Book Review: A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro

Before getting into the review, I just wanted to say that I finally picked up this book in January after reading A Study in Scarlet thanks to Catch up on Classics¬† and I’m so happy I finally read this! (Also, can you tell I’m really behind on reviews ūüė≠)

A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavarallo Cover and Review

Title: A Study in Charlotte

Author: Brittany Cavallaro

Published by: Katherine Tegen Books

Publishing date: March 1st 2016

Genre: YA Mystery

Pages: 321

The last thing Jamie Watson wants is a rugby scholarship to Sherringford, a Connecticut prep school just an hour away from his estranged father. But that’s not the only complication: Sherringford is also home to Charlotte Holmes, the famous detective’s great-great-great-granddaughter, who has inherited not only Sherlock’s genius but also his volatile temperament. From everything Jamie has heard about Charlotte, it seems safer to admire her from afar.

From the moment they meet, there‚Äôs a tense energy between them, and they seem more destined to be rivals than anything else. But when a Sherringford student dies under suspicious circumstances, ripped straight from the most terrifying of the Sherlock Holmes stories, Jamie can no longer afford to keep his distance. Jamie and Charlotte are being framed for murder, and only Charlotte can clear their names. But danger is mounting and nowhere is safe‚ÄĒand the only people they can trust are each other.

Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Nobles | IndieBound

Trigger warnings: substance abuse, sexual assault, murder, anger management issues. 

A Study in Charlotte is an enthralling and entertating read, that brings a unique spin to a beloved classic, with characters that are as captivating and complex as the ones in the original version.

The fact that the main characters are related to the original Watson and Holmes gives this book an interesting and unique premise that it’s very well executed. What makes this work is the little details like the fact that Jamie is an unapologetic fan of Doctor Watson’s writing and his stories, while Charlotte criticizes the liberties he takes with the narration of some of the cases, but at the end she loves the stories as well. Another details is the guide to being friends with a Holmes that is passed down in the Watson family, which was a really hilarious touch. There are more little details that tie the premise together and make it feel plausible because of how well integrated they are to the story.

The real strengh of the book lays in the main character, Charlotte and Jamie, and the relationship between them. They have an engrossing and strange dynamic, they feel like they were meant to be friends but still they have to actually get to know each other and learn to trust each other. Their dialogue and banter is incredibly entertaining, and the honest moments when one or both of them are being vulnerable are so precious that I feel like crying just thinking about them.

Jamie is just the sweetest boy, but not in a ‘Mr. Perfect’ kind of way, he is still a flawed and complex character. He’s a great narrator for the story and it’s really interesting to see him be this boy that romanticises people and situations and likes to write in his free time, and at the same time, witness him struggling to keep his anger management issues under control.

Seeing Charlotte through Jamie’s eyes is such a enthralling experience. She is brilliant, sarcastic, blunt, calculating and bossy, but she also has insecurities and she has been hurt before, she is a bit lost and lonely and a fantastic main character. Through Charlotte’s journey, Cavallaro explores heavy subjects like¬†substance abuse and sexualt assault and she does it in a raw and delicate way that it’s captivating and heartbreaking at the same time. This two subjects are present thorughout the book and are never forgotten or dissmissed, we get to see how they affect Charlotte’s live and her reactions and perceptions of things.

My one problem with this book is that the case wasn’t that interesting to me for a big portion of the book, because for a long time there are no new leads or the clues they have lead nowhere, so the case lost importance to me. This book is still a 5 stars read because during that time where not a lot is happening with the case, I was still fascinated by Charlotte, Jamie and their relationship. Also, there’s a point, when the case starts to move along and things get interesting and there’s twists and turns that I didn’t see coming at all, and it makes up for that portion of the book when the case didn’t seem that interesting.

Overall, I found this to book to be highly engaging and I couldn’t help but fall in love with the characters. I would totally recommend it!

Rating: 5 stars 
Have you read this series? Are you planning on reading it? Are any Sherlock Holmes retellings or adaptations that you would recommed? 

Add me on

Goodreads | Bloglovin | Twitter  | Pinterest | Tumblr 

Advertisements

Book Review: Are you Seeing Me? by Darren Groth 

Are You Seeing Me

Title: Are You Seein Me?

Author: Darren Groth

Published by: Orca Book Publishers

Publishing date: March 7th 2017

Genre: Contemporary

Pages: 278

Twins Justine and Perry have left their home in Australia and embarked on the road trip of a lifetime in the Pacific Northwest.

It’s been a year since their dad lost his battle with cancer and Justine became the sole caregiver for her autistic brother, Perry. Now Perry has been accepted into an assisted-living residence in their hometown, Brisbane, Australia, but before he takes up residence, they’re seeking to create the perfect memory.¬†For Perry, the trip is a glorious celebration of some of his favorite things: Ogopogo, Jackie Chan movies, and earthquakes. For Justine, it’s an opportunity to learn how to let go of Perry and of her boyfriend, Marc. Justine also wants to offer their mother the chance to atone for past wrongs.

But the instability that has shaped their lives will not subside, and the seismic event that Perry forewarned threatens to reduce their worlds to rubble…

Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Nobles | IndieBound 

Are You Seeing Me? is a bittersweet, beautiful and touching story that revolves around the personal journeys of the characters and the relationships between them. I’ll admit that it took me a long time to get into the story, because the writing style wasn’t for me.¬†Groth’s writing felt really choppy, especially at the beginning;he uses really short sentences and that doesn’t allow the story to flow. But at the end, I did manage to get over that and enjoy the book.

This story is about Australian twins.¬†Perry is Autistic¬†and Justine is his main caregiver, this is told in dual perspective, so we get to hear from both Perry and Justine. They are both wonderful and they love each other so much and I just wanted to cry over it. Their love for each other was the best part of the book and seeing them try to protect each other’s happiness was bittersweet at times, because in some situations it meant sacrificing what they wanted or were hoping for.

Justine is an amazing character, she is caring, patient, smart and funny, but she’s scared and stressed all the time because she has so much on her plate. As for Perry, he sometimes makes people feel uncomfortable because of the way he responds to situations, but he’s also articulate, smart and funny. Both of them are very compelling and likeable characters. I think it’s important to mention that the Autistic rep is NOT #ownvoices, but the author has a son that is Autistic and he wrote the book for him and his twin sister. I can’t really speak about how accurate the rep is, but here’s an #ownvoices review of the book.

One thing that I would like to mention is that Perry sometimes makes up movies on his mind and most of the time it’s easy to tell that it what he’s describing isn’t real. Nonetheless, at the end of the book, there’s a long and important part of the story that’s completely told like it’s a movie that Perry is making up in his mind, but at least part of it isn’t, and that makes it odd and a bit confusing. Even if that part didn’t work for me personally, I undertand that¬†it shows how Perry processes the world and how he deals with intense, scary things that feel out of his control.

Now, in terms of other elements that I enjoyed,¬†thorughout the book there are inserts of a diary the twins father kept for Justine since her birth until he passed away, and those parts are captivating and so emotional and it’s a great element of the story that adds depth to it and allows Groth to tell the backstory of their lives in an interesting way. The storyline with the mom is also fantastic,¬†I loved how her relationship with each twin develops, and how even with all the hurt, anger and disappointment that she had caused, we get to see her create new bonds with her children.

Overall, this is a heartwarming and bittersweet story with lovable characters and I would totally recommend it.

Rating: 3,6 stars  

Have you read this series? Are you planning on reading it? What books with autistic rep would you recommend? What books with great siblings relationships would you recommend? 

Add me on

Goodreads | Bloglovin | Twitter  | Pinterest | Tumblr 

 

Book Review: The Wicked King by Holly Black

The Wicked King Holly Black

Title: The Wicked King

Author: Holly Black

Published by: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Publishing date: January 8th 2019

Genre: YA Fantasy

Pages: 336

After the jaw-dropping revelation that Oak is the heir to Faerie, Jude must keep her younger brother safe. To do so, she has bound the wicked king, Cardan, to her, and made herself the power behind the throne. Navigating the constantly shifting political alliances of Faerie would be difficult enough if Cardan were easy to control. But he does everything in his power to humiliate and undermine her even as his fascination with her remains undiminished.

When it becomes all too clear that someone close to Jude means to betray her, threatening her own life and the lives of everyone she loves, Jude must uncover the traitor and fight her own complicated feelings for Cardan to maintain control as a mortal in a Faerie world

Goodreads | Amazon | Books Depository | Barnes & Nobles | IndieBound

The Wicked King is highly entertaining, full of twist and turns, and brimming with complex and compelling characters and relationships. As with the first book in this series, the tension is high, there’s never a moment of peace because the feeling that somthing is about to happen, most likely something bad,¬† is always present. This is full of angst, betrayal, deceive, lust, murder, mind games, viciousness and wit, all of it is so enthralling and intoxicating and Holly Black’s writing works perfectly to reflect that.

Jude has made it to my list of favorite main characters, she is cunning, coldhearted, strong, and even when¬†she’s outwitted and undermined and even plain defeated, she’s always scheming and getting back up and finding ways to beat everyone and keep her power. At the same time, she loves her family and she’s conflicted between her love for her family and her love of power, which makes her motives and reasonins more complex. She’s a three dimentional character and I liked that we get to see her afraid, sad, furious, desperate, vulnerable; we get to see so many sides of her.

When it comes to Cardan, I liked seen him grow as a character even if there were only glimpses of it because the story is told from Jude’s prespective.¬† By the end of the book, Cardan is a more confident, clever, strong, powerful, cunning character and it’s so good to see that. The whole storyline about the lands of Fairy being connected to the ruler is great and the direction in which Holly Black takes that in this book opens so many posibilities.¬†I also enjoyed the glimpses we get of the relationship that Cardan is building with The Roach and The Bomb. Their ideas about him definitely change and there’s loyalty and trust being built between them and I’m so happy Cardin is starting to have the right people on his corner.

Now, let’s talk about my favorite part of the book, which is, the relatinship between Cardan and Jude. The dynamic between them is messed up, I’m not gonna deny that, but I still love them together. Cardan and Jude have this angsty, spiteful, deep, complicated relationship, that is the epitome of the friends to lovers trope and I can’t wait to see where it goes in the next book.

In terms of Jude’s family, Madoc is such an interesting character, as soon as he’s on the page he comands attention and I love how complex his relationship with Jude is, full of love, hate, cunning and betrayal. I can’t wait to see where it goes. Now, when it comes to Jude’s sisters, I’ll say that Vivi is exaspering, oblivious and a bit selfish and she annoys me a bit. As for Taryn, she is the worst character in this series, not only because she does things that make me dislike her, but also because she manages to be boring while doing them. I mean as much as Locke is terrible, he is at least interesting and I’m pretty sure he’s gonna be a bigger player in this series than he has been so far, when he actually puts his mind to it.

Nicasia, Orlagh and Balekin were the most obvious antagonist and the first to make a move against Cardan’s rule, but honestly, I feel like they worked mostly as a distraction, because the fight for power is a long one and there’s other people scheming and biding their time to win the long game.

The one negative things I’ll say about this book is that one of the big plot twists relays on Jude overlooking something that was a bit obvious and it’s a bit hard to believe that she would miss that. There’s a partial explanation because she was putting her body and mind through hell by not resting, not eating, consuming poisons, between other things. So, it could be all of that that lead her to overlook some things, but it’s never point out in the book and I don’t entirely buy that explanation. But overall, it didn’t really diminish my enjoyment of the book.

The ending was fantastic, infuriating but fantastic, and I can’t believe we have to wait a year for the next book. Honestly, if you haven’t started this series yet, what are you waiting for?! I know the hype can be scary, but get over it! You will be happy if you do.

Rating: 5 stars 
Have you read this series? Are you planning on reading it? Are any fantasy books similar to this series that you would recommend? 

Add me on

Goodreads | Bloglovin | Twitter  | Pinterest | Tumblr 

ARC Review: You Are Here by Dawn Lanuzo

You Are Here by Dawn Lanuzo Cover

Title: You Are Here

Author: Dawn Lanuzo

Published by:Andrews McMeel Publishing

Publishing date: February 12th 2019

Genre: Poetry

Pages: 272

Growth and change‚ÄĒtwo powerful anthems resonate throughout this collection of poetry and prose that will leave you feeling emboldened and empowered.

You Are Here is Dawn Lanuza’s newest collection of contemporary poetry that lends itself to the idea of giving ourselves second chances. These self-healing poems and words draw on central themes of self-love, self-discovery, and empowerment. In order to survive the vicissitudes of life, You Are Here boldly reminds readers to always choose themselves, and in times where it seems impossible, to find the courage and strength to start anew.

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes  & Nobles | Book Depository | IndieBound 

A copy of this book was provided via Netgalley by Andrews McMeel Publishing in exchange of an honest review.

‚ÄúIsn‚Äôt it sad, to be sad, and not able to say it‚ÄĚ

You Are Here addresses themes like depression, chronic pain, healing, second love and second chances. A¬†lot of these themes resonated with me and a lot of what the author was trying to say is important, but the execution took away from the message behind the poems. The writing style isn‚Äôt strong enough, is too simple and it doesn’t allow the poems to feel as powerful and touching as they could have been.

“No one knows how to love me when I‚Äôm sad

And I can’t blame them for that

I don’t even know how to love me

When the voices come at night

I hate and hate and hate

Even when I fight‚ÄĚ

Nonetheless, I feel like this collection could help a lot of people dealing with depression (or mental illness in general) to feel seen and understood. There‚Äôs this poem that talks about Lanuza’s struggles to decide when it‚Äôs the appropriate time to tell a new romantic partner that she has depression, and I think that poem in particular will resonate with a lot of people, even if the writing isn’t the best. That‚Äôs one of the many poems that talk about mental health in this collection, which to me, represent the best of Lanuza’s work.

Overall, I would say that even if this is not the best written poetry collection, it deals with some important subjects in a relatable way and I would still recommend it.

Rating: 3,4 stars

Have you read this book? Are you planning on reading it? What poetry collections would you recommend?

Add me on

Goodreads | Bloglovin | Twitter  | Pinterest | Tumblr 

Book Review: Beneath the Citadel by Destiny Soria

Beneath the Citadel 

Title: Beneath the Citadel

Author: Destiny Soria

Published by: Amulet

Publishing date: October 9th 2018

Genre: YA Fantasy

Pages: 480

In the city of Eldra, people are ruled by ancient prophecies. For centuries, the high council has stayed in power by virtue of the prophecies of the elder seers. After the last infallible prophecy came to pass, growing unrest led to murders and an eventual rebellion that raged for more than a decade.

In the present day, Cassa, the orphaned daughter of rebels, is determined to fight back against the high council, which governs Eldra from behind the walls of the citadel. Her only allies are no-nonsense Alys, easygoing Evander, and perpetually underestimated Newt, and Cassa struggles to come to terms with the legacy of rebellion her dead parents have left her ‚ÄĒ and the fear that she may be inadequate to shoulder the burden. But by the time Cassa and her friends uncover the mystery of the final infallible prophecy, it may be too late to save the city ‚ÄĒ or themselves.¬†

Goodreads | Amazon 

Trigger Warnings: panic and anxiety attacks, abusive parents, captivity and torture, and death.

Beneath the Citadel has five main characters, all of them with chapters told from their point of view, and all of them with distintive voices and personalities.¬†The characters are flawed, they make mistake, they have insecurities and because of that they were compelling and felt like real, three dimentional people, which made them my favorite part of the story. Also, there’s a lot of diversity in this book, which is another aspect that I loved about it! One of the main characters is a POC; another is an ace, plus sized, POC, that has severe anxiety; another one is a bisexual POC, and the other one has trauma from being abuse by his father. All these aspects of the characters identities are integrated seamlessly to the story.

Another great things about this book is the way it shows complex relationship and dynamics between characters that disagree most of the time but still love each other; or characters that come from families that have bad blood between them but still trust each other; or characters that have history between them that makes things awkward but they still love each other. Honestly, there’s so many things that make the relationships between these characters complicated and STILL they love and trust each other and it’s so beautiful and it was something I loved about this book.

Beneath the Citadel has an amazing, layared magic system. This book doesn’t go into too much details about the history of the world, the gods and the magic, it focuses more on the actual abilities that people have and that choice works really well with the pace of the book. There are abilities that people are born with and that are more closely related to the mind, like being able to see and manipulate other people’s memories or being able to see the future. And then there are abilities that people acquire through a painful procedure that only a few have access to and that only one man knows how to perform, those abilities are more physical since people are able to control one substance in most cases a metal, but also other things like glass. As I said, the magic system is fascinating and adds a really cool element to the story, but I really liked the fact that not all the main characters have magic abilities, but all of them offer something to the team and contribute in their own ways.

Now, in terms of the plot, this is a story about a heist and what’s really interesting, more so that the actual heist, is that there are two people pushing the main characters to pull off the heist but they are expecting completely different results. So, it’s really hard for the characters to know what side to choose since they can’t trust neither of them, and that makes the story so much more captivating. Also, throughout the book, sometimes it’s hard to know if the main characters should trust each other, because they have secrets and different motivations that can force them to make choices that can affect the others in negative ways even if they don’t want to hurt them.

There are a lot of twists and turns in this book and there’s always something happening, so the book is entertaining and engaging the whole time. Sometimes it feels like everything is a bit too easy for the main characters, it seems like they manage to get out of the trickiest situations with relative ease, and at the beginning that’s true, but by the end everything gets so intense and so many things go wrong that the resolution¬† is kind of shocking and bittersweet.

Overall, Beneath the Citadel is an entertaining read, with a cast of amazing diverse characters, complex relationships between them and a plot full of twist and turns that will keep at the edge of your seat.

Rating: 4,5 stars 

Have you read this book? Are you planning on reading it? Are any fantasy books that are standalones and that you would recommend?

Add me on

Goodreads | Bloglovin | Twitter  | Pinterest | Tumblr 

Mini Review: A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle

Hi everyone! I just wanted to mention before the review that I read this book as part of Catch up on Classics! I have been meaning to read a Sherlock Holmes book for a while and I thought this was the perfect chance.

a study in scarlet

Title: A Study in Scarlet

Author: Arthur Conan Doyle

Publishing date:  1887

Genre: Adult, Mystery

Pages: 143

From the moment Dr John Watson takes lodgings in Baker Street with the consulting detective Sherlock Holmes, he becomes intimately acquainted with the bloody violence and frightening ingenuity of the criminal mind.

In A Study in Scarlet , Holmes and Watson’s first mystery, the pair are summoned to a south London house where they find a dead man whose contorted face is a twisted mask of horror. The body is unmarked by violence but on the wall a mysterious word has been written in blood.¬†The police are baffled by the crime and its circumstances. But when Sherlock Holmes applies his brilliantly logical mind to the problem he uncovers a tragic tale of love and deadly revenge . . .

Goodreads | Amazon

This was my first time reading any of the Sherlock Holmes books and sadly I was disappointed. My main issue with this was that the writing style is so dry and boring, which made this book hard to enjoy.

The beginning of the book was interesting because Watson and Sherlock are introduced and it’s exciting to see the first glimpse of this iconic characters, but that excitement fades away quickly because everything feels slow and boring thanks to the writing style. I was hoping once the story got to the crime solving part things would get better, and while it was a bit more captivating, I felt like I couldn’t even try¬†to solve the mystery behind the murder, because there’s almost no clues, there’s no interrogations, and honestly, there’s barely any information about the crime that was committed.

And then, when it seems like it’s finally time to see Sherlock in action, this book jumps 20 years to the past and starts to talk about Mormons, American pioneers and even the Gold Rush. I’ll admit that this was a bit interesting – even if the writing was still very dry- because I’m not American, so I don’t know a lot of the history that it’s glimpsed in this part of the book.

The ending was ok and things were explained, but what I found weird is that if you have 20 years to plan a crime, you wouldn’t leave so many thing to chance. That didn’t make sense to me and it made me wonder why Sherlock Holmes found the crime so interesting. Anyway, I will give another Sherlok Holmes book a chance, since I think maybe a book with a different case will be more enjoyable for me.

Rating: 3 stars

Have you read any of the Sherlock Holmes books? Which one do you think I should pick up next?

Add me on

Goodreads | Bloglovin | Twitter  | Pinterest | Tumblr 

Book Review: In An Absent Dream by Seanan McGuire

In an Absent Dream

Title: In An Absent Dream

Author: Seanan McGuire

Published by: Tor.com

Publishing date: January 8th 2019

Genre: YA Fantasy

Pages: 187

This is the story of a very serious young girl who would rather study and dream than become a respectable housewife and live up to the expectations of the world around her. As well she should.

When she finds a doorway to a world founded on logic and reason, riddles and lies, she thinks she’s found her paradise. Alas, everything costs at the goblin market, and when her time there is drawing to a close, she makes the kind of bargain that never plays out well.

For anyone . . .

Goodreads| Amazon 

In An Absent Dream has become my favorite book in the Wayward Children series. I found the Goblin Market to be a more fascinating and intricate world than the worlds in other books in the series and I found the whole concept of Fair Value, which is the base of the Market, to be really thought provoking and critical of some of the behaviours and systems we have as a society.

Seanan McGuire takes the writing in this book one step further, it feels even more like a fairytale than the other books and the way in which she tells this cautionary tale is intriguing, because there’s a sort of omnipresent narrator that shows the reader this little glimpses of what’s gonna happen later in the book and that kept me interested and made me want to keep reading until I could found out exactly how thing were gonna play out.

The relationships in this story are very complex and they were of my favorite things about this book.  I loved the friendship between Lundy and Moon and the relationship between Lundy and the Archivist, even if the way those relationships ended kind of dissapointed me. The relationship between Lundy and her father was so interesting and intriguing to me that I wish I got more of it. And lastly, I freaking adored the little bit we saw of the relationship between Lundy and her sister, it was precious.

This book focuses on the moments between adventures, the book mentions that Lundy went questing and defended the Market, but those are not the stories the book is telling. instead, it’s about understanding how the market works and the consequences of not paying fair value. At the beginning, I was a bit disappointed that we were not getting to see Lundy’s adventures, but then I understood that wasn’t neccesary because that wasn’t what the story was about. And also, the events and consequences of those adventures were mentioned enough to answer some of my questions about them while letting the world keep an aura of mystery that was very compelling. I think that’s something Seanan McGuire does very well in all the books in the series, she gives enough information about the world to make it interesting, but there’s things that remain unknown and that way the worlds keep being intriguing.

From the start, you know this book is not gonna have a happy ending, but I didn’t see coming the especific way it ended. I wouldn’t say it was surprising, but I was a bit confused and disappointed in how easily some of the other characters let it happen. I feel like Lundy would have done a lot more to avoid something like that happeneing to the other characters, so I felt a little betrayed in her behalf. But then, I remember that Moon had told Lundy that she would never understanding Fair Value completely, because she wasn’t originally from the Market and I think neither Lundy, as a character, or me, as a reader, completely understood what Fair Value means until the last page of the book.¬†

Rating: 4,3 stars 

Have you read this book? Are you planning on reading it? Are any fantasy books that you think are similar to this series and that you would recommend?

Add me on

Goodreads | Bloglovin | Twitter  | Pinterest | Tumblr