Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday: Once And For All by Sarah Dessen

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

Once And For All by Sarah Dessen
Release Date: June 6, 2017

I have read several of Sarah's books and have yet to go wrong with any of them.  They are all stand alone novels, which is nice in an age where every one book you read seems to add several more to your TBR list.

Once and for AllGoodreads Overview:

As bubbly as champagne and delectable as wedding cake, Once and for All, Sarah Dessen's thirteenth novel, is set in the world of wedding planning, where crises are routine. 

Louna, daughter of famed wedding planner Natalie Barrett, has seen every sort of wedding: on the beach, at historic mansions, in fancy hotels and clubs. Perhaps that's why she's cynical about happily-ever-after endings, especially since her own first love ended tragically. When Louna meets charming, happy-go-lucky serial dater Ambrose, she holds him at arm's length. But Ambrose isn't about to be discouraged, now that he's met the one girl he really wants. 

Sarah Dessen’s many, many fans will adore her latest, a richly satisfying, enormously entertaining story that has everything—humor, romance, and an ending both happy and imperfect, just like life itself.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Authors I Have Met

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  Every Tuesday they post a new Top Ten List on something bookish.  Click on the link above if you wish to participate.

Top Ten Authors I have Met

This is actually a difficult topic since I have met far more than ten authors and genuinely do not want to exclude anyone.  I'm not going to list authors simply because they have #1 books, or their books have become movies, or they are at the top of every favorite author list.  I'm going to select authors that I felt genuinely showed an interest in their readers.  These individuals actively engaged with their readers, put on a great presentation/book discussion, participated in speed dating sessions, etc.  

Stacey Kade
Stacey is the author of The Ghost and the Goth and Project Paper Doll series.  She also has a few stand alone novels that I really enjoyed.  I have had the opportunity to meet her on a few occasions and she is ALWAYS super sweet.  She will engage with readers on twitter and Facebook and was highly entertaining at the RT author events.

Tammara Webber
She is the author of Easy, which is part of the Contours of the Heart series, as well as the Between the Lines series. I met her at RT and of course I had to ask her how she selected Jacqueline for her main character's name since it is spelled the same as mine.  She answered several questions about the book and I have since participated in blog tours to help promote her books.

Stephanie Perkins
Author of Anna and the French Kiss

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Jeri Smith-Ready
Author of the Shade and WVMP Radio series.  She used to spend an insane amount of time entertaining fans by tweeting as the main characters from Shade. I always enjoyed following the conversations.  She also took the time to sit with us while we were having dinner at a conference and indulged our fangirling.

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Amy Plum and Josephine Angelini
The book nerds loved Amy's Die For Me series as well as Josie's Starcrossed series.  Amy lives in Paris and was even kind enough to give me a recommendation for somewhere to stay.  It just so happened to be across the street from the building she based Jules's art studio after.

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Ally Carter
Author of the Gallagher Girls, Heist Society, and Embassy Row series.

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David Levithan
He was a busy bee at BEA this past year.  He had his own book signing and assisted with Maggie Stiefvater's signing.  He could be found mingling in the Scholastic area and speaking on several panels.  He was very engaging and entertaining.

David Baldacci
He came to speak at the grand reopening of the main branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library.  He was an excellent speaker and highly entertaining.  He signed books after the presentation and was even kind enough to sign my son's copy of Flush, which was written by a good friend of David's.  He couldn't wait to tell Carl Hiaasen he got to sign one of his book. He also told Preston he would sign any book if it encouraged children to read. (I did take my copy of King and Maxwell, which is the latest book in David's series, so we didn't look completely crazy).

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Caleb Roehrig
Caleb is the author of Last Seen Leaving.  Mary and I were fortunate enough to meet him at  the Fierce Reads blogger event at BEA last year.  I had never heard of him until this event, but he was definitely the life of the party.  Here he is in the little hat from the photo booth, which became his signature for the weekend.  He even took it to his signing.  After this event I bumped his book up to the top of my TBR list and I'm definitely glad that I did.  I gave it a solid 5 stars.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Review: Evertrue by Brodi Ashton

Evertrue (Everneath, #3)

***Spoiler Alert...I do not mention any spoilers from Evertrue (book 3 in the series), but if you haven't finished Everbound (book 2) there are some spoilers and you probably shouldn't proceed.*** 

Evertrue is the third and final book in the Everneath series and picks up where book two left off.  Nikki and Jack are now on a mission to destroy the Everneath and restore Nikki's mortality. They have one major problem.  Nikki has to rely on Cole to feed her every night or she will lose her energy and die.  Even that is a short term solution to her  problems.  She has about a week to discover how to destroy the Everneath or she will be forced to choose between feeding on a forfeit for a century or allowing herself to die. They also hove no idea how to defeat the shades and the current queen.  

I was shocked by a major twist that took place in this book.  Cole and his band disappear one evening and their condo is ransacked.  When Cole reappears, he isn't the same.  He is speaking like he is from the early 1900's with an ancient vocabulary and a strange accent.  I don't want to give away any spoilers, but Nikki and Jack decide to use this to their advantage.

We see a much different side of Cole in this book.  Personally, I liked the overly confident version of him better.  This version; however, did allow the reader to connect with him on a new level.  Even Nikki couldn't help but feel sorry for him.

Jack, on the the other hand, is now a version of the Hulk... or Hercules if we are going to use the mythological equivalent.  He somehow grew in size and strength when he freed himself from the Everneath.  In addition, he now has a very short temper.  Every time Nikki and Cole were together I pictured him clenching his fists (which is constantly mentioned in the book) and turning into the Hulk before he went into one of his rages.  It came in handy at times, but for the most part he was a bit annoying.  I would have selected the old Cole over him any day.

The ending wasn't much of a surprise, but there were some repercussions I didn't see coming.  I wish there could have been a happily ever after for everyone, but I guess that was never in the cards.  I was satisfied with how Brodi tied up the series and thoroughly enjoyed my time with these characters.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Cover Reveal: Don't Kiss the Messenger by Katie Ray

Don’t Kiss the Messenger Information Sheet:

Author: Katie Ray (pen name of Katie Kacvinsky)
Release Date: 4/10/2017
Genre: Young Adult Romance
Author Email:
Author Website:
Author Twitter: @TheWeirdists
Author Facebook: Katie Ray Kacvinsky
Author Goodreads: Katie Ray

~A modern retelling of Cyrano de Bergerac~


For most of her teenage life, CeCe Edmonds has been dealing with the stares and the not-so-polite whispers that follow her around Edgelake High. So she has a large scar on her face—Harry Potter had one on his forehead and people still liked him. CeCe never cared about her looks—until Emmett Brady, transfer student and football darling, becomes her literature critique partner. The only problem? Emmett is blindsided by Bryn DeNeuville, CeCe’s gorgeous and suddenly shy volleyball teammate. Bryn asks CeCe to help her compose messages that’ll charm Emmett. CeCe isn’t sure there’s anything in his head worth charming but agrees anyway—she’s a sucker for a good romance. Unfortunately, the more messages she sends and the more they run into each other, the more she realizes there’s plenty in his head, from food to literature. Too bad Emmett seems to be falling for the wrong girl...

Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book involves one fiercely scarred girl who wants the new guy in town, the new guy who thinks he wants the new girl, and the new girl who really isn’t sure what she wants, and the misunderstanding that brings them all together. You’ll laugh, you’ll swoon, you’ll fall in love.

Author Bio:

Katie writes teen and new adult fiction novels. Her latest book, Don't Kiss the Messenger, is published under her new pen name, Katie Ray. She also has six books published under her legal name, Katie Kacvinsky (First Comes Love, Second Chance, Finally Forever, Awaken, Middle Ground, and Still Point).

Her books have been nominated for YALSA awards, and First Comes Love was a finalist for the Oregon Book Award. She lives in beautiful Ashland, Wisconsin, on the shores of Lake Superior, with her husband, two kids, and a very high-energy dog. To find out more about Katie and her books, check out her website:

If you are interested in participating in the blog tour, click on this link for the sign up information.  

I have read all of Katie's books and thoroughly enjoyed each and every one.  I have a copy of Don't Kiss the Messenger and will post my review along with Mary on Book Nerds Across America.  As always, I will share my review here as well.

My Reviews of Katie's Books:
Maddie's Tattoo (Novella)

Waiting on Wednesday: Brave by Tammara Webber

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

Brave by Tammara Webber
Tentative Release Date: Fall 2017

I LOVED Easy and have read all of the books in Tammara's Contours of the Heart series.  I have no idea how I missed this announcement, but I found Brave listed when I pulled Tammara up on Goodreads yesterday.  I was beyond excited and immediately scheduled this as my next WoW post. 

Brave (Contours of the Heart, #4)Goodreads Overview:

Courage means rising up to defend your beliefs… or daring to question them.

Get ready for Erin's story: A new standalone novel in the Contours of the Heart world.

Greed. Betrayal. Loss. Revenge. And that's just where it begins.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Have Read In A Weekend

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  Every Tuesday they post a new Top Ten List on something bookish.  Click on the link above if you wish to participate.

Top Ten Books I have Read In A Weekend

This week's topic was supposed to include books completed in a day or even one sitting.  That isn't realistic for me since I work full time and I have a very active son.  I usually finish a book a week, so any books completed in two days or less is a feat for me.

Jesse's Girl by Miranda Kenneally
I read most of this book on a lengthy travel day to Hawaii and finished it the next morning. I loved the story and plan on reading Breathe, Annie, Breathe in the very near future.

Jesse's Girl (Hundred Oaks)

Until Midnight
This is a 112 page novella (book 1.5 in the Alienated Series) which I finished in a day.

Until Midnight (Alienated, #1.5)

Die Once More by Amy Plum
This is a 100 page novella (3.5 in the Revenants Series).

Die Once More (Revenants, #3.5)

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
A full length novel that I read over a holiday weekend home alone.

The Art of Racing in the Rain

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
A 227 page novel that you simply can't put down once you start.

We Were Liars

Keeping Her  by Cora Carmack
176 page Novella (1.5 in the Losing It Series)

Keeping Her (Losing It, #1.5)

New Moon by Stephenie Meyer
I was in a bit of shock when a character left and needed to see how this one finished.

New Moon (Twilight, #2)

Because of Anya
My son's teacher read this to the class, but he was in the hospital.  It is only 114 pages so we read it together.

Because of Anya

The Guard by Kiera Cass
A 64 page novella (2.5 in the Selection Series)

The Guard (The Selection, #2.5)

The Prince by Kiera Cass
A 64 page novella (0.5 in the Selection Series)

The Prince (The Selection, #0.5)

Monday, March 20, 2017

Creativity Corner: Johanna's Christmas Page 2

My 12 year-old son, Preston, 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.

This week I completed the second page in Johanna's Christmas by Johanna Basford.  

Saturday, March 18, 2017

New Release Challenge 2017

New Release Challenge 2017 - (un)Conventional Bookviews

I didn't reach my goal of 16 New Releases in 2016, so I am going to give it another try this year.  I haven't been doing a very good job of following the WoW posts recently, so I will need to step up my game if I'm going to complete this goal this year.  I have several series that I am reading with new releases coming up, but I will need to find some additional newbies.  Feel free to leave some recommendations in the comments if you have already discovered some must reads from 2017.  

You can find all of the details at Unconventional Book Views along with the sign up.  Below is a copy of the basic rules and levels.

The rules for the 2017 New Release Challenge are simple:

  • Books have to be released and reviewed in 2017.
  • Other challenges can be used as well, if you are participating in the Netgalley / Edelweiss challenge or in the COYER challenge, books can count towards more than one challenge, as long as the ones you use for the 2017 New Release Reading Challenge qualify to the other rules.
  • The minimum length for a book to qualify is 100 pages, it can be in any format though, physical, e-book, ARC or audiobook.
  • The New Book Release Challenge is open from January 1st through December 31st 2017, and sign-ups are open until February 15th 2017.
  • You don’t have to be a blogger to participate, you can link to your review on Goodreads or Booklikes instead – so don’t be shy!

There are five levels  in the New Release Challenge:

  1. 1-30 books per year – New Release Newbie
  2. 31-60 books per year – New Release Pro
  3. 61-100 books per year – New Release Veteran
  4. 101-200 books per year – New Release Enthusiast
  5. 200+ books per year – New Release Obsessed

Friday, March 17, 2017

Prequel and Sequel Challenge 2017

I'm once again participating in the Prequel and Sequel Challenge hosted by Novel Heartbeat.  I did pretty well with this challenge last year.  I'm going to up my game and shoot for the professional level this year, which requires 76-100 points.  

Below is a copy of the Guidelines and Point System as it is listed on the sing up post.  You can click on the link above to sign up or view additional information.


  1. The challenge runs from January 1st to December 31st.
  2. Any books started before Jan. 1 will not count.
  3. All books in a series count for points (see below)
  4. Novellas count, either prequels or sequels (i.e. #0.5, #1.5, #2.5, etc).
  5. Books can be of any publication date. They don’t have to be released in 2017.
  6. In order to get 10 points for a completed series, there must be at least 3 full-length books in the series.
  7. You can still get sequel points for a duology, you just can’t get the 10 bonus points for finishing it.
  8. Sign-ups will be open until December 1st, 2017.
  9. To join, add the URL of your challenge post to the linky widget. (If you’d like to wait, it’s ok to use your blog URL and send us your link as soon you get the post up)
  10. At the end of each quarter (every three months), we will post a linky for you to add your sequel reviews to.  The linky will rotate between our blogs on alternate quarters, so you can link up at Novel Heartbeat at the end of March and September, and over at Writer Grrl Reads at the end of June and December. If you have a ton of reviews for the quarter, you can always link to wherever you’re keeping track of your progress. This will make it much easier for us – not only is it less posting, but it will be easier to keep track of how many points everyone has.
  11. We will try to do some giveaways throughout the year for participants (as long as we can afford it), as well as some mini-challenges and read-alongs … so stay tuned for further details!
  12. There will be a giveaway at the end of the year for all participants who completed the challenge!


For each prequel and sequel read this year, points will be awarded as follows:
  • 1 point for each prequel or sequel novella read and reviewed
  • 2 points for each full-length sequel read and reviewed
  • 10 points for completing and reviewing a full series (doesn’t require novellas)*†
  • **You do not get points for the first book in a series
To get points, you must review the book/novella somewhere. If you want to earn points, please link up your reviews at the end of each month, and enter the number of points earned (we will give examples in the linky).  Each point earned is an entry into the giveaway at the end of the year for all participants who completed the challenge.  So, the more sequels you read, the better your chances of winning the giveaway!  Plus, we are also considering one prize for the “overacheiver award” — the person who gets the most points!
*The 10 bonus points is for finishing a FULL series. That means that all books must be published (unless you got an advance reader copy early). i.e. If you are completely caught up on a series, and the next book is not releasing until 2017 (and you do not have an advance reader copy), that does not count toward the 10 bonus points.
If you started the series before 2017, you can still get the bonus points for finishing it if you reviewed the other books in the series at some point. For example: You read The Hunger Games in 2016, but read Catching Fire and Mockingjay in 2017 – you would get 2 points for both sequels and 10 bonus points for finishing the series (14 points total). You don’t have to start the series in 2017 to get the bonus points.
10-25 points: Newbie
25-50 points: Amateur
51-75 points: Advanced
76-100 points: Professional
101+ points: Veteran

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Review: This Girl by Colleen Hoover

This Girl (Slammed, #3)

This Girl is a retelling of Slammed and parts of Point of Retreat from Will's point of view, but there is some new content mixed in.  Will and Lake have been down a LONG road.  They have finally gotten married and are on their honeymoon, which is where This Girl begins.  We get bits and pieces of present day, but the vast majority of the book consists of Will telling stories about their past.  We get to hear his perspective on the major events that took place in the first two books.  We also get to witness several encounters between Will and Lake's mom that Lake and the readers were not aware of until now.

If you are a fan of the series this is a worthwhile read; however, I would not recommend reading it as a stand alone.  I don't think readers would get much out of this book without the knowledge and back story from the first two novels.

It was nice getting to see Will and Lake finally receiving their happily ever after, but there was something missing.  I absolutely LOVED Slammed, so perhaps my expectations were too high.  Or it could have been the fact that I listed to this on audio while I read the first two novels.  I had my interpretation of the characters, but when I listed to Lake she came across as whiny at times. 

I ended up giving This Girl 3 stars, so it wasn't even close to the 5 stars I gave Slammed.  I have recommended Slammed to countless readers, but this is one I would leave up to the individual.  It was a nice read, but it isn't a must in my opinion.  I really enjoyed the epilogue, so I probably would have preferred a short story or a novella with just the new content vs. a retelling of a story I was already familiar with.  

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Books On My Spring TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  Every Tuesday they post a new Top Ten List on something bookish.  Click on the link above if you wish to participate.

Top Ten Books On My Spring TBR List

I'm currently working on clearing out my TBR shelf as part of a challenge, so most of my spring reads are older books.  I will be checking out all of the lists this week for some great new releases as well since I will need to start tackling the New Release Challenge in the near future.

The Death Cure by James Dashner
This is Book 3 in the Maze Runner Series

The Death Cure (Maze Runner, #3)

Out of Sight, Out of Time by Ally Carter
Book 5 in the Gallagher Girls Series

Out of Sight, Out of Time (Gallagher Girls, #5)

Lust For Life by Jeri Smith-Ready
Book 4 in the WVMP Radio Series.

Lust for Life (WVMP Radio, #4)

Bitter Pill by Stacey Kade
This is the only book of Stacey's I haven't read yet.

Bitter Pill

Breathe, Anne, Breathe by Miranda Kenneally
I read Jesse's Girl a while back and really enjoyed it.  I added several more of her books to my TBR list, but I have a long way to go to catch up.

Breathe, Annie, Breathe

Bloodlines by Richelle Mead
I finished the Vampire Academy series a little over a year ago.  Adrian was by far my favorite character, so I can't wait to read this series.

Bloodlines (Bloodlines, #1)

Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry
I picked up a copy of Pushing the Limits at a convention a while back.   I have yet to read one of Katie's books, but I have several on my TBR list, so I need to get moving.

Pushing the Limits (Pushing the Limits, #1)

Unhinged by A.G. Howard
Book 2 in the Splintered Series

Unhinged (Splintered, #2)

Obsidian by Jennifer Armentrout
I've met Jennifer several times and have signed copies of several of her books, yet I haven't read any of them.  I'm including this as part of my "new to me" challenge.  A new author and a new series.

Obsidian (Lux, #1)

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
This is another book for the new to me challenge.  A new author and a new series.

Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass, #1)

Monday, March 13, 2017

New to Me Challenge 2017

I'm once again participating in the New to Me Challenge hosted by The Herd Presents..  Last year I was aiming for 1 book a month and finished the year with 13 books that qualified.  I'm going to shoot for 12-15 this year and hopefully top last years total.

What Counts

Anything "new" to you. For example...

--First time reading an author
--first book in a series
--first book you've read from a series (doesn't have to be book one)
--first time trying a genre/subgenre
--a debut book from an author (even if you've read them before)

*books need to be over 80 pages

For further details and to sign up click on the link to The Herd Presents at the top of this post.  

Friday, March 10, 2017

Creativity Corner: Perler Bead Rubik's and Johanna Basford

My 12 year-old son, Preston, 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.

This week I completed the second page in Magical Jungle by Johanna Basford.  

Preston decided to make a Rubik's cube out of Perler Beads.  He found the pattern at this website along with the instructions. Below is a copy of the template.  You need to place the black connector pieces in the locations indicated, but you can use any colors you have available for the squares.

Here is his completed Rubik's Cube.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Review: Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

Three Dark Crowns (Three Dark Crowns, #1)

Three Dark Crowns was one of the books I was really excited to receive at BEA last year.  I did have to wait in a ridiculously long line, but it was well worth it.

I can't say that I have read anything quite like this before.  Every generation there is a set of triplet queens born on a small island.  Each of the girls has a special magical ability, which must be used when the girls come of age to defeat her sisters and inherit the throne.  The poisoners have been in control of the throne for several generations, but the elemental queen, Mirabella, has a distinct advantage this generation.  The poison and naturalist queens appear to have no magical ability while Mirabella is perhaps the strongest elemental in history.

Katharine has been training her body to withstand the effects of poison for years with little to no avail.  The same can be said for the naturalist queen, Arsinoe, who tried to flee the island in an attempt to save her life prior to the start of the book. Her best friend is one of the strongest naturalists in recent memory while she has no ability.  She even turns to forbidden magic, which she feels is better than having no magic at all.  At least she will have something to rely on to defend herself.

The sisters grew up together, but were separated at a young age.  They still have fond memories of each other, so it is going to be extremely difficult for them to kill one another.  This seems to be a much bigger problem than it has ever been in the past, so the leaders begin to plot ways to get around this challenge.  This reminded me a bit of the Hunger Games with the fight to the death orchestrated by the Capital..  None of the girls wants to complete, but they know there can only be one winner, so they must kill or be killed.

As the year long battle is about to begin there is a major revelation that could greatly impact the outcome.  I don't want to spoil it, but it definitely explains the discrepancy in their abilities.  I don't really have a favorite at this point, but I was rooting for Katharine and Arsinoe since they were at a major disadvantage.

The second book in the series, One Dark Throne, is scheduled to be released September 19, 2017.  I have already added it to my TBR and can't wait to find out what will happen next.