Mini Reviews – July 2022

Well, it’s the first of August and I’m behind on getting my reviews finished up for July and getting my wrap up posted. Don’t worry, as long as it’s all there within the first week of the new month I usually feel pretty good about it.

Thanks to the mentioned publishers for the gifted copies in exchange for my honest reviews

THE BOOK OF GOTHEL – Mary McMyne (Released July 26th, 2022 – Thanks to Redhook Books for the gifted copy)

Book Description:

Everyone knows the tale of Rapunzel in her tower, but do you know the story of the witch who put her there?

Haelewise has always lived under the shadow of her mother, Hedda—a woman who will do anything to keep her daughter protected. For with her strange black eyes and even stranger fainting spells, Haelewise is shunned by her medieval village, and her only solace lies in the stories her mother tells of child-stealing witches, of princes in wolf-skins, of an ancient tower cloaked in mist, where women will find shelter if they are brave enough to seek it.

Then, Hedda dies, and Haelewise is left unmoored. With nothing left for her in her village, she sets out to find the legendary tower her mother used to speak of—a place called Gothel, where Haelewise meets a wise woman willing to take her under her wing.

But Haelewise is not the only woman to seek refuge at Gothel. It’s also a haven for a girl named Rika, who carries with her a secret the Church strives to keep hidden. A secret that unlocks a dark world of ancient spells and murderous nobles behind the world Haelewise has always known…

My Thoughts: 3.5/5 stars – A villain origin story is usually my favorite kind of retelling. I feel like getting a lot of stories that begin to humanize the villains we grew up hating or fearing is something that can be hit or miss. I feel like villains should just remain evil in some instances. This was a story I was incredibly absorbed in and enjoyed the parts with lore and witchcraft. Overall, I did like this and will look for more from McMyne.

HOOKED – A.C. Wise (Released July 12th, 2022 – Thanks to Titan Books for the gifted copy)

Book Description:

A gorgeous literary feminist take on what happened to Wendy and Captain Hook after Neverland from the bestselling author of Wendy, Darling, perfect for fans of Christina Henry and V.E. Schwab.

Exploring themes of grief, survivor’s guilt and healing broken bonds, Hooked is a modern-day Peter Pan story, perfect for fans of retellings, Christina Henry and V.E. Schwab.

Once invited, always welcome.
Once invited, never free.

Captain James Hook, the immortal pirate of Neverland, has died a thousand times. Drowned, stabbed by Peter Pan’s sword, eaten by the beast swimming below the depths, yet James was resurrected every time by one boy’s dark imagination. Until he found a door in the sky, an escape. And he took the chance no matter the cost.

Now in London twenty-two years later, Peter Pan’s monster has found Captain Hook again, intent on revenge. But a chance encounter leads James to another survivor of Neverland. Wendy Darling, now a grown woman, is the only one who knows how dark a shadow Neverland casts, no matter how far you run. To vanquish Pan’s monster once and for all, Hook must play the villain one last time…

My Thoughts: 3.5/5 stars – This was not what I was expecting it to be. Not nearly as action packed as a lot of other Peter Pan retellings and it took me a little bit to get into. This was beautifully written and the ending was definitely worth it.

OLD COUNTRY – Matt Query & Harrison Query (Released July 26th, 2022 – Thanks to Grand Central Publishing and Novel Suspects for the gifted copy)

Book Description:

Based on the Reddit sensation, a horror thriller about a former Marine and his wife who buy a perfectly secluded ranch, only to discover it’s haunted by a malevolent spirit.

Looking to lead a more peaceful life, former Marine Harry and his wife, Sasha, move to rural Idaho and buy an idyllic, remote ranch. Their nearest neighbors, Dan and Lucy Steiner, live over a mile away.

But Dan and Lucy warn Harry and Sasha of a malevolent spirit that lives in the valley. Every season, the spirit haunts residents of that part of the Teton Valley in different and diabolical ways. Harry and Sasha are convinced isolation has driven their neighbors mad. That is, until the first of the manifestations appears, challenging everything Harry and Sasha thought they knew about the world we live in.

As each season passes, the spirit grows stronger, and each encounter with it becomes more dangerous. Harry and Sasha must figure out how to make peace with the spirit…or be killed by it. Haunting and bone‑chilling, Old Country is a spellbinding debut in the horror genre.

My Thoughts: 4/5 stars – Again, why do I do this to myself? Horror/thrillers set in the middle of nowhere or the woods – always super fun to read until it’s time to be outside with the dogs at night. This was a lot creepier than I thought it was going to be! Definitely a pleasant surprise and the writing kept me gripped from start to finish. A couple nitpicky things that didn’t entirely work for me – some parts could have been shortened or just weren’t necessary for the story to advance. Otherwise I really liked this debut overall and how things were divided up into the seasons.

THE IT GIRL – Ruth Ware (Released July 12th, 2022 – Thanks to Scout Press for the gifted copy)

Book Description:

April Coutts-Cliveden was the first person Hannah Jones met at Oxford.

Vivacious, bright, occasionally vicious, and the ultimate It girl, she quickly pulled Hannah into her dazzling orbit. Together, they developed a group of devoted and inseparable friends—Will, Hugh, Ryan, and Emily—during their first term. By the end of the second, April was dead.

Now, a decade later, Hannah and Will are expecting their first child, and the man convicted of killing April, former Oxford porter John Neville, has died in prison. Relieved to have finally put the past behind her, Hannah’s world is rocked when a young journalist comes knocking and presents new evidence that Neville may have been innocent. As Hannah reconnects with old friends and delves deeper into the mystery of April’s death, she realizes that the friends she thought she knew all have something to hide…including a murder.

My Thoughts: 4/5 stars – Ok, am I the only one that would see the title and think I.T. Girl and not “it” girl at first 😂 like, I knew it wasn’t that but every single time my brain would read it that way. This cover is beautiful and it was such a fun read and Ware always manages to keep me on my toes. I loved the timelines and the pacing – this was a little bit longer compared to most thrillers lately but I never felt a lull or a slowdown in the pacing.

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