Thursday, July 31, 2014

*Gizmos Early Reviews* Servants of the Storm by Delilah S. Dawson

**I received this book from Edelweiss / Simon Pulse in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.**

*Synopsis*

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 cafe. 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.

Dovey's running out of time and torn between two paths. Will she trust her childhood friend Baker, who can't see the threatening darkness but promises to never give up on Dovey and Carly? Or will she plot with the sexy stranger, Isaac, who offers all the answers — for a price? Soon Dovey realizes that the danger closing in has little to do with Carly ... and everything to do with Dovey herself.


*My Thoughts*

On the day that Hurricane Josephine came to Savannah, Georgia, it devastated the city, and took an exorbitant toll on the population. Families were torn apart, parts of Savannah won't ever be the same again, and a darkness quietly waltzed into to town, taking up roots, and changing the overall landscape without anyone noticing.

For Seventeen year old Billie Dove (Dovey) Greenwoood, Josephine was just background noise to the fact that she watched as her best friend, Carly Ray, was taken away by the storm. She's spent the past year in a drug induced numbness thanks to several episodes that made people believe that she had lost her hold on reality. Some reviewers have already spoiled, or mentioned Dovey's episodes, so I won't do so here. 

This all changes after Dovey sees Carly at their favorite coffee shop, and proceeds to stop taking her pills so she can discover the truth. This leads Dovey down a dangerous and deadly path that won't end until her eyes are completely opened. What really happened to Carly, and who she can really trust when a large part of her memories have vanished into a dark hole, and her parents don't seem to care?

For me, Dovey is a character that you really had to withhold commentary on until you found out where Dawson is taking the story, and why, or whether or not there will be a follow up book. Whenever you have a character who has lost memories, that character becomes a questionable source of information for the reader. How can we really trust what she is telling us, when she's spent the past year taking pills that made her lose interest in everything that she enjoyed? It's even worse when she has to rely on people who know more about Dovey's past year, than she does, and these people may or may not have her best interests at heart.

If you want a good view of who Dovey really is, then you have to look at the good, along with the bad. It's poetic that she actually believes she can find out the truth about Carly while shifting through treacherous territory and not letting her parents know that she's off her meds. Then you have the fact that she stumbles and bumbles around catching the eyes of those who hold the key to Carly's fate, while also attempting to unlock her own lost memories, and why she is able to see things nobody else can.

Without giving away any spoilers, Dovey finds an interesting partner in Isaac. So much so, that you can't really get around the fact that he may or may not be a trustworthy character. Are we really to presume that he has Dovey's best interests at heart, or is he another piece of the twisted game that is being played out under the cover of darkness and mind numbing pills? Are we to absolutely trust Dovey's reality when Dawson twists her ending in such a way that we end up questioning everything?

I loathe 3 way love triangles. I am sure you all know this by now by reading my reviews. But, I can't help but to ask why YA novels feel it necessary to combine this with a story that is already semi-discombobulated? Thanks to Dovey's memory lapses, and a friendship with Baker that turns into a virtual game of name calling and he-man antics with Isaac over her affection, perhaps it would have been better to leave that part out of this story and focus on "other" things.

Servants of the Storm is an entertaining and twisted story that reveals a whole slew of paranormal creatures that live right alongside Savannah's population. This from the same writer who created Criminy Stain, Blud bunnies, and other strange creatures that live in an alternative reality. But, the ending of Servants of the Storm has left me totally confused, and demanding answers to LOTS of different questions. I am still trying to get a handle on the fact that apparently the next book in the series is in the hands of the readers. It's one of those, buy this book now, or there won't be another kind of situations.


Author - Delilah S. Dawson
Title - Servants of the Storm
Published by Simon Pulse
Releases: August 5, 2014
Genre: Southern Young Adult Gothic
Format: E-Book 384 pages

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

*Gizmos Early Book Review* Mortal Danger (Immortal Game #1) by Ann Aguirre

**I received this book directly from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.**

*Synopsis*

Revenge is a dish best served cold.

In Ann Aguirre's Mortal Danger, Edie Kramer has a score to settle with the beautiful people at Blackbriar Academy. Their cruelty drove her to the brink of despair, and four months ago, she couldn’t imagine being strong enough to face her senior year. But thanks to a Faustian compact with the enigmatic Kian, she has the power to make the bullies pay. She’s not supposed to think about Kian once the deal is done, but devastating pain burns behind his unearthly beauty, and he’s impossible to forget. 

In one short summer, her entire life changes and she sweeps through Blackbriar, prepped to take the beautiful people down from the inside. A whisper here, a look there, and suddenly . . . bad things are happening. It’s a head rush, seeing her tormentors get what they deserve, but things that seem too good to be true usually are, and soon, the pranks and payback turns from delicious to deadly. Edie is alone in a world teeming with secrets and fiends lurking in the shadows. In this murky morass of devil’s bargains, she isn’t sure who—or what—she can trust. Not even her own mind.


*My Thoughts*

Ann Aguirre has created a world where separate entities play the ultimate game of chance. Where there are mythological monsters, and creatures that are created from the imaginations of humans. Where one who is considered to a catalyst (one destined for greatness), is considered to be the Queen of the game and therefore a valuable tool to both sides.

Mortal Danger focuses on Edith (Edie) Kramer. When we first meet Edie, she's reached the end of her rope, and decides to kill herself. She has it all meticulously planned out to the very minute. Edie has been the brunt of cruel bullying and harassment by the so called Teflon crew at Briarwood Academy that goes beyond what is considered to be in good taste. She's shy, she has absolutely no friends, her parents are pretty clueless and ignorant about her unhappiness, and in her mind's eye, it's better to be dead, than face yet another day.

Kian Riley appears out of nowhere and offers Edie a way to get her revenge on those who did her wrong.

"I’m authorized to offer you three favors now in return for three favors later.”
“I don’t understand. What kind of...favors?”
“Anything you want,” he said.

With her first wish, Edie asks to be beautiful while retaining her smarts. With a full body magical transformation, a few weeks at a science camp where she finds an actual friend, and a boyfriend, Edie believes that she is ready to take on her demons. If you think all is well is happyville, you would be absolutely wrong. What she doesn't plan on is her feelings for Kian, or what is truly expected of her once her revenge has taken place, or who would be pulling all the strings in order for this to actually happen, or the fact that innocents would be tossed into harms way without a care in the world.

**Here's where I tell you what I didn't like about this story. I think the story's message is absolutely wrong. It's saying that beauty and popularity is more important than being who you really are. That a person with boat loads of insecurities can suddenly find themselves the queen of the damned, with loads of self confidence to boot. While I don't agree with bullying AT ALL, a large majority of us have been through it, and gone on to be better lives than those who bullied us. Most of us weren't beauty queens in High School but we managed to survive and blossom after we went to college, and started our careers.

I'll also call out those who don't believe that people who are bullied kill themselves. Obviously, you are not paying attention to the news. I would also say that if you are bullied and think that you need to commit suicide, to please talk to someone first.

**The insta-romance between Edie and Kian kind of unnerved me to be perfectly honest. I have a whole lot of faults with Kian starting from the fact that he "watched" as Edie got bullied, and faced the worst moments of her life without stepping in and helping. The fact that he apparently liked Edie when she was "ugly" and now that she's beautiful, he's hopelessly in love with her, and willing to die in order to protect her.

I have to speak about Edie's parents for a moment. You've heard about helicopter parents. You've heard about latch key parents. Edie's parents are oblivious to what is actually happening to their daughter. They go on trips for months at a time. They are so focused on their work, that they missed all the signs that something was horribly wrong with Edie. When they do finally appear as parents, Edie has already made her choice, changed her appearance, and started on a journey that only Aguirre knows where it ends.

It took a very long time to come up with the right words for this review without sounding negative, or petulant, and I'll probably end up coming back to this later on. I am not one to angrily shake my fist at the author and scream and holler. I am not sure how I managed to make it to the very end, but apparently I am eager to be emotionally torn apart at the seams by Aguirre. As with her Enclave series, there is not one character that you can seriously consider to safe in this story.

I still haven't got a handle on the agencies involved in this story. While Aguirre manages to give us just enough information to keep us busy, she stops at revealing the other side of the coin, and those who are called the opposition. Mortal Danger has been an interesting book to talk about. Some have absolutely hated it, while others, like me, are somewhere in the middle.


Author - Ann Aguirre
Title - Mortal Danger
Series - Immortal Game # 1
Published by Feiwel & Friends
Releases: August 5, 2014
Genre: Paranormal
Format: Paper ARC 372 pages





Monday, July 28, 2014

*Gizmos Book Reviews* Wild Things (Chicagoland Vampires #9) by Chloe Neill

*Synopsis*

Since Merit was turned into a vampire, and the protector of Chicago’s Cadogan House, it’s been a wild ride. She and Master vampire Ethan Sullivan have helped make Cadogan’s vampires the strongest in North America, and forged ties with paranormal folk of all breeds and creeds, living or dead…or both.

But now those alliances are about to be tested. A strange and twisted magic has ripped through the North American Central Pack, and Merit’s closest friends are caught in the crosshairs. Gabriel Keene, the Pack Apex, looks to Merit and Ethan for help. But who—or what—could possibly be powerful enough to out-magic a shifter?

Merit is about to go toe to toe, and cold steel to cold heart, to find out.


*My Thoughts*

Chloe Neill's Wild Things (Chicagoland Vampires #9) picks up with Merit, Ethan and the Cadogan vampires dealing with the fall-out from Biting Bad. Mayor Kowalski has a major ax to grind with the vampires of Chicago, especially Ethan, to the point of labeling the vampires domestic terrorists in order to bring them to their knees.

If that weren't enough, the General Presidium wants their pound of flesh as well, leaving Ethan no real choice but to flee the city with Merit alongside until things get smoothed over. This means finding refuge among the North American Pack lead by Gabriel Keene whose prophecy concerning Merit's future and a green eyed baby, is one of the mysteries that has remained unresolved.

Since this IS Merit and Ethan, not everything goes smoothly. As the celebration of Lupercalia kicks in, all hell breaks loose, and creatures that haven't been seen before, make their presence known in a major way. Merit, along with Jeff, Mallory, and Catcher, take the lead in finding out who is responsible while Ethan faces his own challenge, and a decision about his future.

Ever since Merit was turned into a vampire 10 months ago, she has had to go through several changes. She's become more comfortable as a vampire, and takes her job as Sentinel seriously as well as the threats to the vampires and their allies. What is also pleasant to read about, is the fact that Merit isn't embarrassed any longer by being in a relationship with Ethan. Their relationship has turned the corner to the point where they almost feel like a happily married couple.

For me, Wild Things wasn't necessarily the best novel of the series, but I'm not ready to say it was a disappointment either. The story was more of a wrap-up of the previous story arc, and hopefully, we are moving towards an even more entertaining one with lots of action, mystery, suspense, dangers, and romance. I still enjoy Merit, Ethan, and the rest of the cast of characters. Merit still tends to get beaten down like a drunken homeless person more times than not, but in the end, she somehow manages to live to see another day.

Is anyone besides me sick of Mayor Kowalski's bullshit yet? I really wish she would just jump off the nearest high rise building and save us all time and energy. At least with Seth Tate, we actually had a tangible villain that didn't hide who or what he was. It was a chess match watching Tate and Merit, whereas now, it's a bit on the silly side that someone in her position could have the means to consider anyone she considers dangerous to be a domestic terrorist. Isn't what the FBI, or Homeland's responsibilities are? Isn't that what the fourth and eighth amendment protect us from?

I'm curious to see where Neill takes this series now that Ethan has made his choice about future moves, and now knows about Gabriel's prophecy concerning Merit. I like that Merit and Mallory are moving forward, and not letting past mistakes ruin their friendship. I loved the appearance of Tall Dark, and handsome Damien Garcia to the story, as well as Tanya Keene's sister Emma who kicked some serious ass.

Blood Games (Chicagoland Vampires #10) will be released on August 5, 2014, and thus begins the wait until I am either able to find the money to buy the book, or my local library finds the necessary funds to purchase it for me.


Author - Chloe Neill
Title - Wild Things
Series - Chicagoland Vampires # 9
Published by NAL Trade
Released: February 4, 2014
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Format: Library book 350 pages



*Susan Dennard's 'Strange & Ever After' Book Blitz Info + Giveaway [July 28 - August 1]


IFB is hosting the promo tour for the third and final book in Susan Dennard's steampunk, zombie trilogy, and today is Gizmos Reviews day to participate! Continue below for a sample and a cool giveaway.

17902141Series: Something Strange & Deadly #3
Release date: July 22nd 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Purchase: Amazon | B&N

Synopsis via Goodreads:
In the conclusion to the trilogy that Publishers Weekly called “a roaring—and addictive—gothic world,” Eleanor Fitt must control her growing power, face her feelings for Daniel, and confront the evil necromancer Marcus...all before it’s too late.

He took her brother, he took her mother, and now, Marcus has taken her good friend Jie. With more determination than ever to bring this sinister man to justice, Eleanor heads to the hot desert streets of nineteenth-century Egypt in hopes of ending this nightmare. But in addition to her increasingly tense relationships with Daniel, Joseph, and her demon, Oliver, Eleanor must also deal with her former friend, Allison, who has curiously entangled herself in Eleanor’s mission.

With the rising dead chomping at her every move and Jie’s life hanging in the balance, Eleanor is convinced that her black magic will see her through to the bitter end. But there will be a price. Though she and the Spirit Hunters have weathered every battle thus far, there will be consequences to suffer this time—the effects of which will be irreversible. And when it’s over, only some will be able to live a strange and ever after.

Susan Dennard will leave readers breathless and forever changed in the concluding pages of this riveting ride.

Susan DennardAbout the Author
Susan Dennard is a writer turned marine biologist turned writer again. Strange and Ever After is the conclusion to her trilogy, which includes A Darkness Strange and Lovely and Something Strange and Deadly. Among the traits she shares with her heroine Eleanor are a weakness for Shakespeare quotes, a healthy appetite for baked goods, and an insatiable curiosity. Sadly, Susan does not get to wear a corset or wave a parasol on a daily basis.



The Complete Series
---------------------------------------------

a-dawn-most-wicked-a-something-strange-and-deadly-novella something-strange-and-deadly a-darkness-strange-and-lovely strange-and-ever-after

 





Sunday, July 27, 2014

*Gizmos Book Reviews* Premonitions by Jamie Schultz

*Synopsis*

TWO MILLION DOLLARS... 
 
It’s the kind of score Karyn Ames has always dreamed of—enough to set her crew up pretty well and, more important, enough to keep her safely stocked on a very rare, very expensive black market drug. Without it, Karyn hallucinates slices of the future until they totally overwhelm her, leaving her unable to distinguish the present from the mess of certainties and possibilities yet to come.
 
The client behind the heist is Enoch Sobell, a notorious crime lord with a reputation for being ruthless and exacting—and a purported practitioner of dark magic. Sobell is almost certainly condemned to Hell for a magically extended lifetime full of shady dealings. Once you’re in business with him, there’s no backing out.
 
Karyn and her associates are used to the supernatural and the occult, but their target is more than just the usual family heirloom or cursed necklace. It’s a piece of something larger. Something sinister.
 
Karyn’s crew, and even Sobell himself, are about to find out just how powerful it is… and how powerful it may yet become.


*My Thoughts*

Premonitions is the story about a group of thieves thrown to together to steal occult items from their supposed owners. Having made their share of enemies over the years, the group agrees to work for crime lord, sorcerer, and billionaire Enoch Sobell. Sobell's mission may be the most dangerous of their lives, and it will be a major surprise if anyone survives what's coming next.

Karyn Ames is the presumptive leader of the group which also includes Anna Ruiz, and DeShawn "Nail" Owens. She sees future events, and warns her crew if they are in danger. Her premonitions have pretty much saved the group from some hairy situations. Karyn experiences a heavy load of hallucinations that cause her to question reality. The only thing that apparently works for her is an expensive and rare drug known as Blind which isn't exactly cheap. I truly felt for Karyn as a character. She has a whole lot of things on her plate, and every day things get much less clear. Can she continue to lead, or will darkness swallow her whole?

If Karyn is the leader of the group, Anna Ruiz is its heart. She's stood by her best friends side for 10 years. After Sobell approaches the group about a job and offers them $2 million for a successful result, his one condition is that they also take on Genevieve Lyle, a person who is more than familiar with the occult. Knowing the risks and dangers involved, Anna still gets involved with Genevieve, but the relationship isn't a major part of the storyline. Anna and Karyn's friendship has covered a plethora of situations and dangers. Will it last, or will it implode the more they get involve with the darkness of Sobell's world?

I love when villains are much more than they appear. Sobell is a determined crime lord that has plenty of secrets in his closet. He moves people around like chess pieces, and plays them off against each other without caring about their welfare. Schultz has only touched the surface of who Sobell really is, and where he's been, and why he is so determined to keep ahead of the demons he sold his soul to. I'd love to know more about his past, and how he came to making deals in order to find immortality.

I read a recent interview that Jamie Schultz did for the Quillery. He mentioned that Premonitions is the first book in the series, and that three were currently under contract with Roc. The sequel, Splintered, will be released July 2015. I will be looking forward to seeing if Schultz can continue his creative world building and characters.

Premontions is a hodge podge of different genre's thrown together. The characters are far from being truly good or bad and they face the ultimate test of survival. They are an eclectic bunch that straddles the line, and does what needs to be done in order to survive. I would definitely lean towards Premonitions being a dark urban fantasy novel because there are plenty of situations that are bloody.


Author - Jamie Schultz
Title - Premonitions
Published by ROC
Released: July 1, 2014
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Format: Paperback 384 pages

Saturday, July 26, 2014

*Gizmos Book Reviews* Between by Megan Whitmer

**I received this book from Netgalley / Spencer Hill Press in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.**

*Synopsis*

When a supernatural freak of nature forces her family to separate, seventeen-year-old Charlie Page must turn to her frustrating (yet gorgeous) neighbor, Seth, to help reunite them. Seth whisks Charlie to Ellauria—a magical world filled with the creatures of myths and legends—and tells her of the Fellowship, the group charged with protecting mystical beings from human discovery. (All except Bigfoot: that attention whore is a total lost cause.) But when Charlie learns that she's under the Fellowship's protection herself, well, "stressed" is an understatement.

Ellauria should be the safest place for Charlie while the Fellowship works to find her family, but things in the mystical realm aren’t what they seem.

Magic is failing, creatures are dying, and the Fellowship insists Charlie holds the key to saving everyone. With her family still missing and the danger in Ellauria growing, Charlie doesn't know who she can trust. She's dealing with a power she never asked for, falling for a guy she can't have, and being forced to choose between her destiny and her heart. And if she chooses wrong, she could destroy magic forever.

Charlie may be in over her head.


*My Thoughts*

Between is Megan Whitmer's debut novel and the first in a yet to be named trilogy. Between's opening chapters come at you like a massive tidal wave. The best thing you can hope for is that you don't get swept away by the plethora of mystical characters that are introduced, or the world that Whitmer has created.  

The story features Seventeen year old Charlotte "Charlie" Page who has absolutely no clue that she is something special or that magical beings actually exist. Charlie is a talented artist who loves to draw. She loves her brother Sam, and her mother Adele, and has wondered why her neighbor Seth can understand when something is wrong.

After an attack on their home by a creature known as the Mothman, Charlie sees things through different eyes as she watches her mother fight off the Mothman, and is spirited away by Seth through the Between, and into a land called Ellauria. I'll touch briefly on the Between by saying that its the center of all magic, and thus important to events that happen in this story, as well as Charlie.

Ellauria is a place filled with mystical and legendary beings like fairies, pixies, centaurs, unicorns, mermaids, dragons, gorgons and a whole multitude of others that you've probably heard about before. This mixture of mystical being is what makes Between stick out from others. Megan's ability to actually blend various mystical and legendary characters together to bring her story to life is what impressed me the most about this story.

Ellauria is governed by the Fellowship whose job it is to keep mortals from seeing things like the Lock Ness monster, or Big Foot. If mortals get too close to the truth, the problem disappears. As Charlie gets a first hand look at the new world she's supposed to belong to, she slowly learns the whole truth about Seth (her protector), her mother, and her brother, along with those she can and can't trust.

Obviously, there are more memorable characters than not. I'll mention Alexander, Clara, Lulu, and Kieran as the ones who stick out the most for me. I personally have questions about the trustworthiness of several of the characters, especially after Charlie's fight with the story's villain, and how they acted after it was all said and done. Hopefully, all will be revealed in the future.

There is a bit of romance in Between, but it is not rushed, or thrust into your face, or twisted into an 3-way triangle. Seth, as Charlie's protector and neighbor for years, has responsibilities and duties to the Fellowship. He is supposed to protect Charlie from all enemies without getting personally, or emotionally involved.

I have to say that I admired Seth's strength and courage in not breaking his vows to the Fellowship, even when Charlie wants more from their friendship. I admired the fact that he was put into situations where he has to stand by and watch from a distance as others attempt to train Charlie on her abilities.

As this is the first novel in the trilogy, the ending leaves many questions to be explored in the sequels. While Between touches on Charlie's family roots, and we do get a glimpse into who her parents were, I sincerely hope that we learn more about them in the sequel, and that perhaps Charlie can get the answers she needs to go forward in this new reality she finds herself in.

I want to send a personal thanks to Megan for being so open while I asked questions via Twitter. It is that openness that goes a long way towards gaining my desire to keep reading this series until the end.


Author - Megan Whitmer
Title - Between
Published by Spencer Hill Press
Releases: July 29, 2014
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal
Format: E-book 384 pages


Friday, July 25, 2014

*Gizmos Book Reviews* Welcome to the Dark House (Dark House # 1) by Laurie Faria Stolarz

**I received this book from Netgalley / Disney-Hyperion in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.**

*Synopsis*

What’s your worst nightmare?

For Ivy Jensen, it’s the eyes of a killer that haunt her nights. For Parker Bradley, it’s bloodthirsty sea serpents that slither in his dreams.

And for seven essay contestants, it’s their worst nightmares that win them an exclusive, behind-the-scenes look at director Justin Blake’s latest, confidential project. Ivy doesn’t even like scary movies, but she’s ready to face her real-world fears. Parker’s sympathetic words and perfect smile help keep her spirits up. . . at least for now.

Not everyone is so charming, though. Horror-film fanatic Garth Vader wants to stir up trouble. It’s bad enough he has to stay in the middle of nowhere with this group—the girl who locks herself in her room; the know-it-all roommate; “Mister Sensitive”; and the one who’s too cheery for her own good. Someone has to make things interesting.

Except, things are already a little weird. The hostess is a serial-killer look-alike, the dream-stealing Nightmare Elf is lurking about, and the seventh member of the group is missing.

By the time Ivy and Parker realize what’s really at stake, it’s too late to wake up and run.


*My Thoughts* 

Welcome to the Dark House is apparently the first book in the Dark House series by Laurie Faria Stolarz and that's a good thing since there are plenty of questions, and not enough answers to go around. You could say that this story gives readers a chance to understand the writer, and her world building, and then decide whether or not they will continue to the next installment.

The premise to Dark House was absolutely interesting enough for me to request the title from Disney-Hyperion, and to read it right to the very end. I would imagine that fans of horror movies, and reality TV shows, will find this story entertaining as well as compelling. The horror aspects, once revealed, gave me the chills, and goosebumps, and no way in hell would I ever think about doing anything like this...EVER!

Seven are chosen out of thousands of applicants. They are told that they will have the same chance to meet director Justin Blake who has produced some memorable horror movies over the years. The chosen have all sent in essays explaining why they should be picked and explaining their worst nightmares. The chosen will all have to face the ultimate test of a lifetime with hopes of seeing the secretive movie that Blake is working on.

If you were a horror fan, would YOU send in your essay in hopes of being picked for the show, and meeting your favorite director? If this was the only way for you to get over nightmares that have haunted and plagued you for years, would you attempt to join in on the fun even though you are a novice when it comes to understanding the multitudes of characters that Blake has created?

Eighteen year old Ivy Jensen gets the most "air" time as it were. We know what happened to her family six years ago. We know about her likes are, and the fact that she's not necessarily a fan of horror movies. Ivy isn't necessarily a kick ass character, or one that you would necessarily connect to if you were to follow her every move throughout the story. The one thing that Ivy is, however, is a survivor who saw too much at such an early age. She sees an opportunity to face her fears and ends of part of the Dark House with hopes of understanding the person responsible for haunting her.

A large majority of those chosen (Natalie, Shayla, Parker, Garth & Frankie) are Justin Blake fanatics. They can name all the villainous characters like they were members of their own families. They come from all walks of life, and have their own unimaginable nightmares to deal with. In the end, the characters that stand out for me besides Ivy, are Parker, and Natalie.

There is a mystery character named Taylor who I haven't mentioned until now. Taylor only appears briefly, and only then to warn the group when it's already too late. We know absolutely nothing about her, except that her essay appears at the end of this story, and that apparently she did arrive at the same time as the others. Where did she come from, and where did she go exactly? Was she part of a previous installment of the Dark House? Is she part of the Dark House creators? Inquiring minds demand to know!

Welcome to the Dark House alternatives stories between six of the characters but you really have to pay attention to the breaks since there is absolutely no formatting to be found anywhere. Perhaps the book, now released, will prove to be better with chapter breaks clearly marked. With my edition, the breaks were capitalized, and therefore the only warning that the POV was changing. I truly believe in keeping notes while reading. It made things easier for me to guess who was actually speaking next. There were times that I really couldn't separate the characters voices from the other. Hoping this improves in the sequel.

I am also hoping that Stolarz will eventually reveal who the clever geniuses are who created the Dark House. How many people are actually involved? Are the drivers involved? Is the director ultimately involved or someone more clever and devious? Are there some otherworldly characters running the entire thing? One obviously needs patience in order to get to the bulk of these questions.


Author - Laurie Faria Stolarz
Title - Welcome to the Dark House (Dark House # 1)
Published by Disney-Hyperion
Released: July 22, 2014
Genre: Horror, Mystery
Format: E-Book 368 pages



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