Friday, June 29, 2012
Thursday, June 28, 2012
Summary: Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fasten Seat Belt sign has been turned on, but feel free to ignore it, because sometimes life is best lived on its dizzy edges. Your cruising altitude today will be sky high, and you will be flying at staggering speeds as you travel alongside Zoe Tisdale, former Valley Girl and rock star turned bored butter saleswoman. On the heels of a brush with mortality, Zoe concludes that she's been letting time pass her by. Realizing she needs to awaken her life's tired refrains, Zoe vows to recapture the one chapter of her life that truly mattered to her - her days as drummer for The Flip-Flops, a spirited, sassy all-girl garage band that almost hit the big time back in 1987. But reuniting the band won't be easy. The girls who were once the whiz kid guitarist, the prom queen bass player, and the hippie lead singer grew up and became women who are now a reclusive dog trainer, a wealthy socialite, and a sociopathic environmentalist. Will Zoe bring the band back together and give The Flip-Flops a second chance at stardom? Is it possible to fully reclaim the urgent energy of youth? As you follow this wild flight path, please know that your destination could be anywhere at all, complimentary oxygen is provided upon request, and baggage flies free. We hope you enjoy the ride, and Thank You For Flying Air Zoe. ~amazon.com
Review: Who wants a perfect summer book? Who wants to be able to sit at the pool or beach and read it in one sitting? Did you raise your hand? Then go and get yourself Thank You For Flying Air Zoe. I had been seeing this one around the Internet via blogs and Twitter getting some good buzz, so when TLC Book Tours said they had it for tour, I jumped at the chance to read it. I'm glad I did.
Mr. Atwell did a great job of laying down the mid 80s and the vibe that everyone wanted to be in a band. I mean who didn't right? Sure, I played the flute and that wasn't hip back then but now I could be rockin' in the background of some band like Arcadia Fire right? We meet Zoe Tisdale when she's about to die in a plane crash and sees her life flash before her. What gets her is there wasn't much flashing going on and this gets her to re-evaluate her choices in life. What happened to her dreams of playing at The Whiskey A Go-Go? Matter of fact, what happened to her all girl band The Flip-Flops? Where did they go wrong? Obviously the plane lands and we get to enjoy Zoe's adventure in figuring out her life now.
Of course things don't go as smoothly for getting the Flip-Flops back together as Zoe hoped. Between trying to get their earth goddess lead singer out of a tree in Montana, to the Pace sisters' rift, to her own breakdown it doesn't look like it's going to happen. Maybe dreams are just better off being dreams? Despite these roadblocks, Zoe is resolute on having her gig at The Whiskey A Go-Go. Do they do it? Why would I tell you that?
What I loved are all the 80s references. From the music, the fashion, the lingo I couldn't help but laugh and of course flashback to my own time in that decade. Would I ever wear that fashion again? Um no. I do still enjoy the music from then and sure some of the Valley Girl lingo will make it into some conversations. Music was such a part of becoming who you were back than (is it still the case these days?) that what I listened to then probably still influences what I listen to now. Nothing will ever top U2 for me as being the best rock band ever. The Joshua Tree is a true classic that never ages.
Besides Zoe the cast of characters are wonderful. I would say that for Melinda and Ginger they are definitely teetering on stereotypical but that's what made them fun. Sometimes stereotypes are there for entertainment value. Not everything has to break the mold. You can't help but to root for them until the very end. Will Zoe's dream come true? Will the girls convene for one last gig? Will it live up to her wildest dreams?
For us Generation X-ers, this is a wonderful book that takes us back to our heydays of being a kid/teenager and being carefree. I hope my kids have such great memories about their childhood as I do of mine.
For more about the Erik check out his blog; Facebook Page and follow him on Twitter.
Final Take: 4/5
Thanks to TLC Book Tours and the author for sending me a copy of the novel.
Side note: As we were driving the other day, I had the "flashback" station on and my almost 7 year old daughter quickly starts singing along with "We Got the Beat" by the Go-Gos. I was stunned seeing how I had never played it for her. I made a note to see if I could put it on my iPod. I also loved that she immediately loved the song and caught on quickly.
Erik Atwell’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:
Thursday, June 21st: Chick Lit is not Dead
Thursday, June 28th: Girls Just Reading
Monday, July 2nd: A Musing Reviews
Tuesday, July 3rd: Luxury Reading
Thursday, July 5th: Shoe-girl.com
Monday, July 9th: Chick Lit Central
Tuesday, July 10th: Seaside Book Nook
Wednesday, July 11th: Peeking Between the Pages
Wednesday, July 11th: Life in Review
Thursday, July 12th: A Chick Who Reads
Friday, July 13th: From the Heart of a Bookworm
Monday, July 16th: girlichef Tuesday
July 17th: Mom in Love with Fiction
Wednesday, July 18th: Serendipitous Readings
Thursday, July 19th: Sara’s Organized Chaos
Friday, July 20th: The Book Chick
Monday, July 23rd: Sweet Southern Home
Tuesday, July 24th: Acting Balanced
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Summary: Sophie Mercer thought she was a witch.
That was the whole reason she was sent to Hex Hall, a reform school for delinquent Prodigium (aka witches, shapeshifters, and fairies). But that was before she discovered the family secret, and that her hot crush, Archer Cross, is an agent for The Eye, a group bent on wiping Prodigium off the face of the earth.
Turns out, Sophie’s a demon, one of only two in the world—the other being her father. What’s worse, she has powers that threaten the lives of everyone she loves. Which is precisely why Sophie decides she must go to London for the Removal, a dangerous procedure that will destroy her powers.
But once Sophie arrives she makes a shocking discovery. Her new friends? They’re demons too. Meaning someone is raising them in secret with creepy plans to use their powers, and probably not for good. Meanwhile, The Eye is set on hunting Sophie down, and they’re using Archer to do it. But it’s not like she has feelings for him anymore. Does she? ~product summary
Review: I liked Hex Hall... but I loved Demonglass. It almost makes me wish I hadn't waited so long to read it... almost. (Demonglass has a huge cliff hanger of an ending, so it's a good thing that I held onto it for so long because I'll be able to jump right into Spell Bound shortly.)
There is so much more to the story this time around with so much more happening. Having 'gone to classes with Harry Potter', I was a little disappointed with the fact that we never spent much time in Sophie's classes in Hex Hall. Now that Rachel Hawkins has brought this part of the story out of the confines of the school, the possibilities are boundless and I think she does a wonderful job of running with it. Not only do we get to explore the characters a little better, but we get a whole slew of new ones that are just as fascinating.
In Demonglass Sophie is quickly discovering that nothing is as black and white as it seems. No side is ever completely right... and perhaps being a demon isn't so horrible. Though learning this may complicate her life, it forces her to grow, absorb, and adapt. Although Sophie continues to stubbornly ignore everyones advice and warnings, I had an easier time accepting her decisions this time, because they are informed. Even if she is going against the grain, at least she is thinking with her heart... and trying to find answers. I think it's high time her father had a hand in her upbringing... he should have been tutoring her all along, but better late than never, I suppose. Sophie has at least learned her lesson about keeping secrets, well, for the most part anyway. As for the men in her life, I've never quite understood her attraction to Archer, but I think Cal just gets more interesting.
...And all this is done with Rachel Hawkins wit and dry humor to boot. (I love Sophie's snarky little comments!) I will be reading Spell Bound soon, because I need to know the resolution to this marvelous series.
Final Take: 4.5/5
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
Girls Just Reading won't be present at this year's first ever UtopYA Con, but that doesn't mean we won't find a way to bring it to you, so without further ado, here's a post and a giveaway from @UtopYA for you:
It’s time to get excited and to get to Nashville for the first ever UtopYA Con, which is the convention for female, paranormal/fantasy young adult authors and readers who love them. It will be held at the Scarritt-Bennett Center in Nashville, TN on July 6-8, 2012. Would you like to come? You’re already excited I know, but wait until I tell you who’s coming (and this is just a few)… Myra McEntire (Hourglass and Timepiece), Angeline Kace (Descended by Blood), Amy Bartol (The Premonition Series), Tammy Blackwell (Timber Wolves), Tiffany King (Saving Angels), Abbi Glines (The Vincent Boys), Ella James (Stained), Jessica Sorenson (Fallen Star), and so many more! You can find the full list at the UtopYA Con website.
Here’s what a few of them are saying about going to UtopYA Con:
Raine Thomas (Daughters of Saraquel)- “"The world's been waiting for a conference like UtopYA. It's unique and in a class of its own. If you enjoy YA fantasy and paranormal stories, you can't miss this event!”
Chelsea Fine (Sophie and Carter)- “"Don't miss out on UtopYa Con 2012: Bringing your YA books to life!"
Brina Courtney (Cryptid Tales)- “If you’re a true YA fan, you’ll be there, mixing it up with all of us.”
But it’s not just for fans, it’s for authors too. Learn the tricks of the trade from people who are there, doing it successfully already. There are sessions and panels for both readers and writers alike.
So how about it? You wanna go? Well obviously you do, but here’s the question… ARE YOU GOING?
Here’s where you can find out more about tickets.
Now, so maybe you’re awesome, but you can’t go, and you’re bummed obviously. Well you still want to participate right? Here’s your chance, from now until June 29th, 2012 you can vote for your favorite books to win UtopYA Con awards, hosted by CMT’s Katie Cook. Pretty sweet right? I know, I think so too.
Anyway because we had so many blogs help us to promote this unique event we decided to do some fun giveaways provided by some of our authors at UtopYA Con and some other authors.
Good luck and we’ll see you at UtopYA Con!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Want to visit other sites in this hop? Go to:
UtopYA Con sites
Summary: Marian Caldwell is a thirty-six year old television producer, living her dream in New York City. With a fulfilling career and satisfying relationship, she has convinced everyone, including herself, that her life is just as she wants it to be. But one night, Marian answers a knock on the door . . . only to find Kirby Rose, an eighteen-year-old girl with a key to a past that Marian thought she had sealed off forever. From the moment Kirby appears on her doorstep, Marian’s perfectly constructed world—and her very identity—will be shaken to its core, resurrecting ghosts and memories of a passionate young love affair that threaten everything that has come to define her. For the precocious and determined Kirby, the encounter will spur a process of discovery that ushers her across the threshold of adulthood, forcing her to re-evaluate her family and future in a wise and bittersweet light. As the two women embark on a journey to find the one thing missing in their lives, each will come to recognize that where we belong is often where we least expect to find ourselves—a place that we may have willed ourselves to forget, but that the heart remembers forever. ~amazon.com
Review: Where We Belong hits a bit close to home for me but not necessarily in a bad way. We are first introduced to Marian as she is having a lovely dinner with her boyfriend and TV executive, Peter. As Marian approaches the subject of marriage, Peter isn't as open as she thought he could be and this causes Marian to pull away, which is only the beginning of the rift between them. We already know what secret Marian is hiding from her friends and family but the person she hides it from the most is herself.
Enter Kirby Rose, an 18 year old girl in search of her herself, her birth mother and father and trying to figure out just where it is that she belongs. You see Kirby feels that she's never belonged to the family that adopted her, she's always felt like an outsider. Her adoption wasn't sprung on her at 18, she's always known she was adopted but she's always felt like something was missing.
Of course the first meeting between Kirby and Marian is awkward which is understandable and it will continue to be that way until they can get a rapport going and build a relationship. Kirby isn't sure how to approach the subject of her birth father and Marian isn't sure how she should tell Kirby about him either.
What happens through the book is a journey for all the characters in the novel. It is a journey into the past for Marian. A past that she stuffed away and buried because she didn't know how to deal with it at 18 and doesn't know how to deal with it at 36. It is also about where she is in life. Is she truly happy with her job and her relationship with Peter?
For Kirby, it's trying to figure out her future and where she wants to go in life. It's trying to figure out where she fits in and where she wants to fit in. It's trying to figure out how to blend two families together.
Ms. Giffin writes an excellent novel about love and life. Her characters are always easy to relate to and their struggles and triumphs are something that everyone can relate to even if you've never experienced it yourself.
This is perhaps my favorite quote in the book because it really applies to everyone and perhaps most of all to female friendships:
"Even if we no longer have much in common, we would have always had the past, which, in some ways, is just as important as the present or future. It is where we come from, what makes us who we are." -page 290As a side note, I love how a character or characters show up from Ms. Giffin's previous novels in her current work. It's always fun to get a glimpse into their lives since we saw them last.
Heart of the Matter remains my favorite Emily Giffin novel, but Where We Belong is a close 2nd.
Where We Belong goes on sale on July 24, 2012. It will make a great summer read while you are lounging at the pool or at the beach.
Final Take: 4.5/5
Thanks to St. Martin's Press for an ARC of Where We Belong!
Monday, June 25, 2012
Summary: From Katherine Webb, the author of the acclaimed international bestseller The Legacy, comes a compelling tale of love, deception, and illusion.
A vicar with a passion for nature, the Reverend Albert Canning leads a happy existence with his naive wife, Hester, in their sleepy Berkshire village in the year 1911. But as the English summer dawns, the Cannings' lives are forever changed by two new arrivals: Cat, their new maid, a disaffected, free-spirited young woman sent down from London after entanglements with the law; and Robin Durrant, a leading expert in the occult, enticed by tales of elemental beings in the water meadows nearby. Quickly finding a place for herself in the underbelly of local society, Cat secretly plots her escape. Meanwhile, Robin, a young man of considerable magnetic charm and beauty, soon becomes an object of fascination and desire. Sweltering in the oppressive summer heat, the peaceful rectory turns into a hotbed of dangerous ambition, forbidden love, and jealousy—a potent mixture of emotions that ultimately leads to murder. ~amazon.com
Review: A few months ago Alice and I reviewed The Legacy by Katherine Webb and it had mystery, intrigue and drama woven into it. The Unseen is an interesting novel about desires, truth and beliefs. It's about class in a changing English society. It's about the women's suffrage movement during this time and how it influenced women to stand up for themselves.
The Unseen definitely holds your interest throughout the book. It isn't a fast-paced book and could be a bit slow in parts but I never felt that I wanted to put the book down. I definitely wanted to know what happened to the characters. It was not as slow as The Legacy that is for sure.
Again, with this novel Ms. Webb does an excellent job of transporting you to 1911 and getting the ambiance of Cold Ash Holt and the town of Thatcham surrounding it. You get wrapped up into the feel of The Rectory and the surrounding meadows, fields and river. You also get caught up in Leah story as she starts to unravel the truth behind the soldier found in a field in Belgium. You know this directly ties into the story of Hester Canning that we the reader have already been pulled into.
I can't say that I was surprised by the mystery that was reveled. I was more surprised by the series of events that led up to the event.
While I liked Hester, I felt a strong pull towards Cat. You rooted for her. You wanted her to get her freedom, to find love. This is what she fought for and struggled for. There is an exchange between Cat and Robin Durrant in the last 1/4 of the book and I think while this sums up the feelings of men back in 1911, I think it is still true today.
"I don't want to be forgotten. I..." He raises his hands, at a loss. "Is that the difference between men and women then? Is that why men excel, while women just exist? Why it's the names of men that last forever in history?" "Nothing lasts forever. Haven't you read Ozymandias?" "Keats?" he asks, and Cat just shakes her head. "Shelley. But the jokes on you. On men. Women are immortal. We leave traces of ourselves in our children, and our children's children; while men are out trying to be the first to claim a mountain." ~page 294
Ms. Webb has a lot to say about the relationships between servants and their bosses. The treatment these people received depended upon the nature of the manor owner. Some could be incredibly cruel and some could be incredibly generous. Hester Canning fell more towards the later with both Ms. Bell and eventually with Cat.
If you are a fan of Kate Morton, then you will definitely enjoy Ms. Webb's novels. Ms. Webb is on her way to becoming a strong historical fiction writer. I am definitely looking forward to her next book, A Half Forgotten Song,when it is released in the fall.
Final Take: 4/5
Sunday, June 24, 2012
Review: We are in our first year of t-ball for my 4 year old son and he shows quite a natural ability for the sport. The tough thing we have found is having his attention last the hour long practice and an hour long game. So, when I found A Baseball Story at the recent Usborne book fair, I knew it would teach us some good lessons about not only playing the game but how to act while playing.
We are introduced to Jordan, a young boy who is so excited for his baseball game that he passes us getting ice cream with his friends. As he puts on his uniform and gets ready for the game he needs to check out that he looks a real baseball player.
What we learn from Jordan is that a baseball player is "always ready", whether it's when they are on the field or getting ready to bat. It is important to always to pay attention in the game because you never know when the ball with be coming to you. He said that even though his parents wave to him as he goes onto the field and up to bat that he can't wave back because he "always has to be ready".
Since I've been reading this to him for the last week I have noticed that he is not goofing off as much at practice. When I read him the book and we come to the parts where Jordan is talking about being ready, my son will say it out loud with me. It's nice to see him enjoying a story and the moral of it beginning to sink it. It also does a good job of portraying sportsmanship by showing the kids saying "Good Game". My son has no problem doing this and at this age I think it's OK not to keep score and let everyone bat since they are learning the game.
What's key for me is showing my kids that participating in activities is fun but you still need to learn how to play the right way and means paying attention. I've been trying to teach my son that his coach is just another teacher.
The colors of the book are vibrant and well drawn; perfect for this age group and slightly older. I think it's a great baseball book that focuses a little less on fundamentals and more on sportsmanship and how you always have to be ready to play.
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Congratulations to all of our Armchair BEA Giveaway Galore winners! We have forwarded your information to the appropriate people for distribution and you should receive your book(s) shortly.
Jana Bibi's Excellent Fortunes goes to:
Faith Hope & Cherry Tea
We Sinners goes to:
Me, Who Dove into the Heart of the World goes to:
The Heat of the Sun goes to:
Crime & Thrillers Pack goes to:
Debbie's World of Books
Historical Fiction Pack goes to:
Non-Fiction Pack goes to:
YA Pack goes to:
Romance Pack goes to:
Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl
Contemporary Literature Pack goes to:
Thank you to everyone who participated! Happy Reading!
As always, GJR used Random.org to generate the winners.
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Summary: In Such a Pretty Fat, Jen Lancaster learned how to come to terms with her body. In My Fair Lazy, she expanded her mind. Now the New York Times bestselling author gives herself—and her generation—a kick in the X, by facing her greatest challenge to date: acting her age. Jen is finally ready to put away childish things (except her Barbie Styling Head, of course) and embrace the investment-making, mortgage-carrying, life-insurance-having adult she’s become. From getting a mammogram to volunteering at a halfway house, she tackles the grown-up activities she’s resisted for years, and with each rite of passage she completes, she’ll uncover a valuable—and probably humiliating—life lesson that will ease her path to full-fledged, if reluctant, adulthood. ~amazon.com
Review: I really don't read memoirs. I don't. I don't want to read about how horrible some one's childhood is or how they got through a tough time and persevered. Jen Lancaster's memoirs are nothing of the sort. Frankly, she's funny as shit. Bitter is the New Black wasn't my favorite read but obviously something brings me back to her. Oh yeah, it's because she's funny as shit. She says everything I would like to be able to say. She puts herself in situations so that she can mock herself and maybe learn a little something on the way.
In this book she made me cry too (see her story about Thanksgiving) but mainly I couldn't stop laughing. Not giggle, but full out laugh out loud in public and at home. I was often quoting this book to my husband, who didn't quite get it. I guess you can't take everything out of context or maybe if he had read her before he'd find my snippets more entertaining.
She is one person that I would love to have a bunch of drinks with and listen to her talk. She is my kind of person. She speaks her mind even if it gets her in trouble at times. She's real and honest and that comes through in her books.
In each of her memoirs, she's trying to better herself. In Jeneration X: One Reluctant Adult's Attempt to Unarrest Her Arrested Development; Or, Why It's Never Too Late for Her Dumb Ass to Learn Why Froot Loops Are Not for Dinner, she's taking steps to becoming a full-fledged adult. They buy a house, a generator and she quits snooping on her neighbors. She realizes that she likes where she's at in her life and that maybe being a grown up isn't so bad after all.
I still have a back log of her memoirs that I will definitely be making my way towards. Ms. Lancaster is perfect for laughs but there is always something you can learn from her as well. It's her journey to bettering herself that most of us can identify.
Sidenote: I will be seeing Ms. Lancaster speak again along with Jennifer Weiner, Sarah Pekkanen and Stacey Ballis in July. Color me excited!!
Final Take: 4.5/5
Thanks to Penguin for sending me the book and having the Twitter chat with Ms. Lancaster.
Monday, June 18, 2012
Congratulations to Margaret for winning our ARC copy of Ellen Hopkins' Triangles.
You should have an email waiting for you.
As always GJR used Random.org to generate the winner.
Thanks to all for entering!
Sunday, June 17, 2012
We have lots of dragon books in our house and have read several more from the library, but George's Dragon is one of my favorites. Unlike many other dragon books, this one isn't written as a hypothetical. George goes to the pet shop and selects a baby dragon for his birthday... his parent's think he's just a funny looking lizard because they didn't hear the pet shop man say that Sparky was a dragon... Sparky even comes with a leaflet explaining how to care for him and a disclaimer that accident's will happen, but somehow George neglects to mention it to his parents.
As Sparky grows he and George bond as lifelong playmates, but George's parents are starting to get fed up with the scorch marks and broken everything. However, when disaster strikes and Sparky saves the day, the parental expectations are adjusted, and all ends well.
I love that it's cute, but not over the top silly. It's one of those wonderful books where the parents are oblivious to the child's secret until it singes their curtains ...and it's always fun to be let in on someone else's secret. I love that it shows that parents can make a decision and change their mind when they look at things in a new light... children need to know that adults can learn and grow and change their minds too.
Friday, June 15, 2012
We have a special Girls Just Reading ARC giveaway! Here is your opportunity to win a copy of Triangles by Ellen Hopkins before it hits the shelves on June 26th. We have one copy to give and we want you to have it in your hands before the publication date, so this will be a limited time giveaway offer!
Summary: Three female friends face midlife crises in #1 New York Times bestselling author Ellen Hopkins’s no-holds-barred exploration of sex, marriage, and the fragility of life.
As one woman’s marriage unravels, another’s rekindles. As one woman’s family comes apart at the seams, another’s reconfigures into something bigger and better. In this story of connections and disconnections, one woman’s up is another one’s down, and all of them will learn the meaning of friendship, betrayal, and forgiveness.
Unflinchingly honest, emotionally powerful, surprisingly erotic, Triangles is the ultimate page-turner, told in gorgeous, expertly honed poetic verse that perfectly captures the inner lives of Hopkins’s unforgettable characters.
Fill out the form below by midnight EST by Sunday, June 17, 2012. Please review our giveaway policy here.
Thursday, June 14, 2012
Thanks to author Dee DeTarsio, we have 3 copies of her very funny novel Ros available in Kindle eBook format only.
Please fill out the form below before midnight EST Friday, June 22, 2012 to be in the running.
Summary: When a plane crashed behind Micki Cramer's house, in San Diego, California, she kept waiting for the sirens and rescue team to show up. As the first responder, it was up to her to tug on the arm that was waving out of the broken wreckage. Holding her breath against the choking smoke, she managed to get the pilot out and carry him to safety into her backyard. He wasn't that heavy; he was about the size of her 10-year-old nephew, who did play a lot of video games and ate nothing but Flamin' Hot Cheetos, but still. As it turns out, he wasn't a guy after all. Ros, the pilot, was on a mission to find her missing brother who had crash-landed at Roswell, New Mexico in 1947. Seems she was a bad driver, too, missing her target by nearly a thousand miles and more than half a century. If Ros can teach Micki how to use eleven percent of her brain, how can Micki help Ros?
Review: Aliens? Really? Aliens aren’t my thing. Had I read the summary a little closer and used my rusty powers of deduction, I would have realized this and passed on this read. If I had, it would have taken me a lot longer to discover Dee DeTarsio. Although this wasn’t what I expected, I really enjoyed reading Ros.
Final Take: 4/5