How to Hang A Witch by Adriana Mather

I’ve always been fascinated by the Salem Witch trials. It was a time when paranoia and hallucinations ran rampant, leading to the death of many innocent women. I remember reading quite a few nonfiction novels to try to understand how this mass hysteria came to be. I haven’t had a chance to read a fictional book about this topic, and thought this would be a good novel to start with. Here is my review:

Salem, Massachusetts is the site of the infamous witch trials. It is also Samantha Mather’s new home. When Sam and her stepmother move to Salem from New York City, they don’t exactly get a warm welcome. Sam is a descendant of Cotton Mather, one of the men responsible for the Salem Witch trials. This automatically makes San the enemy of a group of girls who are descended from the witches that were hung by Cotton. If struggling to deal with these bullies wasn’t enough, Sam also finds herself face to face with a real ghost, one who wants Sam to leave the house she lives in. But soon, Sam discovers that she is at the center of a centuries old curse. Sam must now get help from the ghost and find a way to work with her enemies in order to stop the deadly cycle of the curse. If any town should have learned its lesson, it’s Salem. But history may be about to repeat itself.

I went in knowing that this was a YA fiction novel. I think having this understanding is what allowed me to enjoy this story. I knew not to expect too much depth or intricate plot lines; I assumed it would have similar themes to most teen fiction stories (albeit with witches). This turned out to be true. However, I quite liked this story. Sam is a sarcastic yet shy/vulnerable character who has a hard time trusting people and opening up. This makes sense when you consider the things she has gone through in her childhood. In fact, I wish this was expounded upon more in the story. I liked the way the author brought in the history behind the Salem witch trials; in fact, I wish there had been more of it. I felt as if the author would bring up important facts or mysteries about this time period in history but then either let it drop or resolve it too quickly. I feel like this was an aspect that the author could have spent more time on. I will say that there was a definitive plot for this story and I really liked the way it moved; there was a lot more witchy elements than I had expected, which is always a nice surprise. The Descendants, the name for the group of students who are descended from the accused witches, were pretty much your stereotypical bully/popular girl clique but I expected that from the start. I will admit the writing wasn’t anything to admire and the love triangle was a bit awkward and cringe-y for my taste… but the overall story was interesting. I’m giving this a 3/5 stars, and I would recommend this to teens around the age of 13-15 who like stories about witches.

Happy reading ~


Wytches by Scott Snyder – Wytches Volume 1

I read about this awesome comic in a newsletter where it was recommended for fans of science fiction and fantasy. I’ve recently become more interested in graphic novels and I love anything to do with witches and the supernatural so I was super excited to try this story! Here is my review:

Everything you thought you knew about witches is wrong. They are much darker, and  much more horrifying. When the Rooks family moves to Litchfield, they are hoping for a brand new start. They want to leave the trauma of their past behind and work on getting better together. But there is something evil waiting for them, watching them in the woods just beyond town. It is waiting in the trees. And it is ancient … and it is hungry …

This comic had a very interesting take on wytches. For one thing, they weren’t humans but more monsters that liked to eat people. While some people may not like this, I thought it was a cool take on the stereotypical view of what a wytch is. I also thought that the premise of the story was really cool. There was this whole father-daughter relationship that was beautifully depicted by the author, with this whole nightmarish horror story meshed in. And it worked! Both of these elements worked well together and complemented each other to create a well-developed story. I wish I had gotten to know more about the Rooks family, especially their daughter (since she was pretty much the main character); it felt like the end reveal could have been drawn out better to give a more tense feeling. I will say that this graphic novel wasn’t as creepy as I was expecting. It was still really good but I was expecting a little more horror; maybe if the story was drawn out more and I had had more of an opportunity to connect with the characters, it would have made the horror more heightened. This was a pretty interesting graphic novel and I will probably check out Volume 2! 4/5 stars from me!

Happy reading ~


White is for Witching by Helen Oyeyemi

I’ve heard a lot about this author’s work and I’ve been seeing this book around a lot. Since it’s so close to Halloween, I’ve been in the mood for something dark and gothic. I thought this would be perfect for me… so here is my review:

The Silver family has been struggling to get back onto their feet after a tragic accident. Lily is gone and her twin children, Miranda and Eliot, and her husband, Luc, are deep in mourning. All is not well with the house, either, which creaks and acts malignantly to visitors, forcing winter apples in the garden when the branches should be bare. There are generations of Silver women in its walls, and they won’t leave Miranda alone. And Miranda, with her new appetite for chalk and her keen sense for spirits, is aware of their presence. Slowly, slow,y she is leaving them –

Slipping away from them –

And when one dark night she vanishes entirely, the survivors are left to tell her story.

I was really drawn to the premise of this novel because it had some ghostly elements to it, and that’s kind of my thing. But I found that this novel was a bit hard to read and get through. For one thing, it is told from multiple points of view but the transition between the different voices is not always clear. We read from Miranda’s perspective, from her brother’s perspective, from her friend’s perspective, and even from the house’s perspective. You heard that right … the house talks. While I found this all intriguing, it got confusing very quickly because the transitions were just so abrupt. I really liked reading about pica, which is a disorder where people want to eat things that are “non-nutritive” like chalk, or paper. This was a very unique feature for the author to include and she carried it out well throughout the story. However, I really didn’t like Miranda’s character. There wasn’t much to her and she was just very weak. In fact, there were quite a few times where I wished the author had worked on some of the characters being introduced. I wanted to have a better understanding of who Miranda’s mother was, as her death was like a catalyst for the events that happened. I wished there had been more on the house itself; the author clearly gave it its own voice so it only seems fair that the reader understands more about the character of the house. The list of characters I wish the author had focused on could go on and on …. you get my gist. The story moved quite slowly, which made me bored at times, but I didn’t mind the pacing too much since it allowed for this really nice buildup of tension. However, the ending was a moot point; it felt incomplete and unresolved and it made me wonder why I had spent so much effort reading this novel in the first place. In the end, I just didn’t enjoy reading this novel – even though I really wanted to. I’m giving this a 1/5 stars.

Happy reading ~

What The Hell Did I Just Read by David Wong

I received this novel as an advanced copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This novel has taken me a long time to read. But not because it was bad. I’ve had so many interruptions in my life that I haven’t even been able to think about the word book. But I’ve slowly been chunking my time and getting in a chapter or two …. and it’s finally done! So here is my review:

Dave, John, and Amy have taken it upon themselves to get the story straight and tell a fairly simple tale of a shape-shifting creature from another dimension that has been stealing kids and brainwashing their parents. However, it soon becomes clear that everything being revealed is not the truth. Someone is lying, and that someone is the narrators. The novel itself is a cover-up, and the “true” story reveals itself through the cracks of this funny but depraved story with contradicting and convoluted narratives.

I didn’t know that this novel was part of a series. And it really didn’t matter because I was able to follow along fine without having had read anything before this one. This was one of the most entertaining reads I have ever had the opportunity to read. It was an absolutely perfect mix of horror and comedy, that is both a mess and a genius work at the same time. I loved all of the characters and their unique narratives and perspectives. The story is honestly so wild and bizarre, which at first took me by surprise, but I began to really love that style. Random characters are introduced, random events happen, and since these events are told from multiple perspectives, you never really know if what you are reading is true or false. It makes your head spin but it also keeps you hooked! I am so glad I took my time with this book because it just allowed me to savor it so much longer! I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for something unique, something dark and funny, and something that will drive you insane while also make you crave more! I am definitely going to go back and start the series from the beginning! 5/5 stars from me!

Happy reading ~

Hekla’s Children by James Brogden

I actually began this novel a while back but had to stop because of my workload. The novel stayed in the back of my mind and I’m glad that I finally got the chance to read this book now. So here is my review:

10 years ago, teacher Nathan Brookes was supervising 4 students on a walk … when they all vanished. Only one returned, Olivia, and she was starving, terrified, and unable to recollect where she had been. And Nathan has been haunted by this event ever since. When a body is found in the same ancient woodland where the kids disappeared, it is immediately assumed that it is the body of one of the missing children. However, it is soon identified as a Bronze Age warrior. While others may be able to move on from this archaeological curiosity, Nathan finds himself having horrific visions of his students being trapped. Then Olivia reappears, desperate to put the warrior’s body back into the Earth. For he is the only thing keeping a terrible evil at bay.

This novel was both a hit AND a miss for me. The beginning was intriguing and it really grabbed my attention; that’s why I kept thinking about it even when I stopped reading the novel! The author did a great job setting the scene, and I got really invested in Nathan’s character. I suspected that the author would lean towards the fantasy-horror genre combination, and I was pleased to see that my prediction was true. I liked the introduction of the Bronze Age warrior and really wanted to see where the author was going to go with that. Very quickly, the author switched from having Nathan as a main character, to someone else …. and then it switched again to Nathan … and then went back to someone else. That part was a little baffling because it made me feel like I wasn’t reading a continuous story but rather two different stories happening within the same timeline. It worked in the sense that it added more intrigue to the story but it also failed by making things more confusing and muddled. The story itself grew more complex but it had its flaws. A lot of details were skimmed over and could have used some more buildup, and it lost some of its horror feel near the end. The way certain characters were connected didn’t really work for me, and some of the conclusions that were drawn were a bit too unbelievable for my taste. By the end of the novel, I felt like I had read a really complicated and intriguing novel … but one that lacked a consistent flow. Since there were elements that I still enjoyed about this novel, I’m giving it a 3/5.

Happy reading ~

A God in the Shed by J-F Dubeau

I received this novel as an advanced copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I’m just going to say that I love this novel. A lot. It was an absolutely amazing read and I could not put it down for a second. Here is my review:

The village of Saint-Ferdinand might look like a peaceful place with its farmhouses stretching all the way down one street, its small police precinct, and its quaint coffee shops and diners. But it also has something unusual: a large over-used cemetery, lined with the victims of the Saint-Ferdinand killer, who has eluded the police for nearly 2 decades. When Inspector Stephen Crowley finally manages to capture the killer, it seems as if the nightmare is about to end. However, this is when the REAL nightmare begins.
When a dark spirit reveals itself to Venus McKenzie, one of Saint-Ferdinand’s teenage residents, she learns that this creature’s power has a long history with her town—and that the serial murders merely scratch the surface of a past burdened by evil secrets.

This is by far one of the best horror novels I have ever read. It hit the mark on all counts and kept the suspense, magic, and gore coming throughout the story.

First of all, the story itself is ridiculously good. There is so much depth, so many different elements that come together to give an intricate backstory that makes the reader want more. The author does a great job of keeping you in the dark until the right moment while also delivering a story that you can follow along. Every so often, you get clues that make you question what you previously knew…. and the author also provides the perfect opportunities for you to remember those clues and link the story together. It almost made me feel like a detective, and it was just so much fun to read this book! I loved the gore and the horror and the magical elements incorporated into this story; it was truly dark and I was definitely creeped out! The author had multiple POVs going, but he did such a fantastic job of keeping each one unique and fresh and interesting for the reader! The author also managed to show internal (and external) changes in character personalities and roles, which is not an easy feat by any means! There was so much going on in this novel and yet, it never felt overwhelming. Everything made sense, everything had depth, and everything made me want to flip the page and read on. The writing style was also amazing and easy to follow. I don’t want to keep on praising and praising so just do yourself a favor and give this book a shot, because it will definitely be worth your time!

Happy reading ~

The Only Child by Andrew Pyper

I received this novel as an advanced copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I am a big fan of Andrew Pyper. I have absolutely adored every single book he has written because they truly scare the living pants off of me! I jumped at the chance to read an ARC of his latest novel, and I was very happy to have my request approved so here is my review:

Dr. Lily Dominick is a forensic psychiatrist who specializes in evaluating the mental state of the most dangerous psychotics in the country. But her newest client – a man with no name accused of a very twisted crime – is different from the rest, even with the two ridiculous claims he makes: first, that he is more than 200 years old and has inspired notable Gothic authors like Mary Shelley and Bram Stoker; and second, that he is Lily’s father. To discover the truth about her client, her mother’s death, and herself, Lily must go on a journey that will threaten her career, her sanity, and ultimately her life.

This novel was not at all what I expected – and not in a good way. I’m trying to decide where to start with this book:

I really did not like the protagonist in this novel. She was just so off-putting. Her personality wasn’t likable at all and there was nothing about her that made her stand out. It felt like the author made her a distant character so that it would explain the trauma she suffered in the past, but it really didn’t work. There was nothing very unique about her, and she also did not behave or think in a very intelligent manner as befit her education and job status. To sum up, the protagonist was terrible.

There were a lot of unexplained elements in the plot. How did this monster just go from one place to another? What are all of his different powers? How can he suddenly talk to people in their heads? It was all very confusing and there was a desperate need for more detail. For every chapter, there should have been at least another one to segue the events. The author presented the story as both Lily’s journey as well as journal entries/letters by the monster that explain his past. I would have preferred if there had been actual scenes recounted rather than this format as it would have eliminated some of the holes in the story.

The interactions and relationships between various different characters was really not well done. Lily has some very weird feelings about her “father” and it made me quite uncomfortable. There were quite a few other characters that interacted with Lily and it all seemed so fake and forced that it ruined the story for me.

Finally, this novel didn’t deliver on the horror as much as I would have hoped. Instead, it took on a more psychological thriller view. While I have no problems with psychological thrillers, this novel wasn’t really a good one as it didn’t dig deep enough to back up the conclusions that it made.

Overall, this novel was a bit of a mess. It had so many different elements thrown together that it failed to maintain any semblance of cohesiveness. The protagonist was quite stupid and had no real personality, the interactions between various characters were awkward and fake, and there were gaping holes in this plot that made the whole story collapse. Unfortunately, this was a highly unsuccessful novel and I would have to rate it a 1/5 stars.

Happy reading ~

The Girl From Rawblood by Catriona Ward

I received this novel as an advanced copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I love ghost stories. Pretty much anything that can make me feel scared at night is going to be of interest to me. I love ghost stories or supernatural stories that will scare me to death, but I also enjoy reading stories that make me think. This novel did a bit of both for me.

Iris and her father are the last members of the Villarca family. For generations, the Villarcas have been haunted by a mysterious entity simply known as “her”. Her origins are a mystery but her purpose is clear: if a Villarca gets married, or falls in love, or has a child, she will come and there will be death. Iris made a promise to her father: she will always be alone. But when she is 15, Iris breaks it. She falls in love – and there are dire consequences.

This novel can be a bit confusing because it is not a linear story. Each chapter is written by a different person who has been affected by “her”. In order to read this novel, you need to pay careful attention or else you will find yourself utterly lost. That being said, I found the story to be highly engrossing. I enjoyed putting the pieces together and seeing how the Villarca curse has affected those in the Villarca family line, as well as those who aren’t directly a part of this family. I liked the fact that the story didn’t flow smoothly; I enjoyed the jarring effect of being caught up in one story just to be yanked out and put into another. It made the reading of this novel so much fun! I also quite liked the way the author resolved the issue of the curse and how she ended everything. This novel definitely gave me chills here and there but it made me think more than anything. Overall, a really interesting ghost story that I enjoyed very much!

Happy reading ~

Night Shift by B. R. Myers – Night Shift #1

I received this novel as an advanced copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

No one wants to work the night security shift at Willard’s department store. 18-year-old Daniel Gale is about to find out why. Tired of living on the road, he accepts the position of night guard at Willard’s. On his very first shift, Daniel almost falls down an elevator shaft, but is timely rescued by Mary, a bossy and intriguing girl working in after-hours inventory. As each night shift approaches, Daniel looks forward to spending more time with Mary. But the more time he spends at Willard’s, the more he senses that something is not right. There is something downright unnatural about this store and he has a mind to find out what.

I honestly loved this novel! It was such a fun and enjoyable read that it kept me engrossed throughout the journey! I was expecting a ghost story, something a bit more sinister. This novel was actually nothing like what I expected and that was the biggest surprise to me! There was this whole Hollywood-glam vibe associated with this story, with the traditional Willard’s department store and the references to Hollywood classics. The world building was something I really enjoyed reading about it, and it made the story so much more unique! I loved all of the characters and their interactions; it was all very genuine. I think that the love angle that was part of this story was perhaps a bit too quickly developed; it would have been nicer for it to have a slower progression. But that’s my only complaint. Overall, a marvelous entertaining read, and I can’t wait to read the sequel!

Happy reading ~

Lost Gods by Brom

The first thing that caught my attention with this book was the cover. I’m serious, it’s an honest work of art. I couldn’t stop thinking about that cover so I knew that I had to go and get myself that book no matter what.

Chet Moran just got out of jail and he is eager to start his life on a fresh note with his pregnant wife, Trish. They leave town to begin again in the hopes that they can forget all of their troubles. But their safe haven isn’t what they imagined, as an ancient evil pursues them. Trapped and murdered by a vile horror, Chet soon learns that pain and death are shared by the dead as well as the living. In order to protect the souls of his wife and unborn child, Chet must journey into the depths of purgatory to find a key that promises to restore everything to its natural order. Alone, confused, and damned, Chet must face unimaginable horrors in the underworld.

In the beginning, I was unsure about whether I would like this story or not. Things moved a bit too quickly with not enough expectations. But after just a few chapters, I couldn’t tear myself away. This story is action-packed and full of interesting twists and turns. There are a lot of different mythological elements in this novel and I found that they were incorporated quite well! The horror aspects were also honestly freaky so I definitely got my money and time’s worth! Every question about the different elements are answered by Brom and that just made it such a satisfying story to read. My favorite part of this novel were the illustrations by the author; they were creepy and beautiful and just amazing! All in all, this was a really cool book with lots of great horror elements. I’m definitely going to check out more by Brom!

Happy reading ~