Jane by April Lindner

Title:  Jane
Author:  April Lindner
Pages: 384
Genre: YA

When Jane finds herself dropping out of college due to financial difficulties after her parents' sudden death, she finds herself in need of a job.  She looks to an agency for assistance which places her as a nanny for a little girl whose father just happens to be a famous rockstar on the brink of a comeback tour. Quiet and sensible Jane finds herself attracted the older and famous Nico. Nico finds himself drawn to Jane for her honesty.  She is the first person who tells him how she feels instead of telling him what he wants to hear.  Can mousy Jane be exactly what Nico needs in his life?  Can Nico's secrets be something Jane can see past or will they ultimately tear them apart?

I have to start this review by saying two things:
1- This is a modern remake of the classic Jane Eyre
2- I have never read Jane Eyre (I know, I know!)
So consider this the review of someone who is not one of the devoted fans of the classic.  

With that said, I absolutely loved this book.  Jane was so sensible, conservative, honest, loyal and innocent.  I loved her!  You can't help but love her.  She goes through so much in this book - she deals with the fact that she's all alone after losing her parents and her siblings are too self-absorbed in their greed to take her in, her budding feelings for Nico, the drama, new friendships, heartbreak.  I felt like I almost needed to take her under my wing - I even felt over protective of her.  Nico was exactly what I could have hoped for.  Although at first I was a little hesitant about him, he eventually won me over.  I loved how the romance between Nico and Jane was an undertone to their story.  It was perfectly paced and very sweet.  I enjoyed the time they spent together - their dialogue and push and pull.  

Aside from the romance, I must also make note on the ambiance of the story itself.  Although the story is modern and set in present time, it still had an old world feel to it.  That might have to do with Thornfield Park (Nico's home) - which was described as grandiose, yet dark.  It had a very gothic feel to it.  There's also the danger in the attic: the fires, the maniacal laughter, all the strange happenings after dark, and the mysterious servants... it was all well done.  

Although I really cannot sit here and compare Jane with its inspiration, I feel that  this modern remake will be a hit with the YA crowd.  There's romance and a mystery (albeit somewhat predictable) and Ms. Lindner's writing is superb - it draws you in right from the first page.  All in all, I found a wonderful story in Jane - one that I can highly recommend to everyone (even those who haven't read Jane Eyre).  And if you're like me, it just might inspire you to read the classic as well. 

My Rating:

Bookcase of the Week - Staring... Felicia of The Geeky Bloggers Book Blog


In today's Bookcase of the Week, it is with great pleasure that I bring you Felicia a/k/a The Geeky Blogger's bookcases.  I originally met Felicia thru Misty when she asked us to co-host the Trick or Treat for Books Giveaway together.  And I'm so glad, because Felicia is such a nice gal.  I asked her to participate in my little weekly feature and look at all the great pictures she sent.  But I'll quit yapping, here's Felicia:  

Hi Ya'll!

I was kind of excited and scared when asked to take part in showing off my bookshelves--mainly because most of my books are on my kindle :)

In May--I did this thing I called Project Bookshelf!  I am a reader, I should have bookshelves!  It went something like this.

Project BookShelf: buy bookshelf, put together bookshelf, cuss at bookshelf, complete bookshelf, move all bajillion of my dvds on to bookshelf (the single ones are all in the totes, the open shelves are all box sets--yes I have a dvd buying problem), wondering why I keep calling it a bookshelf, then creating Project Book cover (which I will get to later)

First step:  Don't be intimidated by boards, screws, nails, and what they heck are those plastic things?

Second step:  Do the happy dance that you got it all together (and yes still operating to this day)

Third step:  Admit you are using a bookshelf for DVD's---but if you look hard there are actual books

Fourth step:  Find a printer ASAP

Fifth step:  Fill boards with your favorite covers!  (This was a ton of fun)

Oh and here are a few pictures of where actual books go in my house--since I pass on the paper ones rather quickly: on my desk, in a box, on bookshelves stuck in my closet (I saved you from seeing that mess), and piled everywhere :)

Oh and where do I blog?  I have a laptop and a desktop but most of the time you will see Tonks doing this if I am on the laptop in the bed!

Felicia, Project Book Cover is so unique!  It looks like a project I may want to partake in.  I look at your pictures and see your book stacks and remember the days where I had stacks all over the place too.  I now have my own bookcases that are filled and have begun overflowing into new stacks.  le sigh... it looks like I'll never get rid of them stacks.  But then again, I'm not complaining.  Thank you so much for sharing your pictures... and Tonks is just gorgeous.  I would not mind at all having that lovely head on my lap while I blog. Thank you again for playing with us Felicia - it was a pleasure to feature your bookshelves.

For those of you who haven't passed on through to Felicia's yet, please visit her here (tell her I say HI!)


The Ivy by Lauren Kunze with Rina Onur

Title:  The Ivy
Author: Lauren Kunze with Rina Onur
Pages: 320
Genre: YA
Freshman year at Harvard--glamorous parties, blossoming friendships, steamy romances, and scandalous secrets. Skip the campus tour and get right to the good stuff: classes are for scoping guys (and their Facebook profiles), not taking notes. The library is for study dates (the medieval history stacks get a lot of action), not studying. And success is a 4.0 GPA... plus getting into the most exclusive parties. How will Callie--a California girl with brains, beauty, and big dreams--and her three roommates survive? [via GoodReads]
Callie is starting her freshman year at Harvard.  Not only does she have to get used to now living on the east coast (since she's a California girl), but she has had to leave her best friend and boyfriend (whom she promises to call everyday) behind,  and she also has to learn to live with three other girls (who are extreme opposites from one another), not to mention get used to college life.  She has to juggle her classes and studying with the parties ... I mean, it's hard living the life of the Harvard elite. 

For me, The Ivy reminded me a lot of Gossip Girl.  Yet at the same time, it wasn't all the crazy drama (don't take me wrong, there was plenty of that), but there were also some moments that were poignant and heart-felt.  This is Callie's story and how she deals with this new life - how she tries her best to fit in but at the same time not lose herself.  There is definitely loads of drama especially with all the new and different people coming into her life.  Her three roommates and some new boys that also come into the picture really make Callie's life a lot more interesting.

Geared more towards older YA's - this can definitely be enjoyed by adults as well.  It has the perfect blend of drama, romance and humor.  I can't 100% say how credible some of the situations that Callie finds herself in are or, how true to college life this is, but either way, it definitely makes for an enjoyable read.  

I will forewarn though, there is one major cliff-hanger at the end.  It ends just like you'd expect your favorite tv show to end at the conclusion of the season.  But have no fear, this is part of a series, so hopefully we'll get answers to our questions with the second installment in the series.  I also found it very interesting that both authors were college roommates in Harvard... but they refuse to confess to how much of this book is fact and how much is fiction.  I love that!  

My Rating:

Secondhand Charm by Julie Berry

Author: Julie Berry
Pages: 352
Genre: YA / Fantasy
In a secluded village, magic sparkles on the edges of the forest. There, a young girl named Evie possesses unusually strong powers as a healer. A gypsy's charms—no more than trinkets when worn by others—are remarkably potent when Evie ties them around her neck. Her talents, and charms, have not escaped the notice of the shy stonemason's apprentice. But Evie wants more than a quiet village and the boy next-door. When the young king's carriage arrives one day, and his footman has fallen ill, Evie might just get her chance after all . . [via GoodReads]
What a charming whirlwind adventure you are taken on in Secondhand Charm. Evie longs to continue her education and  become a physician like her parents before her.  When she is granted a scholarship, she sets off on a perilous journey along with her best friend and the boy next door.  But the journey is not an easy one, for there is all sorts of danger that will have her not only questioning her talents but also her loyalty.

Evie is a lovely protagonist.  She's simple, yet curious, intelligent, loyal, loves her family and although she's firm in her healing abilities she is also self-conscious.  Aside from our heroine there is also a strong cast of supporting characters - who are all very likeable and a treat to read about. 

Secondhand Charm has an almost fairytale-esque type quality.  I love stories like this.  They remind me of the fairy tales I used to read as a kid.  The adventure and fantasy, the twist and turns, oh, and of course, the romance, all made for a wonderful page-turner.  And could it be?  A stand-alone?  The story has the perfect ending - no loose ends, no wondering what comes next... I truly found this to be a rare treat.  

Overall, Secondhand Charm was imaginative and charming and a an all-around lovely read.  For fans of fairytale and/or fantasy, this is one you won't want to miss out on. 

My Rating:

Manic Monday Recaps (Week 11/29/10)

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...  can you believe we are in December already?  I know, it's like 2 days away, but I'm already in full Christmas mode... are you?

I hope you all had a lovely long weekend with plenty of family, food and shopping?!  I sure did.  I also got some reading done which is a plus.  Haha.  I even took my reader along with me for Black Friday shopping and read while waiting in some of those lines.  Oh yes, I was one of those crazy moms standing outside of Toys R Us on Thanksgiving around 8pm waiting for it to open at 10pm.  Don't judge!  I got a slew of toys that the kids wanted and they were all 1/2 off.  I know, I rock. 

Here's what I plan on reading this week:

Last week I read the following:
- Destined for an Early Grave by Jeaniene Frost
- Demon Glass by Rachel Hawkins
- Hexbound by Chloe Neill
- Through Her Eyes by Jennifer Archer
- Demon Glass by Rachel Hawkins

I reviewed the following:
- What I Thought I Knew by Alice Eve Cohen [review]

Have a great week friends.  Happy Reading!


Giveaway Results: Mostly Good Girls & Give Thanks for Great Books


Winners were chosen using randomizer.org. I will be sending out e-mails within the next couple of minutes, so be on the look out for it. You have until Wednesday to get back to me, if I haven't heard from you by then, a new winner will be chosen.

If you are still interested in more giveaways, check out my giveaways page [here].

Forever Romance Holiday Giveaway

I have a special treat for you guys. Hachette Book Group has given three of my readers a chance at winning this set of steamy reads for snowy nights!

This giveaway includes the following titles:
To Sin With a Scoundrel by Cara Elliott
A Touch of Scandal by Jennifer Haymore
Bound to Please by Lilli Feisty

GIVEAWAY: I have 3 sets up for grabs.

As always, leave a comment for one entry. If you'd like extra entries just say so in your comment or separate comments (extra entries for followers, Twitter, sidebars, Facebook, etc.); and for putting my spiffy little button on your blog. Make sure to leave an e-mail address, especially if you are leaving a comment under Anonymous.
Rules: Books will be delivered directly from Publisher so giveaway is only open to residents of the US and Canada and no P.O. Boxes please.  If you are international and would like to enter, please make sure you have someone in the US or Canada willing to receive the books for you. Winners will be drawn Sunday, December 26.

GIVEAWAY: The Dressmaker

Ellen Gowan is the only surviving child of a scholarly village minister and a charming girl disowned by her family when she married for love. Growing up in rural Norfolk, Ellen’s childhood was poor but blessed with affection. Resilience, spirit, and one great talent will carry her far from such humble beginnings. In time, she will become the witty, celebrated, and very beautiful Madame Ellen, dressmaker to the nobility of England, the Great Six Hundred.

Yet Ellen has secrets. At fifteen she falls for Raoul de Valentin, the dangerous descendant of French aristocrats. Raoul marries Ellen for her brilliance as a designer but abandons his wife when she becomes pregnant. Determined that she and her daughter will survive, Ellen begins her long climb to success. Toiling first in a clothing sweat shop, she later opens her own salon in fashionable Berkeley Square though she tells the world – and her daughter - she’s a widow. One single dress, a ballgown created for the enigmatic Countess of Hawksmoor, the leader of London society, transforms Ellen’s fortunes, and as the years pass, business thrives. But then Raoul de Valentin returns and threatens to destroy all that Ellen has achieved. [via GoodReads]

GIVEAWAY:  I have 1 copy up for grabs! 

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

Rules: This contest is open internationally! Winners will be drawn Saturday, December 18.

GIVEAWAY: Unbearable Lightness

Portia de Rossi weighed only 82 pounds when she collapsed on the set of the Hollywood film in which she was playing her first leading role. This should have been the culmination of all her years of hard work—first as a child model in Australia, then as a cast member of one of the hottest shows on American television. On the outside she was thin and blond, glamorous and successful. On the inside, she was literally dying.

In this searing, unflinchingly honest book, Portia de Rossi captures the complex emotional truth of what it is like when food, weight, and body image take priority over every other human impulse or action. She recounts the elaborate rituals around eating that came to dominate hours of every day, from keeping her daily calorie intake below 300 to eating precisely measured amounts of food out of specific bowls and only with certain utensils. When this wasn’t enough, she resorted to purging and compulsive physical exercise, driving her body and spirit to the breaking point.

Even as she rose to fame as a cast member of the hit television shows Ally McBeal and Arrested Development, Portia alternately starved herself and binged, all the while terrified that the truth of her sexuality would be exposed in the tabloids. She reveals the heartache and fear that accompany a life lived in the closet, a sense of isolation that was only magnified by her unrelenting desire to be ever thinner. With the storytelling skills of a great novelist and the eye for detail of a poet, Portia makes transparent as never before the behaviors and emotions of someone living with an eating disorder.

From her lowest point, Portia began the painful climb back to a life of health and honesty, falling in love with and eventually marrying Ellen DeGeneres, and emerging as an outspoken and articulate advocate for gay rights and women’s health issues.

In this remarkable and beautifully written work, Portia shines a bright light on a dark subject. A crucial book for all those who might sometimes feel at war with themselves or their bodies, Unbearable Lightness is a story that inspires hope and nourishes the spirit.  [via GoodReads]

GIVEAWAY:  I have 1 copy up for grabs! 

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

Rules: This contest is open internationally! Winners will be drawn Saturday, December 18.

Please forgive...

my lack of awesomeness on the blog lately.  I promise I'll be back on track on Monday - between Thanksgiving, Black Friday shopping and having friends and family over I have just been out of time.  So to make up for my lack of awesomeness... please stay tuned for giveaways.  That's right - I'll just buy your following with free books ;)  I rock like that!  mwahahaha

Hope you've all had a lovely and yummy Thanksgiving, didn't break the bank on Black Friday and caught some sleep after all that overnight shopping - and got some reading in there somewhere along the line. =D


What I Thought I Knew by Alice Eve Cohen

Author: Alice Eve Cohen
Pages:  208
Genre: Memoir

A personal and medical odyssey beyond anything most women would believe possible.

At age forty-four, Alice Eve Cohen was happy for the first time in years. After a difficult divorce, she was engaged to an inspiring man, joyfully raising her adopted daughter, and her career was blossoming. Alice tells her fiancĂ© that she’s never been happier. And then the stomach pains begin.

In her unflinchingly honest and ruefully witty voice, Alice nimbly carries us through her metamorphosis from a woman who has come to terms with infertility to one who struggles to love a heartbeat found in her womb – six months into a high-risk pregnancy. [via GoodReads]
When I first agreed to review this book I thought this would be a serious memoir about one woman's struggles with a pregancy and new baby in her mid-40's.  And although it is that, it is also so much more.

Alice Eve Cohen's memoir is nothing short of inspirational.  With a very brutally honest voice she tells you her story.  And what a story it is!  I literally read her book in one sitting. 

Just when Alice Eve Cohen is happiest in life - she is with the man of her dreams, has a wonderful stepdaughter who she loves as her own and is financially stable - she finds out she's 6 months pregnant (at 44).  Because of her age and her pre-natal neglect, her pregnancy is considered to be high risk   Oh, and did I mention the problems with health insurance... yes, there's also that.  Her doctor's tell her that her baby will most likely have some type of deformity and/or problem and that is if she's even able to carry it to full-term.  She is also too far advanced in her pregnancy for a legal abortion.  What is a woman to do?

I must commend Ms. Cohen for  telling her story in such a light and witty voice - which more than once brought a smile to my face.   She realistically captures the terror, the indecision, the agony, the worry, and the joy too.  You don't have to be a mother or a wife or even female to appreciate this book. Highly recommended.

About the author:
Alice Eve Cohen is a solo theatre artist, playwright, and memoirist. Her memoir, What I Thought I Knew (Viking, 2009) won the Elle’s Lettres 2009 Grand Prix for Nonfiction. She has written for Nickelodeon, PBS, and CBS. Her plays have been presented at theatres throughout the country, and she has toured her solo theatre works internationally. Her writing about arts in education has been published in nine languages. The recipient of fellowships and grants from the New York State Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts, she holds a BA from Princeton University and an MFA from The New School. She teaches at The New School in New York City.
My Rating:

Manic Monday Recaps - on Tuesday (Week 11/23/10)

Hi friends. I've been so busy over the past couple of days - and when I haven't been busy  I've just been so tired that I haven't been able to blog. How blah of me. Sorry about that. Hopefully, the fact that I'm doing this right now means that I am back on track.  Anyway, we had a great weekend - we took the kids to Disney World to get an early seat for the Christmas celebration.  The kids had a blast - as did I.   So obviously I didn't get as much reading as I would have liked done, but it didn't matter because our little weekend trip was so worth it.  I'll have pictures up within the next few days for y'all to see.  Anyway...

Here's what I plan on reading this week:

Last week I read the following:
- What I Thought I Knew by Alice Eve Cohen
- One Foot in the Grave by Jeaniene Frost
- Bright Young Things by Anna Godbersen
- At Grave's End by Jeaniene Frost
- Cryer's Cross by Lisa McMann 

I reviewed the following:
- Reckless by Cornelia Funke [review]  

I still haven't started any holiday books - BOO!  But I plan on starting them no later than this weekend.  I think I may be in denial - in a subconscious fashion - that Christmas is a month away.  I have giveaways and giveaway results posts coming soon.  I also have a Bookcase of the Week post scheduled for tomorrow - so stay tuned.

Happy Reading. 


Bookcase of the Week - Staring... Missie of The Unread Reader


Today on the Bookcase of the Week I bring you Missie - The  Unread Reader's bookcases. Missie is the cutest thing ever.  I lurvvv her.  Not only is she sweet, has great tastes in books and is an avid reader like so many of us, but now we have something else to love about her... her gorgeous bookcases.  Here's what Missie had to say: 

I’m so jealous of everyone who has their own Billy. Sadly, there is no Ikea in the area where I live. The nearest one is about five hours away, and even if I could go up there to buy one, I don’t have a truck. So when my book buy addiction started to become a problem, I had my dad construct me a built in bookshelf in the front room of my house that I now call the library.  

What started off as a collection of Textbooks (I was in school for a very long time and refused to ever sell back any of my textbooks) and a small collection of fiction quickly grew out of hand. Luckily for me, my dad made the shelves adjustable.

Recently, when I noticed that my books were piling up on my bedside table and the shelves, I asked my papa for more shelves. Now that I’ve gotten everything organized, I’m super happy with the results. I know my book sizes don’t line up, but I prefer to arrange them by author.

Here is a panoramic view I pieced together:
Anyone up for game night? Yes, that is Dirty Dancing, the board game.

Some of my favorite things in my library? My babies. Stewie the reading owl (he is holding a book in his wing, how cute is that?), and Henry the honey bee, both made for my by the super talented Ziggy of Ziggy’s Creature Shop.
They may not look like much, but they guard my books something fierce! 

I’ve also got a few books which I could pull out and turn to any page, read a line or two and laugh to the point of tears. They are great pick me ups:

I also really love my signed Smart Chicks Kick It Tour poster and my scrap booking corner.

I’ve got two favorite reading spots in my house. Old, ugly but comfy couch and of course, my bed.
 Thanks so much to Nely for letting me show my book space. *besos*
Missie, I cannot believe your papa did those amazing bookshelves for you. *drools*  They are quite stunning.   And OMG, I'm heading out to buy me my own Dirty Dancing boardgame.  I would totally win because I have that whole movie memorized - word by word, dance move by dance move.  Oh yes, I can break it down (I can cha-cha, I can shimmy and I can stage dive off my couch).  lol   I too organize my shelves by author so it gives it an eclectic feel - I'm thinking I might color coordinate them to change it up for a while.  Thank you so much for playing along Missie.  Your pictures rocked and it was a pleasure having you on the Bookcase of the Week.

For those of you who haven't passed on through to Missie's yet, please visit her here (tell her I say HI!)


Giveaway Results: A Season of Seduction and Five Flavors of Dumb

2. Judy
4. Tore

 1. Onge

Winners were chosen using randomizer.org. I will be sending out e-mails within the next couple of minutes, so be on the lookout for those, although feel free to send me your info if you are a winner and save me the extra step. You have until Saturday to get back to me, if I haven't heard from you by then, a new winner will be chosen.
If you are still interested in more giveaways, check out my giveaways page [here].  Plus I have more giveaways coming soon.  Toodles.
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