Review of Lock & Mori by Heather W. Petty

Lock&MoriLock & Mori
By: Heather W. Petty
Release Date: September 15th 2015
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young
Format: Print ARC
Source: Kelly from Effortlessly Reading

My Rating:

In modern-day London, two brilliant high school students, one Sherlock Holmes and a Miss James “Mori” Moriarty, meet. A murder will bring them together. The truth very well might drive them apart.

Before they were mortal enemies, they were much more.

FACT: Someone has been murdered in London’s Regent’s Park. The police have no leads.

FACT: Miss James “Mori”Moriarty and Sherlock “Lock” Holmes should be hitting the books on a school night. Instead, they are out crashing a crime scene.

FACT: Lock has challenged Mori to solve the case before he does. Challenge accepted.

FACT: Despite agreeing to Lock’s one rule–they must share every clue with each other–Mori is keeping secrets.

OBSERVATION: Sometimes you can’t trust the people closest to you with matters of the heart. And after this case, Mori may never trust Lock again.

My Thoughts:

Upon seeing this book on Goodreads I was instantly excited though a tiny bit hesitant. I had just fallen in love with Ellie Marney’s series and the two sounded a bit similar. I went into reading Lock & Mori with some trepidation but I shouldn’t have worried. This book was much different and I really enjoyed it.

Overall, I found this novel fast paced and even a bit heart breaking. It got me to cry which isn’t all that common for me (I pride myself on a stoic, cold heart). Yes, there was a bit of instant love between these two characters but somehow it worked for me. I guess it felt more like instant attraction that grew into something more…which is how most of my relationships happened. I loved the dynamic and chemistry between Lock and Mori. Knowing the history of Moriarty being Sherlock’s nemesis in the original books I was left at the edge of my seat waiting to see if things would blow up between them. These two do veer on aggravating by their secrecy (mostly Mori) and there were scenes where I wished I could push them together and make them talk it out.

As for the mystery involved it wasn’t too difficult to figure out and fairly early but all the details and the journey of the characters finding answers was incredibly captivating to me. I was mesmerized by what I was reading and this was the type of book that didn’t want me to venture far. I wanted to just keep reading no matter what was happening around me.

Final Thoughts:
Though the mystery wasn’t overly difficult to figure out the journey between the two characters, Mori and Lock was exceptional and I fell in love with the two of them. I’m ready for more please.

Review of The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich

TheDeadHouseThe Dead House
By: Dawn Kurtagich
Release Date: September 15th 2015
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Format: Print ARC
Source: Kelly from Effortlessly Reading

My Rating:

Over two decades have passed since the fire at Elmbridge High, an inferno that took the lives of three teenagers. Not much was known about the events leading up to the tragedy – only that one student, Carly Johnson, vanished without a trace…

…until a diary is found hidden in the ruins.

But the diary, badly scorched, does not belong to Carly Johnson. It belongs to Kaitlyn Johnson, a girl who shouldn’t exist Who was Kaitlyn? Why did she come out only at night? What is her connection to Carly?

The case has been reopened. Police records are being reexamined: psychiatric reports, video footage, text messages, e-mails. And the diary.

The diary that paints a much more sinister version of events than was ever made publicly known.

My Thoughts:
I finished this book last night and my first take away was that The Dead House was brilliantly and wonderfully WEIRD. I don’t even know how to adequately form a review for this book because it was just so strange and really relies on the reader’s take away. This book meshed horror and psychology wonderfully and had me hiding the book at bedtime (I felt like the creepy cover was watching me).

The book’s format was really interesting but might make some readers nervous since it’s not common. The story unfolds through news articles, journal entries and descriptions of video found during an investigation. The novel starts with a report about an incident happening and then fast forwards two decades to the finding of Kaitlyn’s journal. I absolutely loved this technique and felt it was an incredible way to approach an unreliable narrator.

I really don’t want to give too much away since the fun of reading The Dead House revolves around watching the mystery unfold and for the reader to take their views and create what they believe really happened. This book read very quickly and had me at the edge of my seat. I read this over the course of two evenings and I’ll say…it disturbed my sleep! Really, this book delves into violence, psychology, demons, possessions, witch-craft, ghosts…and really all the creepy things you could possibly think of all meshed together into a crazy awesome book.

Because of the format I did feel like an observer and did not connect to the characters in the way I normally would but this did not detract in the slightest for me. I felt reading about the events I knew had happened and having a bit of an idea of what the incident was really added to the tense atmosphere.

Final Thoughts:
I’m sorry that this review couldn’t go into more detail but if you like to be slightly horrified and haunted then I think you’ll love this book. I know for a fact this will not be a book I’ll soon forget. Add Dawn Kurtagich to my ‘pick up whatever she writes’ list.

Review for The Weight of Feathers by Anna-Marie McLemore

TheWeightofFeathersThe Weight of Feathers
By: Anna-Marie McLemore
Release Date: September 15, 2015
Publisher: Thomas Dunne
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

My Rating:

For twenty years, the Palomas and the Corbeaus have been rivals and enemies, locked in an escalating feud for over a generation. Both families make their living as traveling performers in competing shows—the Palomas swimming in mermaid exhibitions, the Corbeaus, former tightrope walkers, performing in the tallest trees they can find.

Lace Paloma may be new to her family’s show, but she knows as well as anyone that the Corbeaus are pure magia negra, black magic from the devil himself. Simply touching one could mean death, and she’s been taught from birth to keep away. But when disaster strikes the small town where both families are performing, it’s a Corbeau boy, Cluck, who saves Lace’s life. And his touch immerses her in the world of the Corbeaus, where falling for him could turn his own family against him, and one misstep can be just as dangerous on the ground as it is in the trees.

The Story:
After reading the summary I was excited about the idea that The Weight of Feathers had a Romeo and Juliet feeling about the story- with two people falling in love against all odds and their family’s deep rooted hatred of one another.  This story alternated between the point of views of both Cluck and Lace both written in third person. I’m typically not a fan of third person because it usually doesn’t allow for me to connect. I didn’t have this problem at all with TWoF and seeing the story unfold in this way allowed me as the reader to see from both sides how each family functioned.

I was afraid that within the space of one book that perhaps I’d not feel that the families really despised each other and that this division between the two wouldn’t seem enough to keep them apart. Well, Mclemore more than created animosity between the Palomas and the Corbeaus. I was mesmerized by the history and myth each family held on to and believed in. It really created an atmosphere of tension knowing that these two warring families were so easily able to bump into each other around the small town they occupied for their shows. Their relationship with one another really did feel explosive and I was incredibly impressed with how well this feeling came across the pages.

The writing in this book was beyond beautiful and the descriptions incredibly vivid and crystal clear to visualize. I really felt that I was there at both family’s camps. Everything was drawn out so clearly I really was transported into the setting as corny as that might sound. The prose flowed elegantly and smoothly and was really wonderful to read.

This story was very character driven so there were not a lot of action sequences and the pacing could be considered slower if you are more interested in fast action scenes. The depth of the character growth and interactions was delightful and midway through the book I had trouble putting it down.

Another aspect I really enjoyed was the magical realism throughout the book. The Corbeaus are born with feathers and the Palomas with scales. Yes, this sounds sort of crazy but the way McLemore incorporated them seemed plausible and it was very easy for me to accept.

The Characters:
As I said above the characters really drive this story. As the summary states the story focused on Lace Palomas and Cluck Corbeaus. We experienced their life in their family and how it felt for them to work and live in a traveling show environment. I loved seeing the similiarities between the families as well as the differences. The little bits of French and Spanish thrown in really enhanced this feeling and helped to set the family atmosphere.

One small peeve I had- at first I was very hesitant of the nickname Cluck. It pulled me from the story but as things progressed and I was given the backstory as to why it really made sense and stopped bothering me.  As a character, I adored Cluck and felt that his quiet stoicism was intriguing as well as heartbreaking in parts. His relationship to his grandfather was so touching to me and I found myself able to really relate to it.

Lace was highly relatable and likeable. I had no problem at all getting behind her story and rooting for her throughout the book. I wanted for her to find happiness. Loving both these characters really helped to enhance my reading experience. Together these two shone. I adored their relationship and I honestly wanted to read much more of them one on one (I needed more kissing!)

The secondary cast filled their roles perfectly and most of them felt very unique and fleshed out. Only a handful of them had much of their back-story looked into but the ones that did really stood out for me.

Final Thoughts:
The Weight of Feathers brought me to tears, had me rooting for the main characters and completely entranced in these two family’s dramas. I felt that McLemore did an exquisite job creating her world and characters and I’ll be reading the next book she releases no questions asked.