Fiction Friday Round-Up – April 10th, 2015

Over the past week-and-a-bit, I’ve read a classic, two ARCs, and a second book in a series! Click the links for full reviews!

  • Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking Glass – Lewis Carroll: “This is a book that speaks to the nonsensical part of me, the part that prefers to fantasize my way into a story rather than, you know, do actual work.”
  • Spelled (ARC) – Betsy Schow: “I love fractured/retellings of fairy tales so I was pretty stoked when my request for this was approved.”
  • The Weed that Strings the Hangman’s Bag – Alan Bradley: “Flavia continues to be precocious and clever, and I sort of want to be her. Or I’d at least like to understand chemistry the way she does.”
  • The Rise and Fall of the Gallivanters (ARC) – M.J. Beaufrand: “I liked the fact that they were in a punk band. These are my people (well, these are the people I wish were my people), and I’ve always loved stories where one or more characters are in a band.”


Last week was Good Friday and I only posted one review (but it was SUCH a good book!):

  • The Wondrous and the Wicked – Page Morgan: “I don’t want to spoil anything about this book, but I’m just going to put this out there: it was one of the best endings to a trilogy I’ve read in a long time…”

Until next week, happy reading!

The Wondrous and the Wicked – Page Morgan

The Wondrous and the Wicked – Page Morgan

21473811Since the Waverlys arrived in Paris, the streets have grown more fearsome by the day. As Ingrid learns to master her lectrux gift, she must watch Axia’s power grow strong enough to extend beyond her Underneath hive. By all indications, the fallen angel’s Harvest is near-and the timing couldn’t be worse.

Targeted by vengeful gargoyles, Gabby has been exiled to London for her own protection. Meanwhile, the gargoyle castes are in disarray, divided between those who want Luc to lead them and those who resent him and his fondness for humans. The Alliance is crumbling from the inside as well, its members turning against one another, and possibly against the Waverlys, too.

Axia has promised that the world will burn. And now, unable to trust the Alliance, separated from Luc, Gabby, and her twin, Grayson, Ingrid is left to face the demon uprising alone.

I don’t want to spoil anything about this book, but I’m just going to put this out there: it was one of the best endings to a trilogy I’ve read in a long time (with the exception being Ellie Marney’s Every Move, which was amazing).

As with the previous books, the setting is gorgeous and atmospheric. Morgan has a beautiful command of language, and at times, it’s impossible to tear your eyes away from the page, especially toward the end.


I think I even had that furrowed brow look because I was reading so intensely.

But, while her descriptions are lovely, characters are where Morgan really shines. I’ve complained before about having multiple POVs can detract from a book’s general awesomeness, but in this trilogy, I pretty much love all the characters so I didn’t mind being jolted back and forth between their different experiences.

All of the characters continued to grow and mature, and you learned a lot more about them along the way, especially Grayson who played a bigger role in this book compared to the first two.

As I mentioned before, this was one of those rare series where I was actually (briefly) torn between the two guys in the love triangle. Like Ingrid, I liked Vander, but I loved Luc. Vander is a genuinely good guy; he’s smart and brave and obviously cares about Ingrid (and the rest of the Alliance). But Luc…I can’t even describe him. Sure, he’s occasionally brooding, but he’s a gargoyle, so it can be forgiven (he spends half his life literally trapped in stone, you’d be brooding too).

I also enjoyed the way Marco’s character developed. He’s much more likeable and there was even a chapter where I was genuinely worried about him. Speaking of developing characters, Nolan’s cousin Rory was around a bit more, and not only did he continue to be fabulous, but his implied relationship with another character (who I won’t name because that spoils everything) was the cutest thing.

And Gabby continues to be a badass heroine; her weapon skills save their lives a couple of times and, even though she seems to make a stupid bargain when Nolan’s in trouble, you can see that she’s genuinely trying to be helpful.

The last 30 pages were basically an emotional rollercoaster. I cried, and then smiled, and then cried again because it was the most gorgeous ending I could have asked for. You know how sometimes when you finish a really good book, you can’t function normally for a little while afterwards because you’re processing your feelings? That was me.

Actually, this is a more accurate representation of me post-reading:


There’s a major death (I won’t tell you who) that cut straight through me. I honestly couldn’t – wouldn’t – believe that this character had died until a funeral scene a few chapters later. This death affected me so much, I feel like crying again (or maybe it’s just because I’m really hungry). I appreciate when authors take that step, risking characters’ lives in order to achieve a poignant ending. Sometimes it doesn’t work and readers are upset at a needless waste; other times, it’s the catalyst that makes a perfect resolution possible. In this case, it was definitely the latter.

I could spend the next five hours waxing on about how amazing this series is, but if you like your romance with a gothic twist, I highly recommend picking these up. The Dispossesed trilogy has rightfully earned a place on my favourite books shelf.

5 interrobangs

The Lovely and the Lost – Page Morgan

The Lovely and the Lost – Page Morgan

The sequel to The Beautiful and the Cursed, The Lovely and the Lost finds the Waverly sisters in mortal danger and able to trust no one.

Ingrid and Gabby survived the Underneath. They saved their brother, Grayson, from a future of dark servitude and exposed a plot to undermine the Alliance. But danger still lurks in the streets of Paris, and the Dispossessed, perched on the city’s bridges and rooftops, might not be able to save their human wards this time.

I can’t even begin to tell you how I felt about this book.

When I read the first book, The Beautiful and the Cursed, I don’t think I was able to form a complete sentence. My review of it was not very intricate (in my defense, I had also read Ellie Marney’s Every Breath that same week, and my heart was too full of excellent YA to  make sense), so I’m going to try to be more detailed this time, so there may some vague spoilers ahead.

As I mentioned last time, there are gargoyles in this book. Gargoyles! Not like the comic-relief gargoyles from the Disney version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and not even the “re-awaken after centuries in stone” gargoyles of Disney’s Gargoyles (now that was a good cartoon). These are brooding dudes (I don’t think there are any female gargoyles) who only shift into their “true” stone form when their human charges (the people who live in their territory) are in danger. That in itself makes it a great concept. Then throw in the fact that Luc (a gargoyle) has a thing for his human charge, Ingrid, who also happens to have angel and demon blood…well, things get crazy in the best way possible.

Lots of YA books have a love triangle and this one is no exception. At first, I wasn’t sure who to root for – naturally I loved Luc, but I also kinda liked Vander. Now though? I still like Vander, but I’m completely sold on the Luc-Ingrid relationship. It has to happen. I might cry if it doesn’t. Ro and I (who, by the way, read the book at the exact same time – different copies, obviously – which was a lot of fun) have already spent a couple of hours discussing how this is all going to go down in book three (out this April). While Vander, as a human, is probably the more reasonable choice, there’s something about Luc’s devotion to Ingrid that makes him so appealing.

Meanwhile, Gabby’s character arc continues to impress me. You’d think she would be all wishy-washy and girly and unable to defend herself, but she’s badass and strong and doesn’t stand to the side while everyone else is off having adventures. And that twist at the end! I wasn’t expecting her to be the catalyst for the already unsteady relationship between the Alliance and the Dispossessed; I was genuinely shocked, especially after Nolan’s reaction (speaking of Nolan, his cousin Rory is pretty amazing).

Also, I was pleasantly surprised by the Grayson-and-Chelle subplot point. It’s something I felt like I should have seen coming, but Page Morgan managed to deftly work it in there without anyone being the wiser. Plus, that made Grayson’s story arc all the more heart-wrenching (I fully believed him when he thought he had the hellhounds under control).

Like the first book, the writing is fast-paced and vivid. There is a human with the blood of an arachne demon and the descriptions of his subsequent powers are disgusting yet effective. There is very little down-time in the book; even scenes that could be an info-dump have enough action that you don’t feel like you’re slowing down at all.

The writing is compelling, you can’t help but feel riveted. I willingly sacrificed a good night’s sleep in order to find out what happened next. Even if the third book doesn’t end the way I want it to, this series is definitely making it’s way onto my “favourites” list and the characters will absolutely stick with me even when it’s all over.

Shouldn’t You Be in School – Lemony Snicket // The Beautiful and the Cursed – Page Morgan // Every Breath – Ellie Marney

Shouldn’t You Be in School?:

“Young apprentice Lemony Snicket is trying to smoke out an arsonist but soon finds himself enveloped in a thickening haze of mystery that has settled upon the town of Stain’d-by-the-Sea. Who is setting the fires? What secrets are hidden in the Department of Education? Why are so many schoolchildren in danger? Is it all the work of the notorious villain Hangfire? How could you even ask that?
Maybe you should be in school.”

I read the second book in the series, When Did You See Her Last? in September, and honestly, I don’t have anything else to add to this.

Oh, except for the fact that this book officially confirms what VFD stands for, even though it’s easy to work out if you’ve read all of A Series of Unfortunate Events. But still! To have THE LEMONY SNICKET confirm it is basically what I’ve been waiting for my whole life (or at least the past ten years).

The Beautiful and the Cursed:

“It was bizarre and inexplicable, but after it happened no one spoke of it, and Ingrid Waverly was forced to leave her life in London behind. She had to trade a world full of fancy dresses and society events and move to Paris with her mother and younger sister, Gabby.
In Paris there are no grand balls or glittering parties, and, disturbingly, the house her twin brother Grayson found for them isn’t a house at all. It’s a creepy old abbey with a roof lined with stone gargoyles that one could almost mistake for living, breathing creatures.
And Grayson is missing.
Yet no one seems to be concerned about Grayson’s whereabouts save for Luc, a devastatingly handsome servant who has some secrets of his own.
Ingrid is sure her twin isn’t dead–she can feel it deep in her soul–but she knows he’s in grave danger, and it’s up to her and Gabby to find him before all hope is lost.
Only the path to Grayson is more dangerous than Ingrid could ever have imagined.”

I actually didn’t realize this was YA when I first picked it up, but it doesn’t really feel YA (apart from their ages). Here is a one word spoiler: gargoyles. Do you know how rare it is to find gargoyles in YA? I can’t even think of another book that mentions gargoyles, nevermind features them so prominently.

I liked all the characters so much, I’m still not sure which guy I like the most (Luc? Vander? Nolan?), and there were a couple of betrayals at the end that had me gasping so hard I choked. It was excellent. Even the female characters were well done – Ingrid is strong (in more ways than one) and not in the least bit whiny, and Gabby is, for lack of a better word, pretty badass for a English lady in 1899.

As Ro pointed out (she read it before me, then repeated “YOU HAVE TO READ IT” until I gave in, despite the fact that I had literally 50 other books sitting on my “to read” shelf…it was worth it), if the writing had been subpar, this book would not have been good. But Page Morgan’s writing was vivid and fast-paced and I couldn’t wait to see where she was leading me.

I’m trying to convince myself I don’t need the sequel right away…

Every Breath:

“When James Mycroft drags Rachel Watts off on a night mission to the Melbourne Zoo, the last thing she expects to find is the mutilated body of Homeless Dave, one of Mycroft’s numerous eccentric friends. But Mycroft’s passion for forensics leads him to realize that something about the scene isn’t right–and he wants Watts to help him investigate the murder.
While Watts battles her attraction to bad-boy Mycroft, he’s busy getting himself expelled and clashing with the police, becoming murder suspect number one. When Watts and Mycroft unknowingly reveal too much to the cold-blooded killer, they find themselves in the lion’s den–literally. A trip to the zoo will never have quite the same meaning to Rachel Watts again…”

Oh man. As soon as I saw this cover, I knew I had to read it. I’ve never been a massive Sherlock Holmes fan, though recently I became obsessed with the BBC Sherlock series, but the premise was so intriguing.

I loved it. Mycroft and Watts…I can’t even begin to describe how much I loved them. Watts was strong and independent; when she argued or made a fuss about something, you couldn’t blame her because it was the most realistic reaction to her situation. Mycroft was eccentric without being completely insane, and the two of them made a delightful pair. I was definitely rooting for their relationship from page one. The dialogue was realistic, and the supporting characters were also interesting, and it takes place in Australia which I rarely get to read about, so that was a plus.

The sequel, Every Word, comes out later this year…I don’t know if I can wait that long!