Saturday, November 30, 2013

Mysterious Saturday Review: Takedown Twenty

* Book 20 in the Stephanie Plum series * 

Stephanie thinks she might need a new job - and this time she's serious. She's supposed to be hunting down a mob guy, but the problem is he's related to half of Trenton (including Morelli) and no one is giving up an information.

Stephanie's getting shot at, given the evil eye, and she's having to play bingo to catch a guy murdering old ladies and leaving them in dumpsters. She's broke, unhappy, and getting into skirmishes all over town - but that's another day in her life. 
My Thoughts: I'm addicted to his series for the humor, the action, the danger, and the romance. Janet Evanovich has perfected this blend. I loved the addition of Kevin, the giraffe. As always, Lulu kills me, Grandma Mazer's entertaining, and Ranger's intriguing. It's entertaining as always and the perfect fun read.

Cover Thoughts: Funky
Source: My Library

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope that you have a weekend filled with love, family, friends, and laughter. Save travels!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

If We Were Having Tea

Jamie over at The Perpetual Page Turner featured this on her blog last week. I loved the idea of sharing a little bit more about myself. I don't write too many personal pieces on the blog and maybe it's time I change that. I'm not a coffee drinker, so I changed it to tea.

If We Were Having Tea....I'd tell you about the terrible year I'm having. There's so many health issues that happened/are happening this year within my family.

If We Were Having Tea....I'd tell you that I had some great moments this year meeting people. I got to hang out with Meg Cabot, who is my author rock star. 

If We Were Having Tea....I tell you that I finished my 6th NaNoWriMo yesterday. This last work was a Pride and Prejudice basketball story set in high school. It was really fun to write. 

If We Were Having Tea....I would also say that I've been struggling querying to agents this year and nothing's worked out. I had a few moments of hope, but that fizzled.

If We Were Having Tea....I would tell you that I had a great time at a writer's retreat early in the year. And I learned a lot from Tera Lynn Childs on the business of writing.

If We Were Having Tea....I would tell you that this year at work has been tricky. I feel like I'm floundering and I'm not sure what to do about it or even if there is anything I can do about it. Early next year, I will have been a YA Librarian for 10 years.I love being a YA Librarian, but the future is so uncertain.

If We Were Having Tea....I would tell you that this year is my 10th wedding anniversary. It's been 10 years of fun, laughter, and love. He is my best friend and he makes me a better person.

If We Were Having Tea....I'd tell you how much I love having a blog where I can talk about books and share my feelings. I mostly talk about the books I love, which is why I love reading your blogs. I like seeing if we have the same opinions on books. Plus I like hearing about books I might have missed.

What would you tell me?

What's on My Hold List (68)

My Librarian friend Jess from I Read to Relax came up with a great idea.  It's to highlight the books on hold at the library. I usually have 20-40 items checked out at the library and another 20 items on hold.

Little Red Writing: I met Melissa Sweet at the NELA conference this year and loved her. Excited to read more stories from her and more books illustrated by her.

Murder with Ganache: I really enjoy these Key West Food Critic mysteries - plus we had Lucy Burdette at the Otis Library this year!

Wrapped in Red: Not a book, I'm looking forward to listening to this CD. I heard good things about it on Twitter. And I love Christmas music.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday

This week's topic is Thankfulness. 

This time of year, it's nice to remember all the great things that have happened over the year, but it's wonderful to remember the little things to. 
I'm thankful for:

My husband - he really is my best friend and he can always me laugh
My friends and family
My sweet puppy who always make me feel better
Social media sites which make it easy to talk with authors
Authors whom I've become friends with
RJ Julia's - I've met great authors there this year.
That I have a roof over my head, money in the bank, food on the table, and warmth on these cold winter days from our stove.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Review: Taste Test

Nora's Dad owns a BBQ joint and Nora's been working there forever. When her BFF suggests that she audition for the Taste Test- a reality cooking show for teens, neither of them expect her to make it.

Now she's leaving home for the semester, joining the team of cooks. Nora's Southern roots show. She's not like the drama queens or chef royalties. She wants to win the scholarship to the Internationals School of Cuisine in Paris - and unlike some contestants, she can't afford to pay her way.

Soon, Nora's going head to head with her snobby roommate and her arrogant friend. Nora tries to stay away from them, but Christian has a way of getting under her skin. The two of them heat up the ratings with their banter. Could something else be brewing?
My Thoughts: LOVED this book and devoured it. I didn't want to stop reading it. I liked the drama of the cameras and the reality show. I loved the tension between Nora and Christian. I loved when they cooked together. I really enjoyed Nora's Southern ways and how she stuck to her roots. I liked the mystery of the sabotage on set. I loved the set-up of the book with interviews and scores from the show interspersed with the story. A fantastic debut novel; I can't wait to read more from Kelly Fiore. 

Cover Thoughts: Sure cute
Source: My Library

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Movie Review: Catching Fire

Last night, I went out to see this movie and it was AMAZING! I loved it. There were parts that I had forgotten about the book and I loved the way the movie captured my feelings on the book. I loved the twists and turns that I didn't remember. I think this book was my favorite in the trilogy, the movie made me fall in love all over again. The movie was perfect. It was strong with bits of humor, sadness, and fierceness. 

My favorite smaller role characters were back including Cinna and Caesar.

I even grew to like Effie in this movie.

The final shot took me by surprise, and I'm intrigued to see where this might lead. 

Did you see it yet? What are your thoughts? 

Adult Review: True Spies

* Sequel to Lord and Lady Spy

Lady Elinor Keating is tired of her husband. He's absent more often than not and he's terrible at keeping his promises. She wants more. She contemplates an affair -with a man who claims to be a spy and who might need her help. The excitement of becoming a spy outweighs her sense of betrayal.

Just when she decides this, her husband Lord Keating becomes interested in her. She's never been able to resist him, but she's never been quite so angry with him.

When she leaves to meet her potential lover, he follows her. He can't believe the lies this man is telling his wife. And he outs himself as a spy. At first she doesn't believe him. The discovery happens at a garden party, where the enemy has come looking for Lord Keating.

Her anger deepens when she realizes the truth behind his absences and all the lies he's told over the years. Worse, his job as a spy has put herself and her daughters at risk. Lady Keating is swept up in the drama when she's kidnapped. Will her husband save her or will he neglect her like he's done for their entire marriage?
My Thoughts: A fantastic blend of thriller, humor, and romance; I devoured this book. I love seeing Lord and Lady Smythe again. I enjoyed Lady Keating's fierceness and her determination. I love how she threw herself into the mission, wanting to help.  I liked watching Lord Keating realize that he loved his wife after all and do what he could to win back her affections.  I can't wait to see what happens next with England's best agent! 

Cover Thoughts: I love it
Source: my Library

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Mysterious Saturday Review: Read it and Weep

*4th book in the Library Lover's Mystery Series *

In the sleepy little town of Briar Creek, the community theater season is just getting underway and the whole town has fallen under the spell. Violet's hosting auditions for A Midsummer Night's Dream and everyone wants to be a part of it - everyone except Lindsey.

She has no desire to be on stage, but she doesn't mind lending a hand in the costuming department. Being one the stage-hands, she doesn't miss any of the disasters that happen. It's clear someone doesn't want to the show to go on - and ever more clear that someone's out to get Robbie Vine (a professional actor).

Robbie's taken an interest in Lindsey and she's not sure how she feels about that. She certainly doesn't want him to die and with all the accidents happening around him, she's keeping an eye on him. Could someone want him dead?"
My Thoughts: I love this series and this addition was charming. I loved seeing more of the community and the members outside the library (even though I love the library setting). I loved seeing another side of the Lemon and several of the other community members as they auditioned for roles. I saw one twist coming, but never saw the second twist coming. The second twist will make life very interesting for Lindsey in the next book and I'm quite looking forward to seeing how it all plays out. 

Cover Thoughts: Perfection
Source: My Library

Friday, November 22, 2013

Mini Review: Color Me Couture

A book on fashion - starting from late 1880 with Vintage dresses and moving forward in time. Each dress contains information on the date, season, style, material of the dress, and a description. The opposite page allows the reader to take the dress and re-create it. After 1960, there's a section on contemporary dresses along with a section of coats, nightgowns, and slips. The final section is dedicated to shoe and hats. 
The Good: I really enjoyed looking at this book. I loved the history of the clothes and seeing the various styles. I thought the idea of creating your own style for the dresses was unique. A fun book for anyone who likes fashion, especially vintage fashion. I tagged several pages to try my hand at a few of them. 

The Bad: I only wish there was a section on evening bags and purses too. I'd like to see how they changed over time.

Overall: A fantastically fun book for fashion lovers.

Library Idea: Copy of few of the dresses and ask your teens to create their own style of these famous pieces. 
Cover Thoughts: Cute
Source: Sent for review

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Holiday Thursday Review: Seaside Christmas

* Chesapeake Shores Series #10* 
After two years of staying away from Chesapeake Shores after her mother remarried, it's the only place Jenny turns to after her recent heartbreak.

A country superstar broke her heart when the news of him cheating on her broke. Now the song writer's back home nursing her heartbreak and helping her friend Bree. Bree (once friend, now cousin) is putting on a play and Jenny's busy writing holidays songs for it.

Jenny's always longed to be part of the O'Brien clan - but since that dream came true, she's felt like an outsider in the family. When Caleb arrives in town to win her back, she wonders if she can trust him or her new family with her fragile heart.
My Thoughts: I love the O'Brien series - they're a family full of love, loyalty, and meddling. I loved the Nashville angle of this addition to the series. I loved watching Jenny learn to open her heart and to find herself again. I loved the O'Brien family work their magic on her and slowly become part of her life. A sweet heart-warming tale that's perfect for the holiday season.

Cover Thoughts: Cute
Source: my Library

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

If You Like Pins (8)

At work, I made a few similar reads pins for our Pinterest page...

This week we're featuring Christmas/Winter YA books. These books put me in the mind for some hot chocolate and a cozy fire.

What's On My Hold List (67)

My Librarian friend Jess from I Read to Relax came up with a great idea.  It's to highlight the books on hold at the library. I usually have 20-40 items checked out at the library and another 20 items on hold.

This week I'm looking at Picture Books. The new Publishers' Weekly came out with all the kids/tween/teen starred books. I put several on hold at the library. Here's a couple:

Big Snow: I love snow and can understand this little boy's excitement and desire for a big storm.

Lucky Ducklings: A duckling tale - sounds adorably cute

Flora & Ulysses: Really enjoy her books with a fun format and superhero!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Tween Tuesday Review: Exile

Sophie's talents lead her to find an Alicorn - a winged unicorn. It's the first female of this kind in years. The council's happy to have the Alicorn, but some of the members don't want Sophie training her. They see the creature as a symbol of peace and hope for the future.

Sophie and the Alicorn have bonded, and parting them would be havoc to the unicorn. For now, Sophie's allowed to train her. 

She's worried when she finds clues from the Black Swan near the Alicorn's pen. First she has a bodyguard that follows her everywhere, but now she has to deal with the Black Swan. She knows they rescued her from the kidnappers, but why are they still so mysterious. 

When she tries talking about it with Grady, he shares his insight to the group. It's not what Sophie expected at all. She doesn't want to let Grady down, but she can't stop thinking about the Black Swan. When an accident occurs, she thinks her stolen memories might be a way to save someone. 

Sophie actively searches for the Black Swan, hoping to find answers about herself, her past, and her future. 
My Thoughts: I really liked the sequel - it's full of intrigue, danger, and runs high on emotions. I love Sophie's curious nature and how she wants to help those she cares about. She deals with some tough issues in this book, but they do make her stronger. I like watching her uncover more about her past which helps her understand her future. I'm looking forward to finding out more about the Black Swan and Sophie's powers.

Cover Thoughts: Love it!
Source: My Library;

Top Ten Tuesday

This week's topic Top Ten Books I'd Recommend To a person wanting historical fiction. I've included a mix of teen and tween books. I'm a sucker for the covers of girls in pretty dresses, but I also like the mystery, action, and a little magic with history. 

Photo taken by: by heatheronhertravels

Grave Mercy
Spy in the House
Countess Under the Stairs
The Season
Nathan Fox
Midnight Tunnel
Keeper of the Grail
Kat, Incorrigible 

What other historical fiction books do you like?

Forgot Maid of Secrets and In the Shadow of the Lamp

Monday, November 18, 2013

Review: Just One Day

Her parents promised her the trip of a lifetime after her high school graduation - but Allyson didn't believe it until the end of the trip. That's when she met Willem.

Allyson regrets not being able to go to Paris due to strikes. Just like that, Willem suggests they go for one day. It's not far from London and Allyson has an extra day to hang out with no prior commitments.

She makes the most impulsive decision of her life and goes. Even though she has doubts and fears, it's a mostly perfect day - until it goes horribly wrong.

Now Allyson is starting college, but her mind is elsewhere. Her grades are tanking. She's not meeting new people. All she wants to do is to sleep and hide away from the world. Can Allyson recover from just one day?
My Thoughts: I'd heard about this book for ages it seems. Everyone was raving about it, so I finally decided to give it a try and I'm so glad that I did. I devoured it. I wanted to fly to Paris immediately.  I loved the time Allyson spent with Willem. I felt horrible for her the next morning and the next year. I mourned with her over Willem, over her hard time at college, over her parents, and over her crumbling friendship with Melanie. I really liked the ending and Allyson's determination. A powerful emotional ride. I can't wait to read Just One Year.

Cover Thoughts: I love it - especially the detail of the watch
Source: My Library

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Mini Review: Allegiant

The final chapter in the Divergent series where Tris and Four figure out the next step and how to make their world better. 
My Thoughts: I've heard tons of people were unhappy with the ending of this trilogy. I admit that I didn't cry. I wasn't broken. I didn't throw the book across the room. Maybe it was the rumblings of unhappiness that made me prepared for the worst. Maybe it was the fact that I hadn't read Insurgent in a while. Maybe it was the fact that it made sense to me. I could see why is happened the way it happened. That's not to say I wasn't sad, but just that I understood it. 

Did you like it or hate it?

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Mysterious Saturday Review: Naturals

At 17, Cassie has a talent for reading people. She knows who people are and what they want by looking at them. One day, a guy comes into a dinner and leaves a card behind.

It's a card for the FBI. They want to talk with her about joining a classified program with teens. When Cassie goes to chat with them, she knows that she wants to join. Just as she knows her extended family won't be very happy to hear the news. They aren't, but she makes it clear this is her choice.

More than anything she wants to help people who have had trauma in their lives - just like her. Cassie arrives out the safe house and meets her housemates. She starts working with Dean and agents on training and then looking at cold cases.

But a current case keeps coming back to them. There's a serial killer on the loose - a killer that might have ties to Cassie's mom. Cassie will do anything to help stop the killer - but is she in over her head?
My Thoughts: I'm sucker for crime dramas on TV and I love Jennifer Lynn Barnes' previous books - so clearly this book was an amazingly good read. I loved how Cassie read people. I wanted to know what she would think about me. I liked her big family, but understood her shyness around them. I felt horrible for Cassie - how she relives her nightmare over and over again. My heart breaks for what she went through. But I like her determination the help others.  I liked her new housemates - the banter between them, the snark, and the potential for romance. A creepy fun read that had me guessing until the very end. 

Cover Thoughts: Creepy and fabulous.
Source: My Library

Friday, November 15, 2013

Review: Roomies

Elizabeth opens an email with her room assignment for next year. She'll be living with Lauren, from San Francisco. Without thinking too much, she shoots Lauren off an email about packing, appliances, her father, and her excitement about Berkeley.

Lauren's response isn't very chatty. Elizabeth's trying to figure out if it's rude or just straightforward.

Lauren has a lot going on right now, but she feels the pressure to get a microwave as a peace offering for her emails. It's clear that Elizabeth wasn't thrilled with her response. Once she does, she writes back to Elizabeth - including a few details of her life - with a tiny explanation to the previous email.

That starts them emailing back and forth. Soon things in their lives are crumbling around them and they start relying on each other more and more. Will they be BFFs before college even starts?
My Thoughts: I read this book ages ago as I grabbed an ARC at book preview. I devoured it! I loved how LOand EB started off rocky, but grew to depend on each other for advice: family, friendship, and relationship. I love that it takes place during the summer before college. I love the email correspondence interspersed with the story. I felt bad for both girls and their family situations, but I like how it made them grow. A fantastic novel about moving on from high school and learning to embrace a new chapter in your life. 

Cover Thoughts: Love it!
Source: ARC from Little Brown

Thursday, November 14, 2013

If You Like Pins (7)

At work, I made a few similar reads pins for our Pinterest page...

This week we're featuring Christmas. I'm a sucker for a great Christmas story, so I hope these are helpful.

Contemporary Christmas Romances

Contemporary Christmas Romance

Regency Christmas Romances

Regency Christmas Short Romance Stories

Contemporary Christmas Short Romance Stories:

Cozy Christmas Mysteries:

Holiday Review Thursday: Magic Christmas Key

Andy loves spending Christmas at his grandparents' house in the country. Every year he goes there with his cousins and they all have a great time together playing in the snow. With everyone getting older, the question emerges between the cousins on the magic of Christmas. Andy still believies, but his cousins scoff at the idea, which is why Papa gives Andy the Magic Christmas Key. He asks that Andy keep it safe and only use it on Christmas Eve to ensure that Santa will always find his way to Andy. Andy promises, but later, things get out of hand. Could Andy have ruined Christmas?
My Thoughts:  I enjoyed this Christmas tale. I love the idea of a Magic Christmas Key. I really love the idea of the whole family gathering in the country for Christmas and playing in the snow. I enjoyed the puppy and his role in the story. It's great for older kids starting to question Santa Claus. In some ways, the story reminds me The Polar Express with the question about the magic of Christmas and if there's an age you stop believing. While it's a picture book, it's a little long for readers. I would say it's perfect for early elementary school readers looking for a fun story about family, Christmas, and magic. 

Cover Thoughts: Cute
Source: Sent for Review

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Books I'm Dying to Read: January Edition

Here's a list of books I can't wait to get my hands on come January! 

Queen's Choice: Love the cover and this book of faeries and the journey to find the heir sounds great. 
Cruel Beauty: the tagline: Graceling meets Beauty and the Beast = sold.

Uninvited: A genetic testing reveals a murder gene. Is Davy really dangerous?
Offering: Excited read the ending of this trilogy which has been great so far.

Lost Planet: A boy with a mission is running out of time
Rule of Three: Survival story as the computers are targeted - sounds like a cross between Die Hard 4 and Life as We Knew It

Home of the Braised: Love this series. The Secretary of Defense is found dead right before an important State dinner. 
That Old Black Magic:  Piper Donovan heads for New Orleans for a pastry class and a potential role in a movie - when a murder happens.

Breath of Frost: Regency Witched (enough said)
Vitro: Sophie's looking for her mother - a scientist on a island full of danger, people from test tubes, and a deadly secret. 

Going Rogue: sequel to Also Known As - where Maggie has to clear her parents' name.
See Jane Run: Riley's being sent secret messages about her past - messages that could ruin everything

Monster Chefs: Looks super fun!
Dare the Wind: A book about a woman sailor - Ellen Prentiss breaking records.

Duck Duck Moose: The ducks are trying to put together a party, but moose keeps getting in the way.
The Night Before My Birthday: Birthdays! Who doesn't love that?

Home to Seaview: Love Sheryl Woods - looking forward to a new series by one of my favorite adult authors.