Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Very Busy!

I have a very busy week this week.

Being out for a few days means a lot to catch up on when you return. Laundry, bills, groceries, ...and oh yeah, work too.

In the meantime check out Friday and last Tuesday's posts!

This book is out and available TODAY:

and this post is part of a blog can win stuff:

Friday, August 16, 2013

This Side of Jealousy by Lili Peloquin

I'm sneaking in another book on my reading list.  This one wasn't on the original list, but it was a free advanced copy offered to me by the publisher so that I could review it.  (LOVE THAT!!! Send more!)
This is book number TWO in a if you don't want a spoiler...skip this and go read about the first one here:

Ready to hear about Book two?

Alice and Charlie haven’t stopped fighting since they arrived in Serenity Point two weeks ago. Those two weeks changed their lives. And Serenity Point has changed them.

Charlie has a new group of friends and a new life. Jude and Cybill are beautiful, exciting, and dangerously seductive. And though Sasha is proving to be a friend and confidante to Alice, Alice can’t get away from the people, places, and events that mire her in the past.

Alice loves Tommy, but the memory of Camilla, dead and gone, is driving a wedge between them. And Alice’s ex-boyfriend Patrick won’t give up on her, no matter what she says to keep him away. Jude is slowly giving up his bad boy ways for Charlie—but Cybill continues to come between them. And then Nick arrives: Dr. Van Stratten’s former intern seems to know things about last summer— things that Jude and Tommy would rather not be revealed. Alice is determined to find out what.

While the sisters grapple with the terrible truth about their family, the one-year memorial of Camilla’s death looms. The tension mounts and sparks fly as bright as July Fourth fireworks. Alice and Charlie are desperate to find out the truth that everyone seems to be hiding.

Is Camilla their enemy and rival—even six feet under? Or is she their sister, whose memory they have to protect? And what really happened to her that night on the bridge? In a town built on secrets and lies, can the truth stay buried for long?
I had actually already read the first book in this series and while I enjoyed it, I hadn't planned on picking up the next book.  But now that I have read the second one...I'm probably...okay, let's make that definitely going to pick up the third book. While I had trouble relating to the characters (they act a lot more like stupid college kids than high school kids) I am now sucked into the mysteries surrounding the drama in Serenity Point.  Now I have to know what happened!!

These books are the perfect last minute "beach" book for that last trip to the great outdoors before school begins. I highly recommend picking them up.

And now I have to know...did anyone you know in high school act like these crazy kids?!  I definitely wasn't cool enough...or maybe stupid enough.

Check out the facebook page:

The second book in this series is out on Tuesday, August 20th! 

Want to learn more about the author?  I got to email back and forth with her, she's really cool and we unexpectedly found out we have a few things in common.  She has a bio/FAQ's on her website that does a WAY better job of interviewing than I go learn more and pick up your copy today!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

SRL: Running out of time

Did you enter my contest yesterday? If not, go back and check out the post.

It really is the coolest thing in the world to write back and forth with some of your favorite authors. I feel really lucky I got picked to join the tour. :)

So what is going on with my Summer Reading List?  Well, mainly I am running out of time.

I borrowed most of the books on my list from the library and they are due to be returned when school starts back up. Which is in about two and half weeks.

So what should I do?  Should I skip the "second" books in the series I'm reading? 

Skip books I have already read?

Let me know your thoughts!  I'm running out of time!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Rogue by Gina Damico

Hey everyone! I have something super cool today!  I'm very excited (you can tell by all of my exclamation points) to introduce you to the author of the series I just wrote about yesterday...Gina Damico!

As I wrote yesterday, I follow her blog, she's a very funny lady. And she put out a call to have some bloggers help her out with a blog tour for her third book in the Croak Series. So without much further she is. (Want to know more about the first two books?  See my post from yesterday, link is above.)

(be sure to follow her blog...and enter the contest at the bottom of the post!)

Hey hey Croak fans! Welcome to my blog tour / photo hunt / Roguestravaganza! 

From now until ROGUE's release on September 10th, each stop on the tour will reveal an image that represents a chapter in the book - could refer to setting, plot, an important object, mood, or whatever other diabolical visualizations with which I feel like tormenting my dear readers. Each image also contains a hidden letter...though really, they're not that well hidden. (If you have eyes, you should be able to spot them.) Collect the letters every day, and at the end of the tour I'll hold a contest, the winner of which will receive signed and annotated copies of the complete trilogy. (For a complete description of the contest, tour schedule, and links to the stops you might have missed, check out the blog tour page on my website.)

So! This photo is for Chapter 1. I will let the image do the talking.

Thanks for having me! Good luck everyone!

Plot Summary: 
Teenage Grim Reaper Lex’s power to Damn souls is getting out of control. She's a fugitive, on the run from the maniacal new mayor of Croak and the townspeople who want to see her pay the price for her misdeeds. Uncle Mort rounds up the Junior Grims to flee Croak once again, but this time they're joined by Grotton, the most powerful Grim of all time. Their new mission is clear: fix his mistakes, or the Afterlife will cease to exist, along with all the souls in it.
The gang heads for Necropolis, the labyrinth-like capital city of the Grimsphere. There, they discover that the Grimsphere needs a reboot. To do that, the portals to the Afterlife must be destroyed...but even that may not be enough to fix the damage. Things go from bad to worse, and when at last the fate of the Afterlife and all the souls of the Damned hang in the balance, it falls to Lex and her friends to make one final, impossible choice.


....and the GIVEAWAY!
The lovely and talented Gina Damico has offered me a prize pack to giveaway to my readers! What are we giving away?  Signed bookmarks, bookplates, magnets and a scythe pendant! 

It's very easy to enter, just use the Rafflecopter below:
(note: open internationally as well!)

Monday, August 12, 2013

SRL: Croak Series by Gina Damico

I was really looking forward to reading this series for my Summer Reading List project.  I made sure to sprinkle in the books I wanted to read in between the books that were suggested to me so that I would get a good mix. 
I'm not sure if I was coming down off my "I hate these books" reviews or what...but I had a hard time getting into them. One of the reasons I wanted to read them is because the author is VERY funny. (seriously, even if you don't read these books, you should at the least subscribe to her blog.)

So what is it about?
 Fed up with her wild behavior, sixteen-year-old Lex's parents ship her off to upstate New York to live with her Uncle Mort for the summer, hoping that a few months of dirty farm work will whip her back into shape.

But Uncle Mort's true occupation is much dirtier than shoveling manure. He's a Grim Reaper. And he's going to teach Lex the family business.

She quickly assimilates into the peculiar world of Croak, a town populated by reapers who deliver souls from this life to the next. But Lex can't stop her desire for justice - or is it vengeance? - whenever she encounters a murder victim, craving to stop the attackers before they can strike again.

Will she ditch Croak and go rogue with her reaper skills?

I think the problem for me was that I just didn't connect with Lex and all of the anger that she had. I did like the created world and I must have been engaged enough to stick with it...because I didn't hesitate to pick up the second book. And it isn't very often that I can say I enjoyed a sequel even more than the original book...

Sixteen-year-old Lex Bartleby is a teenage grim reaper with the bizarre ability to damn souls. That makes her pretty scary, even to fellow Grims. But after inadvertently transferring her ability to Zara, a murderous outlaw, Lex is a pariah in Croak, the little town she calls home.

To escape the townspeople’s wrath, she and her friends embark on a wild road trip to DeMyse. Though this sparkling desert oasis is full of luxuries and amusements, it feels like a prison to Lex. Her best chance at escape would be to stop Zara once and for all—but how can she do that from DeMyse, where the Grims seem mysteriously oblivious to Zara’s killing spree.

But wait...this isn't just a sequel. It's a TRILOGY!

I noticed about half way through this book that I was all of a sudden up way past my bedtime...and I couldn't put this one down. I was starting to sneak in reading a page here and a page there to get it done. But not just to get it done...but to find out what happens.  There's a little bit of mystery in here and now I am attached to these characters. And I like Lex a bit more than I did in the first book.

And now?  I have to wait a WHOLE month for the last book in this trilogy.  I can wait...sure.
Good thing I have the rest of my summer reading to get through first!

Stay tuned...tomorrow I have a special treat for you...and a giveaway! :) 

Thursday, August 08, 2013

My daughter the music snob.

Okay, so she really isn't a snob...but her taste in music is interesting.

Her newest thing is calling out requests in the car, or saying who the artist or song is when it comes on the radio.  If she likes the artist, but she doesn't know who it is, she'll ask "Who dis?".

If she doesn't like the song she will ask "Different song!".  And if she hasn't made up her mind she is silent. Or she isn't paying attention. :)

Want to know what she likes?


Robin Thicke:

Daft Punk:

Imagine Dragons:

Selena Gomez:

Justin Bieber?  nope.
Chris Brown? nope.
Beatles? nope (sorry Beatles fans!)

Elvis?  Yes!

Miley Cyrus?  nope. 
(can't blame her there, I don't like the latest song either though I am a Miley fan)

What else does she like?  Mostly dance/electronic music. She isn't a big country fan but she does like Patsy Cline:

And The Band Perry:

Does my daughter have interesting taste in music?  I think so!

The other day when I picked her up she was requesting Imagine Dragons. Looks like I might need to pick up their album. :)

Monday, August 05, 2013

Camping: What I Learned.

I have been camping most of my life.

When I was younger I went every year with my cousins to a gorgeous State Park. We LOVED it. In fact we loved it so much, as adults, we continue to visit this same campground.  Anthony would like me to try new campgrounds every year, but I'm a little attached to this one.

However this past weekend we did try a new campground. And we brought Zoe. And we brought Oscar.  This wasn't technically Zoe's first time (we stayed one night with my cousins last year in their RV) and Oscar has been camping a whole bunch, he loves it.

But we did learn a few things....

1. When the weather forecast calls for 30% chance of rain, your odds seem pretty good. But we were up in the that was pretty much a guarantee of rain.

2. Leaving after 5pm on a Friday to travel north is just never a good idea.

3. It is possible to set up a tent in the dark. And in the rain. And even in the thunder and lightning.

4. Our tent stays mostly dry!

5. Because we had the rain fly on inside out (oops..see #3).

6. Toddlers do not go to bed at "bedtime" while camping.

7. And then they don't sleep in either.

8. And then they get grumpy and whiny.

9. And the bathroom is the most fascinating part of the campground.

10. Despite the rain and the lack of organization we had a blast. :)

We started an excel spreadsheet packing list for the next time we go camping. I'm hoping to turn this into a yearly tradition with a week long camping trip at my favorite campground in the future.  Soon it will be very easy to just pack up and go.

Because I have also learned that I am ready for a pop-up or small camper. ;)

Stay tuned this week...more Summer Reading book reviews coming!  And maybe I'll update on my weight loss, etc...(I'll give you a hint..there's been none of that.)

Friday, August 02, 2013

SRL: Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult & Samantha van Leer

What happens when happily ever after…isn’t?

Delilah is a bit of a loner who prefers spending her time in the school library with her head in a book—one book in particular. Between the Lines may be a fairy tale, but it feels real. Prince Oliver is brave, adventurous, and loving. He really speaks to Delilah.

And then one day Oliver actually speaks to her. Turns out, Oliver is more than a one-dimensional storybook prince. He’s a restless teen who feels trapped by his literary existence and hates that his entire life is predetermined. He’s sure there’s more for him out there in the real world, and Delilah might just be his key to freedom.

Delilah and Oliver work together to attempt to get Oliver out of his book, a challenging task that forces them to examine their perceptions of fate, the world, and their places in it. And as their attraction to each other grows along the way, a romance blossoms that is anything but a fairy tale.
Here is another one recommended by the librarian.  And another by Jodi Picoult.  And I think I figured out why I didn't like reading 19 Minutes.  I think I just don't like her writing style. This caught me off guard because I very rarely find a book that I don't enjoy reading. In fact, most books I read, I like to read again and again.  But I figured out the problem here (I think). I just don't enjoy this author.

But that was the whole point of the Summer Reading List project. Well, it was mostly to do a lot of reading and to do something for myself, but it was also to expand my boundaries and read things that I wouldn't normally read.

I do feel bad though because I really had to force myself to finish this one. I just wanted to skip it and move on. I found the characters painful to "listen" too and I found myself not caring if they figured out how to be together or not. Oh, and the fact that I found the whole thing absolutely ridiculous. I know this book is aimed at a teenage audience...but maybe sixth graders would enjoy it more.

Jodi Picoult wrote this book with her daughter, and maybe that contributed to the problems? Either way, she's way famous and doesn't need my reviews for her book. So beyond my review here on my blog, I probably won't leave feedback on Amazon or Goodreads. I think that I just don't like her writing style. Kind of like how I don't like butterscotch.  Just a personal preference. I'm trying really hard to not say...okay, I'll just say it.  I absolutely hated this book. Yuck. Won't read it again.

Did anyone read either of these books and enjoy them?

Thursday, August 01, 2013

SRL: Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult

Sterling is an ordinary New Hampshire town where nothing ever happens—until the day its complacency is shattered by an act of violence. Josie Cormier, the teenage daughter of the judge sitting on the case, should be the state’s best witness, but she can’t remember what happened before her very own eyes—or can she? As the trial progresses, fault lines between the high school and the adult community begin to show— destroying the closest of friendships and families.

This book got added to my Summer Reading List because of a recommendation from the librarian at the High School where I work. She told me it was powerful.

And I was powerful. But I had a hard time reading this book.  The jumping back and forth between the timelines were confusing and I didn't really "like" any of the characters in this book. Did it give me something to think about?  Yes.  Should teenagers read it to better understand each other? Probably.

In this book a student shoots fellow students and a teacher at his school. He is an outcast, but instead of embracing that (like Stargirl) he becomes withdrawn and plans revenge.

I really didn't enjoy this book but I had a hard time putting my finger on why I didn't like it.

Jodi Picoult is a famous writer who happens to live in my state (neat!) and the next book I will be writing about also took place in New England (cool!).  You can visit her website to learn more about her, you may already be familiar with her, because of books like "My Sister's Keeper"which was made into a movie.  Check out her website!  And tune in tomorrow for my review of the second book of hers that I read this summer.