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Jessica M RSS Feed (San Diego, CA)

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A Circle of Souls
A Circle of Souls
by Preetham Grandhi
Edition: Paperback
Price: $15.99
27 used & new from $2.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I look forward to many books by this author!, September 11, 2009
This review is from: A Circle of Souls (Paperback)
Several fascinating plots make up this remarkable debut novel by M.D., Preetham Grandhi. With alternating points of view, the author displays an incredible ability of combining strong, sympathetic characters with an intellectual plot that keeps the reader turning the pages! I love the flow this novel maintains between the different perspectives. As the story develops, the perspectives grow more captivating as they begin to intertwine. Add a dash of the paranormal to an already captivating read and you get an unforgettable story where nothing is as it seems.

Another aspect of this story that I found interesting was how the victim is introduced to the reader at the start of the novel. Even though the story deals mostly with the investigation of the murder rather than the child herself, the victim wasn't just a corpse to me. She was an innocent child who loved apple pie and hated math.

Moving at a good pace, this book kept my attention from the first page. The journey is worthwhile and when the book ended, I was sad to let the characters go. Thankfully, a sequel is in the works.

Fearless: Imagine Your Life Without Fear
Fearless: Imagine Your Life Without Fear
by Max Lucado
Edition: Hardcover
395 used & new from $0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars How much of our precious time is spent in fear?, September 8, 2009
Max Lucado's latest book, Fearless, places a huge emphasis on God's promises and what He says about fear. This book reminded me of just how crippling fear can be to a life. When fear shapes our lives, safety becomes our god. Can the safety lover do anything great? The fear-filled cannot dream wildly for fear of their dreams sputtering and falling from the sky. Instead, we should be willing to take chances, even when the end result is: a-dance-upon-the-ashes-of-our-burned-up-plans.

"Fear never wrote a symphony or poem, negotiated a peace treaty, or cured a disease. Fear never pulled a family out of poverty or a country out of bigotry. Fear never saved a marriage or a business. Courage did that. Faith did that. People who refused to consult or cower to their timidities did that."

Max Lucado has such a poetic and conversational way about his writing, which makes it so easy to delve into the serious topics his books deal with. Lucado's viewpoint is clearly--and practically--presented in this book as he encourages the reader to fear less tomorrow than we do today. Grounded in scripture and sprinkled with interesting anecdotes and wry humor, the author brings a fresh perspective to this tired subject of being fearless.

Intertwined (An Intertwined Novel)
Intertwined (An Intertwined Novel)
by Gena Showalter
Edition: Hardcover
97 used & new from $0.01

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars There's something about the new guy at Crossroads High..., August 12, 2009
Aden Stone is a sixteen-year-old who has been in and out of institutions all his life. Why? You ask. Well, Aden has four human souls living inside of him. One can time-travel; one can raise the dead; one can tell the future--and has even predicted Aden's death--and one can possess another human.

New to Crossroads, Oklahoma, Aden is living in a halfway house for wayward teens. At the start of the novel, Aden finds himself at a cemetery after exploring aimlessly with his iPod blaring--in an attempt to drown out the voices in his head. Ending up at a cemetery is a huge mistake when you have the ability to raise the dead. And thus begins not only the novel, but another dangerous day in the life of Aden Stone.

Even though the small town he's in appears to be dull and he has no friends--apart from the 4 living inside of him--he's been having visions of a beautiful girl. As a matter of fact, he's half in love with her already. What he doesn't know is: she's a vampire princess. When he finally meets her, he learns that he somehow summoned her along with other paranormal creatures--werewolf, goblins, fairies, witches, ghosts--he never knew existed.
Aden soon finds himself entering "a dark underworld with intrigue and danger--but not everyone will come out alive..."

Gena Showalter has intertwined such a fantastic paranormal romance novel. I must admit that a boy with 4 human souls living inside of him sounds like a great idea to run with. I didn't expect the amount of dialogue between them--it moved the story along quickly and steadily and I soon found myself falling into their story and caring about each of the characters. My favorite characters were, of course, Aden and Mary-Anne (the two humans); they were also the most strongly developed characters in the novel. Vampires, shape-shifters, goblins, zombies, fairies, witches, and ghosts are all thrown into the mix keeping the story interesting but not really playing a huge role. I sometimes wondered if it was all just too much.

I really enjoyed the mystery of the shape-shifter's identity, Aden's past, his connection with Mary-Anne--and the list goes on; the story builds so well that I didn't want this book to end. Then, once I reached the last 100 pages I just had to find out what would happen. I can't say that I was completely satisfied with the ending as there were still questions burning to be answered, but I am anxious for the next book in the series.

Fairy Hunters, InK.
Fairy Hunters, InK.
by Sheila A. Dane
Edition: Perfect Paperback
15 used & new from $19.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Fairy Hunters, Ink Will Awaken Your Imagination, August 5, 2009
Fairy Hunters, Ink. follows Laura, Ashley, Big Rabbit, and Turtle in their search for fairies and as they document each kind of fairy they find--what they do, what they eat. For instance, there are button fairies which fall off of our clothes and have exclusive parties in the closet and dine on Lobster.
Then, there are Pocket Fairies which live in pockets and collect things, such as coins, keys, bits of string, and many other things. Pocket Fairies are especially fond of chocolate kisses.
There are many other fairies who like to create mischief and play all sorts of games. Many of which are written about in Fairy Hunters, Ink. If you can't see the fairies in your world, it doesn't mean they aren't there; you just haven't figured out the trick to seeing them for yourself. At least, that is what our narrator, Laura, says in page 1.

"Seeing fairies takes a lot of practice because you have to do it in a special way."

I'm sure kids (and even grown-ups) will enjoy this fun, quirky, book that is sure to spark the imagination and introduce young readers to a magical world filled with fairies at every turn. If you know what each fairy likes to do, you might have a better chance of seeing them. And if you know what they like to eat, then you might be able to keep them and make them happy which is very important because "you never know what kind of mischief an angry Fairy might get up to."

The illustrations included in this book are just as clever as the stories--they portray fairies in such a colorful and whimsical way, readers (especially children) will love looking at them all. Sheila Dane created such wonderful characters, AKA Fairy Hunters. As I read along, I couldn't help but smile; especially with Ashley and Big Rabbit as they sometimes got into their bickering.

I applaud the author for her wonderful imagination and the clever way she puts things down on paper.

Alabama Moon
Alabama Moon
by Watt Key
Edition: Paperback
Price: $8.05
110 used & new from $0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars People Keep Tryin' to Catch Him All The Time..., August 4, 2009
This review is from: Alabama Moon (Paperback)
"People keep tryin' to catch me all the time and I haven't done anything wrong. Before my pap died, he told me to head to Alaska. Said there were more people like us up there." -pg. 65

Alabama Moon is the story of a ten-year-old boy who has lived in the forest with his father in their camouflaged shelter for as long as he can remember. Anything, and everything, they need can be found in the forest---at least that's what Moon's father always taught him. They generally keep to themselves save for the occasional trip to the general store. When Moon's father dies, he leaves his son with one last instruction--to go to Alaska and find others like themselves. What Moon doesn't realize is that there's a world (and reality) that he doesn't quite understand. He becomes entangled in all of the things that he's been trying to avoid.

Using his skills of survival, Moon sets out on the adventures that lay before him as he tries to make a life for himself.

Alabama Moon is a quick and easy read that will keep you absorbed as Moon undergoes one hardship after another. Moon is a likable character--both wise and naïve--I couldn't help but root for him! In the company of his father, Moon is clearly just a child. However, when Moon has to take matters into his own hands, he is beyond his years. I kept forgetting how young his character really is. The narration is easy to follow and the language is in keeping with the characters personalities. Alabama Moon is a well-written novel with just the right pace. Full of adventure and survival tactics, Watt Key paints a picture from the point of view of a ten-year-old who endures so many changes and challenges in such a short time. Overall, young boys will be sure to find a hero in Moon.

Hannibal's Elephant Girl
Hannibal's Elephant Girl
by Ariion Kathleen Brindley
Edition: Paperback
6 used & new from $23.45

4.0 out of 5 stars Hannibal's Elephant Girl--An Enthralling Read!, August 3, 2009
Liada is young--about twelve summers in age--and very brave. When she finds herself lost in the rushing waters that threaten to tear her apart, Obolus saves her life by drawing her out of the water and taking her to dry land. As if being pummeled by tumultuous waters and then pulled out by a giant creature wasn't enough, Liada finds herself in a place completely foreign to her and she is unable to remember anything from her past.

Yzebel, a camp follower, takes Liada in and nurses her before putting her to work serving food to the soldiers who come to her tables. It is on one of her errands to trade for food that Liada meets Tin Tin Ban Sunia, a slave girl who is a year or two her junior. Even though Liada and Tin Tin have a difficult time communicating, they become great friends.

I'm not sure what I expected to find when I opened this book, but I know it wasn't the enthralling, adventurous, touching read that I soon found myself being sucked in to. This book stirred up so many emotions within me and piqued my curiosity with each page. The book starts fast, with Liada finding herself in rushing waters and, well, I was sold from there! When books start off with this much excitement, I often have my doubts as to whether or not the story could maintain that sort of excitement throughout. Hannibal's Elephant Girl keeps a nice pace--with moments where I caught myself biting my nails (a habit I normally don't succumb to) and desperate to find out how the story would play out. Liada is such a great heroine who, even in her young age, thinks for herself, and fights for what is right no matter what.

This book is very well written and stays true to the time and place in which the story is set. The characters are not only well developed, they are memorable and I felt very much attached to them by the end of the story. My favorite character: Tin Tin Ban Sunia; although Liada, Yzebel, Hannibel and Tendao are right up there as well. I know, I know... you have no idea what I'm talking about. But you should pick up this book and see for yourself. I think you'll really like it!

Even though this book was written with Young Adults in mind, I believe a wider audience (younger and older) will also enjoy and appreciate this story.

My Soul to Take (Soul Screamers Book 1)
My Soul to Take (Soul Screamers Book 1)
by Rachel Vincent
Edition: Paperback
Price: $9.99
135 used & new from $0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Soul Screamers: The last thing you hear before you die., July 29, 2009
After sneaking into a dance club with her best friend, Kaylee runs into Nash Hudson--quickly stealing his attention. Nash is a jock, he's gorgeous, and he's smiling at her--and her alone. Kaylee is enjoying his attention, until her own is caught by a beautiful strawberry blond on the other end of the dance floor. Suddenly, melancholic feelings overwhelm her and they all seem connected to that one person.

Kaylee Cavanaugh might seem like just an average teenager at first glance, but she's anything but normal. She can sense when someone near her is going to die. When that happens, terror and dread wash over her; a blood curdling scream builds up in her throat, desperate to be released. Kaylee doesn't know why she has these "panic attacks." However, she does know that death soon follows.

When classmates start dropping dead for no apparent reason, only Kaylee knows who will be next.

MY SOUL TO TAKE starts off the Soul Screamers series and starts it well. Rachel Vincent's latest novel cleverly entwines folklore, romance, suspense, and mystery in just the right doses to make this book difficult to put down. Rachel Vincent did a very good job with this one--writing in such a way that kept the pages turning themselves and being descriptive without being verbose. I literally carried this book with me wherever I went, just so that I could sneak in a page or two of reading whenever I got the chance. This book kept me awake until I'd read every word of it.

If you're into paranormal novels, I would suggest you pick this one up soon!

Too Too Many Tutus
Too Too Many Tutus
by Suzanne Davis Marion
Edition: Paperback
Price: $13.99
17 used & new from $5.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Too Too Many Tutus, July 15, 2009
This review is from: Too Too Many Tutus (Paperback)
Christina is getting ready for ballet class. However, she has a bit of a problem--she isn't sure which tutu to wear because she has Too Too Many Tutus. She goes to her mother with her predicament and her mother tells her to ask her father which tutu she should wear. But Christina's tutus are too pretty and he kindly tells her she will have to choose for herself. When Christina's brother, Max, suggests that she lay all of her tutu's out on her bed because it would be easier to decide, Christina hurries inside to do just that. Unfortunately, all of the colors are "too too pretty" and she still can't decide.

As she goes through her many options, each color stirs her imagination: if she wore the green tutu, she could "twirl around the bushes with their different shades of green leaves," if she wore the blue tutu, she could "dance on the beach beside the blue sea," if she wore her pink tutu, she could "dance among the roses." After Christina goes through her many tutus, she makes an excellent decision. Although, I won't tell you which color she finally chooses.

Suzanne Davis Marion does such a wonderful job at expressing Christina's imagination in her story. Even though I am well above the age group intended for this book, I found myself smiling as Christina imagines herself dancing in each tutu. I also enjoyed the wonderful illustrations that so perfectly match each situation.

Too Too Many Tutus is a sweet and charming children's story with prose that will spark the imagination, and illustrations that young readers will marvel at.

Reading Level (according to Amazon): ages 9-12

However, this book is sure to be enjoyed by a younger audience as well.

Notes From The Tilt-A-Whirl: Wide-Eyed Wonder in God's Spoken World
Notes From The Tilt-A-Whirl: Wide-Eyed Wonder in God's Spoken World
by Nathan D. Wilson
Edition: Paperback
Price: $9.27
105 used & new from $3.25

2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars This World is Beautiful But Badly Broken, July 2, 2009
Nate Wilson takes us on a journey of "wide-eyed wonder" as he attempts to explain the world we live in and the One who created it. This world is a tilt-a-whirl (with its spinning laps) and life is a carnival; ergo, we are all carnies. Nate Wilson's short clean sentences are appealing as he takes a stab at explaining the answers to the Who, What, Why, and How of this world that we reside--written in such a way that neutral observers (who might not find this world to be believable) would understand. Wilson offers a capricious, yet interesting, look into nature's absurdities, evolution, hell, God's purposes behind tragedy, quantum physics, etc. all while adding his quirky humor along the way. As I read this book, I was reminded of two other books: 1) A Short History of Nearly Everything, and 2) Blue Like Jazz. I couldn't help but get the impression that Nate Wilson was trying too hard to be the next Donald Miller. I actually enjoyed Blue Like Jazz. I couldn't, however, get into Notes. While Wilson's writing is poetic and thoughtful, he just seemed to carry those thoughts too far--good points were often lost behind further (and further) explanation, causing my head to spin and, as a result, lose track of what the author was trying to get at in the first place. (Of course, I was warned in the preface.)

I have come to terms that I may not be the target audience for this book.

Pride and Prejudice (Enriched Classics)
Pride and Prejudice (Enriched Classics)
by Jane Austen
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: $4.95
122 used & new from $0.01

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book has become my absolute favorite, June 21, 2008
It's amazing. I love the plot, the characters, and the suspense of knowing that Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy should be together but their Pride and Prejudice and overall "first impressions" are keeping them apart.

Also, the language is beautiful.

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