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I am beyond stoked that Anne Riley's book, formerly titled THE CLEARING, has been given new life and a gorgeous new cover by Compass Press. SHADOWS OF THE HIDDEN now has the cover I pictured when reading it for the first time. Okay, so I didn't picture it exactly, but this was basically it. I love it!
Here's my original afterglowing review:
The short version: Just finished reading The Clearing by Anne Riley and it was a very satisfying read! The twists and emotional intensity really got me. It dealt with the reality of bereavement very well in the midst of a supernatural plot, and made me cry more than once.
The self-indulgent version:
Yeah, I liked this book that much.
After I read the author's blog--and liked her so much I snagged her for a guest post over at The Best Damn Creative Writing Blog--I started to worry about the inevitable moment of truth: What if I read her book and didn't like it? After all, there are no guarantees about any given book, even those published by the big houses and buzzed all over the place as the next HP or Twilight! So what would I do if I didn't like THE CLEARING? This anxiety kept me from reading it at first, even when I had the lovely paperback sitting on my night stand. It waited patiently for me to grow a spine, which I did, thankfully.
All my stress, it turns out, was for naught. In fact, Riley's debut novel is right up there with the best in the urban fantasy genre. THE CLEARING boasts a suspenseful, spooky plot and relatable, tortured characters. I thought about it for days afterward. I wished for a sequel or companion novel to continue in the unique world Anne Riley created. I cried multiple times as the protagonist Natalie dealt with such serious issues as bullying at school and her parents' deaths. The twists are sublimely surprising, and the magical escapism enchanted me. Doesn't every girl hope deep down that she's special? Especially those of us who were bullied relentlessly in school!
And that is as specific as I'll be with the spoilers. :)
Enjoy! It gets FIVE STARS from me. Well done, Anne! I hope to enjoy many more books with your name on them.
The new edition comes out December 10, 2012. Merry Christmas!
Visit Anne at her website/blog, on twitter, facebook, and look for her as a featured author at Operation Awesome's free, online New Year's Revisions Conference January 4-6, 2013.