Month: September 2019

Book Review: A Study in Charlotte

A Study in Charlotte – Brittany Cavallaro

~ Quick Synopsis ~

Charlotte Holmes is the descendant of Sherlock Holmes. Jamie Watson is the descendant of Dr. Watson. They don’t know it each other. Charlotte has been living a life of fame due to her own mystery solving and carrying on of the Sherlock name. Jamie is just a “normal” boy who likes to read and write stories. Jamie gets sent away from England to America to attend a boarding school in which he received a rugby scholarship. Of course, this is the same boarding school Charlotte Holmes is attending. Shortly after Jamie arrives – a student is murdered on campus! Jamie and Charlotte have connections to the student and are now suspects of the murder. They have to work together to solve the mystery before they are sent to jail for something they didn’t do. They work to solve the mystery and of course there are twists and turns along the way.

~ My Thoughts ~

I LOVED this book! First – it is based on Sherlock Holmes. Second – the mystery was interesting, yet easy to follow. Third – Jamie is super relatable and I really enjoyed his character.

I found overall that the story was easy to follow and well written. At times I found it difficult to get into (mostly the beginning) but that could have been because I was busy and lacked time to read often. However, once I sat down and was able to read without any distractions I could not put it down. I finished the book within 2 days.

Jamie’s character was perfect to me. He was just a normal boy who liked to play sports and liked cute girls. He spent his time reading Sherlock stories and writing. He knew of his family history but his mother was not supportive of it so he mostly dismissed it. Jamie felt like this kind of uncertainty… I’m not sure how to fully explain it, but he just didn’t feel ‘complete.’ Once at the boarding school he met Charlotte. He gave off this shy feeling when it came to her. He wanted to be her friend and felt they almost had to be friends because of their family’s history. He didn’t want her to not like him and seemed to feel a lot of pressure. Sure enough, they meet and have to work together under some pretty negative circumstances.

Charlotte was interesting to me. She was this strong independent person who was very smart and had a hard personality. She didn’t like working with Jamie at first because she couldn’t trust anyone other than herself (and she also didn’t think Jamie was smart enough to help her). She often referenced her training saying that she was taught not to share too much with others or to rely on anyone. Obviously this changes throughout the story. Charlotte really surprised me and I loved learning more about her. Her relationship with Jamie really evolves and I totally ship them!!

Jamie’s character felt “real.” He worried and was scared when the usual person would be. He became emotionally invested in people quickly and gave them the benefit of the doubt. He was angry, sad, lost… everything about him felt organic and made it easy as the reader to like him.

 A few random things that I thought while I read the book:

**Love how the mysteries Jamie and Charlotte experience are based on Sherlock Holmes stories.

**You always know what Jamie’s thinking – like a play by play of his mind

**Jamie becomes so much better at solving mysteries. His thought processes were shared and it was easy to read. I loved that because I never felt left out or like I had to figure out any clues on my own.

**Charlotte and Jamie have a really interesting relationship. I loved/hated it in the beginning. Towards the end I was totally on board with them though. Was very happy with the ending.

**I had NO IDEA who was going to be the “bad guy”… I was shocked. Either I didn’t pick up on something or it just wasn’t shared. I enjoyed putting the pieces together  

**Overall, this book was great. I really really enjoyed it. I couldn’t put it down and will be reading the rest of the series, no questions asked!

My Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Monthly Picks: August + September

Hey everyone!

Is anyone else feeling like summer has completely drained them?? I feel like I have hardly even had time for any summer things… time is flying! This time last year I was finishing my degree and frantically applying for jobs because I just couldn’t sit around and do nothing. Oh how I wish I could have just waited and enjoyed some down time. I have been working full time ever since and although, it hasn’t even been a full year at my job, I am exhausted. I swear I drive to work and I don’t even remember driving there…. I’m sure some of you have felt like that before!

Something I am so excited about is starting this blog and connecting with other book lovers! Creating this, brainstorming, reading – it is all helping with this overall zombie life I am living! I can’t wait to read and write more and most importantly learn and grow alongside everyone who enjoys reading this!

Now – on to the blog post!

I have decided to do a monthly post which will be called “Monthly Picks.” I will essentially pick out a few books for the upcoming month that have somehow interested me. They might not all be the same genre or anything like that as I tend to read an assortment of books. I just want to highlight some books that may be well known and anticipated to books that many might not have heard of. I hope to review some of the books as well, but that really depends on if I get to them or not. I have quite the TBR list (like I’m sure all of you do).

For this month I have combined August and September because I just couldn’t leave out my August picks!!

Enjoy the list and let me know what other books have sparked your interest in the comments below!!

August 2019

The Swallows – Lisa Lutz

What do you love? What do you hate? What do you want?

It starts with this simple writing prompt from Alex Witt, Stonebridge Academy’s new creative writing teacher. When the students’ answers raise disturbing questions of their own, Ms. Witt knows there’s more going on the school than the faculty wants to see. She soon learns about The Ten–the students at the top of the school’s social hierarchy–as well as their connection to something called The Darkroom.

Ms. Witt can’t remain a passive observer. She finds the few girls who’ve started to question the school’s “boys will be boys” attitude and incites a resistance that quickly becomes a movement. But just as it gains momentum, she also attracts the attention of an unknown enemy who knows a little too much about her–including what brought her to Stonebridge in the first place.

Meanwhile, Gemma, a defiant senior, has been plotting her attack for years, waiting for the right moment. Shy loner Norman hates his role in the Darkroom, but can’t find the courage to fight back until he makes an unlikely alliance. And then there’s Finn Ford, an English teacher with a shady reputation who keeps one eye on his literary ambitions and one on Ms. Witt.

As the school’s secrets begin to trickle out, a boys-versus-girls skirmish turns into an all-out war, with deeply personal–and potentially fatal–consequences for everyone involved. Lisa Lutz’s blistering, timely tale shows us what can happen when silence wins out over decency for too long–and why the scariest threat of all might be the idea that sooner or later, girls will be girls.

The Family Upstairs – Lisa Jewell

Be careful who you let in.

Soon after her twenty-fifth birthday, Libby Jones returns home from work to find the letter she’s been waiting for her entire life. She rips it open with one driving thought: I am finally going to know who I am.

She soon learns not only the identity of her birth parents, but also that she is the sole inheritor of their abandoned mansion on the banks of the Thames in London’s fashionable Chelsea neighborhood, worth millions. Everything in Libby’s life is about to change. But what she can’t possibly know is that others have been waiting for this day as well—and she is on a collision course to meet them.

Twenty-five years ago, police were called to 16 Cheyne Walk with reports of a baby crying. When they arrived, they found a healthy ten-month-old happily cooing in her crib in the bedroom. Downstairs in the kitchen lay three dead bodies, all dressed in black, next to a hastily scrawled note. And the four other children reported to live at Cheyne Walk were gone.

The Warehouse – Rob Hart

Paxton never thought he’d be working for Cloud, the giant tech company that’s eaten much of the American economy. Much less that he’d be moving into one of the company’s sprawling live-work facilities.

But compared to what’s left outside, Cloud’s bland chainstore life of gleaming entertainment halls, open-plan offices, and vast warehouses…well, it doesn’t seem so bad. It’s more than anyone else is offering.

Zinnia never thought she’d be infiltrating Cloud. But now she’s undercover, inside the walls, risking it all to ferret out the company’s darkest secrets. And Paxton, with his ordinary little hopes and fears? He just might make the perfect pawn. If she can bear to sacrifice him.

As the truth about Cloud unfolds, Zinnia must gamble everything on a desperate scheme—one that risks both their lives, even as it forces Paxton to question everything about the world he’s so carefully assembled here. Together, they’ll learn just how far the company will go…to make the world a better place.

Set in the confines of a corporate panopticon that’s at once brilliantly imagined and terrifyingly real, The Warehouse is a near-future thriller about what happens when Big Brother meets Big Business–and who will pay the ultimate price

Hello Girls – Brittany Cavallaro & Emily Henry

Best friends are forged by fire. For Winona Olsen and Lucille Pryce, that fire happened the night they met outside the police station—both deciding whether to turn their families in. Winona has been starving for life in the seemingly perfect home that she shares with her seemingly perfect father, celebrity weatherman Stormy Olsen. No one knows that he locks the pantry door to control her eating and leaves bruises where no one can see them.

Lucille has been suffocating beneath the needs of her mother and her drug-dealing brother, wondering if there’s more out there for her than disappearing waitress tips and generations of barely getting by.

One harrowing night, Winona and Lucille realize they can’t wait until graduation to start their new lives. They need out. Now. All they need is three grand, fast. And really, a stolen convertible to take them from Michigan to Las Vegas can’t hurt.

Let’s Call It a Doomsday – Katie Henry

There are so many ways the world could end. There could be a fire. A catastrophic flood. A super eruption that spews lakes of lava. Ellis Kimball has made note of all possible scenarios, and she is prepared for each one. What she doesn’t expect is meeting Hannah Marks in her therapist’s waiting room. Hannah calls their meeting fate. After all, Ellis is scared about the end of the world; Hannah knows when it’s going to happen.

Despite Ellis’s anxiety — about what others think of her, about what she’s doing wrong, about the safety of her loved ones — the two girls become fast friends. As Ellis tries to help Hannah decipher the details of her doomsday premonition, she learns there are secrets Hannah isn’t telling her. But with time ticking down, the search for answers only raises more questions. When does it happen? Who will believe them? How do you prepare for the end of the world when it feels like your life is just getting started?

September 2019

Break in Case of Emergency – Brian Francis

Dads can be such a drag

Life has been a struggle for Toby Goodman. Her mother died by suicide five years ago, and her father left their small town before Toby was born. Now a teenager living on her grandparents’ dairy farm, Toby has trouble letting people in. She keeps even her closest friend, the brash but endearing Trisha, at arms’ length, and recently ended her first relationship, with Trisha’s burnout brother, Mike. Convinced that she is destined to follow her mother’s path, Toby creates a plan to escape her pain.

But with the news that her father is coming home and finally wants to meet her, Toby must face the truth of her family’s story. Not only is her father gay, but he’s also a world-famous female impersonator—and a self-absorbed, temperamental man-child who is ill-prepared to be a real parent.

When Toby’s careful plans go awry, she is forced to rebuild the life she thought she knew from the ground up. While she may not follow an expected path, through the support of a quirky but lovable circle of friends and family, Toby may finally put together the many different pieces that make up her past, her present, and her future.

The Ten Thousand Doors of January – Alix E. Harrow

In a sprawling mansion filled with peculiar treasures, January Scaller is a curiosity herself. As the ward of the wealthy Mr. Locke, she feels little different from the artifacts that decorate the halls: carefully maintained, largely ignored, and utterly out of place.

Then she finds a strange book. A book that carries the scent of other worlds, and tells a tale of secret doors, of love, adventure and danger. Each page turn reveals impossible truths about the world and January discovers a story increasingly entwined with her own.

The Bone Houses – Emily Lloyd-Jones

Seventeen-year-old Aderyn (“Ryn”) only cares about two things: her family, and her family’s graveyard. And right now, both are in dire straits. Since the death of their parents, Ryn and her siblings have been scraping together a meager existence as gravediggers in the remote village of Colbren, which sits at the foot of a harsh and deadly mountain range that was once home to the fae. The problem with being a gravedigger in Colbren, though, is that the dead don’t always stay dead.

The risen corpses are known as “bone houses,” and legend says that they’re the result of a decades-old curse. When Ellis, an apprentice mapmaker with a mysterious past, arrives in town, the bone houses attack with new ferocity. What is it about Ellis that draws them near? And more importantly, how can they be stopped for good?

Together, Ellis and Ryn embark on a journey that will take them deep into the heart of the mountains, where they will have to face both the curse and the long-hidden truths about themselves.

The Babysitters Coven – Kate Williams

Seventeen-year-old Esme Pearl has a babysitters club. She knows it’s kinda lame, but what else is she supposed to do? Get a job? Gross. Besides, Esme likes babysitting, and she’s good at it.

And lately Esme needs all the cash she can get, because it seems like destruction follows her wherever she goes. Let’s just say she owes some people a new tree.

Enter Cassandra Heaven. She’s Instagram-model hot, dresses like she found her clothes in a dumpster, and has a rebellious streak as gnarly as the cafeteria food. So why is Cassandra willing to do anything, even take on a potty-training two-year-old, to join Esme’s babysitters club?

The answer lies in a mysterious note Cassandra’s mother left her: “Find the babysitters. Love, Mom.”

Turns out, Esme and Cassandra have more in common than they think, and they’re about to discover what being a babysitter really means: a heroic lineage of superpowers, magic rituals, and saving the innocent from seriously terrifying evil. And all before the parents get home.

Lost and Found – Orson Scott Card

“Are you really a thief?”

That’s the question that has haunted fourteen-year-old Ezekiel Blast all his life. But he’s not a thief, he just has a talent for finding things. Not a superpower–a micropower. Because what good is finding lost bicycles and hair scrunchies, especially when you return them to their owners and everyone thinks you must have stolen them in the first place? If only there were some way to use Ezekiel’s micropower for good, to turn a curse into a blessing. His friend Beth thinks there must be, and so does a police detective investigating the disappearance of a little girl. When tragedy strikes, it’s up to Ezekiel to use his talent to find what matters most.