Monday, October 29, 2012

Review: Anna Dressed In Blood, Kendare Blake

Anna Dressed in Blood (Anna, #1)
Genre: YA, horror
Rating: 4.5 stars

Teenage loner Theseus Cassio Lowood, Cas, is a ghost hunter.  He inherited the power, and a deadly athame knife, from his dead father and he "kills" ghosts who are maiming and killing the living.  One day he receives a tip about a ghost in Canada named Anna Koslov...Anna Dressed In Blood. 

He and his mother pack up and move to the small town so Cas can learn more about Anna so he can figure out how to kill her.  He makes friends with some people in his new high school so he can learn her legend, when things take a turn for the worse.  Anna is like no other ghost.  She is strong, she is angry and she is very deadly.  But she also has another side, an innocent side that she shows to Cas.  Cas needs to figure out how to kill her and how to protect others from being killed and how to get revenge on the ghost that killed his father.

This book was recommended to me by many of my fellow bloggers, so I just had to read it.  And then I met Anna.  I started to think that you guys were some sick people!  But then I got to know Anna and it wasn't so bad.  Don't get me wrong, this book verges on horror and it is gruesome, but it's so good and even a little sweet.  It's a quick read and a fun one.  If you want a great read to get in before Halloween, pick this one up!

Now I'm off to hunker down and wait out Hurricane Sandy.  Fingers crossed that I don't lose power!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Go Ask Alice

Go Ask Alice

Well, I picked up this book during Banned Books Week, and just finished it.  Not that it was a hard or long read, just that I put it down because I it was disturbing.  But it was getting close to when it was due back to the library, so I powered through it yesterday.  Again, no big feat since it's an easy read and short. 

In a nutshell, this book is about a 15 year old girl who, right off the bat, has serious self-esteem issues and body image issues.  She gets slipped some LSD in a coke while at a party and falls in love with drugs.  She thinks they're glorious and wonderful and that clearly teachers and her parents are wrong about them.  She wants to experiment with more drugs and as she meets people within the drug culture who tell her about the next best high, she goes for it.  Thus she falls down the rabbit hole of drugs.  She does try to get herself out of it a few times, but always goes back to the drugs.

Now the part that didn't quite ring true was the end of the book.  She ends up, once again, accidentally getting dosed with, presumably, high concentrated LSD that was put on chocolate covered peanuts and goes crazy.  This is blamed on the kids in her high school who are still in the drug crowd who want to pull her back in.  That just doesn't make sense to me.  They were THAT upset that she wasn't using/dealing that they drugged her?  To what purpose?

So I don't know what to think of this book, which is why it gets the low rating.

If you take it for what it says it is, an anonymous diary of a 15 year old who falls into drugs, then it is just disturbing. I kept wishing that the inevitable outcomes wouldn't happen, that the girl would be able to stop the downward spiral of her life. If that is the case, I would rate it 3 stars. I didn't love it and do not want to read it again because it's too disturbing. But it was certainly interesting and it kept me turning the pages.

If you don't believe it is a real diary, or based off of one or several diaries of drug addicted teens, and that it is a work of fiction, then it's just baffling. Why pretend to be a real diary when it isn't?  There are plenty of fictional accounts of drug use, but just because they are fictional doesn't take away from the power of their message. The subterfuge just doesn't make sense to me.

Regardless, the book made me so happy that I don't do drugs and that I do not a) have the type of personality that was curious about that stuff and b) have an addictive personality.

Rating: 2 stars

Monday, October 22, 2012

Review: What Happens At Christmas, Victoria Alexander

What Happens At Christmas 
Genre: Historical Romance
Rating: 4 Stars

I was so excited when I received my ARC of What Happens At Christmas from Kensington Books via NetGalley.  Victoria Alexander has long been one of my favorite romance authors.  Her book, Her Highness, My Wife is my #1 favorite romance.  Alexander writes about princes and princesses, far off places and wealthy artistocratic families with a penchant for twins and trouble.  I love them.  So you can imagine the fan-girl screaming that occurred when I got the ARC.  This newest book did not disappoint.

Carmille, Lady Lyndingham, widow of two years, has her sights set on a new man: Prince Nikolai Pruzinsky of the Kingdom of Greater Avalonia.  She invites him to a traditional English Christmas with her family at her mother's house, but the problem is her family is not traditional and, aside from her twin sister and her husband, her family will not be there.  But that doesn't stop Camille - she simply hires a troupe of actors to act as her mother, younger sister and uncle.

She is convinced that she can get Prince Nikolai to propose and that she will fall in love with him - he's perfect, so how could she not?  But her plans to show him a traditional Christmas get a wrench thrown in them when Grayson Elliot, Camille's neighbor and former best friend, walks back into her life.  He's been gone for 11 years, after professing his love for her on the eve of her wedding and then running away to America when he didn't get the answer he wanted, but he's back and he knows what he wants and he's ready and willing to fight for it.

Camille must figure out how to juggle an increasingly bad acting troupe, family members who keep showing up, a sarcastic twin and her long-lost love.  And she must decide if Prince Charming is really who she wants, or if she wants the one who got away.

Victoria Alexander writes in such a way that you are instantly sucked into her characters' world. You can feel the tension between Camille and Grayson.  Grayson is contrite yet strong and Camille is headstrong and stubborn, but she's funny and insecure too.  I loved their romance.  There were many times which I wanted to put my hand to my heart and swoon in full Southern Belle style.

The secondary characters were a hoot: the overly scornful and sarcastic twin, all the actors, with their inabilities to keep their characters straight, Grayson's cousin and Camille's mother and younger sister. They all added levity to the story and made it so amusing and lighthearted.  Perfect for the holidays.

The only thing I was a bit unhappy with was that while Alexander has set up a love triangle with Nikolai, Camille and Grayson, there really isn't all that much time spent with Nikolai.  His character actually confused me for a while because I had read, and loved, books about Avalonia and couldn't figure out what time this took place.  Eventually we learned that it was 70 years after the previous Avalonian books, but I wish I'd known that sooner. And we just didn't get to know him so his side of the triangle just wasn't all that plausible.  I didn't understand why, aside from stubbornness, Camille wanted him.

However, all-in-all, I really liked the book and I was so happy to read more about Avalonia, and really to read anything Victoria Alexander writes.  Highly recommended to anyone who likes historical romances and to anyone who has read her previous Effington/Avalonia books.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Vlog: Interview with Krystal Wade

Wilde's Meadow (Darkness Fa...
 Wilde's Meadow
Happy endings are hard to find, and even though Katriona is in the middle of a war with someone who’s already stolen more than she can replace, she aches for a positive future with her Draíochtans.

Armed with hope, confidence in her abilities, and a strange new gift from her mother, Kate ventures into the Darkness to defeat a fallen god.

Losses add up, and new obstacles rise to stand in the way. Is the one determined to bring Encardia light strong enough to keep fighting, or will all the sacrifices to stop those who seek domination be for nothing

Krystal Wade, author of Wilde's Fire, Wilde's Army, and the soon-to-be-released Wilde's Meadow, dropped by for an interview.  We decided to record our interview for my first vlog!

I hope you enjoy, and excuse the silliness, but we had just way too much fun with this.

Wilde's Meadow comes out November 5th!  You can learn more about this book and her others at:

Book Blogger Hop: October 19-25

Book Blogger Hop
 From Knitting and Sundires' blog:

"The Book Blogger Hop is much more than just a “follow for a follow”. It’s about making friends. There are literally thousands of book bloggers around the world. It can seem like we are blogging in a bubble, constantly checking the same blogs over and over again. The Hop is about taking the time to make a quality visit to another blog, getting to know the person who is writing that blog, and seeing if you really *want* to follow that person

1.  How did you find out about book blogging and what made you decide to start one yourself?

I love books, I love to read, and I love giving people recommendations on what to read.  One day, this past May, my friend and coworker told me that I should start a book blog.  I hemmed and hawed and said no.  Then she gently suggested it again and I said, "fine".  So I went to blogger, set up my account and then...did nothing.  Then, last month, I decided to plunge in.  I wrote a few reviews, joined twitter (against my better judgement as I am now addicted), did a few blog hops and here I am today!  I love it! I love the blogging community and I am having such fun with this.  So now I get to say it - I hope you're listening, Krystal! - You were right. 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Review: Her Fake Romance by Donna Fasano

Her Fake Romance
Genre: Romance
Rating: 4.5 Stars

The last thing Julia Jones, single mom and caterer, was looking for was a boyfriend.  Newly arrived in town, Ryan Shane doesn't want a girlfriend, but he needs a date to shield him from an overly friendly woman who won't take no for an answer. So when Julia's teenage daughter accuses her of not having any fun and Ryan calls to ask her to be his date, she jumps at the chance.  The two of them come to an agreement: they'll pretend to date to keep the husband-hunting woman away from Ryan and to make Julia's daughter think that Julia does know how to have fun.

But neither of them expected the attraction and fireworks they'd have between them, nor did they expect to become friends.  But can Julia trust Ryan when every male influence in her life has hurt her and let her down?

I thought this book was great!  I love the plot device of pretending to be together only to fall in love - it's one of my favorites, and Fasano has done a really god job with her version of it.  Julia and Ryan's chemistry was immediate and believable.  Julia's over-protectiveness towards her daughter bothered me a bit but once I read why, made total sense.  I really love when an author gives their characters good reasons for the way they act.  And Ryan was a great hero - sexy yet understanding.  Loved him!

Since Julia is a caterer, there is a lot of mention of food in the book.  Well, as I was reading, waiting for my husband to finish his workout so we could eat, I was literally salivating reading about roasted chicken with "smashed" potatoes.  Fasano described the food so well I could practically taste it! I may just have to roast a chicken this weekend.  Yep, I'm still drooling over the food descriptions.  Which makes the last few pages of the book great - there are recipes included!  I'm looking forward to trying some of these.

Great book, great looking recipes and a sweet ending.

Thank you to the author, Donna Fasano, for giving me a copy of this book for my honest review.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Reviews: The Serpent's Shadow and Insurgent

After trudging through a book on my Fall Into Reading list (I just could NOT get into it), I moved on to two YA books I've had on my to-read list:  The Serpent's Shadow by Rick Riordan and Insurgent by Veronica Roth.

**Spoiler Alert**

Please note, these are both part of series, so if you haven't read the previous books, stop reading!  Now you've been warned, so read on at your own risk.

The Serpent's Shadow (Kane Chronicles, #3) 
The last installment in the Kane Chronicles, this one picks up a few months after the last left off:  Apophis is free from the underworld, Will has a genetic disease and is dying, Uncle Amos is Nome 1 leader in Egypt, Carter is in love with Zia (who doesn't really know him since she was a shabti) and Sadie wants to be with both Will and Anubis.

Apophis and his (its?) forces are attacking and destroying Nomes throughout the world in an attempt to also destroy a manuscript written by a long-dead, evil magician, Setne.  The Cane's must enlist Setne's help to destroy Apophis, but only if they can trust him.

Their rag-tag team of helpers include Zia, Will, Bast, Khufu and Bes, and as usual a helping hand from the gods, Isis, Horus, Ra and Anubis.

I love these books.  They aren't anything difficult to understand, and while they do talk down a bit (the side-bars where the siblings taunt each other are kind of annoying), I still enjoy them so much.  I don't know much about Egyptian mythology besides what was taught to me in 5th or 6th grade, so I feel like I'm learning while I'm reading.  Of course, Riordan could be making up all this for all I know, but hey, I'll go along with it and assume it's all accurate.

4 Stars
 Insurgent (Divergent, #2)
The second book in the Divergent series starts right after the first one started.  Tris, Tobias (Four), Tobias's father Marcus, Tris's brother Caleb and the awful Peter are on their way to Amity for help and refuge after the Dauntless/Erudite attack on Abnegation. The refugees are not safe, so they travel to Candor where the rest of the faithful Dauntless have gone.  Tris is having trouble coping with the death of her parents and with having killed Will and her inability to deal with it is effecting her relationship with Tobias.  Her behavior becomes more reckless as they all try to come up with a solution on what to do with Erudite and the traitor Dauntless and how to keep the Divergent safe and how to find new allies in the Factionless.

I heard from several people that Insurgent wasn't as good as Divergent.  I purposely waited a while before reading Insurgent so that I wouldn't have to wait as long for book 3.  Perhaps because of this, I liked it more because I wasn't comparing it to Divergent.  I thought it was really good and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  My only complaint is that since this picks up right where Divergent left off, I had a hard time remembering all the characters.  Also, Roth didn't describe the characters, so I couldn't picture them in my head since they were described in book 1.  At the end of 2, she described Will, but it took until the end of the book to find out what he looked like.  And Christina?  I have no recollection of what she looked like except that she has a different complexion as Tris.  So that is my only complaint.  Otherwise, it was fast paced and fun.  Yes, Tris's and Tobias's trust issues and insecurities were a bit tiresome, but they're teenagers in love.  That seemed to be how I remember my relationships at that age.  Can't wait for book 3 to come out!

4.5 stars

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Twenty Questions

Happy Tuesday, everyone!  Meet Krystal Wade!

Krystal Wade

As you may or may not have read, I am going to be interviewing the fabulous Krystal, author of Wilde's Fire and Wilde's Army to discuss her latest book, Wilde's Meadow, this Friday!

Krystal is not only an author, but she was a submissions editor for Curiosity Quills and is currently the Operations Manager.  Now, with knowing all that, what questions would you find the most interesting and/or valuable to ask her?

Any and all suggestions would be appreciated! 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Liebster Awards!

The fabulous Tamara at One Magic Bean Buyer has given me the Liebster award for blogs with fewer than 200 followers.  Thanks, Tamara!!!


I'd like to thank the Academy for this award and just say that I love all my followers - you all are the best!  I can only assume that Liebster comes from the German word, lieben, which means to love (not "to blave"). So - Ich liebe Sie.

  The rules of the Liebster Award are: 
  • Answer the blogger's eleven questions.
  • Think of eleven questions of your own.
  • Choose eleven worthy bloggers (with fewer than 200 followers) to pay it forward.
What is your favorite month of the year? June.  It's the month I got married, it's warm and sunny and it's the last month of school and I never got out of the habit of looking forward to summer vacation.

What's the number one most played song on your iPod? I honestly don't listen to my iPod all that often - only when I run.  I guess my most played song is Black Eyed Peas, Let's Get It Started, but only because it's got a good beat to pace my run to.

Name three writers you admire and tell us why. 1. Jane Austen because she's Jane freakin' Austen and brilliant! 2. Janet Evanovich because she's so funny and 3. Carlos Ruiz Zafon because his writing is just so beautiful, it's like poetry.

If you were reincarnated as an animal, what would you want to be? I'd like to be one of my parent's dogs.  They are the most spoiled dogs on earth and are treated like children. :)

What is one of your favorite quotes? "Life is pain.  Anyone who tells you differently is selling something" - The Princess Bride

What chore do you hate doing? Folding and putting away laundry.

If you could throw any kind of party (money is no object) what would it be? And for who? I would throw all my friends on a boat in the NYC harbor (and it would be during summer).

If you could choose to stay a certain age forever, what age would you stay? 27. I loved 27.  I was skinny, just getting married, skinny (did I say that twice) and still in my 20s!

If you could have any talent in the whole world, which one would you choose? I'd like to be able to play the violin.  I think it's so beautiful

Which superpower would you pick if they were up for grabs? I'd like to be able to go back in time.

If you had to change your first name, what name would you want? I actually hate my first name, which is why I go by nicknames.  As a child I always wanted to be Judy, but I think I was just going through a Judy Garland phase.  I suppose my nickname, Susie, is my name of choice.  Or Charlie.  I think it's super cute on girls.
Now for my 11 questions:
1. What is your favorite book?
2. What is your favorite movie?
3. If you could go back in time and save 1 person, who would it be and why?
4. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
5. What is your favorite food?
6. What is your biggest regret?
7. If money was no object, what 1 thing would you buy for another person and why?
8. Do you give to charities and if yes what is your favorite?
9. Ebook reader or regular old physical book?
10. If you could have dinner with anyone, living or dead, who would it be?
11. What's your favorite animal?
I chose the following AWESOME blogs to pass the award on to.  Please stop by and check them out!

REMINDER!!!  I am interviewing Krystal Wade, author of Wilde's Fire and Wilde's Army, here on Friday October 19th to talk about her upcoming novel Wilde's Meadow.  If you have any questions about her books, writing, submitting or anything else, just post them and I'll ask her!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Book Blogger Hop: Autumnal Books

Book Blogger Hop
Blogging Question: With Autumn upon us and Halloween drawing near, what books remind you of fall? What ones do you enjoy reading that are about autumn?

I can't say that I've ever really read any fall-specific books, or scary books, so this one has me stumped, but here are a list of books I think would be good during the autumn and Halloween:

1. The Gathering Darkness The Gathering Darkness, Lisa Collicutt.  I've mentioned this book several times, but it really does fit the season so well!  It's set in autumn, it features a creepy gothic house and it's about witches!  It had me on the edge of my seat.  Great read!

2. Rebecca Rebecca, Daphne Du Maurier.  Not your typical scary story, but definitely creepy.  A new bride comes to her new home to find that her husband's first wife (who died) is still very present in everyone's mind.  This one has a ghost not in sepulchral form but more the memories of the first wife that haunt people.  Add to that the uber creepy Mrs. Danvers, the housekeeper and former confidant/nurse of the first wife, and you've got a psychological thriller.  Also a great movie by Hitchcock.

3.The Turn of the Screw The Turn Of The Screw, Henry James.  Another psychological thriller, this one is about a governess who comes to take care of two children and starts to see ghosts.  She tries to protect the children, but in the end, it may be she who needs the help! A great classic.

4.Maybe This Time Maybe This Time, Jennifer Crusie.  Based on The Turn Of The Screw, it is again about ghosts and children.  This time a soon-to-be ex-wife does her ex-husband a favor by going to Nanny 2 children whom her husband has recently become guardian of.  Creepy house, creepy housekeeper, creepy ghosts, creepy kids, some unwanted guests, a seance and an exorcism.  It was great!

5. The House on Tradd Street (... The House On Tradd Street, Karen White.  Realtor Melanie can see ghosts, but tries to pretend she can't.  When an old house is left to her in a will, she moves in to find out that some of the former ghost residents haven't moved out...and they don't like her!  Add to that an old Confederate mystery and a handsome writer.  Loved it!

EXCITING NEWS!!!  Krystal Wade, author of Wilde's Fire and Wilde's Army will be chatting with me live on Friday October 19th about her new book, Wilde's Meadow!  If you have any questions you'd like to ask her about her book, about submitting or anything else, please let me know and I'll ask her!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

My Last Thought on Banned Books

Seeing all the posts on Banned Books Week courtesy of the blog hop has been so fascinating to me and I've really enjoyed the pros and cons that people have pointed out.

I'd like to add a few words to my previous posts:

A. This is obviously a hot spot and there doesn't seem to be a right answer, just opinion.  And I will try my hardest to be respectful of your opinion whether or not I agree with it.

B. I am a very stubborn person (worst quality right there for ya) and tend to stick to my guns too obstinately.  And since I'm so stubborn, I can easily slip into being judgmental, which I really really try not to do.  I tend to judge people who homeschool their children or are very religious, but that doesn't mean that their opinions are wrong or should be looked down upon.  They are their opinions and therefore are worthy of respect.  If what I wrote comes off as judgmental, my apologies.  I really don't want to be.

C. I had no idea that some of the banned books were "how-to's" for illegal things.  Like making bombs or pedophilia.  Ok, those are just wrong.  I'm all for the first amendment, but I don't think that instructing someone on how to commit a crime falls within the parameters of Free Speech.

And with that said, I'm going to return to reading the latest Rick Riordan in the Kane Chronicles.  I hope this book isn't banned - it's so good.  Review to come soon!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Friday Night Lights...on a Tuesday

My blog for tonight is inspired by going to my 16 year old niece's high school football games, at which she is a cheerleader.  My husband and I have been faithfully attending both her away and home football games this season.  Her school's team is amazingly good and we love seeing her out there cheering, so being the good aunt and uncle we are, we have been going.  It makes me relive my better high school days (the cheerleading) and lets me forget some of the awful times (every other moment of high school.)

So here are a few awesome YA books that are great for this time of year and for some high school nostalgia:

Remember Me, Christopher Pike Remember Me (Remember Me, #1)  This book is about a girl who is dead.  She doesn't know who killed her and now she's a ghost trying to solve her murder.

Jinx High, Mercedes Lackey Jinx High (Diana Tregarde, #3).  Psychotic teens in Tucson, AZ.  A witch called in to stop them and an ancient evil is lying dormant under the city just beginning to awaken.

The Gathering Darkness, Lisa Collicut.The Gathering Darkness A new girl in school.  Two handsome twins.  Past lives and vengeful witches.

A Royal Pain, Ellen Conford A Royal Pain  A girl finds out she was switched at birth with a princess from a foreign country.  Luckily there's a super cute reporter to catch her interest.

So what books remind you of high school (in a good way)?  Do any of them make you want to stand up and cheer "Hornets! Hornets! Go Go GO!"  No.  Just me?  Well, if you change your mind, you can always join me at my niece's games - I'll be in the front row loudly (and embarrassingly) cheering.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Book Blogger Hop

Book Blogger Hop 

When I read there was a Book Blogger Hop, hosted by Soon Remembered Tales specifically dealing with Banned Books Week (which clearly has been on my mind), I just had to join.

Blogging Question: Banned Books Week ends on the 6th. How do you feel about books being challenged to be banned from libraries or schools? Have you read any banned books?

If you've read my posts this week, you already know I don't think that banning books is a good thing.  We are becoming a society so infatuated with sheltering our children that we aren't letting them make mistakes and choices for themselves.  College students complain to their parents when they get bad grades so that the parents call and yell at the professors.  Young professionals go on interviews and bring their parents with them.  And of course, they don't leave home until they're in their mid-30s.  I'll chalk the living at home thing up the economy, but either way, children are being coddled, and it starts with censoring their books.  I think children should be encouraged to develop their imagination and learn about all aspects of life, even the ones that aren't very pretty.

The banned books I've read on my own:
Brave New World
The Hunger Games trilogy
The Harry Potter series
Charlotte's Web
Twilight trilogy
The Handmaid's Tale
The Kite Runner
A Light In The Attic
The House Of The Spirits
The Dead Zone
Pillars of the Earth
The Lovely Bones
Go Ask Alice* - just got from the library last night

Banned books I was assigned to read in high school:
To Kill A Mockingbird
Fahrenheit 451
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
The Catcher in the Rye
I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
Of Mice And Men
Flowers for Algernon
Lord Of The Flies
The Great Gatsby
The Jungle

Thursday, October 4, 2012

I'm you're density!

No, I'm not writing about Back to the Future, although I could...I totally love that movie.  I'm writing about my book density today.  I mean destiny.

I've been struggling through 150 pages of a book I just cannot get into and lamenting this fact when an email pops up from library.  There's a book on hold for me!  Score!  I open it to see which one and there it is: Insurgent.  I've been dying to read this one since I finished Divergent, but I decided to space it out closer to when book 3 comes out.  But whatever, I want to read it already!

I arrive at the library and in the very front is the table where they display books.  They usually pick a theme: summer vacation, Halloween, etc.  The display was wrapped up in police "caution" tape and there were the banned books.  Not only does my state and county not ban books, but they put them on display, as if specifically saying "these books are banned, so take one and read it!"  Well, I'm nothing if not good at following directions, so I circle the display.  Should I take a Gossip Girl novel?  I certainly don't need a book on what's happening to my body - I've got that down pat by now.  I've read and own all the Harry Potters and Upton Sinclair's The Jungle.  So I decide on Go Ask Alice.   

While I'm there I pick up the newest Rick Riordan and another book on my Fall Into Reading list.  I check out and the librarian tells me my due date: October 25th.  My birthday.

Clearly, me going to the library today and getting those books is, as they say in Yiddish, beshert.  Meant to be.

It was my destiny.

What's your book destiny?

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Gathering Darkness, Lisa Collicutt

This was provided to me by Curiosity Quills Press and Netgalley for review.

The Gathering Darkness 

Synopsis: 16 year old Brooke Day has been packed her off by her parents to live with her aunt, uncle and cousin in the coastal Massachusetts town of Deadwich. Brooke likes her relatives but doesn't like living there because whenever she goes to bed, she has horrible nightmares where she's surrounded in darkness.

At her new high school, Brooke quickly garners the attention of popular twins Evan and Marcus Knight, but while Evan is charismatic and more friendly, she is immediately drawn to Marcus.   In the midst of her nightmares, she hears his voice calling out and soothing her fears, but in the daytime, it is Evan who showers her with attention.

She, her cousin Sammy and the twins all work at the Ravenwyck Inn, a creepy house owned by an even creepier old woman, Maggie, who scares Brooke.  Brooke can sense the evil coming off of Maggie, but no one else seems to.

Brooke's nightmares continue until she gets lost on an island during a party and falls into an abandoned well.  When Marcus rescues her, she finds an amulet which makes her nightmares ease up.  But while her dreams are now safe, her daytime life gets harder as suddenly her cousin and new friends turn evil under Maggie's influence and Marcus is the only one she can trust.  

Brooke's and Marcus's past lives are catching up with them and they have to try and stay alive while the witches they've wronged and fought against before try to get revenge.

My Thoughts: First, I want to say that after reading 4 of Curiosity Quills Press's books, I find that I really enjoy them.  Looking forward to see what else they publish!  Now on to The Gathering Darkness...seeing as it's October and Halloween is approaching, reading something spooky is just what I needed.  This book isn't a ghost story, per se, but with the gothic Ravenwyck Inn, stormy weather, nightmares and witches, it was perfect for this time of year.  Add that to the overcast, gloomy weather in Washington, DC right now and the stage was perfectly set.

Collicutt writes in a way that just sucks you in to the world of Deadwich.  I could easily imagine Brooke's world, the scary Ravenwyck Inn and the dreamy Marcus.  She described a teenager's insecurities and angst that go along with first love well, and while I was a bit surprised at how quickly they declared their love, it didn't seem rushed or false.

Then there was the ending.  Talk about action packed!  I couldn't put the book down, despite my eyelids getting heavy.  I just had to find out how it ended.  Bravo to Collicutt for keeping it fast paced and for keeping the surprises coming.  Never saw them coming!  Love that!

I had 2 minor complaints with the book.  First is the symbolism.  Deadwich.  Dead witch.  And Day and Knight.  A bit too obvious for me.  But again, not enough to put me off from the book.  Second is a continuity issue at the end of the book that the editor should have picked up. They call Marcus's Uncle Edmond to pick them up on Skull Island and then when he finds them, he mentioned that when they didn't show up at his house, he went to Skull Island to find them.  Again, these were not huge issues, and they didn't detract from my enjoyment of the book.

Rating: 4 stars

Monday, October 1, 2012

Banned Book Week

Happy First Week of October, or as librarians everywhere are calling it, Banned Book Week!

The thought of banning books is appalling to me, especially since so many of the most commonly banned books are amazing ones.  Harry Potter has witchcraft and yes, Brave New World has sex and drug use, and The Hunger Games has...ok, I don't know why that one's banned, but come on!  They are beautiful books!

Not being a parent, I can only use my experiences as a teen to justify my sense of outrage at the censorship of reading material...but then, as my husband loves to remind me, there was little to no supervision in my house regarding reading and tv/movie viewing.  Yes, my mom raised us on Cujo.  Yes, I watched Revenge of the Nerds at age 8.  Yes, my brother showed me Full Metal Jacket at 14.  Yes, I read my first romance at age 14.  But I turned out just fine, and I am the person I am today partly because of my reading and viewing experiences.

So in honor of this week,  I might just go out and read something salacious.  Something dirty.  Something naughty. Something thought provoking.  Or maybe just something fun.  And then thumb my nose (or stick out my tongue) at those who would ban books. You can't keep books away from me, SO THERE!

I hope you'll join me!