Tag Archives: Historical Fiction

Stalking Jack the Ripper (Stalking Jack the Ripper #1) – Kerri Maniscalco

Stalking Jack the Ripper (Stalking Jack the Ripper #1) – Kerri ManiscalcoTitle: Stalking Jack the Ripper (Stalking Jack the Ripper #1) by Kerri Maniscalco
Publishing Info: September 20, 2016 by Hachette
Source: BEA 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Horror, Mystery/Thriller, Historical Fiction
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: September 4, 2016
Related Posts: Hunting Prince Dracula (Stalking Jack the Ripper #2), Escaping From Houdini (Stalking Jack the Ripper #3), Capturing the Devil (Stalking Jack the Ripper #4)

Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord's daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life.
Against her stern father's wishes and society's expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle's laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world.

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STALKING JACK THE RIPPER was such a fun read for me! I was in the mood for something delightfully dark and yet not too scary (since I’m a total chicken) and this was the perfect blend of history, mystery, and gore. Kerri Maniscalco brings the story of Jack the Ripper to life in this book with some real-life facts (including photos of actual items/evidence from the original Ripper cases) and blends them with some historical fiction to create an overall wonderful read.

The characters in this book are just excellent. I love main character Audrey Rose for so many reasons. She’s intelligent, independent, and generally doesn’t care what society thinks. She tries to do right by her family, especially after the death of her mother several years ago, but her father highly disapproves of her favorite hobby — apprenticing with her uncle in his laboratory and studying forensics. I personally love it! I loved the darkness and gruesomeness of Audrey Rose’s passion but I also loved how well it ties into the Jack the Ripper case. Audrey Rose becomes so invested in the case that she ends up often taking things into her own hands which is where another favorite character of mine, Thomas Cresswell, comes in.

Ah, Thomas Cresswell. He’s also an intellectual type but where Audrey Rose follows up with passion, Cresswell comes in with reasoning and cold logic. He’s a tough shell to crack and I loved trying to figure him out throughout the book! There were times when I loved him, times when I feared him, times when I was suspicious of him, and times when I couldn’t get enough of him! I really enjoyed the partnership he had going on with Audrey Rose and I cannot wait to see more of them working together in the second book!

I don’t read a lot of historical fiction but I’ve had some really good luck with historical aspects and true facts being adapted to fiction novels lately, and this falls into that category! I really enjoyed reading the afterword from Kerri Maniscalco about the actual facts of Jack the Ripper and pieces of the case and how she adapted them to the book. It’s neat to see real pieces of a mystery incorporated into this exciting adaptation!

I also loved how the identity of Jack the Ripper really kept me guessing throughout the book! I had several suspicions which waxed and waned throughout my read and the ending was so exciting!!! I was so hooked waiting to see how this all wrapped up and it beautifully set up the next book (for which I cannot wait)! The reveals were just great and perfectly timed and there were some really exciting and stunning moments!! I just really enjoyed STALKING JACK THE RIPPER from start to finish and I can’t wait for the next book.

view_from_goodreads1

“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

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Kept Me Hooked On: Historical Fiction – and reading extra notes! I don’t read a ton of historical fiction but when I do, I’ve been enjoying reading the extra notes from the authors — what was true, what was bent to fit the story, and what could have possibly happened. I’m really loving the true history belnded with fiction!
Left Me Wanting More: Romance. Okay, I actually really appreciated that swoons that I had weren’t rushed and were delightfully gradual (which also killed me a little) because it has me even more excited for future books! I’m just being greedy!

Addiction Rating
Buy it!

I really, really enjoyed this book and Kerri Maniscalco is just a lovely person. I’ve had so much fun flailing and reading and speculating and I can’t wait to continue this series when the next book comes out!

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BOOKS LIKE STALKING JACK THE RIPPER

(Click the cover to see my review!)

    this dark endeavor

My Lady Jane – Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows

My Lady Jane – Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi MeadowsTitle: My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Jodi Meadows, Brodi Ashton
Publishing Info: June 7, 2016 by HarperCollins
Source: Edelweiss, Subscription Box
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Retelling, Historical Fiction
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: August 23, 2016
Related Posts: Everneath (Everneath #1), Everbound (Everneath #2)

The comical, fantastical, romantical, (not) entirely true story of Lady Jane Grey. In My Lady Jane, coauthors Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows have created a one-of-a-kind fantasy in the tradition of The Princess Bride, featuring a reluctant king, an even more reluctant queen, a noble steed, and only a passing resemblance to actual history—because sometimes history needs a little help.
At sixteen, Lady Jane Grey is about to be married off to a stranger and caught up in a conspiracy to rob her cousin, King Edward, of his throne. But those trifling problems aren’t for Jane to worry about. Jane is about to become the Queen of England.

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MY LADY JANE is such a fun and unique concept. There isn’t a lot of satire out there in YA right now and this was such a fun way to bring both history and humor together. The book is told by narrators who frequently interrupt their own story-telling to add notes for the reader and inform them of historical inaccuracies, fun facts, or just silly tidbits. It was a lot of fun and really reminded me some of wonderfully comedic Mel Brooks movies in which characters often break the 4th wall to address the audience directly. It’s even more fun to incorporate satire with a historical account (or rather, a quite fictionalized historical account) because of all the anachronisms and pop culture references that really make the book even more funny!

Admittedly, I don’t know a lot about the story of Lady Jane Grey. Obviously by now, I know the broader points of history (and I still blame my middle school and high school education for a seriously lack of historical knowledge) so I think the book could have been a bit more fun if I was more of a history buff. I know a few friends who love history and have an extensive knowledge on historical events who took a little more joy from the story overall, so that’s really just a personal experience that unfortunately can’t helped. I will say, though, that the book was enjoyable whether you know the history or not! I had a basic understanding but details are explained and even if you don’t care about the true story, the book will carry you through with a fun historical-fiction romp (and they change the ending anyway so I suppose it doesn’t matter too much in the end)!

The concept of Eðians (people who magically change to and from an animal form) was so much fun! I loved how it was incorporated in to the book in so many ways — from selecting to change to being cursed, the support and blatant rejection, the people in disguise — it was a great way to incorporate magic from start to finish. I liked that it was the only real form of magic in the book so it brought that magical element but didn’t turn into a full-out fantasy. It was the perfect way to alter history just a bit and keep things tied to the actual facts.

I just loved the collaboration from Jodi Meadows, Brodi Ashton, and Cynthia Hand. They really put together a fun and unique book and MY LADY JANE easily found a place in so many readers’ hearts. MY LADY JANE easily appeals to fans of The Princess Bride with its historical feel and slight satire, Disney fans for its animal magic and pop culture references, and historical fans who love a twist on history. There are direct references to books and movies like The Princess Bride, A Game of Thrones, Monty Python, and I’m pretty sure I saw Tangled in there! It also had the magic of all of seeing everything combined and so many loves in one place. I laughed out loud so many times and the book was just so clever!

I had a weird experience in which reading this book was so enjoyable and yet it felt really long! The book is over 500 pages so it’s no speed-read but the content was so light and fun that I feel like I should have finished it fasted. Maybe it was just my reading schedule… but I do feel like it could have been a little bit shorter. A lot of people said the book just flew by and it didn’t feel to long until I was nearing the end and it still wasn’t over. Don’t get me wrong — I was enjoying the whole thing — but there was just something that was off that was making me anxious for things to wrap up. That’s seriously one of my only qualms, though. MY LADY JANE was always fun and these authors did a great job of putting things together!

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“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

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Kept Me Hooked On: Satire. I’ve barely read any satire but when it’s done right, it’s SO much fun! These authors totally nailed it.
Left Me Wanting More: Swiftness. At some points I felt like the book was a bit long. I was hoping for a couple things to be wrapped up a bit quicker but I still enjoyed it all around!

Addiction Rating
Read it!

MY LADY JANE was just so much fun. No matter if you enjoy history or not, this is such a great read and will definitely make you laugh out loud!

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BOOKS LIKE MY LADY JANE

(Click the cover to see my review!)

THE LIES OF LOCKE LAMORA    

The Crown’s Game (The Crown’s Game #1) – Evelyn Skye

The Crown’s Game (The Crown’s Game #1) – Evelyn SkyeTitle: The Crown's Game (The Crown's Game #1) by Evelyn Skye
Publishing Info: May 17, 2016 by HarperCollins
Source: Edelweiss
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Historical Fiction
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: February 23, 2016
Related Posts: The Crown's Fate (The Crown's Game #2)

Vika Andreyeva can summon the snow and turn ash into gold. Nikolai Karimov can see through walls and conjure bridges out of thin air. They are enchanters—the only two in Russia—and with the Ottoman Empire and the Kazakhs threatening, the Tsar needs a powerful enchanter by his side.
And so he initiates the Crown’s Game, an ancient duel of magical skill—the greatest test an enchanter will ever know. The victor becomes the Imperial Enchanter and the Tsar’s most respected adviser. The defeated is sentenced to death.
Raised on tiny Ovchinin Island her whole life, Vika is eager for the chance to show off her talent in the grand capital of Saint Petersburg. But can she kill another enchanter—even when his magic calls to her like nothing else ever has?
For Nikolai, an orphan, the Crown’s Game is the chance of a lifetime. But his deadly opponent is a force to be reckoned with—beautiful, whip smart, imaginative—and he can’t stop thinking about her.
And when Pasha, Nikolai’s best friend and heir to the throne, also starts to fall for the mysterious enchantress, Nikolai must defeat the girl they both love . . . or be killed himself.
As long-buried secrets emerge, threatening the future of the empire, it becomes dangerously clear . . . the Crown’s Game is not one to lose.

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Right off the bat, THE CROWN’S GAME had a teensy bit of a NIGHT CIRCUS feel and I was instantly hooked. Two opposing magicians (or in this case, enchanters)? Yes, please! I easily immersed myself in this book and had just a wonderful time reading it from start to finish. Evelyn Skye did a fantastic job with this book and my only regret (kidding, I don’t really regret anything) is that I read it so early because I need more of these books NOW!

THE CROWN’S GAME was a really fun read for me. I was a bit worried at first because I know nothing about Imperial Russia (history was not my favorite growing up… and now I kick myself for it!) but I had nothing to worry about. The book is based on actual historical figures but the author has taken liberties with the facts and setting and turned them into a fantasy-based story. I loved the way that the history (the little that I actually knew) and the culture shaped the story and really brought the book to life! I absolutely loved the feel of the book and I really felt like I could picture each scene so well.

The concept of competing enchanters was exciting, nerve-wracking, and delightful all at the same time. Vika and Nikolai are forced into The Crown’s Game, a competition which one will win the right to serve the tsar as the official enchanter. The challenges between these two enchanters is absolutely delightful. The rules in place state that any “turn” (they alternate performing a large magical feat and have five turns to impress the tsar), cannot harm the common people so Vika and Nikolai come up with ways to enhance the city and oh. Their magic is simply gorgeous. I fell head over heels for the enchantments that Evelyn Skye designed for her characters and they were beautiful to experience. Each one really brought the book to life so much more and I was positively in love with how each turn was handled. Each one was also exponentially more exciting as the two enchanters built off of the previous works all the while under immenent threat of being murdered by the other. Oh yeah, did I mention that this is a competition TO THE DEATH? I spent the entire book falling in love with these two characters (and shipping them, obviously) and still somehow I was like nah, one of them will live. It can’t end in one of them dying, right? (This is also my Gansey denial.) I won’t tell you how it ends but it was something that I really and truly did not see coming and I was impressed and shocked all at the same time.  I just really loved dichotomy of bringing harmony to St. Petersburg as Vika and Nikolai took each of their turns and the constant panic and fear as both of them feared for their lives when that new turn arrived.

I absolutely loved each character in this book as well. Of course I loved the two main characters, Vika and Nikolai, and how they came together in this story. They really balance each other out and fit together so well. Vika can easily manipulate things in nature — water, land, food — and Nikolai is best with textiles and materials — wood, fabric, metal, etc. They were brought together as the only two living enchanters in Russia but I loved that their magic and ability wasn’t identical. I also loved how their relationship was slow to develop (being that they’re pitted against each other and all) and that things and feelings just slowly start falling into place. It really just felt so natural and wonderful.

The other characters are great as well. Pasha (the prince) plays a huge role in this book in so many ways and I absolutely loved him. He brings such positivity and joy to the book and at the same time provides a very large point of conflict with Nikolai as his best friend (who he doesn’t know possesses magical abilities) and his instant attraction to Vika. His role in the book is so amazingly crafted and interwoven with every other character’s story line and I was so impressed!

I feel like I could go on and on but I will wrap it up by saying do not miss out on this book. I finished it and then immediately wanted to read more! THE CROWN’S GAME was a wonderful book and I can’t wait for more from Evelyn Skye!
view_from_goodreads1

“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

crown's game gr updates

 

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Kept Me Hooked On: Historical Fiction + Fantasy. I loved the way Imperial Russia shaped this book. I wasn’t a big history person growing up so I love getting that feel and a teensy bit of history (or something based on a real time/place) in a work of fiction.
Left Me Wanting More: Story! I wouldn’t say that the ending is a cliffhanger because we do know how the Crown’s Game ends… But there’s a little something that sets up the next book that just has me DYING for more!

Addiction Rating
Buy it!

I loved this book and had a wonderful time reading it from start to finish. This is one I want for my shelves when it comes out!!

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BOOKS LIKE THE CROWN’S GAME

(Click the cover to see my review!)

THE NIGHT CIRCUS    THRONE OF GLASS

Walk on Earth a Stranger (The Gold Seer Trilogy #1) – Rae Carson

Walk on Earth a Stranger (The Gold Seer Trilogy #1) – Rae CarsonTitle: Walk on Earth a Stranger (The Gold Seer Trilogy #1) by Rae Carson
Publishing Info: September 22, 2015 by HarperCollins
Genres: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Fantasy
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: December 4, 2015
Related Posts: The Girl of Fire and Thorns (Fire and Thorns #1)

Lee Westfall has a strong, loving family. She has a home she loves and a loyal steed. She has a best friend—who might want to be something more.
She also has a secret.
Lee can sense gold in the world around her. Veins deep in the earth. Small nuggets in a stream. Even gold dust caught underneath a fingernail. She has kept her family safe and able to buy provisions, even through the harshest winters. But what would someone do to control a girl with that kind of power? A person might murder for it.
When everything Lee holds dear is ripped away, she flees west to California—where gold has just been discovered. Perhaps this will be the one place a magical girl can be herself. If she survives the journey.
The acclaimed Rae Carson begins a sweeping new trilogy set in Gold Rush-era America, about a young woman with a powerful and dangerous gift.

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I had heard some really good things about WALK ON EARTH A STRANGER and naturally, I was super excited to see fantasy elements in a historical fiction aspect. I always love discovering new books where genres collide and I was so excited to see magical elements in American history instead of a more high fantasy feel. When I received the audiobook for review from HarperTeen, I couldn’t resist starting right away!

WALK ON EARTH A STRANGER is essentially the Oregon Trail but in book form and with more backstory for each character. Leah Westfall embarks upon a journey to California after a traumatic incident at home in Georgia leaves her with virtually nothing left to stay for. The book definitely took on that Oregon Trail-feel for me with important points like Independence, MO and several things you might have encountered in the game while “on the road”. That’s not really the point or inspiration of the book but that really was a big feel of it for me since I’ve read very little about Pioneer times!

The hard thing for me throughout the book is that is really didn’t feel too much different than the Oregon Trail for me. There was the Gold Rush aspect which was interesting but aside from travelling from Georgia to California to go find the gold, there wasn’t too much happening (yet) with the Gold Rush. I didn’t realize at the time that this is actually the first in a series so the book actually closed off one leg of this adventure but even knowing that now, it still feels like not too much happened here. Personally, I have trouble with “journey” stories. As much as the journey itself is an adventure, it’s not enough to really hold my interest. A journey itself really isn’t enough plot for me so I just felt like there really wasn’t much going on aside from traveling.

Another big issue I had with WALK ON EARTH A STRANGER is that it was so heavily marketed as a historical fiction/fantasy blend but there really wasn’t much magic in the book at all. Leah’s abilities are introduced and lightly explored but aside from that (and being a motivator for her to leave for California), I didn’t really feel like the magic was involved much in the book at all. Again, I suppose a thing that will be explored in the rest of the series but since it didn’t grab me in the first book, it leaves me wondering if I even want to continue with the series.

The journey to California seemed to be such a big part of the book that I felt like I was just missing so much from plot, characters, and other points of action. I easily finished the audio and mostly enjoyed the book but it seemed to drag for a while when all the characters were doing was travelling and there was little to no magic to really bring that fantasy element around. WALK ON EARTH A STRANGER may just not have been the book for me and I’ll probably think on this a while before I decide if I want to continue the series or not. 

AUDIOBOOK IMPRESSIONS

I tend to be pickier with female narrators over male narrators but I actually really enjoyed this narration from Erin Mallon. I feel like she did a really good job overall with Leah/Lee’s character and that was really important to the story! The rest of the voices were good, though nothing really stood out to me a lot. I will say that she was sort of terrible with accents. Leah meets several people who have come to America from other countries and who speak different languages or are learning English and hoo boy, those accents were not good. Even when the foreign-language speaker was saying something and Erin Mallon was performing their voice… I’m passionate about languages and that was sort of my jam in school (and even after I graduated) and it was just painful to feel like she didn’t try to have any sort of accent at all with those. Overall, it was a decent audio performance. Some parts felt overdone and then over parts I was underwhelmed. Not sure I’d select another audiobook narrated by Erin Mallon after this, though.
view_from_goodreads1

“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

walk on earth a stranger gr updates

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Leah/Lee // Character Obsessions: Escape, gold, travel, hiding. 
Leah was… all right. She was strong, definitely a tough girl and I really loved her quiet strength as well as her obvious determination. I didn’t really connect with her much though. Again, could be a preference thing like how I have trouble with characters who have a one-track mind/single mission and everything else doesn’t matter. I would have really liked to get to know her more and learn more of her background to find out who she really is.

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Kept Me Hooked On: American Historical Fiction. I don’t read a lot of historical fiction and it was really fun to read some more than takes place in American history! I love the Gold Rush aspect.
Left Me Wanting More: Action. Pretty much all of the action was contained within the journey to California so although it was definitely a personal preference, I really felt like there wasn’t a lot going on.

Addiction Rating
Try it

Some people really loved this one. I think I sort of missed out on this one because it was a “journey” book and that’s just not my thing. It really doesn’t hold my attention.

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BOOKS LIKE WALK ON EARTH A STRANGER

(Click the cover to see my review!)

VENGEANCE ROAD    A MADNESS SO DISCREET

A Madness So Discreet – Mindy McGinnis

A Madness So Discreet – Mindy McGinnisTitle: A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis
Publishing Info: October 6, 2015 by HarperCollins
Genres: Historical Fiction, Psych/Mental Health, Mystery/Thriller, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: August 29, 2015
Related Posts: The Female of the Species, This Darkness Mine

Grace Mae knows madness.
She keeps it locked away, along with her voice, trapped deep inside a brilliant mind that cannot forget horrific family secrets. Those secrets, along with the bulge in her belly, land her in a Boston insane asylum.
When her voice returns in a burst of violence, Grace is banished to the dark cellars, where her mind is discovered by a visiting doctor who dabbles in the new study of criminal psychology. With her keen eyes and sharp memory, Grace will make the perfect assistant at crime scenes. Escaping from Boston to the safety of an ethical Ohio asylum, Grace finds friendship and hope, hints of a life she should have had. But gruesome nights bring Grace and the doctor into the circle of a killer who stalks young women. Grace, continuing to operate under the cloak of madness, must hunt a murderer while she confronts the demons in her own past.
In this beautifully twisted historical thriller, Mindy McGinnis, acclaimed author of Not a Drop to Drink and In a Handful of Dust, explores the fine line between sanity and insanity, good and evil—and the madness that exists in all of us.

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** Word of warning that I WILL be talking about some minor spoilers for the book. It’s nothing that will give plot or twists away but I will be discussing character relationships, the nature of some which are not revealed until later on in the book. ** 

How amazing is the cover for this book!? As soon as I saw it, I immediately knew I had to read it… BUT this book had a serious case of “misleading cover”! From the look of it and the title, I went into the book thinking it was going to be creepy, paranormal, and take place mostly with the mental patients within a very scary institution (we all know how much I avoid the synopsis right before I start)… and while some of that was indeed true, A MADNESS SO DISCREET turned out to be much more historical fiction meets murder mystery than creepy psych hospital!

A MADNESS SO DISCREET took me a little bit to get into, but once I found out that it was more murder mystery, I was all on board! The beginning started out a bit slow and confusing for me as I was trying to get a grasp on what the deal with the mental hospital was. Readers are thrown right into Grace’s story with little introduction of who she is and why she’s there so I was getting to know Grace as I was getting to know the setting which isn’t necessarily a bad thing but for some reason with this particular book, it was a bit confusing trying to get a read on both.
There were a few hints at some extra-sensory abilities from fellow inmates so I was anticipating that playing a bigger role than it did (especially with the creepy hand reaching out on the cover!) but after finishing the story, I wonder if that was just more of an “illness” thing than actual ability. The confusing part was that the inmate’s ability was accurate so the lack of presence of this character and seemingly realistic powers throughout the book sort of felt like a waste of a mention.

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk about all of the other things I really enjoyed, which was a lot! I really enjoyed the historical setting. I’m not usually a historical fiction person but I usually do love a gothic horror feel and that always draws my attention. I really got the feeling like I was thrown back in time to where this book was taking place and felt totally immersed in the time period, the setting, and the characters. The setting especially was so vivid and so well done. I really felt like I could picture so many of the locations and the overall tone was consistent and gave a really nice gothic horror feel!

I also really enjoyed the character relationships. Grace Mae actually wasn’t my favorite character of the book and neither was Dr. Thornhollow (it was Nell!) but I just loved the way that they worked together and how much they trusted each other. It was interesting to see how similar they thought and formed ideas and I thought they made a great team. I thought it was great that they had a sort of chemistry going on and they seemed to have somewhat of an attraction but it wasn’t forced into being a relationship. As of right now, MADNESS is definitely a stand alone, but if the series continued, I think I’d enjoy seeing that relationship develop! Because of the circumstances, it didn’t quite make sense or feel right to have those two characters romantically involved but I like the idea that it sets up for a future for them should they wish to pursue it.
Grace also a had a great friendship with her fellow institution gals that I just loved. I immediately warmed to Nell and she became my favorite and I loved how she and Elizabeth really took Grace under their wings. The friendship was just delightful to witness and I grew really attached to those girls.

I also really enjoyed the mystery aspect! I always feel like there’s a lack of young adult mysteries and I just love how this pieced together in a historical setting. There were some nice clues, great teamwork, and some interesting suspense! The only complaint is not the lack of twist but lack of anticipation of the murderer’s capture. I don’t really need a twist in all of my mysteries (though they are fun) but I thought it ended rather quickly and easily. While that may have been a realistic conclusion, I think I would have appreciated a bit more storytelling as far as wrapping that mystery up.

There is one more thing I have to touch upon before I close out the review that I think I just can’t pass up and it was something I battled with the whole book… The whole incest thing really was hard for me to read. If I had known it was a part of the book, I’m honestly not sure I would have read it and I really think it hindered my reading experience. It’s just something that I find truly appalling and my brain tends to immediately turn off not just from the offending character but from the whole book. There’s a sort of cloud that sits over the whole book and it was just really hard to get over. I’m not saying it’s something that shouldn’t be talked about, but for me personally, it just really creates an “ick factor” for the whole book. It does make the offending character that much more of a monster and that much more “hateable” but I couldn’t shake that overall gross feeling because it’s actually a consistent part of the book.

A MADNESS SO DISCREET was a really enjoyable read for me and I was left wanting so much more of this world! I think in part because I took a while to feel out the characters and I also think I’d enjoy another book in this world without the constant reappearance of incest hanging over it. I’d love to see Grace and Thornhollow solving more mysteries or even something else taking place in the asylum. I just loved the atmosphere and would love to spend more time in it but even if this is the last we see of MADNESS, it won’t be the last I see of Mindy McGinnis! Now I have to worked my way backwards and read her previous works!

view_from_goodreads1

“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

a madness so discreet goodreads updates

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Grace // Character Obsessions: Survival, revenge, resolutions, justice.
I actually didn’t connect with Grace a lot. I guess it’s hard since she’s kind of closed off, given what she’s been through, and she was actively shutting herself down in the very beginning. Even after she started opening up more, I didn’t quite make a connection to her, though I appreciated her goals (I was on her side, of course) and thought she was interesting to get to know!
Dr. Thornhollow // Character Obsessions: Science, medicine, mysteries.
I would love to learn so much more about Thornhollow. He was so interesting and intelligent and I wished I could have gotten to know him better! I wonder what things would be like from his POV…

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Kept Me Hooked On: Historical Fiction. It’s always great when I can find a historical fiction novel that I enjoy. It’s not my genre of choice so I’m so glad I found another one that I just fell into!
Left Me Wanting More: Personality. I think I was drawn to the characters who were more outwardly emotional. Nell was very outgoing and she was my favorite, but I dare anyone not to like her! She was fantastic. I think Grace is just more reserved, as is Thornhollow, so it was a bit harder to get to know their true personalities.

Addiction Rating
Read it

I had a lot of fun with this one! The atmosphere was great, the plot was interesting, and it felt like a pretty quick and fun read while at the same time staying a little dark.

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BOOKS LIKE A MADNESS SO DISCREET

(Click the cover to see my review!)

BORN    The Madman’s Daughter (The Madman’s Daughter #1) – Megan Shepherd

Blog Tour: A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis | Author Interview + Giveaway!

Madness Tour Banner

Welcome to the blog tour for
A MADNESS SO DISCREET by Mindy McGinnis!

Today I’m on the blog tour for A MADNESS SO DISCREET hosted by Irish Banana Tours and Harper Teen! I am SO excited to share my interview with Mindy McGinnis with you today and talk to you about A MADNESS SO DISCREET! Before we hop into the interview, let’s have a refresher on the book first!

Blog Tour: A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis | Author Interview + Giveaway!Title: A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis
Publishing Info: October 6, 2015 by HarperCollins
Source: Edelweiss
Genres: Historical Fiction, Mystery/Thriller, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: August 29, 2015
Related Posts: A Madness So Discreet, The Female of the Species, This Darkness Mine

Grace Mae knows madness.
She keeps it locked away, along with her voice, trapped deep inside a brilliant mind that cannot forget horrific family secrets. Those secrets, along with the bulge in her belly, land her in a Boston insane asylum.
When her voice returns in a burst of violence, Grace is banished to the dark cellars, where her mind is discovered by a visiting doctor who dabbles in the new study of criminal psychology. With her keen eyes and sharp memory, Grace will make the perfect assistant at crime scenes. Escaping from Boston to the safety of an ethical Ohio asylum, Grace finds friendship and hope, hints of a life she should have had. But gruesome nights bring Grace and the doctor into the circle of a killer who stalks young women. Grace, continuing to operate under the cloak of madness, must hunt a murderer while she confronts the demons in her own past.
In this beautifully twisted historical thriller, Mindy McGinnis, acclaimed author of Not a Drop to Drink and In a Handful of Dust, explores the fine line between sanity and insanity, good and evil—and the madness that exists in all of us.

LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBook | The Book Depository

INTERVIEW WITH MINDY MCGINNIS

Brittany: I really enjoyed that A Madness So Discreet is a historical horror/thriller novel! Did you have any specific references or influences from history when creating the setting and characters?
Mindy McGinnis: Yes, definitely! For setting I was relying heavily on the history of the Athens Lunatic Asylum in Athens, Ohio. It was a beacon of moral treatment in the late 1800’s for the insane. Characters I always allow to grow and inform me on their own time. I start with a shell and let the story make them, so, no historical influences there.

B: I just loved the gothic horror feel of the book. Did you have any specific inspirations for this time period while writing Madness
MM: Not necessarily. I love the 1890’s because it was a huge cultural change for a lot of people. Technology was moving forward in leaps and bounds, medicine was changing, schools of thought across the board were morphing constantly. There was a lot of quiet upheaval going on, which relates well to the book.

B: Are there any awesome trivia facts or anecdotes about the writing and creation of Madness (I recently read that you wrote it in three weeks!)? 
MM: Ha! Yeah, I did write the majority of it (probably 90%) in three weeks. I was confused about when my deadline was, and writerare better at procrastinating than actually writing. So… that was interesting. I don’t recommend it, although I was immersed in the world.

B: What did you find the most challenging about writing a historical fiction piece?
MM: I researched for an entire year before writing a word of this book. There was much to learn – the beginnings of criminal psychology, the history of asylum medicine (both the good and the bad), and of course historical details in general. What kind of lighting would be in a room in 1890? What would an asylum inmate be wearing? I’m very particular, and there were days when I couldn’t finish a sentence without doing half an hour of research in order to make sure I got it (hopefully) right.

B: The different locations throughout the book were so vivid for me! Did you have a favorite setting within the book or one that was exciting to have the characters explore? 
MM: The Athens Lunatic Asylum in Ohio has an amazing history. You can do a quick Google and learn about how it’s one of the most haunted places in the world and hear horror stories about the graveyard. And while I’m a fan of the supernatural, I’m also a fan of data. That type of history doesn’t interest me, because most of it quite frankly, just isn’t true.
I toured the buildings, which are now part of the Ohio University campus. You can’t go into the patient wards for safety reasons (they are literally crumbling), but some parts of the building are currently in use as staff offices as well as an art gallery. The gallery is open to the public, and when you visit you can see original floors, staircases and woodwork from the insane asylum years. Definitely hit up my Pinterest board if you want to see some pics from my tour!
You can most definitely repost some of my pics from Pinterest, just make sure if you use any of the older ones that you use the attribution that I did, b/c some of those actually belong to University Archives.

B: Is this book the start and end of A Madness So Discreet or do you think you will revisit it somehow (novella? Companion? Inspiration for another historical novel?) at a later date?
MM: I would love to write more in this series. I have an outline for another Grace / Dr. Thornhollow adventure, but it is unsold, as of this interview. If Madness does well, that could change!

ABOUT MINDY McGINNIS

Mindy McGinnisMindy McGinnis is a YA author who has worked in a high school library for thirteen years. Her debut, NOT A DROP TO DRINK, a post-apocalyptic survival story set in a world with very little freshwater, has been optioned for film my Stephanie Meyer’s Fickle Fish Films. The companion novel, IN A HANDFUL OF DUST was released in 2014. Look for her Gothic historical thriller, A MADNESS SO DISCREET in October of 2015 from Katherine Tegen Books. Mindy is represented by Adriann Ranta of Wolf Literary.

LINKS: Website | Twitter | Facebook

A big, big thank you to Mindy McGinnis for this awesome interview! I had an absolute blast and it’s always so neat learning more about the writing process and inspiration before and after reading the book! 


Be sure to check out all of the other awesome blogs and post on this tour! There are some truly great posts in store for you!

GIVEAWAY

There is also a tour-wide giveaway! One Winner Will Receive a Harper Teen Horror-themed prizepack! All you need to do is enter the Rafflecopter form below to enter!
Winner must be 13 years of age or older to win. US residents only, please!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Vengeance Road – Erin Bowman

Vengeance Road – Erin BowmanTitle: Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman
Publishing Info: September 1, 2015 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Genres: Historical Fiction, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: July 19, 2015

When Kate Thompson’s father is killed by the notorious Rose Riders for a mysterious journal that reveals the secret location of a gold mine, the eighteen-year-old disguises herself as a boy and takes to the gritty plains looking for answers and justice. What she finds are devious strangers, dust storms, and a pair of brothers who refuse to quit riding in her shadow. But as Kate gets closer to the secrets about her family, she gets closer to the truth about herself and must decide if there's room for love in a heart so full of hate.
In the spirit of True Grit, the cutthroat days of the Wild West come to life for a new generation.

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I’ve never read a Western before — honestly not one Western that I can recall — so I was both nervous and excited to read VENGEANCE ROAD! The extent of my Western pop culture knowledge pretty much comes from Back to the Future Part III, so that about sums up my tangles with the Wild West. VENGEANCE ROAD was a fun and fast-paced read that quickly dissolved and qualms I had about reading something so different for me in the realm of historical fiction and I’m so glad I was able to read and enjoy!

The book took off for me pretty quickly. Right away, there was a little bit of action and I immediately took to Kate’s character. She was spunky, determined, and tough as nails and she made a great heroine for this revenge story! I honestly loved how ruthless she was and I don’t normally root for people to seek out revenge but the atmosphere of the Wild West just totally demanded that Kate got her vengeance. There were also some really nice twists in the book! Some I could see coming but others were just a total surprise! I really enjoyed how Erin Bowman put this story together and brought readers on the journey right alongside Kate.

The setting was just excellent. I really could picture myself with the characters the whole time and Erin Bowman did a great job at really making this world come alive! I definitely picked up the desert-vibe as well as the time period and it was so fun to envision myself going on a journey with these characters (although thankfully I didn’t have to endure the peril that they did)!

One of the great things about this book is that is that for a non-historical fiction person like me, it felt more like a book full of action in a specific setting. I shy away from a lot of historical pieces because I’m just not a history person so I don’t usually enjoy all of the implied references, historical settings, and characters based on actual people. I supposed it’s not that I don’t enjoy them but without the extensive historical background, I’m not able to appreciate them as much. VENGEANCE ROAD certainly does have all of those things but if you’re not a history buff, you don’t feel like those things are going right over your head. It was also a very different time period and physical location than I’m used to with a lot of historical fiction so it was definitely fun and fresh for me!

If you’re unsure of VENGEANCE ROAD for any reason, I don’t think you need to worry. It was a truly picturesque book with some excellent action and a really stand-out heroine to boot. I think readers will really enjoy!

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“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

vengeance road gr updates

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Kate // Character Obsessions: Revenge, family, survival.
I really loved Kate. Right away I connected with her and I sort of loved how cold and ruthless she was. I also think I’m a sucker for any character who starts out cold and full of hate and softens a bit. I love that she never gave up her mission though she did learn to compromise. She was so strong and just really fun to read about.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Westerns. Heyyyyy, I like Westerns? Well, maybe. This book opened the door to other ones though and made me feel comfortable to try them!
Left Me Wanting More: Emotion. I’m not sure if it was because Kate was so hell-bent on her revenge mission (which I enjoyed) but I felt like I could have connected JUST a bit more emotionally. Sometimes it’s me and a book or me and a character but I was left wanting juuuust a bit more to really pull me in!

Addiction Rating
Read it!

This was a lot of fun! It was quick, well-written, and had some really nice characters. A really fun read for me.

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BOOKS LIKE VENGEANCE ROAD

(Click the cover to see my review!)

DANGEROUS GIRLS     REBOOT

Burial Rites – Hannah Kent

Burial Rites – Hannah KentTitle: Burial Rites by Hannah Kent
Publishing Info: September 10, 2013 by Little, Brown
Source: BEA 2013
Genres: Adult, Historical Fiction
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: September 11, 2014

    Set against Iceland's stark landscape, Hannah Kent brings to vivid life the story of Agnes, who, charged with the brutal murder of her former master, is sent to an isolated farm to await execution.
    Horrified at the prospect of housing a convicted murderer, the family at first avoids Agnes. Only Tóti, a priest Agnes has mysteriously chosen to be her spiritual guardian, seeks to understand her. But as Agnes's death looms, the farmer's wife and their daughters learn there is another side to the sensational story they've heard.
    Riveting and rich with lyricism, BURIAL RITES evokes a dramatic existence in a distant time and place, and asks the question, how can one woman hope to endure when her life depends upon the stories told by others?

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Alyssa, Amy, and I chose BURIAL RITES as one of our selections for our group read with On the Same Page because of so many rave reviews and what an interesting story it appeared to be. Without a doubt, this was a powerful book but it was also a challenging book for me. BURIAL RITES is historical fiction, which is something I’m not well-versed in and am very picky about, but I trusted the reviews that I’d seen and all the high praise it’s received and really did want to read it in earnest.

For those of you that aren’t familiar with it, BURIAL RITES is the story of Agnes Magnusdottir and her time on a remote farm before she is to be executed for the murder of her former employer. I grabbed the ARC from BEA last year because it sounded incredibly interesting and my interest was piqued whether or not Agnes was really guilty of the murder and maybe that was what the story was about. What I didn’t realize until I was already reading it is that BURIAL RITES is historical fiction but it’s actually in large a true story. Agnes Magnusdottir was a real person and this is her real story. She was one of the last people to be sentenced to execution by beheading in Iceland and what Hannah Kent found out about her during her time in Iceland had her so interested that she ended up writing an entire book about Agnes and her last days before the date of her execution.

I think the book was very tricky for me because as much as I’m not a historical fiction person, I’m really not a non-fiction person. It’s not that I’m fundamentally against either one but that I haven’t found a book I’ve really connected to very much in either genre. Usually the historical fiction I read is a largely fictional story (fictional characters and fictional plot in a real, historical setting) and I’ve been very picky about exactly what time periods I’ve really connected with. It’s just such a delicate balance for me as a reader and my personal tastes that it’s rare for everything to really ALL click into place, and unfortunately I had a bit of a hard time with BURIAL RITES. It was a really interesting story, but things were just not clicking for me. I was interested in Agnes and her story, but hard a hard time feeling that emotional connection to her as well as the other characters. Hannah Kent does an amazing job of painting the scenery, but I was also so unfamiliar with it that it was hard to feel grounded in it.

Unfortunately I had a bit of a hard time with the pacing and overall feel as well. I knew going in that this would be a heavy book, but sometimes it’s hard to read such a weighty plot and I was never quite in the right mood to really absorb the book the way I wanted to. I had a bit of a hard time getting into it because I wasn’t in the right mindset and then when I was, I felt like I kept hitting lulls in the action. It took me a long time to really get to know these characters and I felt like I didn’t really get there until the VERY end of the book. Finally at the end, I felt the connection to Agnes and to Toti. I actually felt really emotional about the ending, I think in part because I know that this really was a true story and really did happen so I kept picturing it as something REAL and not just book characters. It really made me want to go back and re-read parts to feel that connection where I should have earlier in the book… But we all know that I won’t go back and re-read because everything happened just a bit too late.

The writing was just beautiful as far as descriptions and narration went but I think I just wasn’t meant to click with this book. I’m not sure if it was timing or content or subject, but BURIAL RITES wasn’t as good for me as I had hoped it would be. I did still enjoy quite a bit of it but my lack of connection and motivation really just brought down my reading experience when I had a higher anticipation and expectation of what I might find in this book.

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Agnes // Character Obsessions: Death, working, companionship, degrees of innocence.
I really wish I had been able to connect with Agnes earlier on in the book. I finally connected with her towards the end and at that point I really wanted to spend more time with her character but it was too late and the book was over. I think maybe it’s just the impossibility of imagining and awaiting your own death that sort of makes everything seem distant, and that may be what I was picking up from Agnes. There’s a sort of hopelessness there and she does what she can, but how are you supposed to spend the rest of your life when you know it’s only a few short weeks until it’s over?

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Kept Me Hooked On: Aspects of non-fiction. I haven’t read much non-fiction at all… so when it really hit me that this was the REAL story of Agnes Magnusdottir… I think it all became much more real and personal. I knew it was based on a real story but I didn’t realize exactly how much of it was true. Honestly, Hannah Kent mostly just created dialogue and came up with some original pot points but she really did her research to make this as historically accurate as possible and tell a true story but with dabs of fiction. It was really interesting!
Left Me Wanting More: Personal connection. I just wasn’t able to get into it like I wanted to, both on the character side and the plot side. I think it was a lot heavier than I expected and was expecting a bit more of a fictional mystery story. It was really interesting but hard for me to get into at the same time.

Addiction Rating
Try it

This one didn’t ENTIRELY work for me but the story was really interesting and Hannah Kent is a wonderful writer. If you’re hesitant about nonfiction and enjoy historical fiction, this is probably a great place to start!

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE BURIAL RITES

(Click the cover to see my review!)

     man in the dark    code name verity

 

Mortal Heart (His Fair Assassin #3) – Robin LaFevers

Mortal Heart (His Fair Assassin #3) – Robin LaFeversTitle: Mortal Heart (His Fair Assassin #3) by Robin Lafevers
Publishing Info: November 4, 2014 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Source: ARC
Genres: Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Mythology, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: April 7, 2014
Related Posts: Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin #1), Dark Triumph (His Fair Assassin #2)

    In the powerful conclusion to Robin LaFever's New York Times bestselling His Fair Assassins trilogy, Annith has watched her gifted sisters at the convent come and go, carrying out their dark dealings in the name of St. Mortain, patiently awaiting her own turn to serve Death. But her worst fears are realized when she discovers she is being groomed by the abbess as a Seeress, to be forever sequestered in the rock and stone womb of the convent. Feeling sorely betrayed, Annith decides to strike out on her own.   She has spent her whole life training to be an assassin. Just because the convent has changed its mind, doesn’t mean she has.

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** This is an honestly, truly SPOILER-FREE review of MORTAL HEART! Only details are how I felt about things and never exactly WHAT they were. Too many incredibly special moments and reveals to spill the beans in a review! Enjoy! **

Not that I didn’t love the other two books (because I did) but I have been waiting for Annith’s story since we first met her in GRAVE MERCY. You guys… MORTAL HEART does not disappoint. In fact, for as much love as I had for the first two books, my love for MORTAL HEART soared above and beyond my expectations. It has the answers to everything and I mean EVERYTHING.

Oh my gosh, how do I even write this review without telling you all of the amazing plot points that I surely don’t want to spoil? Okay. No spoilers… I will just touch on things we learn!
We get to know more about Annith’s past. I have been dying to know more ever since we first met Annith so this was SO exciting. Not only do we get to learn more about her as a person, but having Annith’s story be the last in the series really ties everything together!
YES, there IS a romance and it is super swoony. I mean, did you have any doubt?  Mysterious, brave, broody… And he and Annith have great chemistry. The more I read about these two, the more I fell in love with their romance. It was truly awesome, incredibly deep, and also incredibly interesting.
There are mysteries galore! And even more importantly, we get all the answers!!! We’ve been wondering all along why Annith has been kept in the convent. There are hints at different characters being involved in different plots. There are plots of murder. There are family histories. And the reveals for each question that pops up is perfectly timed and utterly amazing.

It is really and truly hard to discuss MORTAL HEART without any spoilers because it’s the finale of this epic series and I immediately just wanted to discuss ALL THE THINGS. Robin LaFevers totally nailed it with MORTAL HEART and this is the book in the series that I really connected the most with. Annith was incredibly relatable, entirely badass, and fiercely determined. One thing that I loved was how Robin LaFevers really managed to create three entirely different heroines between Ismae, Sybella, and Annith but still keep many of the same basic qualities and ultimate goals. These girls had so much in common and the their stories all intertwine perfectly to create this series, but each one definitely felt like a very different person and a very strong personality.

The relationships in this book are just amazing. Of course the romance because WOW, but every relationship — the good and the bad — was just so perfectly shaped. The way Annith interacts with everyone — her feelings, her reactions, her decisions to trust — just felt so genuine and I really connected with her as a character. She had a lot to gain and a lot to lose all at once and so much of that was based on her relationship with her friends and Daughters of Mortain, with the convent, and with her possible enemies.

The plotting throughout the whole His Fair Assassin series is amazing. I enjoyed the first two books immensely, but with everything coming to a conclusion in MORTAL HEART, the action, the mystery, and the adventure really took off in this book and I could not put it down. If you loved the first two books, I don’t see how you can possibly be disappointed by MORTAL HEART at all. This book just floored me in all the best ways and I wish I could just soak in it forever.

view_from_goodreads1

“The View from Goodreads” is a new featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

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Just ignore the fact that this is all the same date……. I accidentally deleted the wrong edition of the book which wiped out my status updates BUT I did have them saved on my phone because I didn’t have access to the internet while I was reading! So I just uploaded them back when I had the chance. 

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Annith // Character Obsessions: Leaving the convent, training, answers.
Out of all of the characters in this series, Annith was definitely my favorite. I was so glad the series closed out with her story and that it was saved for the very end. She was such a pleasure to read about and everything that happened to her! Just shocking and amazing. I loved her spirit and determination.

To be honest, I want to talk about soooo many more characters but let’s discuss AFTER you read the book! There are so many surprises and reveals and pasts and secrets that I just can’t possibly say anything more about who we meet, who reveals what, and how their roles shape the book! 

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Kept Me Hooked On: Historical Fiction + fantasy blend. This series really combined some serious historical fiction and awesome mythology/fantasy aspects. I loved the mythology that Robin LaFevers invented for this book (oh yeah, we get more of THAT too!) and how everything just really fit so well for the time period. It was just perfect.
Left Me Wanting More: Of this series. It ended so perfectly but that’s the thing — it was perfect. I wish there was so much more but then again, I’m extremely happy with the way it ended.

Addiction Rating
BUY IT

Do not hesitate to buy this book and this series and cherish on your shelves! So amazing and definitely worth owning all three books. Forever.

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE MORTAL HEART

(Click the cover to see my review!)

        Shadow and Bone   Daughter of Smoke and Bone

Her Dark Curiosty (The Madman’s Daughter #2) – Megan Shepherd

Her Dark Curiosty (The Madman’s Daughter #2) – Megan ShepherdTitle: Her Dark Curiosity (The Madman's Daughter #2) by Megan Shepherd
Publishing Info: January 28, 2014 by HarperCollins
Source: Edelweiss, Library
Genres: Historical Fiction, Retelling, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: August 15, 2014
Related Posts: The Madman's Daughter (The Madman's Daughter #1)

   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.

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** NOTE: This review will have one minor spoiler because I feel like it’s something I need to talk about in order to fully explain my feelings for this book. If you haven’t read the book yet, just a word of warning! It’s something that happens earlier on the book, but still worth noting that it may be a minor spoiler for some. **

Admittedly, I was a bit mixed about how I felt about the first book in this series. After finishing THE MADMAN’S DAUGHTER, I felt like I had enjoyed what I read, but the concept was just so strange… The book was a retelling of the classic THE ISLAND OF DOCTOR MOREAU and I had gone into the book not really sure what it was about. Ultimately I had still enjoyed it and hearing that books two and three in the series were retellings of THE STRANGE CASE OF DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE and FRANKENSTEIN, I was just itching for more gothic horror and decided to take the plunge. I was hoping that there would be less focus on the beastly side of the plot since that wasn’t a huge selling point for me in THE MADMAN’S DAUGHTER (I wasn’t horrified at the experiments but merely the fact that it seemed far too unbelievable to be true) so I was hoping that it would be less of a focus in the rest of the series. With a Jekyll & Hyde retelling, I guess I should have known what was coming.

HER DARK CURIOSITY was a complicated read for me. I had an egalley from the publisher but instead, I chose to listen to the book via audio to help me move through it and I’m glad that I did. I had a reason to keep going with the book even when I was frustrated with it (and that was plenty of times). The “beast” side of the plot doesn’t really go away. In fact, it becomes even more prominent in one major way, so that wasn’t a really exciting thing for me. I guess in the context of THIS book, it felt a bit more realistic, but I still wasn’t super keen on the whole concept.

The first half of the book was kind of rough for me. I was really, really not getting along with Juliet. The way she said things, the things she ended up doing, her poor decision-making skills… None of it really worked for me. Honestly, some of the words that came out of her mouth just shocked me, as in, “Did she really just say that and how does she think that is A) a good idea and B) okay in ANY way?” I really just wanted to smack her because she was living up to a pretty poor stereotype of a helpless woman (who somehow decides to do things on her own and makes poor decisions anyway). I was never fully on the same page with her throughout the book, though I think her crazy-talk calmed down a bit towards the end. (Or got even worse but with all of the other characters finally giving in to her ideas, it didn’t seem as crazy.)

Let it be known that the possible spoilers exist in this paragraph: Yet again, the love triangle continues in HER DARK CURIOSITY — something I was REALLY REALLY hoping would not happen. At least it wasn’t a love square like the first book (that would be a love triangle with four people instead of three) but UGH. It was incredibly maddening and ridiculous. This book pulled a silly (yet somewhat expected) turn when the reader finds out that *gasp* Edward in fact did NOT die at the end of book one and somehow he’s back in London too. Then *gasp* Montgomery ends up back in London too and love triangle gets EVEN WEIRDER. Firstly, we know Edward isn’t even human. He may or may not have human DNA or contributors (this is something that is investigated in the book) but even if he does, that makes him like, what? 90% animal? So just pretty ick that Juliet is even romantically and PHYSICALLY interested in him. Then some things happen that I wish had just never even been an idea in the first place. Not to mention Montgomery is also vying for Juliet’s affections and things get even MORE complicated and… yeah, I was just nooooot a fan. Really not.

You want to know what the worst part is? THINGS GOT INTERESTING. I was all ready to finish the book, ranting and raving about how much I did not enjoy it and how I had no interst in finishing the trilogy and BAM. I got sucked in. Once the hints at the Frankenstein tie-in started popping up, I got pulled back in. Now I’ll probably read book three. Sigh.

Overall? This book and I didn’t really get along, but somehow I got sucked back in towards the end. I’ll probably end up finishing out the trilogy, but I’m not happy about it haha. The characters were frustrating, the love triangle was irritating, and I’m tired of the beast story line but I’m guessing that’s not going away either. I wouldn’t exactly recommend this series but I think I’m going to try to see it to the end.

view_from_goodreads1

“The View from Goodreads” is a new featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

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Juliet // Character Obsessions: Science, romance, not caring about society rules.
Oh, Juliet. We are so not friends. I had a reeeeally hard time with some of the things that she said and most of the decisions she made. She was such a frustrating heroine for me. Let’s hope she grows up some in the last book.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Gothic horror. I liked the retelling of Jekyll & Hyde! I haven’t read a lot of gothic horror but that side of this book was really fun.
Left Me Wanting More: Solid choices. Don’t try to pretend that Juliet made wise decisions. She made some pretty wild ones. I understand following your heart or passion versus logic, but sometimes there was NO logic. Other times she was way too damsel-y when she should have been strong and strong when she should have let someone help her. Sigh.

Addiction Rating
Skip it

I know I said I’d read the last book in the series, but I can’t really recommend this one. I was just way too frustrated and I’d say if you haven’t started yet, I wouldn’t suggest starting. The first book was interesting and this one finally came around for me at the end so… do I recommend that? Say try it? Personally, I wouldn’t. The series has been just okay so far and that doesn’t seem enough for me to put these books in someone else’s hands.

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(Click the cover to see my review!)

     the clockwork scarab    this dark endeavor