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.
Cogheart by Peter Bunzl – 3*
This book definitely seemed like one I should like. Middle-grade steampunk with super fun world-building and interesting characters, yet somehow the story just fell flat for me. There were some minor continuity issues that annoyed me – things like several sentences explaining why a certain mechanical animal can’t get wet, but then later in the book he gets completed doused in a huge barrel of water, yet is completely fine. There were little things like that throughout that really distracted me. The drama was just a little too over-the-top and choppy. Overall, while I enjoyed it for a one-time read, I don’t really feel interested enough to read the rest of the series.
Poirot Investigates by Agatha Christie – 3.5*
This is a collection of short stories featuring (you guessed it) Hercule Poirot. Like all short stories, this batch had its strengths and weaknesses, but overall were just sort of meh. There wasn’t really one that jumped out at me as being particularly clever or interesting. Much of Christie’s brilliance is in her characterizations, and this format doesn’t really allow for that to happen, so it’s mostly just random set up of a problem, Poirot is clever while Hastings is a bit slow, and then conclusion. A fine little read but not one that blew me away.
The Decorated Garden Room by Tessa Evelegh – 3.5*
This was a nonfiction read and focuses on turning outdoor areas into living spaces. The book was an odd mixture of the super practical and then the super impractical. Overall, Evelegh presents some useful information, like where to start (floor/ground) and gives some ideas for other aspects of creating a garden nook. But some of her ideas were just so over-the-top that I can’t imagine anyone doing them from scratch. Still, there are a lot of lovely photographs and some interesting concepts. I’m not sure how happy I would be if I had paid full price, but since I picked it up as a library discard for a quarter, it was worth the investment.
Watching You by Lisa Jewel – 4*
Do you ever have one of those authors that you just keep adding their books to your TBR but never seem to actually read one?? Jewel has definitely been one of those authors for me, and I finally got around to reading one of her books this month! I really enjoyed this one, although Joey’s pattern of self-sabotage (“I’m a terrible person because I do terrible things/I may as well do terrible things because I’m a terrible person”) really began to get on my nerves. There was also a married couple in this book that didn’t end up staying together, and I think the story would have been a lot stronger if they had. Instead, it’s just another one of those messages about how “sometimes things just don’t work out” instead of “marriage is work so you’d best work on it.”
But all of those things are side issues. The main story/mystery was done very well. The pacing was absolutely fantastic – I loved the way the police interviews were sprinkled throughout the story, giving little tidbits of what is going to happen in the future. The majority of this book was written in third person, past tense – YAY. At the end of the day, this was an easy 4* read, and I definitely want to see what else Jewel has to offer.
A Mouse Called Wolf by Dick King-Smith – 3*
This is a very short children’s book (less than 100 pages) that has been on my shelf a long time. I have a lot of love for many of King-Smith’s books (Babe the Gallant Pig, Harry’s Mad, The Fox Busters, The Queen’s Nose, etc.), but he also went through a time period where he was cranking out books at a ridiculous rate, so some of his stories do lack depth, and this was one of those. A story about a singing mouse and an elderly lady, this was a perfectly nice little story that I can see younger readers enjoying, but it was a bit too simplistic for me.