Bookcase of the Week [10]

Because really, who doesn't want to sit inside their bookcase?
You can just scoot on over to the edge of your seat there and grab your next read. Yep, I might just have to get me one of these. ;)



Giveaways for Romance Lovers

The night was always Abby Whitman's enemy. As a young girl she walked in her sleep, and one night, she started a fire that scarred her sister for life and left Abby with unbearable guilt . . . and a loneliness that echoes within her.

Now Abby has begun blacking out again—with apparently fatal results. A car accident has killed the son of a prominent family. Even though the evidence seems to exonerate her, Abby is plagued by doubts—and soon by mysterious threats.

Psychiatrist Dr. Jason Coble is intrigued by Abby and offers to help her explore the dark recesses of her mind. Through this terrifying journey, Jason's interest turns to passion, and he yearns to give her the love she craves. But first, Abby must trust him—and shed light on secrets that will rock this Southern town and reveal a danger that threatens them both.

A fair-haired beauty at 19, Lady Mairi is heiress apparent to her father Lord Dunwythie's rich barony. He has carefully taught her how to manage their estates, but a feud between his clan and the Maxwell clan is brewing as the two families edge toward a clan war - their dispute over money owed. Mairi's father believes he owes nothing, and of course Mairi sides with him.

When the impulsive and blue-eyed Rob Maxwell chances to meet Mairi in a barley field, they feel instant attraction, despite their families' antagonisms. Knowing he must put his clan first, Rob enacts a plan to force Dunwythie to pay his debt: Rob kidnaps Mairi, making the abduction appear the work of a stranger; then he and his sheriff-brother offer to help Dunwythis rescue his daughter IF, and only if, he will pay them the monies due. Yet after Rob captures Mairi's body, she captures his heart. When Dunwythie summons the aid of the most powerful clan in all Scotland (the Douglases), clan-tensions rise to a fever pitch. Love takes its own feverish course, as Mairi and Rob join forces to prevent a clash between hot-headed clans, and to protect their budding love.

As children, Eliza Blacknall and William Denton ran wild over the fields of southern Ireland and swore they would be friends forever. Then fate took Will away to England, while Eliza stayed behind to become a proper Irish countess.

Years later, Will finally makes his way home-as an English soldier sent to crush the Irish uprising. When he spies the lovely Eliza, he is captivated by the passionate woman she has become. But Eliza's passions have led her to join the Irish rebel cause, and Will and Eliza now find themselves on opposite sides of a dangerous conflict.

When Ireland explodes in bloody rebellion, Will's regiment is ordered to the front lines, and he is forced to choose between his duty to the English king and his love for Eliza and their Irish homeland.


Art gallery curator Joy Montgomery has never liked her body's generous curves. And she's always been too shy to explore her wild side. But tonight, everything is going to change . . . Desperate to save her job, Joy approaches bad-boy artist Ash Hunter and asks him to exhibit his erotic work at her gallery. Ash agrees on one condition: Joy must pose as his model. But business soon turns to pleasure, as Joy experiences a passion beyond her wildest imaginings and Ash finds more than just inspiration in his voluptuous new muse.


GIVEAWAY: I have 5 copies of each up for grabs - thanks to the lovely Anna at HBG.

Please make sure to specify if there are specific titles that you are interested in winning.

As always, leave a comment for one entry. If you'd like extra entries just say so in your comment or separate comments (extra entries for followers, Twitter, sidebars, Facebook, etc.) ; and for putting my spiffy little button on your blog. Make sure to leave an e-mail address, especially if you are leaving a comment under Anonymous.

Rules: This contest is open to U.S. & Canada residents only. No P.O. Boxes. Winners will be drawn Sunday, February 14.

Giveaway: Drood and Black Hills

On June 9, 1865, while traveling by train to London with his secret mistress, 53-year-old Charles Dickens--at the height of his powers and popularity, the most famous and successful novelist in the world and perhaps in the history of the world--hurtled into a disaster that changed his life forever.

Did Dickens begin living a dark double life after the accident? Were his nightly forays into the worst slums ofLondon and his deepening obsession with corpses, crypts, murder, opium dens, the use of lime pits to dissolve bodies, and a hidden subterranean London mere research . . . or something more terrifying?

Just as he did in The Terror, Dan Simmons draws impeccably from history to create a gloriously engaging and terrifying narrative. Based on the historical details of Charles Dickens's life and narrated by Wilkie Collins (Dickens's friend, frequent collaborator, and Salieri-style secret rival), DROOD explores the still-unsolved mysteries of the famous author's last years and may provide the key to Dickens's final, unfinished work: The Mystery of Edwin Drood.

Chilling, haunting, and utterly original, DROOD is Dan Simmons at his powerful best.

When Paha Sapa, a young Sioux warrior, "counts coup" on General George Armstrong Custer as Custer lies dying on the battlefield at the Little Bighorn, the legendary general's ghost enters him - and his voice will speak to him for the rest of his event-filled life.

Seamlessly weaving together the stories of Paha Sapa, Custer, and the American West, Dan Simmons depicts a tumultuous time in the history of both Native and white Americans. Haunted by Custer's ghost, and also by his ability to see into the memories and futures of legendary men like Sioux war-chief Crazy Horse, Paha Sapa's long life is driven by a dramatic vision he experienced as a boy in his people's sacred Black Hills.
In August of 1936, a dynamite worker on the massive Mount Rushmore project, Paha Sapa plans to silence his ghost forever and reclaim his people's legacy-on the very day FDR comes to Mount Rushmore to dedicate the Jefferson face.

GIVEAWAY: I have 5 copies of each up for grabs - thanks to the lovely Valerie at HBG.

As always, leave a comment for one entry. If you'd like extra entries just say so in your comment or separate comments (extra entries for followers, Twitter, sidebars, Facebook, etc.) ; and for putting my spiffy little button on your blog. Make sure to leave an e-mail address, especially if you are leaving a comment under Anonymous.

Rules: This contest is open to U.S. & Canada residents only. No P.O. Boxes. Winners will be drawn Saturday, February 13.

Giveaway: The Crazy School

From the acclaimed author of A FIELD OF DARKNESS comes another compelling novel featuring the acerbic and memorable voice of ex-debutante Madeline Dare. Madeline Dare has finally escaped rust-belt Syracuse, New York, for the lush Berkshire Mountains in Massachusetts. After her husband's job offer falls through, Maddie signs on as a teacher at the Santangelo Academy, a boarding school for disturbed teenagers. Behind the academy's ornate gates, she discovers a disturbing realm where students and teachers alike must submit to the founder's bizarre therapeutic regimen. From day one, Maddie feels uneasy about smooth-talking Dr. Santangelo but when she questions his methods, she's appalled to find that her fellow teachers would rather turn on each other than stand up for themselves, much less protect the students in their care. A chilling event confirms Maddie's worst suspicions, then hints at an even darker secret history, one that twines through the academy's very heart. Cut off from the outside world, Maddie must join forces with a small band of the school's most violently rebellious students-kids whose troubled grip on reality may well prove to be her only chance of salvation.

GIVEAWAY: I have 3 copies up for grabs - thanks to the lovely Valerie at HBG.

As always, leave a comment for one entry. If you'd like extra entries just say so in your comment or separate comments (extra entries for followers, Twitter, sidebars, Facebook, etc.) ; and for putting my spiffy little button on your blog. Make sure to leave an e-mail address, especially if you are leaving a comment under Anonymous.

Rules: This contest is open to U.S. & Canada residents only. No P.O. Boxes. Winners will be drawn Friday, February 19.

Giveaway Winners (too many to list)

Once again I've let all my pretty giveaways pile up and now I have a ton of winners... I guess that's a good thing, right? Once again forgive me for letting them stack up. hopefully I'll have the upper hand on my hectic life soon. If I have any books that I owe you I promise you I'll get them out to you this weekend. With that said,

the winners are:

The Better Part of Darkness
Scorpio M.

Deep Kiss of Winter
Paranormal Haven

Girl on Top
Pamela Keener
Lauren {Geeb}
Sandy Jay

Book cover courtesy of Hide-a-Book
Jess - A Book Hoarder

400 Follower Box-o-Books Giveaway


Way to go you guys! Winners were chosen using I will be e-mailing each of you. You have until Wednesday to get back to me, if I haven't heard from you by then, a new winner will be chosen.

If you are still interested in more giveaways, check out my giveaways page [here]. More giveaways will be posted shortly - so stay tuned.

Just One Wish by Janette Rallison

Every girl wishes to meet the cute, famous, teen star playing the lead in the show that everyone's talking about. What girl doesn't right?

Well Annika Truman does have a wish - but it's not that. Her wish is that her six year old brother, Jeremy, survives the surgery that will remove the tumor in his head. She desperately believes in the power of positive thinking and has a plan to get Jeremy thinking positive. After getting the Teen Robin Hood figurine he's been asking for she devises a plan. This plan consists of having Jeremy believe that she has a genie that will grant him two wishes... and, of course, Jeremy has been dying for the Teen Robin Hood figurine, so this is a fool-proof way of things working out perfectly. But Annika is thrown for a loop when her brother asks for NOT the figurine but the real Teen Robin Hood. He wants to take archery lessons from the real Teen Robin Hood. Annika suddenly finds herself in the desperate predicament of getting access to a hunky star actor and convincing him to come home with her. Piece of cake, right?

This story has a little bit of everything. I laughed, I cried, I sighed... It was so much more than the cute, bright cover leads you to believe.

Annika is smart, strong, spunky and funny. She has a knack for reading people and this confidence that you can't help but look up to. She is devoted to Jeremy - the love between this brother and sister alone shone so bright in these pages... giving me a lump in my throat more than once. But she also had her moments of weakness - moments that made her even more realistic and relateable to me. She is mad at God for making Jeremy sick - but she has hopes that she'll be able to swing the odds in her favor if Jeremy gets his wish, making him think positive which will then help him pull through the surgery.

There were many moments that were unrealistic, far-fetched, silly, even over-the-top - but in the end it worked for me. With Annika anything seemed possible. I absolutely loved this and can highly recommend to readers of all ages.


Bridget Jones's Diary by Helen Fielding

So I picked up Bridget Jones's Diary because I just simply wanted to read and laugh a little and enjoy a lot and I was not disappointed. I have seen the movies and I definitely enjoyed them - but I've always wanted to get a deeper feeling for Bridget and thus the book has been one that I've wanted to read for quite some time now.

Bridget Jones's Diary is just that - her diary entries which span a year in time. Every entry not only has what's going on in her life but also counts her calories, cigarette intake, and how much booze she drinks. Now let me tell you that just those little numbers were a crack-up. You could definitely tell what kind of a day she was having by how many cigarettes or how many drinks she had.

There were so many things that I truly enjoyed about this book:
Characters that I could relate to; weighing oneself every single day, being infatuated with a guy who's no good for you, knowing it, and still obsessing over him to the point where you get no work done; good friends who love and protect you and will do anything for you (including lie to you) if the need arises; parents who try to hook you up with anyone of the opposite sex because they are terrified that you are spiraling headfirst into spinsterhood.

Bridget Jones's Diary is all that it was said to be and more. It is funny and original with a likable, funny, yet slightly neurotic heroine... just the way I like them.

I'll end it at this, it was V. good. :)


Lone Star Legend by Gwendolyn Zepeda

When Sandy Saavedra lands her dream job with the popular website ¡Latino Now!, she can't wait to write hard-hitting pieces to combat all those stupid Latino stereotypes. While visions of Pulitzers dance in her head, her editor in chief is suddenly laid off, replaced by the infamous Dolores Villanueva O'Sullivan. Dolores has one mission: make ¡Latino Now! an internet phenomenon, no matter how many pandering puff pieces she has to pack onto its pages. Sandy doesn't see how she can keep this job without losing her soul, especially when she's sent to Middle-of-Nowhere Texas to investigate the dumbest legend her people ever created, the Chupacabra. She fears she's about to fail an assignment-and lose her job-until she meets Tío Jaime, a grandfatherly hermit who might be crazy, or might be the best thing that ever happened to Sandy's career. [borrowed from Goodreads]

I really enjoyed this story. Sandy was such a great character - and she had such growth throughout her story. As Sandy's dreams of writing on important topics goes down the drain and she begins to write pieces a-la-TMZ, it seems like not only has her job gone to hell, but so has her love life, her living situation and just about everything else. She strives to make changes in her life (including a makeover), but she slowly begins to realize that these changes are superficial, she must make real changes that will bring her to a place where she will be happy not only with life, but with herself.

I loved being brought into the world of online magazines, blogs and gossip columns. The characters were one of a kind (my favorite being Tio Jaime) and the scenarios were definitely laugh out loud funny. Ms. Cepeda has a fantastic sense of humor - I found myself literally cracking up at times.

This was a light read with some witty dialogue, heart-warming moments and a one of a kind ensemble that I can definitely recommend.

This book was provided for review by Hachette Book Group.


A Little Bit Wicked by Kristin Chenoweth with Joni Rodgers

I am a big fan of Kristin Chenoweth so this was definitely a treat for me to read. I listen to the soundtrack for Wicked on my iPod all the time. I only wish I would have seen her perform as "Glinda" in Wicked live with Idina Menzel. But nonetheless, she was my favorite character on Pushing Daisies as Olive Snook. Oh, and did I mention her fabulous cameo on Glee (to die for). So I couldn't help but picking up this book in order to get more insider information on this tiny (with a very big voice) gal.

The moment you open the book you quickly hear Kristin's voice - you can hear her southern drawl, and her personality really shines through with each paragraph. Reading about her trials and tribulations made me love her even more.

At first the time line is a bit confusing because she runs back and forth from past to present, but her tone of writing is so fun that you can definitely overlook that. After awhile you get used to the skipping around and it just becomes part of the charm.

I loved getting insight into the workings of Broadway, how she felt about being adopted her faith, her schooling, Wicked, her love life, that huge mega-hit "Kristin", and it all wrapped up into this "tiny" package that you can definitely envision as being KRISTIN.

I thought it was interesting, light and more than once found myself laughing out loud. If you're a fan of Kristin Chenoweth, then you definitely have to read this (although I will forewarn this not a tell-all book; she doesn't dish on any co-stars or friends and I really appreciated that).


Manic Monday Recaps (Week 1/25/10)

I have had the day from hell so please excuse me from my posting so late in the day.

With that said, I did have a very lovely weekend. I convinced my dear husband that a trip to Universal Studios/Islands of Adventure was in need so that our children could get their yearly fix of Barney, ET and all the Dr. Seuss their little hearts could dream of. And, of course, so mommy could oversee what was happening with the Harry Potter "island" that is expected to open this Spring.

Here are some of the pictures for your viewing pleasure:

They have this ginormous wall all around the area - but I did catch a glimpse of where the entrance is and that sign right there (bottom pic on the right) says Hogsmeade. eek! Needless to say this was the highlight of my trip. Look at all those curvy chimneys. I swear they made my heart pitter patter.

Check out this post (this was last year) - you can see these guys are really moving fast. So Spring 2010 - here I come. I will definitely be there for its debut.

Also, I never got around to posting pictures of Richelle Mead reading I went to the weekend before last.

I thought it was just oodles of fun that we were in a church for the reading/signing and the discussion was about vampire books. Richelle was just plain adorable. I have more pictures of her while she was discussing her books, but they came out too dark... so bleh.

And that's all the picture awesomeness that I have to share with y'all.

Here's what I plan on reading this week:

Last week I read the following:
- Tainted - Brooke Morgan [review]
- Fireworks Over Toccoa - Jeffrey Stepakoff
- Damien - Jaquelyn Frank

I had a terrible week since I didn't get any reading done in the weekend. I'm still carrying over Vampire Academy (which I really want to get to Isalys).

I reviewed the following:
- A Black Tie Affair - Sherrill Bodine [review/giveaway]
- Lament - Maggie Stiefvater [review]
- Columbine - Dave Cullen [review]

And there you have it, that was my week and my reading plans for this one. What are you reading this week?


Bookcase of the Week [9]

[via WeHeartIt]


Just think, you can stare at it for hours. muahahahaha


Columbine by Dave Cullen

We all remember, or know of, what happened on April 20, 1999 at a high school in Littleton, Colorado named Columbine. Two teenagers, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold opened gunfire on their classmates and teachers - killing 13 and injuring dozens of others.

Dave Cullen is a journalist who covered the massacre for over two years. In this book he sheds light on all the commonly held myths about what really occurred that day, and fits it all together for us in a timeline that unfolds along with our understanding of what really happened and who the killers really were.

So let me give you a rough estimate of what I remember Columbine was about (I was 20 at the time and I remember being so distraught over what was unfolding live on television - a boy dangling from a window; the students running out of the school single file with the help of the SWAT team, the tears, the memorial services). But more than anything else, I remember: two teen boys who were bullied by the cool kids (the jocks, cheerleaders, etc.), they couldn't take it anymore so they grabbed some guns (obviously because they are so easy to come by for underage kids) and decided on taking revenge on the whole lot of them. They were part of some gothic/emo club called "The Trench Coat Mafia", listened mostly to Marilyn Manson music and watched the movie The Basketball Diaries over and over for inspiration. They were loners with little to no friends and their parents weren't in the picture. At one point they actually asked one of their victims if she believed in God and upon answering "yes" she was killed.

Now here's the shocker, NONE OF THIS IS TRUE!

I think that's why I was so interested in reading this book. It's like knowing the ending of a story but needing to re-read the beginning because what you thought was right was wrong. Mr. Cullen gives you extensive "insider" information on not just the killers and their victims, but the parents of both, the teachers, the lack of organization with the school and the foul-ups from the law enforcement, the easy access to firearms, the willingness of authorities/adults to overlook signs that might have avoided the whole thing. He even gives you detailed information on the extensive journals, videos, and online postings that were left behind by both Eric and Dylan.

I will confess that this is not a happy book - obviously you know how it all ends. And I will confess to feeling sad, outraged, scared and even depressed while reading it. I couldn't sleep all that well and just kept thinking about it over and over. Who were the Harris's & Klebold's of MY school... and was I on a list somewhere? Or could I have been Harriet? (Harriet = a girl that Dylan obsessively mentions in his diaries; a dream girlfriend).

I had to Google the whole thing since there were no pictures throughout the book (which annoyed me at first - I would have settled for a map of the school). In the end I think the lack of pictures gave it a more serious tone.

It is still a touchy subject, but we all know the Columbine massacre is something that will always remain in our heads -- you might as know the real story. I know that this book might not be for everyone, but for someone who is interested in getting the facts about America's most notorious school shooting, this is definitely the book you'll want to read. It is well-written, gripping and in the end, enlightening.


Lament by Maggie Stiefvater

Sixteen-year-old Deirdre Monaghan is a prodigiously gifted musician. She's about to find out she's also a cloverhand - one who can see faeries.

Unexpectedly, Deirdre finds herself infatuated with a mysterious boy named Luke, who enters her ordinary life, seemingly out of thin air. But his interest in her might be something darker than summer romance. When a sinister faerie named Aodhan shows up with deadly orders from the Faerie Queen, it forces Dee right into the midst of Faerie. Caught in the crossfire with Deirdre is James, her wisecracking but loyal best friend.

Deirdre had been wishing her summer weren't so dull, but taking on a centuries-old Faerie Queen isn't exactly what she had in mind. [borrowed from GoodReads]

I decided to pick up Lament because I am a big fan of Ms. Stiefvater's, Shiver. Not only did Lament blow me away, but it is one of the best faerie books I have had the pleasure to read.

Deirdre (a/k/a Dee) and Luke are just to die for. Although you are not really sure whether you can trust Luke for most of the story, you can't help but to yearn for him and Dee to find a way to make it work out - no matter how much her grandmother warns her away from him. I thought Deirdre was the perfect heroine. She was smart, witty, yet she had the insecurities any girl her age would have, not to mention the stress of the new world she has uncovered. Luke was the tortured, tragic hero (yummy) - who you fall in love with right along with Dee. I loved the romance and the aching passion they shared. There was this sadness undertone to the writing that pulled you in and had you with your heart in your throat the whole time.

One other thing that I absolutely loved about this novel was the musical element that was weaved throughout the story. It was mesmerizing and beautiful in its own right. There were times were I could almost hear it. It was that descriptive to read.

All in all, this was a fantastic faerie tale with loveable characters and bad guys you just love to hate. This is a definite "to-read" for lovers of anything faerie - young and old alike. Now I just have to get my hands on Ballad... I can't wait!

Tainted by Brooke Morgan

Holly Barrett is a single mother to her 5 year old daughter Katy. They reside in Cape Cod near Holly's grandfather and, although her life isn't ideal, she is definitely a survivor and has made the best out of her situation in life. The three of them are a family.

Then one day Holly meets handsome, Englishman, Jack Dane. She is utterly charmed by him and after a whirlwind courtship he moves into her home and they are promptly married. Everything is fantastic for Holly... not only is she in love, but her daughter and grandfather both love Jack just as much as she does. But then Katy's father comes back into the picture and he is quickly suspicious of Jack's true motives. Where did he come from? Where is his family? Who are his friends? By the time Katy realizes something is amiss, it just might be too late.

I will forewarn you that Tainted starts off at a slow pace, but about 100 pages in you become quickly enmeshed in Holly's struggle to take control of her life. The characters Ms. Morgan creates are all fleshed out and you can definitely envision them as being someone you might know. Her descriptions of Cape Cod were fascinating.

I thought Holly was a great character although she did have her faults. I found her frustrating and too forgiving at times. There were many red flags indicating that Jack might not be as "wonderful" as he seemed but she carelessly looked them over. I did feel that she matured throughout the story, redeeming herself in my eyes. I also really liked some of the secondary characters. Holly's grandfather, Henry, was a favorite of mine. He was old and grumpy, but still a loving and caring fatherly figure towards Holly.

I was definitely taken in by this story and found myself at the edge of my seat... and I will confess that I found myself having a hard time putting it down... I mean, I had to sleep, but I picked it right back up the next morning and didn't put it down until I finished it. I thought the ending was superb and made up for any flaws I found along the way. This is a fantastic read for lovers of suspense and one I would definitely recommend.

This book was provided for review by:


A Black Tie Affair by Sherrill Bodine

As the curator of the costume collection at the Fashion Institute of Chicago, Athena Smith lives and breathes couture dresses. They're her entire life. And while she's in a vast underground bunker where the Institute houses their private collection of vintage couture clothing, examining the dresses, she falls desperately ill and is rushed to the hospital. Word around town is that Athena has been poisoned. Dr. Drew Montgomery, a physician at Northwestern Hospital, knows all about Athena's gal-about-town reputation. He's seen her picture in the society rags and he can barely contain his disdain. But he's perplexed by her illness. As they together unravel the secrets behind her illness to figure out who might have poisoned her and why, an attraction blooms between this society gal and this no-nonsense doctor. But is love enough to keep them together? [borrowed from GoodReads]

Oh, but I loved this book. Ms. Bodine has a way of bringing you into the world of high fashion couture dresses and making any girl feel all giddy inside. I loved the descriptions of these fantastic gowns. Oh, to just twirl around in one of them (a girl can dream right?) obviously sans the poison.

I loved the chemistry between Athena and Drew - it was flirty, it was sweet and very romantic. I especially liked how you read a little bit about their past together in short increments making you come to terms with how their relationship ended and have you rooting for them to have another go at it and make it work. Between the mystery of the gowns and the romance between our characters it definitely keeps you on your toes, making this a very quick read. This was a light, fluffy romance, with great characters, witty banter and an underlying mystery to solve. I thought it had a little bit of everything needed to make it a very enjoyable read.

This book was provided for review by Hachette Book Group.

GIVEAWAY: I have 5 copies of each up for grabs - thanks to the lovely Anna at HBG.

As always, leave a comment for one entry. If you'd like extra entries just say so in your comment or separate comments (extra entries for followers, Twitter, sidebars, Facebook, etc.) ; and for putting my spiffy little button on your blog. Make sure to leave an e-mail address, especially if you are leaving a comment under Anonymous.

Rules: This contest is open to U.S. & Canada residents only. No P.O. Boxes. Winners will be drawn Friday, February 5.

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