Sunday, December 25, 2016

Packaged Thoughts Christmas 2016: All the Books I Didn't Review

There will always be those books that I absolutely would love to express an opinion on, but for one reason or another, it never actually happens.  In which case, I introduce my new feature, the "Packaged Thoughts" bundle reviews, wherein I will talk about a few random books I wanted to talk about, but just didn't really know what to say about in an actual review.

My first Packaged Thoughts was published on Christmas of 2015 and included a good number of books I never got around to reviewing, but not all of them.  So this year, I wanted to give a mid-year Packaged Thoughts a try and see how I like it as well:  Packaged Thoughts: All the Books I Will Probably Not Review.  This was published in June.

And now, here is the Christmas 2016 Packaged Thoughts!

Once again, if you've read my reviews and posts before, you know I'm prone to rambling on and on--opinion material for these books could potentially be enough for a review of their own.  But I'm not going to dwell on that.

by Nora Roberts
The Cousins O'Dwyer trilogy
#1) Dark Witch | Rating:  3.0 Stars
#2) Shadow Spell | Rating:  2.5 Stars
#3) Blood Magick | Rating:  2.5 Stars

I already wrote a pretty conclusive review for the first book in this trilogy--Dark Witch was enjoyable, entertaining, and the characters were great.  And so were the following two books of this trilogy: witches, magic, spells, evil, thousands of years of battle... etc...

Really, this entire trilogy was a big, long, drawn-out story that could have been told in one book, though.  The last installment was just kind of 'meh' in my opinion, but it was better than the second book, if only because it detailed some new developments, and was the conclusion.  The first book was the best of the three books, because it was the first time I read this story.  The second book was a bridge for the sake of having another couple, because it was essentially the same story as the first.

All the characters were all too perfect, the dialogue was a bit awkward, and everything was way too predictable, and not even interestingly predictable either.

For my first foray into Nora Roberts, I can't say that The Cousins O'Dwyer trilogy gave me much to go by.  Fortunately, the characters are exceptionally good people and not entirely flat or boring in their make-up... even if they are pretty perfect to the point that you kind of want to cringe.

by Jill Shalvis (audio book narrated by Karen White)
Animal Magnetism
#1) Animal Magnetism | Rating:  4.0 Stars
#2) Animal Attraction | Rating:  3.5 Stars

There are certain, specific authors who are really good at rehashing the same darn story line over and over again, yet at the same time manages to continue roping me into every one of their books.  Jill Shalvis is one of those authors.  Because while I complain whenever I read books that are essentially the same story as a previous book, I'm very forgiving when it comes to Jill Shalvis, for reasons I may never understand.

All I know is that I've enjoyed many books written by Shalvis and will probably continue to do so.  At the very least, they are entertaining with easy to like characters, as well as fun and witty when they need to be.

The first two books of Animal Magnetism are probably stories that Shalvis has written before: a contemporary romance wherein either one or both parties of the romantic couple have their commitment issues, but learn to overcome them thanks to each other, but not before there's a lot of misunderstanding and miscommunications involved.  Then, pick a new setting and you've got a Jill Shalvis piece.

At least the characters are usually witty and fun, the sex scenes steamy, the romances pretty sweet... and in this case, the animals are an extra 100+ points worth of added bonus.  I mean, there's a dog named Twinkles who likes to sit on peoples' feet (my dog totally does that all the time!), and a kitten named Beans who is just a ball of adorable, judgmental fur.  Ducks, piglets, and horses are involved as well.  Even if the human characters don't stand out, the non-human characters totally do!


Obviously this isn't much of a 'Packaged Review' considering it only involves two different series, totaling five books.  And one of those books, I DID indeed review.

For the most part, I actually did quite well reviewing the majority of my books read this year, especially during the COYER Summer Vacation (as only reviewed books counted towards that reading challenge) and Halloween Bingo (because I wanted to share my opinions of all books I read during that time).  There might have been one or two other books I didn't review... but I have plans for those.

Still, this post still resembles a small group of books I didn't review, especially for reasons pertaining to that I had no idea what I really wanted to say.

So, Merry Christmas everyone!  Enjoy a good day and thanks for reading!

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