ARC Review | Strange and Ever After (Something Strange and Deadly, #3)

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Strange and Ever After

Author: Susan Dennard
Series: Something Strange and Deadly, #3
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Historical Fiction
Publisher: HarperTeen
Expected Publication Date: July 22nd, 2014
Format: eARC
Source: FFBC
Purchase: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iBooks

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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.

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** I received an advanced copy from HarperTeen via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.**

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First Impression

Something Strange and Deadly was a series I’d hear people talk about often but in all honesty I really had no idea that they were talking about. So I finally did my research, read the synopsis and I knew this would be a good series!! How often do you come across the combination of zombies in an historical setting? Never. While I did really want to read the books I never had the motivation to start them until I came across the blog tour. I went out and bought the previous books and dove head first into this world, and boy I’m happy I did!

Opening Lines

I was not suppose to be here. Oliver would be furious. Joseph even more so. This dock was the no-man’s-land between realms. It was a place for ghosts.”

The Good

Sometimes books can be predictable, okay most times, but especially when a series comes to an end. When I started Something Strange and Deadly I didn’t know what to expect, neither with A Darkness Strange and Lovely. Although, I have to admit I feel like A Darkness Strange and Lovely suffered a bit from middle book syndrome. But when it came to Strange and Ever After I thought I had it all mapped out. I didn’t think there would be any MORE surprises and I was beyond wrong. The thing that I loved the most about this book was the character development, through the past books we see Eleanor trying to come to terms with all that is right and wrong and I feel that as a final book she finally blossomed! Now Oliver and Daniel, I wasn’t sure what path she would take with these two characters and you won’t be able to either.

Now for the heartbreaking part: the ending. While I was getting closer and closer to finishing Strange and Ever After I started to realize where Susan was going. I screamed “NO!” at my book because I couldn’t believe she would actually do it, but she did! She gives you an ending you don’t really see coming, and although I hate it, it was the perfect and most fitting ending I could ask for. Lastly, I found that as each book was written Susan just kept on improving. Not to say that the previous books were written poorly, they weren’t, it was just that she was so descriptive in the final installment and I went through so many different feelings! I’ll leave you with two quotes that I loved and are the only ones that won’t really spoil anything. While this review can seem vague I just don’t won’t to spoil ANYTHING for anybody, because this book was beautiful as much as it was perfect and one I think everyone needs read.

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“…because I could not have my good-bye. My final “I love you”. There would be nothing.”

“Tears ran down my cheeks, but I didn’t mind. They were as common as spring rain these days-and I hoped just as cleansing.

The Bad

  • The fact that it had to come to an END!!! But really there is nothing I would consider bad.

The In-Between

  • Still haven’t come across anything.

Lasting Impression

Overall, Strange and Ever After is a beautifully written conclusion to this trilogy. I can’t express how much I want everyone to pick up this book! If you haven’t read this book yet, get it! If you haven’t read the previous books, go pick them up! Strange and Ever After won’t be released until July 22nd, so you have time! I’m so excited and looking forward to Susan’s next series Truthwitch that is expected to release sometime in 2015, let the waiting game begin.

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4.5 stars

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– One (1) hardback copy of Strange and Ever After (US only)
– One (1) E-book of Strange and Ever After (INT)
*Giveaway ends on July 22nd, 2014!*

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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I am a writer, reader, lover of animals, and eater of cookies. I used to be a marine biologist, but now I write novels. And not novels about fish either, but novels about kick-butt heroines and swoon-worthy rogues (I really like swoon-worthy rogues).

I live in the Midwest with my husband and two dogs (Asimov and Princess Leia), and you can learn more about my crazy thoughts and crippling cookie-addiction on my blog or twitter.

My debut, SOMETHING STRANGE AND DEADLY is now available from HarperTeen along with the prequel, A DAWN MOST WICKED, and the sequel A DARKNESS STRANGE & LOVELY.

Look for STRANGE & EVER AFTER in summer 2014 and TRUTHWITCH in fall 2015!

Note: I am on Goodreads to READ. So, if you want to discuss books and the joys of literature, add me as a friend.

Links: Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook

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Waiting on Wednesday (7): Gates of Thread and Stone

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**Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights highly anticipated upcoming releases.**

Gates of Thread and Stone

Author: Lori M. Lee
Series: Gates of Thread and Stone, #1
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Science Fiction
Publisher: Skyscape
Expected Publication Date: August 5th, 2014
Format: Hardcover

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In the Labyrinth, we had a saying: keep silent, keep still, keep safe.

In a city of walls and secrets, where only one man is supposed to possess magic, seventeen-year-old Kai struggles to keep hidden her own secret—she can manipulate the threads of time. When Kai was eight, she was found by Reev on the riverbank, and her “brother” has taken care of her ever since. Kai doesn’t know where her ability comes from—or where she came from. All that matters is that she and Reev stay together, and maybe one day move out of the freight container they call home, away from the metal walls of the Labyrinth. Kai’s only friend is Avan, the shopkeeper’s son with the scandalous reputation that both frightens and intrigues her.

Then Reev disappears. When keeping silent and safe means losing him forever, Kai vows to do whatever it takes to find him. She will leave the only home she’s ever known and risk getting caught up in a revolution centuries in the making. But to save Reev, Kai must unravel the threads of her past and face shocking truths about her brother, her friendship with Avan, and her unique power.

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When it comes to Waiting on Wednesday I always pick a book that will be released the same week, the week after, or within that month. However, this doesn’t seem to apply for this weeks Waiting on Wednesday. All the books that are coming out this month I either got very lucky and got an e-ARC or I’m not THAT excited for it to be released and probably won’t buy it or read anytime soon. So I had to go and search for a book coming out in August!

I added Gates of Thread and Stone to my tbr shelf in May and when I first came across it on Goodreads all I saw was Fantasy and Time travel and I automatically added it to my shelf. And of course there was the beautiful design on the cover that caught my eye, can you blame me?! Look at that cover! It’s just so beautiful. At I later date I finally decided to read the synopsis and I was even more excited for its release!! There are 5 books in total for the month of August that I’m beyond excited for and Gates of Thread and Stone is #1! What are the other 4 you ask? You’ll just have to wait and see ;).

What book are you currently waiting on?!

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Blog Tour: Forever Layla

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Forever Layla

Author: Melissa Turner Lee
Series: N/A
Genre: YA, Science Fiction, Contemporary
Publisher: AltWit Press
Publication Date: May 27th, 2014
Format: ebook
Pages: 217
Source: IFB
Purchase: Amazon

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What if the woman you envied most is the person you are destined to become?

In 1994, high school senior David Foster was the lackey and soundboard geek for his best friend’s grunge band. During spring break, the band lands a dream gig playing at a motel in Myrtle Beach, SC. David expected all the girls to ogle the guys on stage, but when a beautiful blond “Bond Girl” approaches him and calls him by name, he’s shocked to find out she knows more about him than a stranger should.

She even knows about his notebooks and his visions of time travel.

What she thought was a quick time-travel-sightseeing trip takes a surprising turn when she meets the young adult version of the man she’d heard stories about as a child. His fairy-tale romance with the woman he’d loved, Layla, inspired her to accept nothing less than a love just as strong…but hopefully not as tragic. When she won’t tell the younger version of him her name, he calls her Layla–and the world as she knows it changes forever.

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Whatever happens, the pain and sorrow will be worth it in the long run.

When I signed up for the blog tour for Forever Layla and read the synopsis it peaked my interest. However, when I finished the first chapter I became hooked! I’m normally easily confused when it comes to time travel, it’s a complex concept to have in stories and most times authors do a poor job at covering all their bases. This however was not the case for Melissa.

The story is split from being told from David’s perspective and then it switches to Layla. I actually enjoyed this style; it allowed for getting a better sense of both characters and the chance to build a connection. While this was a solid story I wasn’t a fan of the ending, I found it was so abrupt and didn’t follow the overall flow of Forever Layla.

Overall, this was a unique and captivating read. I definitely recommend Forever Layla to anyone who wants a great romance, with strong characters and a well laid out plot.

3.5 Stars

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[US Only]
* Win a signed copy of Forever Layla + swag.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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“David?” a soft feminine voice spoke my name.

I glanced up to see the biggest brownest eyes framed by the longest blackest lashed I’d ever seen. I glanced down to focus on the rest of her. The form fitting black dress she wore hugged every curve down to her toned and tanned legs.

My gaze trailed on down to her fancy black heels and then back up at her face. She was hot…like model hot. I couldn’t blink or think as I stared at her beautiful face framed by large amounts of blonde hair and a pair of large hoop earrings. She didn’t look like the other girls with her eye makeup, glossy pink lips and the way her hair was puffed up and styled. She looked like she had just stepped out of one of the James Bond movies Dad and I liked to watch on TV.”

“I glanced around the crowd of girls in cutoffs, t-shirts, Keds and stringy hair. Her look wasn’t in style at the moment. Most girls were doing the grunge and hippie thing, but Bond girls never went out of style with guys. I tried to say something, but I think I just stared and possibly stuttered before a wheeze came out. She reached for the inhaler in my shirt pocket and handed it to me. I took a puff as she shook her head smiling.

“It is you.” A look of pure wonder and amazement lit her face. She blinked, making her thick and extremely long lashes flutter like butterfly wings. “I can’t believe it. You wear glasses now.”

I pushed them back on my nose self-consciously as I put away my inhaler. “Yeah, like since the third grade.” I eyed her up and down once more and worked hard to remember to breathe. “Do I know you?”

“Kind of…Well not really. I’m…” she shifted her eyes to the side without moving her head and bit her lips like she needed to remember something and stopped for a moment before she continued. “Ugh! I suck at this. You’ll never let me do this again if I mess this up.” She shook her head and then turned her attention back to me. “No, you don’t know me, but I know all about you. Let’s just put it that way.”

Her grin said something was up.

 

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Melissa Turner Lee holds a BA in Communications with a concentration in Journalism from the University of South Carolina. She has studied fiction writing since 2008, attending various writing conferences and workshops, along with guidance from professional writing coaches. She resides in Spartanburg, SC with her husband and 3 sons.

Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook

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