August Minireviews – Part 2

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.

This has been a really busy month with a lot of family drama and a lot of working!!  We also have another big remodeling project underway, which takes up a lot of my spare time.  All that to say, I always manage to fit reading into the nooks and crannies of life, but sometimes the reviews get rather behind!!  I’m trying to get caught up by the end of the month, but we’ll see what happens…

The Wedding Dress by Rachel Hauck – 3.5*

//published 2012//

This trilogy of books has been on my radar for a long time.  Who doesn’t enjoy a good wedding story?  In this one, Charlotte owns her own wedding dress shop.  She’s struggling with whether or not she should go forward with her own wedding, afraid that Tim isn’t really the right person for her (or that she’s the right person for him).  She accidentally buys a trunk at an estate auction (if you’ve ever been to an auction, you know it’s not that hard to do haha), and when she opens it, she finds a beautiful wedding dress.  The book jumps back in time to other timelines so the readers learn the dress’s history, even as Charlotte is trying to find out more about it.

Overall, Hauck did a good job balancing the multiple timelines, and created some likable characters.  This is theoretically Christian fiction, but it’s really more supernatural than Christian, in my mind.  References to God/Jesus are oblique, but there is a timeless character (angel?) who is found in all the timelines.  This was actually handled really well and felt like it fit in with the story.

The reason this didn’t end up being a 4* read for me was mostly because of the way that Charlotte and Tim’s relationship was handled.  Basically, in the end Tim takes all the blame for why their relationship wasn’t working, when it was obvious that a lot of the issues were with Charlotte, who was having trouble truly committing herself to being with Tim and being a part of his family.  I felt like Charlotte never really acknowledged that she was at least as much to blame as Tim, so that made me wonder if their long-term relationship was really going to work out.  Still, it was overall a pleasant story, even if it was a little slow in spots.

The Wedding Chapel by Rachel Hauck – 2*

//published 2015//

Sooo reading The Wedding Dress made me interested to pick up the second book – except it isn’t really a second book.  There are ZERO connections between this book and the first book.  They don’t even take place in the same state!  What’s the point of calling this a trilogy if the books don’t interconnect?!  This annoyed me throughout the entire story.

This book basically depressed me the entire time I was reading it.  Because of the dual timelines, the reader already knows early on that Jimmy and Collette are going to spend at least SIXTY YEARS not together, and it’s pretty easy to see that it’s going to be because of some stupid lie that Collette’s jerk sister tells.  So their whole story was just incredibly depressing.  I couldn’t enjoy any of the backstory bits of them meeting and falling in love, because it all felt completely pointless.  Yeah, it’s awesome that the finally get to get married when they freaking almost eighty years old, but it still felt like a big fat waste of life.

I was more invested in the story of the younger couple, Jack and Taylor, but literally all of their drama was because they didn’t know how to sit down and have a conversation like adults.  Instead, they both just kept worrying that the other person didn’t really love them and going in circles and it was incredibly aggravating.  The whole book was a serious downer for me.

In the end, I started to read the third book, The Wedding Shop, except I didn’t care any more since these books aren’t actually connected to each other, and I had been so put off by The Wedding Chapel that I really didn’t want to start a whole other book following the same pattern.

The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin – 3.5*

//published 1978//

This is a middle grade mystery that I remember reading back when I was in middle grades, and thought I would revisit.  It’s an intriguing story with a fun premise, but was a little slow in spots.  The epilogue also felt ridiculously long, as Raskin fills us in on everyone’s lives after the end of the Game.  As an adult, I fount myself skeptical of some of the things that Westing was able to pull off, and some of the connections felt rather tenuous, but it’s overall a fun story, that I can see someone around the ages of 12-14 really enjoying.

This was read #12 for #20BooksofSummer!

A Countess Below Stairs by Eva Ibbotson – 3*

//published 1981//

This is the third of Ibbotson’s books that I’ve read, and I’m concluding that she just isn’t an author for me, despite the fact that every time I read the premise of one of her books I think it sounds delightful.  This one was the best of the three, but that isn’t saying a whole lot, as the other two made me want to bang my head against the wall regularly.  The main problem with this one was that the dude has two choices for whom he should marry, and Ibbotson makes Anna SO perfect and Muriel SO dreadful that it seems absurd to think that that the dude, whose name I can’t remember and that I failed to write down, would consider Muriel for even a second, even if he feels “honor bound” to her.  There are a LOT of coincidences in this book as well, and in the end the wedding must be prevented, and the way that occurs just was completely over the top.  I was also frustrated with the dude the entire time – he was SUCH a passive character.  I honestly didn’t feel like he deserved Anna, because he did basically nothing to fight for her and to change his life so that he could marry her – he just lucked out that Muriel changed her mind after all.  Lame.

Read #13 for #20BooksofSummer!

A Promise of Home by Wendy Vella – 3.5*

//published 2015//

This was a Kindle book I’ve had for a long time and finally got around to reading.  It wasn’t a bad story, but it was what I was reading at night before bed, so it took me a while to get through it.  I’m not sure if the writing was genuinely choppy, or if it just felt that way because of the way I was reading it.  It was also weird because I felt like there were some continuity issues as well – like in the beginning Branna is so terrified of doctors and hospitals that she can’t even stay one night at the clinic with her best friend there as the nurse, but at the end there is no mention made of her fear even though she has to stay in the hospital for a few days.  There were little things like that throughout the story that low-key bugged me.

The ending was a smidge rushed and easily tidied, but overall this was a relaxing read (although a bit too sexy at times for me).  I wouldn’t mind reading some of the other books in the series because I did like the background characters and this is one of those series that just meanders around the town pairing people off, but they aren’t at the library and they’re $5 each on Kindle, and I’m not THAT interested haha