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 »

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Book Review: Opal (Lux #3) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Synopsis (from Goodreads):  No one is like Daemon Black.

When he set out to prove his feelings for me, he wasn’t fooling around. Doubting him isn’t something I’ll do again, and now that we’ve made it through the rough patches, well... There’s a lot of spontaneous combustion going on.

But even he can’t protect his family from the danger of trying to free those they love.

After everything, I’m no longer the same Katy. I’m different... And I’m not sure what that will mean in the end. When each step we take in discovering the truth puts us in the path of the secret organization responsible for torturing and testing hybrids, the more I realize there is no end to what I’m capable of. The death of someone close still lingers, help comes from the most unlikely source, and friends will become the deadliest of enemies, but we won’t turn back. Even if the outcome will shatter our worlds forever.

Together we’re stronger... and they know it.

My Thoughts:  I finished this book last month but we are wrapping up school and have some house stuff going on (a kitchen remodel) so I'm slacking here.  
My first word of advice for this book is to have the next book, Origin, ready to read because the cliff hanger on this one is crazy!  My heart broke when I read the end of this one so I was happy that I could immediately jump into the next book.

Katy and Daemon are finally together and admitting their feelings for each other without any hesitation.  With that being said, I have to tell you, I miss the romantic tension there.  It's not quite as fun to read about them because you aren't waiting on edge for the romance to happen anymore.  Daemon is still funny and sarcastic though and I love him for that.  Katy still makes some dumb choices but hey, we are all human right?  Well, I guess maybe not in this case but you know what I mean!

Blake is a jerk.  I can't stand him but honestly, there are times when I actually feel a little sorry for him.  I am still not really sure what his part is in this whole story but he's still hiding a lot (which becomes painfully obvious at the end).  I think he really does miss Katy as a friend though and I think he did really like her but I cannot bring myself to like his character at all.

When it comes to Katy and Dee's friendship, you can't help but feel for both of them.  Katy made some seriously bad choices in the last book so I can understand why Dee is so angry at her.  But at the same time, it wasn't ALL Katy's fault.  I really want Katy and Dee to repair this friendship but I'm not sure how that's going to turn out.  

This was not my favorite book in this series.  I felt that out of the three that I have read, there wasn't really a lot of action until the end.  Dawson is back and they are trying to find a way to save Beth but it wasn't all that exciting.  Don't get me wrong, it was still a good book but it wasn't an "I cannot put this book down" kind of book like the first two were.  

If you haven't picked up this series yet, I really recommend that you do.  Even though this book wasn't my favorite, the ending made up for a lot of it.  

Monday, May 19, 2014

Book Review: The Body in the Woods (Point Last Seen #1) by April Henry

**Received from NetGalley for an honest review**

Synopsis (from Goodreads):  In this new series told from multiple perspectives, teen members of a search and rescue team discover a dead body in the woods.

Alexis, Nick, and Ruby have very different backgrounds: Alexis has spent her life covering for her mom’s mental illness, Nick’s bravado hides his fear of not being good enough, and Ruby just wants to pursue her eccentric interests in a world that doesn’t understand her. When the three teens join Portland County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue, they are teamed up to search for a autistic man lost in the woods. What they find instead is a dead body. In a friendship that will be forged in danger, fear, and courage, the three team up to find the girl’s killer—before he can strike one of their own.

This first book in April Henry’s Point Last Seen YA mystery series is full of riveting suspense, putting readers in the middle of harrowing rescues and crime scene investigations.
My Thoughts:  This book was very difficult for me to get through. Have you ever read a book or even watched a movie and sat through the whole thing saying "yeah right" or "this would never happen like that"?  That's how I was reading this book and it was very frustrating to me.

Now, I am 35 so I am older than the intended audience (although I read mostly YA books so this shouldn't be a problem) and I grew up in a law enforcement family (my dad was Chief for over 20 years, my uncle was Sheriff) and my husband is a deputy for our county and also a SAR coordinator (SAR = Search and Rescue).  I cannot tell you how many times my husband is called out to look for missing hikers!  I also live in the heart of the Columbia Gorge and only 40 minutes from Portland, OR, where this story takes place so I have a lot of background knowledge.  This was not a good thing while reading this book.  Maybe if I didn't have a lot of knowledge about how this stuff works, it wouldn't have seemed so farfetched to me.

The Body in the Woods starts out with Alexis, Nick and Ruby, three teenage SAR volunteers (with very limited training), getting called out to a "hasty search".  They are looking for an autistic man in a local park.  First thing that struck me as a little odd was that these three inexperienced volunteers are put together in a group to search for this man without any experienced SAR.  Yeah, this would NEVER happen because the last thing you want to do is have to send in a SAR team for your first SAR team (although it has happened).  Now, the guy who sent the groups out did admit that it was a mistake but the guy that split up the groups was an Eagle Scout volunteer who also did not appear to have much experience.  It just didn't ring true to me at all.  They should have a deputy or someone with a lot of experience dividing the people into groups and telling them where to go.

So, Alexis, Ruby and Nick are on the trail looking for this guy.  They are told to stay together but of course, they don't.  After asking some people the see on the trail if they have seen the missing man, Nick and Ruby both run ahead of Alexis.   While looking, Alexis spots someone in the brush and it ends up being a dead girl.  Alexis is obviously traumatized and calls for help.  In the meantime, Ruby and Nick hurry back to her and Ruby (who appears to have Aspberger's) takes in the scene very closely.  Ruby has amazing observation skills and is very interested in forensics so this could be very helpful.
After the body is removed, the kids are questioned by a detective.  Now, I realize that a cop does not need the parent around or even the parent's permission to talk to a kid.  However, these kids just found a dead body.  You would think that the police would have contacted the parents and had them come down to pick up their kids and be supportive.  Not only did they not do that (and as a parent, I would be very upset if the police didn't have me come down to pick up my kid who had just seen a murdered girl) but they told the kids that they couldn't talk about anything to anyone, including their parents about this.  I found this a little odd too.  I understand not talking about things that are confidential but surely the kids could talk to the parents about how they felt finding a dead body.  They weren't privy to any confidential information at that point because there was only a dead body found.  That was in the news by the morning.  They did bring in some grief counselors but these people were also very young and also volunteers.  I'm just not sure how much help an 18 year old volunteer could be.  I would think if they were bringing someone in, it would be an experienced counselor (probably with education and a degree behind them). 
Anyways, the kids are convinced that they can find the killer and help the police.  They help with an evidence search and then get caught up in trying to find out who is killing homeless girls and the whole time they don't realize that one of them is now on the killer's list.  

Another issue I had with the book was the constantly changing POVs.  I just never felt like I got to connect with any characters and in the beginning, it was difficult to try to figure out what was going on.  Plus, I really didn't like Nick at all so did not find his chapters entertaining in any way. 
 I think Ruby was my favorite character but we were constantly being told how socially awkward or "weird" she was.  Her parents thought her "obsessed with death/darkness" which I didn't get at all. She was interested in crime and forensics.  How is that obsessed with death?  She was the character that I could most connect with and I would have loved it if the whole story was told from her POV.

This is the first book from April Henry that I have read and I have heard some of her other books, like The Girl who was Supposed to Die or The Night she Disappeared, are really good so I might give one of those ones a try.  I won't be picking up anymore books in this series though.  If you like crime books, you might want to try this one.  Again, I think people that are younger would enjoy this book but it just wasn't one for me.  I would love to hear your thoughts on it though!