First, Middle, and Last Impressions – June 15, 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 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.

Middle Impression: Halfway through and I really have no idea what’s going on. The story switched into Part 2 and we’ve been taken back in time to before Eleanor turned Stan into a cat. So, the main story is stalled at this point, but it’s not as fascinating as I had expected, just a witch looking for a witch in a seemingly uneffective way and a cat looking for treasure and, surprisingly, seemingly getting somewhere.

Last Impression: So, this was an interesting yet simplistic story with a good deal of social commentary, but it didn’t really go into any of the issues. I also felt like Part 2 was just a really long detour that could have been compressed. I did like the dual stories of Eleanor and Stan, but was seriously unclear of all the machinations going on in the background, which bothered me as they all involved the main characters. I liked that both of them were very flawed and how all the witches and their powers came off as very low key.

My review

For the Throne by Hannah Whitten – Fantasy

for the throne hannah whitten

First Impression: Well, this is the second book in the duology, so I’m expecting this one to be Neve’s story as the first was all about Red. I don’t really know what the overarching story is, so I think this will be interesting.

Middle Impression: This is feeling kind of slow and plodding to me and I’m struggling a little to get through it. Red and the Wolf are kind of grating on my nerves with how fiercely lovey dovey they are and Neve and Solmir are so slow I barely believe they feel anything but hatred or even indifference towards each other. There doesn’t really seem to be much going on (Neve and Solmir traveling and Red and Eammon reading a lot of books). I am enjoying the world building, though, and there’s a new character, a princess, who seems interesting.

Last Impression: I thought this was a satisfying ending to the duology and I really enjoyed the story of sisters. But the romance let me down as Red and Eammon felt a little over the top, Neve and Solmir were practically non-existent, and the only one I enjoyed was between minor characters: Raffe and foreign princess Kayu. I had a hard time believing Neve and Solmir and could have done without it. But I enjoyed the expanded world building and found the Shadowlands quite creepy and dangerous. The second half definitely had all the action and I liked how the story wrapped up.

My review

An Island Summer by Jenny Hale – Women’s Fiction, Romance

an island summer jenny hale

First Impression: Since I’ve loved a couple of Hale’s other novels, I’m sure this one is going to be as sweet and heartwarming. I also expect that it’ll be lighter on the romance and we’ll really get to know the struggles of the main character, Meghan.

Middle Impression: This is the kind of women’s fiction I love! It’s definitely focusing on Meghan and her journey to figuring herself out. Her best friend Tess is absolutely amazing and I adore her so much. There’s also Rupert, an elderly man who mistakes Meghan to be someone else from his youth, and her relationship with him is just so sweet, though her relationship with his grandson Toby is more prickly. So far, this is a fun blend of women’s fiction, romance, and mystery.

Last Impression: This is exactly everything I expect from one of Hale’s books. It’s sweet and heartwarming, and Hatteras Island just sounds so idyllic, like a perfect summer vacation. I loved all of the characters, and even the minor characters were absolutely perfect and so warm and welcoming. This reminded me of The Secret French Recipes of Sophie Valroux by Samantha Verant as both feature a young woman who loves to cook, but who has lost the spark and so spends the whole novel getting it back. I loved the Outer Banks setting in An Island Summer and the wonderful blend of genres to create something that held my attention, making the pages fly, and making me feel like I was taking an island vacation, too.

The Ballad of Perilous Graves by Alex Jennings – Magical Realism

the ballad of perilous jones alex jennings

First Impression: I’m expecting a fantastical version of New Orleans and for music to take center stage.

What about you?

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2 thoughts on “First, Middle, and Last Impressions – June 15, 2022

  1. I never go into a book with expectations, probably because my early reading had so many plain classic covers, so I find this method intriguing.

    It IS good, however, to summarize how you feel when you finish reading something – before the analysis and the longer thinking. “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel,” Maya Angelou. Feelings are fleeting, and then thinking interferes. I think I’ll try this method.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Originally, I didn’t go into a book with expectations, either, but I just started thinking about how first impressions are so important and wondered how that might apply to books.

      I love that quote! It’s so true. Once I finish a book, I find my initial feelings tend to differ a bit from the ones I go into writing the review with, so I’ve been loving having those initial thoughts and feelings.


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