The Haunting of Henderson Close by Catherine Cavendish

“It’s worse than creepy in here. Let’s find what we need and get out.”

What a fantastically atmospheric ghost story! I was really excited when the publisher offered me this eARC for my honest review because I love tales of the supernatural even though I am a total skeptic about it. Interestingly enough, my one unexplained ghost experience happened on a ghost tour in the Underground Vaults in Edinburgh, so I was extra excited for this one! While the character’s backstories and initial conversations felt disjointed at first, the story definitely shines with building tension and crafting a truly spooky read.

For those of you that have never walked the streets and closes of Edinburgh, they definitely have a haunting atmosphere to them. Our main character is Hannah, a recent divorcee that’s relocated from England to Edinburgh to as an actor and guide for haunted walking tours of Henderson Close. While Henderson Close itself is fictitious, there are countless walking tours where the guides dress up as people from the past to lead the tours and discuss ghost sightings around the city (I’ve been on one!).

Read More

A Murder of Crows (The Ravenscourt Tragedies #1) by Annie Kirke

Rumours are nasty things. They lurk in the shadows and feed off people’s worst instincts.

I love me some strong female characters, so when Dying Arts Press reached out to me to offer me a chance to read this YA fantasy I jumped at the chance. Unfortunately this book did not work for me: I found the characters flat, world-building confusing, and the plot to be predictable and, if I am being honest, a little troublesome.

Abigail is 13 years old and her father just mysteriously died. Part of the burial process of loved ones is known as the Resting, where the spirit can say their final goodbyes to loved ones before crossing over. Unfortunately something went wrong and her father’s soul wasn’t there, so they are left alone with their grief and questions without their chance to say goodbye. Within a couple of days, his estranged brother comes and invites the family (Abigail, her mother, and her brother) to stay with him at Ravenscourt for awhile. And then the mysteries really begin.

Read More

The Dreamers by Karen Thompson Walker

“Whatever this is, it comes over them quietly: a sudden drowsiness, a closing of the eyes. Most of the victims are found in their beds.”

Friends, I was so incredibly excited for The Dreamers as I am a sucker for infection stories and the premise of this one sounded so interesting. While the writing is beautiful, I found the story had too many characters and suffered from a lack of a clear narrative voice that ultimately made it difficult for me to connect with and care about the characters. There’s a reader for every book, but unfortunately this one was not for me.

The Dreamers is told in third person omniscient with many characters to follow as the sickness makes its way through the small college town. While this narrative voice works in a lot of stories, for me it did a disservice here. I found the plot to being mostly telling instead of showing, and unfortunately the downside of having a myriad of characters to follow in this narrative voice means you don’t really learn much about their thoughts and motivations. Ultimately, I didn’t care for any of them and I feel like the perspectives lacked any sense of urgency, which is something that I would have loved to see as a focal point of the perspectives.

Read More

Schmuck the Buck: Santa’s Jewish Reindeer by EXO Books and Karina Shor (Illustrator)

“Christmas isn’t just about gifts, but the love underneath,
So it really doesn’t matter your religious belief.
We give because we care, we love, and we want to please,
So there’s room for every one of us under our Christmas trees.”

Schmuck the Buck: Santa’s Jewish Reindeer is a beautifully illustrated book and a more inclusive take at the traditional story of Rudolph. I don’t read many illustrated books these days which honestly is a shame! I was instantly blown away by the artwork and really enjoyed this quick read.

Larry is a nerdy caribou that was teased and bullied in school, given the nickname Schmuck which unfortunately stuck. Despite never really fitting in, he worked hard and earned a degree in accounting with an emphasis in Yule.

Read More

Kingdom of Needle and Bone by Mira Grant

“Of such small moments are disasters made.”

Friends, it pains me to say that this was just not the book for me. This is my first Mira Grant (Seanan McGuire) read and while I absolutely adored the plot, unfortunately the writing style and narrative voice just did not work for me. This is definitely a case of right book, wrong reader.

“Many of them would continue to leave their homes even as they began feeling unwell. The virus would spread. The virus always spreads.”

Lisa Morris is an 8 year old girl on vacation in Florida. She is starting to feel a little sick, but it is their last day and she doesn’t want to miss out on going to the amusement park for one last time. By the time she gets home to California, she’s very sick and thanks to trams, rides, and airplane rides — so are hundreds of others. Lisa’s Patient Zero of the Morris Disease outbreak and the first casualty. The world is forever changed.

Read More