Here are some Mini Reviews for you today! And no worries, Mini Review Monday isn’t a new meme, I just needed a title for my post and decided to use that one! And bonus – if I ever need to do another Mini Review post, I can re-use the graphic I made! Win win!
***this post contains affiliate links. The Amazon links are affiliate links which means that if you click the link and make a purchase, then I will receive a small commission.***
I finished these reads awhile ago, and since it took me forever to sit down and write my thoughts out, all you’re getting today are some mini reviews for these reads. Some I loved, some I disliked, others I felt meh about. Which ones are which?
Chimes of a Lost Cathedral by Janet Fitch (The Revolution of Marina M #2)
I really loved the first book in this duology, The Revolution of Marina M, and while Chimes of a Lost Cathedral was an excellent, epic read, I didn’t feel that Marina’s story was quite concluded enough for me to rate this one five stars. While the history and the setting of 1919-1921 Petrograd (modern day Saint Petersburg) was absolutely fascinating and riveting, the last quarter of the book fell flat for me and I didn’t feel that Marina’s story really came to an end. This read was also exceedingly graphic in terms of childbirth, rape, abuse, and suicide, and there were many scenes that were horrific to read they were so graphic. So while I loved many aspects of the story, there were also aspects of it that fell flat for me, and the ending left me feeling unfulfilled and wanting to read more about Marina.
“The important thing is to live honestly and leave something behind. Not to disappear without a trace. How brave are you, Marina?”
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo (The Shadow and Bone Trilogy #1)
I loved Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows duology, and since the casting of the Netflix series combining Six of Crows with The Shadow and Bone Trilogy was announced, I thought that now would be a good time to start the Shadow and Bone Trilogy! And, unpopular opinion here, but I didn’t really care for this book, so I likely won’t be continuing on with this series. I found Alina to be that annoyingly typical YA heroine: she doesn’t think she’s pretty, but she’s really gorgeous; she thinks she isn’t capable, but she’s the one destined to save the world; she never knows what to say or do, but then she always does the appropriate thing. I didn’t connect with her and found her annoying and bland.
While Shadow and Bone had glimmers of something interesting, mainly with scenes involving the Darkling, I’m not sure it’s enough to entice me to read the rest of the series. I do think the upcoming Netflix adaptation will be entertaining, and I think this is a story that will translate better on screen. Alina and her childhood friend/longtime love interest are both so bland on the page, but they should play well on screen.
“Wait!” I protested, but the Darkling was already turning away. I grabbed hold of his arm, ignoring the gasp that rose from the Grisha onlookers. “There’s been some kind of mistake. I don’t…I’m not…” My voice trailed off as the Darkling turned slowly to me, his slate eyes drifting to where my hand gripped his sleeve. I let go, but I wasn’t giving up that easily. “I’m not what you think I am,” I whispered desperately.
The Darkling stepped closer to me and said, his voice so low that only I could hear, “I doubt you have any idea what you are.”
Rules of Civility by Amor Towles
While this was an interesting historical fiction read set during late 1930s New York City, I didn’t love this one. I almost gave up within the first fifty pages, but then the book shifted from the love triangle I thought it was about into something more complex and different. I can’t say that I liked any of the characters, but they intrigued me. Some of the plot points surprised me, and while I can’t say I loved it, I did end up liking it.
On the morning of Friday, July first, I had a low-paying job at a waning publisher and a dwindling circle of semi-acquaintances. On Friday, July eighth, I had one foot in the door of Condé Nast and the other in the door of the Knickerbocker Club—the professional and social circles that would define the next thirty years of my life.
That’s how quickly New York City comes about—like a weather vane—or the head of a cobra. Time tells which.
Malice at the Palace by Rhys Bowen (A Royal Spyness Mystery #9)
This one was another entertaining entry in the fun Royal Spyness Mystery series. Lady Georgiana and her maid, Queenie, are both funny and likeable and while the mystery aspect is fairly light here, the characters and setting of 1930s London is so much fun that it doesn’t matter! I thoroughly enjoyed this one, and will absolutely be continuing on with this series. I really had to stop myself from picking up the next one right away as this one leaves off with a bit of a cliffhanger.
Dear Diary: Today I move into Kensington Palace. Moving up in the world. Actually I’m partly excited and partly terrified. Please don’t let me break anything or knock an elderly princess down the stairs!
Lord Edgware Dies (Thirteen at Dinner) by Agatha Christie (Hercule Poirot #9)
Another good, but somewhat convoluted Agatha Christie mystery! This one has Poirot and Hastings investigating the murder of Lord Edgware, and the chief suspect is his wife, Jane. While the plot clipped right along, I couldn’t keep all of the characters straight, and the plot got so convoluted I also couldn’t keep that straight either! While it all came together at the end, it was a bit too much for me!
“It is a very pretty faith that you have in me, Hastings. It touches me. Do you not know, my friend, that each one of us is a dark mystery, a maze of conflicting passions and desires and aptitudes? Mais oui, c’ est vrai. One makes one’s little judgments—but nine times out of ten, one is wrong.”
“Not Hercule Poirot,” I said, smiling.
“Even Hercule Poirot! Oh! I know very well that you have always a little idea that I am conceited, but indeed, I assure you, I am really a very humble person.”
“It is so. Except—I confess it—that I am a little proud of my moustaches. Nowhere in London have I observed anything to compare with them.”
“You’re quite safe,” I said dryly. “You won’t.”
Murder on St. Nicholas Avenue by Victoria Thompson (Gaslight Mystery #18)
This was a cute entry in the Gaslight Mystery series set in 1890s New York City. While this one doesn’t have our main characters, Frank and Sarah, in it, the sleuths that are the focus of the book are just as fun! We follow nursemaid Maeve, policeman Gino, and wealthy Mr. and Mrs. Decker as they try to help a woman whose daughter has been arrested for the murder of her husband. While I solved whodunit fairly quickly, this was still a fun read and the focus on the side characters wasn’t as frustrating as it could’ve been. Even though our main characters are nowhere to be found in this read, the entry still moved the series along and sets off a new direction for the series to go in.
“Or maybe he just acted like he didn’t know Pollock was dead,” Maeve said. “If he’d killed Pollock, that would be a good way to prove he had nothing to do with it. You two would make excellent witnesses about how surprised he was to hear the news.”
“How very clever,” Mrs. Decker said. “I must remember that.”
“Why?” her husband asked. “Are you planning to murder someone?”
“One never knows what might happen, dear.”