Month: February 2013

Top Ten Auto-Buy Authors

Posted February 26, 2013 by Jana in Top Ten Tuesday / 6 Comments


This week’s Top Ten Tuesday talks about those authors we will follow to the ends of the Earth. Or at least buy all their books without question. This could be tricky! I’m posting their names, and then the books they wrote that made me put them on my auto-buy list in parentheses.

Stephanie Perkins (Anna and the French Kiss, Lola and the Boy Next Door)
Lauren Oliver (Delirium Trilogy)
Anna Banks (Of Poseidon, Degrees of Wrong)
Tamara Ireland Stone (Time Between Us)
Tracey Garvis-Graves (On the Island)
Lynn Kurland (ALL her time travel romances are amazing)
Mary Higgins-Clark (I grew up reading her mysteries, and have loved all but one of them.)<
Stephenie Meyer (Twilight, The Host)
Syrie James (Nocturne; Dracula, My Love)
Marissa Meyer (Cinder, Scarlet)

So, which authors are on your auto-buy list?

2013 Book Blogger Love-A-Thon Interview with Leela!

Posted February 23, 2013 by Jana in / 8 Comments

Yay! It’s that time of year again, when we book bloggers get to spread the love around the blogosphere to the bloggers who have introduced us to amazing new books. We get to lift each other up, make new friends, and find even more books to love dearly! We’re kicking things off this year with interview swaps, and I got to interview Leela from My World in English.1. Your blog is called “My World in English”, which made me go on a hunt to see where you’re from! Spain! I love Spain, and was in Barcelona over the summer. Tell us about the book world in Spain. Do you have any fun bookstores, author events, or book conferences like we do in America?

Mmm yes, we have author events and book conferences, but I don’t go because if it is in my town I don’t normally know the author and if it’s in Madrid or Barcelona or I don’t know or I can’t go . One time Stephanie Perkins came to Madrid, but I couldn’t go because I don’t live in Madrid and I had to work :'( But in my town we have a week where they sell second-hand books in stalls and I always go because I can find English books for a low price. After that it’s 23rd of April, so we have The Day of the Book in all the country. In my town they give you flowers and biscuits and they put some tables in a square and sell books. I love that day because the square is crowded with books and with people who are looking for books. And I think of Cervantes who died the previous day (and by the way he lived in my town) and what he’d think of all this.

2. What made you decide to start a book blog? 

I have created my world in English to improve my writing in English, but I couldn’t come up with any idea to post or people who talk to. So, I thought maybe I could look for people who had the same interest as me to read them in English. I started and added book lovers who were doing and talking such great things about books that I decided to join them :)

3. What is your favorite genre, and what are some of your favorite books from that genre?

I think YA, but every book which has romance on it it’s fine by me. My favourite books are Lola and the boy next door, Epic Fail, Nick and Norah’s infinite list, Dash and Lily’s book of dares, The sisterhood of the travelling pants, The statistical probability of love at first sight … (I can go forever hehe ;))

4. If you hate a book, do you push yourself to finish it or do you give up?

I definitely put aside. I don’t want to spend my time in a book which I don’t like.

5. Sometimes I like to much while I eat. What is your favorite food to eat while you read? 

I don’t eat while I’m eating, sorry. But if ido which is very rare I have snacks like cereals or nuts or something like. Something which I can eat quickly.

6. What else do you like to do when you’re not reading? 

I love writing on my blog and especially I love reading what other book lovers are posting and watch their videos about books too (Mmm I’m a bit obsessed with books)

Comments from me: Spain sounds like an awesome place for bookish fun times! The Day of the Book sounds amazing! SO nice to meet you, Leela! Thanks for hanging out with me on the blog today!

There Were Dinosaurs Everywhere! by Howard Temperley | Children’s Book Review

Posted February 22, 2013 by Jana in Children's Book Review, Inner Child / 1 Comment

Title: There Were Dinosaurs Everywhere!: A Rhyming Romp Through Dinosaur History
Author: Howard Temperley
Illustrator: Michael Kline
Release Date: September 25, 2012
Publisher: KWS Publishers
Format: Finished hardcover
Source: JKSCommunications (Thanks!)
Add It: Goodreads
Buy It: Amazon

The phenomenon of the dinosaur is one that continues to fascinate people of all ages. A fun-filled history of the many species of dinosaurs, their eras, and interesting facts about them, this book is not only informative, but funny and captivating as well. Featuring amusing and attractive illustrations, this unique edition discusses a variety of topics, from the Velociraptor and Pterodactylus to the Jurassic Era and dinosaur extinction.

Growing up, I was a major fan of dinosaurs. Major. I loved Danny the Dinosaur, and I loved Barney, and I loved The Land Before Time. Dinosaurs were a huge part of my life, and I know I would have loved There Were Dinosaurs Everywhere! It’s darling, the rhymes are funny, and the pictures are cute and whimsical.

When I accepted this book for review, I wasn’t expecting to be taught so much! This really is a small encyclopedia of dinosaurs, and I can see it as a fundamental classroom book. When I used to teach elementary school phonics, I spent a lot of time memorizing poems with the children. It taught them how to rhyme, how to memorize, and even some fun facts they could say at the dinner table. This book is a gold mine of fun poems and catchy rhymes. I’m sure my students would have loved rattling these off, and maybe even making up tunes to sing them to. It’s the kind of book I just know kids would want to read over and over again.

This book takes its readers through all of dino history, from their birth, to the very early dinos, to how we found out about them (from fossils), how they were named, how they learned to fly, which ones lived in the sea, if they were smart, what they ate, all the different kinds of dinos, the end, and even the different periods of dinosaurs. There’s a ton to learn, and they are all topics that children are naturally curious about. Plus, some of the poems are quite silly. My favorite one talks about how if Jonah had been caught by a raptor instead of a whale, things would not have worked out so well for him. Here’s a small portion of that poem:

Raptors knew to masticate
Every mouthful that they ate.
Unlike that most unfortunate beast
That chose poor Jonah for its feast
And found itself obliged to spew
Onto shore what it failed to chew.

The illustrations are SO cute! They have character and facial expressions. We see dinosaurs talking to students, wearing hats and glasses with big noses, and with buck teeth. I loved flipping through the pages and seeing them all.

Overall, this book is a very fun way to teach kids about dinosaurs. So often, dinosaur books have scary pictures with blood and carnage. I’ve SEEN the book in the library at the school I taught at. Some of them were disturbing! I know I will be saving this one for my future kids, and would have been happy to have it to read to my students!

Covers of the Rainbow: Yellow

Posted February 19, 2013 by Jana in Cover Talk, Covers of the Rainbow / 6 Comments


You know me! I love colors, I love art, and I love beautiful book covers. So this new feature here on my blog features my favorite covers from every color of the spectrum. I’ll also feature a short explanation of the color’s meaning so we can discuss if the predominate use of that color was a good choice.


Oh, lovely lovely yellow. I don’t know about you, but I am tired of winter. And I mean TIRED. This winter has been more brutal that this state has had in about 60 years, and I am counting the degrees until spring! So how about I showcase some lovely sunshiney yellow colors to get away from this wintery slump?

Pure, bright and sunnyyellow is the easiest color to see. People who are blind to other colors can usually see yellow. Yellow is full of creative and intellectual energy. Always use yellow note pads. It symbolizes wisdom, and means joy and happiness.


So, what do you think? Does yellow work for these covers? Have you read any of these? What covers am I missing?

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer (Book Review)

Posted February 14, 2013 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult Fiction / 38 Comments

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer (Book Review)Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
Series: The Lunar Chronicles #2
Published by Feiwel and Friends on February 5, 2013
Genres: Dystopia, Retelling, Romance, Science Fiction, Steampunk
Pages: 454
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher (ALA)
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5 Stars

Cinder returns in the second thrilling installment of the New York Times-bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She’s trying to break out of prison—even though if she succeeds, she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive.

Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn’t know about her grandmother and the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother’s whereabouts, she has no choice but to trust him, though he clearly has a few dark secrets of his own.

As Scarlet and Wolf work to unravel one mystery, they find another when they cross paths with Cinder. Together, they must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen who will do anything to make Prince Kai her husband, her king, her prisoner.

I have been thinking about how much I loved Cinder for over a year now, and Scarlet picks up right where Cinder drops off. The exact day, actually. I loved that! We get to jump right back in and pick up where we were, while learning new things about this crazy world, the Lunars, and our favorite characters!

1. For some reason, I had no idea that Cinder was going to be in this book! I was delighted when I learned what a huge role she was actually going to play in it. And her android, Iko, was there… and we even got some Kai time! Yay! So glad to see them all again. :)

2. It was also so much fun learning about some new characters: Scarlet and Wolf. Scarlet is a strong, confident character who makes a great team mate for Cinder in this ongoing quest against the Lunar Queen. I love the emphasis placed an female heroes in this series. Marissa has created two equally feisty, brave, determined, charismatic, and smart ladies to drive the story on. Wolf is sexy and swoonworthy, and exactly the kind of bad boy this story needed. His sensitive nature and core instincts make him both a ticking time bomb and the most loyal companion you could ask for. Do not get on his bad side, though. Cinder has her own male counterpart, Captain Thorne, and he’s kind of hilarious. I just kept picturing this completely oblivious, clumsy, cocky guy who is always slightly drunk. He lightened things up quite a bit, and also became a character I really loved.

3. I enjoyed the balance of humorous dialogue and serious, sometimes heartbreaking moments. Scarlet’s banter with Wolf was utterly charming, while her discussions with her grandmother pulled at the heartstrings.

4. This is not your typical book 2 of a series, where nothing important happens. Scarlet has SO much going on! There’s space flights, running from the law, romance, Lunar attacks, kidnapping, fights, and NEWS. So much news!

5. Yet again, the world building is immaculate. Last time, Beijing. This time, Paris. Yes, people. Paris in the future is amazing.

Overall, Scarlet is just as wonderful and captivating as Cinder. Clearly, Marissa is not a one hit wonder. I can’t wait for the next book!

5 Stars

Top Ten Swoonworthy Romances

Posted February 12, 2013 by Jana in Top Ten Tuesday / 15 Comments

Seeing as how love is the theme of the month, today’s Top Ten Tuesday allows me to gush and fangirl over my favorite, most swoon-worthy love stories! (Yeah… I chose to do favorite love stories, rather than favorite romancey couples…) I love love, I love love books, and I love books, so this post is just going to be chock FULL of love!


So, what are some of your favorite romances? I can NEVER get enough love stories, so shoot me some links to visit or recommendations, and I’ll be a happy girl!

Dance of Shadows by Yelena Black (Book Review/Blog Tour)

Posted February 7, 2013 by Jana in Blog Tour, Book Review, Young Adult Fiction / 7 Comments

Dance of Shadows by Yelena Black (Book Review/Blog Tour)Dance of Shadows by Yelena Black
Series: Dance of Shadows #1
Published by Bloomsbury Children's on February 12, 2013
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal, Paranormal Romance, Romance
Pages: 469
Source: Publisher (Netgalley)
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3.5 Stars

Dancing with someone is an act of trust. Elegant and intimate; you're close enough to kiss, close enough to feel your partner's heartbeat. But for Vanessa, dance is deadly – and she must be very careful who she trusts . . .

Vanessa Adler attends an elite ballet school – the same one her older sister, Margaret, attended before she disappeared. Vanessa feels she can never live up to her sister's shining reputation. But Vanessa, with her glorious red hair and fair skin, has a kind of power when she dances – she loses herself in the music, breathes different air, and the world around her turns to flames . . .

Soon she attracts the attention of three men: gorgeous Zep, mysterious Justin, and the great, enigmatic choreographer Josef Zhalkovsky. When Josef asks Vanessa to dance the lead in the Firebird, she has little idea of the danger that lies ahead – and the burning forces about to be unleashed . . .

Welcome to my stop along the official Bloomsbury Triple Threat Blog Tour for Dance of Shadows! I’m so excited to be participating in such a fun tour! Expect reviews from me for the other two books in this tour over the next few weeks.

Wow. This story had so many twists and turns and unexpected elements. I was initially attracted to this book by the cover, shortly followed by the mysterious storyline… and the ballet. While I wasn’t expecting what I got from this story, I certainly enjoyed what I did. As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. The dance descriptions are my absolute favorite part of this book. I love ballet, and I was a clumsy little ballerina as a child. I remember and exercise my ballet teacher used to have us do in class. We would grab a flowy scarf, run as fast as we could, and then jump gracefully over her gym bag. I tripped over said gym bag. Needless to say, my career path did not include ballet. But Yelena wrote in a way that brought dance alive in my mind, and let me picture myself as graceful and swan-like as Vanessa.

2. The mystery was intriguing, and kept me guessing. Sometimes I enjoy dark, mysterious, sinister happenings, and this book really delivered that. I’m a total chicken, and this book creeped me out in a good way.

3. I was not a huge fan of Vanessa. She was a bit immature and narrow-minded to me. And Zep was just too mysterious, that he became unrealistic. The other characters… well… I don’t remember them. I really liked the guy I was supposed to not like: Justin. Haha. He was the sense of reason in this book, and he seemed to be the most developed and interesting. I really enjoyed the part he played, and hope he gets a more dynamic role in the next book.

4. Paranormal, huh? Haha. I totally was not expecting the paranormal twists that tied into the mystery. There were demons, for goodness sake! I had no idea! I liked it, though, and I’m not really a lover of paranormal stories.

5. I liked the ballet school element. It reminded me of the dynamic of Step Up. (The first movie. The others are not to be spoken of…) I liked reading about the practices, recitals, and performances. And I feel like a got a great picture into the life of a dance student.

6. I appreciated the minimal romance. If you blink, you pretty much miss the romance and I really liked that. Sometimes it’s nice to get away from it and see an author build a story around something else. Although… there was a bit of insta-infatuation. I won’t call it love because it never really developed into that. But a minor obsession does keep you on your toes.

All in all, I enjoyed reading about the world I almost ended up in, had I actually been born with the ability to gracefully leap over a duffel bag. The dance descriptions were lovely, and the story was very intriguing. I liked the mystery, and the paranormal twist made it more exciting and creepy. I’m definitely curious to see what’s in store for us in book #2.

3.5 Stars