Mad Miss Mimic

I knew nothing. And I found that, yes, I was curious—very curious indeed.

Title: Mad Miss Mimic

Author: Sarah Henstra

Series: Standalone

Publication: January 3rd 2017 by Razorbill Canada

Pages: 272

Source: Netgalley

Summary from Goodreads:

Born into an affluent family, Leo outwardly seems like a typical daughter of English privilege in the 1870s: she lives with her wealthy married sister Christabel, and lacks for neither dresses nor trinkets. But Leo has a crippling speech impediment that makes it difficult for her to speak but curiously allows her to mimic other people’s voices flawlessly. Servants and ladies alike call her “Mad Miss Mimic” behind her back… and watch as she unintentionally scares off every potential suitor. Only the impossibly handsome Mr. Thornfax seems interested in Leo…but why? And does he have a connection to the mysterious Black Glove group that has London in its terrifying grasp? Trapped in a city under siege by terror attacks and gripped by opium fever, where doctors (including her brother-in-law) race to patent an injectable formula, Leo must search for truth in increasingly dangerous situations – but to do so, she must first find her voice.


A List of Thoughts:

  • A fantastic Victorian era mystery that will keep you on your toes
  • Leo, or Leonora, is surprisingly easy to relate to. She is fun, quirky, and full of an entertaining spark reminiscent of Elizabeth from Pride and Prejudice. Oh, and she also has a speech impediment which enables her to perfectly mimic people but stutter in her own voice.
  • Full of twists and turns. I, personally, did not expect this book to be a Victorian-era drug bust esque sort of thing. Henstra totally rocks it.
  • The plot is very complex, in a good way. It’s just enough to keep you intrigued and make you think – not too much, not too little.
  • The characters with their failings and strengths are complex, believable, and a real treat to delve into. Leo, Francis Thornfax (DUDE, HIS NAME), Tom… all of them. They all have such a vibrant spirit – that’s the only way I can describe it.
  • The plot itself is amazing. It is a giant, tastefully crafted melting pot of terrorism in retaliation for banning drugs, romance, mystery, and the perfect bursts of humor. It’s dark, intense, and delightful.

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The Glass Sentence

That is almost always the way with stories. True to their very core, even when the events and the people in them are different.

Title: The Glass Sentence

Author: S.E Grove

Series: The Mapmakers Trilogy # 1

Publication: June 12th 2014 by Viking Books for Young Readers

Pages: 493

Source: Publisher in exchange for a honest review

Summary from Goodreads:

She has only seen the world through maps. She had no idea they were so dangerous.
 
Boston, 1891. Sophia Tims comes from a family of explorers and cartologers who, for generations, have been traveling and mapping the New World—a world changed by the Great Disruption of 1799, when all the continents were flung into different time periods.  Eight years ago, her parents left her with her uncle Shadrack, the foremost cartologer in Boston, and went on an urgent mission. They never returned. Life with her brilliant, absent-minded, adored uncle has taught Sophia to take care of herself.

Then Shadrack is kidnapped. And Sophia, who has rarely been outside of Boston, is the only one who can search for him. Together with Theo, a refugee from the West, she travels over rough terrain and uncharted ocean, encounters pirates and traders, and relies on a combination of Shadrack’s maps, common sense, and her own slantwise powers of observation. But even as Sophia and Theo try to save Shadrack’s life, they are in danger of losing their own.


A Listical of Thoughts:

  • I don’t think the book was able to decide if it was supposed to be Middle Grade or Young Adult – made for a very confusing set of standards.
  • THE BOOK IS A GIANT TEASE! You can’t say things and then not go into detail about them. Where is the why? The how? The who? We need to know these things or else you lose all credibility of your story. Follow the rules of the magic you lay out.
  • The characters are impossible to distinguish from their stereotype behaviors – but at the same time, they are super contradictory. It’s very… strange. Nothing about them was consistent. You can be a stereotype (nooo.. don’t do it) as long as you, once again, follow your own rules and groundwork. Making characters say one thing and do another or not know something and still magically know the answer doesn’t work!
  • I will say, the plot and the world itself is unbelievably original and unique. I am one-hundred percent certain that this is the only reason I finished the book. Maps… I will never be able to look at maps the same way again. The world building is brilliant, so props on that.
  • BUT! Yes, that is a big but there. While the idea of the world is brilliant, the actual execution suffers from a lack of knowledge about itself. If that makes sense. As I have said over and over again, if you are going to create a completely new world, you must set your own rules and follow them. There is none of that here! It makes it unbelievable if nothing is explained and it all works out anyway. We, as readers, need some sort of concrete evidence proving to us that this could actually happen in the circumstances you created.
  • Theo is the highlight of this book (besides the idea itself). I love Theo. He is both the hero of the story and the literal hero of the story – he saved the book for me. YAY THEO.
  • It takes a long while for things to get rolling. If you’re okay with drawing things out unnecessarily, then you can overlook it. However, I quite like getting to the conflict – or at least the hint of the conflict, before the first hundred pages are done, yeah?
  • It would benefit from a Pride & Prejudice & and Zombies-eque ending. Actually, it would just benefit from zombies to make it more interesting.

Glitter

On Wednesdays I’m now required to enter the grand assembly in the Hall of Mirrors on his arm like a glowing trophy. Not the kind of trophy one wins for completing a challenge, the kind one stuffs and hangs on the wall after killing it.

Title: Glitter

Author: Aprilynne Pike

Series: Standalone

Publication: October 25th 2016 by Random House Books for Young Readers

Pages: 384

Source: Netgalley

Summary from Goodreads:

 Outside the palace of Versailles, it’s modern day. Inside, the people dress, eat, and act like it’s the eighteenth century—with the added bonus of technology to make court life lavish, privileged, and frivolous. The palace has every indulgence, but for one pretty young thing, it’s about to become a very beautiful prison.

When Danica witnesses an act of murder by the young king, her mother makes a cruel power play . . . blackmailing the king into making Dani his queen. When she turns eighteen, Dani will marry the most ruthless and dangerous man of the court. She has six months to escape her terrifying destiny. Six months to raise enough money to disappear into the real world beyond the palace gates.

Her ticket out? Glitter. A drug so powerful that a tiny pinch mixed into a pot of rouge or lip gloss can make the wearer hopelessly addicted. Addicted to a drug Dani can sell for more money than she ever dreamed.
But in Versailles, secrets are impossible to keep. And the most dangerous secret—falling for a drug dealer outside the palace walls—is one risk she has to take.

My Thoughts:

My gosh. My head is spinning so quickly I cannot begin to fathom what to say. Perhaps “Glitter… a novel that sparkles and shines much in the same way as its namesake”. Or maybe “Glitter the high stakes fairy tale that is made from the glimmering dust of nightmares.” You get the idea. Glitter is the type of book that just builds, and builds, and builds itself up so high on the most unstable foundation in existence. It is the epitome of anxiety inducing bliss, as it were. High stakes, indeed.

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Iron Cast

More than anything, she wanted to kiss him. He was so bright and beautiful and vulnerable in the daylight. But she couldn’t let herself.

Title: Iron Cast

Author: Destiny Soria

Series: Standalone

Publication:  October 11th 2016 by Amulet Books

Pages: 384

Source: Netgalley

Summary from Goodreads:

It’s Boston, 1919, and the Cast Iron club is packed. On stage, hemopaths—whose “afflicted” blood gives them the ability to create illusions through art—captivate their audience. Corinne and Ada have been best friends ever since infamous gangster Johnny Dervish recruited them into his circle. By night they perform for Johnny’s crowds, and by day they con Boston’s elite. When a job goes wrong and Ada is imprisoned, they realize how precarious their position is. After she escapes, two of the Cast Iron’s hires are shot, and Johnny disappears. With the law closing in, Corinne and Ada are forced to hunt for answers, even as betrayal faces them at every turn.


A Listical of Thoughts:

  • Gorgeously written historical environment. I mean, seriously. It’s awesome.
  • Magical best friends are also awesome
  • Hemopath magic is terrifying. (Like Wanda in Age of Ultron with the visions)

  • FRIENDSHIP IS A CENTRAL THEME AND I LOVE IT.
  • Friends who con together, stay together

  • Each and every character has a different approach/take on their magic. The writing itself shifts flawlessly between the various uses and descriptions. It’s beautiful.
  • All the characters are fleshed out. They’re impossible not to believe.
  • Graceful and poignant handling of racism.
  • So many feels. The emotions run rampant, they really, really do.

Filled with plot twists, believably irresistible characters, and a uniquely compelling take on magic, Iron Cast is a vivid portrayal of friendship, sacrifice, betrayal, and romance. It is beyond enjoyable.


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My Lady Jane

“You’re wrong,” Lord Dudley said. “You’ve always been a fool.”

“The fool thinks he is wise,” G retorted. “But the wise man knows himself to be a fool.”

Title: My Lady Jane

Authors: Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows

Series: Standalone

Publication: June 7th 2016 by HarperTeen

Pages: 491

Source: OwlCrate

Summary from Goodreads:

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 gets to be Queen of England.


A Listical of Feelings about My Lady Jane:

  • brilliant satire with a masterful mix of history and fantasy
  • Jane loves books. The end.

“Put down the book.” She wanted to look away, as he seemed distracted from holding the trousers in place, but she couldn’t take her eyes off the book. What if he hurt it? What if he followed through with his threat?
“No horse jokes,”he said.
“My lord, I apologize for the horse joke. If you put down the book—unharmed!—I will give you a carrot.”

  • Alternate history that is more entertaining than actual history – but still awesomely historical.
  • Gifford wins best horsey-husband of the year award.
  • Hilarious narration/author commentary as part of the actual book.

They collapsed into each other, and although it would be indelicate to detail what happened next, these narrators will tell you that a “very special hug” does not begin to describe it.
P.S. They totally consummated.

  • A creative cast of creatures that put all zoos to shame. I never would have thought of a skunk or a ferret, just sayin’.
  • An adorable, slow-burning romance that both adds to the overall hilarity and will make your heart go all pitter-patter
  • While it is very long, it doesn’t drag and, by the end, all you want is more.

  • The whole thing is freakishly charming. It sucks you in, like a good pie that you don’t realize you’re eating until it’s all gone.

My Lady Jane is a book I did not expect to like. I love historical fiction, and the book had raving reviews, but I was nervous because of how much I love history. But, have no fear, My Lady Jane is a brilliant, engaging, and unique masterpiece of rehashed history with a bit of magical flair thrown in. I was in love by the time I’d finished the prologue. If you’re a fan of The Princess Bride or Monty Python and the Holy Grail, you will fall head over heels in love with this motley cast of misfits.


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