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 »

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

YA Paranormal Activity Giveaway Hop Winner!


Congratulations to Jeannette Bruce!  Her entry was picked by Rafflecopter and she has won the ARC copy of Liesl and Po by Lauren Oliver!  

I want to thank everyone who entered my giveaway and welcome my new followers (and say "hi" to my old ones)!  Stay tuned because more giveaways are coming up soon!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Book Review: Still Waters by Emma Carlson Berne

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

Synopsis (from Goodreads):  Hannah can't wait to sneak off for a romantic weekend with her boyfriend, Colin. He's leaving for college soon, and Hannah wants their trip to the lake house to be one they'll never forget. But once Hannah and Colin get there, things start to seem a They can't find the town on any map. The house they are staying in looks as if someone's been living there, even though it's been deserted for years. And Colin doesn't seem quite himself. As he grows more unstable, Hannah worries about Colin's dark side, and her own safety.
Nothing is as perfect as it seems, and what lies beneath may haunt her forever.

My Thoughts:  Have you ever looked at the synopsis of a book and been really excited to read it?  Then, you read it and by the last page you are saying "huh??" because you didn't understand any of it? Well....sadly, that is how I felt about this book.

Hannah and Colin are dating.  Colin is a super cute guy while Hannah is slightly nerdy and she cannot believe that Colin actually wants to be with her.  On Colin's graduation night, he tells Hannah he loves her but she cannot say the words back.  Colin is upset and waits for Hannah to say the words but weeks (maybe months?) later, she still can't find it in herself to utter those three little words.

While up in Colin's attic one night, Hannah finds an old picture and an old hand drawn map of a lake house.  When she asks Colin about it, he gets all weird and tells her that it is the family vacation home but it is dilapidated and they never go there anymore.  In fact, he tells Hannah he hates it there.

Hannah then decides that it would be a great idea to "run away" with Colin to the lake house for a weekend so she can tell him she loves him.  She lies to her mom, packs a bag of clothes and then packs a bag of clothes for Colin.  She doesn't tell him where they are going only that they are going away.  Halfway there Hannah finally spills the beans.  Colin is not happy at all and gets that weird attitude he had in the attic.  However, they continue on.  Once at the lake house, things get strange and Colin is not himself.  It is up to Hannah to figure out why.

Okay, so here are my issues with this book:

First, Hannah is ridiculous!  She is so needy and dependent on Colin and can't believe he wants to be with her yet she can't tell him she loves him?  She can run away for a weekend with him, stay in the same bed with him (and let's be honest here...even though there was nothing said in the book about it, when 2 teenagers are sleeping in the same bed in a house with no adults, you are going to tell me nothing happens?  Yeah right!) but she can't say she loves him.  Hmmm....maybe if it takes her that long to say the words or if she really has to muster up the courage to say them...maybe, just maybe SHE DOESN'T LOVE HIM!  I was so annoyed!

Then, at one point when Hannah has escaped from Colin and has run to the road (which we have been told over and over again NEVER has any cars on it) and she hears a car coming she jumps out and flags the car down and then jumps in without paying attention to the car or who might be driving it.  Then she is shocked to discover that Colin is driving it and she has just trapped herself.  Really?!  She didn't think he might come after her??  Give me a break!

Colin is annoying too.  He says he loves Hannah yet all he really loves is his photography.  Hannah obviously comes second to him but he's upset that she won't say she loves him.  Then, he is such a brat to his parents.  He says that since his older brother died a few years back that his parents don't want him anymore yet there is no evidence to support that.  In fact, his mom seems to want to be around him.

Other things I had problems with was Hannah's lie she told her mom.  She tells her mom that she is working for her best friend's dad and that she will be making triple pay.  How is she going to explain NOT getting triple pay when her check comes?  Her mom depends on that money (I am guessing she is a single mom) and so I am wondering what she is going to say when her daughter worked all weekend away from home and got no extra fact, she didn't get paid for those three days at all!  It was such a weak lie.

Then, Hannah packs clothes for herself and Colin but she doesn't think to pack any food, flashlights, sleeping bags, candles, matches, etc. etc.  When they get to the house they find no electricity, no food and no grocery store.  Now I know teens might not think of all the necessities but as a teen, I went camping or on weekend getaways and we always packed tons of food and stuff.  No food??  Did she think the house that Colin's family hasn't been back to in years was going to magically stock the pantry itself?

So, the last thing, and in my opinion, the most important thing, was the explanation as to why Colin was acting the way he was.  I thought this was going to be a creepy ghost story.  Well, it certainly wasn't creepy and I'm pretty sure it wasn't a ghost story but the explanation did not make a whole lot of sense.  I still don't know what happened and where Jack is (Colin's brother).  I don't know if Jack is dead or alive even.  There was so much information that was just missing. 

Sadly for me, this was not a good read.  Some people may love it so if it sounds good to you, by all means read it!  I never want to discourage reading but I certainly would get it from the library first so you know if you think it is worth buying.   

Guest Post by Dawn Greenfield Irelend, author of Hot Chocolate

I am excited to have Ms. Ireland write a guest post for my blog!  I reviewed her cozy mystery Hot Chocolate yesterday so check it out!  It was a very lively and fun read!  Now, without further ado...

How Astrology Fits into My Cozy Mystery, Hot Chocolate
By Dawn Ireland

Last year I went to a writer’s conference and met several literary agents and one book acquisitions person from a small publishing company. I was a mess – I can’t pitch to save my life. My words stumbled all over the place when it was time for my one-on-one appointments with this motley crew.

One agent took pity on me and walked me through what the story was about, then explained what I had: something very unique which could be a hot item due to the astrology theme. After dragging the plot out of my addled brain she told me I had a “cozy” mystery.

Seeing the confusion on my face, she went on to explain exactly what that was: no explicit sex, no bad language… kind of like a Miss Marple mystery, the body after the fact, no Nightmare on Elm Street hacking, ravaging rampaging killing. I could live with that.

I explained that I did have cuss words in the novel. She told me, “not anymore. You’re going to go home and change them so you fit neatly in this category.” So that’s what I did. I replaced the traditional four-letter cuss words with acceptable wording. It’s nice to read something that doesn’t have “fuck” in every paragraph, don’t you think? Get to the story without the potty mouthed words.

So far, everyone seems to love the story. They get a kick out of the fact that Lila Mae has an astrologer and her sisters abhor anything related to the stars (unless it is a Hollywood star). It’s one of those things that can grate on a person’s nerves – sort of like a classical music parent having to tolerate his child’s love for Hip Hop. You just have to find a way to get along without shutting down the relationship.

I read several horoscopes on the Internet each month, and then there’s the fortune cookie at lunch or dinner from the Chinese restaurant. I’ve been meditating since the early ‘80s and have several astrologers I talk with on a steady basis. I thought it would be great fun to have Lila Mae’s horoscope done so I turned to one of my pals, Robert Brown, the astrologer in the novel, and we had such a fun time determining Lila Mae’s sign (Capricorn – wow! I’m a Cappy also, imagine that!).

Then I thought it would be even greater fun to have supportive factions in the family and extended family along with those who poo-poo’d the whole astrology/feng shui/psychic beliefs so there would always be snide remarks going back and forth.

It grates on Dorothea and Madge’s nerves when Lila Mae tries to warn them about something and they won’t listen. Like when Dorothea arrives home and finds the Webster elevator truck in the driveway. She has to grin and bear it and sometimes caves in and admits that there must be some correlation between what Lila Mae says and what’s happening. It’s hard to argue when you’re staring at the results.

Lila Mae is fun all by herself with her astrological quirks and fancies, but when you add Joseph and Uncle Tito to the picture you can’t help but laugh out loud at times. I love these guys. They are such solid characters in their beliefs and convictions.

Joseph will go to any length to protect the household and make sure all is balanced in nature. Uncle Tito, on the other hand, has a direct-connect to the other side and pulls more than a few rabbits out of hats. He surprised Chance Walker, a detective for the Houston Police Department, when he found Chance’s stolen car.  Let’s face it, Chance isn’t totally on board with astrology, but he has to accept the fact that an old man with a deck of cards found his car while in a meditative state.

I sure hope everyone gives the astrology in the book a chance. It’s fun. Sit back and enjoy the story… you might learn something.

Hot Chocolate Click to be taken to!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Book Review: Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood


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

Synopsis (from Goodreads):  Everybody knows Cate Cahill and her sisters are eccentric. Too pretty, too reclusive, and far too educated for their own good. But the truth is even worse: they're witches. And if their secret is discovered by the priests of the Brotherhood, it would mean an asylum, a prison ship--or an early grave.

Before her mother died, Cate promised to protect her sisters. But with six months to choose between marriage and the Sisterhood, she might not be able to keep her word... especially after she finds her mother's diary, uncovering a secret that could spell her family's destruction. Desperate to find alternatives to their fate, Cate stars scouring banned books and questioning rebellious new friends, all while juggling tea parties, shocking marriage proposals, and a forbidden romance with the completely unsuitable Finn Belastra.

If what her mother wrote is true, the Cahill girls aren't safe. Not from the Brotherhood, the Sisterhood -- not even from each other.

My Thoughts:  Okay, I am ready to read book #2 now!  Bring it on...hurry it up...I don't think I can wait!  Um, if you can't tell, I really enjoyed this book!  I loved witches and magic and this book had both plus some historical fiction, romance and great characters.

 Cate is the eldest of three sisters.  She is in charge of protecting her sisters since her mother passed away and her father is practically useless in his grief.  He is always traveling and when he is home, he pays little attention to his girls.  It is important for Cate to protect her sisters because, like their mother, all three sisters are witches.

This story takes place in 1890 in New England.  New England is run by the Brotherhood.  The Brotherhood is a group of men that think they are better than women.  I cannot tell you how many times I was angry and disgusted with the Brotherhood.  They feel that women should not vote, have a voice in any decisions at all or learn.  If a man has an affair with a woman, it is the woman's fault because she is so weak yet she uses her "ways" to get the man to submit.  Yeah...whatever!  Maura, Cate's sister, really wants to live in Dubai, where women can wear pants, vote, go to school and be independent.  Sadly though, the girls are stuck in New England where the Brotherhood is arresting girls and women for witchcraft.

I really enjoyed Cate for the most part.  In the beginning I thought she was a little to "good" and almost boring.  She has so much responsibility on her that she doesn't have much time to be a fun person.  After getting a governess, she does meet friends.  Cate also has 2 months to declare her intention to either marry or dedicate her life to the Sisterhood.  She has a "proper" suitor in her neighbor and childhood friend, Paul, but she is also having feelings for the gardener, Finn.

Maura is a spoiled brat.  Seriously, I didn't like her at all!  She was very childish and vain.  She used her magic carelessly and almost gets the girls arrested for witchcraft. She does not have a very good relationship with Cate at all but becomes quick friends with Elena, the governess.

Tess is a sweetheart!  She is the youngest and has just recently come into her magic.  While she is more free with her magic than Cate is, she is more careful with it that Maura.  She is weary of Elena but looks up to Cate.  I enjoyed how Tess made Finn's sister feel welcome at tea even though she wasn't in the right "class".

Elena surprised me with her secrets of the Sisterhood.  However, I really didn't like her.  She was very threatening and manipulative.  She uses people and doesn't care about their feelings at all.  She is only after what benefits the Sisterhood.

The ending of this book was so amazing!  I was taken completely by surprise by the crazy twist at the end.  It was so sad and my heart went out to some of the characters.  The romance was sweet and not too over the top.  The secrets Cate discovers and will continue to discover are surprising and suspenseful. I cannot wait to get my hands on the second book in this series!

Book Review: Hot Chocolate by Dawn Greenfield Ireland

Hot Chocolate 
Synopsis (from Amazon):  
Meet the middle-aged Alcott sisters: Madge, Lila Mae and Dorothea, heiresses to the Alcott Chocolate fortune and mavens of Houston’s elite River Oaks. 

Madge ambushes Lila Mae with Dorothea’s manipulative plea: she can’t care for Bernie, their 92-year old father, any longer. Lila Mae explodes in a hissy fit—she had warned Dorothea years ago that they should put Bernie in an assisted living center.

Robert, Lila Mae’s astrologer, warns of impending problems and he’s rarely wrong.

The sisters call a meeting with Walter Branson, their solicitor. They discuss Bernie’s nurse Bambi Chaline, a blonde bombshell who looks more like a hooker than a nurse. 

Arrangements are made for Bernie to be transferred over to Lake Sides Assisted Living Center in the Uptown Galleria area and a severance package is drawn up for Bambi.

Jimmy Ray Chaline, Bambi’s bowling alley husband, is enraged that Bambi was let go. He hires ambulance chaser Mark Slade to file a lawsuit for wrongful termination. 

The suit is thrown out of court further fueling Jimmy Ray’s rage. Bambi had been more than satisfied with her bonus, letters of recommendation and praise from the Alcott clan.

When Jimmy Ray fails to return home from the bowling alley that night, a series of events unfold that shocks the entire Alcott family and their extended members.
My Thoughts:
This book is a great cozy mystery!  It is full of charm, warmth, humor and of course, mystery.  It was such a fun read that I was able to finish it quickly.   
I loved the characters of the sisters.  They were funny and easy to connect too!  They are middle-aged sisters who have to deal with their aging father.  Their father is 92 and the sisters decide that they can longer care for him even though he has a nurse.  They have decided that he will have much better care in an assisted living home.  They tell Bambi, the nurse and a blonde bombshell, that they will no longer need her services and give her quite a nice severance package. Bambi completely understands until her greedy, money hungry husband decides to sue for wrongful termination.  
When the case gets thrown out of court (for being ridiculous, of course), Jimmy is livid!  When he doesn't come home from his bowling alley one night however, the sisters suddenly become the prime suspects! 
This book was full of twists and turns and you never knew what to expect next.  The characters were fun and sassy and full of their own quirks.  It was a fast paced, exciting and funny read.  If you like cozy mysteries, a dash of romance and some humor, pick this up for sure...oh, and be sure to grab your cup of hot chocolate too!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Young Adult Paranormal Activity Giveaway Hop

I am so excited for this giveaway because I love, love, love YA paranormal activity books!  This giveaway is hosted by  vvb32 reads & I Am A Reader, Not A Writer!  

I am giving away an ARC copy of Liesl and Po by Lauren Oliver.  
Liesl and Po 
 This is a great ghost story that I really enjoyed!
To enter all you have to do is fill out the Rafflecopter below.  Then hop over to the other blogs giving away great stuff!  

The winner will be notified via email and will have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is picked.  This contest is international!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Book Review: The Selection by Kiera Cass

The Selection (The Selection, #1)

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

Synopsis (from Goodreads):  For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in the palace and compete for the heart of the gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn't want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she's made for herself- and realizes that the life she's always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.
My Thoughts:  I'll let you guys in on a little secret here...I LOVE The Bachelor and The Bachelorette.  Yep, it's slightly embarrassing but my DVR is set to record every Monday night.  It is my guilty pleasure.  So, when I read about this book I immediately signed up to read it and I am so glad I did!
America Singer  is the third child is a family of five children.  She is also a 5.  In this (very light) dystopian novel, people are divided into castes with 8 being the worst of the worst (homeless, no education, no food, etc). and 1 being celebrity status (super wealthy, well educated, etc).  America and her family are artists.  Her father and brother paint and sculpt, America and her mother sing and play musical instruments.  

Castes females are not suppose to "marry down".  An upper caste male can choose a lower caste female and then she becomes the higher caste.  However, if the female is upper caste and choses to marry below her, she becomes part of the lower caste.  This is important to know because American is in love with Aspen and Aspen is a 6.  They keep their relationship a secret a meet once a week secretly.  

Then the letter comes.  It is from the palace and invites America to take part in The Selection.  Girls from all castes fill out an application, take their picture and then enter into what is suppose to be a lottery.  35 girls get picked to live at the palace and vie for Prince Maxon's love and attention.  Aspen begs America to enter so he won't feel like he has held her back.  America finally agrees because she is sure she won't get picked.  Surprisingly though, she does get picked and after a fight with Aspen, American must decide if she is going to play the game or go back to Aspen.

I loved this book more than I can say!  America was an awesome character.  She was strong and independent and really very nice even when some of the other girls were being catty.  She is completely thinking of her family when she goes into the palace and wants to stay to help them out (they get money for her being at the palace).  She loves her siblings and is so sweet to her maids.  America is not perfect by any means but then....who is?  I like that that she was shown as imperfect.

Aspen is sweet and really wants what is best for American as well.  He doesn't want to bring her down (which is what he would do if he married her) but loves her so much.  He has a lot of pride though and that hurts their relationship.  

I simply loved Prince Maxon!  He is the perfect bachelor!  He is unsure of himself as he hasn't really had any chance to know, between ruling a country that is riddled with wars and trying to keep a budget up, there isn't a lot of spare time.  He is so nice and totally understanding.  He tries not to lead any of the girls on, therefore dismissing them as soon as he feels there is no connection.  Unlike The Bachelor, there are no rose ceremonies here.  Maxon just dismisses as he wishes.  

If I were in the Selection, I would really want  a friend like Marlee!  She is sweet, bubbly and always cheerful.  She is super nice and (as far as I know) wants what is best for Prince Maxon.  She appears to be hiding some sort of secret though so I will be really interested in seeing what this is all about.  Her relationship with America is sweet and I like how quickly they bonded.  

Celeste is horrible!  She is the girl that everyone wants kicked off the show but for some reason (I personally think it is for ratings) they keep her on to the very end.  Yep...this is Celeste.  Celeste is a 2 (I think) and very spoiled.  At one point in the book she tells America she wants something that America has and just expects America to hand it over.  Total conniving brat!  

The story was great.  I enjoyed watching American and Maxon as their relationship grew.  I really liked that America treated her maids so kindly and actually became more of friends to them, playing cards and gossiping with them.  

Besides romance there is some suspense in this book as well. The world is full of wars and the king and queen are constantly under attack.  There are several tense moments when the girls experience this.  It really kept things fast paced and interesting.

This was a very fun, fast paced and fluffy read.  I enjoyed every minute of it and will be buying it as soon as it is released!  

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Top 10 Books I'd Save...

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  This week's topic is the top 10 books you would save if your house was on fire, aliens abducted, etc. 

1.  My Bible
2.  The Twilight Series by Stephenie Meyers*
3.  The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling*
4.  My Little House on the Prairie books by Laura Ingalls Wilder*
5.  Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
6.  The Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
7.  The Luxe series by Anna Godbersen
8.  City of Glass by Cassandra Clare (because it is the only one in the series I own and I haven't read it yet)
9.  Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
10.  My Nook Color (it has Hunger Games and tons others so couldn't leave it behind!)

What would you save?

Teaser Tuesday: The Selection by Kiera Cass

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!

The Selection (The Selection, #1)

"As I climbed into the tiny box that was my escape, I knew I wasn't alone.  In the far corner, someone was hiding in the night."
~Page 12 of The Selection by Kiera Cass

Book Review: The Last Echo by Kimberly Derting

The Last Echo (The Body Finder, #3)
  **I received this book from Around the World ARC Tours for review**

Synopsis (from Goodreads):  Violet kept her morbid ability to sense dead bodies a secret from everyone except her family and her childhood-best-friend-turned-boyfriend, Jay Heaton. That is until forensic psychologist Sara Priest discovered Violet's talent and invited her to use her gift to track down murderers. Now, as she works with an eclectic group of individuals—including mysterious and dangerously attractive Rafe—it's Violet's job to help those who have been murdered by bringing their killers to justice. When Violet discovers the body of a college girl killed by "the girlfriend collector" she is determined to solve the case. But now the serial killer is on the lookout for a new "relationship" and Violet may have caught his eye....
My Thoughts:   Okay, I was a little wary of reading this book because while I loved The Body Finder, I was really disappointed with Desires of the Dead.  I am happy to say that this book was much more like The Body Finder than Desires of the Dead and I really enjoyed it!
Violet is now working with "The Company" that she found in the last book.  She has made friends with Sara, Rafe, Sam and Krystal.  Gemma is another story however.  She is spending a lot of time with them and that makes Jay a little jealous but he is still always there for Violet.
When the team gets called to help investigate a serial killer nicknamed "The Collector", Violet ends up spending more time with the team, getting hurt and even getting in some trouble with the police.  Her parents and her uncle want her to quit the team but  Violet does not feel like she can leave in the middle of the case.  
I loved the new character, Krystal!  She was fun, full of life and a great friend to Violet.  I also enjoyed learning more about Rafe and Sara as some of their secrets were revealed.  Violet wasn't so dumb in this book and I am so thankful for that!  Nothing like a character that you know is smart putting herself in numerous dangerous situations that could be avoided.  I also liked that Violet wasn't so needy with Jay this time.  Jay was still awesome!  He is slightly jealous of the time that Violet spends with the team but tries his best to understand.  He is there when she needs him and supports her decisions.  
The ending of this book was fabulous!  It was so tense that I would not put the book down until I finished it.  I thought, for some reason, that this was the end of the series but after the cliffhanger that Derting left us with, there had better be more to come!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Book Review: The Vanishing Game by Kate Kae Myers

The Vanishing Game 

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

Synopsis (from Goodreads):  Seventeen-year-old Jocelyn follows clues apparently from her dead twin, Jack, in and around Seale House, the terrifying foster home where they once lived. With help from childhood friend Noah she begins to uncover the truth about Jack's death and the company that employed him and Noah.

Jocelyn's twin brother Jack was the only family she had growing up in a world of foster homes-and now he's dead, and she has nothing. Then she gets a cryptic letter from "Jason December"-the code name her brother used to use when they were children at Seale House, a terrifying foster home that they believed had dark powers. Only one other person knows about Jason December: Noah, Jocelyn's childhood crush and their only real friend among the troubled children at Seale House.

But when Jocelyn returns to Seale House and the city where she last saw Noah, she gets more than she bargained for. Turns out the house's powers weren't just a figment of a childish imagination. And someone is following Jocelyn. Is Jack still alive? And if he is, what kind of trouble is he in? The answer is revealed in a shocking twist that turns this story on its head and will send readers straight back to page 1 to read the book in a whole new light.

My Thoughts:  I didn't really know what to expect from this book.  I wasn't sure if it was going to be cheesy or your typical paranormal novel.  What I didn't expect was for this book to blow me away!  It was so full of twists and turns that I never saw the end coming!

Jocelyn and her twin brother Jack are foster children.  They spent their life being moved around by their crazy and unreliable mother and then, after running away from their mom and her boyfriend, they end up at Seale House.  There are several other children there and their foster mother is mean and heartless. They meet Noah and the three of them become fast friends.

Strange things happen at Seale House though.  When the curtains catch on fire (courtesy of one of the foster children) they mysteriously extinguish themselves.  Things get moved around without anyone touching them and light bulbs explode for no reason.  All the children are afraid of the cellar and they are sure there is some "cellar beast" down there.  

Jack and Jocelyn run away from Seale House after a traumatic event and end up with their mother again for a little while before being put back into another foster home.  This one is a good one however.  Jack, a computer nerd, gets an internship with a security company and Jocelyn is working on getting her high school diploma when Jack is suddenly killed in a car accident.  At least, that is what Jocelyn thinks until she gets a letter with the name Jason December on it.  Jason December was Jack's code name and only three people knew it:  Jack, Jocelyn and Noah.  Jocelyn finds Noah and together they try to follow the clues Jack has left them and discover the secret behind Jack's disappearance.  Besides the tricky clues, Jocelyn and Noah have to watch out for the people who want them dead.

Throughout this book you are taken back to Seale House with Jack and Jocelyn through Jocelyn's memories.  I loved how we were able to meet the other children of Seale House and see how they affected Jocelyn's life.  Connor "Corner Boy" was evil and scary while Georgie was insane.  Dixon was a sweetheart and Beth was angry but all in all, not a bad kid.  While following clues, Jocelyn is forced to remember how each of these kids played a part in her life and even got to see how some of them turned out.  

I loved the twists and turns in this book!  It was completely unpredictable and had me on the edge of my seat throughout the entire story.  Noah's past came as a complete shock to me and the mystery behind Jack was perfect!  I happen to love a good mystery and this one fit the bill!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Follower Love Giveaway Winner!

Congratulations to Persephone!  She has been emailed and already responded. 
I want to thank everyone who entered my giveaway and welcome all the new followers!  Stay tuned for the next giveaway coming soon!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Book Review: Slide by Jill Hathaway


**I received this book from Around the World ARC Tours for review**

Synopsis (from Goodreads):  Vee Bell is certain of one irrefutable truth—her sister’s friend Sophie didn’t kill herself. She was murdered.

Vee knows this because she was there. Everyone believes Vee is narcoleptic, but she doesn’t actually fall asleep during these episodes: When she passes out, she slides into somebody else’s mind and experiences the world through that person’s eyes. She’s slid into her sister as she cheated on a math test, into a teacher sneaking a drink before class. She learned the worst about a supposed “friend” when she slid into her during a school dance. But nothing could have prepared Vee for what happens one October night when she slides into the mind of someone holding a bloody knife, standing over Sophie’s slashed body.

Vee desperately wishes she could share her secret, but who would believe her? It sounds so crazy that she can’t bring herself to tell her best friend, Rollins, let alone the police. Even if she could confide in Rollins, he has been acting off lately, more distant, especially now that she’s been spending more time with Zane.

Enmeshed in a terrifying web of secrets, lies, and danger and with no one to turn to, Vee must find a way to unmask the killer before he or she strikes again.

My Thoughts:  I enjoyed this book and thought it was a refreshing YA novel.  I loved the "sliding" aspect of it and I can honestly say I had no idea who the murderer was.  I really couldn't put the book down except for during one small part.  Other than that, it was pretty great!

Vee is does not have narcolepsy.  She doesn't pass out, she is not tired...well, maybe she is tired but not because of some disorder.  She is tired because she refuses to let herself sleep for very long.  However, everyone in Vee's family and at her school believe she suffers from narcolepsy because when she "slides" into someone else's mind, she goes unconscious.  But she still stays very much away.  She is just awake in someone else's body.

When Vee witnesses a murder through sliding, she is unable to tell anyone.  After all, who is going to believe it when she says she can enter someone else's mind and see what they are seeing and doing?  Her sister's best friend's death is labeled a suicide but Vee knows better and she is trying her best to figure out how to prove it without revealing her own secrets.

I really liked Vee.  She was always there for her sister, Mattie and their father. She was a great caretaker!  Vee was very strong, especially after dealing with her mother's death from cancer and then another horrible experience at school the previous year.  She knows she has made mistakes but she uses those mistakes to make her a better person instead of making excuses for herself.  

Rollins was awesome!  His home life left something to be desired as well but the secret behind it made him mysterious and dark.  He wasn't necessarily a bad boy type but I liked the mystery that surrounded him.  He was a great friend for Vee, even when he was distant.  I believe part of his distance was because of Zane but I am just speculating here.

Some issues I had with the book were the mystery of who the murderer was and Rollins' background.  The author didn't really go into Rollins' background a whole lot and while you do find out why he never invites Vee to his house, you don't know what caused those issues (does that make sense?).  I would have liked to know why his family was the way it was and just a little more about him.

The mystery behind the murder was just kind of unrealistic to me.  I can honestly say I didn't figure out who the murderer was but that is because you are not introduced to the murderer at all until maybe one chapter before he/she is revealed.  Then, when I thought the author could have gone so many other ways and made the reason behind Sophie's murder realistic and believable, I think the way it played out was just, quite frankly, ridiculous.  It was the only part of the book that I really didn't enjoy.  

Also, what happens to Amber wasn't really realistic too.  I mean, I can see it happening but it was all just very convenient.  I think there could have been more there and that would have made this book a solid 5 stars!

All in all, I really did enjoy the story and think if you like a mystery and want something a little new in YA, this is a good one to pick up!

Amazing giveaway over at Bookish!

Great giveaway over at Bookish!  She is moving and can't take all her books with her so she is being extremely generous and offering a giveaway for a box of 16 books (mostly ARCs)!  Some of the titles include Blood Lines by Richelle Mead and Deadly Cool by Gemma Hayes.  One winner takes all 16 books!

So, what are you waiting for??  Head on over and sign up to win 16 amazing books!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Friday 56: 2/10/12

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

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56.
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don't spoil it) that grabs you.
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post below in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url.

It's that simple.


"The phone had gone dead after only about a minute, but I know the sounds of terror will live in me forever."

~Page 56 of Slide by Jill Hathaway

**Quote taken from ARC and subject to change**

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Book Review: Immortal City by Scott Speer

Immortal City 

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

Synopsis (from Goodreads):  Jackson Godspeed is the hottest young Angel in a city filled with them. He's days away from becoming a full Guardian, and people around the world are already competing for the chance to be watched over by him. Everyone's obsessed with the Angels and the lucky people they protect - everyone except for Madison Montgomery.

Maddy's the one girl in Angel City who doesn't breathlessly follow the Angels on TV and gossip blogs. When she meets Jackson, she doesn't recognize him. But Jackson is instantly captivated by her, and against all odds the two fall in love.

Maddy is swiftly caught up in Jackson's scene, a world of glamour, paparazzi - and murder. A serial killer is on the loose, leaving dead Angels' wings for the police to find on the Walk of Fame. Even the Guardians are powerless to protect themselves in the face of this threat … and this time it's up to Maddy to save Jackson.

My Thoughts:  Well, I have to say this book wasn't one of my favorites.  It was a slow read and very choppy.  It wasn't horrible and did have some entertainment value but not one I will pick up again.
In the City of Angels, Guardian Angels are paid for their protection.  If you have enough money, you are virtually invincible.  For those that don't have tons of money, a lottery is available or the "charity case" (one person gets picked and protected pro bono).  Jackson Godspeed is the hottest angel and next up to become a Guardian.  He is on all the magazine covers and everyone who is anyone knows who he is.

Which brings us to Maddy.  Maddy is busy helping her uncle with his diner, filling out college applications and trying to get into a good college...on the east coast, as far away from the City of Angels as possible.  She is just not into all the Angel gossip even though her best friend Gwen is.  Then she meets Jackson when he comes into the diner after a grisly crime is committed.  She isn't impressed with Jackson but Jackson cannot seem to get her out of his mind.  

Amid all this is the chaos of Angels being "de-winged" and murdered.  We meet Officer Sylvester and try to figure out the mystery of who is killing angels. I did have a sneaking suspicion as to who the bad guy was but I wasn't completely certain so that was a bonus point for me.

The thing that REALLY annoyed me in this book was all the name dropping of brands.  By the end of the first chapter I pretty much understood that the Angels were celebrities and rich and had designer clothes and awesome cars but the author felt the need to constantly describe what brands were being worn (right down to the sunglasses, shoes and handbags) and what kind of cars the Angels drove.  It got old pretty fast.   
Like I said, this wasn't a miserable read by any means but not one of my favorites.  If you like Angels and mysteries, pick it up and give it a try for yourself.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Teaser Tuesday: Immortal City by Scott Speer

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!

Immortal City"E  
 "Even at his drunkest, he could never have imagined something so horrific.  He opened his mouth and the boulevard filled with the echoes of his screams."
Page 53 of Immortal City by Scott Speer

**Quote taken from ARC and is subject to change**

Follower Love Giveaway Hop: Feb. 7-14

I am so happy to be a part of the Follower Love Giveaway Hop hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and Rachel Renee Anderson!

I am giving away a hardcover copy of Across the Universe by Beth Revis!  (Click cover to read more about it at Goodreads).

Across the Universe (Across the Universe, #1)

To enter, you must be a follower (it is a follower giveaway) and fill out the Rafflecopter below.  Winner will be notified by email and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be picked.  Don't forget to check out all the other blogs giving away cool stuff (below form)!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Book Review: Bloodrose by Andrea Cremer

Bloodrose (Nightshade, #3) 
**Received from Around the World ARC Tours for review**

Summary (from Goodreads):  Calla has always welcomed war.

But now that the final battle is upon her, there's more at stake than fighting. There's saving Ren, even if it incurs Shay's wrath. There's keeping Ansel safe, even if he's been branded a traitor. There's proving herself as the pack's alpha, facing unnamable horrors, and ridding the world of the Keepers' magic once and for all. And then there's deciding what to do when the war ends. If Calla makes it out alive, that is.

My Thoughts:  Well, I can honestly say that I did not expect the way this book turned out!  It was completely action packed and unpredictable (to me anyways) and I'm not sure I liked the ending. 

Let's begin with what I liked about this one.  I loved the different sections (water, fire, etc.) when Shay and the Guardians and Searchers had to find the swords.  It was an action packed adventure and it totally had my attention.  I sped through the middle of the book.  My favorite was probably the jungle quest (water) but I also thought the volcano quest was tense.  I could not put the book down at these parts.

I loved the relationship between Ethan and Sabine!  It was so sweet and I loved seeing how their love grew.  I also loved the relationship between Adne and Connor.  They were funny and sarcastic and I liked how they joked around.  Bryn and Ansel still have issues but I really liked how they resolved them.  Ansel, while still hurting, seemed to accept his fate slightly more.  

The war was also so intense and interesting.  It was impossible to put the book down at this point.  I hated Emile and Efron and Lumine more than ever! And Lucas was just a pain.  He was worthless except for his part in calling up Bosque.  

There were a lot of things I didn't like but don't want to say a whole lot in order to avoid spoilers.  I do not think I liked the ending.  I wasn't expecting some of the people who died to die.  I didn't like that there was no punishment for Lumine or Lucas at all.   There was no closure for them and I wasn't happy with that.  

My biggest gripe was Callie and her refusal to pick between Shay and Ren until after the war.  They both should have left her and they certainly shouldn't have been fighting over her.  I think she was being selfish in her refusal to choose.  And she led them on too which I wasn't happy with.  

I also thought the ending was kind of a cop out.  I mean, talk about resolving an issue easily.  I think Andrea Cremer cheated a little here.  I just wasn't happy with it at all.  I wanted Calla to actually have to figure this out and then take responsibility for her choices.  

Anyways, I am giving this book 3 stars because I did think the different quests were interesting and I loved the secondary characters (Adne, Connor, Sabine, Ethan, Nev, Mason, etc).  The story kept my attention most of the time and there were some great, intense parts.


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Book Review: Pure (Covenant #2) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

**I received this book from Around the World ARC Tours for review** 

Synopsis (from Goodreads):  There is need. And then there is Fate...

Being destined to become some kind of supernatural electrical outlet isn't exactly awesome--especially when Alexandria's "other half" is everywhere she goes. Seth's in her training room, outside her classes, and keeps showing up in her bedroom--so not cool. Their connection does have some benefits, like staving off her nightmares of the tragic showdown with her mother, but it has no effect on what Alex feels for the forbidden, pure-blooded Aiden. Or what he will do--and sacrifice--for her.

When daimons infiltrate the Covenants and attack students, the gods send furies--lesser gods determined to eradicate any threat to the Covenants and to the gods, and that includes the Apollyon... and Alex. And if that and hordes of aether-sucking monsters didn't blow bad enough, a mysterious threat seems willing to do anything to neutralize Seth, even if that means forcing Alex into servitude... or killing her.

When the gods are involved, some decisions can never, ever be undone.

My Thoughts:  Oh.  My.  Goodness!!  This book was simply amazing in every way! was amazing!  I loved Half-Blood so I was super excited (I mean, like dancing around the room excited) when I was able to read this book early.  The day it came I stopped everything I was doing to sit down and start reading it.  Literally....I dropped everything (my kids were thrilled school was over early that day)!  I had high hopes for Pure and Jennifer Armentrout exceeded those high hopes easily!

Alex is even more snarky in this book and I loved her!  She totally kicks butt and doesn't let anyone, including Seth or Aiden, tell her what to do.  But she's smart.  She is not one of those characters that you want to smack for being so stupid and putting themselves in danger.  Even when she put herself in danger, it was in a smart way (if that makes sense).  She was amazing!

I think Aiden has to be my most favorite male character in a YA series!  He is so hot and the fact that him and Alex cannot get together brings in some serious sexual tension.  They have a smoldering passion and you can really feel all those emotions!  He is very protective of Alex without being too clingy or possessive.  He confuses you with his feelings for her only because he knows he can't be with her (no pure and half-blood breeding) but he says things that are so hot!  Yep, I think he is totally yummy in this book!

I actually really liked Seth in this one too!  I think his relationship with Alex is great and can't wait to read more about it.  They also have some serious sexual tension but Alex is understandably confused as to whether it is real or just their Apollyon connection.  Seth is still a little player but I think he's ready to settle a little.  I love how he is always there for Alex, especially during the super hard time (no spoilers here) she goes through in this book.  

Pure will get your emotions roiling!  You can feel the heated passion between Alex and Aiden.  You can feel Alex's confusion when it comes to her feelings for Seth.  I got SO angry with the council and literally wanted to smack Telly in the face.  Yep, he got my blood boiling!  Laadan is super sweet and you can't help but wanting a friend like her.  All the characters in Pure were easy to connect with and very well developed!

The cliffhanger at the end is amazing and it leaves you begging for more!  I am so anxious to see what happens next and my only complaint is that I have to wait to read the third book, Deity!  So, if you couldn't tell by my (almost embarrassing) gushing here...I loved this book!  I could not put it down and even though I just finished it, I want to read it again!  Jennifer L. Armentrout has definitely done it again!  I can't wait to see what she does with Deity!!

(I'd give this book a thousand stars but that would just take up a lot of room so 5 it is!)