Arc Review: Wake the Bones by Elizabeth Kilcoyne

Title: Wake the Bones
Author: Elizabeth Kilcoyne
Genre: YA Horror / Paranormal
Publication Date: July 12th, 2022
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Rating: ⭐⭐

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

“The sleepy little farm that Laurel Early grew up on has awakened. The woods are shifting, the soil is dead under her hands, and her bone pile just stood up and walked away.

After dropping out of college, all she wanted was to resume her life as a tobacco hand and taxidermist and try not to think about the boy she can’t help but love. Instead, a devil from her past has returned to court her, as he did her late mother years earlier. Now, Laurel must unravel her mother’s terrifying legacy and tap into her own innate magic before her future and the fate of everyone she loves is doomed.” (Goodreads)

I’m not even really sure where to begin with this one. I sat down to write this review, but I am just having a hard time putting it into words. So hopefully it will make sense to you, haha. It’s just a very weird book and was different than what I was expecting. This usually isn’t a bad thing but it left a lot to desire when it came to development.

The book is told from multiple perspectives told in third person. Usually I would be on board with this but I didn’t feel like all of them were necessary. It also was a tad confusing at first because I wasn’t expecting their to be more than one point-of-view. The reason I feel that it was unnecessary at times was due to the fact that it makes it hard to have character development when the book is already short and the reader is going back in forth between point-of-views. This could also be due to there being two different plot points that really didn’t mesh together or give the main one, the horror aspect, any extra details. A couple of the characters did realize what they wanted out of life but again, it wasn’t the main point of the story and it gets lost in the rest of the action.

As I previously mentioned, the plot felt like two separate stories. There was the romance between two characters and then the horror/haunting part that involved the character we met first, Laurel. It was intriguing at the beginning and I thought her hobbies of taxidermy and collecting bones was odd but again, intriguing. The thing is there isn’t enough development and I am left with more questions than answers. I’m still so very confused and feel like I learned nothing. It was just very disappointing.

I will leave the Content Warning from the author here and will say that it can be on gory side: mental and physical abuse, violence, suicide, guns, postpartum depression, drug usage, animal death, and blood.

Overall, this was okay. I honestly feel like I would have loved it more if it felt more cohesive as well as having more answers to the horror part of the story.

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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: Small Favors by Erin A. Craig

Title: Small Favors
Author: Erin A. Craig
Genre: YA Historical Fiction / Horror / Magical Realism
Publication Date: July 27th, 2021
Publisher: Delacorte Press

Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for an earc to read in exchange for a review!

“Ellerie Downing lives in the quiet town of Amity Falls in the Blackspire Mountain range–five narrow peaks stretching into the sky like a grasping hand, bordered by a nearly impenetrable forest from which the early townsfolk fought off the devils in the woods. To this day, visitors are few and rare. But when a supply party goes missing, some worry that the monsters that once stalked the region have returned.

As fall turns to winter, more strange activities plague the town. They point to a tribe of devilish and mystical creatures who promise to fulfill the residents’ deepest desires, however grand and impossible, for just a small favor. But their true intentions are much more sinister, and Ellerie finds herself in a race against time before all of Amity Falls, her family, and the boy she loves go up in flames.” (Goodreads)

This was a very interesting book! The blurb gives a few subtle hints as to what lurks in the pages but honestly, there were many surprises and it was darker than I had ever expected.

Ellerie Downing lives in a smaller town named Amity Falls. Visitors are few and far between. There are founding families and three make up the council for this town while also holding votes for certain circumstances. All of this makes for an interesting dynamic when it came to the setting and plot.

When a supply run caravan never comes back besides a horse with enormous gashes, things take a dark turn that left me with many questions, speculations, and being afraid to sleep at night, haha.

If it wasn’t for being tired and not wanting stay up past 11pm, I would have finished this in one sitting. Although it was a bit of a slow start and has parts that make it a tad bit slower, once it ramps up it really ramps up! The pacing does even out the farther you get into the book as it is split into seasons to help the readers understand the circumstances and give a bit of a backstory before crazier events take place.

There is a lot I can say about Ellerie. She is loyal to her family and wants what is best for her sisters. She has a twin brother who is debatable at times and her opinions of him do change over time. I do think even though he makes questionable choices, she wants to see him thrive. I also like that she manages bees with her father and enjoyed the moments we read about them. I honestly wasn’t sure how the bees would play into the overall theme of the story but it does make sense by the end.

My one complaint about Ellerie would be how trusting she is of newcomers. I understand the pull to them as you don’t get many visitors but trust should not be freely given. This one issue did make for the romance to be very instant and that wasn’t for me. I did like the love interests character and they do have fun banter but it just wasn’t believable enough for me.

When it comes to the plot, I can’t say too much because it’s better to go in not knowing much about it. It can be quite dark at times but I did like the use of human nature and the things we hide deep in our hearts. It shows that the world can be a cruel place. There is also magical realism tied into it and it added that extra spice!

The ending was the only other issue I had with the book. It is quite open-ended and I am left with questions that have no answers. These types of endings are hard for me to like because I just want everything to feel complete by the end.

Overall, this was a book I really enjoyed and lived up to my expectations from this author. As always, her writing is incredible and I can’t wait to see what else she writes.

Arc Review: House of Hollow by Krystal Sutherland

Title: House of Hollow
Author: Krystal Sutherland
Genre: YA Fantasy / Magical Realism / Contemporary / Horror
Publication Date: April 6th, 2021
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Rating: 2 stars

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





“Seventeen-year-old Iris Hollow has always been strange. Something happened to her and her two older sisters when they were children, something they can’t quite remember but that left each of them with an identical half-moon scar at the base of their throats.

Iris has spent most of her teenage years trying to avoid the weirdness that sticks to her like tar. But when her eldest sister, Grey, goes missing under suspicious circumstances, Iris learns just how weird her life can get: horned men start shadowing her, a corpse falls out of her sister’s ceiling, and ugly, impossible memories start to twist their way to the forefront of her mind.

As Iris retraces Grey’s last known footsteps and follows the increasingly bizarre trail of breadcrumbs she left behind, it becomes apparent that the only way to save her sister is to decipher the mystery of what happened to them as children.

The closer Iris gets to the truth, the closer she comes to understanding that the answer is dark and dangerous – and that Grey has been keeping a terrible secret from her for years.” (Goodreads)

I was intrigued by the cover of this book from the moment I saw it. It is similar to a couple others I have seen but it is still so striking! I am not one for horror but since it is mixed with fantasy I was ready to give it a try.

There was a lot of mystery that surrounded these sisters but at times it wasn’t enough to keep me reading as the same information would keep being repeated and it took awhile for anything new to come up about it. There was talk about their disappearance but nothing to go off of because they couldn’t remember anything. It isn’t until close to the end that everything is revealed but the pay off just didn’t seem worth it.

I also think that the change in timelines was quite odd as it would be Iris narrating but then information about her father or him voicing his opinions about the girls would pop up and it just felt awkward. I would have liked split chapters for this.

The three sisters, Grey, Vivi, and Iris, were very different from one another. There is also a lot of talk about sexual assault/rape culture and how they deal with it differently but also try to protect one another, especially Grey to Iris. I can’t say that the bonds between the girls were very strong. They may interact with one another but it just didn’t feel like a true sibling bond to me.

There are definitely horror aspects to this book. I wouldn’t say I was scared just more weirded/grossed out by it than anything. It also does have some mystery and plot twists but they just didn’t shock or wow me in the slightest.

I will say that the ending was pretty disappointing and I didn’t care for it. I didn’t agree with how certain characters chose to deal with the situation. They just let everything slide. It also had an open-ended epilogue and I’m just not one for open-ended.

Overall, it was okay but I don’t think I am the right reader for it.

E-Arc Review: What Big Teeth by Rose Szabo

Title: What Big Teeth
Author: Rose Szabo
Genre: YA Fantasy / Horror
Publication Date: February 2nd, 2021
Publisher: FSG
Rating: ⭐⭐

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for a earc to read in exchange for a review!




MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN MEETS THE ADDAMS FAMILY IN THIS HAUNTING STORY OF ONE GIRL’S ATTEMPT TO RECONNECT WITH HER MONSTROUS FAMILY.

Eleanor has not seen or spoken with her family in years, not since they sent her away to Saint Brigid’s boarding school. She knows them only as vague memories: her grandfather’s tremendous fanged snout, the barrel full of water her mother always soaked in, and strange hunting trips in a dark wood with her sister and cousins. And she remembers the way they looked at her, like she was the freak.

When Eleanor finally finds the courage to confront her family and return to their ancestral home on the rainy coast of Maine, she finds them already gathered in wait, seemingly ready to welcome her back with open arms. “I read this in the cards,” her grandmother tells her. However, Grandma Persephone doesn’t see all, for just as Eleanor is beginning to readjust to the life she always longed for, a strange and sudden death rocks the family, leaving Eleanor to manage this difficult new dynamic without help.

In order to keep the family that abandoned her from falling apart, Eleanor calls upon her mysterious other grandmother, Grandmere, from across the sea. Grandmere brings order to the chaotic household, but that order soon turns to tyranny. If any of them are to survive, Eleanor must embrace her strange family and join forces with the ghost of Grandma Persephone to confront the monstrousness lurking deep within her Grandmere-and herself.” (Goodreads)

This is most likely the weirdest book I have read this year and I’m not even sure how to feel about most of this.

When it comes to uniqueness, I have to give it all the points. When it comes to everything else, it’s kind of a mixed bag.

It wasn’t hard to get into the book from the beginning. It’s always nice to see a strong first chapter that sets up the story a bit and pulls you in. In a way, it was also terrifying. The book is about Eleanor and her not-so-normal family and there are a lot of secrets surrounding them. There is a lot of mystery and that’s really the one thing that kept me going with this book. The first 50% of the book is interesting and throws out clues here and there but as I continued on, it was easy to lose interest because more secrets are coming out but nothing ever gets resolved until the very end which also makes the ending feel full and rushed.

I can’t say that I ever connected with the characters either. They are interesting because they are mysterious but they lacked a lot of character development with Eleanor having the most.

The book does have relationships/romance but it’s not your typical relationships. If you don’t like love triangles, I’m not sure if you would like it. I wouldn’t say it’s your typical love triangle though. These relationships were also pretty underdeveloped and I couldn’t get into them. There is a big reveal to it all but it still left me feeling nothing. 🤷‍♀️

Overall, it was okay. My feelings are kind of mixed about this one. I’m going to go with maybe it’s just me and others will enjoy this book. It does have a lot of unique things about it and I can see it doing well with the right reader.

The Bone Houses: Book Review

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36524503._SY475_Title: The Bone Houses
Author: Emily Lloyd-Jones
Genre: YA Fantasy/Historical Fiction/Horror
Publication Date: September 24th, 2019

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Synopsis: “eventeen-year-old Aderyn (“Ryn”) only cares about two things: her family, and her family’s graveyard. And right now, both are in dire straits. Since the death of their parents, Ryn and her siblings have been scraping together a meager existence as gravediggers in the remote village of Colbren, which sits at the foot of a harsh and deadly mountain range that was once home to the fae. The problem with being a gravedigger in Colbren, though, is that the dead don’t always stay dead.

The risen corpses are known as “bone houses,” and legend says that they’re the result of a decades-old curse. When Ellis, an apprentice mapmaker with a mysterious past, arrives in town, the bone houses attack with new ferocity. What is it that draws them near? And more importantly, how can they be stopped for good?

Together, Ellis and Ryn embark on a journey that will take them deep into the heart of the mountains, where they will have to face both the curse and the long-hidden truths about themselves.” (Goodreads)

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My Review:

Here’s the thing, calling an undead being a Bone House is a lot nicer than zombie but it is still a zombie! Also, I am terrified of them and they have been haunting my dreams for 21 years! Seriously, it dates back to Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island, ha.

Anyways, enough of my boring background. As a certified chicken, I would say that this book had its creepy parts but overall it wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be. That’s probably for the best so I wouldn’t have nightmares.

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But, let’s talk about the characters! Ryn is not afraid of death and carries an axe with her to deal with the ones that rise. Just like her father, she becomes the next gravedigger for their town after he goes missing. Ryn and her siblings have suffered a lot of loss and even then the local Lord is also a dillweed to them. She is always trying to protect them and will do everything to make sure they have what they need to live.

Quickly into the book we are introduced to Ellis. There isn’t much that is known about his background and as the plot progresses, so does his background. He is very witty and I enjoyed the humor he produced during the worst times, ha.

Although you would think Ellis would be considered the comedic relief, a goat steals the whole show! The goat is funny, loyal, and her horns pack a punch! No fear for the undead can be found when it comes to her. I always enjoy a good animal companion and this one did not disappoint.

As for the plot, it was fast paced, interesting, and left me wanting more from the characters. I will say that the plot twists were easy to spot out after learning a bit about the curse. I also thought the ending was a tad anti-climatic.

It took until the last book of the page to make me sad. I wasn’t expecting the last couple of sentences to be so impactful but I think it’s what I needed to hear since I am dealing with my own grief.

“And perhaps this was the truth about the dead.
You went on.
They’d want you to.”

Overall, I enjoyed it and I am glad I have the Owlcrate copy because it’s definitely one I would read again.