Wednesday, February 22, 2017

#Wednesday Review - Rise of Fire by Sophie Jordan #YALit #Fantasy

Series: Reign of Shadows # 2
Format: E-Galley, 304 pages
Release Date: February 7th 2017
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Luna and Fowler have escaped the kingdom of Relhok, but they haven’t escaped the darkness. When a battle against the dark dwellers mortally injures Fowler, Luna is faced with a choice: put their fate in the hands of mysterious strangers or risk losing Fowler forever.
Desperate to keep the one bright part of her life alive, Luna accepts the help of soldiers from a nearby kingdom. Lagonia’s castle offers reprieve from the dangerous outside world—until the king discovers both Fowler's and Luna’s true ties to Relhok and their influence over the throne.
Now pawns in each kingdom’s political game, Luna and Fowler are more determined than ever to escape and build the life they’ve been dreaming of. But their own pasts have a tight hold on their hearts and their destinies. Luna must embrace the darkness and fire within her before she loses not only Fowler, but the power she was destined to inherit. 



Rise of Fire is the final installment in author Sophie Jordan's Reign of Shadows duology. Rise of Fire picks up right where Reign of Shadows left off. This duology alternates between two characters. 17-year old Luna, the true heir to the crown of Relhok, and 17-year old Fowler, estranged son of Cullan the former chancellor who killed Luna's parents, the King and Queen of Relhok, and named himself King. Luna is by far the most interesting character, and I am not ashamed to say so. She survived the night of a thousand knives thanks to being spirited away by Sivo and Perla. 

She was raised in a tower in the middle of the most dangerous part of the forest where things really do go bump in the night. One of things she learned how to do, was hunt with a bow and arrow. She's no slouch folks. What makes her even more impressive to me is that she's been blind for her entire life. She is able to get around thanks to her highly attuned senses that allows her to pass for a sighted person. Now, imagine all this and growing up in a world where their is near constant darkness. And, in that darkness lives creatures called Dwellers who own the night, and feasts on human. 

With Cullan killing innocent young girls who may look like Luna, she knows that she has to end his reign quickly. If the King gets hold of Luna, it is game over. Everyone go home. If that means braving the dwellers, and disappointing Fowler who is more than protective of her, so be it. Rise of Fire actually moves to a new territory after Luna and a severely
injured Fowler being taken to Lagonia, whose King Tebald knew Luna's mother. This is where things get twisted. While Tebald allows Fowler to seek medical attention, it is Luna who finds herself at the attention of not only the King.

Tebald is understandably curious about her being the spitting image of her mother Avelot who he once chased after and lost. There is also the bigoted Bishop who despises her for reasons that I forgot, but don't rightly matter in the end. Then there is the fact that Fowler is betrothed to Princess Maris, and has been since her birth. Even though we, the readers, know that Maris and Fowler will never ever work out, needless to say it tosses Luna into a different place. A place where she could just open up her mouth and say one word to someone about this is not okay, none of it, and perhaps she could have avoided the entanglement with Prince Chasan, and the ick factor of the King himself pushing to marry Luna.

Unfortunately, Fowler himself does spend a lot of time being hurt, and then getting the treatment he needs to survive. He also has to tread carefully knowing that his father has been told that he is alive, and that isn't something he thought he would ever have to deal with again. Fowler has had to deal with a whole lot since encountering Luna. He's tried numerous time to tell her to run and in the end, someone ended up hurt. As the previous story ended, it was Fowler who was taken away by Dwellers, and lay near death after being infected with toxin. Yes, I will say that Luna does a brave thing by going after him, and what have you. But, Luna's faults almost equal her overall likability factor. 

I will say this. I am absolutely happy with the way this book ended, especially with regards at how Cullan is finally dealt with. Regardless of the intrigue, the politics, and the angst, the book ends in a way that proves Luna isn't a Mary Sue character and can handle herself. I will close by saying that the first book was by far the most dangerous and the darkest. I loved the creepy Dwellers, and enjoyed Luna's interaction
with them in this book. I kind of missed Sivo and Perla because they were all the family that Luna has in this world. But, I was happy that they were given once last scene to close the book and series.




Tuesday, February 21, 2017

#Tuesday Review - The Cursed Queen by Sarah Fine #YALit #Fantasy

Series: The Imposter Queen # 2
Format: Hardcover, 432 pages
Release Date: January 3, 2017
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Source: Library
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Ansa has always been a fighter.
As a child, she fought the invaders who murdered her parents and snatched her as a raid prize. She fought for her place next to Thyra, the daughter of the Krigere Chieftain. She fought for her status as a warrior in her tribe: blood and victory are her way of life. But the day the Krigere cross the great lake and threaten the witch queen of the Kupari, everything changes.
Cursed by the queen with fire and ice, Ansa is forced to fight against an invisible enemy—the dark magic that has embedded itself deep in her bones. The more she tries to hide it, the more dangerous it becomes. And with the Krigere numbers decimated and the tribe under threat from the traitorous brother of the dead Chieftain, Ansa is torn between her loyalty to the Krigere, her love for Thyra, and her own survival instincts.
With her world in chaos and each side wanting to claim her for their own, only one thing is certain: unless Ansa can control the terrible magic inside her, everything she’s fought for will be destroyed. 



The Cursed Queen is the second installment in author Sarah Fine's The Imposter Queen series. The book is being called a companion novel to the first installment in the series, and that's because it takes place at the same time as The Imposter Queen. This book is about 17-year Ansa, a girl who was taken from her murdered family by the Krigere's. She is a red-haired warrior who has a red flame mark on her right calf. If you paid attention while reading The Imposter Queen, you know that this is very significant.
Ansa, who lives by the motto Blood and Victory, has had to prove herself since being taken to the Krigere's. She fought hard, and has earned the right to be on the invasion force headed to Kupari. But, what Ansa and the rest of her fellow warriors don't know, is that they are no match for the witch queen of Kupari. Valtia has the dual abilities of fire and ice. She can destroy an entire invading forced without anyone else around. After the tribe is decimated, Ansa, who is loyal to the new Chieftain Thyra, has little or no choice but to pack up and move it to Vasterlit where one of their former tribesman is now in charge of the castle.

After the loss of her tribe, Ansa learns that she may have been cursed by the witch queen. She can now wield fire and ice, and if she isn't careful, she will be put down for the Krigere's have no use for witches. Ansa's emotions control her abilities. Her feelings for Thyra are tested over and over again while Thyra herself is being challenged by Chieftain Nisse's tribe mates. Ansa is fierce, and you could see that from the first chapter when she tried to fight back when only a little girl. 

Let's get a few things straight. First, Ansa is not Elli, the previous protagonist from The Imposter Queen. Ansa is who Elli was supposed to be. Second, Ansa is very powerful, and has the ability to kill without hesitation, or reservation if someone hurts someone she loves. Ansa is also obsessed with Thyra to the point where I wanted to slap her head. Girl, get over yourself, there are much more important things going on in this world that can kill you easily if you keep ignoring them while falling all over yourself with Thyra. 

I was asked if any of the previous cast of characters showed up in this book. I would have said no, until I realized that yes, Sig does show up in this book, as well as a priest who loves to drink the blood of magic users which we saw in the first book. Sig is a very dangerous fire wielder who attempts to teach Ansa about her abilities. Sig, I dare hope, returns for the third installment along with Halina, a Vasterutrian who becomes part of Ansa plan to save her tribe, and take down Nisse. I had no real issues with Thyra. I think she genuinely cared for Ansa even when she was ignoring her. By ignoring her, I think she was trying to take the spotlight away. Thyra also isn't as bloodthirsty as Ansa, but she is a helluva fighter which shows after she is challenged over and over again.

I do realize that this book is leading into the third and presumed final book called The True Queen. I would guess that all of the previous cast members would be making an appearance as well. I do hope that Ansa and Elli will find a way to work things out so that both survive against what is to come next.





Monday, February 20, 2017

#Monday Review - Wayfarer by Alexandra Bracken #YALit, #Science Fiction @alexbracken @DisneyHyperion

Series: Passenger # 2
Format: Hardcover, 532 pages
Release Date: January 3, 2017
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Source: Library
Genre: YA, Science Fiction

All Etta Spencer wanted was to make her violin debut when she was thrust into a treacherous world where the struggle for power could alter history. After losing the one thing that would have allowed her to protect the Timeline, and the one person worth fighting for, Etta awakens alone in an unknown place and time, exposed to the threat of the two groups who would rather see her dead than succeed. When help arrives, it comes from the last person Etta ever expected—Julian Ironwood, the Grand Master’s heir who has long been presumed dead, and whose dangerous alliance with a man from Etta’s past could put them both at risk. 

Meanwhile, Nicholas and Sophia are racing through time in order to locate Etta and the missing astrolabe with Ironwood travelers hot on their trail. They cross paths with a mercenary-for-hire, a cheeky girl named Li Min who quickly develops a flirtation with Sophia. But as the three of them attempt to evade their pursuers, Nicholas soon realizes that one of his companions may have ulterior motives. 

As Etta and Nicholas fight to make their way back to one another, from Imperial Russia to the Vatican catacombs, time is rapidly shifting and changing into something unrecognizable… and might just run out on both of them.



"From the shadows they come, to give you a fright.From the shadows they come, to steal you this night."

Wayfarer is the finale in Alexandra Bracken's Passenger duology. Wayfarer alternatives between Henrietta "Etta" Spencer and Nicholas Carter. Etta is a modern day violin virtuoso. She's traveled the world while preparing for her debut as a concert soloist which ended with her world being upturned, and being dragged into a entirely new one. Nicholas is an 18th century privateer, the son of Augustus Ironwood, and a slave woman. He was purchased and freed by Captain Hall whom he treats as a son. Nicholas is weighed down that he may have killed his brother Julian 

While the Passenger duology focuses mainly on Etta, and Nicholas, Sophia Ironwood, Cyrus Ironwood (the ultimate bad guy who controls both time lines and other families with an iron grip), and Rose Linden nee Spencer (Etta's mother who has done some bad things that have brought Etta into a dangerous world) are just as important as understanding the world that Bracken has created. In fact, the opening chapter of this story has a peek into the life of Rose Linden (Spencer) who lost her parents, and started down a dangerous rode after a mysterious stranger visited her. 

After the stunning conclusion to Passenger, Etta and Nicholas find themselves in two entirely different eras. After Rose's chapter, I had the feeling that something dangerous was lurking just off stage, and, Wow, was I right. Passenger 
alternatives chapters & adventures by Etta and Nicholas so you know exactly who the key players are and what era they find themselves in. We also get a cast of new characters like Henry Hemlock, Tsar Nicholas I, and Belladonna, the witch of Prague who puts a huge amount of pressure on Nicholas to do her bidding.  To catch readers up, Etta was snatched up by time, shaken & tossed through a series of passages. 

Etta's starts in this book when she wakes up in 1905 Texas hurt badly and orphaned by the timeline. The timeline has been altered & her future is quite possibly gone forever. She's also not happy about losing the astrolabe which she was sent to retrieve in order to save her mother. Etta's journey leads her to various eras which are too numerous to mention, except for 1906 San Francisco where she finds out the boy who saved her in Texas is the very much alive Julian Ironwood. For much of the story, Etta & Julian are attached by the hip. Even though they don't share a common goal, Julian is necessary to Etta's success because he knows the whereabouts of passages in various eras. He knows about bounce backs, and where the Ironwoods store their stash of goods that become useful to be successful in retrieving the astrolabe. 

Meanwhile, Nicholas has managed to ally himself with Sophia who he found very much alive at the end of the previous novel. Sophia is sporting her own wounds thanks to her encounter with the Thorns. She also lost the astrolabe to them as well which doesn't make for a kind or mellow Sophia. Nicholas is hoping that Rose Linden will have news about the fate of Etta, and where the original timeline may be. Instead, he and Sophia find themselves being saved by an even more interesting character named Li Min. Whenever someone says to me we need more diversity in books, I shake my head. You have to read books like Wayfarer for just that reason. Nicholas is black, Li Min is Chinese, and one of the more intriguing characters in this book. Li Min also has her own agenda which you can read about on your own. 

Wayfarer is an action-packed finale that I couldn't stop reading until I found out how the author would wrap up the story. Etta learned a whole lot about Passages, and Travelers, and Guardians, and even the Astrolabe, an artifact from the original travelers which can open passages and close others. She discovered a world where families are fighting against each other to save and protect the timelines, while one wants to bring back someone he lost. Etta discovered the dark truth about her mother, suffered an important loss in her life which still resonates, found the man who is her father, and yes, found love in the boy who changed her life. 

I close with this quote for Li Min.

"We come together with others to make our way and survive it's trails. But we are, all of us, also Wayfarers on a greater journey, this one without end, each of us searching for answers to the unspoken question of our hearts." 




Saturday, February 18, 2017

#Stacking the Shelves / Bought, Borrowed, & Bagged # 51

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

Bought Borrowed and Bagged is all about the latest additions to your library – virtual or actual, with books that are  bought, borrowed, won or ARCs  you will be reading soon. Bought Borrowed and Bagged is a homage to to Barron’s Books and Baubles from Karen Marie Moning’s amazing Fever series, and is hosted by Braine over at Talk Supe. 

Thanks for Shopping by!

Hello everyone! Some very, interesting books this week! 
I hope you find something you like!

Have a great weekend!
Shelley

This Weeks Reviews: 


Tuesday - Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard (YA, Fantasy)

Wednesday - Heart of the Storm by Michael Buckley (YA, Dystopia)


Friday - The Valiant by Lesley Livingston (YA, Fantasy)

Saturday - The Dark Days Pact by Alison Goodman (YA, Paranormal)

*Received from Publishers, Edelweiss, NetGalley, Borrowed from Library*









>

Friday, February 17, 2017

#Saturday Review - The Dark Days Pact by Alison Goodman #YALit, #Historical #Paranormal @AlisonGoodman @VikingBooks

Series: Lady Helen # 2
Format: Hardcover, 496 pages
Release Date: January 31, 2017
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
Source: Library
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal

Summer, 1812. After the scandalous events at her presentation ball in London, Lady Helen has taken refuge at the fashionable seaside resort of Brighton, banished from her family and training as a Reclaimer with the covert Dark Days Club. She must learn to fight the dangerous energy-wielding Deceivers and prepare to face their master, the elusive Grand Deceiver.As she struggles to put aside her genteel upbringing, Helen realizes that her mentor, Lord Carlston, is fighting his own inner battle.  Has the foul Deceiver energy poisoned his soul, or is something else driving him towards violent bouts of madness? Either way, Helen is desperate to help the man with whom she shares a deep but forbidden connection.When Mr. Pike, the hard bureaucratic heart of the Dark Days Club, arrives in Brighton, he has a secret mission for Helen: find the journal left by a mad rogue Reclaimer, before it falls into the hands of the Deceivers. Coerced by Pike, Helen has no choice but to do as ordered, knowing that the search for the journal may bring about Lord Carlston’s annihilation.



The Dark Days Pact is the second installment in author Alison Goodman's Lady Helen series. The series is set during England's Regency era, more to the point, July 1812. This was the time when England was facing wars against the American Colonies, and with Napoleon. It has been 47 days since Lady Helen Wrexhall's world changed. That is when she found out that she was a Reclaimer, just like her mother, and it is her job and a select others, to protect England from Deceivers, and more important, defeat the Great Deceiver who is said to rise along with the Great Reclaimer. 

This group of people is called The Dark Days Club

Goodman wastes absolutely no time in jumping right back into Helen's life, and her struggles with being the only living female Reclaimer. Because she is female, she is expected to dress like a man, and do what her "betters" tell her to do, most notably the arrogant Ignatious Pike. Pike tears a wide swath of destruction in this story and upsets the balance between Helen and her new allies. His main target though is Lord Carlston, her mentor, and the man she has suddenly became connected to after an encounter in the previous novel. Carlston himself is having major issues that seem to be spiraling out of control, and if Helen does find a way to save him, Pike may put him down.

Helen takes her oath to join the Dark Days Club even though her training is still in infant stages. She's also given an important job of searching for an incredibly important journal that was written by the former Reclaimer named Benchley who readers met in the first installment. Helen must do this without telling her mentor, or anyone else except Hammond. Helen knows now that if she messes up, or refuses Pike's orders, she can be charged with treason. Helen's own powers are slowly coming into full force, which is a good thing since she's supposed to do great things soon. 

Helen was born to fight the hidden creatures. She is also a direct inheritor which makes her abilities all that more impressive considering she's a rookie when it comes to understanding her new world. Even though Helen is constrained by societies rules regarding women, she is a character who doesn't allow the misguided rules to stop her from doing what is right, and from protecting those she has put her faith in. These not only include Carlston, but her maid Darby who will become her Terrene when she's ready, Margaret Ridgewell, Mr. Hammond who have taken her in after her uncle cast her out of his home, and her best friend Delia Cransdon who had her own encounter with a Deceiver.

What I didn't Like:  His name is the Selburn. The Duke of Selburn doesn't understand the world NO. If this were the 21st century, Helen would have labeled him a stalker and called the coppers on him. He would probably get off since he's snobbish and rich. Selburn is like an annoying gnat who continues to suck blood from the same healing sore. He pursues Helen, and gets into her business time and time again even though Helen has told him to bugger off. I suppose there will be those who will say that he means only the best for Helen, and yes, I get that. Even though it is apparent that Selburn will not go away any time soon, I still maintain that Helen is better suited with Carlston who needs to have his own life reexamined after some stunning secrets are revealed.

Despite my issues with Selburn, I have to admit that I hope he is the Great Evil that is coming soon. This series gets better with each book, and it a series that I encourage others to read. It is a series that features brilliant world building, and a cast of characters who are so far from perfect. One could say that there is no sophomore let down after the brilliant Dark Days Club. This is Helen's own coming of age story. It shows how much strength and confidence she gathers. Helen has to fight demons and male misogyny with equal force. One small misstep, could me the end of everything she's working towards. Bring on the next installment please?!?!





#Friday Review - The Valiant by Lesley Livingston #YALit, #Fantasy @LesLivingston @HarperCollinsCa

Series: The Valiant # 1
Format: E-Galley, 372 pages
Release Date: February 14, 2017
Publisher: HarperCollins Canada
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Princess. Captive. Gladiator. Always a Warrior
The youngest daughter of a proud Celtic king, Fallon has always lived in the shadow of her older sister Sorcha's legendary reputation as a warrior. But when Fallon was a young child, the armies of Julius Caesar invaded the island of Britain and her beloved older sister was killed in battle.
On the eve of her seventeenth birthday, Fallon is excited to follow in her sister's footsteps and earn her rightful place in her father's royal war band. But she never gets the chance. Instead, Fallon is captured by a band of ruthless brigands who sell her to an exclusive training school for female gladiators—and its most influential patron is none other than Julius Caesar himself. In a cruel twist of fate, Fallon's worst enemy, the man who destroyed her family, might be her only hope of survival.
Now, Fallon must overcome vicious rivalries, chilling threats and the dangerous attention of Caesar himself to survive the deadly fights that take place both in and out of the arena—and claim her place in history among the Valiant.



"Cowards die many times before their deaths; The valiant never taste of death but once." Julius Caesar, William Shakespeare


The Valiant is the first installment in author Lesley Livingston's The Valiant series. It is a series set during the time of the Roman Empire with Gaius Julius Caesar in charge. Most of us, I think, have seen the movie Gladiator with Russel Crowe, yes? Well, think of this series as a gender swap of that movie. Instead of sweaty hot men fighting in an arena for their freedoms & for revenge, this series features some hardcore female Gladiatrix's who fight against each other for the right to earn money and to buy back their freedom.

In the first installment, the author introduces readers to our protagonist 17-year old Fallon, the youngest daughter of Virico, a Celtic King from Prydian, which is actually Britannia. Ever since her eldest sister Sorcha died fighting against Caesar's legions, Fallon has been eager to train hard, and take her place as a Contii warrior. She's even tried different stunts in order to prove her worth as a warrior and carries her sisters sword. But, when her birthday arrives, her father has other plans for her. These plans ultimately leads to betrayal, murder, and a disheartened Fallon who just happens to fall into the arms of slavers, one of whom decides that Fallon should be shipped off to Rome.

Fallon has to face a whole lot of challenges, a whole lot of hurtful pride from others, and a serious of adversaries who would love to see her fail miserably. But, our Fallon is not that kind of girl. She's fierce as they come. She knows what she wants from life, and life can just get the hell out of the way if she has anything to say about it. She fights like nobody's business. And, she has Morrigan, the Goddess of war & death, watching over her. Fallon's journey is filled with realistic action and adventure. Nothing is easy for Fallon, not even while trying to survive her training, especially when someone makes an effort to put dead things in her quarters. But, as I said before, Fallon is not going to just wade away, and become anything other than the warrior her sister was. 

The most interesting part of this series is that the author has done some factual research which seems to prove the existence of these female gladiators. Whether or not this story would be considered Historical Fiction, is to be determined. There is so much to talk about and love about this story. There are other characters who I loved as well. I loved Elka who comes along with Fallon to Rome and becomes her best friend. Their banter is humorous and I appreciated the fact that two women could be friends, without making it sexual in nature, or a rivalry. I also adored Caius Antonius Varro, Cai, who becomes sort of a lifetime for Fallon, and also a romantic interest even thought she could get in deep trouble for crossing the line. 

I will say, without spoilers, that there are some very interesting twists in this book, especially after Fallon and Elka arrive in Rome and are sold to the Gladiatrix school run by Lady Achillea. I also love the fact that whether you liked her or not, Cleopatra is an character who genuinely appreciates what Fallon is trying to do. She could have at any moment said something and Fallon would have been sold off to someone much harsher. 

I definitely say that this is one of the best books of 2017 and yes, I know we are only in February! I am eager to read the sequel to this story. Lastly, I offer a HUGE Thank you to HarperCollins Canada who approved me for this title. I appreciate you guys so much! Seriously! 





Thursday, February 16, 2017

#Thursday Review - The Last of August by Brittany Cavallaro #YALit #Mystery @skippingstones @KTegenBooks

Series: Charlotte Holmes # 2
Format: E-Galley, 336 pages
Release Date: February 14, 2017
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery

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. 



The Last of August is the second installment in author Brittany Cavallaro's Charlotte Holmes series. As with A Study in Charlotte, this story is once again told in the first person narrative by James (Jamie) Watson, Jr. There is, however, a caveat. There are several chapters where we actually get into Charlotte's head while Jamie is out of action. This more than makes up for a whole lot of quite time, and honestly, it was a good change of direction. 

Jamie and Charlotte are on winter break in England as the book opens. Jamie, having taken Charlotte to meet his mother and sister Shelby in London, later joins Charlotte in Sussex where he meets her parents Alistair & Emma Holmes, as well as Uncle Leander who is best friends with James Watson, Jamie's own father. There is so much to talk about regarding Jamie's time at Sussex, and how there is so much darkness right under the surface, and how Jamie is treated by Charlotte's mother, that readers will have to figure out what is really happening right before their eyes. 

But, that's not the only issue. After Leander disappears abruptly without leaving his normal present for Charlotte, Jamie and Charlotte find themselves in Berlin looking into an art forgery ring, which eventually leads them to Prague and even more twisted storylines,. This leads to Charlotte's narrative during a tumultuous trial of fits and starts where Jamie is hurt. Readers will also meet the man, August Moriarty, who we know that something awful happened between him and Charlotte which has led to Lucien Moriarty's desire for Charlotte's demise. August is one of those supporting cast members who means well, but eventually you have to actually do something with him one way or the other or it's pointless to have him around.

I have to speak about the relationship between Charlotte and Jamie. This book focuses not only on the duos relationship, but the possibly of a budding romance between Jamie and Charlotte, and Charlotte's issues that really need to be addressed. Charlotte, granted is beyond smart, has superb intelligence, and solved her first case when she was 10. But, she treats Jamie like a pet, and not someone who may have lost his heart to her. On the other hand, I do believe Jamie and all of the Watson's have a masochist streak in them to have hung around the Holmes for as long as they have. 

Can you imagine being only thought of as the Holmes biographer, and never really getting any credit for helping a Holmes solve a mystery? One of the things you definitely see in this book, is Jamie getting a bit of a backbone and exploring a bit more on his own. I'm all for this. I want Jamie to be his own person. But, I also don't want him to be reckless for the sake of not being left behind by Charlotte. I am also curious to see where Jamie's head is at when the next installment comes out after all he's seen, heard, and witnessed over the past 2 installments.

While I appreciated of receiving an early version of this story, I was kind of disappointed with the fact that I was not able to enjoy the author's family tree graphics regarding the Holmes and the Moriarty's. It was blanked out in my edition. I do encourage those who will read this in the final version of the book, to pay close attention to the family tree since it does come in handy time and time again. There are names that come up that you really won't have a clue who they are unless you can shift back and forth to the family tree. There are a whole lot of issues between the Holmes and Moriarty's, and now that Jamie is involved, he clearly has a target on his back as long as he remains heavily involved with Charlotte.