Tag: 2 stars

Book Review: The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz

The Plot
Jean Hanff Korelitz

Published: May 11, 2021
336 Pages

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: May 3-15, 2021
Jessica’s Rating: 2 stars

Book Description:

Jacob Finch Bonner was once a promising young novelist with a respectably published first book. Today, he’s teaching in a third-rate MFA program and struggling to maintain what’s left of his self-respect; he hasn’t written–let alone published–anything decent in years. When Evan Parker, his most arrogant student, announces he doesn’t need Jake’s help because the plot of his book in progress is a sure thing, Jake is prepared to dismiss the boast as typical amateur narcissism. But then . . . he hears the plot.

Jake returns to the downward trajectory of his own career and braces himself for the supernova publication of Evan Parker’s first novel: but it never comes. When he discovers that his former student has died, presumably without ever completing his book, Jake does what any self-respecting writer would do with a story like that–a story that absolutely needs to be told.

In a few short years, all of Evan Parker’s predictions have come true, but Jake is the author enjoying the wave. He is wealthy, famous, praised and read all over the world. But at the height of his glorious new life, an e-mail arrives, the first salvo in a terrifying, anonymous campaign: You are a thief, it says.

As Jake struggles to understand his antagonist and hide the truth from his readers and his publishers, he begins to learn more about his late student, and what he discovers both amazes and terrifies him. Who was Evan Parker, and how did he get the idea for his “sure thing” of a novel? What is the real story behind the plot, and who stole it from whom?

Jessica’s Review:

Disclaimer: The two star review does not reflect on the novel or the author, in fact The Plot is good and well written, this is a total preference as the ending of this novel did not work for me and I am conflicted with this novel.  This is also not a typical review as most readers have seemed to really enjoy The Plot.

The Plot is character driven and our focus is on Jacob Finch Bonner.  He had written a well-received first novel, but then has become for the most part forgotten and he is teaching a  MFA program and is also struggling. While teaching he comes across cocky student Evan Parker who tells Bonner that he has THE idea for a book and said book will bring him everything he will ever need and want.  Parker does tell Bonner the plot and it is quite the unexpected plot.  Bonner knows that in fact that Evan is correct in his assumption that this will become THE NOVEL.

Several years later Parker’s novel still has not been written and Bonner finds out that his former student has passed away.  Bonner decides to write the novel that Parker planned to and yes, it is beyond successful with a forth coming movie.  But during all this Bonner begins to receive messages and being trolled that he is a thief. Bonner goes on an quest of sorts to find out what is actually going on and learns about Parker’s family and that fiction may actually come from fact.   

I did like that we actually got snippets of this novel Bonner wrote titled Crib throughout the story, in essence getting a novel within a novel. I liked Bonner in spite of his many secrets and enjoyed going on this journey with him despite figuring out who the said troll was about halfway through my reading. 

What I did not like was the ending and the epilogue: (BEGIN SPOILER) It was very frustrating for me in that the troll gets away with what they did.  I wanted said bad guy to get caught.  (END SPOILER).

I wanted to throw the book when I was finished with it.  That being said, yes, Jean Hanff Korelitz did write a very good novel where the ending was not for me.  Do I regret reading The Plot?  No. In fact despite not enjoying the ending I would recommend it for others to read. Would I read The Plot again?  No. 

Many thanks to the publisher Celadon Books for sending me an arc to read and review.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK The Plot will be release in the UK on July  2021.

Book Review: The Stars We Steal by Alexa Donne

The Stars We Steal
Author: Alexa Donne
Published: February 4, 200
393 Pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 2 stars

Book Description:

Engagement season is in the air. Eighteen-year-old Princess Leonie “Leo” Kolburg, heir to a faded European spaceship, only has one thing on her mind: which lucky bachelor can save her family from financial ruin?

But when Leo’s childhood friend and first love Elliot returns as the captain of a successful whiskey ship, everything changes. Elliot was the one that got away, the boy Leo’s family deemed to be unsuitable for marriage. Now, he’s the biggest catch of the season and he seems determined to make Leo’s life miserable. But old habits die hard, and as Leo navigates the glittering balls of the Valg Season, she finds herself falling for her first love in a game of love, lies, and past regrets

Kim’s Review:

Ok, to be fair, I had an idea of what this book was going to be when I started reading. Beccie from Bookies wanted to do a read-a-long, so I read it. All the YA tropes you can find were put in this book. A bunch of idiot teenagers with very few responsible adults on a space ship orbiting earth, all trying to find arranged marriages for mutual benefits, multiple love triangles, and admittedly, some pretty good fashion. But no aliens, it would have been so much better with aliens.

Some people like those tropes, so fine, if you do, then you’ll probably like this book. My main issue with it was the ending. Donne took the lazy way out and didn’t even resolve the story. A happy ending was hinted at, but she tried to hide it all behind an open ending that just left the story incomplete. It was just a cringey read and I can’t even say that I enjoyed it. I think I’ll stay away from YA for a while. I’ll finish off on a positive note and say that the cover is gorgeous! So don’t read it, just stare at the cover.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK


Book Review: The Night Before by Wendy Walker

The Night Before
Author: Wendy Walker
Published:  May 14, 2019

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: April 20-27, 2021

Jessica’s Rating: 2 stars     

Book Description:

Laura Lochner has never been lucky in love. She falls too hard and too fast, always choosing the wrong men. Devastated by the end of her last relationship, she fled her Wall Street job and New York City apartment for her sister’s home in the Connecticut suburb where they both grew up. Though still haunted by the tragedy that’s defined her entire life, Laura is determined to take one more chance on love with a man she’s met on an Internet dating site.

Rosie Ferro has spent most of her life worrying about her troubled sister. Fearless but fragile, Laura has always walked an emotional tightrope, and Rosie has always been there to catch her. Laura’s return, under mysterious circumstances, has cast a shadow over Rosie’s peaceful life with her husband and young son – a shadow that grows darker as Laura leaves the house for her blind date.

When Laura does not return home the following morning, Rosie fears the worst. She’s not responding to calls or texts, and she’s left no information about the man she planned to meet. As Rosie begins a desperate search to find her sister, she is not just worried about what this man might have done to Laura. She’s worried about what Laura may have done to him…

Jessica’s Review:

This one had a premise that really intrigued me, but the novel itself fell flat.  I was looking for a fast moving novel where the woman seemingly is the victim but is actually not and she is holding her date prisoner and who knows what may happen next.

I was at first intrigued by Laura and Rosie being sisters and Laura’s concern and determination to find her sister, but a little later in the novel I was just not invested in their story anymore. The Night Before also has multiple povs, which I normally enjoy but this novel just didn’t agree with me. There is a twist I didn’t see coming and when it is revealed you had to take a minute and think about the reality of this scenario in regards to the story.  From that point on I was just ready to end the novel but I only had so much left that I continued.

I did listen to the audiobook version and maybe that was the problem for me with this novel.  This may be one to actually read versus have read to you.

I would give Ms. Walker another chance in reading another of her novels, but this one just didn’t work for me so I cannot recommend it.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK