Word Spelunking

The Nightmare Affair - Mindee Arnett Mindee Arnett's The Nightmare Affair is a refreshing and wonderful mix of whimsical, romance, mystery, and the supernatural. I had been very excited to read this book since I first learned about it last year and I'm happy to report that it doesn't disappoint!Dusty Everheart is a Nightmare. An actual, for reals Nightmare that feeds off of people's dreams. The 16 year old attends Arkwell Academy, a school for magickind beings. Dusty is half-human, half-magickind, and that, plus her mother's infamous reputation, hasn't helped her make friends at Arkwell. And when Dusty invades the dreams of human Eli Booker and discovers he's dreaming of a murder at Arkwell, a murder that comes true, things get super complicated for the Nightmare. Dusty must follow the dream-clues and the real-world clues she uncovers to stop the murders, but what she discovers is surprising.The idea of a living, breathing Nightmare fascinates me, as this isn't something we see a lot of in YA. And Arnett has taken this wicked cool idea and created something really unique, fun, and awesome. The Nightmare Affair not only offers an excellent story, but has a great heroine as well.Mindee Arnett weaves a fantastical and whimsical story that mixes the supernatural with the real-world wonderfully and in a way that is utterly absorbing. Arkwell Academy is home to all sorts of magickind- fairies, sirens, wizards, witches, demons, werewolves, and more- and Arnett blends real lore with her own creative spins to craft a magical world that is both familiar and unexpected. The world-building is vivid and nicely layered. Arkwell Academy makes for a really intriguing and cool setting, and is like a more modern Hogwarts.I greatly enjoyed the combination of mystery, action, and romance. The story itself is fairly predictable, but not in a super frustrating way. I would have liked a bit more subtlety when it came to the murder mystery, but there are plenty of twists and surprises to keep readers captivated and addicted. And for me, Dusty's journey with her new friends was far more fun and important than the actual destination (the ending).I really like Dusty and her voice. She's a very likable and relatable heroine, with a really fun snarky personality. This is a heroine that I didn't always agree with and, at times, I became frustrated with, but I always felt connected to her and rooted for her. Selene, Dusty's roommate and best friend at Arkwell, is such a fantastic supporting character. Selene is a beautiful siren that has taken a stand against sirens being objectified and turned into mere sexual idols, which is just so badass. She's got a charming fierceness and endearing loyalty to Dusty, and I loved her a lot.Dusty has two very different love interests, which does mean there's a slight love triangle. I actually didn't mind this love triangle much because I genuinely liked both guys. It took some time for Eli to grow on me, but he turned out to be quite sweet and likable. Paul, on the other hand, I liked him and his nerdy ways immediately. Dusty's chemistry with both boys is believable and fun. I'm not 100% ecstatic with how the romantic aspects played out, but I am definitely interested to see where they go from here.One of the more intense and complicated relationships in the book is between Dusty and her mother Moira. I have a love/hate relationship myself with dark, mysterious Moira and I'd love to learn more about her infamous past.MY FINAL THOUGHTS: The Nightmare Affair pulled me in with its intriguing premise and kept me captivated with its fresh, fun story and memorable characters. There's magic in Mindee Arnett's words and they've definitely cast a spell on me!

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