Arts and Entertainment, Authors, Books, Fiction

The Theory of Happily Ever After by Kristin Billerbeck

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me. Revell provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for an honest review.

The Theory of Happily Ever After by Kristin Billerbeck

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

Maggie, a scientist, has written a popular book on the science of being happy, but her recent romantic breakup has done a miserable number on her. When her friends drag her along to be the guest speaker on a singles’ cruise, maybe it’ll help bring Maggie out of the dumps in The Theory of Happily Ever After by author Kristin Billerbeck.

I found the premise of this novel interesting, and I don’t come across many contemporary romances and chick-lit-ish tales with heroines who are doctors or scientists. The first quarter of this book is light reading with a lot of humor but also some serious life issues sprinkled in.

However, a couple jokes are rehashed far too many times, with repeated references to gelato and Hallmark movies, along with Maggie’s bunch of disparaging inner barbs about her ex’s new woman. Plus, I usually can only take so much of a heroine who seems as down on herself as Maggie does, besides how down she is on her ex, as her constant thoughts and mentions of him indicate.

And, in all honesty, as much as I love romantic stories, I think I’m finding I can only take the romance genre in smaller, more concise doses these days, for the most part. Some of the scenes here dragged for me as I waited for the story to move on, and I eventually decided not to continue.

Still, from what I’ve read, I can see how this novel might be right down another ChristFic romance fan’s alley.

 

Arts and Entertainment, Books, Fiction

The Fargenstropple Case by Lia London

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.

The Fargenstropple Case by Lia London

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

Terrence Morgan has no interest in investigating any more troubles of little importance at the Fargenstropple estate, especially since he’s been promoted to Chief Inspector at work. But when stolen family jewels factor into the estate’s latest disturbance, Terrence doubles down in The Fargenstropple Case by author Lia London.

Delightful! Simply delightful, this short and sweet mystery is. It has a positively British flair, complete with British spellings and characters with a pleasant bunch of surnames, such as Nigglesby and Crumfellow. There are also plenty of animals (including rodents, if you don’t mind those), and a jaunty thread of romance adds to the fun. I ran into a few minor grammar issues concerning dialogue tags, but it’s possible they’re there intentionally, for comedy’s sake.

I count it a boon to sometimes find mysteries that involve cases other than murder. Of course, murder-less mysteries don’t all have to be as quirky as this one, but if you’re looking for an hour or two of light and hilarious entertainment with clever twists, you’d do well to check out this little cozy.

 

Books, Fiction

History Lessons by Linda Leigh Hargrove

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me. I received a complimentary copy of this book for an honest review.

History Lessons by Linda Leigh Hargrove

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

Paula has her sights set on becoming a math teacher and escaping her difficult memories and underpaid field hand work in Cherry, North Carolina. Edward, a young history professor, arrives in town, all politeness and handsomeness. But Paula suspects this polished man is just another rolling stone in History Lessons by author Linda Leigh Hargrove.

What I like most about this story set in the 1970s American South is the nuanced picture it paints of the region’s history, as if reaching into its soil to pull a deeper message out of the past. There’s a rich sense of the time and place, from what the characters watch on television to the unsettling backdrop of the Vietnam War.

The story also addresses some tough personal issues, as Paula and Edward have to deal with their individual pasts. Now, it’s not my favorite thing when a key conflict in a romance is caused by conclusion-jumping, especially when the misunderstanding, which could be cleared up in a minute, winds up lasting for weeks.

Still, I enjoyed this short, sweet, substantive read and would recommend it to other fans of historical ChristFic.

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History Lessons is Book One in the Newland Road series.

 

Books, Fiction

The Avengers by Alex Irvine

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.

Phase One: Marvel’s The Avengers by Alex Irvine

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

With the help of his extraterrestrial army, Loki means to conquer and enslave planet Earth. It’ll take the superheroes gathered by Nick Fury, the director of S.H.I.E.L.D., to thwart Loki’s plans. But Captain America, Iron Man, the Hulk, Thor, Black Widow, and Hawkeye must discover something about themselves first in The Avengers, adapted by Alex Irvine.

So as not to break the chronological flow in my progress as I go back and watch some of the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies, I’m reading certain books written from the screenplays. Doesn’t matter that the books are targeted at kids, since I do enjoy middle grade reads from time to time.

Having previously read Captain America: The First Avenger, also adapted by this author, I was ready for the flow, tone, and even the occasional corn in this book. It’s all fitting.

The story is good, meaningful fun, with parts that got me laughing and other parts where I felt for the characters. Sure, you can tell some of the content is toned down for young readers (I even would’ve liked a little of the language toned down a smidge more, though there’s no profanity), but this isn’t an oversimplified, pat-on-the-head adaptation. The adventure isn’t too complicated, but there’s still enough depth and intrigue to keep it interesting.

I guess, apart from The Incredibles, I didn’t imagine before this year how much heart and life-affirmation I might find in action/superhero stories. This one has got some great moments. And I’ll admit that seeing the Avengers eventually become, you know, The Avengers–yeah, that got me pumped.