Spoiler Free Review: Haunting the Deep (How to Hang a Witch #2)

Title: Haunting the Deep (How to Hang a Witch #2)

Author: Adriana Mather

Pub. Date: October 3rd, 2017

Genre: YA Historical Fiction/Paranormal

Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers

Pages: 368

Format: eGalley & Physical ARC

    

Haunting the Deep is the follow-up to How to Hang a Witch  & so I’ll leave out the Goodreads synopsis for fear of spoilers. In the same manner its predecessor was based on real life historical events, this sequel is centered around the Titanic. A YA Historical Fiction mixed with paranormal, Haunting the Deep picks up right from where we left off and the same characters are back. I truly enjoyed this follow-up a million times more for so many reasons but most of all it’s the character depth & fast moving plot that was fun and easy to follow, that make Haunting a 5 star read for me. This time around there was less of a Mean Girls vibe (not completely without) & more of  the 1966 cult classic The Craft. After the events of HTHAW, our MC Sam is a bit shaken up & avoiding any and all interaction with a group of girls in Salem that are known as The Descendants. This group is known for their family lineage, each having descended from those accused of witchcraft during the Salem witch trials, Sam herself (like the author) is descended from Cotton Mather who stands on the accusing side. This bad blood pits Sam against the Descendants in the first book however, in Haunting we see a meeting of the minds. Since Sam & the Descendants saw themselves in a terrible predicament in HTHAW, this time around calls for them to set their differences aside. Ghosts have always made themselves visible to Sam but this time around they’ve multiplied and need the help of the living. We follow Sam & the Descendants as they try to piece together what really is going on with the ghosts of those who passed away in The Titanic. The paranormal aspects were tuned up & Sam’s witchy abilities have further developed allowing her to leave her body and enter the spiritual world. I could NOT put this book down for long! I found that it had the perfect balance of paranormal & historical and soaked up all of the details Mather had to have heavily researched.

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If you found yourself wanting more from the characters in HTHAW, this is the follow-up you’re going to want to pick up 😉 although we still get a bit of the mean girl vibe, it quickly develops into something else that I found myself really enjoying. Sam still managed to slightly annoy me but she also grew on me by the end. The real stars of the book (beside the ghosts) were The Descendants Susannah, Mary, and Alice aka MY FAVORITE! haha! Mary unfortunately gets the ditsy role but she also has a heart of gold that makes it hard to dislike her. Susannah is the calmer more mature of the crew and is able to see things before they happen. Alice is unapologetically unfiltered & every time she put Sam in her place I chuckled. I got more of Mrs. Meriwether & her wonderfully tempting pastries and good cheer, I honestly could smell her baking through the pages haha! We also get to see Elijah aka the hot Ghost who has a thing for Sam & who Sam can’t stop thinking about. There was definitely less romance this time around & more of a focus on friendship which I feel, boosted my interest ten fold. I still couldn’t get enough of those Elijah scenes but I really enjoyed The Descendants & fast moving plot so much so that I didn’t miss the romance too badly. There are a few ghosts we meet along the way & everything from their manner of talk & dated clothing fleshed this world out so well, I just couldn’t get enough of the story.

The amount of research that had to have been done to re-create the night of the Titanic down to the music playing is pretty awesome! We get descriptive writing on the clothes worn, the ship itself, way of life for those on the Titanic, and so much more! I feel as if author Adriana Mather’s writing has grown in such a short matter of time leading me super excited for what’s to come in 2018. I absolutely plan on continuing on with this series, I care for these characters & am curious to see how much more developed their witchy abilities get in the next book. Also, Elijah and Sam…essentially both a living person and a deceased one have managed to catch feelings for one another…how is this going to work? I have questions lol! each of the characters in Jaunting the Deep had their own distinct voice & each personality jumped off the page. I found myself transfixed by this story & how well it blended the historical with the Paranormal. I love when a book makes me Google the real life facts to compare & the surprise I receive when I realize how close to the real deal the author kept it. It’s no secret that I love Fantasy but when it comes to Paranormal, witches are my achilles heel & I cannot resist a good story. Haunting the Deep is a treat to those who enjoy Historical Fiction & Paranormal. The title couldn’t be more fitting as the pages truly did leave a haunting impression every night (spooky x 1,000) & I may have possibly needed to leave my nightstand lamp on to fall asleep. Need book 3 but I’ll settle for a release date at the very least Haha! 😉

*Many thanks to Knopf Books for Young Readers, Netgalley, and Adriana Mather for the eGalley copy of Haunting the Deep in exchange for an honest review.


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#ARCstravaganza #9

#ARCstravaganza is a weekly meme hosted by the wonderful Flavia over @Flavia the Bibliophile where book bloggers/bookstagrammers have a chance to show off their ARCs/eARCs/Galleys!

Hello Readers! This is my 9th week participating in #ARCstravaganza Monday & this week I’ve chosen Haunting the Deep (How to Hang a Witch #2) by Adriana Mather to hopefully encourage Mother Nature to give us sweater weather soon *wishful thinking* I’m ready to read all of the fab Fall cozy reads while hugging a nice hot cup of tea or coffee. Last year around this time I read How to Hang a Witch (my reviewwith very high expectations & although it wasn’t a OMG I LOVED IT! book, It was an entertaining read. Also, the author Adriana Mather is a descendent of Cotton Mather which I found fascinating to no surprise since I’ve always been a fan of the history behind Witches. I was very young when I first became obsessed with reading everything & anything on the Salem Witch trials. Although How to Hang a Witch was a 3 star read for me, I do remember it starting off strong. Some time after I caught wind of the author getting a book deal for additional books in this series. This time she would be writing about the Titanic & as it turns out, Adriana Mathers is also a descendant of survivors from the Titanic!

I can’t help it…I have my hopes up once again & I really am hoping this time, I will get a 5 star read *fingers crossed* 

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The Titanic meets the delicious horror of Ransom Riggs and the sass of Mean Girls in this follow-up to the #1 New York Times bestseller How to Hang a Witch, in which a contemporary teen finds herself a passenger on the famous “ship of dreams”—a story made all the more fascinating because the author’s own relatives survived the doomed voyage.

Samantha Mather knew her family’s connection to the infamous Salem Witch Trials might pose obstacles to an active social life. But having survived one curse, she never thought she’d find herself at the center of a new one.

This time, Sam is having recurring dreams about the Titanic . . . where she’s been walking the deck with first-class passengers, like her aunt and uncle. Meanwhile, in Sam’s waking life, strange missives from the Titanic have been finding their way to her, along with haunting visions of people who went down with the ship.

Ultimately, Sam and the Descendants, along with some help from heartthrob Elijah, must unravel who is behind the spell that is drawing her ever further into the dream ship . . . and closer to sharing the same grim fate as its ghostly passengers.

What are some ARCS/eGalleys you’re excited to have Bookworms? Has anyone read How to Hang a Witch? was it a hit or miss? are you looking forward to Haunting the Deep? 🙂


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Review: How to Hang a Witch by Adriana Mather

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How to Hang a Witch by Adriana Mather
Series: How to Hang a Witch #1 (future books will be based on other descendants, not sure if the series name will remain the same)
Published by: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Date of Publication: July 26th. 2016
Genres: YA/Fantasy
Pages: 368
Format: Hardcover
Rating: ★★★

 

Goodreads Partial Synopsis (full spoilery synopsis here):

Salem, Massachusetts is the site of the infamous witch trials and the new home of Samantha Mather. Recently transplanted from New York City, Sam and her stepmother are not exactly welcomed with open arms. Sam is the descendant of Cotton Mather, one of the men responsible for those trials and almost immediately, she becomes the enemy of a group of girls who call themselves The Descendants. And guess who their ancestors were?

 

With the fall season come all of my favorites…hot cocoa, warm sweaters/scarves, fallen leaves, reds/Brown’s/creams/yellows, and last but not least…WITCHES! my favorite season is upon us & I decided I’d pick up How to Hang a Witch in anticipation of its arrival. To best describe HTHAW, I would say that it has some elements of both the CW’s Secret Circle & the 90’s cult classic “The Craft”. I picked up HTHAW after hearing that it was a Young Adult book loosely based on the Salem Witch Trials. The fact that the author Adriana Mather is a direct descendant of Cotton Mather, an influential person (not in a good way) in the trials, further motivated me to give this book a go. I’ve always been intrigued by Salem’s history & plan one day in the near future to visit the Salem Witch Museum in Salem, Massachusetts https://www.salemwitchmuseum.com/.

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Now, on to my review… 

We start off with our main protagonist Samantha Mather arriving in Salem with her stepmother Vivian, a decision made to be able to better cover her father’s hospital expenses. Sam’s dad is in a coma at the start of the story & it is clear that Sam and her dad Charles are very close. Relocating from New York to Salem, Sam isn’t feeling very optimistic about a new high school. Believing herself to be cursed because of all the accidents that have taken place around her, Sam is just trying to keep a low profile. Whelp! This may have worked in any other place that wasn’t Salem but as a direct descendant of Cotton Mather (just like our author), she doesn’t exactly receive the warmest of welcomes. In a town filled with the descendants of the original key players of the Salem Witch Trials, Sam is unfairly left to deal with the tension & animosity stemming from Cotton’s role in the tragic events. We get introduced to a group of high school students that go by the name “The Descendants” aptly named since they all are direct descendants of the original accused witches & townspeople. They were also all named after their descendants, we have Susannah, Alice, Mary, Lizzie, and John. They all dress in black & stick together in everything they do. The town itself takes its history very seriously and respect the descendants and their families. Salem is now all about witches, down to the sheriff’s cars that proudly display witches on their doors. The teachers honor the accused by assigning a yearly project to re-enact the trials. Sam seems to be outnumbered, everyone from the students, teachers, and librarian look at her & see only her ancestor Cotton Mather. Not exactly helping (but I loved!), was Sam’s take no ISH from nobody attitude. Not easily intimidated, Sam does seem to view the girls as dangerous after a series of “incidents” leave her shaken up.

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The Craft

At first I thought to myself, are these people really going to ostracize this teenage girl before giving her a chance? I kept reading & the accidents that happened around Sam in New York seemed to have followed her to Salem…. maybe there’s something legitimately wrong with Sam? I won’t give away the answer, but I will say that I loved the paranormal aspects of this book. I also really enjoyed the small town feel & how Sam a native New Yorker adjusted to the change of pace. As a fellow New Yorker, just like Sam I found myself wondering who I could & could not trust in this town. I loved that she & her stepmom moved in to her dad’s childhood home and the description of a grand old house. The house itself having many charms & secrets. Most of all I enjoyed the flashbacks to conversations between Sam & her dad during tough moments in her life. It was in these moments that we got a glimpse of Charles, the man in the coma. Sam would often think about her dad & what he would say to give her the courage to stand up to adversity.

The supporting cast of characters were small seeing as Sam didn’t really make any friends, but the standout character for me was Mrs. Meriwether. Sam’s neighbor who also happened to be her dad’s childhood best friend, lived alone next door with her son Jaxon who is the same age as Sam. I LOVED Mrs. Meriwether once I began to trust her & stopped thinking she was trying to poison people through her delicious baked goods haha! (Kudos to Ms. Mather for re-creating a town filled with distrust). No but seriously, the woman can bake! Every time there was a scene with her, she was baking in the kitchen all sorts of different recipes for her bake shop & I swear I could smell the pastries! Smh. Then there was her son Jaxon, who befriends Sam upon his mother’s request but quickly ends up falling for her. This is only made more innnnneresting by the introduction of a certain paranormal character. This character, I won’t say what he is…was my absolute FAVORITE character in the entire book.

Ok, so far I’ve only had good things to say about this book…why the 3-star rating? Some of you may ask. I cannot discuss the reason in too much detail for fear I may spoil the ending but simply put, Sam’s beginning felt very much like her ending—lonely & incomplete, even as the author is telling us otherwise…

Musing Monday’s 

Musing Mondays is a weekly meme created by Books and a Beat (originally known as Should Be Reading & A Daily Rythm) that asks you to choose one of the following prompts to answer:

I’m currently reading…

Up next I think I’ll read…

I bought the following book(s) in the past week…

I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…

I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…

I can’t wait to get a copy of…

I wish I could read ___, but…

I blogged about ____ this past week…

This week’s random question: name a favorite book you’d take to the beach.

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

 
What I’m currently reading….

Leave Me by Gayle Forman

I received an e-galley on Netgalley for Leave Me by Gayle Forman & I’m finding it extremely difficult to find any of the characters likable. This is my 1st Gayle Forman book & it’s also her first adult fiction book. The main protagonist is experiencing the stresses of work, marriage, parenthood, with little to no help. The book opens while Marybeth is experiencing a heart attack which I found interesting since a lot of women who experience heart attacks, are asymptomatic. Marybeth made a major decision that steers the course of the story in a very different direction…she packs up her bags and leaves her family behind. At this point I NEED to know how this all ends even if I’m not the biggest fan of the characters in this book. I’m already at the half-way point of this book & should have a review up this week.
 

Up next I think I’ll read…

How to Hang a Witch (How to Hang a Witch #1) by Adriana Mather

I do love my History but what made this subject a favorite for me in school was when we learned about the Salem Witch Trials. Ever since then, I will read anything Salem/Witches that I come across. I also happen to watch the deliciously dark tv series Salem. I know How to Hang a Witch is more of a fun take on the descendants but even for this, I’m game! I do however find it interesting that the author of this new series is a direct descendant of Cotton Mather who played a crucial role in the Salem Witch Trials. Entertainment Weekly interviewed Adriana Mather (http://www.ew.com/article/2016/08/19/adriana-mather-how-to-hang-witch) & she talks about the next book in the series How to Sink a Ship. Book 2 will have some of the witches from this first book however, it will be set around the events of the Titanic. I looked a bit further into this interesting author & it seems that she has some pretty heavy hitters for ancestors, some even from The Revolutionary War. I don’t think my background is as innnnneresting but who knows, she’s making me wonder…

Has anyone else read Leave Me by Gayle Forman? I’m interested to read some takes on it. If any of you happen to have partaken in Musing Monday’s today, drop that link in the comment box & I’ll swing on by 😉