Thursday, December 1, 2022

Review | Daisy Darker by Alice Feeney

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

Daisy Darker is a mystery/thriller by Alice Feeney.

The New York Times bestselling Queen of Twists returns…with a family reunion that leads to murder.

After years of avoiding each other, Daisy Darker’s entire family is assembling for Nana’s 80th birthday party in Nana’s crumbling gothic house on a tiny tidal island. Finally back together one last time, when the tide comes in, they will be cut off from the rest of the world for eight hours.

The family arrives, each of them harboring secrets. Then at the stroke of midnight, as a storm rages, Nana is found dead. And an hour later, the next family member follows…

Trapped on an island where someone is killing them one by one, the Darkers must reckon with their present mystery as well as their past secrets, before the tide comes in and all is revealed.

With a wicked wink to Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None, Daisy Darker’s unforgettable twists will leave readers reeling.

Daisy Darker is a messed up book.

Daisy Darker is a story like And Then There Were None and Clue where the characters get picked off one by one. This is all in the synopsis so I guess it's okay to also say this in my review. I absolutely loved And Then There Were None, and I enjoyed Daisy Darker, too. In Daisy Darker, the Darker family is reuniting at their family home Seaglass. They are on an island where when the tide comes in there's no way to leave the island for eight hours until the tide goes back out. It's the perfect setting for one of these trapped thriller novels.

I saw someone on Booktube the other day say when a reviewer says they can't really talk about a book because it would be spoilers that means the reviewer didn't actually read the book (lol). That's a weird hot take, and you are just going to have to believe that I read Daisy Darker because this is one of those books that you can't really talk about without spoiling something. Maybe that Booktuber needs to read more thrillers?

If you enjoy messed up family secrets that slowly get revealed over the course of a book, I recommend you give Daisy Darker a try.

I read my first Alice Feeney last year when I read Rock Paper Scissors. I was anxious to read more books by Feeney and was really excited that Daisy Darker was a Book-of-the-Month selection this year and that it was getting such great reviews from readers that I trust. I love Feeney's characters and her twists and her suspense. I find her books impossible to believe, but I have a great time reading them and I don't want to put them down.

Daisy Darker is a thriller, but it's also horror–adjacent. I recommend it to readers like me who love horror and love thrillers and love reading those books that straddle the line as horror-adjacent.

4/5 stars


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Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Wishlist | What Lies in the Woods by Kate Alice Marshall

What Lives in the Woods is a mystery/thriller novel by Kate Alice Marshall.

What Lies in the Woods by Kate Alice Marshall

They were eleven when they sent a killer to prison . . .
They were heroes . . . but they were liars.

Naomi Shaw used to believe in magic. Twenty-two years ago, she and her two best friends, Cassidy and Olivia, spent the summer roaming the woods, imagining a world of ceremony and wonder. They called it the Goddess Game. The summer ended suddenly when Naomi was attacked. Miraculously, she survived her seventeen stab wounds and lived to identify the man who had hurt her. The girls’ testimony put away a serial killer, wanted for murdering six women. They were heroes.

And they were liars.

For decades, the friends have kept a secret worth killing for. But now Olivia wants to tell, and Naomi sets out to find out what really happened in the woods—no matter how dangerous the truth turns out to be.

I'm just here to fan girl about another Kate Alice Marshall book coming soon. I think this is an adult mystery/thriller! I've loved Marshall's YA books, and I've loved her MG books. Yes, please, to an adult thriller! But I'll read anything she writes at this point.

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


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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


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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.


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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


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