Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Super Cool Giveaway!!!

How many of you have had a chance to check out one of the hottest mid grade books out there right now? Well if your saying nope have I got the goods for you! 
There are six easy steps, and you don't want to miss a one!

The Sinister Sweetness of Splendid Academy

First: Check out the Book Trailer
Second: Read the synopsis below

When Lorelei's old school mysteriously burns down, a new one appears practically overnight: Splendid Academy. Rock-climbing walls on the playground and golden bowls of candy on every desk? Gourmet meals in the cafeteria, served by waiters? Optional homework and two recess periods a day? It's every kids's dream.
But Lorelei and her new friend Andrew are pretty sure it's too good to be true. Together they uncover a sinister mystery, one with their teacher, the beautiful Ms. Morrigan, at the very center.
Then Andrew disappears. Lorelei has to save him, even if that means facing a past she'd like to forget – and taking on a teacher who's a real witch.
What Lorelei and Andrew discover chills their bones – and might even pick them clean!

Third: Add this book  on GoodReads
Fourth: Check out the author Nikki Loftin
Fifth: Read my review of The Sinister Sweetness of Splendid Academy


Sixth: enter to win your very own copy!(open in the US only)
So how do you enter? Simple as can be leave a comment here on the blog, one lucky person will be chosen at random!
Contest is open until 6:00am on Tuesday September 4th 

Congratulations to Danielle on winning this giveaway! The publisher will be mailing you out a copy soon!

If you've missed the contest be sure to grab a copy of this book, it's one you wont want to miss!


Monday, August 27, 2012

Confessions of an Angry Girl

Title: Confessions of an Angry Girl
Publisher: Harlequin
Pub Date: 8/28/2012
Author: Louise Rozett
Received From : NetGalley

Confessions of an Angry Girl (Confessions, #1)

ROSE ZARELLI, self-proclaimed word geek and angry girl, has some confessions to make...
1. I’m livid all the time. Why? My dad died. My mom barely talks. My brother abandoned us. I think I’m allowed to be irate, don’t you? 
2. I make people furious regularly. Want an example? I kissed Jamie Forta, a badass guy who might be dating
a cheerleader. She is now enraged and out for blood. Mine. 
3. High school might as well be Mars. My best friend has been replaced by an alien, and I see red all the
time. (Mars is red and “seeing red” means being angry—get it?) 
Here are some other vocab words that describe my life:
Inadequate. Insufferable. Intolerable.

(Don’t know what they mean? Look them up yourself.)
                                                   (Sorry. That was rude.)

Well Rose our self proclaimed Angry Girl has a whole lot on her plate. Her father was killed working as a corespondent in the war. He brother is off to college and not really interested in home anymore, and her mother is in a loss bubble. High school is a new and sometimes scary world. When your best friend falls in with the cheerleaders and the enemy. Tracey's involvement with cheer leading adds some angst when she is befriended by Regina the  mortal enemy. Jamie is a unconventional love interest for Rose. He has a girlfriend,Regina who he carries an unsteady relationship with and yet he kisses Rose. Can you see how this can all make one angry? I love the characters and the vocabulary used in the book. But I felt a bit angered myself at the way the book is left. There are no conclusions and everything is left hanging in many story lines. I know this is a ploy to draw me in to book # 2. I just prefer an ending with a cliffhanger to a drop. 


Friday, August 24, 2012

China's Goodwill Ambassador- Tai Shan the Panda

Title: China's Goodwill Ambassador- Tai Shan The Panda
Publisher: Washington International
Pub Date: 5/1/2012
Author: Patricia Holz
Received From : NetGalley

China’s Goodwill Ambassador-Tai Shan the Panda

China's Goodwill Ambassador, Tai Shan the Panda is a mischievous four year-old panda, a descendant of the first panda pair given as gifts from the Chinese people to the American people in 1972. He is a popular and beloved sight for children visiting the National Zoo in Washington, DC. All is well until he discovers he must leave the zoo and go alone to Sichaun province, China. With mixed feelings he learns from his parents that he must go to help save endangered baby pandas. Tai Shan also learns the meaning of a goodwill ambassador as he says goodbye to all his friends and travels on the Bamboo Express to China. He is daring, friendly, and outgoing, and his courage is constantly tested through some great adventures. Combines fact and fiction based on the true story of the real Tai Shan.

C's Review-aww Tai Shan is so cute. He is a friendly Panda and gets into some adventure. But he still finds the baby pandas like he is asked. I like the way he makes friends with the other zoo animals.

Moms' review- this is a really cute kids book, with a great story of how we can help others. I love the explanations of an ambassador from Tai Shan's parents and the selfless way that they all approach his time in China. For me though the illustrations were a bit off at one point it felt to me like the picture of Tai Shan was cut and pasted into the illustration. With kids books I feel the pictures tell the story just as much as the words and I'd love to see these a bit more fluid!


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Lovesick Cure

Title: The Lovesick Cure
Publisher: Harlequin MIRA
Pub Date: 8/28/2012
Author: Pamela Morsi
Received From : NetGalley

The Lovesick Cure

What do you do when your groom gets cold feet?
For Jesse Winsloe, the answer is clear: head into hiding. Single again laid off from work, Jesse flees Onery Cabin to lick her wounds her ancient aunt Will—a Granny woman with the secret to healing the lovelorn.
Sure, Onery Cabin may be right out of Hollywood’s Lifestyles of the Poor and Hillbilly, but Marrying Stone Mountain has its charm—including the local physician’s assistant, Piney Baxley, a past recipient of Aunt Will’s pungent “heartbreak poultice.”
Between folk remedies and a “no strings attached” romance, Jesse is beginning to think she’s found her own brand of lovesick cure—because there’s nothing like a pinch of confidence and a dash of attraction to mend a broken heart.

Jesse Winsloe is a heart broken girl, and for good reason her Fiance swindled her out of a job and his heart all in one full swoop. When she finds herself facing them over and over again the determination to leave town for a bit is an easy one. Jesse heads off to Marrying Stone in the Ozarks. The location of this book relates so well to the story and adds to it in many ways. Jesse's aunt Will lives in Marrying stone and is there to help her mend her broken heart, in an unconventional and smelly way!  Her niece Camryn is a fun character as a teenage girl who is trying to find what she wants out of life, although her methods at getting it may not be the best ones. 
But the best character is the handsome physicians assistant Piney. Something about this man just gets under my skin and makes his so likable to me! Is it the way he cares for his town, or raises his teenage son, or jumps in with both feet. I can't put a label on it but I love him and assure that you will too!

Monday, August 13, 2012

The Stone Girl

Title: Stone Girl
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Pub Date: August 28th , 2012
Author: Alyssa Sheinmel
Received From: NetGalley

The Stone Girl

She feels like a creature out of a fairy tale; a girl who discovers that her bones are really made out of stone, that her skin is really as thin as glass, that her hair is brittle as straw, that her tears have dried up so that she cries only salt. Maybe that’s why it doesn’t hurt when she presses hard enough to begin bleeding: it doesn’t hurt, because she’s not real anymore.

Sethie Weiss is hungry, a mean, angry kind of hunger that feels like a piece of glass in her belly. She’s managed to get down to 111 pounds and knows that with a little more hard work—a few more meals skipped, a few more snacks vomited away—she can force the number on the scale even lower. She will work on her body the same way she worked to get her perfect grades, to finish her college applications early, to get her first kiss from Shaw, the boy she loves, the boy who isn’t quite her boyfriend.Sethie will not allow herself one slip, not one bad day, not one break in concentration. Her body is there for her to work on when everything and everyone else—her best friend, her schoolwork, and Shaw—are gone.

 When you first meet Sethie the main character of this story you know there is going to be some drama and heartbreak. Sethie spend her time with her "boyfriend" Shaw but in reality this relationship isn't what she thinks it is. I see this as a common problem in young love. One person sees more in the relationship than is there. Adding into the mix Janey who started out as Shaw's friend and became so much more to Sethie. First Janey teaches her a secret that molds and delivers the eating issues that Sethie already experiences. then Janey turns on the light in her relationship and eventually the light to life for Sethie. Janey is a fantastic supporting character in the book.
 Sethie is quite the interesting character! I absolutely love her descriptions of things related to her weight. they may not all be very politically correct, and many are in my eye harmful to her self esteem, but the way the author writes them is very eye opening and adds a lot to her as a character. My heart goes out to Sethie and also to her mother. There are a lot of factors in this story that keep it intriguing and fun.


Thursday, August 9, 2012

Pushing the Limits

Title: Pushing the Limits
Publisher: Harlequin UK
Pub Date: August 3rd, 2012
Author: Katie McGarry
Received From: Net Galley

Pushing the Limits

What if the last person you should fall in love with is the only one who can save you?

"I won't tell anyone, Echo. I promise."Noah tucked a curl behind my ear. It had been so long since someone touched me like he did. Why did it have to be Noah Hutchins? His dark brown eyes shifted to my covered arms. "You didn't do that-did you. It was done to you?" No one ever asked that question. They stared. They whispered. They laughed. But they never asked. The room tilted...
No one knows what really happened the night Echo Emerson went from popular girl with jock boyfriend to gossiped-about outsider with "freaky" scars on her arms. Even Echo can't remember the whole truth of the horrible night that changed her life forever.
But when Noah Hutchins, the smoking-hot loner in the black leather jacket, explodes into her life with his tough attitude and surprising understanding, Echo's world shifts in ways she could never have imagined. Yet the crazy attraction between them refuses to go away. And now Echo has to ask herself just what she'll risk for the one guy who might teach her how to love again...

Being a teenager has to be one of the hardest times of ones life, at least it was for me. For our Main character Echo it is even more brutal. Echo is living with a past that everyone thinks she has and a reality that she cannot remember. Echo doesn't even seem to really want to remember when we first meet her. When the ever hunky Noah enters her life things begin to change a little. Noah is what I first consider a bad boy, but in reality, he has the largest heart and some hard circumstances himself! Really both of these teens and some of the friends in their life have been through the ringer.

Echo lives now with her father and step mother, soon to be new baby and a sense that her step mother is revolving the world around herself! It only adds some oddity to the book that her step mother was once a teenage babysitter in the house. ICK I could have done without that piece and still felt great angst from Echo about the new woman in dad's life.  Noah is in the foster care system, in a sense.. as he is about to turn 18 and graduate out, but his heart lies with his two little brother that he wants to get custody of. As the story progresses and we see Echo and Noah open up one another I cannot help but feel love, hope and fear for both of them. so many things dangling in the air that could end in triumph or heartbreak. I'll let you discover them on your own but you won't be disappointed if you read this book, that's for sure!


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Starring Me

Title: Starring Me
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Pub Date: 1/10/2012
Author: Krista McGee
Received From : NetGalley

Starring Me

Kara McKormick is told she’s auditioning to star in a new teen variety show. But it’s what she isn’t told that could change her life.
The feisty New Yorker moves to sunny Orlando to participate in a month-long audition, where she’ll live with nine other contestants and an eccentric housemother. Kara knows that the show already has a big-time celebrity lined up for the co-host, but she doesn’t know who it is.
Chad Beacon quickly rose to fame after winning America’s Next Star, but he doesn’t want his entire career to be about singing. There is so much more he wants to do—like act. The new variety show sounds like the perfect next step for him, but his parents want him to have a co-star who shares his faith since they’ll be spending so much time together.
Acting is high on Kara’s priority list. But a relationship with God? Not so much. In fact, she’s tried to stay away from anything religious. But God is after Kara’s heart and He’s put people in her life who are showing her there’s far more to Christianity than rules and judgment.
And just when it seems that Kara’s going to have to give up her acting dream, God reveals that she may have a starring role after all—in a story so big only He could write it

Do any of you recall my very first book review? I had no idea when I cracked open Starring Me that it was a sequel to First Date, I was shocked and excited. I remember thinking First Date was a very cute and fun book with great characters.  My excitement grew as more characters from the first book came to play in the second! Kara while not the leading character before really steps well into the role as the past leads fade back a bit. 
I have to admit I am a bit surprised by the story line of the parents choosing the co-star for their son Chad.. I just can't see the show business allowing this. But I do love the outcome of it. After all the character of Flora add so much to the book. Flora works for Chad's family and moves into the house of potential co-stars to find the right girl behind the scenes. The transformation of Kara from a somewhat selfish girl to a Christian is another thing that really makes this book. I didn't feel like I was being bible thumped so to speak. I felt like I was watching a girl really learn and determine what in life is best for her! I can't wait now to see if there is another book coming. It's take a lot of work on Krista McGee's part to make me fall in love with Anna Grace, but I'd love to see it unfold!


Friday, August 3, 2012

Twas the Night Before Christmas

Title: Twas the Night Before Christmas- Edited by Santa Claus for the Benefit of Children of the 21st Century
Publisher: Grafton and Scratch Publishers
Pub Date: September 4th, 2012
Author: Clement C. Moore
Received From: Net Galley

Twas the Night Before Christmas

A letter from Santa Claus: In this special twenty-first-century edition, select lines have quietly slipped from the pages. Here at the North Pole, we decided to leave all of that tired old business of smoking well behind us a long time ago. The reindeer also asked that I confirm that I have only ever worn faux fur out of respect for the endangered species that are in need of our protection. This includes my dear friends the arctic polar bears. Publishers note: It was our sincere pleasure to act on Santa’s express wishes. As the direct link between the exposure to the depiction of characters smoking and youth initiation to nicotine has been well established, we were compelled to make these recommended changes. This influential poem has been at the very center of holiday reading for close to two hundred years, and our wish is that it will remain vivid and treasured for many generations to come.
Clement C. Moore (1779–1863) is widely regarded as the very poet of Christmas Eve. Much of the way we have come to celebrate December 24th is based on his portrayal of a jolly Santa, who along with his team of reindeer brings happiness to children and joy to the world. Twas the Night Before Christmas was originally published in the New York Troy Sentinel newspaper in 1823. It has become the most famous poem in the English language. In 2011, various editions of this enchanting poem spent thirty-six weeks on the New York Times best-seller’s list in the children’s category.

C's Review- I love this book because it ls when Santa comes. The pictures are very pretty and how a lot of colors. Santa looks kind of thin though. We can get this copy of the book right mom? (mom's note, OF COURSE) It's really fun at Christmas time to unwrap a new book each day, we did that last year*. You should all get this book and wrap it up for your kids.

Mom's Review- A new version of one of my favorite books ever! Can I tell a fun story? The first year my husband and I were engaged we were in a long distance relationship. I emailed this to him on Christmas Eve and when he called me that night he read it to me on the phone right before I drifted off to sleep! Our household currently owns 5 versions of this book and we will for sure be getting this one. I love the more modern look to it without going over board. As you saw above in the blurb, gone is the smoking, and fur of endangered animals. But even without some pieces you still have the true classic story some great new looks to graphics and the fun of the Night Before Christmas. 

*Last year in place of an advent calendar I wrapped 24 winter holiday themed books up for the girls and we unwrapped and read one each night! These weren't all new books, I raided their shelves first, found 18 we had and purchased 3 new and 3 at goodwill! it was a great alternative to chocolate every day and added some extra mother daughter time to each evening!


Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Sinister Sweetness of Splendid Academy

Title: The Sinister Sweetness of Splendid Academy
Publisher: Razorbill
Pub Date: August, 21 2012
Author: Nikki Loftin
Received From: Publisher

A deliciously spooky middle-grade debut that's Coraline meets Hansel and Gretel

Lorelei is bowled over by Splendid Academy--Principal Trapp encourages the students to run in the hallways, the classrooms are stocked with candy dishes, and the cafeteria serves lavish meals featuring all Lorelei's favorite foods. But the more time she spends at school, the more suspicious she becomes. Why are her classmates growing so chubby? And why do the teachers seem so sinister?

It's up to Lorelei and her new friend Andrew to figure out what secret this supposedly splendid school is hiding. What they discover chills their bones--and might even pick them clean!

Mix one part magic, one part mystery, and just a dash of Grimm, and you've got the recipe for a cozy-creepy read that kids will gobble up like candy. 

I was thrilled to be chosen by Jen Bigheart to take part in my first blog tour! I am pretty sure I lucked out as this was a great read!

The Sinister Sweetness of Splendid Academy is super scary, sweet, and silly! Sorry I had to keep up that alliteration! The story of young Lorelei and all of the changes in her life was a great one. With a new Step-Mother, a new school, and obviously a new reality she wasn't expecting, Lorelei handled it all so well.
But something was off in her school. The kids were acting a bit different, the rules were relaxed and the sweets plentiful. Luckily she had her new friend Andrew to help her find a way through the strange and surreal path.  
I really did enjoy this book, I for one could not pick out the answers to the mystery right away and I think that made the book even more enjoyable to me! I was cheering for all of those that worked with Lorelei to find the answers! I was a bit disappointed in the father in this book, as a parent his lack of involvement really bothered me but once the mystery was clear I understood how this all came about! I would consider this a great read for older elementary school ages. As a child one of my favorite books was Sideways Stories from Wayside School, this one just stole it's first place ranking in my pre-teen heart!