Review of Enchantment Lake

A disturbing call from her great aunts Astrid and Jeannette sends seventeen-year-old Francie far from her new home in New York into a tangle of mysteries. Ditching an audition in a Manhattan theater, Francie travels to a remote lake in the northwoods where her aunts’ neighbors are “dropping like flies” from strange accidents. But are they accidents?

On the shores of Enchantment Lake in the woods of northern Minnesota, something ominous is afoot, and as Francie begins to investigate, the mysteries multiply: a poisoned hot dish, a puzzling confession, eerie noises in the bog, and a legendary treasure that is said to be under enchantment—or is that under Enchantment, as in under the lake? At the center of everything is a suddenly booming business in cabin sales and a road not everyone wants built.

To a somewhat reluctant northwoods Nancy Drew, the intrigue proves irresistible, especially when it draws her closer to the mysteries at the heart of her own life: What happened to her father? Who and where is her mother? Who is she, and where does her heart lie—in the bustle of New York City or the deep woods of Minnesota? With its gripping story, romantic spirit, and a sly dash of modern-day trouble (evil realtors and other invasive species), Enchantment Lake will fascinate readers, providing precisely the charm that Margi Preus’s readers have come to expect

I dropped by a local bookstore when I was at the cabin a month ago and they had a wall of Minnesota authors displayed. I have seen the cover of Enchantment Lake around the blog world, so I grabbed it. I loved the cover SO much. So I figured, even if the book wasn’t amazing, the cover would be awesome to have on my bookshelf.

  • The writing was very easy to read. I actually finished the book pretty quickly out on the boat the same afternoon I bought it. I like nice, easy reads because I often get interrupted to reel in a fish or net one for my hubby.
  • Francie’s aunts were awesome. I love eccentric aunts – like Blue’s family from The Raven Boys. They were goofy, half out of their gourd but actually all together in the end.
  • I would LOVE to live on the lake described. My cabin is not super accessible either, but this one you have to boat across the lake to get to the cabin. I would love the dense tree cover and tight relationship with everyone on the lake. It would be SO peaceful. Plus, there was a small island – I love islands!
  • There was some Minnesota humor and vocab in the book. It is always fun to read a book about places you know and traditions you uphold.
  • The mystery was fun, it was a bit odd and goofy, which I enjoy. I would have liked it fleshed out a bit more, but I think that came with the genre.

  • I felt like there were some huge age issues / maturity / lifestyle. I think that the MC should have been a college student, but it kept going back to more of a role with some high school, going into college. It was a weird mix. Plus, she was a previous actress on a TV show – so I just felt like the author was trying to engage a few genres and it ended up being confusing.
  • I think the reading level the author was trying to reach was about middle grade to early high school. It just didn’t really make sense with the age of the characters and the content. I believe this is the first non-children’s book she wrote, so I can see the issues coming up. I think it is something her editors should have caught though.

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Random Tibits about Me - #OTSPSecretSister Style

I am doing Round 3 of Secret Sister. I just finished up round 2 and LOVED meeting my secret sister and the wonderful sister I got to pamper. Emily spoiled me. Her gifts and notes came on those days I needed a pick me up, it was like she had this sixth sense. 

Tuesday night was a Twitter chat that I missed. I was at Paper Towns (it was good, p.s.). I thought I would share some of my answers to the questions, both for my OTSP Secret Sister and so the blogosphere can learn more randomness about me!

What one thing would you take with you on a deserted island?
Man, this is a really tough one. I think it would have to be a solar-powered Kindle filled to the brim with books (and probably my husband) LOL

Childhood item you would love to get?
I have wanted another Tamagotchi. They were so fun as a kid and now they are remaking them!

Attending any bookish events this coming year?
At this point, I am not signed up for anything. I am really hoping to go to BEA

What type of themed boxes would you like?
I am a HUGE Harry Potter nerd, so I love HP themed. My Secret Sister from Round 2 did a couple that were so cute – a Harry Potter theme, a princess theme and a music theme!

What fandoms do you have – like Houses / SIGILS / Districts?
For Harry Potter – I feel torn between Gryffindor and Ravenclaw. Game of Thrones– I am with Khaleesi all the way. District – I am the fishing district, which works since my hubby and I go fishing so much! Outlander – call me Sass and take me home Jamie!

What three most wanted Funko Pops?
Definitely Jamie Fraser (he isn’t out yet, but soon), Baymax, any HP character

Favorite decade and why?
It love the 1920s. I love the hair styles, the clothing, the prohibition, the music

What are your hobbies?
Photography, reading, writing, blogging, coloring, watching tv and movies, avoiding cleaning my house, being outside, pretending to be a runner

Do you have kids or pets to spoil?
No kids or pets right now

What types of jewelry or accessories do you like?
I love jewelry and any accessory!

Most wanted DVD or music album?
Not sure if I have anything I really want at this time

Starbucks order, favorite superhero (or villain), animal & color?
Americano, Rouge, kitten, purple

Do you like signed books?
For sure!

Book format preference?
I love books, doesn’t matter what preference

Fav local restaurants or shops?
Unglued, Kittson and Lot 2029 in Fargo. We go to JL Beers in Moorhead a lot, sometimes Applebees.

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Waiting on Wednesday with Hello, Goodbye and Everything In Between

On the night before they leave for college, Clare and Aidan only have one thing left to do: figure out whether they should stay together or break up. Over the course of twelve hours, they'll retrace the steps of their relationship, trying to find something in their past that might help them decide what their future should be. The night will lead them to friends and family, familiar landmarks and unexpected places, hard truths and surprising revelations. But as the clock winds down and morning approaches, so does their inevitable goodbye. The question is, will it be goodbye for now or goodbye forever?

This new must-read novel from Jennifer E. Smith, author of The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, explores the difficult choices that must be made when life and love lead in different directions.

I really enjoyed The Geography of You and Me and am excited to get my hands on her newest book! It is due to be released September 1st!

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Top Ten Tuesday with Characters Who Are Fellow Book Nerds

Today's topic is Ten Characters Who Are Fellow Book Nerds. I love when characters in books are fellow book nerds, cause heck, we can relate!

Matilda - Matilda
Hermonie – Harry Potter
Colin – An Abundance of Katherines
Hazel – The Fault in our Stars
Aria – Pretty Little Liars series
Alaska – Looking for Alaska
Liesel – The Book Thief 
Tyrion Lannister – Song of Fire and Ice series
Cath - Fangirl
Celaena – Throne of Glass series

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Review of At the Water's Edge

In her stunning new novel, Gruen returns to the kind of storytelling she excelled at in Water for Elephants: a historical timeframe in an unusual setting with a moving love story. Think Scottish Downton Abbey.

After embarrassing themselves at the social event of the year in high society Philadelphia on New Year’s Eve of 1942, Maddie and Ellis Hyde are cut off financially by Ellis’s father, a former army Colonel who is already embarrassed by his son’s inability to serve in WWII due to his being colorblind. To Maddie’s horror, Ellis decides that the only way to regain his father’s favor is to succeed in a venture his father attempted and very publicly failed at: he will hunt the famous Loch Ness monster and when he finds it he will restore his father’s name and return to his father’s good graces (and pocketbook). Joined by their friend Hank, a wealthy socialite, the three make their way to Scotland in the midst of war. Each day the two men go off to hunt the monster, while another monster, Hitler, is devastating Europe. And Maddie, now alone in a foreign country, must begin to figure out who she is and what she wants. The novel tells of Maddie’s social awakening: to the harsh realities of life, to the beauties of nature, to a connection with forces larger than herself, to female friendship, and finally, to love.

  •  Sara Gruen is such an amazing writer. I was once again, like with Water for Elephants, in awe of her character development. Each character, even the side characters, were so fully developed and had such a deep history. She really spent time preparing for her novel, charting each character and fleshing out who they are. I think it brings so much depth to the story when the characters really feel real and relatable.
  • Maddie was honest. She was such a great narrator and voice for the story. I sometimes feel like I want to hear the story from another character's POV, but choosing Maddie to lead the story was awesome. I loved her character, her self-doubt and her strength. 
  • The Loch Ness monster that lurks within the story was not as much of a precense as I thought it would be, but I loved how the story worked with the mythical (or is it) creature. 
  • The time period is one of my favorite to read about. This book was on the outskirts of the war, which I thought was interesting. You could see how it was for the people who were not fighting and not right in the middle of the action. I thought it was an interesting look at what it could have been like to be in a town that was not directly affected by the war, but still had to deal with the impact. 
  • The slow burn romance in this book was awesome. When they finally kiss, my heart melts. I don't want to spoil to much, but it was precious.

  • No major gripes. I guess I was really focused on the Loch Ness Monster in the synopsis instead of Maddie's social awakening, so I was hoping for a bit more of the mythical. But other than that, it was a great read.

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Pampering & Prose with Make Out Magic and Magonia

Love kisses? Love soft lips? I do! I am head over heels for Perfectly Posh’s Make Out Magic. It is this amazing sugar scrub that makes your lips so soft and smooth! Give lips a magic makeover! Natural sugar exfoliates and rich butters moisturize for lips so soft and supple. Smooth it on and pucker up! No need to wash off. The best part is not having to wash it off, to lick off that sugary sweetness! A little guilt-free treat!

  Aza Ray is drowning in thin air.

Since she was a baby, Aza has suffered from a mysterious lung disease that makes it ever harder for her to breathe, to speak—to live.

So when Aza catches a glimpse of a ship in the sky, her family chalks it up to a cruel side effect of her medication. But Aza doesn't think this is a hallucination. She can hear someone on the ship calling her name.

Only her best friend, Jason, listens. Jason, who’s always been there. Jason, for whom she might have more-than-friendly feelings. But before Aza can consider that thrilling idea, something goes terribly wrong. Aza is lost to our world—and found, by another. Magonia.

Above the clouds, in a land of trading ships, Aza is not the weak and dying thing she was. In Magonia, she can breathe for the first time. Better, she has immense power—and as she navigates her new life, she discovers that war is coming. Magonia and Earth are on the cusp of a reckoning. And in Aza’s hands lies the fate of the whole of humanity—including the boy who loves her. Where do her loyalties lie?

I received Magnolia in one of my Owlcrate boxes. I hadn’t heard much about it, but the cover was art. I am still geeking out over the cover. One of my blogger buddies said that she thought I would like the book even though it got mixed review. I would have to say that I did enjoy it but wowizers, it was odd. This was one book you really have to let your imagine go and just flow with the story. It starts off so generic, “sick girl and boy who loves her.” But then, it gets CRAZY! I am not exaggerating here. Totally honestly crazy. It is so hard to write this review without worrying about spoilers. Aza finds out that she is actually not really sick, she just is not made to breathe air on earth. She finds herself on a ship in the sky, fully able to breathe and with a new path in life. But her heart still aches for the boy below. Plus, there is some crazy (more crazy) stuff going on with the people of the ship. The world building was a little lacking – I am not sure if it is because there was so much shoved into this one book. It appears that it will be a series, so I would have really liked more development of Aza’s life on this ship. Maybe the part of her training could have been fleshed out more. But, it was still a great read. The writing was really well done and fit the fantasy aspect of the story. I am interested to see where the series goes.

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Review of All We Have is Now

What do you do with your last day on earth?

Just over twenty-four hours are left until an asteroid strikes North America, and for Emerson and everyone else who didn't leave, the world will end. But Emerson's world already ended when she ran away from home. Since then, she has lived on the streets, relying on her wits and on her friend Vince to help her find places to sleep and food to eat.

The city's quieter now that most people are gone, and no one seems to know what to do as the end approaches. But then Emerson and Vince meet Carl, who tells them he has been granting people's wishes -- and gives them his wallet full of money.

Suddenly, this last day seems full of possibility. Emerson and Vince can grant a lot of wishes in one last day -- maybe even their own.

The whole premise of knowing that we have one day to live is nothing new, but it is always interesting topic that always makes you reevaluate life and how you would spend that last day. In All We Have is Now, Earth is doomed by a large asteroid cascading toward early. Think Armageddon-style disaster.

I really loved Emerson. She had a tough life and I think if my relationship with my mother was the same as hers, I would feel the need to leave home and try it on my own. She is strong, but still a teen and wants the love of her family and acceptance for who she is.
Vince. The world needs more Vinces. He was so stinking amazing. I want him for a best friend. Once they meet Carl and got the idea to do random acts of kindness on their last day. They want to make dreams come true before the end of the world. Vince thinks of these amazing ways to make the dreams come true and makes everyone feel so special. What a way to spend your last day, completely selfless. Plus not only is Vince an amazing person, he is madly in love with Emerson, but so patient with her feelings, even on their last day.
Carl. He is probably one of the most complex characters in the book and we just barely get a look in on his life and who he is, what his relationships look like and how his life has been so far. Carl started the whole good deed situation, going so far as giving away his car and all his money. I would love to read this story from Carl’s POV. It would be like the adult version of the book.

There was an odd writing style to the book, it wasn’t bad at all, just something out of the ordinary. There was a conversational flow along with some modern poetry. I enjoyed the book but I think the writing style really made it hard to connect with the book. I felt like it almost put an imaginary wall between the characters and the readers.
I wish we would have gotten more detail on the status of the world during the disaster. We get this slight vision of something going on and people doubting the existence of the asteroid. It seemed to come out of left field.

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All We Have is Now Blog Tour & Giveaway

All We Have Is Now Banner
Welcome to the tour for All We Have Is Now by Lisa Schroeder! This is a young adult apocalyptic fiction that releases July 28, 2015 by Scholastic. ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••
All We Have Is Now
All We Have Is Now by Lisa Schroeder

From the author of THE BRIDGE FROM ME TO YOU, a groundbreaking novel about what matters most — when time is running out.
What do you do with your last day on earth?
There are 27 hours and fifteen minutes left until an asteroid strikes North America, and, for Emerson and everyone else who didn’t leave, the world will end. But Emerson’s world already ended when she ran away from home last year. Since then she has lived on the streets, relying on her wits and her friend Vince to help her find places to sleep and food to eat.
The city’s quieter now that most people are gone, and no one seems to know what to do as the end approaches. But then Emerson and Vince meet Carl, who tells them that he has been granting people’s wishes. He gave his car away so a woman could take her son to see the ocean for the first time, and he gives Emerson and Vince all the money he has in his wallet.
Suddenly this last day seems full of possibility. Emerson and Vince can grant a lot of wishes in 27 hours — maybe even their own.

Make-A-Wish-for-the-Apocalypse- There’s just a little over 24 hours until a meteor is scheduled to hit the US. What do you wish for?

My wish would be to have everyone I love together. I would be a HUGE party and we could all spend the day reminiscing about the good times we were blessed with, saying goodbye and loving on each other!
“Thoughtful, endearing, and surprisingly fun — a reminder of what’s really important in life.” –Suzanne Young, New York Times bestselling author of The Program
“All We Have Is Now is one of those books my teenage self needed — a thoughtfully crafted reminder that every moment is a gift and that we should be kind, especially to ourselves.” –Julie Murphy, author of Side Effects May Vary
“Heartwarming and hopeful. I’d take this book with me to the apocalypse!” –Amy Plum, internationally bestselling author of the Die for Me series
How did the idea for ALL WE HAVE IS NOW come about?
When I was in high school, I had a leadership class where we did lots of different activities and exercises. One of the most memorable ones was when we all sat in a circle and our teacher, Mrs. Smith, said something like: “Imagine the world is going to end in 24 hours. I’d like you to share with us how you would spend those last 24 hours.” What made it so memorable was how emotional people got as they spoke of the ones they love the most, or relatives they hadn’t seen in a while and wouldn’t be able to see again. It wasn’t long before almost everyone was crying. It was strange and kind of eerie, but also wonderful, because it was such a great reminder of what matters most. Of course, the class clown, a kid named Eric, gave us all a break from our tears when it was his turn and he said something like, “I’d find a girl and we would have a fun 24 hours, and that’s all I’m gonna say.”
I’ve always been fascinated with meteors and asteroids. The one that happened over Russia in 2013 was slightly terrifying, seeming to come out of nowhere and creating a huge blast in the sky, injuring over 130 people. As I thought about writing a book that dealt with that question of – how would you spend the last 24 hours – this seemed like a unique premise to play with.
Lisa Schroeder is the author of over a dozen books for kids and teens, including the YA novels I Heart You, You Haunt Me and The Bridge From Me to You. She loves tea and cookies, flowers, family hikes, books and movies that make her laugh and cry, and sunshine. Living in Oregon, she doesn’t get nearly enough sunshine, but the hikes are amazing. You can visit her online at on Twitter at @lisa_schroeder.
AUTHOR ONLINE: Website | Facebook | Twitter

The author will be giving away $40 Powells e-gift card (US) OR a signed copy of All We Have Is Now (INT) to the winner of the below Rafflecopter. The giveaway ends August 5th.
a Rafflecopter giveaway  
This event was organized by CBB Book Promotions.

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Review of The Fill-in Boyfriend

When Gia Montgomery's boyfriend, Bradley, dumps her in the parking lot of her high school prom, she has to think fast. After all, she'd been telling her friends about him for months now. This was supposed to be the night she proved he existed. So when she sees a cute guy waiting to pick up his sister, she enlists his help. The task is simple: be her fill-in boyfriend—two hours, zero commitment, a few white lies. After that, she can win back the real Bradley.

The problem is that days after prom, it's not the real Bradley she's thinking about, but the stand-in. The one whose name she doesn't even know. But tracking him down doesn't mean they're done faking a relationship. Gia owes him a favor and his sister intends to see that he collects: his ex-girlfriend's graduation party—three hours, zero commitment, a few white lies.

Just when Gia begins to wonder if she could turn her fake boyfriend into a real one, Bradley comes waltzing back into her life, exposing her lie, and threatening to destroy her friendships and her new-found relationship.

  •  The story was an easy-going read, perfect for summer. It was a cute little contemporary that didn't take a lot of brain power to read. I love books like that for the boat or times when I read and can be slightly distracted. 
  • I love when the unexpected works out, the meet-cute is life changing or you finally see someone in a different light. I think this book did a great job of showing that you can't judge a book by it's cover.
  • Gia was an interesting MC, not my favorite, but she definitely was realistic. There was times where I wanted to strangle her and times I could relate. 
  • Gia's brother makes a documentary and it ends up featuring Gia. It really was the kicker for me, how easily it is to be absorbed by social media and other's thoughts about us. I really like that part of the story. 

  • There was not much depth to the story. Like I said, it is ok to have an easy-going story, but this one felt a little light on plot. This one was probably my least favorite of the the Kasie West books I have read so far.

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