Born Wicked — Jessica Spotswood

Goodreads summary: Everybody knows Cate Cahill and her sisters are eccentric. Too pretty, too reclusive, and far too educated for their own good. But the truth is even worse: they’re witches. And if their secret is discovered by the priests of the Brotherhood, it would mean an asylum, a prison ship—or an early grave.

Before her mother died, Cate promised to protect her sisters. But with only six months left to choose between marriage and the Sisterhood, she might not be able to keep her word… especially after she finds her mother’s diary, uncovering a secret that could spell her family’s destruction. Desperate to find alternatives to their fate, Cate starts scouring banned books and questioning rebellious new friends, all while juggling tea parties, shocking marriage proposals, and a forbidden romance with the completely unsuitable Finn Belastra.

If what her mother wrote is true, the Cahill girls aren’t safe. Not from the Brotherhood, the Sisterhood—not even from each other. Continue reading

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The Name of the Star — Maureen Johnson

Goodreads summary: The day Louisiana teenager Rory Deveaux arrives in London, it’s the start of a new life at a boarding school. But for many, this will be remembered as the day a series of brutal murders broke out across the city, gruesome crimes mimicking the horrific Jack the Ripper events of more than a century ago.

4.5/5 stars

Sometimes I devour books and move on to the next one in my pile immediately and don’t think to write reviews until I’ve forgotten what I wanted to say (I should probably take more notes). So my review for The Name of the Star is very mini.

Maureen Johnson is one of my favorite YA authors. (If you’ve never read any of her books, read some of her Twitter feed and you’ll get a feel for her writing style.) And while Jack the Ripper is one of my favorite historical characters, he is a bit done. But Maureen took the well-known mystery, put a fresh spin on it, threw in some wacky characters, and gave the world this book.

Rory is a southern girl but no blushing flower. There is teen romance but it doesn’t dominate the novel. The ghosts aren’t all floating around and rattling chains; several of them just want to be useful in the afterlife and one’s heroics made me tear up. Some parts reminded me of Meg Cabot’s Mediator series, but thankfully without the human/ghost star-crossed lover aspect because that would’ve been too much to handle in this case.

One of the highlights of this book for me was her acknowledgements at the end. “Hey! This one is forty-five minutes of driving the Northern line tunnels! Grab a snack!” Maureen, please can we be friends? You can come hang out with Mindy and me. I’ll make the popcorn.

The Golden Lily — Richelle Mead

Goodreads summary: “Tough, brainy alchemist Sydney Sage and doe-eyed Moroi princess Jill Dragomir are in hiding at a human boarding school in the sunny, glamorous world of Palm Springs, California. The students–children of the wealthy and powerful–carry on with their lives in blissful ignorance, while Sydney, Jill, Eddie, and Adrian must do everything in their power to keep their secret safe. But with forbidden romances, unexpected spirit bonds, and the threat of Strigoi moving ever closer, hiding the truth is harder than anyone thought.”

4/5 stars

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Fifty Shades Darker — E L James

It seems no one really believes you (okay, me) when you say you’re (okay, I’m) reading the Fifty Shades trilogy for science. I’ve had this conversation a few times in the past couple of weeks:

THEM: What are you reading?
ME: Uh… you know the Fifty Shades books?
THEM, suddenly looking uncomfortable: Uh, the softcore porn? Yeah. Yeah, I’ve heard of it.
ME: Well, I decided to read those. You know, for science. Like my own little sociology project.
THEM, raising an eyebrow at me: Um, right. Science. Sure.
ME: No, really!
THEM: Whatever you need to tell yourself. So anyway, how ’bout them Yankees?

Anyway, I really didn’t like the first book. I was surprised to not hate this one. In fact, I gave it 2/5 stars! (Spoilers behind the cut.)

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