Hot Off the Press!

Graduation Day, the finale in the Testing series, hits the shelves today!  I am super curious as to how things turn out for Cia and how fast the timeline is set in this ending.  Check out our reviews of The Testing and Independent Study HERE and HERE.  This series is definitely one for fans of The Hunger Games or The Maze Runner trilogies.

Graduation Day by Joelle Charbonneau

Buy it on Amazon: Hardcover or Kindle

graduationday

She wants to put an end to the Testing
In a scarred and brutal future, The United Commonwealth teeters on the brink of all-out civil war. The rebel resistance plots against a government that rules with cruelty and cunning. Gifted student and Testing survivor, Cia Vale, vows to fight.

But she can’t do it alone.
This is the chance to lead that Cia has trained for – but who will follow? Plunging through layers of danger and deception, Cia must risk the lives of those she loves–and gamble on the loyalty of her lethal classmates.

Who can Cia trust?
The stakes are higher than ever—lives of promise cut short or fulfilled; a future ruled by fear or hope–in the electrifying conclusion to Joelle Charbonneau’s epic Testing trilogy. Ready or not…it’s Graduation Day.

The Final Test is the Deadliest!

Hot Off the Press!

Many many teenagers and adults alike have been waiting to finish the Mortal Instruments series!  And today is their chance.

City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare

Buy it on Amazon: Hardcover or Kindle

cityofheavenlyfire

Shadowhunters and demons square off for the final showdown in the spellbinding, seductive conclusion to the #1 New York Times bestselling Mortal Instruments series.

Darkness has descended on the Shadowhunter world. Chaos and destruction overwhelm the Nephilim as Clary, Jace, Simon, and their friends band together to fight the greatest evil they have ever faced: Clary’s own brother. Nothing in this world can defeat Sebastian—but if they journey to the realm of demons, they just might have a chance…

Lives will be lost, love sacrificed, and the whole world will change. Who will survive the explosive sixth and final installment of the Mortal Instruments series?

Captain Wentworth’s Persuasion

Title: Captain Wentworth’s Persuaion

Author: Regina Jeffers

Genre: Regency Romance

Buy it on Amazon, paperback or kindle edition


Captain Wentworth's PersuasionBook Description:

Witty, romantic and insightful, this novel retells the love affair at the heart of Jane Austen’s Persuasion from the perspective of the suitor–Captain Wentworth. Written in the language of the era, Captain Wentworth’s Persuasion re-creates the original style, themes and sardonic humor of Jane Austen’s novel while turning the entire tale on its head in a most engaging fashion. Readers hear Captain Wentworth’s side of this tangled story while gazing into his thoughts and emotions.

Wentworth initially suffers rejection and frustration because the titled Elliots do not consider him good enough for their daughter Anne. Despite her feelings for Wentworth, Anne allows others to persuade her to break off their engagement. Eight years later, when Wentworth returns from fighting against Napoleon’s army, the difficult years of war have reversed fortunes. Now it is he who is rich, having won many prizes in battle, while the Elliots are deeply in debt and in danger of losing their good name.

Will Wentworth seek revenge by choosing another woman over his former love? Can he walk away from Anne, or will the memory of her lips and her touch capture his love once again?

Book Review: 

I’m surprised at how many Jane Austen novel retellings I haven’t read. And although there are very few Persuasion retellings, they are out there for those Austen fans who want another dose of the regency era romance. This one by Regina Jeffers is decent. I didn’t like the jumps back and forth between the past and present as I felt it ruined the flow of the story. But I did enjoy that Jeffers extended the story by adding a preface and ending to Austen’s original. I’m not sure if the extra content really added much, but it was fun to see one author’s interpretation of what might have happened after Wentworth and Anne finally get together and also the foundation for their relationship in the beginning. So if you want to dive back into the story from a different perspective, check this one out from your local library!

No Place for a Lady

no place for a ladyTitle: No Place for a Lady

Author: Maggie Brendan

Genre: Historical Christian Romance

Buy it on Amazon: Kindle Edition [FREE at post time!]

Book Description:

Crystal Clark arrives in Colorado’s Yampa Valley amid the splendor of a high country June in 1892. After the death of her father, Crystal is relieved to be leaving the troubles of her Georgia life behind to visit her aunt Kate’s cattle ranch. Despite being raised as a proper Southern belle, Crystal is determined to hold her own in this wild land–even if a certain handsome foreman doubts her abilities.

Just when she thinks she’s getting a handle on the constant male attention from the cowhands and the catty barbs from some of the local young women, tragedy strikes the ranch. Crystal will have to tap all of her resolve to save the ranch from a greedy neighboring landowner. Can she rise to the challenge? Or will she head back to Georgia defeated?

What I Think:

Simple summer romance read.  Totally predictable, but totally clean and full of good morals.  And you can’t beat the fact that I got it for free.  This is a great read if you can only catch a few minutes here and there for alone time.  It’s easy to pick up and read a chapter or two, and then set it aside when other things come up.  OR if you have an afternoon when you want to relax, you can also speed through it in a few hours.

As far as the plot goes, Crystal is definitely a strong feminine character with a hot temper, which makes her seem real.  I felt like the climax of the book would be saving the ranch, but there was still a good chunk left, so be prepared for some more.  Tragedy seemed to strike a LOT for one book, but it did lend to bringing in the spiritual aspect of the book very well.  Try it out!

Book Craft – Elastic Bookmarks!

It has been WAY too long since we’ve shared a book craft on the blog!  I’ve been in a super crafty mode lately getting a few things ready for our next little guy to join us in June, which is why I finally took this project off my back burner and actually executed on it!  I’ve had it on my “list” for a long time.  It comes from my all time favorite crafting blog, www.makeit-loveit.com.  Ashley shares fantastic tutorials for so many different projects.  One just happens to be a tutorial for an elastic bookmark that is awesome!  Check out the ones I made…

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If you want to make one to, here’s the LINK to her instructions.  This is a perfect project even for beginners.  Plus, I love giving some of my favorite books as gifts.  And now I can add a nice touch to them!  Not to mention that all the girls in my family will be getting one of these in their stockings this year.

You only need to set aside an hour or two to make several of these, they are that easy!

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The Art of Falling

Title: The Art of Falling

Author: Jenny Kaczorowski

Genre: Young Adult Romance

Buy it on Amazon, kindle edition


The art of fallingBook Description:

For seventeen-year-old Bria Hale, image is everything. She’s a militant vegan with purple hair, Doc Martens and a permanent scowl. Kissing captain of the football team Ben Harris? Definitely not part of that image. 

Now with each secret kiss, she’s falling deeper for the boy every girl at Oceanside High is crushing on. Throw in a few forbidden bacon cheeseburgers and she’s facing one major identity crisis. 

Ignoring Ben should be easy, but when a flashy display of artistic spirit lands her in close quarters after hours with the boy she’s too cool to like, she can’t keep pretending those kisses meant nothing. With her reputation and her heart on a collision course, Bria must either be true to herself or to the persona she’s spent all of high school creating.

Book Review: 

I didn’t love it. But it’s partly my fault. I knew going into it what kind of book this was and I still hoped to be pleasantly surprised. Don’t misunderstand me, I love young adult romances. But this one doesn’t have a lot of depth to it and the writing is mediocre. I didn’t connect with Bria, (why don’t you just eat meat in public?!?) and there was a lot of high school drama that was…well high school drama. In addition, there are frequently spots throughout where the transitions could use some help (you go from one scene to the next without realizing how you got there). But it is a really quick read. If you’re bored and this was the only book to read, you could easily breeze through it in a couple hours and be mildly entertained.

Hot Off the Press!

The final installment of The Selection series is FINALLY here! And another book by Lindsey Leavitt (author of Sean Griswold’s Head and Going Vintage)!

The One

“The highly anticipated third book in Kiera Cass’s #1 New York Times bestselling Selection series, The One will captivate readers who love dystopian YA fiction and fairy tales. The One is perfect for the fans who have followed America’s whirlwind romance since it began—and a swoon-worthy read for teens who have devoured Veronica Roth’s Divergent, Ally Condie’s Matched, or Lauren Oliver’s Delirium.

The Selection changed America Singer’s life in ways she never could have imagined. Since she entered the competition to become the next princess of Illéa, America has struggled with her feelings for her first love, Aspen—and her growing attraction to Prince Maxon. Now she’s made her choice . . . and she’s prepared to fight for the future she wants.

Find out who America will choose in The One, the enchanting, beautifully romantic third book in the Selection series!”

 

The Chapel Wars

“Sixteen-year-old Holly wants to remember her Grandpa forever, but she’d rather forget what he left her in his will: his wedding chapel on the Las Vegas strip. Whatever happened to gold watches, savings bonds, or some normal inheritance? 

And then there’s Grandpa’s letter. Not only is Holly running the business with her recently divorced parents, but she needs to make some serious money—fast. Grandpa also insists Holly reach out to Dax, the grandson of her family’s mortal enemy and owner of the cheesy chapel next door. No matter how cute Dax is, Holly needs to stay focused: on her group of guy friends, her disjointed family, work, school and… Dax. No wait, not Dax. 

Holly’s chapel represents everything she’s ever loved in her past. Dax might be everything she could ever love in the future. But as for right now, there’s a wedding chapel to save.”

Amazon: The Big Deal

Now through May 11th, Amazon is running a promotion on more than 400 Kindle books in their Big Deal Promotion!  Here are a few that we’ve read or authors we like who are included.  Now is definitely the time to look through and see what you can stock your Kindle with for the summer!

Layout 1Forest Born (Books of Bayern) by Shannon Hale 

Buy it HERE for $1.99

Rin, Razo’s little sister, is haunted by the Forest she has always loved. When Razo invites her back to the city to be one of Queen Ani’s waiting women, she happily accepts…only to end up on the adventure of her lifetime, following the queen, Enna, and Dasha into the countryside in search of a fire-starting enemy that no one can see. As she learns more about the three women’s magical talents, she finds her own strength comes from places both expected–trees–and unexpected–the sound of her own voice. A brilliant addition to the Books of Bayern, this book is a treat for fans of this series, and stands alone for readers who might be discovering the joys of Shannon Hale’s writing for the first time.

going vintageGoing Vintage by Lindsey Leavitt

Buy it HERE for $1.99

Read our review HERE.

When Mallory discovers that her boyfriend, Jeremy, is cheating on her with an online girlfriend, she swears off boys. She also swears off modern technology. Inspired by a list of goals her grandmother made in 1962, Mallory decides to “go vintage” and return to a simpler time (when boyfriends couldn’t cheat on you online). She sets out to complete grandma’s list: run for pep club secretary, host a dinner party, sew a homecoming dress, find a steady, do something dangerous. But the list is trickier than it looks. And obviously finding a steady is out . . . no matter how good Oliver (Jeremy’s cousin) smells. But with the help of her sister, she’ll get it done. Somehow. 

Lindsey Leavitt perfectly pairs heartfelt family moments, laugh-out-loud humor, and a little bit of romance in this delightful contemporary novel.

princessofglassPrincess of Glass by Jessica Day George

Buy it HERE for $1.99

Hoping to escape the troubles in her kingdom, Princess Poppy reluctantly agrees to take part in a royal exchange program. She travels abroad hoping to find better political alliances and perhaps a marriage. But thanks to a vengeful fairy, Poppy’s happily ever after gets complicated. This companion to Princess of the Midnight Ball will delight readers with action and romance.

 

Longbourn

Here is a relatively new release that some of our Jane Austen fans out there will likely enjoy.  Told from the servants point of view, it tells the story of working for the Bennett family at Longbourn.  The film rights have been bought by Focus Features (exciting!) and will tentatively come out in theaters in 2015.

longbournTitle: Longbourn

Author: Jo Baker

Genre: Regency Romance

Buy it on Amazon: Hardcover or Kindle

Book Description:

If Elizabeth Bennet had the washing of her own petticoats, Sarah often thought, she’d most likely be a sight more careful with them.
 
In this irresistibly imagined belowstairs answer to Pride and Prejudice,the servants take center stage. Sarah, the orphaned housemaid, spends her days scrubbing the laundry, polishing the floors, and emptying the chamber pots for the Bennet household. But there is just as much romance, heartbreak, and intrigue downstairs at Longbourn as there is upstairs. When a mysterious new footman arrives, the orderly realm of the servants’ hall threatens to be completely, perhaps irrevocably, upended. 

Jo Baker dares to take us beyond the drawing rooms of Jane Austen’s classic—into the often overlooked domain of the stern housekeeper and the starry-eyed kitchen maid, into the gritty daily particulars faced by the lower classes in Regency England during the Napoleonic Wars—and, in doing so, creates a vivid, fascinating, fully realized world that is wholly her own. 

What I Think:

It took me a few pages to get the feel of the book.  I thought there might be more connection to the Bennett family and seeing the Pride and Prejudice story through the eyes of the servants, but this is so much more.  I failed to realize myself that these people have lives of their own, ambitions of their own and definitely hardships they have to bear.  I feel in love with Sarah and her resilience while at the same time I understood her need for something more.  The characters that you only hear a VERY small bit about in Pride and Prejudice are brought alive.  This brings to me a new respect for those who serve others in whatever capacity they may do it.  I do have one caution.  While Pride and Prejudice is a a solid PG book, Longbourn is a solid PG-13.  There are a couple of violent and grotesque scenes that depict the life of soldiers and a couple of scenes that are intimate in nature.

 

April Amazon Kindle Deals

April is almost over, but we still wanted to share one good find in this month’s Amazon Kindle Deals! And it’s from one of our all time favorite authors, Shannon Hale.

Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale

April Kindle Price: $1.99 HERE

book-of-a-thousand-days-cover

Based on a classic Grimm’s fairy tale, this is the story told by Dashti, a maid from the steppes of a medieval land, who sacrifices her freedom to accompany her mistress into exile. Imprisoned in a remote tower after Lady Saren refuses to marry the man her father has chosen, the maid and the lady have almost nothing in common. But the loyalty that grows between the two, the man they love in different ways for different reasons, and the lies they tell because of and in spite of each other, combine to evoke the deepest bonds, transcend the loneliest landscapes, and erupt in a conclusion so romantic, so clever, and so right that no reader will be left dry-eyed.