Book Review: And There He Kept Her


Joshua Moehling

Rating: 3 out of 5.

published: 14th June 2022
spoilers? no

Goodreads

They thought he was a helpless old man. They were wrong.

When two teenagers break into a house on a remote lake in search of prescription drugs, what starts as a simple burglary turns into a nightmare for all involved. Emmett Burr has secrets he’s been keeping in his basement for more than two decades, and he’ll do anything to keep his past from being revealed. As he gets the upper hand on his tormentors, the lines blur between victim, abuser, and protector.

Personal tragedy has sent former police officer Ben Packard back to the small Minnesota town of Sandy Lake in search of a fresh start. Now a sheriff’s deputy, Packard is leading the investigation into the missing teens, motivated by a family connection. As clues dry up and time runs out to save them, Packard is forced to reveal his own secrets and dig deep to uncover the dark past of the place he now calls home.

Unrelentingly suspenseful and written with a piercing gaze into the dark depths of the human soul, And There He Kept Her is a thrilling page-turner that introduces readers to a complicated new hero and forces us to consider the true nature of evil.

Continue reading “Book Review: And There He Kept Her”

Book Review: The Stardust Thief


Saara el-Arifi

Rating: 3 out of 5.

published: 19th May 2022
spoilers? none

Goodreads

Loulie al-Nazari is the Midnight Merchant: a criminal who, with the help of her jinn bodyguard, hunts and sells illegal magic. When she saves the life of a cowardly prince, she draws the attention of his powerful father, the sultan, who blackmails her into finding an ancient lamp that has the power to revive the barren land.

With no choice but to obey or be executed, Loulie journeys with the sultan’s oldest son to find the artifact. Aided by her bodyguard, who has secrets of his own, they must survive ghoul attacks, outwit a vengeful jinn queen, and confront a malicious killer from Loulie’s past. And, in a world where story is reality and illusion is truth, Loulie will discover that everything—her enemy, her magic, even her own past—is not what it seems.

Continue reading “Book Review: The Stardust Thief”

Book Review: The Final Strife


Saara el-Arifi

Rating: 3 out of 5.

published: 23rd June 2022
spoilers? sort of

Goodreads

In the first book of a visionary African and Arabian-inspired fantasy trilogy, three women band together against a cruel Empire that divides people by blood.

Red is the blood of the elite, of magic, of control.

Blue is the blood of the poor, of workers, of the resistance.

Clear is the blood of the servants, of the crushed, of the invisible.

Sylah dreams of days growing up in the resistance, being told she would spark a revolution that would free the Empire from the red-blooded ruling classes’ tyranny. That spark was extinguished the day she watched her family murdered before her eyes.

Anoor has been told she’s nothing, no one, a disappointment by the only person who matters: her mother, the most powerful ruler in the Empire. But dust always rises in a storm.

Hassa moves through the world unseen by upper classes, so she knows what it means to be invisible. But invisibility has its uses: It can hide the most dangerous of secrets, secrets that can reignite a revolution.

As the Empire begins a set of trials of combat and skill designed to find its new leaders, the stage is set for blood to flow, power to shift, and cities to burn.

Continue reading “Book Review: The Final Strife”

Book Review: The Collarbound


Rebecca Zahabi

Rating: 3 out of 5.

published: 12th May 2022
spoilers? none

Goodreads

On the other side of the Shadowpass, rebellion is brewing and refugees have begun to trickle into the city at the edge of the world. Looming high on the cliff is The Nest, a fortress full of mages who offer protection, but also embody everything the rebellion is fighting against: a strict hierarchy based on magic abilities, and the oppression of the Kher community.

When Isha arrives as a refugee, she attempts to fit in amongst the other mages, but her Kher tattoo brands her as an outcast. She can’t remember her past or why she has the tattoo. All she knows is that she survived. She doesn’t intend to give up now.

Tatters, who wears the golden collar of a slave, knows that this rebellion is different from past skirmishes. He was once one of the rebels, fought beside them, and technically, they still own him. He plans to stay in the shadows, until Isha appears in his tavern. He’s never seen a human with a tattoo, and the markings look eerily familiar. Despite his fear of being discovered, Tatters decides to help her.

As the rebellion carves a path of destruction towards the city, The Collarbound follows an unlikely friendship between a man trying to escape his past and a woman trying to uncover hers, until their secrets threaten to tear them apart.

A tale that questions fate and finds strength in not-belonging, The Collarbound hooks from the opening pages and will appeal to fans of magical, brink-of-war settings, like that of The Poppy War, and lyrical, character-driven writing, as found in A Darker Shade of Magic.

Continue reading “Book Review: The Collarbound”

Book Review: That Green Eyed Girl


Julie Owen Moylan

Rating: 3 out of 5.

published: 14th April 2022
spoilers? nope

Goodreads

1955: In a cramped apartment on the Lower East Side, school teachers Dovie and Gillian live as lodgers, unable to reveal the truth about their relationship. They guard their private lives fiercely – until someone guesses their secret.

1975: Twenty years on, in the same apartment, Ava Winters is desperately trying to conceal her mother’s fragile mental state from the critical eyes of their neighbours. But, one sweltering July morning, Ava’s mother escapes.

Alone after her mother’s departure, Ava takes delivery of a parcel. The box is addressed only to ‘Apartment 3B’, and contains a photograph of a woman with the word ‘LIAR’ scrawled across her face.

Seeking refuge from her own crisis, Ava determines to track the owner of the photograph down. And, in so doing, discovers a shocking chain of kindnesses, lies and betrayals – with one woman at the centre of it all…

Continue reading “Book Review: That Green Eyed Girl”

Book Review: The Fake Up


Justin Myers

Rating: 3 out of 5.

published: 7th April 2022
spoilers? none

Goodreads

TWO EXES. ONE BIG SECRET. LET THE GAMES BEGIN…

Dylan and Flo are on the rocks. Of course they are in love. Obviously they want it to work. But sometimes it feels like the world is against them. Their flat is falling apart, their friends never stop meddling and the obstacles keeping them from their dreams are insurmountable. Maybe they just . . . aren’t meant to be?

The break-up completely shatters them both. While Flo cries in her Mum’s kitchen, penning ballads about heartache, Dylan is forced to sleep on his best friend’s sofa and channel his pain into acting.

And, unexpectedly, their stars begin to rise.

Soon Dylan and Flo are on the cusp of everything they’ve ever wanted. There’s only one problem: they can’t be without one another, but their hard-won futures depend on their estrangement. Can they keep their relationship a secret from the world? Or has fate conspired to keep them apart for good?

Continue reading “Book Review: The Fake Up”

Book Review: Return to Blackwater House


Vikki Patis

Rating: 3 out of 5.

published: 1st March 2022
spoilers? none

Goodreads

You can run from your past, but you can’t escape it forever…

Rebecca Bray has moved on from a childhood she wants to forget. She has the dream fiancé, a loving stepdaughter and a career she’s proud of.

But with a move back to her hometown of Cornwall, everything she wanted to bury starts to surface. And when her stepdaughter goes missing at a New Year’s Eve party, Rebecca must finally face the ghosts of her past – or Ava might never come home safely…

Continue reading “Book Review: Return to Blackwater House”

Book Review: Yerba Buena


Nina LaCour

Rating: 3 out of 5.

published: 31st May 2022
spoilers? none

Goodreads

When Sara Foster runs away from home at sixteen, she leaves behind not only the losses that have shattered her world but the girl she once was, capable of trust and intimacy. Years later, in Los Angeles, she is a sought-after bartender, renowned as much for her brilliant cocktails as for the mystery that clings to her. Across the city, Emilie Dubois is in a holding pattern. In her seventh year and fifth major as an undergraduate, she yearns for the beauty and community her Creole grandparents cultivated but is unable to commit. On a whim, she takes a job arranging flowers at the glamorous restaurant Yerba Buena and embarks on an affair with the married owner.

When Sara catches sight of Emilie one morning at Yerba Buena, their connection is immediate. But the damage both women carry, and the choices they have made, pulls them apart again and again. When Sara’s old life catches up to her, upending everything she thought she wanted just as Emilie has finally gained her own sense of purpose, they must decide if their love is more powerful than their pasts.

At once exquisite and expansive, astonishing in its humanity and heart, Yerba Buena is a love story for our time and a propulsive journey through the lives of two women finding their way in the world.

Continue reading “Book Review: Yerba Buena”

Book Review: Survive the Dome


Kosoko Jackson

Rating: 3 out of 5.

published: 29th March 2022
spoilers? none

Goodreads

Jamal Lawson just wanted to be a part of something. As an aspiring journalist, he packs up his camera and heads to Baltimore to document a rally protesting police brutality after another Black man is murdered.

But before it even really begins, the city implements a new safety protocol…the Dome. The Dome surrounds the city, forcing those within to subscribe to a total militarized shutdown. No one can get in, and no one can get out.

Alone in a strange place, Jamal doesn’t know where to turn…until he meets hacker Marco, who knows more than he lets on, and Catherine, an AWOL basic-training-graduate, whose parents helped build the initial plans for the Dome.

As unrest inside of Baltimore grows throughout the days-long lockdown, Marco, Catherine, and Jamal take the fight directly to the chief of police. But the city is corrupt from the inside out, and it’s going to take everything they have to survive.

Continue reading “Book Review: Survive the Dome”

Book Review: Our Wives Under the Sea


Julia Armfield

Rating: 3 out of 5.

published: 3rd March 2022
spoilers? none

Goodreads

Miri thinks she has got her wife back, when Leah finally returns after a deep-sea mission that ended in catastrophe. It soon becomes clear, though, that Leah is not the same. Whatever happened in that vessel, whatever it was they were supposed to be studying before they were stranded on the ocean floor, Leah has brought part of it back with her, onto dry land and into their home.

Moving through something that only resembles normal life, Miri comes to realize that the life that they had before might be gone. Though Leah is still there, Miri can feel the woman she loves slipping from her grasp.

Our Wives Under The Sea is the debut novel from Julia Armfield, the critically acclaimed author of salt slow. It’s a story of falling in love, loss, grief, and what life there is in the deep deep sea.

Continue reading “Book Review: Our Wives Under the Sea”