Monday, March 5, 2012

Darker Still by Leanna Renee Hieber - YA book review and giveaway

Today I have dark, yet romantic YA paranormal to review. Darker Still is a novel written by Leanna Renee Hieber and published by Sourcebooks. Leanna signed my review copy, so I am happy to announce a giveaway. Just fill out the rafflecopter form to enter. If you don’t see it click ‘read more’.

The Story- Natalie Stewart is a young mute woman living in the late eighteen hundreds. She hasn’t spoken a word since she witnessed her mother’s death as a child, and doctors say there is nothing physically wrong with her, it’s all in her head.


Natalie’s father works at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and hires Natalie as an assistant, giving her something to do in a world where nobody knows what to make of a mute woman. Life changes when Natalie views a portrait up for auction. Lord Denbury, the subject of the painting, stirs amazing feelings of warmth and vitality within Natalie's heart. One of the bidders, Mrs. Northe, a spiritualist, tells Natalie that the painting broadcasts an aura of darkness and that it must be kept from evil hands.

As if in a dream, Natalie must touch the painting, and when she does, she finds herself inside the painting with the soul of handsome Jonathon Denbury. He tells a tale most foul, one of a body stealing demon with murderous intentions.

Completely in love, Natalie decides it is her fate to defeat the demon and save Lord Denbury from his acrylic hell.

My Thoughts- The title, Darker Still, is apt for this novel. The unfolding story of the demon and his dealings with dark magic and murder give the book a seriously “noir” type feeling. The author does a great job creating her villain. We don’t see him very often in the book, but the descriptions that Lord Denbury tells of him make him come alive in the reader's mind.

I love the character of Natalie. A mute girl living in the 1880’s had little chance of a full life. Natalie is a strong character that faces evil with the belief that it must be stopped, no matter the consequences. She goes on a journey of change, battling against her self imposed muteness, and fighting for what she believes.

The story is told in the first person, through a diary of Natalie’s. It is well done, causing the reader to forget that the story actually happened in the past and we are reading Natalie’s tale.

Lord Denbury is Natalie’s love obsession. However, he is not a very dynamic character. I think this is because we only get to see him in one setting, inside the library within the painting. Unfortunately, this left me feeling a little empty about his character and I didn’t really invest in their relationship. Luckily, the story itself is strong and I wanted to see how things ended.

This is a dark and tense read that I recommend for ages 12 and up. I just recieved an update from the author- book #2 The Twisted Tragedy of Miss Natalie Stewart will be released by Sourcebooks in November, 2012.




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35 comments:

  1. I don't really have a favorite. Of course, I'm not really that into formal art. I live in Chattanooga, TN and love to go to art district where local artist are featured. So, maybe "local artists" are my favorite. :)

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  2. I would have to go with local artists as well. I can't really think of anyone else that I really look at their work.
    Thank you for the giveaway!

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  3. Local artists are great. There are a lot around Seattle. I studied art history in school and I really love the French Impressionists.

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  5. Thanks for including your review, it really sounds like quite a fascinating tale. Definitely can't wait to read it now :)

    As for my favorite painter I would have to say my grandfather, though he only did a few pieces before he passed. As for known painters, I don't really have one. I tend to like a particular piece instead of a style or artist.

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    1. That is so sweet. Hold on to his work tight.

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  6. i don't really have any well known painters that i really like. i have a couple friends who paint all kinds of things that i really love, so i guess my favorite would be more like local painters too : )

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  7. Well, in school I did a paper on Georgia O'Keefe, so I guess I would have to say her.

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  8. My favorite painter is my sister. She is amazing I have three of her paintings in my house :D

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  9. I love Degas. His ballerina's gorgeous.

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  10. I can't say I'm an expert of paintings, but I do really like Van Gogh. :)

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  11. I LOVE Van Gogh's use of color, though I'm also a fan of Lotto's textures. I'm more a fan of the pre-1900s painters in general. :)

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  12. Manda and Beth, Van Gogh is amazing. Deanna, Degas fits right in with my love for everything French, Van Gogh too.

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  13. Hmm...Van Gogh probably. :D I see his paintings alot and have grown to like them.

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  14. Definitely Van Gogh. I wish I could cover my entire house with his art. Unfortunately though, they wouldn't look too nice against the horrible wallpaper lol.

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  15. I love Van Gogh's work, but I think Monet would inch him out as my favorite in a race :)

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  16. I am not really into art but I would have to say that I love Michelangelo's painting in the Sistine Chapel. It's amazing and made a non-art person like me appreciate painting.

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  17. My favorite painter is Andy Warhol. He's rather modern and paints unique art.

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  18. My favorite painter is my mom. She doesnt really know I have seen her work, but rummaging in the closet one day, I found 2 paintings she signed and dated. They were of me. (: Lets just say I may have cried!

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    1. Oh, that's wonderful. You should tell her.

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  19. My favorite painter is me! no i love the guy who did this: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_DyX2DSzZx0E/TSeXdtmp6pI/AAAAAAAAAZU/Eypa0OxicXI/s1600/3d1.jpg

    Thanks for the great giveaway!!

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  20. my favorite painter is picasso:)

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  21. I don't have a favorite painter

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  22. I really like monet and dali. :) I have been to a the dali museum a few times and I loved it.

    - Beckie @ Bittersweet Enchantment

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  23. I would probably would have to go with someone i go to school with.. hes an amazing artist!

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  24. I was a dancer all throughout my childhood so Degas is my favorite.

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