The House by the Cemetery by John Everson

"This is not a good house."

The House by the Cemetery was a book that I wanted to adore with all the recipes of an interesting story: an abandoned, dilapidated house that is rumored to be haunted by the ghost of a witch and the greedy hubris to capitalize on the past to create a Halloween attraction of the haunted house. Unfortunately this book failed to live up to my expectations; the writing felt disjointed, the plot was predictable, the characters were one-dimensional whose decisions made no logical sense, and there were a number of plotholes in the book that constantly prohibited me from getting into the story.


The old house at Bachelor's Grove has been abandoned and locked up for decades, local legends telling stories of the ghosts that haunt the place and rumors of 'satanic rituals' being done there. Continue reading...

The Toy Thief by D.W. Gillespie

"Brothers and sisters are like that, the best and worst of relationships, the entire world rolled into one."

Have you ever read a book that was both everything you wanted and everything you didn't at the same time? Unfortunately, that was my experience reading The Toy Thief: I really enjoyed the main storyline but I didn't enjoy the main character or the narrative style.

The book is written in first person and is narrated in such a way that feels like you are listening to someone try to tell a story - it is completely stream of consciousness and she jumps around her life, weaving a tale that largely paints her as a horrible and unlikable character, which is in stark contrast with her as a child. Continue reading...

Priest of Bones (War for the Rose Throne #1) by Peter McLean

"Ellinburg is corrupt to the core," she said. "From Governor Hauer on down, the city all but stands on the shoulders of its underworld."

Priest of Bones is the first installment of the new grimdark fantasy series War for the Rose Throne. If you are like me and love morally grey characters and anti-heroes, then you will love Priest of Bones! Tomas Piety is an army priest who prior to being conscripted to fight in the war was the boss of the Pious Men, a gang that ruled the streets of Ellinburg known as the Stink. When he and what's left of his men return home, he finds that he's been dethroned by some opportunistic outsiders. Continue reading...

Beneath the Citadel by Destiny Soria

"We are not foretold."

Beneath the Citadel is a standalone young adult fantasy which at its heart challenges the notion of destiny and predetermination. The city of Eldra has been ruled for centuries by the High Council, which maintains its power through prophecy. It's been four years since the rebellion was quelled, but there's a ragtag group of friends determined to fight back against the council so that the all the lives lost meant something.

This is a difficult review for me to write. While I enjoyed the overall plot and found it to be unique, the writing style didn't really work for me and I personally found the execution to be lacking. It is worth it to note that I buddy read this with Melanie, who loved it, and at the time of writing there is an average rating of 4.05 on Goodreads. While this book didn't hit the spot for me, I do recommend this book! So without further adieu, let's hop into the review! Continue reading...

The Dark Beneath the Ice by Amelinda Bérubé

My initial thoughts when seeing this blurb was "Black Swan meets Paranormal Activity? Don't mind if I do!" Despite being a paranormal skeptic, I cannot get enough of ghost stories; however, The Dark Beneath the Ice missed the mark for me. Drawn in by the premise of missing time and paranormal activity, these elements are very much there but to me that wasn't the main focus of the story. It is as much of a family drama about the breakdown of a family and the struggles of divorce on a family as it is a supernatural story.

The silence still clings to me. If I close my eyes it's there waiting for me, filling my mouth, heavy as water. Ready to swallow me again.

The opening lines captivated me straight away, and it is clear that Bérubé is a talented writer who has a poetic way with words. Continue reading...

Strange Grace by Tessa Gratton

This is such a weird and beautiful book. Friends, I am struggling to find the words to articulate how much I adored this book. While the premise of a hundreds-year old pacts that provide prosperity to a town in return for sacrifice isn't new, I found Strange Grace to be refreshing and captivatingly written. It is one of the best witch stories I've ever read.

Three Graces is an idyllic town: there is no disease, the weather is perfect, injuries heal overnight, and crops grow in abundance. Continue reading...

The Night Crossing by Robert Masello

"At night, the shadows run free."

Friends, I was so excited to receive an advanced copy of The Night Crossing for review as I love spooky stories and historical fiction. A mysterious golden box, London in the late nineteenth century, and an evil that must be overcome are all ingredients that I love and I had high hopes for this book. Unfortunately, my expectations were not met: I found the writing a to be a bit lackluster and I struggled to connect with the characters. While I found the overall plot to be interesting, I struggled to find the desire to read... and the last 25% of the book infuriated me to no end. Continue reading...

A Spark of White Fire (The Celestial Trilogy #1) by Sangu Mandanna

"Your arrow was a spark. A spark of fire so hot and white that no one will be able to put it out. And even a spark of fire can consume an entire forest if it can jump from tree to tree...Watch as one act leads to another and then to another after that. Watch the trees pass white flames on. Watch the forest burn."

If you enjoy political intrigue, space operas, complex characters, and amazing worldbuilding A Spark of White Fire is for you! This is one of my most anticipated releases in a year with a large number of young adult releases focused on the politics of rule, and I am happy to say that this book did not disappoint! This is a genre-bending retelling of the Mahabharata that is easily accessible to YA fantasy readers and I cannot wait for you to fall in love with Esmae, Rama, and the rest of these characters! Continue reading...

The Lantern’s Ember by Colleen Houck

The line between greatness and villainy is as thin as a garrote wire.

Friends, I was really excited for The Lantern's Ember from the moment I saw this stunning cover and read the synopsis, and I was so excited to get an opportunity to read an advanced copy for review. While the book started strong and appeared to be full of spooky folklore, overall this book unfortunately did not live up to my expectations as it quickly descended into drama, angst, and a predictable plot. While it is a fast read, I found the characters to be one-dimensional and mostly unlikable, lacking growth, and I was left wanting more about the characters and the world. Continue reading...

The Siren and The Specter by Jonathan Janz

It’s 7:33 p.m. on a balmy summer evening in Northern California. I am about 25% into this book when the narrative creeps me out so thoroughly that I turned on every single light in my apartment (and it doesn’t get dark for another hour). For the remainder of the book I am captivated by the terrifying story and oscillate between abject horror of both the human and spiritual variety. Honestly I think I have like 8 highlights in my eARC that just have “NOPE” as a comment.

“So what do you think?”
Ralph peered over the river. “I think that’s the creepiest fucking thing I’ve ever heard.”

Same Ralph, same.Continue reading...