Final Stop on the A Spark Unseen Blog Hop

You’ve made it to the very end!! Congrats! Here is a video by yours truly explaining how this whole thing is going to work.

If you missed that here it is again.

Starting September 9, 2013, it’s the A SPARK UNSEEN Blog Hop!
10 days, 10 winners, plus Sharon’s “Big Bag o’ Books and Swag” Grand Prize!
Want to win? Follow the blog hop each day (see schedule below). Use the forward and back buttons to hop from one fascinating post to the next (interviews, location scouting, and secret character tidbits!), and enter the rafflecopter each day to win copies of THE DARK UNWINDING or A SPARK UNSEEN!
Want to win Sharon’s “Big Bag o’ Books and Swag” Grand Prize, or be one of the lucky 3 runners up? Then you will have to be clever! Each day there will be one letter hidden on one blog hop post, for a total of 10 letters. The letter will look like this:

And this one does NOT count, guys!
Collect all 10 letters, then unscramble to make two words that answer this question:
“What does Katharine Tulman want most?”
Were you clever? Then enter the two words you’ve unscrambled into the grand prize rafflecopter on the last stop and you could win. Easy!
Want to know what’s in the “Big Bag o’ Swag?” Hardbacks of THE DARK UNWINDING and A SPARK UNSEEN, books and arcs from my best writing buddies (including Ruta Sepetys), a flashdrive containing the AMAZING TDU audio book, Scholastic swag, TDU and ASU swag, and MORE, all swaddled in a cute I READ YA Scholastic tote. 3 runners up will be receiving a TDU/ASU hardback set.
You know you want it!
(And prizes will be USA and Canada only, okay?)
Want to get hopping? Here’s the schedule:

Group One: September 9, 2013
Author Interview-
Book Brats-Marla
The Housework Can Wait-Lauren
Character Fun Facts- Mrs. Hardcastle
Through the Looking Glass
Quotes Then and Now- Lane
Eater of Books

Group Two: September 10, 2013
The Cozy Reader
Character Interview- Uncle Tully
The I Love Books Club
Location Scouting- The Morgue
Character Fun Facts- Lane
Karis Bookshelf

Group Three: September 11, 2013
A Reader of Fictions
Author Interview-
Sarahs YA Blog
Quotes Then and Now- Uncle Tully
Citris Reads
Location Scouting- The Catacombs 2
Stories and Sweeties

Group Four: September 12, 2013
The Reading Geek
Character Interview- Lane
Ems Reviews Books
Character Fun Facts- Katherine
A Dream Within A Dream
Location Scouting- The Catacombs
Read and Reviewed

Group Five: September 13, 2013
Book Brats-Marla
Author Interview-
667B Baker Street
Quotes Then and Now
A Book and a Latte
Location Scouting- Charenton Lunatic Asylum
My Friends Are Fiction

Group Six: September 16, 2013
Xpresso Reads
Character Fun Facts- Mary
The Book Vortex
Location Scouting- Plymouth Harbor
Esthers Ever After

Group Seven: September 17, 2013
Book Loving Mom
Author Interview
Quotes Then and Now- Katherine
Read. Breathe. Relax.
Character Fun Facts- Mr. Wickersham
Alluring Reads

Group Eight: September 18, 2013

Character Fun Facts- Henri
Character Interview- Lane
Faerie Tale Books
The Book Vortex

Group Nine: September 19, 2013
Morgan (Goodreads)
Character Fun Facts- Uncle Tully
Bookshelf Banter
Location Scouting- Sainte-Merri Chapel
About to Read

Group Ten: September 20, 2013
Paranormal Indulgence
Character Interview- Mary
J Reads YA
Character Fun Facts- Napoleon III
Small Review
Location Scouting- Tuilleries
Book Brats- Megan

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck everyone!!! Happy letter hunting!

Special Announcement!

Some of you may have noticed that our fantastic guest blogger Priscilla has been missing recently! While I will admit, I’ve been missing my friend too, she now has a better role than guest blogger.


Can we all let out a collective AWWW!!!! Look at that adorable baby! And Priscilla is looking amazing too! If we didn’t live across from the country from each other I would be over there cuddling that adorable baby! Welcome to the world Cordelia!

A Spark Unseen Blog Hop, Day 9: Review by Morgan

Today we have reviewer, Morgan, on the blog to give her fantastic review for A Spark Unseen!

When I first read The Dark Unwinding in February of this year, I was blown away. It was the perfect amalgam of beautifully descriptive writing, rich characters and a haunting setting. I was enchanted and read it in one sitting. A Spark Unseen, the sequel to The Dark Unwinding, more than lived up to its predecessor for me. It was one of my most anticipated reads of the year and I loved every minute- the 5 star rating was definitely earned!

Tension radiated from the very first page and I was thrown right back into the gothic halls of Stranwyne. I was anxious, wishing Katharine would turn the key faster! The heartpounding opening sets the tone for the entire novel- it carries on at a brisk and action packed pace, even during the slower bits. Sharon Cameron’s writing never feels rushed, however. She is simply adept at finding the right turn of phrase and the perfect situation to keep the story moving ever onward. Much can be said in a word or a glance. Her writing is descriptive but to the point, with a lyrical cadence that I adored. I also liked that throughout the novel the French remains largely untranslated. The reader has to wonder at the words and puzzle out their meaning just like Katharine does, which kept me engaged.

The best sort of sequel in my opinion capitalizes on the parts that made the first so wonderful but enhances or twists them in a way to give the second book its own flavor and feel. I enjoyed the myriad connections to The Dark Unwinding, from Stranwyne itself to the mystery of the mechanical fish, and Ben Aldridge. There were many floating threads from that book that were carried into A Spark Unseen to great advantage.

At the same time, I loved how different the tone of the plot felt. The Dark Unwinding is best described as a gothic novel with touches of steampunk. It was haunting and magical in the best way. A Spark Unseen feels more like a spy novel. I loved that Katharine had to interact with the ladies of society- biting wit and tea make excellent companions! And I loved the political undertones and secretiveness of Paris. The tone reminded me of Lauren Willig’s Pink Carnation books, a historical romance spy series set during the Napoleonic Wars (with plenty of strong heroines and cutting dialogue!).

As much as I enjoyed the setting, the real magic of A Spark Unseen belongs to the characters. Each one had more to them than met the eye and it was fascinating to peel back their layers and discover what secrets lay beneath. Mrs. Hardcastle turned out to be delightfully fun and I knew Mr. Marchand has something up his sleeve. It takes talent to make not just one, but multiple secondary characters stand out and leap off the page. And Katharine is one of the best-written heroines I have ever had the pleasure to read. She is strong and capable but always willing to ask for help from her friends. She’s loyal and loving in the best ways, but fiercely independent and intelligent, able to take care of herself and those around her. She is real, and rash, and not afraid to speak her mind couched in civil language. The conversation she has towards the end of the novel with one character in particular was as close to perfect as it could be. I was grinning from ear to ear. I liked her unconventional friendship with Mary and was glad to see so much of it too. But my favorite, of course, is her relationship with Uncle Tully.

Uncle Tully is one of the most unique characters I have come across. He is simple and complex all at once; I often felt nervous for him and sad for him at times, but he can be so joyous too. He takes pleasure in the simplest things and it warms the heart. I love his eccentricities and his endearment for Katharine: Simon’s baby. I also love their relationship; it is very sweet but never condescending, and the exchange with the flower was perhaps my favorite part. I simply adore how Sharon Cameron has written him. It’s charming and interesting and utterly endearing.

There is so much to be said for this wonderful book, and this series. It’s romantic, action-packed, original and mesmerizing. My mouth dropped open at multiple parts, which I wouldn’t dream of sharing! The twists and secrets are too good to be spoiled. One of my favorite fun parts had to be the dream that Katharine has- it was so sweet and so swoonworthy! My heart melted. I also love when the dress on the cover of a book matches the book’s description, as it did here! And perhaps best of all, I love spotting the meaning of a book’s title in the book itself. Pure delight.

I had to put the book down a few times to go about my life, but every time I did I couldn’t wait to pick it up and start reading again. I’m bereft that it’s over, but at least I can always reread both! I truly hope that there will be more to Katharine’s story in the future. If you liked The Dark Unwinding, you will love A Spark Unseen. It is everything that was fantastic about the first while standing strongly on its own enchanting merits.

A Spark Unseen Blog Hop, Day 8

I am so excited to have Sharon back on the blog today for a playlist post! Music is so important to me and I love getting to see Sharon’s thoughts on music for A Spark Unseen.

The thrilling sequel to Sharon Cameron’s blockbuster gothic steampunk romance, THE DARK UNWINDING, will captivate readers anew with mystery and intrigue aplenty.

When Katharine Tulman wakes in the middle of the night and accidentally foils a kidnapping attempt on her uncle, she realizes Stranwyne Keep is no longer safe for Uncle Tully and his genius inventions. She flees to Paris, where she hopes to remain undetected and also find the mysterious and handsome Lane, who is suspected to be dead.

But the search for Lane is not easy, and Katharine soon finds herself embroiled in a labyrinth of political intrigue. And with unexpected enemies and allies at every turn, Katharine will have to figure out whom she can trust–if anyone–to protect her uncle from danger once and for all.

Filled with deadly twists, whispering romance, and heart-stopping suspense, this sequel to THE DARK UNWINDING whisks readers off on another thrilling adventure.

My job for this post was simple: Give a “playlist” song, music that means something to me and/or to A Spark Unseen. But because I never do anything simply, this post will instead be an exercise of your imagination. Or at least a glimpse into the mind of Sharon Cameron. Ready?

Setting the historical scene: In 1851, the Emperor Napoleon III was enamored with the new production of La Juive, an opera by Halevy, which included a ballet number where the women were dressed like bees. The Emperor attended the show several times, and the bee ballerinas were instructed to come and greet him afterward at the Imperial box. This is probably why, according to the memoirs of an anonymous member of Napoleon’s court, a “bee ballet” was performed at one of the lavish balls given at the Tuileries. This ballet came complete with antennae-wearing, stripey-tutu ladies bursting out of gigantic beehives to dance around an enormous papier-mâché violet.

So, is your imagination ready to participate? Combine these ideas:

These ballerinas

With these little cuties’ costumes

With this music from La Juive by Halevy

And now insert one huge, purple violet.
Have you melded all these things into a bee ballet of the mind??

See if you saw something like the scene I imagined for A Spark Unseen:

“The music swelled and I jumped as women burst from the bee-hives, breaking through the brown paper, dressed in stiff, short, black-and-yellow skirts showing all their legs and wearing bodices that looked like nothing more than corsets. I was a bit shocked by this, though no on else seemed to be. Wire antennae were attached to the ladies’ hair knots, and they immediately began to prance about, spinning on their toes, little skirts bouncing, all stretching arms and kicking legs. But always they circled the enormous violet adoringly, as if it were the sun of their universe, or a god they were compelled to worship.
“The bee,” Henri whispered, “it is the symbol of the Bonapartes, and the violet their chosen flower. The emperor, he is…” Henri must have taken a moment to look at my face because he paused his story. “Have you never been to the ballet, Miss Tulman?”
I shook my head, unable to take my eyes from the spectacle. It was the single most ridiculous thing I’d ever seen in my life.”

Once again it is proven that the best fodder for fiction is the truth. Or at least the truth as you imagine it.

How to find Sharon:
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Twitter -@CameronSharonE
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Make sure to venture over to this page on Sharon’s website where you learn all about our daily basic prizes and how you can enter to win a grand prize or one of three runner up prizes!

Hop to the other blogs!