There are ghosts in the graveyard and there are ghosts of relationships past and for Erin and Silas they are one in the same. Erin keeps coming back to the intervention that didn't happen for Silas in college who seemed to have one foot in the grave until the day when he really died. Falling into the same drug trap Erin takes a pill that lets her see the dead but soon she is seeing dead people everywhere. This frightening story deals with the horrors of ghosts, addiction and the afterlife. A horror story from page one to be read with all the lights on that will have you saying - I SEE DEAD PEOPLE. 3 stars
The second book in the ongoing witchy happenings of Graves Glen. Gwyn owns the town's witchcraft shop and business is going well. Life is good until another one of the founding father's sons comes into town to shake things up at the school and town. Wells Penhallow is someone Gwyn thought she was finished with but now he is back which creates havoc. Erin Sterling is very good at the love/hate romcom relationship that we adore. Add to this the fun witchy back story, a great pinch of wit and the spell is cast for a fun Fall romcom. 3 1/2 stars
We all thought of Baba Yaga as an old witch who lived deep in the snowy forests but this rich imagining of Baba Yaga is of an immortal woman who chooses to help the young Tsarina and is framed for her death. It is about political backstabbing and a vicious Tsar influenced by immortals. This is beautiful world building of a brave strong woman who is passionate about the promises she made and those close to her. She does have a house on chicken legs and a wolf who protects her but her spirit is very far removed from the childhood stories we knew. For fans of THE BEAR AND THE NIGHTINGALE this is a fantasy that pulls you in from the first page.
In a world bound by water infused with monsters of every kind the islanders need the sea and the maristags that come from it but are well aware of the danger. The islanders are separated by the usual class system with the landowners having the power and wealth with the hunters and renters following far behind. Koral and her family are hunters who catch and tame the wild maristags. The family hasn't had an easy time of it and they are desperate for medicine to save Koral's younger sister. Koral decides to take part in a dangerous race which is not meant for her to win. This is a vicious world full of monstrous beasts and even more monstrous humans. The underclass is rising up and she could be branded a traitor but if she survives and wins this race it would be everything.
Great world building , political undercurrents with potential allies along with a wonderful blend of South Asian Mythology and the Celtic water horse mythology makes this a sure bet for fans of fantasy fairy tales with the energy and dangerous politics of HUNGER GAMES. 4 stars
Imagine a time travel device that lets the government send convicted criminals back in time. Now imagine that one of the scientists who created that device is convicted of murdering another scientist and sent back to when dinosaurs ruled the earth. Sam knows he didn't murder his girlfriend but takes the rap to protect his teenage daughter. Adeline isn't about to let her only parent end up as dinosaur kibble so she works with the other scientists to get him back. Will the group figure out how to do that? Will the real killer kill again or will they find a way to travel back in time to rescue the lost?
Fast paced game of time travel, interesting science and staying one step ahead of a unknown killer -a murder mystery that will appeal to fans of Michael Crichton, Blake Crouch and Matt Haig. 4 stars
There once was an island off the coast of South Carolina know for sweet confections marshmallows and tiny blue birds. On this island lived a group of broken people and it would take an energetic young woman trying to connect with her dead mother to help the residents of the Dellawisp condos find their wings. They were all misfits of sorts- good people who life had let down but as soon as Zoey arrived for the summer strangers became neighbors who became friends. The past wouldn't let go of them until they were ready to let go of the past. A ghost story that will warm your heart like the memory of a magical summer vacation. For anyone who needs a lifting story and literary hug and should be paired with cornbread, marshmallows and sweet tea. 4 stars
A dystopian look at a world where men have complete control of women (think HANDMAIDS TALE) because unmarried women and gay men must be witches. Young untethered women must submit to being registered and questioned on a regular basis (think WWII Nazi Germany) to keep them on the straight path. Josephine loses her mother at a young age and she has spent most of her life trying to find her and in a sense find herself. A different kind of coming of age story in a screwed up authoritarian society with an underlying layer of myth and magic.
3 1/2 stars
An alternative history that will shock you and make you think. It is 1953 in a London that is no longer free but is in a shaky alliance with Germany after the Nazis won the war. German is taught in schools, culture is carefully monitored, history is rewritten and the Nazis in power expect Great Britain's citizens to live according to The Protector's Anglo-Saxon vision. Women have no rights and have been slotted into a caste system with those of pure blood and of breeding age at the top. Rose in a higher level has a privileged life and a good job editing/rewriting classic English literature erasing inflammatory material and is mistress to a high ranking German in the Culture Ministry. When she is sent to spy on one of the lowest female ranks, those who are too old to bear children or widowed , she is appalled to see how they are barely eek out an existence in Widowland. She has been sent there to find who is spreading subversive graffiti that will anger the Protector when he comes to London for the coronation of King Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson. The more Rose digs into the women of Widowland the deeper she is pulled into danger and unravels everything she has believed to be the truth. Fascinating dive into what could have been with perfect pacing this proves that the more you push strong women down the harder they push back. WWII buffs as well as those who love a dystopian thriller like THE HANDMAID'S TALE will dive into this and not come up for air until the last page. 4 stars
Rita is surrounded by death and that is not good. Working as a forensic photographer for an understaffed police department keeps her connected piece by piece in hundreds of photos to solve what has happened to the recently dead. Add to that Rita's ability (or curse) to see the ghosts of the recent victims and it is too much. Mentally, emotionally and spiritually drained by a forceful ghost who was murdered along with others, Rita is trying to help them, keep her secret from others and keep her job. At least she has strong protection from her Navajo grandmother and neighbor but it might not be strong enough to prevent her from being in danger. Rita's journey of working through the loss of her mom, family ties, her Navajo roots and solving the murders through photos is interesting and helps the book straddle horror ,murder mystery, police procedural genres as well as indigenous fiction seamlessly. Fans of Stephen Graham Jones ONLY GOOD INDIANS and WIND RIVER will love this. 4 stars
A beautiful blending of the power of nature and earth magic. Iris and her mom run a wild animal shelter in the Pacific Northwest. Her love of the animals and the forest around them is partially due to the fact that she and her mom are witches and their magic helps them calm and heal the animals in their care. They must keep this secret from everyone. Pike is an intern who Iris is attracted to though she denies it and repelled by his ego and irritating charm but mostly his hatred of witches. The escape of an important owl from the center means that Iris and Pike must head into the deep forest to retrieve the owl but Iris can't share know how important it is that they bring the owl back. There is much adventure on the trip and they figure out that they are better together than at each other's throats. A bit of fantasy, a bit of a harrowing adventure and a spark of romance make this a novel that will appeal to teens and adults alike especially those of us looking to lose yourself in the beauty of the Pacific Northwest. 4 stars
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