Blackwood - Gwenda Bond I do so love paranormal stories with plots that incorporate strange and/or mysterious circumstances surrounding real historical events, and this book certainly fits that description. Considered one of America's oldest and biggest unsolved mysteries, the Lost Colony of Roanoke was an attempt by Queen Elizabeth I to establish a permanent English settlement in what is present-day Dare County, North Carolina. 114 colonists ended up disappearing without a trace, with one of the very few clues being the word "Croatoan" carved into a post of a fence.

Hundreds of years later, Miranda Blackwood, our protagonist who is somewhat of an outsider due to her infamous family name, wakes up one morning in her home on Roanoke Island to find that her father has vanished along with more than a hundred others in town -- 114, to be exact. Together with her once-classmate and juvenile delinquent Phillips Rawling, a boy who can hear the voices of dead people, Miranda knows it's up to them to uncover the secrets of the Lost Colony in order to solve the mystery, and to save the missing.

There was a lot of potential here, and I could have easily pictured this book reaching new heights in supernatural creepiness when it comes to storytelling and atmosphere, but it didn't quite happen.

Don't get me wrong; this was one fine book and I liked it, but I very well could have LOVED it if the execution had been a little stronger and more ambitious. Granted, this book nails it when it comes to having all the trappings of a good paranormal YA novel, but it never quite takes off to become exceptional. On a related note, I've noticed that this seems to be the case for several early Strange Chemistry books I've read so far. Now that I've had a couple more of their recent titles under my belt, though, I definitely feel later books have been showing more flair. It's like it just took the imprint their first year to settle into their groove and start publishing stories that more and more fit their unique flavor and style.