Tag «Author: Susan Dennard»

Series Review: Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard

Series Review: Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:


Synopsis for Something Strange and Deadly (from Goodreads):

There’s something strange and deadly loose in Philadelphia. . . .

Eleanor Fitt has a lot to worry about.

Her brother has gone missing, her family has fallen on hard times, and her mother is determined to marry her off to any rich young man who walks by. But this is nothing compared to what she’s just read in the newspaper:

The Dead are rising in Philadelphia.

And then, in a frightening attack, a zombie delivers a letter to Eleanor . . . from her brother.

Whoever is controlling the Dead army has taken her brother as well. If Eleanor is going to find him, she’ll have to venture into the lab of the notorious Spirit-Hunters, who protect the city from supernatural forces. But as Eleanor spends more time with the Spirit-Hunters, including the maddeningly stubborn yet handsome Daniel, the situation becomes dire. And now, not only is her reputation on the line, but her very life may hang in the balance.


Series: Something Strange and Deadly Trilogy
Author: Susan Dennard
# of Books: 3 (Full Reading Order Here)

There is a prequel novella: #0.5 A Dawn Most Wicked

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Zombies, Romance, Science Fiction
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Dates: July 2012 – July 2014
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook, Audiobook (Darkness)


Disclaimer: I stopped reading A Darkness Strange and Lovely (Book #2) at 18%. Find out why below…

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I’m not sure how this series initially crossed me radar. I think the covers drew me in as did the titles. I had it marked to read for a very long time which is why I selected it for my 2017 5 Year 5 Book Challenge as an entry for 2012.

I really enjoy historical paranormal reads in the YA genre so I was hoping this series would be another to add to my list of favourites. I had read Dennard’s Truthwitch prior to picking up Something Strange and Deadly so I knew to expect a great world but perhaps one that didn’t have the best worldbuilding (ie easy to understand). But I do enjoy the flow her writing has so I was optimistic I would enjoy this one.

The Concept / The World:

For me, the world building was lacking in some ways. (Not surprising given my previous Dennard experience). I would have liked more background on why the dead are suddenly rising. Now, I’ll admit, I probably wasn’t in the best head-space when I picked up Book 1 so maybe it is explained well and I just missed it. I’ve had that happen before… -.-

However, in terms of understanding how to fight the dead and the various roles of the Spirit-Hunters, that’s explained well enough. I found the concepts that relate directly to the plot and character actions were well established and easy to follow.

Is it Steampunk?

I wouldn’t say so. It has steampunk elements but it’s more of a paranormal read. Scientific technologies do play a role but they don’t have enough of one to make me classify this as steampunk. I actually didn’t think people did until I saw the tags on Goodreads and saw people calling this steampunk. Hence my need to bring it up.

Where This Series Excels:

I really enjoyed the mystery aspect of A Darkness Strange and Deadly. Trying to figure out how everything was connected (if it even was) kept me intrigued and pushing forward. You get that suspense in the sequel as well after everything plays out and that aspect is intriguing.

Where This Series Declines:

I liked Eleanor enough but there was something that stopped me from loving her outright. She wasn’t overly impressive to me despite her good heart and her “I can do it” attitude.

I also despised the romance. It felt very forced to me in A Darkness Strange and Deadly. I seemed like it developed out of nothing and that stopped me from getting fully on board. I actually thought she had better chemistry with another character than the one she’s supposed to…never a good thing!

Why I Stopped Reading #2, A Darkness Strange and Lovely:

I think I’ve just been too far removed from this series (it’s been about a year since I read the first one) and I just can’t motivate myself to care about this story. I don’t really remember things and even the rehash doesn’t bring me to care.

Series Rating: DNF

A Darkness Strange and Deadly  3.5/5| A Darkness Strange and Lovely DNF | Strange Ever After N/A


If I read this the year it came out, I probably would have adored it. It has the right materials but they just didn’t get used well enough to impress me.

Read if You Like: zombies, historical YA
Avoid if You: want a purely steampunk novel


  • The Gathering Storm by Robin Brydes (Katerina Trilogy #1)
  • The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross (The Steampunk Chronicles #1)



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Series Review: Witchlands by Susan Dennard

Series Review: Witchlands by Susan Dennard

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

Witchlands Series

book4 book5


Synopsis for Truthwitch (from Goodreads):
In a continent on the edge of war, two witches hold its fate in their hands.

Young witches Safiya and Iseult have a habit of finding trouble. After clashing with a powerful Guildmaster and his ruthless Bloodwitch bodyguard, the friends are forced to flee their home.

Safi must avoid capture at all costs as she’s a rare Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lies. Many would kill for her magic, so Safi must keep it hidden – lest she be used in the struggle between empires. And Iseult’s true powers are hidden even from herself.

In a chance encounter at Court, Safi meets Prince Merik and makes him a reluctant ally. However, his help may not slow down the Bloodwitch now hot on the girls’ heels. All Safi and Iseult want is their freedom, but danger lies ahead. With war coming, treaties breaking and a magical contagion sweeping the land, the friends will have to fight emperors and mercenaries alike. For some will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch.


SERIESous’ Top Picks: Fave New YA Series 2016
Series: Witchlands
Author: Susan Dennard
# of Books:  5 (Truthwitch, Windwitch, Bloodwitch, Book 4, Book 5)

There is a prequel novella: #0.5 Sightwitch

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: No, Bloodwitch, will be published in 2019
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Action, Magic, Adventure, Romance
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: Third Person, Multiple
Publication Date: January 2016 – ongoing
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook


**This post was originally posted as a Fresh Friday review of the first book of the series. It has now been updated to include the newest publications in the series.**

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

This book had SERIOUS hype prior to its release. It was everywhere and everyone was singing its praises. Normally, I avoid anything with “witch” in the title but once I read the synopsis I realized this wasn’t going to be your everyday witch novel. It sounded a lot like Throne of Glass but not as dark and so I was excited to find another fantasy action series to read.

What I Liked:

–The Action Starts Right Away–

This novel literally hits the ground running. There is no waiting around for Safiya and Iseult to get into trouble: they are already in it as soon as you read the first sentence. I found this book was always moving, drawing me in and keeping me on my toes. I never got bored and part of that was because:

–Multiple Character Perspectives–

I like books that have a lot going on and that usually means multiple POVs are happening. Here, the use of multiple character perspectives helps to shape the story in a 360 sort of way. Everything circles back to each other in an intriguing way that allows you get to see the fuller picture much easier and without so much effort. I find there is just enough plot to keep you interested but not so much that you are confused as to what is happening or easily forget. Simply put, this story is well crafted in terms of plot movement.

–The Female Friendships–

It was so refreshing for me to see two girl BFFs working together so well. I don’t mind independently strong females who can do it all on their own, nor to I mind a female character who can hold her own with a male counterpart. But I rarely read about female friends who kick serious butt together and Safiya and Iseult are a fantastic example of that.

What I Didn’t Like:

–The Lack of World-Building Explanations–

For the most part, the Witchlands world is pretty easy to figure out. I mean a Truthwitch is one who can discern the truth from fiction; a Windwitch is someone who can control the wind and air; etc. But there are still some terms that even after finishing the book I am not totally clear about. What the heck is cleaving? What are threadstones? What are threads really? I felt like the descriptions and explanations were lacking when it comes to some of the various terms that are thrown around in this book. I’m not asking for a lot, just a simple sentence or two to help explain what those terms really mean instead of me making assumptions based on how the characters use the words and/items. It made me feel a little lost and that dampened my reading experience.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I’m really excited to see what happens next for these characters. I really loved all the characters we got to meet and they all had such interesting events happen to them near the end so I’m curious to know what will happen in Windwitch.

When to Read #2.5, Sightwitch:

Although it is listed as a prequel, I would recommend Sightwitch right after you read #2 Windwitch. And I mean, immediately after. While I could follow along with the story, I was a little lost on how this novella fits into the world since it had been so long since I read Windwitch.

It’s an illustrated novella but it is quite lengthy. The audiobook (that I listened to) was just over 7 hours…some novels are only that length! But I thoroughly enjoyed the audio production. I’ve only seen the eBook version of the illustrations but they are nice as well.


–January 18, 2018– Book #2: Windwitch

Once again, this series throws us right back into the action…with mixed results for me. Having been away from this series for two years, I had a harder time reorienting myself with what was happening. It didn’t help that we start 2 weeks after the events of the previous book and major things have happened in the time since. Things that are only mentioned in passing with the details coming later. I felt like I was playing a little bit of catch-up.

I found the first half to be on the slower side as well. The synopsis describes the first 30% of the book perfectly so it felt like a drawn out exposition to me. Once we get past the halfway point, things definitely improve. The action picks-up and the plot points of where this series is likely going to go start to shine a little more so I’m curious to see how everything unfolds next!

My Rating: 4/5

Truthwitch 4.5/5 | Windwitch 3/5 | [Sightwitch 3/5] | Bloodwitch TBP | Book 4 TBP | Book 5 TBP


This book was a solid fantasy adventure. It has a fast, building plot and great, interesting characters. While I found the world-building to be slightly lacking for certain things, I really did enjoy reading this one.

Read if You Like: fantasy stories, female duos, action, Throne of Glass
Avoid if You: dislike multiple POVs, want more romance




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