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.
Uhoh, we’re into September now!! Still trying to knock out August reviews.
A Dance Through Time by Lynn Kurland – 3*
While I do enjoy romance, time travel romance is a subgenre that I’m not usually into. This read was for the traveling book club, though, so I waded through it. While it wasn’t a bad story, and I did overall like the characters, it just went on FOREVER. Some of the jumping-through-time bits got a little muddled as well (they brought their horses with them from the past??). While I didn’t mind this as a one-time read, it definitely didn’t inspire me to check out the rest of the series, and solidified the idea that time-travel romance just isn’t my thing.
Sweet Revenge by Nora Roberts – 4*
I rarely worry about issuing trigger warnings for books (mainly because I don’t really read books that need them), but this book was hard to read at times as it dealt with a situation where a woman was repeatedly raped and abused. The whole point of the story is that the main character is getting revenge on her father for the way he treated her mother, but I felt like Roberts felt way too long with the bits explaining why the daughter would want revenge. There’s a lot here about the mother’s suffering and horrible life. Even after she escaped from her horrific husband, she struggled with depression and drug/alcohol abuse and eventually commits suicide, and it’s all quite depressing, to the point that I almost DNF’d this book more than once. (Just to clarify, none of this was super explicit, but it’s all THERE.) But when we FINALLY got through that section, the story really picked up. Basically, the daughter becomes a jewel thief to pay all of her mother’s medical bills (she’s technically royalty, as her father is a ruler of a middle eastern country, so she runs in rich circles) and her ultimate goal is to steal an incredibly valuable necklace from her father – one that technically belonged to her mother, as it was his bridal gift to her. Along the way, she runs into another jewel thief/romantic interest (my favorite character) and that whole bit of the story is really quite delightful. I could have used a LOT more heist shenanigans and way less spousal abuse chapters.
In the end, while I actually really enjoyed the way this whole story played out, and quite liked the main characters, the first part of the story was just SO depressing and dragged on for so long that I don’t ever see myself reading this one again.
Summer at Lake Haven by RaeAnne Thayne – 4*
Last December I read the entire Lake Haven series and thoroughly enjoyed them. They weren’t groundbreaking, but they were relaxing and happy romances with likable characters and a small-town setting. Summer at Lake Haven is the latest installment and was just as enjoyable as the rest. My favorite part about this book was the way that the main characters actually had conversations with each other like adults instead of making assumptions and then staying mad for no reason, as so often happens in this type of book. So refreshing! I also loved how Ian’s parents were actually super nice. Lots of times the parents are these evil background characters, but here they were kind, welcoming, and supportive, and I thought it was fantastic.
Like the rest of the books, this wasn’t anything that will blow your mind, but if you’re just looking for a way to veg out, I definitely recommend this series. While this one can be read as a stand alone (as they all can), all the background characters will make way more sense if you read the series in order.
Outsider by Linda Castillo – 4*
Another series that I read last year, with another latest installment. This mystery series is set in Ohio’s Amish country and focuses on the sheriff of a small town. Kate was raised Amish but left the faith, eventually becoming a police officer and then moving back to her own hometown. This series overall is really just excellently written. Kate is likable, and the Amish community background is handled so well. This particular book took a slightly different direction, as it was much more “thriller” rather than a murder mystery like the rest. In this book, the Amish were also more background than foreground. Still, I really enjoyed this read a lot, and hope there are many more books about Kate Burkholder to come.
While this one can be read as a standalone, it will also make a lot more sense in the context of the series, which is so enjoyable that I recommend reading them all anyway.
Partners in Crime by Agatha Christie – 4*
I really love Tommy and Tuppence so much. Tommy now works for “the government” in a sort of vague way/implied that he works in intelligence. He and Tuppence go somewhat undercover by taking over a private detective agency that is suspected of being used to move “information” by a mysterious foreigner known as 16. However, the majority of the book is actually connected short stories as Tommy and Tuppence solve legitimate mysteries to keep up their detective cover. For each one, they take on the persona of a famous detective, which is both the fun part and the weakness of this story, as many of the detectives that were well-known in 1929 have fallen out of favor 90 years later. Still, if you enjoy Christie’s writing, you’ll find a lot to like here as the mysteries themselves are clever. Not my favorite Christie, but still an enjoyable read.