“She said that magic is just science that hasn’t been discovered yet.”
They Stay is a spooky mystery with a paranormal element. Shiloh is a high schooler whose little brother goes missing and she feels like she’s the only one who can find him. Her home life is brutal and her fear is that her sheriff father is not working hard enough to get Max back. Her best hope comes from a girl at school who has been labelled as a freak because she claims to be able to speak to the dead. As she gets closer and closer to finding Max and another girl who had previously gone missing in town, things get weirder and weirder.
There are several scenes of domestic abuse in the story. They are in there to help build a story for Shiloh, to show us where she gets her strength and why is she is so determined. But that doesn’t mean it was easy to read, I had to read in smaller snippets to keep from being overwhelmed. As for the paranormal element took a while to reveal what was really going on and who the bad guy really was but it was definitely an interesting reveal.
This story is like Winter’s Bone meets The Dead and the Dark. Definitely a great choice for spooky season.
Thanks to MTMC Tours for a gifted copy. All opinions above are my own.
If you could have the ability to speak to the dead would you want to?
“When they grow the balls, like I said.” “We don’t have a more specific timeline on the balls situation? —————————–
Oh man, did I love this book!! It’s snarky and fun, irreverent and creepy and I can’t believe it took me this long to get around to it! I did not read the first book (although – now I will). The story is about two burnout friends who are the only ones who can see a parasite infecting their little town and wreaking havok. They both took a drug that expanded their minds and they are trying desperately to destroy these spider-like creatures and save their town from being wiped off the map to save the infection from spreading.
I laughed out loud so many times reading this book. It was perfectly written, balancing horror with humor. My favorite part was a chapter written from the dog’s perspective, seeing how she viewed the world and her owner was hilarious and heartening. The pitch on the back of the book says it follows two unlikely heroes but I would argue there are four as Molly and Amy are pretty bada** in their own rights.
If you’re a fan of Daryl on The Walking Dead or the movie Shaun of the Dead, you will love this book. It’s perfect for spooky season or just for a day when you need a pick me up. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
What’s the backlist book you wished you had read sooner?
Widdershins tells the story of the Newcastle witch trials in 1650, but we join the story when two of the characters whose fates will collide at this horrific event are children.
We see how John, the witchfinder, became so passionate about the work he does through the death of his mother, his wife and child as well as the influence of his abusive father and reverend uncle. We hear the stories of his progression into the career and the women accused along the way. Like with many other stories of this ilk, there is terrible aggression towards Eve’s cursed daughters where women who have any knowledge or influence or cross the wrong man are deleted from society in the most horrific way. John is probably the most unlikable character I’ve ever read. I know history is full of these men but oof I just wanted to punch him more and more with every word and action.
Jane is a midwife’s daughter whose life seems unfairly cursed from the start. Circumstance after circumstance leads her to her ultimate fate. It nearly seemed inescapable that she would end up where she did. As a woman with a brain and an opinion and a desire to make choices that followed her heart and not a sense of duty she set herself apart in a dangerous way. I was so empathetic towards her and found myself really wishing there was a way out for her. My favorite part of her story was the discussions of the herbs and treatments used at that time point. Oh and the END!
It’s definitely a slow moving story with the trials occurring quite near the end but the details of the time help build the tension to a crescendo. Lots of scenes are quite graphic and the description of the women’s “crimes” will make your blood boil but it is accurate to the trials of the times. Check this one out if you liked Phillippa Gregory’s Tideland.
Thanks to Love Book Tours for an audio copy. All opinions above are my own.
After finishing this, I went right out and purchased the sequel. What’s the last book you read as quickly as you finished the first?
“My mother, the witch from a fairytale with no happy ending.”
A Spell of Rowans is more of a murder mystery and family drama than a book about witches and magic. It reminded me in a lot of ways of The Family Plot. The Rowans are an unusual family in a small town and boy do they have secrets! When the matriarch of the family dies, her three children are brought back together to deal with her estate. Quickly, they find out their mother was evil to more than just them. The town all has a grudge against the dead woman and her children are trying to right the wrongs. When one of them is arrested for the murder of their mother’s assistant, they use their unusual powers to get to the truth.
I enjoyed this story especially the murder mystery part. I did not see the murderer coming and it made sense whodunit, but there were lots of great suspects along the way. The abuse of the mother to the children was quite hard to read but it gave context to how these three became who they were. I wished there was a little more magic and a little less forced romance for the two sisters. The son’s power to trace the history of items was really interesting, I would have loved to see more of that, or maybe a whole book with him central to the story… ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫
Thanks to Netgalley for a copy. All opinions above are my own.
Do you like a little magic in your books or would you prefer books either focus on magic or leave it out altogether?
Pup Culture is a love letter to the canine world, Paul Shaffer’s daughter tells us how she and her family acquired and fell in love with their rescue dogs. Part memoir, part self-help, part how-to and all love, Pup Culture encourages the reader to consider adopting a rescue or fostering a pup. Interspersed throughout are celebrity essays (David Letterman and Dan Levy to name a few!) to their beloved pooches and how their hearts were stolen. Shaffer provides tips for getting your adoption application noticed, how to choose the right dog for you, what supplies to have on hand and how to settle into a training and lifestyle with your new friend. I loved that there were frank discussions of your expectations of having a dog and the realities of less than ideal health or behavioral situations that are the truth of dog ownership.
Pup Culture is vibrant and easily readable and dripping with love for our four legged friends. @happy.herman.the.dog approves… (note no books were harmed in the making of this post 🤣🙈🐾).
Thanks to Simon and Shuster for providing me with a copy.
Fireborn is a middle grade fantasy that throws you smack dab into a world of opposing clans, mythical creatures and fierce fighting. We meet a group of young recruits who are training at a school to defend the clans when suddenly one of them goes missing. Twelve, a bit of an outcast among the students, feels compelled to try to find the one student who was kind of nice to her. She sets off on her own only to be followed by the school’s guardian (a giant magical stone dog) and two other classmates (who are not fans of hers). The rag tag team go deeper and deeper into the wild magical wilderness in pursuit of the missing girl and find themselves in some harrowing scrapes with dangerous creatures.
This story is absolutely action packed from start to finish and the magical creatures are really unique and fun. Each of these youngsters learn lessons about the world, the impact of grief and the search for identity and acceptance. I wanted more of a beginning and an end but I understand that the emphasis here was to keep the pages turning.
Thanks to Harper for a copy. All opinions above are my own.
What an usual story of magic and family! I don’t think I’ve ever read anything like this before. Orquidea is dying and her family collects to honor her and retrieve their inheritance. But that inheritance is not what they expect or something that they would even wish for. Growing up with stories of magic, they never believed that it could be real. Their grandmother living in a small village was nothing special… or was she?
The story alternates between the present time as they face the impending death of Orquidea and the past and the reality of who she is… of who they are.
Beautiful storytelling in this one with unique magic, fierce familial love and loyalty and a great villain. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
I listened to it on audio thanks to Libro.fm and the narrator was fabulous. All opinions above are my own.
“The kind that knew even back then that the dark was a whole other world. That it soaked up the daylight one like a biscuit dipped in coffee.”
15 bodies. 15 bloodless bodies. Strewn across four states. Fifteen year old Marie Catherine Hale is taken from the last crime scene covered in blood and she is the only link the law has to discover who’s really been killing these people. She agrees to tell her story to the sheriff’s son, Michael, a boy around her age who wants to be a journalist. He has no idea what he’s getting into sitting with this mysterious young girl. She weaves a tale that is a little fact and a little fiction… or is it? The story is told in that YA way where adults are out of touch and untrustworthy. Not sure how much of it is really a mystery, I’d classify this more as horror. I enjoyed it, I wanted a little more meat in the end but it was a good read for spooky season. ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫
Thanks to Booksparks for a copy. All opinions above are my own.
At the Edge of the Haight follows a homeless woman after she discovers a dead body in the park. We see her threatened by the perpetrator, bullied by the cops and her homeless cohorts about the issue. We get a glimpse of life on the streets, how each of the characters came to live the life they have and how they seem to be oblivious or disinterested in any attempts to help them. The murdered boy’s parents take an interest in Maddy and want to do for her what they couldn’t for their son. She repeatedly shirks their help and shows us that while her life on the streets isn’t perfect, she is content.
I just did not get anything out of this book. I think it was intended to help build empathy towards the homeless and their plight but I found the characters really selfish. I am happy with non-conformity to an extent and I get that’s a millennial thing but being lazy and just begging for money to then buy drugs just did not endear me to these people. I think the author was trying to show often times those who are trying to help are just enabling and not truly getting to the root of the issues. But the responses of Maddy and Ash to that help was overly selfish and truly unkind. I would have preferred for this story to focus on the murder and still give us a taste of the plight of the homeless without being as meandering and pointless as it was. Generally, I do not like to give reviews that are overly negative without offering what I liked about the book but in this case, I’m struggling with that. I liked the dog and that while the people were awful to one another, they did treat their animals well. There was an attempt to try to explain the impact of mental illness on this culture but it just didn’t hit the mark for me. ⭐️⭐️
Thanks to Algonquin for a copy. All opinions above are my own.
What recent book did you have high hopes for but just didn’t work for you?
“The way you guys communicate – two adults in their thirties – is f***ing adolescent.”
If that quote appeals to you, you will enjoy this book. If you get frustrated by main characters who spend all their time pretending that they aren’t head over heels for one another and yet keep ending up in bed together, then you might like this one. On Location is about Alia who is a television producer given her first chance to make a show of her own and she has decided to do a series about National Parks in Utah. That part, I loved. She was doing it in dedication to her grandmother and the descriptions of Utah made me want to visit there. I enjoyed the scenes about filming the series, I love behind the veil TV and movie stuff and the host as a foil was fun. Alia was a great female lead who was passionate about her craft and a good leader.
The love story was frustrating. There were times where the two had great charisma and banter but most of the time I just wanted to smack them. Thank god for the friend who gave us the quote above and kept taking them to task about being immature. They met on the subway, which is how my husband and I met, so that part I liked. But they went on hooking up while working together which isn’t the best ethically (they do address this ad nauseum though). Also way to graphic sexy time for my taste. And another unnecessary epilogue (although this glimpsed the Philippine culture which I wanted more of with a Filipino protagonist). This one would make a fun vacation read but don’t expect a ton of depth. Thanks to Booksparks for a copy. All opinions above are my own. ⭐️⭐️⭐️
Are you serious about photography or do you just use your phone for everything? As an employee under the Nikon umbrella, you’d think that I would be more serious about it but all of my cameras are vintage ones my grandfather left me.