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 »

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Book Review: Dead to You by Lisa McMann

Dead to You

**Received book from Around the World ARC Tours for review**

Synopsis (from Goodreads):  Ethan was abducted from his front yard when he was just seven years old. Now, at sixteen, he has returned to his family. It's a miracle... at first. Then the tensions start to build. His reintroduction to his old life isn't going smoothly, and his family is tearing apart all over again. If only Ethan could remember something, anything, about his life before, he'd be able to put the pieces back together. But there's something that's keeping his memory blocked. Something unspeakable...

My Thoughts:  I devoured this book in only a few short hours.  Seriously, it took me two hours to read this book it was THAT good!  It helped that the chapters were short and it was a naturally fast read but I could not put this one down for a minute!

Ethan was 7 when he was abducted from his yard in front of his little brother Blake.  For 9 years, his parents and the small town he was from has held out hope that he will return.  As the story begins, Ethan is 16 and waiting to be reunited with his parents, his little brother and his little sister (which he terms the "replacement child"). 

Ethan's parents are instantly sure that he is their long-lost son despite the fact that he remembers nothing from the first 7 years of his life.  They take Ethan home and Ethan begins the process of becoming reacquainted with his family.  He is overwhelmed by the family and friends that he doesn't remember, the house he doesn't remember and the sibling he doesn't remember.  Blake is making things very difficult with his anger issues and is constantly asking Ethan why he got in the car with those people and why he doesn't remember anything. 

After an event at the high school basketball game puts Ethan in hysterics and then the hospital, Ethan starts making his own demands.  No school and his own room in the basement (the one place he feels comfortable).  He must return to school but he finds that the kids there genuinely care for him, especially his neighbor and childhood best friend, Cami.

Until the end when a secret comes out that makes Ethan remember everything.  And that can ruin it all.

I loved Ethan!  I felt so bad for him, especially when Blake was being a brat.  He just wanted his family back and to fit in.  It was so hard for him to trust anyone.  He is trying to deal with coming into a caring family who has rules and expectations after being a kid on the street who answered only to himself. 

Blake was a jerk!  I didn't like him from the beginning to end.  I understand his issues but he was just downright mean.  His parents didn't seem to have a great handle on it either and I was annoyed with that.  He was by far my least favorite character.

I loved Gracie.  She was the "replacement child" and the De Wilde's 6 year old daughter.  She took to Ethan rather quickly and she helped him feel comfortable.  She was funny and had a knack for easing the tension in the room when it needed easing.  The things that she said were too cute and I thought she was an awesome secondary character.

So, the ending....I can't really say a lot because I absolutely do not want to give it away but NOT what I wanted as the ending.  I thought it a little ironic too.  Let me see if I can phrase this right.  Bear with me, it may be a little confusing as I don't want to give too much away.  So, Ethan returns to his family 9 years after his disappearance.  At the end of the book, 9 years and some months after Ethan's abduction, something happens to turn the De Wilde's family upside down.  The fact that it happened all around the same time was a little unbelievable for me.  I just didn't buy it and thought there were other ways that this could have happened.


So, other than that little glitch, I really enjoyed the book.  I have some questions left over after the end but I guess I can come to my own conclusions.  This was a gripping novel that you won't be able to put down!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Book Review: Forbidden by Syrie James and Ryan M. James

**  Received this book from Around the World ARC Tours for review**

Synopsis (from Goodreads):  
She should not exist.

He should not love her.

Claire Brennan has been attending Emerson Academy for two years now (the longest she and her mom have remained anywhere) and she’s desperate to stay put for the rest of high school. So there’s no way she’s going to tell her mom about the psychic visions she’s been having or the creepy warnings that she’s in danger.

Alec MacKenzie is fed up with his duties to watch and, when necessary, eliminate the descendants of his angelic forefathers. He chose Emerson as the ideal hiding place where he could be normal for once. He hadn’t factored Claire into his plans. . . .

Their love is forbidden, going against everything Alec has been taught to believe. But when the reason behind Claire’s unusual powers is revealed and the threat to her life becomes clear, how far will Alec go to protect her?
My Thoughts:  This book caught my attention with it's cover.  It's beautiful isn't it?  However, as I started to read, I realized it was much more than just a beautiful cover!  This book had me hooked from the first page.
Claire is 16 and has finally reached puberty.  Why this matters is important because it coincides with her starting to have psychic visions at the same time.  Claire does not want to alert her mother to this fact though because her mother is a "paranoid hippy" and has made Claire up and move at the slightest thing.  

Claire arrives at her private high school to get her books when she and her two friends, Brian and Ericka, meet the new boy in school, Alec.  Claire is not sure about Alec at first but Alec is immediately drawn to Claire.  Alec has his own secrets though that he is not about to tell. 

Claire and Alec have to figure out what is going on with themselves as well as try to figure out what is going on with each other.  

I liked Claire's character for the most part.  The only time I didn't like her was at the end when all I will say is that she suffered from that "stupid heroine" syndrome.  You know, the one where the main character puts herself in danger despite all the many warnings?  Yep, that is exactly what Claire does and I was so mad at her!  Other than that she isn't whiny or too dependent.  She does have a "I am madly in love with Alec and can't live without him" for a little bit but not too long and it wasn't too annoying.

I liked Alec.  He was the perfect combination of good boy and mysterious, bad boy.  I like how he isn't too jealous of Neil (he is jealous but it's not out of control) and that he is there to protect Claire.  He knows his relationship with her is forbidden (you must read the book to find out why) but he doesn't care.  He doesn't do anything stupid to put their relationship in danger either.

Helena and Lynn's characters are great!  I loved the mystery surrounding Helena and who she was to Claire.  I had no clue how that would end up and was pleasantly surprised at the end.  Lynn was Claire's mom and while she worked a lot, she wasn't one of those absent parents that are so often seen in YA novels.  She constantly knew where Claire was and what she was doing.  She was home for dinners and went shopping with her daughter.  She met both Alec and Neil before Claire could go out alone with them.  Yeah, I liked the parent that was actually there and involved in their child's life.

The ending of the book was full of action.  There were several twists in the end that took me by surprise and I enjoyed them.  The only thing I didn't like was when Claire put herself in danger simply because if she would have stopped and thought about it, she would have known what was going on. I had no idea who the villain was going to be!

I really enjoyed this book and it's twists and turns at the end.  It grabbed me before I even opened the cover and kept my attention the whole way through (all 410 pages!).  A must-read!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

2012 ARC Reading Challenge

This challenge is hosted by Teddy at So Many Precious Books, So Little Time.  Since I have SO many ARCs that I have signed up to read I figured this would be a good challenge for me.  It will probably be my one and only challenge of this year.  

I am signing up under the Silver level.  Silver level is 24 ARCs for the year.  I may end up moving up to Gold but I'm not sure yet.  

So, if you read ARCs, head on over and sign up!  The rules are easy and posted on Teddy's site and you can join anytime.

My ARCs:

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Book Review: Vanish by Sophie Jordan

Vanish (Firelight, #2)

Synopsis (from Goodreads):  To save the life of the boy she loves, Jacinda did the unthinkable: She betrayed the most closely-guarded secret of her kind. Now she must return to the protection of her pride knowing she might never see Will again—and worse, that because his mind has been shaded, Will’s memories of that fateful night and why she had to flee are gone.

Back home, Jacinda is greeted with hostility and must work to prove her loyalty for both her sake and her family’s. Among the few who will even talk to her are Cassian, the pride’s heir apparent who has always wanted her, and her sister, Tamra, who has been forever changed by a twist of fate. Jacinda knows that she should forget Will and move on—that if he managed to remember and keep his promise to find her, it would only endanger them both. Yet she clings to the hope that someday they will be together again. When the chance arrives to follow her heart, will she risk everything for love?

In bestselling author Sophie Jordan’s dramatic follow-up to Firelight, forbidden love burns brighter than ever.

My Thoughts:  Well, this one wasn't my favorite book but it wasn't horrible.  I read it quickly and thought the ending was full of action and it kept me on the edge of my seat. 

Really though, besides the action-packed ending, the whole book focused on Jacinda, Will and Cassian.  It was SO annoying!  Jacinda spent the whole book thinking about Will and then when Will came back, she decided she didn't want Will.  Yet, she will risk her Draki Pride to meet Will.  Then, Cassian is in love with Jacinda and she plays with his emotions as well.  It just annoyed me and made me want to smack Jacinda. 

I loved Tamra.  She came into her own and had some serious spunk and was just awesome.  I wished there was more about Tamra in the book and am hoping there will be more about her in the next book. She is very strong and I feel bad for her at first with the Cassian/Jacinda situation but I think she deserves better than Cassian.

Jacinda and Tamra's mom was a disappointment.  She came back to the Pride and then she ended up just working and drinking.  She didn't perk up until Jacinda was in jeopardy of losing her wings.  I was just hoping she would have been a stronger character.

I did like the ending of this book!  It had some twists that I hadn't predicted and was filled with action.  I can't wait to see how Cassian, Will, Jacinda and Tamra get Miriam out of this mess but look forward to a much more action filled story in the next book! 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Book Review: The Alchemy of Forvever by Avery Williams

The Alchemy of Forever

**Book received from Around the World ARC Tours for review**

Synopsis (from Goodreads):  People say ‘love never dies’… but love might be the death of Seraphina. Seraphina has been alive since the Middle Ages, when her boyfriend, Cyrus, managed to perfect a method of alchemy that lets them swap bodies with any human being. Sera ran away from Cyrus years ago, when she realized that what they were doing—taking the lives of innocent people—was wrong. She doesn’t want to die, so she finds young people who are on the brink of death, and inhabits their bodies. When we meet Sera, she has landed in the body of a girl named Kailey who was about to die in a car accident. For the first time, Sera falls in love with the life of the person she’s inhabiting. Sera also falls for the boy next door, Noah. And soon it’s clear the feelings are returned. Unfortunately, she can never kiss Noah, because for her to touch lips with a human would mean the human’s death. And she has even more to worry about: Cyrus is chasing her, and if she stays in one place for long, she puts herself—and the people she’s grown to care for—in danger.
My Thoughts:  I started this book last night and maybe it was because my kids were gone (spending some time with Grandma) or maybe it was just really this good but I could not put it down.  I finished it in less than 24 hours.  It was excellent!

Seraphina is 14 when we first meet her.  She is at a masquerade ball and meets up with the Alchemist's son, Cyrus.  While talking in the garden, Cyrus and Seraphine encounter two thieves.  One of these thieves stabs Sera and Cyrus saves her life....with alchemy.

Now Sera is 600 years old.  She survives by stealing an innocent victim's body, therefore, ending that person's life.  Sera is tired of killing and she is tired of being under Cyrus' control so she decides that she is going to escape and end her immortal life. She does escape but before she can end her life, she witnesses a car accident.  Kailey, the driver, is a pretty, 16 year old girl that doesn't stand a chance.  Regardless, Sera tries CPR and in turn, steals her body.

Now Sera, aka Kailey, is living a stolen life.  She has a family, friends and a new boyfriend.  She is finally having some fun and while she still feels guilty, she thinks that maybe this time she can make it work.  However, that is before she finds out that Cyrus is looking for her.  When Cyrus turns up in town, Sere has to decide whether to run or stay and fight.

Sera/Kailey is a sweet character.  She is not weak or stupid at all but she has feels guilty for all the deaths she has caused.  She truly does not want to hurt Kailey's family or Kailey's friends.  She was very courageous and I loved how she really put others before herself but not in a corny or unbelievable way.  She was very easy to connect with.

I loved that the story was about alchemy!  This is so different from all the others I have been reading and so refreshing!  I enjoyed how it began with historical fiction (although not a lot...just a prologue) and continued to have references of Sera's life (along with Cyrus' and Charlotte's lives) throughout the story. 

The ending has left me dumbfounded!  Really!  Totally not what I expected and I am still not 100% sure I know exactly what is going on.  I suspect I know but I'm left wanting more NOW!  I can't stand the thought that I may be right as I love that certain character.  Yes, I am being invasive but no spoilers here. 

This is a must read book!!  It was different than other YA books but completely engrossing!  I cannot wait to go out and buy this book for my own bookshelf!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Book Review: The Christmas Wedding by James Patterson

The Christmas Wedding

Synopsis (from Goodreads):  The tree is decorated, the cookies are baked, and the packages are wrapped, but the biggest celebration this Christmas is Gaby Summerhill's wedding. Since her husband died three years ago, Gaby's four children have drifted apart, each consumed by the turbulence of their own lives. They haven't celebrated Christmas together since their father's death, but when Gaby announces that she's getting married--and that the groom will remain a secret until the wedding day--she may finally be able to bring them home for the holidays.

But the wedding isn't Gaby's only surprise--she has one more gift for her children, and it could change all their lives forever. With deeply affecting characters and the emotional twists of a James Patterson thriller, The Christmas Wedding is a fresh look at family and the magic of the season.

My Thoughts:  This book was a cute, heart-warming, feel good Christmas story.  Yes, it was a little cheesy in some parts but it was cute.  I enjoyed it and it was a fast and easy read.

Gaby's husband is dead, her children are grown and moved away and she is busy doing breakfasts for the needy.  She sends video messages to each of her children and tell them that she is getting married on Christmas Day so everyone must be there.  To get them there, Gaby is not saying who she will marry but it will be one of three men.  All of these men have agreed to play along with her scheme and they don't know which one of them it will be either. 

At the beginning of the book, each chapter is dedicated a little to each of Gaby's children and their lives.  This way we get to know each of them better.  Once in awhile there are some chapters thrown in about Gaby and her three suitors. 

So, here are the things that I found cheesy in this book.  First of all, one man proposes to Gaby and then suddenly two more men decide they want to marry Gaby as well and they propose.  Then, each of them are completely okay with Gaby stringing them along.  Really?  Is any man, let alone three men, going to be okay with not knowing if the woman they supposedly love is going to marry them or some other guy?  They all dressed up in tuxedos and waited at the front of the aisle for Gaby to make her decision.  Hmmm....yeah, I don't think so!

The book was fun though and like I said it was a feel good, easy book.  I enjoyed it and it was great for this time of year but I wasn't impressed with it.  I'll stick with his thriller's for the next time. 

Teaser Tuesday: 12/20/11

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!
Vanish (Firelight, #2)
Vanish by Sophie Jordan

His mouth curves with a slow smile.  "I've never wanted to be your friend, Jacinda."
My heart stutters in my chest.  Standing in the pouring rain, I watch him walk away.
-Page 94, Vanish by Sophie Jordan

Book Review: Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver

Pandemonium (Delirium, #2)

*Book received from Around the World Tours for review**

Synopsis (from Goodreads):  
I’m pushing aside the memory of my nightmare,
pushing aside thoughts of Alex,
pushing aside thoughts of Hana and my old school,
like Raven taught me to do.
The old life is dead.
But the old Lena is dead too.
I buried her.
I left her beyond a fence,
behind a wall of smoke and flame.
Lauren Oliver delivers an electrifying follow-up to her acclaimed New York Times bestseller, Delirium. This riveting, brilliant novel crackles with the fire of fierce defiance, forbidden romance, and the sparks of a revolution about to ignite.

My Thoughts:  I loved how different this book was from the first book in the series, Delirium!  It was completely unexpected and completely opposite of the first book!

Lena is in the Wilds all by herself.  Alex is gone and Lena has no idea what happened to him.  Well, she may have an idea but she doesn't want to think about it.  She is hurt and struggling in the cruel outside world until Raven finds her and takes her to the Homestead.  There Lena gets well and meets other Invalids.  There, Lena becomes part of the resistance. 

Lena is much harder in this book.  She is angry too.  Angry at her mom, angry at Alex, angry at the Regulators.  This makes her a much more interesting character.  I really connected with her in this book instead of the weak and wimpy Lena of the last book. 

Lena is told she must watch Julian Fineman, the son of the DFA leader, Thomas Fineman.  Julian hasn't had the cure yet due to an illness but is going to do it at the upcoming rally.  Lena is told to watch him during the rally no matter what and she does.  However, this leads to her kidnapping.

Throughout the book we are with Lena and Julian as they are first held hostage by the Scavengers, then escape and flee through the tunnels and finally towards the end where I won't say anything else to avoid spoilers.  Through the book, their relationship grows and while Lena doesn't forget Alex, she comes to have feelings for Julian. 

The book takes you back and forth from the present to "then" when Lena is with Raven and the group.  "Then" consists of their time at the first homestead and then their trek to the next homestead.  It leaves a lot left unanswered though like how do Lena, Raven and Tack get back into New York and infiltrate the Regulator's world.  However, I am hoping maybe that the third (and last) book will go into this a little more. 

I thought Pandemonium had a lot more action that Delirium.  It was more on edge and suspensful.  I read the last 200 pages in one day because I simply couldn't put it down.  I loved the relationship between Lena and Raven and Lena and Julian.  Their characters were all well-developed and I could connect to each one of them.

The ending leaves you screaming for more!  I won't divulge what happens but as soon as Book 3 is out, I am reading it to find out how Lena is going to get herself out of this mess! 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Book Review: Everneath by Brodi Ashton

**Received this book from Around the World ARC tours for review**

Synopsis (from Goodreads):  Last spring, Nikki Beckett vanished, sucked into an underworld known as the Everneath, where immortals Feed on the emotions of despairing humans. Now she's returned- to her old life, her family, her friends- before being banished back to the underworld... this time forever.

She has six months before the Everneath comes to claim her, six months for good-byes she can't find the words for, six months to find redemption, if it exists.

Nikki longs to spend these months reconnecting with her boyfriend, Jack, the one person she loves more than anything. But there's a problem: Cole, the smoldering immortal who first enticed her to the Everneath, has followed Nikki to the mortal world. And he'll do whatever it takes to bring her back- this time as his queen.

As Nikki's time grows short and her relationships begin slipping from her grasp, she's forced to make the hardest decision of her life: find a way to cheat fate and remain on the Surface with Jack or return to the Everneath and become Cole's...

My Thoughts:   Oh, how I loved this book!  It has Greek mythology, great romance and suspense and mystery.  It kept me reading late into the night because I had to get all the answers.  It was simply amazing!

Nikki wakes up in the Everneath after spending a century there bound to Cole.  Through the whole century Nikki has one face that she has kept in her mind though.  Jack's face.  Jack was her boyfriend before the feeding and Nikki couldn't let him go.  Now Nikki is back to her old life for 6 months.  After 6 months, the tunnels are coming to claim her for their own.  Her only other choice is to go with Cole and rule the Underworld as his queen.  The only problem with that is she would have to feed off innocent mortals' souls.  

Nikki was a great character and easily to relate too.  She comes back to the Surface and people are convinced that she is a recovering drug addict.  It is the only explanation that makes sense.  She disappeared and reappeared, is emaciated and weak and has withdrawn from everyone.  Who would believe that Nikki had been in Everneath for 100 years being fed off of?

Nikki reconnects with Jack, her boyfriend from before the feeding.  Jack is so sweet and even though Nikki hurt him, he is willing to give her a second chance.  His love for Nikki is so intense (but not psycho weird).  He does what he can to help her and even when you think he's totally mad at Nikki, he is still there for her.  

Cole is your typical dark, brooding guy.  He says he has no feelings but there is something there for Nikki.  He wants her to rule the Under with him as his queen but there is something more to it than that.  I can't wait to read the second book to find out more!

I loved the mythology!  My son and I just finished studying Persephone and Hades and the Roman myth of Pluto and Proserpina so I was very familiar with the myths.  It was fun to read a new twist on these myths that did not mess with the original myths too much.  

I also liked how the love triangle was not your usual love triangle.  There is love between Jack and Nikki but the relationship between Cole and Nikki is not one of love.  They are bound together though and this makes it very interesting.  I also liked the tense relationship between Cole and Jack.  It wasn't just a competition between the two.  They were both fighting for Nikki but Cole knows that Nikki doesn't love him and Jack knows that Nikki doesn't love Cole.  

Some small things that bothered me is the way Nikki reappeared.  She shows up after just disappearing months ago and no one questions where she was or what she was doing.  Nikki's father is the mayor and yet there is no apparent investigation into Nikki's disappearance.  Let me tell you, if my child just completely disappeared one night with no note, no reason for running away (up until that point, Nikki was a responsible teen) and no clues as to why she disappeared or where she disappeared to, I would be calling the police in a heartbeat!  When Nikki returns it is just like everything is back to normal only with the occasional drug test thrown in.  

The ending was not my favorite.  It was a great ending, don't get me wrong, and it sets the next book up perfectly but I was very sad.  I am hoping that it will be resolved but it's going to kill me to wait to read the next in this series.  


Saturday, December 10, 2011

Book Review: Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

The Scorpio Races

**I received a copy of this book from ARC Book Tours for review**

Synopsis (from Goodreads):  It happens at the start of every November: the Scorpio Races. Riders attempt to keep hold of their water horses long enough to make it to the finish line. Some riders live. Others die.

At age nineteen, Sean Kendrick is the returning champion. He is a young man of few words, and if he has any fears, he keeps them buried deep, where no one else can see them.

Puck Connolly is different. She never meant to ride in the Scorpio Races. But fate hasn’t given her much of a chance. So she enters the competition — the first girl ever to do so. She is in no way prepared for what is going to happen.

My Thoughts:  Every November there is a dangerous race on the island of Thisby.  This is when the water horses, who feed on blood and magic, emerge from the sea.  Only the best attempt this race as the water horses can turn on their riders at a moments notice.

Kate "Puck" Connolly decides to enter the Scorpio Races after her parents are killed and her older brother decides to leave her and her younger brother Finn.  Kate needs to win in order to keep their house and hopefully, keep her brother from leaving.  She has trained Dove (who is not a water horse) to race against the capall uisce.  Puck is strong and determined and I liked this about her.  She knows what she needs to do to save her home and her family.

Sean Kendrick works for Benjamin Malvern and Benjamin's son, Mutt. Sean is entering the race and hopes to win to be able to buy Corr, the capall uisce (water horse) that is his family.  Sean is a four time champion and is simply drawn to the race. Sean is quiet but smart.  He can communicate with all the water horses but has a special connection with Corr that I enjoyed. 

The best part about this story was that there was no "insta-love"!  This happens so often in YA books so I was glad to see that it wasn't love at first sight.  I also liked how the romance was in the background of the story.  There is so much more to the story than the romance and I was glad it was there but even happier it wasn't the main topic. 

I was not sure who I wanted to win the races and I loved both characters so much.  If Puck doesn't win, she loses her house and if Sean doesn't win, he loses Corr.  Of course, I'm not going to spoil anything by telling you what happens here but I had to keep reading just to find out what happened!  I love the alternating narration and how you get to know each character better through it. 

This book was action packed and I couldn't put it down!  You won't regret reading this one!

Book Review: Quiet Anchorage by Ed Lynskey

Quiet Anchorage

Synopsis (from Goodreads):  Quiet Anchorage, Virginia, looks like paradise. When she's accused of murdering her fiance, however, the small town is anything but heavenly for Megan Connors. With her fingerprints on the murder weapon, it looks like an open-and-shut case, and Sheriff Fox, running for reelection and anxious to get credit for 'solving' a murder case, intends on ramming through charges and getting a conviction. Megan's only champions are her aging aunts. They don't believe she's guilty, but what can two senior citizens do against the powers of the state and the evidence against Megan?

Isabel and Alma Trumbo may be aging, even worried about memory loss, but they've read just about every mystery published in the past half-century. They're sure they've picked up the skills and knowledge they need to prove Megan's innocence. Starting with the town's gossips and loafers, then scaling up when the sexy ex-girlfriend of one of the Sheriff's deputies joins them, they search for alternate suspects, possible motives, and any evidence that might exonerate their niece.
My Thoughts:  I love a good cozy mystery and this one fit the bill!  The characters were fun and the book was a fast and easy, yet extremely entertaining read!

Isabel and Alma Trumbo are sisters.  They are upset when their niece, Megan, is accused of murdering her fiance and the two set out to clear Megan's name.  However, Sheriff Fox is not going to let it go that easily.  The aunt's will stop at nothing (and I do mean nothing) to help.

I enjoyed the small town atmosphere (very much like the town I live in) and the characters were eay to connect too.  The author kept you guessing as to who the killer was and I was pleasantly surprised at the end. 

This book was a fast read but kept me interested throughout the whole story.  I read it quickly simply because I did not want to put it down.  I found the book funny and can't wait for more from this author!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Winners of Book Lover's Holiday Giveaway!

I want to thank everyone for visiting my blog and entering to win these two great books!  The winners were chosen using and they are...

For Deadly Cool:  Gabriella


Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children:  Freda

Both winners have been notified and have responded to the email.  Thank you all again so much!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Book Review: Chasing Fire by Nora Roberts

Chasing Fire

Synopsis (from Goodreads):  Little else in life is as dangerous as fire jumping. Flying past towering pillars of smoke, parachuting down to the edge of an all-consuming blaze, shoveling and sawing for hours upon hours, days at a time, all to hold the line and push back against the raw power of Mother Nature.

But there's also little else as thrilling - at least to Rowan Tripp. The Missoula smoke jumpers are one of the most exclusive fire-fighting squads in the nation, and the job is in Rowan's blood: her father is a legend in the field. She's been fighting fires since her eighteenth birthday. At this point, returning to the wilds of Montana for the season feels like coming home - even with reminders of the partner she lost last season still lingering in the air.

Fortunately, this year's rookie crop is among the strongest ever - and Gulliver Curry's one of the best. He's also a walking contradiction, a hotshot firefighter with a big vocabulary and a winter job at a kid's arcade. He came to Missoula to follow in the footsteps of Lucas "Iron Man" Tripp, yet he's instantly more fascinated by his hero's daughter. Rowan, as a rule, doesn't hook up with other smoke jumpers, but Gull is convinced he can change her mind. And damn if he doesn't make a good case to be an exception to the rule.

Everything is thrown off balance, though, when a dark presence lashes out against Rowan, looking to blame someone for last year's tragedy. Rowan knows she can't complicate things with Gull - any distractions in the air or on the ground could be lethal. But if she doesn't find someone she can lean on when the heat gets intense, her life may go down in flames.

My Thoughts:  Rowan has grown up with fire.  Her father was a fire jumper and now she jumps fires as well.  Last year, Rowan lost her jump partner.  She still has nightmares and thinks about him often but she comes back to jump fires again. 

Rowan meets Gull, one of the new recruits.  She has an instant attraction to him but has a strong rule never to get involved with anyone that she jumps with.  Gull, however, will not take no for an answer and continues to pursue Rowan. 

Then funny things start happening at the post.  The ready room gets trashed, equipment is not working right.  While jumping a fire, Rowan finds a body and things start to get dicey.  The last thing you want when fighting a raging fire is defective equipment or not being able to trust the ones you are with.  This is now what Rowan has to deal with.

I didn't know a lot about fire jumping but Nora Roberts did a great job explaining everything.  I almost wanted to go skydiving to see what the experience was really like after reading Roberts' descriptions of it.  Almost...but not quite.  Yep, I'm a chicken!  While Rowan and Gull were in the middle of a fire you could feel the heat and smell the smoke.  You could see the blackened areas where the fire has consumed everything and yet you could see the meadow of lupines on the other side where the fire didn't touch anything.

The mystery was good but not as suspenseful as some of Roberts' other books.  It wasn't a super huge part of the story.  The story mostly revolved around the jumps, Rowan and Gull's relationship and Rowan's father, Luke's relationship with his new girlfriend.

I thought Rowan was a strong, stubborn and brave character.  I thought she acted pretty childish when Lucas told her about his new relationship.  After all, she was a 20-something or 30-something woman who didn't even live at home all the time with her father and she expects him to not live his own life.  I was irritated then but she got over it.

All in all, it was a fast read with some good romance, great action and a little bit of mystery and suspense added in!

Book Review: How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr

How to Save a Life

**Book received from Around the World Tours for review**

Synopsis (from Goodreads):  Jill MacSweeney just wants everything to go back to normal. But ever since her dad died, she's been isolating herself from her boyfriend, her best friends--everyone who wants to support her. You can't lose one family member and simply replace him with a new one, and when her mom decides to adopt a baby, that's exactly what it feels like she's trying to do. And that's decidedly not normal. With her world crumbling around her, can Jill come to embrace a new member of the family?

Mandy Kalinowski knows what it's like to grow up unwanted--to be raised by a mother who never intended to have a child. So when Mandy becomes pregnant, she knows she wants a better life for her baby. But can giving up a child be as easy as it seems? And will she ever be able to find someone to care for her, too?

Critically acclaimed author and National Book Award finalist Sara Zarr delivers a heart-wrenching story, told from dual perspectives, about what it means to be a family and the many roads we can take to become one.

My Thoughts:  Mandy is 8 months pregnant.  She turns to Robin, a widow, to adopt her child.  Robin has a teen daughter, Jill as well.  Jill is still dealing with the death of her father and resents her mom for wanting to adopt, even though it was her father's wish. 

Jill is downright mean and vicious!  She is rude and yes, she is dealing with the death of her father but she is dealing with it horribly!  She is simply spoiled and bitter.  I did not like Jill when I started the book.  At all!  However, Jill was very realistic.  She was a teenage girl and her father did die.  It doesn't make her pleasant but it makes her real.

Mandy was needy.  She wants love and attention but the best thing about Mandy is she wants what is best for her unborn baby.  Mandy knows what it is like to not be wanted and that is not what she wants for her baby.  Mandy feels overwhelmed with everything that has happened to her in her life but she is still a much nicer person than Jill.

I liked the alternating narration as you get a feel for each girl and how she is feeling.  The ending was slightly predictable but it didn't seem to hurt the story any.  And, seeing as how my family is starting the adoption process and knowing people who have completed the adoption process, I know that it never works perfectly and it is hard, emotional and takes time.  But this is no reason to bypass this book.  It was simply incredible!

Book Review: Fracture by Megan Miranda


**Book received from Around the World Book Tours for review**

Synopsis (from Goodreads):  By the time Delaney Maxwell was pulled from a Maine lake’s icy waters by her best friend, Decker Phillips, her heart had stopped beating. Her brain had stopped working. She was dead.

But somehow Delaney survived—despite the brain scans that show irreparable damage. Everyone wants Delaney to be fine, but she knows she’s far from normal. Pulled by strange sensations she can’t control or explain, Delaney now finds herself drawn to the dying, and when she meets Troy Varga, a boy who recently emerged from a coma with the same abilities, she is relieved to share this strange new existence. Unsure if her altered brain is predicting death or causing it, Delaney must figure out if their gift is a miracle, a freak of nature—or something else much more frightening...

My Thoughts:  Delaney is out in the snow and ice with her friend Decker.  While crossing the frozen pond, she falls in and is under for 11 minutes.  She should be dead and yet she's not.  The story begins with Delaney waking up in the hospital (although not yet able to move or show that she in conscious).  As Delaney gets better and tries to go back to her old life she realizes something strange.  She is now drawn to those that are dying. 

I liked Delaney.  She was smart and easy to relate too.  She was also very brave and yet still realistic.  She has breakdowns and emotions that are riding a roller coaster at times but she is a teen who has come back from a traumatic event.  I really enjoyed her and Decker and their relationship!  They have always been good friends but after Delaney comes back from her accident there is tension and more than just friendship. 

Troy has a lot in common with Delaney.  He has also been in a coma and is also drawn to people who are dying.  I did not like Troy however.  Troy is the dark "bad boy" in this book and he fits it well!  He was so creepy with how he was always around Delaney.  I liked how Delaney was attracted to Decker but didn't like it that she was attracted to Troy too.  I think he could have been added into the book without adding the attraction triangle. 

I really enjoyed this book!  It has some paranormal aspects to it but that isn't what the whole book is about.  I liked the relationship interactions with Delaney and Decker and Troy made for a creepy character.  I was slightly disappointed by how the ending seemed a little rushed but I can honestly say that this book gave me the creeps! 

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Book Lover's Holiday Giveaway Hop!

I am happy to be a part of the Book Lover's Holiday Giveaway Hop hosted by Kid Lit Frenzy & I Am  A Reader, Not A Writer.  This hop will start Dec. 2 and go until 11:59 PM on Dec. 6!

I have 2 great giveaways for this hop!  Yep, that means 2 winners!  The first prize is:

Deadly Cool (Deadly Cool, #1)

and the second prize is:
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

All you have to do to enter is be a follower through GFC and fill out the form below!  I will contact the winner via email on Dec. 7, 2011.  Winner will have 24 hours to respond or I will pick new ones.  Good luck!

**Open to international followers too**

Check out the other giveaways at these great blogs!