Saturday, 30 April 2016

Girl Power Reads ~ The Girl from Everywhere + A Study in Charlotte Review

Fearlessness. Intrigue. Girl power.

The novels The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig and A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro have something in common: intriguing female protagonists. Young women who are prepared to sail through uncharted waters or deal with murky and mysterious circumstances - young women who dream big and pursue those dreams.

A strong female character doesn't need to self-reliant to the extreme, or hard of heart. She doesn't need to carry a sword around wherever she goes, or be particularly adept at martial arts. She's powerful in her weakest moments. She's not afraid to accept support when it is offered. And she is fearless because she continues on despite her many fears.

Today's reviews are centred on girl power reads which entertained me, impressed me, and left me feeling empowered.

If I had to sum up this book in one word, it would be...intoxicating.

Rich. Full of life. Brimming with exotic imagery that intrigues and transports you from the very first page. I wanted to read this book forever and never put it down. How could I part with these wonderful characters? With a plot that has such depth, both creatively and emotionally?

(Answer: not easily and with lots of tearful sniffling!)

There aren't words to explain the level of creativity Heidi Heilig possesses. She's a writing goddess, capable of piecing together intricate worlds, times, plots, and mysteries without having to over-explain them to you. Nix's life feels so familiar to you from the get-go, like visiting with an old friend. The book's unique concepts are introduced so well, and so matter-of-factly, that you don't stop to question them or to view them as fictional. The realistic feel of this book makes it all the more magical.

And don't even get me started on her characters! 

They've got depth! Such depth - I mean, you think you've come across deep or multi-faceted characters before, but The Girl from Everywhere takes character development to new heights.

No one is pure goodness. No one is pure evil. Even the most 'innocent' of characters has shadows over their heart and skeletons in their closet...and even the most 'evil' of characters has a heart beating in their chest and a tear left to cry.

Oh, and I adored Kashmir.

Kashmir is like if Farid from Inkheart, Kartik from The Gemma Doyle Trilogy, Aladdin, and Oberyn Martell from Game of Thrones were mixed together to create the ultimate hot, good-hearted, debonair, and talented thief.

This book made my year, and I can't wait to find out what's next for Nix and the crew.

“You were right, you know,” he went on. “It was a fairy tale. A beautiful country, a faraway kingdom, true love.” He closed his eyes to better see the past. “A world in a grain of sand, and a heaven in . . . in . . . what’s that line?”
“A wild flower,” I said, my voice hoarse.
“Yes.” He sighed. “And I had infinity in the palm of my hand.”

Brace yourselves for a new era and a new dynamic duo!

Jamie Watson and Charlotte Holmes make for an interesting team. They don't fall into the typical literary cliches, nor do they ever do what's expected of them by the reader. A Study in Charlotte is exactly that - a study. And everyone knows that studies don't always go as planned...but you're always in for some fascinating observations nevertheless.

Charlotte Holmes is the star of this book. 

She's a character quite reminiscent of Margo Roth Spiegelman from John Green's Paper Towns. She's a mystery, wrapped in an enigma, wrapped in a bundle of talent and volatile genius. Watson never knows what to expect from Holmes, and I think Holmes enjoys keeping people on their feet when it comes to her.

She likes dropping hints, piecing together puzzles...and being a puzzle! There is so much depth to her as a character, and as a reader you're never quite sure whether you like her, or dislike her.

This book doesn't try to live up to its namesakes.

And that's a good thing. The book itself says it best: "They’re stories. They’re stories, and this is real life. You are not Sherlock Holmes, and you won’t ever be."

The genius of A Study in Charlotte is that it utilises concepts and plot devices that made Sherlock Holmes so intriguing, but on a fresh landscape with new characters and mysteries to solve. 

There is a sense of realism that A Study in Charlotte captures - a gritty, raw realism that is a departure from the more fictionalised path readers usually associate with mystery novels. And it's quite refreshing!

'Maybe Charlotte Holmes was still learning how to pick apart a case; maybe I was still learning how to write. We weren’t Sherlock Holmes and John Watson. I was okay with that, I thought. We had things they didn’t, too. Like electricity, and refrigerators. And Mario Kart.'

Nix has spent her entire life aboard her father’s ship, sailing across the centuries, across the world, across myth and imagination. 

As long as her father has a map for it, he can sail to any time, any place, real or imagined: nineteenth-century China, the land from One Thousand and One Nights, a mythic version of Africa. Along the way they have found crewmates and friends, and even a disarming thief who could come to mean much more to Nix. 

But the end to it all looms closer every day. 

Her father is obsessed with obtaining the one map, 1868 Honolulu, that could take him back to his lost love, Nix’s mother. Even though getting it—and going there—could erase Nix’s very existence. 

For the first time, Nix is entering unknown waters. 

She could find herself, find her family, find her own fantastical ability, her own epic love. 

Or she could disappear.

Add to your Goodreads bookshelf today!

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. 

A Study in Charlotte is the first in a trilogy.

Add to your Goodreads bookshelf today!

Although I was provided with a review copy by the author and/or publisher, all opinions expressed in this post are purely my own. To find out more, please visit my disclaimer page.

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