Jessica's books

The One and Only Ivan
Revolutionary War on Wednesday
Leprechaun in Late Winter
Ella Enchanted
The Courage of Sarah Noble
Plain Murder
Gone-Away Lake
Circling the Sun
Maggie and Max
The Haunting of Sunshine Girl
The Night Sister
Tuck Everlasting
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Bedknob and Broomstick
Mister Monday
Alice Through the Looking Glass
The Birchbark House
The Hobbit
The Witch's Daughter

Jessica's favorite books »

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Book Review: Nantucket Blue by Leila Howland

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

Synopsis (from Goodreads):  For Cricket Thompson, a summer like this one will change everything. A summer spent on Nantucket with her best friend, Jules Clayton, and the indomitable Clayton family. A summer when she’ll make the almost unattainable Jay Logan hers. A summer to surpass all dreams.

Some of this turns out to be true. Some of it doesn’t.

When Jules and her family suffer a devastating tragedy that forces the girls apart, Jules becomes a stranger whom Cricket wonders whether she ever really knew. And instead of lying on the beach working on her caramel-colored tan, Cricket is making beds and cleaning bathrooms to support herself in paradise for the summer.

But it’s the things Cricket hadn’t counted on--most of all, falling hard for someone who should be completely off-limits--that turn her dreams into an exhilarating, bittersweet reality.

A beautiful future is within her grasp, and Cricket must find the grace to embrace it. If she does, her life could be the perfect shade of Nantucket blue.
My Thoughts:  Cricket is excited to be invited to spend the summer with her best friend in Nantucket.  Cricket's own parents have divorced and her father is remarried with an adopted son.  Cricket's mom is just depressed so it is no wonder that Cricket spends all her time at her best friend's house.  
Jules is Cricket's best friend and is also excited for Cricket to come to Nantucket with them until the unthinkable happens.  Suddenly, Jules is distant and tells Cricket she is no longer invited to Nantucket.  In fact, Jules is just downright mean!  Now, with what happened, you want to understand where Jules is coming from but seriously, the girl is just cruel!
Cricket is determined to get away from her family for the summer however and since the guy she has been crushing on is going to Nantucket, Cricket is determined to find her way there.  Plus, despite the fact that Jules is being a witch, Cricket really wants to be there for her.  She finds a job on the island and stays and even when Jules makes it clear that she wants Cricket nowhere around her, Cricket stays and makes new friends...even a new crush.  

I really liked Cricket even though sometimes I thought she should just let go of Jules.  She really wanted to help Jules through this incredibly difficult time and be there for her but Jules really made it clear that she wanted nothing to do with Cricket.  Cricket wasn't desperate or needy but she was definitely waiting for Jules to come around.  I did like how determined she was to find a job though and how she really just made it all work out for herself.  

Liz was an awesome character!  Liz worked with Cricket at the inn and they became friends quickly.  Liz is a little crude and pushy but I loved her loud character.  I also really liked Gavin and George.  They really helped Cricket grow.  Without them, Cricket wouldn't have been able to stay on the island.  

Jules was just downright nasty.  Now, I understand that what Jules was going through wasn't easy so don't get me wrong.  However, in my real life, I had a VERY similar situation happen.  When my "friend" became very rude and nasty, despite all my attempts at being there for her, I finally had to let the friendship go.  Cricket was definitely a better friend that I was or would be as she continued to stick by Jules, even from a distance. Jules was very caught up in herself and really, she was not a good friend at all.

The romance was surprising and very good.  I loved that it was "forbidden" in a sense but I also really liked that Cricket didn't let that stop her from doing what she wanted and being with who she wanted.  The guy was sweet and I think it was obvious in retrospect but caught me off guard at the same time.  

I loved reading about Nantucket in the summer (I have never been there) and also getting to learn more about Cricket's mother through her hilarious diary!  There is some mature content in this book so I would recommend it to older teens but it was very enjoyable read!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Book Review: Born of Illusion by Teri Brown

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

Synopsis (from Goodreads):  Anna Van Housen is thirteen the first time she breaks her mother out of jail. By sixteen she’s street smart and savvy, assisting her mother, the renowned medium Marguerite Van Housen, in her stage show and séances, and easily navigating the underground world of magicians, mediums and mentalists in 1920’s New York City. Handcuffs and sleight of hand illusions have never been much of a challenge for Anna. The real trick is keeping her true gifts secret from her opportunistic mother, who will stop at nothing to gain her ambition of becoming the most famous medium who ever lived. But when a strange, serious young man moves into the flat downstairs, introducing her to a secret society that studies people with gifts like hers, he threatens to reveal the secrets Anna has fought so hard to keep, forcing her to face the truth about her past. Could the stories her mother has told her really be true? Could she really be the illegitimate daughter of the greatest magician of all?
My Thoughts:  I loved that this book took place in the 1920's (my favorite era) and that Harry Houdini was a character!  So much fun!  
Anna is an amazing magician.  She should be..she is supposedly Harry Houdini's illegitimate daughter.  She also has visions and can sense people's feelings though.  She can't let her mother know her other secrets though or her mother will just use Anna.

Anna hates that she has to do seances with her mother.  She is miserable when she feels those people's misery and worst of all, their hope.  She knows that it is just a sham.  At least, it was just a sham until Cole showed up.  Suddenly Anna can see the dead, feels emotions without touching the person and her visions are getting stronger.  But Anna doesn't know who Cole really is or what he knows about her.  She must try to figure that out while also trying to find out who is after her and keep Houdini from exposing her mother.  

Anna is a great character.  She is strong and independent.  She gets tired of her mother always wanting to be in the spotlight and finally shows her mom up.  The only thing that annoyed me a little is after she did, she felt so bad that she hurt her mom.  Her mom spared no thoughts to Anna's feelings every time she hurt Anna.  I know...two wrongs don't make a right but still...I kinda felt like Anna's mom deserved what she got.  

I liked Cole.  He was mysterious and protective.  I like that Cole lives with Mr. Darby and therefore, Anna becomes friends with Mr. Darby.  Mr. Darby is old and acts all grumpy but he's really a big old teddy bear.  He was one of my favorite characters by far!  I also liked Houdini and Anna's interactions with him.  Unless I missed something, you never really do find out if Houdini is really Anna's father but I like that it was left that way.  

I figured out the end pretty quickly.  There was only one person I didn't put as the "bad" person and that is because there is really no mention of said person until the end.  But the others I got pretty quickly.  It was still a good story with an exciting ending though.  

This was a fun book with magic, ghosts and mystery.  It was a little predictable but I enjoyed it.  

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday: Insomnia by J.R. Johansson

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine.  It's a quick sneak peak at the books we are looking forward to.  

I'm looking forward to Insomnia by J.R. Johansson.  Publication date:  June 8, 2013.

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?

So, what book are you waiting for this week? 

Cover Reveal: Frigid by Jennifer L. Armentrout writing as J. Lynn

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.

Frigid will be available in digital formats on July 30th 2013

Print release of Frigid will be November 5th 2012

Click Here to add to Goodreads

J. Lynn, also known as Jennifer L. Armentrout, is a # 1 New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author. She lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing. she spends her time reading, working out, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, and hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russel Loki.

Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent most of her time writing short stories….which explains her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She is published with Spencer Hill Press, Entangled Teen and Brazen, Disney/Hyperion and Harlequin Teen.

She also writes adult and New Adult romance under the name J. Lynn. She is published by Entangled Brazen and HarperCollins.



Thursday, March 14, 2013

Book Review: Imposter by Jill Hathaway

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

Synopsis (from Goodreads):  What if a killer took control of you?

Vee Bell’s gift (or curse) of “sliding”—slipping into the mind of another person and experiencing life, briefly, through his or her eyes—has been somewhat under control since she unwillingly witnessed the horrific deaths of her classmates six months ago.

But just as things are getting back to normal, Vee has a very bizarre experience: she loses consciousness and finds herself in a deserted area, at the edge of a cliff, with the broken body of the boy who took advantage of her on the rocks below.

As Vee finds herself in stranger and stranger situations with no memory of getting there, she begins to suspect that someone she knows has the ability to slide—and that this “slider” is using Vee to exact revenge on his or her enemies.
My Thoughts:  
 I liked this book and thought it was pretty fast paced and it definitely kept me guessing but it probably won't be on my Top Ten of 2013.  
Vee can "slide" into other people's minds.  As far as she knows, she is the only person who can do this.  Until one day, she has a strange experience and she discovers that someone may be sliding into her mind.  
After seeing her former best friend, Samantha, hurt by the same boy her assaulted her the year before, Vee comes up with a plan.  However, it is a plan that goes horribly wrong and when someone slides into Vee's mind at the wrong moment, she is left wondering what really happened that night and just exactly what she is responsible for.  
To give Vee even more to worry about, she has finally decided that she does want to move forward with her friend, Rollins.  She just isn't sure if he feels the same way after he gets a job at the local radio station and ends up working with a very pretty girl from school who shares a lot of his interests.  When Vee's aunt shows up after running away years ago, Vee's world is just turned upside down.  She must figure out who is sliding into her mind, what exactly happened that night with Scotch, what her aunt really wants and for that matter, who her aunt really is and if Rollins is really in love with her like he said at the end of Slide or if he is more interested in Anna.
I like Vee but I did get annoyed with her over the whole Scotch thing.  I can't say a whole lot since I don't want to give anything away but the running away and then thinking she must call the cops and then being dumb enough to do it from the school just annoyed me.  I also thought she acted a bit childish with her aunt.  Not that I would have totally accepted her aunt with open arms either but she seemed to be a little over the top about it.  
Rollins is still awesome but a little dense in this book.  He claims he loves Vee and yet he brings Anna to their "date" and talks to Anna all the time and let's Anna hang on him.  Of course Vee is going to be jealous.  She is just starting this relationship and there is this pretty, curvy girl who is obviously crushing on Rollins and he doesn't seem to notice at all.  I would have been very irritated if I were Vee.
I liked that Vee and Samantha mended their broken friendship.  Even when things got tough, they stood beside each other.  I feel sorry for Samantha because her parents never seem to be around.  She seemed a little insecure to me, especially after the bonfire night.
I didn't really get the role Diane played in the whole story.  It added a little to the mystery and possibly could have thrown in another suspect (although I never suspected her at all).  She just didn't fit to me, even at the end when it was explained who she was.  It seemed like she was an unnecessary  character.
This book was a pretty fast and easy read.  It will keep you guessing until the end and you will be surprised at the end of the book. 

Monday, March 11, 2013

Book Review: The Rules for Disappearing by Ashley Elston

 **I received this book from NetGalley for an honest review**

Synopsis (from Goodreads):
She’s been six different people in six different places: Madeline in Ohio, Isabelle in Missouri, Olivia in Kentucky . . . But now that she’s been transplanted to rural Louisiana, she has decided that this fake identity will be her last.

Witness Protection has taken nearly everything from her. But for now, they’ve given her a new name, Megan Rose Jones, and a horrible hair color. For the past eight months, Meg has begged her father to answer one question: What on earth did he do – or see – that landed them in this god-awful mess? Meg has just about had it with all the Suits’ rules — and her dad’s silence. If he won’t help, it’s time she got some answers for herself.

But Meg isn’t counting on Ethan Landry, an adorable Louisiana farm boy who’s too smart for his own good. He knows Meg is hiding something big. And it just might get both of them killed. As they embark on a perilous journey to free her family once and for all, Meg discovers that there’s only one rule that really matters — survival.

My Thoughts:  Imagine living in 6 different places in less than a year.  Imagine having 6 different identities in less than a year.  That is what Meg Jones has had to deal with.  The worse part of it is that Meg doesn't even know why her family has been put in the Witness Protection Program.  She assumes that it is something that her father has done and has vowed to found out what he did.  

Meg has 4 rules as she starts her new school.  She will not make friends, she will not join any clubs, she will not have any boyfriends and she will spend her time figuring out why she is in the position she is in.  Her plan goes out the window on her first day at school when she meets Ethan Landry.  Ethan is sweet, funny and very persistent.   He won't leave Meg alone and Meg cannot find it in her to push him away.  

Meg finds herself enjoying the small Louisiana town that her family has been placed in and actually feeling like she belongs.  She gets a job at a pizza place and even starts to make friends.  Even Meg's sister, Mary, starts to open back up.  Mary is eleven and had shut almost completely down by this move.  Thanks to Ethan and Pearl (the owner of the pizza place that Meg works), Mary opens up and starts to become her old self.  The only things that are putting a damper on things are Meg's mother's alcoholism and her constant wondering what happens.  

There are several creepy moments in this book that I really enjoyed and that left me wondering what was going on.  Some of the moments (like the laundry room scene) seem to really have no reason to happen but were still creepy.  The only thing that really bugged me was that Meg is only 17 and Ethan is 18.  For some reason, Meg thought that, once she knew what placed them in the Witness Protection Program, she could outsmart the FBI/US Marshalls.  It irritates me when the main character is so young and yet so incredibly stupid.  She has no gun, no training in how to stay safe, no real plan and yet she takes off and tries to fix the problem with no help from the professionals.  The fact that she didn't get herself killed surprised the heck out of me (although that wouldn't have made for a great ending).  I also guessed the "bad" guy right away.  It didn't really make the story any slower once I knew but it definitely wasn't unpredictable. 

Despite my few problems with the book, it was a such a good read that I finished it in one day.  It was fast paced and definitely kept your interest.  It had enough mystery and romance to keep you happy and there were those creepy moments as well.  The cliffhanger at the end will leave you wondering what in the world is going to happen next!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Book Review: The Nightmare Affair by Mindee Arnett

**I received this book from NetGalley for an honest review**

Synopsis (from Goodreads): 
Sixteen-year-old Dusty Everhart breaks into houses late at night, but not because she’s a criminal. No, she’s a Nightmare.


Being the only Nightmare at Arkwell Academy, a boarding school for magickind, and living in the shadow of her mother’s infamy, is hard enough. But when Dusty sneaks into Eli Booker’s house, things get a whole lot more complicated. He’s hot, which means sitting on his chest and invading his dreams couldn’t get much more embarrassing. But it does. Eli is dreaming of a murder.

Then Eli’s dream comes true.

Now Dusty has to follow the clues—both within Eli’s dreams and out of them—to stop the killer before more people turn up dead. And before the killer learns what she’s up to and marks her as the next target.

My Thoughts:  Dusty is a nightmare who feeds on fictus, the stuff dreams are made of.  She has a set schedule on when to feed so she doesn't get too strong in her magic.  One night, she finds herself in the bedroom of Eli, a hot boy from her previous school.  As she feeds on his dream, she realizes that this dream is different from others.  It's more vivid, more real and dealing with murder of someone she knows who is another magickind.  When Eli kicks Dusty out of his dream, not only is she mortified but she finds herself being picked up by the magickind police (who happen to be werewolves) and taken to the exact scene of the dream.  That's when Dusty finds out that she is a dream seer.  What's worse is that Eli is her partner and even though he isn't magickind, he has to transfer to Arkwell Academy, a school for magic.

Dusty is a very likeable character.  She is funny and gets herself into all sorts of trouble.  She also has to deal with her mother's reputation as a rule breaker.  Her mom left her (human) father and Dusty when Dusty was young and visits only occasionally.  Dusty is not happy to find that her mother has showed up at the school to forbid Dusty to have any part in this investigation.  

Eli is your typical popular, hot guy that everyone swoons over.  At first, he isn't impressed with Dusty or her dream seeing skills.  He really wants no part of it but as they continue to help in the investigation, Eli warms up to Dusty and becomes sweet and protective.  He and Dusty have a chemistry but since they are both dating other people, they don't ever officially date.

I thought this book moved at a pretty fast pace and really had fun reading it.  I did, however, figure out who the "bad" guy(s) are/were before the end.  In fact, as soon as one particular character was introduced, I knew that he/she had to play a major part in the mystery.  It wasn't shocking when I found out I was right and I am sure that you will figure it out as well.  The other person involved in the mystery was a little more unpredictable for me.  

I loved the fact that this story was about a nightmare, something I had never read about.  It was a fun and fast paced story that kept me entertained throughout.  

Friday, March 1, 2013

Book Review: Apollyon (Covenant #4) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

**I received this book from the publisher for an honest review**

Synopsis (from Goodreads):  Fate isn’t something to mess with… and now, neither is Alex.

Alex has always feared two things: losing herself in the Awakening and being placed on the Elixir. But love has always been stronger than Fate, and Aiden St. Delphi is willing to make war on the gods—and Alex herself—to bring her back.

The gods have killed thousands and could destroy entire cities in their quest to stop Seth from taking Alex’s power and becoming the all-powerful God Killer. But breaking Alex’s connection to Seth isn’t the only problem. There are a few pesky little loopholes in the whole “an Apollyon can’t be killed” theory, and the only person who might know how to stop the destruction has been dead for centuries.

Finding their way past the barriers that guard the Underworld, searching for one soul among countless millions, and then somehow returning will be hard enough. Alex might be able to keep Seth from becoming the God Killer… or she might become the God Killer herself

My Thoughts:  Every time I have finished a Covenant book,  I think that the next book can't possibly get better.  Yet every time a new one comes out, it is indeed better than the last.  Apollyon is no exception to that rule.  Jennifer Armentrout has done it again!

If you haven't read the first three, this review WILL contain spoilers of all three of them.  Please, go get the first three books and devour them (as I ddid) and then come back to read the review!

At the end of Diety, Alex had awakened.  She was hidden away with her uncle, Marcus, her lover, Aiden and friends, Solos, Lea, Olivia, Deacon and Luke.  They were all trying to make sure that she stayed as far away from Seth as she could be.

At the beginning of this book, Alex has indeed awakened and Seth is constantly in her head.  She has been locked in a room that has been reinforced by Hephaestus.  She is horribly mean, especially to Aiden, who refuses to leave her for long.  

When Alex finally breaks the bond from Seth, she has to figure out how to stop Seth from finding her and draining her of her power.  Seth is still under the influence of Lucian but we find out that a God is helping them.  After a quick jaunt to the Underworld, Alex has her she just has to figure out how to get close enough to Seth without him draining her.  

Things take a turn for the worse when the group decides to travel to one of the Covenants that is suppose to be safe.  Lives are lost, relationships tested and heartbreak is inevitable.  

I love Alex!  She totally kicks butt...unless she is under Seth's influence.  Oh my, for the first few chapters I was sickened by her.  She continued to refer to Seth as "my Seth" and wouldn't listen to reason at all.  Of course, with Seth's voice constantly in her head, can you blame her?  I was so glad when she was finally rid of him.  

I love how Alex's relationship with Marcus is becoming stronger.  I hated Marcus in the first two books but actually really liked him in this book.  Of course, I also love Aiden, Olivia, Deacon, Luke and even Lea.  While Lea and Alex still aren't besties, they work well together.

The ending blew me away!  Seriously!  I can't believe Jennifer would leave us like that...all the questions left and no ARCs of the last book in the series being sent out.  It is going to be a VERY long time until December!

I received this book and read it in 2 days.  I postponed my kids' school (they loved that) and stayed up late to read.  It is THAT amazing!  This series is amazing and I honestly think each book gets better than the last!