1. A Study in Charlotte (Charlotte Holmes #1) – Brittany Cavallaro
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’s 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—and the only people they can trust are each other.
A Study in Charlotte is the first in a trilogy.
Thoughts: This was a fun, quick read. It was a bit too unbelievable for me. I get that Holmes is a quirky character, but I found things to be a bit too scattered, fantastic and unexplained… even for a book based on the legendary detective. The plot didn’t really make a whole lot of sense, but it was fun nonetheless. Not one of my favorite books, but it was definitely readable and enjoyable.
From an impressive sisterhood of YA writers comes an edge-of-your-seat anthology of historical fiction and fantasy featuring a diverse array of daring heroines.
Criss-cross America — on dogsleds and ships, stagecoaches and trains — from pirate ships off the coast of the Carolinas to the peace, love, and protests of 1960s Chicago. Join fifteen of today’s most talented writers of young adult literature on a thrill ride through history with American girls charting their own course. They are monsters and mediums, bodyguards and barkeeps, screenwriters and schoolteachers, heiresses and hobos. They’re making their own way in often-hostile lands, using every weapon in their arsenals, facing down murderers and marriage proposals. And they all have a story to tell.
With stories by: J. Anderson Coats, Andrea Cremer, Y. S. Lee, Katherine Longshore, Marie Lu, Kekla Magoon, Marissa Meyer, Saundra Mitchell, Beth Revis, Caroline Tung Richmond, Lindsay Smith, Jessica, Spotswood, Robin Talley, Leslye Walton, Elizabeth Wein
Thoughts: Anthologies are tricky things. I liked the majority of the stories, but none of them really stuck with me. My favorites of the series were El Destinos (Leslye Walton), The Legendary Garrett Girls (Y. S. Lee), Bonnie & Clyde (Saundra Mitchell) and Hard Times (Katherine Longshore)
3. Yellow Brick War (Dorothy Must Die #3) – Danielle Paige
In this dark, action-packed third book in the New York Times bestselling Dorothy Must Die series, Amy Gumm—the new girl from Kansas—must do everything in her power to save Kansas, kill Dorothy, and make Oz a free land once more.
Amy Gumm’s mission to take down Dorothy Gale is not going according to plan. Dorothy has found a way to bridge the worlds of Oz and Kansas, and if the power-hungry dictator of Oz has her way, Kansas will be destroyed forever. Now, Amy has to team up with the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked to save her home, restore the balance between the magic and nonmagic worlds, maybe get the guy—and kill that not-so-sweet Kansas farm girl once and for all.
In the third installment of the New York Times bestselling Dorothy Must Die series, Danielle Paige’s twisted versions of beloved Oz characters are back, including the biggest, baddest, most famous of all: the Wicked Witch of the West. Welcome to the other side of the rainbow. Here there’s danger around every corner, and magic shoes won’t be able to save you.
Rating: 3.5 / 5
Thoughts: I still love this series and it was an entertaining read, but it didn’t really grab me. The first part was great, the middle was a bit slow. I feel like there was a lot of things being setup for the next installment.
4. A Gathering of Shadows (Shades of Magic #2) – V.E. Schwab
It has been four months since a mysterious obsidian stone fell into Kell’s possession. Four months since his path crossed with Delilah Bard. Four months since Prince Rhy was wounded, and since the nefarious Dane twins of White London fell, and four months since the stone was cast with Holland’s dying body through the rift – back into Black London.
Now, restless after having given up his smuggling habit, Kell is visited by dreams of ominous magical events, waking only to think of Lila, who disappeared from the docks as she always meant to do. As Red London finalizes preparations for the Element Games – an extravagant international competition of magic meant to entertain and keep healthy the ties between neighboring countries – a certain pirate ship draws closer, carrying old friends back into port.
And while Red London is caught up in the pageantry and thrills of the Games, another London is coming back to life. After all, a shadow that was gone in the night will reappear in the morning. But the balance of magic is ever perilous, and for one city to flourish, another London must fall.
Thoughts: I so wanted to love this book. I did enjoy it, it’s got so much going for it… but it didn’t stack up to the first book. It’s got beautiful, gorgeous writing with memorable and likable characters, but unfortunately not much of a plot. This book definitely suffered from “middle book syndrome”… it’s main purpose was to setup a story for the next installment. That being said, I never got tired of reading it, but I kept waiting for some excitement to happen. The big, dramatic, oh my god moment finally came in the end, but the author turned it into a cliffhanger. So, in short, it was over 500 pages of beautiful, descriptive setup.
5. Night Myst (Indigo Court #1) – Yasmine Galenorn
Eons ago, vampires tried to turn the Dark Fae in order to harness their magic, only to create a demonic enemy more powerful than they imagined. Now Myst, the Vampiric Fae Queen of the Indigo Court, has enough power to begin a long prophesied supernatural war. And Cicely Waters, a witch who can control the wind, may be the only one who can stop her-and save her beloved Fae prince from the Queen’s enslavement.
Cicely Waters, a witch who can control the wind, has returned home to New Forest, Washington, after learning that her family is in danger. The Indigo Court holds the city in fear. People are vanishing, and strange deaths plague the town. And when she is swept into an unexpected and passionate reunion with Grieve, the Fae prince who taught her how to harness the wind, Cicely finds herself with a fierce and territorial lover. But Greive has been enslaved in Myst’s court, and now, caught betwen two evils, the lovers must survive the machinations of the Vampiric Fae queen, even as Cicely untangles the hidden secrets to her own heritage.
Thoughts: I had a real hard time with this one. I did not like the main character, she came off as very weak. I also was not a fan of the relationship between Cicely and Greive. It was very all consuming and Cicely didn’t really stand on her own. She devoted herself to Greive no matter what – no matter what side he ended up being on. She hadn’t seen him in years and then was suddenly madly, head over heels in love with him. Their relationship felt a lot like twilight. I would have felt better about it if she decided that what was she wanted, but we were just supposed to believe it was fate. No questions asked, no hesitations, no worries about the fate of her Aunt or the town. She was just way too self centered and selfish for my liking.
6. Shattered (Iron Druid Chronicles #7) – Kevin Hearne
For nearly two thousand years, only one Druid has walked the Earth—Atticus O’Sullivan, the Iron Druid, whose sharp wit and sharp sword have kept him alive as he’s been pursued by a pantheon of hostile deities. Now he’s got company.
Atticus’s apprentice Granuaile is at last a full Druid herself. What’s more, Atticus has defrosted an archdruid long ago frozen in time, a father figure (of sorts) who now goes by the modern equivalent of his old Irish name: Owen Kennedy. And Owen has some catching up to do.
Atticus takes pleasure in the role reversal, as the student is now the teacher. Between busting Atticus’s chops and trying to fathom a cell phone, Owen must also learn English. For Atticus, the jury’s still out on whether the wily old coot will be an asset in the epic battle with Norse god Loki—or merely a pain in the arse. But Atticus isn’t the only one with daddy issues. Granuaile faces a great challenge: to exorcise a sorcerer’s spirit that is possessing her father in India. Even with the help of the witch Laksha, Granuaile may be facing a crushing defeat.
As the trio of Druids deals with pestilence-spreading demons, bacon-loving yeti, fierce flying foxes, and frenzied Fae, they’re hoping that this time, three’s a charm.
Thoughts: I really love this series, but this book fell a bit flat for me. It’s kind of depressing, because I always look forward to these books.
This one was just kind of blah for me. It felt very disjointed and unfocused. You were given three different point of views (Granuaile, Atticus & Owen) and basically three different story lines. The characters were rarely together, so three different plots were in motion most of the time. Plus, there was no indication as to which character’s POV you were reading.
Oh well, here’s hoping book 8 is better. I have this problem quite often. I feel like, with most series I read, they start to lose their spark somewhere around book 5-6.
7. Beastly Bones (Jackaby #2) – William Ritter
“I’ve found very little about private detective R. F. Jackaby to be standard in the time I’ve known him. Working as his assistant tends to call for a somewhat flexible relationship with reality.”
In 1892, New Fiddleham, New England, things are never quite what they seem, especially when Abigail Rook and her eccentric employer R. F. Jackaby are called upon to investigate the supernatural.
First, a vicious species of shape-shifters disguise themselves as a litter of kittens, and a day later, their owner is found murdered with a single mysterious puncture wound. Then in nearby Gad’s Valley, now home to the exiled New Fiddleham police detective Charlie Cane, dinosaur bones from a recent dig mysteriously go missing, and an unidentifiable beast starts attacking animals and people, leaving their mangled bodies behind. Charlie calls on Abigail for help, and soon Abigail and Jackaby are on the hunt for a thief, a monster, and a murderer.
My Rating: 3.5/5
Thoughts: fun follow up, but the first book was better. Read full review here.
8. Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge – Paul Krueger
A sharp and funny urban fantasy for “new adults” about a secret society of bartenders who fight monsters with alcohol fueled magic.
College grad Bailey Chen has a few demons: no job, no parental support, and a rocky relationship with Zane, the only friend who’s around when she moves back home. But when Zane introduces Bailey to his cadre of monster-fighting bartenders, her demons get a lot more literal. Like, soul-sucking hell-beast literal. Soon, it’s up to Bailey and the ragtag band of magical mixologists to take on whatever—or whoever—is behind the mysterious rash of gruesome deaths in Chicago, and complete the lost recipes of an ancient tome of cocktail lore.
My Rating: 2/5
Thoughts: This one had a great premise, but it just didn’t pan out for me. I found the characters to be incredibly immature and the plot wasn’t described very well. There wasn’t a whole lot of explanation – everything felt pretty rushed. I had a hard time finishing this one.
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