Monday, December 2, 2013

UNCOMMON YA Holiday Giveaway!!!

We are a collective of YA authors who have come together to spread the word about the newest, bold, gritty fiction. Our genres include realistic, contemporary, historical, magical realism, and paranormal--with a healthy dose of suspense woven through all of them.

For an early holiday gift Uncommon YA is offering YOU the chance to choose your prize. Click on the titles below to learn more about each one.
You can add it to your Goodreads shelf while you're there!
WARNING. It will be a tough choice choosing just one to win!
Sliding on the Edge *NEW RELEASES*

6 people will win their choice of the selected titles.

Monday, October 7, 2013

CHANGELINGS, FAERIES, AND HUMANS (Oh my!) My Big Title-Change Announcement + Giveaway!!!!

Hey lovelies! I've got exciting news. Much like the princess in "The Neverending Story," my upcoming novel has a new name! The story sold under the title "Immortal Sacrifice," and while that title will always have a special place in my heart, I started to worry that it was too vague. "Immortal" can mean so many things. Was the book about vampires, angels, demons, gods . . .?


So my editor and I had a brainstorming session, where we tossed around different title ideas. As some of you know from my book deal announcement (How to Sell a Book in SIX SHORT YEARS), my title has gone through MANY incarnations, and I really wanted to pick the best one. After much deliberation, we decided on the book's original title (from back in 2007, when I started writing it) . . .


YAY!!!! I love this title so much, because it perfectly articulates what kind of immortal creatures are in the story, and (hopefully) imparts a sense of mystery. Who is the last changeling? And why is this person the last of their kind?


To celebrate the new title, I'm hosting a changeling-themed giveaway! The changeling myth is something that's been explored in a lot of ways, from the traditional faerie-being-switched-with-a-baby version, to some broader interpretations. Before my novel makes its way into the world, I'd love to share with you some of the more unusual versions. So, without further ado, I give you . . . my changeling-themed giveaway!!!

In 2014, you'll meet THE LAST CHANGELING

But what came before?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

BUT WAIT, there's MORE!!! If anyone wants to win a copy of my debut, THE S-WORD, and read about the themes explored in both my books, check out this INTERVIEW + GIVEAWAY with the fabulous AdriAnne Strickland (author of WORDLESS, Flux 2014)

This contest is U.S. only

Thursday, August 29, 2013

ARC Giveaway + Interview: A WOUNDED NAME by Dot Hutchison

Hey everybody! Today I'm talking with the fabulous Dot Hutchison, author of A WOUNDED NAME (and all around awesome person!) A WOUNDED NAME is a modern-day YA retelling of HAMLET from Ophelia's perspective (um, yes please!). Having just devoured this book, I can tell you firsthand how lyrical, heart-wrenching and addictive it is. This book is not to be missed!

Check out the interview, then enter to win a signed ARC of this amazing book (plus a keychain and bookmark!) 


1. The idea behind A WOUNDED NAME is such an intriguing one. What made you want to retell HAMLET from Ophelia’s perspective?

HAMLET has always been one of my favorites- probably something to do with my always falling for dark and broody. But we never get to know Ophelia. She's there as a prop for her brother, father, and love to dance around, for Gertrude to occasionally pet, and we know nothing deeper about her. Except...except! We get these flashes through the play. She's intelligent, she's witty. She teases both her brother and Hamlet. We get these tantalizing hints of this incredible young woman surrounded by self-absorbed and belittling men, but then we get nothing more. I was lucky in having very good teachers who encouraged me and my good friends to question Shakespeare, to want to explore, and Ophelia was someone we always came back to. Between The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, Abridged and my best friend's play Remembrances: The Ophelia Project, Ophelia stayed in the periphery. I always knew I wanted to write her story- what I didn't know was HOW. Then one night I woke up with the first few lines written across my mind. They wouldn't let me go- SHE wouldn't let me go- and I once I let her have her voice, she didn't stop talking until she'd said everything she needed to say.

I'm so glad you delved deeper into the life of this fascinating character. You've captured the spirit of Ophelia perfectly!

2. In A WOUNDED NAME, you’ve managed to create a modern setting (with cell-phones and email) while still maintaining a Shakespearean feel. The school of Elsinore almost feels like it exists outside of time. How were you able to mix modern-day technology with an old-world feel so flawlessly? Was it something you planned out, or did it flow naturally?

Actually, the hybrid of technology is entirely due to Editor Andrew- I'd pretty much forgotten tech entirely. I think I was betraying my age, in a way. I didn't have cell phones or internet access or such up until second half of high school, so I tend to forget how much I rely on it now. I wanted the feeling of Elsinore being frozen in time, of it being anachronism after anachronism in such a way that most of its female students, not just Ophelia, never have a chance. The infusion of technology- reminders of the present world- came first from Agent Sandy Extraordinaire, and then in more detail from Editor Andrew.

You definitely gave Elsinore the feeling of being frozen in time, and yet everything felt very relevant to today's society.

3. If you could be any Shakespearean character, who would you be and why?

Oh, dear. Um...probably Beatrice, from Much Ado About Nothing. She's one of the few heroines to whom nothing too horrible happens. She's intelligent, she's witty, she's fiercely loyal, and despite a few comments from her uncles to curb her more outrageous behavior, she has a loving and supportive family with people who admire her specifically for those qualities she exhibits. Her uncles are willing to let her have her choice in marriage. Her relationship with her cousin Hero is amazing and solid, and Benedick...I love Benedick, especially watching the eternal little boy finally mature without losing any of his joy. And my boobs are too big to cross dress like Viola or Rosalind.

Haha! I love this answer. I admit to being quite the fan of Beatrice myself. 

4. A WOUNDED NAME is such a wonderful (if heartbreaking) study in nature vs. nurture: was Ophelia destined for tragedy because she inherited her mother’s “madness” (i.e. ability to see faeries), or did the constant control and condescension by the men in her life act as a vise around her neck? Or was it something else entirely? Is there any scenario in which you can see Ophelia surviving, or even thriving in her own life?

I think, if born into a different family AND raised in a different environment, Ophelia could have led a healthy, albeit unusual, life. She's aware of what's healthy and what isn't, even if her current life has left her unable to actually act upon those distinctions. In a family that could have seen her sight as a wonder instead of a curse, who could have simply loved her without all the complications of guilt and fear, yes, I think she could have been happy and healthy. Sometimes I like to imagine her being adopted at an early age by Horatio's family. Not that it could have happened, but it would make great fanfic, right?

Yes, that would be an amazing read!!

5. Let’s talk about Horatio! It’s obvious that this character was created with a lot of detail and affection. How much of this Horatio was inspired by the play, and how much is your own creation? What do you think happens to Horatio after the story ends?

I LOVE Horatio...and I don't think that comes as a surprise to anyone who's read an early copy. I always felt bad for the Horatio of the play- he really does get the short end of the stick- but he also left me with some questions, namely: why does he help Hamlet as much as he does? Why is he so loyal? They talk to each other like friends, but some of the incidental conversation makes them seem little more than passing acquaintances who see each other in court and at university in Wittenburg. But Horatio does so much, sacrifices so much, that I needed to know more about this strange sidekick. What emerged from those questions was this blazingly good person surrounded by people who look down on him for all the wrong reasons. As for what happens after the play...I'm hoping to get to share that at some point, but in a nutshell, I think he has a very, very long road to recover from everything that happens, but that eventually he finds the kind of support Ophelia should have had.

I would LOVE to read more about Horatio's life--and see who he ends up with :) 

6. Can you tell us about how you got your book deal?

I signed with Sandy Lu in February of last year, after six months of querying what was then called Elsinore Drowning. It was the third project I'd queried over the course of three years. She and I did a round of edits, small tweaks mostly, plus adjusting the play within a play scene, and then she sent it out, and I started biting my nails for the first time since early high school. It was so much worse than waiting to hear back from agents! But I'd steeled myself to endure that wait for months and months, and then barely six weeks later, she told me that Andrew wanted to talk to me. Holy crap! And then there was another editor who wanted to talk to me! We ended up with two offers on the table, and after a lot of consideration, we signed up with Andrew, and it's been amazing. We were really excited about the ideas he had for the book, plus he has a very collaborative style- he likes to have a push and pull on manuscripts, to tangle around an idea and explore all the options and, as often as not, discard it if the author comes up with something even better. Editing with him is a dialogue, and it's great.

That is such an exciting story! It sounds like Andrew is wonderful to work with.

7.  One of the things I love about your writing is that it’s so lyrical and gorgeous. The rich, lush details draw me in and keep me hooked until the end. Can you talk a little bit about which authors have inspired you as a writer?

Oh, goodness. Weirdly enough, except for my sense of humor, most of the authors who inspired me the most in my writing don't have a visible influence there. It's in the way I approach the story, the characters, but rarely in the words themselves. That being said, I think there are some authors who, in a way, gave me permission to let Ophelia have her voice: The Daughter of Smoke and Bone, by Laini Taylor; The Near Witch, by Victoria Schwab; and Invisible Girls, by Nova Ren Suma.

These books were so lyrical, as much poetry as prose, and it made me think maybe I could break all those invisible rules I'd always been told to obey. That sense of permission was immensely freeing.

This is such an interesting point: the way authors can influence our method but not necessarily our voice. Love it!

8. Throughout A WOUNDED NAME, Ophelia feels constantly pulled in different directions by the men in her life. These men, convinced Ophelia can’t survive without them, are hesitant to even let her out of their sight. Can you talk a little about the gender inequality at Elsinore Academy, and how much it affected the outcome of the story? How might things have been different if, for example, Gertrude had been raised to value her own agency?

Oh boy, this is going to be a long one.

A lot of the gender inequality at Elsinore came from watching my grandparents, both sets of them.  Both sets were raised in the twenties and thirties, got married in the forties, and all four of them ascribed, in varying degrees, to the generally accepted gender roles. The first time my paternal grandmother realized that my mom required my dad to help with dishes and chores, she was HORRIFIED. That was WOMEN's work. She dropped out at fourteen so she could take care of her younger siblings. I think she was what Gertrude would have been if she'd been born into a poor coal mine town in Pennsylvania. The propagation of gender inequality- of female suppression- cannot occur solely through masculine determination. It continues because women- either by choice or by lack of action- allow it to continue.

I very much saw that in my grandparents, especially on my father's side. My grandmother wasn't just raised in the idea of women's work and  a women's sacrifice- she had to suffer through the consequences of someone else fighting that system. Her mother was a firebrand. Miserably unhappy, she left and created something new for herself. She taught at school, she ran a store, she found her soul mate. But that new life came with leaving her old one behind, including her husband and children. My grandmother took on the role of mother within her family, and those hardships made her somehow embrace the gender roles. In her own way she defended those roles as fiercely as my mother  (and her mother) insisted they had and needed to continue to change.
Most of the girls currently enrolled at Elsinore, raised within a fully tech generation, would be able to shrug off the limitations of their education and continue on to make names for themselves should they choose to do so. They'll be at a disadvantage, that's true, but they have the ability to forge a new path if they want it. Even Ophelia recognizes the option, even as she recognizes her lack of ability to follow it. Gertrude, however isn't part of the internet age. She doesn't have the wealth (or perhaps the maelstrom) of external influences the younger girls do. Her education came solely from her family and the atmosphere of the school. Gertrude doesn't feel trapped in the way Ophelia or her mother do because she genuinely believes in this outlook.

But if Gertrude was a women with her own sense of agency? If she genuinely believed in making her own choices? I think the initiating events would still have been the same, but everything that happened afterwards would have been radically, and perhaps wonderfully, different.

This is such a wonderful, descriptive answer! It's fascinating to consider the women who rage against an oppressive system, and those who cling to it because it's all they know.

9. If you had the power to turn any book into a movie (with any cast and director you wanted), which book would it be?

Probably Amy's Eyes, by Richard Kennedy. It's out of print, which makes me so sad, but it was such a grand adventure, with orphanages and high seas and treasure quests and family. I'd love to see the dolls come to life- and see how Amy, lonely and despairing, slowly turns to a doll. I'd love to see the intrigue and the swashbuckling and above all, would LOVE to see how thoroughly creepy sweet, loyal, sad-souled Skivvy can be. I mean, it's pirates and sock monkeys and rubber ducks and golden men and "Greensleeves". It would be an EPIC movie.

Thanks so much for having me, Chelsea!

Thank YOU for being here. These are some of the most thought-provoking, eloquent responses I've ever read!

And now...


a Rafflecopter giveaway

This contest is for residents of the U.S. and Canada. Thank you for entering!! :)

Monday, August 5, 2013

How to Sell a Book in SIX SHORT YEARS (Or, How I Got My Second Book Deal!)

Once upon a time, in 2007, I wrote a novel. I filled it with everything I knew about life and love and relationships, about family and friends, about mystery and magic. Also, a faerie revolution. Also, a high school revolution.

I filled it with my heart and soul.

I called it “The Last Changeling,” and over the next few months, I edited the heck out of that puppy. Was the love story believable? Were the rules of magic consistent? WAS I USING THE RIGHT TENSE? (Spoiler alert: I wasn’t.) I posted the story on and got some fabulous critiques from a handful of wonderful people. I revised based on (some of) their advice. Once I thought the story was in great shape, I started working on a query letter, and once I’d fussed over that for a time (with the appropriate help from Evil Editor and his minions, of course) I started reaching out to agents in 2008. 

Over the next few months I got form rejection after form rejection.

Okay, no worries, I thought. I’ll just revise.

And I did. I posted a revision on Critters, as well as a query revision at Evil Editor’s.

I renamed the story “Child of the Dark Court.”

I took people’s advice, revised, and queried again.

Again, I got rejections. Again, they were form rejections, with no comments on the story.

Okay fine, whatever, I can handle this, I thought, and I did it all again. In 2009, “Lather, rinse, repeat” was my middle name. I became obsessed with other people’s opinions, and tried to please everyone who offered manuscript advice (hint: don’t do this.) Still, in spite of my growing insecurity as a writer (EVERYONE HATES IT! STORY WILL NEVER SELL!) the novel did get smoother, sleeker, and more pleasing to the eye. Plot-holes were reworked. Characters began to jump off the page (not literally, you guys). Even the query letter got more coherent (Hey! Evil Editor called it “excellent!”)

I renamed the story “The Forbidden Fruit of Faerie.”

And guess what happened then?

That’s right. Everyone and their mom rejected it. (Okay, not everyone—in truth, I was only querying a few agents at a time—but it felt that way.) Month after month, I heard “no” after “no,” and still, I got only form letters.

Dear Author,


Best of luck.

A sane person might’ve thought, “This is never going to happen,” and just given up. But you know what? I never really entertained that thought. Sure, it might’ve flitted around my mind, like an annoying wasp, but I just kept swatting it away, shouting:


("Temptress" because, when trying causes pain, giving up can be tempting.)

Then 2010 came around, and you know what that means. I changed the title again! This time, it was, “How to Tempt a Faerie,” and I gave that baby the old run around on my favorite critique sites (including one new one!) I got more feedback, and it seemed like readers had less to critique this time. Some of them told me they read the whole story in one night, and couldn’t wait for the sequel.


So I revised, polished, and was about to send out queries again, when I decided to try something different this time. I was going to go to an actual real-life writers conference, and talk to actual real-life agents, and they were going to be so charmed by my actual real-life self that they’d request the full manuscript from me! (Okay, I didn’t actually believe that last part, but I was looking forward to making an in-person connection.) And would you believe it, of the four awesome agents I pitched to, each one requested material? 

Man, I tell ya, I was walking on air when I left that conference. I went home, spent the next few days giving the manuscript another read through, and then I sent it off.

A few months later, I’d heard from all four agents.

All four of them passed.

All four sent form rejections.


That happened.

Three months later, I had an idea for a new story. (A NEW STORY! Imagine THAT!) I decided I maybe shouldn’t spend my entire life fussing over one manuscript, and even if I put it away for now, it didn’t mean I was giving up. It just meant we were taking some time away from each other. You know, for the good of the relationship.

Then, in November of 2010, I learned about NaNoWriMo, and attempted to write my new novel in the span of one month.

I succeeded, logging in 50,000 words in just 29 days. I also ended up with the cleanest first draft I’d ever written. I called it “Suicide Slut.”

Three months later, I sent out my first round of queries on what I was now calling “The S-Word.”  One week later, I had a full request. Over the new few months, I got EIGHT MORE requests. And when I did get rejections, they were very sweet, and very specific.

By Mid-2011, I had an offer of representation. When we went out on submission, I returned to my previous manuscript, and applied what I’d learned writing “The S-Word.” I cut, revised and polished one more time.

Try as I might, I just couldn’t get the story out of my head.

Then, in February of 2012, when Simon and Schuster offered to buy ”The S-Word,” my agent asked if I’d been working on anything else. Reluctantly, but still stubbornly hopeful, I sent her what I was now calling “Immortal Sacrifice.” She wrote back within a month saying she loved it. We made a few (very small) revisions and went out on submission.

Fast forward to last week, and this happened:

“Chelsea Pitcher's IMMORTAL SACRIFICE, of The Faerie Revolutions duology, in which a princess of the Dark Faeries who plans to overthrow her tyrannical mother and bring equality to faeriekind must enter the human world disguised as a 16-year-old runaway to search for a young "leader of man" as a sacrifice to convince her mother's loathed enemy to join her cause, to Brian Farrey-Latz at Flux, in a two-book deal including THE MAGIC OF MORTALS, for publication in Fall 2014, by Sandy Lu at the L. Perkins Agency (World)."

Moral of the story? Never give up. Not in the face of rejection, not when times get hard, not when it feels like your heart is breaking, not even if it feels like the world is against you. It isn’t. It’s just testing you, seeing if you will rise to the occasion.

Seeing if you will get better. Work harder. Learn. Grow. Push yourself. Believe in yourself.

I believe in you.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Publishers Weekly reviewed THE S-WORD!!!

Here it is! (with my thoughts in red)

"Debut author Pitcher explores the consequences of bullying and social stigmatizing with swagger in this noirish mystery. ...They just said I have swagger! When Angie's boyfriend cheats on her with her best friend Lizzie, Angie is devastated and ends their friendship—never expecting that Lizzie will be branded a slut (someone repeatedly writes the word on her car and locker) and driven to suicide. Following Lizzie's death, the graffiti reemerges; eerily, the handwriting mimics Lizzie's and reads, "suicide slut." Pages stolen from Lizzie's diary also find their way into students' lockers (and into sections of the book). Love this next line: Angie launches a covert investigation, and her interrogations of her suspects—including a femme fatale who reclines on pianos in the drama department when she's not running the newspaper, a misogynistic math geek, and a hard-drinking cheerleader—put a playful spin on the detective genre. <~~ When I read that, I was so happy. I thought: this person understands exactly what I was going for. When Angie is immersed in her role as sleuth, her cynicism and blasé attitude toward school can come across as phony, but the vulnerability shown when she falls for a cross-dressing outsider and her reflections on her friendship with Lizzie soften the hardboiled edges. Ages 14–up. Agent: Sandy Lu, L. Perkins Agency. (May)"

You heard it here first. Swagger

If you need me, I will be listening to Jay-Z and getting the dirt off my shoulder ;)

Friday, April 12, 2013


 Hey everybody! With less than a month until "The S-Word" comes out, I've got bunches of S-Word themed presents to give away. And this time, I'm not just picking one winner. I'm picking FIVE!!! Four runners up will receive their choice of four "The S-Word" themed Prize Packs*:

1. The "S is for Sweetheart" Prize Pack:

Contains keychain, "Sweet" button, and "S is for Sweetheart" charm necklace (with cupcake, S, and heart charms)

2. The "S is for Sassy" Prize Pack:

Contains keychain, "Sassy" button, and "S is for Sassy" charm necklace (with trench coat, S, and high heel charms)

3. The "S is for Smart Cookie" Prize Pack

Contains keychain, "Smart Cookie" button, and "S is for Smart Cookie" charm necklace (with book, S, and cookie charms)

4. The "S is for Spy Buddy" Prize Pack:

Contains keychain, "Spy Buddy" button, and "S is for Spy Buddy" charm necklace (with binoculars, S, and trench coat charms)


(drumroll please)

One Grand Prize Winner receives the charm necklace of their choice plus

Contains ARC of THE S-WORD, all four buttons, three bookmarks, one keychain and one choice of necklace.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Best of luck!!!

* Each "The S-Word" themed Prize Pack is based on a positive S-word (or phrase) from the novel.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013


"The S-Word" is going on a Blog Tour!!


The S-Word's Official Blog Tour (April 29th-May 6th) is hosted by Itching for Books,
and will consist of interviews, guest posts, reviews, and more! But sign up quickly,
because spots are going fast!!!

 I hope to see you there!!

<3 Chelsea

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Speak Up YA! Contest

Hey everybody! This week I'm doing a joint ARC giveaway with the fabulous Rachele Alpine (author of CANARY and fellow Lucky 13!) Both CANARY and THE S-WORD are contemporary YA novels that deal with speaking out against bullying and assault, even when it's hard to find your voice.

The winner will take home signed ARCs of both books, along with bunches of awesome swag!!!

There are lots of different ways to enter, and we'll run the contest until 12:00 a.m. Thursday (March 28).

If you have an example of a time you've spoken out against bullying or assault (or a time someone else has spoken out for you), we'd love to hear about it in the comments.  We think this is a great way to put some positivity back into the world and inspire people to take a stand!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks so much for entering!!!

If you want to keep the conversation going, hop over to Twitter and use the hashtag #speakupYA to discuss books with characters who speak up against injustice, and books that inspire you to do the same!


Saturday, March 9, 2013

Review: VENGEANCE BOUND by Justina Ireland

Description from Goodreads:

The Goddess Test meets Dexter in an edgy, compelling debut about one teen’s quest for revenge… no matter how far it takes her.

Cory Graff is not alone in her head. Bound to a deal of desperation made when she was a child, Cory’s mind houses the Furies—the hawk and the serpent—lingering always, waiting for her to satisfy their bloodlust. After escaping the asylum where she was trapped for years, Cory knows how to keep the Furies quiet. By day, she lives a normal life, but by night, she tracks down targets the Furies send her way. And she brings down Justice upon them.

Cory’s perfected her system of survival, but when she meets a mysterious boy named Niko at her new school, she can’t figure out how she feels about him. For the first time, the Furies are quiet in her head around a guy. But does this mean that Cory’s finally found someone who she can trust, or are there greater factors at work? As Cory’s mind becomes a battlefield, with the Furies fighting for control, Cory will have to put everything on the line to hold on to what she’s worked so hard to build.

My Review:

I LOVED this book!!!! From the first page to the last, this book had me on the edge of my seat!! Amelie/Cory is such a relatable character--wanting to be a normal girl with friends, a meaningful relationship and a future, but at the same time drawn to a life where the guilty and the wicked are punished and kept from doing harm. Really, that's what makes this book so special: it perfectly articulates that inner struggle we all face, between wanting to lead safe, happy lives, and wanting to stop terrible things from happening in the world. But if we should act on our desire for justice in a violent way, what does that say about our humanity? Do we remain the humans that we were, or do we eventually become monstrous versions of ourselves?

Well, read the book and find out! ;)

I loved, loved, loved the Furies! (Maybe a little too much.) They were so wonderfully drawn. I could really see Tisiphone's massive wingspan, hear Megaera's scales sliding across the floor, and feel the terrible heat that their presence invoked. Ireland definitely does justice to the mythology!! I loved, too, how their grip on Amelie affected her appearance. That was totally creepy and cool at the same time.

I thought that Amelie's relationship with Niko unfolded nicely--layer by layer. I loved, too, how complicated it was for them to be together. Both characters were so affected by their families, their pasts, and their current situations. This book really shows how hard it can be to balance love with our other obligations and relationships. So realistically done!!

The ending of the story was really satisfying to me. Without saying too much, I didn't expect certain things. I love when a writer is able to surprise me, while at the same time creating a conclusion that's believable, and Vengeance Bound accomplishes this in spades. I honestly can't wait to see what Ireland writes next. This was SUCH a great read.

5 of 5 stars!

Thursday, February 7, 2013


Hey everybody!

It's time for an ARC GIVEAWAY!!!

I've got one signed advance copy of "The S-Word" to give away when I hit 75 blog followers. All you have to do is follow this blog (click the blue "Join this site" button on the right) and leave me a comment below! 

And this could be YOU:


That's it! Best of luck!

*The surprise is simulated but the happiness is real.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Review: Charlotte Markham and the House of Darkling by Michael Boccacino

Description from Goodreads:

When the nanny to the young Darrow boys is found mysteriously murdered on the outskirts of the village of Blackfield, Charlotte Markham, the recently hired governess, steps in to take over their care. During an outing in the forest, they find themselves crossing over into The Ending, "the place for the Things Above Death," where Lily Darrow, the late mother of the children, has been waiting. She invites them into the House of Darkling, a wondrous place filled with enchantment, mystery, and strange creatures that appear to be, but are not quite, human.

However, everything comes with a price, and as Charlotte begins to understand the unspeakable bargain Mrs. Darrow has made for a second chance at motherhood, she uncovers a connection to the sinister occurrences in Blackfield and enters into a deadly game with the master of Darkling--one whose outcome will determine the fate of not just the Darrows but the world itself.Charlotte Markham and the House of Darkling is a Victorian Gothic tale about family ties, the realm beyond the living, and the price you pay to save those you love.

Initial reaction: Wicked, twisted, dark and delicious. This was a wild ride!

Overall review: I loved this book so much. Boccacino is a master of descriptions, and I was immediately drawn into the lush dual landscapes of Everton and The Ending. One of the things that delighted me about this story is that Boccacino would lull me into a false sense of security by creating a setting that felt vaguely familiar and relatable, and then wham! Everything shifted, the petals of the story unfolded, and suddenly I found myself staring into a world I couldn’t have anticipated with a plethora of creatures I wasn’t expecting. It was shocking, engaging, and altogether addictive. 

Everything about this story kept me guessing. I couldn’t have imagined where things would end up, couldn’t have imagined the things Charlotte would endure and have to overcome. I especially loved the way her character changed and grew over the course of the novel, and I found myself cheering for her as she fought to discover the secrets of The Ending, and uncover the mysterious Man in Black. 

There is so much more I can say, but with all the twists and unveilings in the story, I don’t want to spoil anything. Suffice it to say that the jacket description is accurate—this is a story about a governess drawn into a web of death and deceit, and an age-old game that seems impossible to win. But there is also so much more! The characters are richly drawn and complex, the history of The Ending is a delight to discover, the relationships are heartbreakingly real, and the solutions are anything but black and white.

Little things I loved:

The last third of the book (in other words, the ending) is titled The Ending (but not for the reason you’d think.)

Paul and Dabney’s relationship.

Duncan! I could see his smile so clearly in my mind, and he always had something interesting up his sleeve.

The strange castle with the woman in the aging, decadent dress. So creepy and well-described.The stories-within-the-story. “The Seamless Children” may have been my favorite, but it’s hard to say. They were all great!

In summation: Boccacino has such a talent for writing passages that are deeply sad and at the same time wickedly intriguing. It’s difficult to even articulate the complexity of emotions I experienced while reading this book. A truly engaging, wonderful read!

5 of 5 stars!