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 »

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Book Review: The Whistler by John Grisham

The Whistler 

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

We expect our judges to be honest and wise. Their integrity and impartiality are the bedrock of the entire judicial system. We trust them to ensure fair trials, to protect the rights of all litigants, to punish those who do wrong, and to oversee the orderly and efficient flow of justice.

But what happens when a judge bends the law or takes a bribe? It’s rare, but it happens.

Lacy Stoltz is an investigator for the Florida Board on Judicial Conduct. She is a lawyer, not a cop, and it is her job to respond to complaints dealing with judicial misconduct. After nine years with the Board, she knows that most problems are caused by incompetence, not corruption.

But a corruption case eventually crosses her desk. A previously disbarred lawyer is back in business with a new identity. He now goes by the name Greg Myers, and he claims to know of a Florida judge who has stolen more money than all other crooked judges combined. And not just crooked judges in Florida. All judges, from all states, and throughout U.S. history.

What’s the source of the ill-gotten gains? It seems the judge was secretly involved with the construction of a large casino on Native American land. The Coast Mafia financed the casino and is now helping itself to a sizable skim of each month’s cash. The judge is getting a cut and looking the other way. It’s a sweet deal: Everyone is making money.

But now Greg wants to put a stop to it. His only client is a person who knows the truth and wants to blow the whistle and collect millions under Florida law. Greg files a complaint with the Board on Judicial Conduct, and the case is assigned to Lacy Stoltz, who immediately suspects that this one could be dangerous.

Dangerous is one thing. Deadly is something else.

My Thoughts:

I am a HUGE John Grisham fan!  I love his legal thrillers and always race through the book.  It's been a long time since I've read one of his books though.  I was immediately drawn into the story and hardly put the book down until I finished it.

Lacy works for the Board on Judicial Conduct in Florida.  She is single and happy to do her job and go home to her French Bulldog.  She hangs out with her partner, Hugo Hatch and his wife Verna.  She has a good life. 

Hugo is a father of four with his wife, Verna.  The littlest is still just a baby and loves to keep her parents up at all hours of the night.  Hugo is sleep deprived and grumpy but you can tell he loves his wife, loves his kids and loves his job.  He was my absolute favorite character!

Lacy gets contacted by a man that claims he has information on a corrupt judge, a mafia group and an Indian casino.  Lacy and Hugo meet the man to see if his information pans out.  The man, Gregory, is in hiding himself and is very cryptic.  He gives Lacy and Hugo just enough information to get started.  After speaking with their boss, they decide they will investigate.  

Now Lacy and Hugo are thrown into a dangerous game where someone is very likely to get hurt.  People are killed, some disappear and others are hunted.   The evidence against the judge, the casino and other key players builds up and these people are getting nervous.  

I loved the characters in this novel.  Lacy was stubborn and ambitious and was not really afraid of a lot (other than getting behind the wheel of a car later but there is good reason for that).  Hugo is just a big, lovable teddy bear and Gregory was mysterious but also a very fun character to me.  

This book started off with mystery and kept it going until the end.  It was exciting and full of surprises.  John Grisham did not disappoint me with this book!


Friday, March 17, 2017

Book Review: Animal Farm by George Orwell

Animal Farm 

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

"All animals are equal. But some animals are more equal than others."

One night on an English farm, Major the boar recounts his vision of a utopia where his fellow creatures own the land along with the means of production and are no longer the slaves of humans.

Before long his dream comes true, and for a short while all animals really are equal. But the clever pigs educate themselves and soon learn how to extend their own power, inevitably at the expense of the rest of the community.

This well-loved tale is, of course, a satire on the Soviet Communist system that still remains a powerful warning despite the changes in world politics since "Animal Farm" was first published.

This production is based on Orwell's own radio version which was first produced in 1947.

My Thoughts:

I assigned this book to my 8th grader to read for literature this year (we homeschool) but figured that since I was making him read it, I should read it as well.  It was one of the books in my AP English class that I decided to skip in high school.  My son and I had a great time discussing this one!

Old Major knows he is nearing the end of his life.  He has a dream and decides to share it with the other animals on Manor Farm.  He talks about a revolution, how humans are no good, and how the animals are living a life of misery and slavery to make a human's life better.  Once Old Major dies, the idea of a revolution starts to grow and suddenly the animals on Manor Farm are in charge after running their owner off. 

The animals come together at first and work to make sure all animals are treated equally.  They have rules to follow that they write on the barn wall and they all work together to get Manor Farm, now known as Animal Farm, to be productive.  The animals decide that the pigs should be the ones in charge since they are the most "intelligent".  Pretty soon that leads to more problems than before though.

Animal Farm is a very powerful story.  It's about power and greed, brainwashing, communism, and how history often repeats itself, especially if there is no one who remembers the past.   This book has a lot of lessons to be learned and I am very glad I decided to read it.  It led to many interesting talks with my kiddo.