ARC Review: The Great Shelby Holmes

shelby holmes

Release Date: September 6, 2016

Sherlock Holmes goes elementary in Elizabeth Eulberg’s first middle grade novel.

The Great Shelby Holmes by Elizabeth Eulberg follows sixth grader John Watson, a military brat, who moves to New York City with his mother after his parents split. Watson soon meets Shelby Holmes, an extremely intelligent nine-year-old who loves using her exceptional observation skills to solve cases in the neighborhood. When a family’s prize pooch goes missing, Shelby and Watson are soon on the case and everyone is a suspect.

When I first read the description, I assumed The Great Shelby Holmes would be written from Shelby’s perspective, but the story is actually written from Watson’s perspective. I really appreciate that the author chose to write from Watson’s point of view because he is much more relatable than Shelby. I also really enjoyed that Watson’s background–his military upbringing and diabetes–influenced many aspects of his life and how he treated others, especially Shelby.

Shelby, the mastermind of the story, was also well-characterized, but sometimes came across as too cartoonish for me. Shelby is incredibly smart with a ton of sass and spunk, which made her an extremely entertaining character. I also liked how the author gave another side of Shelby. Since she does have such an exceptional gift, Shelby does not have many friends her own age and as a result is often awkward and slightly rude when interacting with others. That being said, sometimes I felt like Shelby’s character was too overdone. Obviously, she’s intelligent, but often it came across as unbelievable for her age.

As for the case itself, I had several pros and cons. Even though I think dog mysteries are sometimes overdone for younger readers, I think this story sets itself apart from others. I also appreciate the dog case because it gives a nod to one of the most popular Sherlock Holmes stories, The Hound of the Baskervilles.

I had some problems, however, with the repetitiveness throughout the middle of the novel. Every time a little clue appeared, it always ended with people pointing fingers and yelling at each other. The same information was rehashed in several different ways throughout the majority of the novel. This repetitiveness also appeared as Watson and Shelby’s relationship developed. It felt like it took forever for the case to progress, which made the middle of the novel drag.

Another problem some readers may have are the clues themselves. With Sherlock Holmes, readers get some clues, but usually remain stumped until his big reveal at the end where he describes little details that the reader either didn’t pick up on or wouldn’t have any background knowledge. This could be frustrating for some readers, but another aspect frustrated me more. One particular conversation at the end of the book basically gives away the ending, even though about thirty pages remain in the book. As a result, the reveal isn’t as big as it could be.

Overall, I enjoyed The Great Shelby Holmes and I think it could end up making a solid middle grade series. Elizabeth Eulberg’s writing flowed nicely and she crafted fun and interesting main characters. The lag in the middle of the novel and slightly frustrating mystery, however, slightly lowers my rating for this book. I rate The Great Shelby Holmes four out of five stars.

*I received this free eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

July Reading Wrap-Up

wrap up

Another month in 2016 down, another monthly reading wrap-up! With such a busy July, I can’t believe that I read 15 books. My current reading goals is 50 books and I’ve already read 44 books this year (it only shows 43 on my Goodreads because one books had two in one), so I will probably increase my reading goal next month! Here’s a list of the books that I read in July, any books with a current review posted will be linked to the title:

  • The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson
  • Miss Popularity by Francesco Sedita (review coming soon!, current rating: 3/5 stars)
  • Judy Moody Declares Independence by Megan McDonald (review coming soon!, current rating: 5/5 stars)
  • Zora and the Greyhounds by Mark Guilliat*
  • A Patron Saint for Junior Bridesmaids by Shelley Tougas* (review coming soon!, current rating: 4/5 stars)
  • Cinder by Marissa Meyer (review coming soon!, current rating: 4/5 stars)
  • Nancy Clancy Super Sleuth by Jane O’Connor (review coming soon!, current rating: 3/5 stars)
  • Judy Moody and the Bucket List*
  • Miss Mayhem by Rachel Hawkins (review coming soon!, current rating: 3/5 stars)
  • Stealing Snow by Danielle Paige* (review coming soon!, current rating: 3/5 stars)
  • Scarlet by Marissa Meyer (review coming soon!, current rating: 5/5 stars)
  • Cress by Marissa Meyer (review coming soon!, current rating: 4/5 stars)
  • The Great Shelby Holmes by Elizabeth Eulberg* (review coming soon!, current rating: 4/5 stars)
  • The Best Possible Answer by E. Katherine Kottaras* (review coming soon!, current rating: 4/5 stars)
  • How to Keep a Boy from Kissing You by Tara Eglington* (review coming soon!, current rating: 2/5 stars)

*This eARC was sent to me via Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.


What was your favorite book that you read in July?

In Love with Book Covers


Day 6 of Blogentine’s Day.

For today, I decided to scope my Goodreads shelf for books that had at least one heart on the cover (even though there may be different editions of the book with hearts on it, I stuck with the covers pictured on Goodreads). Here are the results:

  • Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler

The cover would fit the book more if a cupcake was on the cover, but at least it still fits with the baking theme and the blue cover makes it feel wintry.

  • We Can Work it Out (The Lonely Hearts Club #2) by Elizabeth Eulberg

Even though I didn’t enjoy this book as much as the first, I like how the cover has the same spirit as the first.

  • Someone Like You by Sarah Dessen

Someone like You isn’t my favorite Sarah Dessen book, but this cover is adorable! I always try to make cute pictures in the sand, but unfortunately they never turn out like this.

  • Princess in Love by Meg Cabot

This is the cover on Goodreads, but this isn’t my favorite edition. I prefer the cover that was a darker pink and remember picking it up in fourth grade specifically for the cover.

  • Peace, Love and Baby Ducks by Lauren Myracle

Even though I thought this book was only okay, I think the cover is really cute. It gets bonus points for having rubber ducks on it (which I collect).

  • Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler

Not only is this cover beautiful, but it is also significant to the story.

  • This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen

This isn’t my favorite cover of This Lullaby, but it was the one on Goodreads. I actually prefer the new cover, which has a guitar pick in the shape of a heart.

  • The Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler

I really like the bright colors on this cover how the heart made by the book pages compliments the title.

  • Sweethearts by Sara Zarr

If I remember correctly, this cover doesn’t have much to do with the book. However, I like how simple it is and the cookie looks delicious!

  • Thrill Ride by Rachel Hawthorne

I didn’t know hearts could be made into this many things! This cover is really cute, even if I would never ride that roller coaster on the cover.

  • The Boyfriend League by Rachel Hawthorne

This cover is also adorable and fits perfectly with the book, which is an easy summer read.

Which of these covers was your favorite?