but this year was fabulous! There were 5 panels plus two keynote speakers. After the panels, the authors signed books which were available for purchase.  I can't wait to see the line-up for next year. 
Dr. Ruth was the opening speaker - she was funny, entertaining, and of course honest.

Then I went to a Romance Panel featuring: Eloisa James, Laura Kaye, and Cathy Maxwell with Nick Hahn as the moderator. They talked about what makes a good romance. Eloisa talked about how she likes to make her characters suffer - and how you think it won't be possible for the hero and the heroine to come together.  They all talked about how the characters drive the story, especially the male hero. There was a lively discussion of the type the male hero: motorcycle gang, vampires, fireman, professor.... The possibilities are endless. Romance is HUGE right now in terms of consumer purchasing.

I then went to a panel on Touring CT and realize that I need to explore more of the state. I moved here roughly 10 years ago and there's still so much I don't know. I hope to check out some of the books by these authors: Diane Smith, Eric Lehman, and Garrison Leykam and explore more of the state over the summer.

After lunch, there was another Romance Panel with Kristan Higgins, Shannon Stacey, Natalie Charles, and Kristine Rolofson - which was narrated by T.L. Costa. Here there was a lively discussion on falling in love with the hero while writing and how to move on after the book's over. Lots of laughter in this panel.

Then I attended the All Star Mystery panel with Hank Phillipi Ryan as the moderator for Rosemary Harris, Jennifer McMahon, and Julia Spencer-Fleming. There were quizzes as to biographies and first lines of the books. They spoke on how they came up with ideas for their books, how they scared themselves writing sometimes, and how they added bits of themselves into their characters. 

Next I attended a Historical Fiction panel featuring: Charlotte Rogan, Heather Webb and Donna Russo Morin with Stephanie Lehmann as the moderator. Of course they talked about research and how much they love it and how much they leave out. They talked about changing history just a tiny bit to fit the details into their books.

The last session was Debbie Macomber as the keynote speaker. She spoke of how she struggled in school and how her teachers said she would never amount to anything. She didn't learn to read until she was 10, but she went to the library and fell in the love at the age of 4. The librarian who helped her big out a book - Beverly Cleary. She knew that she could tell stories, but she had to learn to become a writer. She talked about how she and her family struggled with money, but she didn't give up on her dreams. I laughed and I teared up a little. It was an inspiring talk. 

What a fabulous day and I have so many books to add to my ever growing TBR pile!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday

This week's topic is a rewind, so I'm choosing Books to Have In Your Beach Bag. It's warming up a little here, but quickly going back into the coldness of winter. Right now I'd love to be on a beach reading. I've done this topic before, but there are so many great ones. So check out the previous one for more summer romances.

Summer State of MindWildflowerCaribbean CruisingDrive Me Crazy (Romantic Comedies Series)Picture Perfect

In Your RoomAmy and Roger's Epic DetourThis Is What Happy Looks LikeRacing SavannahWaiting For You

Tween Tuesday Review: What in the World?

A fun book created from photos found in nature, altered photos, and plenty of puzzles. 

My Thoughts: I really enjoyed this book - looking at the amazing photos (the magnified ones, the hidden animals, and the patterns). The pictures were outstanding - bright, colorful, and many found in nature. I loved the games - finding the differences and spotting the items. A book full of entertainment and fabulous photos that's sure to be a hit.

Cover Thoughts: Awesome
Source: Sent for Review
Similar Read: I Spy
Age Range: While I think tweens will still enjoy this, it will also work for younger readers.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Review: Divided We Fall

Danny wanted to serve his country like his father who died fighting for freedom. One night after helping win a football game, Danny's National Guard Unit is called to Boise to help keep a protest under control.

Things get out of hand and Danny accidentally fires a shot. Soon others return fire and people start dying. What started out as a mob scene now turns into a disaster.

The country's divided. Half the people - including the President want the Idaho Guard punished. The Governor isn't about to give up those names - even under threats.

The Governor doesn't support the President's plan for federal ID cards, which would contain plenty of personal information - including a locator chip.  With the two of them at odds, the country and the state governments butt heads, creating a time of tension and probably war.
My Thoughts: A great military thriller that could happen in the near future - making it a terrifying and very interesting read.  I felt horrible for Danny - for being stuck between a rock and a hard place and how he had to attempt to keep his actions a secret. I liked that he had a support team, even though some of their motives were questionable. I wasn't crazy about most of his friends, but I did admire their loyalty. I had mixed feelings about JoBell. I hated her for most of the book, but every now and then she would surprise me.  A great premise but not a world I'd want to live in. I didn't realize this was the beginning of a trilogy when I started reading it and now after that cliff hanger, I need the next book! 

Cover Thoughts: Awesome
Source: ARC

Friday, February 21, 2014

Review: Vitro

When Sophie gets an urgent email from her mother asking her for help, she returns to the island where she grew up. After several long flights, she finally lands, determined to find the island her mother's working on, but no one seems to acknowledge it's existence. Finally, she's told a local hangout where she might be able to find a pilot.

The pilot who agrees to take her is none other than her best friend from childhood. As soon as they reach the island, trouble begins. The plane suffers a serious accident - leaving them stranded. They split up - Sophie goes to find her mother while Jim attempts to revive the plane. That's when everything goes from bad to worse - what's really happening on this island and why is it such a big secret?
My Thoughts: This companion novel to Origin was intense: high stakes, lots of action and danger. Ethical questions about genetics and genetic engineering are called into question. These questions make the future seem like an endless stream of possibilities - but many of those are horrific. With this kind of technology, the world can become radically different. I felt horrible for Sophie growing up with her mother for so long, but I like how she found Jim. The plot twists and the horror of the book made me gasp at every turn. This book kept me thinking long after I turned the final page - a fantastic thriller.

Cover Thoughts: Love it
Source: My Library

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Review: Summer State of Mind

 Harper used to be normal - before her father made it big in the music industry. Now he's concerned she's become too materialistic. He's ruining her summer by sending her to summer camp - the same camp he went to as a kid.

Harper's NOT the outdoorsy type and it shows. Her brother nicknames her Camping Barbie and the name sticks. Harper learns the hard way that you can't bring candles, hair styling tools requiring extra electricity or makeup to camp.

While she does make one friend in her bunk, the rest of the cabin despises her - and they aren't afraid to show it.
Can Harper pull things together enjoy any of the summer?
My Thoughts: I'm a huge fan of the authors and loved this companion novel to Sleepaway Girls. I love the camp setting - although I confess to being a little like Harper and not liking to camp (I like beds and running water.) I love how she embraces her nickname - that's meant to torment her. I love how she tires to fit in and how she hangs out in the kitchen with the  book. I love her determination, her loyalty, and her generous heart. I do wish there was an epilogue showing what happens after summer. A fantastic summer reading filled with the warmth of the sun, the great outdoors, s'mores, summer friendship, and summer romance. 

Cover Thoughts: Love it
Source: ARC sent for review.
Comes out: April 22nd

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Books I'm Dying to Read: April Edition

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

The Taking (The Taking, #1)Tease
Taking: Kyra wakes up to discover 5 years have gone by and her entire life has changed in a blink of an eye. 
Tease: Different Perspective inspired by real life events from the bully's point of view.

Catch a Falling StarSleep No More
Catch a Falling Star: Playing the girlfriend of a Hollywood Star - could become complicated.
Sleep No More: Similar to Lisa McMan's Wake trilogy!

Countdown (The 39 Clues: Unstoppable, #3)The Last Best Kiss
Countdown: Still reading the 39 Clues series - but slowly starting to lose interest.
Last Best Kiss: Retelling of Persuasion 
T'was the Night before College (no cover): Love her novels in verse

To All the Boys I've Loved BeforeDon't Call Me Baby
To All the Boys I've Loved Before: So excited for this one!
Don't Call Me Baby: What happens when your life is an open book - but you get to tell your side of the story?

Open Road SummerWhat I Thought Was True
Open Road Summer: Road trip, music tour, and summer romance
What I Thought was True: Summer romance from opposite sides of the track.

100 Things to Do Before You Grow UpDinner with the Highbrows
100 Things to do Before You Grow Up: Sounds interesting -wonder how many I've actually done.
Dinner with the Highbrows: Manners go out the window here.

The Here and NowFar From You
The Here and Now: Falling in love with someone in this world is against the rules for time travelers - but it happens.
Far from You: Murder and secrets

Rebel BelleThe Geography of You and Me
Rebel Belle: Dangerous Southern Belles!
Geography of You and Me: Love this author - can't wait to read this one. (Have ARC hoping to read it this week)

A Home for Mr. EmersonGreetings from the Graveyard (43 Old Cemetery Road, #6)
Home for Mr. Emerson: A biography - love the cover
Greetings from the Graveyard: Love this series! The trio is starting their own greeting card company - can't wait to see what they come up with.

Bloom and DoomSugar and Iced (Cupcake Bakery Mystery, #6)
Bloom and Doom: The start of a new series set in a flower shop
Sugar and Iced: Love this series! Set during a beauty pageant. 

The Ninja LibrariansThe Ring and The Crown
Ninja Librarians: The Title alone makes me want to read this one - how could you go wrong?
Ring and Crown: Game of Thrones crossed with Gossip Girl? YES

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Blogging

This week's topic is reasons I Love Being A Blogger/Reader

Ways Blogging Helps with My Librarian Job

1. I love being able to share books with teens and adult at the library and passing on the love.

2. While obviously I'm not able to read every book - I love it when I hear something good about a book from bloggers I know. I use it to say, "I haven't read this, but I heard it was really good..."

3. I'm able to keep track of what I read much easier with a blog.

4. Making suggestions for the Middle School Summer Reading List.

5. Seeing ARCs that other bloggers get and are excited about helps immensely with Collection Development 

Ways I Love Being a Reader Blogger

1. Talking with authors about loving their books

2. Meeting authors at book signings or conferences (yes, fangirling happens most of the time)

3. Talking to publishers about the great books they're promoting.

4. Talking about books with other bloggers and seeing what they think about the same book

5. Talking about books on social media sites: what we love, what we don't love, what covers are awesome or strange....

All of these reasons run close together, but clearly I love reading and talking about the books I read or want to read.

Tween Tuesday Review: Hypnotists

* First book in a new series *

To Tommy, Jax has always seemed lucky. Neither are surprised to learn that he has natural hypnotistism powers.

At a school event, Jax shows his true skills, which lands him in special program where he spends the first week answers questions. Annoyed, he's finally had enough. He demands to meet Dr. Marko and becomes convinced he could use his powers for good.

He learns about famous mind-benders influencing history from Lewis and Clark to the pitcher who allowed Babe Ruth to hit his most famous home run during the world series to Sir Edmund Hillary who climbed Mount Everest. The influences from history reaches far from the most remarkable achievements to the most hideous moments. The more Jax learns, the more he wonders who can he trust.
My Thoughts: A classic Korman novel filled with humor, action, and danger. I love the idea of the historical conspiracies, but when you bring the problem to modern day, it become horrific. I liked watching Jax figure out his powers and question authority. A fun book that made me wonder what could possibly happen next.

Cover Thoughts: Funky
Source: ARC from BEA 2013

Monday, February 17, 2014

For Percy Jackson Fans:

Starting early this summer, a new fleet of the original Percy Jackson and the Olympians series will pop up in stores, sporting brand-new, reimagined covers. They’ll also find out that when these new paperback books are lined up side by side by side, they will reveal one amazing panoramic mural, the handiwork of artist John Rocco: who’s illustrated all the Percy covers since the first rejacketing of The Lightning Thief in 2006.

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Even though the books won’t be available until early summer 2014, we won’t make the fans wait that long to feast their eyes. Starting Monday, February 17th (Presidents Day), the Percy Jackson Facebook page will be revealing the new look, one book per day. Five days. Five brand-new covers. 

Check it out! 

Mini Review: Killer Frost

* Last book in the Mythos Acedemy series #6 *

Gwen Frost knows the end is near and she still hasn't a clue how she's supposed to stop Loki. Will she figures it out as Nike's Champion or will Loki destroy her and everything she holds dear?

The Good: Where do I start? I love this series - for the action, the danger, the friendship, the loyalty, the romance, and of course that awesome library. I had a feeling this was going to be the last one in the series, so I admit to savoring it and I'm glad that I did. I loved the plot twists, which kept me on the edge of my seat guessing what was going to happen next. The ending was amazing; a fantastic end to an awesome series.

The Bad: While I know the series had to end sometime, I will miss it!

Overall Thoughts: If you haven't read this series and your a fan of mythology or fantasy - get yourself to a library or bookstore immediately! 

Source: Sent for Review

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Adult Review: Home to Seaview Key

Seaview Key Series #2 - Read my review for the 1st book *

Abby Miller returns home, a little shaken from her divorce and hoping to do some good in Seaview. She has a new project in mind - one that will bring jobs into the area and showcase what the island has to offer. Not everyone's on board with her idea, including the mayor. 

The first few days back, Abby stays hidden. Then she goes swimming and needs rescuing. An attractive ex-solider rescues her. He sparks something in her that she believed to be hidden forever.  

He's staying at Seaview Inn. Abby knows that her seclusion time has ended. The locals will know she's back. 
Abby also wouldn't mind befriending Hannah again. Their friendship fell apart not long after they left for college. Can they find themselves back on track?
My Thoughts: The perfect book to read during the cold winter months. I love the moments on the beach, where I wish I was right now. I like the start of the friendship again between Abby and Hannah - how it took some time, some care, and some great food to make it work. I liked seeing old friends from the first book, especially Jenny. I love her matchmaking ways. I really liked Seth. I felt horrible about his past. I love how Sherryl Woods (and others) are writing about veterans returning home and trying to recover from the war while figuring out their lives. 

Cover Thoughts: Perfect - don't you just want to curl up in that chair with a great book?
Source: My Library.