Tag: Paranormal (page 1 of 45)

BOOK REVIEW: Before the Devil Breaks You (The Diviners #3) by Libba Bray

BOOK REVIEW: Before the Devil Breaks You (The Diviners #3) by Libba BrayBefore the Devil Breaks You (The Diviners #3)
by Libba Bray
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

New York City.
1927.
Lights are bright.
Jazz is king.
Parties are wild.
And the dead are coming...

After battling a supernatural sleeping sickness that early claimed two of their own, the Diviners have had enough of lies. They're more determined than ever to uncover the mystery behind their extraordinary powers, even as they face off against an all-new terror. Out on Ward's Island, far from the city's bustle, sits a mental hospital haunted by the lost souls of people long forgotten--ghosts who have unusual and dangerous ties to the man in the stovepipe hat, also known as the King of Crows.

With terrible accounts of murder and possession flooding in from all over, and New York City on the verge of panic, the Diviners must band together and brave the sinister ghosts invading the asylum, a fight that will bring them fact-to-face with the King of Crows. But as the explosive secrets of the past come to light, loyalties and friendships will be tested, love will hang in the balance, and the Diviners will question all that they've ever known. All the while, malevolent forces gather from every corner in a battle for the very soul of a nation--a fight that could claim the Diviners themselves.

Review:

In this history, someone wins and someone loses. There are patriots and enemies. Folk heroes who save the day. Vanquished foes who had it coming. It’s all in the telling. The conquered have no voice.

I…..I am left without knowing quite what to say. I stayed up until around 1 a.m. last night to finish this because I couldn’t bear to stop. The story would not let me stop. I know that isn’t really even that late compared to how late I’ve stayed up in the past for a book but I can guarantee you it’s the latest I’ve stayed up reading since having my daughter. This series has had be on an emotional roller coaster the past few weeks. I have not read Bray’s writing in years so I had forgotten how consuming it can be. I’ve been terrified, I’ve been hurt, I’ve been worried, I’ve been in love. Even as I sit typing this, when I think about everything that happened in the last half of the book, my heart starts beating faster. Honestly, this has been the most visceral reading experience I’ve had in a LONG time.

“Aw, Sheba. I didn’t mean anything by that. Look, I know I’m no egghead and I’m no saint. I can’t heal like Memphis or play the piano like Henry. And I sure don’t look like Freddy the Giant,” he said, exposing his own soft wound. “But I got my own kind of smarts, from the streets, and when I go after something, well, just try’n shake me off. I’m an odd fella, but I know I’m an odd fella. What I can’t figure out is why you gotta make yourself crackers trying to be somebody you can’t ever be instead of just letting yourself be the one and only Evie O’Neill.”

I want to do my best to give away as little as possible. I’m always one for reading ahead or looking at spoilers and other than looking to see what happened at the end of Lair of Dreams I was good. I had NO idea what to expect for this one other than having certain gut feelings throughout the book. I want to warn you all, this book—this entire series—is dark. There are horrible ghosts, there is death, there is racism and bigotry. While I abso-posi-tutely loved reading about this era, it was so hard reading about the racism. Like seriously when everything goes to shit at the end with the King of Crows and certain deaths, etc., all I could think about was “yeah sure, they’ll probably defeat him in the next book but Memphis and Theta will still never be able to live peacefully in love. Henry will never be able to get married. Ling will always be judged for both the color of her skin and because of her braces.” GAHHH I hate that that’s the way things used to be…that that’s the way it still sometimes is now. It’s unfair and it sucks and I will never understand why people can’t just let other people be happy. It’s a load of B.S. if you ask me.

“I suppose it’s all in how you define patriotism. Some say that’s only saying good things about your country. Others say that it’s speaking against what you feel is wrong with your country and trying to make a change.” 

BUT, I don’t want to make it seem like everything is just a huge suckfest. No. This book has love and joy and hope as well. Just because Theta and Memphis’s relationship is looked down upon, doesn’t mean it affects their love for one another in any way. Nothing stops Henry or Ling from being exactly who they are as well. And as for Evie and the kinda-love triangle….oh baby. My lips are sealed muahahaha. 

Seriously though, the second half of this book was my favorite. It’s all like BAM BAM BAM in your face. Here’s a tad of information you might want, but then boom, here’s a little more mystery to add to your ??? files. You learn so much about Project Buffalo that is so messed up but still I have more questions about James and Sam’s mom and the weird blue serum that Marlowe gives to Jericho. It’s just so crazy think about how “simple” things were in the first book –lolol yeah right, but you’ll see what I mean if you read these. Then they were just dealing with one murderous ghost, not an endless supply. One thing that held the test of time, though, is the friendships. In fact, the motley group of characters have become a family, they become the reader’s family. I care so much for each of them that I will be so sad to see them go after the next book…fingers crossed they all live.

He was beautiful to her. She reached her hand toward him, and if she lived for a hundred years more, she would never forget his expression, as if he had been lost in a dark wood for a very long time and she had just opened the door to him, light spilling out to let him know he was home at last.

I am so deeply in need of the fourth book it’s not even funny. After everything that happened in the last half of the book I am left empty and with little hope. There is going to be a great reckoning and I am so nervous to see how everything comes to an end.

LIBBA PLZ GIVE US EVEN A ROUGH RELEASE DATE.

In our shrouds, we look up and watch you. . . You, who ask, “Am I enough?” You, who pray to leave a mark. You, so full of life. You, capable of such moments of transcendent beauty that it shifts the atoms of history into an ecstatic sigh. You, who erect the monuments so that you’ll remember, for a time. You, who will also wither and die. We marvel at your endless capacity to dream and create and, yes, even to love. To keep inventing yourselves. To ignore history’s lessons. To rewrite the story again and again. We wish you love. And dreams. And hope.

BOOK REVIEW: Lair of Dreams (The Diviners #2) by Libba Bray

BOOK REVIEW: Lair of Dreams (The Diviners #2) by Libba BrayLair of Dreams (The Diviners #2)
by Libba Bray
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

The longing of dreams draws the dead, and this city holds many dreams.

After a supernatural showdown with a serial killer, Evie O’Neill has outed herself as a Diviner. With her uncanny ability to read people’s secrets, she’s become a media darling, earning the title “America’s Sweetheart Seer.” Everyone’s in love with the city’s newest It Girl…everyone except the other Diviners.

Piano-playing Henry DuBois and Chinatown resident Ling Chan are two Diviners struggling to keep their powers a secret—for they can walk in dreams. And while Evie is living the high life, victims of a mysterious sleeping sickness are turning up across New York City.

As Henry searches for a lost love and Ling strives to succeed in a world that shuns her, a malevolent force infects their dreams. And at the edges of it all lurks a man in a stovepipe hat who has plans that extend farther than anyone can guess…As the sickness spreads, can the Diviners descend into the dreamworld to save the city?

In this heart-stopping sequel to The Diviners, Printz Award-winning and New York Times bestselling author Libba Bray takes readers deeper into the mystical underbelly of New York City.

Review:

The land has a memory. 

Every stream and river runs with a confession of sorts, history whispered over rocks, lifted in the beaks of birds at a stream, carried out to the sea. Buffalo thunder across plains whose soil was watered with the blood of battles long since relegated to musty books on forgotten shelves. Fields once strewn with blue and gray now flower with uneasy buds. The slave master snaps the lash, and generations later, the ancestral scars remain.

Under it all, the dead lie, remembering.

At this point I honestly don’t know whether I should race to finish book three to see how things progress or take my time and savor it as much as I can. You see, there is no publication date yet for book four and the trend ~seems~ to be that she is taking two years to write each book. I mean…if that’s the case, COOL. Before the Devil Breaks You came out last year so that means the fourth could possible come out next year….right??!?!? Either way, you better be sure I will be stalking the GR page, Libba’s website, and every other media outlet available until I catch of wiff of a due date. That is reason #1230942830598 how you know you’ve found a good series.

“Did she just say they’d drag the river for your body?” T. S. Woodhouse asked, his pencil poised above his open notebook. 
Sam sighed like a man deeply in love. “She did, the little bearcat. It’s the only defense that poor, helpless girl’s got against the animal pull of our love. Uh, you can quote me on that.”

This book was a great sequel to its predecessor, though I will admit that it scared me a lot less (and that is NOT a bad thing). It picks up shortly after the first left off and it seems that Evie exposing herself as a Diviner has made her quite famous. She landed herself a radio talk show where she reads people’s items and basically tells them the positive things they want to hear. With her sass and genial personality, she has become New York’s Sweetheart Seer and has won the hearts of many. One heart that she did not immediately win over, though, was mine. I can’t lie, there were parts of this book where I became frustrated and annoyed with Evie because she was drinking and partying a LOT and it seemed to me like she was brushing off anything serious and ditching her friends. For some reason, it just didn’t click with me that she might be getting/staying drunk and making light of everything because that was the only way she knew how to cope with EVERYTHING that happened at the end of the last book. She and Sam had a conversation about it towards the end of this book and I kind of sat there for a second, thinking, damnit Arielle, of course Evie wasn’t doing all of that on purpose!!! I mean let’s face it, I can’t even think about that last scene with Naughty John without scaring myself and it’s all just a story…it makes perfect sense that Evie would be seriously changed and scarred by the event. I just needed that all to be said in case anyone initially has the same thoughts as me!

Sam had a skill that often let him take what he needed. But you couldn’t do that with love. It had to be given. Shared. Through the window, Evie saw him. She made a funny face—a silly gesture—and Sam felt it deep inside.

Anywayyyyys this story, while still featuring all of our favorites from the first book, centers more about Henry and a new character, Ling, who can always dream-walk. After a chance encounter in a dream one night, Henry finds Ling in real life and convinces her to help him find Louis’s dream so he could suggest him in his dreams to come to New York to be with Henry. 

Before I go on, I just need to say that I loved Ling’s character in this book! After being annoyed with Evie’s occasional surface level-ness, Ling was so blunt and straightforward about everything. She seemed like just the right person to add to the group. Another thing that I loved about her/ these books that I never mentioned in my first review is the diversity we see. Henry is gay, Memphis and Theta are an interracial couple, and Ling is disabled (has to wear braces/ use crutches because of a sickness that basically destroyed her leg muscles) and bi-racial (we also see how immigrants were poorly treated, too). Obviously each of those things can still be hard for people to deal with today but it was VERY interesting to see how they coped with being “different” in the 20s. My heart hurt for all of them for different reasons on multiple occasions but it was refreshing to have these characters and see how they just went on and lived their lives anyway. AND it’s a sad reminder that people have had to deal with people’s ignorance and intolerable BS basically forever.

But I digress. Back to the plot. The main new obstacle in this book is something called the Sleeping Sickness. People are being preyed upon in their dreams and if they “agree” to keep dreaming, they are stuck in a deep sleep, unable to wake up until they are basically burned up from the inside. Yeah, pretty messed up, right? Well even more messed up is that the area that is being the most affected is China Town and people are becoming extremely restless. It’s up to our favorite Diviners to save the day! Ugh, this book has a lot of sadness to it in my opinion. You find out more about Henry’s back story, you find out about a third dream-walker’s story, and you feel bad for Isaiah because Uncle Bill is THE WORST, UGH, Mabel feels like she isn’t special and keeps being ditched by Evie, the list continues on…

I also may have said book one scared me more, but don’t take that to mean this one isn’t scary. The thought of going down into a dark subway tunnel with weird animalistic ghost creatures chasing you IS REALLY SCARY, TOO. No thanks. I hope I come out of this series as a braver person, I really do lol.

But the gin had loosened the last of Evie’s restraint. “I’ve seen you. The true you. I’ve held your secrets in my hands. You’re scared, Sam. You pretend you’re not, but you are. Just like the rest of us.”

By this point in my review I finally noticed that three out of my five quotes are from Sam or Sam/Evie. Oops. No regrets. Their fake engagement was basically my favorite part of this book. I want to tell people that there is kind of a love triangle only…it’s not a typical one like with Bella/Edward/Jacob or Tessa/Will/Jem. Jericho likes Evie. Sam likes Evie. Evie has kissed both and kind of likes them both but isn’t particularly *with* either one of them (other than the fake engagement, of course, lol). In my heart, I think it will be Sam, and want it to be Sam. You just don’t get an opening meeting like they did and have nothing happen. No. Way. Plus uhhhh they had some pos-i-tute-ly dreamy tension a few times. Looooooved it. Also, I loved that he trusted her enough to tell her about Project Buffalo and wanting her to help him find his mom. 

BTW I HAVE SO MANY QUESTIONS ABOUT HIS MOM AND EVIE’S BROTHER AND THE CROW GUY SEEMS SCARY AF, TOO HELP ME.

For dreams, too, are ghosts, desires chased in sleep, gone by morning. The longing of dreams draws the dead, and this city holds many dreams.

Soooo yeah, on the level, I’m probably just going to binge book three because let’s face it, how could I ever try to pace myself with these characters characters and a story like this?!

BOOK REVIEW: The Diviners (The Diviners #1) by Libba Bray

BOOK REVIEW: The Diviners (The Diviners #1) by Libba BrayThe Diviners (The Diviners #1)
by Libba Bray
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Evie O’Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City—and she is pos-i-tute-ly ecstatic. It’s 1926, and New York is filled with speakeasies, Ziegfeld girls, and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is that she has to live with her uncle Will and his unhealthy obsession with the occult.

Evie worries he’ll discover her darkest secret: a supernatural power that has only brought her trouble so far. But when the police find a murdered girl branded with a cryptic symbol and Will is called to the scene, Evie realizes her gift could help catch a serial killer.

As Evie jumps headlong into a dance with a murderer, other stories unfold in the city that never sleeps. A young man named Memphis is caught between two worlds. A chorus girl named Theta is running from her past. A student named Jericho hides a shocking secret. And unknown to all, something dark and evil has awakened.

Review:

There is no greater power on this earth than story.

The fact that it has taken me six years to read this is a complete travesty. I have read, re-read, and loved the Gemma Doyle trilogy so I KNEW that I would love these too whenever I got my lazy ass around to reading them. I swear I picked this up a few different times over the years and I don’t even know what happened..maybe the size daunted me at those points in my life (which seems inconceivable since I actively look for huge ass YA books)??? Either way, surprise, surprise. Here we finally are, with me having finished the first, almost halfway through the second, and loving every page. THANK YOU CHELSEA FOR TALKING THESE UP SO I FINALLY TOOK THE PLUNGE!

But what was the point of living so quietly you made no noise at all?
“Oh Evie, you’re too much,” people said, and it wasn’t complimentary. Yes, she was too much. She felt like too much inside all the time. So why wasn’t she ever enough? 

I honestly don’t even know where to begin so I suppose I’ll start by impressing upon you how good of a writer that Libba Bray is. Phenomenal. That one word is all you really need to know. She thinks, or for the sake of this series ~dreams~, up these incredibly rich and three-dimensional characters that you can’t imagine ever not knowing. You NEED to know they are going to be okay, you fall in love when they fall in love, you bleed when they bleed (well, your heart does as least)…..you get it. Dahhling Evie, sensible Mabel, serious Jericho, *SAM*, snarky Theta, sweet Henry, dreamer Memphis ALL OF THEM, love them. Great writing makes you forget that book characters aren’t actually real and that you aren’t in your house, lying in bed, in 2018. In one of my darling GR friend’s reviews (Em-Check it out here) they said something along the lines of feeling nostalgia for the 20’s after reading this book, which is crazy because obviously she (and I) have never lived during that time. And I LOVED that thought. When you find an author that immerses you so deeply into an entirely new or foreign place or even a time period, that you begin to feel a sense of nostalgia for it….you know you’ve found a winner. I can only hope and pray that the fourth book doesn’t take too long out.

Mabel shrugged. “Suit yourself. Here have a nightgown.”
Evie held up the chaste, high-necked gown, examining it with a scowl. 
“If I should die in the night, please remove this.” 

The next thing I need to mention is how fking scary this book is. I went into it prepared, because of what I had heard from Chels, BUT STILL. I am one of the biggest scaredy cats I know—I mean HORRIFYED of the dark—there were many times where I had to stop reading at night time, which sucks because with a baby that’s really the only time you can read. Like thank God she had read it before me because talking through some of those scenes as I was reading about them was the only way I made it through, honestly. Still, whenever I think of those last couple of scenes with Naughty John I feel this bone-crippling fear start to creep up my body. Just thinking about it now makes me want to look over my shoulder to make sure no one is there, aaahhhahahah. *cue nervous laughter* So yeah, just know, this book is not for the faint of heart. EVEN MORE SO BECAUSE IT’S WRITTEN SO WELL. So, be warned.

Evie sputtered for a second, then took off after Sam, chasing him around the long table, knocking over stacks of books as she did. 
“I’m going to kill him. Who wants to watch?” 

Overall I love this book and I could go on and on for even longer but honestly, I think it’s better if you go into it knowing as little as possible. Just know that I loved all of the characters (except for the ones that I hated, lol), I loved the plot, I loved the writing. Win win win (except for being scared but if I managed to live through it, you will too).

“Life don’t come to you, Memphis. You gotta take it. We have to take it. Because ain’t nobody handing it to us. You understand?”

BOOK REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Shifters and Glyphs (Fairy Tales of the Magicorum #2) by Christina Bauer

BOOK REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Shifters and Glyphs (Fairy Tales of the Magicorum #2) by Christina Bauer

If you enjoy paranormal romance that has humor, a snarky heroine, a wonderful hero and two fabulous best friends then definitely check out my 4 Star Review below and enter a wonderful giveaway! Enjoy!

BOOK REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Shifters and Glyphs (Fairy Tales of the Magicorum #2) by Christina BauerShifters and Glyphs (Fairy Tales of the Magicorum #2)
by Christina Bauer
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

After being raised by the meanest fairies in the history of ever, Bryar Rose is now free to live her own life. For the first time, she’s attending West Lake Prep, a regular high school. Well, mostly regular. Some students are actually hidden members of the Magicorum. In other words, they’re really wizards, fairies, or shifters. Bry doesn’t mind, though. She’s thrilled to enjoy all the new experiences of being around normal kids her age, from locker pranks to lunchtime mystery meat. Everything is going along great, except for one thing.

Bry’s dreams about the pyramids of Egypt have gotten darker and more sinister. Every night, she sees her new man Knox and her best friend Elle in danger.

With no other choice, Bry plans to leave school to explore the pyramids on her own. But her new man Knox discovers the scheme and is having none of it. He wants to stay by her side, no matter what. It’s a good thing too, because Bry must solve the mystery of her attraction to the pyramids and soon. Otherwise, it could cost the lives of those she loves most.

And that means not only Knox, but also her best friend Elle.

Review:

Shifters and Glyphs was an action packed adventure that was filled with friendship, laughter and love.  If you’re not familiar with this series, you definitely need to start out with the first book Wolves and Roses.  You can read my review of that book here.  Each book flowed into the next and the storytelling was very creative.  The characters were living out their lives according to their fairy tale theme and it was a mix of shifters, wizards, fairies and other creatures too.  So if you adore paranormal romance, definitely check this series out.

Knox gently rests his palm against my cheek. “I’m not leaving you. I’m not losing you.” All the intensity in the world shines in his ice-blue eyes.

If it’s been a while since you have read Wolves and Roses, this book catches you up and then some.  I felt like I easily stepped back into this world and it contained all of the knowledge from the previous book.  Life has changed so much since we first met them. Bryar and her best friend Elle were getting ready to start their senior year in a school for magical beings.  Knox became Byrar’s mate and while it seemed like there were feelings between their two best friends, Alec and Elle, they still claim to be just friends and I loved that they play video games together lol.  I loved their little group of four, they were as thick as thieves and I couldn’t wait to see what awaited them!

Leaning in, Knox brushes the barest kiss across my lips. “You’re my mate, Bry. My life. My soul. I love you.”

As more pieces of the puzzle started to fit together it became easier to see the bigger picture.  While I guessed how a lot of things played out, I was shocked by the hugest twist of all. I definitely didn’t see that one coming!  And it was so much fun getting answers to so many answers of the questions I had.  Even some that have been lingering from book one!  The only thing I missed was hearing Knox’s pov.  I loved listening to his chapters in the first book, he was beyond intoxicating, and I was secretly wishing to hear his voice again.  If there’s ever a novella released in his voice I’d completely devour it!  So if you enjoy paranormal romance that has silly humor, a snarky heroine, a wonderful hero and two fabulous best friends then definitely check this one out!

*I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book, provided by the Monster House Books, LLC. All thoughts and opinions are my own.*

 

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo / Google Play

Reading Order & Links:


Amazon (click on covers), iBooks (click on titles) & Book Depository (click on book #)


Wolves and Roses #1
Review:

Jen

Moonlight and Midtown #2
Review:

Jen


Shifters and Glyphs #3
Review:

Jen

About Christina Bauer:

Christina Bauer knows how to tell stories about kick-ass women. In her best selling Angelbound series, the heroine is a part-demon girl who loves to fight in Purgatory’s Arena and falls in love with a part-angel prince. This young adult best seller has driven more than 500,000 ebook downloads and 9,000 reviews on Goodreads and retailers. The first three books in the series are now available as audiobooks on Audible and iTunes.

Bauer has also told the story of the Women’s March on Washington by leading PR efforts for the Massachusetts Chapter. Her pre-event press release—the only one sent out on a major wire service—resulted in more than 19,000 global impressions and redistribution by over 350 different media entities including the Associated Press.

Christina graduated from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School with BA’s in English along with Television, Radio, and Film Production. She lives in Newton, MA with her husband, son, and semi-insane golden retriever, Ruby.

Blog / Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / LinkedIn

 

Giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

♥ You can follow the tour by clicking here. ♥

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REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Keeper of the Bees (Black Birds of the Gallows) by Meg Kassel

REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Keeper of the Bees (Black Birds of the Gallows) by Meg Kassel

I completely devoured this book! So check out my 4 Star Review below and enter a fabulous giveaway! Enjoy!

REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Keeper of the Bees (Black Birds of the Gallows) by Meg KasselKeeper of the Bees (Black Birds of the Gallows)
by Meg Kassel
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Dresden is cursed. His chest houses a hive of bees that he can’t stop from stinging people with psychosis-inducing venom. His face is a shifting montage of all the people who have died because of those stings. And he has been this way for centuries―since he was eighteen and magic flowed through his homeland, corrupting its people.

He follows harbingers of death, so at least his curse only affects those about to die anyway. But when he arrives in a Midwest town marked for death, he encounters Essie, a seventeen-year-old girl who suffers from debilitating delusions and hallucinations. His bees want to sting her on sight. But Essie doesn’t see a monster when she looks at Dresden.

Essie is fascinated and delighted by his changing features. Risking his own life, he holds back his bees and spares her. What starts out as a simple act of mercy ends up unraveling Dresden’s solitary life and Essie’s tormented one. Their impossible romance might even be powerful enough to unravel a centuries-old curse.

Review:

Black Birds of the Gallows was one of my favorite books from last year!  So I couldn’t wait to read this since we were going to see the world from the beekeepers view.  Those creatures terrified me, so I took a deep breath and dove right in. I happily found myself pulled in and I finished this book in one day.  Keeper of the Bees was a mesmerizing tale filled with peril, love, heartache, redemption, evil and sacrifice.  And I loved being back in this world!

She raises one eyebrow, seemingly unimpressed. “Are you planning to kill me?”
I am a monster . A beast. Lying about it would be pointless. “Yes.”

While this book is a companion novel, it can easily be read as a standalone.  Information from the previous book was seamlessly laced throughout this story and was beautifully done.  There was no info dumps and it caught us up and gave us a complete understanding of the creatures and the curses.  If you haven’t read the previous book, the creatures in her story are so unique! They’re a breath of fresh air!

One day, I will say no to this girl and I will mean it. One day, I will walk away.
But not today. – Dresden

This time around we followed Dresden.  A beekeeper. He had a hive of bees that lived in his chest.  When a bee was released and stung someone, it made them even more dark and ultimately lead to their demise.  The bees were only supposed to pick those that had a darkness within them. Yet when his bees picked Essie, he stopped them.  Essie didn’t have an ounce of darkness in her.

“You’re safe,” I say again.
She closes her eyes. Her breath hitches. Then she does the improbable and throws herself against me, wrapping her arms around my waist.
I am paralyzed. Motionless, breathless in my first embrace in a millennium. To be touched… My eyes close as I tremble from head to toe. The pain is glorious, excruciating.

The beekeepers terrified me in Black Bird of the Gallows, but Dresden easily captured a piece of my heart.  He was one of my favorite things about this book, and as the story unfolded Dresden became everything for me.  He was tortured from having to be this monster for so many hundreds of years.  And my heart broke for him that he didn’t have a choice over what him and his bees had to do.  Until he met Essie, and he decided to spare her life. I wanted Dresden to get his happily ever after, especially since we kept getting glimpses of his humanity, heart and the boy he used to be.  

I lay a hand on his chest, very gently. Barely touching. It’s buzzy and warm with all those bees in there. He jerks at my touch and winces, but his hand brushes my thigh, just above the knee, then tentatively settles there. His gaze drops to my mouth.
“Essie.” He breathes my name. He’s close. The air between us zings, honey-scented and charged. “You are the furthest thing from a monster. You are light and grace and all the things I thought I had forgotten. It’s agony for me to be near you, yet I can’t stay away.”

Essie was unlike any character I have ever met.  She was a sweet girl who loved her family but she suffered from some type of mental illness.  Her hallucinations felt real and were filled with the stuff nightmares could be made of. She didn’t fit into any type of diagnosis and it was such a huge mystery for why she was suffering.  But from the moment she met Dresden, her whole world changed. He quieted the hallucinations and she wasn’t afraid of his ever changing face. Or that he had a hive of bees in his chest. Essie was brave, sweet, smart and had the hugest heart ever but I was never able to connect to her.  I was so sad that I wasn’t able to feel her emotions.

I have someone to live for.
Someone to fight for.
Impossibly, someone who cares about me. It makes me wonder what else is possible. – Dresden

Dresden and Essie were hope and heartbreak all swirled together.  They both had so much going against them, and friendship and normalcy was something that felt unattainable to them.  But together they started to form a tentative friendship. And the moments they were around each other they actually felt normal.  It looked like they finally had a chance for happiness, redemption and love. Yet Dresden would eventually be leaving and with Essie’s town being marked, there was no guarantee that she would survive it.

“Dresden, I don’t want you to go.” It’s all I can say. It’s all I have left.
“And I would give anything to stay,” he rasps. “But I want you to live, more.”
His eyes close, and he disintegrates into a heavy swarm of bees. It streams through the window and is swallowed by the night.

Just like her other book, I found myself enraptured when the action took place.  Since Essie’s town was marked, something catastrophic was going to happen.  And on top of that, there was a mystery within the pages. Murders kept happening and Essie found herself in the middle of it all.  It was fun watching the twists and the turns and I didn’t figure out what was truly happening till 3/4s of the way into this book. I enjoyed putting it all together!

“You… are…” I slide my fingers into her hair, letting thick strands slide between my fingers. “Worth a…thousand… deaths.”
Essie’s hand covers mine. “And you’re worth a lifetime of delusions.”

When I closed that last page I realized there is still so many stories this world can tell.  And I’m hoping and keeping my fingers crossed that there’s going to be more, especially so I can get a peak of these characters since the book ended with a hfn.  I’d love to step back into this twisted world. I’m not ready to say goodbye to the Harbingers, Beekeepers, Strawmen and even the regular people who give these characters hope, a chance at normalcy and true love.  Fingers crossed!

PS  We got to see our favorites from Black Birds of the Gallows, Reece and Angie.  I loved seeing them together, I loved seeing their happiness of being together.  It made my heart so happy!

*I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book, provided by the publisher. All thoughts and opinions are my own.*

About Meg Kassel:

Meg Kassel is an author of fantasy and speculative books for young adults. A graduate of Parson’s School of Design, she’s been creating stories, whether with visuals or words, since childhood. Meg is a New Jersey native who lives in a log house in the Maine woods with her husband and daughter. As a fan of ’80s cartoons, Netflix series, and ancient mythology, she has always been fascinated and inspired by the fantastic, the creepy, and the futuristic. She is the 2016 RWA Golden Heart® winner in YA and a double 2018 RITA® finalist for her debut novel, Black Bird of the Gallows.

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