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!