Jessica's books

The One and Only Ivan
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 »

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Book Review: Linger by Maggie Stiefvater

Synopsis (from Goodreads): 
In Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver, Grace and Sam found each other. Now, in Linger, they must fight to be together. For Grace, this means defying her parents and keeping a very dangerous secret about her own well-being. For Sam, this means grappling with his werewolf past . . . and figuring out a way to survive into the future. Add into the mix a new wolf named Cole, whose own past has the potential to destroy the whole pack. And Isabel, who already lost her brother to the wolves . . . and is nonetheless drawn to Cole.

My Thoughts:  It took me awhile to get into this book but honestly, I think it was because I was in a reading rut.  I just needed to take a little break from reading.  So, after a day of cleaning and a day of shopping and a day of reading a not so great ARC, I returned to Linger and I could not put it down!

When we left Grace and Sam in Shiver, Sam had just returned as a human after being infected with meningitis.  In Linger, he is still human and appears to be staying human forever now.  He is still sneaking into Grace's house and sleeping in her room at night.  However, now Grace is starting to feel sick.  I pretty much knew where this was going and what was going to happen to Grace at the end of this book.  The events leading up to it were anything but boring though! 

After Grace is so sick one night that she actually screams out loud, her parents (after finding Sam in her bed) forbade her to see Sam.  These are parents that haven't been involved in Grace's life hardly at all.  They come across as very selfish and neglectful of their only daughter in Shiver and now all of a sudden, they decide they should be parents and that Grace, who has raised herself and has never been in trouble, cannot be trusted.  I felt the anger and unfairness that Grace felt in this book.  I actually hated her parents along with her!

I loved Isabel and Cole in this book!  Isabel is still feeling guilty about her brother, Jack's death.  She is still a little cold and standoffish but not in a bad way.  It's a "this is how I am and you just have to accept me being brutally honest" way.  Like Grace, she is pretty much left to her own devices and her parents are pretty much non-existent. 

Cole and Victor are great new characters that we met briefly at the end of Shiver.  We don't see a lot of Victor in this book except for in some of Cole's flashbacks.  Cole is struggling with his own messed up life and wants desperately to become a wolf and stay a wolf.  Unfortunatley for him, that just isn't happening.  I love his relationship with Isabel.  There is just the right amount of romance in this book between them but I hope to see a little more romance between those two in Forever!

I really like how the point of views were from Grace, Sam, Isabel and Cole.  It changed it up a bit so you never got bored with one person.  In fact, it often left me wanting to hear more from whoever I was reading through and it would change POVs at just the right time. 

I actually enjoyed this book more than Shiver!  I can't wait for Forever to come out now so that I can see what Sam is going to do!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Book Review: Once in a Full Moon by Ellen Schreiber

Synopsis (from Goodreads):  
Beware of a kiss under the full moon. It will change your life forever.
Celeste Parker is used to hearing scary stories about werewolves—Legend's Run is famous for them. She's used to everything in the small town until Brandon Maddox moves to Legend's Run and Celeste finds herself immediately drawn to the handsome new student. But when, after an unnerving visit with a psychic, she encounters a pack of wolves and gorgeous, enigmatic Brandon, she must discover whether his transformation is more than legend or just a trick of the shadows in the moonlight.
Her best friends may never forgive her if she gives up her perfect boyfriend, Nash, for Brandon, who's from the wrong side of town. But she can't deny her attraction or the strong pull he has on her. Brandon may be Celeste's hero, or he may be the most dangerous creature she could encounter in the woods of Legend's Run.
Psychic predictions, generations-old secrets, a town divided, and the possibility of falling in love with a hot and heroic werewolf are the perfect formula for what happens . . . once in a full moon.

My Thoughts:  This was the first book from Ellen Schreiber I have read and I have to say, it will most likely be the last book from her that I read.  I honestly have to say that this book was so bad it was all I could do to finish it. 

Celeste lives in Legend's Run where there is a legend about a werewolf.  It is suppose to be incredibly scary and horrible however everytime someone told the story I thought it was boring and lacking.  There was nothing scary about this legend at all. 

Celeste is way too nice.  She is a saint.  She has no backbone and claims she is madly in love with this boy from "the wrong side of the tracks" yet she puts up with her friends being cruel to him, is embarrassed to be seen with him, etc.  I just didn't see how she could be madly in love with the boy and then let him be treated like he was.

Celeste's friends, Abby and Ivy, are incredibly annoying and snotty.  I hated them.  I didn't want to read about them at all.  I didn't connect with any of these characters.  They were very shallow and boring.

The whole split town thing was off too.  The "east" side was rich and good.  If you were from the "east" side you were popular and accepted.  The "west" side was full of losers and such.  Why?  Because it was more country.  There were farms and a small town atmosphere.  So, just because you live a little out of the city (it literally seemed like it was only a couple of miles from the "right" side of town) you were losers?  Hmmm....yeah, just didn't ring true to me at all. 

The whole snow storm scene was a little weird as well.  I mean, Celeste is going to walk less than a mile to her house.  The weather is fine.  She can practically see her house from where she is, on the bike path which is right next to the road.  Next thing you know it is snowing so hard that she can't see very far in front of her.  She steps off the path (barely) and suddenly cannot find the path or road again and becomes lost.  Okay, just turn around, walk back the way you came and you will find the road.  She didn't veer that far off the path so I didn't see how she got so lost.  Then, she is confronted and saved by the pack of wolves and amazingly, the storm ends and she can see the roof of her house again.  So that was just a strange part of the story.  Then Celeste gets home and her parents reactions are just messed up.  I can't even explain it but it was not believeable at all.

The writing in this book just came off as very amateurish.  There was no substance, no creativity, no great spin on werewolves...nothing.  The ending was blah.  There is obviously going to be a second book but I will not be reading it.  So, yeah, I didn't like this book at all.  However, I just want to say, just because I didn't like this book doesn't mean you won't.  I know there are lots of people out there who thought it was great.  This is strictly my opinion. 

The one thing I liked about this book?  The cover.  It was awesome!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Book Review: Pearl by Jo Knowles

Title:  Pearl
Author:  Jo Knowles
Publication Date:  July 19, 2011
Source:  Good Golly Miss Holly ARC Tours

Synopsis (from Good Golly Miss Holly):  Bean (née Pearl) and Henry, misfits and best friends, have the strangest mothers in town. Henry’s mom Sally never leaves the house. Bean’s mom Lexie, if she is home, is likely nursing a hangover or venting to her friend Claire about Bean’s beloved grandfather Gus, the third member of their sunny household.
Gus’s death unleashes a host of family secrets that brings them all together. And they threaten to change everything—including Bean’s relationship with Henry, her first friend, and who also might turn out to be her first love.

My thoughts:  Bean and Henry have a lot in common.  They are both 15 and have no other friends.  They both have crazy moms.  They both have no father around and both their worlds are about to become more dramatic than the soap opera that they watch with Henry's mom. 

It is summer and Bean is hanging with Henry when she gets the phone call to come home.  Upon arriving home, her young, single and slightly off-center mom tells her that her beloved grandfather, whom they live with, has died.  Now, Bean's mom and her grandfather have never gotten along and Bean has always wondered why.  As the days after Gus's death go by and Bean's mom and her best friend Claire become increasingly happy, Bean knows she has to figure out why happened between her mom and grandfather and her mom and her real dad. 

What is even more surprising is when Claire and Lexie (Bean's mom) include Sally, Henry's mom, into the mix and she actually enjoys herself.  Sally is a very heavy woman who hasn't really left her house since Henry's father left.  Once she gets out and spends time with Claire and Lexie though, she becomes a whole new woman.

There are some interesting issues that come to light as Henry and Bean learn about their mothers, their fathers, the relationship between Claire and Lexie and the relationship between Lexie and Gus. 

I liked the fact that there wasn't a ton of romance between Bean and Henry to complicate issues even further.  Bean and Henry were very identifiable characters and I really enjoyed both of them. 

I thought the issue between Lexie and Gus and Lexie and Claire was a little off.  The reasoning for how Lexie explained her pregnancy to Gus was just kind of weird for me.  I also thought the reasoning behind how she got pregnant was odd.  It just didn't really ring true or real for me, I guess.

This book was a very fast read and was pretty good.  I was never bored with it and didn't want to put it down so I could figure out what exactly was going on. 

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Library Thursday Blog Hop: 1/27/11

Library Thursday is a weekly blog hop Lazy Girl Reads started to:

1. Encourage people to support their libraries when they can
2. Meet new bloggy friends and grow your following

How to participate (UPDATED):
  • Create a Library Thursday post with a list, pictures or a vlog of your books. Or feature a cool picture of a library, or spotlight one of your favorite libraries.
  • Grab my button if you like it and include it in your post! Make sure to shout the library out that you went to!
  • Once you've created your post, link it to the linky at the bottom of Lazy Girl Reads' weekly post
  • Hop around to the other blogs participating and check out what other people are reading. Be sure to leave them a comment to let them know you were there, this is about making friends as well!
We live in a very rural area so we make sure we go to the library every Tuesday before my daughter's dance class.  This week I did not get any books for myself as I am a little overwhelmed with what I already have.  But, I got a bunch for my kiddos.  They include:

For my 7-year-old son
Explode the Code v. 8 (for my son's homeschooling curriculum)
Goosebumps:  Welcome to Dead House by R.L. Stine
Rotten School:  Dumb Clucks by R.L. Stine
Geronimo Stilton:  Shipwreck on the Pirate Islands
Geronimo Stilton:  Surf's Up, Geronimo!
Capital Mysteries:  The Secret at Jefferson's Mansion by Ron Roy

For my 5-year-old daughter
Explode the Code v. 2 1/2 (for my daughter's homeschooling curriculum)
Rainbow Magic:  Flora the Dress-Up Fairy by Daisy Meadows
The Fairy Chronicles:  Marigold and the Feather of Hope, The Journey Begins by J.H. Sweet
Young Cam Jansen and the Missing Cookie by David A. Adler
Young Cam Jansen and the Substitute Mystery by David A. Adler

For my 3-year-old son

Happy Birthday, Biscuit!  by Alyssa Satin Capucilli
Tall by Jez Alborough
One, Two, Buckle My Shoe by Jane Cabrera
Bums by David Bedford and Leonie Worthington
Bath Time by David Bedford and Leonie Worthington

Plus, I put some books on hold for my 3-year-old's preschool curriculum.  What did you pick up this week?

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Book Review: Rival by Sara Bennett Wealer

Title:  Rival
Author:  Sara Bennett Wealer
Publisher:  HarperTeen
Publish Date:  February 15, 2011
Source:  Different Area Codes ARC Tours

Synopsis (From Goodreads):  What if your worst enemy turned out to be the best friend you ever had?

Meet Brooke: Popular, powerful and hating every minute of it, she’s the “It” girl at Douglas High in Lake Champion, Minnesota. Her real ambition? Using her operatic mezzo as a ticket back to NYC, where her family lived before her dad ran off with an up and coming male movie star.

Now meet Kathryn: An overachieving soprano with an underachieving savings account, she’s been a leper ever since Brooke punched her at a party junior year. For Kath, music is the key to a much-needed college scholarship.

The stage is set for a high-stakes duet between the two seniors as they prepare for the prestigious Blackmore competition. Brooke and Kathryn work toward the Blackmore with eyes not just on first prize but on one another, each still stinging from a past that started with friendship and ended in betrayal. With competition day nearing, Brooke dreams of escaping the in-crowd for life as a professional singer, but her scheming BFF Chloe has other plans. And when Kathryn gets an unlikely invitation to Homecoming, she suspects Brooke of trying to sabotage her with one last public humiliation.

As pressures mount, Brooke starts to sense that the person she hates most might just be the best friend she ever had. But Kathryn has a decision to make. Can she forgive? Or are some rivalries for life?

My Thoughts:  I thought this was a good book with a great message.  Kathryn is a normal, everyday girl who can sing.  She is not popular.  She is just not known.  Until she is invited to a sleepover at Brooke's house.  Brooke is the "It" girl at school.  She also sings and Kathryn and Brooke bond over their love of music, which the other girls don't share. 

Kathryn gains popularity overnight and soon, her and Brooke are doing everything together.  Then Brooke's other friend, Chole, gets involved and from there it all goes downhill. 

This book if full of the typical drama high school girls go through for four years.  Even though it was over ten years ago, I remember it like it was yesterday.  The author did a great job of dredging back all those wonderful memories (note the sarcasm here).  There is backstabbing, competition, rivalvry and some romance.  It is told through both Kathryn and Brooke's perspective and through flashbacks so you know why there is such a fierce rivalry between the two. 

Kathryn and Brooke are both likeable at times and unlikeable at times.  I loved John and Matt and hated Chloe, Dina and Laura.  I felt sorry for both Brooke and Kathryn throughout the book as they each dealt with their own problems as home and at school. 

There was only one small complaint for me and that is that since I am not a singer, I didn't know all the music terms.  Other than that, it was a pretty good book that is perfect for teen girls. 

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Friday 56: 1/21/11

The Friday 56 is a fun meme hosted by Freda's Voice.  Head on over to her site and sign up for some fun!
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.

"I went over to rescue her.
'Sorry about this,'  I said as I helped stick a name tag onto her baby blue sweater."  -Rival by Sara Bennett Wealer

**Quoted from an ARC copy.  Subject to change**

Book Review: Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

Title:  Between Shades of Gray
Author:  Ruta Sepetys
Publisher:  Philomel Books
Publish Date:  March 22, 2011
Source:  Good Golly Miss Holly ARC Tours

Synopsis (from Goodreads):   Lina is just like any other fifteen-year-old Lithuanian girl in 1941. She paints, she draws, she gets crushes on boys. Until one night when Soviet officers barge into her home, tearing her family from the comfortable life they've known. Separated from her father, forced onto a crowded and dirty train car, Lina, her mother, and her young brother slowly make their way north, crossing the Arctic Circle, to a work camp in the coldest reaches of Siberia. Here they are forced, under Stalin's orders, to dig for beets and fight for their lives under the cruelest of conditions.
Lina finds solace in her art, meticulously—and at great risk—documenting events by drawing, hoping these messages will make their way to her father's prison camp to let him know they are still alive. It is a long and harrowing journey, spanning years and covering 6,500 miles, but it is through incredible strength, love, and hope that Lina ultimately survives. Between Shades of Gray is a novel that will steal your breath and capture your heart.

My thoughts:  I finished this book a few minutes ago with tears running down my face.  I am not sure how to review this book as words cannot do it justice.  It will haunt me for a long time the way only one other book, Night by Elie Wiesel, has. 

I am a history buff.  I am fascinated by World War II for reasons I cannot really explain.  Maybe it is because I cannot fathom how people could be so sick and cruel to other human beings!  However, in all my readings of WWII, I have only read about Hitler and his reign of terror over the Jews.  I have heard of Stalin, of course, but have never really read anything about him before this book.

Lina was 15 when her world was turned upside down.  Her father was gone and suddenly the NKVD (the secret Soviet police) came bursting into their house screaming at them to "davai" or hurry.  Lina, along with her mother and younger brother and hundreds of other people from Lithuania, are herded to the train depot where they are crowded into cattle cars.  From there we travel with Lina and her family through six weeks of torture.  After the six weeks they arrive at a labor camp and later are transferred to another labor camp in the North Pole. 

You read this book through Lina's point of view.  Some of the people on the cattle train with her, who soon become a sort of distended family, have names while others are simply known as "the man who winds his watch" or the "grumpy lady".  You come to love these people and want them all to survive, although little will (this is not a spoiler, just simply history). 

These characters were written and described so well that I felt their happiness at the beginning of the book followed by their fear and confusion and then their complete despair.  I found myself sickened by the way they were treated while holding out hope that someone would show them an inkling of kindness.  As people died, I felt the overwhelming sadness and the crushing grief that Lina felt.  I felt the immense hatred for the NKVD, especially those like Ivanov, who was the epitome of evil!  I felt again, the hope as Lina found the sun at the end. 

I learned so much from this book.  Things that horrified me but that I am a better person for knowing about. You remember what it is to want to live and to succeed at it.  You learn how helping others can make you happy, even when you literally have nothing.  You can learn how evil can ruin the best of people.  It is a riveting book!

This book is a book that everyone must read!  I think it would be an amazing book for a high school World Literature class or even a World History class.  It was much more interesting than Anne Frank's Diary and showed you a whole different part of WWII, which is the part most people are unaware of.  The end was written so well with a thought and hope that everyone should have:

"These writings may shock or horrify you, but that is not my intention. It is my greatest hope that the pages in this jar stir your deepest well of human compassion. I hope they prompt you to do something, to tell someone. Only then can we ensure that this kind of evil is never allowed to repeat itself."  Page 346 (ARC copy.  Subject to change).

Again, I don't think this review can do this book justice!  It is so important to be aware of this evil and to never let it happen again!  Please, pick up this book and read it.

Booking Through Thursday

This week's Booking Through Thursday question is: 
Even I read things other than books from time to time … like, Magazines! What magazines/journals do you read?
I don't read a ton of magazines but I do read some.  They include People (my guilty pleasure), Taste of Home, All You, Parenting and once in awhile my mother-in-law gives me a bunch of her Women's World magazines that I browse.  That's about it for me though!

Library Thursday Blog Hop: 1/20/11

Hosted by Lazy Girl Reads!

How to participate:
  • Create a Library Thursday post with a list, pictures or a vlog of your books. Grab my button if you like it and include it in your post! Make sure to shout the library out that you went to!
  • Once you've created your post, link it to the linky at the bottom of Lazy Girl Reads' weekly post
  • Hop around to the other blogs participating and check out what other people are reading. Be sure to leave them a comment to let them know you were there, this is about making friends as well!
Here are the books I got this week:

Firelight by Sophie Jordan
Homicide in Hardcover by Kate Carlisle (for my Cozy Mysteries challenge)
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (for my Back to Classics challenge)

I finished The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting and sent that back this week.  However, I have two ARCs to read this week plus a bunch from NetGalley so I'm trying to limit my library books right now! 

What did you find this week?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Book Review: The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting

Synopsis (from Goodreads): 
Violet Ambrose is grappling with two major issues: Jay Heaton
Violet has never considered her strange talent to be a gift; it mostly just led her to find dead birds her cat left for her. But now that a serial killer is terrorizing her small town, and the echoes of the local girls he's claimed haunt her daily, Violet realizes she might be the only person who can stop him.
Despite his fierce protectiveness over her, Jay reluctantly agrees to help Violet find the murderer—and Violet is unnerved by her hope that Jay's intentions are much more than friendly. But even as she's falling intensely in love, Violet is getting closer and closer to discovering a killer . . . and becoming his prey herself.

My Thoughts:  Mystery, murder, supernatural abilities and a hot romance...what more could you ask for?  I enjoyed this book immensely! 

Violet can find the dead, whether it be dead animals or dead people, but only those that have been murdered.  She sees, hears or tastes an "echo" that tells her where the dead are buried (this "echo" also happens to linger on the killers).  This little trick happens to come in handy once girls start going missing in her town.  Violet sets out to find the killer and put him away for good.

I thought Violet's ability was spooky all the way around.  How bad would it be to be able to literally sniff out the dead?  When the book first begins, Violet is 8 years old and finds her first dead human body.  Then, fastforward about 8 years and Violet is a teenager getting ready for the first day of school.  This is where Jay comes in.  Jay is Violet's best friend and has been since they were little but just recently Violet has noticed how much Jay has changed and how much the other girls at school are noticing him as well. 

One afternoon while hanging out with friends, Violet discovers another body.  This is where things start to get interesting.  When another girl goes missing, Violet decides she is going to try to find the killer, with Jay's help, of course.

I love Jay and Violet's relationship!  It was realistic and while there was a slight romantic triangle, it wasn't the same old "two boys in love with one girl who doesn't know which one to pick" scenario.  I could actually feel Violet's confusion of falling for her best friend and the frusterations when she wasn't sure if he returned her feelings.  I love how protective Jay was of Violet without being too mushy and romantic.  He is someone that every teenage girl wants to be real!

And finally!  A heroine that isn't just plain stupid!  I was so glad that Violet didn't intentionally go out and seek danger and trouble.  Even when she decided to go "hunt down" the killer, she was smart about not doing it alone or in secluded areas.  She was smart all the way until the end of the book where she did have a slight " is not the time to be alone" moment but otherwise I enjoyed the fact that she cared about staying alive and was appropriately scared when her life was in danger. 

The murder mystery lacked a little.  I like to have people that I can suspect and there weren't a whole lot in this book.  There were brief moments when I would suspect a character and then throw it out a few pages later.  Maybe that is the point keep you up in the air the whole time.

I did like how every few chapters you took on the view of the "killer".  That kept it interesting and even a little creepy.  Otherwise, it was written in the third person point of view.  Not my favorite POV but this book made it work exceptionally well for me!

I still have some questions left that I hope will be resolved in the next book, Desires of the Dead, which I cannot wait to get my hands on! Product Review is a great website where you can design your own bumper stickers, license plates, road signs, etc.  I was extremely excited when I was asked to review their product.  You can customize anything there to suit your needs and even upload your own pictures! 

This is great for custom gifts!  I have numerous family members that are extremely difficult to buy for but after playing around on this site, I already have ideas for birthdays and Christmas.  Here is a license plate I will be ordering for my son for his birthday:
My son's soccer team was Team Lightning this year.  On the one I am ordering, I have a team picture over the flames and my son's name.  Totally cute and what a great memory keeper! I know he is going to love it! 

This is the print I received for my daughter who is a little ballerina.  Her name in in the corner is pretty pink script and she loves it!  It adds such charm to her room!  We chose the polystyrene material so it is durable and I love it! 

Other materials that you can choose from include static cling, art board, aluminum and corrugated plastic, just to name a few.  There are several sizes to choose from and if you need it double sided (perhaps for business)then that is available too! 

You can go crazy customizing things from street signs to art work to business materials.  Shipping was quick and I received our artwork much quicker than expected.  All in all, I am extremely happy with our product and highly recommend 

So, what are you waiting for?  Go check it out and have fun!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Book Review: Clarity by Kim Harrington

Title:  Clarity
Author:  Kim Harrington
Publisher:  Scholastic Point
Publish Date:  March 1, 2011
Source:  Different Area Codes ARC Tours

Synopsis (from Goodreads):  
My thoughts:
Clarity and her brother and mom are the "freaks" of her small Cape Cod town. Her mom can read minds, her brother can talk to the dead and Clarity (Clare)can touch something and see the past. They give readings in their old victorian house and during the summer, Clare has no free time to be a teen.

It is the 4th of July weekend, the busiest of the summer when a tourist is murdered in this small town. A new detective and a mayor up for re-election are getting nowhere on the case. Clare is asked to join the investigation (quietly and unofficially, of course) and see if she can find any new leads. What she finds is not good however as she sees that her own brother fraternized with the victim hours before her death.

There is the usual romantic triangle as well. Clarity is working with the Mayor's son, who also happens to be her ex-boyfriend and who wants to get back together with her. She is also working with the mysterious new detective's son, who she feels a strong physical attraction too. Of course, both boys want her attention all to themselves so there is a little competition to add to the fun.

I have to say that there were several times when I was sure I knew who the killer was just to find out later that I was wrong. I really didn't suspect the end result and that was a pleasant surprise.

The little issues that bugged me were the fact that in the investigation (did I happen to mention that it was a murder investigation??), the Mayor and detective let these three teenage kids help in an investigation. Um, yeah...right. And, they were left to their own devices. So not happening! The author has a good explanation for why these kids are left to their own but wouldn't ever happen like that. Ever. Also, the whole tatoo issue with Gabriel was just a little corny. The background with Gabriel and his dad was a little off to me as well. None of this was anything that really took away from the book though and I really enjoyed reading it and look forward to reading the next books by Kim Harrington.

When you can see things others can't, where do you look for the truth?
This paranormal murder mystery will have teens reading on the edge of their seats.
Clarity "Clare" Fern sees things. Things no one else can see. Things like stolen kisses and long-buried secrets. All she has to do is touch a certain object, and the visions come to her. It's a gift. And a curse.
When a teenage girl is found murdered, Clare's ex-boyfriend wants her to help solve the case--but Clare is still furious at the cheating jerk. Then Clare's brother--who has supernatural gifts of his own--becomes the prime suspect, and Clare can no longer look away. Teaming up with Gabriel, the smoldering son of the new detective, Clare must venture into the depths of fear, revenge, and lust in order to track the killer. But will her sight fail her just when she needs it most?

Wow!  I gained well over 100 followers in this giveaway hop so I am so excited!  Thank you to all my new followers and to all my old ones as well! 

Now for the winners (chosen by

Mrs DeRaps


Freda M. from Freda's Voice

Congratulations guys!  I will be sending out an email shortly to let you know!  Now, if you didn't win this one, stick around.  I plan on having more giveaways soon!

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Friday 56: 1/14/11

The Friday 56 is a fun meme hosted by Freda's Voice.  Anyone can play so head over to her site and link up!
*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56.
*Find any sentence that grabs you.
*Post it.
*Link it here.

It's that simple.

I'm reading 2 books right now so I will post from both of them.  First:

"She looked around her then and noticed that she had been abandoned by her friends while she'd been sleeping." ~The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting


"I didn't know anyone stood over me, until two hands squeezed my shoulders."  ~Clarity by Kim Harrington (taken from an ARC copy.  Final copy may differ)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Goodbye 2010 Contest...Amazing!

Wow!  Taschima over at Bloody Bookaholics is saying goodbye to 2010 with style!  She has decided to give 3 winners 10 YA books from 2010.  Amazing right?  Some of the titles include Desires of the Dead by Kimberly Derting, The Replacement by Brenda Yovanoff, Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepherd and so much more!  Seriously, you have to head over there and check it out...or if you don't have time, don't worry!  That just makes my chances of winning better!! :)  No really though, go check it out!  How could you resist??

Dreaming of Books Giveaway Hop!

Welcome to the Dreaming of Books Giveaway Hop hosted by I'm a Reader, Not a Writer and Reviews by Martha's Bookshelf.  I'm so excited because this is my first giveaway hop!
Two lucky winners will each win a brand new copy of Losing Faith by Denise Jaden!

A terrible secret. A terrible fate.
When Brie's sister, Faith, dies suddenly, Brie's world falls apart. As she goes through the bizarre and devastating process of mourning the sister she never understood and barely even liked, everything in her life seems to spiral farther and farther off course. Her parents are a mess, her friends don’t know how to treat her, and her perfect boyfriend suddenly seems anything but.
As Brie settles into her new normal, she encounters more questions than closure: Certain facts about the way Faith died just don't line up. Brie soon uncovers a dark and twisted secret about Faith’s final night...a secret that puts her own life in danger.

Giveaway Rules:
  • You must be a follower of my blog through Google Friends Connect. 
  • Fill out the form at the end of this post:
Bonus Entries:

Giveaway ends on January 17th at 11:59 PM.  2 winners will be chosen using and winners will be notified via email.  Winners will have 48 hours to respond or I will chose another winner.

Good Luck!

Library Thursday Blog Hop: 1/13/11

Library Thursday is a blog hop hosted by Lah at Lazy Girl Reads.  It's a post where you list all the books you picked up at the library or put on hold at the library. 

Since I go to the library all the time, I love this idea!  However this week, we had a huge ice storm hit us so I was unable to get there.  I did receive notice that I have some books waiting for me though so I will list those.

So, books I have waiting to be picked up:

Nightshade by Andrea Cremer  (for me to read)

Muzzy:  Spanish (for my kids' homeschooling)

Surprises by Lee Bennett Hopkins (for my daughter's homeschool reading)

Henry and Ribsy by Beverley Cleary (for my son's homeschool reading)

Betsy and Tacy Go Over The Big Hill by Maud Hart Lovelace (for my son's homeschool reading)

Books that I have put on hold this week:

Homicide in Hardcover by Kate Carlisle (for my Cozy Mysteries challenge)

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (for my Back to Classics challenge)

Magic Treehouse:  A Crazy Day With Cobras by Mary Pope Osborne (for my son)

Gabriella the Snow Kingdom Fairy by Daisy Meadows (for my daughter)

Phew!  I think that's it.  I'm still working on my stack from last week so hopefully they won't all come at once!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

And the Award goes to....

I was awarded the Sylish Blogger Award from Freda over at Freda's Voice.  Thank you so much!  You should head on over to her site and check it out!

1. Thank and link back to the person who awarded you this award.
2. Share 7 things about yourself.
3. Award 15 great bloggers.
4. Contact these bloggers and tell them about the award!

Seven Things About Myself:
1. I have just recently started homeschooling my children and I think I am learning just as much as they are!
2.  My favorite cartoon is The Flintstones.
3.  My favorite tv show is Bones...and Grey's Anatomy.
4.  I am an insomniac.
5.  I love scary movies!
6.  My husband and I will celebrate our 10 year anniversary this November....Hawaii anyone??
7.  My 3 year old was potty trained in 3 days!  I did a happy dance for no more diapers!

Now to award the other blogs:

1.  Just Another Book Blog
2.  Icey Books
3.  The Book Inn
4.  YA Bibliophile
5.  The Serpentine Library
6.  The Happy Booker
7.  Lazy Girl Reads
8.  Chick Loves Lit
9.  BookHounds
10.  Bippity Boppity Book
11.  A Great Read
12.  Badass Bookie
13.  Oodles of Books
14.  Scarrlet Reader
15.  The Book Pixie

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Book Review: Rosebush by Michele Jaffe

Title:  Rosebush
Author:  Michele Jaffe
Publication date:  December 2010
Publisher:  Razorbill
Source:  Different Area Codes ARC Tours

Synopsis (from Goodreads):  Instead of celebrating Memorial Day weekend on the Jersey Shore, Jane is in the hospital surrounded by teddy bears, trying to piece together what happened last night. One minute she was at a party, wearing fairy wings and cuddling with her boyfriend. The next, she was lying near-dead in a rosebush after a hit-and-run.

Everyone believes it was an accident, despite the phone threats Jane swears were real. But the truth is a thorny thing. As Jane's boyfriend, friends, and admirers come to visit, more memories surface not just from the party, but from deeper in her past . . . including the night her best friend Bonnie died.
With nearly everyone in her life a suspect now, Jane must unravel the mystery before her killer attacks again. Along the way, she's forced to examine the consequences of her life choices in this compulsively readable thriller.

My Thoughts:  I didn't love this book but...I didn't hate it either.  It was just okay.  There were a lot of parts where I was like "yeah right...that so wouldn't happen" but about halfway through it got to be pretty interesting.  However, it took me quite a long time to get into the book at all.  There were times at the beginning that I didn't think I'd be able to finish it at all.

This book kinda reminded me of the old classic movie "Gaslight".  A young woman gets married and then thinks she is going crazy only to find out her husband is doing things to make her think that.  Same way with Jane.  She is getting gifts from a secret admirer that seem sweet but have an underlying threat.  She gets strange phone calls from someone promising her she will die soon and she sees a creepy message in her bathroom mirror.  However, everyone else comes up with logical explanations for all these things so poor Jane is left doubting her own self (and you are left doubting her as well). 

Pete was an awesome character.  A high school dropout, his father has made him volunteer at the hospital so he can keep on eye on him.  He's funny, hot and extremely smart.  Yeah, he was by far my favorite character and I wish we could have seen a lot more of him.


Things that I didn't like about the book?  The brand names that were dropped constantly throughout the book.  I mean, every page had a detailed description of how someone was wearing Prada shoes or a Chanel necklace and on and on.  I mean really?  I don't frickin' care what brand the characters are wearing.  I got that they were super rich when they were driving around in BMWs and had 23,000 square-foot houses.  I found it so extremely annoying!

There were also so many uneccessary scenes that really didn't add anything to the book except to keep it dragging on longer.  There was a girl-on-girl kissing scene that seriously went nowhere.  There was no reason for it.  It added no motive to anything and really no background to anything.  The whole "revealing" scene with Scott was also just weird.  I mean, what was the point of it and what happened to Scott after he left?  Was that just the end of him?  He was a creepy stalker guy and then just boom....he's gone and it's over. 

I also found the murderer's motive lacking.  I'm still not sure what exactly her motive was.  There are some other things in the murderer's background that were a little confusing as well but maybe it was just me trying to hurry through the book to finish it on time.  Maybe I missed something...maybe not?

Also, what happens to Ollie?  What about David?  There were just a lot of loose ends that didn't really add up.  Same with the whole David/Sloane scenario.  Did something happen there?  What did Jane really see?  At one point it says that she sees David on top of Sloan doing "his thing" and then Sloan says she doesn't remember and she was on her period so nothing happened?  And then it just doens't resolve itself at all and kind of leaves you wondering what really happened there.

Oh, and the last thing that annoyed me....all Kate's sentences end in a question.  Even if it's not a question.  I just got annoyed with that little detail.  Maybe it doesn't bother anyone else but really...who talks like that?

So yeah, wasn't my favorite book but like I said, it wasn't horrible.  Towards the end (the last 100 pages) I kinda got into trying to figure out who tried to kill Jane but not a book I would buy to read again.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Book Review: Bright Young Things by Anna Godbersen

Title:  Bright Young Things
Author:  Anna Godbersen
Publication:  Oct. 2010
Publisher:  Harper Teen
Reading Level:  Young Adult

Synopsis (from Goodreads):  The year is 1929. New York is ruled by the Bright Young Things: flappers and socialites seeking thrills and chasing dreams in the anything-goes era of the Roaring Twenties.
Letty Larkspur and Cordelia Grey escaped their small Midwestern town for New York's glittering metropolis. All Letty wants is to see her name in lights, but she quickly discovers Manhattan is filled with pretty girls who will do anything to be a star…
Cordelia is searching for the father she's never known, a man as infamous for his wild parties as he is for his shadowy schemes. Overnight, she enters a world more thrilling and glamorous than she ever could have imagined—and more dangerous. It's a life anyone would kill for . . . and someone will.
The only person Cordelia can trust is Astrid Donal, a flapper who seems to have it all: money, looks, and the love of Cordelia's brother, Charlie. But Astrid's perfect veneer hides a score of family secrets.
Across the vast lawns of Long Island, in the illicit speakeasies of Manhattan, and on the blindingly lit stages of Broadway, the three girls' fortunes will rise and fall—together and apart. From the New York Times bestselling author of The Luxe comes an epic new series set in the dizzying last summer of the Jazz Age.

My Thoughts:  I picked up this book and was immediately transported to 1929.  It was incredible!  This book was so unbelievably good and leaves you needing to read the next book NOW!  I don't even know how anything else will compare to this one right now. 

The descriptions were so real and it is obvious that the author did her research.  I felt the awe of Cordelia and Letty as they arrived in New York City for the first time.  I felt the rage Cordelia felt towards Thom at the end of the book, I felt the despair that Letty felt and the hurt that Astrid felt.  The author made the characters so real that you can't help but feel exactly what they are feeling.

I loved Cordelia!  She was so full of life and energy and adapted so easily to any situation.  She was bold and brave and a perfect character of the 1920s.  I also really loved her father, even if he did have a questionable business.  He wasn't a huge character in the book but I did enjoy reading about the time Cordelia and him spent together.  Cordelia's brother Charlie is one of those characters that you just love to hate.  He is surly and at the same time, the perfect big brother.

Letty was a fun character as well.  She wasn't as brave as Cordelia but proved to be strong and able to make it on her own.  At first, I wondered if she would just ride on Cordelia's coattails but after her and Cordelia parted ways, she proved to be very brave.  She wasn't quite as independent as Cordelia, seeming to need help from others often but she was a wonderful albeit naive character.  You couldn't help but love her!
Astrid is your typical rich girl.  She sleeps all day and parties all night but she doesn't come across as a spoiled brat.  While she expects nice things and people to do things for her, she doesn't mistreat the help or look down on them and I liked that.  She is so in love with Cordelia's brother Charlie but at the same time she doesn't let him bully her.  She wants to be nothing like her mother and after getting to know her mother, that is something you can totally appreciate!  She takes Cordelia under her wing and is another strong character that you can relate too.

The prologue of the book gives you a brief look at what will happen to the three girls through the series.  However, it is a little deceiving and that was a little frustrating (however a great play by the author because now I cannot wait to read the next book).   The ending is a cliff-hanger and also leaves you begging for more!  I can't believe I am going to have to wait until September to get my hands on the next book!

This is one of those books that a review can't really do justice for.  You have to read the book yourself to see how truly great it really was.  If you like historical fiction, you will love it and even if you don't usually read historical fiction, try it anyways.  Trust me, the book is worth it!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Book Review: The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab

Title:  The Near Witch
Author:  Victoria Schwab
Publisher:  Hyperion Books
Publish Date:  8/2/2011
Reading Level:  Young Adult

ARC copy received from Different Area Codes ARC tours.

Synopsis (from Goodreads):   The Near Witch is only an old story told to frighten children.

If the wind calls at night, you must not listen. The wind is lonely, and always looking for company.

And there are no strangers in the town of Near.
My Thoughts:  I'm going to be honest here...this book was not at all what I was expecting!  It took me a long time to get into and I'm really not sure what the reasoning for that is.  It starts out very mysterious and then, for some reason, I just lost interest for a little while.  However, I am glad that I kept going because the end was so worth it!

This book reminds me of a cross between the movie The Village and The Blair Witch Project (the story behind the witch is similar to BW).  You never really know what time period the story takes place in.  You also never really know how old the main character, Lexi, is.  Maybe I just missed it but I'm pretty sure it was never mentioned in the book which bothered me a little.  Lexi was getting towards "marrying age" but without knowing what time period we are talking about, you still don't really know how old she is.  You do get the sense that this is historical by the fact that everyone makes their own supplies, the women all wear dresses, etc.

The love story was sweet and romantic but a lacked something.  I am not sure what it lacked but I just didn't get that feeling I got with Bella and Edward in Twilight or with Same and Grace in Shiver, etc. 

I loved the sisters!  They reminded me of the sister witches in Practical Magic.  They were the best characters in the book (in my opinion) and I wish that there was a little more background to them.  I also wish there was a little more background to Lexi's dad and why he was in tune with the moor and the sisters.

The story of the Near Witch took a long time to figure out.  It was well thought out though and I really liked the final story of what happened to her.  The description of the witch was phenomenal!  I could totally invision her coming to life the way she did and will possibly have nightmares tonight about her!

Like I said, the beginning was a little slow for me but the ending was amazing!  The last 75 pages of the book I could not put down at all.  I was tense and reading so fast to get to the ending and see what happened.

This is a great book for early YA readers.  It is very clean (very, very few swear words and no sex) and a good transition.  All in all, I thought the book was worth reading!

These are the truths that Lexi has heard all her life.
But when an actual stranger—a boy who seems to fade like smoke—appears outside her home on the moor at night, she knows that at least one of these sayings is no longer true.
The next night, the children of Near start disappearing from their beds, and the mysterious boy falls under suspicion. Still, he insists on helping Lexi search for them. Something tells her she can trust him.
As the hunt for the children intensifies, so does Lexi’s need to know—about the witch that just might be more than a bedtime story, about the wind that seems to speak through the walls at night, and about the history of this nameless boy.
Part fairy tale, part love story, Victoria Schwab’s debut novel is entirely original yet achingly familiar: a song you heard long ago, a whisper carried by the wind, and a dream you won’t soon forget.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Book Review: Midnight Caller by Leslie Tentler

Title:  Midnight Caller
Author:  Leslie Tentler
Publication Date:  February 2011
Publisher:  Harlequin
Reading Level:  Adult
Received from NetGalley (Thanks to Harlequin)

Synopsis (From Goodreads):  "I don't plan to kill you... unless, of course, you force me to."

Late-night radio show psychologist Rain Sommers is used to the crazies who call in to rage from the back alleys of the French Quarter and the shadows of the bayou. But one caller's chilling obsession with her and her long-ago murdered mother - an iconic singer beloved among the city's Goth community - has even the jaded Rain running scared as a sadistic serial killer known as the Vampire prowls New Orleans.

FBI agent Trevor Rivette is convinced her midnight caller and the killer are one and the same. As it becomes disturbingly clear that the Vampire has a sick bloodlust only Rain can satisfy, she allows Trevor to get closer and closer. But he soon discovers that his secretive past and troubled present are intertwined - and that he may die trying to keep Rain's fate out of a madman's control.

My Thoughts:  I picked up this book because I love books that take place in New Orleans, especially a thriller/suspense book.  I was a little disappointed by the fact that it was a little...okay, a lot, predictable.  A sexy cop (FBI agent) with a mysterious past arrives back in his hometown to take care of a case (murder in this book).  He meets a beautiful woman, also with a sordid past, who is of course involved in the case.  FBI agent and woman fall in love, have a couple steamy sex scenes and then the woman (who appears to have lost all common sense) pays no attention to the FBI agent's warnings and of course, ends up getting in trouble and the hot FBI agent must save her, get hurt, get better and they all live happily ever after. 

Like I said, I loved the setting because I think New Orleans has to be the best place for a mystery.  It's creepy, has a haunted history and always seems dark and misty.  The characters were your typical characters.  You find out Rain's history quickly but it takes over halfway through the book to find out about Trevor's full history.  Then you have Rain's ex, who is a jerk and Trevor's father, who is even a bigger jerk.  I found it a little hard to believe that Trevor's father got away with all he got away with while being a cop.  I mean, I know the "good ole boys" game but still, it seemed a little far fetched that he could do all that and have the department hide it. 

I was not satisfied with the ending at all.  The murderer has a story around him as to why he kills his victims and then drinks their blood (he is known as the "Vampire Killer") and there is some mystery as to his age but it is never really resolved in the book.  The cops throw around a few options but nobody can really find out what really went on and that just left me hanging.  The author also didn't really explain why the murderer's "helper" felt the need to help him over and over again.  I would have liked a little more history into that relationship.

Rain's ex is another character that just kinda disappears in the story.  He does some things and then he apparently ends up in jail but there is really no conclusion to his problems.  What happens to his radio station, his new "girlfriend", etc.  There is a brief mention of him in the last couple of pages but nothing as to why he really did what he did and what is going to happen to him now. 

So, that about sums up the story.  It really had nothing that made it stand out from any other romantic murder mystery and left a lot hanging at the end. 

Library Thursday Blog Hop

The Library Thursday Blog Hop is a new weekly meme hosted by Lah @ LazyGirl Reads.  Each week, you will list which books you've picked up, put on hold, skimmed through at the library. It's a great way to see what other bloggers are browsing through while we are waiting for new titles to come out. And it's a blog hop! So you can make some more bloggy friends. YAY!
So, head on over to LazyGirl Reads and sign up!
My books this week:
Unholy Ghosts by Stacia Kane
I have read a ton of reviews about this book so decided to pick it up when I saw it.  I can't wait to start this series!
Graceling by Krisin Cashore
I have this one to read for an online book club I am a part of.  Plus, I have just recently read some great reviews on this one too.
Percy Jackson & The Olympians:  The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riodan
I just recently read the first Percy Jackson and loved it!  I really enjoy Greek Mythology so these books are right up my alley! 
The Body Finder by Kimnberly Derting
I've had this one on hold forever and finally it arrived!
Linger by Maggie Stiefvater
I just finished Shiver last month so of course, I have to find out what happens to Sam and Grace.
My Name is Mary Sutter by Robin Oliveira
I found this one while browsing the website of my monthly book club and thought it sounded good so ordered it from the library.
So, that's my haul this week!  What did you find?


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Teaser Tuesday: 1/4/11

 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!
  "Concern filled Brian's eyes.  "Trevor, there's no one here."

Trevor looked around again, refusing to believe it had only been his imagination." ~page 148 of Midnight Caller by Leslie Tentler

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Book Review: The Sweetest Thing by Christina Mandelski

The Sweetest Thing
by Christina Mandelski
Expected Publish Date:  May 2011
334 pages
YA reading level

This ARC received as part of Star Book Tours.
Synopsis (from Goodreads): 
Christina Mandelski's debut novel, about a young teen juggling first love, a cake-decorating business, her dad's reality TV show, and a search for her missing mother.
My thoughts:  I absolutely loved this book!  I picked it up this morning with the hopes of finishing it by Monday at the latest and here it is, Sunday morning at 12:40 AM and I am still awake because I couldn't put the book down! 
Sheridan is your typical 15 year old girl.  Well, except for the fact that she is known as "cake girl" in her small town.  She works at the bakery that her Grandma (aka Nanny) owns decorating cakes.  Her dad is a chef who is trying to get his own t.v. show on a big food network.  Her mom is AWOL, having left her at the age of 7.
I completely identified with Sheridan.  I have to admit, it was over 15 years ago that I was 15 but this book brought back all the feelings of insecurity, confusion and teen love instantly for me!  I felt Sheridan's pain when she thought of her mother.  She spent so much time looking for her mom and trying to understand why her mom left in the first place.  Her dad was pretty much self-centered at the beginning of the book, only thinking of his t.v. show and restaurant and you could feel the hurt that Sheridan felt whenever she was around her father. 
Then you have the romance part of the story.  Poor Sheridan is trying to deal with the fact that her father has landed this tv show and they have to move to New York when Ethan, the most popular boy in school, decides it is time to hit on her.  Now, as a 32 year old adult, I had my suspicions as to what Ethan's intentions were but I could totally understand how a 15 year old girl could totally deny the reasons he has suddenly decided to hook up with her and in Ethan's defense, I am not sure he was 100% certain of the reasons either (until the end).  I also understand her confusion when she finds out her best friend, Jack, has a crush on her.  I had a best boy friend in high school who had a crush on me and it totally screws everything up!  However, I loved the way it ended for Sheridan! 
There are other characters in this book that you love to hate and characters that you hate to love!  They were very well developed, in my opinion and I had no problems identifying with any of them. 
The decisions that Sheridan has to make and the issues that she faces are relevant in many teenage girls' lives and I think most of them will be able to identify with the main character.  It was a fun, clean read that made you happy at the end.  It is a book that I would let my teenage daughter (if I had one) read in a heartbeat!