The Dark Days Pact Blog Tour- Guest Post + Giveaway

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I fell head over heels last year for Alison Goodman’s The Dark Days Club. This book swept me away and I fell so in love with the characters I couldn’t wait for the sequel, The Dark Days Pact. The moment this landed on my doorstep (after flailing) I picked it up and became 100% immersed again in this vivid world and characters (read my review here). I am beyond honored to have the author here on my blog today talking about the historical research involved with writing these books.

tddpig

Guest Post

Feel like a swim at Brighton beach in 1812? For a lady, it wasn’t a straightforward business. First you had to purchase a swimming chemise made of flannel with lead weights sewn into the hem. Heaven forbid that your gown should rise in the water and expose your nethers! It was true that the lead would most likely weigh you down in the water, but it didn’t really matter because you would not actually be swimming. Instead, you would book a session with a dipper; a burly local woman who would hold on to you tight and plunge you in and out of the water, rather like a teabag.

Of course, getting into the water was not just a matter of walking through the waves. It involved a wooden bathing box on wheels and a small, salt encrusted pony. The bathing box had a door at either end. You would enter at the beach-end and the little pony would haul the box into the sea, then it would be unhitched and taken around to the other side to be hitched in readiness to drag the box and you out again. Meanwhile, you would open the seaward door and descend the bathing box steps into the strong arms of your dipper.

One two three, plunge, One two three plunge. There, you have taken your ‘swim’. .

The Lady Helen series is historically accurate (give or take a few thousand nasty demons), and so when I read about this method of sea bathing in Regency Brighton, I knew I had to include a scene in The Dark Days Pact where my protagonist, Lady Helen, is ‘dipped’ by one of these fabulous local women.  In fact, I wanted Helen to be dipped by the most famous dipper of all time:  Martha Gunn. Martha was so famous that songs were written about her and her image appeared on souvenir crockery. She was also a favorite of the Prince Regent who liked her so much that he allowed her free access to the royal kitchens at Brighton Pavilion for her entire life. In the summer of 1812, when The Dark Days Pact is set, Martha would have been in her eighties and she was still dipping people in the sea!

To research something like the bathing box scene, I always start by reading widely on the subject. I found articles about Martha and her life, and books about Brighton that described the boxes and how they were used. I also hunted out descriptions of sea bathing in letters and diaries from the time, and my most valued find was a travel guide to All the Water and Sea-Bathing Places in England  from 1813 that included a chapter on Brighton. I was also fortunate enough to visit Brighton and its museum, which had a fabulous little section on sea bathing throughout history.

I then turned to visual prompts, which help me imagine the historical scene. I found a drawing of sea bathing at Regency Brighton on the internet (see picture). It is a caricature – a mode of illustration that became very popular in the Regency – and although it is drawn for laughs, I was able to pick up a lot of incidental information about bathing boxes and the process of dipping. I double-checked everthing, of course – that is part of the research process too.

Finally, once I had all the facts I needed in hand, I wrote the scene and layered in the sensory detail from my own experience. I live near the sea in Australia so, of course, I have a lot of sensory information about sea bathing. I used that to create the sensations that Helen feels as she steps out of the bathing box. The shock of cold water against her skin, the weight of waves slapping against her body, the low roar of the surf cut by the shrill screech of gulls, and the taste of salt on her lips. And above all, the safe arms of Martha Gunn:

Martha viewed an incoming wave with narrowed eyes. ‘Hold tight,’ she advised, then jumped, pulling Helen above its crest with practised ease.

Hold Tight. Sage advice for anyone about to step into the dangerous, demon hunting world of The Dark Days Pact.

mermaids

Mermaids at Brighton by William Heath 1829

About the Book

thedarkdayspactThe Dark Days Pact (Lady Helen #2)
By Alison Goodman
Release Date: January 31, 2017
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers

Summary:
June 1812. Just weeks after her catastrophic coming-out ball, Lady Helen Wrexhall—now disowned by her uncle—is a full member of the demon-hunting Dark Days Club. Her mentor, Lord Carlston, has arranged for Helen to spend the summer season in Brighton so that he can train her new Reclaimer powers. However, the long-term effects of Carlston’s Reclaimer work have taken hold, and his sanity is beginning to slip. At the same time, Carlston’s Dark Days Club colleague and nemesis will stop at nothing to bring Helen over to his side—and the Duke of Selburn is determined to marry her. The stakes are even higher for Helen as she struggles to become the warrior that everyone expects her to be.

Giveaway

Enter for a chance to win either one (1) grand prize set of Lady Helen books, including a paperback of The Dark Days Club and a hardcover of The Dark Days Pact by Alison Goodman (ARV: $28.98), or to be one of five (5) second prize winners to receive paperback copies of The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman (ARV: $10.99).

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Enter between 12:00 AM Eastern Time on January 23, 2017 and 12:00 AM on February 13, 2017. Open to residents of the fifty United States and the District of Columbia who are 13and older. Winners will be selected at random on or about February 14, 2017. Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received. Void where prohibited or restricted by law.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blog Tour Stops

Week One:
1/23 – A Page With a View – Like/Try/Why
1/24 – Tales of a Ravenous Reader – Interview
1/25 – Twinning for Books – Review + Mood Board
1/26 – My Friends Are Fiction – Guest Post
1/27 – In Wonderland – Review
Week Two:
1/30 – Alexa Loves Books – Bookish Style File
1/31 – The Reading Nook Reviews – Interview
2/1 – Xpresso Reads – Playlist
2/2 – The YA Book Traveler – They Did What?!
2/3 – Icey Books – Guest Post
Week Three:
2/6 – YA Book Central – Excerpt
2/7 – Fiction Fare – Guest Post
2/8 – Forever Young Adult – Coming-Out Ball Mishaps
2/9 – Dark Faerie Tales – Interview
2/10 – Adventures of a Book Junkie – Reasons to Read

Review of The Dark Days Pact (Lady Helen #2) by Alison Goodman

thedarkdayspactThe Dark Days Pact (Lady Helen #2)
By: Alison Goodman
Release Date: January 31st 2017
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
Format: Print ARC
Source: Publisher

My Rating:
star

Summary:
June 1812. Just weeks after her catastrophic coming-out ball, Lady Helen Wrexhall—now disowned by her uncle—is a full member of the demon-hunting Dark Days Club. Her mentor, Lord Carlston, has arranged for Helen to spend the summer season in Brighton so that he can train her new Reclaimer powers. However, the long-term effects of Carlston’s Reclaimer work have taken hold, and his sanity is beginning to slip. At the same time, Carlston’s Dark Days Club colleague and nemesis will stop at nothing to bring Helen over to his side—and the Duke of Selburn is determined to marry her. The stakes are even higher for Helen as she struggles to become the warrior that everyone expects her to be.

My Thoughts:
I fell so deeply in love last year with The Dark Days Club I couldn’t wait for this sequel. The moment it showed up I dived into it and I wasn’t disappointed at all. Goodman is impeccable at coloring her world with historical accuracy and it allows for the reader to fully become immersed in the time period. The idea that she’s added a paranormal aspects into such a realistic storyline with such vivid characters and world is just perfection.

The characters- oh how I love each of them. Lady Helen is such an excellent character to follow the story with. We read from her point of view and I just love seeing how she views her world. She isn’t a perfect character by any means which allows her to be so relatable. I love her interactions with the supporting cast and her struggle to fully embrace her powers and role in the Dark Days Club.

My favorite character has to be Carlston. He’s so mysterious, likeable and just a touch of Darcy. I think he’s the perfect mix of these things and his stony façade has me itching to always learn that tiny bit more about what’s under the surface. His interactions with Lady Helen are my favorite parts of the book. I only wish he could have been in this book even more. I don’t think I can ever get enough of him.

As with the first book the beginning starts a tad slower paced with the author spending time on the setting, clothing and traditions of the time. I love how she slowly immerses the reader into everything before pulling the rug and sending you on a fantastic ride wrapped in action, intrigue and suspense. Prepare yourself for the last bit of the book- you’ll not want to put it down and once it ends you’ll be desperate for book 3.

tddpig

Final Thoughts:
Yes, this review is short but I can’t say enough about this series. If you are a fan of paranormal and/or historical you must pick these books up. The character chemistry, world, storyline- are all just perfect. These are by far some of my favorite books ever.

Stacking The Shelves

It has been so long since I’ve done a Stacking the Shelves post (since May !!!). I’ve really not gotten a ton of mail this summer and I’ve felt like I’ve had so very little time. We got a puppy and my kiddo is home so my time has been taken by fun family things. I find I am never sitting at my laptop and days go by without me even cracking it open. I imagine this is typical for summer-time. I can feel school ramping up and my desire to blog has been increasing. Hopefully, I’ll be posting more consistently from here on out!

Stacking the Shelves hosted by Tynga’s Reviews is a weekly meme where you show what books you’ve purchased, gotten from the library, received from giveaway, as gifts or for review.

The Books

LikeARiverGlorious LockAndMoriMindGamesReliquary TheEdgeofEverything

Like a River Glorious by Rae Carson
Lock & Mori: Mind Games by Heather Petty
Reliquary by Sarah Fine
The Edge of Everything by Jeff Giles

Purchased

TheNightCourt TheDarkDaysClubIGSherlockFunko

The Night Court T-shirt designed by Evie Bookish purchased from Society6
The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman
Sherlock Funko

New Rep Gig

So, I’ve been active over on Bookstagram for about 4 months now and I’m so so excited to be repping for a few lovely, creative types. I’m going to feature my latest- Novelly Yours. These soy candles are AMAZING. I have 4 of them and I love each and every scent. I do think Winter might be my favorite. I love that these candles are made by one of our very own bookish blogging folks Brittany over at The Book Addict’s Guide

Click on each image to go to each candle’s page on Novelly Yours’ Etsy Shop

CelaenasChocoCake WinterCandleManibus Morrighan

Each of these candles smell divine and they burn clean since they are soy. I love that they don’t agitate my headaches (certain smells set me off). And, if you are tempted, you can get 10% off any order with the code- MFAF10

Giveaway

And one last thing! Last week the wonderful folks at Griffin Teen sent along a sampler of Wintersong- my latest bookish obsession (it was in part influenced by Labyrinth- the best movie ever). This book doesn’t release until early 2017 but I’m CRAVING it now. I read the first 40 pages and I loved it. So much so in fact that I thought I’d do a giveaway for a pre-order of the book. Click on the picture below to read more about the book and enter to win a pre-order (it’s an international giveaway too!)

WintersongBookstagram

I think that’s all my updates! It feels like forever since I chatted with you all- how are you? What are you reading?? I just finished The Shadow Hour and trying to figure out what to pick next.

Blog Tour- The Dark Days Club Character Playlist + Giveaway

DarkDaysBlogTourBannerI am so thrilled to be highlighting The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman today.  I recently reviewed this book and if you missed that- I’ll sum it up- I LOVED it. TDDC was an engrossing read with beautifully implemented historical bits along with some incredible paranormal aspects. I feel that everyone with a taste for Jane Austen style writing, period dramas, paranormal and a slow burn romance should read this book.

Character Playlist-Lady Helen from The Dark Days Club

This playlist is all about the main character in The Dark Days Club – Lady Helen Wrexhall. The novel is set in 1812, and in those times a young noblewoman’s life was severely restricted. The Dark Days Club follows Helen’s adventures as she discovers that her world has a dangerous and demonic underbelly, and her family has some very dark secrets that will change her life forever.

The Verve –– Bittersweet Symphony

Although The Dark Days Club is set in the Regency era, the lyrics of this song about modern life really resonates with me, and the anthemic music always gives me goosebumps. The video is brilliant too. For me, Bittersweet Symphony is about the desire for change and how difficult it can be to find a way to shift your own circumstances. Lady Helen finds herself in this predicament at the beginning of book.

No Doubt –– Just A Girl

As a young noblewoman living in the early 1800’s, the only life path for Helen is to marry, produce children and act as hostess for her husband. Until that time, she is “just a girl”. I like the irony in this song and it suits Helen’s personality: she has far more courage and integrity than most of the men in her family.

Jessie J –– Price Tag

Helen’s uncle wants to find her a suitable husband and get her married as quickly as possible—he’s not sure her fortune will overcome the taint of her infamous mother!

Queen –– I Want To Break Free (Official Video)

A more light-hearted song about finding a way out. I’ve been a Queen fan since I was a teenager, and this is one of my favourite songs. The official video is hilarious too.

4 Non Blondes ––What’s Up?

Another favorite song of mine, and one that echoes Helen’s growing uneasiness as she starts to ask her self: what’s going on?

My Demons – Starset

A hint of what is to come in Helen’s world. This song has a great driving beat and sense of dread.

Lady Gaga – Born This Way.

Helen does not know it yet, but she’s not who she thinks she is!

Nico & Vinz – Am I Wrong

Helen is beginning to realize that something is very wrong in her opulent world, and this song is about yearning for something more.

Jessie J – Who You Are

This could very well be Helen’s theme song for Book 1.

Britney Spears – I’m Not A Girl, Not Yet A Woman

Lady Helen is making her debut to polite society, a time when a Regency girl steps into “official” womanhood. Yet, curtseying to the Queen does not bring instant wisdom and maturity. That is a much longer and harder journey.

Kelly Clarkson –Breakaway (With Lyrics)

“Take a risk, take a chance, make a change and breakaway; a song for Helen as she takes her first step into a strange new world.

Rhianna––Umbrella

This is such a great song about friendship. Helen finds a great friend and confidante in her maid, Darby and their bond grows throughout the book.

Katy Perry––Wide Awake

When Helen discovers the truth, she’s finally wide-awake!

Mahalia Jackson ––Trouble Of The World

A beautiful song sung by one of the greats. Helen finds the truth about her world hard to bear.

Annie Lenox and David Bowie ––Under Pressure

Helen feels the pressure of the decisions that she must make. This version is a tribute to the late great Freddie Mercury and, now sadly, the brilliant David Bowie.

Des’ree -––You Gotta Be

Helen has to find her true strength, but will it be enough?

About the Book

DarkDaysClubThe Dark Days Club
By: Alison Goodman
Release Date: January 26th 2016
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
Summary:
London, April 1812. On the eve of eighteen-year-old Lady Helen Wrexhall’s presentation to the queen, one of her family’s housemaids disappears-and Helen is drawn into the shadows of Regency London. There, she meets Lord Carlston, one of the few who can stop the perpetrators: a cabal of demons infiltrating every level of society. Dare she ask for his help, when his reputation is almost as black as his lingering eyes? And will her intelligence and headstrong curiosity wind up leading them into a death trap?

Giveaway:

Entries are US only, there will be 5 winners, and it will run from Jan 18 – Feb 18
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Review of The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman

TheDarkDaysClubThe Dark Days Club
By: Alison Goodman
Release Date: January 26th 2016
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
Format: Print ARC
Source: Publisher

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

My Rating:
star

Summary:
London, April 1812. On the eve of eighteen-year-old Lady Helen Wrexhall’s presentation to the queen, one of her family’s housemaids disappears-and Helen is drawn into the shadows of Regency London. There, she meets Lord Carlston, one of the few who can stop the perpetrators: a cabal of demons infiltrating every level of society. Dare she ask for his help, when his reputation is almost as black as his lingering eyes? And will her intelligence and headstrong curiosity wind up leading them into a death trap?

My Thoughts:
This novel was so well done and hit many attributes I look for in paranormal historical fiction. I really didn’t know what to expect going into reading this book because it was the first book by Alison Goodman to read. I’d also not heard much of anything about The Dark Days Club. I based my desire for it on the summary and that beautiful cover. I never dreamed I’d love it nearly as much as I did.

The Dark Days Club was incredibly descriptive, well written and overall a slow read (lots of details that some might find dull but I found engrossing). I found the slower pacing allowed me to ease into the world and characters. The further I read the more I was interested in knowing about the mysteries this book presented- Lady Helen’s mother’s past as well as the current missing maid.

True, the book wasn’t overly action packed at the start but I was never bored. It was the perfect blend of beautiful writing, intrigue and characters I slowly began to know and love. Lord Carlston was everything I want in a lead male character and mentor to the main character. He was dark, handsome and had a past that wasn’t looked upon nicely by society. As the book continued the pacing became much faster and I was so entrenched in the story I was pained when not reading. I needed to know what would happen next.

The setting and time period were clear to me and I easily visualized the clothing and locations. Goodman’s writing was superb and descriptive. The characters, as I mentioned, were so well done. I fell in love with the entire cast of characters and really didn’t want to part with them when the book ended. I know for a fact I’ll be rereading this book soon.

The romance was perfect- it was my favorite type, the slow burn. I shipped the ship hard. It had the feel of a Jane Austen romance to me which I adore always- Paranormal Jane Austen is a winner with me always.

Final Thoughts:
In my opinion, The Dark Days Club is a must read for any fan of Jane Austen style writing, period dramas, paranormal and the slow burn romance.