Month: June 2021

#Diverseathon2021: The Taking of Jake Livingston by Ryan Douglass

The Taking of Jake Livingston
Author: Ryan Douglass

To Be Published: July 13, 2021
256 Pages

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: June 10-17, 2021
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars

Book Description:

Sixteen-year-old Jake Livingston sees dead people everywhere. But he can’t decide what’s worse: being a medium forced to watch the dead play out their last moments on a loop or being at the mercy of racist teachers as one of the few Black students at St. Clair Prep. Both are a living nightmare he wishes he could wake up from. But things at St. Clair start looking up with the arrival of another Black student—the handsome Allister—and for the first time, romance is on the horizon for Jake.

Unfortunately, life as a medium is getting worse. Though most ghosts are harmless and Jake is always happy to help them move on to the next place, Sawyer Doon wants much more from Jake. In life, Sawyer was a troubled teen who shot and killed six kids at a local high school before taking his own life. Now he’s a powerful, vengeful ghost and he has plans for Jake. Suddenly, everything Jake knows about dead world goes out the window as Sawyer begins to haunt him. High school soon becomes a different kind of survival game—one Jake is not sure he can win

Jessica’s Review:

As a part of June’s prompt for #Diverseathon2021I read The Taking of Jake Livingston which features a main character that is LQBTQ+. My copy was also an arc copy, the book will be released on July 13, 2021.  This is a YA novel but more so of a horror novel.  We have a main character that is gay and I read this novel for #Diverseathon for the month of June as the prompt is a main character who is LQBTQ. I also liked that the novel takes place in Georgia and the author is from the state.  Places are mentioned that I know of which made the novel more enjoyable for me.

Our main character Jake is different in several ways: He is one of just a few black students at his private school, one of those students being his brother.  Jake is also gay and in the closet.  Jake also has a unique ability that he does not enjoy: He sees ghosts and they constantly replay their last moments before death. Eventually these ghosts do completely disappear. Eventually these ghosts do completely disappear, until Jake comes across one particular ghost named Sawyer who was a school shooter. And this ghost has plans for Jake.

This is a short novel, just over 250 pages and it packs quite the punch in those few pages. The last third of the novel really picks up the pace and I could not put it down: I had to know what was going to happen to Jake! There is a horror element that was a bit intense as Sawyer is a frightening and evil ghost! Sawyer is a Michael Myers type of ghost. Both Jake and Sawyer are our narrators (Sawyer through his diary). We learn about Sawyer’s difficult life and in some ways have a little bit of empathy for him.

There is a little bit of a romance that tries to develop when Allister arrives to the school, but Jake fears for Allister’s safety.

I enjoyed this novel and will be on the lookout for what comes next from Ryan Douglass. After all, he’s from Georgia too!

I received an arc copy from the publisher via Bookish First.

For full details on this year long readathon, please click here.
And don’t forget about the awesome GRAND PRIZE at the end of the year. Click the link here for that information.

June’s host is Danyel at dany.alvey over at Instagram. She is having a giveaway of $15 to Book Depository (or Amazon for a US winner) for your choice of a book. This is an international giveaway! Be sure to check out her Instagram for full details on that giveaway.

Pre-order Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

Book Review: Kim’s Thoughts on Fiona’s Guardian’s by Dan Klefstad

Jessica gave her review for Fiona’s Guardian’s last October and now it is Kim’s turn to review it!  Jessica’s 4 star review is here.

Fiona’s Guardians
Author: Dan Klefstad

Published: October 2, 2020
310 Pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 3 stars

Book Description:

When a vampire seduces you, death is minutes away. When she hires you, you’ll soon wish you were dead.

It’s a truth known to every guardian who worked for Fiona, including Daniel. Aside from managing the day to day chores and keeping her protected, he manages an investment portfolio to buy stolen blood from hospital workers. The 250-year-old Fiona needs 10 pints of human blood every night. As a result of this, Daniel and Fiona are always on the lookout for police, but fail to notice their gradual encirclement by Mors Strigae, an ancient order of monks dedicated to the extermination of vampires. Gone for a century, the monks start a new war when they destroy Fiona’s sire. This time, her vampire family is pushed to the edge of extinction — and the humans who serve them are hunted and executed.

After 35 years, what keeps him loyal? And will he ever be allowed to leave?

Kim’s Review:

I do love a good vampire. I know that most are supposed to be the evil, ugly Nosferatu type, but the sexy ones are just so much more interesting! And y’all know I do love an ancient order of monks working secretly within the Vatican. But unfortunately, I got really frustrated with reading this book.  And I think the frustration is more of a compliment than it is a criticism: I want more. I want more detail, more information, more background. I think this story should be stretched into a series. I feel like the story is so big and had so many cool places to go that it was a disservice to scrunch it down into just one book. By not including more detail, there were so many places where I felt that I skimmed. The story is great, the characters are interesting, I just need more!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK


Book Review: You Are Essential by Thomas Nelson Gift Books

You Are Essential: 100 Inspirational Reminders of How Much You Matter
Author: Thomas Nelson Gift Books
Published:  April 20, 2021

176 Pages

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read:  June 5-7, 2021
Jessica’s Rating: 5 stars     

Book Description:

With 100 uplifting quotes and stories along with vibrant artwork, You Are Essential is for the essential people in your life–including you!–who need a reminder that what they do matters.

We all have essential people in our lives, whether they are friends, family, or someone we are meeting for the first time at the doctor’s office or grocery pick-up line. Designed to be given as an encouragement or thank-you to others or as a self-purchase to remind yourself how much the world needs you, You Are Essential includes:

  • Inspirational quotes
  • Encouraging stories
  • Colorful artwork

This timely and timeless book is ideal for:

  • Classroom and online teachers
  • Nurses, medical assistants, EMTs, pharmacists, and doctors
  • First responders and their families
  • Parents juggling both childcare and a career
  • Grandparents stepping in to help during turbulent times
  • Pastors, youth leaders, and Sunday school teachers
  • Grocery store delivery shoppers and postal service employees
  • Homeschooling parents and co-op leaders
  • Factory workers, car mechanics, restaurant personnel
  • And more!

The perfect way to let someone know you see all that they are doing and that you’re grateful, You Are Essential is a beautiful celebration of the human spirit and a reminder that no matter what, we will always need each other.

Jessica’s Review:

You Are Essential is a book for everyone as we are ALL essential!  When COVID hit last year many different types of occupations came to the forefront, and some that are usually not considered important/ essential suddenly became VERY important to all of us. I am in one of those professions (I work in a local government office) that is essential but not very appreciated by the public, still even now. It’s rare to get a thank you and more common to get yelled at.  I had a rough day at work when I had ordered You Are Essential, so it came at a good time for me. 

You Are Essential is uplifting and gives encouraging quotes, stories and scriptures. It shows how everyone is important with what they do: Sometimes we just need reminding! 

The book itself it pocket sized and is colorful and even has its own personal ribbon bookmark attached to the book.  It would make the perfect gift for those who need these reminders and a great little coffee table book. 

I plan to hold on to this one and read it as I need it.

I received a copy from the publisher via Amazon Prime.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK