Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Rose Harbor in Bloom by Debbie Macomber


What can I say...second in the series, love the series and her, perfect light reading :)
 
From Booklist

The second book in best-selling Macomber’s Rose Harbor series is set in Cedar Cove, the cozy Washington town on the Puget Sound that is the setting of many of her novels as well as that of a new Hallmark Network TV series. Jo Marie Rose, a recent war widow, has opened a bed-and-breakfast in Cedar Cove. She is testy with curmudgeonly Mark, the handyman who procrastinated in putting her rose garden in until too late for it to be ready for her big open house, when every room is filled. Mary Smith, frail, weak, and bald from fighting breast cancer, has a secret reason for wanting to be in Cedar Cove. The other guests are celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of Annie Newton’s grandparents. Annie, a party planner getting over a broken engagement, is aghast to run into her teenage nemesis—the first boy she ever kissed. Then Jo Marie learns that it isn’t certain that her soldier husband perished in a helicopter wreck. Macomber’s legions of fans will embrace this cozy, heartwarming read.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Starry Night by Debbie Macomber


Tis’ the season for deliciously cheesy holiday novels…and Debbie Macomber is the queen.  This is a sweet, short little book that is perfect for a chaotic holiday season.   

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Contemporary romance queen Macomber (Rose Harbor in Bloom) hits the sweet spot with this tender tale of impractical love. Newspaper reporter Carrie Slayton is sick of covering Chicago society events, so she hops on a plane to the Alaskan bush, determined to track down Finn Dalton, a bestselling author no one knows anything about. Finn hates reporters, guards his privacy, distrusts romance after a bad breakup, and resents his mother for leaving him and his father. Naturally, he refuses to engage in any personal conversation with Carrie when she arrives. But he can't control his attraction to her and slips a few times during her stay, showing his sensitive side. By the time Carrie goes home, they are halfway in love, and they bridge the distance with e-mail and text messages. Carrie has to be extremely patient while Finn works through his issues, but their happy ending is a delicious Christmas miracle well worth waiting for. (Oct.)

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater

 
Oh my word…this book, this series, SO GOOD!!!  There is nothing more I can say other than read this book (but only if you have read The Raven Boys…and if you haven’t read that yet…what are you waiting for???) 
From Booklist
*Starred Review* In this continuation of The Raven Boys (2012), Printz Honor Book recipient Stiefvater continues the compelling story, keeping the focus once again on the Raven Boys themselves: privileged Gansey, tortured Adam, spectral Noah, and darkly dangerous Ronan. This time, though, their quest for the legendary sleeping Welsh King, Owen Glendower, takes a backseat to a spate of secrets, dreams, and nightmares that appear to be sapping the ley line—an invisible channel of energy connecting sacred places—that runs beneath their small Virginia town. Could this be the reason that the mystical forest, Cabeswater, has inexplicably disappeared? Who is the mysterious Grey Man, and why is he searching for the Greywaren, a relic that enables its owner to steal objects from dreams? How does this involve secretive Ronan? Visceral suspense builds as the characters pursue answers to these and other questions, and a palpable sense of foreboding and danger increasingly permeates the novel. Richly written and filled with figurative language (buildings are “tidy as library books”; a “murmur of guests” attend a party; a woman looks “fresh as a newscaster”), this story of secrets and dreams, of brothers, and of all-too-real magic is an absolute marvel of imagination and an irresistible invitation to wonder. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Backed by a 150,000 print run and a marketing push that includes a college-campus campaign, this title should multiply Stiefvater’s already vast fan base. Grades 9-12. --Michael Cart

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Coaltown Jesus by Ron Koertge

A joke cracking, somewhat snarky, but always loving Jesus…I’m in!!!  I read this book in an hour and it was just what I need…funny, touching, and poignant.  The book deals with tough stuff…loss of a sibling, a grief struck mother, a deceased father…it is hopeful, not depressing.  And while the title implies a highly religious overtone (and Jesus is one of the main characters,) it is not overly religious…it is definitely more spiritual.  It reminded me of the Jesus in the movie Dogma (Kevin Smith), with no bad language.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Here are some of my favorite moments: 
“Noah prayed?”

“Oh , yeah.  One night out on Bethel Road. He was by himself, and he got out of the car, looked up at the sky, and said, “Who am I, anyway?  Really, who the hell am I?”

“That doesn’t sound like a prayer to me.”

Jesus said, “Sure, it was.”  He leaned and petted Shadow, who let his tongue loll out in ecstasy.

Walker asked, “So what did you do?”

“I loved him.”

“That’s all?”

Jesus caressed Shadow one more time.  He straightened up and looked directly at Walker.

“Dude,” he said, “that’s everything.”

“Little kids I don’t mind.  Every kid wants a pony.  It’s grown-ups that get my robe in a knot.  Stop with the begging, okay?  Adore me for a change.  Or give thanks.  I like gratitude.  Or ask for guidance.  But oh, no.  It’s always the pony.”

Jesus moved closer.  “Walker, listen to me, okay?  You ask what happens when someone dies.  Well, the body decomposes and the worms play pinochle on your snout, but Walker, my dear Walker, the light never goes out.”

Book Description via Amazon

When Jesus shows up in Walker’s life, healing triumphs over heartbreak in Koertge’s finest and funniest novel yet.

Walker shouldn’t have been so surprised to find Jesus standing in the middle of his bedroom. After all, he’d prayed for whoever was up there to help him, and to help his mom, who hadn’t stopped crying since Noah died two months ago. But since when have prayers actually been answered? And since when has Jesus been so . . . irreverent? But as astounding as Jesus’ sudden appearance is, it’s going to take more than divine intervention for Walker to come to terms with his brother’s sudden death. Why would God take seventeen-year-old Noah when half of the residents in his mom’s nursing home were waiting to die? And why would he send Jesus to Coaltown, Illinois, to pick up the pieces? In a spare and often humorous text, renowned poet Ron Koertge tackles some of life’s biggest questions — and humanizes the divine savior in a way that highlights the divinity in all of us.




Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Outside by Laura Bickle


The Amish vampire apocalypse continues in this sequel to The Hallowed Ones.  I wanted to love this, I really did.  It received decent reviews…I was ready for some horror…but uggggg.  First off, I am able to suspend reality REALLY easy…vampires exist, yup I am with ya…crazy supernatural beings living in our world, most definitely…but weird green luminescent people able to repel vampires…I’m out.  I will say though, it was no *so* terrible that I didn’t finish it, but this does not go on the YOU MUST READ THIS RIGHT NOW list.

BOOK DESCRIPTION VIA AMAZON

After a plague of vampires was unleashed in the world, Katie was kicked out of the safe haven of her Amish community for her refusal to adhere to the new rules of survival. She enters an outside world of unspeakable violence with only her two friends and a horse by her side.
     And yet through this darkness come the shining ones: luminescent men and women with the power to deflect vampires and survive the night. But can they be trusted, and are they even people at all?
     In this sequel to The Hallowed Ones, it's up to one Amish girl to save her family, her community, and the boy she loves . . . but what will she be asked to sacrifice in return?

Monday, November 4, 2013

While We Were Watching Downton Abbey by Wendy Wax


My obsession with Downton Abbey + a book about friends = love.  I read this during an extremely frantic time when I just needed to escape…and boy did this deliver.  It made me want to start my very own Downton Abbey viewing party complete with fancy hats and even fancier cocktails.

From Booklist

Wax breaks from her Ten Beach Road series to indulge her obsession with the popular British television show Downton Abbey in her latest novel. When Edward, concierge of a posh Atlanta building, decides to host a weekly Downtown Abbey viewing party, it brings together an unlikely trio of residents. Behind her poised facade, Samantha harbors the belief that her husband married her out of pity, and she lets her younger siblings take advantage of her. Empty-nester Claire has taken a year off from her day job to write her next novel, but crippling writer’s block has her dodging her editor’s calls. Frumpy single-mom Brooke must face her ex-husband and his glossy new girlfriend, who have moved into the building. Wax’s trendy premise makes for a surprisingly poignant and enjoyable story about friendship. Readers need not be fans of the show to enjoy this tale, but they may relate more to the characters’ infatuation if they are. --Aleksandra Walker

Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion


Loved this…I describe it as Sheldon’s (Big Bang Theory) love story.  It is funny, warm and yes sentimental but sometimes you just need a dose of happy. 

Book Description via Amazon

An Amazon Best Book of the Month, October 2013: Full of heart and humor, Simsion’s debut novel about a fussy, socially-challenged man’s search for the perfect wife is smart, breezy, quirky, and fun. Sure, it’s the precise equivalent of a well-crafted romantic comedy. (In fact, the book was clearly written with the big-screen in mind, and the film rights have already been sold). But you’d have to be a pretty cynical reader not to fall for Don Tillman, a handsome genetics professor who has crafted a pathologically micromanaged life for himself but can’t seem to score a second date. After launching his Wife Project, which includes a hilarious questionnaire intended to weed out imperfect candidates--smokers, makeup wearers, vegans (“incredibly annoying”)--Don meets Rosie, a stunning, maddeningly disorganized bartender/student who’s looking for her biological father. The reader knows just where the story is headed: Rosie’s so wrong for Don, she’s perfect. That’s not giving anything away. Half the fun of the book is watching pent-up, Asperger’s-afflicted Don break free, thanks to Rosie, from his precisely controlled, annoyingly sensible, and largely humorless lifestyle. By the final third, you’re cheering for Don to shatter all his rules. And you’re casting the film. --Neal Thompson

Friday, October 4, 2013

Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan


I read a review that referred to Counting by 7s as “this years Wonder”…those are some pretty big words (a piece of that book still lives in my heart.)  And now my heart will have to make room for Willow, Mia, Quang-ha and the whole cast of characters in Counting by 7s.   Ok this is going to get personal…

I have *that* girl – odd, different, quirky, weird, WONDERFUL, SPECIAL, A GIFT TO THE WORLD – just like Willow.  And while my girl may have different oddities…I got Willow, I understood Willow, I LOVE Willow.  Here is my favorite quote…the one that got me, right through the heart:

Quang-ha (the surly, angry teenage boy) says to Willow:

“I don’t want to know how you did it.  I want to believe you’re magic.”

And she is…just like my girl…magic.  And when other people see the magic in your kid, especially your “special” kid…it makes your heart want to burst open…because not everyone is going to get them…only the special ones, the ones who believe in magic.

Book Description from Booklist

*Starred Review* In a voice that is frank, charming, and delightfully odd, Willow Chance narrates the strange and heartbreaking circumstances that lead her to find an offbeat, patchwork quilt of a family. As an adopted, self-identified “person of color,” precocious genius Willow unabashedly knows that she is different, but her parents love and support her idiosyncrasies, such as wearing her gardening outfit to school, her preoccupation with disease, her anthropological curiosity about her peers, and her obsession with the number seven. That self-assuredness shines through Willow’s narrative and becomes crucial to her survival after the unexpected death of her parents, which makes Willow a prime candidate for life in a group home—an environment that could be disastrous for an unusual child like her. Luckily, she finds new friends who are compelled to protect her: Mai and her family, who live in the garage behind the nail salon they own, and Willow’s slouch of a guidance counselor, Dell. Sloan (I’ll Be There, 2011) has masterfully created a graceful, meaningful tale featuring a cast of charming, well-rounded characters who learn sweet—but never cloying—lessons about resourcefulness, community, and true resilience in the face of loss. Grades 7-10. --Sarah Hunter

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Down and Out in Bugtussle by Stephanie McAfee


Product DetailsThis is the 3rd book in the series and I am still in love…Stephanie McAfee is my new Janet Evanovich…she is hilarious.  If you’re looking for a fun, funny, easy read this is a great series!!! 

Book Description From Booklist

Graciela “Ace” Jones is back from Florida, her art gallery closed and her engagement broken. Despite her lowly job as a substitute teacher, she is not one to settle for less. She decides to get her old art teacher position back, even if it means taking out the voluptuous, incompetent Cameron Becker. Meanwhile, her best friends, Chloe and Lilly, are dealing with relationship troubles, and coach Logan Hatter might want to be more than a friend-with-benefits to Ace. Then Ace finds her beloved grandmother’s gardening book, with a letter inside from a mysterious “M.” This is the third Ace Jones outing, and again she starts the book vowing to be quieter, better mannered, and more together. Fortunately for the reader, she fails. While not as madcap as Diary of a Mad Fat Girl (2012) and Happily Ever Madder (2012), Down and out in Bugtussle includes some wonderful, uncensored Ace-isms, especially in a memorable honky-tonk scene. Grandma’s big secret is not particularly shocking, but fans will be glad to visit with their favorite residents of Bugtussle, Mississippi, including the chiweenie, Buster Loo. --Susan Maguire

Monday, September 16, 2013

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell


Oh Amazon…we sometimes disagree on books but you and I are on the same page here…Fangirl is definitely the best of the month and possibly the year (…and NOT just because it was released on my birthday, that is just a happy coincidence.) 

I was cautious starting this book for a couple of reasons.  First I didn’t think I could love anything more than last year’s Eleanor & Park by Rainbow (and I am not sure if Fangirl has surpassed E&P but it is hovering at a close second.)  My second reason for the hesitation is that I am not typically a “fangirl”…I am not a gamer, comic book reader, or any other things you think of when you think fandom…I didn’t think I would be able to relate.  But Rainbow has a way of writing that just draws the reader into the story and makes you fall in love with her characters.  (I am really sad there was no Levi when I was in college…*sigh*)

This is just a phenomenal read…and if you haven’t read Eleanor & Park yet do that too. 

As a post script…I tweeted about my love for this book…she tweeted thank you…I had a moment…

Amazon.com Review

Best Books of the Month: Teen & Young Adult, September 2013: At first glance Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl has a lot in common with Eleanor & Park: idiosyncratic girl with troubled family meets good, normal boy and falls in love for the first time. But this is why Rowell is so talented--from the same basic ingredients she can create something new and special. In Fangirl, quirky introvert, Cath, is safe within the immensely popular Simon Snow (think Harry Potter) fan-fiction blog she writes with her twin sister, but college turns her life upside down, leaving her feeling like an awkward outsider. When she writes, Cath knows exactly what her characters should say to each other, but when it comes to forging real-life friendships, much less a romance, she hasn’t a clue. An immensely satisfying coming-of-age novel, Fangirl deftly captures the experience of discovering your true voice and clumsy, vulnerable, remarkable, first love. --Seira Wilson

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Gated by Amy Christine Parker


The idea of cults fascinates me…”drink the kool aide” has become a common catch phrase from the Jonestown massacre.  You wonder what drives people to give themselves over so completely to a person or an ideal.  This book tells the story of Lyla and her family’s involvement in a “gated community”.  They all believe the end times are coming…and their community will be the only ones to be saved.  This is a very quick paced read that doesn’t disappoint in the end.  

Amazon.com Review

An Amazon Best Teen Book of the Month, July 2013 Spotlight Pick: In the form of a highly original thriller, Gated goes inside the psychology of a fictional doomsday cult nearing the end of days. Real life cults have captured America's attention for decades and author Christine Parker taps into our fascination with ordinary people who fall under the spell of a charismatic leader. Despite having grown up in this insular community, seventeen-year-old Lyla, like teens everywhere, begins to question the status quo and work out what she really wants and believes--putting herself in mortal danger. Gated covers some universal themes: questioning authority, the need to belong, the desire to be special and safe, while delivering a gripping story that appeals to both teens and adults. The conclusion is a whirlwind of nail-biting action and I found myself racing through the pages to see how it was all going to end. --Seira Wilson

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Big Girl Panties by Stephanie Evanovich


Where to start….I love Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series (or I did till she got to about #15), and this being her niece, I thought I would give it a shot.  There was a lot about this book I loved…both Evanovich women have a panache for creating delectable men…Ranger and Logan, in my mind, look like Dwayne, the Rock, Johnson, *sigh*. 
Stephanie Evanovich definitely has a much, much naughtier side than her aunt…less than 50 shades but you get the idea…and we got to those scenes by page 17.  I do agree with the reviews that there are some body issue/self esteem things going on…can’t get hot guy until she loses weight ect ect ect…but it didn’t ruin it for me.  I loved the characters, there were some laugh out loud scenes and it was just fun (wink, wink).

Book Description From Booklist

In this modern take on My Fair Lady, obese young widow Holly becomes the special project of Logan Montgomery, a personal trainer whose typical clients are professional athletes. As Logan reshapes Holly’s body and helps her deal with the emotional reasons she binge-eats, the two first become friends and then an attraction grows. Logan has never been with anyone like Holly before; his typical conquests are model-beautiful women who aren’t looking for commitment. When their relationship becomes physical, they keep it secret owing to Logan’s discomfort and Holly’s insecurities, but soon Holly realizes that she deserves to be in a relationship with someone who accepts her imperfections. Evanovich’s debut effort is a funny, clever, and well-paced read, but it lacks polish. Holly is a sympathetic protagonist and Logan has his charming moments, but the novel sends mixed messages about body image, self-esteem, and seeking male approval. --Aleksandra Walker

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Monument 14 Sky on Fire by Emmy Laybourne


I hate when a sequel disappoints…I loved Monument 14 and really was excited for the sequel.  My first issue  was that it was only 210 pages, what?!?   It read more like an online novella than the actual second book in the series.  The book ends with another cliffhanger and an apparent continuation in the series and not sure if I will tune in.  This just felt rushed and incomplete…overall a disappointment.


Book Description From Booklist

The toxic cloud released in Monument 14 (2012) split our struggling group of kids into two factions: those like Alex, 13, who are using the junked school bus in hopes of reaching the Denver airport, where supposedly assistance awaits; and those who remained barricaded inside the superstore, including Alex’s 16-year-old brother, Dean. There is some hastiness to Laybourne’s prose here, but the trade-off is a fair one: the split point of view accelerates the drama as the bus is hijacked, the superstore breached, and certain characters learn to use their toxin-induced homicidal rage to reach their goals. Pretty darn breathless by the end. Grades 8-11. --Daniel Kraus

Monday, August 19, 2013

The Irresistible Blueberry Bakeshop & Cafe by Mary Simses


If you are still in need of an easy, breezy summer read…this is perfect.  My favorite part of the book is the setting...Maine.  There is just something about the tiny New England state - their coastline and beaches and lobster…perfect.

Book Description From Publishers Weekly

In this bittersweet debut, Simses tells the story of Ellen Branford, who sets out to investigate her grandmother's mysterious past and ends up finding herself. As she lays dying, Ellen's grandmother extracts a promise from Ellen: that she will deliver a long-overdue apology letter to the man her grandmother jilted back home in Beacon, Maine, nearly six decades earlier. After leaving her fiancé in Manhattan, Ellen heads to Beacon and promptly falls through a rotted pier. A strong rip current catches her and she is saved from drowning by local boy Roy Cummings, who pulls her to safety and lands them both on the front page of the local paper, gaining Ellen much notoriety as the Swimmer. Fighting her budding feelings for Roy, Ellen digs deeper into her grandmother's past, unearthing not only her grandmother's jilted hometown crush but also a whole host of new questions. The answers that come to light will drive Ellen to make a choice that will change the course of her life. Agent: Deneen Howell, Williams & Connolly. (July)

Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo


This series just keeps getting better and better…I am already mourning the end of the series, Ruin and Rising in 2014.  This is such a well written, exciting fantasy series; with great characters, amazing world-building, action, romance…it really has it all.  Although it is cataloged as a Young Adult it really has a very wide appeal to all fantasy lovers.

Book Description From School Library Journal

Gr 8 Up–After narrowly escaping the Darkling at the end of Shadow and Bone (Holt, 2012), Alina and Mal are still on the run. Though many believe her dead, Alina knows he will never stop hunting her, and she is right–it isn't long before the Darkling finds and recaptures both Alina and Mal. Forced onto a boat, the imprisoned couple has little choice but to do as he commands: track a second amplifier so that he can use Alina's twice-amplified powers against Ravka. With the help of a pirate with questionable motives, Alina and Mal escape and seek a third amplifier that Alina hopes will give her the strength to combat the Darkling's increasingly evil power and influence before his dark power becomes unstoppable. As with Shadow and Bone, this is a dark fantasy best for patient readers: Bardugo takes her time developing the plot and keeping readers guessing. World-building and character development are top-notch, and relationships and motives are complex; Alina hungers for more power just as much as the Darkling does. Those who haven't read the previous novel recently may want to brush up as there is little rehashing of its plot. An action-packed, heartbreaking ending will leave teens breathless for the final installment.–Leigh Collazo, Ed Willkie Middle School, Fort Worth, TXα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Two for Tuesday: 45 Pounds (more or less) by K.A. Barron and Will & Whit by Laura Lee Gulledge45 Pounds (more or Less)


45 Pounds (more or Less)

 

I wanted to love this more…the premise is, well, right up my alley *ahem*.  And it is not like this wasn’t good...well written, good story, well developed characters ect. ect. ect.  I just didn’t fall in love, with the story or the characters.  It was a tad predictable and just meh.

Book Description via Amazon

Release date: July 11, 2013

Here are the numbers of Ann Galardi's life:
She is 16.
And a size 17.
Her perfect mother is a size 6.
Her Aunt Jackie is getting married in 2 months, and wants Ann to be a bridesmaid.
So Ann makes up her mind: Time to lose 45 pounds (more or less).

Welcome to the world of informercial diet plans, wedding dance lessons, endless run-ins with the cutest guy Ann's ever seen—and some surprises about her not-so-perfect mother.

And there's one more thing—it's all about feeling comfortable in your own skin—no matter how you add it up!


Will & Whit

Now this I loved!  This is such a great graphic novel– beautiful illustrations, wonderful writing, and an amazing story.  Perfect for 6th grade and up.


Wilhelmina “Will” Huxstep is a creative soul struggling to come to terms with a family tragedy. She crafts whimsical lamps, in part to deal with her fear of the dark. As she wraps up another summer in her mountain town, she longs for unplugged adventures with her fellow creative friends, Autumn, Noel, and Reese. Little does she know that she will get her wish in the form of an arts carnival and a blackout, courtesy of a hurricane named Whitney, which forces Will to face her fear of darkness.
Laura Lee Gulledge’s signature visual metaphors will be on full display in this all-new graphic novel, a moving look at shedding light on the dark corners of life.

Praise for Will & Whit
STARRED REVIEW
"This sophomore offering shines as bright as the lamps Will surrounds herself with... Quirky, clever and insightful."
Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"Gulledge creates engaging characters (especially Reese, Noel’s precocious younger sister), and draws them with believable expressiveness… Gulledge’s values are wholesome, and her energy is up-to-the minute fresh."
Publishers Weekly

Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Revenge of the Girl with Great Personality by Elizabeth Eulberg


“Applying butt glue to my sister’s backside is, without question, not the first way I’d choose to spend a weekend.”  Best opening line I have read in a long time.  That coupled with the title…I’m in love.  This is a “Toddlers and Tiaras” mixed with “Mean Girls” in book form.

Book Description via Amazon

A hilarious new novel from Elizabeth Eulberg about taking the wall out of the wallflower so she can bloom.

Don't mess with a girl with a Great Personality.

Everybody loves Lexi. She's popular, smart, funny...but she's never been one of those girls, the pretty ones who get all the attention from guys. And on top of that, her seven-year-old sister, Mackenzie, is a terror in a tiara, and part of a pageant scene where she gets praised for her beauty (with the help of fake hair and tons of makeup).

Lexi's sick of it. She's sick of being the girl who hears about kisses instead of getting them. She's sick of being ignored by her longtime crush, Logan. She's sick of being taken for granted by her pageant-obsessed mom. And she's sick of having all her family's money wasted on a phony pursuit of perfection.

The time has come for Lexi to step out from the sidelines. Girls without great personalities aren't going to know what hit them. Because Lexi's going to play the beauty game - and she's in it to win it.

Monday, July 22, 2013

The Hallowed Ones by Laura Bickle


How could I not read this book…seriously, an Amish horror story, complete with talks about Rumspringa?!?  This is the first book in a planned series with the next one coming out in September (already have the order placed!)  I loved the premise and the setting…cornstalks just lend themselves to creepy (remember the movie “Children of the Corn” or “Signs”…shudder…)

Book Description via Amazon

Release date: September 25, 2012

Katie is on the verge of her Rumspringa, the time in Amish life when teenagers can get a taste of the real world. But the real world comes to her in this dystopian tale with a philosophical bent. Rumors of massive unrest on the “Outside” abound. Something murderous is out there. Amish elders make a rule: No one goes outside, and no outsiders come in. But when Katie finds a gravely injured young man, she can’t leave him to die. She smuggles him into her family’s barn—at what cost to her community? The suspense of this vividly told, truly horrific thriller will keep the pages turning.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Letters from Skye by Jessica Brockmole


“You and I are lucky.  We never had to worry about the first part, the visual sizing up.  We got to go directly to the interesting bit.  The getting to know the depths and breadths of each other’s soul.”

 

Sigh…this book…this freaking book…I don’t know if I can concisely talk about how much I LOVE this book.  First it is an epistolary novel, my all time favorite.  I think it stems from an early love of receiving mail and I am not going to lie, I still do.  Second, the time periods, WWI and WWII, there is just something about love during war time, it wrenches your heart that much more.  The story is set in the highlands of Scotland…I don’t think I need to say any more about that.  (If you’re not convinced that this is the *perfect* setting for a love story, check out this: http://www.isleofskye.com/)

 

I could go on and on…just read it…and if you’re not convinced see the reviews from, ya know,  “the professionals.”

 

Book Description via Amazon

Release date: July 9, 2013

A sweeping story told in letters, spanning two continents and two world wars, Jessica Brockmole’s atmospheric debut novel captures the indelible ways that people fall in love, and celebrates the power of the written word to stir the heart.

March 1912: Twenty-four-year-old Elspeth Dunn, a published poet, has never seen the world beyond her home on Scotland’s remote Isle of Skye. So she is astonished when her first fan letter arrives, from a college student, David Graham, in far-away America. As the two strike up a correspondence—sharing their favorite books, wildest hopes, and deepest secrets—their exchanges blossom into friendship, and eventually into love. But as World War I engulfs Europe and David volunteers as an ambulance driver on the Western front, Elspeth can only wait for him on Skye, hoping he’ll survive.

June 1940: At the start of World War II, Elspeth’s daughter, Margaret, has fallen for a pilot in the Royal Air Force. Her mother warns her against seeking love in wartime, an admonition Margaret doesn’t understand. Then, after a bomb rocks Elspeth’s house, and letters that were hidden in a wall come raining down, Elspeth disappears. Only a single letter remains as a clue to Elspeth’s whereabouts. As Margaret sets out to discover where her mother has gone, she must also face the truth of what happened to her family long ago.

Sparkling with charm and full of captivating period detail, Letters from Skye is a testament to the power of love to overcome great adversity, and marks Jessica Brockmole as a stunning new literary voice.

Praise for Letters from Skye

“A love story to the power of the written word.”—USA Today

“[A] remarkable story of two women, their loves, their secrets, and two world wars . . . [in which] the beauty of Scotland, the tragedy of war, the longings of the heart, and the struggles of a family torn apart by disloyalty are brilliantly drawn, leaving just enough blanks to be filled by the reader’s imagination.”Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“By turns lyrical and flirtatious, Brockmole’s debut charms with its wistful evocation of a time when handwritten, eagerly awaited letters could bespell besotted lovers.”Kirkus Reviews

Friday, July 12, 2013

Table for Seven by Whitney Gaskell


I would describe this as easy, breezy…a good summer read if you’re looking for something on the lighter side.

Book Description via Amazon

Release date: April 23, 2013

A warm and witty novel about friendship, fine dining, and learning that life doesn’t always turn out quite how we expect it to—perfect for fans of Barbara O’Neal and Nancy Thayer
 
On New Year’s Eve, Fran and Will Parrish host a dinner party, serving their friends a gourmet feast. The night is such a success that the group decides to form a monthly dinner party club. But what starts as an excuse to enjoy the company of fellow foodies ends up having lasting repercussions on each member of the Table for Seven Dinner Party Club.

Fran and Will face the possibility that their comfortable marriage may not be as infallible as they once thought. Audrey has to figure out how to move on and start a new life after the untimely death of her young husband. Perfectionist Jaime suspects that her husband, Mark, might be having an affair. Coop, a flirtatious bachelor who never commits to a third date, is blindsided when he falls in love for the first time. Leland, a widower, is a wise counselor and firm believer that bacon makes everything taste better.

Over the course of a year, against a backdrop of mouthwatering meals, relationships are forged, marriages are tested, and the members of the Table for Seven Dinner Party Club find their lives forever changed.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

He's Gone by Deb Caletti


This is a perfect summer/beach read.  Beautifully written, fully developed, if flawed, characters and an amazing plot.  There were moments when I wanted to highlight paragraphs because of Caletti’s writing – but alas my librarian side took over and I stopped.  I truly had no idea how the book was going to end, the suspense was killing me…I literally could not put it down. 

Book Description via Amazon

From National Book Award finalist Deb Caletti comes an intensely gripping story about love, loss, marriage, and secrets—perfect for readers of Jodi Picoult, Kristin Hannah, and Anna Quindlen.
 
“One of the best books I’ve read all year.”—Barbara O’Neal, author of The Garden of Happy Endings
“What do you think happened to your husband, Mrs. Keller?”
 
The Sunday morning starts like any other, aside from the slight hangover. Dani Keller wakes up on her Seattle houseboat, a headache building behind her eyes from the wine she drank at a party the night before. But on this particular Sunday morning, she’s surprised to see that her husband, Ian, is not home. As the hours pass, Dani fills her day with small things. But still, Ian does not return. Irritation shifts to worry, worry slides almost imperceptibly into panic. And then, like a relentless blackness, the terrible realization hits Dani: He’s gone.

As the police work methodically through all the logical explanations—he’s hurt, he’s run off, he’s been killed—Dani searches frantically for a clue as to whether Ian is in fact dead or alive. And, slowly, she unpacks their relationship, holding each moment up to the light: from its intense, adulterous beginning, to the grandeur of their new love, to the difficulties of forever. She examines all the sins she can—and cannot—remember. As the days pass, Dani will plumb the depths of her conscience, turning over and revealing the darkest of her secrets in order to discover the hard truth—about herself, her husband, and their lives together.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey


Any book description that has “the Passage meets Ender’s Game” has my name on it.  This book was near perfect.  I loved all the characters and their relationships, there was a touch romance but it didn’t overpower the storyline.   This is a great summer read if you’re looking for action and suspense (especially if you will be spending any summer nights gazing up at the stars wondering if there really is anyone out there???  And after you read this book you’re going to hope that the answer is no!)

Book Description via Amazon

Release date: May 7, 2013 | Series: 5th Wave

"Remarkable, not-to-be-missed-under-any-circumstances."—Entertainment Weekly (Grade A)

The Passage meets Ender's Game in an epic new series from award-winning author Rick Yancey.

After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it's the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth's last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie's only hope for rescuing her brother--or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.

"Wildly entertaining . . . I couldn't turn the pages fast enough."—Justin Cronin, The New York Times Book Review

"A modern sci-fi masterpiece . . . should do for aliens what Twilight did for vampires."—USAToday.com

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Easy by Tammara Webber


I now know why this book got over a thousand 5 star reviews on Amazon…so, so, so good.   It deals with a very prevalent and tough topic – date rape on college campuses – yet doesn’t feel overly heavy and preachy.  It has a phenomenal love story…with just the right amount of naughty bits (she says with a blush).   

Book Description via Amazon

Publication Date: October 9, 2012

The New York Times Bestseller by Tammara Webber
Rescued by a stranger.
Haunted by a secret
Sometimes, love isn't easy...

He watched her, but never knew her. Until thanks to a chance encounter, he became her savior...

The attraction between them was undeniable. Yet the past he'd worked so hard to overcome, and the future she'd put so much faith in, threatened to tear them apart.

Only together could they fight the pain and guilt, face the truth - and find the unexpected power of  love.

A groundbreaking novel in the New Adult genre, Easy faces one girl's struggle to regain the trust she's lost, find the inner strength to fight back against an attacker, and accept the peace she finds in the arms of a secretive boy.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys


For some reason I had a hard time getting into this book…which is not a great way to start a review about a book I LOVE.  I think it was more a reflection of my reading ADD that I have been experiencing lately and less about the book.  I am so glad I stuck with it – the story was fantastic.  I absolutely love Ruta Sepetys characters and Josie is my new favorite.   The setting is so interesting…you could almost feel like you were in New Orleans while reading.  I will be eagerly waiting for her next endeavor.  This is cataloged as a Young Adult book but it has HUGE adult appeal.

Book Description via Amazon

Release date: February 12, 2013

It's 1950 and the French Quarter of New Orleans simmers with secrets. Known among locals as the daughter of a brothel prostitute, Josie Moraine wants more out of life than the Big Easy has to offer. She devises a plan get out, but a mysterious death in the Quarter leaves Josie tangled in an investigation that will challenge her allegiance to her mother, her conscience, and Willie Woodley, the brusque madam on Conti Street.

Josie is caught between the dream of an elite college and a clandestine underworld. New Orleans lures her in her quest for truth, dangling temptation at every turn, and escalating to the ultimate test.

With characters as captivating as those in her internationally bestselling novel Between Shades of Gray, Ruta Sepetys skillfully creates a rich story of secrets, lies, and the haunting reminder that decisions can shape our destiny.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong by Prudence Shen & Faith Erin Hicks *GRAPHIC NOVEL*



Book Description via Amazon

Release date: May 7, 2013

You wouldn’t expect Nate and Charlie to be friends. Charlie’s the laid-back captain of the basketball team, and Nate is the neurotic, scheming president of the robotics club. But they are friends, however unlikely—until Nate declares war on the cheerleaders. At stake is funding that will either cover a robotics competition or new cheerleading uniforms—but not both.

It's only going to get worse: after both parties are stripped of their funding on grounds of abominable misbehavior, Nate enrolls the club's robot in a battlebot competition in a desperate bid for prize money. Bad sportsmanship? Sure. Chainsaws? Why not. Running away from home on Thanksgiving to illicitly enter a televised robot death match? Of course!

In Faith Erin Hicks' and Prudence Shen's world of high school class warfare and robot death matches, Nothing can possibly go wrong.