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 »

Friday, December 16, 2016

Book Review: Mischief and Manors by Ashtyn Newbold

Mischief and Manors 

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

When Annette Downing and her mischievous little brothers are sent to Kellaway Manor for the summer, she hopes for a relaxing escape. But Annette finds her closeted heart in jeopardy when reunited with the handsome Owen Kellaway, a childhood acquaintance and respected gentlemen. When Owen is enlisted to help the boys with their behavior, Annette wonders if he has just as much mischief up his sleeve as her brothers. Bound by a promise she made to her late parents, and amid a frightening mystery, Annette faces a difficult decision when she finds herself falling for Owen's charm… 

My Thoughts:

I really enjoyed this clean, fun romance.  It was refreshing to read a book with no sex or swearing.  The characters were funny and I loved reading about the boys and all the mischief they get themselves into!

Annette and her little brothers are sent to live with their very prim and proper, mean and abusive aunt after the death of their parents.  Annette made a promise to care for her brothers and she fully intends to keep that promise and protect them from their aunt's wrath.  The boys are young though and as the saying goes, "boys will be boys".  They are into all sorts of trouble all the time. 

Annette's aunt issues Annette and the boys an ultimatum.  They either go away to Kellaway Manor for the summer and learn to become proper gentlemen or the aunt will send the boys to the orphanage.  Annette hasn't been to Kellaway Manor since she was nine and her last visit there ended in her own mischief with the boy that lived there.  

Once there, Annette feels right at home, even though Owen Kellaway (the boy she met at age 9) is there as well and still appears to cause some mischief.  Owen promises to help make the boys into the gentlemen they need to be and Annette finds herself falling for him a little more every day.

This story has it all.  It has romance, humor and even a little mystery.  There are parts where I actually laughed out loud.  It was a very entertaining read that I wasn't able to put down!

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher for an honest review*

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Book Review: Caitlyn's Christmas Wish by Laura L. Walker

Caitlyn's Christmas Wish 

Synopsis (from Goodreads): 
 Just when former model and single mother Caitlyn Drevier Reel has finally put her life on track after a divorce and six-month stint in rehab, she is surprised to receive an invitation from her ex-in-laws to spend Christmas with the family. After all, she reasons, her ex-husband Grant is constantly on the road with his band and it's only fair to allow them to get to know her young son, Brody. What Caitlyn isn't prepared for, however, is the spark of attraction she feels toward Ridge, Grant's older brother, or the sense of belonging to their wonderful family once again. Ridge, who is recovering from his own personal heartache, seems to feel the same about her. As they work together to ensure the success of the Winter Festival his parents have organized for their small Wyoming town, Caitlyn begins to envision a bright future. But will Grant's unexpected arrival keep her Christmas wish from coming true? This inspirational novella will have you grabbing a cup of hot cocoa as you get in the holiday mood.

My Thoughts: 

Caitlyn's Christmas Wish is a short, sweet, Christmas story that leaves you feeling good when you finish it.  

Caitlyn is a former model who was once married to a famous country singer, Grant.  Caitlyn divorced Grant when she found out she was pregnant because Grant was selfish and addicted to drugs.  Caitlyn had her own problems with eating disorders and Grant's family supported her while she went to a rehab center.  Now Grant's family has asked Caitlyn to spend Christmas with them.  They want to see their eight-month old grandson, Brody and they don't expect that Grant will be around because, well, he never comes home for the holidays. 

Caitlyn takes the family up on their offer and heads to the town where Grant's father is the mayor.  Grant's family is in the middle of a Christmas festival that lasts a few days so Ridge, Grant's brother, is the one who meets up with Caitlyn when she arrives.  There is an immediate spark between the two and Ridge, although a little awkward with Brody, seems to enjoy him.  

Of course, a couple days later, Grant surprisingly shows up.  Grant is having some issues and needs to get back together with Caitlyn to solve those issues.  Caitlyn has (very quickly) fallen in love with Ridge and has no desire to get back together with Grant.  The family goes through some conflicts but the story ends leaving you feeling good and in the Christmas mood.

I really liked Caitlyn and Ridge.  This book is such a short and fast read that there had to be an instant attraction between Ridge and Caitlyn so I wasn't too annoyed with that like I usually am with instant romances.  Grant was a very childish and immature man that annoyed every part of me.  

Charles and Jacinda are Grant and Ridge's parents and I really liked how they put Grant in his place several times.  He is their son and they love him but they had no problem telling him that he was wrong in the past and that he wasn't going to be allowed to act like the entitled brat that he was acting like.  

The story was very clean.  There was romance and kissing but no sex or foul language.  The Reel's are a religious family who believe that the birth of Jesus Christ is the reason for Christmas but it was pretty mild and not preachy at all.  

If you are looking for a feel good Christmas story that you can read quickly, because we all know how busy this time of year is, then pick up this book.  


Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Book Review: The Liar by Nora Roberts

The Liar 
Synopsis (from Goodreads):
Shelby Foxworth lost her husband. Then she lost her illusions …

The man who took her from Tennessee to an exclusive Philadelphia suburb left her in crippling debt. He was an adulterer and a liar, and when Shelby tracks down his safe-deposit box, she finds multiple IDs. The man she loved wasn’t just dead. He never really existed.

Shelby takes her three-year-old daughter and heads south to seek comfort in her hometown, where she meets someone new: Griff Lott, a successful contractor. But her husband had secrets she has yet to discover. Even in this small town, surrounded by loved ones, danger is closer than she knows—and threatens Griff, as well. And an attempted murder is only the beginning …
My Thoughts:
I have always loved Nora Roberts.  Her books are always a fun read that doesn't make you think too much but full of suspense and anticipation.  The Liar is no different.  Although I had the ending figured out almost from the first chapter, I was still in for a few surprises.
Shelby is from a small town in Tennessee.  She meets Richard and runs away with him to get married and live a life of luxury...or so she thinks.  Shelby travels the world with Richard but once she gets pregnant, Richard is distant and it is obvious he doesn't want a child.  He leaves Shelby and their daughter often for business trips.  The one trip they were supposed to take with Richard, they end up staying home because of a sick child, and Richard gets into a tragic accident.  His body is lost at sea and Shelby is left a single mother with an unimaginable debt to pay off.  It seems Richard was not at all what he said.  Their whole life was a sham.
Shelby and her daughter, Callie, head back home to the hills of Tennessee.  There she is welcomed by her family and most of the town.  When some strange people show up in town and some even stranger things start to happen, Shelby knows that there is something more going on with Richard's lies and that she may very well be in danger.
I had the ending figured out pretty much from the beginning so that was a little disappointing but the book still kept me interested and it was such an easy read.  I loved Shelby and her mom and grandmother.  Nora Roberts described the town much like what I would expect from a small southern town (think Steel Magnolias) with the beauty shop gossip and the "second runner-up" beauty queen that still thinks she runs the town.  
There were a couple issues I had with the story like the way the law enforcement was portrayed. I come from a family in law enforcement and there is no way that some of the stuff that Forrest (Shelby's deputy brother) did would fly in any department that I know.   I was not bothered by the instant romance between Shelby and Griff because that isn't unusual in a Nora Roberts book but the way they talk to each other sometimes drives me insane.  "I just met you but I am in love with you and we will date/have sex/get married because I say so" dialogue is just annoying.  Shelby's family was almost perfect and it was so easy for her to just jump back into life in her town.  She found not one but two jobs that were just perfect for her and, aside from one "mean girl" character, everyone forgave her for running off and it was just like she never left.  Even her best friend, who was deeply hurt, had a quick talk with Shelby, said she was going to be hurt for a little bit and then seemed to forget about it all.  
If you want an fun, easy, slightly suspenseful and romantic read then you will like this book.  If you are looking for a mystery with an unpredictable ending, you will be disappointed in this one.  I enjoyed it but it definitely won't at the top of my favorite 2016 reads.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

2017 Reading Challenges

I have decided that I really need to make more time to read again.  My kids are getting older and with that comes more activities that I am required to drive them around to plus all the other stuff I do.  I have definitely been neglecting my reading and so I hope having some challenges helps me get back into it again!  My other goal is to get my TBR pile down!

My first challenge is hosted by My Reader's Block:

Since I don't want to set myself up for failure, I am going to go with the Pike's Peak option of reading 12 books off my TBR pile.  They will be:

1.  Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
2.  The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
3.  Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly
4.  Stealing Parker by Miranda Kenneally
5.  Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight
6.  All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda
7.  Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige
8.  The Collector by Nora Roberts
9.  The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman
10.  Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge
12.  Sanctuary Bay by Laura Burns and Melinda Metz

My next challenge is hosted by Book Dragon's Lair:  
If someone tells me I can't or shouldn't read a book, you can pretty much bet that I will read it.  I homeschool my kids so I also have them read many "banned" books for their literature.  I am  going to read between 2-6 books.  I am are Creeping. You're burning with a low flame and spreading slowly.

Here are the books that I plan to read:

2.  Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
3. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
4. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
5.The Color Purple by Alice Walker
6.  Paper Towns by John Green

My last challenge is hosted by Opinions of a Wolf:

I am going to go with the annual option and commit to reading 4 books (the Acquainted option).  The books I will be reading are:

1.  Paperweight by Meg Haston (eating disorders/suicide)
2. Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn (self-injury)
3.  Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson (anorexia)
4. Sickened:  The True Story of a Lost Childhood by Julie Gregory

These are all my challenges for 2017.  Wish me luck!

Teaser Tuesday: Beautiful Affliction by Lene Fogelberg

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Books And A Beat.

Teaser Tuesday |
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!

Beautiful AfflictionIt's September, but summer is still in full swing.  No chill in the air, no falling leaves.  I can feel it, my heart beating, beating, beating against my chest and against his chest, beating and telling me no no no and at the same time the answer to the riddle, making me shrink with fear, yes, I will die young.
~pg. 149 of Beautiful Affliction by Lene Fogelberg 

Book Review: Beautiful Affliction by Lene Fogelberg

Beautiful Affliction 

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

Lene Fogelberg is dying—she is sure of it—but no doctor in Sweden, her home country, believes her. Love stories enfold her, with her husband, her two precious daughters, her enchanting surroundings, but the question she has carried in her heart since childhood—Will I die young?—is threatening all she holds dear, even her sanity. When her young family moves to the US, an answer, a diagnosis, is finally found: she is in the last stages of a fatal congenital heart disease. But is it too late? 

My Thoughts:

My friend emailed me last month with a request to review this book for a friend of hers.  I was so busy and told her that I wouldn't be able to do it for a little while and thought that was the end of it.  Luckily for me, my friend had her friend send me the book anyways.  I didn't really know anything about the book and I will be honest...when I received it I was not too excited to be reading a memoir.  They just aren't my usual read.  But I decided to give it a try since I told my friend I would and I am so very glad I did.  This story was amazing and had me from the very first page!

Lene Fogelberg has always known there was something wrong with her body.  She always felt that she would die young.  Her mother took her to a doctor when she was six and she was told she had a heart murmur but would never have to worry about it.  Being born and raised in Sweden, Lene didn't have the same health care system that we have here in the USA.  There were no well child exams every year or physicals for school.  Once the doctors told her she was okay, that was the end of it.

As Lene grows older, every breath is a struggle.  She tires easily and can't do what a normal kid or young adult can do.  She knows deep down that there is something wrong but she fights to make her body work for her.  She gets married and has two children.  She fights every day to be a good mom and a good wife but you can see the toll it takes on her.  

After she moves to the US with her family, she finally gets the answers that she seeks.  The answers are frightening but Lene will do what it takes to be strong and make it for her family.

This book was so beautifully written.  You could feel Lene's helplessness and depression as she was told over and over that she was fine and there was nothing wrong with her.  This book was so riveting that it had me up into the wee hours of the night reading because I simply couldn't put it down.  I had to know how Lene was going to survive.  She is such a strong woman and I was simply amazed at her perseverance.    

This book will make you believe in miracles.  It will restore some faith in humanity.  It will make you want to send it to everyone you know to read.  It was really just that good!  

A HUGE thank you goes out to my friend Marie and her friend, Angelica, for sending me this book for review.  It will forever have a place on my bookshelf.


Sunday, October 23, 2016

Book Review: The Unsaid by Aaron Blaylock

The Unsaid 

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

Maggie’s job at the Department of Thoughts and Records in heaven is pretty simple. She is a spirit curator—an observer of human life who sorts and categorizes every unsaid thought. When Eric, her beholden, shows interest in the new girl at work, Maggie can’t help ignoring the rules to understand the wonders of mortality and love. But meddling in mortal affairs has consequences that Maggie couldn’t have ever imagined . . . 

My Thoughts:

This book was a great, feel good book that I totally wasn't expecting.   Maggie was a little annoying sometimes but I loved being in Eric's head and laughed many times at his sarcastic thoughts...mainly because I was thinking the same things!

Maggie is a spirit.  Her job is to categorize all of her beholden's thoughts until it is her turn to inhabit a body on Earth.  Maggie's beholden is Eric.  She is not supposed to get to involved in Eric's life.  Her job is strictly to watch his thoughts but after being in someone's head for twenty-some years, I imagine you would become pretty invested in their life.  

Eric works at a candy dispenser shop as in the IT department.  He is recovering from a bad breakup and just plodding through life.  He really doesn't enjoy his life or the people he works with.  That is, until he meets Lindsey, the new girl in the office.  Eric starts to get involved with Lindsey and everything is going well.  When Lindsey ends in a bad situation, Maggie ignores all the rules and "leaps" into Eric's head.  From there on, Eric and Maggie must work together.

This book was a very fast and fun read.  The book was clean with no sex or swearing which was very refreshing.  I was a little worried at first because I thought the first chapter was a little slow but as soon as you get into Eric's head, things pick up and then you don't want to put it down.  The ending was sweet and came full circle.  It left you wanting to be more positive in your life and with a good feeling.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Teaser Tuesday: The Unsaid by Aaron Blaylock

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Books And A Beat.
Teaser Tuesday |
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 The Unsaid by Aaron Blaylock. I just finished this book last night and thought it was so fun and cute and most definitely a feel good kind of book.  Here is my teaser:

The Unsaid"She did have a nice body though," Salmen remarked with a sneer.  Creep!
"All right," said Maggie.  "Punch him in the mouth."
Thank you.
~from page 145 of an ARC copy of  The Unsaid by Aaron Blaylock.    

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Teaser Tuesday: Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Books And A Beat.

Teaser Tuesday | BooksAndABeat
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!

Jurassic ParkThey all watched the screen in satisfaction.  The boat was definitely heading away from the shore. 
     "I guess the hard part's finished," Gennaro said.
     Grant shook his head.  "The hard part," he said, "is just beginning."
~page 364 of Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton

Book Review: Perfect (Pretty Little Liars #3) by Sara Shepard

Perfect (Pretty Little Liars, #3) 

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

In Rosewood, Pennsylvania, four perfect-looking girls aren't nearly as perfect as they seem.

Aria can't resist her forbidden ex. Hanna is on the verge of losing her BFF. Emily is freaking out over a simple kiss. And Spencer can't keep her hands off anything that belongs to her sister.

Lucky me. I know these pretty little liars better than they know themselves. But it's hard keeping all of their secrets to myself. They better do as I say . . . or else!

My Thoughts:

My daughter and I watch the TV show and my daughter just recently devoured all 16 books so I decided I better read them too.  I read the first two last fall and just remembered I should actually finish the series.

I love that these books are on the shorter side, easy to read and so entertaining.  They don't require a lot of thought but it's easy to read one in a day or two and for both my daughter and me, they keep our attention through the whole book.

In the third book of the series, Aria is living with her boyfriend, Sean, because her mom has kicked her out after a little incident she had with her father's new girlfriend.  Aria still has feelings for Ezra though so things are quite complicated for her.

Spencer has started seeing her sister's psychiatrist and is remembering events from the last night that she saw Ali alive.  Spence also gets nominated for the Golden Orchid, a very prestigious award based on an economics report that she wrote....or did she?  Poor Spencer has to try to decide if she comes clean about the report but she is enjoying the attention so much.

Hanna and Mona have a little tiff and now Hanna is worried that Mona is going to move on without her.  She is trying her hardest to keep Mona in her good graces but finds it so stressful that she starts to eat a lot of junk food again.  When she starts chatting with Lucas, things get even harder for poor Hanna.

Emily is in all sorts of trouble after her parents find out that she has kissed a girl.  Now Emily has to decide is she can try to change for her parents or stand firm in who she is.

While these books are fun and easy to read, I find that they are sometimes a little over dramatic.   As a mother, I find it hard to believe that Aria's mother would kick her out of the house over something so dumb.  What Aria did was wrong but there is no way I would tell my teen to leave my house over it.  I would make her call and apologize but really...leave the house and not even worry about her or give her a call or anything?  Yeah, I'm not buying it.  

Emily's parents were over the top as well.  Okay, so you are shocked that your daughter is kissing another girl but to threaten her with reform or send her to her ultra religious aunt and uncle in Iowa?  These relatives supposedly make their sons run in the morning to get out any sexual tensions and keeping a list of sins daily is ridiculous...although I am sure there are those people out there.  

I am excited that we have all the books so I can finish up the series.  I haven't figured out who A is right now but my daughter says I won't be surprised so we will see!


Book Review: Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas

Synopsis (from Goodreads):
It's Spring Break of senior year. Anna, her boyfriend Tate, her best friend Elise, and a few other close friends are off to a debaucherous trip to Aruba that promises to be the time of their lives. But when Elise is found brutally murdered, Anna finds herself trapped in a country not her own, fighting against vile and contemptuous accusations.

As Anna sets out to find her friend's killer; she discovers hard truths about her friendships, the slippery nature of truth, and the ache of young love.

As she awaits the judge's decree, it becomes clear that everyone around her thinks she is not just guilty, but dangerous. When the truth comes out, it is more shocking than one could ever imagine...

My Thoughts:
I devoured this book in one sitting!  It reminded me a little of the Amanda Knox case...teens out of the country, someone dies, dealing with a trial in a foreign country, etc.  Even though I predicted the "twist" at the end, it kept me second guessing myself the whole time.  

Anna and her friends are finishing up their senior year of high school.  They head to Aruba for Spring Break and party hard.  When they find that their leader, Elise, has been murdered, they are shocked.  When Anna is targeted as the suspect and has to fight to regain her freedom.  

The book is told from Anna's point of view.  She goes back and forth between the present, with her being in jail and the trial, to the past, where you get a look at how Elise and Anna became such good friends.  You also get to see how Tate and Anna become a couple and the twisted relationship between the three.  There are other friends in the group that add to the plot but the main story is between Anna, Elise and Tate.

Once Elise has been found and Anna is arrested, it really seems as if the prosecutor (I can't remember his title in Aruba but essentially, he would be the prosecutor) has it out for Anna.  I really ended up hating him and wanting him to fail because it appeared as if he concentrated all his focus on Anna and dismissed any other leads.  I also was disgusted with Tate and Anna's other friends at first because they appeared to only be looking out for themselves and they kind threw Anna under the bus.  Then I decided, if faced with a murder accusation and life in prison in a foreign country, I would probably do the same.  

The ending did not shock me at all as I thought I knew who the killer was the whole time but like I said, it had me doubting myself the whole time.  I was pretty sure but there were always a couple questions that made me pause.  

If you liked Gone Girl or Girl on a Train then you will definitely like this one.  It says it is a YA book but I think it is a mature YA book.  There is a lot of sex, drugs and alcohol in the book so I would definitely say ages 16 and up.  

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Book Review: Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Greene

Synopsis (from Goodreads):
Minutes before the train pulled into the station in Jenkinsville, Arkansas, Patty Bergen knew something exciting was going to happen. But she never could have imagined that her summer would be so memorable. German prisoners of war have arrived to make their new home in the prison camp in Jenkinsville. To the rest of her town, these prisoners are only Nazis. But to Patty, a young Jewish girl with a turbulent home life, one boy in particular becomes an unlikely friend. Anton relates to Patty in ways that her mother and father never can. But when their forbidden relationship is discovered, will Patty risk her family and town for the understanding and love of one boy?

My Thoughts:
I homeschool my kids so I get to decide what they read for literature.  I get some great suggestions from different curriculums.  I firmly believe that if I make my kiddos read a book, I should read it too, if I haven't already so the great thing about this is that I am finding some great books that I have never read before.  This was one of those books.
Patty is 12 years old.  She is the oldest daughter of a Jewish store owner.  Her parents make it incredibly clear that Patty's younger sister, Sharon, is their favorite.  She is pretty and talented and just the best thing since sliced bread.  Patty tries everything to get her parents, especially her father, to find some worth in her.  Because of this, she likes to embellish her stories, or just outright make them up, to try to impress the people around her.
In Patty's small and boring little town, something exciting is about to happen.  A train with German POWs comes to town.  Patty is very interested in the POWs, especially when they come into her father's store.  At the store, she meets Anton, a POW that she is instantly interested in.  She has a short conversation with him while selling him some items and he is permanently etched into her memory.

Weeks later, when Anton escapes the prison, Patty finds herself wondering how he did it and where he is until she sees him trying to hide.  Patty leads him to the abandoned rooms above her garage and lets him hide there.  While in hiding, Anton and Patty develop an interesting relationship.  

This story was so heartbreaking for me because of the way Patty's parents treated her.  Her father actually beat her several times.  I was glad she had Ruth, her families help, and then Anton.  Patty's stories were slightly annoying but you have to remember that she is 12 and she is trying to get someone to believe she is worth something.  

When the ending comes, I really wanted karma to get Patty's parents, mostly her father.  You never really find out what becomes of her parents or Patty after she leaves the school she is sent to but despite that, the ending was satisfying (I also know there is a sequel so maybe that answers those questions).  I think this is definitely a must read!


Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Teaser Tuesday: Stealing Snow by Danielle

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Books And A Beat.


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!

His words echoed in my head.  We breathe out the lies; we stutter the truth.
Page 267 of Stealing Snow by Danielle Paige


What do you think?

Monday, June 27, 2016

Book Review: Stealing Snow by Danielle Paige

Stealing Snow (Stealing Snow, #1) 

Synopsis (from Goodreads):
Seventeen-year-old Snow has spent the majority of her life within the walls of the Whittaker Institute, a high security mental hospital in upstate New York. Deep down, she knows she's not crazy and doesn't belong there. When she meets a mysterious, handsome new orderly and dreams about a strange twisted tree she realizes she must escape and figure out who she really is.

Using her trusting friend Bale as a distraction, Snow breaks free and races into the nearby woods. Suddenly, everything isn't what it seems, the line between reality and fantasy begins to blur, and she finds herself in icy Algid--her true home--with witches, thieves, and a strangely alluring boy named Kai, none of whom she's sure she can trust. As secret after secret is revealed, Snow discovers that she is on the run from a royal lineage she's destined to inherit, a father more powerful and ruthless than she could have imagined, and choices of the heart that could change the fate of everything...including Snow's return to the world she once knew.

This breathtaking first volume begins the story of how Snow becomes a villain, a queen, and ultimately a hero.

My Thoughts:

I really love fairy tale retellings!  At first glance, I thought this was a retelling of Snow White, which is my favorite fairy tale of all time.  It seems like this is more of an Ice Queen retelling though, which I still really enjoyed this book.  

Snow is stuck at Whittaker, an institute for those with sever mental health issues.  She is really all alone except for her nurse, Vern, her friend, Bale and her cocktail of pills, which she refers to as her seven dwarfs (see why I thought it was Snow White at first?).  After Snow and Bale share their first kiss, something strange happens to Bale and they are separated.  Now Snow just has her nightmares, Vern and a soap opera to keep her distracted.  But strange things start happening to Snow that she doesn't understand.  Then one night Bale disappears and between his disappearance and another patients distraction, Snow is able to escape from Whittaker.  

After escaping, Snow ends up in Algid.  Snow soon finds out that Algid is her real home and her mother took her to the "other world" to try to protect her.  Algid is in the icy hold of the King and everyone is looking to Snow to save to them but all Snow wants to do is rescue Bale and head back home...wherever that may be.

I liked Snow most of the time but found that she could be extremely stubborn and selfish a lot.  Some of the time I wanted to smack her to make her see reason.  She was never weak though and at the end, when she had to make a very hard choice after having quite the secret revealed, she did what needed to be done. 

I loved Gerde!  She was so sweet and caring and you really can't help but find her charming. Kai is very standoffish and cold.  He has his reasons but at first I didn't really care for him.  He cares a lot for Gerde though and helps both her and Snow.  I really hope we see more of both of them in the next books.  

The Robbers were my favorites.  I really enjoyed Jagger and can see the potential love interest there.  I am very curious about the masks that he wears and who he really is.  Fathom and Howl are also very entertaining.  Margot has an interesting back story and I ended up understanding her even though I didn't really like her.  

This story had a lot of little twists that kept it interesting.  Some things I could predict but there were a few things that totally surprised me like the Duchess and Snow's mother.  The beginning was a little slow but it quickly picked up and kept me entertained.  I will definitely be finishing this series!

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?


It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is hosted by Book Date.
Each week we spotlight the books we are reading, planning on reading or just finished reading.
Currently Reading:
Summer of My German Soldier (Summer of My German Soldier, #1)      The Magician (The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel, #2)     Anne of Avonlea (Anne of Green Gables, #2) 
Summer of my German Soldier by Bette Greene
The Magician (The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel #2) by Michael Scott
Anne of Avonlea (Anne of Green Gables #2) by L.M. Montgomery 

Just Finished:
Stealing Snow (Stealing Snow, #1) 
Stealing Snow by Danielle Paige
Reading Next:

He's Gone

He's Gone by Deb Caletti 

What have you been reading

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Book Review: The Women in the Walls by Amy Lukavics

The Women in the Walls 

Synopsis (from Goodsreads):

Lucy Acosta's mother died when she was three. Growing up in a Victorian mansion in the middle of the woods with her cold, distant father, she explored the dark hallways of the estate with her cousin, Margaret. They're inseparable—a family.

When her aunt Penelope, the only mother she's ever known, tragically disappears while walking in the woods surrounding their estate, Lucy finds herself devastated and alone. Margaret has been spending a lot of time in the attic. She claims she can hear her dead mother's voice whispering from the walls. Emotionally shut out by her father, Lucy watches helplessly as her cousin's sanity slowly unravels. But when she begins hearing voices herself, Lucy finds herself confronting an ancient and deadly legacy that has marked the women in her family for generations.

My Thoughts:

I have really mixed thoughts about this book so this may be an interesting review.  I have not read this author's first book but it is definitely on my list after I have finished this one.  This book sucked me in from the very first page with Walter's suicide and kept me intrigued and not able to put the book down until I finished it, which took about 10 hours.  

Lucy is seventeen and lives in a huge, old house with her father, her aunt and her cousin, Margaret.  As the book starts, Lucy has found one of their workers who had hanged himself.  That starts a series of events that changes Lucy's life.  First, her aunt goes for a walk in the woods and never returns.  Lucy questions her father as to what he is doing about it and her father assures her that he is doing everything possible to find her aunt and yet Lucy has seen no police or anyone other some some men from the County Club looking for her aunt.  Then Margaret starts to lose her mind.  Margaret is pulling away from Lucy and claims she is hearing voices in the walls.  She does some horrible and disgusting things and Lucy is very worried about her.  After another crazy event (that I don't want to spoil for you), Lucy thinks she is going crazy as well.  She has only the new girl, Vanessa, to confide in.  Her father doesn't seem to care and Vanessa's mother, who has taken over Lucy's aunts responsibilities, has her own issues to deal with.  

I love a scary, creepy story and this definitely fits that description.  The house is huge and full of secrets.  I only wish we were able to get a better sense of the house and grounds.  I would also have liked for the girls to have explored the cemetery a little more so you could get a better feel for it.  I wasn't really sure if the house was modern or stuck in older times, other than the description of the wallpaper.  

Lucy and Margaret were both difficult to relate to.  They were seventeen but other than at the beginning when Lucy talked briefly about a homeschool project, there didn't seem to be a lot that the girls did.  They had no hobbies and really no interests.  They have no friends because Margaret got easily jealous.  It talks a bit about why they left public school but I really didn't even know where they lived or what time period they lived in.  I wasn't sure if they lived in the country, in the city, in a small town and I couldn't tell if it was current times or in the past.  The only clue we got to the time period was that there was Google.

I also was not satisfied with the ending.  The description of the "Mother" character was not appealing for me.  I don't want to give anything away but I didn't like what she was.  If she had just been some supernatural being without all the weird appendages then I would have liked it better but that just didn't make any sense to me.   

I thought the whole "Club" thing was not really explained well either.  I am still not sure what the "club" was or what exactly happened.  I know what happened to Clara but it just didn't explain why the grounds were sacred and who exactly the "Mother" was or what her part in all this was.  I was left questioning the point of the men in the "club" and why the men thought the grounds were so important (maybe just for the wealth and prestige??).  

Those were the things that I had some issues with but even with all that, it was a really fast read.  I could not put the book down and wanted to know what was happening and who the voices were.  It was a very creepy book that keeps you guessing until the end.  Just be prepared to be a little confused and have questions that aren't answered.

*Book provided by Around the World ARC Tours for review*


Book Review: Haunted Destiny by Heather Graham

Synopsis (from Goodreads): 

Between the evil and the deep blue sea…

A historic cruise ship, a haunted ship, the Celtic American Line's Destiny, sets sail from the Port of New Orleans—with a killer on board. He's known as the Archangel Killer because of the way he displays his victims in churches. And how he places a different saint's medallion on each body. No one knows exactly who he is or why he's doing this.

Jackson Crow—head of the FBI's Krewe of Hunters, a special unit of paranormal investigators—is assigned to the case, along with local agent Jude McCoy. Then Alexi Cromwell, who works in the ship's piano bar, is drawn into the situation when a victim's ghost appears to her—and to Jude. She and Jude share an attraction, and not just because of their mutual talent.

There are many suspects, but one by one they're ruled out… Or are they? In the end, Jude and Alexi have to rely on each other to catch the killer and escape his evil plans for Alexi.

My Thoughts:

Jude is partnered with Jackson Crow to find the Archangel killer who has just struck in New Orleans.  As Jude and Jackson are looking over the crime scene of the latest victim, Jude notices a suspicious person and the two take off chasing him.  Jude and Jackson end up on the Destiny, a cruise ship, after the follow the man on board.  
Once on the ship, Jude and Jackson meet Alexi, a woman who is in charge of playing piano at the bar and who can conveniently see ghosts.  With Alexi's help, and those of her ghost friends, the agents have to try to figure out who the killer is before anyone else dies.

I have always liked Heather Graham's books.  They are an easy and fun read that you don't have to think a lot about.  You can just enjoy the mystery and romance and of course, the paranormal.  While I enjoyed this book, I wasn't crazy about the cruise ship setting.  There is just something about New Orleans, where most of her other books are set, that adds to the paranormal and creepiness.  This one just didn't have the same intrigue for me.  

I also wasn't crazy about the romance in this one.  Alexi is mourning the loss of her fiance, who died overseas.  It's been a year but she's still having a hard time dealing with his death.  Then Jude shows up and while it is mentioned that Alexi still loves Zach (her deceased fiance) and that she knows he wants her to be happy, it just seemed like she got over his death very quickly all of the sudden.  

There were several suspects on the ship and I wasn't able to predict who the killer would be.  I wasn't surprised at all when the killer was revealed but I hadn't narrowed it down to this exact person.  I would have loved for it to have been someone that totally shocked me and wasn't one of the original suspects.  It would have made the ending a lot more fun for me.

I also wasn't crazy about how almost everyone could see ghosts.  Alexi could see them, Jude and Jackson could see them and then Alexi's friend sees them (even though she doesn't realize she is seeing the dead).  There were just a lot of people that had the "sense" that made it slightly unbelievable to me.

With all that being said, I still enjoyed the book and the paranormal mystery.  It is a fun and light read that will keep your attention.

**Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for allowing me to read and review this book**


Monday, June 6, 2016

Book Review: Opposition (Lux #5) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

Katy knows the world changed the night the Luxen came. She can't believe Daemon stood by as his kind threatened to obliterate every last human and hybrid on Earth. But the lines between good and bad have blurred.

Daemon will do anything to save those he loves, even if it means betrayal. But when it quickly becomes impossible to tell friend from foe, and the world is crumbling around them, they may lose everything to ensure the survival of their friends…and mankind.

My Thoughts:

I finally finished this book!  It seemed to take me forever but it wasn't because the book was bad because, well, let's face it...I don't think Jennifer L. Armentrout could write a bad book if she wanted to.  It was amazing like all her others.  I just got caught up in ARCs, finishing school with the kids and life in general and maybe I knew when I finished it, the Lux series would be over for me so I dragged it out a little.

After Daemon left Katy to go with the other Luxen, Katy goes back with Archer and Luc and Beth.  Beth is pregnant and not doing well so Archer and Katy decide to run to the store to grab some vitamins.  While there, all hell broke loose and Katy ends up being captured by Luxen, or more  specifically, she gets captured by Dawson.  Dawson takes her back to the Luxen headquarters where she is reunited with a very different Daemon.

I don't want to give too much away so I'm not going to say anymore about what happens.  I thought Opposition was action packed and fast paced for the most part.  There were some slow parts and there were many times I wanted to smack Katy upside the head.  She put herself and others in danger SO many times because she didn't want to do what Daemon told her or didn't want to leave Daemon.  I thought there were many times when she was just plain stupid.  Daemon is as sarcastic and horny as usual.  There were many sex scenes, not graphic but still a lot that seemed at times to be too much. 

I loved Archer, Luc and Hunter.  Hunter is an Arum and he was probably my favorite character.  It's a toss up between Hunter and Archer.  I wasn't sure what was going to happen with Dee but I'm glad that she ended up the way she did at the end of the book.  Towards the end, I thought Katy and Daemon were a little corny with all their marriage talk and planning.  I was very happy to see Dawson and Beth have the happy ending that they deserved.

While this book has some minor flaws, I still loved it and how it tied up the whole series.  It had a ton of action and the end will keep you reading into the late hours of the night just to see how things turn out. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Book Review: I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

In a split second, Jenna Gray's world descends into a nightmare. Her only hope of moving on is to walk away from everything she knows to start afresh. Desperate to escape, Jenna moves to a remote cottage on the Welsh coast, but she is haunted by her fears, her grief and her memories of a cruel November night that changed her life forever.

Slowly, Jenna begins to glimpse the potential for happiness in her future. But her past is about to catch up with her, and the consequences will be devastating . . .

My Thoughts:

This book has left my mind spinning!  Much like the last book I read, this one has a plot twist that you will absolutely not see coming!  At the end of part one, I had to reread the last paragraph just to make sure I was understanding it because everything I had been thinking I knew about the characters just flew out the window. 

The story starts out with a young mom walking her little boy home from school.  It is raining and she is laughing with her son and keeping a close hold on him until they are across the street from their house.  She lets him go and suddenly her whole life is changed.  A car comes out of nowhere and her child is struck down and killed and the driver of the car just drives away.

DI Ray Stevens takes on the hit and run case with his trainee, Kate.  Ray is dealing with his own issues at home that he would really just like to run away from.  This case gives him a reason to stay away from home and Kate is young and ambitious and reminds Ray why he is doing this job to begin with.

After the accident, Jenna ends up leaving Bristol and heading out to anyplace that will help her hide her memories.  She ends up at the coast in Wales.  She is happy starting fresh but soon her secrets will come out and she will have to deal with her past again.  

I cannot say much more about the plot in this book because I don't want to give anything away.  I loved all the characters but Jenna had some moments for me.  During her talks with Ray and Kate, I sometimes felt that she was weak and wanted to say "just tell them already" but I have never been in her position so I am not sure how I would have handled it either.  Jenna redeems herself at the end when she finds strength that seems to come out of nowhere.  

This book easily kept my attention and was a very fast paced read.  Once you get to the end of part one, the story seems to fly by and I really had a hard time putting the book down.  I figured out what happened towards the end but there were still enough twists that it kept me wanting to finish the book just to see if I was correct in my thinking.  

This is an excellent, fast paced and totally unpredictable psychological thriller.  Make sure  you pick this one up when it comes out and see if you can predict the ending.  

**A HUGE thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for allowing me to read and review this book!**


Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Teaser Tuesday: I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Books And A Beat.


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 grief I feel is so physical it seems impossible that I am still living; that my heart continues to beat when it has been wrenched apart.  I want to fix an image of him in my head, but all I can see when I close my eyes is his body, still and lifeless in my arms.  I let him go, and I will never forgive myself for that.
~page 40 of I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh 

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Book Review: Don't You Cry by Mary Kubica

Synopsis (from Goodreads):
In downtown Chicago, a young woman named Esther Vaughan disappears from her apartment without a trace. A haunting letter addressed to My Dearest is found among her possessions, leaving her friend and roommate Quinn Collins to wonder where Esther is and whether or not she's the person Quinn thought she knew.

Meanwhile, in a small Michigan harbor town an hour outside Chicago, a mysterious woman appears in the quiet coffee shop where eighteen-year-old Alex Gallo works as a dishwasher. He is immediately drawn to her charm and beauty, but what starts as an innocent crush quickly spirals into something far more dark and sinister than he ever expected.

As Quinn searches for answers about Esther, and Alex is drawn further under Pearl's spell, master of suspense Mary Kubica takes readers on a taut and twisted thrill ride that builds to a stunning conclusion and shows that no matter how fast and far we run, the past always catches up with us in the end.

My Thoughts:

I have read both of Kubica's other novels, The Good Girl and Pretty Baby.  I loved The Good Girl but I found the characters in Pretty Baby to be annoying and unrealistic.  I was very interested to see how I was going to like Don't You Cry.  I am pretty sure this book will remain on my top ten best books of 2016 list.  Don't You Cry was so filled with twists and turns and every single time I was sure that I knew what was going on, Kubica would throw in another twist and everything I thought I knew went out the window.  For  me, this book was very unpredictable, I had no idea what was going on until Kubica wanted me to know and it kept me intrigued through the entire story.

The story starts out with Quinn.  Quinn lives in Chicago with her roommate Esther.  Quinn wakes up after a night out to discover that Esther is missing.  Her bedroom window is open, her blankets are on the floor and Esther is gone.  Quinn is sure Esther will return and spends the day waiting for her.  When Esther doesn't return and Quinn finds some disturbing letters and other strange items in Esther's room, she finally starts to really worry.

Then we skip to Alex.  Alex lives in a small town in Michigan, about an hour from Chicago, and works at a local diner.  His mother left his father and him when Alex was  young and Alex's father is nothing but a drunk.  Alex has heard stories about the dilapidated old house across the street from him.  Stories that claim the house to be haunted by a 5 year old girl who drowned in a bathtub while her mother was busy attending to her younger sister.  Alex and his father see strange lights in the house and just figure it is squatters.  Then comes the day when "Pearl" enters the diner that Alex works at.  Pearl fascinates Alex and he takes a great interest in her.

This story is told in alternating views of Quinn and Alex.  You don't have any idea how the stories intertwine until the end (even though you think you might don't).  Quinn works hard to find out what happened to Esther and in return she finds out some horrible things that make her believe Esther actually wants Quinn dead.  Alex gets to know Pearl and then finds that she holds some very dangerous secrets.

This book is fast paced, intriguing, and completely unpredictable.  It hooks you from the very first page and keeps you turning those pages late into the night.  If you want a psychological thriller that you can't put down, get this book when it comes out.  You won't be sorry!

**A huge thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for allowing me to review this book**

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Teaser Tuesday: Don't You Cry by Mary Kubica

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Books And A Beat.

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!

 Anyone with half a mind would have immediately called the police or ran in the other direction, not trailed her.  But now here I am, hiding in the bushes of an all-but-abandoned cemetery while some wackadoodle unearths a corpse from the ground.

~page 264 of Don't You Cry by Mary Kubica

I am loving this book!  It is so creepy and twisted and completely unpredictable.  I wanted to finish it last week but had a crazy week so I will definitely finish it tonight and write up my review!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Teaser Tuesday: Don't You Cry by Mary Kubica

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Books And A Beat.

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 today comes from an ARC of Don't You Cry by Mary Kubica.  So far, I am really enjoying it!

Every single town in all of America has its own haunted house. 
Ours just so happens to be right across the street from mine.

~page 69-70 of Don't You Cry by Mary Kubica