Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Release Day Blitz - Summerlost by Ally Condie

Title: Summerlost
Author: Ally Condie
Series: Stand Alone
Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: March 29, 2016

Letter from Ally

Dear Readers,

I think most of us have had our hearts broken. Sometimes we can see it coming, and sometimes it comes down with the unexpected force of a sudden gale of wind or a rising of waters that we thought were still and safe. Loss is universal to human experience, but the way we each feel and recover is one of the most personal things we do.

In Summerlost, Cedar is dealing with the loss of her father and younger brother. And my intent was to show how hard their deaths are for her. But this is also a book about the healing power of friendship. Most of us have been broken-hearted; I hope that most of us have also discovered the miracle of friendships that were just what we needed. Cedar and Leo’s friendship is based on someone I met when I was twelve. Like Leo, my friend was fun and liked to enlist me in crazy adventures (although we never gave a secret guided tour of our town the way they do in Summerlost). And, like Leo, he thought I was wonderful and of worth at a time when I needed it most.

SUMMERLOST is my attempt to pay tribute both to the pain we feel and the friendships that save us. Thank you so much for supporting this book, and for your willingness to give Cedar’s story a try. I hope it makes you think of a wonderful friend of your own, whether that is someone you met in the pages of a favorite book or outside, in the world where it is often hard and beautiful to live.

Best wishes and happy reading always,
Ally Condie


Penguin Random House:




Barnes & Noble:



Add it to Goodreads!



A Spring 2016 Kids' Indie Next List Top 10 Pick!

Named one of Publishers Weekly’s Most Anticipated Children’s and YA Books of Spring 2016

 “Condie (Matched) strikes a deep emotional chord with this coming-of-age story.” – Publishers Weekly, starred review

 “Multiple, seemingly random details, including a family of turkey vultures that now roost outside Cedar’s window, an absurd soap opera narrative of a woman buried alive, and Leo’s quest for a trip with his father, coalesce into metaphors that help Cedar make sense of her grief and the life she now has to look forward to. Thoughtful, poetic chapter endings guide readers new to psychological depth toward meaningful connections between plot events and thematic reflections.” – BCCB

“A moving tale of friendship and loss. I loved these characters—I wish we could have been friends when I was a kid.” –Brandon Mull, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Fablehaven and Five Kingdoms series

“Ally Condie’s first middle grade book might also be my favorite out of ALL her books to date. Summerlost is a story packed with nostalgia, heart, and gorgeous prose.” – The Novel Novice

“A nuanced portrait of grief deeply grounded in the middle-school mind-set.” – Booklist

“Honest, lovely, and sad.” – Kirkus Reviews

“A sweet, heartfelt story.” – School Library Journal

“Achingly good.” – Summer Laurie, Books Inc.


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Friday, March 25, 2016

Blog Tour: The Darkest Corners by Kara Thomas

Title: The Darkest Corners
Author: Kara Thomas
Series: Stand Alone
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publication Date: April 19, 2016
Source: Publisher

First let me say this... OMG THIS BOOK!!!! OMG OMG OMG!

Thank you for letting me get that out of my system.  This book has been sitting heavily on my mind since I finished reading it.  I cannot help but think back on it.  And every time I do... I discover that I like it more and more!

So I bet you are here because you are curious about this book and what it is about etc etc etc.

Well to quickly sum it up it is a psychological thriller murder mystery!   That should tell you right there that it needs to be read, but I will give you a bit more of an explanation anyways.

The Darkest Corners is told from the perspective of Tessa.  At the age of 9, while she was spending the night over at her BFF's house (Callie), Callie's cousin was murdered!!  The thing is, she wasn't just plainly murdered, she was murdered in the same fashion that others had been in the area!  Yes kids, there was a serial killer on the loose in Fayette targeting young girls.

Shortly thereafter, Tessa moved away to Florida to live with her grandma and Callie stayed.  Cut to about 9 years later, Tessa has to return to Fayette to visit her dying father who is in the prison near there.  She and Callie are no longer friends.  Tessa doesn't want to be there.  And then Tessa starts questioning things and looking for her estranged mother and sister.

My overall thoughts on this book aside from the tiny freak out I had at this beginning of this post/review are that it was AMAZING and wonderfully crafted.  I couldn't put it down.  I had to keep going.  I was pulled into the story.  I had to know what exactly was going on.

And to be completely honest with you, I am the kind of person who sneaks to the back of the book at the beginning of reading it.  The suspense of "do these people get together?" "does that person live?" etc etc etc kills me.  Usually the only way to keep me from doing this is to hand me an ebook to read (and I still do it with those as well, just not as often).  Well...I did it with this one.  AND YOU KNOW WHAT?!  Even though I did that, I still had NO IDEA what all was going to go down in the book.

Yes. The Darkest Corners was THAT wonderfully crafted that I could sneak to the back and STILL be totally surprised!

My Rating
4.5 Stars

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

This review is based on an ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Also, don't forget to check out all this other awesome stuff!!!

The official website for The Darkest corners 

Isn't this picture of Kara Thomas just gorgeous?!

And the other stops on the blog tour!!

3/14 Fresh Fiction
3/15 Jessabella Reads
3/16 Book Addict Confessions
3/17 Hollywood News Source
3/18 Undeniably (Book) Nerdy
3/19 Curling Up with a Good Book
3/20 Out of Time
3/21 Supernatural Snark
3/22 Live to Read, review
3/23 Dark Faerie Tales
3/24 Ex Libris
3/25 Reading with Cupcakes
3/26 The Reader Bee
3/27 The Eater of Books!
3/28 Reading Teen
3/29 Chapter by Chapter
3/30 Winter Haven Books
3/31 Once Upon A Twilight
4/1 Intellectual Recreation
4/2 The Hiding Spot
4/3 Carina Books
4/4 Cover Contessa
4/5 Me Read A Lot
4/6 The Writer Diaries
4/7 Whimsically Yours
4/8 Hook of a Book
4/9 Reading Nook Reviews
4/10 Downright Dystopian
4/11 Such A Novel Idea
4/12 Across the Words
4/13 Reviews From a Bookworm
4/14 Itching For Books
4/15 Waste Paper Prose
4/16 The Irish Banana
4/17 The Book Rat
4/18 YA Reads
4/19 No BS Book Review
4/20 Serenity’s Lovely Reads
4/21 Pandora’s Books

Monday, March 21, 2016

Book Blitz - Furious by T.R. Ragan

Title: Furious
Author: T.R. Ragan
Series: Faith McMann #1
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Publication Date: March 22, 2016


Faith McMann comes home to a nightmare: her husband is killed and her son and daughter are taken. Although the intruders leave her for dead, she survives. Crippling grief and fear for her children make life unbearable. Until her anguish turns to anger…and she trades victimhood for vengeance. Frustrated with the law’s efforts, she takes action to rescue her children—and wreaks havoc on the brutal criminals who tore them from her. With her family and newfound allies at her side, Faith descends into the hellish underworld of human trafficking, determined to make those who prey on the innocent pray for mercy. The forces she's up against have already proven that their ruthlessness knows no bounds. And there's nothing they won't do to turn Faith's crusade into a suicide mission. But they're about to learn that nothing is more dangerous than a mother fighting for her children—especially one who's earned the nickname Furious.

 Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound | The Book Depository  

Author Bio:

T.R. Ragan (Theresa Ragan) is a New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author. Her exciting Lizzy Gardner series: Abducted, Dead Weight, A Dark Mind, Obsessed, Almost Dead, and Evil Never Dies, has received tremendous praise. In August 2015 Evil Never Dies hit #7 on the Wall Street Journal Bestselling List. Since publishing in 2011, she has sold over two million books and has been mentioned in the Wall Street Journal, the L.A. Times, PC Magazine, Huffington Post, and Publishers Weekly. Theresa grew up in a family of five girls in Lafayette, California. An avid traveler, her wanderings have carried her to Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, China, Thailand, and Nepal, where she narrowly survived being chased by a killer elephant. Before devoting herself to writing fiction, she worked as a legal secretary for a large corporation. Theresa and her husband Joe have four children and live in Sacramento, California. FURIOUS, the first book in her most recent Faith McMann series will be released March 22, 2016, followed by OUTRAGE and WRATH.

Early Praise:

“Faith McMann, heroine of this gripping novel, is a Sacramento schoolteacher, wife, and mother who comes home just in time to witness her husband’s throat getting cut and her two children hauled away. The attempt on her life is botched—the killers were in a hurry—and as she recovers, she’s convinced the police are brushing her off. So she whacks a detective with his computer keyboard and gets sentenced to anger management sessions. If this were a cookie-cutter thriller, the male hero would be tracking the killers with an automatic weapon and maybe a major babe beside him. But our hero is smarter than that, and her revenge is a product of relationships, not bullets. In classes, she meets other victims as angry as she is, and, together, in fine scenes of action and suspense, they seek explanations and vengeance as well as the children’s rescue, which takes them into a slimy world of human trafficking. Learn here about “lot lizards” and “kiddie strolls” on the way to a wild finale. Suspenseful and smart, in equal measure.” —Don Crinklaw, Booklist

“Searing...Readers with strong stomachs will eagerly await the next installment.” —Publishers Weekly

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Wednesday, March 16, 2016

The Picture Book Wall (#8)

As always, I have more picture books to share with you this month!

I am starting to find myself really liking picture books and reading them.  I, personally, think I need to get a bit more into it when I read them out loud, but I am doing so much better than I used to.  I guess I just need more and more practice!  Yay for storytimes with littles!  Storytime gives you plenty of practice.

Also, the kids don't judge.  They just listen.  So don't be afraid.  Go for it! Have fun!

And without further ado...here are this months picture book reviews!

Title: Mr. Mischief and the Leprechaun
Author: Roger Hargreaves
Series: Mr. Men and Little Miss
Publisher: Price Stern Sloan
Publication Date: February 2, 2016
Source: Publisher
Rating: 5 Stars

Mr. Mischief and the Leprechaun is an incredibly fun read!  In this book Mr. Mischief - who loves to create mischief -  meets a leprechaun.  And guess what?  The leprechaun ALSO loves to make mischief.  So they team up and pull pranks on Mr. Mischief's friends.

It is quite fun.  However, this book may give your child some prank ideas, so you may want to be ready to be pranked or to atleast have a conversation about pranking people when you read it.  Unless you are okay with getting a pepper sandwich for lunch one day that is!

Also, this book is actually pretty small.  So it isn't going to be the easiest book to use for a group storytime.  However, it would be perfect for a one on one or one on two storytime.  Also, if you have a reader, feel free to have them read this story to you!  It may be a bit of a challenge depending on their reading skill, but practice and quality time will be had!

This review is based on a copy provided by the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Title: Raybot
Author: Adam F. Watkins
Series: Stand Alone
Publisher: Price Stern Sloan
Publication Date: March 26, 2016
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4 Stars

Raybot is a lonely robot in search of a friend.  Actually, he is specifically in search of a puppy.  However, he doesn't know what a puppy looks like.  He only knows that a puppy "barks". 

Throughout the course of this story, Raybot meets a lot of different animals.  He asks every one of them if they "bark".  In turn, we the reader, get introduced to a lot of different animals and the sounds that they make.

And there are a lot of animals in this book, some of which I had no idea how to make the noises of.  It really stretched my imagination!  A great way to work on my storytime skills for sure.  And of course my little Bug loved it and giggled quite often while I read through the story!

This review is based on a copy provided by the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Title: Hoot and Peep
Author: Lita Judge
Series: Stand Alone
Publisher: Dial Books
Publication Date: March 1, 2016
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4 Stars

Hoot and Peep! So so cute!  This book is about an older brother owl (Hoot) and a little sister owl (Peep).  Peep is finally old enough to go out at night with her brother, but she has the desire to sing to the night.  Yet Hoot tells her that she can't do that.  That owls only "hoot."

This is a great story.  I think it is perfect for siblings.  It teaches them that even though they might do things differently, that neither one is necessarily wrong.  Also, it shows you that doing something outside of the normal can actually be fun and enjoyable!

Oh and the artwork.  The artwork is gorgeous.  I could look at the pictures all day!

This review is based on a copy provided by the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Title: Echo Echo
Author: Marilyn Singer
Illustrator: Josee Masse
Publisher: Dial Books
Publication Date: February 16, 2016
Source: Publisher
Rating: 3 Stars

Echo Echo is perfect for fans of mythology.  However, these mythology stories are not written in the normal fashion.  They are written in poetry form - reversos in fact. 

What is a reverso?  It is actually a poem that reads differently depending on how you read it.  You read it one way, and then you flip it over and read it in reverse and it tells the story in a different way!  It is really quite creative and very interesting!

That being said, each mythology covered in this book is told in two stories.  Sometimes the poems are from the same character, other times they are told from differing characters.

This is not necessarily a book I would use for storytime.  However, I would possibly consider it as reading before bed.  It is a longer book, but easy to find a place to stop in.  So you could potentially read a couple poems a night and everyone would end up happy.

Or if you have an older child that is not quite ready for chapter books, but likes to read and likes mythology - they would enjoy reading this one.  There are ample enough words on the pages that they wont feel like they are reading a "book for babies."

Also, the artwork is gorgeous!

This review is based on a copy provided by the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Blog Tour: Up From the Sea by Leza Lowitz

Title: Up From the Sea
Author: Leza Lowitz
Series: Stand Alone
Publisher: January 12, 2016
Publication Date: Crown Books for Young Readers
Source: Publisher

Up From the Sea is about two very difficult topics from the worlds history.  The first and the main one being the tsunami that hit Japan after a 9.0 earthquake struck.  The second being 9/11 as it pertained to the Americans.

Neither of these two topics is something easy to discuss, but Leza Lowitz does it beautifully.

Up From the Sea is not written in the traditional sense.  It is actually written in the form of poetry.  If you are new to this idea, you may be a bit hesitant and find yourself wondering if a story could really be told this way.  The answer is quite simply and very strongly a yes!  The world is drawn very vividly and the characters are easy to relate to.  It is very well done.

Up From the Sea follows along our main character, Kai.  It starts the day of the tsunami, and ended approx a year or so after that fateful day.  You feel his emotions, the emotions of those around him, and and you learn a lot of about what it was like in coastal Japan at that time.  You also get to learn a little bit about Japanese culture and some Japanese language - which was a nice touch.

If you are looking for a fantastic read that deals with some real life issues, Up From the Sea will not disappoint you.  I will warn you though.  Once you start reading, you won't be able to put it down.  You will be finished within a day of starting it!

My Rating
4.5 Stars

This review is based on a copy provided by the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Blog Tour: Bug Zoo by Andy Harkness

Title: Bug Zoo
Author: Disney Book Group
Illustrator: Andy Harkness
Series: Walt Disney Animation Studios Artist Showcase
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Publication Date: February 16, 2016
Source: Irish Banana Blog Tours

When I saw the title of this book, I just had to read it.  If you aren't already aware, I call my daughter Bug.  I have since she was a few weeks old.  So, now everything to do with bugs reminds me of her.  Okay okay....not EVERYTHING bug related makes me think of her (like the little crawlies themselves), but a lot of the cute bug stuff does.

Anyways, I am glad that I was chosen to partake in this particular blog tour hosted by Irish Banana.  I didn't even realize it when I signed up for it that this book is published by one of my favorite publishers!  Disney-Hyperion is a publisher that doesn't usually disappoint me.  And once again Disney-Hyperion came through for me!

By now I bet you are wondering what this book is about.  Well, it is about a boy who loves bugs!  He loves them so much, he wants to be able to share them with everyone else.  After a bit of thought he decided that he would start a bug zoo so that others could come visit and see all of the cool bugs!

Unfortunately, he discovers that the bugs aren't doing too well in their jars.  This causes him to try out a few different ideas of how he can help out his bugs.

In the end, I thought it was a pretty cute story.  My husband also happened to be in the room when I read it to my Bug and he said that he enjoyed it as well.  I would ask my daughter her opinion, but she is only barely just 1 year old and doesn't have words yet!

The art work in this book though, it is top notch.  It is very bright and vibrant - very pleasant to look at.  Very very well done!

With the pictures and the story, you will have a lot to talk about while reading through the story and afterwards.  This is a great addition to your storytime library, especially if you have a bug lover!

My Rating
4 Stars

This review is based on a copy provided by Irish Banana Blog Tours in exchange for a fair and honest review

Monday, March 7, 2016

The Martian by Andy Weir

Title: The Martian
Author: Andy Weir
Series: Stand Alone
Publisher: Broadway Books
Publication Date: February 11, 2014
Source: Edelweiss

I have been putting this review off.  Why?  Because my opinion kind of falls on to the unpopular side of things.  As far as I can tell at least.  But it only falls that way sort of...so that is good I guess?

There had been so much hype around this book, then the movie, and then the movie and the book that I figured I really should read it.

I should have known better.  The amount of hype I was exposed to for this book raise my idea of it so high that there was no way that it could have possibly reached it.  What surprised me most though was that it only start reaching out for it sometimes.  Other times I was completely bored and rather unimpressed.

When I picked up The Martian, like with most books I read, I had no idea what it was actually about.  This shouldn't surprise those of you who follow my reviews, but to the new people that are reading this - I usually go in blind.  A cover pulls me in, the authors name, etc etc etc.  I occasionally skim the blurb on the back, but more often than not I don't read the blurb until I am actually reading the book and find myself wondering "what is this book about?"

The Martian is about a guy, Mark Watney, who gets left behind on Mars through no fault of anyone's and has no way to get off the planet and back to Earth.  Worse yet, he only has so much food and he has no way to communicate with anyone.  In short, he is stuck.

Interesting premise.  However, with this premise apparently you get to read a whole bunch of scientific like stuff and there is a lot of it.  I found all of those parts dreadfully boring.  Like put down the book boring.

Thankfully for this book, I very rarely give up.  Also there were bits and pieces that I liked reading.

I found Mark Watney to be a pretty humorous guy.  His jokes were pretty well places and often enough that it would pull my interest back in.  A lot of his joke references were lost on me though.  They were shows from the 70s and what not that I am just unfamiliar with.

Maybe if I had been familiar with these things, I would have liked the book a bit more.

Mark is apparently an extremely smart guy.  Very lucky (and convenient) for a guy who gets stuck up on Mars.  I guess you do have to be pretty smart to be an astronaut, but honestly, sometimes I thought his intelligence was a bit....too much.  Almost unbelievable at times.

I did finish the book, and I didn't hate it.  But I didn't love it either.  It wasn't what I thought it would be, but it was decent enough.

My Rating
3 Stars

This review is based on an eARC provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Eleanor by Jason Gurley

Title: Eleanor
Author: Jason Gurley
Series: Stand Alone
Publisher: Crown
Publication Date: January 12, 2016
Source: Blogging for Books

I had to put this book down when I first started it.  Was it because it was bad?  No, no not at all.  It is because I had read so many emotionally hard hitting books in a row that I couldn't do another one.  It would have just messed with me too badly.

I did pick it up after reading something else much less serious.  And it was a good call.  By doing that I was able to fully enjoy this book for what it is - a book that is going to hit you hard in  your emotional gut.

This book is kind of hard to explain.  It is mostly about Eleanor.  Eleanor lost her twin sister Esmeralda in a very tragic car accident when they were about 6 years old.  The loss of Esme destroyed Eleanor's family.  Her mom became her an alcoholic who resented Eleanor for being the twin that lived and her dad left.

Weird stuff starts happening to Eleanor.  She walks through doorways and ends up in strange places.  She disappears for varying spans of time -  a day, a couple of days, years...

However, this book really isn't all about Eleanor.  It is also about her family.  I would love to be able to get into that a bit more, but I think that would lead to spoilers, and I don't want to do that to you.

When you read this, you need to be ready to have a lot of feelings.  There are some really intense scenes that are going to hit you very hard.  You will not have trouble imagining them, and they are not going to be pretty.  There are also a lot of hard topics touched on in this story - abuse, alcoholism, death, etc.  Jason Gurley does not hold back.

Eleanor is a fictional story, but it is also magical realism.  That being said, you need to be ready for some weird.  The weird won't necessarily make much sense in the beginning, but stick with it!  You will be so happy you did.  It will all make sense eventually.  Also be ready for it to leave you thinking hard and long once you are done.  I am still pondering over bits and pieces of this story days after finishing it.

Also, some people like to classify this as a young adult novel.  While this book does have a teenager as its main character, I wouldn't classify it as that personally.  At best, this would be for older, mature teens with the way that it is told and the subject matter.  And for those wondering, while there really isn't much in the way of sexual content, there is some swearing and nudity.

This is a beautiful, gut wrenching read.  I don't recommend reading it after a string of other hard hitting emotional reads.  It may just cause you to unravel completely.

My Rating
4.5 Stars

This review is based on a copy provided by Blogging for Books in exchange for a fair and honest review.