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!
The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune – Fantasy
Why I want to read this: It’s time. I’ve had this on my shelf for almost 2 years, so I figured now was as good a time as any, especially now that I’m not reading glowing reviews every other week. I think the pressure of the book having to be fantastic has ebbed.
First Impression: I don’t know! I’ve read so many reviews over the past couple of years that I know to expect a warm hug, but I also don’t do well with reading over-hyped books, so my initial impression is that this book scares me.
Middle Impression: Well, it’s definitely soft and sweet, but I can’t help thinking that, if you switched out the children for people with psychiatric disorders, well, you basically have our world. Considering I was supposed to become a clinical psychologist, I feel quite sad that it’s taken this long for “different” individuals to have a voice and to be seen as being just lovely the way they are. Am I blown away? No. Do I feel like this is a hug? Not really. It feels like it’s full of all the life advice and observations I’ve collected over the years all in one book. But I am charmed by how it somehow manages to remind me of The Phantom Tollbooth and Something to Live For by Richard Roper.
Last Impression: This is cute, cozy, and sweet, though a little too much felt a little too convenient. There’s one character from the village whose change of heart felt a little too sudden, but I suppose it was necessary to keep the book light and fluffy. There’s a very good message in these pages, and a very sweet family to be found, as well as sweet LGBTQ romances, but too much of it felt overly dramatic, which gave me the odd sensation of watching a children’s movie. Unfortunately, while it is very sweet and soft, it’s unlikely to be one of the books I seek out for comfort, or even remember much of because it was a little too soft for me.
Re-Birth by Cristoph A.T. – Fantasy
Why I want to read this: Simply put, I’m intrigued by the idea of rebirth. Lately, I’ve been watching a lot of Chinese historical dramas and there’s a lot of talk of the next life, so I suppose this book is coming at a time when I’m most interested in the idea.
First Impression: I’m aware this is aimed at a YA audience, but I still think it sounds interesting, though the cover reminds me a bit of anime, which I don’t watch or particularly enjoy, so I’m going into this one with caution, but an open mind.
Middle Impression: This book has an interesting concept (murdered young woman reborn as a baby in a completely different world, but still has most of her memories and knowledge of her previous life), but it’s almost entirely all about the world building. I do think it’s important as this world is so different from our own, and it’s great to get a tour guide of sorts through the main character, but there are a lot of info dumps. I don’t really know what this is about, but there seems to be a mystery being introduced. The treatment of females is also a little grating on me. Though the artwork in the book is nice, though it only reinforces that anime feeling I’m getting.
Last Impression: While there is a bit of plot and mystery in the second half, this whole book is basically set up and world building. It’s an interesting world, though there were some customs I had to sit with to make it feel comfortable. There’s also a surprising amount of math, and I’ll just have to trust that it makes sense because I am not a math person.
The Fountain by John A. Heldt – Historical Fiction
Why I want to read this: I’m not a big fan of historical fiction, but it’s set during the months leading up to the 1906 quake and fire in San Francisco, so I’m intrigued. I also like the idea of following three siblings who get to enjoy a second youth as they travel back in time.
First Impression: This has a really interesting concept, that of a Fountain of Youth that can take people backwards in time and give them younger bodies. The author has assured me this is less historical fiction and more family saga, so I can’t wait to see what’s in store for three elderly siblings who get to experience youth in a different time period.
Middle Impression: So far, this is really interesting. I loved the early set up of the relationship between the siblings, though, once they travel back, it’s now starting to feel more like historical romance as they quickly pair up. There isn’t as much emphasis on the world building, so I struggle a bit with picturing 1905 in San Francisco, and the different paths the siblings take makes me sad that they’re not as close as they were right at the beginning.
Last Impression: This is such a sweet story of family, love, and second chances. The ending really hurt to read, and I must say I haven’t cried while reading many indie books, so this one really touched me. The siblings were just beautiful, even if I did want the other characters to make demands of why they were so weird. I did expect a little more maturity from them as they’re actually quite elderly, but it was also so nice to see them embrace and really take advantage of their newfound youthfulness. The one thing that bothered me was the writing style as it tended to be too passive and sentences tended to repeat and expand on information given in a shorter sentence that immediately preceded it, so the narrative felt slowed down.
Holy Parrot by Angel A – Fiction, Religion
Why I want to read this: This is one that dropped into my inbox seeking a mini review so I’m obligated to read it. I’m a little hesitant as it crosses science and religion, but the description is written in a fun style, so I’m hoping it doesn’t take too serious of a turn.
First Impression: I’m afraid this will be a little too religious for me, but I’m hoping for a lot of life and fun in this book just based on the description.
Middle Impression: This is weird, but also interesting. Set in a small coastal Colombian village, I do feel transported, but the sudden rapport (not romance, I don’t think) between a college student and a teen girl who is supposedly pregnant with the next Christ is kind of odd. It does feel like there’s a tongue-in-cheek approach to religion, which isn’t solely focused on Christianity, so it’s fun and the characters are definite characters and are a lot of fun. A lot of this is just absurd, but it’s amusing.
Last Impression: Most of this was fun and I liked the characters, but it took a more religious turn at the end, so it wasn’t really my cup of tea. I liked the cross of science and religion, but, really, most of this book was about religion. Which is a shame because I found Leo’s research interesting and really wanted more of it to make its way into the book. It does nicely wrap up at the end, so that was a big plus for me as I don’t like loose ends, and there were quite a few things that could have been loose ends.
What about you?
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4 thoughts on “First, Middle, and Last Impressions – November 9, 2022”
There’s more than one anime, for example “That time I got reincarnated as a slime” that matches the plot of “Re-Birth”. I know you don’t like it but it was fun to watch!
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That sounds interesting! I’ve read a few books with at least some elements inspired by anime, so it’s making me a little more curious each time, if only so I can more accurately pinpoint the inspiration. Though they do tend to sound like a lot of fun!
I am intrigued by the idea of rebirth too. And it’s interesting because it is the one thing that many many religions have in common…a belief in rebirth. So you’d think there must be a legit reason it’s all woven in there. 😌
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That’s very true! So many religions and cultures are based around it. And then there are people who seem to remember entire past lives. I like to think it’s real, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed I can remember some of this life in my next one!
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