Sunday, February 18, 2024

Book Reviews: Island Witch + A Haunting in the Arctic


I recently won a giveaway for egalleys of Island Witch and A Haunting in the Arctic!  Check out my mini reviews of these 2 Berkley titles below.

*eARCs provided by the publisher via NetGalley for review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.  This post contains affiliate links.  I am an Amazon and affiliate so I may receive a small commission (at no cost to you) if you make a purchase through one of my links.

Island Witch 
Pub Date: February 20, 2024 (Berkley)
Genre: Gothic Horror, Historical Fiction
Setting: Sri Lanka, early 19th century 
*Check out content warnings here

Book Links:

Also by this author: My Sweet Girl; You’re Invited 

Book Blurb  (Goodreads):

Inspired by Sri Lankan folklore, award-winning author Amanda Jayatissa turns her feverish, Gothic-tinged talents to late 19th century Sri Lanka where the daughter of a traditional demon-priest—relentlessly bullied by peers and accused of witchcraft herself—tries to solve the mysterious attacks that have been terrorizing her coastal village.



Island Witch sounded amazing and right up my alley, and also just look at that gorgeous cover.  I was so excited to read this book, but this ended up being an average read for me.  I’ll start with what I liked about this book: I loved the setting and the gothic vibes.  The atmosphere was very foreboding and ominous.  I thought the main character, Amara, was a pretty strong and interesting character.  She definitely had to deal with a lot throughout the book.  The mystery was intriguing and there were some paranormal moments that I liked.  

Here’s what I didn’t like about this book: the story was slow moving and I felt like not much happened until later in the book.  There were some horrible characters (mainly male characters) that I absolutely despised and there were parts in this story that made me so angry.  This was a very bleak read with some brutal moments, so make sure to check out the trigger warnings before reading this one. 

Overall, Island Witch was too slow paced and bleak for my liking, but I loved the gothic atmosphere.  I would recommend this book to lovers of slower paced historical gothic fiction.  



A Haunting in the Arctic 
Pub Date: February 27, 2024
Genre: Gothic Horror, Historical Fiction
Setting: Off the Coast of Iceland, 1901 and Present Day
*Check out content warnings here

Book Links:

Also by this author: The Lighthouse Witches; The Nesting

Book Blurb (Goodreads):
A deserted shipwreck off the coast of Iceland holds terrors and dark secrets in this chilling horror novel from the author of The Lighthouse Witches.



A Haunting in the Arctic was a compelling and chilling read.  I loved Cooke’s writing and I thought this was an intriguing gothic story that at times was hard to read.  This story is told in two timelines following two women.  In 1901, Nicky is abducted and forced to become the “selkie wife” to the depraved mariners aboard a whaling vessel headed to the Arctic.  In present day, Dominique, an explorer, meets up with fellow explorers aboard an abandoned ship called the Ormen in the Arctic.

I loved the chilling atmosphere of the story. I just felt a sense of dread, feeling that something could happen at any moment. I liked reading from both timelines, but the 1901 timeline was very difficult to read since Nicky went through a lot of horrible experiences aboard the ship. Nicky was such a strong willed character but it was really hard reading from her perspective.

I guessed a big twist early on but there were other surprises that I didn’t foresee. I felt the ending was perfect and a great conclusion to the story.  I look forward to reading more from Cooke.

I would recommend this book to lovers of historical fiction with paranormal elements.  Definitely look up the trigger warnings before reading this one.



Thanks For Reading!

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