Jaime Review's ~ A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Callavaro

By Brittany Cavallaro
Published on March 1, 2016
Published by: Katherine Tegen Books
Source: Around the World ARC Tours
The last thing sixteen-year-old Jamie Watson–writer and great-great-grandson of the John 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 enigmatic, fiercely independent great-great-granddaughter, who’s inherited not just his genius but also his vices, volatile temperament, and expertly hidden vulnerability. Charlotte has been the object of his fascination for as long as he can remember–but from the moment they meet, there’s a tense energy between them, and they seem more destined to be rivals than anything else.

Then a Sherringford student dies under suspicious circumstances ripped straight from the most terrifying of the Holmes stories, and Jamie and Charlotte become the prime suspects. Convinced they’re being framed, they must race against the police to conduct their own investigation. As danger mounts, it becomes clear that nowhere is safe and the only people they can trust are each other.

Equal parts tender, thrilling, and hilarious, A Study in Charlotte is the first in a trilogy brimming with wit and edge-of-the-seat suspense.

A Study in Charlotte...

 I have read several stories about Holmes and Watson, but there are only two that really stick out to me. The first is Boneseeker by Brynn Chapman, which i adore. The second? A Study in Charlotte. And I am crazy in love with this book, and it's author, Brittany Callavaro! 

 A Study in Charlotte follows James Watson as he is sent from his home in London, to a boarding school in the US, Sherringford. He has always dreamed of meeting Charlotte Holmes, made up stories about adventures that they would share. Like his great-great-great grandfather, Watson, James is a storyteller too. And now, after meeting the enigmatic Charlotte, he is sure that there will be plenty of stories to tell. But Charlotte is not at all what he was expecting. She is harsh, cold and judgmental. Their rare communications are always short and uncomfortable. Until the night one of his hallmate's is found murdered, and he and Charlotte end up with the blame. Now, they need to come together to solve these "Adventures of Holmes and Watson" murders before they both end up in jail.

 James "Jamie" Watson was a FANTASTIC character. More into books and writing than experimenting. but when it comes down to it he is ready to get his hands dirty. Funny and romantic, a big old softy, Jamie is easy to love. He and his father have a rough relationship, if you could call it that, but they are so much alike and you hope for a reconciliation.  And when he finally meets his stepmom and little brothers, you know he is in. Charlotte is analytical and definitely harsh, but when you learn her story, her history, you can't help but fall for her. She is a smart cookie, and I envy her ability to know so many things from a few seconds in a room, or talking with people. Her family relationships are strained at the best of times, but she has her brother Milo. He is just as analytical as her, and unwilling to see Charlotte as the woman she is becoming. I loved all of the dynamic relationships in the story. From friendships, to parental and sibling relationships, to the relationships between possible suspects and the villain. And what a villain! I knew who was behind the murder and attempted murder, but then you learn that not everything is as simple as it seems. But that leads to what could be a sequel, and that is something I am very much hoping for!

 I am a HUGE fan of Brittany Callavaro! I am looking forward to whatever she brings us next, and have no doubt that she will blow me away yet again! If you are looking for a funny and light-hearted mystery that turns out to be deeper and darker than you could every expect, look no further than A Study in Charlotte. It is a story that I absolutely recommend, from the bottom of my heart!

 Thank you to Around the World ARC Tours. As always, you rock my socks!

Jaime Reviews ~ We'll Never Be Apart by Emiko Jean

By Emiko Jean
Published on October 6, 2015
Published by: HMH Books for Young Readers
Source: Edelweiss



That’s all seventeen-year-old Alice Monroe thinks about. Committed to a mental ward at Savage Isle, Alice is haunted by memories of the fire that killed her boyfriend, Jason. A blaze her twin sister Cellie set. But when Chase, a mysterious, charismatic patient, agrees to help her seek vengeance, Alice begins to rethink everything. Writing out the story of her troubled past in a journal, she must confront hidden truths.

Is the one person she trusts only telling her half the story? Nothing is as it seems in this edge-of-your-seat psychological thriller from the debut author Emiko Jean.

We'll Never Be Apart (mwahhahahaha)...

 This book is the definition of a psychological mind booger... I love these kinds of stories, and this one was no exception. It was suspenseful, heartbreaking, unnerving,  humorous and even romantic. We'll Never Be Apart hit so many high notes with me, but there aren't a lot of specifics that I can share. I really want to, but there is so much of the story that feels like it would be a spoiler to reveal. So as much as I want to talk about every aspect of it, I will refrain. We'll Never Be Apart is a prime example of a story that is better going in blind.

 Alice is back at the hospital, burns still healing, and full of anger. Anger at Cellie, her twin, who is responsible for the burns, and for the death of Jason, the boy she loves. Full of bone deep fear that Cellie will return to finish what she started. But she has a plan. To get to Cellie first. When she meets Chase, she thinks she has finally found a way to get to Cellie. But she gets so much  more than she bargained for. From Chase, and from the realization that not everything is at it appears to be... and not everyone is who we think they are. Even the ones that we love the most.

 There are so many things to love about this story. There are journal entries throughout the book that chronicle some of the worst moments in Alice, Cellie and Jason's lives. They leave you heartbroken, and sick to your stomach. There is the beginning of a romance between Alice and Chase that is sweet, and hard, and devastating, and beautiful. There is the sweetest roommate, who will make you smile when the tension starts ramping up, who becomes a lifeline, a friend, for Alice. And then there is the big twist at the ending that will leave you a little breathless and incredibly heartbroken, even if you may have guessed what it would be.

 We'll Never Be Apart is a fast-paced thriller, with incredibly well-written characters, a story that will keep you glued to the pages. There is an emotional overload that happens during the course of this book. Everything that you could possibly want in a story like this one, you will get it here. Emiko Jean is an incredible writer, and her words flow smoothly and quickly. She writes with depth, and has no problem with showing darkness in her words. The honesty of the characters, and their struggles with life and reality, is intriguing and unsettling. I loved this book, beginning to end, and I especially love that the end was full of hope, even if it was a tiny glimmer.

 I absolutely recommend this book to whoever is thinking about reading it, and those who aren't sure they want to. At least give it a chance! Thanks so much to Edelweiss for an ARC of this book for review. IT in no way shaped my opinion of the story!

Jaime Reviews ~ Behold the Bones (Beware the Wild #2) by Natalie C. Parker

By Natalie C. Parker
Published on February 23, 2016
Published by: HarperTeen
Source: Around the World ARC Tours
Candace “Candy” Pickens has been obsessed with the swamp lore of her tiny Louisiana town for . . . forever. Name any ghostly swamp figure and Candy will recite the entire tale in a way that will curl your toes and send chills up your spine.

That doesn’t mean Candy’s a believer, however. Even though she and her friends entered the swamp at the start of summer and left it changed, Candy’s the only one who can’t see or feel the magical swamp Shine. She’s also the only one who can’t see the ghosts that have been showing up and spooking everyone in town ever since. So Candy concentrates on other things—real things. Like fighting with her mother and plotting her escape from her crazy town.

But ghosts aren’t the only newcomers in Sticks, Louisiana. The King family arrives like a hurricane: in a blur and unwanted—at least by Candy. Mr. King is intent on filming the rumored ghostly activity for his hit TV show, Local Haunts. And while Candy can’t ignore how attracted she is to eighteen-year-old Gage King and how much his sister, Nova, wants to be friends, she’s still suspicious of the King family.

As Candy tries to figure out why the Kings are really in town and why the swamp that had previously cast her aside now seems to be invading every crack in her logical, cynical mind, she stumbles across the one piece of swamp lore she didn’t know. It’s a tale that’s more truth than myth, and may have all the answers . . . and its roots are in Candy’s own family tree.

Bring on more Swamp Stories...

 Beware the Wild was Sterling's story, and her fight to bring her brother back to her. In Behold the Bones, it is Candace Pickens time to shine... but shining in Sticks is the last thing she wants. Unfortunately, what we want isn't always what we get and Candy is about to learn that in the strangest way possible.

 Candy doesn't see things in the swamp the way others do. She doesn't see the Shine that her best friends Sterling and Abigail see... and she definitely doesn't see all the haint's that everyone in town are swearing they see coming out of the swamp. And she absolutely, most definitely doesn't believe in the supposed curse that her family has. All Candy wants is to get through high school and get out of Sticks, away from the swamp and her families "curse." She is tired of being the only one who can't see Shine, and the looks that her best friends share when they are talking about it. When she makes the decision to go into the swamp and try to change things, she wakes something up. And all those things that Candy doesn't believe in? Well, she might have to start believing soon because she is the only person in Sticks who can make things right again. But what will it cost her? 

 The King family has moved to town, and they intend to film the town of Sticks and it's swamp, for a ghost show. Candy isn't at all happy about this, but the rest of the town is excited to have their little town spotlighted. While everyone else is falling in love with the King family, Candy is wary. And it turns out, she has the right to be. Something is not right about this family. They have an ulterior motive. And regardless of how Candy feels about Gage King, she won't stop until she learns the truth. Unless Nova King stops her from figuring things out until it is too late! 

 I LOVE Candy Pickens! She is outspoken and forthright, sarcastic and witty and fierce and strong. She was an awesome main character, and a character that I fell in love with and rooted for from beginning to end. She isn't perfect by any means. She has a tendency towards a bad attitude, and sh definitely speaks before she thinks sometimes. But she always does what she can to make things right, and she does everything she can for the people that she loves. Sterling and Abigail are back in this story, and they are the ultimate best friends. They are the exact opposite of Candy, and each other, but they all work together and come together in the best ways possible. Sweet and gentle and always loyal, Sterling is the tiny peacekeeper. Abigail "Beale" is level-headed and calm, and stands strong no matter what. I love these characters! We also meet Candy's cousins, who are comedic relief in the story, and always made me smile when they showed up. There is also a surprising love interest, and I completely shipped it by the end! 

 Once again, Natalie C. Parker has brought the swamp to life. Even more so than in Beware the Wild, the swamp comes alive and becomes its own living and breathing character. The swamp holds stories of it's own, and we learn more about those stories. This author has shown such growth in every aspect of this companion novel, from the amazing characters to the excellent world-building. Her writing draws you in to the story, and the plot and it's pace keep you invested, sinking deeper into the town of Sticks and all of its secrets and legends. I am happier than I can say that Behold the Bones is a reality, and I am hoping that someday soon we will hear news of another companion to this awesome series. There is one more character who deserves her own day in the sun, and I hope we see her story one day soon!

 Thank you so much, as always, to the amazing Around the World ARC Tours! You rock!

Jaime Reviews ~ Beware the Wild (Beware the Wild #1) by Natalie C. Parker

By Natalie C. Parker
Published on October 21, 2014
Published by: HarperTeen
Source: Edelweiss
It's an oppressively hot and sticky morning in June when Sterling and her brother, Phin, have an argument that compels him to run into the town swamp—the one that strikes fear in all the residents of Sticks, Louisiana. Phin doesn't return. Instead, a girl named Lenora May climbs out, and now Sterling is the only person in Sticks who remembers her brother ever existed.

Sterling needs to figure out what the swamp's done with her beloved brother and how Lenora May is connected to his disappearance—and loner boy Heath Durham might be the only one who can help her. 

This debut novel is full of atmosphere, twists and turns, and a swoon-worthy romance.

Beware the Wild... The Short & Sweet...

  Beware the Wild was my first foray into YA swamp adventures, and I loved every second of it! Sure, there was silliness and weirdness galore, but every bit of it worked in the favor of this story, and made me love it all the more. 

 Sterling and her brother Phin have always been close, but lately something has been coming between them. After a fight that goes too far, Sterling watches her beloved brother jump over the fence in their backyard, and disappear into the swamp. A swamp that is said to be haunted, a swamp that people enter and never return from. After waiting all day for his return, staring over the fence, she finally glimpses someone. But that someone is not her brother, Phin. Her name is Lenora Mae, and all of a sudden, Sterling is the only one who remembers him. As far as everyone else is concerned, Phin never existed, and Lenora May has always been there, Sterling's sister. But Sterling isn't going to give up on Phin, no matter what anyone says, no matter how crazy she looks. So Sterling sets out to return Lenora May to the swamp, and bring her brother home. Not everything is as it seems in the swamp, though, and Sterling is in for the adventure of her life. 

 Sterling was a fun character! She is a tiny thing who is full of life. Sweet and naive, but fiercely determined, she stops at nothing to make things right. With the help of Heath, a friend that she thought was lost to her, and her best friend Candy who is just along for the ride, she learns the truth about the swamp... and the other people who have disappeared from town, and people's memories. Candy was a fantastic best friend for Sterling... Straight-forward and honest, unwilling to believe what she can't see with her own two eyes, she still did everything she could because she loved Sterling. And Heath was just too sweet. His and Sterling's relationship was fun to watch progress, and as sweet as sugar. I enjoyed all of the characters in this story. Lenora May was another favorite, and a great example of a character not always being what you expect. Natalie C. Parker has her characters down pat, and she also kicks butt at this little thing called world-building!
 The swamp itself turned out to be a character all it's own. With it's strange lights, called The Shine, and it's weird creatures, the author brought the swamp to life and made it a thing to fear. I could close my eyes, and call up the sights and sounds, and that is a pretty amazing thing. Swamps need to make more of a presence in YA, because I think there are some amazing things to be done in that type of setting!
 A wonderful little story, Beware the Wild! And thankfully the story doesn't end. It's companion novel, Behold the Bones, is all about Candy Pickens, and it is even better than Beware the Wild. Looking forward to reading Angela's story in book 3?! (That is not a fact, just something I am wildly hoping for )

Blog Tour ~ Awakening (The Dark Rituals #1) by Catrina Burgess ~ Review by Jaime and Giveaway!

Awakening (The Dark Rituals #1)
by Catrina Burgess
Publisher: Full Fathom Five Digital
Release Date: October 7th 2015
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Romance, Supernatural, Horror, Fiction, Fantasy
Rate: 3 Stars!!!


In Awakening, the first installment in the Dark Rituals series, a former healer turns to the Death Arts to seek revenge.

Seventeen-year-old Colina was born a healer. But after a horrific event forces her to leave her clan, she becomes desperate to learn the dark magic of the death dealers, mages who draw their power from the spirits of the dead. Colina was taught to fear and hate death dealers, but becoming one of them is the only way for her to get the revenge she seeks—and the only way for her to survive.

Colina asks a young death dealer named Luke to help her, but he’s reluctant to train her in the Death Arts. Little does she know convincing him to teach her will be the easiest part of her journey. To become a death dealer, Colina will need to undergo three dark rituals, each more terrifying than the last. At the same time, she’ll have to deal with her growing feelings for her mentor. Too bad the first ritual involves him strangling her to death.

As Colina undergoes the trials, she discovers an untapped darkness within herself. If she survives the horrific rituals and gains dark power, what will she become?

Catrina Burgess’ Dark Rituals series originally appeared on Wattpad with over three million reads. Awakening is the first book of four and was named Wattpad’s Best Suspense Story of 2014.

 Colina, our 17 year old MC, was raised in a clan of Healers, and that has always been the magic she has practiced. She was taught to fear the Death Arts, and despise those mages who wield this magic. But after a devastating occurrence, the Death Arts becomes her mission; to learn it, to wield it and to seek revenge. But at what cost? 

 Colina was an interesting character, but not one that I necessarily loved. I liked her in the beginning, and she definitely held my interest as a character study, but she made so many decisions that just... threw me. And while she grew as a character, that growth wasn't the endearing sort. Luke was a little more balanced, and maybe more likeable than Colina, but I never really felt like we got to KNOW him. The story revolved very much around Colina, and what was going on in her head.The other characters in the story all had depth and distinct personalities, but I never truly connected with any of them. And the romance between Colina and Luke was very insta-lusty. The night they meet, they are standoffish, and distrustful of one another, but after a fight in an alley, and one night sleeping in the same apartment, they are talking about their connection to one another. It was a little groan-worthy!

 I promise it wasn't all bad though! And here is why... The idea behind this story was so good! I loved the idea of the different types of magic wielders, and their specific magics. Colina had to undergo three rituals in order to become a death dealer, and these are the parts of the story that held me to the pages. The parts of the story where she is learning this magic, and undergoing the rituals was absolutely my favorite part of the story, My only wish was that we learned more about the world that these characters are living in. Why there are different magical clans, why the animosity between them, why nobody ever decides to learn more than one magic? These are questions that I asked myself throughout the book, and I really hope they will be answered in the sequel. 

 And finally, to the ending. WHAAATT? What the heck, man? Talk about knocking the wind out of your sails? And no, I can't tell you about it because it would be a major spoiler. I will only say that it isn't something that I expected at all. Anyway, should make for a very interesting book 2. 

 I know this review sounded like I didn't really enjoy the story, but that isn't the case. Yes, I had some issues, and I really hope that some of these (the world-building, the character growth, a little less cliches) are worked on in book 2. But this story had a lot of good things going for it.  I wouldn't have any problem saying go ahead and give it a shot to someone. So, go ahead and give it a shot someone! And thank you to The Fantastic Flying Book Club for letting me be a part of the tour! 

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Follow the Awakening by Catrina Burgess Blog Tour and don't miss anything! Click on the banner to see the tour schedule.

I write because it helps keeps the darkness away and reminds me that there is magic in the world. I live with one husband, two dogs, and a cat named Shitty Kitty in a small mining town in Arizona. At night this place is definitely spooky. I swear I’ve heard the wind giggle, and sometimes there’s a very odd breeze. Luckily, I love all things that go bump in the night. I adore old movies. I’m a huge Joss Whedon fan.

I’ve been known to eat pizza and cold Chinese food for breakfast, and I’m the queen of the board game Stratego. I’ve never been beaten. NEVER!

Jaime Reviews ~ Dark Shadows by Toni Vallan

By Toni Vallan
Published on November 16, 2015
Published by: Infinite Ink Books
Source: Netgalley
My name’s Ella Raimi.

Until last week, my life was pretty normal for a sixteen-year-old. Until I spent that awful night trapped in the janitor's closet in utter darkness. Until the dreams began — suffocating, panic-filled dreams. My best friend Kyla stays with me, but the dreams still continue. And I wake each morning with cuts & burns on my skin. I don’t recall inflicting them.

And then there is the blood on my hands and my sheets when I wake up.

I’m afraid of myself and what I've done.

And I'm beginning to be more afraid of Kyla. And what she will do.

Genre :Horror/Thriller

Dark Shadows...

  In case you don't know this about me, I am a horror fan. I love horror, psychological thrillers... Anything of the sort. When I saw Dark Shadows on Netgalley (THANKS NETGALLEY!), I thought this would be the perfect book for me. It has all of the elements that I love, and the cover is pretty darn creepy. Unfortunately, it just didn't hit the right notes for me, and I found myself pretty disappointed. 

 The book starts with Ella being shoved into a janitor's closet at the end of the school day, and being locked in overnight. She isn't found until the next morning when the janitor shows up and finds her unresponsive, with her nails shredded from trying to claw her way out. That night at home, she has her first dream of being locked in a box and not being able to escape. The next morning, she wakes up with tiny little cuts all over her arm, a razor lying in the bathroom, and no memory of hurting herself. Her best friend Kyla wants her to get revenge on the boys who did this to her, but Ella refuses. They are rich and popular, so they will only get away with it, and it will make things worse for Ella. After another incident with one of the kids from school, Ella wakes up the next morning covered in blood, and hears the news that the boy is dead. Things get progressively strange for Emma, and she doesn't know what is happening to her. Is she responsible, or is Kyla protecting her, regardless of the cost?

 In theory, this sounds like a book that would be fantastic for me. In execution, it just fell short. The pacing was very slow, with the incidents happening only randomly enough to keep me interested. The writing style itself isn't bad, but it doesn't flow quite smoothly, and there was a lot of editing down that could have been done. As far as the characters go, I just couldn't connect with any of them, and I think that is ultimately what created such a disconnect for me. Ella was a shell of a character who didn't have much personality. She cried a lot, but was never proactive, just set back and let Kyla or her mom or Doctor tell her how to think or feel. When revelations were made towards the end of the story, Ella accepted everything very well, barely blinking an eye. And the big reveal towards the end, while it was a good one, was easily predictable and the reveal was very anti-climatic. 

 While this story could have brought chills to the reader, I feel like it was a big miss. There wasn't enough emotion driving the story, and there was no characterization or growth to speak of. I think the author has potential to create a fantastic story, but the elements didn't come together in a way that worked for me. Now, don't let my review keep you from reading the story. Please! There are a ton, and I mean a TON, of positive reviews out there for Dark Shadows. The story has worked for a lot of people. Unfortunately, I am the odd woman out on this one. But give it a shot, because you might be one of the ones that loved it! 

Jaime's #TheShelfieHop

Hi y'all! Welcome to my (very messy, double and triple-stacked) shelves! And the cedar chest that acts as my overflow bookshelf. I have big plans for shelves that will fit all of my books, but I have to find time to build them.. Dreams! Anyway, enjoy the view! For one lucky peruser, enjoy a book (or maybe two, from my shelf to yours! Without further ado...

My Shelves!

Here's the Giveaway, if you are interested...

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Follow the rest of the #TheShelfieHop...

Jaime Reviews ~ After the Woods by Kim Savage

By Kim Savage
Published on February 23, 2016
Published by: Farrar, Straus and Giraux
Source: Publisher
Would you risk your life to save your best friend? 

Julia did. When a paroled predator attacked Liv in the woods, Julia fought back and got caught. Liv ran, leaving Julia in the woods for a terrifying 48 hours that she remembers only in flashbacks. One year later, Liv seems bent on self-destruction, starving herself, doing drugs, and hooking up with a violent new boyfriend. A dead girl turns up in those same woods, and Julia’s memories resurface alongside clues unearthed by an ambitious reporter that link the girl to Julia’s abductor. As the devastating truth becomes clear, Julia realizes that after the woods was just the beginning.

Kirkus calls After the Woods "A riveting exploration of what it's like when the enemy is much closer than you suspect." (starred review, Nov. 1, 2015)

What awaits you in the Woods...

 A very enjoyable read! After the Woods is a taut mystery, with more questions at every turn. From the beginning, when Julia is caught and Liv runs, to the end when Julia finally learns the truth, this story keeps you captivated.

 It has been a year since the attack, and everyone is moving forward. They want Julia to move forward to, but she can't. She is stuck back there, one year ago, wondering why she was taken. What provoked the attack? And now, with a new body found in the woods, it is even more of an incentive for Julia to find the truth. But the truth is not always what you expect to find. Neither are the people around you. 

 Julia was a great character. She is smart and spunky, and an easy character to get behind. She is incredibly motivated, and not willing to let anyone stand in her way. Her best friend Liv has changed, though. She is a different girl than the one that ran away. Liv is not an easy character to like, but she was an enjoyable character study. The girls are so different now, maybe they always have been, and the year anniversary and new body are changing things more and more between them.
 The romance in the story is an easy one to love. Kellan is precious and he is an awesome support for Julia. He is funny, and together he and Julia make a great team. Their scenes together are tension-filled, and perfect!

 After the Woods sounded like a book that I would love, and it turned out to be just that. the tension made the book fly by, and the plot was perfectly paced throughout the story. Kim Savage has some serious writing skills, and I am 100% in on the next book from this YA author!

 Thanks so much to the awesome publisher for allowing me to read and review and ARC of After the Woods. It in no way had any bearing on my review!