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, October 23, 2016

Book Review: The Unsaid by Aaron Blaylock

The Unsaid 

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

Maggie’s job at the Department of Thoughts and Records in heaven is pretty simple. She is a spirit curator—an observer of human life who sorts and categorizes every unsaid thought. When Eric, her beholden, shows interest in the new girl at work, Maggie can’t help ignoring the rules to understand the wonders of mortality and love. But meddling in mortal affairs has consequences that Maggie couldn’t have ever imagined . . . 

My Thoughts:

This book was a great, feel good book that I totally wasn't expecting.   Maggie was a little annoying sometimes but I loved being in Eric's head and laughed many times at his sarcastic thoughts...mainly because I was thinking the same things!

Maggie is a spirit.  Her job is to categorize all of her beholden's thoughts until it is her turn to inhabit a body on Earth.  Maggie's beholden is Eric.  She is not supposed to get to involved in Eric's life.  Her job is strictly to watch his thoughts but after being in someone's head for twenty-some years, I imagine you would become pretty invested in their life.  

Eric works at a candy dispenser shop as in the IT department.  He is recovering from a bad breakup and just plodding through life.  He really doesn't enjoy his life or the people he works with.  That is, until he meets Lindsey, the new girl in the office.  Eric starts to get involved with Lindsey and everything is going well.  When Lindsey ends in a bad situation, Maggie ignores all the rules and "leaps" into Eric's head.  From there on, Eric and Maggie must work together.

This book was a very fast and fun read.  The book was clean with no sex or swearing which was very refreshing.  I was a little worried at first because I thought the first chapter was a little slow but as soon as you get into Eric's head, things pick up and then you don't want to put it down.  The ending was sweet and came full circle.  It left you wanting to be more positive in your life and with a good feeling.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Teaser Tuesday: The Unsaid by Aaron Blaylock

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Books And A Beat.
Teaser Tuesday |
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 The Unsaid by Aaron Blaylock. I just finished this book last night and thought it was so fun and cute and most definitely a feel good kind of book.  Here is my teaser:

The Unsaid"She did have a nice body though," Salmen remarked with a sneer.  Creep!
"All right," said Maggie.  "Punch him in the mouth."
Thank you.
~from page 145 of an ARC copy of  The Unsaid by Aaron Blaylock.    

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Teaser Tuesday: Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Books And A Beat.

Teaser Tuesday | BooksAndABeat
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!

Jurassic ParkThey all watched the screen in satisfaction.  The boat was definitely heading away from the shore. 
     "I guess the hard part's finished," Gennaro said.
     Grant shook his head.  "The hard part," he said, "is just beginning."
~page 364 of Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton

Book Review: Perfect (Pretty Little Liars #3) by Sara Shepard

Perfect (Pretty Little Liars, #3) 

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

In Rosewood, Pennsylvania, four perfect-looking girls aren't nearly as perfect as they seem.

Aria can't resist her forbidden ex. Hanna is on the verge of losing her BFF. Emily is freaking out over a simple kiss. And Spencer can't keep her hands off anything that belongs to her sister.

Lucky me. I know these pretty little liars better than they know themselves. But it's hard keeping all of their secrets to myself. They better do as I say . . . or else!

My Thoughts:

My daughter and I watch the TV show and my daughter just recently devoured all 16 books so I decided I better read them too.  I read the first two last fall and just remembered I should actually finish the series.

I love that these books are on the shorter side, easy to read and so entertaining.  They don't require a lot of thought but it's easy to read one in a day or two and for both my daughter and me, they keep our attention through the whole book.

In the third book of the series, Aria is living with her boyfriend, Sean, because her mom has kicked her out after a little incident she had with her father's new girlfriend.  Aria still has feelings for Ezra though so things are quite complicated for her.

Spencer has started seeing her sister's psychiatrist and is remembering events from the last night that she saw Ali alive.  Spence also gets nominated for the Golden Orchid, a very prestigious award based on an economics report that she wrote....or did she?  Poor Spencer has to try to decide if she comes clean about the report but she is enjoying the attention so much.

Hanna and Mona have a little tiff and now Hanna is worried that Mona is going to move on without her.  She is trying her hardest to keep Mona in her good graces but finds it so stressful that she starts to eat a lot of junk food again.  When she starts chatting with Lucas, things get even harder for poor Hanna.

Emily is in all sorts of trouble after her parents find out that she has kissed a girl.  Now Emily has to decide is she can try to change for her parents or stand firm in who she is.

While these books are fun and easy to read, I find that they are sometimes a little over dramatic.   As a mother, I find it hard to believe that Aria's mother would kick her out of the house over something so dumb.  What Aria did was wrong but there is no way I would tell my teen to leave my house over it.  I would make her call and apologize but really...leave the house and not even worry about her or give her a call or anything?  Yeah, I'm not buying it.  

Emily's parents were over the top as well.  Okay, so you are shocked that your daughter is kissing another girl but to threaten her with reform or send her to her ultra religious aunt and uncle in Iowa?  These relatives supposedly make their sons run in the morning to get out any sexual tensions and keeping a list of sins daily is ridiculous...although I am sure there are those people out there.  

I am excited that we have all the books so I can finish up the series.  I haven't figured out who A is right now but my daughter says I won't be surprised so we will see!


Book Review: Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas

Synopsis (from Goodreads):
It's Spring Break of senior year. Anna, her boyfriend Tate, her best friend Elise, and a few other close friends are off to a debaucherous trip to Aruba that promises to be the time of their lives. But when Elise is found brutally murdered, Anna finds herself trapped in a country not her own, fighting against vile and contemptuous accusations.

As Anna sets out to find her friend's killer; she discovers hard truths about her friendships, the slippery nature of truth, and the ache of young love.

As she awaits the judge's decree, it becomes clear that everyone around her thinks she is not just guilty, but dangerous. When the truth comes out, it is more shocking than one could ever imagine...

My Thoughts:
I devoured this book in one sitting!  It reminded me a little of the Amanda Knox case...teens out of the country, someone dies, dealing with a trial in a foreign country, etc.  Even though I predicted the "twist" at the end, it kept me second guessing myself the whole time.  

Anna and her friends are finishing up their senior year of high school.  They head to Aruba for Spring Break and party hard.  When they find that their leader, Elise, has been murdered, they are shocked.  When Anna is targeted as the suspect and has to fight to regain her freedom.  

The book is told from Anna's point of view.  She goes back and forth between the present, with her being in jail and the trial, to the past, where you get a look at how Elise and Anna became such good friends.  You also get to see how Tate and Anna become a couple and the twisted relationship between the three.  There are other friends in the group that add to the plot but the main story is between Anna, Elise and Tate.

Once Elise has been found and Anna is arrested, it really seems as if the prosecutor (I can't remember his title in Aruba but essentially, he would be the prosecutor) has it out for Anna.  I really ended up hating him and wanting him to fail because it appeared as if he concentrated all his focus on Anna and dismissed any other leads.  I also was disgusted with Tate and Anna's other friends at first because they appeared to only be looking out for themselves and they kind threw Anna under the bus.  Then I decided, if faced with a murder accusation and life in prison in a foreign country, I would probably do the same.  

The ending did not shock me at all as I thought I knew who the killer was the whole time but like I said, it had me doubting myself the whole time.  I was pretty sure but there were always a couple questions that made me pause.  

If you liked Gone Girl or Girl on a Train then you will definitely like this one.  It says it is a YA book but I think it is a mature YA book.  There is a lot of sex, drugs and alcohol in the book so I would definitely say ages 16 and up.  

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Book Review: Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Greene

Synopsis (from Goodreads):
Minutes before the train pulled into the station in Jenkinsville, Arkansas, Patty Bergen knew something exciting was going to happen. But she never could have imagined that her summer would be so memorable. German prisoners of war have arrived to make their new home in the prison camp in Jenkinsville. To the rest of her town, these prisoners are only Nazis. But to Patty, a young Jewish girl with a turbulent home life, one boy in particular becomes an unlikely friend. Anton relates to Patty in ways that her mother and father never can. But when their forbidden relationship is discovered, will Patty risk her family and town for the understanding and love of one boy?

My Thoughts:
I homeschool my kids so I get to decide what they read for literature.  I get some great suggestions from different curriculums.  I firmly believe that if I make my kiddos read a book, I should read it too, if I haven't already so the great thing about this is that I am finding some great books that I have never read before.  This was one of those books.
Patty is 12 years old.  She is the oldest daughter of a Jewish store owner.  Her parents make it incredibly clear that Patty's younger sister, Sharon, is their favorite.  She is pretty and talented and just the best thing since sliced bread.  Patty tries everything to get her parents, especially her father, to find some worth in her.  Because of this, she likes to embellish her stories, or just outright make them up, to try to impress the people around her.
In Patty's small and boring little town, something exciting is about to happen.  A train with German POWs comes to town.  Patty is very interested in the POWs, especially when they come into her father's store.  At the store, she meets Anton, a POW that she is instantly interested in.  She has a short conversation with him while selling him some items and he is permanently etched into her memory.

Weeks later, when Anton escapes the prison, Patty finds herself wondering how he did it and where he is until she sees him trying to hide.  Patty leads him to the abandoned rooms above her garage and lets him hide there.  While in hiding, Anton and Patty develop an interesting relationship.  

This story was so heartbreaking for me because of the way Patty's parents treated her.  Her father actually beat her several times.  I was glad she had Ruth, her families help, and then Anton.  Patty's stories were slightly annoying but you have to remember that she is 12 and she is trying to get someone to believe she is worth something.  

When the ending comes, I really wanted karma to get Patty's parents, mostly her father.  You never really find out what becomes of her parents or Patty after she leaves the school she is sent to but despite that, the ending was satisfying (I also know there is a sequel so maybe that answers those questions).  I think this is definitely a must read!


Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Teaser Tuesday: Stealing Snow by Danielle

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Books And A Beat.


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!

His words echoed in my head.  We breathe out the lies; we stutter the truth.
Page 267 of Stealing Snow by Danielle Paige


What do you think?

Monday, June 27, 2016

Book Review: Stealing Snow by Danielle Paige

Stealing Snow (Stealing Snow, #1) 

Synopsis (from Goodreads):
Seventeen-year-old Snow has spent the majority of her life within the walls of the Whittaker Institute, a high security mental hospital in upstate New York. Deep down, she knows she's not crazy and doesn't belong there. When she meets a mysterious, handsome new orderly and dreams about a strange twisted tree she realizes she must escape and figure out who she really is.

Using her trusting friend Bale as a distraction, Snow breaks free and races into the nearby woods. Suddenly, everything isn't what it seems, the line between reality and fantasy begins to blur, and she finds herself in icy Algid--her true home--with witches, thieves, and a strangely alluring boy named Kai, none of whom she's sure she can trust. As secret after secret is revealed, Snow discovers that she is on the run from a royal lineage she's destined to inherit, a father more powerful and ruthless than she could have imagined, and choices of the heart that could change the fate of everything...including Snow's return to the world she once knew.

This breathtaking first volume begins the story of how Snow becomes a villain, a queen, and ultimately a hero.

My Thoughts:

I really love fairy tale retellings!  At first glance, I thought this was a retelling of Snow White, which is my favorite fairy tale of all time.  It seems like this is more of an Ice Queen retelling though, which I still really enjoyed this book.  

Snow is stuck at Whittaker, an institute for those with sever mental health issues.  She is really all alone except for her nurse, Vern, her friend, Bale and her cocktail of pills, which she refers to as her seven dwarfs (see why I thought it was Snow White at first?).  After Snow and Bale share their first kiss, something strange happens to Bale and they are separated.  Now Snow just has her nightmares, Vern and a soap opera to keep her distracted.  But strange things start happening to Snow that she doesn't understand.  Then one night Bale disappears and between his disappearance and another patients distraction, Snow is able to escape from Whittaker.  

After escaping, Snow ends up in Algid.  Snow soon finds out that Algid is her real home and her mother took her to the "other world" to try to protect her.  Algid is in the icy hold of the King and everyone is looking to Snow to save to them but all Snow wants to do is rescue Bale and head back home...wherever that may be.

I liked Snow most of the time but found that she could be extremely stubborn and selfish a lot.  Some of the time I wanted to smack her to make her see reason.  She was never weak though and at the end, when she had to make a very hard choice after having quite the secret revealed, she did what needed to be done. 

I loved Gerde!  She was so sweet and caring and you really can't help but find her charming. Kai is very standoffish and cold.  He has his reasons but at first I didn't really care for him.  He cares a lot for Gerde though and helps both her and Snow.  I really hope we see more of both of them in the next books.  

The Robbers were my favorites.  I really enjoyed Jagger and can see the potential love interest there.  I am very curious about the masks that he wears and who he really is.  Fathom and Howl are also very entertaining.  Margot has an interesting back story and I ended up understanding her even though I didn't really like her.  

This story had a lot of little twists that kept it interesting.  Some things I could predict but there were a few things that totally surprised me like the Duchess and Snow's mother.  The beginning was a little slow but it quickly picked up and kept me entertained.  I will definitely be finishing this series!

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?


It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is hosted by Book Date.
Each week we spotlight the books we are reading, planning on reading or just finished reading.
Currently Reading:
Summer of My German Soldier (Summer of My German Soldier, #1)      The Magician (The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel, #2)     Anne of Avonlea (Anne of Green Gables, #2) 
Summer of my German Soldier by Bette Greene
The Magician (The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel #2) by Michael Scott
Anne of Avonlea (Anne of Green Gables #2) by L.M. Montgomery 

Just Finished:
Stealing Snow (Stealing Snow, #1) 
Stealing Snow by Danielle Paige
Reading Next:

He's Gone

He's Gone by Deb Caletti 

What have you been reading

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Book Review: The Women in the Walls by Amy Lukavics

The Women in the Walls 

Synopsis (from Goodsreads):

Lucy Acosta's mother died when she was three. Growing up in a Victorian mansion in the middle of the woods with her cold, distant father, she explored the dark hallways of the estate with her cousin, Margaret. They're inseparable—a family.

When her aunt Penelope, the only mother she's ever known, tragically disappears while walking in the woods surrounding their estate, Lucy finds herself devastated and alone. Margaret has been spending a lot of time in the attic. She claims she can hear her dead mother's voice whispering from the walls. Emotionally shut out by her father, Lucy watches helplessly as her cousin's sanity slowly unravels. But when she begins hearing voices herself, Lucy finds herself confronting an ancient and deadly legacy that has marked the women in her family for generations.

My Thoughts:

I have really mixed thoughts about this book so this may be an interesting review.  I have not read this author's first book but it is definitely on my list after I have finished this one.  This book sucked me in from the very first page with Walter's suicide and kept me intrigued and not able to put the book down until I finished it, which took about 10 hours.  

Lucy is seventeen and lives in a huge, old house with her father, her aunt and her cousin, Margaret.  As the book starts, Lucy has found one of their workers who had hanged himself.  That starts a series of events that changes Lucy's life.  First, her aunt goes for a walk in the woods and never returns.  Lucy questions her father as to what he is doing about it and her father assures her that he is doing everything possible to find her aunt and yet Lucy has seen no police or anyone other some some men from the County Club looking for her aunt.  Then Margaret starts to lose her mind.  Margaret is pulling away from Lucy and claims she is hearing voices in the walls.  She does some horrible and disgusting things and Lucy is very worried about her.  After another crazy event (that I don't want to spoil for you), Lucy thinks she is going crazy as well.  She has only the new girl, Vanessa, to confide in.  Her father doesn't seem to care and Vanessa's mother, who has taken over Lucy's aunts responsibilities, has her own issues to deal with.  

I love a scary, creepy story and this definitely fits that description.  The house is huge and full of secrets.  I only wish we were able to get a better sense of the house and grounds.  I would also have liked for the girls to have explored the cemetery a little more so you could get a better feel for it.  I wasn't really sure if the house was modern or stuck in older times, other than the description of the wallpaper.  

Lucy and Margaret were both difficult to relate to.  They were seventeen but other than at the beginning when Lucy talked briefly about a homeschool project, there didn't seem to be a lot that the girls did.  They had no hobbies and really no interests.  They have no friends because Margaret got easily jealous.  It talks a bit about why they left public school but I really didn't even know where they lived or what time period they lived in.  I wasn't sure if they lived in the country, in the city, in a small town and I couldn't tell if it was current times or in the past.  The only clue we got to the time period was that there was Google.

I also was not satisfied with the ending.  The description of the "Mother" character was not appealing for me.  I don't want to give anything away but I didn't like what she was.  If she had just been some supernatural being without all the weird appendages then I would have liked it better but that just didn't make any sense to me.   

I thought the whole "Club" thing was not really explained well either.  I am still not sure what the "club" was or what exactly happened.  I know what happened to Clara but it just didn't explain why the grounds were sacred and who exactly the "Mother" was or what her part in all this was.  I was left questioning the point of the men in the "club" and why the men thought the grounds were so important (maybe just for the wealth and prestige??).  

Those were the things that I had some issues with but even with all that, it was a really fast read.  I could not put the book down and wanted to know what was happening and who the voices were.  It was a very creepy book that keeps you guessing until the end.  Just be prepared to be a little confused and have questions that aren't answered.

*Book provided by Around the World ARC Tours for review*


Book Review: Haunted Destiny by Heather Graham

Synopsis (from Goodreads): 

Between the evil and the deep blue sea…

A historic cruise ship, a haunted ship, the Celtic American Line's Destiny, sets sail from the Port of New Orleans—with a killer on board. He's known as the Archangel Killer because of the way he displays his victims in churches. And how he places a different saint's medallion on each body. No one knows exactly who he is or why he's doing this.

Jackson Crow—head of the FBI's Krewe of Hunters, a special unit of paranormal investigators—is assigned to the case, along with local agent Jude McCoy. Then Alexi Cromwell, who works in the ship's piano bar, is drawn into the situation when a victim's ghost appears to her—and to Jude. She and Jude share an attraction, and not just because of their mutual talent.

There are many suspects, but one by one they're ruled out… Or are they? In the end, Jude and Alexi have to rely on each other to catch the killer and escape his evil plans for Alexi.

My Thoughts:

Jude is partnered with Jackson Crow to find the Archangel killer who has just struck in New Orleans.  As Jude and Jackson are looking over the crime scene of the latest victim, Jude notices a suspicious person and the two take off chasing him.  Jude and Jackson end up on the Destiny, a cruise ship, after the follow the man on board.  
Once on the ship, Jude and Jackson meet Alexi, a woman who is in charge of playing piano at the bar and who can conveniently see ghosts.  With Alexi's help, and those of her ghost friends, the agents have to try to figure out who the killer is before anyone else dies.

I have always liked Heather Graham's books.  They are an easy and fun read that you don't have to think a lot about.  You can just enjoy the mystery and romance and of course, the paranormal.  While I enjoyed this book, I wasn't crazy about the cruise ship setting.  There is just something about New Orleans, where most of her other books are set, that adds to the paranormal and creepiness.  This one just didn't have the same intrigue for me.  

I also wasn't crazy about the romance in this one.  Alexi is mourning the loss of her fiance, who died overseas.  It's been a year but she's still having a hard time dealing with his death.  Then Jude shows up and while it is mentioned that Alexi still loves Zach (her deceased fiance) and that she knows he wants her to be happy, it just seemed like she got over his death very quickly all of the sudden.  

There were several suspects on the ship and I wasn't able to predict who the killer would be.  I wasn't surprised at all when the killer was revealed but I hadn't narrowed it down to this exact person.  I would have loved for it to have been someone that totally shocked me and wasn't one of the original suspects.  It would have made the ending a lot more fun for me.

I also wasn't crazy about how almost everyone could see ghosts.  Alexi could see them, Jude and Jackson could see them and then Alexi's friend sees them (even though she doesn't realize she is seeing the dead).  There were just a lot of people that had the "sense" that made it slightly unbelievable to me.

With all that being said, I still enjoyed the book and the paranormal mystery.  It is a fun and light read that will keep your attention.

**Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for allowing me to read and review this book**