Daphne by Josh Malerman

Daphne by Josh Malerman

Published September 20, 2022 by Del Rey

262 Pages

Goodreads Summary: It’s the last summer for Kit Lamb: The last summer before college. The last summer with her high school basketball team, and with Dana, her best friend. The last summer before her life begins.

But the night before the big game, one of the players tells a ghost story about Daphne, a girl who went to their school many years ago and died under mysterious circumstances. Some say she was murdered, others that she died by her own hand. And some say that Daphne is a murderer herself. They also say that Daphne is still out there, obsessed with revenge, and will appear to kill again anytime someone thinks about her.

After Kit hears the story, her teammates vanish, one by one, and Kit begins to suspect that the stories about Daphne are real . . . and to fear that her own mind is conjuring the killer. Now it’s a race against time as Kit searches for the truth behind the legend and learns to face her own fears—before the summer of her life becomes the last summer of her life.

Mixing a nostalgic coming-of-age story and an instantly iconic female villain with an innovative new vision of classic horror, Daphne is an unforgettable thriller as only Josh Malerman could imagine it.

Review: My first encounter with Josh Malerman was with his book, Bird Box. I devoured it completely and thoroughly enjoyed the sequel. I struggled a little with Goblin but that’s mainly me struggling with short stories in general. So I was very excited to get an opportunity to read and review his most recent novel, Daphne. I was intrigued by the premise and the main character being a former high school basketball player myself. The majority of the book is told from Kit Lamb’s POV which I enjoyed for the most part with one major exception… a lot of her POV is herself writing in her diary which she named Jolly and she addresses it by name throughout her entries. That was a little strange for me and kind of off putting. There definitely were some scary moments, which I appreciated. I definitely would not want to go up against Daphne, that’s for sure. One of the scariest things was that you weren’t supposed to think about Daphne or she would come for you but when you know you’re not supposed to think about something OF COURSE that will just make you think of it more. I think that affected Kit heavily! She seemed to be constantly thinking about Daphne to the point where she was imaging people around her were speaking Daphne’s name when they actually said something completely different. In some ways it reminded me of a Bloody Mary-esque story. There were times when the POV shifted and it was a little hard to follow. Overall I would say this is a pretty decent horror read and I will continue to look forward to Josh Malerman’s books in the future.

3 Stars

Mini Review: The Wilderwomen

The Wilderwomen by Ruth Emmie Lang

Published November 15, 2022 by St. Martin’s Press

336 Pages

Goodreads Summary: Five years ago, Nora Wilder disappeared. The older of her two daughters, Zadie, should have seen it coming, because she can literally see things coming. But not even her psychic abilities were able to prevent their mother from vanishing one morning.Zadie’s estranged younger sister, Finn, can’t see into the future, but she has an uncannily good memory, so good that she remembers not only her own memories, but the echoes of memories other people have left behind. On the afternoon of her graduation party, Finn is seized by an “echo” more powerful than anything she’s experienced before: a woman singing a song she recognizes, a song about a bird…When Finn wakes up alone in an aviary with no idea of how she got there, she realizes who the memory belongs to: Nora.Now, it’s up to Finn to convince her sister that not only is their mom still out there, but that she wants to be found. Against Zadie’s better judgement, she and Finn hit the highway, using Finn’s echoes to retrace Nora’s footsteps and uncover the answer to the question that has been haunting them for years: Why did she leave?But the more time Finn spends in their mother’s past, the harder it is for her to return to the present, to return to herself. As Zadie feels her sister start to slip away, she will have to decide what lengths she is willing to go to to find their mother, knowing that if she chooses wrong, she could lose them both for good.

Review: Two years ago I had read and loved Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance so when I got the opportunity to read and review Ruth Emmie Lang’s newest novel, I jumped at it. I procrastinated reading it and the longer I let it sit the less I felt like reading it so I finally picked it up one day. I would have thought a book that had characters with psychic abilities would have thrilled me a little more than it ended up doing. I had a very hard time connecting and caring about Zadie. This book has so many emotions running through it but I struggled to feel anything but boredom to be perfectly honest. The plot and characters just never fully gripped me. Overall I was just very disappointed with this book. Maybe if I read it in a more philosophical type mood this would have worked better for me as many people seem to have enjoyed it so I wouldn’t necessarily take my word on this one.

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

The Luminaries by Susan Dennard

The Luminaries by Susan Dennard

The Luminaries #1

Published November 1, 2022 by Tor Teen

304 Pages

Goodreads Summary: Hemlock Falls isn’t like other towns. You won’t find it on a map, your phone won’t work here, and the forest outside town might just kill you.

Winnie Wednesday wants nothing more than to join the Luminaries, the ancient order that protects Winnie’s town—and the rest of humanity—from the monsters and nightmares that rise in the forest of Hemlock Falls every night.

Ever since her father was exposed as a witch and a traitor, Winnie and her family have been shunned. But on her sixteenth birthday, she can take the deadly Luminary hunter trials and prove herself true and loyal—and restore her family’s good name. Or die trying.

But in order to survive, Winnie enlists the help of the one person who can help her train: Jay Friday, resident bad boy and Winnie’s ex-best friend. While Jay might be the most promising new hunter in Hemlock Falls, he also seems to know more about the nightmares of the forest than he should. Together, he and Winnie will discover a danger lurking in the forest no one in Hemlock Falls is prepared for.

Not all monsters can be slain, and not all nightmares are confined to the dark.

Review: I’ve been reading less and less YA as the years go by but I cannot resist Susan Dennard. I adore her series, The Witchlands, so I knew I had to read this new book. Upon starting the first chapter, I was immediately intrigued by the setting and what Winnie was going to be up against. I’ve been getting more into horror lately so I loved that this seemed like it was going to be fantasy mixed with horror. The Luminaries are located not just in Hemlock Falls but in chapters all over the globe protecting areas against nightmares that are manifested by spirits of certain areas in the world. Almost like a Sam and Dean Winchester meeting the Men of Letters but just in one area of the country. Winnie and her family are currently outcasts of their society because of her father being revealed to be a Diana aka a witch traitor. Winnie desperately wants to be a hunter for the Luminaries so she does what she can to insert herself into the trials that every sixteen year old Luminary does… after all, there is no rule that says outcasts can’t attempt the trials. I absolutely loved Winnie and definitely felt a bond with her over all of the other characters. Everything that she went through in this book was equal parts terrifying and exhilarating. I am also extremely intrigued by Jay…. I feel like there is way more than meets the eye when it comes to Jay and I’m very much looking forward to book two to find out more about him. And I desperately need him and Winnie to just get over their hangups and get together! If you’re a fan of Supernatural, Charmed, or anything else along those lines I highly recommend checking out this book.

4 Stars

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

The Prisoner by B.A. Paris

The Prisoner by B.A. Paris

Published November 1, 2022 by St. Martin’s Press

298 Pages

Goodreads Summary: THEN
Amelie has always been a survivor, from losing her parents as a child in Paris to making it on her own in London. As she builds a life for herself, she is swept up into a glamorous lifestyle where she married the handsome billionaire Ned Hawthorne.

NOW
But then, Amelie wakes up in a pitch-black room, not knowing where she is. Why has she been taken? Who are her mysterious captors? And why does she soon feel safer here, imprisoned, than she had begun to feel with her husband Ned?

With Behind Closed Doors, B.A. Paris takes the psychological thriller to shocking new heights. Now she’ll hold you captive with this stunning new thriller about one woman wed into a family with deadly intentions.
In true B.A. Paris style, The Prisoner is a gripping survival story, a twisted tale of love and at its dark heart a thriller to keep you up all night.

Review: I have read all of B.A. Paris’s previous novels so I was originally ecstatic to get a chance to read an advance copy of The Prisoner. Unfortunately that feeling didn’t last very long upon starting to read the book. I read this several months ago and it’s only just now that I’m getting around to writing the review because I was honestly disappointed by this book. Normally I enjoy the marriage for the sake of convenience trope but only when it ends with the two characters falling for each other… This was not the case in this novel. Ned turned out to be an incredibly awful human being and there was no possible way that Amelie could have fallen for him even if she wanted to. He forced her into the marriage and then trapped her at his house, unable to see her friends or family. And then it gets even worse… People start to disappear. I don’t want to say too much more because parts of it were thrilling and captivating. But the whole situation of the marriage in the first place really discolored my enjoyment of this book. I also wasn’t too keen on the constant back and forth through time. It got a little muddled at times. Overall this novel wasn’t bad but it also didn’t quite meet my expectations when it comes to this author’s work.

3 Stars

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

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.