Archives for January 2016

Story Time with Sara: Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes

storytime

 

ChrysanthemumChrysanthemum
written by Kevin Henkes
published by Greenwillow Books, 1991

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooks, Book Depository, Goodreads

Did I enjoy this book: 
This is a sweet little story that my whole family enjoyed reading! We had a great time following little Chrysanthemum as she struggled with bullies and discovered that being a little different is not just okay but great!

This cute (and short) story is full of vibrant pictures that bring the silly and fanciful Chrysanthemum to life. My boys felt connected to her and were honestly concerned when the other little girls picked on her. This was a fun and safe story to introduce the concept bullying to little (preschool) kids, as well as instilling the fundamental truth that it is okay to be who you are no matter what.
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Would I recommend it: In short, yes. It’s hard to go wrong with this one. The story is short, the theme is good and approached at an age-appropriate level, and the illustrations were fun and nicely complimented to story. Go ahead and pick this one up!

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About the book – from Goodreads: Written and illustrated by Kevin Henkes, the nationally bestselling and celebrated creator of Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse,Owen, and Kitten’s First Full Moon, Chrysanthemum is a funny and honest school story about teasing, self-esteem, and acceptance to share all year round.

Chrysanthemum thinks her name is absolutely perfect—until her first day of school. “You’re named after a flower!” teases Victoria. “Let’s smell her,” says Jo. Chrysanthemum wilts. What will it take to make her blossom again?

This popular picture book has sold more than a million copies and was named a Notable Book for Children by the American Library Association. “Perfectly executed in words and illustration, Chrysanthemum exemplifies Henkes’s talent for creating true picture stories for young audiences.”—The Horn Book

 

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Blog Tour: The Seekers Series by David Litwack (Melissa’s reviews, giveaway)

TheSeekers_TourBanner

 

The Children of Darkness (Seekers #1)

The Children of Darkness (The Seekers,  #1)
written by David Litwack
published by Evolved Publishing, 2015

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, AmazonBook Depository, Goodreads

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange  for an honest review.

Did I enjoy this book: 
I enjoyed the read, but there’s A LOT going on. I felt rushed; I wish Litwack would have slowed the pace–as soon as I got used to what Orah and friends were up to, they’d finished that and moved on to the next adventure. I guess I would have preferred less plot and more depth . . . I would love to see this book split into two: one for the keep quest and one for the time spent in the keep. It was like watching a LOTR-style journey on fast-forward.

That said, I’m looking forward to the second book in the series. I want to know what happens!

 

GOLDEN LINE

“We should not be so seduced by our mission that we forget how to live.”

everyfree3.5Would I recommend it: Yes, but buckle up–it’s a fast-paced ride!

melissasig
About the book – from Goodreads: 
“But what are we without dreams?”

A thousand years ago the Darkness came-a terrible time of violence, fear, and social collapse when technology ran rampant. But the vicars of the Temple of Light brought peace, ushering in an era of blessed simplicity. For ten centuries they have kept the madness at bay with “temple magic,” and by eliminating forever the rush of progress that nearly caused the destruction of everything. ~ Childhood friends, Orah and Nathaniel, have always lived in the tiny village of Little Pond, longing for more from life but unwilling to challenge the rigid status quo. When their friend Thomas returns from the Temple after his “teaching”-the secret coming-of-age ritual that binds young men and women eternally to the Light-they barely recognize the broken and brooding young man the boy has become. Then when Orah is summoned as well, Nathaniel follows in a foolhardy attempt to save her. ~ In the prisons of Temple City, they discover a terrible secret that launches the three on a journey to find the forbidden keep, placing their lives in jeopardy, for a truth from the past awaits that threatens the foundation of the Temple. If they reveal that truth, they might once again release the potential of their people. ~ Yet they would also incur the Temple’s wrath as it is written: “If there comes among you a prophet saying, ‘Let us return to the darkness,’ you shall stone him, because he has sought to thrust you away from the Light.”

 

The Stuff of Stars

The Stuff of Stars (The Seekers, #2)
written by David Litwack
published by Evolved Publishing, 2015

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, AmazonBook Depository, Goodreads

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange  for an honest review.

Did I enjoy this book: 
If you’re looking for a dystopian series that covers nearly every possible outcome of a cataclysm, you can end your search here. Litwack once again delivers a remarkable amount of plot, and it’s cool. It’s SO. COOL. But I’ve got the same complaint I did with The Children of Darkness: Slow it down. Let me savor things. Don’t just tell me Orah & Nathaniel are totally in love–show me. Let me spend more than five minutes in the dream . . . I WANT to get lost

 

GOLDEN LINE

“How have we come to this?”

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Would I recommend it: Yep! Keep reading, but again–be prepared for A LOT of plot.

melissasig

About the book – from Goodreads: 
The second volume in award winning author David Litwack’s dystopian trilogy, The Seekers

But what are we without dreams?

Against all odds, Orah and Nathaniel have found the keep and revealed the truth about the darkness, initiating what they hoped would be a new age of enlightenment. But the people were more set in their ways than anticipated, and a faction of vicars whispered in their ears, urging a return to traditional ways.

Desperate to keep their movement alive, Orah and Nathaniel cross the ocean to seek the living descendants of the keepmasters’ kin. Those they find on the distant shore are both more and less advanced than expected.

The seekers become caught between the two sides, and face the challenge of bringing them together to make a better world. The prize: a chance to bring home miracles and a more promising future for their people. But if they fail this time, they risk not a stoning but losing themselves in the twilight of a never-ending dream.

 

Dave-Portrait-Hi-ResAbout the author: The urge to write first struck at age sixteen when working on a newsletter at a youth encampment in the woods of northern Maine. It may have been the wild night when lightning flashed at sunset followed by the northern lights rippling after dark. Or maybe it was the newsletter’s editor, a girl with eyes the color of the ocean. But he was inspired to write about the blurry line between reality and the fantastic.

Using two fingers and lots of white-out, he religiously typed five pages a day throughout college and well into his twenties. Then life intervened. He paused to raise two sons and pursue a career, in the process — and without prior plan — becoming a well-known entrepreneur in the software industry, founding several successful companies. When he found time again to daydream, the urge to write returned.

David and his wife split their time between Cape Cod, Florida and anywhere else that catches their fancy. He no longer limits himself to five pages a day and is thankful every keystroke for the invention of the word processor.

 

Find Mr. Litwack here: web, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads

 

giveaway

$25 Amazon Gift Card (INT)
+ a second winner wins paperback copies of The Children of Darkness and The Stuff of Stars (US)
Ends Feb. 10

a Rafflecopter giveaway

efchappy

 

Release Blitz: Going for Two by Laura Chapman (spotlight, guest post)

GFT now available

Going For TwoGoing for Two (Queen of the League, #2)
written by Laura Chapman
published by Marching Ink, LLC, 2016

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooksGoodreads

About the book – from Goodreads: Harper Duquaine is back for another season of fantasy football! This time she’s a year wiser and prepared to dominate the league. But while she finally seems to have her fantasy life in order, reality proves more challenging.

Her plans to peacefully play house with her boyfriend come to a halt when the high school suddenly names Brook its head football coach. The promotion comes with more responsibility on the field and less time at home. It also unexpectedly means more work for Harper, who already has her hands full helping a friend pull off the perfect proposal (while dodging questions about when she and Brook are going to get hitched already). Plus, a new development at work could leave her—and half of the fantasy league—jobless.

With the complications of her career and being “Mrs. Coach” adding up, Harper wonders if she’s committed to the life she’s already building or if there is something else out there.

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In honor of Going for Two’s release, I’m sharing some fun facts about the book and Queen of the League series.

Food can play an important part in a story. A lot can happen when people meet together to break bread. When I write a dish into one of my books, I like to know what exactly it would look like and how it would taste, whether or not those details make it into the scene. It can make a difference. Like, would someone really be able to go running only five minutes after eating a super heavy, cheesy dish? Probably not without spilling their cookies. With Harper hosting a number of football watch parties in Going for Two, and her being a hostess with the most-est, I needed a reserve of recipes for her to make to serve to the masses. This Spinach Dip is one of my favorite game day recipes, and it’s super easy to make thanks to the help of a slow cooker.

I hope you will check out the other facts—view a complete listing of locations and dates on my website, www.laurachapmanbooks.com—and the series.

Thank you, Chrissy, for featuring Going for Two—and me—today. Enjoy!

Fact 11

Headshot1About the author: Laura Chapman is the author of Going for Two, First & Goal, The Marrying Type, and Hard Hats and Doormats. Her work also appears in Merry & Bright, A Kind of Mad Courage, and the holiday collection All I Want For Christmas from Marching Ink. She loves Huskers and Packers football, Netflix marathons, and her cats, Jane and Bingley. Laura makes her home in Nebraska, where she is penning her next novel.

Find Ms. Chapman here: web, blog, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, YouTube, Instagram

 

 

Now Available square

efchappy

 

Chrissy’s Review: A Safe Space by E.M. Tippetts

A Safe SpaceA Safe Space (Someone Else’s Fairytale, #3.5)
written by E.M. Tippetts
published by 2014

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble (Nook), Barnes & Noble (print), Amazon, iBooks, Book Depository, Goodreads

Did I enjoy this book: 
I did enjoy this book. It was a good addition to the series, which I have thoroughly enjoyed so far. (You can find my reviews here: Someone Else’s Fairytale,  Nobody’s Damsel, and Break It Up.)

This was a different read, not about Jason or Chloe but their niece and roommate–mainly the roommate. Lizzie Warner is a former child star trying to make it as an adult actress. She has her struggles and expectations. She also is in need of a true relationship/friendship. She finds a true friendship in Kyra and an unlucky acquaintance. I don’t want to give anything away, so I will just say that this story is sweet and unexpected. Will love prevail? Will Lizzie be able to find and keep her safe space? It is a good story that won’t take long to get through, mainly because you won’t want to put it down.

I did expect more from Kyra, but she wasn’t missed. And I was surprised by the epilogue.  Now,  I must go and start the fourth book in the Someone Else’s Fairytale series, My Wicked Half-Sister.

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Would I recommend it: Sure! It is a good story and a good addition to the Someone Else’s Fairytale series.

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About the book – from Goodreads: 
Everyone needs a safe space.

For Lizzie Warner, that space has always been in front of the camera on her hit show, or on stage to a sold out concert arena. Since before she can remember, she’s been a star, but that may be about to change.

She’s nineteen. Her show has been cancelled and now she’s going to play the lead in a new prime time drama series, but is the world ready to take her seriously, or will she be typecast as the cute tween queen forever?

Her network has decided to be aggressive and has invested millions of dollars in an ad campaign for her show, money she’s not sure she can earn back. Her co-star can’t stand her, and the writing for the show turns out to be poor at best. The only reason Lizzie didn’t walk away from the job offer to begin with is because she’s broke, the victim of a decade of bad money management.

Then there’s Devon, the personal trainer at her gym. Arrogant and abrasive, he’s the last guy she should ever find attractive, but she has a hopeless crush on him anyway, and he doesn’t seem entirely disinterested either. In fact, sometimes he’s downright sweet to her. If only he weren’t an untamable bad boy who uses and dumps women like they’re nothing. Though Lizzie’s friends warn her to stay away, he’s the only person who can create what she needs: a safe space. But is there any way she can break him of his years’ long habit of being a user?

 

 

efchappy

Boost It Tuesday! – January 26, 2016

boost-it-TuesdayEFC

Have you noticed that despite ALL of your Facebook “Likes” you are only “reaching” a very small portion of those followers? Does that bother you? It bothers us, and we want to boost each other up. Link up with Every Free ChanceCandace’s Book Blog, & If These Books Could Talk for  Boost It Tuesday!

 

What is Boost It Tuesday, you ask? Well, we want to help each other out. We are a great community of bloggers and authors, and we should be supporting each other. Share your Facebook address below, then visit the Facebook pages, like 3-5 posts, share or comment on 1 or 2 posts. That’s it. You don’t have to “like” the page if you don’t want to, just “like” some posts. Let’s help expand each other’s page reach. Who knows! You may find a new blog or author to follow along the away. Please be aware that any non-Facebook links will be deleted.

 

Here are some tips for Boosting. A big thanks to Kate at If These Books Could Talk for the image!

Boost It Poster

 

We have a guest host this week!! Check out Hilary Grossman’s blog, Feeling Beachie.

 

For this week’s giveaway, head over to Hilary Grossman’s Facebook page and answer the question in the Boost It post!

 

If you would like to host the giveaway on your Facebook page one week, please fill out the form below. Be sure to notice the rules.

Click Here to Sign Up to Host the Giveaway

 

Remember: Like, comment, and share!  Let’s all give each other a boost!

 

 if these books could talk
 

efchappy

Gina’s Review: Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff

Fates and Furies

Fates and Furies 
written by Lauren Groff
published by Riverhead Books, 2015

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble (Nook), Barnes & Noble (print), Amazon, iBooksBook Depository, Goodreads

Did I enjoy this book: 
Yes. I thought there was a slow start, but once I got a quarter of the way through, everything became more interesting. The writing started to flow more easily, and the characters began to come to life. I found myself wondering where it all was going. What was going to happen to Lotto and Mathilde? There were a lot of twists and turns. There were times I hated certain characters and then somehow I would feel sorry for them. It was confusing and amazing. It shows that Groff has some writing chops and is able to make us feel things unexpectedly. This is a deep novel. I don’t think I’ll be reading it again, but it will be one I’ll think on for some time.

 

GOLDEN LINES

“The ones made of muse are the most beloved of all. Their bodies a container for the spirit within; the best of them is music, the rest only instrument of flesh and bone.”

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Would I recommend it: Yes, I definitely would recommend it for anyone who wants to explore something deep and different.

 

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About the book – from Goodreads: Every story has two sides. Every relationship has two perspectives. And sometimes, it turns out, the key to a great marriage is not its truths but its secrets. At the core of this rich, expansive, layered novel, Lauren Groff presents the story of one such marriage over the course of twenty-four years.

At age twenty-two, Lotto and Mathilde are tall, glamorous, madly in love, and destined for greatness. A decade later, their marriage is still the envy of their friends, but with an electric thrill we understand that things are even more complicated and remarkable than they have seemed.

 

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Melissa’s Review: Eat Now; Talk Later by James Vescovi

Eat Now; Talk Later: 52 True Tales of Family, Feasting, and the American Dream

Eat Now; Talk Later 
written by James Vescovi
published by AuthorHouse, 2014

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble (Nook), Barnes & Noble (print), AmazonBook Depository, Goodreads

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange  for an honest review.

Did I enjoy this book: 
It’s a lovely little book. My grandparents aren’t quite as colorful as Tony & Desolina (though they do keep breakfast cereal and potato chips in the freezer), but I don’t have any trouble relating to the sentiment in this book. I enjoyed Vescovi’s brand of humor (I’m especially enamored with the answering machine debacle), but I wish he’d have interspersed the pictures and recipes with the stories. I hate waiting until the end for pictures! But anyway.

After reading this book, I’m having two primary thoughts:

  1. I’m hungry, and
  2. I wonder what new technology will baffle me in my old age.

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Would I recommend it: It’s an especially good book to take to doctor’s appointments–you can finish one or two stories while you’re waiting without losing momentum.

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About the book – from Goodreads: 
www.eatnowtalklater.com

Prepare yourself for a feast consumed in delicious bites. Stories in this collection can be read before bed, on a lunch hour, or waiting in line. They can even be shared with friends who complain they have enough to read. Together they ask the question, “How do you make modern life run smoothly for parents or grandparents who grew up when oxen were used for plowing, children left school after third grade to tend chickens, and meat was eaten only on religious holidays?

When Tony and Desolina Vescovi arrived in America,they collided with the 20th century. Born around 1900, they were stumped by telephones, banks, fast food, TV wrestling, and supermarkets. It was up to their only child, a son, to serve as their shepherd, and it wasn’t easy For example, how to explain that his job was taking him and his family 700 miles away when, in their day, sons stayed put to work the family farm? Or that it wasn’t wise to hide $10,000 in the bedroom? Or that the ice cream they just tried and enjoyed is called ‘Chubby Hubby’?

This collection of 52 bite-size stories offers a twist on the American immigrant tale and is a testament to love, loyalty, and frequent half-truths. For those who not only like to eat, but love to cook, the book includes recipes. Topping it all off is a collection of family photos.

 

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Chrissy’s Review: Where She Went by Gayle Forman

Where She WentWhere She Went (If I Stay #2)
written by Gayle Forman
published by Dutton, 2011

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble (Nook), Barnes & Noble (print), Amazon, iBooks, Book Depository, Goodreads

Did I enjoy this book: 
I really did. It took a bit to get into it, but once I did, I couldn’t put it down. I thought it was fabulous.

I loved that this book was told from Adam’s point of view. In If I Stay, we see Mia’s point of view, and we don’t really know what’s going on with Adam. In Where She Went, we see the aftermath. Adam’s band is bigger than ever and the media wants to know the whole story behind their newest songs. Adam won’t talk about his past, but that past still haunts him. Then, he finds her. I loved the way Adam and Mia reconnected. I loved that this entire story, for the most part, took place in about twenty-four hours. It showed that sometimes all it takes is a day to change things. I also enjoyed the flashbacks that filled in what Adam went through for three years.

I can honestly say that I liked this book more than the first one, which I really enjoyed. Where She Went had a bit more raw emotion and inner turmoil. There are some scenes that will just rip your heart out. I loved it.

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Would I recommend it: Yes, but be sure to read If I Stay first. (You can read my review of If I Stay here.) Now I must go buy more Gayle Forman books.

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About the book – from Goodreads: 
It’s been three years since the devastating accident . . . three years since Mia walked out of Adam’s life forever.

Now living on opposite coasts, Mia is Juilliard’s rising star and Adam is LA tabloid fodder, thanks to his new rock star status and celebrity girlfriend. When Adam gets stuck in New York by himself, chance brings the couple together again, for one last night. As they explore the city that has become Mia’s home, Adam and Mia revisit the past and open their hearts to the future – and each other.

Told from Adam’s point of view in the spare, lyrical prose that defined If I Stay, Where She Went explores the devastation of grief, the promise of new hope, and the flame of rekindled romance.

 

 

efchappy

Julie’s Review: We Are Not Ourselves by Matthew Thomas

We Are Not Ourselves

We Are Not Ourselves 
written by Matthew Thomas
published by Simon & Schuster, 2014

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble (Nook), Barnes & Noble (print), Amazon, iBooksBook Depository, Goodreads

Did I enjoy this book: 
Thoroughly! It’s hard to believe this is a debut novel! Although the book is long (620 pages), I never tired of its prose. We Are Not Ourselves follows the life of Eileen Tumulty–an Irish American living in New York City in the middle of the 20th century. It’s what my friends and I refer to as a ‘meaty’ novel–rich in character and prose.

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Would I recommend it: Definitely! I enjoyed the book from start to finish; it’s an emotionally engaging story.

 

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About the book – from Goodreads: Born in 1941, Eileen Tumulty is raised by her Irish immigrant parents in Woodside, Queens, in an apartment where the mood swings between heartbreak and hilarity, depending on whether guests are over and how much alcohol has been consumed.

When Eileen meets Ed Leary, a scientist whose bearing is nothing like those of the men she grew up with, she thinks she’s found the perfect partner to deliver her to the cosmopolitan world she longs to inhabit. They marry, and Eileen quickly discovers Ed doesn’t aspire to the same, ever bigger, stakes in the American Dream.

Eileen encourages her husband to want more: a better job, better friends, a better house, but as years pass it becomes clear that his growing reluctance is part of a deeper psychological shift. An inescapable darkness enters their lives, and Eileen and Ed and their son Connell try desperately to hold together a semblance of the reality they have known, and to preserve, against long odds, an idea they have cherished of the future.

Through the Learys, novelist Matthew Thomas charts the story of the American Century, particularly the promise of domestic bliss and economic prosperity that captured hearts and minds after WWII. The result is a riveting and affecting work of art; one that reminds us that life is more than a tally of victories and defeats, that we live to love and be loved, and that we should tell each other so before the moment slips away.

Epic in scope, heroic in character, masterful in prose, We Are Not Ourselves heralds the arrival of a major new talent in contemporary fiction.

 

efchappy

Boost It Tuesday! – January 19, 2016

boost-it-TuesdayEFC

Have you noticed that despite ALL of your Facebook “Likes” you are only “reaching” a very small portion of those followers? Does that bother you? It bothers us, and we want to boost each other up. Link up with Every Free ChanceCandace’s Book Blog, & If These Books Could Talk for  Boost It Tuesday!

 

What is Boost It Tuesday, you ask? Well, we want to help each other out. We are a great community of bloggers and authors, and we should be supporting each other. Share your Facebook address below, then visit the Facebook pages, like 3-5 posts, share or comment on 1 or 2 posts. That’s it. You don’t have to “like” the page if you don’t want to, just “like” some posts. Let’s help expand each other’s page reach. Who knows! You may find a new blog or author to follow along the away. Please be aware that any non-Facebook links will be deleted.

 

Here are some tips for Boosting. A big thanks to Kate at If These Books Could Talk for the image!

Boost It Poster

 

As an added bonus, Candace, Kate, and I will be hosting a giveaway each week just to say thanks for the boost!

 

For this week’s giveaway, head over to the Every Free Chance Facebook page and answer the question in the Boost It post!

 

If you would like to host the giveaway on your Facebook page one week, please fill out the form below. Be sure to notice the rules. For those who signed up last week, I will be emailing you your guest host date this week!

Click Here to Sign Up to Host the Giveaway

 

Remember: Like, comment, and share!  Let’s all give each other a boost!


 if these books could talk
 

efchappy