Book Review: A Study in Charlotte

Title: A Study in Charlotte

Author: Brittany Cavallaro

Date of Publication: March 1, 2016

Pages: 321

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

Format: Physical Book

Synopsis:

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.

Rating: 2.75 stars

I love mysteries and murders, no worries, I’m not a psychopath, I just happen to develop an interest in such topics because I watched a lot of series and movies in the same genre.

Even with the books I read, I get drawn to reading mystery plots, it’s highly influenced by Nancy Drew and Sidney Sheldon’s (now known as Tilly Bagshaw’s) books.

I was so excited to have this trilogy, it’s been on my radar for almost a year and I was finally able to buy it last year during one of the book fairs in the Philippines.

A Study in Charlotte left me disappointed. The problem wasn’t in the plot, because it was generally a good mystery/thriller plot altogether. The writing style was too challenging and confusing, it felt like my book lacked pages — it would jump from one thought/topic to another. The backstory pops up like mushrooms in the most unexpected chapters.

I will read the second book, because I already bought a copy of it but I am not expecting anything just because writing styles are not easily “fixed”, plus the fact that this book probably appealed more to others, if they prefer or could at least follow the writing style.

One of the best mystery book I’ve read under YA was Prep School Confidential by Kara Thomas. It’s super intriguing and fast-paced!

It’s been a long time since I last reviewed a book, so forgive me if my post sound rushed or all-over the place, I need to get my groove back. I’ll do better in the next posts, I’m thinking of doing some stuff and styles for my posts so we’ll see.

Read and Reviewed,

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PH Blog Tour: FOREST OF A THOUSAND LANTERNS (Giveaway)

Dearest Flamingos,

I hope that you’re all well and reading! I haven’t read anything for two weeks now; I just haven’t found the right book to read next yet. Anyhow, having Forest of a Thousand Lanterns, as the last book I read, this post will be dedicated for it!

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This opportunity would not be possible if it weren’t for Erika, from The Nocturnal Fey ; it’s my first time to be participating in a Blog Tour and to be honest, I didn’t know how I would do. After a successful reading experience, I am looking forward to participate in more Blog Tours in the future. Being a Filipino, I find the experience of reading a book that embraces Asian culture and thematic is priceless.

Forest of A Thousand Lanterns CoverTitle: Forest of a Thousand Lanterns

Author: Julie C. Dao

Genre: Fantasy, Retellings, Young Adult

Publisher: Philomel Books

Release Date: October 10th 2017

Synopsis: 

An East Asian fantasy reimagining of The Evil Queen legend about one peasant girl’s quest to become Empress–and the darkness she must unleash to achieve her destiny.

Eighteen year-old Xifeng is beautiful. The stars say she is destined for greatness, that she is meant to be Empress of Feng Lu. But only if she embraces the darkness within her. Growing up as a peasant in a forgotten village on the edge of the map, Xifeng longs to fulfill the destiny promised to her by her cruel aunt, the witch Guma, who has read the cards and seen glimmers of Xifeng’s majestic future. But is the price of the throne too high?

Because in order to achieve greatness, she must spurn the young man who loves her and exploit the callous magic that runs through her veins–sorcery fueled by eating the hearts of the recently killed. For the god who has sent her on this journey will not be satisfied until his power is absolute.

AMAZON | BARNES AND NOBLE | KOBO | iBOOKS | BOOK DEPOSITORY | GOODREADS

You can’t have everything, Xifeng. You can’t have him and still have me too. He doesn’t share and neither do I.

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Below is an excerpt from Forest of a Thousand Lanterns,

The Imperial Palace seemed to Xifeng an earthly rendering of the Dragon Lord’s home in the heavens. It shimmered through the gates, a colossus of gold roofs, pillars and courtyards of stone. She stared at it with the strange sensation that it gazed back — recognized her. Her fate lay here in this vast city of interconnected buildings linked by covered corridors, and in a moment she would enter.

Will I ever come out again?

She squared her shoulders and approached the guards. “The Crown Prince requests my presence,” she told them. They stared as though they had never seen anything like her. One of the had an eye that kept twitching suspiciously. “His Highness said to tell you I seek the Little Fisherman.” She had no idea what that meant, other than it was some sort of password Wei had left for her. But it seemed to work, for they stepped aside to let her through.

“Find Master Kang in the Sunset Pagoda, at the top of the stairs,” the twitching-eye guard said pompously. “His Highness has instructed him to take you to Master Yu and Madam Hong.”

Xifeng held her head high. She would not be intimidated by their scornful appraisal of the important sounding names he had flung at her. At least, she could appear not to be intimidated.

She crossed a courtyard of rocks like gray eggs, and a great emptiness rose up to meet her. A meditative, eerie silence reigned here, though guards in fine armor were stationed everywhere. It made her feel more alone than ever, and she felt Wei’s absence like a phantom limb.

The ache was so sharp she had to pause for breath, his face swimming before her eyes. He had always been there, a thread of joy in her frayed life, and now he was gone, off to begin the life he’d lead without her. Had she done right to push him onto a different path? If only she’d been brave enough to tell him he was far too good for her. She was nothing but a selfish coward who could neither love him nor let him go.

☆☆☆☆

Julie C. Dao

Julie C. Dao (www.juliedao.com) is a proud Vietnamese-American who was born in upstate New York. She studied medicine in college, but came to realize blood and needles were her Kryptonite. By day, she worked in science news and research; by night, she wrote books about heroines unafraid to fight for their dreams, which inspired her to follow her passion of becoming a published author. Forest of a Thousand Lanterns is her debut novel. Julie lives in New England. Follow her on Twitter @jules_writes.

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | TWITTER | GOODREADS 

I created a playlist over at Spotify to enhance the reading experience of Forest of a Thousand LanternsI’m glad to be sharing it all with you; however, it’s my first time to create a playlist for a book — so please do bear with me if you think my song choices could be better or not as fitting to the book as much as I thought. You can go search for it in Spotify, and download the entire playlist so you can enjoy it while reading Forest of a Thousand Lanterns on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

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Don’t forget to visit the other blogs participating in the Tour!

October 27th

The Nocturnal Fey – Erika

The Royal Polar Bear Reads – Rafael

The Ultimate Fangirl – Bianca

October 28th

The Nerdy Side of a Queen – Nicay

dmcireadsblog – Danielle

Camillea Reads – Patricia Camille

October 29th

Bookablereads Book Review – Carmel

Reading Flamingo – Abigail

Amidst the Pages – Imo

October 30th

The Hogsmeade Reader – Danica

The Purple Nightingale – Janella

Descendant of Poseidon Reads – Joel

October 31st

Afire Pages – Karina

The Queen Reads – Elena

the broke biblioPHL – Hana

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Last but not the least, don’t forget to join the GIVEAWAY for Forest of a Thousand Lanterns! Have a bookish day, Flamingos!

Visit my Instagram and chat with me there!

 

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Abi, the Flamingo.

Review: Before We Were Strangers

Hi, Flamingos!

I trust that everyone is well and having a great start of the week! Mine pretty much starts out the same, no exciting news or happenings to look forward to. Given that my career is in events, this 9-hour job is just exhausting everything in me.

Honestly, if I didn’t need the money, I would rather just lounge around the house and spend my days reading. But oh well, I’m not privileged with such good life but in the future, I’m sure I’ll have all the time in the world to read ’til my heart’s content! I’m planning to launch my small business soon; it will be a side business until its fully ready to hold up on its own and increase the income to match my basic necessities.

Moving forward, a review is here! I finished Before We Were Strangers by Reneè Carlino, just last night. When I was around 10-years old, my mom didn’t have enough money to buy me brand new books and here in the Philippines, book sales consist mostly of medical and religious books but for fiction–it focuses highly on Adult Fiction. My mom loves to read, and I believe I got that from her; so to satisfy my hungry baby mind then, I dived into the works of fiction. My childhood consisted of Danielle Steel and Sidney Sheldon, hence the love for crimes and mystery.

Now that I’m earning my own money, and have a few ones to spare for books, I am finally able to buy more YA. However, my respect and appreciation for Adult Fiction had not faded completely. Earlier this year, I fell in love with Crazy Rich Asians trilogy by Kevin Kwan –it was a great start to accustom myself with adult fiction again.

I never would have known about Before We Were Strangers if it weren’t for GabbyReads youtube channel. She’d talked about the book constantly and how she loved it so much. I finally gave in, and got an ebook of the novel.

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Title: Before We Were Strangers

Author: Reneè Carlino

Publication Date: August 18, 2015

Publisher: Atria Books

Pages: 320 pages

Format: epub / ebook

Goodreads Synopsis:

From the USA TODAY bestselling author of Sweet Thing and Nowhere But Here comes a love story about a Craigslist “missed connection” post that gives two people a second chance at love fifteen years after they were separated in New York City.

To the Green-eyed Lovebird:

We met fifteen years ago, almost to the day, when I moved my stuff into the NYU dorm room next to yours at Senior House.

You called us fast friends. I like to think it was more.

We lived on nothing but the excitement of finding ourselves through music (you were obsessed with Jeff Buckley), photography (I couldn’t stop taking pictures of you), hanging out in Washington Square Park, and all the weird things we did to make money. I learned more about myself that year than any other.

Yet, somehow, it all fell apart. We lost touch the summer after graduation when I went to South America to work for National Geographic. When I came back, you were gone. A part of me still wonders if I pushed you too hard after the wedding…

I didn’t see you again until a month ago. It was a Wednesday. You were rocking back on your heels, balancing on that thick yellow line that runs along the subway platform, waiting for the F train. I didn’t know it was you until it was too late, and then you were gone. Again. You said my name; I saw it on your lips. I tried to will the train to stop, just so I could say hello.

After seeing you, all of the youthful feelings and memories came flooding back to me, and now I’ve spent the better part of a month wondering what your life is like. I might be totally out of my mind, but would you like to get a drink with me and catch up on the last decade and a half?

M

Weren’t we though? Timeless? Nothing could change what we’d had all those years before, even the idea of what might’ve been lingered between us.

A plus - Flamingo 2

Actual Rating: 4.5 stars

You can’t re-create the first time you promised to love someone or the first time you feel loved by another. You cannot relive the sensation of fear, admiration, self-consciousness, passion and desire all mixed into one because it never happens twice.

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• I loved the backstory of Matt and Grace. It was refreshing and bold, yet it flashes an invisible sign of proceed with caution or love at your own risk.
• ‎Before We Were Strangers is a well-written story about a love once lost, only to be found years later and realize nothing’s changed at all.
• ‎I loved the certainty of Matt towards Grace. His feelings have been direct and simple, no going around the bush. He’s loved her from the start and that was that.
• ‎I loved that it didn’t revolve around why the relationship didn’t work out the first time, or in the reasons why they grew apart in the past. Rather, it focused on the good things, the positive and the negatives of their past.
• ‎I love the simplicity of their relationship. It makes it so natural and relatable.
• ‎The emotions and actions of these characters felt real; they weren’t exaggerated or stretched out too thinly.
• ‎All the characters were memorable, despite having a few of them. They left an impact and a lasting memory in my head.

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• I didn’t so much enjoy too much discussion of their sex life. At some point, it felt as if all they did was that and that the relationship revolved around the excitement of touching and making love to each other. Don’t get me wrong, I understand that there are couples who see sex as an important component of their relationship. All I’m saying is, I would’ve liked to get more of their mushy couple activities, though there had been a lot of that too–in short I’m just asking for more.

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• I rated the book 4.5 because of some things that didn’t sit comfortably with me. One of them being, the deceit was handled all too easily. It caused strings of events to occur (and almost destroyed your life), and yet the book still managed to give it enough emphasis.
• ‎There were so many overwhelming happenings towards the last five or so chapters, and it felt a bit abrupt. It felt as if the author chose to speed things up, instead of increasing the length of the book at least another two chapters to cover and make the situation more reality-based. I would have loved to see more of their family’s new lives, how the characters adjusted.
• ‎Lastly, what ended the marriage of Matt–the very reason behind this, it makes my blood boil. It’s never okay, and you can never expect anyone to get over or forgive such a serious matter just because they apologized for it. I could just never accept and learn to understand that kind of betrayal and the reasons why some people do it. If you’ve read the book, you’ll understand this (I haven’t figured out how to write spoilers, then have them appear as a button for people’s option to read it or not.)

☆☆☆☆

All in all, it was such a great book. I am glad to be able to carry these characters, their experiences and their lives inside my heart for the rest of time.

I related a lot with Grace during their senior year at college. Having first fall in love, dealing with friends and first relationships, the reality of adult life where money is a necessity. Though all these, I’ve not gone through during my college days but just a year ago. It was hard dealing with excitement and moving forward in the relationship with caution, so as not to overdo or smother my partner. I can definitely see mysely recommending this continuously to a lot of people in the future.

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I’m sorry if that was quite long, guess I just have a lot of things to share that occurred over the weekend. Anyway, please don’t forget to visit and support my bookstagram account: @reeyuhbeegale, I will highly appreciate it. Also, I’ll be hosting an international giveaway soon as I reach 300 followers on Instagram!

Don’t hesitate to leave me some comments, I don’t bite! Watch out for an upcoming PH Blog Tour here at Reading Flamingo, for Forest of a Thousand Lanterns, towards the end of October.
QOTD: Do you have a “the one that got away” moment in your life? Do you still think about it until today?

With love,

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Abi, the Flamingo