Sometimes I don’t feel like writing a full review for whatever reason, either because life is busy and I don’t have time, or because a book didn’t stir me enough. Sometimes, it’s because a book was so good that I just don’t have anything to say beyond that I loved it! Frequently, I’m just wayyy behind on reviews and am trying to catch up. For whatever reason, these are books that only have a few paragraphs of thoughts from me.
September is buzzing by at a frightening clip. We’ve been quite busy at the orchard, so I haven’t had as much time for reading or for writing reviews. Plus, once again, I haven’t been reading anything that’s really excited me, although I’ve had several reads that get described with words like “solid” and “decent.” So here are a few of those decent reads…
Update: It’s now 28 September, and I haven’t posted a single thing this month…!!! As mentioned before, the orchard has sort of taken over my life, plus there have been a lot of random family things going on. Still, I’m hoping to at least complete THIS post before the end of the month!
Blind Spot by Dani Pettrey – 3.5*
I read the first three books in this series a while ago, when I got Blind Spot as an ARC. This summer, the fourth (and final) book was released. I got it from the library and started to read it, but realized that I really couldn’t remember what all was happening with the terrorist plot line, so I decided to give this one a quick reread. While I did like this book, I was nagged by the same things that mildly aggravated me the first time around. The main one is something that annoyed me about this entire series – that Pettrey would have two completely separate plots in the book, and they never tied together. Consequently, one of those always ended up feeling like filler to me, like she was writing to parallel series at the same time or something. In this case, there’s the terrorist plot (main) and then a random murder (secondary). Not only does the murder feel shoehorned into the story, it seemed completely ridiculous to me that the characters in this book were allowed to process/be in charge of the crime scene since they actually knew the victim/possible criminal, and there were questions as to whether or not the dead guy had killed other people and then committed suicide, or been murdered and set up. I just still can’t believe that friends of his would be allowed to process the crime scene.
But despite this, I still overall enjoyed the book and I really do like the characters. I was intrigued to see how everything was going to get wrapped up in Dead Drift.
And Both Were Young by Madeline L’Engle – 3.5*
I’ve gotten a bit off track from my L’Engle reading, dashing off on tangents with random books of hers as I keep drifting further and further backwards in time through her bibliography. I wasn’t really sure what to expect from this one, but I’m always drawn to stories that take place in boarding schools, so I thought I would go ahead and give this one a whirl. While I wasn’t blown away by it, it was a really enjoyable story. I loved the way that Flip’s discontent with her situation was due to both her actual circumstances, which are kind of lame, but also her own attitude. As she grows the realize this through the story, she is able to start changing the parts of her life that she actually can change – so while some of the lame parts are still there, she’s overall happier and more contented because she has started to learn how to be proactive in her own life. This story also had an interesting setting, being in Europe just after WWII in a boarding school with girls of all different nationalities. While most of them were small children during the war, they have all been touched by it, and L’Engle did a really excellent job of weaving that background in very naturally. Although this story was sometimes a bit melodramatic, it was overall a really pleasant read. I don’t see myself going back to it again and again, but I still think I would recommend it, especially if you enjoy thoughtful, character-driven stories.
Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch – 3.5*
This is actually the first book in a series, and I’ve heard some good things about it – and who wouldn’t be drawn to that gorgeous cover art?? However, while I found this to be an alright read, I didn’t really find it compelling. The world-setting was interesting, but didn’t really make practical sense to me – I mean, seriously, four kingdoms, and each one is always the same season? How does that even work? What does it mean to always be Autumn – a perpetual state of harvest? The whole idea just confused me a bit when I started trying to think of what it meant to actually live there. While this was an okay read for me, I didn’t like it well enough to bother with the other books. Not a bad read, just kind of boring.
Dead Drift by Dani Pettrey – 3.5*
This is the final book in the Chesapeake Bay series, and I definitely enjoyed seeing everything get tied up, especially Jenna’s murder. I still think that this entire series would have benefited from having just one story line, as they consistently felt rather choppy and disconnected, but I still did like them and would read something else by Pettrey if it came my way. I really liked the characters in these books, and it was fun to see them all get some closure with all the stuff that had been happening throughout the stories.
Gold of Kings by Davis Bunn – 3.5*
I’ve read a couple of Bunn’s books before and found them to be decently interesting, so when I saw this one for a quarter on the library discard shelf, I went ahead and picked it up. It kind of made me realize that while Bunn’s writing is alright, it doesn’t really grab me all that much. This book did definitely have me turning the pages by the halfway point, but it didn’t really make me want to pick up the sequel. Not bad for one-time reads, but not interesting enough to keep returning to time and again.
Definitely agree with you on Blind Spot! That was my least favorite book of the series. I read something about Pettrey’s writing process and how she doesn’t really plot/outline everything out so some of the things that happen is a surprise to her, too. While I’m definitely not knocking that process, I think it does definitely come across that way in some of her books that things weren’t really thought out enough to tie together nicely in the end.
Yes, that seems like a process that might be good for like fantasy or something, but I’m not sure it’s the best direction for mystery/thriller type books haha I really like her characters, and I even like both the plots in the book, but it just never felt like they meshed together. Still, I definitely want to read another one of her series one of these days!
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