Saturday, April 25, 2015

I'm Judging Again!

Hello All!
Once again things have gotten a little quiet here.
I swear I haven't disappeared and I'm actually reading just as busily as usual.  Surprisingly, at the moment, I'm working my way through a stack of adult romance novels - and I'm loving it!

See, right now I'm helping to judge for the Maggie Award for Excellence given out by the Georgia Romance Writers, a division of the Romance Writers of America. The Maggie Award for Excellence has been given out by Georgia Romance Writers for over three decades and I'm honored to be assisting them in the judging process.

I'm having such a great time reading, too, because I got sent eight romance novels from the Paranormal and Historical genre categories and the two I've finished so far have both been well done. I liked one so much, I immediately went online to see what else the author had written in the series. I think I'm going to be reading my way through the rest of hers. *grins*

Since these books are being judged, though, I don't feel comfortable sharing any more info about them until after the contest is over... so.... no reviews for now! You all will just have to know that I'm sighing happily somewhere with a good book, even if no evidence shows online. *wink*

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Sophomore Year Is Greek To Me

Sophomore Year is Greek to Me 
by Meredith Zeitlin

High school sophomore Zona Lowell has lived in New York City her whole life, and plans to follow in the footsteps of her renowned-journalist father. But when he announces they’re moving to Athens for six months so he can work on an important new story, she's devastated— he must have an ulterior motive. See, when Zona's mother married an American, her huge Greek family cut off contact. But Zona never knew her mom, and now she’s supposed to uproot her entire life and meet possibly hostile relatives on their turf? Thanks... but no thanks. (Description from

This was a fun book to read. Perfect to get in the mood for Summer fact, I may check out Zeitlin's other book , Freshman Year and Other Unnatural Disasters while I'm on vacation this summer in San Francisco. Her writing seems like it makes for the perfect kind of book to take on a plane. 

I loved that in this book Zona felt like an authentic teen - the kind that I was - driven to succeed in school, happy with her few close friends, and comfortable in her own skin...until suddenly she wasn't at all. I can absolutely remember going through similar self-identity crises! Though I never had that exact scenario, having to meet an entirely heretofore unknown portion of family, I can remember for one reason or another having to learn on the fly to make new friends, and never really being comfortable doing it.  

In fact, one of the things I liked most about this novel, was though it was a quick read and one that I would loosely term a "light beach read," in fact, it wasn't really that light at all.  Zona deals with some pretty heavy family issues.  She has to navigate not only a new country, essentially alone, but a new school - one where she doesn't know anyone! She learns to make new friends and hang on to the old ones.  She learns that sometimes the right decision in life is the uncomfortable one. 

This book made me laugh and it made me tear up.  It ran the gamut of emotions in the perfect way that a summertime book can.  I definitely would recommend this one to someone looking for a little bit of romance, a little bit of fun, some great scenery, but with a real focus on personal and family growth. 

Full Disclosure: eARC received through Netgalley

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Mini Reviews: The Lunar Chronicles Edition (with a Gold Star!)

I FINALLY got the chance to catch up with the Lunar Chronicles series, which is one of my favorites! I love how Meyer manages to combine the soul of the original fairy tales with some fantastic new science fiction elements creating a whole new world that manages at once to also feel familiar.

by Marissa Meyer
Lunar Chronicles, book 3

Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, now with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army. Their best hope lies with Cress, a girl imprisoned on a satellite since childhood who's only ever had her netscreens as company. When a daring rescue of Cress goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a high price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing prevent her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only hope the world has... (Description from

I loved how this particular addition to the series managed to add yet another set of characters and their own back stories to the mix, but still managed to feel completely cohesive. That's tough to do!  Each portion of the story, no matter how far it seemed to stretch from Cinder's central, pivotal story line, still felt vital and I was kept right on the edge of my seat. Well done. 

Full disclosure: Book Purchased for my own Personal Library 

Fairest: Levanna's Story 
by Marissa Meyer
Lunar Chronicles, book 3.5
Prequel to Cinder

Mirror, mirror on the wall,
Who is the fairest of them all?

Fans of the Lunar Chronicles know Queen Levana as a ruler who uses her “glamour” to gain power. But long before she crossed paths with Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress, Levana lived a very different story – a story that has never been told . . . until now.
(Description from

I was completely and utterly enthralled with this book. I LOVE to think about how the villains of stories came to be the people they are when we see them interact with our heroes and heroines. Levanna's story was utterly compelling - learning her history and actually feeling sorry for her - having to remind myself about the things she goes on to do...Just wow. I actually want to give this novella a shiny Gold Star!

Full disclosure: Audio book received from AudioFile for Review/Book Purchased for my own Personal Library 

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Blog Tour - Shadow Scale (Gold Star Review)

I am beyond excited to be part of Rachel Hartman's blog tour for Shadow Scale today! I LOVED Seraphina and could not wait for the sequel... as soon as I got my review copy I dove right in. 

Shadow Scale 
by Rachel Hartman 
sequel to Seraphina

The kingdom of Goredd: a world where humans and dragons share life with an uneasy balance, and those few who are both human and dragon must hide the truth. Seraphina is one of these, part girl, part dragon, who is reluctantly drawn into the politics of her world. When war breaks out between the dragons and humans, she must travel the lands to find those like herself—for she has an inexplicable connection to all of them, and together they will be able to fight the dragons in powerful, magical ways.

As Seraphina gathers this motley crew, she is pursued by humans who want to stop her. But the most terrifying is another half dragon, who can creep into people’s minds and take them over. Until now, Seraphina has kept her mind safe from intruders, but that also means she’s held back her own gift. It is time to make a choice: Cling to the safety of her old life, or embrace a powerful new destiny?
(Description from

As I said above, I've been waiting three long years for this sequel! When the book finally arrived on my doorstep, I'm pretty sure there was some epic squealing and jumping...  As I started reading I kept struggling with myself. I had a huge urge to plow straight through and devour it, but then I could not help but slow down and savor Hartman's writing.  

Not only is this another fantastic example of a fantasy that I just could not wait to see unfold, but Hartman truly does have a gift for description.  Her characters, places, and general world-building sucked me in once again.  Though this is a hefty tome (coming in at almost 600 pages), I never felt as if it was too much.  Each scene felt right and necessary.  I love the amount of information that she was able to continue to add to Seraphina's world - the history of the kingdoms, Seraphina's past interactions with the other ityasaari (half-dragons) and then her ability to merge the backstories of several characters into one larger, more important storyline.  Absolutely compelling. 

Those of you waiting with bated breath as I was, you won't be disappointed.  Seraphina's tale is one of war, love, friendship, betrayal, danger, compromise, and compassion.  Though I'm sorry to see it end, it was well done and I enjoyed it all the way through. Another gold star to Rachel Hartman! 

Full disclosure: Review copy received from Publisher for Blog Tour

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Read From My Personal Library - March Update

So, I promised you all that I'd keep you updated on my self-imposed "Read from my Personal Library" challenge.

This is what the challenge stated: My realistic goal is going to be to read 3 personally owned books for every 1 that I read from the Library, etc.  

And here's how I did for the rest of March:
I read 9 books total.  

Four of those books were from borrowed through the Library where I work - 1 fun fiction read, 2 personal non-fiction reads, and 1 fiction book for work (for the book club I lead).

One book was sent to me for a Blog Tour review.  

Four of those books came from my own Personal Library!! Not quite the 3:1 ratio that I'd been aiming for, BUT a 1:1 ratio is a decent start...I'm going to aim for better in April.  

So, what did I read from my Personal Library?
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown
Cress (Lunar Chronicles 3)

Fairest (Lunar Chronicles Prequel)

The Final Act (Immortal Circus 3)
Anyone else read from their own bookshelves (physical or virtual) this month?