Prada & Prejudice

You may have noticed that the titles of my last two books are very similar.  Prom and Prejudice was a modern-day retelling of Jane Austen’s beloved Pride and Prejudice.  I thought I was in for more of the same with my latest read, Prada and Prejudice by Mandy Hubbard.  Alas, I was sadly mistaken.  The book was good, but, when you’re expecting Miss Bennett and Mr. Darcy in a title that ends with and Prejudice, it’s a bit of a downer when they don’t show up.  That being said, our main character, Callie, does take a journey to Regency England, but not in the way you might think…

Callie is a bit clumsy.  She’s kind of nerdy.  And she’s tired of the other girls looking down on her because she doesn’t always have the best of everything.  So, when she’s on her school trip to London, she takes her “for emergencies only” credit card and purchases a stellar pair of Prada heels.  (And really, isn’t needing a pair of great shoes kind of an emergency?  Right?)  The only problem is that Callie can’t really walk in them.  (I believe I mentioned she’s clumsy.)  As she’s stumbling along in her new $400 torture devices shoes, Callie trips, falls, and it’s lights out…

…and she wakes up in a forest with absolutely nothing familiar around her.  Where is she?  What happened to the busy streets of London?  Why is there absolutely no one around her?  Well, the answers to these questions are a little more complicated than Callie counted on.  You see, she’s somehow gone from modern London to an English country estate in the year 1815!  What?  How is this even possible?  She must have hit her head harder than she thought if she really believes she’s traveled through time.

But as Callie enters this strange world and is taken in by people who believe her to be a long-lost friend, she begins to wonder if this could be real.  And if it is, does she want to return to her old life, where she was a nobody, or should she stay here with people she’s grown to love and cherish?  Does she even have a choice in the matter?  Find out when you read Prada and Prejudice by Mandy Hubbard.

While this was a cute book, it reminded me a lot of Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict, and I was always searching for a connection to Pride and Prejudice.  I think a different title would have served the story better and not given any false hope to Austen fans.  That being said, this was a fun, light read that will appeal to middle grade girls on up to adult readers.  Prada and Prejudice will definitely delight those readers who have always wished to live in a different time.  (I am not one of those people…unless we’re talking about “a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.”)

For more information on author Mandy Hubbard and her other books, visit http://www.mandyhubbard.com/index.php/books/.  Enjoy!

Bewitching Season

Well, I’ve finally finished Bewitching Season by Marissa Doyle.  To be perfectly honest, I’ve been trying to finish this book for about two months.  It’s not a book I would generally pick up, so I wasn’t really motivated to finish it.  (I finally did because it’s nominated for my state’s young adult book award for next year.)  While it took an exceedingly long time to get interested in this book, once I got about halfway through, I couldn’t wait to finish it.  The action really picks up in the middle, and I could finally say that I was invested in the story.

Persephone and Penelope are about to be launched on London society.  The year is 1837, and the twin sisters are preparing for their first London season.  These aren’t two ordinary sisters, though.  They are witches.  For years, they’ve been training with their governess, Miss Allardyce, who not only teaches them writing and math but also how to use and control their magical gifts.

As the season is set to begin, however, Miss Allardyce goes missing.  Persy and Pen have no idea where to find her.  The two sisters must also deal with unbelievably tedious dress fittings (at least, I found them to be tedious), a nosy little brother, and the inevitable husband hunting of the season.  Persy wants little or nothing to do with the season and would love to devote all of her time to finding her missing governess, but her plans are complicated when she catches the eyes of two potential suitors.

As events unfold, Persy and Pen learn of a foul plot to control the Princess Victoria, heir to the throne, and their missing governess is somehow involved.  Can they thwart this evil plan while maintaining their decorum in London’s most prestigious ballrooms?  Is this even possible?  And how can Persy concentrate on rescuing Miss Allardyce when she’s trying to decide who she should marry or if she should wed at all?  Read Bewitching Season to learn how truly magical Victorian London can be.

While I admit that it took me forever to finally finish this book, I do plan to check out the sequel, Betraying Season, soon.  Now that I’ve read Persy’s story, I’m eager to see how things develop for her sister Pen.

The Monstrumologist

It took me a while to finish my latest read, The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey.  Why, you ask?  Well, it’s a very creepy book, at times horrifying, and I could not bring myself to read it at night.  Since I work all day, that left only a few short hours each week to devote to this particular book, and I had to follow it up in the evenings with lighter fare.  I scare very easily, and this book, which read like a memoir, really gave me the willies.

Young Will Henry is the assistant to Dr. Pellinore Warthrop, a monstrumologist, or one who studies monsters.  Will’s father was previously Dr. Warthrop’s assistant, and, after a fire killed his parents, the job was passed on to Will.  Will has grown accustomed to the calls in the dead of night, the mysterious packages, and the study of things believed to be pure myth.  He encounters more than expected, though, when a grave robber brings a gruesome find to Dr. Warthrop’s door.  It is the corpse of a young girl, and a monster known as an Anthropophagus is wrapped around her and appears to have been devouring her.

Will is not prepared for the journey this find will take him on.  He and Dr. Warthrop must find out where this beast came from, if there are others, and when they will kill again.  They travel to a graveyard and an asylum in search of answers, but the answers they seek are unexpected and unsettling.  The answers may also be too late.  These monsters are hungry, and nothing will stop them from killing again.  Dr. Warthrop enlists the help of an old “friend” to assist in the extermination of the Anthropophagi, but the lines between hunter and hunted become blurred.  Who is the real monster?

While The Monstrumologist scared me a bit more than I would prefer, I think it’s definitely a good book.  It is uncomfortable at times and forces the reader to think about morality and what he/she would do if placed in similar situations.  What makes something or someone a monster?  It’s not always clear.