Sep 09 2015
Review: Insurgent by Veronica Roth
Written By: Jade | | Tags: ,

insurgent-vrPublisher: Harper Collins
Published: May 1, 2012
Copyright: 2012
Pages: 525
Form: Paperback
Series: Divergent (2)
Author: Site | Facebook | Twitter
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One choice can transform you– or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves–and herself–while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Tris’s initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable–and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.

My Thoughts

While Insurgent was interesting I wasn’t as enthralled with this book as I was with Divergent.  I felt like almost everything that was built up and solidified in Divergent was subsequently and promptly torn down and eliminated in this installment.

Tris’ grief was completely and totally exhausting in this book.  I understand the agony she felt upon losing her parents.  That is a kind of grief that can often manifest itself in actual physical pain and it’s something you never ever get over.  And I understand the wretchedness she felt on having to kill one of her friends, but as someone who is supposed to be Divergent, she really let her grief debilitate and paralyze her when she really needed to be on her game.  It influenced her to make some really rash and stupid decisions, and she just became someone who I couldn’t recognize any longer.

Also, I couldn’t understand how Tris and Tobias could have such an intense and shared experience in Divergent, and then completely lose trust and faith in each other in Insurgent.  There seemed to be no real cause for the mistrust and dishonesty between the two, and a lot of their problems could have been avoided or even eliminated if they had just set aside their egos and talked to and been honest with one another.

Tris was impulsive and silly and really morphed into someone I didn’t like.  Tobias seemed to change for the worse too.  He was quite bratty and impetuous, and frankly I found myself disappointed in both of them.

The ending was interesting.  I’m curious to see how Allegiant ties everything up.  But this installment could have been better.


Jul 13 2015
Review: Paper Towns by John Green
Written By: Jade | | Tags: ,

papertowns-jgPublisher: Dutton
Published: October 16, 2008
Copyright: 2008
Pages: 305
Form: Hardback
Series: Stand Alone
Author: Site | Facebook | Twitter
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Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs back into his life – dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge – he follows.

After their all-nighter ends and a new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. But Q soon learns that there are clues – and they’re for him. Urged down a disconnected path, the closer Q gets, the less Q sees the girl he thought he knew.

My Thoughts

This is my fourth John Green book and probably my last.  I read Looking for Alaska first and thoroughly enjoyed it.  But I was unenthused with An Abundance of Katherine’s and The Fault in Our Stars, and now I can add Paper Towns to that list.

Frankly this seemed like a knock off version of Looking for Alaska.  It featured the same kind of quirky, unusual, average teenage boy pining away after the cryptic, mysterious, and elusive girl who seems to touch everybody.  But the main character Margot is really not a very likable girl, and I found myself only wanting to know what happened to her because Quentin was so concerned.

But his obsession with her disappearance was concerning and the way she left was completely selfish and self centered.  The only thing I really loved about this book were Quentin’s REAL friends.  They were loyal and supportive of Q, and did all they could to support him in his quest to find that girl.  Radar’s honesty was particularly refreshing.

Overall, while the mystery of Margot’s disappearance was enough to keep me reading, I didn’t like Margot.  Also the book put me in the mind of Looking for Alaska too much for me to be able to enjoy it as it’s own work.  Just seems too formulaic.



Jul 06 2015
Review: For Your Love by Beverly Jenkins
Written By: Jade | | Tags: ,

foryourlove-bjPublisher: HarperCollins
Published: April 28, 2015
Copyright: 2015
Pages: 295
Form: Paperback
Series: Blessings Series (6)
Author: Site | Facebook | Twitter
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NAACP nominee and bestselling author Beverly Jenkins returns to Henry Adams, Kansas–an unforgettable place anyone would want to call home–with a story of family, friends, and the powerful forces from our past that can irrevocably shape our future.

Mayor Trent July and his wife, Lily, are enjoying life as newlyweds and embracing the challenges and joys that come with being adoptive parents to two wonderful boys. But fatherhood has inevitably forced Trent to think about his own birth mother.  Raised by his grandmother Tamar–and, in many ways, the good people of Henry Adams–Trent was blessed with a childhood full of love.

But now he can’t help wondering what happened to the scared teenage girl who gave birth to him. And questions that he’s never voiced are now begging to be answered: Who was she? Is she still alive? Why didn’t she want him?

Trent has always believed that no good comes from dwelling on the past, especially when you have a loving family, a strong community, and folks who depend on you. But when the past comes to Henry Adams, Trent has no choice but to face it–and the woman who left him behind. The truth will shake his very being and everything he thought he knew about life, love, and the bonds that hold families together… but can also tear them apart.

My Thoughts

I don’t quite know how to describe my affection for the Blessings series by Beverly Jenkins, but I just love re-visiting Henry Adams and catching up with all its residents, old and new.  And the drama that goes down in this one small town reminds me so much of my childhood town that it’s scary!

Being an adoptive parent to two boys has both challenged and pleased Mayor Trent July.  But it has also made him wonder about his own birth mother and why she gave him up.  So when she arrives in Henry Adams after 45 years, Trent’s world is turned upside down, and old town secrets are revealed.

These novels just get better and better.  While Trent is trying to forge a bond with his new found mother, Bernadine is still dealing with her irresponsible sister and the crazy owner of the neighboring town, Franklin.  She is also busy settling in new residents Bobby, KiKi, and their baby twins, while trying to find a place for residents fleeing Franklin under the tyranny of Astrid Wiggins.  She has a lot on her plate, but with help from Trent and the rest of the community, she seems to handle it all with poise and grace.  I also was ecstatic to see her relationship with reformed playboy, Malachi July, deepen.

Between Trent and all of his family drama, Bernadine juggling all of the town problems, and the new residents settling in, For Your Love was an exciting and engaging installment.  I can’t wait to see what is next for Henry Adams and it’s residents.

About the Author


Beverly Jenkins is the author of thirty historical and contemporary novels, including five previous books in her beloved Blessings series. She has been featured in many national publications, including the Wall Street JournalPeople, the Dallas Morning News,Vibe, and many other publications.

Find out more about Beverly at her website and connect with her on Facebook.

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Jul 02 2015
Review: Heart of Gold by Beverly Jenkins
Written By: Jade | | Tags: ,

heartofgold-bjPublisher: Harper Collins
Copyright: 2014
Published: April 9, 2014
Pages: 295
Form: Paperback
Series: A Blessing Novel  (5)
Author: Beverly Jenkins| Facebook | Twitter
Buy The Book: B&N | Book Depository

Bestselling author Beverly Jenkins returns to the charming town of Henry Adams, Kansas, in this heartwarming story of family, friendship, and the surprises hidden in our lives

Henry Adams has had its fair share of drama ever since Bernadine Brown bought the town with her divorce settlement. Now, just when things are starting to settle down, it’s about to get crazy again. . . .

Cephas Patterson doesn’t just want to be left alone—if you dare step onto his property, he’ll meet you with a shotgun and a warning to stay away from his gold. He reminds Zoey of the lonely time she spent living on the streets, so she quietly begins leaving him small offerings. But then Cephas dies and leaves a saddlebag of gold—to Zoey.

And that’s not all. Zoey’s parents are going through a trial separation; her former BFF, Devon, is giving her fits; and her friend Crystal has run away from home. Then there’s Bernadine’s mean-spirited baby sister, who has arrived unexpectedly, and an ongoing battle with a neighboring town that’s about to heat up.

Will Henry Adams ever be the same again?

My Thoughts

Whatever it was I found lacking in A Wish and a Prayer was more than made up for with Jenkins’ 5th installment in the Blessings series, Heart of Gold.  I could not put this one down.While the main focus of this novel is adopted 10 year old Zoey and her family drama, we also get a glimpse into the lives of the rest of the residents as well as some new characters.

Zoey seems to be having a hard time of it in this book.  She gets into trouble after disobeying her parents, and gets into a bone breaking bike accident after visiting the town’s grouchiest resident.  Her so called best friend has been acting like a world class jerk to her and everyone else, and her parents aren’t getting along and want to separate.  Despite all the turmoil, Zoey still finds herself very blessed.  She meets a new boy that she likes a lot, inherits a bag of real gold from the town hermit, and stumbles upon some extended family she never thought she’d know.

As for the rest of the residents, Bernadine is dealing with her entitled and hateful baby sister, her daughter running away from home, and the mayhem caused by the Mayor and his wife from the neighboring town of Franklin.

With all the shenanigans going down in this book, I just couldn’t put it down.  Heart of Gold left me feeling optimistic and fulfilled, and definitely had me looking forward to the next installment.


Jun 25 2015
Review: A Wish and A Prayer by Beverly Jenkins
Written By: Jade | | Tags: ,

awishandaprayer-bjPublisher: Harper Collins
Copyright: 2012
Published: April 10, 2012
Pages: 304
Form: Paperback
Series: A Blessing Novel  (4)
Author: Beverly Jenkins
Buy The Book: B&N | Book Depository

Anyone worried that living in a small town could be boring certainly hasn’t lived in Henry Adams, Kansas. From the wealthy divorcée who saved this historic town founded by freed slaves to the romantic entanglements that have set tongues wagging and hearts fluttering (and everything in between), there’s plenty to keep the lovably eccentric townsfolk busy.

Preston Miles is happy living with his foster parents, but an e-mail from his maternal grandmother is about to change all that. . . . Riley Curry, the former town mayor, is convinced his pet hog, Cletus, acted in self-defense when he sat on—and killed—a man. Now Riley just has to prove it in a court of law. . . . And as for Rocky, she has already had a lifetime of hurt. Will she risk opening her heart—and her life—to Jack?

Warm, funny, poignant, and unforgettable, Beverly Jenkins’s latest excursion to Henry Adams is a true delight—a welcome return to a place that always feels like home.

My Thoughts

A Wish and a Prayer is the fourth novel in Beverly Jenkins’ Blessings series, and while I did eventually end up enjoying this book, it wasn’t as entertaining as the previous ones in the series.

This book let’s us catch up with all the residents we know, love, and hate in the small town of Henry Adams, Kansas, but the major focus of the book is on adopted brain child Preston Miles.  While Preston is happy and adjusting to life with his adoptive parents, he still longs for answers and a possible relationship with his birth parents.  But when his maternal Grandmother reaches out, Preston must prepare himself for a bit of heartbreak.

Poor Preston.  I can’t imagine not knowing who my parents are and pining to understand why they would give me up.  But despite this, there are a lot of great things happening for Preston.  He is building a better and stronger relationship with his Dad, despite the rockiness of the past.  Also, he has friends that are super supportive, and he even has some success with the ladies.

While Preston is finding his way, former Mayor Riley and his deadly pig Cletus are still causing mischief and mayhem.  Mayor Wiggins of nearby Franklin is taking every opportunity to be a thorn in Bernadine’s side, and Rocky and Jack are finally finding their way with a budding relationship.

Still full of cheese, and while not as great as the previous books, A Wish and a Prayer is still a very worthy read.

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