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review 2018-02-06 18:25
Second Book in Lady Sherlock Series A Downgrade
A Conspiracy in Belgravia (The Lady Sherlock Series) - Sherry Thomas

Wow. I really enjoyed the first book and the second one was a disappointment compared to that. I think Thomas tried to bite off more than could be reasonably followed in this book. Maybe some of it could have been pushed to a third book. Having Charlotte Holmes and Mrs. Watson taking on cases, having Charlotte solving ciphers for Lord Bancroft, and the follow-up to Moriarty and the half-brother we heard about in the last book all thrown together didn't make for an engaging read. Don't even get me started on Inspector Treadles and his nonsense about women. The man goes around ticked that the brilliant Sherlock Holmes is Charlotte Holmes. And then is even more unhappy when his wife admits she wishes she could run her father's business. 

After the events in book #1, Charlotte and Mrs. Watson are still doing their detective business as Sherlock Holmes. However, things become awkward when Lord Ingram's wife comes asking for help in finding her first love. There's a lot of hand-waving away why Charlotte agrees to work on this case, but ultimately that case leads to a larger mystery that I didn't think was put together very well.

Charlotte is still quite good at deducting. But you do read a lot about what she eats, her tea, and how hungry she is at all times. Why Thomas switched Holmes addiction to Charlotte being an over-eater or glutton (I honestly don't know what she is doing with this) is baffling to me. She could have her addicted to something else and or just not at all. Since you already set up that Sherlock Holmes is not real, and that Charlotte's sister Olivia is going to write stories about the man, who cares that you try to mirror every little thing in those stories. 

I can't really get a handle on the other characters. Mrs. Watson barely felt in this one. We do have her teaching Charlotte about self defense which I liked. 

Olivia Holmes is in and out of this one. She's not really integral to the plot, but having her get romantic notions about someone that may be in danger made me just sigh. I am guessing based no how this book ends, he will pop up in the third book. 

Lord Ingram and Charlotte...I don't know. Due to the events in this book one wonders what will happen next. I actually liked the idea of Charlotte getting married to Lord Bancroft (have fun reading about what happens next). At least it would have moved the book to a different place than I think most readers would have expected.

The writing didn't grab me like in the first one and the flow was not good. The only parts I found interesting where getting Charlotte's and Mrs. Watson's POV. I would recommend Thomas cut down on the back and forths to Inspector Treadles in the next one. She could have left him out entirely and nothing would have been missed since he ends up just being a minor player in this. I think we only see him since he will have a larger role in book #3. 

The ending felt vaguely unsatisfactory since you have a lot of revelations that didn't quite make sense to me at all. I even re-read some of the sections again and just gave up. I think books like these have to leave clues that readers can pick up on as well. Otherwise it's not really fun to read. You just have the author throwing out twists. 

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text 2018-02-05 14:06
Reading progress update: I've read 120 out of 336 pages.
A Conspiracy in Belgravia (The Lady Sherlock Series) - Sherry Thomas

Wow. I am not liking this at all. I am bored to tears and this is just a mess of storytelling right now. It keeps jumping around and you can barely even understand what's going on with one character before it jumps to another. And why is Thomas so obsessed with spelling out everything Charlotte is eating at all times? It's taking me out of the story. Frankly I wish she had stuck with Holmes being addicted to drugs.

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text 2018-01-20 19:19
2017 Year in Review: Stats
Shadowhouse Fall - Daniel José Older
Ninefox Gambit - Yoon Ha Lee
A Conspiracy in Belgravia (The Lady Sherlock Series) - Sherry Thomas
Food of the Gods: A Rupert Wong Novel - Cassandra Khaw
The Ballad of Black Tom - Victor LaValle
The Stars Are Legion - Kameron Hurley
The Heiress Effect - Courtney Milan
An Extraordinary Union - Alyssa Cole
The Stone Sky (The Broken Earth) - N.K. Jemisin
Clean Room Vol. 3: Waiting for the Stars to Fall - Gail Simone,Jon Davis-Hunt
Did anyone else end up with a broken counter on the Goodreads stats page? I know they had an issue with the date read field earlier in the year. While that eventually worked itself out, my total for 2017 is way off. The states page claims over 100, but the list is really only 79.
My breakdown of the 79 "books" I finished in 2017:

anthologies: 0
collections: 0
Adult novels: 50
YA novels: 8
MG novels: 0
graphic novels: 1
art book: 0
comic omnibus: 15
magazine issues: 0
children's books: 2
nonfiction: 3
I make a demographics list every year as a way of giving myself the opportunity to think about who I've read and how I can do better.
Across all categories:
  Written by Women: 53 (67%, down from 72% in 2016)
  Written by POC: 29 (37%, up from 17% in 2016)
  Written by Transgender authors: 5 (6%, up from 1% in 2016) 
  Written by Non-binary authors: 2 (3%, up from 1% in 2016)
While this looks like a large improvement from last year, I should note that this is not unique authors, but total across all my reading. I went on Cassandra Khaw and Daniel José Older benders this fall that account for a lot of my non-white reading. I also went on a Courtney Milan bender in January that is helping inflate the written by women category. 
My favorite book from 2017 were really hard to select! It was a great reading year, but I narrowed it down to 10. Please don't ask me to order them as that's clearly an impossible task. They should all appear in the banner at the top, but here's a list, alphabetically:
I reviewed all 79 titles read in 2017, which is really more than I expected. Not all those reviews are great, but in terms of quantity, I beat my expectations. 
My favorite new-to-me author of 2017 is Cassandra Khaw. She's talented and her range includes (nay, celebrates!) splatterpunk. 
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review 2018-01-19 03:57
New spin on a classic
A Study In Scarlet Women: The Lady Sherlock Series - Sherry Thomas

How had they managed to not realize, for so long, what they meant to one another? And why then must they see the light when it was too late, when they could possess no more than a few moments of ferocious mutual awareness?


With more historical mystery elements than romance, this new spin on an old classic character was immensely intriguing. The beginning was a bit schizophrenic to me and I had a little tougher time sliding into Thomas' world. Our main character Charlotte Holmes takes her time coming to the forefront but after I finished the book, I think this choice really worked, but I needed hindsight to appreciate it. 

There's one main mystery case needing to be solved with other little ones sprinkled in as new characters get introduced. There's a handful of main stay characters, an Inspector that brings the reader through the main mystery case, Charlotte's sister Livia who welcomes us into the world, Mrs. Watson ;) who helps to set-up our Sherlock Holmes, and Lord Ingram who weaves in our little thread of romance. There are a two handfuls of secondary characters who serve the mystery case or help to fill out the world. 


This is obviously a first in a series book and should be read as such, as most of this could be considered an introduction to characters and relationships. Thomas does an amazing job with all the myriad intricacies in everyone's relationships but just be aware there is not much typical romance here. Charlotte and Lord Ingram have a past and obvious tension between them but if there is any payoff to be found, it is definitely in future installments. 


I didn't really settle into this until the second half of the book and I missed more romance but the intrigue, refreshing spin, and genuine stimulating writing kept me engaged.

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text 2018-01-18 21:53
Reading Update: 15%
A Study In Scarlet Women: The Lady Sherlock Series - Sherry Thomas

“By your standards it isn’t rational, I know. But you can’t expect to be treated rationally when you are a woman, Charlotte. I can’t explain why—that’s just how it is. And you must learn to accept it.”

Charlotte was quiet. Livia thought that perhaps for once, she’d put some sense into her little sister’s head. But as they walked back into the house, Charlotte turned to her and said, “I will try to understand why. But I will not learn to accept it. Never.”


Be a Charlotte. 

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