October 12, 2015

Castle of Sighs Blog Tour: Review + Giveaway

Hey everyone! Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Castle of Sighs! Today I'll be sharing my review of the book - and don't forget to enter the giveaway! To follow the rest of the tour, click on the banner above.

Castle of Sighs (Forest of Whispers #2)
Author: Jennifer Murgia
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: September 15, 2015
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press


In this sequel to FOREST OF WHISPERS, Some secrets cannot be kept—in life or in death. Months have passed since Rune has heard a single whisper from her long-dead mother, the great witch of Bavaria. But the absence of one evil has only made room for another. After rightfully inheriting her ancestral home, Pyrmont Castle, Rune settles into a quiet life taking care of two orphans left in the wake of the terrible witch hunt that claimed dozens of lives in the nearby village. As the days grow colder, the castle’s secrets beckon and Rune finds herself roaming where no one has set foot in a long time. In the bowels of the fortress is a locked room full of memories that hang like cobwebs—shelves stacked with jars, strange specimens, putrid liquids, and scrolls of spells. Rune is undeniably drawn to what she finds there, and she begins to dabble in the possibilities of magic, hoping to find a cure for the strangeness overwhelming the castle. As secrets unspool, the delicate thread of Rune’s world is threatened when she realizes the key may lie in the dark forest she once called home and the boy she thought she knew.

Praise for Forest of Whispers:

"Murgia’s dual narration makes this historical fantasy a compelling read. The plot-driven text quickly moves the story forward, and the vivid descriptions of 17th-century southwestern Germany pull readers in . . . the pacing and narrative are absorbing. A solid novel for fans of historical fantasy that are looking for a fast-paced, action-filled tale." ~ SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL 

"A story of magick and discovery." -- Readers' Favorite: Five-Star review for FOREST OF WHISPERS

"FOREST OF WHISPERS drew me in from the very first page! Rune is a capable and empathetic heroine who had me rooting for her from the start. Fans of witch and rune-lore will enjoy this darkly woven tale." ~Amalie Howard, author of critically acclaimed Waterfell, The Almost Girl, and Alpha Goddess, a Spring 2014 Kids' INDIE NEXT title.

"NOT your average teenage witch! Jennifer Murgia's FOREST OF WHISPERS is a dark, brooding mystery/thriller that captures the paranoid, plague-driven frenzy of 17th Century Europe with the speed and power of a galloping stallion. Rune, a 16-year old with formidable abilities that she herself can barely understand, must fight her own inner demons as well as what seems to be a whole world gone awry with bloodlust for her kind. This is a thrilling read." ~ Molly Cochran, author of LEGACY & POISON 

Castle of Sighs is the second novel in a young adult paranormal/fantasy series that picks up where the first book left off - with our main character, Rune, trying to adjust to her new life in a castle she has inherited from her family. Rune still feels the deep pull of the Black Forest - the place she has called home for the majority of her life - and also can't help but sense a strange darkness in the castle. Rune settles into her new role of caring for two orphan children at the castle and is determined to rid herself of any magic that might still cling to her. Before long, she hears whispers in the dark and a strong pull that leads her to a locked room deep with the castle - one that is full of spells, disgusting liquids and other odd items that all seem to revolve around magic. Rune is drawn to the magic the room offers her and is determined to find a way to rid the castle of any negative energy. The more she learns, however, the amount of secrets begins to grow and unravel around her - and she learns that the key to banishing the darkness from the castle might be found in her beloved Black Forest as well as in a boy she thought she knew.

This was a enchanting second novel in what's proving to be a magnificent YA paranormal series. There are times when a series starts off strong only to hugely disappoint in the followup. Happily, this is certainly not the case here. This installment was just as well written and compelling as the first. Rune continues to be a great female lead. She's smart, strong, determined, down to earth, but willingly acknowledges her flaws and weaknesses. We saw Rune's character grow a lot in the first book, and it continued to do so in this story. She's maturing in both mind and emotion, which can easily be seen when she interacts with the two kids she cares for along with several other parts of the novel. I enjoyed watching Rune grow in all these different ways and I was definitely rooting for her the entire time. There's also growth in the relationship between Rune and Laurentz, and I loved watching it change and grow throughout the story too. 

The plot continues to be amazing and very well written. I love that the series is based on actual history that happened in real places - it's almost historical fiction based on facts, except for the paranormal aspects thrown in. It's this historical accuracy that makes the rest of the plot believable - since it has all happened, it's not a far stretch to imagine that there actually were witches and magic present as well. The way the book blends the historical aspects with the magical makes it unique. Another aspect that I loved about the novel is the varying narration between Rune and Matilde. Both characters have their own sections throughout the book, and I loved reading from both of their viewpoints. Even though the book is told from two different characters, both characters tell their part in the first person point of view. I'm a firm believer that POV makes a huge difference when it comes to a book, and I almost always think that first person POV is the best choice. The same applies here, and - luckily for us - we get to experience both Rune's and Matilde's stories from their perspective, which allows us to know them on a very personal level along with getting to see what happened through their perspective. I loved reading both of their stories and how they connected with one another. The rest of the writing was incredibly well done, with the use of vivid imagery and detailed descriptions that brings Rune's world to life in front of our eyes, and makes it easy to slide into that world until the end of the book. 

I honestly loved this book just as much as the first one, which doesn't happen often in series. I very highly recommend this book (and series) to fans of historical fiction and paranormal fiction - as well as those who enjoy fantasy, magic, action, mysteries, and adventure. I'm now eagerly awaiting the next book in the series to release - which isn't for quite some time, unfortunately. I can't wait to see what's going to happen next and what direction the book is going to take. 

Jennifer Murgia writes moody fiction for teens—from paranormal fantasy (Angel Star, Lemniscate, The Bliss), to contemporary gut-punchers (Between These Lines). Her latest, Forest of Whispers, a 17th century historical mystery (about witches!) was a School Library Journal Fall 2014 HOT TITLE, and a 2014 Moonbeam Children’s Literature Award Winner. Look for the sequel, Castle of Sighs, to hit shelves 9.15.15 from Spencer Hill Press. In 2012, Jennifer Co-Founded YA FEST with YA author/friend, Cyn Balog. She coordinates this unique annual festival, bringing teens and fellow Young Adult authors together at her hometown library in Easton, PA. 

Publicity inquiries: brooke@spencerhillpress.com

Buy Links: Amazon | Barnes and Noble
(1) Winner will get a $20.00 Amazon Gift Card + Kep Necklace 

Must be 13+ To Enter | Open Internationally 


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