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Books and Whimsy

I blog about books that change me at Books and Whimsy. I also write discussion posts, and host original features. I'm quite silly sometimes, serious others, and always champion great books. (booksandwhimsy.com) You can find my author blog at onceuponaprologue.net

The Nightmare Affair - Mindee Arnett More reviews appear at Once Upon a Prologue!

Memorable Quote

Chuckling, Eli said, "Don't forget that we've got to focus my dreams on the investigation."

I scowled at him, flustered rather than angry. "I won't. Trust me, I'm sick of ice fishing and football." I leaned over and poked him in the chest. "You have no imagination."He seized my hand and squeezed it.

"That's what I got you for," he said, grinning. Then his face grew slack and his grip loosened as he fell asleep.

From the moment I read the synopsis for The Nightmare Affair, I wanted this book in my life, so I requested it as soon as it appeared on NetGalley. (Literally, Mindee Arnett probably thought I was stalking NetGalley, because I tweeted her as soon as I saw her book up there.) I just finished The Nightmare Affair, and I think I'm a bit in love with Mindee's characters, because they're all memorable. Dusty was the perfect narrator - sassy, fierce, yet vulnerable at the same time. I felt a kinship with her throughout The Nightmare Affair, and am already looking forward to revisiting the world of Arkwell Academy and the various magickind who attend.

The Nightmare Affair was one of those books that I'd put down to go do something (chores, yuck), and then find myself eager to get back to it. I read the first 100 pages feverishly, then found a slower pace for the rest of this awesome debut novel. There are elements of various fantasy tropes and trends here, but Mindee gives it all her own fresh spin, choosing to focus on both what we know, and what we don't. She takes myths and fantasy creatures we know about, and gives them a life of their own, outside of the pages of our well-worn childhood storybooks. I. Loved. It. The world-building was fantastic, literally a world within OUR world, magickind co-existing with "ordinaries" at times while the rest of the world is blissfully unaware.

Add fabulous characters to the spot-on world building and pacing, and I was a goner soon after I started The Nightmare Affair. I've already talked a little bit about how cool Dusty is, but there were several other characters - friends, teachers, even one or two "like" interests who fleshed out Arkwell. And while there are two boys, there is no love triangle. If anything, one of the boys - Eli - infuriates Dusty, as she does him. (I never quite trusted the other boy, so I never considered him a factor.) I loved watching them push one anther's buttons throughout The Nightmare Affair. Their banter was adorable, since it was clear there was more to it. Imagine if Harry Potter never got his Hogwarts letter, but was forced to attend, then give him a tattoo and a bit more protective streak, and you can start to visualize Eli, who I just wanted to hug. He was awesome!

So many elements were familiar, yet turned inside out that I was constantly pleasantly surprised reading Mindee's story. I loved seeing sirens, demons, and warlocks being taught together. There was also a lot of humor and snarky exchanges, which were awesome. And as the larger picture was revealed, and Dusty discovered more about magickind, their lore, and her own "kind," (Nightmares,) I started to piece things together, but not so much so that Mindee didn't surprise me in the end. Although I wasn't totally right, the mystery was still a bit predictable, but enjoyable. Even though I was able to figure out some things before Dusty did, I still really enjoyed The Nightmare Affair!

Don't skip over THE NIGHTMARE AFFAIR. Mindee Arnett is a new talent, who brings something fresh to the fantasy/paranormal genre with her debut novel, spunky characters, and engaging writing. Once you've visited Arkwell, you won't want to leave either!