Oct 31, 2022

ARC Review--The Luminaries by Susan Dennard


From Susan Dennard, the New York Times bestselling author of the Witchlands series, comes a haunting and high-octane contemporary fantasy, about the magic it takes to face your fears in a nightmare-filled forest, and the mettle required to face the secrets hiding in the dark corners of your own family.

Hemlock Falls isn't like other towns. You won't find it on a map, your phone won't work here, and the forest outside town might just kill you.

Winnie Wednesday wants nothing more than to join the Luminaries, the ancient order that protects Winnie's town—and the rest of humanity—from the monsters and nightmares that rise in the forest of Hemlock Falls every night.

Ever since her father was exposed as a witch and a traitor, Winnie and her family have been shunned. But on her sixteenth birthday, she can take the deadly Luminary hunter trials and prove herself true and loyal—and restore her family's good name. Or die trying.

But in order to survive, Winnie enlists the help of the one person who can help her train: Jay Friday, resident bad boy and Winnie’s ex-best friend. While Jay might be the most promising new hunter in Hemlock Falls, he also seems to know more about the nightmares of the forest than he should. Together, he and Winnie will discover a danger lurking in the forest no one in Hemlock Falls is prepared for.

Not all monsters can be slain, and not all nightmares are confined to the dark.

"You'll want to get lost in the world of The Luminaries again and again.”—Leigh Bardugo, #1 New York Times bestselling author

I received this ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest and voluntary review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

I had the immense pleasure to read Susan Dennard’s The Luminaries early and it was everything I had been hoping for! I took part in Susan’s 2019 Twitter Choose Your Own Adventure story, and when she announced she’d be making it into a full length novel, I got excited!! While the story is no longer the same, all the elements are still there and it was everything!!

Winnie is a Wednesday and her family is in year  four of their ten year banishment. Her father betrayed the Luminaries by siding with the Dianas, their enemies. But since Winnie is turning 16 and there are no rules of a “banished” member from participating in the Luminaries trial to protect the town from the monsters that live in the surrounding woods, she’s going for it!

Winnie is to undergo three trials with the other teenagers. This is a pass or fail kind of trial and if you fail, that’s it. There are no second tries. Her first task is to kill a monster, any monster and return with its head. When she was trying to hunt a banshee however, something else gets to it first. When Winnie tries to explain what happened and what she saw, no one really listens and thinks she killed the monster on her own. Suddenly it’s like everyone has forgotten the banishing and is nice to her and her family again. 

Winnie knows she’s going to need training and a bit more help to be prepared for her next trials. So she finds herself turning to one of her old friends, Jay Friday. Jay has always been the quiet type, but he was one of her closest friends before everyone turned on her. While Jay never was cruel to her, he also just wasn’t there. But now suddenly he is and is more than willing to help out. 

Though she continues to train, Winnie cannot seem to convince anyone of the mysterious monster in the woods. There’s no proof of its existence and it’s infuriating Winnie that no one wants to listen. 

This book was all sorts of awesomeness! You don’t have to know anything about the Twitter adventure to read this story, as the plot elements have changed. Fans of the adventure will still see favorite “ugh, Jay” and “boop” moments that will be just as entertaining to newcomers as it is for them!

While there is a hint of romance, there are no strong signs of it other than looks; lots of looks and lingering. We know something is coming and I cannot wait! While I always love a good enemies to lovers, there is something to be said about friends to lovers too!

While things do tend to wrap up by the end of this one, there’s still plenty of story left to tell. This book doesn’t end on a cliffhanger thankfully, but it does leave you with a few questions. I’m definitely curious about the mystery monster which remains a mystery still at the end. 

Along the way we do see great relationships developing, whether it’s family, friendships, or the hint of something more. I really enjoyed seeing these! Winnie was a great character and I loved that she wore glasses! We need more heroines with glasses! They were always sliding down her nose which is a struggle no matter how you have them tightened because you can have them too painfully tight, so sliding down happens!

All in all, The Luminaries was an incredible read! It was an amazing adventure filled with action, terrifying creatures, underlying secrets and mysteries, and the hint of a budding romance! This book hits all the marks of a great read and it truly is what it is!

Overall Rating 5/5 stars

The Luminaries releases November 8, 2022


Happy Halloween!!


Hope you all have a spooktastic day and night! Bring on the candy!

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?


It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. It's a fun meme where we gather to share what we've read last week and our reading plans for this week.


Last Week I Read:

The Broken Girls by Simone St. James (3.5 stars)

Currently Reading:

Hide by Kiersten White

What I Plan to Read Next:

Fangs by Sarah Andersen

Other Posts of Interest:

4th Annual Creeptastic Giveaway--last day to enter!!
Teaser & Top Ten Tuesdays
Supernatural Book Tag
Can't Wait Wednesday
Books from the Backlog #2
Book Blogger Hop
Stacking the Shelves--A Week of Awesomeness & Caraval!








Oct 30, 2022

Review--The Broken Girls by Simone St. James


Vermont, 1950. There's a place for the girls whom no one wants -- the troublemakers, the illegitimate, the too smart for their own good. It's called Idlewild Hall, and local legend says the boarding school is haunted. Four roommates bond over their whispered fears, their budding friendship blossoming -- until one of them mysteriously disappears...

Vermont, 2014. Twenty years ago, journalist Fiona Sheridan's elder sister's body was found in the overgrown fields near the ruins of Idlewild Hall. And although her sister's boyfriend was tried and convicted of the murder, Fiona can't stop revisiting the events, unable to shake the feeling that something was never right about the case.

When Fiona discovers that Idlewild Hall is being restored by an anonymous benefactor, she decides to write a story about it. But a shocking discovery during renovations links the loss of her sister to secrets that were meant to stay hidden in the past -- and a voice that won't be silenced...



After years of waiting, I've finally picked up a Simone St. James novel! I started with The Broken Girls as it was the first one I bought! I was expecting a creepy ghostly, mystery and while it was an eerie read and mysterious to boot, I could've used a little more ghostly encounters.

The Broken Girls is a story told in dual timelines, through many third person points of view. The past is where all the "multiples" lie, as there were four girls who were roommates at Idlewild Hall school for "troubled" girls. The past follows 4 young teenagers as they are trying to survive school and life. They've all been through terrible things that landed them in this school and there they found each other. But they also found out there is something not quite right about their school, and that is that it's haunted! The school is haunted by a ghost known as Mary and terrible things tend to happen when anyone sees the ghost.

In the present time of 2014, we follow Fiona, a journalist who learns that someone is trying to reopen the now abandoned Idlewild Hall. Fiona has reasons for wanting the school to stay closed. Mainly the fact that her sister was founded murdered on its grounds twenty years ago. The murder was solved, but Fiona was never quite satisfied with the answers that she got about the murder. It felt incomplete, even if the killer was convicted and thrown into jail.

Thus begins a rather evolved tale that goes back and forth from past to present as odd things continue to happen in the school and in the present, another dead body is found on the school's grounds. It's that of a young girl who was likely a student at a time at the school based on the body's age and decay. So we spiral into a sort of dual mystery here where in the past the girl's friends start to wonder what happened to her and in the present, Fiona is trying to figure out who the body is, but naturally, she winds up in more trouble than she bargained for.

This was definitely an interesting story! I enjoyed the dual timelines more than I thought I would. It was fairly easy to follow both of them along as things kind of hopped between them. I guess one thing I had hoped there would be more of was the ghostly encounters. There was definitely a ghost and that was its own mystery as well for both timelines. I wish maybe that could've been explored more or the ghost appeared more than she did. Just for a little more creepy factor. Other than that, it was still a pretty good mystery! I guess I had just hoped to have more ghostly business to it all.

Pacing wise, things were pretty sedate. It escalated at a moderate pace for a mystery. I usually don't expect anything fast paced when it comes to those and that's the right expectation for this one too. I was taken by surprised by the outcome that revealed itself in regards to Fiona's case. I was wondering what the big secret was going to be, as I couldn't really fathom any kind of idea! Lol. So yeah, when that came about it was pretty shocking!

The way things resolved were a mix of disappointing in the justice area and satisfying pretty much everywhere else! Lol, if that makes sense! I was content with where the characters were left off and it felt like things ended in a good place for everyone all around. While it wasn't necessarily the mystery I was hoping for, it was still a really good read and I intend to read more of this author as a lot of her books sound like thrilling mystery reads!

Overall Rating 3.5/5 stars

Stacking the Shelves--A Week of Awesomeness & Caraval!


Stacking the Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts, and of course ebooks! The meme is now hosted by Reading Reality.


Another week has gone by and I am struggling to remember what happened. Work is in its chaotic time. I had started just after all this last year, so I missed it and honestly I'm not sad about that because it's nuts! Luckily we've got a full team so the work is spread evenly, but there's still a chaotic mess at times! As far as books go and such it was pretty exciting! One book took me by surprise with its early arrival and it was honestly a good book week despite the fact that I didn't buy any new releases! I preordered one but apparently B&N member shipping as been reduced to media length sipping times. Glad that membership fee goes to express shipping and getting things in 1-3 days! Everything has been late ever since Covid, you would think by now we could actually go back to the express shipping instead of this garbage speed that I've been dealing with for almost 3 years now.


Here's what I bought:

The Haunting of Maddy Clare by Simone St. James--I was on my Walmart run last Sunday when I went to the book section to actually look for the book on the right but I found this instead and decided to buy it on impulse! I just finished my first book of hers and really liked it, so I am eager for more!
Flight 171 by Amy Christine Parker--this one sounded creepy good!

Then I got my preorders from The Bookish Box and Owl Crate for sequels of books I started with them! So I basically completed my series! Sadly there was printing errors with Owl Crate...they seem to be having a lot of those lately for these special editions. Basically the book is shiny instead of the previous fabric like cover. Sigh...it's always the pretty features that get butchered.

Kingdom of the Feared by Kerri Maniscalco--The Bookish Box edition
Forestfall by Lyndall Clipstone--Owl Crate edition

Then I HAD to order the gorgeous Italian Omnibus of the Caraval trilogy! The pages have been sprayed blue on the edges and it's so pretty! 

Caraval by Stephanie Garber--Italian Omnibus

Then I got my Fairy Loot YA book for October! This was one I was curious about so I was happy to get this book. Though I was a little sad that other than being hardcover and sprayed edges, there wasn't anything unique about the cover. I decided not to share it here in case others haven't gotten theirs yet, but I think I lost my early "shipping" spot in the scheme of things when I switched to book only as it seems I am always spoiled for this.

Then I received a surprise gift from Flatiron Books on Friday! I had signed up for notifications from all the usual "mail" people so I knew something was coming and I was bouncing up the walls with wonderment! Then of course, UPS got held up or something as it arrived a day late! But it was very exciting indeed!

I received one of the extended samplers for Leigh Bardugo's Hell Bent! And gummy skulls!

THANK YOU Flatiron Books!

Then when I went to B&N to find one of my earlier books up there, I stumbled upon this bookmark and couldn't help myself by buying it! I did just get rid of 4 or 5 bookmarks, so I was totally okay to buy 1 more! Lol!

Then I received some preorder goodies from Josephine Angelini! It's a set of character cards for her newest release Scions, which was AWESOME!


And that was it for me this week! It was pretty nice book-wise! What all did you get?


Oct 28, 2022

Book Blogger Hop


This meme is hosted by Billy at Ramblings of a Coffee Addict!
This week's question is: Have you ever experienced a blogging nightmare? If so, what was it? (submitted by Billy @ Coffee Addicted Writer

MY ANSWER: I guess no? I mean there were the occasional real life nightmares where a post didn't publish when I swear I hit the write button, or it wasn't scheduled right. Technical errors or human. Maybe both. But no real blogging nightmare comes to mind.

Oct 27, 2022

Books from the Backlog #2


Books from the Backlog is a fun way to feature some of those neglected books sitting on your bookshelf unread.  If you are anything like me, you might be surprised by some of the unread books hiding in your stacks. This is a meme hosted by Carole's Random Life in Books!

Although I had never seen him before, I recognized him immediately. I'd have known his voice anywhere. This was the guy I'd seen on my last journey back in time.

Or more precisely, the one who'd kissed my doppelganger while I was hiding behind the curtain in disbelief.

Sixteen-year-old Gwen lives with her extended - and rather eccentric - family in an exclusive London neighborhood. In spite of her ancestors' peculiar history, she's had a relatively normal life so far. The time-traveling gene that runs like a secret thread through the female half of the family is supposed to have skipped over Gwen, so she hasn't been introduced to "the mysteries," and can spend her time hanging out with her best friend, Lesley. It comes as an unwelcome surprise when she starts taking sudden, uncontrolled leaps into the past.

She's totally unprepared for time travel, not to mention all that comes with it: fancy clothes, archaic manners, a mysterious secret society, and Gideon, her time-traveling counterpart. He's obnoxious, a know-it-all, and possibly the best-looking guy she's seen in any century...


Next up on my Goodreads list was Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier! This has been on my pile pretty much since it released I think. If I recall, I won this book in a giveaway! I love time traveling books on occasion and as long as the explaining of how to time travel isn't overwhelming, lol. I thought this one sounded like fun and I even have the author's other series on my TBR as well...I think some were acquired through other contests or bargain finds. So yeah. I really need to get to it!  

Oct 26, 2022

Can't Wait Wednesday


Can't-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted at Wishful Endings, to spotlight and discuss the books we're excited about that we have yet to read. It's based on Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by the fabulous Jill at Breaking the Spine.


Some people greet the day with open arms. Sheriff Sunshine Vicram would rather give it a hearty shove and get back into bed, because there’s just too much going on right now. There’s a series of women going missing, and Sunny feels powerless to stop it. There’s her persistent and awesomely-rebellious daughter Auri, who’s out to singlehandedly become Del Sol’s youngest and fiercest investigator. And then there’s drama with Levi Ravinder—the guy she’s loved and lusted after for years. The guy who might just be her one and only. The guy who comes from a family of disingenuous vipers looking to oust him—and Sunshine—for good.

Like we said, the new day can take a hike.





I fell behind in this series! I don't know how it happened, but somehow I have yet to read the second book. Granted there's still a chance I can get back on track, but who are we kidding? Lol. I do love Darynda's books so I will be reading it at some point! Maybe soon. I'm in need of a laugh!



TITLE: A Hard Day for a Hangover
AUTHOR: Darynda Jones

PUBLISHER: St. Martin's Press
GENRE: Mystery
RELEASE DATE: December 6, 2022