Search This Blog

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

To Buy or Not to Buy: When Magic Sleeps (Darkly Fae Book 1) by Tera Lynn Childs

I'm doing it again...staring at the computer screen. It's like my brain has gone south for the winter, but it left me behind in New Jersey.

On account of my brain being MIA, probably sipping daiquiris pool side in a long chair under a thatch umbrella, I bring you the next installment of To Buy or Not to Buy.

When Magic Sleeps (Darkly Fae Book 1) by Tera Lynn Childs
Book Description (From Amazon):
Publication Date: November 4, 2014 | Age Level: 12 - 18 | Grade Level: 7 - 12
The first novella in a new fantasy YA series

When magic sleeps, everything changes.

For as long as she can remember, Winnie Price has visited another world in her dreams, a magical fae realm caught up in a war of intrigue and sorcery. Where nature is all-powerful and a dark prince will do anything to save his dying clan. She thought this realm was pure imagination, until one midsummer’s eve when the owl who visits her window once a month transforms into a boy before her eyes. And not just any boy, the dark fae prince.

With his clan on the verge of extinction, Cathair O Cuana knows that his secret feelings for the human girl can never be more than fantasy. Caught between duty and emotion, he knows his responsibility to his people comes first. But when the magic sleeps and she sees his true form, the girl he yearns for finally feels within his reach—just as a traitor in the palace pushes the kingdom to the brink of war. Will disaster drive them apart or pull them together?

In a world where dreams, magic, and war collide, a human girl with a special ability and a fae prince with the weight of a kingdom on his shoulders must risk everything for a chance at happily ever after.

My First Impression:
The story is told from alternating POVs, which is fine, but I had a problem with the Fae pronunciations. I couldn't figure out how to pronounce some things.
I thought this was an interesting take as the dark Fae draw power from fear, pain, grief, any dark emotions. I’m not sure I've read anything like this.

To keep their immortality, the Fae must transform into an animal one day a month. They travel to a sanctuary where they can pass the day protected, but Cathair, the prince of the Moraine Clan, in bird form spies a human girl with beautiful green eyes and follows her home rather than heading to the sanctuary. And he does so for 11 months.

Winnie Price is the human girl Cathair followed. She did not notice him, but from that first visit, Winnie has begun to dream about Cathair and his clan. She writes it down in journals which she keeps private, although she tells the dreams to her best friend.

As Winnie dreams about Cathair and his people, we find that all is not right with Clan Moraine. The Queen has received a warning.

“A traitor nests in your palace ranks.”

I got chills.


To Buy

Sunday, February 22, 2015

A Conversation with My Brain

Me: Hello, Brain. Nice of you to show up.

Brain: I was busy.

Me: Well, you could have called.

Brain: You were napping.

Me: I was cold.

Brain: You’re not a bear.

Me: And I was weighted down by the cat on my lap.

Brain: Hmmm. Well, that sounds like an excuse.

Me: Well, it isn’t.

Brain: But it sounds like one.

Me: Whatever.

Me: Did you like the book?

Brain: Loved it!

Me: Could have fooled me.

Me: Where were you when I was sitting staring at an empty screen on the computer every night trying to write about it?

Brain: I was thinking about something else.

Me: What could have been so important?

Brain: I was thinking of pancakes.

Me: Fair enough.  

Saturday, February 14, 2015

To Buy or Not to Buy: Freshman Year and Other Unnatural Disasters by Meredith Zeitlin

I do like stories set during High School. It's not like I'm going through a midlife crisis or I'm trying to relive my glory days. I think it may have something to do with experiencing a lot life has to offer for the first time. It's that innocence, naivete that I find so appealing. It's like looking at life with a new pair of eyes which is refreshing for one as jaded as I.

I do have to say, though, that not all High School dramas live up to my expectations. I can't always relate. So, let's see Freshman Year and Other Unnatural Disasters fared in this installment of To Buy or Not to Buy.

Freshman Year and Other Unnatural Disasters by Meredith Zeitlin

Book Description (From Amazon):
Publication Date: March 1, 2012 | Age Level: 12 and up | Grade Level: 7 and up

So far this year isn't going the way she planned but it is undeniably memorable.

Kelsey Finkelstein is starting her freshman year of high school and she's determined to begin with a clean slate. Her arch-nemesis moved away this summer, finally giving her the chance to stand out on the soccer team and possibly catch the eye of her long-time crush. But things don't go as smoothly as Kelsey hopes and she finds herself navigating a series of increasingly hilarious situations. From mortifying pictures in the school paper to an unconventional lead role in the musical, all while avoiding her soccer captain's bad temper, Kelsey has her work cut out for her if she's going to survive freshman year.

My First Impression:
The book opens with Kelsey preparing for the arrival of her three friends, Em, Cassidy and JoJo. They have planned a strategy session to prepare for the first day of freshman year of high school.

I was never a girly girl. Never wore make-up. Not really into fashion. While I had lots of friends, I was never a posse girl. I would talk on the phone a lot, have sleep overs with one friend, but never a gaggle of girls. To be honest, I was never one of those types of girls either, the ones that hang out and shop, do each other’s hair, trade clothes, that type.

So I could not identify with these girls at all. I could also never understand the idea that starting high school was an opportunity to reinvent oneself. What is wrong with just being who you are?


Not to buy

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Triple Play Thursday or Say Yes to Which Dress?

I meant to be swooning today, but I haven't had much luck.  I started reading Love, Rosie by Cecilia Ahern, but have found that the entire book is not a laugh riot.  I'm about 10 chapters or so in and there is no swooning.

I started reading the introduction to Trigger Warnings by Neil Gaiman and while his writing does make me swoon, it is over the art of the writing and not because it is a romantic text.

So, I decided to give you all a triple dose of battling book covers.  That's right!  We're at Defcon 3! Triple Threat!  The Big Brawl!  Taco Tuesday.  No wait.  I mean Queso Wednesday.  No, that's not right.

Tonight's battle is a Sleeping Beauty smack down!  You'll see why.  It's.................

Shunned No More by Christina McKnight 


Chosen: The Seeker Saga  by Sarah Swan


Star of Deliverance by Mandy Madson Voisin

It's a beautiful dress, isn't it?  And we have it any color to suit your mood; blue, purple, white...

Seeing these covers just put me in mind of Sleeping Beauty's fairy godmothers who couldn't agree on a dress color.  Pink, blue, pink, blue, well you get the idea.

So, what mood are you in?

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Wednesday Wish List: The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman

I want, I want I want.

I had found The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman on one of my Amazon searches for forthcoming books. The version I found was an import from the UK. I was going to buy it anyway because the description was just so dang good. I mean, metallic ink?? I am so there. I could just feel the book n my hands. And the cover is just so pretty. I must have it. Sadly, I must wait until September.

The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman

Book Description (from Amazon):
Publication Date: September 22, 2015

A thrillingly reimagined fairy tale from the truly magical combination of author Neil Gaiman and illustrator Chris Riddell - weaving together a sort-of Snow White and an almost Sleeping Beauty with a thread of dark magic, which will hold readers spellbound from start to finish. On the eve of her wedding, a young queen sets out to rescue a princess from an enchantment. She casts aside her fine wedding clothes, takes her chain mail and her sword and follows her brave dwarf retainers into the tunnels under the mountain towards the sleeping kingdom. This queen will decide her own future - and the princess who needs rescuing is not quite what she seems. Twisting together the familiar and the new, this perfectly delicious, captivating and darkly funny tale shows its creators at the peak of their talents. Lavishly produced, packed with glorious Chris Riddell illustrations enhanced with metallic ink, this is a spectacular and magical gift.

Monday, February 9, 2015

To Buy or Not to Buy: The Forgotten Sister by Jennifer Paynter

Well, as I've said before, I loves me some Jane Austen stories. Since she can't possibly write anymore unless from beyond the grave, I have to get my Austen fix from other sources. I am always scouting around for more Austenesque stories, but not the Elizabeth and Darcy stories, you know, like Pemberley Ever After (Okay, so I made that name up), but you know what I mean. I don't like the stories that are written to sound like an extension of Austen's books. I like the stories that are written with the author's unique voice, something different. While I am in continual search of new ways to tell Jane Austen stories and new authors doing the telling, I have to say, some stories are a hit and some a definite miss, but that's a different posting which I haven't done in a while. This one is To Buy or Not to Buy.

The Forgotten Sister by Jennifer Paynter

Book Description (From Amazon):
Publication Date: January 14, 2014

The third Bennet sister, Mary, steps into the spotlight in this graceful retelling of Pride and Prejudice.

As a middle child flanked by two pairs of closely bonded sisters, marginalized by her mother, and ridiculed by her father, Mary Bennet feels isolated within her own family. She retreats to her room to read and play the pianoforte and, when obliged to mix in society, finds it safer to quote platitudes from books rather than express her real opinions. She also finds it safer to befriend those who are socially “beneath” her. When wealthy Mr. Darcy and Mr. Bingley glide into her sisters’ lives, Mary becomes infatuated with an impoverished young musician, the son of her old wet-nurse, who plays the fiddle at the Meryton assemblies.

It is only after her sisters tease her about her “beau with the bow” that Mary is forced to examine her real feelings and confront her own brand of pride and prejudice.

An elegant accompaniment to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, The Forgotten Sister plucks the neglected Mary from obscurity and beautifully reveals her hopes and dreams.

My First Impression:
The book starts out with Mary Bennet describing her sister’s personalities. She also talks of her mother, father, aunts and uncles. It’s also rather boring. While I do love Jane Austen’s novels and re-imaginings of her stories, I have never cared overmuch for Mary, Kitty or Lydia. So, I don’t know what possessed me to download this sample and give it a try. There’s not much more I can say about it.

Not to buy…ever.

Stacking the Shelves - February 8th or 9th, 2015

So, I started working on this before midnight, but didn't get it done in time. I really do like having the STS post done before midnight, but I was watching Divergent from beginning to end for the first time. Cable is a wonderful thing.

This week's theme is cheap, cheap, cheap. Cheap as free. Although some were not free, I picked up a few Kindles that were free. I like that. The books are all pre-orders put in several months ago. I really am
trying to be good! So, here's everything...

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews.

Books Purchased:
We Can Work It Out by Elizabeth Eulberg

Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman

Invaded by Melissa Landers

Kindle Books Purchased:
Reflection Pond by Kacey Vanderkarr – Free eBook

Infinite Potential (Phasms Book 1) by Barbara Garren – Free eBook

The Mermaid's Sister by Carrie Anne Noble – Kindle Firsts for February @ $1.99 for the month

The World of Divergent: The Path to Allegiant (Divergent Series) by Veronica Roth – Free eBook

Divergent (Divergent Trilogy, Book 1) by Veronica Roth – Currently $2.99 for Kindle

Cupid on the Loose!: A Valentine's Day Anthology of Short Stories by Lisa Bambrick, Kathryn R. Biel, Geralyn Corcillo, Julie Farrell, Amy Gettinger, Celia Kennedy, Karen E. Martin, Jean Oram, CeCe Osgood, Jennifer Gilby Roberts – Free eBook

Until Midnight (Alienated) by Melissa Landers – Free eBook

A Mermaid for Christmas (Flukes) by Nichole Chase – Free eBook

This Night So Dark (The Starbound Trilogy) by Meagan Spooner Amie Kaufman – Free eBook

Manga Purchased:
Black Rose Alice 3

Bleach 63

Honey Blood: Tale Zero

My Little Monster 6

That's it for now.  TTFN!!

Saturday, February 7, 2015

To Buy or Not to Buy: Jane and Austen by Stephanie Flowers

Well, I'm off to a Harry Potter party. My House? Ravenclaw. I had hoped I would get picked for Gryffindor, but Ravenclaw's not so bad.

Since I have to run, I bring another installment of To Buy or Not to Buy.

Jane and Austen by Stephanie Flowers

Book Description (From Amazon):
Publication Date: June 26, 2014
[Jane and Austen: a Sweet Romance] 

Meet Jane and Austen. First there's Jane—an impractical, starry-eyed wedding planner; if love can’t match what she’s read in a book, she doesn’t want it. And then there’s Austen—a pragmatic, logical-to-a-fault financial consultant; even if he were interested in someone, he wouldn’t know. 

The two have one thing in common: they can’t leave each other alone. Jane believes that if Austen could just experience a fairy tale romance, he would secretly love it. And Austen’s pretty sure that if one of Jane’s beloved heroes escaped from the pages of her dog-eared novels, she’d run and hide. 

Both are about to be proven right. 

When the rivals are called on to help a friend plan the biggest wedding of the year, an entire resort full of colorful wedding guests descends upon them—many sharing uncanny similarities to characters in a Jane Austen novel. It doesn’t take long before Jane gets everything she thinks she wants. After all, too much of a good thing can’t be all that bad, right? 

But when Jane’s life turns upside down, the only one she can turn to is Austen; though he’s got his own troubles of the heart…and she's afraid that he's enjoying them more than he should. 

My First Impression:
Jane has won the coveted internship at the North Abbey a bed and breakfast turned into a successful resort. The problem with it is that the owner’s son, Austen, was leaving for Boston to work in the world of finance. She had fallen for him and he seemed oblivious to her feelings. As he is getting in the taxi, Jane stops him to say goodbye one final time. She asks him to text her, but doesn't understand why. She explains she’d like to keep in touch, but he says he’ll be busy with his new life and doesn’t anything to remind him of what he left behind.

Eight months later and Jane is an assistant to Taylor, the Events Planner. Taylor has been dating and Englishman named Charles Bigley and they are now engaged. After the wedding, Taylor will be moving to England with Charles, so she is looking for Jane to fill her shoes and the Events Planner. What that means is that Jane has to do almost all the work for Taylor’s wedding which will be the event of the century.

Jane is quite busy juggling guest accommodations, including making room for rock star Will Dancy who is a last minute guest addition, and dealing with the upper crust guests already starting to arrive. What she wasn't expecting was Austen to walk through the door.

On the one hand, the plot seems very contrived. Many of the characters and place names share names with people and places from Jane Austen’s novels. On the other hand, I am a sucker for Jane Austen and Austenesque stories.

To buy…probably.

Serendipity Book Style

I have never been an overly big fan of dystopian fiction. And when did dystopian as a term for a genre become a thing? Regardless, it's not like I haven't picked up any dystopian fiction, but it's just never really been my thing.

However, Divergent has been on HMO, some days around the clock it seems. As I work from home on Thursdays and Fridays, I often put something on as background noise while I work and Divergent has become my go to movie for that as it is on so often. Oddly enough, I still haven't see the movie from beginning to end.

Today as I had it on for the second time, I was thinking that I really am enjoying the movie and should watch it all the way through. I took it one step further, though, and thought I should give the book a try, so I downloaded a sample.

When I loaded the Kindle page, I found that the Kindle version is currently $2.99. You almost can't beat that price! Still, I will read the sample before buying, but I'm pretty sure this will be on STS post this week.

Then, I was trying to find an email. I pre-ordered Neil Gaiman's Trigger Warning and William Morrow had an exclusive free wallpaper offer. I got all my proof of purchase to them in time and got the link, but the link to download expires on 02/10/15, so I was trying to find it to download. On the way, I figured I'd clean out some of my recent emails until I found it.

I did eventually find it and got the downloads on time, but I also found an email along the way for the first half of Season One of Outlander on Blu Ray. The price had dropped and I decided to order it. I know you are probably wondering what this has to do with the price of beans, but stay with me here. My mind is a dark place at times full of maze-like corridors.

Anyway, I put Outlander in my shopping cart. It came to $34.99. Amazon ships for free at $35.00, so I had to make a purchase of at least a penny to get free shipping. I thought, I want to pick up Big Hero 6 when it is released, so I went to my movie wish list. I could add either Box Trolls or Big Hero Six.

On a whim, I decided to see how much Divergent cost. When I pulled up the page, I found that it is currently on Amazon for $10.00 for Blue ray and that the Blu Ray is actually cheaper currently than the DVD version. How can I pass that up?

So what started with a cable movie ended with an obsession, a cheap Kindle eBook and a cheap Blu Ray. Now that's serendipity for you. I love a good bargain! What a good day it's been!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Wednesday Wish List: Reawakened by Colleen Houck

While I don't normally do a wish list or waiting for type post, when I was looking for new up coming books at Christmas, I saw some titles that I just had to talk about!!

Reawakened by Colleen Houck is one of the books I am most anticipating in 2015. I picked up Tiger's Curse, mostly because the cover caught my eye and would not let me go. I loved the illustration of the white tiger and the Indian feel to the designs. After reading the summary, I was doubly hooked. I tore through the series. Well, to be honest, I haven't read book four yet, but I think it is because I knew there would be no more and that sometimes makes me sad.

It's been three years since the series ended and I had despaired of Ms. Houck ever writing a new book and lo and behold! There it was listed on the page, all glittery and shiny and new. And I must say, it is another stunning cover! I really can't wait to get my hands on this one. Only 7 months to go!

Book Description (From Amazon):
Publication Date: August 25, 2015
From COLLEEN HOUCK, New York Times bestselling author of the Tiger’s Curse series, comes the first book in a series about a teenage girl entangled in an epic Egyptian quest full of romance, adventure, and mythology!

When seventeen-year-old Lilliana Young enters the Metropolitan Museum of Art one morning during spring break, the last thing she expects to find is a live Egyptian prince with godlike powers, who has been reawakened after a thousand years of mummification.
And she really can’t imagine being chosen to aid him in an epic quest that will lead them across the globe.
But fate has taken hold of Lily, and she, along with her sun prince, Amon, must travel to the Valley of the Kings, raise his brothers, and stop an evil, shape-shifting god named Seth from taking over the world.
From New York Times bestselling author Colleen Houck comes an epic adventure about two star-crossed teens who must battle mythical forces and ancient curses on a journey with more twists and turns than the Nile itself.

What's on the horizon for you?

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Two for Two for Tuesday

It's another double bag of double stuff! Or do I just have double vision? This installment of Two for Tuesday features the boys in the band.

First up, it's our badass poster boy!!  Our second fight of the night is a newcomer, emo piano man!

Devoured by Emily Snow


First Chance (Rock Romance #1) by A.L. Wood

The Dreamer of Downing Street by Roberta L. Smith                                     VS                    Without You by Julie Prestsater

That's two, two, two book covers in one!  Never ceases to amazes.   

Monday, February 2, 2015

To Buy or Not to Buy: Into the Dark: The Shadow Prince by Bree Despain

In my never-ending struggle to clean up my Kindle wish list and samples on my iPad, I bring the next installment of To Buy or Not to Buy.

Into the Dark: The Shadow Prince by Bree Despain

Book Description (From Amazon):
Haden Lord, the disgraced prince of the Underrealm, has been sent to the mortal world to entice a girl into returning with him to the land of the dead. Posing as a student at Olympus Hills High—a haven for children of the rich and famous—Haden must single out the one girl rumored to be able to restore immortality to his race.

Daphne Raines has dreams much bigger than her tiny southern Utah town, so when her rock star dad suddenly reappears, offering her full tuition to Olympus Hills High’s prestigious music program, she sees an opportunity to catch the break she needs to make it as a singer. But upon moving into her estranged father’s mansion in California, and attending her glamorous new school, Daphne soon realizes she isn’t the only student in Olympus who doesn’t quite belong.

Haden and Daphne—destined for each other—know nothing of the true stakes their fated courtship entails. As war between the gods brews, the teenagers’ lives collide. But Daphne won’t be wooed easily and when it seems their prophesied link could happen, Haden realizes something he never intended—he’s fallen in love. Now to save themselves, Haden and Daphne must rewrite their destinies. But as their destinies change, so do the fates of both their worlds.

A pulsating romance of epic proportions, Bree Despain’s The Shadow Prince will leave her fans breathless for the next book in the Into The Dark series.

My First Impression:
Haden is a prince of the underworld. He is lined up with all the other underlords while the Oracle makes her way through the ranks. One champion will be chosen. Everyone expects the chosen one to be Rowan the son and heir. If King Ren could choose, it would be Rowan. Haden has been disowned by King Ren, but remains within the ranks of the underlords due to a promise he made to Haden’s mother upon her deathbed. So, it is a surprise to everyone when the Oracle chooses Haden as the champion.

His quest is to go to the human world and locate the Cypher, the girl who can restore what has taken from the underlords. He will have 6 months to find her and bring her willingly back to the underworld. If he can accomplish this quest, King Ren will once again establish Haden as the heir and he will once again be able to call the King his “Father.”

Daphne lives in a small town in Utah where she works at her mother’s flower shop. She longs to experience freedom, but her mother won’t allow her to leave the town limits. She had tried to run away once which ended in disaster so a bargain was struck. Daphne doesn't run away and her mother will let her further afield once she gets her license.

However, her mother keeps making excuses for Daphne to not get her license. Daphne wants to experience the world and she aspires to a career in music, like her father. She wants to enter a talent show. There will be scouts there for colleges and she is hoping to earn a scholarship so she can get out of town.

So, it’s another Persephone story. I’m kind of over the Persephone stories.

Not to buy

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Book Review: The Summer After You and Me by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski

So, today was a pretty darn good day. I read a book!! And not just a sample. A full length novel!!! And I read it in less than 24 hours!!! Huzzah!

I couldn't help it, though. I was powerless against the compulsion of the book. (The power of the book compels you. The power of the book compels you.)

I had just received The Summer After You and Me by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski Friday night. I had participated in the cover reveal and was offered the chance to read a review copy. I eagerly jumped at the chance! It was a Net Galley offering, but what the heck.

Now, I have nothing at all against Net Galley. In fact, I love the service that Net Galley provides. However, in order to be granted a review copy, one must be worthy. One must have the stats to be seen as worthy, which, let's be honest, I do not have. It's my own fault really and has a lot to do with the amount of time and energy I put into my job. Every request I have submitted has been denied with the exception of the BEA Buzz Books from 2014. Of course, I never read the samples, and so never posted a review. Again, my fault.

Anyway, I was sent a link and was told my name was submitted for approval. When I clicked on the link, lo and behold, I was able to download the book. Oh, frabjous day! I was so excited!!

I started reading yesterday morning and finished this morning. Although I had to put the book down for various reasons throughout the day, I could not wait to get back to the story. And I'll tell you why.

This, for me, was a very personal story. It resonated with me unlike any book I've read of late. While on one level, it is a contemporary beach themed romance, on another level it deals with the rebuilding of lives and communities in the wake of devastation of epic proportions. It was that more than anything that really hit home.

I grew up a Jersey girl. I spent my youth hanging out at the boardwalk in Asbury Park. I frequented beaches from Sandy Hook down to Belmar, but Asbury Park was where I spent most of my time. I lived in the next town over just a couple of miles from the beach. It was home. I played at those arcades. I saw concerts at the Convention Hall and at the Palace. I hung out at the Stone Pony. I've been by Madame Marie's a bajillion times. I even worked on the boardwalk at a candy store for a short while over one summer. Hated it. After I graduated college and worked for a couple years, I was offered a manager position. My bosses were expanding their business. It was a mall art gallery, but I jumped at the opportunity and headed north. I lived half my life at the shore and I can tell you, you can take the girl away from the shore, but you can't take the shore out of the girl.

I was devastated when Sandy hit. We had a friend staying from Scotland and all he wanted to do was go to the city. I couldn't work. We had no power for a week. Hubby had to go to work, though. Power generators I assume, so me and Lee sat on the couch eating Halloween candy in the dark most of the time. It was Thanksgiving when I finally saw what the storm wrought.

My family still lives at the shore, but before we could stop at my mom's, I had to see first hand. We were in my Mini. Stick shift. I was driving. I started at Asbury Park and drove up to the Atlantic Highlands and what I saw was just wreckage. Some towns weren't hit too bad, some were torn apart. The beaches were practically erased. I saw empty lots with refuse piled in a mountain three stories tall. And this is almost a month after the storm. It broke my heart and I knew it would never be the same.

While I no longer live near the ocean, it is always with me. The wounds are healing, people are putting their lives back together, communities rally, but this was a storm that has changed the profile of the Jersey Shore forever. And I think Jennifer Salvato Doktorski did a remarkable job conveying the heartbreak and the hope in the wake of what is called the Storm of the Century.

Book Description (From Amazon):
Publication Date: May 5, 2015
Will it be a summer of fresh starts or second chances?

For Lucy, the Jersey Shore isn't just the perfect summer escape, it's home. As a local girl, she knows not to get attached to the tourists. They breeze in during Memorial Day weekend, crowding her coastal town and stealing moonlit kisses, only to pack up their beach umbrellas and empty promises on Labor Day. Still, she can't help but crush on charming Connor Malloy. His family spends every summer next door, and she longs for their friendship to turn into something deeper.

Then Superstorm Sandy sweeps up the coast, bringing Lucy and Connor together for a few intense hours. Except nothing is the same in the wake of the storm, and Lucy is left to pick up the pieces of her broken heart and her broken home. Time may heal all wounds, but with Memorial Day approaching and Connor returning, Lucy's summer is sure to be filled with fireworks.

My Thoughts:
Well, I'll tell you that I loved this story. It is probably my favorite book she has written so far. One of the things I love about the stories JSD writes is that I feel they are full of inside jokes just for me.
I've been to these places. I get the references. As I'm reading, I can see in my mind's eye exactly where she is talking about. And I couldn't be more excited about this being a story that takes place at the shore.

References like Madame Marie's, the twin bridges, bennies, Bruce, these are all things I know. And this book really felt like going home to me. It made me remember what it was like to get up while still dark to go to the beach and watch the sunrise. What it was like hanging on that hot sand with the sun beating down. And what it was like dealing with all the out-of-towners invading our turf.

In this story, Lucia (Luce) and her family have just returned back to their home after being evacuated for 8 months. They weren't far away, just over the bridge staying with her grandmother in a retirement community. Their first floor had to be gutted, but the upper floors were fine; however, the rental bungalow on their property was pretty much destroyed and needs rebuilding entirely.

Connor Malloy is the seasonal neighbor she has had a crush on for some time, but she knew she would never be in his league, so she worshipped him from afar. I mean, they were friends and all, but that's it. Connor had a parade of girls coming and going through his life and Luce knew she could never mean anything to him.

Until Sandy was on the way. They shared a moment, and in the moment was the promise of something more, but when he didn't call as he said he would and the only exchange they had were a couple of texts, she began to wonder if it was all in her head. If there was never a moment or if it meant nothing to him even though it meant everything to her.

A couple of months later and she still hasn't heard from him other than those texts when her best guy friend asked her out. Not sure if she should, afraid of ruining their friendship, she said yes. He was her first boyfriend. Everyone said they were perfect for each other, but I think it was a distraction tactic, to get over thinking about Connor all the time.

And it almost worked, until she opens the shade of her attic bedroom to see Connor shirtless doing repairs on the roof of their house next door. That starts a whole chain reaction of thoughts and feelings she thought she had buried over the winter. And she has Andrew. They get each other. But she realizes Andrew doesn't make her go all squishy inside the way Connor can by just walking in a room.

So, she's dealing with school work still, writing a junior thesis about the dating and mating habits of the local wildlife. She wants to be a marine mammalogist and volunteers to assist with the reclam effort in the bay. She is counting on a summer internship on one of the barrier islands, dealing with the fact that she has to take her driver's test, her house is still in repair. And, oh yeah, her old crush is back in town and he has brought his girlfriends along with him for the weekend.

Having all these feelings of Connor stirred up she thought were long buried makes her question her relationship with Andrew. She has never spoken to anyone about what passed between the Connor and herself. Her friends have the perfect summer planned out which includes her being with Andrew. To make matters worse, her brother is down rite hostile towards Connor, which causes a bit of a rift between Luce and Liam.

Underlying her relationship issues, are glimpses of the community rebuilding after the storm. People are coming back home, making repairs, businesses are re-opening. There a volunteer effort to build new houses to replace the ones destroyed in the storm and another effort to reseed the clam beds in the bay. Seeing the shore area through Luce's eyes, you are privy to her thoughts and feelings. It is a unique opportunity to understand just one person's perspective and how it changed her life and those around her.

This story was at times uplifting and full of hope and at others, sad and emotional, to understand the full magnitude of what was lost in the storm. It was also so familiar to me in so many ways. Like coming home.

Stacking the Shelves - January 31, 2015

Well after the Epic list from last week, this has been a slow week delivery-wise and that's not a bad thing. To be fair, I hadn't posted a STS since 12/07/14, so I had a lot of time to make up for.

Here, in 2015, I am trying to be a bit more moderate, make better choices, borrow from the library, buy used books, etc. So I am very proud of the restraint I have shown this past week.

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews.

Books Purchased:
The Boy Next Door by Katie Van Ark - Figure skating seems to be the theme. It is seasonally appropriate.

Kindle Books Purchased:
The Zodiac Archives: Part 1 by Stuart Moore Stan Lee - Free eBook - This is not the book. It is a behind the scenes look into Zodiac with a character guide and such.

Crossing the Ice (Ice Series #1) by Jennifer Comeaux - Yeah. I used to want to be like Dorothy Hammill and skate in the Olympics. She had the best hair in 1972 Winter Olympics.

Review Copy:
The Summer After You and Me by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski – Thanks to Net Galley and Sourcebooks! - I took part in JSD's cover reveal and was offered a review copy from Net Galley. I swooped at the chance and am now 9 chapters in. I started reading today and had a lovely couple of hours reading in bed. Le sigh!

Well, that's it for this week! Hope you all got awesome plunder!