214 Following

Wanda's Book Reviews

I am currently reading my way through a long list of science fiction and fantasy titles.  (http://www.npr.org/2011/08/07/138938145/science-fiction-and-fantasy-finalists if you are interested in the list).

Currently reading

The Last of August (Charlotte Holmes Novel)
Brittany Cavallaro
Stone of Tears
Terry Goodkind
Progress: 585/703 pages

Body on Baker Street / Vicki Delany

Body on Baker Street - Vicki Delany

Gemma Doyle and Jayne Wilson are busy managing the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop and Emporium on Baker Street and adjoining Mrs. Hudson's Tea Room in anticipation of the store's upcoming book signing with the illustrious Renalta Van Markoff, author of the controversial Hudson and Holmes mystery series. But during the author Q&A session, dedicated Sherlockian Donald Morris verbally attacks Renalta and her series for disgracing Sherlock's legacy, only to be publicly humiliated when the author triumphantly lashes back and gains the upper hand. That is until Renalta collapses on the table--dead. Donald insists he didn't do it and pleads to his friends to clear his name. Fortunately, Gemma and Jayne have no shortage of suspects between author's bullied personal assistant, her frustrated publicist, the hapless publisher, a handsome rare book dealer, an obsessively rabid fan, and a world of other Sherlock enthusiasts with strong objections to Renalta's depiction of the Great Detective. It's up to the shrewd sleuthing duo to eliminate the impossible and deduce the truth before the West London police arrest an innocent man.



***The Summer of Sherlock 2019*** 

I realize that I’ve read volumes 1 & 2 of this series too close together for my complete enjoyment. This one feels very, very similar to the first volume and if I’d left more time between the two, that feeling wouldn’t be quite so strong. But that’s on me, not the author, for choosing to read them so close in time.

Each book has its own narrative arch, which should be the main draw, but for me, it’s the ongoing details, the relationships that drive my desire to read. And the relationships in this one are stuck pretty much in the same spot as they were in Elementary, She Read. Gemma is still trying not to carry a torch for her cop ex-boyfriend and wondering about the rare book dealer that she’s gone on a date or two with. Her BFF Jayne is still seeing a man who Gemma considers to be a useless sort and a nearby bar owner can’t seem to get Jayne’s attention.

Cozy mysteries like this one really lack the tension factor that I value in a mystery. The stakes just don’t seem to be high enough to keep me engaged. Delany is no slouch as a writer, but she needs to fish or cut bait soon with regard to moving the relationships along or complicating them or something. I find myself wishing for more of something--more tension, more emotion, more complications. 

Although the next book is sitting mere shelves away from me in the library, I’m resisting the urge to go sign it out. Despite the desire to see what happens next, I need some time. Absence should make the heart grow fonder, yes?

Reading progress update: I've read 585 out of 703 pages.

Stone of Tears - Terry Goodkind



I've been forced to just set this down for a while.  The misogyny is so intense.  I realize that's how Goodkind is making the bad guys really evil, by making them so anti-woman, but that doesn't make it any easier to read.  Maybe if I didn't know that similar things are actually taking place in the real world, it wouldn't be so difficult.  


Can I last through 15 books of this series?  I'm truly not sure.

A Study in Charlotte / Brittany Cavallaro

A Study in Charlotte - Brittany Cavallaro

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.




***The Summer of Sherlock 2019*** 

This is a cute and somewhat melodramatic version of a Holmes story. Time has moved on, James Watson is the great-great-great grandson of Dr. John Watson. He has been exiled from his beloved London to a boarding school in Connecticut, only to find Charlotte Holmes already there and with quite the reputation for herself. Of course, they end up trying to solve a mystery together, mostly in self defense as either one of them has a motive for killing their classmate. 

In some ways, this reminded me of The Name of the Star. Charlotte’s room-mate, Lena, reminded me of Rory’s roomie in that book. There isn’t the same paranormal aspect to this novel, but the whole boarding school vibe definitely made me link them in my mind.

I found it interesting that the author made all of these families (Watsons, Holmes, and Moriartys) work into the story, but also mentioned the Doyles. Mixing the fictional and the real, but with heavy emphasis on the fictional. And of course it makes sense that there would be descendents of all of the families available to interact in the modern world.

I’ve already requested the next volume to see where this series takes Charlotte and Jamie.

A Fountain Filled With Blood / Julia Spencer-Fleming

A Fountain Filled With Blood - Julia Spencer-Fleming

Nestled in the heart of the Adirondacks, Miller's Kill, New York is about as safe as it gets. That's why Episcopal minister Clare Fergusson is shocked when the July Fourth weekend brings a rash of vicious assaults to the scenic town. Even Clare's good friend, police chief Russ Van Alstyne, is shaken by the brutality of the crimes-especially when it appears that the victims were chosen because they are gay. But when a third assault of an out-of-town developer ends in murder, Clare and Russ wonder if the recent crime wave is connected to the victim's controversial plan to open an upscale spa in Miller's Kill. But not all things in the tiny town are what they seem-and soon, Clare and Russ are left to fight their unspoken attraction to one another even as they uncover a labyrinthine conspiracy that threatens to turn deadly for them both...


I’m finding myself really riveted by this murder mystery series. I read the first one back in January (In the Bleak Midwinter) and then saved this one for July 4th (as it starts on that holiday). It was a great way to spend the day. Make no mistake, I may have started it in a leisurely fashion, but by halfway through I was determined to finish by day’s end. I needed to know whodunit.

I find myself really drawn into the whole relationship between the Rev. Clair and police chief Russ. They both know that it’s the wrong thing to do. Russ is married, supposedly happily, but the further I go in the series, the more I question this. Clair, as an Episcopalian priest, knows that she must live up to the standards of her church, but realizes that it’s not always an easy thing to do. This second book reveals that there’s a fair age discrepancy between them as well (15 years) that would stand in the way of some people.

It’s an uncomfortable situation to find themselves in, but they are both honourable people and they try to do the honourable thing. They are struggling to continue to be “friends” and yet can’t help sometimes saying things that inflame their situation. So there’s the whole “forbidden love” thing happening and that is a draw for me.

I’ve also recently been listening to a podcast about the gay community in Toronto in the 1970s and 80s, as well as the recently nabbed serial killer there, so murders and beatings of gay men have been on my mind. The prejudice of society and police forces against the LGBTQ+ segment of society makes the solving of these crimes much more difficult than it ought to be, and I would hope that we could learn from past mistakes. So the crimes against gay men in this book were a timely read for me.

I’m very disappointed to find out that my library doesn’t have the next two books in the series, so I have requested the third on interlibrary loan. Unfortunately, these take ages to arrive, so I will not get another Claire-and-Russ hit for quite some time.

Reading progress update: I've read 318 out of 703 pages.

Stone of Tears - Terry Goodkind


Goodkind knows how to keep a story moving, but he has an unhealthy fascination with torture. 

Reading progress update: I've read 112 out of 312 pages.

Hell and Damnation : a Sinner's Guide to Eternal Torment - Marq de Villiers



Somehow I thought this would be more amusing. The author interviews better than he writes.

Reading progress update: I've read 227 out of 385 pages.

A Fountain Filled With Blood - Julia Spencer-Fleming

Hello, Dennys with a Y.


And I'm Gayle, also with a Y.


Claire took her hand gingerly. Those nails were scary. She wondrred if she should figure out someway to spell her name with a Y. Clayr?




In fact, that is my middle name--Clayr.  

Reading progress update: I've read 201 out of 385 pages.

A Fountain Filled With Blood - Julia Spencer-Fleming


Are you any good at this celebacy thing?


Naughty question, Russ!

Reading progress update: I've read 196 out of 385 pages.

A Fountain Filled With Blood - Julia Spencer-Fleming

If she could deal with one old fossil stuck in his tracks, she could surely deal with another.


Go, Claire!



Reading progress update: I've read 83 out of 385 pages.

A Fountain Filled With Blood - Julia Spencer-Fleming


Her grandmother's voice broke in (to her thoughts).  If you don't want to go to Atlanta, missy, you'd best not get on that train.


One of my friends used to have a similar saying--don't kiss a man you don't intend to sleep with. Good advice, that.

Reading progress update: I've read 74 out of 385 pages.

A Fountain Filled With Blood - Julia Spencer-Fleming


Russ has a feisty mother!


Go, Margy!

Reading progress update: I've read 33 out of 385 pages.

A Fountain Filled With Blood - Julia Spencer-Fleming

This isa timelybook for me. I've been listening to a podcast on crime against gay men inToronto, including a lot of gay bashing and a serial killer. The way the police dealt with it was awful. I hope we can move beyond that kind of prejudice.

Reading progress update: I've read 22 out of 385 pages.

A Fountain Filled With Blood - Julia Spencer-Fleming

As he climbed into his cruiser, it struck him that he didn't feel like a hormonal teenager any more. He felt...pleasant. Friendly.....He was going to work out this friendship thing after all.


 Oh Russ, I hope you are wrong, wrong,wrong!

Reading progress update: I've read 14 out of 385 pages.

A Fountain Filled With Blood - Julia Spencer-Fleming

Wow, Julia Spencer-Fleming knows how to grab & hold my attention.



Reading progress update: I've read 1 out of 385 pages.

A Fountain Filled With Blood - Julia Spencer-Fleming

Time to get started!


Hello Claireand Russ!

Reading progress update: I've read 160 out of 235 pages.

Stone Arabia - Dana Spiotta


I would never have picked this book up if it wasn't a selection for my RL Book club.  Usually that is a good thing, as I'm being pushed to read outside my comfort zone.  This time, I must confess, I'm just bored.


I'm so close to finishing now that I will undoubtedly persevere and finish the thing, since I want to be able to discuss it intelligently on Friday evening.  However, I'm finding myself being a little resentful of the time its taking away from other books that I'm more excited about.


The aim is to finished it TODAY.