Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Review + Giveaway: The Violet Hour

THE VIOLET HOUR
Violet Hour #1
Whitney A. Miller
Young Adult/Thriller/Horror
312 pages
Flux
Available Now
Source: ARC from author for review

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
Some call VisionCrest the pinnacle of religious enlightenment. 

Others call it a powerful cult. 

For seventeen years, Harlow Wintergreen has called it her life.

As the daughter of VisionCrest's patriarch, Harlow is expected to be perfect at all times. She must be considered a paragon of integrity by the other Ministry teens and a future leader in the eyes of the world.

Despite the constant scrutiny Harlow is keeping a dark and dangerous secret, even from her best friend and the boy she loves. She hears a voice in her head that seems to have a mind of its own, plaguing her with violent and bloody visions. It commands her to kill. And the urge to obey is getting harder and harder to control....


MY THOUGHTS
The Violet Hour is a haunting story, the kind that terrifies on multiple levels due to some graphically detailed visions and an ending that has us wanting to wrap our reality up in a bear hug and thank it for being nothing like Harlow’s world. Though Harlow’s visions are not for the faint of heart or the extraordinarily squeamish, those who fall into that category (like myself) will still find themselves riveted while being simultaneously horrified, the strength of Ms. Miller’s characters anchoring us to the story even as we strongly consider curling up into a fetal ball and rocking. This story is not all horror however, the heart of it revolving around Harlow and the relationships she has to those closest to her, and it’s these bonds that have us flipping the pages, fully engaged and emotionally invested from beginning to end.

Harlow is an ideal young adult heroine, someone who handles her uncontrollable visions of gore and death with a strength we’re quite positive we'll never possess. Her relationship with best friend Dora is an absolute delight, the connection between the two of them full of humor, inside jokes, and genuine, unwavering support for each other, surprising us by making us smile amidst the truly terrifying backdrop of Harlow’s visions. There’s no cattiness between them, and the lines of communication are open almost all the time–secrets something that are reserved for lesser friendships–and we can’t help but be thankful for a friendship that plays as vital a role in the story as the romance.

The relationship between Harlow and longtime friend Adam is one of the highlights of the story, the history between them making the new distance Adam has recently put in place when we come into this tale all the more painful, our hearts immediately going out to Harlow as she struggles to understand why what used to be so close is now suddenly so far away. What makes us fall madly in love with Harlow however is the way she handles herself when the situation with Adam gets particularly difficult, never allowing his deliberate barbs to hit their mark without letting him know they’ve done so. She neither simply accepts the hostility thrown her way nor stoops to his level by returning fire, instead she lets him see her hurt even as she begins strapping on armor to protect herself from future blows. Despite his harshness with Harlow, Adam is not unlikable in the least as it’s very clear to us something huge happened to him to cause this shift in their relationship, and we read with breath held waiting for the moment when he'll let us know what he's been hiding.

Though there is a romance present, the limelight remains with the mystery of Harlow’s gruesome (and slightly traumatizing) visions, goosebumps and shivers as prevalent while reading as the warmth we feel toward Harlow herself. Things take an increasingly strange turn as the story progresses, the why’s and how’s of certain aspects not entirely clear as we reach the end of this first installment, but a revelation in the very last chapter has our questions fading to the background in the face of a pivotal final twist. Those who hate cliffhangers should be aware going in of this epic turn of events–making the release date for book two seem impossibly far away–but overall The Violet Hour is dark and gritty yet also beautifully emotional, and I can’t wait for more from Ms. Miller.

Rating: 4/5
 

Find Whitney:

 


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52 comments:

  1. That synopsis! I'd never heard of this one until now, but it's definitely going on my wishlist. I'm squeamish too, Jenny, but this story sounds way too interesting and I like that it features a great friendship between girls instead of one filled with jealousy. I managed to get through and loved Anna Dressed in Blood so would you say the level of horror is comparable?

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    1. Sent you an email! I'd say it's a step above Anna in terms of gore, but I did pretty well with it. The characters and their various relationships are all so strong that I couldn't stop reading even when things got scary:)

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  2. Sounds interesting. Would you say this is realistic fiction with a mental illness element or supernatural? It sounds more supernatural.

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  3. I am, without a doubt, going to read this! Disturbing and gritty? A great friendship with humor? My heart just skipped a beat. <3

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    1. Yay! I really hope you like it Christy! I thought it was fantastic:)

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  4. I kind of do want to know more, what are they all about

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    1. It's a quick read for sure, I definitely recommend:)

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  5. This sounds like a perfect read for me in everything but the dreaded cliffhanger. I really don't get authors sometimes. It's such a cheap trick.
    But I'm getting tired of friendships that easily go up in flames and heroines I simply can't get behind so Harlow and Dora seem to be two characters I really must meet. I'm also curious about what made Adam change so radically.
    Wonderful review, Jenny! I'm off to order a copy.

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    1. I thought the ending of this one really worked. Yes, it was a cliffhanger of sorts, but I loved the twist and I just had to smile because I should have seen it coming:) And I think you'll like Harlow and Dora Maja!

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  6. This is absolutely not the kind of thing I ever read. So much so, I'd never even heard of this book. Anything that inspires the need to curl into the fetal position and rock . . . nope, nope, nope. That being said, (and I have no idea how you managed to accomplish this) I WANT to read this book. Even with the cliffhanger. And I loathe, despise, detest, and abominate cliffhangers. So . . . well done? ;)

    Jessica @ Rabid Reads

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    1. ME EITHER!!!! I honestly didn't realize it was horror when I agreed to review it, but I'm so glad I didn't know because then I would have missed out on something really great:)

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  7. I love the darker aspects of this from the horrific visions to the cult. I am really glad to see that you connected to the characters and despite the cliffy I am very interested in reading this one Jenny!

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    1. I really hope you give it a try Kim, I so enjoyed it:)

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  8. It has been a really long time since I have read a good horror/thriller, mainly because I am a huge chicken but I really think I want to give this one a try. I am super curious now!

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    1. Oh I'm a huge chicken too Ali, and normally I would have stayed far, far away from this book. BUT, it's so well done and the characters are fabulous:)

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  9. The graphic vision intrigue me. I'd rather not think what that says about me.

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    1. Hehe. I want you to read this and then tell me if intrigued is how you would still describe yourself after experiencing Harlow's visions ;-)

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  10. Glad you really enjoyed it! I wasn't sure about this one but I did keep it in the back of my mind. Sounds really promising. Though always a frustration to not have everything answered. There is always book 2 :)

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    1. Exactly. I definitely want to know how everything is going to play out!

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  11. Oh, I'm really glad you enjoyed this one, Jenny! I thought it was a really well-written story - different and a bit gruesome - but in the best possible way. Lovely review :)

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  12. This sounds fantastic, Jenny! I haven't heard much about it, but you've definitely made me want to read the book. However, cliffhanger? It sounds like one that is quite painful, so I'm going to wait for the next one to come out, so I don't feel like curling up in a ball and crying in wait for the next book!
    Lovely review, Jenny!

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    1. I was really impressed with this one Nick, I hope you pick it up at some point. Maybe closer to release day for book 2:)

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  13. I'm not sure if I can handle this one, Jenny! The blurb made me shudder and I don't want to know what those horrible visions entail ye I'm oddly drawn to it at the same time. I may have to read this one with the lights on.

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    1. There are definitely some moments that made me cringe, but I loved Harlow so much and the friendship with Dora was fabulous. As was the romance:)

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  14. I love the cover! From everything I've seen about The violet hour it seems like a great ya thriller.

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  15. I like that this sounds different and I am certain I will like the relationship between Harlow and Adam. I might not be a big fan though of the gruesome visions and boo to a cliffhanger! Still thanks for putting this on the old radar.

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  16. Thanks for sharing your thoughts Jenny! I pas this book up thinking it may not be for me and I'm thinking I was wrong.

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  17. I haven't heard anything about this book, but it sounds like a thrilling story with a strong heroine and great relationships. I am a bit worried about the cliffhanger (and the gruesome visions *shivers*), but still excited to check this out. Maybe I'll wait until the next book is out to start it. Lovely review Jenny!

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  18. This book is new to me and while it sounds really interesting and the concept that I have never read about I'm a bit worried that it'd be too scary for me. I love strong heroines and I think I might give this one a try. Great review, Jenny :)

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  19. This book sounds really interesting! I cannot wait to read it.

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  21. The review was great. I loved the depth in which the characters were discussed. I have a love/hate relationship with cliffhangers so I appreciate the warning

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  22. This sounds like a book for me. Sounds just dark enough for me as well. I'm curious about Harlow and even Adam. I want to know exactly why he is treating her like that! Oh so many questions. I must read it! :)

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  23. I honestly think i could do a YA that was thriller/horror. There is something about that crosses over all generations!

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  24. I'm am so sold. I love unique and unexpected turns in a story, thank you for sharing your thoughts with us.,

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  25. this book sounds intriguing ;) Thanks so much for the great post/review!

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  26. I just love that the heroine has the premonition ability to see darkness. The story is quite intriguing.

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  27. This one is new to me, but it sounds creepy and AWESOME!

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  28. This actually looks really amazing. Though I'd have to say I'm a bit hesitant since I would definitely label myself as one of those "squeamish" people. But the story still sounds brilliant. I'll have to see what you mean by Adam's "understandable hostility" to know if I can agree or not. All in all however, I can certainly say that this is something I will have to buy eventually.

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  29. The trailer gives me some ideas, different from what I was thinking as I was reading your review about the voice and visions. It sounds really original. The cover makes Harlow seem like she may not be the typical white girl MC. I am not into horror, but more the jump out from behind a tree and chase you with an ax as opposed to violence. Think I could read this one?

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  30. This one definitely sounds intriguing! I don't think I'd heard of it before, though the title is familiar (maybe there's another book of a similar title?). This sounds like one I might need to pick up in the future!

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  31. Your review absolutely made me want to read this one even more. And that is saying something, because I wanted this one badly even before! I love anything that scares me, and I am not the least bit squeamish, so that stuff just excites me further! I appreciate that, although there is a romance, it doesn't turn out to be the whole focus of the story. That would definitely be a disappointment. So thank you for your wonderful review, and thank you SO much for the giveaway!

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  32. This sounds scary good. I do not like cliffhangers, so will probably wait for the series to be complete.

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  33. I saw this book and the synopsis made me add it to the TBR list, and after reading your review I'm even more keen on reading, but with the mention of the cliffhanger... I'm tempted to at least wait till release day for book 2 will be close!
    Thanks for a great review!

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  34. I'm glad you reviewed this one! I've been curious about it. I'm not sure the main plot with the visions will be for me. I don't like really scary/gory books (though I reviewed one today. Go figure). But Violet's character is definitely intriguing. I love heroines that are low on drama and no-nonsense. The best friend relationship is appealing, and my heart is already breaking for the Adam situation! But as this has a clifie, I will wait to see where the series goes before I invest. Thanks for the review!

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  35. sounds powerful. Very nice review.

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