Wednesday, December 30, 2015

#1 of 2015 - Royal Wedding by Meg Cabot

Royal Wedding (The Princess Diaries, #11)Royal Wedding by Meg Cabot
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
June 2nd 2015 by William Morrow & Company

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Princess Diaries series, comes the very first adult installment, which follows Princess Mia and her Prince Charming as they plan their fairy tale wedding--but a few poisoned apples could turn this happily-ever-after into a royal nightmare.

For Princess Mia, the past five years since college graduation have been a whirlwind of activity, what with living in New York City, running her new teen community center, being madly in love, and attending royal engagements. And speaking of engagements. Mia's gorgeous longtime boyfriend Michael managed to clear both their schedules just long enough for an exotic (and very private) Caribbean island interlude where he popped the question! Of course Mia didn't need to consult her diary to know that her answer was a royal oui.

But now Mia has a scandal of majestic proportions to contend with: Her grandmother's leaked "fake" wedding plans to the press that could cause even normally calm Michael to become a runaway groom. Worse, a scheming politico is trying to force Mia's father from the throne, all because of a royal secret that could leave Genovia without a monarch. Can Mia prove to everyone--especially herself--that she's not only ready to wed, but ready to rule as well?

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

#2 of 2015 - It's Just A Jump to the Left by Libba Bray

It's Just a Jump to the LeftIt's Just a Jump to the Left by Libba Bray
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
 Published May 12th 2015 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

When the lights dimmed and the familiar red lips and white teeth glowed on the screen, the audience erupted into cheers, and Leta felt that surge of excitement in her belly, the thrill of sitting in the dark with strangers sharing an experience that made them all seem like friends.

Best friends Agnes and Leta have a Friday night ritual. They spend an hour trying on different lipsticks, experimenting with eyeliner, and torturing their hair before they head off to the Cineplex for the midnight showing of The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

That was always the routine, until Agnes started dating Roger, and left Leta behind. But between Leta's awkward first kiss; her crush on Tom, the cute guy at the movie theater; and her absentee dad, everything feels so out of control--she could really use her best friend right now. Can Agnes and Leta find their way to a new and better friendship?

Monday, December 28, 2015

#10 of 2015 - How to Get Dressed: A Costume Designer's Secrets for Making Your Clothes Look, Fit, and Feel Amazing by Alison Freer

I guess I found a number 10 after all!

How to Get Dressed: A Costume Designer's Secrets for Making Your Clothes Look, Fit, and Feel AmazingHow to Get Dressed: A Costume Designer's Secrets for Making Your Clothes Look, Fit, and Feel Amazing by Alison Freer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
April 14th 2015 by Ten Speed Press

Costume designer Alison Freer’s styling kit is a magical bag of tricks, built to solve every single wardrobe malfunction on earth. TV and film productions wait for nothing, so her solutions have to work fast. In How to Get Dressed, Alison distills her secrets into a fun, comprehensive style guide focused on rethinking your wardrobe like a fashion expert and making what’s in your closet work for you. She provides real-world advice about everything style-related, including:
   • Making every garment you own fit better
   • Mastering closet organization
   • The undergarments you actually need
   • The scoop on tailors and which alterations are worth it
   • Shopping thrift and vintage like a rockstar


Instead of repeating boring style “rules,” Alison breaks the rules and gets real about everything from bras to how to deal with inevitable fashion disasters. Including helpful information such as how to skip ironing and the dry cleaners, remove every stain under the sun, and help clueless men get their sartorial acts together, How to Get Dressed has hundreds of insider tips from Alison’s arsenal of tools and expertise.

#3 of 2015 - Dark Sparkler by Amber Tamblyn

Dark SparklerDark Sparkler by Amber Tamblyn
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Published April 7th 2015 by Harper Perennial

The lives of more than twenty-five actresses lost before their time—from Marilyn Monroe to Brittany Murphy—explored in haunting, provocative new work by an acclaimed poet and actress.

Amber Tamblyn is both an award-winning film and television actress and an acclaimed poet. As such she is deeply fascinated-and intimately familiar—with the toll exacted from young women whose lives are offered in sacrifice as starlets. The stories of these actresses, both famous and obscure-tragic stories of suicide, murder, obscurity, and other forms of death—inspired this empathic and emotionally charged collection of new poetic work.

Featuring subjects from Marilyn Monroe and Frances Farmer to Dana Plato and Brittany Murphy—and paired with original artwork commissioned for the book by luminaries including David Lynch, Adrian Tome, Marilyn Manson, and Marcel Dzama—Dark Sparkler is a surprising and provocative collection from a young artist of wide-ranging talent, culminating in an extended, confessional epilogue of astonishing candor and poetic command.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

#4 of 2015 - October Mourning by Lesléa Newman

October Mourning: A Song for Matthew ShepardOctober Mourning: A Song for Matthew Shepard by Lesléa Newman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
 Published September 25th 2012 by Candlewick

On the night of October 6, 1998, a gay twenty-one-year-old University of Wyoming student named Matthew Shepard was lured from a bar by two young men, then savagely beaten, tied to a fence on the outskirts of Laramie, and left to die. Five days later, Lesléa Newman arrived on campus to give the keynote speech for the University of Wyoming's Gay Awareness Week.
October Mourning is Lesléa Newman's deeply personal response to the events of that tragic day and its brutal aftermath.
This work of poetic imagination explores the impact of the vicious crime through fictitious monologues from various points of view, including the fence to which Matthew was tied, the deer that kept watch beside him, and even Matthew himself. This stunning cycle of sixty-eight poems serves as an illumination for readers too young to remember and as a powerful, enduring tribute to Matthew Shepard's life and legacy.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

#5 of 2015 - Keep Moving by Dick Van Dyke

Keep Moving: And Other Tips and Truths About AgingKeep Moving: And Other Tips and Truths About Aging by Dick Van Dyke
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
October 13th 2015 by Weinstein Books

Beloved Hollywood icon Dick Van Dyke will celebrate his 90th birthday in December 2015. He’s an established legend, having starred in Mary Poppins, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and The Dick Van Dyke Show. And yet he’s still keeping himself busy, entertaining America on television, movies, the stage, and social media. Everyone wonders, “How does he do it?” For the first time, Van Dyke will share his secrets and tips on old age: Just keep moving.

In a fun and folksy way of addressing readers, Keep Moving will serve as an instruction book on how to embrace old age with a positive attitude. The chapters are filled with exclusive personal anecdotes that explore various themes on aging: how to adapt to the physical and social changes, deal with loss of friends and loved ones, stay current, fall in love again, and “keep moving” every day like there’s no tomorrow.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Trekking for a Real Christmas Tree - Guest Post By Maisey Yates


Trekking for a Real Christmas Tree by Maisey Yates
In A Copper Ridge Christmas, Holly, the heroine, drags the hero, Ryan, up into the woods to get a tree for the big Christmas party she’s roped him into helping her plan.
 For me and my family, getting a Christmas tree is a big thing, and I did draw inspiration from my own tree-hunting excursions when I wrote the scene with Holly and Ryan in the woods.
The problem with getting a Christmas tree from the mountains is that it’s a little more Charlie Brown Christmas than Times Square. But it definitely makes for some great family memories.
I have two December babies, and even when I was nine months pregnant…we trekked up for trees.
We all go up. My husband, my kids, me, my parents and my brother—and I’m sure this year his new wife will join us, too! That’s another great thing about family holidays…they grow with us!

#6 of 2015 Center of Gravity by Laura McNeill

Center of Gravity_ CoverCenter of Gravity by Laura McNeill
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Published July 14th 2015 by Thomas Nelson
The truth could cost her everything.
Her whole life, Ava Carson has been sure of one thing: she doesn’t measure up to her mother’s expectations. So when Mitchell Carson sweeps into her life with his adorable son, the ready-made family seems like a dream come true. In the blink of an eye, she’s married, has a new baby, and life is wonderful.
Or is it?
When her picture-perfect marriage begins unraveling at the seams, Ava convinces herself she can fix it. It’s temporary. It’s the stress. It’s Mitchell’s tragic history of loss.
If only Ava could believe her own excuses.
Mitchell is no longer the charming, thoughtful man she married. He grows more controlling by the day, revealing a violent jealous streak. His behavior is recklessly erratic, and the unanswered questions about his past now hint at something far more sinister than Ava can stomach. Before she can fit the pieces together, Mitchell files for divorce and demands full custody of their boys.
Fueled by fierce love for her children and aided by Graham Thomas, a new attorney in town, Ava takes matters into her own hands, digging deep into the past. But will finding the truth be enough to beat Mitchell at his own game?
Center of Gravity weaves a chilling tale, revealing the unfailing and dangerous truth that things—and people—are not always what they seem.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

#7 of 2015 - Minders by Michele Jaffe

MindersMinders by Michele Jaffe
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Published January 30th 2014 by Razorbill

A high concept, cinematic read with a surprising twist, MINDERS asks the question: who is really watching whom?

Q: If the boy you love commits a crime, would you turn him in?

Sadie Ames is a type-A teenager from the wealthy suburbs. She's been accepted to the prestigious Mind Corps Fellowship program, where she'll spend six weeks as an observer inside the head of Ford, a troubled boy with a passion for the crumbling architecture of the inner city. There's just one problem: Sadie's fallen in love with him.

Q: What if the crime is murder?

Ford Winters is haunted by the murder of his older brother, James. As Sadie falls deeper into his world, dazzled by the shimmering pinpricks of color that form images in his mind, she begins to think she knows him. Then Ford does something unthinkable.

Q: What if you saw it happen from inside his mind?

Back in her own body, Sadie is faced with the ultimate dilemma. With Ford's life in her hands, she must decide what is right and what is wrong. And how well she can really ever know someone, even someone she loves.


Wednesday, December 23, 2015

#8 of 2015 - A Healing Spirit by Melissa A. Hanson

A Healing Spirit (Riverview Series #2)A Healing Spirit by Melissa A. Hanson
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Published August 16th 2015 by mah

A freak ski accident brings nineteen-year old Mia Kinney within minutes of death. Hurt and scared, Mia is calmed by the southern drawl and clear green eyes of her rescuer.

Twenty-one year old Dylan Blackburn is one of the first Ski Patrol members on the scene. As his patient is airlifted to the local trauma center, he can’t shake her from his thoughts.

As Mia fights for her life, Dylan, is haunted by the blond hair beauty, and knows he needs to make sure she’s going to be okay.

With a troubled past Dylan has vowed never to completely open himself up to another girl, but Mia continues to knock down every wall he’s constructed. When his past arrives at his front door and threatens once again someone that he loves, will Dylan be able to save Mia yet again? Or will he be too late this time?

A story of love, friendship, and the determination to turn a horrible experience into something worthwhile.

"A Healing Spirit" is book 2 of the Riverview Series, however each is a standalone story.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

#9 of 2015 - A Letter to My Mom

A Letter to My Mom by Lisa Erspamer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Published April 7th 2015 by Crown Archetype

in the A Letter to My series (after A Letter to My Dog and A Letter to My Cat) takes on mothers, with celebrities and civilians writing letters of gratitude and admiration to the women who raised them, alongside gorgeous, intimate photos.

Song of the Moment [16]

This is a feature I started where I pick a song that represents the week, day or month; that fits with a moment I recently had. Or that's been on repeat.
Since very little happens to me on a weekly basis I only post every two weeks.

I will have a banner for this in the new year.
Fingers crossed.

I didn't share any Christmas music last year so I feel like I can have a repeat of a song I shared two years ago.
It's one of my favorites.

Monday, December 21, 2015

My Top 10 Favorite Books I Read in 2015

"A couple of weeks ago when I listed my favorite books so far of 2015, I mentioned that 6 months and 50 something books into the year I had yet to be "wowed.""

That's from a review for a book that I'll be mentioning later this week.
Spoiler: it "wowed" me.

Apparently this is something I've been thinking about since June. As every month went by I admit I would find myself looking at the books I had read this year (82 as of now), and wondering what book I would be adding to this list.

In the four years that I've been listing my top ten books of the year, I'm pretty sure I've never had as much trouble as I did this year. So much so, that I am not naming 10 but 9.
I could have easily added one that I really enjoyed to round out the list, in past years I've had so many favorites that I had to make an honorable mention list. But other than barely managing to count out ten books, I didn't want to add any of those possible "honorable mentions."

Friday, December 18, 2015

The Time Chamber: A Magical Story and Coloring Book - Review

The Time Chamber: A Magical Story and Coloring BookThe Time Chamber: A Magical Story and Coloring Book by Daria Song
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Published October 13th 2015 by Watson-Guptill

Korean artist Daria Song’s sequel to The Time Garden takes readers on a visual journey into a magical nighttime world seen through the eyes of a fairy.

This second book in the bestselling Time coloring series features the voyage of a fairy who, when the cuckoo clock chimes midnight, enters the human world. To the tiny fairy, everything seems enormous and magical, from the curtains to the chandelier to a mystical rowboat that takes her further into an inky adventure. With her she packs her favorite items, which colorers can find throughout the book’s pages: an owl-feathered pen, a star-scented spray, a time tape measure…even the key to the time chamber itself!

Filled with the imaginative, intricately detailed illustrations Song’s readers have come to love, The Time Chamber presents a view of our world made new—and ready for coloring.

The Time Chamber features extra-thick craft paper, ideal for non bleed-through coloring, and the jacketed cover with flaps is removable and colorable. Special gold-foil stamping on the cover and spine and a To/From page make it perfect for gifting to adults and kids alike.


Friday, December 11, 2015

Humdrum 12/11

I wrote out a schedule of things I wanted to do, and then realized that was pretty pointless because that's the way my thoughts were already running so there was no real reason to put it down in writing.
Unless actually having it on paper makes me do it.

We'll have to see.

I haven't written anything since before Thanksgiving; but I have a pretty good reason this time.
Unlike all those other times.
To be fair all those other times I have no problem admitting that I've gotten lazy. Which is true in this case too. The reason for the schedule.