First, Middle, and Last Impressions – September 21, 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 write about my first, middle, and last impressions of each book I read, as well as a little bit on why I wanted to read it because sometimes, when I’ve finished, I really can’t remember.

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!

Six Feet Apart by Elena Greyrock – Romance

six feet apart elena greyrock

Why I want to read this: I don’t think I’m quite ready for pandemic stories, but the romance story line caught my attention, and I love that the female lead is introverted.

First Impression: I think this will be a cute love story. I don’t really know what to expect, but I think the two main characters will be a lot of fun to get to know and it’ll be interesting to see their love story.

Middle Impression: This turned steamy really fast! I feel like a voyeur watching Luna and Stryker feel so hot and bothered around each other. So far, the story feels a bit simplistic, though some wenches are being thrown into their story, so I’m looking forward to see how they resolve everything. This is moving really well, and I liked how seamlessly and naturally life with COVID is woven in; it’s just a fact of life.

Last Impression: The second half was not what I was expecting, but I loved it. This book took a turn from the romance and focused on Luna and Stryker focusing on their careers, though them pining for each other was so sweet. This was such a fun, fast story and I loved how it took a turn in the middle since it was so great for the characters and their development.

The Boy with the Bookstore by Sarah Echavarre Smith – Romance

the boy with the bookstore sarah echavarre smith

Why I want to read this: Two of my favorite things are books and baking, so this really was an irresistible read. I also like how it’s multicultural with Joelle’s family being Filipino, so I’m hoping for some fun family situations.

First Impression: This sounds like a business meets pleasure kind of story since the two love interests, Joelle and Max, will have to share a store space while their individual stores undergo renovations. I’m excited to see how all the baking, book selling, and romance will go, especially with the two of them working in a confined space.

Middle Impression: This is not at all the kind of romance I was expecting. The romance really hits the ground running, but it’s fun and cute while also being serious. Some parts made Joelle and Max feel more immature, but I think it was balanced by more mature pieces. I do love that both of them have fur babies, and none of them seem to ever be forgotten. At this point, I’m just wondering what the major wench in their relationship could possibly be, but I love how Joelle’s family’s Filipino culture is woven in.

Last Impression: A cute and steamy romance where the characters flitted between maturity and immaturity, it still had some soft spots that made me smile. Their fur babies were delightful, Joelle’s family was fun and amazing, and the supporting cast was just absolutely incredible. I just find myself not loving Max much, feeling he was a little too dysfunctional and all that he really had going for him was that Joelle found him to be hot.

All Dressed Up by Jilly Gagnon – Mystery

all dressed up jilly gagnon

Why I want to read this: A murder mystery weekend with a 1920s set as the time period? This sounds like Clue plus one of my favorite historical periods, so I’m intrigued to see how the weekend goes and what the mystery is.

First Impression: I think this will be a fun read, especially since it takes inspiration from Clue. I’m also hoping the characters role playing as people from the 20s will be realistic and fun.

Middle Impression: I’m feeling a little mixed about this, and that disappoints me. There are two mysteries: the one the characters are all there for and one surrounding a missing actress employed by the hotel. I’m disappointed the first one doesn’t feel as immersive, with not all of the characters really taking the theme to heart, so it feels flimsy and contrived and almost laughable. The second one is just starting to warm up, so it feels like it’s taken too long to get there. The characters feel very 2 dimensional, though I like how it’s not always possible to tell who’s acting and who isn’t.

Last Impression: Honestly, I had more fun reading this while just going with the flow and enjoying the reading experience. Trying to figure out whodunit just didn’t feel interesting. In the end, the conclusion was a little lackluster and I felt there was too much trying to edge its way into this story. The mysteries blurred together a little too much for my liking, but this was an amusing read, even if I didn’t care to try to figure it out. It feels like the author bit off more than she could chew so several pieces that could have been great felt more like they’d been halfheartedly done.

In the Shadow Garden by Liz Parker – Magical Realism

in the shadow garden liz parker

Why I want to read this: This sounds darkly magical, like maybe a slightly darker version of Garden Spells. And I’m all for magic gardens.

First Impression: I’m expecting a magical realism story crossed with a mystery. It certainly looks colorful and magical, so I’m intrigued and can’t wait to get into the story.

Middle Impression: So, I love the shadow garden. It’s unique and different, but still akin to a generic magic garden. So far, this feels more like a romance than a mystery. This is turning out to be a light, easy read, but it makes the story feel a little too simplistic. There are definitely a lot of threads, but none of them truly feel major. Though I do find myself delighted by how it reminds me of The Witches of Thistle Grove series by Lana Harper.

Last Impression: The romance finally gave way to the mystery and, after that, there were some interesting twists and turns, but I wasn’t a fan of how much it used one of the characters. It also made some of the characters feel evil and manipulative to the point where there didn’t seem to be anything else to them. Overall, though, this felt mostly like a soft story of family and how greed and power can affect people. Throw in some bourbon and, well, things can get interesting.

Redspace Rising by Brian Trent – Science Fiction

redspace rising brian trent

Why I want to read this: I am not the biggest fan of science fiction, but I had the pleasure of reading Trent’s Ten Thousand Thunders early on in my time using NetGalley, so I have some fond memories and a particularly strange soft spot for his books.

First Impression: Based on how the first book went for me, I’m expecting a stunning sci-fi story set out in space, and am completely comfortable with not understanding the science at all.

Middle Impression: So, this definitely feels more like military science fiction, so the science is, more or less, set at a minimum, which is great because it gives my brain space to figure it out. I also love that this book follows Ten Thousand Thunders some years into the future, but is told by a completely new character, whose voice I’m absolutely loving. There’s a lot of fighting and violence, so it’s brutal, but there’s also some really great humor peppered in, which I definitely love.

Last Impression: This was an intense story, full of militaristic battles and so many deaths and near deaths I lost count (but it’s okay because you can actually come back to life in a newly printed body). But there’s also some absolutely delightful humor peppered in. There were a lot of plots and plans in this story, but it all really boiled down to something fairly simple, though I loved and hated the way Harris, the protagonist, was just twisted this way and that by everyone around him. I hated that this book ended, so I’m hoping for another one.

Spells for Forgetting by Adrienne Young

Why I want to read this: I’ve seen so many good reviews for her YA books, so I thought that, since she has an adult novel coming out, I’d give her a try.

First Impression: So, the description sounds like a version of the story that played out in In the Shadow Garden by Liz Parker, which I just finished last week, so this will be interesting, and hopefully without all the alcohol. With romance, magic, and mystery, this should be a magical reading experience.

Current Progress: 10%. I don’t really know what’s going on, but I’m not exactly impressed by the main characters so far as one in particular is kind of rubbing me the wrong way. The people also feel like they have a thinly veiled dislike for the tourists they rely on to make a living and, considering I, as a reader, am essentially an outsider, I’m really not feeling welcomed by them. It’s been an interesting experience so far, so I’m hoping the story really kicks in soon.

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