Shalini Boland lives in Dorset, England with her husband and two children where she grabs every spare second to write gripping suspense and dark adventures.
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The Child Next Door
The Secret Mother
The Girl from the Sea - a gripping psychological thriller
The Best Friend - a chilling psychological thriller
The Millionaire's Wife - a twisty psychological thriller
The OUTSIDE series - a post-apocalyptic adventure
The MARCHWOOD VAMPIRE Series - an epic romantic supernatural adventure
A SHIRTFUL OF FROGS - a WW2 time-twisting adventure
on June 10, 2013 :
I won a copy of this book in Elle Casey's January Anniversary Indie Book Giveaway.
To start with what I liked about this book, it's an interesting take on modern gothic! Madison, the working-class British orphan heroine, finds herself uprooted from her normal life and living with her younger brother in the mysterious old mansion that she's inherited from some distant relations.
I liked Madison a lot, but many of the other characters could have been fleshed out more. Too often, they felt throw-away, or only there for transparent narrative purpose (such as check a box on the "gothic" checklist, so to speak).
I also liked the dual story approach, with alternating chapters dividing Madison's story from the 19th century story of Alexandre. There was something that felt a little off about the 19th century sections - perhaps the old-fashioned language felt too forced? - but the only problem I ended up having regarding the POV shifts came later in the book, when the stories merged in the present day. The POV switches a bit wildly between Madison and Alex from that point on, from paragraph to paragraph at times, and was a little confusing.
This is an enjoyable book and a welcome addition to the Gothic YA subgenre. It also feels rather comlete as a story so I'm not sure what Book 2 will bring, but I do plan to read it!
(reviewed 5 months after purchase)
on Oct. 09, 2012 :
Loved it!! Can't wait for the next one!!
(reviewed 2 years after purchase)
on Aug. 16, 2012 :
Well written book. I am a huge fan of this series and I am so happy that I finally read this book as it is the first in the series. The characters are fascinating and loved reading about the different time periods. This is a must read book.
(reviewed 23 days after purchase)
on Aug. 16, 2012 :
Well written book. I am a huge fan of this series and I am so happy that I finally read this book as it is the first in the series. The characters are fascinating and loved reading about the different time periods. It was fun to read this plot. This is a must read book.
(reviewed 23 days after purchase)
on May 18, 2012 :
Love the adventure and romance will be reading more from this author. A++++
(reviewed 16 days after purchase)
on Feb. 08, 2012 :
This book is very hard for my to rate, mainly because these places won't let my give half stars. I would give this 3.5, I think. As it is, I'll go with three for "liked it" because I can't quite say that I "really liked it."
The pacing of this book felt very weird to me. It didn't feel consistently paced, and it wasn't until after the first hundred pages that I really got into it.
There were elements of the story that I liked. The dual story lines working towards a merging point was good. Madison was scrappy and I really liked Alexandre, as he was in the latter portion of the story. I think part of why I couldn't fully connect with the characters is a fault of mine. I didn't understand teenagers when I was one and I struggle with it now, so teen protagonists are hard for me.
I would have liked more show and less tell on the actual "falling in love" part of their relationship, but once I got over that, I did feel it. I liked a lot of their exchanges and the Alexandre versus the modern world was very well done.
But, I just keep coming back to the pacing. It felt slow, slow and then burst of action and then slow, skimming events, jumping around, then suddenly lots of stuff and tension and drama and... end. I think it would have suited my tastes, and my ever so humble opinion, if the plot and story telling had been more streamlined.
That being said, it was a competently told story and fairly written. It's not a bad story or book at all, and there were things I really liked. There were just elements that weren't quite to my reading tastes.
(reviewed 58 days after purchase)
on Dec. 10, 2011 :
As the first book in the Marchwood Vampire series, "Hidden" is the perfect introduction to a new series. The author masterfully balances captivating storytelling, adventure and tender moments throughout the story. Often you will ask yourself who you should trust and who not as some secrets are diligently kept for a surprise ending
There are a rather large number of important characters in “Hidden”. Introduced and developed in such a skillful manner, there is no danger of the reader getting them confused. Although the narrative switches back and forth between events in modern day England and the back story in the nineteenth century, I found it easy to keep track of and understand where I was in the story. The vivid and detailed descriptions of nineteenth century France and Turkey makes you feel as though you are there, experiencing the events along with the archaeologists and their families. From the underground city in ancient Cappadocia to rural England, we are taken on an unforgettable journey of adventure, suspense and romance.
The author takes the necessary time to create a believable and realistic background for the existence and very nature of her characters. She allows the characters to grow as the tale progresses: Maddy from a rebellious unhappy foster-care teenager into a responsible young adult and Alexandre Chevalier from a thoughtless Parisian socialite into a man who takes his duties towards his friends and family seriously.
There are also quite a great deal to smile about, as the language barrier is hilarious at times. Imagine a nineteenth century French aristocrat with a command of some formal Victorian English, suddenly catapulted into twenty first century England. Victorian English verses modern slang? Look at this excerpt.
`Do not take it too much to heart,' Alexandre said, watching her pace around the lounge. He stood in front of her and put a hand on her arm. `Your reaction was perfectly normal. Isobel would have screamed the house down and run for her life.' `Yeah, no offence to Isobel, but she's a Victorian chick and I'm supposed to be an enlightened street-wise hard-ass, not a wuss.'
`I maybe understood about three words in that sentence,' Alexandre replied. `Translation I'm embarrassed at being so scared of a skeleton and ashamed I treated Harold like that.' She covered her face and cringed as she remembered her over-reaction to the discovery of the skeleton.(excerpt)
Then there are some humorously presented pearls of wisdom like:
‘You can't start thinking what if. That's a short cut to a shit life.’ (excerpt)
The vampires in the Marchwood universe are also unique. Garlic, crosses, stakes to the heart, even an ax to the neck will not kill them. Oddly enough, the one thing that will is also the cure for the debilitating sleeping disease from which all vampires seem to suffer.
When you get to the last few chapters however, you will not be able to turn the pages fast enough while you sweat and panic towards the suspense-laden conclusion. Add to this some really tasteful romance and beautiful descriptions of nature and you have a book that is an absolute must read with the promise of a fantastic new series in the making. “Hidden” receives two thumbs-up and five well deserved stars! (Ellen Fritz)
(reviewed 43 days after purchase)
on Nov. 14, 2011 :
After a life lost in the foster care system, Madison is happy to learn that she has enherited a house where she and her brother can live. And not just a house, a grand estate, complete with large grounds, caretakers, and resident vampires. We learn Madison's story as well as the backstory of the vampires, until eventually their paths cross, and romance ignites.
When I saw that this book was marketed as a paranormal romance, I guess I went into it with a certain mindset. I expected it to be, well, kind of drippy, as many young adult paranormal romances seem to be. I think in this case, marketing this as a romance is a bit of a misnomer. The romance does not even occur until quite late in the book, and the story is so rich with action before we even get to the romance.
The story and narrative change with each chapter, in a structure where we alternately learn about Madison and we learn the backstory of Alexandre and the other vampires. I have to say, of the two storylines, I preferred learning about the vampires. I found the writing so much richer, luxurious even, with brilliant historical context, and was much more interested in those portions of the book. I was actually sad when the storyline got the the point where the past had been completely covered, and the focus was solely on the present.
While I thought the character of Madison was sufficiently developed, I much preferred the character of Alexandre and felt much more connected to his story. The book seemed more focused on him, and as a result, I was more invested in him than in any other character. Once the book is completely focused on the present, the action does pick up, with a bit of a twist ending. As this book is the first in a series, I am interested to see where the next book goes, and if I am better able to connect to Madison's character.
All in all, I think fans of young adult paranormal fiction will enjoy this book. While it may be listed as a romance, it clearly has much to offer across several genres.
(reviewed 4 months after purchase)
on Sep. 20, 2011 :
Hidden is the first book in the Marchwood Vampire Series by Shalini Boland. This story is a breath of fresh air in the young adult paranormal genre. Spanning centuries and continents, this lively story takes us on an intriguing journey of discovery and horror that you don't want to end. The story follows Madison Greene and her brother Ben, as their lives take a dramatic turn for the better. Moving out of foster care into their own home and immense wealth. But along with the wealth comes responsibility and intrigue. In this tale we see the past merge with the present in a chilling and exciting way, as Madison searches for answers and finds them from the most unexpected person ; Alexander Chevalier whom just happens to be a vampire.
The characters within the novel come to life and jump right off the page, I found myself easily immersed in the story from the late Victorian era of Alexandre's journey to Cappadocia, where he and his family unlock pure evil, then submerged into Madison's world of dealing with the present. The characters have depth and are very well rounded, along with the supporting characters that bring more insights and comical humor to the story. The love story is very well portrayed and done tastefully and well suited for a young adult audience. I found myself once again caught up in the feelings of first love.
This book is extremely well written and I was very impressed with the author's ability to tell two stories in completely different styles of writing; late Victorian for Alexandre's story, and present day for Madison's. She did a fantastic job and both stories flowed well throughout the entire book to merge into a great ending. One of the things I really enjoyed about this novel, was the author's ability to create terrifying and chilling scenes within the book. She led me through my own imagination as my mind brought up images of what was taking place. Much to my surprise I might add since I love gritty detail. The author also had a way with humor as the characters interacted in a truly comical way when Alexandre a Victorian Noble tries to find is way in the modern world.
All in all this book was a great read and I recommend it to anyone who loves a good vampire story. This is a unique tale that stands out among the rest due to the author's wonderful storytelling and her fresh new perspective on Vampires. I am looking forward to reading the next book in series "Thicker than Blood, Book 2" I give this book 4.5 Stars!
Reviewed for DarkissReads. www.darkissreads.com
(reviewed 4 months after purchase)
on Sep. 16, 2011 :
I enjoyed this one. It had an interesting take on vampires. I felt that this first book was slow in places but a necessary stepping stone to the second book, which I’m hoping will contain a more present antagonist and more of a threat. I suspect that this one will appeal to fans of Twilight.
(reviewed 15 days after purchase)
on July 31, 2011 :
A truly wonderful read. Story is well told, characters are well developed, and it's easy to fall into. I will look forward to the next in the series. It was real easy to read this all in one day of purchasing it because it's hard to put down.
(reviewed the day of purchase)
on July 09, 2011 :
I found this book on authonomy.com and I wanted to read more so I brought the pdf version.This book was addicted I put it down for anything! I can't wait to read of Alexandre in the Marchwood series two.
(reviewed 21 days after purchase)
on June 24, 2011 :
This was an amazing read. I could not even begin to put it down. So many twists and turns. Shalini Boland does an incredible job with originality and her writing style is spectacular. I really want to see this as a movie, or television show. The world setting and character were so well written you can literally see the story play out as you read. The storyline grabs you from the beginning, with suspense, romance, and mystery. The pace keeps the story moving, till the end, and what an ending it was. I found nothing distastefully with this book. A definite NYT Bestseller in my opinion. One I'd love to see another book to.
Come By and check out the giveaway going on and a Charater Interview:
(reviewed 8 days after purchase)
on June 19, 2011 :
I adored this book. It had everything I want from a novel. Maddy is a great character with attitude and I was rooting for her from the word go.
There's so much edge of the seat suspense and the story takes you to unexpected and original places. I also like the contrast with modern day and historical - it added to the excitement.
I'm not a young adult, but it was a great read which I think both teens and adults will love.
(reviewed 9 days after purchase)
on June 04, 2011 :
I am an unashamed Twilight nut, and I absolutely loved this. In fact Edward Cullen and Alexandre (from Hidden) are toughing it out for top spot on my bookshelf as i am writing this. It's beautiful, dark and richly gothic, and dead creepy too. It's got everything a teen would love (I'm not a teen by the way) leaving home for the first time, romantic old mansions in the country, pretty vamps and a truly creepy ancient city of underground vampires. And, most important, a cracking story.
If you have a Twi-shaped hole in your life, this will more than fill it. Can't wait for the next one in the series.
(reviewed 20 days after purchase)