Monday, March 31, 2014

The Violet Hour by Whitney A. Miller - Guest Post & Giveaway! [Review]

The Violet Hour
The Violet Hour by Whitney A. Miller
Series: Scarlet #1
Genre: YA Paranormal
Release: March 8, 2014
Hardcover: 312 Pages
Publisher: Flux
My Copy: Publisher (Netgalley)
Reviewer: Shannon
Buy the Book: Amazon

Book Summary:
The voice inside me is breaking free. I can't stop it.

Some call VisionCrest the pinnacle of religious enlightenment. Others call it a powerful cult. For seventeen years, Harlow Wintergreen has called it her life.

As the daughter of VisionCrest's patriarch, Harlow is expected to be perfect at all times. She must be considered a paragon of integrity by the other Ministry teens and a future leader in the eyes of the world.

Despite the constant scrutiny Harlow is keeping a dark and dangerous secret, even from her best friend and the boy she loves. She hears a voice in her head that seems to have a mind of its own, plaguing her with violent and bloody visions. It commands her to kill. And the urge to obey is getting harder and harder to control...
(Courtesy of the Publisher)

Shannon's Thoughts:
This book was bananas.  And I mean that in good way.  I can honestly say I have never read anything quite like it and it defies labeling.  My favorite parts were the darker elements such as the creepy cult aspect, because I could actually see something like VisionCrest existing.  Harlow's visions were horrifying.  I was properly wigged out.  If you are squeamish, be prepared.  I thought I would know where everything was heading, but by the last third of the book it was obvious I was wrong.  It took some very twisty turns.   At times it was a little hard to connect with the characters, particularly Harlow's best friend who is very fond of cutesy sayings.  And there were some times I was saying to myself "what the heck is going on?!"  But overall, I enjoyed it for the creepy factor and its originality.  I loved the southeast Asian setting and having a POC main character. 

I recommend this book to horror fans and people that like dark, creepy material.  Like I said, I haven't read anything quite like it before.  And after that cliffhanger, I am anxious to get my hands on the sequel. 

Guest Post:
I was originally supposed to be apart of the Blog Tour for this book, but had a little snafu with the review copy.  Whitney was super nice and agreed to do a guest post and giveaway after I had a chance to read the book.  Whitney kindly sent me an interview with Harlow for Mirror, Mirror Magazine:

Mirror, Mirror Magazine
Profiles in Power - Special Issue
May 1, 2014

 Cover Story: “Inside the Inner Eye – the Weird, Wild World of Harlow Wintergreen”
by Carmen de Cirque, Editor in Chief

“Hello Ms. de Cirque. I’ve been so looking forward to your visit,” the stunning first daughter of VisionCrest says to me, bowing her head slightly in what I understand is the customary gesture of greeting of this cult-like religion.

Harlow Wintergeen steps aside as I enter the sleek, well-appointed room on the penthouse floor of the Park Hyatt Tokyo. With floor to ceiling windows and a 360 degree view of the Tokyo skyline, it defines the standard of luxury. I take in her impeccable uniform – the innocuous tartan skirt, lily-white knee socks, and soft gray cardigan bearing the ubiquitous logo of the All Seeing Eye – and can’t help but feel like I’m seeing a saint come to life. How often does one have the opportunity to meet the central figure of a worldwide religious phenomenon?

No one was more surprised than I was when the letter arrived—the head of Public Relations at VisionCrest, the world’s biggest and least forthcoming religion, had a proposition for me. Would Mirror, Mirror Magazine be interested in doing an exclusive interview with Harlow Wintergreen, adopted daughter of the charismatic leader of VisionCrest? If it weren’t for the stationery bearing a watermark of VisionCrest’s famous Inner Eye logo and the fact that the message had been delivered by a member of the religion-cum-cult’s infamous Watch, I would have assumed it was some kind of practical joke. The letter politely requested that I meet a VisionCrest jet on the tarmac of the Santa Monica airport that evening. And just like that, three hours later I was flying to Tokyo on a G5 with three stone-faced Watchers and a gnawing worry about what I’d gotten myself into. As a decorated journalist who spent an entire year embedded with the United States of South America Army during its war with the African Congress, I was surprised to find that traveling alone into the uncharted territory of VisionCrest’s inner circle had me more than a little afraid. Now, here I was, with Harlow Wintergreen herself.

“Please, sit down,” Harlow says, a ghost of a smile not quite reaching her unusual green eyes. Her hands tremble slightly in her lap as she takes a seat on the black leather couch opposite mine. “Would you like some water?”

She nods slightly at a black-clad Watcher with an assault rifle slung across his back, so still and statue-like in the shadows of the room I hadn’t noticed him until now. He dutifully fetches water from the in-room bar, an act which seems incongruous with his military demeanor. Harlow clears her throat softly and I return my attention to her. I understand that we will only have a few minutes. It’s important to make them count.

“Thank you for speaking with me. The readers of Mirror, Mirror will be so delighted to hear from their most admired icon.”

“Icon?” Harlow swallows hard, as if she has no clue that the world outside her reclusive VisionCrest compound finds her an object of endless fascination. The idea seems to make her very nervous.

“Well, yes. There’s a legion of young girls who look up to you. You’re something of a mystery to much of the world—even the followers of your own religion—but people seem to feel a connection to you. Like they know you somehow,” I say.

Even I’m surprised and unsettled by my reaction to being in her presence. There’s something…otherworldly about her. I thought I was impervious to her mystique, but suddenly I’m fawning.

“It’s not my religion,” she says, her voice firm at first then faltering. “I mean, the Fellowship is for everyone. It’s no more mine than it is anyone else’s.”

I suspect that’s not what she meant. The Watcher sets a glass of water down in front of me, and gives me a piercing look that feels like a warning. I haven’t even moved beyond fluff, and already I’m being threatened.

“Miss Wintergreen, I hope you don’t mind but I’m going to come right out and ask you—what can you tell our readers about the alleged abductions that have been happening within VisionCrest? Isn’t it true that your own boyfriend, Adam Fitz, was kidnapped and then returned without explanation only months ago?”

Harlow looks momentarily caught off guard, and is about to answer when a side door swings open and a young girl, about Miss Wintergreen’s age, bursts into the room. “La-di-da-di Who likes to party? It’s Harajuku time, baby!” a gravely voice cries out.

The interloper has a cloud of corkscrew hair and rainbow-striped knee-highs. She plops herself down right next to Harlow. “Oopsie-daisy! Didn’t know you had company. Who’s this?” she asks, digging her fist into a bowl of mixed nuts on the table and chomping away, studying me like I’m some foreign organism. 

“This is Ms. de Cirque, from Mirror, Mirror Magazine. She’s doing an interview with me. Ms. de Cirque, this is my best friend Dora Elber.”

I recognize the name—Dora’s father is a member of VisionCrest’s elite leadership, the ominously-named “Ministry.” Dora stops chewing and lets her mouth hang open in shock.

“Holy guacamole! From Mirror, Mirror? For reals? The Ministry is pimping you out for interviews now? Mercy is going to have a cow! No, a rhinocerous!,” Dora exclaims. I assume they’re referring to Mercy Mayer, another Ministry daughter. Rumor has it she and Harlow don’t get along, possibly a rivalry for Adam’s attention. Occasional leaks do make it out of the closely-guarded gates of VisionCrest’s compound, but they are near impossible to confirm.

“Miss Wintergreen and I were just discussing the abduction of Adam Fitz,” I said.

Dora rolls her eyes dramatically while Harlow shifts uncomfortably in her seat. Harlow’s eyes keep flitting to her own reflection in a mirror on the wall next to us, like she half expects it to jump out and attack her.

“Purity,” Harlow mumbles.

“What’s that?” I ask.

Harlow’s eyes snap to me in alarm. “Did you hear that?”

“Hear what? That you said purity?” I ask.

Harlow’s face goes pale, and Dora looks back and forth between us with a mix of confusion and boredom written across her features.

“Are you almost done? We’re going to miss the trip to Takeshita Alley,” Dora asks, shaking her friends knee.

“About those abductions—“ I try again.

“We’re done. The interview’s over,” Harlow says, an edge of panic in her voice. She looks to the mirror once again. I follow her gaze, and for one crazy second I swear I see her reflection look me in the eye. In that moment, the mirror shatters. Every rational thought leaves my mind.

As if on command, the Watcher is at my side. “It’s time to go,” he says in a deeply official voice, grabbing my elbow and pulling me to my feet. He brandishes his gun and hustles me to the door.

I get one last glance back at the elusive Harlow Wintergreen. Her friend Dora is jabbering away about the mirror, bouncing around in front of it talking about earthquakes and aftershocks. But Harlow remains sitting on the couch, one finger to her temple, mumbling something. I’m no lip reader, but I could swear she was saying “Death.”

Just five minutes in the weird, wild world of Harlow Wintergreen and I couldn’t be more ready to leave. To be honest, dear readers, I hope never to return again. Something about that girl just isn’t right.


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Disclosure:  I reviewed a copy free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

1 comment :

  1. I did find it original, but I also didn't like the best friend with the cutesy sayings. I wouldn't label it a horror, but I don't know WHAT I would label it. I was very entertained reading it, but sometimes confused, just like you.



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