Saturday, April 23, 2011

Haunting Emma: Deception and Betrayal by Lee Nichols

Deception and Betrayal by Lee Nichols
Published by Bloomsbury
They are both available NOW!!! (so go get them)

Deception summary from

When Emma Vaile's parents leave on mysterious business trip, it gives her the perfect excuse to be a rebellious teen. Throw some parties, get a tattoo (or maybe just a piercing), and enjoy the first few weeks of her junior year. Then her best friend stops talking to her, the cops crash her party, and Emma finds herself in the hands of a new guardian—her college-age "knight in J.Crew armor," Bennett Stern—and on a plane to his museum-like mansion in New England.
After enrolling at Thatcher Academy, Emma settles in by making friends with the popular legacy crowd. But she can't shake the strange visions that are haunting her. She has memories of Thatcher she can't explain, as if she's returning home to a place she's never been. Emma doesn't trust anyone anymore—except maybe Bennett. But he's about to reveal a ghostly secret to Emma. One that will explain the visions . . . and make Emma fear for her life.

Betrayal summary from

Emma Vaile is the most powerful ghostkeeper in centuries. Which is great when she's battling the wraith-master Neos, but terrible when she's flirting with fellow ghostkeeper (and soul mate) Bennett. When ghostkeepers fall in love, the weaker one loses all power, and that's not something Bennett can handle. Heartbroken and alone, Emma tries to lose herself in school with fellow ghostkeeper Natalie. When a new team of ghostkeepers arrive-one a snarky teen boy, the other a British scholar-Emma finds solace in training for the battle against Neos. But as the team grows stronger, they are threatened by an unknown force. One they thought was good. As chilling and page-turning as Deception, this sequel will grab readers and hold them to the last page. No one is safe from suspicion as Emma closes in on the traitor.

I ordered Deception & Betrayal a few weeks back after reading a raving review on Mundie Moms. I was excited to start this series because I have read very few novels concerning ghosts. I must say, that from now on I will be looking out for more ghost stories, especially if they are written by Lee Nichols! Both of these novels were a one sit read! I'm going to review them together because I read them back to back, and they flow seemlessly together.

What I loved most about these novels was:
1. the beautiful New England setting
2. the ghosts (especially The Rake)
3. Ghostkeepers (they rock my face off)

First off, if any of our readers live in New England or if Lee Nichols is reading this, can I please come visit? The setting in the far Northeast, even if it is riddled with ghosts is absolutely breathtaking! Reading the pages made me feel as I had slipped into another world or with seeing the ghosts in period dress, another time. I can close my eyes and feel the wind, see the leaves blowing down the street, and see the apple trees outside of Thatcher. At the beginning of Deception, Emma is forced to move from California to Echo point, a small town in Massachusetts. It was lovely seeing all the sights through Emma's eyes the first time, not only Thatcher, but Stern House Museum, the Knell, even graveyards with tombstones marking them as hundreds of years old. Its a unique take because with the age of the buildings plus with the ghosts from all time periods, at anytime you can feel as if you are in the Massachusetts of the Regency era or the modern day Massachusetts.

Because New England is steeped in so much history, its easy to believe that it would be teeming with ghosts. Ghosts that liven up the story and make you love them, cheer for them, laugh at them, and even hate some of them. Ghosts from all respected time periods all make an appearance in the novels. There is the Oliver Twist like chimney sweep, the colorful French chef and maids, and the heart stopping Rake! The first time the Rake made an appearance, I almost swooned! (ha ha) The ghosts are the heart of the story. They become a family to Emma, a constant family which is something Emma and the other ghostkeepers alike have not experienced before. These ghosts help Emma to come to terms with the fact that she's a ghostkeeper, and not just a regular ghostkeeper, a stinkin' awesome one!!!

Which brings me to my 3rd love, how rocking these ghostkeepers are! Each ghostkeeper has a specific talent. These talents lead to great fight scenes and amazing chemistry between the characters. Who doesn't want to have super skills to kill supernatural beings! Its like Buffy meets Ghostbusters! Of course, I have to mention my favorite of all the ghostkeepers, Bennet! Bennet is Emma's older brother's best friend whom she's been crushing on for years. After a few odd turn of events, he ends up being Emma's guardian! Yep, its got the makings of a great regency romance, but with all the thrills of the paranormal world. Both books leave you with a cliffhanger ending, but whats great about right now, is at least you have the 2nd book to console you after the first killer of an ending! The 2nd cliffhanger will leave you aching for the 3rd book, Surrender, coming out in December. It leaves many questions left to be answered, and I cannot wait to see what happens!

All in all, I highly recommend these books! There are a few extra things I loved that don't necessarily fit into the categories above. One was the snarkiness of the characters which even appears in Latin! Who knew a dead language could be so funny, but in the hands of Lee Nichols this language comes to life again. The huge twists that you never quite see coming leave you feeling helpless at the end of each book. I don't exactly know how I would cope if I were Emma, but I guess that's why she's a ghostkeeper, and I am not! Lastly, the twist in Emma and Bennet's relationship that occurs in Betrayal adds a whole new aspect to the novel. I am agonizing over how its all going to come together, but I have faith that Ms. Nichols will bring us through to the end! This series is a new fresh take on a supernatural world with just the right amount of romance and action that leaves you wanting more! Go read these books now!!!