Jessica's books

The One and Only Ivan
Pollyanna
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 »

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Book Review: I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh




Synopsis (from Goodreads):

In a split second, Jenna Gray's world descends into a nightmare. Her only hope of moving on is to walk away from everything she knows to start afresh. Desperate to escape, Jenna moves to a remote cottage on the Welsh coast, but she is haunted by her fears, her grief and her memories of a cruel November night that changed her life forever.

Slowly, Jenna begins to glimpse the potential for happiness in her future. But her past is about to catch up with her, and the consequences will be devastating . . .


My Thoughts:

This book has left my mind spinning!  Much like the last book I read, this one has a plot twist that you will absolutely not see coming!  At the end of part one, I had to reread the last paragraph just to make sure I was understanding it because everything I had been thinking I knew about the characters just flew out the window. 

The story starts out with a young mom walking her little boy home from school.  It is raining and she is laughing with her son and keeping a close hold on him until they are across the street from their house.  She lets him go and suddenly her whole life is changed.  A car comes out of nowhere and her child is struck down and killed and the driver of the car just drives away.

DI Ray Stevens takes on the hit and run case with his trainee, Kate.  Ray is dealing with his own issues at home that he would really just like to run away from.  This case gives him a reason to stay away from home and Kate is young and ambitious and reminds Ray why he is doing this job to begin with.

After the accident, Jenna ends up leaving Bristol and heading out to anyplace that will help her hide her memories.  She ends up at the coast in Wales.  She is happy starting fresh but soon her secrets will come out and she will have to deal with her past again.  

I cannot say much more about the plot in this book because I don't want to give anything away.  I loved all the characters but Jenna had some moments for me.  During her talks with Ray and Kate, I sometimes felt that she was weak and wanted to say "just tell them already" but I have never been in her position so I am not sure how I would have handled it either.  Jenna redeems herself at the end when she finds strength that seems to come out of nowhere.  

This book easily kept my attention and was a very fast paced read.  Once you get to the end of part one, the story seems to fly by and I really had a hard time putting the book down.  I figured out what happened towards the end but there were still enough twists that it kept me wanting to finish the book just to see if I was correct in my thinking.  

This is an excellent, fast paced and totally unpredictable psychological thriller.  Make sure  you pick this one up when it comes out and see if you can predict the ending.  

**A HUGE thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for allowing me to read and review this book!**

  

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Teaser Tuesday: I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh

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

Teaser

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!

The grief I feel is so physical it seems impossible that I am still living; that my heart continues to beat when it has been wrenched apart.  I want to fix an image of him in my head, but all I can see when I close my eyes is his body, still and lifeless in my arms.  I let him go, and I will never forgive myself for that.
~page 40 of I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh 

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Book Review: Don't You Cry by Mary Kubica


Synopsis (from Goodreads):
In downtown Chicago, a young woman named Esther Vaughan disappears from her apartment without a trace. A haunting letter addressed to My Dearest is found among her possessions, leaving her friend and roommate Quinn Collins to wonder where Esther is and whether or not she's the person Quinn thought she knew.

Meanwhile, in a small Michigan harbor town an hour outside Chicago, a mysterious woman appears in the quiet coffee shop where eighteen-year-old Alex Gallo works as a dishwasher. He is immediately drawn to her charm and beauty, but what starts as an innocent crush quickly spirals into something far more dark and sinister than he ever expected.

As Quinn searches for answers about Esther, and Alex is drawn further under Pearl's spell, master of suspense Mary Kubica takes readers on a taut and twisted thrill ride that builds to a stunning conclusion and shows that no matter how fast and far we run, the past always catches up with us in the end.

My Thoughts:

I have read both of Kubica's other novels, The Good Girl and Pretty Baby.  I loved The Good Girl but I found the characters in Pretty Baby to be annoying and unrealistic.  I was very interested to see how I was going to like Don't You Cry.  I am pretty sure this book will remain on my top ten best books of 2016 list.  Don't You Cry was so filled with twists and turns and every single time I was sure that I knew what was going on, Kubica would throw in another twist and everything I thought I knew went out the window.  For  me, this book was very unpredictable, I had no idea what was going on until Kubica wanted me to know and it kept me intrigued through the entire story.

The story starts out with Quinn.  Quinn lives in Chicago with her roommate Esther.  Quinn wakes up after a night out to discover that Esther is missing.  Her bedroom window is open, her blankets are on the floor and Esther is gone.  Quinn is sure Esther will return and spends the day waiting for her.  When Esther doesn't return and Quinn finds some disturbing letters and other strange items in Esther's room, she finally starts to really worry.

Then we skip to Alex.  Alex lives in a small town in Michigan, about an hour from Chicago, and works at a local diner.  His mother left his father and him when Alex was  young and Alex's father is nothing but a drunk.  Alex has heard stories about the dilapidated old house across the street from him.  Stories that claim the house to be haunted by a 5 year old girl who drowned in a bathtub while her mother was busy attending to her younger sister.  Alex and his father see strange lights in the house and just figure it is squatters.  Then comes the day when "Pearl" enters the diner that Alex works at.  Pearl fascinates Alex and he takes a great interest in her.

This story is told in alternating views of Quinn and Alex.  You don't have any idea how the stories intertwine until the end (even though you think you might know....you don't).  Quinn works hard to find out what happened to Esther and in return she finds out some horrible things that make her believe Esther actually wants Quinn dead.  Alex gets to know Pearl and then finds that she holds some very dangerous secrets.

This book is fast paced, intriguing, and completely unpredictable.  It hooks you from the very first page and keeps you turning those pages late into the night.  If you want a psychological thriller that you can't put down, get this book when it comes out.  You won't be sorry!

**A huge thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for allowing me to review this book**


Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Teaser Tuesday: Don't You Cry by Mary Kubica

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

Teaser
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!

 Anyone with half a mind would have immediately called the police or ran in the other direction, not trailed her.  But now here I am, hiding in the bushes of an all-but-abandoned cemetery while some wackadoodle unearths a corpse from the ground.

~page 264 of Don't You Cry by Mary Kubica

I am loving this book!  It is so creepy and twisted and completely unpredictable.  I wanted to finish it last week but had a crazy week so I will definitely finish it tonight and write up my review!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Teaser Tuesday: Don't You Cry by Mary Kubica

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

Teaser
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 today comes from an ARC of Don't You Cry by Mary Kubica.  So far, I am really enjoying it!

Every single town in all of America has its own haunted house. 
Ours just so happens to be right across the street from mine.

~page 69-70 of Don't You Cry by Mary Kubica  

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Book Review: What the Dead Want by Norah Olson






Synopsis (from Goodreads): 

16 -year-old Gretchen takes photographs to understand the world around her, a passion her mother Mona fostered and encouraged when she was still around. Since her mom disappeared years ago, Gretchen and her dad have lived on their own in New York City, haunted by Mona’s absence.

When Gretchen’s great aunt Esther calls unexpectedly to tell her that she has inherited the pre-Civil War mansion on her mother’s side of the family in upstate New York, Gretchen understands nothing except that her aunt needs her help. But what she finds there is beyond her imagination. The house is crumbling apart, filled with stacks of papers and journals from decades, even centuries past, and it’s crawling with rodents. It’s also full of secrets and a legacy of racism and violence so reprehensible that the ghosts of the past are exacting revenge on the living.

Somehow the mystery of Mona’s disappearance and the atrocities that happened on the land during the Civil War are inextricably intertwined, and it’s up to Gretchen to figure out how…before even more lives are lost.
 

My Thoughts:

This book was an interesting and quick read for me.  It had a lot of action and mystery so I really didn't want to put it down and while it was a little creepy, it wasn't nearly as creepy as I had hoped.  It had some parts that didn't make sense to me and seemed a bit rushed.  There was a lot thrown at you all at once.  

Gretchen lives in New York with her father, sort of.  Gretchen's mother disappeared and now her father tries to keep himself distracted by traveling all over the world as a doctor.  This leaves Gretchen at home with her mother's best friend, Janine.  

One day, out of the blue, Gretchen receives a phone call from her great-aunt, Esther.  Gretchen has never met Esther and only vaguely remembers hearing about her from her mom.  Esther tells Gretchen that she has inherited the Axton mansion.  Esther asks Gretchen to come out to the mansion and help her with it.  The  next day, Gretchen is on her way.  This is one part that was just slightly odd to me.  Gretchen has never met Esther, never been to the mansion and decides that she will go out there for the entire summer to help this woman.  Janine doesn't seem to find anything odd about it, no one consults the father (although he is some poor village with no working phones).  I just don't know if I would have been so ready to just leave everything with a couple hours notice.  

Once at the mansion, Gretchen realizes that it isn't at all what she had expected.  It was dilapidated and weird things start to happen.  Her aunt is a little eccentric and doesn't seem to mind that the mansion is in such a sad state.  

From this point on, I don't want to say a whole lot more about the story.  Everything seems to happen so fast and then the end felt incredibly rushed.  The author did tie up some loose ends but I still had a few questions that were left unanswered.  There were some slightly creepy parts but nothing like what I was hoping or expecting.  

I had some issues with this book but in the end, I enjoyed the fast pace of it and the slight creep factor.  I would have no problem recommending it to anyone but would let them know not to expect anything like Stephen King or John Saul.  



 


Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Teaser Tuesday: What the Dead Want by Norah Olson

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

Teaser

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!

Gretchen blinked, closed her eyes, shook her head and then opened them again.  They were still there.  One of the girls smiled defiantly and turned her head to the side, like a contortionist in the circus, her vertebrae cracking.
~pg. 89 of What the Dead Want (ARC copy) by Norah Olson