Something Wicked Strikes Day #16. Wicked is at the midway point. I hope you all are continuing to enjoy all the Wicked Posts and giveaways. I am happy today to be featuring a post from The Cure For Dreaming Blog Tour. Before I get to my post, I want to make sure you have the stops today:
Maja @The Nocturnal Library: Exquisite Captive by Heather Demetrios
Gin @ Gin's Book Notes: Erin Keyser
Today's Wicked post comes courtesy of author Cat Winters. I am a big fan of Ms. Winters, and I love that she is a local author. I am pleased to have her back here on Rainy Day Ramblings with her new book. Ms. Winters latest book, The Cure For Dreaming is a haunting and thought provoking tale set at the turn of the twentieth century. Olivia Mead, the plucky heroine, is seventeen and struggling against the overbearing ideals of her father. Olivia, like many women in this era, is fighting for the right to vote, and her battle is getting her into trouble. In fact, her father goes to some horrible lengths to try and squelch her desire to dream for a better future......This is a must read for anyone who likes a good historical novel with a tiny bit of paranormal. As part of The Cure For Dreaming Tour, I am excited to host Cat Winters. Cat is guest posting today on things she fears. Before I get to Cat's post, let me take a minute to reintroduce her:
Cat Winters’s critically acclaimed debut novel, In the Shadow of Blackbirds, was named a 2014 Morris Award Finalist, a 2014 Best Fiction for Young Adults pick, a 2013 Bram Stoker Award Nominee, and a School Library Journal Best Book of 2013. Her upcoming novels include The Cure for Dreaming (Amulet Books/Oct. 2014) and The Uninvited (William Morrow/2015), and she’s a contributor to the 2015 YA horror anthology Slasher Girls & Monster Boys. She lives in Portland, Oregon. Visit her on her Website. Photo by Tara KellyFind Cat Online:
Here is Cat:
Five Things That Terrify Me
By Cat Winters
Whenever I see a preview for a terrifying-looking movie and comment how frightening it looks, my fifteen-year-old daughter turns to me and says, “Look who’s talking!” She’s perplexed that her mom, a woman who’s written scenes involving half-men/half-bird creatures and violent gunshot wounds, could be scared by someone else’s horror story.
The truth of the matter is that most of us who write scary stories are haunted by fears. In fact, we’re so in touch with the things that terrify us that we’re easily able to articulate in words how horrifying such encounters can be. Some of our fears are irrational and not likely to lead to our imminent death (insects, clowns, etc.). Others—the bigger, deadlier fears—are threats we’ve personally faced or tragedies that unsettle us when we read the daily news headlines.
In no particular order, here are five things in life, both big and little, that frighten me the most.
1. Snakes. I grew up in Southern California, and our backyard ended in a giant hill covered in dry grasses. Rattlesnakes were a reality in the very place in which I played as a child. Snake season petrified me. A non-poisonous snake once even made its way into our house—into the bathroom I shared with my sister! I do not like snakes. I do not plan to ever overcome my fear of snakes. I stay away from them. They stay away from me. We’re all happy with that arrangement.
2. Roller-skating/rollerblading. I am the world’s worst roller skater. I grew up in the 1970s and early 1980s, and roller-skating birthday parties were all the rage. My body never approved of the feeling of rolling around on slippery wheels, and the idea of leaning forward to put on the brakes always made my heart pound and my leg muscles stiffen. I clung to the walls at Skate World, the local roller-skating rink. I stayed low to the ground whenever I dared to skate outside on the sidewalk. I never graduated to the realm of rollerblading as an adult. One of my fourth-grade “friends” even made up a song about my fear of roller-skating. However, not being able to skate has never affected my life as a grown woman—even when I took my own son to a roller-skating rink for a preschool fieldtrip. As long as I don’t apply for a job at the fast-food restaurant Sonic, where servers roller-skate with trays of food up to car windows(!), I think I’ll be just fine on my stable, non-wheeled feet.
3. Ghost stories. Yep, my 2013 debut novel, In the Shadow of Blackbirds, was a ghost story. My 2015 and 2016 releases all involve ghosts, and in The Cure for Dreaming, some characters look like ghosts.
I’m fine when I’m writing my own ghost stories. I’m facing the combined emotions of terror and fascination, which I’ve always felt toward ghosts ever since I found a book about real-life hauntings in my elementary school’s library. But whenever I’m on a ghost tour (a favorite hobby of mine) or reading about a person’s terrifying encounter with a paranormal entity, I often get seriously spooked. Just this morning, when I was taking a short break from working, I read about the modern-day urban legend of the “Black-Eyed Children” or “Black-Eyed Kids.” Google the legend if you’ve never heard of it—but don’t do so when you’re home alone, like I did. Yikes!
4. School shootings. This fear terrifies me so badly, I don’t even want to write much about it. I have two kids in school and a husband who teaches at a school, and whenever I read about a shooting involving students, my heart dies a little. I deal with gun violence in both In the Shadow of Blackbirds and my third YA novel, The Steep and Thorny Way, coming Spring 2016 from Amulet Books. This is a prime example of tapping deep into my fears to create fiction.
5. Failure. I’m a perfectionist Virgo. My parents never had to nag me about getting good grades in school, because I always pushed myself to get the best grades possible. I played violin, danced ballet, and wrote novels as a kid, and I strove with all my might to obtain first-chair positions and dance solos. The protagonists of both In the Shadow of Blackbirds and The Cure for Dreaming are both ambitious girls who fight to keep their dreams alive, despite the obstacles threatening to topple their lives. As I’ve matured into adulthood, I’ve learned to better handle failure, but, like all writers, a neurotic voice sometimes chirps in my head, “Do better. Do better.” I believe I’m dealing with my fears of disappointing myself every time I throw a character into a hellish situation and see how she deals with her own disappointments. My characters often make it through to the other side intact, a little ruffled and bruised, but wiser and braver than when they first began.
The way I see it, if my YA characters can survive their encounters with ghosts and guns and failure (and maybe even snakes and roller skates!), then, by all means, I can face and conquer my own fears, too.
How about you? What scares you the most?
I couldn't agree more with your list, Cat! I hate snakes, and I never liked rollerskating as a kid. I used to cling to the rails too. School shootings make me so sad. Especially considering we had one here in Portland, Oregon in June. I do love a good ghost story, but yikes! Black Eyed Children? Anyway.... thanks so much to Cat Winters for taking time to post with me today. As part of the tour, I am able to offer you all a chance to win a terrific prize pack. This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. To enter fill out the Rafflcopter. Please note this giveaway is hosted by Rock Star Book Tours, please visit their website for all contest policies and details.
A huge thank you to Cat and to Jamie for allowing me to be a part of the tour.
Please note, this post uses affliate links.
Here is my review:
The Cure for Dreaming by Cat Winters
Olivia Mead is a headstrong, independent girl—a suffragist—in an age that prefers its girls to be docile. It’s 1900 in Oregon, and Olivia’s father, concerned that she’s headed for trouble, convinces a stage mesmerist to try to hypnotize the rebellion out of her. But the hypnotist, an intriguing young man named Henri Reverie, gives her a terrible gift instead: she’s able to see people’s true natures, manifesting as visions of darkness and goodness, while also unable to speak her true thoughts out loud. These supernatural challenges only make Olivia more determined to speak her mind, and so she’s drawn into a dangerous relationship with the hypnotist and his mysterious motives, all while secretly fighting for the rights of women. Winters breathes new life into history once again with an atmospheric, vividly real story, including archival photos and art from the period throughout.
Hardcover, 368 pages
Four and a half stars: An eye opening and haunting book about real life monsters and the battle for women's suffrage.
It is Halloween night 1900 in Portland, Oregon. Seventeen year old Olivia Mead is celebrating her birthday by attending a hypnotist show. Olivia's friend volunteers her to be hypnotized, and that changes everything for Olivia. Olivia is headstrong and independent and fighting for women's voting rights, even though it angers her father. Once Olivia's father learns of her latest participation in a suffrage rally and that she was hypnotized, he decides to take drastic measures. Olivia's father hires the very same hypnotist, Henry Reverie, to come to their house and hypnotize Olivia again. Her father endeavors to have the hypnotist make Olivia docile and compliant and rid her head of her silly dreams of women's rights and voting. Will hypnotism prove to be the cure for dreaming?
What I Liked:
- Wow! Once again, Ms. Winters has dazzled me with her mad story telling skills. This time around, Ms. Winters plunges us back to the turn of the century, a time when women were fighting to have their voices heard, but they were meeting strong opposition. I think as a modern, American woman, I take for granted the rights we women now have, but Winters reminds us in this book how hard women had to fight to achieve the vote and the equality we are still striving for today. This is an eye opening read with a tiny bit of paranormal, that I enjoyed thoroughly.
- At the heart of the story is the mysterious act of hypnotism. Young Henry Reverie comes to town and dazzles the folks of Portland, Oregon with his skills. Things take a rather frightening turn when Henry is forced by Olivia's father to hypnotize her to be a compliant woman. Henry puts Olivia under his spell and tells her once she awakens, she will see the world as it is meant to be seen. For Olivia, that means she sees humans as they truly are. The wicked and nasty people appear as vampires and harbingers of evil. Imagine how frightening it would be to lose your voice and ambitious drive and see the world filled with monsters? I have never thought much about hypnotism until reading this, but after finishing the book, I found the implications of hypnotism to be rather chilling.
- Olivia is a likable character. At seventeen, she is independent and spunky as she fights to maintain her voice. I loved how she longed to wear bloomers and ride her bike, and how she fought to do good, even if that meant enduring hypnotism so she could help a girl with cancer. Olivia Mead captures the spirit of many young ladies in this era, the ones who fought for our right to vote. I don't think we honor these valiant women enough. Sure we might all know the name Susan B. Anthony, but do we really know much about her and her fellow crusaders? This is an excellent historical read that brings forth the plight of these women, and hopefully it will stir more curiosity for this topic because unfortunately, there are women all across the world enduing plights even more horrible than Olivia's.
- The setting and atmosphere are expertly done. As I resident of Portland, Oregon, I loved reading about my city and how things were over a hundred years ago. Ms. Winters does an excellent job in capturing Portland at the turn of the century.
- I liked the romance didn't take over the story. It was not much more than a hint of attraction and a few sparks. I was worried that it might turn into an insta love situation, but Ms. Winters kept it real, and I liked that. I have to admit, though, at the end, I wanted a bit more as far as the whole romantic relationship goes.
- This is a book I would highly recommend reading the physical copy vs. an ebook. The hard copy is gorgeous, and throughout the book, there are numerous vintage photos and quotations from this era that helped enhance the story. I loved this old pictures. Trying to view them on an ereader would be difficult.
And The Not So Much:
- While I loved the whole hypnotism element, I was a bit disappointed that there was practically no discussion on how hypnotism was achieved. I am not overly familiar with the art of hypnotism and I would love to have more information on it. How different is hypnotism now from a hundred years ago?
- Olivia has a difficult relationship with her father. Her mother left her father to seek her dreams when Olivia was four. Thus, it has just been Olivia and her father. There was a tiny mention toward the end that things were not always turbulent between them. I found I was wanting a bit more development on the father daughter relationship. Did he really ever care for Olivia?
- I also was wanting more information on Olivia's mother and why she left. I kept hoping that Olivia would head off and visit her mother, so I could learn more, but alas, I was left wondering.
- The ending was a bit open ended. Though it ended on an upbeat note and I was led to believe that "All is well," I wanted more closure. I wished there was an epilogue down the road so I could see if Olivia reached her bright dreams. Perhaps there will be a continuation of the story at a later date, the door is certainly open.
- I was hoping to find more information about the photographs at the end of the book, but after I searched the credits, I didn't see anything. I would love to know more about the vintage pictures.
The Cure for Dreaming is an impressive sophomore novel by Cat Winters. I can assure you, I will continue to read whatever Ms. Winters writes if she maintains these high standards. The Cure for Dreaming is a fascinating snap shot of what life was like for girls at the turn of the century, bright young women fighting to step out from under the men's thumb and achieve the vote and equality. I loved reading about this era and I especially enjoyed the small touch of paranormal. If you are looking for an exceptional historical novel for Young Adults, I would highly recommend either of Ms. Winter's novels.
"Your future is to become a respectable housewife and mother. Women belong in the home, and inside some man's home you'll stay."
"I'll be making your life easier for your own good, so don't make me out to be the villain here. The world will seem far less difficult when passions that can never be fulfilled are gone from your stubborn head."
"I don't want them gone. I'd rather be able to dream and fail than to never feel the pull of another way of life."
"I love that books allow us to experience other lives without us ever having to change where we live or who we are."
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.
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