Bed of Roses by Nora Roberts

Title: Bed of Roses
Author: Nora Roberts
Pages: 368
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Source: Purchased

The second installment in The Bride Quartet, Bed of Roses, is the story of Emmaline Grant.  Emma is also one of the founders of Vows - the wedding business that she and her three BFF's run.  Emma is in charge of ... you guessed it, the flowers.

I am a little biased about this book - there are just so many things that I like that can be found within its pages - that I can't help but being in lurrrv with this series.  I'll tell you why:

1- Weddings - the backdrop for this story is the wedding business (Vows) that Emma and her three friends run.  I loved reading about the in's and out's of the wedding's that they help plan and orchestrate.  I love the hectic-ness, the Bridezillas, the last minute mix-ups, and fix-ups.  This book definitely captures the life of a wedding planner to perfection.  Weddings make me happy so all the bridal hoopla is really a joy to read for me.

2- Flowers -Since Emma is a bridal florist she spends her days dealing with them.  I loved the descriptions of the flowers, the smells, the arrangements, bouquets, etc.  The descriptions were so vivid and detailed you could actually see their colors and smell their fragrance.

3- Romance - Emma is a very talented florist - she loves her job of helping brides find the perfect flowers for that special day.  Jack Cooke is an architect and has been friends with Emma and the other girls who run Vows for years now.  They are friends and treat each other "almost" like siblings.  When they start feeling differently about each other - and by differently I mean in a not-so-familial way, they not only have to worry about their budding relationship but also about how it will affect their circle of friends.  Becoming lovers after being friends for so long is not an easy feat especially when there are other friends involved... Will  their friends accept it and give their blessing?  And what if there is a fight or even a break-up?  Whose side will they be on? 

4- Friendship - But with so many wonderful aspects to this story, my favorite is still the friendship between the four girls.   Mac, Emma, Laurel and Parker - their camaraderie and their love for one another is so genuinely portrayed.  I love how they talk to each other, hang out with one another, work together and even live together.  Their friendship is like another character in the story.  Each one has their own task in Vows, but they also have their own witty sense of humor and sassy attitude - making them someone you want to be or, at the least, someone you know.

This is the second Nora Roberts book that I read so I really don't have much expertise on her writing.  What I can tell you is that this series - the first being Vision in White - has wonderful recurring characters, simple plot lines full of relatable internal struggles, but what I mostly love about them is their happily ever after.  This is the perfect read for when you don't want to think too much and just want to relax and enjoy a good book. This is a heartwarming series that I can recommend to any of you hopeless romantics (like me!). 

Is there anything else that a girl can ask for to make this book/series any better?... well, maybe a puppy, some rainbows and/or a unicorn.  :)

My Rating: 

I Am Number Four - movie trailer

I read I Am Number Four a few months back and cannot tell you how excited I am to see this! What do you think? 


Forgive Me

I must confess I was not really impressed with last week's Glee. As a big fan of the show I really expected more.  Don't take me wrong - the show is cheesy, bright and loud.  I accept it, respect it and love it for these exact reasons.  But last episode just had the cheesy-ness up to a notch that I wasn't very thrilled with.  I even worried that Glee might not be as great as I've found it to be in the past.

Well.... I am happy to report that I was wrong.  Tonight's episode featuring Britney Spears' music not only rocked but left me with a big smile on my face.  Brittany / Britney were amazing! I'm still singing to the songs... actually I'm busting out with the Britney CD's (most likely as you're reading this).  I <3 Glee!  I <3 Britney!  So I must say forgive me for doubting Glee's awesomeness.  I stand corrected!

So what did you think of Glee's latest episode?
Check out Britney's cameos here.

100+ Reading Challenge 2010 Wrap-Up


Here is my final list for the 100+ challenge that I finished various months ago - but I suck with posting wrap-up posts.

1 A Little Bit Wicked - Kristin Chenoweth (completed 1/3/10)
2 A Matter of Class - Mary Balogh (completed 1/4/10)
3 Columbine - Dave Cullen (completed 1/6/10)
4 Lips Touch: Three Times - Laini Taylor (completed 1/12/10)
Breakfast in Bed - Robin Kaye (completed 1/09/10)
6 Jacob - Jacquelyn Frank (completed 1/11/10)
7 Gideon - Jacquelyn Frank (completed 1/13/10)
8 Bridget Jones's Diary - Helen Fielding (completed 1/14/10)
9 Lone Star Legend - Gwendolyn Zepeda (completed 1/15/10)
10 The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty - A.N. Roquelaure (completed 1/16/10)
11 A Black Tie Affair - Sherrill Bodine (completed 1/17/10)
12 Elijah - Jacquelyn Frank (completed 1/18/10)
13 Tainted - Brooke Morgan (completed 1/19/10)
14 Damien - Jacquelyn Frank (completed 1/20/10)
15 Fireworks Over Toccoa - Jeffrey Stepakoff (completed 1/22/10)
16 Noah - Jacquelyn Frank (completed 1/25/10)
17 Alice I Have Been - Melanie Benjamin (completed 1/28/10)
18 Just One Wish - Janette Rallison (completed 1/28/10)
19 The Mark - Jen Nadol (completed 1/29/10)
20 The Summer We Fell Apart - Robin Antalek (completed 1/30/10)
21 Ella Enchanted - Gail Carson Levine (completed 2/02/10)
22 Lessons in French - Laura Kinsale (completed 2/3/10)
23 Wench - Dolen Perkins-Valdes (completed 2/4/10)
24 Wake - Lisa McMann (completed 2/9/10)
25 One Amazing Thing - Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni (completed 2/11/10)
26 The Bride Collector - Ted Dekker (completed 2/14/10)
27 Shutter Island - Dennis Lehane (completed 2/15/10)
28 Have a Little Faith: The Story of a Last Request - Mitch Albom (completed 2/16/10)
29 The Cougar Club - Susan McBride (completed 2/17/10)
30 Waiting for You - Susane Colasanti (completed 2/21/10)
31 Nothing But Ghosts - Beth Kephart (completed 2/23/10)
32 Dream House - Valerie Laken (completed 2/24/10)
33 Alice's Adventures in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll (completed 2/25/10)
34 The Crazy School - Cornelia Read (completed 3/01/10)
35 The Strain - Guillermo Del Toro & Chuck Hogan (completed 3/04/10)
36 Raven Stole the Moon - Garth Stein (completed 3/06/10)
37 True Love: Three Novels - Lurlene McDaniel (completed 3/08/10)
38 Fade - Lisa McMann (completed 3/10/10)
39 The Dead-Tossed Waves - Carrie Ryan (completed 3/13/10)
40 Prom Nights from Hell - Meg Cabot, Lauren Myracle, Kim Harrison, Michelle Jaffe, Stephanie Meyer (completed 3/15/10)
41 The Adoration of Jenna Fox - Mary E. Pearson (completed 3/23/10)
42  Love in Mid Air - Kim Wright (completed 3/23/10)
43  The Girl With Glass Feet - Ali Shaw (completed 3/25/10)
44 The Girl Who Chased the Moon - Sarah Addison Allen (completed 3/27/10)
45 After - Amy Efaw (completed 3/30/10)
46 A Touch of Scandal - Jennifer Haymore (completed 3/31/10)
47 Into the Dark - Gena Showalter (completed 4/01/10)
48 Once Dead, Twice Shy - Kim Harrison (completed 4/02/10)
49 Hold Still - Nina LaCour (completed 4/04/10)
50 Mr. Darcy Broke my Heart - Beth Pattillo (completed 4/04/10)
51 Flirting with Forever - Gwyn Cready (completed 4/05/10)
52 Crazy Beautiful - Lauren Baratz-Logsted (completed 4/06/10)
53 The Body Finder - Kimberly Derting (completed 4/07/10)
54 How I Live Now - Meg Rosoff (completed 4/08/10)
55 43 Old Cemetery Road: Over My Dead Body - Kate Klise & M. Sarah Klise (completed 4/10/10)
56 Beautiful Creatures - Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl (completed 4/12/10)
57 Before I Fall - Lauren Oliver (completed 4/15/10)
58 Gone - Lisa McMann (completed 4/19/10)
59 The Day I Shot Cupid - Jennifer Love Hewitt (completed 4/19/10)
60 Wicked Becomes You - Meredith Duran (completed 4/23/10)
61 Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake - Sarah MacLean (completed 4/25/10)
62 The Night Fairy - Laura Amy Schlitz (completed 5/06/10)
63 The Season of Second Chances - Diane Meier (completed 5/09/10)
64 The Iron King - Julie Kagawa (completed 5/11/10)
65 Chasing Brooklyn - Lisa Schroeder (completed 5/12/10)
66 The Iron Daughter - Julie Kagawa (completed 5/13/10)
67 Undead and Unwed - MaryJanice Davidson (completed 5/15/10)
68 Venetia Kelly's Traveling Show - Frank Delaney (completed 5/16/10)
69 Spells - Aprilynne Pike (completed 5/23/10)
70 Dead in the Family - Charlaine Harris (completed 5/24/10)
71 Heist Society - Ally Carter (completed 5/27/10)
72 The Mermaid's Mirror - L.K. Madigan (completed 5/28/10)
73 Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter - Seth Grahame-Smith (completed 6/01/10)
74 Winter's Passage - Julie Kagawa (completed 6/03/10)
75 The One That I Want - Allison Winn Scotch (completed 6/03/10)
76 The Art of Devotion - Samantha Bruce-Benjamin (completed 6/06/10)
77 Still Missing - Chevy Stevens (completed 6/07/10)
78 Far From You - Lisa Schroeder (completed 6/08/10)
79 Mothers and Liars - Amy Bourret (completed 6/09/10)
80 The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner - Stephanie Meyer (completed 6/11/10)
81 Cum Laude - Cecily von Ziegesar (completed 6/15/10)
82 Wildthorn - Sarah Eagland (completed 6/18/10)
83 Intertwined - Gena Showalter (completed 6/23/10)
84 Numbers - Rachel Ward (completed 6/24/10)
85 Soulstice - Simon Holt (completed 6/27/10)
86 Looking for Alaska - John Green (completed 6/28/10)
87 Go Ask Alice - Anonymous (completed 6/29/10)
88 Seven Tears Into the Sea - Terri Farley (completed 7/01/10)
89 My Name is Memory - Ann Brashares (completed 7/02/10)
90 Thirteen Reasons Why - Jay Asher (completed 7/04/10)
91 Dracula in Love - Karen Essex (completed 7/05/10)
92 Hidden Wives - Claire Avery (completed 7/07/10)
93 Vision in White - Nora Roberts (completed 7/09/10)
94 The Summer I Turned Pretty - Jenny Han (completed 7/13/10)
95 Hex Hall - Rachel Hawkins (completed 7/15/10)
96 Linger - Maggie Stiefvater (completed 7/19/10)
97 Billie Girl - Vickie Weaver (completed 7/20/10)
98 Forget You - Jennifer Echols (completed 7/20/10)
99 Infinite Days - Rebecca Maizel (completed 7/21/10)
100 The Crying Tree - Naseem Rakha (completed 7/22/10)

The Marbury Lens by Andrew Smith

Author: Andrew Smith
Pages: 368
Genre: YA/ Teen Horror
Sixteen-year-old Jack gets drunk and is in the wrong place at the wrong time. He is kidnapped. He escapes, narrowly. The only person he tells is his best friend, Conner. When they arrive in London as planned for summer break, a stranger hands Jack a pair of glasses. Through the lenses, he sees another world called Marbury.

There is war in Marbury. It is a desolate and murderous place where Jack is responsible for the survival of two younger boys. Conner is there, too. But he’s trying to kill them.

Meanwhile, Jack is falling in love with an English girl, and afraid he’s losing his mind.

Conner tells Jack it’s going to be okay.
But it’s not. [via Goodreads]
Oh my, this book scared the bejesus out of me!  I thought this would be more of a fantasy, sci-fi type of read and instead I was taken into this maniacal, twisted world that gave me nightmares.  I am serious!  I still think about this book and I read it over a week ago. 

Jack lives in two worlds - he lives in our world and he also lives in Marbury.  Just thinking about Marbury brings me chills.  Jack who is kidnapped by a sadistic, murdering rapist - and then the visions of Marbury begin.  Marbury with its desert-like facade, demons, flesh-eating beetles and dismembered bodies.  Marbury which is almost like an addiction for Jack.  When he is in the real world (or is it real?) dreams of Marbury and finding his way back there. 

There was so much going through my mind when I read this.  Where the heck did this Marbury stem from?  Was it something like The Matrix, was Jack dead, was he hallucinating or high?  This book made me paranoid and it was just a hot mess.  But I still found myself riveted to its pages.  The premise and its cover were what originally captured my attention but once I actually started reading it - Mr. Smith's writing, Jack and his terrible ordeal, Marbury itself - were just so disturbing that I could not put it down.  (I'm a masochist, I know).

I have never read anything like this book before.  It was truly disturbing - and I say that in a good way! It was unpredictable, action-packed and just plain Awesome!

I do have to forewarn though, this is a very dark book and although it is geared for young adults - I'd recommend it for an older crowd (as within its pages you will find profanity (and lots of it), an attempted rape, dismembered corpses and even cannibalism).  I'm just saying. 

My Rating:

Bookcase of the Week - Starring... Isalys from Book Soulmates


This week's featured guest on the Bookcase of the Week is Isalys - she is half of your Book♥Soulmates.  You may also know that Isalys and her other half, Vanessa, are my Book Soulmates ;) I meet up with these girls on what we like to call "Wicked Wednesdays"  where we hang out at our local B&N, drink Starbucks and talk about books.  Now I asked both Isa and Vane to share their bookshelves, but Vane has all her books in bins... Boo!  Luckily for us, Isa doesn't and she was kind enough to send us pictures of her home.  Here's what she sent:

My Billy ♥
Billy and shelf # 2 (not to mention the tiny stashes I have under and around them)
Workstation and I Love Lucy shrine (lol).  Note the awesome bookshelves wallpaper I have on my screen :)
View of entire office.
My giant, rotating reading chair in the bedroom.
My blue sofa in the living room - ultra comfy and where I read most often.
4-legged love of my life and constant companion.  He curls up with me while I read and waits for me to go to bed.
My thanks to Isalys for sharing her pictures with us.  Did you guys see that Billy?  Gah....  Not only do I love me a Billy, but I also love when Billy's are full of reading goodness like that one is.  Toby is the cutest critter ever!  I love how he just poses for the camera - he's so gosh darn cute!  And let's talk about that orange well - me loves it... just saying. 

For those of you who haven't passed on through to Isalys and Vanessa's yet, please visit them here (tell them I say HI!)  Oh, and also stay tuned for their upcoming Halloween events.  There will be so many Halloween goodies going on over there that I think I might be more excited about it then even they are... lol



Giveaway Results: She's Gone Country & TBDB Series

She's Gone Country:

The Black Dagger Brotherhood

Winners were chosen using I will be sending out e-mails within the next couple of minutes, so be on the look out for it. You have until Friday 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]

Manic Monday Recaps (Week 9/27/10)

Happy Monday friends!  I hope you are all doing well this rainy Monday morning.  I am cooped up indoors working.  Would much rather be cooped up indoors snuggled under my blanket in bed with a book in hand... c'est la vie.  I hope you all enjoyed your weekends.  I did!  I needed the rest and relaxation. =D

Here's what I plan on reading this week:

Last week I read the following:
- You by Charles Benoit
- Dark Peril by Christine Feehan
- The Reptile Room by Lemony Snicket
- Glass by Elen Hopkins
- The Red Umbrella by Christina Diaz-Gonzlez 

I reviewed the following:
- The Island by Elin Hilderbrand [review]
- The Unidentified by Rae Mariz [review]
- Shadow Hills by Anastasia Hopcus [review]
- Matched by Ally Condie [review]
- Another Pan by Daniel & Dina Nayeri [review]

For those of you who'd like to see what I got in my mailbox last week - click here.  Check out the giveaways page as I have a few ending this week and I also have to post up winners from last week's. Tomorrow on Bookcase of the Week we get to see my friend, Isalys, from Book♥Soulmates' shelves - so stay tuned for that.

Happy Reading!

GIVEAWAY: The Distant Hours

A long lost letter arrives in the post and Edie Burchill finds herself on a journey to Milderhurst Castle, a great but moldering old house, where the Blythe spinsters live and where her mother was billeted 50 years before as a 13 year old child during WW II. The elder Blythe sisters are twins and have spent most of their lives looking after the third and youngest sister, Juniper, who hasn’t been the same since her fiance jilted her in 1941.

Inside the decaying castle, Edie begins to unravel her mother’s past. But there are other secrets hidden in the stones of Milderhurst, and Edie is about to learn more than she expected. The truth of what happened in ‘the distant hours’ of the past has been waiting a long time for someone to find it.

Morton once again enthralls readers with an atmospheric story featuring unforgettable characters beset by love and circumstance and haunted by memory, that reminds us of the rich power of storytelling.
GIVEAWAY: I have 1 ARC up for grabs.

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, subscribing via E-mail and following through Networked Blogs, 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 INTERNATIONALLY. Winners will be drawn Sunday, October 17.


Nothing much happens in the sleepy town of Venus Cove. But everything changes when three angels are sent from heaven to protect the town against the gathering forces of darkness: Gabriel, the warrior; Ivy, the healer; and Bethany, a teenage girl who is the least experienced of the trio. They work hard to conceal their true identity and, most of all, their wings. But the mission is threatened when the youngest angel, Bethany, is sent to high school and falls in love with the handsome school captain, Xavier Woods. Will she defy the laws of Heaven by loving him? Things come to a head when the angels realize they are not the only supernatural power in Venus Cove. There′s a new kid in town and he′s charming, seductive and deadly. Worst of all, he′s after Beth.

GIVEAWAY: I have 1 (finished) hardcover copy up for grabs.

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, subscribing via E-mail and following through Networked Blogs, 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 INTERNATIONALLY. Winners will be drawn Sunday, October 17.


Another Pan by Daniel & Dina Nayeri

Author: Daniel & Dina Nayeri
Pages: 400
Genre: YA/ Teen
Sixteen-year-old Wendy Darling and her insecure freshman brother, John, are hitting the books at the Marlowe School. But one tome consumes their attention: THE BOOK OF GATES, a coveted Egyptian artifact that their professor father believes has magical powers. Soon Wendy and John discover that the legend is real—when they recite from its pages and descend into a snaking realm beneath the Manhattan school. As the hallways darken, and dead moths cake the floor, a charismatic new R.A. named Peter reveals that their actions have unleashed a terrible consequence: the underworld and all its evil is now seeping into Marlowe. Daniel Nayeri and Dina Nayeri return to re-imagine Peter Pan as a twisty, atmospheric, and fast-paced fantasy about the perils of immortality. [via GoodReads]
I must say that Daniel & Dina Nayeri are very talented in recreating well-known classic stories.  First with Another Faust and now with Another Pan they were able to showcase how talented they really are in giving these classic tales a more modern spin.  As a fan of fairytale and classic remakes this definitely appealed to my senses.

You'll recognize all the characters in this story - Peter, the Lost Boys, Wendy and John Darling - yep, they're all in there.  Now combine those characters with Egyptian curses, a posh New York school, and you'll find yourselves on a whole new adventure.

I must admit that I was not a fan of Another Faust - I read it and, sadly, I did not like it.  So when I heard of Another Pan, I decided to give the Nayeri's one more chance at winning me over.  While there were many aspects of the novel that I did enjoy - the romance between Peter and Wendy, the modern-ness of the whole thing, I loved that the Lost Boys would text "happy thoughts", even the mystery of the The Book of Gates and how it played into the storyline -  I still did not fall for this book... and I'll explain why.  Firstly, it started off really slow.  I mean I was 100 pages in and it was still very slow for me.  Secondly, I really liked Wendy as a character - she was strong, faithful, she had charisma, was quirky and I really liked that she stood her ground when she believed in something.  This is the Wendy you meet for the first half of the book.  Somewhere along the way we lose that Wendy.  For the second half of the book I found her to be whiny, she forgets about her wishes, dreams, etc. and somehow her thoughts only revolve around Peter... this really annoyed me.  I hate that girls will drop everything at the drop of a hat for a guy... ugh.  Then there was John Darling - my gosh that boy was driving me insane.  He used too much slang and was just too annoying for his own good.

I loved the idea of this book. The premise was fantastic- and the Peter Pan-ness of it was what really seduced me into reading it.  But in the end it just didn't work for me. 

For those of you wondering - this is the second book in Daniel & Dina Nayeri's "Another" series.  The first being Another Faust.  Some of the characters from Another Faust make cameo appearances and the school where Wendy and John go to is the same one (Marlowe) from Another Faust as well - but that's where the similarities end.  So, no, you do not have to read Another Faust in order to enjoy Another Pan.

My Rating:

So Many Books, So Little Time [3]

Here is this week's list of upcoming releases that I cannot wait to read.

Her and Me and You
by Lauren Strasnick
Releases on 10/05/10

First love, broken friendships, and heartache all play a part in this evocative, voice-driven novel about Alex, a girl whose world is ripped apart when her father’s affair splits her family in two.

Alex moves with her mess of a mother to a new town, where she is befriended by hot, enigmatic Fred—and alternately flirted with and cold-shouldered by Fred’s twin sister, Adina. Others warn Alex to steer clear of the twins, whose sibling relationship is considered abnormal at best, but there’s just something about Fred—and something about Adina—that draws Alex to them and makes her want to be part of their crazy world…no matter the consequences.
Fall for Anything 
by Courtney Summers
Releases on 12/21/10

When Eddie Reeves’s father commits suicide her life is consumed by the nagging question of why? Why when he was a legendary photographer and a brilliant teacher? Why when he had a daughter who loved him more than anyone else in the world? When she meets Culler Evans, a former student of her father’s and a photographer himself, an instant and dangerous attraction begins. He seems to know more about her father than she does and could possibly hold the key to the mystery surrounding his death. But Eddie’s vulnerability has weakened her and Culler Evans is getting too close. Her need for the truth keeps her hanging on… but some questions should be left unanswered.
Once in a Full Moon
by Ellen Schreiber
Releases on 1/01/11

Beware of a kiss under the full moon. It will change your life forever.

Celeste Parker is used to hearing scary stories about werewolves—Legend’s Run is famous for them. But when, after an unnerving visit with a psychic, she encounters a pack of wolves and gorgeous, enigmatic Brandon, she must discover whether his transformation is more than legend or just a trick of the shadows in the moonlight. Brandon may be Celeste’s hero, or he may be the most dangerous creature she could encounter in the woods of Legend’s Run.

The bestselling Vampire Kisses author, Ellen Schreiber, weaves together psychic predictions, generations-old secrets, a town divided, and the possibility of falling in love with a hot and heroic werewolf—the perfect formula for what happens...once in a full moon.
The Dark and Hollow Places
by Carrie Ryan
Releases on 3/22/11

There are many things that Annah would like to forget: the look on her sister’s face when she and Elias left her behind in the Forest of Hands and Teeth, her first glimpse of the horde as they found their way to the Dark City, the sear of the barbed wire that would scar her for life. But most of all, Annah would like to forget the morning Elias left her for the Recruiters.

Annah’s world stopped that day and she’s been waiting for him to come home ever since. Without him, her life doesn’t feel much different from that of the dead that roam the wasted city around her. Then she meets Catcher and everything feels alive again.

Except, Catcher has his own secrets -- dark, terrifying truths that link him to a past Annah’s longed to forget, and to a future too deadly to consider. And now it’s up to Annah -- can she continue to live in a world drenched in the blood of the living? Or is death the only escape from the Return’s destruction?  
by Veronica Roth
Releases on 5/11/11

In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris, and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together, they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes-fascinating, sometimes-exasperating boy fits into the life she’s chosen.

But Tris also has a secret: one she’s kept hidden from everyone, because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly-perfect society, she also learns that her secret might be what helps her save those she loves . . . or it might be what destroys her. 
by Mandy Hubbard
Releases on 7/21/11

Lexi is cursed with a dark secret. The water calls to her, draws her in, forces her to sing her deadly song to unsuspecting victims. If she succumbs, she kills. If she doesn’t, the pain is unbearable. To keep herself and those she cares about safe, she shuts herself off, refusing to make friends or fall in love—again. Because the last time she fell in love with a boy, he ended up dead.

Then Lexi meets Cole. Against her better judgment, she finds herself opening up again, falling in love when she knows she shouldn’t. But when she’s offered the chance to finally live a normal life, she learns that the price she must pay to be free of her curse is giving him up.
In Ripple, Mandy Hubbard spins a sea-ravaged tale of melancholy beauty, and the choices one girl makes between land and waves, love and freedom, her future—and her heart.
These are just some of the one's that I'm looking forward to. Which books are you dying to get your hands on?


IMM Vlog [10]

- Aching for Always by Gwyn Cready
- Three Quarters Dead by Richard Peck
- What I Thought I Knew by Alice Eve Cohen
- Moonlight Mile by Dennis Lehane
- The Distant Hours by Kate Morton [eeek!]

- Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks

Have a great weekend!


Matched by Ally Condie

Title: Matched
Author: Ally Condie
Genre: YA/ Teen Dystopian
Source:  Penguin Group
In the Society, Officials decide. Who you love. Where you work. When you die.

Cassia has always trusted their choices. It’s barely any price to pay for a long life, the perfect job, the ideal mate. So when her best friend appears on the Matching screen, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is the one . . . until she sees another face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black. Now Cassia is faced with impossible choices: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she’s known and a path no one else has ever dared follow—between perfection and passion. [via GoodReads]
I must confess that the first 100 or so pages of this novel were really slow moving for me. I understand that Ms. Condie was explaining the dystopian world Cassia lives in.  A world where everyone is content.  Where your life is basically pre-determined. Food, shelter, clothes and even your partner are all chosen for you. Where the Society controls everything and its Officials are always watching.  Cassia has always followed their strict guidelines. But when a glitch in the system leads Cassia to question the Society, then the story really starts to pick up speed.  

First I must commend Ms. Condie for her world-building.  I found this dystopian world to be unique and I really enjoyed discovering it by slow increments.  Secondly, the love story.  Or let me rephrase that, the love triangle.  I was fond of the main characters in this book.  Cassia and Xander have been best friends since youth and it was just perfect that they would be matched.  But Ky.... Ky was secretive, brooding, hurt, broken, distrusting... I have a thing for characters that need rescuing - and Ky is definitely that.  The love that grows between Cassia and Ky (very PG) was so sweet it hurt.   I found myself aching over their predicament.  From their first secret encounter till their last you can't help but root for them to somehow break free of the Society's hold. 

In the end, I found Matched to be utterly exquisite albeit a bit slow paced at times.  It definitely makes for interesting reading.  The combination of a controlling society, psychology and its heart-wrenching love story felt chillingly realistic.   It's characters were fleshed out and in the end I felt a pang at the fact that my time with them was coming to a close.  I must also warn that there were a few loose strings so I'm hoping (keeping fingers crossed) that there will be a sequel - maybe even a trilogy.  Latest news is that Disney bought the film rights - so get your hands on this gem before it hits theaters, you won't be disappointed.

My Rating:


First day of Autumn

I hope you've enjoyed a lovely first day of Autumn.  Here in South Florida, Autumn is a season that is  skipped.  We normally jump from Summer to Winter - since we still get beach weather all the way through most of October.   My first day of Autumn was dark, gloomy and extra wet - since it's been raining all afternoon.  

How did you spend your first day of Autumn?

Shadow Hills by Anastasia Hopcus

Author: Anastasia Hopcus
Genre: YA/ Teen
Source:  Purchased 
His love captivated her... his secrets might kill her.

Since her sister’s mysterious death, Persephone “Phe” Archer has been plagued by a series of disturbing dreams. Determined to find out what happened to her sister, Phe enrolls at Devenish Prep in Shadow Hills, Massachusetts—the subject of her sister’s final diary entry.

After stepping on campus, Phe immediately realizes that there’s something different about this place—an unexplained epidemic that decimated the town in the 1700s, an ancient and creepy cemetery, and gorgeous boy Zach—and somehow she’s connected to it all.

But the more questions she asks and the deeper she digs, the more entangled Phe becomes in the haunting past of Shadow Hills. Finding what links her to this town…might cost her her life. [via GoodReads]
I absolutely loved the premise of this book! And I have to say that the fact that there are no vampires, werewolves or other popular creatures of the night in it, was a rare treat.  

Ms. Hopcus gives us a mystery set in a boarding school (my favorite!), where normal looking teens are far from normal.  With all sorts of normal teen shenanigans going on (partying in a remote field, smoking, drinking, making out with your boyfriend in your dorm room), I felt that her characters (although magically enhanced) were realistically portrayed.  The romance between Phe and Zach was sweet - I think I might have fallen in love with Zach myself (ahem).  The backdrops - like the spooky cemetery out in the woods, a mental health hospital, and even the empty halls of the school - give it an ambiance which ranged anywhere from gothic, creepy, to downright goosebump inducing.

The story is riddled with symbolism both subtle and dark. Every time I thought I had finally unlocked the mystery, I was taken on a new unexpected turn.  The story started a bit slow for me but that was okay because it slowly built up to this fantastically riveting story - and the best part of it all is that it looks like it is the first in the series.  Kudos to Ms. Hopcus for a phenomenal debut!  I truly can't wait to see what happens next!

My Rating:

2010 2nds Challenge Wrap-Up


I completed the 2nds Challenge hosted by The Royal Reviews.  Here is my final list:

1- The Dead-Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan
2- Fade by Lisa McMann
4- A Touch of Scandal by Jennifer Haymore
5- Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart by Beth Pattillo
6- Over My Dead Body: 43 Old Cemetery Road by Kate Klise & M. Sarah Klise
7- Winter's Passage by Julie Kagawa
8- The One That I Want by Allison Winn Scotch
9- Far From You by Lisa Schroeder
10- Spells by Aprilynne Pike
11- My Name is Memory by Ann Brashares
12- Sapphique by Catherine Fisher

As always this challenge was fun and much harder than I always think it will be.  I love a challenging challenge and this is definitely one.

Fall Into Reading Challenge 2010

I love this challenge! This is the third year I participate and I always look forward to it.  Why?  Well it helps me read some of the books that I have in stacks all over the place.  There aren't any strict guidelines or anything like that.  You are just challenging yourself to read books in the Fall. :)  And since I read books all the time, well, I am perfect for this challenge.

Here is my temporary list:
Jane - April Lindner
Her and Me and You - Lauren Strasnick
The Good Daughters - Joyce Maynard
The Red Umbrella -  Christina Diaz Gonzalez
Mostly Good Girls - Leila Sales
Enchanted Ivy - Sarah Beth Durst
Glass - Ellen Hopkins
My Soul to Take - Rachel Vincent
The Eternal Ones - Kirsten Miller
Paranormalcy - Kiersten White

Obviously there will be changes.   Contest runs from September 22 to December 20, 2010.  If you would like to learn more about this challenge or sign-up for it, please click here.


Did you guys see it last night?

How did you guys feel about the show last night?  I was looking forward to it since the season finale earlier this year.  But was it me or did the cheese factor go up a bit?  I mean yes, I get that this is a show that is supposed to be cheesy.  Because really, who has a conversation with a friend, turns around and breaks into song (well I have!?).  But seriously!  I think last night's episode was cheesy.  Glee normally makes me feel happy with it's beautiful cast, bright colors and amazing songs.  But last night just felt like I was listening to a Kidz Bop CD. 

Did you feel the same way?  


The Unidentified by Rae Mariz

Author: Rae Mariz
Pages: 304
Genre: YA/ Teen Dystopian
Kid knows her school’s corporate sponsors not-so-secretly monitor her friendships and activities for market research. It’s all a part of the Game; the alternative education system designed to use the addictive kick from video games to encourage academic learning. Everyday, a captive audience of students ages 13-17 enter the nationwide chain store-like Game locations to play.

When a group calling themselves The Unidentified simulates a suicide to protest the power structure of their school, Kid’s investigation into their pranks attracts unwanted attention from the sponsors. As Kid finds out she doesn't have rights to her ideas, her privacy, or identity, she and her friends look for a way to revolt in a place where all acts of rebellion are just spun into the next new ad campaign. [via GoodReads]
I truly loved this book.  I found it to be very unique.  Ms. Mariz creates a not-too-distant future that seems very credible.  I loved how the kids had their own way of talking and awesome gadgetry.  Although at first glance it appeared to be a story full of high school drama set within a futuristic setting, it instead ended up being a story with a much more deeper meaning. 

Imagine a world where standing out only leads to creating a trend.  Sponsors entice the students to create cliques.  If you're unique or trendy, this only means that some corporation will sponsor you (you'll be "branded") and therefore market you and your style out so that other kids can replicate it.  You're cool if you're branded and if you can't afford to make your own fashion statement, you're a nobody.  Kid is a nobody.  She hangs out with her friends, gets good grades and does what she must to avoid game over (expulsion).  But when a prank in school by a group calling themselves "The Unidentified" catches her attention, she finds that her investigative skills are put to the test.

This book is the extreme of what would happen if we let consumerism and materialism rule our lives.  It also makes you think back on how much we rely on social networks, the internet, computers and even our  phones.  I love how Ms. Mariz expertly blended typical YA topics (BFF's, cute boys, and even self-discovery) with technology and dystopian elements.  This really made for interesting reading.  Kid's voice drew me in from the start.  She had this loner aspect to her that I really looked up to - especially since she lives in a world where being a loner is not a good thing.

The Unidentified was unputdownable.  I loved the dystopian-ness of it and the unique storyline.  For fans of futuristic YA, dystopian goodness and a stay up late because you-can't-stop-until-you-finish-it read - this is one you'll want to pick up.

My Rating:

Bookcase of the Week - Starring... Vera from Luxury Reading


This week's featured guest on the Bookcase of the Week is Vera from Luxury Reading. Vera's blog was one of the first that I came across when I finally decided to convert my blog into a dedicated book blog.  So needless to say, I was stoked when she agreed to participate in the Bookcase of the Week.  And not only did she agree to participate, but she sent over a ton of pictures for y'all to see.  Hooray!  I love these glimpses we get into our bibliophile friend's home... and Vera's pictures were quite a treat.  So many books and shelves literally made my heart pitter-patter.  See for yourselves:

This is part of my personal library... a SMALL part! As you can see, I'm in dire need of new shelves.

Some of my 2nd floor shelves.

This is my "to be reviewed" closet and there are more books on the top, but I just couldn't get them all in! I stash books here until I read them myself or send them to my reviewers.

One of the shelves in my office. This is part of my personal library.
Here's my messy desk where I spend a lot of time blogging. As you can see, the book stacks are everywhere! My next big purchase will be two huge flat screen monitors instead of this tiny one.
This is my trusty laptop and my new favorite accessory....the Phillips cushion pad!
I got it from Amazon Vine and haven't parted with it since. I love watching my DVRed shows and blogging at the same time, so the laptop is key. 

This is my little reading nook. That blanket has my sorority, TriDelta, shield on it. I've had it since college.
And these are some of the many many boxes that are sitting on my 2nd floor and waiting to be sent off to Blogmania winners!
My reading buddies, Gucci and Bella (top picture) and Yoshi (below). You can find more info on them here.
My thanks go out to Vera for not only participating in my little feature but for having responded so quickly and with so many pictures.  Vera, I thank you for sharing your shelves with us.  I got the feeling from your pictures that there are books all over your home - I have a smile on my face just thinking about it.  You also have the cutest pets ever.  I love how they pose for the camera. 

For those of you who haven't passed on through to Vera's yet (and I'm sure it's very few of you), please visit her here (tell her I say HI!)

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