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2014 Harry Potter Wall Calendar
2014 Harry Potter Wall Calendar
by Warner Bros Consumer Products
Edition: Calendar
5 used & new from $46.96

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars There is no Hermione Granger page., January 1, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This calendar is decent enough. All the photos are high quality. However, there is no month devoted to Hermione Granger, one of the most important characters in the series. However, December is devoted to Horace Slughorn. I was very disappointed when I made this discovery and would not recommend anyone purchase this calendar.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 13, 2014 9:31 AM PST

Heart of the Matter
Heart of the Matter
by Emily Giffin
Edition: Hardcover
432 used & new from $0.01

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not for me., March 21, 2013
This review is from: Heart of the Matter (Hardcover)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I used to like Emily Giffin a lot more before her crazy bend on Amazon and on Facebook. I tried going into this book with an open mind but it was difficult. I like that she tackles tough subject matter and cheating is definitely such a topic. Unfortunately, the characters just never came off empathetic enough for me. I viewed their actions from a cold and distant reading experience. There was a definite heartless quality to the story that I could not get past to fully enjoy.

The Secret Sisterhood of Heartbreakers
The Secret Sisterhood of Heartbreakers
by Lynn Weingarten
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $17.99
69 used & new from $0.01

2.0 out of 5 stars Don't waste your time, May 28, 2012
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Lucy is madly in love with her boyfriend, Alex. Madly, innocently in love and when she is waiting to see him on the first day back at school she has a special surprise for him. Unfortunately, Alex has a really bad "surprise" for her. He breaks up with Lucy and she is simply devastated. She heads to the bathroom to cry where she meets a girl who offers Lucy a solution to her heartbreak.

Lucy meets Olivia at night where she learns about the Secret Sisterhood of Heartbreakers. Lucy must meet someone and within seven days, break his heart for the magic to begin, for her heart to heal. It sounds absurd to Lucy and she doesn't want to believe it but when she sees Alex at school again, her heart continues to crumble and she makes the decision to join the Secret Sisterhood of Heartbreakers. But whose heart will she break and will Lucy, loveable, innocent, heartbroken Lucy ever be the same?

This book fell far, far short of my expectations. In fact, it was rather pointless because there seemed to be no higher purpose to the Secret Sisterhood of Heartbreakers. At all. They break hearts, collect tears, and then, that's it. The girls in the club are rather mean and catty and read more like cynical divorcees than high school students. I really liked Lucy at the beginning of the book. She was kind, she was willing to put her heart on the line, and then unfortunately, she decides to join this club and everything that made her rather likeable in beginning of the book went out the window. She became a clone of her "friends" who are one of the least unfriendly group of girls I've ever met. And they aren't even original Mean Girls. They are just these girls who seduce boys for no purpose and then continue the cycle.

I really enjoyed Lynn Weingarten's previous novel, Wherever Nina Lies, because it was original and had thoughtful characters that provided the story with twists and turns. This is not the case in The Secret Sisterhood of Heartbreakers. This is a stilted and generic paranormal story. There was promise at the beginning, in Lucy at least, but it quickly went south from there and entered boring territory. Pass on this story.

The Fireman Who Loved Me: A Bachelor Firemen Novel (Bachelor Firemen of San Gabriel)
The Fireman Who Loved Me: A Bachelor Firemen Novel (Bachelor Firemen of San Gabriel)
by Jennifer Bernard
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: $5.99
95 used & new from $0.01

14 of 20 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Firefighting letdown, April 6, 2012
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This book was sadly a slightly below average romance read. It bills itself as being hot and sexy and I guess it could have been if the "humor" was not so flat and forced.

When Melissa's grandma forces her to attend a firefighting charity auction, Melissa is nothing but embarrassed. (Side note: these events can be a lot of fun if you go in with the right spirit. All Melissa felt was embarrassment and annoyance and thus it made the entire auction rather embarrassing). She has no plans to bid on a fireman but since it's her grandmother's birthday, she'll attend. But she cannot take the auction for long and as her grandmother is in the midst of bidding on a blond fireman for her, Melissa is scuttling out of the room where she falls flat on her face and is rescued by Fire Captain Harry Brody. He's making sure the auction is running smoothly though he isn't participating.

When the fireman who was "won" by Melissa's grandmother bails on the date (which made me dislike him immensely. Seriously, man up and take the elderly woman out. It's not the end of the world and she paid good money for this date), Harry steps in and finds that much to his surprise (but NOT the readers by any means) that he is not dating an elderly woman but instead, her granddaughter, Melissa. The sparks fly between them but they both have a lot of baggage and frankly it seems Melissa has never gone on a date before because she is awkward city around Harry for much of the book.

I liked Harry infinitesimally more than Melissa because he was just a nice guy (who unfortunately let his past relationship weigh him down for way too long). He does the right thing. I thought it was really sweet that he had planned a true date for an old woman even if it would not be a typical date. Unfortunately, Melissa really grated on my nerves and I found their romance to be forced in many situations. The "comedic" happenings of the book (and I use that word very lightly) try to give this book a rom-com flavor but it just is not happening. Klutzy situations get old fast. And then, the kicker of all things is something that happens in the end which seemed, given the lighthearted tone of the book, strange. I do not want to spoil it but I really thought the author should have avoided that particular plot.

I love a great fireman story. Fireman are one of my favorite romance hero archetypes and while I didn't mind Harry, I wasn't completely sold on his romance with Melissa by any means. She frustrated me to no end as did the hijinks of her grandmother. Aren't there enough romance stories with interfering grandmothers out there now? I have no desire to read the next book in the series (Hot for Fireman: A Bachelor Firemen Novel) particularly given the "hero's" actions in this book.

Harry redeemed the story slightly for me but overall, this book was a below average romance story. If you truly want to read it, borrow it from your local public library.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 5, 2012 5:32 AM PDT

by Jill Hathaway
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $17.99
63 used & new from $0.01

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Slide doesn't quite hit the mark., March 14, 2012
This review is from: Slide (Hardcover)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Slide by Jill Hathaway reminded me of several different books. It has the mystery set in high school scenario of Deadly Cool (Hartley Featherstone) or Perception: A Clarity Novel and it has the sleep dreaming that is reminiscent (though not the same by any means) of Lisa McMann's Wake series. Unfortunately, Slide left me feeling rather "meh" when all was said and done.

Vee suffers from narcolepsy, so the doctors say. What she really suffers from is sliding. She falls into an unconscious state when she touches an object with a deep imprint on it and "slides" into the owner of that object. It is not a comfortable thing for Vee at all but she doesn't know how to stop it besides trying not to touch or own objects that others could have owned before. But when Vee accidentally slides into the body of a murderer and witnesses the murder of a classmate, she is shocked and scared. Everyone says it is a suicide but Vee knows differently.

Vee is a very conflicted character. She feels very alone because she has no one who believes her about the sliding, least of all her father, an in demand surgeon who is never home. There is no one Vee can turn to and despite being best friends with Rollins, a guy who saved her at one of the worst times of her life, she increasingly feels isolated from him too. The bad thing about Vee is, for me anyway, is that she just doesn't stand out. There wasn't a strong personality behind her to make her come alive for me. She is merely a character who suffers from this odd phenomenon without any characteristics that make her interesting outside of that. She isn't even a great an amateur sleuth like Clare Fern. Vee tries her best and there are plenty of red herrings thrown into the story but as a whole, the story just did not have much spark.

I did like Vee's relationship with her younger sister, Mattie, the best friend to Sophie. The murders unfortunately draws them together but it makes them both confront their feelings regarding their father and their dead mother. Both characters have a lot of suppressed emotion. That being said, there is a plot line that I wish had been better addressed. Vee is almost date-raped and rather than letting the rapist be punished, he continues on at school, hurting girls in other ways. He is truly a despicable character and I feel like, by Vee not taking action, there is some sense of complacency, that the school would not have punished this character or that the law would not have taken Vee's side. It just felt really awful and it soured the story for me.

Slide has a few good points but on the whole I was just not that impressed. It did read very quickly and I think it could be another readalike for teens who are enjoying amateur high school sleuth mysteries but for me, it just did not work very well. The writing is solid but it just doesn't have much spark to take the story onto another level and thus, makes Vee and her story rather forgettable. Of course, what do I know as there is already a second story planned called Impostor, available in March 2013.

Glow (Sky Chasers)
Glow (Sky Chasers)
by Amy Kathleen Ryan
Edition: Audio CD
Price: $29.99
21 used & new from $0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Great space adventure!, January 26, 2012
This review is from: Glow (Sky Chasers) (Audio CD)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan (the first in her new Sky Chasers series) is by far one of the best books I have read this year. It has appeal to both teens and adults I believe. It is a very well done sci-fi story and it was such a nice change of pace from even the contemporary titles I've been reading. And ditto on the YA dystopian books. I'll be totally honest here, this review is going to be more incoherent gushing than anything else.

There is so much awesome storytelling going on in this book. I don't want to spoil anything because this is definitely a book you will want to read cover to cover to get the full impact but suffice it to say that religion, women's choice, the idea of power and dominance, and so much more is covered in Glow. But it's not a hit you over the head lesson book. These themes are very smoothly articulated into the overall plot. There are surprises, twists and turns aplenty, but perhaps it is the characters that hooked me most of all. Brave and courageous Waverly who is devastated after being kidnapped from her home, who is injured but finds the strength to go on and try to hurt her captors. Confused and well meaning Kieran, who believes he has a direct connection to God and can lead the ship to safety in the face of no adults and no girls.

The characters are multifaceted and as the reader, you will feel both loathing, hope, and hatred for what these characters must go through. There are no clear answers for the dilemmas of what these characters are facing. They are teens, kids really when it comes down to it, who have lived a peaceful life (on the surface anyway). The attack changes everything and it forces decisions that should never had to have been made.

I was a history major in college (and an English major. They went well together) so I loved the sense of history that went into this book. These teens are living on ships bound for a new earth. They are the pioneers of their generation, the puritans if you will. It was very, very interesting how Amy Kathleen Ryan worked history, science, and so much more into Glow.

Anyway, if you can't tell, I am a big fan of this book. I am hungering for the second book already. I need it now. I hope I've done somewhat of a good job of convincing you to read this book. I don't consider myself a sci-fi reader but I do like science fiction that focuses on people's dilemmas. Battlestar Galactica (the latest tv incarnation), Firefly, Ender's Game, those are sci-fi related entertainment that have most worked for me. I think if you've enjoyed any of these shows or books, you should definitely give Glow a try. It is a book that will work very well with both male and female readers, teens or adults I think. It has some great universal themes that are examined and there are plenty of unanswered questions. I have not read Across the Universe by Beth Revis so I don't know how comparable the two books are but all I know is that I really enjoyed Glow.

I've Got Your Number: A Novel
I've Got Your Number: A Novel
by Sophie Kinsella
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $26.00
187 used & new from $0.01

3 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Another fun offering from this veteran writer!, January 25, 2012
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I've Got Your Number is classic Sophie Kinsella but that's okay with me! It has all the wonderful things that I love about Kinsella's stories and it proved to be another fast, engaging, definitely fluffy fun read.

I really liked Poppy. She is as obsessed with her phone and communication as most people my age so her struggle after she lost her phone really rang true for me. She needed her phone to stay connected but as she finds out, when she snags a thrown away phone, the phone allows her to make new connections too. I also really liked that Poppy liked her job. Kinsella does "chick-lit" very well (though I'm not sure if that's the correct term for these books anymore) and she fortunately she also knows what tropes to ignore. Poppy is good at her job as a physiotherapist. She likes helping people feel better and she genuinely cares about her patients.

The antics Poppy gets into as she has Sam's company phone are hilarious. She cares too much and makes trouble for him though as she sees it, she is just trying to make him a bit more human. I loved their differing views and I liked seeing Sam slowly start to come along to Poppy's way of thinking, at least to a degree. As is usual for most of Kinsella's books, there is a business crisis that takes the two main characters in different directions. But Poppy is not the silly character Kinsella's infamous Becky Bloomwood is. Poppy has a good head on her shoulders and she is able to aid Sam in sorting out the business issues that develop in the story.

Of course, Poppy still has some inferiority issues to sort out, particularly when it comes to Magnus's family. However, the scenes where she plays Scrabble or tries to understand just what this family of academics is saying are hilarious. I liked that she was an ordinary girl just trying to be pleasing to her fiance's family. Poppy is kindhearted and it shows on every page of the story. She is a likeable character that is kind of like the girlfriend everyone has in their life, supporting her friends (even when their envy shows), going out for drinks and just enjoying life. Her romance with Sam is subtle but I loved seeing it blossom on the pages through the text messages. This book is in fact a great readalike to Meg Cabot's Boy Meets Girl series.

All in all, I raced through I've Got Your Number. It's nothing particularly new in the world of romance or women's fiction but it's a fun book with two great characters. Sophie Kinsella just writes fun stories and I enjoy reading them!

by Sarah Weeks
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $13.90
122 used & new from $0.01

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sweetly simple and enjoyable!, November 7, 2011
This review is from: Pie (Hardcover)
Pie by Sarah Weeks left me with a total craving for pie, topped by the enjoyment of a sweet story.

Alice is positively heartbroken over losing her beloved Aunt Polly. But she is not thrilled about being the new caretaker of Polly's beloved cat, Lardo. The cat kind of scares Alice. He also proves to be a great catalyst for Alice's imagination, which is where so much of the fun in this book takes place. Alice imagines conspiracies are running amuck in her tiny hometown after Polly's death and she is not afraid to play detective, along with her friend, Charlie.

There is a lot of sweetness running throughout this book, but fortunately not of the saccharine, too sweet to bear, variety. Alice is a nice kid who is feeling lost after Polly dies. She doesn't think her mom appreciates her imagination and tendency to create her own little songs (something I do too!). She doesn't really have an affinity for pies like her aunt, she just enjoyed spending time with her. But now she has a mystery on her hands. The mystery fits the tone of the book. Light-hearted and nothing too deadly or scary, but rather a comical mystery that only a small town obsessed with pies could become embroiled in. Alice and Charlie as amateur sleuths is incredibly comical.

There is a new pie recipe at the beginning of each chapter of the book and if at least one of them does not make your mouth water, you are a better person than me! Coconut cream, chocolate cream, rhubarb pie and more! You may just be tempted to try your hand at a recipe (I know I am!).

I didn't much care for the epilogue, it bordered on the over the top for me, but overall, I thought Pie was rather scrumptious. Sarah Weeks makes me smile and this is a nice tween read that will work well for younger readers as well as eleven and twelve year old kids. It is a historical (set in 1955) and the time period helps give the town and its characters a sense of place that fits in well with just why they are so pie-obsessed. All in all, a nice and easy read with a dollop of humor!

Add this book to a display featuring Katie and the Cupcake Cure (Cupcake Diaries) (another Scholastic book series), Lisa Schroeder's It's Raining Cupcakes, and its sequel, Sprinkles and Secrets, along with Bake Sale by Sara Varon and you're well on your way to a tasty and decadently sweet display for your baking inclined tweens.

Bigger than a Bread Box
Bigger than a Bread Box
by Laurel Snyder
Edition: Hardcover
36 used & new from $0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Bruce Springsteen and sea gulls! An irresistible combination., November 2, 2011
I have been on a middle grade reading kick lately and Bigger than a Bread Box by Laurel Snyder is the book that got me going. This is a smart, poignant story of growing up and realizing that happy endings are not always easily found.

I really enjoyed the thoughtful use of magic in this book. Magic starts off as this great hope for Rebecca, who is going through a rough time as her parents have separated and her mom has taken her, along with her younger brother, Lew, to their mom's hometown, Atlanta, which is definitely as far as it's possible to be from Baltimore, particularly when you're just twelve. Magic can do anything! Or that's what we are led to believe as kids but Rebecca is getting to that stage in her life where magic isn't a cure-all. Even though I figured out the obvious twist with Rebecca's magic bread box, I liked seeing her discover it and become perhaps more aware that once again in life, nothing comes for free. Everything has a price, whether it is losing a new friend, making a mom happy, or realizing a bus ticket back to Baltimore really will not bring your parents back together.

This is a rather melancholy story. Rebecca is having a difficult time in Atlanta. She misses her father. She misses her parents together. She is very angry with her mother. That is another well written dynamic in this story because even at the book's end, while there is some resolution between Rebecca and her mom, it's not a clear cut answer and there is still friction. I liked how Rebecca was portrayed when it came to her mom. She is still a young girl in many ways and feels guilty for forgetting her mom's birthday but then she gets so very angry when she starts to miss her dad or when her mom doesn't give her the answer she wants as to when they can go home. There is a very visible back-and-forth of emotions that Rebecca goes through in regards to her mom and it feels incredibly authentic. This is how many young tween girls are feeling when it comes to their parents.

This reads like a very authentic and emotional story that is going to be very easy for young girls to empathize with. Readers will pick up this story (despite the rather blah cover). There is a magical element but it is not the focus of the book. Rather, the family and social problems Rebecca goes through are the focus of the story. She is a character that will make you remember your own inner tween and the conflicted feelings you felt during that time in your life. Bigger than a Bread Box is highly appropriate for elementary and middle school collections, along with public library collections. There is high appeal in this story and it can be book talked very easily because readers are going to care about what Rebecca is going through.

I will say, the one point of contention I had with this story was the overly dramatic ending. It didn't mar my reading experience but it also didn't mesh as well with the rest of the story. Yes, Rebecca was definitely going through much conflict, but the climax towards the end relied less on the emotional for me and it rang a bit false.

You MUST read the author's acknowledgements in this book. They were top-notch and include this wonderful gem of a book summary: "A middle grade book about Bruce Springsteen songs and seagulls and divorce and a magical bread box." What can beat Bruce Springsteen in a middle grade novel?? Nothing I tell you!

The Cinderella Obsession
The Cinderella Obsession
Price: $3.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Engaging romance!, November 2, 2011
When an invitation to Nicholas Powers' masquerade ball unexpectedly comes into Vanessa Graham's possession, she gives in to temptation and decides to attend the ball dressed as her favorite fairy tale character, Cinderella. Nicholas Powers isn't expecting to be so attracted to the beautiful woman dressed up as Cinderella, especially because he thought it was one of his good friends, Amy wearing the costume. When they kiss, Nicholas realizes right away that it isn't Amy behind the mask, but a strange woman. Nonetheless, he has never felt so attracted to any woman before and he is determined to get her name, but she flees before he can find out, leaving behind only a tiny, glass slipper earring.

The next day Vanessa receives a call from Power Systems asking if she would be interested in any temporary work. She has been unemployed for awhile now and can't pass up the chance to earn a living again, but she is reluctant as Power Systems was Nicholas' company. Nicholas' secretary has gone on maternity rest and Nicholas needs a new secretary ASAP, so Vanessa agrees, sure that Nicholas won't recognize her anyway. Unfortunately she is in for a shock come Monday morning when she discovers that Nicholas has started an all out search for the wearer of the Cinderella costume. Now what will she do if Nicholas discovers the truth?

Nicholas is consumed with the need to find out who his Cinderella is, but he is also strangely attracted to his new secretary Vanessa, who is very clumsy and shy around him. When Nick discovers that it was Vanessa who was wearing the costume, he becomes determined to get her to confess so that they can have a blazing love affair. But Nick's lust for Vanessa soon turns to love and he has to get her to trust him with all her secrets, including the identity of Cinderella.

THE CINDERELLA OBSESSION is an amazing story. There really isn't enough praise for this intoxicating love story between two great characters. Though they come from very different backgrounds, it is through the power of love that Vanessa and Nick finally find their happily-ever-after. The authors have written a great story, filled with not only a fairy tale romance but some very serious relationship issues: trust, secret keeping, and preconceived ideas are all things that Nick and Vanessa have to work through in order to make their relationship work. This was a great story from start to finish that will keep you glued to your seat as you try to find out whether Nick and Vanessa will make it.The authors are definitely romance writers to keep your eye on.

Sarah W for Romance Junkies.

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