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, 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.