Saturday, January 31, 2015

Mysterious Saturday Review: High-End Finish

* First in a new series *

When Shannon's father had a heart-attack, she came home to take over his business. Business is booming and Shannon couldn't be happier. Until she's forced to go on a blind date. It doesn't end well and after she kicks him in the shin, she threatens to kill him if he comes near her again.

The next day she finds his body at one of her work sites. She calls the police who find the murder weapon to be a pink tool - one of hers. She's taken down to the station and interviewed for hours.

Shannon doesn't want to wait for the police to find her innocent, so she starts asking some questions. When more bodies pile up, all the evidence points towards her. Can she uncover the real murdered before her enemy ends her?

My Thoughts: I devoured this  book - it had everything: family, friendships, work details, small town charm, murder, danger, and a little romance. I'm excited to read more about Shannon's dad. He seems really fun and sweet. I love her group of friends and how they stuck by her and how they helped by asking questions around town. I love the people she works with and their banter. I liked learning more about construction. I loved the town - where secrets don't last long and everyone looks out for each other. I liked how Shannon's neighbor confided in the betting pool on her love life. 

After the first murder, I wasn't expecting more, but the plot twisted and I kept turning the pages faster to figure out the culprit. As the book continued, the danger increased for Shannon not only through her guilt by association, but also little incidents were starting to pile up. At first they were just inconvenient, but as she kept asking questions, they grew. 

I really loved meeting Mac - I loved that he was a writer of thrillers. He seemed to have a different way of looking at things than most people. He was charming and sweet but also preoccupied with his writing. I can't wait to read more about him.  The police chief was stern and serious but showed a softer side as the book progressed. He seems to have secrets from his past that I can't wait to uncover.

The relationships make the book - from family and friends to potential love interests. Everyone's connected.

Cover Thoughts: Cute
Source: My Library

Final Thoughts: If you read cozies, add this new series to your list to read; it's fantastic!

Friday, January 30, 2015

Adult Review: One in a Million

 * Book 12 in the Lucky Harbor series *

Callie's in charge of a very popular wedding website and she works with all kinds of brides so they can fin the happily ever after the escaped her.

She's returned to town to check in on her grandmother - Lucille. The family's worried about her mental health. Callie finds her grandmother happy, feisty, and very nosy.

Lucille takes pride in matching the town together. She's decided that Callie will be her final and greatest match.

How can you think of forever when you are certain that forever isn't in the cards for you?

My Thoughts: I love this series and while I'm sad that this is the final book, it was also a perfect book. I love Lucille - she's been entertaining throughout the entire series, so I loved meeting her granddaughter and learning more about Callie. I loved the interactions between the two of them. Actually, any interaction with Lucille is entertaining. I love how she's living life on her own terms and isn't afraid of what people think. Plus she rocks at social media!

As for the romance, I liked how they both had to overcome past romantic issues - took a deep look at themselves, and decided that maybe happiness could happen.

I loved the moments between Tanner and his son. They stole my heart. I loved seeing Tanner show his unconditional love to his son and try to convince his son that he wants him in his life - and always has. I enjoyed watching them get to know each other between and become family and friends. But I also loved how Callie developed a relationship with Troy.

Cover Thoughts: Cute
Source: My Library

Overall Thoughts: If you like funny and sweet romances set in a small town  where gossip runs wild - devour this series immediately!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Upcoming Review: I'll Meet You There

Skylar can't wait to leave her hometown behind and spread her wings. She's headed to art school and she couldn't be happier.

Until her mother goes in a downward spiral and looses her job. Skylar tries to get through to her mother, but she's stuck in a deep depression and nothing works. Could her future plans be in jeopardy?

The only person who can take her mind off her troubles is Josh - a marine veteran who just returned home after losing his leg. Together they attempt to weather the ups and downs of their small town.

My Thoughts: I loved this book. It made me feel EVERYTHING. I felt horrible for Skylar - being stuck in a rut and desperately trying to escape. I felt horrible for her relationship with her mom - and growing up too fast and for having to play the role of the parent herself. I loved her creative outlet and her collages. I cheered her on as she fought for her freedom and her escape to create a better life for herself.

I loved her relationship with Josh - how they were drawn to each other, how they were friends first, and how the sexual tension built until you just wanted to them to kiss already.

I loved Josh - he was dealing with so much from coming back home. Not just his time away and how it changed him but how he was left to get away and was stuck back where he started. I felt horrible for him dealing with his sense of loss and survivors guilt. 

This book was inspired by the author's life and I"m so glad she shared her family's story with us. It was touching, heartbreaking, and hopeful all at the same time.

Cover Thoughts: Cute
Source: Sent for Review
Release Date: February Third
Similar Reads:

Overall Thoughts: This is one of those books that people having talking about for ages. Believe the hype and get yourself a copy of this book. You won't  be sorry.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

What's on My Hold List (97)

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. 

All Summer Long: I've been loving this Fool's Gold series.

 We Can Work it Out: Loved Lonely Hearts Club and looking forward to reading more about Penny Lane and her friends

Earls Just Want to Have Fun: Excited about the start of this new series by Shana Galen

Monday, January 26, 2015

Mini Review: Shelock Holmes Companion

Everything you need to know or would want to know about the greatest literary detective Sherlock Holmes.

I confess I'm not a huge Sherlock fan. I haven't read the short stories or the novels. I haven't seen too much of the BBC version- except the first season which I don't really remember. But clearly I plan on going back to watch them.

 I did watch the movies.

And I do watch Elementary

I think it's time I became more familiar with him in a literary sense. In reading this book, I learned a great deal more about Sherlock Holmes than I ever knew. (I didn't know that House was a Holmes re-imagined - I only watched a very episodes here and there, but I can see it. And it's Brilliant!)

The Good:
* Great illustrations - both from the time period and original works from Doyle's work
* Great photographs 
* Historical aspect of the book is very well done - small articles on historical people, Sherlock's person in history, and history of the detective novel all fascinating
* Summary of all the Sherlock Holmes works
* Historical timeline
* Short Biography on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
* Interviews with casts of Sherlock Holmes productions
* History of Forensic Science notes

Overall Thought: It's a beautiful book filled with photographs and illustrations. The short sections are chock full of information and easy to read. It's the perfect gift for any Sherlockian fan!

Source: Sent for Review

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Mysterious Saturday Review: All the President's Menus

Things have been quiet in the White House lately - a little too quiet for Olivia's taste.  So it's not surprise that she's happy (even though a little surprised) that visit to welcome the first woman Presidential candidate from Saardisca is still on - including hosting four top chefs.

Now the kitchen's humming with noise as the chefs attempt to learn from each other. The foreign chefs aren't used to working for a woman nor do they believe the truth about the events the kitchen's hosted. Culturally very different, Olivia's having a tough time hosting.

Things get worse when the pastry chef collapses.  He calls Olivia later, he thinks he might have been drugged. Marcel asks her to look into the matter - could it be someone in her kitchen?

My Thoughts: I adore this series for so many reasons. First the setting is amazing and I love learning more about the White House. The food always makes me want to cook up something fabulous. Plus I would LOVE a tour of the chocolate and pastry rooms!  The favorite secondary characters provide banter, comic relief, and tension.

In this addition to the series, I like how Ollie and Bucky attempt to share their knowledge with four nationally known chefs - but the reactions from the chefs themselves are priceless. They don't believe in working for a woman. They don't believe the White House hosts such elaborate events. They don't believe in taking time away from work. I'm impressed by how Ollie keeps her cool under these conditions and tries to show patience while learning about their culture. The differences between cultures were fascinating and I wonder if there are cultures who see American in this light. 

Ollie and Gav talk about their future and I can see this spinning into a whole different direction for the series - which would still be charming.

Cover Thoughts: Great!
Source: My Library

Overall Thoughts: Sink your teeth into this series, if you haven't done so already!

Similar Reads:

Friday, January 23, 2015

Adult Review: Dogwood Hill

* Book 11 in the Chesapeake Shores series *
Former NFL player Aidan Mitchell comes to town seeking a job as a high school football coach. He brings with him a secret from the past. His mother recently died and he just found out the name of his father. He's not sure what kind of relationship he wants with the man and until he knows, he's going to keep his identity quiet.

Liz March's husband betrayed her in the worst possible way leaving her with severe trust issues. She meets Aidan when he interviews for the job. Sparks fly and neither can stop thinking about the other, but both realize starting a relationship isn't for the best right now.  They keep bumping into each other and soon people take notice. Could they push aside their pasts for a chance at the future?
My Thoughts: I love this series - for the family that runs the town. While favorite characters appeared and I spent time with old friends, I really enjoyed looking at this town from an outsider's perspective.  I felt for both Liz and Aidan as they went through trying times. I really enjoyed the visit from Liz's family - at first it was a disaster, but by the end, everyone seemed in a much better place. Family can make you reassess everything with just one comment - which can be both good and bad. I do admit that Archie stole the book - he's funny, clever, and adorable.He added humorous moments to break the tension.  A sweet romance that deals with guilt, family, secrets, trust, and of course meddling O'Briens who want everyone to be as happy as they are.

Cover Thoughts: Gorgeous spring day
Source: My Library

Overall Thought: If you like contemporary romances, add this series to your list. It's fantastic!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Review: Captive

Kitty Doe's been living a lie. Every time she opens her mouth, Kitty finds herself in trouble. It's not easy pretending to be someone else.

After a fight with her fake fiance, Kitty finds herself accused of treason and sent to Elsewhere.

Life in Elsewhere isn't logical and everyone must lookout for themselves. With no one to trust, Kitty must do what she can in order to survive and get her revenge. 
My Thoughts: A fantastic follow-up to Pawn left me on the edge of my seat through secrets revealed, plot twists, lies, betrayals, and the truth. This book played with my emotions through the ups and downs of people fighting for their lives all the while death, love, friendship, and loyalty hung in the balance. I can't wait to read what happens next! 

Cover Thoughts: Great
Source: My Library

Overall Thought: An excellent sequel that left me breathless for the conclusion of the trilogy

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Books I'm Dying To Read: March edition

Here are the books I'm looking forward to reading come March. It's a new year full of fabulous possibilities! 

The World WithinWe All Looked Up
World Within: All about Emily Bronte...
We All Looked Up: When an asteroid threatens the entire planet - do you hold on to your dreams of the future or do you live in the present? 

The Start of Me and You
Start of Me and You: I LOVED Open Road Summer and can't wait for this sophomore book.

Liars, Inc.A Conspiracy of Princes (Allies & Assassins, #2)
Liars Inc: What begins as a cover story ends in murder - unraveling the clues might be hard when they're pointed in your direction
Conspiracy of Princes: A sequel where a prince must play games to keep his throne and his head

The Wrong Side of RightWeightless
Wrong Side of Right: What do you do when you're about to meet your father for the first time and realize he's the man running for President?
Weightless: When a video goes viral it turns one girl from superior to outcast.

Wicked Charms (Lizzy & Diesel, #3)The Orphan Queen (The Orphan Queen, #1)Death Marked (Death Sworn, #2)
Wicked Charms: Love this series - happy there are more books!
Orphan Queen: Princess * Spy * Threat - she's all three and she wants revenge
Death Marked: I just finished the first book and I really enjoyed it. Looking forward to seeing what happens next. 

Lost BoyFairy Tale Reform School: Flunked
Lost Boy: An accident sends a kid to search for his father
Flunked: New twisted fairy tale series - can a villain turn to the good side?

Every Little Kiss (Harvest Cove, #2)This Heart of Mine (Whiskey Creek, #8)Last One Home
Every Little Kiss: 2nd book featuring a sister who need to relax
This Heart of Mine: I love this series and I'm curious to see where this story will go
Last One Home: Three sisters attempt to repair old wounds 

The Storyspinner (The Keepers' Chronicles, #1)Vanishing Girls
Storyspinner: Murder, politics, and a little romance
Vanishing Girls: A thriller about sisters

NYPD Red 3Killer Gourmet (Savannah Reid Mystery, #20)
NYPD Red 3: I'm addicted to this thrilling series
Killer Gourmet: I love Savannah Reid and can't wait to see where her and Dirk are going next. 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Small Town Charm

This week's topic is a rewind. I'm choosing fictional towns I'd love to visit. As opposed to the one recently which was real places...

From Movie/TV

Stars Hollow: As this is based on an actual town in CT, I should make it a plan to visit.
Hogsmead: If it looks anything like the wonders at Universal - it's pretty cool indeed.

Bookish World:
Small town romances where it's hard to keep a secret and friends are always there to make you laugh...
Lucky Harbor
Fool's Gold
Whiskey Creek
Cedar Cove
Chesapeake Shores
Blue Heron

Simply Irresistible (Lucky Harbor, #1)Chasing Perfect (Fool's Gold, #1)When Lightning Strikes (Whiskey Creek, #1)Stealing Home (The Sweet Magnolias #1)
16 Lighthouse RoadThe Inn at Eagle Point (Chesapeake Shores, #1)The Best Man (Blue Heron #1)

Monday, January 19, 2015

Review: All Fall Down

Grace returns to the embassy of Adria where her grandfather is the ambassador and the ghost of her mother lingers around every corner.

Grace isn't happy to be here, but she's on a mission.  She watched her mother die and Grace was positive that she was murdered. No matter how many times she is told that her mother's death was an accident,  Grace knows the truth and she's determined to prove it.

When she spies the man responsible for her mother's death, she vows to get her revenge.

My Thoughts: A great start to a new series with everything you'd expect in an Ally Carter book: danger, action, friendship, loyalty, the truth, a little romance, and of course intrigue. 

I loved Grace - she's not always reliable but I would trust her. I love her determination and her drive. She's not about to let her mother's death go unpunished - not matter how many times people tell her it's an accident or how many times she has a panic attack over the situation. I love that she's strong enough to pull it together and make a stand.

Lots of Great secondary characters that kept me guessing about their true intentions throughout the book. I loved learning about Embassy Row and meeting Noah, Rosie, and Megan. I liked Grace's interactions with Lila - they added humor to the book. I liked the Grace and Alexei moments together. I even warmed to Ms. Chancellor - sort of.

I loved the layout of the city - the row of Embassies, but more importantly the tunnels beneath the city where there was the potential for danger around every corner. 

I loved the ending and can't wait to read more about Grace.

Cover Thoughts: Great
Source: ARC sent for Review

Final Overall Thought: Another brilliant heart pounding read from Ally Carter - add this one to you TBR pile immediately! 

Friday, January 16, 2015

Review: Love Lucy

Lucy made a bargain with father; she’ll major in business instead of theater and she will be allowed to spend the summer before college touring Europe.  Her parents find her a traveling companion in the daughter of a family friend.

On their second to last stop in Florence, Lucy and Charlotte begin to bicker. Lucy meets a boy and before long, she’s spending her time with Jesse. After a vacation romance, Lucy returns home and back to reality but she’s not ready to give up on her dreams.

My Thoughts: I've never read Room with a View by E.M. Forester, but I loved this modern retelling. Probably more new adult than YA, I loved seeing Italy - some of the major tourist attractions and some off the beaten path.  The romance between Jesse and Lucy was sweet, mature, and realistic. At first I was sad when Lucy returns home and heads off to college, but I really enjoyed watching her face her future.  I love how she made choices to follow her dreams and to achieve her goals. A fantastic book with a perfect summer romance and the choice between a safe future and following your heart.

Source: Reviewed this book for VOYA
Release Date: January 27th

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Because of a Public Library...

This idea is making the rounds on Twitter, but I have SO many thoughts, that I wanted to write up a blog post instead.

Castleton Free Library - my hometown library where everything started for me 

So...because of a public library I

1. Took armfuls of books home in middle school and high school, especially in the summer. I was always a reader and the library was right across the street from my house.

2. Got my first job that I loved thanks to the library and a grant. I worked there for four summers learning so much about libraries.

3. I decided to go to graduate school and get my MLS

4. While in graduate school, I often went to the library near my apartment. I checked out the teen section and found a book called The Princess Diaries - after reading it, I decided to become a YA Librarian

5. I got my first job in a library in Rhode Island as the first YA Librarian there

6. I read tons of books - more so than I ever did in a year.

7. I was on a committee for the Rhode Island Teen Book Award - where I read outside of my comfort zone and talked passionately about the books I loved and hated with other librarians.

8. I moved libraries in my job to the brand new library in my town again as the first YA Librarian where I collaborated with co-workers in programs and presentations

9. I started this blog and have been blogging for over 5 years - because of it, I've been lots of readers, librarians, authors, and publishers. We talked about - books of course.

10. I read over 300 books a year across ages and genres. If I had to buy those books, it wouldn't be nearly as much.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: 2014 Books Still on my Reading List

This week's topic is books I wanted to read in 2014 but didn't get to yet. I'm not going to Lie - I have a lot of these on my list still. Sometimes I took the book out from the library, but other people were waiting for it and I didn't get a chance to read it in my allotted time, so it went back. Some of them weren't in the library system yet. Whatever the case, I'm still waiting to read these books.

The Ghost and Mrs. Mewer (Paws and Claws Mystery #2)The Map to Everywhere (Pirate Stream, #1)In The Afterlight (The Darkest Minds, #3)Double Vision: The Alias MenExquisite Captive (Dark Caravan Cycle #1)
Pennyroyal Academy (Pennyroyal Academy, #1)AfterworldsLove and Let Spy (Lord and Lady Spy, #3)Well Read, Then DeadThe Jewel (The Lone City, #1)
Let's Get LostMemory Maze (The Hypnotists, #2)All Four StarsThe Kiss of Deception (The Remnant Chronicles, #1)Midnight Thief (Midnight Thief, #1)
The Body in the Woods (Point Last Seen, #1)The Glass Sentence (The Mapmakers Trilogy, #1)The House on Blackberry Hill (Jewell Cove, #1)Stray (Four Sisters, #1)
A Dance with Dragons (A Song of Ice and Fire, #5)