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 »

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

An exciting new journey!

My family and I have decided to embark on a new adventure!  One we have felt the call to do for awhile now but have finally decided that it is time. 

We are adopting a child from Ethiopia!  We are so excited and we are sharing this news with friends and family alike and while we have received a lot of support and excitement, we have also run into a lot of resistance.  I am hoping this is because it has come for a shock to some of our friends and family and let's face it, the cost is not exactly cheap but how do you put a price on a child's life?  We are determine to scrimp, save and work hard for what we want. 

The point of this post is to tell you that I have a new blog that will tell our story.  You can follow our story here: if you want. 

In the meantime, forgive me if I am not reviewing as many books as I am going to be busy with home studies and dossiers!  I will do my best to keep up though.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Book Review: Breadcrumbs by Anna Ursu


Synopsis (from Goodreads):  
Once upon a time, Hazel and Jack were best friends. They had been best friends since they were six, spending hot Minneapolis summers and cold Minneapolis winters together, dreaming of Hogwarts and Oz, superheroes and baseball. Now that they were eleven, it was weird for a boy and a girl to be best friends. But they couldn't help it - Hazel and Jack fit, in that way you only read about in books. And they didn't fit anywhere else.

And then, one day, it was over. Jack just stopped talking to Hazel. And while her mom tried to tell her that this sometimes happens to boys and girls at this age, Hazel had read enough stories to know that it's never that simple. And it turns out, she was right. Jack's heart had been frozen, and he was taken into the woods by a woman dressed in white to live in a palace made of ice. Now, it's up to Hazel to venture into the woods after him. Hazel finds, however, that these woods are nothing like what she's read about, and the Jack that Hazel went in to save isn't the same Jack that will emerge. Or even the same Hazel.

Inspired by Hans Christian Andersen's "The Snow Queen," Breadcrumbs is a story of the struggle to hold on, and the things we leave behind.

My Thoughts:  Hazel was adopted as a baby from India and now her parents are separated.  She is attending a new school and has only one friend, Jack.  Jack's mom suffers from depression and Jack feels guilty for this.  Jack and Hazel are close and to escape from their harsh realities they make up fun fantasy worlds. 

However, Jack suddenly changes and distances himself from Hazel and Hazel can't understand why.  She won't accept her mother's explanation that sometimes these things just happen and sometimes people just grow apart, especially after Jack disappears. 

Hazel follows Jack to the land of between and finds him in the Ice Queen's frozen castle.  Now Hazel just has to save Jack!

I loved how Hazel was so brave and smart!  She was an avid reader and of course, I thought that was awesome too!  She was a fun character and I liked how she believed in her fantasies even if it meant that she was "weird".

Hazel encountered a lot of fairy tale characters and creatures.  She ends up in a flower garden where the flowers talk (Alice in Wonderland), the fate sisters and of course lots of wolves.  Her adventure in Between was a lot like Alice's adventure in Wonderland and I thoroughly enjoyed that! 

I really enjoyed this book and I think I will certainly go out and buy it to read to my kids.  It was so good that I finished it in 2 days and I loved every minute of it!  The only complaint I had was that the ending seemed slightly rushed.  Other than that, I thought it was awesome!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Book Review: Heart of Evil by Heather Graham

Heart of Evil (Krewe of Hunters, #2)

**I received an ARC of this book from Harlequin publisher via Netgalley. I was not compensated in any ways for this review. **

Synopsis (from Goodreads):  Emerging from the bayou like an apparition, Donegal Plantation is known for its unsurpassed dining, captivating atmosphere, haunting legends…and now a corpse swinging from the marble angel that marks its cemetery’s most majestic vault. A corpse discovered in nearly the same situation as that of Marshall Donegal, the patriarch killed in a skirmish just before the Civil War. Desperate for help traditional criminologists could never provide, plantation heiress Ashley Donegal turns to an elite team of paranormal investigators who blend hard forensics with rare – often inexplicable – intuition. Among them is Jake Mallory, a gifted New Orleans musician with talent that stretches beyond the realm of the physical, and a few dark ghosts of his own. The evil the team unveils has the power to shake the plantation to its very core. Jake and Ashley are forced to risk everything to unravel secrets that will not stay buried – even in death…

My Thoughts:  Heart of Evil is the second book in the Krewe of Hunters series (trilogy?) but this one focuses on Jake.  The "Krewe" consists of the same characters so we get to know each of them a little more but the main focus is on Jake and Ashley.

I've said it before and I'll say it again....I love Heather Graham!  I think there has only been one book of hers that fell flat for me.  I enjoyed Heart of Evil immensely!  It has the perfect blend of ghost story, romance and history.  And best of all (in my opinion), it takes place in New Orleans on a beautiful old plantation.  How can you go wrong?

There is a lot of history in the Donegal's past.  Every year they do a reenactment of Marshall Donegal's fight with the Yankees and his death.  This year however, the man portraying Marshall Donegal goes missing after the reenactment.  Ashley knows something is wrong but the police won't take her seriously since he hasn't been missing for 48 hours. 

Adam Harrison just happens to be friends with Ashley's grandfather, Frazier and so he sends his "krewe of hunters" down to see what is up.  Jake has known Ashley all his life and even had a brief romance with her that ended on a slightly sour note.  This doesn't stop him from heading down early and it's a good thing too since Ashley finds the body of the man portraying Marshall Donegal in her family's cemetery!  From there the mystery gets more intense and add that with the sweet romance between Jake and Ashley and the ghosts that show up and you have a fun, fast-paced book!

I liked Ashley's character a lot.  She wasn't weak or whiny at all.  She got things done and everyone listened to her.  Of course, she was beautiful and smart.  She also wasn't too horribly in "I'm going to go down to the basement in the dark, by myself, knowing there is a killer down there because I can" kind of stupid.  She accepted help when she needed it and even during the climax of the story, she tried to be as smart as possible while being as safe as possible (sorry...this is confusing but I don't want to give anything away).

Jake is your typical hot, strong, studdly FBI agent.  But I say that in a good way!  He is protective of Ashley but only one time towards the end did he get overly protective where I thought "really?".  Otherwise he was pretty mellow.  I loved that his and Ashley's romance wasn't over the top and while it was present in the story, it wasn't too much.

The ending kept me guessing and this is what I love about Graham.  I was never able to guess who the villain was.  As soon as I thought it was someone a twist was thrown in and I would think it was someone else.  Turns out that I never did get it right and I was surprised at the end to find out who it was.

If you like a little bit of romance, some ghosts and history about the Civil War, this book is for you!  It was an easy read, kept me interested and on edge the entire time and was a complete surprise at the end.  I can't wait to start the next book in the series!

Book Review: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Shatter Me

**Received this book from Around the World ARC Tours for review**

Synopsis (from Goodreads):  Juliette hasn't touched anyone in exactly 264 days.

The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette's touch is fatal. As long as she doesn't hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don't fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war-- and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she's exactly what they need right now.

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.

In this electrifying debut, Tahereh Mafi presents a world as riveting as The Hunger Games and a superhero story as thrilling as The X-Men. Full of pulse-pounding romance, intoxicating villainy, and high-stakes choices, Shatter Me is a fresh and original dystopian novel—with a paranormal twist—that will leave readers anxiously awaiting its sequel.

My Thoughts:  Juliette has been in a prison cell for 263 days for having a powerful ability that she is not able to keep in check.  She hasn't talked to or touched anyone in those 263 days.  All that changes when she gets a new cellmate, Adam.

I wasn't sure about the strike-out thoughts that Juliette was having.  I just kinda found it annoying but if it isn't distracting to you, great!  I just personally found it slightly obnoxious.  I see the reason for it (it makes Juliette seem crazy for sure) but I just didn't really care for it.  It will go away so if it does annoy you like it did me keep going!  It will slow down.

Juliette was a confusing character for me.  She was pathetic, weak and crazy one minute and the next she is strong and threatening.  She spends a few hours in a room filled with guns and she's totally okay with them after that.  I mean, I've spent years with guns in my house (my hubby's a police officer) and I am certainly not comfortable with them but hey...whatever.  I can't stand how she is totally dependent on Adam either.  Seriously annoying.

Adam is good looking, there is no denying that.  In fact, he's downright hot but it's only on the outside.  His personality never really came out.  He was boring, in all honesty.  The relationship between Juliette and Adam had steam factor for sure but that is about the only good thing about their relationship.

Warner, the leader of the Reestablishment, is the other character that just fell flat for me.  He is totally obsessed with Juliette and really wants Juliette to want him and be his but alas, she has fallen madly in love with Adam.  However, there is just no depth to Warner for me.  He is just your typical evil villain, nothing more, nothing less.

The other annoying how EVERY guy that Juliette met fell in love with her.  If we could all only live in a world like that huh?  

So, I know I probably sound like I hated the book but I didn't hate it.  I just didn't like it.  I did not find it convincing at all and it just fell flat.  I know I am in the minority here as I have read a lot of good reviews before I picked it up so you should check it our for yourself.  Just maybe get it from the library.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Book Review: Dreaming Awake by Gwen Hayes

Dreaming Awake (Falling Under, #2)

Publish Date:  January 3, 2012

Synopsis (from Goodreads):  She fell for him in a nighttime world. But the time for dreaming is past—and the here-and-now can be just as fragile their love…

When Theia Alderson first encountered a mysterious, handsome boy in her dreams, she never imagined how finding Haden Black—and falling in love—could change her life. To save Haden, Theia sacrificed everything. And the dangerous bargain she made could have lasting repercussions.

Now Theia has returned to Serendipity Falls, and she finds herself struggling with the same deadly hungers that have tortured Haden. When students at their high school fall prey to a mysterious illness, Theia can’t help but wonder if Haden’s control is slipping—and how much longer she’ll have a grip on her own.

And still the nightmare realm of Under won’t let them go. Someone from Haden’s past is determined to destroy Theia from the inside out, starting with those closest to her, forcing Theia to choose between family and friends and a love that may have been doomed from the start…

My Thoughts:  I don't think I have ever said this before (I could be wrong but don't think so) but I totally loved this book more than the first one!  I really enjoyed Falling Under but this one was amazing!

Theia has been recalled by her friends and is back in her world. All of Theia's friends are back and are helping her keep her demon side in check while also trying to fight Mara, the Mare Demon.  Haden is back as well and while Theia and Haden's relationship is heating up, he is keeping a secret from Theia.  Add that to the fact that something or someone is feeding off Theia's classmates and Theia has a whole lot of problems to solve!

I still love Theia as a main character.  She is much stronger and independent in this one than she was in Falling Under.  I love that her romance with Haden, while heating up, doesn't take over the story at all.  She is very bossy when she needs to be and stands up for what she wants and believes in.

I love, love, love Varnie!  He has got to be my favorite character and the only complaint that I have is what happens to him in this book but I will say no more since I don't want to ruin it for anyone.  However, he is just as fun and interesting as he was in the first book.  I just love his way of thinking and how devoted he is to Amelia. 

Amelia and Donny have got to be the best friends ever!  They not only bring Theia back from Under but they stick by her and make sure that her demon side doesn't show.  They help her fight Mara and even go to Under with her.  They are seriously amazing friends.  Donny is still as snarky as ever and I love that about her. 

This book was filled with way more action than the first.  The characters grew and I loved that Amelia and Donny were more involved in this story and the ending left me hanging just enough to want more but not enough to irritate me. 

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

Monday, November 14, 2011

Book Review: Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan

Glow (Sky Chasers, #1)

Synopsis (from Goodreads):  What if you were bound for a new world, about to pledge your life to someone you'd been promised to since birth, and one unexpected violent attack made survival—not love—the issue?

Out in the murky nebula lurks an unseen enemy: the New Horizon. On its way to populate a distant planet in the wake of Earth's collapse, the ship's crew has been unable to conceive a generation to continue its mission. They need young girls desperately, or their zealous leader's efforts will fail. Onboard their sister ship, the Empyrean, the unsuspecting families don't know an attack is being mounted that could claim the most important among them...
Fifteen-year-old Waverly is part of the first generation to be successfully conceived in deep space; she was born on the Empyrean, and the large farming vessel is all she knows. Her concerns are those of any teenager—until Kieran Alden proposes to her. The handsome captain-to-be has everything Waverly could ever want in a husband, and with the pressure to start having children, everyone is sure he's the best choice. Except for Waverly, who wants more from life than marriage—and is secretly intrigued by the shy, darkly brilliant Seth.

But when the Empyrean faces sudden attack by their assumed allies, they quickly find out that the enemies aren't all from the outside.

My Thoughts:  I didn't love this book however I didn't absolutely hate it either.  Would I read it again?  Not a chance.  I'm not quite sure how to write this review so there's your warning.

Keiran and Waverly are your typical teens in love.  Well, except that they are on a spaceship heading towards a new earth so they can help repopulate it.  However, before the Empyrean can reach the new earth, the New Horizon, a sister ship to the Empyrean, overtakes it and kidnaps all the girls after they get rid of all the adults.

There were a lot of parts in this story that were just unbelievable and didn't flow well for me.  I mean, for instance, why did all the adults tell the kids to hide and yet not one adult stayed with them or hid themselves.  I am all for courageous people here but c'mon...we all know that there would have been at lease one or two cowards hiding not to mention the fact that at least one adult should have stayed to protect the children.  It was just a little off to me.

The book also started off slow for me.  It took me quite awhile to get into it despite the action when the New Horizon overtook the Empyrean.  After the slow start, the book turned extremely dark.  I mean, really dark, in my opinion.  You've got sexual violence, people being drugged, surgeries without consent and of course, murder. 

So, I didn't care for this book but that's not to say you won't.  I just suggest maybe getting it from the library or borrowing it from a friend first.  I really thought I was going to enjoy it but was disappointed all the way around. 

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Book Review: Treasure by Christine Nolfi

Treasure Me

Synopsis (from Goodreads):  Petty thief Birdie Kaminsky has arrived in Liberty, Ohio to steal a treasure hidden since the Civil War. She’s in possession of a charming clue passed down in her family for generations: Liberty safeguards the cherished heart.

The beautiful thief wants to go straight. She secretly admires the clue’s author, freedwoman Justice Postell, who rose above the horrors of slavery to build a new life in Ohio. According to family lore, Justice left South Carolina at the dawn of the Civil War. Heavy with child, she carried untold riches on her journey north. As Birdie searches for the treasure, she begins to believe a questionable part of the story: a tale of love between Justice and Lucas Postell, the French plantation owner who was Birdie’s ancestor.

If the stories are true, Justice bore a child with Lucas. Some of those black relatives might still live in town. Birdie can’t help but wonder if she’s found one—Liberty’s feisty matriarch, Theodora Hendricks, who packs a pistol and heartwarming stories about Justice. Birdie doesn’t know that an investigative reporter who has arrived in town will trip her up—as will her conscience when she begins to wonder if it’s possible to start a new life with stolen riches. Yet with each new clue she unearths, Birdie begins to discover a family history more precious than gems, a tradition of love richer than she could imagine.

My Thoughts:  I really enjoyed this feel-good story!  It was a fast and easy read and kept me entertained the entire book!

Birdie is a thief and is searching for a family treasure.  She meets Hugh, a reporter while trying to find the family heirloom in Ohio.  They must share the only rental in town and so Birdie has a hard time hiding her secrets.

I loved Birdie's character!  She was sassy and really just wanted to have a normal a.k.a. legal life. I loved reading about how Birdie was beginning to learn to trust people and trying to make amends for the life she led.  Birdie is really a good person and wants to show people that side of herself.

I wasn't crazy about Hugh right away.  He was so confusing with first warming up to Birdie and then being angry with her but I guess that's what helped provide the tension in their relationship. 

My favorite characters were the ladies from the Second Chance Grill.  Theodora was so much fun and fiesty! I loved that she carried a pistol around with her and she really wasn't afraid of anything!  They kept me entertained and I want to read more about them for sure! 

I thought the mystery and all the history in the book was amazing!  It kept me guessing and was completely entertaining the entire book!

This book captivates you from the beginning and you fall in love with each and every character and the town of Liberty.  It is a fast and easy read that makes you feel good when you finish it.  I think this would make a great Christmas present for those who love mysteries and chick lit!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Happy Haulidays from Chronicle Books Giveaway!

Chronicle Books is having their 2nd annual Happy Haulidays giveaway!  They are so generous giving up to $500 worth of their books for you, a friend and best of all, your favorite charity!

I had so much fun going through their books and chosing what I would pick.  I homeschool my 3 young children so it is so important that we have a good library to read from.  These are some of the books I would chose:

Eye-Popping 3-D Bugs by Barry Rothstein and Betsy Rothstein
Ivy & Bean Boxed Set by Annie Barrows
The Story of Snow by Mark Cassino with Jon Nelson, Ph.D
The Whitby Witches by Robin Jarvis
Vincent's Colors by Vincent Van Gogh, published by MoMA
The Nutcracker by Michael Hague
Over & Under the Snow by Kate Messner
One Love by Bob Marley
Twelve Dancing Princesses by Brigette Barrager
The World Almanac for Kids for Kindergarten, 1st & 2nd Grades (3 seperate books) by Molly Smith,Christine Economo and Lynn Brunelle
The First Christmas an Angel Came to Nazareth by Anthony Knott
Sylvia Long's Thumbelina by Sylvia Long

and I am sure there are many more!  This would be an awesome giveaway to win for the Holidays!  If I won I would choose Doernbecher's Children's Hospital as my charity.  I would love to give those children new books to read while they deal with their illness.  And remember, if I win I get to choose one lucky commenter on this post to receive the same haul of books!  Don't miss out on this one guys!


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Book Review: Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon

Carrier of the Mark

Synopsis (from Goodreads):  
Their love was meant to be.
When Megan Rosenberg moves to Ireland, everything in her life seems to fall into place. After growing up in America, she's surprised to find herself feeling at home in her new school. She connects with a group of friends, and she is instantly drawn to darkly handsome Adam DeRÍs.
But Megan is about to discover that her feelings for Adam are tied to a fate that was sealed long ago—and that the passion and power that brought them together could be their ultimate destruction.

My Thoughts:  This book started out good for me.  Sadly, after the third or forth chapter, it went downhill quickly.  As soon as Megan meets Adam, it gets really corny.  It is also SO similar to Twilight! could be a Twilight remake in Ireland. 

Megan and her dad move to Ireland after her dad takes a job at a yacht club.  Megan immediatley makes friends with Caitlin and Jennifer.  However, she notices the mysterious Adam DeRis and can't get him out of her mind despite her friends telling her that the DeRis family is slightly odd and that they don't mix with the other kids (sound familiar?). 

On the way to a Halloween party, Megan is attacked and Adam comes to her rescue.  From that moment on, they are madly in love and nothing is going to tear them apart.  Seriously?  When I saw my husband for the first time, I told my bff

Megan is taken to meet Adam's family (consisting of an adoptive father, a brother and a sister) who immediatley tell her that they are "marked" and so is she.  They have powers over the elements and guess what?  So does she!  Now, instead of being slightly freaked out or unbelieving, Megan jumps into this and accepts this news with wide open arms.  She is anxious to start practicing right away.  I personally found the history behind the Marked, Royal Bloodlines, etc. to be slightly confusing.  There were several things that were not very clear to me.

Adam and his family then take Megan to meet some members of the Order (again, sound familiar?) and Megan and Adam are given some bad news.  Once they get back to Kinsale, things go back to normal except for the tracker.  Yep, a tracker! 

The whole tracker/kidnapping/element thing did not go over well for me.  It just didn't mesh at all.  I felt it was rushed, not explained very well and just not well thought out. 

So, this book did not go over to well for me, sadly.  I have read some other great reviews so by no means take my word for it.  Read it for yourself and see what you think.  However, just be prepared for the many similarities to Twilight!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Book Review: You Are My Only by Beth Kephart

You Are My Only

Synopsis (from Goodreads):  Emmy Rane is married at nineteen, a mother by twenty. Trapped in a life with a husband she no longer loves, Baby is her only joy. Then one sunny day in September, Emmy takes a few fateful steps away from her baby and returns to find her missing. All that is left behind is a yellow sock.
Fourteen years later, Sophie, a homeschooled, reclusive teenage girl is forced to move frequently and abruptly from place to place, perpetually running from what her mother calls the "No Good." One afternoon, Sophie breaks the rules, ventures out, and meets Joey and his two aunts. It is this loving family that gives Sophie the courage to look into her past. What she discovers changes her world forever. . . .
The riveting stories of Emmy and Sophie—alternating narratives of loss, imprisonment, and freedom regained—escalate with breathless suspense toward an unforgettable climax.

My Thoughts:  I started this book the other night only planning to read the first chapter.  I read the first 150 pages instead.  I could not put this book down!  I wasn't even sure after the first chapter that I would like it but something kept pulling at me to keep reading and by the second chapter, I was completely engrossed in the story.

Sophie is fourteen.  She lives with her mom in a rental house.  She is homeschooled and isn't allowed to leave the house for fear of the "no goods".  One day, while Sophie's mom is at work, Sophie watches the boy next door out of the attic window.  Soon, she is outside playing catch with him.

The next day, while her mom is at work, Sophie meets Joey's two aunts.  I loved the aunts!  For some strange reason (and seriously, I have no clue why except for their physical appearance) they reminded me of the aunts in James and the Giant Peach.  They were not mean or magical but one was tall and thin and one was short and round.  I loved their love for each other, their love and sacrifices for Joey and their interest in Sophie. 

Sophie continues to visit Joey and the aunts and one day, she gets up the courage to go to the basement and go through her mother's "personals".  Two cardboard boxes that are taped up and moved from house to house hold the secrets to Sophie's whole life.  Those two boxes will change Sophie's life in ways she never expected.

Meanwhile, we are taken back in time to Emmy.  Emmy was a young mother in a loveless marriage.  The only thing Emmy lived for was Baby.  Until the day when Emmy ran inside for just a moment and came back out to find Baby gone.  As I followed her on her search for Baby, I connected with her.  I felt her panic and heartbreak when she found Baby missing.  I felt her helplessness when she was put into the hospital and I felt her pain when she lost one of the only people close to her.

I loved how the story went back and forth between Emmy and Sophie.  It kept the reading fast and interesting and you were able to piece together the different stories easily.  There was absolutely no confusion.

I really loved this book!  The writing was beautiful and the descriptions were vivid.  The characters were very well developed and you couldn't help but connect to each and every one of them.  You won't be able to put the book down because you will have to find out what happens next.  It was amazing!

Book Review: Before the Last All Cleary by Ray Evans

Before the Last All Clear: Memories of a Man Still Haunted by the Cruelties He Endured

Synopsis (from Goodreads):  
Some recall it as the greatest adventure of their lives. For others, being a wartime evacuee was a nightmare. These are the witty yet deeply poignant memories of a man still haunted by the cruelties he endured. During World War II, around three and a half million British children were evacuated away from possible air raids in the big cities in one of the largest social upheavals Great Britain has ever seen. One of those children was Ray Evans. This is the story of a young evacuee from Liverpool sent to live in the Welsh town of Llanelli. Separated from his mother, brothers and sisters, six-year old Ray was dispatched to a series of families who ignored, exploited and brutalised him. Pushed from pillar to post, he finally finds happiness with a family who make him so welcome that he is reluctant to leave when war ends. Set in a world of ration books, air-raid sirens and ever-present danger, this is a candid and direct account of wartime Britain as seen through the eyes of a child.

My Thoughts:  This was one of those books that you should definitely read!  It is not a "feel-good" book but it is a worthy read for sure.  To see this time through the eyes of a child is eye-opening.  I have a 6-year-old so this one hit me a little harder and I imagine my little one going through this.  Get the box of kleenex and spend some time with this book!

At the age of 6, Ray was evacuated out of Liverpool to South Wales, along with his 9 siblings.  The siblings were split up (boys with boys and girls with girls).  Ray and his brother Frank were sent to live with Mrs. Jones, who was very strict and not very loving. 

The stories were told in the fashion of a grandfather telling his grandchildren his memories.  The flashbacks were not always in order but then, when telling old stories, when are they?  I did not find it confusing and actually liked it.  The memories weren't all sad and hard to read about.  There are some fun memories as well which help to break up the hard memories.

I learned a lot from this book as well.  I honestly never really knew a lot about the evacuation of the children in Britain.  To see it through the eyes of a child was heartbreaking but again, it was a must read!  If you like history, want to know more about WWII, this book is for you!

Book Review: Awake at Dawn by C.C. Hunter

Awake at Dawn (Shadow Falls, #2)

Synopsis (from Goodreads):  
Now that she’s settled in at Shadow Falls Camp, Kylie Galen’s determined to discover the extent of her supernatural abilities.  But with a ghost insisting someone Kylie loves is about die, a rogue vampire on a murdering rampage, and her sixth sense telling her someone is watching her, Kylie’s quest for answers is quickly put on hold. 
To make matters worse, just when she’s about to give her heart to Derek, a half-fairy, he starts pulling away.  When Lucas, a werewolf with whom Kylie shares a secret past, returns, Kylie’s feels more conflicted than ever. Her weekend with her mom should have been the just the break Kylie needs, but it turns out to be her breaking point.  Someone from the dark side of the supernatural world has plans for Kylie--and it'll take all her resources to get back to Shadow Falls alive...

My Thoughts:  Awake at Dawn picks up right where Born at Midnight left off.  There was no "6 months later" which I appreciated.  For me personally, it took a little while to get into the book but I think it was because it had been so long since I'd read the first one so I was trying to remember it all! 

Kylie is still at Shadow Falls Camp.  Her roommates, Della and Miranda are still her friends and she is still having feelings for Derek.  However, she is also still dreaming of Lucas...good dreams.  So she is trying to figure out all this as well as trying to figure out what, exactly, she is.  She is still a strong character and I liked her just as much as I did in the first book.  She has a very sarcastic attitude that I love! 

Della and Miranda are also some of my favorite characters in this book.  Della is still angry at her parents and at becoming a vampire but she is so fun too.  She really has a sarcastic and snippy attitude that kept me laughing throughout the book.  Miranda is sweet and I felt her pain when she was going through her issue ( spoilers here!).  I thought they were great friends for Kylie and were honestly always there for her...even when she thought they wouldn't be. 

Derek and Lucas are still up in the air for me.  I think Derek is a hottie and so sweet and I think him and Kylie would make a cute couple but Lucas is dangerous and passionate.  So, I like them both but haven't decided who I want Kylie to be with yet. 

I love the tension between Burnett and Holiday!  I think Holiday is probably my favorite character besides Kylie.  She is the big sister Kylie never had and even when she was disappointed in Kylie, she was still loyal and there for her.  Burnett is a great match for Holiday and he is stubborn so I think if they get into a romantic relationship it will be fun to read about!

I enjoyed how we are still trying to find out what Kylie is.  It kept me interested throughout the book plus the mystery of who was killing girls in town.  By page 100, I couldn't put the book down at all!  I wanted to continue to find out what was going on and I was kept on the edge of my seat.

So, while I had a little bit of a hard time getting started, I certainly did not have a hard time finishing it!  It was fast-paced, mysterious and suspensful!  It was a great sequel to Born at Midnight and I am anxiously awaiting for the third book!