The Tome of Syyx by Stavros Saristavros

The Tome of Syyx by Stavros Saristavros

The Fateful Force #1

Published April 6, 2022

Summary: Ancient evils stir. Deals must be brokered. But who can be trusted?

On the fringes of civilization, the town of Sanctuary embarks on a mission to legitimize its existence and that of its half-breed inhabitants.

Tasked with helping secure the future of the town, four young adventurers soon discover that armies of orcs and hobgoblins are far from the only threats to peace on the frontier.
Dragons are rumored to once again fly, and an imprisoned god returns to plague the world.
What hopes do they have in the face of such foes?

Unlikely alliances must be forged and rivalries put aside. But not all friends are what they seem …

Review: The Tome of Syyx is the first book in The Fateful Force series by debut author Stavros Saristavros. From the moment I read the synopsis I knew this was a book I wanted to dive into. I am a huge fantasy fan and while the fantasy I normally read isn’t quite as battle heavy as this was, I was instantly taken in by the setting and characters. One thing that comes through really well throughout the novel is the author’s passion for D&D aka Dungeons and Dragons. That was something I never quite got into growing up so there were a few moments where I was a bit lost and overwhelmed but thanks to a little help from Google on some of the weaponry involved I was able to keep up.

The prologue opens up with immediate action where a book known as the Tome of Syyx was taken from the ziggurat where it was kept. After that, I knew I was going to be in for a wild ride. We then are introduced to four characters, Zom, Akke, Ailuros, and Osho who are given several different quests together throughout the story. Throughout the book I grew very attached to these characters, especially Akke. Zom is a half-Orc, Akke is a half-elf, Ailuros is a Panthor, and Osho is human. One of the great things about this book is the amount of diversity between all manner of fantastical creatures, many of them working towards equality for all. Through these four unique characters we are taken on an epic adventure that is both awe inspiring and heart pounding.

One thing I thoroughly enjoyed was the map at the beginning of the book and the illustrations throughout the book that were at the end of many of the chapters. Another really cool thing that I’ve never quite encountered until now is the extensive free resource the author provides on his website (https://thefatefulforce.com) . You can tell how passionate Saristavros is about this new series from this site. There is so much information about the world and different creatures among other things. I also highly recommend checking out the free battle maps sections to see more of the locations from the book including Ziggurat, and one of my favorite spots – The Smiling Orc! Even if you’re not into D&D these images and maps are really cool and very well done. To see a great illustration Akke, Osho, Ailuros, and Zom hover over The World and click on Notable Inhabitants. The artwork is beautiful and fun to compare them to the way I saw them in my head. It is such a cool site to browse while reading the book and after finishing it. I am very much looking forward to the second installment in The Fateful Force!

4.25 Stars

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Spells for Forgetting by Adrienne Young

Spells for Forgetting by Adrienne Young

First published September 27, 2022

352 Pages

Goodreads Summary: A deeply atmospheric story about ancestral magic, an unsolved murder, and a second chance at true love.

Emery Blackwood’s life changed forever the night her best friend was found dead and the love of her life, August Salt, was accused of murdering her. Years later, she is doing what her teenage self swore she never would: living a quiet existence on the misty, remote shores of Saoirse Island and running the family’s business, Blackwood’s Tea Shoppe Herbal Tonics & Tea Leaf Readings.

But when the island, rooted in folklore and magic, begins to show signs of strange happenings, Emery knows that something is coming. The morning she wakes to find that every single tree on Saoirse has turned color in a single night, August returns for the first time in fourteen years and unearths the past that the town has tried desperately to forget.

August knows he is not welcome on Saiorse, not after the night everything changed. As a fire raged on at the Salt family orchard, Lily Morgan was found dead in the dark woods, shaking the bedrock of their tight-knit community and branding August a murderer. When he returns to bury his mother’s ashes, he must confront the people who turned their backs on him and face the one wound from his past that has never healed—Emery.

The town has more than one reason to want August gone, and the emergence of deep betrayals and hidden promises spanning generations threaten to reveal the truth behind Lily’s mysterious death once and for all.

Review: Initially I was drawn to this book because I loved the Fable duology so much and wanted to read more by this author. When I read the synopsis I was 100% sold on it and knew it would be the perfect read for autumn. Young’s writing in this novel truly sets the reader up for that autumn magic atmosphere between the magic, reading of tea leaves, the island’s orchard, etc. I really loved how the tourists coming to Saiorse saw things basically only at the surface level but didn’t truly know anything about the island’s true self. It really felt as though the island was an actual character in the story and not just the setting. As I read, I loved every moment of traveling all over the island as it was described and as the scenes were set. In addition to falling in love with Saiorse, I adored Emery and August. I desperately wanted the truth to come out about August’s past because I could just feel that everyone had the wrong idea about him. And just when you think you know what happened, both to Lily and the orchard, you realize you had no idea. The final reveal was shocking. The whole story reminded me of a cross between Practical Magic and an episode of Supernatural (specifically season 1 episode 11: Scarecrow). Everything about this book was exactly what I was hoping it to be. I fell so hard for this book and definitely had to get a finished copy for my collection. Highly recommended for an autumn read especially if you’re in the mood for that misty island/witchy feel.

5 Stars

I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

A Hard Day for a Hangover by Darynda Jones

A Hard Day for a Hangover by Darynda Jones

Sunshine Vicram #3

Expected publication December 6, 2022

352 Pages

Goodreads Summary: Some people greet the day with open arms. Sheriff Sunshine Vicram would rather give it a hearty shove and get back into bed, because there’s just too much going on right now. There’s a series of women going missing, and Sunny feels powerless to stop it. There’s her persistent and awesomely-rebellious daughter Auri, who’s out to singlehandedly become Del Sol’s youngest and fiercest investigator. And then there’s drama with Levi Ravinder—the guy she’s loved and lusted after for years. The guy who might just be her one and only. The guy who comes from a family of disingenuous vipers looking to oust him—and Sunshine—for good.

Like we said, the new day can take a hike.

Review: First I would like to say that since this is the third book of a trilogy to proceed with caution as there may be spoilers about the first two books. If you haven’t picked up this series yet starting with A Bad Day for Sunshine… I highly suggest you fix that! 🙂 Mystery, intrigue, humor, romance, jaw dropping action… the list goes on.

A Hard Day for a Hangover was my most anticipated release of 2022 so I had high expectations for it and Darynda Jones delivered. Everything and everyone in Del Sol was their perfectly quirky selves and throughout this series I have come to love every single one of them. There were a few characters that were more absent in this book than the previous installments which was a little disappointing but my main girl Sunshine got the ending I hoped for. I felt like there was a shift in the story that put a lot more focus on Sunshine’s daughter, Auri, so I’m almost wondering if Jones was making way for a new spin off series featuring her in the lead. Honestly I am SO game for that. I feel like there are so many more tales to tell for the citizens of Del Sol that I am absolutely dying for more! Any kind of spin off featuring these characters, even novellas, would be majorly appreciated by this reader. I very much loved this finale and am already wanting to go back in for a second read. This is a series I can see myself reading over and over again, especially considering I’ve already read the first book 3 times and the second book twice. My only complaint is that this is a trilogy and not a longer series.

5 Stars

I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Spooky Season TBR 2022

Happy September! Autumn is my absolute favorite season and living in Minnesota I always feel like our fall is cut short by winter. So to extend the season I have decided that this year I will be celebrating fall and spooky season during September AND October. I love reading books that really fit the mood of the season so I have put together a rather large TBR for this year. I am a mood reader so this is mostly so that I have a large variety of books to choose from. I have gone through my entire library and selected books that I feel fit the vibe I’m looking for during spooky season and filled one of my book carts with those books so that when the time comes it will make it easier for me to choose a book rather than leaving them on the shelves intermixed with all of my other books.

And of course I had to decorate the cart as well! On the cart I have put 42 books from several different genres. There are vampires, witches, zombies, ghosts, serial killers, and more! I am SO excited to read as many of these in those two months that I can.

  • The Sandman vol. 1 by Neil Gaiman
  • The Hills Have Eyes: The Beginning
  • 28 Days Later: The Aftermath
  • 30 Days of Night: Red Snow
  • Winterwood by Shea Ernshaw
  • Final Girls by Riley Sager
  • Book of Night by Holly Black
  • Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane
  • The Strain by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan
  • The Southern Book Club’s Guide To Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix
  • The Dark Half by Stephen King
  • Hour of the Witch by Chris Bohjalian
  • The Year of the Witching by Alexis Henderson
  • House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski
  • Slewfoot by Brom
  • Time’s Convert by Deborah Harkness
  • The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones
  • The Companion by Katie Alender
  • Supermarket by Bobby Hall
  • White Smoke by Tiffany D. Jackson
  • NOS4A2 by Joe Hill
  • Not the Witch You Wed by April Asher
  • The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
  • Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice
  • Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir
  • My Heart is a Chainsaw by Stephen Graham Jones
  • Elevation by Stephen King
  • The Beautiful by Renee Ahdieh
  • The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
  • The Witch Hunter by Max Seeck
  • Folly by Laurie R. King
  • The Chain by Adrian McKinty
  • Blaze by Richard Bachman (aka Stephen King)
  • Dark Lover by J.R. Ward
  • Red Dragon by Thomas Harris
  • The Vampire Lestat by Anne Rice
  • King of Battle and Blood by Scarlett St. Clair
  • The Last Seance by Agatha Christie
  • Dracula by Bram Stoker
  • When the Reckoning Comes by LaTanya McQueen
  • The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux
  • The Turn of the Screw & In the Cage by Henry James

I also plan to choose my audiobooks that I listen to during work to fit the mood as well. I’m not sure what those will be yet but I’m guessing there will be some Stephen King in the mix. In addition to those, I have a few ARCs that will be read and reviewed throughout spooky season:

  • The Wilderwomen by Ruth Emmie Lang
  • Spells for Forgetting by Adrienne Young
  • Daphne by Josh Malerman
  • The Prisoner by B.A. Paris
  • Little Eve by Catriona Ward
  • The Luminaries by Susan Dennard

I am super excited to get started with these reads to fully embrace fall and spooky season this year. I would even be fine with this all extending into November as well 🙂

How early do you start celebrating fall and spooky season? Do you plan to read spooky season themed books during fall?

The Younger Wife by Sally Hepworth

The Younger Wife by Sally Hepworth

Published April 4, 2022 by St. Martin’s Press

346 Pages

Goodreads Summary: THE HUSBAND: A heart surgeon at the top of his field, Stephen Aston is getting married again. But first he must divorce his current wife, even though she can no longer speak for herself. THE DAUGHTERS: Tully and Rachel Aston look upon their father’s fiancée, Heather, as nothing but an interloper. Heather is younger than both of them. Clearly, she’s after their father’s money. THE FORMER WIFE: With their mother in a precarious position, Tully and Rachel are determined to get to the truth about their family’s secrets, the new wife closing in, and who their father really is. THE YOUNGER WIFE: Heather has secrets of her own. Will getting to the truth unleash the most dangerous impulses in all of them?

Review: This was my first novel by Sally Hepworth and it definitely will not be my last. I was intrigued from the very beginning. The book starts out on the day of the wedding and things quickly take a turn for the worst and then rewind to how it all began. The book is told in alternating POVs of Tully, Rachel, and Heather. With each chapter new details are revealed and each one is more twisted than the last. In addition to the main plot line, each of the women have additional things going on in their own lives that have an effect on the story. Each woman is dealing with things from the past that are affecting their present lives and it really added depth to their characters. This book definitely kept me guessing on how it was going to end and when the final twist was revealed I will admit that I was shocked! Overall I really enjoyed reading this book and look forward to reading more from Sally Hepworth in the future.

Content Warning: Domestic violence, murder, rape, eating disorder, kleptomania

4 stars

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.