Top 5 Wednesday – February 24th, 2016


Top 5 Wednesday was created by Lainey at Gingerreadslainey. Every week, book reviewers all over the world are given a bookish topic and respond with their top 5 books (or elements of books) that relate to that topic. Click here for the Goodreads group if you would like to learn more about Top 5 Wednesday and join in!

This week’s Top 5 Wednesday topic is the top five worst love interests (male or female). I don’t read many romance heavy stories, so I was unable to think up five love interests that I didn’t like. Instead, I’ve decided to go with last week’s Top 5 Wednesday topic since I was unable to do it on the day. Last week’s topic was the top five suggested books (books recommended to you) that you loved.

It goes without saying, if there are any books on this list that you haven’t read yet, I recommend them to you! 😀

5. The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin


I actually bought this one as a Christmas gift for my mom. She ended up loving it and immediately told me I needed to read it too. This story was everything I had hoped for—lovely, heartwarming, and with spectacular writing to boot. It was a wonderful read, and an absolutely perfect book for book lovers. I promise, I will have a review up for this one day!

4. Alice by Christina Henry


If there is one thing I like more than a retelling, it’s a dark retelling. This one was recommended to me by my friend Heather from The Sassy Book Geek. It was disturbing and twisted and creepy and fantastic—overall a fascinating and extremely creative reimagining of a classic and well-loved tale.

Full review coming very soon!

3. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman


I’ve been a massive Neil Gaiman fan for a long time, so this was already on my radar. However, I read it when I did because my best friend had just finished it and kept going on about how good it was. Actually, I was over at her house and she handed me the book and told me to start reading right then and there; that’s definitely the sort of recommendation you know you can trust! Obviously, I ended up absolutely adoring this novel—in fact, I think this may be my favorite Neil Gaiman novel that I’ve read so far.

2. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn


This one will come as no surprise to anyone since I rave about it (and Gillian Flynn) way too much! On top of the entire world talking about this book, it was specifically recommended to me by both my best friend and my dad. My best friend and I have extremely similar reading tastes, so I always trust her recommendations—and she loves Gillian Flynn. A few months before I picked it up, my dad also read and loved this, so when I was out visiting my best friend at school, I began reading it. It rapidly became one of my favorite novels of all time, and made Gillian Flynn one of my favorite authors.

Click here to read my full review!

1. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle


Though I had known about these novels for ages, this is another recommendation that I have to credit my mom for. If you’ve been around my blog for a while, you probably already know that this is one of my favorite novels of all time (and that it’s another one I talk about way too much!). I attempted reading my first Sherlock Holmes novel—The Hound of the Baskervilles—when I was far too young to really enjoy it, and thus, I assumed that I did not like Sherlock Holmes…oh boy was I wrong! I had to read The Speckled Band in class a few years later and enjoyed that, but it wasn’t until my mom gave this to me as a gift one holiday that the obsession truly began! ❤

Click here to read my full review!

What are some recommendations that you’ve received and ended up loving? Do you have any favorites you would like to recommend? Let me know in the comments!



Top 10 Tuesday – September 15th, 2015


It’s Tuesday once again, and that means it’s time for another Top 10 Tuesday list. This is an original weekly blog meme created over at The Broke and the Bookish. Each week, there is a new bookish topic for bloggers to create a list about. If you want to know more about Top 10 Tuesday, click here!

This week was a freebie, so we were able to select our own topics for our lists. I wanted to do something related to my favorite novels; however, I didn’t want to simply make a list of them. It took me a while to come up with a topic, but I finally decided on listing my top 10 favorite Sherlock Holmes stories that I have read so far.

I attempted to read one of the Sherlock Holmes novels when I was far too young, and I ended up not liking it. So for a long time, I put off reading any of the others. I even stayed away from any movies and television shows based on the stories, as I was certain that I would not like them. Boy was I wrong!


(This may or may not also be how I react when people say they don’t like Sherlock Holmes…)

Last year, after completely falling in love with the BBC television series, I decided to give them another try, starting with The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. And thus, the obsession began. I’ve only read two of the novels so far, but they have become two of my all-time favorite books. These stories are so captivating and such a joy to read; I’ve been flying through them. I went from thinking I didn’t like these novels to, every time I am about to pick one up, reacting somewhat like this:


Now, without further ado, here is the list of my top 10 favorite Sherlock Holmes stories (in no particular order)!

  1. Silver Blaze (The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes)

In this story, Holmes is called in to investigate the disappearance of a famously talented racehorse right before an important race, as well as the coinciding murder of the horse’s trainer. I was completely absorbed in this horse’s tale, and loved the many bewildering events and layers in the storyline; like many of the tales, it was not at all a straightforward plot. In my opinion, there is also a particularly good depiction of both Holmes’s and Watson’s individual talents.

  1. The Red Headed League (The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes)

This is the story of a man who comes to Holmes for advice after he receives a peculiar, high paying job, solely due to the fact that his hair is the perfect shade of red. There are a number of stories throughout these collections that center around people being hired under perplexing or suspicious circumstances; for some reason, they always tend to be my favorites. The outrageous situations are so intriguing, and I love trying to guess why the employers have created these jobs.


  1. The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle (The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes)

Here, Holmes is approached by an acquaintance after the man finds the Countess of Morcar’s priceless blue carbuncle in the throat of his Christmas goose. The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle is one of my top favorites because of the wittiness of the storyline and dialogue.

  1. The Man with the Twisted Lip (The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes)

In The Man with the Twisted Lip, the wife of a missing businessman comes to Holmes after she thinks she has seen her husband looking out the window of a nearby opium den. This was a very engaging story with lots of twists (no pun intended!) and turns. Not only did I love the resolution to this mystery, but it was also one of the few that I was able to solve myself!


  1. The Adventure of the Copper Beeches (The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes)

In The Adventure of the Copper Beeches, a woman asks for Holmes’s help after taking a job as a governess that comes with some unusual requirements regarding her appearance and daily routine. I found this case to be extremely complex and well plotted, and I had no idea where the story was headed; I was completely puzzled up until the very end.

  1. The Adventure of the Yellow Face (The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes)

In this case, a man hires Holmes to discover, by any means necessary, why his wife keeps secretly and frequently visiting a nearby cottage. I enjoyed this because I found the themes that it dealt with to be uncharacteristic of the stories thus far and, delightfully, dealt with in a very open-minded way that was surprising for the time period this was published in. It was quite a unique story and had a very touching ending. It is also one of the few cases that Holmes does not solve correctly, and contains one of my favorite quotes: “Watson, if it should ever strike you that I am getting a little overconfident in my powers, or giving less pains to a case than it deserves, kindly whisper ‘Norbury’ in my ear, and I shall be infinitely obliged to you.”


  1. A Scandal in Bohemia (The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes)

Holmes is hired to stop the woman who is blackmailing the King of Bohemia, and thus save his upcoming marriage from being called off. This is the story that introduces the iconic character, Irene Adler, a woman who very nearly matches Holmes on intelligence and quick-wittedness. Watching them face off was utterly fascinating.

  1. A Case of Identity (The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes)

This story has another theme that is common among these accounts: the disappearance of a significant other. Here, a woman’s husband makes her promise to remain faithful to him no matter what, then disappears later that morning, which just so happens to be their wedding day. I loved this one because not only was I puzzled all the way through, but the revelation at the ending was absolutely shocking.


  1. The Adventure of the Speckled Band (The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes)

Arguably the most well known of the Sherlock Holmes short stories, The Adventure of the Speckled Band tells the story of a woman who enlists Holmes to solve the mystery of her sister’s sudden death in the night. She believes her stepfather to be the murderer, and that she herself will be the next victim. Not only is this a bizarre and enthralling adventure, this was the first of the short stories that I read, and I credit it with making me decide to give these stories another try.

  1. The Final Problem (The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes)

This is the first story to introduce another iconic character: Holmes’s arch-nemesis, Professor Moriarty. It is also the first story to make me cry. A criminal mastermind with an intellect on par with his own, Moriarty was Holmes’s greatest adversary. The pair matches wits as Holmes attempts to bring him and his organization to justice, but neither can best the other. This causes a stalemate, which ends in the famed fight at the Reichenbach Falls. The Final Problem is one of the most well known Sherlock Holmes stories, so I was prepared going in. I don’t cry easily at books and movies; however, I must admit, those final couple of pages hit me right in the feels.


Well, those are my top 10 favorites so far. I can’t wait to continue on with the rest of the stories! Let me know in the comments if you are a Sherlock Holmes fan and, if so, what your favorite story, movie, or television episode is.


Check out my full reviews of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes!



Review: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

theadventuresofsherlockholmesThe Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

My Rating: 5/5 TARDISes

Series: Sherlock Holmes #1

Date Published: May 1st, 2012 (first published October 14th, 1892)

Publisher: BBC Books

Pages: 324 pages

Source: Purchased

Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes is the first collection of short stories Arthur Conan Doyle wrote about his famous detective. Each work chronicles the various cases that Sherlock Holmes works on, accompanied by John Watson, who narrates the tales. Originally, the twelve stories featured in this collection were individually published in The Strand Magazine between 1891 and 1892; they were then released together as a whole novel in late 1892.

I had read one or two individual stories in school over the years, but this was my first real experience with Sherlock Holmes and Arthur Conan Doyle’s work; and I completely fell in love with everything about them. I love a good mystery that makes me really think, and that is exactly what I got over and over again throughout this collection. I found each story to be incredibly absorbing, and they kept me guessing right up until the very end. Each one is full of twists and turns that constantly surprise, but wrap up perfectly in the final pages.

Doyle’s writing style was so captivating, making this a very enjoyable read for me. He is a master at pulling the reader completely into the story, fully into the characters’ lives, and making you care for each and every one of them. In Holmes, he has created a character that does extraordinary, seemingly impossible things in a completely believable way. Despite his extreme intelligence and astonishing powers of observation and deduction, Sherlock Holmes is still realistic. Relatable. Genuinely human.

Watson is a perfect narrator and companion for the great detective. He also works as a great foil for Holmes. This may be a bit surprising because Watson is an exceedingly intelligent man in his own right, so he doesn’t function as a complete contrast to Holmes. Instead, he highlights Holmes’s abilities with his own intelligence by being unable to fully understand his process of deduction. However, Watson as a character still holds his own, and proves to be invaluable at many points during the cases. Overall, they are a wonderful pairing.

So, in short, I absolutely adored this book. Reading these stories gave me that warm, cozy feeling of curling up by the fire with a cup of hot tea while it’s snowing outside. I can’t wait to continue on with the other books in the series, and dive back into this world and these amazing adventures.

Now, I’ll very briefly go more in-depth with a summary of each of the individual stories in the collection. Note: These are spoiler-free descriptions.

My favorite stories from this collection were The Red Headed League, A Case of Identity, The Man with the Twisted Lip, The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle, The Adventure of the Speckled Band, and The Adventure of the Copper Beeches.

  1. A Scandal in Bohemia

This is one of the most famous stories in the collection, starring Irene Adler or, to Holmes, “the woman”. In this story, Holmes is hired by the King of Bohemia to retrieve blackmail, in the form of a photograph, from opera singer Irene Adler, with whom he had been romantically involved with a few years earlier. Now that he is engaged to a woman of noble birth, Adler has been threatening to send this photograph to the family of his fiancée, which would cause them to call of the wedding. It was fascinating to watch Holmes match wits with Adler, who is almost as intelligent and as cunning as him.

  1. The Red Headed League

A redheaded man named Jabez Wilson comes to Holmes with questions about a job he was urged by a friend to take that offered a high salary, but was solely for redheaded men. Wilson was the only one chosen for the job, simply because his hair was the right shade of red. In this story, Holmes is able to connect and solve two cases that appear to be completely unrelated. This was one of my top favorites of the collection.

  1. A Case of Identity

In A Case of Identity, a woman named Mary Sutherland comes to Holmes when her fiancée mysteriously disappears on the morning of their wedding. That very same morning, he had made her promise to remain faithful to him no matter what happened. Holmes soon discovers that this man is not exactly whom he has made himself out to be. This was another one of my favorites!

  1. The Boscombe Valley Mystery

Inspector Lestrade enlists Holmes to solve the murder of a man named Charles McCarthy, whose son has been linked to the crime. The evidence points very strongly toward the son, but his fiancée, and Holmes himself, maintain a belief in the man’s innocence. The twists and turns that this story took were incredible; they hooked me immediately, and kept me thinking until the very end.

  1. The Five Orange Pips

A man named John Openshaw presents Holmes with a case about multiple strange deaths in his family. Openshaw’s uncle received a letter from India containing five orange pips, then passed away no more than two months later. A few years after this, his father also received a letter with the five pips and died three days later. Openshaw himself has just received this very same letter, and is certain he will meet the same fate.

  1. The Man with the Twisted Lip

A man named Neville St. Clair has disappeared, but his wife tells Holmes that she is certain that she saw him looking out of the upstairs window of an opium den. St. Clair is a respected businessman, and not only is it unlikely he would be in there, when she went into the house, the only person inside was an old beggar. I loved the way that this mystery played out, and it was one of the few that I was actually able to deduce the answer to myself!

  1. The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle

A former thief is arrested when the Countess of Morcar’s priceless blue carbuncle is found missing. However, a man with whom Holmes is acquainted discovers this blue carbuncle in the throat of his Christmas goose. This was a definite favorite of mine because, as well as being an intriguing mystery, I found it to be incredibly funny and witty at times!

  1. The Adventure of the Speckled Band

This is arguably Arthur Conan Doyle’s most famous short story about Sherlock Holmes, and his own personal favorite. A woman named Helen Stoner approaches Holmes with fears that her stepfather is trying to kill her after he makes her move into the bedroom in which her sister died two years prior. Apparently, her sister passed away just before her wedding saying, “it was the Speckled Band”. This is the only one that I had read prior to reading the full collection, and it remains one of my favorites.

  1. The Adventure of the Engineer’s Thumb

Watson attends to a man named Victor Hatherly, whose thumb has just been cut off. While in his office, he relates the story to Holmes and Watson of how he was very secretly hired to repair a machine that compressed “Fuller’s Earth” into bricks. Hatherley was not allowed to know the location of the machine, and was taken to it in a carriage with frosted glass windows to prevent him from learning the route. When he discovered something that implied that the machine is not being used for what he was told it would be, his employer attacked him.

  1. The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor

This case involved the disappearance of Hatty Doran following her wedding to Lord Robert St. Simon. She attended the wedding and they were married, but she disappears from the reception, and her wedding band is found floating in a nearby lake. Holmes also discovers that the servants had kept a former lover of hers from forcing his way into the house earlier that morning, and that she had been seen having a secret discussion with her maid shortly before she went missing. There were elements of this story that I guessed as I was reading, but the ending was very surprising, and even more complex than I thought it would be.

  1. The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet

A banker named Alexander Holder presents Holmes with a case after a client he loans money to leaves a beryl coronet, an extremely valuable public possession, with him as security. Holder heard a noise and woke in the night to find his son holding the coronet, which had been damaged, and now has three beryls missing from it.

  1. The Adventure of the Copper Beeches

A woman named Violet Hunter comes to Holmes after she is offered a job as a governess that has some very unusual requirements attached to it, some of which have to do with altering her appearance in a specific way. Holmes urges her to take this oddly high paying job, and to call him in to investigate as she discovers more about the position, and the family. This was another one of my favorites: a very complex and interesting case.

I most definitely recommend this novel to anyone and everyone, especially if you enjoy classics and a good old-fashioned mystery!

5.0 TARDISes