Book Review: A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro

“A Study in Charlotte” by Brittany Cavallaro has been on my TBR for too long, so when I had the opportunity to grab a copy of this book the other day, I didn’t hesitate. It’s book one of a trilogy featuring the teenage descendents of the infamous Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. A young adult novel, author Cavallaro brings to life with great flair Charlotte Holmes and Jamie (just call me Watson) Watson.

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While there’s been several re-imagining of the Holmes/Watson dynamic for decades — from movies to television and books, Brittany Cavallaro manages to give it a fresh twist while maintaining the essence of the classics. Readers are introduced to Jamie Watson who’s been sent to Sherringford, a Connecticut prep school, on a rugby scholarship. Here he meets Charlotte Holmes, the great-great-great granddaughter of Sherlock Holmes. They quickly find themselves thrown together trying to solve a campus murder before the real murderer manages to frame them for the deed.

The development of both the teen Holmes and Watson characters is solid, Cavallaro manages to bring each to life without creating caricatures that fall flat. Charlotte Holmes  is a bit hard to like at times, as she should be — she’s very much like her great-great-great grandfather in that respect, thoroughly frustrating and angering Watson along the way. I loved Jamie Watson. He’s intelligent, loyal, and with just enough volatile temper that I’d definitely want him in my corner. And did I mention there’s Moriaritys involved?

I definitely recommend “A Study in Charlotte” to anyone who enjoys a well-thought mystery, YA drama, and strong characters that grow throughout the story. The pace is good, the dialogue witty, and the supporting characters add dimension.

Book 2 in the trilogy is “The Last of August” and it releases February 14, 2017. To discover more about author Brittany Cavallaro and her books, please check out her website here.

#Amreading in December

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I’m about 50 or so pages from completing my personal 2016 Goodreads reading challenge of 25 books. Once upon a time, reading 25 books in a year would not have been a challenge — I typically read twice that and often more. However, times change. Life changes. I write full time and some days after writing for clients and then adding words to my own WIP, I simply prefer to lose myself in a movie instead of a book. Still, I completed my Goodreads challenge, or I will later this week when I finish Chuck Sambuchino’s craft book “Get a Literary Agent” and 25 books in 2016 isn’t half bad.

That brings us to December. Now. I decided instead of continuing to work my way through my TBR pile this month, I would treat myself and indulge in a reread of a favorite series. Last year during the Christmas holidays I reread the Gone series by Michael Grant. The previous Christmas, I reread Harry Potter, although I usually do that reread in the summer.

This year, December 2016 I’m rereading Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments series.

If you enjoy reading YA with a supernatural/fantasy theme, then I highly recommend The Mortal Instruments Series.

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You can take a look at the different books here. Since the first book “City of Bones” was released in 2007, five more books were added plus a companion series called the Infernal Devices and a new sequel trilogy to the Mortal Instruments called The Dark Artifices, which begins with “Lady Midnight”. The next book after “Lady Midnight” is set to release in May 2017 and will be titled “Lord of Shadows”.

Currently, I’m on Chapter 20 of “City of Bones” and I’m enjoying it this time around as much as I did the first time I read it. I love the dialogue, especially the banter between Jace and Clary, even Simon’s commentary brings a grin while reading. I’m dreading the end of this book just a bit, because I do know what’s coming next and this particular end made me a bit growl-ly. However, it was a good end and fun way to lead into book 2 “City of Ashes”.

Whatever holiday you celebrate this time of year, I hope you’re experiencing peace and joy. And do I hope you’re making time for a good book or two or three.

Happy Reading!

If you have a spare moment, let me know in the comments below what you’re reading. I’m always looking to add title to my TBR list. Or which book(s) do you want Santa to bring?

 

 

Book Review: Uninvited by Sophie Jordan

Uninvited (Uninvited, #1)Uninvited by Sophie Jordan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It was one of those days when I was looking through the library on my Nook and I stumbled across a few titles I didn’t remember downloading. After reading the blurbs for about three different books, I settled on “Uninvited” by Sophie Jordan. This is the first book I’ve read by Jordan and I’m very glad it was on my eReader. “Uninvited” was an entertaining quick read and I’m ready to read its sequel.

“Uninvited” is set in the near future where U.S. residents are screened for the “kill” gene, also known as HTS. Those with the gene are considered “carriers” and the authorities and public just know that these carries will eventually do something violent, most likely murder.

Davy lives a normal life, fairly privileged. She’s well-liked, has a hot boyfriend, and is a music prodigy — until the unthinkable happens. She tests positive for HTS. She’s labeled a carrier and her whole life changes. She’s forced to enter a national registry, “uninvited” from her prestigious private school, shunned by her friends, and sent to the local public high school where others like her attend classes in the “Cage”.

In the Cage, Davy learns that while society sees her as a predator, among other carriers she’s more prey. She has to figure out the rules quickly or she may not make it to graduation. Fortunately, she does find unlikely allies with quiet Gil and somewhat scary Sean. Unfortunately, things nationwide worsen and those with the kill gene are rounded up and sent away.

Not a traditional dystopian YA book, “Uninvited” actually is quite unsettling when you think about the possibility of that kind of level of governmental influence in citizens personal lives. Author Sophie Jordan gives the reader a fast-paced story with strong characters that grow throughout the chapters. The action scenes are intense, while the romantic moments between Davy and Sean are a nice break in the pace.

I liked Sophie Jordan’s “Uninvited” and recommend it to anyone who enjoys YA and dystopian themes.

View all my reviews

Book Review: Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare gives fans of her Shadowhunters series a chance to spend some time at the Los Angeles Institute with the Emma Carstairs and the Blackthorn family. We met Emma, Julian, and the other Blackthorn siblings during the height of the Dark War. It’s five years later, Emma and Julian are now almost adults. They’re also parabatai. Their lives as Shadowhunters are turned upside when a lost family member is returned during their investigation into a string of murders that include both mundanes and faeries.

Book review Lady Midnight
Book Cover from Goodreads.

Emma becomes obsessed with solving these murders as each victim has been murdered in the same way her own parents were murdered several years ago. Author Cassandra Clare has expanded once again on her Shadowhunter world, effortlessly melding familiar characters with new for a tale that combines action, drama, romance, and the supernatural.

Fans of Clare’s Mortal Instruments series will be enjoy cameos by serie’s favorites Clary, Jace, and the one-and-only Magnus Bane. They’ll also be treated to appearances by Jem and Tessa from the Infernal Devices series.

Be prepared, Lady Midnight stretches on for almost 700 pages — but it’s filled with plenty of Shadowhunter action sequences, freaky demons, witty dialogue, and a romance you won’t want to miss. It is Book One in Cassandra Clare’s new The Dark Artifices series and readers are left with several questions unanswered at the end of this book. However, major plot lines are neatly concluded with others left dangling in directions that could prove to be quite interesting as the situations play out in the next book.

I give Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare 4 stars out of 5 on Goodreads and I will say that I’m looking forward to reading Book Two of The Dark Artifices.

If you haven’t read The Mortal Instruments or Infernal Devices series yet, visit Cassandra Clare’s site for more info.

Book Review: Bellamy Rising by A.E. Snow

Bellamy Rising” is the second YA book by A.E. Snow that I’ve enjoyed reading. Back in December, I read her novel “Meadow Perkins, Trusty Sidekick” and loved it. You can check out my Goodreads review of that book here.

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Recently, I received an ARC for her new YA book, “Bellamy Rising” and I’m so happy I had the chance to sit down and read this one as well. “Bellamy Rising” sucked me in and held my attention from start to finish.

It’s no secret I love YA and I love mysteries. When I find a book that successfully combines the two, I’m a happy reader. “Bellamy Rising” treads on the darker side of YA dipping into the paranormal and psyche of a cold-blooded killer.

Bellamy Foster, age 17, lives in Louisa, a small town where her orange hair, lip ring, and delinquent behavior help label her as a misfit and an outcast. However, it’s not her appearance or behavior that really sets Bellamy apart, it’s the visions. Bellamy is plagued with visions of death. When a cheerleader disappears on New Year’s Eve, Bellamy is the last person to see her alive, landing her in the middle of a police investigation.

Mason Ellis just wants answers. It was his sister that disappeared on New Year’s Eve and he’s hoping Bellamy can shed some light on what may have happened. When a second girl disappears, Mason and Bellamy intensify their search for the truth. Can Bellamy trust Mason with the secret of her visions?

Author A.E. Snow takes readers on an intense ride as Bellamy desperately searches for answers. There is no shortage of suspects and the story will keep you guessing until the final chapters.

As a reader, I loved the creepy setting of the decrepit, abandoned house and the equally creepy Robert Browning poem. Bellamy is a kick-ass character with just the right amount of vulnerability and honesty.

“Bellamy Rising” offers suspense, action, strong characters, and witty dialogue. I highly recommend “Bellamy Rising” — put it on your TBR List today!

Want to know a bit more about author A.E. Snow? You can find her here at her author website. You can also find her at the Writing Wenches.

Bellamy Rising: New YA Release from A.E. Snow

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BELLAMY RISING by A.E. Snow

What do an abandoned house, frightening visions, and a creepy poem have in common? A serial killer, of course.

A madman is on the loose in the small town of Louisa. Teenage girls are disappearing and then showing up dead. Bellamy Foster, a 17-year-old misfit, is having visions of the crime scenes and must find a way to use these visions to find the killer.

When a cheerleader disappears, Bellamy finds herself in the middle of a police investigation. After a second girl disappears, Bellamy goes on a search for the truth which leads her to an abandoned house, a tarot reader, and a poem.

Can Bellamy use her second sight to catch a killer before she becomes the prey?

ABOUT A.E. SNOW

A.E. Snow is a MG and YA author, mother, and pet wrangler. She lives in a tiny mountain town with her husband, two children, three cats, a dog, and a partridge in a pear tree.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/aesnowauthor

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/aesnowauthor/?ref=hl

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/aesnowautho0001/

Website: http://aesnowauthor.com/

 

ISBN: 978-1-5137-0400-5

Pages: 212

Contact:

A.E. Snow – aesnowauthor@gmail.com

Bellamy Rising:

  • Available on Amazon.com in Kindle and paperback versions
  • Available on BarnesandNoble.com in Nook and paperback versions
  • Available internationally – please contact us directly if you do not see it on your preferred book purchase website
  • Remember – you can always read for free on booktrope.com
  • Discounts or customized editions may be available for educational and other groups based on bulk purchase. For further information please contact info@booktrope.com

ABOUT BOOKTROPE

Booktrope is a new type of publishing company, founded in 2009 in Seattle, WA. We are pioneering a new type of book development process called team publishing. We are committed to the creation of quality books and to our unique marketing methods, which include offering all of our books online to read for free.

www.booktrope.com

 

 

Book Review: The Truth about Broken Trees

“The Truth about Broken Trees” is the third book in the Light Keeper series by author Kelly Hall. I like this series and book 3 did not disappoint, in fact, I’m once again anxiously awaiting the next installment. With a tumultuous teenage love triangle, ghosts, magical waters and several family secrets, “The Truth about Broken Trees” entertained from start to finish.

If you’ve been reading the Light Keeper series (and if you’re not, grab book 1 “The Legend of the Light Keeper” now) then like me, you’re invested in the Owen-Lily-Talon triangle. Should Lily be with Talon or with Owen? Personally, I’ve liked Owen from the start—he may be a smart-ass and have a bit of an ego, but he’s always looked after Lily, putting her first. Can’t say the same about Talon and “The Truth about Broken Trees” explores this more.

There’s a lot going on in this book. From exposed family secrets to deadly ghosts, lurking shadows—literally lurking in bedrooms, very creepy and a bit disturbing—to Owen and Lily learning how to work together to harness their powers into something more formidable. Yes, Owen has some special abilities as well, but that’s as close as you’ll get to a spoiler from me.Book 3 Light Keeper

I enjoyed “The Truth about Broken Trees” and highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys paranormal YA. It’s well-written with likable characters, strong dialogue and a solid story. Plus author Kelly Hall used a real haunted road as the source of inspiration for Bragg Road. It’s true, check out the pic of the real “Ghost Road” in Saratoga, Texas on her site.

This YA series offers a good balance of action, romance and paranormal mystery. Check out “The Legend of the Light Keeper” and “The Secret of Strange Waters” and then dive into “The Truth about Broken Trees” for a story you won’t want to miss.

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My review of Book 1: The Legend of the Light Keeper on Goodreads.

My review of Book 2: The Secret of Strange Waters on Goodreads.

Book Review: Knotted

“Knotted” by Quenby Olson

Funny, charming and delightfully witty, Quenby Olson delivers a winner with “Knotted.”

I’m a huge fan of YA and because I’m a fan, I’ve also become more picky (maybe it’s old age) about the YA that I choose to read. I’d already read Olson’s “The Half Killed” (a wonderfully wicked paranormal novel) and her romantic novella “First Position,” so I’ll confess it—I’m a fan of author Quenby Olson, her writing style and “Knotted” didn’t disappoint, keeping me entertained from the first page to the last.

“Knotted” takes the age-old tale of teen getting a new step-mother and completely

Knottedflips it around into a fresh, funny and unique story. After 17 year old Olivia Davies receives a call from her dad telling her he’s getting married, she finds herself headed to England to meet her future stepmother and spend time with the dad she’s not seen in a long time. Olivia is stunned to discover her stepmom-to-be, Emmy, is young enough to be her sister! Has her dad lost his mind?

I loved the honesty in Olivia’s reactions and Olson writes fabulous inner monologues for her characters. Throw in Emmy’s brooding older brother, the flurry of wedding prep and a stately English manor home complete with a gaggle of servants plus a Lord and Lady, it’s all a bit much for Olivia. But, she’s the type of character to step up and help, putting her dad’s happiness before her own. I liked Olivia. She was real and I could relate to her, something I consider important when I’m reading.

I’m not going to give any spoilers. There are a lot of ups and downs in “Knotted” as well as witty dialogue and a bit of romance. I really liked Olson’s details, she has a knack for painting the scene so it’s zero effort to become immersed. “Knotted” was a fast read for me—I finished it in two sittings. I highly recommended “Knotted” by Quenby Olson for anyone who enjoys YA and if you’ve never picked up a YA novel, this would be a good first. You won’t be disappointed.

Book Review: Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray

“Ordinary people were capable of extraordinary bravery. That was the only magic Sam knew or trusted.”

Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray (page 173)

My original review from 2015 stands in its entirety below. I’ve add a new pic and just a bit more to say as I’m currently re-reading this novel as part of my 2018 Summer of Re-Reads. First, I forgot how much fun this book (and the series) is! You’ve got to love a book with the opening line:

“Every city is a ghost.”

It’s just perfect and set the mood. My original review states that I found the book a bit slow for about the first 100 or so pages. I didn’t this time, and it may be because I went right from the first book to this one in the same day. There are a few spots that have lagged for me, but overall, it’s a great ride and I can’t wait to finish and step into book 3.

ORIGINAL REVIEW:

Lair of Dreams, the second novel in Libba Bray’s “Diviners” series continues the story of Evie O’Neill who has now become known as the Sweetheart Seer. As a reader, the first book of the series titled The Diviners held me riveted from start to finish. You can check out my GoodReads review of it here. However, Lair of Dreams started a bit slow for me. About 150 pages in, it started to pick up and then author Libba Bray had me again.

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Step into Lair of Dreams and the world of the supernatural, where having a special “Diviner” ability doesn’t mean you’re safe from ghosts and creepy crawlies that go bump in the night (or hide in forgotten New York subway tunnels.) While Evie is a Diviner with the ability to “read” objects, divining the secrets of the person who touched the object, other Diviners have the ability to walk in dream, makes themselves undetectable, create fire from their fingertips and even heal.

To save the city from the Sleeping Sickness that has it in its grips and thwart the evil that threatens everyone’s lives, Evie and her friends will have to work together, each using their individual gifts. Libba Bray weaves multiple story threads together, from Evie and Sam’s complicated relationship to Henry and Ling’s dreamwalking escapades, Theta’s secret and Memphis’ personal struggles, plus we can’t overlook Mabel and Jericho with his past. There’ a lot going on, but Bray intertwines each story effortlessly.

I really like the characters in this series, but what I enjoy the most is the setting. I love that this story is set in the Roarin’ Twenties—from the fashion descriptions, to music and especially the era’s slang, it’s just fun and keeps this reader completely immersed from page to page. Libba Bray also creates vivid imagery with her words throughout Lair of Dreams.

I’ll admit it, I’m a fan of this author’s style and I’m looking forward to reading the next book in the Diviners series, pos-i-tut-ly.