Blog Tour, Giveaway and Review: The Last Necromancer

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About The Last Necromancer

Book cover for The Last Necromancer by C.J. Archer

Victorian London: For five years, Charlotte (Charlie) Holloway has lived as a boy in the slums. But when one theft too many gets her arrested, her only means of escape lies with a dead man. Charlie hasn’t raised a spirit since she first discovered she could do so five years ago. That time, her father banished her. This time, she brings even more trouble upon herself.

People are now hunting Charlie all over London, but only one man succeeds in capturing her.

Lincoln Fitzroy is the mysterious head of a secret organization on the trail of a madman who needs a necromancer to control his newly “made” creatures. There was only one known necromancer in the world – Charlotte – but now there appears to be two. Lincoln captures the willful Charlie in the hopes the boy will lead him to Charlotte. But what happens when he discovers the boy is in fact the young woman he’s been searching for all along? And will she agree to work for the man who held her against her will, and for an organization she doesn’t trust?

Because Lincoln and his ministry might be just as dangerous as the madman they’re hunting.

Review

A free copy of this book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Four-star rating

 

 

A good friend once told me a story about her kids and their annual beach vacation. On their very first trip to the shore, my friend exhausted herself chasing her young boys around the boardwalk, where they spent hours playing the arcade games and devouring ice cream cones and riding all the rides. The second year they went to the beach, my friend decided a more relaxing experience was in order and told the boys that the boardwalk attractions had been a carnival and that it hadn’t come back to town. They spent a quiet, restful time on a beach that was near the boardwalk but not in sight of it. My friend’s sons were none the wiser, not for that trip or all the subsequent ones. It wasn’t until the boys were teenagers that they learned the truth and realized they’d been missing out on boardwalk awesomeness for years.

That’s kind of how I feel about C.J. Archer – I’m amazed that I’ve been missing out on her books for so long. When I signed up to do The Last Necromancer blog tour, I mistakenly thought Archer was a debut author. It was only after I finished the book and did an excited Google search for the sequel that I discovered Archer has penned at least five series, as well as a handful of standalones. How did I not know these books existed?! Why am I only now learning about this awesome author?! So many wasted years!!!

The Last Necromancer, the first installment of the Ministry of Curiosities series, is the story of Charlie Holloway, a young girl who has the power to command the dead. As a result of this ability, Charlie has spent the past several years living on the street after being turned out by her religious father. By masquerading as a boy, Charlie manages to stay safe and inconspicuous….until the day she finds herself in a tough spot that forces her to reveal her abilities. As you might expect, reanimating a corpse doesn’t make the list of Top Ten Things to Do When Trying to Fly Under the Radar, so it’s not long before Charlie finds herself captured by a secret society who has big plans for her powers.

The society, known as the Ministry of Curiosities, investigates paranormal crimes and is in hot pursuit of a scientist bent on creating an army of corpses for his own nefarious purposes. In order for the scientist to create said army, he needs a necromancer, and it’s up to the Ministry to make sure that none fall into his hands. This means tracking down and securing any and all known necromancers, a task that the Ministry wants Charlie to help them with.

The relationships in The Last Necromancer are the key to this book’s success. First of all, there are the interactions between Charlie and Lincoln Fitzroy, the leader of the Ministry of Curiosities. There’s a mutual wariness between the two of them, but there’s also a growing attraction that makes for some fun scenes. I loved watching the two of them maneuver around one another, each trying to feel the other one out and discover their respective secrets. Fitzroy is cool, dangerous, and mysterious, and Charlie’s attempts to push past his defenses are alternately amusing and sexy.

Much as I liked the simmering tension between Fitzroy and Charlie, there’s another relationship in this story that I liked even more: the one between Seth and Gus, two of Fitzroy’s lackeys. It’s rare for a fictional friendship to top a fictional romance for me, but C.J. Archer is a pro at writing camaraderie and banter. I found myself anxiously awaiting scenes where Seth and Gus were present because I couldn’t wait to see what crazy things they’d say or do next. The two of them rib each other mercilessly and keep up a steady stream of jests throughout the book. Here’s one exchange between the two:

“That ain’t fair.”
“Life isn’t fair. If it were, I’d be spending my evenings deflowering virgins instead of cleaning up the sick of a gutter snipe.”
“Ha! You couldn’t deflower a flower.”
“That doesn’t make sense. And I’ll have you know, the ladies fell over themselves to get to me when I used to attend balls.”
“You had money and a good name then,” Gus said, striding for the door. “Course they’re going to throw themselves at you. Weren’t nothing to do with that ugly face of yours.”
Seth looked offended, and I couldn’t blame him. He wasn’t ugly in the least. He trailed after Gus. “I’ll have you know I had an indecent encounter with a lady three nights ago. And no, I didn’t pay her a penny. She gave herself freely to me.”
“Gave you the French disease for free, more like.” Gus’s chuckles faded as he closed the door.

Seth and Gus add wonderful humor to The Last Necromancer, but they’re not just there for comic relief. You don’t get a ton of backstory on either of the guys, but they still come across feeling like fully developed flesh-and-blood men. Their relationship feels so natural and comfortable, and it shines as one of the most outstanding aspects of this novel.

The paranormal parts of The Last Necromancer are well done, but I found myself much more invested in the people linked to the Ministry of Curiosities than in the curiosities themselves. The search for the evil scientist and the mystery of whether the Ministry can be trusted are interesting, but the personal lives of the ministry members are what really drew me into this story. I was so absorbed by watching Charlie try to crack Lincoln Fitzroy’s composure, or listening to Seth and Gus bicker back and forth, or speculating about the potential romantic history between Fitzroy and Lady Harcourt, that I couldn’t have cared less about the occult affairs of the Ministry. It could have been devoted to ornithology or flower arrangements, for all I cared – I would have loved this book regardless.

I had a lot of fun reading The Last Necromancer and can’t wait to see where Archer takes the characters in the next installment, Her Majesty’s Necromancer. If this series is any indication of how great Archer’s other books are, I need to read the rest of her work immediately.

And now, a few bonus quotes, from this book because they make me smile. J

“Think of us as the sword of the empire,” Seth said, puffing out his chest. “And Mr. Fitzroy is the pointy end.”

And:

“You’re a tosspot.”
He grunted. “I expect a gutter dweller to come up with something more offensive than that.”
“A fucking tosspot.”
“Better.”

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Author photo for C.J. ArcherAbout C.J. Archer

C.J. Archer has loved history and books for as long as she can remember and feels fortunate that she found a way to combine the two with her writing. Under her other name of Carolyn Scott, she has published contemporary short stories in women’s magazines, and she also writes romantic mystery novels under this name.

She has at various times worked as a librarian, IT support person and technical writer but in her heart has always been a fiction writer. She has won and placed in romance writing contests including winning RWAustralia’s Emerald Award in 2008 for the manuscript that went on to be released under the title HONOR BOUND. C.J. spent her early childhood in the dramatic beauty of outback Queensland, Australia, but now lives in suburban Melbourne with her husband and two children.

To be notified when C.J. releases a new book, subscribe to her newsletter from her website. She only sends out the newsletter when she releases a new book, and never spams.

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Giveaway

C.J. Archer is generously giving away a copy of The Last Necromancer! To enter the giveaway, which is open to readers in the U.S. and Canada, please fill out the Rafflecopter below.

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Review: The Day Human Prince by B. Kristin McMichael

The Day Human Prince Book Cover The Day Human Prince
B. Kristin McMichael

Devin Alexander grew up as the only day human in a world surrounded by night humans who drank blood, sometimes his blood. He spent his life training toward one goal: the protection of one of those blood drinkers, Arianna Grace. But what is he supposed to do when the blue-eyed girl of the legends doesn’t need him anymore? What does his life mean then? How is a guy supposed to move on when the girl he has yearned over for a decade has chosen someone else?

Before he can even start to figure out his new life without Arianna, Devin has to deal with another problem. He needs to take care of some unfinished business with a night human he has known for less than a month, but with whom he is magically bound.

Vanessa McKinny has promised that she knows a way to undo the spell she placed on Devin to save his life. Devin would do anything to break the bond to be free of her, even if it means traveling to the sidhe village, a place inhabited by a race of night humans that has not had a day human visitor in more than a hundred years. If he doesn’t want to get stuck, he must work with Nessa to find a way to break the bond. Only then can Devin have time to get back to finding his new goal in life, unless he discovers that his path lies with the sidhe.

Review:

A free copy of this book was provided by Xpresso Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.

Several years ago, my husband convinced me to watch X-men: The Last Stand. I protested that I hadn’t seen the first two X-men movies and wouldn’t understand if I started with the third one, but he assured me I’d be able to follow along. I conceded, and we proceeded to watch the film. About half an hour in I still had no idea who the characters were or why they were doing what they were doing, and I kept asking my husband what was happening. His answer, consistently, was: “Oh, if you’d seen the first two movies it would make more sense.”

Reading The Day Human Prince was a similar experience. When I started the book, I had no idea that it was a spin-off of McMichael’s Blue Eyes trilogy. I was disappointed by the one-dimensional characters and lack of strong world building. Once I discovered that the action had begun in a previous series, though, it made sense that everything wasn’t being explained in detail. The foundation had already been laid in Blue Eyes. I’d just missed it.

Everything that seemed remotely interesting in The Day Human Prince – Devin’s unrequited love for Arianna Grace, his tragic history, details about the night human culture – was apparently dealt with in the Blue Eyes books and only mentioned briefly in this spin-off. It was a letdown, and though the plot was decent I think I would have enjoyed it more if I’d read the preceding books.

Then again, maybe not, because I had a huge problem with this book that had nothing to do with the plot or characters: the writing is terrible.

There’s so much that bothers me about McMichael’s writing style that I don’t know where to start. The phrasing is awkward, the sentence structure is off, and there’s endless explanation about things that really don’t require it. What really got me, though, was the point of view.

As a general rule, I prefer first-person to third-person. There are several fantastic books that use third-person successfully (The Raven Boys, the Harry Potter books, most of the novels in The Queen’s Thief series), but there are also myriad novels that don’t. They distance the reader from the characters, rely heavily on telling rather than showing, and engage in head-hopping, which always drives me batty. There are several instances of each of these problems in The Day Human Prince. They’re hard to overlook, and I found myself becoming distracted from the plot because I was so bothered by the writing.

There are also a few other niggling tidbits, like insta-love and absurd superhuman abilities – Devin can snatch an invisible arrow out of the air on its way to a target, for example – that kept me from truly appreciating this book. All of the good stuff – like cool magic and sleeping sidhe kings waiting to be awakened– gets overwhelmed by the parts that are less than great.

I may not have given this book a very positive review, but I will say that there are people who will really love The Day Human Prince, especially those who read and enjoyed the Blue Eyes trilogy. Many of my complaints about this book – particularly the ones about the point of view – are based purely on personal preference, so don’t automatically let me dissuade you from reading it. Instead, I recommend going to Amazon and checking out a few sample pages. If you’re ok with McMichael’s writing style, this may be a better book for you than it was for me.

Blog Tour, Excerpt, and Giveaway: Praefatio by Georgia McBride

Blog tour banner for Praefatio by Georgia McBride

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Praefatio by Georgia McBride! As part of my stop today I’ll be sharing an excerpt from the novel as well as a chance for you to win a copy of this book for your very own. Enjoy!

About Praefatio

Book cover for Praefatio by Georgia McBride

Seventeen-year-old Grace Ann Miller is no ordinary runaway…

After having been missing for weeks, Grace is found on the estate of international rock star Gavin Vault, half-dressed and yelling for help. Over the course of twenty-four hours Grace holds an entire police force captive with incredulous tales of angels, demons, and war; intent on saving Gavin from lockup and her family from worry over her safety.

Authorities believe that Grace is ill, suffering from Stockholm Syndrome, the victim of assault and a severely fractured mind. Undeterred, Grace reveals the secret existence of dark angels on earth, an ancient prophecy and a wretched curse steeped in Biblical myth. Grace’s claims set into motion an ages-old war, resulting in blood, death and the loss of everything that matters. But are these the delusions of an immensely sick girl, or could Grace’s story actually be true?

Praefatio is Grace’s account of weeks on the run, falling in love and losing everything but her faith. When it’s sister against brother, light versus darkness, corrupt police officers, eager doctors and accusing journalists, against one girl with nothing but her word as proof: who do you believe?

Excerpt

Officer Sarah Bladen sighed heavily.

“When you’re ready to talk, let me know. In the meantime, I’ll go see if your mom’s here.” She threw the newspaper she’d been holding on the table in front of me and left the room. I grabbed it before it hit the tabletop microphone. I flipped the paper around to find Gavin’s photo under the headline: ROCK STAR ARRESTED IN DISAPPEARANCE OF MISSING PEAK GIRL

Gavin Vault, lead singer of Venus Unearthed, was arrested on Christmas Day for the kidnapping and attempted assault of Grace Miller, daughter of Broadway actress Vivienne Miller. Miss Miller, seventeen, was reported as a runaway two months ago by her legal guardians, Victoria and Kenneth Larson, with whom she’d been living since her father, Gabriel Miller, died in a motor vehicular accident. Mr. Vault is considered a person of interest in the disappearance of Miss Miller’s brother, Remiel, fifteen, and the Larson’s daughter, Jennifer, also fifteen. The two teens were reported missing three weeks ago. At the time of Mr. Vault’s arrest, Miss Miller was found on the Vault estate in questionable physical condition. She is believed to be suffering from a condition similar to Stockholm Syndrome.

Something in the article triggered a flood of coherent thoughts and memories. When I tell them, when I finally answer their questions, it’s not gonna be good. They thought I was protecting Gavin; that I was his victim somehow. What were they going to say when I told them what really happened? What was Mom going to think?

My stomach churned as I took the last sip of the liquid they proudly called “coffee.” The door to the interrogation room swung open. I stood to throw the coffee cup away, and saw Gavin leaning against the wall in the hallway across from me. My stomach churned again, and a great sadness followed.

Every bit the rock star and not a hair out of place, he looked as if he didn’t have a care in the world. Gavin laughed with the same officers who’d arrested him, and I noticed he was in the clothes he’d been wearing when they took him away in handcuffs. I wish I’d told him how good he looked earlier. I wish I’d done so many things differently.

Can you hear me? I tried speaking to him telepathically. He didn’t answer or even acknowledge that I’d spoken, so, I opened my mouth to call to him.

Our eyes met, and my mouth clamped shut. I was suddenly at a loss for words. One of the officers began leading him down the hall. I wanted to run to him, but my legs were jerked back into place by what felt like shackles, though there weren’t any on me. I tried again, but could only move about a foot from where I stood before being yanked back into place.

“Gavin!” I yelled. My voice echoed off the walls of the interrogation room and out into the hall, making me sound way more desperate than I’d intended.

Gavin lowered his head as if the sight was too much for him. Hot tears streamed down my face, stinging my skin. “Please, Gavin, wait!” He kept walking. as if Gavin didn’t know me at all.

Officer Bladen reentered the room and closed the door.

Still, I heard them laughing and talking outside; it surprised me that I could hear them through the walls. Or was I just hearing voices again?

“You really make a lasting impression, huh, Vault?” One of the cops joked, followed by laughter from the others. By his tone, they seemed like they could have been old high school buddies.

Rage and humiliation got the best of me. I lunged forward, only to be pulled backward by the invisible shackles around my feet.

My landing wasn’t as graceful as I would have liked. Refusing help from a rather amused Officer Bladen, I stood, dusted off my knees and took a seat.

***

We sat in silence, occasionally staring at one another, listening for anything at all. The only interruptions were Officer Bladen’s rubbing of her arm at seemingly timed intervals and the dings of her cell phone. The fly was gone. He caught the flight out when Bladen opened the door. Smart fly. I found myself missing his flitting and buzzing.

A knock on the doorframe brought us both out of our bored trances. I think I was actually counting Officer Bladen’s arm hairs at the time.

“Ms. Miller,” intoned a cop who poked his head in from the hallway. Leaning in slightly and holding onto the doorframe as if the room were contaminated, he continued, “Your mother’s arrived and is right outside. I suspect you’ll want to start with your videotaped statement now.” He crooked a long index finger and motioned for Officer Bladen to follow him out into the hall. And then she was gone, leaving the lingering smell of her perfume.

A voice came from somewhere on the other side of the two-way mirror.

“Hi, Honey. Go ahead with your statement. Everything’s going to be just fine.”

A red light on the video camera above the mirror came on. I hadn’t noticed it until now.

“Mom?” I stood, ready to leave with her.

“Sit down, Grace,” Mom’s voice ordered. “Just give your statement and this will all be over with.”

“Mom…you’re not coming in?” My voice was small, almost mousey. The sound of the metal chair scraping along the concrete floor echoed in my ears as I sank back down.

“No, honey, just please give them your statement so we can be done with this whole mess,” Mom had not come to get me at all.

“Miss Miller, please. Look into the camera, state your name for the record, and start with your earliest recollections leading up to when we found you tonight, how you met Mr. Vault, came to be on his property, anything he may have said about your brother, Remiel, or Jennifer Larson from as far back as you can remember. Just take your time, Grace. If you need a break, let me know,” Sergeant Mullane’s voice boomed through the overhead speakers.

I squirmed, took a deep breath, cleared my throat and spoke into the microphone, “Archangel Grace Ann Miller.” My voice was barely above a whisper. I could still take it back.

“I’m sorry, Grace. Can you repeat? Not sure we caught that,” Sergeant Mullane requested.

I know what I am. I know what I saw.

“Archangel Grace Ann Miller,” I repeated, only slightly louder.

“Did she say what I think she said?” It was Officer Bladen’s unmistakably snarky voice.

“Grace, I’m sorry. Can you please repeat your name and speak directly into the microphone in front of you?” Sergeant Mullane instructed.

“Archangel Grace Ann Miller,” I stated as loud as I could without yelling.

I didn’t hear anything after that.

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About Georgia McBrideAuthor photo for Georgia McBride

Georgia loves a good story. Whether it’s writing her own, or publishing someone else’s, story is at the heart of everything Georgia does. Founder of Month9Books, YALITCHAT.ORG and the weekly #yalitchat on Twitter, Georgia spends most of her days writing, editing, or talking about books. That is, of course, when she is not blasting really loud music or reading. She lives in North Carolina with four dogs, a frog, a parrot, two kids, parents and a husband. Praefatio is her first novel.

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Giveaway

Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway below for a chance to be one of five readers who will receive a digital copy of Praefatio The contest is open internationally, and winners will be selected on April 27, 2015.

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Review: Insanity by Cameron Jace

Insanity Book Cover Insanity
Cameron Jace

After accidentally killing everyone in her class, Alice Wonder is now a patient in the Radcliffe Lunatic Asylum. No one doubts her insanity. Only a hookah-smoking professor believes otherwise; that he can prove her sanity by decoding Lewis Carroll's paintings, photographs, and find Wonderland's real whereabouts. Professor Caterpillar persuades the asylum that Alice can save lives and catch the wonderland monsters now reincarnated in modern day criminals. In order to do so, Alice leads a double life: an Oxford university student by day, a mad girl in an asylum by night. The line between sanity and insanity thins when she meets Jack Diamond, an arrogant college student who believes that nonsense is an actual science.

Review:

A free copy of this book was received from Xpresso Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.

If you enjoyed Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll, chances are you’ll get a kick out of Insanity.

Alice Pleasance Wonder is a patient at Radcliffe Lunatic Asylum in Oxford, where she’s been imprisoned for two years after causing the deaths of her boyfriend and all their classmates. Shock therapy and heavy doses of medication have caused Alice to forget her past, but she’s been told that as a child she got lost one afternoon and later returned insisting she’d been in the Wonderland from Lewis Carroll’s storybooks. The only other things Alice knows about herself are that she’s terrified of mirrors, loves her potted Tiger Lily, and occasionally suffers from hallucinations of talking flowers and creepy white rabbits. She longs to recover her memories and is given a chance to do so by an unlikely source: one of her fellow inmates.

Professor Carter Pillar is a wily, hookah-smoking psychopath who has murdered multiple people, bears a resemblance to the riddle-spouting caterpillar in Lewis’ stories, and has a knack for slipping in and out of the asylum at will. “The Pillar,” as he’s known, believes Alice is THE Alice and approaches her with a bargain:

“I can make you remember amazing things[…]. Like who the Red Queen really is. Why she chopped off heads. Who the Rabbit really was. Where the real rabbit hole exists. What a raven and a writing desk really have in common. Why Lewis Carroll wrote this book[…]. Basically, I can tell you who you really are.”

In exchange for this information, The Pillar demands Alice’s help in tracking down and stopping another serial killer: The Cheshire Cat. Together, Alice and The Pillar spend their nights locked in the asylum and their days investigating the Cheshire’s murders.

At first, the hunt for the Cheshire is exciting. The cat is aware that the two are on his tail (ha – get it?) and toys with them, leaving puzzles and riddles for Alice and The Pillar to solve. Through these riddles the readers learn fascinating facts about Lewis Carroll and the inspirations for his Alice stories, such as how the Cheshire Cat got his name. There are encounters with reincarnations of the White Queen, the Duchess, and the Reds from the stories, and there are fun references to a “raven-colored” writing desk, Carrollian words like “brillig” and “frabjous,” and interesting logic puzzles such as the ones Carroll included in his literary works.

These nods to Carroll and the fun insight into his stories were what I enjoyed most about Insanity. Unfortunately, the puzzles taper off as the story progresses, and the characters I really wanted to meet – the Mad Hatter, the Red Queen, Tweedle Dee and Dum, etc. – never made an appearance.

Characterization and tight plotting fell by the wayside about halfway into the book, replaced by seemingly random plot points and appearances by characters who had no good reason to be in the scene other than to serve as a convenience or, in some cases, an inconvenience. The second half of the book just felt sloppy. There were lots of spelling and grammar mistakes, and the characters’ motivations and actions didn’t seem to be as firmly grounded as in the beginning. There was so much focus on silliness and madness – obtaining a useless, unnecessary Certificate of Insanity, making goofy proclamations to crowds of people, gallivanting around being mad and merry – that the book felt fluffy and lost a lot of the appeal and tension that it had at the start.

This isn’t to say I don’t appreciate whimsy and silliness. Whenever Lewis Carroll and Alice in Wonderland are involved, you know there’s going to be a hearty dose of nonsense; after all, Carroll is the man who wrote passages like:

’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

Still, nonsense needs to be backed up by believable characters and a strong storyline, which were missing towards the end of Insanity.

Although the second half of Insanity may not have lived up to my expectations, the first half was good enough that I’m willing to give the sequel, Figment, a shot. The references to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass definitely piqued my interest, and I’m eager to see what’s next for Alice Wonder.

To wrap up this review, I’ll leave you with the parting gift of a couple of great quotes from the book:

“So how is [this date] going to be?”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean who’s going to pay? English way, we split the check. American way, I pay the check. French way, probably you pay the check. Carrollian way, we eat mushrooms and drink tea in a house we break into.”

And:

“Let go of me,” I say as a I pull away.
“Wow, you’re good at squeezing yourself away from a man’s arms,” he looks admirably at his empty embrace.
“You haven’t seen me with a straight jacket.”

See why I liked this book? 🙂

Five Reasons to Read Nameless by Lili St. Crow

Nameless Book Cover Nameless
Lili St. Crow

When Camille was six years old, she was discovered alone in the snow by Enrico Vultusino, godfather of the Seven—the powerful Families that rule magic-ridden New Haven. Papa Vultusino adopted the mute, scarred child, naming her after his dead wife and raising her in luxury on Haven Hill alongside his own son, Nico.

Now Cami is turning sixteen. She’s no longer mute, though she keeps her faded scars hidden under her school uniform, and though she opens up only to her two best friends, Ruby and Ellie, and to Nico, who has become more than a brother to her. But even though Cami is a pampered Vultusino heiress, she knows that she is not really Family. Unlike them, she is a mortal with a past that lies buried in trauma. And it’s not until she meets the mysterious Tor, who reveals scars of his own, that Cami begins to uncover the secrets of her birth... to find out where she comes from and why her past is threatening her now.

Review:

(Actual rating: 4.5 stars)

Imagine if, instead of seven dwarves, Snow White were rescued by the fairy tale equivalent of the Mafia. And imagine if said Mafia, known as the Family, were vampires.

Did I get your attention there? Good. Because I really, really want you to read Nameless. And I really want you to love it as much as I did so I have someone else to talk to about how amazing this book is. In case you need more persuasion than just my assertion that Vampire Mob + Snow White = Awesomeness, though, here are five reasons you should read this book:

  1. The unique approach to Snow White: It’s not just the vampire Mafia that sets Nameless apart from traditional Snow White retellings. Camille, the heroine, is no vapid, flawlessly beautiful princess who cheerfully cleans the house and sings to forest animals. Instead, she’s a foundling whose traumatic, abuse-filled childhood has left her with a stuttering tongue, crippling shyness, and scars all over her body. Though lovingly raised by the head of the Family and treated as his own daughter, Cami suffers from self doubt and can’t shake the feeling that she’ll never truly belong. She longs to know who she really is and where she came from, but she doesn’t remember much of her early years beyond a sense of horror and flickering visions of a cold and beautiful queen. When mysterious strangers begin appearing in her life and apple-and-mirror-filled dreams begin haunting her, Cami senses that the answers to her questions could finally be within reach, and she won’t stop until she figures them out.
  1. Drool-inducing romance: Nameless wins the award for some of the most swoon-worthy scenes not involving an actual kiss. I’ve always had a thing for literary bad boys, and Nico Vultusino, Cami’s adopted brother, definitely fits the bill. He’s got a fiery temper, chafes against his role as heir to the Family, and has a propensity for staying out late, starting fights, and generally getting into trouble. And yet, Nico is an absolute sweetheart when it comes to Cami. The two have an adorable relationship, one that started as rivals-turned-playmates when they were children and turned into something more as they grew up. The history between them means they know each other inside and out, and it’s so cute watching Cami pull Nico out of one of his moods and seeing Nico soothe Cami when she has nightmares. Their relationship is not just sweet, though – it’s also hot. There’s one scene in particular that left me in a swoon at one point. You’ll know it once you’re there, but here’s a hint: Book. Candle. Nico. *Cue Angela fainting dead away from an overload of desire*
  1. Characters with backstories: I hate when characters’ lives seem to occur solely within the timeline of the main events of the book. You know what I mean – characters who don’t have a believable past, whose lives begin when the book begins and end when the book ends. This isn’t the case with Nameless. You can tell that the characters have a history. There’s mention of the games Cami and Nico played as kids, the family photos they posed for that now adorn the fridge, the tales they made up together and the futures they imagined. The comfortable camaraderie Cami shares with her friends is evidence of years of friendship. You know that Cami and the others have childhood memories and inside jokes and family stories, even if the specifics aren’t necessarily shared with you. It makes them feel like real people, not just words on a page.
  1. Excellent world building: The number of details St. Crow casually throws out there in Nameless is staggering – it’s clear that she spent a great deal of time imagining every facet of her world. That doesn’t mean she intends to hold your hand and patiently outline the rules of her world, though. Nameless is one of those books where the reader is expected to figure out the setting by his or herself without an explanation from the author. St. Crow leaves you to piece together a picture of New Haven using the various details she’s provided. She tells you the makes and models of the cars, mentions the names of various months and holidays, alludes to religion (when swearing, characters invoke the name of Mithrus Christ rather than Jesus Christ), and references various magical terms such as Twists, jacks, Potential, the Core, etc. It’s a beguiling world, and I drank up all of the descriptions with the enthusiasm of a woman dying of thirst in the desert.
  1. The Family: I love the vampire Godfather vibe that the Family has going. The Vultusinos and the other vampires of New Haven live a life of danger cloaked in luxury. They roll around in limos while sipping fine whiskey mixed with calf blood, attend grand parties, and enjoy enormous power and respect. People who give them trouble mysteriously “disappear,” questionable business is conducted behind closed doors, and much of New Haven’s law enforcement is in the Family’s pocket. Combine all of this with fascinating vampire customs – a complex hierarchy, Borrowing, the Kiss – and you’ve got the makings of a very intriguing book.

There you go, everyone – five reasons why you should read Nameless. Now get out there, track down a copy, and get to reading! And let me know when you’re done so we can gush about it together!