Rainy Day's Books, Video Games and Other Writings


rainy day’s books video games and other writings

Book Review: The Reckoning (Zodiac Academy #3)

Rating: 4 stars

The answer to your question will be revealed on the Lunar Eclipse. But when finding the truth, don’t let the shadows take you.

The week of The Reckoning has begun. And senior students have been tasked with making the freshmen’s lives pure hell as they prepare to take their fateful assessment.

With the Lunar Eclipse on the horizon, Tory and Darcy have more to worry about than just passing their exams. A dark plot is unfolding, and the shadows are drawing closer…

Every time I read a book in this series thinking it can’t get any better, I’m proven wrong. The Reckoning, the third book in the Zodiac Academy series following Ruthless Fae, continues where its predecessor left off. Like the previous books in this series, I found myself hooked from beginning to end wanting to know what would befall Tory and Darcy next.

What I enjoyed about reading The Reckoning is getting to see the magic throughout the book as I felt like as a reader, I saw more of it in this book than the previous two. From the encounters Tory and Darcy experienced during Hell Week to the Elemental Trials they had to undergo in order to pass the Reckoning so they can continue learning at Zodiac Academy, there was a lot of magic as a reader I saw, and I loved every minute of it.

I especially loved it when Tory and Darcy found out more about what was going on with Darius and Orion and what they were up to as I felt like that helped shaped how everything was going to turn out by the end of the book. Not to say I expected how this book would end because I didn’t (at all), but I felt like it made sense as we knew something else was going on outside of the academy and I knew we’d find out what it was eventually.  

I also feel like with this book in the series out of the ones I’ve read so far, there was also a whole lot of character growth. Not only with Darcy and Tory but I felt like all of the Heirs grew in their development in their own ways too along with Orion. I especially enjoyed seeing the point of view of the Heirs in this book in the series more than the last because you got a little more insight into what was going on regarding the Nymphs. I also enjoyed seeing what happened at the fair from different perspectives, despite how things turned out regarding a character in the story I liked up until this point in the series.

My favorite part of The Reckoning, however, would have to be the end of the book. Not only because there was a twist in the story I didn’t see coming, but we also finally find out what Order Tory and Darcy are, and we discover the truth of what Lionel was trying to do on the Lunar Eclipse. Yes, the ending of this book is extremely dark, but we finally know what Order the twins are and that makes me excited to find out what all they both are capable of. Overall, I enjoyed reading The Reckoning, the third book in the Zodiac Academy series as there was a lot that happened that kept me reading to find out what’s going to happen next. From Hell Week to the twins undergoing Elemental Trials and then discovering their Order, there was a lot this book in the series offered for me to enjoy. Can’t wait to read the next book in the Zodiac Academy series, Shadow Princess, to find out what happens next.  

Book Review: Ruthless Fae (Zodiac Academy #2)

Rating: 4 stars

They tried to break us. They almost did. But we’re not going anywhere.

The Celestial Heirs think the stars are on their side. But they don’t know what’s coming. Fighting them one on one isn’t an option so we have to be stealthy. Remaining under the radar won’t be easy, but if we pull it off, they’ll never suspect our involvement when their lives start falling apart.

Besides, they’ve already taken us to the brink of hell, what more can they really do?

With Ruthless Fae, I discovered I enjoyed this book in the series better than its predecessor, The Awakening for a number of reasons. What I enjoyed about reading this book in the series is that the twins decide to no longer take the Heirs shit lying down. Instead, they find little ways to enact revenge against them for what they’ve experienced without them ever suspecting either of them being involved. I love this because I feel like its exactly what I was hoping would happen at some point in this series. And I love the ways in which they get back at them because it definitely brings them down a peg even if it doesn’t end up making them fall apart completely.

What I also enjoyed when reading this second book in the Zodiac Academy series is getting to see even more points of view besides Tory and Darcy. We also get some of the story told through one of the professors at the school along with each of the Heirs, which I really enjoyed as I felt like these perspectives gave me a better understanding of them and the decisions/choices they made. I was happy to see it especially because I learned more about their characters and actually got to see their reactions to the things that happened to them because of the twins. It made me see them in a different light and understand why they’re acting the way they do. While I don’t at all excuse their behavior in The Awakening, I’m also a person who’s willing to give people another chance as long as the person actually puts in the work to show they are learning from their mistakes and won’t act the way they were before again. So seeing the Heirs characters actually develop and change in Ruthless Fae without them completely changing certain aspects of their character made me excited to see what more will happen with them and the twins as the series continues.

Another aspect of this book in the series I really enjoyed was seeing the relationship between Orion and Darius. You know there’s something story wise that’s going on between the two of them, but I feel like you learn what it is exactly in this book. I like seeing their relationship because it shows the connection between their two families and explains why we see them together as frequently as we do. Same with seeing the relationships between all of the Heirs, Darius included, and each of their families. Seeing the family dynamics between the Heirs and their relatives really helps explain why these boys are the way they are throughout Ruthless Fae and why they have to act the way they do towards the twins at the academy. You don’t see too much in the dynamics story wise except with Darius and his father Lionel who I have a feeling is going to be playing a major role as this series goes on.

I also loved how fast this book is in comparison to The Awakening. Yes, there was a lot that happened in the first book, but I feel like things really start developing story wise in Ruthless Fae. Especially with Tory and Darcy’s magic as I feel like near the end of the story they really start coming into their powers when the attack happens at their school. I feel like in this book in comparison to its predecessor Tory and Darcy are finally coming into their own with their powers and how they can use them.

Overall, I really enjoyed reading Ruthless Fae, the second book in the Zodiac Academy series. I feel like while the story is still dark things are getting better for Tory and Darcy despite the threat of the Heirs and the enemies I’m sure they’ll encounter outside of the school. I also appreciate that the Heirs as characters are developing, and we get to see some of their perspective on what’s going on at the academy. I’m excited to continue reading the next book in this series The Reckoning to see where things go for Tory and Darcy and see how their relationship with the Heirs continues to develop as the series goes on.        

Book Review: The Awakening (Zodiac Academy #1)

Rating: 3.5 stars

You have been selected to attend Zodiac Academy, where your star sign defines your destiny.

If you’re one of the Fae, elemental magic is in your blood. And apparently it’s in ours. As twins born in the month of Gemini, we’re a rare breed even in this academy of supernatural a-holes.

Changelings were outlawed hundreds of years ago but I guess our birth parents didn’t get the memo. Which means we’re totally unprepared for the ruthless world of Fae.

Air. Fire. Water. Earth.

No one has ever harnessed all four of them, until we arrived. And it hasn’t made us any friends so far.

As the rarest Elementals ever known, we’re already a threat to the four celestial heirs; the popular, vindictive bullies who happen to be some of the hottest guys we’ve ever seen. It doesn’t help that they’re the most dangerous beasts in the Academy. And probably on earth too.

Our fates are intertwined, but they want us gone. They’ve only got until the lunar eclipse to force us out and they’ll stop at nothing to succeed.

We never knew we had a birthright to live up to but now that we do, we intend to claim our throne.

We can’t expect any help from the faculty when it comes to defending ourselves. So if the dragon shifters want some target practice, the werewolves want someone to hunt or the vampires fancy a snack then we have to be ready. But we’ve been looking after each other for a long time and fighting back is in our blood.

Today’s horoscope: totally screwed.

The Awakening, the first book in the Zodiac Academy series, was a fantastic read from start to finish. It started off slow when I began but as the story went on, I found myself immensely interested in the world Tory and Darcy found themselves in. This book was a very fast-paced, interesting read as it went on. And I found myself feeling for Tory and Darcy so much as they went through a lot once they arrived at Zodiac Academy.

What I enjoyed about this first book in the Zodiac Academy series is the world the main characters are in. I enjoyed learning about the academy, about the four elements and seeing the students when they were in their Order showing off what they were. I found the magic within the pages of this book very intriguing, and I wanted to learn more about it. I enjoyed learning more about this school and those who attended it despite everything that happened within this book’s pages. Its an interesting school with a variety of characters with their own unique personalities and I felt myself drawn into the story being told about them.

I especially enjoyed seeing this book shift back and forth between Tory and Darcy’s point of view. As the main characters of the story seeing a world they didn’t grow up in, it was cool to see how in awe they were of the world they found themselves in and of the magic they found flowing within them. It was also great to read a story told from the perspective of a set of twins who you were able to easily tell apart due to their difference in personality and how they handled the situation they both found themselves in. You could also tell from their perspectives how close the both of them are to each other since growing up they had nobody to rely on but each other. And I really enjoyed seeing that, especially with how difficult the Heirs at the school made their lives once they arrived there.

Speaking of the Heirs, I found myself feeling both intrigued and disgusted by them throughout this book. I’m intrigued by them as they are interesting antagonists in this story, and I find myself wanting to learn more about them. I want to learn more about what they are and their upbringing as I feel like that would give me a good understanding of why they act the way they do throughout this series. At the same time, however, I’m also disgusted by them and their actions throughout The Awakening. I feel like all four of them are terrible people and I don’t feel like they deserve what they have. As I read this book, I found myself interested in learning more about them, but found myself excited to see Darcy and Tory make them pay for how terrible they acted towards them and anyone they deemed below them.

And that’s one of the things about this book I didn’t enjoy when reading it: seeing the amount of abuse and bullying Darcy and Tory underwent by the Heirs. Anytime I thought things couldn’t get worse for them, the Heirs proved me wrong at every turn. As a result, even though I enjoyed reading this book and am continuing to read the rest of the books in this series to see how it all plays out, I strongly warn anyone who can’t handle reading books that have abuse, violence, and assault  against reading this book and this series. While I know I can handle books with these topics as I’m fine reading stories that are dark and take on heavy subject matters, I know that’s not the case for everyone so want to at least warn anyone reading this who might be considering picking up The Awakening, the first book in the Zodiac Academy series.

I still recommend this book as I find those topics need to be discussed in books without flinching away from it but want to let those who might not want to read about them know so they don’t pick up this book and find it affecting their health. This book not having any sort of warning about this is another criticism I have regarding it as I feel like people who don’t feel comfortable reading about any sort of abuse need to know ahead of time before they start reading this book so they can prepare themselves before delving into the story. Nonetheless though, I enjoyed reading The Awakening and am looking forward to continuing this series to see if Darcy and Tory are able to get back at the Heirs for everything they’ve done to them and to see how it all plays out.          

Book Review: The Giver (The Giver #1)

Rating: 4 stars

The Giver, the 1994 Newbery Medal winner, has become one of the most influential novels of our time. The haunting story centers on twelve-year-old Jonas, who lives in a seemingly ideal, if colorless, world of conformity and contentment. Not until he is given his life assignment as the Receiver of Memory does he begin to understand the dark, complex secrets behind his fragile community.

This wasn’t my first time reading The Giver as I read this book back when I was in middle school. However, since its been such a long time since I’ve read it, I feel like I can give a review of my thoughts on it due to how much time has passed since I last read it.

What I find interesting about this book is the world you are introduced to through Jonas. He’s only twelve, but the world he lives in is pretty extraordinary in that its completely different from what we are used to. But as the reader, you don’t really realize how different it is until you get into the story, and he describes the community he lives in. For example, if you want to have a spouse and children, you have to apply for it instead of getting to choose who you want to marry and have children yourself. You are also only allowed to have two children, one boy and a girl, and there is a ceremony that happens when you’ve been approved to receive your child. I find this structure within this community interesting because its very different from what you would expect. It seems very orderly in a lot of ways because there’s a counsel that makes these decisions that is supposed to be for the good of the community.

Basically the world Jonas lives in is full of sameness where there seems to be nothing out of the ordinary. That is until Jonas turns twelve and attends his Ceremony of Twelve to find out what his Life Assignment will be. As the reader, that is when we really learn about the world Jonas inhabits and discover the darkness that hides within their community. Jonas gets assigned to be the Receiver of Memories, a job that’s deemed the most important job in the community, but you don’t discover why until Jonas meets his mentor known as The Giver. That’s when everything changes in Jonas’s life as he realizes everything isn’t what it seems and the world he’s grown up in isn’t as great of a place as it appears.

What I love about The Giver is that as the reader, you really feel for Jonas as you see his world turn upside down. What he thought was true about his life and the way he and everyone lives he finds out isn’t all that great. He learns that there are truths being kept from everyone in the community under the guise of being what’s best for everyone and that he’s being given the responsibility of shouldering everything for the sake of everyone in the community. And as he’s a twelve-year-old still learning about life, I found myself feeling very sympathetic to him and what he was going through as those who could’ve helped him were the ones responsible for putting him in this predicament.

The Giver takes place in a world that seems perfect, but that is far from the real truth as Jonas learns as he receives more and more memories. And as a reader, that’s what drew me into this world and the characters who inhabited it. While all of the characters save Jonas had any character development, I knew that was the point since nobody in this world really knew the truth about anything that was going on save those directly involved. Jonas was also who the story was about too, so it makes sense that none of the other characters in the story evolved in any way.

If I had to choose anything to criticize about this book it would be the ending. Not with regards to the choice Jonas makes, but that as the reader I felt like there was too much left up for interpretation. I also didn’t like that we didn’t see how his decision impacted the community and if there was any real change that happened as a result. I’d like to believe his choice made a huge impact, but without knowing, I have a difficult time believing it. Especially since the world he lived in had been the way it was for so long. I had a hard time believing the choice he and The Giver made really made an impact the way it was meant to and wouldn’t have been surprised if things continued the way they always had. Without seeing any of the story from The Giver’s perspective, its hard to know for sure and I didn’t like that. Because while I wanted to believe things in their world changed for the better, it was hard to know for sure without seeing how Jonas’s actions affected the community. And the only way we would know for sure is if some of the story had been told from The Giver’s perspective.

Overall however, I enjoyed reading The Giver again. There were some moments from the book I remembered from my first read, but I honestly feel like there was a lot I really didn’t remember, which made me feel like I was able to read this with a fresh mind. I know I enjoyed reading this book in middle school and I’m pleased to see I enjoyed it just as much this time but even more so as I feel like I truly understood what was going on and how dismal the world Jonas lived in truly was. I highly recommend this read to anyone who enjoys any story told in a dystopian world that gives off the appearance of being a normal society and anyone who enjoys stories told from the perspective of a younger person who’s still learning about the world around them. Really excited to eventually read the rest of the books in The Giver series even though none of them continue where this one leaves off.

Book Review: Time Will Tell

Rating: 4 stars

Time Will Tell is a collection of introspective poetry from bestselling author Courtney Peppernell. Discover what it means to start inward and evolve into the version of yourself the world knows you can be.

From the bestselling author of  Pillow Thoughts and Watering the Soul comes another deeply honest and moving collection of poetry and prose, about the strength and resilience we embody in the face of hardship and change. Time Will Tell offers what Courtney Peppernell does hope, encouragement, and the beauty of looking inward.

Time Will Tell is a wonderful collection of poetry with a total of six sections/chapters that each gave you as the reader a clue as to what type of poetry one would find within. Each section felt different from the next, yet very similar as you read through these poems. I know from reading them that the main element to these poems was growth, going from being one thing to evolving and transforming into something else. But at the same time, looking back and reflecting on what you’ve gone through and how that transformed you into what you’ve become.

That’s what I enjoy about reading poetry like what was in Time Will Tell: there is always a root theme/element to the poems that gives you perception you might’ve not been expecting. For me, I wasn’t expecting to find so many poems that I could relate to like I did here. It made reading this collection much more enjoyable for me, because I felt like I could relate to what I was reading. And it allowed me as a reader to reflect on my own experiences, while simultaneously understanding that they’ve helped shape me into the person I am today.

What I also enjoyed about Time Will Tell is the illustrations sprinkled through the book. I feel like they added another layer to this book and made this an even more pleasant reading experience for me. I also enjoyed the poems themselves because I felt like they spoke to me and were easy for me to read and understand the overall message of this collection. Seeing the transformation from cocoon to butterfly was wonderful since it perfectly matched the overall theme of these poems.

Overall, I enjoyed reading Time Will Tell. It’s a beautiful collection of poetry that I would recommend anyone to read. The only thing about this collection I didn’t like was that it was too short of a read, but I feel like that’s because I enjoyed what I was reading so much. I wish there were more poems to read as I really enjoyed what I did read here.

I received a digital copy of this book through the publisher on NetGalley for an honest review.

Book Review: Monster: A Tale of Murder, Madness and Plastic Surgery

Rating: 3 stars

MONSTER. The word evokes images of fairy tales and horror. But once, in 1850 Philadelphia, it was actually the term commonly used in physician’s case notes for the victims of fire.

Conflagrations were common in this period—clothing, especially women’s lace, was highly flammable. Once the flesh was destroyed, there was no cure. These unfortunate souls lived out their lives as MONSTERS, secluded away by family. Once burned flesh gives way to contractures, disfigurements to rival even Bram Stoker’s imagination were born. And the hearts of the people inside the shell perished.

Lorelei is one such MONSTER. Born to a wealthy family, disfigured by fire, she fake’s her own death, leaving the world she knows behind—because in her mind…freedom, even if it is a workhouse, is preferable than the life of a shut-in, a burden on her family’s name.

!850’s Philadelphia is an epi-center of medicine. Rival medical schools search in desperation for bodies—cadavers to teach the art and science of anatomy to their medical students. Corpses become so rare, a new profession evolves. Resurrection Men, or body snatchers, dig up the graves of the newly decreased for high pay.

Rory Henry is one of the Resurrection Men. A Scots-Irish Immigrant, he has fought his way off the streets, and into medical school by whatever means necessary. He is not above digging up corpses—he cuts them by day and searches them out by night. These two lives intersect in an explosion of personality-Rory is designated as Lorelei’s surgeon. Entrusted with performing the new operation called The Mutter Flap. Once he sees her face, will the unrequited love die, or ignite?

People are disappearing. Someone has discovered that murder is far more lucrative than grave robbing. And many of the bodies are from Lorelei’s workhouse. Will she be next?

Monster is an interesting story that I found myself eager to find out what happens next. Told back and forth from the perspectives of Rory and Lorelei, this book is a story about two people with somewhat similar backgrounds/circumstances who come together unexpectedly when Lorelei asks for Rory’s help as her sister Molly is very sick. What starts as a doctor patient relationship quickly turns into much more as Rory and Lorelei discover their feelings for each other while there’s a killer on the loose in Philadelphia who’s killing people and Rory starts receiving notes that people close to him are next.

What I enjoyed when reading this book was reading the story from both Rory and Lorelei’s perspectives. I especially enjoyed reading Rory’s chapters because of getting to see him when he’s at work as a doctor. I also loved his chapters because of getting to meet his friends (in particular, I enjoyed his friendships with Charlie and Becca) along with hearing about his experiences as one of the Resurrection Men. His chapters really caught my attention because I found his story interesting and wanted to learn more about him. It was also interesting because I felt like I was hearing a lot of technical terms that doctors use and also felt like I could hear his Scots-Irish accent when he engaged in conversation throughout the book. What I enjoyed about Lorelei’s chapters is learning more about her background and how she came to be in Philadelphia. What you learn about Lorelei while reading her chapters is that she is a victim of burning so severe that her face is disfigured and that she has a terrible past that she would rather forget. Overall when reading this book, the story is told from the perspectives of two interesting characters with a difficult past who are doing the best they can to overcome the odds stacked against them.

What I also enjoyed about Monster was the romance that developed between Rory and Lorelei. Though at times I felt like their feelings for each other came too quickly, I felt like overall they were a good couple that balanced each other out. Rory out of the both of them would make rash decisions based on his feelings while Lorelei was the more reserved/guarded one who thought her decisions through. So whenever anything happened in the story, I felt like Lorelei was the one who was able to help Rory get through them. Not to say Rory never did the same for Lorelei, but I feel like Lorelei was able to hold her own overall better out of the both of them. I also liked that they loved each other despite each of their circumstances and what happened throughout the book. Especially that Rory cared about Lorelei despite her disfigurement as there were people in the story who cared too much and were doing what they could to tear their relationship apart.  

There are some aspects of their relationship, however, that I did have some criticism for. I felt like their relationship developed into romance way too quickly for starters. As much as I love the dynamic of their relationship, I definitely felt like their relationship was an instant attraction even though I feel like neither of them needed that in the story. From the moment they met, I felt like they were instantly interested in each other which was why that scene in the carriage happened. And I wasn’t too fond of it just because I didn’t feel like it fit either of their characters with Rory talking about his swearing off of lasses and Lorelei’s dark past that you find out about as the story goes on. So seeing them both instantly interested in each other despite what we learn I find hard to believe as I didn’t feel like it fit each of their characters. I also found it hard to believe how quickly their feelings for each other developed into love and how quickly they were willing to tell each other about their pasts. I get that this story is told from a different time period so romance might’ve been different then, but with how guarded both these characters were around people they didn’t trust, I had a difficult time believing they would open up to each other so quickly.

Another criticism of Monster I have that resulted in me giving this book a three-star rating was the plot of the story. I found the plot overall interesting, but I felt at times like there was too much happening in the story at once. In the beginning, it didn’t seem like too much was going on and the story’s pacing was great. But as Lorelei and Rory’s relationship continued to grow, I felt like more and more things started to happen in their lives. Some examples that come to mind for me that I feel like I can share without spoiling the story too much include when Rory is going digging up bodies and a creature he heard about from his childhood in stories starts making an appearance at his group’s digging sites and he finds out the truth about this creature, the murders that happen of women including someone Rory and his friends know, and Lorelei being given the opportunity to get surgery to change her disfigurement. While I definitely feel like all of these things happening in the story is interesting plot-wise, I feel like when they happen disturbed the overall pacing in the book for me that it started off with. I also feel like some of the moments I mentioned happened way too quickly in the book, making the build-up to finding out how things went disappointing. While I enjoyed these moments in the plot because I found them interesting, I also felt like they were rushed through and not given as much detail as they deserved.

Overall, I enjoyed reading Monster. It was an interesting read for me with unique characters and romance thrown in that while developed too quickly for my liking, I found myself still rooting for it. And while the overall plot in this book didn’t match the pacing of the story and could’ve used more writing to flesh things out, I was still interested in seeing where things went in the story. I recommend this book to anyone interested in a fast-paced read that’s filled with romance, murder, and a story set in a time period different from our own.

I received a digital copy of this book through the publisher on NetGalley for an honest review.            

Book Review: Sherlock Holmes: The Complete Novels and Stories Volume II

Rating: 5 stars

Since his first appearance in Beeton’s Christmas Annual in 1887, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes has been one of the most beloved fictional characters ever created.

Now, in two paperback volumes, Bantam presents all fifty-six short stories and four novels featuring Conan Doyle’s classic hero—a truly complete collection of Sherlock Holmes’s adventures in crime!

Volume II begins with 
The Hound of the Baskervilles, a haunting novel of murder on eerie Grimpen Moor, which has rightly earned its reputation as the finest murder mystery ever written.

The Valley of Fear matches Holmes against his archenemy, the master of imaginative crime, Professor Moriarty.

In addition, the loyal Dr. Watson has faithfully recorded Holmes’s feats of extraordinary detection in such famous cases as the thrilling The Adventure of the Red Circle and the twelve baffling adventures from The Case Book of Sherlock Holmes.

Conan Doyle’s incomparable tales bring to life a Victorian England of horse-drawn cabs, fogs, and the famous lodgings at 221B Baker Street, where for more than forty years Sherlock Holmes earned his undisputed reputation as the greatest fictional detective of all time.

Just like the first volume, which you can check out my review of here, I enjoyed reading this volume of the rest of Sherlock Holmes novels and stories. Like with the first volume, I still enjoy seeing Holmes and Watson interact with each other and how they go about solving cases together. Their relationship with each other was still enjoyable to me to read and I continued to love how Watson described their cases. It also felt like their relationship and trust with each other had grown since the first volume, which I liked to see.

Like with the first volume, there were a lot of cases in this one that weren’t just murder. And I feel like I enjoyed a lot of those cases more in this volume than the last one. It just felt like they were more interesting to me story wise.

There were also a lot of cases in this volume that I really enjoyed overall which made this book an enjoyable read to me. Some of my favorites were The Hound of the Baskervilles, The Valley of Fear, His Last Bow, The Adventure of the Dying Detective, The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire,  and The Adventure of the Lion’s Mane, just to name a few. What all of these stories have in common in comparison to the others in this volume for me is that the stories were interesting to me in ways I didn’t expect. They had twists in their plot I wasn’t expecting that made me continue to read them to find out what happened next.

My biggest criticism with this volume was how Holmes was still keeping Watson in the dark at times when they’d solve cases together. While I understood why, I definitely felt like there were times he could’ve at least let Watson know what was going on so he could better help him. I also was sad when I finished reading this volume because of how much I was enjoying these stories. While I’m happy to have now read all of Sherlock Holmes because of how much I enjoyed my experience, I’m sad to have finished these stories as I know the next time I read them it won’t be the same since it won’t be my first time reading them.

If you’ve read this post, thank you so much for stopping by! Please leave a comment below if you feel like you can relate to feeling sad after reading a book for the first time that you really enjoyed like I did with these two volumes.

Book Review: Sherlock Holmes: The Complete Novels and Stories Volume I

Rating: 5 stars

Since his first appearance in Beeton’s Christmas Annual in 1887, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes has been one of the most beloved fictional characters ever created. Now, in two paperback volumes, Bantam presents all fifty-six short stories and four novels featuring Conan Doyle’s classic hero – a truly complete collection of Sherlock Holmes’s adventures in crime!

Volume I includes the early novel A Study in Scarlet, which introduced the eccentric genius of Sherlock Holmes to the world. This baffling murder mystery, with the cryptic word Rache written in blood, first brought Holmes together with Dr. John Watson. Next, The Sign of Four presents Holmes’s famous “seven percent solution” and the strange puzzle of Mary Morstan in the quintessential locked – room mystery. Also included are Holmes’s feats of extraordinary detection in such famous cases as the chilling “ The Adventure of the Speckled Band,” the baffling riddle of “The Musgrave Ritual,” and the ingeniously plotted “The Five Orange Pips,” tales that bring to life a Victorian England of horse-drawn cabs, fogs, and the famous lodgings at 221B Baker Street, where Sherlock Holmes earned his undisputed reputation as the greatest fictional detective of all time.

As someone who’s never read any of Sherlock Holmes’s tales, this was such an enjoyable read for me. The first volume out of two that feature all of Holmes’ tales told from the perspective of his trusted friend Dr. Watson, each of these stories intrigued me in various ways. I wasn’t sure when I started if I would enjoy reading these stories because while I’m a fan of mysteries and crime, classics aren’t always enjoyable to me. I don’t know if its due to difference in writing style over the years, but some classics I have a difficult time reading. Luckily for me though, I found Arthur Conan Doyle’s writing enjoyable.

I believe what made this first volume of Sherlock Holmes so enjoyable to me was the characters themselves, especially Holmes and Watson. I loved their relationship throughout from the start as I feel like they both balance each other out. Holmes is the type of person most people normally wouldn’t be able to tolerate and I feel like Watson is the perfect person to handle all his quirks. From their introduction to each other, I knew they would become such wonderful friends and there would be so many tales of adventure to be told.

The way in which Watson tells of each of their adventures is marvelous. I especially enjoyed when the villain was caught hearing that person tell of why they committed their crime. I also enjoyed hearing Holmes and all of his deductions that he would make from some of the simplest things that most people wouldn’t ever think of. I found his knowledge of crime throughout so interesting, especially since he was the one who normally had everything figured out before the Scotland Yard detectives who would call on his aid. I feel like with a lot of these stories like I was there with Holmes and Watson, asking questions of those involved and trying to figure out who committed the crime and why.

What I also loved about reading these Sherlock Holmes stories was that not all of the crimes committed were murder. I love that there were all sorts of crimes committed throughout, some ending in a way which I as the reader didn’t at all expect. I found this to be interesting because it shows you Sherlock Holmes’s character and that he doesn’t always feel like a person needs to be brought to justice. I found that especially interesting because it makes you question his character and ethics even though he’s the one who ultimately solves all these crimes.

What I loved about hearing these stories told from Watson’s perspective is that I felt like as the reader, I was reading his personal journal regarding these cases he helped Holmes with. And I found myself extremely interested in hearing with each case what would happen next, even if the end result was unexpected to me. Some of my favorite cases from this first volume were the ones with a twist I didn’t see coming or the stories with interesting protagonists who came to Holmes looking for help.

I would say if I had to choose a criticism for this book it would be that there are so many cases Holmes solved that I know I won’t remember them all. But I don’t see that as too much of a problem here because I enjoyed reading this so much that I know I’ll be rereading it again in the future. For now though, I’ve already started reading the second Sherlock Holmes volume in this collection, which has the rest of his stories I’ve yet to read and am looking forward to sharing my thoughts on those as well when I have finished.

Thank you for those who’ve finished reading this post! Leave a comment below if you’re at all familiar with Sherlock Holmes or have any stories you’ve enjoyed just as much as I’m finding myself enjoying reading these.  

Book Review: What’s Coming to Me

Rating: 2 stars

In the seaside town of Nautilus, Minerva Gutiérrez absolutely hates her job at the local ice cream stand, where her sexist boss makes each day worse than the last. But she needs the money: kicked out of school and stranded by her mom’s most recent hospitalization, she dreams of escaping her dead-end hometown. When an armed robbery at the ice cream stand stirs up rumors about money hidden on the property, Min teams up with her neighbor CeCe, also desperate for cash, to find it. The bonus? Getting revenge on her boss in the process.

If Minerva can do things right for once—without dirty cops, suspicious co-workers, and an ill-timed work crush getting in her way—she might have a way out . . . as long as the painful truths she’s been running from don’t catch up to her first.

This book is my least favorite read in 2023 so far. The premise/synopsis of the book sounded interesting. But I struggled at getting into the story until more than halfway through it.

What I did enjoy about What’s Coming to Me was the main cast of characters and the character development most of them went through. With Minerva in the beginning, she was so obsessed with getting out of where she lived due to poverty. To the point that when the robbery takes place, she wished she had taken the money. But as the story goes on, while she still seems to want to make her boss pay, she doesn’t seem as obsessed when it comes to getting the money anymore or getting out of Nautilus. She also seems to have a different viewpoint on love as the book goes on too. CeCe is one of my favorite characters in this story as she knows how to tell things as they are. I also loved her relationship with Minerva throughout the book as I enjoyed seeing their friendship.

Another thing I enjoyed when reading Minerva’s story is the main themes predicated throughout as this made me relate to her character and the story. The main themes in What’s Coming to Me I noticed are grief, anger and fighting for what you want. I felt like these themes strongly embodied this book because you know Minerva is hiding something when it comes to her past, which explains her actions throughout the story. You also know she’s angry too due to her grief, which is something I understand having lost people in my life that were important to me. You also see that she’s a fighter throughout the story too in her interactions with certain people and how events in the book play out.

However, there’s a lot with this book that was lacking to me that made it hard to finish. In the beginning of the book, it felt like the story moved at a slow pace. From the robbery to when Minerva and CeCe decided they were going to look for the money, there was very little content within this book’s pages. There were several times as I was reading that I was tempted to put this book down as it wasn’t capturing much of my attention. It wasn’t until halfway through that the story finally picked up and I found myself engaged in wanting to find out what happened next. But it took me quite a long time to get to that point in the story.

I also found criticism with this book when it came to details pertaining to Anthony. He’s supposedly this horrible boss, but I feel like there’s content missing within this book’s pages to show what makes him so terrible. The very few scenes he’s involved in even though this book centers around his business involve him calling Minerva Space Cadet, but there’s nothing from what I can see that shows why he’s such a terrible boss that needs to be brought down. Nobody liking him is pretty evident, but there’s very little detail from what I read as to why. And that bothered me, since he’s supposedly this terrible, sexist person. Not to say it means I question Minerva’s experiences with him, but there’s nothing from what I read that shows why he’s not a good guy other than being told so by the characters. And that bothers me because I want to see instances of him being terrible to people so that I can feel justified in rooting for Minerva, CeCe and everyone else who wants to see him go down. But that was completely lacking for me, which made this book a disappointment for me to read. Maybe I’m not the intended audience for What’s Coming to Me, and that’s why I had the experience I did reading this book. But I did try and I ended up finishing it even though it took me longer to read due to my disinterest and lack of content within its pages. I hope if anyone does end up reading this book after reading my review that you enjoy it better than I did and that you find it resonates with you. I don’t recommend it, but if you think its your cup of tea, then go for it and let me know what you think!

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