Arc Review: Crown of Bones (Amassia #1) by A.K. Wilder

Title: Crown of Bones (Amassia #1)
Author: A.K. Wilder
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publication Date: January 5th, 2021
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Thank you to the publisher for sending out an arc box! All opinions are my own.

“In a world on the brink of the next Great Dying, no amount of training can prepare us for what is to come …
A young heir will raise the most powerful phantom in all of Baiseen.
A dangerous High Savant will do anything to control the realms.
A mysterious and deadly Mar race will steal children into the sea.
And a handsome guide with far too many secrets will make me fall in love.
My name is Ash. A lowly scribe meant to observe and record. And yet I think I’m destined to change us all.” (Goodreads)

Edit: Finished rereading this one as an audiobook so I am ready for the sequel! It was as good as the first time I read it.

As an anticipated read, this did live up to a lot of the hype for it. I can only think of a couple things that didn’t fully work for me but honestly, they were very minor and I had a fantastic time reading this book!

One of the things I enjoy seeing in a book is multiple point-of-views. It helps build the characters and gives us different perspective to each situation. In this book there are five point-of-views. Some get more pages than others but each one weaves into the full picture nicely. I will say that one left me a bit confused at first but as the story progresses there is clarification as to why that character is important.

Ash is a scribe that we are introduced to pretty quickly into the book. I loved her spunk even if others didn’t like her because she is non-savant (explained later in review). She didn’t let that stop her though and is amazing at her job. Although she easily trusts, sometimes it works out in her favor!

Marcus is the heir to his father’s throne because he was born savant. He does have a brother who seems like a dillweed but I’m a sucker for brothers so I’ll let it slide, haha! Marcus has a lot to live up to since his father’s phantom is very strong and that puts a lot of pressure on their relationship. He may not always be the smartest but he does want what is best for his people and he just seems very kindhearted all around.

There are other characters but some are better to be left introduced on their own when you read the book. You’ll also fall in love with one because I know I did, haha.

In the book, we do get hints for relationships and at times it does seem like a love triangle but one party isn’t really ever jealous so I’m not sure what’s going on. I guess that would be my biggest gripe of the book is that I don’t really understand the relationship dynamics that Ash finds herself in. I also felt like one was a bit rushed and didn’t have a lot of development but I am willing to see where it all goes in book two.

The magic system isn’t quite like anything I have read before. Each person is either born savant (phantom wielder) or non-savant. Each savant has a phantom that they control. It takes on a shape of a creature, like wolves, leopards, or even a gazelle. I thought this was really cool and the author does a great job of explaining it all so it is never confusing.

The savants get categorized based on robe color and each color signifies how powerful they are. There are ones called the bone throwers and they give readings by bones. I wasn’t sure how much this would play a part in the overall plot and was pleasantly surprised that it comes into play quite a bit and even the opening lines before the prologue gave information I didn’t realize until the end of the book!

There is so much adventure wrapped into the book that I never got tired of reading it. From traveling adventures, whether on sea or foot, there is never a dull moment for these characters. Seriously, they can never catch a break! Even though a couple things felt a but obvious before the reveal, there were still plot twists that surprised me. And that ending, I’m going to need the next book asap.

Overall, I really enjoyed this one and the world the author created. It is full of interesting magic, loveable characters, and plot twists that will have you wanting to come back for me. I’d definitely recommend adding to your tbr if it isn’t on there already!


Book Review: Once Upon a Broken Heart by Stephanie Garber

Title: Once Upon a Broken Heart
Author: Stephanie Garber
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publication Date: September 28th 2021
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

“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…” (Goodreads)

Edit: Reread this one and still love it! The audiobook was really nice.

I was absolutely afraid to start this book. I had seen others who liked Caraval not like this one and I really didn’t want that to happen. I have also been in a slump, not just from reading but from life in general, and so I was scared.

When I did start reading it I wasn’t completely grasped but I kept going because I wasn’t very far. I do think that it’s because I had this dread of not liking it. It seriously had me questioning it. I will say that once Jacks entered for the first time all of that dread disappeared and a grin appeared on my face. Although Jacks isn’t the main focus of the book, he does have a large part. I’m really glad he is back after what happened in Finale. He was my favorite character and I was so excited to know that his story wasn’t over.

Since the story isn’t told from Jacks’ perspective, I’m going to talk about Evangeline Fox first even though I already mentioned him, ha. Evangeline is a great new character to add to the fantastical world that Garber has already created. I liked seeing how the start of her journey correlated with Finale in some way. For me, it was easy to relate to her from the beginning. When I was young and wanted to find the “fairytale love” I would miss signs that it would never work. I was naive and so was Evangeline at times. Even if we do find someone to dote on us it doesn’t mean that it’s the right one either. I just liked seeing her in situations that I could see myself in from my younger days before I found the one. She deals with a lot from heartbreak, love, to making a deal with a fate. Even though she had a lot going on she still had hope and believed everything would work out. She always looked for the good in others even when it didn’t seem like there was any. She never wanted any bad blood. I can appreciate the sentiment.

Jacks is the anti-hero I adore. If it’s wrong then I don’t want to be right! You’ll never be able to convince me that he isn’t worth saving. I’m just as naive as Evangeline like I said above, ha. From the beginning I wasn’t sure how he would fit into the story or even if he would feel like the same guy from the original trilogy. He definitely has a different personality but I think it made me like him a bit more. He is dealing with heartbreak in his own way and it was interesting to see how similar him and Evangeline could be but also how they dealt with it differently as well. It’s hard not to feel for him. I’m still not entirely sure what his full intentions are and because of that and the cliffhanger I really need to have book two ASAP!

There are new characters that are introduced besides Evangeline and I liked learning about each one. Chaos is really creepy but also quite intriguing and LaLa is definitely a favorite! Characters from the previous series also make appearances and I was glad to read about a couple friendly faces even if it was brief.

The setting is very different from the Caraval series. It was still magical in every way and I liked seeing what else this world had to offer. I will say that it did feel more fairytale-like but I think that is why I loved it.

The plot is filled with thrilling and shocking moments that had me that much more excited to continue on and find out what would happen next. I finished 90% of it in one day. I really thought that I had it figured out before the big reveal but I was so wrong, haha. Garber knows how to shock readers and I loved every minute of it!

Overall, I absolutely loved this book for many reasons! Obviously Jacks is one of those! I know this review feels short in certain areas and maybe scattered but it’s hard to put into words what I feel for this book. Garber did it once again! I can’t wait to see what happens next for Evangeline and Jacks.

“All stories are made of both truths and lies, she used to say. What matters is the way that we believe in them.”

“He gave her a real smile, revealing a pair of dimples that briefly made him look more angel than devil. But she imagined even angels would need to beware of.”

“I believe there are far more possibilities than happily ever after or tragedy. Every story has the potential for infinite endings.”

“She wanted to be someone’s love, not their curse.”

“Be thankful for that, Little Fox.” Jacks gave her a smile that was all sharp edges. A drop of blood fell from the corner of his mouth, and something godforsaken washed over his expression. “Hurt is what made me.”

This would definitely be a song that fits Jacks when it comes to his broken heart.
A song definitely fit for Evangeline Fox!

Book Review: As Good As Dead (A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder #3) by Holly Jackson

Title: As Good As Dead (A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder #3)
Author: Holly Jackson
Genre: YA Mystery / Thriller
Publication Date: September 28th, 2021
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

“Pip is about to head to college, but she is still haunted by the way her last investigation ended. She’s used to online death threats in the wake of her viral true-crime podcast, but she can’t help noticing an anonymous person who keeps asking her: Who will look for you when you’re the one who disappears?

Soon the threats escalate and Pip realizes that someone is following her in real life. When she starts to find connections between her stalker and a local serial killer caught six years ago, she wonders if maybe the wrong man is behind bars.

Police refuse to act, so Pip has only one choice: find the suspect herself—or be the next victim. As the deadly game plays out, Pip discovers that everything in her small town is coming full circle . . .and if she doesn’t find the answers, this time she will be the one who disappears. . . ” (Goodreads)

To say I am disappointed in this book would be an understatement. Although I gave it 3 stars, that was me being generous as the first 50% was thrilling. The last half just wasn’t it…I honestly skimmed through some of it because I didn’t like the direction of the plot and the character development that was happening. This last book is definitely the darkest of the three. It’s not a problem, but I just fail to understand that this is actually how it all went down.

Since this is the third book, there will be spoilers. You have been warned.

My frustration lies with Pip. She was a great character and I loved her in book one and two. In book two she started to understand that she had an obsession and it was unhealthy. It was like solving crimes was her fix. By the end of book two she witness a horrible thing and book three brings on PTSD and drug abuse. It sucked seeing Pip struggle through everything but it also made her human. It showed that she was vulnerable and even her morbid fascination wouldn’t be enough to subdue the pain. I don’t understand how all of that turned her into a killer and how every decision she made just didn’t feel like her anymore. It was a whole new character and I just didn’t like who she had become.

My first complaint is the killing of Jason Bell. Even though the author tried to take us off the scent, I knew it was him. I did like the suspense of it all though. I don’t care that she killed him but I do care about the way she went about it. To believe that she needed to dispose of the body and not call the police was dumb. I don’t get how she thought no one would believe her self-defense. That’s more believable than what actually transpired. She could have literally said that she got free and he came back as she was escaping and he tried to grab her so she killed him. The facts of her having Andie’s email and knowing where all of the trophies of his kills were was evidence enough to prove he was a bad guy. He even took her headphones as a trophy. To go on and get her friends involved was just dumb. I always liked Ravi but this book made him a lovesick idiot. I just couldn’t take it.

I don’t think its fair that she would frame someone her and many others didn’t like. The whole point of her podcast was to bring light to cases and find the real person to blame instead of the innocent ones who were. To bring in The Innocent Project and then blame someone for something they didn’t do because they were found not guilty of another crime is just not the way to go about getting justice. It made me feel like everything Pip was just gone. I really didn’t know this character at all.

One of the things I hate the most about books is an open-ended ending. I got no satisfaction out of this one. I seriously sat there and thought, “Is this really it?”. Obviously the reader can come to conclusions, but just spell it out for me!

What would I have liked to see instead of the killer instincts from Pip?

I would have liked more about her PTSD and the trial that was to come from Charlie Green. I would have liked to see her go through therapy and rely on her friends to help get her through the tough times. I would have liked to see her kick the habit. I would have liked to seen anything but something that still doesn’t make sense. The only thing that does make sense, even if it is small, is that I guess you could say it all goes back to the title of the first book and the name of series. We definitely got a good girl’s guide to murder even if we didn’t think it would go there.

Overall, this was good for the first 50% and the last half gets the axe from me. I could go on with my feelings about this one but I will rest my case as I don’t want this to get too long, lol. Would I still recommend the series? Yeah, I would. Book one and two are wonderful. I’d say skip this one, but you may end up liking it more than me. To each their own.

Book Review: The Singles Table (Marriage Game #3) by Sara Desai

Title: The Singles Table (Marriage Game #3)
Author: Sara Desai
Genre: Adult Contemporary / Romance
Publication Date: November 16th, 2021
Publisher: Berkley
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐✨

“After a devastating break-up, celebrity-obsessed lawyer Zara Patel is determined never to open her heart again. She puts her energy into building her career and helping her friends find romance through the wedding season. She’s never faced a guest at the singles table she couldn’t match, until she crosses paths with the sinfully sexy Jay Donovan.

Former military security specialist Jay has no time for love. His life is about working hard, staying focused, and winning at all costs. When charismatic Zara crashes into his life, he’s thrown into close contact with exactly the kind of chaos he wants to avoid. Worse, they’re stuck together for the entire wedding season.

So they make a deal. She’ll find his special someone if he introduces her to his celebrity clients. But when their arrangement brings them together in ways they never expected, they realize that the perfect match might just be their own.” (Goodreads)

I’m always looking forward to starting a book by this author. They usually make my romantic heart happy. I liked a lot of the tropes that were in this book. The characters were also fun but, there was something missing for me. I did still like it overall but it was still my least favorite in the series.

The book is told from two point-of-views: Zara and Jay. Zara is a lawyer and has had trouble finding a job and keeping a boyfriend. She is very much a push-away person who doesn’t see herself in a long-term relationship. Zara is also quite bubbly and full of personality. Jay is a veteran of the air force and now owns and runs a security with another veteran. He is very much a broody grump, but one that you can’t help but love. Obviously both of their personalities make for an interesting time between the two.

The romance starts off with enemies-to-lovers vibes. They are complete opposites and want to win their own way on the paintball field. I think the first few chapters were my favorite. Their relationship quickly turns into her helping him find a match. He doesn’t want long-term and would rather have someone around for events when he needs to bring someone. It was easy to see where it was all going from there. The reason I didn’t like this one as much could be that it moved away from enemies-to-lovers rather quick. Jay showed his soft side too soon. I mean don’t get me wrong, I liked his soft side but I was just wanting more of their banter from the beginning. They do still have cute moments together so I can’t complain too much.

The plot is filled with a lot of weddings and celebrities. It was not what I was expecting but in a good way. I never knew what would happen next which is always a plus. There were some plot twists and I think they were done well. Never too dramatic and made sense.

Overall, this was a good book but just missing something. I still would recommend this series to other romance readers as I feel like this author is underrated and deserves more love!

Audiobook Review: Aurora’s End (The Aurora Cycle #3) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Title: Aurora’s End (The Aurora Cycle #3)
Author: Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Genre: YA Sci-Fi
Publication Date: November 9th, 2021
Publisher: Knopf Books For Young Readers
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Is this the end?
What happens when you ask a bunch of losers, discipline cases, and misfits to save the galaxy from an ancient evil? The ancient evil wins, of course.
Wait. . . . Not. So. Fast.
When we last saw Squad 312, they working together seamlessly (aka, freaking out) as an intergalactic battle raged and an ancient superweapon threatened to obliterate Earth. Everything went horribly wrong, naturally.
But as it turns out, not all endings are endings, and the te4am has one last chance to rewrite thirs. Maybe two. It’s complicated.
Cue Zila, Fin, and Scarlett (and MAGELLAN!): making friends, making enemies, and making history? Sure, no problem
Cue Tyler, Kal, and Auri: uniting with two of the galaxy’s most hated villains? Um, okay. That, too.
Actually saving the galaxy, though?
Now that will take a miracle.” (Goodreads)

Here’s to another book series that I have finished! But also, boo to this journey actually being over! 😢 Squad 312 has been a great group of friends and I am sad to this found family go.

The book is told from multiple point-of-views just like the first two books. Most of the characters are not together and or have interesting backstories to tell to help give us more information. It’s always nice to get into their heads. I don’t know if I could honestly pick a favorite point-of-view. They were all good! Tyler did have a lot of chapters and he made me laugh quite a bit though so I could be persuaded to pick him, haha. Some of the characters did feel a bit more secondary than they have in the previous books but I did like what we got from them.

I did rate the last book a whole star less than what I rated the first two. I don’t think that the ending to this trilogy was bad and it does actually wrap up nicely, especially after there were so many plot lines from this particular book. Personally, I just think their third book is usually the weakest. In this book there is so much still going on all the way up and past the 50% mark. It felt like the plot focused more on the relationships of the squad members, which don’t get me wrong some parts had me smiling, but it didn’t leave a lot of room for the rest and to me the ending/final arc felt a bit anticlimactic. I also would have really liked more focus on the Ra’haam.

Overall, it was an enjoyable conclusion. I still would recommend this series, especially the audiobooks, because it has great tropes and the characters are very loveable.

Book Review: The Shaadi Set-Up by Lillie Vale

Title: The Shaadi Set-Up
Author: Lillie Vale
Genre: Adult Contemporary / Romance
Publishing Date: September 7th, 2021
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Rating: ⭐⭐✨

“High school sweethearts Rita Chitniss and Milan Rao were the golden couple, until the day he broke her heart. Now, six years later, Rita has turned her passion for furniture restoration into a career and has an almost-perfect boyfriend, Neil. The last thing she needs is for Milan to re-enter her life, but that’s exactly what happens when her mother, an unfailing believer in second chances, sets them up. Milan is just as charming, cocky, and confident as he was back in school. Only this time, he actually needs her business expertise, not her heart, to flip a hard-to-sell house for his realty agency.

While Rita begrudgingly agrees to help, she’s not taking any risks. To prove she’s definitely over him, she signs herself and Neil up on, a Desi matchmaking site famous for its success stories and trustworthy enough to convince everyone that she and Neil are the new and improved couple. Instead, she’s shocked when MyShaadi’s perfect match for her isn’t Neil…it’s Milan. Ignoring the website and her mother is one thing, but ignoring Milan proves much more difficult, especially when she promises to help him renovate the beach house of her dreams. And as the two of them dive deeper into work—and their pasts—Rita begins to wonder if maybe her match wasn’t so wrong after all….” (Goodreads)

I was worried when it came to starting this one because I had seen some negative reviews for it. I did go in with an open mind as I had seen some positive reviews too and a book isn’t going to work for everyone. Unfortunately, this book just didn’t hit it off with me in the way I wanted it to but it did have a few good qualities about it.

The book is told from a single point-of-view and it’s from Rita. I did like learning about her job of refurbishing furniture and venturing out into interior design. I’ve always enjoyed channels like HGTV so it definitely got my attention. I understood some things about her like not wanting to be pushed into marriage and doing things at her own rate. I may have married young but I get that everyone is different and will be ready when the time comes. At least she stood her ground on that. Rita did make a lot of poor choices though and I couldn’t really understand what she was doing when it came to her love life.

The romance plot is filled with a lot of drama and some of it just felt way over the top especially as it got closer to the ending. I don’t get why she was obviously happy with Neil but she sees her ex and says, “Hey, let’s make a profile on a dating website. Obviously nothing could go wrong…”. You are literally just begging for some drama! I do wish we would have learned more about Neil before the whole second chance fiasco but it seemed like he was a great guy and then started making poor choices too that just seemed weird if he was wanting to marry Rita.

I think my favorite part of the book was the setting as I had lived in North Carolina for four years. I always love seeing New Bern mentioned because it’s one of my favorite places ever.

I do wish that there was more from the family and also her pets. It seems like they both got pushed to the backburner for a lot of the story.

Overall, this was a decent book. If you like a book caked in drama then this may be for you. There are some cute moments but it wasn’t enough to really save the book for me.

Book Review: How We Fall Apart by Katie Zhao

Title: How We Fall Apart
Author: Katie Zhao
Genre: YA Mystery / Thriller
Publication Date: August 17th, 2021
Publisher: Bloomsbury YA
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐✨

Students at an elite prep school are forced to confront their secrets when their ex-best friend turns up dead.

Nancy Luo is shocked when her former best friend, Jamie Ruan, top ranked junior at Sinclair Prep, goes missing, and then is found dead. Nancy is even more shocked when word starts to spread that she and her friends–Krystal, Akil, and Alexander–are the prime suspects, thanks to “The Proctor,” someone anonymously incriminating them via the school’s social media app.

They all used to be Jamie’s closest friends, and she knew each of their deepest, darkest secrets. Now, somehow The Proctor knows them, too. The four must uncover the true killer before The Proctor exposes more than they can bear and costs them more than they can afford, like Nancy’s full scholarship. Soon, Nancy suspects that her friends may be keeping secrets from her, too.” (Goodreads)

I’ve been curious about this book and I’m glad I got the chance to sit down and read it. Although it wasn’t a favorite when it comes to the YA Mystery / Thriller genre, it is still worth reading as every time I stopped reading I would continuously think about what would happen next.

The book is told from the point-of-view of Nancy Luo. She was friends with Jamie but one day Jamie is missing from class and the next she is found dead. The plot does follow other characters that were friends with Jamie as well who had secrets and were present two years ago for the incident. I wouldn’t say that there is a lot of character development so at times it made it a bit harder to understand some characters but I also didn’t totally struggle with a connection because each one is hiding a secret and you can’t help but feel bad when everything starts to unravel. The book also does go back in the past a bit so we can understand the relationship dynamic between the characters and Jamie.

There are a lot of subjects that are talked about and some can be considered on the heavier side. The Content Warning for this book are as followed: abuse, self-harm, violence, parental neglect, panic attacks, drug use, mental illness, inappropriate student/teacher relationship, racism, and suicidal thoughts. The topics mentioned were done well even if some were brief. I think that a lot of the book and some of these warnings just show how much pressure teens feel and sometimes they just don’t know how to ask for help.

Since the plot involves a lot of secrets, it is very suspenseful and keeps you wondering who could be the one that keeps spreading everything on a gossip website. I had no clue who it was and was very surprised when it came to the reveal!

Overall, this was a good read as it was quite interesting and did keep me wanting to continuously read. I’m keeping the review short because it is a mystery/thriller book and it’s always best to go in not knowing much!

Book Review: Kill Joy (A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder #0.5) by Holly Jackson

Title: Kill Joy (A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder #0.5)
Author: Holly Jackson
Genre: YA Mystery / Thriller
Publication Date: February 18th, 2021
Publisher: Electric Monkey
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

“Pippa Fitz-Amobi is not in the mood for her friend’s murder mystery party. Especially one that involves 1920’s fancy dress and pretending that their town, Little Kilton, is an island called Joy. But when the game begins, Pip finds herself drawn into the make-believe world of intrigue, deception and murder.

But as Pip plays detective, teasing out the identity of the killer clue-by-clue, the murder of the fictional Reginald Remy isn’t the only case on her mind …

Find out where it all began for Pip in this prequel to the best-selling A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder and Good Girl, Bad Blood.” (Goodreads)

I’m finally getting to the books I own and this was one of them! I knew I wanted to read this prequel after enjoying the first two books of the series. The plot for this one is just a tad bit different as they are still solving a mystery but it’s a game and not real life, haha. Although, it is just as thrilling!

Pippa is on the case once again and this book shows why she decided to do her project on the murder that happened in her town. I liked seeing her interact with her friends once again and some of the things they said had me laughing. The book is a good mix of thrill and comedy! Some of the characters get really into the murder / mystery game and it just makes it that much more intense!

Overall, this was an enjoyable read. I know the review is short but since its a prequel there isn’t much to discuss, ha. If you have read the series already I’d definitely recommend this one.

Audiobook Mini Review: Witchshadow (The Witchlands #4) by Susan Dennard

Title: Witchshadow (The Witchlands #4)
Author: Susan Dennard
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publication Date: June 22nd, 2021
Publisher: Tor Teen
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

“War has come to the Witchlands . . . and nothing will be the same again.

Iseult has found her heartsister Safi at last, but their reunion is brief. For Iseult to stay alive, she must flee Cartorra while Safi remains. And though Iseult has plans to save her friend, they will require her to summon magic more dangerous than anything she has ever faced before.

Meanwhile, the Bloodwitch Aeduan is beset by forces he cannot understand. And Vivia—rightful queen of Nubrevna—finds herself without a crown or home.

As villains from legend reawaken across the Witchlands, only the mythical Cahr Awen can stop the gathering war. Iseult could embrace this power and heal the land, but first she must choose on which side of the shadows her destiny will lie.” (Goodreads)

I was looking forward to finally picking this one up since I thought I would get to it around its release but didn’t. Haha. It happens! I’m not going to lie, this was my least favorite of the series. There were a few things that led me to feel this way. It’s still a decent book and a good series, but I just wasn’t impressed with this edition.

I did like being back in this immersive world. There are many point-of-views going on, more so than the last couple books I think. It did at times make it hard to really process everything that was happening. I also think the audiobook didn’t help that problem either. The point-of-views switch in the middle of chapters and there really isn’t a break so you have to pay close attention.

The pacing of the book was a bit slow but it does pick up in certain areas, especially when there are plot twists happening. It felt like things were happening but also not. If that honestly makes sense, lol. I did really like most of the plot twists though. We get more answers for things that have happened in the previous books and I am so glad for that!

Overall, it was good but just not entirely what I was expecting.

Arc Review: A History of Wild Places by Shea Ernshaw

Title: A History of Wild Places
Author: Shea Ernshaw
Genre: Adult Mystery / Thriller
Publication Date: December 7th, 2021
Publisher: Atria Books
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for an earc to review! All opinions are my own.

“Travis Wren has an unusual talent for locating missing people. Hired by families as a last resort, he requires only a single object to find the person who has vanished. When he takes on the case of Maggie St. James—a well-known author of dark, macabre children’s books—he’s led to a place many believed to be only a legend.

Called Pastoral, this reclusive community was founded in the 1970s by like-minded people searching for a simpler way of life. By all accounts, the commune shouldn’t exist anymore and soon after Travis stumbles upon it…he disappears. Just like Maggie St. James.

Years later, Theo, a lifelong member of Pastoral, discovers Travis’s abandoned truck beyond the border of the community. No one is allowed in or out, not when there’s a risk of bringing a disease—rot—into Pastoral. Unraveling the mystery of what happened reveals secrets that Theo, his wife, Calla, and her sister, Bee, keep from one another. Secrets that prove their perfect, isolated world isn’t as safe as they believed—and that darkness takes many forms.

Hauntingly beautiful, hypnotic, and bewitching, A History of Wild Places is a story about fairy tales, our fear of the dark, and losing yourself within the wilderness of your mind.” (Goodreads)

This is my third book by this author. This one is not like her others as she has stepped out of YA to write an Adult Mystery / Thriller. I think those that have read her previous work will see her writing style is quite the same which was nice to see. However, this book wasn’t quite what I was expecting and although it was unique it didn’t hold onto my attention like I had hoped.

The book starts off with a guy named Travis Wren trying to track down an author by the name of Maggie St. James who went missing. This was definitely a good setup for the story as we learn a bit of background for Travis. It did give me urge to keep reading as well.

From that point on, the book switches to multiple point-of-views. Some I liked more than others. I will say that the character development really lacked and the book is definitely more plot based. I know other readers will be okay with this but for, I need more development to actually care for the characters and the situations they face.

The plot isn’t unique in the aspect of communes but the plot twists that came with it were. I did expect one thing but the rest were definitely out in left field. I’m not sold on the explanations for everything but maybe that’s just me. The book is also labeled as thriller but I just didn’t feel that. It was definitely mysterious but lacked the thrill I seeked.

Overall, this was okay/good read. It wasn’t what I was expecting but it wasn’t in a bad way I suppose. I’m not really sure how to really articulate my words for this one, haha. I guess if it sounds interesting to you, give it a try!