Something Wicked Strikes is entering its first full week, and I promise there will be plenty of spooky reads to explore along with terrific giveaways and guest posts. You won't want to miss a day!
Be sure to check out these stops today:
Ali@My Guilty Obsession: Feral by Holly Schindler
I am pleased to be featuring a eerie atmospheric book set in the Deep South near New Orleans. I always jump at the chance to read a book set in this area thanks to Anne Rice. Today, I am featuring Sweet Unrest by Lisa Maxwell. This is a mysterious tale of Voodoo, curses, ghosts and a long lasting romance. A must read if you are a fan of spirits and Voodoo. I am lucky enough to have author Lisa Maxwell here today sharing her thoughts on the villains she fears the most. Before we get to Lisa's post, let me introduce you all to Lisa:
Lisa Maxwell is the author of Sweet Unrest (Flux, Fall 2014) and Heartless Things (Simon Pulse, Spring 2016). When she's not writing books, she's an English professor at a local college. She lives near DC with her very patient husband and two not-so patient boys. You can find Lisa on her blog, website, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr and Goodreads.
Here is Lisa posting on her fears:
What scares me most?
Well, for me, fear isn’t so much about severed heads or eviscerated corpses. Fear—real fear—is that creeping feeling down the back of your neck. It’s the everyday turned inside out and upside down.
Fear is walking out to your car late at night, when the streets are quiet and no one is around, but not being able to shake the notion that someone’s watching you. It’s the way your skin buzzes at the slightest scrape—a shoe? an animal?—and your heart beats in your throat.
It’s grabbing your keys tight between your fingers and pretending to be confident and sure, even as you know that those stupid keys aren’t going to do anything if someone, something wants you.
Fear is being alone in your house and hearing a noise from downstairs. It’s the way you go tense, your ears straining to listen, waiting for the noise to sound again. Looking around the room for something—anything—that maybe could be a weapon, because you don’t have a cat or dog or kid who would be making that sounds. Listening, until you can’t keep your eyes open any longer and the sound chases you through your dreams.
For me, fear is not being able to trust what you can see or hear or feel. The best villains are the ones you fall in love with, right before they drive the knife in deep. The best scary stories are the ones that seem so real, so possible that you look over your shoulder every time you’re alone in the dark.
Thanks so much Lisa for stopping by and for being a part of Something Wicked Strikes! Hopefully, you can come back next year with The Gathering Deep. In the meantime, Lisa comes with a ghostly good giveaway! One lucky winner will receive a paperback copy of Sweet Unrest by Lisa Maxwell. This giveaway is open to U.S./Canada residents only. To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter after reading the Contest Policies. Good Luck!a Rafflecopter giveaway
Here is my review:
Sweet Unrest(Sweet Unrest #1) by Lisa Maxwell
Lucy Aimes has always been practical. But try as she might, she can’t come up with a logical explanation for the recurring dreams that have always haunted her. Dark dreams. Dreams of a long-ago place filled with people she shouldn’t know...but does.
When her family moves to a New Orleans plantation, Lucy’s dreams become more intense, and her search for answers draws her reluctantly into the old city’s world of Voodoo and mysticism. There, Lucy finds Alex, a mysterious boy who behaves as if they’ve known each other forever. Lucy knows Alex is hiding something, and her rational side doesn’t want to be drawn to him. But she is.
As she tries to uncover Alex’s secrets, a killer strikes close to home, and Lucy finds herself ensnared in a century-old vendetta. With the lives of everyone she loves in danger, Lucy will have to unravel the mystery of her dreams before it all comes to a deadly finish.
Paperback, 336 pages
Expected publication: October 8th 2014 by Flux
Source: Publisher in Exchange for an honest review.
Four Stars: A captivating, atmospheric read with ghosts, curses, and Voodoo!
Lucy reluctantly gets out of the car. She and her family have arrived in the Deep South, far away from Chicago, her friends and former life. Lucy's father has landed his dream job researching and restoring an old New Orleans sugar cane plantation. Even though Lucy doesn't want to be here, she pastes on a smile and grabs her camera. She must put her best foot forward so she can go back home for her senior year. In the meantime, perhaps she can get some terrific pictures for her portfolio. As Lucy snaps photos, she catches sight of a mysterious young man in the crowd, but when she develops her pictures, all she sees is a blur where the man should have been. This is just the beginning of the strange activity. Soon Lucy finds herself plagued by old nightmares and plunged into a mystery spanning back a hundred and fifty years. Will Lucy survive ghosts and Voodoo in New Orleans?
What I Liked:
I am a big fan of creepy, atmospheric novels, especially those set in the Deep South. I wasn't disappointed in the New Orleans setting and the inclusion of ghosts, Voodoo and black curses in Sweet Unrest. This book delivers with its eerie setting and paranormal activity. If you are looking for an exciting, ghostly mystery check out Sweet Unrest.
I enjoyed the blending of the past and the present. Once Lucy is settled in her new home, she begins having inexplicable dreams. While dreaming, Lucy seems to be reliving a young girl's life. A girl, Armantine, who lived over a century and a half ago. I loved how I got to glimpse back into the past and meeting a young girl of mixed heritage. I liked seeing how Armantine had to fight against all the prejudices and societal restrictions because of her mixed blood. Add in a large sugar cane plantation with a creepy freed slave woman who is rumored to be a witch, and you have the basis for an exciting mystery that blends with the present. I appreciated that the flashbacks to the past were via dreams so there was never any confusion, the dreams allowed the past to fit seamlessly with the future.
The mystery is well done and it kept me guessing up until the end. The final reveal was shocking and surprising. I love when a book keeps me guessing until the end.
Mama Legba, the local Voodoo Queen, was one of my favorite characters. I loved her spunky, mysterious flair, and I enjoyed learning a bit more about Voodoo. I only wished that she had a bigger role in the book.
I appreciated the writing. This book is gorgeously written with plenty of attention to detail. I loved the descriptions and I especially liked the discussions on photography.
- The ending is fast, fierce and shocking, but it thankfully ties up most of the loose ends. I did have few niggling questions, and a first I thought it was a stand alone, but I have since learned that there will be a sequel next year following Chloe and Thisbe, so I will get the answers I am seeking. I appreciated that there wasn't a cliffhanger and that the book ended satisfactorily even though I didn't get the ending I was expecting. Still I appreciated that the ending was on the more realistic side.
And The Not So Much:
I was disappointed that there wasn't more on Chloe and Thisbe especially after the ending. Ifelt like I was missing information, but I learned after contacting the author that book two will be Chloe and Thisbe's story so I should get the information I am after.
I struggled a bit with the romance. I can't go into too many details as I will spoil it, but I never felt a strong connection with Alex. I wanted more sparks and attraction especially with Alex and Armantine. The romance lacked a bit of emotion for me.
There is a scene where Armantine witnesses something horrifying in the past. I didn't like how the story cut away from this scene and how it was later brushed over. I would think after what she saw, Armantine would have wanted to steer clear of that person, but she didn't seem to have lingering issues, or if she did they weren't really addressed, there was just a brief mention. I was hoping to go back to the scene and see how the men reacted when the saw Armantine there.
I was a bit confused as to how Piers was clued into everything at the end. How did he know about Alex? I felt like I was missing something as far as Piers was concerned. Piers was a character that drew me in and I was hoping to get to know him better, perhaps in the next book.
I wished that there was more discussion on the plantation. I would love to know more about how the sugar cane plantation functioned back in the day, and what life was like for the slaves on the plantation.
Sweet Unrest is a perfect read for Fall. It blends ghosts, Voodoo, curses and a solid mystery that spans back into the past. If you love a book that utilizes a creepy atmosphere and plenty of paranormal, this is a good bet. I am excited to continue the story in the next book. I recommend this book for those of you who want a mysterious, atmospheric tale with Voodoo Queens, dark witches and black curses.
"The past is only as alive as we keep it by remembering."
"Pictures are a record----a testament of a time. They're a way of capturing the moment and holding it forever."
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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