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, February 19, 2014

WWW Wednesdays: February 19, 2014

WWW Wednesdays is hosted by Miz B at Should be Reading.

To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

What I am currently reading: 

I'm reading The Body in the Woods by April Henry.  I'm not sure how I am liking it seems very unrealistic to me.  I'm spending the whole book saying "yeah right" or "that wouldn't happen like that."  It's a little frustrating.

What I recently finished:

I loved Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally!  It was a cute and a pretty fast and easy read.  I loved how the main character didn't let a little thing like being a girl keep her from her dreams!

What I will read next:  

I am going to read Sixth Covenant by Bodie and Brock Thoene next.  This is part of the A.D. Chronicles series.  I started the Zion Covenant series by these authors back in 2005 when I was pregnant and on bed rest with my daughter.  I loved the series and made my way through the next 3 series (this is like one big series divided into 4 or 5 miniseries, if that makes sense) and then I couldn't find this book.  I finally found it and I'm super excited to finish the A.D. Chronicles!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Teaser Tuesday: The Body in the Woods by April Henry

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!

This week my teaser is from an ARC copy of The Body in the Woods by April Henry:

Her death had showed him the gift of life.  A gift which was within his power to give.
  Or to take away. ~Page 100 (of ebook) of A Body in the Woods by April Henry

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Book Review: Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally

Synopsis (from Goodreads):  ONE OF THE BOYS

What girl doesn't want to be surrounded by gorgeous jocks day in and day out? Jordan Woods isn't just surrounded by hot guys, though-she leads them as the captain and quarterback of her high school football team. They all see her as one of the guys and that's just fine. As long as she gets her athletic scholarship to a powerhouse university.

But everything she's ever worked for is threatened when Ty Green moves to her school. Not only is he an amazing QB, but he's also amazingly hot. And for the first time, Jordan's feeling vulnerable. Can she keep her head in the game while her heart's on the line?

My Thoughts:  Let me say that the one thing I absolutely love about the Hundred Oaks series is that you don't have to read the books in order to enjoy them.  I read Things I Can't Forget about a year ago and didn't even realize it was part of a series.  Characters from previous books make appearances but it doesn't mean you are missing anything if you haven't read the first books. 

After I read (and LOVED) Things I Can't Forget, I bought the first two books in the series and once again, things got crazy and they got pushed to the side.  I'm involved in a TBR challenge so I finally picked this one up.  I read it in one night.  I loved everything about this book!

Jordan is a quarterback for her high school.  She's not just the quarterback for her high school though, she is one of the best high school quarterbacks in the state.  It's her senior year and she has big dreams of playing for Alabama.  She's worked hard and her team respects and supports her.  Unfortunately for Jordan, her father, who happens to be a pro NFL player, does not support her decision to play.  He never comes to see her games, never talks to her about her games or her dreams and certainly never watches film or tosses a ball around with her.  

Things get even more complicated with Ty Green shows up.  Ty is a new student at her school who just moved from Texas.  Ty is not only super hot but he was also a quarterback at his school....a really good quarterback.  Now Jordan has to worry about not letting Ty ruin her focus on the game and keeping her position safe along with getting into Alabama and trying to make her dad see that she is a good player.  Add to that mix a suddenly confusing relationship with her best friend (who happens to be a guy) and poor Jordan h as quite the mess on her hands.

I loved that Jordan played football and that her team really respected her.  It didn't matter that she was a girl and thought it was great that she did what she wanted to do.  She had dreams and she wasn't going to let the fact that she was a girl playing a "guy's game" to stop her.  She didn't worry about makeup, or getting her hair done or dating.  She just focused on her dream. 

She did lose focus once Ty came to town.  She liked Ty and Ty liked her too.  I think, because I am 35 and way out of the high school scene, some of Jordan's feelings and insecurities seemed silly to me.  She didn't want to date Ty because she didn't want people at school talking about her or her teammates to lose respect for her.  It was hard for me to remember that those things were super important in high school.  There were the "mean girls" who were cheerleaders that hurt Jordan in the past with their words and again, I forget how mean and catty young girls can be so it made me roll my eyes a little until I remembered how important it was that people liked you in high school.  But that was really my only issue with Jordan. 

Ty was a little weird for me.  He was your typical hot, popular jock but he seemed to have some serious control issues.  When you find out about his past, you understand a little but it seemed to me like he might be a little to controlling and that it went beyond his past.  So, I really didn't care for Ty at all.

Sam Henry has been Jordan's best friend since they were young.  I loved Henry.  He was always there for Jordan and wanted whatever made Jordan happy.  I got a little annoyed with his attitude in the middle and end of the book but he redeems himself.  

Jordan's father also redeems himself and you get to understand a little about why he acts the way he does.  He is a jerk the first part of the book though and you really just want to smack him upside the head!

Catching Jordan was a great book about working hard for your dreams and not letting anything hold you back.  It's about being strong and focused and always believing in yourself.  This is a book that will leave you smiling!


Friday, February 14, 2014

Book Review: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Synopsis (from Goodreads):  A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of very curious photographs.

It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.

A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows.
My Thoughts:  I bought this book a week after it came out in stores.  I was so excited to read it but then I got a pile of ARCs to read, had to move out of my house so all my books got packed up and then stopped blogging for a couple months.  After we moved back into our house, I unpacked my books and found this one!  So, I finally had the chance to read it.

I wasn't really sure what to expect with this book.  I made sure I didn't read a lot of reviews and the ones I did read were glowing reviews.  This book started out a little slow for me and while it got better and held my interest more, it was never one of those books that I just couldn't put down.  I did LOVE the pictures in it.  They were creepy and added a special element to the story.

Jacob has heard stories of his grandfather's younger years all his life.  They are crazy stories about girls who can levitate and invisible boys and scary monsters.  Jacob grows up and realizes that his grandfather was sent to a home for children during World War II because he was escaping the Nazis.  Jacob decides his grandfather has made up all these crazy stories, despite the photographs that he has been shown.  

Now Jacob is in high school and his grandfather is getting older and suffering from what the family thinks is dementia.  When Jacob gets a rather disturbing call from his grandfather, he decides to go and check up on him.  Once he gets to his grandfather's house, what he finds will shatter his world.  

Jacob decides to take a trip to the island where his grandfather stayed and visit Miss Peregrine, the house mother.  After talking his father into taking him, he finds that Miss Peregrine's home is no longer in good condition and hasn't had anybody living in it for many years.  Things get a little strange after he follows a young girl into the bog and from there, Jacob needs to decide if he is going to go back to his ordinary, boring life or if he is going to take on this new adventure.

This book was really interesting to me because it was different from anything I've read.  We have time travel, strange and scary monsters, time travel and of course, the peculiar children.  However, getting Jacob to the island to discover all these things took almost half the book.  The first part was not nearly as good as the second part and I really think it could have been shortened and still be a really great book!

I loved Jacob and all the peculiar children.  Enoch was a little creepy for me but he did redeem himself in the end and I enjoyed reading about all the rest.  I would have liked a little more background on each child (you got a very brief background on a couple of them at the end but not much).  I liked Emma and Jacob's relationship despite Emma's past relationship info.  I just liked Emma in general.  She was determined and not afraid of anything.  

This book had some really great creepy moments and I loved the characters and the different elements in this story.  I think that it could have been a little shorter and it would have been great!  I'm so glad I finally got to read it and now I can jump into the sequel without having to wait!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Teaser Tuesdays: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

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!

My teaser this week is from Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs.
"Hello?"  I whispered.  "Are you awake?"
He didn't move.  I put a hand on his arm and shook him gently.  His head lolled to one side. ~page 213 of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs.  

I'm really late getting this up but I would still love to know what you are reading!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Book Review: Insanity by Susan Vaught

*I received this book for an honest review from NetGalley*

Synopsis (from Goodreads):  Never, Kentucky is not your average scenic small town. It is a crossways, a place where the dead and the living can find no peace. Not that Forest, an 18-year-old foster kid who works the graveyard shift at Lincoln Hospital, knew this when she applied for the job. Lincoln is a huge state mental institution, a good place for Forest to make some money to pay for college. But along with hundreds of very unstable patients, it also has underground tunnels, bell towers that ring unexpectedly, and a closet that holds more than just donated clothing....When the dead husband of one of Forest's patients makes an appearance late one night, seemingly accompanied by an agent of the Devil, Forest loses all sense of reality and all sense of time. Terrified, she knows she has a part to play, and when she does so, she finds a heritage that she never expected.

With her deep knowledge of mental illness and mental institutions, Susan Vaught brings readers a fascinating and completely creepy new book intertwining the stories of three young people who find themselves haunted beyond imagining in the depths of Lincoln Hospital.
My Thoughts:  I love a creepy ghost story and this one sounded like it would be a perfect read for me.  I really wanted to like this book but it fell very short for me.  I really tried to finish it and got to page 296 and then realized I still had almost 100 pages left (the book is 384 pages) and I couldn't finish it.
Insanity starts off promising.  You meet Levi, a young boy, walking home alone at night even though his Grandma has told him not to go out at night because "death was walking on two legs".  The unthinkable happens to Levi and then you get taken to a new chapter with a new character.  From the synopsis, you think Forest is going to be our main character but she only is for a short time.  The next few chapters, you get to know a little about Forest and how she came to work at Lincoln Psychiatric Hospital.  Here's where things started to get a little off for me.  Forest is working a double shift on Halloween night.  The maintenance people have discovered bones in one of the underground tunnels.  Then Forest sees two men running down the vacant that are ghosts.  Once she figures out and helps Decker, one of the men, she ends up getting fired from Lincoln and then we are onto a new part of the book.  There is mention that Forest goes to the Bell Tower of the hospital but I can't figure out if she died or is alive and just has this mysterious "Madoc blood".  There are so many questions left and then we go on to a new part of the book.
In this new part, we meet Darius.  Apparently, quite a bit of time has gone by since Forest left the hospital and now Darius is working there as a security guard to earn money for college.  We learn that Darius' grandfather kidnapped and killed little kids.  Darius' grandma killed his grandfather way before Darius was born (I think) so he never got to know him but heard stories.  As Darius is working, he hears ice cream truck music, which is how his grandfather lured the kids to him.  Then things get really funny again.  Another boy goes missing, Darius goes into a tunnel under the hospital and sees his grandfather and a witch's tree and then meets up with Forest and Levi to rid the world of his grandfather's spirit.  If it seems like I summarized that really fast it's because that is how the story read.  It was all done really fast and left out so much stuff.  

Now we are onto the next part of the book which is told from Trina's point of view.  Trina is Darius' girlfriend and apparently some kind of witch.  Trina's dad is a preacher who thinks it is his job to kill anyone with Madoc blood.  This part of the book talks about how Trina breaks away from her father and then almost gets slashed by yet another crazy ghost from Lincoln Psychiatric Hospital.  The group, which now includes Forest, Levi, Levi's grandmother, Imogene, Darius, Darius' mom, Jessie (who is Darius' friend) and Trina, her step-mom, Addie and Trina's father, must rid the world of this ghost's evil spirit.  This is where I stopped.  

I thought this book had a lot of potential if the author had stuck with one storyline.  You never really got to know any of the characters so you couldn't really connect with any of them.  There were so many questions that were unanswered and maybe they were answered in the end but I couldn't make it there.  You never really found out what Madoc blood was.  Forest researched it a little and you found out a little history of it but I never fully understood what exactly it was.  I just know it gave people powers.  I can't even really tell you what kind of powers...maybe to see to the other side or to help spirits cross over?  I'm not sure.  You never really knew what happened to Forest.  She went to the "other side" and it appears she came out alive but then she just disappears into the Bell Tower and that's all you really know.  

This book just really seemed to jump around a lot and never really fully developed one story or character.  It seemed like it was a bunch of different story outlines thrown together.  I never really felt like I was getting involved in any of the stories or the characters lives.  I didn't really find it all that creepy after the first couple chapters either.  It just seemed like a lot of the same dead spirits doing the same bad deeds that needed the same crossing over and it all happened so quickly that there was no time to build the suspense.  

So, sadly, I was disappointed in this one but that isn't to say you might not like it!  If it sounds like one you would enjoy, pick it up and let me know if you liked it!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

WWW Wednesdays: February 5, 2014

WWW Wednesdays is hosted by MizB at  Should Be Reading

To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

What I am currently reading:
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
I'm really enjoying this one.  It's a little strange so far but I like it!

What I am recently finished reading:
Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira
This was a hard book to read.  It dealt with a lot of hard issues but was worth the read!
What I am reading next:
Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally
I read the third in this series first so decided to go back and start at the beginning because the third one was so good!

What is your WWW Wednesday??

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Book Review: Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira

**I received this book from NetGalley for an honest review**

Synopsis (from Goodreads):  It begins as an assignment for English class: Write a letter to a dead person. Laurel chooses Kurt Cobain because her sister, May, loved him. And he died young, just like May did. Soon, Laurel has a notebook full of letters to people like Janis Joplin, Amy Winehouse, Amelia Earhart, Heath Ledger, and more; though she never gives a single one of them to her teacher. She writes about starting high school, navigating new friendships, falling in love for the first time, learning to live with her splintering family. And, finally, about the abuse she suffered while May was supposed to be looking out for her. Only then, once Laurel has written down the truth about what happened to herself, can she truly begin to accept what happened to May. And only when Laurel has begun to see her sister as the person she was; lovely and amazing and deeply flawed; can she begin to discover her own path.
My Thoughts:  Laurel's sister has died, her mom has moved away and now she is starting high school at a new school.  She wants to go to a school where no one knows who her sister, May, was and what happened.  
Her English teacher gives the class an assignment to write a letter to a dead person.  What starts out as a simple assignment turns into a whole notebook of letters to numerous dead people.  Laurel pours out her heart to these people and tells them what she can tell no one else.
This book was a little difficult for me to get into.  I felt that it was a little slow and at times it just really dragged on.  The writing was beautiful though and I loved how Laurel wrote to famous celebrities that just happened to be dead.  
Laurel was a broken character.  She thought her sister lived a perfect life and it tore her apart when she realized that May was hurting and acting out in a not so perfect way.  Laurel really wanted to keep her sister on that pedestal.  Laurel had to work through a lot of emotions and struggles but watching her do that and grow was really amazing.
I loved Laurel's friends in this story.  They all had problems that were hard to deal with such as abuse, mental illness and abandonment or loss of parents.  Tristan and Kristen were great supporters and I liked how Kristen was really into getting good grades and going to college.  
This book definitely was not a happy, go lucky book but it was very much worth the read.  It dealt with some very tough subjects and I think it would be a good book for many to read!  

Teaser Tuesday: Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira

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!

My teaser is from Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira.

"I think he does this for the same reason Hannah doesn't turn in her work when her teachers say she is smart.  I think a lot of people want to be someone, but we are scared that if we try, we won't be as good as everyone thinks we should be."  ~page 141 of Love Letters to the Dead  (an ARC).