Kim has really enjoyed the Serafina series by Robert Beatty and just finished the fourth in the series! Here is listing of the series:
- Serafina and the Black Cloak
- Serafina and the Twisted Staff
- Serafina and the Splintered Heart (Kim’s review is here).
- Serafina and the Seven Stars
Author: Robert Beatty
Published: July 9, 2019
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 Stars
Serafina and Braeden make an epic return in the hotly anticipated fourth installment of Robert Beatty’s #1 New York Times best-selling Serafina series. Serafina, the Guardian of Biltmore Estate, has won battle after battle against the dark forces encroaching on her home. Now, tranquility has returned to Biltmore. Serafina doesn’t trust it. She patrols the grounds night and day, hardly sleeping, uncertain of her place after her best friend Braeden Vanderbilt’s departure for boarding school in New York.
When Mr. Vanderbilt, the kind master of Biltmore, asks Serafina to move upstairs into one of the house’s grandest rooms, she’s sure it’s to keep an eye on the guests who have arrived for the estate’s annual hunt.
But as Serafina investigates, she becomes more and more unsettled by what Biltmore has become-a place haunted by nameless terrors where no dark corridor is safe. Even worse, she begins to doubt her own senses. Is Braeden really hundreds of miles away, or did he return to Biltmore for one strange night before vanishing? Is the bond between them truly broken or is it stronger than ever?
Then Serafina witnesses a crime that turns her world upside down. How can all that once seemed good and worthy of protection now be evil? And how can she guard those around her when she can’t even be sure of the truth of her own heart?
Serafina and the Seven Stars marks the return of a heroine like no other, as master storyteller Robert Beatty weaves his darkest, most astonishing tale yet.
Serafina is growing up and she’s doing it fast! I decided to re-read the other three books before Seven Stars came out and I once again was caught up in the world of the Vanderbilts at Biltmore in Asheville. I was reminded of all that had happened before with the Black Cloak and Twisted Staff and the Old Man of the Mountains. I went back to seeing what good friends book characters can be and the lessons to be learned.
Seven Stars was written in the same spirit as the rest of the series, but boy howdy is it dark! Serafina isn’t the little girl who just keeps Biltmore clear of rats anymore. She’s becoming a teenager who has the weight of the world on her shoulders. It was almost depressing reading the first half of the book when Serafina was just lost and in some ways, useless. And if you didn’t think it could get anymore evil or malevolent than Uriah, well then you’d be wrong.
I had a little trouble putting all the pieces of the story together, even by the end, but I still understood enough to appreciate the brilliance of it all. I would even say that this might not be for the younger kids, just because of all the darkness! But I really enjoyed it and I can’t wait to see what happens next with Serafina and Braeden! An excellent story!
Kim was also able to attend the Launch Party for Seven Stars and meet Robert Beatty again!
**Be sure to go to Jessica’s Reading Room on Facebook as we will be giving away some swag Kim picked up from the launch! This will only be for those of you in the USA.**
Published: June 4, 2019
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 Stars
From Danielle Vega, YA’s answer to Stephen King, comes a new paranormal novel about dark family secrets, deep-seated vengeance, and the horrifying truth that evil often lurks in the unlikeliest of places.
Hendricks Becker-O’Malley is new in town, and she’s bringing baggage with her. With a dark and wild past, Hendricks doesn’t think the small town her parents moved her to has much to offer her in terms of excitement. She plans on laying low, but when she’s suddenly welcomed into the popular crowd at school, things don’t go as expected.
Hendricks learns from her new friends that the fixer-upper her parents are so excited about is notorious in town. Local legend says it’s haunted. Hendricks doesn’t believe it. Until she’s forced to. Blood-curdling screams erupt from the basement, her little brother wakes up covered in scratches, and something, or someone pushes her dad down the stairs. With help from the mysterious boy next door, Hendricks makes it her mission to take down the ghosts . . . if they don’t take her first.
Another great one from Danielle Vega! This is a classic ghost story that is creepy and chilling. It actually follows Vega’s normal timeline within her books, but it’s more than her exorcism series. She even tied up any loose ends by the end of the story. I’ll admit that I wish the underlying plot for the haunting was a little deeper, sure. But it was still satisfying and she covered everything very well.
Steele House was the perfect setting and all the spirits and ghosts that showed up were pretty darn scary! Vega managed to add intense physical aspects to her ghosts that creeped the crap outta me! I also really liked the characters. And of course, typical Kim, I liked the mysterious neighbor boy the best. Overall, this book is chilling, scary, and perfect for reading when you want something dark. Definitely save it for the older teens but it’s a good choice for getting teens to read. Great book!
Author: Kip WIlson
Published: April 2, 2019
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars
A gorgeous and timely novel based on the incredible story of Sophie Scholl, a young German college student who challenged the Nazi regime during World War II as part of The White Rose, a non-violent resistance group.
Disillusioned by the propaganda of Nazi Germany, Sophie Scholl, her brother, and his fellow soldiers formed the White Rose, a group that wrote and distributed anonymous letters criticizing the Nazi regime and calling for action from their fellow German citizens. The following year, Sophie and her brother were arrested for treason and interrogated for information about their collaborators.
We are on a roll with all these covers in 2019! The Most Gorgeous Cover Tournament is going to be impossible this year!
I enjoyed this book very much. I’m a bit conflicted about my rating, simply because I like how the verse formatting allowed me to get through it quickly, hence I felt super accomplished, but I also am not a huge fan of verse formatting in general and I think it took something away from the story. It felt so impersonal. And the story was emotional and passionate, so it’s sad that I didn’t get all the feels like I should have.
This story also made me aware of something that has always been right under the surface, but keeps popping up and ruining wonderful things. Politics. Y’all know I hate politics in fiction. Fiction should be an escape from real life and usually you’re either on one side or the other and therefore, politics is a no win situation for half the population. Just keep it all out so everyone can enjoy stuff! The sad thing is that everything has become so saturated with politics and which side you’re on and who you voted for is your identity, that it seems to affect everything, even things that shouldn’t be politics related. I find myself comparing everything to our current political climate and in my mind, create problems that aren’t actually there. I’ve even starting looking for political jabs in books about WW2 and Nazi Germany that shouldn’t be there and aren’t there. I hate it. I don’t want to think this way. And what was nice about White Rose is that Wilson kept current politics completely out of it. Any comparisons made were completely out of my own mind. She didn’t even add any little lectures in her acknowledgment section. I really liked that. I felt rebuked by my own imagination and for doing things that I criticize others for.
So even though I doubt the author intended it, I learned more about myself and my perceptions and hopefully become more mature in my reading. So I did enjoy this book, I learned a lot, and I absolutely recommend it. I would also say this is one of the fiction books that belong on high school history teachers shelves! Very good book!