Book Review: The Corpse Queen by Heather Herrman

Title: The Corpse Queen
Author: Heather Herrman
Genre: YA Historical Fiction / Horror / Thriller
Publication Date: September 14th, 2021
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

“Soon after her best friend Kitty mysteriously dies, orphaned seventeen-year-old Molly Green is sent away to live with her “aunt.” With no relations that she knows of, Molly assumes she has been sold as free domestic labor for the price of an extra donation in the church orphanage’s coffers. Such a thing is not unheard of. There are only so many options for an unmarried girl in 1850s Philadelphia. Only, when Molly arrives, she discovers her aunt is very much real, exceedingly wealthy, and with secrets of her own. Secrets and wealth she intends to share–for a price.

Molly’s estranged aunt Ava, has built her empire by robbing graves and selling the corpses to medical students who need bodies to practice surgical procedures. And she wants Molly to help her procure the corpses. As Molly learns her aunt’s trade in the dead of night and explores the mansion by day, she is both horrified and deeply intrigued by the anatomy lessons held at the old church on her aunt’s property. Enigmatic Doctor LaSalle’s lessons are a heady mixture of knowledge and power and Molly has never wanted anything more than to join his male-only group of students. But the cost of inclusion is steep and with a murderer loose in the city, the pursuit of power and opportunity becomes a deadly dance.” (Goodreads)

This book has been on my radar for awhile now. I kept pushing it off because I was afraid of the lower ratings and didn’t want to be disappointed since I had high hopes for it. I’m glad that my fears were for nothing because this was a very enjoyable book! It wasn’t my usual read as it was very dark, gruesome at times, and there was one scene that I just couldn’t read but, it was well worth it to read the rest.

The book is told from one point-of-view and it comes from Molly Green. Her life has been anything but grand as she has lived in an orphanage doing labor for them and getting nothing out of it besides disciplined. She has made one great friend from there, Kitty, but everything changes once Kitty comes up dead. From that point on, Molly Green will stop at nothing to find out what happened to her friend.

Molly is a very likeable character. She is smart, ambitious, and cares for those around her. Her compassion is what made her standout the most because when dealing with corpses she at least did it all with a care for who they were even if she hadn’t known them. All of the other characters only had curiosity on their mind.

Besides Molly, I also liked Ginny and Tom. They help Molly along the way and she even helps them in some way as well. There is a hint of a budding romance between Tom and Molly but it never comes to anything more than friends as they each have dreams they want to accomplish outside of a relationship. I’m actually glad there wasn’t any big romance. I felt like it would have taken away from the overall theme and topics found in the plot.

The ending wasn’t anything I had expected and sometimes I wonder if it all makes sense. Parts of it were a bit rushed but because I liked everything else I overlooked it. I mean, anything is possible! I did like that there was an epilogue to give us a bit more as to what happened to the characters after the big reveal.

Now, if you do not like gruesome details then this book may not be for you. I did at times wonder what I got myself into, haha. On the other hand, it was hard to stop reading as well. The book does deal with a lot of dead bodies and the prospect of murder. It also has morbid jokes but also talks about how we should care for those that have died with the same care as though who are still living. My one big Content Warning would be that there is a scene that involves a dog which I skipped over. Other than that, there wasn’t anything I didn’t read.

Overall, this was an enjoyable read.


Arc Review: Vespertine by Margaret Rogerson

Title: Vespertine
Author: Margaret Rogerson
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publication Date: September 28th, 2021
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for an earc to review!

From the New York Times bestselling author of Sorcery of Thorns and An Enchantment of Ravens comes a thrilling new YA fantasy about a teen girl with mythic abilities who must defend her world against restless spirits of the dead.

The dead of Loraille do not rest.

Artemisia is training to be a Gray Sister, a nun who cleanses the bodies of the deceased so that their souls can pass on; otherwise, they will rise as spirits with a ravenous hunger for the living. She would rather deal with the dead than the living, who trade whispers about her scarred hands and troubled past.

When her convent is attacked by possessed soldiers, Artemisia defends it by awakening an ancient spirit bound to a saint’s relic. It is a revenant, a malevolent being that threatens to possess her the moment she drops her guard. Wielding its extraordinary power almost consumes her—but death has come to Loraille, and only a vespertine, a priestess trained to wield a high relic, has any chance of stopping it. With all knowledge of vespertines lost to time, Artemisia turns to the last remaining expert for help: the revenant itself.

As she unravels a sinister mystery of saints, secrets, and dark magic, her bond with the revenant grows. And when a hidden evil begins to surface, she discovers that facing this enemy might require her to betray everything she has been taught to believe—if the revenant doesn’t betray her first.” (Goodreads)

Margaret Rogerson always writes unique books and I scream internally whenever a new one comes on the scene. You can expect a great cover as well. Compared to her other two books, this one is darker and I will list the triggers now.

Content Warning (From Author): Self-harm, anxiety, disordered eating (minor), child neglect/abuse (past), trauma/PTSD (traumatic experiences in past). None of the abuse or trauma is sexual in nature. Very brief suicide mention in the epilogue, concerning a character from the past who never appears in the book.

Artemisia is a strong young woman who has been through a lot when it comes to her past. She isn’t well liked because of it and it can cause discord between her and the others at the convent. I liked getting bits and pieces of her past from the beginning to the end and the growth she had while learning to trust others and realizing she doesn’t have to be alone. It’s easy for us to want to bottle up everything and in this way I could relate to her.

Besides Artemisia, the other character that has the most page time is the revenant. He is humorous, maybe evil, and can be quite brash. I wasn’t too sure about him in the beginning but by the end it’s hard not to care for him. He’s a complicated being but it’s hard not to like him!

So many of the other characters are complex in their own way even as minor characters. They each have their struggles and deal with it in different ways. The development for Marguerite was another favorite.

The convent that she lives at was a very unique setting and I liked learning about the Grey sisters. Their job is to take care of the dead and make sure their spirits don’t rise. Each corpse is taken care of differently based on the circumstances of their death. It was easy to understand all of the context that was given and it wasn’t bogged down by long explanations.

There were times that the plot felt a bit slow and not as gripping as her last book but I still liked it nonetheless. It is unique with a fun take on nuns/clergy and the spirits that they deal with. You can see parallels from our own world when it comes to religion or even refugees.

Overall, I really enjoyed this one! Since this isn’t a standalone but does wrap up, I am curious what the next book in this world will be about! Hopefully all of my favorite characters will be back. If you have enjoyed her other books or like darker YA fantasy then you should definitely add this one to your tbr.

Two Dark Reigns: Book Review

thegeekishbrunette review



Title: Two Dark Reigns (Three Dark Crowns #3)
Author: Kendare Blake
Genre: YA Fantasy
Rating: 4 stars

->Click for Synopsis<-

I have been enjoying my time reading this series after I got through the first book. This was one was my favorite out of the series so far and has me hyped for the fourth book coming out later this year.

My favorite part about the queens is seeing them grow and become entwined in the prophecy of the island. Two of them decide that they will forge their own path and break free from their roles. At times we all have that moment where we just need to break free and make our own rules. It definitely makes them relatable! I have also enjoyed seeing the darker side of Katherine and the dead queens that have taken over! There was one part my mouth just dropped! The dead queens left us with a cliffhanger and I really need to know what will happen next with them!

In this book we also get to leave the island and venture to a new place. I wish there would have been more world building for this new area. I love being able to picture myself in the world and its hard to do when you don’t get much detail.

The plot has really ramped up since the second book and there are so many plot twists that i wasn’t expecting.

Overall, this book was great and now I have the long wait until the fourth book. If you were like me and didn’t like the first book, definitely give the others a try!


One Dark Throne: Book Review

thegeekishbrunette review


29923707Title: One Dark Throne (Three Dark Crowns #2)
Author: Kendare Blake
Genre: YA Fantasy
Rating: 4 stars

->Click for Synopsis<-

This is the second book in the series and if you saw my review for the first you would know that I didn’t rate it very high and although I didn’t, I went ahead and read the next book. Let me tell you, it was so much better than the first!

When it came to the three queens, they are back and ready for a fight! The one thing that lacked in the first book was action. This one doesn’t hold back with it and made it much more enjoyable to read because of it. Katherine has grown into a much stronger version of herself and it was such a contrast from the first time we met her. It’s crazy how one certain event can change a feeble queen! Arsinoe is still my favorite queen and I loved seeing her grow and overcome the obstacles that were thrown in her path. I also appreciate the relationship between her and her sister Mirabella. They don’t let fate decide their lives for them.

The plot twists are crazy and kept me intrigued throughout. I am looking forward to starting the third book and seeing what happens, especially with Katherine and the predicament she has found herself in. I am also interested to see what is in store for the other two queens!

The writing has improved in this book and the characters are more developed. I found myself liking them more because of it.

Overall, the second book was much better than the first and I am glad that I kept going with this series because it really grew on me. I can’t wait to see what happens in the third book and don’t have too long to wait for the fourth. I mean September is kind of far away but its fine!


Three Dark Crowns: Book Review

thegeekishbrunette review


28374007.jpgTitle: Three Dark Crowns
Author: Kendare Blake
Genre: YA Fantasy
Rating: 2 stars

->Click for Synopsis<-

On the island of Fennbirn, triples are always born and each are heirs to the crown. Each girl possesses a different magic: poisoner, naturalist, elementalist. Once the girls turn 16 they must each fight to death for the crown. Only one can stand.

I had heard pretty good things about this book and with the fourth one coming out this year I figured it was time to give it a read. Honestly, it wasn’t what I was expecting for multiple reasons and it lead to me not liking the book.

When it came to the characters, I didn’t connect with either of the sisters even though each one has their own point of view. They felt flat as there wasn’t much character development. The side characters were also not that interesting and were mainly focused with being in relationships.

The plot lacked when it came to any action. It felt like the plot was more focused on relationships than the sisters killing each other and it made it hard to get through. The pacing was also quite slow and made it hard to want to continue.

Overall, it was very hard to like anything about this book. I wanted to love it as the synopsis makes it sound amazing but it really lacked the excitement I was looking for. I will continue by reading the second book and hope that it gets better. Hopefully that one won’t be so disappointing!