Monday, June 30, 2014

In My Mailbox- June 30, 2014

In My Mailbox: Here's what I got in my mailbox last week

Just for Fins (Fins #3)- Tera Lynn Childs--PapebackSwap Game

Fear (Gone #5)- Michael Grant--PaperbackSwap

The Bridge from Me to You- Lisa Schroeder--for review from publisher

The Sunday Salon- June 29, 2014

The Sunday Salon

Whew! Another busy week!  I had something every single night the whole week ( and a couple of things all day too!)  Glad that this coming week, I only have 1 thing going on!  I'm looking forward to finally relaxing during my summer break!

I finished and reviewed the following books last week:
Cure for the Common Breakup by Beth Kendrick 

Divergent by Veronica Roth 

I'm currently reading Fire & Flood by Veronica Scott and up next should be a tour book.

Book Review- Divergent

I finished reading Divergent by Veronica Roth early yesterday morning.

From Goodreads:

In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue--Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is--she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are--and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, Tris also learns that her secret might help her save the ones she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

This is the first time I've ever seen a movie and then read the book right after.  Usually it's the other way around or there will be years in between.  So it felt a little weird to be reading the book and having the images in my mind already formed from the movie I'd seen.

In any case, I really enjoyed both book and movie.  I went into the movie not having any kind of idea what it was about--at all!  And after reading the book, I think the movie kept to it pretty well.

I got so engrossed in Tris's choices.  How she went from one extreme to the other and overcame so many odds against her.  I think I liked her relationship with Four better in the movie, maybe because you could actually see the connection.

The factions also really intrigued me.  As I was reading, I kept finding myself trying to figure out which one I would choose and couldn't figure it out.  So I went to the Divergent movie website to take the aptitude quiz...and my results sounded about right!

I would be a mix of all of them!

Anyways, I can't wait to read the next book in the series, Insurgent!  I have absolutely no clue what it's about and I intend to keep it that way!

I gave this book a rating of 4.5/5.

*FTC Disclosure: I borrowed this book from a friend.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Book Review- Cure for the Common Breakup

I finished reading Cure for the Common Breakup by Beth Kendrick early this morning for a BookSparks Summer Reading Challenge Blog Tour.

About the book:

Flight attendant Summer Benson lives by two rules: Don’t stay with the same man for too long and never stay in one place. She’s about to break rule number one by considering accepting her boyfriend’s proposal—then disaster strikes and her world is shattered in an instant. Summer heads to Black Dog Bay, where the locals welcome her. Even Hattie Huntington, the town’s oldest, richest, and meanest resident, likes her enough to give her a job. Then there’s Dutch Jansen, the rugged, stoic mayor, who’the opposite of her type. She probably shouldn't be kissing him. She definitely shouldn't be falling ilove. After a lifetime of globe-trotting, Summer has finally found a home. But Hattie has old scores tsettle and a hidden agenda for her newest employee. Summer finds herself faced with an impossible choice: Leave Black Dog Bay behind forever, or stay with the ones she loves and cost them everything..

I really enjoyed this book.  Well, except for the plane crash part.  But yeah, I always forget how much I love a good Chick Lit book.

Black Dog Bay--it would be awesome if this was really a place!  I could so see myself going there (if I wasn't married of course).  Somebody get Beth Kendrick's permission and take off with this idea! (The Whinery, Retail Therapy, Better Off Bed-and-Breakfast...the whole nine yards!)

Anyways, I liked Summer.  She was a bit more wild than I'm used to.  But she also had a sweet side too (even though she didn't want to admit it).  I love how she handled the old ladies.  She had this great sarcastic side that made me laugh out loud several times.  And I liked Dutch (although for always saying no to the women, he sure said yes to Summer pretty quickly.  I think she should have had to work harder).  And I liked that Ingrid was okay with her brother dating.  It was refreshing that she was so eager to see their relationship work instead of brooding like most stories would have her do.

As my favorite stories always do, this book ended with a great happily ever after.  I look forward to reading more books by Beth Kendrick!

I gave this book a rating of 4/5.

*FTC Disclosure: I was given this book for free for an honest review as part of the BookSparks Summer Reading Challenge Book Tour.

Praise for the book:

“Beth Kendrick has reminded me once again exactly why I love her books so much. Cure for the Common Breakup is packed with humor, wit and a lot of heart. A charming and exceptionally entertaining story! Ican’t recommend this book highly enough.”--Jane Porter, national bestselling author of The Good Wife

“Beth Kendrick has written a sharp, sassy, surprisingly emotional story that will make readers laugh out loud from page one and sigh from the heart at the end. Light and lovely perfection!"--Roxanne St.
Claire, New York Times bestselling author of The Barefoot Bay Series

“Utterly delightful! Summer Benson will charm and disarm her way into the hearts of readers as easily as she does the residents of Black Dog Bay.”--Meg Donohue, USA Today bestselling author of
All the Summer Girls

Buy the book:

About the author:

Beth Kendrick is the author of The Week Before the Wedding, The Lucky Dog Matchmaking Service, and Nearlyweds, which was turned into a Hallmark Channel original movie. She lives in Arizona with her two rescue dogs, but she loves to vacation at the Delaware shore, where she goes to Funland, eats boardwalk fries, and wishes that the Whinery really existed. 

Connect with the author:

Monday, June 23, 2014

In My Mailbox- June 23, 2014

In My Mailbox: Here's what I got in my mailbox last week

Embers & Echoes (Wildefire #2)- Karsten Knight--received from friend

Illusions of Fate- Kiersten White--review for an Around the World ARC Tour

Sunday, June 22, 2014

The Sunday Salon- June 22, 2014

The Sunday Salon

Busy week! I had a Yelp event, a girl's night out, went to a movie with the hubby, did a bunch of packing in my classroom over several days, and worked at Disney today.  I haven't had a day to just chill at home yet and this week isn't looking any better!

I finished and reviewed the following book last week:
Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White

I am currently reading Divergent by Veronica Roth and up next is Fire & Flood by Victoria Scott. 

Book Review- Illusions of Fate

I finished reading Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White today for an Around the World ARC Tour.

From Goodreads:

Downton Abbey meets Cassandra Clare in this lush, romantic fantasy from New York Times bestselling author Kiersten White.

“I did my best to keep you from crossing paths with this world. And I shall do my best to protect you now that you have.”

Jessamin has been an outcast since she moved from her island home of Melei to the dreary country of Albion. Everything changes when she meets Finn, a gorgeous, enigmatic young lord who introduces her to the secret world of Albion’s nobility, a world that has everything Jessamin doesn’t—power, money, status…and magic. But Finn has secrets of his own, dangerous secrets that the vicious Lord Downpike will do anything to possess. Unless Jessamin, armed only with her wits and her determination, can stop him.

Kiersten White captured readers’ hearts with her New York Times bestselling Paranormalcy trilogy and its effortless mix of magic and real-world teenage humor. She returns to that winning combination of wit, charm, and enchantment in Illusions of Fate, a sparkling and romantic new novel perfect for fans of Cassandra Clare, The Madman’s Daughter, and Libba Bray.

I have to admit, it took me awhile to get into this.  It read like a historical novel and I don't really get into those.  But the magical part of the book along with Kiersten White's writing (which I love) soon brought me around.

I think because of the setting in the book, I never really fell in love with the characters.  They all seemed a bit distant.  Okay, that's not true.  I loved Eleanor.  She cracked me up and was someone I'd be friends with in real life.  But Jessamin (love the name, by the way) and Finn just never really drew me in.

But I did start to really enjoy the story.  I loved Sir Bird and the book.  And I liked the magical aspects to the story--who had magic and what magic could be done.  And so while I did take a little while to warm up to the story, once I did, it was a quick read.

I gave this book a rating of 3.5/5.

Illusions of Fate will be released on September 9, 2014.

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

Monday, June 16, 2014

In My Mailbox- June 16, 2014

In My Mailbox: Here's what I got in my mailbox last week

Endlessly (Paranormalcy #3)- Kiersten White--PaperbackSwap

Magic of the Moonlight (Full Moon #2)- Ellen Schreiber--PaperbackSwap

Sunday, June 15, 2014

The Sunday Salon- June 15, 2014

The Sunday Salon

Woohoo!  It's summer!  Unfortunately since I am being made to change grade levels, I have to pack up my classroom and that's taking forever.  So I'm not quite free yet.  But we had an absolute blast last weekend at Disneyland.  I want to go back!  We also celebrated our three year anniversary last week!

I finished and reviewed the following books last week:
The One & Only by Emily Giffin 

Love and Other Foreign Words by Erin McCahan 

I am currently reading Cure for the Common Breakup by Beth Kendrick and up next is Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Book Review- Love and Other Foreign Words

I finished reading Love and Other Foreign Words by Erin McCahan today for a BookSparks Summer Reading Challenge Blog Tour.

About the book:

Sixteen-year-old Josie lives her life in translation. She speaks High School, College, Friends, Boyfriends, Break-ups, and even the language of Beautiful Girls. But none of these is her native tongue--the only people who speak that are her best friend Stu and her sister Kate. So when Kate gets engaged to an epically insufferable guy, how can Josie see it as anything but the mistake of a lifetime? Kate is determined to bend Josie to her will for the wedding; Josie is determined to break Kate and her fiancĂ© up. As battles are waged over secrets and semantics, Josie is forced to examine her feelings for the boyfriend who says he loves her, the sister she loves but doesn't always like, and the best friend who hasn't said a word--at least not in a language Josie understands. 

I have to admit it.  It took me a little while to get into the book.  The language at the beginning just wasn't flowing and seemed awkward.  I was really wondering about the author's writing style.  But then I read about Josie being gifted.  I'm not sure if I missed it at the beginning or it just wasn't clear, but once I understood that, the writing seemed to be much more effective.  I got it.

I liked Josie.  She was exceptionally smart.  And because of that, she was in her own world.  But I also saw touches of Asperger's in her.  It was never mentioned, but I've taught several kids with Aspergers and they had some of the same qualities with everything needing to be in its place and with sensations (for example, no one being able to touch her hair.)  I found her to be quite funny in her frankness.  And I liked that the author wrote her as being extremely gifted, even attending a local college half day, yet she wasn't an outcast at school.  I liked that while she knew she was different, she was still welcome and fit in, in her own way.

I thought they whole premise of the language aspect was really interesting.  The Josie language versus the popular languages and the languages of individual people really made me think.  I started thinking about the individual languages of the loved ones in my life and even my kindergartners.  I liked that it made me reflect.

Even though there's no sequel (at least, I'm pretty sure there isn't one) I would love to read more about Josie!  Without giving away the ending, I want to know what happens next!  Does it work out with the boy, and what happens in her senior year of high school? I guess it's up to my imagination--and it has to be in Josie language of course! 

I gave this book a rating of 4/5.

*FTC Disclosure: I was given this book for free for an honest review as part of the BookSparks Summer Reading Challenge Book Tour.

Buy the book:

About the author

Erin McCahan is the author of the YA book I Now Pronounce You Someone Else (Scholastic, June 2010). Erin’s debut novel was a 2010 Cybils Award finalist. She grew up in Michigan and worked extensively with teenagers before beginning her writing career. She lives in Columbus, Ohio. 

Connect with the author

Monday, June 2, 2014

Book Review- The One & Only

I finished reading The One & Only by Emily Giffin last Thursday on the plane on the way to California for a BookSparks Summer Reading Challenge Blog Tour.

About the book:

Thirty-three-year-old Shea Rigsby has spent her entire life in Walker, Texas—a small college town that lives and dies by football, a passion she unabashedly shares. Raised alongside her best friend, Lucy, the daughter of Walker’s legendary head coach, Clive Carr, Shea was too devoted to her hometown team to leave. Instead she stayed in Walker for college, even taking a job in the university athletic department after graduation, where she has remained for more than a decade. 

 But when an unexpected tragedy strikes the tight-knit Walker community, Shea’s comfortable world is upended, and she begins to wonder if the life she’s chosen is really enough for her. As she finally gives up her safety net to set out on an unexpected path, Shea discovers unsettling truths about the people and things she has always trusted most—and is forced to confront her deepest desires, fears, and secrets.

 Thoughtful, funny, and brilliantly observed, and brilliantly observed, The One & Only is a luminous novel about finding your passion, following your heart, and, most of all, believing in something bigger than yourself . . . the one and only thing that truly makes life worth living.

I enjoyed reading my first book by Emily Giffin.  I have most of her other books on my bookshelves, but this is the first one I've read.

The story was pretty predictable.  I could figure out how it was going to end early on but that was okay.  That being said, her infatuation with Coach was a little disturbing to me.  It shouldn't be, I guess.  The whole love knows no boundaries thing and all.  But being in love with your best friend's father just creeped me out for some reason.

But the football part.  Oh, the football part.  I am a football fanatic.  My undergrad degree was in sports broadcasting.  I would have to loved to have had Erin Andrews job (in fact she is only a few years older than me and graduated from the same college).  So to read this book, which revolved around football and reporting football was right up my alley. And it wasn't dumbed down.   It was so perfectly detailed and just thoroughly entertaining to me.  Emily Giffin did some great research to get this book right. I was completely engrossed the whole time!

I gave this book a rating of 3.5/5.

*FTC Disclosure: I was given this book for free for an honest review as part of the BookSparks Summer Reading Challenge Book Tour.

Praise for the Emily Giffin: 

 “Emily Giffin ranks as a grand master. . . . She has traversed the slippery slopes of true love, lost love, marriage, motherhood, betrayal, forgiveness and redemption that have led her to be called ‘a modern- day Jane Austen.’ ” —Chicago Sun-Times

 “Giffin’s writing is true, smart, and heartfelt.” — Entertainment Weekly

 “[Giffin] excels at creating complex characters and quick-to-read stories that ask us to explore what we really want from our lives.” — The Atlanta Journal-Constitution 

“A dependably down-to-earth, girlfriendly storyteller.” —The New York Times 

“Giffin’s talent lies in taking relatable situations and injecting enough wit and suspense to make them feel fresh.” —People

 “When it comes to writing stories that resonate with real women, bestselling author Emily Giffin has hit her stride.” —San Francisco Chronicle 

Buy the book:

About the author: 

 Emily Giffin is the author of six New York Times bestselling novels: Something Borrowed, Something Blue, Baby Proof, Love the One You’re With, Heart of the Matter, and Where We Belong . A graduate of Wake Forest University and the University of Virginia School of Law, she now lives in Atlanta lives with her husband and three young children.

Connect with the author: 

In My Mailbox- June 2, 2014

In My Mailbox: Here's what I got in my mailbox last week

The One and Only- Emily Giffin--from publisher for review

Love and Other Foreign Words- Erin McCahan-- from publisher for review

Cure for the Common Breakup- Beth Kendrick--from publisher for review

Divided (Dualed #2)- Elsie Chapman--from publisher for review

Dark Frost (Mythos Academy #3)- Jennifer Estep--PaperbackSwap Game

The Sunday Salon- June 1, 2014

The Sunday Salon

It's the last week of school!  I cannot wait for summer!  On Thursday we are headed to Los Angeles for a wedding and then we're spending a few days at Disneyland!

I finished and reviewed the following books last week:
Everyone She Loved by Sheila Curran

Shine (Shade #3) by Jeri Smith-Ready

I am currently reading The One and Only by Emily Giffin and up next is Love and Other Foreign Words by Erin McCahan.