A Study in Charlotte

A Study in Charlotte (Charlotte Holmes, #1)A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Genre: Mystery, YA, Retelling/Spin-off
Series: Book 1 of Charlotte Holmes
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

Read for the Pokemon Indigo League #ReadThemAllThon

No spoilers.

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.

I cannot completely express my love for this book. It is honestly one of the best things I’ve read in a very long time, and I’m probably going to read it again before the sequel comes out (something I rarely do except for High Fantasy which I have to re-read in order to remember all the characters).



Jaime is the Watson of this story, and as such he serves as the main character and POV (save for a short excerpt by Charlotte at the end). He’s really likable and easy to become invested in as he struggles to make sense of everything that’s been happening to him. Just like Watson in the original stories, Jaime serves as an important link between Holmes and the auidence, who asks the questions that need asked so that we as readers can understand what happens in the genius’ head.


The descendant of Sherlock Holmes who is not quite as like her ancestor as you may be expecting. Charlotte is a really fun character and really has a great deal of depth. She is allowed to grow and and learn, not just as a super genius, but also as a teenage girl, and struggles with a lot of girl problems on top of the murder.


Milo, the brother of Charlotte, serves as the Mycroft of this story, however, he’s far less pompous and annoying and far more of just a very nerdy guy who does (at times) manage to care at least a little for his sister (although, most of it is less for ‘Lottie’ and more to preserve the family name).

The Murder

I don’t read mysteries very often, because I often find them to be a bit boring and I can almost always guess ‘who done it.’ I am pleased to report that was not the case in A Study in Charlotte for almost all of the book. Yes there were some parts that I figured out, but other things were as much a surprise to me as they were to Jaime and Charlotte.

Because this is set up to be like the Sherlockian stories, it follows in the same format where the auidence knows less than the main character. That was one of the things that made the classic Sherlock stories so popular, because, unlike in all the other mysteries of the time, it was actually impossible to know everything because Holmes always knew more than he was letting on (and because Watson was the primary storyteller, you never knew more than him).


This really reminded me of a book I reviewed not too long ago, Buzzkill by Beth Fantaskey, and that’s a really good thing (in case you don’t know, Buzz Kill is one of my favorite mystery books EVER).

Anyone who is a fan of mysteries should give this book a try, even if retellings and reimaginings aren’t your thing. There are a lot of nods to Arthur Conan Doyle’s work, and discussion of them among the characters, but it still can stand on its own as a great read.


Gotta Read ’em All!

This Read-a-Thon is hosted by Read At Midnight, who also did the Pokemon Go Book Tag just in case you were wondering how much its taken over her life.

For me this read-a-thon comes at whats either a great time or a terrible time: the first week of college. That means that I will probably be combining books – which yes, will cost me points according to the FAQ – but I’ll still be reading and posting about lots of Pokemon so it will still be fun!

I’ve set up my list so that there are some badges that I won’t have to do in case I run out of time, picking books that could work for more than one badge so I don’t need to stress if I can’t read one for every gym. That being said, I’d prefer to

My393Piplup_DP_anime_2 Pokemon

If you’ve not read the original post – and you really should which is why I linked to it in the first place – you need to know that part of the challenge can include leveling up your own Pokemon and, of course, I chose Piplup!


  • Level 50 CP is Prinplup
  • Level 400 CP is Empoleon


Continue reading “Gotta Read ’em All!”

Astonishing X-Men: Gifted Novelization

Astonishing X-Men: Gifted Prose NovelAstonishing X-Men: Gifted Prose Novel by Peter David

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This Review does have spoilers because comics are pretty dang predictable and this is a really old one, so anyone who cares about spoilers has probably read it.

Also, Spoiler Alert: No one stays dead in comics.

The X-Men have evolved. Cyclops and Emma Frost re-form the team with the express purpose of “astonishing” the world. But when breaking news regarding the mutant gene unexpectedly hits the airwaves, will it derail their new plans before they even get started? As demand for the “mutant cure” reaches near-riot levels, the X-Men go head-to-head with the enigmatic Ord, with an unexpected ally – and some unexpected adversaries – tipping the scales Experience the blockbuster re-imagining of the X-Men like never before in this new adaptation.

My friend convinced me to get this because she wants me to get into X-Men and I have a hard time reading comics, so she decided that a novelization would be a good stepping ground. Well, it worked, and I ended up having to buy some actual comics because the sequel(s) to this are not available in book format.

Parts of it were a little predictable, but I think that might just be because my friend has told me so much about the X-Men that I knew where it was going.


Kitty Pryde aka Shadowcat

Kitty was the main character and narrator of most of the book, which made me want to strangle her. As you’ll see in my Reading Progress section down below, I put the book down for almost a month, and thats because I couldn’t get over her whining in the first chapter.

“I hate Emma Frost” “Colossus is dead” “I love Colossus” “My life was ruined by the X-Men” “Emma Frost sucks” “I want to rejoin the X-Men, but I also don’t” “My parents don’t understand” “I’m a jew” “I hate my hair” “Emma Frost doesn’t wear enough clothes and also she sucks” “I always have to save everyone” etc,etc. It felt like a lot more than one chapter.

On the bright side, she has a pet dragon – Lockheed – who does make a few appearances. And once she stopped complaining about Emma she was actually pretty interesting.

Scott Summers aka Cyclops

Jean was dead at this point, she died before it even started (I think she holds the record for most deaths of a comic character, although, don’t quote me on that), so Scott did what he does best: find either someone who looks like Jean Grey or another Telepath to bang (because, you know, telepaths can make you think they look like Jean).

Emma Frost aka White Queen

She was a good guy in this, or, at least, hanging out with the good guys. She’s still a jerk and more or less amoral, she just wants to bang Scott.

Logan Howlett aka Wolverine

His very first scene is talking about trying to get drunk and how hard it is for him, because of how distressed he was over Jean’s death. He took it worse than Scott, apparently.

Then he went to the Xavier School and beat the crap out of Cyclops (and threatened to beat up Kitty for getting in the way, but she didn’t take any of his crap).

Piotr Rasputin aka Colossus

My favorite X-Man who was dead when it all started (he and his sister had both died a little while earlier to create a cure for the “Legacy Virus” which for some reason meant people had to die to create a cure). The good news is he didn’t stay dead for long.

Beast aka Hank McCoy

I really like Hank. He made a bunch of great references, and at one point he was moping in a park and this little girl ran up to him all excited because she thought he was Sully from Monster’s Inc and he played along!

Charles Xavier aka Professor X

He wasn’t in this at all, because he was “on sabbatical”

Reading Progress

  • 05/11
    • marked as: currently-reading
    • page 5
      • 1.0%
      • Kitty just made a Harry Potter reference and now I love her.
    • page 6
      •  1.0%
      • Nope. I did not give Colossus permission to die before this even started
  • 05/29
    • page 24
      • 7.0%
      • “Scott Summers was dying” is a great way to start a chapter.
    • page 28
      • 9.0%
      • So he wasn’t actually dying, unfortunately.
    • page 39
      • 12.0%
      • Kitty’s Harry Potter joke makes her slightly less annoying. Slightly.
    • page 55
      • 18.0%
      • So how many times has Scott “loved, married, and lost” Jean now?
    • page 62
      • 20.0%
      • Hank, if Scott was ready to “pull his cranium out of his nether regions” he wouldn’t be Scott.
      • Yes that quote is exactly what Hank told Scott to do.
    • page 102 33.0%
      • “Perry the Platypus” Really Hank!?
    • page 125
      • 41.0%
      • And now a Titanic reference. Beast really must love television.
    • page 136
      • 44.0%
      • And Kitty quotes Indiana Jones!
    • page 196
      • 64.0%
    • page 239
      • 78.0%
      • Colossus and Nick Fury have the best banter.
      • Colossus kept making fun of Fury for being a “capitalist” and Fury kept calling him a “commie” and they both were having a blast. (Fury ended the banner by saying “man I miss the Cold War”)
    • page 255
      • 83.0%
    • page 255
      • 83.0%
      • “As for Wolverine, there were many rules that he was capable of ignoring, but the laws of physics were not among them”
    • page 264
      • 86.0%
      • Another Fastball Special. Don’t the Xmen have any other tricks?
    • page 270
      • 88.0%
      • “Boy’s named ‘Rasputin,’ should have known he wouldn’t be that easy to kill.” The history nerd in me is happy. Very happy.
      • Also: can we respect the time that Illyana Rasputin (Colossus’ sister) got into a fight with Natasha Romanov. If you know Russian history you’ll know who won.
    • marked as: read


Author: A.G. Howard (website) (blogtag)
Genre: Fantasy, YA, Retelling
Rating: 3 Stars
Splintered Series Reviews: Book One,  Book Two,

There are no spoilers in this review.

Summary Per Goodreads: A post-Ensnared collection of three stories—available in both print and e-versions. Alyssa Gardner went down the rabbit hole and took control of her destiny. She survived the battle for Wonderland and the battle for her heart. In this collection of three novellas, join Alyssa and her family as they look back at their memories of Wonderland.

This review has mild spoilers for the first three books in the Splintered Series, but not for anything from Untamed.

I don’t usually read novellas and the like, but when I heard that this was coming out – just after I finished the books – I couldn’t wait. I even went to the book store almost immediately after the release to pick it up. Then I went home, sat it on my shelf, and forgot about it. So I finally got around to reading it almost two months after the release date.

The whole book retains the odd, whimsical style that we’ve become accustomed to with the Splintered Series and it’s just as good. All too often sequels to popular books or movies – looking at you Aladdin 2 & 3 – aren’t as good as the first, and you go into them expecting the beauty you’ve become accustomed to, and you leave wanting to cry. Unhinged is not like that. Unhinged is every bit as good as the others.

The only odd thing is, that as much as I did love it, I could put it down. While I was reading the series I could barely wait to start the next book, even if it meant running to the bookstore. But with Unhinged I was able to put it down, several times in fact. It might be that my reading interests have changed or that the other options – like Harry Potter and Carry On – were just too tempting. In fact it took me several months to read it.

The Boy in the Web

Alyssa’s mother reminisces about her own time in Wonderland and rescuing the man who would become her husband in The Boy in the Web.

The first short story is The Boy in the Web, told from the POV of Alyssa’s mom as she views her husband’s memories of his childhood. I found it a bit trying, but I won’t deduct points for that because the writing and story telling was great, but it was just that I didn’t get into the characters. I never liked Alyssa’s mom and dad in the other three books (I also never disliked them), and I didn’t find them that interesting now.

The Moth and the Mirror

And Morpheus delves into Jeb’s memories of the events of Splintered in The Moth in the Mirror, available in print for the first time.

This one was interesting, except that I kept forgetting whose POV it was meant to be. Most of it was Jeb’s POV with little to no mention of Morpheus, but then Morpheus would jump in and confuse me.

Six Impossible Things

In Six Impossible Things, Alyssa recalls the most precious moments of her life after Ensnared, and the role magic plays in preserving the happiness of those she loves.

I think this was my favorite of the short stories. It seemed to be the one that kept the most inline with the rest of the series, perhaps because it was originally intended to come at the end of book three (and I’m glad it wasn’t put there, it didn’t seem as though it would belong).

Reading Updates

  • 10/02 marked as: to-read
  • 02/18 marked as: currently-reading
    • page 24
      • 8.0%
      • “Courage paired with folly becomes abandon, which is an honorable trait where I’m from, and should always be rewarded.”
      • Gosh I had missed Morpheus.
    • page 24
      • 8.0%
      • “It doesn’t matter if I’m crazy, as long as the madness helps me survive.”
  • 05/15
    • page 94
      • 32.0%
      • “You’re not too far from the truth, Jeb.”
    • page 120
      • 41.0%
      • Beginning of story three: Six Impossible Things
    • marked as: read


If you’ve read the rest of the series, then this is a good book for you. If not, then don’t bother, it will just cause more questions than it will solve.

The Looking Glass Wars

The Looking Glass Wars (The Looking Glass Wars, #1)The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Genre: Fantasy, YA,
Publisher: Speak
Series: Book One of The Looking Glass Wars
Purchase: Book Depository

This review contains no spoilers.

Alyss of Wonderland?

When Alyss Heart, heir to the Wonderland throne, must flee through the Pool of Tears to escape the murderous aunt Redd, she finds herself lost and alone in Victorian London. Befriended by an aspiring author named Lewis Carrol, Alyss tells the violent, heartbreaking story of her young life. Alyss trusts this author to tell the truth so that someone, somewhere will find her and bring her home. But he gets the story all wrong. He even spells her name incorrectly!

Fortunately, Royal Bodyguard Hatter Madigan knows all too well the awful truth of Alyss’ story and he is searching every corner of our world to find the lost princess and return her to Wonderland so she may eventually battle Redd for her rightful place as the Queen of Hearts.

The Looking Glass Wars unabashedly challenges our Wonderland assumptions surrounding mad tea parties, grinning Cheshire cats, and a curious little blond girl to reveal an epic battle in the endless war for Imagination.

This was such a good book that I don’t even know where to start. Yes it took me months to finish it, but that was just because once I’ve set something aside I have a hard time coming back to it. Thats the main reason I didn’t give it four stars, as much as I loved it, I felt as though a book deserving of five stars I wouldn’t have been able to set aside for any length of time.

I liked the whole thing with the card suites being royal houses – our equivalent of Tudors or Hapsburgs for example – which added to the whole whimsy of Wonderland. There are so many unexpected turns and references to the classic book that I’m sure I missed many of them.

My biggest gripe with the book is that my copy had pictures in the center, which is great because I love author-approved illustrations, except that they contained minor spoilers for the end of the book. Of course the first thing I did when I picked it up was flip right to the photos….. and alas, spoilers.


Alyss / Alice: The princess of Wonderland, not just a random girl who stumbles across it while on a family outing.

Hatter Madigan / The Mad Hatter: He’s received quite the upgrade, going from a hatter to the queen’s most elite guard (and someone who’s still absolutely obsessed with hats, to be frank).

The Cat / Cheshire Cat: He’s now a lethal assassin with nine lives who’s out to get Alyss and company.

Redd / The Queen of Hearts: Quite frightening in all forms, of course. No spoilers, but I can’t wait to see what happens with her next!!

General Doppelgänger / Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dum: Now he’s one guy, and a great general, who can split himself in half, into General Doppel and General Ganger.

Bibwit Hart / The White Rabbit: The princess’ tutor who is just a (mostly) normal human with huge, rabbit-like ears.

The Baccalaureate

It was rather ironic, that the day after I finished this was the baccalaureate service for us graduates, and one of my teachers gave a speech titled “The Logic of Lewis Carol.” It was a very good speech and I really regret not having my grandfather film it while he was there (filming my speech which I will talk about in a later post).

She has since responded that it has been added to her reading list for the summer (although goodness knows how long that is!)


As evidenced by the fact that I recommended it to my teacher, I think anyone who likes Alice in Wonderland will like this. With Through the Looking Glass having just been released I feel like its the perfect time to bring it out and re-immerse ourselves in the madness of Wonderland in all its versions.

Even though its been a while since I read Lewis Carrol’s Alice – so long, in fact, that I can’t remember if I finished it – I had no trouble at all following the plot. I think anyone can enjoy this, regardless of how much they know about Wonderland.


Bout Of Books Read-A-Thon: Complete

I first posted about the read-a-thon here.
It was hosted by BoutOfBooks.

I didn’t do as much with the read-a-thon as I would have liked to, I only finished two books, but I did make more progress on the ones that I didn’t finish than I might have otherwise.
Continue reading “Bout Of Books Read-A-Thon: Complete”

Once Upon A Dream

Once Upon a Dream (A Twisted Tale, #2)Once Upon a Dream by Liz Braswell

Star Rating: 4 of 5 stars
Genre: Fantasy, YA, Fairytale Retelling
Publisher: Disney Press
Series: Twisted Tales

This review contains no spoilers.

This review is published as a part of the Bout Of Books Read-A-Thon.

What if the sleeping beauty never woke up? Once Upon a Dream marks the second book in a new YA line that reimagines classic Disney stories in surprising new ways.

It should be simple–a dragon defeated, a slumbering maiden, a prince poised to wake her. But when said prince falls asleep as soon as his lips meet the princess’s, it is clear that this fairy tale is far from over.

With a desperate fairy’s last curse infiltrating her mind, Princess Aurora will have to navigate a dangerous and magical landscape deep in the depths of her dreams. Soon she stumbles upon Phillip, a charming prince eager to join her quest. But with Maleficent’s agents following her every move, Aurora struggles to discover who her true allies are, and moreover, who she truly is. Time is running out. Will the sleeping beauty be able to wake herself up?

Note: Even though this is from a series, you don’t have to read the series in order as they are unconnected tales.

I can’t tell you how conflicted I was over this book. Not only does Aurora herself believe in the dream world, but it’s so well written that at times I started too, even though I knew (because of the summary) that it was a dream!! I wanted to believe in the dream, but I knew I couldn’t and that’s saying something.

One of the problems I had while reading this book, was that I was constantly comparing it to Maleficent and seeing parallels to that story. Ms. Braswell is clearly a good author, but it really just felt a bit forced. Disney is still sticking to their new stance of “it doesn’t have to be love at first sight” which is a nice change, but caused parts of the book to feel forced as Aurora kept complaining about it.

There’s some fight scenes and they are well written (a bit predictable), but a good balance of showing and telling the audience. There are plot twists and yes, there is a happy ending, but maybe not the one you’re expecting.


Aurora: She was very well written. I was afraid she would be too much like the one in the Sleeping Beauty movie its based on, or too much like the one in the recent Maleficent movie, but she had very little in common with either.

Prince Phillip: He was hilarious at times but there were also times that I wanted to hit him. He believes in love at first sight, and Aurora has to be the one to remind him thats not how it ought to work.

Maleficent: They made you really want to like her and really want to believe her. But of course, you knew from the beginning it wasn’t meant to be.

Aurora’s Parents: King Stephan and Queen Leah aren’t in the book much, but you have to feel pretty sorry for them. There’s also a lot of exploration of the ethics of sending your only child off into the woods with fairies and having a daughter when you really want a son.

The Fairies: There wasn’t much about them in here, but – similar to the Queen and King – there was a lot of exploration over whether they did a good job of raising Aurora and how their lying to her affects her.

Featured Image

I took this photo for my bookstagram account. Its the front cover of the hardcover book (the back is also beautiful, by the way (it features Maleficent)) with a glass peacock I’ve had for quite some time.


This is a very good book and I highly, highly reccomend it to anyone who likes fairytales, fantasy, and retellings.

Even if Sleeping Beauty isn’t your favorite Disney Princess, personally I can’t tell you when the last time I watched that movie was, I think you’ll be really pleased by this.