BOOK REVIEW: Serafina And The Black Cloak – by Robert Beatty

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Title: Serafina And The Black Cloak
(Serafina #1)
Author: Robert Beatty
Genre: Children, Fantasy, Horror
First published: July 14th 2015
Finished reading: January 6th 2016
Pages: 304
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“Our character isn’t defined by the battles we win or lose, but by the battles we dare to fight.”

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The first thing that convinced me to pick up a copy of Serafina And The Black Cloak was the gorgeous cover. In fact, I didn’t realize until later that this was actually a middle grade story… Although I personally like reading a middle grade book every once in a while. This story written by Robert Beatty has both an interesting setting and the perfect mix of fantasy and scary elements. It’s what you call a ‘light’ horror read that will entertain both a ten-year-old and an adult alike. The prose is really accessible and I loved the descriptions of both the mansion, forest and magical elements in the story. The main character Serafina wins over your heart in a blink of the eye and I loved the mystery around her character. The mysterious man in the black cloak is scary enough, but not too much to give the younger ones nightmares… And I really liked the ending. In short, Serafina And The Black Cloak was a more than satisfying read that I can recommend if you are looking for a middle grade fantasy book.

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Serafina never knew her mother and has been growing up living in the basement of the Biltmore estate with her father. He works as a maintenance man during the day and hides away at night; nobody knows he sleeps in the basement and they don’t know that Serafina even exists. Her pa asks her only two things: she must take care to never been seen and she never has to venture too far into the forest. Serafina is not a normal child and has quite a few special skills. As silent as the night, her dad gave her the job of Chief Rat Catcher; she is able to catch rats with her bare hands… One day, children start disappearing at the estate. Nobody knows who is behind it except Serafina. Roaming around unseen that night, she saw a man in a black cloak stalking the corridors at night and taking away a young girl. She is determined to stop the man, but will she be able to even when nobody seems to believe her or can really see her in the first place?

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Serafina And The Black Cloak is a very entertaining middle grade read that has the perfect mix of fantasy and creepy elements. The story is both accessible and well written, and just scary enough to not completely creep out the younger readers. The characters are very likeable and I loved the prose and descriptions. Definitely recommended!

WWW Wednesdays #73 – January 13th

wwwwednesdaysWWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

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I finally picked up Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and so far I’m absolutely loving it. I can’t wait to continue reading it later today! Looks like this is one of those books that is actually worth the hype around it…

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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* The first book I finished since last week is Serafina And The Black Cloak by Robert Beatty. A very good middle grade story that has a good mix of fantasy and scary elements and I really liked the prose.
* I then finished All The Truth That’s In Me by Julie Berry. I was more than pleasantly surprised by this historical fiction novel. Such an original, beautifully written and emotional story!
* I was in the mood for another crime read so I picked up Confessions Of A Murder Suspect by James Patterson. It’s the first time I read a Patterson YA novel, but I flew through the pages and it was a really entertaining read.
* Afterwards I decided to read Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl since it has become a tradition to reread at least one or two Roald Dahl books a year. He is one of my favorite childhood authors and I always love rereading his work. This is not my favorite, but still good.
* The last book I finished during the read-a-thon was Never Always Sometimes by Adi Alsaid.  I can’t say I was impressed by this one. It wasn’t terrible but there were some parts that really bothered me…
* The last book on this list, Dark Places by Gillian Flynn, was not as great as I would have thought either. It’s definitely a dark, twisted and disturbing read with many crazy plot twists and a somewhat surprising ending, but it took me a long time to actually finish it and I didn’t like the characters…

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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I have a new ARC waiting for me: Eternal War Armies Of Saints by Livio Gambarini. This book set in the 13th century is a mix of historical fiction and fantasy and I’m really looking forward to it! I really should read The Death Code by Lindsay Cummings as well, so I can at least start finishing all those poor neglected series… Although I will probably read Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng first. Last but not least, Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch is still my newest TBR jar pick.

WWW Wednesdays #72 – January 6th

wwwwednesdaysWWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

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Bout Of Books 15 is really helping me fly through my books! I have started All The Truth That’s In Me by Julie Berry yesterday evening and I’m really looking forward to continue it today… And Serafina And The Black Cloak by Robert Beatty I will finish for sure today; a very entertaining middle grade read that is definitely living up to expectations!

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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* The first book I finished this year is The Sin Eater’s Daughter by Melinda Salisbury. I actually really enjoyed the first part of the book, but then another freaking love triangle was introduced… And things went downhill from there.
* I then finished Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman, a book I absolutely LOVED. I think this is my new Gaiman favorite, although The Ocean At The End Of The Lane comes close…
* I was in the mood for a crime read so I picked up Dead Wood by Dani Amore afterwards. It turned out to be a quick and entertaining read.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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As soon as Bout Of Books 15 is over, I’m going to start Illuminae by Amie Kaufman. I’m so excited about this read that it’s getting really hard to wait any longer! I also want to read both Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng and Dark Places by Gillian Flynn; with a little luck I will be able to finish both before the end of the read-a-thon. Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch is my newest TBR jar pick, which is kind of funny because I already had that title on my January TBR anyway. 😉

Teaser Tuesdays #75 – January 5th: Serafina And The Black Cloak

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TEASER TUESDAYS is a weekly book meme originally featured at A Daily Rhythm. To participate, just open the book you are currently reading to a random page, and choose two ‘teaser’ sentences from somewhere on that page. (no spoilers!)

I have decided to pick up my latest TBR jar pick Serafina And The Black Cloak by Robert Beatty as my first Bout Of Books 15.0 read. So far I’m really enjoying it; it’s refreshing to read a middle grade book every now and then.

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My teaser (26%):

“She kept thinking about the Man in the Black Cloak. If he was one of these people, he could be lurking in any corridor or room. How do you tell a friend from an enemy just by looking at him?”

What are you reading right now?

WWW Wednesdays #71 – December 30th

wwwwednesdaysWWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

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I have finally started reading my last TBR jar pick: Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman. I’m still not too far into the story, but so far I’m really enjoying it… Hopefully I will magically find time to finish this read before the year is over!

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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Three books finished this week, and only because I managed to finish the last two yesterday…
* The first book is Let It Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle. I ended up quite enjoying the first story, but things went downhill from there…
* I then finished My True Love Gave To Me by Stephanie Perkins and a bunch of other authors yesterday. I loved some stories while I didn’t really like others… But overall it was an entertaining bundle of short stories.
* Last up is The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson. I really like her prose and the story, although I could have done without the love triangle. It’s quite a sad read for the Holiday season though!

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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Now I have a copy of Illuminae by Amie Kaufman, I want to start reading it ASAP! Although I might wait until after Bout Of Books 15.0 because it’s quite a long read… I also want to read The Death Code by Lindsay Cummings so I can cross of another series from my to-finish list. The Sin Eater’s Daughter by Melinda Salisbury looks like a quick read, so I might pick that one up for the read-a-thon… And Serafina And The Black Cloak by Robert Beatty is my new TBR jar pick.

Friday Finds #62 – November 27th

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FRIDAY FINDS is originally featured at A Daily Rhythm and showcases the most interesting books I’ve encountered during the last week and have added to my neverending TBR list on Goodreads. Below a selection of my newest additions; click on the book descriptions to go to its Goodreads page! 😀

My finds:

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