Monday, February 19, 2018

In a Nutshell Reviews

In a Nutshell Reviews are my version of mini-reviews, because sometimes, you just want the highlights.

Don't Forget Me
Victoria Stevens
Series: n/a
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Rating:  4.5 out of 5 stars
Goodreads
Seventeen-year-old Hazel Clarke is no stranger to heartbreaks, and being sent to live with a father she’s never met is the latest in a string of them. Even the beauty of eastern Australia isn’t enough to take her mind off her mother and the life she had to leave behind in England. But when Hazel meets the friendly, kindhearted Red and his elusive twin, Luca, she begins the slow process of piecing together a new life—and realizes she isn’t the only one struggling with loss. As friendships deepen and love finds its way in, Hazel also learns that when you truly love someone, they are always in your heart.

This sparkling debut novel is a touching testament to coming of age, falling in love, and finding home in unexpected places.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Sundays with Sam - The Sunday Post

Sundays with Sam is a combination of Sunday Post hosted by Caffeinated Book Reviewer and Stacking the Shelves hosted by Tynga's Reviews.

My Week in Review

This week, I felt sort of validated as a blogger. Two of the women I work with are readers, and I had brought them a few books last week. Both of them devoured the books and wanted the next book in the series. That made me feel pretty good.


Friday, February 16, 2018

In a Nutshell Reviews: Middle Grades Edition

In a Nutshell Reviews are my version of mini-reviews, because sometimes, you just want the highlights.

Checked
Cynthia Kadohata
Series: n/a
Genre: Middle Grades, Contemporary, Sports
Publisher: Atheneum
Rating:  3.5 out of 5 stars
Goodreads
From Newbery Medalist Cynthia Kadohata comes a brilliantly realized sports novel about a hockey player who must discover who he is without the sport that defines him.

Hockey is Conor’s life. His whole life. He’ll say it himself, he’s a hockey beast. It’s his dad’s whole life too—and Conor is sure that’s why his stepmom, Jenny, left. There are very few things Conor and his dad love more than the game, and one of those things is their Doberman, Sinbad. When Sinbad is diagnosed with cancer, Conor chooses to put his hockey lessons and practices on hold so they can pay for Sinbad’s chemotherapy.

But without hockey to distract him, Conor begins to notice more. Like his dad’s crying bouts, and his friend’s difficult family life. And then Conor notices one more thing: Without hockey, the one thing that makes him feel special, is he really special at all?

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Discussion: Why I Read Fiction


This Week’s Topic: Why I Read Fiction

I have always been a reader. As I got older, my reading became more required reading, and then largely, professional reading. I was really happy to return to pleasure reading, and most importantly, reading fiction. 

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Can't-Wait Wednesday: Everywhere You Want to Be - Christina June

Can’t-Wait Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Tressa at Wishful Endings that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week I can't wait for Everywhere You Want to Be!

Everywhere You Want to Be
Christina June
Series: n/a
Release Date: May 1, 2018
Publisher: Blink
Waited on by: Sam
From author Christina June comes Everywhere You Want to Be, a modern tale inspired by the classic Red Riding Hood.

Matilda Castillo has always done what she was told, but when she gets injured senior years, she watches her dreams of becoming a contemporary dancer slip away. So when Tilly gets a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to spend the summer with a New York dance troupe, nothing can stop her from saying yes--not her mother, not her fears of the big city, and not the commitment she made to Georgetown. Tilly's mother allows her to go on two conditions: one, Tilly will regularly visit her abuela in New Jersey, and two, after the summer, she'll give up dancing and go off to college.

Armed with her red vintage sunglasses and her pros and cons lists, Tilly strikes out, determined to turn a summer job into a career. Along the way she meets new friends ... and new enemies. Tilly isn't the only one desperate to dance, and fellow troupe member Sabrina Wolfrik intends to succeed at any cost. But despite dodging sabotage and blackmail attempts from Sabrina, Tilly can't help but fall in love with the city, especially since Paolo, a handsome musician from her past, is also calling New York home for the summer.

As the weeks wind down and the competition with Sabrina heats up, Tilly's future is on the line. She must decide whether to follow her mother's path to Georgetown or leap into the unknown to pursue her own dreams.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday: Recent Favorite YA Romances

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week's topic is...

Recent Favorite YA Romances!

Since it is almost Valentine's Day, we are focusing on romance, and if you have ever visited WLABB before, you know I love romance. My favorites are the terribly sweet romances, that leave me with a sappy smile and a bursting heart. There is romance in many of my favorite books, but I tried to select books that were focused on the romance.

Flipped
Wendelin Van Draanen
Series: n/a
Publisher: Knopf

This is technically a middle grades book, but what a sweet and precious little romance it is. I loved how these two had this flip of their emotions and they matured and began to really see each other. But you know what really got me? The grand gesture! I was pretty floored by a middle grades book have a grand gesture, but I'll take it, because I love that stuff.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Blog Tour: The Dating Debate - Chris Cannon

The Dating Debate
Chris Cannon
Series: Dating Dilemmas, #1
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: Entangled Crush
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Goodreads
Nina Barnes thinks Valentine’s Day should be optional. That way single people like her wouldn’t be subjected to kissy Cupids all over the place. That is, until her mom moves them next door to the brooding hottie of Greenbrier High, West Smith. He’s funny, looks amazing in a black leather jacket, and he’s fluent in Harry Potter, but she’s not sure he’s boyfriend material.

West isn’t sure what to make of Nina. She’s cute and loves to read as much as he does, but she seems to need to debate everything and she has a pathological insistence on telling the truth. And West doesn’t exactly know how to handle that, since his entire life is a carefully constructed secret. Dating the girl next door could be a ton of fun, but only if Nina never finds out the truth about his home life. It’s one secret that could bring them together or rip them apart.

Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book is not for anyone who has to get in the last word, but it is for all book nerds, especially those who live next door to so called unapproachable gorgeous guys. There’s no debating the chemistry.
I almost never pass up an opportunity to read an Entangled contemporary, because I know I will get a low angst, low drama story with a sweet romance and likable characters. Once again, I got what I expected with The Dating Debate.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Sundays with Sam - The Sunday Post

Sundays with Sam is a combination of Sunday Post hosted by Caffeinated Book Reviewer and Stacking the Shelves hosted by Tynga's Reviews.

My Week in Review

Not much to say about this week. We got free lunch and breakfast twice at work, but my favorite thing was the extra jeans day we had to celebrate the Eagles' Super Bowl win. I work close to Philly, so it was a big deal. I was happy that they were happy.

I am so jealous of everyone at ALA. I hope to someday attend, but both locations this year were too far for me. *sad face* They are giving out some awesome books. So, if you were there, you were terribly lucky.

BUT, WLABB finally reached 400 followers on Bloglovin'. I was really happy about that.


Friday, February 9, 2018

In a Nutshell Reviews

In a Nutshell Reviews are my version of mini-reviews, because sometimes, you just want the highlights.

You Bring the Distant Near
Mitali Perkins
Series: n/a
Genre: Young Adult, Historical
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Goodreads
Nominated for the National Book Award | Walter Award 2018 Honor for Teen Literature | PW, NYPL, Horn Book, JLG, Boston Globe, Shelf Awareness, SLJ Best Book of the Year Lists | Six starred reviews: ★ Horn Book ★ School Library Journal ★ Publishers Weekly ★ Booklist ★ Shelf Awareness ★ VOYA

Five girls. Three generations. One great American love story. You Bring the Distant Near explores sisterhood, first loves, friendship, and the inheritance of culture--for better or worse. Ranee, worried that her children are losing their Indian culture; Sonia, wrapped up in a forbidden biracial love affair; Tara, seeking the limelight to hide her true self; Shanti, desperately trying to make peace in the family; Anna, fighting to preserve her Bengali identity--award-winning author Mitali Perkins weaves together a sweeping story of five women at once intimately relatable and yet entirely new.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Discussion: Is It Fair to Compare?


This Week’s Topic: Is it fair to compare?

Sometimes we can't help ourselves. We have multiple offerings of similar things, and we will often compare them in order to pick the best one. I do it with shoes, pants, cars, computers, but I feel a little guilty when I apply it to an art form. In the case of a book, the author put their heart, blood, sweat, and tears into it. It was their baby and is very dear to them. They put their soul into writing that story, and were brave enough to put it out there for public consumption.


Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Can't Wait Wednesday: Sam & Ilsa's Last Hurrah - David Levithan & Rachel Cohn

Can’t-Wait Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Tressa at Wishful Endings that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week I can't wait for Sam & Ilsa's Last Hurrah!

Sam & Ilsa's Last Hurrah
Rachel Cohn, David Levithan
Series: n/a
Release Date: April 10, 2018
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Waited on by: Sam
The New York Times Bestselling duo behind Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist and The Twelve Days of Dash & Lily return with twins out to throw the party of a lifetime--or at least the best party of high school!

Siblings Sam and Ilsa Kehlmann have spent most of their high school years throwing parties for their friends--and now they've prepared their final blowout, just before graduation.

The rules are simple: each twin gets to invite three guests, and the other twin doesn't know who's coming until the partiers show up at the door. With Sam and Ilsa, the sibling revelry is always tempered with a large dose of sibling rivalry, and tonight is no exception.

One night. One apartment. Eight people. What could possibly go wrong? Oh, we all know the answer is plenty. But plenty also goes right, as well...in rather surprising ways.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday: Why Are You Still Here?

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week's topic is...

Why Are You Still Here!

One of my favorite pastimes is adding books to my TBR, and this week's TTT made me take a hard look at my shelf. I had to find some of the oldest books on my TBR and determine why they are still unread. NOTE: I have officially added the following books to the spreadsheet, which means they will (maybe) get read this year.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Review: Far From the Tree - Robin Benway

Far From the Tree
Robin Benway
Series: n/a
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publisher: HarperTeen
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Goodreads
A contemporary novel about three adopted siblings who find each other at just the right moment.

Being the middle child has its ups and downs.

But for Grace, an only child who was adopted at birth, discovering that she is a middle child is a different ride altogether. After putting her own baby up for adoption, she goes looking for her biological family, including—

Maya, her loudmouthed younger bio sister, who has a lot to say about their newfound family ties. Having grown up the snarky brunette in a house full of chipper redheads, she’s quick to search for traces of herself among these not-quite-strangers. And when her adopted family’s long-buried problems begin to explode to the surface, Maya can’t help but wonder where exactly it is that she belongs.

And Joaquin, their stoic older bio brother, who has no interest in bonding over their shared biological mother. After seventeen years in the foster care system, he’s learned that there are no heroes, and secrets and fears are best kept close to the vest, where they can’t hurt anyone but him.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Sundays with Sam - The Sunday Post

Sundays with Sam is a combination of Sunday Post hosted by Caffeinated Book Reviewer and Stacking the Shelves hosted by Tynga's Reviews.

My Week in Review

On this day, in a snowstorm, my darling daughter came into this world. So, once again, I wish her a happy birthday from afar. Yesterday, my mother, sister, and I went to see The Outsider. It was hilarious, and it was really cool to see Julia Duffy on the stage. Hey! You know who's excited about the Olympics? This girl! My reading may take a hit next week, as I try to watch as many events as possible.

A post shared by Sam Kozbial (@kozbisa) on

Friday, February 2, 2018

In a Nutshell Reviews

In a Nutshell Reviews are my version of mini-reviews, because sometimes, you just want the highlights.

American Panda
Gloria Chao
Series: n/a
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Goodreads
An incisive, laugh-out-loud contemporary debut about a Taiwanese-American teen whose parents want her to be a doctor and marry a Taiwanese Ivy Leaguer despite her squeamishness with germs and crush on a Japanese classmate.

At seventeen, Mei should be in high school, but skipping fourth grade was part of her parents' master plan. Now a freshman at MIT, she is on track to fulfill the rest of this predetermined future: become a doctor, marry a preapproved Taiwanese Ivy Leaguer, produce a litter of babies.

With everything her parents have sacrificed to make her cushy life a reality, Mei can't bring herself to tell them the truth--that she (1) hates germs, (2) falls asleep in biology lectures, and (3) has a crush on her classmate Darren Takahashi, who is decidedly not Taiwanese.

But when Mei reconnects with her brother, Xing, who is estranged from the family for dating the wrong woman, Mei starts to wonder if all the secrets are truly worth it. Can she find a way to be herself, whoever that is, before her web of lies unravels?

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Discussion: Why I Follow You


This Week’s Topic: Why I Follow You

Not too long ago, I was commenting on a post about blogger stats, and I lamented how, of course, I would like more followers, but you know, it is what it is. What I didn't expect, was the blogger to tell me, that she would follow me, but she doesn't follow Blogspot blogs.

After I recovered, I was thinking about why I follow the blogs I follow. Hint: your hosting platform does not figure into my decision, but I did come up with the following list.