Megan Shepherd’s third and final book in “The Madman’s Daughter Trilogy” comes out this Tuesday, and I am SUPER excited! It will probable be a few weeks until my copy gets here, and then I’m going back to school, so I honestly don’t know when I’ll be able to review it. I’m hoping for sometime in late February or early March, but I make no promises. I’m going to make it special event of beautiful tea cups and enjoyable reading, so stay tuned! I NEED IT NOW!!
“All Fall Down” by Ally Carter
4 out of 5 stars.
Grace isn’t crazy like people say, she’s just dealing with the trauma of losing the one person she loved most in the world, the only person who could make her feel safe and sound wherever she was: her mother. Years of therapy and medications haven’t healed a single wound concerning that awful night where her world came crashing down, and nothing, and no one, has been able to help her because they don’t believe a word she says. That’s the hardest part for Grace; everyone who has the power to do something to catch her mother’s killer assumes that the trauma got to her, that she’s just some crazy young adult trying to cope with something no one should have to ever witness. Added to Grace’s list of problems, she has been shipped off to Adria, where her estranged grandfather is an American Ambassador.
Three years is a long time to not see or talk to someone and Grace can feel the yawning distance between her and her grandfather. He was the only one who would take her and that’s why she’s in Adria, the only reason she’s here. Life can’t be too awful having Alexei, her brother’s best friend, next door and Noah, who has dubbed himself her new best friend, visiting her fairly often. The longer Grace stays in Adria, though, the more her memories begin to haunt her. She wishes she could forget that she witnessed her mother’s murder, but she also never wants to forget it so that, when the time comes, she can catch her mother’s killer. But what can a sixteen year old in a foreign country do when their mother’s killer could be anywhere in the world? Grace has always believed that her timing was off–she been in the wrong place, wrong time for most of her life. But after a life changing discover rocks her world, Grace realizes that sometimes the best place is to be here and the best time is now.
“All Fall Down” was a really good book. Ally Carter is one of my all time favorite authors because every book she writes ends up being fabulous, and “All Fall Down” was no exception. It was fun, interesting, and intricately plotted just like the “Heist Society” and the “Gallagher Girls,” and it also had a bit of its own flair too!
Grace came off as a very prickly character at first: she was intense, broken, frail, and strong all at the same time. Those are all very extreme things to be, but Ally pulled this character off wonderfully. Grace never grated on my nerves, and sure, I was frustrated at times but it was more out of, “Don’t hurt yourself like that again, Grace!” than anything else. My heart ached for her to stop picking at her wounds so that they could heal, and I desperately wanted her to trust the people who loved her. Some people may think that Grace was too harsh, too broken, but I liked her because I enjoyed reading about a character who had been wounded in the deepest possible ways and she was still breathing. I kept thinking of a puffer fish or a porcupine when Grace lashed out because you could see how desperately she needed someone to believe in her and help her, but she wouldn’t let anyone get close enough for them to truly help her.
Ally did a great job of creating a wounded heroine who had to learn that it was okay to let people in and to trust them. I also loved the relationships that bloomed between Grace and all of her new friends in Adria. Some of them reminded me of characters from the “Heist Society” and the “Gallagher Girls,” and it was really good to see that Ally Carter didn’t lose her talent for making awesome secondary character!
Noah was a great supporting character. At first he reminded me a tad of Hale ( for his cheekiness and charm) and Simon (for his nerdy awkwardness) from the “Heist Society,” but the more I got to know him, the more he became his own character and I ended up really liking him. Noah was sweet, kind, and charming and exactly the kind of friend that Grace needed. The two of them had some really funny moments, and it was wonderful to see Ally’s humor show up in her new characters! Another reason why I liked Noah was that he was the first character who really believed in Grace and what she witnessed the night of her mother’s murder, and it was great to see the two of them work together and build a team to catch the bad guy. Five golden stars to the adorable boy that is Noah!
I liked how Ally also brought in Megan and Rosie. The two of those girls were awesome and I loved how everyone started working as a team. Megan reminded me a bit of Macey from the “Gallagher Girls,” so I ended up liking her character a lot, and Rosie was just plane adorable! There were some ups and downs with all of the character on the team, especially with Grace, but I liked how they worked things out by the end of the book.
I feel like the only person I was unsure of was Alexei, the boy next door (literally). Alexei was Grace’s brother’s best friend, and so he was watching out for Grace while she was staying in Adria, but we all know that he will become a love interest of sorts soon enough. This saddened me a bit because I liked Noah and Grace together; I get that they will only ever be just friends, so I’m learning to accept that fact even if I don’t like it. I think the reason why I wasn’t super into Alexei was because I honestly discovered zero about him in “All Fall Down,” and so I don’t know anything about him other than the fact that he was a nice guy. I’m not against Alexei, I just don’t know him yet, and because of that, I’m not the hugest fan. I hope that the next book in the “Embassy Row” series will develop him a bit more so I can give him a chance, but for now, Noah’s my favorite.
That ending!! I think that my brain came to the correct conclusion before I even finished this book, but it was like I hadn’t registered what was right before my eyes; I did peg something else, but the MAIN thing was still kind of a surprise. It made sense, but it was super sad and I almost cried. Ally always knows how to hit right where it counts, that’s for sure.
Overall, a really great read. Thank you Ally for another fantastic book! Now I have to wait a year for the next “Embassy Row” to come out. *weeps*
“Her Dark Curiosity” by Megan Shepherd
4 out of 5 stars.
Juliet Moreau is different. Losing both your parents and childhood friend can make a mess out of a sane person, and finding out that your father is actually alive and living on a mysterious island can only mess with someone even more. But being abandoned by the boy you love and cast out into the ocean all alone is the worst experience that Juliet has endured by far. Months have come and gone since that last night on her father’s island, but the memories she has of it and then being abandoned still haunt her dreams. The only real comfort is that they are just dream and memories of the past, and that she will never have to face them again. The past is the past, and it should stay that way.
When someone begins a killing people in London, Juliet knows that her past has come to haunt her and that she is the only one who can stop him. Matters become even more complicated when Montgomery unexpectedly shows back up in her life, and Juliet is hesitant to trust him again after what he did to her heart. But more is at stake than feelings, and Juliet and her long lost friends must work together before it is too late. Can Juliet discover how to stop the murderer roaming the streets of London, or is there a much more sinister force at work that meets the eye?
I had read “Her Dark Curiosity” back in January of 2014 when it first came out, and at that time I did not love it. After eleven months passed, I picked this book back up to read sin preparation for “A Cold Legacy,” which comes out late January, and I am so glad that I did. Without a doubt, “The Madman’s Daughter” is my favorite, but I really do love “Her Dark Curiosity” now that I’ve read it again.
Second books are always hard for me to read because they are usually the darkest point in a trilogy; the tone becomes darker, the characters begin showing more and more of their flawed, human nature and sometimes that is difficult to see as a reader. Such was the case with Juliet and her surrounding characters. Everyone has their dark secrets and they are desperately trying to hide them behind fake smiles and 19th century chivalry, but there is a certain darkness that became more apparent with each passing page. It was hard at times to read, but it added a lot to the story in the sense that I was beginning to wonder who would make it out with their humanity (and maybe a little of their innocence) in tact. The whole time I was reading “Her Dark Curiosity,” I was questioning how Megan Shepherd could fix everything that was going wrong and how she would redeem the main characters in this story. I still don’t know how she can do that after finishing this book, and I am anxious about the crap that’s going to go down in “A Cold Legacy.”
Juliet was a very different girl from the one I read about in “The Madman’s Daughter,” and it made me so sad to see how the island and the experiences on it changed her. I couldn’t imagine how awful it would have been to go through what she did, and so these changes in perspective were believable as well as understandable. The longer I read, though, the harder it was to watch what Juliet was doing, and I wanted to scream at the pages, “Don’t DO THAT!” It was difficult to see her family’s “curse” creep up on her and I don’t know how Megan will resolve it all! I think that the biggest thing I want to see happen in “A Cold Legacy” is for Juliet to believe in herself and to choose a different and better way than her father did.
Edward was very interesting in “Her Dark Curiosity.” I felt bad for the Edward half because he was such a sweet boy and he had never been given a real chance to live a happy life. I thought that it was sad and interesting how he brought out Juliet’s darker side; she brought out the good in him (most of the time), but he didn’t bring out the best in her. I thought that was interesting considering both of their physical circumstances: Juliet went through some of her father’s procedures to save her life much like Edward, only his had been much more drastic. They are very much alike but that is not always a good thing when it comes to relationships. I don’t really know if Megan was trying to give a hint as to who was good for who, but to me it didn’t seem like the healthiest of relationships. But really, that aside, my heart broke for Edward and there are some major scenes where I teared-up because he was such a broken person. It was truly heartbreaking and I want to know what happens to Edward in the end of this trilogy.
Montgomery, Montgomery. I still love this boy even after he abandoned Juliet! It was so not okay what he did, but I just love this character so much!
Oy! And his reappearance at the masquerade was FREAKING awesome! Judge me all you want, people, but I still love him. That being said, Montgomery, just like Juliet and Edward, changed a lot in the six months or so that it took him to get to London. It is so heartbreaking to see the changes in him, knowing what changed him, but underneath it all he was still the sweet, strong, and smart Montgomery from “The Madman’s Daughter.” I loved any and every moment of this book that he was present, and I loved how Montgomery helped bring out the better side of Juliet. She feared he wouldn’t love her after she told him the truth, but Montgomery was still Montgomery and I love them together.
An unexpected character that really shined in “Her Dark Curiosity” was Juliet’s friend, Lucy. In the first book, a reader got a scene or two with her, but in this book she was present for a good amount of time. I grew to love Lucy and I thought that she had such a beautiful heart. By the end of “Her Dark Curiosity,” Lucy was blooming into a beautiful, strong young woman and I am rooting for a happy ending concerning her. She was a great addition to this trilogy!
So much happens in “Her Dark Curiosity” to the point that it was kinda overwhelming; I had to sit and process it once I had finished reading before I could think about anything else! It was so good, but I don’t know how Megan is going to fix everything that went wrong in this book. Uhhhh, and that secret that Montgomery was keeping?! I am so worried as to what it is and I hope Megan Shepherd doesn’t pull a Tahereh Mafi with him in the last book! P.S. My condolences to the Adam fandom. I feel for you guys!
Overall, “Her Dark Curiosity” was an amazing book, and I loved it! I am looking forward to reading “A Cold Legacy” to see how Megan Shepherd will wrap up this trilogy.
Alright, let’s start the New Year off by recounting the good books that I had the pleasure of reading this year. They were diamonds among the rough, but well worth the search!
“Deliverance” by C.J. Redwine
I adore this author so much! This book was beautiful and a well-rounded and resolved final book. Logan, Rachel, and Quinn will forever be dear to me. LOVED IT!
“This Shattered World” by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
I loved this book so much because of how beautifully put together it was. It was different from the other science fiction stories that are out now; the world was so well-developed and intricate, and I ADORED the characters! Definitely in my top five favorite books ever!
“The Winner’s Curse” by Marie Rutkoski
This book blew my mind. It is so well-plotted and intriguing, and the relationships between the characters were all so amazing. This was one of the “surprise” books of 2014 that I ended up LOVING!
“The One” by Kiera Cass
I loved how resolved and put together this book was; all the things that I had questions about were resolved and it was a good end to a series (I kinda wish it was over because this book ended so good, but we’ll see how “The Heir” goes). I loved America because she was such a strong and beautiful character who was so different from the other heroines in YA books right now. She was strong and courageous in a quiet way, and I personally think that she was one of the bravest heroines of 2014 because she faced those trials and hardships with a smile and stood her ground. Sometimes it takes more courage to do that than anything else.
“To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” by Jenny Han
Almost everything about this book is perfect. I loved Laura Jean and her family, I loved the dynamic between sisters that was in this book because only someone with sisters can understand that kind of relationship, ans I loved Laura Jean Peter. So cute and heartwarming and funny! LOVED IT!
“Cress” byMarissa Meyer
Adorable, fun, and well-written. Loved Thorne and Cress, and this book!
“Her Dark Curiosity” by Megan Shepherd.
CRAZINESS!! This book is so interesting, well-written, and plane old insane: so much happened and I have so many questions that I hope “A Cold Legacy” will be able to answer! P.S. I adore Montgomery and I hope you-know-what doesn’t hit the fan concerning him in the third book.
“Chasing Shadows” by Ashley Townsend
I loved it! Great time travel, dynamic characters, and an intricate plot that is leaving me guessing as to what’s going to happen in the last book.
“Red At Night” by Katie McGarry
I loved this novella with every fiber of my being, and my only regret is that it wasn’t longer. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!
“Outcast” by C.J. Redwine
I loved this novella as well. Quinn ended up being one of my favorite characters in this trilogy, and this novella only made me love him more. So good!
These are 10 of the best books of 2014 and all of them are 5 stars to me! Happy New Year, everyone!