Orchard life is wrapping up fast. I always think that that means I’m going to have more spare time… but we’ll see if that’s actually true!!!
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.
Waiting for Tom Hanks by Kerry Winfrey – 4*
This one has been on my TBR for so long that the sequel has already been published as well haha I really enjoyed this one overall, although I have to admit that a large part of that was because it is set so close to home and Winfrey hit so many fantastic Columbus/German Village/Ohio references. The Columbus skyline is even on the cover!! Our own amazing bookstore, The Book Loft, is featured, which was super fun. The story itself was fine. I really liked the male MC, Drew, but the female protagonist, Annie, did get on my nerves just because she kept purposefully misunderstanding/taking offense at literally everything Drew said. Basically he says one teasing thing to her when they first meet, she immediately decides to take it offensively, and then does nothing but complain about him and assume the worst about him (while complaining that HE assumes the worst about everyone else!) despite the fact that he’s actually being perfectly lovely to her and everyone else around him?? It got old fast. But overall, the humor, the fun side characters, the PG13 rating, and (of course) the fun setting meant that I really enjoyed this one.
Not Like the Movies by Kerry Winfrey – 3.5*
I didn’t like the sequel quite as well, mainly because while I really enjoyed Chloe as the side character, she got on my nerves when she moved to the MC position. She spends about 50% of her time talking about how marriage is not for her and it’s a terrible idea and ew gross why would anyone do that and marriage is for losers and she would rather DIE than get married on and on and on and ON to the point that it started to feel offensive. Another huge chunk of internal dialogue is devoted to the fact that she’s bisexual which apparently means you spend all of your time sexually evaluating literally every person you see; she was constantly thinking things like “I couldn’t decide if I would rather hang out with her or kiss her” or “he’s okay as a friend but I didn’t find him as attractive as his sister”, like she was always objectifying pretty much everyone she met and it really got on my nerves. It got to the point where it felt like Winfrey wanted to write a romance that would appeal to her straight readers, but still score points for being “diverse” but that meant she had to constantly remind everyone that even though Chloe’s main crush is a dude, she would still be into that guy even if he was a girl! She likes girls! Like sexually likes girls! Enough that she’s always looking at them and thinking about whether or not she would like to sleep with them! As long as she doesn’t have to marry them, because getting married is for losers!! So parts of this were still fun and engaging, and the actual plot line was good, but Chloe herself was SO annoying that it really brought down my overall enjoyment of the book.
Aurora’s End by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff – 4*
So it’s funny because I’ve had the first book in this series, Aurora Rising, on my TBR for so long that it wasn’t even part of a series when I added it, yet I managed to actually read it only two months before the final book appeared! Quite fortuitous. I really enjoyed this grand finale, and there was a fabulous little summary that was just enough to get me back in the groove at the beginning of the book, but easy to skip/skim if you already remembered what was going on. This one definitely flirted with the overly-complicated line, but I think it managed to not quite cross, despite the time loops making some of the story feel repetitive. I definitely plan to reread this series in the future, and I’m interested to see if I like this one better when I read it closer to its predecessors.
You Lucky Dog by Julia London – 3*
I was attracted to this one because of its cute cover and fun premise – Carly and Max both own basset hounds, but come home to find that their dog walker has mixed up the dogs!! Returning accidentally-swapped dogs seemed like a fun meet-cute, and it was… kind of. The problem with this book was that it was just Too Much. Literally every person in Carly’s life is a Drama Queen set at 11, full of bizarre quirks and weird backstories. Her parents were having all this just over-the-top drama and the entire love story basically got drowned out by the honestly somewhat-depressing complications and people in Carly’s life. I never really shipped her and Max that much, mostly because they both got on my nerves in their own way, and because they never seemed to have an actual conversation that made sense or wasn’t interrupted by Carly just running off to solve some other crisis. They were horrible communicators, and once again the whole thing where the woman has a great job opportunity and doesn’t even discuss it with the guy she likes because obviously he will demand that she relinquish the job and stay with him because OBVIOUSLY NO ONE UNDERSTANDS THE CONCEPT OF COMMUNICATION AND COMPROMISE. Nothing makes me mad about a story faster than someone “already knowing” what the other person is going to say and so they DON’T EVEN TALK ABOUT IT. UGH. So anyway, this story was okay and some of the plot had some promise, but overall it was a little flat because of all the extra drama and a complete inability for the main characters to have a normal conversation.
Sleigh Bells Ring by RaeAnne Thayne – 4*
Thayne has become one of my go-to authors for relaxing, low-angst, clean romance. I really enjoyed her newest book, which happened to be Christmasy and just right for a little seasonal preview, as I read it right before Thanksgiving, mostly because it was due back at the library haha Nothing crazy here, 100% predictable story with likable characters, realistic drama, and a fun family. My only complaint was that I would have liked this to have turned into a series, as some of the secondary romances could easily have been their own books.