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 »

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.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Book Review: The Beginning of Everything by Robin Schneider

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

Synopsis (from Goodreads):  Golden boy Ezra Faulkner believes everyone has a tragedy waiting for them—a single encounter after which everything that really matters will happen. His particular tragedy waited until he was primed to lose it all: in one spectacular night, a reckless driver shatters Ezra’s knee, his athletic career, and his social life.

No longer a front-runner for Homecoming King, Ezra finds himself at the table of misfits, where he encounters new girl Cassidy Thorpe. Cassidy is unlike anyone Ezra’s ever met, achingly effortless, fiercely intelligent, and determined to bring Ezra along on her endless adventures.

But as Ezra dives into his new studies, new friendships, and new love, he learns that some people, like books, are easy to misread. And now he must consider: if one’s singular tragedy has already hit and everything after it has mattered quite a bit, what happens when more misfortune strikes?

Robyn Schneider’s The Beginning of Everything is a lyrical, witty, and heart-wrenching novel about how difficult it is to play the part that people expect, and how new beginnings can stem from abrupt and tragic endings.
My Thoughts:  First off, let me say that this book has been renamed and will be published as The Beginning of Everything.  This, in my opinion, is SO unfortunate!  The original title so funny and fit the book perfectly!
Anyways, I really enjoyed this book and was surprised by how much I actually liked it.  Ezra was the typical popular jock during his junior year of high school.  He was a tennis star, dating a beautiful and popular girl and went to all the great parties.  He had everything going for him until one fateful night when an accident changed his life forever.  

Ezra starts out his senior year alone after shutting out all his old friends.  He is unsure where he will fit in now that he can't play tennis anymore.  When his old friend, Toby, takes Ezra under his wing, Ezra finds out how fake his old life was.  Ezra meets a new girl, joins the debate team and becomes friends with the "nerd" group.  With the help of Cassidy, Toby and the rest of the group, Ezra finally figures out who he really is and what he wants out of life.  

I loved Ezra and Cassidy's relationship.  There was no insta-love which I was grateful for.  They were friends first and I loved their friendly (and sometimes not so friendly) banter towards each other.  The mystery behind Cassidy was sad and explained a lot.  I was sad at the end with what happens with Cassidy but you know what?  It was real and I appreciate that.  I get tired of always having happy endings because that just isn't life.

Toby was awesome!  He was quirky and had his own style and I love that he just plain didn't care what others thought of him.  He had a very traumatic thing happen to him when he was younger that he constantly got teased about but he didn't feel sorry for himself.  I also loved how he didn't hold a grudge against Ezra.  He just carried on like nothing had ever happened.  

I thought this book was funny, sad, and romantic all at once.  It showed how great friends never really lose that friendship, even if they grow apart.  I really enjoyed it and found this book hard to put down. It was very engaging and a realistic read. I only wish the original title would have been kept.

Teaser Tuesday: Severed Heads, Broken Hearts by Robyn Schneider

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!

"How many beers do ya'll think it takes before one internationally respected scientist turns to another and says, 'Dude, bet you twenty bucks I can levitate a frog with a magnet?'" Sam drawled.

 ~Page 81 of Severed Heads, Broken Hearts by Robyn Schneider

**quote taken from an ARC and subject to change**

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Book Review: Hourglass by Myra McEntire

Synopsis (from Goodreads):  One hour to rewrite the past . . .

For seventeen-year-old Emerson Cole, life is about seeing what isn't there: swooning Southern Belles; soldiers long forgotten; a haunting jazz trio that vanishes in an instant. Plagued by phantoms since her parents' death, she just wants the apparitions to stop so she can be normal. She's tried everything, but the visions keep coming back.

So when her well-meaning brother brings in a consultant from a secretive organization called the Hourglass, Emerson's willing to try one last cure. But meeting Michael Weaver may not only change her future, it may also change her past.

Who is this dark, mysterious, sympathetic guy, barely older than Emerson herself, who seems to believe every crazy word she says? Why does an electric charge seem to run through the room whenever he's around? And why is he so insistent that he needs her help to prevent a death that never should've happened.
My Thoughts:  I bought this book when it first came out because I really wanted to read it.  I haven't read anything about time travel yet so the idea intrigued me.  However, life happens and ARCs kept coming and this book just kept getting pushed down the pile.  Well, I took a little bit of a break from blogging due to house problems and packed all my books when I moved.  My sister returned this book to me and since it was one of the few I had that wasn't in a box in a garage somewhere, I was finally able to read it!
Emerson is an interesting character.  She has dealt with a lot in her life but I never saw the twist at the end coming...the twist of how Landers found her.  But...Emerson is special.  She can see "rips" better known as ghosts or spirits.  Emerson, who lives with her older brother and his wife, isn't sure how to handle this so her brother brings in a specialist, Michael, to help her.   Michael is from an organization called the Hourglass.  
Of course, Emerson and Michael have an instant attraction but the romance is forbidden.  That doesn't stop Emerson though.  Then Kaleb enters the picture and there is a (very) small love triangle.  
Together, Emerson, Michael and Kaleb have to figure out how to go back in time and change the past...without, you know, changing the past.  They can't "disrupt" the timeline so they have to get it just right.  And there is a bad guy that tries to mess it all up.  

One of the things I did have a problem with was Lily, Emerson's best friend.  She was huge in the beginning, always being there for Emerson.  Lily even has her own special abilities that briefly get touched upon but then...poof!  She's gone.  Okay, she's not really gone but she falls WAY back in the book.  I think there is one or two mentions of Lily during the time travel period but that's all.  Emerson gives her a call to warn her about something and then Emerson calls her after everything is over to tell her she can't work at the coffee shop anymore and that's it.  No more on Lily's ability or even her just being there for her bestie.  It was slightly disappointing as I liked her character a lot.
Still, I was completely engrossed in this book.  The twists and turns were unexpected and the romance was hot!  I loved that it wasn't too much science fiction (that just loses me) but this book was very easy to understand.   I am very glad I have the second book...and it's even on my Nook so I don't have to dig through boxes to read it!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Teaser Tuesday: Hourglass by Myra McEntire

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!

"I'd been emotionally naked with him on the couch while Ava had been asleep upstairs.  
And from the way she was looking at him, they were way more than friends." ~Page 170 of Hourglass by Myra McEntire.

Book Review: Night School by C.J. Daugherty

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

Synopsis (from Around the World ARC Tours):   
Allie’s world is falling apart…
She hates her school. Her brother has run away. And she’s just been arrested. 
Now her parents are sending her away to a boarding school where she doesn’t know a soul.
But instead of hating her new school, Allie finds she’s happy there. She’s making friends. And then there’s Sylvain, a suave French student who openly flirts with her. And Carter, the brooding loner who seems to have her back.
Soon, though, Allie discovers Cimmeria Academy is no ordinary school. Nothing there is as it seems. And her new friends are hiding dangerous secrets.

My Thoughts:  I devoured this book!  Really....I didn't want to put it down because there are SO many questions to find the answers too and so many mysteries to solve!

Allie used to be a good girl.  She used to get good grades, obey her parents and stay out of trouble.  Then something happened that changed Allie.  Now she is getting arrested (3 times in one year!) and causing her parents all sorts of trouble.  Her parents are at a loss of what to do with Allie after her third arrest and send her off to a mysterious boarding school, Cimmeria.  

Unexpectedly, Allie starts to enjoy her time at the school.  She makes some great friends, is pursued by 2 boys (yes...another love triangle) and gets along with most of her teachers.  There are some weird things happening however...mysterious voices and footsteps in the night, an incident in the walled garden and Night School.  Night School is only for certain students and is extremely secretive.  
After the Summer Ball, everything at the school changes for Allie and the other students.  Now everyone is in danger and Allie wants to know what is going on.  When she finds out some startling revelations about her own family, she decides to take things in her own hands and find the answers to all the questions surrounding her family and the school.

I really enjoyed Allie's character.  She was definitely rebellious and stubborn but also very caring.  She keeps her head held high when things at the school get tough and is smart when it comes to her friends.  I also really liked Rachel.  She was a very good friend to Allie and I liked how she didn't really care what people thought but also she knew everything about them and liked to gossip (although she didn't gossip to be spiteful).  I just liked how real she was.  Carter was another favorite of mine because he was snarky and also didn't care what others thought of him.  His circumstances were different from the other kids at Cimmeria and so that made him a very likeable character to me.

I wasn't huge on the whole ending and the explanation we got.  It seemed like it could have been bigger, ya know?  Maybe there will be more in the next book because honestly, you don't get a lot of explanation as to who these people are (names omitted to avoid spoilers) or what they are doing but the big ending just wasn't very big.  That being said, I would still recommend this book because I think it can only get better as the series goes on!

This book kept me on my toes through the WHOLE book!  Seriously, there was not a boring moment in this book.  I didn't want to put the book down because I had to get the answers and now I am impatiently waiting for the next book in the series because I didn't get a lot of answers I wanted!  Daugherty definitely knows how to keep you intrigued!  

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Book Review: Spellbinding by Maya Gold

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

Synopsis (from Goodreads):  There's more than one way to be powerful . . .

It is during a routine school project that Abby Silva--sixteen and nearly friendless--makes a startling discovery: She is descended from women who were accused of witchcraft back in 1600s Salem. And when Abby visits nearby Salem, strange, inexplicable events start to unfold. Objects move when she wills them to. Candles burst into sudden flame. And an ancient spellbook somehow winds up in her possession.

Trying to harness her newfound power, Abby concocts a love potion to win over her longtime crush--and exact revenge upon his cruel, bullying girlfriend. But old magic is not to be trifled with. Soon, Abby is thrust headlong into a world of hexes, secrets, and danger. And then there's Rem Anders, the beautiful, mysterious Salem boy who seems to know more about Abby than he first lets on.

A reckoning is coming, and Abby will have to make sense of her history--and her heart--before she can face the powerful truth.
My Thoughts:  Ah, I had such high hopes for this book.  You see, I love reading about witches...shhh...don't tell anyone in my church.  It's apparently a no-no (this is a whole other rant for a whole other post though).  Anyways, I had hopes that this would be a fun book about witches with maybe a little history thrown in, since we are talking about the Salem Witch Trials.  
Sadly, this book was a huge disappointment.  I mean....HUGE!  I will tell you the one good thing about it though.  It's a very easy read so you get through it quickly...if you don't throw it out a window in pure frustration first. 

Let's start with Abby, the main character.  She is supposedly 16 but acts like she is 12.  She has only one friend and of course, has a huge crush on the most popular guy in school.  He is dating the most popular (and very mean) girl in school, who is also perfect in every way.  Abby doesn't stand a chance with Travis.  

In her history class, Abby is assigned a project to trace back her family tree.  She finds out that she is a descendant of a witch.  After she finds out this little tidbit, she suddenly has "magical" powers.  She aces her driver's test (after a little magical help) and heads into Salem to do more research.  There she finds a guy, Rem, who catches her attention (hello love triangle).  She also finds a job.  She has no car and no way to get to the job but she takes it because it's in Salem and guess what?  Everything "magically" works out for Abby.  She gets a car and can suddenly drive over the big bridge with no fear, even though she has had a crippling fear of water/bridges.

As things start falling into place for Abby, she suddenly has more confidence.  The new found confidence, along with a spellbook that found it's way into her bag, and she has decided to steal Travis away from Megan, who has been increasingly mean to Abby.  She casts an attraction spell on Travis and when he starts following her around like a little puppy dog, she starts to fall for Rem.  It was so annoying! Then, she decides to get back at Rem for something and she casts the full blown love spell on Travis.  Now, I know I am not the first person to ask this but why?  Why cast a spell on someone to "love" you when you know it's not really love?  And it NEVER works out.  

Abby is very childish, selfish and whiny.  She is horrible to her dad's new (and very nice) girlfriend and actually does some horrible magic curses on her. I could not relate to Abby at all.  Maybe it's because I'm not 12.  A younger girl might have more fun with this book and Abby.  As for me, she just was not a  likable character.

Travis was too perfect and then he was too pathetic.  I know it was the spell that caused him to be this way but it was super annoying.  Rem and Dyami (Abby's boss) were the most interesting character's for me.  

The ending fell flat for me as well.  It was rushed and just didn't work.  Everything gets wrapped up in a pretty little bow and ends up perfect.  Again, didn't work for me.  So, sadly this book did not do it for all!  I think younger girls (think ages 12-14) might enjoy it but once you get a little older, you are going to be annoyed by it.  

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Teaser Tuesday: Spellbinding by Maya Gold

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My Teaser is from Spellbinding by Maya Gold.

"Or have I inherited something else from my forebears - not magic, but madness?  There's a word for people who hear voices and see things, and it's schizophrenic."  ~ Page 45 of Spellinbinding by Maya Gold

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