August was an insanely busy month for me at the orchard – we had a huge peach crop and were quite short-staffed. My reading definitely suffered as a result – I only read 18 books, which is about 10 fewer than my average. And as usual, they were quite the mixed bag!!
Nudges by Loren Anderson – 3.5*
Loaned to me by a friend, this book was written by a man who was a missionary to Guatemala. Having been to Guatemala myself, I was interested to read this one. However, the execution was a little flat – in some ways, this book almost felt like a thank you letter to the many people who have helped and inspired Anderson and his wife through the years, and there were times that I wanted to hear more about what they were doing rather than who was doing it, if that makes sense. Much of this story takes place in 1950s and 60s, and Anderson and his family DROVE from Ohio to Guatemala more than once!! Those are the types of things I would have liked to have read about in more detail, but are just sort of glossed over. All in all, a perfectly nice book, but I just didn’t find it as engaging as I wanted to.
Rosalind by Clarice Peters – 3.5*
This book was just so close to being fun. There are some engaging characters and witty dialogue, but it also felt like the author had ideas for about a dozen different stories and decided to cram them all into this 203 page book. There was just way too much going on, so the story felt cluttered and choppy. A lot of potential here, but it just didn’t work.
The Hidden One by Linda Castillo – 4*
I’m always excited to read the next installment in the Kate Burkholder series. I absolutely love Kate and have so enjoyed watching her character grown and develop throughout the series. This is the 14th book, and while you don’t HAVE to read them in order, it definitely gives the characters more depth and interest if you do. I’m always a bit sad when the story takes place away from Painters Creek, but on the other hand, how many murderous Amish people can you plausibly have in one community?? The pacing here was good, and while I guessed some of what was coming, I didn’t guess all of it. Another solid installment.
The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix Harrow – 3.5*
This is one of those books that I feel like I saw everywhere for a while. As usual, I’m late to the party. My main issue with this book was that January herself felt a little slow on the uptake. There were several things that I figured out way, way, WAY before she did, to the point that it was making her seem kind of slow and stupid that she didn’t see these things and how they connected and who was really the bad guy, etc. The world-building was interesting and I did LIKE January, but the pacing in this one was off.
The Secret Road by Bruce Lancaster – 3.5*
Another one that I’ve owned FOREVER, finally off the list. Historical fiction set during the Revolutionary War – the most unbelievable part of this one was the love story, which felt like it was getting in the way of the story instead of furthering it. There is some fun spy action here and fairly likable characters, but the ending was quite abrupt and left me wanting some more resolution.
The Worst Best Man by Mia Sosa – 2.5*
This one just didn’t hit the right notes for me. Lina was super annoying and spent most of her time whining about how she has to work 50x harder than everyone else because she’s a WOMAN trying to make it in a MAN’S WORLD (…of wedding planning…) blah blah blah. Don’t care, Lina. Max felt like a manic-pixie-dream-feminist-man-who-says-all-the-right-things-as-though-it’s-a-script. Literally, has Sosa even MET a man? Max was incredibly boring, trite, and unrealistic. He felt like a doll where you pull the string and a little feminist by-line comes out. To top it all off, we included one of my absolutely least-favorite tropes, the “we’re just having sex; it doesn’t mean anything” bit – UGH. Gross, stupid, and annoying. There are loads of positive reviews for this one, and plenty of people found it fun and funny, but although it had it’s moments here and there, on the whole it just wasn’t for me.