Anna Dressed in Blood: REVIEW

*****FINAL RATING: 5.00 STARS*****

CATCHALL
Let's just say that I rarely rate books 5.00 stars. It is a huge accomplishment.

Where to begin? I'll start with a miniature anecdote.

Some time ago I bought a tube of bright, electric, cobalt blue mascara. I wanted something different and fun. Well, recently I've taken to wearing it and have observed that it is very noticeable. I get compliments and comments on it all the time. It seems impossible for people not to say something or, at the very least, do a double take.

Anyway, there is a point to this story. This book is like that. It's impossible not to notice it. It's practically screaming, "I'M RIGHT HERE, EVERYONE!!! SEE ME SEE ME SEE ME!!!!" And it's beautiful and different and very, very wonderful.

THE HERO
Cas is a wonderful narrator whose voice I loved from the very beginning. He's intriguing and haunting and downright sexy. He's also beautifully developed BUT the author does not spend pages and pages going over the way he looks. In fact, I'm not entirely sure we are subjected to the way he looks at all. Thank you, Ms. Blake, for not obsessing over the way our hero looks. There are ideas, certainly, but I can picture him in my head quite clearly.

He kind of reminds me of my boyfriend, actually. Not the killing-ghosts part, but the dedication part. Okaaay, they are dedicated for different reasons, but that is beside the point. Dedication is sexy in a man.

ANYWAY. It's not often I get to read a very good book from a male P.O.V., and I'm happy to say that Cas did not disappoint me in the least. He was a wonderful hero whom I immediately fell in love with and I enjoy reading about him immensely.

THE GHOST
I adore Anna. She seems so haunted and even though she doesn't remember her past at first, clearly trapped inside it. She has so much history and so much emotions that she managed more than once to drive me to tears. Anna is no puffball (oh my God, I used the word puffball) and she is most definitely not TSTL. I loved that she was strong.

Anna is such an interesting character and I wished we'd gotten to see her more even though we saw her so much. She has such an air of mystery surrounding her and I'd love to go even deeper into her character.

THE OTHER SECONDARY CHARACTERS
Carmel and Thomas were wonderful secondary characters who were not underdeveloped and served nice places in the story. They each are beautifully characterized and described. I feel like I know them very well, as I should. Morfran is a magnificent character as well. Will, Chase, and Mike serve also move the story along nicely as well, though that is their only purpose, really. Each character is very well-written. Anyway. I probably can't really say much else here without starting to blab spoilers so… moving on.

THE PLOT
Oh my, my, my. This plot is so beautiful and original that I almost don't know what to say. I most certainly do not want to give anything away because I would hate to ruin this book for anyone. It's perfect. Intriguing and mysterious and just the right amount of vague, it blends into the story and fits beautifully. The plot is so original that it never gets boring, and keeps you on the edge of your seat. The setting and the details are intricate. Every detail was perfect, from the Victorian house to the elaborate but nicely slowly moving descriptions of magic. Magic, also, was not overused or clich├ęd. I'm afraid to say more, so.


THE ROMANCE
(Someone pointed out to me that I forgot to write this section. I actually totally meant to leave it out. *LIE*)
Anyway, the romance was beautiful. It was not developed too quickly and it had real substance. It wasn't shoved in my face. It was subtle but it was most definitely there. Cas and Anna make a sweet, if tragic, pair, and I will be looking forward to how this plays out later on. 


THE WRITING
Ahhh!! I love Ms. Blake's writing. It's lovely and detailed and not insipid or vapid at all. It definitely contributes to the beauty of the story, and, as aforementioned, I adore Cas' voice. It is realistic and intelligent and rings true. The writing is never boring, but brings to life the characters and plot and setting of the book and makes them real and visible.

THE ENDING
Beautifully written ending with an awful cliffhanger. Awful because the next book does not arrive until early next August. The ending was relevant and didn't feel thrown in but seemed well-thought-out. It didn't feel overused but original. It was definitely a ver good way to end the book and I'm not sure it could have been better.

WRAPUP
I will absolutely be reading the sequel as soon as I can possibly get my hands on it. This book left me aching for Girl of Nightmares.

FINE.



My list:

Hey there!

Guess what? I celebrated my birthday this week. :) My facebook wall was flooded with birthday wishes, my day went very well despite it being a work day...and my hubby, the dear sweet man, spoiled me. What more can a lady ask for?

My birthday is always near Thanksgiving day, and if we have family coming over I'll get more wishes on that day as well. This year we'll have a quiet one. Just us at home cooking and baking.



I have so many things to be thankful for!

I am thankful that I did get to see another birthday. Having a life threatening illness at a young age opens one's eyes as to how fragile life can be. It's been 6.5 years since I was hospitalized.

I am thankful for my family. My husband and kids are so loving and supportive, and there is a peace at home. It's my favorite place to be.

I am thankful for our workplace. yes, I grumble about it and the people A LOT...but I realize that this is something that God has given us as a means to survive. There are many people out there without work, about to lose their homes....

I am thankful for being able to communicate with friends and family far away via the internet. Be it this blog, facebook, MBs.

I am thankful for the days off we're about to have. We really need them to relax and unwind. I hope to catch up with the things that need to get done at home and to some scrapping.

I am thankful for uplifting music. Be it worship, contemporary, gospel, etc. If I feel down/sad/angry...it always makes me feel better and helps to put things into perspective.

I am thankful for having access to the Word through my phone, devotionals through email, blogs, etc. I almost always am impacted by something I have opened up to read.

there are many more things I could list but I didn't want to bore you all. :) I hope that through all the busy-ness the Holiday season brings, that there is always time to stop, take a breather, and be thankful for something.

Have a happy Thanksgiving!!!!

I'm out of what?!!!

Hey peeps!

Yep, it's Wednesday, but to me it feels like Friday. This week's gone too slow for me. I'm sooo tired. :(
It seems like November's been kicking me in the behind a bit...maybe a four day weekend will help me out.


Surprisingly, this week I have seriously wanted to scrap. I have pictures, ideas, my hands are itching to make a mess....and guess what I remember? I am out of glue. Seriously!

I know...that little fact shouldn't hold me back...I have a stapler...I can hand stitch...attach with brads sort of thing...but yes...it does hold me back. Because I just want to mindlessly let my hands do the flying/moving/creating/placing. No thinking involved....

So...to get glue for my glue gun.....so that maybe...just maybe this weekend if I get a chance....



I hope that this urge doesn't pass on by....

Yep, I made it up.

Thankful Tuesday!

I keep reading some awesome facebook statuses that mention what friends are thankful for...and it's cool to take an even deeper glimpse into how their lives are going.

I honestly think that what you're grateful for shows what type of person you are. 

Yesterday, as I was cleaning up some trash at the shop while getting ready to close, I found a whole bunch of my teeniest terror's classwork. Underneath it all was a thankful list, in both 1st draft and completed copy. It was cute to see what her list included.

Now keep in mind, she's only 6:


"I am thankful for my mom and dad. I love them because they help me.

My dad buys me stuff. My mom is nice to me. I love my family.

My dad bakes cakes, cupcakes,and cookies for me.

That is why I love my family.

I am thankful."

That certainly put a smile to my face. The fact that she chose to write about us, her family, instead of her toys or TV shows makes me think that she thinks of us while she's at school.

You'd think that was all! The girl wasn't done yet. As I looked through the classwork, I found a piece of cardstock rolled up in a  haphazardly fashion. She takes it out of my hands and exclaims:

"mommy, I made your most favorite thing in the world!"

want to see?



for some reason, the colors look off...but really, can you believe that my baby made this? I want to hang it up in a frame. now I really know that while she's off at school with all of her royal subjects...err, classmates...she's got her mommy on her mind. :warm fuzzy feeling:

Do you want to know what yummy my DH baked over the weekend? (yes, he's still baking!!!) 


I'm not sure where he got the recipe from, but it's a pumpkin cheese cake with a chocolate graham crust. Yummm....tastes like a creamy pumpkin pie. DH's so stinking proud that it didn't crack. LOL.

Oh...wanna see how my neck of the woods looked a couple weeks ago?

this is outside in my backyard...



 and the view from my front door....because I was not about to go out on the porch...LOL

Crazy, right? this was in OCTOBER!!!!

So...wait, what am I thankful for?

For fall foliage, finally! :)

For the little reminders that I am loved and thought of.

For a hubby who can bake! despite my saying to cut down on the yummies....





Covermance! (2)

The sky is dark with wings. . . .

In RAPTURE, the highly anticipated fourth and final novel in the FALLEN series, Luce and Daniel are together . . . but for how long? Can history be rewritten? Or are some punishments eternal?


PREORDERAmazon.comBarnes & Noble.com
Amelia—still caught between life and death—must fight for every moment of her relationship with the human boy Joshua. They can hardly even kiss without Amelia accidentally dematerializing. Looking for answers, they go to visit some of Joshua’s Seer relatives in New Orleans. But even in a city so famously steeped in the supernatural, Amelia ends up with more questions than answers…and becomes increasingly convinced that she and Joshua can never have a future together.Wandering through the French Quarter, Amelia meets other in-between ghosts, and begins to seriously consider joining them. And then she meets Gabrielle. Somehow, against impossible odds, Gaby has found a way to live a sort of half-life...a half-life for which Amelia would pay any price. Torn between two worlds, Amelia must choose carefully, before the evil spirits of the netherworld choose for her.


PREORDERAmazon.comBarnes & Noble.com

Elise is a normal seventeen-year-old girl until the day she wakes up in a desert park, with no idea who she is.

After that episode, her life takes a bizarre turn. She’s experiencing unexpected flashes of insight into people’s lives—people she’s never met before. Strangers frighten her with warnings about the approaching Shadows. And although Elise has never had a boyfriend, she suddenly finds herself torn between two handsome but very different young men: Abe, the charming bad boy whose affect on her both seduces and frightens her, and the mysterious Harlin, who’s new to town but with whom Elise feels an urgent, elemental connection—almost as if they are soul mates.

Now Elise begins to question everything about her life. Why do these guys both want her so desperately? What are the Shadows? Why does the name Charlotte inspire a terrifying familiarity? And who is Elise, really?



PREORDERAmazon.comBarnes & Noble.com

The Merchant's Daughter: REVIEW

****FINAL RATING: 4.50 STARS**** 

CATCHALL 
This was my first read from this author but it certainly will not be my last. The beautiful love story is romantic and everything about the book is absolutely lovely. I burned through it so quickly and I simply could not get enough. Every page left me yearning for more. This gorgeous retelling of Beauty and the Beast is marvelous. 

THE HEROINE 
Annabel is a beautiful and complex character and I loved her from the start. And I'm not just being biased because of the whole name thing. ;) She usually makes good decisions and always seems to try to truly make the right choice, taking herself into consideration without being completely selfish. It's a trait that seems so rare in YA heroines these days and I loved seeing it here. Annabel is strong and independent and shows over and over again that she doesn't need anyone else's opinion to survive on her own. Annabel is also so brave. I admired that in her, as well as her strong faith, which is another thing sorely lacking in YA reading these days. Annabel is an incredible exemplar of female strength and I loved that both about her and about this book as a whole. 

THE LOVE INTEREST 
Ranulf is a haunting and gorgeous character who immediately intrigued me. As the book progressed, I got to know him better and better, as opposed to hearing about the same traits over and over again or nothing at all. He continually develops throughout the novel. He has a little bit of darkness to him but buried underneath his outward appearance lies a sweet man. He has much more substance than many YA male leads. I thought he was a very well-written character. He blossoms beautifully throughout the novel. Ranulf is definitely one of the better characters in this book. 

THE PLOT 
Ah, the plot of this novel was pretty and fairly original considering that it was a retelling. First and foremost it was a love story, but it also has themes of independence and a lot of faith. There's a lot of content in the Bible readings that take place throughout the novel. Annabel's plight also serves as an entertaining plot line for the romance to write itself on. There's no really dull points and it moves at a nice pace, not too slowly but not too quickly. 

THE ROMANCE 
Annabel's and Ranulf's romance is sweet and believable. It is a tad underdeveloped, but overall I really liked it and felt it was much nicer done. And there's definitely no insta-love. No love triangle either, which was quite refreshing. The romance isn't gross and it's not too insubstantial. It's beautiful. It takes time to develop and doesn't factor in for a little while, so it doesn't dominate the entire book, even though most readers will realize he is the love interest. 

THE ENDING 
I don't want to spoil anything, but I will say that I really liked it. It was fascinating and fantastically written. 

THE WRITING 
Dickerson's writing is artful and eloquent without being ostentatious. It's pretty and not over simplistic. She writes with a practiced hand and it is clear that she is a professional writer. It does not come across as amateurish. The writing was probably one of my favorite aspects of this novel and made it very enjoyable. 

WRAPUP 
It was a beautifully written story with strong characters and a sweet romance. I genuinely enjoyed reading it and will be picking up more novels by this author in the future. 

FINE.

it makes me wanna shout!

Hey there!

I'm sorry I haven't posted lately. I've been meaning to pop in to share a project or two...but I haven't been creative with paper lately. I guess I've been lazy. The weather we  had last week was crazy...lots of snow. I snapped some pix but forgot my camera. :( We lost power at our house....made for an interesting weekend.


My girls have been doing some really cute things lately...putting huge smiles on my face. How cute? Like my oldest saying: "Thank Yerrrrr....." and I respond " you're Wel-Kerrrrrr" (A la madea) She then says "you sound so properrrrrrr." :)

My littlest terror singing quietly to herself while she colors. When I ask her what the song is...she sings louder and sweetie starts singing along with her. Then a duet ensues....

And then teeniest terror again, as I take a break and lay down on the sofa, she climbs on my chest to snuggle and falls asleep...like she used to as a baby. awww....I miss those moments. I'm glad she doesn't feel like she's too old to do so.

My son....he gives me a random hug....or if feeling neglected...will play a prank on me so that he can get my attention.

Oh and my hubby...dear sweet hubby....my lilies are still making the house smell nice...but a lot of them have faded and my bouquet is slowly dwindling. so sad. He's been baking lots & lots....&&& instead of losing weight...I gained a couple of pounds. :O I need to get him to slow down on the yummies.....he made red velvet and tres leche cuppy cakes....divine. The man's got a gift.....


this is an after picture of my girls...remember when I posted about doing hot curlers for picture day? All 3 together. I love this photo. How has your family brought a smile to your face?

Covermance! (1)


The final chapter of Evie's adventures. Old friends, new ones, all wrapped up in impossible decisions. And some ball gowns. Because what's a life of normal and paranormal drama without a ball gown or two?


PREORDERAmazon.comBarnes & Noble.com
Escape from the realm of the dead is impossible when someone there wants you back.
Seventeen-year-old Pierce Oliviera isn’t dead.
Not this time.
But she is being held against her will in the dim, twilit world between heaven and hell, where the spirits of the deceased wait before embarking upon their final journey.
Her captor, John Hayden, claims it’s for her own safety. Because not all the departed are dear. Some are so unhappy with where they ended up after leaving the Underworld, they’ve come back as Furies, intent on vengeance…on the one who sent them there and on the one whom he loves.
But while Pierce might be safe from the Furies in the Underworld, far worse dangers could be lurking for her there…and they might have more to do with its ruler than with his enemies.
And unless Pierce is careful, this time there’ll be no escape.



PREORDER: Amazon.comBarnes & Noble.com
As the only Scion that can enter Hades at will, Helen descends to the Underworld in search of a way to overcome the Furies and end the cycle of revenge that has cursed the Scions. But she’s running out of time. Each descent weakens her both in mind and spirit. A mysterious stranger might be her only salvation, but the price may be her love for Lucas Delos.

As an unforgettable love triangle emerges, Josephine Angelini’s compelling saga becomes ever more intricate and spellbinding. The eagerly awaited sequel to the internationally bestselling Starcrossed, Dreamless delivers with a huge emotional impact that will leave readers satisfied—and longing for more.



PREORDERAmazon.comBarnes & Noble.com

Laurel now knows the truth: Yuki is a rare Winter faerie, the most powerful—and deadly—of all, and she is working with Klea to conquer and destroy Avalon. With Tamani, David, and Chelsea by her side, Laurel prepares for a fight she never thought she would have to face.
Filled with heart-pounding action, sweeping romance, and higher stakes at every turn, Destined is the series conclusion that readers have been clamoring for—with a twist that will leave them breathless.



PREORDERAmazon.comBarnes & Noble.com

And…

These six reviews complete the kickoff of my blog! Henceforth, I'll only be posting new reviews. Ciao!

Juliet Immortal: REVIEW

*FINAL RATING: 1.25 STARS*

CATCHALL 
I wanted to like this book. I really did. It was one of those books I heard about by random chance and immediately started counting down the days to its release. It looked that good, and was beautiful besides. And when I finally bought it, with its gorgeous cover, I was ecstatic. I dove right in. The beginning was amazing and drew me in right away. And now? I'm embarrassed to admit I own it. Yet another time where I've let beautifully written dust jacket blurbs and lovely covers suck me in. 

This review will contain spoilers. Major ones. And profanity, so if that insults you, stop here. Please. 


(Profanity has been redacted from this review to keep it and my blog clean. However, my Goodreads review still gets to feel the full burn of my anger.)

Seriously. There is A LOT of profanity. I'm not sure I've ever used so much in a review before. Or at all, for that matter. 


(Again, profanity has been redacted from this review.)

THE HEROINE 
Was I supposed to like her at all? Juliet was vapid, shallow, and selfish. Not to mention that she could never stick to a decision. Ever. All she ever did was complain about how she hates Romeo because he killed her, and then near the end of the book she remembers that SHE FREAKING KILLED HERSELF. What. The. Heck?!? There are no words sufficient to describe the stupidity of this!! "Oops. My bad! You didn't kill me. So I've been hating you all these years for nothing! Shoot!" It makes no sense!! Basically, she's wasted her entire centuries of her life. And what was with the whole "I hated myself but I should really love myself" stuff? It sounded too thrown in at the last moment, too rushed. There was no real substance and throughout the entire book Juliet felt so false and fake. 

THE LOVE INTEREST 
Um. So. What about him? Let's see, he's hot, he's dreamy, he's hot, he's dreamy, and, oh yeah, in his past life he was BENVOLIO FREAKING MONTAGUE. This makes absolutely no sense and felt so thrown in! Can you say random? Or how about I have no clue what to write so I think I'll throw this in? It felt like Jay needed to end the book so she made something up at the last minute. Too bad it makes no sense. And what was with his creepy, overprotectiveness? Not to mention his weird, annoying habit of being stupid and obtuse? He annoyed the hell out of me! Where's the good character traits that I'm supposed to fall in love with?! Why was he so shallow? Why does Juliet love him? Answers, please!! There's not even anything good to say about him. He talks too much and when he talks nothing that makes even remote sense comes out of his mouth. 

THE VILLAIN 
Romeo is the only remotely interesting character in this book. He has a sexy, bad boy attitude that's actually attractive. He's supposed to be evil, at least according to Juliet, but I don't see it. I love the two or three intermezzos (incidentally, I speak Italian.Intermezzo means interval. Which makes no sense. Just saying) when we get to hear the story from his point of view. He has a gorgeous, sarcastic voice and his parts are actually well written.He has more depth than every other character combined. he has regrets, and he made his choices. he has to live by them, but he doesn't have to like them. I love that about him and I wish there were more characters like him in this book. 

THE "BEST FRIEND" 
Ariel's best friend, Gemma, is so freaking annoying. Talk about a spoiled brat. Although Juliet couldn't seem to make up her mind about her, liking her one moment and hating her the next. So bipolar!! Make up your damn mind. There's not much to say about her, but I wanted to say this, so here goes: what was the point of her, exactly? 

THE PLOT 
The plot was, like, OMG, amazing. 

Wait, that's not right. It sucked. 

Juliet is so freaking indecisive, which does not help the plot at all. 

I must be with Ben. I love him. 
I can't be with Ben. He's supposed to love Gemma. 
Screw Gemma! Ben, let's make out. 
Go away, Ben! We can't ever be together! 
Actually, let's elope. 

Or try this one: 

Romeo, I'm not working with you. 
Oh, Romeo, fine. Let's get it over with. 
Just kidding. I want to stay with Ben. 
No! Wait! I need your help! 
Screw you. I don't want to speak to you again. 

And so on and so forth. So the book drags on for pages and pages of unnecessary stuff where nothing happens. 

Basically, Juliet makes out with Romeo to convince Ben that they're together so he and Gemma can be together. Then she realizes Gemma and Mike are soul mates and Ben is her soul mate. They make out and fall in love. A bit too convenient, don't you think? 

Hmm, you're right. Way too convenient. 

And what happens? Love. Yep. That pretty much sums up the whole plot. So let's move on… 

THE ROMANCE 
Romeo and Juliet fall in love in about five days, give or take. The author says she doesn't believe this love was real, and yet she has Ben and Juliet fall in love in three days? It makes no freaking sense. There's no substance to the romance. Seriously, if anyone knows why Ben and Juliet fall in love, please tell me. Because it looks like a serious freaking case of insta-love to me. All they ever do is make out. They never actually have a deep conversation. And let's not mention that Juliet is technically lying to him about who she is. So he's in love with a stranger and doesn't know it. Lovely. How wonderful for them that they can fall in love without knowing one another at all. It seems to me like Juliet is repeating her mistake. How great. What a wonderful message to send to the world. 

THE ENDING 
Oh my God. ALTERNATE UNIVERSES. Are you freaking kidding me? This feels so thrown in at the last second! Innocent Ariel is lying on the ground. She's going to die, and so is Juliet. But wait! Juliet gets sent to an alternate universe! And Ariel exists in a another universe too, so it's okay! Well, what about this universe?!? I hate this. The damn alternate universe thing is such a damn crutch. Jay is basically saying she had no clue as to how to end the book, so she threw in alternate universes. Where Juliet falls in love with Ben as Benvolio Montague, in her original body. Instantly. And everything is happy and cheerful. Except for the fact that it's completely unbelievable. She gets a new life in the most pathetic way possible. And Ariel can start over. But since she, you know, died in this universe, making everything that Juliet was semi-decent enough to try to do for her, completely freaking pointless! Because she's dead! So the entire book was a waste!! Why not just start at the freaking ending?!? She might as well have!! Everything that happens throughout the entire book becomes irrelevant at the end. Ariel starts out in a new universe as Romeo's second chance. Great! So clean! Except for the major plot hole: where did the freaking alternate universes come from?! And why are the Ambassadors the only one who can use them?! Oh, and what happened to the Mercenaries?! Never mind them! We got our happy ending! Yeah. Sure. 

THE WRITING 
Juliet is the narrator. 'Nuff said. 
No, but seriously, her voice is so annoying. I might've actually enjoyed the book more told from third person P.O.V. or someone else's P.O.V. Romeo's brief chapters, for example, I actually enjoyed. He has a dark, sardonic voice that pulls you in. Juliet, on the other hand, pushes your away. There's really not much else to say. Juliet was irritating and Romeo was not. 

WRAPUP 
Will I read the sequel? Probably only if it's about Romeo. And even then, only if it has a nice cover. Otherwise, I'd be too ashamed to buy it. 

A SPECIAL NOTE ON THE QUOTE ON THE BACK OF THE DUST JACKET ON THE HARDCOVER U.S. EDITION 
That was a mouthful. Anyway, that seemingly romantic quote on the back of the book? Well, not only does it turn out it would've sounded stupid because there was no love between Ben and Juliet that I could see, she doesn't even say it. She just thinks it. How lame is that? Pathetic, I know. 

FINE.