Summary: Naomi Shaw used to believe in magic. Twenty-two years ago, she and her two best friends, Cassidy and Olivia, spent the summer roaming the woods, imagining a world of ceremony and wonder. They called it the Goddess Game. The summer ended suddenly when Naomi was attacked. Miraculously, she survived her seventeen stab wounds and lived to identify the man who had hurt her. The girls’ testimony put away a serial killer, wanted for murdering six women. They were heroes.
And they were liars.
For decades, the friends have kept a secret worth killing for. But now Olivia wants to tell, and Naomi sets out to find out what really happened in the woods—no matter how dangerous the truth turns out to be.
Genre: thriller, mystery, horror Rating: ★★★★
When I saw that What Lies in the Woods was a BookoftheMonth pick, I immediately added it to my box. The book is inspired by the Slenderman stabbing that happened in 2014, when two 12-year-old girls lured their friend into the woods and stabbed her 19 times to appease Slenderman so he would reward them by taking the girls to his mansion. This story has always fascinated and confused me, so I was curious to see how a book inspired by that case would be.
Summary: A lot has changed in years since Ambrosia Wellington graduated from college, and she’s worked hard to create a new life for herself. But then an invitation to her ten-year reunion arrives in the mail, along with an anonymous note that reads, “We need to talk about what we did that night.”
It seems that the secrets of Ambrosia’s past—and the people she thought she’d left there—aren’t as buried as she believed. Amb can’t stop fixating on what she did or who she did it with: larger-than-life Sloane “Sully” Sullivan, Amb’s former best friend, who could make anyone do anything.
At the reunion, Amb and Sully receive increasingly menacing messages, and it becomes clear that they’re being pursued by someone who wants more than just the truth of what happened that first semester.
Genre: Thriller, mystery Rating: ★★★★
This is a book that you’ll either completely love or absolutely hate. There is no middle ground here. When I was reading reviews from other readers, the biggest point that stood out was that they despised all of the characters in this book. Ambrosia Wellington (I think her name alone says a lot about the type of person she would turn out to be) is insufferable, dependent on others’ validation, and a straight up bully. Her partner in crime, Sloane, is the type of cool girl that all the boys want and all the girls want to be, but she’s dangerous. These things are absolutely true about The Girls Are All So Nice Here, but what made me sink right into the heart of this story is how well-written these girls are.
Hi I absolutely did not mean to fall off the face of the earth for a little while! October is always one of my busiest months, and it hit me with a massive reading slump, which in turn made me not want to blog either. I have a backlog of books that I can’t wait to review, starting with the ones I read for the Hispanic Heritage Month readathon!
There were a few books on my TBR for this readathon that I was unable to get to. The first was Solita by Vivien Rainn. This book was released in April but was impossible for me to find anywhere in any format. I was really bummed about it because it’s a gothic paranormal romance, and I hope eventually I can find a copy of it!
The second was Jawbone by Monica Ojeda, which is a contemporary horror that drew inspiration from Lovecraft and creepypastas. I figured it was right up my alley, but I only made it about 50 pages in before putting it down. I found it really difficult to get into, and the paragraphs were long and never-ending. I might pick this up again at some point, but for now it’s on hold. The third was Bindle Punk Bruja by Desideria Mesa, and honestly time just got away from me on this one and I was unable to read it in time. I will definitely be reading it soon, though!
I was able to read the rest of the books for this readathon, including Ophelia After All, which I already wrote a full review of. I’m in the middle of a full review for Together We Burn, so keep an eye out for that! I wrote mini reviews about the rest of the books below!
Summary: Oliver Marks has just served ten years in jail – for a murder he may or may not have committed. On the day he’s released, he’s greeted by the man who put him in prison. Detective Colborne is retiring, but before he does, he wants to know what really happened a decade ago.
As one of seven young actors studying Shakespeare at an elite arts college, Oliver and his friends play the same roles onstage and off: hero, villain, tyrant, temptress, ingenue, extra. But when the casting changes, and the secondary characters usurp the stars, the plays spill dangerously over into life, and one of them is found dead. The rest face their greatest acting challenge yet: convincing the police, and themselves, that they are blameless.
This is a PSA that dark academia has my heart completely and absolutely no other genre in the entire world can compare to how If We Were Villains makes me feel. I know I’ve been throwing out five-star reviews pretty frequently lately, but I truly have not been this enamored with a book since I read The Maidens by Alex Michaelides last year. I know that this book is going to stay with me for a long time, and even though I’m usually not someone who rereads, I cannot wait to revisit this and fall in love all over again.
Summary: Clare Cassidy is no stranger to murder. A high school English teacher specializing in the Gothic writer R. M. Holland, she teaches a course on it every year. But when one of Clare’s colleagues and closest friends is found dead, with a line from R. M. Holland’s most famous story, “The Stranger,” left by her body, Clare is horrified to see her life collide with the storylines of her favourite literature.
To make matters worse, the police suspect the killer is someone Clare knows. Unsure whom to trust, she turns to her closest confidant, her diary, the only outlet she has for her darkest suspicions and fears about the case. Then one day she notices something odd. Writing that isn’t hers, left on the page of an old diary: “Hallo, Clare. You don’t know me.” Clare becomes more certain than ever: “The Stranger” has come to terrifying life. But can the ending be rewritten in time?
Genre: mystery Rating: ★★★
The Stranger Diaries was recommended on a list of gothic horror and mystery novels, and I really loved the creepy atmosphere that Griffiths built here. The story takes place in a school that is rumored to be haunted; there’s a strange horror story written by a dead guy who used to live at the school; some of the students learn to do white magic from their professor; oh, and the English department is being killed off one by one. For as much as I love a good haunted house story, it was refreshing to take place in a different setting, and I couldn’t wait to sink my teeth into this story.