|Pub Date: 2-2-21|
Adult - Contemporary
Much Ado About You- Samantha Young: After being passed up for a promotion at work and with her love life taking a nosedive, Evie decides she needs to shake things up. During a rare moment of spontaneity, she books a trip to a quaint little village in England. The vacation also comes with a perk: she gets to run the bookshop beneath her apartment. As a life-long book lover, Evie can't think of a better way to get out of her head. Soon, Evie finds herself swept away by village life. She's never felt more at home than she does in this little bookshop or sharing a pint down at the local pub with the townspeople. Evie wasn't planning on falling so hard for this place or the people, especially not handsome farmer, Roane. She knows her stay is only temporary, but she can't deny the feelings welling up between the pair. As the weeks go on, Evie can't help but think she could make a life here, but is she willing to upend everything for a man she hardly knows?
I looked at the premise of this and thought, "Well, that sounds like it's going to be great!" and the let down was real. It's not a bad book by any means, but it's just so boring. There's not a ton of character development so everyone felt very flat and no one stood out. Evie felt more like a secondary character rather than the lead. The only time I felt her pop was during the third act conflict when she completely overreacted towards certain aspects of Roane's life. Speaking of Roane, like Evie, there wasn't much substance there and all I really got out of him was that he owned a dog, but I still gravitated more towards him rather than Evie. I wasn't a huge fan of their insta-love and actually burst out laughing at some points just over the sheer cringe of it all. The main thing I enjoyed was the setting. I loved the small English village where everyone's in everyone's business and the bookshop itself, but other than that, this just didn't work for me.
|Pub Date: 2-9-21|
Adult - Historical Contemporary
A Lady's Formula for Love- Elizabeth Everett: Lady Violet Hughes doesn't fit in much with the rest of England's high society. She doesn't wear the right dresses, she doesn't host the grandest events, but the biggest reason is that Violet is hiding a massive secret. She founded a secret club for England's most brilliant female scientists, and she's also using her knowledge of chemistry to assist the Crown on a dangerous mission. To protect her and her work, Violet is assigned a bodyguard, the rugged Arthur Kneland, who has quite a few secrets of his own. Arthur knows to keep a clear eye on what's at stake he can't divert from his task, and Violet is quite the distraction. The more time he spends around her, the more his attention starts to shift and feelings begin to grow. But with bombs and thieves threatening Violet's life and work, the pair must work together to uncover the culprit before everything goes up in flames.
This had so much potential! Everything from the setting to the characters to the premise sounded right up my alley, but it was all just one big mess. You're thrown right into the plot with no lead-up, so the first few chapters are all jumbled with action that you're trying to wade through to understand what's going on. There are so many characters introduced and none have any distinguishing factors so they all mesh into one. There were maybe one or two characters who grew on me, but the rest I could take or leave. Another thing I didn't love was the romance. There was zero chemistry between Violet and Arthur which made everything feel so unbelievable. Since I wasn't invested in the relationship, I didn't care much about what happened to them. I also found the mystery itself to be all over the place and unfocused, and the way the villain was ultimately handled was completely unsatisfying. Overall, I think the author tried to do too many things at once which led to an uneven plot and lackluster characters, and sadly, it just didn't work.
|Pub Date: 1-26-21|
Adult - Historical Fiction
A Thousand Ships- Natalie Haynes: Everyone knows the story of the Trojan war. Of the countless men who battled bravely and the heroes who go on to live in infamy in all the bard's songs. But what of the women? War doesn't just affect the males of society, but them as well. From a woman waking in the middle of the night to her city engulfed in flames, to the Queen of Troy and her daughters, to Penelope waiting decades for the return of her husband Odysseus, to the three spiteful goddesses who had a hand in starting it all, it's finally time for their stories to be told.
I love any sort of reimagining of Greek mythology, so I was very excited to pick this up. While I did enjoy it, it did take me a bit to get into. I think a lot of that had to do with the narrative and the way the story was told. You're thrown right into the mix with no clear distinction of what's going on besides that Troy has fallen, so everything is very chaotic. Once I figured out how the story was being told and how it was developing, I was able to get my bearings, but it did take a few chapters before that happened. I thought it was clever telling the story through the women's perspectives and I enjoyed watching their take on the events. Some of the women were more cutthroat than the males, and most met even more heartbreaking ends. I liked Haynes's writing style, although I didn't feel it came off quite as impactful as it hoped to be on occasion. Overall, this was really enjoyable and I'd definitely recommend it if you're a fan of retellings or Madeline Miller because this has the same vibe.