Tag Archives: Something Strange and Deadly

Strange and Ever After (Something Strange and Deadly #3) – Susan Dennard

Strange and Ever After (Something Strange and Deadly #3) – Susan DennardTitle: Strange and Ever After (Something Strange and Deadly #3) by Susan Dennard
Publishing Info: July 22, 2014 by HarperCollins
Source: Amazon
Genres: Historical Fiction, Paranormal, Steampunk, Young Adult, Zombies
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: March 7, 2015
Related Posts: Something Strange and Deadly (Something Strange and Deadly #1), A Dawn Most Wicked (Something Strange and Deadly #0.5), A Darkness Strange and Lovely (Something Strange and Deadly #2), Truthwitch (The Witchlands #1)

    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 started this book because I just needed a series to fall back into when nothing else was grabbing me at the moment. After scanning my shelves, I thought it was finally time to finish the Something Strange and Deadly trilogy! The funny (or not-so-funny) thing is, after picking a book I was sure would grab me, I had nothing but struggles trying to get into STRANGE AND EVER AFTER.

I’ve been a fan of the trilogy from the start. SOMETHING STRANGE AND DEADLY was just a lot of fun and Susan Dennard is an absolutely sweetheart! I actually even enjoyed the second book, A DARKNESS STRANGE AND LOVELY, even more so my plans to finally hop into book three and wrap up the series had me really excited and feeling all kinds of warm fuzzies. It started off well and I was definitely interested in where we had left off (plus Oliver <333) but for whatever reason, I just could not get into the book. My interest started REALLY waning after the first few chapters and I just found myself struggling to focus.

Falling out of love with a series is hard, and I think that’s what happened here. The book wasn’t “bad” by any means but my interest in the series overall just seemed to… drift. It also makes my review that much harder to write because how can I feel SO differently now than I did when I first started the series? It seems unfair to say “it’s me, not you” with a series that I’ve already invested time in and spent time sharing… but either way, that seems to be the case here.

I did still like the magic aspect of the book but I felt like in STRANGE AND EVER AFTER, I just wasn’t AS interested. Did I not get enough answers? Enough explanation? Was I so unfocused that I totally missed those fine details on how the magic system worked? Whatever the true answer is (maybe yes to all of the above), it just didn’t seem as concrete as I had hoped. Oliver (the demon!) was one of my favorite characters from book two and honestly, if he wasn’t in this book, I would have had a very hard time continuing at all. I did struggle with the characters a bit in each book, but I still had that love there for the plot. Struggling with the pacing and seemingly similar battles versus the undead several times over just really made me feel like I was reading what I already read in the previous books and I didn’t quite feel that growth from the characters in this book like I had hoped either. There was character growth, but maybe not as much or not in the way that I was hoping. The worst part of it all is that I honestly cannot place my finger on why I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I thought I would except for the fact that… falling out of love with series happens.

There were still some things I enjoyed about STRANGE AND EVER AFTER but I just was not feeling it this time around. I wished we had gotten to see more of Egypt (and I was secretly hoping for more Egyptian mythology tie-ins). I wish I had seen even MORE from Eleanor. I wish someone hadn’t spoiled the ending for me on Twitter… But such is life and I can’t have all of the happy endings to series that I want! Sometimes these things just happen and really, I should have known this was a possibility. More than anything, I’m just really sad because Susan Dennard is SO amazing that by not liking this book, I almost feel like I’m letting her down. It’s a tricky thing when you start to interact with authors! I think I had many more personal feelings attached this time around so I really felt bad as I was reading.

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“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

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Eleanor // Character Obsessions: Magic, Daniel, defeating Marcus.
I was just so back and forth with Eleanor. I did feel like she had done a lot of growing and I actually REALLY liked that she struggled with her temptations to use her magic… But overall she has always just fallen a LITTLE flat for me and I don’t know why. Everyone else really seems to love her as a kickass heroine but for some reason I just kept TRYING to connect and couldn’t.
Oliver // Character Obsessions: Eleanor, freedom, justice, friendship.
I really loved Oliver the whole time. I think it was his snark that really drew me in! Plus, demon. He really felt like the most well-rounded character in terms of personality and he was the only character that really ever fully came to life for me. I loved his addition and what he brought to the series.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Zombies. I keep saying this but it’s true. I usually don’t have the desire to read zombie books but this was such a fun idea and I liked how everything really played out with WHY the undead were plaguing the nation.
Left Me Wanting More: Connection. I wished and I tried but ultimately I just didn’t really make that connection in this series. It was working for a while and I was caught up in the plot but I felt the same things happening in book three and the plot felt tired and similar to the second book. With that, my connection to the characters waned even more and I just had a really hard time.

Addiction Rating
Try it

Well you’ve made it this far into the series so if you haven’t read book three yet, it’s worth it to finish! If you haven’t read the series yet, well… I’m not sure! How do I recommend something that I didn’t fall in love with at the very end? I think it’s a fun series and maybe something I should have read much closer together. It’s possibly the time between book two and three killed me and maybe I should have read the more back-to-back.

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BOOKS LIKE STRANGE AND EVER AFTER

(Click the cover to see my review!)

THE CLOCKWORK SCARAB     BLOODLINES

A Darkness Strange and Lovely (Something Strange and Deadly #2) – Susan Dennard

A Darkness Strange and Lovely (Something Strange and Deadly #2) – Susan DennardTitle: A Darkness Strange and Lovely (Something Strange and Deadly #2) by Susan Dennard
Publishing Info: July 23, 2013 by HarperCollins
Source: Anderson's Bookshop
Genres: Historical Fiction, Paranormal, Steampunk, Young Adult, Zombies
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: March 30, 2014
Related Posts: Something Strange and Deadly (Something Strange and Deadly #1), A Dawn Most Wicked (Something Strange and Deadly #0.5), Strange and Ever After (Something Strange and Deadly #3), Truthwitch (The Witchlands #1)

    With her brother dead and her mother on the verge of insanity, Eleanor Fitt is utterly alone. Even the Spirit-Hunters - Joseph, Jie and the handsome, enigmatic Daniel - have fled to Paris. So when Eleanor begins to hear the vicious barking of hounds and see images of haunting yellow eyes, she fears the worst - that the Dead, and the necromancer Marcus, are coming for her.
To escape and search out the Spirit-Hunters, Eleanor boards a steamer bound for France. There she meets Oliver, a young man who claims to have known her brother. Though friendly, Oliver entices Eleanor with necromancy and black magic, yet as long as she can resist his powerful temptation, she'll be fine. But when she arrives in Paris, she finds that the Dead have taken over the city...and there's a whole new evil lurking. With the body count rising, Eleanor is forced to make a deadly decision that will go against everything the Spirit-Hunters stand for.
In Paris, there's a price for this darkness strange and lovely...and it may have Eleanor paying with her life.

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A DARKNESS STRANGE AND LOVELY has been on my “can’t wait to read” list pretty much since it came out last summer and I FINALLY read it months later. Well, better late than never and hey, there’s a bright side because now the series will be more fresh in my mind for when the last book comes out this summer!

It had been a while since I read SOMETHING STRANGE AND DEADLY and I forgot to refresh myself before I started A DARKNESS STRANGE AND LOVELY so something I really appreciated was a brief refresher from Susan Dennard about what happened in book one. It was done so well, including dialogue between two of the characters to really recap the events of book one in a way that didn’t feel repetitive and was still and important part of the story. The book surely didn’t start off slowly either — right off the bat, a LOT is set up to preface the rest of the book and set the tone of the whole novel and I was really excited to get going!

So as we know, the Spirit-Hunters are off in Paris and naturally, Eleanor ventures off to the only place in the world where she feels like she really belongs… Off to France we go! Since the series is already set in a historical time period, the difference between the United States and France didn’t have a largely different feel for me personally (I like France, but I’m not a Francophile so I can take or leave the setting) but I did enjoy the different atmosphere and different aspects of France that ended up playing important roles in the story itself! I was glad we caught up with the Spirit-Hunters fairly quickly because I really enjoy the team dynamic a lot and of course, I was anxious to see how things would turn out with Eleanor and Daniel!

There’s also a new character, Oliver. Given that I love all Olivers, I knew I would instantly gravitate towards his character and I really, really liked everything that he added to this layer of the story that is the Something Strange and Deadly series. Oliver is mysterious and a little bit dangerous (INSTANT like, right here) and he also encourages Eleanor to explore her abilities and really just think for herself… Although he also does it in a way that sort of makes me not trust him. DO I TRUST HIM??? I battled with it the whole book and I almost still don’t know. Eleanor’s friendship with him is in direct conflict with her partnership with the Spirit-Hunters so there is some major drama, concern back and forth, and a whole lot of “who can we really trust?” that had me reeling the whole book, never quite sure what to expect.

I really loved how the series grew and progressed in this book. Questions were answered, more popped up, and the series really reached a point where I’m ready for it to all be resolved in the final book and I can’t wait to see exactly how that happens! I really only have one minor issue with the series so far and that’s the language — I’m still not quite connecting with it and some of the dialogue and time-period jargon feels a bit forced at times, but still keeps the book moving and really puts you in a different place! I haven’t been totally “wowed” by it but I’m anticipating an epic conclusion and I’m excited to see how it all wraps up!

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“The View from Goodreads” is a new featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

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Eleanor // Character Obsessions: Spirit-Hunters, Elijah’s letters, magic.
I really enjoy Eleanor’s spunk but sometimes she’s a bit stubborn for my tastes! I do have to say that if I was in her place, I would probably do the same things about learning how to handle magic and I would be all over trying to use it just like she did. I do like that she takes action and honestly, I see a lot of similarities between the two of us, except she’s probably more bold than I am!
Daniel // Character Obsessions: Germany, learning, inventing, lookin’ sharp.
I’m kind of sad I didn’t get to see more of Daniel and more Daniel-Eleanor interaction. The missed opportunities and failure to communicate grew a bit frustrating and I’m sure they’ll work out their differences in the next book but one of my “second in a series syndrome” issues is when couples are essentially physically separated or sort of broken up in book two. I know they have issues, but I wanted the romance to progress and grow instead of fracturing.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Zombies. Who knew I would enjoy zombies so much? I just love the magical subplots, family involvement, and a sort of Ghost Busters team for the zombie age.
Left Me Wanting More: Romance. I really wanted to see Daniel and Eleanor together! That was one thing that I really longed for throughout the book and really could have just pulled it all together just a little bit more. Romantic glue, if you will.

Addiction Rating
Read it!

I really enjoyed this as the second book in the series! I had a couple small issues, but still really enjoyed it and I can’t wait to finish out the series with STRANGE AND EVER AFTER this summer!

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(Click the cover to see my review!)

        Born Wicked       Cruel Beauty

Book and a Beverage Author Edition | Susan Dennard

Book and a Beverage

Welcome back to BOOK AND A BEVERAGE!

I’ve been hosting the Book and a Beverage feature for a while now and I really wanted to expand the feature to extend to authors in 2014! I’m so excited to share these author Book and a Beverage posts with you and as always, many many thanks to the wonderful authors who participate!

Give a big welcome to author SUSAN DENNARD!

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Name:  Susan Dennard
You know her best as the author of… Something Strange and Deadly, A Darkness Strange and Lovely, and Strange and Ever After coming out this summer!

      

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READING:
What are you reading? I am rereading an old favorite fantasy series of mine by Kate Forsyth—the first book is The Witches of Eileanan.
What’s important that we should know about this book? Would you recommend it? I definitely recommend it! The first book is a tad weaker in terms of prose (aren’t all debuts?), but the series is REALLY incredible. The characters are just so rich and the world so sweeping. I love it. (Especially the slow-burn romance!!)
What are your top three books you would recommend to other people? Oy, it really depends on what the person likes to read! I suppose the three most common recs I give are: Sabriel by Garth Nix (even though I like Lirael more, the first is amazing and you have to read it to get to book 2. :)), Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell (I have read and reread this book more than any other on my shelf), and A Room With A View (this book’s heroine was a huge inspiration for Eleanor).

WRITING:
What can you tell us about your current work in progress? It’s an epic fantasy called TRUTHWITCH (see the Pinterest board here: http://www.pinterest.com/stdennard/truthwitch/) that’s set on a continent ruled by three empires, where everyone is born with magic and the Twenty Year Truce in a centuries long war is about to end.
Are you a pantser or a plotter? A bit of both, really. You can actually read a super in-depth series on my process, here: http://susandennard.com/2013/10/11/how-i-plan-a-book-part-1/
Do you have a favorite spot to read/write? I like to write (by hand in a notebook!) on my couch with my dogs beside me OR at my standing desk (with my teeny-tiny, internet-free laptop). As for reading, I’m a bed-reader. No place better than under the covers!!

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What are you drinking? Water. I actually probably pound too much water in a day. (I have to pee constantly. Yikes.)
What’s your favorite thing to drink while reading/writing? I LOVE coffee when I work, but I’m trying to cut back. I’m down to 1 cup a day (and it is so sacred—I have a whole ritual around that one precious cup) and then herbal tea the rest of the day.

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If you were to co-author a book with someone (anyone!), who would it be? I already get to coauthor with my dream writer—Sarah J. Maas. You can read our free space opera here: http://thestarkillerscycle.tumblr.com/ 🙂
Which character from a book would you say you’re most like? Uh…..*blinks* I have no idea. But I can tell you who I wish I was: Childermass from Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell (yeah, I know he’s a dude. Don’t care. I want his skillz.).

Thank you SO much, Susan! Holy holy holy cow, I get more and more excited the more I hear about The Truthwitch! If you haven’t read Susan Dennard’s series yet, I highly recommend these books! They’re fun, smart, and action-packed!

I hope you enjoyed getting to know a little bit more about Susan Dennard on Book and a Beverage! Find her at the links below!

Website // Blog // Twitter // Goodreads // Facebook // Pinterest

Are you interested in being featured on BOOK AND A BEVERAGE? Head on over to this feature’s page for the sign-up form!

And don’t forget! You can participate in Book and a Beverage at any time! Got a book? Got a beverage? Just tweet or post your photo on Instagram using the hashtag #bookandabeverage and I’ll retweet or repost your photo!

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A Dawn Most Wicked (Something Strange and Deadly #0.5) – Susan Dennard

A Dawn Most Wicked (Something Strange and Deadly #0.5) – Susan DennardTitle: A Dawn Most Wicked (Something Strange and Deadly #0.5) by Susan Dennard
Publishing Info: June 4, 2013 by HarperCollins
Genres: Historical Fiction, Paranormal, Steampunk, Young Adult, Zombies
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: June 8, 2013
Related Posts: Something Strange and Deadly (Something Strange and Deadly #1), A Darkness Strange and Lovely (Something Strange and Deadly #2), Strange and Ever After (Something Strange and Deadly #3), Truthwitch (The Witchlands #1)

    Daniel Sheridan is an engineer’s apprentice on a haunted Mississippi steamer known as the Sadie Queen. His best friend–the apprentice pilot, Cassidy Cochran–also happens to be the girl he’s pining for … and the captain’s daughter. But when it looks like the Sadie Queen might get taken off the river, Daniel and Cassidy have to do whatever they can to stop the ghosts that plague the ship.
    Fortunately, there happens to be a Creole gentleman on board by the name of Joseph Boyer–and he just might be able to help them …

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I was actually really surprised with the content of A DAWN MOST WICKED. I feel like a lot of times these novellas/extras that accompany the full length novels don’t usually include so much plot and explanation, but A DAWN MOST WICKED takes us back to three years before SOMETHING STRANGE AND DEADLY begins with Daniel Sheridan and the story of his first love as well as how the gang of Spirit-Hunters came into being.

I’m so, so glad that this novella was from Daniel’s POV and that we got to know so much more about him because if there was one thing I was missing in SSaD, it was that connection to Daniel and that “oomph” in the romance between him & Eleanor. I felt his passion in A DAWN MOST WICKED and this novella also helped me understand his hesitance and his hard shell towards Eleanor.

What I was most surprised about was the story development involved in A DAWN MOST WICKED. So many novellas are just little bonuses, but there was an actual plot twist here by which I was surprised and then impressed because after it happened, I said, “Ohhhh that makes sense!” It was incredibly creative and intriguing and a major point that wasn’t revealed in SSaD. It’s also the biggest piece to the puzzle as to how Joseph, Jie, and Daniel all ended up working together.

I actually quite loved this novella and I think it’s a must-read for fans of SOMETHING STRANGE AND DEADLY. There’s a lot of story here and if you’re still missing a little something from Daniel like I was, this will help you make that connection. If you already loved him, you’ll probably just love him more! I know that I can’t wait to get my hands on A DARKNESS STRANGE AND LOVELY now though…

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Daniel: Hurrah! I made a connection with Daniel!!! I mean, I had in SSaD but not quite as much as I wanted to. I loved his spirit in this book and it was nice to see his first love in action here.
Cassidy: Cassidy is the captain’s daughter and the object of Daniel’s affection. Cassidy seems very much like Eleanor (which explains why he falls for Eleanor in the first place) and I kind of loved her! I love that she wasn’t some prissy girl and was totally badass on the Mississippi.

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Read it!

This novella was so much fun. I loved getting to know more about Daniel and I think it’s an excellent read for anyone who’s a fan of the series!

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     Reboot         The Madman's Daughter

Something Strange and Deadly (Something Strange and Deadly #1) – Susan Dennard

Something Strange and Deadly (Something Strange and Deadly #1) – Susan DennardTitle: Something Strange and Deadly (Something Strange and Deadly #1) by Susan Dennard
Publishing Info: July 24, 2012 by HarperCollins
Genres: Historical Fiction, Paranormal, Steampunk, Young Adult, Zombies
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: October 7, 2012
Related Posts: A Dawn Most Wicked (Something Strange and Deadly #0.5), A Darkness Strange and Lovely (Something Strange and Deadly #2), Strange and Ever After (Something Strange and Deadly #3), Truthwitch (The Witchlands #1)

Philadelphia 1876. The Dead are rising. A zombie delivers a letter to Eleanor Fitt. Whoever controls the Dead Army has her brother. She avoids her mother's choice of husband for the lab of Spirit Hunters, including the maddeningly stubborn yet handsome Daniel. The situation threatens her reputation, and the lives of everyone in the city.

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This was quite an interesting book, I must say! There actually wasn’t as much zombie action as I had expected so since I’m not a big zombie person, it was kind of nice. It actually dealt a little bit more with the paranormal/magic combined with steampunk and industrial. It was interesting the way the two combined. I haven’t read any steampunk before so I was a bit nervous to see that present in the book, but it really worked out quite perfectly. I loved how the machinery aspect intertwined with the paranormal.

Obviously I had my suspicions throughout the whole book (Susan Dennard leads us up to them), but really there were so many surprises in the end even though I suspected a lot. I had a few moments where I was like, “I can’t believe that really just happened!” I was glad that a lot of the twists, although there was a lot of foreshadowing, they were still quite surprising. The author did a great job figuring out how to put those pieces together.

I thought it finished strong and overall I really enjoyed it. I think I was expecting something a little different so I was slightly caught off guard, but this may have been better than what I was expecting. That being said, it still didn’t quite knock me off my feet. I felt like Eleanor could have been a much stronger character and I felt like some of her actions just “fit” the story instead of adding a little extra conflict and really develop a better and more realistic character.

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Eleanor: In a lot of ways, Eleanor was a strong character. She was brave, she was fearless, but I felt like she could have been developed a whole lot more as a person.
Elijah: We have a lot of questions throughout the whole book what Elijah’s true intentions are. Clearly he’s a very interesting character and I think his story may be one of the most interesting in the book.
Clarence:  I really didn’t like Clarence at first — but towards the end, I think I really started to like him. It was hard to understand whether he was a good guy or a bad guy or just confused.

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Try it!

It was interesting! An entertaining book. I wasn’t totally WOWED or anything but it was a lot of fun!

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE SOMETHING STRANGE AND DEADLY

 

Something Strange and Deadly Read Along: Week 4

SOMETHING STRANGE AND DEADLY READ ALONG
October 10 – October 31, 2012
WEEK 4: OCTOBER 31

Okay my blogger friends! It’s time for the Something Strange and Deadly Read Along! I know I’ve got Something Strange and Deadly in my queue of Halloween reads and I thought it would be great to get even more people involved! It was such short notice that I have no co-hosts so I will be coming at you with all of the posts! Here’s how I have it scheduled:

October 3rd: Intro post and sign-ups
October 10th: Week 1: Chapters 1-7 (through page 90)
October 17th: Week 2: Chapters 8-14 (through page 178)
October 24th: Week 3: Chapters 15-20 (through page 278)
October 31st: Week 4: Chapters 22-end 

UPDATE 10/11: Susan Dennard has graciously donated an “Aim For the Knees” T-shirt as a giveaway as well!! This will be for participants only, so don’t forget to add your links! One automatic entry for signing up (as long as I see your participation posts) and additional entries for each week you link up with the read along! This will be the official giveaway instead of the original book. I’d like to keep the giveaway SS&D related 🙂

Grab the button for your sidebar here:

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Week 4 Questions: October 31, 2012
1. On page 284, Eleanor gives the same advice to Clarence as Jie gave to her: “You always have a choice.” Eleanor has started to evolve in her thinking a little bit and become more independent. How did Clarence take these words of wisdom? How do you think it’s affecting the relationship between Eleanor and Clarence at this point in the novel?
I was really hoping this would be the tipping point for Clarence to become the hero of the novel! Okay, well maybe not the hero, but kind of like Eleanor’s helper/side-kick. They’ve been skirting around each other the whole book and we’ve been questioning whether Clarence is on the side of good or evil and I was just really disappointed that he didn’t step up and help Eleanor, especially after all the damage his family to did Eleanor’s.

2. We finally find out what’s happened to Elijah – and it’s something that puts Eleanor in a very difficult position. Why do you think Elijah chose this path? And how do you think Eleanor handled the news? What would you have done in her situation?
I think it’s clear that Elijah kind of snapped after his father’s death. He had a lot to handle and it seems like he went more for the side of avenging the wrongs to his family instead of taking the high road and helping to pick up the pieces. The messed-up part is, he feels like he’s doing everything right.
As for Eleanor, I think I would have handled the news the same way. You see a family member or someone you love so confused and full of hate and it’s hard to see that they really are capable of anything so bad. I’m sure if I had seen anyone I knew in the same position, I would have tried to help them, tried to bring them back to the side of reason – Which is another reason I think this twist is so great. I kind of saw it coming, but really until I read about it, I never realized how tense that scene would be.

3. The last quarter of this book brings us a LOT of surprises and twists. What would you say was the biggest surprise to you?
Um, HER HAND. That’s all I have to say about that. I can’t believe that actually happened!

4. Now that we’ve finished with the book, what did you think? How did you feel about the book as a whole? Where do you think her story will take us in the next book?
I really, really enjoyed the book! I was surprised at how interesting and creative these twists were at the end and holy cow, there were a lot of good ones! I also like that we’re starting a bit of a romance here, but without insta-love. I actually think this may have been better as a stand-alone, mostly since I’m not sure how the series will continue… This whole story was wrapped up so I’m interested to see how Susan Dennard will tie it all in in the next book. Either way, I’m in!



And now my friends, it’s time for the giveaway! As I mentioned, Susan Dennard has offered us an “Aim For the Knees” T-shirt and one lucky winner will be the recipient of this awesome Something Strange and Deadly prize!! Here’s how it works: Every time you linked up with the read along, that goes for one entry in the pot and then with the help of Random.org, I’ll be picking a winner (at random of course). You’ll have until next week, November 7th, to link and post the last week’s post and then on the 8th, we’ll have a winner! 

Good luck to all and thanks SO much to everyone who participated! I had a really great time, I hope you enjoyed the read along, and more importantly, I hope you enjoyed the book!

Something Strange and Deadly Read Along: Week 3

SOMETHING STRANGE AND DEADLY READ ALONG
October 10 – October 31, 2012
WEEK 3: OCTOBER 24

Okay my blogger friends! It’s time for the Something Strange and Deadly Read Along! I know I’ve got Something Strange and Deadly in my queue of Halloween reads and I thought it would be great to get even more people involved! It was such short notice that I have no co-hosts so I will be coming at you with all of the posts! Here’s how I have it scheduled:

October 3rd: Intro post and sign-ups
October 10th: Week 1: Chapters 1-7 (through page 90)
October 17th: Week 2: Chapters 8-14 (through page 178)
October 24th: Week 3: Chapters 15-20 (through page 278)
October 31st: Week 4: Chapters 22-end 

UPDATE 10/11: Susan Dennard has graciously donated an “Aim For the Knees” T-shirt as a giveaway as well!! This will be for participants only, so don’t forget to add your links! One automatic entry for signing up (as long as I see your participation posts) and additional entries for each week you link up with the read along! This will be the official giveaway instead of the original book. I’d like to keep the giveaway SS&D related 🙂

Grab the button for your sidebar here:

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Week 3 Questions:

1. We’ve watched Eleanor chase after the Dead and after Daniel without hesitation. Do you perceive Eleanor as brave or foolish to act with little thought to consequence?
I really admire her bravery to face the Dead, but honestly, I felt like she was a bit careless! It seems like she’s doing a lot of acting without thinking. But I guess that’s what makes for an interesting story! Someone who sat back and watched wouldn’t be nearly as much fun 🙂

2. Eleanor gets a letter from Elijah to tell her to stop searching for him – that it’s a bad idea and it’s hurting him rather than helping him. Is Eleanor in denial that her brother is working with the necromancer? Or do you think the necromancer is threatening Elijah now that he knows Eleanor is searching for him?
I was SO torn on this idea when I first read it. I wanted to believe that Elijah was working for the side of good, using his knowledge to fight the necromancer – BUT – the more we progress in the book, the more I’m starting to think that Elijah may be working really closely with the necromancer… maybe he even IS the necromancer! It’s getting pretty intense.

3. We find out the history of Daniel Sheridan in these chapters and that he has quite an interesting connection to the Fitt family that Eleanor never knew about. Were you surprised to find out Daniel’s history in Philadelphia? If you were Eleanor, how would you have taken the news?
To be honest, I was surprised that Eleanor took it as well as she did. If it was me, I would have probably blamed him for the father’s death and the family falling apart. I was really shocked to hear the true news of Daneil’s past, but also that Eleanor seemed to be okay with it!

4. We also find out the real story of the Wilcoxes and that both Clarence and his father have a major connection to the Fitts also. We’re clearly getting closer to solving some of the mysteries that have been building up in the story. What do you make of this connection? How do you think this will affect the climax of the book??
Well, the Wilcoxes should  be sworn enemies with the Fitts…… But it seems like the history between the two familes was kept quiet, and we didn’t really ever know about the Clarence connection until just now. I feel like this is going to lead to some kind of more serious confrontation. I’ve actually kind of grown to like Clarence despite the fact that there are some deeply seeded issues between his family and the Fitts. I actually kind of feel bad for him and he seems a little lost in his own life now. My hope is that Eleanor is going to need his help and he’ll be there to lend her a hand despite the loyalty he feels to his family, maybe as some kind of act of redemption. Those are my hopes, anyway!

Week 4 Questions: October 31, 2012
1. On page 284, Eleanor gives the same advice to Clarence as Jie gave to her: “You always have a choice.” Eleanor has started to evolve in her thinking a little bit and become more independent. How did Clarence take these words of wisdom? How do you think it’s affecting the relationship between Eleanor and Clarence at this point in the novel? 

2. We finally find out what’s happened to Elijah – and it’s something that puts Eleanor in a very difficult position. Why do you think Elijah chose this path? And how do you think Eleanor handled the news? What would you have done in her situation? 

3. The last quarter of this book brings us a LOT of surprises and twists. What would you say was the biggest surprise to you? 

4. Now that we’ve finished with the book, what did you think? How did you feel about the book as a whole? Where do you think her story will take us in the next book? 



This week at The Book Addict’s Guide…

Monday:A Fortnight of Fright: Guest Post from Kelsey – Haunted Walks Are Fun!Series Catch-Up 2012 Challenge: Sign-Ups!
Tuesday:
Top Ten Tuesday: Halloween Reads!
Wednesday:

Top Ten Tuesday – October 23, 2012: Top Ten Books To Get In The Halloween Spirit!

It’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by the wonderful blog at The Broke and the Bookish!

This Week’s Topic is: Top Ten Books To Get In The Halloween Spirit!!!

1. Ten by Gretchen McNeil: As I’m writing those post (which I started way ahead of time), I’m in the middle of ten (just over 100 pgs in). I started reading last night and it’s really good! But Brittany + scary book + home alone + dark = illogically frightened. So I joked about putting the book in the freezer (10 pts if you get the reference) and took a break so I didn’t scare myself too much.

2. Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake: I’ll admit it. I’m too scared to read this book. I got about 25 pages in and I just cannot cannot cannot do ghost stories. I really don’t know why but ghosts scare the ever-living daylights out of me. Anyway, I felt like something was going to creep around the corner at any moment so I stopped scaring myself and put the book down. *shrugs* Oh well.

3. Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood: I thought this was a great book about witches! I liked that it deal with magic and witchcraft but the focus was more on society’s take on it and the secrecy of it instead of it being sinister and evil (it was just perceived that way by those who didn’t understand).

4. Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard: I just finished this one a couple weeks ago and it was a really fun zombie read! I’m not much of a zombie person but I thought it was a quick and easy read with a few nice twists at the end!

5. The Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead: I’m now in the middle of the 4th book, Blood Promise, and I’m still in love with this series. I think it could fit well with Halloween for the vampire aspect.

6. Plum Spooky by Janet Evanovich: So I haven’t actually gotten to this one yet, but it’s actually Halloween themed! I still need to read #14 and this is really #14.5. No worries, I’ll always have time for Stephanie Plum!

7. The In Death series by J.D. Robb: I always think a good mystery is great for Halloween – pick up the In Death series and you’ll get some really crazy killers, that’s for sure. They’re almost like horror movies in themselves.

8. The Fear Street books by R.L. Stine: When I was a kid, I was reading the Fear Street books, not Goosebumps. It’s fair to say that these books DEFINITELY gave me nightmares. I think my mom finally convinced me to stop reading them so I would stop having bad dreams (even though I didn’t want to stop reading them).

9. Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins: Spirits, devils, demons, nephilim, angels – perfect for Halloween spookiness. Well, and a hot guy. Not like that has anything to do with it though…

10. The Harry Potter series: I don’t know why ABC Family keeps insisting that these are Christmas movies. Witches, wizards, ghosts, vampires (yes, a vampire made an appearance at the Christmas party. Also, not in the movies), goblins, trolls, magic? Yes, this is Halloween-appropriate for sure. And of course, any reason for me to bring Harry Potter back in the mix.

 

This week at The Book Addict’s Guide…

Monday: A Fortnight of Fright: Guest Post from Kelsey – Haunted Walks Are Fun!Series Catch-Up 2012 Challenge: Sign-Ups!
Tuesday: 
Top Ten Tuesday: Halloween Reads!
Wednesday: Something Strange and Deadly Read Along: Week 3
Thursday: A Fortnight of Fright: Favorite Halloween TV Episodes!
Friday: Casting Call [7]: The Body Finder

Something Strange and Deadly Read Along: Week 2

SOMETHING STRANGE AND DEADLY READ ALONG
October 10 – October 31, 2012
WEEK 2: OCTOBER 17

Okay my blogger friends! It’s time for the Something Strange and Deadly Read Along! I know I’ve got Something Strange and Deadly in my queue of Halloween reads and I thought it would be great to get even more people involved! It was such short notice that I have no co-hosts so I will be coming at you with all of the posts! Here’s how I have it scheduled:

October 3rd: Intro post and sign-ups
October 10th: Week 1: Chapters 1-7 (through page 90)
October 17th: Week 2: Chapters 8-14 (through page 178)
October 24th: Week 3: Chapters 15-20 (through page 278)
October 31st: Week 4: Chapters 22-end 

UPDATE 10/11: Susan Dennard has graciously donated an “Aim For the Knees” T-shirt as a giveaway as well!! This will be for participants only, so don’t forget to add your links! One automatic entry for signing up (as long as I see your participation posts) and additional entries for each week you link up with the read along! This will be the official giveaway instead of the original book. I’d like to keep the giveaway SS&D related 🙂

Grab the button for your sidebar here:

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Week 2 Questions:

1. On page 101, Eleanor is reading Elijah’s letter where he mentions the mysterious Gas Ring and how once they see their errors, “Father will be most proud” – Eleanor corrects the tense by saying he would have been proud, not will be and that Elijah never got used to referring to their father in the past tense once he passed away. What do you make of this “mistake”? Is there more to this mistake than Eleanor realizes or was it just an innocent oversight?
When I first heard this, I really did think that meant their father wasn’t dead somehow. I began to question if he really did die. This opened up a LOT of questions for me. Was he dead? Did Elijah have hidden motives? Negative ones?

2. We first hear about the grimoires in this section which Jie explains are books of black magic. What roles do you think these books will play in the story? Since Elijah has clearly involved with grimoires, do you think it’s for the side of good or the side of evil?
Gosh, it was just really hard to say. I feel like the clues have been adding up that maybe Elijah isn’t on the side of good. I know Eleanor wants to believe the best in him since it’s her brother, but we just keep getting more and more clues that maybe his actions are not with the best intentions. Then again, I really do want to believe that he’s on the side of good. Maybe he’s looking into grimoires to battle against the necromancer. He was smart and always scholarly. It’s also possible that he is looking into these books to gain the knowledge of how to beat the necromancer.

3. We start to question a lot of Clarence’s actions at motives in this section of chapters. Do you think he has it in for the Spirit-Hunters? Why does Daniel warn Eleanor against him, and what business does he have with Peger?
Now it’s starting to seem that Clarence DOES have a bigger secret than we really knew. Maybe he’s just using Eleanor to get to the Spirit-Hunters? I’d guess that his family does have connections so using the reporter Peger could have a lot of advantages to getting the information that he wants. Why is he tired all the time? Why can’t he sleep? I began to question a lot now if HE’S involved with the necromancer and these are the secrets that he’s keeping from Eleanor. But at the same time, he does seem to be growing on me too. I’m starting to trust him more despite the fact that more and more questions seem to rise about his true motives. Is his footman Willis there to protect him from other things? It seems like the deeper we get into the story, the more of a mystery Clarence becomes.

4. Eleanor and Jie discuss the roles and limited freedoms of women, especially regarding clothes and “proper behavior”. We know that Jie has been disguising herself as a boy so she will not have to abide by the silly rules that women are supposed to follow. When asked, Eleanor says that she has no choice but to obey, and Jie tells her “You always have a choice” (p166). We’ve come along way since Eleanor’s time in the nineteenth century, but do you think certain “rules” like these still exist? Women and men are equal in today’s Western societies, but are there any “norms” that women are still restricted from that men have full freedom to pursue?
Of course there are still rules and certain expectations that women are expected to follow. Gender norms, ways to carry themselves, ways to dress – But really we’ll never get away from that. Or if women were to really and truly become “equal” to men, I don’t think that would be for a long time. Obviously the differences and rules have come quite a long way since the 1800s, but there are quite differences that exist in other countries.
I really liked that this question was brought up though. I thought it was interesting that Jie was brought into the story in such a way. It seems like it was a very deliberate point because Susan Dennard could have chosen any type of character to put in Jie’s place – another American girl, another male – but specifically made this point with Jie and the way that Americans perceived the Chinese women in that time.

4. Chapter 14 ends with quite the cliffhanger! What do you think this spirit is all about? Do you think it’s connected to the Dead at all or is this a separate entity? Why is it specifically connected with Eleanor?
At first I was thinking maybe it was Eleanor’s father. Maybe this was the connection between her and the spirit world and why she senses it so strongly – But then why would he attack her? Did it have anything to do with the necromancer? I mean, I get that he can animate corpses and all, but does necromancy include the the spirit realm as well? The questions are definitely starting to pile up. It seems clear that this spirit seems to be a big clue to something that we’re missing here too, but what could this be? I think I just got more and more confused. Why don’t we know more about this spirit yet? What is the sercret behind it? We’ve read half of the book so far and we’re not getting any answers! I’m definitely curious to see what’s going on.

EXTRAS: Also add any of your favorite quotes, scenes, or other thoughts about the book so far!

 

Week 3 Questions: For October 24, 2012
1. We’ve watched Eleanor chase after the Dead and after Daniel without hesitation. Do you perceive Eleanor as brave or foolish to act with little thought to consequence? 

2. Eleanor gets a letter from Elijah to tell her to stop searching for him – that it’s a bad idea and it’s hurting him rather than helping him. Is Eleanor in denial that her brother is working with the necromancer? Or do you think the necromancer is threatening Elijah now that he knows Eleanor is searching for him? 

3. We find out the history of Daniel Sheridan in these chapters and that he has quite an interesting connection to the Fitt family that Eleanor never knew about. Were you surprised to find out Daniel’s history in Philadelphia? If you were Eleanor, how would you have taken the news?

4. We also find out the real story of the Wilcoxes and that both Clarence and his father have a major connection to the Fitts also. We’re clearly getting closer to solving some of the mysteries that have been building up in the story. What do you make of this connection? How do you think this will affect the climax of the book?? 



Something Strange and Deadly Read Along: Week 1

SOMETHING STRANGE AND DEADLY READ ALONG
October 10 – October 31, 2012
WEEK 1: OCTOBER 10

Okay my blogger friends! It’s time for the Something Strange and Deadly Read Along! I know I’ve got Something Strange and Deadly in my queue of Halloween reads and I thought it would be great to get even more people involved! It was such short notice that I have no co-hosts so I will be coming at you with all of the posts! Here’s how I have it scheduled:

October 3rd: Intro post and sign-ups
October 10th: Week 1: Chapters 1-7 (through page 90)
October 17th: Week 2: Chapters 8-14 (through page 178)
October 24th: Week 3: Chapters 15-20 (through page 278)
October 31st: Week 4: Chapters 22-end 

At the very end on Halloween day, I’m doing a giveaway for all of the participants! It will be your choice of a book by a 2012 debut author (purchased and shipped from The Book Depository) and the runner up of the book giveaway will get a prize package including some Something Strange and Deadly swag!

UPDATE 10/11: Susan Dennard has graciously donated an “Aim For the Knees” T-shirt as a giveaway as well!! This will be for participants only, so don’t forget to add your links! One automatic entry for signing up (as long as I see your participation posts) and additional entries for each week you link up with the read along!

Grab the button for your sidebar here:

<div align="center"><a href="http://wp.me/p2lWzN-mu" title="Something Strange and Deadly Read Along"><img src="http://www.bookaddictsguide.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/ssad-button.jpg" alt="Something Strange and Deadly Read Along" style="border:none;" /></a></div>

Week 1 Questions:

Character impressions: Clarence
What are your first impressions of Clarence? Does he seem like a trustworthy person, or is he hiding ulterior motives behind good looks?

Hmm, Clarence. You know, I really can’t tell! Obviously he has a secret to hide so that doesn’t seem too trustworthy. He’s got an arrogant sort of confidence that I can’t tell if that will come back to bite him, or if it really does work for his benefit. I don’t really like the way he talks to Eleanor so far, but at least she’s cheeky enough to say whatever is on her mind and she’s not afraid to be a little unladylike around him. I’m actually kind of hoping they’ll be friends, but it also seems like we’re getting a bit of I-hate-you-but-I’ll-love-you-later-in-the-book.

Character impressions: Eleanor Fitt
What are your first impressions of Eleanor? It seems like her mother always wants to put her family’s reputation above all else. How do you think Eleanor feels about this?

Eleanor seems like our typical strong, obstinate, and courageous heroine. Really, I think a lot of paranormal/dystopian-type books have to have this kind of lead character. If it was me, you know I’d never chase after the Dead! But Eleanor has a spark in her that is not only courage, but loyalty and love of her family. She loves her brother and feels if she doesn’t rescue him, who will? As far as her relationship with her mother goes, I don’t think Eleanor really cares about her family’s reputation much at all. It seems to extend as far as being presentable around other people and we do see her disdain for appearing poor (I noticed this with the mention of her old and tattered clothes, specifically). It seems to be a tricky situation because I feel like she cares but only to a certain extend. Maybe she cares about her personal appearance, because she didn’t seem to care much about the party her mother wanted to hold and that she was helping for the sake of her mother. It seems she doesn’t like being around all of those people and being judged all the time so instead, she’d rather avoid it and have her family keep to themselves.

Character impressions: Daniel
Daniel is quite brash with Eleanor when they first meet in the Spirit-Hunter’s lab. Do you see potential for a friendship? For a romance?

I love Daniel’s mad scientist vibe! He was really harsh with Eleanor when she first appeared, but then again, why not? She barged into his lab and start touching things and interfering with his work. Really, it was her out of place. I’m hoping this will develop into an interesting friendship! As of this very point in time, I’d say I’m looking for this to turn into an awesome friendship, but it looks like it’ll turn to a romance here soon!

1. Mrs. Fitt decides to hold a seance as a last minute fill-in for the party’s entertainment. How would you feel about this if you were a guest at the party? Do you think that’s wise with the Dead running around?

Um, I would leave that party right away once I heard mention of a seance! Whether they think it’ll work or not, I wouldn’t want to be around to risk it! And oh wait, it DOES work and Eleanor feels that spirit. Creepy to the max! I would never be around it. And seriously, why are they holding a seance when they know the Dead are walking around??? I guess they’re still a little bit different, but I’d be afraid it’d call the Dead to my house too.

2. Eleanor lives with only her mother and the live-in help since her father passed away and her brother is in New York and possibly taken by the Dead. I feel like the absent family member – especially a parent – is a theme I see a lot in YA novels. Why do you think that is? What aspect does this add to the story?

Hmm. I guess the absent family member really forces the children to step up and be a larger part of the driving force of the family. Not only does Eleanor have to help her mother with a lot more around the house, but now she’s taken on almost raising herself for the last few years she’ll be at home. It’s up to Eleanor to take care of a lot of things that her mother either overlooks or refuses to acknowledge (like the absence of her brother) and I think she’s much more inclined to show initiative and bravery when she knows it’s either up to her or no one will take on the task.

3. We first see the steampunk feel when Eleanor wanders into the Centennial Exhibition to find the Spirit-Hunters. What do you think of machines and science fighting the zombies and paranormal?

I thought this was a really interesting take! Personally, I haven’t read any steampunk so that was all brand new to me. I really was not expecting the Spirit-Hunters to be all about machines and science. I was thinking they would relate more to magic and “voodoo” to combat the necromancer. I really enjoy the twist that puts science head-to-head with supernatural.

4. What do you think really happened to Elijah? Do you think he was captured by the Dead, or are there more secrets hidden behind his disappearance?

In the very beginning, I would say I’m on Eleanor’s side. He probably got taken by the Dead or the necromancer and she needs to rescue him from this terrible fate. But the more we learn about his situation, the more mysteries pop up and I’m really starting to question if he is as helpless as Eleanor thinks….. Or maybe he has something to do with the Dead rising. Either way, I’m terribly anxious to find out!!

EXTRAS: Also add any of your favorite quotes, scenes, or other thoughts about the book so far!

Quotes:
p80: “Miss Fitt, you know curiosity gets men killed.”
I grinned. “Then I daresay it’s good I’m a woman.”

Thoughts so far: Well, I think Susan Dennard has given us a lot to think about so far! At first we think this is just the story of how Eleanor has to save her brother from the Dead. But once we dig more into the story, a lot more questions pop up and I know I’m starting to doubt that her brother is even on the side of good! It’s definitely taking a turn I hadn’t anticipated and I’m curious to see where this tale takes us!

And here are the questions for next week, 10/17:

1. On page 101, Eleanor is reading Elijah’s letter where he mentions the mysterious Gas Ring and how once they see their errors, “Father will be most proud” – Eleanor corrects the tense by saying he would have been proud, not will be and that Elijah never got used to referring to their father in the past tense once he passed away. What do you make of this “mistake”? Is there more to this mistake than Eleanor realizes or was it just an innocent oversight? 

2. We first hear about the grimoires in this section which Jie explains are books of black magic. What roles do you think these books will play in the story? Since Elijah has clearly involved with grimoires, do you think it’s for the side of good or the side of evil?

3. We start to question a lot of Clarence’s actions at motives in this section of chapters. Do you think he has it in for the Spirit-Hunters? Why does Daniel warn Eleanor against him, and what business does he have with Peger?

4. Eleanor and Jie discuss the roles and limited freedoms of women, especially regarding clothes and “proper behavior”. We know that Jie has been disguising herself as a boy so she will not have to abide by the silly rules that women are supposed to follow. When asked, Eleanor says that she has no choice but to obey, and Jie tells her “You always have a choice” (p166). We’ve come along way since Eleanor’s time in the nineteenth century, but do you think certain “rules” like these still exist? Women and men are equal in today’s Western societies, but are there any “norms” that women are still restricted from that men have full freedom to pursue?

4. Chapter 14 ends with quite the cliffhanger! What do you think this spirit is all about? Do you think it’s connected to the Dead at all or is this a separate entity? Why is it specifically connected with Eleanor? 

EXTRAS: Also add any of your favorite quotes, scenes, or other thoughts about the book so far!