A Modern Day Sherlock Holmes Fail

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Lock and Mori

Lock and Mori #1

Heather W. Petty

2stars


 

In modern-day London, two brilliant high school students—one Sherlock Holmes and a Miss James “Mori” Moriarty—meet. A murder will bring them together. The truth very well might drive them apart.

Before they were mortal enemies, they were much more…


FACT: Someone has been murdered in London’s Regent’s Park. The police have no leads.


FACT: Miss James “Mori” Moriarty and Sherlock “Lock” Holmes should be hitting the books on a school night. Instead, they are out crashing a crime scene.

FACT: Lock has challenged Mori to solve the case before he does. Challenge accepted.

FACT: Despite agreeing to Lock’s one rule—they must share every clue with each other—Mori is keeping secrets.

OBSERVATION: Sometimes you can’t trust the people closest to you with matters of the heart. And after this case, Mori may never trust Lock again.

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I’d first like to say that this book was 245 pages and it took me 3 days to read it.  I should have been able to finish it within a single afternoon, so that’s saying something.

I’m not a super huge Sherlock Holmes fan. I’ve only ever read The Hound of the Baskervilles, but I do watch BBC Sherlock and the American Elementary. And I really like retellings, both fairytales and classics. So I thought I would really enjoy Lock and Mori, a modern day retelling focusing on Sherlock Holmes and James Moriarty, who happens to be female in this version.

But almost right away I felt like something was off. Again, I don’t know that much about the characters beyond what I’ve seen portrayed in shows, but neither one felt true to what I’m guessing the original would be.

Obviously authors have the right to change things, but I was just not a fan. Not only were they almost nothing like the originals, but they were so bland. There was nothing exciting about them. Plus, John Watson has 2 lines and I’m sorry, but there is no Sherlock without Watson.

And the instalove! Now I’m almost positive that Sherlock and Moriarty are nemeses of sorts, so to have them fall in love could be controversial to begin with, but this was just a bit ridiculous.  They’ve known each other like 3 weeks and Mori claims that she will always love him. Give me a break.

And the actual plot? Lame. You find out almost right away who the killer is and then it’s just Mori hiding facts from Sherlock. Also, she is a fucking idiot for how she handled things. I kind of understand why she thought she should do things that way, but no. She was so stupid.

This was a fail and I will not be continuing with the series.

A Fierce and Subtle Poison

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A Fierce and Subtle Poison

Samantha Mabry

2stars

Goodreads

I was provided with this ARC by the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion.


Everyone knows the legends about the cursed girl–Isabel, the one the señoras whisper about. They say she has green skin and grass for hair, and she feeds on the poisonous plants that fill her family’s Caribbean island garden. Some say she can grant wishes; some say her touch can kill.

Seventeen-year-old Lucas lives on the mainland most of the year but spends summers with his hotel-developer father in Puerto Rico. He’s grown up hearing stories about the cursed girl, and he wants to believe in Isabel and her magic. When letters from Isabel begin mysteriously appearing in his room the same day his new girlfriend disappears, Lucas turns to Isabel for answers–and finds himself lured into her strange and enchanted world. But time is running out for the girl filled with poison, and the more entangled Lucas becomes with Isabel, the less certain he is of escaping with his own life.

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I was really excited when I received an ARC of this book. I’m a fan of magical realism and this one just sounded so interesting.  I don’t know much about Puerto Rico or its culture, so I was interested in learning a bit about it and the myths.

Unfortunately, I was disappointed. I don’t know if my expectations were too high or if it simply wasn’t the story I wanted it to be.  You ever feel like that?  It’s not so much expectations for greatness, but expectations for the story to go a certain way.  Well that’s how I felt when I was reading this and it just didn’t turn out how I wanted it to.

The pacing was way off and the mystery was solved way too quickly. And it wasn’t even that good of a mystery.  I just had this whole idea of how the plot would progress and it just didn’t do that.  I know it’s not fair of me to hold the book accountable for my desires of how it should read, but I’m going to.  Sorry. I probably could have still enjoyed it more, but the issue with the pacing was a big downer.

At the beginning I was really excited. Lucas seemed like an actual teenage boy and one that wasn’t obsessed with talking about his penis.  I thought I would really like him, but he ended up annoying me.  Isabel annoyed me as well.  In fact, the only character I liked was Marisol and you find out she dies on the 3rd page of the book.

This book was supposed to get my out of my reading slump. I did finish it within 3-4 hours, in one sitting, but I think it did more harm than good as I haven’t picked up a book since.

My first “Nope” Review: Beautiful Creatures

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Before I even started my blog, I knew I wanted to set a few challenges for myself in 2016.  There were a bunch of series I wanted to start and a bunch to finish.  I also wanted to actually take a second look at books that I had previously labeled “Nope” for some reason or another.  Usually due to others reviews I decided not to read certain books, and I decided that simply wasn’t fair and I wanted to give the books a try, because maybe I would find a book that I actually really enjoyed.  You can check out the original post here.

My first book in this “Nope Challenge” was Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl.

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Beautiful Creatures

Caster Chronicles #1

Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

2009

2stars

Goodreads


Is falling in love the beginning . . . or the end?

In Ethan Wate’s hometown there lies the darkest of secrets . . .

There is a girl. Slowly, she pulled the hood from her head . . . Green eyes, black hair. Lena Duchannes.

There is a curse. On the Sixteenth Moon, the Sixteenth Year, the Book will take what it’s been promised. And no one can stop it.

In the end, there is a grave.

Lena and Ethan become bound together by a deep, powerful love. But Lena is cursed and on her sixteenth birthday, her fate will be decided. Ethan never even saw it coming.


 

Obviously since this was on my “Nope” shelf, reviews had warned me against it.  But I really just had to see it for myself.  So where should I start?

The writing is really bad. Honestly, I recognized this on the second page. I can sometimes look past bad writing if I’m invested in the plot.  Hell, I’m not winning any awards for my writing.  But, it was really, really bad in this. And, on top of bad writing, the pacing of the plot is too slow, yet oddly jumbled and confusing at many points.  I mean, I enjoyed the overall plot.  I thought the world Garcia and Stohl created was interesting and deep, if only a bit confusing, but this book did not have to be 500 pages.  There are some books that do.  There are some books that NEED to be 800 pages long and every single word is important.  This is not one of them.  Again, take 200 pages off, speed up the plot and it probably would have gotten a better rating, bad writing and all.

I liked the setting.  I haven’t read too many “Southern Gothics” and this book really made me interested in them, mainly because it didn’t do that great of a job creating the South for me. I mean, I know the South can still be pretty backwards (well America can just be pretty backwards sometimes, so it’s wrong to just point to the South), but I have a real hard time believing that this book is supposed to take place in the present day with how they treat Lena.  Totally not believable.  But I am totally interested in reading more Southern Gothic stories.

I did like that it was a male POV, except for the fact that it was so hard to remember that Ethan was a dude.  He didn’t sound like any 16 year old boy I ever met.  I’m not trying to say that he wasn’t manly enough, I just think that the authors don’t know how to write from the male perspective.  I wasn’t a huge fan of Ethan, but he wasn’t half as bad as Lena.

Lena, hmm I don’t even know what I can really say about her except I hated her. Like if there is nothing you can do about possibly going dark, then get the fuck over it.  She was so god damn melodramatic I wanted to rip my hair out.  Honestly, Ridley was the best character and it made me realize that I am sick of reading about the “good” side.  The dark side might be a nice place to set a story.

Both Ethan and Lena are extremely stupid. I mean they have this whole conversation over what the clue “Claim Yourself” means.  That’s when I lost it.  I would have thrown the book across the room if I hadn’t been reading on the computer or if I hadn’t been at work. Their romance was so disgustingly gag-worthy.  It’s insta-love of epic proportions, even if they don’t admit it right away.  The way Ethan thinks about Lena makes me want to throw up.  Not even my high school boyfriend was that cheesy.

The ending was entirely too convenient and it made me pretty angry.

This would have been a great book. If not for the characters.  Or the pacing.  Or the writing.  Obviously I finished it. I read 567 pages, so it gets 2 stars because I just need to prove to myself that I didn’t waste my time.

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Why I didn’t want to read it:      Reviews

Why I changed my mind:    Popularity

Do I regret reading it?:    Not exactly

Will I continue the series?:    Probably not

This is Where it Ends by Marieke Nijkamp

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This is Where it Ends

Marieke Nijkamp

Publication: 1/5/16

Source: Netgalley, e-ARC

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Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository

*I was provided with this ARC by the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion.*


 

10:00 a.m.
The principal of Opportunity, Alabama’s high school finishes her speech, welcoming the entire student body to a new semester and encouraging them to excel and achieve.

10:02 a.m.
The students get up to leave the auditorium for their next class.

10:03
The auditorium doors won’t open.

10:05
Someone starts shooting.

Told over the span of 54 harrowing minutes from four different perspectives, terror reigns as one student’s calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival.


 

I don’t like to read books about serious subjects. When I read I want to be taken to a place where I don’t have to face problems and issues that we already see too much of everyday. That is why I don’t like books about disease/death, rape/abuse or even really mental illness or suicide. I get that these books are important and totally support them being written and other people reading them, I would rather just read a book where all of the worlds problems are disguised in terms of magic and whatnot.

So, for the life of me I don’t know why I requested This is Where it Ends, a book where the plot is told over 54 in the midst of a school shooting. I had no plans on actually reading it. And then I decided to make a blog and to dedicate myself to reading all of the ARCs I was lucky enough to be granted (future ARCs, that is. The ones from last year will probably continue to sit on my kindle).

So I went into this book knowing it wasn’t a subject I wanted to read about. I’d like to add that when I do decide to venture into the realistic, difficult topic type books, I expect to be destroyed. I want to be sobbing in a ball by the end of the book. Or I want to be so angry that I could rage for hours. Or my head to hurt from all the thinking the book forced me to do.

And all I feel right now is indifference. Ok, my eyes got a bit blurry at the end, but the rest of the time I was reading? I felt nothing. Actually, I was bored. Every time I “turned” the page, I had to tell myself not to DNF it. That a book with such a delicate topic deserved to be read. That these voices deserved to be heard.

But I kind of wish I DNFed it around 50% when I first wanted to.

I didn’t exactly expect it, but the synopsis told me this would be the ultimate game of survival. And while it was, because it was told from the POV of 4 different victims, it was still boring. It was basically a bunch of flashbacks so that readers can understand what made these four narrators special and their relationship to, Tyler, the shooter.

Autumn: Tyler’s sister. An aspiring ballerina with an abusive father.

Sylvia: Autumn’s girlfriend. POC. Mother is very ill. Tyler has it out for her for “stealing” and “corrupting” his sister

Tomas: Sylvia’s twin brother. Has gotten into fights with Tyler and knows Tyler did something that made his sister terrified of him. Is a lovable troublemaker.

Claire: Tyler’s ex girlfriend. ROTC member, does her duty. Has a brother with Lupus.

See these characters are so wonderful. And so, so boring.

Obviously a book with such an important topic doesn’t have to be non-stop action for it to be worthwhile, but I just couldn’t get over how bored I was.  I could barely tell the characters apart and there wasn’t a single one that I actually connected with.  Maybe I can’t connect with them because I have, thankfully, never experience anything as harrowing as this, but I should feel something for them.  And I didn’t. If I didn’t have their names right up there I probably wouldn’t even remember them.

There was quite a bit of romance that I was not expecting for a book about a school shooting.  Half the time the characters were going on and on about their love lives. And yeah, I’m sure it’s impossible not to think about the people you love in times of crisis, but it just went a bit too far in this book.

I have seen a few other reviewers mention that Tyler is presented as almost entirely evil .  And I would kind of have to agree.  It wasn’t my main issue with the book, but I would be lying if I said I didn’t notice it and that it  didn’t detract from my overall feelings for the book.

Sidetrack here, but the thing I love most about the Game of Thrones series (ASOIF) is that there are such wonderfully complex, morally grey characters. Every time I read it, it reminds me that we don’t live in a world of Good vs Evil. It’s human vs human. In the wise words of some character in Harry Potter (can’t remember for the life of me): “the world isn’t split into good people and Death Eaters.” And this book doesn’t take either of those ideas into consideration.

So if there was ever a time to see someone like Tyler’s POV, this book would be it.  Instead we are presented with pretty much just an evil kid hellbent on revenge. Actually, just go read  Nenia Campbell’s review. I agree with everything she says and she does so  way better than I can.  Presenting the shooter in this way does nothing to help us understand how/why school shootings happen or how we can help prevent them.

Also, a lot of what bothered me about this book was that I couldn’t get a clear image in my head of what was going on. And it has nothing to do with the fact that in times of crisis things blur together. I think it had less to do with the fact that it was told from 4 different POV, and more to do with that it is told within 2-4 minute increments, with each character retelling the same events in some cases. An example is when Autumn is walking towards her brother in the auditorium, and it goes on for like 15 pages where he hasn’t noticed her and she is still walking.  I’m probably not explaining it right, it just bothered me.

So I gave this book a 2. I was strongly in the 1 camp for the majority of it, but it did make me tear up and I did end up finishing it, so I didn’t exactly hate it. I was just disappointed.

A Charmed Review: Born at Midnight by C.C. Hunter

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Born At Midnight

Shadow Falls #1

C.C. Hunter

2011

2stars

Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository


One night Kylie Galen finds herself at the wrong party, with the wrong people, and it changes her life forever. Her mother ships her off to Shadow Falls—a camp for troubled teens, and within hours of arriving, it becomes painfully clear that her fellow campers aren’t just “troubled.” Here at Shadow Falls, vampires, werewolves, shapeshifters, witches and fairies train side by side—learning to harness their powers, control their magic and live in the normal world.

Kylie’s never felt normal, but surely she doesn’t belong here with a bunch of paranormal freaks either. Or does she? They insist Kylie is one of them, and that she was brought here for a reason. As if life wasn’t complicated enough, enter Derek and Lucas. Derek’s a half-fae who’s determined to be her boyfriend, and Lucas is a smokin’ hot werewolf with whom Kylie shares a secret past. Both Derek and Lucas couldn’t be more different, but they both have a powerful hold on her heart.

Even though Kylie feels deeply uncertain about everything, one thing is becoming painfully clear—Shadow Falls is exactly where she belongs.


Ok first, there is no reason for this book to be 400 pages. NOTHING happens. The first half is basically just her meeting the campers and falling in instalove with 2 dudes.  Also, shitty love triangle.  Derek seems like the “nice” guy.  You know, the guy who is totally fine with waiting until you’re ready for a relationship and then one day snaps.  That’s just how he seems to me.  And Lucas. Well he wasn’t too bad.  I actually liked him a bit.

There is the presence friendship between Kylie and two other supernatural girls, whose names I forget. Positive representations of female friendship are always good,  but we don’t really get to see the development. We are told that all of a sudden they are all best friends. And they didn’t exactly stand out that much if I can’t remember their names without going back to check.  One was a vampire and the other was a witch.

The “mystery” isn’t introduced until like more than halfway and what a shitty mystery it is.  Who’s eating the wild animals (wait is that it? I don’t even really know).  And then it’s solved like 20 pages later without much effort. And the book doesn’t answer the more pressing mystery of “what the hell is Kylie?”.  Nope.  That would have been too simple.  They probably keep that a mystery until book 3 or something.  All we know is that she can see ghosts and likes the taste of blood, both of which are pretty rare in the supernatural world (Well it’s not rare for  Vamps to enjoy blood, but other creatures).

Beyond the fact that nothing really happens and this book could have been reduced to a few chapters as an introduction of another book, it’s an interesting concept for a book.  A supernatural camp where all the different creatures intermingle. Basically, you’ve got witches, vamps, werewolves, shifters, and fae at a camp together (I think that’s it).  Oh and Kylie, who doesn’t know what she is because she’s speshul.

And even though she can be super judgy, Kylie wasn’t the worst character in the world. The one thing that really, really annoyed me (beyond what I mention below) is how Kylie thought of Fredricka and Lucas.  Just because Lucas left, and Fredricka followed him a few days later, doesn’t mean they ran off together.  Lucas admitted that he didn’t like her…so STOP complaining about it.   It’s a childish book, but I’ve definitely read worse.

But what really annoyed me, and actually probably took off half a star, is that there is definitely an underlying theme of SEX IS BAD.  I mean, her best friend starts off the book with a pregnancy scare (and then promptly disappears because she has served her purpose) and almost every single character admits to regretting sex.  And the one  I mean, Kylie doesn’t want to have sex.  She isn’t ready.  That’s totally fine.  But you don’t need to project your own feelings onto everyone else.

If there hadn’t been such a focus on “SEX IS BAD” I would have given this 2.5 stars, maybe even 3 if I was feeling generous.  I did speed through it, and as I’ve said it wasn’t the worst supernatural book I’ve come across.  (And it did inspire a project I’m super excited about! But more on that later). I already have the 2nd book, because it came as a 2 in 1 special edition, so I guess I’ll be reading that eventually.