First, Middle, and Last Impressions – June 1, 2022

I love taking a look at a book cover and description and then coming up with my own idea of what the book will be about. Sometimes I’m right, sometimes I’m so wrong it’s almost funny. So I’ve decided to launch myself off of WWW Wednesday, a bookish meme run by Sam@Taking on a World of Words, and write about my first, middle, and last impressions of each book I read.

The first impression is based solely on the cover and description. What do I think it will be about?

The middle impression is kind of a check-in on how the story is going about halfway through.

The last impression is my final thoughts on the book, what I’m left thinking.

I hope you have as much fun with this as I will!


The Stardust Thief by Chelsea Abdullah – Fantasy

the stardust thief chelsea abdullah

First Impression: This is inspired by One Thousand and One Nights, so I’m expecting a fun, adventurous story full of magic and stories in a desert setting.

Middle Impression: So far, I’m finding this to be interesting and I’m really enjoying the world building. There aren’t as many stories as I had expected, but I’m gobbling them up as this is feeling like a story of stories. There are some things, though, that just feel a little too convenient and Loulie, one of the main characters, doesn’t feel like she’s much of a character without Qadir, her mysterious bodyguard, to bounce off of.

Last Impression: I’m not a big fan of the way it ended, and there’s still too much that felt too convenient, but some of the characters twists were really a lot of fun and I can’t wait to see how they’ll continue to play out in the next book. The world is incredible, and I really loved the focus on telling stories. They really added another layer to the story and the world.

My review


The Daughters of Firth Tales by Willow – Speculative Fiction

the daughters of firth tales willow

First Impression: I have no idea, but I’m looking forward to this collection of stories and getting to know more about Willow’s life after she was brought to Earth from the Blue Moon as this is the second in the series.

Middle Impression: This is a collection of connected stories featuring a slowly growing cast of main characters and an ever expanding world. I’m having a great time exploring all the worlds and getting to know the characters, especially since there are time jumps and now there are children and grandchildren. But what I love most is that everything I loved in the first book permeates all of these stories.

Last Impression: These stories tell a collective tale of hope, love, family, and revenge and even offer hints of the need to change now to save the future. There’s so much love between the characters and I loved all the stories of all these different societies that have been created on different worlds have that one soul that’s absolutely beautiful and is the key to saving everyone. It did get a little repetitive, but also speaks so much to the hope that runs throughout all the stories. Their strength and belief were incredible.

My review


The Knave of Secrets by Alex Livingston – Fantasy

the knave of secrets alex livingston

First Impression: I think this will be a fun story about cards and magic, but I haven’t read many overwhelmingly positive reviews, so I’m a bit apprehensive.

Middle Impression: This feels oddly like fantasy written in the general style of an 1800s novel, so it’s kind of weird and my brain can’t figure out what to make of it. This is an interesting concept, though, where the story plays out in the upper and lower tiers of society, which also tends to be confusing since there are two nations apparently trying to claim the small island this story is set on. All the threads feel too loose at this point in the story and the characters and world feel like slippery threads. I have no clue what’s going on.

Last Impression: So, this was an interesting premise that ended up feeling more like a vehicle to talk about card games, gambling, cheating at card and dice games, and a little about magic. The writing style felt like a bit of an odd choice, reminding me more of the style I’m more likely to find in a Regency-era novel. I did like the Spanish and French influence, but it felt very minimal as the world building was lacking unless it had to do with magic, of which the magic system was not well defined, or gambling games, of which there were so many that I could not keep any of them straight and the appendices did not help much. Overall, I felt the reader was supposed to fit into one of the character’s shoes (Ten) as the story moves around her and she discovers everything alongside the reader, who literally has no more clue than she does because all the planning and scheming take place off page. But I did like that the main character appears to be middle-aged and not inclined to exercise.


The Splendid City by Karen Heuler – Fantasy

the splendid city karen heuler

First Impression: I’m intrigued because this is set in a city experiencing a severe water shortage (I live in California where the drought is only getting worse, so this idea intrigues me) and involves a witch and a cat. Cats usually win me over. This one sounds like it should be fun with humor/satire/social commentary.


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