Where I share my love of books with reviews, features, giveaways and memes. Family and needlepoint are thrown in from time to time.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Merry Christmas!

WOW - It has been a long time since I have posted anything! 

 I started back to school in the summer of 2014 and have been carrying 3 classes every semester since (with 2 in the summer).  I just finished this semester and have 3 classes and a practicum to go, but have decided that I need my life back!  So I am only taking 1 class for the next 3 semesters - Spring, Summer, Fall - so hopefully that means I am back to blogging!  

I haven't stopped reading and think I am close to 60 books for this year, but have just had no extra brain cells to write about them.  

So Merry Christmas (or Happy *insert your holiday here!*)

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Undertow by Michael Buckley

Undertow by Michael Buckley is the first book in a new YA trilogy and I am definitely looking forward to the next book.
     A new race has appeared on the planet, but it is a race that has been here all along - just under the sea.  They are calling themselves the Alpha and they are as different from each other, as they are from humans.  They are made up of different "fish" like characteristics and can breathe underwater.  They also have their own language, but can speak English as well.
     The Alpha have families - parents and children - but what has been  learned is that a group of nine Alpha had been sent ashore years earlier - to acclimate and learn about the humans.  Without raising any suspicion, they incorporated themselves into the community and started families with humans.  Lyric Walker, 16 years old, found out when the Alpha arrived, that her mother was one of these 9 Alpha.  She now has to keep her head low and not draw attention to herself so that her family secret will stay a secret.  You see - humans don't take kindly to Alpha.  They have found many of these original 9 already and have tortured their families.  Lyric - once outgoing and somewhat of a partier/trouble maker - has now become almost invisible - and that is how she wants to keep it.
     Unfortunately, the Alpha children will now be attending her high school - and most of the town is against this.  Barriers are set up and police action is needed everyday to just get to school.  The windows of the school have been covered so that sharp shooters cannot shoot anyone inside.  And Lyric has been singled out.  She is ordered to start spending time with Fathom, the Crown Prince of the Alpha.  Reluctantly they start meeting once a day.  The first meetings do not go well as neither one of them want to be there.  Slowly, the defenses between them start to come down and Lyric begins to teach him to read.  Fathom has many problems back among his own kind though.  The Crown Prince must fight anyone who challenges him.  It is their way of proving that they are worthy of becoming King.  So everyday he comes to school with new contusions and refuses to seek any medical help - as that would be considered weak.
     As they become closer, tensions are rising in the community, and Lyric's secret is being threatened.  She continues on the path set before her in hopes to be able to save her family from the fate of the other original Alpha's.
     Good book dealing with bullying, racism, family - and what constitutes family.  I wouldn't think that I would have been able to read a book about "fish-like" people with any degree of believability, but I soon didn't  see their physical characteristics, but just the people underneath.

Undertow (Undertow #1) by Michael Buckly
ISBN: 9780544348257
Publication Date: May 5th, 2015

Friday, June 26, 2015

Grey by Christi J. Whitney Book Tour

About the Book:

Title: Grey (The Romany Outcasts Series, Book 1)
Author: Christi J. Whitney
Publisher: HarperCollins/HarperVoyager
Pages: 400
Genre: Young Adult (Urban Fantasy)
Format: Paperback/Kindle
Sebastian Grey always thought he was a fairly normal teenager – good friends, decent grades, and a pretty sweet job in his foster brother’s tattoo shop.

But when strangers arrive in town, Sebastian soon realizes that his world is nothing at all what it seemed. Secretive gypsies surround him, shadowy figures stalk him, and the girl he’s been dreaming about turns up at school.

Now Sebastian must protect this girl at all costs, even if it means he will never be normal again.

For More Information

Read an excerpt:


I hear my name, but I can’t answer. I’m trapped by the image in my head.

It flashes again.

Rainbow-scorched leaves. Gypsy music.

Caravans of faded paint.

‘Sebastian Grey!’

Dark and nothing.

I struggled for words. ‘Yes, sir?’

Are you joining this group or not? I need to get a list . . . ’

Another flash.

Bonfires. Starless night.

A girl dancing. Ribbons in her hair.

‘For the last time, Mr Grey, wake up!’
My mind ripped free. I jolted, launching papers into orbit. For a split second, I wasn’t convinced of my surroundings. Then, as fluorescent lights bored through my skull, it hit me.

I was in the middle of class.

And twenty-five pairs of eyes were staring straight at me.

All my school supplies littered the floor – textbooks, papers, colored index cards. Everything except the pencil that I’d somehow snapped between my fingers. I coughed and hunkered in my seat. Across the aisle, Avery leaned sideways in his desk, giving me the look I’d seen way too many times: the one that questioned my sanity.

‘Crap,’ I whispered.

I’d done it again.

Mr Weir moved closer. He glowered at me from under spidery eyebrows. I prepared myself for the tirade. But just as he took a wheezing breath, the bell rang. I shrugged and gave him my best smile as the room reverberated with slamming books and screeching chairs.

Mr Weir grunted and waddled back to his desk, my outburst promptly dismissed as more important matters – like the end of the school day – took precedence. I dropped to one knee and recovered my textbook.

‘Hey, Sebastian, you okay?’ Avery towered over me. ‘What just happened there?’

I blinked away the lingering haze. ‘It appears I must have dozed off.’

‘Seriously, man,’ said Avery, his brows shooting up. ‘Who talks like that?’ He knelt and picked up one of my library books, examining it with a shake of his head. ‘I swear, sometimes I think you read way too many old books. They’re messing with your head.’

I snatched it out of his hands. ‘I don’t read old books.’

‘You read Shakespeare.’

‘That’s different.’

Avery laughed, shoving papers at me. ‘Sure it is.’

I stuffed them in my bag, taking care to hide my tattered copy of Hamlet from Avery’s prying eyes. We squeezed into the crowded hall, avoiding locker doors banging open and shut around us.

‘You never answered my question, you know,’ Avery continued.

‘I realize that.’

We strolled in companionable silence down the hallway. Okay, maybe I was the one who was silent. Avery Johnson – senior superlative and social giant – had something to say to everybody we passed. At the end of the corridor, he stopped.

‘Okay, what was it this time?’

‘Nothing,’ I replied. ‘I fell asleep.’

‘Yeah, right,’ Avery said in an amused huff. ‘That wasn’t a nap. That was a complete zone out. Same as this morning in gym, when you stood there like a zombie until Alex Graham smacked you in the face with the ball.’

‘I’m athletically challenged.’

‘Try strange,’ he replied.

‘Can you maybe find another expression to stare at me with? It’s not helping.’

Avery went dramatically serious. ‘Sorry.’

‘Oh, that’s better,’ I replied. ‘I feel much more comfortable now.’ Avery’s features didn’t change. There’d be no avoiding it this time. I worked out my confession. ‘Okay, so you know when you stare at a camera flash and then you keep seeing the glow, even after it’s gone?’

‘Yeah . . . ’

I gripped the strap of my backpack. ‘Well, I keep seeing this same thing in my head, like a camera flash. Only not a light. An image. It used to just happen at night, but now I’m starting to see it during the day.’

‘What exactly do you keep seeing?’

‘A girl.’

Avery whistled slyly. ‘Must be some dream, eh?’

‘No, it’s not like that.’ My head throbbed. I pinched the bridge of my nose between my fingers. ‘It’s not a dream.’

‘A vision, then,’ said Avery, lighting up like Christmas. ‘You can see the future! Or maybe the past. You know, like that guy on TV. The one that helps the cops solve cases and junk.’

I grinned sideways. ‘If only. ’Cause that would be kind of cool.’

‘And profitable,’ added Avery. ‘We could totally . . . ’

‘Hate to disappoint,’ I said, holding up my hands before he could spout off some money-making scheme that I would – mostly likely – lose cash on. ‘But I don’t have dreams, visions, premonitions, or anything worth printing up business cards for. It’s just an image. I probably saw it in a book somewhere.’

‘Well, whatever it is, when you come out of it, you do this jerking spaz thing.’ He demonstrated for my benefit. ‘Like a bad episode of Sebastian Can’t Dance. Maybe you should ease up on the caffeine.’

‘Oh, you’re hilarious,’ I said, shoving him towards the exit doors. I wasn’t about to tell Avery I’d seen the image every night for two months, and I couldn’t remember the last time I’d had any decent sleep. I’d reached the limits of sharing. ‘Glad to know I covered all the basics of self-embarrassment. Maybe next time I’ll work up a drool.’

Avery pushed open the set of metal doors, flashing a Cheshire grin as he passed through. ‘Hey, don’t worry too much about it, Sebastian. It’s not like it’s the first time you’ve done something weird.’

About the Author
Christi J. Whitney is a former high school theatre director with a love for the arts. She lives just outside Atlanta with her husband and two sons. When not spending time with them or taking a ridiculous number of trips to Disney World, she can be found directing plays, making costumes for sci-fi/fantasy conventions, obsessing over Doctor Who, watching superhero movies, or pretending she’s just a tad bit British.
Her latest book is the young adult urban fantasy novel, Grey (The Romany Outcasts Series, Book 1).
For More Information

The Ark by Laura Liddell Nolen

The Ark by Laura Liddell Nolen

First sentence: On the last day on Earth, I couldn't find my hairbrush. 

This is a very fast paced book that starts out with a race from prison to the last accessible Ark on Earth.  Char is a teenage girl that has been abandoned by her family in prison.  She has been in and out of prison for the last few years. This last stint happened because she was trying to separate herself from her 'crew', but no one who means anything to her believes that - or that is what she thinks.  Her parents actually come to say goodbye before they board the Ark and her mom slips a present into Char's back pocket.  When Char discovers it, it changes everything she feels about this last day.

Oh, maybe this would be a good time to tell you why this is the last day.  A meteor, discovered and identified years earlier is headed towards the Earth.  It is predicted that this meteor, named Pinball, will destroy it and everything on it.  All nations have come together to build 5 Arks that will each hold 100,000 people.  Some of these people are chosen based on what they can contribute, and some have been chosen based on a lottery.  Char's dad is a politician and her mom is a doctor - so they are pretty much a shoe-in.  Of course, Char being in prison eliminates her from being part of the lottery.  Her brother West will be going with their mom and dad though.

When Char realizes what her mother has left her, she elicits the help of a friend, an inmate, Isaiah, who is blind, but has experience in escaping from this prison.  There is a rumor that he knows about a faction of people called the Remnant who are able to get on the Ark. Char doesn't know if this is true, but doesn't know how to get out of the prison without him.

Like I said before - very fast paced book.  I liked Char, even though she has committed some crimes in the past, she seems truly contrite and just wants to apologize to her brother and family for what she has put them through.  It is also easy to have some compassion for her as she is being left behind on Earth.  You want to cheer for her to keep going, that she has to try to make it!  I can't tell you much more without giving too much away - so you will have to read the book to find out!

~I received a complimentary Kindle copy of The Ark from the author for her Pump up Your Book Blog Tour.~

About the Book:
Title: The Ark
Author: Laura Liddell Nolen
Publisher: HarperCollins
Pages: 239
Genre: YA Scifi
Format: Paperback/Kindle/Nook
There’s a meteor headed for Earth, and there is only one way to survive.
It’s the final days of earth, and sixteen-year-old Char is right where she belongs: in prison. With her criminal record, she doesn’t qualify for a place on an Ark, one of the five massive bioships designed to protect earth’s survivors during the meteor strike that looks set to destroy the planet. Only a select few will be saved – like her mom, dad, and brother – all of whom have long since turned their backs on Char.
If she ever wants to redeem herself, Char must use all the tricks of the trade to swindle her way into outer space, where she hopes to reunite with her family, regardless of whether they actually ever want to see her again, or not . . .

For More Information

Read an excerpt:

On the last day of Earth, I couldn’t find my hairbrush. That probably seems like a silly thing to worry about, what with the imminent destruction of, well, everything, but my mom was always after me about my usual ratty ponytail. Normally, I’d ignore her. Or, if I were having a really bad day, I’d tell her what she could do with her hairbrush. But like I said, it was the last day of Earth. And I figured, since it was the last time she’d ever see me, I wanted it to go smoothly. I wanted her to remember me, if not fondly, then at least without anger.
A girl can dream.
I slipped out of my cell as soon as the door swung open. I’d done the same every day for the past month, and my family had yet to show up. Their OPT—Off-Planet Transport—took off in eighteen hours, so they still had time. Barely. I couldn’t blame them if they didn’t come. It wasn’t hard to imagine that they’d rather escape to the stars without so much as a backward glance at me, their big disappointment. Even my father’s influence couldn’t persuade the government to give me a spot on an OPT.
Turns out, when humankind is deciding which of its children to save, the last place it looks is in prison.
But I was pretty sure they’d come. West had said as much in his last transmission. The thought of my younger brother actually halted me mid-step, like one of those punches in the gut where you can’t breathe for a few seconds.
“Looking for something?” The lazy drawl floated out of the nearest cell.
Against my better instincts, I turned to see Cassa lying on her bunk, her arm draped across Kip. My Kip. Or at least, my ex-Kip. Whatever. In twenty-two hours, I wouldn’t have to think about him anymore.
See? Silver lining. And they called me a perpetual pessimist at my last psych workup.
They barely fit next to each other on the flimsy mattress, but that wasn’t the weird part. The guys’ ward was separated by a substantial metal wall. We were kept apart during evening hours, for obvious reasons. Not that anyone cared anymore. The med staff had been the first to go, followed by the cleaning crew, followed by the kitchen crew. To show you where girls like me fell on the government’s list of priorities, there was still a skeleton crew of guards lurking around, despite the fact that I hadn’t had a real meal for going on a week. The guards would be gone soon, too, and then there’d be no one in here but us chickens.
I figured either Kip had a key, or the guards had left already. A key could be useful. My curiosity got the best of me. “How’d he get in here before the first bell?”
He cocked an eyebrow. “I got some tricks you ain’t seen, babe. Why don’t you join us? End of the world and all.”
The guards were gone, then. I felt a small trill of anxiety deep in my chest. If the guards were gone, my family was even less likely to show. But it was never smart to show fear. “The Pinball could be headed straight for this building, and I still wouldn’t be desperate enough to touch you. Oh, wait. Guess you don’t have to take my word for it.”
I turned to leave, but he continued. “Now is that any way to treat your dear ole partners? Be nice or I won’t give you back your stuff.”
“Ugh, you were in my room?” I flexed my shoulder blades, making sure my gun was still tightly secured between them.
“Don’t worry, Char. I didn’t handle the merchandise. Didn’t want to wake you up. Just lifted me a few keepsakes.” He pronounced my name the way I like: Char, as in charred. Something that got burned.
I wasn’t sure what Kip and Cassa were planning, but I knew I wouldn’t like it. They were thieves and liars. I would know. I used to be one of them. That was before the last job, when Cassa had attacked an elderly man in the home we were robbing. She’d kicked him until he stopped fighting back. Kip had called her off after a few licks, but I just stood there, staring. The old man looked at me, like right at me, while we made our getaway, and my stomach twisted into a knot so tight that I tasted bile. That was the moment I knew I wanted out.
But by then, no one believed me. Or, if they did, no one cared. Except for Kip and Cassa, of course. They’d taken the news pretty hard, to put it lightly.
If I lunged for the box, I could probably grab my hairbrush and get out of there. I wouldn’t have time for more than that. Then again, I’d be doing exactly what they expected, and I didn’t have time for delays. My family could be in the commissary any second now.
“Ahem. Seeing as it’s your last day of life, I might let you have one thing back,” said Kip.
“In exchange for what?”
“I’m hurt. All our time together, and you still don’t believe in my inherent generosity. But now that you mention it, I’ve got a hankering for some peanut butter crackers.”
“Sorry, Kip. I’m fresh out of food. Kinda like everyone else.”
“Nice try, Charrr.” He drew my name out, as though tasting it. “I saw them yesterday. Figured you were hiding them under your pillow when I couldn’t find them last night.”
“You figured wrong.”
All I could think about was my brother’s face. And how I had this one last chance to apologize to my parents, for everything. I shrugged and turned to leave.

About the author: Laura Liddell Nolen grew up in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, where she spent lots of time playing make-believe with her two younger brothers. They supplemented their own stories with a steady diet of space- and superhero-themed movies, books, and television. The daughter of a comic book collector, she learned how to handle old comics at an early age, a skill she’s inordinately proud of to this day.

Laura began work on her first novel, The Ark, in 2012, following the birth of her daughter Ava, a tiny rebel and a sweetheart on whom the novel’s main character is loosely based. Completion of The Ark was made possible in part due to an SCBWI Work-in-Progress Award.

Laura loves coffee, dogs, and making lists. She has a degree in French and a license to practice law, but both are frozen in carbonite at present. She lives in Houston, Texas, with her husband and two young children, and their dog Miley, who is a very good girl.
For More Information

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

I listen to a lot of books in my car as I am tooling around town, to and from work, to and from the grocery store, etc.  Some of them adapt quite well to being listened to in short bits - this one did not.  I did enjoy the book, but I think this is one I would have enjoyed more had I read it, or listened to it somewhere other than the car.

It starts out very quick paced - Tana wakes up in the bathroom of a farmhouse after a party, and discovers that all of her classmates have been killed by vampires.  All of them but one - Aidan.  He is tied to a bed, and while he has been bitten, he is not a vampire yet.  If you are not killed by a vampire when they bite you, then you turn Cold.  After turning Cold, if you drink human blood within 88 days, then you die and become a vampire.  If you are able to lock yourself away somewhere for 88 days - and actually survive, then you will beat the infection and be human again.  Also in the room with Aiden is a vampire who is chained up.  His name is Gavriel.  You learn very quickly what kind of person Tana is, as she cannot leave either one of these two behind - because, you see, there are vampires in the basement - and when night falls, they will be killed.

The story is told from many different points of view - Tana's, Gavriel's, Pearl's (Tana's little sister) - and it jumps back and forth from the present, to Tana's recent past, to Gavriel's long ago past.  I think this is one of the reasons that it didn't work well for me to listen to it in bits and pieces.

So once Tana frees Aidan and Gavriel, she gets them into her car and they set out for Coldtown.  There are many Coldtown's across the U.S. where vampires, or those who have been infected, are imprisoned.  They are entire cities and this one is in Springfield.  (Sort of like Springfield from The Simpson's - you have no idea where).  Along the way to Coldtown, they pick up two siblings - Midnight and Winter - who want to go to Coldtown because they want to be vampires. Oh - and I almost forgot - Tana was "scratched" by one of the vampires upon fleeing the farmhouse, so is afraid that she hasn't got a lot of time before she turns Cold.

You would think that this being a Vampire book - where there is lots of killing and death, that it would be a grim book - but Tana has an outlook (or she is just naive and lucky) that she can accomplish pretty much anything.  I don't think she starts out believing this about herself, but she does a lot of things in the book to stay alive - and to keep others alive -- that she didn't know she could do.  Tana teaches us about loyalty, and family, and hope -- and of course, love.

Friday, March 27, 2015

The Snow Globe by Judith Kinghorn

The Snow Globe by Judith Kinghorn is set in England in 1926-27.  Daisy is the main character - she is 19 and the youngest of three sisters.  One is married, and one is living in London and owns a dress shop there. Her mother and father have been married almost 25 years.  Her father inherited his father's business and stays in London most of the time while her mother stays at Eden Hall, the family home in the country.  Everybody thinks they have the perfect marriage - or at least Daisy does.  Until she overhears the servants talking about 'that other woman' and mentioning a boy and starts  putting together the clues.  She realizes that her father has been having an affair with a woman in London - and that her mother knows about it!  Her hero worship of her father is deflated with a big fat POP!

It is the Christmas season and her family usually has a houseful of guests for Christmas - friends, family - but this year Daisy's mother Mabel has decided to surprise her husband - and has invited his mistress, Margot and her son Valentine and seems interested in Daisy.  Surprise it is and let's say a little awkward.  Rounding out the guests is Reggie, a friend who lives close by and seems to be enamored with Mabel - not that she seems to mind any - and Ben - an employee of her father's who spent part of the summer there and is quite taken with Daisy.  Then there is Stephen Jessop - he is the son of the cook and gardener and has been Daisy's lifelong companion.  The best way to sum up the three young men in Daisy's life is by taking a quote off the back of the book - "As Daisy wrestles with the truth, she blossoms in her own right, receiving a marriage proposal from one man, a declaration of love from another, and her first kiss from a third."

So the story revolves around Daisy, and her search for true love - while also trying to understand her parents relationship and love.  Is there really much difference between young love and old love?  Or can misunderstandings cause trouble  at both ends?

This was my first book by Judith Kinghorn, but I did enjoy reading it.  It is not a big action packed page turner, but the story slowly unfolds and there were times I just wanted to wring everyone's necks and tell them to communicate with each other!  If you are looking for a good old-fashioned romance, then this one is for you!

~I received a complimentary copy of The Snow Globe from Penguin in exchange for my unbiased review.~

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Uncaged by John Sandford and Michele Cook

Uncaged was a pretty fast paced book by John Sandford and Michele Cook. It is the first book in The Singular Menace series, with the second book expected to be published in July of this year (Outrage). 

Shay and Odin Remby are orphans who were living with foster parents in Washington (?).  Odin is a terrific hacker, but he doesn't have a lot of common sense.  He has a soft spot for animals and has become friends with a group of animal rights activists.  There is a girl in the group that he believes is his girlfriend, but they all might be using him a bit for his mad skills. 

They target  a research lab, Singular, which turns out to be more than they can handle.  Odin ends up with a dog that appears to have had some radical surgery, and some encrypted flash drives.  He contacts Shay only to let her know that he has to go into hiding because of this raid-gone-wrong.  

Before she can think about it, Shay takes off to make sure her brother is okay.  She ends up in California living with a bunch of misfit kids in a hotel that is owned by mysterious artist named Twist.  These kids are themselves a cast of characters - not really bad kids, but all for one reason or another, needing a place to call home.  Shay slowly starts to trust them and needs their help more than ever when she ends up with the stolen dog and sees Odin get kidnapped.  They band together to rescue Odin and try to figure out what Singular is really all about.  

I am looking forward to the July release of the second book, Outrage.

Dragons of Autumn Twilight by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman

Dragons of Autumn Twilight by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman is Volume 1 of the DragonLance Chronicles. This is an old series with this book first being published back in 1984.  I read a lot of the series back in the late 80's, but just felt like revisiting some of the first fantasy books that I ever read.

This book starts out with seven unlikely friends reuniting after some years apart.  They are Tanis, (half-elf, half-human), Flint Fireforge (dwarf), Tasslehoff Burrfoot (Kender), Sturm Brightblade (Knight), Caramon and Raistlin Majere (Twins - Raistlin is a mage). Kitiara, Caramon and Raistlin's half-sister was also supposed to join them, but has only sent a strange note explaining her absence.  They are joined on their first night back together by Goldmoon and Riverwind (plainsmen).

The world they live in is called Krynn and there are rumors of war and unrest all over.  They soon discover that they are not even safe in what they feel is their "hometown" and are soon battling just to make it out of the pub in which they have met.  

They set out together on a journey, not really knowing which way will lead them to safety.  They end up in the Dark Woods where a magical Centaur tells them they are to go to the city of Xak Tsaroth to retrieve the Disks of Mishakal. These Disks will help to restore peace and bring back the true gods who abandoned Krynn years ago.  

So as you can see, this is a true fantasy world, filled with myths and mythical creatures - from draconians and centaurs to dwarves and elves.  It was fun to revisit it and learn again about this circle of friends and all of their strengths and weaknesses. It reminded me of a dog and a cat that I had in the 80's and 90's that were named after characters in this series - Tika was our dog - she is a barmaid who joins the travelers, and Fizban was our cat, and he is a wizard.   I have decided to keep reading the series and am about half way through book 2 - The Dragons of Winter. 

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Arcady's Goal by Eugene Yelchin

Arcady's Goal by Eugene Yelchin takes place on the eve of WWII in Soviet Russia.  Arcady, now twelve, has been raised in orphanages.  His parents were taken away when he was a baby as they were accused of being "enemies of the state". Orphanages are the only home he has ever known. The other thing he knows well, though, is soccer.  Where he has picked up his mad soccer skills, we will never know, but he dreams of being the next striker for the Red Army soccer team. 

For now though, he plays one on one soccer with the other boys in the orphanage.  He is so good, that they often parade him out when the inspectors come around - to entertain the inspectors and keep them from actually seeing how poorly the boys are treated.  It is during one of these inspections that Ivan Ivanych sees Arcady play.  Ivan is not really an inspector, but he is interested in adopting - and feels Arcady is the one.  Arcady doesn't know anyone who was adopted and thinks Ivan is a soccer recruiter and starts calling him coach.  

Both of these characters have been wounded and they strive to please each other - Arcady by always trying to impress "Coach" with his soccer skills, and Ivan, by actually creating a soccer team - even though he knows nothing about soccer.  Things don't go as planned, though, and Arcady's dream of trying out for the Red Army soccer team seems further away than ever.  Somehow these two start to become a family, and maybe that was Arcady's goal all along.  

There is a lot of other nuances going on with this story as well - the charged atmosphere and the anticipation of war. The prejudice towards the families of the enemy of the people as well as the unjust way that people were accused of being enemies. For grades 4 - 7. 

Stealing Home by Sherryl Woods

Stealing Home by Sherryl Woods is the first book in The Sweet Magnolia series.  I saw Swan Point advertised sometime last year, and as it is the latest in The Sweet Magnolia series, I wanted to go back and start at the beginning.  (Swan Point is book 11, so I have a ways to go!)

The Sweet Magnolias are comprised of Maddie, Dana Sue and Helen, best friends since high school.  Stealing Home is Maddie's story and it starts out with Maddie finding out about her doctor-husband's affair with his nurse.  Well, she is pregnant (and 16 years younger) and he wants a divorce. I have a feeling that this happens more than we would like to admit in the medical field.

After wallowing in some much deserved self-pity, her friends set out to give her a new purpose by deciding to open a new spa/health club in town. They decide that Maddie needs to be the one to run it - to put her unused business degree to good use.  Dana Sue already runs a very successful restaurant and Helen is a very successful lawyer. 

As with all of Ms. Woods' books, there has to be some romance - and this comes in the shape of a much younger, easy-on-the-eyes ex-ballplayer (who just happens to be Maddie's son's baseball coach), Cal Maddox.  Cal remembers the first time he saw Maddie, and never dreamed that her 20-year marriage would soon be over.  Wanting to give her time to heal, but also needing to be there to lend a hand, he slowly develops a friendship with Maddie - both denying the attraction that is simmering under the surface. 

I have read The Ocean Breeze Trilogy by Sherryl Woods and knew that I would enjoy this one.  I was looking for a light-hearted romance that would be an easy read, and this one fit the bill.  I look forward to continuing on in this series.  The second book, A Slice of Heaven, is Dana Sue's story. 

The Vault and PopSugar's Reading Challenge

After working as a shelver for a year at our public library, I was able to move up to a position in our Youth Services department in October.  The Vault is our teen center and they have picked up a challenge from PopSugar.  I have decided to do this challenge as well, but felt it should have it's own page since it is my library.  :)

You can find out more about this challenge by either visiting The Vault or PopSugar's challenge page.

The challenge is to read a book that will fit into each of the categories below:

You can fulfill the list however you would like, with whatever type of books you would like.  You could even make your book fit more than one category.  I am going to try it the hard way though and try to do a separate book for each category.  

I will be keeping track of my books with a separate google spreadsheet - but will also update my progress here.

For printable lists - please visit The Vault as they have a few different ways to access the list.

To view other challenges that I have joined, please see the tabs at the top of the page.

1. A book by a female author - Stealing Home by Sherryl Woods (January)
2. A book you can finish in a day - Arcady's Goal by Eugene Yelchin (January)
3. A book with nonhuman characters - Dragons of Autumn Twilight by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman (January)
4. A Book with more than 500 pages - The Liar by Nora Roberts
5. A Book with a One Word Title - Nil by Lynne Matson
6. A trilogy - Blood Red Road/Rebel Heart/Raging Star by Moira Young
7. A book with a love triangle - Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald
8. A book set in the future - The Ark by Laura Nolen
9. A book set in highschool - A Really Awesome Mess by Cook,Halpin


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