Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. To participate, simply do the following: Grab your current read Open to a random page Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Monday, December 29, 2014

All About Middle Grade Review: Fairylicious


Fairylicious (Fairylicious, 1) by Tiffany Nicole Smith, April 29, 2013. 234 pages. Published by Twisted Spice. Source: author.
Bex meant well. She always means well, but somehow trouble follows her wherever she goes. Bex thinks she's doing something nice when she blows out her birthday candles and wishes for fairies for her and each of her friends. The good news: Bex's wish comes true. The bad news: Maize, Blush, Olive, and Iris are not the fairies the girls were expecting.

These fairies are allergic to pixie dust and afraid of heights. On top of that, every wish they grant ends up being a disaster. Bex thought fairies were supposed to make life easier. Between these fractured fairies, an aunt and a teacher who seem to hate her, and the perils of being the biggest kid in the sixth grade--will Bex survive?
First Sentence:
"B...E...X," I said to myself as I traced the wooden letters on my bedroom wall with the dusting cloth.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Catholic Review: Finding True Happiness

Finding True Happiness by Fulton J. Sheen, July 15, 2014. 80 pages. Published by Beacon Publishing. Source: borrowed from mom.
Are you perfectly happy, or are you still looking for perfect happiness?
Most people are still actively searching for true and lasting happiness, but are looking in the wrong places. It s easy to be misled into believing that happiness is found in money, rank, or renown. While these things are not inherently bad, and can in fact be used to do much good, they will, in the final analysis, not bring a happiness that endures.

Once we realize that nothing less than a complete union with God will satisfy our souls, we will not let transitory things distract or disappoint us. This is because then, according to Fulton Sheen, you put no more hope in things than they can bear. You cease looking for first-rate joys where there are only tenth-rate pleasures.

In addition to addressing the topic of joy vs. pleasure in Finding True Happiness, Fulton Sheen also helps us gain the right perspective on things such as loneliness and the secret of sanctity. This brings us to our ultimate purpose, which is found in God alone. Only by losing oneself in God, will we find our true selves-- and true happiness along with it.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. To participate, simply do the following: Grab your current read Open to a random page Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Monday, December 22, 2014

YA Review: Ruin and Rising

Ruin and Rising (Grisha, 3) by Leigh Bardugo, June 17, 2014. 417 pages. Published by Henry Holt and Co. Source: Library.
The capital has fallen.

The Darkling rules Ravka from his shadow throne.

Now the nation's fate rests with a broken Sun Summoner, a disgraced tracker, and the shattered remnants of a once-great magical army.

Deep in an ancient network of tunnels and caverns, a weakened Alina must submit to the dubious protection of the Apparat and the zealots who worship her as a Saint. Yet her plans lie elsewhere, with the hunt for the elusive firebird and the hope that an outlaw prince still survives.

Alina will have to forge new alliances and put aside old rivalries as she and Mal race to find the last of Morozova's amplifiers. But as she begins to unravel the Darkling's secrets, she reveals a past that will forever alter her understanding of the bond they share and the power she wields. The firebird is the one thing that stands between Ravka and destruction—and claiming it could cost Alina the very future she’s fighting for.
First Sentence:
The monster's name was Izumrud, the worm, and there were those who claimed he had made the tunnels that ran beneath Ravka.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

DNF Review: Crater Trueblood and the Lunar Rescue Company

Crater Trueblood and the Lunar Rescue Company (Helium-3, 3) by Homer Hickman, June 10, 2014. 336 pages. Published by Thomas Nelson. Source: BookLook Bloggers.
Crater Trueblood has to rescue his ex-girlfriend . . . and the entire human race.

Maria Medaris is the 21-year-old matriarch of the most powerful family on the moon--gorgeous, powerful, and high-maintenance. When she is kidnapped by green-lipped, gene-splicing scientists, Maria's only hope turns out to be the very man she once spurned: Crater Trueblood.

Crater and the Lunar Rescue Company must rescue Maria before she joins forces with the lunatics who have taken her hostage and aim to make her queen.

Turns out more than Maria is at stake: the planet Earth, majestically rising over the lunar horizon, is in the crosshairs of an asteroid engineered by Maria's abductors. If Crater can't stop it, humanity on Earth will be destroyed.

The fate of two worlds hangs in the balance . . . and the clock is ticking.
First Sentence:
Beneath the vast Michael Collins Dome in Armstrong City, Medaris Enterprises guards held back curious pedestrians as Dr. Maria Medaris strode purposefully from her corporate headquarters building and into the backseat of her limobug, her assistant Miss Torricelli settling in beside her.

Catholic Review: My Battle Against Hitler: Faith, Truth, and Defiance in the Shadow of the Third Reich

My Battle Against Hitler: Faith, Truth, and Defiance in the Shadow of the Third Reich by Dietrich von Hildebrand, October 21, 2014. 352 pages. Published by Image. Source: Blogging for Books.
One of the great overlooked dramas of the Nazi period! A gripping story of one man’s readiness to risk everything to follow his conscience and stand in defiance of tyranny.

Dietrich von Hildebrand was a German Catholic thinker and teacher who in response to the rise of Nazism devoted the full force of his intellect to doing public battle with Hitler for the hearts and minds of the German people.

His story might well have been lost to us, were it not for a memoir, penned near the end of his life at the request of his younger wife. Here he tells of the scorn and ridicule he endured for sounding the alarm when many still viewed Hitler as a positive and inevitable force. He recounts the sorrow of having to leave his home, friends, and family in Germany to conduct his fight against the Nazis from Austria. He tells how he defiantly challenged Nazism in the public square, prompting the German ambassador in Vienna to describe him to Hitler as “the architect of the intellectual resistance." And throughout it all, he conveys his unwavering trust in God, even during his harrowing escape from Vienna and his desperate flight across Europe, with the Nazis always just one step behind.

Friday, December 19, 2014

YA Author Interview: Natasha Deen (author of The Guardian)


Guys, I am really excited to welcome Natasha Deen to the blog to discuss her latest book The Guardian. I'm really excited because I have enjoyed her books, True Grime and Angel Maker, and am thus quite excited to have her stopping by to talk about The Guardian (y'all must read the why's on this book).

About the Author:
When I was little, there was only one thing I wanted to be when I grew up: a superhero. Sadly, this goal was made moot when I realized that being a klutz was not in fact, a super power, and my super-weakness for anything bright and shiny meant that a magpie with self-control could easily defeat me in a battle of wills. Hence, the turn to writing as an occupation. I don’t get to live on a secret space station orbiting the earth (and thank God, because I get motion sick on a merry-go-round), but I still get to wear leotards, a cape and say things like, “STAND ASIDE! THIS IS A JOB FOR WRITING-GIRL!”

You can haunt Natasha Deen at-
Goodreads | Website | Twitter


Interview

1. In seven words tell us about The Guardian.

Help him or be haunted by him.

2. Tell us about Maggie's abilities regarding the dead? If you could describe Maggie in just three words, what would they be?

She can see the newly (and confused) dead—the ones who’ve died but don’t realize it, and then she helps them let go of this life and cross to the next. Maggie in three words: kick-butt, funny, smart.

3. can you share with us a two sentence teaser from your favorite chapter of The Guardian?

Lol, for the record, every chapter is my favourite, but here are two great lines: 

When your dad owns one of the few funeral parlours in your town, you get used to seeing dead bodies, but when the dearly departed is in the trunk of your car, curled up where the spare tire should be,
it’s a little different. Especially when the corpse belongs to the late but unlamented Serge Popov, the biggest bully and dumbest jock ever to set foot in Dead Falls, Alberta.

4. Natasha, what drew you to writing about a character who could help the dead transition on to the next phase?

Curiosity. There’s so much we don’t yet know about our world and so little we know of the things we think we know. Anyone whose ever read a physics or science book and learns about quantum mechanics, Schrödinger’s cat, alternate time lines and universes, pi, the golden ratio knows what I mean…it’s all so exciting and wonderful, and it got me wondering about what the other side might look like. Also, making Serge dead and bonded to her was the best way to give Maggie a hard time, and as a writer, my life is all about tossing my characters in the deep end and seeing what might happen. ;-)

5. If you could have tea with any author, dead or living, who would it be? What would be the first question you asked them?

Actually, I think I’d want tea with the guys who invented writing. And one of my first questions would be, “Dudes, “ph” makes the “f” sound and “k” is sometimes silent. Seriously? SERIOUSLY?! WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?!” 

6. Last book that you couldn't put down? Why couldn't you walk away from it?

I just finished re-reading Robert McKee’s “Story,” which is hands-down (no pun intended) one of the best books for writers. Great info, simply told.

7. The world has fallen to a robot invasion and only one heroine/hero can possibly save the day, who do you choose?

Hero or heroine: Maggie. She’d get it sorted.
Supporting character: Nell. Those robots would be too scared to do anything!

8.  From any, young adult, book that you've read, which character would you befriend in a heartbeat? Why?

Last fall, I read the Seven series, and I’m just about to start the Seven Sequels. I’d be buddies with any one of those guys. They’re resourceful, fun, smart, and funny.

Natasha, thanks so much for stopping by! Such fun answers! I think I enjoyed most the one about why you wanted to write about this particular ability of Maggie's!

Readers you can find out more about Maggie & Serge HERE, and about Natasha by visiting her on FB and Twitter


Guardian by Natasha Deen, September 1, 2014. Published by Great Plains Publishing. 
For seventeen-year-old Maggie Johnson, transitioning the dead isn't hard. What's tough is surviving the insults and pranks of Serge Popov, high school thug and the dumbest jock to ever set foot in Dead Falls, Alberta. When she finds him dead and later discovers his spirit trapped in her room, she figures it's a case of divine justice. Let the jerk rot for eternity, bound to an earthly prison. But someone - or something - has a different agenda. If Maggie doesn't help Serge cross over, she'll die at the hands of the otherworldly entity that's taken an interest in the dead bully. As she digs into the circumstances of Serge's murder, she'll uncover the secrets hidden by the world of the living and the wonders revealed by cities of the dead - if her investigation doesn't kill her first.

You can add Guardian to your Goodreads shelves.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

All About Middle Grade Review: The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There


The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There (Fairyland, 2) by Catherynne M. Valente, October 1, 2013. 304 pages. Published by Square Fish. Source: publisher.
September has longed to return to Fairyland after her first adventure there. And when she finally does, she learns that its inhabitants have been losing their shadows—and their magic—to the world of Fairyland Below. This underworld has a new ruler: Halloween, the Hollow Queen, who is September’s shadow. And Halloween does not want to give Fairyland’s shadows back.

Fans of Valente’s bestselling, first Fairyland book will revel in the lush setting, characters, and language of September’s journey in The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There, all brought to life by fine artist Ana Juan. Readers will also welcome back good friends Ell, the Wyverary, and the boy Saturday. But in Fairyland Below, even the best of friends aren’t always what they seem. . . .
First Sentence:
Once upon a time, a girl named September had a secret.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. To participate, simply do the following: Grab your current read Open to a random page Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Monday, December 15, 2014

YA Review: Isla and the Happily Ever After

Isla and the Happily Ever After (Anna and the French Kiss, 3) by Stephanie Perkins, August 14, 2014. 339 pages. Published by Dutton. Source: Library.
From the glittering streets of Manhattan to the moonlit rooftops of Paris, falling in love is easy for hopeless dreamer Isla and introspective artist Josh. But as they begin their senior year in France, Isla and Josh are quickly forced to confront the heartbreaking reality that happily-ever-afters aren’t always forever.

Their romantic journey is skillfully intertwined with those of beloved couples Anna and Étienne and Lola and Cricket, whose paths are destined to collide in a sweeping finale certain to please fans old and new.
First Sentence:
It's midnight, it's sweltering, and I might be high on vicodin, but that guy-that guy right over there-that's him.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Catholic Review: The Way of Perfection

The Way of Perfection by St. Teresa of Ávila, March 1, 2009 (originally published in 1583). 183 pages. Published by Paraclete Press. Source: Borrowed from Mom.
God will always give us more than we ask for

Millions have read and benefited from this book since it was first written nearly 500 years ago. St. Teresa's message of humility, simplicity, persistence, and faith is replete with language that is at times earthy, and full of self deprecating humor.

Rendered here into contemporary English, St. Teresa's words, with their warm-hearted approach to Christian transformation, will help you look deeply into what it really means, sometimes in the smallest of details, to have a relationship with Jesus.
"Teresa lays out the time-tested path of Christian tranformation and union with God for those of us who will never be monastics, much less desert-dwelling hermits. Who among us does not need to know how to turn trouble into spiritual good, how to lovingly bear minor slights and major wounds, how to forgive and offer compassion?"
Paula Huston, from the Foreword

Thursday, December 11, 2014

YA Review: The Sixteen

The Sixteen (Soul Jumpers, 2) by Ali B., July 18, 2014. 206 pages. Published by New Shelves Publishing Services. Source: Cadence group.
There are people out there who don't die with their bodies. Their souls live on in the bodies of others. Some good, some bad-they are soul jumpers. Nothing in Iris Brave's world make sense anymore. Her father, Micah, is still alive-his soul survives in the body of a teenage boy. It is up to Iris and a group of soul jumpers called the Sixteen to save Micah. To do so Iris must take on the unscrupulous leaders of the Council. Can she save her father? Will she survive?
First Sentence:
I felt the cold pressure of the ice pack on the back of my head.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. To participate, simply do the following: Grab your current read Open to a random page Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Monday, December 8, 2014

A Vintage Reads Review: Toads and Diamonds

Toads and Diamonds by Heather Tomlinson, March 30, 2010. 288 pages. Published by Henry Holt and Co. Source: Library.
Diribani has come to the village well to get water for her family's scant meal of curry and rice. She never expected to meet a goddess there. Yet she is granted a remarkable gift: Flowers and precious jewels drop from her lips whenever she speaks.

It seems only right to Tana that the goddess judged her kind, lovely stepsister worthy of such riches. And when she encounters the goddess, she is not surprised to find herself speaking snakes and toads as a reward.

Blessings and curses are never so clear as they might seem, however. Diribani’s newfound wealth brings her a prince—and an attempt on her life. Tana is chased out of the village because the province's governor fears snakes, yet thousands are dying of a plague spread by rats. As the sisters' fates hang in the balance, each struggles to understand her gift. Will it bring her wisdom, good fortune, love . . . or death?
First Sentence:
Diribani ran toward the stepwell. 

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Catholic Review: Introduction to the Devout Life

Introduction to the Devout Life by St. Francis de Sales, April 9, 2002 (originally published in 1609). 288 pages. Published by Vintage. Source: my mom's book collection.
Francis de Sales’s Introduction to the Devout Life has remained a uniquely accessible and relevant treasure of devotion for nearly four hundred years. As Bishop of Geneva in the first quarter of the sevenjteenth century, Francis de Sales saw to the spiritual needs of everyone from the poorest peasants to court ladies. The desire to be closer to God that he found in people from all levels of society led him to compile these instructions on how to live in Christ. Francis’s compassionate Introduction leads the reader through practical ways of attaining a devout life without renouncing the world and offers prayers and meditations to strengthen devotion in the face of temptation and hardship.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Children's Book Review: Escape to California

Escape to California (Flat Stanley's Worldwide Adventures, 12) by Jeff Brown and Macky Pamintuan, August 26, 2014. 128 pages. Published by HarperCollins. Source: publisher.
Flat Stanley is back to save the day in the twelfth exciting Worldwide Adventures chapter book, just in time to celebrate his fiftieth anniversary! This time, we follow Flat Stanley as he explores San Francisco, California. The Lambchops are on a family vacation to San Francisco. But when Stanley saves a girl from barreling down one of San Francisco's steep hills in her wheelchair, he's shocked to find that she's actually been looking for him. The girl, Lily, is trying to perform an amazing trick that no one has done before—escaping from Alcatraz prison—and she needs Stanley's help! Can the famous flat boy help in this sticky situation?
First Sentence:
The hills in San Francisco were so steep that all the parked cars looked as if they were going to roll away.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. To participate, simply do the following: Grab your current read Open to a random page Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Monday, December 1, 2014

All About Middle Grade Review: The Ring of Rocamadour

The Ring of Rocamadour (Red Blazer Girls, 1) by Michael D. Beil, July 13, 2010. 298 pages. Published by Yearling. Source: Library.
It all began with The Scream. And ended with . . . well, if we told you that, it wouldn’t be a mystery! But in between The Scream and The Very Surprising Ending, three friends find themselves on a scavenger hunt set up for a girl they never met, in search of a legendary ring reputed to grant wishes. Are these sleuths in school uniforms modern-day equivalents of Nancy, Harriet, or Scooby? Not really, they’re just three nice girls who decide to help out a weird lady, and end up hiding under tables, tackling word puzzles and geometry equations, and searching rather moldy storage rooms for “the stuff that dreams are made of” (that’s from an old detective movie). Oh, and there’s A Boy, who complicates things. As boys often do.

Intrigued? The Red Blazer Girls offers a fun, twisty adventure for those who love mystery, math (c’mon, admit it!), and a modest measure of mayhem.
First Sentence:
For as far back as I can remember, I have told everyone I know that I am going to be writer.
Are you a middle grade author, want your book to be spotlighted this year during the challenge on my blog? Than this post is just for you. All about Middle Grade Challenge

Sign up for the 2014 All about Middle Grade Reading Challenge.

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