Review: Jackaby

20312462Author: William Ritter

Age: 12 and up

Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy

Released: 2014

Click here to read summary from Amazon.

Jackaby does have a sequel I can’t wait to read called Beastly Bones.

It was the last phrase of the summary that grabbed my attention.

Doctor Who meets Sherlock in a debut novel, the first in a series, brimming with cheeky humor and a dose of the macabre.

Doctor Who meets Sherlock??? Yes please!! I loved seeing how the author combined these two ideas in old world America. It pulled from old tales such as screaming banshees and fairies too.


Some of the British fans may be disappointed when they just read “old world America”, which is where our story takes place. Hold on British fans, the “companion” is a spunky British girl…Abigail Rook is very Clara Oswald-ish!

One of my favorite secondary characters in this novel, is the resident ghost of Jackaby’s eccentric home. She added a lot of wit and charm to the novel.


The story line itself has a somewhat predictable villain, but overall very enjoyable. I loved seeing how Sherlock and Dr. Who quirks were combined to make a delightful read. I feel like adding the fantasy creatures made it different enough from the two TV shows to keep it interesting.

There is some slight romance between Abigail Rook and an understanding detective from the police force. I hope to see this play out in the sequel!

Content Advisory:

Language: 2 Not a lot in this book that I remember.

Sexual: 1 I don’t remember if there was a kiss, but there was a crush going on!

Violence: 3 Good guys fight bad guys!

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Review: Etiquette & Espionage

Author: Gail Carriger

Age: Young Adult

Genre: Steampunk

Click here to read summary from Goodreads.

This book is part of the Finishing School series.

dotsWhen I picked up this book I was giving in to two weaknesses: spy stories and pretty covers. I had heard the title before but wasn’t familiar with the story.  It took me two or three chapers to figure out it’s a steampunk book!  I’m not really a stempunk fan, not that I don’t like it, it just isn’t my thing.  (Althought I’m all for getting into “costume”) Because of this, I had a little trouble building the world in my head.  Trying to place robotic servents, blimps, and warewolves in a time of hoop skirts and horse-drawn carriages was a little difficult.

One thing I did pick up on within the first sentences was the spunk of the main character and her nack for getting into adventure/trouble.  The opening chapter starts in a dumbwaiter and involves flying desserts and assault with a pillow.  This set the bar pretty high for the rest of the book, and I was not disappointed.  Each chapter brought its own share of action, delightful character development, new characters, and suspicious activity.

The language of the book felt rather advanced, not only the esoteric terms but also wonderful, but brushed the dust off some rarely used, “regular English” words. (Like “esoteric”) A dictionary might come in handy on occasion.

The story didn’t develop very fast, but I was ok with that knowing that the sequel is out and available.  Kind of like reading the first third of a very large book. 🙂   However, even if it weren’t due out for another year it would be ok, the ending wasn’t particularly cliffhanger.  The story is obviously unfinished and I am looking forward to reading the next one, but I’m ok with putting other books in front of it.

I feel like this review isn’t much of a review and doesn’t do the book justice but it was good I promise!  I don’t want to give too much away! 🙂

Also, I just started Scott Westerfield’s Leviathan series, also steampunk-y and very full of adventure!


note: I knew that JB had read this book and loved it but I didn’t realize that she had reviewed it too!  So be sure to check hers out!!


Content Advisory:
All clean!! 


The Parasol Protectorate series

Swap from the Swamp: Mysteries!

Hey everyone!

This is Xander from ForeverBookish here with our monthly Swap From the Swamp! If you don’t already know, SFTS happens every first monday of the month and The Girls in Plaid Skirts and I choose a topic and post on each other’s blog. This month’s topic is…Mysteries!!!

I like mysteries, but the problem is I haven’t READ many. Today, though, I will be highlighting 3 mysteries that I LOVED reading back in 1st grade. So, here they are!

1. The Happy Hollisters by Jerry West


HH collection 613

Ok, that’s not my collection. Mine looks more like this:


I used to LOVE Happy Hollisters. I read them all the time, and couldn’t get enough of them. They are written for young readers around 2nd grade, and have simple and fascinating plots. My mom bought me all that she found at the library sales—she used to read them too when she was young. Oh! And they are back in print! Yay! 🙂

2. The Bobbsey Twins by Laura Lee Hope


My collection:


I loved these as well. As much as The Happy Hollisters. They were SO awesome back then when I read them! Twins solving mysteries? How did they always figure the mystery out?!?! I literally used to go around saying “crickets!” because that’s what the Bobbsey Twins said! 😛

3. Encyclopedia Brown by Donald J. Sobol


Not sure where mine are :-/

I loved these a bunch as well. They are basically, like, 20 short mysteries in one 200 page book that each have solutions that you try to guess. (The answers are at the back of the book 🙂 I was SO bad at guessing the answers, I think I might’ve gotten one remotely correct. These were lots of fun, and they also had a semi-plot in them, kind of a storyline if I remember correctly which I liked.


I want to read more mysteries, so I’ll see what I can fit in 🙂

Have you read any of these? Which mysteries are YOUR childhood favorites?

Let us know in the comments!


Don’t forget to check out Xander’s blog to find out our favorite mysteries!

Xander | Forever Bookish | My Bookworm Blog

Review: Starters

Starters Lissa PriceAuthor: Lissa Price

Genre: Science Fiction

Age: Young Adult, mature Middle Grade

Click here to view synopsis from Goodreads.

That phrase, “live vicariously through someone else” really comes to life in this story.  Y’all,this one is really neat.   It is set in the future, after a great catastrophe eliminated everyone between the ages of 18 and 80.  Science has developed to extend the life span to nearly 200 years.  Alongside such advancements came the technology to allow the wealthy Enders, with glossy grey hair, to mentally inhabit the bodies of the teenagers, giving them a chance to be young and wild and free for a few nights.

Driven by desperation, young Callie becomes a Starter and shortly finds herself deep in a dangerous plot, with no recollection of how she got there.  In the process of getting to the bottom of the twisted scheme, she faces trials of mental strength, courage, identity, and trust, both in herself and those around her.  As it is written in in present tense, first person, there is a fantastic sense of mystery and suspense; her emotions raw and honest.    Above being just another YA novel, it gives a little window on humanity and morality in a world of “what if…?”  Issues surface that go beyond “Oh, does he like me?” and “Shoot the bad guy!!”

On a ratings note, there was romance but nothing past kissing, and that very sweet and not gross.  There is very little violence, but tension and conflict are very evident.  Language was also not even a thing.  Yay for good clean books!  I’m can’t wait to get my hands on Enders, the sequel!

Review: The Naturals

The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn BarnesAuthor
: Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Genre: thriller, mystery, romance

Age: Young Adult

Cassie is a natural profiler. After a few minutes of observing you, she can tell you if you tend to be messy or clean, which sports you prefer, how you like your eggs cooked. It’s a skill she learned from her mom, who was brutally murdered five years ago, and the murderer has yet to be found. Cassie joins a team of fellow Naturals, teens with abilities to read people, hoping that she can learn more about her skills and perfect her abilities in order to find her mother’s murderer. Of course, it’s easy to get distracted by the two cute boys on the team, the cocky, emotion-reading Michael, and brooding, glooming Dean, a profiler like her. The team manages to get themselves involved with an active case and must use their abilities to stop a serial killer.

I thoroughly enjoyed The Naturals. A lot of readers (or at least a lot of reviewers on Goodreads) seem to think that this book is about supernatural powers, but everything in it is based on real science. You can read more about what Barnes (who has a PhD in psychology) has to say about that here and here. If you plan on reading the book, I’d highly suggest reading what Barnes has to say about the science of what’s in the book to avoid any confusion such as, “Why do these people have superpowers?” It’s not magic—it’s science—which makes it way cooler.

I always love to learn something new when I read a book, even if the book is fiction. I absolutely loved learning about the abilities that the Naturals have. Cassie’s ability kind of reminds me of Shawn Spencer from Psych. He convinces people he’s psychic, but really he’s just reading the details about them, like she does (though Cassie doesn’t pretend to be psychic). I enjoyed getting to be inside her head and see how she profiles people.

Cassie is a great MC. She ultimately joins the Naturals because she hopes she can use her gift to help track down her mother’s killer. She’s never fit in with her Italian family, because she always is playing a part, trying to keep everyone happy. She joins the team, not necessarily looking for a place to fit in, but to do some good. She feels like she owes that to her mother.

The rest of the Naturals are a fun group and I enjoyed reading about their abilities as well. My favorite secondary character was Sloane, whom I like to think of as a mix between Liz from the Gallagher Girls and Parker from Leverage. She’s super smart and enjoys blowing things up and should never be given caffeine. Ever. (But she’s actually quite amusing after a cup of coffee and can easily be bribed with a cup of joe.) Lia can catch any lie (think Lie to Me) and she’s also an impulsive liar. I like the relationship she has with Dean, because she truly cares about him and tries to protect him.

Which leads us to the boys: Michael and Dean. Michael reads emotions. He uses this to his advantage and likes to be contrary. He doesn’t want people to read him, and therefore changes how he speaks, walks, acts, and dresses to fool those around him. But he’s ultimately cocky. Dean couldn’t be more opposite—he’s quiet, and therefore a bit intimidating. He also has a past that he doesn’t want to talk about which makes him different from the rest of the Naturals. It was hard for me to like him because he is such a mystery.

I really loved this book. I loved seeing how all the pieces came together, like how the serial killer’s POV came into play. As I continued to read, I could put more and more pieces of the puzzle together, and I figured a few things out before I got to the end (I felt like Rachel, who almost always correctly guesses the ending). Some things though, nope. Didn’t guess.

I’m definitely looking forward to the next book. I cant wait to see what case the Naturals get to work on next and what happens between Cassie and the boys. This book gets four out of five stars!

Content Advisory:
sexual: some kissing
violence: some graphic scenes from the serial killer’s POV