ARC Review: Charade (Sabby Carlyle book #1) by Kristy Douglas


All the world’s a stage and Sabby Carlyle is the best dressed actress on it.

New Yorker Sabby Carlyle lives a charmed life. She’s rich, she’s young, and she knows how to pair floral prints and stripes (the trick is to treat stripes as a neutral). Two years ago she walked away from her affluent Upper East Side life to pursue her passion for acting, and other than a bit of accidental stage nudity (which thankfully happened in New Jersey), the acting-thing–and life–are perfect. She has great fashion sense, great friends, and more good-hair days than bad. What more could a girl want?

In one night, her idyllic life is shattered when her grandmother, doyenne of Manhattan society is murdered.

Sabby dust off her couture-filled closet, straps on stilettos and returns to the Upper East Side to find the killer. As she’s scouring Manhattan for clues, she quickly realizes it will take more than her acting skills and knowledge of vintage Dior to solve this whodunit. She’s willing to do whatever it takes to unmask the killer, including flirting with a handsome FBI agent and teaming up with a sexy, mysterious jewel thief.

Now instead of attending auditions, she’s attending gala events, learning the fine art of breaking and entering, meeting unsavory characters in dark alleys, and trading pieces of couture for information.

But someone on the Upper East Side will do anything to keep her from finding the truth, and if Sabby isn’t careful, her newest accessory will be a made-to-measure coffin.


I received an eARC of the book via the author in exchange for an honest review.

You know what prompted me to respond to this wonderful author’s review request?

“All the world’s a stage and Sabby Carlyle is the best dressed actress on it.”

This line in the blurb! Let’s face, we bookworms are snobs, and tend to look down upon a female protagonist who is

  1. Not a nerd.
  2. Not shy or awkward.
  3. Considers herself not beautiful, when in fact she is.
  4. Has absolutely no fashion sense.

So when I read the blurb and it talked about a girl who is NOT a nerd, NOT shy and/or awkward and DEFINITELY NOT a fashion disaster, I definitely had to read this book!

This book starts off with action – with Sabby ignoring her grandmother’s call only to find out that she was murdered the same night Sabby refused to pick up her call. Setting her on a guilt trip, she decides to focus on catching her grandmother’s killer!

This brings her on the path of FBI Agent Nathan and the Jewel Thief, Nightengale he has been hunting for long! You have a wide array of characters apart from the two men above – because of course you would have those two “arch enemies” within a few feet of each other 😉 – the doorman, who is Sabby’s support system, an imposter jewel thief who is actually responsible for the murder, a slimy jewel fence, the plucky dorm-mate and the usual snobbery of the elite.

Sabby decides to conduct her own investigation into the murder of her grandmother – not because she is dissatisfied with the FBI Investigation, but because she needs to be proactive in order to assuage the grief and guilt she feels!

This book is brilliantly written – it is fast paced, with enough twists and turns that would leave your head reeling, but definitely in a good way! I have to admit, I did see the love triangle coming my way. But while it was a minor annoyance, the major issue I had with the book was Sabby’s fickleness – the fact that she herself did not understand which of the guys she had more serious feelings for made this wonderful sassy girl a little less relatable!

Yes, I get that you can be confused about your feelings and that you do not always need to know exactly what is going to happen, or whom you will end up with – but as a reader I need closure, or at least a semblance of a direction in which I can find the aforementioned closure. Yes I also know that this is only the first book in the series, but damn it, I would have liked a little sense of direction with the romance.

But the mystery was perfect – Sabby was brilliant and so totally sassy that had me mentally remembering her lines, just so I could use them in real life 😀

So yes, I would definitely be reading (needing!) the second book soon, ’cause let’s face, we all know, I am not really the patient sort 😛


⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐


If you love those sassy heroines that tend to have more brains than they can decide what to do with, then this is definitely your book! You’ll love the laughter, the emotions and the characters that evoke them in you!


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