Mini Thoughts

Hello, all!

Pub Date: 6-13-23
Adult - Contemporary

Love, Theoretically- Ali Hazelwood: Elsie Hannaway wears many hats. From adjunct physics professor to professional fake girlfriend, Elsie's constantly juggling something. She should've known it would come crashing down eventually. When Elsie gets an opportunity to apply for her dream position at MIT, she's determined not to let anything stand in her way. Even if the brother of her favorite client, and the man who single-handedly ruined the reputation of theorists everywhere, sit on the hiring committee. Ever since Jack Smith met Elsie, he knew something was off about her. That didn't stop him from lusting after her-- even if he believed her to be his brother's girlfriend. Now, the pair are butting heads at interview dinners, and Jack can't hide his desires for much longer. Despite her growing feelings, can Elsie allow herself to fall for the man she's loathed for so long?

I'm beginning to realize that Hazelwood has a specific formula for her books that she doesn't deviate from. Our heroine always has that 2010-Tumblr-quirky-girl aesthetic, and the love interest is always a broody behemoth of a man. It's starting to make all of her books blur together. Unfortunately, this was my least favorite from her. I thought it was boring. The pacing was too slow in the beginning, and then way too rushed at the end. This was more of a me-thing, but I found the science in this one too hard to follow. I don't have a science brain, so most of what they were talking about flew over my head. It didn't help that I couldn't stand Elsie. She's the human equivalent of a doormat. It was frustrating every time she refused to stand up for herself. She gets there by the end, but it was almost too little too late. I liked the romance between her and Jack, but it didn't wow me. The book was fine, but I'd love to see Hazelwood shake things up because her books are starting to get a little predictable.

Rating: 3/5

*Big thanks to the publisher for the copy!

Pub Date: 12-6-22
Adult - Historical Fiction

The Circus Train- Amita Parikh: Lena Papadopoulos has spent her whole life in a traveling circus where her father is a headlining illusionist. Born with polio, Lena has seen the world from the confines of a wheelchair, but Lena has always dreamt of more. She longs to have adventures and to go to school for science and medicine, but she's resigned to her limitations. But then she rescues Alexandre, an orphan with more than his own secrets. Lena and Alexandre have an immediate connection, and Alexandre opens Lena's world to endless possibilities. When World War II ramps up, Alexandre and Lena's father are captured and contracted to work for the Nazis as performers, and Lena finds herself on her own for the first time. To survive, Lena must put her doubts to the side and believe she has what it takes to take on the impossible.

I adore historical fiction with circus settings, so I was looking forward to picking this up. I did go in with slightly different expectations since it was compared to The Night Circus, and after finishing it, I don't think that's a very apt comparison. I still enjoyed it, but I was expecting more of a fantastical element. Parikh's writing was descriptive but seemed like she was trying to do too much at once. There is so much going on--from living with disabilities to family conflicts to the war to being a woman during this period--that it felt cluttered. The pacing was also too slow for my liking, so I started to get very bored. Despite all that, it was a decent book, and I'd still recommend it if you enjoy WWII-centered historical fiction.

Rating: 3/5

Pub Date: 3-7-23
Adult - Fantasy/Romance

The Foxglove King- Hannah Whitten: Lore grew up in the catacombs beneath Dellaire but escaped when she was thirteen. Ten years later, Lore is now a poison runner trying to keep a low profile, which is hard to do with the Mortem--death magic-- that flows through her veins. When a job goes wrong, Lore's powers are discovered, but she isn't sent to the pyre but to the Sainted King, who has a job for her. Villages on the outskirts of the country have been dying overnight, and Lore is to use her magic to find out who's responsible. Guarded by the stoic Gabriel, a disgraced duke-turned-monk, Lore is thrust into the glittering world of the court, where she crosses paths with the King's son, Bastian. It doesn't take long for the group to realize that more secrets and dangers are lurking in every corner.

You know when you're reading a book, and you can tell you're not vibing with it, but you keep reading hoping it'll get better? That was this book for me. It was a chore to get through. I thought the first third of this book was hard to get into because it felt very info-dumpy. The premise has such potential, and I usually love anything to do with death magic, but it was lackluster at best. The characters were bland and one-note. Bastian and Gabriel felt like they were the same person, except one had an eye patch. You could tell Whitten was trying to set up a love triangle between them and Lore, but there wasn't any chemistry between them. It also plays into that trope where the main character feels a pull towards certain characters but can't explain why. It had me rolling my eyes the whole time. I did like the ambiance, but sadly, everything else fell flat.

Rating: 2/5


  1. I've been so disappointed with The Foxglove King reviews because as you said, the premise sounded so promising! The FairyLoot edition is stunning so I'm holding out hope that I'll enjoy it but chances seem pretty slim at the moment :-(


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