Review: Gravemaidens by Kelly Coon

I feel so incredibly fortunate for the random little “gifts” I’ve been surprised with lately.

Little things popping up out of the blue to remind me that there is always happiness to be found, even when life feel like it’s THE WORST.

One of those gifts came last weekend while I was away on a getaway (another gift), and I was shocked to find that it was this: an approval to review Gravemaidens.

Gravemaidens comes out October 29!

I was certain my PTSD downfall had ruined all chances of ever getting publishers to look twice at me again; so first of all: BIG thanks to Random House. Whoever decided to hit that yes button, you have no idea how uplifting it was!

Okay, moving on.

Gravemaidens features a fiercely independent, headstrong young woman named Kammani. She’d rather not conform to tradition, she’d much rather follow her dream of becoming a great A-zu (healer) just like her abum (father).

She’s been his apprentice basically since she was a child. Only now, she’s finding herself with the burden of not only having to take his place as a healer, but in ALL the responsibilities.

Her abum is but a shell of a man after a series of unfortunate circumstances befell the family. They have lost everything.

Their father was once respected, they lived well.

Now, he’s a joke, and they’ve lost their status and been forced to live in the poorest part of town.

Status is one of the most important things in Alu.

But tradition comes first.

And one of the most highly celebrated and most important traditions is about to take place: the ruler of the kingdom, Lugal Marus is near death. This means he will choose 3 young maidens to journey with him when the Boatman comes to carry him to the Netherworld.

It’s considered to be of the highest honor to be chosen. You’re taken to live in the kingdom, showered with anything you desire, people celebrate and worship you. Until it’s time for you to join the Lugal and you’re sealed in the tomb to await the Boatman. But it’s okay, because he is taking you to an even BETTER life on the other side. People beg and pray to be chosen.

But not Kammani. She knows better. She knows that all it is is a death sentence for those poor young girls. Thankfully, the poor girls never get chosen.

Until they do.

Kammani’s world comes crashing down when they announce her little sister has been chosen as a maiden.

Now, Kammani has one choice: find a way to heal the Lugal so he doesn’t die. If he doesn’t die, her sister can live.

I read this to my husband during our long road trip, and I have to say we both loved it.

First of all, the book is SO atmospheric.

I’ve been very lucky lately in that I’ve reviewed a few books that are so descriptive it’s as if you feel like you can picture yourself right there. This is one of the better ones.

In this book, I loved traveling through the marketplace with the spices and smells of sizzling meats wafting through the air. I loved imagining the lushness and vibrancy of the fabrics. The sounds. The colors of the sky every day. I’m always amazed when an author can actually conjure those images out of me because my brain is very stubborn with that.

What really carried this story was the relationships between the characters and how well developed and individualistic they all were.

They all were full of personality, but their OWN very distinct personality, whether that be stubborn, funny or frustrating. Each one was FULL. And it worked, very well.

I WILL admit that an integral part of the ending was fairly easy to figure out pretty early in the book, but I’m not even mad about it.

This story had a lot of adventure, and a TON of heart.

DEFINITELY recommend this one! 4 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

* I received a copy of this from the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own.

Gravemaidens By Kelly Coon

  • Publisher: Random House Children’s/Delacorte Press
  • Genre: Teens & YA
  • Release Date: October 29, 2019

#gravemaidens #upcomingbookrelease #bookreview

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When PTSD is the monster behind you: Why I disappeared, why I feel like a failure as a book blogger and reviewer, and why I have decided to tell you about it– all the ugly truth of it.

I am not the same person I was just a few short months ago. It’s crazy how fast things change. If you look at my previous posts, I was doing pretty good, feeling confident. Determined to reach what seemed like some pretty tough goals. Optimistic.
Life was coming together for me. I was starting to get noticed by publishers, getting approved for book reviews. I was pretty proud of myself.
Then, shit hit the fan.

This is the part where my brain doesn’t know where to begin, because I have so many feelings and thoughts running through it.

I SHOULD tell you my backstory… or maybe not. Does it really matter? It’s hard for me, because I do the thing that therapists say NOT to do: I compare and minimize my trauma to other peoples.
It’s not like I went to WAR or anything, so it would be embarrassing to talk about my trauma. What if people judge me?
My therapist said it’s not about the specific incident, it’s about the precarious tower of past pain it lands on. This one was the one that sent the whole thing crashing down.

Let’s just say that 3 years ago, I lost EVERYTHING I knew in one day. My security, my identity, AND, my family. I left the safety of that and moved thousands of miles away to attempt to pick up the pieces. Alone for the first time EVER in my life.
I was so messed up from it, I literally couldn’t speak for days.

Then, out of the blue about a couple months later, another life changer: I’m begged to come back. I can have my life back. (This isn’t a bullshit deal. It’s a real, heartfelt plea. In case you were ready to get your judgy-pants on.)

So, I broke my OWN heart this time, and I chose to leave all the people that had loved me so fiercely through my brokenness, and I moved back.



It’s tough to explain how it was when I got back. I thought I was okay, but something was off with me. I couldn’t remember how to express love anymore. It was the strangest thing. I had always been the most loving person. SO happy to see you walk through that door. Now, I could barely pull myself out of my head long enough to acknowledge your presence.
We chalked it up to an adjustment period. We knew that I had been through something horrible. So, we waited for the old Shelby to come through.
We waited.
And waited.
And the longer we waited, the more guilty I felt, because here I had everything I had ever wanted, someone jumping through hoops, doing EVERYTHING they could to emotionally support me, and I was just plain COLD. I could tell I was hurting the people I loved.

Long story short… Shelby never came back. Therapist says she’s gone forever. My brain actually broke. “Dissociation and depersonalization”
Not Multiple Personalities or anything, just, when it happened, the old Shelby got locked up somewere and lost.

I considered myself an empath prior to this.
Everything I did in life was guided by feeling. My heart was my compass. I’ve been living with a feeling of unease in my body every day. NEEDING to fix my soul, not knowing how.
Sometimes wondering if I even have one anymore.

When the first Anniversary of everything started coming near, I started feeling like there was a monster behind me. I withdrew, I got horrible anxiety. I felt definite PTSD, no doubt.

But, THIS year, I have no words for.

I’m not lying when I say it hit me like a freight train.

-I had nightmares so bad that I’d wake up with deep indentations in my palms from my nails digging in to my clenched fists.
-I would have a feeling of terror. I would be too scared to go back to sleep.
-I would wake up at 3:00 am violently, my heart beating out of my chest, sitting up and the feeling I had was one I can only describe as ‘I was sure something terrible had just happened. Like I needed to check on my loved ones, to be sure they were okay and alive.’
-I would oftentimes wake up and have to run to the bathroom to vomit.

In the daytime, I was just a MESS.
-My hands would shake, visibly, nonstop. So bad that I could’t even bring a spoonful of food to my mouth.
-I became MANIC in an attempt to avoid and distract myself. I would spend an entire day, glued to the computer, researching ANYTHING I could, desperate to find a cure for myself.


This included, but was not limited to:

  • Buddhism
  • Shamanism
  • Ayurveda
  • Tarot
  • Wicca
  • Mindfulness
  • Crystal Healing
  • Self-hypnosis
  • Binaural beats

There’s more, but you get it. I was in a COMPLETE state of desperation. Because my mind was unraveling and I could do nothing but sit there and consciously watch it happen.

I started thinking darker thoughts, turned on myself. Suddenly, all the things I had been so firmly against didn’t seem so bad anymore.
I felt alone.
Nobody could ever understand how I feel.
They can never understand what it’s like to feel like a stranger in your own body.
To feel the embarrassment of knowing who you USED to be, and who you are now.

Perhaps the hardest thing to admit publicly is that for some reason, I have been digging my fingernails into my arm so deep that before I realize it, my arm is covered in deep scratches and now scars. I don’t understand. I don’t want to be this person. I miss the old me. I grieve her deeply.

The WORST part of this last month and a half has been the way that my brain has isolated me from what I love: my Book Community, and it’s also caused me to not perform up to my standards for the publishers.

Believe it or not, THIS has been the hardest pill for me to swallow.
The thought that everything I’ve worked for is at stake and probably going down the drain.
Knowing that one day soon, I WILL snap out of this, and I’ll have lost everything (the ONLY thing) that brings me so much happiness in life these days.

To the publishers, and authors, that I have failed by not posting my review on here and my Instagram:
I am so terribly sorry. It was never my intention to half-ass anything. I consider it an honor to be chosen to review these books, and I hope it’s not too late to be considered in the future. I intend to still post all of those features on here within the week.

I apologize for how long this was. I just really wanted to explain myself.

The good news is, I’ve got some exciting books I’m reading, so plenty of reviews coming up, including:

  • Gravemaidens, which I just finished!
  • Wickerlight, (I’ll probably throw up a quick review of The Wren Hunt before that, since it’s the sequel.)
  • The Nameless Queen
  • The Iron Will of Genie Lo
  • Blood Countess
  • The Silvered Serpents (with a review of The Gilded Wolves)
  • The Shrike And The Shadows
  • Ruthless Gods (with a review of Wicked Saints)

So, as you can see, I’ve got lots of reasons to look forward to the future!!
I’m keeping my fingers crossed that there’s still a place for me in this incredible community, and also that you will please be kind in regards to what I said in this post.

Being Vulnerable is F-ing HARD. and SCARY. I’m human. A broken one. But I’m fighting too. Even if it’s not visible.

If you’ve stuck around to read this, THANK YOU.

Much love and happiness,

Shelby

Steamboat Springs, Colorado. SO Thankful that my husband surprised me by taking vacation days off to spend time with me, THEN took me on a getaway to a little condo right on the ski lifts!
Like I always say; Life is good… even when it’s TERRIBLE!

If you have gone through, or are going through any form of depression, anxiety, trauma, PTSD; PLEASE know that you’re not alone.

Also, I am here. I would love to talk. Not only for you, but for me too.
💕

#bookblog #mentalhealthawareness #ptsd #bookreviewer

The REAL mystery: can you take a stab at turning a beloved cult classic board game into a successful YA trilogy? Book Review: In The Hall With The Knife: a CLUE mystery, Book One

In The Hall With The Knife Book Review
In The Hall With The Knife is the first in a trilogy by author Diane Peterfreund. 🔪
  • By: Diana Peterfreund
  • Genre: Teen & YA/ Mysteries & Detective
  • Publisher: Amulet/ Abrams
  • Release Date: October 8, 2019

When I first saw this book, I was so hesitant to pick it up.

I have this “thing” with the whole:

“Let’s remake or bring back everything that was glorious from Shelby’s childhood…and then RUIN it”.
I’m ACTUALLY old. So I grew up in the 80’s.

Some of the atrocities that they have committed so far I will STILL get ranty about if you bring it up.
It’s probably crappy remakes that will push me over the edge one day. That will be what eventually turns me into a bitter old woman.

However, I HAD to give this one a shot, because CLUE holds a special place in my heart for sentimental reasons.

It brings back memories of good times with someone long gone.
Playing for hours, making the never ending rainy Autumn days in the Pacific Northwest seem not so long. Not a care in the world.

Remember those days? the ones that you THOUGHT were boring at the time, but you would give anything to revisit now?

Except, even if you COULD, you COULDN’T really, because,( I don’t know about you), but I know my brain is WAAAYY too “adult-y” to EVER roll around with “not a care in the world.”

The closest I come to that is in books. The perfect tool for escapism…

So, how did this one do on the ‘Head In The Clouds’ scale?

I. FREAKING. LOVED. IT!



First of all, hats off to the author, for braving some dangerous territory. Cult classics are never easy. She was able to creatively take the game we all know and love, turn it into a story, but somehow give it duality. The story is its own, but at the same time the reader is very aware of all the things that parallel traditionally as well.

The setting may be a secluded elite private Academy in Maine, but you can be damn sure we visited The Library, Billiard Room, Study, Conservatory, and even Secret Passages.

The weapons? Some are more obvious than others, but you will notice them all mentioned. It almost feels like you’re finding “Easter Eggs” here and there throughout the book, little nods here and there.

For instance: I think one of my favorite little plays on the original is the creative spin on character Colonel Mustard. He is replaced by a young man named Sam “Mustard” Maestor. A transfer FROM MILITARY SCHOOL. Do you know it took me a good while to catch on to that? JEEZ. I hate when you are kinda excited that you figured something out, but also, you know that you should probably be embarrassed at how long it took and NEVER speak of it. To anyone.

As for our characters: THIS is where it really counted for me.
I knew that the BONES of the general idea of CLUE were fleshy enough to make a decent story.
BUT…as I read the synopsis, ( Elite Academy, BIG storm, mismatched group of Alumni are forced to wait it out together… then BAM! MURDER…)
I’ll admit, my first thought was:
“If you make the characters some stereotypical, vapid, cliched versions of Prep School Kids, I SWEAR ON THE GREAT BOB ROSS…!”

I was actually extremely impressed by how well developed they were!
Here I was, thinking I’d find some cringy dialoge, annoying Middle School level drama, and that it was going to play out like a Soap Opera, but instead, I found a level of depth that was so refreshing.


Will you still have your typical stereotypes? Yep. Why?
Because, If we’re being honest, the game itself already has the personalities of each of the characters pretty pigeonholed into some stereotypical categories.


If anything, the author was able to take that and give these kids some backstories, some secrets, some insecurities to maybe give the reader some insight into WHY they have become these stereotypical kids.

I didn’t really feel that any of the characters were portrayed in an over the top manner stereotypically, either. If any, it’d be MAYBE 2 side characters, but in my opinion, that’s done in good fun, like a wink to maybe that character in EVERY high school movie EVER DONE.

Here’s what I have to say about the characters and the stereotypes. Because I’m sure there will be critics complaining:

YOU’RE GOING INTO THIS KNOWING THAT IT’S BASED OFF OF A KITCHY BOARD GAME FROM THE 80’S. (Maybe even 70’s. I should do my research before I get sassy.)
Anyways, If you can’t see the book for what it is, IT’S PROBABLY NOT FOR YOU. This isn’t Tolstoy. Have some fun and LIGHTEN UP.

So, anyways, the book is bounced around from each character’s POV as they discover a murder has been committed and each person subsequently tries to deduce what happened.

Are they safe? Is the murderer next to them?? GASP!!

As suspicions mount and paranoia escalates, so do the twists and turns.

If I had to summarize my experience reading this, it’d be just GOOD OLE FUN.
I’m so happy this is part of a trilogy, I’d happily read more.

I’d recommend this to anyone ( I thought this was funny, it says on the website: “Between the ages of 12-99” ) And I concur.

I’M GIVING THIS ONE A 5 KNIVES.
BECAUSE I JUST HAD SO MUCH FUN. GOOD TIMES AND NOSTALGIA WITH A TWIST.

*I RECEIVED A COPY OF THIS FROM THE PUBLISHER AND NETGALLEY. THANK YOU!
ALL OPINIONS ARE MY OWN.


IN THE HALL WITH THE KNIFE BOOK COVER
PREORDER YOUR COPY NOW. HERE

Diana Peterfreund is the author of eleven novels for adults and teens, as well as several critically acclaimed short stories and a handful of essays on popular children’s literature. She grew up in Florida, and lives with her family outside Washington, D.C. Her website is http://dianapeterfreund.com

book reviews like this are too much fun!
This book Is the PERFECT read for a stormy, gloomy Autumn evening! Bring on the Hot cocoa and crisp leaves. I’m in the mood for Spoopy Season!!!

“The Top Ten BAJILLION Reasons You Will Fail at blogging” AKA: (apparently), just do EVERYTHING that I’m doing. WOMP.

Welcome to my sketchy book review blog. Will it be a success? According to Pinterest? Absolutely not.You know what, Pinterest?? I have DREAMS, DAMMIT!! And not only that, but I’m old as DUST, sooo, I’ve had this dream of being a book reviewer or something bookish for waaaay longer than you’ve even been a thing. I get it. I’m not a cool kid. I don’t know what I’m doing, because, again- OLD AF- but, here’s what I have to say to that:

I was the smartest kid in my class from the get-go. I could read adult books like they were picture books.
I have my Grandparents to thank for that.
I was raised by some pretty kick-ass Grandparents. If they were around today, I would be sure and tell them how grateful I am for that. Reading was a HUGE part of our daily activities.

I had daily dates with Grandpa in his special chair at a set time where we would read for an hour. Then every night, It was reading in bed, nestled up in the nook of Grandma’s belly, reading to her until I got tired or falling asleep to the soft cadence of her voice, just struggling to keep my eyelids open so I didn’t miss out on the story.

Mondays and Thursdays were the days Grandpa would take me to the library to stock up on books. There was a limit of 15, I always hit my limit.
And Grandpa and I had a little inside joke- He’d say: “Better get a bigger bag!!” as I was running to the car because he always snuck extra books for me on his card. I would usually have 3 read by the time we got home.

I was the girl with the room full of books. I was an only child, a painfully shy introvert. I spent my life in the pages of books. In books, I was never lonely. In books, I never felt awkward, or shy, I never missed having a normal family with a Mom…
Books WERE ALL I NEEDED.

As the years went by, I spent my days being your every day average nerd: I played Librarian, Teacher, I wrote books, I was an “Illustrator” and every holiday, all I ever asked for was either books or bookish things. Even Typewriters.
If anyone asked me what I was going to be when I grew up, It never wavered. It was some form of bookish profession. I mean, I HOPE I’m not the only one here that can say this, but I never really wanted to do anything other than read books. And lord knows, I wasn’t really that GREAT at anything else.

Let’s just fast forward to my late High School years.
BLESS.
I bet I don’t even need to write the rest of this story. I mean… what else does a smart small town girl with big dreams and ambitions do her Senior Year of high school DO but: get married,
get pregnant,
have 2 kids…

and

be a housewife for 20+ years until life completely DROPKICKS her and she realizes that HOLY SHIT…
I HAVE NO IDEA WHO I AM.


Take it from me, kids. ALWAYS remember to keep some of YOU, , no matter what. There’s enough of you to go around, WITH you saving some for yourself. Anyone that tells you different is ASS. And sometimes, that person is YOU. Don’t let yourself sell YOU short like that. TRUST ME.

This is getting, like, RANTY LONG. SORRY.
ANYWAYS, Here I am, old as dirt. not knowing how to DO anything.
All I ACTUALLY know is what I’ve ALWAYS wanted to do. My dream. To review books/ work in the publishing industry.


HERE’S WHAT I WANT OUT OF LIFE:
TO BE ABLE TO MAKE MY KIDS AND MY HUSBAND PROUD.
TO BE ABLE TO SAY, WHEN SOMEONE ASKS ME:
“WHAT DO YOU DO?”
I CAN SAY:
“PUBLISHERS SEND ME BOOKS TO REVIEW FOR MY OPINION, BECAUSE I FRICKIN KICK ASS. I’M SMART. I DON’T SIT AROUND AND DO NOTHING WITH MY LIFE LIKE PEOPLE TREAT STAY AT HOME MOMS LIKE. I ACCOMPLISHED SOMETHING. SO SUCK IT.”
Or, you know… something like that.

So, I’ve been spending a SHIT TON of time online, desperately trying to learn how to make my blog look like it’s ‘supposed’ to, and do the things I need to in order to not be the joke.
I’m not kidding. I spent FOUR HOURS of my husbands day off trying to make a header for this blog only to realize that I had to pay for it and it was being held hostage. I spent the next hour and a half crying. Because I don’t have any money right now. EVERYTHING that I click on wants money.
I DON’T HAVE ANY. I guess. I’ll crawl under a rock now. Or perhaps I should go hop on the “Give Up Train”?

F- That.
I’m just gonna sit right here on the Struggle Bus.

I’ll sit here for as long as it takes, until I learn how to do the things, and get enough money to buy the right whatever… and until I start making some friends, and doing what it takes for publishers to respect me. (I know I sound SUPER CONFIDENT here, but help and tips would be appreciated. Like, to the point that I would probably cry thankful tears.)

So, yeah. That’s what’s going on up in here. I finished a couple books, though.

IN THE HALL WITH A KNIFE by Diana Peterfreund
and
THE EPIC CRUSH OF GENIE LO by F.C. Yee


So I’ll have some reviews up soon for those.
If you’re still with me, you’re a real trooper. Wow.
But, thanks. See ya soon.

How much is a memory worth to YOU? Book review of The Memory Thief by Lauren Mansy 🗝

I received a copy of this from the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own.

In the city of Craewick, memories reign. The power-obsessed ruler of the city, Madame, has cultivated a society in which memories are currency, citizens are divided by ability, and Gifted individuals can take memories from others through touch as they please.
Seventeen-year-old Etta Lark is desperate to live outside of the corrupt culture, but grapples with the guilt of an accident that has left her mother bedridden in the city’s asylum. When Madame threatens to put her mother up for Auction, a Craewick tradition in which a “worthless” person’s memories are sold to the highest bidder before she is killed, Etta will do whatever it takes to save her. Even if it means rejoining the Shadows, the rebel group she swore off in the wake of the accident years earlier.

Title: The Memory Thief

Author: Lauren Mansy

Genre: Ya Fiction, Fantasy

Publisher: Blink

Release Date: October 1, 2019

Seventeen-year-old Etta Lark never imagined herself going back to The Shadows, a rebel group she betrayed years ago.

But when an envelope arrives on her doorstep from Craewick’s tyrannical ruler, Madame, she’s left with no choice.

Madame has threatened to put her mother up for auction, which means that her memories will be sold to the highest bidder and transferred to them, ultimately killing Etta’s mom.

The leader of The Shadows is not happy to see Etta again. Her betrayal had consequences that nobody could forget. So he tells her she must embark on a dangerous quest to steal a map of a jail called “The Maze”.

“The Maze” is a horrific place in a realm ruled by a ruthless and widely feared man. That map may hold the opportunity for Etta to right some of her wrongs.

He partners her up with one of his pledges, a young man named Reid, and they set off on a journey neither one of them were prepared for.

There are so many wonderful things I could say about this book! I actually read the majority of it in one day. I just couldn’t put it down!

What I loved:

1. The world building was gorgeous, especially as Etta and Reid travel through the realm on their quest. I actually wish we could’ve experienced MORE travels.

I would’ve loved to hear atmospheric descriptions of all of the 4 realms.

Perhaps in a sequel?

2. The characters. I found the majority of the people to be relatable and super easy to picture in my head. Even those that weren’t actually there, but we only got glimpses of through memory flashbacks.

3. The flashbacks. Okay. I know that some people were bothered by the frequent flashbacks of memories, especially because they were used as a way to fill in the backstory. If this were a different book, maybe I’d be bothered, but in this case I thought they were appropriate. In fact, I actually really loved those little glimpses into her life before.

I also feel that it’s important to see the contrast between those special memories so that we can understand why she is the way she is now.

4. This got me actually really thinking a lot about my own relationship to my memories. How would I feel if at any moment, with a brush of a hand, I could lose one? What would I choose to give up? How would it change me in terms of who I am now if I erased the bad ones?

There are so many possibilities. It’s like a rabbit hole.

Now, to what I didn’t love as much:

There are a couple things I wasn’t that fond of, but they weren’t enough to make me want to throw my kindle or regret those lost hours of my life.

1. (Kinda spoiler): Insta-love. I will give this one credit, as this was a SUPER mild case.

It wasn’t over-the-top or blatant. Buutt, it was there, no doubt. I mean, they were only together for, like, a week.

2. There’s a point in the book where there’s a twist. At that point, it feels like the entire BOOK takes a twist with the pacing, intensity, and even the character personalities. I don’t really know how to explain it.

3. The ending. It might have been just me, but I was a bit confused and had to go back and make sure I hadn’t skipped some pages or something.

It wasn’t bad after I realized it was meant to be that way. I was just a little thrown off for a minute.

That being said, I don’t want those things to dissuade anyone from reading this book. Even with the above things mentioned, this is a wonderful book with a captivating fantasy world you can easily find yourself getting lost in, enough twists and turns to keep you on you toes, and a main character whose journey will undoubtedly touch your heart.

I would absolutely still recommend this book, in fact I just told my husband yesterday that I wished it had been one that we has read together. I know he would have enjoyed it just as much as I did.

Coffee talk:

What about you? Do you think you would want to live in a world where memories could be bought, sold, or even stolen from you? I think I’m a person who clings to the past a little TOO much.

I’ve been told I never live in the moment. It’s true. It complicates things. It brings on anxiety or depression sometimes, so maybe it would be a little nice to just hand one off and move on.But then I think about Etta. In the book, she’s a “Gifted”. Meaning she has the ability to take memories from people. Sometimes, she does it on accident.

When does that gift become a curse? How do you find the balance? How do you keep yourself from being a thief of something so precious?

I could honestly probably go on about this forever with 500 different variables. It really does give you something to think about! Feel free to chime in.

I know I haven’t really made any friends yet.

According to everything I’ve read on Pinterest about blogging, I’m failing. 😆☠️
I’m gonna be posting about that one very soon.

What if the ghosts of the Titanic were there all along? A review of Alma Katsu’s upcoming novel, The Deep.

  • The Deep
  • By Alma Katsu
  • Genre: Gothic & Horror, Historical Fiction, Suspense and Thriller
  • Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Son’s/ Penguin Group
  • Release Date: March 10, 2020

I received a copy of this from the publisher and NetGalley, (THANK YOU!) All opinions are my own.

My review of Alma Katsu's Upcoming Book, The Deep

A terrible thing happens to me when I really love a book. I get tongue-tied, my brain goes blank, I can’t unravel the thoughts in my head and put them into cohesive sentences for the world. Lord help me. 

I knew I would love this book. A supernatural twist on one of the most notorious tragedies in history? Yes please.

What I wasn’t expecting was to end up with a book hangover. 

Yes, this is a psychological thriller. It’s eerie, mysterious, it’s got the sinister undertones… but it goes much deeper than that.

This story weaves us through multiple timelines and multiple lives. Our main character is Annie. She paves the way for both the past, where 4 years prior she was a stewardess on that Ill-fated Titanic voyage, and the present, where she’s now a nurse on Titanic’s sister ship, The Britannic. (Now being used as a hospital ship during World War One).

We’re seamlessly taken back and forth between the present and to the Titanic, where we follow the entire 4 day journey, up until the brutal end.

It’s on the Titanic that this book really is pieced together so masterfully.

We’re introduced to a variety of characters, both fictional and some you might recognize from history. 

Chapter after chapter follows a unique set of characters, each told from their own POV. 

This gives us a unique advantage in that as each chapter intertwines and the book progresses, we really are given an opportunity to know the cast on a much deeper level. 

Each have their own unique story to tell: troubled pasts, dreams they are just SURE will come true in America, fears, insecurities, flaws… and they are so well developed that you forget who was real and who was just fiction.

I was shocked to find myself getting lost in this book. Their aren’t many that can actually have me conjuring up the atmosphere, imagining I’m there, or feeling connected to even ONE character, let alone the entire cast. 

One thing I really enjoyed was reading about things that were normal back then, especially with the elite, such as the use of laudanum and cocaine, and the fascination with the Occult. How seances were no bigger a deal than an afternoon tea.

It also needs to be said I really appreciated that the unraveling of events that were of the supernatural side were so subtle that you almost weren’t aware they were happening, or if, like the guests, you could try to maybe explain them away.

Nothing was blatant. It was a very slow, undercurrent of evil type thing. 

This book is one of the best I’ve read in a long time. It’s not only got the paranormal factor, but it’s also got twists and turns, it keeps you guessing, and you don’t know who to trust. And most importantly, it has depth. (No pun intended).

I just found Alma Katsu ‘s previous work, The Hunger, based off of The Donner Party on sale for kindle on Amazon for $1.99. You better believe I snatched that right up! 

I HIGHLY recommend. This is one of my top 5 reads so far this year. 

Solid 5 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Alma Katsu, Author Bio

Alma Katsu https://www.almakatsubooks.com/ is the author of The Hunger, a reimagining of the story of the Donner Party with a horror twist. The Hungermade NPR’s list of the 100 Best Horror Stories, was named one of the 21 best horror novels written by a woman, and was selected as a most-anticipated Spring 2018 pick by The Guardian, Bustle, Pop Sugar, io9, and many other media outlets.

The Taker, her debut novel, has been compared to the early works of Anne Rice and Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander for combining historical, the supernatural, and fantasy into one story. The Taker was named a Top Ten Debut Novel of 2011 by Booklist, was nominated for a Goodreads Readers Choice award, and has been published in over 10 languages. It is the first in an award-winning trilogy that includes The Reckoning and The Descent.

Ms. Katsu lives outside of Washington DC with her husband, musician Bruce Katsu. In addition to her novels, she has been a signature reviewer for Publishers Weekly, and a contributor to the Huffington Post. She is a graduate of the Johns Hopkins Writing Program and Brandeis University, where she studied with novelist John Irving. She also is an alumni of the Squaw Valley Community of Writers.

Prior to publication of her first novel, Ms. Katsu had a long career in intelligence, working for several US agencies and a think tank. She currently is a consultant on emerging technologies. Additional information can be found on Wikipedia.

Creepin’ it real: ANOTHER spoopy book review.

  • People Of The Lake
  • By: Nick Scorza
  • Genre: YA Fiction
  • Publisher: Sky Pony/ Simon & Schuster
  • Release Date: October 1, 2019

I received a copy of this from the publisher and Eidelweiss in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own.

Man, do you ever just feel super conflicted about a book? I really loved most of this book!

It centers around 16 year old Clara, just embarking on a Summer at her Father’s house in a tiny town called Redmarch Lake.

This will be the first visit since her parents divorce.

Her relationship with both of them has been strained since the death of her twin, Zoe. 

Zoe was pretty much her world, so with her gone, not much matters anymore.

As soon as she set foot in Redmarch Lake, I genuinely tore through this book! It’s not that it was the deepest or most imaginative plot, but that’s why I loved it. It reminded me of just a good old spooky book from my teenage days.

Weird townspeople? Check. Ominous warnings? Check. Creepy noises? Check. A sketchy death/potential murder? Check. 

But wait! There’s an even creepier layer: Clara and Zoe had their own secret language. Clara starts receiving notes of warning in the freaking language she only shared with her dead twin. DUDE. 

It was SO good! But then all of a sudden towards the end, something happened. The pacing started to feel a bit rushed, and the actual ending was good, I just wasn’t into the style of dialogue used. That’s nothing against the book, just personal preference. 

Overall, it was an entertaining book, absolutely! Also, perfect for spooky season!! 

I always give my neutral books a 3.5. ⭐️