Saturday, 31 December 2011

Mel's Random December

It's the 31st December? Already?! Where has this year gone?!? Unsurprisingly December has been all about Christmas which a quiet family focused day for me. But I did enjoy have most of this week just gone off from work - especially as my cousins are over from Canada and I was able to spend a most of the week as a tour guide around London which included visits to the Winter Wonderland at Hyde Park and M&M World at Leicester Square...I love playing the tourist in my home town occasionally - especially as I can use the tube without consulting the map and I know where the nearest loos are! :-)

M+M World - every colour m+m!
So how does the month's reading situation look like?

Tortal and Other Lands - Tamora Pierce
Deadtown - Nancy Holzner
Touch of Frost - Jennifer Estep
Twelve Days of Christmas - Trisha Ashley
13 Tales of Horror - Edited Christopher Pike
India Dark - Kirsty Murray

Taken By The Others (H+W Investigations) - Jess Haines
First Frost - Jennifer Estep
Touch of Power - Maria V Synder
Every Other Day - Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Enchanted Again - Robin D Owens

Sarah's Reviews
Two reviews from Sarah this month 
The Cornerstone - Nick Spalding
Touch The Dark - Karen Chance

Regular Posts
Creature Feature looked at the Ultimate Paranormal love triangle between a girl and her vampire and were love interests.
Same Book/Different Cover looked at Kitty & the Midnight Hour
In addition there were the usual wishlist posts, in my mailbox and Throwback Thursdays.

Look Back Over 2011
This last week I've posted a few articles looking back over the last year including
Things I Have Learnt about Blogging
2011 Reading Challenges Round Up
Throwback Thursday 2011 Summary
and of course - my favourite books of 2011 - with Giveaway!

Highlight of the Month:  Ooo, toughie this month. It's a three way tie between - Deadtown, Touch of Frost and Every Other Day...

What was your December like?

Friday, 30 December 2011

My Favourite Books of 2011 + GIVEAWAY!

2011 is the first full year of my little blog and already this week I’ve looked back at the things I’ve done this year, but I'm missing something...what is it? ...hmmm...oh, yeah – the books I read and fell in love with this year! J

This year has been a bumper year for reading, with plenty of good books from my beloved series and a few new authors I’ve I’ve narrowed down some of my favourites and can’t resist sharing them with you. And to prove how generous I am, I’m going to give TWO lucky people the chance to choose one of my favourite books for their very own. Just have a look at my choices and fill in the form at the bottom of this post. Open Internationally until 6th January 2011.
Favourite Books in Continuing Series (All these books are from series that I try and buy as soon as the next book is released! If you haven’t started these series yet, you can choose any book from the series in the giveaway!)

Green-Eyed Demon (Sabine Kane 3) – Jaye Wells: Sabina is one my favourite UF series – and this was the best book yet!
Changes (Dresden Files 12) – Jim Butcher: Harry Dresden is one of my favourite characters ever!
Shady Lady (Corine Solomon 3) – Ann Aguirre: This was the best Corine book yet with plenty of action and adventure
Magic Slays (Kate Daniels 5) – Ilona Andrews:  Curran and Kate are a fantasic couple!

New Urban Fantasy Authors (These are author’s I’ve discovered in the last year and have added to my must buy list!)
Embers – Laura Bickle: Such an atmospheric and fantastic story – plus I adore Sparky! J
Rogue Oracle – Alyana Williams: The bad guy here is so creepy – I just can’t get the idea of such a mutant out of my head...*shudders*
Deadtown – Nancy Holzner: An Urban Fantasy series that starts with a bang!

YA Books
Inside Out – Maria V Synder: A long time fan of her fantasy series, now Maria tries her hand at Dystopia and write an exciting tale!
Rot and Ruin – Jonathan Maberry: FANTASTIC – everyone should read it!
Vampire Academy: Last Sacrifice – Richelle Mead: Do I need to say anything?
Touch of Frost (Mythos Academy) – Jennifer Estep: Such a fun read – I loved it!
0.4 – Mike Lancaster: Such a different and unique story

Every Other Day - Jennifer Lynn Barnes: Buffy-esque adventure with plenty of violence and snark

Fantasy Books
The Spirit Thief/ The Spirit Rebellion/The Spirit Eater – Rachel Aaron: A fantastically fun fantasy series with some great characters – and I just adore Eli Monpress!

Touch of Power - Maria V Synder: The start to a new series that looks like it will be worth waiting for!

Hard to classify but great reads
American Gods – Neil Gaimen: A fantastic journey across America
Shades of Grey – Jasper Fforde: A Unique vision of the future where colours are rationed

Dystopian Books
Aftertime – Sophie Littlefield: A brilliant search for her daughter after a zombie plague – brilliant read!

It was really hard to narrow down my favourites to these few – there are plenty of others I wanted to include as well but I had to pick the best of the best – and the ones I can still remember  the emotional journey of each one! So you have your choice to win one of these books (or any other book by any of these authors!) Just fill in this form...
And what do you think of my choices? Did I miss your favourite book of the year out?


Thursday, 29 December 2011

Early Review: India Dark

India Dark
-          Kirsty Murray
Publisher: UK – Templar
Released on 2nd January 2012
MADRAS, 1910: two girls are caught up in a scandal that will change their lives forever. Singing and dancing across a hundred stages in a troupe of child performers, they travel by steam train into the heart of India. But as one disaster follows another, money runs short and tempers fray. What must the girls do to protect themselves, and how many lives will be ruined if they try to break free?

India Dark is set in a totally different time when empires were still strong and evening entertainment was watching teenage children preform music hall numbers. So much has changed – empires are not really allowed anymore and anyone paying to watch pubescent children dress as an adult is usually arrested shortly after! India Dark follows the Lilliputians, a group of pre-teen and teenaged boys and girls singing and dancing troop on a tour in India in 1910 with the focus on one confident thirteen year old, Tilly Sweetrick, on her second tour and one unsure eleven year old, Posey Swift, on her first tour.
The story is told in first person from both their perspectives and switches every chapter or so. This style does give you two very different views and allows you to take a step back as it were to read between the lines of what is said and what isn’t. At times Posey comes across as too na├»ve and innocent – and you really wonder how much she understood about what was happening. At the same time Tilly does across as very manipulative and wise beyond her years.
The descriptions of the stops and events of the tour are well told and engaging. The writing was simple and charming, bringing to life a forgotten era of entertainment. However, I was never fully comfortable with the subject matter – especially as it was based on a true story! I felt sorry for Mr Arthur, the leader of the troop but at the same time I didn’t think he behaved well either. It’s one of those situations that there is no black and white – just shades of grey. However, the characters, that year and the country are brought vividly to life and were an enjoyable change to my usual YA reading.
Recommended for fans of Mary Hooper and Mary Hoffman. 7 out of 10

Throwback Thursday 2011 Summary

This is a great feature that Melissa at My words and pictures has been doing for a while which looks at those wonderful books that are ALREADY on my shelves that we haven't got round to reading yet. I've spent quite a few Thursdays looking at books I own but haven't read and I thought it would be fun to look back over those books I've highlighted and see how good I've been at actually reading them!

The Better Part of Darkness - Kelly Gay: Still Unread
Glass Houses (Morganville Vampires 1) - Rachel Caine: Still Unread
Magic Lost, Trouble Found - Lisa Shearin: Still Unread
The Reincarnationist - MJ Rose: Still Unread
Black Magic Woman - Justin Gustainis: Still Unread
The One Kingdom - Sean Russell: Still Unread
Hunted By The Others - Jess Haines: Read! Review here
The Angel's Game - Carlos Ruiz Zafon: Still Unread
Memoirs of Cleopatra - Margaret George: Still Unread
The Iron Duke - Meljean Brook: Still Unread
Ghost Ocean - S.M. Peters: Still Unread
One Foot In The Grave - Jeaniene Frost: Still Unread
Room - Emma Donoghue: Still Unread
The Edge of the World - Kevin J Anderson: Still Unread
Blood Oath - Christopher Farnsworth: Still Unread
Angel Time - Anne Rice: Still Unread
Gone - Michael Grant: Still Unread
Lord of Silence - Mark Chadbourn: Still Unread
Curiosity Thrilled The Cat - Sofie Kelly: Still Unread
Deadline (Newsflesh 2) - Mira Grant: Still Unread
Under Dome - Stephen King: Still Unread
Sixty-One Nails - Mike Shevdon: Still Unread
Mind Games - Carolyn Crane: Still Unread
The House of Special Purpose - John Boyne: Still Unread
Gene of Isis - Traci Harding: Still Unread
Bayou Moon - Ilona Andrews: Still Unread
Heart of Stone - CE Murphy: Still Unread
Hade's Daughter - Sara Douglass: Still Unread
The Enchantment Emporium - Tanya Huff: Still Unread

So to summarise 35 books highlighted and only 2 read in that time. That's useless! I really need to raid my TBR pile more often...luckily one of the challenges I've signed up for this year is the 2012 TBR pile Reading Challenge so all these can go into the list of ones to read in the coming year.

What books have you had on your TBR pile for far too long? :-)

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

What a challenging year...

At the start of 2011 I agreed to participate in 3 official reading challenges and 1 personal challenge - now the year is all but over, how did I get on with each challenge?

Mystery & Suspense Reading Challenge 2011
Hosted by Book Chick City

Timeline: 01 Jan 2011 - 31 Dec 2011
Rules: To read TWELVE (12) mystery & suspense novels in 2011 (12 is the minimum but you can read more if you wish!)

My Thoughts: So I read 13 books - more than the 12 that were required. Challenge complete! I have to admit though that this was a genuine challenge as mystery and suspense books are not my regular fall back and occasionally throughout the year I had to read books just to make sure I was getting on with the challenge! But this was good as it broke me out of my regular reading habits and I did read some great books - Now You See Me, Hard Spell and Full Dark House are great reads for anyone. I did consider signing up for this challenge again for 2012, but thought I would try to experiment with some different challenges!

Speculative Fiction 2011
Hosted by Floor To Ceiling Books

Timeline: 01 Jan 2011 - 31 Dec 2011
Rules: To read 12 Speculative Fiction novels in 2011 (12 is the minimum - you can read more if you wish!)

Books Read in Challenge: 19/12 Books
Book 1: The Spirit Thief - Rachel Aaron
Book 2: Foundation - Issac Asimov
Book 3: The Magician's Apprentice - Trudi Canavan
Book 4: The Fallen Blade - Jon Courtenay Grimwood
Book 5: I Am Number Four - Pittacus Lore
Book 6: Foundation and Empire - Issac Asimov
Book 7: American Gods - Neil Gaiman
Book 8: Spirit Dances - CE Murphy
Book 9: Shades of Grey - Jasper Fforde
Book 10: Second Foundation - Issac Asimov
Book 11: The Neon Court - Kate Griffin
Book 12: Married with Zombies - Jesse Petersen
Book 13: Morlock Night - K.W. Jeter
Book 14: Secrets of the Demon - Diana Rowland
Book 15: Change - Jim Butcher
Book 16: Hunted By The Others - Jess Haines 
Book 17: Corsets and Clockwork - Trisha Telep
Book 18: Magic Slays - Ilona Andrews
Book 19: Black Swan Rising - Lee Carroll

My Thoughts: Although I counted 19 books for this challenge but as speculative fiction is probably my favourite type of reading, I know the number should be a lot higher! Overall, this was a pretty easy challenge and not that I don't think I'll be doing this again. I did have a thought though...isn't all fiction speculative to some degree - whether it is high fantasy or contemporary romance, it's all made up and therefore speculative. Still it was a fun to take part in! 
YA of the 80s and 90s
Hosted by The Book Vixen
Runs January 1, 2011 through December 31, 2011
Read as many YA books that were originally published in the 80s and 90s as your heart desires. The only requirement is that the book(s) have to have been first published sometime between 1980 – 1999. 

Books Read in Challenge: 15/12 Books
Book   1: Nightmare Hall: The Scream Team - Diane Hoh
Book   2: Deepwater Black - Ken Catran
Book   3: Deepwater Landing - Ken Catran
Book   4: Deepwater Angels - Ken Catran
Book   5: Remember Me - Christopher Pike
Book   6: The Last Vampire - Christopher Pike
Book   7: The Last Vampire: Black Blood - Christopher Pike
Book   8: Nightmare Hall: The Roommate - Diane Hoh
Book   9: Remember 2: The Return - Christopher Pike
Book 10: Remember 3: The Last Story - Christopher Pike
Book 11: Sweet Valley High: Perfect Summer - Francine Pascal
Book 12: Teacher's Pet - Richie Tankersley Cusick
Book 13: The Last Vampire: Red Dice - Christopher Pike
Book 14: The Last Vampire: Phantom - Christopher Pike
Book 15: 13 Tales of Horror - Edited by Christopher Pile

My Thoughts: This was a fan challenge! Throughout the year I read 15 books that were originally published in the 80s and 90s aimed at teens. As this was roughly when I was a teenager it was a very nostalgic trip for me and interesting to see how YA has changed. The most notable element was how short YA was back then - typically 200 pages or so. But there were some interesting stories, ideas and characters packed into the short page count and much less teen angst! I don't know if this challenge is being run again for next year, but I still a couple of books I picked up at charity stores for this challenge that I haven't read yet so expect to see a few more reviews for YA of the 80s and 90s... 

Personal Classic Challenge
Challenged by Kris

My friend Kris has set a challenge for me to read a classic every three months. Below are his terms:

  1. Firstly the classic must be a classic or at least 20 years old;
  2. it has to set a definition for the genre or change it in a way which ‘inspire’ later writers;
  3. available for free or a reduced price and
  4. semi easy to read.

  • So my task for Mel is to read:
    1. Homer’s Odyssey – this is the cornerstone of Western Cannon and seems to have the basis for most fantasy. Easements: You can read a modern version (i.e. made into something that is easier to read).
    2. Isaac Asimov’s Foundation, Foundation and Empire and Second Foundation. Yes I know it is three books, but they are short ones. They are very good and they are the foundation (not a pun) for modern space epic’s such as Iain M Banks Culture and Star Trek. The Foundation series was published in 1942 and then collected in proper book in the 50s.
    3. Ring World by Larry Niven. I thought it looked quite good. It is a interesting story about a space structure.
    4. Conan the Barbarian by Robert E. Howard I have not read these book, but I think they may underpin some hero fantasy or it might be tripe
    Books Read in Challenge: 6 books

    Book 1: Foundation - Issac Asimov
    Book 2: Foundation and Empire - Issac Asimov
    Book 3: Second Foundation - Issac Asimov
    Book 4: The War of the Worlds - HG Wells
    Book 5: The Invisible Man - HG Wells
    Book 6: The Midwich Cuckoo - John Wyndham

  • Book 7: Frankenstein - Mary Shelley

    My Thoughts: This was a challenge set my friend Kris and officially I did read a classic at least every three months. I think those books inspired future writers and were easy to read and get hold off. However, off the books listed above I only read the Foundation series by Issac Asimov - although I do now own Ringworld, just never got a chance to start reading it! So did I complete this challenge? There's only one person who can answer that...Kris - how did I do? :-)

    Kris' Thoughts: When I set this challenge, I was also going secretly read these books in parallel. However, I could not keep up with Mel. The other reason to set a challenge was to hook Mel into the world of Sci-Fi as Mel hooked me into Fantasy. The classics I chose were a mixture of Fantasy (Odyssey and Conan) and Hard Sci-Fi (Foundation and Ringworld). I had read the Foundation Series of books before I set the challenge and I was very nervous that Mel would not like them. I was pleased that Mel enjoyed them <insert blog post links here>. They are interesting books that are more about people and society than Dilithum Crystals. This prompted a conversation between Mel and Myself about these books, which gave me the feeling of being cultured. I hope it inspires Mel to read more of Asimov's works. Homers Odyssey is something would be a challenge to read. It is a classic book and would be hard going. This was more of an aspiration target. I have it in my bookcase and it looks at me (although it looks a lot more readable than any Dan Brown Book).
    On balance, Mel has met the challenge and surpassed it. Well done.

    Yay me! So I'm four for four on 2011 Challenges! Lets hope 2012 goes as well!

    Tuesday, 27 December 2011

    What I have learnt this year...

    I’ve been book blogging seriously for about 16 months now and seeing as we are coming to the end of 2011, I’ve been thinking about all the things I’ve learnt about book blogging in my first full calendar year. Some I admit are obvious, but probably are worth repeating.
    1.       Book Blogging is time intensive!
    Between reading books, writing reviews, reading comments, visiting other blogs and thinking about content and posts a lot of time goes into blogging – it has slowly swallowed up a lot of my spare time and my thoughts over the last year!

    2.       It involves organisation skills!
    Arrange posts, memes and giveaways means you must be organised. I admit I tend to schedule posts about a week ahead of time just in case something happens in ‘real life’ that will prevent me putting something up. Plus if I decide to do a giveaway or read a review book I have to arrange it for a certain day. Events or author interviews involve even more research and organisation.

    3.       Blogging needs to creative!
    All those posts don’t write themselves. In addition the extra content whether it is participating in memes, commenting or random articles most of which involve a certain amount of creativity and thought. You get far more interactivity from people with interesting content. Not mention all those fabulous blog designs out there. Now I’m not good at the design side – html is not my friend and I failed Art at school, so I struggle by on template and button side. (Missie The Unread Reader and Melissa at Books and Things particular put the rest of us too shame with seasonal changes to their blogs!)

    4.       Authors are real people too!
    This year I’ve started to interview a few authors and one thing that has struck me about each of them is how approachable they are.  I have always had some idea that authors are these demi-Gods that I worship from afar. But the reality is writing is a job and they want people to know about their books. J

    5.       Blogging is expensive!
    I don’t just mean giveaway prizes and shipping (something we all have to struggle with!), but my spending on books has increased exponentially since I started blogging. I used to have just 2 shelves of books to be read – now my TBR pile has a whole bookcase to itself and I still keep buying more! The more books you hear about on other blogs, publishers websites and goodreads, the more you want them and the more you buy.

    6.       Blogging is so worth it!
     Despite all that time, organising, thought and expense, blogging is totally worth as a hobby (and I do consider it a hobby). I talk to people all over the world – and have discovered new friends with similar interests. I’ve discovered new authors and new series I would never have looked at otherwise. I get to use my brain in a totally different way than I do at work. And I just love reading other peoples blogs, reading the comments on mine and engaging with authors in a way I never dreamed off 18 months ago!

    So what has blogging taught you in the last year? J

    Monday, 26 December 2011

    My Christmas Haul!

    I had a fabulous day yesterday - did the usual of eating too much and spending ages washing up afterwards, then watching Dr Who while explaining what was happening to my dear-old Gran (who is 89!). I didn't expect any books from family (as they never know what to get me!), but some of my lovely, lovely friends did raid my wishlist for some great presents - which while not opened on Christmas day, I wanted to share with you!

    Alison Hewitt Is Trapped - Madeleine Roux: 2011 seems to have been the year of the zombie! This book is all about blogging and zombies so can't wait to get started!
    Bloodstone - Nancy Holzner: This is the third Vicki Vaughn book. I loved Deadtown so much and I already had Hellforged so getting this is fabulous!
    Drink Deep - Chloe Neill: I love Merit!
    Wolfsbane and Mistletoe - Edited Charlaine Harris: Such a seasonal anthology with some great authors in!
    Hexed - Kevin Hearne & Hammered - Kevin Hearne: The Druid Chronicles has been getting rave reviews and I can't wait to have a Druid week with all three books!
    Mastiff - Tamora Pierce: Last and no means least is the third Beka Cooper book. I've been Tamora Pierce books for so long - she is totally underrated as a YA writer! Go read some!

    As well as all these yummy books from three fabulous friends (you know who you are!), I also received a fabulous notebook and bookmarks from two other friends...check out these goodies:
    The picture doesn't show the metal bookmark that well - perhaps this picture is a little clearer...

    A message for all us book bloggers!
    Keep Calm & Carry on Reading

    Early Review: Enchanted Again

    Enchanted Again (Mystic Circle 2)
    -          Robin D Owens
    Publisher: Luna – Published on 27th December 2011
    E-Arc courtesy of netgalley and Luna
    Magic has a price—and for Amber Sarga it's days and years off her life. Each curse she breaks ages her—and the bigger the curse the bigger the cost, and not only to her. That's why she hides away and has vowed not to get involved again… That's why she hates looking in a mirror… And then an ill-fated stranger arrives. Rafe Davail doesn't believe in curses—not even knowing that in his family every first son dies young. Amber offers guidance but she won't break the curse. Still, as she grows closer to Rafe and discovers the secrets of their pasts, she wonders if for this time, this man, she should risk it all...

    Amber is a curse-breaker, but for every curse she breaks she and those she loves the most, age: Sometimes a few months – sometimes years.  This was nice quirk of using magic meaning there was consequence for Amber – even if she was doing good by breaking curses.  The male lead, Rafe wasn’t one I could warm too – he seemed too rich, too arrogant and when he accepted magic was real, he just moved into Amber’s house without much discussion or thought! If a character has enough charm then these faults can be overlooked but as far as I could see Rafe was fairly charmless and condescending towards Amber, calling her squishy all the time!
    I didn’t realise until I was over half way through that this is actually the second of a series! (Unlike some I try to read series in order... J)  However, as the characters are just getting to grips with magic and their own abilities there wasn’t really a need to have read the first book so I was able to start reading and pick up what was happening at the same time as the characters. However, as the story progressed I got continually frustrated to the frequent references to a character, Jenni – who was off-stage that I never met. Presumably she was having the adventure the first book detailed, but as I didn’t know her and never met her in the book I was just annoyed but how often she was ‘missed’ by the characters I did know!
    I liked the idea of magic in this world though – the major and minor light races and the melding of magic with technology was intriguing. I loved Amber and how she held onto her humanity and grew as she learnt more about her past. The magical characters introduced were great – I loved the Brownies and the fire spirits who were all addicted to chocolate! I have to admit that I would often be craving some myself while reading. These characters had some great warmth and banter to the story and I always wanted to see more of the Brownies. However, I struggled to truly relax into the story. Perhaps it was me, but I was always aware I was reading rather than being swept up by the story. However, I am interested enough to want to know more about the world and would consider reading more in this world. And I love the cover – it’s so pretty and different from most of the paranormal romance out there at the moment!
    Recommended for fans of Majorie Liu and Yasmine Galenorn. 6 out of 10.

    Sunday, 25 December 2011


    No offical post today as I'm spending the day with family, but I wanted to wish everyone a wonderful day - whether you celebrate Christmas or not! Eat loads, spend time with loved ones and enjoy yourselves. :-)

    Happy reading and normal service resumes tomorrow.

    Saturday, 24 December 2011

    My Book Haul/In My Mailbox

    The Story Siren hosts a weekly meme where bloggers can share what goodies they've purchased/received this week. If you get a chance head over to The Story Siren and check out what everyone is up to!
    An early mailbox this week as I will be busy elsewhere tomorrow (round my parents for Christmas day for too much food and pressies!), but I couldn't let the week go buy without sharing what I recieved this week...

    In The Forests Of The Night (Goblin Wars 2)- Kersten Hamilton
    Publisher: Clarion Books

    The battle against goblinkind continues . . . but which side will Teagan be on?
    Teagan, Finn, and Aiden have made it out of Mag Mell alive, but the Dark Man’s forces are hot on their heels. Back in Chicago, Tea’s goblin cousins show up at her school, sure she will come back to Mag Mell, as goblin blood is never passive once awoken. Soon she will belong to Fear Doirich and join them. In the meantime, they are happy to entertain themselves by trying to seduce, kidnap, or kill Tea’s family and friends. Tea knows she doesn’t have much time left, and she refuses to leave Finn or her family to be tortured and killed. A wild Stormrider, born to rule and reign, is growing stronger inside her. But as long as she can hold on, she’s still Teagan Wylltson, who plans to be a veterinarian and who heals the sick and hurting. The disease that’s destroying her—that’s destroying them all—has a name: Fear Doirich. And Teagan Wylltson is not going to let him win.

    I won this from the wonderful Stella at Ex Libris and the generous Kersten herself. I've heard so many good things about this series so I think I will invest in book one as soon as christmas is over - and I will allow myself to buy books again! :-)

    Angel Fire - L.A. Weatherly
    Publisher: Usborne
    Only Willow has the power to defeat the malevolent Church of Angels, and they will stop at nothing to destroy her. Willow isn’t alone, though. She has Alex by her side – a trained Angel Killer and her one true love. But nothing can change the fact that Willow’s a half-angel, and when Alex joins forces with a group of AKs, she’s treated with mistrust and suspicion. She’s never felt more alone…until she meets Seb. He’s been searching for Willow his whole life – because Seb is a half-angel too.

    I won this from Sarah at Whispering Words as part of her birthday giveaway - and it's signed! I read Angel earlier in the year and liked the different take on Angels - although I wasn't a big fan of the romance...I'm looking forward to seeing what happen next to Willow and Alex. 

    I also particpated in Missie from The Unread Reader's bookmark exchange program. I recieved this cute frog bookmark from Lea, the Yearning Mermaid...I love it! Thank you!
    So did you get anything before Christmas...? :-)