Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer

  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens (April 4, 2017)
  • ISBN-10: 1681190087
  • ISBN-13: 978-1681190082


Juliet Young always writes letters to her mother, a world-traveling photojournalist. Even after her mother's death, she leaves letters at her grave. It's the only way Juliet can cope.
Declan Murphy isn't the sort of guy you want to cross. In the midst of his court-ordered community service at the local cemetery, he's trying to escape the demons of his past.
When Declan reads a haunting letter left beside a grave, he can't resist writing back. Soon, he's opening up to a perfect stranger, and their connection is immediate. But neither Declan nor Juliet knows that they're not actually strangers. When life at school interferes with their secret life of letters, sparks will fly as Juliet and Declan discover truths that might tear them apart.

Have you ever read a book that you knew after only the first few pages, the story and it's characters were going to merge with your heart strings and never really let go?  

Where you just had to finish the book  even though you wanted to read it ever so slowly to savor the reading experience of each page? 

Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer is all of the above and so. much. more!

I fell in awe of Letter's to the Lost's  book-cover the minute I came across it a few months ago. When I went to pick up a copy of this book, I was a bit nervous wondering if this story would live up to it's beautiful cover.   I need not have worried because the story far surpassed the cover!

It had me spellbound and captivated from the first page to the last. It's well written plot and engaging characters struck such a deep chord within me that even after finishing it, the story is still swirling around in my heart  and mind. 

Letters to the Lost with it's it's gripping emotions of grief, loss and love has become one of the best books I have had the pleasure to read this year!

5 Stars!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Literally by Lucy Keating

  • Publisher: HarperTeen (April 11, 2017)
  • ISBN-10: 0062380044
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062380043


Annabelle’s life has always been Perfect with a capital P. Then bestselling young adult author Lucy Keating announces that she’s writing a new novel—and Annabelle is the heroine.
It turns out that Annabelle is a character that Lucy Keating created. And Lucy has a plan for her. 
But Annabelle doesn’t want to live a life where everything she does is already plotted out. Will she find a way to write her own story—or will Lucy Keating have the last word? 
The real Lucy Keating’s delightful contemporary romance is the perfect follow-up for readers who loved her debut novel, which School Library Journal called “a sweet, quirky romance with appealing characters.”

I found the concept of Literally  - a character in a story realizing she is being written by an author and butting heads with said author to be uniquely refreshing and brilliantly creative! I was really interested to see how this book would turn out. 

Unfortunately, I was disappointed. While the plot was very creative and well written, the story fell short of what I had hoped it would be. I found the characters to be a bit shallow and the story-line never really moved me or engaged me.  I am sad to say - I went away from reading this book feeling "blah" about it. 

Having shared the above, let me also ask that all of you out there in blog land, make your own decision regarding Literally. Give this book a chance. What may not be my cup of tea might just be something you would love and enjoy to read!

  3 Stars 

I received this book for free. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are my own. Thank you to Harper Collins Publishing, Ms. Keating and Edelweiss for the opportunity to read and review this book. 

Thursday, April 13, 2017

One Hundred Spaghetti Strings by Jen Nails

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Publisher: HarperCollins (April 11, 2017)
  • ISBN-10: 0062427601
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062427601


  • Since Steffy was little, she and her older sister, Nina, have lived with beloved Auntie Gina. But when Steffy and Nina’s dad comes home to live with them, everything changes.
  • So Steffy does what she does best: She cooks her way through the hardest year of her life. But sometimes her life feels like a kitchen-sink meal—too many ingredients that don't quite work. All Steffy wants is for her family to be whole again. Can her recipes help bring them back together?
    Steffany Sandolini is…
    1 cup perseverance
    2/3 cup listening skills
    2 tablespoons talent
    1 teaspoon loyalty
    A dash of stubbornness
    And more ingredients she hasn’t thought of yet. How will she mix them all together?

I started reading One Hundred Spaghetti Strings by Jen Nails and at first, I was a  bit miffed because the start of the book really didn't engage me. Still, I decided to read on and boy, am I so glad I did!  

The story really picked up in the second chapter (or maybe I just began to understand what was going on  in the story). Once that happened, I was glued to the pages of this book to the very end. Half-way through this book, I took  a breather, shook my head and told myself, "how could I ever have thought I didn't like this story!?"  

I was deeply touched by Steffy, Nina and their family. While One Hundred Spaghetti Strings is not a smiley, everything is roses kind of book, it is about a family in chaos searching for healing both as individuals and as a family.  My hat goes off to Ms. Nails for creating such a moving story that is definitely Well Worth the Reading!

5 Stars

I received this book for free. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are my own. Thank you to Harper Collins Publishing, Ms. Nails and Edelweiss for the opportunity to read and review this book. 

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

In Over Their Heads by Margaret Peterson Haddix

  • Series: Under Their Skin (Book 2)
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers 
  • ISBN-10: 1481417614
  • ISBN-13: 978-1481417617
  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years

Release Date ~ April 11, 2017


Nick and Eryn must figure out a way to save the world without sacrificing their newly discovered family in this follow-up to Under Their Skin, which Booklist called “crisp, intriguing, and thought-provoking” in a starred review.

In Under Their Skin, twins Nick and Eryn successfully met their new stepsiblings, Ava and Jackson. But in doing so, the twins found themselves on a mission to discover how to prevent humanity from facing certain doom.

Now, their two families are joined together to save not only themselves, but everyone—human and robotic. Can they figure out how before it’s too late?

In Over Their Heads by Ms. Haddix continues the story of Nick, Eryn, Ava, Jackson and their blended family. It is an action packed, suspenseful novel that will have readers of any age mesmerized and eager to find out what happens at the turn of each page!

While Ms. Haddix's books are targeted for children ages 8-12, they can and are enjoyed by readers of any age.  What I most enjoy about her books is not only the lively, engaging stories she creates but also the way she weaves deeper themes/social issues into her stories. These themes expose the reader to social issues that are relevant in today's world and provides the opportunity to explore and  contemplate them.  This is no small feet for any writer to do!   

I highly recommend In Over Their Heads and can't wait to read more of Ms. Haddix's writings! 

5 Stars

I received this book for free. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are my own. Thank you to Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers, Ms. Haddix and Edelweiss for the opportunity to read and review this book. 

Monday, April 10, 2017

Blacksouls by Nicole Castroman

Ahoy Me Hearties ... It's finally here!

  • Series: Blackhearts
  • Publisher: Simon Pulse (April 11, 2017)
  • ISBN-10: 1481491059
  • ISBN-13: 978-1481491051

  • Synopsis
  • {Amazon}

Edward “Teach” Drummond is setting sail to the Caribbean as first mate on the most celebrated merchant ship in the British fleet—until he rebels against his captain. Mutiny is a capital offense and Teach knows it could cost him his life, but he believes it worth the risk in order to save his crew from the attacking Spanish ships.

Sailing on the same blue waters, Anne barely avoids the Spanish attack, making it safely to Nassau. But lawless criminals, corrupt politics, and dangerous intentions fill the crowded streets of this Caribbean port. Soon, Anne discovers that the man entrusted to keep the peace is quite possibly the most treacherous of them all—and he just happens to hold Teach’s fate in his terrifying hands.

Life and death hang in the balance when Teach and Anne are given a dangerous mission. It’s a mission that will test their love, loyalty, and devotion, forcing them down a path neither one could have ever imagined.

So many of us have been eagerly anticipating the release of Blacksouls by Nicole Castroman. I, for one am so psyched it's finally out I'm doing my happy pirate dance! (Sorry, no picture; a bit too embarrassing even for me ~ LOL.)  

My Thoughts on Blacksouls?





At times Heartbreaking

Edge of the seat moments 

My Overall Impression? 


Recommendation for others to read? 


I received this book for free. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are my own. Thank you to Simon Pulse Publishing, Ms. Castroman and Edelweiss for the opportunity to read and review this book. 

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Good Veg: Ebullient Vegetables, Global Flavors ~ A Modern Vegetarian Cookbook by Alice Hart


  • Publisher: The Experiment (April 4, 2017)
  • ISBN-10: 1615192867
  • ISBN-13: 978-1615192861


For years, chef and cookbook author Alice Hart has been crafting—and sharing—“recipes for giving pleasure.” Now, Good Veg showcases ebullient vegetables, fruits, and grains—in inventive, reliable dishes to sustain you (and family and friends) all day, through every season. Hart’s food surprises and thrills through contrasts (think crisp and soft, sweet and sour, chile heat and refreshing herb):

  • Roasted Carrot Soup with Flatbread Ribbons
  • Chickpea Crepes with Wild Garlic
  • Brown Rice Bibimbap Bowls with Smoky Peppers
  • Toasted Marzipan Ice Cream

Plus, her thoughtfully organized chapters help you find just the right dish:
Mornings • Grazing • Quick • Thrifty • Gatherings • Grains • Raw-ish • Afters • Pantry

Good Veg by Alice Hart is one of the best vegetarian cookbooks I've come across in a long while!  The recipes are creative, tasty and the photography in this book is out of this world.  

I really liked the way Ms. Hart organized her cookbook. The recipes flow well and the categories she highlights make it easy to find the  right recipe for the right occasion.  

To highlight some of the recipes that drew my interest  (in addition to the ones noted in the Synopsis section) ~ 

Squash and Sesame Fritters

Eggplant and Sweet Potato Lasagna with Walnuts (YUM!)

Greek Coddled Eggs

A Summer Salad (can't wait to try this one!)

Cashew and Coconut Bites 

Please don't even get me started on the sumptuous and heavenly desserts! 😍

I started out being a bit intimidated by this cookbook but after reading Good Veg there are plenty of recipes for the novice and the master cook. The recipes are a celebration of flavors and textures that are as pleasing to the eye as well as the taste buds. Try them out and enjoy! 

4.5 Stars

I received this book for free. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are my own. Thank you to The Experiment Publishing, Ms. Hart and Netgalley for the opportunity to read and review this book.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Blood Rose Rebellion by Rosalyn Eves

  • Series: Blood Rose Rebellion
  • Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers (March 28, 2017)
  • ISBN-10: 1101935995
  • ISBN-13: 978-1101935996



Sixteen-year-old Anna Arden is barred from society by a defect of blood. Though her family is part of the Luminate, powerful users of magic, she is Barren, unable to perform the simplest spells. Anna would do anything to belong. But her fate takes another course when, after inadvertently breaking her sister’s debutante spell—an important chance for a highborn young woman to show her prowess with magic—Anna finds herself exiled to her family’s once powerful but now crumbling native Hungary. 
Her life might well be over.

In Hungary, Anna discovers that nothing is quite as it seems. Not the people around her, from her aloof cousin NoΓ©mi to the fierce and handsome Romani GΓ‘bor. Not the society she’s known all her life, for discontent with the Luminate is sweeping the land. And not her lack of magic. Isolated from the only world she cares about, Anna still can’t seem to stop herself from breaking spells.
As rebellion spreads across the region, Anna’s unique ability becomes the catalyst everyone is seeking. In the company of nobles, revolutionaries, and Romani, Anna must choose: deny her unique power and cling to the life she’s always wanted, or embrace her ability and change that world forever. 

Blood Rose Rebellion by Rosalyn Eves is full of action, magic, suspense and of course, love. The characters that are quirky, engaging and well developed along with a historical yet magical setting.

Blood Rose Rebellion is a rich, imaginative, creative and amazing debut novel! 

4.5 Stars

I received this book for free. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are my own. Thank you to Knopf Books for Young Readers, Ms. Eves and Netgalley for the opportunity to read and review this book. 

Monday, April 3, 2017

The Promise Girls by Marie Bostwick

  • Publisher: Kensington (March 28, 2017)
  • ISBN-10: 1496709217
  • ISBN-13: 978-1496709219


Every child prodigy grows up eventually. For the Promise sisters, escaping their mother’s narcissism and the notoriety that came with her bestselling book hasn’t been easy. Minerva Promise claimed that her three “test tube” daughters—gifted pianist Joanie, artistic Meg, and storyteller Avery—were engineered and molded to be geniuses. In adulthood, their modest lives fall far short of her grand ambitions. But now, twenty years after the book’s release, she hopes to redeem herself by taking part in a new documentary.

Meg, who hasn’t picked up a paintbrush in years, adamantly refuses to participate, until a car accident leaves her with crushing medical bills. While she recuperates in Seattle, the three sisters reluctantly meet with filmmaker Hal Seeger, another former prodigy. Like them, he’s familiar with the weight of failed potential. But as he digs deeper, he uncovers secrets they’ve hidden from each other—and a revelation that will challenge their beliefs, even as it spurs them to forge their own extraordinary lives at last.

I started reading The Promise Girls and soon found that reading about Joanie, Meg, Avery and their lives, along with Minerva, their Mother just grabbed me emotionally.  I couldn't put it down till I had finished reading it!  

The characters are endearing, engaging and humanly flawed. The plot is rich, captivating and full drama, love, joy, strife, angst and more drama. I was on an emotional roller-coaster ride throughout this whole story; who could ask for more?! 

The Promise Girls is absolutely spellbinding!

5 Stars

I received this book for free. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are my own. Thank you to Kensington Books, Ms. Bostwick and Netgalley for the opportunity to read and review this book.