Sunday, October 30, 2016

Book Display Ideas: Fall and November

Veteran's Day:
Fall Reading: new books / books with red, yellow, and orange covers

Cozy Reading:

Movie Tie-Ins:
Dr. Strange: Marvel books, superhero books, books with unexpected twists

Arrival: Aliens

Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them: Fantasy Books

Edge of Seventeen: Drama drama drama

Friday, October 28, 2016

NaNoWriMo Tips and Tricks

This is the first year in a long while (since 2006) that I'm NOT going to be writing 50,000 words this year. But that doesn't mean that I won't b writing. I'm just going to focusing on editing. So I won't be counting words, but I will be cheering everyone on and sending good thoughts your way.

Here are some tips I learned while writing:

 * Pace yourself 
* Determine a daily word count and stick to it
* Leave off in the middle of a scene so you know where you're going the next day
* Let everyone in your life know what you're trying to accomplish so they understand if you're not available for plans
* Think about your writing when you're not writing
* Join a region and attend some of the Write-Ins (lots of local libraries host them)
* Jot down a few plot line ideas (I like to do this before November hits)
* Take a Day off if you need to, just make up the word count later
* Talk about it on social media, people will cheer your on 
* Know that this is only first draft and you will polish it later. Just get the words down on the page.
* Update your word count daily on the NaNoWriMo page - it helps with the accomplishment feeling
* Talking to people helps if you're stuck with the plot, even if they don't know the whole story.
* Have fun with it and feel accomplished when you finish (no matter how many words wrote.)

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Non Traditional Story Telling: Some Favorite Reads

Everyone and their mom has been talking about this book and it's sequel

Illuminae is the first book of a trilogy told through documents ranging from interviews, classified documents, schematics, encyclopedia pages, emails, medical files, IMs, and personal journal entries.

This is not the first book to make use of non-traditional story telling. These books are perfect for reluctant readers, readers who are looking for a fast read, and readers who are intrigued by the format. Here are some of my favorites. 

Ttyl: Talk to You Later (Internet Girls Series #1)
TTYL was the first book told entirely through IM. I devoured this book, loving the different format. I gave this one to a bunch of teens. It's still circulating in my library today. 

PostSecret: Extraordinary Confessions from Ordinary Lives

PostSecret: takes postcards from readers created with words, text, poems, and art work. A perfect blend of pictures and texts. Who doesn't love hearing someone's secret? There are several of these books.

Cathy's Book: If Found Call (650) 266-8233
Cathy's Book created an interactive mystery complete with an Evidence file for readers to sort through. I never read this one, but it seemed really cool.

What My Mother Doesn't Know
What My Mother Doesn't Know was the first novel in verse that I read. I loved it. I handed this one out like candy - along with several others written in verse.

The Maze of Bones (The 39 Clues Series #1)
Maze of Bones: The first in the 39 Clues series which was written by several different authors, allowing books to come out every three months. It also included an online game and cards. I was addicted to to these books - so much action and danger. These kept me on the edge of my seat and I was thrilled they came out every three months and not once a year. Also it's the first series I remember reading that was written by different big name authors. I couldn't keep these books on the shelves.

Those were some of the biggest ones I remember. Now, more and more of these books pop up everywhere.  Here are some more favorites:
I Can't Keep My Own Secrets: Six-Word Memoirs by Teens Famous & ObscureF in Exams: The Best Test Paper Blunders
Underwater DogsDog ShamingFind Momo: A Photography Book
Dancers Among Us: A Celebration of Joy in the Everyday

This one I'm going to read next and it's perfect for this  time of year
The Dead House

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Picture Book Review: Child of Words

One little girl rescues a boy and together they travel the world through stories, books, and their imagination. 
My Thoughts: I LOVED this book! The illustrations were amazing: clever, sweet, engaging, and perfect to pour over. It's perfect for all book nerds! Great for one on one sharing and talking about books.

Cover Thoughts: Cute
Source: My Library
Library Recommendation: Perfect for all public and school libraries

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Halloween Books

This week's topic is Halloween Related. So here are some fun books I've read this year that are perfect for Halloween, from all ages. Mysteries, thrillers, and monsters.
meme from The Broke and the Bookish 
Teen Books:

Bad Blood by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Bad Blood: serial killers, death, profiling, friendship

Shadowland by Meg Cabot
Mediator series: deadly ghosts, mysteries, a one very cute ghost

Zero Day by Jan Gangsei
Zero Day: A mysterious reappearance, terrorism, hackers, a potential cult

Children's and Middle Grade Books:

The Great Shelby Holmes by Elizabeth Eulberg
Great Shelby Holmes: Fun mystery

Curse of the Boggin by D.J. MacHale
The Library: Mystery, danger, death, and creepy monsters

Will Wilder by Raymond Arroyo
Will Wilder: Prophecy, creepy monsters, and lots of danger 

Paris Pan Takes the Dare by Cynthea Liu
Paris Pan Takes the Dare: Dares, murder, creepy dolls in the woods

Picture Books:

10 Busy Brooms by Carol Gerber
10 Busy Brooms: A counting book

The Monstore by Tara Lazar
Monstore: Buying a monster is so much fun!

The Little Shop of Monsters by R.L. Stine
Little Shop Of Monsters: Choose your monster wisely

Monday, October 24, 2016

Blog Tour: Gauntlet Review

Tony Stark is known throughout the world as many things: billionaire, inventor, Avenger. But mainly for being the Invincible Iron Man.

Just when Tony is about to add his pizzazz to an international eco-summit in Ireland, someone close to him forces him to question his role in making the world a more dangerous place with his high-tech weaponry. But Stark doesn't have much time to reflect before an old enemy presents him with an even greater challenge: the assassination of all the eco-ministers, and Iron Man himself. Just how invincible Iron Man is when he is stripped of everything remains to be seen in this breathless adventure by the bestselling author of Artemis Fowl.

I ever thought I would be into superheroes and then I saw the Avengers and I fell in love. I really enjoyed this book. I like how the book started when Tony was a teenager and dealing with his father. I enjoyed his troubles with his father, how he never lived up to his expectations, how they had a terrible relationship, and how it changed moments of his life. 

 I like how he went Rogue off the coast of Ireland. 

I love all the action and the danger. There's never a dull moment in this book. It's all edge of your seat action - one fight scene to another.

Even though Iron Man's age is never really mentioned beyond the first chapter, you know he's matured (kind of).  I do like the teenager in the book - how she's crafty, manipulative, and intelligent. 

Perfect for fans of the Avengers, fans of superhero books, and fans of action books.

Eoin Colfer (pronounced Owen) was born in Wexford on the South-East coast of Ireland in 1965, where he and his four brothers were brought up by his father and mother, who were both educators.

He received his degree from Dublin University and began teaching primary school in Wexford. He has lived and worked all over the world, including Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and Italy. After the publication of the Artemis Fowl novels, Eoin retired from teaching and now writes full time. He lives in Ireland with his wife and two children.

LINKS: Website | Twitter | Facebook

Week 1:

Week 2:

3 Finished Copies of THE GAUNTLET (US Only)

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Adult Review: Chasing Lady Amelia

 * Book 2 in the Keeping up with Cavendishes series *
Lady Amelia dislikes all the rules of society. She hates being told where to go and what to say. If she has to deal with on more thing, she'll scream. After a family squabble, she retires to her room. Leaning out the window, she hears a man singing. And decides to follow him.

She escapes her house, escapes her family, and escapes society. She meets the man singing. He's stunned to learn her identity the next morning. He's even more stunned upon learning that she has no desire to return. Instead, she creates a story and he plays along.

They hide from the world and live in the moment. But they must hide their tracks because if anyone discovers them, she will be ruined.
My Thoughts: I loved the first book and devoured the second. I'm longing for the third book and so hoping for a fourth book. I love how this book overlapped with the first story, we had bits and pieces from the first book simultaneously. I enjoyed Amelia's desire for escaping society.I adored the part where she stepped out of her painful shoes at the ball and the scandal that caused. With all the rules she must learn and follow, I can sympathize with her need for escape. I liked how her family was in part responsible for her escape.  I love how she played tourist for a few days - knowing exactly where she wanted to go and what she wanted to do. I loved her time with Alastair. I felt badly for the hero and how he lost his family and had to deal with his uncle who despised him. I like how his uncle's demand played out. I liked how Amelia didn't tell her family about her perfect days, how she was heartbroken to discover the truth about Alastair, and how it all turned out. I can't wait for Lady Claire's story next. 

Cover Thoughts: I love how she's fleeing
Source: My Library
Up Next: Lady Claire is All That - out in December
Library Recommendation: Highly recommended for all romance sections

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Redemption Blog Tour

Welcome to today's stop on the Redemption Blog Tour. I'm happy to be a part of it! I was so excited when Anne contacted me, I adored both Aurelia and Exile. Of course I wanted to read the ending of the trilogy!

Aurelia and Robert learn of turmoil in their homeland. Although they've exiled themselves across the water, their hearts turn heavy at the news. Tyralt is under attack and a friend arrives on their doorstep asking for their help.

Aurelia knows she can't turn away from her homeland. She's still not convinces she the right person for the job, but as always with Robert by her side, she's willing to try.

Going back puts her life in danger, but Aurelia can't leave her homeland in the hands of her treacherous sister any longer. It's time she takes a stand. 
My Thoughts: I was so happy to read this book and I wasn't disappointed. I loved it from the first page until the end. I liked watching both Robert and Aurelia come into their own. I liked the strategies, the defiance, and the determination.  I loved meeting people from the homeland. I love how Aurelia grew and how she took control of her life.  A fantastic ending to a wonderful trilogy.

Source: ARC for review
Final Thoughts: If you're a Aurelia and Exile fan, you won't want to miss this ending!

About the Author:
portrait-tree Anne Osterlund grew up in the sunshine of Eastern Oregon and graduated from Whitworth College. She lives in a cute little yellow house with her best feline friend, Simba, and her own library of young adult books. She enjoys immersing her students in language, literature, and imagination. Anne has written five novels: Aurelia, Exile, Redemption, Academy 7, and Salvation. She has dreams of many more in the future. Unveil the intrigue on her website.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Picture Book Review: Ada Twist, Scientist

Ada's curiosity makes her question Everything! Her favorite question WHY sometimes gets her into trouble.
My Thoughts: Loved this one too. I adore this series of characters who explore the world and their place in it. I love how Ada questions everything. I love how her parents encourage her questions (not always by writing on the wall). I like how she observed the world. I love that her first word was WHY? I love how she doesn't give up, but puzzles out the answer. I like how she experiments on the family cat and that's she's placed in the thinking chair afterwards. But not even that stops her. Great pictures. Fantastic Story. Perfect for encouraging young minds.

Cover Thoughts: Adorable
Source: My Library
Library Recommendation: Perfect for ALL libraries and required reading for schools.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Character Names

This week's topic is Ten Characters I'd Name A Child/Dog/Cat...
meme from The Broke and the Bookish 
Dog Names:
Castle from Richard Castle
Ghost from Game of Thrones
Holmes from Sherlock Holmes
Darcy from Pride and Prejudice
Ranger from Stephanie Plum
Draco from Harry Potter

Child Names:
Arya: Game of Thrones
Anne from Anne of Green Gables
Hermoine from Harry Potter
Alanna from Song of the Lioness 

Monday, October 17, 2016

Black Widow: Red Vengeance Excerpt and Giveaway

By Margaret Stohl
Release: October 11th, 2016

Emotions are dangerous, which is why the graduates of Moscow’s famed spy school the Red Room are taught to keep their enemies close and their loved ones at a distance. Black Widow and Red Widow, also known as Natasha Romanoff and Ava Orlova, forgot that lesson once, and they won’t forget it again.

But the Widows have inherited something else from their shared Moscow past: a relentless need for vengeance—Ivan Somodorov is dead, but his network of terror remains.

While the Widows search South America in order to extinguish a smuggling operation with ties to their old nemesis, their own Red Room not only attempts to assassinate them both but also hacks their secure S.H.I.E.L.D. network. As a result, Ava and Natasha find themselves thrust into a trying mission of international intrigue that takes them throughout the world and back to New York City, where their friends Dante and Sana become unlikely targets as well.

Once again, nothing is as it seems, no one can be trusted, and no one is safe—not unless the Widows can stop a conspiracy involving stolen nuclear warheads, mind-altering chemical weapons, and ultimately, betrayal by old friends and enemies alike.

Margaret Stohl is the #1 New York Times best-selling co-author of the Beautiful Creatures novels (also a major motion picture) and the author of the instant New York Times best seller Black Widow: Forever Red, as well as a contributor to multiple Marvel comics. Previously, Margaret was a veteran of the video game industry, working as a writer and designer before co-founding 7 Studios with Lewis Peterson.

Find Margaret Stohl on Twitter and Instagram.

Black Widow: Red Vengeance




Nothing like the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center, thought Natasha Romanoff— for terrorists, crackpots, and basic criminal scumbags. As always, there were no visions of sugarplums dancing in the Black Widow’s cold red head.  The S.H.I.E.L.D. agent glanced up at the green-needled monolith—dusted with snowflakes and twinkling with lights and Swarovski crystals, the centerpiece of Manhattan’s annual   holiday party—and thought two words.
Merry Christmas?  Try: target package.
Natasha knew that the famed Rockefeller Center tree was larger-than-life in a score of dangerously useful ways. Symbolic significance? Check. Media coverage? Check, check. Mass casualties? Check, check, check. She sighed and touched her earpiece. “Black to base. No sign of their Alpha.”
“Copy that, but don’t park your sleigh just yet, Black.” Coulson’s voice crackled into her ear as she moved through the crowd. “And check in with Red. We’ve lost her signal.”
“Copy that, base. Black out.” She kept moving.
A sea of raised arms, all holding cell-phone cameras, now saluted the hundred-foot Norway spruce from every side, as if the yuletide monstrosity had crash-landed on some worshipful alien planet and assumed the role of supreme leader. Yeah, a planet of sardines, more than a million a day, all packed squirming into one snowy city block, Natasha thought.
And for what? To see a freaking plant.
It was a stormy Saturday afternoon in December, a bad time both for crowds and weather, which meant these were die-hard tree people—Natasha just hoped not literally.
Tourists plus terrorists? That always ends well.
The potential for disaster was staggering. Eyes up, defenses down—not one dazed worshiper was looking anywhere but the supersized tree—even though there was an entire holiday parade moving down Fifth Avenue at the far edge of the block.
Ever since the yuletide crowd had begun to surge and climb over the sludge-banked metal barricades at the edges of Rockefeller Center plaza—the corner of Fifty-Ninth and Fifth—the NYPD had given up. Now they just cursed the cold afternoon, waiting out the end of their shifts on the safe side of the roadblocks, their breath curling upward in raggedy white puffs. And they’re strictly donut patrol, not top command. That had probably been a factor in the strategic acquisition of this target, she thought. Human gridlock with only Paul Blart on your tail—
Natasha touched her ear again. “Red, what’s going on? Ava? You lost?”
All she got back was static.
That’s not a good sound—
“Hey, happy holidays,” said a harried-looking mom in a cheery red fleece, pushing a stroller zippered in plastic up the curb next to Natasha. “Great snowsuit--“
Natasha nodded, eyeing the kid as the patch of red disappeared into the snowflaked crowd. Don’t get distracted, Romanoff. Do your job and maybe this time nobody gets hurt. She hitched her pack higher, pushing on toward Fifth Avenue.
Yeah, right.
The odds were good that this op was going to end in casualties—and that, soon enough, the red in the snow wasn’t going to be fleece. Natasha’s hooded “snowsuit” was a CBRN (Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear) state-of-the-art mop suit that only resembled snow gear; really, it was lined with filtering charcoal and striped with M-9 detection paper so she could gauge what was being thrown at her in any given hot zone. And the goggles around her neck weren’t for skiing but surviving—a mouth guard flipped down from inside, like a collapsible gas mask. (Dire biological functions aside, the whole getup also lowered the odds that one of the Black Widow’s many superfans would recognize her infamous red hair. Oh, the price of super hero superstardom..)
But it was the contents of her rucksack that really set her apart. Her requisition S.H.I.E.L.D. ruck held an M183 demolition charge assembly with enough C-4 (sixteen charges in all) to flatten a city block, if that’s what it came to.
Unlike the rest of Manhattan, Natasha Romanoff hadn’t come for the tree. She was there to take out the unknown number of hostiles who were plotting to use Rockefeller Center as holiday bait for civilian casualties. Her alpha priority was their leader, who had threatened to launch the largest and most sophisticated chemical-weapons attack in the nation’s history.
When it hit, the Northeast Megalopolis, the Boston-Washington corridor that was home to more than fifty million people, would be flooded with aerosolized chemical particulates. The invisible, odorless microbes would seize control of human neurons and eventually destroy them—unless Natasha could destroy the as-yet-unidentified dispersal devise before the Alpha triggered it, somewhere on this street, sometime on this day, at some point during this parade.
But no pressure.
This wasn’t the first time she had carried a satchel charge through the streets of a populated area; off the top of her head, there had been Pristina and Grozny and Sana’s and Djibouti and Bogotá before now. She had infiltrated Serbian revolutionaries and Chechen guerillas and Yemeni pirates and Somali armed forces and Columbian mercenaries—but then, they had already known they were at war. It didn’t make the ops any less devastating, only less of a surprise; those buildings had long been riddled by bullets, roads ravaged from IEDs, walls chiseled with rat holes for hostiles at every turn. Those cities had become operational theaters way before she’d gotten the call; everyone who could leave had already left.
At least, that was how Natasha had rationalized it to herself.
This, on the other hand, was midtown Manhattan. This was a holiday attack perpetuated on American soil in the clear light of day during prime traffic for the highest-density urban population in the country. It was the sort of bad business only attempted by the depraved coalition of psychopaths grasping for global attention—because it worked. Every lethal move the opposition made brought them closer to achieving the desired result, to producing the headlines—the worst! the deadliest! the bloodiest!—that could shape or rule an era and force a country to its knees.
Not if someone stops them first.
She checked her watch.
Come on, Ava. Where are you?
They didn’t have this kind of time to waste. For the next two hours, the parade would still be going, and Rockefeller Center would still be jammed with civilians. The timing wasn’t an accident. Pearl Harbor was hit at 7:53 a.m.; the first of the Twin Towers was 8:45 a.m. If the attack succeeded, today would be worse by an order of magnitude.
From where Natasha stood, she knew she could shake up a Coke and spray fifty people without so much as tossing it. If she had to use it, the effect of a single stick of C-4 in a place like this, on a day like this, at a time like this, would be unimaginable. If she didn’t use it, the number of people affected by the chemical attack would probably be worse. There was no easy answer, and there never had been.
Twenty-eight years of peace. She’d read it in one of Ava’s S.H.I.E.L.D. Academy assignments, citing a journalist named Chris Hedges.
That’s all the quiet this planet has ever known, since the beginning of recorded history. How can one person change that?
Even if that one person happened to be the Black Widow.
But it’s not just you; there are two of you now, she scolded herself. I don’t know why you keep forgetting that. Red and Black, remember? You don’t always have to be so alone, Natashkava—
“Natashkava!” She heard Ava’s voice while her back was still turned. “I found the Alpha. Right around the corner. There’s just one thing—“
Natasha heard it in Ava’s voice before she saw it. The flinty hardness, the push of adrenaline that inflected every syllable.
The betrayal.
Her hand went immediately to the back of her waistband.
It’s not there—
Now the voice was louder, harsher. “Touch one hair on that Alpha’s head and I’ll shoot,” Ava said. “And I mean it.”
“I know,” Natasha said, raising her hands in surrender. And as she slowly turned to face all that remained of her family, she also found herself staring down the barrel of her own Glock revolver.

Prizes: Red Widow is back!
One (1) winner from your site receives:
·         Copies of both Black Widow: Forever Red and Black Widow: Red Vengeance;
·         a branded Black Widow bag and pin.

Giveaway open to US addresses only.
Prizing and samples provided by Marvel Press. Thanks to Marvel Press for sending me a copy, and for providing a prize pack!

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Mysterious Saturday Review: The Great Shelby Holmes

John Watson, an Army brat moves into a new building where he meets Shelby Holmes. At first he isn't too sure about her, but right now she's the only person he knows. He asks to tag along on her walk with her dog.

They run into a school mate of Shelby's who is devastated because her dog has gone missing. Shelby takes the case and allows John to tag along. Can they solve the case?
My Thoughts: Honestly, the name and the cover sold me on this book (not to mention the author.) I was pleasantly surprised when I realized the narrator wasn't Shelby Holmes, but John Watson. I loved seeing the neighborhood through his eyes when he walked with Shelby. I loved his initial meeting with Shelby and how she grew on him. They make an unlikely pair, but they're refreshing. I enjoyed the case and meeting the family. I like John's mother and how she isn't sure that Shelby is the best person for John to befriend. I liked her backstory too. Plus the illustrations are charming. I can't wait to read more about this pair.

Cover Thoughts: Adorable
Source: My Library
Library Recommendation: Perfect for both middle school and public libraries - highly recommended. 

Friday, October 14, 2016

Mini Review: Way Back Home

 * Book 3 in the Wildflower Trilogy *
Bird's rocking the road tour, giving it her all every night with her brother and her best friend helping her out. Life on the road is mostly great, but there's a moment when Bird just wants to be herself for the night, and of course it backfires. Chaos ensues. 
The Good:
The bus tour
Life on the road
No parents
The romance
All the pressure
That reporter!

The Bad:
It's over. I loved reading about Bird and her world. I'm sad the trilogy ended, but it was a great read.
Overall: A really fun series for anyone who loves country music, books about rock stars, and Taylor Swift

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Throwback Thursday Book Hits: Naturals

If you like thrillers, this is one book series you won't want to miss this series!

Lots of plot twists, danger, friendship drama, banter and romance.

This team went through terrible things, but they're making the best out of life and helping put the bad guys away at the same time.

I read these books in one sitting because they are simply too good to put down.

Give them to teens looking for horror, psychological thriller, or just a really good book.

Plus Bad Blood, the fourth book in the series comes out November 1st. I can't wait!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Books I'm Dying to Read: December Edition

By now, the weather starts getting colder. The pellet stove comes on and I just want to read in front of it all winter. It's so warm. Plus I'm waiting for the first flakes of the year.  I'm also in the process of crafting a bunch for Christmas, so I don't get to read too much in December. But here's what I'm looking forward to reading.

Showing Off (Upside-Down Magic #3)The Secret Life of Squirrels: A Love Story
Showing Off: Book 3 in the Upside Down Magic series that's super cute!
Secret Life of Squirrels: The first book was tons of fun, can't wait to read this love story

The Secret of a Heart NoteTake the Key and Lock Her Up (Embassy Row, #3)Everyday MagicMind Games (Lock & Mori, #2)Ever the Hunted (Clash of Kingdoms, #1)

Secret of a Heart Note: Matchmaking and love potions gone wrong
Take the Key and Lock Her Up: After the bombshell at the end of the last book, I"m anxious to read the end of the trilogy.
Everyday Magic: Curious about this sophomore book about Hollywood, fashion, and romance
Lock and Mori: After the ending of the first book, I'm so curious to see where this book leads and how the characters react.
Ever Hunted: This start if a fantasy sounds a little like Throne of Glass

 Dead Cold Brew (Coffeehouse Mystery, #16)Iced Under (A Maine Clambake Mystery, #5)Lady Claire Is All That (Keeping Up with the Cavendishes, #3)
Dead Cold Brew: 16th book in this coffeehouse series has good news and of course - murder
Iced Under: A cold winter in Maine and a mysterious package procduing a long lost diamond necklace is the backdrop for the 5th book in this series.
Lady Claire is All That: The third book in the Canvendish series where the American attempt to fit in and for Claire, it's not that easy with her intelligence.

What books are you dying to read?