Monthly Archives: February 2015

Review – A Cold Legacy

A Cold Legacy (The Madman's Daughter, #3)

 Title: A Cold Legacy (The Madman’s Daughter #3)

 Author: Megan Shepherd

 2015 – YA – Horror/Historical Fiction

 Rating: 4/5

The Story: After fleeing London, Juliet and company (best friend Lucy, fiance Montgomery, servant Balthazar, friend/foe Edward/the Beast) head to Elizabeth von Stein’s estate on the Scottish moors. Elizabeth’s ancestor was the legendary Victor Frankenstein, and Juliet hopes that Frankenstein’s science can help save Edward before the Beast overcomes him. But their arrival at the manor is unexpected and things go downhill from there.

The Opening Line: The last travelers’ inn on the road from Inverness was no place to die.

What I Loved: Each of the books is an updated retelling of a classic work of literature, first The Island of Dr. Moreau, then The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. This third book focuses on the Frankenstein myth, and does it wonderfully. I love this installment more than the other two because it is so perfectly atmospheric. A crumbling manor with secret passageways, tower laboratories, strange servants, and mad scientists all contribute to the Gothic feel of the novel. And I loved how Shepherd wrestled with the themes of the paths we follow, whether they are predestined or we get to choose who to be.

What I Didn’t Love: Although I loved reading about Juliet’s struggles with her decisions, at some points she started to feel a little bit whiny and repetitive. And slightly flip-floppy. She would strive to be like her mother, have her curiosity stirred by science, then decide that she had no choice other than following in her father’s footsteps. It wasn’t really until the novel was winding down that she began to grow as a more independent character.

Final Thoughts: The first two books in this series weren’t my favorite, but I really liked this final novel. It was creepy, spine-chilling, dark. There were some great discussions about destiny, the impact of our own choices, and the importance of honesty, both in marriage and in general. There were also themes of friendship and sacrifice and what it means to be human. So it was really filled with such important ideas, all wrapped up in a delicious offering of terror and suspense. Definitely a great ending to this trilogy.

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Preview – Black Dove, White Raven

Black Dove, White Raven

 Title: Black Dove, White Raven

 Author: Elizabeth Wein

 YA – Historical Fiction

 Release Date: March 31, 2015

 Source: NetGalley

I think we all have those authors that we love and trust so implicitly that we will automatically read whatever they write, regardless of subject, genre, or reviews. I mean, think about it. How many of us would read a dinner menu if Maggie Steifvater wrote and illustrated it? How many of us jump to attention when J.K. Rowling announces ANYTHING? I could just sit here and reel off some of these authors: John Green, Maureen Johnson, Gayle Forman, Rae Carson, Lish McBride.

Elizabeth Wein is also one of those authors for me. I’m not even a particularly huge fan of historical fiction, but a few well-written books have increased my love and appreciation for the genre significantly. Code Name Verity was one of those books, with amazing pacing, some well-built tension, and a couple of great plot twists that had my emotions reeling. Then along came Rose Under Fire, and it was more of the same. Heartfelt, wrenching, gripping. So even though I had promised myself that I wouldn’t request anything else on NetGalley until I got caught up on some other things, when I saw Wein’s newest novel, I couldn’t stop myself from requesting it.

Black Dove, White Raven is the story of Emilia and Teodros. Their mothers are described in the book as soul mates, best friends who travel the country doing flying stunt shows and raising the two kids as brother and sister. But after an unfortunate accident occurs and Delia dies as a result, Rhoda takes on the task of raising Teo as her own. But a white woman raising a black son is looked down upon in America, so Rhoda falls back on Delia’s dream to move to Ethiopia, the country of Teo’s heritage, where he can blend in and be free. Soon after their arrival, however, war comes.

Here’s the gist of this review, short and unfortunate. I didn’t enjoy the book. I tried to enjoy it. I told myself it would pick up, that I would connect with the characters, that something would happen that would just reach out and smack me and make me LOVE this book like I loved the others. Alas, it never happened.

We get the story through flight logs, school themes, and written adventures. Unfortunately, many times these seemed disconnected, like what the kids were writing about didn’t really make sense. Their school themes were too elaborate and went way beyond the scope of the topic. The flight logs were supposedly used to log flight training in preparation for getting their flying licenses, and I can’t see any instructor having the patience to wade through their stories for the useful, pertinent flight info. It was also hard to follow them as they aged. I couldn’t really connect most of the writing with my knowledge of teenagehood, especially their fixation on their fictional characters, White Raven and Black Dove.

In addition, I wasn’t under the grip of the same fear-inducing tension found in her first two YA novels. The first half of the book seemed to drag, and even when war came to Ethiopia and there were a couple plot twists, I just couldn’t make myself care. The war wasn’t really scary and and it was hard to see the desperation, the importance, or the impact. Maybe it was because in Wein’s other books, the main characters found themselves in desperate situations. Teo and Em were always mostly ok in this one, even when they weren’t.

Overall, I wish I loved this one. I wish I could rant and rave and press it into the hands of everyone I know. But I can’t do that. And I’m really disappointed. Will I still read Elizabeth Wein’s books? Of course I will. She writes well. But every book has its reader, and this is not the book for me. Sigh.

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

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It’s Monday! is a weekly meme hosted over at Book Journey that allows bloggers to post a sort of wrap-up of the past week while also looking to the week ahead. Without further ado…

Last Week: Guys, I’ll be honest. It was a very weird week. Again. It was Lindsey’s last week on the job, which was all very sad and anxiety-inducing. And of course the Snowpocalypse of 2015 was last week, with record snowfalls and temperatures that had the city basically shut down. We were out of work anyway for President’s Day, but then the campus was closed Tuesday and Wednesday due to weather. So I spent a lot of time sitting on the couch, drinking hot tea, reading, and gaming. So I felt very off the whole week, and my emotional range was put to the test. As a person who craves a routine, this is becoming old. I’m tired of it and ready to settle back down, which won’t be happening anytime soon, sadly.

The good thing about being off so much was that I was able to get in some relaxing with a good book. I didn’t read much this week, too much else going on, but I loved what time I was able to get in. It was the best thing in the world to snuggle under a warm blanket with a cup of tea and the sound of my roomies gaming in the background.

Posts: Red Queen review, Gone Girl Review

Red Queen by Jeb Kinnison Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Currently Reading: Black Dove, White Raven – Elizabeth Wein

Black Dove, White Raven

Looking Ahead: I have a lot of options on the horizon right now. As always, I have review copies that I’m excited to dive into. I’ve also signed up for YALSA’s annual reading challenge that asks readers to complete 25 YA titles from an eligible list of ALA award winners, so I’ve requested a couple titles for that. So…you know, this week should be a good week regardless. My schedule is a little wonky this week, but it does have me getting off earlier, so I’ll have more time in the evenings to read, theoretically.

Kitty Hawk and the Icelandic Intrigue (Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency, #3) Displacement: A Travelogue A Cold Legacy (The Madman's Daughter, #3)

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