Saturday, February 28, 2015

Mysterious Saturday Review: This Old Homicide

* Book 2 in the Fixer-Upper Series *
Shannon hasn't seen her next door neighbor in a few days. Uneasy, she uses her key to let herself into this house to check on him. The house is in a complete disarray. It's not long before she find Jesse's body.

At first, it looks like a heart attack killed her neighbor and her best friend's uncle. But Shannon isn't convince. Jesse would have never left his house in that shape. Could someone have tossed it?

What were they looking for? Jesse didn't have anything of value - except for that necklace he claimed to have recovered while diving. No one has seen the necklace. Or the new girlfriend he claimed to have. Everyone knows that Jesse loved telling stories - but could one of his stories have gotten him killed?
My Thoughts: I loved the second book as much as the first - with the small town charm and the characters. I really liked Jesse and was hoping to see him in many books to come, so I was saddened by his death. Although I did like how Shannon and Jane looked into this murder - how they didn't believe that he died of natural causes.

I enjoyed learning more about Jesse - from his tall tales to reality. I like how Shannon tried to include the police this time along with her mystery writer friend. I like how the two men play off each other - both as experts in the mystery world but also as romantic interests. 

Cover Thoughts: Charming
Source: My Library

Overall Thoughts: Another fantastic edition to this series - if you haven't read it, what are you waiting for? It's got small town charm, romantic potential, friendships, and danger! I'm a big fan.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Guest Post with CORI MCCARTHY

Welcome Cori!

Let's talk books!  Name your top 5 favorite YA Novels:

5. Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman. Now I know what you’re thinking: That’s not YA! But poetry has no age-specific market. When I was in high school, I kept a secret copy of Leaves of Grass in my leather Bible case when I had to go to church. I feel as though that anecdote says just about everything you need to know about me J

4. Graceling by Kristin Cashore. This book! AH! So, I absolutely love that Katsa is a sword-wielding survivor, but I also just think this is one of the best love stories that has been written in the last twenty years. Cashore takes her time in revealing how feelings spring up even through the rockiest of soil, and how true love has no respect for good intentions.

3. The Lumateer Chronicles by Melina Marchetta. This is technically three books (Finnikin of the Rock, Froi of the Exiles, Quintana of Charyn), but they create one unbelievable story of a feudal world where love and gender roles and desperate survival are all one tangled, breathtaking, high stakes cord. I fell for every single character in these books—even the “bad guys.” Also, the titles of these books might set off high fantasy alarms, but I assure you that these stories are accessible to non-fantasy readers. Give them a try; you won’t be sorry. Promise.

2. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. This story speaks to me. I mean, really, it whispers into my ear about how you have to be strong. You have to face down all the personal injustices of the world and make your own way. Your own stand. I needed this story when I was fourteen and newly heartbroken, and I need even more now as a thirty-one year-old. Jane Eyre proves that the world is not fair, and good people are often punished for trust and vision. But that’s not the end of it! After a good trek across the moors, you can handle anything—like Jane.

1. Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta (again!). This novel confused me for forty pages, and then it broke my heart into a million shiny pieces before placing them all back together again. If you started this story and didn’t get through the first few chapters, try again, and give in to the confusion. This book sets up a world and then turns it all upside down in the best way. It is one of the most hard-hitting coming of age stories, and Melina Marchetta is (in my humble opinion) the best YA writer currently out there.

About the Book:

Breaking Sky
Sourcebooks Fire
March 2015 ● ISBN: 9781492601418
Hardcover/$16.99 ● Ages 14+

Fly to the last drop of fuel. Fight to the last drop of blood.
Showoff. Reckless. Maverick. Chase Harcourt, call sign “Nyx”, isn’t one to play it safe. In the year 2048, America is locked in a cold war – and the country’s best hope is the elite teen fighter pilots of the United Star Academy. Chase is one of only two daredevil pilots chosen to fly an experimental “Streaker” jet. But few know the pain and loneliness of her past. All anyone cares about is that Chase aces the upcoming Streaker trials, proving the prototype jet can knock the enemy out of the sky.

But as the world tilts toward war, Chase cracks open a military secret. There’s a third Streaker, whose young hotshot pilot, Tristan, can match her on the ground and in the clouds. And Chase doesn’t play well with others. But to save her country, she may just have to put her life in the hands of the competition.

CORI MCCARTHY studied poetry and screenwriting before falling in love with writing for teens at Vermont College of Fine Arts. From a military family, Cori was born on Guam and lived a little bit of everywhere before she landed in Michigan. Learn more about her books at

Praise for Breaking Sky:
“Strong characterizations, action, adventure, and emotion combine to produce a sci-fi novel that is more than just the sum of its parts.” —School Library Journal STARRED Review

“Smart, exciting, confident—and quite possibly the next Big Thing.” —Kirkus Reviews

“McCarthy deploys breath-stopping depictions of high-stakes piloting with enviable ease, and the in-your-face personal confrontations are nearly as taut.” —Publishers Weekly

Buy Links:
Great Lakes Book and Supply – Cori McCarthy’s Local Indie! Pre-order here and receive a personalized signed copy.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Mini Review: Ruby Circle

* Book 6 in the Bloodlines series *

Sydney and Adrian fight for their future together while fighting for ones they love. Jill's been kidnapped and they will do anything to get her back. Unfortunately, they're stuck behind the walls at Court for their own safety. That won't stop them for long...
The Good: 
Seeing Sydney kick butt on more time.
That ending made me sigh with happiness.

The Bad:
It's over and I don't think more spin-off series are coming.

Final Thoughts: Great end to the series, I'll miss these characters, but I'm glad to see where they ended up. 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

On My Hold List (98)

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. 
Princess in Training (The Princess Diaries, #6)

Princess Diaries series: I'm going to re-read all of them before the Royal Wedding (Which I'm SUPER lucky to have a copy)

Last One Home
Last One Home: I love Debbie Macomber books, I'm excited about this new stand-alone featuring sisters.

At the Drop of a Hat
At the Drop of a Hat: I love this mystery series featuring two cousins in London who own a hat shop. I can't wait to see what trouble they get into next.

My Secret Guide to Paris

My Secret Guide to Paris: a scavenger hunt across Paris

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: favorite heroines

This week's topic is favorite heroines from books. This is a list I could go on and on about - so I cut my set off after the first 10 that came to mind, but man it was hard....
Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin, #1)
Ismae, Sybella, and Annith 

A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, #1)
Arya Stak

Artemis Fowl (Artemis Fowl, #1)
Holly Short

The Lonely Hearts Club (The Lonely Hearts Club, #1)
Penny Lane
Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy, #1)
Rose Hathaway
The Princess Diaries (The Princess Diaries, #1)
Princess Mia

Poison Study (Study, #1)

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Harry Potter, #1)
Hermoine Granger

A Spy in the House (The Agency, #1)
Mary Quinn

Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass, #1)
Celaena Sardothien

Who are your favorites?

Monday, February 23, 2015

2015 Oscar Fashion

I really liked how the red carpet focused on other things thing year and not just about the dress - I thought that Ask Her More movement was great. That said, I still like looking at the dresses. Here are a few of my favorites.

The Two dresses that I LOVED and would wear:
BEST: America Ferrera in Jenny Packham
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BEST: Anna Kendrick in custom Thakoon
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The rest of the dresses:
WORST: Zoe Saldana in Atelier Versace
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WORST: Kelly Ripa
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BEST: Rosamund Pike in custom Givenchy
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BEST: Meryl Streep in Lanvin
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BEST: Jennifer Hudson in Romona Keveza
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WORST: Scarlett Johansson in Versace
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BEST: Viola Davis in Zac Posen
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BEST: Cate Blanchett in John Galliano for Maison Margiela
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BEST: Reese Witherspoon in custom Tom Ford
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Sunday, February 22, 2015

Summer Reading: Superheroes Ideas Part 2

While it's freezing here in New England, who doesn't dream of summer? Here are a few of my favorite ideas for teen programs for the summer - all on Pinterest. Go ahead and create your own superhero identity with these programs.

Design your own (SUPERHERO!) costume
Design your own superhero costume

Find your Snarky Super Hero Name. Fun activity and ask people to put it on their nametags. Ha. Aggressive Gladiator - ROAR!
Give yourself a Snarky Name
Duct Tape Masks

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Mysterious Saturday Review: One Potion in the Grave

* Book 2 in the Magic Potion Mystery Series *
When an old friend comes into Carly's shop, she almost doesn't recognize her. Carly does however recognize the tingles of danger. Katie Sue followed her dreams and made them come true - at the expense of leaving everyone in the town behind, including her sisters.

Now, even when her sister's health is at an all time low, she's back in town for revenge. With a big wedding taking up Carly and her family's energy, she wants to help Katie Sue.

The closer they get to the wedding, the more things start to unravel. Carly's nervous about Katie Sue's talk of revenge. When she can't find her friend later in the day, the nerves start to grow. What should have been a happy moment in someone's life turned to murder and distrust. Carly desperately wants to figure out what happened to her old friend.

My Thoughts: Relationships make the book in this small town series - from Carly and Dylan to Carly and Delia, to Carly and her crazy family. I like the tension between Carly and Dylan and the slow burn of will they or won't they get back together. I like the new relationship between Carly and her cousin Delia - how they're learning to trust each other, how they're becoming friends, and how they're putting the past behind them. I really enjoy Carly's aunts - they lighten the book with their antics.

With the wedding in town, everyone's buzzing about the wealthy family and the girl who was once part of the town. The relationships intertwine and become heated with the desire for revenge. Not to mention the family that Katie Sue left behind in town - her family needs her. 

It's hard to imagine people's motives in heinous behavior, but this book showcases it all: revenge, greed, lust for power, the bond of family, and murder. An impressive feat for such an enjoyable book.

Cover Thoughts: Mysterious
Source: My Library

Overall Thoughts: A delightful second book in this magical series where relationships, gossip, love, and hope run the town that will make you smile and laugh and wish to spend a day or two in town.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Review: I was Here

Meg and Cody were best friends - until Meg committed suicide. Shaken to the core, Cody had no idea her best friend was in so much pain that she needed to take her own life. Although they were best friends, since Meg left for college and Cody stayed home, things have been strained between them.

When Meg's parents ask Cody to pack up Meg's room at college, she doesn't hesitate.  She still can't believe that Meg killed herself and starts looking for clues. Why would her best friend leave everyone behind? Why wouldn't Meg talk to Cody?

When the guilt Cody feels threatens to close in on her. She starts to question Meg's roommates and friends, trying to piece together a timeline and a reason.

My Thoughts:
My heart breaks for Cody dealing with the loss of her friend and trying to make sense of her own life after Meg's gone. The guilt overwhelms her with thoughts of the past few months and how they didn't talk as much. I like how Cody tried to uncover the reasons behind Meg's decision and how it leads her on her own path to figuring out herself.

I liked Cody's interactions with the people in Meg's life: her college friends, Ben, and her little brother. I liked how they all played a part in helping Cody understand more about Meg and about herself. I found my thoughts changing about Tricia over the course of the book.

Guilt and remorse are powerful emotions in this book, along with the feelings of unworthiness. In her search for the truth, Cody slips down the rabbit hole herself. 

I admired Cody's perseverance and determination. Not all of her decisions were smart, but they helped her in the end. I wouldn't mind a sequel - learning more about Cody and what she does next now that she's no longer part of a pair, but on her own.

Cover Thoughts: Symbolic
Source: my Library
Librarian Fact: I made a book list last year featuring books with suicide. I would add this one.

For anyone reading this book, the Author's Note is important and features a phone number for anyone in need  of someone to talk with: Crisis Hotline: 800-273-TALK

Final Thoughts: A book that will pull at your heartstrings one minute and make you want to call your BFF the next minute.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Review: We Can Work It Out

 * Sequel to Lonely Hearts Club *
Penny needs more time in the day to devote to her club and to her new boyfriend. She's trying to juggle everything, but in giving nothing her full attention, she feels like she's letting everyone down.

When the club blows up beyond her wildest dreams, Penny Lane starts thinking bigger. The Lonely Hearts Club wants to hold a local event for other clubs to share their stories and to inspire other clubs.

Except that in putting so much time into her club, she's letting down Ryan. When things start going badly for Ryan, Penny Lane can't help but think she's the cause of his troubles. Can they work out their problems or will she need a little help from her friends to heal her broken heart?

My Thoughts: I Loved the first book, so I was surprised to love the sequel. I loved visiting old friends again and learning more about the Lonely Hearts Club. I love the idea of the club - of the sisterhood that looks out for each other, helps each other, and has each others' backs. Bullies, bad dates, and guys who take advantage of the situation need not apply for boyfriends. I like how the girls thought bigger than just the club at their high school and how they help other groups start their own clubs.

I adore Penny: she's smart, strong, and not about to let people tear her down. I felt bad for her for being pulled in so many directions and wanting to devote all her time to everything. Balance is key in life between work and play and relationships. 

 I really liked Ryan: he's sweet, thoughtful, and understanding. He gives Penny Lane the space that she needs, while showing her that he cares about her too. I really liked Tracey and her dramatics, Diane for being there in the tough times, and Penny's crazy Beatles loving family for their support and antics.

Cover Thoughts: Perfection
Source: My Library
Fun Fact: I started listening to my favorite Beatles album immediately after reading

Final Thoughts: If you haven't read either of these books, read them now. They're the perfect books about friendship and sisterhood with a dash of romance.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Books I'm Dying to Read: April edition

So many good books are coming out in April - here are the ones I can't wait to get my hands on!

Cold Burn of Magic (Black Blade #1)An Ember in the Ashes
Cold Burn of Magic: Magic, murder, family feud, monsters, and a library - sounds awesome in a new series from Jennifer Estep!
Ember in the Ashes: Undercover trying to save her brother from death - spies, love, and revolution

The Boyfriend ProjectTrouble from the Start
Boyfriend Project and Trouble From the Start: 2 companion novels from Rachel Hawthorne who I LOVE! Romance, friendship, bad boys, and makeovers

Musseled OutDark Chocolate Demise
Mussled Out: 3rd book in this cozy series set in small town Maine with great food and nosy neighbors
Dark Chocolate Demise: Zombie walks, the mob, and murder - all with a side of cupcakes

Drive Me Crazy99 Days
Drive Me Crazy: Road tripping into friendship
99 Days: 99 days to live in a town where almost everyone hates you - how much longer until you can escape?

RookMiss Mayhem (Rebel Belle, #2)
Rook: Secrets, games, and a revolution set in the city that once was Paris
Miss Mayhem: LOVED the first book - so looking forward to the next one

Wrong About the Guy Things We Know by Heart

Wrong About the Guy: Modernized Emma
Things we Know By Heart: Quinn loses her boyfriend - but someone else gains his organs, especially his heart. Can lightning strike twice?

Sophomore Year Is Greek to MeCity Love
Sophomore Year is Greek to Me: Travel to Greece - family feuds - and an aspiring journal
City Love: Summer in the city before college begins - 3 friends, 3 POV, 3 romances

Kissing Ted Callahan (And Other Guys)Play On
Kissing Ted Callahan: A pact made between friends for more - KISSING
Play On: Small town, baseball, and chemistry - sounds like a slow burn romance

The Revelation of Louisa MayLies I Told
Revelation of Louisa May: I LOVE Little Women and I'm excited about this fictional account of the author
Lies I Told: Heist book (enough said)

Still the One (Animal Magnetism, #6)
Still the One: Book 6 in the series - small town, smart women, hot guys, and animals that need help

What books are you waiting for?