Friday, June 29, 2012

Review: Welcome Caller, This is Chloe by Shelley Coriell

Published by: Amulet books
Release date: May 1st, 2012
Number of Pages: 299
How I got this book: Netgalley eARC
My rating: 4.5/5

Goodreads Summary:

"Big-hearted Chloe Camden is the queen of her universe until her best friend shreds her reputation and her school counselor axes her junior independent study project. Chloe is forced to take on a meaningful project in order to pass, and so she joins her school’s struggling radio station, where the other students don’t find her too queenly. Ostracized by her former BFs and struggling with her beloved Grams’s mental deterioration, lonely Chloe ends up hosting a call-in show that gets the station much-needed publicity and, in the end, trouble. She also befriends radio techie and loner Duncan Moore, a quiet soul with a romantic heart. On and off the air, Chloe faces her loneliness and helps others find the fun and joy in everyday life. Readers will fall in love with Chloe as she falls in love with the radio station and the misfits who call it home."


Thank you to Netgalley and Amulet for allowing me the opportunity to read and review this book!

Chloe is a perky, funny, and outgoing redheaded queen bee in her junior year at school. She's got a big heart although she's sometimes accused of being a bit self centered. But, all of a sudden she finds that her closest friends have completely turned their backs on her, and have gotten the whole school to shun her as well. Between that and her grandma's worsening Parkinson's Disease and the constant fighting between her mother and grandmother, she feels like her world is crumbling around her.

Then her junior independant study project idea is shot down, and she is basically given no choice but to join the school radio station which is run by the school "misfits." The radio station is danger of being taken off the air for good and need of publicity, which is where Chloe is needed. Luckily, this is an area where she shines!

Chloe ends up finding an unexpected family in the radio station "misfits" just when she needed one most - especially in the quiet but handsome Duncan Moore, who comes from a much more troubled family. To help the radio station gain popularity, Chloe ends up hosting two on air talk shows which become hugely popular and catapult the station into the spotlight...however, tragedy strikes...will the radio station family pull together or alienate their newest member?

I LOVED this book! To be honest, I was a bit annoyed by Chloe at first. I am not used to perky characters, lol - I guess I read too many angsty type books. She was kind of naive, and especially when it came to how bad Duncan's home situation was with a meth addicted mother, and she thought HER problems were so bad, it made me want to shake her a little bit. But, then I realized it was refreshing. She was good for Duncan. She was there for him even after she discovered how bad his life was, and brought sunshine into his life. It made me respect her. Not every teenager is full of angst and self loathing, thank goodness, and it was a nice change to read a book like this. It really was a book I needed to read right now.

I highly recommend this book - fun, quirky, but with a touch of seriousness too. Something for everyone!

Review: Swipe by Evan Angler Plus guest post and GIVEAWAY!!

Published by: Thomas Nelson
Release Date: May 8th, 2012
Number of Pages: 275
How I got this book: ARC from Thomas Nelson
My rating: 4/5

Goodreads Summary:

""Apocalyptic dystopian fiction at its best. Angler's sharp wit and dexterity with political themes are matched only by the thrilling suspense on every page." -Lis Wiehl, "New York Times" bestselling author and FOX News correspondent

Everyone gets the Mark. It gives all the benefits of citizenship. Yet if getting the Mark is such a good thing, then why does it feel so wrong?

Set in a future North America that is struggling to recover after famine and global war, "Swipe" follows the lives of three kids caught in the middle of a conflict they didn't even know existed. United under a charismatic leader, every citizen of the American Union is required to get the Mark on their 13th birthday in order to gain the benefits of citizenship.

The Mark is a tattoo that must be swiped by special scanners for everything from employment to transportation to shopping. It's almost Logan Langly's 13th birthday and he knows he should be excited about getting the Mark, but he hasn't been able to shake the feeling he's being watched. Not since his sister went to get her Mark five years ago . . . and never came back.

When Logan and his friends discover the truth behind the Mark, will they ever be able to go back to being normal teenagers? Find out in the first book of this exciting series that is "Left Behind" meets "Matched" for middle-grade readers."


First, a big thank you to Thomas Nelson for the opportunity to read and review this book. They provided a copy of the book to me in exchange for an honest review.

I'll be honest. At first, Logan got on my nerves. He just seemed like a paranoid who was scared of his own shadow. He didn't want to get the Mark because a rare accident happened to his sister as she was getting hers and she never returned. But, as we read, we discover that Logan has a right to his paranoia. Someone IS after him. He is able to convince the new girl in his class, whose father has ties the government, and they form an alliance to find out just who has it out for Logan and why. But is it more than they can handle?

I had a little trouble getting into the story for the first 50 pages or so, but after that it was hard to put down! The future America that Evan Angler depicts in this book is scary because you can really picture it happening. This was a very exciting, fast-paced book great for fans of adventure and dystopian stories. Be on the lookout for a sequel as well!

I want to welcome the author, Evan Angler, to my blog as he discusses the Mark that is so important in his book:

Why Differ?

by Evan Angler

We live in a world where things can be easy. Tablet computers that fit in our pockets and make calls for us and tell us where we are. Globalized digital networks that connect us effortlessly, all the time. Modern medicine that works wonders. News that arrives the moment it happens. Food that stays fresh forever.

This isn’t science fiction. This is reality. And in the American Union, all you need—for any of it—is the Mark.

So what’s wrong with that? The Pledge unifies us, does it not? Just as its Mark protects us? No one could argue that it hasn’t brought us together, that it hasn’t created peace . . . that our allegiance to the Chancellor hasn’t bound us and given common ground from which all our ideas and ideologies may grow. Together. Compatibly.

After the years of slaughter, after the decades of political and environmental devastation that forced more and more of us to fight over less and less land, water, food . . . was this unity not a welcome change for all of us?

It isn’t even compulsory. No one has to Pledge. But who wouldn’t? In the years since its implementation, the Mark has rightfully become the capstone of a childhood well spent, the crowning achievement in a young man’s or woman’s life, the opened door to citizenship, adulthood, independence . . .

Every schoolchild knows that in the wake of the Total War, this Mark has become the very symbol of our commitment to patriotism and peace. It is the constant reminder of our loftiest intentions.

To be Markless is to reject these ideals. To be Markless is to be different.

So why would anyone choose to be different? In a world of absolutes, of black and white, of right and wrong, why would anyone choose “wrong”?

My name is Evan Angler. I may have answers to these questions. But I can’t risk writing them. Not here. Not on the Internet, for anyone to see.

And you wouldn’t risk reading them.

But if you are determined . . . if you are determined to learn the truth, no matter the cost, then what I can tell you is this: I’ve put what I know onto paper. Old-fashioned, obsoletepaper. Where it can’t be copied and pasted with the stroke of a stylus, where it can’t be sent around the world at the press of a button, where it can’t be recorded and stored forever in a million irretrievable pieces across cyberspace and time for any watchful eye to see. Paper is intimate. It is between you and me. It is fragile. It can be destroyed.

And when you find it, if you find it . . . once you’ve read it . . . I do encourage you to destroy it.

Swipe is the first volume in the chronicles of Logan Langly, Erin Arbitor, and the Dust. Their account is dangerous; the information within it is forbidden.

I wrote their story for everyone. But if you are not yet thirteen, if you have not yet Pledged to the Chancellor in exchange for his Mark of citizenship, if you have not yet made that choice to conform to given definitions of what may be easy and what may be “right” . . . then I have written this story especially for you.

For I’m not ashamed to tell you that I’m still afraid of the dark. And if you too have ever turned out the light only to feel that tinge of panic, that inkling that someone, somewhere, might possibly be watching . . . I’m here to tell you that they are.

At its heart, Swipe is a book about friendship against the odds. It’s a book about a group of boys and girls who stick together to stand up for one another and for what they believe in.

But why would they choose to be different? Why would they choose “wrong”?

Are you ready to learn the truth?

Now, enter for a chance to win your very own copy of this exciting book!

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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Review: Facing the Hunchback of Notre Dame by L.L. Samson

Published by: Zonderkidz, a division of Zondervan
Release date: May 8th, 2012
Number of Pages: 140
How I got this book: ARC from Zondervan
My rating: 3/5

Goodreads Summary:

"A hidden attic. A classic story. A very unexpected twist. Twin twelve-year-old bookworms Ophelia and Linus Easterday discover a hidden attic that once belonged to a mad scientist. While relaxing in the attic and enjoying her latest book, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Ophelia dozes off, and within moments finds herself facing a fully alive and completely bewildered Quasimodo. Ophelia and Linus team up with a clever neighbor, a hippy priest, and a college custodian, learning Quasimodo's story while searching for some way to get him back home-if he can survive long enough in the modern world."


First, thank you to Zondervan for the opportunity to read and review this book! This is a middle grade fantasy novel and the first of a new series. The 2 main characters, twins Linus and Ophelia live with their elderly aunt and uncle who own an antique bookshop. They discover a hidden attic, where at certain times, on certain days they can bring book characters into the real world through a magic circle on the attic floor. But he only has 60 hours in the real world and he must go back to where he came from through the magic circle or he will face a painful demise. This first adventure is about Quasimodo. Linus and Ophelia, and the new student in town, Walter, befriend Quasi and discover that there is much more to Quasi than his hunchback.

This was a really cute fantasy story with a wonderful idea behind it. However, it did have some flaws in it that bothered me as well. First, certain things are not well explained. For example, the story says that Ophelia must read and finish Quasi's book by the time he goes back to the circle but it doesn't explain why. It also says that whatever page of the book is open in the circle when he goes back is what point in time he will return...and Ophelia just randomly tosses the book in at the last moment...I found this frustrating. We also never find out if anything that Linus and Ophelia did for Quasi in the Real World affected him when he returned. I would have liked it if the author did some kind of epilogue or something.

I did like how the narrator used "fancy" words and then explained what they meant. He also threw in bits of advice on how to write a story, such as what a "hook" is. I thought that was a unique idea for the middle grade set.

Overall, I really like the idea of the series (at the end, it hints that the next book will be about Moby Dick). I was just a little disappointed in the execution of the plot.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Stocking the Shelves #20

I've allowed myself to get a bit behind - mostly because I honestly have not been getting much! So, the following post includes about 2 weeks worth of book goodies!! First, let's start off with a few bargains I picked up with a gift card I had left over from my birthday...

I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore - I was excited to find this at such a low price as I still haven't gotten around to reading it!!
Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan - excited about this too; it IS John Green!
Sweep: Volume 1 by Cate Tiernan  

Next, are the books I received in the mail for review:

Starring Me by Krista McGee (from Thomas Nelson publishing)
Celtic Run by Sean Vogel (from the author)
Reckless Heart by Amy Clipston (from Zondervan publishing)

And as you can see, I really got sucked in by my library this week...

Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood (Can I say how much I LOVE this cover??)
How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr
Until I Die by Amy Plum (eeeek, so excited! And another beautiful cover!)
You Have Seven Messages by Stewart Lewis
Welcome Caller, This is Chloe by Shelley Coriell
The Unidentified by Rae Mariz
Once Was Lost by Sara Zarr

From Netgalley, I received:

Taste of Home: Cooking School Cookbook: 400 + Simple to Spectacular RecipesMeals that Heal Inflammation: Embrace Healthy Living and Eliminate Pain, One Meal at a TimeLiar & SpyEvery Day

Meant to BeAngel Eyes (Angel Eyes Trilogy, #1)League of Strays

Whew...lots of reads!!! Where do you recommend I start??

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Review: Katrina and Winter: Partners in Courage by Nancy Stewart

"All Katrina Simpkins longs to be is a normal girl. Because she must wear prosthesis as a leg, she feels anything but. When she meets and befriends Winter, the tailless dolphin, at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, everything changes, including Katrina's whole life. Suggested age range for readers: 8-12"
My review:
First, a big thank you to Ms. Stewart for the opportunity to read and review this book!
Katrina was born with a birth defect and grew up wearing a prosthetic leg. She was very self-conscious about it. One day, her parents take her and her sister to a marine animal rescue and rehabilitation center where she meets Winter, the dolphin without a tail. Winter, like Katrina, has a prosthesis! Katrina feels an immediate connection with Winter, and she knows that somehow, this meeting has changed her life.

After going back home, Katrina is determined to try something she never has before - an after school activity - and a jump rope club no less! After she mastered Double Dutch, she told her mom that she just had to see Winter again, which was not easy because she was so far away. After a phone call, Katrina's mom said that the rescue center wanted Katrina to come and do a video with Winter!

Winter gave Katrina confidence. After they got to know each other, Katrina went on to do all kinds of wonderful things - she completed modeling school, played basketball, gymnastics, horseback riding, and acted as a role model for people with special needs among other things.

This young lady is an inspiration and I very much enjoyed reading about her in Nancy Stewart's book. Her book is targeted to 8-12 year olds, and I think that kids will love reading about this spunky girl who did such amazing things. She includes several real life photographs on every page, which I think kids will also greatly enjoy. A great biography for children!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Top 10 Tuesday - Beach Reads

Top 10 Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week we are listing the top 10 books we would recommend for reading while lounging here...

What I wouldn't give to be there right now....sigh. Anyway...on to the books...

1. Love and Leftovers This was a really cute, fun romance written in verse.
2. The Future of Us I just finished this was SOOO good! It just kept me wanting to know what was going to happen next! Very light but exciting and satisfying read.
3. Clean Ok, so this isn't exactly a "fluffy" read as it is about a bunch of drug addicts in rehab, but it is definitely a fast paced, engaging read. I really enjoyed it. It's not as dark and heavy as some of the books in this genre.
4. Hooked This was a really good book dealing with teen pregnancy.
5.Perfect Chemistry (Perfect Chemistry, #1) Ok, I know this is an older one, but it's a good romance for beach reading!
6. Die for Me (Revenants, #1) For no other reason, than Revenants are super hot, lol!
7. Hourglass (Hourglass, #1) This was an absorbing book with good romance, action, adventure - all kinds of page turning stuff in it.
8. Bumped (Bumped, #1) A very different kind of dystopian...kind of light and almost silly which makes it good summer reading.
9. The Babysitter Murders Despite it's "creepy" title, it was actually a really good book. I really haven't heard much about it in the blogosphere, but it is worth the read.
10. A Healing Heart  This was a really sweet romance that I read recently that would make a great beach, or anytime, read!

So, what would you take with you to the beach?

Friday, June 8, 2012

Follow Friday

Follow Friday hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read.

This week's follow question is .... more of a feature of a fellow blogger of our own choosing .. so I chose my pal, Tristen over at Totally Booked Solid.  Tristen and I live in the same town, literally minutes from each other. This allows us to get together to trade books, have mommy's nights out, go to book events together, or whatever. Her husband is even our go-to computer guy! It's awesome having a book blogger friend so close by - we just have so much in common! I asked some of the featured questions and added a few of my own .. Here's your chance to get to know Tristen of Totally Booked Solid

1. When did you start blogging?
Honestly I started up the blog in 2008 but never really got started full time with it until last  year . I figured I'm reading so many books, why not share them with the world and now i do :)

2. What is your favorite part of book blogging?
  I would be lying if I said I didn't enjoy the free books, but honestly it's more than that - it's the fact that it has expanded what I read. I also love meeting new bloggers and authors and publishers .. there are some great ones out there.

3. What is your favorite book(s)? I have so many favorites.  My favorite kid book was the Pokey Little Puppy - one of my favorite reads now is Shatter Me -  if you haven't read it you so should.

4. What has been the best thing that has happened to you because of book blogging?
Best thing to happen to me  from blogging was getting a blurb from my review put in an upcoming book by Janelle Stadler. She is putting a part of my review for Eden into her next book Eden West. I find that amazing and humbling.


5. What blog posts are you most proud of?

 Hmmm that is a hard one I guess my review of Eden - because it gained me a friendship with the author and a blurb in her new book and I guess my review of First Date because the author Krista McGee actually posted a comment on it ... that was pretty exciting for me.

6. What do you like to do outside of blogging and reading?
Playing with my daughter Alexis ( we like to read together .. she is 2 going on 14 :), I like playing video games too .. yep I'm a female gamer :)

Just for Fun

3 things besides books that you're addicted to?

Cherry Coke - hands down  I could have have this pumped into  a straight IV line and be happy
Scones - I can sit and eat a whole container of them - it's what I like to call my fat girl treat
Sleep-  I love that just woke up feel, where your covers are just right and  your body is so relaxed , I'm fairly sure i would stay in bed all day if I could.

favorite pop: cherry coke
favorite color : black though my husband would say that it's not a color but  actually the absence of color .. he is such a smarty pants
favorite place to read: the shower .. I know I know I'm a weirdo but I do in fact read many a good book in the shower

If you were stuck on a island what are the three things you would want the most to have:
Hmm well a collection of good books - maybe Shatter me  or one of my favorite series like Raised by Wolves
Endless supply of sunblock- I'm about as white as can be and burn so easily
and last but not least maybe some hunky guy to keep me company - maybe Ash from The Iron Fae series .. he might just be able to make me forget i was stuck on a island or maybe at that point i just wouldn't care lol.
Well, that is just a little bit about my awesome friend, Tristen. Please go check out her blog: Totally Booked Solid and hit us both up with a follow! :)

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Review: Here's Lily by Nancy Rue plus GIVEAWAY and Author Guest Post!!

Published by: Thomas Nelson
Release Date: May 1, 2012
Number of Pages: 144
How I got this book: ARC from Thomas Nelson as part of blog tour
My rating: 5/5

Amazon Summary:

"Grow with the spirited, sometimes awkward, but always charming Lily as she learns what real beauty is.

In this fun, entertaining story, readers meet awkward sixth grader Lily Robbins who, after receiving a compliment about her looks from a woman in the modeling business, becomes obsessed with her appearance and with becoming a model. As she sets her sights on winning the model search fashion show, she exchanges her rock and feather collection for lip gloss, fashion magazines, and a private "club" with her closest friends. But when the unthinkable happens the night before the fashion show, Lily learns a valuable lesson about real beauty."

My review:

First, a big thank you to Thomas Nelson Publishing for the opportunity to read and review this book and providing a copy of the book for giveaway! Also, thank you to author Nancy Rue for visiting and for posting on my blog!

Lily is a character that most girls can relate to in some way. It is a rarity to make it to middle school without reaching middle school without feeling insecure about yourself at some point. Lily, unfortunately, is one that is uncomfortable in her own skin because she feels like a "giraffe" and has frizzy orange hair and is all around awkward. Even her own family teases her. But then one day, a lady from a modeling agency visits her school to talk about beauty secrets, and makes Lily feel better about her looks. She even tells her she could be model material!

Her family allows her to take modeling classes somewhat hesitantly - they are hestiant, because they are not sure that modeling is an activity where she will find God. However, Lily uses what she learns from modeling to help her fellow "awkward" friends at school to find their inner beauty and confidence. And she discovers that her mentor and modeling coach, Kathleen, is also a Christian, and she teaches Lily about "God-confidence."

I loved this book! Like I said, young girls will really relate to Lily and will hopefully gather some wisdom from this delightful story. My 11 year old daughter read it after I did, and she devoured it almost all in one sitting! Her comments - "You don't need make up to be pretty, because God made you the way you are. All you need is God confidence!"

And now I welcome Nancy Rue, author of over 110 book, including The Lily series to my blog. She is here to talk about our heroine, Lily!

“How I Met Lily”

By Nancy Rue

Author of more than 100 books, including the Lily series

Lily Robbins, of my Lily series, was “born” back in 1998 at the request of Women of Faith founder Stephen Arterburn who wanted to start a Young Women of Faith Library. “I’d like to see a series about an eleven-year-old girl named Lily,” was the direction I was given. And it was all the direction I apparently needed because almost immediately, a gangly, precocious mini-woman with out-of-control red hair came into my heart and stayed there. I only had to listen to find out that everyone else in her family had a “thing”—a passion that defined them—but she was just sixth-grader Lily who had one best friend and was the brunt of every joke class clown Shad Shifferdecker could think up. She was bright, well-spoken, and wasn’t afraid to remind absurd little creep boys that they weren’t just breaking the rules—they were demolishing them. What self-respecting middle school smart alec could resist that? I knew that once Lily found her “thing” she would go at it 150%, as tween girls so often do, and that she would form a close group of friends (the Girlz Only Club) who would be right in there with her. But I also knew that it was going to take several growing-up years for Lily to discover who she truly was. That meant that each fiction book could star Lily in a new role—aspiring fashion model in book one, developing doctor in book two, and so on.

But early on I decided that since Lily’s fellow mini-women were going through many of the same things that Lily was enduring (such as a new interest in appearance, a changing body, and issues with peers), they might benefit from a non-fiction book to accompany each of the fiction titles. I wanted those books to be interactive and fun with plenty of concrete material that would help readers navigate the tween years.

What delighted me the most about the Lily project was that I was free to show Lily’s spiritual development along the way and to be even more upfront about that in the non-fiction books. Kids in the formative 8-to-12 age range are no longer just coloring pictures of Noah’s Ark in Sunday school; they’re discovering that they can have their own relationship with God and they have questions about how that works and what it means in their young lives. My greatest joy in writing these books has been receiving emails and letters that say things like, “I never knew exactly how to pray until I started a ‘Talking To God Journal’ like Lily did,” and “Lily shows me how to be a Christian in school without, like, preaching to people.”

I couldn’t be more jazzed that the Lily Series is getting a new face and an opportunity to reach yet another generation of mini-women. I’m in touch with Lily’s fans on my blog, “Tween You and Me” as well as on my website – – and through mother/daughter events where we spend an afternoon working through some of Lily’s—and the daughters’—biggest tween challenges. I so appreciate this chance to talk to you, the moms and dads who have challenges of your own in raising your precious daughters in a very tough society. Blessings on all you do.

In God for your girls,

Nancy Rue        

And now for a chance to win your own copy of this adorable book! If you win, Thomas Nelson will send you a paperback copy of your very own! Just check out the rafflecopter widget below...



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Sunday, June 3, 2012

Stocking the Shelves #19

Most of this week's shelf stocking was thanks to a trip to the library! I took my kids to a branch that they have never visited, but was one that I spent the most time in when I was their age. In fact, it is the branch where I made the decision to become a librarian one day! I worked their as a teen volunteer for a couple summers and absolutely adored it. It was a wonderful trip down memory lane. We will definitely be back to visit! Anyway, here is what I checked out:

Clean by Amy Reed
Possession by Elana Johnson
Pregnant Pause by Han Nolan
Wherever You Go by Heather Davis
Thirteen Days to Midnight by Patrick Carman

I only got one book in the mail this week:

I received The Fiddler by Beverly Lewis from Bethany House publishing for review. Excited for this one, since I love Beverly Lewis!

I only received one Netgalley this week, but it looks like a good one:

Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass, #1)

Those were my goodies this week. Have you guys read any of these? If so, what did you think?