Mini-Reviews | The Winter 2022 Edition | Part 2

Hello again, dear readers. Spring seems to be hiding from us this week, we have had a stretch of over all chilly days and although I cannot wait for sunny, warm weather (or more of last night’s pouring rain), today seems to be a fitting day to post my last “Winter 2022” post.

As I put this collection together, I realized that I am falling in love with mini-reviews (again). It is truly satisfying to see a handful of books that I read and enjoyed recently, all sharing the same space. I also love flipping through my bookish/blogging notebook and seeing the many mini-reviews that I have yet to type and share. 🙂

Anyway, I better get to the actual post, and then to the schoolwork that I have so far (mostly) neglected today. Enjoy. 🙂

If you missed it: here is Part One!

This is a beautifully – and lyrically – written story. I appreciated Namey’s writing before, but now I am in love with it. The lovely pieces of prose elevated this story above her previous books. When We Were Them is a story that I look forward to revisiting in the near future.

The characters are well-fleshed out and interesting. Each character enriched the story – a story that is technically Willa’s. I fell in love with Nico – of course – and the girls’ friendship. Their friendship is the focal point of the story, in many ways, and I felt that Namey beautifully portrayed the beauty and power of having close friends.

I think that my only minor complaint – which is truly my own fault, not Namey’s – is that at times the story is somewhat difficult to follow. Careful reading is required in order to not lose sight of where you are in time.

Overall, this is a lovely story about friendship and growing up, and one I truly enjoyed.

Add on The StoryGraph or Goodreads | 4 stars | 2021 – CW: Sexual Content + Language

From the moment that I first met her – in To Steal a Heart – Eunice Holbrooke had me hooked. Her widows’ veils and the mysterious aura that surrounded her, was incredibly intriguing. Needless to say, this book was one of my most anticipated releases of the year. And pleasantly enough, it did not disappoint!

Getting to know Eunice was an absolute joy. She is funny and incredibly determined (she also has a healthy love of trousers and pistols :)). Arthur is initially far less enjoyable of a character, but even though he seems on the surface to be a bit of a sexist jerk, Turano was never convincing in that portrayal. Eventually Arthur’s true character is revealed to the reader, and he truly is Eunice’s perfect match.

All of the side-characters are wonderful!! I loved all of them – especially Georgette, though – and I hope that in the future Turano will share more of their stories with us.

The insane asylum focus was well-written. I appreciated Turano’s decision to highlight a historical issue that is often forgotten.

All in all, this was a lovely and fun read and a new Turano favorite for me.

Add on TheStoryGraph or Goodreads | 4.5 stars | 2022

After reading a fellow book blogger’s upbeat review of this book, I went into it without high expectations, but hopeful for a fun read. Well, it delivered, in a way.

Finlay Donovan is Killing It is a largely funny and enjoyable story. It is a book that I would only recommend to someone in need of a quick and light-weight contemporary read, one that will have you hooked from the first page to the last.

As far as characters go: Vero grabbed me, and I found it impossible to not fall in love with her. Finlay is quite funny and human. And I love their friendship, it’s wonderful. as far as side-characters go…some were almost interesting, others evil and still others, well…annoying.

As my lovely sister pointed out, Finlay Donovan is Killing It feels a bit all over the place at times – numerous unbelievable situations and story threads that seem completely unconnected until they come together in the end – but somehow this works for the story. It creates a certain feel: part mysterious, part cozy and wholly hilariously messy.

Add on: TheStoryGraph or Goodreads | 3.75 stars | 2021 – CW: Gun Violence (murder/dead bodies)

*Although this is pretty clean Adult read, it is not one I would recommend to younger YA readers.*

Similar to almost everyone else on the planet, prior to reading this book I knew nothing about who Anne Boleyn was in real life. The fact that she was passionate about reforming the Catholic Church, and then the Church of England, came as a complete shock to me. After all, wasn’t Anne Boleyn a scheming, conniving and seductive witch?

In this entertaining, engaging and educational biography Nolan completely turned everything that I though I knew about Anne, and Henry for that matter, upside down. I loved how Nolan combined her conversational writing style with factual basis, while acknowledging the lack of information surrounding Anne herself.

Although I could launch into the countless lies that have been told about Anne, I think that I will instead simply share what this book reminded to do: (a) always take “history” – especially about powerful women – with a grain of salt and (b) always attempt to read about a historical figure’s real life, rather than simply consuming the (often ridiculous) fictionalized and sexualized accounts of their lives.

Add on: TheStoryGraph or Goodreads | Non-Fiction | 2019

To be honest, I approached this read with a bit of caution, I simply wasn’t sure where the authors’ focus would lie. In the end, though, I grew to appreciate their balanced (and positive) portrayal of Patsy Jefferson.

This is a strong novel, focused on family and family loyalty, with romantic and political elements cleanly woven throughout.

Patsy grows tremendously as a character and I enjoyed following her through decades of her life. Watching Patsy eventually come into strength was all the more satisfying after pages and pages dedicated to her childhood and her long, troubled marriage.

Although America’s First Daughter is by no means a new favorite book of mine, I found the historical elements to be fascinating and the writing to be quite solid.

Add on: TheStoryGraph or Goodreads | 3.75 stars | 2016 – CW: sexual content, drunkenness, violence/abuse

My thoughts – in list form:

– The writing had undeniably beautiful pieces. It was incredibly atmospheric, and I loved the contrast between life in a Hollywood mansion and life in rural Ghana.

– Blade was a decent character; I mean, I truly appreciate his character growth. Rutherford is absolutely awful – but, it is impossible to not feel compassion for him…eventually.

– Blade’s relationship with Chapel was so obviously unhealthy. The fact that she was simply using him for his money barely scratches the surface, and the fact that he completely idolized her really bothered me. The whole relationship was frustrating and irritating.

– The father-son and mother-son dynamics were interesting and well-written.

And that’s that.

Add on: TheStoryGraph or Goodreads | 3.5 stars | 2017 – CW: drug + alcohol abuse

Have you read any of these books? What is your favorite recent read?

Has spring arrived where you are?

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