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, August 7, 2013

Book Review: How to Love by Katie Cotugno

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

Synopsis (from Goodreads):  Before: Reena Montero has loved Sawyer LeGrande for as long as she can remember: as natural as breathing, as endless as time. But he’s never seemed to notice that Reena even exists…until one day, impossibly, he does. Reena and Sawyer fall in messy, complicated love. But then Sawyer disappears from their humid Florida town without a word, leaving a devastated—and pregnant—Reena behind.

After: Almost three years have passed, and there’s a new love in Reena’s life: her daughter, Hannah. Reena’s gotten used to being without Sawyer, and she’s finally getting the hang of this strange, unexpected life. But just as swiftly and suddenly as he disappeared, Sawyer turns up again. Reena doesn’t want anything to do with him, though she’d be lying if she said Sawyer’s being back wasn’t stirring something in her. After everything that’s happened, can Reena really let herself love Sawyer LeGrande again?

In this breathtaking debut, Katie Cotugno weaves together the story of one couple falling in love—twice.

My Thoughts:  I did not finish this book but it wasn't because I didn't like it.  In fact, I absolutely LOVED this book (as far as I got anyways) and wanted so badly to finish it but I am right in the middle of a move and had to send it on so I will review the first half of the book for you!

Reena is in love with her childhood friend Sawyer.  Her best friend, Allie, and her have dreamed about what it would be like to date Sawyer.  Then one summer, Allie ends up dating Sawyer and the friendship between Reena and Allie becomes strained.  Now suddenly, Reena just wants to focus on school and graduate a year early so she can go to college and travel.  

Then one night changes everything.  After a devastating tragedy, Sawyer and Reena become closer.  Sawyer is a little more rebellious than Reena thought but she is drawn into his world.  When he suddenly up and disappears and she finds out she's pregnant, she knows her dreams of leaving town have dried up.  

After almost three years have gone by, Reena has moved on with her life.  She has a beautiful little girl, Hannah, a job at the restaurant her family owns with Sawyer's family and a boyfriend.  She is going to a community college and she's happy for the most part.  Then Sawyer shows back up and she now has to deal with her life being turned upside down yet again.  

Reena was an amazing character!  I connected with her immediately and loved how strong and determined she was.  She seemed to be a good mom and had her priorities in check.  She was a very likeable character and so very easy to relate too!

Sawyer was the boy you wanted to hate but really can't.  I didn't get to read far enough to find out what his deal was with his disappearing act but he seemed to be interested in his daughter.  

I loved how the story alternated between "before" and "after".  It was easy to follow but kept it interesting.  I really wish I could have finished this book as I was so involved in Reena's life and wanting to know what made Sawyer leave and how it ended.  I will definitely be buying this book as soon as it is released to find out!

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Book Review: Dead Girl's Don't Lie by Jennifer Shaw Wolf

Dead Girls Don't Lie 
**Received from Around the World ARC Tours for review**

Synopsis (from Goodreads):  Rachel died at two a.m . . . Three hours after Skyler kissed me for the first time. Forty-five minutes after she sent me her last text.
Jaycee and Rachel were best friends. But that was before. . .before that terrible night at the old house. Before Rachel shut Jaycee out. Before Jaycee chose Skyler over Rachel. Then Rachel is found dead. The police blame a growing gang problem in their small town, but Jaycee is sure it has to do with that night at the old house. Rachel’s text is the first clue—starting Jaycee on a search that leads to a shocking secret. Rachel’s death was no random crime, and Jaycee must figure out who to trust before she can expose the truth.
In the follow-up to her powerful debut, Jennifer Shaw Wolf keeps readers on their toes in another dark, romantic story of murder and secrets.

My Thoughts:  This was a great story and full of surprises.  It was fast paced and kept my interest and had just the right amount of spooky moments!  

Jaycee was best friends with Rachel for most of her life.  But suddenly Rachel goes down another path and shuts Jaycee out.  Jaycee is with a boy, experiencing her first kiss, when Rachel texts her and tells her she's in trouble.  Jaycee ignores the text and the next day, Rachel is dead.  

The police claim that it is a gang related crime but Jaycee isn't too sure.  When she finds out Rachel left her some clues in the event of her death, Jaycee starts digging.  Unfortunately for Jaycee, all that digging gets her in trouble and now she is the target.  

I liked Jaycee a lot.  Sometimes she seemed a little dumb and slightly annoying but for the most part, I enjoyed her character.  She really did love Rachel like a sister and would go to any lengths to find out what really happened to her. 

Personally, I thought Skylar, Evan and Eric Cross were pretty creepy but that could just be me.  They all ran hot and cold and you could never really get a good read on them.  You definitely got to understand Skyler and his situation a little better towards the middle of the story when you find out his family dynamics.  

I loved Eduardo and his attitude.  He watched out for Jaycee and was loyal to Rachel.  He stuck around through some hard times to make sure that Jaycee was okay and to help her try to figure out what really happened.  He was definitely sulky though.  

The mystery had me a little stumped until the end so that was a pleasant surprise.  I would think I figured out who did it but then there would be a twist or two and it would throw my whole theory out the window.  In the end, I was surprised by who did it but when I thought back to this person's actions throughout the book, I saw all the little clues.   I also liked how this book dealt with something I don't read about very often (gangs and gang violence).  Definitely a change from vampires and werewolves!  If you like murder mysteries with some romance thrown in, this is the book for you!

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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Book Review: Frigid by J. Lynn

Frigid (Frigid, #1) 
**I received this book from Around the World ARC Tours for review**

Synopsis (from Goodreads):  For twenty-one-year-old Sydney, being in love with Kyler isn't anything new. They'd been best friends ever since he pushed her down on the playground and she made him eat a mud pie. Somewhere over the years, she fell for him and fell hard. The big problem with that? Kyler puts the 'man' in man-whore. He's never stayed with a girl longer than a few nights, and with it being their last year in college, Syd doesn't want to risk their friendship by declaring her love.

Kyler has always put Syd on a pedestal that was too high for him to reach. To him, she's perfect and she's everything. But the feelings he has for her, he's always hidden away or focused on any other female. After all, Kyler will always be the poor boy from the wrong side of tracks, and Syd will always be the one girl he can never have.

But when they're stranded together at a posh ski resort due to a massive Nor'easter, there's nothing stopping their red-hot feelings for each other from coming to the surface. Can their friendship survive the attraction? Better yet, can they survive at all? Because as the snow falls, someone is stalking them, and this ski trip may be a life-changer in more ways than one.

My Thoughts:  Sydney and Kyler have been best friends since elementary school.  Sydney has had feelings for Kyler for awhile but doesn't want to ruin the friendship so she hasn't told Kyler. She sits by and watches him take girl after girl home.  Sydney has only had one relationship and it ended on a bad note.  

Sydney and Kyler head up to Kyler's cabin for Christmas Break.  The plan is to meet some of their other friends up there and celebrate their last year of college.  Sydney and Kyler make it up there but get hit by a massive snow storm and their friends don't make it.  Sydney and Kyler are now stranded and alone and to make matters worse, someone is stalking the two and making things even more interesting.

I really liked Sydney and could really relate to her and her feelings.  My husband and I were friends for a long time before we actually got together and I know the fear of losing your friend over a relationship.  I felt her heartbreak every time she watched Kyler flirt with another girl.  I loved when Sydney found her "lady balls" and I really liked how feisty she could be.   I also understood her constant worrying and over analyzing everything because I totally do that too!  

Kyler was sweet and even though he was a player, you understood why. He was very protective of Sydney and he honestly cared for her.  I loved how he respected Sydney and didn't treat her like all the other girls.  She meant something special to him and he treated her that way.  He was sweet and I really liked his character.  

This story is told in alternating POVs and I really enjoyed that as well.  Getting into Kyler's head made the story interesting and a whole lot easier to understand Kyler.  It definitely would not have been as good without Kyler's point of view.

This was an incredibly fast paced read!  The "mystery" was somewhat predictable (I had it figured out almost immediately) but it was still a fun book and will not disappoint!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Book Review: Dead Silence by Kimberly Derting

Dead Silence (The Body Finder, #4) 

Synopsis (from Goodreads):  Violet thought she’d made peace with her unique ability to sense the echoes of the dead and the imprints that cling to their killers…that is until she acquired an imprint of her own. Forced to carry a reminder of the horrible events of her kidnapping, Violet is more determined than ever to lead a normal life. However, the people who run the special investigative team Violet works for have no intention of letting her go.

When someone close to Violet becomes a suspect in a horrific murder, she finds herself pulled into a deadly hunt for a madman with an army of devoted followers. Violet has survived dangerous situations before, but she quickly discovers that protecting those closest to her is far more difficult than protecting herself.

My Thoughts:  I've heard this is the last book in the series.  If it is, I'm a little disappointed because it left so many loose ends.  Seriously, I have a ton of questions that were not even close to being answered.

Violet is a senior this year but instead of concentrating on fun stuff like prom, graduation, parties, etc., she is concentrating on ignoring her imprint and trying to get over being kidnapped in the previous book.   Then Violet finds a family dead in their home and her world is thrown upside down again.  Especially when she notices that one of the bodies does not have an imprint.  When one of her classmates is accused of the murder, Violet is determined to find out what happened.

Along with the murder of the family, Violet has been given her grandma's journals.  Her grandma had the same "gift" as Violet and begins to write about a group that called themselves the Circle of Seven.  It's a group very much like the one Violet is in with Rafe and Sara.  

Between figuring out what the connection is between the Circle of Seven and her own little group and trying to find a murderer, Violet's senior year is unlike any other.  

Okay, I realize that if Violet wasn't so stubborn and determined, this would probably be a really boring (and short) book but through the whole book I was rolling my eyes at her stupidity and all the risks she took.  She not only put herself in danger but others as well.  It drove me crazy.  I also think Violet is a little whiny.  She is constantly keeping secrets and then getting upset because no one "understands" her or what she is going through.  She really just annoys me.

Jay is the same as he has been in the other books.  It was actually boring for me.  He is loyal and will protect Violet to the end but the whole romance for me was boring and predictable.  

I really like Violet's team.  Rafe and Sara and Gemma, even Dr. Lee.  They add some mystery and interest to the book.  Dr. Lee was especially interesting in this book and I'm a little irritated that there were so many unanswered questions regarding him and the group. Then, Gemma just kind of disappears from the book.  It was disappointing to me as she was one of my favorite characters.

So, all in all, this was an okay book.  It wasn't great but it wasn't bad and if you have read the others in the series, you should obviously read this one too.   I just don't think it tied up all the loose ends and I still have a lot of questions.  

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Book Review: Teardrop by Lauren Kate

Teardrop (Teardrop, #1) 
**I received this book from Around the World ARC Tours for review**

Synopsis (from Goodreads):  Never, ever cry. . . . Eureka Boudreaux's mother drilled that rule into her daughter years ago. But now her mother is gone, and everywhere Eureka goes he is there: Ander, the tall, pale blond boy who seems to know things he shouldn't, who tells Eureka she is in grave danger, who comes closer to making her cry than anyone has before.

But Ander doesn't know Eureka's darkest secret: ever since her mother drowned in a freak accident, Eureka wishes she were dead, too. She has little left that she cares about, just her oldest friend, Brooks, and a strange inheritance—a locket, a letter, a mysterious stone, and an ancient book no one understands. The book contains a haunting tale about a girl who got her heart broken and cried an entire continent into the sea. Eureka is about to discover that the ancient tale is more than a story, that Ander might be telling the truth . . . and that her life has far darker undercurrents than she ever imagined. From Lauren Kate comes an epic saga of heart-stopping romance, devastating secrets, and dark magic . . . a world where everything you love can be washed away.

My Thoughts:  I have never read anything by Lauren Kate (even though I own the whole Fallen series) so I wasn't sure what to expect with this book.  I thought the book started out a little slow but it did pick up and kept my interest the rest of the time.

Eureka's mother was killed by a rogue wave, leaving Eureka to live with her dad and step-mom.  Eureka is dealing with survivor's guilt and has quite a difficult time with her mom's death.  She has alienated herself from everyone at school except her two best friends, Brooks and Cat.  She quit the cross-country team and is now forced to see a psychiatrist that her step-mom has picked out for her.  

Eureka meets Ander when he rear-ends her at stop sign.  Eureka has never seen Ander before but he tells her he is on the rival school's cross country team.  It doesn't take Eureka long to find out that Ander is not being completely honest with her.  Ander shows up unexpectedly most of the time and isn't able to be found the other times.  

While at the reading of her mother's will, Eureka is given three very interesting objects.  She is given a locket her mother always wore but that didn't open, a box with a rock called a "Thunderstone" wrapped in gauze in it and a book written in a strange language.  She takes the book to a pyschic who is the only person who can translate the book.  The psychic gives Eureka some information and warns her to not tell anyone about the book.  When something tragic happens to the psychic and her best friend, Brooks, starts behaving strangely, Eureka feels more alone than ever.   

I felt for Eureka because I cannot imagine losing my mom the way she did.   I cannot imagine not being able to cry and I can't imagine the will power one must have to keep from crying at a funeral or when feeling so alone.  There were a couple of times when I thought Eureka was a little...dumb or naive but I liked her character for the most part.  

Brooks was a very interesting character.  I wasn't sure what was going on with him at first but did figure it out before the end of the book.  There isn't a lot I can say about him without giving a lot away so I will just say he was a very interesting character and definitely has me wondering what will happen in the following books.

I did not like Eureka's dad at all.  I thought he was weak and I hated how he wouldn't really stand up for her with his new wife.  He just seemed to be in a rut of work and sleep until the end of the book.  I thought the step-mom was rather mean and lacked some serious understanding.  I didn't like her at all either.  

I enjoyed this book and the story of Atlantis.  It was a pretty quick read for me and I look forward to reading the other books in this series.  


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Teaser Tuesday: Dead Silence by Kimberly Derting

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly meme hosted by Miz B of Should Be Reading and asks you to :
1. Grab your current read
2. Open to a random page
3 . Share 2 "teaser" sentences also citing the title of the book and the author and in that way people can have great recommendations if they like the "teaser".
4. Please avoid spoilers!
Dead Silence (The Body Finder, #4)"She tried to imagine Rafe going to the graveyard at night and digging up a body - Caine's body.
She squeezed her eyes shut, wondering whatever had possessed him to do such a think, to take such a risk." ~Page 190 of Dead Silence by Kimberly Derting

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Book Review: Antigoddess by Kendare Blake

Antigoddess (Goddess War, #1) 
**I received this book from Around the World ARC Tours for review**

Synopsis (from Goodreads):  Old Gods never die…

Or so Athena thought. But then the feathers started sprouting beneath her skin, invading her lungs like a strange cancer, and Hermes showed up with a fever eating away his flesh. So much for living a quiet eternity in perpetual health.

Desperately seeking the cause of their slow, miserable deaths, Athena and Hermes travel the world, gathering allies and discovering enemies both new and old. Their search leads them to Cassandra—an ordinary girl who was once an extraordinary prophetess, protected and loved by a god.

These days, Cassandra doesn’t involve herself in the business of gods—in fact, she doesn’t even know they exist. But she could be the key in a war that is only just beginning.

Because Hera, the queen of the gods, has aligned herself with other of the ancient Olympians, who are killing off rivals in an attempt to prolong their own lives. But these anti-gods have become corrupted in their desperation to survive, horrific caricatures of their former glory. Athena will need every advantage she can get, because immortals don’t just flicker out.

Every one of them dies in their own way. Some choke on feathers. Others become monsters. All of them rage against their last breath.

The Goddess War is about to begin.

My Thoughts:  I love Greek mythology so I was really excited when I saw that Ms. Blake was writing a book about it.  I absolutely loved Anna Dressed in Black so was pretty confident that I would also enjoy this book.

Athena and Hermes are dying...only they aren't suppose to die.  They are Gods.  Gods don't die.  Hermes is wasting away from the inside out and Athena is sprouting feathers in her lungs.  They decide that they need to figure out what is going on.  After finding Demeter and getting some very random hints from her, they are on a quest to find the Prophetess, Cassandra.

Cassandra is your average teenage girl...well, except she is psychic.  Other than that, she leads a fairly normal life with her brother, Henry, her boyfriend, Aiden and her best friend, Andie.  Her visions start to change though and become more vivid and a lot stranger than before.  Soon, Cassandra realizes that she is in the middle of a war between Gods and she is the one that they are all seeking.  

The chapters switch back and forth between Athena and Cassandra, which I really liked.  It kept it interesting but not confusing to me at all.  Athena is a really strong character (duh, she is a God) and I really liked her.  I also liked Hermes a lot.  He was loyal to Athena even when he was scared.

Cassandra was also a great character but I definitely liked her better after she "awakened".  She was much stronger.  I thought Aiden was a little dumb at times.  Trying to run from Gods seemed impossible so not sure why they would even try.  

The ending surprised me a little and although I was sad, I thought it was a good way to end the book.  I was enthralled with this book from the first page and hated to have to put it down at all.  It was a fast read and will definitely keep you interested the entire time, especially if you like Greek mythology!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Book Review: Black Spring by Alison Croggon

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

Synopsis (from Goodreads):  Inspired by Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights, BLACK SPRING reimagines the passionate story in a fantasy 19th century society sustained by wizardry and the vengeance code of vendetta.

Anna spent her childhood with Damek and her volatile foster sister Lina, daughter of the Lord of the village. Lina has magical powers, and in this brutal patriarchal society women with magical powers are put to death as babies. Lina’s father, however, refuses to kill her but when vendetta explodes in their village and Lina’s father dies, their lives are changed forever. Their new guardian Masko sends Anna away and reduces Lina to the status of a servant. Damek—mad with love for Lina—attempts to murder Masko, then vanishes for several years. Anna comes home five years later to find Lina about to marry a pleasant young farmer, and witnesses Damek’s vengeful return and its catastrophic consequences.

Passionate, atmospheric and haunting, BLACK SPRING will stay with readers long after they turn the final page.

My Thoughts:  I read Wuthering Heights in high school and I fell in love with the story.  I was a little worried about reading this book but it has been a really long time since high school and I've forgotten some of the story so I thought it would be okay.

The book started out a little slow for me with the story of Hammel (a.k.a. Mr. Lockwood).  Hammel was leaving the city for the North to put some distance between himself and a lady.  After arriving, he decides to meet the man who is letting him stay at the Red House, despite his housekeeper's warnings.  Halfway to the Master's house, a storm develops and Hammel has to stay the night with the miserable man he finds at the manse.  Hammel meets Damek (Heathcliff) and his young wife, who is quite angry and who is treated very poorly.  After Damek tells his manservant to put Hammel in a room, Hammel spends a very uneasy night and in the morning, he is greeted by the face of a woman with violet eyes in the mirror.  After telling Damek what he sees, Damek goes a little crazy and Hammel quickly leaves.

Once back at the Red House, Hammel gets ill from being out in the storm and the dog bite that he received at Damek's house and has to be nursed back to health by Anna (Nelly).  Anna tells him the story of herself, Damek and a young woman named Lina (Catherine).  You see, Lina and Anna were milk sisters and although Lina had royal blood, she treated Anna like a sister for the first years of their lives.  After Lina's father brings Damek home, Lina instead turns to Damek as her best friend.  After Lina's father dies in an unfortunate accident, the King gives the estate over to a disgusting pig of a man, Masko.  Masko abuses Lina and Damek and Anna both leave.  Anna is summoned back to be Lina's housemaid when Lina is engaged and is shocked by Lina's fragile appearance.  Lina marries and becomes pregnant and then Damek returns.  From there, everything goes downhill.

The one element in this book that wasn't in the original was the wizards and witches.  Wizards have much control over the villages and are greatly feared.  Witches are usually killed.  Lina has the violet eyes of a witch and must be careful.  There is also the "vendetta" which was particularly  disturbing to me.  Vendetta is this:  if someone in the village gets killed, that person's first male relation must then kill his murder.  There is a 40 day grace period between the time the person is killed and the time that the male relation can kill the murderer.  Then that person's first male relation must avenge the death and so on.  This can effectively kill off entire villages.  The people must also pay a "blood tax" on each person that kills.  The people in the villages never knew when or where it would happen but always feared it.  

I really enjoyed this story.  It was very close to what I remember of Wuthering Heights.  It was a dark read and a little slow at the beginning but once I got into Anna's story, I couldn't put the book down.  I enjoyed this retelling of an amazing classic!


Blog Tour & Giveaway: Pods by Michelle K. Pickett

**I received this book from Spencer Hill Press for an honest review**

Synopsis (from Goodreads):  Seventeen-year-old Eva is a chosen one. Chosen to live, while others meet a swift and painful death from an incurable virus so lethal, a person is dead within days of symptoms emerging. In the POD system, a series of underground habitats built by the government, she waits with the other chosen for the deadly virus to claim those above. Separated from family and friends, it's in the PODs she meets David. And while true love might not conquer all, it's a balm for the broken soul.

After a year, scientists believe the population has died, and without living hosts, so has the virus. That's the theory, anyway. But when the PODs are opened, survivors find the surface holds a vicious secret. The virus mutated, infecting those left top-side and creating... monsters.

Eva and David hide from the infected in the abandoned PODs. Together they try to build a life--a new beginning. But the infected follow and are relentless in their attacks. Leaving Eva and David to fight for survival, and pray for a cure.
My Thoughts:  This book scared me to death!  Seriously, it did.  The first reason is because I could totally see this happening.  I mean, whether the government releases it or it's some virus that we have never seen, it could totally happen.  The second reason is because I have kids.  Unlike Eva's parents, I have more than one child...I have three.  Now, if you haven't read the book, you won't know why this scared me so I'll tell you.  There are only so many spaces in the Pods for the uninfected to live in.  Therefore, there was a "raffle" and if your social security number was picked, you got to live! I spent the first few chapters thinking "what if this happened and if it did, what if only ONE of my kids got chosen?"  As a parent, how would you deal with that?  Luckily for Eva and her parents, she was an only child.

Eva comes home from school one day to find her parents watching the news.  They immediately turn it off and don't let her see anything because they don't want to worry her.  However, they forgot how rapidly news, especially "end of the world" news travels.  She finds out during school the next day that a virus is very quickly spreading through the world and killing everyone who comes in contact with it.  The government has no cure for it.  They don't even know how it is spreading.  The government decides that they are going to take the "important" people and then some lucky "regular" people underground to live in Pods until the virus is gone.  A raffle is planned for one evening and happens behind closed doors.  Eva is one of the lucky "winners" but her parents are not.

Going into the Pods reminds me a little of the T.V. shows Big Brother or The Real World.  Ten strangers are put into each sub-pod and must learn to live together for the next year.  No one comes in and no one goes out.  Eva is put into a Pod and gets to know her new roommates quickly.  Of course, when you are young (and they were all young) and stuck in a small area together for a long period of time, you are bound to have some romances.  Eva meets David and even though they fought it for awhile (how awkward would a break up be in the Pods??), they end up getting together.  

Everything is going along somewhat smoothly until they are told they are being released.  No one knows yet what is up above but they are told they will be going into "villages" which end up being more like compounds.  David and Eva are separated.  After some time, Eva finds out that there were survivors of the virus.  Some of the survivors are okay but others have a mutated form of the virus that has basically made them into zombies.  Everyone is safe as long as they are in the compounds but of course, that doesn't happen.  

Now outside the compound, but with David again, Eva must fight for her life.  David and Eva are part of a group of "outsiders" that are trying to make it to California.  They are fighting the "zombies" the whole way and lose some friends.  When they find the entrance to the now abandoned Pods, Eva and David show their group and everything goes smoothly until the infected find them again.  Now they must decide whether they stay in the Pods or try to make it to California.  

I liked Eva and David.  They were great characters and very strong but very stubborn.  I liked how Eva chose to fight with the men instead of cower in the circle but I really thought there should have been more of Eva teaching the other girls how to fight not just yelling at them to fight.  There were A LOT of romantic scenes in this book.  Enough that even I wanted to yell at Eva and David to get a room already.  Let me tell you, that must have been some love too because at one point, Eva mentions she hasn't showered in over two weeks, hasn't brushed her teeth in just as long and yet her and David are making out hot and heavy.  All I could think of was morning breath and slimy teeth...yuck!  

I really enjoyed the other characters like Tiffany, George, Jessica and Devlin.  I am hoping to get to hear more about them in the next book.  You know where George is and you know how Tiffany is doing at the end of this book but this book leaves you wondering what happened to the other Pod members and Jessica and Devlin.  

This book will definitely keep you on your toes.  It is filled with action and excitement and you never really know what is going to happen.  There were times when I held my breath right along with Eva while I read through the intense moments.  Make sure you have time to read because once you start this one you will NOT want to put it down until you have finished it!

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Sunday, May 26, 2013

Book Review: Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks

Safe Haven 

Synopsis (from Goodreads):  Love hurts. There is nothing as painful as heartbreak. But in order to learn to love again, you must learn to trust again.

When a mysterious young woman named Katie appears in the small North Carolina town of Southport, her sudden arrival raises questions about her past. Beautiful yet self-effacing, Katie seems determined to avoid forming personal ties until a series of events draws her into two reluctant relationships: one with Alex, a widowed store owner with a kind heart and two young children; and another with her plainspoken single neighbor, Jo. Despite her reservations, Katie slowly begins to let down her guard, putting down roots in the close-knit community and becoming increasingly attached to Alex and his family.

But even as Katie begins to fall in love, she struggles with the dark secret that still haunts and terrifies her . . . a past that set her on a fearful, shattering journey across the country, to the sheltered oasis of Southport. With Jo’s empathic and stubborn support, Katie eventually realizes that she must choose between a life of transient safety and one of riskier rewards . . . and that in the darkest hour, love is the only true safe haven.

My Thoughts:   I had this book sitting on my Nook and finally started reading it after watching the movie.  As usual, don't watch the movie first or if you do, don't expect it to be the same as the book.  I hate how they change even the smallest things (like the color of Katie's hair or the daughter's name).  The book was much better than the movie, of course, but reminded me a lot of Sleeping with the Enemy.  I found that towards the end, I could not put it down.

Katie has started a new life in Southport.  She stays to herself and tries to be as invisible as possible.  In a small town that is not easy to do though.  Katie catches the attention of the store owner where she shops.  Alex is a widower with two children.  He used to be a detective in the military and notices Katie right away. The two get to know each other and eventually fall in love.  There is only one thing that gets in their way though.  Katie is already married.  Oh, and her name really isn't Katie.

Katie comes from an abusive relationship.  She is finally able to run away from her husband and lands in this small town.  She is finally starting to get comfortable and falls into a routine that includes Alex and his two children.  It also includes her neighbor, Jo, who has become the friend that Katie didn't think she'd have.  

Through flashbacks we see how Katie came to where she is now.  We are also introduced to Katie's husband, Kevin, about halfway through the book.  That's when things got really interesting for me.  Kevin's thinking is so crazy that you couldn't help but get caught up in it to find out what he would possibly do next.  

I really liked Katie and thought she was extremely brave.  She did what she had to do to preserve her life until she could get away.  When she did get away, she covered her tracks very well.  She was very smart and determined and I liked that about her.  

I loved Alex because he was a great father!  He tried hard to be a huge part of his kids' lives and they were his top priority.  Even when he was dating Katie, he made sure his children were comfortable with it.  Alex figured out what was going on with Katie before Katie told him but he didn't push her to tell him anything.  

Jo was awesome and seriously, when you find out who Jo really is, you will be shocked (unless, like me, you saw the movie first).  She was a great character who was a true friend to Katie.  She offered the best advice and would just listen when Katie needed to talk.  

Kevin was the ultimate bad guy.  He was so psychotic and his reasoning was so crazy that you can't help but want to read more about him.  It's a little like watching a huge spider or's so creepy and gross but you want to watch because it's fascinating in a creepy way. 

The ending was fast paced and  full of suspense.  There were several things that were surprising to me (that they changed in the movie).  I thought that I would be able to put the book down but I had to stay up late to finish it.  I liked this book because it wasn't strictly romance.  It touched on some hard topics, was a little dark and had some suspense in it.  It does have a happy ending though so you still come away with a "good" feeling.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday


Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  This week's topic is the top ten books dealing with tough subjects.

Here are my top ten "tough" books to read:

Between Shades of Gray
1.  Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys.  This books deals with WWII  but it's not your typical WWII book about Hitler.  It is about Stalin and his abuse of the Lithuanian people.  It was heartbreaking but a must read!

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
2.  The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne.  Another WWII book but this time it is about Hitler.  This book is told through the eyes of a young boy who's father has moved the family.   While exploring, he meets another little boy in "striped pajamas" on the other side of the fence.  What happens next is ironic and heartbreaking.

Pretty Girl-13
3.  Pretty Girl-13 by Liz Coley.  This book was about a girl who was abducted. While reading what happened to the girl and how she dealt with it, I was very disturbed.  It was a very good book but a very difficult one to process.

My Sister's Keeper
4.  My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult.  This book deals with cancer and even worse, it deals with a child who has cancer.  It also deals with a sister who is being used (in my opinion) by her parents to cure her sick sister.  It was just a very sad and emotional book and the end was totally ironic.

Breaking Beautiful
5.  Breaking Beautiful by Jennifer Shaw Wolf.  This book dealt with death and an abusive/jealous relationship.  While that might be enough of a "tough" subject for some, what made this book a tough read for me was the main character and her self blame and weakness.  I didn't care for the book because of the main character and her pathetic demeanor.  

The Kite Runner
6.  The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini.  The relationship between Amir and Hassan is amazing.  It also takes place during a time of unrest in Afghanistan.  An extremely emotional read about friendship and betrayal.

7.  The Murder's Daughters by Randy Susan Meyers.  This book deals with domestic violence, murder, guilt and forgiveness.  It definitely worth reading despite the difficult topics.

Salem Falls
8.  Salem Falls by Jodi Picoult.  This is a book about false accusations.  It amazes me at how some people do not understand the consequences of their actions or their words.  A false accusation will follow someone even after proven untrue.  When someone accuses someone of something just to "get even", it really bothers me.  That's what you've got in this book.

 Night  (The Night Trilogy, #1)
9.  Night by Elie Weisel.  This is another heartbreaking book about WWII.  I had to read this in high school along with The Diary of Anne Frank.  This one affected me SO much more than Anne Frank did.  It was so amazing.  This is a book my kids will definitely be made to read!

Something Like Normal
10.  Something Like Normal by Trish Doller.  This book was about PTSD.  Travis comes home from war where his friend was killed.  It is so emotional!  I read this book in one was that good!

These are my top ten tough reads.  What are yours?

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Book Review: Parallel by Lauren Miller

**Thank you to HarperCollins for a review copy**

Synopsis (from Goodreads):
Abby Barnes had a plan. The Plan. She'd go to Northwestern, major in journalism, and land a job at a national newspaper, all before she turned twenty-two. But one tiny choice—taking a drama class her senior year of high school—changed all that. Now, on the eve of her eighteenth birthday, Abby is stuck on a Hollywood movie set, miles from where she wants to be, wishing she could rewind her life. The next morning, she's in a dorm room at Yale, with no memory of how she got there. Overnight, it's as if her past has been rewritten.

With the help of Caitlin, her science-savvy BFF, Abby discovers that this new reality is the result of a cosmic collision of parallel universes that has Abby living an alternate version of her life. And not only that: Abby's life changes every time her parallel self makes a new choice. Meanwhile, her parallel is living out Abby's senior year of high school and falling for someone Abby's never even met.

As she struggles to navigate her ever-shifting existence, forced to live out the consequences of a path she didn't choose, Abby must let go of the Plan and learn to focus on the present, without losing sight of who she is, the boy who might just be her soul mate, and the destiny that's finally within reach.

My Thoughts:  While this book had me completely confused at points, I thought it was very entertaining and definitely interesting.  It kept me on my toes and even though I had to reread certain parts just to try to understand it, I finished it quickly.

Abby is living a life that most almost 18 year old girls would love to live!  She is in Hollywood filming a movie with one of the hottest actors.  However, for Abby, it wasn't how she had her life planned and she was miserable.  She had had her whole senior year of high school planned out so that she could get into the college she wanted to go too and pursue the career she wanted. When the teacher of her music class decided not to teach it after all, she was thrown into Drama which led to her being completely out of control of her life.  

The night before her 18th birthday, she goes out with her fellow actors to party.  When she wakes up the next morning, she is at Yale.  Abby has no recollection how she got there or who her roommate is.  Luckily, her best friend, Caitlin is there to help. With the help of Caitlin and Dr. Mann, Abby figures out she is living an alternate life.  

I could really relate to Abby because like her, I am a Type-A, control freak personality.  When things don't go my way, I tend to have serious freak outs.  I have to have things planned down to the very smallest detail.  I totally felt Abby's pain when her plans for senior year got screwed up.  I can see how she could get annoying to some people though with her constant need to be in control but I got it.  

Caitlin was an awesome character!  She looked like a super-model (in fact, her mother is one) but she is a nerdy scientist underneath all those good looks.  She is so smart and doesn't care that she is beautiful.  She cares about getting into Yale and spending time in the lab.  She also isn't perfect.  She has dyslexia which causes her to have some low self-esteem.  I just liked how she was gorgeous but wasn't your typical popular, beautiful girl.  She was popular and beautiful but she had learning problems and liked science.  

A couple things I didn't like...the book was very jumpy.  You jumped between Abby's current life and then a year ago, where Abby was living her parallel life.  Some of it got a little confusing.  I also had no clue what Dr. Mann and Caitlin were talking about when they discussed the parallel universe.  I reread it several times and still didn't really get it.  I am not sure that I liked the twist at the end either.  It was a huge twist and I didn't see it coming at all but I am just not sure how I felt about it.  

I really enjoyed the concept of this book.  I liked how every day Abby experienced something new because of some choice her parallel made the year before.  Abby never knew what was going to happen and had to learn to just go with the flow.  This book really makes you think about how every decision you make could totally change the course of your life.  

This book was interesting and I didn't want to put it down.  Even though it was a little confusing at times, it held me attention through the whole book.  

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Spring Fling Giveaway Hop Winner Announced!

It's time to announce the winner for the Spring Fling Giveaway Hop!  A big congratulations goes out to.....

Tabitha S.!

The winner has been emailed and has 3 days to email me back with an address or I will pick a new winner.  

Thank you to all who entered and all my new followers!  I now have over 1,000 followers!  So....stay tuned for another giveaway coming up in the next couple of days to celebrate that!


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Teaser Tuesday: Parallel by Lauren Miller

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!

This week my teaser comes from Parallel by Lauren Miller.  


"When you make sense of the chaos, the chaos disappears.  Or maybe, what looked at first like chaos never was." 
~page 205 of Parallel by Lauren Miller.

*quote taken from an ARC and subject to change*

Monday, May 6, 2013

Book Review: Insomnia by J. R. Johansson

**I received this book from NetGalley for an honest review**
Synopsis (from Goodreads):  It’s been four years since I slept, and I suspect it is killing me.

Instead of sleeping, Parker Chipp enters the dream of the last person he’s had eye contact with. He spends his nights crushed by other people’s fear and pain, by their disturbing secrets—and Parker can never have dreams of his own. The severe exhaustion is crippling him. If nothing changes, Parker could soon be facing psychosis and even death.

Then he meets Mia. Her dreams, calm and beautifully uncomplicated, allow him blissful rest that is utterly addictive. Parker starts going to bizarre lengths to catch Mia’s eye every day. Everyone at school thinks he’s gone over the edge, even his best friend. And when Mia is threatened by a true stalker, everyone thinks it’s Parker.

Suffering blackouts, Parker begins to wonder if he is turning into someone dangerous. What if the monster stalking Mia is him after all?
My Thoughts:  Imagine going to sleep but not really sleeping.  This is how Parker has lived his life for the last 4 years.  His body sleeps but his mind ends up in other people's dreams and does not get the rest it needs.  After four years of this, Parker is getting worried about how much longer this can go on before he dies.  His mom thinks he is on drugs and his doctor's only solution (to a problem he doesn't really know about) is to give Parker sleeping pills.  Nothing works and Parker has come to the realization that he may die before he even graduates.  Everything seems hopeless until he meets Mia. 
Parker doesn't just see into anyone's's the last person he has made eye contact with.  After almost causing an accident, Parker looks into Mia's eyes at the end of the day.  Not only is Mia beautiful and fiesty, she has the calmest dreams that Parker has ever been in.  They are so calm that Parker can actually fall asleep in her dreams.  After one night of actual sleep, Parker is addicted.  He goes out of his way to find Mia and make sure she is the last person he makes eye contact with at the end of the day.
Of course, this gets a little creepy.  Parker is stalking Mia and becoming a true addict.  He is not himself and will do anything to make sure that Mia is the only person he makes eye contact with at the end of the day.  He skips soccer, alienates his best friend and his best friend's sister and worries his mother to no end.  He also starts to freak Mia out.  She wants nothing to do with Parker and is terrified when he comes anywhere near her.  
Parker knows he is acting crazy but he can't help it.  Until Mia's dreams start to change.  No more is the calm dream where Parker can sleep.  Now it is a terrifying nightmare where the star bad guy is Parker.  He realizes then that he needs to leave Mia alone but finds out that Mia really is being stalked by someone else...maybe.  Parker can't tell if the mysterious stalker is really a mysterious stalker or if it is him.  He has to find out before someone gets hurt.
I liked Parker and felt sorry for him and his lack of sleep but sometimes he annoyed the heck out of me!  His mom was being a typical mom and would ask him if he was doing drugs and search his room.  You have to remember that Parker hasn't slept in 4 years.  He doesn't look so great and then after he meets Mia, he stops playing soccer and becomes a different person altogether.  What else is his poor mom going to think?  But he was just horrible to her.  I got tired of his "poor me" party and just wanted to smack him at times and say "tell someone"!  I understand why he was hesitant to tell anyone (who would believe it?) but guess what?  He can prove it!  All he had to do was watch the person's dreams and he could describe them to the person so I don't understand why he didn't do that with the doctor.  Why did he not try hypnosis himself?  His neediness for Mia is also understandable but at the same time completely annoying and creepy.
I liked Mia except for at the end during the climax.  I have a phobia of needles and yet I still get my shots and get blood drawn when I need too (heck, I had an amnio and 3 about some big needles!) but Mia was completely pathetic when faced with fire.  I was annoyed at her lack of fighting back.  Other than that though, I thought she was a great character.
Finn and Addie were the best characters in this book!  Finn is so funny and sarcastic.  I loved him and his loyalty to Parker even when Parker was a complete jerk to him.  Addie was sweet and of course, you can see the romance between her and Parker coming from a mile away.  It was sweet though and I really like her and Parker together. 
This book was very addictive and very hard to put down.  There are so many questions and you end up questioning whether Parker is the good guy or not.  The ending was a little disappointing but it led into the next book well.  It was definitely a different book for me and I enjoyed it!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Book Review: Last Sacrifice by Richelle Mead

Synopsis (from Goodreads):  They come first.

My vision was growing dimmer, the blackness and ghosts closing in. I swore it was like I could hear Robert whispering in my ear: The world of the dead won't give you up a second time. Just before the light completely vanished, I saw Dimitri's face join Lissa's. I wanted to smile. I decided then that if the two people I loved most were safe, I could leave this world.

The dead could finally have me.

Rose Hathaway has always played by her own rules. She broke the law when she ran away from St. Vladimir's Academy with her best friend and last surviving Dragomir princess, Lissa. She broke the law when she fell in love with her gorgeous, off-limits instructor, Dimitri. And she dared to defy Queen Tatiana, leader of the Moroi world, risking her life and reputation to protect generations of dhampir guardians to come.

Now the law has finally caught up with Rose - for a crime she didn't even commit. She's in prison for the highest offense imaginable: the assassination of a monarch. She'll need help from both Dimitri and Adrian to find the one living person who can stall her execution and force the Moroi elite to acknowledge a shocking new candidate for the royal throne: Vasilisa Dragomir.

But the clock on Rose's life is running out. Rose knows in her heart the world of the dead wants her back...and this time she is truly out of second chances. The big question is, when your whole life is about saving others, who will save you?

Join Rose, Dimitri, Adrian, and Lissa in Last Sacrifice, the epic, unforgettable finale to Richelle Mead's international #1 bestselling Vampire Academy series.

My Thoughts:  I have loved this series since I started it.  It was one of those series where I could relate to the characters and could really immerse myself in their world.  So, when this book became available for preorder, I ordered it and anxiously waited for it to be delivered to my Nook.  And it was delivered....and there it sat for TWO LONG YEARS!  Yep, it was one of those books.  I had to have it but then couldn't find the time to read it.  

I finally started it in February of this year.  I think it is pretty obvious it doesn't usually take me long to read books.  And this was one of those really good books.  I think I dragged it out because it was the end.  I hate endings!  Anyways, I finished it and I loved it!

Rose has been arrested for the murder of Queen Tatiana.  Dimitri, who has just been restored from being Strigoi, still isn't quite trusted by anyone and he has pushed Rose away because he doesn't feel worthy of her love.  When Dimitri and a couple other guardians show up during Queen Tatiana's funeral and break Rose out of prison, she is shocked and confused.  With the help of Rose's father, Abe, and Adrian and Lissa, Dimitri is able to get Rose out of Court and from there we head out on a quest to find out who really killed Tatiana and who Lissa's illegitimate sibling is.  

This book was full of twists and turns and filled with mystery and excitement.  There are lots of characters from the first few books that resurface (Sonya Karp, Mikhail, etc) and I enjoyed catching up on them. I think Sydney is one of my favorite characters from the last book so I was glad to see her again in this book. I loved how involved she was and am very happy Mead is writing a spin-off (of which I have already read book 1) with Sydney.   I enjoyed how Lissa proved that she could get along with Rose and I loved the little twist at the ending regarding their bond.  

Dimitri and Adrian and Rose...the ultimate love triangle!  I was very happy with how it ended.  I felt bad for the guy that was left behind but I was happy with who Rose ended up with.   

This is an amazing series!  I am glad I finally finished it but also sad that it is over.  If you haven't read the series, I strongly suggest you go get them and enjoy them!  I have no doubt that you WILL enjoy them!


Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Spring Fling Giveaway Hop

This hop is hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer & Eve’s Fan Garden.  It is open from May 1 to May 7. 

I am giving away an ARC copy of September Girls by Bennett Madison.

Synopsis:  When Sam's dad whisks him and his brother off to a remote beach town for the summer, he's all for it-- at first. Sam soon realizes, though, that this place is anything but ordinary. Time seems to slow down around here, and everywhere he looks, there are beautiful blond girls. Girls who seem inexplicably drawn to him.

Then Sam meets DeeDee, one of the Girls, and she's different from the others. Just as he starts to fall for her, she pulls away, leaving him more confused than ever. He knows that if he's going to get her back, he'll have to uncover the secret of this beach and the girls who live here.

So, all you have to do is fill out the Rafflecopter below!  Giveaway is US only.  Winner will be notified by email and will have 3 days to respond before I pick another winner.   Don't forget to check out all the other great giveaways!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Book Review: All I Need by Susane Colasanti

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

Summary (from Goodreads):  The last night of summer is only the beginning.

Skye wants to meet the boy who will change her life forever. Seth feels their instant connection the second he sees her. When Seth starts talking to Skye at the last beach party of the summer, it’s obvious to both of them that this is something real. But when Seth leaves for college before they exchange contact info, Skye wonders if he felt the same way she did—and if she will ever see him again. Even if they find their way back to each other, can they make a long-distance relationship work despite trust issues, ex drama, and some serious background differences?

Teen favorite Susane Colasanti returns to the alternating-voice style of her beloved debut When It Happens in this Serendipity-inspired story about summer, soul mates, and the moments that change our lives forever.
My Thoughts: I'm going to be completely honest right away....I read 2/3 of this book and then I just skimmed the last part.  By skim, I mean I glanced through to see what happened but that's it.  I could not get into this one at all.
Skye spends the summers at her beach house.  Every year, there is a party on the beach and every year, Skye hopes to find "the one".  Now, I remember being a teen and going to a party hoping that there was some cute boy there that I could flirt with.  However, I never expected to find "THE ONE" because I was so young.  
Well, lucky for Skye, this summer she meets Seth and there is an instant connection.  It was love at first sight and all that stuff that most of us scoff at.  They spend the next couple days together but don't exchange any information like their last names, addresses, where they are even from, etc.  This struck me as kinda funny.  I mean, even in high school, I would introduce myself with my full name.  Getting to know someone usually includes finding out where they are from.  Skye and Seth spent a whole evening and day together and never even talked about where they were from?  
The last day, Seth and Skye are suppose to meet up and exchange all that information but Seth never shows.  So Skye goes back to high school (her junior year) and Seth starts college.  But neither of them can forget the other.
I had a hard time dealing with Skye during her junior year.  She compared every other guy to Seth and seriously couldn't move past him.  He was her soulmate and the only one for her.  It got really annoying and I felt she was very childish.  She certainly did not strike me as a junior in high school.
Seth was a little better and I liked reading about his first year in college.  I remember all those wonderful things you must deal with...the loud music through the walls, the skanky roommate (or in this case, the guy next door's roommate) who had sex while you were still in the room, the hard choices of having to decide your major, etc.  I related to Seth a whole lot more than I did Skye.  
The next summer (this book spans 3 years), Skye and Seth meet back up at the beach and are still madly in love with each other.  This time they exchange all the important information and make it official.  After summer, Seth visits Skye....and that is as far as I got.  During my "skimming", I did see that there was one (and only one) conflict/fight that the two of them had but other than that, it was all too fake for me.  
I would have a hard time recommending this book because 1.  I didn't enjoy it at all and 2.  I am not sure what age group it should be for.  It is way too childish for anyone older than 15 (in my opinion) but deals with more mature matters (such as sex, etc.) that is too old for anyone younger than 15 to read.  I guess if you like "fluffy" books that have a happy ending, you will probably like this one.  It just was not for me though.