Monday, January 2, 2017

Quick and Dirty Mini-Reviews {4}

Another round of mini-reviews from some books I've read over the past few weeks!

After my The Winter Sea high I was so excited to start this and while I liked it and enjoyed reading it, it was a very small letdown compared to The Winter Sea however I still couldn't put it down and find myself thinking about it even after finishing. Disappointment might be too harsh a word, it was just different than what I expected. Very minimal historical element which is something I wasn't anticipating and what really attracted me to these books in the first place. It was a bit difficult to get into a rhythm with this book even though I wanted to keep reading. I finished it quite quickly (over 2.5 days) but I didn't have that enveloping feeling as I did with her previous book I read. Positives? It takes place in Scotland. The imagery of writing takes your right to the Borderlands with the harbor in the distance and the beautiful fields of Scotland right in my mind's eye. The book was also extremely character-driven rather than plot-driven. I loved getting to know the motley crew of characters and it made up for the lack of Roman history I was expecting. Also, with the addition of a ghost, it was the perfect book to read around Halloween!
Reserved Seating

Rom com in book form. After all the hype surrounding this book that without the explicit recommendation from one of my best friends, I would have skipped it. BUT I gave it a shot and possibly due to my extremely low expectations, I did end up somewhat enjoying it...kinda. I've read quite a few hate to love office romances and, to be honest, the book felt unoriginal and a bit uninspired. I didn't hate it, it was an easy read and I was definitely laughing out loud at the banter several times. There were also a few very cute swoony moments. My biggest gripes are 1) it felt way too long, 2) Lucy's complete naivety grinded on my gears hard at the end and 3) I GET IT, Lucy is short! I didn't need to be reminded 7 billion times! I am a girl's girl through and through when reading and it pains me to say that Josh was the best thing about this book. She had some decent moments but overall her unreliable narrator POV was not something I liked.
Standing in Line Outside

If The Hating Game disappointed me, It's Not Me, It's You was a complete breath of fresh air. Highly rec'd by Hannah, this book was a fantastic example of contemporary adult fiction done oh so right. The emotions this book brought out in me were strong. I had intense reactions right off the bat when the synopsis of the book happened, aka the heroine Delia finding out her new fiance has been cheating on her. I was so impressed with Delia. So, so, so, so impressed with her character. She, unlike every other female character I've read who has been cheated on, gave zero fucks about confronting her fiance who doesn't even deserve a name to me. She was vicious and relentless in making him tell her exactly how it was he came to cheat on her. Loved it. She took zero of his shit and pathetic attempts at getting her back. I loved that she high-tailed it off to London, a brand new city, and found comfort in her friend and new routine. Delia finding her own feet again and learning to be her own hero was fantastic and not cliched in the least. There was a small part at the end that felt totally out of character for two people that annoyed me and felt unnecessary but at the same time the endgame of this particular situation was 100% necessary for our characters. GREAT read and I highly recommend this one for a feel-good, easy read that doesn't lack depth of emotion.
Backstage Pass

The companion novel to The Winter Sea, I was beyond excited for The Firebird! This book didn't have the enveloping and all-consuming emotion I had for it's predecessor but it still welcomed me like an old friend, that's the feeling I seem to always get when reading Susanna Kearsley. This book also did something so unique in that it combined two loves of mine that I never thought could be combined; Scottish and Russian historical fiction. This book took a second Jacobite rebellion as well as the somewhat unsteady court of Peter the Great and his Catherine. This story also follows the daughter of our beloved John and Sophia. Le sigh. I loved Anna and the story of her youth. I loved her tenacity for the ones she loves, the fierceness in which she protects them, and the deep love she has for those of her lost family she meets along the way. The contemporary component also brings back an old friend from The Shadowy Horses, Rob. The woman the story follows in the present day didn't wow me, in fact she got on my nerves more often than not but it didn't hinder my reading experience in any way. Another amazing read from this fantastic author. I know I will be reading the rest of her backlist in a very short time!
Backstage Pass

All the Light We Cannot See is one of those rare books that truly transports you in time and place. I've read a lot of WWII related books and this is one of the best I've read! Everything that is right in the world of historical fiction. Poignant, thought-provoking, emotional. It is haunting, horrific, and very relevant to our world today. I love the theme of asking yourself if you would do the right thing in the face of oppression and discrimination. Mostly we just do the best we can. Split between multiple POVs of different players in the complicated and complex game, it constantly keeps your attention and steals your heart along the way. Short chapters help you read quickly and while, at first, I thought this would take me out of the story and inhibit my ability to connect to the characters, it did nothing of the sort. It kept me interested, had me frantically turning the pages, and engaged my heart in the best way. The two main characters we follow are a German boy and a French girl and the differences in their stories are vast, you can't help but hope for the best for both of them. I don't want to spoil any part of the story but this is a fantastic read. If you love WWII books and complex characters, you def need to put this on your shelves, and yes I'm aware I'm probably one of the last people ever to have read this book!
Backstage Pass


  1. What I'm getting from this post - I need to read Mhairi McFarlane, Susanna Kearsley and All the Light We Cannot See. Yes? Yes.


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