Last batch for April!!
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! Frequently, I’m just wayyy behind on reviews and am trying to catch up. For whatever reason, these are books that only have a few paragraphs of thoughts from me.
Where the Lost Wander by Amy Harmon – 3.5*
This was one of those books I wanted to like more than I actually did. It had been a while since I had really immersed myself in a historical fiction, especially one set during not-a-war. Overall, I felt like this Oregon Trail based story was well-told, but I personally found the two first-person voices to be incredibly similar, especially considering that they shouldn’t have been similar at all. Yet I found myself not infrequently flipping back a couple pages to double-check who was talking. In the beginning of the story, Harmon sets the scene by killing off a huge pile of people – then goes back to the beginning of their journey to give me 200+ pages of getting attached to all the people I know are going to die. I had a lot of mixed feelings on that – it made it really difficult to emotionally connect to the characters, but I can’t imagine how mad I would have been if they had all died without me being mentally prepared!
But overall, that was really my issue with the story – despite a lot of emotional, high-stakes occurrences, I just never really connected with the characters and often felt like dramatic, horrific things were relayed rather clinically, especially for a first-person narrative. The story itself was well-told and I felt like was well-balanced as far as bad guys/good guys/complicated scenarios, but I never really felt like the characters were real people.
Divots by P.G. Wodehouse – 4.5*
Only Wodehouse could make me enjoy reading a collection of short stories centered around golf! Tales told by the “Oldest Member” of the golf club to generally unwilling audiences, these stories are typical Wodehouse fluff. If you aren’t into golf and have never read Wodehouse, I probably wouldn’t start here, but if Wodehouse is your jam, these were pretty fun, even if a bit ridiculous!! I was honestly surprised at how entertaining I found these.
This book was also published as The Heart of a Goof.
Big Jump for Robin by Suzanne Wilding – 3*
Sometimes I buy a book just for the cover, and this was definitely the case when I purchased this one at an antique store back in 2005. I can’t resist Sam Savitt’s illustrations! Overall, this was rather typical 1960s horse-girl-story fare. The story opens with Robin selling her pony to the neighborhood Obnoxious Rich Guy because she has overheard her parents worrying about money and wants to do her part. Throughout the story, Robin works hard to help her family and become a better horsewoman, and I was definitely rooting for her. The story was rather underdeveloped in places and didn’t turn into a new favorite, but Savitt’s illustrations mean that I’ll keep it on my shelf despite the fact that I don’t particularly yearn to reread it.
Vespertine by Margaret Rogerson – 3.5*
This was a traveling book club book, and probably not one I would have read on my own. I really enjoyed the world-building here and the way that religion was a legitimate part of life, where prayers and such actually did make a difference. However, the whole bad guy/good guy aspect felt consistently muddled and I was frequently uncertain who I was actually supposed to be rooting for, and demon possession, even in fantasy-land, doesn’t seem like something fun and fluffy to be embraced. It wasn’t a bad story, just not exactly my jam.
The Titan’s Curse by Rick Riordan – 3.5*
The third book in the Percy Jackson series confirmed my opinion of them as solid but not mind-blowing books. I’m enjoying the series but don’t really see myself rereading them again and again. The characters are likable and the adventures engaging, and I do love some of the modern interpretation of the gods, but they somehow just lack that special magic that really connects me to a series on a deeper level.