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.
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.
I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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.
I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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?
Goodreads Summary: After angering a local gangster, seventeen-year-old Sena Korhosen must flee with her prize fighting wolf, Iska, in tow. A team of scientists offer to pay her way off her frozen planet on one condition: she gets them to the finish line of the planet’s infamous sled race. Though Sena always swore she’d never race after it claimed both her mothers’ lives, it’s now her only option.
But the tundra is a treacherous place, and as the race unfolds and their lives are threatened at every turn, Sena starts to question her own abilities. She must discover whether she’s strong enough to survive the wild – whether she and Iska together are strong enough to get them all out alive.
A captivating debut about survival, found family, and the bond between a girl and a wolf that delivers a fresh twist on classic survival stories and frontier myths.
Review: **Content Warning: Animal Cruelty** When I first heard about this book, it sounded intriguing. I started reading it and at first I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to read the whole thing. There is some animal cruelty from one of the local gangsters that I was not very thrilled to be reading about. I abhor animal cruelty so I was almost ready to DNF the book. But then things started to take a turn for the better. The wolf, Iska, who was being abused was liberated by Sena and as the two of them went on their way to escape the evil gangster, their bond was what kept me reading. Once those two got away things really started getting intense with the world they lived in and the infamous race began. I found myself drawn in and actually enjoying the story and connecting with the characters. I really liked how Sena came out of her shell and started to trust the people that she was with and wouldn’t give up on Iska. Overall, I ended up liking this book more than I disliked it because of the animal cruelty. So just beware if you decide to read this book that there will be some animal cruelty.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.