Book Review: The Last of August by Brittany Cavallaro

There are so many next-books-in-a-series coming out and this is one I’ve been looking forward to since I finish A Study in Charlotte last March. Here I’ll be discussing the sequel The Last of August which was released on Valentine’s day. THERE WILL BE MILD SPOILERS FOR A STUDY IN CHARLOTTE SO PLEASE PROCEED WITH CAUTION IF YOU DON’T WANT TO BE SPOILED. You can find my review of A Study in Charlotte and a discussion on it here. Thank you to Justine Magazine for sending me an advance copy!

Things you might want to know about the book:

The Last of August (Charlotte Holmes #2)

In the second brilliant, action-packed book in the Charlotte Holmes trilogy, Jamie and Charlotte are in a chase across Europe to untangle a web of shocking truths about the Holmes and Moriarty families.

Jamie Watson and Charlotte Holmes are looking for a winter break reprieve in Sussex after a fall semester that almost got them killed. But nothing about their time off is proving simple, including Holmes and Watson’s growing feelings for each other. When Charlotte’s beloved uncle Leander goes missing from the Holmes estate—after being oddly private about his latest assignment in a German art forgery ring—the game is afoot once again, and Charlotte throws herself into a search for answers.

So begins a dangerous race through the gritty underground scene in Berlin and glittering art houses in Prague, where Holmes and Watson discover that this complicated case might change everything they know about their families, themselves, and each other.

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

Release date: 14 February 2017

Page #: 336

Edition: Hardcover, US

My rating: 5/5 stars

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This novel picks up right where you get left off in A Study in Charlotte. Since it’s been almost a year since I’ve read the first book a few of the details were a bit hazy. I loved refamiliarizing myself with all the characters and getting to know the new ones too.

Charlotte Holmes is a fantastic character all around. She is prickly and calculating but that doesn’t make her less. If anything it makes her more. More human, more real. She continues to struggle with the sexual assault that she experienced, and throughout the book it remains a prominent part of her character’s troubles. (I don’t mean this in a dismissive way, sexual assault/violence is something you don’t simply “get over.”) Although this is something that continually gets in the way for her and her attraction to Jamie, it’s something I appreciate reading about. It adds dimensions to her character that I have longed to see in female characters. It speaks volumes to her overall strength as a woman.

The book is told mostly from Jamie’s perspective (of course, why wouldn’t Watson be telling the story, honestly). There are a few parts that Charlotte tells, but it’s mostly told from his point of view. I enjoy Jamie as a character. There are developments to his character that I found to be wonderful. He both knows how to be friends with and handle Charlotte, but on the flip side it seems like he’s shooting in the dark. He knows that she can handle herself, but his loyalty and caring spirit win out and he always is looking after her.

Their friendship dynamic is a weird one. It’s caught in between just friends and something more, and I don’t mind that it isn’t defined. I can’t wait to see how it plays out in the third (and final) book though. Something tells me the ambiguity will go away and something will establish itself one way or another. Or it could end ambiguously. At this point, they’re so mercurial I don’t know what to predict.

The overall plot line was interesting. I like how there were multiple parts interwoven. I didn’t know which one to keep my eye on and when you would forget one it would come back in curious ways. August Moriarty comes into play in this novel, and I grew fond of his character. Though Jamie (very much) dislikes him, I liked reading about a third character upsetting the balance of the Holmes/Watson duo.

Happy reading,

Sophie 🙂

Posted in Bloggers, Sophie

General Update: My Bookish Life (no. 6 vol. 2)

Why hello there! It’s Saturday and while a lot of the country is freezing, people in my slice of Michigan are out and enjoying the sunshine! I really wish I could be out there too, but I’m stuck inside working. (Not that I mind too much, I love my job <3) I apologize for not blogging on the past two Fridays – I am just a bit out of inspiration for that day lately – if you have any tags, I would love to do them!!

This week was a bit of a short one for me at school because we have midwinter break. It’s a nice mini vacation to get us through February and into March. I’m glad for it because I was starting to get a bit restless at school. I had my band’s pre-festival concert on Monday and that was a decent performance. Our director dropped a few beats but we recovered really well. Festival is a statewide band competition for concert season where we perform three songs and get rated on them. Pre-fest is just a way to make sure we’re performance ready and to give us areas where we can focus on for the real deal. Last night I had a few friends over for an impromptu crepe session. I think Maiya ate like 5 crepes? I don’t know but I guess they were pretty good.

Today, although I’m stuck inside instead of basking in the warmth and sunlight, I’m surrounded by books. It can’t get much better than that really. Other than the fact that some of the customers are expecting me to pull a rabbit out of a hat and other magic tricks. I will never understand people who think I will be able to find a book based on very little information that isn’t the title or the author. (Bonus points if you come in with the ISBN. I will love you forever.)

This week I’ve got to housesit for my friends, so that will be fun. I have a collage concert with my local orchestra. Thankfully it’s a local venue so I don’t have to drive an hour away again. We’re playing Brahms’ Hungarian Dances 5 & 6, Radetzky March, and Finlandia (maybe?). I’m not exactly sure to be honest.

Happy reading,

Sophie 🙂

Hey there! In light of recent holidays (like Galentine’s day or course) I thought it’d be fun to post this here. I wrote this article for Justine Magazine a while back and if you want to see the original click here.

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Strong women used to be few and far between, but with people like Michelle Obama and Malala Yousafzai paving the way for others, things are looking up for females. Here are some literary heroines to fuel the feminist pride within you.

Shahrzad

The Wrath and the Dawn by Reneé Ahdieh

There are a lot of retellings of A Thousand and One Nights, and of the ones that I’ve read this is definitely my favorite. Shahrzad’s story is one of loyalty—not only to her friend, but to herself, as well. As the plot thickens, Shazi’s verve and strength shine through her willingness to fight to do what’s right.

—————–

Mary Iris Malone (a.k.a. Mim)

Mosquitoland by David Arnold

When in doubt, go on a road trip. At least that’s Mim’s solution to her problem. When her father drags her to Mississippi with her new stepmother in tow, Mim feels herself wasting away. When she finds out her mother is sick, Mim sets out to reconnect with the woman who taught her to wear her warpaint proudly. Through her quest to find her mom, Mim encounters detours and people who show her what she is truly capable of.

—————–

Inej Ghafa & Nina Zenik

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

The Wraith and the Heartrender are two of the deadliest people in Ketterdam. These lovely ladies know how to wield knives, be enchantresses and hang with the best of the Barrel scum, all while eating waffles. Inej gathers the deepest secrets crawling all over the city and Nina can bring a man to his knees with a flick of the wrist—without a knife. While they’re only two of Kaz Brekker’s crew, these girls are essential to executing a dangerous heist that could cost them their lives.

—————–

Charlotte Holmes

A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro

Charlotte may be a bit prickly when you first meet her, but it’s in her nature as a Holmes to be a bit off-putting. Despite many qualms students seem to have with her, Charlotte never wavers from doing her work and doing it excellently. She follows the trail and and her self confidence is steadfast.

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Jasmine de los Santos

Something in Between by Melissa de la Cruz

Jasmine is what seems to be the perfect girl; she’s cheer captain, valedictorian, the daughter of loving parents. All her life she’s worked hard to achieve the lofty goals she sets for herself. Jasmine is over the moon when she’s awarded a full-ride scholarship from the government to the college of her choice. Her excitement is short-lived, though, after she discovers she’s an undocumented citizen. Suddenly Jasmine must dig even deeper to find strength to fight for what she has rightfully earned. She must decide if she’s going to let someone else tell her who she is and who she isn’t.

—————–

Charlotte “Charlie” Davis

Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow

Charlie is not okay. She has lost herself and cutting is the only thing that makes her feel again. When Charlie wakes up in the psych ward of a hospital after cutting herself to the brink of death, her long journey back to wellness begins. Yet, this story isn’t a sad one. It’s complicated, and she experiences many setbacks, but Charlie’s strong will and hard work lead her to figuring out just who she may be after all.

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Willowdean Dickson

Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy

Willowdean is in charge and she is fabulous. It doesn’t matter that she works in a grease pit of a restaurant—she can work that hair net like, well, it’s her job. She has always been proud of her voluptuous body, but when she engages in a flirtation whispers of self-doubt worm their way into her brain. To take her confidence back, Willowdean enters her town’s Miss Clover City beauty pageant. Her stunning performance will inspire you to find body love instead of body shame.

—————–

Jude Sweetwine

I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

Jude may be a bit of an unlikeable character, yet that’s what makes her real. Throughout her life, Jude has felt like she has stood in the shadow of her brother Noah when it comes to art. While she loves him, Jude feels suffocated and rebels. Three years later she’s the one who’s been accepted to the elite art school that they both had applied to, not Noah. Jude doesn’t feel any less lost though, and she must find herself through the real art.

—————–

Lennie Walker

The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson

Lennie lost her sister, and she doesn’t know who she is without her. She feels like a hollow shell of herself, even reading and music don’t seem to bring her the same pleasure they did before. The only person who seems to understand her is her sister’s former boyfriend Toby.  Yet, when she piques the interest of the new boy in town, Lennie feels grounded, for once. He reminds her of the harmony and beauty that were in her life before her sister’s passing. Lennie ultimately must pull herself up and out, and with help along the way she seizes her life back.

—————–

Laia & Helene Aquilla

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

In the Martial Empire, Laia is a Scholar girl who watched her grandparents’ murder, yet she somehow got away. Helene is one of the best fighters in her class at the military academy Blackcliff, and the only woman. The girls come together when Laia takes on a slave job to help the resistance and save her brother from prison. Soon they’re pitted against each other…Laia the lowly Scholar and Helene the Mask, the highest ranking soldier in the Empire. Despite this, they help each other in unexpected ways. While they certainly don’t part as friends, there is a hint of respect between the two where they find a common goal, emphasizing the strength of women supporting each other.

I hope you really like this piece! I had a ton of fun writing this and I’m currently working on two projects for Justine for future publication that I can’t wait for you to read!

Happy reading,

Sophie 🙂

Book Chat: Fierce Feminists of YA

It’s almost Valentine’s day and what a better way to celebrate that than with a bunch of *new* books? Also, happy Galentine’s day – huge shoutout to all of my lovely ladies, I love you all so much! While it seems love is in the air, the only real love I’m feeling (other than my friends and family of course) is for my books. They’re my escape from this mush-fest this year and have been for several years. I don’t know, I’m a hopeless romantic at heart (right, Ana?). Anyway – make sure you eat a lot of chocolate for me!

This week’s releases:

  • A Season of Daring Greatly by Ellen Emerson White / Goodreads
  • American Street by Ibi Zoboi / Goodreads
  • Dare You by Jennifer Brown / Goodreads
  • Ones and Zeroes by Dan Wells / Goodreads
  • Piecing Me Together by Renee Watson / Goodreads
  • Revenge of the Evil Librarian by Michelle Knudsen / Goodreads
  • Switching Gears by Chantele Sedgwick / Goodreads
  • The Last of August by Brittany Cavallaro / Goodreads
  • The Wish Granter by C. J. Redwine / Goodreads
  • We Are Okay by Nina LaCour / Goodreads

I’m currently reading The Last of August and I love it so much! Hopefully I’ll be finishing it very soon 🙂

ICYMI here’s some highlights from last week:

  • Katherine McGee & EpicReads revealed the new title to her newest book

The sequel to The Thousandth Floor received a title this past Friday – The Dazzling Heights. EpicReads made this grand announcement on their blog along with an excerpt of the book. The Dazzling Heights is set to be released August 29th of this year. So far no cover or description has been given yet. McGee’s first book The Thousandth Floor debuted last August and was quite a thrilling read to many readers. Several made requests to know if there would be a second book, and it’s finally here. Here’s a link to the excerpt! You can add it to your Goodreads here.

  • Adam Silvera’s newest They Both Die at the End received a cover

Adam Silvera gave an interview to Mashable about his latest work They Both Die at the End and gave readers a look at its cover. The book is set to release on September 5th this year. This past January Silvera released his second book History is All You Left Me which was a big hit. His debut novel was More Happy Than Not which was received extremely well in the YA community.

They Both Die at the End

Synopsis: Set in a near-future New York City where a service alerts people on the day they will die, the novel follows teens Mateo and Rufus, who meet using the Last Friend app and are faced with the challenge of living a lifetime on their End Day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Marie Lu announced her new book

This week Publisher’s Weekly announced the new book deal for Marie Lu and her book The Kingdom of Back. The Legend author announced her excitement over Twitter and shared a few details concerning her new book.

That’s all for today folks! I hope you have a wonderful week!

Happy reading,

Sophie 🙂

 

Bookish News: 13 February 2017

Posted in Bloggers, Reviews, Sophie

Book Review: Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

Hi there! I’m back at it again with another review this Sunday. This time it’s for Passenger by Alexandra Bracken. This made quite a splash when it was published last year (the day before my birthday if I may add) and it took me forever to actually read it, but my lovely friend Brittany totally did. I’m so glad to have read it, and I can’t wait to read Wayfarer.

Here’s some things about the book:

Passage, n.
i. A brief section of music composed of a series of notes and flourishes.
ii. A journey by water; a voyage.
iii. The transition from one place to another, across space and time.

 

Passenger (Passenger, #1)
Goodreads

In one devastating night, violin prodigy Etta Spencer loses everything she knows and loves. Thrust into an unfamiliar world by a stranger with a dangerous agenda, Etta is certain of only one thing: she has traveled not just miles but years from home. And she’s inherited a legacy she knows nothing about from a family whose existence she’s never heard of. Until now.

Nicholas Carter is content with his life at sea, free from the Ironwoods—a powerful family in the colonies—and the servitude he’s known at their hands. But with the arrival of an unusual passenger on his ship comes the insistent pull of the past that he can’t escape and the family that won’t let him go so easily. Now the Ironwoods are searching for a stolen object of untold value, one they believe only Etta, Nicholas’ passenger, can find. In order to protect her, he must ensure she brings it back to them—whether she wants to or not.

Together, Etta and Nicholas embark on a perilous journey across centuries and continents, piecing together clues left behind by the traveler who will do anything to keep the object out of the Ironwoods’ grasp. But as they get closer to the truth of their search, and the deadly game the Ironwoods are playing, treacherous forces threaten to separate Etta not only from Nicholas but from her path home… forever.

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion                My rating: 5/5 stars

Release Date: 5 January 2016               Page #: 486

Edition: Hardcover, US

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I started reading this over Christmas break and I was super excited to get to it. I waited almost an entire year to actually read it and I can’t believe I did. What I loved most about it was Etta and her strength. I’m a sucker for strong female characters, and this definitely delivered.

I love different eras and this brought me right to them. I loved how detailed each setting was and how accurate it seemed to be. One of my weaknesses is that I’m a history junkie and learning about them even if it’s through fiction is awesome to me. It’s even better when they’re accurate and to my knowledge this one hits the nail on the head.

The story alternates points of view and it’s nice to see both sides of their story. I love seeing people and characters develop through the other characters’ perspectives especially in action books like this one.

Music is a huge element in this book and as a music nerd I kind of loved it. The idea of how things that are connected and interwoven through music and that music is a language everyone speaks is beautiful. I love how much it brings people together and that this was a big part in helping Etta especially come off the page. It added depth to the story that I’m not sure it would have had without it.

Overall this was a really exciting book. I moved through it at a generally fast clip, but didn’t have much time to sit down and read it. I will say that I enjoyed it when I did get the chance to read it in snippets.

Happy reading,

Sophie 🙂

 

 

Posted in Bloggers, Book Chat, Sophie

Book Chat: (Un)Comprehensive January and February Book Haul

Hi, happy hump day! I wasn’t really sure what to talk about today, but I realized I haven’t talked about what books I’ve recently acquired. To my parents who may or may not be reading this, I want you to know I didn’t buy a lot of these, they were free. Let me repeat that, they were free.

Now that that’s out of the way, I do want to clarify my sources. I want to take a minute to thank my lovely editor at Justine Magazine for sending me many a packages of books. They are so wonderful and I can’t wait to read and review them for you! Thank you also to Megan Beatie for sending me multiple copies of various books. Each one I’ve read so far I have fallen in love with. They never disappoint! I also work at a local bookstore, where ARCs are plenty and I never have to go far to satisfy my addiction.

(Side note: Maiya once told the entire band and the parents that I’m the resident book hoarder. Probably was one of my proudest moments as a book nerd.)

ANYWAY I’ve recently come into many, many books. Here’s a *short* list of what I can remember:

ARCs

Finished Hardcovers

If you’re interested in learning more about any of the books listed here I’ve included the Goodreads link so just click the title! Okay I’m gonna stop here because that’s all I can remember. Also I think my parents would kill me. If my books don’t do it first. Brb while my shelves crush me…

Happy reading,

Sophie 🙂

Hi book lovers! I’m coming to you a day later than usual because I’ve been extremely busy with everything but no fear, I’m back. I’m so excited for this week’s releases guys!!

Today’s releases:

  • King’s Cage by Victoria Aveyard
  • A Tragic Kind of Wonderful by Eric Lindstrom
  • Crazy Messy Beautiful by Carrie Arcos
  • Heart of the Storm by Michael Buckley
  • Nowhere Near You  by Leah Thomas
  • Rise of Fire by Sophie Jordan
  • The Cruelty by Scott Bernstrom
  • The Lost Girl of Astor Street by Stephanie Morrill
  • The Sky Between You and Me by Catherine Alene
  • To Catch a Killer by Sheryl Scarborough
  • Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

ICYMI here’s some things that went on in the bookish universe last week

  • Leigh Bardugo announced a new book

Last week Monday Bardugo announced the next book set in the Grishaverse world titled The Language of Thorns. It’s a collection of short stories that are set in this magnificent world. The book is set to release this September on the 26th so mark your calendars, fam. See the formal interview she gave to the L. A. Times and the full list of stories to Bustle.

I promise I would include more but I just don’t have the time (or energy) right now so here’s a link to EpicReads’ awesome compilation.

Happy reading,

Sophie 🙂

Bookish News: 6 February 2017

Book Review: Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven

Hello there! I hope you’ve had a good weekend so far. I’m busy in Chicago and I’ll be getting home tonight at a decent time (hopefully). Anyway, I’ll be reviewing Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven. Niven debuted in YA with All the Bright Places and I loved it soooo much. I met her twice last May when I went to BookCon and she is one of the loveliest people I know. (Shoutout to her for reviving that wonderful word.) If you haven’t read ATBP yet I definitely recommend you do.

Here’s what you need to know about the book:

Everyone thinks they know Libby Strout, the girl once dubbed “America’s Fattest Teen.” 28686840But no one’s taken the time to look past her weight to get to know who she really is. Following her mom’s death, she’s been picking up the pieces in the privacy of her home, dealing with her heartbroken father and her own grief. Now, Libby’s ready: for high school, for new friends, for love, and for every possibility life has to offer. In that moment, I know the part I want to play here at MVB High. I want to be the girl who can do anything.

Everyone thinks they know Jack Masselin, too. Yes, he’s got swagger, but he’s also mastered the impossible art of giving people what they want, of fitting in. What no one knows is that Jack has a newly acquired secret: he can’t recognize faces. Even his own brothers are strangers to him. He’s the guy who can re-engineer and rebuild anything, but he can’t understand what’s going on with the inner workings of his brain. So he tells himself to play it cool: Be charming. Be hilarious. Don’t get too close to anyone.

Until he meets Libby. When the two get tangled up in a cruel high school game—which lands them in group counseling and community service—Libby and Jack are both pissed, and then surprised. Because the more time they spend together, the less alone they feel. Because sometimes when you meet someone, it changes the world, theirs and yours.

Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers

Release date: 4 October 2016

Edition: Hardcover, US                                    Page #: 391                             My rating:4/5 stars

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I enjoyed this book – not as much as All the Bright Places, but I liked it in its own right. The entire time I read the book I found myself both frustrated and in love with the characters. I was invested in seeing what would happen to them, and I liked how it alternated the chapters.

I was not as emotionally wrecked after this book like I was for All the Bright Places. Instead I felt hopeful and happy with the way things ended for the characters. Jack and Libby are adorable and I definitely squealed (out loud) reading some parts of the novel. This book gave me happy, mushy feels a lot and my inner romantic was in heaven.

One of my favorite parts of the book was how it was structured. The alternating perspectives along with the small background chapters came together nicely. They portrayed each character beautifully and I could really understand them both. I loved seeing Jack and Libby’s relationship unfold from both sides! It was like being friends with the guy and gal in a flirtationship and watching them get together. I am just a big mushy romantic sometimes so this definitely made me smile a lot.

The main themes throughout the book address mental health. I personally cannot speak on the struggles of mental health, but I sympathize with people who do. I always enjoy reading different books with characters that have mental health or talk about it in a way that is accurate and different. I commend Niven for writing not one, but two great novels that deal with this sensitive subject. Getting different perspectives out there are always a great way to build empathy between people. It also gives people like me a better idea of what it’s like for people who deal with mental health issues (along with other ones about race, religion, identity, etc.).

Happy reading,

Sophie 🙂