The final reviews for the month of November (with the exception of a few HarperCollins titles – holding onto those in solidarity with the strike currently happening there)
Thanks to the mentioned publishers for any gifted copies in exchange for my honest reviews
Mini Reviews – November 2022 Part Three:
LUTE – Jennifer Marie Thorne (Released October 4th, 2022 – Thanks to Tor Nightfire for the gifted copy)
Wicker Man meets Final Destination in Jennifer Thorne’s atmospheric, unsettling folk horror novel about love, duty, and community.
On the idyllic island of Lute, every seventh summer, seven people die. No more, no less.
Lute and its inhabitants are blessed, year after year, with good weather, good health, and good fortune. They live a happy, superior life, untouched by the war that rages all around them. So it’s only fair that every seven years, on the day of the tithe, the island’s gift is honored.
Nina Treadway is new to The Day. A Florida girl by birth, she became a Lady through her marriage to Lord Treadway, whose family has long protected the island. Nina’s heard about The Day, of course. Heard about the horrific tragedies, the lives lost, but she doesn’t believe in it. It’s all superstitious nonsense. Stories told to keep newcomers at bay and youngsters in line.
Then The Day begins. And it’s a day of nightmares, of grief, of reckoning. But it is also a day of community. Of survival and strength. Of love, at its most pure and untamed. When The Day ends, Nina―and Lute―will never be the same.
Mini Review – 5/5 stars – I was so skeptical when seeing the comparisons to Wicker Man/Midsommar and Final Destination. I mean, those have such specific overall feels to them and I thought it would be so hard to duplicate or capture. Well, I was pleasantly surprised and loved this! The author did an incredible job encapsulating that same atmosphere of Midsommar and the building suspense and tension with Final Destination. I will forever love folk horror and highly recommend this book if you wanna stay in the spooky season vibes.
THE HAUNTING OF MADDY CLARE – Simone St. James (Released October 4th, 2022 – Thanks to Berkley Publishing for the gifted copy)
A woman of limited means and even less experience must confront a vengeful spirit in this haunting novel from the New York Times bestselling author of The Broken Girls and The Sun Down Motel.
1920s England. Sarah Piper’s lonely, threadbare existence changes when her temporary agency sends her to assist an obsessed ghost hunter. Alistair Gellis–rich, handsome, and scarred by World War I–has been summoned to investigate the spirit of the nineteen-year-old maid Maddy Clare, who is said to haunt the barn where she committed suicide.
Maddy hated men in life, and she will not speak to them in death. But Sarah is unprepared to confront an angry ghost–real or imagined–on her own. She’s even less prepared for the arrival of Alistair’s associate, rough, unsettling Matthew Ryder, also a veteran of the trenches, whose scars go deeper than Sarah can reach.
Soon, Sarah is caught up in a desperate struggle. For Maddy’s ghost is no hoax–she’s real, she’s angry, and she has powers that defy all reason. Now, Sarah and Matthew must discover who Maddy was, where she came from, and what is driving her desire for vengeance–before she destroys them all….
Mini Review – 5/5 stars – This would have been perfect for spooky season last month, but let’s be honest, I’m just a fan of spooky all year. If you want a solid and creepy ghost story, then look no further. One thing you can always count on in a St. James book is the all-consuming atmosphere of the story. Just sucks you in and doesn’t let you leave. Plus, I love St. James’s books. Need more convincing? Abby of crimebythebook (on Instagram) also gave this 5 stars!
THE PRISONER – B.A. Paris (Released November 1st, 2022 – Thanks to St. Martin’s Press for the gifted copy)
Amelie has always been a survivor, from losing her parents as a child in Paris to making it on her own in London. As she builds a life for herself, she is swept up into a glamorous lifestyle where she married the handsome billionaire Ned Hawthorne.
But then, Amelie wakes up in a pitch-black room, not knowing where she is. Why has she been taken? Who are her mysterious captors? And why does she soon feel safer here, imprisoned, than she had begun to feel with her husband Ned?
With Behind Closed Doors, B.A. Paris takes the psychological thriller to shocking new heights. Now she’ll hold you captive with this stunning new thriller about one woman wed into a family with deadly intentions.
Mini Review – 3/5 stars – This is probably my least favorite of the books I’ve read by BA Paris, and at 3 stars that’s not bad! I think I keep hoping for another Behind Closed Doors and this was more suspense than crazy thriller. I liked the premise and the beginning hooked me but I found I was losing interest as the book continued. I’m unsure on the ending and how I feel about it, lots of over explaining it felt like. Overall, I’ll continue to read her books but this just wasn’t my favorite.