Review: The Madness Underneath (Shades of London, #2) by Maureen Johnson

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the madness underneathTitle: The Madness Underneath
Series: Shades of London, #2
Author:
Maureen Johnson
Genre: YA Supernatural
Source: Gifted (Signed Hardcover)

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When madness stalks the streets of London, no one is safe…

There’s a creepy new terror haunting modern-day London.
Fresh from defeating a Jack the Ripper killer, Rory must put her new-found hunting skills to the test before all hell breaks loose…

But enemies are not always who you expect them to be and crazy times call for crazy solutions. A thrilling teen mystery.

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So I’m kind of in love with Maureen Johnson. She has such a wide range of stories that I never know what she’s going to come up with next! I had actually started reading her stories with her Shades of London series and loved the characters so much that I had to see what other characters she had come up with. The great thing about Maureen is that even though she’s writing horror, she works in humour and other elements as well. Makes for a very enjoyable read!

While I loved the first book in this series, The Name of the Star, I have to say that this one was lacking just a little something. It might have been due to the fact that the main character, Rory, isn’t in school for a lot of the story, therefore not around characters like Jazza and Jerome, or maybe the scares just aren’t there as much as they were in the first book. Still, this was a fun installment, full of some scares and creepy settings.

One thing I really disliked with this story was how in The Name of the Star, we’re given a resolution at the end, with an opening for another story in the series. This one ends by setting up the next story — with really no resolution. To me, the story just didn’t seem finished, especially since I started reading it after finishing the first book, thinking how great it was that each book would be a story all on its own, rather than a set-up story. Boy, was I wrong! I almost wish that I had held off a little longer, reading this one when the third book was available because cliffhangers like this one suck.

Maureen Johnson is still tops in my books when it comes to awesome YA authors, so I’m still super excited to see where this series goes next with The Shadow Cabinet. There was still plenty of unexpected moments, which was great, but I kind of wish that the boarding school had more prominence in this story. Still, I do love the London atmosphere and the creepy elements that Maureen worked into the setting.

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AUTHOR LINKS
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Review: Smart Girls Get What They Want by Sarah Strohmeyer

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smart girls get what they wantTitle: Smart Girls Get What They Want
Author:
Sarah Strohmeyer
Genre:
YA contemporary
Source:
Bought (ebook)

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Gigi, Bea, and Neerja are best friends and total overachievers. Even if they aren’t the most popular girls in school, they aren’t too worried. They know their real lives will begin once they get to their Ivy League colleges. There will be ivy, and there will be cute guys in the libraries (hopefully with English accents)! But when an unexpected event shows them they’re missing out on the full high school experience, it’s time to come out of the honors lounge and into the spotlight. They make a pact: They will each take on their greatest challenge—and they will totally rock it.

Gigi decides to run for student rep, but she’ll have to get over her fear of public speaking—and go head-to-head with gorgeous California Will. Bea used to be one of the best skiers around, until she was derailed. It could be time for her to take the plunge again. And Neerja loves the drama club but has always stayed behind the scenes—until now.

These friends are determined to show the world that smart girls really can get what they want—but that could mean getting way more attention than they ever bargained for. . .

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First things first, can I just say how much I love Sarah Strohmeyer’s covers? Between this one and How Zoe (Almost) Made Her Dreams Come True, I’m not sure which one I like more! Something about the colouring, I think …

Anyway, this was such a cute read! Right off the bat, I loved Gigi and how rigid she was — not to mention, how hilarious. I just knew that something had to give with her and who better to help her with that than a certain schoolmate of hers. Gigi was one of those people who had her entire life planned out, not really something that I had for myself but I can totally get where she’s coming from. We all have these ideas of where we’re pretty sure we’re going to be, but like my dad says, “life is a journey,” and Gigi definitely went on a journey! High school is one of those things that you can experience or not and it was fun to see Gigi and her friends really start to experience it.

I wasn’t the biggest fan of the love triangle in the story, but I felt that it worked. Really. The two male characters couldn’t be more different and while it was slightly predictable what was going to happen, I couldn’t help but smile and yell (simultaneously) at Gigi when she did super dumb things — for being someone who was so smart.

I’m really glad I gave this one a go and will definitely be reading more of Sarah’s work in the future. Her books are cute and fun, the perfect light read for a summer day, or to pass the time in the dead of winter (when you just need something fun to pick you up!). Her characters are real and have flaws, so it’s easy to relate to them no matter where you stood in the midst of high school. Really, there’s something for everyone in this story.

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Author Links
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[ARC] Review: The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith

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the geography of you and meTitle: The Geography of You and Me
Author:
Jennifer E. Smith
Genre: YA Contemporary
Source: Publisher (eARC)

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Lucy and Owen meet somewhere between the tenth and eleventh floors of a New York City apartment building, on an elevator rendered useless by a citywide blackout. After they’re rescued, they spend a single night together, wandering the darkened streets and marveling at the rare appearance of stars above Manhattan. But once the power is restored, so is reality. Lucy soon moves to Edinburgh with her parents, while Owen heads out west with his father.

Lucy and Owen’s relationship plays out across the globe as they stay in touch through postcards, occasional e-mails, and — finally — a reunion in the city where they first met.

A carefully charted map of a long-distance relationship, Jennifer E. Smith’s new novel shows that the center of the world isn’t necessarily a place. It can be a person, too.

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Thank you to Hachette Book Group Canada for providing me with an eARC of this book for review!

Oh my. I loved this book! I’m hesitant to mark it as a 5-star book because it feels so familiar and I can’t quite put my finger on why it feels that way, whether it’s reminiscent of another Jennifer E Smith book, or of another book in general, or maybe even a movie, but the whole time I was reading the story, I thought I had read it before.

But … BUT! It was still a lot of fun!

Actually, like most books by authors who I love, I decided to just crack it open and start reading, without having any clear direction on what the story was about, so almost instantly I fell in love with the fact that the story started off in an elevator with Lucy and Owen being its only passengers. The elevators stop and they start talking. The city is completely blacked out so they have this amazing evening together. It was all so perfect!

I loved both of the main characters immensely and also enjoyed that the story wasn’t just about them but also about family. Both Lucy and Owen seem to come from different worlds, but they both have problems with their family in some way or another. Throughout the story, they’re both struggling to find themselves and what they want, as well as trying to have a relationship between the two of them, AND trying to deal with their families. There’s a lot going on, but it all works so well. Not only that, but there’s an element of travel as Owen travels across the country and Lucy to another continent — there’s really something for everyone!

This was my third Jennifer E. Smith book and it really cemented her as being one of my favourite authors. I love how her stories seem to revolve around that same theme of love and the idea of “home” not being rooted in one place, but more in a person or people. Not only that, but she’s such a great writer and I don’t even have to know what her stories are going to be about — I just know that I’ll be in love within the first few pages and unable to put the story down until I finish. It’s a great feeling!

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AUTHOR LINKS
GOODREADS | TWITTER

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