Monthly Reads: January

The first book reviews of 2022! The first three were started back in December, but the rest I devoured in January. And by devoured, I’m saying I literally read most of them in one day. They are that much of a page-turner.


FICTION

MERCY UNDESERVED / Kristina Hall

⭐⭐⭐

I liked this a little better than the first. It started off okay, but then dragged for the rest of the first half. Like in the first book, the salvation scene sounded scripted and a bit cliché. It could easily fit into a traditionally-published Christian book. It also sounded more like a plot device so that she and Alberto could get married…

The pace picked up after the marriage, and Alberto & Lillian are, in my opinion, more lively than Mae & Davis were in the first book. Which brings me to Mae & Davis at the end of this; they suddenly sounded like they had a personality.

One thing I found extremely unrealistic was Alberto trying to walk out of the hospital. Just like Scranton shouldn’t have been able to haul himself over a spiked wall with one hand, Alberto shouldn’t have been able to walk out of the hospital if his vision was blacking out. It borders on implausible; if he’d been running on adrenaline, I’d have given it a pass considering adrenaline can make you do almost-superhuman things.

Anyway, a bit more enjoyable than the first, but still not a five-star.


TRUTH UNSHAKEN / Kristina Hall

⭐⭐

I’m going to have to give this 2.5-3 stars.

Like the other two books, the writing style is full of purple prose. (Which I only just remembered the term for tonight) The biggest offender I’d say is the usage of ‘as if’.

A few other things bugged me, such as the implication Frank hasn’t learned to dress himself in the four years he’s been in a wheelchair. There’s also a comment towards the end that seems to imply he can’t have children. Um…people paralyzed from the waist down can still have children.

And Alberto kept getting injured. Why?

The storyline was still good, but at times it dragged, and at other times it sounded bogged down by the preachiness. In regards to that, it sometimes came across like one was trying to convert an unbeliever.

All in all, it’s a good story. Just not a favorite of mine.


FINDING CHRISTMAS JOY / Amanda Tero

⭐⭐

I started reading this almost two years ago, dropped it, and then decided to re-read it. Maybe I should have DNF’d it instead, but oh well.

I think it could’ve been longer. The characters were underdeveloped, leading to the absence of an arc for the main character. And since she had a breakup, I expected more of a resolution to that, but it didn’t happen.

Another thing was that when I started it, I was under the impression Melonie was already a Christian, but then found out she wasn’t. Which then led to a somewhat shoehorned-in salvation message.

All in all, it wasn’t for me.


THE COTTAGE ON GHOST LANE / Christy Barritt

⭐⭐⭐

Quite a bit of telling and repetition; the suspense is the only reason I kept going. There’s really not much else I can say, because it’s your typical run-of-the-mill action story. Though I did like that the villains weren’t too obvious.

I do wish there had been more on Loretta throughout the story, and one plot twist could have been held off a little bit longer…but alas.

It’s a nice read for a rainy day, though I don’t know if I’ll ever re-read it.


THE INN ON HANGING HILL / Christy Barritt

⭐⭐⭐⭐

3.5-4 stars! Man, this was probably more of a page-turner than the last one! Those plot twists, wow! It’s very satisfying when something leans towards one direction just enough to make you suspicious, then throws you off to forget it, but then it’s confirmed and you feel very happy about it. Or is that just me?

Not as much telling or repetition either.


BROKEN TIDES TRILOGY / Catherine Payne Jones

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ / ⭐⭐⭐⭐ / ⭐⭐⭐? or ⭐⭐⭐⭐?

#1: This was a page-turner! Mermaids, murder, mayhem, political intrigue…

#2: Still good, though something seemed ‘off’ to me about it. Maybe I can’t quite put my finger on it, but it’s there at the back of my mind.

#3: I’m not entirely sure what I think of this one, hence why I can’t decide between 2.5-3 stars or 3.5-4 stars. I did expect there to be a little more about some things, but alas.


IT HAPPENED AT CHRISTMAS / Christen Krumm

⭐⭐⭐

2.5-3 stars.

I picked this one up because it’s a retelling of While You Were Sleeping, with Cinderella and A Little Princess (which I haven’t read, but I think I’ve seen bits of the Shirley Temple movie) mixed in.

Interesting mashup, right? The overall execution of it left much to be desired though. The character development was either rushed or underdeveloped, and the truth scene…fell flat.

There were a couple of interesting twists that made it different than the movie, but I’m not sure they were executed to their fullest potential. And, the story doesn’t exactly fit the YA genre, in my humble opinion. Hank should’ve also had his own POV chapters.

A few other gripes were the typos and punctuation errors. Oof. And at least one line or two sounded suspiciously just like lines from the movie…

All in all, it’s an okay read. Just needed a bit of polishing.


THE CAPTIVE HEART / Michelle Griep

⭐⭐⭐

It’s a good story, though I’m not entirely sure what I think of the romance. Dunno if I’ll ever re-read it.


ONE MORE RIDE IN THE RAIN / K.M. Weiland

⭐⭐⭐⭐


THE SADDLE DADDY RODE / K.M. Weiland

⭐⭐⭐⭐


BEYOND HER CALLING / Kellyn Roth

⭐⭐⭐⭐

IVY IS A PRECIOUS BEAN WHO MUST BE PROTECTED. She’s so sweet and kind and cares so much for her family and friends. And Jordy; ah, Jordy…I gotta be honest, I either missed it in Ivy Introspective and completely forgot, but apparently his full name is George. Him wanting to do the right thing when it came to a relationship with Ivy made him a hero, a worthy hero indeed.

ALSO HE AN’ IVY ARE PERFECT TOGETHER

And Violet was still Violet, though she does have her moments. (Where’s the Violet standalone??)

I was kind of expecting more hints of the next book, but that’s probably because I alpha-read it, hehe. (also weeps bc feels)


Well, that’s that. Now onto to February! Oh, and I’m going to be rejoining the Write In Faith camp for a mini-camp during February! It runs for two weeks-more information here.

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