April 7, 2014

The Chapel Wars by Lindsey Leavitt

Holly's favorite person in the world, her Grandpa Jim, just passed away. Unknown to everyone in the family, he left his beloved, but deeply in-debt, Las Vegas wedding chapel to his granddaughter. He also left her a letter to be hand delivered to his chapel-owning rival's grandson. Across the parking lot sits the theme wedding performing Cupid's Dream, the antithesis to the traditional Rose of Sharon.  It's a Shakespearean tragedy that these two chapel families hate each other because Dax Cranston is one handsome rival, even in his cowboy get up. With Grandpa Jim gone and Holly in charge she's going to do everything in her power to help save the chapel even if she can feel her Grandpa rolling over in his grave.

I just finished this wonderful and touching story with a sniffle.  Leavitt writes Holly as a down-to-earth, normal girl and the dialogue between Dax and Holly is adorable yet realistic. I loved this: "We're all messed up," [Holly] said "I think life is just about finding the right people to be messed up with." I loved that these characters have faults and their own troubles to get through.

February 27, 2014

The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski

A short time ago, the Valorians conquered the Herran empire and either killed or enslaved the Herrani civilians.  Kestrel, as the Valorian General's daughter, at 17, must choose to either marry or join the military.  Neither option entices Kestrel.  While in the city market one day she feels an unexplainable connection with a slave being auctioned off and spontaneously decides to outbid everyone with a large sum of keystones.  Kestrel's new slave, Arin, starts work as a blacksmith making horseshoes for the military horses.  Eventually becoming an escort for Kestrel and keeping her company; neither recognizes the relationship slowly growing between them.  Kestrel soon learns that Arin is the leader of a planned rebellion and, as the General's daughter, she has been set up.  She'll be forced to discover the true meaning of the Winner's Curse.

The world and the characters are so well written you can't help wanting to root for both of them.  The story line is so perfectly paced you can't help to keep reading late into the night.  And with just enough romantic tension threaded throughout you can't help to feel empty till the second book arrives. 

February 16, 2014

Lone Wolves by John Smelcer

Deneena Yazzie, Denny to most, is a 16 year old native Alaskan.  Don’t call her an Eskimo, she’s an Indian.  Her closest friend is her grandfather, who has been teaching her their native language, seldom spoken by anyone other than the dwindling elders.  She spends most of her time, other than school where she doesn’t fit in, mushing.  Eight dogs pull the wooden sled her grandfather hand-built years ago, while he follows nearby on his snowmobile.  Her grandfather encourages Denny to compete in her first dogsled competition where she takes third place, qualifying her for the longest, toughest dog sled competition known to man.  Unfortunately, Denny will have to travel the 1,100 mile trip across the Alaskan wilderness without the support of her community.  There’s so much more about the storyline I want to add but won’t to keep you all in suspense.  

Denny is a unique and inspiring character; a great role model for young girls.  Not only because she perseveres while her whole village refuses to support her, but also that she wants to learn her heritage and preserve her culture.  The author tells Denny’s story in such a way that makes you crave to learn more about Alaskan history and culture.  The best kind of book. 

January 6, 2014

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

If I had read this book in print, I think I would have finished it in one sitting, maybe two.  However, I listened to the audiobook, in my car, mostly driving to and from work.  In other words, I dragged it out over several weeks.  This delayed gratification may have been the cause for my giddy excitement over this story.  Now enough about me...

Cath is a freshman at college.  Her twin sister, Wren, after spending the last 18 years in the same room with Cath, decided to live elsewhere.  Cath's roommate, Reagan, immediately reacts as though Cath's presence is a burden and Reagan's high school boyfriend is constantly hanging around their room.  Cath isn't sure college is for her, she's a quiet introvert who would much prefer to be writing fan fiction for the much loved Simon Snow series she has been reading since she was a kid.  You'll be so glad you came along for this coming of age story.

October 29, 2013

World Book Night: April 23, 2014

I think it's crazy to be talking about 2014 already but, alas, World Book Night applications are now being accepted!  It's a great list of books this year so get your applications in fast.  I'm a huge fan of World Book Night as a great opportunity to meet others in your community while spreading the love of reading.  Can't wait to do it again.  Get your application in soon! 

October 8, 2013

Six Months Later by Natalie Richards

Have you ever forgotten what you ate for dinner the night before?  What about that thing you did last weekend?  Well, how would you feel waking up to realize six months have gone by and you have no recollection whatsoever of those months? 

In May, Chloe Spinnaker was just an average Junior coasting through high school.  Come November she has the highest SAT scores of her school, has one of the best GPAs and is dating her crush and one of the most popular guys in school.  She has no idea how she went from taking a nap in study hall one day to this strangely perfect life.  Despite being newly popular, Chloe has no one to trust, her best friend won’t answer her calls and ignores her in the hallways and her boyfriend Blake makes her feel uneasy.  How is she supposed to find out where her six months went?  A suspenseful and intriguing read.