Rashelle Workman's Giveaway!

Right now, Rashelle Workman is having a giveaway that is a part of the YA Scavenger Hunt. Go to her site here, to check it out!

Bloggiesta Begins

It's my first Bloggiesta, and I'm keeping it simple this year since I recently "redecorated", so to speak. My goals this weekend are:

~Add an "About Me" page.
~Add a blog roll (this may prove tricky for me).
~Get to know fellow bloggers.

If you have a blog, and would like to participate, it is not too late. Sign up here. For details on Bloggiesta, go here. And thank you, Natasha, from Maw Books for creating Bloggiesta!

Favorite Friday: The Vampire Diaries: The Awakening by L.J. Smith (4/5 Stars)

A Love Triangle of Unspeakable Horror...
Searching for the ultimate thrill, she vowed to have Stefan.

Haunted by his tragic past, he struggled to resist her passion.

Driven by revenge, he hunted the brother who betrayed him.

The terrifying story of two vampire brothers and the beautiful girl torn between them.

(Description courtesy of Goodreads.)

Contrary to what some people believe L.J. Smith did NOT copy a certain sparkly-vampire creator. No, L.J. Smith created her own world of vampires years ago. I believe I first read this book about sixteen years ago, to be exact. And, no joke, I can thank Ms. Smith for my love of all things vampire. She definitely got me hooked. This, was my TWILIGHT when I was a teenager. The book that no one thought about making into a movie or TV show, until I was well into my twenties, of course.

THE AWAKENING was my first experience with the ever-present love triangle. Back when I first read this, there was no part of me that wasn't "TEAM STEFAN" all the way! That just goes to show you how much I've changed (or been jaded, you pick), however, because now... I couldn't tell you which vampire I'd choose for Elena.

But, even with that, the first, original, book in this series has intrigue, romance, and bad guys who may or may not REALLY be bad guys. And I don't think anyone can deny this story, though not so original now, was definitely original in it's premiere.

THE AWAKENING is not as gratuitous in its love scenes as an Anne Rice novel, but it sure is more steamy than Meyer's take on the undead.

My rating: 4/5 Stars

Buy this book on Amazon.
Buy this book on Barnes & Noble.
Check out L.J. Smith's page.

Waiting on Wednesday: Trapped: Caught In a Lie by Melody Carlson

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Title: Trapped: Caught In a Lie (Secrets #4)
Author: Melody Carlson
Publisher: NavPress
Publication Date: April 28, 2012

Blurb from Goodreads:
As straight-A student GraceAnn enters her senior year, the stakes seem higher, the stress is mounting, and after bad breakup with her boyfriend, her grades begin to slip. Couldn't she cheat, this just one time?

Why Am I Waiting?
A long-time fan and reader of Melody Carlson, I can't NOT read this book. Ms. Carlson takes real-life, painful scenarios and orchestrates them into inspirational tales for teens. She packs an awesome story along with an undeniably powerful message.

Destined by Jessie Harrell (4/5 stars)

When Psyche receives a prophecy gone horribly wrong, she learns that even the most beautiful girl in Greece can have a hideous future. Her fate? Fall in love with the one creature even the gods fear.

As she feels herself slipping closer into the arms of the prophecy, Psyche must choose between the terrifyingly tender touch she feels almost powerless to resist and the one constant she's come to expect out of life: you cannot escape what is destined.

(Desciption courtesy of Goodreads.)

If you like Greek mythology, then I think you'll love this book. So many of Greek mythology's best characters are in DESTINED. And seriously, I can't help but love how Ms. Harrell took all of my favorite Greek myths and incorporated them into this story to make them so stinkin' faulous!

The main protagonists Psyche and Eros--you may know him as Cupid--are great together! Psyche wins me over with the beauty of a goddess, but the kindness of a saint. She's definitely flawed, but not in a way that makes her unlikeable. Eros, on the other hand, can't seem to let go of his past. It's the standard, "she did me wrong, now all girls are evil", stance. But, I can, safely, say both of these two have the absolute best of intentions throughout the entire story, but it just seems like everything keeps going wrong for them!

But, if I'm going to be honest, my favorite surprise of this book was Aphrodite. I think she may just be the most complex character in the entire book. And the way she gets used as a tool to form this story, is flawless. Absolutely amazing.

The reason I didn't give DESTINED five stars is because I feel like if you are a stranger, in any way, to Greek mythology, you may miss out on this book. There are so many references to Greek myths in here that aren't EXACTLY explained that someone, NOT up on their Greek, may be confused.

That being said, I still loved it! Thought it was a wonderful read! And, I will be sure to read anything Ms. Harrell puts out in the future!

To purchase DESTINED on Amazon.
To purchase DESTINED on Barnes & Noble.
Check out Jessie Harrell's page.

Woo-hoo & Coming Soon

In case you didn't notice, I just revamped my blog. I wanted something a little more simple and all-encompassing. And until I can fork out the bucks to buy my own design, I thought this one made me the most happy. So, "WOO HOO!" :)

On another note, I plan on participating in "Waiting on Wednesday", starting this week. Now, in case you aren't aware what that is (highly doubtful), Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine. It's purpose is to spotlight upcoming books that the blogger is eagerly awaiting. And, I'm pleased to take part!!!

Stay tuned for these and more!

Friday Favorite: Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery (5/5 Stars)

Everyone's favorite redhead, the spunky Anne Shirley, begins her adventures at Green Gables, a farm outside Avonlea, Prince Edward Island. When the freckled girl realizes that the elderly Cuthberts wanted to adopt a boy instead, she begins to try to win them and, consequently, the reader, over.

(Description courtesy of Goodreads.)

There is no way I can continue to do my Favorite Friday without featuring my all-time favorite book that sparked my love for reading way back in my tween years. This book probably got me through most of my pre-teen years when I really didn't have much in common with any of the girls my age. This book, introduced the idea of history to me. Where my teachers failed to grab my attention, this book made me want to learn more about simpler times. Which led me to read Shakespeare. Which led me to poetry, and so on and so on... This book really did shape my tastes into what they are today.

Anne of Green Gables has just about everything that I love to read about now. There's a little bit of suspense (How the HECK is Anne going to get out of THIS scrape?!), there's romance (Gilbert, my first book crush), drama (Well, c'mon it about a teenage girl!), and even the parental love that pulls on the heartstrings. Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert can't help but fall in love with the little precocious, redheaded orphan, and neither can the reader. If you haven't read this book, you need to. It's one of those books that will stay with you. Always. It's one of those books that when I was twelve, I knew, if I ever had daughters, I would someday want them to read it. Now, they're two and I can't wait to share this with them.


Yup! This year I'll be participating! I. Can't. Wait! I think I'm most looking forward to getting to know other bloggers and maybe making my new blog, a better blog. Hope to see you fellow bloggers there!

You can sign up by clicking here.

Favorite Friday: Tiger's Curse by Colleen Houck (5/5 Stars)

The last thing teenager Kelsey Hayes thought she'd be doing over the summer was meeting Ren, a mysterious white tiger and cursed Indian prince when she learns she alone can break the Tiger's curse, Kelsey's life is turned upside-down. The unlikely duo journeys halfway around the world to piece together an Indian prophecy, find a way to free the man trapped by a centuries-old spell, and discover the path to their true destiny.

(Description, courtesy of Goodreads.)

TIGER'S CURSE is the first installment in what will be five books. This, like some of the other books that I've read, was something I purchased for my Kindle because it was .99 cents. I really didn't expect to love the book as much as I did. The premise seemed great, but basically the same paranormal romance-y, ooey-gooeyness that I'd read before.

When I first bought this book it was a couple of years ago and the cover looked like the picure on the left. Now, Ms. Houck has herself a publisher and the story is much the same, and still fantastic!

First off, Kelsey Hayes, the main character, is absolutely one of my most favorite characters in any book. She is a sweet, fun-loving, vulneralble, but also strong, tenacious, and altogether very human and relatable. I found myself, while not always agreeing with her every choice, totally understanding of why Kelsey made them.

Ren, the lovable, sometimes incorrigable hero, is soooo swoon-worthy. Seriously. Ms. Houck made him sensitive and charming, yet not lacking in the manliness department.

I think what impresses me, also, about this book is that it's grounded in an already existing belief-system but Ms. Houck has obviously done her homework. There is SOOOO much information but it's given in such an interesting way that I found myself wanting to know more about Indian culture. I think that's what a good book does. It leaves you wanting more.

Read this book and get ready to want to buy the next!

My Rating: 5/5 Stars!

Bourne by Lisa T. Bergren (5/5 Stars)

The River of Time Series--a Top 10 Pick for over 20 YA book bloggers in 2011! If you like romance, adventure and a dose of medieval Italian culture, you'll love WATERFALL (book 1), CASCADE (book 2) and TORRENT (book 3). Hint: They’re not just for teenagers.

BOURNE, a novella (1/3 the length of a normal novel), picks up right where TORRENT left off...Find out what has happened to men returning from the battle, gravely wounded, to the Betarrinis, fighting for the men they love, and just who is hunting them next...

(Description, courtesy of Goodreads.)

Well, if you check here or here, you'll see my reviews for WATERFALL, CASCADE, and TORRENT. And when you read THOSE, you'll see how adament I am that this is one of the BEST series out there. Ever. Hands. Down.

I thought that TORRENT was it. I read it thinking, "Man, what a great ending!" And then Ms. Bergren gave us "RIVER FOLK" some more. And I'm so glad she did, no matter how much I wish this book was the size of a full novel. But, hey, I'm not complaining.

BOURNE picks up right where TORRENT left off. So, all our medieval knights are returning after a battle and we find that things aren't as great as we'd hoped. Poor Gabi.

But, don't be discouraged, because Ms. Bergren does what she does best, and takes a seemingly hopeless and devastating situation and turns it around. This isn't to say that the books can't continue. Because they definitely can. But, I'm not sitting in front of my iPad doing all I can to not scream and scare my children.

What I love most about this novella is that we get a little more Lia and Luca. They are just so sweet together! And, I think it's fantastic that we get to know Luca a little bit better. He really is a tease with a huge sensitive side. I can't resist that. And, I'm hoping Lia can't either. So, for those of you Lia and Luca fans, this one will make you happy. After the Gabi/Marcello story (which STILL isn't over), it's nice to see these two get their time in the spotlight. Their romance is a completely different kind than Gabi and Marcello's. And I'm enjoying it thoroughly.

So, Ms. Bergren, if you read this, PLEASE... Keep writing more Lia, Luca, Gabi, Marcello, and Rodolfo!!! I will continue to be a HUGE fan!

My Rating: 5/5 Stars(DUH!) :)

Cover Reveal for Pretty Amy by Lisa Burstein

Amy is fine living in the shadows of beautiful Lila and uber-cool Cassie, because at least she's somewhat beautiful and uber-cool by association. But when their dates stand them up for prom, and the girls take matters into their own hands (earning them a night in jail outfitted in satin, stilettos, and Spanx), Amy discovers even a prom spent in handcuffs might be better than the humiliating rehabilitation techniques now filling up her summer. Worse, with Lila and Cassie parentally banned, Amy feels like she has nothing. Like she is nothing.

Navigating unlikely alliances with her new coworker, two very different boys, and possibly even her parents, Amy struggles to decide if it's worth being a best friend when it makes you a public enemy. Bringing readers along on an often hilarious and heartwarming journey, Amy finds that maybe getting a life only happens once you think your life is over.


Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13375237-pretty-amy

Amazon pre-order: http://www.amazon.com/Pretty-Amy-Lisa-Burstein/dp/1620611198/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1330534300&sr=8-1

Barnes and Noble pre-order: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/pretty-amy-lisa-burstein/1108930786?ean=9781620611197&itm=1&usri=pretty+amy

Additional links to Lisa's pages:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/#%21/LisaBurstein

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LisaBursteinAuthor

Website: http://www.lisaburstein.com

Favorite Friday x's Two (Cascade & Torrent by Lisa T. Bergren) 5/5 Stars

Last week, I had three very sick babies so I didn't do my review of CASCADE. So, this week I'm going to do a two-part review on both CASCADE and TORRENT. Normally I wouldn't do this and I'd give each book its moment, but I had planned on reviewing BOURNE this coming week. So...Without further ado...


Mom touched my underdress—a gown made six hundred years before—and her eyes widened as she rubbed the raw silk between thumb and forefinger. She turned and touched Lia’s gown. “Where did you get these clothes?”

Gabi knows she’s left her heart in the fourteenth century and she persuades Lia to help her to return, even though they know doing so will risk their very lives. When they arrive, weeks have passed and all of Siena longs to celebrate the heroines who turned the tide in the battle against Florence—while the Florentines will go to great lengths to see them dead.

But Marcello patiently awaits, and Gabi must decide if she’s willing to leave her family behind for good in order to give her heart to him forever.


When Gabi and Lia finally learn to surf the river of time, they realize they must make hard choices about life and love in the third and final book in the River of Time series.

Gabi and Lia Betarrini have learned to control their time travel, and they return from medieval Italy to save their father from his tragic death in modern times. But love calls across the centuries, and the girls are determined to return forever—even though they know the Black Plague is advancing across Europe, claiming the lives of one-third of the population. In the suspenseful conclusion of the River of Time series, every decision is about life … and death.
(Descriptions courtesy of Goodreads)

Honestly, after reading WATERFALL, I didn't think this series could get any better. As I said on my review for WATERFALL, I got it for free. Then, I finished it, immediately went and purchased CASCADE, finished that in about a day, and then waited for TORRENT. I was scheduled for an induction for my fourth baby when TORRENT finally got to me in the mail (no, I couldn't wait for it to come out on Kindle). And, I thought, "Wow! I'll have all the time in the world to read this while in the hospital!" And while I didn't necessarily have the time that I thought I did, I still managed to finish it within a week.

CASCADE was brilliant. Simply put. I normally have some sort of issue with the main character of a story, but throughout this whole series, that never happened. I found myself rooting for Gabi and Lia. Crying with Gabi and Lia (I cried with Gabi A LOT in CASCADE).
In CASCADE, I honestly was surprised by some of the events that took place. I never expected for our heroine to be put in the situations that she found herself in. And because of that, I loved the book all the more! But, even while a "victim" Gabi still manages to show what she's made of. Time and time again we see that this girl who was torn from a time so different than medieval Italy, seems to be MEANT to be here.
And, can I just say that I think CASCADE will forever hold a special place in my heart because we get introduced to Lord Greco? Seriously, I love him. And I love that Ms. Bergren has the ability to introduce us to someone almost halfway through the series and I can love him as much as all the others.
We get to know Gabi and Lia's mother, too. And for a self-proclaimed Pacifist, I think Adri Bettarini is one tough lady!

As for TORRENT, I won't give away any spoilers, but I'm just going to say that I am completely happy with the ending. I found myself wondering how in the world this story was going to play out.
We have Gabi, who so badly wanted to stay in 14th century Italy. We have Lia, who is still wavering back and forth. Then we have Gabi's mom and dad. Yes!!! Gabi's dad. Another gem in this series. Gabi's parents want their children safe, and understandably so. How can they be safe here, in this time where Gabi and Lia are both wanted by all of Firenze?! How can this story POSSIBLY have a happy ending?!
I honestly fell in love with the whole Bettarini family. I think they are all strong, courageous characters with integity. They manage to hold their own, while holding on to their morals and sense of what's right.
Gabi had an internal battle going on and I LOVE how real that makes her. How human.

Do I think you should read these books? Yes. Will I read these books again? Uh, yes. Would I recommend this book to the impressionable teens that I have the honor of working with? You bet. I already have. :)

My rating: 5/5 stars for both!

To purchase CASCADE on Amazon, click here.
To purchase TORRENT on Amazon, click here.

Next week, check back here for my Favorite Friday review of Tiger's Curse by Colleen Houck.