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.

Truthwitch by Susan Dennard

21414439Truthwitch by Susan Dennard

Published January 5th 2016 by Tor Teen

415 Pages

Goodreads Summary: On a continent ruled by three empires, some are born with a “witchery,” a magical skill that sets them apart from others.

In the Witchlands, there are almost as many types of magic as there are ways to get in trouble—as two desperate young women know all too well.

Safiya is a Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lie. It’s a powerful magic that many would kill to have on their side, especially amongst the nobility to which Safi was born. So Safi must keep her gift hidden, lest she be used as a pawn in the struggle between empires.

Iseult, a Threadwitch, can see the invisible ties that bind and entangle the lives around her—but she cannot see the bonds that touch her own heart. Her unlikely friendship with Safi has taken her from life as an outcast into one of reckless adventure, where she is a cool, wary balance to Safi’s hotheaded impulsiveness.

Safi and Iseult just want to be free to live their own lives, but war is coming to the Witchlands. With the help of the cunning Prince Merik (a Windwitch and ship’s captain) and the hindrance of a Bloodwitch bent on revenge, the friends must fight emperors, princes, and mercenaries alike, who will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch.

Review: Back in December I was approved for an ARC excerpt from NetGalley.  I didn’t even have to read the whole excerpt before I knew I was going to love this book and so I preordered it.  When I got my preorder, I set it off to the side for a bit to avoid the inevitable hype monster.  I finally read it in March and completely fell in love with it.  There was so much action, which is almost kind of rare in the first book of a new fantasy series.  Normally the first book of a new fantasy series is filled with world building and character development.  One of the big things that I loved about this book was the balance between the world building, character development and the action.  Nothing was really overshadowed so it felt like a complete story.  I loved the two main characters, Safi and Iseult. The world building was fantastic.  I loved putting all of the descriptions to work in my head visualizing this new place.  It was very easy to do the way the author explained things.  All of the action, especially that involving the Bloodwitch was so nerve wracking and heart pounding.  This book caused a lot of adrenaline rushes.  I could not put this book down once I started it.  I even stayed up late one night because I just could not put it down.  I had to finish it even though I still had quite a bit of it left.  Totally worth it though.  There are a lot of mixed reviews but  I completely loved this book and I really can’t wait until the sequel comes out!

5 Stars

Top Ten Recent 5 Star Reads

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  Each week there is a new topic and this week’s topic is: 10 Of My Most Recent 5 Star Reads.

For this post, I opened up my Goodreads to My Books and sorted my Read shelf by date read.  Then I looked and pulled the first 10 books to come up that I rated 5 stars.  My 10 come from December through March.  I did not include any of my audiobook rereads though.  These are all books that I read physical copies of for the first time.


  • Shattered Blue by Lauren Bird Horowitz – If you pay any attention to my blog at all, you will know how much I love this book!  I’m currently re-reading it for the 3rd time and loving it all over again.
  • Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins – This book  was so cute!  I loved Isla and Josh and their story.  Plus I also loved having the characters from the other two books included in the story.
  • The Fiery Cross by Diana Gabaldon – My love for the Outlander series knows no bounds.  The 5th book in the series was so good and filled with so many of the things that I love about this series.  Plus you just can’t go wrong with James Alexander Malcolm Mackenzie Fraser.
  • I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga – This book was awesome!  I was in the mood for an exciting thriller and this book totally delivered!
  • November 9 by Colleen Hoover – My first full length CoHo book made me an instant fan of her writing.  This was so much more than just a romance.


  • Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover – After reading November 9, I hoped that any of her books I read after that wouldn’t let me down… and she pulled through.  Ugly Love was even better than November 9!
  • Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover – This book totally blew me away.  I finally posted my review of it yesterday and immediately wanted to start reading it again.  SO GOOD!
  • Game by Barry Lyga – Sometimes it is hard to find a sequel that is as good or better than the first book.  But Game was exactly that.  So much better than the first book, I Hunt Killers!  This took the thrill from the first book and amplified it x10!
  • The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner – This book was fantastic.  The characters and the writing were so real!  This book broke my heart and put it back together again.
  • Truthwitch by Susan Dennard – I had read an advance excerpt of this awhile ago but finally got around to reading the full book earlier this month.  It was so good!  I couldn’t put it down.  I loved the two main characters and the entire world that the author built.  I can’t wait to read more in this series in the future.


What are some of your most recent 5 star reads?