March 9, 2018

Audo Book Review: Tiara on the Terrace by Kristen Kittscher

Title: Tiara on the Terrace
Author: Kristen Kittscher
Narrator: Amanda Philipson
Sophie Young and Grace Yang have been taking it easy ever since they solved the biggest crime Luna Vista had ever seen. But things might get interesting again now that everyone is gearing up for the 125th annual Winter Sun Festival—a town tradition that involves floats, a parade, and a Royal Court made up of local high school girls.

When Festival president Jim Steptoe turns up dead on the first day of parade preparations, the police blame a malfunctioning giant s'more feature on the campfire-themed float. But the two sleuths are convinced the mysterious death wasn't an accident.

Young and Yang must trade their high tops for high heels and infiltrate the Royal Court to solve the case. But if they fail, they might just be the next victims.

Growing up I loved a good solid mystery.  Ones like Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden or the Bobbsey Twins.  I'm sure there were more, but those are the ones I always remember.  Tiara on the Terrace fell solidly into that category.  It was a great little mystery that had me guessing the whole time! Yes I figure out a few small things BUT so many things I thought I knew just turned out to be wrong!  I loved that.  A few times I caught myself thinking "No way! I didn't see that coming!". I can't ask for much more in a book.  The book did offer more though.  I loved the friendship between the two girls and the growing pains it is facing.  I found it very realistic.  At that age kids do start liking different things that might not be the same as the best friend they've always had.  And it was handled so well.  Watching girls of this age go through similar things I complete bought into their friendship and what it goes through in the book.

Oh can I also say the book made me giggle a few times!  One of the other girls that is a Page in the royal court just made me giggle.  She's a tomboy but jumped right into all the girly things with gusto and humor.  LOVED HER!  

Thoughts for the library:  A resounding yes! It's a book I can recommend to so many kids, and it's my go-to book for those that love mysteries.

Thoughts on the audio book: As usual I had to get use to the female narrator, but once accustom to her voice she did a great job! 

Final Thought: Solid mystery. Great characters.  Fun read.  Now I need to read the first book! 

March 6, 2018

Blog Tour: The Science of Breakable Things by Tae Keller

I'm excited today to be a part of the blog tour for

The Science of Breakable Things!

Title: The Science of Breakable Things 
Author: Tae Keller

How do you grow a miracle? 
For the record, this is not the question Mr. Neely is looking for when he says everyone in class must answer an important question using the scientific method. But Natalie's botanist mother is suffering from depression, so this is The Question that's important to Natalie. When Mr. Neely suggests that she enter an egg drop competition, Natalie has hope. 

Eggs are breakable. Hope is not. 
Natalie has a secret plan for the prize money. She's going to fly her mother to see the Cobalt Blue Orchids--flowers that survive against impossible odds. The magical flowers are sure to inspire her mother to love life again. Because when parents are breakable, it's up to kids to save them, right?

There aren't many books for the middle grade group that does what this book does.  At it's heart it's a book about family and growing up.  Natalie's family is in a crisis.  Her mom is sick.  But it's not a sickness that involves hospitals, doctors and medicine.  It's not the kind of sickness that others understand.  Her mom is severely depressed - enough to keep her in bed and away from work.  Natalie is coping, on the surface, but deeper down the cracks are forming.  As with most kids, she doesn't completely understand what is happening and why.  And like what happens a lot - the adults around her think they're helping but they aren't.  It's through a science project that Natalie starts to sort through her reaction and understanding of her mother.  I liked how the project became the instrument.  I think for many kids that would be realistic.  They deal with a serious issue through something else.  

I liked Natalie.  Her reaction to things seemed realistic for the most part.  I do wonder if, as a 7th grader, if she would've went a bit more snarky.  But I do know that many 7th graders would be just like her.  I also liked how she didn't back away from everything and ignore it.  She found ways to deal whether that was through her science notebook or outright saying something to her dad.  She failed, struggled but stubbornly dug in.  I liked that.

The ending was good.  I felt it ended on a positive note, but not everything was sunshine and flowers.  It wasn't unrealistic.  You knew there was hope for Natalie and her family, but you also knew it wasn't going to be an easy road.  

Library Thoughts: I would get this for the media center.  I think more kids are see depression in their family or the families of their friends, so I think it's an important topic to represent. 

Final Thought: Shows in a simple way how depression affects a family in a realistic way that would be good for middle schoolers.  

About the author

TAE KELLER grew up in Honolulu, where she wrote stories, ate Spam musubis, and participated in her school’s egg drop competition. (She did not win.) After graduating from Bryn Mawr College, she moved to New York City to work in publishing, and she now has a very stubborn Yorkie and a multitude of books as roommates. 

February 26, 2018

Cover Crush: A Prom to Rememer by Sandy Hall

I love book covers! I love walking around Barnes and Noble just looking at all the different covers.  A good cover will make me pull the book off the shelf!  
It's almost like I have a crush on them :)

Today I'm crushin' on:

I'm just in love with this cover! I love the colors, the look of the dress - just everything! 

About the Book:

Seven seniors, seven problems, one senior prom.

Cora: Head of the Prom Committee (and basically every other club in school). Has been dating Perfect Boyfriend Jamie™ for approximately forever, and has NO IDEA how to break up with him....

Paisley: Sarcastic feminist who wants nothing to do with prom. Has somehow managed to nominate her anxiety-ridden best friend for prom king...

Henry: Quiet ballplayer who hates social situations. Invited to prom by the most popular girl in school. SEND HELP!

Otis: Charming, popular, and one half of one of the cutest couples in his class. Doesn't know how to tell his boyfriend that he's not quite ready for a post-prom hotel room experience...

Lizzie: A little bit shy, and a lot excited to finally get out of her comfort zone and go to prom. With a boy. Whose name she doesn't know.

Cameron: Loner with two jobs and zero friends. Is so done with high school and this whole town: the only thing he still wants to do is meet the mysterious girl who's been leaving him notes...

Jacinta: Unnamed Nerd Girl #3. Determined to become the star of her own life, starting with prom. Now if only she could find a date....

February 23, 2018

Blog Tour: Pitch Dark by Courtney Alameda - Review +GIVEAWAY!

I'm very excited to be participating in the blog tour for Pitch Dark by Courtney Alameda hosted by Rockstar Book Tours.  

I loved Shutter by Alameda, so I was thrilled to read her latest book.  

About the book

Author: Courtney Alameda
Pub. Date: February 20, 2018
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Pages: 384
Formats: Hardcover, eBook

Find it: Amazon, B&N, iBooks, TBD, Goodreads

Set against a future of marauding space scavengers and deadly aliens who kill with sound, here is a frightening, fast-paced YA adventure from the author of the acclaimed horror novel, Shutter.

Tuck has been in stasis on the USS John Muir, a ship that houses Earth’s most valued artifacts—its natural resources. Parks and mountains are preserved in space.

Laura belongs to a shipraiding family, who are funded by a group used to getting what they want. And they want what’s on the Muir.

Tuck and Laura didn’t bargain on working together or battling mutant aliens who use sound to kill. But their plan is the only hope for their crews, their families, and themselves.

In space, nobody can hear you scream . . . but on the John Muir, the screams are the last thing you'll hear.

About the Author

A veteran bookseller and librarian, Courtney Alameda now spends her days writing thriller and horror novels. Her debut novel, SHUTTER, was nominated for a Bram Stoker Award and hailed as a "standout in the genre" by School Library Journal. Her forthcoming novels include the science fiction/horror mashup, PITCH DARK (Macmillan/Feiwel & Friends 2018), and SEVEN DEADLY SHADOWS, an urban fantasy set in Japan. (Co-authored with Valynne Maetani. HarperTeen 2018).

Courtney holds a degree in English literature with an emphasis in creative writing. She is represented by John M. Cusick of Folio Literary. A northern California native, she now resides in Utah with her husband, a legion of books, and a tiny five-pound cat with a giant personality.

Member HWA, SFWA, SCBWI; and SDCC Creative Professional.

I really enjoyed this book! I'm not usually one for science fiction type books, but this one was great.  Right from page one the story grabbed me, and so much kept happening that I couldn't stop reading.  I really loved Laura. I loved how smart she was and how unwilling she was to quit! She knew what she deserved - what her family deserved, and she wouldn't let it go. I would love to have her in m corner anytime.  I liked Tuck as well, but how much I like Laura overshadowed that. 

I need to talk about the world building.  It's got to be difficult to build a whole futuristic world.  Alameda did a great job.  I loved how the bits of our world were pulled into the future.  It was enough to help me understand everything.  I also liked the concept of the future and what happened to Earth.  I found it super interesting and well thought out.  

The plot was fast-paced and edge-of-your seat much of the time.  And when it wasn't that it was filled with mystery and suspense.  This came mainly because Laura and Tuck where never fully sure who they could trust.  That kept me not trusting everything as well.  I like that! 

Oh and I need to comment on the creature/mutated humans that Tuck and Laura encounter.  They were scary! I can't imagine have to survive them especially ones that kill with sound! How do you battle that?  Completely amazed at Alameda's ability to create them.

Over-all:  Great read that never slows down. 

Visit the other tour stops:

Week One:
2/19/2018- Here's to Happy EndingsReview
2/19/2018- Adventures of a Book JunkieInterview

2/20/2018- The Blonde BookwormReview
2/20/2018- BookHounds YaGuest Post

2/21/2018- A Gingerly ReviewReview
2/21/2018- Literary MeanderingsExcerpt

2/22/2018- Howling LibrariesReview
2/22/2018- YA Books CentralInterview

2/23/2018- The OWL Book Review BlogReview
2/23/2018- Pretty Deadly ReviewsReview

See the rest of the stops HERE!

Giveaway Details: 
3 winners will receive a signed finished copy of PITCH DARK & pin with a quote that’s important to the story.

US Only.

Ends on March 6th at Midnight EST!

a Rafflecopter giveaway