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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Book review: Lemonade by Nina Pennacchi

Published July 14th 2015 by Amazon Crossing

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As a young woman in Victorian England, Anna Champion knows all too well the social mores that value prettiness over sense, and etiquette over honesty. But when she stands up to the boorishness of dashing Christopher Davenport at a summertime ball, Anna unwittingly attracts his wrath—and becomes entangled in his malicious scheming.

After a lifetime of harboring shame and resentment, Christopher, a ruthless con artist, wants revenge, and unfortunately for Anna, he’s decided that she will be the perfect pawn in his terrible plot. With a fierceness of spirit uncommon in well-bred young ladies in the nineteenth century, Anna will have to use her intelligence and courage to protect her loved ones. But can she also save herself?

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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: 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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Book review: Pretty When She Cries by A. Zavarelli

Published October 22nd 2020

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Your first kiss is supposed to be sweet. Ours was baptized in fire.
I was the new girl trying to find her place.
Landon was the brooding neighbor I tutored over the summer.
I didn’t know he was a legend at Black Mountain Academy.
I didn’t know they worshipped him like a religion.
But I fell for him before I knew those things.
To me, he was just the tortured soul who drew me in like a magnet.
And then he did something so unspeakable, so unforgivable, it shattered me.
I ran away then because I was weak, but I’ve shed my tears.
He stole my heart and my dignity, and I’m here to take it back.
The only problem is… he’s not giving it up without a fight.

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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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Book review: The Wolf and the Woodsman by Ava Reid

Published June 8th 2021 by Del Rey

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In her forest-veiled pagan village, Évike is the only woman without power, making her an outcast clearly abandoned by the gods. The villagers blame her corrupted bloodline—her father was a Yehuli man, one of the much-loathed servants of the fanatical king. When soldiers arrive from the Holy Order of Woodsmen to claim a pagan girl for the king’s blood sacrifice, Évike is betrayed by her fellow villagers and surrendered.

But when monsters attack the Woodsmen and their captive en route, slaughtering everyone but Évike and the cold, one-eyed captain, they have no choice but to rely on each other. Except he’s no ordinary Woodsman—he’s the disgraced prince, Gáspár Bárány, whose father needs pagan magic to consolidate his power. Gáspár fears that his cruelly zealous brother plans to seize the throne and instigate a violent reign that would damn the pagans and the Yehuli alike. As the son of a reviled foreign queen, Gáspár understands what it’s like to be an outcast, and he and Évike make a tenuous pact to stop his brother.

As their mission takes them from the bitter northern tundra to the smog-choked capital, their mutual loathing slowly turns to affection, bound by a shared history of alienation and oppression. However, trust can easily turn to betrayal, and as Évike reconnects with her estranged father and discovers her own hidden magic, she and Gáspár need to decide whose side they’re on, and what they’re willing to give up for a nation that never cared for them at all.

In the vein of Naomi Novik’s New York Times bestseller Spinning Silver and Katherine Arden’s national bestseller The Bear and the Nightingale, this unforgettable debut— inspired by Hungarian history and Jewish mythology—follows a young pagan woman with hidden powers and a one-eyed captain of the Woodsmen as they form an unlikely alliance to thwart a tyrant.

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Book review: The Final Girl Support Group by Grady Hendrix

Published July 13th 2021 by Berkley Books

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A fast-paced, thrilling horror novel that follows a group of heroines to die for, from the brilliant New York Times bestselling author of The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires.

In horror movies, the final girl is the one who’s left standing when the credits roll. The one who fought back, defeated the killer, and avenged her friends. The one who emerges bloodied but victorious. But after the sirens fade and the audience moves on, what happens to her?

Lynnette Tarkington is a real-life final girl who survived a massacre twenty-two years ago, and it has defined every day of her life since. And she’s not alone. For more than a decade she’s been meeting with five other actual final girls and their therapist in a support group for those who survived the unthinkable, putting their lives back together, piece by piece. That is until one of the women misses a meeting and Lynnette’s worst fears are realized–someone knows about the group and is determined to take their lives apart again, piece by piece.

But the thing about these final girls is that they have each other now, and no matter how bad the odds, how dark the night, how sharp the knife, they will never, ever give up.

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Book review: Final Girls by Riley Sager

Published July 11th 2017 by Dutton

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Ten years ago, college student Quincy Carpenter went on vacation with five friends and came back alone, the only survivor of a horror movie–scale massacre. In an instant, she became a member of a club no one wants to belong to—a group of similar survivors known in the press as the Final Girls. Lisa, who lost nine sorority sisters to a college dropout’s knife; Sam, who went up against the Sack Man during her shift at the Nightlight Inn; and now Quincy, who ran bleeding through the woods to escape Pine Cottage and the man she refers to only as Him. The three girls are all attempting to put their nightmares behind them, and, with that, one another. Despite the media’s attempts, they never meet.
 
Now, Quincy is doing well—maybe even great, thanks to her Xanax prescription. She has a caring almost-fiancé, Jeff; a popular baking blog; a beautiful apartment; and a therapeutic presence in Coop, the police officer who saved her life all those years ago. Her memory won’t even allow her to recall the events of that night; the past is in the past.
 
That is, until Lisa, the first Final Girl, is found dead in her bathtub, wrists slit, and Sam, the second, appears on Quincy’s doorstep. Blowing through Quincy’s life like a whirlwind, Sam seems intent on making Quincy relive the past, with increasingly dire consequences, all of which makes Quincy question why Sam is really seeking her out. And when new details about Lisa’s death come to light, Quincy’s life becomes a race against time as she tries to unravel Sam’s truths from her lies, evade the police and hungry reporters, and, most crucially, remember what really happened at Pine Cottage, before what was started ten years ago is finished.

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Book review: From Blood and Ash by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Published March 30th 2020 by Blue Box Press

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A Maiden…

Chosen from birth to usher in a new era, Poppy’s life has never been her own. The life of the Maiden is solitary. Never to be touched. Never to be looked upon. Never to be spoken to. Never to experience pleasure. Waiting for the day of her Ascension, she would rather be with the guards, fighting back the evil that took her family, than preparing to be found worthy by the gods. But the choice has never been hers.

A Duty…

The entire kingdom’s future rests on Poppy’s shoulders, something she’s not even quite sure she wants for herself. Because a Maiden has a heart. And a soul. And longing. And when Hawke, a golden-eyed guard honor bound to ensure her Ascension, enters her life, destiny and duty become tangled with desire and need. He incites her anger, makes her question everything she believes in, and tempts her with the forbidden.

A Kingdom…

Forsaken by the gods and feared by mortals, a fallen kingdom is rising once more, determined to take back what they believe is theirs through violence and vengeance. And as the shadow of those cursed draws closer, the line between what is forbidden and what is right becomes blurred. Poppy is not only on the verge of losing her heart and being found unworthy by the gods, but also her life when every blood-soaked thread that holds her world together begins to unravel.

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