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It’s springtime of senior year, and psychic sleuth Daisy Giordano is preparing to say goodbye to Nightshade High. But no college acceptance letters have arrived yet, and she’s beginning to worry about where she’ll end up come fall — and if it will be anywhere near her boyfriend, Ryan. But that’s not the only uncertainty Daisy’s dealing with. There’s a vamps versus shifters war going on in Nightshade, and things are so tense that there is talk of canceling the prom. The conflict is carrying over to the Giordano ...
It’s springtime of senior year, and psychic sleuth Daisy Giordano is preparing to say goodbye to Nightshade High. But no college acceptance letters have arrived yet, and she’s beginning to worry about where she’ll end up come fall — and if it will be anywhere near her boyfriend, Ryan. But that’s not the only uncertainty Daisy’s dealing with. There’s a vamps versus shifters war going on in Nightshade, and things are so tense that there is talk of canceling the prom. The conflict is carrying over to the Giordano home, since Rose and Daisy are both dating werewolves and Poppy’s new boyfriend is a vampire.
Daisy’s investigations involve mysterious new folks in town — and some old familiar faces, like her nemesis, celebrity chef/sorceress Circe Silvertongue. Can Daisy persuade Circe to free the spirit she trapped in a jukebox long ago, and to change her pet pig, Balthazar, back into the man he once was? Can the paranormal community in Nightshade finally find peace? And will Daisy and her friends survive graduation? All of these questions and more are answered in this explosive installment in the Dead Is series.
I was haunting the mailbox. It was already late March and I should have been receiving an acceptance letter anytime, at least that’s what I hoped. I had applied to three colleges,
but UC Nightshade was my first choice.
It might seem weird to want to stay in the same small town where I’d always lived, but my father, through no fault of his own, had been away from the family and hadn’t been back home that long. I couldn’t bear to disappoint him by leaving.
Besides, my two older sisters already went to UC Nightshade,
so I’d have the benefit of their advice. And more important,
my boyfriend, Ryan, was applying to UC Nightshade too.
On my way home from school I spotted someone in a blue uniform standing in front of our mailbox. The postal carrier!
But when I rushed up I was surprised to see it wasn’t our usual carrier. Instead it was a strange woman with light brown hair who was standing with one hand in our mailbox.
“Where’s Mr. Johansson?” I asked. He’d been our mail carrier for years.
The woman turned, startled, and I noticed a purple birthmark on her face.
“Vacation,” she mumbled, and hurried off.
I was disappointed to find the mailbox empty. The anticipation was going to kill me. My whole family had noticed my frequent trips to the mailbox, and Poppy sometimes messed with me by hiding the mail.
Mom’s car was in the driveway, which meant she was home already. I walked through the front door and into the hallway.
“Daisy, the mail’s on the kitchen counter,” Mom called from upstairs. It was unusual to find her home before me on a weekday.
It must be a slow day for crime. Mom was a psychic investigator,
and she helped local law enforcement agencies with their cases. It made life interesting, since Nightshade’s chief of police was the father of my boyfriend.
Ryan and I seemed to have inherited their taste for crime solving, since with his help I’d solved several crimes in Nightshade.
You know what they say: The couple that solves crimes together stays together. Well, they don’t really say that, but they should.
I thumbed quickly through the pile of mail. Bills, junkmail,
and a thick envelope for my father, but there wasn’t anything for me.
“Mr. Johansson says hello, “Mom continued.
“The mailman? I thought he was on vacation,” I said.
“What did you say?”Mom hollered.
“Never mind,” I replied.
Just then, my cell buzzed. It was Ryan. “Did you get anything yet?” he asked.
There was silence on the other end of the phone for a moment. “Nothing,” he eventually replied.
“Cheer up,” he said. “They’ll be here soon.”
“I’m getting tired of waiting,” I said.
“Me too,” Ryan admitted.
The unspoken tension between us was caused by one question:
What would happen between us if we ended up at different colleges?
Not to mention that my boyfriend was a werewolf, which might be difficult to hide at the dorms. Hiding my psychic abilities would be comparatively easy. The existence of paranormals was starting to be known and accepted in Nightshade,
but not everyone in the world had that attitude.
The thought sent me into such a deep funk that I almost missed Ryan’s invitation.
“Do you want to do something tonight?” he asked.
“I have to work,” I said.
“How about Friday? We’ll make it a special date.” I was flattered by his insistence.
“Of course,” I replied. “What do you have in mind?”
“I just want to see you,” he said.“You’ve been so busy lately.”
I’d been busy, it was true, but I also had been avoiding him,
using work as an excuse. Everyone said that long-distance relationships never worked. I didn’t want to get even closer to Ryan only to break up when we left for separate colleges, or later, when distance took its toll. If we both ended up at UC Nightshade, our relationship stood a chance.
I missed him, though, and couldn’t resist temptation.
“I’ll make you dinner,” I offered. “Everyone will be out of the house.”
At least, I was pretty sure they would be. Rose would be out with her boyfriend, Nicholas Bone, and Poppy had a date.
She’d been out with her new guy, Liam, almost every night.
Even my parents would be out attending some faculty function at UC Nightshade, where my dad now taught part-time.
“Why don’t we go out to dinner?” Ryan asked. “There’s something I wanted to talk to you about.”
Why can’t he talk to me at home? “Sure,” I said. “Slim’s?”
“I was thinking maybe dinner at Wilder’s,” Ryan replied.
Wilder’s? That was a special-occasion restaurant, not the kind of place we normally went on date night. I once had a few cooking lessons from their former chef, although the lessons were more like unpaid labor than a learning experience.
“Okay,” I said after a long pause, “but I thought you were saving money for college.”
“You’re worth the splurge,” Ryan said. “I’ll make a reservation for seven.”
We hung up after I realized I needed to be at work in half an hour. Business had picked up at Slim’s Diner, so I’d been working a lot, which was helping with my college fund. If I got into a college, that is.
I went to talk to my sister Poppy about using the car that night. Both Rose and Poppy still lived at home while they attended UC Nightshade.My parents were ecstatic at the idea of me doing the same. Poppy was on the phone, as usual, but she broke offher conversation to stare at me.
“What?” she said. “I’m on the phone.”
“Can I have the car tonight?” I asked.
“Sure,” she said. “My date is picking me up here.” She’d been awfully mysterious about Liam. We’d met him at an event on Halloween, but she hadn’t brought him home and didn’t talk about him at all to us, which was definitely not like Poppy.
I drove to work, still wondering what Ryan wanted to talk to me about.
Once there, I went in search of my boss. Slim’s had red leather booths, the best cinnamon rolls in the county, and a prophetic jukebox. Not your average diner at all. And the owner and his sister were far from average, as well. The head waitress,
Flo, was on her cell phone, in the middle of a very giggly conversation. Probably with her boyfriend. I decided not to interrupt.
There was no sign of Slim, but since he was invisible, there never was. I went in search of him to see what he needed me to do first. I waited tables or helped out in the kitchen, depending on the day.
The kitchen looked empty, but I knew enough to doublecheck.
“Slim?” I said into the air.
“Hi, Daisy,” a voice said.
“Where do you need me tonight?” I asked.
“I’ve got the dinner menu under control,” he said. “Why don’t you help Flo?”
Flo was still giggling into her cell phone, so I grabbed some quarters and went to say hello to Lil, the jukebox. She’d given me a ton of clues during my investigations. A few months ago, I’d discovered that there was a soul trapped in there. I’d promised to help her escape her jukebox prison, but so far, I hadn’t found a way to do so. I wasn’t ready to give up yet, though.
I punched in a few random selections and waited. Nothing.
Lil was miffed, and I didn’t blame her.
“I’m working on it, I swear,” I said. “But Circe took her show on the road and hasn’t stepped foot in Nightshade since we found out.”What we’d found out was that sorceress and celebrity chef Circe Silvertongue was responsible for trapping Lil in the jukebox and turning her fiancé into a pig.
“A Little Less Conversation” by Elvis Presley came on. Lil was getting impatient.
“Message received,” I told her. “A little more action it is. I’ll try to figure out what our next step is.”
Lil responded with “Inspiration Information” by Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings and then went silent.
My friends Samantha Devereax and Sean Walsh walked in and sat down at one of the smaller booths. I went over to say hi.
“What are you two doing here tonight?” I said. “You’re all dressed up.”
Samantha looked gorgeous. She wore a minidress with an itty-bitty cardigan thrown over it. She had her hair piled high and wore long sparkly earrings.
“We’re celebrating,” Samantha said. “Sean signed his letter of intent.”
“Congratulations,” I replied. “But what’s a letter of intent?”
It wasn’t my imagination that they exchanged a meaningful glance.
“Intent to play,” Samantha said.“Sean’s going to play college baseball with the University of California, Irvine.”
Letter of intent? Shouldn’t Ryan be signing one of those letter thingies?
“I think Slim has some sparkling cider in the back,” I said, “left over from Nightshade’s anniversary party. I’ll bring some out.”
“That would be fabulous,” Samantha said.
Samantha wasn’t angsting like the rest of us. She already knew where she was going—UC Nightshade, where her dad was a big-deal professor. Where my father used to be a big-deal professor and now was a part-time instructor. Big difference.
He had a lot more time on his hands now. Maybe that was why nowadays getting the mail was the highlight of his day.
My dad didn’t seem to mind that Mr. Devereaux’s book was doing very well, even though it was based on research he had done with my dad. But Mr. Devereaux didn’t have much money after a pricey divorce from Sam’s mom.
“Slim, is it okay if I comp some of that sparkling cider we still have in the cooler? Sam and Sean are celebrating,” I said. I explained the occasion, just in case he thought I was trying to score freebies for my friends without a good reason.
“Of course,” he said. “And I’ll whip up some special appetizers on the house.”
“Thanks, Slim,” I said. “I’m going to borrow one of the linen tablecloths and some candles, too.”We used those on the rare times Slim catered an event.
I knew Sam and Sean were dining at Slim’s instead of somewhere fancier in order to save money. But there wasn’t any reason I couldn’t make their celebration extra special.
Five minutes later, the cider was chilling in a fancy silver bucket, the linen tablecloth hid the scarred tabletop, and Samantha and Sean were gazing into each other’s eyes. They were too love struck to even notice when I brought out their appetizers. Mission accomplished.
Lil even cooperated. She broke into a series of slow,
romantic love songs. The diner slowly emptied out, but Sam and Sean lingered over their dinner.
Flo was sitting on her favorite stool at the counter, eyeing the clock.
“Why don’t you go?” I said. “I’ll lock up.”
“Are you sure?” Flo asked, but she was already pulling on her jacket.
“Sure, go ahead,” I said.
After she left, I stuck a Closed sign up and locked the door,
then handed Samantha the check. She and Sean were still holding hands.
I was refilling the syrup containers when there was a knock on the door.
I went to explain to whoever it was that we were closed,
but then saw it was Natalie, Slim’s girlfriend. Natalie was a witch—a real one.
She had been at a coven training course in Salem for the last few months, and Slim had gone out to visit her a couple of times. Her absence had stymied my efforts to free Lil from the jukebox. Natalie was the only witch I knew, at least the only competent one. Penny Edwards didn’t count.
I unlocked the door and let her in.“Welcome home!” I said.
“Hi, Daisy,” she said. “I’m glad to be back in Nightshade.
Although I learned so much while I was gone.”
“Slim will be so glad to see you,” I said. “He’s been mopey.”
Natalie beamed. “I missed him too.”
“He’s cleaning up in the back,” I said. “But do you have a minute? I could use your help.”
Natalie wasn’t nearly as powerful as Circe Silvertongue,
but she was my only hope, especially since Circe had taken her pig and run. Maybe Natalie could at least point me in the right direction.
“I’d be happy to,” she said. She shot a longing look toward the kitchen but gave me an encouraging smile just the same.
“You’ve heard my theory about Lil?”
“That she’s really Mrs.Wilder’s missing sister Lily? Yes. It seems reasonable.”
“And I’m pretty sure that Circe’s pet pig, Balthazar, is really Lily Varcol’s missing fiancé, Bam Merriweather,” I added. “I want to try to break Circe’s spell. Can you give me any idea about how to do that? Besides getting Circe to do it herself.”
“That’s pretty advanced magic,” Natalie said.“But if it’s the kind of spell I’m thinking of, she might have used objects that were important to the victims to change them.”
“She did have this pen she used every day,” I said. “It had Bam Merriweather’s initials engraved on it.”
“Let me look into this,” Natalie said. “Most of my grandmother’s books are stored in the attic of her house. I’ll take a look there, and I might be able to ask some of the more experienced witches.”
Natalie’s grandmother, Mrs. Mason, had died in a fire that destroyed her greenhouse. She’d been helping the Scourge when she died. She hadn’t been a nice person, but she’d been the only relative Natalie had. Fortunately, Natalie had moved in with Slim, and the Mason house stood empty. The gardens,
however, were full of gorgeous flowers, fruits, and vegetables,
due to the combination of Mrs. Mason’s residual magic and Natalie’s hard work.
“Thanks, Natalie,” I said.“I’d appreciate any help you could give me. Is there anything I can do to help? Research stuff,
Natalie thought about it for a second.“Well, you could try The Nightshade City Library,” she replied.“Maybe there’s a text there that I don’t already own.”
I agreed to go take a look. I’d comb the dustiest library I could find if it would help.
I could tell by the way Natalie’s face lit up that Slim had come out from the kitchen, so I made myself scarce.
“It’s closing time,” I gently reminded Sam and Sean. As they rose to leave, I overheard a whisper from Sam. “I still think we should tell her.”
“Tell me what?” I said sharply.
“Oh, nothing,” Sam said. “Just that we’re nominating you and Ryan for prom king and queen.”
I made a face at her. “Don’t you dare,” I said. “If anyone should be Nightshade promqueen, it should be you. You were practically born to be queen.”
“I have plenty of crowns,” she said. “Winning again would be—”
“Awesome,” I interrupted her.
“I was going to say overkill,” she replied.“C’mon, Daisy. Live a little. It would be fun.”
I shrugged. There was no sense in arguing with Sam when she got in this mood.
I shooed them out of the restaurant, then locked up and went home.
To my surprise, all the lights were on at my house when I pulled into the drive. There seemed to be a lot of noise coming from the family room, so I headed that way.
My whole family, including Grandma Giordano, was congregated there.
“What’s going on? Why is everyone still up?” I asked.
My father held out a bottle of champagne. “We’ve been waiting for you,” he said. “We’re celebrating.”
“Celebrating what?” I was completely confused.
“My book deal,” Dad said. “I sold my novel.”
“What?” I said. “Congratulations! I didn’t even know you had finished it.”
“It’s not finished yet. I still need an ending.”
“Why didn’t you tell us you were submitting it?” Rose asked.
“I didn’t want to say anything at first,” Dad said. “I sent it out to a few places, and it got rejected so fast it made my head spin.”
“Your father is being modest,” Mom said. “It’s brilliant.”
Grandma Giordano chuckled.“I’m proud of you, son. Now pop that champagne.”
A second later, the cork shot out of the bottle and across the room. Poppy went to retrieve it and then handed it to Dad.
“You should keep it,” she said. “To remember your first sale.”
“There’s sparkling cider for the girls,” Mom said quickly.
“What’s the book about?” Poppy said. “Can we read it?”
A shadow passed over Dad’s face. “At first I thought I would write a memoir about what happened to me at the hands of the Scourge, but I eventually realized that no one would believe it,” he said.“So I did the next best thing. I turned it all into fiction. The Scourge, Nightshade, the kidnapping,
Something about this made me uneasy, but I tried not to Show it. I wasn’t so sure the Scourge would be happy to be reading about themselves, even in a novel.“What’s the title?” I asked.
“Nightshade,” he said.
“What?” I said. “Dad!”
“I’m just kidding,” he said. “I changed everything, even the names. And it’s also based on my research in genetics. It still needs an ending though. I was hoping I would remember something about my kidnapper’s identity.”
Although Dad didn’t remember parts of his abduction,
bits and pieces of his captivity were slowly coming back. My parents didn’t talk about it much, but Dad was seeing a therapist to help him deal with the trauma of his experience.
“What does Spenser Devereaux think of that?”Grandma asked. “You’ll be giving him a run for his money on the bestseller list now.”
Dad looked startled. “I told him about the book, but I didn’t ask him what he thought of the idea. Spenser took our research and turned it into a bestselling nonfiction book. Mine is fiction. I’m sure he doesn’t have a problem with that. We were partners, after all.”
“He didn’t seem to remember that when he published your findings,” Grandma reminded him gently. “He didn’t even include your name in the acknowledgments. And everyone knows that you did most of the actual research.”
“Spenser has been very supportive,” my father insisted. “In fact, he keeps asking to read it, but I told him that I’m keeping certain chapters under wraps until it’s published.”
Grandma snorted. “Spenser Devereaux is only concerned with Spenser Devereaux.”
“Mother, it’s fine,” he said, but I noticed his hands shook as he poured her a glass of champagne. “No one knew where I was. Spenser needed to forge ahead without me. He already knows I’m writing the book. I will tell him my good news myself.”
Mom picked up on Dad’s discomfort and changed the subject.
“What else did the editor say about your book, dear?”
Talk turned to things like deadlines and covers. I sipped my apple cider and smiled at the sight of my father’s face all aglow from his accomplishment. Things would work out for him. They just had to.
Posted December 30, 2010
This is the first of this series that I have read. I received a copy of this from the publisher, and I can not wait to get the four books that proceeded it! I am very curious about many things, such as where the Scourge (I think of them as the monsters who hide in your closet) came from, and the story behind Slim (Mr. Invisibility). I wish there was a bit more description about some of these fun characters (and a bit less with the kissing).
But, I really enjoyed reading this story. There is action in it, suspense, a major twist, a bit of kissing, true and lasting friends, families who stick by each other and a bit more kissing. I think this is a wonderful book for an older child or YA to read, and I enjoyed reading it (and I'm WAY older than that! :P)
It took me just a little while to get into the story, but once I started piecing things together, I couldn't stop myself. I just had to finish it.
4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 21, 2011
omg I may be young for this book but this is the best series and books I have ever read in my life and I hope everyone thinks that
3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 3, 2012
Oh i loved this seris but this one has to be my favorite, read this o,in the matter of 2 hours!!! I couldnt put it down, it had me predicting until the end and still i was wron gwoth all my predictions, i cried, i laugh and i definelty loved this book(:
2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 2, 2011
I've read all of the books in the 'Dead Is' series and this book is amazing. Once i started reading, I couldn't stop. This has to be one of my favorite books.
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Posted January 12, 2011
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Posted June 12, 2013
Although I often try not to find faults in the ending of a series, I must say this one changed my mind. I have read every other novel that depicts the adventures of Daisy and Ryan, and thisbone was by far the worst. The ending chapters (at least 10) were rushed, and felt like nothing but filler. 3 Stars at its best.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 14, 2013
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Posted December 3, 2012
It just killed me when they found ryans dad i cryed and my mom asked me if i was ok. I dont think the new people in the books are good, but i really dont want to read it because it looks stupid. After seeing some of my friends read it i gave it a try and i read all of the books!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 13, 2012
This is a great, light-hearted and fast-paced YA series of books! It is a YA book so you have young dating drama which appeals to that audience. The quirky, enjoyable blend of paranormal, romance, mystery, and light-hearted life experiences is engaging. The main character, Daisy is likeable, sassy, and relatable. I think the characters are well developed and likeable.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 3, 2012
Posted April 11, 2012
Marlee perez really knows how to keep her readers on edge!!!!! She gave an ending that i never saw coming and that is unusual in most book series!!!! Cant wait for the next installments! Keep writing marlene perezWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 27, 2012
Posted March 5, 2012
Love this series. Everyone should read the whole series!! Now I'm wondering, will there be a sixth book? Probably not, but still, love the ending of this book except one sad part. Love this series and great fifth book!!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 18, 2012