Girl in Disguise by Greer Macallister #BookReview #MarchReleases

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girlindisguiseTitle: Girl in Disguise
Author: Greer Macallister
Series: N/A
Format: Digital ARC, 308 pages
Publication Details: March 21st 2017 by Sourcebooks Landmark

Genre(s): Historical Fiction; Adventure; Mystery 
Disclosure? Yep, I received an advanced copy in exchange for an HONEST review!

Goodreads 

bookdepo

For the first female Pinkerton detective, respect is hard to come by. Danger, however, is not.

In the tumultuous years of the Civil War, the streets of Chicago offer a woman mostly danger and ruin-unless that woman is Kate Warne, the first female Pinkerton detective and a desperate widow with a knack for manipulation.

Descending into undercover operations, Kate is able to infiltrate the seedy side of the city in ways her fellow detectives can’t. She’s a seductress, an exotic foreign medium, or a rich train passenger, all depending on the day and the robber, thief, or murderer she’s been assigned to nab.

Inspired by the real story of Kate Warne, this spirited novel follows the detective’s rise during one of the nation’s greatest times of crisis, bringing to life a fiercely independent woman whose forgotten triumphs helped sway the fate of the country.

Review

I didn’t know what to expect from Girl in Disguise having not read Macallister’s debut novel The Magician’s Lie or knowing much about the Pinkertons/ that era of American history to be perfectly honest. However, I do enjoy a good historical yarn now and then as long it’s not too bogged down in facts and figures, so I was eager to give it a try.

We first meet Kate Warne – famous for being the first ever female detective – when she is setting out to be just that. She answers an ad in a paper knowing full well that it will be difficult to persuade them that she’s the right man for the job, as it were. But of course she does, and so we follow Kate as she begins her training with Allan Pinkerton to learn everything she can about being an undercover operative.

Kate has a bit of a shaky start, including a run-in with colleague Bellamy but after that we watch her go from strength to strength and become more confident and cunning in her abilities.

I really enjoyed Macallister’s take on Kate Warne. She could probably come across quite cold and stern to some but because we hear the story from her point of view we know differently, we know it’s merely a self-defence tactic which is necessary for her to adopt considering all the things that are stacked against her. The main one of course being that she is a woman in a time where ‘respectable’ women aren’t even supposed to have jobs, never mind this kind of job.

I liked that Girl in Disguise is an action-packed adventure but also uses Kate Warne’s story to explore a lot of interesting issues surrounding equality. In a time of female oppression, Kate not only makes ground-breaking steps forward, she is also fiercely aware that other women are so accustomed to inequality that they’re often their own worst enemies…

They don’t hesitate to hang women down here”

“Could they be so awful?”

“What’s awful about it?” she shrugged. “Our crimes are as serious as theirs. Our punishments should be too.”

“A miserable sort of equality to hope for.”

Even in these terrible circumstances, she looked proud. “If we take the good, we also have to take the bad.We don’t get to fetch it up piecemeal.”

I think that sort of double-standards still rings true today. There is also the character of Deforest who Kate – whilst working on her tracking skills – discovers he is harbouring a secret that would see him hanged – he’s gay. Kate and Deforest’s friendship was my favourite in the novel, and I liked how the author captured her initial reaction and how her attitude towards him changed throughout the book. It rang true to the era and didn’t take the easy route of making Kate completely ambivalent towards it.

“In some way, I couldn’t possibly fathom him, his unnatural interests, his decision to be like he was. But the undertow of his terror, I understood.”

Macallister has done a great job in researching the real Kate Warne and building on that with her own version of the detective. Like I said earlier, I’m not a fan of historical fiction when it’s all facts and no storytelling but there was definitely a lot of storytelling here, with the facts seamlessly embedded. I thought some of Macallister’s descriptions were lovely too, making it a compelling read.

“The woman lay on the carpet as if resting, which I suppose she was, only forever.”

My one critique is that first half of the book felt a bit like a montage of events which made the pace nice and fast but I longed for more detail; it sometimes felt like Macallister was trying to fit too much in at once. She could have concentrated on just one or two of Warne’s interesting cases rather than an overview of many. This was most definitely improved on in the second half of the book though.

In this novel we see Kate Warne’s rise and fall, and the changing attitudes towards her from those around her. It’s a fun, rollercoaster of a read, and one which reads as a love letter to plucky women whose actions make the world a better place. Therefore it’s bound to be called a great feminist story, but I’d prefer to just call it a great story, Full Stop.

unicorn rating 4

 

Book Promo ~ Eve Brenner: Zombie Girl

Welcome to another great book promo post here at Lipsyy Lost & Found! I’m excited about this one, because y’know…ZOMBIES! 🙂

Eve Brenner: Zombie Girl is the first book in a four-part series published by Permuted Press. Book 1 was released at the beginning of the year, and book 2 just last week!

First-time author A. Giacomi has kindly told me everything you need to know about your new favourite Zombie Girl!

About The Series

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Title: Eve Brenner: Zombie Girl
Series: The Zombie Girl Saga #1
Editions: Kindle, e-book, 277 pages
Publication Details: January 25th 2015 by Permuted Press
Goodreads

Eve used to be an ordinary girl, from an ordinary town, with ordinary dreams, but her dreams rapidly turn into nightmares when one grave mistake leaves her a little less than human and a lot less average.

Eve’s not quite the same girl she used to be. She desperately clings to her humanity as new desires, new abilities, and new urges take over with each passing day.

Eve Brenner: Zombie Girl is a tale that takes you on an emotional and terrifying journey as Eve struggles to cope with her new life and find a cure for her strange illness before time runs out. She desperately clings to her humanity as she tries to control the monster she knows is lurking inside her.

Turns out living was the easy part.

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Title: Eve Brenner: Zombie Agent
Series: The Zombie Girl Saga #2
Editions: Kindle, e-book, 224 pages
Publication Details: February 17th 2015 by Permuted Press
Goodreads

In the second installment of The Zombie Girl Saga, Eve teams up with CSIS to find out more about the Azrael Virus coursing through her veins. As she learns about the dangers of the virus, she also learns that there are some advantages to being less than human. Eve is quickly thrown into fieldwork to stop the spread of a virus that is spreading silently on a global level.

She might be the only hope the world has, but she’s running out of time.

Six Things You Need to Know About Eve

Written by A.Giacomi

Where is Eve from?

Eve is a twenty year old Canadian girl from the small town of Little Lake, Ontario. She dreams of breaking free from her small town after University. She attends Guelph University where she majors in archaeology and secretly hopes to be the next Lara Croft.

Eve’s interests?

When she’s not drooling over her favourite Professor’s new findings, she loves hanging out with her two best friends Alexandra and Cameron. Eve is very athletic and enjoys the outdoors; she’s the former swim team captain, a title she regrettably had to give up given her current illness. She loves superheroes, especially Spiderman, her all-time favourite. She’s not a girly girl but she does enjoy the occasional shopping expedition…she also really loves a good steak, and make it rare.

Relationship Status?

It’s complicated. As I’m sure you can imagine real life doesn’t stray far from fiction, but when you’re a zombie girl looking for love, it couldn’t be more complicated! Eve’s always had a thing for her good friend Cam, but for the sake of the friendship she’s never pursued it. Now that she’s a little less than human Cam seems to be more intrigued than ever, he couldn’t have worse timing!

What’s her secret?

No, this has nothing to do with make-up tips. Eve has a BIG secret that she’s very reluctant to share with anyone. She’s been bitten, by what, she’s not exactly sure…but what she’s certain of is her ever changing appetite.

Does she have an Arch Nemesis or Frenemy?

Perhaps a few, but in Book 1 be prepared to meet Claire Bear, the Regina George of your nightmares. If you thought Eve was dangerous, this girl is really going to make your skin crawl! They have a common interest…Cam…something about him is so…delicious.

New Virus, New Zombie…

Eve is not your typical zombie. The Azrael Virus manifests differently in each host and Eve is quite the specimen. In addition to her hunger for flesh, she’s picked up a few interesting powers. She might be dead, but she’s not someone you want to mess with.

Ready to bite into the book? Get your copy here: http://permutedpress.com/books/eve-brenner-zombie-girl-the-zombie-girl-saga-book-1

About the Author

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A. Giacomi is a wife, and mother to one small human child. She is a Canadian born writer, educator, and artist. She proudly waves her York University Alumni flag and continues to thirst for knowledge and devour books. She is a zombie enthusiast, lover of all things Tim Burton, Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Marvel, Star Wars and just generally just loves film, essentially she’s a fangirl.

Eve Brenner: Zombie Girl is A. Giacomi’s debut novel. You can catch the latest updates about her writing on her blog: http://www.poeticzombie.com and Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/agiacomi/info?tab=page_info

Me & Mr J by Rachel McIntyre

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Title: Me & Mr. J
Author: Rachel McIntyre
Series: N/A
Edition: Digital ARC
Publication Details: March 5th 2015 by Electric Monkey
Genre(s): Contemporary YA; Romance
Disclosure? Yep! I received a copy from the publisher/author in exchange for an HONEST review.

Goodreads // Purchase

Fifteen-year-old Lara finds her soulmate. There’s just one problem – he’s her teacher. Lara’s life has changed radically since her father lost his job. As the eldest, Lara tries to keep upbeat, and the one outlet for all her problems is her diary where she can be open about how dire everything is at home, and worse, the fact that she’s being horrifically bullied at school.

And then a shining light comes out of the darkness – the new young and MALE teacher, Mr Jagger. The one person who takes Lara seriously and notices her potential. The one person who is kind to her. The one person who she falls madly and hopelessly in love with. The one person who cannot reciprocate her feelings … can he?

Review

This book confirms my suspicions that I’m just kinda over Contemporary YA. I don’t mean that to sound harsh on the book itself, it’s a perfectly good book, written well, but I’ve just had enough of traumatic school-days stories.

There would have been a time when I’d have lapped Me & Mr J up. It’s the story of Lara “titless” Titliss as she navigates her way through her final year of high school. She is bullied quite horribly and as the book goes on, the more horrific the bullying gets. The only person who makes school bearable for Lara is the new English Teacher, Mr Jagger.

Me and Mr. J is written in ‘diary entry’ style which is great in sense that we get to see Lara’s amazing ability to shrug off and rise above everything the bullies throw at her. But the downside for me was that the language was way too cringe-worthy at times. Don’t get me wrong, it was believable and represents how teenagers talk and think but that doesn’t make it any less annoying to read. There was a lot of eye-rolling and sighing from me.

Oh, Mr J. My life would be a desert of complete unbearability without you as my metaphorical oasis/ watering hole”

My heart was saying, Mr Jagger, you are the only decent thing in my life. I can’t stop thinking about you. If I didn’t have you, I’d probably kill myself”

I thought this book was going be about a sordid affair between a teacher and student but I found it mainly to be about bullying, and discovering who you are – which I’m sure a lot of people would enjoy – I just wasn’t in the mood for it.

I did enjoy seeing how the relationship between Lara and Mr J eventually developed, despite the obvious repercussions. I also thought Lara was a strong character who could certainly inspire teens who have had problems with bullying, regardless of her mistakes, but I was hoping for something more.

unicorn rating 2