Jessica's books

The One and Only Ivan
Pollyanna
Revolutionary War on Wednesday
Leprechaun in Late Winter
Ella Enchanted
The Courage of Sarah Noble
Plain Murder
Gone-Away Lake
Circling the Sun
Maggie and Max
The Haunting of Sunshine Girl
The Night Sister
Tuck Everlasting
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Bedknob and Broomstick
Mister Monday
Alice Through the Looking Glass
The Birchbark House
The Hobbit
The Witch's Daughter


Jessica's favorite books »

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Book Review: Falling Under by Gwen Hayes

Details:  Paperback, 226 pages
Published by NAL Trade
Publication Date:  March 1, 2011
0451232682 (ISBN13: 9780451232687)

This ARC received from Good Golly Miss Holly ARC Tours.
Synopsis (from Goodreads):  Theia Alderson has always led a sheltered life in the small California town of Serendipity Falls. But when a devastatingly handsome boy appears in the halls of her school, Theia knows she's seen Haden before- not around town, but in her dreams.

As the Haden of both the night and the day beckons her closer one moment and pushes her away the next, the only thing Theia knows for sure is that the incredible pull she feels towards him is stronger than her fear.

And when she discovers what Haden truly is, Theia's not sure if she wants to resist him, even if the cost is her soul.

My Thoughts:  Let me start off by saying I love books on vampires and werewolves.  That being said, I am SO glad this book was a paranormal book about something other than vampires and werewolves.  It was refreshing and a nice little break. 

The Under realm was very creepy for me and I loved it!  The descriptions of the castle in Under were spooky and so real.  I felt like I was walking down the halls with Theia.  The descriptions of the ladies that helped Theai get dressed reminded me somewhat of Coraline.  Again, very creepy!

I  really liked Theia for the most part.  She was very quiet, withdrawn and mature at the beginning of the book.  She didn't go against her very strict father and it took reading half the book before you figured out her father (somewhat).  I was a little disappointed in the fact that after Theia and her father finally talked about Theai's mother, he seemed to pretty much drop out of the picture.  Not that he was really in the picture a lot anyways but after the talk he just sorta disappeared. 

Haden was your typical hot high school boy but with a twist that didn't center around being a vampire or werewolf.  I was annoyed with him for flirting so much with other girls without explaining to Theia what the deal was and I really didn't like him towards the end when he became a little weak but there was a reason for it that I can't disclose here.

Theia's friends were awesome!  I loved Amelia and Donatella (Donny for short) but my favorite characters were Varnie and Gabe.  Gabe was the sort of boy you would love to have around.  He was protective, caring, funny and persistent.  I was annoyed with Donny's attitude around Gabe but it wasn't too big of an issue.  Varnie was just awesome all around.  I mean, what you can say about a cross-dressing psychic who loves to surf?  I was a little sad when he disappeared after a couple of scenes at the beginning of the book but was extremely happy when the author brought him back towards the end of the book.

The ending of the book was unpredictable and I really liked that.  Again, this is not your typical vampire/werewolf YA read. 

Now, for a few small gripes with the book.  It only took me 2 days to read this book but at times I felt like I was reading two separate books.  There were times when I would think "did that happen in this book or another book I recently read"?  Some parts just didn't seem to really fit or even need to be in the book.  I wasn't crazy for Theia's dad or the explanation for why he was so distant.  I also didn't really like the character Mike.  He seemed to not really have any specific part in the book and he could have been taken out without messing up the story in any way.  The only other thing I didn't like was at the end, Mara (Haden's mother) just kinda left the story.  Maybe it is leading up to a second book and then it would make more sense but it left me feeling like I missed something.

Other than that, I completely enjoyed this book and would recommend it.  It grabbed my attention from the first sentence and kept my attention (for the most part) through to the end. 


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Teaser Tuesday: 12/28/10

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!


"He'd left me on my knees while begging him for help.  Alone."  ~Falling Under by Gwen Hayes (ARC copy), page 115


Monday, December 27, 2010

2011 New Year's Resolution Challenge


Yes, I know I said "no more challenges" but this is not a reading challenge.  My friend Marie, over at Just A Mom has started a challenge to get organized, get healthier, be a better mom and so on.  She is going to post both a daily challenge (something like clean off the magnets from the fridge, wipe it down and only put what is necessary back up) and weekly challenges (like pick your messiest drawer and clean it out on Saturday, next messiest and clean out on Sunday, etc.). 

The great thing is, every time you do a weekly and/or daily challenge, you head over to her blog on the following Saturday and leave a comment on what challenges you did or tried to do and you get entered into a monthly drawing for a great giveaway!  That means you can get up to 8 entries a week which means between 32 to 40 entries a month (depending on how many weeks there are in that month).  And like Marie says, even if you don't win the prize, you still win because you are that much more organized, healthier, etc. 

Bonus!  If you head over there now and let her know that you are going to join her you get an extra entry!  If you blog about it, another entry!  Cool huh?  So, head on over to Just a Mom and sign up!  Oh yeah, if you sign up, remember to mention that I sent you!

Book Review: Here Lies Bridget by Paige Harbison


Details:  Paperback, 208 pages
Published February 1, 2011 by Harlequin
ISBN
0373210280 (ISBN13: 9780373210282)
Reading Level:  Young Adult
Received from:  NetGalley (Thanks to Harlequin)
 
Synopsis (from Goodreads): 
Heroine, Bridget Duke, rules her high school, but when she crashes her car and ends up in limbo, she must confront the people she has wronged, all of whom want her to go to hell. The outcome of these meetings will decide her final destination.
 
My thoughts:  This was a cute book that reminded me a lot of A Christmas Carol.  While there were no ghosts of the past, present or future per se, Bridget did have to step into 5 other peoples' shoes (literally step into their shoes) and see how she made them feel. 
 
Bridget was mean, inconsiderate, selfish and I could go on and on with all her faults.  I really hated this character through most of the book.  She was awful!  However, this is the point of the story.  I loved the other characters like her step-mom, her friends and her ex-boyfriend and even her teacher.  I didn't care for the fact that her dad was pretty much non-existent in the story, although, again, I suppose that is part of the story. 
 
I thought the background part of the book dragged a little.  The prologue starts out with Bridget recklessly driving her car and then the story takes you back so you know why she is feeling the way she is feeling.  However, this is only a 208 page book and by the time I got to page 100, I was wondering if we were going to see how Bridget changes.  As it was, the ending felt a little rushed to me and while I felt that Bridget did really feel remorse for her actions, the story didn't portray it so well.  I would have liked to have seen her work a little harder for the forgiveness she received.  I also would have liked to have learned more about Anna.  Where did she come from?  How was she going to explain her appearance and disappearance to the students at the school? 
 
So, I did like this book.  It was cute and fun but a little rushed at the end.  I would recommend it to teen readers because I think it would make them stop and think of how they treat people and how their words and actions can hurt others even if they don't mean it too. 
 
Oh yeah, by the end of the book I really did like Bridget after all!
 
 

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Book Review: Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater


Synopsis (from Goodreads):  the cold.
Grace has spent years watching the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf—her wolf—watches back. He feels deeply familiar to her, but she doesn't know why.

the heat.
Sam has lived two lives. As a wolf, he keeps the silent company of the girl he loves. And then, for a short time each year, he is human, never daring to talk to Grace...until now.

the shiver.
For Grace and Sam, love has always been kept at a distance. But once it's spoken, it cannot be denied. Sam must fight to stay human—and Grace must fight to keep him—even if it means taking on the scars of the past, the fragility of the present, and the impossibility of the future.

My Thoughts:  Okay, please my friends, don't hate me here but I was not in love with this book like everyone else has been.  Don't get me wrong, it was a good book but after reading The Hunger Games, which Shiver had the unfortunate luck of following, it just didn't grab me. 

I enjoy the story being told from Grace and Sam's point of views.  It always makes it more interesting to have both sides tell a story plus I feel like I can really connect with each character.  I loved Sam.  He was sweet and honest and good.  Sometimes he was a little too good and I found myself sharing Grace's frusterations (I mean come on...kiss her already!). 

Grace was a great character too however I found her a little strange at the beginning of the book.  She is obsessed with these wolves and already almost loves Sam (as a wolf) in a romantic way and that's just a little strange to me.  I hated her parents and found some parts of the story a little unbelievable here.  Sam pratically lives with Grace, in her parents house, for months without them ever knowing.  They never check on her when the get in late or before the leave in the morning.  They are never home.  I mean, poor Grace has almost died twice and they pay no attention her.  Then there is a crazy incident that happens in the middle of the book and Grace's mom takes her and Sam to the hospital and then just leaves them.  It was like "well, you're not going to die so I'm outta here".  I have kids....there is NO way I would leave them in a hospital by themselves.  So yeah, wasn't crazy about her parents. 

This book did remind me a lot of Twilight only with Werewolves instead of Vampires.  The way Grace wanted to be physical and Sam held back, especially but it was different enough (for me) to still enjoy it.  I both liked and disliked the total change in beliefs on werewolves.  They don't change with the phases of the moon, it is the temperature (noted at the beginning of each chapter).  This is a little off for me only because there are too many questions.  Why don't they just stay inside during the winter?  Why don't they move to S. America where it never gets cold?  I mean, why on earth would they choose to live in MN?  Hello....it's COLD there a lot!  I didn't like the so-called "cure" and the quick way Jack was dealt with in the end.  Why does it work for some and not others?  There were just a lot of questions that weren't answered.

However, the ending was amazing and totally left me hanging and dying to read Linger.  So, I am ordering it from the library with high hopes of getting it soon just to see what happens now. 


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Book Review: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins


Synopsis (from Goodreads):  Could you survive on your own, in the wild, with every one out to make sure you don't live to see the morning?

In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.

Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister's place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before—and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that will weigh survival against humanity and life against love.


**Warning - spoilers ahead**

My thoughts:  I don't even know where to begin or how to describe this book.  I picked it up because everyone said how good it was but I was hestitant because I did not want to be let down by my high expectations.  Well, I shouldn't have even been worried about that!  It met my expectations and then still went higher!  It was, in one word, AMAZING! 

I have never read a book that brought out so many different emotions in me.  I was just telling a couple friends about it yesterday, when I was only 50 pages in, that I wasn't sure I was going to be able to finish it as it was so incredibly disturbing and I wasn't sure I could handle it.  However, at the same time, I absolutely could not put it down.  I stayed up until 1:30 this morning reading it and then had violent nightmares where I was the tribute or one of my kids was. 

I loved Katniss and Peeta!  I don't know how you people out there choose teams because I love them both.  I also loved Rue.  I almost cried when she died and I don't cry at books.  It was so heart-wrenching and I actually felt the despair that Katniss felt as she was once again left alone to fight for her life.  At the same time, you are glad someone else took Rue out because how would Katniss have done it? 

I was surprised but happy that it wasn't too violent.  The implication is there but there isn't a ton of gory details and I'm very glad about that.  There is also no sex and very little, if any, swearing.  This was nice as it is a YA book.  However, that being said, I would not let my kids read this book until high school age.  Only because of the content and implied violence and how deeply it disturbed me.  This will be one of those books that stays with me for a long time.

I will be recommending this book to all my family and friends.  It was so intense that you cannot put the thing down.  I walked around with my Nook in front of my face all day (I have the piled up laundry and dishes to prove it).  It is on the top of my favorites list and I can't wait to dive into the second in the series! 

I know that I cannot give this book the review that it deserves.  It would be so long if I talked about everything I loved about this book so you will just have to pick it up and read it for yourself.  You won't be sorry!

Teaser Tuesday: 12/21/10


Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers
My Teaser:  Each time I wake, I think, "At last, this is over," but it isn't.  It's only the beginning of a new chapter of torture.  ~page 142 of The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Monday, December 20, 2010

Winners of my 100 follower giveaway!

I was so impressed with how many entries I had for my first giveaway and how many new followers I got!  So, thank you to all who entered and my new (and old) followers! Without further ado, here are the winners, picked via Random.org...

Winner #1:

DAMgirls

Winner #2:

Jessica @ A Great Read

I will be emailing the winners shortly and they have 48 hours to respond. Thank you all again and stay tuned as I have more giveaways in store for after Christmas!

Happy Holidays!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Book Review: Beauty by Robin McKinley


Synopsis (from Goodreads): 
A strange imprisonment
Beauty has never liked her nickname. She is thin and awkward; it is her two sisters who are the beautiful ones. But what she lacks in looks, she can perhaps make up for in courage.
When her father comes home with the tale of an enchanted castle in the forest and the terrible promise he had to make to the Beast who lives there, Beauty knows she must go to the castle, a prisoner of her own free will. Her father protests that he will not let her go, but she answers, "Cannot a Beast be tamed?"
Robin McKinley's beloved telling illuminates the unusual love story of a most unlikely couple: Beauty and the Beast.

My Thoughts:  I picked up this book because it was the selection for the online book club I am a part of.  I love the Beauty and the Beast fairytale (who wouldn't) so I was very excited to read this one.

It started out a little slow for me.  In fact, it took all of Part One before I really got into it.  The first part was all the background which is, of course, important but I was slightly bored with it.  After Papa comes back and tells his story and Beauty decides to go to the Beast, it was hard to put down.  I loved the enchantments and, while I found myself imagining the helpers as a teapot and cup (courtesy of Disney), I found that they were still very fun and I loved that it was a clean read.  It is suitable for young readers as well as older readers.

 I do wish that the ending had a little more to it.  It felt a little rushed and crammed into a couple of pages.  I would have liked another couple of chapters on the transformation of Beauty, her family and the castle and Beast.  When Beauty left her family, they were not big fans of the Beast and then, after the transformation, all was wonderful and her family was at the castle in loving, happy moods.  I would have liked to have known how that happened, how the family knew, how Robbie got there so quickly and so on.  Did the transformation take months and Beauty just fell asleep or what?  Last we heard, it would take 12 weeks for Robbie to get back to the family and then they all magically appear within minutes.  Maybe I just missed a key point (it was late when I finished it) but I just felt that something was missing there.

All in all, I think it was a very sweet retelling of one of my favorite fairytales.  I would recommend it to my friends and students at my school!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Teaser Tuesday: 12/14/10

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
Here is my teaser:  "I could see something pale among the trees.  In another minute I recognized it: It was the road leading to the heart of the forest, and the castle."  pg. 123, Beauty by Robin McKinley

Cozy Mystery Challenge

Debbie over at Debbie's Book Bag is hosting her first challenge.  She is hosting a Cozy Mysteries Challenge and I cannot wait to start!  I have never read a Cozy Mystery but love any mystery, especially fun and easy reading ones! 

I am signing up as an Amateur (1-5) due to the number of challenges I have signed up for this year.  I am going to head over to http://www.cozy-mystery.com/ to pick out my fun reads!  I will post the titles here soon and as I read them I will link the review here as well! 

So, head on over to Debbie's Book Bag and sign up for this fun challenge!

1.  A Taste for Murder by Claudia Bishop (Hemlock Falls Series #1)
2.  Homicide in Hardcover by Kate Carlisle (Bibliophile Mystery #1)
3.  Don of the Dead by Casey Daniels (Pepper Martin Mystery #1)
4.  Keepsake Crimes by Laura Childs (Scrapbooking Mystery #1...I'm a scrapbooker so this is a no-brainer!)
5.  On What Grounds by Cleo Coyle (Coffeehouse Series #1)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

My 100 Follower Giveaway UPDATE

There is only one week left for you to enter my 100 Follower Giveaway!  I am up to 127 wonderful followers so I will be giving away at least 2 brand new copies of Losing Faith by Denise Jaden!

To enter, go to my orignial post here and sign up!  You must be a follower (it is a 100 follower giveaway after all) through GFC.  If I get 150 followers by 11:59 PM (Pacific Time) on December 19, I will give away another copy of this book (for a total of 3 winners)!

Book Review: No Going Back by Jonathan Langford

Synopsis(from Goodreads):  A gay teenage Mormon growing up in western Oregon in 2003. His straight best friend. Their parents. A typical LDS ward, a high-school club about tolerance for gays, and a proposed anti-gay-marriage amendment to the state constitution. In NO GOING BACK, these elements combine in a coming-of-age story about faithfulness and friendship, temptation and redemption, tough choices and conflicting loyalties.

My Thoughts:  I was very hesitant to read this book when the author first asked me as it really isn't the kind of book I read a lot.  I am so glad I took the chance!  This was an emotional book!  My heart broke for Paul so many times as he put up with hate for being gay, for being Mormon, for being both.  After Paul tells his best friend, Chad, that he is gay, Chad is angry and stays away from Paul.  I hurt for him whilel he tried to find his way without his best friend for a litttle while.

I really liked how the story was told in different views.  I really enjoyed reading it from Paul's point of view but my favorite was reading from the Bishop's point of view.  His point of view was obviously more grown up and flowed better but Paul's point of view telling was also very direct and honest.  It was very real-to-life for a teenage boy.

My only complaint was that I didn't really like Sandy's (the Bishop's wife) little sub-story.  I felt that it was not at all necessary and just added to bogging down Paul's story a little.  The book could have totally gotten rid of that part and it would have been great. 

I am not Mormon myself (although I have a lot of Mormon friends) but I did not feel that this in any way made a difference.  I do not know a lot about the Mormon religion but didn't find anything to be confusing or hard to read however I cannot say how accurately it portray the Mormon religion.  I do think anyone could pick up this book and learn from it.  It was a very direct and honest view of how people treat others who we deem "different".  

I think this is a book every adult should read.  It is not an easy read or even a fast read but a very emotional and honest read. 

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Book Review: Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

Synopsis (from Goodreads):  Percy Jackson is a good kid, but he can't seem to focus on his schoolwork or control his temper. And lately, being away at boarding school is only getting worse: Percy could have sworn his pre-algebra teacher turned into a monster and tried to kill him. Percy's mom decides it's time that he knew the truth about where he came from. She sends Percy to Camp Half-Blood, a summer camp for demigods (on Long Island), where he learns that the father he never knew is Poseidon, God of the Sea. Soon a mystery unfolds and together with his friends, one a satyr and the other the demigod daughter of Athena, Percy sets out on a quest across the United States to reach the gates of the Underworld (located in a recording studio in Hollywood) and prevent a catastrophic war between the gods. But to succeed on his quest, Percy will have to unravel a treachery more powerful than the gods themselves.

My thoughts:  Well, I absolutely love Greek Mythology so I was really hoping I would like this book.  It did not disappoint!  What is even better is that my kids (who are homeschooled) and I are learning about Greek Mythology right now in their curriculum so it was easy for me to follow along with all the myths and the Gods.

Riordan does a great job incorporating the Greek myths into our world.  I love that it has history in it but with all the action and monster fighting, it stayed entertaining through the whole book. There were twists through the book that made for fast reading! 

The other thing I loved was the chapter titles!  The first chapter, "I Accidentally Vaporize My Pre-Algebra Teacher" had me laughing from the start.  Each chapter had an equally entertaining title that made me want to keep reading to see the meaning behind them.

I think this is going to be one of my favorite series (alongside Harry Potter and the Mortal Instruments).  I am going to have my son read this next as I know he is going to love it!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

2011 Mini Challenge



This is a fun mini-challenge hosted by Lazy Girl Reads and since it's a mini-challenge, I figure I can sign up for it even though I said no more challenges.  It's just a little one, right? 

So, here are the rules:

  • This challenge goes from Jan. 1st 2011- Apr. 1st 2011
  • Rules: Choose 4 books according to the following guidelines:
  1. Something old
  2. Something new
  3. Something borrowed
  4. Something blue
  • You don't have to pick the books ahead of time! Be creative! While the other categories are self explanatory, 'Something blue' can mean a book with a blue cover, a book with the word 'blue' in the title, a book that takes place at sea...anything you want!
This challenge will actually be pretty easy for me!  The books I am reading for this are as follows (I will list them as I find them):

1.  The Wedding Gift by Kathleen McKenna
2.  The Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell
3.  Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
4.  Blue by Lou Aronica

I will link each title to my review as it is written!  So, go visit Lazy Girl Reads and sign up for this fun mini-challenge!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Book Review: The Island by Elin Hilderbrand


Synopsis (from Amazon.com):  At the start of this steamy woman's novel from Hilderbrand (The Castaways), recently divorced Birdie Cousins is busy planning the September wedding of her older daughter, Chess, at the family house on Tuckernuck, a privately owned island near Nantucket. Birdie hopes to spend some quality time with Chess on Tuckernuck in July, but then Chess breaks her engagement to her consummate Ivy League golden boy fiancĂ©, Michael Morgan. Michael fatally plunges off a Utah crag just when Birdie acquires her own new beau--a married man with a wife stricken with Alzheimer's. Birdie, Chess, and their support team--Birdie's computer-guru younger daughter, Tate, and Birdie's bohemian widowed sister, India--hare off to Tuckernuck. There hunky handyman Barrett Lee flutters hearts and dampens underwear in a breathless month of supercharged estrogenic imbalances. This never-never land portrait of the rich and randy will please those looking for a satisfying beach read.
My thoughts:  At first I thought that I would put this book away unfinished.  I wasn't totally into it and I really didn't care for the characters.  After about 75 pages though, I couldn't put it down!  The author makes you love and hate each of the characters. 

Birdie was not my favorite character at all.  There were times when I thought she was pathetic, boring and just let people walk all over her.  Then, halfway through the book, she changed and I liked her more.  She still wasn't my favorite in the book but she was a little more manageable.

I had a complete love/hate relationship with Chess.  I got so tired of her self-pity (yes, those who have read this book will probably think I am heartless) and depression.  I mean, after all, she is the one who broke off the engagement.  After reading more, you understand why Chess was feeling so guilty but it took awhile to get the whole story (which is the point, I am sure).  At the end of the book, I loved her!  She was probably one of my favorites!

I thought Tate would be my favorite character at the beginning!  She was so fun and happy and optimistic!  I really enjoyed her at the beginning until she got to Tuckernuck Island.  Then I found her to be a little too self-conscious.  She would be thinking "I want to do this but Chess wouldn't do it that way".  Who cares?  Be your own person.  Then, more towards the end, I found her to be childish.  However, at the end of the book, I loved her again!

Barrett and India were by far my favorite characters throughout the book.  India was amazing!  She was so confident, independent, sexy and I found no flaws with her whatsoever!  Barrett was great too! 

I loved how the book went from all four women's point of views.  The author would get you caught up in one woman's problems and life and then the chapter would end and I would be so disappointed to be leaving her and then in no time I would get caught up in the next woman's story and it would happen all over again.

All in all, I would recommend this book.  It was a little slow to start but then you feel a kinship with all four women.  The author makes you want to live "simply", as they live on Tuckernuck and I actually found myself craving to spend a couple of weeks with no electricity, only cold water and absolute privacy.  I finished the book feeling like I had four new friends. 

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Book Review: Revelations: A Blue Bloods Novel by Melissa De La Cruz


Synopsis (from Goodreads):  Have you ever wondered what secrets lurk behind the closed doors of New York City's wealthiest families? They're powerful, they're famous... they're undead.
Schuyler Van Alen's blood legacy has just been called into question--is the young vampire in fact a Blue Blood, or is it the sinister Silver Blood that runs through her veins? As controversy swirls, Schuyler is left stranded in the Force household, trapped under the same roof as her cunning nemesis, Mimi Force, and her forbidden crush, Jack Force.
When one of the Gates of Hell is breached by Silver Bloods in Rio de Janeiro, however, the Blue Bloods will need Schuyler on their side. The stakes are high; the battle is bloody; and through it all, Carnavale

My Thoughts:  I honestly think this series is very entertaining!  I think these books are fun and easy to read.  This book was no exception.  This is the third book in the series.  It has been a few months since I read the second book so I was a little lost at first but quickly got caught back up to speed. 

I think my favorite character is Oliver.  He is now Schuyler's consort and familiar and you have to feel a little sorry for him.  He is so in love with Schuyler who is, in turn, in love with Jack, who has a bond with Mimi.  Slightly confusing but as long as you pay attention, not too hard to follow. 

I am still not sure I like the idea of Mimi and Jack being "siblings" in this life cycle yet not really siblings.  It is reinforced several times throughout the book that they aren't really brother and sister but just the fact that they are living as brother and sister and yet getting "bonded" a.k.a. "married"  reminds me more of a V.C. Andrews novel.

The other thing that bothers/annoys me is the model deal.  Bliss and Schuyler are beautiful and in high demand of the fashion world and then, poof...nothing else is mentioned about it.  Schuyler gets a "sending" during a huge fashion show as she is walking down the catwalk and jumps off the stage and running out the door and then nothing else is said about any of it.  It's just a little weird for me. 

The ending was totally unpredictable (to me anyways) and extremely tense and exciting!  It really left me wanting to read the fourth book, The Van Alen Legacy, right now!

Vampire Acadamey Series Giveaway!


Mary from Sparkling Reviews is having an amazing giveaway!  Head on over to enter to win the complete set of the Vampire Academy series, including Last Sacrifice!  This is my favorite vampire series ever so if you haven't read it yet, you need to sign up!  She is giving away two sets of the series and it is an international giveaway!  It doesn't get any better than that!


Saturday, November 27, 2010

BBC Reading Quiz

I found this quiz over at Too Many Books, Too Little Time and thought it was interesting!  Let's see how I do...

This quiz has been making the rounds. If you’re not on Facebook, you may have fun completing it and sharing it on your blog. Also might remind you of some books you’d like to add to your TBR list!
Here are the instructions:
 Have you read more than 6 of these books? The BBC believes most people will have read only 6 of the 100 books listed here. Instructions: Bold those books you’ve read in their entirety, italicize the ones you started but didn’t finish or read an excerpt. 
 I have read a measly 12!  Sad huh?  I guess I will have to get on the ball here. I do have quite a few on my TBR list though...

 1 Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
 2 The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien
 3 Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte 
 4 Harry Potter series – JK Rowling 
 5 To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
 6 The Bible
 7 Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte 
 8 Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell
 9 His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman
 10 Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
 11 Little Women – Louisa M Alcott
 12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
 13 Catch 22 – Joseph Heller
 14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
 15 Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier
 16 The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien
 17 Birdsong – Sebastian Faulk
 18 Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger
 19 The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
 20 Middlemarch – George Eliot
 21 Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell
 22 The Great Gatsby – F Scott Fitzgerald
 24 War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
 25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
 27 Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky (at least twice)
 28 Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
 29 Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll
 30 The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame
 31 Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
 32 David Copperfield – Charles Dickens
 33 Chronicles of Narnia – CS Lewis
 34 Emma -Jane Austen
 35 Persuasion – Jane Austen
 36 The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe – CS Lewis
 37 The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
 38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Bernieres
 39 Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
 40 Winnie the Pooh – A.A. Milne
 41 Animal Farm – George Orwell
 42 The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown
 43 One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
 44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney – John Irving
 45 The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins
 46 Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery
 47 Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy
 48 The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
 49 Lord of the Flies – William Golding
 50 Atonement – Ian McEwan
 51 Life of Pi – Yann Martel
 52 Dune – Frank Herbert
 53 Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons
 54 Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen
 55 A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth
 56 The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon
 57 A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
 58 Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
 59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon
 60 Love In The Time Of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
 61 Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
 62 Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
 63 The Secret History – Donna Tartt
 64 The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold
 65 Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas
 66 On The Road – Jack Kerouac
 67 Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy
 68 Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding
 69 Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie
 70 Moby Dick – Herman Melville
 71 Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens
 72 Dracula – Bram Stoker
 73 The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett
 74 Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson
 75 Ulysses – James Joyce
 76 The Inferno – Dante
 77 Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome
 78 Germinal – Emile Zola
 79 Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray
 80 Possession – AS Byatt
 81 A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
 82 Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell
 83 The Color Purple – Alice Walker
 84 The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro
 85 Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert
 86 A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry
 87 Charlotte’s Web – E.B. White
 88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom
 89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
 90 The Faraway Tree Collection – Enid Blyton
 91 Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
 92 The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupery
 93 The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks
 94 Watership Down – Richard Adams
 95 A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole
 96 A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute
 97 The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas
 98 Hamlet – William Shakespeare
 99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl  
 100 Les Miserables – Victor Hugo

Back to Classics Challenge

Okay, this is the last challenge I am signing up for this year....at least until I find another I can't resist!  Sarah over at Sarah Reads Too Much is hosting this one so head on over and sign up!  Here are the rules:
The goals to complete:
  1. A Banned Book
  2. A Book with a Wartime Setting (can be any war)
  3. A Pulitzer Prize (Fiction) Winner or Runner Up:  a list can be found here
  4. A Children's/Young Adult Classic
  5. 19th Century Classic
  6. 20th Century Classic
  7. A Book you think should be considered a 21st Century Classic
  8. Re-Read a book from your High School/College Classes
This challenge is open to anyone who would like to participate.  You can join in at any point.  If you do not have a blog of your own, please feel free to update using the Comments section of this post.   This is intended to be a stress-free challenge, and therefore there is a 6 month time frame for completion.  The Challenge will be open from January - June 2011.  You can list you book choices before the challenge starts, or as you go along....  whatever works best for you.
Here are my choices:

1.  Their Eyes Were Watching God - Zora Neale Hurston
2.  Cold Mountain - Charles Frazier
3.  A Thousand Acres - Jane Smiley
4.  A Separate Peace - John Knowles
5.  Dracula - Bram Stoker
6.  Rebecca - Daphne du Maurier
7.  Water for Elephants - Sara Gruen
8.  The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald

Book Review: Happy Ever After by Nora Roberts

Synopsis (from Goodreads):  As the public face of Vows wedding planning company, Parker Brown has an uncanny knack for fulfilling every bride's vision. She just can't see where her own life is headed. Mechanic Malcolm Kavanaugh loves figuring out how things work, and Parker is no exception. Both know that moving from minor flirtation to major hook-up is a serious step. Parker's business risks have always paid off, but now she'll have to take the chance of a lifetime with her heart.

My thoughts:  This series was good but wasn't one of my favorites of Nora Robert's.  It was strictly romance with no suspense or supernatural elements.  The fourth and last book in the series, Happy Ever After, was sweet and entertaining if not a bit predictable.  I think from the second book, we knew that Parker would be paired up with Malcolm so no surprise there.  No major conflicts or turmoil to add a little spice to it but just sweet romance.  I really enjoyed Malcolm's character and loved his mom! 

Some of the events were a little unbelievable.  These four women run a wedding business and each, with the exception of Parker, are getting married.  However, they all let Parker pick out the wedding dress.  There is no playing dress up with beautiful princess dresses in front of friends and family.  Parker just found the "perfect" dress and it magically was the one each girl wanted with no questions or doubts.  Really...what girl doesn't want to go and try on a million dresses just for the fun of it?  That's the best part of the wedding planning!

Also, some of the dialogue was a little out there.  Who says things like "I want you in my bed but this isn't the time" or "I'm sleeping with your sister so get over it"?  I thought some of the characters were a little too forward and blunt.

All in all, it was a nice little romance novel that reads quickly and easily.  I didn't get bored during it at all.  I just personally prefer her series like the Circle Trilogy or the Key Trilogy.


Friday, November 26, 2010

The Friday 56: 11/26/10

I'm a little late getting this out but since I was up at 2:00 AM doing the whole "Black Friday" craziness, I just got the motivation now to actually post stuff!  The Friday 56 is hosted by Freda's Voice.  The rules are simple and as follows:
Rules:
*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56.
*Find any sentence that grabs you.
*Post it.
*Link it here.
Happy Ever After by Nora Roberts


"He's good at it,"  Laurel put in.  "I got singed by the heat, and I was fifteen feet away." 

Monday, November 22, 2010

Book Review: Don't Blink by James Patterson & Howard Roughan

Synopsis (from Goodreads):  New York's Lombardo's Steak House is famous for three reasons - the menu, the clientele, and now, the gruesome murder of an infamous mob lawyer. Seated at a nearby table, reporter Nick Daniels accidentally captures a key piece of evidence that lands him in the middle of an all-out war between Italian and Russian mafia forces.
 
My thoughts:  First off, I have to say Nick Daniels, the main character, has more lives than a cat!  If this were real, he would seriously be the luckiest man living!  From the first chapter, his life was in danger and he managed to outrun it and stay alive and this continued throughout all 300+ pages.   
 
I enjoyed this book as it was an easy and exciting read.  I love James Patterson's writing and the fast pace of his books.  From the prologue, the book has your attention.  However, if you are squeamish or have a weak stomach, this book may not be for you.  I was cringing by the end of the third page.  It is a bit convoluted with a lot of unnecessary characters but all in all, it was a pretty good thriller!
 
 

Friday, November 19, 2010

50 State Reading Challenge


The 50 States Challenge is hosted by Book Obsessed.
The goal of this challenge is to read books that are set in each of the fifty states. Your books can be of any genre and any format (ie. paperback, ebook, audiobook, etc.). No short stories. Re-reads and crossovers from other reading challenges are fine. You can list your books in advance or list them as you read them. The idea of this challenge came from a Goodreads group. 

I will post the books with the link to my review on this page as I read them next to the state they take place in.
  1. Alabama
  2. Alaska
  3. Arizona
  4. Arkansas
  5. California:  Homicide in Hardcover by Kate Carlisle 
  6. Colorado:  Nightshade by Andrea Cremer 
  7. Connecticut
  8. Delaware
  9. Florida
  10. Georgia:  Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce
  11. Hawaii
  12. Idaho
  13. Illinois:  Vixen by Jillian Larkin
  14. Indiana
  15. Iowa - Rotters by Daniel Kraus
  16. Kansas
  17. Kentucky:  Love Story by Jennifer Echols
  18. Louisiana:  Midnight Caller by Leslie Tentler 
  19. Maine:  Captivate by Carrie Jones 
  20. Maryland:  The Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell 
  21. Massachusetts:  Clarity by Kim Harrington 
  22. Michigan:  The Sweetest Thing by Christina Mandelski
  23. Minnesota:  Rival by Sara Bennett Wealer 
  24. Mississippi
  25. Missouri
  26. Montana:  Cryer's Cross by Lisa McMann 
  27. Nebraska
  28. Nevada:  Firelight by Sophie Jordan 
  29. New Hampshire
  30. New Jersey:  Rosebush by Michele Jaffe 
  31. New Mexico
  32. North Carolina:  Half-Blood by Jennifer L. Armentrout 
  33. New York: Bright Young Things by Anna Godbersen
  34. North Dakota
  35. Ohio:  The Liar Society by Lisa and Laura Roecker
  36. Oklahoma:  The Wedding Gift by Kathleen McKenna 
  37. Oregon:  Awaken by Katie Kacvinsky
  38. Pennsylvania:  A Plague Year by Edward Boor 
  39. Rhode Island:  Strings Attached by Judy Blundell 
  40. South Carolina:  Sweetly by Jackson Pearce
  41. South Dakota
  42. Tennessee
  43. Texas
  44. Utah
  45. Vermont
  46. Virginia
  47. Washington:  The Body Finder by Kim Derting 
  48. West Virginia
  49. Wisconsin
  50. Wyoming

2011 Reading Challenges: Off The Shelf!

This challenge is hosted by BA Reading Challenges.  The purpose of this challenge is to read a certain amount of books off your bookshelves.  I have so many books on my shelves that I haven't gotten around to reading so this challenge is for me! 

I am chosing the level of On a Roll:  read 50 books on your shelf!  I will list the books here and then link up the reviews as I write them.

1.  Shopaholic Takes Manhattan - Sophie Kensella
2.  The Host - Stephenie Meyers
3.  Hidden Wives - Clare Avery
4.  Christmas Letters - Debbie Macomber
5.  At Home in Mitford - Jan Karon
6.  A Light in the Window - Jan Karon
7.  Shiloh Autumn - Bodie & Brock Thoene
8.  Dewey - Vicki Myron
9.  Paranormalcy - Kiersten White
10.  City of Glass - Cassandra Clare
11.  Clockwork Angel - Cassandra Clare
12.  The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - Stieg Larsson
13.  Prophecy of the Sisters - Michelle Zink
14.  Guardian of the Gate - Michelle Zink
15.  Mrs. Miracle - Debbie Macomber
16.  Change of Heart - Jodi Picoult
17.  The Girls He Adored - Jonathan Nasaw
18.  Mr. Darcy's Little Sister - C. Allyn Pierson
19.  Last Sacrifice - Richelle Mead
20.  Willow - V.C. Andrews
21.  Break No Bones - Kathy Reichs
22.  206 Bones - Kathy Reichs
23.  Spider Bones - Kathy Reichs
24.  The Various Haunts of Men - Susan Hill
25.  The Pure in the Heart - Susan Hill
26.  The Risk of Darkness - Susan Hill
27.  The Shadows in the Street - Susan Hill
28.  The Vows of Silence - Susan Hill
29.  The Wedding Gift - Kathleen McKenna
30.  The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet - Jamie Ford
31.  Fallen - Lauren Kate
32.  Shadow Hills - Anastasia Hopcus
33.  Water for Elephants - Sara Gruen
34.  Catching Fire - Suzanne Collins
35.  Evermore - Alyson Noel
36.  Matters of the Heart - Danielle Steel
37.  The Sisterhood of the Traveling pants - Ann Brashares
38.  The Second Summer of the Sisterhood - Ann Brashares
39.  Girls in Pants - Ann Brashares
40.  Bones to Ashes - Kathy Reichs
41.  Becoming Lucy - Martha Rogers
42.  The Last Song - Nicholas Sparks
43.  Matched - Allie Condie
44.  The Summit - Kat Martin
45.  Heartsick - Chelsea Cain
46.  Dark Paradise - Tami Hoag
47.  The Ugly Duckling - Iris Johansen
48.  Say Goodbye - Lisa Gardner
49.  The Third Victim - Lisa Gardner
50.  The Next Accident - Lisa Gardner

So this will hardly make a dent in my bookshelves but I'll give it a go!  Head on over to BA Reading Challenges and sign up!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Friday 56: 11/19/10

The Friday 56 is hosted by Freda's Voice.  The rules are simple:

Rules:
*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56.
*Find any sentence that grabs you.
*Post it.
*Link it here.

It's that simple.  So head on over to Freda's Voice and link up!


"Sure enough, after her little toast to me, "it" was suddenly the big white elephant in the big white marble room of the Astor Hall."  ~Don't Blink by James Patterson