Also, I’m getting so lazy with these minireviews that since I didn’t review them on Litsy (thus taking pictures of them), I’m not even bothering to look up cover images for them. This blog really is going downhill LOL
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.
Caroline & the Colonel by Shannon Archer – 3* (published 2021)
I was in the mood for fluffy romance/P&P variations at the beginning of July and this one sounded fun. However, it’s hard to rate, because I thought it was going to be an easy 4* read, maybe even 4.5*, for the first 70% of the book… and then it went totally off the rails. All of the sudden there was all this extra drama, this weird scene with Caroline making a public apology that made zero sense, and just… it got weird. Which is a real shame, because I really loved the concept and characters for over half the book, but it was basically like Archer decided she wanted to write a sequel, but in order for that to happen she was going to need to have some loose ends, so instead of tidying things up, she decided to fray the edges. Disappointing.
Ship to Shore by Elizabeth Adams – 3* (published 2019)
Another one that’s hard to rate. I have read a few of Adams’s other books and really enjoyed them, so I thought I would try this random contemporary romance by her. I was just absolutely loving this book with a fun premise and likable characters, but then at 80% (this was a Kindle book), the story literally STOPS – I can’t even explain how abruptly it stops – and says, “To Be Continued…” and then the remaining 20% is some other random story!!!! This annoyed me so much that it colored my feelings about the entire rest of the book. There was definitely no reason not to FINISH THE BOOK AS ONE BOOK, especially considering there still doesn’t appear to be any kind of sequel despite the fact that this was published in 2019…!!!!
Tips for the Lazy Gardener by Linda Tilgner – 3* (published 1985)
This one should really have been called something like “Tips for Gardeners Who Want to Be More Organized” or something like that. So yes, being organized means less work further down the line, but in the meantime… well, basically gardening is just a lot of work no matter how you cut it. It was a so-so read, but the other problem was that it really was just a collection of tips, so just a few sentences per paragraph, then the next paragraph some other random tip, making it kind of difficult to use as a reference book. It wasn’t terrible, but it went in the giveaway box when I was done reading it.
A Timely Elopement by Joanna Starnes – 3* (published 2020)
This was another P&P variation, where Darcy’s proposal at Hunsford is interrupted with news that ANNE has eloped with WICKHAM! I had read other books by this author before and found them to be decent, but this one needed another strong round of editing. The concept was fun and I liked the way that she portrayed the characters, but the whole story was poorly executed with weird scene changes that made the reading choppy. The ending was a bit out of left field as well. Not a terrible read, but definitely could have been improved with some proofreading.
The Rogue’s Widow by Nicole Clarkston – 3.5* (published 2020)
I was TRYING to play it safe by reading books by authors who had written other P&P variations I liked, but this was kind of a batch of duds. This one wasn’t terrible but was a bit of a yawn-fest without a lot happening. Here, Wickham has an older brother (who is just as terrible as the original Wickham). Through a mildly complicated series of events (orchestrated by Darcy), Elizabeth ends up marrying this guy on his deathbed, which means that she, as the widow, inherits his Pemberley-adjacent estate instead of George Wickham. My notes just say, “Boring but inoffensive” which pretty much sums it up.
Sorrow & Second Chances by E. Bradshaw – 3.5* (published 2019)
In this variation, after Elizabeth rejects him at Hunsford, Darcy is mooning about London when he learns of Mrs. Bennet’s untimely demise. He and Bingley head back to Meryton for the funeral, and from there reinstate themselves with the family. This wasn’t exactly a bad variation but we pretty much only hear Darcy’s perspective and trust me, he spends WAY too much time worrying about literally everything. This was a story that needed some tightening up as it felt repetitive (Darcy thinks and thinks about having a conversation, then we have to listen to the actual conversation, then we listen to Darcy analyze the conversation…) and thus a little too long.