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review 2016-10-31 01:54
A Century-Old Chamber of Horrors!
Nan Sherwood at Lakeview Hall - Annie Roe Carr

I love finding old books, especially when they're free.


I don't remember what led me to the Nan Sherwood books, but with free Kindle editions available, I downloaded them for the fun of it.  And rather than fall back on a Goosebumps or other expected Young Adult horror title, a haunted boathouse seemed like a good choice for this Bingo square.


The seven books of the Nan Sherwood series were part of the greater Stratemeyer syndicate that included Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys, Honey Bunch, the Bobbsey Twins, and literally dozens of other series for young readers.  Nan's first adventure was published in 1916, her last in 1937.


Nan Sherwood at Lakeview Hall, or the Mystery of the Haunted Boathouse is the second of the series and finds our plucky heroine embarking on her first term at boarding school on the Michigan shore of Lake Huron.  She comes from a family of less-than-modest means and would have been going back to the high school in her home town of Tillbury, but her parents have expectations of coming into a windfall inheritance, so Nan has been sent off with her wealthier hometown chum Bess Harley to the "select" girls' boarding school at Lakeview Hall.


The haunted boathouse plays only a tiny part in the story, but Nan's first couple of months at Lakeview are certainly filled with crises, everything from being accused of theft (more than once!) by the spoiled little rich girl, Linda Riggs, to battling a rattlesnake to nearly drowning during a sudden storm on the lake to falling through thin ice and being stuck in frozen mud to her parents suddenly losing their anticipated fortune and being plunged into poverty.  Never mind that her chum Bess is less than dependably loyal and has her own snobberies, or that Nan's generosity and integrity are often the source of trouble for her.


Throw in the dashing Walter Mason with his automobile (he wears gauntlets and goggles, and has to crank it) and his motorboat, and you've got the makings of a nice rivalry with the nasty Miss Riggs.  And of course there's the intriguing Professor Krenner, who teaches mathematics and architectural drawing and who invites Nan and another student to visit him at his nearby cabin.


There's a lot of innocence in the book, along with some of the horrors of early 20th century prejudices.  The writing is overblown just a bit, and the drama mostly exaggerated.  The ghost in the boathouse isn't very scary -- and of course isn't a ghost at all, as Nan knew from the beginning because plucky fourteen- or fifteen-year-olds even in 1916 don't believe in ghosts.


But overall it was fun, if eye-rolling.


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review 2015-02-22 08:00
Whisper - Stacey R. Campbell

It had been a few months since I read the first book in this series, Hush, but I remembered enough about it to be surprised to find out this book features completely different characters. The set-up that happened in the first book by creating the whole new country Tamura felt very weird in retrospect as it's completely ignored in Whisper. Truth be told, they mention a holiday to Tamura and just how splendidly it all is, but that makes it hardly a part of the story.


Far more interesting of course is following the somewhere-in-Canada boarding school, where Blakely's younger sister Halle is now a student. Immediately we get immersed in this old ghost story that's supposed to be very well known around the students and gets a lot of attention each year (except it wasn't mentioned once in the complete first book). When cleaning out an attic for a school renovation, a mysterious diary is found that once belonged to the supposed school ghost. It comes with the ghost attached. How handy.


What follows is the kind of story you've read before (I think) starring, a very slow reading of the diary (seriously, if it's that important why not read it in one night? It's not that long!) and an overly easy search around the school grounds for lost treasure. (And I thought the first book was unrealistic).


This all said, it was an easy read and I didn't hate it. It was just very easy (with a plot similar to something I came up with myself when I was like 14 but discarded later on) and not really realistic. There's also this annoying romance thing that I found to be completely unnecessary. Shame.


Whisper is the second book in the Lakeview series, you can also read my review for the first book Hush.


Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

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review 2014-09-13 08:01
Hush (Lakeview Series) - Stacey R. Campbell

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review, thank you!


Hush is the first book in the Lakeview series.


Tamura is a small European country that's hopelessly old-fashioned because it's still completely ruled by a monarch. And after an attack on the complete royal family, the country seems to lack a monarch. Enter Blakely, the secret natural daughter of Tamura's crown princess. And this year she's 'not interested in anything with a penis' unless of course they are hot British exchange students that stare at her all the time. Truth be told, I don't know if Max has a secret tragic backstory were he got castrated  that hasn't been mentioned in the series yet, in which case Blakely would keep her promise...


It was a fast read. But I found it very hard to accept certain of the plot points. I knew it was going to be difficult to convincingly portray a non-existing world in the otherwise completely normal world. Tamura never came to life for me. It looks like it's somewhat similar to Liechenstein or Monaco, but more old-fashioned in it's ruling. And from the story I got the idea the country is supposed to be larger than those mentioned earlier. Also Tamura doesn't really sound like a name for an European country.


The story felt a little bit too easy at times. Max gets his assignment really easy and I doubt it would count as a serious school project. There are signs of insta-love which I couldn't really appreciate. But besides, it was a nice read. I kept reading it, I wanted to know what happens next. Which is good as I also got an ARC for the second book, Whisper. I'll try to read that book sometime soon.

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review 2014-08-10 08:46
Review: Whisper: A Lakeview Novel (Lakeview Series Book 2) [Kindle Edition]
Whisper: A Lakeview Novel (Lakeview Series) - Stacey R. Campbell

Stacey R. Campbell takes a very unique approach with her Lakeview Academy novels. While the first novel, Hush, was a take on a fairy tale and a mystery, her second novel is a ghost story. Both Novels have the ties of family members and romance, but other than that, each novel shows a different side of Lakeview Academy and the students there.


Whisper starts out with Leigh, who was (and still is) one of Blakely's friends and was a secondary character in the first Novel about Blakely & Max. Here she gets to star, though the supporting roles go to Blakely's sister Halle and an old beau of Leigh's, Calum. But the true star of the story is Elsie, the daughter of the original Headmaster of the school. Even though she died in 1914, she is as present in this book as any of the other characters after Halle finds Elsie's journal and learns some shocking facts about the fire that took place shortly before her death.


This novel is wonderful because it has so many stories intertwined into one, and it all works well together. You have Leigh and Calum, who have been attracted to each other for five years, yet can't have a civil conversation because of hurtful words shared in the past. You have Halle, the sister of the Queen of Tamura, who is haunted by the ghost of Elsie after reading her journal. Mixed in with this, you have all of the students trying to make it through their normal school year.


I am very impressed by this series. It's difficult enough writing a good YA Romance series, set in the same location, but Stacey R. Campbell manages to create the atmosphere of the school while making the stories completely different from each other. You also might expect the second book to be primarily about Halle, since she is the sister of Royalty, but she is just a normal school girl... well, if you ignore the ghost and haunting. But Stacey instead uses Halle as a major character in the story... but not the main character, which leaves room open for Halle to have her own story in the future.


NOTE: I received a free copy of this book through netgalley in exchange for an honest review.


If Whisper is a book that interests you, you can find the kindle version available at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00J0CWVRY/?tag=shasworofboo-20. While you don't have to, since the stories can be read separately, I also recommend that you read the first novel, Hush. You can read my review for Hush at http://shaykitteh.booklikes.com/post/944976/review-hush-lakeview-series-book-1-kindle-edition.


If you enjoyed my review, I would appreciate if you could mark it as being helpful on Amazon as well, as this is useful to both the reviewer and the author. I have included the link to the Amazon review in the Source section at the bottom of this review.

Source: www.amazon.com/review/R1WUJ8GKSMLN3P/ref=cm_cr_rdp_perm?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B00J0CWVRY
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review 2014-06-13 04:22
Hush by Stacey Campbell
Hush (Lakeview Series) - Stacey R. Campbell

Hush by Stacey R. Campbell is the first novel in the Lakeview Series.  Attending Lakeview Academy, a boarding in school in Canada, Blakely Henry meets Max Ryder, a British exchange student.  What Blakely doesn’t know is that he is there to investigate the possibility that she is the last remaining Tamuran princess.  Although Blakely knows she is adopted, she loves her adoptive parents and, after a brief attempt to locate her biological parents turns up no results, is content with her life the way it is.  Yet when the mystery surrounding her birth and adoption is revealed, Blakely is in for some major changes.


What I was expecting was The Princess Diaries…what I got was a mediocre love story.  Yes, this book has mystery and suspense, but I felt that it was overshadowed by page after page of Max pursuing Blakely and Blakely being hesitant.  When she finally decides to move past the friend zone with Max, every plot line intensifies and is over like a firework.  I felt the end was rushed and there was no real motivation for me to continue reading the next book.  Maybe the next in the series, the reader will get to see Blakely in the role of a princess and how she deals with the inner and external conflict that will surely come with it.  I just hope it isn’t only about Max feeling like he can’t be with her because he’s just a “commoner.”


I received this ARC from NetGalley. Thanks, Green Darner Press!

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