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    Review: Haunting Violet

    Haunting Violet by Alyxandra Harvey was released in the U.S. on June 21, 2011 in hardcover and eBook formats. It is currently available online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble in both formats.

    Published by Walker Children’s Books, a division of Bloomsbury, the print edition is  352 pages.

    Goodreads description:

    Violet Willoughby doesn’t believe in ghosts. But they believe in her. After spending years participating in her mother’s elaborate ruse as a fraudulent medium, Violet is about as skeptical as they come in all matters supernatural. Now that she is being visited by a very persistent ghost, one who suffered a violent death, Violet can no longer ignore her unique ability. She must figure out what this ghost is trying to communicate, and quickly because the killer is still on the loose.

    Afraid of ruining her chance to escape her mother’s scheming through an advantageous marriage, Violet must keep her ability secret. The only person who can help her is Colin, a friend she’s known since childhood, and whom she has grown to love. He understands the true Violet, but helping her on this path means they might never be together. Can Violet find a way to help this ghost without ruining her own chance at a future free of lies?


    Rowena Wentworth didn’t drown. She was murdered. And until her killer is revealed and admits their guilt, her spirit will not rest. And as a restless spirit she is angry and she fears for her sister Tabitha’s safety. She wants justice.

    So when she sees someone who possesses the gift of sight, she is determined to make them solve her murder and she will not leave them alone until they do.

    Violet Willoughby never wanted to follow in her mother Celeste’s footsteps – someone who claimed to have the ability to connect with the spirit world. But she knew her mother was a fraud, that she only sought the profit and attention that being a medium afforded. She was well aware of all her mother’s tricks. And she knew that spirits didn’t really exist.

    But when her mother is invited to Rosefield by Lord Jasper to perform a séance, Violet quickly learns just how wrong she’s been. That there really are such things as spirits. That she can see them. And that if she doesn’t figure out who Rowena’s killer is, she might never be left alone.

    Because a sixteen-year-old girl with psychic abilities is no match for an angry spirit dead-set on finding her executioner.


    Haunting Violet is a bewitching and utterly delightful murder mystery with a twist set in the Victorian Era. It is a clever, fun and incredibly entertaining story that will keep readers guessing as to the identity of the killer and why they committed this crime.

    The story has all the right elements to make up the perfect murder mystery. There are a number of characters who are behaving suspiciously, with hidden motives and many secrets they do not want revealed. There is a reluctant but capable “detective” and a charming and lovable “sidekick.” And it has an ideal setting – a large manor in the English countryside where the guilty party can easily remain hidden amongst the crowds.

    But there is more to Haunting Violet than just a mystery. A whole new dimension is added to the story with the supernatural element and Violet’s ability to communicate with Rowena and other pleasant and not so pleasant spirits.

    Violet and Elizabeth make a charming crime-solving duo. And with a love story developing in the background, Haunting Violet is an extremely engaging book.

    Alyxandra Harvey’s ability to craft an enchanting story extends beyond the realm of the vampire in Haunting Violet, her novel that is part mystery, part ghost story and part love story. And she has created a group of characters that are incredibly entertaining and simply delightful to get to know.

    Haunting Violet is not only a must read for fans of historical young adult fiction or supernatural murder mysteries, but for readers who enjoy a captivating, well-written story told from the main character’s perspective who is a very likable albeit reluctant heroine.

    Reviewer gives this book [rating=5]

    On a personal note:

    When I read the description for Haunting Violet I had no idea that it took place in Victorian England. It was revealed rather quickly, however, when I opened the book and saw “1865” on the first page.

    Victorian Era and historical fiction are not genres that I typically seek out or enjoy, but I’ve been a huge fan of the author’s Drake chronicles since the very first book. Plus, the idea of a ghostly murder mystery sounded like it would be quite entertaining. So, I decided to give it a chance.

    And I’m so glad I did. I absolutely loved this book. Author Alyxandra Harvey’s writing was just as captivating as it was in her other books. Even more so. She really brought the story and characters to life and this story was much more richly developed than her vampire series, perhaps because it is a murder mystery.

    Violet is utterly adorable. She is a slightly modern girl stuck in this stuffy and rather boring era of corsets and manners and etiquette. She has a mind of her own, and even though she appears somewhat to fit in with polite society she is much less constrained by their rules. How boring can she be when her mother is a fraudulent medium who has Violet participating in her deceptive schemes?

    That Rowena Wentworth is one pain in the backside spirit. But I suppose I wouldn’t be too thrilled if I was murdered and no one knew it. It was fun to try and figure out “whodunit.” I took my guess pretty early on and was glad I was not wrong. But there were a number of suspicious characters that were great contenders to be the murderer, which kept me engrossed until the puzzle was solved.

    Elizabeth is probably my favorite character. She is so nice and sweet and funny. And she is just so incredibly enthusiastic, quick to forgive, always ready to sneak a sweet treat and always manages to find a handsome boy to swoon over.

    She and Violet made the perfect duo to try and solve the mystery behind Rowena’s death.

    And then there is the love story. It is definitely worthy of a few sighs. It is ever so gently woven into the story, not taking anything away from the main focus which is the murder mystery. In fact, it adds to the story and makes Violet even more likable because of it.

    I’m so happy that I did not judge this book by its genre. The story was incredibly engaging, Violet and Elizabeth were absolutely endearing, the supernatural element made the story both chilling and exciting and the love story was the icing on the cake.

    I have no idea if this will be a series, but I would be completely thrilled to find out that there are more books planned for Violet, Elizabeth, Colin and Lord Jasper. With all the spirits wandering around Rosefield and all of London, there are bound to be a few more mysteries for Violet to solve.


    To download an excerpt of the first chapter from the publisher, CLICK HERE.

    Book trailer for Haunting Violet:

    Author Alyxandra Harvey discusses Haunting Violet:


    This review is based on an ARC of the UK edition I won in a contest on the publisher’s Facebook page.


    Review: Hereafter

    Hereafter by Tara Hudson was released in the U.S. on June 7, 2011 in hardcover, eBook and audio formats. It is currently available online in all formats at Amazon and in hardcover and eBook formats at Barnes & Noble.

    Published by HarperTeen, the print edition is 416 pages.

    Hereafter is one of the books that can be chosen for the 2011 Debut Author Challenge hosted by Kristi at

    Goodreads description:

    Can there truly be love after death?

    Drifting in the dark waters of a mysterious river, the only thing Amelia knows for sure is that she’s dead. With no recollection of her past life—or her actual death—she’s trapped alone in a nightmarish existence. All of this changes when she tries to rescue a boy, Joshua, from drowning in her river. As a ghost, she can do nothing but will him to live. Yet in an unforgettable moment of connection, she helps him survive.

    Amelia and Joshua grow ever closer as they begin to uncover the strange circumstances of her death and the secrets of the dark river that held her captive for so long. But even while they struggle to keep their bond hidden from the living world, a frightening spirit named Eli is doing everything in his power to destroy their newfound happiness and drag Amelia back into the ghost world . . . forever.

    Thrilling and evocative, with moments of pure pleasure, Hereafter is a sensation you won’t want to miss.


    Amelia wasn’t sure just how long she wandered beside the riverbank shouting at passersby to try and capture their attention.

    It could have been months or even years. But the numbness she felt toward her surroundings and the fog she waded through made distinguishing the days difficult.

    All she knew was that she was alone, a ghost among the living, and that the nightmares she had about her death were the only things that reminded her that at one time she had been alive.

    She did not know how long she had been in this state, this in between, and she didn’t know how long it would continue. But if it weren’t for the boy, she thought it might have continued forever.

    This boy who plunged into her river, whose life she could see ebbing from him in front of her very eyes. Who would die if she couldn’t do anything to save him.

    But she was never visible to the living, her cries could not be heard and her touch could not be felt. She had no way to prevent his demise, no matter how badly all of a sudden she wanted to. How desperately she needed to.

    And when he opened his eyes and saw her. Really saw her. She knew that somehow she had to save him. Because for the first time, in who knows how long, that feeling of aimlessness left her. She felt a connection to him, a connection to the world of the living.

    But ghosts weren’t supposed to be seen and spirits weren’t supposed to remain unclaimed for as long as she was.

    And now that she was no longer drifting she would have to make a choice. Try to find the path toward somewhere else, somewhere away from the darkness beneath the bridge or choose to join with the Eli and fulfill whatever dark purpose he had in store for her.

    But whatever choice she made would be away from the boy she saved. Away from the boy she loved. Because no matter what choice she made it was not here with Joshua in the land of the living but somewhere in the hereafter.


    Hereafter is a timeless and beautiful and very unconventional love story that is sad and sweet and so completely romantic.

    It is the story of a beautiful girl, a wayward spirit, who is lost until she saves a boy from meeting the same fate she had.

    Her rescue of him helped to save her, too. But it also captured the attention of a power hungry spirit, Eli, who was determined for her to join him and together they would exist in this world beneath the one she now occupied, luring other spirits in to build up this netherworld.

    While she knew that she did not want to join him, or serve the masters he served, she was looking for answers that only he could provide. But with limited choices and a time clock that was counting down, she would have to make a deal with him in order to get the answers she needed before time ran out for her and for Joshua.

    Author Tara Hudson has a written a captivating first book in this new series. Each piece of the puzzle about who Amelia is gets filled in over the course of the story, but questions still remain about what she is capable of, how will she fight the powers of darkness, how long can she remain as she has been, and what is to become of her and Joshua.

    Will their love truly be able to survive death? With two more books planned in the series we may not get an answer to that question for awhile, but this is definitely an alluring new series to follow.

    Reviewer gives this book [rating=4]

    On a personal note:

    There is something very “bygone era” about Hereafter. I’m not sure if it was the setting or the character names, but even though it took place in the present, I felt like I was taken back to the 1800s and Amelia and Joshua were from a different time. And it was this timeless quality that made their romance even more enchanting.

    I loved how the story was set up. Right from the start I was taken into Amelia’s world – lost and confused and terrified and alone.

    Her only connection, the only thing that grounds her, comes in the form of the boy, Joshua, who she saves from a death similar to her own. And it is Joshua who helps her find out who she was and just what happened to her.

    I love the fact that he is so quick to accept her existence. And even though it may seem fast, it is explained in the story in a way that is very believable.

    The love story was heartwarming, but wasn’t even my favorite part of this story. I can hardly believe it myself – as that’s almost always the thing that reels me in. But it was the mystery about the darkness under the bridge, the netherworld, Amelia’s uniqueness, and Eli that kept me riveted to the story.

    And all the challenges she and Joshua face, as well as the possibilities the two of them may have for a future, kept my curiosity piqued about what else I might expect in the next book in the series.

    Hereafter starts off at a slower pace that continues to build throughout the story, until the last third of the book, which is fast-paced and action-packed. Even though it started off slower, the entire story was a very quick read. The writing had a nice flow and kept me engaged with the characters and the plot from beginning to end.

    I definitely have a little crush on Joshua, even though he’s almost too good to be true. But I hope there is no dark side to his character that will make an appearance later in the series.

    Favorite passage:

    I could feel it all: the pressure of his arms around me, the grip of his fingers at my waist, the warmth of his breath on my skin. Everything I knew about myself and my relationship to the living world told me this was impossible. But that didn’t matter right now. What mattered was that I felt alive. I felt everything.

    Book trailer for Hereafter:

    This review is based on an eARC I received courtesy of HarperTeen and NetGalley.


    Review: Shift

    Shift by Jeri Smith-Ready is the second book in the Shade series. It was released in the U.S. on May 3, 2011 in hardcover, eBook and audio formats.

    It is currently available online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble in all formats.

    Published by Simon Pulse, a division of Simon & Schuster, the print edition is 384 pages.

    Goodreads description:

    Aura’s life is anything but easy. Her boyfriend, Logan, died, and his slides between ghost and shade have left her reeling. Aura knows he needs her now more than ever. She loves Logan, but she can’t deny her connection with the totally supportive, totally gorgeous Zachary. And she’s not sure that she wants to.

    Logan and Zachary will fight to be the one by her side, but Aura needs them both to uncover the mystery of her past—the mystery of the Shift.

    As Aura’s search uncovers new truths, she must decide whom to trust with her secrets…and her heart.


    Since Logan turned shade it was almost as if time stopped for Aura. Her life was on pause as she waited for him to come back to her. Calling out for him, hoping that somehow he could hear her call. That once again she would be enough to bring him back.

    Logan had been her entire life, her past and her future. And even though she might have been ready to let him go, to let him move on so that she could finally learn how to live her life without him, she never wanted his existence to be in the dark, as a shade.

    But when he finally answers her plea, his return brings with it a complication that she never would have thought possible. One that puts Aura in danger, raising questions that cannot safely be asked, and one that can change everything.

    And this time Logan’s return will force Aura to choose between the boy she has always loved and one that could become her future.


    Shift is the electrifying, gripping and absolutely heartrending second book in the Shade series. The mystery, the action and the love story will keep readers hanging on to the author’s every word and unable to break away until the story’s conclusion.

    Shift picks up where Shade left off. It is a few months later and Aura is still reeling from just how wrong things went for Logan. She has put her life, and Zachary, on hold, until she can find Logan and figure out how she can save him.

    But when he does return, she realizes that she will need Zachary’s help to figure out just what Logan’s return means and to finally get answers to the questions about what significance, if any, her and Zachary’s births had on the Shift.

    With time running out, Aura must decide who to give her heart to or risk losing both.

    Jeri Smith-Ready has done an exceptional job of building on the story and characters she introduced in Shade, and further developing and bringing to the forefront a couple that had been previously in the background.

    The author takes readers further along on Aura’s journey as she attempts to unlock the secrets of her and Zachary’s existence while trying to break away from a past that doesn’t want to let go.

    Shift is a story that will keep readers so immersed in the plot that only as the tears begin to fall will they get pulled away from this beautiful tale. The ending offers a number of possibilities for the next book and will give readers some closure, but they will definitely be left wanting more.

    The third book in the series, Shine, is slated for release in 2012.

    Reviewer gives this book [rating=5]

    On a personal note:

    Let me just start by saying that I am a die-hard fan of this series and the author, so be warned that there may be a little gushing below.

    As much as I wanted to read this sequel, I didn’t really think it was possible for it to top the first book. I loved Shade, fell completely in love with Logan, and was a total sobbing, heartbroken mess after I read it.

    But oh I love this one so much more. I didn’t think the author could possibly make me cry for Logan again and again. I thought my heart broke just that one time, but she managed to break it again.

    I am one of those sappy romantics that like to believe in love eternal, and that even death will not break that bond. So, of course, I’m a total Logan fan and think that Zachary has always been in the way. And yes, I do cheer every single time something gets between him and Aura.

    I know it’s completely not realistic for Aura to be pining over a dead guy, but there is magic involved in this story and I will just keep the hope alive that things will work out with Logan for as long as I possibly can.

    Aura is much more practical than I think I could ever be in that same situation. But I am rooting for her to find happiness, even if it isn’t in the end with Logan. (Did I actually say that?)

    Whatever direction the author takes with the characters I know will be the right one, even if it’s not my perfect ending. But until the final page of the final book, I will keep that torch burning for Logan.

    I read this book in one sitting. I think it’s taken me longer to write the review than to read the book, actually. And I cannot even begin to do justice to how awesome and amazing and utterly devastating this story (and series) is.

    I can’t believe there is another year until Shine is released. I don’t want to have to wait that long to see these characters again in my mind. So I will be re-reading this series.

    I always love it when I discover a new author and series. I am so happy that I picked up Shade a year ago, even if I didn’t think it was a sub-genre I would like. The story wasn’t anything like I thought it would be. It was so, so, SO much better. And any time a story can make me sob like both these books have, they are my perfect reads.

    Favorite passage:

    I looked at his face as his gaze flicked back to meet mine. He held it, held it, held it, while my entire body turned to flame.

    A note from my inner Geek: I love that this author added this tiny little detail that I think is cool, but may probably shoot me to the top of some Geek list somewhere. Zachary was the last person born before the Shift. His name starts with the letter Z. Aura was the first one born after the Shift. Her name starts with A. I know. I could have kept that one to myself.


    To read an excerpt of the first chapter of Shift on the author’s website, CLICK HERE.

    If you haven’t yet read Shade, the first book in the series, CLICK HERE for an excerpt from the author’s website. For a longer look, the publisher is offering a peek at the first 99 pages HERE.

    If you want to read a short prequel from the author’s website, CLICK HERE.

    This review is based on an eARC I received as part of Simon & Schuster’s Galley Grab program.


    Review: Bad Girls Don’t Die

    Bad Girls Don’t Die by Katie Alender was released in the U.S. on April 21, 2009.

    It is currently available online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble in hardcover, paperback and eBook formats.

    Published by Hyperion, a division of Disney, the hardcover is 352 pages.

    Goodreads description:

    When Alexis’s little sister Kasey becomes obsessed with an antique doll, Alexis thinks nothing of it. Kasey is a weird kid. Period. Alexis is considered weird, too, by the kids in her high school, by her parents, even by her own Goth friends.

    Things get weirder, though, when the old house they live in starts changing. Doors open and close by themselves; water boils on the unlit stove; and an unplugged air conditioner turns the house cold enough to see their breath in. Kasey is changing, too. Her blue eyes go green and she speaks in old-fashioned language, then forgets chunks of time.

    Most disturbing of all is the dangerous new chip on Kasey’s shoulder. The formerly gentle, doll-loving child is gone, and the new Kasey is angry. Alexis is the only one who can stop her sister — but what if that green-eyed girl isn’t even Kasey anymore?


    Once upon a time there was a little girl. She was sweet and pretty and rich. Such a darling little angel, with blond hair and the greenest eyes. Everybody loved her and wanted to be her friend. They would come from miles around just to play with her at her lovely home.

    Then one birthday she received a present. A beautiful doll that she loved very much. She would take her everywhere she went. She would even pretend that her dolly talked back to her.

    Well, not everyone was quite so happy with her affection for her doll. You see, they were jealous. And jealousy can make people do bad things. Really bad things.

    So, the moral of this story is to always remember to play nice. Because you never know when your actions may come back to haunt you. And if not you, then maybe your daughter or your daughter’s daughter. Because an angry spirit does not forget and bad girls don’t always die.


    Bad Girls Don’t Die is Katie Alender’s eerie and chilling debut novel. Part horror, part mystery, this story will capture you right at the start, pull you in and make you look over your shoulder every time a slight breeze touches the back of your neck.

    Alexis Warren is the school outcast who doesn’t even fit in with the misfits she hangs out with. Her parents are absentee and her little sister Kasey, once outgoing and friendly, is now a thirteen-year-old weirdo with a doll collection. Even her home doesn’t fit in, with its mish-mash of architectural details.

    Ever since her best friend left town she has preferred to spend much of her time alone, taking pictures. So when odd things start happening around the house she thinks she must be going crazy. And when her sister starts acting even stranger she wonders if maybe she’s not the only one.

    But when her nemesis, cheerleader Megan Wiley, notices Kasey’s odd behavior she has a different theory altogether. And if she’s right, being crazy would be the least of their worries.

    Author Katie Alender has written a compelling, suspenseful and creepy story that will make you think twice about ever owning a doll, moving into an old house or stepping foot into a dark basement. The story flows smoothly even as the tension builds and is interspersed with just the right amounts of sarcasm and humor to bring some light into this dark tale.

    This story is a must read, not only for fans of the young adult paranormal genre, but for anyone who loves a scary story. It’s got all the thrills without the gore and enough spookiness to give you the shivers.

    Reviewer gives this book [rating=5]

    On a personal note:

    I KNEW there was always a reason to fear dolls. Katie Alender absolutely proves my point.

    I started reading this at night, thought better of it, and am so glad that I finished it when it was light out. For some reason I thought this was a paranormal romance-y kind of book with just a little bit of the “boo” factor. I did not realize this was a scary book. With dolls. (Shudder.)

    I visualize everything when I read and would jump with Kasey’s every stealthy approach and each time the door would slam. And I spent much of the story holding my breath worrying that Alexis would be caught.

    Sure, you can say that everything horror has been done – heck I’ve read practically everything by Stephen King and John Saul – but there wasn’t a single moment when I felt as if I’d read this before. The characters and plot twists were original, the story pleasantly creepy and the suspense drove the whole thing.

    I cannot wait until June. I did sneak a peek at the synopsis for the next book – I was afraid there might be new characters – and now I so totally want that book!

    How I “discovered” this book:

    Bad Girls Don’t Die is a “Just Discovered” just learned about book.

    I “discovered” this book when the author came to my local Barnes & Noble for a book reading and signing. I hadn’t heard of the book before, but I only recently joined the online blogging community, and when this book was released I only got my recommends when Amazon suggested them. And they never suggested books published by Hyperion.

    I had arrived early (geek that I am) in hopes of getting a good aisle seat in case I chickened out and left before the signing part. I envisioned being surrounded by a much younger crowd with a Bieber-like frenzy about them upon meeting the author, so I remained ready to bolt at a moment’s notice. But that was not the case. And it gave me a lot of time to peruse the book, and its beautiful cover, and I ended up buying a few copies to have personally signed. (And yes, I later went back and bought a couple more copies to give away to some other lovely folks.)

    The author was super nice and some wildly entertaining stories were told. And the reading got me even more excited about reading her book. I’m almost glad that I didn’t discover this book in 2009 or I’d have had a rather long wait for the sequel. Fortunately there are only a few months before its release!


    To read an excerpt of Bad Girls Don’t Die click here.

    The second book in the series, From Bad to Cursed will be released on June 14, 2011. It is available for pre-order in the U.S. at Amazon and Barnes & Noble in hardcover format only.

    Click here for the Goodreads description for From Bad to Cursed.

    Book trailer for Bad Girls Don’t Die:


    Review: One Hundred Candles

    One Hundred Candles is the second full-length book in the Past Midnight series by author Mara Purnhagen. It was released in the U.S. in paperback format on February 15, 2011 and is available online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

    The eBook format will available on March 1, 2011 and is currently available for pre-order at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

    Published by Harlequin TEEN, the paperback edition is 240 pages.

    Goodreads description:

    It’s taken a long time for me to feel like a normal teenager. But now that I’m settled in a new school, where people know me as more than Charlotte Silver of the infamous Silver family paranormal investigators, it feels like everything is falling into place. And what better way to be normal than to go on a date with a popular football star like Harris Abbott? After all, it’s not as if Noah is anything more than a friend….

    But my new life takes a disturbing turn when Harris brings me to a party and we play a game called One Hundred Candles. It seems like harmless, ghostly fun. Until spirits unleashed by the game start showing up at school. Now my friends and family are in very real danger, and the door that I’ve opened into another realm may yield deadly consequences.


    Spending her Christmas break at an insane asylum was unusual, even for Charlotte Silver, daughter of two famous paranormal investigators. Wandering the cold and empty halls of an abandoned mental facility just didn’t scream “happy holidays.”

    Lately it seemed that no matter where she went, paranormal entities seemed to follow. And a sanitarium in Ohio was no exception.

    But this time there was no mystery about what what it wanted. Someone had to be punished. Someone crossed the line. And that someone was Charlotte.


    One Hundred Candles is the second full-length book in the Past Midnight Series. A couple of uneventful months have passed and Charlotte is still trying to figure out exactly what happened in Charleston.

    When her family goes to Ohio to investigate paranormal activity at an abandoned insane asylum, she is targeted by an angry entity that wants her to pay for what she’d seen. Fortunately, whatever this thing is doesn’t seem to follow her back home.

    Everything was going fine until the night she took part in the one hundred candles game, which, if done right, was to open the door for one hundred spirits. And when what seem to be the very same spirits talked about in the game begin to appear at the school, Charlotte wonders whether it is really those summoned spirits, a hoax or the malevolent entity from Ohio coming for her.

    One Hundred Candles is an absolutely riveting story with a mystery that deepens and a pace that continues to escalate. It is much darker, and more tension-filled and action-packed, than the first book in the series, with an exciting and astonishing end.

    Once again there are two very harmonious storylines, but this time both include a paranormal element. This story has all the good stuff that the first book has, but on steroids.

    From the drama at home, to the mystery at school, to the underlying threat of repercussions from the encounter in Ohio, Author Mara Purnhagen has significantly increased the suspense levels in this book, all leading up to the explosive conclusion.

    This story is perfect for readers who love a mystery with a paranormal twist and the torment that is the norm for teenage girls.

    Reviewer gives this book [rating=5]

    On a personal note:

    I was all set to like this book just as much as the first, but somewhere in the middle of the story I started thinking it was pretty freaking fantastic. And I was completely unprepared for just how good it got in the last twenty percent of the book.

    I cannot wait for the next book to come out to find out what happens next with Charlotte and if she does manage to graduate without any more supernatural beings getting in her way. (I’m thinking probably not.)

    I hope that we get to see more Avery and Jared in the next book. Even though Avery was in the picture she just wasn’t as connected to the story as she was in the first book. And I hope we have a lot more Noah.

    The only things I would say pulled me out of the story were the flashbacks. I like the use of flashbacks – and they existed in Past Midnight but fairly infrequently – but they were used in this book much more often. And when I’d turn a page expecting to see what happened next, it was actually much later, and it sometimes took a second to figure that out. Then Charlotte would flashback to tell what was missed.

    I liked Charlotte and her family a lot in the first book and the novella, but now I love them. I am so glad I had a chance to meet them all.


    The third book in the series, Beyond the Grave, will be released in September 2011.

    Thank you Harlequin TEEN and NetGalley for the review copy.


    Quickie Review: Raising the Dead

    Raising the Dead by Mara Purnhagen is a novella in the Past Midnight series. It was released in eBook format in the U.S. on February 1, 2011. It is currently available as an eBook download from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

    Published by Harlequin TEEN, the eBook is currently being offered for free.

    Goodreads description:

    Charlotte Silver’s world is like no one else’s…

    As the daughter of the famous Silver Spirits paranormal investigators, Charlotte Silver is used to all things weird.

    But when coffins start floating down her street during a flood, life turns extra strange. And wonderful, when her friend and crush Noah signs on to help Charlotte and her folks in the aftermath.

    Cemetery cleanup might not sound exciting, but as shocking discoveries and a lurking stranger come to light, Charlotte learns that sometimes, raising the dead can bring unexpected rewards.


    Raising the Dead is a novella of thirteen chapters that is set between the first book, Past Midnight, and the second book in the series, One Hundred Candles. It is great bonus adventure involving Charlotte Silver and her friends and family that takes place shortly after the first book ends, just before Halloween.

    Due to severe rain storms in South Carolina a small cemetery is flooded and a number of coffins are disinterred. While her parents aid in helping with the identification of these remains from the Civil War era, Charlotte helps William, the owner of the land, set the cemetery to rights.

    But when she notices on more than one occasion an elusive man in a black trench coat lurking around, Charlotte must figure out if he means no harm or if his intentions are more sinister.

    Raising the Dead is a highly entertaining story and a perfect transitional novella between the two full-length books. The story gives further background on events that took place in Past Midnight and provides much more insight into and detail about Charlotte’s relationship with Noah.

    This new mini-mystery is wrapped up by the end of the novella, but as with Past Midnight it comes to an end rather suddenly. Although not a cliffhanger, readers will be left wanting more.

    Reviewer gives this novella [rating=4]

    On a personal note:

    I was immensely entertained by this story. In many ways even more so than the first book. I loved that there was much more Noah in this story and the short mystery was such fun to piece together.

    After reading this novella I am much more excited about reading the next book in the series, One Hundred Candles.


    PLEASE NOTE: This novella contains major spoilers for those who haven’t read the first book in the series.

    If you do not plan on reading Past Midnight, this novella will give you enough background to read the next book One Hundred Candles without getting lost.

    If you do plan on reading the first book, wait to read this novella until after you’ve finished.


    Review: Past Midnight

    Past Midnight by Mara Purnhagen is the first book in a series by the same name. It was released in the U.S. on September 1, 2010 and is available online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble in paperbook and eBook formats.

    Published by Harlequin TEEN the print edition is 224 pages.

    Goodreads description:

    Let me set the record straight.

    My name is Charlotte Silver and I’m not one of those paranormal-obsessed freaks you see on TV…no, those would be my parents, who have their own ghost-hunting reality show. And while I’m usually roped into the behind-the-scenes work, it turns out that I haven’t gone unnoticed.

    Something happened on my parents’ research trip in Charleston—and now I’m being stalked by some truly frightening other beings. Trying to fit into a new school and keeping my parents’ creepy occupation a secret from my friends—and potential boyfriends—is hard enough without having angry spirits whispering in my ear.

    All I ever wanted was to be normal, but with ghosts of my past and present colliding, now I just want to make it out of high school alive….


    For the first time ever Charlotte Silver is getting what she wants – to live in a brand new house. Instead of one of those dark, old Victorians, she will finally get to have a room with new carpet, lots of light and the absence of ghosts. Or what her parents call “energies.”

    She finally has the chance to start her senior year as a normal girl and not the “paranormal princess” she had been called in the past. Starting over with a clean slate is a dream come true.

    But when she starts dreaming about a girl who went missing in the 1800’s and feels the temperature in her room drop – a sure sign that ghosts are present – she knows that any chance of being ordinary is over.

    Until she can figure out what these ghosts want and how to get rid of them, she will be forced to sleep on the couch and spend her days being sleep deprived. And when that’s not enough to keep them away, she and her family will learn just what happens when they get angry.


    Past Midnight is a delightful, fun and uncomplicated story, and the first book in a series about Charlotte Silver, a high school senior and daughter of two famous paranormal investigators.

    After having spent most of her life on the road with her family, never getting a chance to settle down in one place for too long, she is finally happy her parents have agreed to stay put in South Carolina until she finishes high school.

    Moving from place to place has not been easy, especially once the novelty of being in a family of ghost hunters has worn off. She is hoping that this time will be different. But when a couple of ghosts follow her from Charleston where her family did their last readings, she will not be able to keep her secret for long.

    At just a few more than two hundred pages, Past Midnight is a very quick, but entertaining read. Although a story about the supernatural, there is a second storyline about Charlotte, her new friend Avery and an “accident” that occurred prior to Charlotte’s arrival.

    Even with two very different elements in such a short story, the book does not become confusing. Both work harmoniously with one another and everything comes together at the end.

    This story does not have a cliffhanger ending, nor does it have a love triangle, but for readers looking for a lighter fare, this new series with a touch of the paranormal is off to a great start.

    Reviewer gives this book [rating=4]

    On a personal note:

    I really enjoyed this book. It wasn’t at all what I expected, but I was entertained from beginning to end. For some reason I thought it was about a girl who was a ghost hunter or had some special connection with the spirits, but I was not at all disappointed that this differed from what I had thought.

    I would have liked to know a little bit more about the past adventures of Charlotte and her family, but perhaps I’ll get to see more in the upcoming books. It’s not every girl that is the daughter of famous paranormal investigators. I haven’t read a story about one until now, so it seems like a pretty neat idea and I’d love to hear more about their past endeavors.

    I am planning on reading the next two stories back-to-back, so it will be interesting to see how this progresses.


    The second book in the series, One Hundred Candles, is out in paperback today. A novella set between books one and two, Raising the Dead, is currently available as a free download from Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and the third book in the series, Beyond the Grave will be released later this year.

    How I “discovered” this book:

    Past Midnight is a “Just Discovered” just learned about book.

    When I first became a member of NetGalley I got approved for an eARC of One Hundred Candles. And I soon discovered it was the second book in a series. I hadn’t read the first book and was seriously considering reading the series without having read the first book, then decided I just couldn’t do it.

    So, I bought Past Midnight back in December with the hopes of reading it earlier, but only had a chance to start reading it now and so opted to read it back-to-back with One Hundred Candles in anticipation of book two’s February 15th release date.



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