Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Mini review: The blood Countess, The Spider Goddess & The Skeleton Key by Tara Moss

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Pandora English is no ordinary small town orphan. When she's invited to live with her mysterious Great-Aunt Celia in New York City, she seizes the opportunity to escape her stifling hometown break from her tragic past and make it as a writer. Things, however, are not what she is expecting. For starters, her great-aunt's gothic mansion is in a mist-wreathed Manhattan suburb that doesn't appear on maps. And then there's Celia herself - a former designer to the stars of Hollywood's Golden Age - who is elegant, unnaturally young and always wearing a veil. Pandora lands a job at a fashion magazine and her first assignment is covering the A-list launch of the latest miracle cream, BloodofYouth. But something is not right about the product, nor Athanasia, the drop-dead beautiful face of the brand. It seems there may be a secret ingredient in BloodofYouth, a secret worth killing for..

I was given The Skeleton Key to review, but since I hadn't read the first two, I decided to track down the books to read and review them first. So while I am quite behind on my review for Book 3, I knew I had to read the first two first. I'm picky like that.

In the first installment to this Pandora English series, Tara Moss takes us on a journey as we discover a young girl, Pandora, 19 years old travels to New York City to live with her Great Aunt after not being able to turn down the enticing invitation.

Upon arriving in New York, she soon finds herself in a whole new world she couldn't have expected if she tried.  Gaining an position at a top-fashion magazine, Pandora, the same name as herself, her world begins to turn upside down when her first assignment at work is covering the latest miracle cream product, but Pandora quickly discovers there is just something not quite right about this miracle cream. There is a real possibility that it does more than making your skin look younger... something so far sinister is at work, and if she doesn't discover something fast...it will be deadly to everyone around her.
Pandora's new life is everything she hoped it would be. Exiciting, full of life and new experiences, but when she starts to see the dead, she realizes that she might not be so normal after all.

This is a story of a new beginning, finding ones self, and understanding that not everything is as it seems.

I really liked this novel. I wasn't sure what to expect, but I found myself pleasantly surprised.

Verdict: 3.5 / 5

It's been two months since Pandora English left her small hometown to live with her mysterious great-aunt in a haunted mansion in Spektor – the fog-wreathed suburb of Manhattan that doesn't appear on any map. With the help of her great-aunt and the beautiful – but dead – Lieutenant Luke, Pandora is beginning to understand the significance of the Lucasta family heritage her late mother kept secret from her. Pandora is heir to a great gift. And with that comes frightening responsibility...

Meanwhile, she seems doomed to be forever underestimated in the mortal world. Her fashion editor boss doesn't seem to know she exists. But New York needs Pandora's special gifts. There is a new designer in town, and her ambitions extend far beyond taking over the fashion world one knit at a time...

It's been two months since Pandora English arrived in New York. Two months since her life changed and she found herself in the world of the supernatural.
In the next part of her journey, she discovers what it means to be the 7th of the Lucasta family.

Pandora, ever since she arrived has formed some connection with Lieutenant Luke, but there is one problem: He is a ghost, who she can only see. They have a complicated relationship, but he seems to be the only one that understands her. Whether that's because he understands what it is like to live in this kind of world, or something else. But it doesn't seem any other guy can compare, unfortunately.

That's not the only thing she has to deal with. There are Athanasia and her followers, who are bound to get revenge on Pandora for staking Athanasia previously. Of course they don't care it was done in self defense, because they are only out for themselves. It sure doesn't help when she has Dues, a head-honcho vampire protecting her against the pack of girls. 

The plot. Was quite interesting and we got to learn some new information. While in the previous book it was about Athanasia and her product, which was blood related, this book we start to understand more about the world.
A new woman has turned up in town, and her Aunt-Celia seems to know more about her than Pandora does, and as events develop, she discovers that she can do more than work at a magazine.

I enjoyed this book much more than the previous, as you start to come to grips with the supernatural world, what Pandora's possible role in it, and that she was always meant to come to Spektor. 

Verdict: 4/5

In the third Pandora English mystery, Pandora is still negotiating her double life as a lowly assistant at a New York fashion magazine with the reality that she has great supernatural powers and responsibilities.

With the full moon set to rise once again, Pandora has a very special date looming. Her beautiful spirit guide, Civil War soldier Lieutenant Luke, will be a flesh-and-blood man, if only for the night, and she hasn't been able to stop thinking about it. But a chance encounter with playboy Jay Rockwell sees that very human attraction start all over again – even though Jay doesn't remember their previous relationship, or the fact that Pandora saved him from a gang of ill-tempered undead supermodels.

Meanwhile, Pandora – with her special skeleton key – is slowly unlocking the mysteries of the haunted mansion where she lives with her great aunt Celia. What sinister experiments did the architect Dr Edmund Barrett conduct there before he died? Where is his laboratory? And what are the strange noises emanating from the basement?

On the centenary of the mysterious fire that supposedly killed Dr Barrett, he returns to the mansion. He has a message for Pandora. But he has brought with him a dark force that threatens to tear apart the delicate balance between the worlds of the dead and living...

In the third Pandora novel,The Skeleton Key, Pandora learns more about her role as the Seventh, and more about The End of the World. Her abilities start to manifest and she begins to understand more about them and herself as well.

We learn more about the origins of the Mansion, and the occupants who lived there to begin with.
After some digging around, Pandora discovers Dr. Barrett's lab, and what lies beneath it. The mysteries soon become complicated when Pandora finds Dr. Barrett and his wife, who are both deceased, and Pandora makes some discoveries that she just might regret.

Like the title of the book, The Skeleton Key refers to a special key given to Pandora by her Great-Aunt Celia that opens one of the many doors in the mansion she has longed to explore.

In terms of the romance, things start to happen between Pandora and her Lieutenant Luke, as there is one night where the moon is full that he can come out in the flesh. The pair then decide to make a date out if it, and Pandora takes him one place he has not been in many years: outside. New York City has changed since the last time he has been out there.. technically, the world has changed itself in over 150 years that he has been dead.
I adore these two. Their relationship is not an easy one, well considering he is dead. But when during their anticipated date outside, he suddenly disappears.... and when he returns, let's say.. he isn't exactly the same.

Can Pandora discover what is wrong going on before things get a little too crazy?

The ending to this book makes me look forward to the next installment in this series.  I urge Tara to write quickly. I can't wait to take myself back into the world of Pandora and what lies through it.

Thanks to Pan Macmillan for sending me this copy of the book.

Verdict: 4.5/5

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