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 »

Thursday, August 30, 2012

My 2012 Fall TV Line-UP

I saw this post over at Down the Rabbit Hole and thought I'd share my t.v. list with you!  I suffer from OCD (really and truley...I'm not just anal) and so I have to have lists and spreadsheets of everything!  Yep, that means I made a spreadsheet with the day, time and channels of all the shows, old and new, that I want to watch.  My DVR is always packed in the new seasons.
So, here is my tv lineup!
Returning TV Shows I Must Watch:
  Once Upon a Time (ABC):  I love the idea of a fairytale land!  Snow White is my favorite fairytale of all time so when this show premiered last year, I was definitely excited to watch it.  I wasn't disappointed, of course.  Once Upon a Time keeps you guessing!
Revenge (ABC):  This show caught my interest from the ads and I was upset to realize I had missed the premier.  Thankfully, there is HULU and I watched the first episode there and couldn't stop.  I love Emily Thorne (aka Amanda Clark) and watching her take out those that hurt her father. 
Bones (FOX)I LOVE Bones!  My favorite show ever...seriously!  I like the books and read those as well but I really enjoy how the tv show is completely different.  All the characters are awesome and I like trying to figure out the mystery.  I also love all the forensic and anthropological science.  So fun!
Law & Order:  SVU (NBC)My sister got me stuck on this show.  It is the only Law & Order I watch but I love(d) Christopher Meloni and Mariska Hargitay!  I watched it last year despite Meloni being replaced and now I have heard rumors that Hargitay may be being replaced soon.  If that happens, I'm not sure if I'll still watch so I have to get in as much as possible now!
Gray's Anatomy(ABC):  McDreamy anyone?  I have loved this show since episode one and will watch it until they decide it's over (hopefully not for awhile!).  The season finale of last season left you hanging by the seat of your pants so I cannot wait to get started again!  Poor Lexie :(
New TV Shows:
666 Park Avenue (ABC)I loved Desparate Housewives and since this is slightly compared to that, I decided to give it a try.  Sounds like an interesting (paranormal?) show.
Nashville (ABC):  I love shows about music so I am figuring I'm gonna really enjoy this one.  I also really like Hayden Panettiere.  I'm hoping this one will be great!
Elementary (CBS):  Mysteries...what's not to like about it?  Love the fact that this one is based on Sherlock Holmes and that Watson is a woman.  Should be a fun one!
**Other shows I'll be watching include Chicago Fire, Mob Doctor, Criminal Minds, Castle, and The Mentalist.  My hubby likes reality tv so I'm sure we will have the usual Survivor & Amazing Race as well.  I will also be tuning in mid-season for Body of Evidence and SMASH
So, what's going to be on your DVR this fall?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Book Review: Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys

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

Synopsis (from Goodreads):  It’s 1950, and as the French Quarter of New Orleans simmers with secrets, seventeen-year-old Josie Moraine is silently stirring a pot of her own. Known among locals as the daughter of a brothel prostitute, Josie wants more out of life than the Big Easy has to offer. She devises a plan get out, but a mysterious death in the Quarter leaves Josie tangled in an investigation that will challenge her allegiance to her mother, her conscience, and Willie Woodley, the brusque madam on Conti Street.

Josie is caught between the dream of an elite college and a clandestine underworld. New Orleans lures her in her quest for truth, dangling temptation at every turn, and escalating to the ultimate test.

With characters as captivating as those in her internationally bestselling novel Between Shades of Gray, Ruta Sepetys skillfully creates a rich story of secrets, lies, and the haunting reminder that decisions can shape our destiny.

My Thoughts:  Ruta Sepetys' Shades of Gray was an unbelievably amazing book!  I wasn't sure how any book would stand up to it but she has done it again.  The thing I like most about Sepetys is that she writes about things no one else writes about.  We have all read about Hitler during WWII but in Shades of Gray Sepetys wrote about Stalin.  In Out of the Easy she writes about prostitutes and brothels.  But it is done is a classy and historical way. 

Josie is 17 and lives in New Orleans.  She is the daughter of a prostitute and everyone knows it.  However, since Josie was 12, she has been taking care of herself and living above the bookstore that she works at.  She both loves and hates her mother for numerous (good) reasons.

Josie life changes when a man comes into the bookstore from out of state.  He doesn't know Josie's history and just assumes she attends college.  The small assumption gives Josie hope that maybe she can attend college.  However, when the man is found dead and it turns out to be murder, Josie finds out she is in over her head.

I loved Josie!  She was strong, independent and ambitious.  She has had a tough life but she is making it work for her.  She is loyal to those who are her friends and help her out.  She is even loyal to her mother.  I just loved her strength and how much hope she had.  I loved how she made things in life work for her and made the best out of the worst.  She absolutely did not want to follow in her mother's footsteps and even when things got extremely bad, she resisted (just barely). 

Willie was the madame that Josie's mom worked for.  Willie was strong and appeared to be mean and brusque on the outside but you could tell Josie held a special spot in Willie's heart.  Willie had Josie clean the brothel in the morning hours but always made sure Josie was out of the house before the "guests" came to visit.  While Willie wanted Josie to have a better life than her mother, Willie didn't want Josie to leave New Orleans.

Cokie is Willie's driver.  He was awesome!  He looked after Josie as well as Willie did and he loved her like a daughter.  He wanted Josie to succeed and he did everything in his power to help Josie get into the prestigious college that she wanted to get into.  I just loved Cokie and wanted the best for him.

Jesse and Patrick are the love interests but there is no serious love triangle.  There is a small one, don't get me wrong but it hardly takes up any of the story.  Jesse is a quite guy from the "wrong side of the tracks".  He is very good looking and a great mechanic.  Patrick is the book store owner's son and works with Josie.  Josie and Patrick have known each other for a long time and Josie feels comfortable with Patrick.  Patrick was sweet  as well and I liked how Josie and Patrick interacted.

I loved the girls at the brothel!  Dora was hysterical and Sadie was so sweet and caring.  Sweetie was also...well, sweet.  All the girls, except Evangeline, loved Josie and took care of her as best they could. 

I hated Josie's mother!  Oh, I wanted to wring her neck.  She was selfish, self-centered, dumb...I mean, I could go on and on!  Sepetys did a great job in created a villain in Josie's mother.  I felt no sympathy for her at all.  Cincinnati, her mob boyfriend, and her deserved each other. 

This book was amazing!  Sepetys captured New Orleans in all it's glory.  I have never been there but I want to go so badly and this book made me want to go even more.  She captured my attention from page one and kept it throughout the book.  I hated to see it end and cannot wait for more from Sepetys!  She is quickly becoming a favorite for me!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Book Review: Fathomless by Jackson Pearce

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

Synopsis (from Goodreads):  Celia Reynolds is the youngest in a set of triplets and the one with the least valuable power. Anne can see the future, and Jane can see the present, but all Celia can see is the past. And the past seems so insignificant -- until Celia meets Lo.

Lo doesn't know who she is. Or who she was. Once a human, she is now almost entirely a creature of the sea -- a nymph, an ocean girl, a mermaid -- all terms too pretty for the soulless monster she knows she's becoming. Lo clings to shreds of her former self, fighting to remember her past, even as she's tempted to embrace her dark immortality.

When a handsome boy named Jude falls off a pier and into the ocean, Celia and Lo work together to rescue him from the waves. The two form a friendship, but soon they find themselves competing for Jude's affection. Lo wants more than that, though. According to the ocean girls, there's only one way for Lo to earn back her humanity. She must persuade a mortal to love her . . . and steal his soul.

My Thoughts:  Jackson Pearce is one of my favorite authors so I was completely excited to be able to read this book early.  Now, The Little Mermaid is not my favorite fairy tale but I love how Pearce redid this one.

Celia is a triplet but she is the "odd one out".  She doesn't look the same and just feels like an outsider.  All of the sisters have "powers".  Once can see the future, one the present and Celia the past.  Celia doesn't think her power is worth much until she saves Jude and meets Lo.

Jude is a young musician.  He is out on the pier one night when he trips and falls into the ocean.  Unfortunately for Jude, mermaids are real and they are not friendly.  The newest mermaid, Molly, tries to drown Jude to take his soul.  The legend is that if a mermaid can find someone who loves them and she drowns that person then she gains that person's soul and becomes human again.  Lo, one of the older mermaids, doesn't want Jude to die so she saves him.  Once she drags him on shore, Celia takes over.  

After Jude is taken to the hospital, Celia can do nothing but think of Lo.  She goes back down to the beach to find her.  When she does, she finally finds a use for her powers...helping Lo remember her past and how she became a mermaid.  

I loved how the mermaids were described.  They were still like real know, with legs and feet and all.  No tails.  Lo was able to walk on land but at a cost to her.  She had blue skin so wasn't able to be out during the day but she met Celia on the beach many nights.  

Lo was a great character!  She was complicated to figure out and always kept you guessing until the very end.  Is she good or bad, friendly or evil, are her intentions good or does she plan on trying to drown Jude for herself?  I had no idea if Celia could trust her until the very end.

Celia is very sweet.  I love her complicated relationship with her sisters and her blooming relationship with Jude.  She really wants to help Lo and that is the only time I get irritated with the end she runs out into a oncoming hurricane to help save Lo.  A very dumb move but of course, necessary (I guess). 

I did have a difficult time seeing how this book tied in with Pearce's first two stories.  There were no scary, werewolf monsters...until the end, anyways.  However, about halfway through I remembered that in Sweetly, Sophia had a lost sister.  Yep, you got it...Lo is also Naida Kelly, Sophia's sister.  

The ending to this one was very unpredictable.  I enjoyed the twists and turns and can't wait to read Pearce's next fairy tale retelling!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Book Review: Heaven by Alexandra Ardornetto

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

Synopsis (from Goodreads): Bethany, an angel sent to Earth, and her mortal boyfriend, Xavier, have been to Hell and back. But now their love will be put to its highest test yet, as they defy Heavenly law and marry. They don’t tell Beth’s archangel siblings, Gabriel and Ivy, but the angels know soon enough, and punishment comes in a terrifying form: the Sevens, who are rogue angels bent on keeping Beth and Xavier apart, destroying Gabriel and Ivy, and darkening angelic power in the heavens.

The only way Bethany and Xavier can elude the Sevens is to hide in the open, and blend in with other mortals their own age. Gabriel and Ivy set them up at college, where they can’t reveal their relationship, and where there is still danger around each corner. Will Bethany be called back to Heaven – forever – and face leaving the love of her life?

My Thoughts:  Let me start by saying this is the third and last book in the series so if you haven't read the first two, there may be spoilers in this review.

Okay, that being said, I read this because I wanted to end the series.  I didn't really care for Halo, did not like Hades and I am sad to say, Heaven followed that pattern.  It was not a book for me at all.  It was really all I could do to get through it. 

At the end of Hades, Xavier and Bethany had skipped out on their graduation.  At the beginning of this book, they are in a diner and Xavier has proposed to Bethany and they are getting ready to leave for the church to get married.  God, or Heaven, or someone from up above lets them know that this is not a good plan by sending an "earthquake".  Despite this, they decide to get married anyways. 

As soon as they are married, the Reaper shows up and kills the priest that married them.  This is just the start of the problems for Xavier and Bethany.  Now the "Seven" are after them and they must go into hiding.  Xavier has to completely cut off his family and him and Bethany head to college as "brother and sister" instead of "husband and wife". 

In this book, Bethany acts like a two year old.  Seriously!  She doesn't seem to care about anything but what she wants.  While hiding in the cabin, she gets "bored" and whines the whole time.  Um, sorry but how did you get into this position?  Maybe because you broke some serious rules?  Deal with it, sweetheart!  Plus, Bethany is an angel remember...and yet, she leads Xavier down the wrong path a few times.  Just didn't really make sense that Xavier was a better "Christian" than Bethany and she was the angel. 

I thought the description of the college was ridiculous too.  Bethany heads to her dorm room and it is completely boring (as most dorm rooms are).  However, I lived in a college dorm and never did I see "stains on the mattresses" or other such things.  In fact, the rooms, while bare and boring, were very clean.  I have NEVER heard of anyone bringing in "interior decorators" to decorate a dorm room, as Ivy said.  I mean, you are there for 9 months.  Really?  Maybe I just wasn't that concerned or maybe since I didn't go to an Ivy League school I wasn't aware of that but I have never seen or heard of an interior designer for a dorm room.  I thought Bethany acted like a spoiled little girl when she was in college (well, really throughout the book) but she was mad when a girl asked Xavier out (don't forget that the girl has NO idea that Xavier was married since he was "Ford" and only had a sister), she described her roommate as clingy and disliked her dorm room.  It was really annoying.

As for the Seven, they weren't scary at all.  I wasn't understanding how they could not find Bethany either.  Supposedly because she was "surrounded" by humans, they couldn't "sense" her.  I just found that difficult to believe.  And really, why would the Seven even care if Bethany broke the rules?  I was kinda under the impression that they were "rogue" angels but maybe I wasn't paying enough attention.

Unfortunately I did not care for this book at all.  However, I think some of the  younger population may like them. Maybe since they don't have the experience of college yet (so  have nothing to compare it too) they might be able to deal with that part better than I did.  As for Bethany's childish behavior, well that was a huge turnoff to me!  Maybe someone younger won't find it so ridiculous. 

Anyways, I guess I now have closure to the series.  I am sad to say it just wasn't good for me.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Book Review: 34 Pieces of You by Carmen Rodrigues

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

Synopsis (from Goodreads):  A dark and moving novel--reminiscent of "Thirteen Reasons Why--"about the mystery surrounding a teenage girl's fatal overdose.There was something about Ellie...Something dangerous. Charismatic. Broken. Jake looked out for her. Sarah followed her lead. And Jess kept her distance--and kept watch.

Now Ellie's dead, and Jake, Sarah, and Jess are left to pick up the pieces. All they have are thirty-four clues she left behind. Thirty-four strips of paper hidden in a box beneath her bed. Thirty-four secrets of a brief and painful life.

Jake, Sarah, and Jess all feel responsible for what happened to Ellie, and all three have secrets of their own. As they confront the past, they will discover not only the darkest truths about themselves, but also what Ellie herself had been hiding all along....

My Thoughts:  If you are looking for a fun, light hearted read then keep looking.  This book was very dark and very emotional.  Once started, it is not easy to put down though so just be prepared to spend some time with it and be warned that it is quite depressing.

The story starts out being told by Jess.  Jess is Sarah's younger sister.  Sarah is Ellie's best friend.  Ellie is a very torn up character.  She is simply a mess!  The story starts with Jess describing the "accident" that landed her sister in the hospital and Ellie in an early grave.  Jess has 34 strips of paper she found in a box under Ellie's bed...34 clues to who Ellie was and why she was so disturbed.

This story is told in alternating POVs of Sarah, Jess, Ellie and Ellie's older brother, Jake.  It was also told in the format of "before" and "after" the accident.  I found this to all get somewhat confusing once in awhile as I had to go back and remember if I was reading through Jess's POV or Sarah's, if it was then or now.  It gets easier as you keep reading though so don't let that discourage you too much.

I liked how each chapter began with one of the 34 clue's that Ellie left.  It helped to tie all the pieces together and to get a sense of who Ellie was and how she interacted with not only Jake, Sarah and Jess but also Tommy (Jake's friend), Lola (Jess's friend) and her own mother and stepfather(s).  You are able to watch Ellie spiral so desperately out of control and it is pretty easy to understand why as you continue to read the clues. 

These characters hurt so much!  Each one of them was consumed with their guilt for not helping Ellie more and the incredible loss they felt after her death.  It was easy to feel their emotions and to connect with each one of them.  By the end, I just wanted to pull them all close and reassure them it would all be okay. 

I thought Jess was the strongest character and liked her relationship with Ellie.  It was sweet and confusing but not overdone.  I think everyone worried about Sarah so much that often times, Jess was left to her own devices, which led to the issues with eating (although that is not brought up too much).  Still, Jess was the one that tried to be there for Sarah as much as she could and tried the hardest to understand why Ellie was the way she was. 

Sarah was just full of depression and I don't think her parents did her any favors.  However, in their defense, I'm not sure they really knew how to deal with what was going on.  I know, as a parent, I would be scared for my child and probably wouldn't make the best decisions either.  I think the way the parent's were portrayed was actually very realistic of how parents might act if put in this situation with their child. 

I felt the same way about Ellie's mom when she figured out what was going on with Ellie. She just plain didn't know how to deal with it and unfortunately, I think there are a lot of parents out there like that.  I have been through what Ellie went through and while my parents handled things differently, I still don't think they really knew how to deal with something so horrendous!  Again, sadly, Ellie's mom and the way she handled things was probably a pretty good picture of how these things are handled often.

This is definitely a book that should be read.  Like I said, it isn't a feel-good, light-hearted read.  It's not even a fun read but it is a book that grabs you and won't let go and keeps you thinking about it long after you have finished it.  For me, that means it was well worth the time and sadness!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Book Review: The Innocents by Lili Peloquin

The Innocents (The Innocents, #1)
**I received this book from Around the World ARC Tours for review**

Synopsis (from Goodreads): Nothing ever came between sisters Alice and Charlie.
Friends didn't.
Boys couldn't.
Their family falling apart never would.
Until they got to Serenity Point.
"The Innocents" is the first in a new series of young adult novels that weave a saga of nail-biting drama, breathless romance, and gothic mystery.

My Thoughts:  I really thought this book was a fun, mysterious read!  It was fast to read and while Alice was quite annoying (imo), the book was pretty good!

Alice and Charlie are sisters. Their dad ran out on them a couple years ago and their mom has just remarried a very rich man.  Richard's wife died of cancer and very shortly after that, his only daughter died in a car accident.  The girls, their mom and their new stepdad are spending the rest of summer at the beach house before the girls are shipped off to a prestigious bording school. 

Once in Serenity Point, the girls set out to meet kids their own age.  Charlie quickly gets involved with Cybil and Jude, two of the most popular and beautiful kids.  They are also two of the most troubled teens in the area.  Alice finds herself drawn more towards Tommy, who was Camilla's (Richard's dead daughter) boyfriend.  In fact, after Alice is told that she looks just like Camilla, she uses that to get to Tommy. 

As the girls start to get settled, things between them start to change.  They start to grow apart and the girls also start to grow apart from their mother, Maggie.  Alice decides to try to find out why Richard never speaks of his former wife or Camilla and what she finds out changes her world forever.

Seriously, I could not stand Alice.  She was weak and passive and just blah.  She didn't stand up to anyone until the end when she finally stood up to Richard.  She was also very goody-goody and pretty much a wallflower.  She just really annoyed me and I really could not connect to her at all!

I connected more with Charlie.  She was the one who was always getting in trouble but was always having fun too.  She just would insert herself into a crowd and that is how she made friends.  Cybil was one of those friends who was an enemy too.  You never knew what Cybil's mood would be.  Jude was an extremely troubled guy but Charlie couldn't help but fall for him. 

I didn't really understand anything about Maggie, the girls' mother. She was apparently very liberal and stood up for her political beliefs. She never would be associated with the dreaded Republican however, as soon as she marries Richard, who is very wealthy and obviously a more conservative man, she changes.  Now she is friendly to those Republicans and has no political views anymore.  In fact, she easily falls into the roll of the the "rich man's wife". I just didn't see how someone could completely change so quickly. 

The main mystery in the story was very easy to figure out.  I had it all pretty much figured out way before Alice did.  I think this will be okay for the intended (younger) readers and it didn't really take a lot away from the book but it was pretty easy to figure out. The ending definitely leaves you hanging and I will have to read the next book to satisfy my curiousity! 

This was a very fast read and I think a lot of the teen girls will really enjoy this book.  It just seems to have that drama that pulls you in and won't let you put it down!