Servants of the Storm blew me away

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Servants of the Storm

author : delilah s. dawson

pages : [hardcover] 376

memorable quote:

I miss the days when I could wake up from a nightmare and call out, and someone would hold me close, make me feel warm and safe.

favorite character : baker

summary :

Dovey learns that demons lurk in places other than the dark corners of her mind in this southern gothic fantasy from the author of the Blud series.

A year ago, Hurricane Josephine swept through Savannah, Georgia, leaving behind nothing but death and destruction—and taking the life of Dovey’s best friend, Carly. Since that night, Dovey has been in a medicated haze, numb to everything around her.

But recently she’s started to believe she’s seeing things that can’t be real…including Carly at their favorite café. Determined to learn the truth, Dovey stops taking her pills. And the world that opens up to her is unlike anything she could have imagined.

As Dovey slips deeper into the shadowy corners of Savannah—where the dark and horrifying secrets lurk—she learns that the storm that destroyed her city and stole her friend was much more than a force of nature. And now the sinister beings truly responsible are out to finish what they started.

review :

I went into this book basically knowing nothing about what might happen and think that I liked it more from not having any expectations, from wondering alongside Dovey what could be true or hallucinations. So, if you’re interested in reading this book, I’d say dive right into it without too much reading from summaries/reviews.

When I started Servants of the Storm, I expected a mystery with a little intrigue. I expected everyone to think that Dovey was crazy and to spend the entire novel trying to figure out whether or not she really should go back to taking her medication. Somehow I missed the big old ‘horror’ sticker stuck to the copy of my book, when I took out a few novels that have been on my TBR list for ages (so long that I don’t even remember where I got the recommendations from in the first place!).

If you’re into paranormal, demonic, mysteries, this is the one for you. It creeped me out to the core. It really is like reading a horror movie, once you get about 50 pages into the book, and I never saw it coming. The things that the demons in Savannah like to do are horrifying, yet oddly fascinating, and you just can’t look away. I really like the world that Dawson constructed in her book because all of the rules about demons, their servants, and everything in between was easy enough to understand. I’m not learned enough in more demon novels to know if this is typically how they’re dealt with, but it was enough to give me shivers at night. I don’t mind things that can hurt you, even kill you–but once some creature starts messing with immortal souls? Nuh-uh. Goodbye.

Still, as much as it horrified me, I loved it for what it was. Except for the ending. Um, this book was published two years ago, ends like it’s setting itself up for a sequel, and then . . nothing. No sign of a sequel that’s even being written, let alone set to be published. Which is incredibly frustrating!

4/5 stars

 

Cathy’s Book = one of my favorite books of all time

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Cathy’s Book

Cathy Vickers Trilogy #1

author : jordan weisman, sean stewart, cathy brigg

pages : [hardcover] 143

memorable quote :

If this were a war year, if this were 1918 or 1944, I wouldn’t be the only girl whose dad was never coming home.

favorite character : cathy

summary :

Things weren’t so peachy in Cathy’s life before Victor broke up with her. Her father died unexpectedly, she’s failing school, and her best friend is mad at her. But when Cathy decides to investigate Victor’s reasons for ending their relationship, things suddenly go from bad to very, very, very bad as her findings produce more questions than answers. For instance, what does the death of Victor’s co-worker, the strange mark that appeared on Cathy’s arm, and the surreal behavior of several Chinese elders have to do with it?Through Cathy’s unique and irresistible voice-and lots of proof in the form of letters, photographs, date book entries, telephone numbers readers can call, websites they can access, as well as secrets only a careful reader will be able to decipher-readers will enter a strange and fascinating world where things often aren’t how they appear. Two-color illustrations plus supplemental material.

review :

I first read this book about a year or two after it came out. Cathy’s Book was first published in 2006 and has been extremely underrated ever since then. Maybe partly because of that, it took me an absurd amount of time to realize that this was actually part of a trilogy. Now that I have my hands on the other books, I decided to read the first to remind myself of the characters, plot, and setting. Honestly, I feel like I love the books even more now that I’m older.

What’s so incredible and unique about these books is what is done to make the mystery of it all seem real. Any phone number or website mentioned can be called or accessed. You can listen to the voice messages Cathy finds, and it’s just like you’re discovering the clues alongside her as she tries to find out why her boyfriend is being so mysterious and what his secret could be. There’s a nice blend of contemporary paranormal mystery going on here.

All of the other evidence in the case is conveniently located in a plastic pouch glued to the inside flap of the book. Cathy collected it all for her best friend Emma to read and, luckily, decided to share it with all of the other readers as well. IT’S SO COOL. Little things like business cards and fortunes that play such a small role in the book are gathered right there for you to actually see and feel for yourself. When I was younger, it freaked me out a little bit, as I wondered if this actually could be happening. That’s how convincing it was to me.

I don’t want to give too much about the book away, because it’s fairly short (less than 200 pages!) so it dives right into the mystery practically on page 1. Cathy is determined to get to the bottom of Victor’s sudden and mysterious break-up with her and subsequent disappearance. Cathy and Emma exchange notes in the margins of the notes (which are basically like a diary for Cathy, so she does not hold back at all) and I could ramble on and on about how I love this book for days. It’s so underrated! So go find a copy and READ.

5/5 stars

 

 

 

Forget Me by K. A. Harrington

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Forget Me

author : k. a. harrington

pages : [hardcover] 288

favorite character : evan

summary :

An edge-of-your seat psychological thriller with a romantic twist

On the three-month anniversary of her boyfriend Flynn’s death, Morgan uploads her only photo of him to FriendShare to get some closure—but she’s shocked when the facial recognition software suggests she tag him as “Evan Murphy.” She’s never heard of Evan, but a quick search tells her that he lives in a nearby town and looks exactly like Flynn. Only this boy is very much alive.

Digging through layers of secrets and lies, Morgan is left questioning everything she thought she knew about her boyfriend, her town, and even her parents’ involvement in this massive web of lies.

review :

I’ve picked up a few different young adult mysteries lately and have been really interested in getting more into the mystery/thriller genre. I think it’s interesting to see how stories like these can really grip you, shock you, and pull you into the narrative. Unfortunately, though Forget Me had a great start, it ended up being a big disappointment.

Morgan’s boyfriend, Flynn, was killed in a hit-and-run. Worse, she witnessed the accident. But when she uploads a picture of him as a memorial to a website and is asked to tag his picture with some other boy’s name, a boy who looks exactly like Flynn, she wonders if he’s really dead at all. Or if the accident wasn’t what it seemed.

Throughout the book, there are all of these hints at some bigger picture story happening and the pieces don’t fall into place until the finish. Which, y’know, is expected in the mystery. But Morgan’s town has been run into the ground because the big company that used to employ so many townspeople has shut down. I thought that there was going to be a whole conspiracy surrounding that, because it seemed like most of the people working there were scientists. I figured there was some genetic testing going on there or a crazy answer like that would be found in the mystery. What the plot really builds up to, though, is less satisfying.

I won’t give away the ending. But I will say that Forget Me really fell when it came to pacing. So much of the middle of the book fell flat while Morgan was navigating the mystery. And then, in the last 20 or so pages, so much information was randomly packed into them. Pieces that had no build-up to them whatsoever and seemed much too convenient, and unsatisfying, an answer to all of the intrigue and quirky clues we’d been getting throughout the novel.

I’m going to keep on reading mysteries, but won’t be recommending this one.

3/5 stars

Beware the Wild by Natalie C. Parker

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Beware the Wild 

Beware the Wild #1

author : natalie c. parker

pages : [hardcover] 327

memorable quote :

Secrets are never so dangerous as when they’ve been forgotten.

favorite characters : lenora may

summary :

It’s an oppressively hot and sticky morning in June when Sterling and her brother, Phin, have an argument that compels him to run into the town swamp—the one that strikes fear in all the residents of Sticks, Louisiana. Phin doesn’t return. Instead, a girl named Lenora May climbs out, and now Sterling is the only person in Sticks who remembers her brother ever existed.

Sterling needs to figure out what the swamp’s done with her beloved brother and how Lenora May is connected to his disappearance—and loner boy Heath Durham might be the only one who can help her.

This debut novel is full of atmosphere, twists and turns, and a swoon-worthy romance.

review :

I checked this book out of the library because I’ve been trying to methodically cut down on my TBR. To be honest, I’m not sure how long this one has been sitting patiently waiting for me to finally track it down and read it. I’m glad that I didn’t let it disappear in a sea of good intentions for reading because Beware the Wild is a 5 star book.

The mystery. The paranormal elements. The horror. It all blended together perfectly in a story that captivated just as much as it rattled me. The swamp that borders Sterling’s home has always held its secrets and she’s been content to keep away from it, until the day her brother runs into the swamp and Lenora May runs out . . to take his place. Things only grow stranger from there, as Sterling realizes she may be completely alone in unraveling this mystery before it is too late and she loses her brother to the swamp, forever.

I think it’s interesting, in stories like these, when nature itself seems to be a predator to humanity. The people in town like to pretend that the ‘swamp stories’ (their personal ghost stories) are all myth, though on the side they do as much as possible to superstitiously protect themselves from the swamp. There’s always the thought that maybe the swamp is nothing but normal . . . But I’ll pray for the evil to stay inside of it where it belongs, just in case. As the mysteries deepen and more questions arise, it becomes even more difficult to discern what is real and what is myth.

The characters were amazing, especially Lenora May. As soon as she emerged from the swamp I knew that I was going to be intrigued by her. Sterling was fascinating, too, because she needs to learn to come into her own to save her brother, after he’s basically saved her throughout her entire life. I also found this book interesting because Sterling has an eating disorder but this isn’t a book about eating disorders. It’s about the mysteries of the swamp. I loved how it was just one aspect of her character and how it was handled throughout the story, though I’d have liked to see more of what happened with that aspect after the paranormal excitement died down.

This book was amazing–and it turns out that there’s a sequel? If I’d known that before reading, I may have been disappointed, but because this book was so surprising and hooked me in, I definitely need to get my hands on book two.

5/5 stars

 

 

 

 

 

The Chess Queen Enigma by Colleen Gleason

The Chess Queen Enigma

Stoker & Holmes #3
Book 1: The Clockwork Scarab
Book 2: The Spiritglass Charade

expected publication: october 6th
author : colleen gleason

pages : [hardcover] 360

favorite characters : . . . all of them?

summary :

Evaline Stoker & Mina Holmes are back for a third adventure. They have to locate a missing chess queen before their nemesis, The Ankh, gets there first!

Evaline Stoker and Mina Holmes have reluctantly agreed to act as social chaperones and undercover bodyguards for Princess Lurelia of Betrovia, who has arrived in London to deliver a letter that details the secret location of an ancient chess queen that’s been missing for centuries. But when the letter—which will heal a centuries-old rift between England and the Betrovians—is stolen out from under Evaline and Mina’s watchful eyes, the two girls are forced into a high-stakes race to ensure they find the chess queen before anyone else does. The Stoker and Holmes series is as culturally popular and compulsively readable as the Sherlock Holmes stories and Dracula were in the Victorian era.

review :

I LOVE this series so much and think it’s a shame that I know no one who reads it. Stoker & Holmes are two fierce ladies who kick ass and take names, all in the constricting fashions of the Victorian era. I honestly can’t decide which of them I love more because Mina is entirely hopeless and adorable in social situations, Evaline can’t stop eating and, y’know, staking vampires, and then there are a host of supporting characters that are just . . charming and captivating and also very frustrating. Particularly regarding the gentlemen I can’t decide should be deserving of these two.

It’s an interesting clash as always, with an investigation occurring while there’s also the threat of vampires. Those two worlds are steadily beginning to merge into the bigger picture that has been hinted at throughout the series. So, what does that mean? It means that I’m craving the next book already when there’s NO RELEASE DATE, no name for it, nothing. How am I supposed to survive on an ending like this one? What?!?!

Maybe I’ll talk about something that makes me a little less frustrated and incoherent. Mina and Evaline are developing so nicely, not only in their relationship but as individuals. I love how they continue to endlessly frustrate one another but remain a team, steadfast and now easily able to predict what one another will do. It’s fascinating to read and I can’t wait to see how things will be the next time we see them. Hopefully spending more time with one another outside of investigations and life or death situations!

I can’t recommend this series enough, to be honest. If you read it, let me know! I need to discuss these books with someone.

5/5 stars

The Shadow of Seth by Tom Llewellyn

 

The Shadow of Seth 

author : tom llewellyn

pages : [paperback] 174

summary :

Sixteen-year-old Seth Anomundy is a product of his environment: in this case, Tacoma, Washington. What L.A. was to Chandler, Tacoma―a working-class port city now undergoing urban renewal―is to author Tom Llewellyn. Seth has grown up in Tacoma’s tough neighborhoods, where he’s perfectly at home in Choo-Choo’s boxing gym and Miss Irene’s soul food palace, the Shotgun Shack. With his mom working nights as a cleaner, Seth goes to high school, gets decent grades, and makes money where he can: filling in as cook at the Shotgun Shack, working as a sparring partner, and running errands for Nadel, the clock repairman. Life is hand-to-mouth, but okay―until he gets the news that his mother has been killed. The police don’t care about the death of just another drug addict, so a bewildered Seth takes it upon himself to find the killer. On a clock delivery run, he meets a beautiful rich girl named Azura Lear, who encourages Seth and tries to help track down the killer. But instead of finding answers, Seth finds only trouble. He faces down a gang of baseball-bat-wielding high school jocks and deals with the contempt of Azura’s suspicious father. And then there’s King George―a teenage thug Seth has previously managed to avoid―who has for some reason let it be known that he wants Seth dead. Right now.

review :

I’m not much of a reader of mysteries but do love YA novels and think that there should definitely be more of a mixture with those genres. Unfortunately, The Shadow of Seth didn’t quite hit a homerun for me.

Seth has led a rough life. Growing up on the poor side of town, he hasn’t always had what he’s needed much less wanted. But he’s always had his mom there, looking after him, and Miss Irene as a second mother. Good people who want the best for him. That all changes when one night his mother is found dead and the police aren’t interested in investigating what seems like an accident or even suicide. Seth knows that something is wrong and takes it upon himself to investigate.

The characters in this book were interesting, diverse, but somehow fell flat for me. I wanted to feel emotional alongside Seth when he realized that he’s lost his mother, but I just couldn’t connect with him. Azura Lear, love interest, was just . . . infuriating. Nothing she did ever made sense–like traveling to the bad side of town to let herself into the apartment of a guy who only stopped by her house on a job he had to do. Basically, stalking Seth to his home, and then not giving a second thought to the danger she was putting herself in by walking around alone with all of her privileged belongings. It made no sense and she contributed nothing to the plot aside from giving Seth someone to pine after.

The mystery was kind of flat, too. There weren’t many twists and turns; it wasn’t hard to figure out. It seems like there are going to be more of these mysteries, so I’m curious to see if maybe this case wasn’t as clean-cut as suspected (though there wasn’t a hint in the ending that that could be so) or if Seth is going to find more cases the police aren’t interested in to solve himself. Whatever the case, I think I’m going to end up skipping those books.

2/5 stars

Blog Tour! The Spiritglass Charade

The Spiritglass Charade

Stoker & Holmes #2
Book 1: The Clockwork Scarab

author : colleen gleason

pages : [hardcover] 360

favorite characters : mina & evaline

summary :

After the Affair of the Clockwork Scarab, Evaline Stoker and Mina Holmes are eager to help Princess Alix with a new case. Seventeen-year-old Willa Aston is obsessed with spiritual mediums, convinced she is speaking with her mother from beyond the grave. What seems like a case of spiritualist fraud quickly devolves into something far more menacing: someone is trying to make Willa “appear lunatic,” using an innocent-looking spiritglass to control her. The list of clues piles up: an unexpected murder, a gang of pickpockets, and the return of vampires to London. But are these events connected? As Uncle Sherlock would say, “there are no coincidences.” It will take all of Mina’s wit and Evaline’s muscle to keep London’s sinister underground at bay.

review:

If you haven’t already started this series, now is the perfect time to begin! You’ll have not one but two amazing mysteries to devour.

I loved The Clockwork Scarab and was infinitely excited when I learned it was going to be part of a series! I felt like there was so much more that could be done with the characters and The Spiritglass Charade really captured not only our leading ladies but the secondary characters as well. Mina and Evaline are truly a force to be reckoned with! I absolutely love seeing such strong women in this setting. As a steampunk book set in the Victorian Era, obviously there’s some sexism going on. Whenever Evaline and Mina need to face this, they kick butt and take no names. Honestly, throughout the entire book I was trying to decide which was my favorite. Maybe Evaline because I wish that I could be more like her, physically overpowering anyone who thought I was too weak to handle them. Or maybe Mina because she’s smart enough to outwit anyone, especially the men who think a woman can’t be an investigative spy.

And all of this is embedded in a wonderful, mysterious plot! I love how these stories are anything but predictable because of the way they unfold. While the ladies investigate, I’m trying to gauge what clue might lead them to their next step, but I only figure it out when they do. Which is wonderful, really, even though I’d like to think that I’d be better at solving mysteries! Sadly, it doesn’t seem like that’ll be my calling.

Another thing that I absolutely love about these books is the writing style. For me, the way an author writes is definitely a make or break situation and Gleason blew me away. Her writing is just the right mixture of cool, detached mystery combined with fantastical, complex imagery. Whatever she writes, I’ll be willing to pick up!

I’d recommend this book to anyone. It’s a fairly quick read. While it’s the kind of series that focuses on a different problem within each novel, you’ll only get the full effect (and love the characters even more!) if you pick up both books . . . and book three, whenever that’s released!

AUTHOR INTERVIEW :

 

 Did something inspire you to write the Stoker & Holmes series?

When I was writing my series about a female vampire hunter who lives in Regency-era England, my editor at the time said I should consider writing a steampunk novel one day.

I had no idea what steampunk was at the time (this was in 2006, when hardly anyone seemed to know what steampunk was!), but I looked it up and was fascinated by the idea of melding a historical setting with technology, literary characters, and an alternate history. So I let the idea perk for several years until I realized I wanted to write a steampunk novel for teens.

Then I began to think about how I would approach something like that, and what cast of characters I’d pull together. I wanted a “girl-power” team—a group of characters that appreciated the strengths and weaknesses of young women (whether they be male or female), because I thought it would be fascinating to juxtapose that sort of power over a time period where the female gender was very repressed—ie, Victorian England.

Add to that the fact that I am a big Sherlock Holmes geek, and wanted to write a female version of that amazing detective—plus my love for vampire hunters—et voilá! The Stoker and Holmes series was born.

What did you find most challenging about writing The Spiritglass Charade?

I would say that the most challenging—but yet most important part—of writing this second book in the series was to make sure both main characters showed some sort of character growth. They have to change somehow between the beginning and the end of the novel, and they will have to continue to change throughout the rest of the series (a planned five books). So not only am I working on significant character development for one character, as in most books, I really have to focus on two of them. So it’s twice the fun!

Have you been influenced by any particular writer’s style?

Yes indeed. When writing the Stoker & Holmes books in particular, I find myself heavily influenced by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle himself (for obvious reasons), as well as Elizabeth Peters, who wrote with such a wry, pedantic, witty style—particularly in her Amelia Peabody books.

Who do you think you’re more like, Evaline or Mina?

Ha! Trick question…with a trick answer. I have elements of both young women in my makeup. I can be controlling, particular, and pedantic like Mina, and I am also socially capable, friendly, and sometimes impetuous like Evaline!

If you could meet any fictional character, who would you pick?

Hermione Granger.

Have you ever had the chance to solve a mystery?

Not in real life, though I’ve written several of them. Probably doesn’t count, though, does it?

What is the last book you read?

I just finished reading Someone in the House (a modern gothic/ghost story) by Barbara Michaels.

So, is anyone else incredibly excited to hear that there will be at least five books in this series! Because I’m so happy.

Follow the  rest of the tour!

 

Day Post Date

Blog

URL
Tuesday 10/7/2014 Esther’s Ever After http://everafteresther.blogspot.com
Wednesday 10/8/2014 Chronicle Books Blog http://www.chroniclebooks.com/blog/
Thursday 10/9/2014 Anna’s Book Blog http://annavivian.blogspot.com/
Friday 10/10/2014 Kid Lit Frenzy www.kidlitfrenzy.com
Saturday 10/11/2014 Caught Between the Pages https://caughtbetweenthepages.wordpress.com
Sunday 10/12/2014 Mother Daughter Book Club http://motherdaughterbookclub.com
Monday 10/13/2014 Cracking the Cover www.crackingthecover.com
Tuesday 10/14/2014 The Haunting of Orchid Forsythia http://hauntedorchid.blogspot.com
Wednesday 10/15/2014 Forever Young Adult www.foreveryoungadult.com
Thursday 10/16/2014 SciFiChick.com Http://SciFiChick.com
Friday 10/17/2014 On Emily’s Bookshelf www.onemilysbookshelf.com

 If you’re into Steampunk things, like the world Mina and Evaline live in, think about throwing an awesome Steampunk party!

The Stoker & Holmes Guide to Throwing a Steampunk Party

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Of course, for a party like that, you’ll need a great costume!

 

7 Tips for Making a Steampunk Costume (A Stoker and Holmes Guide)

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 Start Reading the First Book!!

Clockwork Scarab Excerpt Scribd