Tag Archives: Susan Dennard

Truthwitch (The Witchlands #1) – Susan Dennard

Truthwitch (The Witchlands #1) – Susan DennardTitle: Truthwitch (The Witchlands #1) by Susan Dennard
Publishing Info: January 5, 2016 by Macmillan, Tor Books
Source: Barnes & Noble
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: February 15, 2016
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), Strange and Ever After (Something Strange and Deadly #3)

In a continent on the edge of war, two witches hold its fate in their hands.
Young witches Safiya and Iseult have a habit of finding trouble. After clashing with a powerful Guildmaster and his ruthless Bloodwitch bodyguard, the friends are forced to flee their home.
Safi must avoid capture at all costs as she's a rare Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lies. Many would kill for her magic, so Safi must keep it hidden - lest she be used in the struggle between empires. And Iseult's true powers are hidden even from herself.
In a chance encounter at Court, Safi meets Prince Merik and makes him a reluctant ally. However, his help may not slow down the Bloodwitch now hot on the girls' heels. All Safi and Iseult want is their freedom, but danger lies ahead. With war coming, treaties breaking and a magical contagion sweeping the land, the friends will have to fight emperors and mercenaries alike. For some will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch.

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I wasn’t going to pick up TRUTHWITCH — at least not for a while — simply because of the incredible, months-long hype that surrounded it. To be frank, it really killed my interest for the book and having finished Susan Dennard’s previous series and ending up unimpressed, I wasn’t anxious to dive right into TRUTHWITCH. I was offered a review copy of the audiobook from the publisher and with so many friends who had already given it high praise, I figured it was as good of a time to start as any.

My whole experience with TRUTHWITCH was a rocky one. I started the audiobook and was really enjoying the story but the longer I listened, the more the narrator bothered me. I actually was perfectly fine with her narration of the story but the dialogue was a killer. I couldn’t stand the voices she used for the girls and Safi and Iseult ended up coming off as whiny, immature, and weak. Not wanting this to affect my whole experience, I ended up stopping the audiobook and I purchased a print copy instead.

Things were going okay until I realized I had hit a wall with just about everything. I couldn’t bring myself into this book and I was struggling to pick it back up. I had some serious trouble with the pacing most of all and couldn’t find a good balance between action, world-building, and character development. I ended up feeling like a whole lot was happening but it really wasn’t moving the plot forward at all. I felt no closer to development, a surprise, a turning point, or resolution and it started to get really hard for me to keep reading. Quite frankly, I was bored.

I also really struggled with the world-building. It’s one of my favorite parts of fantasy novels and I absolutely love learning about political and social structures, geography, lore, and history. I felt like there were a lot of missed opportunities in the beginning to introduced something in passing that gets used later in the book (Sarah J. Maas is a PRO at this) so the reader already has knowledge of what it is and is excited about its involvement in a major plot point. There were so many things that happened towards the end that I didn’t realize were even important until the characters were discussing them. I also would have loved to learn more about each ability/power, why it was important, how it ranked in comparison to other powers, why Safi’s Truthwitchery was so incredibly important, why stasis was so important to Iseult and her powers, the limits to the powers, how people ended up having them, etc etc. Some of these things were touched upon but I just wanted so much more detail and backstory and history that I found it really lacking for my taste.

The characters also really didn’t grab me at all. You’d think two amazing friends and strong girls would immediately hook me but somehow they didn’t. Maybe it was the narration that soured me on this because try as I did, I never really got those voices out of my head and I never got over the fact that I didn’t feel much depth to them. I think I connected more to Iseult than Safi because I had kind of a hard time with Safi’s hard-headedness at times. Instead of strength in Safi, I saw immaturity and a lack of patience.

The romance didn’t really get me either. I really liked the introduction of Merik and the dance scene was GREAT but other than that, I didn’t feel the chemistry. The cute romantic things that came later were just too late and I was already stuggling with the book. The chemistry just didn’t feel natural for me. I had already lost interest in the book at that point and was pretty much racing to finish (I READ THIS FOR A MONTH) so nothing was really interesting me at that point in time and I really just wanted to finish.

I am super bummed that I just didn’t latch onto much of anything in this book. I just felt like the development wasn’t there (I guess for me — so many people loved it so maybe I’m just the black sheep here) and things were introduced with no history so I was struggling to realize what they were and why they were so important. TRUTHWITCH was just sadly not a hit for me. This may be my last Susan Dennard book because I really lost steam at the end of the Something Strange and Deadly trilogy and this one didn’t end up changing my mind on what I was missing from Susan Dennard’s first series. I’m not sure hype or persuasion could get me to read another book since I seem to be the unpopular opinion on her books.

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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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Safi // Character Obsessions: Friendship, duty, freedom, honesty. 
I just never quite got on board with Safi. She seemed a bit too hot-headed and/or immature, making decisions hastily. I feel like it’s one thing to get into trouble because it’s cute for the book or it’s that sort of character but it seemed like Safi got into trouble because she ended up putting herself there and it kind of bothered me.
Iseult // Character Obsessions: Friendship, threads, family, honor. 
I connected a bit more to Iseult than to Safi but I still didn’t connect much. I felt like even though we do get some of her history and her past, it was only just a tiny bit and I wanted to spend so much more time getting to know her.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Books with hype. I gave into the hype and ended up reading this one. I think it was a bit too hyped up and that didn’t help but I also don’t think I would have felt differently even if it hadn’t been.
Left Me Wanting More: World-building. I LOVE learning about a fantasy world. I just wanted so much more of this in TRUTHWITCH.

Addiction Rating
Get a second opinion

I seem to be the black sheep. There have been a few others who seem to share similar opinions but the vast majority of my friends LOVED this. I’d say check out a few more reviews before you take my word for it.

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BOOKS LIKE TRUTHWITCH

(Click the cover to see my review!)

SHADOW AND BONE    RED QUEEN

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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author

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:

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: Intro and Sign-Ups

SOMETHING STRANGE AND DEADLY READ ALONG
October 10 – October 31, 2012

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 

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Now since I’m actually participating in the read along that I’m hosting (yep, I haven’t read it either yet – I get to enjoy it with everyone at the same time!), that means this read along will be a little less formal. I’ll have some questions for us to answer along the way and some themed discussions for us to have about the book, but with each week’s post, we’ll all be sharing what we think of the characters, our favorite parts of the book, and any great quotes we happen to find! Whether you’ve read it before or this is the first time, anyone is welcome to join… but you do have to actually read the book! 🙂

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!

The first themes and round of questions will go up on Saturday, October 6th and you can start reading at any time! Then we’ll start posting things for week one next week on October 10th. If you’re running a little late, no worries! You can link up a few days later, but please remember to link each week’s post to the linky on the host page on my blog. Each link that you post will earn you a few extra entries for the final giveaway at the end of the read along!

UPDATE 10/4 7PM: The questions are ready!!! Here are the 1st round of questions to cover chapters 1-8 (through page 90) for the post for week one to go live on 10/10:

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?

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?

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?

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?

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?

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?

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? 

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

Below is the link for the sign-ups (click the icon below). The sign-ups for the read along will be open until halfway through the read along (October 17th). Hop to it, and I look forward to discussing Something Strange and Deadly with you!!!
Please also spread the word to your blogger friends! Please tweet or post the link after signing up so we can have fun discussing with even more people 🙂