Review: The Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward

The Last House on Needless StreetThe Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars**

In a quiet town, at the end of a typical neighborhood street sits a well-worn home with boarded-up windows. In the house lives an eccentric man named, Ted.

Ted has a daughter named, Lauren, who sometimes visits. Although never seen playing outside, the neighbors can hear her sounds of joy and sometimes discontent, well enough, ringing through the walls. Also, residing in the home, is Ted’s little furry companion, Olivia the cat.

Told through the alternating perspectives of Ted, Olivia and a neighborhood woman who just moved to the street, their intertwining tales of horror begin to unfold and their connections are laid bare.

It’s clear Ted’s musings may be unreliable. Can you trust what he is thinking? The way he wants you to see the story? What about Olivia? She’s just a cat. Could she possibly understand the intricacies of the human mind?

And what of the neighbor woman? She seems to have an unhealthy obsession with Ted, but is she correct about what he is?

Y’all, this is definitely one of those books that it is best to go into knowing as little as possible. I listened to the audiobook and feel it’s an excellent way to take in this story. I was pulled in from the very start.

The writing style is quirky and a perfect fit for this story. In my experience, it added to the overall sense of unease, because it took my mind a couple of seconds after each sentence, or statement, to string it all together.

That sounds like a negative, but it’s not. It’s like my mind was clicking through all it had heard, trying to figure out the truth, but couldn’t.

You know intensely from the start that all is not as it appears to be. It’s not cut and dry.

It’s a headscratcher and beyond compelling. There are clever misdirections, shocking revelations and soul crushing snaps back to reality. It’s a dark and heavy tale that breaths sinister unknown out of every pore.

Overall, I found this to be a satisfyingly unique and stirring Horror novel. It’s 100% memorable and will stick with me for a long time to come.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Macmillan Audio, for providing me with a copy to read and review. It was an ideal way to kick off my Spooky Season reading!!!

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Horrid by Katrina Leno

HorridHorrid by Katrina Leno
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

After her Father’s unexpected death, Jane and her Mother, Ruth, are forced to leave California behind and move to the distant state of Maine.

Due to money troubles, Ruth wouldn’t be able to keep them in their family home, however, she fairly recently inherited the home she grew up in. Problem solved, off they go.

While it’s not ideal, Jane seems to be handling it all fairly well. Maybe it is due to the numbness she feels about her Dad’s passing. It’s like she’s seeing the world through a haze; it’s surreal.

Arriving at North Manor, they find it in quite a state of disrepair. Add it to the list of unpleasant circumstances lately, but regardless, they know they can make it work.

As Fall, the most perfect season of the year arrives, Jane begins to settle into life in their new town. While she makes a couple of good friends, she also seems to draw the attention of the local bully, Melanie.

Melanie seems to have a particular distaste for Jane; it’s a little strange considering they only just met. It’s like Melanie’s holding a grudge against her, but why?

It’s not just Melanie though. There’s something about the house itself that’s off. Jane feels unsettled there and she’s experiencing things she can’t explain.

Her Mother also seems to be spiraling back in her childhood home. Jane suddenly feels the need to learn why Ruth left all those years ago, and why did she never choose to return?

Horrid is an another fabulous example of Katrina Leno’s unique style. Leno’s writing is beautiful, introspective and always seems to tackle fairly heavy topics with grace.

In this one, as the truth behind North Manor, and all that occurred there, was slowly revealed, I was completely drawn in. I could picture it all playing out extremely vividly.

The Horror imagery was well done in my opinion and I enjoyed how Leno structured the reveals. It kept me engaged throughout. I needed answers!

As always, I appreciated how much substance Leno brought to the table with this. Jane is a character struggling with grief, loss and self-doubt; all while outwardly projecting that she is okay. I think masking one’s negative emotions behind a cloak of, I’m fine, is something a lot of Readers will be able to relate to.

Additionally, Jane finds comfort in books and there was quite a few references to Dame Agatha Christie and her works. It’s hard not to find that endearing.

I will mention a trigger warning for self-soothing via (view spoiler)

Overall, I felt this was really well done and I enjoyed my time with it. It included a lot of tropes I tend to enjoy, such as long-buried family secrets, returning to a hometown and haunted houses.

I am also a big fan of Leno’s writing and this only served to reinforce that fact.

Now that we are in the midst of Spooky Season, y’all know it starts September 1st, I encourage you to give this one a go. It’s wickedly entertaining!!

**Please note, I picked this up as part of Bookoplathon ((my favorite Readathon ever)) as a Poll Pick. This was the winner of a poll I ran on Twitter. I am so happy with it. Thank you to all on Twitter who voted!!

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Review: Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Certain Dark ThingsCertain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars**

Certain Dark Things was originally published in October 2016, but is now being rereleased, by Tor Nightfire, with this splendid new cover!!

With vampire fiction making a bit of a resurgance and Silvia Moreno-Garcia, justly, gaining in popularity, I believe it was a smart decision. I knew the second I saw this cover that I would read it.

This noir-style story takes place in an alternate version of Mexico City, where vampires are real and everyone knows it. Please note, we’re talking dangerous, brutal vampires versus the sparkling romantic ones.

We love to see it.

Domingo is a street-kid who collects garbage to make ends meet. When he spies Atl, the most beautiful girl he has ever seen, he is immediately drawn to her.

As much as she tries to resist, Atl eventually succumbs to Domingo’s charm. Atl is on the run. She has many dangerous people looking for her and Domingo insists on helping; even though he is clueless to the ins-and-outs of the vampire world. He’d do anything to stay with Atl though.

There’s a gritty texture to this entire story. It’s violent and dangerous. I really enjoyed the overall idea and the setting; particularly, how humans and vampires live side-by-side.

For me, I feel like I needed it to be built out more to become fully invested however. It felt quite surface-level, which is fine. It’s a good story. A solid world creation, but for me, I would need a little more substance before I could say that I really enjoyed it.

With this being said, it is a quick, fun read, quite atmopsheric and I think a lot of Readers will have fun with it. I do think it is a very solid example of Moreno-Garcia’s style. I’m a fan!

Thank you so much to the publisher, Tor Nightfire, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I really appreciate it!

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Review: What Once Was Mind (Twisted Tales #12) by Liz Braswell

What Once Was MineWhat Once Was Mine by Liz Braswell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars rounded up**

What Once Was Mine is the 12th-installment in Disney’s long-running Twisted Tales series. So far, I have read 10 out of the 12 books and definitely have plans to read them all!

If you are unfamiliar with this fantastic series, you can read these books in any order. Each one tackles a different Disney story, twisting one major plot point and then examining what would have happened because of that twist.

In this volume, Liz Braswell twists the tale of Rapunzel, or the movie, Tangled, if you prefer to look at it that way.

Worried about the life of their ailing Queen, pregnant with her first child, the citizens of Corona search for the infamous Sundrop flower to cure her, but end up picking a Moondrop flower accidentally.

Because of this one tiny error, the baby girl, Rapunzel, has silver hair, the color of the moon, dangerous to the touch.

In order to keep everyone safe, the Queen and King make the heartbreaking decision to have Rapunzel locked away in a Tower, far from the kingdom proper, and watched over by a powerful goodwife, Mother Gothel.

Rapunzel dutifully stays put for 18-years. She doesn’t want to hurt anyone, but the pull of seeing the floating lights on her birthday is just too strong.

She sets out on an adventure of epic proportions with two theives, Flynn and Gina, on a search for her happily ever after.

Y’all, this book is an absolute blast to read. Dare I say, the BEST TWISTED TALE YET!!!

If you love the story of Rapunzel, the cute and quirky characters within it, or you think that the movie Tangled is a true gem to be watched on repeat because of its glorious good humor, you absolutely have to get your hands on this book!

I have never jived with Braswell’s writing as much as I did with this one. She really shines here, bringing this story and these characters to life in a whole new ((moon))light!!

A hearty thank you to the publisher, Disney Books and Disney Audio, for providing me with a copy of this book to read and review. It absolutely filled my heart!

What Once Was Mine will be released on Tuesday, September 7th!!!

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Review: Cazadora (Wolves of No World #2) by Romina Garber

Cazadora (Wolves of No World, #2)Cazadora by Romina Garber
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars rounded up**

Cazadora is the anticipated sequel to Romina Garber’s 2020-release, Lobizona; both part of the Wolves of No World series.

I say series, when in reality, I have no idea how many books are set to be released in this world. I’ll tell you one thing though, after the stunning conclusion to this book, there’s a heck of a lot more story left to tell!

Manuela Azul, Manu to her family and friends, knows what it is like to be different and to be judged for her differences.

As an undocumented person living in Miami, Manu was constantly under stress of detection and persecution. Unfortunately, due to her hybrid nature, Manu is also judged and persecuted within the magical world of Argentinian folklore, a great part of her heritage, as well.

Whereas the first book had quite a bit of the narrative set in our world, this volume focuses more on the magical world and Manu’s place within it.

As her new-found friend group supports and builds her up, they are simultaneously being hunted by the authorities. Manu’s very existence challenges all the rules of their culture. She’s a threat and they’ll stop at nothing to capture her and take her out. Will Manu be able to evade them and keep those she loves safe?

I really enjoyed my time reading Cazadora and overall, found it to be an improvement over the first book. The magical world, in particular, was built out so much more and I felt the stakes were truly raised for Manu.

While the fantasy elements of this story aren’t necessarily my favorite, where Garber truly excels is in capturing emotion. Manu’s situation is extremely difficult and reading her working through it, oh man, I felt everything she was feeling. She is so tough, but everyone can feel vulnerable and defeated at times.

This is an inspiring story. Manu gains strength when she realizes the causes she is fighting for are so much larger than herself.

Garber did a fantastic job of weaving real-world issues into this otherwise fantastical tale; which is true of the first book as well. Stories like this are so important. I feel like Readers, who may have previously struggled to find themselves within the stories they are reading, can find themselves here and that’s a special thing.

I would love to see more in this world, with this phenomenal group of characters. The further I go along, the more attached I am getting to them all!

Thank you so very much to the publisher, Wednesday Books, for providing me with a copy of the audiobook to read and review. Romina Garber is a star and I know she is going to continue to grow with everything she writes. I am certainly willing to go along for the ride!!

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Review: The Apartment by S.L. Grey

The ApartmentThe Apartment by S.L. Grey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars rounded up**

After masked men break into their Cape Town home in the middle of the night, and subsequently terrorize them as they ransack the place, married couple, Mark and Steph are understandably traumatized.

Although they, as well as their 2-year old daughter, weren’t physically harmed, the emotional scars run deep. They are having an extremely difficult time returning to life as normal in the aftermath.

Troubles sleeping, paranoia about leaving the house unlocked, feeling like someone has been inside; all classic PTSD-home invasion symptoms.

Confiding in a friend one evening over dinner and drinks, she suggests to them that they may need some time away to heal and regroup; a house swap site is mentioned and Steph’s interest is piqued.

While they really aren’t in a financial position to take a trip, if they participated in a house swap, they just might be able to pull it off.

Mark doesn’t seem as into the idea, so Steph, naturally, creates a profile behind his back and begins the search.

Finding a match, Steph ends up convincing Mark to take the leap. Paris here they come!!

Arriving in Paris, Steph and Mark quickly discover the apartment is not quite as advertised. Not by a long shot. They fear there has been some sort of mistake, but gradually come to accept that they have been had.

It’s dirty, creepy, terribly furnished and under-provisioned. There’s even mold. Plus, don’t even ask what’s in the closet.

Unfortunately, for the couple, circumstances are actually much worse than they appear. Not long after settling in, strange things begin to happen in the apartment building and their minds.

I picked this audiobook up after a friend of mine had listened to it and really enjoyed it.

She seemed so excited about it and I wanted to be able to discuss it with her. I hadn’t really heard any hype for it, so was pretty jazzed once I read the synopsis and realized it was just my kind of story. Creepy and weird.

The audiobook was fantastic. The narrators did a wonderful job of believably protraying Mark and Steph’s sides of the story; which you alternate between.

There was a constant feeling of dread, even when nothing overtly scary was happening. I always enjoy that type of narrative. When I am just waiting for the dark truth to unfold.

I felt Grey did a solid job steadily building tension throughout. With this being said, the story actually disturbed me from the very start; it had a great tone.

It was like when you are watching a slightly scary movie and the cinematography is very dark, or sepia-toned, and you’re just kind of squinting the whole time, anticipating what is going to be coming next. What’s just outside the lense that you can’t see. I love that.

In addition to the many real-world issues Mark and Steph were struggling with, I enjoyed the darker supernatural elements to this story as well. The ending was satisfying to me and I can definitely picture this being adapted into a movie.

The Apartment certainly may not be for every Reader, but I really liked it. It was especially fun to read with a friend and discuss the different disturbing and crazy occurences plaguing Mark and Steph.

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Review: The Dead Boyfriend (Fear Street Relauch #5) by R.L. Stine

The Dead Boyfriend (Fear Street Relaunch, #5)The Dead Boyfriend by R.L. Stine
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars**

The Dead Boyfriend tells a story of teenage love infatuation gone terribly wrong.

Caitlin falls for Blade, the mysterious new boy, at first sight. She can’t believe her luck when he seems to be into her too. Like really, really into her.

They fall hard and fast, like many first loves do. Caitlin couldn’t be happier. That is until the night Blade cancels a date with her and she catches him out with another girl.

Caitlin confronts him, but he acts like she means nothing to him. She can’t believe it. How can he do this to her!?

Unable to let it go, she heads to his house to wait for him to return at the end of the night. When Blade arrives, he is acting completely normally, like nothing happened. It’s like their blowout didn’t affect him at all.

Caitlin sees red. Literally, on her hands. Blood. Blade is dead and she’s to blame.

Told mostly through a quasi-epistolary format, with the majority of the novel being presented as Caitlin’s diary entries, this story gets real wild.

In addition to the craziness with Blade, who make no mistake, doesn’t stop bother Caitlin just because he dies, there’s also her bizarre interactions with Deena Fear, of the infamous Fear family.

While I didn’t enjoy this story quite as much as I enjoyed, The Lost Girl, it is still a fun Teen Scream.

Brittany Pressley is the absolute PERFECT person to narrate these new Relaunch audiobooks. She is so believable as these characters; I am really caught up by her voice.

Overall, this is a solid YA-Horror; exactly what you would expect from a Fear Street book. The nostalgia is real!

Thank you so much to the publisher, Macmillan Audio, for providing me with a copy to listen to. I had so much fun hearing Caitlin’s story and am looking forward to more Fear Street Relaunch audiobooks!!!

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Review: The Guilt Trip by Sandie Jones

The Guilt TripThe Guilt Trip by Sandie Jones
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars**

Rachel, Jack, Noah and Paige are a friendship foursome with a lot of history. Rachel and Noah have been best friends since college and there was a time when they considered being more than friends.

Alas, it wasn’t to be. Now twenty-years later, Rachel is happily married to Jack, while Noah is married to Paige.

When Jack’s brother, Will, decides on a destination wedding with his flamboyant fiance, Ali, the foursome, with Ali in tow, travel to the beautiful country of Portugal for the event.

It never takes long for drama to arise when Ali is around. It seems to follow her everywhere, and as predicted by the friends, is created before they’ve even left the airport.

Ali’s exuberant, over-the-top nature gets under everyone’s skin. There’s never a break with her. It’s always something.

Rachel is unnerved to observe that Ali seems to be paying special attention to her husband. While Jack doesn’t appear to be recipricating her advances, Rachel still begins to wonder, what exactly is going on there?

As they settle into their cliffside villa, things continuously get worse. Ali flaunting herself around is making everyone uncomfortable, especially now that Jack has revealed to the friends something he heard about her from a work colleague.

Is this even a woman he wants his brother to marry?

But Ali isn’t the only one with secrets. Everyone has something to hide and as suspicions begin to creep across the group of friends, all is threatened to be revealed.

This was a compelling story. I definitely had fun reading it; particularly the first half. I’m all for excessive domestic drama. I love long-buried secrets, deceptions, betrayals; it’s addicting. The setting was great and I loved the whole destination wedding scenerio.

I was hooked. Nevertheless, there were some finer details that didn’t sit quite right with me. It’s a good story, but not perfectly suited to my tastes.

Don’t get me wrong, I liked it. I’m not mad I read it. It was interesting, it was shocking, wild and not a bad way to spend a weekend!

Thank you so much to the publisher, Minotaur Books, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I always appreciate the opportunity to provide my opinion.

I think if you love quick, domestic suspense stories, you should definitely give this one a shot!

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Review: The Lost Girl (Fear Street Relaunch #3) by R.L. Stine

The Lost Girl (Fear Street Relaunch, #3)The Lost Girl by R.L. Stine
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Oh my goodness, what a great listening experience. The Lost Girl is a super fun audiobook!

I felt all the nostalgia, all the chills, all the hilarious wacky over-the-top, spine-tingling teen horror moments…

The Lost Girl is part of the six-book Fear Street Relaunch that was released between 2014 and 2017. I believe this is the first time it has ever been released in audiobook format.

In this story, a new student has arrived at Shadyside High. Lizzy is gorgeous, mysterious and seems to have her sights set on popular student, Michael.

Michael doesn’t know what to think of Lizzy. Sure, she’s odd, but she just moved here and she doesn’t have any friends, they can at least be nice to her.

Michael’s girlfriend, Pepper, has a lot more to say about the Lizzy situation and it’s not good. However, Lizzy is still able to infiltrate their friend group, mostly due to Michael’s kindness.

During an afternoon of snowmobiling together, there’s a horrific accident. After which the group of teens make a decision that ultimately comes back to haunt them.

They begin to feel hunted and before long, bodies start dropping. Although many in the group believe the snowmobile accident is the cause of all their troubles, Pepper thinks Lizzy may be behind everything. Who’s right?

This is the present perspective. There is also a past perspective, a horrific murder from 1950 that seems to be tied to the current tragedies.

As the past and present perspectives begin to come together, the terrifying truth is revealed. Shadyside is a complex town with a long history of violence and mysterious happenings. This story is just one example of how crazy it can get!

I had so much fun reading this story. I haven’t read a Fear Street book in over 20-years and this definitely brought back a lot of nostalgia for me.

I think the audiobook format is an incredible way to take in this fun, fast-paced story. There are two narrators, one for the past perspective and one for Michael’s present perspective.

While both were great, the narrator for Michael’s perspective, Dan Bittner, really stole the show for me.

He put so much energy into his reading. I was on the edge of my seat. I was so engaged. I was literally exclaiming things randomly out loud while listening. I just couldn’t help it! It was fantastic.

I have two more Fear Street Relaunch audibooks to listen to soon, The Dead Boyfriend and Give Me a K-I-L-L, so stay tuned for those reviews!

Thank you so much to the publisher, Macmillan Audio, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review. It was such a good time and I am really looking forward to getting to the others. I know a lot of Readers are really going to enjoy these audiobooks!!!

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Review: Blood Like Magic (Blood Like Magic #1) by Liselle Sambury

Blood Like MagicBlood Like Magic by Liselle Sambury
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Dang, this was good!!! I can’t stop smiling.

💜🖤💜🖤💜🖤💜🖤💜🖤💜🖤💜🖤💜🖤💜🖤💜🖤💜

Voya Thomas is initially excited for her Calling. It’s a task each witch in her family must complete before they are able to come into their powers.

The tasks are assigned by different ancestors and over the years have varied in detail and difficulty.

The ancestor who assigns her task, however, is known to be tough, as she should be. Her life was extremely tough, parts of which are shown to Voya through visions.

After Voya fails, she is given an unprecedented second chance, but her task seems impossible. Not only does the task seem impossible, the stakes are higher than ever.

Generally, if a witch fails in her Calling, she doesn’t gain her powers. Yeah, that sucks, but you can overcome that. You just have to live like any other person without magical abilities.

For Voya, if she fails, her entire family will lose their powers. Every single one of them! Their livelihoods are based on their powers, and most importantly, her little sister’s life depends on their powers.


Her task is to destroy her first love. Problems, Voya has never been in love, not even close, and she’s a little against killing someone.

The task seems clear, there is no way around it, so in order to save her family, Voya must make the ultimate decision. Can she take a life?

I loved this book from the very start. Sambury created such an intricate and addictive story with Blood Like Magic.

I absolutely adored the mix of Sci-Fi and Fantasy elements. A lot of the story is based around a corporation that has created a genetic match-making program; I love those sort of futuristic tech elements added to a story. They definitely make my nerd heart soar.

Additionally, I quickly became attached to Voya. She’s a very likable character. She drew me in and had me feeling everything she was feeling.

The Thomas family itself, is full of drama, but also love and support. Voya had many special connections within her family and I think those relationships really provided her with the strength she needed to progress with her Calling.

The love interest, Luc, was fun to learn about as well. He’s had an interesting life up until the time he meets Voya and is frequently misunderstood.

In Voya, he found someone he could open up to and watching their relationship evolve made me swoon. Somewhat enemies to lovers; so, if you’re into that…

This did not end how I thought it would end. There were so many twists that I never could have predicted. My jaw spent the last quarter of the book on the floor!

I cannot wait to get my hands on the next book. Liselle Sambury is amazing and I predict a long, successful career ahead of her.

I fully expect this will end up as one of my top books of the year. An absolutely phenomenal debut!

PICK THIS BOOK UP!!!

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