The Dark Days Club (Lady Helen #1) by Alison Goodman

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The Dark Days Club (Lady Helen #1)
By Alison Goodman
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
ISBN13: 9780670785476
Pages: 482
Genre: YA Historical Fiction/Paranormal

Synopsis:

London, April 1812. On the eve of eighteen-year-old Lady Helen Wrexhall’s presentation to the queen, one of her family’s housemaids disappears-and Helen is drawn into the shadows of Regency London. There, she meets Lord Carlston, one of the few who can stop the perpetrators: a cabal of demons infiltrating every level of society. Dare she ask for his help, when his reputation is almost as black as his lingering eyes? And will her intelligence and headstrong curiosity wind up leading them into a death trap?

(New) Thoughts

The Dark Days Club was an accidental find that landed on my shelves after browsing Book Outlet. The promise of a  story involving the paranormal and Regency London begged to be read. And this first book delivered a solid and satisfying introduction to Lady Helen.

Set in 1812 London, we are introduced to 18-year-old Lady Helen on the night before her presentation in court as a young, eligible woman. Feelings are apprehensive as she struggles to deal with the weight of her deceased mother’s questionable past and the pressure to keep appearances. When a housemaid has suddenly vanished without explanation, Lady Helen finds herself thrown into a mystery that will take her deep into the underbelly of London among supernatural creatures and many lurking dangers.  But it is quite possible that hidden within, she may uncover the truth to her own elusive past.

Some books are just fun! With an incredible ensemble of characters and its elaborate setting, The Dark Days Club falls effortlessly into this category. Lady Helen is strong-headed and intelligent. She also plays a mean political game as she understands exactly what is expected of her and the consequences of not meeting those expectations. I found her wit and curiosity to be well-balanced with her charm, strengths and occasional weaknesses. She is the sort of individual you find yourself drawn to and wanting to befriend. I simply adored her in terms of female protagonist. Lord Carlston and the many supporting characters supplied a nice air of mystery the accompanied our lead well and brought great depth and variety to the story.

The world building is lavish and inviting. Clever use of details easily paint a clear setting that expands on the story-line and fully immerses the reader into Regency London.  I cannot recall reading a Regency setting that felt so picturesque and atmospheric before now. I thoroughly enjoyed every scene and found myself lost within the pages.

Goodman’s writing is clever and well-timed, creating a steady paced read that carries the reader through nearly 500 pages with incredible ease. Character development unfolds at a rewarding pace and allows for future growth. Elements of London and the paranormal come together beautifully, offering a very distinct experience that is not without action. And hidden underneath all of the wonder still lies a story of loyalty, friendship and honor.

I think I am taking the plunge and 5 starring this one on Goodreads. Anyone who enjoys rich historical fiction and the paranormal will find entertainment and value in The Dark Days Club. I will be continuing with this series.

Untitled designEnjoyed with a cup of vanilla chai, a splash of milk and a dash of cinnamon.

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Sunday Sum~Up

Sunday Sum-Up

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimberly @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer that I am linking my Sunday Sum-Ups with. Stop by and say hello!

This past week was heavily occupied with appointments and real life events that kept me away, but I did manage a review and post. Today we are celebrating the nonhusband’s birthday before he heads back to California for several days due to fires.

We did replace our bedding this weekend and pick up a new humidifier for the bedroom. This may not sound like news, but as someone who spends a lot of time in bed, it truly is! I slept very well last night and expect this will help with symptoms (our sheets were literally hurting my skin – I know sounds ridiculous but true). Also, I picked up my hearing aids this week! I admit, I spent several hours watching tv without subtitles and thoroughly enjoying it! I am still slightly overwhelmed by all of the background noises (birds outside, etc) and adjusting to being able to hear my own voice, but I am super excited. So in spite of this cold, it has been a successful week.

(New)Recent Reviews

9781101890585The Gracekeepers

(New) Current Reads (1)(Actually starting this tomorrow)

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The Heretic’s Daughter
By Kathleen Kent

Synopsis: 

Martha Carrier was one of the first women to be accused, tried and hanged as a witch in Salem, Massachusetts. Like her mother, young Sarah Carrier is bright and willful, openly challenging the small, brutal world in which they live. Often at odds with one another, mother and daughter are forced to stand together against the escalating hysteria of the trials and the superstitious tyranny that led to the torture and imprisonment of more than 200 people accused of witchcraft. This is the story of Martha’s courageous defiance and ultimate death, as told by the daughter who survived.
Kathleen Kent is a tenth generation descendant of Martha Carrier. She paints a haunting portrait, not just of Puritan New England, but also of one family’s deep and abiding love in the face of fear and persecution.

(New)Other Happenings

  • Once again it was a slow week on BVT. But I did manage to put together a small Tenative Fall TBR.
  • I made the difficult decision to leave a few blogging groups this week. I have a discussion post drafted for this and may share it once I am more comfortable. I am hoping to approach a topic that has been weighing heavily on me but might solicit some negative feedback.
  • I am super excited for the upcoming series Electric Dreams (Phillip K. Dick) on Amazon Prime which you can watch a trailer of here. I also just started the new podcast based series Lore. Are you familiar with the podcast or series? It is shaping up to be a perfect October show.

I hope everyone has enjoyed the weekend. I am looking forward to a nice cuppa and some new stories and shows as we enjoy this Fall weather (aka rain) that has settled in.

“Rainy days should be spent at home with a cup of tea and a good book.” 
― Bill Watterson

Happy Reading!

Danielle ❤

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The Gracekeepers by Kirsty Logan

9781101890585audiobook
The Gracekeepers
By Kirsty Logan
Narrated By: Katy Townsend
Publisher: Random House Audio
ISBN: 9781101890585
Unabridged: 11 hr 20 min

Synopsis:

As a Gracekeeper, Callanish administers shoreside burials, laying the dead to their final resting place deep in the depths of the ocean. Alone on her island, she has exiled herself to a life of tending watery graves as penance for a long-ago mistake that still haunts her. Meanwhile, North works as a circus performer with the Excalibur, a floating troupe of acrobats, clowns, dancers, and trainers who sail from one archipelago to the next, entertaining in exchange for sustenance. 

In a world divided between those inhabiting the mainland (“landlockers”) and those who float on the sea (“damplings”), loneliness has become a way of life for North and Callanish, until a sudden storm offshore brings change to both their lives – offering them a new understanding of the world they live in and the consequences of the past, while restoring hope in an unexpected future. 

Inspired in part by Scottish myths and fairytales, The Gracekeepers tells a modern story of an irreparably changed world: one that harbors the same isolation and sadness, but also joys and marvels of our own age. 


(New) Thoughts

Callanish is a Gracekeeper, charged with seeing that those who have passed are given to their final place of rest in the ocean. She resides on an isolated island resigning her lonely life to a form of punishment for a mistake once made in her past. North travels by ship with the circus Excalibur working to sustain a living and living with her own burdens. When fate entwines the path of these to women, it will soon shed a new light on their opposing worlds and events past.

There are a few elements that when utilized properly can create a genuinely unique and rewarding story. The Gracekeepers catches two of these brilliantly in its superb delivery of magical realism and a floating circus.  My love for this story actually makes it rather difficult to place my experience into words. This is the type of tale that requires savoring and personal exploration. It is as complex as comfortable. I will not attempt to dissect the plot-line for this review, but instead briefly summarize my own feelings.

While sporting a more limited ensemble of characters, they are not without heart. I found Callanish and North to be of great interest and quite honestly, endearing. Though I will admit that their growth felt slow at times, and I found myself drawn more to the world Logan has created. Divided between the land and ship dwelling inhabitants, the damplings and landlockers create an enchanting and atmospheric read that blends fairytale and folklore beautifully. For all of the sorrow and loneliness presented, there is something of great delight to be discovered within The Gracekeepers that will be an individualized experience ranging from fascination to borderline confusion at times.

Logan’s writing is immersive and  with a poetic prose, promising a unique and magical encounter.  Accompanied with Katy Townsend’s smooth narration, each alternating perspective transitions seamlessly. Finding a permanent home in my bookish heart, The Gracekeepers offers something rare and unusual for fans of magical realism and folklore alike.

Untitled design Enjoyed with a nice cup of lavender tea with a hint of vanilla.

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