Night shade by Lynne Ewing

Title: Night Shade
Author: Lynne Ewing
Length: 275 pages
Genre: YA
Format: Hardcover
Rating: 3/5
Why I read it: Blog Challenge hosted by Read. Sleep. Repeat.

What it’s About: This book centers on Jimena. A year before the start of the series, Jimena was in a gang and in and out of Juvenile detention, and her boyfriend and fellow gang member Veto died. Now Jimena knows she is a Goddess and has found Catty, Serena, and Vanessa and left her old life behind. That is until she sees Veto. She starts questioning if Veto really died and if she can have him and her new friends.

The Good: Jimena was a welcome break from Vanessa and Serena’s good-girl story lines, and it was also very refreshing that Jimena didn’t constantly worry about what would happen if her boyfriend found out about her powers. In the beginning of every book there is a mythological story that is supposed to tie in with what the girls are going through in the book, and for once it seemed to do it’s job. It was also fun to see Ewing put a little taste of weird in the book.

The Bad: While Jimena didn’t whine about having her powers found out, I did have to endure Catty whining about Vanessa and Serena having boyfriends and her not having one. Jimena did get on my nerves when she was trying to figure out if Veto was still dead or not, then making out with him. And she did go on about how she hates lying, but it seemed like she spent a majority of the book doing so.

Final Thoughts: This book was better than the first two, and with that being the case, it shows promis that the rest of the series will improve as well. I can’t wait to get further in the series to see how the characters develop.

A Mad Wicked Folly by Sharon Biggs Waller

Title: A Mad Wicked Folly
Author: Sharon Biggs Waller
Length: 448 pages
Genre: YA, Historical fiction
Format: Hardcover
Rating: 4/5
Why I read it: Read the jacked cover and was intrigued.

What it’s About: in 1909 Vicky is attending a finishing school in France. Unknown to the headmistress, Vicky is also attending an art class. When the model for the class doesn’t show up, Vicky volunteers to pose nude. Upon learning about her antics, she is kicked out of the finishing school and sent home to London under a cloud of scandal. Her parents forbid her to draw and take away her supplies, and in order to repair her reputation arrange a marriage with Edmund Carrick-Humphry, and get her ready for her coming out ball. Meanwhile she befriends her housemaid Sophie, who is a suffragette, and Will, a police constable. She sneaks around London to meet Will and draw him in order to get into art school, and also does illustrations for the suffragettes.

The Good: The time period, and the suffragettes made me think of Downton Abbey, and I loved hearing Vicky’s passion when she talked about art. I also loved that Will was supportive of her and wanted to help her. The book had a map of London that was very useful and helped me a great deal when Vicky explained how close to Parliament or Hyde Park she was. And on top of it, I loved Sophie and how close the two girls became. Waller also did a fantastic job with the contrast between Will and Edmund.

The Bad: While some of the end was a twist, other parts I could see coming. For all her work with the suffragettes, Vicky gave up easily and was very whiney in places. There were several times when there were false endings. And there was no closure when it came to Vicky’s mom and why she stopped drawing.

Final Thoughts: This was a very well written book and not only Waller’s first Young Adult book, but her first fiction book as well. She has written a few books about horses and horseback riding, so this book and it’s subject were a nice surprise. I found this book at the book store. The cover caught my eye and when I read what it was about, I just had to buy and read it. It’s unclear if there is a sequel, but I hope there is.

Into the Cold Fire by Lynne Ewing

Title: Into the Cold Fire
Author: Lynne Ewing
Length: 264 pages
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Format: Hard cover
Rating: 3/5
Why I read it: Blog Challenge hosted by Read Sleep Repeat
What it’s About: Serena is a Goddess of the moon, and she has the power to read minds. One night when she is on the bech with her brother she witnesses a ritual of the Atrox. She soon leans that she has been chosen to participate in the ritual and join the followers of the Atrox.

The Good: The story itself was compelling, and unlike the first book, Serena wasn’t as wooden and uninteresting as Vanessa was in the first book. I really liked the further decriptions of L.A. and the beach. The story itself was captivating. I almost didn’t want it to end. There were twists that I didn’t see coming and some characters that I really wanted to get to know more about.

The Bad: I still don’t get Ewing’s need to make the girls put on body glitter and make up to feel powerful. I hated how repetitive some parts of the book were, and I could have done without being told what every other person smelled like.

Final Thoughts: This book proved to be better than the first and I’m hoping the series continues to become better. I can’t wait to learn more about the girls and their enemy and see the girl’s powers develop.

India Black by Carol K. Carr

Title: India Black
Author: Carol K. Carr
Length: 296 pages
Genre: Mystery, historical fiction
Format: ePUB
Rating: 2.5
Why I read it: Looked interesting

What it’s About: India Black is the madame of a brothel in Victorian England, and one day a customer, who happens to be a government agent, dies, leaving behind a case of sensitive government secrets. Soon one of India’s prostitutes goes missing along with the case and India is enlisted to recover the case.

The Good: Did I mention how much I love a kick-ass heroine? Well, India doesn’t disappoint. She is snarky and sarcastic, and able to hold her own against the boys in the book. She doesn’t seem to be afraid of much.And she is witty and smart.

The Bad: Except for India there are no other stand out characters. And even India can be a bit grating. I think the book would have been better if it weren’t in first-person. I think getting a break from India’s inner thoughts would have been welcome.

Final Thoughts: I hope the other books in the series are better.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Title: Gone Girl
Author: Gillian Flynn
Length: 395 pages
Genre: Mystery, thriller
Format: ePUB
Rating: 3/5
Why I read it: I am unashamed to admit, I am a Gillian Flynn fangirl

What it’s About: On the morning of their fifth wedding anniversary Amy Dunne goes missing. The prime suspect is her husband Nick.

The Good: I, for one, was not invested in either Amy or Nick. I didn’t like either of them, but I didn’t hate them either. This was good because when Flynn wanted the reader to feel like Amy was the wronged wife, I felt it. When Flynn wanted us to feel Nick’s desperation, We would. It was a great tactic to keep us guessing what the outcome would be. Flynn once again showed her flair for writing a perfect twist. The book went in a direction I wouldn’t have seen coming, and she did it in such a way that it made me need to keep reading.

The Bad: the first part of this book was boring. I had no desire to read it, and when I did read it, I would put it down soon after. I would have liked a little more with Amy’s parents. They seemed a little too perfect and it simply didn’t seem enough that their books were the motive behind anything that Amy did.

Final Thoughts: Read this book. Even if you, like me, feel that the first part is boring, it picks up and is worth struggling through. I feel like I need a palate cleanser book after reading Gone Girl, and that rarely happens anymore.