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Jamie "Reviewer for PJV" RSS Feed (Rose Hill, KS USA)

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Proof of Life (Super Agent)
Proof of Life (Super Agent)

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sexiness, mystery, and action - the perfect combination!, October 24, 2011
I was a little hesitant to read this one, since it is actually book 3 in Misty Evans' Super Agent series. Sometimes reading books out of order leave you feeling extremely confused and frustrated. That was certainly not true in this case and I am so glad I got the chance to read it. The book alludes to previous events in the series (mostly regarding Michael being in a hostage situation), but instead of being confusing it just made me want to read the other books in the series that much more.

To say that Michael Stone (who is the CIA Deputy Director) is going through some major issues in this book is a huge understatement. His niece has been kidnapped, he's still dealing with losing the woman he loved, and he continues to try and cope with the aftermath of being held hostage by a madman. I found him to be incredibly sexy, for so many reasons. He's amazingly smart, attractive, cunning, and extremely dependable. What's not to like? We learn a lot about who Michael is in this book, or rather, the kind of man he is; I'm really eager to get my hands on Operation Sheba and I'd Rather Be In Paris to *hopefully* learn more about him and the rest of the agents. I loved the addition of Dr. Brigit Kent to this novel. She was extremely mysterious at the beginning, coming up on Michael's radar early on as he's unsure of whether to trust her or not. As the book progresses we learn more about her life and what led her to her current situation, which makes it very easy to connect with her. Because of her rough childhood and her job, she's extremely tough; not in the physical sense, but she's extremely smart and clever which in my opinion is much more valuable than brawn. A prime example is when she makes the "assassin's umbrella". I was amazed by that and found it so interesting; I won't go into any more detail about that part of the book, so as not to give too much away - you'll just have to read it to find out!

The book mostly goes back and forth between the point of view of Michael and Brigit, and as you know, I really like being able to see inside the minds of all of the main characters because it helps me to understand them better. There is plenty of suspense throughout, along with some great action scenes that made it impossible for me to put this book down. I also couldn't put it down because I was excited to find out what was going to happen between Michael and Brigit.

The sexual tension between Brigit and Michael is incredible and it slowly builds as the story progresses. They seemed perfect together even from the beginning, but there were too many other, more important, issues to worry about and I liked the fact that the author didn't try to rush their relationship.

This book was such a pleasant surprise and I enjoyed reading it immensely. Full of suspense, mystery, and a little romance to spice things up, you won't be able to put this one down. Personally, I know I will be checking out the other two books in the series, as well as Misty Evans' other works.

Across the Universe
Across the Universe
by Beth Revis
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $13.97
98 used & new from $0.49

4.0 out of 5 stars First chapter gave me chills and I was hooked after that!, October 22, 2011
This review is from: Across the Universe (Hardcover)
I think the characters were beautifully portrayed in this book and it was impossible not to connect with them. Amy had such a tough road from the beginning; she had to choose between being cryogenically frozen with her parents so she could be reunited with them 300+ years in the future or stay on Earth and live out the rest of her life with friends and family. She made a hard choice, but I think it's the same one I would make in that situation, in hopes that I would see my parents again when the spaceship reached the new planet. She remained tough through everything, especially when she is prematurely awakened on board Godspeed (the spaceship). Not only was she different in the respect that she had lived hundreds of years ago and wasn't accustomed to how life was on the ship, but she also looked different than everyone else. They had decided to make sure everyone looked the same in hopes to avoid war over skin color, so they controlled breeding to ensure that everyone had the same features. With her pale skin and red hair, Amy stuck out like a sore thumb and drew unwanted attention to herself. Not only was she an outcast but also she had been awakened much too early, so by the time her parents were to be awakened she would either be very old or dead. I just felt for her, with all that she had to endure. It wouldn't be easy to continue with life the way it was for her, but she toughed it out. I liked Elder as well. He had definitely been brainwashed by Eldest into a certain way of thinking, since he would one day take over the ship, but he also had a mind of his own and knew enough to question the strange occurrences on the ship. He had a good heart and it was great to see him mature as he learned all of Godspeed's secrets.

I enjoyed how the book jumped back and forth between Amy and Elder to get different perspectives. I thought the characters were very well developed and relatable. The first chapter was especially good, yet also very sad and gave me goosebumps, all at the same time. All of the creepy details about the cryogenic process and her having to say goodbye to her parents, then having to make the difficult decision of joining them, definitely affected me. I can honestly say I haven't read anything quite like this book before. I don't read a lot of dystopian/sci-fi novels, so this was a welcome change for me. The author did a great job of describing the environment so I felt like I could accurately envision what the ship looked like.

This book hooked me from the first chapter and I just couldn't seem to put it down. Being able to see things through both Amy's and Elder's eyes really enhanced the story. I am very much looking forward to the next book in the series, A Million Suns, which is scheduled to come out in January 2012. I can't wait to see what the future holds for Amy and Elder!

Shelter (Book One): A Mickey Bolitar Novel
Shelter (Book One): A Mickey Bolitar Novel
by Harlan Coben
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $13.76
221 used & new from $0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic book, Coben does not disappoint!, October 19, 2011
I am a HUGE fan of Harlan Coben's books (I've read all of them!) and when I heard he was coming out with a new YA series, I just had to check it out. It definitely did not disappoint.

I loved the character of Mickey Bolitar. He certainly seemed wise beyond his years. His girlfriend, Ashley, is missing from the beginning, although there is a small flashback to when Mickey and Ashley met. On top of that, the woman nicknamed the "Bat Lady" cryptically tells him his father isn't dead, which heightens the mystery and suspense. I think I liked Mickey so much because he didn't care what anyone else thought of him. He was confident enough to be his own person and not let people push him around; this included befriending Ema and Spoon, two of the least popular kids in his new school. I loved how Spoon was always spouting random quirky facts. I also really loved his friend Ema. It took her while to warm up to him, since she was so used to being made fun of and didn't exactly trust anyone. She turned out to be an extremely witty character, and a very loyal friend to Mickey. There is definitely something wrong with Ema's home life, but the book never went into detail about it and she never allowed Mickey to see her home. I'm really hoping the next book will give us an insight into her life.

Being a fan of Coben's other books, I was very pleased to be reunited with my old friend Myron (Mickey's uncle, with whom he doesn't get along very well). It wasn't the Myron I'm used to seeing though; since Mickey's dad died and his mom ended up in rehab, Myron ends up standing in as his guardian and stand-in parental figure, so his responsiblities are different in this book. For other fans of the Myron Bolitar series, Esperanza is mentioned once, but only in passing. I was extremely disappointed that Win wasn't in this one at all; he is my absolute favorite character and was hoping to see him make an appearance in some aspect. It would be great if he shows up later on in the series *hint, hint*. Honestly though, this book is all about Mickey and it makes sense for the other characters not to be in this book, because they're not a part of his world (at least not yet).

I loved trying to figure out all of the mysteries throughout this book and I didn't put it down once once I started reading. There was suspense galore and it definitely made it easy to want to keep reading. This book will keep you guessing until the end and make you excited to see what else is in store for these characters. I think everyone will able to connect with and cheer on Mickey in his journey to find Ashley and to discover the truth about his father.

Sean Griswold's Head
Sean Griswold's Head
by Lindsey Leavitt
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $13.94
101 used & new from $0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, unique story!, October 14, 2011
This review is from: Sean Griswold's Head (Hardcover)
For the most part, I really enjoyed the characters. Payton was very witty and entertaining and her interactions with her best friend, Jac, were often amusing. My favorite part was reading Payton's "focus object assignments" regarding Sean Griswold's head. At the beginning she knew nothing about him, despite having went to school with him since they were very young, so those entries in her notebook were literally about what his head looked like (since that's all she really ever saw). Then, as she became more involved in her assignment, she began wanting to know more about the boy that has always sat in front of her, other than the color of his hair and that he smells nice, and so her notebook entries change but are still equally interesting. I did get annoyed with Payton on occasion, for how she acted towards her family. I understand why she was upset (you'll just have to read it to find out why!) and that she was having trouble coping with seeing her father's health deteriorate, but it irked me how she treated both of her parents. He was the one that was actually living with the disease and he was having to deal with constant hostility from her. Her friend Jac was also annoying at times due to her extreme personality. She liked to force Payton into doing things she didn't necessarily want to do, and usually just ended up doing whatever she wanted to do, despite anyone else's thoughts. My favorite character by far was Sean. He was so laid back and down-to-earth, very easy to connect with. He ended up being very sensible as well and the voice of reason for Payton at times. I think he balanced her out really well and that's why they were perfect for each other.

I loved the interactions between Sean and Payton.They just seemed to "get" each other right away and had a lot in common. I think it's awesome that out of something tragic like her father's disease, she was able to find love, and through that was able to heal herself.

The plot was definitely refreshing, it was nice to read something that didn't give me a serious case of deja vu. The use of the journal entries and the unique way she ended up falling in love was all very different and I enjoyed reading about it!

Overall, this was a fantastic read. There was a lot of depth to the story, with Payton having to deal with many different issues and it was exciting to see how she was able to grow and heal throughout the book. While I did have a few issues with the characters and the ending, I'm glad I had the chance to read this book and would recommend that everyone check it out!

Hate List
Hate List
by Jennifer Brown
Edition: Paperback
Price: $9.63
142 used & new from $0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Tragic, heart-wrenching story, September 23, 2011
This review is from: Hate List (Paperback)
I think the author did a great job of setting up the story and the characters in this book. It starts out in the aftermath of a school shooting and flashes back in time to show what led up to the tragic events. I really enjoyed the way it jumped back and forth because it let me get to know the main character, Valerie, in the present time and learn what she was like before everything happened. It definitely helped me to understand her better. It would be so easy to judge someone like her and think, "Why didn't she just leave Nick if all he did was obsess about death?" Nick was her first boyfriend though, the first guy to show interest in her and she didn't want to let go of that. Plus, the good times they shared overshadowed everything in her mind, so that she didn't see trouble looming over her. I can relate to her in that respect; being in a bad relationship, but the fun times make the horrible times seem not as bad. I feel like Valerie was incredibly brave for returning to the same school, where many people hated and blamed her just as much as they did her boyfriend Nick, who actually did the shooting. It's hard to feel bad for Nick after the horrific things he did, but I did feel some sympathy for the fact that he was always bullied. It's not an excuse to go on a rampage and shoot people, but no one should ever have to endure being teased or made fun of. This was part of the author's intent though, I believe; through Val's eyes we were shown a softer, kinder side of Nick, which was a stark contrast to the boy who destroyed so many lives. It makes you think about things in a different light and to look at both sides of the issue. Another couple of characters that bear mentioning are Val's mom and dad. I thought her mom was extremely overbearing at times and didn't always try to see things from her daughter's perspective, but part of me understands why she was that way. She must have felt betrayed and her trust was shattered; this wasn't the daughter she had raised. So in that sense, some of her behavior is understandable. I absolutely despised her father (and I use the term "father" loosely in this case). I can't imagine ever turning my back on my kids, but he had no trouble doing so. I felt really bad for Val that she didn't have both parents supporting her. I've read a couple of books now that dealt with school shootings, but I think they've all touched me in their own way. This one was no exception; it may not have been the most unique plot, but it certainly pulled at my heartstrings. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It made me sad, occasionally it made me smile, but most of all it made me think. Even after I finished reading I couldn't stop thinking about this tragic story; I think that's a sign of a great book, when it stays on your mind long after you read the final page. I think everybody will enjoy this one, but make sure you have some tissues handy!

Sleepers (The Swarm Trilogy Book 1)
Sleepers (The Swarm Trilogy Book 1)
Price: $2.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great start to a new series!, September 2, 2011
It's abundantly clear from the very beginning that the main character, Lianne, is one tough chick. She's able to fight better than anyone she knows, although this is a secret she must keep quiet from everyone but her fellow Dalagans (a bit of background: her people are called Dalagans and they gifted Lianne to the Fithians to ensure peace). I really liked how strong she was, but I felt like she was insanely naive at times, to the point that I was shaking my head; although, she was only 16, so we should probably take her young age into account and not judge her too harshly. She definitely became more self-assured and mature by the end of the book. Then we have the two guys in her life, Kellan and Bryden. Kellan is the more out-going of the two, confident to the point of being cocky, and the object of Lianne's affection. I wasn't sure how I felt about him in the beginning, but by the end you will certainly have a very strong opinion regarding his character. Bryden was quiet, reserved, and obviously harboring some secrets. He also used to be best friends with Lianne until the accident when they were young that changed his life. I liked Bryden right away; I can't really tell you why exactly, but he just seemed more trustworthy and genuine than Kellan. Another character that deserves mentioning is the Queen, or "Mags" as Lianne calls her. Her and Lianne became best friends, despite the odds, even though they would most likely both be punished if the king found out. Mags was as much a prisoner as Lianne, for although she seemed to live in the lap of luxury, she was confined to the walls of the castle and lived only to serve her husband, King Rotlar. In fact, I felt worse for Mags than I did for Lianne, because she had no one else to confide in about anything; Lianne at least had Kellan and, eventually, Bryden to talk to about things going on in her life. Overall, we see some big changes in most of the characters; some good, some bad, but all really interesting to read about.

Romance Sizzle Or Fizzle?: I can't really go into much detail here either, for fear of giving away too much! I won't tell you if she ends up with Kellan or Bryden, but I will say I found the romance to sizzle, because I feel that Lianne and the guy she chooses have great chemistry and seem to belong together. Now you just have to read this book for yourself to find out who the lucky guy is!

Overall, not a bad read! The first half for me was 5 stars, the second half I would rate as a 3 (maybe 3.5, but I don't really deal in 1/2 stars), so I'm going to even it out to 4 stars. Even though it fizzled a bit for me in the end, I still enjoyed reading it and am wondering what will happen next with these characters. If you enjoy a book with magic, plot twists, and a good love triangle, then you should definitely check this one out!

I Loved You First (Coming of Age Love Story)
I Loved You First (Coming of Age Love Story)
Price: $3.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great story about a girl's love for her best friend and her quest to find herself, August 21, 2011
I definitely liked Alex and felt for her situation. She was the only one who knew that Seth was gay and was madly in love with him. I know it would be hard to see the guy you adore dating other girls, even if you knew it was just for show. I don't think in the beginning she really grasped that he was 100% gay. She seemed to grasp at the few bits of hope she could that she would be able to change his mind and he would fall in love with her. She also seemed pretty bitter in the beginning as well, constantly referring to Seth as her "buddy", knowing deep down that's all he would ever be to her and not liking the reality. Everything in this book is kind of a double edged sword; on one hand, I wished that Alex would support Seth's sexuality more (outwardly she did, but inside she wanted him for herself), but on the other hand I wanted to shake Seth and tell him how much he was hurting his best friend and that coming out to the world would be the best thing for him in the end. So I guess I got mad at both Seth and Alex at times for the way they acted. I certainly felt for Seth though; being openly gay would be a freeing experience (I'm just assuming here since I, myself, am not gay), but you also have to deal with some ignorant and cruel people along the way. I found myself wishing he would see how much Alex was suffering; in order to stay by his side and be his "wing-woman", she sacrificed having any friends besides him. He shouldn't have made her feel like she had to accompany him to all of the parties and such, but I understand that he was worried his secret would get out. There were a few lesser characters that were very important to this story. First we have Bruce, who is the object of Seth's affection. He seems like an alright guy in the beginning, but my opinion of him changed early on. Dink is Bruce's friend and he has his eye on Alex; personally, I really liked Dink. He was a lot more open-minded than his friend and genuinely wanted to get to know Alex. Finally, there's Trinity. She's essential to the story, because she immediately is drawn to Alex and befriends her right away, showing her that she can and should have other friends. Overall I really enjoyed these characters and it was great to see them grow and change as the story progressed. Especially Alex, since at the beginning she seemed more like a doormat, only living her life for someone else.

I loved the characters in this book, they really came to life and I was able to easily connect with them. The writing flowed really well and I was able to finish this book in one day. The plot was a bit different than I was expecting; I assumed it would just be Alex trying to get Seth to fall for her, but it was more than that. It was about Alex finding out who she was without Seth, because up to that point she hadn't taken the time to find out. I found Alex annoying at times. She wasn't happy with her situation, following Seth around to parties and watching him hit on girls, and tended to complain about it a lot. Also, I wish Trinity had been present more in the book. She is the one who starts to draw Alex out of her shell and I felt like she should have been in the story more. Plus, she was a really fun, quirky character that I just would have liked to read more about.

This book was a fun, light read at times. At other times it was darker, tackling more serious issues. Overall it was a great read about friends, adversity, individuality, and acceptance.

That Day In September
That Day In September
Price: $3.50

5.0 out of 5 stars One man's heartbreaking and true story about where he was "that day in September", August 21, 2011
I can still remember where I was when I heard the tragic news, as I'm sure most of you can. I was in sophomore year of high school and we watched the news that entire day, shedding tears for the people who lost their lives and for their families. As much as we can imagine what it would have been like to be there, we simply can't. The terror, the helplessness, the confusion. Wanting to help the people trapped inside the World Trade Center, but knowing that there is nothing you can do. This is why That Day In September is such a powerful book; the author, Artie Van Why was there and he experienced all of it first hand. He was working across from the World Trade Center when the first plane hit and in this book he gives a chilling and detailed account of what he experienced that day.

The book jumps back and forth just a bit in the beginning, starting with when he first heard the news that a plane had hit one of the World Trade Center towers and then going back to describe just how he ended up in New York City in the first place. It was interesting to learn about his life and the events that lead up to him taking a job right across from the towers.

I really appreciated his fond memories prior to the attacks. In particular he described the World Trade Center plaza as being an "oasis" for people who worked around the area. This was helpful for someone like me who has never visited New York City, much less the World Trade Center while it was still standing; through his memories I was able to form more of a connection and see exactly what everyone loved so much. Not only did he mourn the people who died that day, but he also mourned the loss of something he cherished very much: lunch time at the plaza, sitting by the beautiful fountain. We like to take things for granted and assume we'll always have them around; the author had no clue that his last day at the plaza would truly be his last.

I found myself getting very emotional while reading. His emotions just jumped off the page and I couldn't help but cry with him. The things he witnessed that day, scenes that no one should ever have to see, he will carry those around for the rest of his life. That day ended up changing his life forever. The book also details the days and months after the attack and the difficulties he faced even then trying to cope with what happened. Returning to work he was faced with seeing the rubble and destruction, a reminder of exactly what happened. It was heartwarming to hear just how unified everyone in New York City was; how people he didn't even know would come right up and comfort him when the emotions and grief became too much to bear by himself.

I can't describe how much I enjoyed reading this book. It's not especially long, but it touched me immensely. I recommend this book to everyone and know I will be purchasing a copy to display proudly on my shelf.

Hardball (Philadelphia Patriots Book 2)
Hardball (Philadelphia Patriots Book 2)
Price: $2.87

19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The cover alone would have made me want to read this book!, August 21, 2011
I confess, I don't usually read just straight romance books; I prefer paranormal romance or romantic suspense. This book sounded like such a fun read I couldn't turn it down. Plus, it actually does end up having some suspense elements to it that I wasn't expecting! Also, did you SEE that book cover?! The only word that comes to mind is H-O-T!

I was able to relate and connect with both of the main characters, Holly and Nate, but perhaps not as much as I would have liked. Nate was a really down-to-earth guy, despite the fact that he was a famous baseball player; not stuck up at all and not especially full of himself. Holly was a pedatric surgeon; I like that she was a successful, confident female lead. She was completely independent and obviously very smart. There were times she annoyed me with her insecurities when it came to Nate, but at the same time I could totally understand where she was coming from.

I enjoyed the characters and seeing their relationship develop. The story overall was interesting; in addition to finding herself smitten with Nate, Holly also has to deal with the beligerant and menacing parent of a sick child she is caring for. That definitely adds a few tense moments, especially when she suspects that he doesn't have his son's best interests in mind. Also, the sex scenes were very steamy, but they didn't take up the whole book like sometimes happens with romances. felt like sometimes the dialogue (mostly on Holly's part) seemed a little awkward, where I found myself saying "Do people actually talk like that?" I also had trouble with the fact that the first few times Holly meets Nate she's really insecure and somewhat shy, as she was wondering why he wanted to spend time with her. Then on their first "date", she turns into kind of a sex kitten. It didn't really jive with how I expected Holly to act in that situation.

I would say sizzle. Holly and Nate definitely had a connection from the beginning and as I said before, it made for some extremely hot and steamy sex scenes. They were really good together, yet I felt like Holly moved way too fast in the relationship considering they hadn't been seeing each other very long. Maybe that's why I felt like I connected better with Nate in the long run. Overall though they made a cute couple and had some great chemistry.

Overall, I didn't enjoy this book quite as much as I was hoping, but I chalk that up to the fact that I'm not really a big fan of this kind of romance. Regardless, I did like the book. If you like hot male baseball players, steamy romance, and some suspense then this book is perfect for you!

Dangerous Designs (Book 1 of new urban fantasy series)
Dangerous Designs (Book 1 of new urban fantasy series)

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A unique, wonderful book in a new amazing YA series!, August 8, 2011
I think the main character, Storey, may be one of my favorite female leads ever. This girl showed almost no weakness; she was strong, determined, and remained calm in the face of danger. Instead of acting helpless and uncertain, she took charge of pretty much every situation, not afraid of her abilities with the stylus. She only yearned to learn more about what she could do with it. I think Eric was a great match for her - even when things seemed hopeless and the council members in his dimension wanted her dead, he stayed by her side and believed in her. When the book starts out, Eric insists that his world is so much more superior and simply believes in everything he's been told. He really shows growth when he stands up to his father and the rest of the council on Storey's behalf, arguing that she didn't know the repercussions of picking up the stylus (which she thought was just an old pencil).
I absolutely loved the characters, they were multi-dimensional and it was easy to see them grow as the story progressed. I really enjoyed the entire story line, it felt really fresh and unique and the entire book flowed extremely well. I literally could not put it down!
I don't have much bad to say about this book. I would have liked to know more about Eric and his world. From what I can gather it is much like our world, only more advanced since they studied us for many years and learned from our technology. I would have just liked more descriptions about the other dimension (both Eric's and the one where the enemies, Louer's, exist).
Romance Sizzle or Fizzle? : I would have to say sizzle! It was a slow moving relationship, with Storey more wary of Eric in the beginning than anything, wondering why he was so interested in her and her "pencil". As she learns about the stylus and the other dimensions, she realizes she needs Eric in order to survive and decides to work with him to try and fix everything. The more time they spend together, the more they are drawn to each other. Their first kiss caught Storey completely off-guard, but that's all it took for her to realize that maybe she has more feelings for Eric than she thought.
I found this book to be extremely unique. It involved different dimensions, a stylus that is capable of almost anything, and an enemy that, although terrifying, has a tortured past. It was definitely a very refreshing, new YA read.
This book was so different than any I've read lately and it had me hooked from the beginning. There was a nice balance of action, discovery, and mystery, with a nice bit of romance in there as well. The ending will leave you reeling and I guarantee you'll be saying "I need book two NOW!"

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