Book Review : Nightshifted

Title : Nightshifted Nightshifted (Edie Spence, #1)

Author : Cassie Alexander

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Publish Date : May 22nd, 2012

Pages : 331

How Obtained : from the library

Stand Alone or Series : #1 in the Edie Spence series (looks like three are published, four are planned- possibly more?)

Three Words : comedy, paranormal, romance

Red Flags : sexual situations, violence and gore, language and drugs (NSFC)

Summary (from Goodreads) : Nursing school prepared Edie Spence for a lot of things. Burn victims? No problem. Severed limbs? Piece of cake. Vampires? No way in hell. But as the newest nurse on Y4, the secret ward hidden in the bowels of County Hospital, Edie has her hands full with every paranormal patient you can imagine—from vamps and were-things to zombies and beyond…

Edie’s just trying to learn the ropes so she can get through her latest shift unscathed.  But when a vampire servant turns to dust under her watch, all hell breaks loose. Now she’s haunted by the man’s dying words—Save Anna—and before she knows it, she’s on a mission to rescue some poor girl from the undead. Which involves crashing a vampire den, falling for a zombie, and fighting for her soul. Grey’s Anatomy was never like this…

My Take : This was one of those books that were on my loooooooong list of TBR books from around Halloween. I got it from the library and it sat in my bag for a couple of months. One day I picked it up and I am so glad that I did. It really reminded me of the Sookie Stackhouse novels which I love….just set in a hospital with a nurse instead of adorable waitress in small town. Edie is a fun heroine. She is very sassy, in control of herself, not afraid to have a one night stand (and not ashamed). She is a very knowledgeable and competent nurse (I like it when women are good at what they do in books.) She is also brave and more importantly sarcastically funny. (Another thing I like in women characters as I like to dwell in the land of Sarcastia). The story is also much like the Sookie Stackhouse novels with lots of interesting intrigue dealing with paranormal creatures and their crazy rules about killing people and dealing with each other. There is plenty of steamy sex plus enough romance to make you smile a little bit when you read it (does anybody else do this??). All in all, this is a fun book. Did it knock my socks off? Well no… but not every book has to. And if you occasionally wonder what the hell she is doing then you wouldn’t be the only one.

My Rating : Seven shoes – Fun but not earth-shattering.

I don’t know if I have mentioned this before but all the cover pictures that I get are from Goodreads. If you click on the picture it will take you directly to the Goodreads page for the book.






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Happy Valentine’s Day!! Recommendations for my hubby….

Today I want to celebrate the awesomeness that is my husband. There are about a million reasons that I love him but here are a few reasons:

1) He is a great father (especially for girls!). He plays with them and listens to them. He even knows about the things they like – he knows all the princesses and little ponies. He is totally the fun daddy but NOT a total pushover. He loves to take them to sporting events, the comic book store, and teaching them important things like riding bikes and throwing balls.

2) We have been married for 10 years and I can truly say they have been the happiest of my life. I can’t say that I’m happy all the time every day but I can say that I feel happy at least once a day. And that’s pretty awesome.

3) He is an extremely thoughtful husband and he knows me in ways that nobody else does. Ex – When Elizabeth Taylor died, he called me because he knew I’d be upset. (I know it’s weird but just go with it…)

4) Even after being together for 16+years, he still manages to surprise me! There are so many times he tells me a story I have never heard before about himself. I’m not sure how that even happens.

5) He tells me all the time that I am beautiful and means it. (Sometimes that is all a girl needs to hear. )

Okay, enough sappiness… My husband loves to read long and complicated (and usually I think boring) science fiction/fantasy books. He is having a harder and harder time finding books he likes so I thought I would do some research to see if I could find some books he might like. Some of his favorite books are Anathem by Neal Stephenson (really anything by Neal Stephenson) and  Dune by Frank Herbert. So with those books in mind here are some recommendations for my hubby:

1) 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami

(from Goodreads) The long-awaited magnum opus from Haruki Murakami, in which this revered and bestselling author gives us his hypnotically addictive, mind-bending ode to George Orwell’s 1984. The year is 1984. Aomame is riding in a taxi on the expressway, in a hurry to carry out an assignment. Her work is not the kind that can be discussed in public. When they get tied up in traffic, the taxi driver suggests a bizarre ‘proposal’ to her. Having no other choice she agrees, but as a result of her actions she starts to feel as though she is gradually becoming detached from the real world. She has been on a top secret mission, and her next job leads her to encounter the superhuman founder of a religious cult. Meanwhile, Tengo is leading a nondescript life but wishes to become a writer. He inadvertently becomes involved in a strange disturbance that develops over a literary prize. While Aomame and Tengo impact on each other in various ways, at times by accident and at times intentionally, they come closer and closer to meeting. Eventually the two of them notice that they are indispensable to each other. Is it possible for them to ever meet in the real world?

I tried to read this one about a year ago and I loved and hated it at different points. It comes in at 945 pages so it is quite the undertaking but I think that he would love this. Super complicated and intricately detailed…just like he likes it.

2) The Book of the New Sun Omnibus containing #1-4 by Gene Wolfe

(from Goodreads)Recently voted the greatest fantasy of all time, after The Lord of the Rings & The Hobbit, Gene Wolfe’s The Book of the New Sun is an extraordinary epic, set a million years in the future, on an Earth transformed in mysterious & wondrous ways, in a time when our present culture is no longer even a memory. Severian, the central character, is a torturer, exiled from his guild after falling in love with one of his victims, & journeying to the distant city of Thrax, armed with his ancient executioner’s sword, Terminus Est. This edition contains all four volumes: The Shadow of the Torturer, The Claw of the Conciliator, The Sword of the Lictor & The Citadel of the Autarch.
I picked this one because it sounded adventurous, a new world but a little dark.
3) City of Saints and Madmen by Jeff VanderMeer
(from Goodreads) In City of Saints and Madmen, Jeff VanderMeer has reinvented the literature of the fantastic. You hold in your hands an invitation to a place unlike any you’ve ever visited–an invitation delivered by one of our most audacious and astonishing literary magicians. City of elegance and squalor. Of religious fervor and wanton lusts. And everywhere, on the walls of courtyards and churches, an incandescent fungus of mysterious and ominous origin. In Ambergris, a would-be suitor discovers that a sunlit street can become a killing ground in the blink of an eye. An artist receives an invitation to a beheading–and finds himself enchanted. And a patient in a mental institution is convinced he’s made up a city called Ambergris, imagined its every last detail, and that he’s really from a place called Chicago.…By turns sensuous and terrifying, filled with exotica and eroticism, this interwoven collection of stories, histories, and “eyewitness” reports invokes a universe within a puzzlebox where you can lose–and find–yourself again.
Again, sounds like a complicated and intricate story of a fantastic world.
4) The Borrible Trilogy by Michael De Larrabeiti
(from Goodreads) A small group of feral, street-wise Peter-Pan-type beings set out on three very different but related missions across the darker side of London. They are missions combining excitement, violence, low cunning, betrayal, loyalty, greed, generosity, cowardice and insane bravery. This is an epic fantasy adventure that is both thought-provoking and thrilling until the very last second, set against the backdrop of an all too familiar yet weirdly different urban landscape.
For the first time, Michael de Larrabeiti’s much-loved, classic novels THE BORRIBLES, THE BORRIBLES GO FOR BROKE and ACROSS THE DARK METROPOLIS are brought together in one volume.

‘A strong and vivid fantasy, much recommended’ “Observer”

‘There are books we like, and books we love, and books we need. And then there are books that mean so much to us that they embed themselves in us, irresistibly, and become permanent parts of our mental landscape. Ever since I first read it, THE BORRIBLES has been such a book for me.’ China Mieville

I picked this one because it had a quote from China Mieville who wrote Perdido Street Station and DH is currently loving that book.
5) The Red Wolf Conspiracy by Robert V.S. Redick
(from Goodreads) Told with infectious joy and enthusiasm by an immensely talented new writer this is a landmark fantasy debut. The Chathrand – The Great Ship, The Wind-Palace, His Supremacy’s First Fancy – is the last of her kind – built 600 years ago she dwarves all the ships around her. The secrets of her construction are long lost. She was the pride of the Empire. The natural choice for the great diplomatic voyage to seal the peace with the last of the Emperor’s last enemies. 700 souls boarded her. Her sadistic Captain Nilus Rose, the Emperor’s Ambassador and Thasha, the daughter he plans to marry off to seal the treaty, a spy master and six assassins, one hunderd imperial marines, Pazel the tarboy gifted and cursed by his mother’s spell and a small band of Ixchel. The Ixchel sneaked aboard and now hide below decks amongst the rats. Intent on their own mission. But there is treachery afoot. Behind the plans for peace lies the shadow of war and the fear that a dead king might live again. And now the Chathrand, having survived countless battles and centuries of typhoons has gone missing. This is her story.
Another long and complicated one (noticing a theme??) this time about a ship….sounds interesting to me as well.
Here we are on our wedding day!!

Here we are on our wedding day!!

I love you! Hope you enjoy these books.




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Guest Post by Sasha! Book Review : Midnight On the Moon

Hello Dear Readers! Today we have a guest post from my daughter Sasha. She is ALMOST seven years old and just like her mom she loves reading! I suggested that maybe she would like to do a review on the Bookinista. She was so excited about it – it was beyond adorable. Anyway, I went ahead and typed her review for her (word for word). I think she did a pretty good job for her first endeavor. Thanks Sasha!!

Title : Midnight on the Moon

Author : Mary Pope Osborne Midnight On The Moon (Magic Tree House, #8)

Publisher : Random House Books for Young Children

Publish Date : June 15th, 2010

Pages : 80

Stand Alone or Series : #8 in the Magic Tree House series

Red Flags : none

Summary (from Sasha): Jack and Annie are brother and sister. They go to a magic tree house in the woods belonging to Morgan. Morgan is a ghost librarian. In this book, Jack and Annie go to the moon. They are trying to find four things that will save Morgan and the last thing is on the moon. Will they be able to do it??

(from Goodreads) Jack and Annie are ready for their next fantasy adventure in the bestselling middle-grade series—the Magic Tree House!

Three . . . two . . . one . . . BLAST OFF!

The Magic Tree House whisks Jack and Annie off to the moon—and the future. Their mission? To find the last “M” thing that will free Morgan from the spell. Can they do it before the air in their oxygen tank runs out? Will the mysterious moon man help them? And why is Peanut the mouse acting so strange?

Sasha’s Take  : I thought that it is a cool book. Also, they tell you stuff about the moon like the moon has no rain or wind so footprints will not go away naturally. They just stay there. I liked how they wrote it like it was in a notebook because Jack was writing it in a notebook. I think other people should read it because it is adventure stories and I like adventure stories.

Sasha’s Rating : Eight shoes

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Guest Post by Sara: Book Review – Painted Faces

Title : Painted Faces

Author:  L.H. CoswayPainted Faces

Publisher: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.

Date Published: December 16, 2012

Pages: 358

Stand Alone or Series: Stand alone

Three Words: Romance, Cross-dressing, hilarity

Red Flags: some sexual situations, some language and did I mention there was cross dressing?

The Blurb (from Amazon):

Come forth with an open mind, for an unconventional tale of love…

Dublin native Freda Wilson considers herself to be an acquired taste. She has a habit of making offensive jokes and speaking her mind too often. She doesn’t have the best track record with first impressions, which is why she gets a surprise when her new neighbour Nicholas takes a shine to her.

Nicholas is darkly handsome, funny and magnetic, and Freda feels like her black and white existence is plunged into a rainbow of colour when she’s around him. When he walks into a room he lights it up, with his quick wit and charisma. He is a travelling cabaret performer, but Freda doesn’t know exactly what that entails until the curtains pull back on his opening night.

She is gob-smacked and entirely intrigued to see him take to the stage in drag. Later on, Nicholas asks her if she would like to become his show assistant. Excited by the idea, she jumps at the chance. Soon she finds herself immersed in a world of wigs, make-up and high heels, surrounded by pretty men and the temptation of falling for her incredibly beautiful employer.

In this story of passion and sexual discovery, Nicholas and Freda will contend with jealousy, emotional highs and lows, and the kind of love that only comes around once in a lifetime.

My review:

I can admit that I am a walking cliché.  I am the stay at home mom of two kids and I read a LOT of romance novels.  A ridiculous amount that I think I’ve not even admitted to Trina, but she must know (or does now!). However, it is books like “Painted Faces” that allow me to go forth and state loudly and proudly that I do, indeed, read romance novels.    That’s right folks…it’s not all tawny skin, muscled perfection and huge members, it can be a multi-faceted and nuanced tale of two people who fall in love.  It can be unconventional and it can be entertaining and hilarious.

Freda (aka “Fred”), our heroine, is delightfully irreverent.  I can’t tell you how many times I had to highlight her monologues throughout the book, and I’m not normally a highlighter.  She’s pudgy – yet sexy –, self-deprecating and just real.  Her take on life is fresh, witty and I have to say that I felt comfortable and invested in her story from the get go.  She’s a very well-crafted character.  She meets our Hero, Nicholas (aka “Viv”), when he moves into the flat (yes, it’s a tale from Ireland that uses great words such as “flat”, “crisp”, “posh” and “snogging”) next door to her.  It’s not one of those “love at first sight” tales.  Fred and Viv meet, form a friendship, are wildly attracted to one another, but take their time to truly know each other…all the darkness and light that makes a person who they are.

Nicholas is a cabaret performer, and here’s the twist – he’s a drag queen.  He’s not gay…but he dresses up in women’s clothes to perform.  That is part of what makes this story so refreshing…he’s an unconventional hero, and I think the stories that challenge our preconceived notions of ideas of convention and societal norms are some of the best.  This book really kept me engaged and engrossed in the story to see where it would go and how it would all work out.  One of the most surprising books I have read in a while and an 8 shoe read for me!

Rating : 8 shoes

This sounds like such a different and surprising read! I’ve definitely put it on my TBR list. Thanks for another awesome review- Sara!

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Book Review : Rapunzel Untangled

Well it has happened everybody…I have finally joined other book bloggers out there and received my first ARC (for those of you who don’t know that is an Advanced Reader Copy….) to review. I officially feel like a REAL book blogger now 🙂

Title : Rapunzel Untangled

Author : Cindy C. BennettRapunzel Untangled

Publication Date : 2/12/2013

Pages : 304

Stand Alone or Series : Stand Alone

How Received : ARC courtesy of NetGalley on behalf of Cedar Fort, Inc.

Three Words : fairy tale, YA, romance

Red Flags : none really (appropriate for middle to older adolescents)

Summary :

Rapunzel is seventeen years old but she is far from average. For one, she has never been outside her apartment due to her disease which could kill her if she comes in contact with germs. Second, she has golden hair fifteen feet long. She lives in a mansion and sees her mother twice a day. When her mother gets a computer for her to complete her homework, she never dreams that it would change her life completely. Rapunzel has just discovered this wondrous thing called Facebook…..where she “friends” Fane. Soon they start chatting and Rapunzel can’t stop thinking about him. Then she starts wondering what it would be like to meet him. That’s when things get complicated.

My Take :

As you can probably tell from the summary, this is a modern retelling of Rapunzel. When I first read the description of the book, I was intrigued by her using Facebook as a means of the “princess” escaping her tower. I thought it was a really clever way to retell this fairy tale. The plot moves along at a quick pace and there is a LOT of romance. Talking between Fane and Rapunzel, cute little conversations, many of which have to do with Rapunzel knowing nothing about the outside world and Fane finding this adorable. The ending was also interesting and satisfying and I liked the turn she took with why Mother Gothel took Rapunzel and kept her in a tower. My biggest problem with this book though was Rapunzel herself. For a modern retelling, I was hoping for a more modern take on the feminine character. Rapunzel is mostly just kind of fragile and full of naivete, totally unable to help herself in most situations. She basically constantly relies on Fane to come and rescue her. Everybody needs help once in a while but come on sister friend! Use your brain and help yourself out once in a while. Also, I had kind of a big issue with the whole meet a guy on Facebook, invite him over and fall in love thing…as far as I know friending some random person on Facebook is NOT the best way of finding true love – (trust me – watch Catfish if you don’t believe me!). Also possibly not the best message for young girls out there – “don’t trust your parents, trust that boy you met online.” I enjoyed the book overall but I had some big issues with the underlying message. I give it six shoes – I liked it but I think it could’ve been better.


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Book Review : This Is Not a Test

Title : This Is Not a Test

This is Not a Test

Author : Courtney Summers

Publisher : St. Martin’s Griffin

Publish Date : June 19th, 2012

Pages: 323

Red Flags : some violence, some sexual situations and language (older adolescent appropriate)

Three Words : character driven, zombies, slower paced

How Obtained : from the library!

Summary : Sloane Price has decided to kill herself. Six months ago her world ended when her sister left her alone in their father’s house. Now it is time to get out as well. The day she decides to do it just happens to be the day that the zombie apocalypse happens. So her plans to kill herself are put on hold as she actually fights for her survival. Sloane and five other teenagers have managed to make it to the high school and hole up there in hopes that they will be rescued or at least don’t get eaten. They seem to have found a perfect place, the high school has food, water and few windows for the zombies to get inside through. As the days slowly crawl by, the teenagers must struggle with their own issues and with each other. Sloane finds herself seeing the apocalypse through the eyes of those who still want to live. Soon the group dynamic will change drastically and they will have choices to make….who will survive? Will Sloane even want to?

My Take : First I have to say if you are a big fan of zombie books then this will probably NOT be your cup of tea. This is not a zombie book, it is a book that happens to have zombies in it. This is a character study where the circumstances of the zombie apocalypse provide the background for seeing what the heck these people are going to do.

Wow! I really enjoyed this book. I can see why it made YALSA’s  list of Best Fiction for YA readers in 2013. The characters were so interestingly developed, the story was slow-paced but that actually was fantastic for this book. These teens are trapped in the school for days with nothing to do except deal with each other and the things they have done. It was super interesting and while you don’t fall in love with any of the characters per se, you certainly can relate to their feelings. In the quest for survival you would have to do things that may haunt you – is it worth surviving if you have to deal with all of that?

Although this is mainly a character piece, there are still plenty of events that happen to move the story along. It is a slow pace but not in a boring way. I would say that my only issue with this book is that I wasn’t all that jazzed about Sloane herself. She didn’t exactly endear herself to me in that she didn’t have that much of a personality outside of her deep depression and issues with her father. That being said, it may just be the point of the whole book. We are all made up of our pasts and the things we have done to get to our present. Some of it may not be so great. (oooh I’m getting all philosophical here).

My Rating : Nine shoes – Excellent


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January’s DNF List

I meant to post this yesterday but of course my life got in the way….those darn kids are so demanding wanting food or attention. I thought it might be interesting for you to know what books I was unable to finish and why. To be honest, I didn’t usually want to share this because I felt like not finishing a book is like a failing on my part. Then I thought, maybe they would like to know that a book was super boring or maybe I just couldn’t get into it or whatever the case may be. This is all just a long way of saying, I will be posting the month’s DNF list from now on….

Only one this month!

Title : The Friday Society The Friday Society

Author : Adrienne Kress

Publisher : Dial

Date Published : December 6th, 2012

Pages : 440

Summary (from Goodreads) : An action-packed tale of gowns, guys, guns –and the heroines who use them all

Set in turn of the century London, The Friday Society follows the stories of three very intelligent and talented young women, all of whom are assistants to powerful men: Cora, lab assistant; Michiko, Japanese fight assistant; and Nellie, magician’s assistant. The three young women’s lives become inexorably intertwined after a chance meeting at a ball that ends with the discovery of a murdered mystery man.

It’s up to these three, in their own charming but bold way, to solve the murder–and the crimes they believe may be connected to it–without calling too much attention to themselves.

Set in the past but with a modern irreverent flare, this Steampunk whodunit introduces three unforgettable and very ladylike–well, relatively ladylike–heroines poised for more dangerous adventures.

Why the DNF??:

Cover looks delightful, sounds like a fun steampunky read, right?? I’m afraid it just didn’t live up to the hype.

This is one of those DNFs where I don’t have a whole list of things about why I didn’t like the book. I didn’t HATE this book. This is that DNF where you are reading the book and then you put it down (cause something else caught your attention) and then you picked it back and then you put it down again and then the amount of time between picking it back just kept getting longer and longer until you just didn’t pick it up again ever.

Although I like the idea of three sassy women solving crime, the author just ended up making them sound like snarky Valley girls. Not quite the steampunky goodness I was hoping for. It took FOREVER to actually get to them banding together and solving crime. I know they were trying to develop character but OMG it was just too much. In the end, the mystery was also pretty bland and I, obviously, wasn’t compelled to read one just to find out what the heck happened. I can’t say “Don’t read this book” but it just didn’t hold my interest.

What do you think? Anybody else read this book?


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Guest Post!! Book Review : A Song for Julia

Today’s book review comes from my first guest poster and one of my best friends in the world : Sara!! Sara is an amazing SAHM to two sweet little daughters and reads as much, if not more, than yours truly. She also happens to be one of the funniest people I know. Hopefully she will be posting regularly here at the Bookinista.

Title : A Song for Julia

Author:  Charles Sheehan-MilesA Song for Julia

Publisher: Cincinnatus Press

Date Published: December 2, 2012

Pages: 376

Stand Alone or Series: Series, but you don’t have to read the first to read this one

Three Words: Romance, Mental Illness, Politics

Red Flags: some sexual situations, some language and sensitive political issues

The Blurb (taken from Amazon):
Everyone should have something to rebel against.

Crank Wilson left his South Boston home at sixteen to start a punk band and burn out his rage at the world. Six years later, he’s still at odds with his father, a Boston cop, and doesn’t ever speak to his mother. The only relationship that really matters is with his younger brother, but watching out for Sean can be a full-time job.The one thing Crank wants in life is to be left the hell alone to write his music and drive his band to success.

Julia Thompson left a secret behind in Beijing that exploded into scandal in Washington, DC, threatening her father’s career and dominating her family’s life. Now, in her senior year at Harvard, she’s haunted by a voice from her past and refuses to ever lose control of her emotions again, especially when it comes to a guy.

When Julia and Crank meet at an anti-war protest in Washington in the fall of 2002, the connection between them is so powerful it threatens to tear everything apart.

My Review:

Once in a while you read a book that just leaves you thinking (or accidentally expressing out loud and frightening your family) “Holy Crap!”  This is one of those books…in a very good way.

First off, I loved “Just Remember to Breathe” (the first book in this series), and this book was just as good, if not better. It deals with serious issues, but the characters are constructed so well that you just have to keep reading to find out what happens. It’s a story of loss of innocence, frustration, anger, hope, love and finally joy. The author is so talented in constructing a world that sucks you in, tosses you around, mesmerizes you and makes you wish by the end there was MORE.

Crank, the hero of the story, is awesome. He’s a talented bad boy musician with a rocky past and a complicated family life (let’s be honest, who doesn’t love that?!?!). But he and Julia just go so well together, even with their outward differences you can’t help but hope they work it out. It helps that he’s also hella hot. He’s my book boyfriend of the week…love him!

Julia is smart Harvard student, but wounded. She’s closed herself off from everything and everyone, just going through the motions, trying to fulfill expectations and angry about her past. She’s been betrayed by those she trusted in horrible ways. Her family life is a nightmare, and her mother makes me feel, even in my bad moments, as if I’m mother of the freakin’ year. Julia meets Crank and he changes her whole world, helps her out of her self-imposed exile, and helps her to be who she truly wants to be.

All in all, this is an excellent book. It’s emotional and captivating and just sticks with you well after you have finished it. I became very invested in the characters and their stories; it’s just so rich and deep and takes you places that you wouldn’t have expected when you started.  I highly recommend this book, it’s a 5 star (10 shoe) read for me!

I’m really pleased to know that this author is going to write stories for all the Thompson sisters. BRING IT!!!
This one sounds amazing and is going on my To-Read list. Thanks Sara!!!!!

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Book Review : The Pledge

Title : The Pledge

The Pledge (The Pledge, #1)

Author : Kimberly Derting

Publisher : Margaret K. McElderry

Published : November 15th, 2011
Pages : 323
Stand Alone or Series : #1 in the Pledge series
Three Words : dystopian, YA, romance
Red Flags : violence, drug use

Summary : So there’s this lady assassin …. HA fooled you. Finally a non-lady assassin book. But it is a dystopian YA romantic trilogy (which seems to be about the only books I read these days.)

Charlaina (known as Charlie to friends and family) lives in the violent country of Ludania. From the context of the book, it is obvious that this is some future America dystopia where rule by the people has been a dismal failure and they are now under the rule of an all-powerful queen. This matriarchy has been set up with a extremely distinct class system where each class has their own special language that only they can understand. It is punishable by death to speak another language or to even look someone in the eye who is from a better class than you. So Charlie is in the merchant class and she has a BIG secret. She can understand ALL the languages. In a county where you are encouraged to “watch” each other and report on your neighbors this is a big problem. Her parents do everything they can to keep it a secret. To keep themselves from going crazy, the teenagers decide to go to secret underground clubs where they are given drugs and allowed to interact with all the classes. There she meets Max, brooding, dangerous, mysterious, hot, etc… Also, he speaks a language that she has never heard before and can still understand. Can Charlie trust Max? As the violence escalates in the city and danger is everywhere, Charlie must protect her secret and her family in a ever more dangerous world.

My Take : One of the great things about this book is the atmosphere and the world that Derting has built. Ludania reeks of distrust, violence and a general atmosphere of nervously awaiting possible detention and death. In the foreword, Derting explains that she used some conversations with a woman who lived through Nazi Germany to inform her writing and you can really tell. Ludania is definitely a dystopia, fraught with danger and fear. I loved the idea of these different languages separating the classes and that Charlie’s big secret was the ability to understand them all. Charlie is an interesting character in that she is fiercely loyal but actually questions everything around her. When her friend treats her badly, she decides that maybe she isn’t that good a friend at all. I feel like this is something that doesn’t seem to happen often enough in books. She is also brave and resourceful, intelligent and kind. All of which I like. My biggest issues with this book were the predictability of the story and her relationship with Max. I pretty much knew where this story was going from the get-go but I’m even willing to deal with that. Some of my favorite books are predictable but they create such a wonderful world around the story that I just don’t care. I did enjoy this world but I have to say occasionally I got bored. My biggest issue was the whole Max relationship. I’m not really sure why she was even interested in Max….there really wasn’t much going on there. She even says she is intrigued and frightened by him…frightened??? Can we please stop putting fear into the equation and pretend like that is a healthy relationship?

All in all, I really enjoyed this book on the whole I just felt that the relationship could have been written a little bit better. I give this book seven shoes – I’m definitely interested enough to continue to read the series.



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Friday Five : Easy Makeup Tips, Books and Blogs

As a stay at home mom, some things do not get done every day. When I first had my babies, those things would usually be showers, dressing, makeup, general cleanliness etc…Now as my kiddies get older, I still need to do things quickly but as a fashionista I definitely still want to look good!

Of course I love my fashion and my shoes especially but another of my favorite things in the world is makeup. Some of you right now are groaning I know. I am a firm believer, however, that if you look good you feel good. So after years and years of looking at magazines, reading makeup books, checking out makeup blogs and trying it all out on myself. I thought I would share some easy tips on making yourself look presentable in the makeup department.

1) ALWAYS curl your lashes! Even if you don’t want to wear mascara (although I always wear mascara) please curl your lashes. Invest in a good eyelash curler (we are talking $20-25 at most). My favorite used to be the Shu Uemera but I switched to the Tarte one and have been happy with that as well. This is something you will use every day and it makes your eyes look about a million times bigger.

2) Groom, fill in and brush your eyebrows. Everybody looks better with groomed eyebrows. If you don’t know how to pluck your own eyebrows, I suggest finding somebody to wax or better yet to thread your eyebrows (which is what I do). Threading is this method where they use a piece of thread to pluck the hairs from your brow into shape. It allows you a little more flexibility than waxing. If you live in Indianapolis, I go to this amazing cheap place called Eyes by India (brows are $8!!). If you want to attempt to get your own eyebrows into shape, here is a great tutorial from one of my favorite makeup blogs, Maskcara.

3) When you are putting on makeup, put your blush on first. Most people do their eyes first and then move to blush, and can end up with heavily made up eyes and lots of blush to compensate. If you put your blush on first, you look prettier already and notice that you don’t need as much makeup. I love cream blush and my newest method for putting it on is to stipple it on the apple of my cheek and then up the cheek bone followed by a dusting of matching powder blush to lock it in place.

4) Put a light highlighting shadow in a v shape on your tear duct. I love gold shadow for this. It makes your eyes look wider and more awake. It just makes you look fresher and prettier.

5) Put on gloss or lip balm. I don’t always feel like wearing lipstick (in fact most of the time I don’t) but you still need to put something on your lips. I like gloss for the high shine factor in either a peachy or pink tone. Tinted lip balm is fantastic for those who don’t like a lot of color on their lips.

PLUS one not so easy tip:

6) HAC’ing! This is what my new favorite online makeup guru (Maskcara) calls highlighting and contouring (HAC). It’s takes some getting used to but I think it looks AH-Mazing. Ever since I started HACing, several people have asked me if I’ve lost weight (which I can assure you I have not….the holidays were not kind). Here is her video tutorial which explains it much better than I can…try it I assure you it is worth it.

Trina - no makeupTrina Makeup 1


Some Blogs and Books about makeup:

1) : I love her video tutorials on makeup. I like it because they are both simple and pretty.

2) : Not for the novice! These makeup looks

tend to be on the intricate side but they are very beautiful. She does a lot of basic tutorials as well.

3) Making Faces & Face Forward by Kevyn Aucoin – The first makeup books I ever bought. These are step by step tutorials on makeup looks from every era and every look. This is probably more makeup than I want to wear on a daily basis but so much to look at and more fun to try for a night out.

4) Makeup Makovers in 5, 10, 15, 20 minutes by Robert Jones – I just recently got this from the library. I especially love the 5 and 10 minute looks he has, they have become some of my go to every day looks. These are step by step tutorials.  Pretty and simple.

5) Makeup Master Class by Jemma Kidd – Another one I picked up on a whim at the library. Again, she has beautiful and simple step by step tutorials. Many of them for daytime easy looks.

6) The 5-Minute Face: The Quick & Easy Makeup Guide for Every Woman by Carmindy – You probably know Carmindy from What Not To Wear (I’m sorry TLC’s WNTW) and she always manages to make every woman on there look incredible. She is not kidding – this is a tutorial on the 5 minute face. Very pretty and wearable.

These are just a few of the books and blogs that I use! I’m planning on posting some more of my looks based on these sources but that I’ve made my own. Let me know if you have any questions!

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Filed under Friday Five, makeup