Saturday, December 29, 2012

Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor


Christmas Eve at Friday HarborThis is my last holiday book of the season…and what a way to end the Christmas reading season.  I love, love, love this series…ridiculously cute and romantic, with just a touch of magic (and oh my, those Nolan boys!!!)  For those of you who have read Dream Lake and Rainshadow Road, this is actually the first book in the series...Mark, Holly and Maggie's story.
The next book in the series, Crystal Cove, comes out in February.  I can.not.wait.

Book Description via Amazon

New York Times bestselling author Lisa Kleypas’s new series begins during the most magical time of year

ONE LITTLE GIRL NEEDS A FAMILY
One rain-slicked night, six-year-old Holly lost the only parent she knew, her beloved mother Victoria. And since that night, she has never again spoken a word.
ONE SINGLE MAN NEEDS A WIFE
The last thing Mark Nolan needs is a six-year-old girl in his life. But he soon realizes that he will do everything he can to make her life whole again. His sister’s will gives him the instructions: There’s no other choice but you. Just start by loving her. The rest will follow.
SOMETIMES, IT TAKES A LITTLE MAGIC…
Maggie Collins doesn’t dare believe in love again, after losing her husband of one year. But she does believe in the magic of imagination. As the owner of a toy shop, she lives what she loves. And when she meets Holly Nolan, she sees a little girl in desperate need of a little magic.
…TO MAKE DREAMS COME TRUE
Three lonely people. Three lives at the crossroads. Three people who are about to discover that Christmas is the time of year when anything is possible, and when wishes have a way of finding the path home…

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Endangered by Eliot Schrefer


EndangeredThis is typically not “my” kind of book,  but I kept seeing it appear on the “best of “lists and thought I would give it a whirl.  I am so glad I did.  It was an intense, emotional read…this part of the world has experienced so much pain and suffering it is almost unfathomable.  And while it is hard to read in parts, it is infused with hope and happiness and compassion. **and it made me want a bonobo**

Review via Publisher’s Weekly

"Schrefer (The Deadly Sister) shines a light on an oft-overlooked part of the world with this intense adventure set in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. When Sophie, a half-American, half-Congolese 14-year-old, visits her mother at a bonobo sanctuary, her biracial origins make her feel out of place, but she finds purpose by bonding with and caring for Otto, an abused juvenile bonobo. Civil war breaks out while Sophie’s mother is away, and Sophie is inadvertently trapped in a country beset by starvation, roving bands of killers, and natural hazards. To stay alive, Sophie and Otto live off the land, travel in secret, and coexist with other bonobos, while seeking escape or refuge from the chaos. Schrefer spares no detail, fully exposing the horrors of war as he chronicles Sophie’s struggle for survival. This drama is clearly written from the heart, smoothly educating readers about the perilous dichotomy of the Congo and the heart-wrenching plight of the endangered bonobo, without sacrificing the intensity of the story. Sophie, meanwhile, demonstrates herself to be tenacious, resourceful, and strong, making decisions that, while not always smart, are driven by compassion. Ages 12–18.”

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Diviners by Libba Bray


The DivinersI absolutely loved this book.  The characters are well written and believable.  The setting is fantastic and almost becomes another, equally important, character.  New York City…in the twenties…speakeasies, flappers, Ziegfeld girls… it has is all with a dash of magic.  I can see why this book is making all the “best of 2012” lists!

Book Description via Amazon
Evie O'Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City--and she is pos-i-toot-ly thrilled. New York is the city of speakeasies, shopping, and movie palaces! Soon enough, Evie is running with glamorous Ziegfield girls and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is Evie has to live with her Uncle Will, curator of The Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult--also known as "The Museum of the Creepy Crawlies."

When a rash of occult-based murders comes to light, Evie and her uncle are right in the thick of the investigation. And through it all, Evie has a secret: a mysterious power that could help catch the killer--if he doesn't catch her first.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

1225 Christmas Tree Lane by Debbie Macomber

Christmas book #2...I can't get enough of these, just like Christmas cookies. 


1225 Christmas Tree Lane: 1225 Christmas Tree Lane\Let It Snow (Cedar Cove)Book Description Via Amazon

Release Date: October 23, 2012 | Series: Cedar Cove

The people of Cedar Cove know how to celebrate Christmas. Like Grace and Olivia and everyone else, Beth Morehouse expects this Christmas to be one of her best. Her small Christmas tree farm is prospering, her daughters and her dogs are happy and well, and her new relationship with local vet Ted Reynolds is showing plenty of romantic promise.

But…someone recently left a basket filled with puppies on her doorstep, puppies she's determined to place in good homes. That's complication number one. And number two is that her daughters, Bailey and Sophie, have invited their dad, Beth's long-divorced husband, Kent, to Cedar Cove for Christmas. The girls have visions of a mom-and-dad reunion dancing in their heads.

As always in life—and in Cedar Cove—there are surprises, too. More than one family's going to have a puppy under the tree. More than one scheme will go awry. And more than one romance will have a happy ending!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Perfect Christmas by Debbie Macomber

Warning - Warning - Warning !!! This may give you sugar shock, lol.  This book is sweet...I mean *really* sweet.  At this time of year I don't want to tax my brain, emotions are already on overload, so I like a sweet, nothing book.  Something that makes me smile and puts me in the holiday mood.  This book is also a really nice length - it can read it with a cup of cocoa (or wine) in one night!
 
Book Description via Amazon

Release Date: October 25, 2011
The Perfect Christmas
What would make your Christmas perfect?

For Cassie Beaumont, it's meeting her perfect match. Cassie, at thirty-three, wants a husband and kids, and so far, nothing's worked. Not blind dates, not the internet and certainly not leaving love to chance.

What other options are there? Well…she could hire a professional matchmaker. Simon Dodson has quite a reputation, but he's very choosy about the clients he takes on—and very expensive. Cassie considers him a difficult, acerbic know-it-all, and she's astonished when he accepts her as a client.

Claiming he has her perfect mate in mind, Simon assigns her three tasks to complete before she meets this paragon. Three tasks that are all about Christmas: being a charity bell-ringer, dressing up as Santa's elf at a mall and preparing a traditional turkey dinner for her neighbors (most of whom she happens to dislike). Despite a number of comical mishaps, Cassie does it all—and then she's finally ready to meet her match.

But just like the perfect Christmas gift, he turns out to be a wonderful surprise!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

I love epistolary narratives...in e-mail format...even better...set in 1999...perfection! 
From Publishers Weekly
Attachments: A Novel
In sweet, silly, and incredibly long digital missives, best newsroom pals Beth and Jennifer trade gossip over their romances—Beth with her marriage-phobic boyfriend, Chris, and Jennifer with her baby-mania-stricken husband, Mitch. What they don't know is that the newly hired computer guy, Lincoln, an Internet security officer charged with weeding out all things unnecessary or pornographic, is reading their messages. But lonely Lincoln lets the gals slide on their inappropriate office mail and gets hooked on their soapy dalliances, falling head over heels for the unlucky-in-love Beth. Debut novelist and real-life newspaper columnist Rowell has the smarts for this You've Got Mail–like tale of missed connections, but what doesn't work so well is the firewall between the traditional narrative reserved for Lincoln's emergence from shy guy to Beth's guy, and heroines who are confined to the e-epistolary format. Despite the structural problems, there's enough heart and humor to save these likable characters from the recycle bin. (Apr.)
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

When in Doubt, Add Butter by Beth Harbison

This is a great rainy/snowy day read....a book perfect for today!  It is a fun, easy-peasy read...it is like a sweet, delicious cupcake in book form.

When in Doubt, Add ButterBook Description via Amazon
Release Date: July 17, 2012
From the New York Times bestselling author of Shoe Addicts Anonymous and Always Something There to Remind Me, When in Doubt, Add Butter by Beth Harbison a delicious new novel about the search for true love and all the ingredients that go into it.
As far as Gemma is concerned, her days of dating are over. In fact, it’s her job to cater other peoples’ dates, and that’s just fine by her. At thirty-seven, she has her own business, working as a private chef, and her life feels full and secure. She’s got six steady clients that keep her hands full.
There’s Lex, the fussy but fabulous department store owner who loves Oysters Rockefeller and 1950s comfort food; Willa, who needs to lose weight under doctor’s orders but still believes butter makes everything better; a colorful family who may or may not be part of the Russian mob; an ├╝berwealthy Georgetown family; the picture-perfect Van Houghtens, whose matriarch is “allergic to everything”; and finally, a man she calls “Mr. Tuesday,” whom she has never met but who she is strangely drawn to.
For Gemma, cooking is predictable. Recipes are certain. Use good ingredients, follow the directions, and you are assured success. Life, on the other hand, is full of variables. So when Gemma’s takes an unexpected turn on a road she always thought was straight and narrow, she must face her past and move on in ways she never would have imagined. Because sometimes in life, all you need is a little hope, a lot of courage, and---oh yes---butter.

Monday, November 5, 2012

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Loved, loved, loved this!!!  I have been hearing alot of good buzz about this book, and I really enjoyed her previous books (*especially* The Scorpion Races) so I had high hopes for this book...and I was not disappointed!!!  Maggie Stiefvater ( I would be eternally grafteful to anyone who can teach me how to say her name correctly) writes damn good characters.  She took a group of boys who are complicated, troubled, and unlikeable at times and makes me love them, each one, each differently.   The element of magic that runs throughout the book is believeable, not overdone.  I am really looking forward to the next addition...there are so many unaswereed questions!!!


Book Description via Amazon.com

The Raven Boys (Raven Cycle)"There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark's Eve," Neeve said. "Either you're his true love . . . or you killed him."It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them--not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble. But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can't entirely explain. He has it all--family money, good looks, devoted friends--but he's looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little. For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she's not so sure anymore.From Maggie Stiefvater, the bestselling and acclaimed author of the Shiver trilogy and The Scorpio Races, comes a spellbinding new series where the inevitability of death and the nature of love lead us to a place we've never been before.




 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Necromancing the Stone by Lish McBride

I wanted to love this...I really did but sadly it came up short.

Book Description

September 18, 2012
Necromancing the Stone
With the defeat of the evil Douglas behind him, Sam LaCroix is getting used to his new life. Okay, so he hadn’t exactly planned on being a powerful necromancer with a seat on the local magical council and a capricious werewolf sort-of-girlfriend, but things are going fine, right?
Well . . . not really. He’s pretty tired of getting beat up by everyone and their mother, for one thing, and he can’t help but feel that his new house hates him. His best friend is a werebear, someone is threatening his sister, and while Sam realizes that he himself has a lot of power at his fingertips, he’s not exactly sure how to use it. Which, he has to admit, is a bit disconcerting.
But when everything starts falling apart, he decides it’s time to step up and take control. His attempts to do so just bring up more questions, though, the most important of which is more than a little alarming: Is Douglas really dead?

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare

Book Four...much of the same...still like it enough to read Book 5.

Book Description via Amazon.com

April 5, 2011 Mortal Instruments (Book 4)
 
 

City of Fallen Angels (Mortal Instruments, Book 4)
The Mortal War is over, and sixteen-year-old Clary Fray is back home in New York, excited about all the possibilities before her. She's training to become a Shadowhunter and to use her unique power. Her mother is getting married to the love of her life. Downworlders and Shadowhunters are at peace at last. And—most importantly of all—she can finally call Jace her boyfriend. But nothing comes without a price. Someone is murdering Shadowhunters, provoking tensions between Downworlders and Shadowhunters that could lead to a second, bloody war. Clary's best friend, Simon, can't help her. His mother just found out that he's a vampire and now he's homeless. Everywhere he turns, someone wants him on their side—along with the power of the curse that's wrecking his life. And they're willing to do anything to get what they want. Not to mention that he's dating two beautiful, dangerous girls—neither of whom knows about the other one. When Jace begins to pull away from her without explaining why, Clary is forced to delve into the heart of a mystery whose solution reveals her worst nightmare: she herself has set in motion a terrible chain of events that could lead to her losing everything she loves. Even Jace. Love. Blood. Betrayal. Revenge. The stakes are higher than ever in City of Fallen Angels.

Monday, September 24, 2012

This Is Not a Test by Courtney Summers

Zombie Apocalypse...again...trapped in a high school...again....

I don't know what to say about this book.  It was just OK.  I liked the premise, but I really, really didn't like any of the characters, at all, so I wasn't invested in whether they live or die. 

This Is Not a TestBook Description via Amazon

June 19, 2012

It’s the end of the world. Six students have taken cover in Cortege High but shelter is little comfort when the dead outside won’t stop pounding on the doors. One bite is all it takes to kill a person and bring them back as a monstrous version of their former self. To Sloane Price, that doesn’t sound so bad. Six months ago, her world collapsed and since then, she’s failed to find a reason to keep going. Now seems like the perfect time to give up. As Sloane eagerly waits for the barricades to fall, she’s forced to witness the apocalypse through the eyes of five people who actually want to live. But as the days crawl by, the motivations for survival change in startling ways and soon the group’s fate is determined less and less by what’s happening outside and more and more by the unpredictable and violent bids for life—and death—inside. When everything is gone, what do you hold on to?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Bared to You by Sylvia Day


So I pretty much hated the 50 Shades of Grey series...not in a judgemently kind of way...just hated the writing, story line and don't get me started about the characters.  I am not quite sure I feel compelled to go through the "read alikes" list we created but I am *hoping* to find one gem in there...
This is not that gem.  While it is marginally better written and the characters make me slightly less nauseous, I still didn't love it.  This whole theme of girl trying to save wounded rich man is just blech.  The naughty bits (and if by some weirdo chance that my father is reading this - please for the love of god stop now) are better but nothing earth shattering. 
So I will go back to the list and see if I can find that gem.
Book Description via Amazon

Publication Date: June 12, 2012 | Series: A Crossfire Novel

"If I were to recommend any book today to readers who enjoyed 50 Shades...this would be the first one I would offer....scorching love scenes."--Dear Author

Bared to You: A Crossfire NovelTHE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

Gideon Cross came into my life like lightning in the darkness...

He was beautiful and brilliant, jagged and white-hot. I was drawn to him as I'd never been to anything or anyone in my life. I craved his touch like a drug, even knowing it would weaken me. I was flawed and damaged, and he opened those cracks in me so easily...

Gideon knew. He had demons of his own. And we would become the mirrors that reflected each other's most private worlds...and desires.

The bonds of his love transformed me, even as I prayed that the torment of our pasts didn't tear us apart...

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne

I really need to be careful what I read...I am seriously going to become a hoarder.  These post-apocalyptic books are just so intense and I LOVE it.  It really makes me sit and wonder what would I do...how would I handle such a volatile situation.  Part of me thinks I would go all Katniss and be kick ass but in reality well....

I am not giving anything away when I say it ends with a total cliff hanger.  So if you are the type of person that hates that...wait to read this closer to next summer....but definitely read it! This is Emmy Laybourne's first book, with the sequel due out next summer, I think she has a long writing career ahead of her.   As an aside, she tweeted me so now were, like, best friends (lol).  For my four readers...did you know I tweet....@AnnMar4...follow me...maybe?


Monument 14Book Description via Amazon.com

Publication Date: June 5, 2012

Your mother hollers that you’re going to miss the bus. She can see it coming down the street. You don’t stop and hug her and tell her you love her. You don’t thank her for being a good, kind, patient mother. Of course not—you launch yourself down the stairs and make a run for the corner.

Only, if it’s the last time you’ll ever see your mother, you sort of start to wish you’d stopped and did those things. Maybe even missed the bus.

But the bus was barreling down our street, so I ran.

Fourteen kids. One superstore. A million things that go wrong.

In Emmy Laybourne’s action-packed debut novel, six high school kids (some popular, some not), two eighth graders (one a tech genius), and six little kids trapped together in a chain superstore build a refuge for themselves inside. While outside, a series of escalating disasters, beginning with a monster hailstorm and ending with a chemical weapons spill, seems to be tearing the world—as they know it—apart.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Flat-Out Love by Jessica Park

I saw this on sale at Barnes & Nobles...$3.99...so I thought, why not?  It sat on my Nook for a couple of days and then I was between books and desperate for *something* so I gave it a whirl...and two days later I was done (if I didn't have a job and four kids and life it would have been even quicker.) 
 
This was such an unexpected surprise - the characters are quirky and ridiculously smart - in a cool geeky chic kinda way.  Matt made me think of a cuter version of Leonard from the Big Bang Theory, nothing against Johnny Galecki or anything...  I literally LOL'd when Matt mentions Large Hadron Collider...and I knew what that was...well kinda...from The Big Bang Theory...yup that just makes me feel smart.  The love story is perfect and literally made me sigh at the end...what can I say, I am a sucker for a good romance. 
Flat-Out Love
Book Description via Amazon.com
Publication Date: September 11, 2012
He was tall, at least six feet, with dirty blond hair that hung over his eyes. His T-shirt read Nietzsche Is My Homeboy.

So, that was Matt. Who Julie Seagle likes. A lot. But there is also Finn. Who she flat out loves.

Complicated? Awkward? Completely.

But really, how was this freshly-minted Boston transplant and newbie college freshman supposed to know that she would end up living with the family of an old friend of her mother's? This was all supposed to be temporary. Julie wasn't supposed to be important to the Watkins family, or to fall in love with one of the brothers. Especially the one she's never quite met. But what does that really matter? Finn
gets her, like no one ever has before. They have connection.

But here's the thing about love, in all its twisty, bumpy permutations—it always throws you a few curves. And no one ever escapes unscathed.

 

 


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman

One review I read referred to it as "the DaVinci Code meets National Treasure" - cool right?  And it was, in parts, and then other parts just made me want to tear.my.hair.out.  The writing was very disjointed and at times hard to follow, and the historical letters interspersed throughout got to be too long and tedious.  I really liked the initial premise of the book but I felt it got lost in the narrative.  There were times when the author was overly descriptive (a la Elizabeth Weston's letters) and by the end,  she was flying through details to bring everything to a tidy close.  I know that I am in the minority...this book was *very* well reviewed by people in the know so it may just be a taste issue...that's why there is chocolate and vanilla.

Book Description

April 10, 2012

The Book of Blood and Shadow
It was like a nightmare, but there was no waking up. When the night began, Nora had two best friends and an embarrassingly storybook one true love. When it ended, she had nothing but blood on her hands and an echoing scream that stopped only when the tranquilizers pierced her veins and left her in the merciful dark.

But the next morning, it was all still true: Chris was dead. His girlfriend Adriane, Nora's best friend, was catatonic. And Max, Nora's sweet, smart, soft-spoken Prince Charming, was gone. He was also—according to the police, according to her parents, according to everyone—a murderer.

Desperate to prove his innocence, Nora follows the trail of blood, no matter where it leads. It ultimately brings her to the ancient streets of Prague, where she is drawn into a dark web of secret societies and shadowy conspirators, all driven by a mad desire to possess something that might not even exist. For buried in a centuries-old manuscript is the secret to ultimate knowledge and communion with the divine; it is said that he who controls the Lumen Dei controls the world. Unbeknownst to her, Nora now holds the crucial key to unlocking its secrets. Her night of blood is just one piece in a puzzle that spans continents and centuries. Solving it may be the only way she can save her own life.

Friday, September 7, 2012

The Inn at Rose Harbor by Debbie Macomber

This book is sweet, overly sentimental, predictable, formulaic...and I loved it.  Debbie Macomber brings us back to the familiar town of Cedar Cove...this is a new series but some of the old characters make a brief appearance.  For those who cringe at the sweeter side of romance (bordering on diabetic shock) this book is not for you.  But for those who want to hang onto the last lingering days of summer with a quick, light read...this is perfect.

Via Amazon.com
The Inn at Rose Harbor: A NovelFrom #1 New York Times bestselling author Debbie Macomber comes a heartwarming new series based in the Pacific Northwest town of Cedar Cove, where a charming cast of characters finds love, forgiveness, and renewal behind the doors of the cozy Rose Harbor Inn.

Jo Marie Rose first arrives in Cedar Cove seeking a sense of peace and a fresh start. Coping with the death of her husband, she purchases a local bed-and-breakfast—the newly christened Rose Harbor Inn—ready to begin her life anew. Yet the inn holds more surprises than Jo Marie can imagine.

Her first guest is Joshua Weaver, who has come home to care for his ailing stepfather. The two have never seen eye to eye, and Joshua has little hope that they can reconcile their differences. But a long-lost acquaintance from Joshua’s high school days proves to him that forgiveness is never out of reach and love can bloom even where it’s least expected.

The other guest is Abby Kincaid, who has returned to Cedar Cove to attend her brother’s wedding. Back for the first time in twenty years, she almost wishes she hadn’t come, the picturesque town harboring painful memories from her past. And while Abby reconnects with family and old friends, she realizes she can only move on if she truly allows herself to let go.

A touching novel of life’s grand possibilities and the heart’s ability to heal, The Inn at Rose Harbor is a welcome introduction to an unforgettable set of friends.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Friends with Boys by Faith Erin Hicks

Loved, loved, loved this graphic novel.  This is a story about trying to fit in in high school and find your place, something everyone can relate to.  I really liked the relationship between all the siblings ...Maggie with her brothers...and Lucy and Alistair...it is nice to see a book where siblings are looking out for each other.  This is a Young Adult graphic but I would definitely recommend it for middle school (there is no sex and a minimal amount of bad language.)

Book Description via Amazon.com

February 28, 2012

Friends with Boys
A coming-of-age tale with a spooky twist!
Maggie McKay hardly knows what to do with herself. After an idyllic childhood of homeschooling with her mother and rough-housing with her older brothers, it’s time for Maggie to face the outside world, all on her own. But that means facing high school first. And it also means solving the mystery of the melancholy ghost who has silently followed Maggie throughout her entire life. Maybe it even means making a new friend—one who isn’t one of her brothers.
Funny, surprising, and tender, Friends with Boys is a pitch perfect YA graphic novel full of spooky supernatural fun.
 
 


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Where We Belong by Emily Giffin


Meh.  I am not sure if it is because I have been reading too much fluffy stuff lately (most of which I have liked,) but this just fell short.  The characters were just ok...I just couldn't find myself caring about either one very much.  It was also a tad too predictable and tidy.  This is worth a library rental but definitely not one to add to the collection.
 
Book Description via Amazon.com
July 24, 2012
Where We Belong
The author of five blockbuster novels, Emily Giffin, delivers an unforgettable story of two women, the families that make them who they are, and the longing, loyalty and love that binds them together
 
Marian Caldwell is a thirty-six year old television producer, living her dream in New York City. With a fulfilling career and satisfying relationship, she has convinced everyone, including herself, that her life is just as she wants it to be. But one night, Marian answers a knock on the door . . . only to find Kirby Rose, an eighteen-year-old girl with a key to a past that Marian thought she had sealed off forever. From the moment Kirby appears on her doorstep, Marian’s perfectly constructed world—and her very identity—will be shaken to its core, resurrecting ghosts and memories of a passionate young love affair that threaten everything that has come to define her.
For the precocious and determined Kirby, the encounter will spur a process of discovery that ushers her across the threshold of adulthood, forcing her to re-evaluate her family and future in a wise and bittersweet light. As the two women embark on a journey to find the one thing missing in their lives, each will come to recognize that where we belong is often where we least expect to find ourselves—a place that we may have willed ourselves to forget, but that the heart remembers forever.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Dream Lake by Lisa Kleypas


Lisa Kleypas brings us back to Friday Harbor with her newest installment, Dream Lake. I brought this with me on vacation and it was absolutely perfect. I loved it as much as the first in the series.  The characters are wonderful and she continues to infuse her stories with a touch of magic...which makes for a fun, light, romantic read.  

Book Description via Amazon.com

August 7, 2012 Friday Harbor
Dream Lake (Friday Harbor)
Dream Lake takes readers once again to the exquisite setting of Friday Harbor, and tells the story of Zoe Hoffman, an innkeeper who has all but given up on love. She’s a gentle, romantic soul, but has been so hurt in the past that she dare not trust her heart with anyone. Especially not Alex Nolan. Alex is the most haunted of all the Nolan brothers. He drinks to keep his demons at bay and not only has he given up on love, he has never, ever believed in it. Zoe and Alex are oil and water, fire and ice, sunshine and shadow. But sometimes, it takes only a glimmer of light to chase away the dark. Dream Lake is classic Lisa Kleypas: romantic, powerful, emotional, and magical.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Off the Menu by Stacy Ballis

This is my idea of a perfect summer, beach read...it was funny, and sweet and I didn't want to put it down.  I *heart* Alana - she is talented and funny and insecure and perfect; and then there is RJ...if only a man like this actually existed, sigh....

Book Description via Amazon.com

July 3, 2012
Off the Menu
As the executive culinary assistant to celebrity Chicago chef Patrick Conlon, Alana Ostermann works behind the scenes—and that’s just the way she likes it. But with developing recipes for Patrick’s cookbooks, training his sous chefs, picking out the perfect birthday gifts for his ex-mother-in-law, and dealing with the fallout from his romantic escapades, she barely has a personal life, much less time to spend with her combo platter of a mutt, Dumpling.

Then a fluke online connection brings her RJ, a transplant from Tennessee, who adds some Southern spice to her life. Suddenly Alana’s priorities shift, and Patrick—and Dumpling—find themselves facing a rival for her time and affection. With RJ in the mix, and some serious decisions to make about her personal and professional future, Alana must discover the perfect balance of work and play, money and meaning, to bring it all to the table—one delicious dish at a time…

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein





I don't even know how to begin to write about this book.  I have been in a bit of a reading rut lately, picking up books only to abandom them after ten pages.  This is no reflection of the book, just my reading ADD.  I did this with this book...picked it up, read couple pages, then left it for a couple days.  Pick it up again, read a couple of pages, then left it for another couple days...you get the idea. 

So I had a hard time getting into the flow of the book.  The first part of the book is a young women's account of how she got captured by the Gestapo and is now forced to reveal war secrets.  The narrative is somewhat disjointed, purposefully done by the author, and the reader is left questioning.  Who is this woman, what exactly does she do for the British government, how did she get captured???  The second part of the book is told by the young woman's best friend, Maggie;  this is where the story really picks up and is literally, unputdownable.  The holes and questions that were left in the first part are answered and the reader is feverishly turning pages to find out what really happened. 

I knew a book about WWII is not going to be a light, summer read, but man this leaves your heart in pieces, in the best possible way. 

Code Name VerityAmazon Best Teen Books of the Month, May 2012: Rich in historical detail and intrigue, Code Name Verity is a vivid reminder of what makes historical fiction so compelling. In exchange for a temporary stay of execution and lesser forms of torture, a young female spy captured in Nazi-occupied France writes a confession of her activities in the Resistance. Her story is that of two women who should never have crossed paths, yet were destined to become the best of friends and embark upon the covert mission that would determine which of them would live or die. Courage born of friendship, fierce hope, surprising twists, and ironies abound in this spell-binding novel that will appeal to teens and adult readers alike.--Seira Wilson

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

City of Glass by Cassandra Clare

This is the third installment in the Mortal Instrument series...and I am still loving it.  While I agree with the review below - the story was somewhat predictable - I still was able to go along for the ride.  Jace and Clary are still one of my favorite pseudo-couples (the whole sibling thing did make me a tad gaggy) and then there is Simon - I Simon. 

From School Library Journal


City of Glass (Mortal Instruments)Grade 8 Up–In the two previous books, Clary learns that she is a member of a race of demon-hunters and that she has the special ability to create new versions of the runes that give these Shadowhunters their power. Her mother has been hiding the truth from her for years to protect her from her father, Valentine, a cult-leader-turned-villain who is seeking to gain control over the Shadowhunters by obtaining the three Mortal Instruments. Now, Valentine has only one Mortal Instrument left to find, and the Shadowhunters must ally with the despised Downworlders, including vampires, werewolves, and fairies, to prepare their final defense. The question of whether Clary will be able to harness her unique abilities in time to help–and whether they will let her–is sidelined by the question of whether her love interest, Jace, is really her brother. Though the story is hampered by predictability and overblown writing, Clare continues her talent for mixing hip, modern humor with traditional fantasy, and fans eagerly awaiting the series conclusion should come away more than satisfied.–Eliza Langhans, Hatfield Public Library, MA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker

I had really, really high hopes for this book, and maybe that was the problem.  I love dystopian fiction, I really do,  and this had such a cool premise - the earth's rotation is slowing down.  Longer days and longer nights, how do we as a society function with our days and nights all mixed  up?  Julia is 10 when all this begins to happen - a tough age in the best of circumstances - and we see her trying to live a "normal" life in an abnormal world.  I found myself not caring very much about the characters and whether or not they would survive this slow apocalypse.


The Age of Miracles: A NovelAmazon Best Books of the Month, June 2012: In The Age of Miracles, the world is ending not with a bang so much as a long, drawn-out whimper. And it turns out the whimper can be a lot harder to cope with. The Earth's rotation slows, gradually stretching out days and nights and subtly affecting the planet's gravity. The looming apocalypse parallels the adolescent struggles of 10-year-old Julia, as her comfortable suburban life succumbs to a sort of domestic deterioration. Julia confronts her parents' faltering marriage, illness, the death of a loved one, her first love, and her first heartbreak. Karen Thompson Walker is a gifted storyteller. Her language is precise and poetic, but style never overpowers the realism she imbues to her characters and the slowing Earth they inhabit. Most impressively, Thompson Walker has written a coming-of-age tale that asks whether it's worth coming of age at all in a world that might end at any minute. Like the best stories about the end of the world, The Age of Miracles is about the existence of hope and whether it can prevail in the face of uncertainty. --Kevin Nguyen

Monday, June 18, 2012

The Summer I Lost It by Natalie Kath

The Summer I Lost It (Stone Arch Novels)Kat is like every other 14 year old girl, except she is struggling to lose weight.  It is the summer before her freshman year in high school and she wants to enter school as a new person, with a brand new body. 

This is cute - nothing earth shattering - just cute.  This is cataloged at our library as a Y (Young Adult) and this is definitely *NOT* Young Adult.  I would say it is perfect for any middle grade girl (4-6).  I do bristle a bit at the fact that her self esteem is wrapped up in losing weight but Kat does come to the conclusion that she has to do this for herself NOT to get the guy...so there is a plus.

Monday, June 11, 2012

If I Stay by Gayle Forman

As the school year winds down most parents are taking a deep breath of relief...relief from homework and sports and schedules...it is wonderful.  However, if you know any librarians, summer is when we gear up for Summer Reading Program.  In addition to all the programs we have planned, we are barraged by kids looking for their summer reading books.  I was getting all my summer reading lists organized and books ordered, when I started to come across all these books that I "meant" to read but sadly they got pushed aside for something else.  So I am trying to go back and re-read some of these treasures. 

First up is, If I Stay by Gayle Forman.  This has been on my radar for awhile and now I know why this is on alot of "best" lists.  It is really, really good, SAD, but good.  Reading it from an adult perspective, from a mom perspective, makes it even more heart breaking.  So, while this is not a light, fun, beachy read, it is definitely worth your time.

Book Description

A critically acclaimed novel that will change the way you look at life, love, and family.
If I StayIn the blink of an eye everything changes. Seventeen ­year-old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall what happened afterwards, watching her own damaged body being taken from the wreck. Little by little she struggles to put together the pieces- to figure out what she has lost, what she has left, and the very difficult choice she must make. Heartwrenchingly beautiful, Mia's story will stay with you for a long, long time.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Wonder by R.J. Palacio

For the people who read my blog (all four of you lol) I tend to *like* many of the books I review.  It is not that I have never met a book I didn't like, it is more that I don't really finish books I don't love.  I am not a professional reviewer, I am a librarian, and because of that I try to stay on top of what is popular, trending, critically reviewed ect.  But I am not bound to finish a book I hate...sooooo my reviews tend to be positive.  Which is fine.  Until you read a book that is *so good*, that you want to jump up and down and scream - READ THIS BOOK NOW!!!  I know I have said that before but I mean it now, really, trust me...

So I try not to write too much personal stuff on this blog, but I am going out on the proverbial limb now, because this book touched me on so many levels.  As a parent of a child with special needs I guess the reasons seem obvious why I loved this book - I have that kid, the one that people sometimes look at, the one that one darling classmate described as retarded.  (On a side note, that peach of a kid has not seen this side of the honor roll. While my girl has been on it - every.single.semester. But I digress.)  She just has a different way of communicating, of seeing the world and she is awesome - but sometimes people miss that. 

There are so many other reasons why I loved, loved loved this book.  We all have felt like Auggie, God knows I did in middle school.  There were times reading this book that I literally cried from the memories of mean, hateful kids.  But I also think we have been (or are capable of being) Julian - the mean kid.  And we have to remember that lives inside everyone too.  BUT we can overcome that part and remember what Mr. Tushman imparts to the class:  "be kinder than necessary"  Isn't that something we should be teaching our kids - reminding ourselves!!!


WonderBook Description via Amazon


Publication Date: March 1, 2012

"Wonder" is the funny, sweet and incredibly moving story of Auggie Pullman. Born with a terrible facial abnormality, this shy, bright ten-year-old has been home-schooled by his parents for his whole life, in an attempt to protect him from the stares and cruelty of the outside world. Now, for the first time, Auggie is being sent to a real school - and he's dreading it. The thing is, Auggie's just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. But can he convince his new classmates that he's just like them, underneath it all? Through the voices of Auggie, his big sister Via, and his new friends Jack and Summer, "Wonder" follows Auggie's journey through his first year at Beecher Prep. Frank, powerful, warm and often heart-breaking, "Wonder" is a book you'll read in one sitting, pass on to others, and remember long after the final page.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Wife 22 by Melanie Gideon

I liked it, I definitely like it.  A book about a woman in her forties, *cough* in her midlife, questioning her life, her marriage, her work, her kids...yup I can relate (I am approaching 40 at warp speed).  It was a tad predictable but I loved the narrative flow - from interspersing facebook status updates, to reading Alice's answers to the "marriage questionnaire".  This is a perfect beach read, just in time for the summer!

Book Description via Amazon.com


Wife 22: A NovelFor fans of Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones’s Diary and Allison Pearson’s I Don’t Know How She Does It comes an irresistible novel of a woman losing herself . . . and finding herself again . . . in the middle of her life.

Maybe it was those extra five pounds I’d gained. Maybe it was because I was about to turn the same age my mother was when I lost her. Maybe it was because after almost twenty years of marriage my husband and I seemed to be running out of things to say to each other.

But when the anonymous online study called “Marriage in the 21st Century” showed up in my inbox, I had no idea how profoundly it would change my life. It wasn’t long before I was assigned both a pseudonym (Wife 22) and a caseworker (Researcher 101).

And, just like that, I found myself answering questions.

7. Sometimes I tell him he’s snoring when he’s not snoring so he’ll sleep in the guest room and I can have the bed all to myself.

61. Chet Baker on the tape player. He was cutting peppers for the salad. I looked at those hands and thought, I am going to have this man’s children.

67. To not want what you don’t have. What you can’t have. What you shouldn’t have.

32. That if we weren’t careful, it was possible to forget one another.

Before the study, my life was an endless blur of school lunches and doctor’s appointments, family dinners, budgets, and trying to discern the fastest-moving line at the grocery store. I was Alice Buckle: spouse of William and mother to Zoe and Peter, drama teacher and Facebook chatter, downloader of memories and Googler of solutions.

But these days, I’m also Wife 22. And somehow, my anonymous correspondence with Researcher 101 has taken an unexpectedly personal turn. Soon, I’ll have to make a decision—one that will affect my family, my marriage, my whole life. But at the moment, I’m too busy answering questions.

As it turns out, confession can be a very powerful aphrodisiac.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Insurgent by Veronica Roth

YAY!!!  She did it again!!! Loved, loved, loved it...go read it...can't wait for the next one...if I gave out stars this would get a 5...not much more to say...

Book Description via Amazon.com
One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Insurgent (Divergent)Tris's initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.

New York Times bestselling author Veronica Roth's much-anticipated second book of the dystopian Divergent series is another intoxicating thrill ride of a story, rich with hallmark twists, heartbreaks, romance, and powerful insights about human nature.

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Sssssiiiiggggghhhhhhh....love....this....book.....

It was a perfect read during a very stressful time - I was sitting in the hospital while my husband was recovering from a pretty significant surgery, thankfully, all's good now.  This book transported me to a happy place - it was light and breezy, without being too sacchariney, and such.great.characters.  I loved that Anna and St. Claire (a la Anna and the French Kiss) make an appearance and she created a whole new cast that I really would love to meet especially the Dads...they are just...awesome.  Ms. Perkins does it again!

Product Description via Amazon.com


In this companion novel to Anna and the French Kiss, two teens discover that true love may be closer than they think

Lola and the Boy Next DoorFor budding costume designer Lola Nolan, the more outrageous, the outfit - more sparkly, more fun, more wild - the better. But even though Lola's style is outrageous, she's a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins move back into the house next door.
When the family returns and Cricket - a gifted inventor and engineer - steps out from his twin sister's shadow and back into Lola's life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Mountain Between Us by Charles Martin

Part Survivorman, part love story, part tragedy...typically everything I love in a book, but this was just ok.  I really like his character development - even if his male leads are a tad, how shall I put it, unrealistic *ahem*. 

Ben and Ashley meet at the airport during a storm and decided to take a small charter plane to try and get around the storm.  Ashley is rushing home to her wedding and Ben is rushing home to a job and a difficult situation with his wife...and the plane crashes...and you can probably see where this is heading...

Book Description via Amazon.com


Charles Martin'sThe Mountain Between Us: A Novel [Hardcover](2010)On a stormy winter night, two strangers wait for a flight at the Salt Lake City airport. Ashley Knox is an attractive, successful writer, who is flying East for her much anticipated wedding. Dr. Ben Payne has just wrapped up a medical conference and is also eager to get back East for a slate of surgeries he has scheduled for the following day. When the last outgoing flight is cancelled due to a broken de-icer and a forthcoming storm, Ben finds a charter plane that can take him around the storm and drop him in Denver to catch a connection. And when the pilot says the single engine prop plane can fit one more, if barely, Ben offers the seat to Ashley knowing that she needs to get back just as urgently. And then the unthinkable happens. The pilot has a heart attack mid-flight and the plane crashes into the High Uintas Wilderness-- one of the largest stretches of harsh and remote land in the United States.
Ben, who has broken ribs and Ashley, who suffers a terrible leg fracture, along with the pilot's dog, are faced with an incredibly harrowing battle to survive. Fortunately, Ben is a medical professional and avid climber (and in a lucky break, has his gear from a climb earlier in the week). With little hope for rescue, he must nurse Ashley back to health and figure out how they are going to get off the mountain, where the temperature hovers in the teens. Meanwhile, Ashley soon realizes that the very private Ben has some serious emotional wounds to heal as well. He explains to Ashley that he is separated from his beloved wife, but in a long standing tradition, he faithfully records messages for her on his voice recorder reflecting on their love affair. As Ashley eavesdrops on Ben's tender words to his estranged wife she comes to fear that when it comes to her own love story, she's just settling. And what's more: she begins to realize that the man she is really attracted to, the man she may love, is Ben.

As the days on the mountains become weeks, their survival become increasingly perilous. How will they make it out of the wilderness and if they do, how will this experience change them forever?
Both a tender and page-turning read, The Mountain Between Us will reaffirm your belief in the power of love to sustain us.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The City of Bones (Mortal Instruments Book 1) by Cassandra Clare

Yup, another one, loved it!!! I know, I know I keep saying that but I promise...this will not disappoint.  For audio book fans I started this as an audio book - which, at first, the narrator grated on me a bit, but she grew on me (I will say, as a native New Yorker, we don't sound like that but I can forgive small transgressions.)  Anyhoo, I stopped listening because I could not wait for those small snippets of time when I am in my car to finish this...I needed to see what happened.  I love Clary, she is spunky and a red head (which automatically wins me over) but she is also insecure and unsure.  Jace is cocky and arrogant and mostly a jerk but I love him too (and I won't even get started about Simon.)  So, yeah, I liked the character development, alot...the setting is NYC and, well, that's perfect too, but I am biased.  I have the next book on hold already and I am keeping my fingers crossed that she doesn't let me down.

Book Description via Amazon.com
Publication Date: February 19, 2008
City of Bones (Mortal Instruments)Series: Mortal Instruments (Book 1)

When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder—much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It’s hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing—not even a smear of blood—to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?

This is Clary’s first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It’s also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace’s world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know. . . .
Exotic and gritty, exhilarating and utterly gripping, Cassandra Clare’s ferociously entertaining fantasy takes readers on a wild ride that they will never want to end.