Well, friends, I just got back from an AMAZING vacation to Wyoming, where the husband and I spent a week with minimal cell phone signal just hanging out in my aunt and uncle’s cabin. We spent literal hours sitting on the porch reading, in between taking hikes in the mountains and going for drives up dirt forest service roads. It was truly fantastic.
When I was deciding what books to read, I originally thought that I should take the rest of my #20BooksofSummer list, because otherwise I’m probably not going to achieve the goal. But then I decided that was dumb, and I was going to take whatever I wanted, so instead of being productive, I spent the whole week reading ridiculous chick lit and lots of fluffy romance and it was delightful. But now I’m wayyyyy behind on reviews, so there will probably be a couple of minireview batches!!
The first couple of minireviews in this post were written before I left. I currently have 16 books to review…!!!!! So here we go!
Mystery Over the Brick Wall by Helen Fuller Orton – 3*
This is a random children’s book that I’ve had around for a while. It was an alright read, but nothing particularly memorable. While I enjoy many of the simpler children’s stories from the 1950’s, whose basic messages are about being kind and helpful, this one just didn’t stir the imagination. However, it is #9 for my #20BooksofSummer, so at least I am making some minimal progress there!!
Chosen Child by Linda Huber – 3.5*
This one was first brought to my attention by Cleopatra when she reviewed it back in February 2016. While I enjoyed this domestic thriller, and found it to be very readable, it wasn’t a book that blew me away. It was definitely in the category where you kind of more or less know how things are going to turn out, but you still can’t stop watching the train wreck. Huber did a great job making everyone tangled up in the situation be likable and aggravating by turns – it didn’t exactly feel like there were good characters vs. bad ones. However, I also found myself being overall annoyed – and somewhat horrified – at how all of the tragedy could have been avoided if two adults had actually honored their marriage vows instead of justifying themselves and seeking attention elsewhere. So if nothing else, a book to read if you are thinking about embarking on an affair – this one SHOULD warn you off that dire path!
The Arm of the Starfish by Madeline L’Engle – 4*
I’m still not completely convinced that I am going to try and read all of the entangled L’Engle books (see what I did there??), but this one was quite readable with a very thriller/spy novel tone to it. I felt like some of the science was kind of weird (starfish can grow new limbs, so obviously horses can, too! …????) but it was such a fun story that I just went with it. (And it’s also possible that I’m the dumb one, because I don’t really know much about starfish or limb regeneration so.) I have a huge pile of L’Engle’s books sitting next to my shelf and am trying to decide if I want to continue reading them or not. I’ll probably at least give the next one a go just to see what happens.
When It’s Real by Erin Watt – 4*
This book was added to the TBR over a year ago, thanks to a review by Stephanie. Recently, the Kindle version was on sale for 99¢, so it seemed like a good time to give it a go! And while Kindle books frequently languish for long periods of time before I get around to them, I was in just the right mood for this one when I bought it.
I really enjoy the fake relationship trope, and this one was done quite well. The characters were really likable, and I especially enjoyed Vaughn’s family. I thought that the way that the two main characters had to overcome their initial prejudices against each other was really realistic (well, as realistic as something this crazy can be haha), and the dialogue was good. There was a little more swearing/sex than I like (which, just to be clear, Stephanie didn’t like either lol), but overall this one was definitely a great read if you are looking for something a bit more fluffy than thoughtful. I’ll definitely be checking to see what else Watt has written.
Holiday Wishes by Nora Roberts – 3*
Honestly, I can barely even remember the two short stories in this volume. They were pretty bland romance tales, wherein the tension was created because the two main characters spent more time misjudging each other’s motives than they did actually conversing. While I’ve enjoyed a lot of Roberts’s writing in the past, these stories were too short to really get into the characters, so everything felt a little flat. While not bad, they definitely weren’t memorable.