Book review: Batter My Heart by Nenia Campbell

Published March 4th 2022

Annotation:

Two brothers.

One mistake.


Dahlia Blackwell is a good girl. Or, at least, she tries to be. But after rejecting the advances of the most dangerous boy in town, Audric Dubourdieu, she finds herself the target of a vicious harassment campaign that unburies secrets about her family that she never knew. When she gets accepted to the local college on scholarship, the bullying only gets worse: in a hothouse full of gilded lilies, there’s no room for stubborn weeds.

Theo Dubourdieu lives his life like it’s a stick of dynamite burning at both ends. Fraternity president, prominent medieval scholar, heir to the family fortune: on paper, he looks perfect. But beneath the surface, his life is a chaotic maelstrom of dark desires and bad decisions. Which is why, when he encounters the strangely intense girl walking along his family’s private beach, his first impulse is to kiss first and ask questions later.

Dahlia despises Theo and everything he represents, but he makes her feel things she knows she shouldn’t—and he’ll let her keep her thorns if she’s willing to bleed for them. She’s a wildflower. He’s a storm. Together, they’ll find either salvation or destruction as they batter each other’s hearts.

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Book review: Lakesedge by Lyndall Clipstone

Published September 28th 2021 by Henry Holt and Co

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A gothic fantasy about monsters and magic, set on the banks of a cursed lake.

There are monsters in the world.

When Violeta Graceling arrives at haunted Lakesedge estate, she expects to find a monster. She knows the terrifying rumors about Rowan Sylvanan, who drowned his entire family when he was a boy. But neither the estate nor the monster are what they seem.

There are monsters in the woods.

As Leta falls for Rowan, she discovers he is bound to the Lord Under, the sinister death god lurking in the black waters of the lake. A creature to whom Leta is inexplicably drawn…

There’s a monster in the shadows, and now it knows my name.

Now, to save Rowan—and herself—Leta must confront the darkness in her past, including unraveling the mystery of her connection to the Lord Under.

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Book review: The Portrait by Megan Chance

Published September 1st 1995 by Dell

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The reigning master of the New York art world, Jonas Whitaker was brilliant and compelling, a man of dark passions and uncontrollable emotions. Terrified of his own dangerous nature and scarred by the horror of his past, he hid behind his talent in a world of glittering emptiness–until Imogene Carter pushed her way into his life.

He discounted her on sight, seeing her as a colorless, fragile woman with no spirit and less talent. He could send her running with a word–and he intended to do just that.

But Imogene was not so easily frightened. She came to Jonas to learn, and learn she would–everything he could teach her. She wanted his artist’s secrets and his brilliant passion. She wanted to be swept up in his seductive, forbidden world.

Until she saw the terrible price he paid for his talent.

And realized it was impossible to catch a shooting star without being burned…

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Book review: Anatomy: A Love Story by Dana Schwartz

Published January 18th 2022 by Wednesday Books

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A gothic tale full of mystery and romance about a willful female surgeon, a resurrection man who sells bodies for a living, and the buried secrets they must uncover together.

Edinburgh, 1817.

Hazel Sinnett is a lady who wants to be a surgeon more than she wants to marry.

Jack Currer is a resurrection man who’s just trying to survive in a city where it’s too easy to die.

When the two of them have a chance encounter outside the Edinburgh Anatomist’s Society, Hazel thinks nothing of it at first. But after she gets kicked out of renowned surgeon Dr. Beecham’s lectures for being the wrong gender, she realizes that her new acquaintance might be more helpful than she first thought. Because Hazel has made a deal with Dr. Beecham: if she can pass the medical examination on her own, the university will allow her to enroll. Without official lessons, though, Hazel will need more than just her books – she’ll need bodies to study, corpses to dissect.

Lucky that she’s made the acquaintance of someone who digs them up for a living, then.

But Jack has his own problems: strange men have been seen skulking around cemeteries, his friends are disappearing off the streets. Hazel and Jack work together to uncover the secrets buried not just in unmarked graves, but in the very heart of Edinburgh society.

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Book review: Gentle from the Night by Meagan McKinney

Published December 1st 1997 by Zebra

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Left penniless after her father’s death, Alexandra Benjamin strikes an unusual bargain with John Damien Newell, the darkly seductive master of Cairncross Castle. Hired to teach his troubled younger brother, Samuel, to speak, she soon discovers the castle harbors many terrible secrets. Secrets that lead Alexandra through a labyrinth of twisted lies and ancient mysteries, to where the answers lie waiting in the innermost chambers of the heart.

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Book review: In My Dreams I Hold a Knife by Ashley Winstead

Published August 3rd 2021 by Sourcebooks Landmark

Annotation:

Six friends.
One college reunion.
One unsolved murder.


A college reunion turns dark and deadly in this chilling and propulsive suspense novel about six friends, one unsolved murder, and the dark secrets they’ve been hiding from each other—and themselves—for a decade.

Ten years after graduation, Jessica Miller has planned her triumphant return to southern, elite Duquette University, down to the envious whispers that are sure to follow in her wake. Everyone is going to see the girl she wants them to see—confident, beautiful, indifferent—not the girl she was when she left campus, back when Heather’s murder fractured everything, including the tight bond linking the six friends she’d been closest to since freshman year. Ten years ago, everything fell apart, including the dreams she worked for her whole life—and her relationship with the one person she wasn’t supposed to love.

But not everyone is ready to move on. Not everyone left Duquette ten years ago, and not everyone can let Heather’s murder go unsolved. Someone is determined to trap the real killer, to make the guilty pay. When the six friends are reunited, they will be forced to confront what happened that night—and the years’ worth of secrets each of them would do anything to keep hidden.

Told in racing dual timelines, with a dark campus setting and a darker look at friendship, love, obsession, and ambition, In My Dreams I Hold A Knife is an addictive, propulsive read you won’t be able to put down.

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Book review: Defy the Night by Brigit Kemmerer

Published September 14th 2021 by Bloomsbury YA

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A fantasy series about a kingdom divided by corruption, the prince desperately holding it together, and the girl who will risk everything to bring it crashing down.

The kingdom of Kandala is on the brink of disaster. Rifts between sectors have only worsened since a sickness began ravaging the land, and within the Royal Palace, the king holds a tenuous peace with a ruthless hand.

King Harristan was thrust into power after his parents’ shocking assassination, leaving the younger Prince Corrick to take on the brutal role of the King’s Justice. The brothers have learned to react mercilessly to any sign of rebellion–it’s the only way to maintain order when the sickness can strike anywhere, and the only known cure, an elixir made from delicate Moonflower petals, is severely limited.

Out in the Wilds, apothecary apprentice Tessa Cade is tired of seeing her neighbors die, their suffering ignored by the unyielding royals. Every night, she and her best friend Wes risk their lives to steal Moonflower petals and distribute the elixir to those who need it most–but it’s still not enough.

As rumors spread that the cure no longer works and sparks of rebellion begin to flare, a particularly cruel act from the King’s Justice makes Tessa desperate enough to try the impossible: sneaking into the palace. But what she finds upon her arrival makes her wonder if it’s even possible to fix Kandala without destroying it first.

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Book review: That Dark Infinity by Kate Pentecost

Published October 19th 2021 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

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By night, the Ankou is a legendary, permanently young mercenary. By day, a witch’s curse leaves him no more than bones. Caught in an unending cycle of death and resurrection, the Ankou wants only to find the death that has been prophesied for him, especially once he begins to rot while he’s still alive….

After the kingdom of Kaer-Ise is sacked, Flora, loyal handmaiden to the princess, is assaulted and left for dead. As the sole survivor of the massacre, Flora wants desperately to find the princess she served. When the Ankou agrees to help her find the princess, and to train her in exchange for her help in breaking his curse, she accepts. But how can she kill an immortal? Especially one whom she is slowly growing to understand—and maybe even to love?

Together, they will solve mysteries, battle monsters, break curses, and race not only against time, but against fate itself.

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Once Upon a Broken Heart by Stephanie Garber

Published September 28th 2021 by Flatiron Books

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From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Caraval, the first book in a new series about love, curses, and the lengths that people will go to for happily ever after.

Evangeline Fox was raised in her beloved father’s curiosity shop, where she grew up on legends about immortals, like the tragic Prince of Hearts. She knows his powers are mythic, his kiss is worth dying for, and that bargains with him rarely end well.

But when Evangeline learns that the love of her life is about to marry another, she becomes desperate enough to offer the Prince of Hearts whatever he wants in exchange for his help to stop the wedding. The prince only asks for three kisses. But after Evangeline’s first promised kiss, she learns that the Prince of Hearts wants far more from her than she’s pledged. And he has plans for Evangeline that will either end in the greatest happily ever after, or the most exquisite tragedy…

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Book review: The Last Graduate (The Scholomance #2) by Naomi Novik

Published September 28th 2021 by Del Rey Books

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A budding dark sorceress determined not to use her formidable powers uncovers yet more secrets about the workings of her world in the stunning sequel to A Deadly Education, the start of Naomi Novik’s groundbreaking crossover series.

At the Scholomance, El, Orion, and the other students are faced with their final year–and the looming specter of graduation, a deadly ritual that leaves few students alive in its wake. El is determined that her chosen group will survive, but it is a prospect that is looking harder by the day as the savagery of the school ramps up. Until El realizes that sometimes winning the game means throwing out all the rules . . .

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