BOOK REVIEW: Secret Letters – by Leah Scheier

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Title: Secret Letters
Author: Leah Scheier

Genre: YA, Historical Fiction, Mystery
First published: June 26th 2012
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Finished reading: August 21st 2016
Pages: 336
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“I really miss the thought of you. I miss the hope that my future could’ve been a brilliant one–that you might have made it so. But I don’t regret the dream even if it’s gone now. And I want to thank you for inspiring it.”

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Secret Letters was actually one of my TBR jar picks even though I have been posponing it for quite some time. I’m not sure why, because I always love Sherlock Holmes retellings and this actually sounded like a very entertaining historical fiction/mystery read. But I guess my instincts were right, because unfortunately this novel by Leah Scheier just didn’t manage to fully convince me. I’m not saying it’s a bad read and the historical setting actually seems to be well done. I’m just not sure if the story itself (and Dora being Sherlock Holmes’ daughter) is all that believable. I know Secret Letters is supposed to be a fictional account, but still… Also, the story had a really slow start and it took me a long time to get a proper feel for it. In fact, I put it on hold various times before I finally decided to finish it. The pace did pick up in the second half of the story as the amount of action increased, and that definitely made it easier to read and more entertaining. I just wish the romance scenes would have been left out. I would still recommend it to those who like the genre though.

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Dora dreams of escaping her protected country life and help solve mysteries in the city alongside Sherlock Holmes. When she finds out the legendary detective might be her biological father, Dora uses her cousin’s ransomed love letters to travel to London and enlist his help in solving the mystery. But when she arrives in the city, she finds out that Sherlock Holmes is dead… And Dora is not sure what to do next. A young and attractive detective offers his help, and Dora is left to rely on her wits and the assistance of the detective to save her cousin’s reputation. But that’s not the only case Dora get’s tangled up in, as a heiress seems to have been kidnapped and the detective asks for her help to solve the case.

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I had high hopes for this Sherlock Holmes retelling, but it just didn’t live up to expectations. It’s not necessarily a bad read and the second part is a big improvement, but I had some problems with the credibility of the plot and the romance scenes. The historical settings seems to have been done very well though and all in all Secret Letters is still quite an interesting read.

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WWW Wednesdays #103 – August 10th

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WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

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I started my previous TBR jar pick Secret Letters by Leah Scheier a few days ago, but I’m really struggling to get into the story. I’m not sure if it’s because of the prose or the main character, but I cannot seem to manage to convince me to continue it. Maybe after I finish my last pending Netgalley ARC: All Fall Down by Tom Bale? That one is turning out to be yet another brilliant thriller! I’ve also finally FINALLY picked up my copy of A Dance With Dragons by George R.R. Martin. I’m hoping I will be able to make a dent into this monster during my 15 hours on a plane this Sunday…

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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* The first book I finished since last WWW is The Summer I Became A Nerd by Leah Rae Miller. It was a fast read and I LOVED the comic/geeky references, but the many high school cliches and the fact that the main character was ashamed of liking comics and seemed to prefer being popular ruined the story slightly for me.
* I then gave in and read Harry Potter And The Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany. It was quite an entertaining read and brought back a lot of nostalgic memories, but it wasn’t as good as the first seven books. The fact that it’s a script makes it less pleasant to read as well…
* The Girl From The Sea by Shalini Boland is yet another psychological thriller to add to my list of favorites. SO good! It’s well written and the fact that the main character has amnesia and therefore is an unreliable narrator is a refreshing twist. Recommended!
* The last book I finished is The Last Girl by Joe Hart, which unfortunately didn’t turn out to be as good as I thought it would be. It’s not a bad read and the synopsis sounds interesting, but I felt it was missing that little something that would turn it into something special. In fact, it all sounded all too similar to the typical dystopian story with a strong female character… I did really appreciate this story has almost no romance and NO love triangle. Definitely a miracle when it comes to the YA dystopian genre.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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I can’t wait to finally start Red Rising by Pierce Brown! If I like the first book I will probably read both sequels as well… I also want to read Vicious by V.E. Schwab (and This Savage Song as well, but I have decided to read this one first). The Art Of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson is also high on my list. A Court Of Mist And Fury by Sarah J. Maas is my newest TBR jar pick, which is really convenient since I wanted to read it soon anyway. I will probably reread ACOTAR first though…

WWW Wednesdays #102 – August 3rd

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WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

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I’m actually close to finishing The Summer I Became A Nerd by Leah Rae Miller (probably be somewhere later today). I love the geeky/comic references, but the high school cliches and the fact that the main character is ashamed of liking comics is kind of ruining the story for me. I’ve also started The Girl From The Sea by Shalini Boland, a Netgalley ARC I’m really excited about. But I will most likely read Harry Potter And The Cursed Child first… Because I simply can’t resist a new Harry Potter story.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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* The first book I finished was When We Collided by Emery Lord, which turned out to be a really entertaining contemporary romance with an interesting twist. Vivi and Jonah are so adorable together!
* I also finished the Jamie Quinn Mystery Collection by Barbara Venkataraman. These three cozy mystery stories turned out to be entertaining and fast-paced; perfect for those who enjoy the genre.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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I will probably read my last pending Netgalley ARC first: The Last Girl by Joe Hart. I also want to read both The Art Of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson and The Bird And The Sword by Amy Harmon, depending on which genre I’m in the mood for. And Secret Letters by Leah Scheier is still my newest TBR jar pick…

WWW Wednesdays #101 – July 27th

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WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

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I’ve only just started When We Collided by Emery Lord, but I have heard so many great things about it that I can’t wait to continue reading! I won’t be having a lot of spare time this week, but hopefully I will be able to finish it before the weekend.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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* The first book I was able to finally finish was The Neverland Wars by Audrey Greathouse. I can’t say I really enjoyed it. The first part was quite slow and I had problems with the prose. I also wish the story would have focused on the war itself… The Neverland descriptions were really entertaining to read though.
* I then read the Dorothy Must Die novella Ruler Of Beasts by Danielle Paige. This one was probably one of my favorite novellas of the bunch… Mostly because Ozma played a big role in the story and a new interesting character (the Nome King) was introduced.
* Next up was The Summer That Melted Everything by Tiffany McDaniel, which made it to my list of favorite 2016 reads. Such a powerful and well written story! I can definitely recommend this one.
* I then finally finished The Hired Girl by Laura Amy Schlitz, a book I didn’t enjoy as much as I thought I would. I normally love historical fiction, but I didn’t like the main character Joan and there was too much ‘strong’ religious dialogue and cheesy romance in the last part of the story.
* Next up was the supershort, but action-packed story Environmentally Friendly by Elias Zanbaka. Without doubt an interesting and fast-paced read!
* I then read Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry for free at Riveted. Check out the website if you haven’t already; each two weeks or so they offer four new free titles to read online! (This one is available until August 1st). Rot & Ruin turned out to be a very good read, which I’m still surprised about because I normally don’t really like stories with zombies… But it’s well written and I like that there’s almost no romance (at least in the first book).
* The last book I finished is The Fire Child by S.K. Tremayne, which turned out to be even better than her first novel. Well written prose, great descriptions that set a spooky atmosphere and many many plot twists… Recommended!

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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I will probably read my last pending ARC first: the Jamie Quinn Mystery Collection by Barbara Venkataraman. It definitely sounds like an entertaining read! I also want to read The Bird And The Sword by Amy Harmon, but I might try Thunderlight by Adrienne Woods first. I really enjoyed the first book and since I’m in the mood for a dragon story this one sounds like a great choice. Secret Letters by Leah Scheier is still my newest TBR jar pick.

WWW Wednesdays #100 – July 20th

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100TH WWW MEME CELEBRATION EDITION!!!

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WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

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I’m currently reading The Summer That Melted Everything by Tiffany McDaniel and it is turning out to be an interesting read. I’m glad the reviews I’ve seen so far convinced me to get a copy of this book! I’ve also finally started my last TBR jar pick The Hired Girl by Laura Amy Schlitz, which is ok enough so far, although I do hope the plot will get a little more interesting in the future. I still have to finish The Neverland Wars by Audrey Greathouse as well… I actually thought about DNFing it because I am really struggling with it, but since I already made it this far I will just finish it.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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* The first book I finished since last week is Wanderlost by Jen Malone, which turned out to be a quick, fluffy and entertaining summer read. Not perfect and in a way a bit cliche, but I loved the road trip details!
* I then finished The Girl With All The Gifts by M.R. Carey; probably one of the first stories with zombies I absolutely loved. I still can’t believe it took me this long to pick up this book! Well written, excellent worldbuilding and Melanie is probably one of my newest favorite characters.
* I also finally continued The Stepmother by Claire Seeber, but unfortunately I wasn’t completely convinced by it. I liked the fact that  it reversed the roles of the typical ‘evil stepmother’ plot, but the pace is quite slow and I REALLY disliked the main character.
* The last book I finished is The Ice Twins by S.K. Tremayne, which turned out to be a well written, spooky read with great descriptions. The plot was a bit uneventful, but it is without doubt a great read.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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Depending on what genre I’m in the mood for, I will read When We Collided by Emery Lord. I might read The Fire Child by S.K. Tremayne first though; especially since I really enjoyed her other novel. Talon by Julie Kagawa is most likely my next fantasy read; I have been wanting to read another dragon story for too long now! Secret Letters by Leah Scheier is another Sherlock Holmes retelling and my newest TBR jar pick.

Friday Finds #91 – June 17th

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FRIDAY FINDS is originally featured at Babs Book Bistro and showcases the most interesting books I’ve encountered during the last week and have added to my neverending TBR list on Goodreads. Below a selection of my newest additions; click on the book descriptions to go to its Goodreads page! 😀

My finds:

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