Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Program by Suzanne Young

The Program (The Program, #1)
The Program
by Suzanne Young
408 pages 
Simon Pulse- Free on Fierce Reads
YA Dystopian
April 2013

Book Jacket Summary
In Sloane’s world, true feelings are forbidden, teen suicide is an epidemic, and the only solution is The Program.

Sloane knows better than to cry in front of anyone. With suicide now an international epidemic, one outburst could land her in The Program, the only proven course of treatment. Sloane’s parents have already lost one child; Sloane knows they’ll do anything to keep her alive. She also knows that everyone who’s been through The Program returns as a blank slate. Because their depression is gone—but so are their memories.

Under constant surveillance at home and at school, Sloane puts on a brave face and keeps her feelings buried as deep as she can. The only person Sloane can be herself with is James. He’s promised to keep them both safe and out of treatment, and Sloane knows their love is strong enough to withstand anything. But despite the promises they made to each other, it’s getting harder to hide the truth. They are both growing weaker. Depression is setting in. And The Program is coming for them.

My Thoughts
Sloane, James, Lacey, Realm, Miller
I was not planning on reading this one but I was able to read it online through the publishers website and I could not stop once I started. Now I do have to say that you should not read this one if you are already feeling down or depressed because it is bleak in several parts. I guess you might have known this with suicide being an epidemic in the books world but I thought I would throw it in anyway.
Sloane is a teen in a world where 1 in 3 teens are committing suicide and they have place a Program to "fix" this problem in any teen showing signs of depression. Sloane is hauled off to the Program after her brother's suicide and placed in a juvie hall like environment with Realm becoming her friend. The only thing getting her through the experience is the memories of James, her boyfriend and true love. However these memories are slowly being ripped away by the Program. What will Sloane remember? 
The book did get slow once or twice but never enough to make me put it down or in this case close the browser. I was invested in what happened to Sloane, James, and Relam. It was also interesting to be reintroduced to characters after the memories were extracted. Were first impressions the same? You will have to find out. It looks top be another trilogy and if I get the ARC I will check out the next one. I would recommend checking this one out of the library.

Book Pairings
Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
Matched by Ally Condie
The Selection by Kiera Cass 
Inside Out by Maria Synder


Monday, May 27, 2013

A Tangle of Knots by Lisa Graff

A Tangle of Knots
A Tangle of Knots 
by Lisa Graff
288 pages
Library- Philomel 
February 2013

Book Jacket Summary
Told in multiple viewpoints, A Tangle of Knots is a magnificent puzzle. In a slightly magical world where everyone has a Talent, eleven-year-old Cady is an orphan with a phenomenal Talent for cake baking. But little does she know that fate has set her on a journey from the moment she was born. And her destiny leads her to a mysterious address that houses a lost luggage emporium, an old recipe, a family of children searching for their own Talents, and a Talent Thief who will alter her life forever. However, these encounters hold the key to Cady's past and how she became an orphan. If she's lucky, fate may reunite her with her long-lost parent.

Lisa Graff adds a pinch of magic to a sharply crafted plot to create a novel that will have readers wondering about fate and the way we're all connected.

My Thoughts
 Any book that has a hint of magic and cake recipes will be a winner in my book. This one has both and a well thought out plot that really is tangled up but Graff has a way of making it all come together in the end.  This is a world where most of the population has a Talent or a gift, if you will. Some can knit an afghan blanket within eight city blocks or be able to bake your favorite cake. This last one is Cady's gift and although it is an incredible Talent she has been unable to find a permanent placement. 
She lives in Miss Mallory's Home for Lost Girls in Poughkeepsie and is usually the only orphan in residence because Miss Mallory has a Talent for pairing up things. This is a set up for crazy shenanigans and plot conveniences. However it is well done if you suspend your disbelief. I did and I enjoyed the ride. I would hand this one off to anyone who like a contemporary book but with a small bit of magic thrown in. It is not overwhelming and quite enjoyable. I really liked the characters and it is told through many perspectives so we know what some of the motivations are for the characters. There are also plenty of cake recipes, which always make me want to go on a baking binge. So off I go to cook up a storm!  

Book Pairings
Pie by Sarah Weeks 
The Kneebone Boy by Ellen Potter 
Three Times Lucky by Shelia Turnage
Bliss by Kathryn Littlewood


Thursday, May 23, 2013

Willow Finds a Way by Lana Button

Willow Finds a Way
Willow Finds a Way 
by Lana Button
illustrated by Tania Howells
32 pages 
NetGalley- Kids Can Press
Picture Book
March 2013 

Books Jacket Summary
Willow is thrilled the whole class -- including her! -- is invited to classmate Kristabelle's fantastic birthday party, until the bossy birthday girl starts crossing guests off the list when they dare cross her. There are many books on bullying, but Willow's story offers a unique look at how to handle the situation as a bystander.

My Thoughts
When Kristabelle has a fantastic birthday planned she uses her new found power to make everyone do as she says. Willow wants to say that this is mean but the words can never quite come out. Instead she takes a stand in another way and it leads to some peace in the classroom. However Willow notices that Kristabelle is extremely sad and she extends her hand in friendship.
This is a simple book about what to do when you are a bystander to bullies. I actually thought that Willow's action was thoughtful and created a better stand than any words. It is a good book for children who might see bullying in their classrooms.

Book Pairings
Willow Whispers by Lana Button
Crafty Chloe by Kelly D. Pucchio 
Daisy's Defining Day by Sandra V. Feder

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

In the Tree House by Andrew Larsen

In the Tree House
In the Tree House 
by Andrew Larsen
illustrated by Dusan Petricic
32 pages
NetGalley- Kids Can Press
Picture Book
April 2013

Book Jacket Summary
An evocative story about two brothers who are growing up (one faster than the other), an unusual summer night and a special tree house that proves childhood is not just a time but also a place.
My Thoughts
After dreaming of building a tree house becomes a reality, a nameless boy love it when he and his brother hang out in their tree house. However, his brother soon only wants to hang ot with his friends and pretends his little brother does not exist. On the night of a black out they reconnect and it is really sweet. I really like Petricic's depiction of the blackout because it really shows how people in the neighborhood connect by not having anything in the background shown. The brothers are the same way, with flashlights showing the cards and comics that they played with in the past. They also can see the stars with the city wide blackout and world feels smaller and more interconnected because of it.
A nice book that shows how we can reconnect if we can only put down our electronics. Pretty illustrations and a great story line. Check it out.   

Book Pairings
Flora's Very Windy Day by Jeanne Birdsall
Imaginary Garden by Andrew Larsen


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Changeling by Zilpha Keatley Snyder

The Changeling
The Changeling
by Zilpha Keatley Snyder
218 pages
NetGalley- Open Road Young Readers
December 2012 (1970)

Book Jacket Summary
Ivy and Martha are not ordinary friends, Ivy is changeling with supernatural powers—or is she?

Martha is incredibly unpopular. She’s overweight, buck-toothed, and shy. Ivy is an outcast. Her family lives on the outskirts of town amid a field of derelict orchards. But starting in second grade, the girls form a bond that allows them to take control of their own lives. It all begins when Ivy tells Martha that she is no ordinary girl: She claims she’s a changeling, switched with the real Ivy at birth. With the strength of Ivy’s friendship, Martha becomes more confident and sure of herself. And through their bond, Ivy gains the normalcy she needs, away from life with her tumultuous family. When the two girls play, they enter an elaborate fantasy world all their own. But when the real world threatens to split them apart, their friendship becomes more important than ever. This ebook features an extended biography of Zilpha Keatley Snyder.

My Thoughts
Martha is the odd one out of her family. They are all beautiful, out going, and popular while Martha is not any of these things. Yet she is not the changeling of the supposed story in this book. Enter Ivy, she is small, brave, imaginative but comes from the wrong side of the tracks. Martha and Ivy becomes the best of friends and throughout the years. They let their imagination fly in the woods on the outskirts of town. Ivy always claims to be a changeling in a family of crooks and jailbirds. They are constantly on the move but always comes back when Martha needs her most.
I really wish I could go back in time and hand this book to a younger me or maybe I am being nostalgic for my own awkward days. I could totally relate with Martha, the shy crybaby who was on the outskirts of friendships. I also had a huge horse phase but was only able to have two weeks of horse camp each summer.
Going into this I thought it would be a fantasy but instead it is a coming of age story. Instead this book is about a friendship that withstood much hardship and the magic it can create within us. Martha and Ivy are going to joing Judy, from Daddy Long Legs, as favorite characters to watch grow up from the pages of a book.
Also, the game Tree People that Martha and Ivy play is the inspiration that Synder used to create a fantasy series. Must go do some research on where to find those! No problem reading the book even though it was written in the 1970's. Synder does a wonderful job making the book universal in setting. I highly recommend this one!   

Book Pairings
Tilly's Moonlight Garden by Julia Green


Friday, May 17, 2013

Sweet Mercy Blog Tour + Guest Post

Sweet Mercy
Stunning coming-of-age drama set during the Great Depression and Prohibition
When Eve Marryat's father is laid off from the Ford Motor Company in 1931, he is forced to support his family by leaving St. Paul, Minnesota, and moving back to his Ohio roots. Eve's uncle Cyrus has invited the family to live and work at his Marryat Island Ballroom and Lodge.
Eve can't wait to leave St. Paul, a notorious haven for gangsters. At seventeen, she considers her family to be "good people," not lawbreakers like so many in her neighborhood. Thrilled to be moving to a "safe haven," Eve soon forms an unlikely friendship with a strange young man named Link, blissfully unaware that her uncle's lodge is anything but what it seems.
When the reality of her situation finally becomes clear, Eve is faced with a dilemma. Does she dare risk everything by exposing the man whose love and generosity is keeping her family from ruin? And when things turn dangerous, can she trust Link in spite of appearances?

Ann Tatlock
Ann Tatlock is the author of the Christy-Award winning novel Promises to Keep. She has also won the Midwest Independent Publishers Association "Book of the Year" in fiction for both All the Way Home and I'll Watch the Moon. Her novel Things We Once Held Dear received a starred review from Library Journal and Publishers Weekly calls her "one of Christian fiction's better wordsmiths, and her lovely prose reminds readers why it is a joy to savor her stories." Ann lives with her husband and daughter in Asheville, North Carolina.

Books Beside My Bed
Sweet Mercy Blog Tour
Ann Tatlock

I have books not just beside my bed but piled by my reading chair and otherwise all over the house, waiting to be read. Here are a few of them:

Striking Steel by Jack Metzgar – About the 1959 steel strike, part of the research for my next novel.

Art and Madness: A Memoir by Anne Roiphe – I read many memoirs by writers and artists as I want to know about their lives, how their minds work, and how they deal with the occupational hazard of depression.

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy – Yup, I’m going to get to this one someday! I really am! Someday!

The Day God Flipped My Switch by Ron Benrey – Ron is a writer friend of mine and, even though I know his story, it’s so cool I can’t wait to read the book.

Heaven by Randy Alcorn – Always good to be acquainted with one’s travel destination, I always say.

Tour Giveaway

1 winner will receive a copy of 3 of Ann's Books

Sweet Mercy, Travelers Rest and Promises to Keep

Open to US & Canada Only

Ends 5/21/13



Thursday, May 16, 2013

Love in Bloom Giveaway Hop

love in bloom 2013 final
Love in Bloom 
Giveaway Hop
Featuring Lighthearted/Contemporary Young Adult Romance
& Sweet, Clean Adult Romance
Hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer & Portrait of a Book
May 16th to 22nd

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Forgive My Fins
by  Tera Lynn Childs


Saturday, May 11, 2013

Monster Knows Numbers by Lori Capote

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Monster Knows Numbers
by Lori Capote
illustrated by Chip Wass
NetGalley- Picture Window Books
Board Book
 February 2013

Book Jacket Summary
Who says monsters are scary? This monster is ready to count toys! Delightfully goofy, rhyming text engages the youngest readers as they learn to count from 1 to 10.

My Quick Thoughts
A bright and colorful board book with a little blue monster who wants help counting the items around his house, including three prickly teddy bears that want a hug, bug cookies, slimy frogs, and yoyo's covered in goo! Nothing is very scarey, which is perfect for little readers but still monster-ish related. Cute and perfect for a young tot who is learning to count. The bright colors will keep a little ones attention but an adults eyes might think it is a bit much. Overall cute and would be a good gift for a little one.

Book Pairings
Little Dino's Don't Bite by Michael Dahl
Monster Knows Patterns by Lori Capote


Thursday, May 9, 2013

Claude in the City by Alex T. Smith

 photo 10454770_zps0365e178.jpg
Claude in the City
by Alex T. Smith
96 pages
NetGalley- Peachtree Publishers
Easy Reader/Picture Book
February 2011

Book Jacket Summary
Claude is no ordinary dog - he leads an extraordinary life! When Mr and Mrs Shinyshoes set off for work, Claude decides what adventure he wants to have that day. Today he and Sir Bobblysock go to the city for the very first time. The have tea in a cafe, go shopping and visit a museum. It is all very normal until...Claude accidentally foils a robbery and becomes the local hero! Claude in the City has also been selected for the Richard and Judy Children's Book Club 2011

My Quick Thoughts
Absurd in all the best ways, Claude in the City will entertain many children. Claude the dog loves to go on the adventures when his owners, Mr and Mrs Shinyshoes, go off to work. He dons his chic beret  and collects his best friend, Sir Bobblysock, a stripped sock (who smells a bit like cheese). Claude's first adventure includes a tour around the city and foiling an art museum robbery. His second is curing a  hospital full of sick people when mistaken for a doctor. Charming and humorous this book will keep a child entertained. It is drawn in shades of red, black, and white. Very cute and I really like the absurd premise of a dog and  sock wandering the city.

Book Pairings
Scaredy Squirrel Goes Camping by Mélanie Watt
Claude on Holiday by Alex T. Smith
Foxy and Egg by Alex T. Smith


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Your Mommy Was Just Like You Book Blast

Your Mommy Was Just Like You
by Kelly Bennett.

Once upon a time-according to Grandma-Mommy loved getting messy, wearing kooky costumes, and dragging out bedtime with just one more story. She collected bottle caps and dandelion fluff, and didn’t know how to tie her shoes. Sometimes she was a terror, but most of the time she was a sweet potato. Just like her own little girl today.
Kids love to hear about what their parents were like as children, and this celebration of moms and the little girls they were will inspire lots of laughter and memories.
You can purchase Your Mommy Was Just Like You at the following Retailers:
3 Winners will receive a Signed Copy of Your Mommy Was Just Like You & Swag
(Bookmark, Poster & Postcard) by Kelly Bennett.

About Kelly Bennett:

Kelly Bennett writes books for children, both fiction and non-fiction, mostly picture books. She creates stories that celebrate imagination, families, friends, pets… all that goes into being a kid. Stories such as Not Norman: A Goldfish Story, inspired by her own funny goldfish; stories about families, including Dad and PopYour Daddy Was Just Like You, and Your Mommy Was Just Like You (called “perfect for inter­generational lap sharing” by School Library Journal); stories about kids being kids—whooping, twirling, cutting up, adventuring, playing around—such as Dance, Y’all, Dance; and brand new and shining, hot-off-the-press picture book One Day I Went Rambling.

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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Ghost Flower by Michelle Jaffe

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Ghost Flower 
by Michelle Jaffe
358 pages
Mystery/Thriller YA
April 2012

Book Jacket Summary
Eve, a runaway, finds a new job at a coffee shop on the outskirts of Tuscon. When she's approached by two wealthy teens who claim she bears an uncanny resemblance to their missing cousin Aurora, her life takes a turn for the dark and mysterious. Drawn into a scheme to win Aurora's inheritance, Eve finds herself impersonating the girl, who disappeared three years ago on the night her best friend Elizabeth died. But when Liza's ghost begins to haunt Eve, doing harm to the people close to her under the guise of "protecting" her, Eve finds herself in a nightmare maze of lies and deception that leads her to question even her own identity. She realizes her only chance is to uncover the truth about what happened the night Liza died, and to find Liza's killer - before she's next. This teen thriller by Michele Jaffe will keep readers turning pages well into the night.

My Thoughts
I was immediately sucked into this book because it reminded me of the books I read in the 90's when Lois Duncan and RL Stine ruled the book shelves. It was everything I missed from that time period but with a longer page count which helped flesh out characters. Plus Michelle Jaffe is best friends with Meg Cabot.
Eve looks exactly like Aurora and that is the key to Bain and Bridgette's plan to get Aurora's  inheritance money. Eve has been in and out of foster home through the years and has landed in Phoenix as a barista in a Starbucks. She does not have much and is willing to go along with the scheme. There are some real thriller moments and Jaffe can set up a great cast of characters whose motives are up in the air. I was invested in what happened to Eve and how she was going to play Aurora through the book. I do not want to go into a lot of detail about the book because it has several twists and really good ending. If you like a good mystery and thriller I would go pick this one up! 

Book Pairings
 17 and Gone by Nova Ren Suma
Stranger with My Face by


Tiger’s Quest Book Blast

Back in Oregon, Kelsey tries to pick up the pieces of her life and push aside her feelings for Ren. But danger lurks around the corner, forcing her to return to India where she embarks on a second quest–this time with Ren’s dark, bad-boy brother Kishan, who has also fallen prey to the Tiger’s Curse. Fraught with danger, spellbinding dreams, and choices of the heart, TIGER’S QUEST brings the trio one step closer to breaking the spell that binds them.

Welcome to the Nerd Blast for
Tiger’s Quest by Colleen Houck.
Exclusive Paperback Release

This is a book blast, you will post the promotional info we provide you with, including the giveaway. No reviews required.
 Winner of a Parent’s Choice Award!
You can purchase Tiger’s Quest at the following Retailers:
1 Winner will receive a Tiger’s Curse Series Box Set by Colleen Houck.
2 Winners will receive a Signed Paperback Copy of Tiger’s Quest by Colleen Houck.

About Colleen:
Colleen Houck’s New York Times bestselling Tiger’s Curse series has received national praise with the fourth book, Tiger’s Destiny, debuting September 2012. Colleen is a lifelong reader whose literary interests include action, adventure, science fiction, and romance. Formerly a student at the University of Arizona, she has worked as a nationally certified American Sign Language interpreter for seventeen years. Colleen lives in Salem, Oregon, with her husband and a huge assortment of plush tigers.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/e849f7562/" rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway


Clear Your Shelf Giveaway Hop


Clear Your Shelf Giveaway Hop!

This is a chance to clear out overflowing bookshelf and pass on books on to other booklovers.

I will send three books off my shelf (or more likely the piles on my floor). I need the room!

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