Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Beach Reads

This week's topic is near and dear to my heart. I LOVE a good beach read. Here are just a few that I've read recently that would be great reading by the beach, or a pool, or in a hammock. You get the idea...

Since this is a repeat topic, here are some other lists: 2013, 2014, 2014 again, and 2015

Middle Grade:
You're Invited Too by Jen MaloneLost in Rome by Cindy CallaghanThe Sleepover by Jen MaloneKitchen Chaos by Deborah A. Levine

Two Summers by Aimee FriedmanWhat You Always Wanted by Kristin RaeA Week of Mondays by Jessica BrodyThe Heir and the Spare by Emily AlbrightThe Trouble with Destiny by Lauren Morrill

Some Kind of Wonderful by Sarah MorganRedemption Bay by RaeAnne ThayneNobody But You by Jill ShalvisBest of My Love by Susan Mallery

Bonus book: Mermaids!
Dark Tide by Jennifer Donnelly

Monday, May 30, 2016

A moment of Silence: Memorial Day

Photo Credit: Lipton Sale (Creative Commons)

Thank you to those who served and sacrificed your lives for our country.
Your deaths matters and we salute you - and not just today, but every day.

You are missed by your family and friends. And by complete strangers who Thank You for the freedoms we each because of the protection you gave us. 

Friday, May 27, 2016

Review: Will Wilder

Will Wilder has a terrible time at his brother's birthday party. He inadvertently destroys the party when he hijacks the donkey and rides it. He causes his brother to break his arm and unlocks his own destiny.

The shadows he's spotted his whole life come into sharper focus. Monsters are sneaking around town causing strange things to happen.

When one of them approaches Will for help, Will must decide if he's going to steal the family relic to use it for his own purposes. His actions could change everything.
My Thoughts: I really enjoyed this book. 
Lots of action.
Lots of danger.
 Lots of monsters. 
Lots of family secrets.
Great friends. 
Strange family. 
Good against Evil. 
Bad choices. 

Cover Thoughts: LOVE it - it reminds me a young Indiana Jones
Source: ARC from a Librarian Preview

Final Thoughts: Full of action and monsters, this will make tween readers very happy!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Graphic Novel Review: Cleopatra in Space

Book 1: Target Practice:
Cleopatra uncovers a mysterious tablet which transports her hundreds of years into the future. According to a prophecy, she's the one who is going to save the world from an evil ruler. Cleo begins Yasiro Academy to train. But it's harder than it looks and some of the classes are super boring. Plus she misses her family and she doesn't quite fit in.

Still, she can't help but be intrigued by her first assignment, which turns out to be way more dangerous than she anticipated.
Book 2: The Thief and the Sword:
When a thief steals the sword that Cleopatra acquired on her first mission, she gives chase. She almost has the thief when her teachers force her back to school. Her chase ruins the school dance her roommate tried so hard to set up.

The academy learns of a sister tablet - one that could send Cleo back in time. She's just starting to get used to life here - would she really want to go back given the chance?
My Thoughts: I love this series. I like how Cleo struggles to become part of this different world. I like her slacker ways. I love how she's up for an adventure. I love that she's skilled in areas of combat. I love the action and adventure. I love her exasperated teacher (a talking cat) who isn't thrilled with her decisions and tries to keep her out of danger.  I like learning more about the backstory. I like learning more about the other students at the academy. The graphics are colorful and bold. The characters leap off the pages. 

 I'm so looking forward to the next book in the series!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Mini Review: Court of Mist and Fury

Now that Feyre survived and saved the kingdom, she returns to the Spring Court. She believes that everything will return to normal, but it doesn't.

Everything's changed.

Feyre herself has changed from human to Fae.  She's broken from the battle and desperately needs something, anything to make her feel again. Will she ever feel happy again?
The Good:
Figuring out her powers
The banter
Finding a family
Seeing hope
The moments with her sisters
That ending

The Bad: 
Waiting until the next book (especially after that ending!)
Final Thoughts: Sarah J Maas is a must read for me. I cleared my weekend to read this book and loved every minute of it. The twists and turns made me gasp. The banter made me smile. Make time to read this one!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Older Favorite YA Books

This week's topic is  Top Ten "Older" Books I Don't Want People To Forget (I'm going with a rewind this week because I didn't have ideas for the original topic). Plus as a librarian, I love recommended books - either newer or older titles. I just want the readers to be happy. I'm going to limit myself to the first 10 I see, but there are SO many more that I wish readers would notice.
meme from The Broke and the Bookish 

Artemis Fowl (Artemis Fowl, #1)Graceling (Graceling Realm, #1)Eon (Eon, #1)Raised by Wolves (Raised by Wolves, #1)A Spy in the House (The Agency, #1)

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (Sisterhood, #1)I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You (Gallagher Girls, #1)The SeasonPurgeSecrets of My Hollywood Life (Secrets of My Hollywood Life, #1)

Monday, May 23, 2016

Spotlight on Relentless

Title: Relentless
Series: The Hero Agenda, #2
Author: Tera Lynn Childs and Tracy Deebs
Pubdate: June 6th, 2016
ISBN: 9781492638742
 Revenge is easy, but justice is worth fighting for…

Kenna is tired of being lied to—and hunted by the very allies she once trusted. Unearthing the dark secrets of the superhero world has not only endangered her life, now her boyfriend faces execution for crimes he didn’t commit and her mother is being held captive in a secret governmental prison. Kenna is determined to stand up for what’s right and save those she loves from unspeakable fates. It’s time for the betrayal to end. It’s time for the real criminals to face justice. But the truth is even more terrifying than Kenna could imagine. A conspiracy threatens the fate of heroes, villains, and all of humanity. If Kenna’s going to survive, she must draw on her deepest strength: her resilience. Because when Kenna’s pushed to the limit, she doesn’t break down. She fights back.
 Tera Lynn Childs is the RITA-award-winning and bestselling author of teen fiction about a mythological high school, mermaid princesses, monster-hunting triplet descendants of Medusa, and dark fae princes.
 Tracy Deebs is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling and critically-acclaimed author who writes under many pseudonyms, including young adult novels about surfing mermaids and technological armaggeddon.
Buy Links:
Books-A-Million: http://bit.ly/1TLIGtY
Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/1WcvsdI
Indiebound: http://bit.ly/1YbxuI4

Quiz Embed Link:

An Excerpt
“I got this,” Dante yells to me. “Work the plan, Kenna.”
I nod and leave him to deal with Rebel.
As much as I want to free my mom first—family instinct is begging me to save her—I don’t know what her power is, don’t know if she can help us. At least I know what Draven’s powers can do. And right now, we need all the help we can get.
Nitro is standing on top of the table, right above Rex’s seat, lobbing small, white fireballs in a never-ending stream. He has the entire stage basically surrounded, with most of the Collective cowering behind a wall of white-hot flame.
Riley has a couple of the others and two more guards tied to the track lighting in the ceiling and is going after a guard who is shooting potassium bicarbonate all over Nitro’s firewall.
So, in other words, all is going according to plan. Thank God.
Draven is struggling against his shackles, which are secured to a giant loop in the stage floor. I want so much to pull him close and physically assure myself that he’s fine, but there isn’t time for that.
Instead, I move behind him and find the latch on the powers-neutralizing helmet. An instant later, I yank it off and toss it across the room. It’s useless now, thanks to my circuit-destroying EMP.
“What the hell are you doing here?” Draven demands.
Does he really have to ask?
I flash him a more-confident-than-I-feel smile. “Saving your ass. As usual.”
He gives me the cocky half smile I’ve come to love, and that more than anything else makes me believe that things will turn out okay.
I turn at Riley’s shout, just in time to see Mr. Malone break through Nitro’s firewall. Right behind me.
I freeze. This is the first time I’ve been face-to-face with Mr. Malone since I found out all the terrible things he’s done.
Since I found out he tortures decent people for reasons I can’t even begin to fathom.
Since I found out the word hero was a big, fat lie and they aren’t the good guys after all.
Rage overtakes me and I lunge for him, forgetting the plan, forgetting everything but the need to make him hurt as he’s hurt so many of the people I care about. In a flash, Rex’s hands are around my throat. I’m completely immobilized, lifted to my toes and barely able to breathe.
Draven is enraged as he turns on Rex—his father—and shouts, “You’re not going to touch her!”
“Who’s going to stop me?” Rex sneers. “You?”
An instant later, he releases me and drops to his knees, howling in pain as Draven uses his biomanipulation to do God knows what to Mr. Malone.
I draw in gasping breaths, relieved at the oxygen now flooding my bloodstream.
“Never go near her again,” Draven snarls, ramping up his biomanipulation grip on his father.
I lay my hand on Draven’s arm. We aren’t here to kill Rex, and the last thing we need is anyone in this room learning that Draven has a second power.
His muscles relax beneath my palm, and so do mine. Just this brief contact with him is enough to center me even in the middle of all this chaos.
Rex collapses into a lump.
Draven snorts with disgust as he stands over his father’s prone body.
The faint thump-thump-thump of an approaching helicopter jolts me back into action. We have to move, now, before reinforcements show up and eliminate our escape plan.

Powerless Spotlight Tour


By Tera Lynn Childs and Tracy Deebs
May 3, 2016; Tradepaper; ISBN 9781492616603
Book Info:
Title: Powerless
Series: The Hero Agenda
Authors: Tera Lynn Childs and Tracy Deebs
Release Date: May 3, 2016
Publisher:  Sourcebooks Fire

Kenna is tired of being “normal.”
The only thing special about her is that she isn’t special at all. Which is frustrating when you’re constantly surrounded by superheroes. Her best friend, her ex-boyfriend, practically everyone she knows has some talent or power. Sure, Kenna’s smart and independent, but as an ordinary girl in an extraordinary world, it’s hard not to feel inferior.

So when three villains break into the lab where she interns, Kenna refuses to be a victim. She’s not about to let criminals steal the research that will make her extraordinary too.

But in the heat of battle, secrets are spilled and one of the villains saves her life. Twice. Suddenly, everything Kenna thought she knew about good and evil, heroes and villains is upended. And to protect her life and those she loves, she must team up with her sworn enemies on a mission that will redefine what it means to be powerful and powerless…
I LOVED Powerless and can't wait for more of this story! You can read my review here.

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27806652-powerless

Buy Links:
Barnes&Noble- http://ow.ly/4nl0nt
BooksAMillion- http://ow.ly/4nl0DN
Indiebound- http://ow.ly/4nl0Xd

About the Authors:
Tracy Deebs is a national bestselling and critically-acclaimed author who writes under many different pseudonyms. Tera Lynn Childs is the RITA-award-winning author of two mythology-based novels (Dutton’s Children’s), and a kick-butt trilogy about monster-hunting descendants of Medusa (Katherine Tegen).

Social Networking Links:
Powerless Website: http://heroagenda.com/
Tera Lynn Child’s Website: http://teralynnchilds.com/
Tera Lynn Child’s Twitter: @teralynnchilds

Excerpt from Powerless:
If I could have any superpower, right now, I’d choose the ability to reach through glass. One thin, little pane is all that separates me from bliss…of the midnight-snack variety, to be exact. The chocolate bar hangs halfway to freedom but refuses to take the plunge, as if the vending machine is mocking me, taunting me.
As if it knows I’m powerless.
Annoyed, I slam my palms against the glass. Everything inside shudders. My chocolate bar—pure Swiss milk chocolate dotted with toasted hazelnuts—doesn’t budge.
“Come on,” I beg as if the candy can hear me. “Just a little farther.”
No such luck.
Then again, when have I ever been lucky? I’m just glad no heroes are around to see me lose a battle with a vending machine. I would be the punch line to every joke for a year.
Thankfully, the lab is pretty much empty at this time of night. Even Mom went home two hours ago, leaving me to transcribe the notes from today’s sessions. I prefer to work when no one is around. My experiments fall into a gray area in the Superhero Code of Conduct, and even though I’m not technically a superhero—yet—I try not to piss off the powers-that-be. The last thing I need is to lose my lab privileges before I’ve perfected my formula.
Copying down Mom’s scribblings is like deciphering some previously unknown ancient language. It isn’t exactly the most glamorous summer job ever, but it pays okay and gives me access to the facility.
I’m almost done with tonight’s transcription from the digital white board Mom and her team spent all day filling with chemical equations for her newest power-enhancing formula. Maybe twenty more minutes, and then I can get back to my test samples.
My stomach rumbles in protest, reminding me that I skipped dinner. I really want that stupid chocolate bar. But since I just used my last quarters, my only hope is that one of the security guards upstairs has change for a ten.
I turn away from the vending machine alcove and start back around the corner to grab my wallet from the lab.
Right before I make the turn, I hear hurried footsteps. Not wanting a repeat of last week’s collision with Dr. Harwood—my favorite jeans still smell like sulfur—I hang back a step.
But the boy who rushes around the corner looks nothing like the balding, old scientist who works nearly as many late nights as I do.
No, this guy is tall and lean, but not too skinny. He’s got major biceps and I can see the outline of some pretty impressive muscles beneath his shirt. Yum. He’s probably about my age or a little older, eighteen or nineteen maybe. And everything about him is shrouded in black—his tee and jeans, his heavy-duty boots, his shoulder-length hair—everything but his eyes.
If we weren’t in superhero central, I’d say he looks like a stereotypical villain.
You’d think with all that darkness, he’d be nothing more than shadow. But he’s all angles: his cheekbones, his jaw, even the collarbones I can see peeking out from the low neckline of his tee. Light seems to reflect off him like moon glow at midnight. Surrounded by all that sculpted darkness, his icy blue irises burn like the hottest flames.
Our gazes collide, and though I know it’s vain, I instantly wish my hair wasn’t pulled back in a messy braid and that I was wearing something—anything—more appealing than my dad’s ratty old 1996 Stanley Cup Champions tee.
Hot guys in the underground lab are few and far between—Who am I kidding? Hot guys in my life are few and far between—so most of my wardrobe choices involve comfort and whether I mind if the garment gets ruined by acid, dye, or any of a million other compounds we work with every day.
If my best friend, Rebel, were here, she’d be doing an I-told-you-so dance because she’s been wanting to give me a makeover forever. That, and she’d already have his number and email address, and they’d be making plans for their date this weekend. Me, I can’t even manage a simple “hello.”
The fact that he’s scowling at me, those dark brows slashing low over those bright eyes, isn’t helping anything.
“The lab is supposed to be empty,” he says.
His voice is flat, but his comment almost feels like an accusation.
“I’m working late,” I answer, trying not to sound defensive. “What are you doing here?”
He lifts an eyebrow. “You’re working in the hall?”
“I needed a break to come get chocolate,” I say, gesturing at the vending machine behind me.
He nods down at my empty hands. “You don’t have any chocolate.”
“That thing hates me. Took my money and kept the candy bar.”
In a graceful movement that looks almost choreographed, Dark-and-Scowly steps around me and up to the greedy machine. He presses his palms to the glass, just like I did. Hey, maybe he has the power to reach through glass. After all, around here pretty much everyone but me has some kind of super ability.
When his hands don’t immediately sink through the surface, I say, “I tried smacking it already. Didn’t work.”
Moving his hands closer to the edge, he curls his fingers around the frame. Then, with his boots braced on the floor, he gives the whole machine a solid shove. The heavy hunk of metal rocks back once, then comes forward, its front legs hitting the tile floor with a sharp thud. On impact, the chocolate bar sails against the glass before falling into the trough below.
He turns to face me, a cocky smile twisting one side of his mouth. “Takes a special touch.”
I duck down and reach through the hinged door to grab the candy bar.
“You’re my hero,” I joke.
He snorts. “Right.”

Rafflecopter Giveaway link for two paperback copies of Powerless (Runs May 1-May 31st; U.S. and Canada only):

Friday, May 20, 2016

Review: Love, Lies, and Spies

Love, Lies and Spies
Juliana isn't an ordinary girl excited about traveling to London for her debut season. Her primary purpose in going to London is to have her and her father's work on beetles. She isn't interested in finding a match and marrying anyone.

She doesn't like the rigid rules of society and several times breaks them, much to the horror of her aunt. During one of her escapades, she meets a gentleman.

He doesn't seem to mind her intelligence or her rule breaking ways. He enjoys spending time with her. The more time Juliana spends with Mr. Northam, the more she can see herself forming an attachment to him.

Mr. Northam appears amiable, but does he have an ulterior motive for attaching himself to Miss Juliana?

My Thoughts: The tagline I heard for this book was Jane Austen with spies. And I was sold. I had to read it.

From the very first scene where Juliana's dangling from a cliff in need of help, I adore this book. I love her intelligence and how different she appeared from the rest of the girls. I love hoe her primary purpose in getting to London isn't the season or finding a suitor but in trying to publish her research.

I loved her moments with Mr. Northam - their banter, their views on society, and the stolen moments together. I enjoyed his moments of spying and uncovering information.

I liked her cousin Carrie and their interactions. I enjoyed her uncle when he finally came to his senses.

Cover Thoughts: Charming
Source: ARC sent for review
Final Thoughts: A fantastic historical fiction - if you're a Jane Austen fan, don't miss this one! 

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Graphic Novel Review: Awkward

Peppi starts a new school and it's rough going. The first day she trips in the hallway. A boy comes to her rescue, but the bullies are already taunting them. So she does the unthinkable - she pushes him away from her.

She feels horrible about it. As time goes on, Peppi needs help and Jamie might be the only one available. But how do you say you're sorry. And how does a friendship move past an event like that?

Misunderstandings follow. Can Peppi and Jamie ever be friends?
My Thoughts: A fantastic comic featuring the awkwardness and agony of middle school. I love the war between the art club and the science club and how the two almost friends are on opposite sides, it's great for building the tension between them. Lots of feelings (non romantic, which is great). 

Cover Thoughts: Cute
Source: My Library
Final Thoughts: A graphic novel perfect for all middle school readers (and all libraries)

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Books I'm Dying to Read: July Edition

Spring is finally here and summer is just around the corner. I'm excited for the big publishing months. I can't wait to read summer romances and books about the beach, road trips, and ice cream. 

Babies Ruin Everything (Vol. 28)

Middle Grade:
The Treasure of Maria MamounThe Ministry of S.U.I.T.S

Paper and Fire (The Great Library, #2)Defending TaylorThe SeasonThe Way Back Home (Wildflower, #3)Little Black Dresses, Little White Lies
You Will Know MeP.S. I Like YouHarry Potter and the Cursed Child

Sunset in Central ParkJust Kiss MeDaughters of the Bride

What books are you waiting to read?