Monday, February 18, 2013

Review: The Nightmare Affair by Mindee Arnett

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The Nightmare Affair
Mindee Arnett
Series: The Arkwell Academy, #1
Genre: YA Paranormal
Publication date: March 5th 2013
by Tor Teen

Sixteen-year-old Dusty Everhart breaks into houses late at night, but not because she’s a criminal. No, she’s a Nightmare.


Being the only Nightmare at Arkwell Academy, a boarding school for magickind, and living in the shadow of her mother’s infamy, is hard enough. But when Dusty sneaks into Eli Booker’s house, things get a whole lot more complicated. He’s hot, which means sitting on his chest and invading his dreams couldn’t get much more embarrassing. But it does. Eli is dreaming of a murder.

Then Eli’s dream comes true.

Now Dusty has to follow the clues—both within Eli’s dreams and out of them—to stop the killer before more people turn up dead. And before the killer learns what she’s up to and marks her as the next target.

*A copy was provided by Macmillan for review*


Nightmares! We all know what they are, we’ve all gotten them, but for Dusty, this is a little more literal than you would think. She IS a Nightmare, meaning she “feeds” by hopping into people’s dreams. However she soon learns that that’s not all there is to it–especially in her case.

For the lore and originality, this book gets all its points. I enjoyed learning about all the different paranormal beings in this book. While some are not what you would consider original–werewolves and faeries are hardly unheard of these days, Mindee brings us a slew of different beings that walk the grounds of this school and somehow, she manages to give them all a little flair of eccentricity to make them different, also menacing, while still touching base with the classics of their genres. I thought this was much more interesting than them being romanticized like we’ve become used to. As for the plot they envelop, it, too, brings out some good old classic lores involving well known paranormal beings from our childhood story books–with dark twists of course!

Sick of being forced to walk in her mother’s rebel shadow, Dusty is trying to find her own identity in this school full of magical beings. Being a half-breed, she’s been plagued with the notion that she’s a lesser being, having to deal with snide remarks and snickers since she started to attend Arkwell Academy. I liked that she’s a character who doesn’t take things too seriously or melodramatically, there is no angst with this one, she’s down to earth and puts her trust into the friends she does have, whom I have to say are quite loyal. With that said the main characters–Dusty and her immediate  surrounding–are likeable, and the romance included between some of them is kept light, but sweet. There is also a good number of adult characters included in the plot, some filling substantial roles, others nothing more than another name on a page. With this large a number of characters, though, it makes it difficult to develop a very deep connection with any of them, and for a mystery this often makes the big reveal emotionless–which was unfortunately the case for this novel.

Interesting is what I would call the end reveal. After hunting down a killer for a while, it’s always interesting to find out what exactly has been happening, why, and who is behind it. It’s difficult to point out the exact place where this one in particular lost its flair for me, but by the time we do find out all of the answers, I was indifferent about it all. This could be due to two things: I did figure out a large part of the mystery early on, some of it I personally found obvious enough to make me annoyed that the characters weren’t seeing it. Or–and I’m going to explain this the best I can without spoilers so bear with me–it could also be due to the way the twists were presented in the end: One twist is introduced, only to be turned around a minute later with another twist taking its place, annulling the first. This was done several times until finally reaching the “real” twist, which wasn’t much of a shocker for me, sadly.

Fun and refreshing with its creepy take on well known paranormal beings, The Nightmare Affair is an entertaining read that, even though it didn’t enrapture me as much as I was hoping, proved to be a fun read nonetheless.

3 Hot Espressos

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Canadian blogger, wife, mother, coffee lover, and sarcastic at heart! She has had a love for all things bookish since before Amazon and eReaders existed *le gasp*. You can also find her organizing tours and other fun things at Xpresso Book Tours.

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25 Responses to “Review: The Nightmare Affair by Mindee Arnett”

  1. Steph ⚡

    I felt pretty much the same way that you did! I’m glad you mentioned the predictability of the final reveal, I was wondering whether it was just me that found it a bit obvious or what. Great review!

  2. Nick

    I was interested in reading this book, but decided against it when I realized I didn’t have time for it. It sounds like an interesting story though especially since you mention that the paranormal beings are a little different. It’s too bad about the foreseeable ending though. I could see why that would frustrate you.
    Great review, Giselle!

  3. Mary @ BookSwarm

    I like that this MC is a completely different supernatural being. The creativity of that is definitely a plus. I can handle predictability, if the rest of the story is entertaining.

  4. Amy

    I’m on the tour for this one so I am reading it really soon. It sounds good, but not fantastic. I do like the idea of it, so hopefully it’s pulled off well enough to enjoy.

  5. Sirtsu

    First off, I love that cover! I really liked the sound of it, but you’re the third person I’ve seen who has given it a three star rating (or less). I don’t think I’m up for that right now, because I have so many other books to read that people I look up to when it comes to recommendations have liked and this will just have to wait. Plus, I’m usually not up for books that have predictable plots and I know something 100 pages before the narrator does. Lovely review, though!

  6. kimbacaffeinate

    Wonderful review cupcake, I am seeing reviews all coming in around a three. It is a shame that the twists and reveal fell flat, I do like the sound of the creatures and school.

  7. Michelle @ In Libris Veritas

    I’ve really wanted to read this one, it really is too bad that you didn’t enjoy this one more. It seems a lot of people like it but aren’t being blown away by it. I might have to wait on this one a little longer. Great review!

  8. A Canadian Girl

    Sounds like there were too many twists – I never thought I’d say that lol – but I like the idea of a new paranormal being and that the story is a fun read. Great review, Giselle.

  9. Micheline D

    Hmmm, well I’m happy you seem to have liked this one overall. It’s a bummer that there were too many characters without any deeper connections to them. For me though the positive stuff you mentioned definitely outweighed the less impressive so I’m still pretty excited to read this one (soon!) I even broke my rule of not reading reviews before I read the book to check yours out, cause you rock but also because curiosity won over haha! Awesome review Giselle 🙂

  10. Candace

    I have really been looking forward to reading this one. I’m happy to hear she’s not angsty, that gets annoying. Even though this one wasn’t a WOW for you, I’m still really looking forward to it. I’m glad you mostly enjoyed it.

  11. Renae M.

    I gave this one 3 stars as well, I think. I loved the concept but this was a little to fluffy and shallow for me to love completely. I’m excited to read further books in the series, though!

  12. Soma Rostam

    It definitely does sound like an interesting read. And happily, I have received it for review from the publisher and it’s currently waiting for me to start it 😀 I also have Mila 2.0 to read , too!
    I love the idea of being a nightmare, and interesting and new paranormal beings. We do not see those often these days
    GREAT review, Giselle, as always
    Glad you liked this!
    Your reader,

  13. Ivana -WTSL

    I share your feelings…I thought it was a bit predictable, there were a few “wth” moments, and it reminded me a lot of Hex Hall, but overall it was ok. You don’t see a nightmare as MC a lot and that definitely earns it some slack.

  14. Molli

    I agree with your review, Giselle. I liked this one, and was absorbed in it enough to read in one sitting. It wasn’t one of those “blow me away,” books, but I loved the cute banter between the characters, and that Dusty was a spunky MC and a great narrator. I’m looking forward to reading more from Mindee. I think you hit the nail on the head with what you said about the twists and such. This one was a little less obvious than some murder mysteries I’ve read, so that made it more enjoyable for me, but I still ended up figuring out a lot of what was going on before the characters did. Still though, a good read!

  15. Alexa Y.

    This book looks really cute! I’ve got this to read (from NG) and I’m really excited to, especially as it sounds like there’s quite a few characters I’m going to like.