Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Song of The Week!


Today’s Song of The Week is from my all time favorite band Glasvegas. Not too many people know of them and I am spreading the word. If you happen to watch the show Chuck then you may have heard of them. They had a single that played called ‘Daddy’s Gone’ that fans went crazy for. It was probably one of the top ten moments of the show. All of Glasvegas’ songs are great but this one has the most epic lyrics that I have heard. It’s my husbands ring tone as well I might add.

The band is from Glasgow and Scottish lead singer Jame’s lyrics can be hard to understand at first, but then you understand every word once you get attached to a song. I was lucky enough to see Glasvegas live and it was INCREDIBLE! Sadly both of my concert T’s have been worn out but I swear to keep them always so that I may remember that night! My best friend and I swear James stared in our direction in our small balcony for about a minute. I have proof but the video is horrible quality and it would be far too embarrassing to serve that as evidence.

When this single came out from their second album Euphoria, Take My Hand, I texted this very friend some of the lyrics. She read them out loud as she was reading and the break room full of employees said, “Ahhh, that’s so sweet.” Of course they thought she was receiving a text and not song lyrics, a funny story for a great song. I encourage you to take a listen and look into Glasvegas’ music. It’s a pleasure for the ears and soul.











Henry Circle's The Homeschoolers: The Ballad of Squirtina Is Certainly A Book That Packs In a Great Story

After finishing The Homeschoolers: The Ballad of Squirtina I had to remind myself that it was one book. By the end of Christina’s Begoni’s story I felt I had just finished two books. The book is 56 pages long but in all honestly reads like a 150 paged book because of the cleverly mapped out story by author Henry Circle. I feel anyone who reads Christina’s Begoni’s story will find that it’s hysterically funny with a bit of romance that provides a thriller ending. Henry Circle has managed to provide a story that I would never categorize as thrilling, romantic and funny in the same sentence. I still can’t believe what I just read. The characters are unique and each one conveys individuality that keeps the story going. The beginning of lead character Christina’s story is funny and outrageous and actually leads into a subtle romance that winds up taking the most unpredictable route that would surprise any reader. Homeschoolers has scattered lessons of love, identity, and friendship that I can see satisfying any teen.




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Summary:

"Life is too big to squeeze into a weekend." That's what "half-heathen" public school misfit, Christina Begoni, learns after a bout of Spanish class diarrhea has her escaping into the arms of a holy-rolling homeschool group. With her mustachioed, evil genius brother and cute redneck bully in tow, Christina joins innocent homeschoolers, Sunny and David on a hilarious and often gripping adventure on the Mississippi River. Experience the thrill and romance of the never-ending weekend with The Homeschoolers.

Christina will absolutely take readers on an adventure. She endures the most embarrassing moment I have ever read in a book before and still manages to joke about it in the end. She seeks refuge from the embarrassment by requesting to be homeschooled. After her mom dismisses her request I love that she asks Christina to convince her. It’s a simple sentence in the story but to me has a lot of power because the mother is shown as a parent who is willing to listen to her daughter’s plea. Christina is given a trial homeschooling period for the summer that provides the perfect setting for her high anxiety affection for David. Her thought process is laughable and will make any reader smile.

David’s story is very unique as well. His backstory was original and unexpected and suited the story. His best quality is that he is humble and his values would please any parent. He and his sister Sunny are good influences up until they get Christina into a dangerous predicament. It’s not there fault though. They went into it believing they were doing a good thing. Even though the situation is dangerous Henry Circle managed to add humor to the thrill ride she puts her characters on.

The Homeschoolers: The Ballad of Squirtina starts off as extremely funny and then lures you into a life lesson that Christina is able to identify with. I was impressed how author Henry Circle managed to do all this within 56 pages. You get a lot of story for your buck with this one. Sometimes I read reviews of short stories and the fact that the story was too short is always stated and readers feel unsatisfied. I feel that Homeschoolers has enough to satisfy and wouldn’t cast it away as a short story, maybe more of a novella since the story leads readers to believe that there is more to come from Christina, David and Sunny.

Even though this book has a cast of holy-rolling homeschoolers it still has situations that unsheltered readers will find hysterical. I think both sides of the spectrum will find Henry Circle’s work entertaining. I encourage you to stop by her blog. She herself is very entertaining and has a blog tour coming up that I will be sure to follow so that I can read her character interviews. Even after finishing the book I still want more fun from her characters and want to read more about her as an author. So click her photo to find out more about Henry Circle and her book The Homeschoolers: The Ballad of Squirtina. If this crazy funny read appeals to you then just click the book cover above. Only 99 cents right now through Amazon.   



Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Lauren Morrill's YA Novel Meant to Be is Every Teen Girls MTB Book!


Everything about this book spoke to me. It takes place in London while characters Jason and Julia are on a school trip. Jason manages to take the lead in this story from the very beginning. His class clown antics and constant need for attention is plastered on the first page of the book. Julia isn’t exactly a thrill seeker like Jason, she’s more of a planner yet still manages to be a very likeable character. I love that Jason seems to irritate Julia while touring London. It’s weird but I love characters that irritate each other because it makes fun dialogue. Julia and Jason’s love hate relationship should be bottled. This is the very reason for my song choice BTW.

London is sort of a character in Meant to Be as well. Lauren Morrill did an excellent job of detailing the environment and even enabled London to have significant meaning to Julia and Jason. I would go as far as mapping out a trip according to this book so I could retrace the characters steps. Weirdly I would need Julia’s excellent planning skills to map out the unexpected trip Jason takes Julia on.

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Summary:

Meant to be or not meant to be...that is the question.

It's one thing to fall head over heels into a puddle of hazelnut coffee, and quite another to fall for the-gasp-wrong guy. Straight-A junior Julia may be accident prone, but she's queen of following rules and being prepared. That's why she keeps a pencil sharpener in her purse and a pocket Shakespeare in her, well, pocket. And that's also why she's chosen Mark Bixford, her childhood crush, as her MTB ("meant to be").

But this spring break, Julia's rules are about to get defenestrated (SAT word: to be thrown from a window) when she's partnered with her personal nemesis, class-clown Jason, on a school trip to London. After one wild party, Julia starts receiving romantic texts...from an unknown number! Jason promises to help discover the identity of her mysterious new suitor if she agrees to break a few rules along the way. And thus begins a wild goose chase through London, leading Julia closer and closer to the biggest surprise of all: true love.

Because sometimes the things you least expect are the most meant to be.

Julia is plain lovely. She offers her own comedic timing even with her diligent planning efforts throughout the book that will make readers laugh out loud, maybe even share with the people around them as they read. I love when a book makes you want to do that. Her little incident with her bathrobe is hysterical and actually gives an honest perception of the character and what’s to come for her. Julia’s story offers a sweet look at her parents’ marriage before her dad’s passing and her idea of what love is supposed to look like. I thought it was very crafty of Lauren Morrill to have Julia trace the very footsteps her parents walked in London when they were married. Plus Morrill enables readers to get two aspects of what love looks like. It’s never what you expect, it’s something that requires effort and is always surprising. Julia’s idea of her MTB is challenged and she winds up going on a wild goose chase to locate another possibility with the help of Jason.

Jason is a red haired leading man that definitely ignites a fire upon the pages of Meant To Be. My husband makes me laugh on a regular basis and the things that Jason asks of Julia always reminded me of him. Like when he manages to get Julia to dance with him in the corner of a bookstore while a small band plays a song at his request is something I personally can identify with. It was a lot of fun to read. Jason also delivers the most entertaining serenade that I didn’t even have to hear to know that it was amazing. Even though Jason is a lot of fun he also has a family past to deal with in London and this is what balances his character out. While following the traces of Julia’s mysterious texts messages he manages to steer away from the typical tourist route and onto a more secret scenic one. By doing this Morrill allows the audience and Julia to see Jason’s side of the story.

Meant to Be makes me want to visit London. Everyone says that but this book really entices me to go there in my future. It’s a sweet story that will make you laugh and maybe even cry. Any chick lit fan would enjoy this book. I never feel categorizing a book in the chick lit genre is an insult by the way. I feel these types of books are a fun escape and consider it a compliment. Seriously though after finishing this book I told my husband that someone must make this into a movie so that I can go see it.

Lauren Morrill talentedly weaves great music references in the book that will give readers a cool reading experience. Meant to Be has everything that a teen would want and a great little twist from an unexpected character that made me want to smack the very character it showcased, but this was a good thing, trust me. I hope I have achieved a big interest in this little gem of a story and leave you now so that you may run and buy Meant to Be.    

Song of The Week!


I am a huge fan of The Voice and encourage people to watch because the contestants are really talented and give great performances. So my two song selections, that’s right two because I just couldn’t decide are related to the show I love so dearly. I have been listening to the Grace Potter single ‘Stars’ a lot lately and was surprised that some of the judges hadn’t heard this beautiful song. Amanda Brown the contestant who performed it did a great job but I just prefer the original only because I connected with it more. ‘Stars’ could be interpreted into different forms of loss to people depending on where there are in life. I wasn’t sure about Grace Potter and The Nocturnal’s when their first album was released last year but after hearing this song I feel differently now and would love to own both their albums. Yes that was a subtle hint to my friends and family who are reading this. Christmas is closing in and I’m leaving clues now and until the holiday hits. Enjoy the song and read on for my next song pick that even surprised me.







Okay so while watching The Voice and seeing Carson Daly announcing that Christina Aguilera and Blake Shelton’s were about to perform their duet I was like, “Seriously! This is gonna be SO weird.” But the musical gods shined upon the stage and it was AMAZINGLY good. I listened to ‘Just a Fool’ on repeat in my car on the ride to work yesterday, and through Youtube because I don’t own the album. The lyrics tell a story of two people who couldn’t manage to stay together. They know they are not good together but still wish that it could happen. The lyric ‘I had my heart set on you’ is so sad and makes me say, “Ahh why can’t they just be together?” The video that I’m sharing from Youtube has Christina Aguilera speaking briefly about the song and what Blake Shelton said that had me laughing out loud. I always ask people if they watch The Voice and many say no to my surprise. Maybe America is bit burned out on these types of televised competitions but this one is really worth taking a chance on. So enjoy the song that I would have never have heard if I did not watch The Voice. 



Lorijo Metz's YA Novel WHEELS Will Satisfy Hard Core Science Fiction Fans


I was contacted by author Lorijo Metz to review her YA book Wheels. I felt it was something I could get into because of the time travel aspect, plus author Metz even includes H.G. Wells as a fictional character within her storyline. Lead heroine McKenzie Wu is a VERY distant relative of Wells and the route that Lorijo Mets goes with her plot is believable. Wheels has a unique layout as far as the format that Mets writes in.

You have three different perspectives that I can speak of without spoiling the book such as McKenzie, Hayes, H.G. Wells, and Krumm the FBI agent who’s character is written in the form of interviews with many other characters. I have to hand it to Lorijo Mets for being able to manage her very large cast and manage to keep her story straight. It seemed like a big task while reading.



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Summary:

McKenzie Wu doesn’t know her great-great grandmother married an alien or that her great-great-great uncle is alive and systematically eliminating a race of beings on a tiny planet light years away—she has enough to worry about. Molecules keep rearranging themselves to suit her slightest wish, but only at the most inconvenient times. If that weren't enough, she’s been dreaming about an accident; one she’s had no memory of until now and, if true, means McKenzie is responsible for her mother’s death. 

When McKenzie stumbles upon a portal, transporting her and her friend Hayes to the tiny planet of Circanthos, she learns the inhabitants believe she is the “One” destined to save them from H.G. Wells, a name that sounds strangely familiar, and his Tsendi warriors. But while her newfound ability might give her superhero status back on Earth, halfway across the galaxy it’s commonplace—all Circanthians can particle-weave—and if they can’t stop H.G. Wells, what can she hope to do?

With the portal closed and no idea how to get home, McKenzie must learn to use a power she does not want and accept her mysterious past, or risk losing everything—her father’s love, her new alien friends and the boy.

WHEELS is a sci-fi adventure filled with mystery and romance—a coming-of-age tale that proves it takes more than super powers to save a planet.

McKenzie is the obvious heroine of the story. She is disabled and in a wheelchair and seems like a fun girl to be around. She is down to earth with a bit of shyness that I enjoyed seeing blossom throughout the book. For someone who has had to face challenges in her life on earth, seeing her in a totally different environment was entertaining. She doesn’t exactly have faith in herself at the beginning and when she realizes the power she’s had all along it’s fun to see her try and develop it. The description of particle weaving was interesting to me and because the reader is learning about it as McKenzie does, it’s never confusing.

Hayes is a fun guy to have around. He always has this flirty innocence around McKenzie that is very complimentary to their dialogue and maintains a good pace between them as they both discover how important they are to each other. I feel Hayes doesn’t come out strong until the end of the book. He serves a purpose at the beginning but shines more at the end because of his courage and his ability to back up McKenzie. He helps give the story an edge that gives the ending an adrenaline pushed pace that keeps you reading.

Before I go on I would like to mention my reading habits. I’m usually reading two or three books at a time. This may be the reason for my only complaint. There is a lot to take in with Wheels because of all the different things that pop out at you such as the chapters that are Krumm’s interviews, and then the different chapters from each characters perspective which I think was from three or four different characters. Then there was the language that the Circanthians speak. I got a pretty good idea of what they were saying depending on the phrasing but I was sometimes pulled out of the story either because of re-reading, or checking the glossary that Metz provides at the back of the book. Again this may have only been confusing at first because of my reading habits. Instead of reading two or three books at a time it seemed like five or more.

I think that Wheels is for the audience that can completely immerse themselves in a new world, like fans of Lord of The Rings and Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. Wheel’s transports readers to an entirely different planet with a unique language and particle weaving that would feed any imagination. I think Lorijo Metz has a large audience that her book can appeal to.