My Dream Book Panel/Conference

Hello fellow readers! I hope each and every one of you had an amazing holiday with your family and friends! I’m off today which leaves me some much needed time for reading and winding down after the craziness that was Christmas 2016!

Today I am joining forces with Eventbrite and bringing you a really awesome topic, My Dream Book Panel/Conference. If you aren’t familiar with Eventbrite, they are the largest self-service ticketing platform in the world that helps to connect users with things like concerts, conferences, tournaments, expos, and much more. I have personally used Eventbrite to purchase tickets for Comic Con so I was really excited to particiapate when they reached out to me with this idea. You can visit their conference management page by clicking here: Eventbrite Conference Page, if you are interested in finding out about any events happening in your neck of the woods! There is also an App you can download that I find really helpful. Also please note that I did not get paid for this post or anything like that, I just thought this was a really interesting, fun topic!

In a way, planning my dream conference or panel is a really difficult thing for me. Why, you ask. Because, decisions…decisions. Honestly my first reaction is to literally give my dream panel; as in it could honestly only happen in my dreams because it involves fictional characters! But a girl can dream, right?

I have talked about my favorite author about a million times on this blog but my dream panel would be to have my favorite author, Anne Rice on a panel with some of my favorite characters that she created.

My dreams would come true if I could see her on a panel with the Vampire Lestat from her Vampire Chronicles series. This panel would literally be a thing of beauty. Of course I would want her to  discuss how she got her ideas for creating these robust, elegant, eccentric characters that the world has fallen in love with and that I have carried with me since my childhood. I would love to hear and see them interact with each other. It would be fascinating and wonderful. Of course in my mind, the Vampire Lestat still looks like Tom Cruise from the movie so hey, if Tom agreed to get in character for the duration of the panel, it could happen right? Anyway, even just hearing her talk about any of her books and characters would be a dream for me so a panel with her and other horror or fantasy writers would also be wonderful.

In my mind this panel would be part of a larger conference (even though this specific panel would be the highlight for me!) It could be a conference on Anne Rice and her works or even a general conference on fantasy and horror literature. The Anne Rice conference would of course spotlight her and all of her works featuring panels on individual series like the Vampire Chronicles, The Mayfair Witch series and her work under Anne Rampling. It could feature the graphic novels based on her writing and the movies based on them as well. It could also feature a panel on what is next for her Vampire world, which by now the whole world knows that her and her son Christopher Rice are working on creating a television show based on the series. (Can you tell how excited I am about this dream panel idea?)

Even this panel being part of a larger conference on the horror and fantasy genres would be amazing. My dream panels for this would include a panel of horror writers like Stephen King, Tom Holland, Neil Gaiman, Clive Barker and we must not forget R.L. Stine! There could also be fantasy panels for which my dream panel would be writers of fantasy books based off of video games like Warcraft or Dragon Age. Another awesome panel idea would be to have a panel with C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien who were great friends and would probably make a wonderful panel team. I would love to hear about their writing process and where they got the ideas for their different works and would love to hear them give writing tips and plotting tips to would be writers.

My list of panels could literally go on and on because this is such an awesome topic. I had never actually thought of this before but now that I am, my imagination just literally ran with it. But yes, my ultimate dream panel would feature Anne Rice and the Vampire Lestat conversing with each other and the audience. It would be magnificent.

I hope you all enjoyed this post as much as I enjoyed writing and exploring this idea. I am sure all of you have your own dream panels. Let me know some of them if you would like, I would definitely be interested in hearing about them and whether you have used Eventbrite or plan to. Thanks for listening!

Happy reading everyone!

2016 Reading Challenge Wrap Ups Pt. 1

It’s December! That means it’s the time of the year where all the reading challenges for the year are coming to an end! Bittersweet, for sure since I know I failed at some but that’s okay, I still have some time to complete some and have completed some really good ones this year and it has been a lot of fun. Here are the current list of 2016 reading challenges that I have completed! (You can click their respective graphics to visit the original challenge sign up posts!)

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The first challenge I completed is the What’s in a Name 2016 reading challenge. This one was so much fun and the goal of it was to match book titles with a required topic. Please see below for the topics and the corresponding book that fulfilled it. You can click on any of the links to visit the review!

A country (try not to use ‘Africa’!) : America’s First Daughter  by Stephanie Dray
An item of clothing: Bossypants by Tina Fey
An item of furniture: Table for Five by Susan Wiggs
A profession: The Memory Painter by Gwendolyn Womack
A month of the year: November 9 by Colleen Hoover
A title with the word ‘tree’ in it: Family Tree by Susan Wiggs

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The second challenge I completed was the 2016 Full House Reading Challenge. This is the second time that I have participated and this one is always a blast. The goal for this challenge was to get a full house on a bingo card, participants were to read a book matching a topic in each box on the card. Once all boxes were completed then the participant achieved a Full House. The books and their reviews are listed below.

Full House Challenge Final 2016

Full House Challenge Grid 2016

Southernmost by Sarah Sadler (Author you wish was better known) 
The Other Widow
by Susan Crawford (Published in 2016)
The Fate of the Tearling
by Erika Johansen (Book from a series you love) 
The Hating Game
by Sally Thorne (Had Laugh out loud moments)
Immurement
 by Norma Hinkens (Debut Novel)
It’s Okay to Laugh (Crying is cool too) by Nora McInerny Purmort (Thought Provoking Book)
The Beautiful Possible by Amy Gottlieb (Book Club Worthy)
Not a Blueprint: It’s the Shoe Prints that Matter by Nina Norstrom (Color word in title)
Synthesis: Legion of Stateside Delusions by T.C. Koury (Author with the same surname as
yours)
Girls On Fire by Robin Wasserman (You didn’t want to put it down)
Brave New Weed by Joe Dolce (Way out of comfort zone)
Father’s Day by Simon Van Booy (family relationship in title)
Me Before You (Me Before You #1) by JoJo Moyes (Book you bought)
Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson (Setting begins with  B: Brooklyn)
Aunty Lee’s Chilled Revengby Ovidia Yu (Author outside own country: Singapore)
The Boy is Back by Meg Cabot (Self Challenge: read more contemporary romance)
The Dogs Buried Over the Bridge: A Memoir in Dog Years by Rheta Grimsley Johnson (Memoir)
The Quest for Merlin (Magimakía Book One) by Rafael Lovato (the First in a Series)
Abducted by Roger Rapel (You’d like to change the cover)
The Takers by Amanda Bigler (Dominant color on cover: Red)
After Alice by Gregory McGuire (New author to you)
What the Waves Know by Tamara Valentine (Would make a good movie)
X-men: The Phoenix Saga by Chris Claremont(Author), Jo Duffy(Author), and John Byrne(Illustrator)  (library book)
Pale Highway by Nicholas Conley (Published 2015)
Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman (been on TBR Forever)

contemp-romance-challenge-button-2016-sm_zpszhqwfajvThe third challenge I have completed is the Contemporary Romance 2016 Reading Challenge. The goal for this challenge was to read as many contemporary romances as you can. In the past I haven’t read nearly as many as I would like so I consider myself pretty new to the genre. I didn’t read as much as I thought I would but I did complete the level that I originally signed up for which was 1st base: read 1-5 books. I ended up making it to 2nd base which was to read 6-10 books. I ended up with 7 and I don’t anticipate finishing any new ones in the remainder of 2016. The books I read are below!

Me Before You (Me Before You #1) by JoJo Moyes
The Hating Game by Sally Thorne
Family Tree by Susan Wiggs
Just Fine with Caroline by Annie England Noblin
The Boy is Back by Meg Cabot
Southernmost by Sarah Sadler
November 9 by Colleen Hoover

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3890The last challenge that I have CURRENTLY completed is the 2016 Goodreads challenge which is more of a self challenge where you set the amount of books you want to read at the beginning of the year and strive to meet it. I need to update my sidebar but I ended up reading 100/100 books this year!

And that is it for right now! I had tons of fun trying to meet these challenges. It’s crunch time on the other challenges and although I know I am not going to meet them all, I am okay with that because I had so much fun reading for them this year. I anticipate realistically finishing 3 more challenges so a part 2 of the reading challenge wrap up post will be coming! I hope all of you are experiencing success in meeting your reading challenges. I tend to be super optimistic about them going into the year and I admit, I’m addicted and can’t wait for the 2017 challenges. I think I’m doing like 14 because I’m a glutton for punishment. Anyway, happy reading everyone!!

 

Blog Tour Book Review: Say Goodbye for Now by Catherine Ryan Hyde

thumbnail_516dduv1x4l-_sx332_bo1204203200_About Say Goodbye for Now

Paperback: 364 pages

Publisher: Lake Union Publishing (December 13, 2016)

On an isolated Texas ranch, Dr. Lucy cares for abandoned animals. The solitude allows her to avoid the people and places that remind her of the past. Not that any of the townsfolk care. In 1959, no one is interested in a woman doctor. Nor are they welcoming Calvin and Justin Bell, a newly arrived African American father and son.

When Pete Solomon, a neglected twelve-year-old boy, and Justin bring a wounded wolf-dog hybrid to Dr. Lucy, the outcasts soon find refuge in one another. Lucy never thought she’d make connections again, never mind fall in love. Pete never imagined he’d find friends as loyal as Justin and the dog. But these four people aren’t allowed to be friends, much less a family, when the whole town turns violently against them.

With heavy hearts, Dr. Lucy and Pete say goodbye to Calvin and Justin. But through the years they keep hope alive…waiting for the world to catch up with them.

“[A] heartwarming tale of transgression and redemption.” Kirkus Reviews

“A moving story about patience, trust, the families we choose, and the love it takes to let somebody go.” —Booklist

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Happy Monday! Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Say Goodbye For Now  by Catherine Ryan Hyde. I received a copy of this book from the publisher through TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review of it.

Say Goodbye for Now is told in the dual perspectives of Dr. Lucy who is a retired doctor who lives a pretty reclusive life in the country fixing injured animals and the occasional injured human and Pete, a young boy who befriends Dr. Lucy when he takes an injured wolf hybrid to her for emergency care.

I was drawn to this book first of all, because there is a dog on the cover. I have said time and time again that a book cover that features some sort of animal on it will always reel me in. This cover was no different. I usually like to skip reading the book synopsis so I can go into books without expectations or being slightly spoiled on their plots and I definitely did that was this one so I wasn’t sure what to expect when I picked this book up.

I ended up really enjoying it. I loved the writing, which to me was simple in a very beautiful way. I loved the characters – specifically Dr. Lucy, Pete, Calvin, Justin and of course the plethora of animals we encounter in the story (especially Prince) and what they all learn from each other. There were alot of heavy, really interesting topics brought up in the story that I thought were handled really well and made the story just very real, tragic and also, touching. It dealt with the subjects of racism, child abuse, friendship, family and also, compassion both for animals and for our fellow human beings.

I am giving this book five stars. I loved it. It gave me so many feelings – dread, wamth, sadness…just a whole spectrum of feelings that I didn’t really expect. I could not put this book down and ended up reading it in a day.

thumbnail_unknown-2About Catherine Ryan Hyde

Catherine Ryan Hyde is the author of thirty published and forthcoming books. Her bestselling 1999 novel Pay It Forward, adapted into a major Warner Bros. motion picture starring Kevin Spacey and Helen Hunt, made the American Library Association’s Best Books for Young Adults list and was translated into more than two dozen languages for distribution in more than thirty countries. Her novels Becoming Chloe and Jumpstart the World were included on the ALA’s Rainbow List; Jumpstart the World was also a finalist for two Lambda Literary Awards and won Rainbow Awards in two categories. More than fifty of her short stories have been published in many journals, including the Antioch Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, the Virginia Quarterly Review, Ploughshares, Glimmer Train, and the Sun, and in the anthologiesSanta Barbara Stories and California Shorts and the bestselling anthology Dog Is My Co-Pilot. Her short fiction received honorable mention in the Raymond Carver Short Story Contest, a second-place win for the Tobias Wolff Award, and nominations for Best American Short Stories, the O. Henry Award, and the Pushcart Prize. Three have also been cited in Best American Short Stories.

Ryan Hyde is also founder and former president of the Pay It Forward Foundation. As a professional public speaker, she has addressed the National Conference on Education, twice spoken at Cornell University, met with AmeriCorps members at the White House, and shared a dais with Bill Clinton.

Connect with Catherine Ryan Hyde

Website | Blog |Facebook | Twitter

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Book Review (Blog Tour) Ever by Jessa Russo

Ever Cover Reveal

Title: Ever (Ever #1) written by Jessa Russo
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance
Published by Curiosity Quills Press
Page count: 235
Format: Ebook (EPUB) (read on Barnes and Nobles Nook HD+)
Rating: 4/5 – loved this book!
Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge #15

Seventeen year old Ever Van Ruysdael has a secret she has been keeping along with her parents and best friend Jessie. Two years ago Ever and her best friend/longtime crush/boy next door Frankie were in a fatal car accident from which Ever survived but Frankie didn’t. But ever since the night of the accident, Frankie’s ghost has taken up residence in the Van Ruysdael house and Ever’s friendship as well as her romantic feelings for Frankie have managed to withstand the bonds of death. That is until the sexy and mysterious new neighbor Toby moves into Frankie’s old house. Ever finds herself falling for Toby and is torn between her growing feelings for him and her ever present feelings for Frankie. Seeing no possibility of a future with Frankie (he is a ghost after all), Ever spends more and more time with Toby getting to experience things she never has before. But Toby is also hiding a secret, one that will rock Ever’s world to the core and have consequences for everyone involved, especially for Ever and Frankie.

I would like to start by thanking Jessa Russo for allowing me to be a part of her Review Only Blog Tour. I received a copy of Ever (Ever #1) to read and review for her Blog Tour. This is actually the first Blog Tour I’ve participated in and I am hoping it won’t be my last. I am all for supporting our wonderful writers and their works!

First off, I absolutely fell in love with the cover of Ever! It is breathtakingly beautiful (as you can see from the image above!) Of course before reading the book I hadn’t really noticed that the guy is transparent but when I finished the book and looked back at the cover, I had one of those (aha!) moments where the pieces fit together and you’re like “yes, yes I see it now!” I actually had quite a few of those moments while reading Ever.
One thing I really liked about this book is that it pulls you in right from the start of it. If you read the first page, or even the first paragraph you just immediately feel the need to read more. You’re just compelled to do it and from then on it’s pretty hard to stop reading it because you just need to know what happens next. I didn’t find the story line predictable which I always think is great in a book so this story was fresh and original. We get the story from Ever’s perspective which I liked because now after reading it I feel like I’m Ever’s best friend and like she’s been confiding in me the whole time.
There is quite a bit of story to this novel, there are lot of things going on in this book so a few times I felt a little lost because there was so much happening. It was frustrating for me BUT it was essentially, a good thing. Even though I had a few moments of feeling lost everything gets pieced together really nicely and instead of guessing outcomes before Ever does (which tends to happen in a lot of stories) we find ourselves finding things out when Ever does so I really liked that. I think after the initial pull of the story I lost a bit of interest but I’m the type of reader that even if a book loses my interest I keep reading because I can’t bear to not finish a book. I am really really glad I have that habit because I was rewarded for it. I ended up loving Ever and I can’t wait to see what happens in the next book in the series Evade (Ever #2) because talk about a cliffhanger! When this book ends it’s so frustrating because it’s like, oh my God that did not just happen. Definitely recommend giving this a read if you are a fan of YA Paranormal Romance or even YA Contemporary Romance.

The author of Ever, Jessa Russo, is hosting a rafflecopter on her website! The prize is a signed paperback copy of Ever AND Evade! You are definitely going to want to visit her website and enter the contest! Also, read more about the author on her website and follow on twitter! Don’t forget to add Ever and Evade to your Goodreads TBR list!

 

(Sidenote: As a “Librarian in training” I squealed a little on the inside when there was a Library scene and reference services was mentioned. Yesss! I just had to mention that, maybe I’ll make pointing out Library scenes a thing on my blog. Maybe!)

Happy Reading/Blogging y’all!

Book Review: Crossed by Ally Condie

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Title: Crossed (Matched #2) written byAlly Condie
Genre: YA Fiction – Dystopian Romance
Published by Penguin Group, USA
Page count: 409
Format: Ebook (read on Barnes and Nobles Nook HD+)
Rating: 4/5 – I really liked this book!
Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge #16 (skipped 15 on purpose because it’s part of a blog tour and will be posted in a few days, AHHH)

After having lost the love of her life to the society, Cassia Reyes is back in the second installment of the Matched series, to find him. Not only does she go after Ky but she is also in search of something much bigger than the both of them: The Rising. Having experienced what she did in Oria and in the work camps, Cassia is more convinced than ever that she belongs in the Rising, a rebel group that has infiltrated the society and fights for a world free from society rule. After travelling through the Carving to find him, Ky and Cassia are reunited and Cassia finds herself pulled into the path of the unknown as she encounters more secrets, truth, hardship, loss, betrayal and immense love.

The Matched series is fast becoming one of my most favorite series ever. Although I didn’t love Crossed nearly as much as I fell head over heels in love with the first book Matched, I really really really liked this book. I think one of my favorite things about it are Ky’s parts of the story…the chapters where the story is delivered through Ky’s eyes whereas in Matched we get the story from Cassia’s perspective. I liked getting to see how Ky’s mind worked and the reasons behind his actions and getting to view Cassia and their situation through his unique lens.  There were some really great moments in this book that had my heart just about die in my chest. This series does that to me repeatedly which is definitely a good thing.

I really liked the cast of characters in this one although I was a little sad that we didn’t get to see much of Xander at all except having the rest of the characters talk about him. I’m glad we find out his secret too! Finding out about his secret was one of those moments where I almost died. I don’t want to give away any of the story but if you’ve read it…towards the end when she talks about going to meet “him”, who do you think she’s talking about? Who do you HOPE she’s talking about? I’m completely torn as to who I think is best for Cassia. I really like Ky and the way he see’s Cassia but maybe in the next book we’ll be in Xanders head!! There are alot of questions I still have like, how things are back in Oria are, how Cassia’s family is faring in their new home, how Cassia feels about her assignment from the Rising and whether Ky is the Pilot.

It honestly took me a little bit to get into the book but I think that had more to do with my crazy busy school schedule than anything else because the story was really very good. As always with this series, I loved the writing. One of the great things about the Matched series too are the poems Ally Condie chooses to incorporate into the story which is cool because one of the poem basically becomes Cassia’s fuel for finding the rising.

I highly recommend Crossed or if you haven’t read Matched read it! Then you can read this one! It will not disappoint! I am definitely looking forward to picking up the third one: Reached.

Book Review: City of Glass (The Mortal Instruments #3) by Cassandra Clare

Title: City of Glass (The Mortal Instruments #3) written by Cassandra Clare
Genre: YA Ficton, YA Paranormal
Published by Margaret K. McElderberry Books
Page count: 376
Format: Ebook (read on Barnes and Noble’s Nook HD+)
Rating: 5/5 – this book was so good it hurts
Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge #12

Clary and her fellow Nephilim are back in the third book in the Mortal Instuments series. This third installation picks up exactly where the second one left us with Clary preparing to journey through a portal with the Lightwoods to Alicante in Idris a.k.a The City of Glass in order to meet a warlock who can help her awaken her mother from her potion induced coma. The City of Glass is the Shadowhunter hometown and is called the City of Glass because of the warded glass towers whose powerful wards have been spelled to keep demons out. Downworlders and really anybody that is not formally welcomed by the Clave is strictly forbidden from entering. Through a turn of events, The Lightwoods along with Jace and a pretty badly hurt Simon journey through the portal without Clary. Angry about being left behind, Clary creates her own portal to Alicante and accidentally takes Luke (a downworlder) with her. Little does Clary know 1) how much trouble she is going to be in with literally everyone and 2) what a ticking time bomb she is walking into.

As Valentine’s plans come to fruition and he gathers the Mortal Instruments and his demon army to wreak havoc upon the City of Glass new alliances are forged, relationships shatter while others gain strength, secrets are revealed, loved ones are lost and difficult choices are made. What will happen next?

I gave City of Glass a very much deserved 5 out of 5 rating. Wow, Cassandra Clare, just wow. This book really was everything I was hoping for and much more. I love the way this story picks right up after the second book. Even though I read more than a few books between them I still feel like there was no pause, it was just a seamless transition from the second book to this one, I love that. The writing of course, is beautiful…I loved discovering the City of Glass through Clary’s eyes and the descriptions that Clare has masterfully woven together for us.

I think my love for this series grows with each book I read of it. I felt like there was so much more action, so much more peril, and so much more feeling in this book than in the first two but that’s to be expected as the story grows as well as our relationship with the characters. One thing I really loved about this book was that a lot of my questions regarding the characters and their histories/relationships were answered. The only things that left me with questions were the whole thing with Clary and the Seelie Queen at the end and the whole thing with Simon and the Mark of Cain . Those are going to be two very interesting things to see develop in the next book (hopefully?!) I liked getting to see more of the other Shadowhunters and their politics within the Clave as well. I had also really wondered about Hodge and Raphael so it was great to see them in this story and sort of have those characters wrapped up a little.

One thing I especially liked was that we get to see angels in this book (Raziel and Ithuriel) and Clary actually interacts with both of them. How amazing was it to see Raziel, from whose blood the Nephilims were born) wreak divine justice on Valentine? Ugh and that moment when Clary opens her eyes and Jace is standing before her in all his splendor after having just been dead a few moments before! How happy are we that Clary and Jace are NOT, I repeat NOT brother and sister?! It was a little obvious towards the middle of the book but the ride was that much more intense knowing that there was a possibility that they weren’t! This book was too good! As you can see I definitely loved it. I can’t even handle the fact that there’s more of this series lol but I’m really glad because I can’t part with the characters just yet. I know I’m coming really late to these books and this series but I am actually kind of glad since I don’t have to wait to read them if I don’t want to. Also I feel I must mention the cover of this book which is once again jaw dropping. All the book covers in this series are absolutely gorgeous! This review definitely contained a few spoilers so if you haven’t read these books sorry for that, but you should still read them because they are really really good. I stayed up until four in the morning to finish this one and it was well worth it!

I haven’t yet decided which book I am reading next but stay tuned! I have fallen a book behind because of my school work but I am hoping to have that rectified this week. Happy reading everyone!

Book Review: Love and Other Perishable Items by Laura Buzo

Title: Love and Other Perishable Items written by Laura Buzo
Genre: YA Comtemporary Romance, Young Adult Fiction,
Published by Alfred A. Knopf
Page count: 248
Format: Ebook (read on Barnes and Noble’s Nook HD+)
Rating: 2/5, it was okay
Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge #11

Amelia Hayes is fifteen and has just landed her first job working at Coles, a grocery store that she has dubbed, The Land of Dreams. In the midst of juggling her friendships, homework, family issues, and work Amelia finds herself head over heels in love with Chris, her handsome and eternally funny co-worker. The problem is that Chris is twenty-two, a college student and still heartbroken and pining for his ex. The story is about a young girls first love and the hope/promise of tomorrow.

I really wanted to love this story. I was super excited to read this and have had this on my wish list since I ran into this on the “Coming Soon” page on Barnes and Nobles website and thought since Valentines Day was right around the corner I should read a book having to do with romance. I gave this book a 2 out of five which means I thought the book was okay. I didn’t love the story but that’s not to say that there weren’t things I didn’t like about it, because there were things I did like about it. It has also gotten a lot of positive reviews on Goodreads as well so I feel like a lot of people will definitely like this if they gave it a try, it just wasn’t for me. I didn’t really start getting into this book until about page 170. I really like the format of the book and the way the story was delivered to us. We actually get the story from the perspective of both Amelia and her love interest Chris which was interesting. They both read like Journal entries which is great I love books that read this way, I think it just makes the story seem so much more personal to me. The story was also definitely relatable I mean I like a lot of young women probably thought I was in love with about ten older guys in my younger days before I knew better. It is a sweet story but it didn’t really do it for me. I think I was looking for some sort of resolution between them instead of his just going away. I do have to mention that I absolutely love the cover of this book, it is the first thing that attracted me. I think it is absolutely beautiful. Has anyone read this book and loved it? It’s a really light read at 248 pages and I think fans of YA contemporary romance may enjoy this book!