Book review: The Will and the Wilds by Charlie N. Holmberg

Published January 21st 2020 by 47North

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A spellbinding story of truce and trickery from the Wall Street Journal bestselling author of The Paper Magician series.

Enna knows to fear the mystings that roam the wildwood near her home. When one tries to kill her to obtain an enchanted stone, Enna takes a huge risk: fighting back with a mysting of her own.

Maekallus’s help isn’t free. His price? A kiss. One with the power to steal her soul. But their deal leaves Maekallus bound to the mortal realm, which begins eating him alive. Only Enna’s kiss, given willingly, can save him from immediate destruction. It’s a temporary salvation for Maekallus and a lingering doom for Enna. Part of her soul now burns bright inside Maekallus, making him feel for the first time.

Enna shares Maekallus’s suffering, but her small sacrifice won’t last long. If she and Maekallus can’t break the spell binding him to the mortal realm, Maekallus will be consumed completely—and Enna’s soul with him.

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Book review: Batter My Heart by Nenia Campbell

Published March 4th 2022

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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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Mini book review: Only a Monster by Vanessa Len

Published February 22nd 2022 by HarperTeen

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With the sweeping romance of Passenger and the dark fantasy edge of This Savage Song, this standout YA contemporary fantasy debut from Vanessa Len, is the first in a planned trilogy.

It should have been the perfect summer. Sent to stay with her late mother’s eccentric family in London, sixteen-year-old Joan is determined to enjoy herself. She loves her nerdy job at the historic Holland House, and when her super cute co-worker Nick asks her on a date, it feels like everything is falling into place.

But she soon learns the truth. Her family aren’t just eccentric: they’re monsters, with terrifying, hidden powers. And Nick isn’t just a cute boy: he’s a legendary monster slayer, who will do anything to bring them down.

As she battles Nick, Joan is forced to work with the beautiful and ruthless Aaron Oliver, heir to a monster family that hates her own. She’ll have to embrace her own monstrousness if she is to save herself, and her family. Because in this story . . .

. . . she is not the hero.

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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: You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle

Published April 7th 2020 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons

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When your nemesis also happens to be your fiancé, happily ever after becomes a lot more complicated in this wickedly funny, lovers-to-enemies-to-lovers romantic comedy debut.

Naomi Westfield has the perfect fiancé: Nicholas Rose holds doors open for her, remembers her restaurant orders, and comes from the kind of upstanding society family any bride would love to be a part of. They never fight. They’re preparing for their lavish wedding that’s three months away. And she is miserably and utterly sick of him.

Naomi wants out, but there’s a catch: whoever ends the engagement will have to foot the nonrefundable wedding bill. When Naomi discovers that Nicholas, too, has been feigning contentment, the two of them go head-to-head in a battle of pranks, sabotage, and all-out emotional warfare.

But with the countdown looming to the wedding that may or may not come to pass, Naomi finds her resolve slipping. Because now that they have nothing to lose, they’re finally being themselves–and having fun with the last person they expect: each other.

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

Published August 3rd 2021 by Sourcebooks Landmark

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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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One by One by Ruth Ware

Published September 8th 2020 by Scout Press

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Getting snowed in at a beautiful, rustic mountain chalet doesn’t sound like the worst problem in the world, especially when there’s a breathtaking vista, a cozy fire, and company to keep you warm. But what happens when that company is eight of your coworkers…and you can’t trust any of them?

When an off-site company retreat meant to promote mindfulness and collaboration goes utterly wrong when an avalanche hits, the corporate food chain becomes irrelevant and survival trumps togetherness. Come Monday morning, how many members short will the team be?

The #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Turn of the Key and In a Dark Dark Wood returns with another suspenseful thriller set on a snow-covered mountain.

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