Friday, March 30, 2012

Follow Friday #12

Follow Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read. It is an awesome way to gain new followers and find new blogs to read! This week's question:

Q: Do you read one book at a time or do you switch back and forth between two or more?

I used to be a diehard "one book, and one book ONLY, at a time" kind of girl." However, once I became a blogger/reviewer/library science college student - things kinda had to change a bit. I now read multiple books at a time! Sometimes up to 5 or 6! I usually have my YA Lit book, a library book, and a review book going. Sometimes I have to throw in a children's book as well for my Materials for Children class. Depending on my mood, I will alternate chapters of each book. But sometimes if one of the books is getting really good, or if I'm getting close to the end, I'll just try to finish it up.

How about you? Are you a book juggler? If you're a new follower, be sure to leave me a link so I can follow you back! Have a great weekend! 

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Top 10 Tuesday - Playing Hooky!

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme from The Broke and the Bookish. This week's theme is the top 10 books that I would choose to take with me to if I were to "play hooky." We have been having some beautiful weather here - like cloudless sky, low 80's playing hooky sounds mighty tempting right now! I would have to take my bag of books and a nice comfy lounge chair to a nice quiet park and just read away the day. So, which books would I bring? I decided to choose all books that are already sitting on my own shelf.

1.The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight
2. Pandemonium (Delirium, #2)
3. The Fault in Our Stars
4. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer, #1)
5. Anna and the French Kiss
6. The Catastrophic History of You and Me
7. The Probability of Miracles
8. The Sky Is Everywhere
9. Truth (XVI, #2)
10. Darker Still (Magic Most Foul, #1)

How about you? What books make you consider playing hooky on a beautiful spring day?

Monday, March 26, 2012

Review: Chopsticks by Jessica Anthony and Rodrigo Corral

Publisher: Razorbill
Release Date: February 2nd, 2012
Number of Pages: 272
Where I got this book: Library
My rating: 4.5/5

Goodreads Summary:

"After her mother died, Glory retreated into herself and her music. Her single father raised her as a piano prodigy, with a rigid schedule and the goal of playing sold-out shows across the globe. Now, as a teenager, Glory has disappeared. As readers flash back to the events leading up to her disappearance, they see a girl on the precipice of disaster."


I can honestly say I've never read (er, or looked at, or whatever) a book quite like this one before! Very different from my usual fare! This book is few on words, and the story is mostly carried out through beautiful photographs, in a sort of scrapbook style. It kind of made me feel like a kid again....where I just wanted to drink in all those beautiful pictures. You kind of forget about the lack of words after awhile. It's a really interesting story told in a very beautiful, intriguing way.

Review: Love & Leftovers by Sarah Tregay

Published by: Katherine Tegen Books
Release Date: December 27th, 2011
Number of Pages: 451
How I got this book: Library
My rating: 4.5/5

Amazon Summary:

"My Wish
is to fall
cranium over Converse
in dizzy daydream-worthy love.
(If only it were that easy.)

Marcie has been dragged away from home for the summer--from Idaho to a family summerhouse in New Hampshire. She's left behind her friends, a group of freaks and geeks called the Leftovers, including her emo-rocker boyfriend, and her father.
By the time Labor Day rolls around, Marcie suspects this "summer vacation" has become permanent. She has to start at a new school, and there she leaves behind her Leftover status when a cute boy brings her breakfast and a new romance heats up. But understanding love, especially when you've watched your parents' affections end, is elusive. What does it feel like, really? Can you even know it until you've lost it?
Love & Leftovers is a beautifully written story of one girl's journey navigating family, friends, and love, and a compelling and sexy read that teens will gobble up."


For some reason, I've really been on a novel-written-in-verse kick lately. I love being able to blow through a fairly thick book really quickly, number one. But, though the pages may have fewer words - they often pack a greater punch when written in verse style (i.e. Ellen Hopkins one of my all time faves). I can't quite put this novel up on THAT high of a level...but I really, really enjoyed it. It wasn't quite as "heavy" as the verse novels I'm used to reading, which was a welcome break. It dealt with the more "traditional" issues teenagers face - being torn between guys, whether or not you're in love, divorced parents, etc. There is a bit of humor/controversy (depending on how you look at it) thrown in - as her dad has recently come out of the closet and left her mother for a much younger man. Her mother is severely depressed and has moved Marcie 2000 miles away from her friends (and boyfriend) to her grandmother's lakehouse. Marcie is bored out of her mind...until J.D. - the cute, popular jock starts paying her lots of attention!

Marcie realizes how lonely she is and how much she needs affection, especially now. But, should she tell her boyfriend who lives 2000 miles away and risk breaking his heart? Would he even find out? Who does she really love anyway?

This was a nice, light, fun read. I loved Marcie - even if I didn't like or approve of all of her choices. I loved Marcie's boyfriend, Linus - especially at the end - it's obvious how much he cared about Marcie. I loved the idea of the "Leftovers" (the high school kids who didn't really belong to any other groups). I actually think that could apply to the "group" I belonged to in high I could relate to them.

I definitely recommend this to people looking for a fun, romantic read!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

In My Mailbox #13

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren where we get to show off all the great books we acquired in the past week.

First, here are the books I received in my mailbox from the publishers for review:

Smart Baby, Clever Child by Valentine Dmitriev, PH.D. - (Thank you, Westwind Communications!)
Song of My Heart by Kim Vogel Sawyer (Thank you, Bethany House!)

Here are my library books:

Chopsticks by Jessica Anthony and Rodrigo Corral
Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick

I only got one Netgalley book this week, but it's a good one:

The Girl in the Clockwork Collar (Steampunk Chronicles, #2)

And I only got one freebie this week:

The Girl Who Came Home - A Titanic Novel

How about you? Did you get any goodies this week? Have you read any of these books? 

Friday, March 23, 2012

Follow Friday #11

Follow Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Parajunkee  and Alison Can Read. It is a great way to get to know other bloggers and gain new followers. The main rule? Someone follows you - you follow them back! It's only fair, right?

The question of the week:

What is the longest book you've ever read? What are your favorite 600 plus page books?

This will be embarrassing. I am not one for seeking out the big giant tomes. I am not big on the classics. War and Peace? Never read it? Stephen King? Not a big fan...soooo...Hmmmm. I guess the longest book I've ever read was:
Breaking Dawn (Twilight, #4)

at 768 pages. Geez, that's humiliating. I don't know there may be more out there, but that's all I got right now. I still have a Hunger Games premiere hangover right now, lol. So my brain is kinda fuzzy still.

How bout you? Do you like big books and cannot lie? Let me know if you're a new follower and leave me a link so I can follow you back!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Review: A Tinfoil Sky by Cyndi Sand-Eveland

Publisher: Tundra
Release Date: January 10th, 2012
Number of Pages: 224
How I got this book: e-ARC from Netgalley
My rating: 5/5

Goodreads Summary:

"Mel and her mother, Cecily, know what it’s like to live rough, whether it’s on the streets or in the apartment of an abusive man.When Cecily announces that they’ve had enough and that they are going to go home to her mother’s, Mel dreams of security, a comfortable bed, and a grandmother’s love seem to be about to come true. But some mistakes cannot be easily forgiven or erased. Her grandmother is not what Mel expects, and though the local library offers sanctuary, a real home seems beyond her grasp. Mel’s determination to rise above what fate has dealt is about to change that.

Cyndi Sand-Eveland’s work with homeless youth gives her characters an authenticity no reader will forget. Ultimately, a story of hope and acceptance, A Tinfoil Sky is a powerful, can’t-putit- down novel."


First, a big thank you to Tundra and Netgalley for the chance to read and review this book!

I honestly did not expect to be blown away by this book - maybe because of the rather unexciting cover (once again, we can't ALWAYS judge a book by its cover, can we?), but I was. I read this book practically all in one sitting!

The book starts with Cecily and 12 year-old Mel, a homeless mother and daughter, who are fleeing from Cecily's abusive boyfriend. Cecily is hoping to return "home" to her mother whom she hasn't had contact with in 9 years. However, her mother, Gladys, harbors a lot of resentment towards the daughter who stole from her, who led a life of drug and alcohol abuse and took her granddaughter from her 9 years ago. Gladys wants nothing to do with her, and so Cecily and Mel have no choice but to take to the streets. Sleeping in their car, singing on the street corner for spare change, and eating in the soup kitchen - this is their reality.

One day, Mel comes out of the soup kitchen from eating alone and Cecily is nowhere to be found. It turns out that Cecily has once again been caught shoplifitng and is sentenced to 30 days in jail. Mel has no choice but to move in with her grandmother, Gladys. She seems to be just a grumpy old woman who doesn't seem to have any interest in getting to know her. She feels all alone in the world.
My favorite part of the book was when the judge asks Mel if there is anything that she needs and she replies, thinking of the beautiful library she saw in town, "a library card!" I always have a special place in my heart for characters with a love for books and libraries. And Mel is one of these. For her, her local library is a magical place. When she steps into the library, it takes her into another world - one where all her dreams come true. She spends every day that summer at the library and befriends the librarian and the son of the librarian.

I could easily go on and on about this book...but I don't want to tell everything!! Every page was a delight! The characters were wonderful! I loved Mel! I'll admit that I was not a big fan of Gladys for awhile, because I wondered how she could hold a grudge against her granddaughter for something her mother did. It made me really sad for Mel. Then there was Cecily. She was just caught in a a circle of one bad decision after another. You could tell she really loved Mel...but unfortunately she just was not capable of caring for her properly. She was just messed up, and I felt bad for her, but I just wanted her to get help. The twist at the had me biting my fingers...DEFINITELY A MUST READ!!!!!!!

This was truly an impressive read! I would say that kids as young as 10 can read it, however, it can easily hold the attention of a much older audience as well.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday - Spring Break Reading!

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week I am listing the ten books I HOPE to get read during my spring break this week! Most likely, this is a pipe dream, but we'll see how much of a dent in the list I can make! Some of these are books that I have waiting to be reviewed for Netgalley, some are checked out from the library, and some have been sitting on my own shelves for awhile.

1. Hooked (from the library) - and I actually just finished it - so I can check this one off my list - YAY ME! It was SOOOOOOO good too!

2. A Tinfoil Sky (Netgalley) - already started it
3.Stolen Away (Netgalley)
4. The Way We Fall (Fallen World, #1) (Netgalley)
5. Drowning Instinct (Netgalley)
6. All These Things I've Done (Birthright, #1)(library)
7. Love and Leftovers (library)
8.Glimpse (library)
9. Beneath a Meth Moon (library)
10. Forbidden (mine)

So, those are my lofty spring break reading goals. What are yours?

Review and GIVEAWAY!!! Miracle for Jen by Linda Barrick

Publisher: Tyndale House
Release Date: March 1st, 2012
Number of Pages: 250
How I got this book: ARC from Tyndale House for blog tour
My rating: 5/5

Goodreads Summary:

"On the night of November 5, 2006, the Barrick family was driving home from church when their van was struck by a drunk driver. Fifteen-year-old Jen suffered multiple skull fractures and severe brain trauma and was not expected to survive the night. But against all odds, she did. As she lingered in a coma, doctors warned that if Jen ever woke up, she would be cursing and screaming in confusion due to her brain injuries. Instead, after five weeks she opened her eyes and began praying and praising God. Jen didn't remember her middle name, recognize her parents, or recall that she had a little brother, but she remembered Jesus and every word to every praise song and scripture she had hidden in her heart before the accident. As any loving mother would, Jen's mother Linda wanted God to heal Jen, make her like she was before. Normal. But a loving God had something else in mind--instead of making her normal, God is making Jennifer and the whole Barrick family--extraordinary, miraculous. Hope Out Loud is the remarkable true story of a family who overcame tragedy and learned to trust God's plan for their lives in a whole new way."

Book Trailer:

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First, I want to say a big THANK you to Tyndale for sending me a copy of this book to read and review as part of the blog tour! They also sent me a certificate to give away to one lucky winner for a free copy, so we will get to that after the review!


Wow, what an amazing, inspirational, moving story. The Barrick's story is proof that life can truly change in an instant. Yes, there were times that they wondered what God's plan for them was. But, the important thing is that never once did they turn their back on Him. It was obvious to the Barricks that God's presence was with them through their entire struggle.

When Jennifer came out of her coma after 5 weeks, she did not even know her own parents. She could not speak to anybody that came to see her. She could not hold her head up. She could barely open her eyes for more than a minute at a time. Yet, to everyone's amazement she begins to pray out loud - in perfectly clear speech - for hours at a time! And she is not praying for herself, for her own healing - she is praying that God will use her to minister to others. She is praising God and thanking Him for being by her side and for healing her. She seems oblivious to the fact that she is severely brain damaged, nearly blind, and unable to walk, and care for herself. Yet she is is singing His praises!

But, when she is not praying, her severe injuries are painfully obvious. It was 3 months before Jen was released from the hospital. When she came home, she still had a feeding tube inserted because eating "real" food made her terribly sick. She had constant debilitating headaches. She was nearly blind. She had almost no short term memory. Yet, when she was worshiping God, she was like the old, uninjured Jen. A light shone from her, and everybody around her knew that they were witnessing a miracle.

Jen's mother, Linda, found prayer journals that Jen had been keeping before the crash. Jen was a very private person. But she had a very close relationship with God. In these journals, she poured out her deepest feelings and desires for her Christian life. She knew that one of her shortcomings was that she was not very good at speaking out loud about faith. These journals were full of prayers that God would use her to be a witness for Him. Just 3 days before the crash, she completely surrendered herself to Him - pleading with God that He use her in however way He saw fit, to bring people to Christ. This part truly gave me chills!

This book was a wonderfully inspirational and emotional read. In several places, I felt the need to close the book and pray - pray for a renewed relationship with Christ. Jen truly is a miracle. This is an extraordinary book, and I hope that you will check it out!

You can find it here to purchase at or you buy it at any Christian book store. And thanks to Tyndale Publishing, I am offering the chance to win a hardback copy of the book! What you will get is a certificate that you can take to any Christian book store (or if you do not have one near you, you may fill out and send directly to Tyndale to redeem) and they will give you one free hardback copy of Miracle for Jen by Linda Barrick! Enter below:

Sunday, March 18, 2012

In My Mailbox #12

Hi! It's that time of the week again! Time to show off our book goodies we got last week! IMM is hosted by The Story Siren. It was another pretty good week for books since it was my birthday!

These are books my hubby bought me this week:

Inside by Maria V. Snyder (omnibus of Inside Out and Outside In)
A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks

These are books I received in the mail for review:

Little Miss Bronte Jane Eyre: a Counting Primer by Jennifer Adams (thank you Gibbs Smith!)
Little Master Carroll Alice in Wonderland: a Colors Primer by Jennifer Adams (thank you Gibbs Smith!)
Best Friend Thief by Laurel-Ann Dooley (thank you, Laurel-Ann!)

The following are e-books that I received as a gift from my pal, Tristen:
Oubliette (Cloud Prophet Trilogy #2)Severed (Cloud Prophet Trilogy, #3)Sleepers (The Swarm Trilogy, #1)

The following are Kindle freebies I received:

Parallel (Travelers, #1)Glamour (Rae Wilder, #1)The Giver (The Giver, #1) (well, actually, I paid .25)

The following are from Netgalley:
YesterdayBright Island The cover for this one has been redone (it is a re-release of an old Newbery book), and the new cover is MUCH more attractive. I could not find a picture of the new cover anywhere other than netgalley though...

I also got a very nice gift card for Books a Million from my parents today for my birthday, so I will be using that soon! yippee! What did you all get this week?

Friday, March 16, 2012

Follow Friday #10

Follow Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read. It is an awesome way for bloggers to get to know one another and gain new followers as well as find great new blogs to read! The main rule: Someone follows you - you follow them back!

This week's question:

What is the best book you've read in the last month?
What is the worst book you've read in the last month?

Hmm, I'm going to say that the best book I've read in the last month would have to have been Cinder by Marissa Meyer! Loved it!!! My only regret is having to wait so long for the next books! As for worst book? I hate having to answer this question....I always feel so mean....but I have to say Gifts by Ursula LeGuin. I had to read it for a class, and it just was not for me.I found it to be very boring. Lots of people like her books though.

How bout you? Best and worst books of the last month? If you're a new follower, leave me a linky! Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Review: The Whole Story of Half a Girl by Veera Hiranandani

Publisher: Random House
Release Date: January 10th, 2012
Number of Pages: 224
Where I got this book: Netgalley e-ARC
My rating: 5/5

Goodreads Summary:

"After her father loses his job, Sonia Nadhamuni, half Indian and half Jewish American, finds herself yanked out of private school and thrown into the unfamiliar world of public education. For the first time, Sonia's mixed heritage makes her classmates ask questions—questions Sonia doesn't always know how to answer—as she navigates between a group of popular girls who want her to try out for the cheerleading squad and other students who aren't part of the "in" crowd.

At the same time that Sonia is trying to make new friends, she's dealing with what it means to have an out-of-work parent—it's hard for her family to adjust to their changed circumstances. And then, one day, Sonia's father goes missing. Now Sonia wonders if she ever really knew him. As she begins to look for answers, she must decide what really matters and who her true friends are—and whether her two halves, no matter how different, can make her a whole."


A big thank you to Random House and Netgalley for the opportunity to read and review this book!

I just thought this book was a winner all the way around - a perfect book for the middle grade age group. It deals with many issues that will hit home with middle schoolers: popularity, identity, new schools, friend problems and family problems.

Sonia loves her life - she has a great best friend - Sam, a fabulous private school called Community, and a quirky, but loving family. Then one day her father brings home the news that he has lost his job and Sonia's world is turned upside down. She finds out that she can no longer go to the private school that she loves so much; she will have to go to public school where she doesn't know anyone. This drives a wedge between her and Sam, and all of a sudden Sonia feels like she doesn't have a friend in the world. Her family is not the happy, fun family it once was. Her dad is depressed and quick to anger. Her mom is stressed out and worried. And Sonia's little sister, Natasha...well, she's just six.

Things start to look up when Sonia befriends one of the most popular girls, Kate, and discovers she has a talent for cheerleading. She joins the squad and finally begins to feel like she might be starting to fit in. But then, something absolutely horrible happens - her father disappears. Once again, her world is upside down. But now she is beginning to see who her real friends are. And she begins to realize what the important things in life really are.

I absolutely adored Sonia, and I think that most young readers will too. She is trying to figure out who she is. She is Indian on her father's side, Jewish (well, sort of) on her mother's side, and is often mistaken as African American. She is basically just trying to find her place in the world. The events that happen with school and especially with her father will keep the reader enthralled until the very end. I highly, highly recommend this book! A wonderful debut for Hiranandani - I will definitely be looking for more from her in the future!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Top 10 Tuesday - Historical Fiction

Top 10 Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Broke and Bookish. This week I'm going to talk about my top 10 favorite historical fiction books. Now, historical fiction is really not generally my favorite genre to read. BUT, I DO like quite a few in the world of children's fiction, so that will be focus this week. It's strange how I just really don't care for adult historical fiction, but can devour children's historical...hmmmm...interesting. you have them, in no particular order....

1.The Book Thief The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak - yep, you'll probably be seeing this on a lot of people's lists. I don't know how you CAN'T. A modern day classic about the Holocaust. Should be required reading in school, in my opinion, just for the beautiful writing!

2.Hattie Big Sky  Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson - I just loved this one. A young girl who was faced with an almost impossible situation, especially considering her age and gender, and took the challenge. Awesome.

3.Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry - a very beautiful, emotional book.

4.Sarah, Plain and Tall Sarah, Plain and Tall - It's been a long time since I read it, but it was a childhood favorite of mine.

5. Anne of Green Gables (Anne of Green Gables, #1)Anne of Green Gables series - Anne is my HERO! or heroine, I should say! My list would be incomplete without her!

6. Little House on the PrairieLittle House on the Prairie series - I think any historical fiction list would be incomplete without Little House!

7. Number the StarsNumber the Stars by Lois Lowry - Loved it!

8. The True Confessions of Charlotte DoyleThe True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi - another childhood favorite!

9.Out of the Dust Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse - beautiful story about Oklahoma dust bowl written in verse.

10. Moon Over ManifestMoon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool - a well deserved Newbery medal to a debut author for a really awesome Depression era story!

Have you read any of these books and if so, what did you think? What books would you add to this list?