Book Review

A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro @skippingstones

a study in charlotte

A Study in Charlotte is a novel about the descendants of Sherlock Holmes and John Watson, Charlotte Holmes and Jamie Watson.  Charlotte and Jamie are teenagers attending an exclusive prep school in Connecticut where they meet and are soon after accused of murder.  Hijinks ensue as they try to prove their innocence and solve the case together with several throwbacks to classic Holmes and Watson cases.  In this world, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was John Watson’s literary agent and the events of the Sherlock Holmes books are biographical rather than fiction.

By page five, I was hooked.  Brittany Cavallaro’s writing style and prose are beautiful and sophisticated and every time I thought I had it all figured out, I was very wrong.  This story was familiar but new and exciting at the same time.  It felt like reading the most amazing fan fiction I’ve ever encountered on crack- and I mean that in the very best way and say it with the highest regard for fanfiction- in the sense that it was invigorating to read a very old story in a very new and intoxicating way.

Not once did I suspect the person who was actually responsible for the murder and attack and the story was layered like a perfect pie crust that Paul Hollywood (of The Great British Bake Off fame) would be very impressed by, indeed.  The characters had depth and were very easy to love, despite their flaws.  I loved seeing Holmes and Watson work together at school age and I absolutely adored the genderbent portrayal of Holmes as a young woman. Does it really count as being genderbent if it’s a characters great great great grandchild and not the character himself?  I think it does.  I was also a big fan of characters reminiscent of Mycroft Holmes and Mrs. Hudson making an appearance.

If you love the classic Sherlock Holmes stories or the Sherlock TV show, this is a book for you!  The tagline is absolutely right – you’ve never seen Watson and Holmes like this before!  Amazon says that it’s for grades 9 and up but due to some infrequent language, references to sexual violence, and drug use, I honestly feel like this is a book for very mature teens and young adults – people age 100+.

We don’t have a release date for the second book in the series yet, but I absolutely can’t wait to get my hands on it!  You can buy A Study in Charlotte from Amazon for $10.44 new.

Book Review

You’re Never Weird on the Internet (almost) by Felicia Day @FeliciaDay

From the forward by Joss Whedon to the last chapter filled with profound and inspiring thoughts, this book was a delight.  I smiled, I laughed, I teared up at a few parts, and I even made it through descriptions of some of the more technical aspects of gaming (which I still have zero interest in) thanks to Felicia’s use of layman’s terms and analogies.  I love most things nerd and geek and am a member of several different fandoms, but I still wasn’t sure that Felicia’s new memoir was for me- until I picked it up and started reading it.  Before reading YNWOTI, I knew very little about Felicia Day aside from the fact that she appeared in Buffy and was on one of my favorite shows, Supernatural, for quite a while.  I was also minimally aware of Geek & Sundry, her geek start up that provides reviews and new content on things from the geek world.

I thought I would be reading about a woman who, like me, is into things that many people may not consider “cool.”  While that was true, it was much more profound than that.  Felicia Day shared experiences from her off beat and atypical childhood, finding friends online, and what it was like to be an actress, producer, and small business start-up owner.  The other thing she shared, that meant more to me (and probably many others) than she could possibly know, was her experience of mental illness.  Specifically, she described her struggles with depression, anxiety, and obsessive compulsive disorder.

While the first parts of the book about her early life were entertaining and enjoyable to read, the book really came into its own when Felicia got the most real and started talking about her struggles.  The most important thing about this book is that it gave me hope and let me know that I’m certainly not alone.  Felicia Day has mental illnesses, and she has still been wildly successful in creating a career doing something she loves.  Maybe that means that there’s hope for me yet.

This is a must read for geeks who struggle for mental illness and also for other people who like to be entertained.  The further I read into this book, the more clear it became that Felicia Day is my spirit animal.

Here are a few nuggets of things I love that Felicia shares in the book:

“There are enough negative forces in this world — don’t let the pessimistic voice that lives inside you get away with that stuff, too.  That voice is NOT a good roommate.”

“I couldn’t trust my own mind anymore, which was the scariest thing I’ve ever experienced.” (She hit the nail on the head there!)

“I discovered that, even though the feeling had ruled me my entire life, no one could make me be anxious without my consent.”

“You made something great.  And something new will come around.  Or not.  Either way, do the work you love.  And love yourself.  That’s all you can do in this world in order to be happy.”

“I am determined to create something or express myself, no matter how hard it is, even if my mom is the only one who sees it!”

“Share something of yourself.  If you enrich one other person’s life, it will be worth it.  If you find one friend, it will be worth it.”


UPDATE: I just opened up my twitter app for a notification and Felicia Day made my whole world!  Isn’t it amazing how literally a second of someone else’s time can make you feel so wonderful?