Sherlock Holmes-ish & Late Night Chats

AKA, mini-reviews of Jackaby and On the Fence.

Jackaby by William Ritter

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What I expected: a book inspired by Sherlock Holmes. What I didn’t expect: paranormal. Apparently I didn’t read the synopsis very closely. I spent the first bit of this book adjusting to the paranormal creatures that existed in this world, and once I was able to accept that, I was able to enjoy it for the most part. The narrator, Abigail, is discovering everything about this world along with the the reader, and is a good sidekick for Jackaby, like Watson is for Sherlock. Jackaby was eccentric, as expected from the book’s description, and I enjoyed him.

However, I felt there could have been further character development for Abigail, Jackaby, and Charlie, the latter being one of the more prominent secondary characters and potential love interest for Abigail. She is quickly attracted to him, which was fine for me, but I didn’t get enough interaction between the two of them to properly ship them. And Charlie seemed like a nice guy, so I wish I could have gotten to know him better. Hopefully in the next book there will be a little more of him.

The story moves pretty quickly, which I can appreciate, but the pacing and tone almost felt more young YA or maybe even middle grade. I didn’t have a real problem with this. but it was confusing since I never got a good feel for the characters’ ages, but Abigail can’t be younger than 18 (and she feels more like early 20’s), and Jackaby feels he could be any age between 22 and 35ish.

Overall, this was a fun and quick read for me, and I’m definitely interested in reading more. However, I would have liked an additional 50ish pages to flesh everything out a little more, especially the characters.

Rating: 4 stars

Content Advisory: Pretty clean. Some violence, no sexual content, and I don’t recall any language.

On the Fence by Kasie West

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After enjoying The Distance Between Us, I immediately put On the Fence on hold at my library, ready to enjoy more by this author who is quickly becoming a go-to for me. Out of all of West’s books I’ve read so far (which is everything she’s published except The Fill-In Boyfriend), this one is easily my favorite. I enjoyed Charlie’s relationship with her brothers, her late-night chats with Braden, and her time at work. I also really liked that this book takes place in the same town as The Distance Between Us and we get some cameos from those characters!

I think in comparison with the romances in Kasie West’s other books, this was the romance that felt the most natural. I did like Addie and Trevor, though much better in Pivot Point than in Split Second; Lyla’s romance in Split Second came out of left field for me (I don’t even remember her dude’s name); and Cayman and Xander were cute but it did feel unrealistic for me, or at least I should say it felt unrealistic that it would last. Of course, I do have a deep love for the best-friend-turned-romance trope, and if you do too, I think you’ll enjoy this one as well.

I don’t have any real complaints about the story, it just didn’t blow me away to a 5 star level. I thoroughly enjoyed it from beginning to end, and was surprised in the end by the twist of Charlie learning more about her mom.

Rating: 4 or 4.5 stars (I’m indecisive, I know)

Content advisory: Clean – no violence, only a little kissing, and I don’t recall any language.

Have you read Jackaby or On The Fence? What are your thoughts?

7 Responses to Sherlock Holmes-ish & Late Night Chats

  1. I’m glad both books were great reads for you, for the most part! I haven’t had a chance to read them – Jackaby sounds more interesting to me with the supernatural aspect now. And Kasie West I’ve heard good things about, but it’s so rare I’m in the mood for contemporary. Oh well. I see that you are currently reading Austenland – I hope you are enjoying it! 🙂

    • I’m not usually into contemporary either, but Kasie West is being an exception for me! Even though her characters don’t make perfect choices there isn’t usually the same level of drama involved as there is a lot of time in YA contemporary. And yes, I’m enjoying Austenland; it’s pretty funny!

  2. I haven’t read either of them but am really looking forward to read both! Jackaby sounds pretty intriguing and though I haven’t read any of Kasie West’s books as of yet, I do have The Distance Between Us on my shelf. Hehe. Great review!

  3. I thought maybe this post was about the TV Sherlock! I don’t think a fantasy retelling of Sherlock would be my cup of tea but I’m glad that it worked out ok for you in the end.
    I really enjoyed On The Fence, I think KW has the market in cute, contemporary ya romances cornered. Her characters are a lovely blend of realistic and relatable and I love the dry wit that runs though her books.

  4. I have to admit, I like The Distance Between us more than On the Fence. But I definitely liked On the Fence. It is sweet and fun and I loved her relationships with her brothers so much. The twist at the end I could have done without. But I think it’s a sweet, fun book and Kasie West is totally a must read for me at this point 🙂

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