Sunday, August 17, 2014

SuperCat vs. the Fry Thief by Jeanne Willis

Supercat vs The Fry Thief (Supercat, Book 1)

My thoughts:
My children borrowed this ARC and the two who read it both enjoyed it, so I decided to give it a quick read before returning it yesterday.  SuperCat starts out as a lazy cat who never does anything.  His owner thinks he is the worst pet and pines away for something more exciting like a wolf.  One day SuperCat eats an old French fry from a moldy sock under the bed and all of a sudden he has super powers and can fly and talk.  From there the adventure starts.  Someone is stealing all the potatoes and ruining crops all over the world so no one can have French fries or chips.  SuperCat and his owner work on the mystery and it has all sorts of action:  helicopters, submarines, weevils, horse manure, addition, subtraction and a villain named Count Backwards.  The story had my children laughing and the illustrations add to the fun!

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780007585960
  • Publisher: HarperCollins UK
  • Publication date: 3/24/2015
  • Series: Supercat , #1
  • Pages: 224

Meet the Author

Jeanne Willis wrote her first book aged five and has now written over eighty titles. She has won numerous awards, including the Children's Book Award, the Silver Smarties Prize and has been shortlisted for the Whitbread Award. As well as her extensive writing experience Jeanne once worked as a reptile vet’s assistant, has owned cats, a rat and a toad called Dave. She has never performed in an animal talent show but she did get married at London Zoo.

Friday, August 15, 2014

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart


We Were Liars

Overview from Barnes and Noble:
 
A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.

We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from New York Times bestselling author, National Book Award finalist, and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart.
Read it.
And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.
 
My thoughts:
This is such a hard book to describe or to talk about.  Suspenseful, touching, frustrating and secretive it moves in circles around the main event.  You start at the outer edges of the truth and work your way in, making discoveries and putting pieces together as you go.  What you think you know might not be true, but it might be.  It all revolves around summer fifteen, the summer two years ago when the four friends, cousins and liars were fifteen and Cady, the main character, has an accident that left her with brain trauma and no memory of the accident.  Summer sixteen she does not return to the family island as she goes on vacation with her father, but summer seventeen she insists that she wants to come back.  Everything is different and she keeps remembering pieces of the puzzle, but it takes her time to get it all back together.

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780385741262
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 5/13/2014
  • Pages: 240

Meet the Author

E. Lockhart
E. LOCKHART is the author of four books about Ruby Oliver: The Boyfriend List, The Boy Book, The Treasure Map of Boys, and Real Live Boyfriends. She also wrote Fly on the Wall, Dramarama, and How to Be Bad (the last with Sarah Mlynowski and Lauren Myracle). Her novel, The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, was a Printz Award Honor Book, a finalist for the National Book Award, and recipient of the Cybils Award for Best Young Adult Novel.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver (ARC)

Vanishing Girls


Overview from Barnes and Noble:

Dara and Nick used to be inseparable, but that was before—before Dara kissed Parker, before Nick lost him as her best friend, before the accident that left Dara's beautiful face scarred. Now the two sisters, who used to be so close, aren't speaking. In an instant, Nick lost everything and is determined to use the summer to get it all back.

But Dara has other plans. When she vanishes on her birthday, Nick thinks Dara is just playing around. But another girl has vanished, too—nine-year-old Madeline Snow—and as Nick pursues her sister, she becomes increasingly convinced that the two disappearances may be linked.
In this edgy and compelling novel, New York Times bestselling author Lauren Oliver creates a world of intrigue, loss, and suspicion as two sisters search to find themselves, and each other.

My thoughts:
This fast paced read brought a number of surprises along with it.  Dara and Nick were in a horrible accident one rainy night and Dara wasn't wearing her seat belt.  Since the accident the two of them, once the best of friends and sisters who were only a year apart, have stopped speaking and aren't even living in the same house.  When their parents decide that Nick should live with her mother for the summer, Nick decides it is time to do something to mend the past and to fill in the gaps in her memory from the accident, but Dara makes it very hard, always disappearing down the trellis and leaving before they can talk.

Then there is Parker, he was once Nick's best friend and they did things as a trio, but the night that Dara kissed him changed the trajectory of both of their lives, driving a wedge between them and taking away both of Nick's best friends.

While working at an amusement park together and watching her mother's fascination with the disappearance of a nine year old girl, Nick makes up her mind about the future and goes on a hunt to find her sister and save her.  She unravels the clues Dara has left for her and starts to piece together the missing pieces from the accident.  There are twists and turns and some unexpected findings along the way.

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062224101
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 3/3/2015

Monday, August 4, 2014

Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult and Samantha van Leer

Between the Lines

Overview

The #1 New York Times bestseller filled with romance, adventure, and humor, from Jodi Picoult and her teenage daughter.

What happens when happily ever after…isn’t?

Delilah is a bit of a loner who prefers spending her time in the school library with her head in a book—one book in particular. Between the Lines may be a fairy tale, but it feels real. Prince Oliver is brave, adventurous, and loving. He really speaks to Delilah.

And then one day Oliver actually speaks to her. Turns out, Oliver is more than a one-dimensional storybook prince. He’s a restless teen who feels trapped by his literary existence and hates that his entire life is predetermined. He’s sure there’s more for him out there in the real world, and Delilah might just be his key to freedom.

Delilah and Oliver work together to attempt to get Oliver out of his book, a challenging task that forces them to examine their perceptions of fate, the world, and their places in it. And as their attraction to each other grows along the way, a romance blossoms that is anything but a fairy tale.

My thoughts:
When I described this book to my daughter she asked if it was like Inkheart, which we have read together, but it isn't really.  Instead of being able to be read out of the book by a Silver Tongue, Oliver and Delilah have a terrible attempting to get him out of the book.  Everything resets each time the book is closed and reopened, so any progress they think they  have made is erased.  kind of like the crane machines my children played at a beach arcade this summer.  Someone would spend quarter after quarter getting some of the animals to move around, only to have someone who worked at the arcade rearrange them back into an impossible array as soon as that player walked away.

Delilah feels abandoned by her father, who left her mother and started a new family in Australia and feels a kinship with Oliver's character whose father died at the beginning of the book.  When he actually starts speaking to her and they get to know each other, an unlikely friendship is formed.  A friendship that pulls Delilah away from her best friend and her mother.

The book has three different colors of type, one for the fairy tale story, one for Oliver and one for Delilah.  I liked how there were also illustrations on whole pages and in margins.  The focus and perspective changed regularly.  How much can a character understand about freewill when he has been made the way the author wrote him?  Can one literally get in and out of a book and, even if one could, would anyone believe it?  This was a fun book that actually built suspense and what a cool concept that a mother and daughter wrote it together.  Imagine all of what van Leer must have learned from her mother about the writing and publishing process!

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781451635812
  • Publisher: EMILY BESTLER BOOKS/ATRIA/SIMON PULSE
  • Publication date: 6/25/2013
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 350

Meet the Author

Jodi Picoult
Jodi Picoult received an AB in creative writing from Princeton and a master’s degree in education from Harvard. The recipient of the 2003 New England Book Award for her entire body of work, she is the author of twenty-one novels, including the #1 New York Times bestsellers House Rules, Handle With Care, Change of Heart, and My Sister’s Keeper, for which she received the American Library Association’s Margaret Alexander Edwards Award. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband and three children. Visit her website at JodiPicoult.com.

Samantha van Leer is a senior in high school. She conceived the idea for this book and pitched it to her mom, who was in the middle of a book tour. In her spare time, Samantha can be found playing softball, doing contemporary dance, acting and singing in musicals, and cuddling on the ground with her two dogs, Dudley and Oliver—for whom the prince in this fairy tale was named.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Skipping a Beat by Sarah Pekkanen

Skipping a Beat

Overview from Barnes and Noble:

From the author of the acclaimed The Opposite of Me, a poignant, witty novel about marriage, forgiveness, and the choices that give shape—and limits—to our lives.

What would you do if your husband suddenly wanted to rewrite all of the rules of your relationship? This is the question at the heart of Skipping a Beat, Pekkanen’s thought-provoking second book.
From the outside, Julia and Michael seem to have it all. Both products of difficult childhoods in rural West Virginia – where they were simply Julie and Mike – they become high school sweethearts and fall in love. Shortly after graduation, they flee their small town to start afresh. Now thirty-somethings, they are living a rarified life in their multi-million-dollar, Washington D.C. home. Julia is a highly sought-after party planner, while Michael has just sold his wildly successful flavored water company for $70 million.

But one day, Michael collapses in his office. Four minutes and eight seconds after his cardiac arrest, a portable defibrillator jump-starts his heart. But in those lost minutes he becomes a different man. Money is meaningless to him - and he wants to give it all away. Julia, who sees bits of her life reflected in scenes from the world’s great operas, is now facing with a choice she never anticipated. Should she should walk away from the man she once adored – but who truthfully became a stranger to her long before this pronouncement - or give in to her husband's pleas for a second chance and a promise of a poorer but happier life?

As wry and engaging as her debut, but with quiet depth and newfound maturity, Skipping a Beat is an unforgettable portrait of a marriage whose glamorous surface belies the complications and betrayals beneath.

My thoughts:
I read this at the beach on a couple of very windy days.  It actually still has some sand still stuck in the pages.  I gave it to my mom to read and warned her that sand might fall out as she reads!

I picked up this book after reading a really good review either on someone's blog or on Goodreads and then I just let it sit on my shelf for a long time.  When I selected books for vacation reading it was one of the ones I grabbed and I am very glad that I did!  It raised a lot of good questions and points and resonated on a lot of different levels.  The first line is about the first time the main character's husband died.  Through flashbacks and rememberings you get the chance to see what Julie and Mike's life has been like lately, where they started from and how they got to where they are.  The changes they each made along the way and the overarching view that money cannot buy happiness.

Where did Michael go during the time he was dead?  Why is he so different now?  How can everything that was most important to him in life now take a back seat to his relationship with his wife?  Can she really agree to stay with him for a few more weeks to see how it goes or should she just put the call through to the lawyer whose card has been in her wallet for months?

Both Michael and Julia have changed a lot over the years.  Driven to not repeat the mistakes of their parents, but losing themselves along the way in the forward momentum.  Given the chance to slow down a bit and talk to each other and reconnect, what could happen?


Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781451609820
  • Publisher: Washington Square Press
  • Publication date: 2/22/2011
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 352

Meet the Author

Sarah Pekkanen
Sarah Pekkanen is the internationally bestselling author of The Opposite of Me, Skipping a Beat, These Girls, and The Best of Us as well as a series of linked short stories for ereaders. Her work has been published in numerous magazines and newspapers. She lives with her family, including a rescue dog and cat, in Chevy Chase, Maryland

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Your Coffin or Mine by Kimberley Raye (Dead-End Dating Series #3)

Your Coffin or Mine? (Dead-End Dating Series #3)

Overview from Barnes and Noble:

BEING DEAD CAN KILL A SOCIAL LIFE!
 
For Lil Marchette, the owner of Manhattan’s premier dating service for vampires (and a dazzling denizen of the dark herself), death is all in a night’s work. Unfortunately, it’s going to take more than matching up vamps to pay the bills and fund Lil’s cosmetics addiction. Dare she add actual humans to the mix? Eager to diversify, she signs up for a popular dating show, Manhattan’s Most Wanted (MMW), to pitch her expertise to the perfect target audience–eligible women looking for eligible men.
 
Of course Lil is trying to forget the one man she’d love to sink her own teeth into: Ty Bonner, the ultraseductive vamp who broke her heart after she gave him the hottest night of his afterlife. Problem is, she and Ty have an intense mental connection and she’s sensing he’s in deep trouble. Even worse, she soon finds herself heading for MMW’s grand finale (cameras are so not a vamp’s best friend). The race is on as Lil struggles to save Ty (and herself) before all hell breaks loose.
 
“Lil is a likable mix of Bridget Jones, Carrie Bradshaw and Dracula–charming, sweet, stylish, with just a hint of fang.”
Parkersburg News and Sentinel
 
My thoughts:
I picked this book up at a used book store when I was at the beach and I read it the next day.  It moved nice and fast and had plenty of action, suspense and sarcasm.  Lil reminded me at of bit of Queen Betsy in MaryJanice Davidson's series.  It looks like the series has five books and ended in 2009.  I wish I had discovered it with the first book and not the third, but I still enjoyed the ride.
 
Lil doesn't want to settle down to have any Natural Vampire offspring with another Natural Vamps.  She wants to make it on her own, but she is having a bit of a problem with funds in her dating agency and pressure from her mother to settle down.  Then there is the one who got away, a bitten vampire that she can't have a future with, but with whom she shared some seriously passionate time with.  She keeps getting messages that lead her to believe he is in trouble, but at the same time she is caught up in the dating show she entered hoping to score some more clients for her company. 
 
This book had fun characters, humor, mystery and action and it was perfect for an afternoon on the beach. 

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780345492180
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 9/25/2007
  • Series: Dead-End Dating Series , #3
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 320

Meet the Author

Kimberly Raye is the bestselling author of more than thirty novels, including Dead End Dating and Dead and Dateless. She’s been nominated for several Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Awards, as well as two RITA Awards. Her books have been featured in several major magazines, including Better Homes & Gardens and Glamour, and her novel Sometimes Naughty, Sometimes Nice was a Cosmopolitan magazine book club pick. She lives deep in the heart of Texas Hill Country with her husband and their young children. Please visit her website at www.kimberlyraye.com.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Lose Weight with Green Tea by Patricia Rounder

Lose Weight with Green Tea: A Safe, Sensible Way Toward Weight Management

Overview from Barnes and Noble:

Documented research reveals what Asian cultures have known for centuries: Green Tea, rich in antioxidants, increases metabolism and helps burn fat. Lose Weight With Green Tea provides all the information you need to incorporate Green Tea safely and sensibly into a successful weight control program.


My thoughts:
This book contains a whole lot of information on how tea is made (all teas- black, green, white and red come from the same leaves, what is different is how it is processed and how long it stays in certain parts of the process) and how much tea people in different parts of the world drink, but not much about how it can be used for weight loss.  It sites studies where capsules were used in place of drinking tea, but then states that capsules on the market can vary widely in the amount of elements they deliver.  It also shows how different brands of green tea widely vary.  No real answers were given.  The author states that, after doing her research she has decided to drink tea every day and take a supplement as well, but that everyone needs to evaluate their own health needs and make their own decisions.  I kept thinking the next chapter would give some definite recommendations, but it never did.  So, interesting history of tea and how it is produced, but very little information on tea and weight loss.  A different title might have made more sense for this book.

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780961522179
  • Publisher: Smith House Press
  • Publication date: 11/15/2005
  • Pages: 160