Blog Tour Book Review: Writing Scary Scenes by Rayne Hall

Today I am the blog tour stop for WRITING SCARY SCENES by Rayne Hall. The tour is hosted by Reading Addiction Blog Tours, and you can visit out the rest of the stops here. Below my review is a guest post by the author, so make sure to check that out.

Title: Writing Scary Scenes
Author: Rayne Hall
Release Date: July 6, 2012
Source: Author for blog tour
Series? No
Genre: Nonfiction, How-to
Page Count: 83


Are your frightening scenes scary enough? Learn practical tricks to turn up the suspense. Make your readers’ hearts hammer with suspense, their breaths quicken with excitement, and their skins tingle with goosebumps of delicious fright.

This book contains practical suggestions how to structure a scary scene, increase the suspense, make the climax more terrifying, make the reader feel the character’s fear. It includes techniques for manipulating the readers’ subconscious and creating powerful emotional effects.

Use this book to write a new scene, or to add tension and excitement to a draft.

You will learn tricks of the trade for “black moment” and “climax” scenes, describing monsters and villains, writing harrowing captivity sections and breathtaking escapes, as well as how to make sure that your hero doesn’t come across as a wimp… and much more.

This book is recommended for writers of all genres, especially thriller, horror, paranormal romance and urban fantasy.

My Review:
If you’ve been by my blog before, you may have seen some of my posts on writing. Writing is something very important to me, and I hope to publish my own work someday. So when I got an email about the tour for WRITING SCARY SCENES, I was curious to read it and see if I could pick up any useful tips.

Although the book is intended to help writers work on scary stuff, many of the tips and tricks within can be applied to any type of scene or genre. In fact, the author includes advice on how you can use the techniques in various genres.

WRITING SCARY SCENES flows in a logical way, starting with building suspense and ending with how to tell if you’ve made your main character into a wimp or not. I found a lot of things to watch out for in my own writing, such as keeping a character from wincing or shrugging too much, or overusing suspense or fear. I’m sure that I’ll refer back to WRITING SCARY SCENES when I need to add suspense or fear to a scene.

There are plenty of examples sprinkled throughout the book, both from the author’s writing and from famous authors such as Lisa Gardner or Tanith Lee. At the end are three of Rayne Hall’s short stories, so you can see her advice in use.


Socialize with the author:
Rayne Hall:

Guest Post:

by Rayne Hall

If your novel’s plot includes violent scenes, then some pain and gore is needed to create realism. However, it does not have to be much. Choose carefully how much gore you want to include, based on on your personal taste, your genre, and your readers’ expectations.

Personal Taste

Do you enjoy reading gory fiction, with graphic descriptions of violence, with chainsaw massacres and disembowellings? Then write it, and include detailed descriptions of the injuries.

Does the mere mention of violence repulse you? Do you get sick at the sight of blood? When watching a horror movie, do you fast-forward through the gory bits? Then keep descriptions of violence brief and leave out the gruesome detail. Instead, focus on the psychological aspects.


Some genres – especially thrillers and full-length horror fiction – practically demand violence, because this is what readers expect, so you need to provide it, although not in every scene.

In a thriller, few scenes contain violence, but the violence is graphic. Descriptions of murder victims are graphic, too, often with details intended to shock.

The horror genre spans a wide range. On one end, psychological horror may show no violence at all, although the threat of it is present; the readers know something terrible is going to happen but they don’t witness it on the page. At the other end is slash & gore horror, filled with brutal murders and mutilations, chainsaw massacres and mounds of gore.

In children’s fiction and romance, there is little violence and no gore. Urban fantasy often has some gory bits, but they tend to be brief.

Reader Expectations

Readers expect a certain amount of violence – a lot, a little or none – depending on the genre, on other books by the same author, the book description and the cover picture. If you give them too much for their taste, they’ll be grossed out; if you give them too little, they’ll be disappointed.

While you can’t get it right for everyone, you need to get it right for your average reader. Visualise the typical person buying your book, and consider what other books she has read and who her favourite authors are. Use those as a yardstick for the violence level in your own writing.

In the age of the ebook, readers download sample pages before buying. Try to include in your first pages a hint of the level of violence to come.

The book’s blurb (short description on the back cover or the product page) can also give readers a clue. Use phrases such as extreme horror, violent, not recommended for young readers to warn potential buyers that this may not be the right book for them.

Striking a Balance

While violence can create many different kinds of fear, gore creates horror, shock and revulsion.

If you choose to write gory fiction, take care not to create a non-stop gore-fest. Mutilated corpses piling up in scene after scene soon become boring. The impact of gore soon wears off. Also remember that the mental states of horror and shock don’t last long; they may give way to indifference. Revulsion is stimulating only if it is brief; continued revulsion puts readers off and sends them in search of something more pleasant.

The trick is to use violence and gore only in some scenes, not all the time. Give the reader the chance to recover between each slaughter, so they’re able to experience the horror afresh.

Think of gore as spice: it enhances the flavour of the dish, but is not a dish in itself. Sprinkling black pepper on a dish makes the food more exciting, but you wouldn’t enjoy a dish consisting mostly of black pepper and not much else.

Using Gore to Create Horror

If you want some shock, horror or revulsion, but not too much, make the descriptions graphic but keep them short, perhaps just a sentence or two.

To create horror, describe the colours, textures, shapes and movements of the corpses, injuries and horrible things. Describe one or two details rather than the whole thing. Show the white maggots wiggling in the wound, the blood spurting in a wide arc from the shoulder where the limb has been severed, the eyeball hanging by a thread from its socket.

You can increase the horror further by mentioning something innocuous in the same sentence as the gory detail: Blood drips from the ceiling and forms dark patches on the baby blanket. Intestines spill across the lace tablecloth.

A related technique is to use similes, comparing the terrible thing to something innocuous: Blood stains her lace shawl with pink and scarlet like a garden of roses. Guts spill from his abdomen like strings of undigested sausages.

My advice: Make the gore graphic and intense, but use it sparingly and keep it short.


If you want feedback for an idea or have questions, leave a comment and I’ll reply. I’ll be around for a week and I enjoy answering questions.

More links:
Book Trailer
Barnes & Noble

– leeanna

Goodbye February, Hello March

In February, I read 18 books! I think that’s pretty good, considering it’s a short month and the end of it always sneaks up on me, even though I know it’s short. I read almost 8,000 pages, smashing my goal of 6,000 for the February Page Count Contest.

A big portion of the books I read are World of Warcraft books, which has led to me playing again. I’ve played WoW off and on since its release. Until I get sick of it again, expect some random WoW stuff. It’s the only game I’ve ever really loved.

See? I think he’s adorable. Yep. I like me some trolls.

Moving on … March is going to be a very busy month here at I have lots of blog tour stops scheduled, my first giveaway, and my first interview! I’m still trying to come up with some good questions.

Reviews Written:
Counting One’s Blessings: The Selected Letters of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother edited by William Shawcross
Marie Curie and Her Daughters by Shelley Emling
Magisterium by Jeff Hirsch
Mind Games by Kiersten White
Incarnation by Emma Cornwall
City of a Thousand Dolls by Miriam Forster
Trickster by Jeff Somers
The Murmurings by Carly Anne West

It’s Monday, What Did I Read?
February 4, 2013
Febuary 25, 2013

Fit Owl Tuesdays:
Week 3.
I am not a very fit owl. :(

Waiting on Wednesday:
Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers
Furious by Jill Wolfson
Taken by Erin Bowman

Inside the Nest:
Week 4

Other Stuff:
Reading Rainbow Challenge. A challenge based on ALA’s 2013 Rainbow List. I plan to read as many of these books as I can. Anyone who wants to is welcome to join in! If there’s interest, I’ll toss up a Linky for participants.
Wicked Valentine’s Read-A-Thon. I read 7 books over this readathon.

Goal Progress:
How am I doing on my Blogging Resolutions?
01: Post 2-3 reviews a week Check. I think I did except for one week.
02: Keep Amazon/Goodreads updated
03: Make 1 vlog a month
04: Post 1 personal update a week
05: Use Facebook
06: Learn about SEO
07: Be more active on Twitter

February wasn’t so hot for goal accomplishing, as you can see. I did post about having some blog/reviewing burnout, so February wasn’t that active of a month for me. Rereading old favorites, such as Harry Potter and World of Warcraft has helped, as has just taking it easy. Blog burnout is totally natural, and I think I’m bouncing back already.



I don’t have specific plans for March, other than working on my goals and trying to keep on a schedule! I keep a calender now, but I don’t always schedule my posts ahead of time. This bit me in the butt in February, as I spent a good portion of the month sick, which didn’t help with blog activity.

I would also like to work on my writing, which has taken a backseat this month because I haven’t been inspired. I hate that I let myself off the hook with writing, because I always have other things to do … and along that line, I need to get some gym time in. I have my first 5k of 2013 coming up in APRIL. Ack. That’s partly why I write about some personal things on this book blog — public accountability! And also because I like blogs that show the personality of the blogger.

– leeanna

March 2013 Page Count Contest

I’m participating in Reading Angel’s page count contest. It’s a fun way to push yourself to read more. My goal for March is 8,000 pages.

Title Author Date Finished Page Count
Black Feathers Joseph D’Lacey 03/01/13 432
Writing Scary Scenes Rayne Hall 03/02/13 83
The Holders Julianna Scott 03/04/13 320
The Enchanted Truth Kym Petrie 03/05/13 46
Cinders & Sapphires Leila Rasheed 03/09/13 400
Madame Serpent Jean Plaidy 03/11/13 416
The Italian Woman Jean Plaidy 03/13/13 400
Queen Jezebel Jean Plaidy 03/16/13 464
Rae of Hope W. J. May 03/16/13 248
Dark Nebula W. J. May 03/17/13 265
Cinder Marissa Meyer 03/19/13 448
Neferet’s Curse P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast 03/19/13 160
Terra Gretchen Powell 03/20/13 286
The Girls of Atomic City Denise Kiernan 03/20/13 352
Dark Oracle Alayna Williams 03/21/13 336
Rogue Oracle Alayna Williams 03/21/13 360
Scarlet Marissa Meyer 03/24/13 464
The Creation of Anne Boleyn Susan Bordo 03/25/13 305
The Lightning Thief Rick Riordan 03/26/13 375
The Sea of Monsters Rick Riordan 03/27/13 304
The Titan’s Curse Rick Riordan 03/28/13 312
The Battle of the Labyrinth Rick Riordan 03/29/13 361
Kings of Ruin: Adventures in Music City Sam Cameron 03/29/13 193
The Waiting Tree Lindsay Moynihan 03/30/13 218

Running count: 7,548

– leeanna

Blog Tour Book Review: The Murmurings by Carly Anne West

Today I am one of the stops for Carly Anne West’s new book, THE MURMURINGS, hosted by Shane @ Itching for Books. Check out the other stops here. Also, check below my review for a dream cast and giveaway!

the murmuringsInfo:
Title: The Murmurings
Author: Carly Anne West
Release Date: March 5, 2013
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Source: Publisher for blog tour
Series? No
Genre: YA, Horror, Mystery, Thriller
Page Count: 384


Everyone thinks Sophie’s sister, Nell, went crazy. After all, she heard strange voices that drove her to commit suicide. But Sophie doesn’t believe that Nell would take her own life, and she’s convinced that Nell’s doctor knows more than he’s letting on.

As Sophie starts to piece together Nell’s last days, every lead ends in a web of lies. And the deeper Sophie digs, the more danger she’s in—because now she’s hearing the same haunting whispers. Sophie’s starting to think she’s going crazy too. Or worse, that maybe she’s not…. (summary from goodreads)

My Review:
I don’t usually read horror — I don’t like being scared! — but the summary for THE MURMURINGS caught my attention. Immediately I wanted to know why Nell committed suicide, what the voices said, and why Sophie was hearing them too. I also think the cover’s intense, with the girl staring right into my eyes.

The book starts out creepy, with Sophie seeing something in the mirror. I think everyone’s seen things, then really looked and nothing’s there, so it’s an easy way for the reader to relate to what’s happening to Sophie. THE MURMURINGS is also sad, a look into a family broken by grief. I really felt for Sophie, trying to cope with Nell’s death without the help of her mother.

Nell’s death has also made Sophie an outcast at school, and I liked that she wasn’t the popular girl. I did have a bit of trouble believing the relationship that sprang up between Sophie and Evan, but Evan is one of the few male characters I’ve liked lately. He’s awkward, and unsure of himself in an endearing sort of way. Refreshingly, he’s not one of the bad boys that are so trendy in YA. Ethan reads like a real guy.

The basic story of THE MURMURINGS, without giving too much away, is that Sophie is trying to find out why Nell died, and why she heard voices. The scariness for me wasn’t actually in the voices or the things in mirrors, but in the mental institution. Now, Oakside put the eep in creepy. Dr. Keller and the rest of the staff made my skin crawl.

Spread throughout the book are passages from Nell’s diary and blog posts from Adam, an orderly at the institution. Adam’s blog posts were some of my favorite parts. They were of the “crazy dude in a tinfoil hat” variety, and I didn’t know if I could trust him or not, which added to the twists in the book. But in the end, THE MURMURINGS wasn’t as full of horror as the summary implied. It’s hard to explain why without spoiling too much, but I felt like there was a lot of focus on a supernatural element that wasn’t very scary.

I’d recommend THE MURMURINGS to other readers like me, who may not like horror stories. It would be a good way to get into the genre.

Socialize with the author:
Carly Anne West:

Dream Cast!

Sophie played by Sophie Turner. I wasn’t sure who to pick for Sophie, but when I went looking for faces, I stumbled over this picture. The hair is a bit light, but I like the combination of vulnerability and “leave me alone” on her face. Plus, the actress’s name is Sophie, so it’s like it was meant to be.

Evan played by Michael Trevino. Again, I wasn’t sure who to pick, but I found this picture and I knew it was Evan. He’s got a perfect geeky, sort of awkward expression.

Dr. Keller by Cillian Murphy. I knew immediately who I wanted to pick for Dr. Keller. Cillian Murphy does a good “I’m creepy, but you can trust me” expression.

Adam played by Colin O’Donoghue. This is inspiration from my recent infatuation with Once Upon a Time.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway is not hosted by me. I am not responsible for prizes.

– leeanna

Book Review: Trickster (Ustari Cycle #1) by Jeff Somers

Title: Trickster
Author: Jeff Somers
Release Date: February 26, 2013
Publisher: Pocket Books
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss
Series? Ustari Cycle #1
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Adult
Page Count: 384


Magic uses blood—a lot of it. The more that’s used, the more powerful the effect, so mages find “volunteers” to fuel their spells. Lem, however, is different. Long ago he set up a rule that lets him sleep at night: never use anyone’s blood but your own. He’s grifting through life as a Trickster, performing only small Glamours like turning one-dollar bills into twenties. He and his sidekick, Mags, aren’t doing well, but they’re getting by.

That is, until they find young Claire Mannice— bound and gagged, imprisoned in a car’s trunk, and covered with invisible rune tattoos. Lem turns to his estranged mentor for help, but what they’ve uncovered is more terrifying than anybody could have imagined. Mika Renar, the most dangerous Archmage in the world, is preparing to use an ocean of blood to cast her dreams into reality— and Lem just got in her way. (summary from goodreads)

My Review:
Lem and Mags are not your usual all powerful, masters of the universe type of magicians. They’re Tricksters, grifters, the lowest of the low. They scrape by, gasing up dollar bills to look like twenties, and spending those twenties on booze and cheap hotel rooms. In the world Jeff Somers created, blood is the currency for magic, and unlike others, Lem made a vow to use only his own blood.

“We were fucking incompetent. In all things, we’d failed. We were wallowing in a nice, comfy pit of fucking spectacular failure, deep black and hermetically sealed, me and Mags bound together forever and ever with deep fishhooked ties of ruin (p. 4, ARC).”

I can’t think of many characters that would willingly describe themselves like that! I’d also describe Lem as an anti-hero. As he says throughout the book, Tricksters aren’t good people. “We all preyed on regular people, people who didn’t believe in magic (p. 20, ARC).” But Lem does have one rule: he refuses to use the blood of others to power his spells, which makes him weak, but also lets him sleep at night. Most mages have no trouble bleeding others, and the most powerful ones take Bleeders with them everywhere, like living batteries.

The most powerful mage in the world, Mika Renar, is prepared to sacrifice thousands of women to power a spell. And that’s where Lem and Mags come in. After stumbling over a dead girl in a bathtub, and then finding a live girl in the trunk of a car, they get mixed up in Renar’s business. Notice I didn’t say rescue — Claire, the girl in the car, is a spitfire. Whenever she gets a chance, she’s on the run or beating someone up. She’s not a damsel in distress that waits for the prince to rescue her, which is good, because Lem and Mags aren’t princes, or even very good magicians.

TRICKSTER is a dark and gritty urban fantasy. I think guys will like it, as the main characters are male, and it read like a guy’s book to me. I can’t pinpoint exactly why I’m saying that, because I can’t say for sure what a guy would like or not, but I just had that feeling. I didn’t mind, though, because it was quite nice to have a supernatural book where romance wasn’t the focus!

The world of TRICKSTER is easy to understand, and I thought the concept of blood magic was neat. I like when there’s a cost for magic, and with blood magic, that cost is immediate and has consequences. If you use so much blood that you’re ready to faint, what are you going to do when another fight comes hard on hard on the heels of the first?

The ending did disappoint me, because after all the buildup, I expected … more. However, the author did capture my attention with the story and conflict, so I will be continuing the Ustari Cycle when the next book comes out.

Socialize with the author:
Jeff Somers:

– leeanna

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #45-47 ( #IMWAYR )

    Last Week’s Reads:

    Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
    by J.K. Rowling
    City of a Thousand Dolls
    by Miriam Forster♦♦
    by Jeff Somers♦♦
    Shadow on the Crown
    by Patricia Bracewell♦♦
    WoW: Well of Eternity
    by Richard A. Knaak
    WoW: The Demon Soul
    by Richard A. Knaak
    WoW: The Sundering
    by Richard A. Knaak
    WoW: Rise of the Horde
    by Christie Golden
    WoW: The Last Guardian
    by Jeff Grubb
    WoW: Tides of Darkness
    by Aaron Rosenberg
    WoW: Beyond the Dark Portal
    by Christie Golden & Aaron Rosenberg
    WoW: Lord of the Clans
    by Christie Golden
    Dance of Shadows
    by Yelena Black♦♦
    The Hallowed Ones
    by Laura Bickle

    This Week’s Reads:

    The Murmurings
    by Carly Anne West♦♦
    Black Feathers
    by Joseph D’Lacey♦♦
    WoW: Day of the Dragon
    by Richard A. Knaak

    As you can see, even though I haven’t been updating the blog a ton lately, I have been reading a lot! I’m sitting at 16 books for February, which I think is pretty good. One side effect of rereading all the Warcraft books, other than making me cringe as some of my early reviews, is that they made me miss the world, so I’ve started playing again. I hope that doesn’t put a dent in my reading….

    Review books received from:
    City of a Thousand Dolls: Amazon Vine
    Trickster: Publisher via Edelweiss
    Shadow on the Crown: Publisher via NetGalley
    Dance of Shadows: Publisher via NetGalley
    The Murmurings: Publisher for blog tour
    Black Feathers: Publisher for review

    Thank you! ♥

    ♦♦ indicates books received for review

    It’s Monday! What Are You Reading is hosted by Book Journey.

    The YA linky list for It’s Monday! What Are You Reading is hosted by Teach Mentor Texts.

    – leeanna

Book Review: City of a Thousand Dolls by Miriam Forster

Title: City of a Thousand Dolls
Author: Miriam Forster
Release Date: February 5, 2013
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Amazon Vine
Series? Not sure
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Mystery
Page Count: 361


An exotic treat set in an entirely original, fantastical world brimming with deadly mystery, forbidden romance, and heart-stopping adventure.

Nisha was abandoned at the gates of the City of a Thousand Dolls when she was just a child. Now sixteen, she lives on the grounds of the isolated estate, where orphan girls apprentice as musicians, healers, courtesans, and, if the rumors are true, assassins. Nisha makes her way as Matron’s assistant, her closest companions the mysterious cats that trail her shadow. Only when she begins a forbidden flirtation with the city’s handsome young courier does she let herself imagine a life outside the walls. Until one by one, girls around her start to die.

Before she becomes the next victim, Nisha decides to uncover the secrets that surround the girls’ deaths. But by getting involved, Nisha jeopardizes not only her own future in the City of a Thousand Dolls—but her own life. (summary from goodreads)

My Review:
Ever since I stumbled over the summary for CITY OF A THOUSAND DOLLS, I wanted to read it. So I was literally jumping up and down when I saw it in my Amazon Vine picks.

Lately, books that I’ve been excited about haven’t lived up to the hype for me, so I was a bit nervous to start CITY OF A THOUSAND DOLLS. Happily for me, once I started, I couldn’t stop reading. I had to keep myself from reading ahead — every time I turned the page, my eyes would be looking at the right page before I’d started the left.

I think the worldbuilding was my favorite part of CITY OF A THOUSAND DOLLS. The basic concept is that the city houses unwanted daughters and gives them value. The girls are trained in various arts, such as dance or music, or intended to be wives or concubines. In a world that only allows families to have two children, it’s a much better solution than those girls being killed after birth.

Nisha is the only girl not part of a house. Instead, she’s the Matron’s messenger and informant. When girls start dying within the city, Nisha investigates at the Matron’s request, and also to save herself from being sold as a slave. CITY OF A THOUSAND DOLLS is a combination of mystery and fantasy, and I really liked that most of the book focused on Nisha solving the mysterious deaths rather than moping about a boy. Not that there isn’t romance within the book, but it’s not the entire story.

The romance with Devan was actually one of the weak points for me. Although I appreciated that the relationship wasn’t of the instant, love at first sight variety, it still didn’t click for me. That said, the relationship did give Nisha a chance to grow at the end of the book, as well as to show just how strict the caste system and world Forster has created is. CITY OF A THOUSAND DOLLS has a mix of Asian and Indian influences.

Another plus for me was the talking cats who live in the city. Nisha is the only person that can talk to them, and they are her guardians and friends. Each cat has their own personality, and I have to say, I’d love a Jerrit in my own life, even though I’m not a cat person.

CITY OF A THOUSAND DOLLS has some flaws, but overall, I was enchanted with it. I didn’t want to put it down until I’d read the entire book. I would love to read another book set in the same world, perhaps picking up where CITY OF A THOUSAND DOLLS ends. I hope that Nisha’s story isn’t over.

Give CITY OF A THOUSAND DOLLS a look if you like Asian or Indian inspired stories, fantasy and/or mystery.

Socialize with the author:
Miriam Forster:

– leeanna

Waiting on Wednesday: Taken by Erin Bowman

takenTaken by Erin Bowman
Release Date: April 16, 2013

There are no men in Claysoot. There are boys—but every one of them vanishes at midnight on his eighteenth birthday. The ground shakes, the wind howls, a blinding light descends…and he’s gone.

They call it the Heist.

Gray Weathersby’s eighteenth birthday is mere months away, and he’s prepared to meet his fate–until he finds a strange note from his mother and starts to question everything he’s been raised to accept: the Council leaders and their obvious secrets. The Heist itself. And what lies beyond the Wall that surrounds Claysoot–a structure that no one can cross and survive.

Climbing the Wall is suicide, but what comes after the Heist could be worse. Should he sit back and wait to be taken–or risk everything on the hope of the other side? (summary from goodreads)

A YA book from a guy’s perspective? You don’t see many of those. Taken sounds like a dystopian or post-apocalyptic; I’m curious to see what kind of world/society the author has dreamed up.

Socialize with the author:

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine.

– leeanna

where oh where have I been?

I know the blog has been sort of quiet lately, for which I apologize. I’ve spent the last two weekends sick, which has put quite a damper on most things, including reading and blogging. Although I have lots of content I could schedule, I never seem to get ahead enough with prepping reviews.

I feel like I’m falling into a rut with reviews lately. Like I’m writing the same thing over and over again. I have a few half started reviews that I’ve been trying to write for 2 weeks. So, I’m taking a mini review vacation. However, you shouldn’t really notice anything. I’ll still be posting reviews and blog tour stops, but what I won’t be doing is attempting to review every single book I read. Or maybe I’ll just write something short, since I do like knowing what I thought about a book, and seeing if my thoughts change if I happen to reread it. I’ve been rereading World of Warcraft books lately, as well as Harry Potter, and I know my thoughts are different now than they were 2-3 years ago.

So, all in all, not much is changing, I’m just going to try and ease up some self-induced pressure :)

Also, for right now, review requests are closed. I have a few emails to reply to, so if you’ve contacted me and I haven’t gotten back to you, I will soon! I’m just finishing up my scheduling calendar.

– leeanna

Book Review: Incarnation by Emma Cornwall

Title: Incarnation
Author: Emma Cornwall
Release Date: September 18, 2012
Publisher: Gallery Books
Source: Gallery Books via Edelweiss
Series? No
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, Alternate History, Steampunk, Adult
Page Count: 352


In the steampunk world of Victorian London, a beautiful vampire seeks out the author of Dracula–to set the record straight . . . If one is to believe Bram Stoker’s legendary vampire tale, Lucy Weston is Dracula’s most wanton creation, a sexual creature of the night who preys on innocent boys. But the real-life Lucy is nothing like her fictional counterpart—and she demands to know why the Victorian author deliberately lied. With Stoker’s reluctant help, she’s determined to track down the very fiend who transformed her—from the sensual underworld where humans vie to become vampires, to a hidden cell beneath a temple to madness, and finally into the glittering Crystal Palace where death reigns supreme.

Haunted by fragmentary memories of her lost life and love, Lucy must battle her thirst for blood as she struggles to stop a catastrophic war that will doom vampires and humans alike. Ultimately, she must make a choice that illuminates for her—and for us—what it means to be human. (summary from goodreads)

My Review:
What if Dracula, Bram Stoker’s famous book, was a gigantic cover up? What if vampires, werewolves, and other fantastical beasts roamed the world? What if the British monarchy knew about it, and was in on it?

Incarnation is wildly inventive, and a great read. It took me a while to get to it, and now that I’ve finished it, I wish I would have read it sooner. It’s not your typical vampire book, so even if you’re sick of those, I’d still encourage you to give it a try. It’s also not young adult, though the cover gives the impression it might be. I’d recommend Incarnation for readers of any age, teen and up. It’s a mix of alternate history, steampunk, paranormal, urban fantasy, and even some romance — there should be something for everyone.

I really liked Lucy Weston, the main character. Does the name sound familiar? It should, although in Dracula, she was known as Lucy Westenra. Lucy is spunky, sensitive, and real. There’s even a hint of Lucy Westenra’s sensuality in her, yet they are two very different characters. I loved that Lucy wanted to do more with her life than marry and have children, especially in a time when that’s all women were supposed to do. Lucy grew over the course of the book, and I really hope her story isn’t finished yet. I would be excited to read a sequel to Incarnation.

Incarnation has a pretty cool twist on vampires. I don’t think I’ve read anything combining Arthurian legends and vampires before! Lady Blanche was an interesting villain, and I would have liked to know more about her. Actually — I wanted to know more about every character, even Cornwall’s Queen Victoria. Each character is richly imagined, and distinct. I have to give special mention to Mordred, who managed to steal most of the scenes he was in, as well as Marco, who was sort of Lucy’s love interest. Happily for me, the romance doesn’t overpower what is a brilliant story.

The writing in Incarnation is very atmospheric. If I had a complaint, it’s that I wish the book moved along a bit faster. The rich descriptions and scene settings slowed the pace down, but I tend to like that sort of thing, so I wasn’t too bothered. It’s just not the kind of writing you can gobble up in one night.

All in all, Incarnation is a great book, and I hope there’s a sequel in the future.

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– leeanna