I’m SO determined to actually catch up on reviews!!!
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.
The Outlaws of Sherwood by Robin McKinley – 3.5*
This is a really fun, although honestly pretty straightforward, variation of the Robin Hood story that I overall really enjoyed. However, I wasn’t a huge fan of the way McKinley decided to end her story, so it left me with mixed feelings on the whole. This was one of her books that I read a really long time ago and couldn’t really remember, but I don’t particularly see myself revisiting it again any time soon. It just didn’t have any zing.
Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson – 4*
I read this one for the traveling book club and loved it! It definitely had some eye-rolling moments, and got a little melodramatic at the end, but on the whole it was just delightfully fun fluff with main characters that I totally shipped. And this one was super swoony without being sexy, which I really appreciated.
Murder Most Unladylike by Robin Stevens – 3*
This one sounded fun but just didn’t pan out, mainly because multiple murders plus a lot of discussion about illegitimate children felt inappropriate for the middle-grade age range for which this book is written. The main character, Daisy, is a bit of a bully (in my opinion) and I didn’t feel like she treated Hazel, the narrator, very well, often making rather snide comments or pressuring Hazel to do things that made her uncomfortable. Daisy is one of the popular girls at the boarding school, so a lot of Hazel’s hero-worship felt awkward to me, like she was willing to let a lot of Daisy’s actions slide so that Daisy would keep liking her.
On the other hand, this is the first book in a series, so maybe it’s just as well that I didn’t enjoy this one – nine books off the TBR with minimal effort!!
Harry Potter & the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling – 4.5*
This is actually one of my favorites (maybe even THE favorite) of the series. I absolutely love world-building and backstory, which is a huge part of what this book is all about. I love learning about the horcruxes and Voldemort’s background. It’s a sort of calm-before-the-storm book that I really enjoy reading every time.
Sail Away by Lisa Jackson – 2.5*
This one and the next book, Million Dollar Baby, were in one volume that I got in a big box of mystery and romance books that someone on Litsy sent to me a while back. Sail Away was pretty terrible. Marnie’s dad really wants her to marry this dude named Kent, and Kent and Marnie were even engaged for a while. Marnie broke it off when she found out that (surprise surprise) Kent was cheating on her. The problem is, she never told her dad so he keeps going on and on about how Kent is perfect for Marnie and blah blah blah and like Marnie’s dad really loves her a lot and made zero sense for her not to just tell her dad that Kent is actually a secret sleezeball and she’s never going to marry him, because her dad would have totally been on her side if she had just told him the truth! So that just super annoyed me the entire time that she wouldn’t just have this one basic conversation with him. Meantime, the “good” love interest, Adam, was just really pushy and annoying as well. In romance novels I can usually give a little leeway to the “he grabbed her and kissed her” routine, but I felt like Adam was just too far. He was constantly forcing her to “submit” to his kisses, like she would be mad and he would just start kissing her until she gave up – it felt really uncomfortable to me. In the end, a combination of annoying characters and not really being able to ship Marnie and Adam meant that I didn’t really enjoy this one all that much.
Million Dollar Baby by Lisa Jackson – 3.5*
But did not enjoying Sail Away keep me from reading the other book in that volume, Million Dollar Baby? No, no it did not, because I have a problem haha This one was more regular cheesy romance, with a woman with a mysterious past finding an abandoned baby in her barn, which forces her to connect with the local (ruggedly handsome) ER doctor. This one was a bit melodramatic for my personal taste, but not a bad one-off read.
The Bonesetter’s Daughter by Amy Tan – 3.5*
Quite a while ago I read The Joy Luck Club by this author, which was one of those books I wasn’t exactly expecting to enjoy but then did, so I’ve had a few of Tan’s other books on my TBR since then. Like The Joy Luck Club, The Bonesetter’s Daughter explores themes of motherhood/daughterhood in a way that feels poignant and realistic. I found myself drawn into this story and genuinely concerned about LuLing, and felt that the dual timeline aspect of the story was handled really well. While I did find this one to be really well-written, it was soooo sad that I can’t exactly say that I enjoyed it. It was a worthwhile read, but left me feeling a bit depressed.
Persuasion by Jane Austen – 5*
I really love this novel so much, and rereading it was a delight. I’m not always a huge fan of the “second chance” romance just because it seems so sad that so many years have been wasted on misunderstanding each other, but Austen’s story just brings me a lot of happiness.