Thursday, April 17, 2014

Review: Far From You by Tess Sharpe

Thanks to the Disney Summer of Chills for sending me an ARC of this title.  I can say for sure that Disney's books they're promoting with this are so far all winners from what I've read, and I actually haven't even read the one I was most excited about!

I believe this is the author's first book, and wow, what a great book!  Once again I'm learning that I really can enjoy a mystery.  This book kept me guessing all along on who it might be.  But never really gave false clues, and I only knew what the main character knew.  I think the relationship in the book was one I somewhat guessed at by little things, and was pleased when it turned out to be the way I thought it was.

The main character is Sophie Winters.  Her life has been hard.  When she was fourteen, she was in a car with her best friend Mina, being driven by Mina's brother Trev.  Unfortunately there is a car accident, and while Trev and Mina make it out with just a few scratches, Mina, who did not have her seat belt on wasn't so lucky.  Her leg was messed up very badly, and she had scars all over her body.  Thanks to the wreck she had to have years of physical therapy, and of course there were pain pills involved, leading Sophie to an Oxy addiction.  Mina and Sophie are so close, and Mina is very worried and notices how much Sophie is really using the drugs.  When her parents find out, they send Sophie to stay with her Aunt Macy to get clean.  She comes back after about 6 months, clean, and ready to stay clean.  But then, she and Mina stop in the woods because Mina wants to get some information about a case she is investigating, and they are attacked by a masked man.  This time Sophie is the lucky one, in that she is just knocked on the head, while Mina is shot and killed.  When Sophie is finally found by a girl who lives somewhat nearby, the police find drugs in her jacket, and so it is assumed that it was a drug deal gone bad, even though Sophie swears that she is still clean.  She begs and pleads to be believed, but her parents don't.  So she is shipped off to rehab.  When she gets out of rehab, she comes back, and the one thing she plans to do is find out who killed Mina.  It is a rough road ahead of Sophie, as she has many enemies now, people who believe the drug story, and blame her for Mina's death.

Such a great story, loved it.  The characters were all really well written, and had a lot of depth.  You felt for them, and some you hated.  But it was in a way that just made the story even better.  I hope you get a chance to read this, as I'll be definitely promoting it, and probably buying it for my high school library where I work.

A to Z April - O: Old Books

My post for today isn't necessarily about an actual book that itself is really old, but about classics.  I sometimes feel that I didn't really read that many classics when I was in high school compared to what I hear about on tv shows with high school students, or read about in books.  But who knows.  Several years back I decided to rectify this situation by setting a goal to read 1 classic every 10 or 15 books.  I did pretty well, at least until I got to one that I just could not get through.  It was one that had little side notes in the margin to help understand it, and it was just too boring, and not at all what I'd thought it would be, and that book was Dante's Inferno.  Now if this is one of your favorites, I'm sorry, it just wasn't for me.  And these days, many more books are becoming classics that at one time probably weren't considered to be.  Below I will share 5 classics that I've read, and can say I enjoyed somewhat.


This is one that I read in high school.  It was not too bad of a story.


I chose this edition of the book because I know we watched this movie I believe in high school.  I remember when it showed a naked butt!  High school students.  :-)


This is one I read on my own, probably in high school.  And of course it was a good one.


This is one I read as part of my goal I set to read some classics.  I really liked it, it was sad though at the end.


This is another I read on my own.  I am a big sci-fi, horror story fan, and I believe I found a copy of this either at a garage sale, or possible at the library.  But it is a favorite of mine.

While I love to read stories about Jane Austen classics, I don't enjoy reading them myself.  The wordiness of them is just too boring and sidetracks me too much as I read.  So I do enjoy the movies, but just can't bring myself to enjoy reading them.  And these of course are not the only classics I've read, just some of my favorites that I enjoyed.

Do you have a favorite classic?

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

A to Z April - N: Nonfiction

For today's post I'm kind of lumping a bunch of different types of books together.  There are so many different types of nonfiction, or "true" books.  I'm going to choose a few of my favorites that I actually read and share them with you.

1.  I already shared probably my favorite with you, and that was biographies/memoirs.  You can go back and read my post on that HERE.

2.  My second favorite group would probably be science.  As a former science teacher, with my undergraduate degree in biology and earth science.  Some of my favorite science books you can see below, and you can tell I guess, that I'm a huge dinosaur freak.  And the last one I actually included with my biography post back on #1, but it is a lot of science, and I loved that.

3.  My 3rd favorite type of nonfiction is humor.  This can be memoirs again, I love a funny life story.  Or else lately there have been some books based on technology type things that I read and it just cracks me up!!  Here are a few of my favorites.

4.  History is another area that I sometimes find interesting.  I don't know that I've actually read that many history books, and a lot of them though, are often true crime types of books.  Here are the ones I remember reading.  The last one I'm still reading.  I have it on my iphone and whenever I go somewhere and don't happen to have anything to read, I can pull it up and read. 

5.  The final type of nonfiction I like to "read" are cookbooks.  I technically don't read them, just look for recipes I like and then make them.  If I have time.  And I also picked this because I got to listen to the author of the Hungry Girl cookbooks, and now diet last night, so I wanted to share that picture.  But first I'll share 3 cookbooks I have actually used.


And here is a picture of Lisa Lillien, the "Hungry Girl" herself, speaking last night at the Barnes and Noble where I work part time.

So, how about you? Do you read much nonfiction?  If so, what type do you like to read?

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A to Z April - M: Mysteries

Today I'm going to talk about another genre of books, mysteries.  They are not my top type of books, but I do enjoy a good one.  I'm finding more YA ones that I'm even starting to become more interested in mysteries.  I'll share my top 5 mystery books/series below.


This is probably my favorite series, although the latest one is still sitting on my TBR shelf.  Must get to that!  The main character Goldy Bear is a caterer, and of course seems to come across murders all the time by accident.  I just love the characters, they're pretty funny/realistic seeming to me.  What is really neat is all the recipes that are shared, and though they sound delicious, I'm too lazy to possibly ever make them. But if you're a chef, and you like mysteries, you should definitely give these books a try.


Now this is a brand new, hot off the presses title.  It actually comes out today!  It is my first book by this author, and I was extremely impressed with it.  It is a YA mystery title, but a great one!


This is another YA mystery that is newer.  It is what I'd call a medical mystery.  I really enjoyed it.  I know that the author writes adult medical mystery/thrillers as well.

Another author that does great YA mystery.  This one is supposed to be based on the classic story Ten Little Indians by Agatha Christie.


Now this is one that could be considered maybe more of a romance, but it has a bit of a mystery to it so I'm going to list it.  While it is an older book, not YA really, it is one that is a favorite of mine.  As I said before, I'm not really a mystery fan, so I had a little trouble coming up with 5 top books for sure, and I didn't want to go through my whole list of all I've read on Goodreads, so I decided to list this last.

So, are you a big mystery fan?  And if you have time, I'd love for you to go back to my J post and help me think of some questions to ask some authors I'll be meeting next month.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Review: After the End by Amy Plum

First thanks to HarperTeen and Edelweiss for allowing me to read an e-galley of this book.  Now I've only read the first book in Amy Plum's other series, Die For Me, but I did really like it.  So, when I saw this available on Edelweiss, I decided to request it.  This wasn't too bad.  I must admit that at first I was really worried that it was going to be a major copy of a book by Margaret Peterson Haddix that totally had a movie by M. Night Shyamalan that copied it, but then there was a bit of a different twist to it that totally redeemed it for me.

The main character is Juneau, named for the Alaskan city, as are all the other kids in her clan.  They are a group of people who moved to Alaska right before the start of World War III in order to save themselves.  The live off the wilderness, supporting themselves as they are able.  And they also have a connection to the earth, one that helps them to be able to predict things, as well as read about where people they know might be.  They use their connections, or else some kind of tool, like a rock, or an animal, or fire, or water, to see things.  Juneau is set to take over from the main leader one day, as she has the most potential with this power.  One day she goes out hunting to help provide food for her clan, and when she comes back, they are all missing.  But it's like they were taken, their day to day belongings left as if they left them in the middle of making dinner, or whatever. But the worst thing is that all the dogs were killed, and that is how Juneau knows they were probably taken against their will.

The other main character is Miles. Miles is a spoiled rich boy, who has just been kicked out of high school because of getting caught cheating on a test.  And now his chances of going to Yale seem to be gone.  He overhears his father talking about a girl that must be found, and decides he will find her on his own, thus impressing his father, and winning back what he needs to go to Yale.

The two of them will end up together, both of them needing each other in their own way.  But will they become friends?  How will Juneau take finding out that she's been lied to her whole life?  And will Miles go ahead and turn her in to his dad, betraying what trust they may develop in each other.  Not only that, but there are now people after them, so they must figure out how to evade them, as well as try to find Juneau's clan.

Definitely a different type of story than a lot of what is out right now.  A good read for sure.

A to Z April - L: Listening

Another short post today.  I chose listening, as in audio books.  I'm not an expert in this area. Honestly I think I've only listened to two books all the way through.  And I'm not really a fan of it.  You see, I can read much faster than the time it takes to listen.  But you might say, what about for long drives, or times when you can't use your hands.  The two books I listened to were during the summer where I was walking 3-5 miles a day.  What I found is that my mind would wander and I would often have to rewind and try to figure out where I'd zoned out.  I'm definitely more of a visual person in the reading department.  So, I understand the reasons behind audio books, and I know many students who did so much better listening, and that the listening to a book often got them to where they were reading on their own at some point by sparking their interest.  The two books that I listened to were:


And I did enjoy listening to them, the narrator on the audio was really fun to listen to.  I think I even downloaded the third one, when it came out, but then have never had the time or inclination to listen to it.  And I don't know if I'll ever read the books to finish the series.  Plus, the movie they made from the first book was so horrible that I doubt there will be anymore of them, unless someone goes back and re-does the whole thing.  In my opinion that is.

So, what about you?  Do you like to listen to audio books?  Also, please, if you have time, would you mind going to my J post and helping me with some question ideas?  There is a giveaway that anyone who gives me ideas is automatically entered in.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Stacking the Shelves - April 13th, 2014

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews.  It is a way for us to share the new books we have collected. Only one physical book this week, the rest were some e-books.  

From YA Book Exchange:

This is one of the books that I was supposed to get earlier this year, when I found out my mail seemed to be disappearing.  The awesome trader on YA Book Exchange that had sent the ARC to me, Mimi Zane, found a paperback copy of it and offered to send it to me for an e-book that she wanted.  So yay!!

Free e-books:

Now three came from emails about free books to download.  The 2nd one up there, Forget Me Not, I downloaded because I saw a post on Facebook I believe about how that author was being bullied and taking her books down.  I hate that people do that.  As a blogger/book reviewer, if I don't like a book, I choose not to feature it on my blog, or to post what I don't like about the book, and not say anything about the author.  I don't believe that is something that book bloggers should do.  And also, just because I don't like something, doesn't mean that no one else does.  I'm not a huge fan of the Fifty Shades of Grey series, yet I would never insult the author, or the fans, it is their taste, and for some, their love to read.  I loved the Twilight series, and yet I have to listen to people bash it constantly.  I try to ignore it, as I don't feel it is fair, because most of them haven't even given it a chance. And I know some of those people did try to read it, and didn't like it.  But then, go find what you do like, and spend your time talking about that, and sharing that.  I just don't understand the negativity of some people.  Okay, off my soapbox.

Purchased e-books:

This was a good deal, and I used my credit that I got for my Nook in the settlement of some lawsuit that happened just recently.  I only got like $8, so my credit is almost gone!

E-galley from Netgalley:

This is one I saw on another blog just recently, so when I saw it available on Netgalley, I decided it might be one I wanted to give a chance to.  And it also got me auto-approved for Flux on Netgalley, yay!!

So, that's what I added to my shelves, both real and e-shelves, this week.  What did you add?

Also, if you  have time, go help me think of some questions to ask some awesome authors next month, and you can leave your ideas HERE.  

Saturday, April 12, 2014

A to Z April - K: Keeping

Today will be a pretty short and simple post.  K is for Keeping, in other words, do you keep your books?  I've always been the kind that wants to keep all of my books.  My dream house would have a room that was wall to wall, floor to ceiling bookshelves.  And I don't think I'd have any problem filling them.  I already have 5 bookshelves filled, and I don't mean just a single row of books like you'd see in a bookstore or library.  Some of the shelves have two or three rows with rows on top of the rows.  Obviously I don't have enough book shelves, or maybe I should not keep so many?  I'm getting to where I realize if it's not a book I know I may want to read again for sure some day, or by an author that I collect, I may get rid of it.  Mostly through YA Book Exchange, or giveaways, or even donating it to the high school library where I work.

One day, when I get that room in order, I intend to film a tour of my bookshelves.  But, I'm not quite to that point.  In fact today I'm putting together a  new bookshelf, one that I plan to put all my autographed books on.

Another thing about keeping.  I have to organize them.  I do kind of a nonfiction section, and then a fiction section. At one point I had the teen/kids books separated out.  I decided to just put all the fiction together. Although most of my children's books are still all boxed up in my basement for now.  And my nonfiction section is grouped by type of book, biographies, science, etc.  My fiction books are pretty much alphabetical by author.  Although I do have my Buffy the Vampire Slayer series books all on one shelf together even though they are by many different authors.

That's it, that's my K post.  Do you keep your books?  If so, do you arrange them like I do, or just stack them on the shelves?

If you have time, I'd love for you to visit my J Post and help me come up with some questions for an author panel I'll be leading in May.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Review: Dark Triumph (His Fair Assassins #3) by Robin LaFevers

It's been two years since I read an ARC of the first book in this series, Grave Mercy.  And if you go back and read my review, you can see I loved it, gave it 5 of 5 stars.  Unfortunately I didn't get the sequel as an ARC, I was sad.  And so I didn't get to continue until just recently.  I saw that the 3rd book was available as an e-galley on Edelweiss, and wanted to request it.  But, I needed to read the 2nd one.  I was lucky enough to find a copy, and ARC copy no less, of this book on YA Book Exchange.  So I made the trade.  I picked the book up this past week, and while it took me a bit to kind of remember some of the story, the writing was just as great as before.

While this is a sequel, we aren't following the same main character, Ismae, from the first book.  We are following one of the other girls that were being trained as an assassin for St. Mortain, Sybella.  Now Sybella had a secret, she was the daughter of one of the evil men who was attacking the duchess in the first book, d'Albret.  And it is because of this connection that the Abbess sends her back to the castle that he has captured and chased the duchess out of.  The one reason Sybella agreed to go back to her hell of a life, was the promise that she would get to be the one to kill her father.

The book starts out with Sybella seeing an attack about to be sprung on the duchess, and she is able to warn Ismae who is with her and they take off.  All except for the soldiers that stay to fight and hope to keep the duchess from being followed.  One fights beyond what seems possible, until finally he is on the ground.  He is captured, and is actually still alive, so he is stuck in the dungeon, as d'Albret thinks to use him to get to the duchess.  Sybella gets a message from the sisters telling her to set free the man in the dungeon, known as the Beast of Waroch.  Like his name suggests, he is HUGE!  And he is close to death.  Infections set in wounds, broken ribs, many other injuries.  She is not sure how to get him out, let alone help him to escape.  When she finally figures a plan, to get a cart to take him out, first she gets help from his guard, who for some reason helps her with the Beast.  And she is able to anger the Beast enough to get him to move himself some parts of the way.  But when she is so close to getting him in the cart and on his way, one of her taunts is too much for the Beast, and he knocks her out.  When she wakes up, she is now traveling with him, and she knows the convent will not be happy with her.  Not to mention she cannot go back now, they will know he did not kidnap her, at least not enough to get out of prison in the first place, due to his condition.  As she travels with him to find the duchess, they must avoid d'Albret's men, as well as the French, and she must work on helping him to heal.

There is so much in this story, layer after layer, connecting all the characters in such a way that all the things that happen, and the ways they react make perfect sense as you read them.  The love story is good, not insta-love, and that is nice.  No love triangle, although there may be more than one man in love with Sybella, it is in no way a love triangle.  You really root for her as you learn more and more about her story, her past, and what she has endured in her life.  While it definitely ended, unlike the first book, you can definitely see there needs to be a sequel, or finale to the series.  And it seems that 3rd one will follow one of the other girls from the convent.  Now we did also get several parts of the story that included Ismae and Duval from the first story, and it was woven into the story quite nicely.  Now, can't wait to read on, although since it isn't being published until November, you won't get to read my review of it until October.  Although I will post a rating on Goodreads as soon as it is read.

A to Z April - J: Journalism?

Okay, I'm kind of stretching for today.  Wasn't sure anyway what to do for J, journaling was my other idea.  But, I decided to use today's post to get some help from my followers and anyone else who stops by.  On May 8th, I am so excited to get to be a moderator for an author panel at the bookstore where I work part time.  It is the Pitch Black Dark Days Summer Tour, and includes the authors:  Kelley Armstrong, Kiera Cass, Kimberly Derting, and Danielle Paige.  I'm so excited because Kiera Cass is the author of one of my favorite series, The Selection series, and the final book in the series, The One, comes out this May and I can't wait to read it!  Danielle Paige is the author of the exciting new book, Dorothy Must Die.  Kimberly Derting is an author I just fell in love with from reading her latest book, The Taking.  And Kelley Armstrong is an author I have yet to read, other than short stories, but am still very excited to meet.

So, to me, journalism is reporters, telling the news, interviews, magazines, newspapers, etc.  So I feel like I would love to have some ideas of questions you think I should ask when moderating the panel with these awesome authors next month.  Here is what I'm asking.  Please give me some question ideas in the comments below.  I will also make this into a contest.  Whoever comes up with the most original question, that I think is appropriate and perfect to ask the authors, I will purchase one of the titles from these authors and have it signed for them as a giveaway.  So think hard about what you'd like to know or what you would ask these authors if you had the chance to moderate this.  And keep in mind, it can be a question for just one of them, but even better would be something I could have all of them answer.

Can't wait to read your ideas!!!