Jenny's Book Bag A Book Review Blog

Book Review: Everless by Sara Holland

Everless by Sara Holland My rating: 4 of 5 stars This was totally a guilty pleasure read. There were so many aspects of this novel that I shouldn’t like, but despite its flaws, I had so much fun reading it. The summary gives the impression that this is a plot-driven novel, but most of it felt more character-driven. It’s narrated by Jules Ember and a lot of the writing is a mix of her introspection, analyzing everyone’s behaviors, and her obsession with revenge. It doesn’t really get plot-heavy until about the last 25%. There’s a lot of mystery that goes...

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Book Review: The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black My rating: 4 of 5 stars The Cruel Prince is my first experience reading a Holly Black novel, and boy, was this an entertaining read from start to finish! So many things worked well in this book. The story is even more exciting than the book summary, and the summary sounds pretty darn good. It’s action-packed leaving no room for boredom. The pacing seemed just right; in fact, I can’t think of any moment when I was thinking, get on with it or please slow down. The world building easily invites you in, even...

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Book Review: As You Wish by Chelsea Sedoti

Rating: 3.5 stars As You Wish was a quick, fun read! I’m actually surprised by how much I enjoyed it. Everyone in Madison, Nevada gets one wish that comes true. That’s an interesting premise and I was interested to see how this played out. On their eighteenth birthday, Mayor Fontaine walks the wishers to the wishing cave and it’s quite a hike. You wish alone, although it wasn’t always the rule. The rule changed due to an accidental wish. It was so tragic! Wording of the wish is everything, because if you word it wrong, you won’t get what you...

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Book Review: Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay

Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay My Rating: 4 of 5 stars God, this was so heartbreaking. I’m not even sure what to say about this or how to express what I’m thinking and feeling. My thoughts are all jumbled up at the moment. I rarely read memoirs, but when I read the summary of this one, I knew I had to read this. I listened to the audiobook and hearing Roxane Gay read her memoir made it a much more emotional journey. She’s the victim of horrible, violent acts that no woman should have to face....

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Book Review: Mustaches for Maddie by Chad Morris and Shelly Brown

Mustaches for Maddie by Chad Morris and Shelly Brown 4 out of 5 stars Mustaches for Maddie is both humorous and heartwarming. There were so many things that I loved about this novel. It was an emotional roller coaster! I loved that this novel had other story elements in it to balance the brain tumor aspect of it. It’s also a story about family dynamics, friendships, and social experiences. It’s also about facing our fears. Maddie learns who her friends are and who isn’t. She’s at that age when we all want to know what boy you like and if...

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Book Review: The Player King by Avi

The Player King by Avi 4 out of 5 stars I’m becoming a big Avi fan. The first Avi novel that I read was The Unexpected Life of Oliver Cromwell Pitts, which I also rated four stars. I think he does a fantastic job writing children’s historical fiction. There are so many things that I love about Avi. First, I love his writing style. It reads like an accessible Dickens novel. Second, the world is vivid to the point where you feel like you’re standing side-by-side with the protagonist. Third, the characters are fully developed. You get to know them,...

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Book Review: The Breakdown by B. A. Paris

**3.5 stars** See my Goodreads review of this here. For some reason, the spoiler tag doesn’t work with my WordPress template, so I’m just going to give you a blanket spoiler alert here. Read at your own risk! This was both predictable and entertaining. I loved Behind Closed Doors and when I heard B. A. Paris had another novel coming out, I got excited. I was hoping that The Breakdown would be the same type of psychological thriller without being formulaic. Well, I read early reviews and discovered the answer to my question, but I decided that I didn’t care...

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Review: The List

The List by Patricia Forde My rating: 3 of 5 stars “1984 meets The Giver” 3.5 stars I just love dystopian novels and when I read the summary of this, I knew I had to read it. I’m so glad that I did! It’s an entertaining read even if there’s a lot of familiarity to it. Some of the references are obvious, but it’s a refreshing twist on a few well-loved classics. Speech is limited to five hundred words, so dialogue makes everyone sound like non-native English speakers. Words such as “please” and “thank you” aren’t list words. Desecrators are...

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Review: The Notations of Cooper Cameron

The Notations of Cooper Cameron by Jane O’Reilly My rating: 5 of 5 stars 4.5 stars This was a wonderful story with exceptional writing. It’s a story about an eleven-year-old boy with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and the affects it has on his family. Cooper decides he wants to cure himself so that his family will be whole again. I just loved the writing and the story execution. First, I love that his name, Cooper Cameron, is alliterative. This story is written in third person, but at times, the narrative voice sounds how somebody with OCD would think. One of...

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Review: Paper Butterflies

Paper Butterflies by Lisa Heathfield My rating: 4 of 5 stars This book made me feel like I was the one abused instead of June. I read warnings in other reviews that I shouldn’t read this if I’m not in a good emotional place or if I’m sensitive to scenes of abuse. I ignored the warnings, because the story was intriguing. God, they weren’t even exaggerating! It’s rare for a novel to make me feel so emotionally connected that I’m almost convinced that it’s a reality. I was so angry and anxious as I read this that I wasn’t sure...

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Review: Gwendy’s Button Box

Gwendy’s Button Box by Stephen King My rating: 4 of 5 stars Oh, this was so much fun to read! Everything appears normal at first until Gwendy meets the man in the black hat at Castle View. Richard Farris gives Gwendy the button box and explains how it works. After their meeting, Gwendy’s life is never the same. A lot happens in 170 pages. The story begins in August of 1974 when Gwendy is twelve years old and ends in June of 1984. I felt Gwendy’s constant anxiety over the box. She worried about somebody stealing it and misusing it....

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Review: The Unexpected Life of Oliver Cromwell Pitts

The Unexpected Life of Oliver Cromwell Pitts by Avi My rating: 4 of 5 stars This reads like a children’s classic in a Dickensian style minus the verbosity. More on that later. What I love most about this novel are the characters, the story, and the writing style. This story takes place in England, 1724. Oliver, his sister Charity, and his father Gabriel are a poor family surrounded by criminal masterminds. Charity goes to London and Oliver wakes up and realizes that not only is his father missing, but also their house is flooded from a storm. His father left...

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