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MsJenniferK - Reviews

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All the Children Are Home
All the Children Are Home
Author: Patry Francis
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 11
Review Date: 11/28/2022
Helpful Score: 1


This is one of those novels that grips your heart from the very beginning!
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While it does deal with many difficult topics, it does so with empathy and grace.
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The author has a terrific, and rare, writing style that pulls you into the storyline so that you have a vested interest in all of the characters!
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I just loved it!


Behind Her Eyes
Behind Her Eyes
Author: Sarah Pinborough
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.4/5 Stars.
 18
Review Date: 9/2/2022


This was an interesting book that definitely kept me guessing as to what was really going on!
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I enjoyed the writing style (besides the repeated use of the word "dregs" and the single use of the word "retard"). It flowed easily and quickly and kept my attention.
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There were several unique and fascinating elements that I have not found in other psychological thrillers (a genre that tends to lean towards boilerplate copy).
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The ending was what prevented it from being a 5-star book for me, though. And while I can see how the ending would have been the best part for many readers, it just did not sit right with me.


Big Summer
Big Summer
Author: Jennifer Weiner
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars.
 7
Review Date: 9/4/2022


Big Summer was a very surprising and gripping read!
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It started out as what seemed to be a typical Chick Lit, beachy read. But things were NOT what they seemed and it quickly turned into a murder mystery!
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It was comprised of likable and diverse characters and weaved together some of the following:

- Stereotypical high school mean girls

- Body positivity at any size

- Forgiveness

- Family betrayal and long-hidden secrets

- Dangers of social media to mental well-being and happiness
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To sum it up, I was just incredibly impressed with a near perfect execution of such diversity in plot, characters, and the issues addressed!


The Birth House
The Birth House
Author: Ami McKay
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.2/5 Stars.
 16
Review Date: 2/6/2023


This was an impressive debut novel!

The topic was fascinating! I loved learning about the midwife treatments and the advances modern medicine was making in the early 1900's in regards to women's healthcare!

My biggest complaint was not feeling a real connection to any of the characters.


The Book of Longings
The Book of Longings
Author: Sue Monk Kidd
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 5
Review Date: 10/10/2022


Stick with this one and give it time! It picks up speed and is so worth it!
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I do think this book would have had a less rocky start for me, if I had more knowledge of the stories within the Bible.
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But I just relaxed, went with it, and let the magic of this biblical historical work of fiction unfold at its own pace! And I am so glad I did, as it was just lovely!
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The story is told in the first person by 14 year-old Ana, who eventually becomes Jesus's wife. She is a tenacious, interesting, and extremely likable character from the get-go!
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I adored the character of Jesus and how sweet, thoughtful, and welcoming he was of Ana's feministic views and wishes and in his pursuit of helping the poor and mistreated.
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Yaltha, Ana's aunt, was another loved character. Her wisdom, which she uses to guide Ana throughout the years, is something that is personally useful to the reader.
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The research that the author did, her twist on history, and the investment you feel in the characters as they develop = an insanely delicious read... despite whether you are religious or have much knowledge of biblical history!


The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek (Book Woman of Troublesome Creek, Bk 1)
Review Date: 9/2/2022


I am torn at how to rate this one! I definitely enjoyed many parts of it, but it was not great.

I think the issue I had was that it seemed very "simple" in its writing style.

I truly enjoyed reading about, and loved, the Pack Horse Library Project (and the fact that it was based on actual history)

The tie in with the medical condition Methemoglobinemia was also interesting.

But I just feel like it was lacking depth overall.


The Christmas Spirits on Tradd Street (Tradd Street, Bk 6)
The Christmas Spirits on Tradd Street (Tradd Street, Bk 6)
Author: Karen White
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
 7
Review Date: 12/7/2022


Overall = loved!
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BUT I do have somewhat of a like / dislike relationship with the Tradd Street Series. I always start out annoyed by the constant repeating of the characteristics of the characters and Melanie's general whining. But this is always short-lived, as I get further into the novel, and I begin to have loving nostalgia for it all!
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This installment of the series was no different! And I especially loved the cliffhanger at the end and cannot wait to read book #7 in the series!
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As a side note, I saved this one until Christmastime to read, but it does not have strong Christmas vibes!


The Dutch House
The Dutch House
Author: Ann Patchett
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.4/5 Stars.
 12
Review Date: 1/24/2023


A family saga with beautiful and captivating prose!

I felt a real connection to the characters and their individual struggles, as the writing effectively evoked feelings of compassion and understanding for the imperfect nature of us all.

And the brother/sister relationship between Danny and Maeve is very endearing... without being creepy!


From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death
Review Date: 9/3/2022


This book explores the manner in which different cultures have handled the bodies of their deceased loved ones from the beginning of time until the present.
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Even though I am NOT generally a lover of non-fiction, I thought this book was excellent!
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It is fascinating and will definitely challenge your beliefs surrounding death!
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As a bonus, it's an easy and smooth read. Large print, with good spacing, plus the wonderful addition of fascinatingly beautiful pen-and-ink drawings throughout that form a cohesive visual to what you are reading.
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The author is concise, yet thorough, in her writing. She also throws in some wit along the way!
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Chapters are organized by US states and countries, and include Colorado, Indonesia, Mexico, North Carolina, Spain, Japan, Bolivia, and California.


I Found You
I Found You
Author: Lisa Jewell
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars.
 14
Review Date: 9/2/2022
Helpful Score: 1


This was incredible! It grabbed my interest from the very beginning and I plowed through it quickly

Loved that it was well written + had depth with no extra fluff.

Just a great mystery/thriller that has numerous clever twists!


I'll Be Your Blue Sky (Love Walked In, Bk 3)
I'll Be Your Blue Sky (Love Walked In, Bk 3)
Author: Marisa de los Santos
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
 11
Review Date: 10/17/2022


My favorite things about this book:

- It is filled with many endearing, kind-hearted characters who make you smile and remember the wonderfulness of humankind!

- It chronicles a sweet childhood romance.

- It reminds you that not everything is black and white, people are not only "good" or "bad", and that sometimes bad situations can lead to bad behaviors in otherwise good people.

- Clare and Dev's blended families are heartwarming!

- Most of all... love. It is filled with so much love!

Someone else who reviewed this book referred to it as a "palate cleanser" and that resonated with me very deeply!
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Overall, it was an easy read but was not one of my âheart booksâ (meaning not a book that will stick with me forever)... and that's okay! I still enjoyed it greatly!
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Note: Even though this is technically the third book in the series, you are fine reading it as a stand-alone book!


In Five Years
In Five Years
Author: Rebecca Serle
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars.
 19
Review Date: 11/2/2022
Helpful Score: 1


Omg... this book! THIS! BOOK! It will forever be a favorite of mine... a "heart" book for certain!
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It is incredibly captivating from the very beginning. It moves at a quick pace and you so want it to slow down because you can just FEEL that it is something special!
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The words are beautifully written. The subject matter, while weighty, is somehow almost... magical!
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It is just so endearingly sweet... wow!
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Savor this gem from start to finish!


Into the Darkest Corner
Into the Darkest Corner
Author: Elizabeth Haynes
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 8
Review Date: 12/23/2022


This book was well-written and kept my interest!
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I went into reading it thinking that it was going to be more thriller-esque, but it turned out to be more about the main character's healing journey from her PTSD and OCD. Which, in turn, was interesting and rewarding in itself!
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My biggest complaint is the length - it was about 100 pages overdrawn, in my opinion. But I would still recommend it!


The Invention of Wings
The Invention of Wings
Author: Sue Monk Kidd
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.3/5 Stars.
 73
Review Date: 1/25/2023


An amazing historical fiction novel that explores the boundaries of friendship, family, and bravery in the face of social injustices and atrocities.

I learned a great deal along the way, in addition to feeling a connection to the main characters!


The Last Garden in England
The Last Garden in England
Author: Julia Kelly
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.1/5 Stars.
 8
Review Date: 9/2/2022


An interesting and captivating read that centers around a unique garden that connects women from three different eras (1907, 1944, and 2021).
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I loved the vivid descriptions of the garden, as they painted fun visuals in my mind. I actually felt like a fly on the garden's walls!
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And while the characters overall felt a bit underdeveloped and flat to me, I still really enjoyed all of the other aspects of this well-written book!


Lies and Other Acts of Love
Lies and Other Acts of Love
Author: Kristy Woodson Harvey
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 14
Review Date: 11/21/2022


This book was a real mixed bag of thoughts and feelings for me!
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The good:
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It was a sweet and cute story. It did a good job at keeping my attention, and I did look forward to reading it every night. I would say it was just an easy and pleasant read overall.
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That being said, it was a bit too simplistic and unrealistic for my taste. It reminded me of an over-the-top Hallmark Movie that had you rolling your eyes at some of the plot twists.
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There were also some unnecessary, and almost mean, descriptions of people that left a bad taste in my mouth:
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"The sides of her flabby body spilled over the frame of the chair."
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"Shoved inside the largest size of St. John knit suit like a sausage into a casing."
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And one of the main characters (Lovey) used the word "invalid" to describe her husband Dan, who had Dementia.
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I don't necessarily regret reading it but probably would not recommend it.


The Little Friend
The Little Friend
Author: Donna Tartt
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.2/5 Stars.
 204
Review Date: 9/2/2022


Donna Tartt is one of the most unique and talented writers I have had the pleasure of reading! Her words are complexed and nuanced without feeling unapproachable.
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While The Goldfinch is still one of my all-time favorite novels, and my favorite novel by Donna Tartt, The Little Friend does not disappoint!
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She elegantly weaves her words to paint a vivid story of a young girl, in a small southern town, who is trying to solve the mystery surrounding the murder of her little brother.
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The supporting characters (including a family of meth dealers, her grief-stricken and barely functioning mother, her stern grandmother, her wacky aunts, and her sidekick best friend) come to life in such a way that you can not only picture them in your mind but you feel like you personally know them.
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It is a slower-paced and lengthly novel that is to be savored by just allowing it to flow at its own pace!


Nine Perfect Strangers
Nine Perfect Strangers
Author: Liane Moriarty
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.4/5 Stars.
 36
Review Date: 11/10/2022


Liane Moriarity continues to be a favorite author when looking for a purely pleasurable read!
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Her wittiness keeps you on your toes and chuckling along the way. I also love the hidden meanings and tongue-in-cheek humor that is prevalent throughout her books!
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And this book was no exception - I truly looked forward to reading it every night! She did a great job at painting what the characters look like in your mind, which I find to be rare in most novels I read. The entire plot was unique and interesting, as were the characters!
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About two-thirds of the way in, this book did take an odd turn and for a bit I lost all hope that it could redeem itself... but it surely DID!


Pachinko
Pachinko
Author: Min Jin Lee
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.2/5 Stars.
 64
Review Date: 1/1/2023


This book was just so wonderfully... stunning! From the very first chapter, I was in love with it! And my love grew with each and every page.
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It is so eloquently written, without being overbearing or tiring, and just pulls at your heartstrings... all while teaching you some fascinating East Asian history.
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Recommend, recommend, recommend! And then some more!


The Peacock Emporium: A Novel
The Peacock Emporium: A Novel
Author: Jojo Moyes
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 2.9/5 Stars.
 10
Review Date: 9/11/2022
Helpful Score: 1


My previous enjoyment of several books by Jojo Moyes, plus the intriguing title and charming cover, is what originally piqued my interest in reading The Peacock Emporium.
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I have to admit that after being a couple of chapters in, I did not think I was going to like it... but I am so glad I stuck with it!
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The narrative and dialogue were elegant and intricate without being overbearing. It truly was a delight to read! I also had the privilege of learning some new vocabulary along the way (always a fun bonus)!
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The characters all had substance, were three-dimensional, and I felt a connection to them along with a personal interest in their well-being.
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Most of all, I loved the diversity of struggles that the characters were facing and how the author was able to plot it all together into a cohesively smooth story!


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