Review: Where the Dead Wait by Ally Wilkes

Where the Dead WaitWhere the Dead Wait by Ally Wilkes
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

As you can tell from the 2-star rating, Where the Dead Wait was a disappointment for me. It’s my first time reading Ally Wilkes and honestly, I just don’t think their style is for me.

I’m thankful for the audiobook actually, because I may not have made it through otherwise. The narrator was great, as he somehow made his voice delivery just pompous enough to match the writing.

I won’t discuss the plot, as I had to reference the Publisher’s synopsis numerous times in order to figure out what was happening. I’ll let you read that for yourself.

I came here for Winter Horror, and yeah, I mean that was here, but it was so far buried under details and blah, blah, blah, that it wasn’t enjoyable for me. IMO, it’s overwritten.

I can’t stress enough how much I wanted it to be over…

With this being said, I recognize that I am being fairly snarky right now, and it’s most likely not 100% warranted, but I need to be honest about my experience. Otherwise, what are we all doing here?

Our experiences with books are completely subjective though, so just because this didn’t work for me, DOES NOT mean it won’t work for you!

If you read the synopsis and it sounds intriguing, pick it up. You could end up finding a new favorite Arctic Horror novel here, and if you do, I encourage you to come back and tell me how wrong I am.

Thank you to the publisher, Atria, for providing me with a copy to read and review.

Even though this didn’t work for me, I never write off an author after only one book ((pun intended)). This one just didn’t suit my tastes. Nevertheless, I would be interested in checking out more work by Ally Wilkes.

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Review: Love Letters to a Serial Killer by Tasha Coryell

Love Letters to a Serial KillerLove Letters to a Serial Killer by Tasha Coryell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Love Letters to a Serial Killer is like nothing I have read before. This one is truly in a category all of its own, and the more I think about it, the more I think I enjoyed it!

This story follows Hannah, who in her 30s, finds herself in a rut. Her job is a bore, she feels disconnected from her soon-to-be-married best friend, and the guy she’s been in love with has moved on to someone else.

Hannah is lonely. She needs a change. When four women are killed in Atlanta, apparently by an active serial killer, Hannah discovers True Crime forums. She’s immediately hooked into the energetic community of online sleuths.

When a handsome lawyer, William, is arrested for the crimes, Hannah’s interest quickly becomes obsession.

Captivated by the case, Hannah decides to write William a letter as a way to air all of her frustrations and anger. What harm could come of it? It feels like a great way to express herself, and no one else will ever know anything about it.

Unexpectedly, William writes back. His letters are surprisingly charming and he seems so interested in her. It’s hard to reconcile his beautiful letters with the horrible monster the world is claiming him to be.

As mentioned, this whole thing has become an obsession of sorts for Hannah. It takes over her life. After losing her job for poor performance, she decides to leave her life behind and head to Atlanta to attend William’s trial.

The trial is a media frenzy, but in spite of the chaos, Hannah attends each and every day. She ends up befriending some other attendees and eventually begins to feel more at home there than she ever did in her old life.

When a 5th-woman is murderer while the trial is underway, it throws everything into question. How can William be the guilty party, if women are still being murdered the same way while he’s locked up?

With this huge development, and the prosecution having nothing more than circumstantial evidence against him, the jury has no choice but to find William not guilty. Guess who he calls upon after?

That’s right. Hannah. The two move in together and officially become a couple. Everything is great. William is so supportive of her, she doesn’t even have to get a new job.

All the more time for investigating him, because Hannah still suspects William could be a serial killer, acquittal or not.

Honestly, Love Letters to a Serial Killer is an odd little story. Even though I didn’t like Hannah, or her bonkers choices, I still found it to be ridiculously compelling.

I could not stop reading!

I feel like this one is going to garner some strong opinions upon its release, and I’m definitely interested to read them all. I found it to be completely original and wickedly fun, but it definitely tackles some taboo topics.

It did take me a minute to commit to the story. Hannah seems so desperate in the beginning. It annoyed me. I thought to myself, no wonder she is going to fall for a serial killer. She was just looking for any attention AT ALL.

Once it got to the point where she discovered the forums though, I was hooked. Then there was the letters! Was she nuts? He hadn’t even gone to trial yet. She was thinking he’d be locked up forever, but that’s never guaranteed.

Her choices were just a string of, WTF, Hannah?!?, moments, and I was eating it up.

As it goes along, it gets more and more wild. The family gets involved, other people, and then their relationship. OMG, I just, I’m not really sure how to sum up my thoughts on it.

It’s sick, it’s twisted, it’s slightly deranged, but I liked it. Hannah is like the Carole Ann Boone of the Romantic Thriller genre.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Berkley, for providing me with a copy to read and review.

This is an incredibly memorable one for me and I can’t wait to get more from this author!

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Review: A Vow So Bold and Deadly (Cursebreakers #3) by Brigid Kemmerer

A Vow So Bold and Deadly (Cursebreakers, #3)A Vow So Bold and Deadly by Brigid Kemmerer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A Vow So Bold and Deadly is the final installment to Brigid Kemmerer’s popular YA-Fantasy Cursebreakers trilogy.

I have an issue closing out trilogies and series. Mainly, I put it off because I don’t want my experience with them to end. I definitely feel that’s why it took me so long to read this.

Honestly, now that I’ve completed it, I am really sad.

Why did I do this to myself? I’m not ready to say goodbye to Emberfall, Harper, Rhen, Grey, and even Lia Mara. I’ll sleep fitfully tonight.

All jokes aside, is this the last time I am going to see these characters? I know Forging Silver into Stars is related, but how related? If you know, comment below!!

Since this is the 3rd-book in the series, I’ll try to avoid revealing too much about the plot. I sort of feel like I’m the last person to read it, but you never know what other procrastinators could be lurking around.

Firstly, I was giddy with happiness about returning to this world. It felt so good to be reuniting with the characters I had grown to love over the previous two novels.

I enjoyed how Kemmerer formatted this series, with Rhen and Harper being the focus of book 1, Grey and Lia Mara, book 2, and everyone getting equal play in this one. I felt like that was a clever choice and a great way to get the Reader to attach to everyone equally.

At this point in the story, you do have characters on opposing sides and that was difficult to read. I wanted everyone to be back together and happy.

Grey was definitely pulling my attention in this one. He was being his best badass, alpha male self and I was absolutely, 100%, here for it.

There was still so much drama involving Rhen, but I did really feel for him and his circumstance. It felt so hopeless at times. I feel like Kemmerer captured the desperate nature of his feelings so well. It tore at my heart.

I loved how this felt, as we were moving back and forth between the various perspectives, you could tell you were building up to a big showdown. It was super enjoyable as the tension continually increased.

When everything came to a head, I was reading so quickly. I had to know the ultimate outcome. I did love the conclusion as well. It wasn’t stars and rainbows and fairy tale happily ever afters, but it did make sense, and I think it was as satisfying as could be wished for many of these characters.

As sad as I am that this journey through Emberfall is finally over for me, I’m definitely looking forward to picking up more of Kemmerer’s Fantasy work!!

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Review: I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara

I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State KillerI’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark was recently selected for a book club that I am in ((any other True Crime & Wine Night participants out there??)), and even though I had already watched the docuseries, I wanted to be sure to read the book as well.

I started the audiobook last night while cooking dinner and finished up today while cleaning. It obviously is very similar to the HBO show, but I did feel like Michelle’s story was more impactful via book format.

The audiobook was very well done, but I do believe I missed some photos and other mixed media elements that are included in the physical book. I have a copy lurking on my shelves somewhere, so I will hunt for it in order to view those materials.

This book was hugely popular upon its release and there was a lot of coverage for it, particularly with the GSK finally being identified and the untimely passing of the author. I may actually be the last True Crime Reader on the face of the Earth to pick it up.

I’m really glad I did, as I feel like it is such a great legacy for Michelle’s dogged work and sacrifices in regards to this case. My heart breaks for her family, having watched her go through all this, only to be tragically gone so soon.

I appreciated how much of this was really dedicated to Michelle’s motivations and process. All of her hard work is memorialized through this and I think it also helps to show how not all True Crime media is about sensationalizing killers.

There are many motivations for people, both in taking in this type of material, and in researching and writing this type of material. There are a lot of great researchers and writers out there shining light on the lives of victims, and helping to keep cold cases in the public conscious in order that they may some day be solved.

I would recommend this to any True Crime Reader, or to people maybe interested in picking up True Crime for the first time. I feel like it could be a great starter book in the genre, as it seamlessly meshes a Memoir-like feel with a True Crime focus.

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Review: Cinderwich by Cherie Priest

CinderwichCinderwich by Cherie Priest
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Decades ago, Kate Thrush’s Aunt Ellen mysteriously disappeared. Even though Kate is too young to even remember Aunt Ellen, she was actually named after her and Ellen has been the shadow looming over her entire life.

As a young adult, Kate befriended Ellen’s long-time girlfriend, a college professor, Dr. Judith Kane. Judith and Ellen were partners at the time of Aunt Ellen’s disappearance, and Judith has never truly been able to let go of that experience.

Eventually, Kate and Judith grew apart, so when Kate hears from Judith seemingly out of the blue, and Judith asks for her assistance, Kate is curious and takes her up on the offer.

Judith has continued searching for any evidence that may tell her what happened to Ellen all those years ago. She’s recently come across something she feels could be connected.

A story, really more of a local legend, regarding a woman’s body found years ago in a blackgum tree in the small town of Cinderwich, Tennessee. Children know the chant, Who put Ellen in the blackgum tree?

Many have traveled to Cinderwich over the years, trying to determine the identity of the body found in the tree. Some of these people were even searching for Ellen’s of their own, others were mere trauma tourists. Either way, the people of Cinderwich are used to strangers passing through and asking questions.

Kate and Judith make a plan, and meet up in the small town, checking into an eclectic local hotel. Immediately, they being digging into the town history, looking for answers. They’re ill-prepared for what they’ll ultimately encounter there.

I really enjoyed this highly-readable Horror novella. I was initially attracted to it because of the eerie cover and I have to say, the cover suits the story perfectly. It’s got a sweet Southern Gothic feel to it, heavy with mystery vibes.

Kate and Judith were such a fun pair. An odd couple of sorts, but I adored the dynamics of their relationship. It was a great premise as well; them meeting up in the small creepy town and looking into a decades old mystery.

The overall themes explored were well done and I found Priest’s writing to be fluid, as well as engaging. This was actually the first I have read from her, and I’m definitely looking forward to picking up more. I’ve had The Toll sitting on my shelves for way too long now.

I had the pleasure of listening to the audiobook for this one and absolutely recommend that format if it’s available to you. We’re getting this story from Kate’s perspective and I felt that the narrator, Traci Odom’s, voice was perfect for Kate.

My only slight critique would be that I wish it could have been longer. I feel like that way frequently with novellas that I enjoy, mainly because I just don’t want them to end. For this one, I feel like it wrapped up rather quickly, I wouldn’t have minded more time to really dig into this conclusion.

Overall, I feel like this is a fast, compelling, creepy read, with great vibes and characters. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys Southern Gothic stories, stories that feature small town vibes with creepy local lore, or unlikely friends investigating cold cases.

Thank you to the publisher, Dreamscape Media, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I can’t wait to read more from this author!

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Review: I Was a Teenage Slasher by Stephen Graham Jones

I Was a Teenage SlasherI Was a Teenage Slasher by Stephen Graham Jones
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In 1989, Tolly Driver was an average 17-year old boy, just living his life in his small West Texas hometown of Lamesa.

He’s a good kid, who mostly keeps his nose clean, helping his Mom at her hardware store, and spending time with his best friend ((crush)), Amber. All it took was one crazy Summer night to change everything…

This book is presented in a sort of confessional style. It’s Tolly writing about that summer, about the events that occurred, relaying them and also reflecting upon them. He’s addressing Amber, so it feels genuine and personal.

I connected with this one from the very first pages. I love how SGJ chose to present Tolly’s story. It’s much more than a Slasher. It’s a Coming of Age tale from the perspective of a killer. A Slasher with a twist.

Reading this, it feels like a personal story for SGJ. Not the murdery-bits of course, but the sense of place, the experience of being a teenager in West Texas in the 1980s and everything that went with that.

Honestly, it felt so rich with heart, emotion and nostalgia. I’m not sure what it is, whether it’s because SGJ and I came up around the same time, both in small towns and probably with a lot of similar interests, or if it’s just the humanity channeled into his stories, but they hit me differently.

Maybe it’s as simple as our mutual love of this nuanced genre of Horror; Slashers in particular, I don’t know, but there’s something special in his delivery that takes me right back to my youth. I feel it.

I’ve never read anything like this. It’s special. I absolutely loved it. There’s only so much you can say about a book you loved without diving off the deep end into fangirl territory.

Stephen Graham Jones is one of my favorite authors. Out of the 8-books of his that I have read so far, the lowest rating I have ever given is a 4-star, and it was just the one.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot since I finished this, and I actually think this is my favorite SGJ work EVER!

For those of you crying yourself to sleep every night ((like I was)) because you just finished the last book in The Angel of Indian Lake trilogy, have NO FEAR, this one will fulfill your darkest Slasher desires and then some.

I’m so excited for this to release this Summer so that I can add a hard copy to my shelves. I can’t wait to read it again. Tolly is a character I will never forget.

I would recommend this to any Horror Reader. It’s a perfect Summer Scream story. My heart slowly shattered over the course of this novel, but it simultaneously made me ridiculously happy. I want everyone to feel that.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Saga Press, for providing me with a copy to read and review. This was one of my most anticipated releases of the year and it far exceeded even my lofty expectations.

Stephen Graham Jones is such a gifted storyteller, who truly breaths life into his characters with the power of his words. His stories are edgy, raw, emotional, powerful and nostalgic. I’ll never stop coming back for more.

10-out-of-10 recommend!!

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Review: The Reappearance of Rachel Price by Holly Jackson

The Reappearance of Rachel PriceThe Reappearance of Rachel Price by Holly Jackson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

16-years ago, Rachel Price, wife and mother, went missing. There were a lot of odd details surrounding her disappearance, such as her car was found abandoned with her 2-year old daughter, Bel, still inside.

Ever since, the mysterious disappearance of Rachel Price has remained a well-known case with many speculating on what could have happened to her.

All these years later, a documentary filmmaker has decided to revisit the disappearance and create a film. He’s asked the Price family to participate and they’ve agreed.

Even though Bel wishes everyone would just move on, she amiably participates, as she knows it’s something important to her Dad. He was initially suspected, but since cleared. It’s remained a touchy subject for the family, as you can imagine, ever since.

The crew has established themselves in the Price’s area and are doing regular interviews and filming. During this process, the unimaginable happens. Rachel reappears.

Seemingly out of nowhere, Rachel returns with an unbelievable story. It’s so unbelievable, Bel doesn’t believe it’s true. If Rachel is lying though, where has she been all this time and why come back now?

We follow along with Bel as she tries to figure out what happened all those years ago, and more importantly, what the heck is going on now.

I enjoyed this a lot. The set-up is great. I loved the idea of a long unsolved mystery being explored afresh by a documentary film crew. I felt like Bel was a good sport about the doc and I did feel empathy for her in regards to everything she had to deal with in her life.

The Price family is complicated and I do love a complicated family dynamic. I had fun getting to know the family and learning all of the details surrounding Rachel’s disappearance.

Even though Rachel’s reappearance was expected, I still found it to be eerie. Her story was just so bizarre, it didn’t make any sense and she didn’t seem to be able to provide clarity.

Bel is uncomfortable with Rachel being back. She feels like she’s being forced to live with liar, and it’s difficult for her to interact with Rachel as Rachel tries to reconnect with her.

I was right there with Bel. I didn’t trust Rachel either and my Horror Heart was screaming, CHANGELING, even though I knew that probably wasn’t the case.

A lot of the focus of the story is this back-and-forth between Rachel and Bel. Jackson definitely succeeded in keeping me at the edge of my seat during all of that. It raised my pulse, not going to lie.

I will say, the first 3/4 of this was better for me that the closing sections. The tension and intrigue of the build-up and center portions held more weight for me; it kept me more engaged and excited. The ending, with some of the reveals, started to lose me a bit.

I wasn’t crazy about some of the explanations and ultimate outcomes, but getting there was fun. Also, keep in mind, this is personal taste. The outcomes didn’t quite mesh with what I wanted for these characters, but others may enjoy it more.

It must be tough being Holly Jackson actually. She stormed onto the scene with a MONSTER of a debut, A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder, which just so happens to be my favorite YA Mystery of all time.

That debut novel, and the rest of the series, has been incredibly popular. Absolutely OTT-levels of hype and love surround that series and has for years.

I feel like everything she’s put out since naturally gets compared to that and it’s gonna be real difficult to surpass. It’s not that I don’t think she can do it, I know she has the talent, but it’s gonna be tough.

Neverless, she’s a queen of twists and bringing solid, page-turning drama. While this one didn’t reach AGGG level for me, it was still darn good and a heck of a lot of fun to read. I would definitely recommend it, and look forward to whatever Jackson writes next!!!

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Review: Plot Twist (The Hollywood Series #2) by Erin La Rosa

Plot Twist (The Hollywood Series, #2)Plot Twist by Erin La Rosa
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars rounded up**

Sophie Lyon is a Romance author with a big problem: Writer’s Block. After the great success of her first book, Sophie is truly struggling to get her second completed by the Publisher’s deadline.

There’s so much pressure, and she just can’t think of a way to finish it. Out at a karaoke bar one night, blowing off some steam, Sophie has too much to drink and has a breakdown with the mic in hand, confessing she’s never been in love.

The unflattering moment is caught on camera and goes ridiculously viral. How can Sophie write Romance novels if she’s never been in love?! It makes her look like a big fraud.

In an effort to get out ahead of it, and save her reputation, Sophie comes up with a plan to confess the truth on TikTok. Then she will meet up with all of her exes and talk to them about why their relationship didn’t work out.

First of all, great content. Secondly, Sophie is hoping that something in this process will help to break her Writer’s Block, and bring her closer to finishing off her novel.

Dash Montrose is from a successful Hollywood family. He’s a former teen heartthrob, who has since distanced himself from the limelight.

Dash’s sister, Poppy, is Sophie’s best friend. Dash also happens to be Sophie’s landlord. When he learns what Sophie is attempting to do, he offers to help her with her social media presence, as TikTok is a platform he is well-versed in.

Of course, he doesn’t tell her the reason he knows that platform so well is because he is a successful anonymous online crafter…

In fact, Dash has a lot of things he hides from the world and his family. The biggest being his struggles with alcoholism and the fact that he has been sober for the last 18-months.

There’s a lot of pressure within his Hollywood royal family, and he just tries to steer clear of stirring up any scandal. He lives a quiet life now, a bit of a recluse, and Sophie’s energy is sure to shake that up.

Will Dash be able to handle helping with Sophie’s exes project, while keeping a firm grip on his new found sobriety? It’s definitely a risk.

Nevertheless, the two form an unlikely secret alliance. As they grow closer, feelings and attraction begin to come into play.

Plot Twist is a solid Romance story, which plays off a friends-with-benefits scenario. This is the 2nd-book in Erin La Rosa’s Hollywood series, but you do not need to read Book 1 in order to read this one.

These are companion novels and nothing will spoil Book 1 for you if you read this one first. The MC in this novel, Sophie, is the sister of the MC, Nina, from For Butter or Worse.

I do like Contemporary stories that follow fictional celebrities. I know not everyone is crazy about that, but I find their lives interesting. The different issues that arise when someone has a certain level of fame always feels engaging to me.

Therefore, the Hollywood setting of these novels attracts me. I also enjoyed that Sophie was a author who was struggling. Her career wasn’t painted with rose-colored glasses, and Dash’s wasn’t either.

This turned out to be heavier than I was expecting, so I would caution Readers, if you are looking for a light, fun read, this may not fit the bill for you. While it does have some fun, flirty elements, the issues, particularly that Dash is going through, are fairly heavily.

Alcoholism and struggles in recovery aren’t something to be taken lightly and feel like La Rosa does a good job of representing that here, as best as can be done in a Romance story. Because of the serious topics though, it does bring down the overall tone of the story.

If this makes sense. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with tackling serious topics in a Romance novel, I just want Readers to be aware prior to picking this up.

Firstly, for the triggers, and secondly, just to rein in expectations. The cover looks so light and fluffy, I feel like it could lead to a mischaracterization of what this is all about.

I did enjoy learning about both Sophie and Dash’s characters. Additionally, I liked them together, although it did feel a bit too instalove for me. I was very surprised at how quickly things escalated to a point where I felt like that had been communicating for 2-days and then were hopelessly smitten with one another.

I did enjoy this one a bit more than the first book, which is why I decided to round up my rating. I am a Reader who enjoys some serious topics brought into my Contemporaries, so that aspect worked for me.

I also had fun watching Dash and Sophie work together on her exes project. They even go on a road trip where there ends up being a forced proximity element that was nice and sexy.

There’s definitely some steam in this. Not the exact type that I tend to go for, but it wasn’t bad. I only cringed a couple of times. Depending on your kinks, it could end up working well for you.

Thank you to the publisher, Canary Street Press, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I was entertained. Iff there are more books released in The Hollywood Series, I would def check them out.

I actually would love for Poppy to get her own installment!

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Review: The Invocations by Krystal Sutherland

The InvocationsThe Invocations by Krystal Sutherland
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars**

Jude Wolf is the daughter of a billionaire. You’d think she’s a girl that has everything, but worries. Sadly, you’d be wrong. Jude has a serious issue that is literally eating her alive.

Dabbling in the occult at the age of 15, Jude cursed herself and now her soul is slowly turning necrotic. After every remedy she’s tried has failed, she’s been looking for someone to help her purge this blasted curse.

Zara Jones lost her beloved sister, Savannah, to the hands of a vicious serial killer. Savannah was the only person she trusted and now that she’s gone, Zara would do anything to bring her back, including turn to occult methods.

Zara feels if she could bring her back, Savannah could identify her killer and he could be brought to justice.

Two girls on a desperate hunt for someone with the abilities to help them, happen by chance upon one another. Instant attraction and a kinship of need follows.

The girls see a potential ally in Emer Byrne, a witch with a tragic past, who sells spells to women looking to escape desperate situations. Emer has a lot of knowledge and power, two things that Jude and Zara hopelessly seek.

They notice women being murdered at an alarming rate in their city of London and after some thought, it seems they all have one thing in common: connections to Emer.

Now Emer, Zara and Jude must team up and figure out the identity of the serial killer before any of them end up next on his list.

I didn’t have any expectations when I picked up The Invocations. Although I have House of Hollow by Krystal Sutherland, and have heard incredible things about it, I haven’t picked it up yet.

I’m so impressed with how this played out. I loved the combination of the intriguing murder mystery mixed with all the vivid occult elements. The character work was fantastic and I truly hope this isn’t the last we see of these characters.

I was hooked into this story very quickly. Initially, we are just learning about Jude and Zara. I loved meeting both of them and Sutherland made their personal stories so believable and compelling.

I was interested to see how their paths were going to intersect and what would keep them together. I think they way Sutherland drew out this process and then their meeting, it was so impactful.

Once Emer comes in, I loved how they all needed to band together to work towards a common purpose. Even though they were very distinct individuals, with different end goals, it made sense for them to combine their efforts to achieve everything they wanted.

I found Sutherland’s writing to be highly readable. The setting was incredibly atmospheric. I loved how ‘our world’ it felt, with a touch of dark magic and stellar witchy vibes.

Additionally, I felt like the occult elements were amazing. The concepts were captivating and well thought out. I also feel like this will be accessible to a broad audience, easily enjoyed by Readers of all ages.

The feminist themes were also well presented and in this case, well received. I’m looking forward to reading more from Sutherland. I would definitely recommend this to anyone who thinks the synopsis sounds interesting. It delivers what is promised.

Thank you to the publisher, Nancy Paulsen Books, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I cannot wait to see what Sutherland creates next!

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Review: Scythe (Arc of the Scythe #1) by Neal Shusterman

Scythe (Arc of a Scythe, #1)Scythe by Neal Shusterman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Scythe is an incredible book. Everything about it is top notch. I wish I could give it a million stars…

I’m close to the last person to read this Shusterman golden child, yet I am still going to rave about it nevertheless!

Set in a futuristic version of our world, where natural death no longer exists, Scythe, follows two young people, Citra and Rowan, who are chosen to apprentice with the powerful and well-respected, Scythe Faraday.

Scythes are granted the power to end life. The Scythedom is a world-wide community of individuals who have trained, passed trials and taken an oath to serve as Scythes, an ultramodern version of grim reapers.

As the Reader, we go along with Citra and Rowan as they meet Scythe Faraday and become his apprentices. We learn about the Scythedom as they do, which made the world come together naturally, versus an enormous info dump.

I always enjoy when an author can frame their world creation in this way. I know it doesn’t work with every story, but I love to learn things right along with our protagonists.

The further they get into it, the clearer it becomes that there is currently a schism building within the Scythedom. There are followers of the more traditional ways of the Order, and others who would like the shake up the status quo.

The system does indeed begin to shake, quite violently, and both Citra and Rowan find themselves right at the heart of it. The stakes are extremely high, as each teen struggles to make it through unscathed.

I loved the overall concepts presented in this book, as well as the characters and actions. It’s so well plotted and absolutely hooked me from the start.

Citra and Rowan were fun to get to know. They develop a bit of an unlikely friendship over the course of their apprenticeship and I really started to look at them like opposite sides of the same coin.

There are a lot of twists and turns throughout, some that I didn’t see coming from a mile away. Maybe I’m dense, but I’d like to think that it was because I was so in the moment with this story, that I wasn’t thinking further ahead.

I love too how philosophical Shusterman can get with his writing. I finished his Skinjacker trilogy not long ago, and encountered the same types of themes and issues explored there as here. It’s really first-rate stuff that makes you think and leaves you with a lot to consider.

At the conclusion of this installment, we had some fairly major revelations that left me chomping at the bit to get to the next book.

Luckily, I already have the entire series waiting for me on my shelves, so shall be getting to Thunderhead this month. I’m so excited to get back into it!!

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