Disclaimer: I received an eARC copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
I’ve participated in Becca’s Bookopolathon for multiple rounds and enjoyed it every time! Here is how I did in this round:
The Hidden by Melanie Golding: A Thriller With Folklore Awesomeness
Published October 9, 2021 by Crooked Lane Books
Data from Goodreads
One dark December night, in a small seaside town, a little girl is found abandoned. When her mother finally arrives, authorities release the pair, believing it to be an innocent case of a toddler running off.
Gregor, a seemingly single man, is found bludgeoned and left for dead in his apartment, but the discovery of children’s toys raises more questions than answers.
Every night, Ruby gazes into Gregor’s apartment, leading to the discovery of his secret family: his unusually silent daughter and his mentally unstable wife, Constance, who insists that she is descended from the mythological Selkies. She begs Ruby to aid in finding the sealskin that Gregor has hidden from her, making it impossible to return to her people.
DS Joanna Harper’s investigation into Gregor’s assault leads her to CCTV footage of the mother-daughter pair from town. Harper realizes she knows the woman almost as well as she knows herself: it’s her estranged daughter, Ruby. No matter the depth of Ruby’s involvement, she knows she will choose her daughter over her career.
TW: domestic abuse
If you’ve seen my review on Little Darlings, you will know I absolutely love seeing the definitions of motherhood be questioned. This novel does the same thing and continues with the creepy folklore/magical realism vibes that I enjoyed in Little Darlings; this time, we have selkies! Both stories have the same inspector but they are both standalones. I was reading this book with bated breath, filled with anxiety over the situation between Ruby and Constance. Again, the police procedural elements were not the strongest, and I wasn’t as drawn to Joanna’s character and storyline. Regardless, I read this in one sitting and enjoyed it immensely. I can’t wait to read more by this author!
For the Wolf by Hannah F. Whitten: It’s A No For Me
For the Wolf
Published June 1st 2021by Orbit Books
Data from Goodreads
As the only Second Daughter born in centuries, Red has one purpose-to be sacrificed to the Wolf in the Wood in the hope he’ll return the world’s captured gods.
Red is almost relieved to go. Plagued by a dangerous power she can’t control, at least she knows that in the Wilderwood, she can’t hurt those she loves. Again.
But the legends lie. The Wolf is a man, not a monster. Her magic is a calling, not a curse. And if she doesn’t learn how to use it, the monsters the gods have become will swallow the Wilderwood-and her world-whole.
TW: self-harm, anxiety/panic attacks, emotional abuse
No one is more disappointed than me over this book. It was my most highly-anticipated read, and it is literally right up my alley. But no… it sadly, let me down on all counts. Firstly, Red has to be one of the most annoying MCs and reading from her perspective made me irrationally frustrated. If I’m honest, the only character I really liked was Neve; she was the only non-bland, well-developed character out of the bunch. The entire time I was reading this book, I was in a state of perpetual confusion. The world-building is just non-existent in this book. Maybe the author wanted to introduce the concept slowly but there are so many unanswered questions and plot holes for the reader to navigate. Also, the insta-love in this book drove me insane; (Click to reveal spoiler) more than half of this book is just Red suddenly having loads of empathy for Eammon and that means she loves him apparently. I don’t know what more to say, but this book left me extremely disappointed and I’m not sure if I will ever recover. Sadly, it gets 1 star from me.
Size Zero by Abigail Mangin: Not A Fave
Published July 12th 2020by Visage Media LLC
Data from Goodreads
Condom dresses and space helmets have debuted on fashion runways. A dead body becomes the trend when a coat made of human skin saunters down fashion’s biggest stage. The body is identified as Annabelle Leigh, the teenager who famously disappeared over a decade ago from her boyfriend’s New York City mansion.
This new evidence casts suspicion back on the former boyfriend, Cecil LeClaire. Now a monk, he is forced to return to his dark and absurd childhood home to clear his name. He teams up with Ava Germaine, a renegade ex-model. And together, they investigate the depraved and lawless modeling industry behind Cecil’s family fortune.
They find erotic canes, pet rats living in crystal castles, and dresses made of crushed butterfly wings. But Cecil finds more truth in the luxury goods than in the people themselves. Everyone he meets seems to be wearing a person-suit. Terrified of showing their true selves, the glitterati put on flamboyant public personas to make money and friends. Can Cecil find truth in a world built on lies?
In high fashion modeling, selling bodies is organized crime.
I wanted to read this book because of the out-of-the-box premise. Unfortunately, the execution let this book down. Everything was too dramatic and unrealistic for me. The characters were unbelievable, the plot is downright bizarre, and I just couldn’t make sense of it all. Perhaps the entire book was meant to be satirical and over-the-top but it just wasn’t a good fit for me. There are quite a few people who enjoyed this book so maybe I’m just one of the odd few who didn’t. Either way, I’m going to have to give it 2/5 stars.
Piercing by Ryu Murakami: Creepiness Overload!
You can find my review on Piercing by Ryu Murakami here
The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin: Absolutely Amazing Sci-Fi
The Fifth Season
Published August 4th 2015by Orbit Books
Series: The Broken Earth
Data from Goodreads
This is the way the world ends. Again.
Three terrible things happen in a single day. Essun, a woman living an ordinary life in a small town, comes home to find that her husband has brutally murdered their son and kidnapped their daughter. Meanwhile, mighty Sanze — the world-spanning empire whose innovations have been civilization’s bedrock for a thousand years — collapses as most of its citizens are murdered to serve a madman’s vengeance. And worst of all, across the heart of the vast continent known as the Stillness, a great red rift has been torn into the heart of the earth, spewing ash enough to darken the sky for years. Or centuries.
Now Essun must pursue the wreckage of her family through a deadly, dying land. Without sunlight, clean water, or arable land, and with limited stockpiles of supplies, there will be war all across the Stillness: a battle royale of nations not for power or territory, but simply for the basic resources necessary to get through the long dark night. Essun does not care if the world falls apart around her. She’ll break it herself, if she must, to save her daughter.
Rep: LGBTQ+, diverse cast of characters
Initially, when I started reading this novel, I found it a bit challenging. There are a lot of concepts thrown at the reader and the author expects you to keep up. Thankfully, there is a very helpful glossary to get you started. But soon enough, I abandoned the glossary and was fully engrossed in the story. This was such an immersive and enthralling read and I just could not get enough. The worldbuilding is flawless, the characters are beautifully created, and the plot is mindblowingly good. There is amazing diversity and everything is connected. It is sheer brilliance and I cannot say more without ruining the story. Just… you’re missing out if you don’t read this book.
Lore by Alexandra Bracken: Surprisingly Enjoyable
Published January 5th 2021by Disney-Hyperion
Data from Goodreads
Every seven years, the Agon begins. As punishment for a past rebellion, nine Greek gods are forced to walk the earth as mortals, hunted by the descendants of ancient bloodlines, all eager to kill a god and seize their divine power and immortality.
Long ago, Lore Perseous fled that brutal world in the wake of her family’s sadistic murder by a rival line, turning her back on the hunt’s promises of eternal glory. For years she’s pushed away any thought of revenge against the man–now a god–responsible for their deaths.
Yet as the next hunt dawns over New York City, two participants seek out her help: Castor, a childhood friend of Lore believed long dead, and a gravely wounded Athena, among the last of the original gods.
The goddess offers an alliance against their mutual enemy and, at last, a way for Lore to leave the Agon behind forever. But Lore’s decision to bind her fate to Athena’s and rejoin the hunt will come at a deadly cost–and still may not be enough to stop the rise of a new god with the power to bring humanity to its knees.
Initially, I struggled to get into this book because of my lack of knowledge of Greek mythology. However, once I started making connections, I could really enjoy the story. This is a fast-paced, action-packed novel set in modern New York City. I was hooked to the plot and really connected with the characters in the story. I liked that the author jumped between time points to fill in gaps, and there were plenty of plot twists to keep me interested. The only thing I didn’t like was the main romance in the story; even though I knew it was going to happen, it just didn’t pull me in. Other than that, this was a really enjoyable read and I would recommend it to anyone who likes action-packed Greek mythology novels!
Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill: A Different Horror Story
Published February 13th 2007by William Morrow
Data from Goodreads
Aging, self-absorbed rock star Judas Coyne has a thing for the macabre — his collection includes sketches from infamous serial killer John Wayne Gacy, a trepanned skull from the 16th century, a used hangman’s noose, Aleister Crowley’s childhood chessboard, etc. — so when his assistant tells him about a ghost for sale on an online auction site, he immediately puts in a bid and purchases it.
The black, heart-shaped box that Coyne receives in the mail not only contains the suit of a dead man but also his vengeance-obsessed spirit. The ghost, it turns out, is the stepfather of a young groupie who committed suicide after the 54-year-old Coyne callously used her up and threw her away. Now, determined to kill Coyne and anyone who aids him, the merciless ghost of Craddock McDermott begins his assault on the rocker’s sanity.
TW: child abuse, child molestation
This is the third book I’ve read by Joe Hill and I went in with high expectations. I thought the concept behind this book was very quirky and I enjoyed reading from the perspective of the protagonist. I will say that this novel is not creepy for the usual reasons you would expect in a horror story, but I still really enjoyed this book. Obviously, I don’t want to say too much without ruining the book, but it was a good creepy read for me. Was this my favourite book by Joe Hill? No. I definitely enjoyed NOS4A2 more. But Heart-Shaped Box did its job of giving me chills and keeping me engrossed, so I’m giving it a solid 3 stars.
So there you have it, folks! I read 7 books in total for Becca’s Bookopolathon and had a lot of fun doing it!
I would love to know if you’ve read any of the books I did, or if you participated in any readathons in September – so let me know in the comments!