A Beth-Hill Novel: Jacob Lane Series, Book 2: The Ninth Guest by Jennifer St. Clair (Fantasy/Young Adult)

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Bitten by Books (http://bittenbybooks.com/?p=162)
Rating: 4.5 tomestones

Ophelia’s Family has a problem. They have a huge castle, complete with fantastic antiques, books everywhere (including four signed first edition copies of Dracula), secret passageways and a dungeon. Their problem? The heating bill. Ohio winters are cold and with only a couple working members of the Family and her father unwilling to see reason and sell some of their stuff, the heating bill is becoming quite the problem. Ophelia’s Cousin Hector comes up with an idea that might just save the day. Host a Vampire B&B (”Spend the night in a vampire’s castle and Live to Tell the Tale”). Real in all senses of the word except in the guests eyes.

Determined that her summer break not be a complete waste, Ophelia invite her good friend Jacob Lane to join them at the castle. On the trip over, Jacob discovers a whole new problem and this one greatly more troubling. Hector might be a traitor to the Family and vampire hunters have infested the B&B guest list. Single-minded in their need to find proof of their suspicions, Jacob & Ophelia, accompanied by a human boy named Myron (one of the guests until they recruit him), begin searching the guests belongings and rooms for some hint of hunter.

Like a mad game of Clue each move they make uncovers more possible suspects, motives, and, well, clues that will leave you guessing until the very end. The second installment in the Jacob Lane series, The Ninth Guest is just as fabulous as the first.
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Katherine Maria Scott for TCM Reviews
In Jennifer St. Clair's novel The Ninth Guest, Book Two of the Jacob Lane Series, the young heroine Jacob Lane again finds herself in the middle of another mystery. School break was nearing its end, but Jacob was looking forward to visiting her friend Ophelia, who just happened to be a vampire. Dreading the coming year and the increasingly high cost for maintaining the Family castle, Ophelia's father was desperate to find a way to generate revenue to support the Family. And selling the fine art and rare books that cluttered and stuffed every crevice of the castle was not an option; those were sentimental objects the Family couldn't bear to part with.

Fortunately, Ophelia's human Cousin Hector came up with the idea of opening the castle up as a bed and breakfast to the public; "Spend the night in a vampire's castle!" The idea was perfect and what could possible go wrong. What human believed in vampires anymore? Vampire Hunters, that's who! And unlike vampires, they never signed the treaty with the Council agreeing to no aggression. Are there Vampire Hunters in the castle and how could they have gotten into in without the help of one of Ophelia's family? Which of the nine guests is it?

Ms. St. Clair has successfully delivered another Jacob Lane book. This reviewer finds her courageous female heroine refreshing and innovative to the genre. Ms. St. Claire skillfully leaves clues about for the reader to digest and provides intriguing subplots that drive and smoothly intertwine with the master plot. Secondary characters such as Myron are appropriately used to advance the storyline and provide additional clues and humor to the tale. The primary characters, Ophelia and Jacob, mesh well together and are ideally suited for this particular mystery adventure.

The Ninth Guest is the second book in the Jacob Lane series; however, this novel can be read as a stand alone. The suspense keeps the reader turning the pages in this fast paced novel. There are plenty of legitimate clues and enough "red herrings" and misinterpretations to send the sleuths and readers off in the wrong directions! This is an enjoyable Young Adult novel that would be loved by older readers as well. I also strongly recommend Ms. St. Clair's, The Tenth Ghost, the first novel in the Jacob Lane series, another excellent read!
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Tina Morgan for Fiction Factor (http://www.fictionfactor.com/reviews/ninthguest.html)
How do you know if a series appeals to its target audience? When that audience is eagerly anticipating the next installment. I told my daughter that The Ninth Guest, the second book in Jennifer St. Clair's YA fantasy series, was available and she asked to read it immediately. After finishing the book, she told me that my review had to say, "The book was good, hurry up and write the third one. Now."

High praise from a ten year old the reads voraciously. But she's not the only one excited about The Ninth Guest's release. Several students from her class had read The Tenth Ghost and couldn't wait to read Jacob Lane's next adventure. You would think that reading the book from a computer screen would have dulled some of the kids' interest but they weren't phased by this alternative publishing method.

The Ninth Guest opens with Ophelia's family facing a financial crisis and trying to find a way to keep their castle from crumbling to ruins. When a cousin suggests opening their ancestral home as a bed and breakfast, Ophelia is certain she's going to die of boredom trying to entertain a bunch of "humans". To help her survive the ordeal, she invites Jacob (the only human she likes) to spend a few weeks at the castle. Jacob arrives just hours before the first group of guests. All humans who have been lured in by the exciting concept of "surviving the night in a vampire's castle" even though most believe vampires are myths.

Trouble lurks around the corner when Jacob overhears a plot to bring vampire hunters into the castle and now Ophelia and her family are at risk. A novice wizard, Jacob knows she must rely on her wits to help save her friend but how to spot the vampire hunters? Myron, a boy their own age, is one of the human guests who doesn’t believe vampires are real, but when Uncle Rupert suddenly turns up missing, the two girls find Myron's not as obnoxious as they thought. Can Jacob enlist his aide without revealing the truth about Ophelia's family?

Secrets abound in the old castle and the three kids are kept on their toes avoiding danger. The threat becomes all too real when despite a treaty between the wizards, witches and vampires, the hunters stalk Ophelia's family and nearly murder the missing Uncle Rupert. They won't allow a little girl like Jacob stop them from killing every last vampire.

A delightful tale of friendship, family intrigue and magic, The Ninth Guest has the kids in my daughter's class lining up to read off the computer.

Jennifer St. Clair's characters capture the minds and hearts of her readers. The Ninth Guest establishes Jacob Lane as a unique series that has moved away from the elements in The Tenth Ghost that reminded me so much of another wizarding student.

The Ninth Guest is a * * * * 1/2 star read
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