Well, I’m finally delving into May’s reviews, and since May does seem like more recent past than April, I at least feel like I’m making progress!! May is traditionally a super busy month for me since I work at a greenhouse, which means there aren’t as many books to review as there are in most months…
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.
Happiness Hill by Grace Livingston Hill – 4*
I read a lot of fluff in May, because that’s what I trend towards when I’m busy (or stressed or depressed or in a reading slump or just feel like it haha). I actually own this one, so I know I’ve read it before, but I couldn’t remember the details – not that the details of a GLH book varies much from one book to the other, but still. If you don’t like your romances to be clean, somewhat religious, a little saccharine, and quite predictable, don’t pick up GLH. But I find that that’s frequently exactly what I want, and I quite enjoyed this one, with the traditional strong-moraled heroine, the goofy brother, the gentle-but-in-poor-health parents, and the lonely young hero who yearns for some family. Basically, if you like GLH, you’ll like this one.
PS No, I’m not the heathen who used this book as a coaster at some point!
100 Years of Color by Katie Greenwood – 3*
This nonfiction book had such an intriguing premise, but for me it just didn’t quite follow through. Greenwood looks at each decade from 1900 through 2000, pulling advertising posters, artwork, and textiles, and discusses the colors that were popular during that decade and why… except she doesn’t really get to the “why” all that much. Instead, each decade has a (very) short discussion page, then several images with no explanation as to why she particularly chose those or thought they were good examples of the decade. There was so much potential here to really delve into popular colors and patterns but instead she barely skims the surface, making the book more or less unmemorable. It was definitely a case of me wanting to like a book more than I did.
Carry On, Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse – 5*
I’m still working my way through all of Wodehouse’s works in published order. The 1920s were a great decade for Wodehouse’s writing, as he invents the immortal duo of Jeeves and Bertie, and this book did not disappoint. I’ve read all of the Bertie and Jeeves books in the past, but am never adverse to revisiting them. This collection of loosely connected short stories included a couple of favorites, like a chapter from Jeeves’s point of view. And who can resist a story titled, “The Rummy Affair of Old Biffy”?? Certainly not me!
Unicorn Famous by Dana Simpson – 4*
This is the latest installment of the Phoebe & Her Unicorn comics, and just as much fun as the rest of the series. While these can obviously be read in any order, they’ve been so much fun to read in publication order, as characters (and unicorn lore) do develop throughout the series.
Second First Impressions by Sally Thorne – 3*
In my attempt to read newly published books by authors that I like as they get published, I reserved Second First Impressions at the library and was intrigued to read it after thoroughly enjoying The Hating Game. However, this one just didn’t really hit the right notes for me. While I did like the main character, Ruthie, she also frustrated me a lot. The snarky best friend/coworker also really got on my nerves and I felt like she crossed the line and became condescending towards Ruthie, acting like Ruthie was just too sheltered and backwards to really know what she wanted from a relationship. Like Ruthie would make a statement about what she wanted from life/a relationship and the snarky best friend was like, “Oh, no, that’s what losers would want! THIS is what you REALLY want!” I honestly found it a kind of offensive that Ruthie’s desire for a quiet, not-drama-filled life was dismissed as boring and pathetic.
I’m also personally a bit over having a character’s Tragic Back Story be because of a horrible “religious“ father. Can we please stop having background characters be “Christians“ just so you can talk about how hypocritical they are? Thanks. I definitely felt like Ruthie could have had a terrible dad and a lot of the same issues without all the extra effort of emphasizing how “religious” her dad was.
Finally, while the two old ladies who lived at the retirement home were funny and sweet, their whole schtick of only hiring good looking young men so they could make them do embarrassing things until they cracked just felt, for lack of a better word, cringe. I can’t even imagine how this aspect of the story would have gone over if it was two old men who hired young women so they could comment on how good they looked in various outfits and then send them off to do demeaning and difficult tasks just to see how long it would take them to quit. I mean seriously.
So while this one was an okay read for me, I definitely didn’t love it. It really lacked the chemistry, snark, and snap of The Hating Game, and read closer to women’s fiction than romcom for me. The “humor” felt a little forced, like Thorne was writing a serious story but kept trying to make it into a romcom instead.
Three-Act Tragedy AKA Murder in Three Acts by Agatha Christie – 4*
While this isn’t my favorite Poirot story, it was still quite good and, as usual, I had no idea what the solution was. Hopefully no one ever needs me to solve their murder, because I can 100% promise that I won’t be able to do it! One of my favorite parts of this book was the fun way Christie listed the cast of characters in the front. The chapter/section headings also aligned with the parts of a play, carrying the theme throughout.