Been gone a long, long time…

Do you ever feel like you’ve got life figured out and on the right path only for it catch up to you and then plow right over? Awesome, I thought you would.

I have a confession: I haven’t read a work of fiction in a long, long time. It went from a reading slump to a full-blown reading melt-down. I’ve picked up and downloaded so many books, yet I just. cannot. read.

I did, however, read one non-fiction–rather, a self-help–book recently and I hope it’s pulling me out of this very dark non-bookish world.

The book was entitled “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo and it truly did have quite an effect.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

I’ve sent more bags of “stuff” to Goodwill or to other charitable causes than I care to admit. I found “trash” (read: clothing tags, broken things, bad batteries, etc.) around my house than I could’ve even guessed existed. We downsized W’s room to the smaller guest bedroom (along with downsizing her belongings).

The result? Our house stays straighter, longer and I’m not so ridiculously stressed about cleaning and washing and organizing and in general working another full-time job.

Another confession: I also hired a housekeeper who will be coming 5 days a week for a few hours to “straighten” the house and do the laundry for me. It’s such a first-world problem, but it saves my sanity, Jason’s sanity, and allows us to spend much-needed time with the kiddos.

I encourage everyone to pick up a copy of this wonderful little book that can be read in just a few hours. Warning: read it on a Friday night so you have the weekend to purge and renew your life!

Keep those fingers crossed that I can get out of this slump soon (doesn’t Maggie have another Raven Boys installation coming out this fall??)

Read Up! (Don’t worry about keeping up at this point–just keep reading ; )

Book Review: Zac & Mia by A.J. Betts

It’s The Fault in our Stars for those of us who don’t want to read (right now) The Fault in our Stars.

It’s Eleanor and Park for those of you who haven’t been introduced to the fabness (I totally made that word up) that is Rainbow Rowell.

It’s cancer, teenage angst, and a friendship that would’ve never happened otherwise and it’s pretty great.

Set in Australia (bonus points for letting me read with an accent!) and flitting between the cancer ward, where Zac and Mia meet with a very unwelcome 18 repeats of Lady Gaga, to the family olive farm and petting zoo (think Sweet Grass Dairy or anywhere else on the Farm Tour for New Leaf Market), this novel is one of friendship and caring under terrible circumstances. It isn’t romantic, in the common sense of the word, but rather a deep, caring relationship between characters who have an understanding of what each other is going through.

I really enjoyed the book. I’ve also already cast the movie:

 

Dena Kaplan (played Abigail on Dance Academy) for Mia and

Tom Green (played Sammy Lieberman on Dance Academy) for Zac

Obviously, Dance Academy is the only Australian show I’ve ever watched, but I think they’d be perfect for the roles.

So, there it is! Go out and pre-order today (comes out September 2nd) and grab this book from The Bookshelf  downtown Tville or pre-order online, preferably through our Amazon Book Store (link on the right) so I get a little kickback : )

Do you like reading books with themes of terminal illness or terrible circumstances? It’s kind of new to me…what are your favorites?

Read Up!

 

Book Anticipation: Sinner by Maggie Stiefvater

Sinner Hardcover Edition

Let me begin by saying that Maggie Stiefvater (pronounced Steve-Otter) is pretty much responsible for my being here. Well, my blog being here. It was her Shiver series, aka The Wolves of Mercy Falls, that really got me hooked on YA lit.

Sure, I read Twilight…many times. I liked the story (until the end, but that’s another post for another day). I liked the movies. The writing was questionable. Maggie’s is not, so please don’t think it’s another Twilight.

It was really and truly though, the blue toned lettering in the beautiful blue-jacketed hardcover edition that I picked up in Atlanta’s Hartsfield International Airport that really sold me on contemporary YA. From page one, I was hooked. Her writing is fluid, like a liquid that could be bottled up, shaken, then sprayed into a fountain to open a portal to another dimension.

Since then, I’ve adored everything she’s written and in my opinion, she gets better and better with every new release. Also, she’s just a really cool author. With goats. Super cute goats.

Maggie's Goats (via her Facebook page)

Told you so.

AND she’s a pretty amazing artist. Check out this book jacket she drew!  It’s available if you pre-order from her favorite local bookstore, Fountain Bookstore. I’d really, really love to have one, but I’ve pre-ordered my copy from The Bookshelf (which just happens to be my favorite bookstore…so…you know…I have to support them). She also Sharpie’s the guitars in the background (which she plays…).

Sinner Book Jacket

Maggie has two new novels coming out this year.

Sinner, a much-anticipated spin-off of the Shiver series will be released July 1st. Because her books are really well-known, I was unable to get an ARC of this. That’s okay though, because it just means that I get to fangirl out with everyone else when it does come in! It’s going to feature former rock-star/drug addict, Cole, and the bitchiest sister ever written, Isabelle. Who is actually quite similar to our beloved Isabelle from The Mortal Instruments…minus snake whip. Just because you’re awesome and have read this far, here’s a link to the Jones Book Shop in Amazon where you can pick up a FREE preview (the first three chapters) of Sinner for Kindle devices and apps.

The covers of the first three are my favorites, but what makes the hardbound copies really stand apart is that the text is the same color as the book. Shiver‘s text is blue (previously mentioned), Linger’s is green, Forever’s is red. Really nice, readable tones.

The second book coming out this year is the third installment to her really amazing Raven Boys series called Blue Lilly, Lilly Blue. If you like paranormal, you MUST read this series. And don’t skip a word. It’s beautiful, captivating and above all, magical. Maggie writes the characters in this book so well that I swear I am part of the story, exploring the woods with them, sitting in the backseat of Gansey’s car….oh…Gansey. If Blue doesn’t figure out how to kiss Gansey without killing him in this next book, I’m going to have heart palpitations. I NEED them to be together.

So there it is: my next book crush! I’ll be picking it up the day it is released and letting you know what goes down with Cole and Isabelle. If you’d like to check out more of the fabulous Maggie’s work (of which there is a great collection), check out her Goodreads Author page here or her Amazon author page here.

As always, the books mentioned in this post are available over in the Jones’ Book Shop on Amazon or head over to The Bookshelf here in Tville to order your editions.

If you haven’t seen, there’s a pop-up shop going on in the Chloe & Isabel boutique! In honor of the namesake of Cole’s complicated love life, I think you should pop over there and grab a little something-something. Now through the 27th, you’ll get $25 off an order of $125 or more, plus, I’ll send a little Tresors charm as a thank-you gift for celebrating with me!

Summer Solstice Sale! Tresors Charm GiftWhich Tresors charm is your favorite? Let me know in the comments! If you place an order by tomorrow, you just might have it show up in your mailbox : )

Read Up!

 

Review: A Creature of Moonlight by Rebecca Hahn

A Creature of Moonlight
A Creature of Moonlight by Rebecca Hahn
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I had a lot of expectations going into A Creature of Moonlight by Rebecca Hahn. Immediately after I finished the book, I was disappointed. The more I dwelled on it though, the happier I was with the story. Here’s how it breaks down:
My first impressions:
1) It was too fast-paced. A LOT happened in one paragraph. We get a ton of information that’s important to the story line in a few short words. If you’re skimming, you’ll miss it and then have to figure out who the lady in the forest without a face is because you’ll have been thinking about Marni’s lineage (that was just introduced in the last paragraph) and how that all figures in. Think The Holy Bible here. A bunch of info without much celebration. This one book could’ve been an entire series. More along the lines of “The Chronicles of Moonlight.”
2) Romance? Yes? No? Somewhere in the middle, I really wanted Marni to have a romantic relationship with her courtier, but she was stubborn, stubborn, stubborn. I’m not really sure how her future is going to play out or if there is going to be a sequel to this, but if this were real life, Marni would go on to live a lonely life just because she was too stubborn to give in. Now, don’t hate me for this. I know that he saying “No” a hundred times over was part of the “mighty-girl” plot to the book. But honestly, I got a little fed up with her. Is he after the crown? Maybe. Is he in love with her? Maybe! She’s a freakin’ princess, for crying out loud! ANYONE that wants to marry her is going to be after the crown! What she has to decide is: Will he make a good king? YES!
3) Dragons. I’ve loved dragons in stories since Eustace Scrubb turned into a dragon the very first times I read Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Then, I fell in love with dragons again in Seraphina. This dragon, I won’t spoil how he relates to our protagonist, Marni, is regal and beautiful and his world is beautiful. But because the writing was so incredibly fast-paced, even the vivid imagery in the writing didn’t keep me there as long as I would’ve liked to be. It was like driving past the Grand Canyon in a bullet train. A lot of beauty to be seen, but too fast for me to see it.
My impressions after dwelling on it for a while:
1) Rebecca Hahn has one extremely vivid imagination. I’ll be on the lookout for other things from her. I think she has a lot of beauty running around in the worlds in her head and she’s just so excited to share it with us that she crams it all onto one page. Or one book.
2) The story stood alone without the romance coming to fruition. But the romance reader in me really wanted something more.
3) I’m still wondering about this dragon. There’s more here, I know it.

Overall impression: three stars, because it really was beautiful prose and the lyrical quality of the writing really made me feel like I was flying through the clouds with the phoenix watching the world revolve. I really did like the book and the more I think about it, the more I like it. I feel like it’s a book that I’ll go back and read again and pick up on a lot that I missed the first time through. It’s an interesting exploration of fantasy and historical fiction. If you like those genres, I think you’ll enjoy this book. If you’re looking for an intense historical romance, though, this isn’t the one for you. Happy Reading up with the Joneses! Read Up to Keep Up! Visit our family of reviewers online at http://www.readingupwiththejoneses.com

View all my reviews

Blood Of Olympus (Heroes of Olympus) Cover Release!

We here in the Jones home adore anything and everything Rick Riordan. Have you read any of his series? They top our “highly anticipated” list. So happy to see that Blood of Olympus finally has a cover!

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The cover for the fifth and final book in Rick Riordan’s Heroes of Olympus Series had been released today by USA Today .
What do you guys think?.I personally really like it. I haven’t read the HOO Series yet but I have read Percy Jackson and The Olympians Series and I loved it! I have reviews for each book posted. This Series along with Harry Potter are the only books Im planning on reading next month and starting off my summer with. I already own all the HP books and Im ordering all the HOO books; Im really excited to jump back into Percy’s fantastic world. It will also be the perfect Series to get me out of the horrible slump and hangover that I know City of Heavenly Fire will put me in. Camp Half – Blood can break me out of any slump / hangover.
The book Blood…

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Book Anticipation: City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare

City of Heavenly Fire

Let me start by saying that I am not just anticipating this book. I am drooling in anticipation. I am planning a binge read for May 27th. I want to hire a babysitter to take my kids for the day so that I can do nothing but live in the world of the Shadowhunters for a day. I might even want to be a Shadowhunter more than a Narnian. I know. This is saying a lot.

I LOVE this series. If you haven’t read any of these and don’t want any spoilers whatsoever, STOP READING NOW! Because I have some serious heat to discuss concerning the topics of The Mortal Instruments (TMI…which at some points it really is almost tmi) and The Infernal Devices (ID).

Now, with that said, let me add that I almost…ALMOST stopped reading it after City of Ashes because I just couldn’t handle the “we ‘might’ be in an incestual relationship, but whatever…let’s just run away together and make out and feel each other up in a random field; no one will know!”Thankfully, THAT, got resolved (though not before the making out part…major questionable moral behavior).

Then, again at the end of City of Lost Souls when Sebastian is STILL lusting over Clary (after he also made out with her…in a field…in an earlier installment. In Clary’s defense, she had no idea he was her actual brother) and I’m just like…duuuude. Stop. She’s your ACTUAL SISTER! But he’s still all, “our bloodlines will create the most powerful blah, blah, blah…” Oh. My. Raziel. Stop it.

I was actually drawn to the ID books first, and I’m glad I started with them over TMI. Eventually, I got to where I was reading them as they were released, which meant I was bouncing back and forth. I didn’t mind though, since the crossovers of the immortal characters made more sense to both story lines. I love the steampunk aspect of ID and even with the formalities of the time, I was lusting over Will and just begging for him to get over his sh*t and be with Tess. And then the whole Jem proposal and Will just being polite and stepping back. And then Jem on the brink of death and choosing to become a Silent Brother just for the possibility of having a future with Tess… And then Tess marrying Will and having kids and more kids and grandkids and not aging and then Will DYING!!! And then….***short gasps of breath are ensuing***

Tess and Jem meeting on the bridge while she’s wearing an original Liberty scarf and Jem shows up as Jem and not as a Silent Brother?! Dirty. Crying. Like, to the tune of The Book Thief dirty crying. Snotty, moaning, nastiness. It was bad, ya’ll.

Now, I have a really good/bad talent of figuring out plots really quickly. Movies, books, TV shows…I can tell you pretty much what’s going to happen within 5 minutes. My husband hates this. I’m always right. These series were no different. I figured them out pretty quickly, but I loved them regardless. While reading TMI, I knew pretty early on that either Will or Jem was Brother Zachariah. I also knew that Clary and Jace couldn’t actually be siblings. For this series to continue, this couldn’t happen. There was too much sexual tension for this story line to progress much further. I didn’t really see the whole Sebastian story line coming though, and I have to admit that the end of the last book was a little too fast paced for me. Not too bad, though, and I’m really, really, REALLY excited about City of Heavenly Fire to find out what happens next!!!!

Jace & Clary (City of Fallen Angels)

While you’re swooning just thinking about this series, head over to Goodreads to enjoy these quotes from City of Heavenly Fire (out May 27), from Cassandra Clare.

Things I can’t wait to find out:

  1. Who’s going to die? I have my list of probabilities, but I’m not sure. I obviously haven’t read an ARC of this, so I really don’t know.
  2. What happens with Magnus and Alec’s breakup? Ugh. This drives me insane. Please. Can we please put the cute couple back together? I can’t handle this breakup.
  3. Isabelle and Simon. Must. Be. Together. Like, actually together, together. Not this dizzying dance of push/pull/love/hate/makeout/fight thing that’s been happening. Izzy. Get it together. Simon is awesome.
  4. Can Jace and Clary FINALLY just be together? Without the world trying to cut them down? Please? I’m begging at this point. I NEED these two to be together. And I need some damn good feels scenes to go with it. I was so thankful for the club scene in City of Lost Souls just for the sheer release of some of that pent up sexual tension and even more excited to come across this DSCS (Dirty Sexy Club Scene) expanded version (you’re welcome, readers). Please Cassie Clare. Don’t disappoint me. Or I will cut you off like I did Veronica Roth when she killed Tris. Okay, not that bad since you’ve got plenty of other good books in the series ahead of this one, and the bridge scene gave you tons of feels cred. But still. Beware.

What are you most looking forward to in CoHF? Have you pre-ordered it? If not, go ahead and get that done in the Jones’ Book Store or stop by the Bookshelf in downtown Tville to order a copy (like I have).

I’m also really looking forward to all of the short novellas that Cassandra Clare and her writing partners are planning to add to this world in the form of The Bane Chronicles. There are 10 planned so far. Some are already out, but I’m waiting for them all so I can read them back to back as “Magnus’ Book.” You can order those already released or pre-order those that aren’t from the Jones’ Book Store.

Can’t wait for May 27th! I’d love to hear your love/hate and other comments, so please share and don’t forget to Read Up!

 

 

 

Book Anticipation: 3 Reads that are Sure to Deliver…Today!

Three. That is the magic number of amazing books that are being released today that you absolutely MUST read.

The catch?

They’re all companions or series finishers…which means that you have a bit of pre-reading to do before you get to these.

If you’re like me, though, you’ve already read them (some more than once) and have been anticipating these for months.

Here they are, along with links to their companions so you can complete the series and thereby complete your soul for reading these books.

First in the Amazing Book Release Line Up:

Breakable by Tammara Weber

Breakable (companion to Easy) by Tammara Webber

I don’t even have to read this book to know that it is AH-MAZING! Tammara Webber is a fantastic writer. Not just the story, but the technique, the flow, the beauty of writing.

If you haven’t read the first book, Easy, you must. I don’t care what genre you usually read, you must read this book. If you have a girl in your circle of friends either in college or heading off to college soon, this is a must-read for her too. Today’s release, Breakable, is from the guy’s POV, so if you have a guy in your life, he must read this one.

What’s it about you ask?

Rape.

Yep. You read it right. The first time I read Easy (yes, I’ve read it probably eight times now), I was so caught off guard. It came as a recommendation after reading Beautiful Disaster, a new adult romance set on a college campus. I thought I was getting into the same thing, and on one level, I was.

Easy and the companion (read: not sequel), Breakable, are set on a college campus. It’s the story of Jacqueline, a pretty girl, and Lucas, an emo guy, and how they meet…which, oddly enough for a meeting, is when J is leaving a college party and has an encounter with a guy she knows. He’s drunk, he attacks her, Lucas saves her. This may sound unusual, but Lucas has a deep backstory. It puts him in just the right place at just the right time. I’m so excited to read the story from his point of view in Breakable! I actually learned a lot about rape, rape culture, and rape prevention from reading Easy. It has a powerful message for girls. This is a book that my daughter will certainly read when she’s old enough.

Because it’s under the new adult category, there are some pretty descriptive sex scenes. They are not dirty or nastily written, and are in fact, quite important to the story, both for Jacqueline and Lucas. If you do not like reading any adult scenes at all, then you can put these aside, but if you appreciate a few good scenes where they are appropriate (and not the entirety of a book), then I think you’ll like these.

I have absolutely no doubt that I will love Breakable. Let me know in the comments if you’ve read Easy! Did you love it?

Second on the list:

The One by Kiera Cass

 

The One (The Selection trilogy finale) by Kiera Cass

This is a much anticipated season finale (or we think it’s the finale) for a series with an odd, but interesting premise. A friend of mine sent the first two to me, mainly because there are pretty dresses on the cover and we both appreciate pretty ball gowns. Best of all, these gowns actually have something to do with the book! Doesn’t it suck when you find a pretty cover just to realize it actually has nothing to do with the book? Gag.

So, sit down and don’t run away as I tell you the premise…

Dystopian. check.

Lottery system to be put into a competition for the New Kingdom. check.

Reality TV Beauty Pageant. check…wait, what?

Yep.

Basically, it’s The Bachelor meets Legend by Marie Lu.

Stop! Don’t run away! It’s actually not that bad. Now, the main character made me want to strangle her…a lot. She’s ridiculous. But whoever said we actually have to sympathize with the lead? I will admit that the story has a lot of holes. The writing could be better. The characters could be more lovable. However, after forcing my way through the first two, I have to find out if she actually wins…and what happens with the prince! Eeep!

This book sort of borders on Young Adult/New Adult. There are no intense sexual scenes, but these occasions are not completely missing.

I’ll recommend this one if you think you might find the premise interesting. If not, leave it alone.

Last for today, but certainly not least:

Rush Too Far by Abbi Glines

Rush Too Far (Rush book 3; Abbi Glines Rosemary Beach Series)

Do you have a Rush Crush?

I do! Well, actually, I kind of like Grant a little more, but that’s beside the point.

I somehow stumbled across Abbi Glines a long, long while back and she’s been my guilty pleasure ever since.

I started with The Vincent Boys series and then the Sea Breeze series and on into the Rosemary Beach series.

Rush Too Far is the third Rush Book, but these are tied into the Rosemary Beach books.

Let me stop here and say that Abbi Glines is pretty much the definition of the New Adult genre. If you aren’t into NA contemporary romance and aren’t okay with sex scenes: RUN! RUN FAR FAR AWAY!

If you’re a-okay with this and thought Fifty Shades of Grey was pretty decent (not considering the questionable writing, stolen story line, etc.), then girlfriend, keep on reading because you are going to fall in love with Abbi Glines and all of her men. My only problem, especially with the RB series, is that she’s really describing PC Beach, not the actual beauty and glory of the real Rosemary Beach (since that’s where the Jones’ spend the summer). Kind of annoying. I’ll let it slide though since she write feels scenes so well.

Now, the Rush story line is pretty much complete. We see a bit more of his family’s new life together in the other Rosemary Beach novels. This new release, Rush Too Far, is the original Rush story, but from his POV. So excited!

Get ready to get a glass of wine and get comfortable, ladies, this one is going to be good.

Because I’ve been highly anticipating these books, my current read, Everything Leads to You, will be put on hold. These are just that important!

You can purchase these books today through the Jones’ Book Store or check them at out at your local bookshop. If you’re in the Thomasville area, head over to The Bookshelf to see if they’ve gotten them in. Now the only problem to to pick one to read first! Enjoy and Read Up!

This post contains Amazon affiliate links where you can purchase through the book store. You can also order anything else you can dream of through these links so, check it out!

New Release Wrap-Up: Top 20 April Books that You’ll Want to Read

April was a great book release month for YA readers. Here’s my top 20 recommendations for your TBR list:

On this list, we have:

The Book I’m going to pick up from The Bookshelf in about 5 minutes…

Books to read at the beach when the kids are running around and you’re needing to live vicariously through young, single people:

Books to read to pretend we’re professional dancers:

Books to will read when you want to pretend you are more than a mere mortal:

Book to read to restore faith in the next generation learning something from their mistakes:

Book to will read to scare the bejeezus out of yourself:

Book I will read while I’m in theatre week and pulling my hair out over The Wizard of Oz production (this is not intended toward our own Dorothy…just Oz in general : )

Books to read to love and share with the kiddos when they’re avid middle grades readers (which, honestly, I think is one of the best genres…more on that later):

Book to will read to cry yourself to sleep:

Books that are oddballs, but have a lot of hype and good reviews, so they’re on my TBR list…and since you’re goal in life is to Read Up with the Joneses, they should also be on yours:

So there you have it! My TBR April list (yes, I’ve already read Dreams of Gods and Monsters, but I will reread it, so back on the list it goes!)

Here’s an extended list from Goodreads with a few more you may like…you know…in case you do actually read more than we do in the Jones homestead. Check them out and purchase a few for your bookshelf. Either visit The Bookshelf, downtown Thomasville or purchase through the Jones’ Book Shop (so we get credit through our affiliate link and can keep up the site that you’ve all come to know and love) and keep Reading Up with the Joneses!