Monday, August 31, 2015

Review: Foreplay

Pepper has always known that she belongs with Hunter. When her BFF tells her that Hunter is finally single, she knows it's time to make her move.

Except that she doesn't have an experience - as in zero. Her friends drag her to a bad to find a bartender with a hot reputation.

With his help, she'll be ready for Hunter. But the more time she spends with Reece, the more she starts to care for him.  Could there be something more to this relationship than learning?

My Thoughts: Foreplay is the start of a New Adult trilogy and it brings the heat. I really enjoyed this book. I love how it takes places in college and it's centered around three roommates. I like how Pepper came into her own with the help of Reece.  I liked how the relationship between Reece and Pepper developed. I can't wait to read the rest of the trilogy.

Final Thoughts: I think I'm late on the bandwagon, but this was a perfect New Adult read!

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Winter Programs (2)

I know that Summer Reading is ending or wrapped and fall is beginning, but planning doesn't always take a back seat just because it's the busy season. So I thought I'd attempt to help and toss out a few ideas for winter - all from pinterest. 

I've never been good at making snowflakes, but they look so pretty. Maybe you and your teens might have better luck with these variations!
DIY Glue Snowflakes by factorydirectcraft: Great for kids on a cold winter day. School glue + glitter! #Snowflake #Crafts #Kids #Glue_Snowflakes #factorydirectcraft
Glue Snowflakes
Coffee Filter Snowflakes...
Coffee Filter Snowflakes
snowflake stick ornaments.
Stick Snowflakes

Friday, August 28, 2015

Review: Emmy and Oliver

Emmy and Oliver used to be best friend, until the day Oliver's father kidnapped him. Fast forward 10 years to the day Oliver comes home.

Life's changed in the past 10 years. For one thing, Emmy's parents clutched her tightly, holding her too close to home. In order to breathe a little, she's taken up surfing. Emmy feels bad lying about her surfing skills, her dreams, and her hopes for the future.

Now that Oliver's back, he's trying to find his footing with his mother, his twin sisters, and his new step-father. At first, Emmy and her friends give him space.

But then Emmy and Oliver start hanging out again, picking right back where they left off. At first it's hard, trying to share the past ten years. Soon they're telling each other secrets they can't tell anyone else. 
My Thoughts: I really loved this book. 

I found Oliver's reactions to both the kidnapping and coming home fascinating. My heart broke for him and what he went through - the whole ordeal. I liked watching him struggle to find a place for himself back home. I loved his interactions with his sisters. 

I felt for Emmy and her friends first discovering what happened to their friend and then dealing with the aftermath and then finally moving on. It's understandable how Emmy's parents reacted - and how she rebelled against their rules.

Caro and Drew were great best friends. I loved their conversations with Emmy and how they attempted to befriend Oliver once again. 

I loved the moments between Emmy and Oliver: when they surfed, when they talked about the past, and when they talked about their hopes and dreams for the future.

Cover Thoughts: Love
Source: My Library
Final Thoughts: Snap this book up! Right now. What are you waiting for?

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Romance Awareness Month


The month of August is designated Romance Awareness Month, so it’s a great time to spotlight romance titles.
Yesterday I was over at the YALSA Hub blog talking about how to identify romance and why I  think romance is in a significant amount of YA Books - check it out

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

At My Bookstore: RJ Julia's

RJ Julia's is a local bookstore roughly an hour from my house.
I've seen SO many great authors here that I've forgotten them all.

Stephanie Meyer came to promote New Moon. Suzanne Collins came for Mockingjay. I've seen Meg Cabot, Michael Scott, Ally Cater, Maureen Johnson, Sara Shepard, Sarah Mlynowski, Matt de la Pena, Sarah MaClean, and many more.

Here's what you see when you walk in the front door.
It's filled with nooks and crannies with tons of books and lots of displays.

When you go upstairs, there's a kids section, a tween section, and a newly re-purposed teen room (Which is of course, my favorite).

Nutmeg List (CT award books)

Staff Genre recommendation and teen reviews

Fortune teller display on which book to read next

Hot new releases 
I was there last night for an event with Kristan Higgins. 
She was promoting her brand new book If You Only Knew, which was fantastic as always
 Check out my review

This new books is women's fiction which differs slightly from her romance books with the focus on more emotional plot lies and no hero's perspective. Instead it focuses on the love of two sisters (but don't worry, it has romance and all the humor you would expect.)

I cried laughing as Kristan Higgins talked about how strangers tell her the most private moments of their lives upon meeting her - because of her open face. One of these conversations in a restaurant lead her to this book and the story line of Rachel. 

Rachel's sister Jenny goes through a particularity bad date, which Kristan includes in all her books.

Up next is the last book in the Blue Heron series called Anything for You

A Little Trivia: 
Her first book boyfriend was Rhett Butler 
Write two books a year
She wanted to be a pediatrician or a Jedi
First boyfriend = Rhett
It took 37 titles to come up with If You Only Knew and her mother came up with the title.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Chasing Secrets Blog Tour

About the Book:
Newbery Honor–winning author Gennifer Choldenko deftly combines humor, tragedy, fascinating historical detail, and a medical mystery in this exuberant new novel.

San Francisco, 1900. The Gilded Age. A fantastic time to be alive for lots of people . . . but not thirteen-year-old Lizzie Kennedy, stuck at Miss Barstow’s snobby school for girls. Lizzie’s secret passion is science, an unsuitable subject for finishing-school girls. Lizzie lives to go on house calls with her physician father. On those visits to his patients, she discovers a hidden dark side of the city—a side that’s full of secrets, rats, and rumors of the plague.

The newspapers, her powerful uncle, and her beloved papa all deny that the plague has reached San Francisco. So why is the heart of the city under quarantine? Why are angry mobs trying to burn Chinatown to the ground? Why is Noah, the Chinese cook’s son, suddenly making Lizzie question everything she has known to be true? Ignoring the rules of race and class, Lizzie and Noah must put the pieces together in a heart-stopping race to save the people they love.

Gennifer joins us to talk about historical times periods, research, and great books.

If you could go back in time to any historical period, where would you choose to go?
I love the Roaring Twenties, so of course I’d love to go back there. I’d like to have been one of FDR and Eleanor’s children. I wish I could have been Mary Todd Lincoln’s best friend. And I’m dying to know what it might have been like to be twelve in ancient Egypt.

        What’s the best part about researching a new book?
       There are so many best parts it’s difficult to choose. Sometimes I’m sure I’ve found this great cache—an old book, a historic tour, an expert to interview—and I’m vibrating with excitement about what I’m about to find. And then I get my hands on the book, or take the tour, or interview the person and . . . nothing. Not nothing, nothing. I always find something or other. But nowhere near what I’d expected. Other times, I’ll be scrounging around in the least likely of places and all of a sudden I open this book or archive file and it’s like Christmas, Easter, my birthday, Hanukkah and Halloween all in one. What a thrill to find juicy information!

       Would you like to go to a finishing school?
       Absolutely. My mother was a very unusual person and a born contrarian. She did not know the proper way to do anything. And if she did know, she went out of her way to do the opposite. As a result, I was left to my own devices when it came to decorum. I would really like to know all the rules so I could decide for myself what I want to follow and what I don’t. That said, though, I think a year of finishing school would be all I could take. After that, I’d want to go to a real school.

Do you have a secret passion for a certain subject, like Lizzie?
Every day I discover new secret passions. I wish I could have been a doctor. I’d love to be a psychiatrist. I’d like to be the CEO of a small company. I think I’d be a great judge. Reading gives me the chance to get a glimpse of other people’s lives. Writing allows me to experience being that person. One lifetime is not nearly enough.

What’s the last book you read that you would recommend to everyone?
The last middle-grade novel: Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead. The last adult novel I’d give a thumbs-up: Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. The last nonfiction book: Empire of Deception by Dean Jobb.
Sounds Great Right?
Win your own copy (US only please)

Top Ten Tuesday: On Your Syllabus

This week's topic is On Your Syllabus.

I fully admit that I have thought about this - and would LOVE to teach a YA Lit class. I was so happy taking this class for my MLS degree. We had to read 30 books (all of our choice, but there were genres we HAD to read). Then we had to review them. I was in heaven. Reading something you love for homework - it doesn't get better. So I would do something similar, but would also have a list of books to chose from where you must read ONE of the books. 

SpeakHarry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Harry Potter, #1)The Fault in Our StarsThe Princess Diaries (The Princess Diaries, #1)The Great Greene Heist
Crank (Crank, #1)Eon: Dragoneye Reborn (Eon, #1)Ender's Game (The Ender Quintet, #1)The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, #1)The Living (The Living, #1)

Monday, August 24, 2015

Review: Truly Madly Famously

* Book 2 in the Famous in Love trilogy *
Paige is slowly getting used to fame from her new status as a movie star, but press tours are exhausting. Being half of a famous couple is even more taxing. She needs a break.

One night in a club, she and Rainer have a fight. He leaves but she decides to stay and have more fun. She drinks to much and calls a friend for a ride.

It seems logical, but the friend she called is her other co-star Jordan. She was forced to make a choice between the two boys and she did. But feelings still linger.

Now there are pictures circulating of Jordan and Paige leaving the club together. The pictures make it look like something more.

Now her relationship with Rainer is history - and her career might be too.
My Thoughts: I've noticed a small trend about Hollywood lately in YA books - and I'm really loving it. I tore through this sequel loving the insider information about Hollywood. I liked watching Paige deal with the press. She made poor choices and they blew up in her face, but I liked watching her handle the pressure. I liked seeing Paige fight for roles that she believes in

I liked Alexis - she was smart and knew how to play the game. I love how she shares her secret in a very powerful way. She takes control over her own life and inspires others to do the same. 

I didn't like the drama with Paige and Cassandra, but I loved their time together at her sister's wedding. I liked watching more of Paige and her family interact, especially with her parents. 

Clearly this book still have the love triangle between the three main character - but it works in very best possible way. I can't wait to see what happens next. 

Cover Thoughts: Cute
Source: ARC from BEA
Release Date: Look for this book coming out in October 

Final Thoughts: Picking yourself up after being knocked down with romance, family, and friendship drama surrounding you equals one delicious read that you don't want to miss.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Winter Programs (1)

 I know that Summer Reading is ending or wrapped and fall is beginning, but planning doesn't always take a back seat just because it's the busy season. So I thought I'd attempt to help and toss out a few ideas for winter - all from pinterest. Here are some great looking (and mostly easy) recipes to test out with your teens!
Donut Snowmen

I did this one - my teens had a BLAST!

Winter Trees
More Winter Trees

(could use blue to make it more winter themed)

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Mysterious Saturday Review: Diva Steals a Chocolate Kiss

* Book 9 in the Domestic Diva series *
Sophie's helping out with Amore Chocolates 50th Anniversary party. She's in charge of making sure things run smoothly with all the contest winners.

When the CEO, Joe Merano goes missing, the family asks Sophie to look for him. He would never miss his party - unless something was really wrong.

When she discovers the body of their main competition after one event, things start getting ugly. As Sophie digs around, she uncovers some family secrets that might have been better off hidden...
My Thoughts: I really love this series! This new addition didn't disappoint; it's perfectly fantastic centered around a chocolate festival. I loved learning more about the chocolate business. 

I felt bad for the Merano family - they had so many secrets and terrible things that happened between them. My heart went out to all of them.

I liked the new addition to the usual crew with the contest winners in town - especially the former police woman. She and her friend livened up the story. 

As usual, I had mixed feelings about both Mars and Natasha. I can never decide if I feel sorry for them or if they bring everything upon themselves. Still, they lighten the plot and add humor to the story...

Cover Thoughts: Charming as always
 Source: My Library
Final Thoughts: Great addition to this fantastic series with fleshed out secondary characters, friendship, a dash of romance, recipes, and of course murder.Check out this series immediately if you haven't read it! 

Friday, August 21, 2015

Percy Pack: Percy Jackson's Greek Heroes

Who cut off Medusa's head? Who was raised by a she-bear? Who tamed Pegasus? It takes a demigod to know, and Percy Jackson can fill you in on the all the daring deeds of Perseus, Atalanta, Bellerophon, and the rest of the major Greek heroes. Told in the funny, irreverent style readers have come to expect from Percy, ( I've had some bad experiences in my time, but the heroes I'm going to tell you about were the original old school hard luck cases. They boldly screwed up where no one had screwed up before. . .) and enhanced with vibrant artwork by Caldecott Honoree John Rocco, this story collection will become the new must-have classic for Rick Riordan's legions of devoted fans--and for anyone who needs a hero. So get your flaming spear. Put on your lion skin cape. Polish your shield and make sure you've got arrows in your quiver. We're going back about four thousand years to decapitate monsters, save some kingdoms, shoot a few gods in the butt, raid the Underworld, and steal loot from evil people. Then, for dessert, we'll die painful tragic deaths. Ready? Sweet. Let's do this.

Did you know: There's an Activity Kit for GREEK HEROES.

My Thoughts about the Book:
12 tales
Percy's humor 
Male and female hero/heroines 
Great book for mythology fans (or obviously fans of Percy)
Great illustrations
The puppy reading about Otrera
Great Map (I love books with maps)

Visit the Official Website
Follow Rick Riordan on FacebookInstagram and Twitter

Be back-to-school ready with GREEK HEROES!
One (1) winner receives:
·         a copy of GREEK HEROES
·         plus a “Percy Pack” limited edition backpack!
US only please!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Spotted: Reading on the Beach

One day while on vacation, my husband and I walked 100 blocks on the beach. Of course I spent half the time trying to see what people are reading. Here's what I found.

The number one book people were reading was Grey
The number one author was James Patterson

I saw several other authors: Jennifer Echols, Sarah Dessen, Susan Mallery, Debbie Macomber, JD Robb and Nora Roberts, Danielle Steel, Greg Ilse, George R.R. Martin, and Clive Cussler 

Gone Girl and Girl on a Train were also popular

Of course there were a few books I didn't recognize and several e-readers that I couldn't see. Several people read newspapers and magazines as well. Also I didn't count any of the books that I was reading. 
Statistically it seemed to be a mix of beach reads and thrillers. There were clumps of readers or single readers; it seemed a family read together or most likely just the head female of the group. But there were a few men sitting by themselves reading. Readers came in waves, but more often people were tanning, watching their families and friends, or just hanging out. 
I found it fascinating to see what people were reading, especially during vacation. What book(s) did you read on vacation this summer?

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Books I'm Dying to Read: October Edition

With cooler weather, I'm looking forward to reading these books on the longer nights inside. Plus it's the start of Christmas books!

Defending Hearts (Boys of Fall, #2)A Winter Wedding (Whiskey Creek, #9)
Defending Hearts: Just read the first books and loved it! Think Friday Night Lights fast forwarded 20 years
Winter Wedding: More Whiskey Creek (and a winter one with a country music star!)

Cold-Hearted Rake
Cold Hearted Rake: Love her books!

Crowned and Moldering (A Fixer-Upper Mystery, #3)Flipped For Murder
Crowned and Moldering: LOVE this cozy series with the MC owning a construction business. This is book 3 in the series.
Flipped for Murder: First in a new series which looks great!

Ghost of a Potion (A Magic Potion Mystery, #3)A Gala Event
Ghost of a Potion: Ghosts and Murder for a Halloween ball
Gala Event: Wedding bells for Seth and Meg?

Dear Santa, Love, Rachel RosensteinHow to Share with a Bear
Dear Santa, Love Rachel Rosenstein: I can't wait to read this picture book, about a Jewish girl writing to Santa.
How to Share with a Bear: Looks Super cute!

Velvet UndercoverThe Masked TruthIlluminae (The Illuminae Files, #1)
Velvet Undercover: Spy book during WWI
Masked Truth: Hostages take over a camp and two must figure out a way to survive
Illuminae: This one is generating a whole lot of buzz

The League of Unexceptional Children
League of Unexceptional Children: Average kids saving the world

Future PerfectMy Secret to Tell

Future Perfect: You're perfect just the way that you are!
My Secret to Tell: Could the local bad boy really be a murdered?

The Fantastic Ferris Wheel: The Story of Inventor George FerrisAaron and Alexander: The Most Famous Duel in American HistoryMary Cassatt: Extraordinary Impressionist Painter
The Fantastic Ferris Wheel: Sure, I'd like to learn more about the ferris wheel
Aaron vs Alexander: I'd also like to learn more about this duel
Mary Cassatt: Love learning more about artists

Dark Tide (Waterfire Saga, #3)First & Then
Dark Tide: I can't wait to read more of this mermaid story
First and Then: Friday Night Lights meets Pride and Prejudice

Christmas Ever After (Puffin Island, #3)All I Want (Animal Magnetism, #7)
One Enchanted Moment: The last book in the Puffin Island trilogy series and a holiday book!
All I Want: Love this series with great animals (not to mention the romance)

Already Read and Loved:
Red Girl, Blue Boy (If Only . . ., #5)Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World's Most Famous BearTruly, Madly, Famously (Famous in Love, #2)Black Widow: Forever RedThank You and Good Night