*Review posted on Page Turners Blog on 9/25/2014* This book came out last year and it was one of the more enjoyable historical reads, and I'm really l*Review posted on Page Turners Blog on 9/25/2014* This book came out last year and it was one of the more enjoyable historical reads, and I'm really looking forward to the sequel, The Spiritglass Charade.
Evaline and Mina are a natural crime solving duo, after all it's in their genes. The mystery they solve is an entertaining one involving the highest levels of Victorian society. Then add to it a cell-phone-carrying, time-travelling young man and you have the makings of quite an interesting steampunkish setting.
I'd like to see a little more character development in both Mina and Evaline, but they are both the inquisitive, spirited girls you would expect in a mystery like this. I loved the dual points-of-view which helped explain the differences in the girls' approach to life, mysteries, just about everything. And yes, this is very much a plot-driven book rather than a character-driven one, the latter is much more my cup of tea.
If you are looking for a quick, enjoyable read on these chilly evenings, then The Clockwork Scarab is definitely a story you should pick up....more
Review posted on Mundie Moms blog on 10/17/2014* More like 4.5 out of 5 stars
I adore stories that follow characters over a longer timeline, and I abs Review posted on Mundie Moms blog on 10/17/2014* More like 4.5 out of 5 stars
I adore stories that follow characters over a longer timeline, and I absolutely love the entire "can a boy and girl ever be just friends" plotline. So, it's no surprise that I loved Macallan and Levi's story. Plus, I love seeing the very beginning of a love story, don't you?
Elizabeth gives us this and more. We have dual points-of-view and bonding over an obscure (at least in the U.S.) British TV show. You guys know how much I love BBCAmerica. I immediately related to them. And a quick aside for all of us who like to see parents present in YA stories -- this is a perfect example of how it can be done and done well. I adored how Levi's mom was written. The characters jumped off the page and I felt like they may have been friends or friends-of-friends whose story I overheard and just couldn't stop myself from eavesdropping further.
There is a sweetness to the misunderstandings and a realness to the let's-just-stay-friends, but the very best part was how, in spite of it all, they were just meant to be together. I loved how people assumed that they were together when they weren't.
Elizabeth's done it again. She's written a simply sweet, super believable romance and one that stayed in my heart well after I finished the last page. Pick it up next time you're in a bookstore or library....more
I love spy plot lines, heck, I'm the mom who may have borrowed my son's Alex Rider books just to get*Review posted on Page Turners Blog on 9/10/2013*
I love spy plot lines, heck, I'm the mom who may have borrowed my son's Alex Rider books just to get a spy fix in and you guys know how I feel about Ally Carter's Gallagher Girls series as well as Talia Vance's Spies and Prejudice and Robin Benway's Also Known As. Well, if you've read all those books and have fallen into a YA reading lull with the usual array of urban fantasy/fantasy/coming-of-age contemps, please pick up Kat Carlton's Two Lies and a Spy. I have a feeling that you will enjoy it as much as I did.
My favorite spy stories have two things in common: extremely high stakes and a reliable team that surrounds the protagonist. This team is key because they must supply the spy with all the tools/information needed to discover the mastermind that's causing the main character grief. And Kat gives us both of these in spades. First, Kari's stakes couldn't be higher -- missing parents who are possible traitors. Lucky for Kari, her younger brother is quite the smarty-pants and her two best friends are a computer whiz and a martial arts expert. Then there is a small matter of the boy she's crushing on whose help she needs to break into CIA headquarters and oh yeah, the snarky Brit, Evan. If it seems like a lot of characters, well it is, and they are all necessary for this mission. And yes, if you're sniffing out a love triangle, there is one but it didn't bother me because I fell for it. I think you will, too.
Here's the best part that I can't tell you about -- yeah, there's a plot twist to end all plot twists and you know what? I loveloveloved it!
I'm thrilled that there will be a sequel because I definitely want to spend some more time with Kari and company. ...more
The Cold War era was a perfect setting for an unlikely romance. And for me, the unlikelier it is, the*Review posted on Page Turners Blog on 1/9/2014*
The Cold War era was a perfect setting for an unlikely romance. And for me, the unlikelier it is, the more I usually love it. This proved very true for Natalie Standiford's The Boy on the Bridge.
I was born behind the Iron Curtain (in what was Yugoslavia and is now Serbia), and although I was young when my parents came to the States, we returned often. I completely related to Natalie’s portrayal of the very different world of Soviet Russia. The mistrust in the air whenever anything foreign is spotted. The bleakness of everyday life when compared to our colorful consumerism. The one-sideness of the Soviet education system compared to our more generalized approach (although, a great argument can be made that both sides were heavy handed in the “our side is right” philosophy). There’s a beauty in the cold, desperate Soviet world that Natalie conveyed through her protagonist, Laura, the American exchange student who finds perhaps-maybe-it’s-love with the artistic Alyosha. Unfortunately, during the Cold War, a girl like Laura could never be sure if her U.S. passport was a ticket out for the boy with the sad eyes and the colorful friends.
I have to give Natalie huge props for pacing the natural push-pull of a forbidden romance so beautifully. And as always, she introduces secondary characters who are so real and quirky that you feel like you are walking in Laura’s shoes and that you’ve personally met them all. There are plenty of worrisome moments as Laura learns to trust her own instincts and one head-swivel of a moment when one character does something so very unexpected.
I loved this story so much. I completely fell for the melancholy bittersweetness of Laura and Alyosha’s is-it-or-is-it-not doomed love and I cheered for them, hoping that they could hold on to the moments of truth just a little bit longer. On her blog, Natalie has pictures of her actual experience in Soviet Russia when she was an exchange student there. I think she captured the mood of those pictures perfectly in The Boy on the Bridge.
This is the perfect winter read, full of hope and sadness and that unsettling feeling that you get when you're growing both older and wiser. ...more