Friday, April 26, 2024

Friday Fives - Five Quick Reviews For Books I've Read Recently

I'm in a list making kind of mood so I thought I'd start making random five lists.  Sometimes they'll be bookish other weeks not so much. This week I'm sharing 5 quick reviews for books I've read recently.

1.  The Art Thief by Michael Finkel - I'm fascinated by this historical implications of art and art theft.  This was the story of a French art thief, Stephane Breitwieser, who believed himself not a thief but a collector.  The author does a fantastic job of telling the story and allowing the reader to understand Breitwieser without glamorizing him or making him sympathetic.  The importance of the art and the potential loss is staggering.  This reads quickly and I was engaged from beginning to end.  My Rating: Really Liked It (4 Stars)  

2.  Assistant to the Villain by Hannah Nicole Maehrer - I wasn't quite sure what to expect with this one but I ended up thoroughly enjoyed it.  Evie is a delightful character.  She's impulsive but not an idiot about it and her motives are always good hearted.  She's also hilariously okay with finding severed heads hanging from the ceiling and various other villainous activities.  I loved the Villain and was curious about his backstory from the beginning.  I loved Becky and Gage and Kingsley and Tatiana as well.  There's humor, suspense, characters getting to know themselves, and a touch of romance.  I did find the audio a bit slow and listened to it .5 faster than I usually do.  By the end I was so hooked on the story I immediately went and pre-ordered the next book because I HAVE to know what happens next.  My Rating: Really Liked It! (4.5 Stars)

3.  Charms and Chocolate Chips by Bailey Cates - This is a really cute magical cozy series centered around a bakery in Savannah, Georgia.  There's a fun group of characters both magical and non-magical and I love seeing all the familiars.  This one not only had an interesting mystery but had some relationship growth in several areas of Katie's life that I enjoyed.  This is a series I think I'm going to roll into my series project soon to concentrate on finishing it. It's a bit light and fluffy but a nice read. My Rating: Liked It! (3.5 Stars)

4.  At the Chinese Table: A Memoir with Recipes by Carolyn Phillips -
I love a foodie memoir but Chinese food has never been high up on my interest list though through homeschool study with my son I've become more interested in Chinese culture.  This was an interesting read.  The author's love and deep appreciation of the food shines through as well as her awareness and respect for the culture and languages.  I enjoyed her experiences trying food as a college student and then again later as an adult.  Each chapter is ended with detailed recipes that she has clearly tried and worked on and is full of insightful notes.  If you're looking for an in-depth look of either Chinese culture or cuisine this isn't it but this does provide an interesting and insightful overview.  My Rating: Liked It! (3.5 Stars)

5.  A Grave Robbery by Deanna Raybourn -
I have really enjoyed all the books in this series and this one really worked for me.  After some time estranged Veronica and Stoker are back together with a deeper understanding and appreciation for each other.  The mystery is a novel one.  Who is the "beauty" - a young woman preserved in an extraordinary fashion and made to look like a waxwork.  This leads to an interesting mystery about the identity not just of the young woman but of just who preserved her and why.  I loved that not only do Veronica and Stoker ask from help from a reporter and a detective but these friends hold them accountable when Veronica and Stoker go off on their own a bit too much instead of relying on the team.  My only concern is that the end of this book reads like the potential end of the series and I'd be sad to be done with the world Raybourn has created.  My Rating:  Really Liked It (4.5 Stars)


  1. Assistant to the Villain sounds awesome!! I will have to read that one!

    And I hate when authors throw you a curveball like that, that makes you wonder if the end of the series is coming. I hope for you that the books continue for a while!

  2. You didn't rate A Grave Robbery. My team loved it and gave it 5 hearts.

    Anne - Books of My Heart

  3. I want Chinese food now, thanks a lot! :-)

  4. I've been wanting to read the Bailey Cates series. It looks so good.

  5. Assistant to the Villain was a good one, as was Raybourn. Excellent reviews!

  6. I'm waiting for The Art Thief and the new Raybourn from my library. Really looking forward to both especially because of your review!
    Mary @Bookfan

  7. Assistant to the Villain and The Art Thief are the two that appeal to me the most! :D

  8. I love seeing what you have been reading. All new to me. Assistant to the villain sounds really good and the fact that you wanted the next one so pre-ordered.

  9. The Art Thief, and At the Chinese Table both sound wonderful! I'm adding them to. Goodreads. 🖼🥡