The Whimsical Mama

<3 Such is the life of a stay at home mommy and Army wife (:

Please Be Kind, Rewind: 6 – 12 July 2014 July 12, 2014

This week was a little slow. I feel like I haven’t really gotten anything accomplished. I scrambled all week on my posts. Been in a bit of a reading slump too. I know I have a copy of Oceanborn on its way to me so… not really wanting to read anything else cause I’m so pumped up for it. (WOOT! It arrived just before this was due to post!!) I did devour Perfect Couple within 24 hours of receiving approval though! Haha. I knocked a few things out today too. Hoping to knock a few more HarperCollins September ARCs out in the next few weeks. (:


Completed:

Ruin & Rising by Leigh Bardugo

Seamonster by Amalie Howard

Perfect Couple by Jennifer Echols

The Too Clever Fox by Leigh Bardugo

Little Knife by Leigh Bardugo

Poisoned Apples: Poems for You, My Pretty by Christine Heppermann (DNF 36%)

Kiss of Broken Glass by Madeleine Kuderick 

 


Currently Reading:

The Everything Mother Goose Book by June Rifkin (yes, we’re still working on it!)

Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare (paperback & audiobook) 

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by JK Rowling (audiobook)

Accidentally Married on Purpose by Rachel Harris (ARC)

Waterfell by Amalie Howard

 

Read to the Kiddos:
Read to Tiger by S.J. Fore

Pete the Cat Too Cool for School  by James Dean

Ladybug Girl Says Good Night by David Soman & Jacky Davis

That’s Not My Meerkat by Fiona Watt


New to my shelf:

Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor (YALLFEST prep, clearance sale!)

Four: A Divergent Collection by Veronica Roth

Open Road Summer by Emery Lord (Thanks Bloomsbury & Mary!)

Oceanborn by Amalie Howard (Finished copy, Thank you so much Amalie & Harlequin Teen!! <3)

Strange and Ever After by Susan Dennard (ARC, Thanks, Susan & HarperTeen!)

 

From the library:

as usual, more audiobooks! (:

 

 

 

 

*Review* Defiance by CJ Redwine March 24, 2014

Rating: 4 stars
Pub date:
28 August 2012
Publisher:
HarperCollins, Balzer+Bray
Genre:
Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy, Romance, Dystopian
Format:
paperback, personal copy, signed
Status:
Book one of the Defiance trilogy

 

Summary:

 

Within the walls of Baalboden, beneath the shadow of the city’s brutal leader, Rachel Adams has a secret. While other girls sew dresses, host dinner parties, and obey their male Protectors, Rachel knows how to survive in the wilderness and deftly wield a sword. When her father, Jared, fails to return from a courier mission and is declared dead, the Commander assigns Rachel a new Protector, her father’s apprentice, Logan–the same boy Rachel declared her love for two years ago, and the same boy who handed her heart right back to her. Left with nothing but fierce belief in her father’s survival, Rachel decides to escape and find him herself. But treason against the Commander carries a heavy price, and what awaits her in the Wasteland could destroy her.

 

At nineteen, Logan McEntire is many things. Orphan. Outcast. Inventor. As apprentice to the city’s top courier, Logan is focused on learning his trade so he can escape the tyranny of Baalboden. But his plan never included being responsible for his mentor’s impulsive daughter. Logan is determined to protect her, but when his escape plan goes wrong and Rachel pays the price, he realizes he has more at stake than disappointing Jared.

As Rachel and Logan battle their way through the Wasteland, stalked by a monster that can’t be killed and an army of assassins out for blood, they discover romance, heartbreak, and a truth that will incite a war decades in the making.

 

My thoughts:

 

I’ve been mulling around how to write this review for a while. Even now as I’m writing, I’m not sure where to go with it. From the cover, it looks like it would be historical fiction/fantasy. You start reading and you would think steampunk learning technology. It’s such a thrilling mix and the mix actually turns out to be dystopian and fantasy. That’s right. You read it correctly. How awesome is that mix?!

 

I was so excited to read Defiance. I’m a bit upset with myself for how I did read it. I charged through it before I met CJ back in January. I think by rushing through it, it lost a bit on me and it reflected in my rating. This is fully capable of five stars and it may change with a future re-read.

 

CJ did a fantastic job in her world building. The danger and intrigue kept me pulled in the whole time. In a futuristic, war destroyed, tyrannical ruled United States, things are not even remotely recognisable. Female freedoms have been stripped. Their situation very much brings to mind the Taliban treatment of women and just like our leading lady, Rachel, it left me bristling at the injustice the entire time. As much as I love history and culture, I would NOT do well in a culture that demands females to essentially be seen and not heard. Nope. Nope. Nope.

 

Again, there has been an exception to my multi point of view hating rule. Meeting Rachel step for step is the incredible Logan. They do so well together and CJ does such a great job with their development. The story flows easily back and forth between them. Their stories are woven together and have their own separate threads. They are very similar but also very distinct in their personalities. Along their journey is a splash of romance. Not enough to make it a complete romance, but enough to make things interesting. It will be nice to see where their relationship goes in Deception and Deliverance.

 

I think with this mix of genres, Defiance is a good pick for fans of fantasy, post-apocalyptic, or dystopian novels. It may even intrigue romance lovers, but since it’s not overwrought with romance, it may not satisfy them. It is not a quick read, but it is a good read. It’s a story that commands to be told, but not a story that demands to be devoured in one setting.

 

I’m looking forward to continuing with this series and I do recommend you check it out. Deception is out now and Deliverance comes out in August and is the conclusion to this trilogy.

 

About the author

 

C.J. Redwine loves fairy tales, Harry Potter, and any movie starring Johnny Depp. She is the author of the Defiance trilogy, a post-apocalyptic fantasy from Balzer + Bray. C.J. lives in Nashville with her husband and children. If the novel writing gig ever falls through, she’ll join the Avengers and wear a cape to work every day. To learn more about C.J., visit her website at www.cjredwine.com

 

 

 

 

 

Top Ten Tuesday #31: Spring TBR March 18, 2014

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Each week, the girls over at The Broke and the Bookish think up a fun theme for the week and participating bloggers around the net join in. The theme for this week is:

Top Ten Books on My Spring TBR

I didn’t do well at all with my Fall TBR. I did MUCH better with my Winter TBR, but still not the best. December was packed with family things. January was infected with sinus ilk for all four of us. February I did better. The beginning of March has been great. I hope my Spring TBR will go well! I’m still a big mood driven reader and right now I want to read all the WWII books. Good thing I have a few! I also need to get back into my ARC reading. Fantastic thing that I have an ARC that fits both of those bills. (;

Code Name Verity/Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein

Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman

As You Turn Away by Molli Moran

Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry (yes, this is STILL on my TBR. I’m DETERMINED this spring it WILL be read!)

The Almost Girl by Amalie Howard

After the End by Amy Plum (I can’t wait anymore. I have to read it NOW)

Frozen by Melissa de la Cruz (My trusty fall back if a reading funk happens. I love Melissa!)

The Falconer by Elizabeth May (I can’t wait much longer. I’ve wanted to read this for so long and I’ve waited long enough!)

Panic by Lauren Oliver

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi (NO SPOILERS! )

What’s on your TBR for this spring? Any good recommendations based on these?

 

*ARC Review* Uninvited by Sophie Jordan March 17, 2014

***I was granted permission to read this by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to HarperCollins!***

 


Rating:5 stars
Pub date:28 January 2014
Publisher:HarperCollins
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Sci-Fi, Romance, Thriller
Format:eARC provided by publisher
Status:Book one of the Uninvited duology

 

Summary:

 

The Scarlet Letter meets Minority Report in bestselling author Sophie Jordan’s chilling new novel about a teenage girl who is ostracized when her genetic test proves she’s destined to become a murderer.


When Davy Hamilton’s tests come back positive for Homicidal Tendency Syndrome (HTS)-aka the kill gene-she loses everything. Her boyfriend ditches her, her parents are scared of her, and she can forget about her bright future at Juilliard. Davy doesn’t feel any different, but genes don’t lie. One day she will kill someone.


Only Sean, a fellow HTS carrier, can relate to her new life. Davy wants to trust him; maybe he’s not as dangerous as he seems. Or maybe Davy is just as deadly.


The first in a two-book series, Uninvited tackles intriguing questions about free will, identity, and human nature. Steeped in New York Times bestselling author Sophie Jordan’s trademark mix of gripping action and breathless romance, this suspenseful tale is perfect for fans of James Patterson, Michelle Hodkin, and Lisa McMann

 

My thoughts:

 

I was so excited to read Uninvited. I thought Minority Report was an interesting premise and a variation further was even more intriguing. I jumped into Uninvited when I hit a lull in Cruel Beauty. I was in such a funk and I wanted to pull myself out of it. Uninvited definitely didn’t disappoint. I blew through in one evening. Luckily, my hubby was home so I didn’t have as many kiddo interruptions as usual.

 

Sophie did an incredible job creating this modern/slightly futuristic bridging world. She did such a great job that it felt like a world that you could just step into. The transition from our world to Sophie’s is seamless. The genetic testing was brilliant. The testing for the kill gene is another play on you never really know what someone could be capable of doing. I hope she goes into more detail on how the kill gene is inherited! Genetics fascinate me! Since the testing IS fiction, it doesn’t have to be perfect genetics, but even if it could be considered faulty, it doesn’t seem like a forced idea. Especially with the recent released news of potential genetic testing for Alzheimer’s disease. We’re well on our way to be able to test genetics for various things. Why not eventually a kill gene?

 

Davy was beautifully done. Though she could’ve been more whiny or go completely off the deep end in violence, she comes to terms with her fate in her own way and I believe it shows her strength in her ability to hold herself together. I’m not sure what I would do if I were in her shoes. I know with the Alzheimer’s test, I won’t be having it done. Some things are better left unknown.

 

As a parent, I am struggling with how Davy’s parents reacted. My kiddos are my babies. I carried them. I delivered them. I cuddled them. I’ve bathed them. I’ve fed them. I love them. It doesn’t compute how her parents flip out and push away from her. I don’t think I could do that. I can’t pass judgment though. I’ve never been in that situation and I pray I never will be. I like to think that I would stand by my child’s side. Again, I hope that’s a situation I’m never in.

 

Though it’s on the contemporary side more than pure science fiction, I like that it didn’t completely dwell on the romance. Sure a little spice is nice, but YA seems to be drowning a bit in must be full of romance books. A kickass heroine or any female lead DOES NOT have to have a man by her side for EVERYTHING. I think Dayv does well on her own AND with Sean by her side. Having a strong leading lady that doesn’t focus on having a boyfriend is refreshing.

 

Sophie did a really incredible job keeping me glued to every page. I definitely recommend Uninvited and I can’t wait to get my hands on the sequel. It really sucks that I have to wait almost a year for it!

 

About the author

 

Sophie Jordan took her adolescent daydreaming one step further and penned her first historical romance in the back of her high school Spanish class. This passion led her to pursue a degree in English and History.


A brief stint in law school taught her that case law was not nearly as interesting as literature – teaching English seemed the natural recourse. After several years teaching high school students to love
Antigone, Sophie resigned with the birth of her first child and decided it was time to pursue the long-held dream of writing.


In less than three years, her first book,
Once Upon A Wedding Night, a 2006 Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Nominee for Best First Historical, hit book shelves. Her second novel, Too Wicked To Tame, released in March 2007 with a bang, landing on the USA Today Bestseller’s List.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hello March, Goodbye February! (A bit late!) March 9, 2014

Wow. March. And the start of the second week too! February blew by and I didn’t get as much accomplished as I had hoped. I was busy working on things for my family and for my daughter’s birthday. I had meant to get more done in the last two weeks, but I took time and focused on my kiddos. I have everything written up, I just have to type it out and get it scheduled to come up soon. I have some giveaways planned so keep an eye out! (:

Books I read in February (in order of completion)

The Little Android by Marissa Meyer

Uninvited by Sophie Jordan

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

What to Expect the First Year by Heidi Murkoff

The Ring and the Crown by Melissa de la Cruz

A Tale of Two Centuries by Rachel Harris

Books with the kiddos:

We read a lot, as usual. And as usual, I was terrible about keeping a good list. I do have an idea mulling around for the blog concerning the kiddos and books. It may start up in April if I do decide to go through with it!

Coming up in March

Bug’s birthday!

Girls Gone Sci Fi tour!

Hubby’s military class

Goals for March (same as last month, need to work better!0

Balance mama & wifey things with blogging life.

Work on commenting and visiting other blogs

Stay ahead of schedule

Read more with the kiddos

March releases I’m excited for:

Alpha Goddess by Amalie Howard

Panic by Lauren Oliver

Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy

March TBR:

Divergent trilogy by Veronica Roth

Alpha Goddess by Amalie Howard

I haven’t decided what else I want to get to this month. We’ll see where the reading spirit takes me!

Challenge Update:

I’m involved with three challenges officially; I still need to sign up for a fourth.

Edelweiss & Netgalley challenge: 4/25 (Uninvited and Cruel Beauty)

TBR Pile challenge: 8/11-20 {I can and most likely WILL be increasing my level on this. I’m also not including ARCs in this unless I complete them after the book is released} (The Little Android and A Tale of Two Centuries)

Series challenge: 4/4-6 {I can and most likely will increase my level on this as well} (A Tale of Two Centuries)

Real” Book challenge: 7/21-30 {I have to sign up for this one once I get this post up!} (What to Expect When You’re Expecting and The Ring & the Crown)

How was your February? What’s up for March?

 

*ARC Review* Fire & Flood by Victoria Scott February 24, 2014

***I was granted permission to read Fire & Flood by the publisher (Scholastic Press) in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to Scholastic Press!***

Rating:4 stars
Pub date:25 February 2014
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Genre:Young Adult Fiction
Format: ARC via publisher
Status:Book one of Fire & Flood series

Summary:

A modern day thrill ride, where a teen girl and her animal companion must participate in a breathtaking race to save her brother’s life—and her own.

Tella Holloway is losing it. Her brother is sick, and when a dozen doctors can’t determine what’s wrong, her parents decide to move to Montana for the fresh air. She’s lost her friends, her parents are driving her crazy, her brother is dying — and she’s helpless to change anything.

Until she receives mysterious instructions on how to become a Contender in the Brimstone Bleed. It’s an epic race across jungle, desert, ocean, and mountain that could win her the prize she desperately desires: the Cure for her brother’s illness. But all the Contenders are after the Cure for people they love, and there’s no guarantee that Tella (or any of them) will survive the race.

The jungle is terrifying, the clock is ticking, and Tella knows she can’t trust the allies she makes. And one big question emerges: Why have so many fallen sick in the first place?

My thoughts:

I was very excited when I first heard about this title. Victoria had a request form up on her page that she passed along to Scholastic. I immediately filled it out and pushed it from my thoughts. I didn’t want to dwell on it in case I didn’t get approval. My hubby brought in a package one day and held it out to me. It was from Scholastic. I was ecstatic. I wanted to dive in first thing, but I had some other things I had to read first. Mary over at Mary Had A Little Book Blog and I decided to read it at the same time. This was my first book by Victoria Scott and I do plan on continuing this series in the future and checking out her Dante Walker series.

The pacing felt a little slow to me in the beginning. After an initial lull, the pacing rapidly picks up and became a page turner until I finished. I felt a very strong similarity to The Hunger Games if the stakes were even higher. Instead of competing for themselves, the Contenders are competing for a loved one. At a first glance, you would think this was a dystopian, but it is very much a modern day thriller (confirmed by Victoria).

Tella’s world was rocked when her parents uprooted their family from Boston to Montana after her brother fell ill. It’s not clear what is wrong with her brother, just that he’s sick and seems to be fading rather quickly. Tella receives an invitation to the Brimestone Bleed, but her parents try to play it off like a joke and attempt to destroy the evidence of the invitation. She manages to get a hold of the device and listens to the full invitation. Her mom catches her before she leaves and they have a quick talk. Tella leaves to pursue the cure.

The first challenge in the jungle felt a little disappointing. There were a few dangers, but nothing out of the ordinary of if she had gotten lost in the jungle. The biggest question that remained in my mind is what happens if you lose the race? One person gets the cure, but what happens to the other Contenders?

I was not really able to connect with Tella for the better part of the book. She came off as spoiled and selfish even though she was there for her brother. Her internal dialogue was very immature and bratty. I know not all 17 year olds are not all created equal. I was often told I was mature for my age and sometimes I forget that not all teenagers think like I did. Once she hooked up with a group, I started to connect with her more because she started to grow as a person.She still has her moments of wishing she hadn’t come, but who wouldn’t? It’s not an easy thought potentially risking your life for someone. It’s human nature to prefer preserving yourself than others.

I really enjoyed the other characters (Guy, Ransom, Levi, etc) and I can’t wait to see if more of their backstories are included in the future. I’m also excited to see where their budding friendships take them. It’s an every man for himself situation and new friendships will only last for so long… right?

With the first race behind, things really began to pick up and it made me very happy. Right at the end of the jungle race is when it really became a page turner for me. The twists were very well done and I really enjoyed the desert race. The desert race was definitely a five star section. My toddler kept asking me to read to him before his nap and there were sections that I had to skim as I read because they were totally not suited for a toddler’s ears. Once he was asleep, I devoured the last 100 pages.The action and danger shot through the roof and it was amazing.

I loved the idea of Pandoras. They were simply incredible and it was a very well done idea. In a way they felt like the daemons from the His Dark Materials series, but DEFINITELY more badass.Maddox is incredible. His power – whoa. I really hope we get to learn more about how the Pandoras are created in the next installment!

The ending will definitely leave you wanting more. Keep in mind that this race is in four destinations and Fire & Flood only covers two of them. So much more excitement and challenges away in the Brimestone Bleed.

I’m proud to recommend this as a great read! It does not disappoint and I can’t wait to see what comes next.

About the author:

Victoria Scott is a teen fiction writer represented by Sara Crowe. She’s the author of the FIRE & FLOOD series published by Scholastic, and the DANTE WALKER trilogy published by Entangled Teen. Her books have been bought and translated in eleven foreign markets including the UK, Turkey, China, Poland, Germany, Australia, Israel, Taiwan, Brazil, New Zealand, and the Netherlands.


Victoria lives in Dallas with her husband and hearts cotton candy something fierce.

 

Waiting on Wednesday #20: Fire & Flood by Victoria Scott February 19, 2014

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“Waiting on Wednesday” is a weekly event hosted by Jill at the Breaking The Spine. It showcases upcoming releases we’re anticipating!

My pick of the week is:

Fire & Flood (Fire & Flood #1)

by Victoria Scott

Coming: 25 February 2014

Publisher: Scholastic Press

Summary:

A modern day thrill ride, where a teen girl and her animal companion must participate in a breathtaking race to save her brother’s life—and her own.

Tella Holloway is losing it. Her brother is sick, and when a dozen doctors can’t determine what’s wrong, her parents decide to move to Montana for the fresh air. She’s lost her friends, her parents are driving her crazy, her brother is dying — and she’s helpless to change anything.

Until she receives mysterious instructions on how to become a Contender in the Brimstone Bleed. It’s an epic race across jungle, desert, ocean, and mountain that could win her the prize she desperately desires: the Cure for her brother’s illness. But all the Contenders are after the Cure for people they love, and there’s no guarantee that Tella (or any of them) will survive the race.

The jungle is terrifying, the clock is ticking, and Tella knows she can’t trust the allies she makes. And one big question emerges: Why have so many fallen sick in the first place?


Why I’m excited:

When I first heard about Fire & Flood back in the fall, I instantly became excited. I adored The Hunger Games and the similarity really intrigued me. I was lucky enough to be granted an ARC by Scholastic and I’ve already read it. (It’s fantabulous, btw, and my review will be up next week) It definitely lived up to the excitement like I was hoping it would. I would love to gush on and on for this, but I do enough of that in my review so you’ll have to come back and see how great it is! (; I can’t wait to get my hands on a finished copy! (:

Why I need you to be excited:

I don’t know if you’ve read anything by Victoria Scott, I haven’t, and definitely plan on checking out her other works, but you really should check out this great book! A race in uncertain conditions (we know the arena set ups beforehand, but not what to expect in them), people desperate to help a loved one, kickass created sidekicks, and a killer mystery. It’s full of action and intrigue. It’s chock full of interesting characters with loads of character growth. Each character has a deep background that’s just waiting to be explored. I really recommend this book and can’t wait for it to come out for everyone to have a chance to read it!

What do you think about Fire & Flood? Is it TBR worthy for you?

 

Please Be Kind, Rewind: 2 – 15 February 2014 February 15, 2014

I didn’t do as well the last two weeks as I was hoping, but I’ve gotten a good amount of work done this week to get things back on track! I think I’m well enough ahead now. I got a lot of reading done this week, but virtually none done last week. It happens. I have two kiddos who like to keep life unpredictable at times. Like now, as I’m writing this, my toddler is emptying the toy bin searching for something. Joy! Haha

Completed:

The Little Androidby Marissa Meyer. 3 stars.

Uninvited by Sophie Jordan. 5 stars.

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge. 3 stars.

Currently Reading:

The Everything Mother Goose Book by June Rifkin (with the kiddos)

Read to the Kiddos:

The Everything Mother Goose Book by June Rifkin

New to my shelf:

The Ring & the Crown by Melissa de la Cruz (Thanks, Disney Hyperion for the unexpected surprise!!)

Alpha Goddess by Amalie Howard (read now on Netgalley, YAY!)

Many thanks to HarperCollins for these new reads:

Push by Eve Silver

Strange and Ever After by Susan Dennard

On the Fence by Kasie West

Sweet Reckoning by Wendy Higgins

The Eye of God by James Rollins (finished copy, unsolicited from William Morrow imprint)

From the library:

Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins (audiobook)

Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi (audiobook)

Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi (ebook)

 Won:

The Archived by Victoria Schwab (Thanks, @disquietus!)

 

*ARC Review* Her Dark Curiosity by Megan Shepherd January 26, 2014

***I was granted permission to read Her Dark Curiosity by the publisher (Harper Teen, Balzer + Bray) in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to Harper Teen and Balzer + Bray! Spoilers may be revealed in the review.***

Rating: 5 stars
Pub date:28 January 2014
Publisher: Harper Teen, Balzer + Bray
Genre:Young Adult Fiction
Format:eARC via publisher
Status:Book two of The Madman’s Daughter trilogy

Summary:

To defeat the darkness, she must first embrace it.

Months have passed since Juliet Moreau returned to civilization after escaping her father’s island—and the secrets she left behind. Now, back in London once more, she is rebuilding the life she once knew and trying to forget Dr. Moreau’s horrific legacy—though someone, or something, hasn’t forgotten her.

As people close to Juliet fall victim one by one to a murderer who leaves a macabre calling card of three clawlike slashes, Juliet fears one of her father’s creations may have also escaped the island. She is determined to find the killer before Scotland Yard does, though it means awakening sides of herself she had thought long banished, and facing loves from her past she never expected to see again

As Juliet strives to stop a killer while searching for a serum to cure her own worsening illness, she finds herself once more in the midst of a world of scandal and danger. Her heart torn in two, past bubbling to the surface, life threatened by an obsessive killer—Juliet will be lucky to escape alive.

With inspiration from Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, this is a tantalizing mystery about the hidden natures of those we love and how far we’ll go to save them from themselves.

My thoughts:

Her Dark Curiosity picks up shortly after The Madman’s Daughter ends. Years ago, back when I was a wee high school freshman, we read The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. I was very excited to see where Megan was going to take this retelling.

Victorian London once again comes vividly to life when Juliet returns and tries to rebuild her life. She’s taken in by the professor who turned her father in to the police for his experimentation. He never intended for Juliet and her mother to suffer as they did and wants to help Juliet in any way he can to make up for what happened. However, time is running out for the recently returned to high society Juliet. The serum her father created is starting to fail. As each day passes, her illness continues to worsen while she secretly works to create a cure. On top of the race to find a cure for herself, there is a serial killer on the loose.

All around town, people are being murdered and the murderer is leaving a calling card – a flower. The murder aspects, I felt, as well as being the distinct differences alluded between Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, gave off a Jack the Ripper vibe. I’m not sure if Megan intended that or if it was just me. Either way, the macabre nature of the murders was very well done.

Juliet learns that she is connected to the victims and becomes increasingly concerned. A certain detail on the victims’ bodies brings back things from the island Juliet had hoped were gone forever. Combining the mutilation of the victims’ bodies and consumed with guilt for events that transpired on the island, Juliet is uncertain what is happening and why she is involved.

Juliet, again, is an incredible heroine who shows true strength and determination in order to help herself and others. Despite being extremely clever, she can also be too trusting and quick to jump to action. This almost gets her into all sorts of terrible trouble more than once. On that note, Juliet’s ability to cling to hope even when things are incredibly bleak is very inspiring. She rises to each challenge and refuses to give up.

Megan does a fantastic job of weaving new and old characters together in this incredible sequel. I was VERY excited to see a certain character return. *swoon* I won’t say which character, cause it’s something that concerns Juliet for a while and that she thinks of often. Megan also does a great job at making you continuously guess at who the villain is. Every time a clue pops up and you’re convinced you know who it is, Megan throws in another twist.

Her Dark Curiosity does NOT suffer from the dreaded sophomore slump. As dark and mysterious as The Madman’s Daughter was, Megan manages to take Her Dark Curiosity on to a whole new level with each twist and turn. Even though it should’ve been glaringly obvious, I completely failed to pick up on the clues for the key book for the trilogy ender. I had a suspicion, but I brushed it off. Sadly, if I had kept with it, I would’ve been right! I am so excited about it though. Part of me wants an ARC and for it to be out now and part of me wants a single release and for it to be savored.

Her Dark Curiosity was absolutely spectacular and I think it will be one of 2014’s best. This gothic thriller is definitely one you don’t want to miss! Darkness, mystery, intrigue, romance, excitement, the works are packed in on every single page. Many thanks to Megan for writing this great book and to HarperCollins and Balzer+Bray for granting me permission to read the ARC.I highly recommend this series and hope you check it out!

 

Throwback Thursday #1: Blue Bloods by Melissa de la Cruz October 10, 2013

Throwback Thursday is a meme I’m starting. TBT is when I’ll review a book I read before I started blogging. This week’s selection is:

Rating:  4 stars
Pub date: 27 March 2007
Publisher: Hyperion
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy
Format: paperback, personal copy
Status: Book one of the Blue Bloods series

Summary:

When the Mayflower set sail in 1620, it carried on board the men and women who would shape America: Miles Standish; John Alden; Constance Hopkins. But some among the Pilgrims were not pure of heart; they were not escaping religious persecution. Indeed, they were not even human. They were vampires.The vampires assimilated quickly into the New World. Rising to levels of enormous power, wealth, and influence, they were the celebrated blue bloods of American society.

The Blue Bloods vowed that their immortal status would remain a closely guarded secret. And they kept that secret for centuries. But now, in New York City, the secret is seeping out. Schuyler Van Alen is a sophomore at a prestigious private school. She prefers baggy, vintage clothes instead of the Prada and pearls worn by her classmates, and she lives with her reclusive grandmother in a dilapidated mansion. Schuyler is a loner…and happy that way. Suddenly, when she turns fifteen, there is a visible mosaic of blue veins on her arm. She starts to crave raw food and she is having flashbacks to ancient times. Then a popular girl from her school is found dead… drained of all her blood. Schuyler doesn’t know what to think, but she wants to find out the secrets the Blue Bloods are keeping. But is she herself in danger?

I came across Blue Bloods just after Masquerade was published in 2007. I would stroll up and down the aisles of the YA section at Barnes and Noble looking for new reads. I saw the cover of Blue Bloods and was immediately drawn in by the obvious vampire aspect. I mean, c’mon. There are bite marks on her neck. MUST be vampire involved! Honestly, I think this is when I came across Twilight, too, but put it back cause it didn’t catch me. I thought what the heck, school’s almost over so I’ll pick it up. I started it the next school day. Wow. Back to B&N to get book 2! I actually “got in trouble” in my AP US History class for reading this one. My teacher told me if I was going to read in class at least make it look like I was paying attention. I said okay and set the book down on my desk and kept reading. (: Now, I wasn’t being bad, I’m great with history. Can’t remember what we were covering, but it was something I already knew well so… I read. (:

Let me introduce you to the big players:

Schuyler Van Alen – I love her. I identified so much with her! I wasn’t part of the “cool kids” in HS. I never wanted to be, and I was okay with that. I loved my friends. I think the way she handles herself when she is thrust into the middle of the Committee is inspiring. She stays true to herself and never wavers.

Oliver Hazard Perry – Oh, Ollie. He’s the best best friend a girl could hope for! His crush on Schuyler is adorable as well.

Bliss Llewellyn – I can kinda relate to Bliss being the new kid in school. I switched school systems in middle school.

Jack Force – Jack is the off limits hot jock in school. He’s a year older than Schuyler and always seems unattainable. Schuyler nurses a secret crush she even tries to hide from Ollie. There’s so much more to Jack than meets the eye and it just pulls you right in.

Mimi Force – Your stereotypical hateful Mean Girl. She’s THE queen bee of the school and lords it over EVERYONE. She especially hates Schuyler because she might as well be a charity case. Mimi is so evil that you hope she has a redeeming aspect.

Everyone’s world is thrown upside down when one of their fellow students is found dead. Schuyler is then among the new inductees of this year’s crop of Committee recruits. It is revealed to her that she is a vampire, a fallen angel from heaven. Or so she thinks. She soon learns that she is a new creation. She’s part human and part angel. This makes things extremely complicated as there has never been another like her. The Committee reveals that the girl who was found dead was killed and they don’t know who did it.

The race is on to uncover a mystery that has been hidden from the Coven for generations. At each turn, things become clearer and more muddled. Schuyler teams up with Jack in trying to uncover the murderer. Certain things come to light that throw their suspicions down the drain. Schuyler’s grandmother is attacked and she offers a piece to the puzzle that might help solve things. She says to find Schuyler’s grandfather.

Blue Bloods is a quick and light read. It’s full of NYC socialite drama with a dark twist. I never thought I would go for a book like this, but Melissa does such a fantastic job with the story line that some of the Mean Girls type drama actually makes it better overall.

The drama and intrigue continues in book two, Masquerade.

Recommended for: Those who have an interest in fallen angels, vampires, NYC, and lots of drama (but GOOD drama!)

Not recommended for: Those who don’t care for drama or a new spin on vampires.

 

 
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