Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Review: Boneset & Feathers by Gwendolyn Kiste

 


Boneset & Feathers by Gwendolyn Kiste

Publication Date: November 3, 2020 by Broken Eye Books

Genre: Horror, Fantasy

Pages: 172

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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Source: eARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley for review 

You don’t know their fire is coming until it’s too late. That’s exactly the way the witchfinders like it. As an isolated enchantress, Odette knows this too well–she lost nearly her whole family to the last round of executions, barely escaping with her own life. All the magic she could conjure wasn’t enough to protect her mother and sister, a burden that leaves a despondent Odette practically wishing she’d burned with the rest.

Now it’s five years later, and as the last witch left from her village, Odette has exiled herself to the nearby woods where she’s sworn off all magic, hoping instead for quiet and for safety. But no witch has ever been permitted a peaceful life.

It starts with crows tumbling out of the clouds and spectral voices on the wind that won’t leave her alone. Then there are those midnight visits to the graveyard that she can’t quite remember in the morning and the strange children following her everywhere she goes. Odette wants to forget magic, but her magic doesn’t want to forget her. Meanwhile, the former friends she left behind in the village are cowering together, hiding from the ghostly birds they believe she’s sent to torment them for abandoning her. But that’s only the beginning of their problems, as Odette soon discovers their worst nightmare is about to come true–the witchfinders are returning. And this time, the decree is clear: to burn the witch that got away.

With the men drawing nearer to the village, Odette must face the whispers from the dead and confront her fear of her own growing power if she wants any chance of stopping the army of witchfinders determined to rid the countryside of magic once and for all.

Boneset & Feathers was a riveting tale of strong and powerful witches and ruthless and tyrannical witch hunters. I enjoyed this fantasy-horror novel!

This is my first time reading one of Gwendolyn Kiste’s books and I gotta say I am impressed. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I requested this book on NetGalley. I had heard good things about Kiste’s previous work so I decided to read her latest book. Also, that beautiful cover art drew me in!

Boneset & Feathers is a fantasy-folk-horror about a witch named Odette who not only faces judgment from her neighbors but also must hide from the witch hunters who are out to kill all witches. I found the beginning was a little slow moving but eventually the story picked up and I was captivated until the thrilling conclusion. I would describe this book as a fantasy-horror. I thought Boneset & Feathers had a perfect blend of horror and fantasy elements.

I was immediately drawn to the main character, Odette. She is a fierce and strong character and I loved how she was able to handle the adversity and hatred she was faced with throughout the story. Some of the side characters were also strong and fierce women, especially Odette’s friends, Anna and Beatrix.

The small village setting was the perfect backdrop for this story and it had a 1600s Salem, MA feel to it. I’m not exactly sure when this story takes place, but it seems like it would be around the same time as the Salem witch trials. Of course, this is a fantasy story and not a true historical account, but you can tell that this book is influenced by the Salem witch trials.

I think this novel would be the perfect read for historical fantasy and horror lovers. I had a fun time reading this one. If you’re looking for a short novel featuring strong female characters, a magical fantasy world, horror elements, and witches, then definitely pick this one up! I’m looking forward to reading Kiste’s backlist.

Thanks for Reading!




Monday, April 5, 2021

ARC Review: Broken (in the Best Possible Way) by Jenny Lawson

 

Broken (in the Best Possible Way) by Jenny Lawson 

Publication Date: April 6, 2021 by Henry Holt and Co.

Genre: Non-Fiction; Memoir

Pages: 304

Source: eARC from publisher via NetGalley for review 

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*I am a Amazon and Bookshop.org affiliate so I make a small commission (at no cost to you) if you make a purchase through my links. Thank you for supporting my blog.

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As Jenny Lawson’s hundreds of thousands of fans know, she suffers from depression. In Broken, Jenny brings readers along on her mental and physical health journey, offering heartbreaking and hilarious anecdotes along the way.

With people experiencing anxiety and depression now more than ever, Jenny humanizes what we all face in an all-too-real way, reassuring us that we’re not alone and making us laugh while doing it. From the business ideas that she wants to pitch to Shark Tank to the reason why Jenny can never go back to the post office, Broken leaves nothing to the imagination in the most satisfying way. And of course, Jenny’s long-suffering husband Victor―the Ricky to Jenny’s Lucille Ball―is present throughout.

A treat for Jenny Lawson’s already existing fans, and destined to convert new ones, Broken is a beacon of hope and a wellspring of laughter when we all need it most.

Jenny Lawson is one of my favorite writers. Her books feature relatable stories about her daily life, including her struggles with anxiety and depression. Having been diagnosed with major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder, I can relate to a lot of what is in her books. Lawson’s real-life accounts are at times hilarious, causing me to laugh out loud at the silliness of it all. Other stories are more serious, focusing on the never-ending struggle to just feel some semblance of normalcy when you are constantly dealing with anxiety and depression. These relatable stories made me emotional because I’ve been there.

Broken (in the Best Possible Way) is the second book that I’ve read by Jenny Lawson. I loved the other book that I’ve read by her, and I enjoyed this one just the same, maybe even a little more. I laughed as Lawson kept losing her shoe in elevators and bathrooms; I nodded my head in agreement as I read her open letter to her health insurance company, and I got emotional when I read about her struggles with depression. 

If you’ve read Lawson’s previous books, you’re sure to enjoy this one. I recommend Broken (in the Best Possible Way) to anyone looking for an entertaining read filled with humorous and heartfelt stories. I look forward to reading Lawson’s future books. She is now an auto-buy author for me!


Friday, March 26, 2021

ARC Review: The Lost Village by Camilla Sten

 


The Lost Village by Camilla Sten

Publication DateMarch 23, 2021 by Minotaur Books

Source: eARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley for review.

Genre: Horror

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Documentary filmmaker Alice Lindstedt has been obsessed with the vanishing residents of the old mining town, dubbed “The Lost Village,” since she was a little girl. In 1959, her grandmother’s entire family disappeared in this mysterious tragedy, and ever since, the unanswered questions surrounding the only two people who were left—a woman stoned to death in the town center and an abandoned newborn—have plagued her. She’s gathered a small crew of friends in the remote village to make a film about what really happened.

But there will be no turning back.

Not long after they’ve set up camp, mysterious things begin to happen. Equipment is destroyed. People go missing. As doubt breeds fear and their very minds begin to crack, one thing becomes startlingly clear to Alice:

They are not alone.

They’re looking for the truth…
But what if it finds them first?

Do you ever stay up super late to finish a book? It’s 2:30 in the morning, and you have work in a couple hours, but you don’t care because you have to know how the book ends!  The Lost Village was one of those books that kept me up into the early morning hours. The story was so engrossing and I had to know how it would end. 

The Lost Village is set in a small mining town where the residents all mysteriously vanished in 1959. What happened to these people? How the heck does an entire town disappear?? The main character, Alice, and her friends explore the village and attempt to find out what really happened all those years ago. As I was reading, I wanted to shout at these characters: “Do not go into that building! Just don’t! Don’t open that door! In fact, just get in the van and get out of there!” It drove me a little crazy whenever one of the characters would barge right into one of the abandoned buildings without really thinking of the horrors that could be lurking inside.

This story is also told in the past where it follows one of the families that vanished in 1959. I loved the dual timelines in this book and it definitely made it a more interesting read. 

The Lost Village was a creepy story, but it also had some really heartbreaking moments. This was more than just your typical horror/mystery/thriller. Some parts were a little predictable, but that didn’t take away from my enjoyment of this book. I can definitely see this being made into a movie! I recommend this book, especially if you love a good atmospheric and chilling story.

Thanks for Reading!



Sunday, March 14, 2021

My Thoughts on: The Hatmakers by Tamzin Merchant

 


The Hatmakers by Tamzin Merchant

Publication Date: February 2, 2021 by Norton Young Readers

Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Cordelia comes from a long line of magical milliners, who weave alchemy and enchantment into every hat. In Cordelia’s world, Making – crafting items such as hats, cloaks, watches, boots and gloves from magical ingredients – is a rare and ancient skill, and only a few special Maker families remain.

When Cordelia’s father Prospero and his ship, the Jolly Bonnet, are lost at sea during a mission to collect hat ingredients, Cordelia is determined to find him. But Uncle Tiberius and Aunt Ariadne have no time to help the littlest Hatmaker, for an ancient rivalry between the Maker families is threatening to surface. Worse, someone seems to be using Maker magic to start a war.

It’s up to Cordelia to find out who, and why . . .

I adore middle grade fantasies! They are always such a joy to read and I had a lot of fun reading this one. I was initially drawn to The Hatmakers because of the gorgeous cover. Middle grade books have some of the prettiest covers I’ve ever seen. The synopsis also seemed fascinating, so I was eager to read this book.

Merchant’s magical middle grade fantasy was a fun and enjoyable read. I loved the fantasy world and the characters in this book. 

In The Hatmakers, there are several families of Makers who weave magic into items of clothing. There are the Hatmakers, Bootmakers, Glovemakers, Cloakmakers, and Watchmakers. These families used to belong to a guild of Makers, but they no longer get along and are now rivals.

The main characters in this story were so adorable. I loved the friendships between Cordelia, Goose and Sam. They became mini investigators as they tried to solve the mysteries of the Makers. Cordelia also sought to find out what happened to her father, who presumably perished at sea. 

I thought The Hatmakers was a fun and entertaining middle grade read, and I think this book would be perfect for kids and adults. I’m really looking forward to the next book in this series! 

Thanks for Reading!


My March BOTM Selections

 


I recently signed back up to Book of the Month because I have a subscription box addiction and I really love their selections. I can’t wait to read all of these books!!

*This post contains referral links to BOTM. All synopses copied from Goodreads.

Here are the books I chose for March:

The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner

🟣 Debut

🟣 Historical Fantasy

Synopsis:

A female apothecary secretly dispenses poisons to liberate women from the men who have wronged them—setting three lives across centuries on a dangerous collision course.

Rule #1: The poison must never be used to harm another woman.

Rule #2: The names of the murderer and her victim must be recorded in the apothecary’s register.

One cold February evening in 1791, at the back of a dark London alley in a hidden apothecary shop, Nella awaits her newest customer. Once a respected healer, Nella now uses her knowledge for a darker purpose—selling well-disguised poisons to desperate women who would kill to be free of the men in their lives. But when her new patron turns out to be a precocious twelve-year-old named Eliza Fanning, an unexpected friendship sets in motion a string of events that jeopardizes Nella’s world and threatens to expose the many women whose names are written in her register.

In present-day London, aspiring historian Caroline Parcewell spends her tenth wedding anniversary alone, reeling from the discovery of her husband’s infidelity. When she finds an old apothecary vial near the river Thames, she can’t resist investigating, only to realize she’s found a link to the unsolved “apothecary murders” that haunted London over two centuries ago. As she deepens her search, Caroline’s life collides with Nella’s and Eliza’s in a stunning twist of fate—and not everyone will survive.

The Final Revival of Opal & Nev by Dawnie Walton

🔴 Debut

🔴 Historical Fiction 

Synopsis:

A poignant fictional oral history of the beloved rock ‘n’ roll duo who shot to fame in the 1970s New York, and the dark, fraught secret that lies at the peak of their stardom.

Opal is a fiercely independent young woman pushing against the grain in her style and attitude, Afro-punk before that term existed. Coming of age in Detroit, she can’t imagine settling for a 9-to-5 job—despite her unusual looks, Opal believes she can be a star. So when the aspiring British singer/songwriter Neville Charles discovers her at a bar’s amateur night, she takes him up on his offer to make rock music together for the fledgling Rivington Records. 

In early seventies New York City, just as she’s finding her niche as part of a flamboyant and funky creative scene, a rival band signed to her label brandishes a Confederate flag at a promotional concert. Opal’s bold protest and the violence that ensues set off a chain of events that will not only change the lives of those she loves, but also be a deadly reminder that repercussions are always harsher for women, especially black women, who dare to speak their truth.

Decades later, as Opal considers a 2016 reunion with Nev, music journalist S. Sunny Shelton seizes the chance to curate an oral history about her idols. Sunny thought she knew most of the stories leading up to the cult duo’s most politicized chapter. But as her interviews dig deeper, a nasty new allegation from an unexpected source threatens to blow up everything.

Provocative and chilling, The Final Revival of Opal & Nevfeatures a backup chorus of unforgettable voices, a heroine the likes of which we’ve not seen in storytelling, and a daring structure, and introduces a bold new voice in contemporary fiction.

Too Good To Be True by Carola Lovering

🟤 Thriller 

Synopsis:

ONE LOVE STORY. TWO MARRIAGES. THREE VERSIONS OF THE TRUTH.

Skye Starling is overjoyed when her boyfriend, Burke Michaels, proposes after a whirlwind courtship. Though Skye seems to have the world at her fingertips―she’s smart, beautiful, and from a well-off family―she’s also battled crippling OCD ever since her mother’s death when she was eleven, and her romantic relationships have suffered as a result.

But now Burke―handsome, older, and more emotionally mature than any man she’s met before―says he wants her. Forever. Except, Burke isn’t who he claims to be. And interspersed letters to his therapist reveal the truth: he’s happily married, and using Skye for his own, deceptive ends.

In a third perspective, set thirty years earlier, a scrappy seventeen-year-old named Heather is determined to end things with Burke, a local bad boy, and make a better life for herself in New York City. But can her adolescent love stay firmly in her past―or will he find his way into her future?

On a collision course she doesn’t see coming, Skye throws herself into wedding planning, as Burke’s scheme grows ever more twisted. But of course, even the best laid plans can go astray. And just when you think you know where this story is going, you’ll discover that there’s more than one way to spin the truth.

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Thanks for Reading!



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