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    Review: THE DEAD GIRLS OF HYSTERIA HALL

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    Title: THE DEAD GIRLS OF HYSTERIA HALL
    Author: Katie Alender
    Release date: August 25, 2015
    Publisher: Point
    Pages: 336
    Formats: Hardcover, eBook

    Description…

    Asylum meets Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, in this riveting tale of ghosts, secrets, and family, from master of suspense Katie Alender.

    Delia’s new house isn’t just a house. It used to be an insane asylum, a place to lock up “troubled” young women long ago. And a restless, wicked spirit is still at play–and it doesn’t want defiant girls like Delia to go anywhere.

    So the house kills her.

    Now Delia is a ghost, trapped in her creepy home forever. As she meets the other ghost girls who haunt the narrow hallways, as well as the handsome ghost boy on the grounds, she learns shocking truths about the house’s history. Delia also realizes that her alive and grieving sister might be the house’s next target. Can Delia unlock the mystery of the old asylum, save her sister, and free herself?

    AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | iTUNES | THE BOOK DEPOSITORY | INDIEBOUND | GOODREADS

    NOTE: This review is based on an eARC received by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for my honest thoughts about the book.


    The Review

    Katie Alender’s THE DEAD GIRLS OF HYSTERIA HALL is an immensely entertaining one-sit read that offers a captivating mystery, a deliciously creepy setting, and several rather interesting ghostly residents to keep readers hooked. And with a heroine whose unavoidably tragic fate is known from the start, it promises to be a story that is both immeasurably sad and incredibly spooky.

    Delia never wanted to spend the summer cleaning out the home she inherited from her aunt. But when she arrived and discovered it was not just a home, but a former institute for girls that had been dubbed Hysteria Hall, she was just a tiny bit curious about the place her aunt called home. That is until she felt as if she was being watched, followed, chased. Until she thought Hysteria Hall might be haunted.

    However, with both parents dead set on staying until the job was done, leaving right away wouldn’t be option. And once the malevolent force residing in the institute set its sights on Delia, she wouldn’t be leaving at all. Not alive, anyway.

    Author Katie Alender infused her chilling and eerie ghost story with humor and heart. She touched upon issues that were very real and relevant and horrifying and heartbreaking at one point in our country’s history. She gave readers a heroine who was headstrong, a touch selfish, not always easy to like, but sympathetic and ultimately someone to root for. She added in the possibility of romance. And she created a mystery with a few twists and turns and surprises. All of which make for a positively gripping read.

    With a number of mysterious disappearances and deaths, an asylum with a dark and hidden past, an intriguing array of ghosts with secrets of their own, and its newest trapped resident anxious to uncover what her aunt had been trying to tell her and desperate to find a way to escape, THE DEAD GIRLS OF HYSTERIA HALL is guaranteed to be a suspenseful and electrifying and unputdownable page-turner that may generate a few smiles as well as a few tears.

    The Rating

    05


    About Katie Alender

    Katie Alender author photo 300x375

    Katie Alender is the author of The Dead Girls of Hysteria Hall, Famous Last Words, Marie Antoinette: Serial Killer, and the Bad Girls Don’t Die series. She is a graduate of the Florida State University Film School and lives in Los Angeles with her husband, daughter, and two dogs. When she’s not writing novels, she can usually be found quilting, reading, eating delicious high-calorie foods, and hanging out with her friends (on very special occasions, she manages to do all of those things at once).

    WEBSITE | TWITTER | TUMBLR | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | PINTERESTWATTPAD | YOUTUBEGOODREADS

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    THE DEAD GIRLS OF HYSTERIA HALL Blog Tour: ‘Favorite & Most Challenging Scenes’ Guest Post + Giveaway

    deadgirls
    It is now officially less than one week until the release of THE DEAD GIRLS OF HYSTERIA HALL and I’m so excited to have Author Katie Alender on the blog to talk about her favorite and most challenging scenes to write in her soon-to-be-released book of awesome.

    I am just pages away from discovering the ending the author decided upon… of course I’m now super curious to find out what might have happened if she’d chosen one of those other outcomes she mentions in her post.

    THE DEAD GIRLS OF HYSTERIA HALL is a lightning fast read and every bit as riveting as the description promises. The writing makes it just so easy to get instantly caught up in the story and the mystery will keep you hooked. Read more

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    Manor of Secrets Blog Tour: ‘Top 5 Favorite Scenes’ Guest Post + Giveaway

    MOS

    I am so thrilled to be able to welcome Author Katherine Longshore to the blog to share a few of her favorite scenes from MANOR OF SECRETS and to be able to kick off the MANOR OF SECRETS Blog Tour hosted by Rockstar Book Tours.

    I know exactly how the author feels when it comes to choosing favorites. If I was tasked with choosing only five, not only would there be at least ten favorites listed, but they’d likely change each day.

    And if I had to choose my favorite of the five scenes she chose… well… I couldn’t do it.

    While I, of course, love the scene that’s rather swoon-y, I can’t help but adore the ones that are telling about both Janie and Charlotte’s personalities. So there’s just no way I could single one out as a top favorite. Can you?

    Anyway… MANOR OF SECRETS releases on Tuesday – that’s just one day away – so if you haven’t had the chance to read it early you’ll be able to grab a copy. And if you’re in the U.S. and you’d like the chance to win a signed copy, be sure to enter in the giveaway that’s included with this tour.

    If you’d like to know more about the book and author, their information is included just a bit further below. But first let me turn the blog over to the author so you can check out the five scenes she has chosen to share and hear just why they’re scenes she enjoyed writing.

    If you’re anything like me you won’t be able to choose a favorite.

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    The Guest Post

    Katherine Longshore’s Top 5 Favorite Scenes

    It’s so difficult for me to pick and choose a “favorite” anything. My lists of favorite movies and books changes daily, my favorite foods depend on cravings, and even my chocolate preferences are inconstant (though I generally feel the darker the better). So asking me my favorite scenes in one of my own books seems a choice of Herculean effort.

    That said, here are some scenes from MANOR OF SECRETS that I had the most fun writing—in fact, the characters pretty much wrote themselves.

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    Scene #1

    In this early scene, Charlotte and her friend Fran have found Janie, the kitchen maid, wading in the lake—when she’s supposed to be working—and Janie rushes off to avoid getting fired.

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    “Why don’t we do that?” Charlotte asked without thinking.

    “What?”

    “Take our stockings off. Wade in the lake.”

    Fran laughed. “You do have a fanciful imagination, Charlotte.”

    Charlotte hesitated. “It looked . . . nice.”

    “It’s mucky. And full of crawly things.”

    Charlotte tried to smile. “Now who has the fanciful imagination?”

    But something about the look on the kitchen maid’s face when she dipped her feet in the water wouldn’t leave her be. The possibility of adventure. Of relief. No matter how small.

    “I think I’ll brave the crawly things,” Charlotte said, surprising herself.

    Fran narrowed her eyes. “You are not a kitchen maid, Charlotte Edmonds.”

    “You’re right,” Charlotte said, her conviction growing stronger. “I’m not. I don’t have a job I need to do.”

    “Oh, yes, you do. Your job is to be hostess. To be at your mother’s side. You may not be making the finger sandwiches and pots of tea, but you have a job to do, just like she does.”

    Charlotte hesitated. But only for an instant. Then she turned and walked down to the water.

    “I can’t lose mine,” she called. Even if I wanted to.

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    Scene #2

    For Janie, the most important thing in her world is keeping her job, and the only home she’s ever known. Something her new feelings for Harry, the hall boy, could put in jeopardy. But Harry knows how tenuous life for a servant is at The Manor.

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    “This house wouldn’t run without you, Harry Peasgood.”

    Harry hefted a bucket of water onto the table. “I have no illusions of my importance here, Janie. Look at this.” He stuck his hand into the water and then looked up at her. “See my hand?”

    “Of course, I do. It’s in my clean water.”

    Harry didn’t laugh. He watched her as he drew his hand out of the bucket, making sure she saw what he was doing. “See that water? Think it notices my absence? Well, neither will anyone here.”

    It was true the downstairs staff at The Manor changed regularly. Laundresses, kitchen maids, gardeners’ boys. They were invisible. Didn’t even have names — if Lady Charlotte wanted to call Janie Jenny, she’d be Jenny.

    But Harry had been there for years. He’d opened the tradesman’s door to her when she’d arrived — half-starved and silent — returning to a birthplace she’d never seen and a mother she didn’t know. He was one of the reasons The Manor felt like home.

    “I would notice,” Janie blurted.

    Harry grinned. “Only because I wouldn’t be around to make your tea in the morning.”

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    Scene #3

    This is one of the top contenders for my favorite scene in the whole book—it gives Charlotte a glimpse of the camaraderie downstairs and the reader insight into each of the characters. The kitchen has received some imported hot chilies, Charlotte has been dared—with the others—to taste one.

    Dots_Divider

    All of them were staring at her. As the person with most precedence, she should eat first. Or perhaps, this was what it felt like to be dared to do something. Charlotte looked down at the pepper in her fingers. The skin was almost waxy, the interior a lighter color, moist and threaded with little creases, speckled by tiny seeds.

    She thought of what Janie had said, that the pepper set the tongue on fire. Her courage left her and she stared helplessly at the kitchen maid, hoping for reprieve.

    “‘Cry God for Harry, England, and Saint George!’” Janie said and dropped the piece of pepper onto her tongue. Janie’s eyes watered, but she raised an eyebrow at Charlotte. A challenge.

    Lawrence laughed and followed suit and Harry close after.

    “Water,” Harry gasped and turned to the sink behind him, placing his entire mouth under the spigot. Janie laughed, her cheeks red and the tears streaming freely down her face.

    Lawrence hiccupped, his lips pressed tightly together, his eyes squeezed shut. He hiccupped again.

    Charlotte knew she’d never be accepted unless she tried this. She’d never be an adventurer — or even a writer — if she didn’t do things that frightened her. She had to prove her mettle if she ever wanted to ask Janie for help.

    Charlotte put the piece of pepper in her mouth and chewed until it seemed the very sun of India burned bright upon her tongue.

    Janie handed her a glass of milk and raised one of her own in a silent toast.

    Charlotte smiled through the fire. “The game’s afoot,” she said.

    She had passed the test.

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    Scene #4

    Charlotte continues to visit the servants downstairs—appreciating what she perceives as their freedom. Until one night, the footman, Lawrence, invites her to dance.

    Dots_Divider

    When Lawrence stepped closer, Charlotte expected something extraordinary to happen. She expected thunder to sound. Or her mother to enter the room and scream the house down.

    But all she felt was Lawrence’s confidence — his fingers gentle, but slightly rough at the edges, and the strength of his grasp.

    When she felt his other hand on her waist, she was suddenly — painfully — aware that she hadn’t tightened her corset. That her skirt was merely pinned closed. That she could feel her clothes moving against her skin. She’d danced with boys before, of course. Under the watchful eye of her mother and the entire aristocratic circle of Kent and Sussex. She’d danced with her brothers and the local landowners and her father. She’d danced with Andrew Broadhurst.

    But Andrew held her hand lightly, his fingers barely touching her waist as he methodically led her through the dance.

    Lawrence held her hand firmly, his touch on her lower back sure and present, his fingers pressing her skin through the thin linen of her traveling jacket every time he steered her in another direction. Lawrence danced like he felt the music. He held her like he was sure she wouldn’t break.

    He waltzed her around the table as if they were in an uncrowded ballroom, each turn bringing her another glimpse of the stove, the window, the sink, Janie. She had to move exactly as he wanted, follow his rhythm, his guidance.

    This wasn’t a showy dance with quick turns. It didn’t cover a lot of ground. It wasn’t one where the girl could draw attention to the drape of her skirts or traverse an entire ballroom. It was intimate. Close.

    Delicious.

    line

    Scene #5

    Meanwhile, Janie is getting a taste of what it’s like to know her own mind, and a desire not to be treated as a second-class citizen…

    Dots_Divider

    Miss Caldwell stalked into the kitchen.

    “You could show a little deference,” Miss Caldwell said. “Or don’t you think the rules apply to you?”

    “I try my best, Miss Caldwell.” Janie laced her words with submissiveness but seethed inside.

    “Well, you’ll have to try better than that,” Miss Caldwell hissed, looking ready to strike. “A good servant turns away from her betters when seeing them in the hall. A good servant is invisible. She doesn’t wear filthy kitchen clothes upstairs.”

    Miss Caldwell flicked a hand toward Janie’s limp cap and stained apron.

    “A good servant knows her place. She knows what’s wanted before anyone else. You should have had chocolate. Just in case.”

    Janie stared at her silently.

    “A good servant . . .” Miss Caldwell was right up in Janie’s face. “. . . does not raise her eyes to her mistress.”

    Janie knew she should look down at her feet. At her hands clasped before her. She knew she should bow her head.

    But she didn’t. Instead she looked Miss Caldwell directly in the eye.

    “You are not my mistress.”

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    About Manor of Secrets

    Manor of Secrets

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    Description…

    The year is 1911. And at The Manor, nothing is as it seems . . .

    Lady Charlotte Edmonds: Beautiful, wealthy, and sheltered, Charlotte feels suffocated by the strictures of upper-crust society. She longs to see the world beyond The Manor, to seek out high adventure. And most of all, romance.

    Janie Seward: Fiery, hardworking, and clever, Janie knows she can be more than just a kitchen maid. But she isn’t sure she possesses the courage — or the means — to break free and follow her passions.

    Both Charlotte and Janie are ready for change. As their paths overlap in the gilded hallways and dark corridors of The Manor, rules are broken and secrets are revealed. Secrets that will alter the course of their lives. . . forever.

    Publication date: January 28, 2014
    Pages: 320
    Publisher: Point
    Formats: Hardcover, eBook

    AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | GOODREADS

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    About Katherine Longshore

    Katy
    Katherine Longshore grew up on the northern California coast. At university, she created her own major in Cross-Cultural Studies and Communications, planning to travel and write. Forever.

    Four years, six continents and countless pairs of shoes later, she went to England for two weeks, stayed five years and discovered history. She now lives in California with her husband, two children and a sun-worshiping dog.

    WEBSITE | BLOG | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | GOODREADS | PINTEREST

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    The Giveaway

    The tour includes a seriously amazing giveaway for,,,

    FIVE (5) SIGNED copies of MANOR OF SECRETS – US Only.

    Enter in the Rafflecopter below…

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

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    The Tour Schedule

    Week One

    Jan. 27th – Fiktshun – Guest Post

    Jan. 28th – Two Chicks on Books – Guest Post

    Jan. 29th – Good Books and Good Wine – Review

    Jan. 30th – Hobbitsies – Review

    Jan. 31st – Magical Urban Fantasy Reads – Interview

    Week Two

    Feb. 3rd – A Glass of Wine – Guest Post

    Feb. 4th – Mundie Moms – Interview & Review

    Feb. 5th – Read My Breath Away – Guest Post

    Feb. 6th – Page Turners – Review

    Feb. 7th – Tales of a Ravenous Reader – Guest Post

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    The Dead and Buried Blog Tour: Guest Post – This or That with Donovan and Kane + Giveaway

    D&B Banner-1

    When I was first invited to be a part of this tour I screamed. Loudly. And often. Because I love Kim Harrington’s books. And I’d been dying to read her newest title, THE DEAD AND BURIED, from the moment I first learned about it. Since long before it had this wicked awesome cover. Since before it even had a cover revealed. And possibly before it even had a cover designed.

    Well I was totally thrilled to have received a copy to read just a little bit early. And I read it. And I loved it. And I even REVIEWED it.

    But I was even more stoked when I heard my stop would be a “This or That” stop with Donovan and Kane. Because their answers are so very telling. And while I have picked a favorite of the two – which did not change based on my reading their answers – I will keep who that is a secret so you can see who you find more interesting based on answers alone and not my input or sway.

    If for some reason you haven’t heard about THE DEAD AND BURIED, as always, here’s just a little bit about the book and author.

    Oh, and in case it isn’t clear just who Donovan and Kane are, they are the two swoon-worthy boys in Jade’s life who may or may not be guilty of murder.

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    TDAB Book Cover

    About the Book

    A haunted house, a buried mystery, and a very angry ghost make this one unforgettable thriller.

    Jade loves the house she’s just moved into with her family. She doesn’t even mind being the new girl at the high school: It’s a fresh start, and there’s that one guy with the dreamy blue eyes. . . . But then things begin happening. Strange, otherworldly things. Jade’s little brother claims to see a glimmering girl in his room. Jade’s jewelry gets moved around, as if by an invisible hand. Kids at school whisper behind her back like they know something she doesn’t.

    Soon, Jade must face an impossible fact: that her perfect house is haunted. Haunted by a ghost who’s seeking not just vengeance, but the truth. The ghost of a girl who ruled Jade’s school — until her untimely death last year. It’s up to Jade to put the pieces together before her own life is at stake. As Jade investigates the mystery, she discovers that her new friends in town have more than a few deep, dark secrets. But is one of them a murderer?

    Find it: GOODREADS, AMAZON, BARNES & NOBLE

    ***

    KimHarringtonAbout the Author

    Kim Harrington is the author of the Clarity series for teens and the Sleuth or Dare series for kids. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband and son. When not writing, she’s most likely reading, watching one of her favorite TV shows, or fantasizing about her next vacation.

    Her first book, Clarity, received a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly, was a 2012 ALA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers, sold to nine countries, and was optioned for television by Warner Brothers.

    Find her: TWITTER, FACEBOOK, WEBSITE, BLOG, GOODREADS

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    Guest-Post

    This-or-that

    …with Donovan & Kane

    ***

    Books or Video Games

    Donovan – Video Games. Halo 4 is awesome.

    Kane – Video Games. Presently Madden 2013.

    Cake or Pie

    Donovan – Both are good. Birthday cake is always great.

    Kane – Boston Cream Pie. I know a great place in town. 😉

    Lifting Weights or Running

    Donovan – Is neither an option?

    Kane – Both. I have to keep in shape for lacrosse.

    Popularity or Invisibility

    Donovan – I’ve been both, kind of. They each have their pros and cons.

    Kane – Popularity. It makes life easier.

    Cars or Trucks

    Donovan – Car. I’m really not a truck guy.

    Kane – I’d take either!

    Blondes or Brunettes

    Donovan – Doesn’t matter. It’s what’s inside that’s important.

    Kane – I’ve had a bad track record with brunettes, so I’ll say blonde.

    Art or Sports

    Donovan – Art. It’s my thing.

    Kane – Sports. It’s my thing.

    Letting Go or Hanging On

    Donovan – I’m trying to get better at this. I’ll choose letting go.

    Kane – This is one we can agree on.

    Secrets or Truth

    Donovan – Truth, except when it can hurt someone.

    Kane – Secrets are nothing but trouble.

    Mean Girls or Nice Girls

    Donovan – Lots of guys think they can change a mean girl. Learn from my mistakes and go for the nice girl.

    Kane – I like girls with a little bit of an edge. So, I guess, somewhere in between.

    divider_2Oh I loved their answers! They say so much about who each of them is. Can you guess who might be just a little bit more shallow? But only just a little bit.

    And oh my gosh, I literally laughed out loud when Kane suggested a great place to go for pie in town. Seriously, Kane? Always angling, aren’t you?

    Anyway….

    This was so much fun to read knowing what I know about each of the boys. Their personalities were exactly as I’d have expected them to be from what I’d already known of them from THE DEAD AND BURIED.

    I would love to talk more about each of their answers, but I have a feeling I might let something slip. And it’s always better to discover things during the read. At least it is for me.

    And I would love to say thank you to Books Complete Me for putting together this awesome tour and to the author, Kim Harrington, for not only writing awesome books, this one most definitely included, but for sharing this guest post by her two swoon-y male characters here on the blog.

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    Be sure to visit all the stops on the tour to learn more about the author, the book, the characters, the gemstones, the fantasy cast and the playlist.

    onTOUR

    January 1st – January 18th

    Tour Schedule

    Jan. 1 – Mandy @ YA Books Central – Intro & Review

    Jan. 2 – Gabrielle @ Mod Podge Bookshelf – Author Interview

    Jan. 3 – Giselle @ Xpresso Reads – Review

    Jan. 4 – Savannah@ Books with Bite – Author’s Top 5 Ghost Books/Stories

    Jan. 7 – Jen @ Hypable – Review

    Jan. 8 – Christin @ Portrait of a Book – Fantasy Casting

    Jan. 9 – Rachel @ Fiktshun – This or That with Donovan & Kane

    Jan. 10 – Amber @ Page Turners Blog – Review

    Jan. 11 – Yara @ Once Upon a Twilight – Scenarios & Gemstones

    Jan. 14 – Heidi @ YA Bibliophile – Review

    Jan. 15 – Andrea @ ReadingLark – Mini Review & Author Interview

    Jan. 16 – Julie @ Bloggers[heart]Books – Review

    Jan. 17 – Katie @ Mundie Moms – Playlist

    Jan. 18 – Damaris @ Good Choice Reading – Interview

    04

    giveaway

    The tour host has included an awesome giveaway as part of this tour for a galley of THE DEAD AND BURIED to THREE (3) WINNERS – U.S. Only. To enter, just follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter.

    Note: It is the same entry form on all the blogs.

    If you haven’t already, enter in the Rafflecopter below…

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

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    Review: The Dead and Buried

    The Dead and Buried

    THE DEAD AND BURIED by Kim Harrington was released in the U.S. on January 1, 2013 in hardcover and eBook formats. It is currently available to order online in both formats at AMAZON and BARNES & NOBLE.

    Published by Point, an imprint of Scholastic, the print edition is 304 pages.

    ***

    Goodreads description:

    A haunted house, a buried mystery, and a very angry ghost make this one unforgettable thriller.

    Jade loves the house she’s just moved into with her family. She doesn’t even mind being the new girl at the high school: It’s a fresh start, and there’s that one guy with the dreamy blue eyes. . . . But then things begin happening. Strange, otherworldly things. Jade’s little brother claims to see a glimmering girl in his room. Jade’s jewelry gets moved around, as if by an invisible hand. Kids at school whisper behind her back like they know something she doesn’t.

    Soon, Jade must face an impossible fact: that her perfect house is haunted. Haunted by a ghost who’s seeking not just vengeance, but the truth. The ghost of a girl who ruled Jade’s school — until her untimely death last year. It’s up to Jade to put the pieces together before her own life is at stake. As Jade investigates the mystery, she discovers that her new friends in town have more than a few deep, dark secrets. But is one of them a murderer?

    ***

    Kim Harrington delivers yet another exciting, suspenseful and fun to read mystery in THE DEAD AND BURIED. With plenty of suspects to keep readers guessing, a vengeful ghost to give them chills and a touch of romance to make them smile, this story of murder, mean girls and a haunted house will keep the pages turning.

    For years Jade Kelley wanted to leave the small, isolated town and the old, drafty home she grew up in. Her wish was finally coming true and she was excited. Even though it meant starting her senior year of high school somewhere new and that she’d only be there for a year before heading off to college.

    But the new house her father and stepmother bought was perfect. She couldn’t have been happier.

    Until the kids at school started whispering behind her back. Until she started to notice that the things in her room weren’t always where she left them. Until her little brother Colby mentioned seeing a girl in his room that no one else could see. Until she started to feel an unexplainable chill in the air.

    And until she discovered the reason why her family could afford such a beautiful home in such a nice neighborhood.

    Author Kim Harrington did a fantastic job in creating this mystery. She managed to cast suspicion on a number of characters. She revealed enough to allow readers to start putting the pieces of the puzzle together. She made the main character’s sleuthing efforts believable. And she even included a love story which added angst and heartache to this suspense-filled tale.

    Jade is a likable and clever, loyal and protective heroine. She is someone who forms her own opinions and doesn’t allow others to make up her mind for her. She is independent and isn’t afraid to be exactly who she is. But she’s not so different as to be unrelatable. She’s still shy around the kids at her new school, nervous and angry and hurt by her father, and frightened by what’s going on in her picture perfect home.

    With a few twists and turns, a couple of spine-tingling moments, a mystery that will leave room for doubt as to whodunit and a cast of characters that are fun to get to know, THE DEAD AND BURIED is an incredibly entertaining, at times chilling, tension-filled and captivating read.

    Reviewer gives this book…

    5

    On a personal note…

    I am a huge fan of mystery stories. And I’m an even bigger fan of Kim Harrington’s writing. Put the two together and I’m in love.

    I was a little nervous about meeting a new character, as I loved the author’s CLARITY series and the characters in that series. But Jade was such a likable and relatable character for me. She had a maturity to her which seemed appropriate for someone who lost her mother at a young age and took on such a protective role of her younger brother, Colby.

    More than that, though, I loved that she chose her own path, didn’t ditch her less than popular friend just because she could have and didn’t instantly label someone as guilty because someone told her they were.

    I loved that she fought hard against the love triangle that seemed insistent on forming even though she didn’t want it to. And I loved that she was inquisitive and not just because she had to be.

    My favorite parts, however – aside from all things Donovan, of course – were the peeks into Kayla Sloane’s diary. With each peek another part to the puzzle was revealed. Sometimes it was a small part, but it gave the most insight into just what may have happened.

    And while I adored Jade, I can’t say the same for Kayla. Now that girl was seriously messed up. She was power-hungry, malicious and downright evil at times. She may not have deserved what happened to her, but what she did to Jade and Colby made me think that maybe she did.

    I was totally caught up in the mystery even though I knew exactly who did it from the moment I first “met” the character who did it. Not that it was in any way easy or obvious. But this is the third mystery I’ve read by this author. The fact that it took three books for me to be this quick on the uptake is a testament to the author’s skill at crafting her mysteries.

    And it was so much fun to be proven right, to follow along as Jade tried to figure things out. All the while being bullied by a certain angry ghost, being pursued by a boy she wasn’t really interested in and being put on an emotional roller coaster by a boy she was.

    I absolutely loved this story and its characters, especially Jade, Colby, Robot Girl and the Cute Boy and with the possible exceptions of the Fruity-Smelling Girl and Perfect Boy. And no, I don’t plan on revealing who they are. And yes, I love the nicknames.

    This was such a fun read that had it all – a mystery, mean girls, swoon-worthy boys, and a haunted house. And you can bet that I did get a chill or two. Especially when that one thing happened with Colby. And then it happened again.

    Favorite passage…

    I have a few passages that I love, but as they are all slightly spoiler-y and would definitely take away from the surprise factor, I won’t include them here. There’s also this one quote about secrets that resonates.

    But I thought I’d include one that made me smile instead. And no, I won’t reveal just who Jade’s speaking to or just what her answer is.

    There were only a few inches between us now and I felt each one. He leaned in and whispered in my ear, “So it’s okay if I do this?”

    He kissed my earlobe, then his lips trailed down my neck, then back up to my cheek. He stopped at my lips, and I realized he was waiting for a response.

     

    Source: This review is based on a printed ARC I received from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

     

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    Review: Perception

    Perception by Kim Harrington will be released in the U.S. on March 1, 2012 in hardcover format. It is currently available to pre-order online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

    Published by Point, an imprint of Scholastic, the print edition is 288 pages.

    Perception is the sequel to Clarity by author Kim Harrington.

    ***

    Goodreads description:

    When you can see things others can’t, what do you do when someone’s watching you?

    Everybody knows about Clarity “Clare” Fern. She’s the psychic girl in school, the one who can place her hands on something and see hidden visions from the past.

    Only Clare would rather not be a celebrity. She prefers hanging back, observing. Her gift is not a game to her.

    But then someone starts playing with her head . . . and heart. Messages and gifts from a secret admirer crop up everywhere Clare turns. Could they be from Gabriel, the gorgeous boy who gets Clare’s pulse racing? Or from Justin, Clare’s hopeful ex-boyfriend who’d do anything to win her back?

    One thing is certain. Clare needs to solve this mystery, and soon. Because the messages are becoming sinister, and a girl in town has suddenly disappeared.

    ***

    Things have finally started to quiet down for Clarity Fern after the events that took place over the summer landed her in the spotlight. While she was happy not to be called the town “freak” anymore, by almost everyone, she preferred not to be the center of attention.

    But not everything has returned to normal. Brooke and Kendra, two of the Barbie Brigade that used to torment her, now treat her like she’s their new best friend. Her brother Perry is no longer the outgoing, social, flirty and fun older brother he used to be. And it seems she has a secret admirer.

    When notes and flowers begin to show up at school and at home, Clare is flattered. Since she hasn’t been able to choose between Justin, her ex, and Gabriel, a very tempting possibility, she assumes it’s one of them.

    But she starts to grow concerned when it feels as if she’s being watched and followed. Even though she thinks she’s probably imagining things, she isn’t so quick to disregard what she’s feeling, because as a psychic her intuition is almost never wrong.

    Someone is behind all of it. She just has to find out who. And if that wasn’t enough of a mystery for her to solve, it appears that a girl has gone missing. Someone she may be able to help find using her abilities.

    Things don’t seem to stay quiet in Eastport for long. And Clare just can’t stay out of danger. At least she can count on Tiffany to be her same cruel, tormenting, back-stabbing and completely normal self.

    ***

    Perception is an immensely entertaining story, a captivating mystery and a thoroughly enjoyable one-sit-read. This incredibly fast-paced sequel, with characters that are exciting and either lovable, detestable or somewhere in between, is utterly engaging and has such an easy flow.

    The story returns readers to Eastport and picks up shortly after the events in Clarity ended. Clarity “Clare” Fern has started her Junior year in high school and is attempting to once again fade into the background. But not everyone is willing to let that happen.

    With a secret admirer who may be more stalker than admirer and a missing girl who may have simply just run away or could already be dead, Clare has two pretty big mysteries to solve. All the while still trying to decide whether to forgive Justin or to take a chance on Gabriel.

    As the mystery deepens and the danger to Clare becomes more real, she’ll have to rely on more than just her psychic abilities to find answers and she’ll have to put her trust in someone. She just hopes it’s the right someone.

    Author Kim Harrington has followed up her debut novel with a sequel that is just as charming, just as exciting and just as suspenseful. Her main character, Clare Fern is every bit as strong as she was, perhaps even stronger because of all she’s been through, and if possible, even more likable.

    She is smart, kind and compassionate. And it is her interest in solving the mystery and her willingness to help, even when helping could put her at risk, that make her such an endearing character.

    While some of the other characters from the first book aren’t as prominent in this second book in the series, new characters are added to the mix that are just as engaging, intriguing or suspicion-inducing, giving readers more characters to question, doubt and mistrust, and giving this series room to grow.

    As the story progresses, the pace escalates and the tension continues to build, all leading up to a dramatic finish in which all is revealed.

    Perception is an absolutely delightful story and a must read for those looking for a quick and fun mystery with a paranormal twist, an abundance of enticing characters and an ending that won’t leave off at the edge of a cliff.

    Reviewer gives this book…

    On a personal note:

    I absolutely love this sequel. I loved Clarity and I love Perception just as much. It was such an adorable, fun and super quick read. Just as I knew it would be. I really hope there is a third book planned in this series because I already miss Clare, Gabriel, Perry, Starla and even Justin.

    For the record, I do not miss Tiffany.

    Clare Fern is an easy to love heroine – one of my favorites. She’s sweet, clever, caring and understanding. But she’s not a total pushover. And she has this awesome ability – retrocognitive psychometry – which she wants to use to help others rather than as some party trick or way to make money.

    I loved getting back into the world, seeing my favorite characters again, meeting new ones and being challenged to solve the mysteries. While I had that “aha” moment and was able to figure out whodunit right away, I was still captivated by the story and it was totally fun to see Clare try to puzzle things out.

    Once again the author did an amazing job making almost all the characters seem suspicious. And while one stood out to me, I could just as easily have been wrong, like I was when I read Clarity. And before I end up letting something slip, I’ll stop talking about the mystery.

    But for the same reason, it’s also impossible to talk about the characters without giving something away. Any of them. Old or new. There were a few new and interesting characters in this series, but I can’t say whether I liked them or not without spoiling the mystery. And I can’t say whether or not I was happy to see certain old characters again, because that would be spoiler-y, too.

    Though, I suppose I can say that there were characters I loved, characters I wanted to love, characters who gave me the heebie-jeebies, characters I really hoped weren’t guilty and characters I really hoped were.

    And I can’t not talk about the love triangle. I absolutely love the love triangle in this book. While it wasn’t the main focus of the story, it was always there in the background. Neither boy was an obvious choice. And Clare’s decision wasn’t a guaranteed one. Which made me very, very nervous.

    While I had my favorite, I had no idea if he would be Clare’s pick or even if she’d choose either boy. This was one mystery that kept me in the dark for the entire book. And I mean the entire book. No early answers to that question.

    As with the first book, the mysteries were solved and everything was wrapped up pretty nicely in the end. I am just keeping fingers and toes crossed that there will be many more books to come in this series. I would be totally happy to devour them all.

    ***

    I had a couple of passages I loved, but only one favorite:

    Gabriel studied me for a moment. “You don’t realize it, do you?”

    I blinked, twice. “Realize what?”

    “What makes you different makes you beautiful.”

    My breath caught in my throat.

    Book trailer for the Clarity novels:

    This review is based on an ARC I received from the publisher, Scholastic, in exchange for my honest opinion.

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