January 24, 2018

Bite-Sized Reviews :: Edition Thirty-One

Well! I am severely behind on my reviews! I knew I was, but I hadn't realized just how behind, I guess. I've had a few books I read in between that I had committed to reviewing, so naturally I got those written. But my purely pleasure reads? Not so much. Since October!

So! Here I am finally. And be on the lookout for more coming soon! Because this isn't nearly all of them. Yikes

Dangerous Territory by Amy Peterson
A new blog I found highly recommended this book and I decided to try it. I don't read much non-fiction in general, but this story? Ms. Peterson's journey swept me up and away to the back hills of China and there I stayed until she was finished. Her journey is so not an easy one! As the title says, there is danger to be had, so beware. But it's a danger with a happy-ish ending and the sojourn to that ending is oh-so-worth discovering, reader friends!

Her descriptions of life on the other side of the world are vivid and detailed just enough for one to find themselves smack in the middle of this seemingly quiet little town. Yet I never felt bogged down with too much, Ms. Peterson mixes things up enough to keep you on your toes wondering where this journey will lead. In fact, I kept having this ominous feeling, like all this build up of tension was surely going to split apart and there would be mess and chaos. And there is! But in a quieter sense than I'd imagined. So yes, this feels like a quiet, little story, but don't let that fool you. There is much to learned from Ms. Peterson and it's well worth discovering right alongside of her! :)

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente
This was super fun! And is that not one of the best titles you've ever read? I love it! It perfectly sets the tone for this quirky little story. I loved so much of September's journey! Especially Ell, the Wyverary. He was the BEST. But it's the pure imaginativeness of it all that kept my unwavering attention. We are thrust into this grand adventure right along with September from the very first pages. There is no need for explanations or discussions, there is simply the Green Wind hanging out by her window and it's up to her (and us!) to jump out with a yes. Each stage of her journey gives and takes so much, and as September grows and struggles and learns all that she needs to, I laughed at times, and shook my head in frustration at others, and ultimately enjoyed getting to know each dear character who refused to do what I'd anticipate they would. Which makes for great reading/listening, I must say! :)

I also have to admit that authors who read their own audiobooks can be a hit or miss for me and, while it took a bit for me to grow accustomed to Ms. Valente's style, I adjusted and she mostly stopped bothering me by the final chapter. So please don't let that stop you from listening! Because this delightful story is so worth discovering, friends.

O Christmas Bree by Erynn Mangum
As with all of Ms. Mangum's stories, I loved this one! In fact, I really, really, really wish it were a full length novel instead of a novella! I loved Bree and her family! They were so wonderful to each other. I loved how much they cared about everyone, including all their employees. And I could definitely stand to spend a LOT more time with all of them. Their Christmas Tree Farm sounds like an amazing place to visit at Christmastime. And Sam! Oh my heart, I need more time with Sam! Come on, Ms. Mangum. Pretty please??? ;)

If you have a need for reading a super adorable story, but not much time available, this one is for you! It's way too short, in my humble opinion. ;) But oh so worth reading!

The Carpenter's Daughter by Jennifer Rodewald
I have to admit that I really wanted to love this story more than I did! I really did enjoy the romance portions, and thought Jesse and Sarah had pretty amazing chemistry. I felt each emotional punch as Sarah struggled to find a relationship with God and Jesse struggled to do the right thing with this woman he was intensely drawn to. Sarah's journey was especially poignant and watching her navigate these new feelings felt real. Even in her relationship with her father, I could understand her feelings.

But her dad's feelings? Not so much. I really didn't like his portions of the story, unfortunately. His attitude drove me crazy,  and even though he does get redemption at the end, I could never muster any happiness about it. It just didn't feel real to me. SO many times I grew frustrated with his inability to make sense. He'd feel this way and then he'd feel that way, all in the space of a few paragraphs. He just irritated me enough that it kind of spoiled a lot of the rest of the story for me? :(

So! I, personally, would have liked the story way more if the dad's point of view had been left out. I was totally in this one for the romance and mainly began skipping paragraphs and chapters to get to those bits. But Jesse is awfully swoony. :) And the romance is super sweet!

A Million Junes by Emily Henry
This a very quirky and interesting story. It went in several unexpected ways, especially towards the end! I had been on pins and needles wondering how on earth Ms. Henry was going to resolve things. She surprised me! In a good way and in a weird way, it all worked.

I loved the magical realism that is never fully explained in great detail. (Which is best! Magical realism always works better when it's not really explained, in my opinion.) I also loved the family relationships, even when they frustrated me, because they felt real. Children can idealize their parents and parents don't always make the right choices in what and how much to tell their children. Mistakes are inevitable. And, of course, the romance was pretty cute! Although it did feel slightly too insta-love-ish to me, I still could appreciate the great chemistry between June and Saul every time they were together.

Ultimately there were bits I loved and bits I didn't and I ended the book happy to have read it, yet not feeling like I'd ever re-read it again. Yet I am intrigued enough to want to try more Emily Henry stories someday!


  1. I've been wanting to read The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making for a while. I'm glad you enjoyed it. It gives me hope that I'll like it too. :D

  2. I only have A Million Junes on my tbr. I don’t think I’ve heard of these others.

  3. I've seen A Million Junes around on Amazon or the blogosphere, but haven't seen much about it in terms of what the hype is, etc. Glad to see you enjoyed it as a one-time read. :)


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