Tuesday, May 31, 2011


Time for me to play catch-up with winners again.  So here goes.  All of these winners have been notified and have contacted me.  More winners coming later this week as well!

Thank you all for entering - I really enjoyed reading the comments for the BEA giveaways - it was fun learning about my readers and also getting ideas for more books to read!  So thank you very much and know I read each and every comment!

When You Dare by Lori Foster:
Alyssa (ImmortalEcho...)

Dead of Wynter by Spencer Seidel:
Vivien (deadtossedwaves....)

BEA Day #1 Winner (choice of 2 books from my book list):

BEA Day #2 Winner (Book Depository book under $15):
Amanda W who suggested The Handmaid's Tale (which I must read)

***I received this book from the publisher for an honest review.  I was not compensated in any other way except receiving the book for free.  I do not receive money for my amazon links since I live in NC (something about some law), so they are up purely for my readers to have a place to check out the book.***

Monday, May 30, 2011

Author Interview: Jennifer Laurens

Today Jennifer Laurens, author of Season of Eden and lots of other great YA books is here for an interview.  So sit back, read and enjoy and then try one of her books if you haven't.  I don't think you will be disappointed!

1.  What is your favorite thing about being a writer? 
Getting to write the stories living in my head. Second would be meeting wonderful friends through the books ( readers )

2.  Do you have a writing schedule and if so what is it like? 
I write 8 hours a day most days, starting at 9 and ending around 6 pm.

3.  Where did the idea for Season of Eden come from?
Ideas come from aspects of my life. I grew up in Palos Verdes, California and I adore the area. I was an only child. I had a crush on one of my teachers in high school ( though he wasn't a young hottie like Mr. Christian!!) and the thought came to me to explore a story where two people are attracted to each other even though there are boundaries set up by law and morality, that aren't supposed to be crossed. Their ages make the attraction believable and understandable, even with the boundaries. Also, I'm particular to having male heroes who have discipline. I liked that Mr. Christian stepped up and stopped things from getting out of hand.

4.  What is your favorite spot to read in?

5.  Tell us what Season of Eden is about in 140 characters or less
A teenage girl becomes mesmerized by her young music teacher.

Thanks for joining us today Jennifer.  Stay tuned for my review on June 11.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Book Feature and Giveaway: My Dear I Wanted to Tell You by Louisa Young

My Dear I Wanted to Tell You: A Novel
My Dear I Wanted To Tell You by Louisa Young
Publish Date: May 31, 2011
Hardcover, 336 pages
Fiction, Historical
ISBN: 978-0061997143

About the Book:
The lives of two very different couples are irrevocably intertwined and forever changed in this stunning World War I epic of love and war.

From the day in 1907 that eleven-year-old Riley Purefoy meets Nadine Waveney, daughter of a well-known orchestral conductor, he takes in the difference between their two families: his, working-class; hers, "posh" and artistic. Just a few years later, romance and these differences erupt simultaneously with the war in Europe. In a fit of fury and boyish pride, Riley enlists in the army and finds himself involved in the transformative nightmare of the twentieth century.

While Riley and his commanding officer, Peter Locke, fight for their country and their survival in the trenches of Flanders, Peter's lovely and naive wife, Julia, and his cousin Rose eagerly await his return. But the sullen, distant man who arrives home on leave is not the Peter they knew. Worried that her husband is slipping away, Julia is left alone with her fears when Rose joins the nursing corps to work with a pioneering plastic surgeon treating wounded and disfigured soldiers.

Only eighteen at the outbreak of the war, Nadine and Riley want to make promises to each other—but how can they when their future is out of their hands? Youthful passion is on their side, but then their loyalty is tested by terrible injury, and even more so by the necessarily imperfect rehabilitation that follows.
Moving among Ypres, London, and Paris, this emotionally rich and evocative novel is both a powerful exploration of the lasting effects of war on those who fight—and those who don't—and a poignant testament to the power of enduring love.

About the Author:

Louisa Young grew up in London in the house in which Peter Pan was written. She studied modern history at Cambridge and was for many years a freelance journalist, working mostly for the motorcycle press, Marie Claire, and the Guardian. She lives in London and Italy with her daughter and the composer Robert Lockhart.

I am trying my hardest to work my way through this and I'm giving myself about 75 more pages to see if it clicks.  Whether it does or not, I would like to get this into the hands of a blogger or reviewer (if you post reviews on Goodreads, Amaon or another website like those).  I would love to get reviews out for this book , but I'm just not sure it's going to work for me.  So if you are a reviewer or a blogger and think you could get to reviewing this one in the next month, fill out the form below and I'll get it out to you.  Open to US/Canada, ends 6/5/2011.  Thanks!

FTC Information: I received this book from the publisher, Harper Collins for review.  I have Amazon links on my review pages but I do not make any money from these because of NC laws.  I put them solely for people to check out the books on a retail site.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Book Review: A Killer Among Us by Lynette Eason

Killer Among Us, A: A Novel (Women of Justice)A Killer Among Us by Lynette Eason
Publisher: Revell
Publish Date: May 1, 2011
Paperback, 345 pages
Romantic Suspense, Women of Justice Series, #3
ISBN: 978-0800733711

My Review:
Why I read this:  I read Don't Look Back (review) a few months ago and Too Close to Home before that (review) and loved both so I was eager to complete the trilogy.

My thoughts: This book focuses on Kit Kenyon who has recently found out she is adopted and has found her birth family.  I don't want to go into much more detail about that or spoilers will be given and most of you know I try to keep spoilers to a minimum on this blog.  Kit is a police officer and a hostage negotiator teamed with Noah Lambert who has just lost a female partner and is not eager to partner with a new one.  As you can imagine, there is tension at first, but then Kit and Noah get to know each other and are facing a serious case of murders that seem related but they can't figure out who can be doing it.  Not only are they dealing with solving the murders, but it appears they must be getting too close because someone seems to be after them as well.

I enjoyed getting to know Kit more in this book and seeing more of Jamie, Sam, Connor and Dakota.  I also liked being introduced to Noah.  He's a great character and while we don't learn much about his backstory, Ms. Eason does a great job of developing him in the present. 

The case in this book is fascinating.  It seems a serial killer is on the loose and Noah and Kit are first and foremost on the investigative team.  Not only does the reader get a view into the investigation and the good guys.  We also get to see the "Judge" who is the bad guy without revealing who he or she is.  A couple of times I thought it was easy and had it figured out, then Ms. Eason made it seem like it could be someone else.  She did a great job setting up the plot and the possibilities of bad guys that kept me guessing until it was finally time to reveal the bad guy.

The romance is more in the background, but it is there just like in the earlier books.  Neither Noah or Kit are sure they want to become involved with a partner, but they both realize they have a chemistry that is more than just a working relationship.  I liked watching their feelings develop and feel they make a great team on and off the police force.

Ms. Eason has rounded out this series of books very well with a third solid story.  All three can stand alone, but I recommend if you read one (in any order) that you read them all.  Ms. Eason has a way with character and plot development that make her books read quickly and very enjoyably.  She has earned a be on the lookout for her next release reader in me!

My Rating: 4.75/5.0

About the Book:

What happens when the hunter . . . becomes the hunted?
Kit Kenyon is a first-rate hostage negotiator. Noah Lambert is a good detective with excellent instincts. These new partners have hardly had time to get used to each other when they are thrown into a grisly murder case. As evidence mounts up and more victims are found, Kit and Noah realize they are on the hunt for a serial killer. The problem is, he may be hunting one of them too.

With nail-biting suspense, clever plot twists, and a hint of romance, A Killer Among Us is the latest thriller from Lynette Eason.
Available May 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

About the Author:

Lynette Eason is the author of Too Close to Home, Don't Look Back, and three other romantic suspense novels. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America. A homeschooling mother of two, she has a master's degree in education from Converse College and lives in South Carolina.

Her website
Her Blog

Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, offers practical books that bring the Christian faith to everyday life.  They publish resources from a variety of well-known brands and authors, including their partnership with MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) and Hungry Planet.

For more information, visit www.RevellBooks.com.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Book Review & Giveaway: The Midwife's Confession by Diane Chamberlain

The Midwife's ConfessionThe Midwife's Confession by Diane Chamberlain
Publisher: MIRA books
Publish Date: April 26, 2011
Paperback, 432 pages 
Fiction, Women's Fiction
 ISBN: 978-0778329862

My Review:
Why I read this: I find this sad to admit but I have not read Diane Chamberlain before, though I have been meaning to for several years, so when Tricia Carr offered me this book I jumped at the chance.

My thoughts:  The Midwife's Confession is a deeply moving book full of secrets and the lives of normal people.  I love how the book starts with Noelle and then layer by layer seems to unpeel the lives of Noelle, Tara, Sam and Emerson who were all friends in college.  I also like how the story goes back and forth in point-of-view from all of the main characters so the reader gets to see the story unfold from all sides.

I was drawn in from the first page, but will fully admit after 100 pages it was hard to put down, after 200 pages it was almost impossible to put down and after 300 I only put it down because it was late and I was about to fall asleep.  That is how much this book grabbed me.  Then I jumped up the next morning and as soon as I got my kids off to school finished the book up.  When I finished I felt so many emotions.  This book was not what I expected, it was so much more.  Tara, Emerson and Noelle were all easy to relate to and I thought Ms. Chamberlain did a marvelous job with their development.  Their stories and secrets led the book along at a pace that was amazing.

I don't want to go into much more detail, just know if you are a fan of women's fiction and authors like Jodi Picoult, Kristin Hannah, Elizabeth Berg, Heather Gudenkauf and others like them, and you haven't checked out Ms.Chamberlain's books, then you must and I can highly recommend that you start with The Midwife's Confession.  I now must go and hunt down some of her other books - great for summer reads.

My Rating: 5.0/5.0

About the Book:
When Noelle Downie is found dead of an apparent overdose, her best friends Tara and Emerson are left blindsided by her death and struggling with burning questions. Everything they knew about their longtime friend—her natural calling as a midwife, her passion for causes, her love for her friends and family—portrayed a woman who completely embraced life, not someone suicidal.

Clearing out Noelle’s small home, Tara and Emerson encounter old photos, handwritten birth records, and sincere thank you notes from Noelle’s former patients—no hint that Noelle had been unstable during the years leading to her suicide. But among Noelle’s belongings, an unfinished letter is discovered—a clue to a disturbing past and an unbearable secret. With just one piece to the puzzle, Tara and Emerson commit to digging deeper for clues, slowly peeling back years of hidden deception that had been silently tearing apart their best friend. 

About the Author: 
Bestselling author of The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes and The Lies We Told, Diane Chamberlain returns with her twentieth and most gripping novel to date, THE MIDWIFE’S CONFESSION (Mira Books; May 2011, $15.95), about two women who embark on a investigation of their best friend’s untimely death, ultimately revealing a powerful secret that threatens to destroy everything they thought they knew about her.


Thanks to Tricia Carr at Meryl L. Moss Media Relations I have one copy of The Midwife's Confession by Diane Chamberlain.  Open to US/Canada.  Ends 6/4/2011.  Simply fill out the form below.  For an extra entry, comment below and tell me if you have ever read a Diane Chamberlain book or not (and if you have which one).  Thanks!

FTC Information: I received this book from the Tricia Carr at Meryl L. Moss Media Relations for an honest review.  I have Amazon links on my review pages but I do not make any money from these because of NC laws.  I put them solely for people to check out the books on a retail site.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Book Tour and Review: Lost in Shangri-La by Mitchell Zuckoff

Lost in Shangri-La: The Epic True Story of a Plane Crash into the Stone Age by Mitchell Zuckoff
Publisher: Harper
Publish Date: April 26, 2011
Hardcover, 400 pages 

My Review
Why I Read This:  It sounded like a fascinating premise and I'm trying to read more non-fiction.

My Thoughts:  Wow, this was a pretty amazing book.  I have said it before, but nonfiction is not my usual cup of tea.  However with such great nonfiction books out there, this is really beginning to change.   Lost in Shangri-La is one of those books.  It reads easily like a fiction book and I never got bogged down in any of the details.  There was one part early when it switched to some different characters, that seemed a little confusing, but as I kept reading I realized it was important to delve into those characters and this ended up being one of my favorite things about the book.

What really stood out was the story is about the various players in the rescue of the survivors of this crash.  I like that it didn't only focus on the survivors, but I got a look at most of the people involved in the rescue.  Mr. Zuckoff did a lot of research and some great writing to make this book turn out this interesting and informative.  Add to the story and the characters, various facts about World War II and other things going on at the time and the book is a true winner for me.  I plan on handing this one to my history buff husband next and finding out what he thinks.  One final thing that was neat was the pictures scattered throughout - it was really interesting to see pictures of those people involved during that time.  Mr. Zuckoff gets an A for effort and writing in my opinion!

My Rating: 4.5/5.0

About the Book:

On May 13, 1945, twenty-four officers and enlisted men and women stationed on what was then Dutch New Guinea boarded a transport plane named the Gremlin Special for a sightseeing trip over “Shangri-La.” A beautiful and mysterious valley surrounded by steep, jagged mountain peaks deep within the island’s uncharted jungle, this hidden retreat was named after the fabled paradise in the bestselling novel Lost Horizon. But unlike the peaceful Tibetan monks of James Hilton’s book, this Shangri-La was the home of Stone Age warriors—spear-carrying tribesmen rumored to be headhunters and cannibals.
But the pleasure tour became an unforgettable battle for survival when the plane crashed. Miraculously, three passengers survived—WAC Corporal Margaret Hastings, Lieutenant John McCollom, and Sergeant Kenneth Decker. Margaret, barefoot and burned, had no choice but to wear her dead best friend’s shoes. McCollom, grieving the death of his twin brother also aboard the Gremlin Special, masked his grief with stoicism. Decker, too, was severely burned and suffered a bloody, gaping head wound.
Emotionally devastated, badly injured, and vulnerable to disease, parasites, and poisonous snakes in the wet jungle climate, the trio faced certain death unless they left the wreckage. Caught between man-eating headhunters and the enemy Japanese, with nothing to sustain them but a handful of candy and their own fortitude, they endured a harrowing trek down the mountainside—an exhausting journey into the unknown that would lead them straight into a primitive tribe of superstitious natives who had never before seen a white man–or woman.

Drawn from personal interviews, declassified Army documents, personal photos and mementos, a daily journal kept between the crash and the rescue effort, and original film footage, Lost in Shangri-La recounts this incredible true-life adventure for the first time. Mitchell Zuckoff reveals how the determined trio—dehydrated, sick, and in pain—traversed the dense jungle foliage to find help; how a brave band of Filipino-American paratroopers, led by a dogged captain, risked their own lives to save the survivors; how the Americans would be protected by and eventually befriend a noble native chief and his people; and how a cowboy colonel was willing to risk a previously untried rescue mission to get them out.
A riveting work of narrative nonfiction that vividly brings to life an odyssey at times terrifying, enlightening, and comic, Lost in Shangri-La is a thrill ride from beginning to end.
About the Author:

Mitchell Zuckoff’s honors include the 2000 Distinguished Writing Award from the American Society of Newspaper Editors. His book Choosing Naia: A Family’s Journey was a Boston Globe bestseller and won the Christopher Award.


Mitchell’s Tour Stops

Tuesday, April 26th: Acting Balanced
Tuesday, April 26th: Silver’s Reviews
Wednesday, April 27th: Wordsmithonia
Thursday, April 28th: Man of La Book
Monday, May 2nd: The Lost Entwife
Tuesday, May 3rd: Chaotic Compendiums
Wednesday, May 4th: Dreaming About Other Worlds
Monday, May 9th: Reading Lark
Wednesday, May 11th: Life is Short. Read Fast.
Thursday, May 12th: Wandering Thoughts of a Scientific Housewife
Tuesday, May 17th: Chocolate & Croissants
Wednesday, May 18th: The Serpentine Library
Thursday, May 19th: Among Stories
Monday, May 23rd: Sarah Reads Too Much
Tuesday, May 24th: Layers of Thought
Wednesday, May 25th: A Blog About History
Thursday, May 26th: My Reading Room


Armchair BEA Day #4: Nurturing Relationships + Giveaway

Wow the week is almost over and while I have kept up with getting my own posts posted, I haven't been as good about getting around to others posts.  I am going to work on that today, and what better day than the day we are talking about nurturing relationships.
There are several topics we can talk about today, but I am going to talk about one of  my well-nurtured relationships with an author.  

Shortly after I began blogging in 2009, an author got in touch with me asking me if I would review his two books.  Both books focused on a PI and the blurbs sounded really interesting to me.  The whole books for free thing was rather new to me at the time too, so I jumped.  What I really liked about this author was he stayed in touch.  I had surgery, he wished me well, I got better, he politely inquired when I could read and review his book, and I do mean politely.  I liked that he followed up in a very professional way and it made me move the book to the top of my TBR pile.  And I was very glad I did.  I read Fatal Gamble and fell in love with the main character, Gallagher.  He's not perfect, but he tries to do his best, he has a good head on his shoulders and a definite sense of right and wrong.  The story provided suspense, a romance between Gallagher and a special lady and a satisfying conclusion.  I was hooked.

Fatal Gamble: A Novel  Deadly Codes

After posting the review, JP stayed in touch, he sent a get well gift when I went through my second surgery in a 6-month period.  Then a little while after I got better politely inquired about me reading Deadly Codes.  No convincing needed now, I read it, loved it and started begging him for more books in the Gallagher series.  The second review was done in 2010, and I think we email about once or twice every few months, just a check-in, a sharing of news (he's going to be a grandfather) and friendly talk.  He probably knows more about my boys than he wants to because I tend to gush (or complain, depending on the day) when I email.

So I said all of this to say - bloggers and authors can become friends.  JP lives in Massachusetts with his wife, I live in NC with husband and kids but we still find time to catch up and see what each is doing.  I treasure this friendship and it makes me more open to friendships with others I meet through my blog.  

Thank you JP for your books, your kindness and  your friendship!

Giveaway Day #4
This is for two more books from my giveaway page that I plan to add more books to by weekend.  When all is said and done I should have 40+ books on this page.  To enter today, tell me if you have ever met an author in person or gotten to know one on the internet.  Open to US/Canada only due to shipping costs (I do have two international giveaways going this week so check out the sidebar).  Ends 6/1/2011. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Armchair BEA: Interview with Carrie from Just One More Chapter (+ Giveaway)

Welcome to Day #3 of Armchair BEA. We've talked about me, my favorite books this year and have had two giveaways.  Today you will get to know another book blogger.  I bring to you today an interview with Carrie from Just One More Chapter.  It was great to get to know Carrie since she only lives about an hour away from me - I didn't even realize there was a book blogger that close by.  Carrie is also pregnant with her first child - a little boy and is due in August.  How fun - I remember the days of being pregnant, so the interview has brought back wonderful memories.  I could probably go on and on (as most of you know), but let's get to know Carrie!

How would you describe your blog in 140 words or less?

Just One More Chapter is a place to explore new worlds through books. Just One More Chapter was started in November 2009 as a way for me to give recommendations of books to the many friends who are always asking. It is a place for you to come read a variety of reviews and explore new books. I also host
giveaways and participate in memes. Just One More Chapter has grown into so much more since I first started it and love that it continues to grow.

The latest post I saw when exploring your blog was The Magnolia League by Katie
Crouch. What made you choose this book to read? (I am dying to read it)

Actually I was just wandering around Barnes and Noble looking for some more books to read like I don't have any here at the house. But I was there before we went on a trip and so I came across it and immediately started reading it. The cover is what drew me in first but I love books dealing with the south so I picked it up!!  I didn’t realize until I got home and started looking for reviews that it hadn’t been
released yet and wasn’t supposed to be out until the following week! Oh well Barnes and Nobles mistake, my gain!!

Crystal: I hear you - I love to wander bookstores to buy a new book even though I don't need any!

What type of books would you say you read the most?

I probably read YA novels the most that seems to be what most of the books on my TBR list are. That being said I love books in general and I don’t try to focus on one genre. I love historical fiction and I have been known to read some non-fiction. I am trying to expand the types of books I read.

What is your favorite book you have read this year?

I honestly couldn’t tell you! I have a hard time picking out favorites in all the books I have read.

What is your favorite book of all time?

This is another hard one! I can’t pick just one but I would have to say Harry Potter is my all time favorite series!

I saw you are expecting your first baby boy in August - have you picked out names yet or are you still working on it?

We are very excited about our baby boy that will be coming into our lives in a few months. Yes we have picked out a name it is Alexander Thomas. My husband came up with Alexander it was just a name he thought of one day when we were driving somewhere. Thomas is after my father who passed away last September. For the most part I think we will just call him Alex in the long run but as of right now he is

How did you end up in Greenvile, NC?

We came to Greenville because of East Carolina University. My husband is in grad school for Industrial/ Organizational Psychology which is a relatively specialized field. East Carolina happens to be one of the top 10 schools with a master’s program.  So when he got accepted we packed up to move. We actually have really enjoyed being in this part of the country but we do know this is just a temporary place.

What is your favorite thing to do on a nice spring day?

I love to just sit outside and enjoy the beautiful weather. I also love to open the windows and doors and let the breeze come in with the sounds of the birds however I cant do that as much here because we don’t have screens on all of the windows and I hate bugs!! I also loved to go ride around on the golf course with my dad and now my husband but now that I am pregnant it gets too hot for me too fast.

What is your favorite room in your house?

My favorite room in this house is guest bathroom. We just had it redone and put in a soaker tub with air jets. We painted it a light blue and added chocolate accents. It is an absolutely wonderful place to get away from everything and relax!!

Crystal:  That sounds dreamy - I think I'm going to come move in with you just to use the tub ;)

What is your favorite snack?

Since I am pregnant this changes frequently cause it is whatever baby wants!! Right now it happens to be honey buns!! I know these aren’t the best but I am obsessed with them. In the beginning of my pregnancy it was kiwi and grapefruit!!

Crystal: I started my first pregnancy craving salads and finished up craving spicy chicken sandwiches - my oldest won't touch anything spicy!

Where is your favorite place to read?

My favorite place to read is laying in bed. I also love to read in the car while my hubby is driving. The pool is a great place to read too!!

Have you explored more of NC? If so where is the best place you have been?

Yes we have explored NC some. We have gone to Charlotte, Statesville, Winston Salem, Raleigh, New Bern, and Atlantic Beach. We love Atlantic Beach its about an hour away and its very easy to make a day trip to the beach!

Crystal: Since I live near Atlantic Beach - I fully agree that it's a great place!

If you had a chance and the stars aligned just right, would you attend BEA in New York?

Yes absolutely!!! I was actually planning on going and registered and everything. I even got my press badge however then I found out I was pregnant so we decided we were still gonna go but then family and friends started talking about showers, etc so now we are going on a 2 ½ week trip. We will drive from here to Louisville, Ky then to Richmond, Ky for a wedding then to Murray KY to visit my best friend, then to
Vicksburg, MS (my hometown) to visit family and friends. It will be a long trip and I will be exhausted afterwards.

Crystal: Wow - I'm exhausted just reading that!

What would you say your main reason for blogging is?

The reason I started blogging was to keep up with what I thought of the books I read and for my family and friends to go to instead of asking me all the time. It has since grown. Now I do it cause it helps other people decide what books to pick and choose. I also still do it to keep a track of what books I have read but I do enjoy that it helps other people as well.

What is one piece of advice you would give to new bloggers?

To get as much material up as you can, don’t focus on followers or receiving ARCs focus on your material for your blog the others will come. Also meet other bloggers and participate in MeMes. The followers will come. Kind of like Build it and they will come from Field of Dreams.

Crystal:  I think that is great advice!

Where is your dream vacation destination?

My dream vacation destination is the Maldives. I have always dreamed about going there. It is so remote that the beaches are virtually untouched and it is absolutely beautiful. We are currently planning on going for our 5 year anniversary. Only 3 more years to go. However I love to travel and we will be going lots of new places before that!!

Have you decorated your nursery yet or picked out how you want to decorate it? If so, what does it look like? (I love nurseries!)
Yes we have been working on the nursery since we found out everything was good to go and what we were having at 18 weeks. We knew before hand whether it was a boy or girl we would be doing some type of jungle theme but once we found out it was a boy we made it into much more of a boyish room. We went and picked out the nursery furniture and went with an espresso finish that I absolutely love. After that we picked out the bedding I originally wanted it to be all neutrals and accent with the jungle animals but my husband found the bedding we choose in a book and we had to have it. It is tan with blue accents. We took the bedding to Lowe’s and they color matched the blue for the walls. We then bought a chocolate glider and ottoman. Our friend is painting artwork for the walls with the various jungle animals on it. We also bought a blue and chocolate zebra rug that goes perfect with the room.  We added a espresso book shelf for decorations and more storage.

Crystal:  Sounds like a dream nursery. 

Thank you so much Carrie for being with us today!  Please head to her blog if you haven't visited before and say hi.

Giveaway #3:

Give Carrie a piece of parenting advice, it can be serious, funny, or an anecdote of what your kids have done to make her laugh or terrify her (in a good way) - I could do those ;), or a favorite parenting book  and you will be entered to win 2 books from my book selection page (which I am adding more to later today).  Open to US/Canada only, ends 5/30.


Book Review: Popular by Alissa Grosso

PopularPopular by Alissa Grosso
Publish Date: May 8, 2011
Paperback, 336 pages 
Fiction, Young Adult, Contemporary
 ISBN: 978-0738727998

My Review:
Why I read this: I'm a sucker at a look at the popular girls from their point of view, especially when things aren't so perfect.  And this really sounds like a good book, secrets, a girl who is looking for identity and facing the end of high school.

My thoughts:  One thing that jumps out at me about this book is it rings true.  I've been a high school girl, though not one of the popular girls, but it doesn't matter where you are in the clique hierarchy, girls are girls.  Popular shows this.  It also shows how even girls that seem to have it all together have their doubts and I really liked this.  What I got from this book wasn't what I expected, but I raced right through it all the same.  It's not a Gossip Girl or The Clique book, this isn't about the glamor of being a popular girl.  This is more about what it's like to blindly follow in a popular girls' footstep or to be that popular girl and have people following you.  It's about the fears that go into the Senior year of how it will never be the same.  It's about real life as a high school girl.

That's not to say the book is without drama.  There cannot be a story of high school girls that doesn't involve some sort of drama and there is plenty of drama in this book, but I also thought there was a lot to think about.  There is jealousy and boyfriend issues and then the biggest surprise of all is what Hamilton's secret is.  I have to say I was blown away.  I can't say anymore because I don't want to ruin the book for anyone.

So if you enjoy contemporary young adult books, give this 2011 debut author, Alissa Grosso a try and let me know what you think.  I don't think you will be disappointed.  I think Popular has something to appeal to everyone.

My Rating: 4.5/5.0

About the Book:
For reigning popularity queen Hamilton Best, the very idea of graduation is filled with fear. She's always been the star of Fidelity High's most exclusive clique, idolized for her perfection and her fabulous parties—you know you're "in" when you make Hamilton's guest list. As high school draws to a close, Hamilton is about to lose everything that makes her who she is.

To make matters worse, the clique is slowly coming apart at the seams. Although the hand-picked members—Olivia, Zelda, Nordica, and Shelly—all have their own agendas, desires, and secrets, they do have one thing in common: they're desperate to break away from Hamilton. Yet Hamilton has the biggest and most shocking secret of all, one that only her devoted boyfriend Alex knows. If the truth got out, it would completely destroy her fragile world.

And she'll do anything to keep that from happening.

About the Author: 

Early Days and Education
Alissa was born in Hackensack, New Jersey in 1975. She grew up in the Garden State living in Hackensack, Ramsey and later Byram Township, NJ.

She graduated from Lenape Valley Regional High School in Stanhope, NJ where she ran on the cross country and track teams. She earned a B.A. in English from Rutgers University graduating with highest honors and was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa.

Professional Life
Alissa worked for Waterloo Foundation for the Arts while attending college as well as after graduating from college in a number of different capacities. She later worked for the Eastern Monroe Public Library in Stroudsburg, PA where she worked in both the circulation and youth services departments, and was the Children's Coordinator for Norway Memorial Library in Norway, ME. She also worked as an editor and writer for Journal Newspapers in White Haven, PA. She presently works as an independent library sales representative for Unique Books, Inc. and is the author of the forthcoming YA novel Popular.

What She's Doing Now

After living for several years in Pennsylvania and briefly in Maine, Alissa has returened to New Jersey and presently lives in Clinton.  When she isn't visiting libraries or busy playing outdoors, she is hard at work on her next novel. 


Teen Book Scene is hosting a giveaway of one copy of Popular, and it's open internationally.  Just comment on this post and for more entries to win, go to other posts during the tour and comment on them.  Giveaway will end a few days after the end of the tour and will be announced on A Good Addiction.  Be sure and come back on June 7th when I have my character interview with Nordica, for another chance to enter.

FTC Information: I bought this book for my Kindle for the Teen Book Scene tour and my honest review.  I have Amazon links on my review pages but I do not make any money from these because of NC laws.  I put them solely for people to check out the books on a retail site.