November 17, 2016

Magic + Mystery + History • Iron Cast + A Study in Scarlet Women

Iron Cast book cover
Iron Cast by Destiny Soria
Publisher: Harry N. Abrams
Publication Date: October 11, 2016
Source: ARC received from the publisher (Thanks!)

Set in Boston in 1919, Iron Cast is a novel that centers around best friends Corinne and Ada. Both ladies are hemopaths – people with “afflicted” blood that can create illusions with art – who belong to infamous gangster Johnny Dervish’s inner circle. By day, they con the Boston elite; by night, they perform at the Cast Iron club. Their life is routine… until the day that friends of theirs are killed and Johnny disappears. With the law closing in and enemies on all sides, Corinne and Ada must work together to discover the truth and keep themselves and the people they care about safe.

Friends, do yourselves a favor and pick up a copy of Iron Cast if you’re into historical fiction with a bit of magic woven in. Actually, truth be told, I’d even say just to pick this one up if you like a good story! I do have to give a solid nod of acknowledgment to the world-building (which was enough to spark my imagination and to really ground the story), the magic (which I thought was so intriguing and powerful) and the characters (who felt real and complicated), but in the end, it’s the story that makes this one well worth the read. Because, to put it simply, Destiny Soria has written a damn good yarn and it’ll keep you flipping the pages until you hit the very end. I was completely won over by this plot, which read as very visual and the stuff I’d expect to see in a film with this very concept. It was exciting, twisty, layered and really entertaining, and I definitely finished this book feeling like I’d been on the grandest (and also most life-threatening, terrifying) adventure ever. I’d highly recommend adding this book to your TBR!

A Study in Scarlet Women book cover
A Study in Scarlet Women by Sherry Thomas
Series: Lady Sherlock #1
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: October 18, 2016
Source: Paperback received from the publisher (Thanks!)

Charlotte Holmes has always dreamed of a future other than marriage to an eligible bachelor. After taking a step too far to ensure she gets her way, Charlotte becomes a social outcast and is forced to fend for herself. When a spate of murders occurs and eyes are on her father and sister, Charlotte puts her inquisitive mind and sleuthing skills to use to figure out who the true culprit is and clear her family’s name. She’ll have help along the way, but when it comes right down to it, it’ll be up to Charlotte to unravel the mystery behind the murders.

I stayed up late one night reading A Study in Scarlet Women, and I do not regret that decision one tiny bit. Sherry Thomas, author of quite a few historical romances that I find refreshing and clever and funny, has written another delightful story. The nods to Sherlock Holmes are fairly clever (and I’m sure fans of the original will pick up on way more than I did, as someone who is not as knowledgeable on Holmes), and I like the way that mini-mysteries are included alongside the main mystery that drives this novel. While the first few chapters were a bit slower, and mostly geared towards setting up the tale, I found that I eventually found myself invested in the outcome of the plot and couldn’t set this one down. Additionally, I was extremely charmed by the fun cast of characters. I truly enjoyed getting the chance to meet all of them, particularly Charlotte, and I can’t wait to read more about her and her family and friends in the next one. (Also, as a side note, there is barely a romantic angle to this story, but what little there is… I need more of it in the next book)! I’m thrilled to be able to tell you that I really liked this novel, and would highly recommend it to fans of historical fiction and cozy mysteries.


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