Oct 31, 2015

Blog Ahead 2015: The Finish Line

Blog Ahead 2015

For the month of October I have been participating in Blog Ahead, a challenge hosted by herding cats and burning soup and Caffeinated Book Reviewer. The details are below if you are interested in learning more.

This is the final progress report... how's I do?

I DID IT! 31 posts ready to go :) 

I have currently scheduled 31 posts to run in November, December and a few in January, including:
  • Ho Ho Ho Read-a-thon Goals Post
  • 11 weeks of Waiting on Wednesday Posts 
  • 5 Discussion posts: 
    • 'Series I Need to Finish' Post
    • 'Books you will shun me for not reading' Post
    • 'Book Recommendations' post 
    • 'E- Reader' post 
    • Balancing Life/Blogging
  • 4 Movie Mondays posts
  • 3 Blogger Pet Profiles posts:
    • Rolo
    • Cooper
    • Shreki & Timmy 
  • 4 Holiday Posts:
    • Thanksgiving Post 
    • Happy Holidays Post 
    • Christmas Post 
    • Happy New Year Post
  • 2 Reviews:
    • Drones Review 
    • The Little Christmas Tree Review 
  • 1 Book Blitz
    • All the Way to Heaven by Becky Doughty

Oct 30, 2015

Monthly Re-Cap: October 2015

Hello Readers, Bloggers, and Awesome people! 

Another month come and gone. October was awesome and I hope for November to be just as great.

So October - I love everything about it as I have expressed many times on the blog in the past month but here are some things I have accomplished - we redid our half-bathroom (pretty purple now), I got my Jack Skellington inflatable from my parents (Oogie Boogie too - but I need to fix him for next year), we are planning to go to a Halloween party tomorrow :) (Yay costumes! I am gonna be Pan, hubby is Hook, and another couple is going as Smee and Tink), and I learned to knit and completed a bunch of knitting projects in October.
Here are a few, they aren't the best but I am proud: 

I also thought before I started compiling this post that I had not really read anything because I was knitting so much instead, but I did actually get through quite a few more than I expected :)

What did you do in October? Anything fun? 
What are you going to be for Halloween?!

What did you read or listen to in October? 

Link me up in the comments section! 


     ~~Books Read in October ~~     

21560249  Pop Sonnets: Shakespearean Spins on Your Favorite Songs    Last-But-Not-Least Lola and the Wild Chicken  Last-But-Not-Least Lola and the Cupcake Queens   26263606   Drones   Nick and Tesla's Special Effects Spectacular: A Mystery with Animatronics, Alien Makeup, Camera Gear, and Other Movie Magic You Can Make Yourself! (Nick and Tesla, #5)  Princess in Love (The Princess Diaries, #3)  Harley Quinn (2013-) #19 Harley Quinn (2013-) #20 Never Said  Spinning Starlight

~~Links to Reviews ~~

Oct 27, 2015

Early Reader Review w/ Giveaway!: The Big Penguin Party by Christian and Fabian Jeremies

The Big Penguin Party: A Find Me If You Can Adventure! by Christian and Fabian Jeremies
Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
Publication Date:  November 3, 2015


Format: ebook
Source: Netgalley and Sourcebook Jabberwocky in exchange for an honest review. This is no way alters my review or opinion of the book.




A new discovery book in the tradition of I Spy and Where's Waldo- with a fun penguin story that kids will love!

Can you spot what's missing?

It's Grandma's birthday, and the whole Penguin family has arrived to celebrate! it's shaping up to be a splendid time, but 90 penguins make a big mess...and now Grandma can't find her special birthday costume!

It's up to Peter and his friendly crocodile neighbor Percy to find each item of Grandma's costume in time. And they definitely need your help-so, quick! There's something lost on every page; can your find it?

The Big Penguin Party was an adorable book much like Where's Waldo, you read each set of pages to find out what you are looking for and then find the characters listed at the beginning of the book. Each spread is 2 pages and you have to find about 6 characters in each but the pictures are full of fun. The book follows a family of penguins as they prepare for a party and grandma needs help finding her costume.

I found this book very enjoyable, the search was fun and I think young readers/ searchers will enjoy the challenge as well. It was a little challenging as well. There are lots of penguins on each page and you have to find certain ones. The pages are beautifully drawn and colored and each spread has a theme. They are wonderful.

Super fun and will keep young readers busy. 

Runs September 16-November 3rd
US & Canada only
  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Buy Links:

About the Authors:
Christian and Fabian Jeremies are brothers who have illustrated a number of books in their native Germany. 

Oct 26, 2015

Early Reader Review: Spinning Starlight by R.C. Lewis

Disclaimer: Received from Netgalley and Disney-Hyperion in exchange for an honest review. This in no way altered my opinion or review.

Spinning Starlight
Spinning Starlight by R.C. Lewis 
Series: Companion to Stitching Snow/ Retellings
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Publication Date:  October 16, 2015


Format:  Ebook



Goodreads Synopsis: 
Sixteen-year-old heiress and paparazzi darling Liddi Jantzen hates the spotlight. But as the only daughter in the most powerful tech family in the galaxy, it's hard to escape it. So when a group of men show up at her house uninvited, she assumes it's just the usual media-grubs. That is, until shots are fired.

Liddi escapes, only to be pulled into an interplanetary conspiracy more complex than she ever could have imagined. Her older brothers have been caught as well, trapped in the conduits between the planets. And when their captor implants a device in Liddi's vocal cords to monitor her speech, their lives are in her hands: One word and her brothers are dead.

Desperate to save her family from a desolate future, Liddi travels to another world, where she meets the one person who might have the skills to help her bring her eight brothers home-a handsome dignitary named Tiav. But without her voice, Liddi must use every bit of her strength and wit to convince Tiav that her mission is true. With the tenuous balance of the planets deeply intertwined with her brothers' survival, just how much is Liddi willing to sacrifice to bring them back?

Haunting and mesmerizing, this retelling of Hans Christian Andersen's The Wild Swans strings the heart of the classic with a stunning, imaginative world as a star-crossed family fights for survival in this companion to Stitching Snow.
I was so excited when I saw this book available for review on Netgalley. I loved Stitching Snow and the world that R.C. Lewis created, and the retelling as a whole. The same can be said for Spinning Starlight. Lewis takes another tale, a less known one this time, and retells it wonderfully with Liddi, Taiv, and her brothers. 

This was not your typical fairy tale, in that there is an evil person out to get Liddi, but really it focused on her trying to save her family and the evildoer only has a few appearances in the plot. 

Liddi is a teen in the spotlight, her family is famous and she stands to inherit the family business and fortune even as the youngest and the only girl in her family. However there is someone in the company out to get her and her brothers and so crazy things start to happen - Liddi's brothers all disappear and she has to find and save them.

The books plot was very fun, I liked the technology that Lewis incorporated throughout and I liked that the brothers while in the story really let it to Liddi to figure things out.  Strong females for the win! Liddi is not your normal teen - she just wants to be left alone out of the spotlight, and she wants to solve things for herself, she is strong and a read main character.

I really enjoyed this retelling even though I didn't know the original story and can't wait for another companion in this series.

Oct 25, 2015

Building the Book Pile #159

Welcome to Building the Book Pile!  A Weekly meme inspired by Stacking the Shelves

Hello Readers, Bloggers, and Awesome people! 

Another wonderful Autumn week in Vermont. It was nice weather most of the week and still fairly warm :) I am getting more and more excited for Halloween...although I still need to complete my costume.
I got a lot of great reading done this past week and even almost finished up for Blog Ahead - I have 3 posts to go to hit the 31 post mark! :)

What's Happening?! 
How was your week ? Let me know in the comments.

  Giveaways on Cover2CoverBlog!

21560249   Spooktacular2013  

Coming up on the Blog... 

Recent Reads: Spinning Starlight by R.C. Lewis (YA)
Early Reader Review: Penguin Party (MG/ Youth)
Recent Reads: The Glass Arrow by Kristin Simmons (YA)
Early Reader Review: The Unfortunate Decisions of Dahlia Moss (New Adult)
Monthly Re-Cap: October 2015
Blog Ahead Wrap Up Post


Books Received this Week

Dive by Stacey Donovan - from the Author for a Giveaway - not pictured, forgot sorry, image is up in the Giveaways section though :)
Whispers in the Reading Room by Shelley Bray - from Booklook Bloggers in exchange for review
Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff - Bought!
Color Me Creative by Kristina Webb - from my pen pal Michelle :)

Oct 23, 2015

Recent Read: Princess in Love by Meg Cabot

568609Princess in Love by Meg Cabot
Series: The Princess Diaries #3
Publisher: Harpercollins Publishers
Publication Date:  March 26, 2002


Format: Hardback
Source: Library



Goodreads Synopsis: 
Princess Amelia Mignonette Grimaldi Thermopolis Renaldo may seem the luckiest girl ever.She's a princess, for starters. She also lives in New York City. And while she's no supermodel, mirrors do not crack at her reflection. Best of all, she finally has a boyfriend.

The truth is, however, that Mia spends all her time doing one of three things: preparing for her nerve-racking entree into Genovian society under the slave-driving but elegant Grandmere, slogging through congestion unique to Manhattan in December, and avoiding further smooches from her hapless boyfriend, Kenny.

All she wants is a little peace and quiet...and a certain someone else to be her boyfriend. For Mia, being a princess in love is not the fairy tale it's supposed to be...or is it?
Mia is still trying to figure out how to be a princess and attend school as a normal teenager and this installment she has her mind turned towards boys. The plot of this book focuses more on Mia's high school life versus the  princess experience she is having. While that is still an element, it is overshadowed by Mia's desire for a boyfriend, and not the one that likes her already.

I am still loving the short diary entries of these books, they are easy to read, it is easy to pause and do something and come back to it easily. Mia is your typical angst female in this installment. She is a bit whiney and needy as well, and  I am not really sure why she decides to date a kid that she doesn't like, either way it was entertaining again to see her panicking about her situation. She eventually is able to handle herself as an adult and I am liking this evolution of her as she accepts what is happening and what is to come. I am excited to see what happens when she arrives in Genovia.  

Oct 22, 2015

Interview and Giveaway! with Stacey Donovan author of Dive

Welcome to Cover2CoverBlog, thank you for joining us.

Thanks for the invite, Stephanie.

Could you first tell us a little more about yourself?

I started wearing glasses the summer I was 4 years old. I walked out of the store with my new specs on and stopped – there was a world I could see! My mother introduced me to the first grade teacher who said that I should sit in the front and let her know if I had trouble seeing anything. When school started I sat in the back and looked at anything I couldn’t really focus on until it made sense. I still do that today, something of a metaphor being a writer.

Dive: A Novel Why did you decide to start writing? What was your inspiration for Dive?

My parents had a bad habit of smacking us around so I took on the role of trying to make my sisters feel better after that would happen by making them laugh. This led to my first book, a book of jokes, when I was about 8 years old (Q: Why did the chicken cross the road? A: To get away from you). I had also started writing poetry by then and still do.
It seems that the inspiration for Dive came from my unconscious; I never know what I’m going to write until I start to write it. Lucky, the little dog who gets hit by a car in the book, started the story. And yes, that happened in real life.

How did you come up with the plot for Dive?

Various elements in the book came from various experiences in my life: Lucky got hit by a car, my father contracted a fatal disease, a mesmerizing chick walked down the hall at school one day, my best friend stopped talking to me, my mother drank a lot of scotch . . . need I say more?

And did you do any research before writing your book?

I researched facts about birds, spiders, buffalo, and French, the language, so I could (hopefully) quote Rimbaud with some accuracy (I ended up finding a few translators).

Was there anything really challenging about the writing of this story? Any obstacles you might have run into?

Trying to make a living while writing a book is probably a challenge for the majority of novelists; it certainly was for me. I had left NYC and was now living out in Montauk, at the tip of Long Island, which was largely a ghost town unless it was high season – summer.

The biggest obstacle I experienced was approaching the end of the book. I realized that I couldn’t finish it until I had forgiven my mother for being the flawed human being she was – that we all are. It was a huge step in my development as a person and a writer.

What is your favorite part about the writing process? Do you have a special writing spot?

Getting so lost in the story that when I look up it’s dark outside or the middle of the night – hours have passed without my being aware of it.

Any desk at a window is a sweet spot for me; the view doesn’t matter as long as I can look out the window.

Is there anything about you that would surprise your readers?

Although I seem to perpetually create very internal characters (loners, outsiders, iconoclasts, poets, etc.) I am actually a total ham and love to be on stage.

If you could spend time with any author, who would it be and why?

Rumi, the 13th century Persian poet and Sufi mystic, because most every word he wrote causes what seems the deepest part of me to vibrate in response.

What are you reading right now? Do you have any book recommendations for the young adult/ new adult reader?

Letters to a Young Poet
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young ManIn the fall I always reread T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets and Rainer Maria Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet. It seems the changing colors and the falling leaves bring out the poet in me. Fall also feels like such a solitary time and I find the company of the masters soothing.
If there were only one book I would recommend it would be James Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. It changed my life when I read it as a teenager and became aware that it was possible to put consciousness into words. That’s when I realized that being a writer would not only help me make sense of life, but would help me connect to other people.

Dive: A NovelAbout the Book
Dive by Stacey Donovan
Publisher: Open Road Media Teen & Tween
Publication Date: September 1st 2015 


Goodreads Synopsis
When V’s life crumbles around her, she has two options: let it take her down with it or dive straight in

Virginia “V” Dunn is alone when her dog is hit by a car. Lucky’s back leg is shattered, and when she comforts him, his blood is wet on her hands. Suddenly, the monotony of V’s suburban life dissolves: Lucky is in a cast; her best friend, Eileen, is avoiding her; her mother’s drinking is getting worse; and her father is sick with a mysterious illness. Although V is surrounded by family, she is the loneliest girl in town.

As V begins to question everything—death, friendship, family, betrayal—she finds there are few easy answers. The people she thought she knew are strangers, and life’s meaning eludes her. Into this mystery walks the captivating Jane, and V soon realizes that the only way forward seems to break every rule, and go beyond all limitations.

About the Author
Stacey Donovan is a critically acclaimed author of fiction and nonfiction for adults and young adults. She is the founder of Donovan Edits, and has edited or ghostwritten more than twenty-five books, including three New York Times bestsellers and several nonfiction titles that have become leading works in their respective fields. Donovan lives in New York, where she continues to write and edit. (From http://www.feedyourneedtoread.com/contributor/stacey-donovan/)

 Rules: Must be 13 years with parents permission or older
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Oct 21, 2015

Recent Reads: Never Said by Carol Lynch Williams

Disclaimer: Received from BookLook Bloggers and Blink in exchange for an honest review. This in no way altered my opinion or review.

Never SaidNever Said by Carol Lynch Williams
Publisher: Blink
Publication Date:  August 25, 2015


Format: Hardback



Goodreads Synopsis: 
For as long as she can remember, Sarah’s family life has revolved around her twin sister, Annie—the pretty one, the social one, the girl who can do anything. The person everyone seems to wish Sarah—with her crippling shyness—could simply become.

When Annie suddenly chops off her hair, quits beauty pageants, and gains weight, the focus changes—Annie is still the star of the family, but for all the wrong reasons. Sarah knows something has happened, but she too is caught in her own spiral after her boyfriend breaks up with her and starts hanging out with one of Annie’s old friends.

Annie is intent on keeping her painful secret safe. But when she and Sarah start spending time together again for the first time in years, walls start to break on both sides … and words that had been left unsaid could change everything.
Never Said was a quick read for me. It is about two very different sisters who come together to help one another with their problems and is simplistic yet complex in it's own way. The book is written from both point of views: Sarah's parts are written in prose and Annie's are written in a more poetic form. 

The book is about twins who both have issues, Sarah is suffering from severe social anxiety and Annie is suffering from a mystery ailment throughout the book, which comes to light at the end. This book was exactly what I expected from the synopsis and even the mysterious ailment of Annie was pretty expected, but the book overall was a good one. It is not religious at all from what I can tell even though I received it from BookLook Bloggers and the message is just that you should come together as family to help each other. 

The book may be a trigger for some, so be forewarned. However, it was very well done and I think the author did a good job expressing the changes that can happen to people based on horrific experiences. I think that it did a good job identifying Sarah's social anxiety and what it is like for those who suffer and how people react to them. The 'she's just shy' thing drives me crazy, no, not shy... it bring you physical pain to be in front of others and if not pain, an anxiety like no other.

Some reviews I have seen did not like Sarah and found her to be very woe is me, however I found this book very balanced. Both sisters had an issue and both needed the help of the other to work through their issues. I very much enjoyed that aspect of the book.