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The Secrets of Hawthorne House by Donald Firesmith - Book Tour & Review + Giveaway

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The Secrets of Hawthorne House
by Donald Firesmith

Teen Paranormal Mystery

Matt's life changes forever when a family of druids moves into the
dilapidated Victorian mansion next door. The story of an unlikely
friendship, the clash of two completely different cultures, secret
magic, and a search for the lost Hawthorne treasure.
Fifteen-year-old Matt Mitchell was having the worst summer imaginable. 
Matt’s misery started when a drunk driver killed his mother. 
Then his father moved him and his twin sister to the small town of Hawthorne 
in rural Indiana, as far as his grieving father could take from the ocean that
Matt's mother had loved. At the new high school, three bullies are
determined to make Matt miserable. And to top it off, Matt learns
that the recluse who lives in the 'haunted house" next door is
none other than Old Lady Hawthorne, the town’s infamous witch and
murderer. Matt’s terrible summer is turning into an awful autumn
when something quite unexpected happens. Old Lady Hawthorne’s niece
and her three children arrive, and Matt meets Gerallt.

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The Secrets of Hawthorne House is the first book I've read by Donald Firesmith, and I have to admit I really enjoyed it. My sister has reviewed his Hell Holes series, so I figured it was time I discovered his writing as well. 

This story has a middle-grade vibe to it, but is also something that will appeal to young adult readers, and even adult readers. I may be 34, but I consider myself a kid at heart, and I love reading MG/YA stories more than anything else, I think. 

The Secrets of Hawthorne House is, at its core, a story about family. The main character, Matt, has lost his mom, and now his dad is uprooting them all (Matt, his sister, his father) and moving them back to the small town his dad grew up in. And to make matters worse, the house next door is supposedly inhabited by a mean, evil witch (or so the rumors say). Needless to say, Matt has a lot he has to deal with.

But, as Matt soon discovers, not all rumors are to be believed, and some secrets are worth uncovering. Especially when the "witch's" niece and her three kids move in next door as well. There's more than meets the eye when it comes to Gerralt, and Matt finds himself befriending the strange boy. 

I don't want to spoil anything about the book and what's really going on, nor do I want to give away the secret. I will, however, say that this was a really fun book. It's got a lot of heart. I liked that Matt didn't let the rumors about his neighbor keep him from interacting with her. I also liked how Gerralt was willing to jump to the aid of a boy he barely knew because of bullies. With how rampant bullying seems to be nowadays, seeing a victim with a friend who's willing to stand up for them was nice. 

The characters are all really well-written. I thought Matt's dad, while a in his own world (understandable, though), he was a good, decent person who just wanted to do whatever he could to take care of his family. I also liked pretty much everyone else in the story, save for the bullies and the principal of the school (and a couple of the teachers too). They were the ones you just couldn't help but dislike. Some more than others.

The book has an exciting plot, full of adventure and thrills. It was interesting to see how everything played out, and the pacing was good too. It didn't lag, nor was it too quickly paced. I found myself intrigued and curious to know what the secret was, and what would happen after it was discovered. 

And that ending... Well, I won't spoil that, but it did make me even more interested in reading more by Mr. Firesmith.

Overall, The Secrets of Hawthorne House was a great book, and I'd recommend it to fans of mysteries, YA readers, and people who enjoy stories with paranormal elements. There's a lot going on, but it's well worth the read. Definitely check it out!

4.5 stars from me!
A geek by day, Donald Firesmith works as a system and software engineer
helping the US Government acquire large, complex software-intensive
systems. In this guise, he has authored seven technical books,
written numerous software- and system-related articles and papers,
and spoken at more conferences than he can possibly remember. He's
also proud to have been named a Distinguished Engineer by the
Association of Computing Machinery, although his pride is tempered
somewhat by his fear that the term "distinguished" makes
him sound like a graybeard academic rather than an active engineer
whose beard is still slightly more red than gray.

By night and on weekends, his alter ego writes modern paranormal
fantasy, apocalyptic science fiction, action and adventure novels and
relaxes by handcrafting magic wands from various magical woods and
mystical gemstones. His first foray into fiction is the book Magical
Wands: A Cornucopia of Wand Lore written under the pen name Wolfrick
Ignatius Feuerschmied. He lives in Crafton, Pennsylvania with his
wife Becky, and his son Dane, and varying numbers of dogs, cats, and

Follow the tour HERE for exclusive content and a giveaway!

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