The Madness Underneath (Shades of London #2)

Check out my review of the first book in the Shades of London Series The Name of the Star https://micheleoneletterl.wordpress.com/2014/09/12/the-name-of-the-star-shades-of-london-1/

The second book in the Shades of London series did not disappoint…ok, well, that ending was a a little disappointing, am I right?

So we start this second book a few weeks after the attack on Rory in the bathroom at Wexford by the Ripper. Rory is now staying in Bristol with her parents and having to endure therapy. She gets her chance to head back to school on the recommendation of her therapist, but come to find out, the London Shades are calling (The Clash reference… anyone?). There have been a new series of unusual deaths around the city, but the most close to home is in a bar right across from her dorm where all the Ripper stuff went down. A crack in the sidewalk leads Rory and the Shades to what has been causing all of the murders…sort of?

So I was a little lost with the who of this book. We never really find out who is doing these murders. Is it several who’s and I just totally missed the boat?

I really liked the Rory in this book. She was fed up with people feeling sorry for her, she was fed up with being behind in school and she was fed up with Steven trying to hide everything from her, so she took control of her situation. I can get on board with a strong female lead especially in young adult books. What I did not like was that she was so gullible with the fancy new therapist that Charlotte recommended. I mean really, I could tell that lady was a sketch ball right off the bat, and then all of the sudden she finds herself being abducted and carted into the “country” and then Steven, Boo and Calem get injured, once again, trying to save her ass.

And let’s talk about the ending shall we? I kid, I won’t actually give it away now (RHCP? No one? Sorry, it’s late and I have Pandora on in the background). I thoroughly enjoyed Rory and Steven’s evolution, even if it was short lived. But to leave us hanging wondering where he went…All I know is this third book (that oh by the way we have to wait until FEBRUARY to see how it all ends) better provide the kind of ending I’m looking for with that whole situation.

Now, while I was a little bummed to not see much of the Wexford crew throughout this book, it was so satisfying to see Rory hone in on her detective skills, and made me think yea, if this whole school situation goes down the tubes for her, she actually should go be a full time Shade.

I know it sounds like I wasn’t very pleased with this second book, but I truly was. It made me feel things, and I tore through it in 2 nights, and I’m really really really looking forward to this third book. The downfall of a series is that generally speaking (not all the time, but most of the time in my experience) the second book is never as good as the first. I think the third will definitely come in and kick all kinds of ass and we will have a bit of closure (or not, Maureen you like to leave us on a cliff, don’t ya?), however, the second book definitely felt like a bridge and a set up for this next release.

I gave this a 3.5/5 stars on Goodreads

Under the Never Sky

It’s a very rare occasion that I, as a 26 (27 next week!) year old woman, am so drawn to a sci-fi/fantasy/young adult adventure such as Under the Never Sky (I’m going to generalize my gender really quick…I am all about a good contemporary love/heartbreak/coming of age situation. I can’t help myself, I love the ugly cry). Bravo Veronica Rossi. This was the first book of a trilogy, and I must say, it was damn excellent. Before I get in to why I loved this book so much (thank you for the recommendation Allison!), can I just say…why hellllooooooo Roar *insert creepy come and get it face*. Ok, now on to the review.

I was hooked to this story right away. The imagery was phenomenal. One of the first real conflicts that occurs in the Ag pod was where I knew that this author had a true talent for making you smell things, hear all the sounds, and feel every stitch of pain her characters do. She makes you use your senses, and as a former writer (ie: just because I have a degree in it, doesn’t mean I can count myself among Ms. Rossi’s ranks), I can tell you that is no easy task. These kinds of details manifested themselves in the gifts that some of these characters wound up having. I love when an author can pull that all together for you and not over do it.

I liked Aria, she started this story as a worried girl just trying to scheme information out of a high ranking security official’s stupid son. I love a good strategist, and that was a  bit of much appreciated foreshadowing of what type of character she would become. A planner, and a fighter. I felt for her, the kind of worry of not hearing from your parent for days at a stretch is horrible, but she was so calm about it. I guess I don’t live in the society, I can’t tell you if the “adults” are willing to hear out their kids or make them feel safe (from the looks of it, some of these parents are pretty shady actually). I guess what I’m trying to say is while I liked this character, I didn’t love her, she was a bit monotone to me in the beginning, and it felt like she felt nothing about hers and her mother’s situation. She wasn’t the main character for me, but I guess that was kind of Veronica’s point in making the entire book alternate between hers and Perry’s point of view. Speaking of Perry…

I felt the same way about this character. I liked him a lot. He was passionate, and mysterious, and super sexy. Give me a a tan luscious man with a mane of blonde hair any day. But he felt everything. This was one dramatic man, people. However, as the story progressed and as their love story unfolded, I could just see why she wrote these characters the way she did. They completely balanced each other. They had chemistry, which is sometimes so hard to “see” when reading a book. It’s easy when you’re watching a movie or TV and you can decide if the actors have that chemistry, but in a book? Again, not  easy. And this chemistry is what stole the show for me. The way Perry describes Aria’s scent after she starts to become what no one expects is just so touching. It is mushy, but it totally made me acutely aware of the scent of my fiance, and how when I’m just randomly picking up laundry or something (even when he is not home) I get a whiff of his scent and it’s just the coziest feeling in the whole world. I loved them and I can’t wait to see where they go in the next two books, especially after that ending!

And one last thing…Roar. Oh, Roar. You are one adorable adorable man. Ok, I’m done being a creeper now. 🙂

I gave this book a 5/5 stars on Goodreads.

 

The Name of the Star (Shades of London #1)

I recently finished this first book in the Shades of London series, and let me just say…creepy. This was the perfect series to start with the Halloween season upon us. I was looking for something that would prep me for a weekend down in Southern California at the end of this month doing the haunted theme park rounds. I got what I was looking for.

Summary from Goodreads:

Louisiana teenager Rory Deveaux arrives in London to start a new life at boarding school just as a series of brutal murders mimicking the horrific Jack the Ripper killing spree of more than a century ago has broken out across the city. The police are left with few leads and no witnesses. Except one. Rory spotted the man believed to be the prime suspect. But she is the only one who saw him – the only one who can see him. And now Rory has become his next target…unless she can tap her previously unknown abilities to turn the tables.

NOTS

The setting of this book was so beautifully described, I felt like I had just moved into a boarding school in central London. It didn’t feel Harry Potter though, which is the line that a lot of authors straddle when describing these kinds of schools especially in the UK. I could relate with the main character Rory pretty immediately. She comes from the south (as did I) and her descriptions of her strange yet charming family and neighbors back home is so on point. I love the stories she tells her new classmates, and even more I love that this is what makes them accept her. The relationship her and her roommate Jazza form is so real and cozy (reminds of my college roommate…we would sit at home on weekend nights watching Charmed and “writing papers”), the whole first half of the book felt like I was reading a contemporary novel about this blooming friendship…and then Rory sees something she is not supposed to.

I have to say, Rory was not my favorite character at the beginning of this book. She is the main character and there was nothing wrong with her, she was just so boring. There was nothing about her that screamed “oh this girl is going to be a bad ass…”  and I really wanted that after reading the synopsis. She was two different characters in this book, and while that may sound like a negative, I definitely didn’t see it that way, she did grow and that’s what character’s are supposed to do, I just wish it would’ve come a bit sooner. She becomes a “heroine” because her life depends on it, though I think we will have to wait to read the rest of the series before officially giving her that title.

When you find out what Rory’s “gift” is, it’s not really much of a shock. It is also not much of a shock when you realize who and what her new “quirky” roommate, Boo, is. I did love Stephen, the leader of this group of people she has to join forces with to stop the Ripper, however I could do with a little bit more maturity from Boo and Callum (maybe I will get that in the second book?).  I also loved the gore…I know, I’m a weirdo. This is what set the creepy tone for me. The description of the murders (yep, one is caught on camera) and the eeriness surrounding why no one can catch this murderer is so detailed, I felt like I was actually watching and hearing these headlines on the news and feeling the fear the whole city was while waiting for each subsequent murder to occur.

Overall, this was a very fun, creepy and exciting book to read. It set the dark tone of the season and I’m exciting to read the next one!

I gave this a 4/5 stars on Goodreads.

Book vs. Movie: If I Stay (spoiler free!)

I’m starting a series over here on One Letter L, because a good series always brings the people back for more, right? (At least I hope so…). The real reason I wanted to do this whole book vs. movie thing is because I truly love a good movie adaptation. I mean who wasn’t in tears (at the age of 15) while watching A Walk to Remember? It had it’s flaws, as did the book…a lot of them. Now that I’m an adult and have read some really good books and seen some really awesome movies based on them in the last decade or so, my tastes have changed, but the feeling of connecting details from a book to it’s film counterpart has most definitely not. My friends and family hate seeing them with me, I’m that person in the dark theater leaning over whispering “Yea but it happened like this in the book…”, or audibly sniffling like a fool before the sad scene even happens. In fact, this happened last week with my fiance…two nights in a row. Luckily the second time was in the privacy of our own home, because there were sobs, and snot marks on the collar of my pajama shirt (ew!). 

I finally got the chance to see (aka dragged the man with me) If I Stay on Tuesday. We do movie date night on Tuesdays because our local theater has $5 tickets that day. Only way I could get this guy to see a chick flick of this proportion.

I read the book last month after owning it for a while. I’ll be honest, Chloe Grace Moretz was the reason I bought the book. I saw her beautiful (#womancrushwednesday status) face on the cover while perusing the books section at the grocery store and sneaked it into the basket before J could see. The book was pretty amazing. I have a weakness for young adult contemporary fiction, all the feels, there is nothing else like it. Gayle Forman definitely knows how to make you feel things. The book is about Mia, an extremely gifted cellist who meets the love of her life in a practice room at school. Adam is also a gifted a guitarist in a local up and coming band. You get to know her family, her cool parents (her dad was in a band, mom was a groupie), sweet grandparents, quirky ex-bandmates/best friends of her parents and her little brother Teddy. On a snowy school day (they live right outside of Portland, Oregon) school gets cancelled, so her mom calls in to work and the family plans a day out to visit family friends and her dad’s parents. There is an accident and Mia finds herself in a coma…literally. She has an out of body experience, and has to watch the repercussions of the accident and decide whether or not it’s worth it for her to stay in her life or pass on to the afterlife. As the story progresses, through a series of flashbacks, the reader gets to know Mia’s family, hang out with her best friend and fall in love with Adam.

I will say the movie stayed true to the book for the most part. There were some minor details that were not in sync, but it wasn’t enough to distract from the connection I formed with the book and the connection I had with the characters from the start. The casting was on point, every character that I had formed in my head looked like the characters they cast for the movie. The only real problem I had with the book that I was ok with in the movie was the ending. It was VERY abrupt in the book, I mean I was pissed at the end (come to find out there is a second book in the series, all worked up over nothing…) but somehow the movie pulled it off. Kudos R.J. Cutler! All in all, I gave the book a 5/5 stars on Goodreads (oh yea, did I mention I have an account? Let’s be friends! The link is in the side bar *shameless plug* :)), and I would definitely give the movie 5/5 as well. I don’t think this is Oscar material, but it was a very accurate and beautiful adaptation of a great novel.