Saturday, April 30, 2011

Friday Fill-In- April 29, 2011

Friday Fill-In

1. I love to read and eat popcorn.
2. I try to always greet my kindergarteners with a hug and a smile.
3. It's how you feel that matters.
4. Show me, don't tell me!
5. Well, would you please help with some of the wedidng planning?
6. Someone please tell me...what are spring peepers?
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to trying out the new AMC movie and dining experience, tomorrow my plans include returning some items and shopping for others with my best friend and Sunday, I want to go to a Disney water park with DF!

Friday Finds- April 29, 2011

Friday Finds

The Royal Treatment- Lindsey Leavitt
Desi Bascomb’s job as a princess substitute has gotten a whole lot more glamorous now that she’s advanced to Level 2 within the Facade Agency. Magical make-up, roller-skating celebrities, and the chance to see Prince Karl again are just some of the major perks. Not to mention, she’s landed the role of Fairy Queen in her school’s production of Midsummer’s Night Dream (opposite her best friend’s crush. Which is a little weird, but at least he wears a donkey head during their kissing scene). Life should be perfect, but Desi can’t seem to shake the feeling that there is more going on with the agency’s magic than she’s told. Like why is this mind-bending power exclusive to royals? Is it possible that there could be a bigger way to make an impact in both parts of her life? (From Lindsey Leavitt's website)

Away- Teri Hall
When Rachel crosses The Line she leaves behind everything she has ever known and enters a strange new world: Away. Life there is hard, and survival is never guaranteed. Bizarre, wild creatures roam the forests, and people—the same people she’s always been told are dangerous and untrustworthy—have gifts she’s never thought possible.

Rachel has to rely on Pathik, the boy she risked her own life for, to help her navigate the strange customs. He’s exasperating, but she thinks she can trust him, and she hopes he’ll lead her to answers about her father. As it turns out, he leads her to more than she bargained for, and Rachel finds herself on an adventure filled with life and death choices, dark conspiracies, and unthinkable sacrifice.

In a place with no technology, no electricity, no medicine, and very little hope, Rachel discovers that only one thing makes life worth living. If only it’s not too late. (From Teri Hall's website)

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Jennifer Weiner Book Tour

On Tuesday, Jennifer Weiner's book, Fly Away Home, was released in paperback.  To celebrate this launch, she is going on a "Making Whoopie Book Tour."  Here is the tour schedule (oh how I wish I lived close to one of these locations...I would so be there!!):

Sunday, May 1, 2011
LOS ANGELES (No Whoopie pies at this event!)
Los Angeles Times Festival of Books
3:30 pm
University of Southern California – Bing Theatre
Park Campus, 3551 Trousdale Pkwy
Los Angeles, CA

Wednesday, May 4, 2011
Soho Apple Store
6:30 pm
103 Prince Street
New York, NY

May 5, 2011
Gershman Y
7:00 pm
401 South Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA

May 6, 2011
Apple Store, Lincoln Park
801 W. North Avenue
Chicago, IL 60642
(312) 777-4200

Book Review- Miss Hildreth Wore Brown: Anecdotes of a Southern Belle

I just finished reading Miss Hildreth Wore Brown: Anecdotes of a Southern Belle by Olivia deBelle.

From Goodreads:

With storytelling written in the finest Southern tradition from the soap operas of Chandler Street in the quaint town of Gainesville, Georgia, to a country store on the Alabama state line, Olivia deBelle Byrd delves with wit and amusement into the world of the Deep South with all its unique idiosyncrasies and colloquialisms.

The characters who dance across the pages range from Great-Aunt Lottie Mae, who is as “old-fashioned and opinionated as the day is long,” to Mrs. Brewton, who calls everyone “dahling” whether they are darling or not, to Isabella with her penchant for mint juleps and drama.

Humorous anecdotes from a Christmas coffee, where one can converse with a lady who has Christmas trees with blinking lights dangling from her ears, to Sunday church, where a mink coat is mistaken for possum, will delight Southerners and baffle many a non-Southerner. There is the proverbial Southern beauty pageant, where even a six-month-old can win a tiara, to a funeral faux pas of the iron clad Southern rule-one never wears white after Labor Day and, dear gussy, most certainly not to a funeral.

Miss Hildreth Wore Brown-Anecdotes of a Southern Belle is guaranteed to provide an afternoon of laugh-out-loud reading and hilarious enjoyment.

Miss Hildreth Wore Brown is a quick, fun read!  This book is full of short little anecdotes, ususally 2-3 pages.  Which was the perfect length: not too long, not too short.  I live in Orlando, Florida, so while I live in the South, people often say we live too far south to be Southern.  But reading this book, I often found myself thinking "yup, I've done that!"  The stories were often hilarious and had me laughing out loud.  The author wrote as if she were talking to a friend and I felt like I was her friend. 

If you love funny, short anecdotal stories, then this book is right up your Southern alley!

I gave this book a rating of 4/5.

This book fulfills items in the following challenges:
2011 100+ Reading Challenge: 31

*FTC Disclosure: I was given this book for free for an honest review by the author.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday- April 27, 2011

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:

by Aprilynne Pike
Publication Release Date: May 3, 2011

From Aprilynne Pike's website:

Laurel hasn't seen Tamani since she begged him to let her go last year. Though her heart still aches, Laurel is confident that David was the right choice.

But just as life is returning to normal, Laurel discovers that a hidden enemy lies in wait. Once again, Laurel must turn to Tamani to protect and guide her, for the danger that now threatens Avalon is one that no faerie thought would ever be possible. And for the first time, Laurel cannot be sure that her side will prevail.

Book Review- The Kitchen Daughter

I just finished reading The Kitchen Daughter by Jael McHenry for a Gallery Books blog tour.

From Goodreads:

After the unexpected death of her parents, painfully shy and sheltered 26-year-old Ginny Selvaggio seeks comfort in cooking from family recipes. But the rich, peppery scent of her Nonna’s soup draws an unexpected visitor into the kitchen: the ghost of Nonna herself, dead for twenty years, who appears with a cryptic warning (“do no let her…”) before vanishing like steam from a cooling dish.

A haunted kitchen isn’t Ginny’s only challenge. Her domineering sister, Amanda, (aka “Demanda”) insists on selling their parents’ house, the only home Ginny has ever known. As she packs up her parents’ belongings, Ginny finds evidence of family secrets she isn’t sure how to unravel. She knows how to turn milk into cheese and cream into butter, but she doesn’t know why her mother hid a letter in the bedroom chimney, or the identity of the woman in her father’s photographs. The more she learns, the more she realizes the keys to these riddles lie with the dead, and there’s only one way to get answers: cook from dead people’s recipes, raise their ghosts, and ask them.
I really enjoyed reading this book.  I liked seeing life through the eyes of a young women with Asperger's.  Since I've had several students with Asperger's, this topic interests me and I love finding out more about it.  And I loved the food aspect of the book--the recipes and all the imagery that Ginny uses as a self-soother.  The words were so descriptive and flowing (and made me hungry and wish I could cook well!)  This was such a character-driven story, although there was one little surprise at the end.  I wouldn't say that it was a quick read, but it very easy to get absorbed into!
I gave this book a rating of 4/5.
This book fulfills items in the following challenges:
2011 100+ Reading Challenge: 32
*FTC Disclosure: I was given this book for free Gallery and Pocket Book Blog Tours for an honest review.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Teaser Tuesday- April 26, 2011

TEASER TUESDAYS asks you to: Grab your current read.Let the book fall open to a random page.

Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.

You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!

Please avoid spoilers!

My two teasers:

" 'Look at it from my position,' he says.  'You're asking me to do something I am really terrified of doing, and you haven't even given me a good reason.' "
~pf 206, The Kitchen Daughter by Jael McHenry

Monday, April 25, 2011

Mailbox Monday- April 25, 2011

Mailbox Monday: Here's what came in my mailbox this week

Tempest Rising- Tracy Deebs--from publisher for review

Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Sunday Salon- April 24, 2011

The Sunday Salon

Not too much went on this past week.  Although we did get our wedidng invites and they are beautiful!  Totally worth all the hassle!  Now I am just ready for the RSVPs to start coming in!  We have less than 3 weeks til the RSVP date so hopefully everyone sends them back right away!  It's the one thing I'm stressing about!

I finished and reviewed the following books this week:
Demons are a Girl's Best Friend by Linda Wisdom
Then I Met My Sister by Christine Hurley Deriso

I fulfilled items in the following challenges this week:
2011 100+ Reading Challenge: 29, 30
2011 ARC Reading Challenge: 26, 27
2011 Young Adult Reading Challenge: 24
2011 YA Contemporary Challenge: 4

I am currently reading The Kitchen Daughter Jael McHenry and up next is Supernaturally by Kiersten White.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Class of 2k11 guest post-- Carrie Harris

Over the next little while (honestly not sure how long it will be), I will be posting guest blogs by authors from the Class of 2k11!  I am so honored to be doing this!

Each author will be talking about who they would cast in the movie version of the book. 

Up first is Carrie Harris, author of Bad Taste in Boys.

And here's the summary of her book from her website:

Someone’s been a very bad zombie.

Super-smartie Kate Grable gets to play doctor, helping out her high school football team. Not only will the experience look good on her college apps, she gets to be this close to her quarterback crush, Aaron. Then something disturbing happens. Kate finds out that the coach has given the team steroids. Except . . . the vials she finds don’t exactly contain steroids. Whatever’s in them is turning hot gridiron hunks into mindless, flesh-eating . . . zombies.
Unless she finds an antidote, no one is safe. Not Aaron, not Kate’s brother, not her best friend . . . not even Kate . . .

It’s scary. It’s twisted. It’s sick. It’s high school.

And who would Carrie cast in her movie?

It’s confession time—I haven’t exactly dreamt about turning BAD TASTE IN BOYS into a movie, but I might have dreamt about turning it into a Buffyesque TV show. With cameos by Spike. And Angel. And Buffy. Heck, can we just take clips from Buffy and mix them all up and do that show all over again, only with zombies? That would make me happy.

While we’re at it, I’d really love to own a unicorn.

But if the Buffy thing isn’t possible (PLEASE, JOSS WHEDON!!! WITH UNICORNS ON TOP!), I’ve got backups. Here’s who I’d cast in my dream production of BTIB:

Kate Grable is the kind of girl I’d like to hang out with. But then again, I’m a big fan of random bits of inappropriate medical trivia, self-deprecating humor, and atrocious zombie theories. I wanted an actress who could pull off her humor but still be accessible, and zombie slaying experience was a big plus. That’s why I think Abigail Breslin of Zombieland would be a perfect choice.

And then there’s love interest Aaron Kingsman. Aaron’s a jock, but he’s not very good at it. He’s led the Bayview Bantams to a no-scoring season when the book starts. But we love him anyway because he’s adorbs, and smart, and funny, and kind, and did we mention adorbs? So for this one, I drew on my copious Disney Channel watching experience and went for Gregg Sulkin of Wizards of Waverly Place fame. Because let’s face it, Alex Pettyfer cannot play EVERY hot guy in a YA adaption.

Then there’s younger brother Jonah. Jonah is an uber-geek. He dresses up as the Bayview Bantam—a cheerleading chicken. He’s the kind of kid who wears rubber elf ears to school and carries around swords made out of PVC, but that doesn’t stop him from manning up when his sister is in trouble. I’ve made no secret of the fact that I am totally TEAM JONAH, so I wanted someone BIG to play him.

Yes, that’s Justin Bieber in a chicken suit. I’d go to a movie to see that. Wouldn’t you?

Umm, yes, yes I would!  Visit Carrie Harris's website to learn more about her and Bad Taste In Boys.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Book Review- ...Then I Met My Sister

I just finished reading Then I Met My Sister by Christine Hurley Deriso for a Teen Book Scene review.

From Goodreads:

Summer Stetson lives inside a shrine to her dead sister. Eclipsed by Shannon's greatness, Summer feels like she's a constant disappointment to her controlling, Type A momzilla and her all-too-quiet dad. Her best friend Gibson believes Summer's C average has more to do with rebelliousness than smarts, but she knows she can never measure up—academically or otherwise.

On her birthday, Summer receives a secret gift from her aunt: Shannon's diary. Suddenly, the one-dimensional vision of her sister becomes all too solid. Is this love-struck, mom-bashing badass the same Shannon everyone raves about? Determined to understand her troubled sister, Summer dives headfirst down a dark rabbit hole and unearths painful family secrets. Each revelation brings Summer closer to the mysterious and liberating truth about her family—and herself.

Hmm...I don't really know what to say about this book.  I enjoyed the book.  But it wasn't anything to either rave or rant about.  I mean, it was definitely a quick read and was interesting.  But I guess I was hoping to really feel and get into the characters.  But they were just that to me--characters.

My favorite character though, was Gibs.  Such a sweet guy and you could totally tell he had a thing for Summer.  But she was so absorbed in her sister's diary that she couldn't see it (not that I blame her).  And her whole family dynamic was so weird.  Summer says she was born because her sister died which makes me feel like her mother would be a caring and maternal type but she's completely cold and closed off (which I am so not used mom is the total opposite).  And her dad just seemed kinda weak.  But I did love Shannon.  I liked that she seemed real by battling the desire to be perfect with the desire to just be a normal teen.

This is definitely a character-driven book.  The only action is really one little surprise at the end, but I wouldn't even call that action.  Just something to throw in a twist.  All this writing kinda makes it sound like I didn't like the book, which isn't true at all.  I did enjoy it.

I gave this book a rating of 3/5.

This book fulfills items in the following challenges:
2011 100+ Reading Challenge: 30
2011 ARC Reading Challenge: 27
2011 Young Adult Reading Challenge: 24
2011 YA Contemporary Challenge: 4

*FTC Disclosure: I was given this book for free for an honest review as part of the Teen Book Scene.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday- April 20, 2011

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:

by Megan McCafferty
Publication Release Date: April 26, 2011

From Megan McCafferty's website:

WHEN A VIRUS makes everyone over the age of eighteen infertile, would-be parents must pay teen girls to conceive and give birth to their children, making teens the most prized members of society.

Sixteen-year-old identical twins Melody and Harmony were separated at birth and had never met until the day Harmony shows up on Melody’s doorstep. Until now, the twins have followed completely opposite paths. Melody has scored an enviable conception contract with a couple called the Jaydens. While they search for the perfect partner for Melody to bump with, she is fighting her attraction to her best friend, Zen, who is way too short for the job.

Harmony has spent her whole life in religious Goodside, preparing to be a wife and mother. She believes her calling is to convince Melody that pregging for profit is a sin. But Harmony has secrets of her own that she is running from.

When Melody is finally matched with the world-famous, genetically flawless Jondoe, both girls’ lives are changed forever. A case of mistaken identity takes them on a journey neither could have ever imagined, one that makes Melody and Harmony realize they have so much more than just DNA in common.

From New York Times bestselling author Megan McCafferty comes a strikingly original look at friendship, love, and sisterhood—in a future that is eerily believable.

Book Review- Demons are a Girl's Best Friend

I just finished reading Demons are a Girl's Best Friend by Linda Wisdom for a Sourcebooks.

From Goodreads:

Feisty witch Maggie enjoys her work as a paranormal law enforcement officer—that is, until she’s assigned to protect a teenager with major attitude and a sleazy boyfriend. A group of satanic Mayans priests has decided Courtney has a drop of divine blood in her—making her just the virgin sacrifice they need to release their God and rule the world.

To prevent this catastrophe, Maggie must team up with half fire demon Declan, the proprietor of Damnation Alley, an underground club and busy demon portal. Declan will be damned if he’ll allow his demon race to be blamed for the malicious acts of some evil Mayans. So he decides to seduce the sexy witch in an effort to discover what the law enforcement agency knows about the Mayan’s plans, but then things get more than a little hot, and Declan finds himself seriously entangled with the sexiest woman he’s ever met…
Okay, first off let me say that normally I find the guys on these types of books to me too much--too many muscles, too much hair, etc.  But the guy on this cover, yum!  Okay, just had to get that over with :)
Maggie is one kick-butt character.  I loved her!  I loved her feisty and sarcastic attitude but with that touch of girliness and slight maternal instinct.  I also enjoyed Courtney and Delcan (Half fire demon but completely hot!)  It was a nice cast of characters.  Even the elf Sybil (who I love the picture in my head of having lavendar wings..but this seems more faery than elf) and Elle, the spider tattoo (at first it freaked me out but then I grew to enjoy her). 
There was some action in this story, but not too much.  Just enough that it kept my attention but didn't turn me off to the story.  Overall, just a fun paranormal read.
I gave this book a rating of 3.5/5.
This book fulfills items in the following challenges:
2011 100+ Reading Challenge: 29
2011 ARC Reading Challenge: 26
*FTC Disclosure: I was given this book for free from Sourcebooks for an honest review.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Mailbox Monday- April 18, 2011

Mailbox Monday: Here's what came in my mailbox this week

Between Here and Forever- Elizabeth Scott--from publisher for review
The Kitchen Daughter- Jael McHenry--review for a Gallery Book Tour

Freefall-Mindi Scott--review for TeensReadToo
Wish- Joseph Monninger--review for TeensReadToo
Other Words For Love- Lorraine Zago Rosenthal--review for TeensReadToo
Red Glove- Holly Black--review for TeensReadToo
The Charmed Return (The Faerie Path #6)- Frewin Jones--review for TeensReadToo
Glee: The Beginning- Sophia Lowell--review for TeensReadToo
Banished- Sophie Littlefield—review for TeensReadToo

Wish You Were Here- Phillipa Ashley--from publisher for review
Ex-Girlfriends United- Matt Dunn--from publisher for review

…Then I Met My Sister- Christine Hurley Deriso--review for The Teen Book Scene

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Sunday Salon- April 17, 2011

This weekend my matron of honor and I ran our 2nd 5k.  Last time we ran it in 40 minutes and this time we ran it in 36 minutes and 20 seconds.  Not bad!  The race was at Sea World to benefit the foundation from the family of the trainer who was killed by the killer whale.  We got to run through the park and they had trainers making the dolphins jump as you ran by.  It was both fun and sad at the same time.  After the race we got to take a picture with one of the sea lions!

I finished and reviewed the following books this week:

I fulfilled items in the following challenges this week:
2011 A to Z Challenge: D
2011 100+ Reading Challenge: 28
2011 ARC Reading Challenge: 25
2011 Young Adult Reading Challenge: 23

I am currently reading Demons are a Girl's Best Friend by Linda Wisdom and up next is ...Then I Met My Sister by Christine Hurley Deriso.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Book Review- Original Sin

I just finished reading Original Sin by Lisa Desrochers for an Around the World ARC Tour.

From Goodreads:

Luc Cain was born and raised in Hell, but he isn’t feeling as demonic as usual lately—thanks to Frannie Cavanaugh and the unique power she never realized she had. But you can’t desert Hell without consequences, and suddenly Frannie and Luc find themselves targeted by the same demons who used to be Luc’s allies.

Left with few options, Frannie and Luc accept the protection of Heaven and one of its most powerful angels, Gabe. Unfortunately, Luc isn’t the only one affected by Frannie, and it isn’t long before Gabe realizes that being around her is too…tempting. Rather than risk losing his wings, he leaves Frannie and Luc under the protection of her recently-acquired guardian angel.

Which would be fine, but Gabe is barely out the door before an assortment of demons appears—and they’re not leaving without dragging Luc back to Hell with them. Hell won’t give up and Heaven won’t give in. Frannie’s guardian exercises all the power he has to keep them away, but the demons are willing to hurt anyone close to Frannie in order to get what they want. It will take everything she has and then some to stay out of Hell’s grasp.

And not everyone will get out of it alive.

Original Sin is the second book in the series, with Personal Demons being the first one.  And I'm a little conflicted with my feelings about the book.  Like in the first book, I got tired of the whole love triangle.  I usually like love triangles, I do.  But this one took it too far.  It's almost like Frannie is in a relationship with two guys and that just bothers me.  You can't keep running back and forth from one guy to another, with both guys being okay with it for the most part.

But I did like the plot.  It was fast paced with lots of action and story.  And I really like the characters (by themselves, not in the love triangle :)  )  Frannie is such a kick-butt girl.  I love that she can stand up for herself!  And the two guys are pretty great too.  I would choose Luc though.  There's something a little off about Gabe to me.  He's a little too cold and kinda controlling in a way.  I dunno.

Anyways, the book leaves off on a definite cliffhanger and it will be interesting to see what happens next!

I gave this book a rating of 3.5/5.

Original Sin will be released on July 5, 2011.

This book fulfills items in the following challenges:
2011 A to Z Challenge: D
2011 100+ Reading Challenge: 28
2011 ARC Reading Challenge: 25
2011 Young Adult Reading Challenge: 23

*FTC Disclosure: I was given this book for free for an honest review as part of the Around the World Tours.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Mailbox Monday- April 11, 2011

Mailbox Monday: Here's what came in my mailbox this week

Supernaturally- Kiersten White--from publisher for review---SOOOOO excited!!! 
Mark of the Demon (Kara Gillian #1)- Diana Rowland--PaperbackSwap
Fallout (Crank #3)- Ellen Hopkins--PaperbackSwap

Original Sin- Lisa Desrochers--review for an Around the World ARC Tour

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Sunday Salon- April 10, 2011

The Sunday Salon

Another week down in the wedding countdown--only 9 more to go!  (2 months from tomorrow!!)

I finished and reviewed the following books this week:
Haven by Kristi Cook
Fins Are Forever by Tera Lynn Childs
The Baby Planner by Josie Brown

I fulfilled items in the following challenges this week:
2011 100+ Reading Challenge: 25, 26, 27
2011 ARC Reading Challenge: 23, 24
2011 Debut Author Challenge: 10
2011 Young Adult Reading Challenge: 21, 22

I am currently reading Original Sin by Lisa Desrochers and up next is Demons Are A Girl's Best Friend by Linda Wisdom.