Sunday, August 9, 2015

New Books This Week

The summer is almost over!  Find thee a hammock!  Go forth and read!

Here are some new books from which to choose!

Storm of the Century by Al Roker (William Morrow, $27.99; ISBN 978-0-06-236465-4)
In this gripping narrative history, the beloved NBC weather personality vividly brings to life the Great Gulf Hurricane of 1900, the deadliest natural disaster in American history.

You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost): A Memoir by Felicia Day (Touchstone, $25.99; ISBN 978-1-4767-8565-3).
From online entertainment mogul, actress, and “queen of the geeks” Felicia Day, a funny, quirky, and inspiring memoir about her unusual upbringing, her rise to Internet-stardom, and embracing her individuality to find success in Hollywood.

Silver Linings (Rose Harbor #4) by Debbie Macomber (Ballantine, $26; ISBN 978-0-553-39179-4).
Set in Cedar Cove’s charming Rose Harbor Inn, Debbie Macomber’s captivating new novel follows innkeeper Jo Marie and two new guests as they seek healing and comfort, revealing that every cloud has a silver lining, even when it seems difficult to find.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

New Books This Week

How high is your book pile?  Hopefully, it is at a manageable level, for I am about to add a few fantastic books to it.  Below are my picks from the new books coming out this week.

Children and Teen Books:

Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead (Random/Lamb, $16.99; ISBN 978-0-385-74317-4)
This brilliant novel by Newbery Medal winner Rebecca Stead explores multiple perspectives on the bonds and limits of friendship.

Trouble Is a Friend of Mine by Stephanie Tromly (Penguin/Dawson), $16.99; ISBN 978-0-525-42840-4)
Sherlock meets Veronica Mars meets Ferris Bueller’s Day Off in this story of a wisecracking girl who meets a weird but brilliant boy and their roller-coaster of a semester that’s one part awkward, three parts thrilling, and five parts awesome

Fuzzy Mud by Louis Sachar (Delacorte, $16.99; ISBN 978-0-385-74378-5).
From the author of the acclaimed bestseller Holes, winner of the Newbery Award and the National Book Award, comes a new middle-grade novel with universal appeal. Combining horror-movie suspense with the issues of friendship, bullying, and the possibility of ecological disaster, this novel will intrigue, surprise, and inspire readers and compel them to think twice about how they treat others as well as their environment.

Adult Books:

The Marriage of Opposites by Alice Hoffman (Simon & Schuster, $27.95; ISBN 978-1-4516-9359-1).
From the New York Times bestselling author of The Dovekeepers and The Museum of Extraordinary Things: a forbidden love story set on the tropical island of St. Thomas about the extraordinary woman who gave birth to painter Camille Pissarro; the Father of Impressionism.

Woman with a Secret by Sophie Hannah (William Morrow, $25.99; ISBN 978-0-06-238826-1)
The New York Times bestselling author of The Monogram Murders—in the ranks of Ruth Rendell, Deborah Crombie, Kimberly McCreight, and Tana French—makes her William Morrow debut with a dark and chilling psychological thriller in which a woman desperate to hide a devastating secret in her past is drawn into a murder investigation

Stepdog by Nicole Galland (William Morrow Paperbacks, $14.99 paper; ISBN 978-0-06-236947-5)
From the author of The Fool's Tale and I, Iago comes a disarmingly charming and warm-hearted "romcom" about a woman, her dog, and the man who has to prove that he is good enough for both of them.

The Invisibles by Cecilia Galante (William Morrow Paperbacks, $14.99 paper; ISBN 978-0-06-236351-0).
In the vein of Meg Donohue and Jennifer Close, comes Cecilia Galante's adult debut about the complicated and powerful bonds of female friendship--a compelling, moving novel that is told in both the present and the past.

The 3rd Woman: A Thriller by Jonathan Freedland (Harper, $26.99; ISBN 978-0-06-220755-5)
A chilling high-concept thriller from No. 1 bestselling author and award-winning journalist Jonathan Freedland. Perfect for fans of Robert Harris.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

New Books This Week

It's hard to believe summer is half way over!  Luckily for us, the books keep getting better and better, surely keeping our feet planted firmly in the sand.  Happy Reading!

Children's and Teens' Books:

The Iron Fey: The Iron Warrior by Julie Kagawa (Harlequin Teen, $9.99 paper; ISBN 978-0-373-21135-7).

I Am Number Four: The Lost Files: Rebel Allies by Pittacus Lore (HarperCollins, $9.99 paper; ISBN 978-0-06-236404-3).

The 39 Clues: Doublecross, Book 2 by C. Alexander London (Scholastic, $12.99 paper; ISBN 978-0-545-76743-9).

Adult Books:

Perfect Touch by Elizabeth Lowell (William Morrow, $26.99; ISBN 978-0-06-232834-2)

How to Be a Grown-Up by Emma McLaughlin (Atria Books, $25; ISBN 978-1-4516-4345-9)

If I Could Turn Back Time by Beth Harbison (St. Martin’s Press, $26.99; ISBN 978-1-250-04381-8).

Monday, July 20, 2015

Feature: IF I COULD TURN BACK TIME by Beth Harbison

From Publisher:

This summer, from New York Times bestselling author Beth Harbison, comes an extraordinary story of self-discovery. In IF I COULD TURN BACK TIME (St. Martin’s Press; July 28, 2015; $26.99) Beth Harbison employs her signature wit and warmth to tell the story of every woman who has ever thought, “if I could go back in time, knowing what I know now, I’d do things so differently…”

Thirty-six year old Ramie Phillips has led a very successful life. She made her fortune and now she hob nobs with the very rich, and occasionally semi-famous, and enjoys luxuries she only dreamed of as a middle-class kid growing up in Maryland. But lately Ramie has begun to feel a bit…empty.

While partying on a boat with friends off the Florida coast, no one notices as Ramie gets up to go to the diving board. So no one notices when she hits her head on the board on her way down…

She wakes some time later with a throbbing headache and something beeping next to her. She strains to understand a voice calling in the distance: “Wake up!” It’s her mother. “You’re going to be late for school again. I’m not writing a note this time…”

An exploration of what life teaches us, and what we can learn from the past, IF I COULD TURN BACK TIME is the next hilarious and heartwarming novel from the beloved Beth Harbison.

Book Extras:
Goodreads Page
Author Page, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

About the Book:
If I Could Turn Back Time by Beth Harbison
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Press (July 28, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1250043816
ISBN-13: 978-1250043818

About the Author:
BETH HARBISON is the New York Times bestselling author of Driving with the Top Down; Chose the Wrong Guy, Gave Him the Wrong Finger; When in Doubt, Add Butter; Always Something There to Remind Me; Thin, Rich, Pretty; Hope in a Jar; Secrets of a Shoe Addict; and Shoe Addicts Anonymous. She grew up in Potomac, Maryland, outside Washington, D.C., and now divides her time between that suburb, New York City, and a quiet home on the Eastern Shore.

*Please stay tuned for my full review

New Books This Week

With such wonderful reading weather, pop into your local bookstore and check out these books new out this week!

Children's and Young Adults' Books:

Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back Illustrated Novel by Adam Gidwitz, illus. by Tom Angleberger (Disney/Lucasfilm Press, $17.99; ISBN 978-1-4847-0914-6)
Acclaimed, New York Times best-selling author Adam Gidwitz delivers a captivating retelling of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back like you've never experienced before, infusing the iconic, classic tale of good versus evil with a unique perspective and narrative style that will speak directly to today's young readers while enhancing the Star Wars experience for core fans of the saga

The New Order by Chris Weitz (Little, Brown, $19; ISBN 978-0-316-22630-1)
After the unexpected revelation at the end of the first book, Donna and Jefferson are separated. Jefferson returns to NYC and tries to bring a cure to the Sickness back to the Washington Square tribe, while Donna finds herself in England, facing an unimaginable new world. Can the two reunite and prevent an even greater disaster than the Sickness? This second book in The Young World trilogy will keep you at the edge of your seat.

The School for Good and Evil: #3: The Last Ever After by Soman Chainani (HarperCollins, $17.99; ISBN 978-0-06-210495-3)
In the stunning conclusion to the New York Times bestselling School for Good and Evil trilogy, everything old is new again, as Sophie and Agatha fight the past as well as the present to find the perfect end to their fairy tale

Adult Books:

Devil’s Bag Man by Adam Mansbach (Harper Voyager, $24.99; ISBN 978-0-06-219968-3)
In this chilling sequel to The Dead Run, New York Times bestselling author Adam Mansbach mixes horror, the supernatural and gritty suspense to deliver a high-octane, high-concept adventure filled with nasty bad guys, fearsome magic, and an unlikely hero caught in the dangerous terrain of the Tex-Mex borderland.

When the Moon Is Low by Nadia Hashimi (William Morrow, $25.99; ISBN 978-0-06-236957-4).
Mahmoud's passion for his wife Fereiba, a schoolteacher, is greater than any love she's ever known. But their happy, middle-class world—a life of education, work, and comfort—implodes when their country is engulfed in war, and the Taliban rises to power.

Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter (Delacorte, $28; ISBN 978-0-345-54752-1)
#1 internationally bestselling author Karin Slaughter returns with a sophisticated and chilling psychological thriller of dangerous secrets, cold vengeance, and unexpected absolution, in which two estranged sisters must come together to find truth about two harrowing tragedies, twenty years apart, that devastate their lives.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

It's Here! Harper Lee's Go Set A Watchman

Go Set A Watchman: A Novel by Harper Lee
July 14, 2015

From the Publisher:

An historic literary event: the publication of a newly discovered novel, the earliest known work from Harper Lee, the beloved, bestselling author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning classic, To Kill a Mockingbird.
Originally written in the mid-1950s, Go Set a Watchman was the novel Harper Lee first submitted to her publishers before To Kill a Mockingbird. Assumed to have been lost, the manuscript was discovered in late 2014.
Go Set a Watchman features many of the characters from To Kill a Mockingbird some twenty years later. Returning home to Maycomb to visit her father, Jean Louise Finch—Scout—struggles with issues both personal and political, involving Atticus, society, and the small Alabama town that shaped her.
Exploring how the characters from To Kill a Mockingbird are adjusting to the turbulent events transforming mid-1950s America, Go Set a Watchman casts a fascinating new light on Harper Lee's enduring classic. Moving, funny and compelling, it stands as a magnificent novel in its own right.

About the Author:

Harper Lee was born in 1926 in Monroeville, Alabama. She attended Huntingdon College and studied law at the University of Alabama. She is the author of two novels, To Kill a Mockingbird and Go Set a Watchman. Harper Lee has been awarded numerous literary awards, including the Pulitzer Prize and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Monday, July 13, 2015

New Books This Week

When you stop into your vacation book store, keep an eye out for these new titles!

Children's and Young Adult Books:

Daniel X: Lights Out by James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein (Little, Brown, $17; ISBN 978-0-316-20745-4).

Saving Mr. Terupt by Rob Buyea (Delacorte, $16.99; ISBN 978-0-385-74355-6).

The Wonder Journal by R.J. Palacio (Knopf, $12.99; ISBN 978-0-553-49907-0).

Adult Books:

Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee (Harper, $27.99; ISBN 978-0-06-240985-0)

Armada by Ernest Cline (Crown, $26; ISBN 978-0-8041-3725-6)

Friday, July 3, 2015

Review: Paper Towns by John Green

Great book!

So, you know that person in your neighborhood that you played with all the time when you were kids, but once middle school social anxiety hit you drifted apart, but always kept in a special little place in your heart?  That's Quentin and Margo Roth Spiegelman. Quentin always had his eye on Margo Roth Spiegelman, because how could he help it? She's pretty and popular and full of life. It's okay, he has friends, he has a future, and they are graduating high school in a few weeks. Besides, she forgot about him, or so he thought. One night, she climbs through his window and together they have the strangest, coolest night of his life. The next morning, she's gone. And she sends Quentin on his own adventure, teaching him along the way that it's all about the journey, not just the destination.

I stole this one off my son's nightstand.  The movie trailers had just started airing, and in our house, you must read the book before seeing the movie, so there it was, staring at me.  I couldn't help myself. Like all of John Green's other books, I couldn't put this one down.  It was funny, original, heartfelt, and real. The pages couldn't turn fast enough, but I didn't want it to end...and then it did.  I cannot lie, I did not like the end. At.  All.  In a way, I wonder if that's the way John Green (via Margo Roth Spiegelman) intended it.  Like Quentin's journey, the book itself, reading about this incredible adventure, was the exciting part, while the conclusion was a bit of a let-down.

I am looking forward to the movie - I can't help but wonder if the producers chose to change the ending, or if they will wrap up my feelings toward Paper Towns. So many of you reading this review have probably seen the movie.  Do me a favor, please don't spoil it for me.  I don't get to the movies very often, and since we have that little book before movie rule, we often don't see the movies until they are out on DVD. I have done my best at avoiding too much on social media.

I will say, as the mom of a soon-to-be teenager, I thought this book was perfect for my son, his friends, and anyone in middle school or high school. There is not much I think 12 year olds (and up) can't handle, but Paper Towns is just a great book.  If your teen or tween is looking for a good book to read over the summer, you can't lose with John Green.

And for the boys who might be turned off by John Green because The Fault In Our Stars was a "girl movie", Paper Towns is narrated by Quentin, appealing to the male audience out there. (I hate it when young readers do this, but I can't change it, so I am just telling it like it is...don't shoot the messenger!)

In short...Highly recommended!

Book Extras:
John Green website,Vlog

About the Book:
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Speak; Reprint edition (September 22, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 014241493X
ISBN-13: 978-0142414934

About the Author:
John Green is a New York Times bestselling author who has received numerous awards, including both the Printz Medal and a Printz Honor. John is also the cocreator (with his brother, Hank) of the popular video blog Brotherhood 2.0, which has been watched more than 30 million times by Nerdfighter fans all over the globe. John Green lives in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Review: Unbreakable by Kami Garcia

Not terribly original YA, but I enjoyed it.

When Kennedy Waters finds her mother dead, her world begins to unravel. She doesn’t know that paranormal forces in a much darker world are the ones pulling the strings. Not until identical twins Jared and Lukas Lockhart break into Kennedy’s room and destroy a dangerous spirit sent to kill her. The brothers reveal that her mother was part of an ancient secret society responsible for protecting the world from a vengeful demon — a society whose five members were all murdered on the same night.

Now Kennedy has to take her mother’s place in the Legion if she wants to uncover the truth and stay alive. Along with new Legion members Priest and Alara, the teens race to find the only weapon that might be able to destroy the demon — battling the deadly spirits he controls every step of the way.

Suspense, romance, and the paranormal meet in this chilling urban fantasy, the first book in a new series from Kami Garcia, bestselling coauthor of the Beautiful Creatures novels.

I am a big fan of Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl's Beautiful Creatures series, so I had big expectations for Kami's first solo series.

 I would be lying if I said I wasn't disappointed in the lack of originality.  I rolled my eyes a bit at the "conveniently absent parents"; the extremely opposite and hottie twin brothers; the cliche bitchy female rival who has a hidden soft side; and the markings that reminded me of Cassie Clare's Mortal Instruments series.  All the while I read Unbreakable, I couldn't help but think I had already read it before.

All that being said, I finished it, and I enjoyed it.  There is something to be said for entertainment, no matter how predictable it is. The formula works, I guess. I can't help but be intrigued by some of the reviews for the second book in the series that claims the second is better than the first.  I may just have to download the audiobook (the narrator of Legion #2 also narrated the Coldest Girl in Coldtown, a book I really enjoyed.)

Unbreakable: Legion #2 now available.

Book Extras:
Goodreads Page
Author Website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, 

About the Book:
Age Range: 12 and up
Grade Level: 7 and up
Series: Legion (Book 1)
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; Reprint edition (May 6, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0316210188
ISBN-13: 978-0316210188

About the Author:
Kami Garcia is the #1 New York Times bestselling coauthor of the Beautiful Creatures & Dangerous Creatures Novels & e-book series Beautiful Creatures: The Untold Stories. She is the author of the instant New York Times bestseller & Bram Stoker nominated novel UNBREAKABLE & the Bram Stoker nominated sequel UNMARKED in The Legion Series. Kami's upcoming novel, THE LOVELY RECKLESS, is a YA Contemporary Romance

Monday, June 29, 2015

Review: The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

If you think you know Kristin Hannah's work, The Nightingale will take you by surprise.

The story opens in a small village in France during WWII. Two sisters, Vienne and Isabelle, find themselves with two very different paths. Vienne is a wife and mother, whose husband has left their home to fight on the front, but when her home is taken over by a Nazi officer, Vienne keeps her head down, follows orders, and tries to go unnoticed.  Isabelle is much younger and always had a rebellious side to her, so when faced with the choice of staying put and being quiet or running off to join the Resistance, she impulsively chooses the latter.  Each sister must make difficult decisions, displaying strength and loyalty in vastly opposite ways. Vienne and Isabelle each has her own heart-wrenching, exciting journey through one of history's most tumultuous times.

The Nightingale was a choice by one of the members in my book club.  I admit I had started the book a few weeks earlier, and set it down, thinking I knew what would come with the following chapters.  I was so wrong. I found myself alternately choking back tears and keeping from cheering aloud. Kristin Hannah gifts her readers with strong, fully fleshed out characters. Even the roles we can't help but hate, are well-drawn and not at all one-dimensional.  The variety and depth of characters is what made The Nightingale a perfect book club book.  Even though we agreed on most points, we found ourselves reliving scenes, even sending some of us back into tears recalling some of the more painful moments.

 In order to squeeze the book in while busy with a crazy June schedule, I decided to finish the book by listening to the audiobook version.  Narrator Polly Stone was magnificent.  She gave a solid performance, never becoming too sentimental or predictable.  The layers of the secondary characters was given the attention and thought that she gave the primary cast. I believe this was the first audiobook I had read by Polly Stone, and I will not hesitate to listen to another. I must admit, I have zero experience in French so it was nice to have the names and locations said aloud for me rather than my butchering them in my head.

I highly recommend The Nightingale to book clubs, Kristin Hannah fans, readers of WWII fiction, and literary readers alike. Hopefully, you will enjoy it as much as I did.

Book Extras:
Goodreads Page

About the Book:
Audiobook Narrated by: Polly Stone
Hardcover: 448 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Press; First Edition edition (February 3, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0312577222
ISBN-13: 978-0312577223

About the Author:
Kristin Hannah is an award-winning and bestselling author of more than 20 novels including Winter Garden, Night Road, and the blockbuster Firefly Lane which sold over 1.2 million copies.

Her novels Home Front and Night Road were among the first novels to appear in the #1 spot on 5 New York Times bestseller lists simultaneously. Home Front has been optioned for film by 1492 Films (produced the Oscar-nominated The Help) with Chris Columbus attached to write, produce, and direct.

Kristin's highly anticipated new release, The Nightingale, will be published on February 3, 2015 (St. Martin's Press). The novel --an epic love story and family drama set in France at the dawn of World War II--is a profound and compelling portrait of two estranged sisters, living in a city under siege and a country at war, where sometimes surviving means doing the unthinkable.

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