Mini-Review · Quick Lit

Quick Lit #7: The Summer of Meh

For my visitors from Modern Mrs. Darcy, I first want to say welcome! I’ve been on a break for some time due to moving and have spent this month slowly getting back to blogging. Due to stopping and starting it took me two months to get through the three books below.

Ok, so that title might be harsh, but all the books I’ve read this summer have either been 3 or 3.5 stars on Goodreads. None of them were terrible, just had issues that kept me from loving them.

The Nightingale – Kristen Hannah

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The Nightingale follows two sisters as they both endure many hardships during the German occupation of France. As the Nazis make daily life harder for the french citizens, Vianne and Isabelle must figure out how to fight back in their own way.

I really wanted to love this book, especially with the high praise from the Goodreads community, but I thought it was just okay. With historical fiction I like to read about events or time periods that I’m unfamiliar with, some element that’s fresh and new. So the reason why I didn’t love The Nightingale is more my fault, as I should of done more research about the book or waited longer to read it.

Over the past few years I’ve read a few books about WWII, and one recently about the French occupation (All the Light We Cannot See, which I loved). The Nightingale just had similar beats and is quite a lengthy book, so I felt my mind drifting. I know Kristin Hannah has written a few books, so I want to give her another chance, as I had no issues with her writing.

Verdict: The story is beautiful and well-written, so if you are interested in this era or historical fiction in general I would still recommend on giving The Nightingale a try.

A Reaper at the Gates – Sabaa Tahir

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Since this is book #3 of the An Ember in the Ashes series this review will be brief as a majority of the plot is spoilers. I’ve been straying away from Dystopian YA as of late, but this series has kept my interest. I genuinely like the three protagonists, the villains and the supernatural elements throughout.

The first half of the third installment was a bit drawn out for my taste, but the back half made up for it. Since there’s one more book left I think Tahir did a great job of shaking up the character’s positions and set everything up for the final showdown. I just think that getting our main characters where they needed to be could have been handled better.

Verdict: If you’re a fan of the series then I don’t think the third book will disappoint, you might just have to be patient for the good stuff to happen.

Jane Steele – Lyndsay Faye

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I’m not a huge fan of the mass amount of retellings of famous novels. Not because I’m a purist, but most of the time I find them boring because they try to stick too closely to the original book. So I wasn’t sure about Jane Steele until I heard she was a murderess, and my dark side thought, “Why not?”.

I liked that the reason our protagonist is writing her ‘autobiography’ is that the novel Jane Eyre exists in her reality and the amount of similarities propels her to tell her story. I found this dark twist (murder!) on the tale very interesting and I really enjoyed the book… for the first ⅔ of it anyways.

The ‘B-plot’ that was already losing stream by the second volume, so when it became the focus in the third (and last) volume I was baffled. The tone of the book was consistent throughout the first two volumes and then in the third everything started to unravel. Somehow I wandered into a low-rent mystery called ‘Jane and the Missing Trunk’. I was having NONE OF IT.

In Jane Eyre the mystery element was so pivotal to the lives of the main characters, not just some thing to jazz up the plot. The fallout also changed everything and propelled a separation that was very important to our heroine’s journey. Sure, Jane Steele got some important revelations, but the separation didn’t seem as pivotal or needed.

In this re-telling I found Jane to be so interesting and I loved her dark sense of humor (and narration). Not only am I given this dull mystery but Jane becomes lost to me as her character becomes so… generic. Especially in the last 100 pages. I wish I could give more details but I would be venturing into spoilers territory.

Verdict: Great until everything became mediocre, especially the anti-climatic ending.

Quick Lit is a monthly feature hosted by Modern Mrs. Darcy. If you would like to participate, the post/linkup usually is every 15th.

Update: Edited an Author’s name.

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8 thoughts on “Quick Lit #7: The Summer of Meh

  1. Tasheena, I love how you put it, ‘I really wanted to love this book’ … I’ve had so many of those experiences. These days if I’m not excited after 50 pages, I’m done. Too many books, too little time!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. The Nightingale is one of my favorite books. I love how the author explored the lives of these two women and the roles they played during WWII, which I thought was a fresh and new element. Both women experienced frightening and difficult situations, but they showed great strength, courage, and perseverance. But yes, WWII is the backdrop for many books and all of them can’t be everyone’s favorites. I’m always interested in reading other readers’ thoughts on books I’ve loved. Thanks for sharing! (By the way, the author is Kristin Hannah, not Hannah Kent.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahaha, oh my goodness, that’s embarrassing. I was just looking at Burial Rites and my mind betrayed me!
      I’m glad you really enjoy the book, there’s much The Nightingale offers in terms of women in war and their point of view.

      Liked by 1 person

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