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.
August reviews in August!!
Anne of the Island by L.M. Montgomery – 5*
My slow reread of the Anne series continues. I’ve read other reviews of these books that are much more objective and critical than mine. If that’s what you’re looking for, you are in the wrong place! My childhood and young adult associations with these stories are far too strong for me to find them uninteresting or not worth reading. In Island, Anne finally heads off to college, where many an adventure ensues. My biggest problem with this book is the same as I have with Avonlea – I want MORE! I love Anne’s group of friends, and only wish that there were even more stories exploring their friendships and relationships. The romance is a big part of this one, as Anne struggles with ideals versus realities. I’ve been in a relationship where a person fit all my “objective” boxes, ergo it must be romance, only to realize that a life partner needs something more than just to check the correct boxes. When Anne begins to think of her actual future with this person – what it will be like to live with him day in an day out for the rest of her life, she realizes that beyond the boxes, there is some unidentifiable magic ingredient that is the true essence of romance, rather than her idealistic tall, dark, and mysterious. Anyway, this is actually one of my favorites from the series for a variety of reasons, and highly recommended.
An Unequal Match by Rachelle Edwards – 2*
Long-time visitors here may remember that quite a long while back I bought an entire book of Regency romances from eBay in an attempt to score some Georgette Heyer books I didn’t have yet (which worked!), and I’m still working my way through the pile of not-Heyer romances, most of which are pretty bad. This one was definitely in the pretty bad pile. The premise was decent – we all know I love a marriage of convenience – but as soon as he marries Verena, Justin bails out of the country, leaving her with his aunt. There was potential for the fun “ugly duckling into a swan” kind of story, but instead Edwards chooses to skip two entire years, and when we next see Verena, she’s now a beautiful, competent, society lady, to the point that she feels like an entirely different character. Justin comes back to London and even though he’s talked with Verena like three times in his whole life, gets all pissy about the fact that she wants to divorce Justin and instead marry a guy who has been escorting her all around town and basically courting her. As the reader, we know this guy is a jerk, but Verena has no idea, and it seemed pretty ridiculous of Justin to be mad about it. There’s some choppy kerfluffles and then, despite the fact that Verena and Justin have still only had maybe two or three more conversations, Verena suddenly realizes that if anything happens to Justin she’ll DIE and she loves him SO MUCH.
In short, completely unbelievable, no relationship between the main characters, no actual story, nothing. 2* because I did keep reading, although in retrospect that was more from the hope that the story was going to be redeemed than any actual pleasure…
NB: The background of some of these pictures includes a bingo card, part of a challenge I’m hosting over on Litsy. Participants list 25 books, then I draw out the numbers at random, filling in the bingo card. Anyone who is playing along reads the books that match those numbers to try and score a bingo! It’s been great fun!
The Hating Game by Sally Thorne – 4*
I’ve been meaning to read this one forever, so when I finally picked it up from Book Outlet on the cheap (I don’t have a problem) I was pretty stoked. All in all, this was a fun and fluffy read with very likable main characters. There was a bit too much sexy time/lusty thoughts for my personal preference, but because I really liked Lucy and Josh together, I was willing to roll with it. I think this story would have worked a lot better if we had gotten some of Josh’s thoughts as well – I still prefer third person narratives for this reason – but Lucy is very likable so it helped. All in all, if you like enemies-to-lovers romance, I definitely recommend this fun and snarky story.
Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard & Florence Atwater – 3.5*
This children’s classic, published in the 1930s, is fun and ridiculous. As an adult, I had to suspend a LOT of disbelief, but when I was imagining reading this out loud to a group of 9 or 10-year-olds, I could definitely see that age finding all these shenanigans hilarious. This was a fun and quick read of a classic. As a side note, I bought this rather battered, well-read copy as a library discard in 1999, where it had apparently been on the shelves since 1938!
The Story of the Amulet by E. Nesbit – 3.5*
When I read Five Children & It a few months ago, I knew that it had a sequel (The Phoenix & the Carpet), which I already owned. However, I didn’t realize that there was a third book in the series, so I hunted down a copy and finally got around to reading it. All in all, while perfectly enjoyable, I definitely didn’t love this one as much as the first two. The story is much choppier, and because they are traveling around through time and geography, there was a lot of the benevolent British superiority over uneducated natives attitude. While interesting for the sake of historical context, it sometimes was a little cringey. The ending also felt quite abrupt. So while I see myself rereading the first two books sometime, I’m not sure I’ll bother to revisit this one again.