Rummanah Aasi
  After a long hiatus, it's good to be back! I had a hard time deciding on what to review so I thought I would do a few mini-reviews for you. Today I'll be reviewing Perfect Scoundrels by Ally Carter, Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger, and Catherine by April Lindner.

Description (from Goodreads): Katarina Bishop and W.W. Hale the fifth were born to lead completely different lives: Kat comes from a long, proud line of loveable criminal masterminds, while Hale is the scion of one of the most seemingly perfect dynasties in the world. If their families have one thing in common, it's that they both know how to stay under the radar while getting-or stealing-whatever they want. No matter the risk, the Bishops can always be counted on, but in Hale's family, all bets are off when money is on the line. When Hale unexpectedly inherits his grandmother's billion dollar corporation, he quickly learns that there's no place for Kat and their old heists in his new role. But Kat won't let him go that easily, especially after she gets tipped off that his grandmother's will might have been altered in an elaborate con to steal the company's fortune. So instead of being the heir-this time, Hale might be the mark. Forced to keep a level head as she and her crew fight for one of their own, Kat comes up with an ambitious and far-reaching plan that only the Bishop family would dare attempt. To pull it off, Kat is prepared to do the impossible, but first, she has to decide if she's willing to save her boyfriend's company if it means losing the boy.

Review: Ally Carter's Heist Society series is a great read when you're looking for a relaxing and entertaining read. The stakes are higher and personal in this third Heist Society novel. Teen criminal mastermind Katarina Bishop gathers her fellow con artists to help one of their own, W. W. Hale the Fifth, when Hale’s wealthy tycoon grandmother dies suddenly—and mysteriously—leaving control of her billion-dollar corporation to underage Hale and the family’s greedy trustee lawyer. Kat feels uneasy about the will and is tipped off that the will may not even be real. The only way to find out is to steal and find the original will. While jet-setting around the globe, scheming elaborate break-ins, and even fooling the high-security London museum, Kat must keep her feelings for Hale in check. Are they really together? Can she trust her usually steadfast partner? With a fabulous, lively cast of characters,  razor-sharp dialogue, twists, nonstop action, and a very likable, smart heroine, Perfect Scoundrels doesn't let down its readers.

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: There is some minor language, underage drinking, and some crude humor. Recommended for Grades 8 and up.

If you like this book try: The Gallagher Girls series by Ally Carter, White Cat by Holly Black, The Liar Society by Lisa and Laura Roecker

Description (from Goodreads): Fourteen-year-old Sophronia is a great trial to her poor mother. Sophronia is more interested in dismantling clocks and climbing trees than proper manners—and the family can only hope that company never sees her atrocious curtsy. Mrs. Temminick is desperate for her daughter to become a proper lady. So she enrolls Sophronia in Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality.
  But Sophronia soon realizes the school is not quite what her mother might have hoped. At Mademoiselle Geraldine's, young ladies learn to finish...everything. Certainly, they learn the fine arts of dance, dress, and etiquette, but they also learn to deal out death, diversion, and espionage—in the politest possible ways, of course. Sophronia and her friends are in for a rousing first year's education.

Review: I'm a big fan of Carriger's Parasol Protectorate series and was excited to read her YA debut. Though the plot arc isn't solidly established in her YA debut novel, Carriger's deadpan British humor with a mixture of Victorian paranormal steampunk and winning heroines shines. Sophronia is a far cry from the typical societal girl, which is why I was immediately taken by her. She is not concerned with balls and clothes, but with studying and making things. After an incident involving a plummeting dumbwaiter and an airborne trifle, Sophronia is sent to Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy to learn how to be a proper lady. Their carriage is immediately waylaid by flywaymen looking for a mysterious prototype—the first of many clues that this academy will not be the dreadful bore Sophronia expected. Once established at Mademoiselle Geraldine’s, Sophronia learns that she is a covert recruit into a school that trains girls to be part assassins, part spies, and also always fashionable ladies of quality. A fun, entertaining read that would be a good introduction to the steampunk world without being too overwhelming.

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: There is some PG language and rude humor. Recommended for Grades 6 and up.

If you like this book try: Curtsies & Conspiracies (Finishing School #2) by Gail Carriger, Kat, Incorrigible series by Stephanie Burgis

Description (from Goodreads): Catherine is tired of struggling musicians befriending her just so they can get a gig at her Dad’s famous Manhattan club, The Underground. Then she meets mysterious Hence, an unbelievably passionate and talented musician on the brink of success. As their relationship grows, both are swept away in a fiery romance. But when their love is tested by a cruel whim of fate, will pride keep them apart?
  Chelsea has always believed that her mom died of a sudden illness, until she finds a letter her dad has kept from her for years—a letter from her mom, Catherine, who didn’t die: She disappeared. Driven by unanswered questions, Chelsea sets out to look for her—starting with the return address on the letter: The Underground.
  Told in two voices, twenty years apart, Catherine interweaves a timeless forbidden romance with a compelling modern mystery.

Review: Wuthering Heights is one of my favorite books. I've reread it on several occasions and have watched several film adaptions. After being impressed with how Lindner updated Jane Eyre for the new generation of readers, I was excited to see how she changes she would make in her modern retelling of Wuthering Heights.  Upon reading the book, I realized that the narrative of Catherine is a a loose rendition of Wuthering Heights, is told in the alternating, first-person voices of daughter and mother. Though the structural outline of the story and some of the major plot points have changed, Lindner manages to keep the emotional heart of the story featuring the famous and stormy romances.
  After discovering that her mother, Catherine Eversole Price, had not died, as her father told her, but instead deserted the family and then disappeared, 17-year-old Chelsea Price goes on a quest to find out what happened to her. I was surprised to find out that I didn't hate Catherine as much as I did in the original story, but I can kind of see why she acted the way she did. Lindner does a good job in capturing and showing a young woman torn between an all-encompassing love for musician Hence and a desire to pursue her own ambitions. I also liked how Hence is shown beyond a harsh, hard man but a full three dimensional character. The strands of mother's and daughter's stories come together during the suspenseful climax, which was definitely very different from the original story but it seemed to work in this new retelling. I was disappointed that Catherine wasn't as emotionally engaging as I would have liked to it be, but serves a great introduction to a famous story that many claim have horrible characters. I would recommend this book to those who are interested in discovering the romance beyond Wuthering Heights and a bit intimidated by reading the original book.

Rating: 3.5 stars

Words of Caution: There is some strong language, underage drinking, and sexual situations. Recommended for Grades 9 and up.

If you like this book try: Jane by April Lindner, Black Spring by Alison Croggin, The House of Dead Maids by Clare Dunkle
3 Responses
  1. So good to see you back! I hope the new school year is treating you well. I liked but didn't love Heist Society. I keep thinking I should re-read it because everyone else loves it.

  2. Glad your back! School is hectic, isn't it? I'm having a hard time finding balance this year. I loved your mini reviews! I've wondered about Catherine. I'm not a lover of Wuthering Heights just the storyline. But I might like this one. I haven't tried the Heist Society books. I'll definitely give them a try.

  3. I was a bit disappointed by Catherine; I found April Lindner's Jane much better. As for the other two books, I'm way behind in the Heist Society series - I've only read the first book - and still need to give Etiquette and Espionage a try.

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