"To find out what a story's really about,' the Librarian said,

'you don't ask the writer. You ask the reader."

- SNOW & ROSE by Emily Winfield Martin

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A "Nobel Beehive Award" Review: DARKER STILL, A NOVEL OF MAGIC MOST FOUL by Leanna Renee Hieber

Darker Still
A Novel of Magic Most Foul
by Leanna Renee Hieber 
Release date: November 8th, 2011 
Published by: Sourcebooks Fire
Genre: Young Adult - Historical Fiction, Paranormal/Mystery, Romance
Format read: Paperback 


I was obsessed. 

It was as if he called to me, demanding I reach out and touch the brushstrokes of color swirled onto the canvas. It was the most exquisite portrait I'd ever seen - everything about Lord Denbury was unbelievable... utterly breathtaking and eerily lifelike. 

There was a reason for that. Because despite what everyone said, Denbury never had committed suicide. He was alive. Trapped within his golden frame. 

I've crossed over into his world within the painting, and I've seen what dreams haunt him. They haunt me too. Ha and I are inextricably linked - bound together to watch the darkness seeping through the gas-lit cobblestone streets of Manhattan. 
Unless I can free him soon, things will only get Darker Still

BOOK TRAILER - Darker Still by Leanna Renee Hieber


I could not put this book down!
Leanna Renee Hieber has an amazing ability to bring her writing to life: everything about Darker Still was dark, alluring and perfect. The storytelling, the characters, the scenery, the time period - everything was so spot on I felt like I was reading a classic. This has to be one of the best re-imaginations I have ever read - and I applaud her for taking on the famous The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde.

Darker Still is told through journal entries by Natalie Stewart, a 17 year-old girl who lost the ability to speak when her mother died right before her eyes when she was only 4 years old. Because of her disability  Natalie's father did the best that he could and sent her to a 'school' to, hopefully, regain her speech, but to also get her the best schooling a girl in her condition in 1870's can get. Natalie kept company with many books, learned sign language and kept herself busy with getting into trouble and being somewhat of a prankster at her school, all very harmless things, but Natalie showed enough spirit that everyone around her expected to just open her mouth and speak out loud as if she was never silent.
But as time moved on and she got older, she never did say anything to anyone.
Now that Natalie's schooling is over, she is determined to expand her world and join her father in his work at the Metropolitan Museum of Art as a consultant. And her first request is to acquire the portrait mentioned in the newspaper - Lord Denbury's painting.
The moment any one lays eyes on Lord Denbury's painting, they are instantly entrance by how realistic it is and can't help but join in on the bidding war to own the one-of-a-kind masterpiece. But there a few people that know that there is something much more to this piece of art, and in the wrong hands, bad things can happen to very good and innocent people. Especially after Natalie's discovers the true nature to Lord Denbury and his portrait. And she will do anything to protect it and its owner.
Natalie is such a strong person, motivated by love, she is determined to protect and save those she cares for no matter how dire the situation is. And Lord Denbury, Jonathon, is just as strong and loyal and willing to do what is necessary to protect Natalie and be her guardian angel in her nightmares and more...

Natalie's journal records a month worth of events in a past, but almost present, tense with letters and copies of police reports - all of the entries are very well thought out and piece the story at a strong and fluid pace. The writing is detailed enough to understand everything that is happening and the characters are all reachable, likable and imaginable - all so realistic.
Natalie and Lord Denbury's story is dark, consuming, exciting but is also romantic, believable and enduring. This book has made me a new fan of historical/paranormal stories! I highly recommend reading this one, and soon!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR - Leanna Renee Hieber

An Author, actress and playwright, Leanna grew up in rural Ohio, graduated with a BFA in Theatre, a focus in the Victorian Era and a scholarship to study in London. She adapted 19th Century literature for the stage and her on-act plays have been produced around the country. Her novella "Dark Nest" won the 2009 Prism Award for excellence in Futuristic, Fantasy, or Paranormal Romance. The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker, first in the "Strangely Beautiful" saga of Gothic Victorian Fantasy novels (Barnes & Noble bestseller) won two 2010 Prism Awards (Best Fantasy, Best First Book) and was optioned for musical theatre adaption currently in development. 
DARKER STILL: A Novel of Magic Most Foul, begins a Gothic paranormal saga set in 1880 New York City, named an INDIE NEXT title; a recommended buy by the American Book Association, a Scholastic book fairs "Highly Recommended" title and is a finalist in the 2012 Daphne du Maurier awards for excellence in Mystery/Romantic Suspense. 

Leanna is a proud member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, Romance Writers of America, and the International Thriller Writers. She is a proud co-founder of Lady Jane's Salon Reading Series in New York City. A member of Actors Equity Association and SAG=AFTRA, Leanna works often in television and film. She is playing the role of Deputy Kellion in Auror's Tale web-series. When not writing or on set, she loves a good Goth club, adventuring about her adopted hometown of New York City, where she resides with her real-life hero and their beloved rescued lab rabbit. 


  1. Oh wow! That good? For some reason I never had this book really on my radar, but you make me definitely wish to read it now! I love dark and exciting :))


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