Reviews, Romance

Review: The Distance

The DistanceThe Distance by Zoe Folbigg

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Thank you to NetGalley for the opportunity to read Zoe Folbigg’s The Distance. The story of two people on opposite ends of the world who meet in a chat room and slowly fall in love is a sweet, wise exploration of how miles and life can come between people even in today’s shrinking technological world. At times the story moves slowly for its relatively short length and the flashbacks over the five years from their first meeting to the end of the story can get confusing. I kept having to look back up at the chapter title to understand the stage of their relationship was being related. Also, I’m not quite sure if the character of Kate and her story was really necessary but she did add an extra twist toward the end. I especially enjoyed learning a bit about the cultures of Hector’s Mexico and Cecilie’s arctic Norway.

Romantic fiction is full of characters getting in their own way of happiness but if you like the sweet tenderness mixed with the harsh realities of life found in The Distance, you might also enjoy Veronica Henry’s How to Find Love in a Bookshop or Louise Miller’s The Late Bloomer’s Club.

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Chick-Lit, Reviews, Romance

Review: Fast Friends

Fast FriendsFast Friends by Jill Mansell

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Thank you to NetGalley for the opportunity to read Jill Mansell’s Fast Friends. I’ve read a couple of Mansell’s other novels both of which were light-hearted romantic comedies so I was expecting the same light read from this book. Fast Friends, in comparison to those chick-lit rom/coms, is a bit heavier as it deals with the way we, as women specifically and flawed human beings with our own baggage, tend to sabotage ourselves especially when it comes to romantic relationships but also in regards to friendships. The story follows three former classmates through three tumultuous years starting when Camille learns that her husband (a rather cruel jerk) has been cheating on her with the glamorous Roz. I found the story overlong and I often wished that the author had focused on just Camille’s story or even Camille and LouLou. However, even when I was growing tired of the ups and downs and twists and game-playing, I was aware of the many truths about human nature the story revealed and I needed to know if each of the characters got the happy ending they deserved.

If you enjoy Fast Friends, you may also enjoy Katie Fforde’s Wedding Season If like me, you also enjoy lighter romantic chick-lit, Mansell and Fforde have provided me with some fun reads such as Fforde’s Stately Pursuits and Highland Fling or Mansell’s Staying at Daisy’s.

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Fantasy, Reviews, Romance

Review: Child of the Prophecy

Child of the Prophecy (Sevenwaters, #3)Child of the Prophecy by Juliet Marillier

My rating: 4.25 of 5 stars

The third novel of Marillier’s Sevenwaters series is, in my opinion, closer in quality and story to the magnificent first book, Daughter of the Forest than the second book, Son of the Shadows was, though this one too lacked some of the romance of that first book, instead focusing on the magic and lore of their world. Like its predecessors, Child of the Prophecy centers on a strong, independent female protagonist who is tested beyond her limits. I related much more with Fainne than I did with either Sorcha or Liadan though I loved them both as characters.
The best thing about Child of the Prophecy aside from the rollercoaster ride of emotion and tension that fills most of the final 100 pages or so of the book is the return of so many of the beloved (and not so beloved!) characters from the first two novels and the resolution of many of their stories. Even if it slow at times, it is worth it, in the end, to see where Sorcha’s story from the first book has led and the importance of each choice that is made.

If you enjoy  Child of the Prophecy or Irish folklore, fairy stories, or romantic fantasy, I highly recommend you read the Sevenwaters series from the beginning.  

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Reviews

Review: Shepherds Abiding

Shepherds Abiding (Mitford Years, #8)Shepherds Abiding by Jan Karon

My rating: 4.75 of 5 stars

I’ve been making my way slowly through Jan Karon’s delightful Mitford series, relishing the many unique characters as they deal with their individual crises in the picturesque small-town setting that by now feels like home when I read the novels. However, I found the last couple I read plodding. Shepherds Abiding, which takes place in the months leading up to Christmas, though, is fast-paced and particularly heart-warming. With a slightly smaller cast of characters and narrower time frame, it is more focused and happier in tone than the previous books. It was the perfect read for the busy holiday season and a story that can be read over and over again.

If you enjoy a gentle read or heart-warming Christian fiction, I highly recommend reading the entire Mitford series.  It has an open-minded, open-hearted message and a leisurely pace needed when the world gets to be too much.

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Historical Fiction, Reviews, Woman's Fiction

Review: Miss Kopp Just Won’t Quit

Miss Kopp Just Won't Quit (Kopp Sisters, #4)Miss Kopp Just Won’t Quit by Amy Stewart

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Some things never change and some things change all too slowly. That’s the message I got from the latest installment of Amy Stewart’s brilliant Kopp Sisters series. In Miss Kopp Just Won’t Quit Constance is unwillingly caught in the middle of a contentious political campaign as every move she makes in her job as the sole female deputy in Hackensack, NJ in 1916 reflects on the Sherriff’s run for Congress as well as the candidate looking to fill his position as Sherriff. In the midst of it all, she works to help her inmates as well as a woman committed to the asylum by her husband. It is a time when ALL of the power belongs to men with little understanding of women’s unique issue and even less desire to understand them. It is also a time of mounting fear and suspicion as World War I rages in Europe and the US debates whether to join the Allies. In spite of the 100+ years that have passed, some of the themes seem all too familiar.
As ever, Stewart seamlessly blends history with fiction while staying true to her richly developed characters. There is a bit more politics and a bit less chasing bad guys than in the first two books but the story is fantastic, leaving you wanting to know what happens next. Luckily, the fifth book in the series is due out next year!

I know that by now I’m repeating myself but I LOVE these books so if you enjoy empowering stories about strong women and historical fiction, read the entire series and get hooked like me.

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