ARC Review: THE SHADOW CABINET by Maureen Johnson

ARC Review: THE SHADOW CABINET by Maureen Johnson
The Shadow Cabinet
Shades of London #3

Written by: Maureen Johnson
Published by: Putnam Juvenile
Release date: February 10th 2015
Genres: Mystery, Paranormal, Young Adult
Pages: 384
Source: Gifted from a friend
Buy: B&N, Amazon, Book Depository
Add on: Goodreads


* SPOILERS for books 1 & 2 in the synopsis!! *

The thrilling third installment to the Edgar-nominated, bestselling series.

Rory and her friends are reeling from a series of sudden and tragic events. While racked with grief, Rory tries to determine if she acted in time to save a member of the squad. If she did, how do you find a ghost? Also, Rory’s classmate Charlotte has been kidnapped by Jane and her nefarious organization. Evidence is uncovered of a forty-year-old cult, ten missing teenagers, and a likely mass murder. Everything indicates that Charlotte’s in danger, and it seems that something much bigger and much more terrible is coming.

Time is running out as Rory fights to find her friends and the ghost squad struggles to stop Jane from unleashing her spectral nightmare on the entire city. In the process, they'll discover the existence of an organization that underpins London itself—and Rory will learn that someone she trusts has been keeping a tremendous secret.

MyThoughts_v2

[Note: This review is for the 3rd book in a 4-book series, but this review will be spoiler-free, as always! However, this means that I will be talking around a lot of potential spoilers, because the end of book 2 is just… Let’s just say there’s very little I can talk about without spoiling something major. But I will try.]

It really sucks when expectations get in the way of one’s enjoyment of certain books. The fact is, I want to be blown away by every book I read, but in order for that to happen, I want the book to live up to at least one of two things:

  1. What I expect from it (which can be expectations based on prior books in a series, for example), and/or…
  2. What I want out of it (which can just be things based on my own feelings, like “ooh I hope XYZ happens”, or just “more awesomeness from a favorite author”, etc).

This can be problematic, though, because I think good books are sometimes(/often/always?) simply what their author intended them to be, regardless of either the audience’s expectations or desires. And I think that’s where The Shadow Cabinet and I didn’t quite get along. Neither what I expected nor what I wanted quite lined up with what was actually presented.

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If you haven’t checked out these authors…

TTT_v131019

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish,
and features weekly top-ten lists! This week it’s…

Top Ten 2013 New-To-Me Authors

I say this every week, but… this list was hard! In all of these cases, it really surprises me that I only read their books this year (well, except for that one debut, obviously). ;) What I mean is, I feel like I’ve been a fan of these lovely people for EVER. All of these authors are definitely at the top of my auto-buy list.

I’ve decided to feature the books that got me started on each of these authors’ works, because in most instances, I actually ended up reading more than one of their books this year.

So seriously, guys, if you haven’t checked out these authors, you really need to.
 

TopTen2013Authors_1

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Top Ten Tuesday (#16)


Format: select

 TopTenTuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, and features weekly top-ten lists! This week it’s…

Top Ten Authors Who Deserve More Recognition

Ahhh… This is a hard one for me! I read a lot of books by authors I consider to be pretty well-known, at least within the YA world. But I guess I could make the case that every great author deserves at least a little more recognition than they’ve already gotten, right? So I’ll try to include a few lesser-known authors, but cut me some slack on the more popular ones – this is a list of authors who I think deserve ALL THE RECOGNITION. ;)

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Review: THE MADNESS UNDERNEATH (Shades of London #2)

Review: THE MADNESS UNDERNEATH (Shades of London #2)
The Madness Underneath
Shades of London #2

Written by: Maureen Johnson
Published by: Putnam Juvenile
Release date: February 26th, 2013
Genres: Mystery, Paranormal, Young Adult
Pages: 290
Format: Hardcover
Buy: B&N, Amazon
Add on: Goodreads


After her near-fatal run-in with the Jack the Ripper copycat, Rory Devereaux has been living in Bristol under the close watch of her parents. So when her therapist suddenly suggests she return to Wexford, Rory jumps at the chance. But Rory's brush with the Ripper touched her more than she thought possible.

She soon finds out that the Shades—the city's secret ghost-fighting police—are responsible for her return. The Ripper may be gone, but now there is a string of new inexplicable deaths threatening London. Rory has evidence that the deaths are no coincidence. Something much more sinister is going on, and now she must convince the squad to listen to her before it's too late.

In this follow-up to the Edgar Award-nominated The Name of the Star, Maureen Johnson adds another layer of spectacularly gruesome details to the streets of London that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very end.

MyThoughts_v2

Okay so, disclaimer: This is Draft 2 of this review. I had one draft all written up, but when I went to schedule/save it, WordPress somehow lost the entire thing. So, yeah. I apologize for any craziness in this review because of that. I swear the first one was better. -_- Anyway.

The last paragraph of that blurb above ^ is not lying when it says you will be on the edge of your seat until the very end. Or at least, you will be on the edge of your seat at the very end, because Maureen Johnson is cruel and unusual and this is one of the worst cliffhangers I have ever experienced IN MY LIFE. I will be billing her for my therapy later.

But despite (and possibly because of) that, I adored this book.

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Review: THE NAME OF THE STAR (Shades of London #1)

Review: THE NAME OF THE STAR (Shades of London #1)
The Name of the Star
Shades of London #1

Written by: Maureen Johnson
Published by: Putnam Juvenile
Release date: September 29th, 2011
Genres: Mystery, Paranormal, Young Adult
Pages: 400
Format: select
Buy: B&N, Amazon
Add on: Goodreads


The day that Louisiana teenager Rory Deveaux arrives in London to start a new life at boarding school is also the day a series of brutal murders breaks out over the city, killings mimicking the horrific Jack the Ripper spree of more than a century ago.

Soon "Rippermania" takes hold of modern-day London, and the police are left with few leads and no witnesses. Except one. Rory spotted the man police believe to be the prime suspect. But she is the only one who saw him--the only one who can see him. And now Rory has become his next target. In this edge-of-your-seat thriller, full of suspense, humor, and romance, Rory will learn the truth about the secret ghost police of London and discover her own shocking abilities.

My Thoughts


I went into this book knowing absolutely nothing about it, other than:

I still kind of thought it would take place at least partly in the 1800s – no clue where that idea came from, but there you go. I don’t think I even read the blurb before I started reading it. Or if I did, I’d completely forgotten everything the blurb spoils – which I’m actually really glad for, because it was a lot of fun going into this book totally unawares.  That being said – here, let me make you more awares! ;)

The Name of the Star begins with Rory Deveaux and her parents moving from Louisiana to the UK, and Rory goes to attend a boarding school. The day she arrives, there’s been a murder in London – one which bears a striking resemblance to Jack the Ripper’s first murder in the 1800s. As subsequent murders occur and the London police become more and more frantic to find the killer – whom no one has seen, because he doesn’t show up on CCTV – Rory gets thrown into the middle of things when she sees the suspect on her school campus and becomes involved in the investigation.

I’m not giving away more than that, though, because to do so would be to totally ruin all the fun reveals.

But to be honest, it wasn’t really the mystery/reveals/suspense that had me hooked while reading this book. Granted, those were aspects that grabbed my attention for sure, and kept things interesting. But I really enjoyed Rory as the narrator and main character. She’s smart, sometimes a little beyond her years but also totally a teenager, which was great. Her sense of humor was hilarious, and I especially enjoyed all the anecdotes about her crazy relatives and life back in Louisiana. Rory has a flare for telling really funny stories and making great observations, which kept an otherwise creepy and suspenseful book light in all the right places.

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