Author: Jessica Simpson
Narrator: Jessica Simpson
Published: February 4, 2020
Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: January 1-9, 2021
Jessica’s Rating: 5 stars
Jessica reveals for the first time her inner monologue and most intimate struggles. Guided by the journals she’s kept since age fifteen, and brimming with her unique humor and down-to-earth humanity, Open Book is as inspiring as it is entertaining.
This was supposed to be a very different book. Five years ago, Jessica Simpson was approached to write a motivational guide to living your best life. She walked away from the offer, and nobody understood why. The truth is that she didn’t want to lie.
Jessica couldn’t be authentic with her readers if she wasn’t fully honest with herself first.
Now, America’s Sweetheart, preacher’s daughter, pop phenomenon, reality tv pioneer, and the billion-dollar fashion mogul invites readers on a remarkable journey, examining a life that blessed her with the compassion to help others but also burdened her with an almost crippling need to please. Open Book is Jessica Simpson using her voice, heart, soul, and humor to share things she’s never shared before.
First celebrated for her voice, she became one of the most talked-about women in the world, whether for music and fashion, her relationship struggles, or as a walking blonde joke. But now, instead of being talked about, Jessica is doing the talking. Her book shares the wisdom and inspirations she’s learned and shows the real woman behind all the pop-culture cliché’s — “chicken or fish,” “Daisy Duke,” “football jinx,” “mom jeans,” “sexual napalm…” and more. Open Book is an opportunity to laugh and cry with a close friend, one that will inspire you to live your best, most authentic life, now that she is finally living hers.
First, I must say I am not a fan of Jessica Simpson’s music. I have seen parts of her Newlyweds show with then husband Nick Lachey, and seen the tabloids in the grocery store. What made me decide to listen to her memoir is that we do have some things in common, and more than I originally thought when I started her memoir: We have the same first name and now both have the same legal last name, we were both born the same year (1980, myself in April and her in July) , we both met our husbands the same year (2010), we are both from the south (Georgia for me and Texas for her) and have body issues in regard to our ample bosoms.
I chose to listen to the audiobook version which is narrated by Jessica herself. Listening to her candidness you feel like you know her as the person she is. She is very frank with her dependency issues dealing with pills, alcohol, and men. Now knowing all about her, Jessica feels like a friend you can totally open up with and not be judged.
As she was growing up she was definitely challenged by other famous young singers in her age group who were always seemingly one step ahead of her. Jessica unsuccessfully tried out for the Mickey Mouse Club. I enjoyed hearing about this time in her life because she met some other famous celebrities before they became who they now are.
I had no idea how extremely religious she was and still is. Her faith is a very strong part of her, and she has been tested throughout her life. Imagine as a teenager already with body issues trying to sing to celebrate the Lord, but then be told you can’t wear a particular outfit because of how it makes you look (and the outfits were tame!)
Jessica is open yet not negatively focusing on her relationships with men, from choosing to remain a virgin until she married Nick Lachey, an emotional affair with Johnny Knoxville while filming the Dukes of Hazzard, to the extremely toxic relationship with John Mayer (Douche!), and also her relationship with Tony Romo and current husband Eric Johnson.
This is a memoir that opens your eyes to a particular celebrity and definitely shows the person she is, has become, and what she has accomplished in her life thus far (her fashion line). I feel I know Jessica now and would love to talk and hang out with her. As I was listening to the book that is how it felt: That you were hanging out, catching up, and talking with a long lost friend.
If you are a fan of Simpson’s then this memoir is must read, and even if you are not a fan, like me it is also a memoir you must read. There are also some new songs that are played that came apart of writing this memoir. Jessica honestly and with lots of heart put her story out there for us to learn about who she truly is.
Open Book is recommended.
And Happy First Book Birthday to Jessica and Open Book! It has been one year from when this memoir was first published!
Author: Zoje Stage
Narrated by: Gabra Zackman
To Be Published: July 17, 2018
Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Listened To: June 21-28, 2018
Novel: 4 stars
Audio Narration: 5 stars
Book Description from Amazon:
She’s the sweet-but-silent angel in the adoring eyes of her Daddy. He’s the only person who understands her, and all Hanna wants is to live happily ever after with him. But Mommy stands in her way, and she’ll try any trick she can think of to get rid of her. Ideally for good.
She loves her daughter, really, but after years of expulsions and strained home schooling, her precarious health and sanity are weakening day by day. As Hanna’s tricks become increasingly sophisticated, and Suzette’s husband remains blind to the failing family dynamics, Suzette starts to fear that there’s something seriously wrong, and that maybe home isn’t the best place for their baby girl after all.
We have all seen movies or read books with creepy kids in them, and now you can add another to the list! Hanna is more than creepy, she is pure evil! This child will make you think twice about having children.
We have two points of view in Baby Teeth: Hanna and Suzette. There is no mistaking whose narration is whose. The chapters alternate between Hanna and Suzette.
Hanna loves her Daddy more than anything; in fact she wants it to be just her and Daddy with no Mommy. Hanna will go to great lengths to get Mommy (Suzette) out of the picture permanently. And she evolves in her methods as the novel progresses. I had no idea how this book was going to end: and I am ready for more story, I hope Stage writes another!
This will not be a book for everyone. The various things that Hanna does could be very disturbing to some. And it’s not just Suzette that she hurts. Hanna will do anything she possibly can got get what she ultimately wants: Suzette gone.
Hanna is mute and plays the sweet angel to Daddy (Alex) while she is a complete 180 around Suzette. None of the characters are really likeable, they all have their problems. I had issues with all of the Jenson (pronounced Yensen) family. Yes, Suzette is frustrated and frightened, but to heavily curse at her daughter?!? If she could rewind the clock, you know what her decision about having a child would be. Alex is just ignorant to everything and doesn’t listen to what his wife is trying to tell him. It’s right there staring him in the face but all he sees is an angel! In a way, Hanna is my favorite character as she really is pure evil! I loved the character but wanted her to get what is coming to her. I’m stuck in the middle between #TeamHanna or #TeamSuzette. I really enjoyed Baby Teeth.
The Audiobook Narration:
I listen to many audiobooks, but don’t usually mention the narrator. The narrator to Baby Teeth is Gabra Zackman and she was wonderful! She had Alex’s Swedish accent down and pronounced the words in the way I would have not have been able to do. She played Suzette’s frustration perfectly and Hanna…. OMG, you could just hear and feel the hated in her narration! Bravo, Gabra Zackman on a well done narration!
I give Baby Teeth 4 stars and the narration 5 stars! I would say listen to the audiobook versus reading it: the narration is that good! (Plus, the Swedish words are read to you versus you attempting to read it incorrectly in your head.)
Thank you St. Martin’s Press and Macmillian Audio for my audio and physical arcs. Baby Teeth was a pleasure to listen to and review!
Please note: Baby Teeth is being released in the UK as Bad Apple. It will be released on August 9th.
Today is a double review!!! Kim and I both enjoy doing these. Everyone experiences life differently, and therefore has different reading experiences with books. That is why I enjoy reviewing so much: There are so many different opinions and with My Best Friend’s Exorcism we get that. Kim and I have totally different reviews and thoughts of the novel. We both listened to the audiobook and one of us enjoyed it and one of us not so much….
Kim’s Rating: 5 Stars
Jessica’s Rating: 3 Stars
Published: May 17, 2016
Description from Amazon:
A heartwarming story of friendship and demonic possession. The year is 1988. High school sophomores Abby and Gretchen have been best friends since fourth grade. But after an evening of skinny-dipping goes disastrously wrong, Gretchen begins to act…different. She’s moody. She’s irritable. And bizarre incidents keep happening whenever she’s nearby. Abby’s investigation leads her to some startling discoveries—and by the time their story reaches its terrifying conclusion, the fate of Abby and Gretchen will be determined by a single question: Is their friendship powerful enough to beat the devil? Like an unholy hybrid of Beaches and The Exorcist, My Best Friend’s Exorcism blends teen angst, adolescent drama, unspeakable horrors, and a mix of ’80s pop songs into a pulse-pounding supernatural thriller.
I listened to this book on audio, but I did read the physical book last year as well. This one is a bit more difficult to review because I’m kinda shallow when it comes to getting those subtle little things that songs and books try to convey. But after reading this book a second time, I do have a theory. I think this book is simply about the drama of high school. Yes, there is an actual exorcism and demon possession but I’m pretty sure it’s all supposed to be a metaphor. It’s hyperbole . . . boom, obscure literary term!
Abby and Gretchen have been friends forever. Inseparable since 4th grade and Abby’s birthday party where only Gretchen showed up. They had grown up together, at least as far as their sophomore year of high school. And then, everything changed. As one of the unpopular kids, I completely relate to a lot of the things happening in this story. To be on the fringes of high school hierarchy. At least, I never even entered the popular group, so I didn’t know what I was missing. But Abby and Gretchen were some of the most popular girls in their grade. I can only imagine the things that Abby feels when everything changes. A lot of it is typical high school girl stuff, but stretched to the fantastic and unbelievable. Anorexia, crushes on teachers, infidelity, friendship. All such big deals to teenagers and all dealt with here.
And though there is an exorcism of a demon, this wasn’t meant to be a Christian book and I don’t think Hendrix was trying to pass judgement on religion. Like I said, this is more metaphorical than realism. Aside from the language and soft sexual themes, I would actually recommend this to older teenagers. If nothing else, then to show that sometimes friendships last past high school, but most times they don’t, and that’s ok.
Dates Listened: October 26-November 3, 2017
I had wanted to read My Best Friend’s Exorcism for a little while and I got the chance to listen to the audiobook at Halloween time! For me that was perfect since it deals with an exorcism. It is labeled as horror, fiction, and young adult. My Best Friend’s Exorcism is not really horror though there are some scenes that are not for the squeamish. Technically also a YA novel as the main characters are teenagers, this book will not be for younger teens. There are adult situations and the language was extreme for me. Language does not tend to bother me unless it is extreme, and I got tired of hearing the F-word. I don’t think I have read or watched anything with that much language since the movie Goodwill Hunting. I actually debated on stopping it because of the language, but the novel is well written and I wanted to get to the exorcism, so I continued on.
My Best Friend’s Exorcism is all about Abby and Gretchen’s long term friendship. They have been best friends since they were children and bonded over E.T. I was born in 1980 and this story takes place in the 1980s so I really enjoyed the references to everything from the music to E.T., and even VHS tapes! There are so many kids now that will not know what some of these various media and ‘relics from the past’ are!
Then one night something happens to Gretchen and she begins to change. Everything changes for Abby as well. A lot of what happens is cliquish in that high school way that things are. I did like that the novels shows how relationships can last or fall apart after high school. This is true on so many levels. I have one friend I still keep in touch with that I have known since sixth grade. She has become like another sister. She has moved to another state due to her husband’s job and I miss her so much! She will be that lifelong friend that some of us are very lucky to have. I love you Jennie!
I was anticipating the exorcism and for the most part it delivered. The narrator portrayed the demon’s voice very well. It actually got me in the mood to watch The Exorcist. Or maybe I’ll listen to the audiobook… Or maybe I’ll do both… But will reading The Exorcist give me nightmares????
**SPOILER:The one thing with the exorcism that I don’t agree with was that the exorcist did not defeat the demon, Abby did. For me that was saying that the girls’ friendship is stronger than God. I can’t agree with that. I did see the point that the author was making, which is the girl’s friendship, I just can’t agree with this direction. END SPOILER**
Overall, I can’t recommend My Best Friend’s Exorcism as the language was too much for me. I gave it three stars since it was well written and again, I loved all the 80’s references.
For you ‘children of the 80’s,’ there is a second cover and I think you will like it!