Jenny's Book Bag A Book Review Blog

Review: The Beast Is an Animal

The Beast Is an Animal by Peternelle van Arsdale My rating: 2 of 5 stars I first heard about The Beast is an Animal from a Simon and Schuster newsletter when they announced a reading study they were doing with Jelly Books. All participants could select an eBook from a list of six books. I was torn between this one and The Diabolic. Both sounded intriguing, but this one sounded like it might be more enjoyable and I loved the cover. Now that I’ve finished the book, I wish I had selected The Diabolic. I loved the story concept and...

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Review: The Girl Before

The Girl Before by J.P. Delaney My rating: 3 of 5 stars The Girl Before is an entertaining, yet predictable psychological thriller involving the fates of two women who move into an elaborately designed home, owned by an eccentric owner who enforces over two hundred rules. The list of rules includes no books, no pets, no children, no personal effects, and no throw pillows among many others. I would never move into a house that didn’t allow books, pets, or children. However, two women choose to live there, three years apart, one dies (not a secret), and the other becomes...

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Review: The Bear and the Nightingale

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden My rating: 3 of 5 stars I was so excited to win The Bear and the Nightingale on Library Thing and even more excited when it arrived in the mail. My excitement quickly ended as I started reading it. I let all of the hype get to me, especially all of the five-star reviews and the blurb on the back. Before I get into all of that, here’s the Goodreads summary, which you can also read here. A young woman’s family is threatened by forces both real and fantastical in this debut...

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Review: The Wangs vs. the World

The Wangs vs. the World by Jade Chang My rating: 2 of 5 stars The publisher marketed The Wangs vs. the World as a “hilarious debut”, but in my opinion, it wasn’t hilarious. It’s an average read, at best, with a few funny moments, and a few embarrassing ones. I couldn’t decide if I wanted to give this novel two or three stars. Originally, I gave it three stars and said “review coming soon”, but after giving the novel some thought, I decided to downgrade it to two stars. It’s more like 2.5 or maybe 2.75 stars. It wasn’t awful,...

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Review: How The Secret Changed My Life: Real People. Real Stories.

How The Secret Changed My Life: Real People. Real Stories. by Rhonda Byrne My rating: 4 of 5 stars How The Secret Changed My Life is an inspiring collection of stories of people who changed their lives using methods from The Secret. It’s repetitive since it still uses The Secret Daily Teachings and has the same words of wisdom from The Secret, but I still think this book is motivating, because anything positive that gives us a little momentum to change for the better is worth repeating. We all get stuck in a rut and old ways of thinking that...

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Review: We Know It Was You

We Know It Was You by Maggie Thrash My rating: 2 of 5 stars We Know It Was You is a disappointing, stereotypical young adult fiction novel. It took me two weeks to get through this book. If this novel had been great, I would have had it finished in a day or two, but I lost interest so many times that I kept putting the book down. Usually I give a book fifty pages before I give up on it, but it was still interesting enough at the time, so I continued reading. Well, I started losing interest at...

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Review: How To Read A Book A Day: The Ultimate Guide To Quickly Retain And Absorb Information

How To Read A Book A Day: The Ultimate Guide To Quickly Retain And Absorb Information by Thomas Dev Brown My rating: 4 of 5 stars How to Read a Book a Day is a short book that takes less than an hour to read. Surprisingly, it has useful information. It’s not new advice; I’ve heard this technique before, but I like his presentation. Unlike other books and websites on this subject, he explains why and how this technique works. If you’re familiar with Pareto’s 80/20 principle, then you might know where this book is heading. I love that he...

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Review: Behind Closed Doors

Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris My rating: 4 of 5 stars Behind Closed Doors, is an intense psychological thriller that completely toys with your emotions. Its addictive nature makes this unputdownable and a must-read. It’s not Gone Girl, but I understand why there’s a comparison. The reason is that (view spoiler)[both novels involve a twisted marriage where one person is a psychopath (hide spoiler)], but that’s not enough reason to call it the next Gone Girl. By the way, I think this is better than Gone Girl. That book was so overrated. Jack is a movie-star handsome lawyer and...

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Review: Before the Fall

Before the Fall by Noah Hawley My rating: 2 of 5 stars DNF at 50% Many people loved Before the Fall but it just didn’t click with me. I realize that this is on the New York Times bestseller list, but frankly, I found it boring. Sometimes I’m just not on-board with the consensus and this is one of those times. This book gave me a serious case of who-cares-itis. The characters aren’t necessarily memorable, although Scott Burroughs, the painter, isn’t so bad. From what I read, I didn’t find it the least bit suspenseful. It has a great synopsis,...

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Review: The Light Fantastic

The Light Fantastic by Sarah Combs My rating: 2 of 5 stars DNF at 15% I’ve been trying to read The Light Fantastic for about six weeks. I’ve started it from the beginning twice during that time and I still can’t capture my interest enough for me to keep reading. I don’t like it when I don’t finish a book, but I try to give novels at least fifty pages before I call it quits. You have fifty pages to impress me and to keep me reading. A summary of The Light Fantastic can be found here. A group of...

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Review: The Ultimate Guide to Success: How to Achieve Your Goals in 10 Steps or Less

The Ultimate Guide to Success: How to Achieve Your Goals in 10 Steps or Less by Dan McDaniel My rating: 5 of 5 stars Dan McDaniel’s The Ultimate Guide to Success is one of the most inspirational books that I’ve ever read. I feel so energized and transformed. For the first time in a long time, I feel like I truly can achieve my goals. If there is a formula for success, this is it. Before I even wrote this review, I recommended this book to three of my closest friends. Here’s the Goodreads summary: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO SUCCESS...

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Review: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie My rating: 4 of 5 stars The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian is a funny and moving novel that you can read in one day. Sherman Alexie did a fantastic job narrating the audiobook. I completely understand why over 147,000 readers rated this at an average of 4.11 stars on Goodreads. Here’s the summary: ”Bestselling author Sherman Alexie tells the story of Junior, a budding cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Determined to take his future into his own hands, Junior leaves his troubled school...

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