Review: A Case for Jamie by Brittany Cavallaro

case for jamie

**Some Minor Spoilers**

I’m actually sorry that this was only a trilogy as there are so many Sherlock Holmes canon that she could have played with but it was a satisfying ending.  The Case for Jamie takes place a year after the ending of The Last of August.  Both Jamie and Charlotte are still reeling from the events of the last book and the death of August Moriarty.   Jamie is back at school doing his best to get his grades up to get into a college.  He has a new girlfriend and is still playing rugby but really he’s just going through the motions.  He misses Charlotte but can’t bring himself to forgive her for what she did.  Charlotte for her part is doing what she does best.  Investigate.  She’s trying to figure out what Lucien’s next move is as she knows that they haven’t seen the last of him.  She’s doing her best not to fall back into her destructive behaviors and missing Jamie too.  Strange things start to happen to Jamie at school.  He’s already a little paranoid from his experience in the last year and starts to lash out and everyone around him.  It’s clear that he’s struggling with PTSD.  As things start to spiral out of control, it becomes clear that even though he and Charlotte are no longer together, someone out there wants to get the band back together.  We go back and forth between Jamie and Charlotte’s point of views as we piece together what’s going on.  As the reader who has the benefit of knowing both sides making it much easier to come to the conclusion faster than our heroes but it was so well constructed it didn’t take away from the mystery.  I felt actually quite proud of myself that I was able to piece it together before the formidable Charlotte Holmes.  *pats self on back*  I really liked both of these characters.  They were both relatable in through own ways.  Jamie being the clueless boy who just want’s to fit in and have friends and Charlotte the overachiever who is consistently looking for approval.  They’ve spent the last three books trying to accept themselves for who they are and not who people perceived them to be.  At the end they are still working on that as it’s not something that happens overnight but they have truly learned their lessons.  I also liked that after everything that happened they didn’t just immediately get back together.  While reconciliation is on the horizon, they both realized there were things about themselves that were not good for each other and took time work on themselves and get to know each anew.  It’s a good lesson for us to learn.  Mystery fans out there, I encourage you pick this series up.  I think you will love it.

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What I’m Reading Now: The Case for Jamie by Brittany Cavallaro

case for jamie

So I’m reading Inferno on my iPad but I forgot to charge it last night and I needed a book to read on my commute.  So I guess I’m reading two books now.

Review: The Fates Divide by Veronica Roth

fates divide I liked this one a little better than Carve the Mark.  I think maybe because the world was more established and the complicated relationship between each character was more set.  Also opening up the universe to new planets made and introducing more characters with darker skin as more than just warriors or brutal dictators also helped.  That doesn’t make some of the character development any less problematic but I do think that Veronica Roth listened to the criticism of the first one and took that into account while writing this one.  I’m also grateful that this is only a duology and not a trilogy.  Knowing that this was the last book, I felt the pacing was better, the story more concise loose ends tied up.  That being said, she did leave an opening to return to this world if she wanted to but I’m happy with how it ended.

The Fates Divide picks up right after the end of Carve the Mark.  Cyra and Akos, along with Ryzek, Cisi and Isea and Eijeh have fled the arena and leaving the Shotet in chaos.  With Ryzek presumed dead and Cyra leaving their is a power vacuum in Shotet that unfortunately gets filled by her once presumed dead Dad, who makes Ryzek look tame.  If that wasn’t enough, Isea is grieving for her lost sister and using her Chancellor position to take revenge with the help of the Assembly.  They also have those pesky little fates to contend with.  They must all overcome all these obstacles and succumb to their fates but at the same time create their own.  It’s tug of war.  Cyra really comes into her own in this one.  She has been told her whole life that she wasn’t worth it.  She had a gift that could only bring pain and for that reason she pushed people away and expected people to disappoint her.  Akos is rattled with guilt because he promised his dad to save his brother and that is almost impossible now.  They both are way to earnest and way to self-sacrificing for my liking but it is who they are.  In this one, we also get the point of view of Akos’ sister, Cisi and Eijeh.  Eijeh who is destined to be an oracle but after years of torture by Ryzek has changed him but through him we see how the oracles work and how unreliable they can be.  Cisi’s point of view gives us a glimpse of the other side of the Thuve and Shotet fight.  The first book was only of Cyra and Akos and the Shotet.  The Shotet are not well liked by and seen as pest because of their militaristic ways and constant scavenging.  We can see how quickly things can escalate when you stop looking at the other side as less then they are.  Our own hurt and pain blinds us to the hurt and pain of others and forces us to make rash decisions.  Cisi tries to be that moderating voice before real a catastrophe happens.

Overall it was a good series that I enjoyed.  I’m glad that the problems of the first book didn’t carry over to this one.

Joint Review: Dread Nation by Justina Ireland

This book had a lot of hype before its release and it was right up both our aisles. So, we both got it on publication day. We decided we would do something different. Instead of only one of us reviewing it or doing two reviews, we’re doing a joint review. We’ve come up with five questions.

What are your overall impressions of the book?

Kate: the writing was tight and the story sucked me in. The characters were great; I loved that they had obvious flaws and strengths. And the premise of the novel, zombies rising during the Civil War was so interesting.

Beth: I agree with you about the writing and being sucked in.  I was invested in the story from the first page.  The characters felt like real people and allowed to be imperfect and unapologetic about their undesirable traits.  And who doesn’t like a good zombie novel?  I think what I liked the most about it that is that we are seeing the aftermath of the Civil War from the perspective of a Black girl instead of a white person.  How many books are from that point of view?

Kate: Not enough.

What did you think of the historical context?

Kate: I like what-if historical novels but I was a little worried about this one. Abraham Lincoln Vampire Slayer already did the paranormal set during the Civil War and it was meh. But, this was so much better. Where Buffy Lincoln changed the context of the Civil War (the South have to be defeated! they’re evil vampires!) this novel leaves the context intact and to it adds zombies. So, we can’t just write off the uncomfortable Civil War context of the bible being used to justify slavery or the ideology that there is a racial hierarchy because oh no! supernatural beings! And, that made it so much more thought provoking and interesting.

Beth: This could have gone bad very quickly but I think she handled the time period well.  I kinda like the fact that the Civil War never really ended, it sort of was put on hold when the zombies started to come from the dead leaving this uneasiness to every day life.  Sure, slavery ended and they passed laws to educate former slaves and Native Americans but as for the racial hierarchy it was never really addressed.  Much like it is today.  Justina Ireland doesn’t shy away from the the injustices against African Americans and Native Americans pre-and post-Civil War and even though Jane and Katherine are educated and can kill any shambler, they will always be reminded of their place.

Kate: Agreed. She definitely didn’t shy away. I also liked the follow up at the end of the book which included readings about residential schools.

Who was your favorite character?

Kate: Jane McKeene. Obviously. She’s a hero. and a role model. I can’t wait to see what Jane gets up to next.

Beth: Agreed Jane McKeene is my hero.  I want to be her friend.  Not only is she smart, sarcastic, likes to read but she can also kill zombies.  That’s so badass!

Kate: I know this is a little early but, Jane McKeene for best character of 2018!

Beth: Indeed.  She’s going to be hard to top.

What was your favorite part?

Kate: Any time Jane and her friend Katherine fight zombies.

Beth: I loved the zombie fights but I think I loved the most the bickering between Jane and Katherine.  The chemistry between those two was amazing and you can see how the relationship developed over the course of the novel.

Kate: their relationship is so good. I really liked that the most developed relationship was their friendship and not a romantic connection.

Beth: exactly! More of female friendships in YA please!

What are you looking forward to in the next book? (possible spoilers)

Beth: I’m really looking forward to seeing what’s in California and finding out who Jane’s Momma married that betrayed her.  I feel like whoever he is, he’s going to be play a bigger part in Jane’s story.  I also hope we get more of Katherine’s backstory beyond being raised in a brothel.

Kate: Yes! More of Katherine’s backstory! Please! Especially with the role that brothels played in Western expansion in the US! And, maybe some gold rushing in Cali? I also hope we meet Jane’s mom and her Aunties. Oh, and I hope we meet Daniel Redfern again.

Beth: Me too!  I think we will meet Jane’s Mom and Aunties again and I want to know more about Daniel Redfern.  I feel we only have cracked the surface of his character.

Quick Review: The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton

belles The kingdom of of Orleans is obsessed with beauty because their people were cursed with grey skin and brittle straw hair.  The Belles are the blessed few who were born with color and the ability to make others beautiful too.  They can change a person’s skin color, bone structure, hair and make-up and because of this they have a privileged place in the kingdom.  Camille is one of six new Belles and she wants to be the Favorite.  The Favorite lives in the Palace with the Queen and the Royal family.  She gets to help create the laws of beauty and sets the standard.  She will do anything to be the favorite even if it means getting it over her best friend.  However Palace life isn’t what she imagined.  For one thing, the Princess is a nightmare and a psycho.  She’s the technically the second in line for the throne but her older sister has been in a coma so she’s about to named regent.  Camille is smart and ambitions but at times she is so slow I want to scream at her to pay more attention to wants going on!  She at times is so wrapped up in being the best Belle and impressing others that she fails to see that she is falling right into their trap.  It was a good set up to an intriguing series. It had a lot of world building in the this one so now that is out of the way, I think the rest of series will move at a better pace.

What We are Reading Now: Dread Nation by Justina Ireland

dread nation

We’ve been reading about this book for months now.  So excited to finally get a chance to read it.

A Wizard of Earthsea

img_3304 Thanks for reading A Wizard of Earthsea with us this month.  I hope that you enjoyed it as much as we did.  What did you think?  How do you feel it ended?  Why do you think Vetch never made a song of Ged’s journey like his promised?  Are you going to continue and read the rest of the books in the Earthsea Cycle?  Sound off in the comments and let us know what you thought of this classic.