Tag: Contemporary

Jackpot by Nic Stone

Author: Nic Stone
Published: October 15, 2019

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: May 28-June 5, 2020
Jessica’s Rating: 5 stars

Book Description:

Meet Rico: high school senior and afternoon-shift cashier at the Gas ‘n’ Go, who after school and work races home to take care of her younger brother. Every. Single. Day. When Rico sells a jackpot-winning lotto ticket, she thinks maybe her luck will finally change, but only if she–with some assistance from her popular and wildly rich classmate Zan–can find the ticket holder who hasn’t claimed the prize. But what happens when have and have-nots collide? Will this investigative duo unite…or divide?

Nic Stone, the New York Times bestselling author of Dear Martin and Odd One Out, creates two unforgettable characters in one hard-hitting story about class, money–both too little and too much–and how you make your own luck in the world.

Jessica’s Review:

I am a Nic Stone fan, and a big influence has to do that we are both from not only the same home state of Georgia, but the same home county: I love how she mentions her former high school: Norcross High School. I went to a different high school than her, but still it is really amazing to hear the familiarity of things you know so well!  (This also happened to me when I listened to the audio book of Dear Martin– OMG, Stone Mountain Park was mentioned: I worked my high school and college summers there!!!)

Ok, enough of the fangirling, now to get on to the review of Jackpot.

Jackpot is a story that portrays class, privilege, and diversity. After being at school during the day, Rico works her evenings at a convenience store to help her family to be able to pay the bills.  It is Christmas Eve and Rico sells a few lottery tickets, and she later finds out the store she works at sold THE winning ticket!  Rico recognizes a few numbers and believes the older woman she saw on Christmas Eve is the winner and may not know it as no one has claimed the winning ticket (the woman mentioned memory problems). Rico sets out to find this mystery woman with the help of a popular classmate who is also of the ‘rich’ class.  Together Rico and Zan set out on a long term adventure and maybe discover a little bit of romance.

I listened to the audiobook version and LOVED it.  Stone narrates Jackpot herself and put all of herself into the narration.  She gives Rico the attitude that she wanted portrayed.  I also really enjoyed the side narrations of inanimate objects that add to the story/journey that Rico and Zan go on. 

Stone realistically shows how some families truly do live paycheck to paycheck and how even one event could happen and cause financial disaster to a family. I was not a fan of Rico’s mom whose pride was too much to even get any form of assistance for her family.  I get that you may not want to be on assistance and fend for yourself, but when it comes to the detriment of your family (mom has money issues and Rico handles it all) and even the fact that your child has to help the family make rent each month. Let alone living in an area you can’t afford!   School should be Rico’s priority, not helping to take care of her mom and little brother. There is a huge difference between getting assistance when needed and taking advantage of the system. 

I really enjoyed the journey Rico and Zan went on and did not know where the story was going for the conclusion, but I should have seen it coming!  I loved the ending.

I will definitely be reading more by Nic Stone! 

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

The Year We Turned Forty by Liz Fenton & Lisa Steinke

The Year We Turned Forty

Liz Fenton
Lisa Steinke
Published: April 26, 2016
319 Pages

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: May 2-8, 2020

Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars

Book Description:

If you could repeat one year of your life, what would you do differently? This heartwarming and hilarious novel from the authors of The Status of All Things and Your Perfect Life features three best friends who get the chance to return to the year they turned forty—the year that altered all of their lives, in ways big and small—and also get the opportunity to change their future.

Jessie loves her son Lucas more than anything, but it tears her up inside that he was conceived in an affair that ended her marriage to a man she still loves, a man who just told her he’s getting remarried. This time around, she’s determined to bury the secret of Lucas’ paternity, and to repair the fissures that sent her wandering the first time.

Gabriela regrets that she wasted her most fertile years in hot pursuit of a publishing career. Yes, she’s one of the biggest authors in the world, but maybe what she really wanted to create was a family. With a chance to do it again, she’s focused on convincing her husband, Colin, to give her the baby she desires.

Claire is the only one who has made peace with her past: her twenty-two year old daughter, Emily, is finally on track after the turmoil of adolescence, and she’s recently gotten engaged, with the two carat diamond on her finger to prove it. But if she’s being honest, Claire still fantasizes about her own missed opportunities: a chance to bond with her mother before it was too late, and the possibility of preventing her daughter from years of anguish. Plus, there’s the man who got away—the man who may have been her one true love.

But it doesn’t take long for all three women to learn that re-living a life and making different decisions only leads to new problems and consequences—and that the mistakes they made may, in fact, have been the best choices of all…

Jessica’s Review:

I just had my big 40th birthday at the end of April and thought that this novel would be a good one to start my new decade of life, and it was!  The authors, Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke have been BFFs for many years and written quite a few novels together, but this is the first one of theirs I have read.

The Year We Turned Forty focuses on three ladies (Jessie, Gabriela, and Claire) who have been friends forever.  They have all just recently turned 50 and are given a special opportunity to go back ten years to the year they all turned 40 and re-live that year.  This was the year that changed everything for the ladies in different ways and they all have their reasons for wanting to go back.  But will going back in time and making different choices make life better or worse?  And what ultimate choice will they make?

This is a thought provoking and also very enjoyable novel.  Who hasn’t thought about if you could go back and change something?  If given the opportunity, would you actually do it and what happens to the rest of the world with changing just one decision????  One decision can change so much, and it might not actually be for the better. 

The Year We Turned Forty may have been my first novel by ‘Liz & Lisa’ but it will not be my last.  I will be reading them again! 

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK


Video Review: In Some Other Life

Today Kim brings you a video review of In Some Other Life by Jessica Brody. Kim just loves this book cover!

In Some Other Life
Author: Jessica Brody
Published: August 8, 2017
464 Pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars

Book Description:

Kennedy Rhodes turns down an acceptance to an elite private school, instead choosing to stay at her high school and jump at the opportunity to date the boy of her dreams. Three years later, Kennedy walks in on that same boyfriend cheating with her best friend—and wishes she had made a different choice. But when Kennedy hits her head and wakes up in the version of her life where she chose to attend the private school, she finds that maybe it’s not as perfect of a world as she once thought. 

Kim’s Video Review:

Purchase Links
Amazon US
Amazon UK