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


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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


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