Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday #140 - The Blood of Olympus and Waistcoats & Weaponry

"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. Be sure to post a link to your Waiting on Wednesday below!

This week's pre-publication "We can't wait to read it!" selections are...

Author: Rick Riordan
Release Date: October 7, 2014
Published by: Disney-Hyperion

Though the Greek and Roman crewmembers of the Argo II have made progress in their many quests, they still seem no closer to defeating the earth mother, Gaea. Her giants have risen--all of them--and they're stronger than ever. They must be stopped before the Feast of Spes, shen Gaea plans to have two demigods sacrificed in Athens. She needs their blood--the blood of Olympus--in order to wake.

The demigods are having more frequent visions of a terrible battle at Camp Half-Blood. The Roman legion from Camp Jupiter, led by Octavian, is almost within striking distance. Though it is tempting to take the Athena Parthenos to Athens to use as a secret weapon, the friends know that the huge statue belongs back on Long Island, where it "might" be able to stop a war between the two camps.

The Athena Parthenos will go west; the Argos II will go east. The gods, still suffering from multiple personality disorder, are useless. How can a handful of young demigods hope to persevere against Gaea's army of powerful giants? As dangerous as it to head to Athens, they have no other option. They have sacrificed too much already. And if Gaea wakes, it is game over. (Summary from Goodreads)

Yes, finally!!! That's all I have to say after mistakingly thinking The House of Hades was the end of the series and having to wait a YEAR to see what really happens...oh, Riordan and your cliffhangers!

Author: Gail Carriger
Release Date: Novemeber 4, 2014
Published by: Little, Brown Book for Young Readers

Class is back in session...

Sophronia continues her second year at finishing school in style--with a steel-blade fan secreted in the folds of her ball gown, of course. Such a fashionable choice of weapon comes in handy when Sophronia, her best friend Dimity, sweet sootie Soap, and the charming Lord Felix Mersey stowaway on a train to return their classmate Sidheag to her werewolf pack in Scotland. No one suspected what--or who--they would find aboard that suspiciously empty train. Sophronia uncovers a plot that threatens to throw all of London into chaos and she must decide where her loyalties lie, once and for all. (Summary from Goodreads)

This series is just so darn fun and full of girl power! I adore it! If you haven't tried it yet, you MUST give it a go! ;)

What are you waiting on this week?

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Review: The Winter People by Rebekah Purdy

The Winter People 
Author: Rebekah L. Purdy
Release date: September 2, 2014
Published by: Entangled Teen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Salome does not like the cold. No, you don't understand...she hates it. She hates the cold, the snow, a stiff wind, sleet, basically anything that reminds her of that day so very long ago when she fell through the pong as a child. She's still haunted by that day when strange fingers pulled her to safety, and the voices that warned her to stay away. But when her mother gets hurt, it falls to Salome to leave the gifts on her grandparent's property and to feed the animals even if it does mean facing her worst fear of the cold. She'll just have to do it somehow for them, but what she finds in the snow is anything but what she expected...

My thoughts: WHOA!!! This was AWESOME! I loved this world that Salmone walked into in her grandparent's backyard. The idea that there is a whole world just out of our reach which also watches us is one that sounds amazing and scary as can be at the same time.

The characters in the book were written in a way that really made me like them. Of course there was one I really didn't like but I'm not going to go into that and mess anything up here for you. What I really liked about this was that her family and the others that she meets weren't allowed to tell her any details and so she had to go out and discover all of the back story on her own completely on her own. It was so very brave and she did it so well.

If you liked Melissa Marr's Wicked Lovely series in anyway you are going to LOVE this book very much! WOW! I will definitely be getting this one for our libraries!! Thank you Entangled for letting me preview it!

View all my reviews

Friday, September 26, 2014

Local Yokel: 100th Cheese Days Festival...

The 100th Cheese Days

Every 2 years in Monroe, WI, there is this incredibly cool and special festival that is based on the heritage of the Swiss people who settled the Monroe area, and actually most of the surrounding Green County. There's beer, cheese, yodeling,  alphorns, cow milking contests, old-time cheesemaking demonstrations, great entertainment, and SO much more! 

It can be all family fun...OR adult depending on what you make of it. 

We had such a great time on Friday at the Children's Parade. Reaghan was even in it with the 4-Her's who were there showing themselves off celebrating 100 years of 4-H as well this year! We also wandered the square as family enjoying all the fantastic food until we had our fill for the evening! It was a great opening of the weekend. I wish I had pictures but there were SO MANY people I just couldn't get any good ones. :( 

Here are some pictures from our parade adventures...

The sound from these Alphorns NEVER gets old! 

These Swiss Singers are amazing! 

Isn't this car cool!?

These Bernese Mountain Dogs were EVERYWHERE! And so gorgeous!

There were SO many cows in the parade and so many people in traditional dress everywhere ALL weekend long. It was just great!

Aren't they gorgeous!? 

Even members of the UW Marching Band were there! 

And BUCKY BADGER!!!! Woot! Woot! 

How about over 100 accordions for a concert? WHOA! 

This is the amazing New Glarus Fire Department! They are nuts!

LOVE the bagpipes!!!

We decided not to go over on Saturday, since we already knew most of Sunday would be for the big parade! The big parade literally runs past you for about 3 1/2 hours! WOW! So we got to my fellow middle school teacher's house where we all sit and eat, then put out our chairs and blankets, watched the people gathered at least an hour ahead of time, and then watched and watched. It was a very relaxing day! AND, the girlies went home with a GINORMOUS bag of candy! WOW! 

To learn more about Cheese Days, click HERE and plan your visit in 2 years! The planning has already begun for 2016! :) 

Do you have any great festivals near you that you live to go to annually, or biannually in this case? Tell us about it?

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday #139 - Lies We Tell Ourselves & Talon

"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. Be sure to post a link to your Waiting on Wednesday below!

This week's pre-publication "We can't wait to read it!" selections are...

Author: Robin Talley
Release Date: September 30, 2014
Published by: Harlequin Teen

In 1959 Virginia, the lives of two girls on opposite sides of the battle for civil rights will be changed forever.

Sarah Dunbar is one of the first black students to attend the previously all-white Jefferson High School. An honors students at her old school, she is put into remedial classes, spit on and tormented daily.

Linda Hairston is the daughter of one of the town's most vocal opponents of school integration. She has been taught all her life that the races should be kept separate but equal.

Forced to work together on a school project, Sarah and Linda must confront harsh truths about race, power and how they really feel about one another. (Summary from Goodreads)

This should be a rich read. Perhaps it will be powerful enough to consider using in the prejudice and acceptance unit literature circles! 

(Talon, Book 1)
Author: Julie Kagawa
Release Date: October 28, 2014
Published by: Harlequin Teen

Long ago, dragons were hunted to near extinction by the Order of St. George, a legendary society of dragon slayers. Hiding in human form and growing their numbers in secret, the dragons of Talon have become strong and cunning, and they're positioned to take over the world with humans none the wiser.

Ember and Dante Hill are the only sister and brother known to dragonkind. Trained to infiltrate society, Ember wants to live the teen experience and enjoy a summer of freedom before taking her destined place in Talon. But destiny is a matter of perspective, and a rogue dragon will soon challenge everything Ember has been taught. As Ember struggles to accept her future, she and her brother are hunted by the Order of St. George.

Solder Garret Xavier Sebastian has a mission to seek and destroy all dragons, and Talon's newest recruits in particular. But he cannot kill unless he is certain he has found has prey: and nothing is certain about Ember Hill. Faced with Ember's bravery, confidence and all-too-human desires, Garret begins to question everything that the Order has ingrained in him: and what he might be willing to give up to find the truth about dragons. (Summary from Goodreads)

I have loved both the Iron Fey series and the Blood of Eden series so far from Julie. I cannot wait to read this next series of hers filled with dragons no less.

What are you waiting on this week?

Monday, September 22, 2014

Review: Sacrifice by Brigid Kemmerer

Author: Brigid Kemmerer
Series: Elemental, Book 5
Release date: September 30, 2015
Published by: Kensington Teen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Michael Merrick has had to hold all the strings to his family for so many years after his parents died. Every moment he has had to worry about whether he would be able to keep the business floating, the boys in school and out of juvie or foster care, the house and all of the bills paid for,a girlfriend for himself and the most important of all...everyone is still alive and the Guides still haven't gotten anyone. Will he be able to continue to hold on? Or will he have to finally surrender?

My thoughts: I LOVE THESE BOOKS!!! Seriously, I am not quite sure what to say about this book that I haven't said about all of the others in this series. These characters that Brigid has created are just amazing in their depth, their personalities are so real and I feel like they live next door to me now. I WISH they did! That would be SO cool!

Ok, I'm NOT going to give anything away, but after reading this book you'll understand why I'm going to say nevermind to the living next door wish. Yikes! You'll see! Holy moly!

Anyway, this was a roller coaster of emotions and turmoil from the very beginning to the very end! Plus it was full of exciting adventure a well! As a parent it was so hard to read this one honestly. I don't want to give away too terribly much of the book so I'm going to keep this one short and vague on purpose, but boy did I cry during a few places in sad, frustrating parts and awful parts. I do have to say that the development of Michael and Hannah's relationship, or the telling of it, is much more satisfactory in this book than in any other. I loved that. It was beautiful.

Also, the Guides in this one that are hunting the family are seriously creepy! WHOA! At the end, I wasn't sure if this was a final novel to the series...or if it was left open for more...it felt like it could go either way.

Final thoughts: If you haven't tried this series yet I do not understand what you are waiting for! I LOVE this series! Earth. Air. Fire. Water. Spirit. = Elementals! It's so darn cool.

View all my reviews

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Review: Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins

Rebel Belle 
Author: Rachel Hawkins
Series: Rebel Belle, Book 1
Release date: April 8, 2014
Published by: Putnam Juvenile
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Harper Price and David Stark have been enemies since Harper can remember. Then on the night of the Homecoming Dance when a completely crazy event ends with Harper becoming a Paladin with super powers and all, but also increasing their animosity via David's latest nasty newspaper article about Harper. Except after that evening, it seems that the two of them are the only ones who can solve the mystery that surrounds what has happened to Harper along with David's Aunt, and the ride is only going to get rougher...

My thoughts: This was an interesting twist on the super power stories I typically love like Beautiful Creatures. I hadn't read a Paladin story before, and I really liked that Harper was the girl who was trying to be Miss Goody Goody on the top of the pack of her high school after a horrifically sad family tragedy. Plus, it was Rachel Hawkins who wrote the Hex Hall series which is AWESOME!

I do have to say that this one wasn't quite what I thought it was going to be. I really DID like it a lot and can't wait to find out what happens next in Book 2. There are so many unanswered questions that I am hoping we get answers to in Book 2 that we didn't get in Book 1.

Final thoughts: If you love stories about people who gain super powers and live in The South in any way...you are going to LOVE this story!

View all my reviews

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday #138 - Unmade and Blue Lily, Lily Blue

"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. Be sure to post a link to your Waiting on Wednesday below!

This week's pre-publication "We can't wait to read it!" selections are...

Author: Sarah Rees Brennan
Release Date: September 23, 2014
Published by: Random House Books for Young Readers

Powerful love comes with a price. Who will be the sacrifice?

Kami has lost the boy she loves, is tied to a boy she does not, and faces an enemy more powerful than ever before. With Jared missing for months and presumed dead, Kami must rely on her new magical link with Ash for the strength to face the evil spreading through her town.

Rob Lynburn is now the master of Sorry-in-the-Vale, and he demands a death. Kami will use every tool at her disposal to stop him. Together with Rusty, Angela, and Holly, she uncovers a secret that might be the key to saving the town. But with knowledge comes responsibility--and a painful choice. A choice that will risk not only Kami's life, but also the lives of those she loves most. (Summary from Goodreads)

Still biting my nails from the cliff-hanger ending of book 2! NEED this book in my hands, NOW! 

Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Release Date: October 21, 2014
Published by: Scholastic Press

There is danger in dreaming. But there is even more danger in waking up.

Blue Sargent has found things. For the first time in her life, she has friends she can trust, a group to which she can belong. The Raven Boys have taken her in as one of their own. Their problems have become hers, and her problems have become theirs.

The trick with found things though, is how easily they can be lost.

Friends can betray.
Mothers can disappear.
Visions can mislead.
Certainties can unravel.
(Summary from Goodreads)

This series is so darn good! I absolutely love it and cannot wait to finish reading this!!! Maggie is just plain BRILLIANT!!

What are you waiting on this week?

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Review: Invisible by Dawn Metcalf

Series: The Twixt, Book 2
Author: Dawn Metcalf
Release date: September 30, 2014
Published by: Harlequin Teen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

An assassin has been hired to kill Joy Malone, and it has become very obvious that surviving with The Sight as a human in The Twixt is becoming harder and harder. Can she keep her heart intact while also keeping her new status she's found in the Twixt?

My thoughts: From the moment I slipped into this second book, it was like I was cuddling in my favorite PJ's! I just love these characters and everything about their wild world they live in.

Ink and Joy were just as lush and velvety as a couple as I remember them from before. Plus, the world that Metcalf has wrapped around them is both absolutely beautiful and absolutely scary. We really get to know Ink and Joy so much more in this book as we watch their lives become much more difficult as their relationship deepens and they step into each other's lives. Ok, honestly it gets a bit steamy! :) Oohlala!

As for everyone else...wow are there some scary and some gorgeous creatures in this book/world. Some are good and some are really, really bad. Yikes! I don't want to give too much away, but when Joy needed help in this book I was blown away by where she got her help from and I have a feeling you will be too! Just you wait! Cue the suspenseful music!

And that ending! Perfection! Now, I cannot wait for the next two books to see what happens next for everyone in The Twixt! I wish I could hang over Dawn Metcalf's shoulder as she types. HAHA. That wouldn't be creepy at all would it? LOL!

Read-alikes: Wicked Lovely series by Melissa Marr, Winter People by Rebekah Purdy, Iron Fey series by Julie Kagawa and Splintered by A.G. Howard.

Check out my review of Book 1:

Have you read it yet? What did you think?

View all my reviews

Friday, September 12, 2014

Review: Curtsies & Conspiracies by Gail Carriger

Curtsies & Conspiracies 
Series: Finishing School, Book 2
Author: Gail Carriger
Release date: November 2013
Published by: Hachette Little, Brown & Co
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It's the 2nd year at Miss Geraldine's Finishing School Academy and things are really getting interesting now! Sophronia and Dimity are fighting, Soap is feeling slighted, and Vieve has even gone to the other side. Will things ever be the same again for Sophronia? We'll see...

My thoughts: These books are SO DARN FUN!!! I just really like these characters. Each and every one that Gail has created is so well developed and interesting.

Sophronia and her crew show so much growth beyond what we learn about them in book 1. Our author doesn't just stop there, but continues to show us more about all of the other periphery characters as well like the teachers, boys from Bunson's, the Sooties and more.

The plot in this book really opens up and thickens up. WOW! I cannot imagine how Gail Carriger keeps track of all of the twists and turns she has created in her plot. This was just mad fun. I enjoyed it so much and could not guess it ahead of time completely which is what I always hope for since I really do not like it when I can guess.

If you have not tried these yet you really need to. Now I would really like to try the adult series! Has anyone read those? Should I read them? Buy them?

Check out my review of Book 1:

View all my reviews

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday #139 - I'll Give You the Sun & Made for You

"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. Be sure to post a link to your Waiting on Wednesday below!

This week's pre-publication "We can't wait to read it!" selections are...

Author: Jandy Nelson
Release Date: September 16, 2014
Published by: Dial

Jude and her twin brother, Noah, are incredibly close. At thirteen, isolated Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude cliff-dives and wears red-red lipstick and does the talking for both of them. But three years later, Jude and Noah are barely speaking. Something has happened to wreck the twins in different and dramatic ways...until Jude meets a cocky, broken, beautiful boy, as well as someone else--an even more unpredictable new force in her life. The early years are Noah's story to tell. The later years are Jude's. What the twins don't realize is that they each have only half the story, and if they could just find their way back to one another, they'd have a chance to remake their world. (Summary from Goodreads)

I usually enjoy books about siblings. From the description the 1/2 and 1/2 format of the book should be interesting, especially with the idea that only truth we know is our own so we are always missing pieces of the full story.

Author: Melissa Marr
Release Date: September 16, 2014
Published by: HarperCollins

When Eva Tilling wakes up in the hospital, she's confused--who in her sleepy little North Carolina town could have hit her with their car? And why? But before she can consider the question, she finds that she's awoken with a strange new skill: the ability to foresee people's deaths when they touch her. While she is recovering from the hit-and-run, Nate, an old flame, reappears, and the two must traverse their rocky past as they figure out how to use Eva's power to keep her friends--and themselves--alive. But while Eva and Nate grow closer, the killer grows increasingly frantic in his attempt to get to Eva. (Summary from Goodreads)

Are you kidding me!? It's Melissa Marr!! That's it! I'm in! 

What are you waiting on this week?

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday #137 - The Fine Art of Pretending and Salt & Storm

"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. Be sure to post a link to your Waiting on Wednesday below!

This week's pre-publication "We can't wait to read it!" selections are...

Author: Rachel Harris
Release Date: September 30, 2014
Published by: Spencer Hill Contemporary

According to the guys at Fairfield Academy, there are two types of girls: the kind you hook up with, and the kind you're friends with. Seventeen-year-old Alyssa Reed is the second type. And she hates it. With just one year left to change her rank, she devises a plan to become the first type by homecoming, and she sets her sights on the perfect date--Justin Carter, Fairfield Academy's biggest hottie and most notorious player.

With 58 days until the dance, Aly launches Operation Sex Appeal and sheds her tomboy image. The only thing left is for Justin actually to notice her. Entire best friend Brandon Taylor, the school's second biggest hottie, and now Aly's pretend boyfriend. With his help, elevating from "funny friend" to "tempting vixen" is only a matter of time.

But when everything goes according to plan, the inevitable "break up" leaves their friendship in shambles, and Aly and Brandon with feelings they can't explain. And the fake couple discovers pretending can sometimes cost you the one thing you never expected to want. (Summary from Goodreads)

You know I love a sweet romance. Can't wait to read about Aly's silly misadventures and she strives to be who she's not and, I'm sure, will learn to accept herself for who she really is.

Author: Kendall Kulper
Release Date: September 23, 2014
Published by: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Sixteen-year-old Avery Roe wants only to take her rightful place as the witch of Prince Island, making the charms that keep the island's whalers safe at sea, but her mother has forced her into a magic-free world of proper manners and respectability. When Avery dreams she's to be murdered, she knows time is running out to unlock her magic and save herself.

Avery finds an unexpected ally in a tattooed harpoon boy named Tane--a sailor with magic of his own, who moves Avery in ways she never expected. Becoming a witch might stop her murder and save her island from ruin, but Avery discovers her magic requires a sacrifice she never prepared for. (Summary from Goodreads)

I love books about witches and this one sounds like it's going to have a different twist than the ones I usually read. Nice. I'm in. Has anyone read it yet? 

What are you waiting on this week?