Sometimes I don’t feel like writing a full review for whatever reason, either because life is busy and I don’t have time, or because a book didn’t stir me enough. Sometimes, it’s because a book was so good that I just don’t have anything to say beyond that I loved it! For whatever reason, these are books that only have a few paragraphs of thoughts from me.
The Distance Between Us by Kasie West – 3*
I’ve read a couple of Kasie West books, and I really like them. They’re everything YA chick lit should be – fluffy, funny, a little bit ridiculous, and overall just happy. They aren’t full of ridiculous amounts of angst or sexual dilemmas, just straightforward little stories with likable characters. That said, this wasn’t really my favorite book, mainly because I got so tired of Cayman constantly assuming that she already knows what everyone is thinking/what their motivations are… and she’s wrong a LOT. Consequently, all the misunderstandings seemed like they could have been avoided easily if Cayman would just USE HER WORDS and have some conversations. Despite my aggravation with her at times, I still liked Cayman and basically everyone else as well. Perfectly happy for a one-time read, and I really need to delve into some more of West’s back catalog.
Elizabeth Bennet’s Deception by Regina Jeffers – DNF (#20BooksofSummer)
I don’t usually worry about updating you all on DNF books, but since this was on my original list for my #20BooksofSummer challenge, I thought I would let you know that it was SO terrible that I didn’t even bother finishing! If you’re interested in the full rant, be sure to check it out on my P&P blog here. Meanwhile, I’ve selected another book to finish out the 20 Book challenge!
The Holiday Swap by Zara Stoneley – 3*
This was a free Kindle book that I got a while back. This summer, when we’ve been taking the Zeppelin out for the weekend, I’ve been loading some super fluffy Kindle books so I have plenty of spares, and this one totally fit the bill. Two friends have two bad romantic situations and decide to switch homes for a few weeks. While I enjoyed this story while I was reading it, it didn’t really inspire me to find more of Stoneley’s books, and I don’t really see myself going back to this one. It was a little too heavy on the “finding the right man fixes all your problems” (and I say this as someone who is happily married), and so it ended up feeling like neither of the women really grew that much – they just switched out their loser boyfriends for nice ones. It also seemed like it ended kind of abruptly – this is definitely a book that would have benefited from a little epilogue from a few years later talking about how happy everyone is.
The Pursuit of Mary Bennet by Pamela Mingle – 3*
Yet another book that I really wanted to like more than I did. While this was a perfectly pleasant sequel focusing on Mary, it was just rather unexciting. Lydia shows up with a new scandal trailing behind her, but somehow the story just didn’t quite click together. Many of the characters seemed rather stagnant, and I felt like Henry, in particular, was inconsistent. I did like Mary and it wasn’t a terrible story, but not one that I particularly see myself returning to.
My Man Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse – 4*
In my quest to read all of Wodehouse’s books in published order, this collection of short stories, many of which feature the Bertie/Jeeves combo, was next on the list. While Jeeves and Bertie made their debut in another short story collection (The Man With Two Left Feet), it is here that they begin to genuinely become the individual characters that are so beloved.
Overall, this collection was much more up to classical Wodehouse levels. While the Bertie tales were my favorites, there were some other solid little tales in this collection. This was the first collection where it felt like Wodehouse genuinely decided that all of this worrying about being serious stuff was really nonsense, and instead just embraced the joy of happy chaos.
Swamp Cat by Jim Kjelgaard – 3.5*
It had been a while since I picked up a Kjelgaard, and this was another one that I hadn’t read as a youth – so apparently our library didn’t have it! From the title, I assumed that the story was going to be about a Florida panther or a bobcat or some other type of wild cat – but it was actually about a regular domestic cat! Of course, Frosty isn’t really a REGULAR cat, as he learns to survive, and thrive, in the wilds. He of course adopts a young man who lives off the land, and I quite enjoyed the parallel story of Andy and the beginnings of his muskrat farm (right??). All in all, this was a surprisingly engaging tale. I read it as a free Kindle book, but I would definitely like to add it to my hard-copy collection if I can find a copy.
The Distance Between Us is my least favorite Kasie West book. I almost decided not to read her next book because of it, but of course I’m glad I still did because she’s one of my favorites now.
I’m confident that a lot of her other books are way better, so I definitely want to read some more – this one just happened to come up next! And even though I didn’t like it that well, I still appreciate her ability to write not-gross YA?? I’m not sure why so many YA authors seem to struggle with sex/drugs/swearing… how about we just don’t have that all the time!? So I like how West doesn’t succumb to the urge to make everything revolve around the terrible trio of vices!
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Definitely agree! Her books are much closer to what my high school experience was like (minus the romance haha)
Right?? I realize things are different from when I was in high school, but it’s just hard for me to believe that 100% of 15-year-olds are having sex. I also feel like fiction is somewhat a self-fulfilling prophecy, and by making these actions common/acting like that’s just “the way it is” and there are no other options – then younger readers feel like if they *aren’t* that way then they are weird/abnormal. I understand the concept of writing books with characters who have a variety of backgrounds/issues so that “everyone has a voice” but… I also don’t think there is anything wrong with writing characters who are better than their readers in an achievable way. Like, “Oh, she had a strong, romantic relationship without immediately shagging this guy, so maybe that’s actually a possibility” Anyway, I get all aggravated with authors acting like they “have” to write lots of sex/drugs/swearing because “that’s what kids understand.” I mean seriously.
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Completely agree!! And on an unrelated topic, I just got approved for Dead Drift a couple days ago 🎉
!!!! So jealous!! I’m going to have to reserve it from the library the old-fashioned way!! :-D
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