Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Review: The Nightmare Affair

THE NIGHTMARE AFFAIR
Arkwell Academy #1
Mindee Arnett
Paranormal Young Adult
367 pages
Tor Teen
Available Now
Received from publisher for review

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
Sixteen-year-old Dusty Everhart breaks into houses late at night, but not because she’s a criminal. No, she’s a Nightmare.

Literally.

Being the only Nightmare at Arkwell Academy, a boarding school for magickind, and living in the shadow of her mother’s infamy, is hard enough. But when Dusty sneaks into Eli Booker’s house, things get a whole lot more complicated. He’s hot, which means sitting on his chest and invading his dreams couldn’t get much more embarrassing. But it does. Eli is dreaming of a murder.

Then Eli’s dream comes true.

Now Dusty has to follow the clues—both within Eli’s dreams and out of them—to stop the killer before more people turn up dead. And before the killer learns what she’s up to and marks her as the next target.


MY THOUGHTS
The Nightmare Affair is a joy to read from first page to last, a rather unique paranormal entity combining with magic, mayhem and murder to ensure we while away the wee hours of the morning in a desperate attempt to devour Dusty’s story in one sitting. While a boarding school housing young men and women with extraordinary abilities is certainly nothing new, Ms. Arnett twists and molds the familiar into an entirely different shape with the introduction of Dusty as an actual Nightmare–someone who gets her sustenance from the dreams of others–and we can’t help but flip the pages as quickly as possible to learn everything there is to know about the ins and outs of dream invasion.

Dusty is a spectacularly entertaining protagonist, her sharp tongue eliciting a snort from us every time she puts it to use, and because she wields her wit and snark expertly, she never comes across as whiny or annoying. She remains firmly planted on the amusing side of the sarcasm line, making us laugh with her even as we highlight her responses and one-liners for future personal use. She also has admirable sense of self-preservation (something that causes us to rejoice), often finding herself in trouble but always reaching out to others for assistance instead of clutching her dangerous responsibility close to her chest and going it alone.

The romantic tension between Dusty and non-magical Eli is thick and palpable throughout, and Ms. Arnett proves again and again she is gifted at creating intimate moments without so much as the briefest of touches. Their relationship is not the typical new-hot-boy-at-school scenario despite its initial appearance as such, and we easily get sucked into their antagonism as they both struggle with the circumstances that require their close proximity, smiling hugely as things slowly change for them even as they both find themselves with other people. Theirs is a connection full of promise in this first book, declarations of love blissfully absent as a weighted friendship and a unique bond take their place, and we must resist the urge to fall to our knees and kiss Ms. Arnett's feet for the gift she’s given us in Eli and Dusty.

The only small flaw in an otherwise outstanding story is the predictability of certain players in the murder plot–a couple of them either easily recognizable or easily discarded from the onset–but others are a surprise, and we continually battle with ourselves throughout as we wonder whether or not certain people can be trusted. We’re left with a fully concluded story by the end of this first installment, a larger story arc in place but the smaller mystery solved in its entirety before we close the back cover, satisfying our need for the how’s and why’s of it all even as we look forward to seeing what’s in store for Dusty next.


Rating: 4/5


*For those of you in the Columbus/Dayton/Cincinnati (OH) area, Mindee is celebrating the release of The Nightmare Affair tonight (3/5) at 7pm EST at Books & Co in Dayton. Details can be found here!
 

49 comments:

  1. See... I would have written this book off my list.. No idea why but it didn't appeal to me. BUT.. you loved it, which means I will love it too, which means, I need to read it!
    I love that she has a "shark tongue" and .. of course I want to meet Eli!

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    1. DANNY! I really think you'll like this one:) A great story and a fun romance with the potential to turn into an AWESOME romance:)

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  2. I do like the cover, why? No pretty girl in a pretty dress ;) Instead a silhouette

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    1. I really like the cove as well:)

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  3. I see a lot of people reading this book these days! :) I should join you all. I'm so happy to see that you like the story. I love the cover and the story sounds so good. I can't wait to read it. Great review Jenny :)

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    1. You should Tanja! I just adored this book:)

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  4. I'm so glad you enjoyed this one, Jenny! Unfortunately, Dusty's voice never grew on me and I wasn't too keen on the romance, so I won't be continuing this series, but I'm curious to hear your thoughts on it! :)

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    1. Hahaha this doesn't surprise me Keertana. We are book opposites in almost every way:) Keeps things interesting I think!

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  5. This kind of sounds like a Paranormal Nancy Drew which oddly sounds appealing :)

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    1. I think you might like this one Felicia! It's a really quick and entertaining read, highly recommend:)

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  6. YAY! I've been so torn about reading this, and now I really want to! Thanks for the awesome review, Jenny! Now I know I simply must have this one.

    But I made a vow not to buy anymore books until I made a dent in the unread books all over my room.

    Hmmm...

    You're making me question my resolve!

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    1. BUY THIS HANNAH!!! It will be worth a mild breaking of your vow ;-)

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  7. Um. This: "a rather unique paranormal entity combining with magic, mayhem and murder to ensure we while away the wee hours of the morning in a desperate attempt to devour Dusty’s story in one sitting," sold me.

    SAY NO MORE, JENNY! *adds to wishlist*

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    1. I hope you give this one a try Amanda! I really, really enjoyed it. Loved that there was no love triangle and we got a complete story even though this was a first installment of a series. Plus, Dusty kept me laughing:)

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  8. I love boarding school settings and I have no idea why, but it draws me in every time. I love that this held your attention, when a book keeps me up late into the evening I know its a keeper. Love your review!

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    1. I do too! I never tire of them, and she definitely gave Dusty a unique paranormal ability which I really enjoyed:)

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  9. I haven't heard of this. What a cool idea! I love books that work within a familiar framework - boarding school with extraordinary abilities - but twist it into something new. Not enough books do that.

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    1. Agreed. I was pleased with this one across the board:)

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  10. Sounds excellent.
    Fantastic review.
    "Magic, murder, and mayhem" are like my 3 buzz words with books. Anything that has them instantly gets my attention.

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  11. I'm glad that this book was more to your liking Jenny, I think I had too many issues with this book. But I agree that I adored the relationship between Eli and Dusty. I just wished they'd realised things a lot sooner! Great review Jenny! :)

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    1. I'm glad you at least enjoyed Eli and Dusty Jasprit, I thought they were a really fun almost couple:)

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  12. I reviewed this on Saturday. I really liked it as well and enjoyed Dusty. I liked the romance as well because you just knew Dusty and Eli were going to get together. I also liked that scene with the hag in the bathroom. I agree about predictabliity and I thought it lacked a bit of originality as far as the overall plot but all in all a good read and I will continue this series!

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    1. I'll definitely be continuing the series as well, I can't wait to see how things between Eli and Dusty develop:)

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  13. So happy you enjoyed this! I've been reading mixed reviews, and was determined to just read it anyway, but now I'm really looking forward to it. Dusty sounds like a heroine I would love. More than anything though, I want to read this because of the romantic tension between Dusty and Eli! You make their relationship sound wonderful. Amazing review, Jenny!

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    1. Yay! Glad you're looking forward to it now Lauren! I adore romantic tension, and Eli and Dusty definitely have it in spades:)

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  14. Just skimmed this review, Jenny, because I have this one all lined up to read. Really glad you enjoyed it. I'll be sure to stop back and read your review when I'm done. :)

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    1. Oooo looking forward to seeing what you think Rummanah!

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  15. Despite the fact that parts are predictable, this sounds like such a good read. I have actually never heard of it, so I will have to keep my eye out for it when I head to the bookstore. Dusty sounds like an awesome protagonist. I like witty and sarcastic characters; plus, her relationship with Eli sounds like something I'd enjoy. Thanks for the great review, Jenny!

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    1. Dusty was awesome:) Definitely my kind of girl. Her snark and my snark would be friends I think.

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  16. I've been hearing so many good things about this book, especially about how brilliantly written the romance is between Dusty and Eli. I'm excited to meet them, Jenny! They sound pretty awesome. It seems like you really enjoyed the book despite the plot being a little predictable.
    Beautiful review as always, Jenny! :)

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    1. I LOVED the romance Nick! Even though they're not really together in this book, there was so much potential in them and I can't wait for the moment when they finally get together. I also liked that they didn't rush into a relationship:)

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  17. "She remains firmly planted on the amusing side of the sarcasm line, making us laugh with her even as we highlight her responses and one-liners for future personal use."

    Sold! This looks soooo good!

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    1. She just made me giggle Tara, loved her:)

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  18. Dusty sounds like a trip! I love when a character's got a good bit of sass in her and isn't afraid to use it. Plus, the connection between the characters sounds amazing.

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    1. Oh yes, Dusty is full of sass! Loved her:)

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  19. Wow, this sounds fantastic! Snark was all you had to say to get me interested. I gotta have it! I think this is one of the most gushing reviews I've seen you write in a long time. You sold me too!

    Heather

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    1. I know. Anytime I hear a character is snarky, I automatically want to read the book:) I hope you like this one Heather!

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  20. I am SO excited about The Nightmare Affair, Jenny! I am fascinated by the Nightmare type lore! Rachel Vincent has one in her Soul Screamers series and she's fascinating! Love how you describe Dusty and her relationship with Eli. I hate typical relationships so it's nice that there is more behind their's. :)

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  21. I have seen some mixed reviews of this but I have been really excited to read this. I'm glad you were one that really enjoyed it! I hope to pick it up really soon!

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  22. I thought the plot of this was pretty predictable but the story was entertaining and I liked Dusty. I'm curious to see where her relationship with Eli will go.

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  23. This one sounds so fun. I must pick up a copy sometime! Great review, Jenny! I think I'll like Dusty. :)

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  24. Now, that is what I want to hear: A boarding school with special abilities story that still brings something new to the story to keep it fresh and interesting. Dusty is definitely my kind of protagonist! Wow, this one sounds soo great and really like it would be my kind of book - I'll have to check it out sometime! Thanks for this review, Jenny!!

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  25. I thought this was a little predictable, too, but I still enjoyed it overall, mostly because of Dusty. She was pretty entertaining. :) Great review, Jenny!

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  26. I've been reading a lot of paranormal YA books lately, and this one sounds great!

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  27. I was so proud of myself for figuring a couple of things out as I am awful at mysteries and usually can't but this time around, I did albeit with a few surprises still. I'm really excited about the potential for this series!

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  28. Awesome review Jenny! After reading your review, I totally have to read it now!

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  29. I am dying to read this book. I have it here from NetGalley I just need to find the time to read it. I am glad you liked this one.

    Happy Reading.

    Sara @ Just Another Story

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  30. I am so glad you loved this book. I thought it was one of the funnest books I have read in quite some time. I just loved it. Great review!

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