Monday, June 26, 2017

Take ten: best books I've read this year

1. Just Look Up

This was an excellent book about a character who has to face her demons and move forward.

2. Jane of Austin

I loved this modern re-telling of Sense and Sensibility, especially since there are recipes thrown in.;)

3. Are My Kids on Track?

An excellent book on emotional health!

4. Twenty-Two

I highly recommend this for all female high school graduates!

5. King's Blood

This set is intense but well worth the time investment.;)

6. Catching the Wind

An excellent, historical story!

This may actually take the cake, since I loved the depth to the story and the reminder to live fully.

8. It Started with Goodbye

So cute! And, there is a "sequel" coming out.;)

9. The Elusive Miss Ellison

I love that this one is not conventional!

10. Pursued

Love this series! This mystery was fast pace and did not go where I thought it would.;)

So, what books are on your list?

Sunday, June 25, 2017

The Midnight Queen

In the hallowed halls of Oxford’s Merlin College, the most talented—and highest born—sons of the Kingdom of Britain are taught the intricacies of magickal theory. But what dazzles can also destroy, as Gray Marshall is about to discover…

Gray’s deep talent for magick has won him a place at Merlin College. But when he accompanies four fellow students on a mysterious midnight errand that ends in disaster and death, he is sent away in disgrace—and without a trace of his power. He must spend the summer under the watchful eye of his domineering professor, Appius Callender, working in the gardens of Callender’s country estate and hoping to recover his abilities. And it is there, toiling away on a summer afternoon, that he meets the professor’s daughter.

Even though she has no talent of her own, Sophie Callender longs to be educated in the lore of magick. Her father has kept her isolated at the estate and forbidden her interest; everyone knows that teaching arcane magickal theory to women is the height of impropriety. But against her father’s wishes, Sophie has studied his ancient volumes on the subject. And in the tall, stammering, yet oddly charming Gray, she finally finds someone who encourages her interest and awakens new ideas and feelings.

Sophie and Gray’s meeting touches off a series of events that begins to unravel secrets about each of them. And after the king’s closest advisor pays the professor a closed-door visit, they begin to wonder if what Gray witnessed in Oxford might be even more sinister than it seemed. They are determined to find out, no matter the cost…

My thoughts: I enjoyed the mesh of magic and history in this story! The characters are refreshing and I like that the story doesn't have a lot of unnecessary drama, just for the sake of having drama. This is an enjoyable fantasy style read!
I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

The Invisible Library

The first installment of an adventure featuring stolen books, secret agents and forbidden societies - think Doctor Who with librarian spies!

Irene must be at the top of her game or she'll be off the case - permanently...

Irene is a professional spy for the mysterious Library, which harvests fiction from different realities. And along with her enigmatic assistant Kai, she's posted to an alternative London. Their mission - to retrieve a dangerous book. But when they arrive, it's already been stolen. London's underground factions seem prepared to fight to the very death to find her book.

Adding to the jeopardy, this world is chaos-infested - the laws of nature bent to allow supernatural creatures and unpredictable magic. Irene's new assistant is also hiding secrets of his own.

Soon, she's up to her eyebrows in a heady mix of danger, clues and secret societies. Yet failure is not an option - the nature of reality itself is at stake.

My thoughts: This book is such a fun read about parallel universes where librarians are spies who travel between worlds to steal books unique to those worlds. The premise is immensely fun and I loved the world building. This book is such a fun mix of steam punk, villains, Sherlock Holmes style detectives, and mythical creatures. I look forward to reading the other books in this series!
I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Just Look Up

After tirelessly climbing the ranks of her Chicago-based interior design firm, Lane Kelley is about to land her dream promotion when devastating news about her brother draws her back home--a quaint tourist town full of memories she'd just as soon forget. With her cell phone and laptop always within reach, Lane aims to check on her brother while staying focused on work--something her eclectic family doesn't understand.

Ryan Brooks never expected to settle down in Harbor Pointe, Michigan, but after his final tour of duty, it was the only place that felt like home. Now knee-deep in a renovation project that could boost tourism for the struggling town, he is thrilled to see Lane, the girl he secretly once loved, even if the circumstances of her homecoming aren't ideal.

Their reunion gets off to a rocky start, however, when Ryan can't find a trace of the girl he once knew in the woman she is today. As he slowly chips away at the walls Lane has built, secrets from his past collide with a terrible truth even he is reluctant to believe. Facing a crossroads that could define his future with Lane and jeopardize his relationship with the surrogate family he's found in the Kelleys, Ryan hopes Lane can see that maybe what really matters has been right in front of her all along--if only she'd just look up.

My thoughts: I've read several of Courtney's books now, and marvel at the variety of characters she brings to life! Just Look Up is no different. I found Lane to be an interesting, complex character to get to know, with her insecurities hidden beneath her professional veneer. At first, I wasn't so sure about her, but I gave it time, and found that I became more sympathetic to her as the story went on. This book is a wonderful story of overcoming insecurities, redemption, and finding love and acceptance in the most unexpected places. I highly recommend adding this one to your summer To Be Read list!
I received this book from Tyndale in exchange for my honest review.

Becoming a Present Parent

With Becoming a Present Parent, you’ll find a wealth of ideas to build connections with your children and bind your hearts together. You will find out eight ways how we as parents “check out” of our children’s lives and what that cost is to their growth. Learn how to master six important skills to help you “check in” and be engaged. Understand how to be fully present and utilize touchpoints in the smallest moments to create lasting fulfillment in your family relationships.

My thoughts: I feel like this book came along at the perfect time for me, since my oldest is getting to the point where she is independent enough for me to forget just how much she still needs me.;) This book was a great reminder of the ways I can improve being a more present parent, giving me practical and simple ways to connect with my children throughout the day. I thought this book was well written and the stories spot on!
I received this book through Cedar Fort in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Under A Summer Sky

High school art teacher Nicole Anderson is looking forward to a relaxing summer in Savannah, house-sitting and managing an art gallery for a family friend. The house is luxurious in a way that only old money could make it, and the gallery promises interesting days in a gorgeous setting. Yet it isn't long before her ideal summer turns into more than she bargained for: a snooty gallery employee who's determined to force her out, a displaced adolescent roosting in the attic, and two of Nicole's close childhood friends--who also happen to be brothers--vying for her attention.

With a backdrop of a beautiful historical city, incredible architecture, and even an alleged ghost or two, combined with the opportunity for romance . . . anything can happen!

Bestselling and award-winning author Melody Carlson invites readers to spend the summer surrounded by beauty and tantalizing possibilities for the future.

My thoughts: This book is the perfect summer read! I enjoyed the whimsical tale of one young woman getting a fresh perspicacity on her life when she steps out of her comfort zone to manage an art gallery for a family friend over the summer. I didn't know a lot about Savannah and it's history, so it was enjoyable to get to know more about the city with this delightful story! If you are looking for a good summer read, then I highly recommend this one!
I received this book from Revell in exchange for my honest review.

Positive Discipline Tools for Teachers


The Positive Discipline method has proved to be an invaluable resource for teachers who want to foster creative problem-solving within their students, giving them the behavioral skills they need to understand and process what they learn. In Positive Discipline Tools for Teachers, you will learn how to successfully incorporate respectful, solution-oriented approaches to ensure a cooperative and productive classroom. Using tools like "Connection Before Correction," "Four Problem-Solving Steps," and "Focusing on Solutions," teachers will be able to focus on student-centered learning, rather than wasting time trying to control their students' behavior. Each tool is specifically tailored for the modern classroom, with examples and positive solutions to each and every roadblock that stands in the way of cooperative learning.

Complete with the most up-to-date research on classroom management and the effectiveness of the Positive Discipline method, this comprehensive guide also includes helpful teacher stories and testimonials from around the world. You will learn how to:

- Model kind and firm leadership in the classroom
- Keep your students involved and intrinsically motivated
- Improve students’ self-regulation
-And more

My thoughts: This is a great resource for teachers, since it backs up the different chapters with helpful tips to apply the thought and also what research says that goes along with the subject. I like that there is a lot of personal stories in this book too. I highly recommend it for those going in to teaching or who have been teaching for a while and are looking for a way to effectively manage a classroom.
I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.