Friday, April 15, 2016

No Love Allowed by Kate Evangelista

No Love Allowed by Kate Evangelista
Available April 19, 2016
Swoon Reads
Received E-ARC from NetGalley for review

Synopsis from Goodreads- It's all fun and parties until someone falls in love in this modern fairy tale from author Kate Evangelista.

Caleb desperately needs a fake girlfriend. Either he attends a series of parties for his father’s law firm with a pretty girl on his arm, or he gets shipped off to Yale to start a future he’s not ready for and isn’t sure he wants. And sadly, the last unattached girl in his social circle has just made the grievous mistake of falling in love with him. Fortunately, Didi, recently fired waitress and aspiring painter, is open to new experiences. As the summer ticks by in a whirl of lavish parties, there’s only one rule: They must not fall in love!

I feel like I have to find something good to say about the story before I take it apart. So I'll say I liked the ending. It wasn't completely expected or surprising but for a romance it was nice. Nice to see that Caleb wasn't scared of Didi's bipolar disorder. And that he arranged for their first date to be something that was so completely her interests even if it was unbelievably over the top. The divide in status between Caleb and Didi never seems to come up or make a difference which seems hard to believe when Caleb's house is described as being like the "Versailles" of the United States. And Didi and her mother choose between filling her prescriptions and paying the light bill. Tell me which fork to use and title don't come up at the parties she goes to, right? But, if this had been just a fluff book, I would have bought into it all. I could have let all of that slide.

So, stop reading from here on if you don't want to read me rant because I've had enough and I'm going to let loose this time. I have edited and edited and read it out loud and to others and I hate if I sound mean, I don't mean to be, but I'm drawing the line today.

I'll get right to the point with this story. It missed the mark. I think from the premise it could have been really good. A light fluffy summer romance. But then the author tried to throw in some issues, very weirdly. I don't know which pissed me off more as they both hit close to home. Mental illness is a disease. If a person has cancer you don't say they are cancer, you say they HAVE cancer. You see the difference in meaning? ! So Didi IS NOT bipolar, she HAS bipolar disorder. Everyone does it, I know, but it doesn't make it right. "I'm bipolar", she says as if that explains what? She is lesser than him? Let's get this straight once and for all- I HAVE BIPOLAR DISORDER,  or I HAVE SCHIZOPHRENIA, or I HAVE ADHD. People are not a disease. Give them the decency, even in books, especially in books, to call them by their name and not their disease.

Okay lets put the label aside. There is the stereotypical behavior that she gives Didi. I bet all of you think that people with bipolar disorder are awesomely creative and can only be so if they are off their medications.  I have yet to read a YA book that has written it any other way. Kate Evangelista certainly thinks so. But the writing is so all over the place that I couldn't tell if Didi was just effervescent on her own or if she was supposed to be manic. And when I knew Didi was off her meds and supposed to be manic, it wasn't her behavior that led to a problem, yet she is put in a psychiatric ward and drugged. I also question the drugs she was given in the psych ward, most people suffering from mania are not given antidepressants but Didi says she was pumped full of antipsychotics and antidepressants. Maybe I just have way too much firsthand knowledge of this stuff, but facts should be checked, STIGMAS should be erased and stereotyping should be replaced with something more creative! And making Van Gogh her favorite artist, please, could you get any more heavy handed??? Can Sylvia Plath and Virginia Woolf be her favorite poet and writer?

And that leads to my second issue, the gay friend/cousin, Nathan, who is so stereotyped it's offensive! He reads as if he is a prissy girl, always fussing with his clothes and not wanting to be mussed.  He is so good at planning parties, going way over the top, that Caleb's cold hard father jokes he should have Nathan plan his parties. He is also good at planning the Gap Year trip that promises to be epic with opulent hotels and side trips, details that take hours to discuss.  Why wouldn't he be? And, of course, when there is no time for Nathan to get Didi to his stylist, Reynaldo, Nathan can suddenly cut her hair, apply makeup and dress her, all after having just met her five minutes ago. He is also in charge of doing all the shopping for Didi's clothes for the events (with no input from Didi. As far as I can tell she wasn't even there) and is an impeccable dresser himself. And he talks feelings with Caleb, big tough, don't fall in love Caleb. He's pals with Didi even when she won't talk to Caleb, in a girlfriend kind of way. He wasn't a token character, at least. He was important to the story, but did Evangelista have to make him so stereotyped?

And I haven't even gotten into the story, I know! So, the story is okay until, Didi, who is beyond needing money, gets angry at Caleb when he buys her a prepaid cell phone so he can stay in touch with her during the summer for the parties. Sounds reasonable to me. She gets irate. Throws the box at him. Leaves him after having had an awesome day! It's like a slap in the face. And it isn't because of mood swings or anything, everyone else thinks she was right to be offended. I didn't get it. Why was she so mad? She accepts a basket full of art supplies from him by way of Jordan, the next day that I'm sure cost more than the cell phone. I never could figure it out.

The book suffered from an identity crisis, it was either an issue book or a fluffy romance but it couldn't be both and it fell flat trying to do just that. I think it would have done well as a fluffy romance leaving out the mental illness or just letting Didi have a mental illness and coping well with it. There's an idea!! Did you know some people actually take their meds and are creative? Did you know there are a lot of creative people that don't have a mental health issue at all??? Imagine that!! Yes, I'm being snarky. But I'm tired of seeing people with bipolar disorder portrayed as needing to go off their medication, life saving, life time medication as there is NO CURE for bipolar disorder, that people have to go off their medication in order to be creative. It isn't true. Stop telling kids it is true! Stop making mental health issues scary so kids are afraid to get help and are afraid of people with mental health issues. DON'T YOU GET WHO IS READING YOUR BOOKS??? YOU ARE WRITING FOR YA! THEY ARE SEARCHING FOR THEMSELVES IN THESE BOOKS. WHAT ARE YOU SHOWING THEM???

Ok, that wasn't just to Kate Evangelista but to every author that decides it would be fun to just through some mental illness in their book and make them the villain. This is MY blog and MY platform to finally say what I've been holding back. Get it right. Provide resources in your book. I'm calling you out on this shit from now on. You continue to stigmatize mental illness with the way you portray it in your books and for myself, my kids, and friends with mental health issues, I'm not going to take it quietly anymore.

Oh, and just do round out all the stereotyping,  did I mention that Caleb is extremely sexist when it comes to women. Not just the one's in his past. Of course, those he treats very poorly, like play things. He has rules and if they break them, he breaks up with them. No looking back and he really doesn't care about them. At all. He treats Didi in a very sexist way, too. He's jealous of his gay cousin! He thinks about her body all the time. It's kind of like being in the mind of a teenage boy, not that I've been there, but I don't want to be  He alternately blushes and then thinks about where he wants to put his hands (everywhere) the first time he picks her up for a social function. But he calls the older women of his social circle "biddies" and "sharks" and I just wonder if he ever looked in a mirror at himself.

So this book was a fail for me. Not for one reason but for many. I started out trying to be generous, but I couldn't find my way past the negatives. I will say that this is an ARC and the final book may be a little different, but I don't plan to check it out.


Tuesday, February 23, 2016

My Favorite Male Characters- The Boys Next Door

****Sorry this is a repost. I didn't mean for it to show up. I'm doing some blog cleanup and some old posts are showing up when I take out some information****

Hi! Heather from Buried in Books here! Candace asked if I'd like to do a post on my favorite something and I chose My Favorite Boys Next Door. Now I know everyone won't agree with ALL my choices, but that's the great thing about this post, I'm hoping you'll share you're Favorite Boy Next Door! To enter the giveaway, that's what you have to do. So read, enter the giveaway and have a great one!

So you might wonder why I'd pick this topic as my favorite and what it means. Well I fell in love with the boy next door, so of course, I'm always going to fall for the boy next door in the book. But he isn't always the love interest. He could be the best friend. Or someone that isn't quite the boyfriend. Or just the guy next door (even if he doesn't live exactly next door). Let me explain. The guy next door has to have your back. He has to make you laugh even on your worst day. He, of course, has to give you butterflies if he is boyfriend material. I'm talking a huge flock of butterflies beating the insides of your stomach until you're sure you're going to take flight. None of this, "Well he's kinda cute." He has to have something special, one special thing that sets him apart from everyone else. And, and this is really important, he is not the football quarterback, the most popular guy, the most anything. He's just the guy next door. But to you, he's more. He makes the day that much better. I mean, he makes the character's day that much better.

My favorite first and always will be Zachary Moore from The SHADE TRILOGY by JERI SMITH-READY. (SHADE, SHIFT, SHINE)

Here is why I love Zachary and he's my favorite boy next door even if he's from Scotland. First, he's from Scotland, that accent sets him apart from the crowd right away! Second, when he first meets Aura, it's so he can pair up with her as her thesis partner but he expects her to look different as she's studying ancient astronomy. He's just been chastised by her because she thinks he thinks girls are too dumb to do that.

"Why, because girls can't be astronomers?" (Aura asks)
"Of course they can, but the girls I know who like science aren't-" He cut himself off and looked away, dragging a hand through his hair, "I just met her," he uttered to himself, "I'll no' say that."   So already he's got manners and he's flustered and don't forget the accent.

Here's another passage that shows you why I just love him-
     "Gross I'm so zombiefied." I pulled my matted hair forward to cover my puffy eyes. "Dr. Harris'll think I'm strung out or hungover. Great first impression." (This is because Logan has just died and she's been crying)
     "Amazing, though."
     Zachary started to answer, then brushed his lips with the side of his finger. "No it's stupid.".....
"What's stupid, besides your mind games?"
    "Okay, but if I start, you let me finish." He spoke to the radio instead of meeting my gaze. "The pieces of you are complete shite today, the bloated eyelids and splotchy skin and your hair all"- he waved his hand " you know, and all together you should look pure hackit, but somehow your more bonnie than ever."
     "I rewound his sentence in my head. Zachary's eyes flicked up  to meet mine, and I must've seemed pissed, because he said, "Sorry," and reached for the car door handle.
     "Wait. What's 'hackit'? What's that mean?"
     "Ugly. But 'bonnie' means-"
     "I know what 'bonnnie' means."
     Zachary held up a hand. "I'm no flirting with you, not with your boyfriend just passing. I'm only making an observation."(pp72-73 Shade).  Tell me that doesn't melt your heart. He's not really even trying to make her feel better. He never lies to her just to make her feel better even when a lie might help in later books.
So later they go in to meet Dr. Harris who says call me Eowyn and they sit down to tea. Aura just wants to get this over and done with but Eowyn is "all in good time" and "we've got nine months for this" so they have to have tea. Then she sits down identical white mugs and tells them to choose one. Then she pours the tea. Now, Zachary barely knows Aura and never met Logan but when it turns out that the tea reveals Irish symbols on them and Aura chose the one for Love here is what Zachary does-
Zachary held up a finger. "Could I trouble you for some sugar?"
     "Of course." Eowyn sprang to her feet. "Be right back." She slipped out of the office.
     "Give me that," Zachary said in a low voice. He gently pried my fingers off the Love mug and took it from me. He replaced it with his Strength. "Just breathe." (p77 Shade)
 Okay now is where he goes above and beyond and where he takes chivalry to new bounds. He and Aura are off to a farm in the night to map the stars. It's part of their project. But Aura first stops to buy something she needs to allow Logan's ghost so he can visit her every night. But she doesn't have enough money. So Zachary insists on buying it saying it's for the gas she spends on driving them to and from the farm for their project.

And then when they are in the field and Aura is cold, he gives her his leather jacket and says, when she protests, "Don't insult my rugged heritage."
I could go on...lies start to surface about how Logan died and you know how the internet is....Zachary actually gets into a fight with someone over things written on the internet about Aura. And they aren't dating, they barely even talk.

So ZACHARY MOORE  is Scottish (special) he definitely stirs the butterflies, he's thoughtful (the cup), has manners (loaning his jacket), has Aura's back (the fight), goes above and beyond (the sheets) and is just an all around nice guy (bonnie). He does make her laugh, but it's later in the book and I don't want to give much more away. I LOVE ZACHARY!

So next and very close is JAY HEATON from THE BODY FINDER  series by KIMBERLY DERTING.
Jay and Violet have been best friends forever and he knows her secret so that's all cool. It's just become very awkward for Violet because Jay has suddenly become a hunk. All the girls want to go out with him and they're fawning all over him and this is JAY. This is her best friend. But she feels the same way. Here are some of the awkward feelings and things poor Violet has to suffer through....

She was starting to feel like he was toxic to her. That, or she was seriously losing her mind, because that was the only way she could possibly explain the ridiculous butterflies she got whenever Jay was close to her. And what really irritated Violet was  that he seemed to be completely oblivious of these new, and completely insane, reactions she was having to him. Obviously whatever she had wasn't contagious.( p. 12 The Body Finder)
When Violet is feeling insecure about her place in Jay's life, like he doesn't need her anymore she finds out just how much he does. She's hiding out in the bathroom when her close to BFF comes in.
"Where have you been?" Chelsea accused in her usual blunt tone. "Jay's been looking for you everywhere."
"Well?" Chelsea asked when Violet didn't answer her. "I swear that boy can't function without you, not even at lunch."
Violet winced.....
"He'll be fine." Violet answered more glumly than she'd intended. "I'm sure someone else would be glad to sit with him."
Chelsea looked up, finished with her own face, and stared at Violet's. "Well it doesn't really matter. He's out in the hallway waiting. He asked me to come in here and look for you."
Violet just stared....When Violet didn't move, Chelsea grabbed her by the arm and stared towing her toward the door. "Come on, before he starves to death and wastes away to nothing."
"All right, all right," Violet agreed as they drifted out of the girls' room to where Jay stood in the hallway, looking relieved to see her safe and sound at last.(p. 18 The Body Finder)
Even though she's terribly aware of all the girls that have noticed his metamorphosis over the summer, he seems to not care or at least it hasn't stopped him from caring about her. Great guy next door. He still worries about her, feels protective of her because he knows what she's been through and because they are best friends.

Violet and Jay are walking through the woods by her house and all of a sudden her feet get tangled and she goes down hard on some rocks and skins her knees. Jay wants to carry her back to her house but she feels silly, even if it hurts. But when they get to her house, he puts her on the kitchen counter and tends to her wounds.
"Okay, this is probably gonna sting," he warned as he leaned over and began cleaning her wounds. It did sting, more than Violet let on, and she had to bite her lip as the tears came back all over again. .....Violet sucked in her breath when he brushed the soaked cotton ball against the angry red abrasions. Jay looked up at her but didn't stop dabbing at them. Instead he blew on her knees as he labored over them, just like her mother used ot do when Violet was a little girl. She thought it was sweet, and she swore that she was even more attracted to him than ever in that tender moment. (pp. 47-48) 
Now that is just too sweet for words. I want to hug Jay right now! And he put on these two huge bandaids and says "Good as new." It is adorable that he would blow on her knees. He takes care of her, even worries about her pain. How could she not tell he's in love with her??

And then she realizes she hasn't lost her best friend to all the girls drooling all over him. He's still that same guy that makes her giggle until she almost pees her pants. He babysits with her and watches movies with her and eats popcorn with her like always.
While she'd been locked in the grip of her own troubles, Violet had temporarily forgotten to be jealous of those other girls and had finally remembered how to just be Jay's friend again. ......Jay had been the one to keep Violet sane. He slipped candy bars into her backpack for her to find and left little notes in her locker just to let her know he was thinking about her. She leaned on him every step of the way, and he never once complained. And afterward, when she felt back to her old self again, at least mostly anyway, he was still there. (p 80)
He's got her back, she can trust him, he lifts her up when she's down and he knows her like nobody else. He's the perfect Boy Next Door.

I know, a lot of you will say, no way! But just listen to my argument for Willem. He doesn't fit the mold, but just read and see if you don't agree. Remember, we all have our own opinions.

Willem is that guy, that guy. The one that makes everything, seem like more. He makes things magic. And Ally, she needs magic with her guide book following, time keeping, tour guide rules, timetable scheduling. Ally needs magic and Willem is the guy that gives it to her.
And something inside her knows that, from the moment he hands her a flyer to their outdoor performance of Twelfth Night while she's waiting to see Hamlet performed by the Royal Shakespeare Company, Ally feels his pull. She ditches Hamlet and the air becomes magic.

Accidents happen, he tosses her the coin, they meet on the train and next thing she knows she's off to Paris with a stranger named Willem.
Accidents? Maybe or maybe someone is guiding the whole thing. Either way, though he might not live next door, in one day, he changes her world. He feeds her, takes care of her wounds, entertains her, makes her laugh, he protects her, he gives her something no one else can ever give her. I can't show you all that, it would ruin the book for you, but here are a few snippets to show what he is like.

Willem's best traits, besides making the everyday seem magical, are that he is honest and direct (most of the time). Ally isn't used to that and misreads a lot that happens. When Willem goes to get them something to eat and is gone for awhile she thinks he's left her. When he finds out that she thought that he questions her.
"Did you really believe I would leave you on the train?" he asks........
"I don't know," I answer. "Maybe I was just having a minor panic because doing something impulsive like this, it's not me."
"Are you sure about that?" he asks. "You're here, after all."
"I'm here"I repeat. And I am. Here. On my way to Paris. With him. I look at him He's got that half smile, as if there's something about me that's endlessly amusing. And maybe it's that, or the rocking of the train or the fact that I'll never see him again after the one day, or maybe once you open the trapdoor of honesty, there's no going back. Or maybe it's just because I want to. But I let the robe drop to the floor. "I thought you got off the train because I was having a hard time believing you'd be on the train in the first place. With me. Without some ulterior motive." (p 40-41 Just One Day).

Willem also makes Ally question everything she believes. Alot are things she believes about herself, things she's been told. At 18, it's time to start questioning those things.
"Our parents quit while they were ahead," I say, repeating the line Mom and Dad always use when people ask if I'm an only child. We quit while we were ahead."I never understand some English sayings," Willem replies. "If you're ahead, why would you quit?"
"I think it's a gambling term."
But Willem is shaking his head. "I think it's human nature to keep going when you're ahead, no matter what. You quit while you're behind" Then he looks at me again, and as if realizing that he has maybe insulted me he hastily adds, "I'm sure with you it was different." (p. 67 Just One Day). Ally actually knows they couldn't have anymore children and that is why she is an over achiever and they've put all their hopes and dreams on her. That's why she can't let them down.

The Paris Willem shows Ally is unlike anything she would have seen on any tour. She travels by canal boat on the water. She rides a bike to the Louvre only to find it's closed, but she's not too upset. They intentionally get lost in Paris. Through it all Ally finds the one thing she needs the most, herself. In one day and night, she finds herself. Willem is the most unusual of the Boy's Next Door, for sure, but his abilities are probably the most amazing.


Will Bixby is Kylie Flores' best friend. They just get each other. They have since the first day of 7th grade when one quoted a line from a movie and the other quoted the next line back. Will is different. He's gay. But that's not what makes him different. He likes to throw it in everyone's face. He dresses in women's clothing. He dresses much better than Kylie. But he's the guy that has her back, makes her laugh and will rescue her, sort of.

Here's Will on Kylie's fashion sense-
She's wearing her daily uniform of gray jeans, white T-shirt, and that lame-ass ratty knit scark her grandmother made her, like , a million years ago. Girlfriend needs a makeover. I'm so the guy for the job, if Kylie would just give fashion a chance. But all the beautiful clothes I've given her over the years are marooned in her closet, tags on, waiting to get off the island and back into civilization.......At least she's not wearing those Uggs anymore, which look like huge sued foot tumors, as far as I'm concerned. I tossed them in the garbage last time I was at her house. Saving Kyle from herself is a full-time occupation, let me tell you. I was born for the job." (pp. 20-21). 
So he cares what she looks like and wants to help her look better. If he's got better fashion sense than her, so what? He's definitely got more money!

Kylie has just gone psycho on the squash court at Max who didn't meet her when he was supposed to. He's almost an hour late. She's marched out now and Will is following her.

"Will catches up with me outside. He loops his arm through mine. "You had me at 'Screw you, Max.' You were brilliant!"
I don't say anything. I'm too busy beating myself up. Why can't I just let go for once and kick Murphy's stupid assignment to the curb? Will can tell I'm in the middle of round five of one of my self-boxing matches. He's been ringside many times before.
"His ass isn't what it used to be. Freshman year, it was tight and sweet. He's getting soft. Doesn't bode well for middle age," Will says, trying to cheer me up.
"You know that's not true."
"I know. He's got an amazing ass, not to mention his six-pack abs and those guns-"......
....."Yeah . Whatever..." I say to Will, my insecurity creeping across my skin like a bad rash.
"Stop it. Do not let these people make you feel less than extraordinary. You are one amazing human. Don't forget it," Will insists.(pp 34-35)
Pick her up when she's down, try to make her laugh, that's what Will does because deep down he loves her.
Will is going to try to make her feel better even if she's made a complete fool of herself because that's what the boy next door does (and best friends). Makes you feel better.

And finally Will rescues her (but also relishes in her predicament). Kylie and Max find themselves stranded somewhere together without a way to get home. They need someone's help. Will to the rescue.
Kylie says-
I call Will on his cell. He pick up immediately. Just as I predicted, he's thrilled with his task, positively giddy that I seem to have found myself in my predicament. He acts like I've just won the Nobel Peace Prize. He can't stop telling me how proud he is of me. It's so Will, I have to laugh. I tell him where to find {what we need} and before I can say good-bye he's out the door and on his way....p. 137
And there you have it, my case for Will Bixby as the boy next door. Willing to do anything for you, special in his ability to quote movie lines right back at Kylie, his sense of style even if it is in women's clothing, he's willing to drop everything to go to Kylie when she needs him, he wants the best for her even if what he think is the best for her differs from what she thinks is the best for her. He's got her back. He makes her laugh.
He's her best friend.

So those are my Favorite Boys Next Door! I hope you see someone you like in them and if you haven't read their stories I hope you do and see if you agree. There are definitely a lot more Boys Next Door I could have written about

Monday, February 8, 2016

Had a little surgery...

So, Friday, I had some skin cancer surgery. I opted to go to the hospital because it was on my nose. One place had already been operated on twice before and the other was very thin. And shots in the nose, they hurt! Ummm, as you can see by the picture I am so damn glad I opted for the hospital. It was a little more invasive than originally expected. 


And second, I'm out of commission for a week or so. I can't read or comment. I can't blog. I'm doing this with one eye closed. I just didn't want you to think I was disappearing again like last year. This is a minor setback. When I can, I'll be back. Hopefully no longer than a week or so.

And, in case you're worried, my skin cancer, all ten surgeries I've had have all been benign, called basal cell carcinoma. But they are still serious. It's a painful surgery and I'm so damn tired of them. But it's my fault for baking in the sun without sunscreen, all those sunburns when I was young.

So, please, redheads and blondes with light eyes especially, but everyone wear your sunblock or at least sunscreen. Reapply. Stay out of the sun between 10 and 4. Wear a hat and a scarf. Don't tan at a tanning salon! Pale really is the new tan. It will keep you looking younger. 

I've never looked in the mirror and thought I was beautiful, but with each new surgery, I get a new scar. And my surgeries aren't over. There are more to come. I dread them. But I don't have the deadliest form of the disease, melanoma. That's what I say, every time I get a new biopsy result.

Protect yourself. I hope you don't ever have to get this kind of surgery. I hope you take this seriously. I will be fine in a few days. One more scar but I'm a survivor. Take it from me, those tans weren't worth it. Save your skin.

Take good care of yourselves!!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Not a Drop To Drink (#1) by Mindy McGinnis

NOT A DROP TO DRINK by Mindy McGinnis
(Book #1)
Available Now
Dystopian/Survival/ YA

So, this is one of those books I have been meaning to read forever. First I meant to get it forever, but it's been sitting on my shelf for two years now. Melissa at I Swim For Oceans always had this on her Top 10 List, whether it was Top 10 Dystopian, Top 10 All Around, or Top 10 Books I'd Love to See as a Film. Her love of this book really made me understand, I needed to read this book! So I finally made time to read it. I know why she liked it so much!

Sometimes you feel like you've read every dystopian out there, don't you? But not this one. This felt like life had gone back to the 1800's with the exception that Lynn and Mother would kill anyone that set foot near their pond, the only water around. And they have a truck, but they don't use it unless they absolutely have to use it. Survival is all there is, living isn't really anything but survival. Lynn doesn't know any other way, doesn't know anyone but Mother and the man that lives in the shack on the land next door. But really she only knows him by his red bandanna that he waves as a signal that everything is okay.

The story is told from Lynn's point of view, very stark and raw. Lynn is fiercely protective of her pond, of her way of life, and she learns how to let people in and become fiercely protective of them. Family, in this time, is what you make it, not who you are born to and this makes for an interesting story later on in the book. Lynn has some amazing character growth as she goes from the girl sitting by Mother's side on the top of the barn taking out anyone that wandered close to the pond to a young woman caring for others and protecting them from any harm.

The world is a glaring case of what could happen to us in the future. I hear reports about the world's drinking water supply drying up and I know that all the money in the world isn't going to fix that problem. A big house, a young face, a fancy car, none of that helps when it comes to a lack of  resources. Let's hope it doesn't come to that. I don't want to be around for the Zombie Apocalypse, the Alien Invasion or just the Apocalypse or anything that Mike Mullin dreams up!

This is a quick read and there is a sequel, In a Handful of Dust, that I have decided not to read. Although the ending to this came down pretty quickly, there is an epilogue or a follow up that shows several years into the future that leaves me in a good place with the characters. The reviews on the sequel are mediocre and I choose to leave things as they are. But it's up to you if you want to continue with the story.

This is on the darker side of dystopians so I'd say this is for the 13 and up crowd. There is violence, death, talk of prostitution, talk of rape and sex off the page. Some of the death is graphic. None gratuitous.

Find Mindy McGinnis HERE

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Are You There God? It's Me Margaret by Judy Blume

By Judy Blume
Available Now
First Published in 1970

So this book came out when I was five. But I didn't read this until much later. I don't even remember when I read it. I might have been in junior high school- what middle school is now. Maybe 7th grade. It's one of those books we hid from our parents while we read. I remember talking about it in hushed tones with my cousin on the bus.

Now that I read it, I have to remember what the climate was when it was written. I temper my criticisms with remembering how people were back then close to 50 years ago. Religion was important whereas many people identify with being spiritual these days. Mixed religion marriages and being raised in no religion is more commonplace, now. Margaret felt left out in 1970 but she'd feel at home today, I think. Every child is different, of course.

I think it's still a classic book and young girls today can extrapolate the best information in the book, that they will all mature at some point and not to worry about it. And as for the girls that mature early, it isn't easy being that girl. Assumptions are made and yet every girl wants to look like her. Puberty is so hard and I think Judy Blume's book Are You There God? It's Me Margaret is relevant today.

Find Judy Blume at Blog

Monday, February 1, 2016

The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen

THE SUGAR QUEEN By Sarah Addison Allen
Available Now
Published by Bantam

Alright, I know this is not a YA book. It could be NA, but it wouldn't be the typical NA with all the sex. This is a great book about a woman who, at 27 is still trying to live down the stories of her childhood and win her mother's love and approval. In the meantime, she fills that hole inside of her with candy and cakes and comforting foods and romance novels that she hides in the secret space in her closet. And she secretly loves Adam, the mailman who she can feel coming, a little magical thing she has going on.

Now, this book appealed to me on so many levels. It's an easy story to read, a little bit of magic in it and some big character growth with a nice romance and a little bit of danger. But I can't tell you how long I had to hear stories of my childhood repeated every time my family got together, told expressly to embarrass me. They weren't even that bad. Certainly not so the whole town or even the neighborhood talked about them, but they kept me down, and afraid to speak up for a very long time, well into my adult years. And I worked hard for parental approval as well. Something you learn when you're older, no amount of stuff, clothes, food, things (maybe books wink, wink) will ever earn you your parents' approval. The problem is with them not you, and something we learn in the book as we read on about Josey and her mother, Margaret. 

Josey opens her closet one morning to find Della Lee, the down on her luck waitress in her closet and Josey can't get her to leave. Through Della  Lee, Josey's world begins to open up. Once she takes the first step, there is no going back. But Josey isn't the only character in this book. Della Lee is an enigma, for a little while. I had her figured out about halfway through the novel. Chloe is a great character that I loved to see grow and understand who she was. And the ending was perfect! 

If you need a little break from the same old thing, I would highly recommend this book. You might find you have something in common with one of the characters whether you need to forgive, move on or break out of your shell. It's an uplifting, feel good story. I'll probably read some more of her books in the future.

Find Sarah Addison Allen Here

Thursday, January 28, 2016

The Empty Throne (Heirs of Chrior Book Two) by Cayla Kluver

Available Now

This is the second book in the Heirs of Chrior Trilogy. If you haven't read The Queen's Choice, don't bother reading this one. You will have no idea what is going on. In fact, I had a little trouble remembering what was happening and who was who. I eventually figured it out, but I think a slight recap in a prologue would have been well worth it. Of course, I am reading it a year after it was published, but.....maybe it is my fault.

Anyway, this felt like a long book. I enjoyed it, but it dragged in places and there felt like a lot of standing still spots where the story just didn't go anywhere. But, then, that is part of the story. Anya just waiting for something to happen. She's stuck, imprisoned, not in jail, but still watched every second and it's made worse by the fact that she has indulged in something she shouldn't have. She has nightmares and feels the loss she suffered at the hands of the hunters when she crossed The Bloody Road. (I'm trying not to be spoilery for the first book.) Her days and nights are endless as she just sits around doing nothing. She's not the girl she was in The Queen's Choice.

In this book, Anya seems like she's been beaten by her circumstances. She makes foolish decisions. She doesn't confide in anyone. She trusts no one not even her own instincts. She languishes in her loss. I kept thinking about it too. Wondering if there weren't some way to fix what had happened. Could it be repaired? What would her betrothed do? Would he change his life for her?

There is a lot that happens in the book, yet a lot is in Anya's head. There is a lot of waiting and thinking. The romance is bigger in this one than the last for those fans of the romance. I just wasn't quite as impressed as I was with The Queen's Choice.  There are still so many questions about who is trustworthy and who isn't. Honestly, I didn't believe anyone anymore at the end of the book than I did at the beginning of the book. I think in the end, I was disappointed because I saw(in my mind) Anya hanging on the gate waving goodbye to her friends while she was left in the mortal world. She's sad. Alone for the most part. Worried for her world and worried for herself. Worried for the Fae and Human world alike.

This book did move the story along to a predictable place. Some interesting reveals occurred. There were more questions that came up than answers. Everything took place in the human world. We saw nothing of Illumina and I really would have liked to have known what happened to her in Chrior. But I did enjoy my time with the old characters and some new ones. It just didn't live up to The Queen's Choice. I guess you've got that by now. However, if you want to continue the series, I recommend reading the book. You will be lost without it. And apparently, right after I read it, I gave it four stars so I think I enjoyed it more than I remembered.

There is some violence, some of it mild, some of it very brutal. There is drug use, a made up drug, but still drug use and addiction. I would recommend this book to mature 12 and up. Also death and a little sexual content (alluded to).

If you'd like to find Cayla Kulver go HERE

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

WOW- Waiting on Wednesday

I haven't done one of these in ages. I don't even remember where to find the person that I link up with but that's what old posts are for, right? Jill at Breaking The Spine hosts this meme if you'd like to link up. I would love for you to share what you are patiently waiting to read. There are a few I've given up waiting for like I've been waiting three years for Maggie Stiefvater to write Requiem. I'll just make my ending to that story. Or maybe I'll take up fan fiction!! Maybe there already is fan fiction for it. I'll have to check that out. But I've gone off on a tangent. So here is one that I do trust will be written and done very well and there will be closure.

Strange the DreamerLast week we announced Laini Taylor, author of the Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy, as this month’s NOVLbox curator (if you haven’t entered the giveaway, you can do so here) and teased that we would be sharing news about her new book. You may remember hearing about The Muse of Nightmares back in May—and friends, we have an update. The book is now two books, a duology! The first will be titled Strange the Dreamer and the second book in the series will be The Muse of Nightmares. So why two books instead of one? And why title the first one Strange the Dreamer instead of The Muse of Nightmares? Laini has the answers to all our questions. Take it away Laini!Laini says…From its inception, this story has had co-main characters, and the title “the Muse of Nightmares” describes one of the two—the one I was most focused on at the outset, who I believed to be the more fascinating, and who I thought would carry the story. But stories can be unruly things. Characters can surprise you, and the other character quite spectacularly did: taking over the beginning of the book and sweeping me off my feet. His name is Lazlo Strange, and he’s a junior librarian at the world’s greatest library. One of the first things that made me fall in love with him was when it came out that his nose had been broken by a falling volume of fairy tales. It was this tiny thing that came from of my fingertips one day (sometimes the words seem just to appear in the space between your fingertips and the keyboard), and suddenly…I had him: “Strange the Dreamer,” so-called by his colleagues, and not always kindly.Initially I titled a chapter “Strange the Dreamer,” and I hadn’t looked at it more than a couple of times before it struck me that I loved the sound of it beyond reason and that was my book title. I only hoped my editor and publishers would agree, and I was so, so pleased that they did! And because it will be followed by its sequel, The Muse of Nightmares, I didn’t have to sacrifice that title, which I also love. I can’t tell you how eager I am for readers to meet these two characters, and all the others who people this peculiar new world I’m building. I hope you will love them as much as I do!Thanks, Laini! We love the new title and we’re glad to hear that the other will be sticking around. And thank you for telling us a little more about this new character! We like Lazlo already. Above all, we’re psyched that we’ll be getting TWO books in this new magical world that you created. Strange the Dreamer will be released on September 27, 2016, and it is the story of: the aftermath of a war between gods and men.a mysterious city stripped of its name.a mythic hero with blood on his hands.a young librarian with a singular dream.a girl every bit as perilous as she is imperiled.alchemy and blood candy, nightmares and godspawn, moths and monsters, friendship and treachery, love and carnage.Welcome to Weep.

I am so sorry it doesn't have a gorgeous cover but it will, I am quite sure. Anyway, here's what I found on NOVL about the series (yay)!

Strange the Dreamer

Last week we announced Laini Taylor, author of the Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy, as this month’s NOVLbox curator (if you haven’t entered the giveaway, you can do so here) and teased that we would be sharing news about her new book. 
You may remember hearing about The Muse of Nightmares back in May—and friends, we have an update. The book is now two books, a duology! The first will be titled Strange the Dreamer and the second book in the series will be The Muse of Nightmares. So why two books instead of one? And why title the first one Strange the Dreamer instead of The Muse of Nightmares? Laini has the answers to all our questions. Take it away Laini!

Laini says…

From its inception, this story has had co-main characters, and the title “the Muse of Nightmares” describes one of the two—the one I was most focused on at the outset, who I believed to be the more fascinating, and who I thought would carry the story. But stories can be unruly things. Characters can surprise you, and the other character quite spectacularly did: taking over the beginning of the book and sweeping me off my feet.
His name is Lazlo Strange, and he’s a junior librarian at the world’s greatest library. One of the first things that made me fall in love with him was when it came out that his nose had been broken by a falling volume of fairy tales. It was this tiny thing that came from of my fingertips one day (sometimes the words seem just to appear in the space between your fingertips and the keyboard), and suddenly…I had him: “Strange the Dreamer,” so-called by his colleagues, and not always kindly.
Initially I titled a chapter “Strange the Dreamer,” and I hadn’t looked at it more than a couple of times before it struck me that I loved the sound of it beyond reason and thatwas my book title. I only hoped my editor and publishers would agree, and I was so, so pleased that they did! And because it will be followed by its sequel, The Muse of Nightmares, I didn’t have to sacrifice that title, which I also love.
I can’t tell you how eager I am for readers to meet these two characters, and all the others who people this peculiar new world I’m building. I hope you will love them as much as I do!
Thanks, Laini! We love the new title and we’re glad to hear that the other will be sticking around. And thank you for telling us a little more about this new character! We like Lazlo already. Above all, we’re psyched that we’ll be getting TWO books in this new magical world that you created. 
Strange the Dreamer will be released on September 27, 2016, and it is the story of: 
  • the aftermath of a war between gods and men.
  • a mysterious city stripped of its name.
  • a mythic hero with blood on his hands.
  • a young librarian with a singular dream.
  • a girl every bit as perilous as she is imperiled.
  • alchemy and blood candy, nightmares and godspawn, moths and monsters, friendship and treachery, love and carnage.
Welcome to Weep.

This is one that I am really looking forward to reading, but you know what, I have the second and third books to read in the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series to read. Why haven't I finished it? I loved The Daughter of Smoke and Bone. I think before I read it, I'd never read a fantasy novel that was that beautifully written, that intricate, that emotional.  I don't believe there are many story tellers that can bring a story to life on the page like Laini Taylor can. Beautiful imagery, aching with emotion, poetic prose, and I don't want to ruin that first beautiful book. I was a virgin to that type of beauty in writing before I read Daughter of Smoke and Bone and I'm afraid for the series to end. But now that there is a book on the way, well I believe I can read the series. I have it on audio too. Anyone listen to it on audio??

Hope your Wednesday is filled with wonder!
Love and Peace!

Monday, January 25, 2016

Truthwitch by Susan Dennard

TRUTHWITCH by Susan Dennard (Witchlands Series #1)
Available Now
Published by Tor
YA Fantasy

So WOW! That was my initial reaction after I closed the book. I didn't read any reviews before I read this one. I have actually never read any of Susan Dennard's Something Strange and Deadly series even though I've seen her at signings and had my books signed. She is a delightful person and very warm and friendly. But we know, just because someone has a great personality and can entertain in person doesn't mean they can write. Right? No worries, she can write! I am pretty sure her first series proved that but honestly I'm too lazy to look it up. And I will read it, one day. Sooner rather than later based on this book.

For some reason, I have had trouble writing this review. I read it a few weeks ago and thought some time away from it would help but it hasn't. Usually, that means that I really, really enjoyed the book. So, my best attempt is just going to list out what I loved about the book and why.

First this book has all the fantasy elements I love. A completely made up world with forbidden magic and magical creatures. Witches! My favorite (well maybe along with Fairies). But I LOVE witches and there are so many different types of powers and strengths of powers. There are political struggles at court, pirates, kidnappings, and a fearsome and chilling villain called a Bloodwitch that still scares me. He is ruthless and unstoppable, seriously, bad witch. There are rich countries who have bullied poorer countries and a poor prince who is just trying to do the right thing. A secret society of monks and an even more secret prophecy. And two young women who just want to run away and live free.

The characters, the main ones are Safiya, Safi for short and Iseult.  Safi is what is known as a Truthwitch, a rare type of witch and one that would either be used for political gain or killed so someone can't use her. For this reason her power has been kept secret. Iseult is a Threadwitch, she can see the threads, the futures of others, but it isn't exact. Her race is looked down upon, actually she experiences fierce racism, insults, spitting, cursing (actual curses) as soon as someone recognizes her from her pale skin and dark hair. I wasn't quite clear if it was because of what she could do ( most Threadwitches can cast spells, but Iseult has no such power) or if it was simply because of her race. Her family was described like they were part of a wandering tribe, perhaps they had no homeland. I wasn't clear on that.

The bond between Safi and Iseult is like nothing I've seen, it's stronger than any sisters and any lovers. The characters are both warm in their own way. Safi is easier to know because she is impulsive and loud. She can talk herself out of most situations.  Iseult is quieter, the thinker and planner and slow to make herself known, the cleanup person. She lets her sword skills do her talking only if Safi needs help. The chapters that are from Safi or Iseult's point of view made me warm to them almost immediately seeing how they would die for each other. They are definitely a team, one doesn't really function as well without the other so wherever they end up, it will have to be together. I just see them withering without one another. They don't think of themselves at all or the trouble they are currently in, it is always for the other one. Safi never feels herself above Iseult even though she is actually close to royalty and Iseult is almost an outcast because of her race, if not for Safi.  As later characters come into the story, I was able to get a picture of how others saw them. Its an interesting way to develop a character, but it worked really well. The slurs and insults hurled at Iseult were quite jarring when I knew just how far she would go for her friend, I knew her as a person and didn't even really understand what she looked like until the slurs started. Then I thought "if they only knew what she's done..." And isn't that just as true today?? Judged by looks before we even know who a person is.

Both of them are educated and skilled at sword and knife fighting. They do not need to be rescued by any men, they are equal to or better than most of the men in the book. Before their troubles started in the book, the women had plans to run off and find a place where they could live together and be free of their impending futures. They are Threadsisters, best friends, soul sisters.

There is another character that comes in later that becomes a main character, Prince Merik. He is young, as young as Safi and Iseult. He is a Windwitch, a useful power as he is Commander of the Navy of his country, but it has little power behind the title. His country was ravaged in the last war, the soil and water poisoned by Earth and Water Witches when the larger countries turned on his small country. He is desperate to make some kind of trade agreement with anyone in the capital city and strikes a deal that puts his destiny in the direct path of Safi's and Iseult's because they come as a pair. I like Merik. He appears strong and self assured. But when we read chapters from his point of view, we see that he is just as unsure of himself as Safi or even more so. He's trying to do the right thing, by everyone. The relationship between him and whoever, is very slow to develop. It is very much in the back of the storyline, but just enough to make me happy.

The pacing of the story is fast, there isn't a lot of down time. I like that because the book is 400 pages. The writing is succinct. It isn't complicated. The story is very sophisticated so that you have to pay attention and any of that other stuff would get in the way. Yes, there are words like Threadbrother and Threadsister that we don't know immediately what they are but you should be able to understand it from the context. I like made up language in stories as long as I can figure out what it means. It goes along with the made up world. There should be made up language, powers, people, monsters and countries in a good fantasy.

Susan Dennard could have left everything happy and in a good place at the end of the book, but she chose a different kind of ending. It isn't sad or a cliffhanger. But let's just say everyone isn't happy. I doubt it will remain that way for long when the next book opens given the pacing of this book. I'm satisfied with the ending but you have to read to the very last sentence to get to that point. Don't cheat either. You'll deprive yourself of all the fun of getting there!

This is a sweeping fantasy-epic if I may say. Great characters with strong female bonds. A slow building romance (truce at this point). And a lot at stake for Safi, Merik and Iseult. I'm eager for the next book in the series! Highly recommended!

There is some violence in this book but not very graphic. No sexual content. No profanity.

You can find Susan Dennard at Website and you can find out more about Witchlands at the official website that has interviews with Dennard and excerpts and interesting tidbits to make you want to read the book. You can find it at

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Old Posts Showing up in your Email?


So, that is the backyard, my lab LOVES the snow! And that's the view from the front porch. In North Carolina, snow events are kind of like preparing for hurricanes in Florida, everyone buys out the grocery store. It's serious to me because even though I lived in New England for two years with a couple of feet of snow on the ground from December to late April, I still don't know how to drive in it. Plus, we don't get snow that often so our neighborhood won't get treated for ice for a couple of days. We just don't have the resources or equipment that they have in the other states that are used to the snow. So yes, it's just a little bit of snow, a laughable amount compared to New England, but we really do have to shut down when we get snow and ice. The highway gets treated but with limited trucks and treatments, we do the best we can. I'm so lucky that my house is warm and dry and husband knows what to do with the plumbing to keep it from freezing. We have plenty of food and I found that wearing a hat inside keeps me warm. So if you have trouble staying warm inside you might want to give that a try. I'm not winning any beauty contests, but I'm warm!

Speaking of maintaining things, my email subscription seems to have a problem, or is that just me? I got a post from October today. What about you? Does anyone even subscribe to me by email? I don't blog for stats (obviously) or I would have really had a breakdown last year. But I don't want to clog up your email with old posts you've already received. I'm doing some cleanup on my blog but I'm finding Google is difficult to work with when doing that. I'm not sure how to fix the email problem but would someone let me know if you're receiving old posts? If so, I'll search for a way to fix the problem.

I hope you are all warm, safe and have plenty of books to read!

Look in the mirror and tell yourself how great you are! Then believe it!!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey (Sequel to The 5th Wave)

The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey

I'm not bothering with giving you the synopsis anymore. If you want to read it, you can click the Goodreads link. More often than not it gives too much away. When I read the synopsis for this on Goodreads I knew who had survived The 5th Wave just from the characters they listed so don't go there for you synopsis if you don't want it spoiled.

Of course, just because they survived the first book doesn't mean they will survive The Infinite Sea which, by the way is metaphorical. There is no great rush of water over the lands that wipes everything else out and survivors are living on canoes and kayaks. No still hobbling along in abandoned buildings and forests. But we find that the aliens are even more insidious than we were led to believe. Oh, the crushing blows that deals and the almost complete helpless and hopelessness it shoves in our faces, it drives home. Nothing can save us, not even our humanity.

The Infinite Sea is mainly Ringer's story and we find out how she fared in the early part of the alien assault on earth. She wasn't doing great before they arrived so she's traded one kind of harsh existence for another. We also see the backgrounds of Poundcake, the boy that never speaks and we can understand why. The devastation again, wreaked by the aliens is complete. Not just wreaking havoc on the planet, but the people. Not just killing them, but killing their will to fight, their reason to go on. With each death they are more and more evil. Think the devil times a hundred because only he would think using the most innocent among us against us.

I've seen a lot of people say this second book was a sophomore slump or that it didn't move the story line along. I don't see how they can say that. It just build deeper and deeper on the despair and betrayal again and again. Just when you believe the story couldn't twist anymore, that you know who the bad guy is, a brick hits you in the side of the head and you wake up to see what was there all the time but you just didn't want to see it. The other characters, Poundcake, Dumbo, Cassie, Zombie, Sam and Teacup all have their own parts to play in this story but they take a backseat for the most part to Ringer's story. She is the focal point, the battle between her and Vosch. Ringer is tough, so tough and I knew I liked her. I'm just hoping she can keep her hard edge. I don't see where the series is headed at this point. Last Star....sounds ominous to me. Is Earth the last viable planet? I'm not sure what the aliens really want. And how the hell are the survivors going to find out? And please someone kill Vosch. Put a bullet between his eyes. Someone please. He has got to die!!

Again excellent succinct storytelling. A lot of violence but I don't see anything a mature 10  and up couldn't read. You know they're gonna go see the movie. Though you might want to read the prologue before you give it to your children. Maybe your sensitive children would have a difficult time with how the young (real young) children are being used. I had a hard time with it and I'm a grown adult. But kids these days, maybe they just write it off as fiction. I still highly recommend it!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

So, I saw the movie trailer and was sufficiently intrigued. Not that I needed a lot of convincing. My fellow blogger and friend Heidi at Rainy Day Ramblings has raved about this one. I have about 650 "friends" on Goodreads and I believe this book has been reviewed by more of my "friends" than any other book I've read. Honestly, I didn't even own this book until the movie trailer started showing on the t.v. screen and then I was hooked. And it's a shame that I bought not one, but two more books because I have a BOOK ROOM! My blog name is real. But I could have worse habits.

First the narration is unique. It starts out with Cassie, a young female who is telling us what happened when the mothership parked above the planet. She is somewhat detached as she recounts what happens in each wave. Interspersed are real time chapters and other narrators. It sounds complicated but it isn't and I think the way the "waves" are recounted is done well. There would be way too much detail to go into earthquakes and tsunamis and all. The simpler the better. The effect is the same- total devastation. I like the uncomplicated way Cassie sees the world and describes the alien takeover. As a character, she's okay. I probably liked her more in the beginning of the book than the last part of the book. And I can't really pinpoint why that is, maybe her not seeing what she should have sooner. Maybe her reliance on someone. She lost her hard edge. But she never strayed from her mission.

I can't comment on all the characters but I will say that my favorite was Ringer. She was smart, tough, better than any of the guys and though we don't get her story, we aren't even sure how old she is, we know she isn't dead behind those eyes. She never wavers. She never loses her edge and she always wins. I can't tell if she has feelings for Zombie or if that's something he's just hoping for but I guarantee if that is something she wants, it'll happen and she'll keep him alive to make sure it does.

The story is what kept my mouth hanging open and had me explaining the whole book to three otherwise engaged men/boys who could have cared less. I can't really say much without giving the plot away but there are twists and turns and betrayals so that you don't know what to believe or who to believe or who is who. The only thing you know is that the aliens are winning. And you aren't sure what humans have to beat them with except maybe hope or soul or faith or love. Or all of those things. And I am glad that we have those things. Because we all read dystopians and science fiction and apocalyptic novels and close the book with the relief that it didn't really happen. But Rick Yancey has scared the pants off me! I closed the book and thought, "Damn, that could happen. We have these stupid ideas that aliens want to be friends with us. And can be beaten. What if they just want our planet and want to wipe us out???" It's a scary thought. I hope someone has a plan for that because I'm not sure I could ever be ready for The 5th Wave!

I do highly recommend this novel with some cautions. There is a lot of violence (shooting, fighting to the death) death from various benign and not so benign causes, and some mention of sexual assaults and being naked but no sex on the page or sex at all that I recall. So use your judgement. I don't know what they will do in the movie. I haven't noticed the ratings. I wouldn't hesitate to let anyone 10 and up read this- it's no worse than some of the video games I've seen, the school hallways or the nightly news. But that's your call mom and dad!

Have you patted yourself on the back today??


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Blog design by Imagination Designs using papers from the Fashion Passion by Irene Alexeeva