Thursday, July 24, 2014

Review: Year of Luminous Love

Three best friends graduate high school and start thinking about the future.  

Ciana wants to hold on to her family farm, go to college, and fall in love. When she meets a guy at a club, she realizes it could lead somewhere.

Unfortunately it's the same guy her BFF Arie's been crushing over for years. When Arie spots him again, her crush returns full force. Ciana doesn't want to tell Arie about her crush - not when Arie is finally in remission and deserves every happiness.

Both Ciana and Arie are concerned about Eden and her relationship with Tony. He might have rescued her once, but he's bad news. Ciana takes matters into her own hands to spread a little happiness among her BFFs.
My Thoughts: I really enjoyed this book about three friends trying to figure out their future plans after high school. I used to read a lot of Lurlene McDaniel books in middle school. I haven't read her in a while and it brought me back. I loved the trip to Italy and how they explored the country together. I liked their friendship and how they were there for each other. I'm glad that Eden was able to get away and enjoy her time, although I felt bad for her mother. I liked how this book talked about deeper issues: cancer, cutting, abusive relationship, and parental failures - but at the same time, it wasn't too dark and there were plenty of light moments. A great book on friendship, loyalty, and taking a chance on love.

Cover Thoughts: Ok
Source: My Library

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Books I'm Dying to Read: September Edition

Here's a list of books I can't wait to get my hands on come September- perfect for fall reading

The Jewel (The Lone City, #1)Get Even (Don't Get Mad, #1)
Jewel: I have this from BEA and it looks super good. Forbidden Romance
Get Even: Tagline = Breakfast Club meets Pretty Little Liars - sold!

Shattered (Scorched, #2)The Social Media Experiment
Shattered: I really liked the first one and dragons!
Social Media Experiment: A behind the scene look at popularity and what it costs

Death Is Like a Box of ChocolatesNightmares Can Be Murder
Death is like a Box of Chocolates: First in a new series - combined book and chocolate store.
Nightmares Can be Murder: First in a new series - where friends meet once a week to talk about their dreams. A murder resembles a recent dream talked about...

The Red PencilLittle Author in the Big Woods: A Biography of Laura Ingalls Wilder
Red Pencil: A novel in verse that could be hard to read -but an important read about inner strength 
Little Author Big Woods: Loved the Little House books as a kid, looking forward to learning more about the author.

Sealed with a Lie (Two Lies and a Spy, #2)The Fine Art of Pretending (The Fine Art of Pretending, #1)
Sealed with a Lie: Really liked the first one - Kari must now rescue her little brother
Fine Art of Pretending: Aly wants to shred her tomboy image and snag a date for the upcoming dance.

CraftFail: When Homemade Goes Horribly WrongUnderwater Puppies
CraftFail: Saw this while browsing at BEA and it looks hilarious. I'm a big lover of Pinterest, but we've all had crafts that fail.
Underwater Puppies: I really liked Underwater Dogs, have no doubt this will be cute too

Illusions of FatePoisoned Apples: Poems for You, My Pretty
Illusions of Fate: Donwton Abbey meets Cassandra Clare - sounds good!
Poisoned Apples: Poetry of fairy tales next to a modern world - hard to describe but sounds like a powerful read.

Raging Heat (Nikki Heat, #6)Stirring the Plot (Cookbook Nook Mystery, #3)
Raging Heat: Love the Castle books - Rook and Heat become at odds over a case 
Stirring the Plot: Book 3 set near Halloween and a spooky soiree turns deadly

The Vault of DreamersAfterworlds
Vault of Dreamers: I have this from BEA - what if your dreams were not your own?
Afterworlds: I have this from BEA too - sounds like it has a Pride and Prejudice vibe. It's huge, so I need to set aside of chunk of time to read it. 

He's So Fine (Lucky Harbor, #11)In Your Dreams (Blue Heron #4)
He's So Fine: Love Lucky Harbor - so excited for the next trilogy.
In Your Dreams: Love this series! How CUTE is this cover? And it's Jack's story.

Wouldn't It Be Deadly: An Eliza Doolittle & Henry Higgins Mystery (Eliza Doolittle & Henry Higgins Mystery, #1)To Fudge or Not to Fudge
Wouldn't it be Deadly: Mystery featuring My Fair Lady characters - yes please!
To Fudge or not to Fudge: 2nd book in the series about a girl trying to keep her family hotel from going under while also making fudge in small tourist town.

The Ninja Detectives 2 (w.t.)The Fires of Calderon (The Balance Keepers, #1)Jessica Darling's It List 2: The (Totally Not) Guaranteed Guide to Friends, Foes & Faux Friends
Ninja Detectives 2: Really enjoyed the first one - looking forward to the next case.
Balance Keepers: Start of a new MG series with an underground society
Jessica Darling 2: I have this one and can't wait to read more of Jessica Darling and how she navigates 7th grade.

The Christmas Bouquet (Chesapeake Shores, #11)The Prince Who Loved Me (The Oxenburg Princes, #1)
Christmas Bouquet: I adore the O'Brien family books, especially Christmas ones.
Prince who Loved Me: A Scottish Cinderella tale - love that cover

Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass #3)
Heir of Fire: Read it - loved it. One of my favorite reads this year and one of my favorite series.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Characters on a deserted island

So this week's topic is characters you'd want with you on a deserted island...and mine might be a little different than others. And I didn't quite make it to 10.

Hermoine - to talk about books, her magical bag, and her amazing magical skills.
Princess Mia - surely Genovia will send people looking for her
Katniss - she could catch food, if all else failed
Kat Bishop (Heist Society) - if anyone could find a way off the island, it would be her
Sera (Deep Blue) - she might be able to find us a way off the island by way of water
Gilbert - you do need a guy on the island and I believe he was my first book boyfriend
Artemis Fowl - with his smarts, he could also find a way off the island

Plus, a dog. Because you always need a dog. Right now I'm blanking on a dog character (one that doesn't die), but it's important to have a dog.

Tween Tuesday Review: All Stars

101 Athletes Every Fan Needs to Know

I have an issue with sports books and the discrepancy between men highlighted and women highlighted. While this book still isn't great, it's better.

What I wanted to see: 
What about the women who played baseball in the WWII era? Or the women who play softball?
Why is there only one woman talked about in basketball section?
What about the women hockey players?

The Good:
The section on Olympics was excellent in terms of the women to men ratio. 

The photographs are amazingly in this book. The Super Stats and Fast Stats are great sources of breakout information and entertaining stats. Kids and teens alike will enjoy this one. 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Review: Homeroom Diaries

Cuckoo had an emotional breakdown, which landed her in a mental institution for a few days. Now since her mother abandoned her, she's been staying with a neighbor.  School isn't great either - but she does have a fantastic group of friends.

She and her friends are determined to create a better atmosphere in their school with Operation Happiness. Plan after plan fails, but Cuckoo isn't about to give up. She knows that the nations can come together and makes the school more livable - that is until someone take a prank way too far.

Why do people suck so much and can they ever change?
My Thoughts: I wasn't not expecting this book to be so dark and to cover so many topics. I felt horrible and proud of Cuckoo for most of the book. I loved her inner strength and her determination Of course I loved her bookish ways and the recent books that popped up during the book. I liked the blend of the diary format with the drawings. The format is perfect for venting feelings and for Cuckoo to show us how she feels. Bullies - unwanted sexual advances - suicide - mental health - parental abandonment - this book packs quite the punch and makes your root for the Freakshow.

Cover Thoughts: When I looked at the pink - I thought it was going to be a much lighter kind of book
Source: Sent for review

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Review: That Summer

When Julia inherits a house in England from her mother's family, she's stunned. Her mother died when she was young. Her father and her moved to New York City and never looked back. She has very few memories of England and none of her family.  Since she lost her job six months ago, she has no excuses not to travel across the pond. She finds angry family members - unhappy that she has the house.

The story weaves back and forth from present day to the mid-1800s where Imogen met and married. Her marriage is far from perfect and far from her expectations.

The two women attempt to figure out their lives - who they are and where they want to go next.
My Thoughts: I love how Willig masterly weaves together the past and the present in each of her novels. I'm always learning something. In this book, I loved learning more about the art of the time-period. Even though the main artist isn't real, it could have been. As someone interested in art history, I really enjoyed the past story. I especially liked how the past came into the present story. I liked how Julia came over determined to sell the house, but ended up falling in love with England. A fantastic summer read that kept me thinking about changing the future and hope.

Cover Thoughts: Cute
Source: My Library

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Mysterious Saturday Review: Killer Physique

*19th Savannah Reid Mystery*
Savannah and Dirk have  been married just a few weeks when his parents come to visit. Dirk is so happy but nervous to be meeting them for the first time. Savannah's trying to get the house in order, while attempting not to kill her new husband for his lack of housekeeping skills.

They get a rare opportunity to attend a Hollywood movie premiere with John and Ryan who have a friend starring in a summer blockbuster movie. But hours after the event, Jason turns up dead.

It is soon common knowledge that he was using steroids. The ME can't find anything that would cause his death but the Moonlight Magnolia gang's convinced that death is a result of foul play.
My Thoughts: I really enjoy this series - for the humor, the mystery, the friendship, and the loyalty. In this volume, I liked learning more about Dirk and his habits and his feelings. I loved watching Dirk meet his parents for the first time and how they interacted with each other. I smiled over Tammy and her new love interest. An interesting topic for a mystery novel - the celebrity world and how it changes how people look at you. I'm glad that the Moonlight Magnolia's didn't stop looking into the death because of the lack of evidence. It's not my favorite of the series, but I enjoyed it thoroughly. 

Cover Thoughts: Meh

Source: my Library

Friday, July 18, 2014

SummerTime Review: Wish You Were Italian

Books perfect for the beach or to read by the pool

Pippa's annoyed with her family shipping her off to Italy for the summer - for an art history program. She's not even interested in art history. Her father feel guilty and slips her some extra cash, which she finds when she lands.

When she finds the money, Pippa decides to be a little reckless and stay in Rome for a few nights. Then, after meeting a girl in the bakery and a boy at a gelato stand, she decides to ditch the program all together.

The girl from the bakery takes her home to meet her family. The family invites her in, gives her a place to stay and offers to show her the sights.  When her new friend Chiara travels to her aunt's house, Pippa goes along too.

Pippa's happy to be seeing more of the countryside - and to meet some hot guys, especially Chiara's cousin. Before she left home, Pippa and her BFF made of list of things she wants to do while in Italy. And falling for for a hot Italian guy is on the list. Pippa knows it's just a matter of time before her family uncovers the truth, but until then, she's determined to have the time of her life.
My Thoughts: I loved this book - for the travel descriptions: the sights and the food. I loved the romance - even though there was a love triangle, I really liked the final result. I loved how Pippa met Chiara and how they fell into an easy friendship. I confess I would have liked going to the art history program (but that's just me.) I loved seeing all the art and architecture there and long to go back and explore more. I also really enjoyed the connection Pippa had with her grandmother: sweet, honest, and refreshing. A great summer book if you're longing for a vacation, but can't get away. You don't have to leave home to be transported to Italy.

Cover Thoughts: Love it

Fun Fact: I traveled to Italy several years ago, so I could easily place myself in Pippa's shoes. Here are a few photos from my trip.