To everyone who is celebrating today I hope you are having a great time and be safe.
It only seems appropriate that after reviewing the first book A Study in Charlotte on Monday, that my next TBR pick would be the second book The Last of August. Sometimes I’m a bit slow in keeping up with a series. I often get distracted by other books and then too much time goes by between books and I lose the plot along the way. Having read the summary of The Last of August I don’t think I can afford to not read the book soon. It seems to take place immediately after A Study in Charlotte and I’m excited to see where Brittany Cavallaro takes Jamie and Charlotte next.
Title: A Study in Charlotte
Series: Charlotte Holmes Series
Author: Brittany Cavallaro
Publish Date: January 3rd, 2017
Reading Format: Paperback
Jamie Watson earns a rugby scholarship to a prep school in Sherringford, Connecticut. Starting his new school brings Jamie not only geographically closer to his estranged father but also to Charlotte Holmes, the great-great-great-granddaughter to the infamous Sherlock Holmes. Naturally Jamie, the great-great-great-grandson of John Watson, feels that he and Charlotte are destined to be the best of friends. Too bad, however, for Jamie that his first meeting with Charlotte doesn’t go as planned, nor did he expect to find himself to be framed for murder along with Ms. Holmes.
I’ve only ever read one Sherlock Holmes Novel and that was The Hound of the Baskervilles for my 7th grade literature class. Needless to say I’m far removed from having read that book and outside of movies and TV shows about the famous fictional detective, I don’t have a lot of knowledge about Arthur Conan Doyle’s original stories. So when I decided to pick up A Study in Charlotte as an impulse buy at Target (what isn’t an impulse buy at Target?) I didn’t know what to expect other than the retelling of a classic with Sherlock and Watson’s great-great-great-grandchildren.
First let me get this out of the way by saying that the entire time I visualized Charlotte and Jamie mostly like this:
Though granted the main characters in this book were all but 16 (and one happens to also be female), I couldn’t quite get around Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman as Charlotte Holmes and Jamie Watson.
Now that I have planted that idea into your mind as well, I’ll continue on with my review.
The first two words that come to mind to describe A Study in Charlotte is dark and funny. The wittiness between Charlotte and Jamie is quite reflective of anything else Sherlock related, and the common themes that haunt her great-great-great-grandfather also haunt Charlotte.
There is enough in this book that it has a familiarity to it but also provides enough originality that it doesn’t appear like a redundant plot line. Brittany Cavallaro does a good job of incorporating the original stories while maintaining her own take on the novels to produce a murder mystery I actually enjoyed reading. As someone who doesn’t venture into the mystery genre very often because I can sometimes find them predictable, I never lost my interest in what was happening in the book.
If you enjoy Sherlock Holmes I would suggest reading A Study in Charlotte but if you are expecting an exact replica or a continuation of the original novels then you might be disappointed.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Title: Midnight in Broad Daylight: A Japanese American Family Caught Between Two Worlds
Author: Pamela Rotner Sakamoto
Publish Date: January 5th, 2016
Reading Format: E-book
Meticulously researched and beautifully written, Midnight in Broad Daylight is the true story of a Japanese American family that found itself on opposite sides during World War II. An epic tale of family, separation, divided loyalties, love, reconciliation, loss, and redemption, Pamela Rotner Sakamoto’s history is a riveting chronicle of U.S.-Japan relations and of the Japanese experience in America.
I love history but oddly I don’t love to read about history. I often find them to be a bit boring, or filled with too much information but no story to it. I can count on one hand the number of Nonfiction books I’ve read that I’ve actually finished, Midnight in Broad Daylight being one of them and I loved this book.
It tells the story of the Fukuhara family. Parents born in Japan and immigrants to America, who raise their 5 children in a mixed cultural upbringing filled with the traditions of Japan and the modern aspects of America. The book closely follows the lives of two of the brothers Harry and Frank. Harry is the 3rd child and Frank is his younger brother. After the death of their father and the start of the Great Depression in the United States, the boys who have spent their whole lives in America are moved to Japan by their mother, along with their 3 other siblings, to be closer to family.
Harry vows to return to America the moment they are forced to move and does after he finishes school. He comes back to find that the town he grew up in and the friends he left behind don’t have a lot of interest in him any more, nor does the small town have any jobs to offer during the depression. Moving to Los Angles, Harry bounces from job to job before moving in with a middle aged couple as their house boy. The couple, who have no children of their own, treat Harry as though he were their son. They even take in his sister, Mary, and her young daughter when she shows up after escaping her alcoholic and abusive husband. Then after Pearl Harbor, Harry and Mary are sent to an interment camp until Harry is able to join the United States Army as a translator. Mean while Frank is still in Japan. He is admitted into an elite school where he learns the ideology that heavily influences Imperial Japan. Frank and one of his and Harry’s other brothers, Pierce, are drafted into the Imperial Army.
Reading the Fukuhara story opened up a whole new world of curiosity for me about Japan, World War II, and cultures here in America. This family’s story was heartbreaking and hopeful all at once, and presented a timely read even though it was experiences the Fukuhara’s went through nearly 75 years ago. As an American I’m often surprised by how our society can be xenophobic because we are a rare group of people as our country is also not our ethnicity but rather built from many different ethnicities. I alone can rattle off a long list of where my heritage comes from just like many others, but somehow we always tend to ignore that when it comes the the new immigrants who make their way to the United States. Midnight in Broad Daylight shows the nastiness of xenophobia but also displays the strength of a family who attempt to move forward even when those around them want to hold them back because of who they are.
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Title: The Hidden Magic of Walt Disney World: Over 600 Secrets of the Magic Kingdom, Epoct, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom. 2nd Edition (Because the title wasn’t long enough already!)
Author: Susan Veness
Publish Date: April 3rd, 2015
Reading Format: E-book
So I’ve mentioned this a time or two before but I love Walt Disney World and all things Disney. I figure The Hidden Magic of Walt Disney World would be a quick and mildly insightful book to read. It got me closer to my goal of reading 35 books this year while also providing some new information. The most interesting part of this book were the small sections from the Imagineers who worked on different parts of the parks. It’s amazing to see how much detail they put into each attraction, ride, and restaurant at the Disney parks and resorts.
While there were a lot of things I have read before (thanks pinterest!) on Disney World, I did learn some new things, such as, the fountain in Epoct when it first opened was filled with water from around the world and the Magic Kingdom has changed and expanded since it first opened in 1971 several times.
It will be interesting to see if a newer edition will be written in the next couple of years as the parks change even more with the additions of Pandora, Star Wars Land, and Toy Story Land.
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
In my favorite reads of 2016, I mentioned that books one and two in The Falconer Trilogy were my #1 favorites. Well, I have been anticipating the release of The Fallen Kingdom ever since I finished The Vanishing Throne last winter. And trust me I feel like this has been a long wait. It releases on June 13th and I’ve already pre-ordered it, so I expect to find it in my mailbox next Monday. Though I’ll have wait a bit to read it since I’ve started two new classes this past Monday and they are already taking up all my valuable reading time. Oh well, I suppose that’s a first world problem for you.
Are any of you anticipating a new release this summer?
P.S. I’m testing out creating my own graphics for the blog. I’m working on a new format since I didn’t really know what to expect when I started The Book of Meghan last year and wanted to give my blog a much needed makeover. So you may notice some changes over the next few weeks.
This past month I was able to read two new books and reread one of my favorites:
I was pretty happy with the fact that I was able to read three books this past month considering that I was hoping only to finish Midnight in Broad Daylight before June arrived. I really enjoyed all the books I read (or in one case reread) and don’t know if I can chose a favorite for May.
A Study in Charlotte is a modern retelling of Sherlock Holmes and it was witty and entertaining. Midnight in Broad Daylight is a nonfiction book about a Japanese American family before and during World War II. I found this book highly insightful and it also proved to be timely for current events as well. And lastly I decided to reread the Doon series again and just finish the first book Doon over the Memorial Day holiday here in America. This series to me is the novel equivalent of comfort food. I love the world of Doon so much and I was amazed by how much I’ve forgotten since reading it last year. It may become a tradition to try and read the Doon series every summer.
Are there any books on your reread list? I’d love to know about in the comments below!