Review of A Darkness Strange and Lovely by Susan Dennard

A Darkness Strange and Lovely
Something Strange and Deadly Book 2
By Susan Dennard

Star Rating:  
Genre: Young Adult Steampunk
Number of Pages: 432

Date Started: July 2, 2017
Date Finished: July 2, 2017

Synopsis: (From Amazon)
With her brother dead and her mother insane, Eleanor Fitt is alone. Even the Spirit-Hunters—Joseph, Jie, and the handsome Daniel—have fled to Paris. So when Eleanor hears the vicious barking of hounds and sees haunting yellow eyes, she fears that the Dead, and the necromancer Marcus, are after her.

To escape, Eleanor boards a steamer bound for France. There she meets Oliver, a young man who claims to have known her brother. But Oliver harbors a dangerous secret involving necromancy and black magic that entices Eleanor beyond words. If she can resist him, she’ll be fine. But when she arrives in Paris, she finds that the Dead have taken over, and there’s a whole new evil lurking. And she is forced to make a deadly decision that will go against everything the Spirit-Hunters stand for.

In Paris, there’s a price for this darkness strange and lovely, and it may have Eleanor paying with her life.

Review:
Eleanor makes mistakes. I find it realistic that someone that had been so sheltered, treated as a lady and not taught any “manly” life skills would have issues navigating the world on her own, not knowing who to trust.

A new character comes onto the scene, Oliver, and while part of me loves him, I think that’s because I believe I know exactly how connected he was to Elijah, and believe it is only Eleanor’s youth and naivety that keep her from knowing it.

I enjoyed being introduced to new supernatural/mythological elements and not being stuck with what we’d learned in book 1. It’s an interesting contrast watching Ollie attempt to educate Eleanor versus the book approach that Joseph uses– showing that books can’t teach everything, and having someone actively help you can be beneficial in the learning process.

While others thought this novel was slow and grueling, I enjoyed the lead up to finding the Spirit-Hunters. We saw all of Eleanor’s issues laid out before her, and how she overcame them, plus, Oliver!

Can’t wait to read the third book soon!

Author Biography: (From Amazon)
Susan Dennard has come a long way from small-town Georgia. With a masters degree in marine biology, she got to travel the world—six out of seven continents, to be exact (she’ll get to Asia one of these days!)—before she settled down as a full-time novelist and writing instructor.

She is the author of the Something Strange and Deadly series (from HarperTeen) as well as the forthcoming Witchlands Series (Tor, 2015). When not writing, she can be found hiking with her dogs, exploring tidal pools, or earning bruises at the dojo.

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Review of Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard

Something Strange and Deadly
Something Strange and Deadly Book 1
By Susan Dennard

Star Rating:  
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Number of Pages: 416

Date Started: June 29, 2017
Date Finished: July 2, 2017

Synopsis: (From Amazon)
Sixteen-year-old Eleanor Fitt’s brother is missing. And when she discovers that the Dead are rising in Philadelphia and wreaking havoc throughout the city, she knows that her brother is involved.

So Eleanor enlists the help of the Spirit-Hunters. This motley crew, hired to protect the city from supernatural forces, is after the necromancer who has been reanimating corpses. Their skills can save her brother. But as Eleanor spends time with the Spirit-Hunters, and their handsome inventor, Daniel, the situation becomes dire. Now not only is her reputation at risk, but her very life may hang in the balance.

Review:
Steampunk meets necromancers and zombies = AMAZING. There are lots of layers in this novel, with multiple mysteries going on. Eleanor knows her brother is missing, and she needs to find her brother yet she’s stuck at home dealing with her mother and typical trivial society/family problems.

Sometimes one has to choose between the easy path and the difficult path, and what is easy is not always what is right, but it takes a lot of courage to break against the societal mold. Everyone faces this at some point, in how they dress, if they want to learn or work to become something their parents don’t approve of.

I loved the uniqueness of the characters. Each had their own personality, their own story, and we were allowed to get to know a bit of why they are the way they are. I absolutely love Jie, how different she is, and that she is willing to help Eleanor see that there are other paths to life.

There’s a great balance in this novel of home life versus trying to find her brother and having to deal with zombies.

Loved this book, and couldn’t wait to read the next, which I started as soon as this was finished.

Author Biography: (From Amazon)
Susan Dennard has come a long way from small-town Georgia. With a masters degree in marine biology, she got to travel the world—six out of seven continents, to be exact (she’ll get to Asia one of these days!)—before she settled down as a full-time novelist and writing instructor.

She is the author of the Something Strange and Deadly series (from HarperTeen) as well as the forthcoming Witchlands Series (Tor, 2015). When not writing, she can be found hiking with her dogs, exploring tidal pools, or earning bruises at the dojo.

Review of Grave Expectations by C. J. Archer

Grave Expectations
The Ministry of Curiosities Book 4
By C. J. Archer

Star Rating: 
Genre: Fantasy
Number of Pages: 252

Date Started: June 27, 2016
Date Finished: June 28, 2016

Synopsis: (From Amazon)grave expectations
Charlie’s life is perfect. She has everything her heart desires. Until it all goes horribly wrong.

Charlie and Lincoln return to London to find two supernaturals have been murdered, and Charlie might be next. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the man who adopted her has escaped from prison, and the committee members have just learned some news that infuriates them. Now there’s talk of sending Charlie away again. Far away.

But the worst is yet to come. Charlie is kidnapped and forced to summon one of the murder victims – but she’s unable to send him back. With an angry dead supernatural on the loose and the committee determined to get rid of her, Charlie’s time with the Ministry of Curiosities, and Lincoln, is in grave danger of coming to an end.

Review:
Finally, we see Lincoln drop his defenses and admit his feelings!  Unfortunately Charlie might just be high on the list of supernaturals that will be exterminated, and it seems the person behind the supernatural deaths has decided using her adoptive father to “save” her might work well.  Charlie shows she is brave and thinks fast in the face of danger and that she works well with both the men in Lincoln’s house, and becoming the mistress of that house.  Due in large part to Lincoln’s previous lack of being social, he finds that although she can be quite a help, he isn’t sure he can deal with the potential for her being hurt.  The ending made me cry.

cj
Author Biography: (From Amazon)
C.J. Archer has loved history and books for as long as she can remember and feels fortunate that she found a way to combine the two. She has at various times worked as a librarian, IT support person and technical writer but in her heart has always been a fiction writer. While she has written historical romance in the past, she now writes exclusively in the historical fantasy genre (with a large dose of romance). She has several series which occur in the same Victorian-era “world”, one after the other. Each series can be read alone, but it’s more fun to start at the beginning with THE EMILY CHAMBERS SPIRIT MEDIUM TRILOGY. Follow that up with all 9 FREAK HOUSE books, then the MINISTRY OF CURIOSITIES series. GLASS AND STEELE, her newest series, is set in an entirely different alternate Victorian London.

Subscribe to C.J.’s newsletter to be notified when she releases a new book, as well as get access to exclusive content and subscriber-only giveaways. Join via her website: http://www.cjarcher.com

She loves to hear from readers. You can contact her through email cj@cjarcher.com or follow her on social media to get the latest updates on her books:
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/CJArcherAuthorPage
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/cj_archer
Tumblr: http://freakhouseresidents.tumblr.com
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/authorcjarcher/
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/cjarcher/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4615377.C_J_Archer

Review of Beyond the Grave by C. J. Archer

Her Majesty’s Necromancer
The Ministry of Curiosities Book 3
By C. J. Archer

Star Rating: 
Genre: Fantasy
Number of Pages: 284

Date Started: June 26, 2016
Date Finished: June 27, 2016

Synopsis: (From Amazon)beyond the grave
At the request of Lady Harcourt, Charlie and Lincoln begin searching for her missing stepson. Still recovering from her ordeal at the hands of a diabolical villain, Charlie is supposed to be resting. But resting is dull, so she throws herself into the task at hand, much to Lincoln’s frustration.

The search leads them down a dark path littered with family secrets and titillating scandal. Using her necromancy to expose those secrets, Charlie unwittingly raises a spirit with the power to override her control. With a dead body on the loose in London, Charlie and Lincoln must work together to send it back before havoc is unleashed, and the committee members find out.

Because if they do, they will have more ammunition in their fight to send Charlie away from her home and everyone she loves.

Review:
Charlie can’t stand to be idle while those she cares about are off fighting and doing dangerous things.  Unfortunately this sometimes leads her to go against what Lincoln has told her to do.  Despite learning that her necromancy can’t always be used to help, Charlie knows that her people skills can help get answers far better than some of Lincoln’s tactics.  Again, the characterization and tension is perfect, and through this book you begin to see a deeper side of some characters, which reinforces what, as the heroine, is disliked about them to begin with.

cj
Author Biography: (From Amazon)
C.J. Archer has loved history and books for as long as she can remember and feels fortunate that she found a way to combine the two. She has at various times worked as a librarian, IT support person and technical writer but in her heart has always been a fiction writer. While she has written historical romance in the past, she now writes exclusively in the historical fantasy genre (with a large dose of romance). She has several series which occur in the same Victorian-era “world”, one after the other. Each series can be read alone, but it’s more fun to start at the beginning with THE EMILY CHAMBERS SPIRIT MEDIUM TRILOGY. Follow that up with all 9 FREAK HOUSE books, then the MINISTRY OF CURIOSITIES series. GLASS AND STEELE, her newest series, is set in an entirely different alternate Victorian London.

Subscribe to C.J.’s newsletter to be notified when she releases a new book, as well as get access to exclusive content and subscriber-only giveaways. Join via her website: http://www.cjarcher.com

She loves to hear from readers. You can contact her through email cj@cjarcher.com or follow her on social media to get the latest updates on her books:
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/CJArcherAuthorPage
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/cj_archer
Tumblr: http://freakhouseresidents.tumblr.com
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/authorcjarcher/
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/cjarcher/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4615377.C_J_Archer

Review of Her Majesty’s Necromancer by C. J. Archer

Her Majesty’s Necromancer
The Ministry of Curiosities Book 2
By C. J. Archer

Star Rating: 
Genre: Fantasy
Number of Pages: 247

Date Started: June 26, 2016
Date Finished: June 26, 2016

Synopsis: (From Amazon)her majesty's necromancer
When bodies go missing from the cemetery, Lincoln and the Ministry of Curiosities investigate. But not Charlie. As a housemaid at Lichfield Towers, she doesn’t get involved in Ministry business.

Instead, she conducts investigations of her own. She searches for details about her real mother, and makes inquiries into Lincoln’s background. What she learns has the power to destroy the fragile trust they’ve built, or bring them closer together.

As secrets are revealed, and investigations don’t go as planned, Charlie finds her necromancy sucking her into a whirlpool filled with betrayal, lies and danger.

Review:
Another fantastic book, that was again impossible to put down.  I dedicated much of the morning and early afternoon to soaking up this delicious tale.  The tension between Charlie and Lincoln continues to sizzle, especially as she begins to gain more independence and strength on her own, as a woman.  Charlie is quite resilient and an easy character to become while reading.  The characterization is quite well done and each action and reaction is entirely justified– there is never a point where one thinks that anyone is acting out of character.  Charlie continues to forge her own path, showing that she can be more than just a pretty face or a maid, and that her ability with people can gain more information than force or looks alone.

cjAuthor Biography: (From Amazon)
C.J. Archer has loved history and books for as long as she can remember and feels fortunate that she found a way to combine the two. She has at various times worked as a librarian, IT support person and technical writer but in her heart has always been a fiction writer. While she has written historical romance in the past, she now writes exclusively in the historical fantasy genre (with a large dose of romance). She has several series which occur in the same Victorian-era “world”, one after the other. Each series can be read alone, but it’s more fun to start at the beginning with THE EMILY CHAMBERS SPIRIT MEDIUM TRILOGY. Follow that up with all 9 FREAK HOUSE books, then the MINISTRY OF CURIOSITIES series. GLASS AND STEELE, her newest series, is set in an entirely different alternate Victorian London.

Subscribe to C.J.’s newsletter to be notified when she releases a new book, as well as get access to exclusive content and subscriber-only giveaways. Join via her website: http://www.cjarcher.com

She loves to hear from readers. You can contact her through email cj@cjarcher.com or follow her on social media to get the latest updates on her books:
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/CJArcherAuthorPage
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/cj_archer
Tumblr: http://freakhouseresidents.tumblr.com
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/authorcjarcher/
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/cjarcher/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4615377.C_J_Archer

Review of The Last Necromancer by C. J. Archer

The Last Necromancer
The Ministry of Curiosities Book 1
By C. J. Archer

Star Rating: 
Genre: Fantasy
Number of Pages: 270

Date Started: June 24, 2016
Date Finished: June 25, 2016

Synopsis: (From Amazon)last necromancer

For five years, Charlotte (Charlie) Holloway has lived as a boy in the slums. But when one theft too many gets her arrested, her only means of escape lies with a dead man. Charlie hasn’t raised a spirit since she first discovered she could do so five years ago. That time, her father banished her. This time, she brings even more trouble upon herself.

People are now hunting Charlie all over London, but only one man succeeds in capturing her.

Lincoln Fitzroy is the mysterious head of a secret organization on the trail of a madman who needs a necromancer to control his newly “made” creatures. There was only one known necromancer in the world – Charlotte – but now there appears to be two. Lincoln captures the willful Charlie in the hopes the boy will lead him to Charlotte. But what happens when he discovers the boy is in fact the young woman he’s been searching for all along? And will she agree to work for the man who held her against her will, and for an organization she doesn’t trust?

Because Lincoln and his ministry might be just as dangerous as the madman they’re hunting.

Review:
Oh my goodness, this book is fantastic and almost impossible to set down once you’ve started.  Transported back to Victorian England, this book starts and ends with action packed adventures.  Charlie does what has to be done in order to survive, even if she finds it scary, even if she doesn’t necessarily want to, until she’s thrust into a completely new order of people who might understand.  Charlie is faced with trying to find herself among the facade she’s built, and learning that what some might see as monstrous makes her different but not necessarily evil.  As Charlie has to fight to figure out who she really is she is also faced with a daunting choice of who she should rely on and trust, having to hope she’s made the right decision. 

cjAuthor Biography: (From Amazon)
C.J. Archer has loved history and books for as long as she can remember and feels fortunate that she found a way to combine the two. She has at various times worked as a librarian, IT support person and technical writer but in her heart has always been a fiction writer. While she has written historical romance in the past, she now writes exclusively in the historical fantasy genre (with a large dose of romance). She has several series which occur in the same Victorian-era “world”, one after the other. Each series can be read alone, but it’s more fun to start at the beginning with THE EMILY CHAMBERS SPIRIT MEDIUM TRILOGY. Follow that up with all 9 FREAK HOUSE books, then the MINISTRY OF CURIOSITIES series. GLASS AND STEELE, her newest series, is set in an entirely different alternate Victorian London.

Subscribe to C.J.’s newsletter to be notified when she releases a new book, as well as get access to exclusive content and subscriber-only giveaways. Join via her website: http://www.cjarcher.com

She loves to hear from readers. You can contact her through email cj@cjarcher.com or follow her on social media to get the latest updates on her books:
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/CJArcherAuthorPage
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/cj_archer
Tumblr: http://freakhouseresidents.tumblr.com
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/authorcjarcher/
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/cjarcher/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4615377.C_J_Archer