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.
More minireviews… apparently I’ve been reading a lot of books that don’t inspire strong feelings. Or the weather is so perfect that I’m spending way more time outside in the garden than I am inside blogging. :-D
Solace Island by Meg Tilly – 3.5*
In my mind this was going to be more thriller than romance, but it’s more romance than thriller. There are also several scenes of sexy times, which I wasn’t expecting either. The romance part was pretty happy, and I liked both of the main characters, although they were pretty instalovey – and in some ways it wasn’t even the instalove that bothered me as much as Maggie just telling Luke everything about her horrible ex-fiancé on basically their first date. The thriller part kind of spiraled from the realm of slightly unbelievable to completely unbelievable, but it did move everything along. All in all, not a book I want to reread, but I enjoyed it enough to read the sequel about Maggie’s sister, which is coming out sometime this spring.
Six Months Later by Natalie Richards – 3.5*
Chloe, an average student with an average life, falls asleep in study hall one May afternoon. When she wakes up, it’s November and she can’t remember the last six months. But somehow, during that time she’s started dating one of the most popular guys in school, has turned into a star student, and scored ridiculously high on her SAT, meaning that she’s being courted by several fancy colleges. Unfortunately, Chloe’s best friend is no longer her friend, Chloe likes the resident bad guy more than her perfect boyfriend, and nothing about the missing six months seems to match Chloe’s personality…
This book had a really fun premise and was overall done well, but there were some clunky parts that left me feeling like this book could have used one more round of ruthless editing to really make it shine. There were some parts where the motivation of various characters stuttered a bit, and the ending seemed very rushed. But overall I really liked Chloe and I also appreciated when she frequently told people about her problems instead of just trying to do everything/figure everything out by herself. I think a little more time spent before she falls asleep and loses time would have helped to emphasize how different her life was when she woke up, especially regarding Adam, the “bad boy” – like I know nothing about this guy, so I couldn’t figure out why she wouldn’t just dump the other guy and start dating Adam. One sentence about him being a troublemaker isn’t really enough to give me a feel for the relationship Chloe and Adam had before all this started.
If you’re looking for a quick, fun thriller-esq read, Six Months Later fits the bill. But if you’re looking for a story where everything is polished and flows perfectly, you may want to give this one a pass.
The False Princess by Eilis O’Neal – 3.5*
This wasn’t a bad story, but it never really felt magical to me. I liked the concept – basically, just after her sixteenth birthday, the princess is told that she isn’t actually the princess. Instead, the real princess has been hidden in a convent her entire life because of a prophecy that said she may be murdered before she turned 16. So the girl who has thought she was the princess is now just plain Sindra.
I think part of the problem was it never really felt like this book knew what it wanted to do. Sindra herself wasn’t particularly coherent, and she really exasperated me a lot. She had a bad habit of just saying mean things to people whenever she was feeling frustrated with life, and frequently had a very woe-is-me attitude about things. So while this was a perfectly pleasant one-time read, it wasn’t one that made me want to dash out and see what else O’Neal has written.
Better Than Chocolate by Sheila Roberts – 3*
I really enjoy fluffy chick lit series that focus on a group of people or place, where I can get to know and enjoy different characters, so I’m always on the lookout for new ones. I can’t remember when Icicle Falls came to my attention, but the premise of the first book is that three sisters are putting on a chocolate festival in their small town to help save their business, and it sounded like fun. However, the execution was very choppy and scattered. I found the main character, Samantha, to be alright at best – most of the time she was just plain obnoxious, and literally only cared about the business and not her family. And while she spent time thinking things like “Oh I’m a terrible person who only cares about this business and not my family,” I never really felt like she changed at all. Like in the end, the business was still the most important thing to her.
There was also supposed to be an enemies-to-friends aspect in the romance, which I usually really enjoy, but it was done quite poorly here, with basically no conversation between the two other than “You suck” and yet in the end I’m supposed to buy not just that they are happily ever after, but that the dude is loaning Samantha a crapton of money with no ulterior motives, despite the fact that she immediately falls into his arms after that…???? It felt really weird that he gave her the money to save her business and then suddenly she started dating him.
At first I was going to go ahead and try the next book in the series, but I honestly realized that I didn’t really feel that attached to anyone in this story enough to see how things go for them next. Plus, I was really put off by the way this book ended, which lowered the entire book to a 3* rather than 3.5*. There are a lot of chick lit series out there, so I don’t think I’m going to bother finishing this one.
Miss Lucas by A.V. Knight – 3*
Those of you who have been with me for a while know that I go through random, arbitrary times in life where the only thing I want to read are terrible Pride & Prejudice variations. I just started one, and I’m here to assure that the overwhelming majority of P&P variations are, in fact, terrible. Still! So addictive!
This one actually focuses entirely on Charlotte Lucas – Elizabeth’s story, in the background, is following canon almost completely. In this story, Mr. Collins doesn’t quite bring himself to propose to Charlotte – at the last minute he decides that he ought to have Lady Catherine’s permission first, since technically she sent him to propose to one of his cousins, not some random woman in Hertfordshire. A few months later, instead of Elizabeth and (Charlotte’s sister) Maria going to visit the already-married Charlotte, Lady Catherine via Mr. Collins invites Elizabeth, Charlotte, and (Elizabeth’s sister) Mary to stay basically so she can look them over and decide who Mr. Collins should marry. This means that Charlotte is still single when she meets Colonel Fitzwilliam…
While I did enjoy this story and really liked the overall idea (I’ve always shipped Charlotte and the Colonel), the execution was rather mediocre. I never quite bought the romance between Charlotte and the Colonel, and the ending of the story felt very rushed. There were also instances where it felt like the author was trying to shoehorn Charlotte into Elizabeth’s story so that we would still know what was going on with that part of the action, even implying that Charlotte and Elizabeth were closer than Elizabeth and Jane, which I think is categorically false. So a decent little story, but one that really lacked some spark.