Of Monsters and Madness (Of Monsters and Madness #1) by Jessica Verday

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Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

After the death of her mother, seventeen year old Annabelle Lee is called to Philadelphia by the father she has never met. Knowing her father is a scientist and surgeon, Annabelle hopes this is the opportunity to pursue her dream of practicing medicine. But it is 1826 and young women do not perform surgery and young Annabelle is far from the daughter her father envisioned.
The young girl lacks the manners and etiquette expected of a young woman and she soon finds that her father and his reputation is not what it seems either. There are mysterious comings and goings to the lower floors of the house and the rumors of a killer on the loose in the streets.

“…A sense of unease fills my stomach as I stare up at what is to be my new home. Dark and foreboding, it appears just as unwelcoming as the rest of Philadelphia…”

“…Blood is everywhere. Splashed on the walls and spilled across the floor. The scent, heavy upon the air, is like a fog that rises early in the morning. Loops of glistening flesh are strung out upon the table, and in the middle of it all is a single lock of hair. Dark. Curled. Obscene in its loveliness amongst such carnage…”

Of Monsters and Madness is an ambitious novel. It dares to cross genres and pull into its plot people and settings that hold a strong place in the heart of many horror readers. Jessica Verday has pieced together bits of Jekyll and Hyde, Frankenstein, and the tales of Edgar Allan Poe. This is heightened by the young assistants to Annabelle’s father, the cousins Allan and Edgar Poe. Done poorly and the book is sure to slammed by angry readers. Some might slam it anyway based on general principle and false offense. The fact is that Verday has written an entertaining and fast paced novel and has used the setting and time to her advantage. Rather than see it as an offense to these great novels, I feel she has paid respect and due these tales and uses them to enhance her own tale of murder, madness and a haunted home.
Annabelle is a strong character, far from the only home she has known and alone after the loss of her mother. She must find her way not only through the unfriendly streets of the city but through the hypocritical and pretentious elite of the time. Knowing that her knowledge and wits would not be appreciated in the form of a young girl by anyone. Least of all the father she so wants to be loved by. Edgar and Allan Poe are a creative addition to the story. Cousins who are two sides of the same coin. But most of all, the dark home, with its locked rooms and basement. The setting fits the tempo and atmosphere of this novel.

A very good read!!

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Hemlock Trilogy by Kathleen Peacock

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Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

There has been no shortage of vampire and werewolf novels in recent years. I was wondering how a new werewolf book could possibly bring about something new and original. Somehow, someway, Kathleen Peacock thought of an intriguing plot, wrote some fantastic characters, gave them life, unique voices, strong personalities, and wrapped it all up in this lovely novel full of mystery, friendship, and loyalty.  In Hemlock, nothing is as it seems. No one is who they are. Lies. Murder. Werewolves. Friendships. So many things have you reeling at every turn when things are revealed and people are deceived and you don’t know who you can trust.

Mackenzie Dobson is trying to put the pieces together after her best friend Amy is killed. It was a werewolf attack and the town is on lockdown. Trackers are in town to remove anyone infected with LS (Lupine Syndrome) and take them to the camps where they live a semi-normal life. But there are restrictions and not treated well. As more attacks occur 5 months later, Mac is on the search for the killer. The one responsible for Amy’s death, along with 3 others. But at every turn, she’s questioning herself and blaming herself for not being there that night that the wolf attacked Amy in the alley. Jason and Kyle, Mac’s 2 best guy friends…and later on love interests, are keeping secrets. Even though they blame themselves for not answering the phone or letting her go out alone, something is not adding up. When Jason starts acting strange and getting into fights after being piss poor drunk on many occasions, Mac inlists in Kyle’s help to find answers. Along the way, he confesses his feelings for her that have been brewing for a while. One thing after another, so many events and revelations come to the surface leaving Mac feeling alone, questioning whether she can trust Kyle or Jason. Or anyone for that matter. After one night, nothing in Hemlock is the same. Mac will have to make decisions that put her and her friends in danger. But she’ll do anything to protect those she loves.

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Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Hemlock introduced us to a world where being infected by Lupine syndrome means you’re now a threat to society, and thus no law applies to you anymore. You’ll be hunted until you’re found and sent to rehabilitation camp. In Thornhill, we see exactly what these camps consist of, and it’s not pretty! This is what I was craving to find out in the first book; it’s safe to say I was instantly enthralled by the grim setting of this book. Plus, Mac and Kyle are now trapped into this facility brimming with morbid rumors. It turns up the suspense, multiplies the conspiracies, and opens our eyes to some very interesting, very dark secrets.

With unrelenting suspense and the same wonderful characters we grew to love, Thornhill is sure to be a winner among fans of the series. If you’re new to Hemlock, you’re missing one heck of a ruthless, intelligent, and original werewolf mystery!

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Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

After everything that had happened in Hemlock and Thornhill, I was desperate for some answers and closure, not unlike our hero, Mac.

It’s hard to get into the particulars of Willowgrove without giving away crucial details for the first two books, but suffice to say Kathleen Peacock wraps up this series wonderfully, tying up all the loose threads and answering long-lingering questions. She stayed true to her characters from book one through book three, and I absolutely adore her for that.

If you’re looking for a paranormal fix with a lot of mystery and suspense, then I urge you to pick up this series by Peacock. It’s fun, fast, and absolutely fantastic to read.