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January Minireviews

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.

Followed by Frost by Charlie Holmberg – 4*

//published 2015//

This is one of my sister’s favorite books, so when she got a hard copy of it for Christmas, she generously gave it to me for the first read. I was a little leery because I read Holmberg’s Paper Magician books last year and was quite frustrated with them – the concept and world were fantastic; the characters and actual story were unbelievable and boring.

However, Followed by Frost was a much better read.  I absolutely loved the concept of this story and the way that it unwound.  Smitha’s character development is thoughtful and believable.  There were times when things dragged a little bit, and I would have liked a little more of Smitha’s life before the curse, to get the full impact of what a jerk she was, but overall a very solid read that, while following a basically traditional fairy tale pattern, did so in a creative and engaging way.

Wet Magic by E. Nesbit – 3.5*

//published 1913//

I really have a soft spot for Nesbit’s writing, but while this one was perfectly enjoyable, it wasn’t as magical as some of her other books.  Things bogged down a bit in the middle when the children got caught up in an underwater war, and there was this weird thing where the first time they met the mermaid she was super grumpy and unreasonable, and then she suddenly was actually really nice and wonderful and perfect, but I could never get over my initial feelings about her, so I spent the whole story being suspicious that she was going to turn out to be a bad guy after all.  All in all, while this was worth a one-time read, it’s not a new favorite.

Illusionarium by Heather Dixon – 3.5*

//published 2015//

I read a retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses by this author a long time ago (pre-blog), so I thought I would give this book a try when I came across it.  Overall a solid read, but not one that really spoke to me.  The setting is interesting and the concept, of parallel worlds, is always one that engages me.  However, there were a few plot questions that left me feeling a little confused.  Dixon was also a little heavy-handed on the whole concept of having a “compass” inside of you that “points true north” (i.e. to the good) that everyone should follow.  A nice little thought, but kind of pointless if “true north” is just based on what you feel is the right thing.  The supposedly bad character in this story was also doing what she thought was best for her country and people, so I think an argument could be made that she was following her “true north” … which is why moral relativity doesn’t really work all that great in real life…  Ennywho, still a fun and imaginative read.

8 thoughts on “January Minireviews

  1. Have you read “The Enchanted Sonata”? It’s Heather Dixon’s newest book and it’s an imaginative retelling of the Nutcracker. I think “Entwined” is her best (though it’s been quite a few years since I’ve read it) but I actually really enjoyed “The Enchanted Sonata.” The storyworld is really beautiful and it felt very magical and fairytale-esque. It definitely has some flaws and you can tell that it is self published, but it reminded me of “Entwined” in a way that “Illusionarium” didn’t.


    • Oooo I haven’t read that one!! It’s been a long time since I read Entwined, but I remember really liking it. There were a lot of things I liked about Illusionarium as well, it just didn’t hit that “magic” for me. I’ll definitely look up The Enchanted Sonata, though. I didn’t realize that she had written another book!!


      • Yes, exactly! I enjoyed Illusionarium while I was reading it but I probably won’t ever read it again. The Enchanted Sonata just has that extra little bit of magic to it. It’s my best friend’s favorite comfort read right now so she insisted that I take her copy, haha. (Again, you can tell it’s self published because there’s a couple typos and stuff that a copy editor might have caught and that brought me out of the story a little bit but overall it’s such a good story). Also, Heather Dixon has a blog and she’s pretty hysterical so I would check that out as well.


        • My library doesn’t have it, but it’s actually available on Kindle Unlimited, which I have right now, so I am definitely going to read it very soon! I love it when authors end up being a lot of fun. I follow Maggie Stiefvater on multiple forms of social media, and have regretted nothing haha


            • I only have KU some of the time because it isn’t worth it for me to pay for it all the time. Actually, what I do is create a wishlist and stick all the KU books I want to read onto it, and then a couple times a year I subscribe and work through the list haha Anyway, I haven’t read all of Stiefvater’s books, just a handful of them. I really enjoy her style, even when I don’t like the story, if that makes sense lol


  2. Pingback: Rearview Mirror // January 2019 | The Aroma of Books

  3. Pingback: The Enchanted Sonata // by Heather Dixon Wallwork | The Aroma of Books

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