YVO’S SHORTIES #102 – The Sleep Tight Motel & The Last Of August

Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! This time around a thriller novella and a YA contemporary read… The Sleep Tight Motel by Lisa Unger turned out to be short, but very entertaining, while The Last Of August by Brittany Cavallaro ended up being mostly a disappointment. Find out more about the why below.


Title: The Sleep Tight Motel
(Dark Corners Collection #2)
Author: Lisa Unger

Genre: Short Stories, Thriller, Horror
First published: September 27th 2018
Publisher: Amazon Original Stories
Finished reading: May 18th 2019
Pages: 48

“Why do we celebrate the monsters, the destroyers, the killers among us? Me, I prefer to run away. As fast and as far as I can get.”


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I know I don’t read a lot of short stories, but I’ve enjoyed Lisa Unger‘s writing in the past and The Sleep Tight Motel fitted a couple of challenge prompts… Making it easy to make an exception and give it a go. Between the cover and blurb I knew I was in for a creepy read, and I can say this short story would have been a perfect fit for the Halloween month. What starts out as a simple crime thriller with the main character on the run and hiding from someone, turns out to be so much more by the time you reach the final page… I won’t say anything else to avoid spoilers, but let’s just say you won’t see the final twists coming at all. The Sleep Tight Motel is well written and has a lot of different elements included successfully for such a short story. If you enjoy creepy reads with an eery setting and a surprising twist, The Sleep Tight Motel reads like a nice little snack in between other books.


Title: The Last Of August
(Charlotte Holmes #2)
Author: Brittany Cavallaro

Genre: YA, Contemporary, Mystery
First published: February 14th 2017
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Finished reading: May 21st 2019
Pages: 326

“I’ve always wanted to be invisible, and because I want to be, it’s impossible.”


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I admit it’s been a long time since I read the first book (almost three years; oops?), but I still remember I really enjoyed it so I was looking forward to spend time with this Sherlock Holmes retelling sequel. What I definitely didn’t expect is that I almost ended up DNFing The Last Of August. Oh yes, sadly this Charlotte Holmes sequel turned out to be a huge disappointment for me. Why? Well, the first mayor obstacle is that about 90% of the story is filled with a frustrating love triangle, a whole lot of ‘does he/she love me?’ and ‘I don’t know what to do with my feelings’ and basically an overdose of teen angst in general. This is a huge turn off for me any day, but even more so when you expect an entertaining Sherlock Holmes retelling filled with the well known bantering between Holmes and Watson. Instead of this, the whole investigation angle of the story has been mostly pushed in to the background, the story then focusing on the petty feelings of Holmes, Watson and August. Definitely not what I signed up for! The only thing that stopped me from just DNFing The Last Of August  was the promise of Berlin and Prague descriptions, cities I was lucky enough to visit myself last year and was hoping to revisit with the help of this story. Sadly, even those descriptions were not as present as I hoped… All in all I can’t exactly say I enjoyed my second meeting with Charlotte Holmes and Jamie Watson, and I think I’m going to just give up on this series for now.


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BOOK REVIEW: A Study In Charlotte – by Brittany Cavallaro

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Title: A Study In Charlotte
(Charlotte Holmes #1)
Author: Brittany Cavallaro
Genre: YA, Mystery, Retelling
First published: March 1st 2016
Finished reading: June 8th 2016
Pages: 321
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“We weren’t Sherlock Holmes and John Watson. I was ok with that, I thought. We had things they didn’t, too. Like electricity, and refrigerators. And Mario Kart.”

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As soon as I first heard about this book I HAD to add it to my wishlist straight away, and not just because of the beautiful cover. Even though I’m ashamed to admit I have never read the original Sherlock Holmes stories, I am of course familiar with the general details around Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. A promise of a retelling involving the great-great-great-grandchildren of the original duo made me want to read A Study In Charlotte straight away. And I’m glad I did, because I really enjoyed this fast-paced and entertaining retelling! It really shows that the main characters Charlotte and Jamie are based on the original characters, and I loved the constant bickering between them. The character development is well executed, although I do think the story could have done without the romance. Still, the prose is easy to read and I loved the references to the old Sherlock Holmes cases. Without doubt recommended! And even if you are not familiar with the original story, you will most likely enjoy this novel by Brittany Cavallaro anyway. I’m already looking forward to the sequel that will be published next year.

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Jamie Watson is forced to move back to Connecticut and leave his life in London behind when he is offered a rugby scholarship to the prep school Sherringford. He hasn’t talked to his father in years and it quite unhappy he now finds himself just an hour away from his old house, but that is not the only complication. Charlotte Holmes, the great-great-great-granddaughter of the famous detective, is also attending Sherringford and Jamie has heard it’s safer to stay far away from her. Their first meeting doesn’t go that well and it seems they are destined to be rivals rather than potential partners… But when a student dies under suspicious circumstances and both Jamie and Charlotte seem to be suspects, they are forced to work together anyway. The details seem to come straight out of one of the original Sherlock Holmes stories, and it’s up to them to find a way to clear their names before they are framed for murder… But danger is never far away.

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A Study In Charlotte has turned out to be a really entertaining Sherlock Holmes retelling, and I will be looking forward to the sequel. It really shows that the main characters were based on the original Holmes and Watson and I loved their dialogues and constant bickering. The prose is easy to read, the story has a fast pace and I liked most of the plot twists (although the ending wasn’t really that surprising). Recommended!