Ruminations on a Theme: Review of Three Wishes

Three Wishes (2016)
Written By: Lisa Manifold
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 188 (Paperback)
Series: Heart of the Djinn (Book 1)
Publisher: Self-published

Why I Chose It: Lisa Manifold was chosen as Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers’ Independent Writer of the Year last year. It was the first time they even had an Independent category, and I wanted to check out some books by the winner.

The Premise:

What I wouldn’t give for a do-over…

That’s the overwhelming thought for Tibby Holloway after a long night of eating too much ice cream and going over her missed chances.

She wakes up the next morning to find a free-lancing djinn sitting on her bed who makes her what could be the offer of a lifetime. He’ll give her three chances — three wishes — to go back and change her life. She can change her career, find the man she loves, go back and do it right this time.

But there’s a catch.

She can’t stay in any of the new lives her wishes create. Once she’s gone back three times, the djinn will decide where she ends up.

To find out what might have been, she has to give up control over what will be.

Would it be better to not even know?

That is a chance she’ll have to take — if she wants to have her Three Wishes.

Minor Spoilers Ahead

Discussion: I had a hard time with this book. I really wanted to like it. The premise was really cute and I mean, who doesn’t want the chance to go back and fix something they did wrong? But in the end, I think it just missed me.

I felt like the story began rather abruptly. Tibby is sitting there feeling sorry for herself, and a genie literally pops into her bedroom to offer her a chance to change everything. Just because he likes her. Poof. Not only did I not really care about Tibby or all her problems yet, I didn’t feel like she’d done anything to earn this chance. Most people who get wishes from a genie have to do something, even if it’s only rubbing a lamp. This felt contrived. And yes, I realize I’m reading a paranormal romance with a genie as a plot device, but at least help me believe it a little.

I really liked the idea of going back to fix past mistakes. There are a million little memories I can think of where I wish I’d said or done something differently. But Tibby doesn’t really go back to fix mistakes, she goes back to take opportunities she let slip by. And the first “opportunity” is to go out with a guy she turned down the first time because she had a boyfriend. I mean, she still has a boyfriend the second time around, but it’s okay that she dumps him for the new guy because he’s a Jerky McJerkface. Oh, and her second wish? To go back and go out with a different guy. Guess why she didn’t go out with him the first time. Cause she was dating Jerky McJerkface’s twin. Feel repetitive? I certainly thought so. Her third wish was different and a heck of a lot more fulfilling, but I’d lost what little respect I had for Tibby by then. And by the way, even ten hot boyfriend prospects would not tempt me to repeat any part of high school.

The whole set up felt self-indulgent to me. Like the worst kind of love triangle where the girl knows she’s taking advantage of the guys, but it’s okay because it’s just a dream and they won’t remember when they wake up. And she justifies it to herself by thinking this is a once in a lifetime opportunity, and she really needs to explore all her options.

Maybe this didn’t work for me because I’ve never in my life had more than one guy interested in me at once. I guess there was that one time in Barnes and Noble, but unlike Tibby, my boyfriend was awesome, and I didn’t have any desire to look for greener pastures. I know this happens to some girls (it must since the love triangle is such a popular trope, right?), but it felt so implausible. I think part of that was the nature of the genie, who dropped her into her memory right at the decision point. We had no time to get to know these men or why they wanted to go out with Tibby so badly.

That seemed to be a common thread. Tibby spends most of the book explaining everything to us, her feelings, her situation, her past, why she is the way that she is, so much so that we never really get to see these things. We know the guy is funny because she tells us he’s funny. We know she’s smart because she tells us she got into law school. We don’t get to see and realize these things for ourselves. And she spends pages ruminating on the way she’s grown and the things she’s learned, like an old Saturday morning cartoon with a moral agenda.

Tibby’s growth was the best part of the book. I just wish it had been handled differently. She does end up in a far better place than the self-pity puddle she was in when we met her. And her third wish almost made up for the other two. Unfortunately, it took up the least amount of time in the book.

In Conclusion: Honestly, I think I wasn’t the right reader for this, and I’m sorry for it. I had no patience or sympathy for Tibby as a character and the storytelling style didn’t work for me, with all the explaining and some weird point of view jumps. Despite all that, I did enjoy the ending. I thought she ended up with the right person in the right place, and she was much healthier for it. Does that make up for the rest of the book? Maybe it would for someone else, but it definitely didn’t for me.


  • Lane Robins August 30, 2017 at 2:20 pm

    Sigh. Paranormal romance seems to be so hard to get right.

    • Shara White August 30, 2017 at 3:01 pm

      Ilona Andrews gets it right!

      • Weasel of Doom August 30, 2017 at 3:34 pm

        Yes, she does!

      • Lane Robins August 30, 2017 at 3:37 pm



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