Thursday, September 15, 2016

Cheese Days 2016 is here!

Tomorrow is the start of the 2016 Green County Cheese Days in Monroe, WI. Rachel and I both teach in Monroe and the girls go to school there too. If you haven't heard of this festival before you are truly missing out! It is so darn fun. It is all about celebrating cheesemaking, dairy farming, brewing beer, and the Swiss heritage of the people who moved to this area many, many years ago. 

To learn more, go to this Travel Wisconsin page, OR go to 

If you are anywhere near Monroe, WI you should make the trip out for either Saturday or Sunday! (Sunday is the big parade.) It is well worth the drive. 

Monday, September 12, 2016

New school year overload = guilt...

I'm not really sure where to begin...but holy moly has this beginning of school year kicked my butt! I haven't been posting, I haven't been reading as much, and I have SO much guilt about it. Does that ever happen to you? I now I need to figure out a way to "get back on the horse" but certainly cannot make any promises at this point. 

In the mean time, here's a bit of a "Where I am in books right now..."

Just finished not too long ago: Sisters of Salt and Iron by Kady Cross - This was just as gripping as the first book filled with teen angst, creepy dead people and sisterly drama both good and bad. I had tons of other things I should have been dong and instead hid out and read this one weekend. :) Kady Cross remains one of my all-time favorite young adult authors ever.

The Parasol Protectorate Series by Gail Carriger (5 Books) - This is one I've had for quite a while on my TBR. I decided to swallow it whole just before school started here. I did pretty good trucking through them but did drag a bit after the first two. I do have to say that I had hoped that the characters I loved so much from the young adult Finishing School series were in the books more but they really aren't sadly. 

Now reading: The Shadow Hour by Melissa Grey - I loved this first book, The Girl at Midnight, from the cover to the story and its incredible creatures and world. It is getting me to read even when I really need to be doing other things but that's ok in my opinion. It's just as good as the first one so far. 

What's up next? - I'm never truly sure where I'm headed next with reading, except that I have learned I cannot read books that have a similar theme in a row. So I cannot read a fantasy next for pleasure reading...maybe The Problem with Forever by Jennifer Armentrout will be next. It sounds SO darn good and would fit my requirements of not a fantasy next. 

The other option would be Girl Last Seen by Anne Greenwood Brown and Heather Anastasiu. I adore a good mystery, and it's co-written by one of my favorite people, Anne Greenwood Brown! She is such a truly real, smart and downright great person. 

What do you think? What would you choose next? 

I do HAVE to read a professional book next to begin more serious work on creating and completing my graduate capstone project involving building a formal makerspace in my middle school library, Invent to Learn: making, tinkering, and engineering in the classroom by Sylvia Martinez and Gary Stager.  

How have you been doing with your blog and reading lately? 

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday #238 - Spontaneous, Rebel Genius & Bad Blood

"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: Aaron Starmer 
Release Date: August 3, 2016
Published by: Dutton Books for Young Readers 

"Katelyn Ogden was a lot of things, but she wasn't particularly explosive, in any sense of the word."

Mara Carlyle's senior year at Covington High suburban New Jersey is going on as normally as could be expected, until the day - wa-bam! - fellow senior Katelyn Ogden explodes during third period pre-calc. Katelyn is the first, but she won't be the last senior to spontaneously combust without warning or explanation. The body count grows and the search is on for a reason--Terrorism! Drugs! Homosexuality! Government conspiracy! -- while the seniors continue to pop like balloons.

Mara narrates the end of their world as she knows it with tell-it-like-it-is insight as she tries to make it to graduation in one piece through an explosive year punctuated by romance, quarantine, lifelong friendship, hallucinogenic mushrooms, bloggers, ice cream trucks, "Snooze Button", Bon Jovi, and the filthiest language you've ever heard the President of the United States use over Skype. (Summary from Goodreads)

OMG! Exploding teenagers and a girl just trying to make it to the end of her senior year. I hope this is as full of humor and insight as it sounds as Mara comes of age in a strange new world.

Author: Michael Dante DiMartino 
Release Date: October 4, 2016 
Published by: Roaring Brook Press 

In twelve-year-old Giacomo's Renaissance-inspired world, art is powerful, dangerous and outlawed. Every artist possesses a Genius, a birdlike creature that is the living embodiment of an artist's creative spirit. Those caught with one face a punishment akin to death, so when Giacomo discovers he has a Genius, he knows he's in serious trouble.

Luckily, he finds safety in a secret studio where young artists and their Geniuses train in sacred geometry to channel their creative energies as weapons. But when a murderous artist goes after the three Sacred Tools -- objects that would allow him to destroy the world and everyone in his path -- Giacomo and his friends must risk their lives to stop him. (Summary from Goodreads)

This sounds SO GOOD! I love the idea of music being dangerous and outlawed. Plus there are also a whole group of friends who artists and then drama too! I'm in!

Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes 
Release Date: November 1, 2016
Published by: Disney-Hyperion

When Cassie Hobbes joined the FBI's Naturals program, she had one goal: uncover the truth about her mother's murder. But now, everything Cassie thought she knew about what happened that night has been called into question. Her mother is alive, and the people holding her captive are more powerful - and dangerous - than anything the Naturals have faced so far.

As Cassie and the team work to uncover the secrets of a group that has been killing in secret for generations, they find themselves racing a ticking clock.

New victims. New betrayals. New secrets. 

When the bodies begin piling up, it soon becomes apparent that this time, the Naturals aren't just hunting serial killers. (Summary from Goodreads)

I love this series! It's very Bones and Rizzoli and Isles for me. Plus, it has all the dark drama of it being teenager crime fighters for the FBI. Love it! 

What are you waiting on this week?

Review: Nemesis

Author: Anna Banks
Series: Nemesis, Book 1
Release date: October 4, 2016
Published by: Feiwel&Friends
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Sepora is both the only princess of Serubel and the only living Forger of spectorium anywhere in the world. These two things should mean that her life is magnificent, but instead it means that she lives a life of slavery to the King, her father, who demands more and more spectorium from her. When Sepora runs away from Serubel and straight into the hands of her enemy she has no idea she will fall for him.

My thoughts: This is such a great book! I love the idea of a Forger as a person's possible ability. This book had ALL the things I love in a book: people with fantastic abilities, a Romeo & Juliet-type romance, and drama, drama, drama between kingdoms and people.

Sepora is a great character who is extremely resilient even when she goes through ridiculous amounts of drama and trauma. She never stops caring about her people even when she's become part of Theoria in so many ways. I cannot wait to see what happens for Sepora. 

Tarik is a wonderful young leader who has just taken over as King in the wake of his father's tragic death by a terrible disease ravaging their people. The cure it seems is spectorium and they need more and more. Tarik's character was so dar great too because of his relationships with everyone else. He was easily the guy that everyone wants to be friends with. 

Together Sepora and Tarik easily begin to create a world that they can both happily fit into whether they realize that's what they're doing or not. This was one of the BEST ARCs I've read. I thought that the cover was perfect for the story of the book too. This world was so engaging. Loved it! It's a MUST BUY for both my home collection AND the school library! 

What did you think? 

View all my reviews

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday #237 - Been Here All Along, Empire of Storms & Nemesis

"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: Sandy Hall 
Release Date: August 30, 2016
Published by: Swoon Reads

Gideon always has a plan. His plans include running for class president, becoming head o the yearbook committee, and having his choice of colleges. They do NOT include falling head over heels for his best friend and next door neighbor, Kyle. It's a distraction. It's pointless, as Kyle is already dating the gorgeous and popular head cheerleader, Ruby. And Gideon doesn't know what to do.

Kyle finally feels like he has a handle on life. He has a wonderful girlfriend, a best friend willing to debate the finer points of Lord of the Rings, and social acceptance as captain of the basketball team. Then, both Ruby and Gideon start acting really weird, just as his spot on the team is threatened, and Kyle can't quite figure out what he did wrong... (Summary from Goodreads)

Aww, doesn't this sound sweet and fun? I love a best friends to more story and this one sounds like just the ticket.

(Nemesis, Book 1)
Author: Anna Banks 
Release Date: October 4, 2016 
Published by: Feiwel&Friends

The princess didn't expect to fall in love -- with her nemesis.

Princess Sepora of Serubel is the last Forger in all the five kingdoms. The spectorium she creates provides energy for all, but now her father has found a way to weaponize it, and his intentions to incite war force her to flee from his grasp. She escapes across enemy lines into the kingdom of Theoria, but her plans to hide are thwarted when she is captured and placed in the young king's servitude.

Tarik has just taken over rulership of Theoria, and must now face a new plague sweeping through his kingdom and killing his citizens. The last thing he needs is a troublesome servant vying for his attention. But mistress Sepora will not be ignored. When the two finally meet face-to-face, they form an unlikely bond that complicates life in ways neither of them could have imagined.

Sepora's gift could save Tarik's kingdom from the Quiet Plague. But should she trust her growing feelings for her nemesis, or should she hide her gifts at all costs? (Summary from Goodreads)

This one I was lucky enough to get as an ARC and it was AMAZING!! I will put that review up soon now that we're closer to October now. But let me just say that it is a #MUSTBUY!

Author: Sarah Maas 
Release Date: September 6, 2016 
Published by: Bloomsbury USA

The long path to the throne has only just begun for Aelin Galathynius. Loyalties have been broken and bought, friends have been lost and gained, and those who possess magic finds themselves at odds with those who don't.

As the kingdom of Erilea fractures around her, enemies must become allies if Aelin is to keep those she loves from falling to the dark forces poised to claim her world. With war looming on all horizons, the only chance for salvation lies in a desperate quest that may mark the end of everything Aelin holds dear.

Aelin's journey from assassin to queen has entranced millions across the globe, and this fifth installment will leave fans breathless. Will Aelin succeed in keeping her world from splintering, or will it all come crashing down? (Summary from Goodreads)

OMG!! I don't think anyone still needs to know this but THESE BOOKS ARE IT! That's right, IT!!! 

What are you waiting on this week?

Movie & Book Series Review: Tarzan 1-3

Did you go see The Legend of Tarzan in the theaters? That was the one thing I was SO bummed I was missing out on when we went on vacation in July because it came out then. Well when we got back Zach, Mallory and I went and it was SO GOOD! I loved getting more of his story, and getting one that had historical value and depth to it. 
Great preview right!? 

So after loving that, having watched many of the past versions of his story (George of the Jungle, Disney's Tarzan, etc.), and knowing I had the first book in the original book series by Edgar Rice Burroughs at my middle school library I had to know how they compared to the book. I decided to grab it and give it a try! 
Tarzan of the Apes, Book 1 - 4 Stars
The Return of Tarzan, Book 2 - 4 Stars
Beasts of Tarzan, Book 3 - 3 Stars 
Series: Tarzan 
Author: Edgar Rice Burroughs 
Original Release dates: 1912, 1913, 1914 

These books begin with the story of John Clayton II, Lord Greystoke, and his new, young wife Alice Clayton, Lady Greystoke, in 1888 on their way to a new land and a new position for the young Lord to take on in Africa. Unfortunately there is a vicious mutiny on the ship they are on. The young couple is saved from death by a crew member who Lord Greystoke defended, but only so far as having their entire collection of belongings and much of the food brought to a random shoreline and left behind. The young couple does a decent job of surviving for a while, but Lady Alice never recovers from having a son and some large shocks from the encroaching clan of gorillas. After she passes and before she can be buried, the king of the apes, Kerchak, savagely kills John and wrecks havoc on their cabin. Fortunately, a female ape, Kala, who has just lost her babe to a terrible tantrum from a male ape finds the baby John Clayton III and takes him on naming him Tarzan, "white skin." And so begins the adventures of Tarzan among the violent world of the apes of the jungle living in mostly solitude on the outside of the ape clan until he finds his family's cabin and figures out how to get into it. After discovering this he begins to teach himself how to read with the books his mother loving brought with her for just such a time. Of course eventually explorers arrive and it begins to get even more interesting then I thought it could. 

My thoughts on the books: These were FANTASTIC! After reading the first book I immediately went on Goodreads to see which book was next and exactly how many books were in the series. Boy was I surprised! There are 24 books in this series! I quick went to the public library and grabbed book 2 & 3 which they happened to have on the shelf and started reading. Again...FANTASTIC! These were full of action and adventure from beginning to end. They were filled with great detail, but not too much and seemed so knowledgeable for someone who was an American writer from Chicago! When I read about him it never said he even traveled abroad = wow!

I really liked how believable these were. I could really jump into them and be carried away into the jungle with the characters. The stories were full of such a wide adventure too which if I told one to you would seem bizarre because it's so vast but when you read it everything just fits and works. One of the things that makes everything so believable is that the life in the jungle is very brutal, and Burroughs never strays from how brutal it is for Tarzan and his "people". 

I did begin to notice that the books began to take on a template of far too much similarity in their plots. I decided to not continue with the series at this point, but may in the future. I will definitely be buying books 2 & 3 for the library as well as a newly updated one over the 70's version we currently have of book 1 hoping to get some kids into them now that I know how great they are.

My thoughts on the Movie v. Books: This most recent movie, The Legend of Tarzan, is the closest to the books stories then any other. The origin story isn't right but it's not entirely wrong either. The natives and Jane's back story are a bit closer, except that Jane's father is actually a bit like the one in the Disney film. The thing that really compares is the brutality of the jungle, its inhabitants and the people he interacts with. There are some very scary moments in this movie, as well as some terrible violence which is very hard to watch. I knew that much of it was CGI but it was so well done and incredibly beautiful making me just not care. Plus, Jane in the books may not be quite as kick ass as the one in the film, but she IS extremely resilient and quite incredible in a time when women were expected to look good, marry and have babies. Disney on the other hand, seems to have taken random people from Burroughs's books, and the very general story and then done whatever they wanted with it. Ridiculous as usual when compared to this classic, but on its own its still pretty adorable and fun. Plus, the music is fantastic. 

We will certainly be buying this recent movie for our collection and enjoying it over and over again. 

p.s. I was SO darn thrilled that there is a part of Book 1 that takes place in Wisconsin! Too fun! 
What did you think? 

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday #236 - Unboxed, Gemini & Lovely Reckless

"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: Non Pratt 
Release Date: August 15, 2016 
Published by: Barrington Stoke 

Four teenagers come together after several months apart. In previous years, they had put together a time capsule about their best summer with a friend who was dying. Now that their friend has passed, they reunite to open the box.  (Summary from Goodreads)

I'm curious. I like ti add emotionally charged stories to my reading list, and I can't wait to see what these teenagers put in their capsule, what memories these items will evoke.

Author: Jay Kristoff & Amie Kaufman 
Release Date: October 8, 2016 
Published by: Knopf Books for Young Readers/PenguinRandomHouse

Moving to a space station at the edge of the galaxy was always going to be the death of Hanna's social life. Nobody said it might actually get her killed.

Hanna is the station captain's pampered daughter; Nik the reluctant member of a notorious crime family. But while the pair are struggling with the realities of life aboard the galaxy's most boring space station, little do they know that Kady Grant and the Hypatia are headed right toward Heimdall, carrying news o the Kerenza invasion.

When an elite BeiTech strike team invades the station, Hanna and Nik are thrown together to defend their home. But alien predators are picking off the station residents one by one, and a malfunction in the station's wormhole means the space-time continuum might be ripped in two before dinner. Soon Hanna and Nik aren't just fighting for their own survival; the fate of everyone on the Hypatia - and possibly the known universe - is in their hands.

But relax. They've totally got this. They hope.

Once again told through a compelling dossier of emails, IMs, classified files, transcripts, and schematics, Gemini raises the stakes of the Illuminae Files, hurling readers into an enthralling new story that will leave them breathless. (Summary from Goodreads)

I LOVE book 1 in this series! It is a completely different way of writing and telling a story then I had ever read before. A wow! Have you read it?
Check out my review of the first book:
Book 1 = Illuminae

Author: Kami Garcia 
Release Date: October 4, 2016 
Published by: Imprint/MacMillan

I've become an expert at avoiding things that could hurt me--which means I will figure out how to stay away from Marco Leone.

Seventeen-year-old Frankie Devereux would do anything to forget the past. Haunted by the memory of her boyfriend's death, she lives her life by one dangerous rule: Nothing matters. At least, that's what Frankie tells herself after a reckless mistake forces her to leave her privileged life in the Heights to move in with her dad--an undercover cop. She transfers to a public high school in the Downs, where fistfights don't faze anyone and illegal street racing is more popular than football.

Marco Leone is the fastest street racer in the Downs. Tough, sexy, and hypnotic, he makes it impossible for Frankie to ignore him--and how he makes her feel. But the risks Marco takes for his family could have devastating consequences for them both. When Frankie discovers his secret, she has to make a choice. Will she let the pain of the past determine her future? Or will she risk what little she has left to follow her heart? (Summary from Goodreads)

I really like the Castor Chronicles that Kami wrote with Margaret Stohl, so I can't wait to give this one a try. Plus, it sounds SO GOOD! 

What are you waiting on this week?

Monday, August 8, 2016

Review: A Court of Mist and Fury

A Court of Mist and Fury 
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses, Book 2
Release date: 
Published by: Bloomsbury USA
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Feyre's happily ever after has come at a cost. She saved the Spring Court and many more but what happens next? What happens with the bargain she struck with the High Lord of Night? Plus, she is now one of the High Fae. Will she have gifts now too?

My thoughts: This series, and especially this second book are hot, hot, hot!! Plus it is filled with a beautiful and extremely dangerous world which is so very hard to step out of as each book ends. These seriously give you a book hangover big time! As I neared the end I couldn't seem to finish it because I just didn't want it to end. :( 

Maas shows us so much more of this new world that Feyre has become a part of. It's incredible. So are the people and creatures she introduces us to as well. There's so much depth to everyone and everything. Plus, I never got that "middle book feeling" which typically happens. Yay! Even though the giantness of the book was rather hard to deal with I still flew through it in about 24 hours. :)

I thought I knew everything there was to know about Feyre after book 1, but boy was I wrong! There was so much growth with this character that it blew my mind! I love her even more now which I just didn't think was possible. She becomes an incredible beacon of hope and courage for so many. I so much love that she is such an incredibly strong female lead character. 

There is also a ton of depth and growth put into both Tamlin and Rhysand after leaving from under the mountain. It's pretty shocking at first, but then when you watch how Feyre begins to finally heal it all seems so perfect. 

In fact this book IS perfect. I am blown away by Sarah Maas's writing in this series AND in the Throne of Glass series! I have no idea how she does it but it's absolutely awesome. I can't wait for more of each. 

Be sure to check out my review of the first book:

What did you think of this one? Or the first one? 

View all my reviews

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday #235 - Another Brooklyn & Furthermore

"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: Jacqueline Woodson 
Release Date: August 9, 2016 
Published by: Amistad/HarperCollins

Running into a long-ago friend sets memories from the 1970s in motion for August, transporting her to a time and a place where friendship was everything--until it wasn't. For August and her girls, sharing confidences as they ambled through neighborhood streets, Brooklyn was a place where they believed that they were beautiful, talented, brilliant--a part of a future that belonged to them.

But beneath the hopeful veneer, there was another Brooklyn, a dangerous place where grown men reached for innocent girls in dark hallways, where ghosts haunted the night, where mothers disappeared. A world where madness was just a sunset away and fathers found hope in religion. (Summary from Goodreads)

This sounds like another powerful story from Woodson. I can't wait to dive into her beautiful writing.

Author: Tahereh Mafi 
Release Date: August 30, 2016 
Published by: Dutton Books for Young Readers 

There are only three things that matter to twelve-year-old Alice Alexis Queensmeadow: Mother, who wouldn't miss her; magic and color, which seem to elude her; and Father, who always loved her. The day Father disappears from Ferenwood he takes nothing but a ruler with him. But it's been almost three years since then, and Alice is determined to find him. She loves her father even more than she loves adventure, and she's about to embark on one to find the other.

But bringing Father home is no small matter. In order to find him she'll have to travel through the mythical, dangerous land of Furthermore, where down can be up, paper is alive, and left can be both right and very, very wrong. Her only companion is a boy named Oliver whose own magical ability is based in lies and deceit--and with a liar by her side in a land where nothing is as it seems, it will take all of Alice's wits (and every limb she's got) to find Father and return home to Ferenwood in one piece. On her quest to find Father, Alice must first herself--and hold fast to the magic of love in the face of loss.  (Summary from Goodreads)

Oh how I adore Mafi's Shatter Me series and cannot wait to try something new by her! 

What are you waiting on this week?

Review: Labyrinth Lost

Labyrinth Lost 
Author: Zoraida C√≥rdova
Series: Brooklyn Brujas, Book 1 
Release date: September 6, 2016 
Published by: Sourcebooks Fire 
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Alex belongs to a family of brujas. On her Deathday, there is a large celebration thrown of brujas who come together to call her magic to her fully. A type of magical blessing by both the living and the dead of her family. Except Alex is scared of her magic which she's kept hidden from everyone and doesn't know how to stop it so she performs a spell intended to take her powers away. Instead of taking her powers away, her whole entire family living and dead disappear! Now she must be brave and strong enough to find them again, and save them.

My thoughts: So good! So dang good! This was a very different witch story then I've read before, but full of all of the fantastical magic and girl power I adore. 

The journey you're sent on with Alex and her new "friend" Nova, a boy of sunlight, takes you into a whole new world of magic which is as beautiful and twisted as A.G. Howard's Wonderland series. There's so much history and family culture to read is this one. There are new monsters to meet and new love to accept whether it be with a boy or girl it does not matter. Los Lagos is a bit like limbo, but more like the dark twisted hole Alice goes down to get to Wonderland. 

Along the way Alex must decide if she trusts and believes in her new friend, Nova. Plus, there are her powers as an Enchantrix she needs to discover more completely, and realize that she IS who she is because of her history, her family, and her magic as a bruja. So much self discovery happens in this one. 

I loved the latin american culture of the brujas, and of the female love interest. I also loved how bad the bad "guy" was (it's actually a woman). She was so dang evil in an all encompassing way. The battle was fantastic at the end. I cannot wait to read more of this series! Cordova has hit a home-run with this! It's fantastic and I will definitely be buying it for the school libraries.  

Have you read this one? What did you think? 

View all my reviews

Friday, July 29, 2016

Review: Dog Man

Dog Man 
Author: Dav Pilkey 
Series: Dog Man, Book 1 
Release date: GRAPHIX/Scholastic

George and Harold have created a new hero who digs into deception, claws after crooks, and rolls over robbers. When Greg the police dog and his cop companion are injured on the job, a life-saving surgery changes the course of history, and Dog Man is born. With the head of a dog and the body of a human, this heroic hound has a real nose for justice. But can he resist the call of the wild to answer the call of duty? (Summary from 

This was an exciting but funny comic. It showed lots of character and it had lots of detail. There are sad parts, funny parts, and lots of exaggeration. This book is one of my favorites.

This book is very enthusiastic. I have tried Captain Underpants, which is by the same author, but it wasn't for me. This book was completely different. I recommend this book to all ages. 

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Mini-review: The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B

The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B 
Author: Teresa Toten
Release date: March 10, 2015
Published by: Delacorte Books for Young Readers 
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Adam Spencer Ross is almost fifteen, and he's got his hands full confronting the problems that come with having divorced parents and new step-siblings. Add to tat this obsessive-compulsive disorder and it's just about impossible for him to imagine he meets Robyn Plummer: he is hopelessly, desperately draw to her. But is it possible to have a normal relationship when your life is anything but?(Summary from

This was a beautiful story. Adam burrowed his way into my heart, and I don't want to let him go. He is funny and a great friend and a wonderful son and brother. Even as he himself struggles to cope with his OCD which causes him to doubt himself, he is always present for those he values and loves. He wants to be the hero of the story.

As I read my heart ached, my stomach tied into knots, and my arms wanted to give him a hug. I read it late into the night because I wanted to see if Adam could get ahold of his demons and be the hero he needed to be for himself. And let me tell you, it was worth it!

Toten fills the pages with moments of joy, laughter, and pain. She hooked me from page one as she describes Adam's reaction to the girl he sees for the first time in the circle at Group: "By the time he exhaled, the boy was in love. It was like he had drowned in a wave of want."

Trust me, you want to read this book.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday #234 - Gemini, Enter Title Here, Bronze Key & Graces

"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 more then usual! Holy moly have I been busy with Summer School Library being open this summer the entire time and last week with the Green County Fair running last week which I had to be at supporting my kiddos...AND it was 100+ degrees here = exhaustion! That means some of these are already out, and some are coming out very soon. Oh well. I still wanted you to know about these great books we can't wait for! Happy Reading!

Author: Sonya Mukherjee 
Release Date: July 26, 2016 
Published by: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers 

Seventeen-year-old conjoined twins Clara and Hailey have lived in the same small town their entire lives--no one stares at them anymore. But there are cracks in their quiet existence, and they're slowly becoming more apparent. Clara and Hailey are at a crossroads. Clara wants to stay close to home, avoid all attention, and study the night sky. Hailey wants to travel the world, learn from great artists, and dance with mysterious boys. As high school graduation approaches, each twin must untangle her dreams from her sister's, and figure out what it means to be her own person. (Summary from Goodreads)

Yes! A sister story. I love those, and this one has the unique element of sisters who are conjoined twins. I can't wait to read about how they grow together and apart.

Author: Rahul Kanakia 
Release Date: August 2, 2016
Published by: Disney-Hyperion

I'm your protagonist - Reshma Kapoor - and if you have the free time to read this book, then you're probably nothing like me.

Reshma is a college counselor's dream. She's the top-ranked senior at her ultra-competitive Silicon Valley High School, with a spotless academic record and a long roster of extracurriculars. But there are plenty of perfect students in the country, and if Reshma wants to get into Stanford, and into med school after that, she needs the hook to beat them all.

What's a habitual over-achiever to do? Land herself a literary agent, or course. Which is exactly what Reshma does after agent Linda Montrose spots an article she wrote for Huffington Post. Linda wants to represent Reshma, and, with her new agent's help scoring a book deal, Reshma knows she'll finally have a the key to Stanford.

But she's convinced no one would want to read a novel about a study machine like her. To make herself a more relatable protagonist, she must start doing all the regular American girl stuff she normally ignores. For starters, she has to make a friend, then get a boyfriend. And she's already planned the perfect ending: after struggling for three hundred pages with her own perfectionism, Reshma will learn that meaningful relationships can be more important tan success--a character arc librarians and critics alike will enjoy.

Of course, even with a mastermind like Reshma in charge, things can't always go as planned. And when the valedictorian spot begins to slip from her grasp, she'll have to decide just how far she'll go for that satisfying ending. (Note: It's pretty far.) (Summary from Goodreads)

This sounds like the type of protagonist I will enjoy: the crazy overachiever who learns something about herself--I love that it's through writing a book of her own. Yay!

Author: Holly Black and Cassandra Clare 
Release Date: August 30, 2016 
Published by: Scholastic 

Magic can save you.
Magic can kill you.

Students at the Magisterium are supposed to be safe. Under the watchful eyes of the mages, they are taught to use magic to bring order to a chaotic world.

But how the chaos is fighting back. Call, Tamara, and Aaron should be worrying about things like pop quizzes and magic contests. Instead, after the shocking death of one of their classmates, they must track down a sinister killer...and risk their own lives in the process.

As Call, Tamara, and Aaron discover, magic can only be as good as the person who wields it. In evil hands, it has the capacity to do immeasurable harm, unless it is stopped in time. (Summary from Goodreads)

I LOVE this series like I LOVE Harry Potter. There's something about these books that makes me feel the same way that I did reading HP, but these are so much shorter which is nice too. If you haven't tried this series yet, DO!

(The Graces, Book 1)
Author: Laure Eve 
Release Date: September 6, 2016 
Published by: Amulet Books 

In The Graces, the first rule of witchcraft states that if you want something badly enough, you can get matter who has to pay.

Everyone loves the Graces. Fenrin, Thalia, and Summer Grace are captivating, wealthy, and glamorous. They've managed to cast a spell over not just the high school but also their entire town--and they're rumored to have powerful connections all over the world. If you're not in love with one of them, you want to be them. Especially River: the loner, new girl at school. She's different from her peers, who both revere and fear the Grace family. She wants to be Grace more then anything. And what the Graces don't know is that River's presence in town is no accident. (Summary from Goodreads)

Doesn't this sound fantastic!? I get the creeps every time I read that last sentence! Can't wait to try it! 

What are you waiting on this week?