Monday, November 28, 2022

Review | These Fleeting Shadows by Kate Alice Marshall

Source: preordered purchase. This is a review of my reading experience.

These Fleeting Shadows is a young adult horror novel by Kate Alice Marshall.


Helen Vaughan doesn't know why she and her mother left their ancestral home at Harrowstone Hall, called Harrow, or why they haven't spoken to their extended family since. So when her grandfather dies, she's shocked to learn that he has left everything—the house, the grounds, and the money—to her. The inheritance comes with one condition: she must stay on the grounds of Harrow for one full year, or she'll be left with nothing.

There is more at stake than money. For as long as she can remember, Harrow has haunted Helen's dreams—and now those dreams have become a waking nightmare. Helen knows that if she is going to survive the year, she needs to uncover the secrets of Harrow. Why is the house built like a labyrinth? What is digging the holes that appear in the woods each night? And why does the house itself seem to be making her sick?

With each twisted revelation, Helen questions what she knows about Harrow, her family, and even herself. She no longer wonders if she wants to leave…but if she can.

I read These Fleeting Shadows this past week with the Horror Spotlight discord group.

I am such a fan of Kate Alice Marshall. Marshall's books are always so imaginatively dark. These Fleeting Shadows was weird and romantic and heartbreaking, and I loved it.

Helen's grandfather passed away, and he left her Harrowstone Hall and his fortune. There was a catch to the inheritance and the rest of Helen's family was left out of the will. There are a lot of family secrets in the Vaughan family, and Harrowstone Hall is a strange place. You can tell things definitely aren't as they seem. Dreams and reality intertwine in the halls of Harrow and in the minds of the people who stay there.

These Fleeting Shadows has been described as Knives Out meets The Haunting of Hill House which sounds lighter and more humorous than the tone we actually get in These Fleeting Shadows. These Fleeting Shadows is dark and cosmic and maddening. It's H.P. Lovecraft meets Arthur Machen meets Kate Alice Marshall. It brought back the same unsettled feelings I felt in Our Last Echoes. It's also Sapphic and beautiful.

I loved the characters in These Fleeting Shadows. I couldn't help but feel for our main character Helen. She and her mother fled Harrow when she was young, but Helen didn't know why. She grew up only having her mother and Simon (her mother's boyfriend). With the help of the Harrow Witch and her cousins, she slowly unravels all of the Vaughan family secrets during the time she is forced to spend in Harrow.

If you've never read Kate Alice Marshall, you can absolutely start here. It's a great introduction to what her books are like, and I think These Fleeting Shadows has a stronger ending than her other books. If you are already a fan of Kate Alice Marshall, this is a must read.

4.5/5 stars
⭐⭐⭐⭐💫
 

Jennifer

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Sunday, November 27, 2022

Recent Updates and Currently Reading | November 27

I hope you all had a wonderful week and a wonderful Thanksgiving to those of you who had Thanksgiving. I took some time off of work, and I was able to spend some time reading. 

I usually spend my Novembers catching up on my Book of the Month books and the Goodreads nominees, and that's exactly what I've been doing. I hate that the Goodreads Awards are so short now. We used to have a lot longer timeframe to read the nominees. I feel like I read pretty widely this year so that makes me happy.

Posted Last Week


Unmasked by Lorien Lawrence


Review | Unmasked by Lorien Lawrence
⭐⭐⭐⭐★ - I love this series. Check out my review if you enjoy (or have someone in your life who enjoys) middle grade books.


Finished Reading


These Fleeting Shadows by Kate Alice Marshall One Piece, Volume 7 by Eiichiro Oda Things We Do in the Dark by Jennifer Hillier Daisy Darker by Alice Feeney

These Fleeting Shadows by Kate Alice Marshall ⭐⭐⭐⭐💫 - I loved this! I'll have a review posted later this week.

One Piece, Volume 7 by Eiichiro Oda ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ - This is my favorite volume so far. I'm going to round up some mini reviews soon.

Things We Do in the Dark by Jennifer Hillier [dnf] - This started out great, but it became too much for me. Too many POVs, too many storylines, too many timelines. I just don't have that kind of focus this year. This is probably my fault, and I could likely love it at another time.

Daisy Darker by Alice Feeney ⭐⭐⭐⭐★ - I'm excited to have finally read this. I enjoy Alice Feeney's books. I'll have a review out for this later this week or next.


Currently Reading


I finished Daisy Darker this morning, and I have no idea what I'm going to pick up. I can't decide if I'll finish the books I've been stuck in the middle of or pick up something entirely new today.


Currently Watching


Where the Crawdads Sing by Black Panther: Wakanda Forever by A Kismet Christmas by Nope by

Where the Crawdads Sing - I enjoyed this, but "the book was better". 😊

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever - This was great. It was a bit tough emotionally, but it was a great movie.

A Kismet Christmas - This was cute.

Nope - I loved Nope! This was a surprise for me, and I loved it. If you love scifi horror, please watch it.



This post is being shared as part of The Sunday Salon at Readerbuzz, Book Date’s It's Monday! What Are You Reading? and Caffeinated Book Reviewer's The Sunday Post.

Jennifer

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Friday, November 25, 2022

Review | Unmasked by Lorien Lawrence

Source: preordered purchase. This is a review of my reading experience.

Unmasked is the third book in Lorien Lawrence's Fright Watch series.


The third book in the spine-chilling Fright Watch series follows the local monster mask maker—and a mask that comes to life on Halloween nightHaving suffered from anxiety attacks since she was eight years old, creating monsters has become a sort of therapy for Marion Jones: When she sculpts and paints, her fingers don’t tingle, the heaviness lifts from her chest, and she can actually breathe. So instead of grabbing pizza and milkshakes after school like most other kids in South Haven, Marion holes up in her room, working away on her monsters. And it’s paid off, because she’s just finished her first full-face mask: a gruesome sea monster she’s named Winston.

However, Halloween arrives with a Super Blue Blood Moon, and its powers somehow manage to bring Winston to life. To make matters worse, Marion’s crush, Tyler Dash, becomes the object of Winston’s possession as soon as he tries on the mask, turning him into a red-flannel and Converse high-top wearing Creature from Connecticut. Marion has no choice: She has to follow Tyler to the Halloween dance to try and stop him. Will she be able to figure out what’s happened to Tyler and stop the monster from wreaking further havoc on the school? Or has she made a real-life monster that’s here to stay?
Aw, I love this series.

Unmasked is the third book in Lorien Lawrence's Fright Watch series. Unmasked was different than the first two books (The Stitchers and The Collectors), but I loved it just as much! The first two books follow Quinn and Mike as they do sort of a supernatural neighborhood watch. Unmasked follows a new character named Marion, but Quinn and Mike are both in this story as well.

I loved Marion. Marion is a makeup artist. She's shy and she's anxious, but she loves special effects makeup. In Unmasked, she makes her first full-size mask of a finfolk creature she names Winston. Even though she is shy and she doesn't have a lot of friends, she has a side job of doing makeup for the kids at school for special events. Unmasked is set at Halloween, and Marion is doing a lot of makeup for the school dance. As Marion's mom says, "there is magic in makeup". When you combine Winston and the super blue blood moon and a school dance by the ocean, things get wild like they do in the Fright Watch town of South Haven.

This series is so much fun, and I'm so glad Marion has been added to the Fright Watch team. I think this series can last a long time, and I'm here for it.

As a middle grade horror reader, I really loved the fact that in Unmasked there were no dead parents, the siblings got along, the parents were present and loving, and it was a nice story about growing up and making friends. (This is not common in the middle grade books I've read.) I, obviously, loved the horror, too.

If you enjoy reading middle grade, I recommend the Fright Watch series. You don't have to read the first two before reading Unmasked, but I would still recommend starting at the beginning and reading all three.

4/5 stars
⭐⭐⭐⭐★


Jennifer

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Sunday, November 20, 2022

Recent Updates and Currently Reading | November 20

We are heading into the time of year where I reset. I always take the week of Thanksgiving off, and I get holiday time off for Christmas/New Years. I get to spend a lot of time reading and just enjoying books, and I always go into the new year feeling like it will be THE YEAR that I stay on top of my TBR (lol). That never happens, but I do enjoy this time of year and January.

Our Thanksgiving plans are a little bit up in the air for this week. We usually host at our house, but we have family with COVID so it may just be us for Thanksgiving. It's like we are still living in lockdown. 

I have a very important question - what is your favorite thing to eat on Thanksgiving? I was planning to make some mulled wine for the first time this year, but I think that may be a bit much without guests!

Posted Last Week


The Golden Couple by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen


Book Review | The Golden Couple by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen
⭐⭐⭐★ ★ - Go check out this review for my thoughts.


Finished Reading


One Piece, Volume 6 by Eiichiro Oda

One Piece, Volume 6 by Eiichiro Oda ⭐⭐⭐★ ★ - Well, damn. I read this twice. I was reading One Piece digitally from my library, and I thought I was in the middle of volume 6 when my time ran out. I found out my library has print copies (YAY!) so I started this one over from the beginning. Turns out I had actually read the whole thing and left off in volume 7!


Currently Reading


These Fleeting Shadows by Kate Alice Marshall Nettle & Bone by T. Kingfisher One Piece, Volume 7 by Eiichiro Oda

These Fleeting Shadows by Kate Alice Marshall - We have a big buddy read going on the Horror Spotlight discord for These Fleeting Shadows. I love Kate Alice Marshall's books, and I'm enjoying this one.

Nettle & Bone by T. Kingfisher - I'm also listening to Nettle & Bone. I'm about 40% in. I will probably finish this one today after These Fleeting Shadows.

One Piece, Volume 7 by Eiichiro Oda - Character backstories are going to be my favorite volumes in One Piece. I loved Usopp's backstory in a previous volume, and this backstory of Red Shoes Zeff and Sanji has me shook!


Currently Watching


Ghosts of Christmas Always by A Cozy Christmas Inn by

Ghosts of Christmas Always - I really enjoyed this one! It's a twist on Dicken's 3 ghosts, and I loved it.

A Cozy Christmas Inn - This one was fine. It was your typical Hallmark head-back-to-your-past Christmas movie, and I'm already forgetting how it ended. In love I assume.



This post is being shared as part of The Sunday Salon at Readerbuzz, Book Date’s It's Monday! What Are You Reading? and Caffeinated Book Reviewer's The Sunday Post.

Jennifer

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Monday, November 14, 2022

Review | The Golden Couple by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

Source: personal purchase. This is a review of my reading experience.

The Golden Couple is a mystery/thriller from Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen.


The next electrifying novel from the #1 New York Times bestselling author duo behind The Wife Between Us.

Wealthy Washington suburbanites Marissa and Matthew Bishop seem to have it all—until Marissa is unfaithful. Beneath their veneer of perfection is a relationship riven by work and a lack of intimacy. She wants to repair things for the sake of their eight-year-old son and because she loves her husband. Enter Avery Chambers.

Avery is a therapist who lost her professional license. Still, it doesn’t stop her from counseling those in crisis, though they have to adhere to her unorthodox methods. And the Bishops are desperate.

When they glide through Avery’s door and Marissa reveals her infidelity, all three are set on a collision course. Because the biggest secrets in the room are still hidden, and it’s no longer simply a marriage that’s in danger.
Most of my friends have given The Golden Couple four or five stars. I'm not sure why The Golden Couple didn't wow me as much as it seems to have wowed other readers. It may just be when I chose to give it a read.

I've only read one other book by the writing duo of Hendricks and Pekkanen, but I enjoyed it. I was looking forward to reading The Golden Couple. While I wasn't disappointed and I did enjoy The Golden Couple, it was mostly just okay for me..

The characters were all unlikable for me which I really enjoyed in the beginning, but the book seemed to lose its focus and honestly so did I. This is a hard review to write because I did enjoy it, but I don't have much to say about it. The Golden Couple did keep me guessing, but for some reason I just wasn't very invested. It could simply be the fact that I was in a book hangover from the five-star read that I read just before this one that had me guessing but was not predictable whatsoever. The Golden Couple may have just fallen prey to having to follow a very unexpected book that worked for me on a level that The Golden Couple just didn't meet.

If you've read and enjoyed other books by Hendricks and Pekkanen, I would definitely recommend you check this one out as well. I have another book on my shelf by Hendricks and Pekkanen that I would still like to go back and read. This one just didn't wow me outside of being a well-written thriller with unlikable characters.

I listened to the audio, and I thought the narrators did a great job. The Golden Couple won't make it onto my list of favorite thrillers for the year, but I enjoyed the time that I spent with it.
 
3/5 stars
⭐⭐⭐★ ★


Jennifer

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