Jackaby (Jackaby #1) by William Ritter

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Newly arrived in New Fiddleham, New England, 1892, and in need of a job, Abigail Rook meets R. F. Jackaby, an investigator of the unexplained with a keen eye for the extraordinary–including the ability to see supernatural beings. Abigail has a gift for noticing ordinary but important details, which makes her perfect for the position of Jackaby’s assistant. On her first day, Abigail finds herself in the midst of a thrilling case: A serial killer is on the loose. The police are convinced it’s an ordinary villain, but Jackaby is certain it’s a nonhuman creature, whose existence the police–with the exception of a handsome young detective named Charlie Cane–deny.



Regrettably, the original review for this novel mysteriously disappeared – after someone forgot to save it – and since Microsoft sucks old, sweaty socks, I’ve been forced to retype and remake the entire review…

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So, I apologize for this even suckier review than normal, I didn’t have a whole bunch of time to redo this, but I had to do it. You know the saying,

“If you can’t do it right, do it anyway”

(is that not right?)

Disclaimer: My rating of a 3.5 (B+) is graded on a curve because this was the debut novel of Mr. Ritter

Jackaby is a fun novel. Throughout, we follow the partnership of Abigail and Jackaby. She’s a rebellious runaway following her dreams of adventure and fulfillment, whereas Jackaby is an eccentric, witty, sometimes charming sometimes rude, supernatural (consulting) detective. She sees the normal and he sees the unnormal unusual, because he’s like a seer or something.

The best thing about Jackaby has to be the unorthodox fantasy theme Ritter gives us. It’s very original because it’s focused around folklore (which I love) that Jackaby attempts to pass off as science. Jackaby would also have to be a positive point of the novel because I was definitely getting Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Who vibes, however, he was lacking in many areas and just didn’t capture the true essence of the aforementioned characters. Another positive point would be the lack of real romance and the extremely platonic partnership between Abigail and Jackaby. Abigail does have a budding love with a certain young detective (cop?), but it’s occurring in the shadows, besides he’s got his own secrets.

The worst things about Jackaby was the lack proper action. The book is short – appx. 299 pages – so, having to read half of the novel for anything exciting to happen (or really anything at all) was quite boring. This also accounts for the fact that Abigail isn’t a great narrator, with her stale observations and dull chatter. Don’t get me wrong, she had her moments where I enjoyed her narration, but mostly I wasn’t interested. Nevertheless, the story is interesting and it’s fun to read about them finding the supernatural murderer…which Jackaby should have figured out much sooner than he did.

This is a series so I expected book 2 to advance above this novel…I’ve read book 2 but I didn’t get that…you’ll just have to wait for that review……

I know this review isn’t great, but I suggest you check out this one —> Jackaby

 

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

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DNF

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.


The omission of a rating for this novel wasn’t an error, but a tactical decision based upon the fact that I gave up pretty early on, therefore, I didn’t rate it out of ‘farness’.
A Study in Charlotte should have captivated me! I’m a die hard Sherlock Holmes fan and I also enjoy retellings of famous stories and, or, themes, so it’s only natural that a revamped version of Sherlock Holmes featuring a female “Sherlock” and an American setting would be like literary heaven, right?

Wrong!

Since I didn’t make it far, I’ll keep this short.

The biggest turnoff about this book was the tainted partnership of Holmes and Watson. One of my favorite things about the partnership between Holmes and Watson is that it’s purely platonic. I know the original is super old, so a gay kinda romance wouldn’t have spawned from their partnership (writers back then weren’t that risqué), however, even the updated, televised versions of Sherlock Holmes never waver from that basic foundation.

For some odd reason YA always has to include some kind of romance, regardless of its usefulness. In this novel all the signs pointed toward a future romance between the two and a complicated on-again off-again love. Very few YA novels exclude romance (A Darker Shade of Magic is a rarity) but sometimes it’s just not necessary. Why couldn’t this have just been a mystery (mediocre, but still a plain mystery)?

Another reason I didn’t feel compelled to finish the novel was that I could tell it wasn’t going to be different. Charlotte read like the original Sherlock (watered down, of course) and Jamie is no different than John (again, watered down severely). Then the idea of Holmes being a drug addict and living in the US was not terribly original….

Lastly, there’s the bland voice of Jamie Watson and Charlotte Holmes’ unlikable nature. There’s this amazing quality to Sherlock Holmes that allows you to LOVE him. It’s quite interesting how someone so blatantly arrogant and blissfully ignorant to others emotions (or just overall inconsiderate nature) can be so magnetic, however, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was able to do that. In this case, Charlotte lacks that.

I was bored and I’m pretty busy so I didn’t feel a need to continue. Perhaps someone who had time to truly try, could extract some great qualities to this novel, but my heart just wasn’t in it.

‘Til Death Do Us Part by Amanda Quick

★ ★ ★ ★

Calista Langley operates an exclusive “introduction” agency in Victorian London, catering to respectable ladies and gentlemen who find themselves alone in the world. But now, a dangerously obsessed individual has begun sending her trinkets and gifts suitable only for those in deepest mourning—a black mirror, a funeral wreath, a ring set with black jet stone. Each is engraved with her initials.
 
Desperate for help and fearing that the police will be of no assistance, Calista turns to Trent Hastings, a reclusive author of popular crime novels. Believing that Calista may be taking advantage of his lonely sister, who has become one of her clients, Trent doesn’t trust her. Scarred by his past, he’s learned to keep his emotions at bay, even as an instant attraction threatens his resolve.
 
But as Trent and Calista comb through files of rejected clients in hopes of identifying her tormentor, it becomes clear that the danger may be coming from Calista’s own secret past—and that only her death will satisfy the stalker…


Note: I received this advanced reader’s copy  via netgalley by Berkley Publishing in exchange for an honest review

I’ve read every single Amanda Quick novel – finding her work at an early age, I  immersed myself into her spitfire heroines and Victorian romance novels that were never cut and dry, but also featured a fun murder mystery (well if you wanna call that fun). Although her novels have a habit of following a similar formula, I can say this novel was not the customary mystery romance novel and I cannot contain my joy!

Continue reading

Gone Girl [Movie]

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I really don’t have anything to say about this book or movie. Having never read the book or watched the movie and not really planning to anytime soon, I’m at a loss for words. So, check out the trailer below:

 

Affairs of the Dead (The Reanimation Files #1) by A. J. Locke

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★ ★ ★ ★

Necromancer Selene Vanream helps ghosts settle their affairs so they can move on. But when breaking the rules gets her in trouble, she’s bumped down to tracking ghosts trying to avoid the afterlife. Ghosts like Ethan Lance, who claims he was kicked out of his body when someone else jumped in. Which might be plausible–if such a thing were possible. And if Micah, Selene’s partner, didn’t pull her into an investigation of brutal murders that lead directly back to Ethan.

But when the whole mess puts Selene’s life in danger, she suddenly has very personal reasons to get Ethan’s body back. Between her uncomfortable relationship with Micah, and problems with her boss, Selene learns just how much trouble it can be when you don’t follow the rules… 

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Do you remember in middle school and high school when teachers repeatably said to begin your paper with a hook to reel a reader in? Well Ms. Locke didn’t forget that with this opening sentence:

“I was in a strip club trying to help a ghost get laid which was challenging, but not impossible.”

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To say I was hooked would be an understatement; I was stabbed.

This book was extremely different than what I expected. It’s not futuristic, however it does have ghost running rampant and necromancers attempting to crossover said ghost and no one blinks, so it’s not our current. I assume it’s supposed to be like an alternate now e.g; The Walking Dead. The world Locke created with this book is so interesting, and the detail she includes for the necromancer business is beyond awesome because it’s so plausible. People and ghost coexist peacefully…well, until the ghost turns into a raging, homicidal creature. But it’s full of ghost, witches, magic and of course necromancers, but it’s not all about the paranormal elements in this novel that make it so fun. It’s Selene Vanreem.

Selene is that fighter chick, who’s a loner yet the most noticeable person alive without trying to be. She eats men for breakfast, skips lunch,  helps ghost for dinner and leaves room for playing with her dog, Luna for dessert. Full of dry humor and sarcasm Selene deserves a secured position on my badass chick list because she’s  fierce and loving of the people close to her, which is a very minuscule amount of people. Genuinely caring about her clients and gifted with the ability of reanimation. She goes above and beyond to assist her ghost in crossing-over even if that requires breaking the rules. But like all heroines, Selene has her faults and our leading male, Micah will allow her to truly open up in a way she’s never done before. Which brings me to Micah’s character. He’s a grey-eyed handsome devil, with a serious attitude problem – when it comes to Selene – and assholish tendencies, but once you get past all the bull you’ll love him.

Meanwhile, Ethan is this adorably, sweet boy that you fall in love with from the very beginning. seeking help from Selene he attempts to transition from being a human to a ghost, and then is accidentally bound to her through her reanimation power; which, if I didn’t explain previously, is the ability to bind ghost to you and “push” people’s souls from there bodies – it’s pretty crazy.

Although Selene and Ethan are the two important people about this novel it actually features a pretty interesting plot. Someone is killing people in the body of a ghost! So, she attempts to find the person responsible while also dealing with a life altering secret that could mean the end to her.

I have a tendency to run on until I’m basically repeating the entire book to you, so I’ll leave it at you need to read it!

Click image to purchase

(not Peter, the image above Peter)

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

4.5 out of 5

★ ★ ★ ★

First there were ten–a curious assortment of strangers summoned as weekend guests to a private island off the coast of Devon. Their host, an eccentric millionaire unknown to all of them, is nowhere to be found. All that the guests have in common is a wicked past they’re unwilling to reveal–and a secret that will seal their fate. For each has been marked for murder. One by one they fall prey. Before the weekend is out, there will be none. And only the dead are above suspicion.


Originally published as Ten Little Niggers, then re-released with the title Ten Little Indians, but that was still offensive, so they finally abandoned racially charged words totally and chose the title above, And Then There Were None. I have to be honest and say that I’ve put off reading this book for about a year. I bought it, placed it on “my bookshelf” (aka my pantry) and left it there in the dark. It wasn’t purposeful and it had nothing to do with the double title change, because I knew it was supposed to be like a child rhyme or something, but it was just that I lacked the drive that gravitates me to books, to be frank it appeared dull. Boy was I wrong!

The first 30 or so pages are literally just characterization. We get an intro to all ten “victims” and see how different they all are. Ones an old religious nutcracker, another is a young reckless Adonis, then there’s a doctor and judge, not to mention a mysterious governess, an ex-cop, a criminal, a general, and a sweet servant couple. Why would they be going to the same location for the same event? What do all of these people have in common? Well that’s the question Ms. Christie answers in this novel. How people from all different backgrounds and settings and privilege could possibly have anything connecting them to each other.

For me the most intriguing element to this novel was the fact that we know the end. The death of each individual follows the children’s poem Ten Little Indians, and Christie tells us the poem so that us reading knows everyone will die. I also enjoyed the psychological viewpoint of having all these people turning on each other because they believe you were involved in some elaborate revenge scheme. Which brings me to how well the murders were planned! Having each person die like they do in the poem was genius and it just made guessing who’d go next and who the killer was that much more suspenseful.

Although, the book was marvelous I didn’t enjoy who the villain was. I’m pretty crafty when it comes to solving mysteries but with a novel like this it’s impossible to guess the culprit. Personally, I don’t find that appealing but that’s just me.

Does this review do this book justice?

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But hopefully you’ve been tantalized enough to give it a chance. This was my first Christie novel, however it won’t be my last.

 

 

 

Game (Jasper Dent #2) by Barry Lyga

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4 out of 5 stars

★ ★ ★ ★/ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

In an effort to prove murder didn’t run in the family, Jazz teamed with the police in the small town of Lobo’s Nod to solve a deadly case. And now, when a determined New York City detective comes knocking on Jazz’s door asking for help, he can’t say no. The Hat-Dog Killer has the Big Apple–and its police force–running scared. So Jazz and his girlfriend, Connie, hop on a plane to the big city and get swept up in a killer’s murderous games.


 

Fun Fact: I changed my Howie to Thomas Mann. After seeing Dylan O’Brien being super-ultra-mega hot, adorable in the new season of TW and The Maze Runner and The First Time, I was forced to switch my imagination.

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Game is the second novel in the Jasper Dent series, which begins interestingly. I struggled for a while to write a review for this installment because it was so good, but also flawed. The story is gory but somehow tame and everything about it reeked with confusion, which wrecked havoc on my reading mind. So I prolonged it, until I realized my memory wouldn’t last forever on the details of this book, and just decided to go with it.

 

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Back, we find ourselves again in Lobo’s Nod, but not for long –  there’s a new serial killer on the loose, Hat-Dog, and a New York City detective brings in Jazz to help solve the case. Most of our time is spent in New York City where Jasper and an uninvited Connie are to stop a super psycho killer. Once again we’re in the mind of Jasper Dent and he’s just as screwed up in this novel as he was in the first. Obsessed with the question of “if” and how smart because he’s borderline psycho, only instead of age being the precipice he falls off of turning him into a killer, it’s now sex.

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Jazz now believes that if he does the dirty with Connie he’ll become a killer…

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I’m starting think Jasper wants to be a killer. That’s all he thinks about and his entire life revolves around the hope of him not being a serial killer like, Dear Old Dad. Don’t get me wrong, I understand and sympathize with a deep struggle but he’s just frustrating. Once again I feel horrible to put Jasper in the con column, but his character can be so annoying! However, in this novel we get a better understanding of Jasper’s girlfriend and best friend because  we’re introduced to the POV’s of both Connie and Howie.

Interestingly enough Connie worked my nerves. She’s only a teenager, so I guess it’s only expected for her to be immature, but going after a serial killer on her own is just beyond stupid. But she was still an interesting character and a nice switch from Jazz, being strong and independent she’s a great character. The same goes with Howie. He’s an amazing character that balances humor with love and seriousness. Jasper has some amazing friends that would do anything for him.

Moving on, the Hat-Dog killer isn’t the most elaborate of villains (especially for people like me who can easily decipher mysteries), but he is an interesting opponent for Jasper. He’s heinous and dangerous and this book is really dark for a young adult novel. There’s rape (implied) and murder and it’s up to Jasper to solve the mystery of Hat-Dog. Did I mention Billy escaped prison and is now walking around…free…one of the most dangerous serial killers to ever exist in the history of serial killers? Well he is.

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The diversity in this book rivals many young adult novels, with Connie being black, Howie being a hemophiliac, and Jasper being raised by a serial killer – It’s not just racial diversity but just everything.

This novel is wonderfully full of interesting twist and turns that will keep you on the edge of your seat, so read it! But I do need to warn you that it ends in a cliffhanger so large that you will need book 3 immediately.

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Give It Back by Danielle Esplin

regte-ene-fake-review(Am I blowing up your inbox? Well, if I am I’m sorry and this is the last post of today!)

Not long ago, Lorraine lost her husband to another woman. She thought that’s the worst thing that could happen to her, but soon she realizes it’s only the beginning of an everlasting nightmare.

The au pair, Lexy, moves to Seattle to help Lorraine with her infant son. But she didn’t come for the kids, she came for something else.

When Ella receives a call from her sister, Lorraine, who begs her to leave San Diego to spend time with her in Seattle, she thinks she will take a few days off from work. Frightened to see how her sister weakened since her diagnoses, she packs her small bag with a foreboding that this might be the last time she sees her.

But on her way to the airport she learns that something shocking had happened between the day she last spoke with Lorraine and the morning of the flight. Lorraine’s testimony changes, making Ella question how unreliable her sister really is.

Soon Ella is entangled in a mysterious investigation, and more so, in the lives of everyone involved. Not only will she realize that she won’t go home soon, but she will never look at others the way she did before.


Hmm…a little thriller, mystery action sounds like a very interesting change from the novels I’ve been:

A) Reading

B) Doing the new releases for

But this isn’t a bad thing! Although I’m a bit confused with Ella, Lexy, Lorraine (geez that’s a lot of names in ONE synopsis), this book will still be a tasty burst of flavor since I’m journeying out from my usual genre. Another cool thing is that this is Danielle Esplin’s debut novel, so if it’s good there will be many more to come.

Click cover to pre-order