Review of Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch

Snow Like Ashes (Snow Like Ashes, #1)Snow Like Ashes
By: Sara Raasch
Release Date: October 14th 2014
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Source: E-ARC, Print ARC

An electronic copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

My Rating:
star

Summary:
A heartbroken girl. A fierce warrior. A hero in the making.

Sixteen years ago the Kingdom of Winter was conquered and its citizens enslaved, leaving them without magic or a monarch. Now, the Winterians’ only hope for freedom is the eight survivors who managed to escape, and who have been waiting for the opportunity to steal back Winter’s magic and rebuild the kingdom ever since.

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Review of The Perilous Sea by Sherry Thomas

The Perilous Sea (The Elemental Trilogy, #2)The Perilous Sea
By: Sherry Thomas
Release Date: September 16th 2014
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Format: Physical ARC
Source: Friend

My Rating:
star

This is the second of a trilogy. You can see my review for The Burning Sky here.

Summary:
After spending the summer away from each other, Titus and Iolanthe (still disguised as Archer Fairfax) are eager to return to Eton College to resume their training to fight the Bane. Although no longer bound to Titus by a blood oath, Iolanthe is more committed than ever to fulfilling her destiny—especially with the agents of Atlantis quickly closing in.

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Review of Prisoner of Night and Fog by Ann Blankman

Prisoner of Night and Fog (Prisoner of Night and Fog, #1)Prisoner of Night and Fog
By: Ann Blankman
Release Date: April 22nd 2014
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Source: Electronic ARC

An electronic copy was given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

My Rating:
star

Summary:
In 1930s Munich, danger lurks behind dark corners, and secrets are buried deep within the city. But Gretchen Müller, who grew up in the National Socialist Party under the wing of her “uncle” Dolf, has been shielded from that side of society ever since her father traded his life for Dolf’s, and Gretchen is his favorite, his pet.

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Review of Her Dark Curiosity by Megan Shepherd

Her Dark CuriosityHer Dark Curiosity (The Madman’s Daughter #2)
By: Megan Shepherd
Release Date: January 28th 2014
Publisher: Balzer+Bray

A copy was given to me in exchange for an honest review.

My Rating:
star

This review will contain spoilers from the first book, The Madman’s Daughter, and a minor spoiler for this book.

Summary:
To defeat the darkness, she must first embrace it.

Months have passed since Juliet Moreau returned to civilization after escaping her father’s island—and the secrets she left behind. Now, back in London once more, she is rebuilding the life she once knew and trying to forget Dr. Moreau’s horrific legacy—though someone, or something, hasn’t forgotten her.

As people close to Juliet fall victim one by one to a murderer who leaves a macabre calling card of three clawlike slashes, Juliet fears one of her father’s creations may have also escaped the island. She is determined to find the killer before Scotland Yard does, though it means awakening sides of herself she had thought long banished, and facing loves from her past she never expected to see again.

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

My Thoughts:
I had some issues with the first in this series, The Madman’s Daughter. You can see my review here, but the quick of it was that I did not care for the love triangle or the animal violence though I enjoyed the writing style. I was optimistic to read this follow-up since it was based on Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

Overall, I was disappointed in Her Dark Curiosity. I think that the story was very interesting and I enjoyed the pacing for the most part after the slow beginning. Shepherd is wonderful at gripping her readers and also creating a gothic aura. Her take on the classic was also interesting though I felt that it could have gone deeper and been more in the forefront of the story.

Spoilers ahead…

 

Instead, we were treated with a lot of ‘romantic’ scenes. Each scene felt awkward to me and not at all swoon-worthy. Somehow, beyond all logic, the love triangle continued and so much time was spent focused on Juliet pondering whom she loved. Everything surrounding the romance felt very convienant (especially the arrival of a character from the first book midway). I was so disappointed in the direction this aspect of the story went. Honestly, thinking back I don’t know how much real time was spent on the love triangle but it felt like entirely too much because I think I can safely say, we all hoped there would be none. The last book pretty well took care of that, right? Nope, it’s back.

One love scene in particular was so not romantic I couldn’t stop rolling my eyes. One of the characters was drenched in blood and somehow this was supposed to be intriguing to us as readers. I felt sick more than anything. It felt like a way to make the story darker but really it just made me say ick.

 

End Spoiler

This book was accurately titled. Throughout the story Juliet struggles with her internal darkness and the truths she learned on the island. She can not make amends with herself and feels that the darkness is eating away at her. This internal battle isolates her. I found her character more interesting in this book than the first until she is paired with a man. Again, the romance did not work for me in any way.

There is no question to me that Shepherd is a talented writer and I love her ability to weave classic gothic into young adult books. I only wish the love aspect wasn’t present and more time and energy was focused on the action, suspense and mystery, all aspects both books exceled in.

 

Review for Hideous Love by Stephanie Hemphill

Hideous Love: The Story of the Girl Who Wrote Frankenstein
By: Stephanie Hemphill
Release Date: October 1st 2013
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Pre-order:
Amazon
Barnes and Noble

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a honest review

Rating:
star

Summary (via Goodreads):
An all-consuming love affair.

A family torn apart by scandal.

A young author on the brink of greatness.

Hideous Love is the fascinating story of Gothic novelist Mary Shelley, who as a teen girl fled her restrictive home only to find herself in the shadow of a brilliant but moody boyfriend, famed poet Percy Shelley. It is the story of the mastermind behind one of the most iconic figures in all of literature: a monster constructed out of dead bodies and brought to life by the tragic Dr. Frankenstein.

Mary wrote Frankenstein at the age of nineteen, but inspiration for the monster came from her life-the atmospheric European settings she visited, the dramas swirling around her, and the stimulating philosophical discussions with the greatest minds of the period, like her close friend, Lord Byron.

This luminous verse novel from award-winning author Stephanie Hemphill reveals how Mary Shelley became one of the most celebrated authors in history.

My Thoughts:
Hideous Love is written in verse, which after hearing that, I was a tad nervous about. Honestly, that aspect didn’t bother me as much as I feared. I can in no way gage how well Hemphill accomplished verse since I have no formal education or experience in it. I will say that it wasn’t my favorite writing style only because I found the characters hard to relate to. I think that if it had been written as a traditional novel I might have connected deeper and possibly understood their motivations more.

This novel gave me insight into a literary figure I had never considered or read about, Mary Shelley. It was evident that Hemphill did extensive research on Mary, her life and those she surrounded herself with. I found her story tedious at times and her decisions lacking in common sense. Her love and devotion to a man that I felt was unworthy of her affections grated on me as I read and I was constantly frustrated in what she put up with and her lack of self worth.

I found the entire reading experience depressing and the loss of so many of her children hard to read. I could completely understand how someone that had lived through what Mary had being capable of writing the classic Frankenstein.

I was never capable of understanding or feeling the connection or affection Mary held for her poet. He seemed distant, cruel at times, and overall an arrogant man. I’m not sure if I felt the way I did because of the writing technique or not.

Final Thoughts:
Reading Hideous Love was an interesting experience though not positive for me. I found Mary’s decisions questionable and impossible to relate to. My lack of connection to the characters and their affection for each other could be due to the novel being written in verse since it was impossible to get any semblance of a well rounded character.