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 »

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Book Review: Delirium by Lauren Oliver


Synopsis (from Goodreads):  Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing. They didn’t understand that once love -- the deliria -- blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold. Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the governments demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Holoway has always looked forward to the day when she’ll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy.

But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: She falls in love.

My Thoughts:  I thought this book started a little slow.  It was interesting but took just a little too long in getting into the good parts.  I found that I could easily put it down and do something else for awhile.  Only towards the end did it get to where I just wanted to sit and read it with no distractions.

This story did raise some good questions though.  How would you like to live in a world with no love?  No passion?  No real reason for living?  I've been stuck in a rut before but this kind of world that Lena lived in was like being stuck in the same rut for your whole life.  You don't love your spouse, in fact, you may not even know him until you get matched to him by the government.  You don't love your children.  You have the number of children specified by the government because that is what they tell you to do.  However, your children love you because they don't get the "procedure" until age 18.  How horrible!

Lena is counting the days until her procedure.  She can't wait to live in a world with no pain, no love and no chance of contracting the dreaded "amor deliria nervosa" (aka falling in love).  Her best friend, Hana and herself are heading into their evaluation when the "invalids" pull a stunt and Lena sees Alex for the first time.  After their evaluations are rescheduled, Hana and Lena meet up with Alex again and Lena finds herself attracted to him.

Hana, on the other hand, is changing.  She starts listening to unapproved music and attending parties that are co-ed.  One of these parties happens to be on the night of a raid and Lena feels the need to warn her friend and of course, doesn't get out of there soon enough.  The "regulators" find the party and then Lena has to run.  I won't tell you what else happens but this is the night that she discovers that she is in love with Alex. 

Now, instead of being excited to receive the procedure, Lena is counting the days with dread.  The rest of the story is how the romance evolves with Lena and Alex and how the plan to escape into the wild. 

While I enjoyed the romance and the conflicts, I thought that the book was a bit too long.  The romance dragged on a little too long (at least, for how easy the romance was).  I did like the discovery Lena made at the "Crypts".  That whole part of the story was interesting and exciting.

The regulators and the whole idea of the story actually reminded me of WWII.  The regulators were the Nazis and just as brutal.  The had no qualms about killing anyone who resisted.  The government was Hitler.  This is the way we say it is so this is how you will do it.  The people were constantly living in fear of being labeled as "resisters" or "sympathizers" and the raids were eerily similar to the raids the Nazis performed. 

I enjoyed this book but like I said, it could have read a little faster.  The end was action packed however and the cliffhanger has left me wanting for more!

**I received this book from Good Golly Miss Holly ARC tours**

Friday, March 25, 2011

Book Review: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Synopsis (from Goodreads):  In 1922, F. Scott Fitzgerald announced his decision to write "something new--something extraordinary and beautiful and simple and intricately patterned." That extraordinary, beautiful, intricately patterned, and above all, simple novel became The Great Gatsby, arguably Fitzgerald's finest work and certainly the book for which he is best known. A portrait of the Jazz Age in all of its decadence and excess, Gatsby captured the spirit of the author's generation and earned itself a permanent place in American mythology. Self-made, self-invented millionaire Jay Gatsby embodies some of Fitzgerald's--and his country's--most abiding obsessions: money, ambition, greed, and the promise of new beginnings. "Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgiastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that's no matter--tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther.... And one fine morning--" Gatsby's rise to glory and eventual fall from grace becomes a kind of cautionary tale about the American Dream. It's also a love story, of sorts, the narrative of Gatsby's quixotic passion for Daisy Buchanan. The pair meet five years before the novel begins, when Daisy is a legendary young Louisville beauty and Gatsby an impoverished officer. They fall in love, but while Gatsby serves overseas, Daisy marries the brutal, bullying, but extremely rich Tom Buchanan. After the war, Gatsby devotes himself blindly to the pursuit of wealth by whatever means--and to the pursuit of Daisy, which amounts to the same thing. "Her voice is full of money," Gatsby says admiringly, in one of the novel's more famous descriptions. His millions made, Gatsby buys a mansion across Long Island Sound from Daisy's patrician East Egg address, throws lavish parties, and waits for her to appear. When she does, events unfold with all the tragic inevitability of a Greek drama, with detached, cynical neighbor Nick Carraway acting as chorus throughout. Spare, elegantly plotted, and written in crystalline prose, The Great Gatsby is as perfectly satisfying as the best kind of poem.

My Thoughts:  This was a very interesting read for me.  I first read it in my AP English class when I was a junior and I can remember that I was one of the few people who really enjoyed it.  I picked it up again this time for my Back to Classics challenge.  I have to say, I still really enjoy it.

The Great Gatsby is a rags-to-riches story set in the Jazz Age.  Our narrator, Nick, is neighbors with the mysterious Jay Gatsby.  Mr. Gatsby lives in an incredible mansion and is extremely rich.  How did he get so rich since he came from poor parents?  Yeah, probably best not to ask that one!  In fact, you soon find out that none of the characters are who they seem they are. 

I really enjoyed the love story here.  Gatsby falls in love with Daisy, Nick's distant cousin, years ago while he was in the Army.  Daisy has mutual feelings but she is, of course, used to a certain lifestyle that Gatsby (known as the time as James Gatz) couldn't give her, as he was poor.  So he lies.  He portrays himself as a wealthy man and then he must return to the Army.  They lose touch and Daisy marrys Tom.  Tom is wealthy but also uptight and stuffy.  I didn't care for him at all. 

This is what leads Gatsby to make himself a rich man, to live in New York and eventually what makes him set himself up to meet Daisy again.

I really loved how Gatsby would do anything for Daisy.  I loved how he pined away for her for 5 years and made himself who he was because he was trying to make himself someone worthwhile for Daisy.  I loved how it showed you what money can and cannot buy, showed you how powerful dreams could be and how powerful love can be. 

A great American classic, in my opinion!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Friday 56: 3/25/11

The Friday 56 is hosted by Freda over at Freda's Voice

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56.
*Find any sentence that grabs you.
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post below in Linky.

It's that simple.

"The tears coursed down her cheeks - not freely, however, for when they came into contact with her heavily beaded eyelashes they assumed an inky color, and pursued the rest of their way in slow black rivulets."  page 56 of The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Book Review: No Cure for the Broken Hearted by Kenneth Rosenberg

No Cure for the Broken Hearted

Synopsis (from Goodreads):  Katherine Spencer is an up-and-coming architect in New York City. Her professional life is on the fast-track. Her personal life is a shambles. Katherine compares every man she ever meets to Nick Bancroft, the billionaire’s son who broke her heart one summer long ago. Now, twelve years later he’s suddenly reappeared, asking her to design a house at the cove where they shared their first kiss. Is he looking for an architect, or something more? And should she forgive him?

My Thoughts:  I really enjoyed this romantic story!  How could you not?  Plus, is there a woman out there that can't relate to the "what if?" game?  What if it really worked out between me and my first love?  What if he showed up at my front door years later? 

These are questions Katherine Spencer faces.  She is an extremely successful architect who lives for her job despite her best friend's efforts.  Katharine is okay with this until her crush, a boy she met when she was 16, shows up to have her design his dream house.  Of course, her whole world is then turned upside down.  Nick is insistent that it is Katherine that designs his house and no one else.  Katherine is questioning this and wondering "why her" and "what does he really want"?  I really liked Katherine but sometimes got annoyed with her indecisiveness.  Just a small flaw though.

I really liked Nick too.  He is super rich (the son of billionaires) and while Katherine has stayed stuck on Nick throughout the years, Nick has apparently moved on, dating his fair share of women.  He is of course, dating a woman who he is sure is the "One" until he spends time with Katherine.  The more time he spends with Katherine, the more he begins to wonder. 

I loved seeing how Nick and Katherine worked through all the emotion and confusion.  It was funny, sad, and clean!  If you like a good romance, this book is for you! 

Book Review: Captivate by Carrie Jones

Synopsis (from Goodreads):  Zara and her friends knew they hadn't solved the pixie problem for good. Far from it. The king's needs grow deeper every day he's stuck in captivity, while his control over his people gets weaker. It's made him vulnerable. And now there's a new king in town.

A turf war is imminent, since the new pixie king, Astley, is moving in quickly. Nick nearly killed him in the woods on day one, but Zara came to his rescue. Astley swears that he and Zara are destined to be together, that he's one of the good guys. Nick isn't buying it, though Zara isn't as sure -- despite herself, she wants to trust the new king. But it's a lot more than her relationship with Nick that is at stake. It's her life -- and his.

My Thoughts:  I enjoyed this book but not as much as I liked Need.  The first half of the book seemed to be all about how in love Nick and Zara were.  It's important to the story to realize how much they love each other but it was a little too much. 

Zara is still a great character!  I love her phobia obsession!  It is so fun to learn knew phobias for me and honestly, I have to agree with Zara...there should totally be a bowling phobia!  She is a very strong character but I found myself yelling at her several times to "quit being so stupid"!  I did like how the end turned out even though when it was happening I was cringing!  But it leads into the next book so well that I cannot wait to read Entice now!

Issie is still my favorite character (along with Betty).  She is just so fun and sweet and adorable.  You really just want to hug her and I feel her pain when she is trying to figure out her relationship with Devyn.  I liked how inventive she was in the bowling alley when Zara turned blue and how supportive she was.  I also love how trusting she was at the end of the book.  She showed that she was a true friend with no prejudices.

Nick....oh how I love and hate him!  He can be so patronizing, as Zara points out many times in the book.  He thinks he can do all and that gets a little annoying.  However, he is so protective of Zara that you can't help but love him.  Again, I was horrified of what happens to Nick but at the same time it leads into Entice so well that I can't be mad about it.

I love Betty!  She is so strong, independent and snarky!  I was sad that we didn't really see a ton of Betty and I can't wait to see how she reacts to Zara in Entice. 

Astley was another one I couldn't tell whether I liked or hated.  I want to trust him and believe that he can be right about pixies but I'm just not sure.  I do like how he seems to really care about Zara.  He seems sweet and good, not evil but like I said, I am not that trusting.  I think there is going to be a twist in here somewhere. 

This book had some good conflict, action and suspense.  I love the whole "Pixies are not Tinkerbell" idea and I enjoyed all the little "Pixie Tips" at the beginning of each chapter.  The way the book left me hanging at the end ensures that I will be reading Entice soon!

Library Thursday Blog Hop: 3/24/11

Library Thursday is a weekly blog hop that Lah over at 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 my 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! 
So I have been super busy this last month and havent' done this one for awhile but I have still been visiting my local library (The Stevenson, WA branch of the Fort Vancouver Regional Library)!  I have finished The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan and have 30 pages left of Captivate by Carrie Jones and will be sending those back today!

This week I got:
  • You Wish by Mandy Hubbard
  • The Darlings are Forever by Melissa Kantor
  • Jane by April Lindner
  • Tyger Tyger by Kersten Hamilton
  • The Secret Society of the Pink Crystal Ball by Risa Green
  • Fixing Delilah by Sarah Ockler
  • Teenage Waistland by Lynn Biederman and Lisa Pazer
  • The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney
My son got Socks by Beverly Cleary for school and he's super excited to read it since he loved Henry and Ribsy!

My daughter got Laura's Pa by Laura Ingalls Wilder (a Little House Chapter book) which I love since I still love to read the Little House Books.  She also got the American Girl "Kristen" books.  This will be her first time reading the American Girl books.

My baby picked out That's Not My Polar Bear!  He loves the touchy feely books and the repetitive books so he can try to read along.

So, that's all we got this week!  How about you?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Teaser Tuesday: 3/22/11

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!

"A giant whimper fills up my soul.  I may have just made the biggerst, most awful mistake.  I may have just given myself away."  ~page 236 of Captivate by Carrie Jones.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Book Review: Vixen by Jillian Larkin

Vixen (Flappers, #1)

Synopsis (from Goodreads):  

Book Review: Lily Hates Goodbyes by Jerilyn Marler

Lily Hates Goodbyes

Synopsis (from Goodreads):  Sometimes Lily has to say goodbye to her Daddy for about a billion days. She feels a swirl of unhappy emotions that can be scary. And she aches to feel connected to her Daddy during his long deployments. Join Lily as she learns how to cope with her emotions and to be happy in her daily life while she looks forward to joyfully saying hello when Daddy gets home. "Lily Hates Goodbyes" is helpful for any child who suffers separations from a loved one. The charming illustrations will draw your child's interest immediately. Children appreciate the affirmation that scary emotions are normal and that they don't last forever. Parents appreciate the opportunity talk with their children about the scary emotions in a safe, non-volatile way. The author's suggestions at the back of the book provide guidance on how to use the book to help children understand and cope with what they're going through. I wrote this story for my four-year-old granddaughter who was reeling from the pain of her Daddy's time away in the Navy. She was deep in denial about the scary feelings, yet her behavior clearly showed that she was in turmoil. She would run from the room instead of talk about feelings. So I wrote the book to give us a "third person" to talk about. Book Lily was mad. Book Lily was sad. Suddenly it wasn't so scary for Real Lily to talk about those feelings. She asked me to read the book to her over and over. She even wanted me to sing it to her. The result is what I hoped for: Lily's more at ease with her emotions, knows what she can do when she feels them, knows that it's safe to say whatever she feels, knows that her Mommy will be there steadfastly and lovingly by her side through it all, and that there is a joyful reunion coming with her Daddy. I fervently hope that this book will help your child through the long, difficult separations, too.

My Thoughts:  This was a great little story to help children deal with their feelings when their parent is gone.  Lily's daddy is in the military however the message can work for any parent that is gone for an extended time.  My husband is a cop and there are times when he goes away for trainings.  I read this book to my kids (ages 8, 5, 3) and they immediatley connected to little Lily.

I loved the idea of the "Daddy Memory Box" that Lily put pictures and stuff in for her daddy when he came home.  It was a great idea and my kids immediatley took to it.  I thought the way that the book dealt with Lily's feelings, as well as her mommy's feelings, was great.  It was nice to read a book that says it's okay to be mad about your circumstances sometimes but you have to keep going too. 

All in all, I think this is a very inspiring, wonderful book for children who have parents that are sent away for an extended period of time.  It helps kids understand that they aren't the only ones who have hard feelings to deal with and it's okay to be mad sometimes. 

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Book Review: The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter

Title:  The Goddess Test
Author:  Aimee Carter
Publisher:  Harlequin Teen
Publish Date:  April 19, 2011
Source:  NetGalley

Synopsis (from Goodreads):  Every girl who has taken the test has died.

Now it's Kate's turn.

It's always been just Kate and her mom--and now her mother is dying. Her last wish? To move back to her childhood home. So Kate's going to start at a new school with no friends, no other family and the fear her mother won't live past the fall.

Then she meets Henry. Dark. Tortured. And mesmerizing. He claims to be Hades, god of the Underworld--and if she accepts his bargain, he'll keep her mother alive while Kate tries to pass seven tests.

Kate is sure he's crazy--until she sees him bring a girl back from the dead. Now saving her mother seems crazily possible. If she succeeds, she'll become Henry's future bride, and a goddess.

If she fails...

My Thoughts:  I really enjoyed this book!  I liked how it was totally different from the usual vampire/werewolf/fairy theme.  Plus, I love Greek mythology!  Was the book accurate in the Greek Gods?  Not exactly but I didn't mind because it worked for the book.

I really liked Kate.  Her mom is dying, her friend is dead and she goes to Henry to take him up on his deal and seal her fate for six months out of the year for the rest of eternity (if she passes the tests).  She never turned into one of those pathetic, "feel sorry for me" characters, thank goodness!  While she was devastated that her mother was dying, she stayed strong and able to carry on.  

Henry is a great character as well!  I loved how you never really knew what his feelings were for Kate.  He's dark and mysterious but protective as well.  I like how he cared about what Kate wanted and gave her a true choice instead of making her feel bad about staying or leaving.  

Ava was a fun character.  I hated her at first and then really enjoyed her character.  She was fun and flirty and yes, a little self-involved but she brought some fun and lightness to the story.  

I liked how all the characters came together at the end.  It tied in the whole story and showed how important each character was in Kate's life.  

I loved the mystery in this story.  Not only did you have the great story of the Greek Gods but you have a suspenseful murder mystery as well.  The whole time you are wondering if Kate is going to be able to make it through to Spring.  Plus, you have a great romance that isn't too mushy.  The romance between Kate and Henry moves at just the right speed to be believable.

I enjoyed this book a lot even though it wasn't completely accurate when it came to the Greek mythology but like I said, it worked for the book and I had fun reading it.  

Monday, March 14, 2011

Book Review: The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

The Forest of Hands and Teeth (The Forest of Hands and Teeth, #1)

Synopsis (From Goodreads):  In Mary's world there are simple truths.

The Sisterhood always knows best.
The Guardians will protect and serve.
The Unconsecrated will never relent.
And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village; the fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth.

But, slowly, Mary's truths are failing her. She's learning things she never wanted to know about the Sisterhood and its secrets, and the Guardians and their power, and about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness. When the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, she must choose between her village and her future-between the one she loves and the one who loves her.

And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Could there be life outside a world surrounded in so much death?

My Thoughts:  This book grabbed me from the first page and kept me on the edge of my seat, gripping it with white knuckles through the whole book!  It was intense, suspenseful, devastating and while I couldn't stand the main character, I still found myself wanting her to make it to the ocean. 

Mary is the main character in this book.  I hated her.  Honestly, she was one of those stupid heroine's, like in the movies, where they get stuck on an idea and won't let it go, despite the danger.  An example of this is when she is at the Cathedral living with the Sisterhood.  Her long-time crush shows up with a terrible broken leg and is delirious from the pain.  Sister Tabitha (head "nun", if you will) has Mary pray with him.  Instead, she whispers stories of the ocean.  Then, she is forbidden to see him.  Of course, she sneaks in to his room anyways.  Why would this be a big deal?  Oh, no reason except for punishment is to be thrown out in the forest with the Unconsecrated.  Hmmm...I'm thinking I'll leave the guy for awhile and stay away from dying a horrible death.  Yet Mary does this over and over again.

Not only is she kinda dumb, she's selfish.  The whole story is about her dream to see the ocean.  Yeah, I get it....follow your dreams, etc. but come on, there are living dead after you.  Let's focus on just staying ALIVE first!  So, yeah, I couldn't stand her at all.  She was just never happy!

I loved Jed (Mary's brother), Harry (Mary's betrothed) and Cass (Mary's best friend).  They were strong and smart characters and their one concern was getting themselves and their loved ones to safety.  Harry did everything he could to make Mary happy.  He really cared about her and I liked that even though he had strong feelings for her, these feelings didn't sway his opinions on how to stay safe!

Travis was kinda pathetic.  I could just picture him with his gimpy leg, trying to get away from the zombies.  However, he also did what he could to make Mary happy and in the end sacrificed a lot to get the group to safety.  So, I liked him but pitied him.

The book left a lot hanging.  I'm glad that I have the next book ready to read because I want to continue to find out what happens with the Unconsecrated and Mary.  The author left Harry, Cass and Jacob just hanging there so I hope that end is resolved in the next book.

Despite the character flaws with Mary (and who knows, maybe us readers are suppose to hate her), I could not put this book down!  It was so intense that I couldn't help but stay up until after midnight to finish it!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Book Review: Entwined by Heather Dixon

Title:  Entwined
Author:  Heather Dixon
Publisher:  HarperTeen
Publish Date:  April 2011
Source:  Different Area Code Tours

Synopsis (from Goodreads):  
Azalea is trapped. Just when she should feel that everything is before her . . . beautiful gowns, dashing suitors, balls filled with dancing . . . it's taken away. All of it.
The Keeper understands. He's trapped, too, held for centuries within the walls of the palace. And so he extends an invitation.
Every night, Azalea and her eleven sisters may step through the enchanted passage in their room to dance in his silver forest.
But there is a cost.
The Keeper likes to keep things.
Azalea may not realize how tangled she is in his web until it is too late.

My Thoughts:  I did not know this book was a fairytale re-telling.  I've never heard the 12 Dancing Princesses so I am not sure if it was better that I wasn't familiar with it or not.  I thought this book was spectacular!

Azalea is the oldest of 12 princesses, all of whom are named after flowers.  The story starts with Azalea getting ready for the Yuletide Ball.  Her mother is very ill and with child and calls Azalea to her room where she makes Azalea promise to take care of her sisters.  Shortly after that, during the Ball, Azalea's mother dies in childbirth. 

The princesses must adjust to life without their fun-loving mother.  Their father, the King, has put the castle in mourning and has forbidden the girls to dance.  He then leaves for war.  While he is gone, the girls find a hidden passage that takes them to a silvery forest with a beautiful pavilion.  There they meet Keeper and he allows them to dance there every night.  However, their dancing comes at a price.  A price they don't realize until it is too late. 

I loved this story.  I thought the description of the silver forest, the pavilion and the Keeper were perfect!  Keeper reminded me of a big, nasty spider snaring the girls in his web.  He was super creepy and I despised his character from the beginning.

I loved all the princesses.  Azalea was strong, independent and stubborn.  However, Bramble was my favorite for sure!  She was snarky, adventuresome and outspoken.  I enjoyed her character throughout the whole book.  Clover was so sweet, innocent and pure.  I could easily picture her and connect with her (although I am far from innocent). 

I also enjoyed all the gentlement that came to try to solve the riddle of where the princesses were dancing.  Lord Bradford is protective, sweet, handsome and so much more.  Lord Teddy is just goofy!  He was so fun to read about and I think he was a perfect match for Bramble.  Minister Fairweller made me want to wipe my hands everytime one of the girls touched him because I could feel his sweaty palms!  However, at the end, I liked how he fit into the family. 

The King was all around a very well formed character.  I started out hating him.  He was cold, stiff and rude.  I felt he didn't care about his girls at all and just wanted to smack him.  As the story evolves, I found myself liking him more and more and feeling sorry for him.  By the end, I thought he was wonderful! 

This book was a very clean read.  There was no swearing or sex. I think any girl over 14 would enjoy this book.  It has just the right amount of romance in it and the fantasy world, magical creatures and princesses left nothing to be desired!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Book Review: Blue by Lou Aronica


Synopsis (from Goodreads):  Chris Astor is a man in his early forties who is going through the toughest stretch of his life. Becky is Chris's fourteen-year-old daughter, a girl who overcame enormous challenges to become a vibrant, vital young woman - and now faces her greatest obstacle yet. Miea is the young queen of a fantasy land that Becky and Chris created when Becky was little, a fantasy land that has developed a life of its own and now finds itself in terrible, maybe fatal trouble. Together, Chris, Becky, and Miea need to uncover a secret. The secret to why their worlds have joined at this moment. The secret to their purpose. The secret to the future. It is a secret that, when discovered, will redefine imagination for all of them. Blue is a novel of trial and hope, invention and rediscovery. It might very well take you someplace you never knew existed.

My Thoughts:  I thought this book was a little slow to get into but it is so worth sticking through!  It was an amazing story!

Becky was five years old when she was diagnosed with cancer.  Becky and her father create a magical world, Tamarisk, to help cope with the treatments.  Each night they would invent stories about this fantasy world.  After Becky gets better (don't worry, this isn't a spoiler), they continue with the stories.  When a life changing event alters Becky's life, she quits with the stories.  However, the stories didn't quit on her.  As time went on, so did all the characters in Tamarisk.    Then, Becky falls asleep one days and finds herself in Tamarisk.  She takes her father back to as well and together they work to save the dying Tamarisk.

The descriptions of the world of Tamarisk are amazing!  Who wouldn't love a world that smelled like chocolate?  The animals, blue foilage, musical instraments and more were so well detailed.  I honestly could see everything Aronica described in great detail!  I would love to be able to visit such a fantasy world.

The characters were great and I could easily connect to most of them.  Becky is so strong and even while denying her symptoms are back, she is funny and so smart.  I loved how she was just a normal kid dealing with her parents' divorce, school, etc.

Chris was just sad but how could he not be?  I have never had to deal with a child with such a severe illness (thank goodness!) so I cannot even imagine how that feels but I think his feelings were portrayed really well.  His ex-wife, Polly is horrible!  She is mean, overbearing, controlling and I could go on forever on how miserable she is.  I couldn't stand her!

I loved how the story was told both from Chris's point of view and from Becky's point of view.  It kept things interesting and it was fun to read both from a parent's point of view and from the child's point of view.

I think, despite the slow start, this book is worth the read!  It had many tearful moments and was an amazing story of a father and his daughter and the magical world they make up.  If you like fantasy, you will enjoy this one for sure!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Teaser Tuesday: 3/8/11

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!

"'Not a word to Mr. Keeper,' said Azalea quietly.  'We know how it feels to be trapped.'" ~page 196 of Entwined by Heather Dixon

Friday, March 4, 2011

Book Review: The Wedding Gift by Kathleen McKenna

Synopsis (from Goodreads):  Kathleen McKenna's explosive third novel 'The Wedding Gift' excels in so many categories it defies them all. It is a spine-electrifying supernatural tale where a huge Southern States mansion contains one of the most terrifying, violent and indeed psychopathic ghosts to haunt any town. It is also a murder mystery - why did Robina Willets apparently kill all five of her young children, and her husband, before stabbing herself to death? And, if you are in the camp of believing that 'justice .... just is not', then this will have you frothing at the mouth with righteous social fury. Add to that the vision of two exceptionally beautiful girls lying on a landing stage in the middle of a secluded lake, sleeping naked in the sun .... .... and then see if you can find any consecutive ten minutes in this book when you don't at least snicker at the heroine Leeann's sly, caustic, sometimes-knowing sometimes 'too stupid to live' commentary. "Several times in the 'The Wedding Gift' Kathleen McKenna has the narrator bursting out with phrases like 'Oh shoot, hell yeah, he was grinning like an egg suck dog' or words to that affect. Well, that was me she was describing throughout the book, grinning like an egg suck dog. I don't know what one of those might be, but I sure want to be one," Tim Roux, author of 'Missio' and 'The Dance of the Pheasodile'

My thoughts:  I honestly have to say that I enjoyed this book a lot.  I love a good, scary ghost story.  That's what I thought I was getting when I picked this book up.  Boy, was I wrong!  I mean, it was a ghost story...but I didn't think it was really that scary.  It was funny however and that added to its charm!

Leeann is young and the most beautiful girl in her small town in Oklahoma.  In fact, she will tell how beautiful she is many times throughout the book.  She gets caught up in a one-sided romance with the son of the richest family in town and pretty soon is pregnant and engaged.  This is not exactly how she pictured her life.  Her dream was marrying her brother's friend, Donny and have 2 perfect kids and living happily ever after.  But, George Willets is rich and showers her with gifts and she is pregnant with his child so when he proposes (with a huge diamond of course), Leeann accepts. 

As a wedding gift, the couple is given the Willet's House, a huge mansion that has a sordid history.  Years ago, George's uncle and his children were killed in that house by George's Aunt Robina.  Or so the story goes...

After Leeann moves in, she is haunted by Robina's ghost.  Only when the unthinkable happens do we really find out what happened all those years ago. 

This story is told by Leeann.  I loved how it read like you were literally sitting down with the character and chatting with her over coffee.  There was no formality at all.  It read like someone transcribed a conversation word for word.  However, there are times when Leeann gets completely annoying with her vanity and dumbness!

Leanne is hilarious!  She is young and naive and totally overwhelmed by all the riches that George lavishes on her.  She is absolutely not ready for marriage however and we see how immature she really is (which, being only 17 is to be totally expected).  She loves lavender and would rather spend her honeymoon with her best friend, Jessie.  Did I mention she was young and immature?

This story did have some scary parts in it and the mystery kept me on the edge of my seat.  However, because of Leeann narrating the story, it was a pretty light and fun read as well.  If you are looking for a Stephen King-like novel, this would not be it.  However if you are looking for a fun, easy and slightly ghostly mystery, I think you will enjoy this one! 

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Book Review: Timeless by Alexandra Monir

Title:  Timeless
Author:  Alexandra Monir
Publisher:  Delecorte Books
Publish Date:  January 11, 2011
Source:  Different Area Codes Tours

Synopsis (from Goodreads): 
When tragedy strikes Michele Windsor’s world, she is forced to uproot her life and move across the country to New York City, to live with the wealthy, aristocratic grandparents she’s never met. In their old Fifth Avenue mansion filled with a century’s worth of family secrets, Michele discovers a diary that hurtles her back in time to the year 1910. There, in the midst of the glamorous Gilded Age, Michele meets the young man with striking blue eyes who has haunted her dreams all her life – a man she always wished was real, but never imagined could actually exist. And she finds herself falling for him, into an otherworldly, time-crossed romance.

Michele is soon leading a double life, struggling to balance her contemporary high school world with her escapes into the past. But when she stumbles upon a terrible discovery, she is propelled on a race through history to save the boy she loves – a quest that will determine the fate of both of their lives

My Thoughts:

Timeless was a little disappointing to me.  It wasn't a bad book at all, it just wasn't a "blow me away" book.  I loved the historical part and the descriptions were great!  The author obviously did her research there.  I especially loved when Michele met Lily in the 1920s.

It was also a very easy read and kept my attention and interest throughout the whole book.  It wasn't too long (in fact, it could have been a little longer and still kept my interest) and while I had some issues with all the relationships, it hopped to news ones fast enough that you didn't have chance to get bored with any characters! 

The things I had some issues with were the time traveling.  Not the fact that Michele time traveled but the fact that she would physically swirl through time, like Alice in Wonderland falling down the rabbit hole, and then land wherever she landed.  I guess I picture time travel as more of an astral projection kinda thing or at least not so awkward.  One example is when her grandparents take her to see Mary Poppins on Broadway.  She is transported back in time and no one notices her "fading" away.  Then, as she is brought back to present time, she lands in her chair and no one notices her "bump" back down.

I also thought it was strange that Michele just accepts traveling back in time so easily.  I would be so excited and freaked at the same time and she was just very calm about it.  Even her friend, Caissie, who at first doesn't believe her, comes around rather quickly after reading just one book.   

One of the other things I didn't care for is how rushed each relationship was.  First, Michele goes back in time and meets Clara.  Clara is adopted and she is struggling with why she was the adopted one and why her adopted father's family doesn't care for her.  So, Michele finds out the reason, urges Clara to talk to her adopted father and that's it.  Over and done.  While I felt there were still issues to resolve with Clara (like did her adopted father's family ever warm up to her?) it just ended. 

Then we meet Philip.  Now Michele has dreamed of Philip all her life.  She meets him and they fall madly in love.  However, Michele finds out something that happens and tries to end things with Philip.  While we do see Philip again in the end, this is where his main story ends.  I didn't like how easily Philip accepted Michele either.  She's dreamt of him all her life and then meets him, tells him she travels through time and he's like "oh, okay, great.  Let's fall in love."  Just a little unrealistic for me.

After Philip, Michele meets Lily.  This was the best time travel character in my opinion.  Again though, Lily readily accepts Michele's explanation of being a "friendly spirit" and followed along with Michele's plans.  However, I did enjoy how the author weaved Michele and Philip's songwriting in with Lily's singing. 

After Michele helps Lily, she moves on to Stella.  Stella's story was heartbreaking!  I wish we could have had a little more history between Stella and Jack and maybe a little more detail into life during World War II, although there is a scene during an air raid drill that was very dramatic.  I liked the way that Stella helped Michele realize how strong she could be and how everyone has a hard life. 

The other character, Irving Henry, was very rushed and not completed.  I'm hoping the next novel really delves into Michele and Irving's relationship and how it can even be possible!  I also really enjoyed how the author brought Philip back at the end and will have to read the next novel to see how this turns out. 

I think that teens will really enjoy this book.  Maybe they won't be as bothered by the fact that the relationships are just skimmed through as much as I did.  It was a very fast and easy read so will even entertain the reluctant readers!  So, while this wasn't my favorite book, it was still okay.  I would recommend it if you want a fast and kinda fluffy read with a little bit of history in it. 

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday (3/1/11)

Top Ten Tuesday is a Meme created and hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Top Ten Books I Just HAD To Buy…
But Are Still Sitting On My Bookshelf

1.  City of Glass by Cassandra Clare:  I have read the first two and had to have the third.  I bought it at Costco for a great price and it is still sitting unread on my shelf.

2.  Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare:  I had high hopes that I would finish the City of Glass before Clockwork Angel came out.  I even pre-ordered it for my Nook. 

3.  Catching Fire and Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins:  I have Hunger Games in hard copy but bought the other two at our local book fair.  I have read The Hunger Games (and loved it) but that's as far as I've gotten.

4.  Paranormalcy by Kiersten White:  Yep, another I just had to have immediately and it is still waiting to be read.

5.  The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova:  My friend told me how great this book was (she said it was the best vampire book she's ever read) so I bought it.  I really do want to read it though.

6.  Hidden Wives by Clare Avery:  I read a review about this one on a blog and thought it sounded so good that I went out and bought it right away. 

7.  Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink:  Another one I read a lot of reviews of and thought it sounded really good.  I have the second one too but haven't read either.

8.  Break No Bones by Kathy Reichs:  I love the Temperance Brennan series!  So, I got as far as Break No Bones and then I bought it and the ones after it but got overwhelmed with ARCs.

9.  Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl:  Another one I bought at the Book Fair.  I have heard a lot about it and can't wait to read it!

10.  The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis:  I bought this after seeing the first movie.  I think the largeness of it scares me off but I do want to get to it soon.

Teaser Tuesday: 3/1/11

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!
My Teaser: 

"Had Alfred Woolsey somehow guessed?  Was that why he'd given Marion the key?  If only there was someone to explain...But Michele was on her own." ~page 67 of Timeless by Alexandra Monir
(this is an ARC copy so subject to change)