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scharle4

Love.Life.Read

Come escape with me through reading...I read all sorts of books but mainly young adult, adult fiction, children's and nonfiction on a daily basis. You'll very rarely find me without a book by my side.
How My Summer Went Up in Flames - Jennifer Salvato Doktorski From debut author Ms. Doktroski, she is a fresh face in contemporary fiction. I really enjoyed How My Summer Went Up in Flames. Let’s face it—we all make some mistakes when we are teens. How many of us have not done something we felt foolish over or wish we hadn’t done? Ms. Doktroski’s book introduces us to Rosie just after her school year ended. She is devastated that her boyfriend cheater on her and goes a bit crazy. I mean, how many of us destroyed things that our ex-boyfriend gave us…maybe just not to the extent Rosie did though.

Rosie is a great character that I think many teens can relate to in some way shape or form. She is self conscious about her curvy figure, her not feeling as smart as her companions on the road trip but she has a great heart and is protective of those she considers friends. There are moments in the book that Rosie made me laugh and of course smile through her antics.

Throughout the car trip as miles go by, Rosie begins to see through her actions that lead to her TRO (temporary restraining order) and she begins to grow. She does not have everything figured out when she gets home, nor should she but she is on a better path than she was heading down prior to the trip.

The rest of the cast of characters are intriguing in their own various ways. Logan is using the car trip to get Spencer away from their father and a real vacation for the first time in years. He is intensely smart and is gorgeous too boot. Matty is Rosie’s neighbor who is more like a brother and a boyfriend. Matty is such a great friend and we would all be better people if we had him for a friend. Spencer is one of the good guys—those that girls typically overlook. He is passionate about his music and is brainy, a planner and an organizer. Lastly, there is Avery—Logan’s friend that instantly bonds and connects with Rosie after stopping at her house along the way. It is through Avery’s interactions that we see Rosie begin to think beyond the past and now and to begin to think of her future.

What I truly appreciated about this book is the characters feel completely believable to me. The story is engaging with laugh out loud moments but some seriousness filtered in throughout it. Ms. Doktorski’s writing is fresh and attention grabbing—ll important things in writing young adult novels. I am hoping to see her stick around for a long, long time and she could easily become a household name in young adult contemporary fiction.

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Heir to a Desert Legacy - Maisey Yates It was a pleasant read. It built as the story progressed throughout Chloe and Sayid meeting for the first time in Portland, Oregon to traveling to his home in Attar and finally their marriage. Along the way, we learn of both Chloe and Sayid are more similar than they realize, as they both experienced traumatic childhoods, will do anything to protect what they considered theirs and take on each other to ensure their nephew is safe and reaches the throne. To me, this was a pleasant interlude with moments of intense encounters, simmering passion and heartfelt emotions. It did leave me with a ho-hum feeling and it won’t be one I will revisit at a later date.

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Grave Mercy - Robin LaFevers My Thoughts:

Where do I begin with this review? Let me tell you first, that I remember seeing this book all over the place on other blogs (back before I started to actively blog). I added to my TBR list and bought it recently for my library’s collection. It was just one of those books I was uncertain about but I thought I would give it a shot. Boy am I ever glad I did—this book was FANTASTIC!!

Ms. LaFevers writing instantly hooked me into the story. From the first page, I was drawn into the setting and quickly became attached to the characters. I am a big fan of historical fiction so I’ve spent quite a lot of time reading it. I just love the amount of detail that she included—it was not too much and not too little. Her characters are well developed and believable for both the time and the situations. I appreciate the amount of growth that Ismae and Gavriel both go through to get to where they are at the end of the story.

This is not an easy story for the most lighthearted readers yet neither is dark and grotesque. There is some violence, especially at the beginning when we learn of Ismae’s past and how she comes to be at the Abbey. There is intrigue, mystery and so much more than just the assassinations that Ismae is called onto to do. The relationship that develops between Ismae and Gavriel begins with each disliking the other, slowly to trust then onto love. This book really has something for most readers to latch onto so it hooks you into investing into the story.

My most favorite quote from the book:

“I feel grace. Warm and flowing like a river, it pours over me. I am awash in grace and cannot help but raise my face to it as I would to the sun. I want to laugh as it rains down on me, ripples through my limbs, cleanses them of fatigue and self-loathing. I am reborn in this grace, and suddenly, I can do anything” (pages 522-523).

The writing is just gorgeous!! I am looking forward to reading Dark Triumph, the second in the His Fair Assassins series. I have it on my bookcase right now taunting me to pick it up but alas, I need to get through a few more ARCs before I can read it.

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Flirting with Maybe - Wendy Higgins A perfect small dose of delight from Wendy Higgins! She has solidified her status as a sure-buy on my list. :)
Things I Can't Forget - Miranda Kenneally Miranda Kenneally has quickly become one of my sure bet authors. I love to pass out her books to my library users (teens and adults alike) because all of them have usually come back loving her titles and will quickly snatch up the next book or put it on hold if it is not on the library’s shelf. What I also love about her books is as well is how we get to revisit with previous couples—Jordan and Sam; Parker and Will—but each book is strong enough to stand on their own or read in any order.

A amazing book makes you pause and consider then quietly invites you to grow. Things I Can’t Forget may only be a young adult novel in some people’s eyes, but what she has done with this book is given us an opportunity to think for ourselves if we are willing to put ourselves in Kate’s situation. I know that some have not been fans because they are surprised at the religious nature of the book but those readers struggling with finding themselves and questioning their beliefs—and knowing it is okay—makes this a powerful novel for them have at their disposal.

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Mind Games - Kiersten White Fia and her sister Anna tragically lost their parents in a car accident when they were just five and seven years old respectively. Anna is blind and so Fia has always taken care of her—that is her job. Fia, born with perfect instincts, is thrust into a role that has her committing small crimes—pick pocketing, computer hacking, etc. but then she is tapped to commit murder. Sent to kill Adam, she listens to her instincts for the first time in months and spares his life. Anna can see into the future only her gift is not as strong as Fia’s. However, she is the only seer who can see into Fia’s future—when she allows it to happen. Fia will do anything to protect her sister and get her away from the Keane Foundation.

Drawn into present day, readers are transported through Fia’s story into a world that is our own. We can walk down the street and see the sites referenced throughout the story. Having read many young adult novels set in alternative societies, reading one that is a psychological thriller in our own world is refreshing. Fia is a strong and likeable character, despite what she has to do to keep her sister alive. She actually reminds me a lot of Tris, from Ms. Roth’s Divergent series. Told in a combination of flashbacks (Anna and Fia’s) and present day chapters, some readers might find it a bit to get used to if they have not read these sorts of books before. However, now that I have finished the whole book, the flashbacks add so much to the story; it would not be the same without it.

I picked this book up on a Sunday morning—not sure what to expect. I read the synopsis and it sounded interesting but I have never read a book by Ms. White. Let me just say, I will be going back to read her other series—Paranormalcy. I highly recommend Mind Games to those who like a thriller, mystery, or maybe those seeking a break from alternative worlds.
One Good Earl Deserves a Lover - Sarah MacLean Lady Philippa is a serious, avant garde lady of the ton. She is engaged to marry an earl who she refers to as consistently as a “good man” and is engaged to him “because he asked.” Cross, Earl Harlow, is mourning the loss of his brother—the heir that should have been the Earl, not he. He was the wild and reckless second son, the spare as they are often referred two. Cross retreats from society and is one of the four owners to the exclusive gaming hell, The Fallen Angel.

The two of them make a perfect couple—they are eccentric, brilliant and askew society in favor of their own personal interests. Through Pippa’s request to know more of what is between a woman and a man, takes Pippa onto a journey of discovery—both the pursuit of passion but also herself. Why should she settle “because he asked” marriage when she could have love? And why should Cross continually punish himself for his transgressions and ruin his chance for his own love filled marriage?

The second book in the Rules of Scoundrels series aims to please. Sarah MacLean is getting better and better with each book she writes in my humble opinion. I have been a fan of hers since her very first book—The Season, the young adult regency era novel. Beautifully written and much loved, I could not put this book down. I cannot recommend this book enough.
Winter Dreams, Christmas Love (Point) - Mary Francis Shura another from my middle school years...the first book I ever re-read. I read this every winter.

Out of Bounds (Wildfire)

Out of Bounds (Wildfire) - Eileen Hehl a classic from when I was in middle school that I ended up purchasing from Alibris. Still holds the charm it did for me in middle school. It was insightful to go back and read this one and compare it to what is being published today in the young adult field.
Prodigy - Marie Lu I am itching to know what happens in the third book...questions have arisen and I want the answers :)
In a Blink (Never Girls, #1) - Kiki Thorpe, Jana Christy Story Synopsis:
Friends Kate, Lainy and Mia are playing outside in Mia’s yard when Gabby, Mia’s little sister, meets Prilla, a fairy from Pixie Hollow. Prilla is a rare talent fairy in that she is a blink fairy. She transports to the mainland to visit children when she blinks as it is her job to keep children believing in Fairies, which keeps them alive. Mia cannot believe her luck—she always knew fairies existed but imagine her surprise when she gets to talk with Prilla!

In a blink everything changes. The four girls are transported to Pixie Hollow with Prilla. The girls are welcomed by Queen Clarion who instructs Tinker Bell and Prilla to watch over their short stay in Pixie Hollow. They should be able to return to mainland the next day when the conditions are favorable. During their short stay in Pixie Hollow, the girls get to see where the fairies live and work in Pixie Hollow and meet Terence when they go to get pixie dust so they can learn to fly.

Kate wants to learn to fly better so she can return to Pixie Hollow whenever she wants. After meeting Vidia, a fast flying fairy, promises to help Kate learn how to become a better flier if Kate meets her after the others have gone to bed. Tension mounts as Kate gets lost in Pixie Hollow after Vidia vanishes with the pixie dust Kate brought. What will Kate do and will the others find her in time for them to go home?
My Thoughts:
This is a cute new series involving the ever popular Disney Fairies. It is a great stepping stone up into longer books, perfect for those readers who need more of a challenge than Beginner Readers offer but are not quite ready for full fledged fiction novels. Within the story is a message about being truthful and the cliff at the end will keep the readers wanting to continue moving through the series. The artwork in the ARC I read were not final, but if the final art ends up being anything like what is present in the ARC, then it will enhance the story while helping break up the text for younger readers.

There was slight confusion on my part as to why Vidia has been banned from the going to the dust mill, but I cannot imagine many of the younger readers will think anything of this. Overall, I think this is an excellent edition into the Disney book family and I will not hesitate to recommend this chapter book to my library users.
When in Paris... - Beverley Kendall Story Synopsis:
Olivia is like most college freshman with a less than ideal high school experience—she is looking forward to starting over at college. She is not going to a college where anyone else from her hometown is going, or at least she thinks. Imagine her surprise with the guy she has been infatuated with since freshman year in high school strolls into her freshman French class at the start of the school year. Is she dreaming?!

Poor Zach, all he wants to do is come to college, again looking for a fresh start. He has just gotten out a traumatic relationship and his dad will not stay off his back, living out his football dreams through Zach and his older brother. The last thing he expects to see when he walks into French class is Olivia…the unattainable girl from high school.

When a trip to Paris changes everything between them, can they learn to come together as a couple or are they destined to fall apart before they even get together?

My Thoughts:
Olivia is so completely relatable, so much so that I could not help but cringe or smile at her antics. Zach is the quintessential all-American guy. He is smart, good looking and a star football player. He acts like a BMOC (Big Man on Campus) at the beginning but as you read farther into the story you see the softer side of him. Not just a cookie cutter story, there are real issues and emotions both characters experience throughout the novel. Those who are right at their age can see themselves in the characters and appreciate their reactions to situations that are beyond their control. Older readers, do not dismay! This is a head-on love story that all of us can relate to, no matter what the age difference might be between you and the characters. The alternating viewpoints of Zach and Olivia are unexpected and a refreshing twist on contemporary romances’ usual omnipresent narrator.

What a gem this turned out to be! I stumbled across Beverly Kendall’s When in Paris late on Twitter (@scharle4) last night and I am thrilled to say that I am a new fan and found a new favorite author!

Reviewer’s Note:
New Adult: one of those buzz phrases being tossed around--just like tween, young adult and middle grades used to be. These books feature the college age and twenty somethings experiencing their first taste of adulthood: college, first careers, mature relationships and perhaps moving onto marriage, kids and houses. Yes the content is more mature than YA, so don't be surprised if there are more details in the intimate scenes. Don’t let the genre of new adult fool you though—When in Paris is not a short changed novel, it is completely and thoroughly well done novel that happens to feature younger characters.
Shades of Gray - Kay Hooper Library Journal review forthcoming
Falling in Love with English Boys - Melissa Jensen I'm struggling which surprises me...hoping to finish it up by the weekend.
G Is for Gold Medal - Brad Herzog shorten to read-aloud by just reading the ABC sentences
Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons - Eric Litwin, James Dean Love this addition to the Pete the Cat books. Subtraction has never been so much. The children at my latest storytime absolutely loved it.This title would make an excellent magnetic or flannel board piece for added fun.