The Last of August by Brittany Cavallaro | Buddy Read Discussion

Buddy Read Discussion

Hi everyone! Like I mentioned in my last wrap up, I’m doing a buddy read with Rebecca @ Bookishly Rebecca and Jenna @ Bookmark Your Thoughts for books 2, 3 and 4 of the Charlotte Holmes series by Brittany Cavallaro. As a way to share the thoughts of all three of us in our blogs, Jenna (inspired by Chaz and Marie), suggested that we should try a “buddy read discussion” post, so that’s what we are doing today! We will be sharing our thoughts on The Last of August, the second book in the series. This ended up being a super interesting discussion since we had very different opinions about the book, as you’ll see.

The Last of August

Jamie Watson and Charlotte Holmes are looking for a winter-break reprieve after a fall semester that almost got them killed. But Charlotte isn’t the only Holmes with secrets, and the mood at her family’s Sussex estate is palpably tense. On top of everything else, Holmes and Watson could be becoming more than friends—but still, the darkness in Charlotte’s past is a wall between them.

A distraction arises soon enough, because Charlotte’s beloved uncle Leander goes missing from the estate—after being oddly private about his latest assignment in a German art forgery ring. The game is afoot once again, and Charlotte is single-minded in her pursuit.

Their first stop? Berlin. Their first contact? August Moriarty (formerly Charlotte’s obsession, currently believed by most to be dead), whose powerful family has been ripping off famous paintings for the last hundred years. But as they follow the gritty underground scene in Berlin to glittering art houses in Prague, Holmes and Watson begin to realize that this is a much more complicated case than a disappearance. Much more dangerous, too.

What they learn might change everything they know about their families, themselves, and each other.

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Without further ado, here are our thoughts about The Last of August:

Q1. That ending was … wow. Without giving away spoilers, what were your thoughts? Were you expecting that outcome?

Jenna: “Honestly, I liked how I did NOT see it coming. So to answer the second question, no … I did NOT see that coming at all. The last 3 chapters were probably my favouite parts of the novel, since the action started to pick up more.”

Sofia: “Even before starting this book I guessed one of the big things that happened at the end, but I did doubt it a bit throughout the book. So in a sense I was expecting the final outcome, but a lot of the situations and characters surrounding that outcome were surprising to me.”

Rebecca: “I most definitely was not expecting it. Maybe it’s because I don’t read many mystery books or thrillers, but I did not see that coming. While I didn’t see it coming, I do think that the ending made sense with the tone of the story. It just wasn’t exactly what I had pictured.”

Q2. What elements and topics did “The Last of August” execute better than its predecessor, “The Study in Charlotte”? What elements and topics did it not execute as well?

Jenna: “I found the character development and depthness to them was better executed in this novel, in addition to the mystery element. But I found the intensity and action was more well-balanced in the first book.”

Sofia: “I want to start by saying that I think this book was a good book, BUT I can’t think of anything that it executed better than the first book. I’ll talk about the characters in the next question, so for now I’ll focus on the mystery. I think the mystery could have turn out to be more interesting that the mystery in the first book, but it ended up being confusing and frustrating, because for most of the book, the characters are chasing a lead that it’s not actually that important t and even tho looking back I can see that there were hints about that not being as important, it’s still frustrating to feel like a lot of what happened was pointless.”

Rebecca: “I’m going to agree with Sofia and say that I didn’t notice much that was executed better than the first book. I felt pretty middle-of-the-road about both so I didn’t see much difference. As for what wasn’t executed as well, I think that mystery was WAY more confusing than it needed to be. It felt like Brittany Cavallaro took the long way around to unravel this mystery rather than making it a bit more straight-forward.”

Q3. Do you feel like Charlotte and Jamie went through character growth between books one and two? Do you feel like their relationship changed between one book and the other?

Jenna: “I do. I feel as though we get to know a bit more about them. But I also feel like they change themselves, adapting to their new surroundings and from the events that took place in the first book — especially Watson. Their relationship definitely changed … but I still feel like it wasn’t explored enough.”

Sofia: “As someone that absolutely loved Charlotte and Jamie in book one and that enjoyed their relationship inmensly, I was disappointed with The Last of August. I didn’t feel like there was any character development, I felt like Jamie was childish at some points and I didn’t know how to feel regarding some of his thoughts and actions towards Charlotte and the sexual assault theme in this book. Also, I was very frustrated with Charalotte and how she handled the mystery and all the things she kept to herself. In terms of their relationship, that in book one was full of banter, tension and chemistry, in book two it became an endless, frustrating back and forth and for the most part it was not as entertatining”

Rebecca: “I think so but maybe not for the better. If anything, I felt like Charlotte and Jamie both did a backslide in terms of their characters especially Charlotte. She seemed like a shell of her former self in this book compared to who she was in A Study in Charlotte and the same can be said for Jamie who played his sidekick role to a tee. As for their relationship, I think it was extremely unhealthy for both of them and that August only pushed a wedge further into it.”

Q4. Finally, what do you anticipate to occur in its sequel “The Case for Jamie”?

Jenna: “From what I can tell with the title, Watson’s going to have his OWN troubles that will need solving. I also think there’s going to be a lot of Watson and Holmes growing as characters APART before they are the amazing dynamic duo we all know and love. And I think it’s going to get darker, since that seems to be the trend so far.”

Sofia: “I think that Charlotte is gonna pull away from Jamie and try to solve all the problems herself. Now, for what I hope will happen, a lot of character development for Charlotte and Jamie and a mystery that doesn’t rely so much on Charlotte hiding things from Jamie as a way to keep the reader in the dark”

Rebecca: “I’ve already read book 3 and I have to say that it’s my favorite of the series. :)”

Have you read the Charlotte Holmes series? What are your thoughts on it? 
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On Anticipated Releases & Why I (Often) Don’t Read Mine

on anticipated releases

Hi everyone! I have been writing posts all this year with my most anticipated releases for each month, so I wanted to look at how many new releases I actually read in 2018 and I found some very disappointing things:

  • I put a total of 60 books on my posts of anticipated releases for each month.
  • I read  29 new releases in 2018 = 19 were on those lists and 11  were not.
  • The release date of 2 of the books on those lists were pushed to 2019.
  • 60 – 19 – 2= 39 books I did NOT read.
  • Of those 39, there’s 21 books I still want to read and 18 I’m no longer interested in.
  • At the time I’m writing this, I have read 140 books in 2018. Like I said, I read 29 new releases this year, which means 20% of the total amount I read.

So, I basically failed miserably. I didn’t read that many new releases and I only increased the number of new releases I read by 5 books in comparision with 2017, which sucks because I read like 50 books more in 2018.

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I have been thinking about WHY I DON’T READ MY ANTICIPATED RELEASES??!!  and I have come up with some answers and I would love to know if these things happen to other people as well.

Fear of disappointment

I’m always nervous about not enjoying the books I’m highly anticipating, I’m scared of being disappointed and then my anxiety turns that fear into a huge deal and I end up not wanting to pick those books up.  This happens especially if I haven’t read any other books by that author or if the book deals with sensitive topics.

Loss of interest

This mainly happens when a book comes out and it receives mixed or negative reviews, because then I won’t want to read it anymore. Alos, there are a few cases in which I won’t be able to explain why but the premise of the book will stop sounding interesting to me. And lastly, there are times when I’ll find out the book deals with a topic or trope I don’t like or I don’t want to read about and so I’ll lose interest.

Mood reader

Unfortunately, this is the main reason I don’t read most of my ancticipated releases. Sometimes it’s as simple as I’m not in the mood for a books and if I force myself to read a it, I’m gonna end up not enjoying it.

There are so many books

I have about 400 unread ebooks and about 30 unread physical books. I have too many books and, as much as I love new realeases, backlists books deserve love too! There are so many books I want to read, SO MANY, but as every bookworm knows there’s just not enough time to read them all.

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Did you read your most anticipated releases of 2018? Do you share any of my reasons to not read anticipated releases? 

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The Different Types of DNF Books

The different types of DNF books

Hi guys! before we start and in case someone doesn’t know, DNF =Did Not Finish. Now that it’s clear, here we go!

A long time ago I wrote the only post on my blog that it’s about DNF’ing books. I talked about the only 3 books I had ever DNF’ed at that point (here’s the post). This may seem strange to some people because I had only DNF’ed 3 books in all my life, but the fact is that until 6 months ago or a year maybe? I finished every single book I started. If I didn’t finish it, it was because I was truly hating it or I was so bored that I fell asleep.

Nonetheless, that has change and now I won’t keep reading a book that I’m hating, that I’m bored reading or that I’m not really enjoying. This doesn’t mean that all the books that I stop reading  are the same type of DNF books.  I feel like there are levels that go from I’m just not in the mood for this book to I won’t ever pick up this book again and no one can change my mind. Here are the types of DNF books I encounter often: 

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1. The “I’m just not in the mood” type of DNF book

These books are the ones you read the first 5, 10 or 15 pages and you know that it would be unfair to keep reading the book because you are not in the mood for it and no matter how good the book is, you would simply not enjoy it. It’s particulary common to find this type of DNF books in the shelves of the mood readers around the world. These are the books that you know you’re gonna pick up later when you are in the mood. So it’s kind of a temporary DNF.

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2. The “I gave it a real chance & didn’t convince me” type of DNF book

These are the books that from the very beginning you have reservations about, there’s something about them that doesn’t convince you; maybe the writing style, the characters, the world building… a lot of times you’re not even sure what it is, you just know that you have to convince yourself to pick up the book or maybe it takes you hours to read a few pages, until finally you accept that it’s not the book for you and stop reading it all together.

With this type of books, you may be persuaded to pick them up again. Maybe if you weren’t that bored with them or if it was just one small element that didn’t convince you or if someone says that the book gets a lot better.

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3. The “I was enjoying it but it lost me at one point” type of DNF book

These are the books that you were loving, you thought you were gonna give them 5 stars, there were exactly what you wanted, what you were expecting… until suddenly, everything begins to go down hill and the very promising start goes to waste because the book doesn’t deliver what it promised in those amazing first pages. These books may be great for the first 30%, 40% or maybe 50% of the book and then they fall apart and let you brokenhearted. These are some of the most disappointing books for a bookworm, they play with our emotions making us believe we have a new favorite book and then they crash and burn.

Again, with this type of books you may be persuaded to pick them up again, if someone says that it picks back up after a little bit or if someone says the ending is great or if it’s a series and someone says the next book is amazing.

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4.The “I’m not picking it up ever again & no one can change my mind” type of DNF book

These are the books that you know for sure you are not gonna finish. Maybe because you didn’t like the writing style, maybe you found them boring, maybe you hated one of the characters, maybe there were so many plotholes that you couldn’t stand it, maybe there was ableist/racist/homophobic/discriminatory content in the book that hurt you or made you angry …there’s so many different reason why you would stop reading a book and know with absolute certanty that you won’t pick it up again and no one is gonna convince you otherwise and these are the definitive DNF books.

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Ok, so those are the types of DNF books I encounter often. Now tell me about your experience with DNF’ing books in the comments! Do you DNF books often? What books have you DNFed recently? What type of DNF books do you encounter more often?  What other type of DNF book have you encounter? 
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Reading Habits I Wish I Could Change

Reading habits I wish I could change

Lately  I have been thinking a lot about my reading experience and my reading habits and I have found that there’s some aspects that I would like to change. I have actually tried to change some of these things in the past, but I have discovered that when I go against these habits I end up not enjoying books – that otherwise I could have liked- as much, or I end up in a reading slump.

So, here are some reading habits that I wish I could change but that I have come to accept:

Mood reader 

I’m a complete mood reader and my moods are not easy to satisfy, because they are very specific moods. It’s not like “Oh, I’m in the mood for romance”, nope! It’s more like I’m in the mood for romance where there is modern royalty, diverse characters and there’s a  friends to lovers relationship. Again, very specific.

Other times, being a mood reader for me means that I’m in the mood to read but I don’t know what genre or what book I’m in the mood for, and you may be thinking “oh, that means you can read anything” well, again, nope! This means I end up reading nothing until I know what I’m in the mood for, because I don’t enjoy most books I pick up without being in the specific mood for them.

“I wish I wasn’t a mood reader” 
Can’t stick to a TBR 

This one is connected to being a mood reader. I never make TBRs for the month because I know the probability of reading any book that it’s on that list is close to 0%, because I never know what I’m gonna be in the mood for. That’s why I always fail at readathons, readalongs and all those types of events.

“I wish I could stick to a TBR” 
Knowing before reading

This is another one that it’s connected to the fact that I get very specific moods, because that means that I can’t go into a book knowing nothing about it, I need to know what it’s about so I can see if it fits my mood. But also, not only do I need to know what the book is about, I need to know what people think about a book, so I need to read reviews before reading a book. I literally can’t read a book without reading reviews, I think it’s mainly because people’s comments help me decide if the book is something I would enjoy or not.

I wish I could go into a book without knowing anything about it and let myself be surprised” 
Pay too much attention to negative reviews

As I was saying, I can’t read a books without reading reviews. It’s a habit I have not been able to break and I ctually wouldn’t have a problem with this habit, if it wasn’t for the fact that I tend to pay more attention to negative reviews. If I read 10 reviews ofa book and 2 are negative reviews, what I will remember the most are the negative reviews and it’s very likely that those 2 negative reviews will make me not want to read the book.

“I wish I could pay more attention to positive reviews instead of the negative ones” 

Those were some of the reading habits that I wish I could change -that I have tried to change without being succesful- but that I have come to accept as part of my reading experience.

What are some of the reading habits that you wish you could change? Let me know in the comments! 
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Choosing a Reviewing Style | Discussion

Choosing a Reviewing Style

I want to start by saying that this is not a post about the ‘right’ or ‘best’ reviewing style, it’s about how everyone has a different style when it comes to writing reviews. I have been meaning to talk about this for a while because I have tried multiple reviewing styles in the time I have been blogging, but I still haven’t found MY reviewing style, the one that’s right for me. That’s why I wanted to discuss it with you guys, to see what you thought about it.

When I talk about reviewing style I’m talking about several things:

1) The type of review

There’s so many different types of reviews, you can review books by making a list of reasons to read a book, a list of likes and dislikes or pros and cons, a long text or a short text, a review with different sections, a bullet point list, you can make reviews so many differents ways. None is better than other, it’s a matter of personal preference.

This first item on the list is the one that’s more independent, because the next few items are closely interconnected with each other. Still, it’s a very important part of the review! Here are some examples of the types of reviews that I have written since I became a blogger:

List of Likes and Dislikes: The Deal by Elle Kennedy 

Reason to Read: The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson 

Review with Different Section: The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith

Long Text: How to Make a Wish by Ashley Herring Blake

2) The review focuses on your experience with a book in a implicit or explicit way. 

When you are sharing your opinions about a book, it’s clear that those opinions are related to your experience reading the books, but you can choose how much of your experience makes it to your review. By experience I mean everything from how you felt ot what you thought while reading, stories about why you decided to read a book or about why a book is relatable to you and other things like that.

When you talk about a book, your experience reading that book can be implicit, for example, ‘the characters were well developed’ or ‘the pace was off’, even when you don’t say it your opinion is based on your experience while reading the book.  Other times, when you talk about a book, your experience can be explicit, for example, ‘I waited to read this book until the series was completed because I’m always scared that the last book in a series will suck’.

This point is the one I have the most trouble with when I’m writing my reviews. Sometimes I feel like the experience can overtake the review and it can push the book to a second place.  I feel when this happens the review ends up not being that helpful to someone deciding whether to read a book or not. At the same time, I love reading reviews when people manage to drop little bits of their experience in the review. 

Examples on my reviews:

The experience is explicit:  The Winner’s Trilogy by Marie Rutkoski 

The experience is implicit:  When Reason Breaks by Cindy L. Rodriguez

3) You use first person or you don’t.

This is related to what I was talking about in point 2, if your review is focused on your experience with the book, then you tend to use first person and if it isn’t focused so much on your experience, you tend to not use first person.

What I have noticed is that most people, when they are writing a review,  tend to write in first person; they say things like I think, I feel, I thought, I felt (This different use of verb tenses is adressed in the next point).

Examples on my reviews:

Example of using first person: Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

Example of not using first person: Review of God Smites by Ishara Deen

4) The verb tenses you use to write your review

Mainly, people use past or present tense when they are writing their reviews. The decision of which tense to use is related to the second point in this list, because when people focus their review on the experience they had while reding the book they tend to say ‘the book was great’. Instead, when the review is more focused on the book as a things that exists and not a things that one has already experienced they tend to use present tense, for example, ‘the books is great’. Nonetheless, this is not always the case!

Examples on my reviews:

Present tense: If the Dress Fits by Carla de Guzman 

Past tense: The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan

My reviewing Style

How I used to write reviews: almost always there were lists of some type, especially lists of likes and dislikes; my experience while reading the book was always explicitly present in my reviews; I wrote in first person and past tense.

How I’m writing my reviews now: I have been writing just text and not other types of reviews;  my experience while reading the book is always implicit;  I don’t write in first person and I write in present tense. I made this change because I wasn’t happy with the way I was writing reviews, but even when I feel like my reviews are better written lately, I feel like I have less fun writing them. I think my experience while reading the book needs to be explicit more often.

What I want to try next: I want to mix up the way I write reviews again and try to find the reviewing style that suits me. But I want to know your opinions first. Tell me about your reviewing style!  Do you write in first person or don’t? What types of reviews do you write? Do you write in present tense or past tense? Do you make your experiences while reading the book explicit or not? I would love to know all your opinions and comments about this! 

This got really long.  If you read it all, thank you! If you read a part of it, thank you too!

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