Jenny's Book Bag A Book Review Blog

Review: All the Bright Places

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven My rating: 4 of 5 stars All the Bright Places is a combination of Eleanor and Park and Thirteen Reasons Why. That’s not necessarily a bad thing because I enjoyed both novels, but after a while it feels like you’re reading the same story. Don’t get me wrong. It’s still a good novel that’s worth reading. Violet and Finch meet on the top of the bell tower at school. Everyone thinks that Violet saved Finch from committing suicide and Finch lets everyone believe that. Violet is looking forward to graduation, but Finch doesn’t...

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Review: You by Caroline Kepnes

You by Caroline Kepnes My rating: 4 of 5 stars Wow, this was one of the most entertaining audiobooks I’ve ever heard. This audiobook has everything — great storytelling, great narration, and fascinating unreliable characters. I was hooked to this book from the first sentence to the very last. I highly recommend this book to psychological thriller fans and if you choose to read it, listen to the audiobook. View all my reviews

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Review: VOID

VOID by David M. Staniforth My rating: 4 of 5 stars Void is a must-read psychological thriller by David Staniforth. This book got me out of a reading slump that I’d been stuck in for the past month. I had been trying to read a new release from one of my favorite authors and it took me a month to read the first 50 pages. That put me eight books behind my personal reading schedule, which doesn’t make me a happy camper. So, I tossed the other book aside and picked up this one since I had just bought it...

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Review: The Widow

The Widow by Fiona Barton My rating: 3 of 5 stars I’m so done with the Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train comparisons. That marketing strategy is abused and often inaccurate. The police question Jean Taylor, the wife of Glen Taylor who is suspected of kidnapping a child, Bella, and child pornography. Being the doting wife, Jean takes on a different personality to cover up her husband’s secrets. The city becomes obsessed with Bella’s disappearance and with the Taylor family. Even Jean becomes obsessed with Bella, but she’s already obsessed with babies in general. She desperately wants children,...

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Review: Everything, Everything

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon My rating: 4 of 5 stars I finally read this one and it lived up to the hype. This is a highly entertaining young adult novel. It has an intriguing premise with likable, well-developed characters. Madeline is a teenager with a rare disease call Severe Combined Immunodeficiency (AKA SCID), which means she’s allergic to everything. She has to stay inside her house and she hasn’t left it in seventeen years. Her mother is a doctor and takes care of her along with a home nurse, Carla. Madeline’s father and brother died in a car accident...

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Review: How to Write a Novel Using the Snowflake Method

How to Write a Novel Using the Snowflake Method by Randy Ingermanson My rating: 4 of 5 stars I’ve tried formal outlines and pantsing (writing by the seat of your pants), but neither really works well for me. Outlining feels like it’s sucking the creativity right out of me. Improvising a story usually causes me to get stuck because I can’t resolve a plot point easily. Once it’s resolved, I have to rewrite a big chunk of my novel and that takes a lot of time. The Snowflake Method is the best of both worlds. It has enough structure to...

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Review: Imagine Me Gone

Imagine Me Gone by Adam Haslett My rating: 3 of 5 stars I have so many mixed feelings about Imagine Me Gone that I’m not even sure how to rate it. There were beautiful five-star moments woven with mediocre ones. This novel only has 356 pages, but sometimes it felt twice that length. Not every sentence advanced the plot or added to the character development and that dragged the pacing down. The entire book wasn’t like that though. There were moments when everything was nearly perfect, but it just didn’t happen often enough for me. Here’s a basic summary of...

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Review: The Beauty of the End

The Beauty of the End by Debbie Howells My rating: 2 of 5 stars DNF at 51% The synopsis of The Beauty of the End sounded great and I absolutely love psychological thrillers, but this book wasn’t what I was expecting. It took me three weeks to get halfway through this novel and typically in that timeframe I read three to six books. I kept putting this book down because I wanted to read something more engaging. Since I received this via NetGalley, I felt obligated to read more of it so I kept trying to force my way through...

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Review: The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto: A Novel

The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto: A Novel by Mitch Albom My rating: 4 of 5 stars I’ve enjoyed other Mitch Albom books in the past, but this one wasn’t on my short list until two coworkers recommended it. One coworker highly recommended the audiobook version and I’m so glad that I followed her advice. The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto is one of the best audiobooks I’ve ever heard. It’s read by a full cast of talented actors including Mitch Albom himself. Here’s a basic summary of the book: This is the epic story of Frankie Presto—the greatest guitar...

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Review: The Dogs

The Dogs by Allan Stratton My rating: 3 of 5 stars The Dogs is an entertaining, young adult psychological thriller, but it didn’t have the psychological suspense that I was expecting. I still found it to be engaging, but for different reasons. Katherine Weaver and her son Cameron are on the run for five years trying to escape Cameron’s father. They move four times and in each home, Mrs. Weaver is convinced that they’re being watched. She’s afraid for herself and her son, so she must leave and keep them both safe. Cameron can only go by what he’s told...

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Review: Leave Me

Leave Me by Gayle Forman My rating: 4 of 5 stars Leave Me is a beautifully written novel, Gayle Forman’s best work to date. This is a story about regret, jealousy, facing your fears, and the downside of comparing yourself to others. It’s about the internal war that conflicts us all and finding the courage to face it head on. Maribeth Klein has done the unthinkable. After she has a heart attack at the age of forty-five, which she didn’t know she was having, she packed up a bag and left her husband and twin four-year-old children. Many of us,...

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Review: In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex

In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex by Nathaniel Philbrick My rating: 3 of 5 stars 3.5 Stars This was so sad. It could have been four-stars, but I don’t think Scott Brick has the right voice to narrate this book. His voice made it sound like he was reading a financial statement instead of a true story about a horrific event. I broke my own rule by seeing the movie before reading the book, but in this case, it worked out well. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, go see it. This book...

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