Friday, September 28, 2018

Month in Review: September 2018

September has flown by! But it's finally feeling like fall at my house so I'm not complaining. And there are so many great books coming out in October. Bring on the fuzzy blankets and cozy reading nooks!

But first, here's what we were up to in September:

Check out our September book hauls!

 I may have overcompensated for my recent reading slump.

Rose Red


Billionaires & Backlist
I swear I didn't realize I read so many billionaires until I put the covers all together. I actually picked all but one of them because they're enemies-to-lovers stories.

Rose Red

Beat the Backlist and Rereads

Non-Challenge Books Read/New Releases
The reading slump has been real this month but it's the Schwabiest reading month I've had in a long time.


Event Wrap Up
Romance GenreCon

Our Most Anticipated October Releases
Click on the covers to add them on Goodreads.

October 2

October 8

October 9

October 10

October 16

October 23

October 30

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Review: A Study in Honor by Claire O'Dell

A Study in Honor
(The Janet Watson Chronicles #1)
Claire O'Dell
Release: July 31, 2018
Goodreads Amazon
ARC provided by the publisher via Edelweiss
Dr. Janet Watson knows firsthand the horrifying cost of a divided nation. While treating broken soldiers on the battlefields of the New Civil War, a sniper’s bullet shattered her arm and ended her career. Honorably discharged and struggling with the semi-functional mechanical arm that replaced the limb she lost, she returns to the nation’s capital, a bleak, edgy city in the throes of a fraught presidential election. Homeless and jobless, Watson is uncertain of the future when she meets another black and queer woman, Sara Holmes, a mysterious yet playfully challenging covert agent who offers the doctor a place to stay.

Watson’s readjustment to civilian life is complicated by the infuriating antics of her strange new roommate. But the tensions between them dissolve when Watson discovers that soldiers from the New Civil War have begun dying one by one—and that the deaths may be the tip of something far more dangerous, involving the pharmaceutical industry and even the looming election. Joining forces, Watson and Holmes embark on a thrilling investigation to solve the mystery—and secure justice for these fallen soldiers.

I am always a fan of new takes on classics and it was nice to read a queer, genderbent reimagining of Sherlock Holmes. It went above and beyond by casting the roles of Sherlock and Watson as queer black women. There are also many twists on secondary characters who are also fleshed out and memorable, many of them were reimagined as people of color which was awesome!

A Study in Honor was actually more about Watson than it was the Sherlock character, who really didn't make much of an appearance. And that was the true genius of this book! Having Janet Watson take the spotlight was a very welcome change to the story. Sara Holmes had potential to be fascinating but was a little too mysterious in this first installment to be truly compelling or really even fleshed out as a character. I like what we did learn about her personality though. That being said, I enjoyed the interactions between the two for the most part. They were pretty funny and could be charming though I often found them frustrating. I feel like the author missed out on some great opportunities for Sara and Janet to interact by having Sara leave notes for Janet. 

My favorite part is that Watson takes no crap from Sherlock! We’re also made aware of Watson’s discomforts and frustrations of how she is perceived especially regarding her prosthetic. Another thing I really appreciated was the detailing of Watson's postwar life as a veteran struggling with PTSD and attempting to assimilate back into society. To my knowledge, no other adaptations ever discuss that part of Watson's character in detail.

I loved that this was set in a future dystopian United States that entered a second Civil War. But while the characterizations were great and I mostly loved Janet, the plot was a bit thin and convoluted. Personally, I would have loved to see more worldbuilding. It's a decent foundation book for the rest of the series, but for me the book never really grabbed me. I found it interesting when I picked it up but it never enthralled me enough to read more than thirty pages at a time. I found that the pacing dragged in places and I found it easy to ignore for days at a time.

Overall, I loved the character of Janet Watson and I can see the potential for this series to be fantastic. Unfortunately, I don't feel like the story was told in a manner that realizes that potential and it mostly fell flat for me. I am intrigued enough that I'll probably pick up the next book but it won't be a priority read.

  3 / 5 Stars

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