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June 2017 Mini Reviews

by Kellyn Roth |
June 8, 2017

Today I’m going to be reviewing six lovely books. Most of them are historical romances. Okay, all but one are historical romances. *hides* Sorry, guys … I tend to stick to one genre most of the time. And then get behind reviewing them because I read them for pleasure, not for review. *shrugs*
On other news, I’ve moved my schedule to Monday and Thursday instead of Tuesday and Thursday. I think this will be better because it spreads the posts out somewhat (and give us a bit of variety, as reviews are going to be only on Monday except when I can’t help it for whatever reason).
I’m going to try to post more fun stuff over the summer. Sorry for all the dull reviews! I have about twenty-five books that need to be reviewed at this point – some of which I’ve read, some of which I haven’t.

The 39 Steps by John Buchan


Okay, to be honest … I found this one a little dull. It was just a lot of Richard Hannay rambling through Scotland meeting random people, most of whom had thick accents I couldn’t decipher. And occasionally he’d almost get caught by the bad guys in an attempt to liven things up.

Just not my thing. The prose was unnecessarily lengthy, and it worked too hard to be funny. In a conceited way. It was hard to understand and hard to barrel through. I had to skim several times because I just couldn’t take it any longer.

3/5 stars

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At Your Request by Jen Turano


This novella prequel to the Apart from the Crowd series was cute and sweet. As it’s a novella, I won’t comment too much on plot or character development, but it was fairly well done. There was several situations that had me laughing.

However … I think it was just too ridiculous for me. Not too historically accurate, either. If you want to know why, read this review. It had me in stitches. 😛

3/5 stars

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A Heart Set Free by Janet S. Grunst


Well, that was surprisingly good! I wasn’t expecting much from this free download, but I really enjoyed it. It was a cool historical romance. There was some content (basically, an arranged marriage is involved, and we know that the couple hasn’t consummated their marriage … until they do, which is very briefly mentioned at the end), but not much, which was nice.

I enjoyed the characters – especially Matthew’s children. The spiritual content was cool, too, and I enjoyed the setting. When I read this book, I’d actually just been reading about the Colonial era, so it was pretty cool. And then I love Scottish characters. So there’s that. 🙂

4/5 stars

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Gentleman of Her Dreams by Jen Turano


A prequel novella to Ladies of Distinction was both amusing and sweet. I enjoyed the characters (although the leading lady annoyed me a little at the first; I soon became amused and even affection, though) and plot. Again, it was a little ridiculous (as with At Your Request), but not too much. I was impressed with the author’s style.

4/5 stars

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When Breaks the Dawn by Janette Oke


The third book in the Canadian West series did not disappoint! True, it was a little draggy at points, but I still enjoy Elizabeth and Wynn and all the people at Beaver Creek. I think I’m just about done with this series; I’ll probably read the next book and then stop.

SPOILERS! I guess I’m just disappointed that Elizabeth and Wynn didn’t have a child … and in all likelihood won’t, from what I can tell. END OF SPOILERS!

4/5 stars

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To The Farthest Shores by Elizabeth Camden


(This is a longer review; forgive me! I got rambly …)

The cover is gorgeous. The setting was amazing. San Francisco, early 1900s … really cool. There was lots of stuff on Japanese culture which was AWESOME (yes, it deserved to be capitalized), and I enjoyed both Lily and Finn immensely. Especially Finn … he’s got to be one of the best characters ever. I was just, “Why don’t you just marry him, Jenny?!” I seriously want to see a book about him. Please, Ms. Camden? Please?

But the rest of the book … I just didn’t enjoy it.


Let’s start with Ryan. He’s the son of a Christian missionary who was able to keep it together and not fall apart at the teasing and shunning of the children (and then adults) he met in Japan.

But he’s also the kind of man who would promise to marry a woman and then go off and sleep with another one. Just because he was upset about not being able to return to Jenny? Supposedly permanently? But later on, he can just request to leave Japan because he wants to get Lily away. Inconsistencies, anyone?

So … to recap, he slept with his childhood best friend – who had a long time crush on him – because he was sad that he couldn’t marry Jenny (uh …? So this was like a rebound thing? I … I’m sorry, but this doesn’t fit with Ryan or with common sense). He conceived a child by her (Akira was her name) from that one night … and married her. ‘Cause he’s an honorable guy? Oh-kay …

And then later on he returns to the States. Because it was that easy for him to come back all along. Which leads us to Jenny.

Jenny had no idea where Ryan was or what he was doing, though she did know that he wasn’t going to come back to her. Because he wrote her a note saying so. And hiding the true reason for his betrayal. #cliché (Although not in a bad way, really.) Anyway, she learns he’s back and has a little half-Japanese daughter (who is so cute!) and is all betrayed. Even though she should be used to the whole #betrayal thing by now. Because it’s been like six years.

So, poor little abused Jenny – who still loves Ryan – works the night shift at the hospital and basically feels sorry for herself and hates Ryan and stares at him longingly and then hates him again.

Ryan – who is a pearl farmer now, by the way – is trying to train Finn, his royal awesomenesss, to be a spy in Japan just like him. But Finn has a problem – an opium addiction. He needs a nurse to help him get Finn back on the straight and narrow, and who better to help than his ex-girlfriend who he betrayed?

Let’s take a moment to realize three things.

1: Jenny and Ryan only knew each other for a couple months six years back.

2: Jenny and Ryan were never actually married, and the engagement was suspect.

3: Jenny and Ryan really aren’t compatible.

So obviously Ryan decided to get some nurse he didn’t have a past with, right? ‘Cause he’s supposedly so smart, right? Wrong.

Well, then, he was a model dude and won her heart back ’cause he’s obviously reformed, right? Wrong.

Ryan lies to Jenny about little, insignificant things. And Jenny gets furious every time she discovers another little, insignificant thing that’s happened. And Ryan acts stoic. And then he’s heartbroken about his dead wife. Who he loved? No, wait, he didn’t … or did he? This was never explained. And someone’s gonna kill Ryan but he doesn’t even care and the whole thing is resolved too easily and it’s kinda random and Lily’s granddad is insane.

That’s basically the summary of the middle of the book. The ending was sloppy. First, these two people were never meant to be together. But if they must be together, then both of them must make some serious concessions. Especially Ryan-of-the-Many-Daces. However, Ryan just apologizes (for the hundredth time) and everything’s okay. Say what now?!

I could go on, but I won’t. I don’t want a fan of this book – or the author – to read this review and get depressed … well, even more depressed. This is in no way meant to offend or hurt Camden fans or Ms. Camden herself. Quite honestly, I believe Camden is a talented authoress, and I really respect her – especially her original plots, characters, and settings. But this book just didn’t work for me. I didn’t mean to sound cruel or hateful, so please don’t take it that way.

2.5/5 stars

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Well, there you have it. Sorry for the *coughs* rambling up there. Next week I’ll hopefully be getting back into the swing of things with a review (or reviews) every Monday and a most original post every Thursday.
Thanks for hanging with me while I figure my schedule out! 😛

~Kellyn Roth~

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Have you read any of these books? Will you read them now? What are your thoughts on my, um, harsh review of the last book? *blushes*

What do you think of my thoughts?

5 Responses

  1. Ahhh … You actually wrote my thoughts on To The Farthest Shore really well. XD I mean … I love Camden but that book I really didn’t like as much. RYAN AND JENNY MAKE NO SENSE TOGETHER. Seriously, like you said: they’re incompatible. I just really need the library to get her other books which I’m fairly positive I’ll enjoy way more. XD
    ANYWAY, lovely reviews, Kell! 😀

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