Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Look of Love by Sarah Jio

I love Sarah Jio, she has a great sense of character and setting.  She is single handedly responsible for my obsession with the Pacific Northwest.  This is a great one to pick up for the holiday break.

Book Description via Amazon

Born during a Christmas blizzard, Jane Williams receives a rare gift: the ability to see true love. Jane has emerged from an ailing childhood a lonely, hopeless romantic when, on her twenty-ninth birthday, a mysterious greeting card arrives, specifying that Jane must identify the six types of love before the full moon following her thirtieth birthday, or face grave consequences. When Jane falls for a science writer who doesn’t believe in love, she fears that her fate is sealed. Inspired by the classic song, The Look of Love is utterly enchanting.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Call Me Mrs. Miracle by Debbie Macomber

A lovely holiday read...sweet, sentimental and perfect for this time of year.

Book Description via Amazon

Mrs. Miracle on 34th Street

This Christmas, Emily Merkle (just call her Mrs. Miracle) is working in the toy department of Finley's, the last family-owned department store in New York City. And her boss is none other than Jake Finley, the owner's son.

For Jake, holiday memories of brightly wrapped gifts, decorated trees and family gatherings were destroyed in a Christmas Eve tragedy years before. Now Christmas means only one thing to him—and to his father. Profit. Because they need a Christmas miracle to keep the business afloat.

Holly Larson needs a miracle, too. She wants to give her eight-year-old nephew, Gabe, the holiday he deserves. Holly's widowed brother is in the army and won't be home for Christmas, but at least she can get Gabe that toy robot from Finley's, the one gift he desperately wants. If she can figure out how to pay for it…

Fortunately, it's Mrs. Miracle to the rescue. Next to making children happy, she likes nothing better than helping others—and that includes doing a bit of matchmaking!

This Christmas will be different. For all of them.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

Very late to the party on this one, but boy am I glad I decided to join.  This is as good as everyone says it is...just go read it...if you don't believe me, trust the *almost* 8,000 five star reviews on Amazon!

From Booklist

A long journey from home and the struggle to find it again form the heart of the intertwined stories that make up this moving novel. Foster teen Molly is performing community-service work for elderly widow Vivian, and as they go through Vivian’s cluttered attic, they discover that their lives have much in common. When Vivian was a girl, she was taken to a new life on an orphan train. These trains carried children to adoptive families for 75 years, from the mid-nineteenth century to the start of the Great Depression. Novelist Kline (Bird in Hand, 2009) brings Vivian’s hardscrabble existence in ­Depression-era Minnesota to stunning life. Molly’s present-day story in Maine seems to pale in comparison, but as we listen to the two characters talk, we find grace and power in both of these seemingly disparate lives. Although the girls are vulnerable, left to the whims of strangers, they show courage and resourcefulness. Kline illuminates a largely hidden chapter of American history, while portraying the coming-of-age of two resilient young women. --Bridget Thoreson

Saturday, November 29, 2014

I'll Give you the Sun by Jandy Nelson

Hands down my favorite YA book of the year and quite possible my favorite overall book of the year.  This is just such an incredibly written, heartbreaking, breathlessly beautiful book.  This had my crying, like "crazy woman crying on the elliptical at the gym crying".  I kept dog earring pages (shhhhh don't tell) because there were so many paragraphs that I wanted to remember...forever.  This is definitely going into the permanent collection...simply amazing.

Here are just a few of my favorites...I kinda want to transcribe the whole book...

"My mom, she was really beautiful.  My Dad used to say she could make trees bloom just by looking at them...every morning she used to stand on the deck staring out at the water.  The wind would stream through her hair, her robe would billow behind her.   It was like she was at the helm of a ship, you know?  It was like she was steering us across the sky."  PG 192  (SOB)

"Even God, he have to make the world twice...Yes, so if God can have two tries, why not us?  Or three or three hundred tries." PG 302

"Or maybe a person is just made up of a lot of people...Maybe we're accumulating these new selves all the time.  Hauling them in as we make choices, good and bad, as we screw up, step up, lose our minds, find our minds, fall apart, fall in love, as we grieve, grow, retreat from the world, dive into the world, as we make things, as we break things."  PG 354  (OH MY GOD!!!!)

"Mothers are the parachutes."  PG 353 (Yes they are...even when they are not here.)


The New York Times Bestselling story of first love, family, loss, and betrayal for fans of John Green, David Levithan, and Rainbow Rowell
Jude and her twin brother, Noah, are incredibly close. At thirteen, isolated Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude cliff-dives and wears red-red lipstick and does the talking for both of them. But three years later, Jude and Noah are barely speaking. Something has happened to wreck the twins in different and dramatic ways . . . until Jude meets a cocky, broken, beautiful boy, as well as someone else—an even more unpredictable new force in her life. The early years are Noah's story to tell. The later years are Jude's. What the twins don't realize is that they each have only half the story, and if they could just find their way back to one another, they’d have a chance to remake their world.

This radiant novel from the acclaimed, award-winning author of The Sky Is Everywhere will leave you breathless and teary and laughing—often all at once.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Overwhelmed: work, love, and play when no one has the time By Brigid Schulte

I am really glad I decided to purchase this book and not take it out from the library (I know, I know bad librarian) *but* my copy is now littered with margin notes and underlines and exclamation points.  There was just so much to take in, so many annotated references that I now have a list of must reads a mile long.  I really thought she was writing about my life...driving one to one activity, hauling the other one to something else, a daily list of must dos longer than my arm...ya know your basic mom's life.  And while there is no major answers to these life problems, good suggestions yes, but nothing earth shattering, it brings a necessary awareness to the daily life/work struggle.

Just *one* of my favorites:

"Park the helicopter.  You don't have to be everything on your own and better than everyone else...'Love your kids.  Keep them safe.  Accept them as they are.  Then get out of their way.'"
PG. 283

From Booklist

Journalist Schulte manages to take a fairly pedestrian topic, the value of leisure in modern American society, and turn it into a compelling narrative on work, play, and personal achievement. Liberally peppered with her own experiences as a wife, mother, and Washington Post reporter, this artful blend of memoir and cultural exploration asks hard questions about how to create a well-lived life. Is leisure a waste of time, or the only time to “live fully present”? Are we more concerned about a purpose-driven experience, or bogged down in “banal busyness”? Schulte, juggling the demands of children and work while facing conflicts with her spouse over familial responsibilities, realizes that she is mired in busyness. Her discussions with a wide range of experts clarify her concerns and open her mind to the manufactured madness of a competitive culture and the false promise of the ruthlessly dedicated “ideal worker.” Schulte follows every lead to uncover why Americans are so determined to exhaust themselves for work and what has been lost in the process. For Lean In (2013) fans, and everyone who feels overwhelmed. --Colleen Mondor

Monday, November 3, 2014

Gabriel's Inferno by Sylvain Reynard

Such a guilty pleasure...think of it as a delicious, decadent piece of chocolate, not necessarily good for you but sooo worth it. 

Book Description via Amazon

Enigmatic and sexy, Professor Gabriel Emerson is a well-respected Dante specialist by day, but by night he devotes himself to an uninhibited life of pleasure. He uses his notorious good looks and sophisticated charm to gratify his every whim, but is secretly tortured by his dark past and consumed by the profound belief that he is beyond all hope of redemption.

When the sweet and innocent Julia Mitchell enrolls as his graduate student, his attraction and mysterious connection to her not only jeopardizes his career, but sends him on a journey in which his past and his present collide.

An intriguing and sinful exploration of seduction, forbidden love, and redemption, Gabriel’s Inferno is a captivating and wildly passionate tale of one man’s escape from his own personal hell as he tries to earn the impossible—forgiveness and love.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

El Deafo by Cece Bell

Another treasure of a memoir in graphic novel format...I loved it.  Cece is brave and funny and wonderful...and now I need to meet her.  If you liked Smile you will love this!

Book Description via Amazon

Going to school and making new friends can be tough. But going to school and making new friends while wearing a bulky hearing aid strapped to your chest? That requires superpowers! In this funny, poignant graphic novel memoir, author/illustrator Cece Bell chronicles her hearing loss at a young age and her subsequent experiences with the Phonic Ear, a very powerful—and very awkward—hearing aid.
The Phonic Ear gives Cece the ability to hear—sometimes things she shouldn’t—but also isolates her from her classmates. She really just wants to fit in and find a true friend, someone who appreciates her as she is. After some trouble, she is finally able to harness the power of the Phonic Ear and become “El Deafo, Listener for All.” And more importantly, declare a place for herself in the world and find the friend she’s longed for.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld

This was such a different...and wonderful...premise for a novel.  The reader first meets Darcy, a eighteen year old debut author on her journey through the sometimes brutal world of publishing in NYC.  She is discovering who she is as a person and who she is as a writer.  In alternating chapters we get an interesting twist...we get to read Darcy's book, Afterworlds.  I loved each story equally,  this definitely did not disappoint.

*STARRED REVIEW* Eighteen-year-old Darcy drops her college plans and moves to New York to revise her soon-to-bepublished novel and start the second one. Meanwhile, in chapters that alternate with Darcy’s NYC adventures, her fictional protagonist, Lizzie, survives a near-death experience to find she has become a psychopomp, responsible for guiding souls to the afterlife. Westerfeld masterfully creates two divergent reading experiences (YA romance and fantasy horror) with two distinct yet believable voices in Darcy and Lizzie—and, somehow, makes them mesh into one cohesive novel. In addition to the details of the fully realized story worlds—and that's worlds plural, as this is a busy book, with content drawn from Gujarati culture and Indian religion—this book includes romantic entanglements, a charming lesbian love story, terrorism and justice, and insider references to the YA publishing and literature scene (including several references to the Michael L. Printz Award) that will have librarians grinning in delight. Westerfeld deftly and subtly captures Darcy’s immature authorial voice, even including a few underdeveloped plot points that differentiate it from his own polished prose. There are no notes about cultural sources, but an extended conversation between (fictional) YA authors explores these issues, offering a few perspectives on respect and appropriateness. Get plenty; this one won’t stay on the shelves.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

I am very late to this parade, so late in fact that I almost missed it, and I am so glad I didn't.  I must admit it was the buzz about the movie that finally got me moving on this, anything with Neil Patrick Harris is a must see on my list, I heart NPH. 

This book, just wow, you really can't talk about it too much because it is so easy to let out some spoilers;  and trust me, this is one book that you don't want spoiled.  Flynn's writing is flawless...caustic, biting, raw.  And her characters, how can I like this book so much and hate the characters equally as intensely?  Guess it's that good writing thing...  This book begs to be discussed, which is why I am awful wife and spoiled the whole thing for my husband because I just HAD TO TALK...thanks babe for taking one for the team. 

Amazon.com Review

Amazon Best Books of the Month, June 2012: On the day of their fifth wedding anniversary, Nick's wife Amy disappears. There are signs of struggle in the house and Nick quickly becomes the prime suspect. It doesn't help that Nick hasn't been completely honest with the police and, as Amy's case drags out for weeks, more and more vilifying evidence appears against him. Nick, however, maintains his innocence. Told from alternating points of view between Nick and Amy, Gillian Flynn creates an untrustworthy world that changes chapter-to-chapter. Calling Gone Girl a psychological thriller is an understatement. As revelation after revelation unfolds, it becomes clear that the truth does not exist in the middle of Nick and Amy's points of view; in fact, the truth is far more dark, more twisted, and more creepy than you can imagine. Gone Girl is masterfully plotted from start to finish and the suspense doesn't waver for one page. It's one of those books you will feel the need to discuss immediately after finishing because the ending doesn't just come; it punches you in the gut. --Caley Anderson

Friday, October 3, 2014

The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey

GROAN....I was so, so, so looking forward to this book, so much so that I actually ponied up the money to buy it...and what a let down.  The story line was way too convoluted and let me wondering what the hell is going on.  The characters that I loved, namely Cassie and Evan, were barely in it.  I was expecting the big cliff hanger ending but I was left more befuddled than wow'd.  I will read the next one in hopes that he gets back to what he started in the 5th Wave.  Sigh, I hate when authors let me down...

Book Description via Amazon 

How do you rid the Earth of seven billion humans? Rid the humans of their humanity.

Surviving the first four waves was nearly impossible. Now Cassie Sullivan finds herself in a new world, a world in which the fundamental trust that binds us together is gone. As the 5th Wave rolls across the landscape, Cassie, Ben, and Ringer are forced to confront the Others’ ultimate goal: the extermination of the human race.

Cassie and her friends haven’t seen the depths to which the Others will sink, nor have the Others seen the heights to which humanity will rise, in the ultimate battle between life and death, hope and despair, love and hate.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Small Blessings by Martha Woodroof

A beautifully written debut novel.  I absolutely loved these quirky, flawed characters...I was rooting for Tom, Henry, Rose, and the entire cast of characters the whole way. 

"it occurred to Tom that embracing the possibility of a happy future might be the bravest thing he had ever done."

Book Description via Amazon.com

From debut novelist Martha Woodroof comes an inspiring tale of a small-town college professor, a remarkable new woman at the bookshop, and the ten-year old son he never knew he had. 

Tom Putnam has resigned himself to a quiet and half-fulfilled life. An English professor in a sleepy college town, he spends his days browsing the Shakespeare shelves at the campus bookstore, managing the oddball faculty in his department and caring, alongside his formidable mother-in-law, for his wife Marjory, a fragile shut-in with unrelenting neuroses, a condition exacerbated by her discovery of Tom’s brief and misguided affair with a visiting poetess a decade earlier.

Then, one evening at the bookstore, Tom and Marjory meet Rose Callahan, the shop's charming new hire, and Marjory invites Rose to their home for dinner, out of the blue, her first social interaction since her breakdown. Tom wonders if it’s a sign that change is on the horizon, a feeling confirmed upon his return home, where he opens a letter from his former paramour, informing him he'd fathered a son who is heading Tom's way on a train.  His mind races at the possibility of having a family after so many years of loneliness. And it becomes clear change is coming whether Tom’s ready or not.

A heartwarming story with a charmingly imperfect cast of characters to cheer for, Small Blessings's wonderfully optimistic heart that reminds us that sometimes, when it feels like life has veered irrevocably off track, the track shifts in ways we never can have imagined.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Art of Hearing Heartbeats by Jan-Philipp Sendker

I volunteered to pick the next selection for my book club.  Being a librarian makes this a somewhat daunting task...there is an inherent pressure that I have to  pick a "good" book, a book that will inspire discussion and perhaps even debate.  I think I hit the mark with Jan-Philipp Sendker's The Art of Hearing Heartbeats.  This is such a beautifully written story with characters that both break your heart and make you want to cry tears of happiness.  The location is just the proverbial cherry on top - twentieth century Burma - exotic and mysterious and wonderful.  The only question is what am I going to serve for dinner?

"Only a few days earlier he had explained to her that he did not merely read books but traveled with them, that they took him to other countries and unfamiliar continents, and that with their help he was always getting to know new people, many of whom even became his friends." Pg. 128

From Booklist
Already a huge hit in Europe, Sendker’s debut is a lush tale of romance and family set in mid-twentieth-century Burma. Four years after her father mysteriously disappeared, Julia Win traces him to the small town of Kalaw after finding a love letter among his possessions addressed to a woman named Mi Mi. In Kalaw, an old man named U Ba approaches her, promising to tell her the story of her father’s life before he came to New York and met her mother. As a child, Tin Win was abandoned by his mother, who was told by an astrologer the boy was cursed. At 10, Tin Win gradually goes blind. He’s taken in by a kindly neighbor, who finds him a home at a local monastery. It is there that he meets Mi Mi, whose crippled legs make her as much of an outsider as Tin Win. Their natural camaraderie quickly turns into love, but their happiness is brief. A beautiful tale bound to enchant readers on this side of the Atlantic. --Kristine Huntley

Monday, September 15, 2014

Sisters by Raina Telgemeier

I love this *almost* as much as Smile...but really how can you top perfection.  Perfect for grades 5 and up...and by up I mean any adult.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Telgemeier’s follow-up to Smile (2010)—possibly the only universally embraced graphic novel on the planet—offers the same thoughtful perspective while also creating a slightly more mature and complex tone. Raina boards the family minivan traveling from California to Colorado to visit relatives, sharing a charged and eventful trip with her mother, sister, and younger brother. Cleverly, the trip is interspersed with flashbacks that flesh out the emotional background and neatly dovetail with Smile. While the focus of the story explores Raina’s combative relationship with her younger sister, Amara, it is in some sense about families themselves, the tensions they breed, the unspoken worries that swirl through households, and the ways an older generation’s unintended example echoes through younger generations. This may sound dark and heavy, but it actually exists only as an underlying reality. Telgemeier keeps the surface story popping and zippy, even through the constant sparring between the awkwardly adolescent Raina and her firecracker younger sister, a relationship that will prove profoundly familiar to many readers. Telgemeier’s art complements her writing to great effect, offering a cheerful, vivid cartoon simplicity that allows readers to instantly engage even as it leaves room for deeper truths to take hold.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

 A perfect ending to a perfect series...my only complaint is that it is over. 

"But I guess I'm the same selfish ass I've always been.  For all my talk of vows and honor, what I really want is to put you up against that wall and kiss you until you forget you ever knew another man's name." (Pg. 168)

"In the end, maybe love just meant longing for something impossibly bright and forever out of reach." (Pg. 234)

From School Library Journal

Gr 8 Up—The Darkling has finally risen, and only Alina Starkov has the power to free Ravka from his evil influence. But with her powers depleted, her best friend injured and broken, and boyfriend Mal at odds with her decisions, Alina knows her odds of finding the elusive firebird are stacked against her. As Alina seeks out the firebird amplifier that will give her the power she needs to defeat The Darkling, she learns that her ties to him may be too great for her to resist. Readers are advised to read—or even reread—the first two books before delving into this conclusion to the trilogy, as there is little backstory to remind readers what transpired in the first two books. Once again, Bardugo is a master at building an action-packed fantasy with extraordinary world-building and complex characters. Though they try to do the right thing, the characters are perfectly imperfect; they question themselves, take risks, and make plenty of mistakes. While The Darkling is a little too similar to Harry Potter's Voldemort, he is still a delicious combination of evil, cunning, and manipulation. Fans of the first two books will not be disappointed, especially with the reappearance of charismatic Nikolai/Sturmhond. Already optioned for a movie, this trilogy is a must for libraries serving teens.—Leigh Collazo, Ed Willkie Middle School, Fort Worth, TX


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

Stephanie, I forgive you for making me wait soooooo long for this sequel, it was absolutely worth the wait.  I love these books something fierce, with all their romancey goodness, perfect settings and swoon worthy characters.   Although, I am not actually sure what I love more:  the characters or the setting...New York, Paris, Spain???  Ah, to be young and in love *and* in Paris...come on!!!  While the settings are dreamy, her main guys are a-mazing...√Čtienne, Cricket and my new favorite Josh...SIGHHHHHH. 

Book Description via Amazon

“Stephanie Perkins’s characters fall in love the way we all want to, in real time and for good.” —Rainbow Rowell, Award-winning, bestselling author of Eleanor & Park and Fangirl

A New York Times Bestseller
Love ignites in the City That Never Sleeps, but can it last?

Hopeless romantic Isla has had a crush on introspective cartoonist Josh since their first year at the School of America in Paris. And after a chance encounter in Manhattan over the summer, romance might be closer than Isla imagined. But as they begin their senior year back in France, Isla and Josh are forced to confront the challenges every young couple must face, including family drama, uncertainty about their college futures, and the very real possibility of being apart.

Featuring cameos from fan-favorites Anna, √Čtienne, Lola, and Cricket, this sweet and sexy story of true love—set against the stunning backdrops of New York City, Paris, and Barcelona—is a swoonworthy conclusion to Stephanie Perkins’s beloved series.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Driving with the Top Down by Beth Harbison

This is a perfect easy, breezy read.  It makes you want to grab your girlfriends, jump in the car and hit the road...preferably to somewhere warm with umbrella drinks.

Book Description via Amazon

Three women, two weeks, one convertible: sometimes life doesn't take you in the direction you expect...

Colleen Bradley is married with a teenage son, a modest business repurposing and reselling antiques, and longtime fear that she was not her husband’s first choice.  When she decides to take a road trip down the east coast to check out antique auctions for her business, she also has a secret ulterior motive.  Her one-woman mission for peace of mind is thrown slightly off course when sixteen year old Tamara becomes her co-pilot.  The daughter of Colleen’s brother-in-law, Tamara is aware that when people see her as a screw-up, but she knows in her heart that she’s so much more.  She just wishes her father could see it, too.

The already bumpy trip takes another unexpected turn when they stop at the diner that served as Colleen’s college hangout and run into her old friend, Bitty Nolan Camalier.  Clearly distressed, Bitty gives them a story full of holes: angry with her husband, she took off on her own, only to have her car stolen.  Both Colleen and Tamara sense that there’s more that Bitty isn’t sharing, but Colleen offers to give Bitty a ride to Florida.

So one becomes two becomes three as Colleen, Tamara, and Bitty make their way together down the coast.  It’s a road trip fraught with tension as Tamara’s poor choices come back to haunt her and Bitty’s secrets reach a boiling point.  With no one to turn to but each other, these three women might just discover that you can get lost in life but somehow, true friends provide a roadmap to finding what you’re really looking for. 

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Three Wishes by Liane Moriarty

 Liane Moriarty is officially my new favorite author, seriously, anyone whose debut book features triplets is a winner (not to mention that I have absolutely loved her other books...The Husband's Secret and Big Little Lies.)  Next on my list is What Alice Forgot...I have a feeling I won't be disappointed.

From Publishers Weekly

Three chick-lit heroines are better than one in Moriarty's witty debut starring Sydney-based triplets Cat, Gemma and Lyn Kettle. Borrowing a convention from mystery novels, Moriarty opens with a prologue whose events must be explained through subsequent chapters: in this case, what led one sis to imbed a fondue fork in another sis's pregnant belly at their 34th birthday celebration dinner? Moriarty gleefully describes the triplets' turbulent previous year, which forces them to abandon the roles they've played since childhood. Sarcastic and abrasive marketing executive Cat must grapple with her husband Dan's affair, a miscarriage and a drinking problem, while flighty Gemma, a full-time house sitter, probes her fears of commitment when she meets charming locksmith Charlie. Lyn, a successful entrepreneur, wife and mother, has perfected the art of time management ("Sex with husband. Check"), but she's quietly seized by bouts of panic. Despite such unoriginal problems, Moriarty's novel is a winning combination of smart-alecky fun and feel-good mush (mostly the former). Her writing is smart and playful ("Death was the hot bath you promised yourself while you endured small talk and uncomfortable shoes"), her characters are quirky and lovable and her clever plot turns—like the rekindled love between the triplets' divorced parents—are fun. Convenient coincidences and a general predictability don't distract too much from the sassy pleasures.


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Say What You Will by Cammie McGovern

I don't think I can adequately convey in words how much I loved this book...so I will steal the quote from below, "John Green's The Fault in Our Stars meets Rainbow Rowell's Eleanor & Park in this beautifully written, incredibly honest, and emotionally poignant novel."  YES, exactly!!!  I became one of those obsessive people, shushing and shooing my children away because I had to see what happened with Amy and Matthew, I was so emotionally invested in their story.  A perfect book, a must read.

Book Description via Amazon.com

John Green's The Fault in Our Stars meets Rainbow Rowell's Eleanor & Park in this beautifully written, incredibly honest, and emotionally poignant novel. Cammie McGovern's insightful young adult debut is a heartfelt and heartbreaking story about how we can all feel lost until we find someone who loves us because of our faults, not in spite of them.
Born with cerebral palsy, Amy can't walk without a walker, talk without a voice box, or even fully control her facial expressions. Plagued by obsessive-compulsive disorder, Matthew is consumed with repeated thoughts, neurotic rituals, and crippling fear. Both in desperate need of someone to help them reach out to the world, Amy and Matthew are more alike than either ever realized.
When Amy decides to hire student aides to help her in her senior year at Coral Hills High School, these two teens are thrust into each other's lives. As they begin to spend time with each other, what started as a blossoming friendship eventually grows into something neither expected.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Love Letters by Debbie Macomber

This is the latest installment in Debbie Macomber's Rose Harbor series.  I really enjoy Debbie Macomber, especially when I want something light with a guaranteed happy ending...sometimes you just need the happy ending, regardless of how improbable it may be.

From Booklist
The third entry in Macomber’s best-selling Rose Harbor series finds innkeeper Jo Marie repeatedly telling her friends and neighbors that Mark is merely the inn’s handyman, and she’s not interested in him outside of how quickly he can put up a new gazebo. But she ends up thinking more and more about the reclusive man and eventually starts poking around in his past. Tensions rise when Mark discovers Jo Marie’s probing and doesn’t like it one bit. Meanwhile, new guests arrive at the inn, bringing their own troubled pasts along with them. Ellie is there to meet a man she only knows via Facebook, while Maggie and Roy have booked a weekend as a last-ditch effort to save their failing marriage. Loads of secrets abound, families are brought together while others are torn apart, and, of course, love conquers all in the end. As per usual, Macomber’s fans will be lining up to see what happens in this gentle and heartwarming read, and they won’t be disappointed. --Rebecca Vnuk

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Maze Runner by James Dashner with movie trailer

I am a little late to join the band wagon on this one...but as the saying goes, better late than never.  Admittedly I only read this because a) my tween book club is discussing this in September and b) the movie is coming out in September.  But reasons aside, I really liked this one, and I already have requested the sequel.  I love that the majority of the characters are boys and there is a *very* light romance element, which all adds up to a great "boy" read.   Being the mother of one of those teenage boy creatures, who is *extremely* picky in what he reads, I am always on the look out for a good guy read.  Definitely check this book out before the September premier of the movie.

From School Library Journal

Grade 6–10—Thomas wakes up in an elevator, remembering nothing but his own name. He emerges into a world of about 60 teen boys who have learned to survive in a completely enclosed environment, subsisting on their own agriculture and supplies from below. A new boy arrives every 30 days. The original group has been in "the glade" for two years, trying to find a way to escape through a maze that surrounds their living space. They have begun to give up hope. Then a comatose girl arrives with a strange note, and their world begins to change. There are some great, fast-paced action scenes, particularly those involving the nightmarish Grievers who plague the boys. Thomas is a likable protagonist who uses the information available to him and his relationships (including his ties to the girl, Teresa) to lead the Gladers. Unfortunately, the question of whether the teens will escape the maze is answered 30 pages before the book ends, and the intervening chapter loses momentum. The epilogue, which would be deliciously creepy coming immediately after the plot resolves, fails to pack a punch as a result. That said, The Maze Runner has a great hook, and fans of dystopian literature, particularly older fans of Jeanne DuPrau's The City of Ember (Random, 2003), will likely enjoy this title and ask for the inevitable sequel.—Kristin Anderson, Columbus Metropolitan Library System, OH END --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarity

This is definitely one of my favorites of the year!  It amazes me that things like mommy wars are so universal...I felt like I was reading something that could happen in my town.  I laughed through half of this book and I was guessing at the "whodunit" till the very end.  It has already been optioned for a movie...it is really *that* good...an absolutely perfect beach read.

Amazon.com Review

An Amazon Best Book of the Month, July 2014: What is it about Liane Moriarty’s books that makes them so irresistible? They’re just classic “domestic” novels about marriage, motherhood, and modern upper-middle-class family life, after all. And despite the fact that Big Little Lies is Moriarty’s sixth adult novel (and it comes decades after the grandmother of this kind of thing, Bridget Jones’ Diary), it is remarkably new and fresh and winning Set in an Australian suburb, Big Little Lies focuses on three women, all of whom have children at the same preschool. One is a great beauty married to a fabulously rich businessman; they have a “perfect” set of twins. One is the can-do mom who can put together a mean pre-school art project but can’t prevent her teenage daughter from preferring her divorced dad. The third is a withdrawn, single mother who doesn’t quite fit in. Right from the start--thanks to a modern “Greek chorus” that narrates the action--we know that someone is going to end up dead. The questions are who and how. Miraculously, Moriarty keeps this high concept plot aloft, largely because she infuses it with such wit and heart. She also knows not to overplay the message she’s sending: that we all tell lies--to each other and, more importantly, to ourselves. --Sara Nelson

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Tease by Sophie Jordan

I just love this series...it's such a guilty pleasure...a GREAT summer read.  The last one in the series comes out in November...mark your calendar!!!

Book Description via Amazon

A young college woman gets schooled in life, sex, and love in New York Times bestselling author Sophie Jordan’s sizzling New Adult romance series—where three Ivy League suite-mates testing their boundaries as they seek higher knowledge of just how far they can go.
A born flirt and good-time party girl, Emerson has never had a problem finding a willing guy. She’s always chosen her hook-ups carefully, and she's never broken her three cardinal rules:
Never let them see the real you.
Never fall in love. 
Always leave them begging for more.
Then comes Shaw. A hotty from the wrong side of the tracks, he’s immune to her flirtatious banter and come-hither smile. After rescuing her from a disastrous night at a biker bar, he doesn’t even try to take her to bed—he calls her a tease and sends her home instead. Unable to resist a challenge, or forget the sexy dark-eyed bad-boy biker, she vows to bring him to his knees.
But instead of making Shaw beg, she finds herself craving him. For the first time in her life, she’s throwing out her rulebook. Suddenly, she’s the one panting for a guy she can’t control. A guy who won’t settle for anything less than the real Emerson, who forces her to do things she’s never imagined, including facing a past she thought she'd buried.
A guy who just might leave her wanting more . . .

Monday, July 21, 2014

Conversion by Katherine Howe

I absolutely loved this book, partly because we just visited Salem this year and I "relearned" about that time in history, and I am fascinated by it.  The book opens with Ann Putnam in 1706 (*the* Ann Putnam of Salem Witch trial fame) and then moves to Colleen in present day Boston.  Howe did a lot of research and used those facts and testimonies within the novel, sometimes the truth is better than fiction.  And while most of us know the details about the witch trials, the book still leaves the reader guessing how it is all going to end.

From School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up—Howe skillfully blends a modern medical mystery based on real events with the historical Salem Witch panic to create an engaging story. The prelude begins with Ann Putnam arriving at her minister's house in Salem, Massachusetts in 1706, finally ready to confess her part in the Panic more than 12 years before. Ann's tale continues in between glimpses into the life of Colleen Rowley, a senior at the exclusive St. Joan's High School of Danvers, Massachusetts in 2012. The pressure in the final semester is intense for Colleen and her classmates, who are all competing for places in top colleges. Her usually uneventful morning is disturbed, first by an apparent seizure of the very popular Clara Rutherford, and then by the unexplained replacement of the young AP History teacher. As the semester continues, more girls fall victim to a panoply of symptoms. Meanwhile, Colleen begins work on a research paper for the history substitute on an actual person absent from Arthur Miller's The Crucible. Amid a growing media circus, diagnoses are offered and then dismissed. The protagonist's research persuades her that the cause of the Salem Witch trials was far from supernatural and that the same "force" might be at work at St. Joan's. The author convincingly writes in the voice of current and historical teens, and major characters undergo significant growth in this intense tale. Howe's use of red herrings and the "ripped from the headlines" narrative will keep readers guessing until the final reveal.—Eric Norton, McMillan Memorial Library, Wisconsin Rapids


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Vacationers by Emma Straub

Is it possible to like a book without really liking any of the characters??? I say it is definitely a yes for this book.  While I don't agree whole heartedly with the review below "the novel is warm..." or the idea that "The Vacationers is a summer read for sure..." Some of the scenes were so uncomfortable and dysfunctional...everyone, at some point, can relate to having some sort of family drama.  And my idea of a summer read is a little lighter, with a little less snark but to each his own.  This is definitely worth your time though, the writing is amazing, and funny, really funny.

Amazon.com Review

An Amazon Best Book of the Month, June 2014: Here's the funny thing about family: there's no one you love more than your relatives, and yet they're also the people who push your buttons the most. Emma Straub has captured this dilemma in her pitch-perfect second novel The Vacationers. The Post family’s vacation to the Balearic island of Mallorca is one fraught with jealousy and quiet secrets. It's an anniversary for parents Franny and Jim, who are making amends for some rocky marital misgivings; their son Bobby and his much-maligned older girlfriend Carmen have a financial favor to ask; and high school-age daughter Sylvia has made it her mission to lose her virginity to her Spanish tutor. The novel is warm--not just for the sunny beaches that surround Mallorca, but for the compassion and humor that Straub imbues in her characters. The Vacationers is a summer read for sure, but you'd be hard pressed to find a smarter one. --Kevin Nguyen

Monday, July 7, 2014

Girls Like Us by Gail Giles

Girls like Us is told in alternating narratives,  from the perspective of Biddy and Quincy.  Both are a product of the special education system or "speddies" as Quincy refers to them, who are paired to live together to try and make their way in the world.  Each girl has a uniquely different voice and each has seemingly insurmountable obstacles to overcome.  This book broke my heart in so many ways.  Sweet and kind Biddy, distant and angry Quincy, both have led an unbelievably tragic life, both have been failed by a broken system.   And while this seems like an overly depressing book, there is a great deal of hope.  A very well deserved Starred Review. 

From Booklist

*Starred Review* In compelling, engaging, and raw voices, 18-year-olds Biddy and Quincy, newly independent, intellectually disabled high-school graduates, narrate their growing friendship and uneasy transition into a life of jobs, real world apartments, and facing cruel prejudice. Obese and illiterate Biddy has more emotional intelligence than Quincy, whose normal brain development was shattered when her mother’s boyfriend hit her with a brick when she was six. Biddy’s limited cognitive capacities spring from oxygen deprivation during birth as well as lifelong deprivation of nurturing. Paired by a social service program, the girls are made roommates in a live-work placement where they share a small apartment at the home of a wealthy, sensitive, and supportive widow, Elizabeth. Biddy cleans and provides physical assistance for Elizabeth, while Quincy, who loves cooking, works at a market. Biddy and Quincy share deep secrets and narrate lives heartrendingly full of anger, abandonment, and abuse, including explicit, realistic descriptions of two rapes. But with the help of patient Elizabeth and the support they gain from each other, they are empowered to move forward with strength and independence. Giles (Dark Song, 2010) offers a sensitive and affecting story of two young women learning to thrive in spite of their hard circumstances. Grades 8-12. --Francisca Goldsmith

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Half Bad by Sally Green

This is something new in the already saturated paranormal market.  Nathan is a half black/half white witch trying to figure out his place in the world.  I love the concept that nothing is entirely bad or good, everyone has capacity to be both.  The white witches are supposed to be the "good" ones, yet some of them act horrifically.  And conversely, the black witches are supposed to be "bad" and yet there are some really good ones that help Nathan along the way.  No spoilers but Gabriel is one of my favorite characters.  The book ends with a big cliff hanger, which I kinda hate, especially in a brand new series (because I have no patience).  This is a young adult novel but has lots of adult appeal...and it has already been option to be a movie, so its going to by HUGE.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Black and white, good and evil. Is it really that straightforward? For 16-year-old Nathan, it is not; he is neither. Born the illegitimate son of a white witch mother and a black witch father, he is a Half Code, kept in a cage, beaten regularly, and toughened up for when he turns 17 and receives his three gifts. Both black and white witches want him, hoping he will lead them to his father, the most powerful, evil, and reviled of all black witches. Both plan for Nathan to fulfill his vision and their ultimate goal: he will kill his father. But Nathan has no desire to kill anyone; he wants only to escape his shackles and gain his freedom. First-time author Green has written the first in what looks to be a horrifying, compelling trilogy that pushes the boundaries of what we believe to be good and evil. With racial overtones of such diverse titles as Roots (1976); Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852); Run, Boy, Run (2003); and the Harry Potter books, this will stretch the reader’s tolerance for graphic torture while mesmerizing with mystery and heart-stopping adventure. Nathan’s survival is tenuous and marvelous—and only just beginning.

Monday, June 30, 2014

That Summer by Lauren Willig

Another great summer read to add to the list!  This is a dual narrative, alternating between present day and 1849, weaving the story of Julia and Imogen.  Julia, after inheriting her great-aunt's house, finds a hidden painting.   This painting, and art in general, become a secondary character throughout the story.  Julia feels compelled to find out who painted the picture, why it was hidden and what was the inspiration behind it.  Imogen, living in a marriage that lacks intimacy and love, during a time when women had very few options, develops a relationship with an artist as he is painting her portrait.  The reader is swept along Julia's discoveries and Imogen's love affair.  This is beautifully written, suspenseful, heartbreaking, and just wonderful. 

From Booklist

When Julia inherits her great-aunt’s house in Herne Hill, outside London, it’s a good time for her to take a break from New York, where she has no work or romantic ties. Returning to England, however, brings up suppressed memories of her dead mother and childhood, and while sorting through the home’s myriad belongings, Julia uncovers a mysterious painting that not only played a significant role in her family’s story but also in art history. We learn that Julia’s ancestor, Imogen, came to Herne Hill as a young bride in 1849 and became trapped in a passionless, childless marriage. When her husband hires a young artist to paint her portrait, he and Julia have an ill-fated affair. Popular novelist Willig (The Passion of the Purple Plumeria, 2013) weaves together Julia’s and Imogen’s stories and further enriches the tale with details about the Pre-Raphaelite movement, gleaned from Julia’s involvement with Nicholas, an enigmatic antiques dealer. Willig’s latest is a smart blend of historical romance and contemporary self-discovery story. --Aleksandra Walker


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Goodnight June by Sarah Jio

To me, Goodnight June, is a perfect summer read.  It has great characters, an interesting story, light romance, and a happy ending...summer perfection.  The fact that the setting is a children's bookstore, well that is just icing on the cake....or sprinkles on the ice cream.  

The story gives a fictionalized account of how the famous children's author, Margaret Wise Brown, was inspired to write Goodnight Moon.   It is interspersed with letters between Margaret and June's Aunt Ruby.  Ultimately this is an love story to books and bookstores and family.  I absolutely loved it...and it also intensified my dream to one day own my own bookstore...maybe that's *my* next chapter.

"Sometimes I think of my life as a great big story.  Each silly thing I do is a new paragraph.  And each morning I turn to the next chapter...Whenever you're down on your luck, when things aren't going the way you like, remember that you are the author of your own story...it can be a beautiful story or a sad tragic one.  You get to pick."  (pg 97)

From Booklist

At 35, June Anderson is a hard-charging financier, the youngest vice president ever at her international bank, with her own Manhattan apartment—and an anxiety disorder and dangerously high blood pressure. Then her beloved great-aunt, Ruby Crain, bequeaths to her Bluebird Books, the children’s bookstore in Seattle that was an important part of June’s childhood. Skilled at foreclosing on small, failing businesses, June plans to sell the store to a developer. But then she follows a trail of letters hidden in books and learns that Ruby was a dear friend of ­author Margaret Wise Brown and inspired the longtime best-seller Goodnight Moon. This discovery, along with a budding friendship with the restaurateur next door, makes June vow to fight to keep the financially fragile bookstore. In unwinding a feel-good plot with a certain amount of predictability, Jio also provides some final twists as she reveals family discord in June’s life and long-held secrets in Ruby’s. This eminently readable novel with particular appeal for fans of children’s literature is a tribute to family and forgiveness. 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Landlines by Rainbow Rowell

Rainbow Rowell is one of my favorite authors...Eleanor & Park is on my top ten reads of all time...and I when I met her and started gushing about her books, she hugged me...yeah its a forever kinda love.  And with every favorite author, you approach the latest book with so much excitement and a tiny bit of fear...please don't let me down, please...and well, she didn't. 

Now I love young adult literature, and not just because I am a teen librarian.  There is some really amazing stuff being written for this age group (E&P...best.ever.)  But sometimes I like to see myself in characters, to be able to relate to the characters with the present day me, not the me of *cough* twenty five years ago. 

Landlines tells the story of Georgie and her husband Neal.  They have been together for years and find themselves in that place in marriage, the we have kids to worry about place; we have careers to worry about place;  we have a house to worry about place; we definitely don't have time to worry about the marriage place...anyone married over 10 years can relate.  I love that she threw in a touch of magical realism...an old landline phone that can talk to a past version of her husband...oh what I could do with that...

It goes without saying that I love Rainbow's writing...here's why:

You don't know when your twenty-three.
You don't know what it really means to crawl into someone else's life and stay there.  You can't see all the ways you're going to get tangled, how you're going to bond skin to skin.  How the idea of separating will feel in five years, in ten - in fifteen.  When Georgie thought about divorce now, she imagined lying side by side with Neal on two operating tables while a team of doctors tried to unthread their vascular system.
She didn't know at twenty-three.

Read this book...you won't be disappointed....except for the fact that it comes out in July.

Book Description via Amazon

From New York Times bestselling author of Eleanor & Park and Fangirl, Rainbow Rowell, comes a hilarious, heart-wrenching take on love, marriage, and magic phones.

Georgie McCool knows her marriage is in trouble. That it’s been in trouble for a long time. She still loves her husband, Neal, and Neal still loves her, deeply—but that almost seems beside the point now.
Maybe that was always beside the point.

Two days before they’re supposed to visit Neal’s family in Omaha for Christmas, Georgie tells Neal that she can’t go. She’s a TV writer, and something’s come up on her show; she has to stay in Los Angeles. She knows that Neal will be upset with her—Neal is always a little upset with Georgie—but she doesn’t expect to him to pack up the kids and go without her.

When her husband and the kids leave for the airport, Georgie wonders if she’s finally done it. If she’s ruined everything.

That night, Georgie discovers a way to communicate with Neal in the past. It’s not time travel, not exactly, but she feels like she’s been given an opportunity to fix her marriage before it starts. . . .

Is that what she’s supposed to do?

Or would Georgie and Neal be better off if their marriage never happened?

Monday, June 2, 2014

10% Happier: How I tamed the voice in my head, reduced stress without losing my edge, and found self-help that actually works - A true story by Dan Harris

I am not typically a self-help reader, no judgment, I just find myself bored after two pages.  I decided to give this book a try after hearing an interview with Dan Harris on the radio...what really hooked me was when he announced what he wanted to title the book:  The Voice in my Head Is an Asshole.  Yup, I'm in.  Yes this is a book about meditating and mindfulness and such, but it is also a memoir of sorts about his career in broadcast news.  I loved it...he is funny and self deprecating and I *may* have a small crush on him now.  This is the least "self-helpy" book out there, but it actually makes a lot of sense.

Book Description via Amazon

Nightline anchor Dan Harris embarks on an unexpected, hilarious, and deeply skeptical odyssey through the strange worlds of spirituality and self-help, and discovers a way to get happier that is truly achievable.
After having a nationally televised panic attack on Good Morning America, Dan Harris knew he had to make some changes. A lifelong nonbeliever, he found himself on a bizarre adventure, involving a disgraced pastor, a mysterious self-help guru, and a gaggle of brain scientists. Eventually, Harris realized that the source of his problems was the very thing he always thought was his greatest asset: the incessant, insatiable voice in his head, which had both propelled him through the ranks of a hyper-competitive business and also led him to make the profoundly stupid decisions that provoked his on-air freak-out.
We all have a voice in our head. It’s what has us losing our temper unnecessarily, checking our email compulsively, eating when we’re not hungry, and fixating on the past and the future at the expense of the present. Most of us would assume we’re stuck with this voice – that there’s nothing we can do to rein it in – but Harris stumbled upon an effective way to do just that. It’s a far cry from the miracle cures peddled by the self-help swamis he met; instead, it’s something he always assumed to be either impossible or useless: meditation. After learning about research that suggests meditation can do everything from lower your blood pressure to essentially rewire your brain, Harris took a deep dive into the underreported world of CEOs, scientists, and even marines who are now using it for increased calm, focus, and happiness.
10% Happier takes readers on a ride from the outer reaches of neuroscience to the inner sanctum of network news to the bizarre fringes of America’s spiritual scene, and leaves them with a takeaway that could actually change their lives.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Flat-Out Celeste by Jessica Park

This book...this book...I am in LOVE with this book.  I keep thinking that Jessica Park can't out do herself, but with each new release I am blown away.  This is a "sort of " sequel to Flat-Out Love but you don't necessarily have to read it to enjoy FOC....but do yourself a favor and read FOL, it is also, that good. 

First let's talk about Celeste, she is, in one work A-mazing (capital A intended).  I love her quirkiness, her honesty, her bravery...and she reminds me of a certain girl I know.  And while my girl has different quirks and idiosyncrasies, they definitely have a lot in common, especially the bravery part.  I celebrated when people started to see Celeste for who she is and loved her because of that, not in spite of it. 

Now Justin, he is probably one of my favorite male characters of all time (maybe a close second to Matt from FOL).  I love that she focuses more on their personality and brains and less on how they look.  Justin is quirky, and sweet, and scattered...perfection...if I were still in college, Justin would definitely be my crush.

This is a somewhat timely review...warning it's about to get personal.  My girl is actually part of a trio...yup triplets, two girls and a boy.  Yesterday my daughter, D,  told me that a group of boys were discussing why they would never date my girl.  D, who I might add, would make a KICK ASS character in her own right (feisty red head, smart, funny, compassionate but willing to take on the world if you mess with her family).  But I digress, she went up to said boys and told them that they would be LUCKY to date my girl and there was not a chance in hell that she would date a bunch of clowns.  She then told me her group of friends were equally upset...they all see my girl for who she is...a cool, quirky, compassionate, kid.  This book gave me hope that there are people out there in the great big world that see people for who they really are...especially my girl.

Favorite Justin quote: 

"I am staggered by you.  I am intoxicated by you.  I think about you way more than I should."  ssssiiiggghhhhhh

Favorite Celeste quote:

"You taught me that I am allowed to like myself just as I am, at whatever stage I am in.  I can change, I can stay the same, or I can be whoever it is that is right for me; but I can be satisfied.  No, more that that.  I can be proud.  I can celebrate."

So, so, so good.

Book Description via Amazon

May 22, 2014  

For high-school senior Celeste Watkins, every day is a brutal test of bravery. And Celeste is scared. Alienated because she's too smart, her speech too affected, her social skills too far outside the norm, she seems to have no choice but to retreat into isolation.

But college could set her free, right? If she can make it through this grueling senior year, then maybe. If she can just find that one person to throw her a lifeline, then maybe, just maybe.

Justin Milano, a college sophomore with his own set of quirks, could be that person to pull her from a world of solitude. To rescue her--that is, if she'll let him.

Together, they may work. Together, they may save each other. And together they may also save another couple--two people Celeste knows are absolutely, positively flat-out in love.

Whether you were charmed by Celeste in Flat-Out Love or are meeting her for the first time, this book is a joyous celebration of differences, about battling private wars that rage in our heads and in our hearts, and--very much so-- this is a story about first love.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

We were Liars by E. Lockhart

Everything I read about this book is true - it is a beautifully written, truly unique, and has one hell of an ending.  I loved it, in a way that you love a book that leaves you extremely unsettled, I literally couldn't put it down.  The narrative is sparse and the pacing leaves you a little breathless...I almost could hear scary movie music as I was reading...wondering when the proverbial boogey man was going to pop out.  This is cataloged at a "Young Adult" book, but it has a lot of adult appeal, it's just a great book.

Description via Booklist

 Grades 7-12 *Starred Review* Cadence Sinclair Eastman is the oldest grandchild of a preeminent family. The Sinclairs have the height, the blondness, and the money to distinguish them, as well as a private island off the coast of Massachusetts called Beechwood. Harris, the family patriarch, has three daughters: Bess, Carrie, and Penny, who is Cadence's mother. And then there is the next generation, the Liars: Cadence; Johnny, the first grandson; Mirren, sweet and curious; and outsider Gat, an Indian boy and the nephew of Carrie's boyfriend. Cadence, Johnny, Mirren, and Gat are a unit, especially during summer 15, the phrase they use to mark their fifteenth year on Beechwood the summer that Cady and Gat fall in love. When Lockhart's mysterious, haunting novel opens, readers learn that Cady, during this summer, has been involved in a mysterious accident, in which she sustained a blow to the head, and now suffers from debilitating migraines and memory loss. She doesn't return to Beechwood until summer 17, when she recovers snippets of memory, and secrets and lies as well as issues of guilt and blame, love and truth all come into play. Throughout the narrative, Lockhart weaves in additional fairy tales, mostly about three beautiful daughters, a king, and misfortune. Surprising, thrilling, and beautifully executed in spare, precise, and lyrical prose, Lockhart spins a tragic family drama, the roots of which go back generations. And the ending? Shhhh. Not telling. (But it's a doozy).

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Just Like the Movies by Kelly Fiore

I love, love, loved this book.  It is, at it's heart, a story about friendship and being true to yourself...despite love.  As the title implies, there is a lot of references to movies...a big thumbs up for including the iconic boom box scene from Say Anything....best.movie.ever.  Definitely put this on your summer reading list!  (Available July 22.)

This review is based on a review copy from Netgalley.

Pretty, popular Marijke Monti and over-achieving nerd-girl Lily Spencer have little in common—except that neither feels successful when it comes to love. Marijke can’t get her boyfriend to say “I love you” and Lily can’t get a boyfriend at all. When the girls end up at a late night showing of Titanic, sniffling along with the sinking ship, they realize that their love lives could—and should—be better. Which sparks an idea: Why can’t life be like a movie? Why can’t they create perfect romantic situations? Now they have a budding friendship and a plan—to act out grand gestures and get the guys of their dreams. It seems like fun at first, but reality turns out to be much more complicated, and they didn’t take into account that finding true love usually requires finding yourself first.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Catching Air by Sarah Pekkanen

I have loved all of Sarah Pekkanen's books and this is no exception.  The story weaves together the journey of three very different women and what happens when we open ourselves up to new possibilities.  Pekkanen's setting choice is the cherry on top, a B&B in Vermont, it made me dream of new and interesting possibilities.  I flew through this one!

Book Description via Amazon

A chance to run a B&B in snowy, remote Vermont—it’s an offer Kira Danner can’t resist after six soul-crushing years of working as a lawyer in Florida. As Kira and her husband, Peter, step into a brand new life, she quells her fears about living with the B&B’s co-owners: Peter’s sexy, irresponsible brother Rand, and Rand’s wife, Alyssa…who is essentially a stranger.

For her part, Alyssa sees taking over the B&B as the latest in a string of adventures. Plus, a quiet place might help her recover from the news that she can’t bear children. But the idyllic town proves to be anything but serene: Within weeks, the sisters-in-law are scrambling to prepare for their first big booking—a winter wedding—and soon a shy, mysterious woman comes to work for them. Dawn Zukoski is hiding something; that much is clear. But what the sisters-in-law don't realize is that Dawn is also hiding from someone…

Relatable and dynamic, Catching Air delves deeply into the vital relationships that give shape to women’s lives.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith

Just meh...I loved her first two books but this one just didn't do it for me.

Book Description via Amazon

Lucy lives on the twenty-fourth floor. Owen lives in the basement. It's fitting, then, that they meet in the middle -- stuck between two floors of a New York City apartment building, on an elevator rendered useless by a citywide blackout. After they're rescued, Lucy and Owen spend the night wandering the darkened streets and marveling at the rare appearance of stars above Manhattan. But once the power is back, so is reality. Lucy soon moves abroad with her parents, while Owen heads out west with his father.

The brief time they spend together leaves a mark. And as their lives take them to Edinburgh and to San Francisco, to Prague and to Portland, Lucy and Owen stay in touch through postcards, occasional e-mails, and phone calls. But can they -- despite the odds -- find a way to reunite?

Smartly observed and wonderfully romantic, Jennifer E. Smith's new novel shows that the center of the world isn't necessarily a place. Sometimes, it can be a person.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Whisper to Me by Christina Lee

This the third installment in the Between Breaths series.  I didn't read the other two and it was just fine, they can all work as stand alone books.  The characters are likable but flawed...the dialogue needs work (Rachel's potty mouth felt forced)...but the chemistry between Rachel and Kai was worth the trip.  Save this for a trip to the beach.

Book Description via Amazon

May 20, 2014
A hot and consuming New Adult romance about a wayward musician and the one girl who keeps him grounded...
At college, Rachel has a reputation for being a sarcastic flirt with a thing for star athletes. No one at school knows that she'd had her heart ripped to shreds by her high school sweetheart, who'd driven them both off the side of the road on a borrowed motorcycle, and then abandoned her. No one knows the real Rachel Mattson--except one person...

Ever since he helped nurse his sister's feisty best friend back to health, pierced bass player Kai Nakos has been head over heels in love. But the supposed bad boy can't risk letting Rachel know the truth--especially now that the two of them are back in their hometown for the summer, together for the first time since the months following that fateful night. Never mind that Rachel's ex is back, groveling for her forgiveness.

Shaken by her ex's return, Rachel finds herself turning to the one guy she knows she can trust. Kai is willing to hide his feelings for her, just to have Rachel touch him again. After all, this is only a temporary fling. Until it becomes something more. But maybe it had been more all along...

I received a copy of Whisper to Me through Netgalley

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Under the Egg by Laura Marx Fitzgerald

Such a great middle grade read...actually it kept this adult very entertained and engaged...I couldn't put it down.  The setting is fantastic, NYC (yeah I am a bit biased) and more specifically the Metropolitan Museum of Art and NYPL.  The characters are amazing; yes I loved Theo, she is smart, feisty, loyal, in other words, wonderful, but the other characters were equally as great...from her new BFF Bodhi to Eddie the super cool librarian (I wanted to hug the author for portraying a librarian that was cool and friendly and basically awesome.)  The art history that is weaved throughout is so interesting and never too much, it just made me want to go to an art museum and explore.  A near perfect book for grades 4-7, well anyone really.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Following her grandfather’s death, 13-year-old Theo shoulders the responsibility of looking after her mentally unfocused mother and keeping their Greenwich Village household running with no income. When Theo uncovers an old painting, possibly an original Raphael, she hopes to save their home. But is it a Raphael? Why was it hidden under a layer of paint? Was it stolen? By her beloved grandfather?! Theo and her friend Bodhi begin investigations that lead them to a church, an auction house, the public library, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Center for Jewish History, and two Holocaust survivors. Theo’s household is vividly portrayed, from her grandfather’s creative ingenuity to her mother’s tenuous hold on reality. Smart and determined, down-to-earth and insightful, Theo makes an engaging narrator as she follows a winding trail of discovery. Along the way, Fitzgerald includes a good bit of art history, which becomes as interesting as the interplay between the two friends. In the end, the mystery’s solution depends a bit too much on adult intervention, coincidence, and even amnesia to be wholly satisfying. Still, it’s a riveting narrative. Readers who loved E. L. Konigsburg’s From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler (1967) and Blue Balliett’s Chasing Vermeer (2004) won’t want to put this one down. Grades 4-7. --Carolyn Phelan

Monday, May 5, 2014

Waiting on You by Kristan Higgins

This is the third installment in the Blue Heron series...but you don't necessarily need to read the first two to enjoy the story...it was a great, quick read.  The book is set in the Finger Lakes...probably one of my favorite places on earth...combining my two favorite things, beautiful lakes and wineries.   The main love story, between Colleen O'Rourke and Lucas, is very delicious and very swoon worthy.  Additionally, the secondary characters are just as lovable as the main characters...Paulie and Bryce's story is sweet and funny and wonderful (I laughed out loud when she body checks him off a bar stool...trust me, it is as funny as it sounds).  This would make a great vacation/beach read.

Book Description via Amazon

April 1, 2014

Is your first love worth a second chance…?
Colleen O'Rourke is in love with love…just not when it comes to herself. Most nights, she can be found behind the bar at the Manningsport, New York, tavern she owns with her twin brother, doling out romantic advice to the lovelorn, mixing martinis and staying more or less happily single. See, ten years ago, Lucas Campbell broke her heart…an experience Colleen doesn't want to have again, thanks. Since then, she's been happy with a fling here and there, some elite-level flirting and playing matchmaker to her friends.
But a family emergency has brought Lucas back to town, handsome as ever and still the only man who's ever been able to crack her defenses. Seems like maybe they've got some unfinished business waiting for them—but to find out, Colleen has to let her guard down, or risk losing a second chance with the only man she's ever loved.