Maybe One Day

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Goodreads Summary:

Zoe and her best friend, Olivia, have always had big plans for the future, none of which included Olivia getting sick. Still, Zoe is determined to put on a brave face and be positive for her friend.

Even when she isn’t sure what to say.

Even when Olivia misses months of school.

Even when Zoe starts falling for Calvin, Olivia’s crush.

The one thing that keeps Zoe moving forward is knowing that Olivia will beat this, and everything will go back to the way it was before. It has to. Because the alternative is too terrifying for her to even imagine.

In this incandescent page-turner, which follows in the tradition of The Fault in Our Stars, Melissa Kantor artfully explores the idea that the worst thing to happen to you might not be something that is actually happening to you. Raw, irreverent, and honest, Zoe’s unforgettable voice and story will stay with readers long after the last page is turned.

 

The beginning is information overload. And the voice is really strange, detatched but first person so I feel like there should be more of a connection, though it does highlight the emotional roller coaster.

It’s a really interesting point of view, I have to give it that. Exploring the suffering of someone dealing with the illness of a loved one; and it represented the self-pity, relief, and anger I can image people going through. I think a good message that comes from it though is that she needed someone to look out for her, while she was worried about her friend, and she needed a reason to be happy; and it’s not something that should be shamed.

I don’t have anything against the book, but it wasn’t my cup of tea. I just don’t want to read about people dying. I’m glad I gave it a shot though, and that’s the whole point of why I’m doing the 365 days of YA Challenge, to try and broaden my horizons a bit, but I will not be going down this road again.

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A Cold Legacy

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Goodreads Summary:

After killing the men who tried to steal her father’s research, Juliet—along with Montgomery, Lucy, Balthazar, and a deathly ill Edward—has escaped to a remote estate on the Scottish moors. Owned by the enigmatic Elizabeth von Stein, the mansion is full of mysteries and unexplained oddities: dead bodies in the basement, secret passages, and fortune-tellers who seem to know Juliet’s secrets. Though it appears to be a safe haven, Juliet fears new dangers may be present within the manor’s own walls.

Then Juliet uncovers the truth about the manor’s long history of scientific experimentation—and her own intended role in it—forcing her to determine where the line falls between right and wrong, life and death, magic and science, and promises and secrets. And she must decide if she’ll follow her father’s dark footsteps or her mother’s tragic ones, or whether she’ll make her own.

With inspiration from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, this breathless conclusion to the Madman’s Daughter trilogy is about the things we’ll sacrifice to save those we love—even our own humanity.

Juliet is going down a dark road and the control and consciousness I thought she had grasped at the end of the second book disappeared immediately in this one. She’s sinking into her morbid fascination with pleasing her dead father, tossing aside the morals the guided her through the first book and she clung to in the second, and shutting out everyone who cares about her. Poor Montgomery, he puts up with a lot of her issues and she’s treats him like poo for the majority of this book.

Anyway! I think it’s really interesting how Elizabeth justifies her use of Frankenstein’s science, and the almost uncontrollable thirst Juliet has for outdoing/pleasing her father’s ghost provides an interesting difference b/w the two scientists. However, the degree of secrets Juliet kept from Montgomery regarding her learning of the science really disappointed me. I mean they are engaged, she plans to spend the rest of her life with him, but her view on their relationship seems to be: it’s better to ask forgiveness than permission; even though we all know that he will do anything if she wants it bad enough. I was just all around disappointed in Juliet for the majority of this story. And I thought the “man hunt” was a bit lacking, but I guess it made sense.

The last 100 pages or so was when it picked up a bit and Juliet pulled her head out of the clouds and faced reality, and the reality of what she had been allowing herself to do. The “Big Secret” that Montgomery had been hiding didn’t come as much of a surprise to me, and I think he should have told her sooner, but whatever. The impact it had on Juliet’s view of herself, the actions of her father, and how it affected her justification for their use of science was . . . well, I still haven’t completely figured out how I feel about it. A part of me thought it was way too much of a turn around too quickly; but another part of me was just received she was seeing things in a different light already – and I also hadn’t realized how deeply she was tied to the idea that she had no choice but to become her father’s daughter. Overall, I thought the resolution was really good and it tied everything up in not too tidy bows, but with closer.

Her Dark Curiosity

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Goodreads Summary:

Inspired by The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, this tantalizing sequel to Megan Shepherd’s gothic suspense novel The Madman’s Daughter explores the hidden natures of those we love and how far we’ll go to save them from themselves. Perfect for fans of Libba Bray.

Back in London after her trip to Dr. Moreau’s horrific island, Juliet is rebuilding the life she once knew and trying to forget her father’s legacy. But soon it’s clear that someone—or something—hasn’t forgotten her, as people close to Juliet start falling victim to a murderer who leaves a macabre calling card of three clawlike slashes. Has one of her father’s creations also escaped the island?

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

Watching Juliet slowly sink into madness in this book was so interesting, and I pretty worried about her to be honest. In the first book she hates her father and his experiments and is sticking to her moral guns. In this one she’s going through so many emotional issues that he’s loosing her hold on her morality and is getting desperate to find a cure to her worsening condition. It’s a roller coaster of emotions!

The relationship development in this book are so interesting. At first, Juliet thinks Montgomery abandoned her, she’s trying to acclimate back into a life where she answers to others, and has a certain amount of respect within the community. She’s heartbroken, lonely, and doesn’t know where she fits in – and she is trying to discover herself.

Then Edward shows up and it all goes to hell – he’s the Dr.Jekyll / Mr.Hyde aspect of this book. Juliet is sucked into his strange hold over her again, almost immediately – she’s no longer alone and has someone who knows all of her secrets and the darkness within herself that she suffers with. I think how Shepherd illustrates their strange relationship is so intriguing. Even when they are intimate (which happens once and I hated it, but I understood why it happened, and Juliet regretted it as soon as it happened.) there is this lack of emotional connection; it makes it clear that Juliet is still in love with someone else, but more importantly it emphasizes her deep loneliness and starvation for a connection to someone.

I also really appreciated that when Montgomery does show up, she doesn’t immediately fall into his arms, he broke her heart, made her think she didn’t matter to him, and abandoned her – she’s hurt beyond words by his actions. So they have a fight where they make stabs at each other and purposefully hurt one another – but that’s a real relationship, it’s not always pretty. And even though they are mad at each other they are still devoted to one another and they work to find a middle ground and to be together. I was surprised by how serious their relationship got, but it makes sense if we are sticking with the historic context. However, I think it’s going to get rocky before it gets better because it’s clear that Juliet is losing her hold on her dark curiosity (see what I did there) of her fathers genius, and Montgomery is doing all he can to support her without letting her go over the edge.

The level of corruption this takes on is really interesting too, and it really makes one question the morality of certain actions when wealth and reputation are for the taking. I can’t wait to delve into the next one, which takes influence from Frankenstein, which I have acctualy read.

The Madman’s Daughter

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Goodreads Summary:

Sixteen-year-old Juliet Moreau has built a life for herself in London—working as a maid, attending church on Sundays, and trying not to think about the scandal that ruined her life. After all, no one ever proved the rumors about her father’s gruesome experiments. But when she learns he is alive and continuing his work on a remote tropical island, she is determined to find out if the accusations are true.

Accompanied by her father’s handsome young assistant, Montgomery, and an enigmatic castaway, Edward—both of whom she is deeply drawn to—Juliet travels to the island, only to discover the depths of her father’s madness: He has experimented on animals so that they resemble, speak, and behave as humans. And worse, one of the creatures has turned violent and is killing the island’s inhabitants. Torn between horror and scientific curiosity, Juliet knows she must end her father’s dangerous experiments and escape her jungle prison before it’s too late. Yet as the island falls into chaos, she discovers the extent of her father’s genius—and madness—in her own blood.

Inspired by H. G. Wells’s classic The Island of Dr. Moreau, The Madman’s Daughter is a dark and breathless Gothic thriller about the secrets we’ll do anything to know and the truths we’ll go to any lengths to protect.

I didn’t expect to like this book as much as I did, I loved it actually.

The concept is amazing, a lot like what we’re seeing with the rise of fairy tale retellings; and I think the use of classic novels – horrors in this case – is fantastic. The tale is dark and gritty and mind bending, while still being modern.

The characters are fantastic. I love Juliet, she’s fiercely independent, outspoken, and completely conscious of her faults. Yet, there is still a vulnerability that makes her relateable and explains her desperate actions.

Montgomery is so much more complex than you realize at the beginning. His feelings towards Juliet are obvious as well as his inherent goodness, but his reasons for working with her father give him a shroud of mystery for a good portion of the story. Slowly his compassion is revealed, his sense of loyalty and protectiveness, his intelligence and need to prove himself, and most of all his survival instinct. I also love the relationship between he and Juliet, it’s so natural and they meld together like two halves of a whole without detracting from any of the personal traits that make them compelling as individuals.

Edward is a mystery, and remains that way until the very end. His pull towards Juliet has something almost sinister about it, yet its clear he doesn’t want to be a bad guy at any stage. Juliet’s interest in him is understandable as she often admits that his darkness calls to hers. Obviously, he and Montgomery construct the love triangle to Juliet, but I thought it was done pretty well, she is drawn to each of them for different reasons, and I think her ultimate choice will reflect who she wants to become – and I don’t think that will happen until she comes to terms with her demons.

Her father is an interesting one. As the villain of the story its so well done, he believes in what he’s doing so much he’s blind to the wrongness of it. It’s made even more interesting with the juxtaposition between he and his creatures. I didn’t read the original story this was based on, so I don’t know how much of the traits stem from it, but this was fantastic.

The ending is full of so many reveals and twists, it’s crazy and leaves you breathless for a minute, but I’m really interested to see how it all plays out.

Also, as a side note. I had already pre-ordered The Cage, by Shepherd, so now that I have read this I’m even more excited for that!

Coming This Week: Feb. 23

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It’s my birthday! I am officially a quarter of a century old, and I don’t know how I feel about it.

I am also in TX this week, using my birthday as an excuse to visit home and take a much needed break from HI. My friend is house/kitty sitting for me so it’s going to be a very relaxing week – I don’t have to worry about work (though I do need to get some done), I don’t have to be woken up 5 minutes before my alarm goes off every morning my a meowing kitty (sorry Chloe), and I get to see my ponies!!

Since I am taking it easy this week, the catching up of book discussion backlog will continue, all of these are from the 365DaysofYA challenge!

The Diviners

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untitled (5)Goodreads Summary:

Evie O’Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City—and she is pos-i-tute-ly ecstatic. It’s 1926, and New York is filled with speakeasies, Ziegfeld girls, and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is that she has to live with her uncle Will and his unhealthy obsession with the occult.

Evie worries he’ll discover her darkest secret: a supernatural power that has only brought her trouble so far. But when the police find a murdered girl branded with a cryptic symbol and Will is called to the scene, Evie realizes her gift could help catch a serial killer.

As Evie jumps headlong into a dance with a murderer, other stories unfold in the city that never sleeps. A young man named Memphis is caught between two worlds. A chorus girl named Theta is running from her past. A student named Jericho hides a shocking secret. And unknown to all, something dark and evil has awakened.

I love Bray’s writing so much, and this didn’t let me down. The historic aspect was wonderfully researched, the characters all fantastic, and the story rich and complex with nuance. Some people found the 20s jargon really distracting, but I definitely didn’t. I never found it too suffocating, all it did was successfully immerse me in the era – and that’s what a good book is supposed to do!

Initially, I was really annoyed by Evie, she’s vain, naive, and selfish. But we soon see another side of her; she’s haunted by her brothers death and she’s got this strange power she doesn’t understand. She goes through some great development in the story, and it’s paced wonderfully, her growth is so believable. Though I suppose helping your uncle solve a string of gruesome crimes will do that to a girl. And down to her core, she’s really a good person – she’s fiercely loyal to her friends and though she’s intent on becoming famous, she isn’t willing to use or abuse others to do so.

There is a fantastic string of secondary characters, and all of them help Evie develop and add another little element to the grandeur of this story and it’s complexities. I loved her relationship with her Uncle Will, he’s hard on her, but it encourages her to grow up and take responsibility for her actions and she pushes him to face the future. She and Sam are thoroughly entertaining and make a great duo – I am not a huge fan of them as a couple though, which a lot of people seem to be routing for, they are way too similar and I think their relationship would be too volatile. Mable and Theta are good friends, and Theta’s back story is incredible, but I’m not over the moon about either of them (It looks like Mable is going to grow up in the second book though so maybe she’ll grow on me).

Opposed to general sentiment it seems, I’m pro the developing relationship between Evie and Jericho. I like Jericho, where most people find him boring, I like his quiet presence; and his secret is so intriguing! He’s very passionate, thoughtful, intelligent, and I think he grounds Evie. She’s often selfish and rash, impulsive and carefree; they balance each other well and I look forward to see how their relationship develops.

Theta’s relationship with Memphis – the other primary character – is cute. I really hope to see Memphis become more intertwined in Evie’s sphere in the second book. I do love though how Bray used him to express the darker sides of the U.S. in the early 20th century – racism, segregation, eugenics; it’s great to see an author taking on these big historic ideas that many people shy away from (something she did in the Gemma Doyle Series too).

The ghost story is simply amazing. Naughty John is a fantastic villain and I can’t wait to see how Theta and Memphis’ premonitions play out in the next book and how that villain compares. I also love how none of the characters are all good or all bad. They all show their colors, and some – like Blind Bill – end up being a bit more sinister than I had initially pegged.

The writing is simply sublime, and I can’t wait for the next book!

 

The Conspiracy of Us

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Goodreads Summary:

Avery West’s newfound family can shut down Prada when they want to shop in peace, and can just as easily order a bombing when they want to start a war. Part of a powerful and dangerous secret society called the Circle, they believe Avery is the key to an ancient prophecy. Some want to use her as a pawn. Some want her dead.

To unravel the mystery putting her life in danger, Avery must follow a trail of clues from the monuments of Paris to the back alleys of Istanbul with two boys who work for the Circle—beautiful, volatile Stellan and mysterious, magnetic Jack. But as the clues expose a stunning conspiracy that might plunge the world into World War 3, she discovers that both boys are hiding secrets of their own. Now she will have to choose not only between freedom and family–but between the boy who might help her save the world, and the one she’s falling in love with.

In the beginning, Avery is so naive, and I kind of hate her. She runs off with two boys she doesn’t even know (well, she’s known one for a week, so ya know. . .) with the promise of meeting “her family” who she knows nothing about. All the while prancing about enjoying the designer clothes and exotic places and two hot boys who keep interjecting themselves into her escapades. And then after her almost assassination and heart to heart with the less creepy of the two hot boys she seems to begin to come to her senses. Only to run off to another country without a backward glance. I mean seriously, there is being compulsive and learning from your mistakes, and there is just being an idiot.

It goes like this for about the first 100 pages, and then it gets good. The whole “conspiracy” is slowly revealed and becomes more intriguing as more layers are revealed. Also, though Avery still jumps into dangerous situations, it evolves from her being selfish to her fighting for people she cares about, which I can get behind. Her evolution from being a self-enforced loner to someone who lets people into her heart and earn her trust is what started to redeem her to me.

Jack is actually my favorite character (the less creepy of the two creepy hot boys). But that could be because we have the same birthday, both love history, and his accent in my head is amazing. Basically, I have a new book boyfriend.

Anyway, the cliffhanger we end on was interesting, and expected, but it would have been too clean and tidy for it to have been anyone else and I’m interested to see how it all plays out. Though I really don’t want to see anymore of a love triangle in the second than we had in the first, which was terrible in the beginning – my hopes aren’t too high.

I was doubtful of this book when started it and even thought about putting it down, but I’m glad I stuck it through, after the first 100 pages it got pretty good, and I’m intrigued enough to want to continue the series.