Reviews

The Death Of Jane Lawrence by Caitlin Starling

*Spoiler free*

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Thank you so much to St. Martin’s Press and Edelweiss for the e-ARC!

Practical, unassuming Jane Shoringfield has done the calculations, and decided that the most secure path forward is this: a husband, in a marriage of convenience, who will allow her to remain independent and occupied with meaningful work. Her first choice, the dashing but reclusive doctor Augustine Lawrence, agrees to her proposal with only one condition: that she must never visit Lindridge Hall, his crumbling family manor outside of town. Yet on their wedding night, an accident strands her at his door in a pitch-black rainstorm, and she finds him changed. Gone is the bold, courageous surgeon, and in his place is a terrified, paranoid man—one who cannot tell reality from nightmare, and fears Jane is an apparition, come to haunt him. By morning, Augustine is himself again, but Jane knows something is deeply wrong at Lindridge Hall, and with the man she has so hastily bound her safety to.

I was certainly intrigued by what this book was about. And the cover is haunting, making me want to read it even more. A practical woman finds herself a practical marriage with a practical man. But what their house holds is anything but practical. It sounded like a twist on the classic haunted house story, and I was very curious to see what would happen and what I would think of it!

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A History Of Wild Places by Shea Ernshaw

*Spoiler free*

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Thank you so much to Atria and Edelweiss for the e-ARC!

Travis Wren has an unusual talent for locating missing people. Hired by families as a last resort, he requires only a single object to find the person who has vanished. When he takes on the case of Maggie St. James—a well-known author of dark, macabre children’s books—he’s led to a place many believed to be only a legend. Called Pastoral, this reclusive community was founded in the 1970s by like-minded people searching for a simpler way of life. By all accounts, the commune shouldn’t exist anymore and soon after Travis stumbles upon it…he disappears. Just like Maggie St. James. Years later, Theo, a lifelong member of Pastoral, discovers Travis’s abandoned truck beyond the border of the community. No one is allowed in or out, not when there’s a risk of bringing a disease—rot—into Pastoral. Unraveling the mystery of what happened reveals secrets that Theo, his wife, Calla, and her sister, Bee, keep from one another. Secrets that prove their perfect, isolated world isn’t as safe as they believed—and that darkness takes many forms.

I have friends who are huge Shea Ernshaw fans, and that made incredibly eager to read her books. On top of that, this one sounded incredibly intriguing. Missing people becoming missing from searching for missing people. A reclusive community with a rotting disease keeping them secluded, and secrets building on secrets. I sounded like something I would really like, and I was eager to see what I would think! Trigger warnings: mentions of suicide, grief, blood

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Reviews

She Who Became The Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan

*Spoiler free*

Thank you so much to Tor Books and Edelweiss for the e-ARC!

In 1345, China lies under harsh Mongol rule. For the starving peasants of the Central Plains, greatness is something found only in stories. When the Zhu family’s eighth-born son, Zhu Chongba, is given a fate of greatness, everyone is mystified as to how it will come to pass. The fate of nothingness received by the family’s clever and capable second daughter, on the other hand, is only as expected. When a bandit attack orphans the two children, though, it is Zhu Chongba who succumbs to despair and dies. Desperate to escape her own fated death, the girl uses her brother’s identity to enter a monastery as a young male novice. There, propelled by her burning desire to survive, Zhu learns she is capable of doing whatever it takes, no matter how callous, to stay hidden from her fate. After her sanctuary is destroyed for supporting the rebellion against Mongol rule, Zhu takes the chance to claim another future altogether: her brother’s abandoned greatness.

Before I even knew what this book was about, I had seen so much hype for it online. It seemed like everybody was excited for it! My excitement really kicked in when I found out that the two main characters were genderqueer, and then I found out the synopsis, and I was just a pumped about this book as everybody else. A girl who refuses to be nothing; she assumes the role of a boy and takes on her brother’s fate: greatness. Heck yeah, I really wanted to read this book. Trigger warnings

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Reviews

For The Wolf by Hannah Whitten

*Spoiler free*

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Thank you so much to Orbit and NetGalley for the e-ARC!

As the only Second Daughter born in centuries, Red has one purpose-to be sacrificed to the Wolf in the Wood in the hope he’ll return the world’s captured gods. Red is almost relieved to go. Plagued by a dangerous power she can’t control, at least she knows that in the Wilderwood, she can’t hurt those she loves. Again. But the legends lie. The Wolf is a man, not a monster. Her magic is a calling, not a curse. And if she doesn’t learn how to use it, the monsters the gods have become will swallow the Wilderwood-and her world-whole.

It’s a forest and wolf book. About the first daughter being for the throne, and the second daughter being for the Wolf. But the Wolf is not the monster that the legends have made him out to be. I mean, that sounds right up my alley and I was desperate to to read this. It was a forest and a wolf book. It has magic. Yes, I wanted to read this very badly. Trigger warnings

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Reviews

Half Sick Of Shadows by Laura Sebastian

*Spoiler free*

Thank you so much to Ace and NetGalley for the e-ARC!

Everyone knows the legend. Of Arthur, destined to be a king. Of the beautiful Guinevere, who will betray him with his most loyal knight, Lancelot. Of the bitter sorceress, Morgana, who will turn against them all. But Elaine alone carries the burden of knowing what is to come–for Elaine of Shalott is cursed to see the future. On the mystical isle of Avalon, Elaine runs free and learns of the ancient prophecies surrounding her and her friends–countless possibilities, almost all of them tragic. When their future comes to claim them, Elaine, Guinevere, Lancelot, and Morgana accompany Arthur to take his throne in stifling Camelot, where magic is outlawed, the rules of society chain them, and enemies are everywhere. Yet the most dangerous threats may come from within their own circle. As visions are fulfilled and an inevitable fate closes in, Elaine must decide how far she will go to change fate–and what she is willing to sacrifice along the way.

A retelling of The Lady Of Shallot where she leaves her tower. That was basically all I needed to know to be incredibly intrigued about this book. I knew it was going to be a feminist King Arthur retelling, and that is basically it. But that was enough for me to be ready and eager to see what this book was going to hold. Trigger warnings: suicide, emotional abuse, blood, violence

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The Wolf And The Woodsman by Ava Reid

*Spoiler free*

Thank you so much to Voyager and Netgalley for the e-ARC!

In her forest-veiled pagan village, Évike is the only woman without power, making her an outcast clearly abandoned by the gods. The villagers blame her corrupted bloodline—her father was a Yehuli man, one of the much-loathed servants of the fanatical king. When soldiers arrive from the Holy Order of Woodsmen to claim a pagan girl for the king’s blood sacrifice, Évike is betrayed by her fellow villagers and surrendered. But when monsters attack the Woodsmen and their captive en route, slaughtering everyone but Évike and the cold, one-eyed captain, they have no choice but to rely on each other. Except he’s no ordinary Woodsman—he’s the disgraced prince, Gáspár Bárány, whose father needs pagan magic to consolidate his power. Gáspár fears that his cruelly zealous brother plans to seize the throne and instigate a violent reign that would damn the pagans and the Yehuli alike. As the son of a reviled foreign queen, Gáspár understands what it’s like to be an outcast, and he and Évike make a tenuous pact to stop his brother. As their mission takes them from the bitter northern tundra to the smog-choked capital, their mutual loathing slowly turns to affection, bound by a shared history of alienation and oppression. However, trust can easily turn to betrayal, and as Évike reconnects with her estranged father and discovers her own hidden magic, she and Gáspár need to decide whose side they’re on, and what they’re willing to give up for a nation that never cared for them at all.

I saw a flash of a picture of this book for a giveaway and was practically sold. Then I saw a flash on the description, a girl who has no magic because she has been abandoned by the gods, based on Hungarian history and Jewish myth, and the only survivors of a monster attack being Évike, the main character, and the cold, one eyed captain of the Woodsman. Then I basically fell head over heels for this book and definitely, definitely, wanted to read it. Trigger warnings: torture, antisemitism, physical abuse by parental figures, vomiting, animal death, self-harm, gore, body horror

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Reviews

Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse

*Spoiler free*

In the holy city of Tova, the winter solstice is usually a time for celebration and renewal, but this year it coincides with a solar eclipse, a rare celestial event proscribed by the Sun Priest as an unbalancing of the world. Meanwhile, a ship launches from a distant city bound for Tova and set to arrive on the solstice. The captain of the ship, Xiala, is a disgraced Teek whose song can calm the waters around her as easily as it can warp a man’s mind. Her ship carries one passenger. Described as harmless, the passenger, Serapio, is a young man, blind, scarred, and cloaked in destiny. As Xiala well knows, when a man is described as harmless, he usually ends up being a villain.

Before this book came out, I feel like I’d see it here and there, and it sounded it interesting, but I didn’t jump on it right away. Though, as the release date crept closer I kept hearing about how awesome this book was. After seeing so much love for it, I was intrigued and wanted to give it a shot. Adult books have been a bit iffy for me lately, so I was a bit nervous going into it, but I knew I wanted to give it a shot anyway. A ship carrying a harmless man, cloaked in destiny, and captained by a women with a song who can calm waters and warp a man’s mind. And some kind of promise that man just might end up being a villain. Oh yes, I wanted to give it a shot indeed. Trigger warnings: alcohol, blood magic

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Reviews

Parasite by Mira Grant

*Spoiler free*

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A decade in the future, humanity thrives in the absence of sickness and disease. We owe our good health to a humble parasite – a genetically engineered tapeworm developed by the pioneering SymboGen Corporation. When implanted, the tapeworm protects us from illness, boosts our immune system – even secretes designer drugs. It’s been successful beyond the scientists’ wildest dreams. Now, years on, almost every human being has a SymboGen tapeworm living within them. But these parasites are getting restless. They want their own lives…and will do anything to get them. 

After reading Into The Drowning Deep, I knew I wanted try more books by this author (and books she’s written under her other name!). I stumbled across a thread the author did on Twitter about some of the books she’s written and it made it easy to get a quick overview of a lot of them. I wanted something on the horror side, so parasites and medical horror seemed like a great place to go!

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Reviews

The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang

*Spoiler free*

When Rin aced the Keju—the Empire-wide test to find the most talented youth to learn at the Academies—it was a shock to everyone: to the test officials, who couldn’t believe a war orphan from Rooster Province could pass without cheating; to Rin’s guardians, who believed they’d finally be able to marry her off and further their criminal enterprise; and to Rin herself, who realized she was finally free of the servitude and despair that had made up her daily existence. That she got into Sinegard—the most elite military school in Nikan—was even more surprising. But surprises aren’t always good. Because being a dark-skinned peasant girl from the south is not an easy thing at Sinegard. Targeted from the outset by rival classmates for her color, poverty, and gender, Rin discovers she possesses a lethal, unearthly power—an aptitude for the nearly-mythical art of shamanism. Exploring the depths of her gift with the help of a seemingly insane teacher and psychoactive substances, Rin learns that gods long thought dead are very much alive—and that mastering control over those powers could mean more than just surviving school. For while the Nikara Empire is at peace, the Federation of Mugen still lurks across a narrow sea. The militarily advanced Federation occupied Nikan for decades after the First Poppy War, and only barely lost the continent in the Second. And while most of the people are complacent to go about their lives, a few are aware that a Third Poppy War is just a spark away . . . Rin’s shamanic powers may be the only way to save her people. But as she finds out more about the god that has chosen her, the vengeful Phoenix, she fears that winning the war may cost her humanity . . . and that it may already be too late.

I’ve been wanting to read this book for a long time. I’ve heard so many amazing things about this book, especially from people I know I have similar tastes too and eager to take to always take their recommendations. I knew it was dark, I knew it would probably be on the denser side, I knew it would have war in the realm of high fantasy. I wasn’t sure how exactly I would feel about it, since these kinds of books tend to be hit or miss for me, but I was very, very eager to give it a shot. Trigger warnings: drug use, substance addiction, self-harm, racism, misogyny, genocide, bullying, abandonment, abuse, animal death, animal cruelty, brutal torture, brutal killing, brutal rape (off screen, but still incredibly violent)

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Spooky Books I Haven’t Read, But Want To

Halloween is right around the corner, and since I’ve found that I really enjoy writing Halloweeney type posts! I don’t do a whole lot for Halloween, so this is a great way for me to experience it, but not be too involved haha. Plus, I’ve found that there are a ton of scary/spooky/creepy books that I want to read, so why not make a post about them!

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