Thursday, October 1, 2015

Monday, September 28, 2015

Book Review: Serafina and the Black Cloak

Serafina and the Black Cloak
Robert Beatty

Middle Grade

July 2015 



My Rating:
4 Stars

This New York Times Bestseller is a spooky mystery-thriller about an unusual girl who lives secretly in the basement of the grand Biltmore Estate. 

"Never go into the deep parts of the forest, for there are many dangers there and they will ensnare your soul."

Serafina has never ahd a reason to disobey her pa and venture beyond the grounds of Biltmore Estate. There's plenty to explore in the shadowed corridors of her vast home, but she must take care to never be seen. None of the rich folk upstairs know that Serafina exists; she and her pa, the estate's maintenance man, have secretly lived in the basement for as long as Serafina can remember. 

But when children at the estate start disappearing, only Serafina knows who the culprit is: a terrifying man in a black cloak who stalks Biltmore's corridors at night. Following her own harrowing escape, Serafina risks everything by joining forces with Braeden Vanderbilt, the young nephew of Biltmore's owners. Braeden and Serafina must uncover the Man in the Black Cloak's true identity before all of the children vanish one by one. 

Serafina's hunt leads her into the very forest that she has been taught to fear. There she discovers a forgotten legacy of magic that is bound to her own identity. In order to save the children of Biltmore, Serafina must seek the answers that will unlock the puzzle of her past. 

My Thoughts:

Serafina is a child of the night. Secretly living in the basement of the Biltmore with her father, she becomes a shadow that is never seen. But when she witness a man in a black cloak take a child into the basement and almost becomes a victim herself, she decides that it is time to step out of the shadows and warn someone. She befriends the young nephew of the Vandebilt's and together they try to find the 'rat' that is plaguing the Biltmore Estate. 

Parts of this book were downright terrifying. Beatty did an excellent job of making this a spooky novel. There are kidnappings, cemeteries, and more to send chills up the spine. At the same time there is a unique element of mystery as we learn about Serafina's beginnings and wonder what she really is; a normal little girl or an actual creature of the night. 

I've always wanted to visit the Biltmore Estate and since I'm not sure if that will ever happen I was eager to read a story set in the largest house in America. I was only further intrigued and my wish to visit the grand house was renewed. Maybe someday! 

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday #54

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

Top Ten Finished Series I Have Yet To Finish

(Pictured are the books in each series that I have yet to read)

The Heroes of Olympus Series by Rick Riordan

Oz by L. Frank Baum

Fairytale Retellings by Jackson Pearce

The Monstrumologist Series by Rick Yancey

The Wolves Chronicles by Joan Aiken

(All 11! I've only read the prequel, 'The Whispering Mountain')

The Books of Bayern by Shannon Hale

Lost Continent Series by Catherine Asaro

Brian's Saga by Gary Paulsen

The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare

Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter by Laurell K. Hamilton

(#5 - #24 and I'mnot even positive if that is the last book. I haven't kept up with the news on this series.)

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Book Review: Fable 'Blood of Heroes'

Fable: Blood of Heroes
Jim C. Hines


August 4, 2015 by Del Rey



My Rating:
3.5 stars

The official companion novel to the videogame Fable® Legends

Deep in Albion's darkest age, long before once upon a time...
Heroes are thought to be gone from the land. So why have the bards begun singing of them once more? For Fable newcomers and dedicated fans alike, Blood of Heroes delves into a never-before-glimpsed era, telling the tale of a band of adventurers who come together to defend a kingdom in desperate need.

The city of Brightlodge is awash with heroes from every corner of Albion, all eager for their next quest. When someone tries to burn down the Cock and Bard Inn, four heroes find themselves hastily thrown together, chasing outlaws through sewers, storming a riverboat full of smugglers, and placing  their trust in a most unlikely ally. As the beginnings of a deadly plot are revealed,  it becomes clear that heroes have truly arrived - and so have villains.

What connects the recent events in Brightlodge to  rumors about a malicious ghost and a spate of unsolved deaths in the nearby mining town of Grayrock? Unless Albion's bravest heroes can find the answer, the dawn of a new age could be extinguished before it even begins.  

My Thoughts:

Disclosure: I received a temporary copy of this book free of charge to review through Netgalley.

This book was almost exactly what I thought it would be. Heroes and action mixed with a lot of fantasy and references to towns and creatures that exist in the XBOX game series, Fable. I really enjoyed those games in the past and loved being transferred back into the world of Albion via literature. I even listened to the 'start menu' song from the game while reading this. I always found it to be slightly haunting while still being whimsical like a music box.
I've never read anything from Jim C. Hines before but I wasn't disappointed. He brought a lot of action to the world with his 8 heroes; Glory, Winter, Tipple, Sterling, Rook, Inga, Shroud, and Leech. 

My only problem was keeping track of who was doing what. With that many main characters all in the same place and in the same scenes it really is hard to picture what is going on. I feel like I didn't have a good enough idea of who each character was. Shroud and Leech seemed too similar. Rook really just seemed like a name thrown in there among the others. The only one that really stood out to me was Winter and she was self explanatory. 

Overall, I enjoyed it.