Review: Ivory and Bone by Julie Eshbaugh

27064385Title: Ivory and Bone

Author: Julie Eshbaugh

Publishing Information: June 7, 2016

Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction,History

Series information: Book one in a planned trilogy

Format: Hardcover, 371 pages

Source: Received an ARC from the publisher via Edelweiss

Recommended For: Readers who are interested in the unique prehistoric setting and slow burn relationships

“It’s as if she’s always known him, and is somehow surprised to find him here—right here, in front of her—right where she left him before time began.”

A quick read, but rather underwhelming. While I found the setting to be very interesting, simply because how often do we get to read a book set in this time period, it was not enough to save the story for me.

The author did do a lot of research into this setting, and it’s clear that she was very thorough. The beginning of the novel fascinated me but after some time I found myself skimming through so many descriptions about the rocks, sky and dirt path that I couldn’t help but be frustrated. I understand that we need the world building and the author has to paint the picture for us but it was just the same thing over and over and I got so bored and found myself skimming which I honestly never do.

The main characters seemed layered and interesting enough. We learn much about Kol and his character as we are in his head hearing the story for the most part of the novel. Mya was seemingly unlikable, but I always knew there was much more to her character than we first saw. The other characters fell very short for me. Lo comes in late in the novel and we learn much of the strife between the two clans but it was incredibly obvious Lo wasn’t who she seemed. Even learning of her plans, her character seemed very…off. Like almost dual personalities? I didn’t find her manipulative, I found her to be sick in the head.

I see that quite a few people had a hard time with the narration of this novel, and though it didn’t bother me, I can see why people struggle. Kol is telling the story to Mya so we garner a lot of details that we would miss if we weren’t in the head of our narrator. That being said, things still get confusing at times. Then near the end of novel Kol’s storytelling is over and we switch to a different POV and I can see why this wouldn’t work for a lot of readers.

I will say that the novel was interesting enough to keep me reading and despite the frustrating descriptions and one layered characters it was a quick read. The novel ends on a note that made me surprised to hear that this is the beginning of a series. I can recommend it to those of you intrigued by the setting and Pride and Prejudice comparisons, but overall I found it not worth the hype.

Shelf talker: Ivory and Bone seemed to go on forever with inconsequential details and a slow burn romance that I just couldn’t fall for. The appeal in the unique setting was enough to keep me going, but I probably won’t continue on with the series.

Review: A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis

24376529Title: A Madness So Discreet

Author: Mindy McGinnis

Publishing Information:  October 6th 2015 by Katherine Tegen Books

Genre: Historical fiction, mystery, horror, thriller

Series Information: Standalone

Format: Hardcover, 376 pages

Source: Obtained an ARC from the publisher via Edelweiss

Recommended For: Readers looking for an atmospheric and character driven novel filled with mystery and drama. Especially for fans of Cat Winters and gothic literature.

I loved this novel. Immensely. Months after finishing it and I still can’t stop thinking of about it. In fact, I keep checking for ANY recommendations that may come close to this gritty, suspenseful novel. I expected A Madness So Discreet to be a little creepier, just look at that cover! However I wasn’t disappointed as the setting and tone of the novel were unbelievably realistic and rather dark.

“Quite the opposite; my definition is too broad. I think we’re all quite mad. Some of us are just more discreet about it.”

The characters in this novel were fleshed out, detailed, and felt very real. I found myself feeling something for each of them, and there was more than one occasion that I found my heart broken and raw over something happening on the page. Grace had particular strength and I was completely invested in her story. Though I felt more connected to the secondary characters, Grace still shone as our main character. I loved Nell so much, she was forward with her sexuality, strength and took as much control of her own life as she was able, living confined as she was. Dr. Thornhollow was also just phenomenal, he reminded me of Sherlock in a way so clearly I loved him. I was a little concerned that he and Grace would fall in love and therefore fall into a familiar trope but NOPE McGinnis steered clear and though there were some moments I found myself swooning for the doctor, I am glad that things were kept platonic. I think in keeping things on the friendly side with these two we were better able to appreciate each character and see how well they worked together. The relationship was fitting, and deeper because of their lack of romance. Also super quick shout out to Adelaide, Thornhollow’s plucky, fantastic and blatantly feminist sister…

“So then the National Woman Suffrage Association and the American Woman Suffrage Association merged to create the National American Woman Suffrage Association, which personally I think is rather a mouthful,’ Adelaide said as she set down her wineglass.
‘I’m sure others have much shorter terms,’ the doctor said, sawing into his steak with more vigor than necessary.
‘Such as?’ Grace asked.
‘There are plenty who just call us bitches, dear.”

There was a lot going on in this novel, many different threads weaved together to create something truly fantastic. I will say that there are many triggers in A Madness So Discreet. The beginning of the novel may be very hard for some to get through as it is appalling in how horrifying these patients are treated. Horrifying being my thing, I was hooked from the first sentence, but I promise that things even out a bit and it is completely worth the read.

Shelf Talker: Fantastic. The story built on itself, was never boring, and I really cared about the characters. In fact, I want more from these characters, but I saw that coming as they all complement one another and really create a great story. The ending delivered in a way that brought great closure. Though it is much more, I would say in terms of atmosphere and great characters, A Madness So Discreet can be summed up by saying, “it’s Sherlock Holmes meets Cat Winters novels.” I really, really enjoyed it.

 

Review: This Monstrous Thing

22811807Title: This Monstrous Thing

Author: Mackenzie Lee

Publishing Information:  September 22nd 2015 by Katherine Tegen Books

Genre: Science fiction, steampunk, gothic, fantasy, historical fiction

Series Information: Standalone

Format: Hardcover, 384 pages

Source: Received an ARC from the publisher via Edelweiss

Recommended For: Fans of gothic literature, the original Frankenstein, steampunk or books that focus on familial and platonic relationships over romantic relationships.

It should come as no surprise to any of you that I am a huge fan of gothic literature, give me Stoker over Austen any day! Therefore it was no surprise that I was completely on board with this novel as soon as I read the premise. I am happy to say that I was very pleased with the Lee’s re-imagining of Frankenstein. I was reminded of my multiple reads and analyzations of Frankenstein and the question of humanity many times while reading, and I think this would make a perfect companion to the original in any classroom setting.

“When Oliver asked her how she read so quickly, she told him with a sly smile that she took books to bed like lovers.”

I absolutely loved the characters of this novel, though I would have liked the secondary characters to have been fleshed out just a bit more. I do believe that my favorite parts were the parts that involved Mary, as I so enjoyed reading the slight nods to her lifestyle with Percy Shelley. I very much enjoyed the relationship between Alasdair and Oliver, I loved how despite everything, the brothers still had deep loyalties to one another. I was very surprised by how intricate and interesting the plot was. There were many layers to this novel, and it was interesting to see how they all weaved together. There were lessons to be learned, and damage done for sure throughout the novel; in the end the reader was able to see the importance of humanity, loyalty, and how our decisions shape us and the world we live in.

Shelf Talker: It turns out that This Monstrous Thing is a wonderful retelling of a classic tale. It blends gothic elements, mystery and questions of humanity together in a truly wonderful way. Definitely pick this up if you are looking for a novel that is gothic, mysterious and at its core, rather sweet.

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Review: Beastly Bones by William Ritter

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Title: Beastly Bones

Author: William Ritter

Publishing Information:  September 22nd 2015 by Algonquin Young Readers

Genre: Paranormal, Mystery, Historical Fiction

Series Information: Second in the Jackaby series

Format: Hardcover, 304 pages

Source: Received a copy from the publisher via Netgalley

Recommended For: Readers interested in a novel with a paranormal mystery, slight macabre, cheeky and interesting main characters and yes, those of you who love Sherlock and Doctor Who.

Related Posts: Check out my review of Jackaby

I am sure that you all remember me singing the praises about Jackaby last year. I went on about how much I loved the quirky and entertaining adventure between Abigail and Jackaby. I am so excited to tell you that Beastly Bones was just as fun as Jackaby, and even more endearing. Beastly Bones sends Jackaby and Abigail to a new location. They are headed out to where the now exile Charlie Cane resides, and much to Abigail’s excitement, their new case revolves around newly unearthed dinosaur bones.

One of my favorite parts of Jackaby was the mystery, and the way in which it reminded me so much of Sherlock meets Doctor Who. Beastly Bones brought me a different joy than Jackaby in that we were able to meet new characters, as well as see more of my favorite characters. We are introduced to Hank Hudson, a skilled trapper who has a long standing friendship with Jackaby, and Nellie Fuller who works hard to catch THE story of the year. These characters only add to the fun of the story and I would absolutely love to hear more about the Jackaby and Hank shenanigans from back in the day. As mentioned, Charlie is central to this novel, and he and Abigail take part in some very sweet moments. Along with many other readers, I look forward to seeing how their romance blossoms. Jackaby was especially endearing in relation to these romantic developments as he reminds me so much of my father in his, “please let’s not discuss you dating” way with Abigail, but when she really needs some encouragement, he is right there to help.

Now, the main storyline was intriguing and fun, but if I’m being completely honest, my favorite parts of the novel were the parts that centered around Jenny and the story of how she came to be a ghost. I loved the way William Ritter added the twists of her story to an already interesting plot, and the cliffhanger of the novel kept me absolutely needing more. From what I have gathered, at least one more book is coming, but no other details have been shared.

Shelf Talker: William Ritter again gave us an interesting, mysterious, and all around fun novel in Beastly Bones. Wildly entertaining, Beastly Bones is a fantastic follow up to Jackaby. This novel was full of wit, and intrigue and I loved every minute. I can’t wait to see what’s next for Jackaby and company!

 

Review: The Uninvited by Cat Winters

Title: The Uninvited

Author: Cat Winters

Publishing Information:  August 11, 2015 by William Morrow

Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance, Paranormal, Fantasy, Horror

Series Information: Standalone

Format: Hardcover, 343 pages

Source: Obtained an ARC for review via the publisher

Recommended For: Fans of historical fiction with paranormal elements, strong heroines, and those of you looking for some swoony feels

Related Reviews: Review of In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters

Twenty-five year old Ivy Rowan rises from her bed after being struck by the flu, only to discover the world has been torn apart in just a few short days. But Ivy’s life-long gift—or curse—remains. For she sees the uninvited ones—ghosts of loved ones who appear to her, unasked, unwelcomed, for they always herald impending death. On that October evening in 1918 she sees the spirit of her grandmother, rocking in her mother’s chair. An hour later, she learns her younger brother and father have killed a young German out of retaliation for the death of Ivy’s older brother Billy in the Great War.

Horrified, she leaves home, to discover the flu has caused utter panic and the rules governing society have broken down. Ivy is drawn into this new world of jazz, passion, and freedom, where people live for the day, because they could be stricken by nightfall. But as her ‘uninvited guests’ begin to appear to her more often, she knows her life will be torn apart once more, but Ivy has no inkling of the other-worldly revelations about to unfold.

We follow Ivy as she leaves her childhood home behind. She does her best to move on from the violence and guilt that her family brings. As Ivy leaves home, she walks by the store in which her father and brother committed a horrible act of violence and finds Daniel Schendel down on the floor, doing his best to remove the blood from his floorboards. Ivy does her best to push into Daniel’s life and provide him with some sort of solace to replace the guilt that she feels from her family’s crime. Over time, the two are able to build something beautiful despite the horror that is right outside their door.

“I know he’s in mourning and a tragic figure, which I’m sure melts your poetry-loving heart.”

This novel broke my heart in the very best way. Like other novels by Cat Winters, Ivy is living in a rather difficult time for women. Therefore the growth of her character was truly amazing to watch. Her strength shone through the terror and ugliness of the time in which she is living, I especially liked her role in driving an ambulance for the Red Cross. Daniel grows in his own way as well, and learns to trust that not everyone is as hateful and close-minded as those he had come in contact with prior to meeting Ivy. The secondary characters have their own layered and interesting personalities and I found that I really cared about each one.
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Review: Lion Heart by A.C. Gaughen

Title: Lion Heart

Author: A.C. Gaughen

Publishing Information:  May 19, 2015 by  Bloomsbury USA Childrens

Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Romance, Retellings, Fantasy

Series Information: Book 3 in the Scarlet Trilogy

Format: Hardcover, 348 pages

Source: Obtained an ARC for review via the publisher

Recommended For: Fans of strong heroines, and those of you needing some consolation after finishing Lady Thief

Related Reviews: Review of Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen

Imprisoned by Prince John for months, Scarlet finds herself a long way from Nottinghamshire. After a daring escape from the Prince’s clutches, she learns that King Richard’s life is in jeopardy, and Eleanor of Aquitaine demands a service Scarlet can’t refuse: spy for her and help bring Richard home safe. But fate—and her heart—won’t allow her to stay away from Nottinghamshire for long, and together, Scarlet and Rob must stop Prince John from going through with his dark plans for England. They can not rest until he’s stopped, but will their love be enough to save them once and for all?

Oh this series, I love it so. Scarlet is strong and feisty and an absolutely lovable heroine. Rob had to grow on me a little during the first two books, he was swoon-worthy for sure but I needed him to just put in a little bit of effort to try and work through his own “scars.” In Lion Heart, the secondary characters again stole my heart. I adored Allan and his antics, he was hilarious and though he was a jokester, it was clear that he had heart and cared about Scarlet as if she was his true sister. David is another new addition, and he is a perfect opposite of Allan. He loves and cares for Scarlet and her well-being, and is her dedicated knight so he is very adamant about doing things the “correct” way. That is to say, he doesn’t always go for Rob and Scar stealing kisses due to their lack of marriage! I loved the antics between Allan and David, and found them to be fantastic additions to the crew that I had crown to love from the prior two novels. Continue reading

Review: The Bridei Chronicles by Juliet Marillier

Hi friends! Whew it feels like it has been forever since I have brought you reviews but if I am being honest, I have barely even had time to read! I have, however, had time to listen to ALL THE AUDIOBOOKS!! Well, “all” really covers too wide of a range as in actuality I started some pretty awesome but LONG series on audiobook and have been devouring them for months. Let’s take a looksie..!

Oh these books. These books were just wonderful. I can’t lie, I was a little wary to branch out into another Marillier series seeing as my love for her Sevenwaters series knows no bounds. I took the plunge, and did so in the form of the audiobook read by Michael Page and in doing so, found myself a new favorite narrator! Don’t you just love it when that happens?! I would highly recommend this series for fans of Marillier, strong female leads, brooding heroes, slow burn romances between the two and hints of political intrigue…

Title: The Dark Mirror

Author: Juliet Marillier

Narrator: Michael Page

Publishing Information:  March 6, 2004 by Tor

Genre: Fiction, Epic Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Romance

Series Information: Book one in The Bridei Chronicles (was a planned 5 book series that turned into a trilogy)

Format: Hardcover, 512 pages

Source: Bought for my personal library (in hardcover AND audiobooks!)

Recommended For: Fans of epic fantasies, slow burn romances, and historical fiction

The Dark Mirror was one of those books that broke my heart a little bit, the relationship between Bridei and Tuala is very sweet and I loved the strength shown from both of them. Each has to deal with their own struggles, but it was the struggle that Tuala faced that really felt heart wrenching to me. I liked how The Dark Mirror set the tone for the rest of the series, though the next two books branch off, they always come back to the backbone that is Bridei’s kingdom, and the relationship between he and Tuala. If I am being honest, though I did enjoy book one in this trilogy, I did not LOVE it and it was the promise of better things to come that had me continuing on with the series. The relationship between Bridei and Tuala was very sweet, but it was the secondary characters that really piqued my interest. Had I not known that the next two books would be focusing on Faolan (hubba, hubba) I am not sure that I would have been as excited to continue on.

“Tales within tales. Dreams within dreams. Pattern on pattern and path beyond path. For such short-lived folks, the human kind seem determined to make things as complicated as possible for themselves.” Continue reading

Book Hoarder’s Anonymous: Best of 2014

Let’s get a little personal for a minute…2014 wasn’t the best year for me. In truth, it was actually one of the hardest years of my life, and quite frankly there were moments I wasn’t sure how I was going to make it through. It was a year I spent in a long distance relationship (that is, after living together for 5 years, we were forced to live 4 hours apart due to career choices). It was the year I obtained my DREAM JOB, and also the year I lost said DREAM JOB only a month later. It was the year I had to reevaluate everything I had been working toward for years, I was forced to make decisions that nearly had me throwing up from anxiety, but I did it, and am better for it. 2014 was filled with angst and “I don’t think I can do this anymore” moments, but it was also filled with so much love. It was one of those years where it was imperative to surround myself with loved ones who could help carry the burdens I was attempting to shoulder. Those of you who read my blog know that Amy (Tripping Over Books), Brittany (The Book Addict’s Guide) and myself are very close. To be quite honest, I cannot put down in words how much these two have helped me over the past year. They listen to the same stories over and over, always offering encouragement and support. They often offer to Avada Kadavra anyone who is annoying/hurting me and most importantly, they remind me of my strengths. They are quite literally, sunshine on my cloudy days. To come full circle, I will remind you all that the three of us wouldn’t be friends if we had not started blogging, we would not be here as a group to offer you our #samepage feature, and I would be missing an integral part of the person I am today. I feel blessed to have the kind of people in my life who have become soul friends. Despite the darkness of 2014, I look forward to what 2015 will bring.

Now, let’s get into the more bookish stuff, shall we?

lies

Overall favorite book of 2014: This is a hard one, but I think The Lies of Locke Lamora. I will leave you with my initial review: So very good. Incredible, even. It was as if The Adventures of Robin Hood and The Kingkiller Chronicles had a baby. The relationships were some of the best that I have ever read, loyalty at its best. The plot was driven, and interesting, Lynch left clues throughout that made up a very detailed plot. Also it must be said, the language was fantastic! Some may find curses to be vulgar, but let me tell you, The Lies of Locke Lamora is enriched by stellar insults and perfectly timed sailor language. In short, read this book, read it now.

Favorite BAMF: Well I am just getting into the (long) series but I really love Nynaeve and Egwene from The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan. They were especially coming into their own in book two, The Great Hunt and I can’t wait to see what’s next.

Favorite debut author: Rosamund Hodge. I loved Cruel Beauty so much, the writing and the darkness of the story were all things that spoke to me.

woods

Books with Pictures: Definitely Through the Woods by Emily Carroll. It was GORGEOUSLY illustrated and written and completely an “Alyssa” book.

BFF: I should say BFFs, as in bromances, because Locke and Jean take the cake for this one. I love their friendship immensely!

Most swoon-worthy lad: OH, Jared from The Lynburn Legacy. I loved him so much that upon finishing book one in the series, I immediately picked up the third and fourth. Continue reading

On the Same Page: Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

Title: Burial Rites

Author: Hannah Kent

Publishing Information:  September 10th 2013 by Little, Brown and Company

Genre: Adult, Historical Fiction, Mystery, Crime

Series Information: Standalone

Format: Hardcover, 314 pages

Source: Obtained an ARC from the publisher at BEA 2013

Recommended For: Readers who enjoy historical fiction with vivid setting and to be quite honest, no hope throughout.

Related Reviews: Brittany’s Post on Historical Fiction and Amy’s Post

Here we are back for another On the Same Page post from your Gals on the Same Page. I realize that we usually do something a little different for these posts and I would but unfortunately I can’t bring myself to do anything creative with something representing this novel.

In truth, it is hard for me to put my feelings into words in regards to this novel as the novel itself invoked very little emotion in me as I was reading. I can’t write a ranty review for you, because the novel didn’t anger me, and it surely didn’t make me weep as it did so many others. At the most I felt frustration that it was taking me so long to get through the whole thing, and upon completion couldn’t help but think, “FINALLY, I AM DONE!!” along with, “that was it?” Clearly going into this novel one knows how it ends, so I didn’t expect it to make me cry as I prepared myself for it to be sad. I did, however, expect the novel to make me feel compassion toward our main character, Agnes. In truth, as I neared the end and got the final tidbits to the story I did have a moment to think about how sad the situation was for this character but I couldn’t help but think that circumstances surrounding her situation were brought on by her own choices. Maybe I am overly judgmental but she made specific choices to be in that place at that time, and I just can’t believe that she was as “strong” and “intelligent” as people said due to these choices.

In addition to our main character we are introduced to a few other characters first hand, a reverend named Toti, who helps Agnes find God before her execution, who reminded me of a besotted school boy, letting his feelings cloud his judgment. The family who Agnes stays with are not viewed in depth despite them being with Agnes daily, though I did have a fondness for the mother of the family as she seemed no nonsense and rather strong. The character Natan is clearly a very important character in this novel, as it is his murder Agnes is being tried for, and despite viewing many memories of him through Agnes, I still couldn’t feel much for him. I am sure some readers will believe that “he had it coming,” as he was highly unfavorable, but I just couldn’t help by judge Agnes more by the company that she was keeping. The secondary characters of Sigga and Fridrick could have used some more detail as well, though to be fair I can see that despite them playing an important part in Agnes’ life, this was her story and not theirs.

One thing I can say about this novel is that it was haunting and the landscape was vivid in my brain as I was reading. I did feel the cold, vast world as Agnes felt it. I understood her overwhelming feelings of loneliness in such a wide open world, and her desire to run away. If anything stuck with me after finishing Burial Rites, it was most definitely the setting.

Shelf Talker: I always hate being the odd one out, the one who wonders if she has read a different book than those who came before. Such is the way with Burial Rites. While I went into this novel preparing myself for overwhelming emotion and heart wrenching characters and what I found was a dull novel filled with characters I couldn’t connect with. I hate that it happened – trust me because it took me ENTIRELY TOO LONG to get through this book – and I wish that I had connected more. I do believe that it is an atmospheric read and therefore you may have to be in the “mood” to read it. Unfortunately for me, I couldn’t connect with Agnes or her heartbreaking story, and had I not been obligated to read it for my blog feature, I probably would have DNFd it early on.

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On the Same Page is a feature here on Books Take You Places that I am hosting along with two of my very dear friends, Amy (Tripping Over Books) and Brittany (The Book Addict’s Guide). Essentially, we will be reading one book a month together and then doing a non-traditional review such as a playlist, character analysis, and so on…To find out more about this new feature, head on over to its dedication page!

Review: The Mirk and Midnight Hour by Jane Nickerson

Title: The Mirk and Midnight Hour

Author: Jane Nickerson

Publishing Information: March 11th 2014 by Knopf Books for Young Readers

Genre: Young Adult, Retelling, Fantasy, Romance, Fairy Tales, Historical Fiction

Series Information: Standalone (though apparently the three books are companions in the “Strands” universe)

Format: Hardcover, 384 pages

Source: Obtained an ARC from the publisher via Edelweiss

Recommended For: Readers looking for a quick read with an enchanting setting and vibrant setting.

A Southern girl. A wounded soldier. A chilling force deep in the forest. All collide at night’s darkest hour.

Seventeen-year-old Violet Dancey has been left at home in Mississippi with a laudanum-addicted stepmother and love-crazed stepsister while her father fights in the war—a war that has already claimed her twin brother.

When she comes across a severely injured Union soldier lying in an abandoned lodge deep in the woods, things begin to change. Thomas is the enemy—one of the men who might have killed her own brother—and yet she’s drawn to him. But Violet isn’t Thomas’s only visitor; someone has been tending to his wounds—keeping him alive—and it becomes chillingly clear that this care hasn’t been out of compassion.

Against the dangers of war and ominous powers of voodoo, Violet must fight to protect her home and the people she loves.

From the author of Strands of Bronze and Gold comes a haunting love story and suspenseful thriller based on the ancient fairy tale of “Tam Lin.”

I was wary to pick up The Mirk and Midnight Hour because I had heard very mixed reviews about Strands of Bronze and Gold by Jane Nickerson, and by very mixed reviews, I mean that some people downright LOATHED it and they were very passionate as to why. Upon hearing that The Mirk and Midnight Hour was just a companion set in the same world, and not a sequel, I thought I would give it a go. How gorgeous is the cover, and the a retelling of Tam Lin hooked me right away.

The best compliment that I can give The Mirk and Midnight Hour is that months after reading it, I still can’t stop thinking of the haunting and vibrant setting where the story takes place. Much of the novel takes place in the woods, where Violet finds a wounded soldier, Thomas. I am a sucker for a gothic tale, and I love me some beautiful, bird filled woods. The setting and the secondary characters ended up adding some depth that the novel was missing from the beginning. I enjoyed Lainey and Michael, who work on Violet’s farm as slaves, and I absolutely adored Violet’s cousin, Seeley.

First, there is a lot going on in this novel. There is a focal point on Violet’s home life, her relationships with her stepmother and stepsister play an important role in the growth of the novel, and though at first they seemed irrelevant to the plot, I really enjoyed they way that the relationships grew as the characters did, I was surprised to find how much I liked Violet’s stepsister and mother come the end of the novel. For me, the love story was, in a word, rushed. I realize that some growth in their relationship happened “off the page,” but I still couldn’t see how they fell in love so quickly and deeply. Though I did enjoy it to an extent, it was not deeply moving in the least.

Probably the biggest flaw in The Mirk and Midnight Hour was found in the “retelling” of Tam Lin. Readers have to trudge through quite a bit of the novel before we actually meet his character and  though I can understand how certain circumstances can bring people together, the romance felt a little too easy for me. The fairies found in Tam Lin are replaced with (what is described in the blurb as being) Voodoo and I found it to be a tad out of place. Violet also has a rather nonsensical affinity with bees that somewhat plays into the novel but again, it felt out of place (and quite frankly confused me).

Shelf Talker: The Mirk and Midnight Hour was a very quick and vibrant read, if you are willing to look past some frustrations over the under developed romance and and less than stellar retelling. If you want a gothic novel, filled with a girl growing up in the south during the Civil War that focuses on the struggles of this time with hints of romance, voodoo, and a creepy atmosphere, then give this one a go.