Dancing with Fireflies


by Denise Hunter

published 2014

So I’ve read several of Denise Hunter’s books, and they’re usually decent fluff. The Convenient Groom is my favorite (because, as I’ve mentioned, I’m a sucker for a story where people are already married when they fall in love).  Dancing with Fireflies is her newest book.  It was a pretty comfortable 3/5, almost a 4.  While the story was plausible and the characters likable, there was a lot about the main character that confused me.

Jade grew up in a sleepy town on the Ohio River.  The story opens with a prologue – Jade is living in Chicago with a close friend, and getting ready to have a guy over for a first date.  However, the friend gets called into work.  Instead of postponing the date, Jade goes ahead and (not a spoiler because this all happens before the first chapter), he drugs her drink and rapes her (one of those cut-scene rapes where she’s sleepy and then it’s the next morning).

First chapter fast forwards – Jade moves back home because she’s pregnant and needs the support of her family (who doesn’t know any of this).  (As an aside, women in books always seem to be super fertile.  I’ve been married four years and don’t have a baby, but in books it only ever seems to take one chance!)  Enter our hero, tall, dark, and handsome (actually, I can’t remember if he’s dark so that part might be a lie), Jade’s almost-brother, Daniel, who also happens to be the mayor of said small town.  Guess who’s going to end up married??

Like I said, I actually enjoyed the story just fine.  I really liked Jade, Jade’s family, and Daniel.  I also enjoyed the references to the Midwest of which I am oh-so fond.  ;-)  But the reason that this story just didn’t quite do it for me was Jade’s motivation.  Throughout the story, Jade is emotionally withdrawn and interested in a relationship that will be comfortable and workable, but not passionate.  This seems understandable because, you know, she was raped.  But instead of that event being the primary motivator, her reasoning keeps going back to a relationship she had in high school/just after.  She was engaged, and her fiancee died in a car wreck.  Consequently, Jade is terrified of loving anyone ever again.  While this makes a perfectly fine motivator for her actions/emotions/fears, it just didn’t fit with the rest of the story.  We didn’t know Jade when she was engaged to this guy, so it lacks the emotional impact to really make her attitude make sense.  On the other hand, while she doesn’t really just completely brush aside the being raped thing, she does, in a weird way, act like it wasn’t a big deal in that it doesn’t really come up when she’s thinking about why she doesn’t want to be in a relationship with Daniel.  In the end, it feels like Hunter just used the rape as a convenient way to get Jade pregnant (as a victim of circumstances beyond her control), when it feels as though it should be a lot more of a big deal.

Still, the story was a lot of fun, and Hunter does a good job of manipulating circumstances so that Daniel and Jade keep ending up leaning on each other (and of course Daniel’s been in love with Jade for years, so there’s that).

If you’re looking for a relaxing read with happy endings all around, Dancing with Fireflies just may fit the bill.

Silhouette in Scarlet


by Elizabeth Peters

Published 1983

In Vicky Bliss’s third appearance, she’s off to Stockholm at the invitation of the rascally “Sir” John Smythe.  We first met Smythe in Street of the Five Moonswhere he was involved in an art forgery scam.  Smythe is a lot like Peters’s character Sethos, whom we met regularly in the Amelia Peabody series, although Symthe was actually created first.  Truthfully, I think Peters improved on Smythe’s character when she invented Sethos, who is a stronger and somehow more admirable character than the very self-preserving Smythe.  Of course, I’ll freely admit that my old-fashioned morals are rather against Smythe as the main romantic character anyway, as I don’t have a strong appreciation for Vicky’s tendency to enjoy a few nights together here and there with absolutely zero commitment involved.  (Nothing graphic, mind you, which is something about Peters’s writing that I greatly appreciate.)

Still, even though I don’t like Vicky and Smythe as well as the Emerson clan, Silhouette in Scarlet was another fun romp.  These stories have  definite campy flavor, and the tongue-in-cheek attitude is perfectly delivered.  I’m also intrigued by the character of Schmidt, Vicky’s boss, who has gone from a rather ominous individual when we first met him in Borrower of the Night to:

Physically he’s a combination of the Wizard of Oz and Santa Claus – short, chubby, disgustingly cute.  Intellectually he ranks as one of the world’s greatest historians, respected by all his peers.  Emotionally…Ah, there’s the rub.  The non-professional parts of Schmidt’s brain are permanently frozen at fourteen years of age.  He thinks of himself as D’Artagnan, James Bond, Rudolf Rassendyll, Cline Eastwood, and Cyrano de Bergerac, all rolled into one.  This mental disability of Schmidt has been partially responsible for propelling me into a number of sticky situations.

And I must say that we mostly see the non-professional part of Schmidt’s character, making him appear rather goofy but lovable, although with the haunting question of whether he really is smart enough to be in charge of an entire famous museum.

Anyway, Vicky romps off to Stockholm, the city of her ancestors (“Roots!” she keeps exclaiming) and, of course, runs into all sorts of trouble, romantic and otherwise.

Peters writes first-person narrative perfectly, with just the right amount of inner dialogue (this sort of “What in the world have I done??” kind of attitude throughout) to make Vicky feel like a real person.  Per usual, I especially enjoy it when I understand a rather obscure reference:

The point of the dream was the chalice.  It had numerous mythic connotations – Arthurian legend, the Holy Grail, the chalice from the palace…No, that was from an old Danny Kaye movie.

As an aside, if you haven’t seen that old Danny Kaye movie, do yourself a favor and find it tonight. You won’t regret it.  And if you don’t feel like watching the whole thing, at least watch the best scene of the whole movie.  (Although Vicky is actually referring to this classic scene.)

Anyway, so far the Vicky Bliss books have been a win, although not as much of one as the Amelia Peabody series.  I’m halfway through, though, and looking forward to the rest.

A Tale of Time City


by Diana Wynne Jones

Published 1987

I really, really enjoyed this Jones novel (definitely more than A Sudden, Wild Magicwhich is the last title of hers I had read).  This book had lots of time travel, which is always fun when done well.  I got a serious Doctor Who vibe off of this book, that definite sense of time being “wibbly wobbly.”  In this story, Vivian is being sent out to the country to avoid the London bombings of WWII.  She’s kidnapped by a young man at the train station – kidnapped right out of time.  She and her kidnappers end up bonding together to try and save time, which is falling apart.

As with so many of Jones’s books, the fun is in the details almost more than the story itself – little snippets of this new and different world.  I loved the idea of time being circular especially.

Overall, I’ve often been disappointed in the endings to Jones’s stories – I feel like they frequently have a fantastic build-up, but then sort of fizzle out at the end.  However, A Tale of Time City felt like a real ending, one with actual conclusions, and I really appreciated that.  I’ve also noticed a tendency of Jones to have the majority of her adults be selfish and cruel, using the children involved for their own ends.  Refreshingly, A Tale of Time City‘s adults mostly made the mistake of not paying close enough attention to what the children were saying – overall, I actually really liked all of the adults involved in the story, which was a really nice change of pace.

This book was an easy 4/5.  It falls short of the full 5 stars because there still felt like some glossed-over wrap-ups at the end, but I can definitely recommend this fun and lively story of time-travel and friendship.

Bath Tangle


by Georgette Heyer

Published 1955

Whoa, a picture of the book!?  Madness!

It had been a while since I’d picked up a Heyer novel.  Recently, I added every book she’s ever written on my TBR (yeah, we don’t want to talk about the length of the TBR, or the fact that I add more books than I read to it every week).  While her Regency books are rarely innovative, they are super relaxing, and often entertaining.

Bath Tangle was quite typical, really, with everyone ending up engaged to the wrong someone, but magically coming together just right by the end.  One of the things that I enjoy about Heyer’s novels is that there is rarely a villain, or even someone you dislike.  Serena, the heroine, was delightfully imperfect.  Fanny, her mother-in-law (and also her junior by a few years… welcome to the Regency era lol), was as sweet and adorable as she could be.  The gentlemen were great fun and oh so gentlemanly (mostly).  Overall, Bath Tangle was all froth and bubbles, but in a happy, contented kind of way.  While this wasn’t a favorite read, like Friday’s Childit was still a great deal of fun and an easy 4/5.

Midnight is a Place

by Joan Aiken

Published 1974

So Aiken is one of those authors whose books I either seem to really enjoy or really not enjoy.  For those of you who have been reading this blog for a while, you know that Wolves of Willoughby Chase is one of my all-time favorites.  Last fall, I read the rest of the books in Aiken’s Wolves Chronicles, and was so disappointed that (in my opinion) they got progressively less coherent and much darker as the series progressed.  However, I’ve read a couple of her other novels and enjoyed them both – Jane Fairfax is a delightful continuation of Jane Austen’s Emma, and The Five-Minute Marriage is a wonderfully fun and lively Regency romance.  (I actually have another of her Regency romance on the TBR shelf.)

The point is, I approach each of her books with trepidation – and, for the first time, I found one of her books that was just, well, a book.  A solid 3/5, it struck no real emotion in me.  Midnight is a Place is an interesting and well-written story, set in the town of Blastburn (recognizable from Wolves).  One can get the gist of the story from the titles of its three distinct parts – “Evening,” “Midnight,” and “Daybreak.”  The “Daybreak” one is what gave me the courage to read the story, and I was rewarded – while the ending is not happy, exactly, it is at least a bit optimistic, as though things may get better.  (In a weird way, it reminded me of the ending of the actual novel The Princess Bride  – the ending of the book isn’t at all like the ending of the movie, really – a bit ambiguous.)

While I liked the main characters, Lucas and Anna-Marie, and appreciated their courage and maturity under difficult circumstances, the story itself was rather dark without a strong plot.  I’ve owned this book since 2005, when I bought it at a booksale, and read it now as part of my strict “I will read every book I own or I will get rid of it” policy.  Sadly, Midnight is a Place is destined for the give-away pile, although at least that means I have shelf space for a new read, right??

Street of the Five Moons

by Elizabeth Peters

Published 1978

So I recently read the first book in the Vicky Bliss series, Borrower of the Night, as those of you who actually plowed through my ridiculously long entry of mini-reviews will have discovered.  Street of the Five Moons takes place nearly a year after the events of the first book.  Vicky is now working for a museum in Germany, but she’s ready for adventure when her boss, the rather absurd Professor Schmidt, sends her haring off after a possible forger of antiques.

Much of this story rang as vaguely familiar – a “master criminal” at work behind the scenes, an expert forger of crimes, and a dashing anti-hero were all elements that I recognized from the Amelia Peabody series.  However, here’s the trick – Street of the Five Moons was written before all of the Amelia books except the first (which, when written, was not intended to be a “first” but to simply be).  Looking forward, the rest of the Vicky books are written at the same time the Amelia books are being written, so who knows which ideas came first?

At any rate, Street of the Five Moons was a fun romp of a read.  While belief must be somewhat suspended to make it all come together, it’s still a fun story with sharp, witty dialogue.  While I don’t like Vicky as well as Amelia, she’s still an entertaining narrator.  These first two Vicky Bliss books have definitely been more campy (for lack of a better term) than the Amelia Peabody mysteries, a very tongue-in-cheek tale with cloak-and-dagger elements running strong.

I prefer my books to be a bit on the lighter side, so I enjoy Peters’s humor.  Street of the Five Moons is a 4/5 for sheer fun and entertainment, even if the criminal procedural side requires the acceptance of a few gaps in logic!

Rainbow’s End

by Irene Hannon

Feeling sooooo lazy today, so no cover picture.  I’m honestly a terrible blogger, lol.

Anyway.  With all the chaos going on around here, I’ve seized the excuse to be even more laid-back with my reading than ever.  Steeple Hill publishes happy little paperback Christian romances that are as sweet and fluffy as marshmallows, with just about that much plot.  They’re perfect reading for when your brain is tired, or if you’re feeling stressed.  Happy endings tied up with a bow are 100% guaranteed, and sometimes that’s exactly what I need.

Rainbow’s End is a classic example.  Jill lives a semi-hermit life since a bad fire killed her family and left her face severely scarred several years ago.  Keith is wandering ever since tragedy struck his life two years earlier.  Through a series of events (coincidences are strong in these little books), Keith ends up renting the cottage on Jill’s land.  Bet you can’t guess what happens next!!!

With stories like these, the fun obviously isn’t in being surprised by the ending – the fun is in watching the story unwind to achieve that end.  Hannon’s writing is actually very readable, and while her story was somewhat heavy on coincidences, she still managed to pull things together to leave me feeling warm and fuzzy and not too incredulous.

Obviously, with a Christian romance you can expect some Christian conversations, but I felt like Hannon handled these with grace.  She had a story with two people who had suffered tragic events in their lives.  Jill had made her peace with God, while Keith was still searching.  The conversations were natural and thoughtful, propelling the story forward rather than bogging it down.

While not a great literary work, or a piece of intense depth and intrigue, Rainbow’s End is a pleasant read with likable characters, a reasonably possible storyline, and a happy ending.  And really, what more could someone want from a relaxing summer read?

Mini Reviews & Updates

Well, friends, we are finally in our new house, and life is much, much  better.  It also seems to be returning to a more manageable level of chaos.  Yesterday was my first full day just at home working (or, as I call them, Hermit Days :-D) in ages and it was glorious.  While the house will be an ongoing (and going and going and going) project, every step just makes it a bit homier and happier.

So I’ve read a lot of books over the last two months or so since I last posted, and I thought I’d just give some brief thoughts on the ones that I remember.  (Usually, I write books down when I’m done with them, but I didn’t write them all down and now that little book is in a box somewhere so you’ll just have to rely on my memory – ha!)

  • The Protector of the Small series by Tamora Pierce – 4/5 – First Test; Page; Squire; Lady Knight

So I really wanted to write a lot about these books, but I read them at the end of May/beginning of June, and it’s just been too long ago for me to do them full justice.  I had never read anything by Tamora Pierce before, but I enjoyed these books enough to try some more of her stuff, even though there were a lot of things about these stories that irritated me as well.  I really, really liked the main character (Kel?  Right?  Too lazy to look it up, so we’re just going to go with it), who was intelligent, industrious, forthright, and humble.  I also enjoyed the stories themselves.  The battles were interesting without unnecessarily gory descriptions (usually).  The writing was excellent and the stories were well-paced.

As for dislikes, those always stick out in the memory more, right?  So I may list more of them than positives, but my overall feel for this series was good, so don’t be fooled lol.

First off, there is apparently a series that takes place about ten years before this series starts, and in that series a girl isn’t allowed to be a page/squire/knight, so this girl pretends to be a boy so she can be those things.  (I haven’t actually read this series; this is what I gleaned from reading the Protector of the Small series.)  Somewhere along the line everyone is like, What this chick is awesome!  So they change the law so that girls can be knights, too.  All well and good, right?  Except Protector of the Small is ten years later and in all that time not a single girl has signed up to be a page.  So when Kel does, everyone flips out.  I’m sorry, but first off, really?  In ten years, in the entire kingdom, no other girl was ever interested?  And secondly, in ten years you didn’t have time to adjust yourselves to the fact that a girl could, in fact, be a knight?  But no, everyone has to be all freaking out about this and it’s this huge deal and in fact the whole first book is about Kel’s first year as a page and she’s on probation just because she’s a girl (even though the law says she can be a page) etc etc etc.  To add to the nonsensicalness of this is the fact that loads of women are doing all sorts of other “non-traditional” things, including other types of soldiers, so everyone making a big deal about a girl studying to be a knight just doesn’t really seem to flow with the world-building, and left me feeling irritated (frequently) because all it did was (purposefully) lead to lots of opportunities for conversations about how Girls Can Do Whatever They Want Because They Are Mighty and whatever.  It wouldn’t have bothered me if this series had taken place say, two years after the law or something a bit more reasonable, or if women didn’t do anything other than sit and knit in this world, but neither of those things were true, and so the whole fuss just seemed out of proportion to what was going on.

The second big thing was that Kel is so young when it starts.  She’s ten and she knows all these awesome battle techniques?  The whole series would have made way more sense if Kel was 2-4 years older the entire way through.  Because she’s so young in the first book, she’s still really young when she becomes a squire and we’re suddenly having conversations about using protection if you decide you want to have sex even though you’re only fourteen but even though I’m your mother not a single part of my conversation with you is going to be about how sex is more than a physical act and there is plenty of time ahead of you for these things and oh hey if you get it wrong you end up with a baby so it’s okay that the message I’m giving to younger readers is that sex is 100% A-OK as long as you have protection of some kind have fun!  Excuse me!?

Third and final for this mini-review that is turning into a medium review (although I am talking about four books at once so) is that throughout the stories these various battles are going on against various people, and then there is an actual war going on, and then at the end of the fourth book there’s no real conclusion at all to the bigger picture of what’s going on in the world, and that was a little frustrating to me.  The series just kind of petered out without any real wrap-up.

There were other things, like unnecessary references to Kel’s having a period, some random deaths in Squire that seemed completely out of place, and some over-the-top bullying.  Even though I’ve spent way longer griping about these books than praising them, I really did enjoy them, and really do want to read more of Pierce’s work.  While they’re a bit humorless for me, they were still enjoyable and engaging reads.

  • The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet by Bernie Su and Kate Rorick – 3/5

I totally watched The Lizzie Bennet Diaries as they unfolded on YouTube, and was intrigued to check out the book (from the library, of course :-D).  Short story: if you enjoyed the series, you’ll probably enjoy the book.  It would be fun to read the book and watch the episodes in tandem, but I don’t have that kind of time.  I will say that (spoiler) in the book, we get more details about the Jane/Bing relationship, and it did seem quite out-of-character to me that Jane and Bing would be sleeping together after such a short friendship, and that did bother me a bit, but overall the book added some fun  background to what was appearing “publicly” on the videos, and that was a lot of fun.

  • Bachelors Anonymous by P.G. Wodehouse – 4/5

If you’re feeling stressed, you should read a Wodehouse.  There’s a quote from someone that appears quite frequently on the front cover of Wodehouse books that says something along the lines of “It’s impossible to feel sad while reading Wodehouse,” and that’s really close to true.  Even his weaker stories (like, honestly, this one) are absolutely hilarious.  In this story, the concept of a Bachelors Anonymous club that helps keep its various members out of entanglements with females, is enough to give the story its own flavor, even though all the usual Wodehouse ploys are in play.

  • Borrower of the Night by Elizabeth Peters – 4/5

I enjoyed the Amelia Peabody series so much that I’ve had to make myself be patient and wait a bit before starting the Vicky Bliss series, just to prove that I have some semblance of self-control.  I have heard rumors that at some point in the Vicky Bliss series, reference is made to the Emersons, so I’m excited to see if that’s true.  Borrower of the Night was actually the first Elizabeth Peters book I ever read.  My aunt had a copy that I remember reading when I was probably 12 or 13, and honestly too young to really understand a lot of what was going on.  The story is told from Vicky’s first-person narrative, and she is, to say it bluntly, a tall and buxom woman of high intelligence, and I think that I was confused by a lot of her oblique references to her curves, powers of attraction, and sleeping with Tony.  As an adult, I understood the story (and oblique references) much better!  Vicky isn’t nearly as entertaining a narrator as Amelia, but she’s still quite believable, and Borrower of the Night is full of dark passageways, lost diaries, and seances, making it a great deal of fun.

One thing I love about Peters in general is her ability to not use a lot of foul language.  So many books in general and mysteries in particular that I read that are being currently published seem to substituted a lot of swearing in place of actual witty and useful dialogue.  Peters manages to without, leading to a cleaner narrative without losing the supposed “emotional impact” or “true to life language” that swearing is supposed to bring.  Take this brilliant sentence:

“It’s that Nolan,” said Tony, adding a few qualifying adjectives.  “Do you know what that rat said to me today?”

The phrase “a few qualifying adjectives” entertains me to no end.  Without actually writing any swear words at all, we know exactly what Tony is saying, and I love it.

Overall, this book was great fun, and I’m super excited about reading the rest of the series.  It’s not nearly as along as the Peabody/Emerson series – only six or seven titles – but it should be a good time.

  • Black and Blue Magic by Zilpha Keatley Snyder – 3/5

A while back, I reread The Velvet Room by the same author (the link takes you back to the old tumblr blog, by the way), one of my childhood favorites, and still a classic that I try to read every couple of years.  More recently, I was suddenly struck by the fact that I have quite a few books (like that one) wherein I loved them as as child, but have never bothered to find out what else the author wrote.  As an adult, with access to GoodReads and the library and Amazon, I find and devour every book written by every author I love, but some of those childhood favorites have yet to be explored.  Most recently, I’ve read The View from Saturday by E.L. Konigsburg, who wrote my much-beloved childhood favorite The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, and it was an instant hit. That inspired me, and I added the rest of Konigsburg’s books to my TBR, along with a few other childhood loves, including Zilpha Keatley Snyder.

All that to say (I really am a genius for taking an entire paragraph to add nothing of import to a review), Black and Blue Magic was my first Snyder book beyond The Velvet Room.  I really enjoyed it, but it lacked the depth and emotion that The Velvet Room always offers to me.  Still, this was one of those delightful stories where no one is a bad guy, where lessons are learned through relatively harmless mistakes, and where everyone ends as a better person than they were in the beginning.  Books like these are like warm, fluffy blankets, and they are the stories that kids ought to be reading in school.  Black and Blue Magic is about a somewhat-clumsy boy who, through an act of kindness to a stranger, is granted a special magic – wings.  (But only when he wants them!)  Harry is such a lovable kid – helpful and sweet, loves his  mother, and all while still sounding and acting like a real boy.

Actually, probably my biggest turn-off for this book was the illustrations.  I honestly try to avoid books with illustrations a lot because they mess up the pictures in my head and ruin them forever.  (The most tragic is the copy of Rose in Bloom that I read as a child – I know that Mac does not look at all like that picture, but he keeps showing up in my head that way, and it is so frustrating!)  The pen-and-ink drawings by Gene Holton make Mr. Mazeeck look like a strange alien and Harry not at all like someone whose last name is Marco.  Sometimes I wonder if illustrators really read the story…?????

Overall, though, this was a sweet and charming little story that would be an excellent read for 9-12 year-olds.

  • A Sudden, Wild Magic by Diana Wynne Jones – 3/5

This is not a children’s or YA book, but most definitely adult.  Having only read Jones’s books for younger readers before, that was a bit of an adjustment.  Nothing explicit, but just the overall tone of the  book is grown-up, with grown up problems and drama.  While a good story, and one that felt like it actually had an ending (unlike many of her other books), there was nothing about this book that really captured me.  When I was reading it, I enjoyed it, but rarely yearned for it when I wasn’t reading, which is unusual for her books (they usually have this sort of addictive quality that I can’t explain).  I really felt like a lot of the characters were not well-developed, and I was frequently startled when a character would act the way it did – instead of creating characters, it felt almost like she was using puppets that she had do whatever she wanted whenever she needed them to do it.  This was probably exasperated by the fact that there were so many people in this story that it was hard to keep everyone straight, especially since she may refer to them by name at one point, and then by what the other group thought of them at another (e.g., by name of Zillah, but then as “the pretty one” from the POV of those who don’t know her name), which really added to the already-complicated list of characters.  In short, while not a terrible book, this was a pretty solid 3.

  • The rest of the Daisy Dalrymple mysteries

There were about 5-6 titles that hadn’t been printed when I last read through the series, so it was a lot of fun to get to ones I hadn’t read.  Overall, the series was a lot of really happy cozy mysteries.  I love the main characters, Daisy and Alec, and enjoyed watching their little family grow and bond.  I was consistently entertained (as I always am when I read books set in that era) over how everyone has servants.  Even before she was married, Daisy and her flat-mate had a housekeeper who came to do the “heavy” cleaning for them – and they go on and on about how broke they were, living on sardines, etc.  But they still have a servant!  Anyway, the fact that Daisy, solidly middle-class, has a housekeeper, a cook, a maid, a nanny, and a nanny’s assistant, blows my mind.  No wonder she has time to gallivant about discovering dead bodies!

As with any series of this length (around 20 titles now, I think), there were some good and some weak.  For instance, I really enjoyed the characters and story of Anthem for Doomed Youth, especially the way that Alec’s mystery was running parallel to Daisy’s, but the (current) final title, Heirs of the Body, was really just a terrible mystery, one that I had solved from the outset, and one that delivered absolutely nothing in way of a twist.  Heirs of the Body is obviously freshest in my mind, so I’ll add that in that book I was confused by Alec’s behavior – he is usually respectful and patient of Daisy, but in this book he was frequently short-tempered and abrupt, dismissing and cutting her off in a way that seemed completely out of the character that’s been developed for him over the rest of the series, a trend that I found quite distressing, as I’m very fond of Alec.

Still, overall the series is fairly solid.  While they lack the depth of the Cadfael books (still my all-time favorite mysteries), and definitely aren’t as engaging as the Amelia Peabody books or even most of Hercule Poirot’s adventures, they’re fun and fluffy cozy mysteries.

  • Sophie’s Heart by Lori Wick – 3/5

Spontaneously purchased this second-hand the other day (because when one is in the midst of moving a thousand books, one feels the urge to add to said collection).  Wick wrote one of my favorite relaxation romances, The Princessbut overall her works are a mixed bag for me.  Her historical novels are, honestly, rather terrible, as they are completely modern language and action set in historical times wearing costumes, but her modern novels are sometimes good.  Sophie’s Heart was a pleasant and happy read, but ran tooooo long (another problem I frequently  have with Wick).  Still, I really liked Sophie and the Riley family, and while this book held absolutely zero surprises (young intelligent beautiful immigrant woman goes to work as a housekeeper for young widower with three children what in the world will happen next?!), everything moved along pleasantly and relaxingly (new word), making it a very nice oh-hey-I’m-actually-supposed-to-be-unpacking-but-I’ll-read-for-just-five-minutes kind of book.  Like all of Wick’s books, it’s rather long on religion, but her characters are honest and engaging, and the religious aspect feels honest and realistic instead of coming off as overtly preachy.


Well, my friends, that went on way longer than I was expecting to – and I’m sure there are more that I’ve read recently but just aren’t coming to mind!  Hopefully, as I said, life will be settling back into some semblance of a new normalcy, and regular book reviewing can resume!  I’ve missed being more engaged in the book-reading community on WordPress and am excited about getting back into the groove!  :-D