Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday: Wayfarer

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, which shines a light on eagerly anticipated upcoming releases.  This week, my pick is:

Wayfarer by Alexandra Bracken
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Date: January 3, 2017
Passenger #2

"All Etta Spencer wanted was to make her violin debut when she was thrust into a treacherous world where the struggle for power could alter history. After losing the one thing that would have allowed her to protect the Timeline, and the one person worth fighting for, Etta awakens alone in an unknown place and time, exposed to the threat of the two groups who would rather see her dead than succeed. When help arrives, it comes from the last person Etta ever expected—Julian Ironwood, the Grand Master’s heir who has long been presumed dead, and whose dangerous alliance with a man from Etta’s past could put them both at risk.

Meanwhile, Nicholas and Sophia are racing through time in order to locate Etta and the missing astrolabe with Ironwood travelers hot on their trail. They cross paths with a mercenary-for-hire, a cheeky girl named Li Min who quickly develops a flirtation with Sophia. But as the three of them attempt to evade their pursuers, Nicholas soon realizes that one of his companions may have ulterior motives.

As Etta and Nicholas fight to make their way back to one another, from Imperial Russia to the Vatican catacombs, time is rapidly shifting and changing into something unrecognizable… and might just run out on both of them." -- From Goodreads

I haven't read the first book in this series, but it sounds so amazing!  I'm waiting until the second book comes out to binge the series.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

TTT: Books to Buy for the Littles on Your List This Holiday Season

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  This week's theme features books to buy for the littles on your list this holiday season.  Here we go!

Before Winnie-the-Pooh, there was a real bear named Winnie.

Counting Lions by Katie Cotton
A spectacular, visually stunning celebration of wildlife—and gentle counting book—that can be enjoyed by the entire family.

Here Comes Valentine Cat by Deborah Underwood
Cat hates Valentine's Day, but can he change his tune?

Mother Bruce by Ryan T. Higgins
Bruce accidentally becomes the mother to some goslings.  What's a bear to do? 

When Spring Comes by Kevin Henkes
Spring brings baby birds, sprouting seeds, rain and mud, and puddles. You can feel it and smell it and hear it—and you can read it!

Find out how little ones can make and keep friends the dinosaur way.

Are We There Yet? by Dan Santat
Every parent has heard this classic kid question on a long car ride--and after reading this astonishingly inventive new book (that even turns upside down for several pages!), you'll never look at being bored the same way again.

One Big Salad by Juana Medina
One avocado deer saunters across the spread, two radish mice scurry by, until finally ten watercress seahorses swim onto the scene - all of the ingredients in one big salad!

We Found a Hat by Jon Klassen
Two turtles have found a hat. The hat looks good on both of them. But there are two turtles. And there is only one hat. . . . 

They All Saw a Cat by Brendan Wenzel
When you see a cat, what do you see?

Whenever Maple gets near the tree, she starts sniffling and sneezing. Could she really be allergic to the perfect Christmas tree? And if so, how will the girls find a way to make this the best Christmas after all?

Do you have to buy books for little ones this year?
Leave me a list or link in the comments of your picks this year!

Monday, November 28, 2016

Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life

I struggled with what I was going to say about this series.  I watched this series after the fact, but fell in love with Lorelai and Rory all the same.  I wanted to be cool and hip like Lorelai, and as smart & well-read as Rory.  

I thought Rory was going to be doing great things when we returned to her.  Instead, she's floundering.  We've seen her flounder before, but never to this extent.  She's 32, and seems like she's still living like she's 22.  Finally, Jess comes back and gives her the push she so desperately needs.  He's done that before, and I figure he'll always be there when she needs him.  So Rory sits down and writes a book, Gilmore Girls, based on growing up with her mother.

Cut to Lorelai.  We also see her floundering.  Sookie has gone off on a jaunty sabbatical that was supposed to only be 6 months.  6 months has turned into 2 years, and it doesn't look like she's coming back.  Lorelai is understanding as always, but desperately tries to expand the Dragonfly so that Michele doesn't leave her too.  Her father's death has also affected her in surprising ways.  One of the ways she tries to cope is by doing "Wild".  So Lorelai flies out to California, hoping to find peace and clarity on the Pacific Crest Trail.

Well, after finding her clarity behind a diner waiting for coffee, Lorelai rushes home to Luke, insisting that they get married.  Luke and Lorelai get married the night before their actual ceremony (of course).  It looks like everyone stays up all night, and so we end with Rory and Lorelai sitting on the gazebo.  And finally.... we get to hear Amy Sherman-Palladino's famous last four words.

Now I won't tell you what they are.  They're floating around cyberspace, so if you really want to be spoiled, I would go look them up.  

I was shocked.  Disappointed.  I really hope they continue the story.  I know they probably won't.  I truly hope that Rory will get her story published.  Life is funny that way.  We never end up where we expected to be, but always where we need to be.

Did you watch Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life?
Leave your thoughts in the comments!

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Favorite Christmas Movies: The Santa Clause 3

Summary: "Santa, aka Scott Calvin, is faced with double-duty: how to keep his new family happy, and how to stop Jack Frost from taking over Christmas."

Cheese Factor: 3/5
The cheese factor gets higher with each movie.  Santa has to deal with Jack Frost and his in-law's for Christmas.  Also features what would have happened if Scott Calvin wouldn't have become Santa.

Overall: Still a movie I would watch with kids.  The North Pole is still magical to watch, and Martin Short will provide laughs for both kids and parents.

Where can you find this movie? Check the TV listings here!

Friday, November 25, 2016

The Copper Gauntlet by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare

The Copper Gauntlet by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare
Published by Scholastic Press in September 2015
Magisterium #2

"Callum Hunt’s summer break isn’t like other kids’. His closest companion is a Chaos-ridden wolf, Havoc. His father suspects him of being secretly evil. And, of course, most kids aren’t heading back to the magical world of the Magisterium in the fall.

It’s not easy for Call . . . and it gets even harder after he checks out his basement and discovers that his dad might be trying to destroy both him and Havoc.

Call escapes to the Magisterium -- but things only intensify there. The Alkahest -- a copper gauntlet capable of separating certain magicians from their magic -- has been stolen. And in their search to discover the culprit, Call and his friends Aaron and Tamara awaken the attention of some very dangerous foes -- and get closer to an even more dangerous truth." - From Goodreads

Will you like it?
I liked this novel better than the first one.  The first bit was slow, but the ending more than made up for the slow start.  The world building and character development continued with this book, and I loved that now we got to see more of the history between Constantine and Call's dad.  I'm excited to continue with this series and see where it ends up.

Disclosure: I borrowed a copy of the audiobook from my local library.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Favorite Christmas Movies: Santa Clause 2

Summary: "Scott Calvin has been a humble Santa Claus for nearly ten years, but it might come to an end if he doesn't find a Mrs. Claus."

Cheese Factor: 2/5
Definitely more cheese in this movie than the first.  The introduction of other legendary figures?  Plus, the fact that they forgot about the Mrs. Claus clause for 10 years?  Unlikely.

Overall: Still a great movie to watch with kids because of the humor.  Plus, the North Pole is still magical.

Where can you find this movie? Check the TV listings here!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Library Loot [3]

Here are some books I've received from the library lately.  Enjoy!

My Unscripted Life by Lauren Morrill
Working as a summer intern on the set of a movie, seventeen-year-old Dee meets famous pop star turned actor Milo Ritter and sparks fly.

Cloud and Wallfish by Anne Nesbet
Historical fiction set in East Berlin under the Iron Curtain.

Bad Blood by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
The last book in the Naturals series.  I need to know how it ends!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

TTT: What I'm Thankful For

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  This week's theme features things I'm thankful for!  Here we go!

 My cats, Sven & Olaf
They are definitely my babies.  When the Boyfriend is gone for work, the boys keep me company.  They're always quick to give cuddles, and always provide comic relief.

The Boyfriend (technically now The Fiancee!)
He is my partner & my partner in crime.  Love you always.

We celebrated the birth of Niece in August. We also celebrated the Nephew's 1st birthday in September.  Time goes by so fast!

What are you thankful for?
Leave me a list or link in the comments!

Monday, November 21, 2016

The Iron Trial by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare

The Iron Trial by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare
Published by Scholastic Press in September 2014
Magisterium #1

"Most kids would do anything to pass the Iron Trial.

Not Callum Hunt. He wants to fail.

All his life, Call has been warned by his father to stay away from magic. If he succeeds at the Iron Trial and is admitted into the Magisterium, he is sure it can only mean bad things for him.

So he tries his best to do his worst - and fails at failing.

Now the Magisterium awaits him. It's a place that's both sensational and sinister, with dark ties to his past and a twisty path to his future.

The Iron Trial is just the beginning, for the biggest test is still to come . . . " - From Goodreads

Will you like it?
Kids who like Harry Potter or Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson will love this series.  The sense of adventure is the same.  Even some plot details are eerily similar to those found in Harry Potter and Percy Jackson novels.  Honestly, this series is a great readalike for those kids who love series and love adventure novels.  It won't win any major literary awards, but it's just the thing to recommend.

This first novel had pretty good world building.  For some reason when I first started this book I really thought Clare's Shadowhunters were supposed to be in it as well.  The plot was fairly straightforward, but I liked the "twist" at the end.

Disclosure: I borrowed a copy of the audiobook from my local library.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Favorite Christmas Movies: The Santa Clause

Summary: "When a man inadvertently kills Santa on Christmas Eve, he finds himself magically recruited to take his place."

Cheese Factor: 1/5
Very low cheesiness with this movie.  The entire movie is magical.  This is one to watch with your kids so you can "ooh" and "aah" over the North Pole.  There are a lot of funny parts (Comet the reindeer especially).

Overall: This movie is just so magical.  I love its take on the North Pole.  It's just a heartwarming story to watch.

Where can you find this movie? It's part of Free Form's 25 Days of Christmas

Friday, November 18, 2016

If You Liked... Crooked Kingdom

I know a lot of people are experiencing a very large book hangover when it came to Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo.  I know I did!
I'm secretly harboring hope that Bardugo will come out with more stories in this universe.  Until that happens, I'm going to tide myself over by reading books that are very similar to her Six of Crows series.

If you liked...

Try these!

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
Kick butt girl assassin.  What more do you need?

The Young Elites by Marie Lu
After an illness, survivors have surprising powers.

Truthwitch by Susan Dennard
In a continent on the edge of war, two witches hold its fate in their hands.

What are you reading to get over Crooked Kingdom?

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Favorite Christmas Movies: A Christmas Kiss

Summary: "Wendy is an aspiring designer and assistant to her callous boss Priscilla. Unfortunately, Wendy's dreams of impressing her boss get complicated when she realizes that the mysterious man she kissed in a falling elevator is Priscilla's boyfriend, Adam. As Adam and Wendy's friendship grows, Priscilla is forced to take drastic measures to make sure her engagement goes forward as planned. Will Wendy and Adam connect before it's too late?"

Cheese Factor: 2/5
Working for a domineering boss is portrayed entirely too real, but the fact that Wendy spends so much time with Adam is a bit unrealistic.

Overall: A good movie to watch with your girlfriends.  You can swoon over Adam and Wendy's romance and commiserate over who has had the worst boss.

Where can you find this movie? Netflix is currently streaming it!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Wishlist Wednesday [1]

 Here's a book that I can't wait to add to my shelves:

Embassy Row #3
Release Date: December 27
Published by Scholastic Press

"Centuries ago, the royal family of Adria was killed . . . or so everyone thought.
Now Grace Blakely knows the truth:

There was one survivor, and that survivor’s blood runs through her veins. This simple fact could cause a revolution — which is why some people will stop at nothing to keep it from coming to light.

There is only one way for Grace to save herself, save her family, and save the boy she loves. She must outmaneuver her foes, cut through the web of lies that has surrounded her for years, and go back to the source of all her troubles, despite the risk.

If she wins, she will inherit a throne.

And if she loses, she will inherit the fate of all the dead princesses who came before her." - From Goodreads

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

TTT: My Favorite Must Watch Christmas Movies

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  This week's theme a movie freebie.
I've decided to highlight my favorite must-see movies of the Christmas season.
Here we go!

Home Alone
A classic, especially for children.

The Family Stone
One of those movies that makes you appreciate your own crazy family.

It's a Wonderful Life
This movie makes you think about the best parts in your life.

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
 Reminds us what is truly important about the holiday season by showing us everything that could ever go wrong.
Check when it's on TV

What are your must-see movies of the season?
Leave me a link or list in the comments!

Monday, November 14, 2016

Heartless by Marissa Meyer

Heartless by Marissa Meyer
Published by Feiwel & Friends in November 2016

"Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland, and a favorite of the yet-unmarried King of Hearts, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, all she wants is to open a shop with her best friend and supply the Kingdom of Hearts with delectable pastries and confections. But according to her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for the young woman who could be the next Queen.

At a royal ball where Cath is expected to receive the king's marriage proposal, she meets Jest, the handsome and mysterious court joker. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the King and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into an intense, secret courtship.

Cath is determined to define her own destiny and fall in love on her terms. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans." - From Goodreads

Will you like it?
This was such a hard book for me to read.  I blame that fact on how I knew Cath was going to become bitter,  but I didn't want to know how she got there.  I loved the characters.  Cath was a dreamer, and had a hard time accepting that her parents wanted her to marry the King of Hearts.  It was also really fun to see all of the other characters that we have associated with Wonderland: the Caterpillar, Cheshire, the Hatter.  Everyone's fate was already decided.  I really hope that Meyer continues with her writing of origin stories; her take on the Queen of Hearts was splendid.

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

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Favorite Christmas Movies: 12 Dates of Christmas

Summary: "A story that follows Kate, a young woman who after a horrible blind date on Christmas Eve, wakes up to find she is re-living that same day and date all over again."

Cheese Factor: 3/5
There are some moments where this movie becomes cliche.  During Kate's journey, of course she has to go and spend a bunch of money and give herself a major makeover.  

Overall: This is one of my favorite Christmas romantic comedies.  I love the chemistry between Kate and Miles.  The journey that Kate goes on is very important, and brings a smile to your face.
If you want a funny, lighthearted Christmas movie, this is for you!

Where can you find this movie? Netflix is currently streaming it!

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Library Loot [2]

Here are some books I received from the library lately.  Enjoy!

It Must Be Christmas by Jennifer Crusie, Donna Alward & Mandy Baxter
A book of Christmas short stories. 

Christmas and cowboys, two of my favorite things!

Blood, Bullets, and Bones by Bridget Heos
Uses real-life cases to tell the fascinating history of modern forensic science, from the first test for arsenic poisoning to fingerprinting, firearm and blood spatter analysis, & DNA evidence.

Have you brought any goodies home from the library recently?
Leave a list or link in the comments!