Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Reading Challenge Update- March

I know I said this back in February, but I can't believe that March is over!  It's time to start planning summer programs at my library, and we have almost no snow!  
I took a week off from blogging/ reviewing/ reading in March, and I'm glad I did.  I needed that time to recharge my batteries, and get out of my reading funk.  
So now on to what I actually read for March!

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

In the Garden by Nora Roberts

The Winner's Trilogy Marie Rutkoski

The Kane Chronicles by Rick Riordan
#1 Red Pyramid

Nightmares by Jason Segel and Kirsten White

Platypus Police Squad by Jarrett Krosoczka

Flavia de Luce Series by Alan Bradley

Fool's Gold series by Susan Mallery
#16 Hold Me

Confessions series by James Patterson

Shelter in a Soldier's Arms by Susan Mallery

I added 12 books to my Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge.  I'm 33% done with this challenge.  If I keep up this pace, I'll be done with this challenge around the end of September.

Love, Lucy by April Lindner
Silent Alarm by Jennifer Banash
Magnolia by Kristi Cook

How was March for you reading wise?  Read anything interesting?  Leave me a comment!

Friday, March 20, 2015

The Terrible Two by Mac Barnett and Jory John

The Terrible Two by Mac Barnett and Jory John
Published by Harry N. Abrams on January 13, 2015

Summary: "Miles Murphy is not happy to be moving to Yawnee Valley, a sleepy town that’s famous for one thing and one thing only: cows. In his old school, everyone knew him as the town’s best prankster, but Miles quickly discovers that Yawnee Valley already has a prankster, and a great one. If Miles is going to take the title from this mystery kid, he is going to have to raise his game.

It’s prankster against prankster in an epic war of trickery, until the two finally decide to join forces and pull off the biggest prank ever seen: a prank so huge that it would make the members of the International Order of Disorder proud."  --From Goodreads

This was a highly entertaining middle-grade read.  Miles was the prankster at his old school, and Niles is the suck-up kid at the new school... or is he?  I found myself giggling at many points in the book, especially when the rubber chicken came into play.  The pictures in the book are perfect, illustrating the funny bits without going completely over the top.  

If you're looking for a funny book, I would really suggest anything by Mac Barnett.  He's quickly become an author that I automatically add to my to-read list.

Disclosure: I borrowed a copy of this book from my local library.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Silent Alarm by Jennifer Banash

Silent Alarm by Jennifer Banash
Published by Putnam Juvenile on March 10, 2015

Summary: "Alys’s whole world was comprised of the history project that was due, her upcoming violin audition, being held tightly in the arms of her boyfriend, Ben, and laughing with her best friend, Delilah. At least it was—until she found herself on the wrong end of a shotgun in the school library. Her suburban high school had become one of those places you hear about on the news—a place where some disaffected youth decided to end it all and take as many of his teachers and classmates with him as he could. Except, in this story, that youth was Alys’s own brother, Luke. He killed fifteen others and himself, but spared her—though she’ll never know why.  Alys’s downward spiral begins instantly, and there seems to be no bottom." --From Goodreads

This is a book that will stay with me for a long time.  In the current climate, books about mass shootings are needed.  These events happen frequently, and kids are just as affected by those events that are across the country, not to mention the ones that happen in their own backyard.

Alys's story is different though.  Her brother is the one who walked through their school, killing 15 innocent classmates and teachers.  Silent Alarm is her story, and how she copes with the aftermath.  I would recommend this book to any and all students.  

Disclosure: I borrowed a copy of this book from my local library.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

TTT: Top Ten Books on my Spring TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  This week's theme is the top ten books I'm most excited for in my Spring TBR.  
 Here we go!

Silent Alarm by Jennifer Banash
Publication Date: March 10

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
Publication Date: May 5

Finding Paris by Joy Preble
Publication Date: April 21

The Wicked Will Rise by Danielle Paige
Publication Date: March 31 

Black Dove, White Raven by Elizabeth Wein
Publication Date: March 31

Mosquitoland by David Arnold
Publication Date: March 3 

Publication Date: March 31

Sophomore Year is Greek to Me by Meredith Zeitlin
Publication Date: April 21

Backlash by Sarah Darer Littman
Publication Date: March 31

Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen
Publication Date: May 5

What are you looking forward to reading in Spring?  Leave a list or link in the comments!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Nightmares! by Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller

Nightmares! by Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller
Nightmares #1
Published by Delacorte Books for Young Readers on September 9, 2014

Summary: "Charlie Laird has several problems.

1. His dad married a woman he is sure moonlights as a witch.
2. He had to move into her purple mansion, which is NOT a place you want to find yourself after dark.
3.He can’t remember the last time sleeping wasn’t a nightmarish prospect. Like even a nap.

What Charlie doesn’t know is that his problems are about to get a whole lot more real. Nightmares can ruin a good night’s sleep, but when they start slipping out of your dreams and into the waking world—that’s a line that should never be crossed.

And when your worst nightmares start to come true, well, that’s something only Charlie can face. And he’s going to need all the help he can get, or it might just be lights-out for Charlie Laird. For good."  --From Goodreads

I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I have real reservations when an author reads his own book, but Jason Segal knocked it out of the park. He knew his own characters, and in doing so, provided them with their own unique voices. My favorite was Meduso and his three snakes. Meduso lends the story the unique adult figure who also has his own nightmares to face.

I am really glad that this story is part of a series. I know I will be getting the audiobook again.

Disclosure: I borrowed the audiobook from my local library. 

Friday, March 13, 2015

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
Red Queen Trilogy #1
Published by Orion on February 10, 2015

Summary: "The poverty stricken Reds are commoners, living under the rule of the Silvers, elite warriors with god-like powers.

To Mare Barrow, a 17-year-old Red girl from The Stilts, it looks like nothing will ever change.

Mare finds herself working in the Silver Palace, at the centre of
those she hates the most. She quickly discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy Silver control.

But power is a dangerous game. And in this world divided by blood, who will win?"  --From Goodreads

I really loved this book.  There is so much detail in the world building.  The scene that comes to mind is when Mare rides the boat back to the main palace.  The differences that she sees in the pockets of civilization from the boat are entirely different.

The ending also surprised the heck out of me.  I didn't see it coming.  I am really looking forward to the second book in this series.  Unfortunately, now I have to wait an entire year.

Disclosure: I picked this book up from my local library.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Of Neptune by Anna Banks

Of Neptune by Anna Banks
The Syrena Legacy #3
Published on May 13, 2014 by Feiwel & Friends

Summary: "Emma, who is half human and half Syrena, and her Syrena love, Galen, need time together. Alone. Away from the kingdoms of Poseidon and Triton. Emma’s grandfather, the Poseidon king, suggests the two visit a small town called Neptune.

Neptune is home to both Syrena and Half-Breeds alike. But Emma and Galen didn’t sign up to be peacemakers between the ocean living Syrena and the land-dwelling, freshwater counterparts. They didn’t bargain for meeting a charming Half-Breed named Reed, who can barely disguise his feelings for Emma. And they especially didn’t expect to find themselves in the middle of a power struggle that threatens not only their love, but their ocean kingdoms." -- From Goodreads

When I found out that there was going to be a third book, I was a bit skeptical.  The second book ended on such a note, that it was almost impossible to see where the third book was going to go.  It did take me awhile to finally read this book, but I'm really glad I did.  Emma and Galen find this town that is filled with half-breed and full blood Syrena.  It was interesting to meet so many half-breeds.

I also liked the fact that we didn't know who to trust in Neptune.  Was everyone against Galen and Emma, and who exactly could they trust?  This was a great, action-packed ending to a great series.

Disclosure: I listened to the audiobook through my library.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The Winner's Crime by Marie Rutkoski

The Winner's Crime by Marie Rutkoski
The Winner's Trilogy #2
Published on March 3, 2015 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Summary: "The engagement of Lady Kestrel to Valoria’s crown prince means one celebration after another. But to Kestrel it means living in a cage of her own making. As the wedding approaches, she aches to tell Arin the truth about her engagement…if she could only trust him. Yet can she even trust herself? For—unknown to Arin—Kestrel is becoming a skilled practitioner of deceit: an anonymous spy passing information to Herran, and close to uncovering a shocking secret.

As Arin enlists dangerous allies in the struggle to keep his country’s freedom, he can’t fight the suspicion that Kestrel knows more than she shows. In the end, it might not be a dagger in the dark that cuts him open, but the truth. And when that happens, Kestrel and Arin learn just how much their crimes will cost them." --From Goodreads

I don't ever know what to write about this series.  I love it.  Kestrel has become even more sneaky.  As future empress, she is watched constantly.  Arin and Kestrel have many interludes, but they are both so stubborn!  There is a lot of stuff that goes unsaid between the two of them, and of course, it causes conflicts that could have been avoided.  

The ending was explosive!  I won't write anymore, but I am eagerly awaiting the final book in this series.  

Disclosure: I received a digital galley of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Love, Lucy by April Lindner

Love, Lucy by April Lindner
Published by Poppy on January 27, 2015

Summary: "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." --From Goodreads

I thought this was a great, lighthearted read.  The setting was perfect, and the author described the streets of Italy to perfection.  I felt like I was right beside Jesse and Lucy as they discovered Italy and each other.  

If you're a fan of contemporary romances, traveling, or need a summer beach read, I would suggest you pick this book up.  

Disclosure: I picked up this book from my local library.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver

Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver
Published by HarperCollins on March 10, 2015

Summary: "Dara and Nick used to be inseparable, but that was before the accident that left Dara's beautiful face scarred and the two sisters totally estranged. When Dara vanishes on her birthday, Nick thinks Dara is just playing around. But another girl, nine-year-old Madeline Snow, has vanished, too, and Nick becomes increasingly convinced that the two disappearances are linked. Now Nick has to find her sister, before it's too late."  -- From Goodreads

Oh my goodness.  Where do I even begin to explain my feelings for this book?  First we have Nick (Nicole), who finally goes to her mom's house after an accident.  We find out that Nick and her sister Dara have been at odds since the accident, although the details surrounding the fight are not revealed until later.  

All characters are well developed, even Nick's coworkers at FanLand.  The catalyst for the story comes in the form of a nine-year-old girl vanishing.  Dara also goes missing, and Nick ties the two incidents together.  The way that the story was weaved together was impressive.  I really didn't see the ending coming, and I was upset by it.  It almost made me feel cheated out of the ending that I wanted.

Overall, this is a great book!  Fans of Lauren Oliver's previous works will eat this right up.  Also, if you liked E. Lockhart's We Were Liars, you definitely need to read Vanishing Girls as well.  

Disclosure: I received a digital galley of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Friday, March 6, 2015

The Shadow Cabinet by Maureen Johnson

The Shadow Cabinet by Maureen Johnson
Shades of London #3
Published on February 10, 2015 by Putnam Juvenile

Summary: "Rory and her friends are reeling from a series of sudden and tragic events. While racked with grief, Rory tries to determine if she acted in time to save a member of the squad. If she did, how do you find a ghost? Also, Rory’s classmate Charlotte has been kidnapped by Jane and her nefarious organization. Evidence is uncovered of a forty-year-old cult, ten missing teenagers, and a likely mass murder. Everything indicates that Charlotte’s in danger, and it seems that something much bigger and much more terrible is coming.

Time is running out as Rory fights to find her friends and the ghost squad struggles to stop Jane from unleashing her spectral nightmare on the entire city. In the process, they'll discover the existence of an organization that underpins London itself—and Rory will learn that someone she trusts has been keeping a tremendous secret."  --From Goodreads

I don't know exactly what to say about this book.  It was pretty good, and I did enjoy it.  I thought the introduction of a cult was just what the whole overall story needed.  It pushed the plot forward, even after Stephen's "death".  Finding Stephen and moving the Oswulf Stone made the story drag.  The readers probably could have benefited from both of those scenes being cut in length.

Overall, I do like this series, and I think that The Shadow Cabinet is a good addition to this series.  

Disclosure: I borrowed a copy from my local library.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

A Wicked Thing by Rhiannon Thomas

A Wicked Thing by Rhiannon Thomas
Published on February 24, 2015

Summary: "One hundred years after falling asleep, Princess Aurora wakes up to the kiss of a handsome prince and a broken kingdom that has been dreaming of her return. All the books say that she should be living happily ever after. But as Aurora understands all too well, the truth is nothing like the fairy tale.

Her family is long dead. Her "true love" is a kind stranger. And her whole life has been planned out by political foes while she slept.

As Aurora struggles to make sense of her new world, she begins to fear that the curse has left its mark on her, a fiery and dangerous thing that might be as wicked as the witch who once ensnared her. With her wedding day drawing near, Aurora must make the ultimate decision on how to save her kingdom: marry the prince or run." --From Goodreads

I really enjoyed this unique retelling of Sleeping Beauty.  Aurora wakes up after a hundred years and comes to the realization that her family is dead and now she must marry the Prince that kissed her.  Overall, I really did enjoy this story.  The author fleshed out the more main characters, and I'm hoping that some others get more time in upcoming books.  I have no doubt that there will be more books, given the ending.  Aurora finally took a stand for herself, and now I'm excited to see what she intends to do with her newfound freedom.

Disclosure: I borrowed a copy from my library.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

El Deafo by Cece Bell

El Deafo by Cece Bell
Published by Amulet Books on September 2, 2014
Newbery Honor 2015

Summary: "Starting at a new school is scary, even more so with a giant hearing aid strapped to your chest! At her old school, everyone in Cece's class was deaf. Here she is different. She is sure the kids are staring at the Phonic Ear, the powerful aid that will help her hear her teacher. Too bad it also seems certain to repel potential friends.

Then Cece makes a startling discovery. With the Phonic Ear she can hear her teacher not just in the classroom, but anywhere her teacher is in school--in the hallway...in the teacher's lounge...in the bathroom! This is power. Maybe even superpower! Cece is on her way to becoming El Deafo, Listener for All. But the funny thing about being a superhero is that it's just another way of feeling different... and lonely. Can Cece channel her powers into finding the thing she wants most, a true friend?"  --From Goodreads

After a bout of meningitis leaves her deaf at age four, Cece must learn to navigate the world with a hearing aid.  I really liked how the author used language geared toward the elementary school audience, but didn't talk down to them either.  This novel was funny and heartwarming, and I will recommend it to anyone. 

Disclosure: I borrowed a copy from my library.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: All Time Favorite Books (Past 3 Years)

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  This week's theme is my all time favorite books from the past three years.  I'm cheating and making series into one choice.  
 Here we go!

Anna and the French Kiss series by Stephanie Perkins.  
I recently read this series, and I was surprised at how much I loved it!  I've always wanted to go to Paris, and this book just made it worse!

The Lunar Chronicles series by Marissa Meyer
I've been in love with this series for such a long time.  I'm going to be sooooo sad when this series comes to an end in November.

Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas
This was a new find for me in 2014, and I have to say that I'm obsessed.  There are three more books in this series, so I don't have to say goodbye to this series for a long time.

Golden by Jessi Kirby
This book affected me in such a profound way.  You NEED to read this!

The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski
I really loved this book and the world building was spectacular.  The second book comes out soon!

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
I loved the world building in Seraphina, along with the unique premise of half-dragons.

My True Love Gave to Me edited by Stephanie Perkins
I loved this collection of holiday stories.  I will be rereading this lovely book every December.

The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
I love this series about kids with natural talents, who are helping the FBI catch killers.

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
 This book had one of the best kept endings of 2014.  This truly was a favorite to read and discuss.

I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
*Printz Winner 2015
This was such a lovely book.  I loved the dual perspectives.  I'm really happy that this book won the Printz Award, and I'm sure that young adults will surely love this book.

What are some of your favorites?  Leave a list or link in the comments!

Monday, March 2, 2015

In the Garden series by Nora Roberts

The In the Garden series by Nora Roberts is up today.

Blue Dahlia • Black Rose • Red Lily

Trying to escape the ghosts of the past, young widow Stella Rothchild, along with her two energetic little boys, has moved back to her roots in southern Tennessee, taking a job at In the Garden nursery. As Stella settles comfortably into her new life, she finds a nurturing friendship with her boss Roz and with expectant mother Hayley. Stella also  discovers a fierce attraction with ruggedly handsome landscaper Logan Kitridge.  After her relationship starts, she is increasingly plagued with visits from the Harper Bride; a ghost that has haunted Roz's house for decades.

I pulled this series off of my library's book sale rack, and I'm glad I did.  I liked the three women, and the romances all seemed genuine.  The paranormal aspect was also interesting, and I liked the way book three tied up all loose knots.

I also liked Nora Roberts' The Bride Quartet series.  

Her Inn Boonsboro trilogy is also in the similar vein of the In the Garden series.  It features some paranormal aspects as well.

If you like Nora Roberts, or like romance stories with aspects of the paranormal, you should read this series.  

Overall, I really liked this series, but I don't think it'll be one I re-read.  It was a solid Nora Roberts series, and anyone who likes her works will probably like this series as well.