January 31, 2015

Stacking the Shelves

Stacking the Shelves was started by Tynga over at Tynga's Reviews.

This is a fun meme were people share the books they got this week. I won't participate too often mainly because, for the time being, I'm challenging myself to only read books I own.

I do, though, still get books in the mail for review.  And that's what happened this week.

In the Mail - For Review
Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

Seeker by Arwen Elys Dayton

My daughter is reading this for school, so I thought I'd read it too. I bought the ebook.

January 30, 2015

First Line Friday: Cut Me Free

I thought I'd start and end my week with simple posts.  Monday is Snap Shot Monday showing the cover.  And we'll end the week with First Line Friday.

In this I'll just share the first line in any book near me.  It could be the book I'm currently reading, a book I've finished or a book I haven't read before.  

Today's book:
Cut Me Freeby J.R. Johansen 

First Line: The city embraces me.

Hmmmmmmmmm....I wonder how that is so! 

Feel free to join in!
Just add your first line in the comments. 

January 29, 2015

Book Review: Winterkill by Kate A Boorman

Title:  Winerkill
Author: Kate A. Boorman

Emmeline knows she’s not supposed to explore the woods outside her settlement. The enemy that wiped out half her people lurks there, attacking at night and keeping them isolated in an unfamiliar land with merciless winters. Living with the shame of her grandmother’s insubordination, Emmeline has learned to keep her head down and her quick tongue silent.

When the settlement leader asks for her hand in marriage, it’s an opportunity for Emmeline to wash the family slate clean—even if she has eyes for another. But before she’s forced into an impossible decision, her dreams urge her into the woods, where she uncovers a path she can’t help but follow. The trail leads to a secret that someone in the village will kill to protect. Her grandmother followed the same path and paid the price. If Emmeline isn’t careful, she will be next.

I really enjoyed this book! I started reading it on a Friday afternoon and had it finished by Saturday afternoon! It was the first time in a long time that I read a book that fast.  I first bought the book because the premise reminded me a little of the movie The Village (and the story has shades of it, but it's NOT The Village).  But what kept me reading was the mystery in it.  I needed to know what was going on and why and how!!

Emmeline is a great character.  She is flawed in many ways but still so strong.  She's flawed in the eyes of the community because of the sins of her grandmother.  They see Em as "stained" because her grandmother was wayward as they put it.  She sinned against the beliefs of the community so had to be punished.  But Em is also "flawed" because her foot was crushed when she was young so she walks with a limp now.  What I liked was that this injury was a part of her, but it never stopped her or slowed her down!  She was so strong and so stubborn that she pushed through anything to get what she wanted!  I loved that about her.  She was a main character I could cheer for!

Em is drawn to the woods - a dangerous thing because there are malmaci (creatures or spirits)  in the woods who could take her.  But yet she feels there are answers or things to discover in the woods that could help me.  I love that she is brave enough to listen to her heart and do what should scare her.  

There is some romance in the book for sure.  What I liked what that even though it was there I didn't feel it took over the plot.  It was part of the plot, but the mystery of the woods and what is happening far outweighed it in my mind.  It just added another level of tension to the story.

I really like how the book ended.  It felt final and whole and complete not like I had to wait to get the full story until the next book came out.  I guess, from looking at the author's website, that this is a trilogy, but honestly the way this books ends you could be content with it and not frustrated!

Couple of side notes - there is a lot of French in the story because they speak part English, part French.  That did take a bit to get use to, but it was fine.  And if you've read The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan you'll see a similar feel in parts of this story which was fine by me because I love that book.  

Final thought - Great read that kept me very much engrossed in it!

January 27, 2015

Love, Lucy Release Day Blast +GIVEAWAY

I am so excited that LOVE, LUCY by April Lindner releases today and that I get to share the news, along with an awesome guest post from the author in which she shares “Some Rules of the Road” for traveling abroad, as Lucy did in the book.

If you haven’t yet heard about this wonderful new book by Author April Linder, be sure to check out all the details below.

This blast also includes a giveaway for a copy of the book courtesy of Rockstar Book Tours and 3 signed JANE posters courtesy of the author. So if you’d like a chance to win, enter in the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.


Author: April Lindner
Release date: January 27, 2015
Publisher: Poppy
Pages: 304
Formats: Hardcover, eBook


While backpacking through Florence, Italy, during the summer before she heads off to college, Lucy Sommersworth finds herself falling in love with the culture, the architecture, the food...and Jesse Palladino, a handsome street musician. After a whirlwind romance, Lucy returns home, determined to move on from her "vacation flirtation." But just because summer is over doesn't mean Lucy and Jesse are over, too.

In this coming-of-age romance, April Lindner perfectly captures the highs and lows of a summer love that might just be meant to last beyond the season.


About April Lindner

April Lindner is the author of three novels: Catherine, a modernization of Wuthering Heights; Jane, an update of Jane Eyre; and Love, Lucy, releasing January 27, 2015. She also has published two poetry collections, Skin and This Bed Our Bodies Shaped. She plays acoustic guitar badly, sees more rock concerts than she’d care to admit, travels whenever she can, cooks Italian food, and lavishes attention on her pets—two Labrador retriever mixes and two excitable guinea pigs. A professor of English at Saint Joseph’s University, April lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and two sons.

The Guest Post


Like Lucy Sommersworth, the heroine of Love, Lucy, my parents gave me the gift of a lifetime: a backpacking trip to Europe. I was a bit older than Lucy—22, and just out of college—but when I arrived in Milan, Italy with a Eurail pass, a copy of Let’s Go: Europe, and a seventy-pound backpack I could barely lift, I was a wee bit terrified. Like Lucy, I spoke only a little bit of Italian, just barely enough to get by, and I wasn’t particularly good at reading maps or train schedules. Unlike Lucy, I was travelling solo.

Luckily, my journey began with training wheels. I’d just taken a college Italian class, and my professor had offered a safe crash pad for the first few days of my trip—in her family home in the Alps. Less luckily, when I reached Malpensa airport, nobody was there to pick me up. Giddy with excitement and jet lag, I wandered around the airport, eavesdropping on Italians as they hugged each other hello and goodbye, and had noisy arguments. I’d never felt more alone in my life. Where would I sleep that night if my ride didn’t show up?

Luckily, my professor’s brother arrived at last to whisk me away to the family home in Domodossola. The extended family welcomed and fed me, gave me tours of their city with its charming medieval center, helped me practice my Italian, and, when the time was right, brought me to the train station where my solo travels began for real. It was time to take off the training wheels. 

If I’d felt alone back in the airport, I was even more so on that train to Verona, a city where I didn’t know a soul. In those pre-internet days, I could disappear into thin air and nobody would even notice I was gone. The thought was chilling, but oddly exciting.

By nightfall, I’d made it to Verona. I’d figured out the public transportation, found a youth hostel, and booked myself a bed. Best of all, I had introduced myself to a handful of other backpackers. We hung out together in the hostel’s common area, sharing bread and cheese, exchanging stories, discussing the rules of the road—those bits of practical wisdom our travels were teaching us. Here are a few.

Time passes differently on the road.  Spend a few very intense hours seeing the sites with strangers and by the end of the day, those strangers have become a part of your story. Years later you’ll see their faces in your photo album and still remember stray details of the adventures you shared together, even if you can’t quite recall their names. 

Spontaneity is key.  There are few things as magical as showing up at a train station with no idea where you’re headed next, picking a random train, and hopping on. 

Janis Joplin said it best: Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.  When you’re carrying all your possessions on your back in a city where you don’t know a soul, you’re absolutely free. You can go anywhere, do anything. That freedom has its lonely moments—but it can be the doorway to all kinds of adventures.

Embrace misadventure.  As carefully as you plan there will be crazy mistakes: wrong turns, slept-through train stops, multilingual misunderstandings, and all kinds of other blunders—and these will make the best stories. My misadventures are some of my favorite memories. The time I missed curfew and had to climb into my hostel through a second-story window. The morning when, hanging out my recently washed clothes to dry, I dropped my wet underthings out the window, onto a stranger’s head. The night when, with no room to stay in, I slept on Venice’s train station steps with about a hundred other backpackers, the stars above us and the Grand Canal stretched out before us.

Would I trade that last memory for a safe, comfy night in an actual bed?  Not on your life.

The Giveaway

There is a blast-wide giveaway, ending February 6th at 11:59 p.m. Pacific, for:

1 copy of LOVE, LUCY to be ordered from Amazon or The Book Depository – Int’l
3 JANE posters (signed) – US only

Enter in the Rafflecopter below...

January 26, 2015

Snap Shot Monday: Winterkill

On Mondays I just take a quick picture of the book I'm currently reading, will read next, or just finished.  It's my way to keep blogging simple!

Snap Shot
Winterkill by Kate A Boorman

First Line: Out here, I can feel the dead in the trees.  

January 25, 2015

Stacking the Shelves

Stacking the Shelves was started by Tynga over at Tynga's Reviews.

This is a fun meme were people share the books they got this week. I won't participate too often mainly because, for the time being, I'm challenging myself to only read books I own.

I do, though, still get books in the mail for review.  And that's what happened this week.

In the Mail - For Review

Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman (for a blog tour!)
Shutter by Courtney Alameda (spooky = yes!)
Stinky Cecil by Paige Braddock (already read!)

Pre-Ordered with Nook gift card because it was only like 4.99!

Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver

January 23, 2015

Show Your Shelves Some Love Challenge: Update

Show Your Shelf Some Love, No Book Buying Challenge 2015 Kickoff

I'm participating in Show Your Shelves Some Love Challenge hosted by Second Run Reviews and Chapter Break.  
In this challenge we attempt to read what's on our shelves NOT buy more books.  (you can find my intro post HERE)

This month we share our TBR piles or shelves.  Here are pictures on the bookshelf in my bedroom that has much of the books I need to read.  There are more books but these are the ones I really want/need to read!

How am I doing:  Not bad.  I haven't bought any books.  I'm struggling with whether it's ok to enter book giveaways!!!
And so far I've read 3 books from my stacks and stacks of books :)

January 22, 2015

Review: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

Title: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe 
Author: Benjamin Alire Saenz

Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship—the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be. 

Let me tell you something and you decide if I liked this book or not.  I’m not big on flying.  It worries me – oh let’s just say - A LOT.  Over Christmas I fly to Chicago with my husband.  It was a short flight, but one that still scared me.  Before we took off for the flight home I downloaded this book on to our new tablet.  Once in the air I opened it up and started reading.  I read and read and read hardly thinking about the flight!  I couldn’t believe when it was time to land and I had to put it away!
So that should show you how much I enjoyed this book.  I didn’t finish it on the flight – just a few days later.

Ok why did I like it?  I think it was the depth of the story.  This is about Dante and Aristotle of course, but there is so much more to it.  This was about family, and human flaws, and supporting those we love, and most importantly about acceptance.  Aristotle (Ari) was more than just his friendship with Dante.  He was a character with depth.  There was his relationship with his father who is still struggling with Vietnam.  And there’s the whole history of his older brother now in prison and how that affects all parts of Ari.  On top of that is the quiet relationship he has with his mother.  All of these factors spin and weave into Ari’s life and story making it much richer and fuller than just his relationship with Dante.  And that made me like all the characters more – because they were three dimensional. 

I also loved how the story unfolded.  It wasn’t a knock-your-socks off car chases and bombs plot.  But in its own way it knocked my socks off with its honesty and straight forwardness.  Things would just be said in a matter-of-fact way that sometimes they took my breath away.  Not in a bad way, but in a “wow I didn’t see that coming but way cool” way.  Dante does this several times.  It also did have bombs that exploded – some like Ari’s brother being in prison happened before the book started and we’re seeing the effects of it.  Others happen throughout the book and we watch each character struggle with and react to them in their own way. 

I also loved Dante and Ari.  Much of the story hinges on me liking them! I don’t think I could’ve liked the story if I didn't like and care about both of them.  Of course there were times I wanted to shake both of them like when Ari just won’t allow himself to be open and willing and cuts himself off from people.  That was frustrating, but it made him human.  And some of the choice Dante makes made me mad, but I got that he was a teenager and that’s normal for them to make wrong choices.  I think if he hadn’t I wouldn’t have bought in to him at all!

Lastly – I loved that the grown-ups in this book.  They were wonderful.  And I was very pleased to read a YA book where their parents play a strong positive role in the lives of their children.  There have been discussions about the fact that YA has a lot of absent parents.  That wasn’t the case here.  Instead both boys had read parents.  Parents that were there for them, that supported them, that held them accountable AND that had their own flaws.  It was a great part of the book.

Over-all:  Love it.  Read it!

January 21, 2015

Wow: Miss Mayhem

This post is inspired by a meme hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine.

Today I'm waiting on:

Miss Mayhem by Rachel Hawkins

Simple: I loved Rebel Belle :)
Released: April 7

January 19, 2015

Snap Shot Monday: The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place

This post is inspired by the meme It's Monday. What are You Reading hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.  The only real difference is I take a pic of my current read and post it - nothing more! 
Trying to keep it short and simple.  
That's my motto these days! 

Snap Shot:

Side note: I started reading this because I forgot a book for my son's gymnastics.  My daughter had it in her backpack so I started reading. Super fun right now.  

January 15, 2015

My Daughter's TBR Pile

My daughter is a sophomore in high school and has always read a ton.  
She sent me a picture of the books she has that she needs to read.  

Here is it:

January 13, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: 2014 Books I Wanted to Read but Haven't Yet

Hosted by Broke and Bookish

As I was explaining in an earlier post, I want to keep blogging but in order to do that I really need to simplify what I do.  

Top Ten Tuesday is an awesome weekly meme, but I just can't do 10! I don't have the time.  
So I'm going to keep it simple and to the point and only share 1-2 picks for the week's current topic.

Today the topic is:
Books From 2014 I Wanted to Read But Didn't Get To

I have three.  I own all three but just haven't read them yet!!!

Falling Into Place by Amy Zhang

Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira

A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd 

January 12, 2015

Cover Crush - Back Lit Covers

I love book covers! I really really do.  

Lately I've seen several books with kind of a back lit style. 
They've really caught my eye because the colors pop out at me.

I thought I'd share them with you.
Have you seen any others like these? 

January 9, 2015

I Think I Need This Book

I was at Barnes and Noble with my kids, and my 7 year old was looking at books.  We found this book.  

I think I need it!

January 5, 2015

Snap Shot Monday

I started this awhile ago, but when I was debating on whether to keep blogging or not it stopped.  I think it's a good easy way to keep posting!

On Monday I share a quick snapshot of the book I'm currently reading or a book I'm planning to read next.  Quick shoot and share!  

First Line: Pick a subject. 

January 4, 2015

Stacking the Shelves

Stacking the Shelves was started by Tynga over at Tynga's Reviews.

This is a fun meme were people share the books they got this week. I won't participate too often mainly because, for the time being, I'm challenging myself to only read books I own.
I got some books in the mail and with Christmas gift cards, so I have a few to share.

Bought (with my son photo-bombing)

For Review

January 2, 2015

Review: Escape From Mr. Lemoncello's Library by Chris Grabenstein

TitleEscape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library
Author: Chris Grabenstein


Kyle Keeley is the class clown, popular with most kids, (if not the teachers), and an ardent fan of all games: board games, word games, and particularly video games. His hero, Luigi Lemoncello, the most notorious and creative gamemaker in the world, just so happens to be the genius behind the building of the new town library.

Lucky Kyle wins a coveted spot to be one of the first 12 kids in the library for an overnight of fun, food, and lots and lots of games. But when morning comes, the doors remain locked. Kyle and the other winners must solve every clue and every secret puzzle to find the hidden escape route. And the stakes are very high.

In this cross between Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and A Night in the Museum, Agatha Award winner Chris Grabenstein uses rib-tickling humor to create the perfect tale for his quirky characters. Old fans and new readers will become enthralled with the crafty twists and turns of this ultimate library experience.

This was a book I read awhile ago, so the review is really based on how much of it stuck with me! I liked this book especially for middle schoolers. It was fun! I loved the library they were in and wish it could be real!!! I know some reviewers had an issue with it because it seemed to put more focus on non-book stuff in the library than actual reading, but I didn't have that issue.  I thought if there was a real library like this at least kids would go inside and that's one step closer to getting them to read.  

Ok about the plot.  It was just fun, and I loved how the reader got to kind of guess along with the kids.  I stink at brainteasers, so I wasn't very good at all at figuring anything out.  But I had fun trying.  The plot also had several twists and turns so that was fun too.  It kept me entertained and guessing, and I could see it doing that for middle schoolers as well.  I actually had several kids read it and really enjoy it.

I like the characters in the book as well.  They weren't far off the base of real kids that age, so that was great.  I have a hard time with books that have middle schoolers I would NEVER find in any middle school.  I cheered for certain ones and laughed when others feel short.

Over-all it was a fun book that I would easily recommend.  

January 1, 2015

Happy New Year! +GIVEAWAY

And just because, I thought I'd have a quick giveaway :)
I'm giving away up to $15 to spend at The Book Depository. 

Open anywhere The Book Depository Delivers for FREE!
Must be at least 13.
FYI: I check entries. 

Enter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway