Fiction · Five Stars · microreview · Review

Microreview: Sin Eater, by Megan Campisi

Sin Eater was an amazing read.

I picked it up this afternoon and didn’t put it back down until I was finished. I enjoyed the languid pace and the solid sense of time and place.

I thought I’d figured out the mystery pretty early on, but I was wrong. I did not see the twist coming and I thought the ending was perfect.

May is a scrappy, resourceful protagonist in an impossible situation and she really makes this story what it is.

I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are mine.

Fiction · microreview · Review

Micoreview: The Furies, by Katie Lowe

I enjoyed the slow burn of this book.

The writing is strong and intelligent and the mystery persists until the end, with many twists and turns along the way.

This is not a page turner, but I consider that to be strength, not a weakness. Violet is a not a protagonist to be inspired by, but rather one to empathize with and perhaps be cautioned by.

The setting felt almost gothic, which I found to be a great backdrop for such an unsettling story.

I’d recommend this book to the audience for whom it is intended—young adults, though some of us approaching middle age folk may enjoy it, too.

I received a ARC of this title from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are mine.

Fiction · Five Stars · Review · Romance

Secrets of the Chocolate House, by Paula Brackston

As I’d mentioned in my review of The Little Shop of Found Things, Paula Brackston is one of my favorite authors. I absolutely loved Little Shop, so it will not be surprising that I adored Secrets of the Chocolate House.secrets

Firstly, why are chocolate houses no longer a thing? Pshaw on coffee houses–bring on the chocolate!

Secondly, as much as I adored book one, this one was even better.

We got to know more about Xanthe as she grew as a spinner, and her motivations were clearer in this story. I felt like the story itself was deeper and richer.

Xanthe faced not one, but two, villains–Marcus, her annoying mildly menacing ex, and a mysterious, sinister fellow spinner who posed a real danger to both her and Samuel. It was an interesting contrast to see how she chose to deal with each.

Harley also stepped into his own as a main character and I really enjoyed his larger role.

Secrets doesn’t come out until October 22, but it will make a great cozy autumn read. I recommend it highly to all my witchy, time travely readers.

I received an ARC via NetGalley from St. Martin’s Press in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are mine.

Fiction · Paranormal · Review

The Witch’s Kind, by Louisa Morgan

I requested The Witch’s Kind from NetGalley because I love witchy books and I had previously read A Secret History of Witches.

I hadn’t loved Witches, but I did like it and felt like it was a book with a lot of potential. I thought the prose was beautiful–I just wanted more.

witchs kindAnd The Witch’s Kind gave me more.

It’s a different type of magic that winds its way through the pages, but I was taken in nonetheless. I read it a few months back, while the nights were still cool, and it was such a cozy, comforting read, despite the subject matter not being particularly either of those things.

Aunt Charlotte is a strong, resourceful woman, and Barrie Ann must grow into herself if she wants to protect her child from Will. While I thought the women were well written and complex, I thought that Will fell a little flat. He was borderline a cliche caricature of a bad guy.

The writing itself is what really saves this book and pushes it from average to good.

If you don’t mind a hint of paranormal added to your magic, this would be a great read.

I received an ARC via NetGalley from Redhook in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are mine.

Fiction · Review · Thriller

Recursion, by Blake Crouch

After seeing some great reviews, I had to finally dive in to Recursion, and I’m so glad I did!

I’m a little swamped with ARCs right now, because work was so busy for so long, but things are quieting down and I can write some reviews at last.

I flew through this book, despite that if I’d taken it a bit slower I might have absorbed more details and learned more science. But this book was just unputdownable.

I had to suspend disbelief some, because I don’t think that time travel could actually work in the depicted way, but I mean, it’s time travel, so I’d need to suspend some either way.

What really drew me in was the character work. I had no idea going in that this was a love story, but that story is what really binds the whole thing together. I wouldn’t throw this on the romance shelf, but make no mistake, the love woven through the narrative is what makes it so compelling.

I’d say that as long as you’re not anti-time travel/sci-fi/speculative fiction, you should definitely read this book. I think it’s one of those rare books that will resonate with all genders/ages/geek levels.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley from the publisher, but all opinions are honest and mine.

Fiction · microreview · Review

Microreview: Wicked Saints, by Emily A. Duncan

Happy Easter, y’all!

I’m a little backed up in the review department here.

I’ve managed to squeeze in some reading, but I’ve been very neglectful of remembering to actually review any of the great books I’ve been reading.

I just came back from a rainy weekend getaway up in the Smokey Mountains for my birthday, and I thought I should start off Thirty Seven on a productive note, so here’s a microreview for the YA set:

 

wicked saintsI’m a really big fan of the world building in this book. The blending of politics and religion and religion and magic was interesting. I enjoyed the way Nadya interacted with multiple gods. It was a great way to reveal different facets of her personality, and a vehicle for demonstrating how her thinking changed as she evolved and became more confident in her own abilities.

The story moved well and I became attached to both Nadya and Malachiasz, but I found the ending very confusing and I’m still not sure exactly what happened, I’m hoping the next book will clear things up a bit!

If you like character driven stories full of magic, esoteric religious icons, and dark, broody (maybe?) love, you should pick up Wicked Saints, regardless of age.

I was provided with an ARC by Wednesday Books, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.

book memes · Fiction

First Line Friday: Wicked Saints, by Emily A. Duncan

First Line Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Hoarding Books. While I participate infrequently, this is one of my favorite, because nothing sets the tone for a good book quite like the first line.

The calming echo of a holy chant filtered down from the sanctuary and into the cellars. It was late afternoon, just before Vespers, a time where psalms to the gods were given up in an effortless chant.

Nadezhda Lapteva glared up at the mountain of potatoes threatening to avalanche down over the table. She twisted her knife hard against the one in her hand, narrowly missing skin as she curled the peel into a spiral.

wicked saintsI can’t believe it’s Friday and I haven’t read anything all week! It’s February 22, and this will be only the third book I’ll read this month.

These are dark times, my friends, and dark times call for gothic settings. The reviews for Wicked Saints have been really mixed, so I am going in with no expectations and hoping to enjoy the ride.

What are y’all reading this weekend?

Meta

Housekeeping Note

Hey, y’all!

As I mentioned a few months ago, I had a job change that I absolutely love, but it takes up a much larger chunk of my time, and it really cuts into my blogging/reading time.

I considered just axing this blog, but I can’t bring myself to do it.

I’ve already committed to reviewing a number of ARCs I haven’t quite gotten to yet, and I love writing reviews and peeking in on my fellow bloggers!

All this to say, I may be posting less consistently–there will be slower times at work that afford me more hobby time and also weeks that leave me no time, but I’m still here and I would love for you to stay with me.

Happy Reading!

Fiction · microreview · Review

The Ash Family, by Molly Dektar

When a young woman leaves her family—and the civilized world—to join an off-the-grid community headed by an enigmatic leader, she discovers that belonging comes with a deadly cost, in this lush and searing debut novel.

At nineteen, Berie encounters a seductive and mysterious man at a bus station near her home in North Carolina. Shut off from the people around her, she finds herself compelled by his promise of a new life. He ferries her into a place of order and chaos: the Ash Family farm. There, she joins an intentional community living off the fertile land of the mountains, bound together by high ideals and through relationships she can’t untangle. Berie—now renamed Harmony—renounces her old life and settles into her new one on the farm. She begins to make friends. And then they start to disappear.

Thrilling and profound, The Ash Family explores what we will sacrifice in the search for happiness, and the beautiful and grotesque power of the human spirit as it seeks its ultimate place of belonging.

I’m always fascinated by this type of cult novels, but there have been so many written in the last few years that in many respects, we already have a pretty good idea of we are going to get.

And this was the case with the Ash Family. There was not much to set it apart from those that came before it, but it was not a bad book.

I enjoyed the prose, and thought that the depiction of everyday life in ‘the Family’ was well done, but I was not especially taken with the protagonist, Harmony.

She is, expectedly, naive, but she doesn’t seem to grow emotionally as the novel unfolds, which I found surprising. I’m not sure if it was by design, to demonstrate the insidiousness of cults, but as a result, the ending left me feeling unsatisfied and it felt a bit unbelievable.

I received a complimentary ARC from Simon and Schuster, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.

Fiction · Review · Thriller

They Called Me Wyatt, by Natasha Tynes

When Jordanian student Siwar Salaiha is murdered on her birthday in College Park, Maryland, her consciousness survives, finding refuge in the body of a Seattle baby boy. Stuck in this speech delayed three-year old body, Siwar tries but fails to communicate with Wyatt’s parents, instead she focuses on solving the mystery behind her murder. Eventually, her consciousness goes into a dormant state after Wyatt undergoes a major medical procedure.

Fast-forward twenty-two years. Wyatt is a well-adjusted young man with an affinity towards the Middle East and a fear of heights. While working on his graduate degree in Middle Eastern studies, Wyatt learns about Siwar’s death, which occurred twenty-five years ago. For reasons he can’t explain, he grows obsessed with Siwar and spends months investigating her death, which police at the time erroneously ruled as suicide. His investigation forces him to open a door he has kept shut all his life, a spiritual connection to an unknown entity that he frequently refused to acknowledge. His leads take him to Amman, Jordan where after talking to her friends and family members and through his special connection with the deceased, he discovers a clue that unravels the mystery of her death. Will Siwar get justice after all?

The underlying premise of the novel–that Siwar’s consciousness could become a part of Wyatt in some way–was intriguing to me. I wasn’t sure how or if it would work going in, but I have to say that I thought it was masterfully done.

This didn’t feel like a supernatural novel that was also a mystery. It was a mystery that had undertones of something supernatural. It would have been easy for this merging of consciousnesses to become very gimmicky, but the writing shows great restraint. The story and figuring out the mystery is the main focus and it worked very well.

I really enjoyed the alternating points of view the story is told from and Siwar is an intelligent, outspoken protagonist, but also young and vulnerable. She made me feel really invested in figuring out who killed her.

I was a little more ambivalent about Wyatt. I wanted him to succeed for Siwar, but he’s not really a great guy I would be rooting for otherwise. He’s singleminded in his pursuit to find out who killed Siwar, but he doesn’t treat his girlfriend very well and he doesn’t seem to really like anyone he comes across.

There was a lot of misdirection (Siwar tells you early on that she is an unreliable narrator, and I enjoyed that bit of self aware poking fun), so the end is not predictable, but I did feel like after all the buildup, the reveal was a little rushed.

I would recommend this novel to all of y’all who enjoy slow burning thrillers. It’s a quick read at 280 pages, but the pacing is even and enjoyable.

I received an ARC of They Called Me Wyatt from Natasha Tynes in exchange for an honest review. Expected date of publication is June 11, 2019.