Review: The Darkening Dream (Andy Gavin) + Giveaway

The Darkening DreamEven as the modern world pushes the supernatural aside in favor of science and steel, the old ways remain. God, demon, monster, and sorcerer alike plot to regain what was theirs.

1913, Salem, Massachusetts – Sarah Engelmann’s life is full of friends, books, and avoiding the pressure to choose a husband, until an ominous vision and the haunting call of an otherworldly trumpet shake her. When she stumbles across a gruesome corpse, she fears that her vision was more of a premonition. And when she sees the murdered boy moving through the crowd at an amusement park, Sarah is thrust into a dark battle she does not understand.
With the help of Alex, an attractive Greek immigrant who knows a startling amount about the undead, Sarah sets out to uncover the truth. Their quest takes them to the factory mills of Salem, on a midnight boat ride to spy on an eerie coastal lair, and back, unexpectedly, to their own homes. What can Alex’s elderly, vampire-hunting grandfather and Sarah’s own rabbi father tell them? And what do Sarah’s continuing visions reveal?
No less than Gabriel’s Trumpet, the tool that will announce the End of Days, is at stake, and the forces that have banded to recover it include a 900 year-old vampire, a trio of disgruntled Egyptian gods, and a demon-loving Puritan minister. At the center of this swirling cast is Sarah, who must fight a millennia-old battle against unspeakable forces, knowing the ultimate prize might be herself.


Two words: complicated and intense.

The great care that was taken to develop the setting in this book was amazing. It completely sucks you in. The story takes place in Salem in the early 1900s, which makes it the perfect setting for a super creepy story. And boy, did this story get creepy.

The characters were extremely well developed. It's hard to say what I liked about them the most. The "good guys" were more than just vampire fighting teens. They had, well, character. I won't say much about them though. I'd rather talk about the centuries old vampire out to help destroy the world. He was interesting. The way he was described and the detail given to his inner thoughts, made him terrifying. I am such a wimp when it comes to scary things, so I was really taken by surprised. Of course, I also couldn't stop reading because I was so intrigued by the complicated plot.

Since I mentioned vampires, it should be obvious that the paranormal element is strong with this one. There are also demons, witches, and warlocks. The combination of these paranormal elements is what makes this story so fascinating and complicated. You wouldn't think that a book with this much going on would be coherent, but it is. In fact, it's so well thought out that it's terrifying. Every detail fits together like a well planned puzzle.

In fact, "puzzle" is a great way to think about the plot. There was just so much happening in this book! I was rather impressed that I made it to the final chapters before I figured out what was going on. That's very impressive. I do think it's worth mentioning though, that I have mixed feelings about the shocking ending. IF this is the beginning of a series, then the ending is awesome. I mean, blow-your-mind-how-did-I-not-see-that-coming kind of awesome. And also assuming that this might be the beginning of a series, I am super curious to see what will happen next. (Read that last chapter and you'll know what I'm talking about.) That was one heck of a cliffhanger ending! Now, if this is a stand alone book, then I'm mad as hell with the ending. So many unanswered questions! I didn't have a sense of completeness when I finished the book. I felt like there must be more to come. (Which makes me think this is the beginning of a series.)

Don't read this book thinking it's a light and fluffy YA paranormal book. This is a dark fantasy... dark, dark fantasy. If you're a wimp like me, you should read it during the daylight hours for the villains in this book are what nightmares are made of. If you like a more mature book with a strong good vs evil element that leaves you questioning what you've read, you'll love The Darkening Dream.

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Look what made its way to book stores this week!
Click on the images for more information about the books.
As Dead As It Gets (Bad Girls Don't Die, #3) Code Name Verity A Confusion of Princes 
Fated (Soul Seekers, #1) From What I Remember... Gilt
Brothers to the Death (The Saga of Larten Crepsley, #4) 
 


Best Book Ever

Short and Sweet

Coranne (or Amanda C.) from Short and Sweet Reviews hosts a weekly feature called "The Best Book Ever." Each week, different bloggers (some stay the same each week) will be "facing off" Food Network style to tell you why their choice of book is the best one in the genre. Each week a different topic will be featured.

This week's topic... Children's Book  I collect picture books. Seriously. It's what teachers do, regardless of the grade level. I teach middle school, but I still use picture books often to teach a concept. One of my all time favorite book on bullying is One by Kathyrn Otashi. On the surface, it's a simple counting and colors book, but if you dig deeper it's so much more. Absolutely amazing.   

My featured book:
One

When the colors cannot get along, One shows all the colors how to stand up, stand together, and count. As budding young readers learn about numbers, counting, and primary and secondary colors, they also learn about accepting each other's differences. Full color.


You can check out Short and Sweet Reviews and also see what other books are being featured.

Next week's topic: Best Nostalgic Book


Mid-book review: The Darkening Dream (Andy Garvin)

The Darkening DreamEven as the modern world pushes the supernatural aside in favor of science and steel, the old ways remain. God, demon, monster, and sorcerer alike plot to regain what was theirs.

1913, Salem, Massachusetts – Sarah Engelmann’s life is full of friends, books, and avoiding the pressure to choose a husband, until an ominous vision and the haunting call of an otherworldly trumpet shake her. When she stumbles across a gruesome corpse, she fears that her vision was more of a premonition. And when she sees the murdered boy moving through the crowd at an amusement park, Sarah is thrust into a dark battle she does not understand.
With the help of Alex, an attractive Greek immigrant who knows a startling amount about the undead, Sarah sets out to uncover the truth. Their quest takes them to the factory mills of Salem, on a midnight boat ride to spy on an eerie coastal lair, and back, unexpectedly, to their own homes. What can Alex’s elderly, vampire-hunting grandfather and Sarah’s own rabbi father tell them? And what do Sarah’s continuing visions reveal?
No less than Gabriel’s Trumpet, the tool that will announce the End of Days, is at stake, and the forces that have banded to recover it include a 900 year-old vampire, a trio of disgruntled Egyptian gods, and a demon-loving Puritan minister. At the center of this swirling cast is Sarah, who must fight a millennia-old battle against unspeakable forces, knowing the ultimate prize might be herself.

Two words: complicated and intense.

I'm about 235 pages in to the book (of 365 total) and I still have no idea what's going on. It's not that I'm confused; the plot is so complicated that it takes a while to process what I've read. I'm finding myself having to take breaks to make sense of all the details.

Here's what I think so far:

Writing Style: Amazing. The descriptions are award winning. (Are there awards for such a thing? There should be, if not.) You get sucked into the setting-- which is terrifying at times given the content.

Plot: Get ready for a whirl wind experience. The paranormal element is strong with this one. As you could tell in the synopsis, there are vampires (non-glittery kind), demons, witches and warlocks. The combination of these paranormal elements is what makes this story so fascinating and complicated. You wouldn't think that a book with this much going on would be coherent, but it is. In fact, it's so well thought out that it's terrifying. The "bad guys" in this book are down right dastardly. They are the things that nightmares are made of.

Don't read this book thinking it's a light and fluffy YA paranormal suspense novel. This is truly a dark fantasy like nothing I have read before.

Characters: I can't even go there yet. All the characters are so well written-- even the evil, soul stealing ones. I can't figure out everyone's role yet. There is this element of mystery surrounding the characters, but I know it will be huge when everything is finally revealed. I get giddy when I think that I've gone 235 pages into a book without figuring out the whole plot! I love it. Oh, there's a little romance blooming too between two of the main characters. Not sure how it will work out though since it's one of the those "forbidden romances."

Overall: A+ so far. I will definitely be pushing this one when I finish. Read it on Goodreads HERE. (Seriously. It looks like the whole book is available to read for free.)

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