Welcome to yAdult Review, a space where two girls review novels from across the genres, from YA and MG, to fantasy and sci-fi, to historical fiction and mystery, with a sprinkling of non-fiction too. We hope you enjoy your stay here as much as we enjoy ours.

Tag Archives: genre: mystery

keeperEvery Breath by Ellie Marney
Release Date: October 14, 2014
Publisher: Tundra Books
Source: Digital Copy
Rating: starstarstarstarblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

When James Mycroft drags Rachel Watts off on a night mission to the Melbourne Zoo, the last thing she expects to find is the mutilated body of Homeless Dave, one of Mycroft’s numerous eccentric friends. But Mycroft’s passion for forensics leads him to realize that something about the scene isn’t right–and he wants Watts to help him investigate the murder.

While Watts battles her attraction to bad-boy Mycroft, he’s busy getting himself expelled and clashing with the police, becoming murder suspect number one. When Watts and Mycroft unknowingly reveal too much to the cold-blooded killer, they find themselves in the lion’s den–literally. A trip to the zoo will never have quite the same meaning to Rachel Watts again… – Goodreads

Review:
I love Sherlock Holmes. I love the classic stories by Arthur Conan Doyle, I love the continuations by Laurie R. King, I love the movies with RDJ. I do not love the BBC show, but you can’t win them all, right? This isn’t really about Sherlock, but the characters’ names, Mycroft and Watts, are close enough to make jokes about. Mycroft is also obsessed with forensics, so that adds to it, though the original Mycroft (Sherlock’s brother) was more of a spymaster. Watts is also way more reluctant to get involved with mysteries than John Watson was, but I’ll forgive her for that. So Rachel Watts is a country girl displaced in Melbourne after her family’s farm is foreclosed. She is desperate to be back and hasn’t, or won’t, adjust to city life completely. James Mycroft is an orphan living with his aunt, a frenetic city boy through and through. They are solidly friends, though Watts’ internal narration sometimes gets caught up watching Mycroft toss his curls around. You sort of know that something is probably going to happen between them eventually, but the “battling her attraction” bit is sort of overblown in the summary. You don’t get that impression at all from reading. You get drawn into the mystery instead.

Mycroft has a slew of random “friends” across Melbourne. Watts even calls them his “irregulars.” One of them is Homeless Dave, who Mycroft and Watts visit once a week, bringing dinner and tea. When they arrive one night, Dave is dead, his throat slashed, and his beloved mutt, Poodle, missing. And they’re off to the races, though this is when you really see that Mycroft has issues. So he’s brilliant, but he is also so broken that no one can fix him, not even Watts, not even if she tried. And you as the reader get to watch them break apart and come back together, and it’s just…something else, you know? A slow burn background romance that still manages to be huge.

This is one of those that’s hard to review because the mystery is so intertwined and I won’t give anything away, but I just loved it. The romance was so on point, and damn can Marney write a kissing scene! Watts and Mycroft are meant to be, and all the Sherlock jokes and arguments and fraught feelings are just so perfect. I loved it, even though I had to look up Australian slang every couple of paragraphs. I read this in a day. So worth it.



26236956The Obsession
by Nora Roberts
Release Date: April 12, 2016
Publisher: Berkley
Source: ARC from Netgalley
Rating: starstarstarstarstar (4.5)
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

The riveting new novel from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Liar.

Naomi Bowes lost her innocence the night she followed her father into the woods. In freeing the girl trapped in the root cellar, Naomi revealed the horrible extent of her father’s crimes and made him infamous.

Now a successful photographer living under the name Naomi Carson, she has found a place that calls to her, thousands of miles away from everything she’s ever known. Naomi wants to embrace the solitude, but the residents of Sunrise Cove keep forcing her to open up—especially the determined Xander Keaton.

Naomi can feel her defenses failing, and knows that the connection her new life offers is something she’s always secretly craved. But as she’s learned time and again, her past is never more than a nightmare away. – Goodreads

Review:

Although not well reviewed here, Nora Roberts is one of my authors. I have tried to read through her backlist, but there are, as you are probably aware..a few. Her newest, The Obsession might be my new favorite. It involves everything I love about Roberts’ books: a dog, a strong heroine, a handsome man, and a serial killer. I’m just kidding about the serial killers, her books do not always feature a serial killer.

What The Obsession did however was show a strong character who didn’t want to rely on anyone after a traumatic childhood.

“Then, in her Sabrina the Teenage Witch T-shirt, she pillowed her head on her hands and studied the shadows.”–1% eARC.

When Naomi was 12 years old she caught her father partake in a violent crime. She saved a girl’s life, but she also ruined her life in her own way. Her whole life changed. Her younger brother and her mother, and Naomi moved in with her uncle and she was always the girl with the notorious serial killer for a father.

16 years later, Naomi is still wondering, does she have that serial killer blood running through her veins? Is she destined to be a serial killer? Or alone, running away from her past? What we see is it’s mostly the later. Naomi has made a good solid life for herself as being a photographer. Her brother works for the FBI and her uncle and his husband are still thriving. Naomi literally has everything going for her but it’s also clear to the reader she is not overly happy. I don’t have much in common with Naomi, my father works for a college..and is not a serial killer but there were aspects of her that I understood. The photography. The keeping to herself. There were moments I wanted to hug her and be like “I understand. I get you.”

“Nine times out of ten I’d rather be alone than with anyone.” — 42% eARC

She’s also made herself part of this small town in Washington. She doesn’t mean to but she begins to mean something to that town. The contractor who works on her house and his wife become friends with Naomi, they also bring Xander into the fold and organically a friendship is formed. Nothing in The Obsession felt forced.

“I should tell you, then, I’ve decided we’re going to be really good friends, and I’m just relentless” –38%, eARC

Oh Xander, the mechanic who reads everything. Let me draw heart eyes on your photo and let’s have a moment together. Xander breaks down Naomi’s walls, but also breaks down his own walls. The two of them shouldn’t work, but they do and it was the perfect Roberts romance that I needed back in my life.

“He went home with her, and late into the night when whatever dream chased her made her whimper and stir, he did whatever he never did. He wrapped her close, and held her” –55%, eARC

I went into this just knowing that it was a Roberts book and I left with a new favorite.


25663502Friday Barnes, Girl Detective by R.A. Spratt
Release Date: January 19, 2016
Publisher: Roaring Book Press
Source: ARC provided by publisher
Rating: starstarstarblank_starblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

When Friday Barnes solves a bank robbery, she uses the reward money to send herself to Highcrest Academy, the most exclusive boarding school in the country–and discovers it’s a hotbed of crime!

Soon she’s investigating everything from disappearing homework to the terrifying Yeti haunting the school swamp. But the biggest mystery yet is Ian Wainscott, the handsomest (and most arrogant) boy in school who inexplicably hates her. Will the homework be found? Can they ever track down the Yeti? And why is Ian out to ruin her?

With black-and-white art throughout, this is the launch of an exciting new mystery series! – Goodreads

Review:

I’m not sure how Friday Barnes, Girl Detective got on my radar but this is a delightful novel and I cannot wait to see what comes from this series. Friday Barnes is a girl who feels like she does not fit in with her family, and not only because she knows she was the accident baby. Her parents are very scientific and planned their babies to be born at an exact moment/time and no, I’m not joking. While Friday’s parents love her, they often forget about her.

“But you’re only nine,” protested her equally bewildered father.

“I turned eleven last October,” Friday pointed out. —ARC page 30.

Friday is a bit of a genius who is also good at solving crimes, who lands her dream school that she pays for out of a payment she received from solving said crimes. That being said, it doesn’t stop people in the school from looking down on her from assuming she is the scholarship kid (which is of course worth mocking).

Friday though goes through trials and tribulations that she would have went through even if she went to a “normal” school. Back stabbing students, weird rumors, assignments that should be done but aren’t. Friday just tends to get into the middle of things she shouldn’t and then make a bigger mess out of them..by solving said mysteries.

Friday does however find a good group of friends who accept her for who she is. The only thing I wished for (and this may have been changed by publication) was tighter editing. This book was first published in Australia and while I was able to figure out what phrases meant, a middle grade student may not be able to. That being said, it did not take me out of the story, I still found Friday Barnes, Girl Detective to be an enjoyable. One that I look forward to continuing on in the next book.


23110163Fallout (Lois Lane #1) by Gwenda Bond
Release Date:May 1, 2015
Publisher: Switch Press
Source: Library
Rating: starstarblank_starblank_starblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

Lois Lane is starting a new life in Metropolis. An Army brat, Lois has lived all over—and seen all kinds of things. (Some of them defy explanation, like the near-disaster she witnessed in Kansas in the middle of one night.) But now her family is putting down roots in the big city, and Lois is determined to fit in. Stay quiet. Fly straight. As soon as she steps into her new high school, though, she can see it won’t be that easy. A group known as the Warheads is making life miserable for another girl at school. They’re messing with her mind, somehow, via the high-tech immersive videogame they all play. Not cool. Armed with her wit and her new snazzy job as a reporter, Lois has her sights set on solving this mystery. But sometimes it’s all a bit much. Thank goodness for her maybe-more-than-a friend, a guy she knows only by his screenname, SmallvilleGuy. – Goodreads

Review:

Something that not many knows about me. When my BFF Sarah and I lived together one glourious year of college we watch a lot of TV. Massive quantites and we loved it. We were grandmas. One show we watched a lot of on DVD was Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. Don’t get me wrong, there was a point when that show not only jumped the shark, but quickly flew over it and went to a whole new area. But we still love that show. We reference it often enough that I was fairly excited when I heard about this book coming out.

I enjoyed this Lois Lane. She was snarky. She didn’t enjoy sitting still. She has as solid of a life as one could have for constantly being on the move and she always got in the midle of things. I love that Lois had this softer side. Yes, she wanted to help everyone, but she also second guessed things. She was very human and was a girl I would want to have been friends with in high school.

You know when you read a book and you’re like “this book should be amazing! why is it falling flat?!” That was me throughout Lois Lane: Fallout. While I appreciated Lois and I adored the surrounding cast of characters, the book ultimately fell flat for me. I expected more from it. I enjoyed the fact that Lois was very in character throughout the book and there were hints to previous Lois’ incarnations but not enough that I was holding on.



23310734The Detours
by S.A. Bodeen
Release Date: October 6, 2015
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Source: ARC via publisher!
Rating: starstarblank_starblank_starblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

On her way to a writer’s conference, a bestselling teenage author takes a detour that has been deliberately set up by her biggest fans—a mother and daughter who kidnap her.

Livvy Flynn is a big deal—she’s a New York Times-bestselling author whose YA fiction has sold all over the world. She’s rich, she’s famous, she’s gorgeous, and she’s full of herself.

When she’s invited to an A-list writer’s conference, she decides to accept so she can have some time to herself. She’s on a tight deadline for her next book, and she has no intention of socializing with the other industry people at the conference.

And then she hits the detour. Before she knows it, her brand new car is wrecked, she’s hurt, and she’s tied to a bed in a nondescript shack in the middle of nowhere. A woman and her apparently manic daughter have kidnapped her. And they have no intention of letting her go. – Goodreads

Review:

 

You know when you read a book and your expectations are one thing, and then the book provides something completely from left field. That’s how The Detour was for me. While the left field book often works, The Detour did not work for me. I felt like the entire book was a satire and Boden was writing a lot of inside jokes for her friends and if you weren’t in that group the book really makes no sense.

The skeleton of the book makes sense. Olivia, or Livvy, is a worldwide best selling author; the author who everyone knows. On her way to a writing retreat she has an accident and the next thing she knows she has been kidnapped by a woman and her daughter. Olivia’s world quickly goes downhill and she has no idea what she did to deserve being kidnapped. Through use of flashbacks we see that Livvy did not have an easy life and was often made fun of and that is why she is the way she is. Sorry, just because you were once bullied doesn’t mean that you have the right to be a bully.

The Detour interested me from a publishing side of it. It showed the differences between a big named author who has everyone show up to their signing (Livvy needed ice for her signing wrist) and the author who tries everything and has three people show up to their signings. I’ve been to both. I’ve been to the signings where you wait for hours and to the signings where my BFF, Sarah and I have been the only people and every time my heart has gone out to both authors.

But besides a small part of the book, I lost interest in most of it. I was hoping for more from Boden and The Detour. That being said, I did read it in a day, and found it to be enjoyable.


23845970Last in a Long Line of Rebels by Lisa Lewis Tyre
Release Date: September 29, 2015
Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books
Source: ALA 2015
Rating: starstarstarstarblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

Debut novelist Lisa Lewis Tyre vibrantly brings a small town and its outspoken characters to life, as she explores race and other community issues from both the Civil War and the present day.

Lou might be only twelve, but she’s never been one to take things sitting down. So when her Civil War-era house is about to be condemned, she’s determined to save it—either by getting it deemed a historic landmark or by finding the stash of gold rumored to be hidden nearby during the war. As Lou digs into the past, her eyes are opened when she finds that her ancestors ran the gamut of slave owners, renegades, thieves and abolitionists. Meanwhile, some incidents in her town show her that many Civil War era prejudices still survive and that the past can keep repeating itself if we let it. Digging into her past shows Lou that it’s never too late to fight injustice, and she starts to see the real value of understanding and exploring her roots.. – Goodreads

Review:

Last in the Long Line of Rebels was the perfect read for me at the time I read it. It had adventure, it had growth, it had a bit of a mystery. I adored this book. From the moment the reader meets Lou, they are drawn into her story. And Lou’s story isn’t simple or neat, it’s messy, sharp and even painful. Lou knows a few things for sure and one of those is that her house is the oldest in the small town she lives in. People loathe her messy house and her parents for not being “normal” but Lou doesn’t care. Lou’s parents (and that messy house) are full of love and give Lou everything she needs to live a successful life.

What they don’t plan for is the city coming after the house and Lou, never one for sitting down, to decide to save her house. With its age they figured Lou and her friends figured could get it on the National Registry of Historical Places, which I thought was genius of them. Once made historical they house can’t be taken and all’s well that ends well. Of course it’s not that simple, but it’s for the best that it’s not that simple. Lou finds a diary from the Civil War and finds out that living in a Swing State (where The Union and The Confederacy was not a clear line) during the Civil War is very similar to present day racial tension in her life. One of Lou’s closest friends is African American and is treated poorly because of that. That affects Lou, and was a great way to introduce younger readers to a topic they may not be comfortable with themselves.

I have no shame in my love and adoration of middle grade novels. I also have no shame in my love of history (which makes sense because of my history degree). Last in the Long Line of Rebels was a dream come true in a book. In her first novel, Lisa Lewis Tyre, wrote a story full of rich characters that had to look to the past to go to the forward. I cannot wait to see what Lisa Lewis Tyre writes next.


keeperThe Brothers of Baker Street (Baker Street Letters #2) by Michael Robertson
Release Date: March 1, 2011
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Source: Library
Rating: starstarstarblank_starblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

When brothers Reggie and Nigel Heath choose 221B Baker Street as the location for their law office, they don’t expect that their new office space would come with one huge stipulation, answering the letters sent to Sherlock Holmes, the most famous resident of that address.

Reggie is distressed because the love of his life, actress Laura Rankin (whom Nigel also adores), is gallivanting around with media mogul Lord Buxton. And while Reggie is working on a new case involving one of London’s Black Cab drivers who is accused of murdering two American tourists, the letters to Sherlock Holmes are piling up. There s even one from someone who claims to be the descendent of Professor James Moriarty.
– Goodreads

Review:
So it looks like I lied in my review of the first of this series when I said I didn’t enjoy it enough to read the next one. By the end of the book, I knew I wanted to continue on and see what happened next (yes, sometimes I write my reviews before I am completely finished with the novel). The beginning of this novel shows that Reggie did indeed lose his personal fortune due to the events of the last novel, and I’m glad that happened. Not because I want bad things to happen to Reggie, but because I didn’t want everything to be so nicely tied up. Reggie has not only lost his personal fortune, but he’s lost all of his clients and probably Laura too, so his life is in a bit of a shambles when this one begins. He’d like to forget about all the nonsense with the letters to Sherlock Holmes and focus on his one and only case, but then a letter comes signed “Moriarty.” Nigel, still in LA, is pretty insistent that Reggie take this one seriously.

While Reggie is working this case, we also get a parallel story, little glimpses into the person who is presumably writing the Moriarty letters. She is female and she is not taking her schizophrenia medications, relying on a Russian maid due to her parents being dead. She asks her maid, Ilsa, to refer to her as “Professor.” The snippets of the girl’s life are somewhat disturbed and altogether mysterious. Things happen much more quickly in this novel, probably because the author doesn’t need to set up characterization and all that, and things go bad for Reggie equally quickly. We learn a bit about his past, which gives us a little more insight into his character, and we finally get to meet Nigel outside of his small appearances in the first novel. The mystery is interesting, and I had my suspicions, but I won’t tell you if they were correct.

In all, I think this one has better pacing and flow than the first novel, and the mystery is just more twisty and weird, which made it more interesting. I really love Laura and her dryness, and I am developing an attachment to and an affection for the Heath brothers, so different yet so alike, and how differently their minds work. I like how there are parallels to the original Sherlock Holmes, but the differences are stark. The police chief of Reggie’s day, for example, is not nearly as bumbling as Lestrade, and Laura acts as a perfect Watson. I actually think Nigel is more like Holmes than Reggie, but together they balance the whole thing out.