So I find that I not-infrequently read books that I just don’t have a lot of things to say about. Sometimes it’s because it was a super meh book (most of these are 3/5 reads), or sometimes it’s because it was just so happy that that’s about all I can say about it! However, since I also use this blog as a sort of book-review diary, I like to at least say something. So I’ve started a monthly post with minireviews of all those books that just didn’t get more than a few paragraphs of feelings from me.
I seem to have a lot of these this month (plus, it’s just been a month of bad weather so lots of extra reading time!) – Part 1 can be found here.
The Basket of Flowers by Christoph von Schmidt
I believe that I have mentioned Lamplighter Publishers in the past. They are a Christian publishing house that finds old, out-of-print books with strong moral/Christian messages and reprints them in absolutely beautiful hardcover editions. While I think their efforts are praiseworthy, they also frequently choose books that are a bit too simplistic for me to genuinely enjoy, and The Basket of Flowers falls into that category.
The story focuses on Mary, a young woman of strong moral fiber, who lives with her father, James, a gardener. James is a widower, and does his best to raise Mary up into an upstanding and worthy individual. When a jealous neighbor blames Mary for stealing a valuable ring, Mary and her father are banished from the region.
There was a lot to like about this story, which had its moments of excitement and interest, but every time anything would happen, James would go off on a long and prosy sermonette, and while I generally agreed with what he was saying, I couldn’t help but think that he made for a rather dull conversationalist. And really, that’s the way the whole book was. I agreed with virtually every life-lesson presented, but the author seemed so busy presenting life-lessons that there wasn’t a great deal of time left for the actual story. I can see this being used as a read-aloud for younger children, but I’m not sure it has enough kick to engage older readers. Still 3/5 and I did enjoy the melodramatic ups and downs of Mary’s life.
Amazing Gracie by Sherryl Woods
Just a random chick lit kind of book I picked up somewhere along the line. This was a pleasantly relaxing but ultimately forgettable story, and not one I particularly anticipate rereading, so it is off to the giveaway box!
Lost States by Michael J. Trinklein
I love nonfiction books about random topics, and I also love maps. Lost States incorporates both things! Basically, Trinklein looks at a BUNCH of territories that almost became states, or wished they could become states, or would be really cool if they could become states, etc. He covers everything from random ways to divide the Northwest Territory, to the possibility of some of our current states splitting (California, Maine, and Texas have all considered it in recent years), to current US territories, to western states that didn’t quite make the cut.
While the book is really enjoyable – and also full of color pictures and maps, making it fun to read – it’s also very brief. Each potential state only gets one (oversize) page, and one page of pictures/maps, so you don’t get a lot of details about anything. There is also plenty of Trinklein’s snarky humor to go around, but luckily I enjoyed that part, too.
All in all, Lost States wasn’t necessarily the most educational nonfiction read I’ve come across recently, but it was quick and engaging, and gave me a lot of random trivia to pull out during those awkward conversational silences that come up from time to time. 4/5.
Wedding Date Rescue by Sonya Weiss
This was one of those random Kindle books that I got for free or possibly 99¢. It was a perfectly happy little romance that involved both a fake relationship trope and friends-to-more trope (two faves). However, the last 15% of the book felt weirdly rushed. There was a lot of time setting everything up and exploring the reasons that the pair were hesitant to make their relationship real, and then all of a sudden all their problems were solved in like five minutes and everything was sunshine and rainbows. It felt abrupt, and I wasn’t convinced that they had legitimately worked through their problems. Still, a 3.5/5 for a book that basically relaxing fluff.
Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend
I actually totally loved this book. It had a very likable protagonist, a crazy madcap character who reminded me of Jackaby, and some super fun world-building. While the story was an easy 4/5, it ended on a complete and total cliffhanger without really resolving any of the main plotlines. The next book isn’t due out until sometime this year, so that always aggravates me. Still, I will definitely be continuing this series as it appears. It was so nice to read a children’s book that I felt like I could actually hand to children!