Friday, July 17, 2015

Book Review & Giveaway (US): Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatty

Received: Finished copy from publisher
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Pre-order links:  Amazon, Barnes & Noble,IndieBound.
Robert can be found on twitter @BeattyAuthor and online at

This book was not at all what I was expecting, and for once that was a very good thing. Ok, so things I thought I'd get:
  • Engaging mystery
  • Exploring the awesome Biltmore Estate
  • Gothic spookiness
And I got all that. The mystery wasn't the biggest draw for me, but that's mostly because I liked so many other things more. It was kind of like, oh look! A secret passage! Oh, right, and kids are missing, too!

I was easily distracted away from the mystery, but chalk that up to my short attention span and lots of other cool plot points. Plus, the climax of the mystery, oh, and that scene in the carriage, and the graveyard, YIKES x10000!

Though, the Gothic spookiness was more paranormal/fantasy spookiness. But, hey, I like paranormal spookiness, especially when it's historical paranormal fantasy, so I quickly got over the less Gothicky feel.

What I wasn't expecting, but thankfully got anyway:
  • An intrepid, wholly likable heroine who totally gets a sleepover party invite
  • A thoroughly heart-swelling, charming, loving relationship between Serafina and her dad
  • A beyond endearing bosom friendship between Serafina and Braeden
  • A secondary paranormal mystery and cool paranormal creatures
  • A loyal dog
  • Mountain lions! (couldn't not think of Benji)
I won't go into details about any of those things, but this would have been a solid 3.5 star enjoyable read and those features bumped it up to 4 stars. The relationships made this such a feel-good book, despite all the dark, creepy, spooky things going on.

The secondary paranormal mystery hooked me even before the missing kids mystery and the conclusions to both were very satisfying. The whole book also had an old-timey feel that really went well with both the relationships and the mysteries.

Bottom line

Highly recommended. Serafina and the Black Cloak stands apart for its unique, engaging story, but it is the characters and their relationships that will make this one stay with me long after I've finished reading it. I loved this as an adult, and middle-grade-Small would have loved this, too.

(And middle-grade-Small would have been swooning all over Braedon and his not-quite-romantic-but-I-totally-would-have-imagined-romantic relationship with Serafina).

Side note: the finished copy is gorgeous! Deckle edges and an old-timey paper coloration with swirling black branch designs. 

I'm kind of 50/50 about book trailers, but the trailer for this book is one of the good ones. I watched it before I started reading (when, honestly, I was still kinda feeling so-so about the book) and it really upped my motivation. Then, when reading the book, I couldn't stop picturing the trailer and it definitely enhanced my reading experience.

Info for the giveaway:
  • What you can win: An ARC, a bookmark, stickers, a pen, and a notebook 
  • As always, you do NOT have to be a follower
  • This giveaway is US only
  • You must be 13 years of age or older
  • One entry per person
  • I will contact the winner through email and the winner will have 24 hours to reply before a new winner is chosen 
  • This giveaway closes on July 31st 


  1. Interesting trailer! Is the dress important?

    I've been hearing a lot about this book lately, and your review has clinched it for me. Must get my hands on this one!

    (Too bad I can't enter your giveaway :()

    1. Yes, the dress is important! Finally a pretty dress that actually matters in the story :)

      Sorry about the giveaway restrictions! The book is coming direct from the publisher, so it's their call :(

  2. I do not really read paranormal kind of books, but this sounds interesting. I would definitely give it a read, just to see if I liked it.

  3. Ah, it's always excellent when a book not only meets your expectations, but exceeds them :) And that's actually a pretty good trailer as far as book trailers go! This sounds like something I would enjoy too, so I'll have to add it to my tbr.


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