Cold Light of Day // by Elizabeth Goddard

Taking a break from reviewing books I read in the fall, here’s a more recent read, compliments of Revell Publishers!!

//published 2023//

Autumn is the police chief in a small Alaskan town, just like her father was before a bad accident left him permanently injured and a borderline alcoholic.  Autumn loves her town and her job, but right now some members of the town council want to see her removed and the nephew of one of the council members installed as chief instead.  Usually a quiet town, Shadow Gap has suddenly become rife with strange attacks and murders.  Autumn finds herself leaning on a newcomer and outsider named Grier, but at the same time she can’t help wondering if he is the source of the trouble.

There were a lot of things I liked about this book, including Autumn herself and many of the secondary characters.  Revell books sometimes have problems finding a balance with their Christian message, but it felt organic here to include some scriptural references and mentions of prayer, nothing too heavy-handed but enough to help the reader see that faith is an important part of some of the characters’ lives.  The setting was well-written as well.

However, there were points in this story where things just felt too frantic.  There was a lot happening all at once, to the point that it began to feel borderline ridiculous, and not particularly believable that all of these incidents were actually connected.  As the action just kept ramping up, my enjoyment began to turn into a bit of eye-rolling.  And while I did like Autumn and Grier together, I also didn’t quite believe in the chemistry – there were too many secrets for me to genuinely feel that they could fall in love with each other so quickly.

In the end, this was a 3* for read me.  However, I can definitely see myself picking up the sequel.  It’s possible that a second book, where there won’t be so many characters to introduce, won’t feel as rushed and jam-packed.  While I enjoy a page-turning thriller, there needs to be some time for the characters to breathe, and I just didn’t quite get that from Cold Light of Day. 

September Minireviews // Part 2

The final batch of September reviews!!!

Venetia by Georgette Heyer – 3.5*

//published 1958//

The reasons I enjoy reading Heyer is because I love reading something relaxing and humorous with happy endings all around in the end.  While I did somewhat get that one with Venetia, there were also SO MANY TERRIBLE CHARACTERS in this one!  Poor Venetia!  The titular character herself was a delight, but she was genuinely beset with dreadful, obnoxious busybodies all around, constantly interfering with her life, tearing her down, and ruining everything!  I honestly felt stressed out for a lot of this book because of how badly Venetia was being treated.  So while I didn’t dislike this one, per se, it definitely wasn’t my new favorite.

Murder in the Mews by Agatha Christie – 4*

//published 1937//

A collection of four short stories, these were decent but not amazing.  Personally, I prefer Christie’s longer-form stories, which allow her time to develop side characters and red herrings.  However, these were quite readable and, as usual, I had absolutely no idea whodunit!

The Stand-In by Lily Chu – 4*

//published 2021//

I was surprised at how much I ended up enjoying this one.  It’s a goofy romcom, so it has moments were you have to stretch to buy it, but on the whole I just really liked the characters and enjoyed watching them grow.  I found Gracie to be so sweet and kind and just genuinely fell in love with her.  This is this author’s first romcom, but she has another one coming out this spring, and I’m quite looking forward to it.

NB: One of the things I liked was that this was a closed-door romance, yay!!

The Scarlet Pimpernel by Emmuska Orczy – 4*

//published 1905//

This was a reread, although it had been quite a few years since I had picked it up.  I thoroughly enjoyed it, and it’s started me on a journey to read all the Pimpernel books.  There’s a lot to enjoy here; it’s all quite dramatic with parts almost impossible to believe, but that adds to the allure of the Pimpernel.  My heart went out to poor Marguerite, whose happiness was destroyed by one poor choice, and I was totally rooting for her to conquer her enemies.  Personally, I think this story holds up great in the 100+ years since it was published, and I’ve been quite enjoying all the other Pimpernel tales I’ve read since.

The Mystery of the Six Clues by Vernon Howard – 3.5*

So it’s not unusual for me to pick up completely random books at yard sales and library discard sales and flea markets for really cheap just because I like the looks of them… and then never actually read them!!  I’ve owned this one for probably 20 years, so it seemed like it was a good time to finally read it!  Published in 1952, it’s actually rather interesting as an early concept of modern YA – a gang of teens getting up to teen shenanigans.  This isn’t a groundbreaking story, but it was perfectly enjoyable.

A Matter of Choice and Endings and Beginnings by Nora Roberts – 3.5*

//published 1984//

Well, I didn’t make any notes on these, the book descriptions only ring vague bells, and apparently I didn’t even mark them as “read” on Goodreads (that last one is honestly a bit weird haha) SO I don’t have much to say about the last two books I read in September!  Both of them are pretty typical 80s romances (both were published in 1984) and the 3.5* rating (and lack of memory of them) indicates that I found them to be regular but unexciting one-off reads.