Review: To Right the Wrongs by Sheryl Scarborough

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: To Right the Wrongs by Sheryl ScarboroughTo Right the Wrongs by Sheryl Scarborough
Series: Erin Blake #2
Published by Tor Teen on February 27, 2018
Pages: 320
Format: Hardcover
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon

Barely three weeks after catching the killer of Erin's mother and their biology teacher, Erin and her crew are back, up to their elbows in forensics projects. But this time it's with the full approval of their parents.

With Uncle Victor at the helm, Erin and her best friends, Spam and Lysa, are prepping a new classroom for CSI summer camp, where they will serve as camp counselors. Meanwhile, Erin's super-hot new boyfriend, Journey, is graduating, just in time for him to take a position as Victor's intern in the new CSI lab on campus. Journey and Victor are going to take another look at the evidence in the murder trial that sent Journey's father to prison. The girls are under strict orders not to meddle with the murder case, but that's easier said than done...

I’m torn between giving this book 3.5 stars or 4 stars. When I finished book one, To Catch a Killer, I REALLY wanted a sequel. I do love that To Right the Wrongs tied up some loose ends, but it also left a few things dangling. It makes me wonder if there will be a book three – and I’m totally okay with that! Despite some hiccups with this book, it was still really enjoyable and the ending had me like WHOA!! But also… totally called it!

I’ve never been a huge fan of Erin. I love the forensic sleuth side of her, but otherwise she’s just.. childish and selfish. I understood her reasoning for her behavior, but that didn’t make it okay. I was disappointed with the way she treated Journey in this book. It felt like their relationship took a backseat to everything else. Part of that was definitely Journey’s fault – he was very distant with Erin, behaving as if he didn’t trust her and he should have. I still 100% shipped them, but I really wanted MORE from them as a couple, and I’m disappointed we didn’t get that MORE.

Also, side-note: I had MAJOR Rob (1-800-WHERE-R-U) vibes from Journey.. Anyone else read those books and notice that? Just me?

I liked Lysa and Spam a LOT more in this book than I did in book one. In book one, they kept oscillating between acting like loyal friends, and acting as if Erin was purposefully leaving them out of things. But in To Right the Wrongs, they worked WITH Erin, and they both definitely had a lot of character growth because of that shift in attitude.

I really didn’t trust ANYONE in this book. Like, it would be faster to list the people I DID trust 100%. But as I got further into the book, I started looking at each suspicious character in a more critical way. And then I was able to narrow down who I thought was TRULY suspicious, and who seemed like they were suspicious just to throw readers off the mark. In the end, my instincts regarding the person I was MOST suspicious about turned out to be correct. And when the big reveal happened, I was just like “I KNEW IT!!!!!!!”

There are several characters I’d like to mention by name, and discuss in greater detail, but that would end up being super spoilery and I’m trying to keep this review to a spoiler minimum. But let’s just say: I despised Blankenship until the end; I didn’t trust Arletta Stone or the coach, and was shocked by the way their stories ended; I loved Lyman, though we were clearly supposed to be suspicious of him; and I was indifferent to Clay but had this weird gut feeling…

Anyway, that’s all on that subject, lest I spoil everything with my vague descriptions.

Overall, this book definitely started out slow. And I honestly enjoyed To Catch a Killer a LOT more. However, To Right the Wrongs was still very intriguing. It kept me on the edge of my seat, trying to guess who the killer was and how things would end. The characters all experienced a lot of character growth, and the book definitely tied up a lot of loose ends. I’m anxious to see if there will be a third book in this series, because I love the forensics and Nancy Drew/Veronica Mars feels. Also, the “90s/00s feels – by that I mean, as stated in my review of To Catch a Killer, “It completely reminded me of a 90s/00s teen novel, and I LOVED IT!”

So if you love books about forensics, Nancy Drew, Veronica Mars, or thrillers in general, I HIGHLY recommend you pick this series up! It’s definitely a wild ride and, slow bits aside, will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very last page.


Review: Seeker by Veronica Rossi

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Seeker by Veronica RossiSeeker by Veronica Rossi
Series: Riders #2
Published by Tor Teen on May 16, 2017
Pages: 352
Format: Hardcover
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon

When Daryn claimed she was seeing visions during her sophomore year of high school, no one believed the truth.

She wasn’t losing her mind; she was gaining the Sight—the ability to see the future. Daryn embraced her role as a Seeker. The work she did was important. She saved lives.

Until Sebastian.

Sebastian was her first—and worst—mistake.

Since the moment she inadvertently sealed him in a dark dimension with Samrael, the last surviving demon of the Kindred, guilt has plagued her. Daryn knows Sebastian is alive and waiting for help. It’s up to her to rescue him. But now that she needs the Sight more than ever to guide her, the visions have stopped.

Daryn must rely on instincts, intelligence, and blind faith to lead the riders who are counting on her in search of Sebastian. As they delve into a shadowy realm where nothing is as it seems and where Samrael is steadily amassing power, Daryn faces the ultimate test. Will she have to become evil to destroy evil?

The very fate of humankind may rest in the answer.

I really, really enjoyed Seeker. Honestly, I think I liked it better than Riders, which is weird to say because Riders was AMAZING! But Seeker really pulled me in and refused to let go until the very last page. The plot was incredible, as was the world – especially The Rift, which was such a weird, freaky place. I have no idea why, but it kinda made me think of Jumanji (the rain forest part of it)… Anyone else feel that way??

I loved having the multiple POV with Gideon and Daryn. Like I said in my Riders review, Gideon was an epic narrator. I loved his dry, sarcastic sense of humor and his hilarious one-liners! Daryn’s POV really balanced well with Gideon’s narration – she was more serious and logical, thinking things through rationally whenever she was able.

I totally shipped Gideon and Daryn, but even more so in Seeker than in Riders. They worked well together, and I loved the way they seemed to be two halves of a whole, almost completely in sync – yet able to disagree and still respect each other. They were perfection, basically.

I loved the friendship – the brotherhood – that formed between Gideon and Marcus, especially with how hostile they were towards each other in the beginning. Really, all four guys were amazing and their relationship was amazing. Their unbreakable bond/brotherhood was something I’d love to see more of in YA. I loved the way this book showed that guys and girls CAN just be friends (re: Daryn with Bas, Jode and Marcus) and that guys don’t HAVE to get all weird and territorial when one member of their group “snags the girl” (I hate that phrase, but it fits what I’m trying to say).

I really liked Cordero. Since it wasn’t her in book one, we didn’t TRULY get to know her. But in Seeker, we really got to know her character well. The criminal forensic psychology thing was intriguing (and something I’d love to do) and the whole “studying occult and paranormal phenomena” is was really epic! She reminds me of Topolsky (Julie Benz) in Roswell. On a similar note, I loved the government involvement – it was like all those conspiracy theories being proven right, haha! I also really liked Maia – she’s a badass sniper and I love it!

I don’t know why, but Samrael reminded me of Rhys – if Rhys were 100% pure evil and not a good guy. I was incredibly intrigued by his story and a bit sad by the way it ended, though not surprised in the least. It really made me want a third book told from his POV, to be honest.

Which leads me to… That ending! I couldn’t have asked for a better ending! It was perfect and made me tear up! I’m sad this isn’t going to be a trilogy, but I think it was perfect and I really loved the way Rossi wrapped things up. I don’t think it could have ended any other way.

Overall, I REALLY enjoyed this book. I highly recommend it to those who are Rossi fans, and to anyone who loves stories about the apocalypse, etc. As someone who wasn’t a huge Rossi fan before this, I’m now eager to see what she does next!


Favorite Quotes:

“War has a sensitive tummy” — This was one of Gideon’s famous one-liners that I mentioned (above), but all jokes aside, it’s nice seeing a YA book address digestive issues – in this case, celiac disease. No one likes talking about this stuff because it’s “gross” and “taboo” but it’s also REAL and many people suffer from digestive issues. It needs to be shown in books more often, especially YA books, so teens don’t feel alone or weird for having these issues.


Review: Riders by Veronica Rossi

Review: Riders by Veronica RossiRiders by Veronica Rossi
Series: Riders #1
Published by Tor Teen on February 16, 2016
Pages: 384
Format: Hardcover
Buy on Amazon

While recovering from the accident that most definitely killed him, Gideon finds himself with strange new powers and a bizarre cuff he can’t remove. His death has brought to life his real destiny. He has become War, one of the legendary four horsemen of the apocalypse.

Over the coming weeks, he and the other horsemen—Conquest, Famine, and Death—are brought together by a beautiful but frustratingly secretive girl to help save humanity from an ancient evil on the emergence.

They fail.

Now—bound, bloodied, and drugged—Gideon is interrogated by the authorities about his role in a battle that has become an international incident. If he stands any chance of saving his friends and the girl he’s fallen for—not to mention all of humankind—he needs to convince the skeptical government officials the world is in imminent danger.

But will anyone believe him?

I was a little hesitant to pick this book up because I wasn’t a huge fan of Rossi’s Under the Never Sky trilogy. But I was lured in by the premise, which sounded epic and badass – and Riders definitely did NOT disappoint! Rossi’s writing was SO much better in this than in her other series, and these characters were WAY more engaging.

Gideon was an epic narrator. I loved his dry, sarcastic sense of humor and his hilarious one-liners! I really, really liked Bas, but I’m worried what his fate will be in the next book. I was most intrigued by Marcus, though he also kind of terrified me. I hope we learn more about him in Seeker. I don’t have much to say about Jode, though I was intrigued with the way his story ended, and I’m curious to see where they take things in book two.

And, finally, I really liked Daryn. I’m very curious about her character and her gift, and can’t wait to learn more about her. I’m so glad she partially narrates Seeker because it means will get to know her better.

I really liked the role reversal in this. Usually it’s the male “leader” who knows everything and has to fill the female in, but this is a group of men who answer to a woman. It was really refreshing! It kind of reminded me of Freya.

Another thing I really liked? The horses! Like, the Four Horseman were cool and all, but the horses were truly badass and I loved every scene with them! Their descriptions and the way they materialized was breath-taking!

The ending was INSANE and EPIC and WTF?!?!?!? I’m so glad I can binge-read both books back-to-back because if I had to wait to find out what happens next, I think I’d cry! I NEED to know what happens to certain characters and I NEED to see how this incredible story ends!

Overall, I truly enjoyed this book. I’ve been in a reading slump, so it took me a long time to finish it, but that was me, not the book. The book was excellent! I highly recommend it to those who are Rossi fans, and to anyone who loves stories about the apocalypse, etc. I’m VERY excited to start Seeker now!!


Favorite Quotes:

“He extended his arm to the side like Looky here, asshole. I’ll see your sword and raise you a scythe.”

“Death usually is the end.”


Review: To Catch a Killer by Sheryl Scarborough

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: To Catch a Killer by Sheryl ScarboroughTo Catch a Killer by Sheryl Scarborough
Series: Erin Blake #1
Published by Tor Teen on February 7, 2017
Pages: 320
Format: Hardcover
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon

Erin Blake has one of those names. A name that, like Natalee Holloway or Elizabeth Smart, is inextricably linked to a grisly crime. As a toddler, Erin survived for three days alongside the corpse of her murdered mother, and the case—which remains unsolved—fascinated a nation. Her father's identity unknown, Erin was taken in by her mother's best friend and has become a relatively normal teen in spite of the looming questions about her past.

Fourteen years later, Erin is once again at the center of a brutal homicide when she finds the body of her biology teacher. When questioned by the police, Erin tells almost the whole truth, but never voices her suspicions that her mother's killer has struck again in order to protect the casework she's secretly doing on her own.

Inspired by her uncle, an FBI agent, Erin has ramped up her forensic hobby into a full-blown cold-case investigation. This new murder makes her certain she's close to the truth, but when all the evidence starts to point the authorities straight to Erin, she turns to her longtime crush (and fellow suspect) Journey Michaels to help her crack the case before it's too late.

To Catch a Killer was a mystery thrill-ride of a book. It started off a bit slow, but once things picked up, I was constantly on my toes, suspicious of everyone and trying to follow the evidence. This book was billed as being NCIS meets Veronica Mars and I could DEFINITELY see the Veronica Mars comparisons.

I was a little indifferent to Erin in the beginning. The more immersed she became in her investigation, the more I liked her. I could see things through her eyes, as if I was the investigator trying to solve the mystery. I loved the way she threw herself into the investigation, committed and willing to do whatever she had to to get answers. I also really liked her relationship with Journey. It didn’t feel like insta-love. It was organic, a slow but steady progression from friends with crushes to more.

I’m not sure how I feel about Spam and Lysa. At times, they were amazing, supportive friends. At other times, they were really frustrating and treated Erin like she was purposely leaving them out. I definitely loved their involvement in the end, but I’m not sure if it makes up for their earlier behavior.

Rachel reminded me of Jenna from The Vampire Diaries (specifically from season one). She was trying so hard to parent but flailing helplessly. Serious question: why are adults never honest with their kids, especially in YA novels? Why do they always think they know best? Why do they always keep secrets? It’s such a tired cliche and it grated on my nerves a bit.

I really loved Victor. Erin needed someone on her side, someone who listened to her and believed her. Rachel tried, but she was a bit clueless. She was also dealing with her own thoughts and feelings and I think she was a bit stuck in the past – for obvious reasons, of course, but I think it clouded her judgement where Erin was concerned. Victor came into the picture just when Erin needed him the most. And then the way his story ended? That thing and the other thing but spoilers but WHOA. I REALLY need there to be a sequel so we can see if Erin’s suspicions are correct!

There are two characters I really want to talk about, but it’s hard to without spoilers. Let’s just say, I was very suspicious of these two characters and I wasn’t surprised when we finally learned the truth in the end.

My favorite thing about this book – and this is going to sound so weird, I don’t even know if it’ll make sense – was the tone. It completely reminded me of a 90s/00s teen novel, and I LOVED IT! It reminded me of an old-school Caroline B. Cooney novel (The Face on the Milk Carton) and of Sara Shepard’s The Lying Game series.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It was fun playing detective alongside Erin. The forensics aspects were especially epic. I’m a huge, huge forensics buff, so this was definitely my favorite part! I really hope there’s a sequel because that ending was crazy and I NEED ANSWERS! So yeah, I definitely recommend this one to fans of Veronica Mars, CSI, NCIS – Basically, if you’re a fan of ANY of the crime/forensics procedurals, I think you’ll really love this one!


Review: Exile for Dreamers by Kathleen Baldwin

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Exile for Dreamers by Kathleen BaldwinExile for Dreamers by Kathleen Baldwin
Series: Stranje House #2
Published by Tor Teen on May 24, 2016
Pages: 384
Format: ARC
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon

It’s 1814. Napoleon has escaped his imprisonment on Elba. Europe is in shambles. Britain is at war on four fronts. And at Stranje House, a School for Unusual Girls, five young ladies are secretly being trained for a world of spies, diplomacy, and war.

Tess Aubreyson can’t run far enough or fast enough to escape the prophetic dreams that haunt her. Dreams bring nothing but death and grief, and Tess refuses to accept that she may be destined for the same madness that destroyed her mother. Until her disturbing dreams become the only means of saving Lord Ravencross, the man she loves, and her fellow students at Stranje House. Tess’s old friend, the traitorous Lady Daneska, and Ghost, the ruthless leader of the Iron Crown, have returned to England, intent on paving the way for Napoleon’s invasion. Can the young ladies of Stranje House prevail once more? Or is England destined to fall into the hands of the power-mad dictator?

I absolutely loved A School for Unusual Girls! So it saddens me to have to write this review for Exile of Dreamers because, while this series isn’t a trilogy (I believe it’s a 4-6 book series), Exile for Dreamers fell into a trap that many trilogies experience – Second Book Syndrome. For the majority of the novel, it just felt like nothing was happening – like it was all just filler. There were some minor revelations, but nothing major or overly exciting.

Despite the lack of action and intrigue, I will say this book kept my interest for one very big reason: The major ship feels! I ship pretty much every couple in this series and I ship them HARD. So let’s chat about the characters and relationships a bit:

As I said in my review of A School for Unusual Girls, sometimes Tess was bold and brazen; sometimes she was stubborn and rude, just barely toeing the line. But she was fierce and strong, independent and willful. She didn’t let people push her around and she protected herself when she needed to. The same can be said for her character in Exile for Dreamers. Except we also got to see a more vulnerable side of her – the side with her deepest secrets, fears and vulnerabilities. I loved her in book one and I loved her even more in book two.

In A School for Unusual Girls, Lord Ravencross was a frustrating character. I tried to sympathize with him; he had a painful past and the only way he knew to keep people safe was to push them away. But that meant he was down-right rude to Tess. I loved their moments of bickering, but it was hard to look past his behavior otherwise. However, seeing the story through Tess’s eyes, we also learned more about Lord Ravencross and his past, as well as who he truly is as a person. And man, did I fall hard for him. If I had to pick an OTP for this series, it would definitely be Tess and Lord Ravencross. I just adore their love/hate relationship and their bickering and banter. They’re hilarious and perfect for each other.

It was weird seeing Georgiana as a secondary character. Everything I thought I liked about her in A School for Unusual Girls… Well, it’s not that I disliked her in Exile for Dreamers but… I just didn’t like her as much. She was a bit annoying and didn’t seem as capable as she did in the first book. It was almost as if her character digressed, which was disappointing. I didn’t even ship her and Lord Wyatt quiet as much as I did in the first book. I was just.. indifferent to them.

Sera is still one of the most intriguing characters, in my opinion. And I loved that we got to see more of her in this book. She’s the shy character, the one who doesn’t speak up as much and who can be easily overshadowed by the other girls. Yet Mr. Chadwick really brought out a different side of her – feisty and flustered, all at the same time. I loved their banter almost as much as I loved Tess and Lord Ravencross’s banter. But there’s still something about Chadwick that worries me. He’s far too intuitive and asks far too many questions for his own good. I’m very sad, too, that Sera’s story isn’t being told yet. I hope we’ll get her story soon, as I’m still really intrigued by her and her abilities and I can’t wait to see what happens between her and Chadwick.

So far, out of the five girls at Stranje House, we’ve learned the least about Jane and Maya. This worries me since Jane’s story is being told in book three. Sanctuary for Seers. It also worries me because, since we know the least about her, I find her the least interesting. And since Exile for Dreamers was a bit of a let-down, I’m nervous to go into another book with a character I’m not crazy about. I definitely think there’s more to her story than we could possibly know and I can’t wait to see how it unfolds. Not to mention my ship feels for her and Mr. Sinclair were intense – They’re another couple that excels at banter, with their love/hate relationship. I can’t wait to see what happens next for them!

As for Maya, still the only thing I know about her is that she’s the diplomat of the group, the voice of reason. She’s also the only girl without a potential significant other and I’m interested in seeing how that goes for her, since Kathleen Baldwin is so amazing with her relationships/ship feels/bantering couples.

Despite the Second Book Syndrome and the lack of truly intriguing revelations, there were still moments that had me curious or shocked, moments that had me asking questions and seeking answers. Plus, as I mentioned, my ship feels were off the charts! So despite my issues with this book, I’m still eager to read book three and see what happens next. Even though I wish we were getting Sera’s story next, I’m interested in seeing a different side of Jane than we’ve seen so far.

Kathleen Baldwin did a magnificent job of creating a story that’s intriguing and compelling. Her characters – even those I’m not as fond of – feel like real people in history. I’m completely fascinated with this alternate history and can’t wait for more books – which I hope bring the answers I seek!

Overall, I definitely recommend this book to those who loved A School for Unusual Girls. Though it suffers from some Second Book Syndrome, it sets the scene for book three, which I have a feeling will be epic and intense. The characters carried the story where the plot didn’t, so if you love the characters, I highly recommend pushing through to the very last page. Otherwise, you’ll miss some insane Tess/Lord Ravencross moments ;)


Review: Nightstruck by Jenna Black

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Nightstruck by Jenna BlackNightstruck by Jenna Black
Published by Tor Teen on April 5, 2016
Pages: 304
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon

It starts with a cry in the night.

Becket, walking her dog one winter evening, fears it’s an abandoned baby left out in the cold. But it is something else—something evil—and it tricks Becket into opening a doorway to another realm, letting a darkness into our world, a corruption that begins transforming Philadelphia into a sinister and menacing version of itself…but only at night.

The changes are subtle at first, causing Becket to doubt her senses and her sanity. But soon the nightmarish truth is impossible to deny: By day, the city is just a city, but at night it literally comes alive with malevolent purpose. Brick and steel become bone, streetlights turn into gallows, and hungry alleys wait to snare mortal victims. Terrified citizens huddle indoors after dusk, as others succumb to the siren song of the night, letting their darker sides run wild.

Once, Becket’s biggest problems were living up to her police commissioner father’s high expectations and a secret crush on her best friend’s boyfriend. Now she must find a way to survive and protect her loved ones…before the darkness takes her as well.

This book was insanely epic and creeptastic! It reminded me of a cross between Rachel Vincent’s Soul Screamers (with the “night” in Nightstruck reminding me of the “Netherworld” in Soul Screamers) and Jana Oliver’s The Demon Trappers (because of the vibe/feelings I got from Nightstruck. Also, because of the atmosphere in Nightstruck versus The Demon Trappers).

In the beginning, I wasn’t crazy about the characters. They started out filled with tropes and cliches, which was disappointing. But as the story moved forward, the characters began to come into their own, began to change and develop. Becket was super relatable with the whole “my shyness translates to aloofness or unfriendliness” thing. I was really shy in middle school and high school especially, and people would say those same things about me – although the words they used were a bit more mean (like “snob” and “bitch”). For the most part, Becket didn’t really change all that much – until the end. Then she changed a LOT. But even before that, I could feel the subtle change in her, even if it didn’t amount to a huge growth.

Piper was a bit annoying in the beginning, but mostly because she played a part in a tired cliche that I’m getting very sick of in YA. It goes something like this: “I’m the main character and I’m average but my best friend is gorgeous. She could have been the popular cheerleader who is mean to everyone, but she’s totally not like that! Everyone likes her and she likes everyone and all is right with the world.” Why is the pretty girl always popular and mean OR the person everyone says COULD have been popular and mean, but actually everyone likes her and she likes everyone else? Why isn’t there an in-between on this? It’s impossible to like or hate everyone. This is something YA needs to work on doing less of.

I regret that my annoyance at this trope was taken out on Piper, since I ended up LOVING her character later on (which, if you’ve read the book, you’re probably like “…Really?” But I seriously liked her better AFTER. And if you haven’t read it, you’re probably so confused, so I’m just gonna say… GO READ IT!). Like, her whole little sales pitch to Becket totally won me over! I’d be a goner if I were in this world, haha!

As for other characters: I like Luke, but as a friend, not as a potential love interest. I’m not sure how I feel about the “He’s my best friend’s boyfriend, but…” thing. I LOVED Bob the Dog!!! I know I wasn’t supposed to like Aleric, but I kind of couldn’t help it… Don’t judge me!!! And as for Becket’s Dad… Wow! Did NOT expect his story to go the way it did!!!

The ending was INSANE and SO unexpected! The intensity of the last 7 pages alone was enough to give me a heart attack! Like, I seriously can’t put my feels into words without spoilers so I’m just going to silently scream at you to read this amazing book so we can fangirl incoherently together!!!

Overall, I HIGHLY recommend this book! I can’t say it enough! I also can’t wait for book two because, again, THAT ENDING YOU GUYS! OMG!!!!! JFC!!!!! I NEED to see what happens next!!!!


Review: A School for Unusual Girls by Kathleen Baldwin (Blog tour + Giveaway)

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: A School for Unusual Girls by Kathleen Baldwin (Blog tour + Giveaway)A School for Unusual Girls by Kathleen Baldwin
Series: Stranje House #1
Published by Tor Teen on May 19, 2015
Pages: 352
Format: Hardcover
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon

It’s 1814. Napoleon is exiled on Elba. Europe is in shambles. Britain is at war on four fronts. And Stranje House, a School for Unusual Girls, has become one of Regency England’s dark little secrets. The daughters of the beau monde who don't fit high society’s constrictive mold are banished to Stranje House to be reformed into marriageable young ladies. Or so their parents think. In truth, Headmistress Emma Stranje, the original unusual girl, has plans for the young ladies—plans that entangle the girls in the dangerous world of spies, diplomacy, and war.

After accidentally setting her father’s stables on fire while performing a scientific experiment, Miss Georgiana Fitzwilliam is sent to Stranje House. But Georgie has no intention of being turned into a simpering, pudding-headed, marriageable miss. She plans to escape as soon as possible—until she meets Lord Sebastian Wyatt. Thrust together in a desperate mission to invent a new invisible ink for the English war effort, Georgie and Sebastian must find a way to work together without losing their heads—or their hearts...


Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Goodreads

School Unusual Girls Banner 
Hey everyone! Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for A School for Unusual Girls by Kathleen Baldwin! I’m very excited to be a part of this blog tour! I absolutely loved this book and I hope you enjoy my review!


When I first heard about A School for Unusual Girls, I convinced myself it had supernatural elements in it – likely because I read the synopsis wrong. Though some aspects of the book could be considered borderline-supernatural, it’s really more of a contemporary historical novel. And you know what? I loved it! I love historical books with supernatural elements in them, but I’ve read so many supernatural/paranormal books lately, it was really refreshing to read a straight up historical fiction. And it wasn’t just any historical book – it was an historical book set in an alternate nineteenth-century Europe. Couple that with an intriguing plot and awesome characters, and this book was one epic win!

I love Georgiana – a.k.a, Georgie. She was defiant, refusing to confirm to society. Her parents are cold and cruel towards her, having no use for a daughter who can’t be married off due to her stubborn, unusual personality. I wanted to smack her father for the majority of the book. Her mother wasn’t much better. Georgie has three older brothers and, of course, the one that adores her isn’t in the picture, which made my heart ache for her. But Georgie was strong in the face of everything her family threw at her. She refused to bow down and give in; she loved math and science, not needlepoint, and she refused to change her mind because others told her to. She constantly asked questions, demanded answers and took charge of her responsibilities. Basically, she was epic and I adored her.

Miss Stranje was an interesting character. She always seemed to know what was going on, even when she didn’t appear to be around to witness the events happening in Stranje House and elsewhere. She was a bit scary, but also the mother that the girls of Stranje House desperately needed. She provided support and discipline, balancing love and affection with rules and etiquette. I also absolutely adored her relationship with Captain Grey and totally shipped them.

The other girls at Stranje House – Tess, Jane, Seraphina and Maya – were all awesome and unique in their own ways. Sometimes Tess was bold and brazen; sometimes she was stubborn and rude, just barely toeing the line. But she was fierce and strong, independent and willful. She didn’t let people push her around and she protected herself when she needed to. I’m really excited that we’re getting her story in the second book in the series. I can’t wait to get to know more about her, especially since I’m curious about her dreams and how they work. Overall, Tess knows what she wants and knows what she needs to do to protect herself and she’s completely unapologetic about it.

Seraphina (Sera) was an intriguing character and probably my second favorite of the Stranje Girls, right after Tess. She was quiet and a little bit shy (or so she let us believe), with impeccable attention to detail. Her ability, similar to Tess’s, was intriguing and I’d love to learn more about it, since all we really know is that she “sees what is” and knows things she couldn’t possibly know, just by assessing people, things and places.

Maya was the diplomat of the group, the voice of reason – literally. She could talk anyone into doing anything. As with Tess and Sera, I’d love to know more about her background and ability. And lastly, there was Jane, who I think we learned the least about. She was calm and reasonable with a penchant for picking locks. But that’s about all I remember about her. So I definitely hope she gets her own book in the future – I really want to know if she has any special abilities, aside from lock-picking, and what her background story is.

Lord Sebastian Wyatt was a frustrating character. I shouldn’t like him for the way he treated Georgie in the beginning; he was rude and arrogant and so full of himself. He dismissed her and her knowledge simply because she was a woman. I don’t often use this word, but he came off as being very sexist. But as the book went on and he opened up to Georgie more, I really started to like him. I think he did the things he did because he didn’t want to form attachments of any kind. He’d been hurt too many times and didn’t want it to happen again, nor did he want to drag her into his life and the dangers that entailed. But by the end of the book, I fully shipped him and Georgie and I hope we see more of him in the next book!

Lord Ravencross was another frustrating character. He was so, so rude to Tess – borderline nasty, even. But he was a complex character with a painful past and I think he had just hardened his heart to everyone and everything. I also think his bickering with Tess was his way of pushing her away but, deep down, he truly cared for her. Like with Sebastian, I shouldn’t have liked Lord Ravencross for the things he did in the beginning of the book but, as the story went on, he opened up a lot and I ended up liking him and shipping him and Tess completely! I especially loved their back-and-forth banter, which was hilarious and had me grinning like an idiot!

I never liked Lady Daneska and I never trusted her. Right off the bat, I got this weird vibe from her that I just couldn’t shake throughout the book. She was uppity and haughty, acting as if she were better than everyone. Lady Pinswary had a similar, stuck-up attitude, though Miss Pinswary wasn’t that bad. Away from the influence of her mother and Daneska, I think she could be a very nice person. By the end of the book, Daneska had proven that she was worse than I had first assumed and I was right to be wary of her.

At one point, the pacing of the book slowed down considerably. There were a lot of secrets and a lot of “Figure it out for yourself/figure it out as you go along” moments that were very frustrating. Wouldn’t it have been easier to just explain everything to Georgie right away? And if not right away, at least at some point, once she proved her loyalty? It seems that all the secret keeping in this book complicated things more than necessary. Some secrets added intrigue, while others just caused more problems than they solved. But while some of the secrets/twists were predictable, others took me by surprise and pushed the story along.

I loved the writing and attention to detail in this book – it made up for a lot of the pacing issues. I got a little bit confused by some of the chemistry talk between Georgie and Sebastian, but otherwise, the writing flowed really nicely and all the descriptions and details made the story feel that much more real. I love reading books set in the nineteenth century and all the detail the author put into the story really made it come alive. I also loved that it was an alternate history of the nineteenth century, asking all these “What if?” questions and showing the domino effect that can occur from one small decision or mistake.

Overall, I loved this book, the plot and the characters. I’m very excited for book two and I can’t wait to see what happens next. I’m excited to see the continuation of the story from a different character’s POV, especially since I’m so intrigued by this other character (Tess) and can’t wait to see into her mind and learn more about her. I think Kathleen Baldwin is an amazing writer and creator of epic characters. She’s definitely going on my Auto-Buy list and I’m excited to see what she does next, both in and out of the Stranje House series.

I highly recommend A School for Unusual Girls to those who love historical fiction, alternate history stories and books with spies and intrigue!


And now for the giveaway! 10 winners will receive a finished copy of A SCHOOL FOR UNUSUAL GIRLS. US Only. To enter, complete the Rafflecopter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


KB Author PhotoAbout the Author:
“I love adventure in books and in real life. I’ve roamed the Rocky Mountains, wandered the desert, enjoyed way too many classes in college, was stalked by a mountain lion, lost an argument with a rattlesnake, fell in love at least a dozen times, finally met and married my very own hero, and together we’ve raised four free-spirited children.”

Award-winning author – Kensington published four of Kathleen’s Regency romantic comedies, including MISTAKEN KISS, a Holt Medallion finalist. DIARY OF A TEENAGE FAIRY GODMOTHER, was a Golden Quill finalist. Her upcoming Historical YA series with TorTeen, A SCHOOL FOR UNUSUAL GIRLS, is a Junior Library Guild Selection and won a Marlene.

News and more at:

Website | Blog | Twitter

Facebook | Pinterest | Goodreads


Tour Schedule

Week One
5/11/2015 – Two Chicks on Books – Interview
5/12/2015 – Pandora’s Books – Review
5/13/2015 – Her Book Thoughts – Guest Post
5/14/2015 – Pretty Little Pages – Review
5/15/2015 – Chapter by Chapter – Interview

Week Two
5/18/2015 – The Book Belles – Review
5/19/2015 – Alice Marvels – Guest Post
5/20/2015 – Bumbles and Fairy-Tales – Review
5/21/2015 – Bookish Things & More – Interview
5/22/2015 – Wishful Endings – Review