Arc Review: A Dreadful Splendor by B.R. Myer

Title: A Dreadful Splendor
Author: B.R. Myer
Genre: Adult Historical Fiction / Gothic / Mystery
Publication Date: August 23rd, 2022
Publisher: William Morrow
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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

Be careful what you conjure…
In Victorian London, Genevieve Timmons poses as a spiritualist to swindle wealthy mourners–until one misstep lands her in a jail cell awaiting the noose. Then a stranger arrives to make her a peculiar offer. The Lord he serves, Mr. Pemberton, has been inconsolable since the tragic death of his beautiful bride-to-be. If Genevieve can perform a séance persuasive enough to bring the young Lord peace, she will win her freedom.
Soothing a grieving nobleman should be easy for someone of Genevieve’s skill, but when she arrives at the grand Somerset Park estate, Mr. Pemberton is not the heartbroken lover she expected. The surly–yet exceedingly handsome–gentleman is certain that his fiancée was murdered, even though there is no evidence. Only a confession can bring justice now, and Mr. Pemberton decides Genevieve will help him get it. With his knowledge of the household and her talent for illusion, they can stage a haunting so convincing it will coax the killer into the light. However, when frightful incidents befall the manor, Genevieve realizes her tricks aren’t required after all. She may be a fake, but Somerset’s ghost could be all too real…” (Goodreads)

I wasn’t sure what I would be getting out of this book since I hadn’t realized this was an author I had read before (her YA sci-fi) and didn’t like much, but I’m also glad I requested before knowing because I liked this one a lot! So much so, I stayed up way past my bedtime to finish because I needed to know what would happen!

The book is told from one point-of-view and it comes from Genevieve Timmons. If you ask some they would say that she is a con-artist, a murderer, and a thief. Those things made her that much more interesting because I needed to know the background of those accusations. Two of them come rather quickly as we are thrown into her games, a séance.

I think that Genevieve got a bad rep that wasn’t entirely warranted. She was just trying to survive and using what she learned from her mother to stay afloat. It was fun to see her work and use what she learned from others through body language to continue on with the charade. She also becomes a detective later on in the book when things get quite sketchy at the Somerset Park estate.

Before some chapters start there are journal entries written by Lady Audra, the dead bride-to-be. They were very enlightening while trying to figure out who the culprit was. There were a lot of secrets she knew and they just kept coming the farther you get in the book!

My favorite part of this book was definitely the mystery. It was thrilling and definitely kept me reading as new things came to light. The séances were an added bonus and added to the gothic feel the book was going for. My least favorite would have to be the romance. It wasn’t terrible and does fit the genre, but it just didn’t give me enough for my taste.

Overall, this was a fun and exciting read. I liked getting to know the characters and the secrets that they kept. The mystery was good and had me guessing all the way up until the end.


E-Arc Review: Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia


53152636._SX318_SY475_Title: Mexican Gothic
Author: Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Genre: Fantasy / Historical Fiction / Gothic
Publication Date: June 30th, 2020
Publisher: Del Rey

eARC provided by publisher through NetGalley for review. All opinions are my own.

synopsis header
“From the author of Gods of Jade and Shadow comes a reimagining of the classic gothic suspense novel, a story about an isolated mansion in 1950s Mexico — and the brave socialite drawn to its treacherous secrets.

He is trying to poison me. You must come for me, Noemí. You have to save me.

After receiving a frantic letter from her newly-wed cousin begging for someone to save her from a mysterious doom, Noemí Taboada heads to High Place, a distant house in the Mexican countryside. She’s not sure what she will find — her cousin’s husband, a handsome Englishman, is a stranger, and Noemí knows little about the region.

Noemí is also an unlikely rescuer: She’s a glamorous debutante, and her chic gowns and perfect red lipstick are more suited for cocktail parties than amateur sleuthing. But she’s also tough, smart, and has an indomitable will, and she is not afraid: Not of her cousin’s new husband, who is both menacing and alluring; not of his father, the ancient patriarch who seems to be fascinated by Noemí; and not even of the house itself, which begins to invade Noemi’s dreams with visions of blood and doom.

Her only ally in this inhospitable abode is the family’s youngest son. Shy and gentle, he seems to want to help Noemí, but might also be hiding dark knowledge of his family’s past. For there are many secrets behind the walls of High Place. The family’s once colossal wealth and faded mining empire kept them from prying eyes, but as Noemí digs deeper she unearths stories of violence and madness.

And Noemí, mesmerized by the terrifying yet seductive world of High Place, may soon find it impossible to ever leave this enigmatic house behind.”(Goodreads)

This cover is one of my favorites of the year. The blurb had me very curious and I was lucky enough to get my wish granted on NetGalley.

It’s hard to figure out what to expect when it comes to a book like this. The plot was nothing I would have ever imagined and the twists were ones I didn’t see coming at all. The author weaved so many different strings to create this intricate plot that had me utterly disturbed but also intrigued the further I got into the story. (The first 50% or so was slow going for me as I had a hard time really connecting with the characters or plot.)

Noemí is strong-willed and even though it’s not always the best trait to have, it really worked in her favor for this. I’m not sure how she coped with any of the things that were going on because I would have been in breakdown mode like her cousin.

The gothic house is filled with many people and all of them, besides Francis, are just strange. The more you get to know certain characters, the more you start loathing them. They each have a part to play and sometimes their part isn’t what it seems.

There is a tad bit of romance but it does not take up much of the plot. I did like the relationship between the two characters and thought that it molded nicely into the rest of the plot.

Overall, this was everything that a gothic novel should be. It may have taken me a bit to get into but the ending was worth the wait.

-Joanna TheGeekishBrunette (1)

The Poison Thread: NetGalley Review

thegeekishbrunette review


Title: The Poison Thread
Author: Laura Purcell
Genre: Historical Fiction/Gothic Horror
Publication Date: June 18th, 2019

eARC provided by publisher through NetGalley. All opinions are my own.


Synopsis: “Dorothea Truelove is young, wealthy, and beautiful. Ruth Butterham is young, poor, and awaiting trial for murder.

When Dorothea’s charitable work brings her to Oakgate Prison, she is delighted by the chance to explore her fascination with phrenology and test her hypothesis that the shape of a person’s skull can cast a light on their darkest crimes. But when she meets one of the prisoners, the teenaged seamstress Ruth, she is faced with another strange idea: that it is possible to kill with a needle and thread–because Ruth attributes her crimes to a supernatural power inherent in her stitches.

The story Ruth has to tell of her deadly creations–of bitterness and betrayal, of death and dresses–will shake Dorothea’s belief in rationality, and the power of redemption. Can Ruth be trusted? Is she mad, or a murderer? The Poison Thread is a spine-tingling, sinister read about the evil that lurks behind the facade of innocence.” (Goodreads)


My Review:

I had such high hopes for this book ever since I laid eyes on the cover and read the synopsis. Let me tell you, it did not disappoint! If I hadn’t been so busy with what life requires of me I would have read this in one sitting.

Dorothea is an interesting character because she loves studying phrenology and goes to a prison to interview female murderers. I enjoyed her character because she goes against the grain when it comes to societal behavior for women of that era. She thinks for her own and doesn’t listen to her father, especially when he says no talk about her work to suitors.

Ruth’s story was intriguing and disturbing at the same time. Her life was far from easy and at times when you thought it was getting better a dark cloud comes. I wanted to know more and more about her life as I read each page and felt like Dorothea, questioning everything I had read. Ruth felt so innocent and yet mad but who really knows since all murderers seem innocent at times. I am still trying to grasp my thoughts around the ending!

Dorothea and Ruth each have their own chapters which let you dive into their lives and understand their characters on a deeper level. The plot is always thickening and when you think you know the answer, another plot twist comes out of nowhere and leaves you in shock. The minor characters will have you hating some and loving others. They may be considered minor but add to the plot in such a way that they don’t seem minor at all.

The Victorian England setting was great and the details of sicknesses and even phrenology brought more to the story and added a great historical touch.

Overall, I really loved this dark and disturbing book filled with rich characters and a wonderfully crafted plot. It will have you on your seat and trying to find out the truth for yourself!