3 Mini Reviews: Regency romance, farce and women’s fiction

Recently I read three books which I enjoyed but didn’t have enough to say about them to post a full review here. This is not a reflection on the books but rather on my lack of imagination! So here, in a few sentences, are my thoughts on the following books:

Three mini reviews

1. From Wallflower to Countess by Janice Preston. 4/5 stars.

From Wallflower to Countess by Janice Preston book coverThe blurb: click on the cover image to go to Goodreads and a description of the book.

My take:

In the interests of full disclosure, I know the author of this one! Jan is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and a lovely lady. This is the first book published by Mills and Boon I’ve read, although I’m not sure how I got to my age without reading one!

As you may have guessed from the cover, this is an English romance set in the Regency period. If you’re a fan of the specific genre and/or romance in general, I highly recommend you read this book. It’s extremely enjoyable, easy-to-read escapism with likeable characters. A fun read. It also features that most elusive of things: well-written sex scenes!

2. The Second Chance Shoe Shop by Marcie Steel. 3/5 stars.

The Second Chance Shoe Shop by Marcie SteeleThe blurb:
click on the cover image to go to Goodreads and a description of the book.

My take:

This is a well-written story with a solid plot. If you enjoy women’s fiction/ contemporary romance and found the characters sympathetic then I’m sure you’d love it. Unfortunately I failed to connect with any of the characters and so wasn’t swept up in their trials, tribulations and triumphs. I also found some parts repetitive.

3. Shizzle, Inc. by Ana Spoke. 4/5 stars.

Shizzle, Inc by Ana Maxwell book coverThe blurb: click on the cover image to go to Goodreads and a description of the book.

My take:

Ana is self-published and has a fantastic blog chronicling her writing, publishing and marketing endeavours. She designed that cover herself!

This is definitely a book for fans of high comedy/farce. It’s fast-paced and piles on the ridiculousness almost without pause. Crucially, it’s funny. I laughed out loud a couple of times and smirked many more. Even better, when I finished I realised I really want to know what happens in the next installment of the story. I’m looking forward to Indiot when it’s published later this year.

Finally, and as I said before, my failure to give these books a post to themselves in no way reflects on them. It’s just that sometimes my brain lets me down and refuses to come up with a few hundred words. My imagination goes on strike, leaving me with, “it’s (very) good: read it if you like this sort of thing!”

Does anyone else suffer from a lack of imagination sometimes when it comes to reviews? I hope it’s not just me! 🙂

Claire Huston / Art and Soul

38 thoughts on “3 Mini Reviews: Regency romance, farce and women’s fiction

    • Thank you. I felt really bad for not having written reviews for these books. After all, it’s not the fault of the books, but my brain!
      I’ve done similar things for ongoing series too. In fact, for the last couple I think I only put a short review on Goodreads and pasted a link to that in my Wednesday update post.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I have been trying to find the words to write the review of a thriller for the last three hours. My brain wants to play The Sims 3 instead and all I have is a blank page.
    Too bad you could not connect to the characters of The Second Chance Shoe Shop. It is always a bit disappointing when it happens.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m so glad it’s not just me! I end up putting myself under a lot of pressure to come up with something, particularly because I have to get some thoughts down before I can read something else (or I just forget what I wanted to say!).
      It was a shame because the writing was good and the ideas behind the plot were solid 😦

      Liked by 1 person

      • Last week I decided I would not start a new book before I had reviewed the last story I read. This is hell! I will probably give up, because it takes me so long to write reviews and I feel punishing myself with this new book ban won’t help the writing side.

        Liked by 1 person

    • It was either like this, or I only reviewed them on Goodreads. And I didn’t want to do this because two of them are very good and deserve a write-up in case someone else might want to read and enjoy them!
      Recently my brain only seems to want to cooperate for limited periods :/ Maybe I have reviewers’ burnout. Not sure if that’s even a thing though!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great idea to post mini-reviews. They’re great to discover a little about each. It’s hard to post review after review. Better not to force it. And you come out with these enticing short snippets ❤

    Liked by 1 person

      • I definitely think it is. I had started this year reviewing the books I was reading, but that ended quickly. I felt like most of what I was saying was repetitive. So now I delegate mini reviews to my WWW Wednesday posts.
        But I always find your reviews to be extremely insightful and helpful. Don’t sell yourself short my dear ❤

        Liked by 1 person

  3. No I completely get what you’re saying- it’s why I’m super lazy and don’t review tons of books- I can’t be bothered to come up with something more interesting to say- if the thoughts aren’t just popping into my head I can’t be bothered to think about it :p That said- I enjoyed this way of reviewing- it gave me a good quick overview and it’s actually better to just be made aware of books you might enjoy without necessarily having a whole review about them 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Shizzle, Inc. was definitely an entertaining read. I didn’t think I would’ve enjoyed it as much as I did since it’s not my typical go to genre, lol. I can’t wait to see what other shenanigans Isa gets herself into in the upcoming installment.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I thought the same! I hardly ever read high comedy and I went in a bit worried… but it was great fun 🙂 And I was amazed that by the end I wanted to know what Isa would be up to next! I honestly can’t see how things can become any more ridiculous 😉


    • It definitely took the pressure off and now I don’t feel guilty any more because these books deserved reviews, even if they were very short! And some times there isn’t much more to say than, “this is good, try it if it looks like the sort of thing you enjoy!”

      Liked by 1 person

      • Exactly! Some of the ones I’ve done mini reviews on I absolutely loved the books, but really didn’t have a whole lot to say about them (without spoiling!). I think sometimes the long reviews can feel a bit forced, so it’s refreshing to be able to write mini reviews.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. How many bloggers out there are at this very moment thinking: I should have done this instead of trying to extend a review that had done all that it could? The reviews did exactly what they were meant to so well done! Oh and yes, there are times when there are only so many ways to say you loved it or conversely that it wasn’t your type of book but others will love it (and in these cases you don’t want to start tearing apart every single thing you were unsure of as opposed the main things taht will draw someone in or put them off!) Great post!:)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you!
      I was slightly worried people might think I was just being lazy! I honestly couldn’t think of more to say beyond describing my overall experience of the books. But then I wanted to give them a review here because I think other readers would enjoy them and two of them haven’t received a great deal of buzz and I’d like to bring them to more readers’ attention.
      It’s also nice to read sometimes without the pressure from the thought at the back of your head: “I’ve got to write 400-500 words about this when I’ve finished”.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Haha! I have to say I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. It’s a typical romance plot, but it’s very well written and the characters are likeable. All in all, brilliant fun. It would be a good read on a nasty grey day like today to cheer you up.
      Anonymous downloading is a big perk of having an ereader 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: WWW Wednesday 11th May 2016 | Art and Soul

  7. Oh yes, I can relate to feeling uninspired to write a full review! That said, I agree that mini-reviews can be just right, especially if I’ve never read the book before and want to get a sense of whether I’ll enjoy it. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you!
      I love Ana’s blog so much. It’s fantastic how she shares everything she’s learning about self-publishing with everyone. And I still can’t believe she designed that cover herself! I’m looking forward to when Indiot comes out later this year 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • You’re welcome! I love Ana’s blog too! I love hearing about her writing journey. It’s so inspiring to see how loved her first book is. I’m sure Indiot will do just as good if not better.

        Liked by 1 person

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