Book to Movie Review: Divergent

OH MY Mr. Pamuk Tobias Mr. Eaton FOUR 
Mr. Theo James

I will admit right now that Four was easy on the eyes and I enjoyed the movie but that's about it. It was good and then I moved on... I'm not really sure anything was missing, it was just me. The movie followed the book, the film's visual was fantastic and I liked the casting! So many of my friends raved about the Divergent series and told me they couldn't believe I hadn't read it... and on and on. 

So naturally, I bought the books and was excited to read the series before the release of the film. I started book one and later called Kelli (#mistake), I should have consulted my better reading half PRIOR to starting the flipping book... I read the Divergent series in record time, 4 days. Laundry was abandoned, lunches forgotten and minimal communication with the my family all for it to end in a big, fat epic FAIL! I hated the way this series ended (darn you, Veronica Roth) and because of my utter meltdown at the close of the series, I lost total excitement for the movie. In hindsight I wish I had read only the first book and then watched the movie.

Typically I wouldn't have written a review if I wasn't over the top crazy about the film but there is something that really has my tail bushy (besides how the series ended!). Like I said before, I liked the casting, but to be more specific to the problem at hand, I liked Caleb and really bought into the sibling dynamic of he and Tris. BUT now we are suppose to flip gears and look at the two of them as young and in love WITH EACH OTHER. #canthandleit 

Fast forward to the adaptation of John Green's The Fault in Our Stars. This wouldn't have stuck out or even caught my attention if these two films weren't being released within 3 months of each other! It just seems awkward. 

Of course I am still planning to watch The Fault in Our Stars in June, if I didn't I think Madi B would cause a revolt! She is a John Green fanatic and because of that, we will leave it up to her to do the movie review. What I am hoping is that I will watch TFIOS and completely forget that either of them were in Divergent!  

Am I the only person this warped to worry about movie casting?
*image sources: 

Book Review: The Redemption of Callie and Kayden (The Coincidence #2) by Jessica Sorensen

The dark secret Kayden has kept hidden for years is out. Worse, he's facing charges for battery. The only way he stands a chance against the charges is if Callie speaks up, something he'll never ask her to do.

Callie knows Kayden is going back to his dark place and desperately wants to save him. But saving him means admitting her secrets aloud. Callie and Kayden are stronger than they think, especially when they're together. Together they move forward, face their demons, and finally start to heal from their traumatic pasts.

Release Date: July 30, 2013
Age Group: New Adult
Source: Purchased

I liked The Coincidence of Callie and Kayden and anxiously awaited the sequel.  I could not believe the way Jessica Sorensen left us hanging at the end of book one!  

I am happy that I got to read about the resolution to Callie and Kayden's problems.  I liked the book on the whole, but I did have some issues with it.  First, my copy (I bought the Kindle version on Amazon) had quite a few grammatical errors.  There were instances of the wrong word used (example: "passed" instead of "past"), lack or misuse of punctuation, and other times where a word was left out of a sentence.  All of these mistakes really distracted from the content of the book for me.

I usually love alternating points of view.  I like knowing how each character views events.  But, in this case, the story would backtrack from chapter to chapter, retelling events from either Callie or Kayden's point of view.  This slowed the book down and made it feel a little cumbersome.  Kayden was too hot-and-cold with Callie for my tastes.  I hate it when characters stupidly push each other away, and there was a lot of that going on in this book.

The Coincidence series is not an easy series to read.  Sorensen deals with heavy subjects: rape, suicide, physical abuse and addiction.  I like books that have some weight to them, but this series has felt pretty emotionally heavy at times.  It is definitely not a light-hearted, feel-good read.  Just take that into consideration before starting the series.

I was pleased with how the love story ended, although the ending felt abrupt to me.  I kept wishing for a little bit more happiness to end things on a really high note.  But, that would have probably felt inauthentic.  

I know I have a lot of complaints, but I did like The Redemption of Callie and Kayden.  It was not a personal favorite of mine, but I would still recommend it to fans of contemporary NA fiction.  


Book Review: Life Lived Twice by Sherrie Wouters

Some promises are made to last forever...

What if you fell in love with a stranger...but that stranger had come from your past, a past you never knew existed until the moment your eyes met?

When Tess Winters locks eyes with a stranger at an airport bookstore, it ignites a feeling of passion somewhere deep inside her that she can't explain.

Although the encounter is innocent and brief, the intensity of it lingers, leaving her overwhelmed by a yearning for the mystery man now consuming her every thought.

Struggling to break the powerful hold he has over her heart, Tess starts to experience strange but familiar dreams...dreams from the turn of the twentieth century of the charming Mr. Addison Taylor.

As her dreams start to materialize into reality, and past and present begin to blur, Tess is forced to put the pieces of a forgotten time together, and soon discovers that love isn't the only thing that can find you after an eternity.

Captivating, mysterious, and romantic,
Life Lived Twice will leave you wondering whether love is so powerful it could last more than a lifetime.
Release Date: June 6, 2014
Age Group: New Adult
Source: Review copy from author
Reviewed By: Kelli
Life Lived Twice was such a great book!  I felt like this novel was a genre-bender: the author describes it as a romantic fantasy with a supernatural edge, which it was, and the mix of genres made for an interesting and unique read.

I was drawn into Tess' story right from the beginning.  I liked her as a character and identified with her easily.  Her first meeting with Logan was really intriguing; it was far from your typical "meet cute."  Instead, it was a life-changing interaction, one that set the tone of mystery, romance, and chemistry for the entire book.  I loved the way Wouters described Tess' emotions in that scene, and afterwards.  Her inner dialogue was so easy to relate to, and the fact that Life Lived Twice is told in the first person, and I knew all of Tess' thoughts, intensified the love story even further.

My two favorite genres are historical fiction and contemporary fiction, and Life Lived Twice encompassed both of those genres.  What a treat!  Life Lived Twice is a contemporary story with historical flashbacks.  I love flashbacks, especially when they are told at the beginning of each chapter.  They help keep the story fresh, interesting, and fast-paced.  

The main two themes of Life Lived Twice are the chemistry-filled love story and Tess trying to figure out the mystery of Logan.  Right away, she feels like she knows him, and more than that, she feels like she knows him from another life.  I liked that Tess and I were in the dark along together as to who Logan really was.  The mystery was unique and the resolution of it was my favorite aspect of the book.  I was completely surprised at how Wouters settled the mystery: it was a new concept for me and a really interesting one at that.  I'm looking forward to diving deeper into this concept in the next book in this series.

As Wouters was drawing the story to a close, I thought I knew how things would end.  I was shocked at the ending: it literally left me breathless.  As soon as I finished the story, I emailed Sherrie to ask/beg if there was going to be a follow-up book.  I was so relieved and happy to hear that Life Lived Twice is the first in a series.  I cannot wait to read book two!

If you like contemporary fiction, historical fiction, magical realism, or even time travel themes, you will like Life Lived Twice.  I highly recommend it!


Book Review: Brothers Forever: The Enduring Bond Between a Marine and a Navy SEAL that Transcended Their Ultimate Sacrifice by Thomas Manion

Four weeks after Navy SEALs had killed Osama bin Laden, the President of the United States stood in Arlington National Cemetery. In his Memorial Day address, he extolled the courage and sacrifice of the two young men buried side by side in the graves before him: Travis Manion, a fallen US Marine, and Brendan Looney, a fallen US Navy SEAL. Although they were killed three years apart, one in Iraq and one in Afghanistan, these two best friends and former roommates were now buried together—“brothers forever.”

Award-winning journalist Tom Sileo and Travis’s father, former Marine colonel Tom Manion, tell the intimate and personal story of how these Naval Academy roommates defined a generation’s sacrifice after 9/11, and how Travis and Brendan’s loved ones overcame heartbreak to carry on in their memory. From Travis’s incredible heroism on the streets of Fallujah to Brendan’s anguished Navy SEAL training in the wake of his friend’s death and his own heroism in the mountains of Afghanistan,
Brothers Forever is a remarkable story of friendship, family, and war.

Release Date: May 13, 2014
Age Group: Adult
Source: Review copy from publisher via NetGalley
Reviewed By: Kelli

Brothers Forever is not a typical read for me, but in honor of Memorial Day, I decided to accept it for review.  I was intrigued by Travis and Brendan's stories and liked the fact that Travis' father, a retired Marine, wrote the book.

It took me a little bit (probably 20% of the book) to really get invested in the story, because there was a lot of back story for both men.  But once I got to know Travis and Brendan, there was no way I could put this book down.  

Brothers Forever is told in the third person, with Travis' father as the narrator.  I have such great respect for Colonel Manion, having the fortitude to write the story of his son's military career, and eventual death.  I admired Colonel Manion for telling Travis and Brendan's stories, working through his grief over losing his son, in order to educate the American people about exactly what the members of our military go through to keep us safe.  I loved knowing exactly how Travis felt about being a Marine, and how he never gave his willingness to sacrifice his life for the American people a second thought.  It was just second nature to him.  

One of my favorite parts of Brothers Forever occurs when Travis is at a NFL game.  He looks around at the crowded stadium and reflects that he would die for each and every person in the stadium, to keep them safe.  Travis' devotion to preserving America's freedoms and people was incredibly poignant, and so heartfelt that it brought me to tears.  How many of us could say the same?  Not many, in my opinion.  Reading Brothers Forever gave me an even greater level of respect for our armed forces.

I liked that both Brendan and Travis' tours in Korea, Iraq, and Afghanistan were told in so much detail.  I had no idea the kinds of things our soldiers go through, and both men's bravery, strength, and sacrifice just blew me away.  The details of their day to day lives while in service overseas made Brothers Forever fascinating for me.    

Even though I knew going in that Brothers Forever was about two fallen heroes, and therefore I knew both Travis and Brendan were going to die in the course of the book, that knowledge didn't stop me from crying my eyes out when each passed on.  Their families' grief was palpable, and I could feel my heart actually ache for those the heroes left behind.

I loved the epilogue, especially how Colonel Manion describes how the two families have honored Travis and Brendan by living their lives to the fullest and serving others.  The Manions created the Travis Manion Foundation to provide families of fallen soldiers with assistance and support.  Many of the Looney family members, including Brendan's wife, Amy, have run the Marine Corps Marathon every year in honor of Brendan.  Janet, Travis' mom, created the Character Does Matter program, "which empowers veterans and families of the fallen to deliver inspirational presentations to emerging leaders."    

Some of my favorite quotes from Brothers Forever:
Travis Manion: "If not me, then who..."
Brendan Looney: "Be strong.  Be accountable.  Never complain."  "I DON'T QUIT."

I'd recommend Brothers Forever to anyone.  It's a well-written, inspiring story, and it's not one I'll ever forget. 

Book Spotlight: Bit Players, Bird Girls, and Fake Breakups by S.M. Stevens

Today we're highlighting a YA contemporary story about theatre and the performing arts.  S.M. Stevens saw the lack of YA books about musical theatre and wrote Bit Players, Bird Girls, and Fake Breakups.  This unique book is available for free through the Kindle Lending Library!
About the Book:
Published February 2014 by CreateSpace
Paperback, 218 pages (also available as an ebook)
Bit Players on Amazon (free for Amazon Prime members)
Senior year is not going as planned. The drama club Sadie Perkins co-founded is being hijacked by the new director, college applications loom like a sinister unknown, and Sadie’s boyfriend Alex moves in with her family while his mother is in the hospital. That’s right, moves in. They eat every meal together, sleep across the hallway from each other, and share a bathroom. Can you say awkward?

Making it worse, they have to pretend to be broken up, or Sadie’s old-fashioned parents won’t let Alex stay. Acting and real life blur as Sadie and Alex struggle to maintain their roles.

At least Sadie has theatre to keep her sane. She’s got a lead in Seussical, and satisfies her need to create with Whossical, a student-produced satire of the beloved Dr. Seuss-themed musical.

If Sadie’s choosing and winning the roles she wants, why does she feel so out of control?
Sounds great, right? Happy reading!

Children's Book Review: Baby Julia Feeds the Moon by Jason Sandberg

In a small house, on a small hill, there lives a small baby with a big heart. Her name is Julia and when she discovers that the moon is hungry she's determined to help! This lovingly crafted bedtime story is filled with twinkling stars and pixie wings.
Release Date: January 14, 2014
Age Group: Children's
Source: Review copy from author
Reviewed By: Kelli
I love children's literature, and given my daughter's love for picture books, Baby Julia Feeds the Moon was a perfect fit for us at this time in her reading journey. 

Kaitlyn and I read this story together, and she really enjoyed it.  As a three year-old who is long weaned from a bottle, she got a kick out of the fact that baby Julia feeds the moon with a baby bottle.  She enjoyed the story, and especially the faces: the moon's many expressions and Julia's sweet face as well.  The fact that she liked Julia's face so much tickled me, as that was the only thing I didn't love about this book---I felt like the contours of Julia's face were too exaggerated.  However, that's my opinion and Kaitlyn clearly superseded me on this one: she talked the entire book about how cute Julia was.

I've read all of Jason Sandberg's books now (Candy and the Cankersaur, The New Crown and Doodled Doggy) and what stands out for me in his writing are his illustrations and the whimsical feel of his books.  These books aren't your typical picture books, and I love the their uniqueness.  I always feel like I'm going back in time when I'm reading one of Sandberg's books, like I'm revisiting my own childhood. 

If you're new to Jason Sandberg, I highly recommend his books!  They are affordable digital books that are sure to be favorites.


Book Review and Blog Tour: Miss Darcy Decides (Love at Pemberly #2) by Reina M. Williams

Miss Darcy Decides is a light, sweet Pride and Prejudice novella, book two in the Love at Pemberley series.

While visiting a young woman—who was not so fortunate as Miss Georgiana Darcy in escaping the persuasions of a rogue—Georgiana meets Sir Camden Sutton, whose reputation causes Georgiana to wonder as to his motives. Her wondering soon turns to a different feeling when Sir Camden comes to stay at Pemberley, showing himself to be a very different man than was rumored. While Sir Camden struggles with his past and his commitment to his future, as well as the ill intentions of haughty Caroline Bingley, Miss Darcy must decide whether to listen to others, or the words written on her heart.

Release Date: January 22, 2014
Age Group: "Sweet" Romance, appropriate for all ages
Source: Review copy from publisher
Reviewed By: Kelli
I have loved Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice for as long as I can remember: the book, the movie adaptations, and the Pride and Prejudice-like novels.  I simply adore everything about this period in time: the clothes, the language, the formality, the elegance of it all.  So, I was all set to fall in love with Miss Darcy Decides, and love it I did.

I always wondered what became of Georgiana Darcy, since Austen doesn't provide much closure to her story.  She remains at Pemberley with Mr. Darcy and Lizzy, beloved by both, but I wanted her to find her own love and happiness, separate from her brother's.  Miss Darcy Decides gave me exactly what I was wanting in that regard: Georgiana is the star of this book, and the novella is about Georgiana finding her true love.  *happy sigh*

Georgiana is the narrator in Miss Darcy Decides, and that was perfect because it allowed me a glimpse into her thoughts, which was imperative with this story being only 77 pages (77 great pages!).  I liked getting to know Georgiana better, and really admired her character, intuition, and resolve to do the right thing. 

Georgiana has a troublesome past, having her tender heart swayed by the dastardly fortune-hunting Mr. Wickham, and is leery of trusting another man with her heart.  She resolves to listen to her brother's opinion about men, since he warned her about Mr. Wickham and she didn't heed his warnings until it was almost too late.  So, Georgiana wishes for companionship and love but is afraid to put her trust in another man. The crux of the story was Georgiana's decision to let her defenses down and allow herself to fall in love.  And falling in love is such a fun and sweet thing to read about. 

Miss Darcy Decides is a "sweet romance" with nothing more than a kiss between characters.  I like that this book is chaste, because it's fitting for the time period, and matches the level of intimacy detailed in Austen's work.  I would recommend this book for adults and young adults alike.

What really stood out for me with Miss Darcy Decides was exactly how much this book felt like one of Jane Austen's novels.  The dialogue, descriptive prose, pacing and language were all so in sync with the original Pride and Prejudice.  I loved that, and that fact alone is leading me to read the rest of the Love at Pemberley series. 

If you're an Austen fan, or if you simply like historical fiction with a sweet love story, I highly recommend Miss Darcy Decides!

Virtual Book Tour Schedule

Monday, May 12 Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past
Tuesday, May 13 Review at Gobs and Gobs of Books
Wednesday, May 14 Excerpt at Bibliophilia, Please
Thursday, May 15 Review at Our Wolves Den
Friday, May 16 Audio Review of Most Truly at Just One More Chapter
Tuesday, May 20 Review at I’d So Rather Be Reading  (That's us!)
Saturday, May 24 Review at Buried Under Books
Friday, May 30 Review at Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell
Tuesday, June 3 Review at She is Too Fond of Books
Thursday, June 5 Audio Review of Most Truly at To Read, or Not to Read
Saturday, June 7 Review at The Calico Critic
Monday, June 9 Audio Review of Most Truly at Flashlight Commentary
Wednesday, June 11 Review at Tower of Babel
Friday, June 13 Review at Literary Chanteuse
Review at Diary of an Eccentric
Excerpt at Historical Fiction Connection


Book Review: The Casquette Girls by Alys Arden

After the Storm of the Century rips apart New Orleans, Adele Le Moyne and her father are among the first to return to the city following the mandatory evacuation. Adele wants nothing more than for life to return to normal, but with the silent city resembling a mold-infested war zone, a parish-wide curfew, and mysterious new faces lurking in the abandoned French Quarter, normal will have to be redefined.

Mother Nature couldn’t drain the joie de vivre from New Orleans, but the flood waters recede, and the body count continues to rise. Someone or something is draining life from its residents. Events too unnatural – even for New Orleans – lead Adele to an attic that has been sealed for three hundred years, and the chaos she unleashes threatens not only her life but everyone she knows.

Caught suddenly in a hurricane of eighteenth-century myths and monsters, Adele must quickly untangle a web of magic that links the climbing murder rate back to her own ancestors. But who can you trust in a city where everyone has a secret, and where keeping them can be a matter of life and death – unless, that is, you’re immortal.

Release Date: October 2013
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: Purchased: $0.99 Kindle Deal

"I can't go back to yesterday because I was a different person then." 
Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Let me be perfectly honest, I bought this book because it was 99 cents, came up on our Facebook news feed and was based in New Orleans during The Hurricane. Other than that, I knew nothing about the author or the series, it was a total wild card! And if you follow this blog you know that I typically don't do wild cards or anything below a 4 star (#booksnob, I HATE disappointment). I went into the story a bit of a skeptic because I lived through the evacuation and aid relief of Hurricane Katrina and have my own tales from Hurricanes Rita and Ike. And I thought, huh, lets see if these characters know how it feels to be hot, sticky and displaced after a natural disaster. How will they act?

I was BLOWN AWAY! Alys Arden has got it going on from so many different angels! The Casquette Girls has both modern day and historical fiction, paranormal romance, a love triangle (more on that later) and drumm rooooollllll... I never guessed what was coming next! There is no formula (*cough*, #nicholassparks). 

As for the theme of life after a devastating hurricane, Arden brought all my emotions flooding back! I was hopeful, sad, angry and relieved all in one book. The way she describes Adele's feeling about being displaced and the horror of returning home and actually seeing the destruction was perfect. I wanted to get out my daughter and son's baby journals and re-read my entries of how I felt displaced, pregnant and separated from my husband. 

I loved all the rich history of New Orleans that Arden brought to life. I felt like I was there after a massive storm and then at times I felt like I had traveled back to the 1700's as Adele translates a journal from her family's history. It was so fun to think of both the sacrifices and new-found freedoms that people received by coming to this French colony, La Nouvelle-Orléans. There were so many times I wanted to stop reading and eat crawfish, gumbo, a pistillate, anything Cajun! It made me want to take a quick trip over the boarder and have a Cajun experience! Or travel to New Orleans and run around to all the landmarks described (and silently be hoping that a vampire would be following me around, a girl can dream). 

As far as our main girl Adele is concerned, she has spunk! She is very relatable and not a pitiful damsel in distress. She is real and goes through all different emotions that so many of us do at different stages- mommy/daddy issues, learning to love, learning to adapt and learning to accept. She is a pretty fun girl to follow.

Onto the love triangle. I love a good fight, so long as my guy wins in the end. I am a total snob and a sore loser. When we read The Hunger Games, and Kelli declared she was Team Gale a part of me died. #WHY (This has been our only love triangle dispute to date.) Anyway, I typically pick the guy I want to win right away; I have been fooled by the incomparable Tahereh Mafi (you clever girl) but only once. But with this story so far I am at a standstill. I am not sure which guy I like because I like them both and that is just so odd for me. It makes me VERY curious (and nervous) as to what will bend me one way or another in the next installment. Hmmmm, Team Niccolo Medici, the Italiano or Team Isaac, the New Yorker? Time will tell.

I enjoyed The Casquette Girls so much and I really think that is has a very wide audience reach. So much so, that I have recommended it to friends, teens and even suggested it to my mom as a novel study for her students. 

There are a few important things to note before reading this book. New Orleans is a mosh pit when it comes to culture. You can literally find just about any kind of person there, really. But the French roots are the deepest and for that there is a lot of the French language that floats around as common knowledge. There are several French (and a few Italian) phrases that are used throughout this book. Some of them I was familiar with because I am so close to the Louisiana-Texas border and have heard them all my life. But if you are not familiar with those Cajuns you might be thrown for a loop. I think it would have been helpful to have a glossary for reference as I read the book. There is a map at the beginning that was really helpful when visualizing the city and I think a short reference of commonly-used phrases would have been a nice addition. I did a quick search of some of the phrases (so they might be off) but in all honesty, I didn't want to stop reading to figure out the terms so I just started bookmarking for later. I listed a few below.  
Terms to be familiar with: 
merci beaucoup- thank you very much
ma cherie- my dear
ma fifille- my little girl
laissez les bons temps rouler- let the good times roll 
(if you know anything about Mardi Gras, you know this line!)
je t'aime- I love you
s'il vous plaît- thank you, please kindly (formal)
joie de vivre- excitement for life; joy
la fin- the end
sentite condoglianze- condolances (Italian)

So unitl we meet again Adele, laissez les bons temps rouler!

Book Review: Being Sloane Jacobs by Lauren Morrill

Meet Sloane Emily Jacobs: a seriously stressed-out figure skater who choked during junior nationals and isn't sure she's ready for a comeback. What she does know is that she'd give anything to escape the mass of misery that is her life. 

Now meet Sloane Devon Jacobs, a spunky ice hockey player who's been suspended from her team for too many aggressive hip checks. Her punishment? Hockey camp, now, when she's playing the worst she's ever played. If she messes up? Her life will be over. 

When the two Sloanes meet by chance and decide to trade places for the summer, each girl thinks she's the lucky one. But it didn't occur to Sloane E. that while avoiding sequins and axels she might meet a hockey hottie—and Sloane D. never expected to run into a familiar (and very good-looking) face from home. It's not long before the Sloanes discover that convincing people you're someone else might be more difficult than being yourself.

Release Date: January 7, 2014
Age Group: YA
Source: Review copy from publisher
Reviewed by: Madi B

I lovveeee lovvvveeee lovvveedddd this book. The characters were awesome, the plot was awesomer, and the character development was awesomest. (How do you like my extensive teenage vocabulary?)

Things I liked:

1. I just loved the plot. The whole Parent Trap switch thing??? LOVE.

2. The characters. I LOVE THESE CHARACTERS! Well almost all of them... (To be continued) I loved the whole rich girl in a poor world and vice versa! And the character development was top notch.

3. Friendship. I liked that when they switched, the focus wasn't on guys but on developing relationships with friends and learning the sport. (Whoa did that just come out of my mouth?) I thought Andy was hilarious. I loved Cameron.

4. I loved the whole skating premise. I love books with hobbies that I haven’t done or don’t know much about. SO I LOVE THIS BOOK.

Things I didn’t like:

1. The baes. I’m sorry but the love interests in this book were just not up to par. I was super excited at first…(TWO BAES?!?!?) but I never trusted one and the other one was ehhh. THEY DO NOT DESERVE THE SLOANES.

Other than the boyfriends, I had no other complaints. Being Sloane Jacobs was funny, it had a great storyline, and it had some awesome sports in it!

Book Spotlight: Getting By (A Knight's Tale, #1) by Claudia Y. Burgoa

Today we are featuring Getting By by Claudia Y. Burgoa.  Getting By is a new adult contemporary romance novel, the first in the Knight's Tale series. 
When Emma Anderson arrived at San Francisco International Airport, she regretted accepting the distinction of being the maid of honor to Gaby’s—her childhood friend—wedding. It had been years since the last time she set foot in Menlo Park, where her parents had been killed. The rug where she had been shoving her feelings since that day looked bumpier than a camel’s hump. Who could blame her; if she hadn’t been selfish they’d still be around. Ever since that fateful day, Emma has been perfecting the knack of Getting By.
Cade’s wedding in Menlo Park—a city close to San Francisco—might be the perfect place for Jake Knight to shake the memories of his ex, Emma Anderson for good. Single, available women galore for an entire week was the perfect medication, one he intended to take three times a day for an entire week to return to his player days. It was a plan the former spy thought flawless until he came face to face with the maid of honor. Jake’s perfect retreat turns into a flight, fight or hide week of celebrations.
Buy Getting By on Amazon.  It's only $0.99!
Book two in the Knight's Tale series will be published later this year.


It Finally Happened, Junie B. Jones Saved The Day!

Junie B. Jones by Barbara Park
The other night I heard my daughter just talking away in her room to "someone" and I assumed it was her brother. I found this odd because 1.) they only go into their rooms to sleep and 2.) I didn't hear any bickering or plans of deadly destruction. About 20 minutes later I realized that my boys had been playing outside. So who was Kendra talking to? Because I'm a weirdo, there was a brief flash of all the weird Criminal Minds, CSI, and Bones episodes that I've watched where some weird freak has managed to sneak into a kids room... Then I quickly opened the door to find her giggling and reading Junie B. Jones! 

I played it cool, for fear of making my excitement over her reading a book might cause her to stop. 

A few days later and 3 Junie B. books under her belt and IT happened! She came to me and said, 
"So mom, after I finish reading all the Junie B. Jones books, what should I read next?" #heartstopped #playitcool

These are the thoughts that crossed my mind in the 3 seconds preceding my response:
  • YES! I might be doing something right!
  • She inherited the all or nothing book gene. She was already planning to read everything in the series before moving on. #inittowinit #addict
  • She was actually asking my opinion of a book. I wonder how my mom felt when I asked her for a reading itinerary (when I was 22! dang, did I make her wait).
  • I get to talk about genres with my 8 year old, YYYEEEEESSSSSS. #nerdmoment
  • I wonder if I can make a Junie B. Jones costume before Halloween? Which one will I try to make, do I have enough time ,it's nearly August!
  • I need to double check and make certain we have every single Junie B. Jones in existence.
  • And finally, DON'T SCREW THIS UP NAT! The love of reading is on the line. Don't overwhelm. Be cool, be cool.
Yes I thought all those things in 3 seconds, I told you I was a weirdo.

I then went on to ask her what kind of stories she liked: scary, funny, mystery, adventure, biography or even how-to types. She told me that she thought she liked all those types except the biography and  how-to kind. #sheisMINE 

We started brainstorming books and different series that she might like. We then took the next step of calling Sugar (grandma), who is a reading teacher, and making our demands. It started off  "Do you have these books in your class?" followed by "I need you to order these in your next book order." Yes, my children are going to live the good literary life between my mom, myself and Kelli.

After it was all said and done I had one thought (yes, ONE)... WINNING, score for the momma! 

I have to give a big, fat thank you to my mom and all the stacks of books I grew up with! Thank you. And yes, I still think you read weird crap and know that you think I read "bubble gum" books. #vampiresarereal

Book Spotlight and Giveaway: Curses and Smoke: A Novel of Pompeii by Vicky Alvear Shecter

We're happy to host a stop on the blog tour for Curses and Smoke: A Novel of Pompeii by Vicky Alvear Shecter.  Curses and Smoke combines two of my favorite genres: YA and historical fiction.  Keep reading for a summary of the book, and a giveaway!

Publication Date: May 27, 2014 Curses and Smoke
Arthur A. Levine Books
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
Genre: YA Historical
When your world blows apart, what will you hold onto?
TAG is a medical slave, doomed to spend his life healing his master's injured gladiators. But his warrior's heart yearns to fight in the gladiator ring himself and earn enough money to win his freedom.
LUCIA is the daughter of Tag's owner, doomed by her father's greed to marry a much older Roman man. But she loves studying the natural world around her home in Pompeii, and lately she's been noticing some odd occurrences in the landscape: small lakes disappearing; a sulfurous smell in the air...
When the two childhood friends reconnect, each with their own longings, they fall passionately in love. But as they plot their escape from the city, a patrician fighter reveals his own plans for them -- to Lucia's father, who imprisons Tag as punishment. Then an earthquake shakes Pompeii, in the first sign of the chaos to come. Will they be able to find each other again before the volcano destroys their whole world?

Buy the Book

Vicky Alvear ShecterAbout the Author

Vicky Alvear Shecter is the author of the young adult novel, CLEOPATRA'S MOON (Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic, 2011), based on the life of Cleopatra's only daughter. She is also the author of two award-winning biographies for kids on Alexander the Great and Cleopatra. She is a docent at the Michael C. Carlos Museum of Antiquities at Emory University in Atlanta.

Author Links

Book Blast Schedule

Monday, May 12 Bibliophilia, Please bookworm2bookworm's Blog
Tuesday, May 13 Broken Teepee Passages to the Past In the Hammock Blog
Wednesday, May 14 CelticLady's Reviews The Most Happy Reader I'd So Rather Be Reading History From a Woman's Perspective
Thursday, May 15 Kinx's Book Nook A Bibliotaph's Reviews Historical Fiction Obsession
Friday, May 16 Booktalk & More The Mad Reviewer Book Lovers Paradise
Saturday, May 17 SOS Aloha Reading the Ages Kelsey's Book Corner
Sunday, May 18 Giant Squid Books WTF Are You Reading?
Monday, May 19 Caroline Wilson Writes So Many Books, So Little Time
Tuesday, May 20 West Metro Mommy The True Book Addict The Musings of ALMYBNENR Wednesday, May 21 Book Nerd Tower of Babel Hardcover Feedback
Thursday, May 22 Paperback Princess Bittersweet Enchantment
Friday, May 23 History Undressed Historical Fiction Connection
Saturday, May 24 Literary Chanteuse Just One More Chapter
Sunday, May 25 A Dream within a Dream The Little Reader Library
Monday, May 26 Pages of Comfort Griperang's Bookmarks Raizza's Book Blogging Adventure Tuesday, May 27 Princess of Eboli Ageless Pages Reviews The Musings of a Book Junkie

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To win a copy of Curses & Smoke or a $25 Amazon Gift Card please complete the Rafflecopter giveaway form below. Giveaway is open to US residents only. Giveaway ends at 11:59pm on May 27th. You must be 18 or older to enter. Winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter on May 28th and notified via email. Winner have 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

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