Gorgeous Cover- Decent Story

ArtintheBloodArt in the Blood
By: Bonnie MacBird
Release Date: August 27, 2015
Publisher: HarperCollins
Format: Print ARC
Source: McDuffie Communications

Summary:
London. A snowy December, 1888. Sherlock Holmes, 34, is languishing and back on cocaine after a disastrous Ripper investigation. Watson can neither comfort nor rouse his friend – until a strangely encoded letter arrives from Paris.

Mlle La Victoire, a beautiful French cabaret star writes that her young son has vanished, and she has been attacked in the streets of Montmartre.

Racing to Paris with Watson at his side, Holmes discovers the missing child is only the tip of the iceberg of a much larger problem. The most valuable statue since the Winged Victory has been violently stolen in Marseilles, and several children from a silk mill in Lancashire have been found murdered. The clues in all three cases point to a single, untouchable man, an art collector seemingly beyond reach of the law.

Will Holmes recover in time to find the missing boy and stop a rising tide of murders? To do so he must stay one step ahead of a dangerous French rival and the threatening interference of his own brother, Mycroft.

My Thoughts:
First, look at that cover. Take a moment to fully appreciate how absolutely beautiful it is. Okay, now that that’s out of the way let’s talk about the insides. I am a huge fan of the TV show, Sherlock and have loved reading the newest YA renditions and reworking of the classic Sherlock/Mycroft/Watson dynamics. Art in the Blood pulls more from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s original works at least in stylistic terms. The time period as well as the writing feels very much like an added work to the older classics. Full disclosure–I’ve never actually read Doyle’s work (!!!). I know. This needs to change.

Sherlock’s character was as expected- playing violin, brooding and genius. Since I’ve not read Doyle’s work I can’t adequately compare this version to the original but I had the impression MacBird incorporated many elements. In comparison to the more modern Sherlock renditions, I felt that this one was fairly accurate. One difference was that MacBird actually made her Sherlock not 100% right all the time. He made an error!

The book followed from Watson’s point of view for the most part though we got a couple chapters from Sherlock’s. The pacing was a tad slower (especially in the beginning) than I expected with the action scenes spaced out. I felt that the mystery wasn’t one in which I needed to figure it out and sadly, I didn’t care what the outcome would be for most of the characters. I feel that there wasn’t enough suspense to really carry the mystery and left me feeling a tad bored in areas.

I did, however, enjoy Sherlock and Watson. Their dynamic was exactly as I’d expect and want. The two start out at odds with Watson having been recently married. I do feel that because I’m such a fan of the TV show I was able to fill in gaps and imbue the characters with personality that I’m not sure was present in the writing. It was difficult to separate my own perceptions from what I was reading and I’d be interested to hear the opinion of a reader that was not a fan of the TV series.

Final Thoughts:
Art in the Blood lacked the suspense of the mystery that I expected but overall I did enjoy this book. I do think that my love of the TV show helped to fill in gaps in personality and helped to give me an easier time envisioning the story, especially with the newest episode (you really must watch the trailers!) being a more historical one.

Review of Gated by Amy Christine Parker

GatedGated
By: Amy Christine Parker
Release Date: August 27th 2013
Publisher:  Random House Childrens

Electronic copy was given to me in exchange for an honest review
Note: I don’t feel that I can rate this one with stars

Summary (via Goodreads):
Do the gates keep the unchosen out or the chosen in?

In Mandrodage Meadows, life seems perfect. The members of this isolated suburban community have thrived under Pioneer, the charismatic leader who saved them from their sad, damaged lives. Lyla Hamilton and her parents are original members of the flock. They moved here following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, looking to escape the evil in the world. Now seventeen, Lyla knows certain facts are not to be questioned:

Pioneer is her leader.

Will is her Intended.

The end of the world is near.

Like Noah before him, Pioneer has been told of the imminent destruction of humanity. He says his chosen must arm themselves to fight off the unchosen people, who will surely seek refuge in the compound’s underground fortress–the Silo.

Lyla loves her family and friends, but given the choice, she prefers painting to target practice. And lately she’d rather think about a certain boy outside the compound than plan for married life in the Silo with Will. But with the end of days drawing near, she will have to pick up a gun, take a side, and let everyone know where she stands.

My Thoughts:
I have never read anything about how life would be living in a cult. I thought the book description was intriguing; especially adding in the fear of end times. I couldn’t help but think that reading about Lyla and her experiences would be entrancing and interesting in a psychological way. I wasn’t wrong- this was an incredibly interesting read though I did not overly enjoy the experience. This had nothing to do with the story telling or writing; it all had to do with my dislike of the subject matter.

I found Gated highly disturbing and at times frustrating. I had a very difficult time getting into the head space of Lyla’s parents. Their attitudes really frustrated me and I found it impossible to like them though I did empathize with them. Lyla was relatable enough and I thought she was well rounded but it wasn’t enough to make the reading of Gated pleasant for me personally. Let this be a warning there was violence towards animals which I found really upsetting even though the descriptions were not graphic.

Parker included quotes from cult leaders (real and Pioneer’s) at the beginning of every chapter which really created authenticity to her story. She mastered giving her reader what felt like a real glimpse into how life would be when raised in this type of environment. The pacing is slow for the majority of the book though you can feel the tension build with every page turn.

Don’t be mistaken…this is not a negative review. I think this book was done very well and that a lot of people will find Gated interesting and engaging. I misjudged myself in thinking that this book would be for me.