Sunday, April 10, 2022

Recent Updates and Currently Reading | April 10

Real talk - despite being triple protected, I managed to come down with you-know-what back in January. I have been so low functioning ever since, I haven't managed to do blog updates other than a couple of reviews over the last few months. This may not be an official return to weekly posts, but it's a start! I'm hoping to spend some time today catching up with everyone the best I can.

These are my favorite reads over the last few months:


Bad Witch Burning by Jessica Lewis The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris Our Last Echoes by Kate Alice Marshall
Girl in the Walls by Katy Michelle Quinn The Dead and the Dark by Courtney Gould Long Lost by Jacqueline West

Bad Witch Burning by Jessica Lewis

The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris

Our Last Echoes by Kate Alice Marshall

Girl in the Walls by Katy Michelle Quinn

The Dead and the Dark by Courtney Gould

Long Lost by Jacqueline West

 

Currently Reading


Dead Silence by S.A. Barnes White Smoke by Tiffany D. Jackson

Dead Silence by S.A. Barnes and White Smoke by Tiffany D. Jackson - I'm really enjoying these. They are both CREEPY! 👻

Sorry for such a short update. I promise there will be more. I just wanted to mention where I've been and why I may be commenting on some really old posts today... I hope you all are doing well!



This post is being shared as part of Book Date, Unleashing Readers, and Teach Mentor Texts It's Monday! What Are You Reading? and Caffeinated Book Reviewer's The Sunday Post.

Jennifer

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Monday, March 28, 2022

Book Review | Girl in the Walls by Katy Michelle Quinn

Girl in the Walls is a YA novella by

Girl in the Walls by Katy Michelle Quinn

A dark & sweet coming of age fairy tale about becoming who you are.

Leaving the city was not Vernon's choice. Neither was moving into an old house in a bumpkin-run town in the Cascadian forest, where the shadows move and the stairs make a sound like dying crows. It's a relief when Vernon discovers a space inside the walls of his bedroom, a space inhabited by a mysterious girl named Violet. Violet's nothing like Vernon. She's pretty and cool, and she has a closetful of cute clothes. But as Vernon and Violet become friends, Vernon starts to realize that she's much more like him than he thought, leading him down a fairy-tale path of self-discovery. Out of the closet and into the world.

Girl in the Walls is a wonderful book.

This is the first thing I have read by
⭐⭐⭐⭐★
4/5 stars

Jennifer

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Monday, March 7, 2022

Book Review | When the Reckoning Comes by LaTanya McQueen

When the Reckoning Comes is a debut horror novel by LaTanya McQueen.

When the Reckoning Comes by LaTanya McQueen

A haunting novel about a black woman who returns to her hometown for a plantation wedding and the horror that ensues as she reconnects with the blood-soaked history of the land and the best friends she left behind.

More than a decade ago, Mira fled her small, segregated hometown in the south to forget. With every mile she traveled, she distanced herself from her past: from her best friend Celine, mocked by their town as the only white girl with black friends; from her old neighborhood; from the eerie Woodsman plantation rumored to be haunted by the spirits of slaves; from the terrifying memory of a ghost she saw that terrible day when a dare-gone-wrong almost got Jesse—the boy she secretly loved—arrested for murder.

But now Mira is back in Kipsen to attend Celine’s wedding at the plantation, which has been transformed into a lush vacation resort. Mira hopes to reconnect with her friends, and especially, Jesse, to finally tell him the truth about her feelings and the events of that devastating long-ago day.

But for all its fancy renovations, the Woodsman remains a monument to its oppressive racist history. The bar serves antebellum drinks, entertainments include horrifying reenactments, and the service staff is nearly all black. Yet the darkest elements of the plantation’s past have been carefully erased—rumors that slaves were tortured mercilessly and that ghosts roam the lands, seeking vengeance on the descendants of those who tormented them, which includes most of the wedding guests. 

As the weekend unfolds, Mira, Jesse, and Celine are forced to acknowledge their history together, and to save themselves from what is to come.

I love reading debut horror, and I'm excited to read more from LaTanya McQueen.

When the Reckoning Comes is atmospheric and chilling. I mention this often, but when it comes to horror, ghost stories are my favorite. The ghosts are used brilliantly in When the Reckoning Comes, but they are also what makes the story confusing. It's hard to distinguish what's actually happening in the physical world, but the hauntings are so effective in telling the story McQueen wants to tell.

I read When the Reckoning Comes with the Ladies of Horror Fiction discord group. It was the group read pick for February, and it was the perfect choice. I listened to it on audio which I recommend because the narration is fantastic.

⭐⭐⭐⭐★
4/5 stars


Jennifer

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Monday, January 31, 2022

Book Review | Ghost Girl by Ally Malinenko

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

Ghost Girl is a middle grade horror novel by Ally Malinenko.

Ghost Girl by Ally Malinenko

Perfect for fans of Small Spaces and Nightbooks, Ally Malinenko’s middle-grade debut is an empowering and triumphant ghost story—with spooky twists sure to give readers a few good goosebumps!

Zee Puckett loves ghost stories. She just never expected to be living one.

It all starts with a dark and stormy night. When the skies clear, everything is different. People are missing. There’s a creepy new principal who seems to know everyone’s darkest dreams. And Zee is seeing frightening things: large, scary dogs that talk and maybe even . . . a ghost.

When she tells her classmates, only her best friend, Elijah, believes her. Worse, mean girl Nellie gives Zee a cruel nickname: Ghost Girl.

But whatever the storm washed up isn’t going away. Everyone’s most selfish wishes start coming true in creepy ways.

To fight for what’s right, Zee will have to embrace what makes her different and what makes her Ghost Girl. And all three of them—Zee, Elijah, and Nellie—will have to work together if they want to give their ghost story a happy ending.

I loved Ghost Girl!

Growing up I picked up every book I could find that possibly had a ghost in it. All of the amazing middle grade and young adult books that exist today weren't available back then. My inner Jen still gets excited every time I get to pick up a middle grade horror - especially the ones that center around ghosts.

While Ghost Girl is certainly a ghostly book, it is much, much more than that. And most important (to me) - it's scary! I love when a horror book turns out to be scary, and Ghost Girl joins the ranks of Hide and Seeker, The Girl and the Ghost, Root Magic, and Where the Woods End for having some amazing horror content!

Like Hide and Seeker, it will also hit you right in the feels. I love the characters of Zee, Elijah, and Nellie. Their character growth and their friendships are wonderful! I grew to love them so much.

If you read middle grade or have someone in your life who reads middle grade, I highly recommend Ghost Girl. I can't wait to read more from Ally Malinenko!

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
5/5 stars

Jennifer

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Sunday, January 23, 2022

Recent Updates and Currently Reading | January 23

I hope you all had an excellent weekend! I'm getting this post out pretty late in the weekend, but I'm trying to stay on top of my updates this year.

Are any of you watching The Book of Boba Fett? It's so good. I'm so excited for what's to come. If you are watching, you know what I'm talking about.


Posted Last Week


A History of Wild Places by Shea Ernshaw Age of Ash by Daniel Abraham The Ghost of Midnight Lake by Lucy Strange


Book Review | A History of Wild Places by Shea Ernshaw
⭐⭐💫★★

2021 Releases I Was Excited to Read But Didn’t Get To

On My Wishlist | Age of Ash by Daniel Abraham

Book Review | The Ghost of Midnight Lake by Lucy Strange ⭐⭐⭐⭐★


Finished Reading


Mine by Delilah S. Dawson Unsouled by Will Wight Exposed Nerves by Lucy A. Snyder

Mine by Delilah S. Dawson ⭐⭐★★★ - This was not a favorite. I will have a review out either this week or next.

Unsouled by Will Wight ⭐⭐⭐★★ - I'm so happy to finally be reading this series.

Exposed Nerves by Lucy A. Snyder ⭐⭐⭐★★ - This is a collection of horror poetry. I probably won't post a review since it's hard enough to review poetry - a "good" 3⭐ poetry review is even tougher.


Currently Reading


Soulsmith by Will Wight Light of the Jedi by Charles Soule

Soulsmith by Will Wight - I'm continuing on with Will Wight's Cradle series. This is book two.

Light of the Jedi by Charles Soule - I started reading this last summer, and I guess I lost interest. I've started over. It's not really pulling me in, but I want to catch up with the rest of the High Republic books.


Added to the TBR


Strange Nests by Jessica McHugh

Strange Nests by Jessica McHugh - I loved her collection A Complex Accident of Life last year.



This post is being shared as part of Book Date, Unleashing Readers, and Teach Mentor Texts It's Monday! What Are You Reading? and Caffeinated Book Reviewer's The Sunday Post.

Jennifer

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Thursday, January 20, 2022

Book Review | The Ghost of Midnight Lake by Lucy Strange

The Ghost of Midnight Lake is a middle grade horror-adjacent mystery novel by Lucy Strange.

The Ghost of Midnight Lake by Lucy Strange

From award winning author Lucy Strange comes a thrilling ghost story about a strong willed heroine who will follow even the most restless spirit in order to untangles the dark mystery of her own past.

It's 1899. The Earl of Gosswater has died, and twelve-year-old Agatha has been cast out of her ancestral home - the only home she has ever known - by her cruel cousin, Clarence. In a tiny tumbledown cottage, she struggles to adjust to her new life and the stranger who claims to be her real father. While adjusting to her new fate, she learns that the shores of Gosswater lake are haunted, and soon comes face to face with the spirit of another young girl who's soul will not rest. Could the ghost of Gosswater hold the key to Aggie's true identity?
I'm pretty sure I read The Ghost of Midnight Lake just because of that cover! Thankfully The Ghost of Midnight Lake was so much deeper than my reason for picking it up in the first place.⁠

Despite having such a lovely print copy, I decided to listen to this one on audio. It's narrated by the author, and I think this added an additional layer to an already wonderful book.

The Ghost of Midnight Lake opens up with Agatha finding out her parents who have passed away are not her biological parents, and she must uproot and go live with her "real father".

The Ghost of Midnight Lake is full of mystery, friendship, family, and villians.

This is the first book by Lucy Strange that I've read. I realized after finishing this that she's the same author who just released Sisters of the Lost Marsh as well. I look forward to reading more by Strange in the future.

⭐⭐⭐⭐★
4/5 stars

Jennifer

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Wednesday, January 19, 2022

On My Wishlist | Age of Ash by Daniel Abraham

Have you read anything by Daniel Abraham? I haven't read any of his previously series (including The Expanse which he co-authored as James S.A. Corey). I'm super curious about his upcoming release Age of Ash. Let me know if you've read it or plan on reading it! It's the first book in a new series Kithamar, and a lot fantasy reviewers are saying great things so far.

Age of Ash by Daniel Abraham

From New York Times bestselling and critically acclaimed author Daniel Abraham, co-author of The Expanse , comes a monumental epic fantasy trilogy that unfolds within the walls of a single great city, over the course of one tumultuous year, where every story matters, and the fate of the city is woven from them all.

Kithamar is a center of trade and wealth, an ancient city with a long, bloody history where countless thousands live and their stories unfold.

This is Alys's.

When her brother is murdered, a petty thief from the slums of Longhill sets out to discover who killed him and why.  But the more she discovers about him, the more she learns about herself, and the truths she finds are more dangerous than knives. 

Swept up in an intrigue as deep as the roots of Kithamar, where the secrets of the lowest born can sometimes topple thrones, the story Alys chooses will have the power to change everything.

Did you add anything to your wishlist this week?



This post is being shared as part of Can't-Wait Wednesday over at Wishful Endings.

Jennifer

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Tuesday, January 18, 2022

2021 Releases I Was Excited to Read But Didn’t Get To

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

Heartbreak Bay by Rachel Caine Our Last Echoes by Kate Alice Marshall The Shadow of the Gods by John Gwynne

Heartbreak Bay by Rachel Caine

Our Last Echoes by Kate Alice Marshall

The Shadow of the Gods by John Gwynne


Long Lost by Jacqueline West Survive the Night by Riley Sager The Final Girl Support Group by Grady Hendrix

Long Lost by Jacqueline West

Survive the Night by Riley Sager

The Final Girl Support Group by Grady Hendrix


Billy Summers by Stephen King My Heart Is a Chainsaw by Stephen Graham Jones The Hidden by Melanie Golding

Billy Summers by Stephen King

My Heart Is a Chainsaw by Stephen Graham Jones

The Hidden by Melanie Golding

Jennifer

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Monday, January 17, 2022

Book Review | A History of Wild Places by Shea Ernshaw

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

A History of Wild Places is a horror-adjacent mystery novel by Shea Ernshaw.

A History of Wild Places by Shea Ernshaw

Travis Wren has an unusual talent for locating missing people. Hired by families as a last resort, he requires only a single object to find the person who has vanished. When he takes on the case of Maggie St. James—a well-known author of dark, macabre children’s books—he’s led to a place many believed to be only a legend.

Called "Pastoral," this reclusive community was founded in the 1970s by like-minded people searching for a simpler way of life. By all accounts, the commune shouldn’t exist anymore and soon after Travis stumbles upon it… he disappears. Just like Maggie St. James.

Years later, Theo, a lifelong member of Pastoral, discovers Travis’s abandoned truck beyond the border of the community. No one is allowed in or out, not when there’s a risk of bringing a disease—rot—into Pastoral. Unraveling the mystery of what happened reveals secrets that Theo, his wife, Calla, and her sister, Bee, keep from one another. Secrets that prove their perfect, isolated world isn’t as safe as they believed—and that darkness takes many forms.

Hauntingly beautiful, hypnotic, and bewitching, A History of Wild Places is a story about fairy tales, our fear of the dark, and losing yourself within the wilderness of your mind.
I've never read any of Shea Ernshaw's YA books, but I was really excited to check out her adult debut. It sounded very twisty and unique, and I was ready to take what I thought would be a pretty trippy ride.

In the end, I did wind up liking A History of Wild Places, but it was a struggle to get there. The book is broken up into four parts. The first part follows Travis - a private investigator of sorts - starting out on his journey to find a missing woman. These 50 pages are all told through Travis' first person perspective. It took me a while to get use to a literary first person adult narrative, but by the end of those 50 pages I was hooked and ready.

This is where my first big issue came in. Part two switches everything. Suddenly the reader is following three different characters (all still in first person narrative) who are living with this strange cult in the woods. I had to reorient myself all over again. I spent most of A History of Wild Places trying to decide whether to DNF or not.

This book obviously worked a lot better for other reviewers than it did for me. Even though I struggled pretty hard with it, the concept is unique enough that I recommend you try it out for yourself if you've been interested in reading it.

⭐⭐💫★★
2.5/5 stars

Jennifer

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Sunday, January 16, 2022

Recent Updates and Currently Reading | January 16

Do you get to have a long weekend this weekend? My kids had a half-day on Friday and have Monday off so it's nice to have a long break (even though we just returned from the holidays).

This was a great reading week for me - my first 5⭐ of the year! Have you landed on a 5⭐ read yet? If so, let me know what you read!


Posted Last Week


The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson Dead Silence by S.A. Barnes Ophie's Ghosts by Justina Ireland


Book Review | The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson
⭐⭐⭐💫★

Most Recent Additions to My Book Collection

On My Wishlist | Dead Silence by S.A. Barnes

Book Review | Ophie's Ghosts by ⭐⭐⭐⭐★


Finished Reading


The Ghost of Midnight Lake by Lucy Strange Ghost Girl by Ally Malinenko Rock Paper Scissors by Alice Feeney

The Ghost of Midnight Lake by Lucy Strange ⭐⭐⭐⭐★ - I really enjoyed this one. I wound up listening to the audiobook which was narrated by the author.

Ghost Girl by Ally Malinenko ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ - I loved this one! I will have some thoughts out some for each of these.

Rock Paper Scissors by Alice Feeney ⭐⭐⭐💫★ - I enjoyed this one, but it was a little frustrating, too.


Currently Reading


Where the Drowned Girls Go by Seanan McGuire Exposed Nerves by Lucy A. Snyder Unsouled by Will Wight

Where the Drowned Girls Go by Seanan McGuire - I'm taking my sweet time with this one. I think I'm a little nervous!

Exposed Nerves by Lucy A. Snyder - This is OK so far. Nothing is really jumping out at me yet, but I'm enjoying it.

Unsouled by Will Wight - I started listening to this last night, and I'm really enjoying it. I've heard so many great things about this series, and it sounds like every book just gets better than the last.



This post is being shared as part of Book Date, Unleashing Readers, and Teach Mentor Texts It's Monday! What Are You Reading? and Caffeinated Book Reviewer's The Sunday Post.

Jennifer

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Thursday, January 13, 2022

Book Review | Ophie's Ghosts by Justina Ireland

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

Ophie's Ghosts is a middle grade horror/mystery by Justina Ireland.

Ophie's Ghosts by Justina Ireland

The New York Times bestselling author of Dread Nation makes her middle grade debut with a sweeping tale of the ghosts of our past that won't stay buried, starring an unforgettable girl named Ophie.

Ophelia Harrison used to live in a small house in the Georgia countryside. But that was before the night in November 1922, and the cruel act that took her home and her father from her. Which was the same night that Ophie learned she can see ghosts.

Now Ophie and her mother are living in Pittsburgh with relatives they barely know. In the hopes of earning enough money to get their own place, Mama has gotten Ophie a job as a maid in the same old manor house where she works.

Daffodil Manor, like the wealthy Caruthers family who owns it, is haunted by memories and prejudices of the past--and, as Ophie discovers, ghosts as well. Ghosts who have their own loves and hatreds and desires, ghosts who have wronged others and ghosts who have themselves been wronged. And as Ophie forms a friendship with one spirit whose life ended suddenly and unjustly, she wonders if she might be able to help--even as she comes to realize that Daffodil Manor may hold more secrets than she bargained for.

Yes! Ophie's Ghosts is an Odd Thomas type of book for kids!

The night Ophie's father is killed is the first night Ophelia Harrison sees ghosts. Her father wakes her to insist she and her mother hide just before their home is burned down. Ophie and her mother then move to Pittsburgh to work in Daffodil Manor.

Ophie can see and communicate with spirits. Her relatives warn her against communicating with haints, but she wants to help the ghosts around her.

I really like Justina Ireland's writing. I enjoyed her YA duology Dread Nation and Deathless Divide, and I was excited she wrote a middle grade novel. I was not disappointed! 

I loved Ophie, and I would love to read more Ophie books in the future. 

⭐⭐⭐⭐★
4/5 stars

Jennifer

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Wednesday, January 12, 2022

On My Wishlist | Dead Silence by S.A. Barnes

Dead Silence by S.A. Barnes is one of my most anticipated reads. I love a mix of science fiction and horror. I can't wait to finally read this one next month!

Dead Silence by S.A. Barnes

Titanic meets The Shining in S.A. Barnes’ Dead Silence, a SF horror novel in which a woman and her crew board a decades-lost luxury cruiser and find the wreckage of a nightmare that hasn't yet ended.

A GHOST SHIP.
A SALVAGE CREW.
UNSPEAKABLE HORRORS.


Claire Kovalik is days away from being unemployed—made obsolete—when her beacon repair crew picks up a strange distress signal. With nothing to lose and no desire to return to Earth, Claire and her team decide to investigate.

What they find at the other end of the signal is a shock: the Aurora, a famous luxury space-liner that vanished on its maiden tour of the solar system more than twenty years ago. A salvage claim like this could set Claire and her crew up for life. But a quick trip through the Aurora reveals something isn’t right.

Whispers in the dark. Flickers of movement. Words scrawled in blood. Claire must fight to hold onto her sanity and find out what really happened on the Aurora, before she and her crew meet the same ghastly fate.

Will you be reading Dead Silence this year? 


Jennifer

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Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Most Recent Additions to My Book Collection

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid Piranesi by Susanna Clarke The Fallen Star by Claudia Gray

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Piranesi by Susanna Clarke

The Fallen Star by Claudia Gray


The Rage of Dragons by Evan Winter The Girl in the Lake by India Hill Brown Where the Drowned Girls Go by Seanan McGuire

The Rage of Dragons by Evan Winter

The Girl in the Lake by India Hill Brown

Where the Drowned Girls Go by Seanan McGuire

Exposed Nerves by Lucy A. Snyder Monstrum Poetica by Jezzy Wolfe A History of Wild Places by Shea Ernshaw

Exposed Nerves by Lucy A. Snyder

Monstrum Poetica by Jezzy Wolfe

A History of Wild Places by Shea Ernshaw


Amari and the Night Brothers by B.B. Alston The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse

Amari and the Night Brothers by B.B. Alston

The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris

Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse

Jennifer

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