Review- The Dark Unwinding

Title: The Dark Unwinding
Author: Sharon Cameron
Publication Date: September 1, 2012
Source: Scholastic (for tour)

A spine-tingling tale of steampunk and spies, intrigue and heart-racing romance!

When Katharine Tulman’s inheritance is called into question by the rumor that her eccentric uncle is squandering away the family fortune, she is sent to his estate to have him committed to an asylum. But instead of a lunatic, Katharine discovers a genius inventor with his own set of rules, who employs a village of nine hundred people rescued from the workhouses of London.

Katharine is now torn between protecting her own inheritance and preserving the peculiar community she grows to care for deeply. And her choices are made even more complicated by a handsome apprentice, a secretive student, and fears for her own sanity.

As the mysteries of the estate begin to unravel, it is clear that not only is her uncle’s world at stake, but also the state of England as Katharine knows it. With twists and turns at every corner, this heart-racing adventure will captivate readers with its intrigue, thrills, and romance.

The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron is a stunningly chilling tale of a mad man and the niece who is following him there, at least that is what Cameron will lead you to believe at times. There are so many turns and twists in this novel with not one moment where I was left bored or felt like the story was lagging. Every part of The Dark Unwinding is crucial to the storyline and it all comes down to one of the greatest tension building books I have ever read. Imagine scary music playing for a good portion of the book as your anticipation builds and builds and just when you think you can take it anymore you are taken to a whole new level of shock and even more anticipation.
I love the relationships that all of the characters have between each other. Mrs. Jefferies comes off very strong (and I even suspected her of being bad for a bit) but it is her fierce protectiveness of Uncle Tully that made me love her. It was Lane’s quiet but “I can still kick your butt any day” attitude that made me love him….for real though, if these characters were real I may be the first to shove Katherine in the mud to get to him…unfortunately for me I’m pretty sure they would both retaliate. There is Davy, the little mute boy who may or may not be communicating the whole time) who’s story is heart wrenching. One of my favorite characters was Katherine’s maid Mary. Mary was a piece of comedic relief, especially as the novel went on and everything because very stressful for Katherine. She reminded me very strongly of Martha Sowerby from The Secret Garden and without her this book would have been lacking.
Uncle Tully, either the mad man or the mastermind depending on which character you ask, was so cute! Not sure if you should be calling an old man cute, but he was definitely someone I wanted protected. While he is difficult to interact with because of his differences (aka his childlike mind) every character (besides Katherine’s aunt) loves him and believes he is a great man. He did, after all, gather up hundreds of people from the slums and workhouses, gave them a home and work. They all now thrive in life because of Uncle Tully and that’s got to say something for his heart.
Katherine Tulman is a complex character. Cameron does such a wonderful job building the layers (like an onion Shrek would say) to her wall and then tearing them down at the end. Katherine’s journeys at Stranwyne Keep estate (Inspired by Welbeck Abbey in Nottinghamshire, England) is a wild ride where she must dig down inside herself to discover who is really is and learn to stand on her own two feet. Katherine is one of my favorite characters this year and is the perfect heroine. I love that she is strong and weak at the same time. She struggles to find her voice after years of living with her horrible aunt and it is within that struggle that she gains immeasurable strength. Girls (and guys) could learn a thing of two from Katherine.
The ending of the story left me feeling….depressed…only because I now have to live away from these characters that I grew to love. Cameron is working on a second book though; it’s now at the top of my list of things to read! I have to know what happens next! Because of the beautiful writing and amazing storyline in this novel I have to give it five stars!

Welcome to DAY ARIES of 13 Days of THE 13TH SIGN Preorder Contest! ARIES is traditionally considered to be the first sign of the zodiac. ARIES characteristics include: strong, determined, confident, stubborn, impatient, and enthusiastic. (Want to learn more about your 12-sign horoscope, your 13-sign horoscope, and which horoscope sign you ACT like? Take THE 13TH SIGN quiz )

The Book Vortex is happy to host Day One of this contest! Let’s kick this thing off!

So. What is this contest all about?
If you preorder a copy of THE 13TH SIGN by Kristin O’Donnell Tubb, you will be entered into a contest! Where you can WIN THINGS! And there are new prizes every day!

And. EVERY preorder will be *matched* by a $1.00 donation to RIFTHE 13TH SIGN, a literacy program committed to placing books in the hands of kids who need them most.

What can I win TODAY?
If you preorder THE 13TH SIGN today, FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 23, you could win:

-zodiac charm – sign of your choice

-pink hair extension

-signed 13th Sign swag

-$50 Parnassus book store gift certificate (can be used by anyone in U.S.)

-signed THE DARK UNWINDING by Sharon Cameron swag

-signed TIMEPIECE by Myra McEntire poster

-signed paperback of AUTUMN WINIFRED OLIVER DOES THINGS DIFFERENT by Kristin O’Donnell Tubb

-a 13th SIGN tshirt

How do I enter?

Preorder THE 13TH SIGN! You can preorder it through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Indiebound, or through your local independent bookstore. Then email your receipt TO KRISTIN at ktubb@comcast.net. You will be entered into that day’s drawing, the grand prize drawing, and your purchase will be *matched* by a $1.00 donation to RIF!

Are there other ways to enter the contest?

Yep! You can be entered into the daily prize drawings by doing one or more of the following:

-Each preorder of THE 13TH SIGN
= 10 entries into grand prize drawing and 10 entries into that day’s drawing

- Each person who blogs about the contest = 10 entries into that day’s drawing

-Each person who changes Twitter or Facebook avatar to cover = 5 entries into that day’s drawing (for each day it is present)

-Each Tweet or Facebook status mention of the book and contest = 2 entries for that day’s drawing (must include hashtag #the13thsign)

-Each RT of book and/or contest = 1 entry for that day’s drawing

BUT. You have to preorder THE 13TH SIGN to enter to win the grand prize and to have your purchase matched with a RIF donation.

ALSO. To make sure you get the correct amount of entries, please let Kristin know if you’ve done any of the above! You can email her at ktubb@comcast.net with everything you’ve done to enter.

What is the grand prize?
A Nexus 7 ereader! BOOM. The grand prize will be given away on Kristin’s blog (http://kristintubb.blogspot.com/) on Friday, December 7th.

How long does the preorder contest last?
13 days total! You can visit these other blogs for each day’s prizes:

DAY ARIES: The Book Vortex

DAY TAURUS: The Housework Can Wait

DAY GEMINI: Magnet 4 Books

DAY CANCER: Abby the Librarian

DAY LEO: Mother Daughter Book Club

DAY VIRGO: S. R. Johannes/Market My Words

DAY LIBRA: Elizabeth O. Dulemba

DAY SCORPIO: Citrus Reads

DAY OPHIUCHUS: Young Adult Book Central

DAY SAGITTARIUS: Bloggers[heart]Books

DAY CAPRICORN: – Middle Grade Mafioso

DAY AQUARIUS: Smack Dab in the Middle

DAY PISCES: From the Mixed-Up Files of Middle Grade Authors

Good luck! And don’t forget to take THE 13TH SIGN quiz!

Review- The Dead-Tossed Waves


Title: The Dead-Tossed Waves
Author: Carrie Ryan
Publication Date: March 9, 2010
Source: Library

Given how much I loved The Forest of Hands and Teeth, I was very eager to delve into these pages. At first I was little bit disappointed that the storyline was so far down the timeline, but after a few chapters in I was hooked. There were a few resemblances in the first and second books, the biggest similarity being the two boys for the protagonist, Gabry, to choose from, & the struggle to decide who gets her heart. The love story is heartbreaking and conflicting.

I’m torn between liking this book a whole lot and just liking it enough. Here’s why. It was interesting to give a similar situation to Mary’s (Main gal from the first book) daughter, Gabry, and let things unfold a bit differently. Gabry is definitely nothing like Mary. She was whiny and too unstable. I didn’t find the characters as likable this time around, but remained interested to see how Mary’s story tied in.

I will say I liked the story line even though it was so familiar. I do want to know what happens next! I wasn’t keen on her choices in love interests being so flip floppy. It seemed Gabry was in love with whomever was more conveniently available at the moment. Also I was a little freaked out because I thought one of her “love interests” was her brother up until the point where it was made clear that he absolutely wasn’t haha.
That all being said I would give this book a 3.5 star rating! I don’t think you necessarily would have to read the first book to grasp everything going on here, but I think maybe it did effect my rating score. Had I not read the first book, I may have given this one a 4 star rating, but I just felt the stories were too similar and there was no newness to venture out from the first story. As was Gabry the character’s personality so is my scoring hah very back and fourth..

Priscilla