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 »

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday: 2/1/12

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week my WoW is:

Girl of Nightmares (Anna, #2)From Goodreads:
In this follow-up to Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas begins seeing Anna everywhere: sometimes when he’s asleep, and sometimes in waking nightmares. But something is very wrong. These aren’t just daydreams. Anna seems tortured, torn apart in new and ever more gruesome ways every time she appears.

Cas doesn’t know what happened to Anna when she disappeared into Hell, but he knows she doesn’t deserve whatever is happening to her now. Anna saved Cas more than once, and it’s time for him to return the favor

I LOVED Anna Dressed in Blood!  It was one of my top ten reads of 2011!  I cannot wait to get my hands on this one!  Too bad I have to wait until August :(
What are you waiting for??

Monday, January 30, 2012

Teaser Tuesday: January 31, 2012: Bloodrose by Andrea Cremer

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. 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!

Bloodrose (Nightshade, #3)

The cenote amplified sound, transforming the fluttering of wings into a rush of wind.
It was too late when I understood he'd said, "Get back in the water.  Now!"
~Page 199 of Bloodrose by Andrea Cremer
*Quote taken from ARC and subject to change* 

Book Review: A Million Suns by Beth Revis

A Million Suns (Across the Universe, #2) 

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

Synopsis (from Goodreads):  Godspeed was fueled by lies. Now it is ruled by chaos. It's been three months since Amy was unplugged. The life she always knew is over. And everywhere she looks, she sees the walls of the spaceship Godspeed. But there may just be hope: Elder has assumed leadership of the ship. He's finally free to enact his vision - no more Phydus, no more lies.
But when Elder discovers shocking news about the ship, he and Amy race to discover the truth behind life on Godspeed. They must work together to unlock a puzzle that was set in motion hundreds of years earlier, unable to fight the romance that's growing between them and the chaos that threatens to tear them apart.
In book two of the Across the Universe trilogy, New York Times bestselling author Beth Revis mesmerizes us again with a brilliantly crafted mystery filled with action, suspense, romance, and deep philosophical questions. And this time it all builds to one mind-bending conclusion: They have to get off this ship.

My Thoughts:  I was so excited the other day because I had (literally) just finished Across the Universe and my awesome mailman brought me this one!  I would have finished it the next day but my kids think they need to do school, eat and take baths.  Silly kids!

If you have not read Across the Universe, stop reading this now and go to your library or closest book store, get it and read it!  Okay, just kidding but if you haven't read it, stop reading here as this review will have some spoilers for Across the Universe.

A Million Suns begins right after Across the Universe ends.  Eldest is dead and now Elder is trying to lead the ship without Phydus, the drug that kept all the feeders obedient and "empty".  Now the feeders are starting to think for themselves and they are thinking that they don't like to be lead by Elder.  Elder is fighting to keep control and it isn't working out too well.  Especially when someone starts to kill people on ship.

I have to be honest here and say that (while I loved this book) Amy really started to annoy me at times.  She was so sure that Elder needed to rule the ship without Phydus and yet couldn't help him at all.  I could see where Phydus would be a good thing to have and use, especially when things started to get out of control.  Then, towards the end, Elder makes a decision that Amy doesn't like at all and she freaks out!  It's like she wants to control Elder but luckily he sticks to his guns.  I also don't like how she continues to push Elder away and then pull him close only to push him away again.

I really liked how Elder started to come into his own in this book.  He had to deal with some serious issues here and when faced with all the challenges, he pulled through.  He really became a leader towards the end and I enjoyed watching that. 

I loved how Orion, while being still being frozen, was still extremely involved in this book.  Orion has left clues all over the ship for Amy.  The clues lead to what Eldest's biggest secret was.  Orion was very clever in how he left the clues and it was fun trying to figure them out.

I both loved and hated Bartie.  It really seemed like he just wanted to cause trouble for trouble's sake.  Some of his arguments didn't really make sense and if the feeders were thinking rationally they would have figured that out (I can't say what I want to here due to no spoilers so you will just have to read it and see if you agree with me).  Anyways, for Bartie's argument to be true, he would be dead too.  But, at the end, I thought Bartie really came around and I liked his character again.

While I did figure out who the villain was in this book rather quickly, it was still riveting!  I had no idea what Eldest's secret was and I sped through the book dying to find out!  The end of the book leaves you literally begging for more!  I cannot wait to find out what happens next to Amy and Elder and to Bartie. 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Friday 56: 1/27/12

The Friday 56 is hosted by Freda over at Freda's Voice.  Go check it out!

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56.
*Find any sentence that grabs you.
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post in Linky on Freda's site. Add the post url, not your blog url.

It's that simple.
 "And if he couldn't save me then, how can he save me now?" ~pg. 56 of A Million Suns by Beth Revis.
**quote from an ARC and subject to change**

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Book Review: Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Across the Universe (Across the Universe, #1) 

Synopsis (from Goodreads):  Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.

Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone - one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship - tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn't do something soon, her parents will be next.

Now, Amy must race to unlock Godspeed's hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there's only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming.
My Thoughts:  
This was one of those books that I had heard so much about when it first came out.  I bought it right away and there it has sat, unopened, on my bookshelf.  Then an ARC tour came out for A Million Suns and I signed up for it thinking I had read this one.  Once I saw it was still unwrapped, I hurried to read it.  I think this is great motivation to getting my own books read!  
Amy and her parents are frozen before being put aboard The Godspeed, a spaceship destined for Centauri-Earth.  They are suppose to be frozen for 300 years, the length of time it takes to get  to Centauri-Earth.  Too bad for Amy when she is unfrozen 50 years early!  Now she must learn to live aboard a spaceship filled with "empty" people, genetically altered livestock, crops and food and only two friends, Elder and Harley.  Together these three must find out the secrets Eldest is hiding and why certain "frozens" are being targeted.  

This book started out a little slow for me.  The first couple chapters were about Elder, Eldest and the ship and while they helped with background information, it just went a tad slow.  After Amy wakes up, things start to speed up and by the end I could hardly put it down!

I really liked Amy.  She didn't feel sorry for herself even though she was in a bad situation.  She stayed strong even through some terrifying ordeals and was extremely smart.  I loved how she stood up to Doc and Eldest and refused to be controlled by Eldest.  Her relationship with Harley was sweet and I enjoyed how her relationship with Elder grew.  

I thought Elder was a great character too.  He has grown up knowing only what Eldest and Doc have wanted him to know yet he is suppose to take over the ship someday.  He follows Eldest's instructions until Amy is unfrozen and then he becomes a person of his own.  He really starts to see what is happening and stands up to Eldest.  I think Elder really cares for the people on the ship.  

Harley was by far my favorite character!  Labeled as "crazy" by Eldest and Doc, he is a resident of the hospital where Amy is staying.  Harley is an artist and he is so smart!  He has experienced a tragic loss earlier and his heart is still broken but he is a great friend for Amy.  

I loved the ending of this book!  It was full of action and it left me wanting to know more!  Despite the slow start, I am very glad I read this book!  

Waiting on Wednesday: 1/26/12

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.
The Golden Lily

My WoW this week is The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead.  I loved Bloodlines (first in this new series) and The Vampire Academy series so I know I am going to love this one as well! 

Publisher:  Razorbill
Publish Date:  June 19, 2012

Goodreads SynopsisTough, brainy alchemist Sydney Sage and doe-eyed Moroi princess Jill Dragomir are in hiding at a human boarding school in the sunny, glamorous world of Palm Springs, California. The students—children of the wealthy and powerful—carry on with their lives in blissful ignorance, while Sydney, Jill, Eddie and Adrian must do everything in their power to keep their secret safe. But with forbidden romances, unexpected spirit bonds, and the threat of Strigoi moving ever closer, hiding the truth is harder than anyone thought.

What book are you waiting for?  

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Top 10 Most Anticipated Books of 2012

This week's Top Ten Tuesday topic is a freebie...meaning YOU pick whatever topic your heart desires! Did you miss a topic you wanted to participate in or have a really specific topic that will probably never be a general Top Ten Tuesday topic? This week is for YOU!

I chose to go with the Top 10 books I am excited to read in 2012!

1.  Diva by Jillian Larkin
I love this series and love anything to do with Flappers!  I cannot wait to get this on in my hands!
Diva (Flappers, #3)

2.  The Selection by Kiera Cass
If the cover alone doesn't make you want to read it, the blurb on Goodreads should!  This one sounds amazing!

The Selection (The Selection, #1)

3.  Bloodrose by Andrea Cremer
Another series that I love!  Can't wait to see what happens with Calla, Shay and Ren!
Bloodrose (Nightshade, #3)

4.  The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead
I loved Vampire Academy and really enjoyed Bloodlines.
The Golden Lily

5.  The Lucky Ones (Bright Young Things #3) by Anna Godbersen
I like anything by Godbersen but again, I love Flappers so this series is a must!
The Lucky Ones (Bright Young Things, #3)

6.  Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake
Anna Dressed in Blood was probably one of my favorite books of 2011!  I seriously cannot wait to read this one!
Girl of Nightmares (Anna, #2)

7.  A Million Suns by Beth Revis
I am actually reading Across the Universe right now and loving it.  I am on an ARC tour of A Million Suns so I'm totally excited to be reading it soon!
A Million Suns (Across the Universe, #2)

8.  Enchanted by Alethea Kontis
I love fairytale retellings and this is a retelling of The Frog Prince.

9.  The Gathering Storm by Robin Bridges
Ooh, this book sounds so good and I have read a lot of good things about it!  Can't wait to get my hands on it!
The Gathering Storm (The Katerina Trilogy, #1)

10.  What She Left Behind by Tracy Bilen
This one just sounds really good! I love a good mystery!
What She Left Behind

So, that's my Top Ten most anticipated books for 2012.  What 
are  yours?

Teaser Tuesday: January 24, 2012: Across the Universe

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. 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!

Across the Universe (Across the Universe, #1) 

Across the Universe by Beth Revis

"I didn't know him."  Amy sounds relieved.  It is only then that I realize she was afraid it was one of her parents floating dead amongst the stars.

~Page 163 

Monday, January 23, 2012

Book Review: The Springsweet by Saundra Mitchell

The Springsweet (The Vespertine, #2)
**Received book from Around the World ARC Tours for review**

Synopsis (from Goodreads):  It’s a long way from Baltimore to Oklahoma Territory. But Zora Stewart will go any distance to put the tragic events of her sixteenth summer behind her. So this city girl heads to the tiny frontier town of West Glory to help her young widowed aunt keep her homestead going.
When another Baltimorean shows up in West Glory, Zora couldn’t be more surprised. Theo de la Croix made the long trip out west hoping to court Zora, whom he has long admired from afar.
But Zora has developed an attraction to a rather less respectable fellow: Emerson Birch, a rough-mannered young "sooner" whose fertile land is coveted.
As Zora begins to suspect that there may be more than luck behind Emerson’s good land, she discovers an extraordinary, astonishing power of her own: the ability to sense water under the parched earth. When her aunt hires her out as a "springsweet" to advise other settlers where to dig their wells, Zora feels the burden of holding the key to something so essential to survival in this unforgiving land.
Even more, she finds herself longing for love the way the prairie thirsts for water. Maybe, in the wildness of the territories, Zora can finally move beyond simply surviving and start living.

My Thoughts:  This book was nothing like what I remembered The Vespertine being like.  Now, I admit it has been quite a while since I read The Vespertine so maybe I'm just forgetting some.  I liked this one it just wasn't what I was expecting.  Still, I love historical fiction and this one was really good!

Zora has decided to leave Baltimore after some traumatizing events in her life.  She heads to West to where here Aunt Birdie lives in Oklahoma.  On her way there, her coach gets robbed and she is left on the side of the road.  After walking a ways, she meets Emmerson.  Emmerson takes her to his homestead but she must stay there that night as it is too far for him to take her to Birdie's.  Once he does take her to Birdie's, Birdie makes it clear that Emmerson is not welcome anywhere around her soddy which is too bad since Zora feels some chemistry with him.

Zora then takes some time to get used to living life in a soddy.  When Birdie discovers that Zora is a "springsweet" or can find water underground, she hires her out.  I thought this would be a rather large part of the story but it really wasn't.  I thought there was going to be some serious trouble or excitement happening when Zora went out on her appointments and while there were a couple of events that led to Zora rethinking her "gift" it was a rather small part of the story.

I enjoyed reading about the territory and how Birdie and Zora had to live.  I enjoyed Birdie's stubborn behavior and I loved her little daughter.  I'd have to say that Birdie was my favorite character in this story by far.  I also liked Emmerson but really didn't care for Theo.  He was a little stalker-ish for me.  Emmerson was much more exciting and look forward to reading more about him.

The ending left you hanging and I can't wait to find out what happens to Zora and Emmerson and Theo and Birdie!  I look forward to more great  historical fiction from Saundra Mitchell!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Our 2012 snow/ice storm

All photos courtesy of Greta Lundby at

I want to apologize for not blogging lately.  From Monday until Wednesday we were hit with a massive snow storm and got over 3 feet of snow.  Wednesday we lost power for about 6 hours but were happy that it came back on and we went about our business.  Thursday morning, around 9:00 AM, we lost power again...and it is still off with no estimate on when it will be back on. 

The snow we got!   Pretty huh?

Wednesday night our snow turned to freezing rain.  We had inches of ice on our roads and trees and power lines.  Thursday we hung out at home with blankets and lots of layers on.  By Thursday evening we decided it was safer to head to my in-laws house.  They had power and warmth.  Our house had gotten down to 62 degrees.  As we walked outside to get in the car it was eerily quite except for the gunshot sounds of tree branches and trees snapping and falling everywhere around us!  As we packed, two large tree limbs fell and hit our living room windows.  Luckily they did not come through.  Where we live, there are huge fir and pine trees all around so the kids and I were ready to high tail it out of there!

The ice on trees down the road from us
This is how thick the ice was.  Can you see why trees were snapping all over?
All you could hear was "snap, crackle, pop" as the trees and branches snapped!

Trees on my best friend's house.  Luckily they are all safe and no damage to the house!!

We had to drive the long way around as the grade was closed due to trees, landslides and power poles/lines down all over.  As we drove up and around it was completely silent.  Every once in awhile you would hear a loud SNAP and see a branch come down.  Power lines were down all over.  I prayed the whole way down the mountain (20 min.)!

We finally made it to my in-laws where the kids and I have been since Thursday.  I went home today to get more clothes and books, of course and it was like a war zone!  Trees were down everywhere and I was amazed at how close they came to houses!  We saw one tree that fell through a barn and power lines were down for miles!  I forgot my camera so my neighbor and friend, Greta, took these pictures and was kind enough to let me borrow them! 

So, we are still without power and expecting more snow tonight.  I am hoping by the beginning of the week we can get back to normal!  I will try to keep you all updated so stay tuned....

All photos courtesy of Greta Lundby at
This is how the trees were bending under the weight of all that ice!

Our grade that is closed and will be for awhile!

This is what we encountered going down the hill.

This is the road I live on.  It is currently one lane as the other lane is full of tree branches.

Trees down by the local school.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Teaser Tuesday: January 17, 2012

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. 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 Springsweet (The Vespertine, #2)

"Of all the things to set me to screaming like a child, it had been nothing reasonable.  No, I could endure any number of trials - whole weeks' worth of meager meals, dirt floors and robberies, forced courtship and apparent abandonment - but I had been reduced to terror by bad eggs."

~Page 174 of Springsweet by Saundra Mitchell

**Quote taken from an ARC copy and subject to change** 


Book Review: Balthazar by Claudia Gray


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

Synopsis (from Goodreads):  Haunted by memories from his first days as a vampire, Balthazar has spent hundreds of years alone—without allies, without love. When he emerges from his isolation to help Skye Tierney, a human girl who once attended Evernight Academy, Balthazar has no idea how dangerous it will be. Skye’s psychic powers have caught the attention of Redgrave, the cruel master vampire responsible for murdering Balthazar and his family four centuries ago. Having learned of Skye’s powers and the remarkable effect her blood has on vampires, he plans to use her for his own evil purposes. As they stand together to fight the evil vampire, Balthazar realizes his lonely world could finally be changed by Skye...just as Redgrave realizes that he can destroy Balthazar once and for all by taking her for his own.

In a story filled with forbidden love and dark suspense, one of the most beloved characters in Claudia Gray’s New York Times bestselling Evernight series will captivate readers with his battle to overcome his past and follow his heart.

My Thoughts:  I have read the whole Evernight series and my favorite character in all of them was Balthazar.  So I was very happy when Ms. Gray wrote a novel just about him!  What I really liked about this book was that even though there were references to characters and events from Evernight you didn't have to read the series for this one to make sense.  It easily stood alone.

Skye Tierney has returned from Evernight Academy after it has burned down.  She is trying to get back into the routine of her old life before her brother died, her parents buried themselves in their work and she was sent to boarding school.  She is also trying to deal with the new "gift" she has discovered.  She can see the events of a violent death, years after it has happened.  

Skye is riding her horse in the woods when she is confronted with a vampire.  He chases after her and almost catches her when Balthazar enters the story and saves Skye.  Balthazar knows the rogue vampire from his past and now must get ready to confront his own sire, Redgrave.  After the rogue vampire tastes Skye's blood, and in turn, let's Redgrave taste Skye's blood, they know she is someone special and they are hunting her.  Balthazar must protect her.  

I loved the relationship between Balthazar and Skye.  It is heated and filled with passion but Balthazar keeps pushing Skye away because he has a "no humans" relationship rule.  Skye intentionally does not make it easy for Balthazar to push her away though.  

There are some appearances from characters of Evernight, including Clementine, Bianca and Lucas.  I enjoyed their brief interactions with Balthazar and Skye as it's always fun to see what old characters are up too.  

Skye was a great character.  She was strong and even though she was hurting from the death of her brother, she was moving on, unlike her parents.  The only thing I found annoying was her constant demand that her parents needed her to stay at the house and to be strong for them even though they were never there.  Skye suffered from the "absent parent syndrome" that so many characters in YA novels suffer from but she constantly demanded that she couldn't leave because her parents would be lost without her.  I honestly don't even think her parents would have noticed if she had left.  

I loved how the book went back into the past and showed Balthazar's life throughout the centuries.  There were "interlude" chapters that showed his life that were very entertaining and gave you more insight into Balthazar.  

The ending left with a great cliffhanger so I am guessing this is going to be a new series.  I can't wait to read more about Skye and Balthazar!  

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Free download of Daimon: The Prequel of Half-Blood by Jennifer L. Armentrout

I was super excited to find this free prequel to Jennifer L. Armentrout's Covenant series!  It is the prequel to Half-Blood and since I am reading Pure (#2 in the series) I immediately downloaded this one to read after Pure!  So, if you love this series as much as I do, go here to download it!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Teaser Tuesday: January 10, 2012

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. 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!
Pure (Covenant, #2)

"Even though I'd never had the misfortune of hearing a Covenant siren, I knew they meant only one thing:  security breach.

Usually a very big and very bad security breach."

Page 308 of Pure by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Book Review: Happy Birthday to Me Again by Brian Rowe

Happy Birthday to Me Again (Birthday Trilogy, #2) 
Synopsis (from Goodreads):  Cameron Martin has a huge problem: he’s aging a whole year of his life with each passing day… again. And this time... he's going backward!

When Cameron proposes to his beloved witch of a girlfriend Liesel, he thinks life can’t get any better. But when he reluctantly breaks off the engagement just days before the wedding, Liesel angrily unleashes another curse on the unlucky guy, this time making him age backward, from eighteen, all the way to zero.

Making matters worse, Liesel mysteriously disappears, leaving Cameron with no options, except watching himself rapidly shrink into a helpless child. Will Liesel be able to save his life again? Or will Cameron ultimately fall prey to his girlfriend's wicked spell?
My Thoughts:  Poor Cameron!  In the first book, he barely escapes death by aging a year for every week.  After his girlfriend Liesel (who just happens to be a witch) saved Cameron at the last moment, the two made a spectacle at the high school graduation.  This ended up on You-Tube and although Liesel and Cameron tell everyone it's a trick, there is someone out there who knows it's not.
Now Liesel and Cameron are engaged.  Cameron's parents aren't thrilled with the idea but Cameron is sure that he is ready.  He takes Liesel on a weekend getaway where he meets Hannah and from there, things go downhill.
Hannah tries to convince Cameron that he is not ready to get married and Cameron actually starts having his doubts.  After taking Liesel out for her birthday dinner, he lets her know his doubts and she gets mad.  Well, we all know what happens when Liesel gets then Cameron starts aging again.  Only this time, he is aging backwards.   
This was a cute story with some different problems than the last book.  There is the same great humor in this book as there was in the last one.  I liked how the chapters changed with Cameron's age as well.  Kimber had changed in a positive way and I think she was probably my favorite character.  Wesley at first was a little bit of a jerk but in the end, he came through for Cameron too. 
One of the things that did bother me was all the "shouting" that went on in the book and the all caps that showed the shouting.  It was a little excessive and did start to distract me from the story.  
Other than that, this was a fast, easy and fun read.  The ending left us with a great cliffhanger and now I can't wait to pick up the last book in this trilogy to see what happens to Cameron, Liesel, Hannah and the rest of the characters.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Book Review: The Heretic's Daughter by Kathleen Kent

Synopsis (from Goodreads):  Martha Carrier was one of the first women to be accused, tried and hanged as a witch in Salem, Massachusetts. Like her mother, young Sarah Carrier is bright and willful, openly challenging the small, brutal world in which they live. Often at odds with one another, mother and daughter are forced to stand together against the escalating hysteria of the trials and the superstitious tyranny that led to the torture and imprisonment of more than 200 people accused of witchcraft. This is the story of Martha's courageous defiance and ultimate death, as told by the daughter who survived.
Kathleen Kent is a tenth generation descendant of Martha Carrier. She paints a haunting portrait, not just of Puritan New England, but also of one family's deep and abiding love in the face of fear and persecution.

My Thoughts:  It never ceases to amaze me how people commit the most atrocious acts against each other.  How easily is it to accuse someone of a crime?  How easily is it to lie?  In The Heretic's Daughter you see this first hand.  
The novel starts out (after the prologue) with Sarah Carrier, the main character, in a wagon with her 3 brothers, her parents and her baby sister.  The Carrier's are on their way to Martha's mother's house in Andover.  They are leaving their home in Billerica, trying to outrun the Smallpox disease.  

They are not happily welcomed in Andover.  This is mostly due to the fact that Martha Carrier is a loud, stubborn woman who stands up for herself.  While we applaud women today who are like this in the 1690's this was not acceptable.  Tom Carrier, Sarah's father, was a quiet giant of a man who was feared by many.  So, while they weren't happily accepted, they were accepted.  

Shortly after arriving, Sarah's brother Andrew comes down with the Smallpox and Sarah and her baby sister Hannah are quietly taken out of Andover to Martha's sister's house (back in Billerica).  There Sarah gets to know her cousin Margaret and they become close friends.  They quickly become part of the family and Sarah loves to hear her uncle's stories.  However, all good things must end and soon Sarah and Hannah are taken back to their family's home sans Grandma as she has passed from the Smallpox disease.  The rest of Sarah's family has made it through however.

The next part of the book might be a little slow for some but I enjoyed learning about life on a farm in the 1600's.  Life was hard back then and people didn't show their love to their spouses or children as they do now.  Martha comes off as a hard and sometimes cruel and uncaring mother.  Sarah and Martha do not get along and Sarah holds great resentment towards her mother.  

The Carrier's then get a girl who had been abducted by the Indians as a maid.  She is a wild and uncouth child and has her eyes set on Sarah's oldest brother.  Mercy (the maid) and Martha do not get along and when Mercy lies to Martha about being pregnant, Martha kicks her out.

At the same time that the Carrier's are having trouble with Mercy, the start of the Salem Witch Trials happen.  In Salem Village (7 miles away), the infamous girls are screaming that their neighbors and enemies are witches and hurting them.  As the hysteria grows, people in Andover are looking at the Carrier's with a new eye.  Then Martha gets accused and taken in.  

Now, I have to admit, I know very little of the Salem Witch Trials.  I have read The Witch of Blackbird Pond and I have learned a little in high school history classes but that is all.  While I thought The Witch of Blackbird Pond was a wonderful book, it is written for young adults and therefore, you don't get to hear the atrocities committed against these people.  Kathleen Kent paints a vivid picture of the jail cellar, the torture, the hysteria and the illnesses that overtook the accused.  The trials were a sham and all one had to do was accuse another of witchcraft and the hysteria would mount.  

Many innocent people were hanged and tortured during this time.  All because of some bored girls who thought it would bring a little excitement to their winter days.  As it spiraled out of control, I'm not sure if they would even have known how to have stopped it.  In the end, only one of the girls recanted her story.

This book was fascinating and very well told.  The characters were made real and I could connect to each and every one of the Carrier's.  It is a must read!