Sunday, November 29, 2015

Review: Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins

Sweet Evil (The Sweet Trilogy, #1)

My goal for this year was to complete five series I had already started.  Now that I have finished the Vampire Academy, Harry Potter, Losing It, Project Paper Dolls and Mara Dyer series, I decided to start a few new series.  The Sweet Trilogy is one that has been on my TBR list for a while.  On the plus side, there is no waiting between books.  All three books are currently available and there is even a fourth book, which is more of a companion novel, told from Kaidan's point of view.  I honestly can't wait to read Kaidan's book, Sweet Temptation, but Wendy Higgins suggests reading it after the trilogy if you want to fully appreciate it.  

Sweet Evil is about a sixteen-year-old girl named Anna who has always known she was different.  For example...What child can remember their own birth?  She also has heightened senses, which have developed over the years.  She has been living a rather normal life with her adoptive mother, Patti, until the day she meets Kaidan, the gorgeous drummer from a local band named Lascivious.  She discovers he has similar abilities to hers and there are others like them around the world.  He begins teaching her about life as a Nephilim.  They are the children of fallen angels and their lives are not really their own.  They are expected to work for their fathers and spread evil amongst the human population.  

To complicate thing further, Anna's mother was an angel.  She is pulled not only  towards her father's vice, which is drugs and alcohol, but she is filled with good from her mother.  The majority of the book is a road trip across the country to meet Anna's father.  He is nothing like she thought he would be.  He is actually very protective of Anna compared to how the other Dukes treat their children.  

There is a strong attraction that develops between Anna and Kaidan, but they have to distance themselves from each other because of the Dukes' views of Nephilim.  They are considered to be nothing more than their father's property and could be killed if they do not live up to their expectations. 

I absolutely loved this book and can hardly wait to pick up a copy of the next book in the series.  I enjoyed how the Nephilim stuck together and tried to protect one another as best they could.  I really hope they are able to overcome their circumstances and can achieve happiness by the end of the series.  

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: The Glittering Court

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking The Spine, which spotlights upcoming releases we are eagerly anticipating.

The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead
Release Date: April 5, 2016

I have yet to go wrong with one of Richelle Mead's books.  I loved her Vampire Academy series and I just picked up a copy of Bloodlines.  I will have to stay current with her Glittering Court series while I work my way through the Bloodlines series.

The Glittering Court (The Glittering Court, #1)Goodreads Overview: 

Big and sweeping, spanning the refined palaces of Osfrid to the gold dust and untamed forests of Adoria, The Glittering Court tells the story of Adelaide, an Osfridian countess who poses as her servant to escape an arranged marriage and start a new life in Adoria, the New World. But to do that, she must join the Glittering Court. 

Both a school and a business venture, the Glittering Court is designed to transform impoverished girls into upper-class ladies capable of arranging powerful and wealthy marriages in the New World. Adelaide naturally excels in her training and even makes a few friends: the fiery former laundress Tamsin and the beautiful Sirminican refugee Mira. She manages to keep her true identity hidden from all but one: the intriguing Cedric Thorn, son of the wealthy proprietor of the Glittering Court.

When Adelaide discovers that Cedric is hiding a dangerous secret of his own, together, they hatch a scheme to make the best of Adelaide’s deception. Complications soon arise—first, as they cross the treacherous seas from Osfrid to Adoria, and later, when Adelaide catches the attention of a powerful governor.

But no complication will prove quite as daunting as the potent attraction simmering between Adelaide and Cedric. An attraction that, if acted on, would scandalize the Glittering Court and make them both outcasts in wild, vastly uncharted lands. . . .

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Fitch Path by Todd Corley

A Cautionary Tale About A Moose, Millennials, 
Leadership & Transparency
by Todd Corley

About the Book

As the Millennial (Generation Y) workforce swells and iGens (Generation Z) increasingly enter the workforce, the demand for trusted, transparent and authentic leadership is reaching 'fever pitch'. Driven by social media and unfazed by privacy concerns, younger generations are forging cultural shifts that are upending traditional leadership values and practices. Resisting the call for hyper-ethical workplaces, [Baby Boomer] leaders in favor of "business as usual" find themselves and their organizations at grave risk.

Fitch Path is a cautionary tale about how to navigate generationally-driven shifts in beliefs and values. It goes inside the iconic brand, Abercrombie & Fitch, and explores how Millennials and iGens reshaped the self-conscious symbol of American youth and coolness and forged cultural transformation.

Author Todd Corley, former Abercrombie & Fitch (A&F) Senior Vice President & Global Chief Diversity Officer and liaison to the A&F Board of Directors’ Corporate Social Responsibility Committee, witnessed first-hand the impact of Millennials and rising iGens during his ten years at Abercrombie & Fitch from his office at the World Headquarters located on Fitch Path in New Albany, Ohio (2004 – 2014). His tenure at Abercrombie & Fitch overlapped several high profile discrimination cases including Gonzalez v. Abercrombie, which was at the epicenter of a $50M class-action settlement mandating his position be created and EEOC v. Abercrombie, which was argued
in front of- and decided by-the U.S. Supreme Court fifteen months after he decided to leave the company. In that case, the U.S. Supreme Court rendered an 8 – 1 decision on June 1st, 2015 in favor of a Muslim woman who wore a hijab to her job interview.

In Fitch Path, he examines the needs, wants and expectations of the emerging workforce majority recognizing that by 2020, Millennials and iGens will represent nearly 60% of the US workforce and offers solutions to help prepare today's leaders and organizations for the inevitable reality: transparency is the new normal.

Fitch Path serves as a generational marker, recognizing current challenges, signaling approaching opportunities and helping us all understand the coming shifts. It outlines four guiding principles – transparency, authenticity, persistence & optimism – and offers battle tested strategies for managing today’s workplace. The lessons learned are transferable and applicable across industry and sector (public vs. private).

Links to Purchase

Coyer Challenge Signup - Challenge runs Dec 19th - March 4th

hosted by Berls, Michelle and Stormi!
hosted by Berls, Michelle and Stormi!
I participated in my first ever COYER challenge last summer and LOVED it, so I couldn't wait for the winter sign up.  

My goal is going to be to read 1 book per week for the challenge, which will clear out 11 books from my eReader.  I have a ton on physical books to read as well as read alongs that I have to complete for Book Nerds Across America, so 11 will actually be a pretty big challenge.

After a quick glance at the files currently on my nook and kindle apps, I anticipate reading the following books as part of the winter challenge.  Of course, this is subject to change.  I will mark the books as read throughout the challenge and revise the list as necessary.
  1. Until Midnight by Melissa Landers - Completed 12/29/2015
  2. Die Once More by Amy Plum - Completed 12/30/2015
  3. The Queen's Army by Marissa Meyer - Completed 12/30/2015
  4. The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black - Completed 12/25/2015
  5. Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella
  6. First Family by David Baldacci
  7. Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
  8. Never Never by Colleen Hoover
  9. Bitter Pill by Stacey Kade
  10. Love Show by Audrey Bell
  11. The Academy - First Days by C.L. Stone
  12. All Lined Up by Cora Carmack
Challenge Description:

Have you been a little over eager with your mouse when browsing Kindle Freebies? Or maybe those books on Netgalley were just too hard to resist? Are your free reads sitting in your E-reader, neglected, just waiting for when you have time to get to them? Well now is the time with the “Clean Out Your E-reads Challenge”
That’s right we are Going Back to Basics this winter! For 3 months we are going old school. If you have been with us since the beginning you already know the rules – the only thing we added is Audiobooks. If you are new to COYER then welcome!  You can find a complete list of the rules in Because of Reading's signup post.
The challenge will take place December 19th to March 4th and will be hosted by Fantasy is More FunBecause Reading & Books, Movies, Reviews! Oh My! 

Monday, November 23, 2015

Review: Faking Normal by Courtney C. Stevens

Faking Normal

Faking Normal is a YA contemporary about a high school junior named Alexi.  She is struggling emotionally after an assault that took place a couple of months prior to the start of the book.  She has been hiding her pain from her family and friends, but she can’t fool Bodee. 

Bodee and Alexi have known each other since childhood, but they were nothing more than acquaintances until the death of Bodee’s mother.  They are both concealing their secrets as best they can, but they can see through each other's pain.  As their friendship builds, they begin to confide in one another.  They help each other cope in healthier ways than they resorted to on their own.  Together, they regain their strength and confidence.  

I don’t want to give away too much of the story, so I will simply say this was an exceptional book.  I have to thank Amy Plum, author of the Revenants series, for sharing it with me.  Amy tweeted about it a while back, but that is probably the only time I have heard of this book.  I added it to my to-be-read list and I am thankful that I did.

The story was very well written and presented a difficult subject matter in a way that readers can learn and benefit from.  The only thing I can compare it to is Bitter End by Jennifer Brown, which I also loved.  I never would have picked up either of these books based solely on the descriptions due to the heavy topics, but they left a lasting impression that I will not soon forget. 

I would highly recommend Faking Normal to every YA reader.  This is the type of book I would have loved to have read as part of an English class growing up.  The story is gripping and the characters are engaging.  Students would enjoy reading this book while learning in the process.  

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Creativity Corner: Adult Coloring Books

My 10 year-old son is very crafty and enjoys all forms of art.  I decided to start this Creativity Corner feature as a way for us to look back on our projects while sharing ideas with others.

Preston and I decided to jump on the adult coloring book craze.

I completed the following this week from Enchanted Forest by Johanna Basford.
I used my Prismacolor set of 132 pencils.

Preston completed the following page from Birds - A Mindful Coloring Book by Georgie Woolridge
He used his set of 64 Crayola colored pencils.

The fun thing about this bird book is that it contains a variety of unusual birds that we don't usually see living in Ohio...unless they are at the zoo.  The opposite page tells you about the bird, so it is educational.  He googled this picture of a mandarin duck, so he would know how to color it.

I think he did an excellent job!!  

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Creativity Corner: Christmas to Color by Mary Tanana

My 10 year-old son is very crafty and enjoys all forms of art.  I decided to start this Creativity Corner feature as a way for us to look back on our projects while sharing ideas with others.

Preston and I decided to jump on the adult coloring book craze and purchased a few different books at Barnes and Noble last week.

Here are the pages I completed this week from Christmas to Color by Mary Tanana.

I used my son's Crayola colored pencils to complete this page.  He has a box of 50 pencils and another box of 64 yet I only managed to use 3 colors.

I'm not nearly as creative as my son, but I ventured out and tried a variety of colors on this page.  I used my son's Crayola colored pencils for the page on the right.  I used my new set of 132 Prismacolor pencils, which arrived in the mail last Sunday, for the page on the left.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Review: Invisibility by Andrea Cremer and David Levithan


Invisibility is about a boy named Stephen who has been invisible his entire life.  His grandfather is a cursecaster and placed the curse on his mother well before he was conceived.  Nobody has ever been able to see him until Elizabeth moves into his building.  He starts to get his hopes up that the curse may be wearing off, but he quickly discovers that others are still not able to see him.  But why can Elizabeth see him? That is the BIG unanswered question.

I enjoyed seeing how Stephen's life changed once he could actually engage with the world.  While it was a shock to Elizabeth when she found out he was invisible, it allowed Stephen to become friends with her brother Laurie, who is the go-getter in the group.  If it weren't for Laurie, the book probably would have come to an abrupt halt less than halfway through.  Laurie decides that they need to set out on a quest to uncover the truth behind Stephen's curse with the hopes of finding a cure.

The rest of the book is a whirlwind of bad magic.  Stephen's grandfather arrives in New York and there are evil curses showing up everywhere.  Not just the petty curses the spellseekers are used to seeing in New York, but much bigger things that rival Stephen's curse.  Elizabeth meets an older woman with abilities similar to hers, but not nearly as powerful.  The woman teaches her the history of spellseekers and cursecasters while helping her hone her skills.  

The book culminates with an epic battle, but the ending was a huge disappointment.  After everything Elizabeth, Stephen, and Laurie went through, I was expecting a certain ending.  The authors left a sense of hope for the future, but in this case, I think they needed to spell it out.  

I debated between 2 and 3 stars and decided to go with 3 simply because it wasn't as disappointing as the other books I have already given 2 stars.  On the other wasn't nearly as good as some of the books I have given 3 stars.  I really wish Goodreads would allow 1/2 stars because this book is definitely more of a 2.5 than a 3.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Creativity Corner: Minion Pumpkins for Halloween

My 10 year-old son is very crafty and enjoys all forms of art.  I decided to start this Creativity Corner feature as a way for us to look back on our projects while sharing ideas with others.

For Halloween this year he dressed up as a minion.

To continue with the theme, he decided to turn his pumpkins into minions as well.  We used Crayola acrylic paints.  I drew the outline and helped with some of the detail work, but he was able to complete the majority of the larger sections.