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Muggle-Born.net is a blog mostly on young adult book reviews. My name is Cialina, and I am a college student living in New York City. I love Harry Potter, coffee, and bookstores.

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You are here: Home » Genre: Mystery

Catherine by April LindnerCATHERINE by April Lindner Book Review
Publication Date: January 2nd 2013 by Poppy
Rating: – Acceptable |

Book Summary: A forbidden romance. A modern mystery. Wuthering Heights as you’ve never seen it before.

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.

Catherine by April Lindner Book Review Overview:

  • Fun contemporary with an intriguing mystery
  • Likeable protagonists but Catherine is more of my favorite
  • I never read Wuthering Heights: I can’t judge on how successful it is as an adaptation.

I picked up CATHERINE by April Lindner without any knowledge of Wuthering Heights. As much as I itched to search up a plot summary, I really wanted to read CATHERINE without any outside influences. CATHERINE by April Lindner is a fun contemporary with an intriguing mystery told from alternating perspectives set nearly twenty years apart.

When Chelsea finds an old letter addressed to her from her missing mother, Chelsea leaves home in search of her mother in New York City. She is determined to find out what has become of her mother after all these years. Once in New York, Chelsea starts to find out more about her mother as a teenager when she discovers her mother’s old diary. Chelsea hopes that this will be the clue to help track her down.

Chelsea is likeable enough as a protagonist. Her determination is infectious and you want nothing more to find her mother. Of the two, Catherine is probably the one who is more likeable because it is her character that has a questionable future. Catherine’s happily ever after was more in question than Chelsea’s. Catherine had a lot more forces going against her, so I tended to sympathize more with her character.

I wasn’t a fan of how New York City is portrayed in the story; it was like reading a novel from the eyes of a tourist. As someone who lives in the city, it was quite a disappointment.

The romance in CATHERINE by April Lindner is inevitable. It isn’t necessary to the plot and I thought it filler than anything else. I would have been fine if Chelsea had gone through the novel without a romance. It was more of her mother’s story that I found interesting.

Guest reviewer, Loreal, also had a chance to read CATHERINE by April Lindner. I asked her to co-write a review with me, but she said that she loved the book so much that it would be impossible for her to write anything coherent. I should also add that she loved CATHERINE by April Lindner even more so than the original.

CATHERINE by April Lindner succeeds as an engaging contemporary mystery with a touch of romance. But because I have not read Wuthering Heights I can’t judge on how successful it is as an adaptation. However, CATHERINE by April Lindner did not convince me to pick up Wuthering Heights unlike how Lindner’s Jane immediately got me to pick up Jane Eyre.

Other Book Reviews:
Chapter by Chapter
Once Upon a Prologue
WinterHaven Books

About the Author

April LindnerApril Lindner is a young adult novelist and poet. Lindner is a professor of English at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. She is the mother of two sons, plays acoustic guitar badly, sees more rock concerts than she’d care to admit, travels whenever she can, cooks Italian food, and lavishes attention on her pets–two Labrador retriever mixes and two excitable guinea pigs.

Find the Author

Website | GoodReads

Comments 1 comment

Permalink Permalink Category Book Review, Three Stars - , , , , , , , , | Words 1057 words

You are here: Home » Genre: Mystery

The Season by Sarah MacLeanTHE SEASON by Sarah MacLean Book Review
Publication Date: March 1st 2009 by Orchard Books
Rating: – Acceptable |

Book Summary: Seventeen year old Lady Alexandra is strong-willed and sharp-tongued ? in a house full of older brothers and their friends, she had to learn to hold her own. Not the best makings for an aristocratic lady in Regency London. Yet her mother still dreams of marrying Alex off to someone safe, respectable, and wealthy. But between ball gown fittings, dances, and dinner parties, Alex, along with her two best friends, Ella and Vivi, manages to get herself into what may be her biggest scrape yet.

When the Earl of Blackmoor is mysteriously killed, Alex decides to help his son, the brooding and devilishly handsome Gavin, uncover the truth. But will Alex’s heart be stolen in the process? In an adventure brimming with espionage, murder, and other clandestine affairs, who could possibly have time to worry about finding a husband? Romance abounds as this year’s season begins!

The Season by Sarah MacLean Book Review Overview:

  • Fantastic mix of romance and mystery.
  • Great cast of characters – I’d be interested in a sequel or two!
  • While this was interesting, I still prefer MacLean’s adult romances; I definitely recommend it to those who love YA historical romances though.

I have such a high expectation when it comes to Sarah MacLean novels just because I am so in love with her adult romances. Of course, I had to tell myself that THE SEASON is young adult and that I cannot give it such high expectations.

THE SEASON by Sarah MacLean still turned out to be a fun read despite the fact that it is not quite as sexy as I expect MacLean novels to be. I love the mix of romance and mystery in THE SEASON. It’s not the most well-crafted mystery – I uncovered the culprit way before the characters – but the mixing of genres made it a more engaging read.

Alex is a fun character to read about. Like any other protagonist during this era, she’s the kind of girl who doesn’t want to live by the ton‘s standards. Alex doesn’t want to get married for the sake of duty and she secretly wants a love match. When she sees her childhood friend Gavin for the first time in months, readers immediately notice the spark between them.

I would not mind it at all if MacLean decides to write a sequel or two (romance genre style, of course) about Vivi and Ella. They made great supporting characters, and I have to admit – I’m really curious as to how they will get their happily ever afters.

At the end of the day, I still prefer MacLean’s adult romances – just because they are a lot steamier. I would still recommend The Season to teens who love historical romances that is more age appropriate. If I had discovered THE SEASON a lot earlier, this probably would have been the book to make me seek out adult romance.

About the Author

Sarah MacLeanSarah MacLean is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of YA and adult romance.

She grew up in Rhode Island, where she spent much of her free time bemoaning the fact that she was more than a century too late for own Season. Her unabashed addiction to historical fiction helped to earn her a degree in European History from Smith College before she moved to New York City to pursue a career in publishing. After receiving a Masters in Education from Harvard University, Sarah returned to New York, where she lives with her husband, their dog, and a ridiculously large collection of romance novels.

Find the Author

Website | Twitter | GoodReads

Comments 1 comment

Permalink Permalink Category Book Review, Three Stars - , , , , , , , | Words 930 words

You are here: Home » Genre: Mystery

The Diviners by Libba BrayTHE DIVINERS by Libba Bray Book Review
Series: Diviners, #1
Publication Date: September 18th 2012 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Rating: – Acceptable |

Book Summary: Evie O’Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City–and she is pos-i-toot-ly thrilled. New York is the city of speakeasies, shopping, and movie palaces! Soon enough, Evie is running with glamorous Ziegfield girls and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is Evie has to live with her Uncle Will, curator of The Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult–also known as “The Museum of the Creepy Crawlies.”

When a rash of occult-based murders comes to light, Evie and her uncle are right in the thick of the investigation. And through it all, Evie has a secret: a mysterious power that could help catch the killer–if he doesn’t catch her first.

Book Review Overview:

  • Colorful and diverse cast of characters
  • Transports you to the 1930′s New York City
  • Just too long that the story started to drag

As engrossed as I was into the mystery, The Diviners by Libba Bray just isn’t a book that you can read in one sitting. At 600 whopping pages, The Diviners has a lot of heavy material in it. Bray does justice in exploring the world of 1930’s New York – it’s just a lot to handle in one book.

When it comes to reading a great book, length shouldn’t matter at all. But unfortunately, I was hit with Restless Reader Syndrome about 2/3 of the way into THE DIVINERS by Libba Bray. I was just itching for the mystery’s resolution at that point, even if I had a long way to go. I would have liked the pacing to be a little more fast-paced, but I can understand why Bray would want to take her time to develop the characters and the setting as this is the first book in a new series.

I love the way Bray effortlessly transports readers back in time during the 1930′s and New York City. The city was such a fascinating period throughout the Prohibition Era. I loved the fact that Bray did not focus on just one neighborhood. I loved the similarities and contrasts between the different neighborhoods such as Harlem, the Upper East Side, and the Theatre District in Midtown. I could easily picture 1930′s New York in my head. Bray is probably one of my favorite historical authors because of this reason.

Other than the masterful crafting of the 1930′s, the strongest point of THE DIVINERS by Libba Bray is the vast array of colorful characters. Each character was well-developed and interesting. I wanted to know more about every single one of them and it’s hard to pinpoint a favorite. I think that most of the fun was uncovering each character’s backstory and learning more as to what made them a Diviner. I enjoyed the fact that Bray included a diverse set of characters that further showcased what it was like to live as a teen in the 1930′s.

I think that part of the reason that I started to get restless was the fact that THE DIVINERS by Libba Bray started to reflect what I was learning in school. The Book of Revelation plays a big role in the murder mystery. There have been lots of interpretations of the Book of Revelation in pop culture, but I really enjoyed the way that Bray took this idea and incorporated it into a murder.

THE DIVINERS by Libba Bray is a start to a promising series, but I do hope that Bray caps off her books at around 600 pages. I don’t know if I can take any longer than that. However, THE DIVINERS by Libba Bray is still a highly enjoyable read. Crossing multiple genres, THE DIVINERS by Libba Bray has a bit of everything to please a wide audience.

About the Author

Libba BrayLibba Bray is the New York Times bestselling author of The Gemma Doyle trilogy (A Great and Terrible Beauty, Rebel Angels, The Sweet Far Thing); the Michael L. Printz Award-winning Going Bovine; Beauty Queens, an L.A. Times Book Prize finalist; and The Diviners series. She is originally from Texas but makes her home in Brooklyn, NY, with her husband, son, and two sociopathic cats.

Find the Author

Website | Twitter | GoodReads

Comments 4 comments

Permalink Permalink Category Book Review, Three Stars - , , , , , , , , | Words 1078 words

When the day shall come that we do part, if my last words are not 'I love you'-ye'll ken it was because I didna have time.
- Diana Gabaldon, The Feiry Cross

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