|Pub Date: 4-26-22|
Adult - Thriller
The Children on the Hill- Jennifer McMahon: Dr. Helen Hildreth is a well-known and respected psychiatrist working in Vermont in the late 1970s. Most praise her for her work with the mentally ill, but to Vi and Eric, she's just Gran. They understand her work is important, but that's about it. One day, Gran brings home a child to stay with the family. Iris is a strange girl; she's skittish, unkempt, and doesn't like to speak. But Vi is thrilled to have another playmate and soon takes Iris under her wing. Vi invites Iris to join her and Eric's monster club, where they gather and talk about monsters and how to defeat them, and soon Iris starts to come out of her shell. Now, in 2019, Lizzy Shelley is the host of a popular monster podcast investigating a case in Vermont. A young girl was abducted, and the locals are in an uproar believing it to be the work of a monster. Lizzie is determined to get to the bottom of the case, especially when the clues point to a monster she's very familiar with: her sister.
Honestly, I didn't have high hopes going into this because McMahon's books are very hit-or-miss for me. I'm happy to report that I enjoyed this one, but it wasn't without faults. I thought the first half of the book was slow and boring, and it was difficult for me to feel invested. But once we hit the midway point, the pacing and the action ramped up. I liked all the twists that McMahon threw in here. I thought I had figured out where she was going and how the plot would play out, but then I got whiplash by how fast everything turned on its head. The dual timelines worked well with fleshing the story out more, and I liked the little snippets of the monster book the kids created. If you're in the mood for a creepy read for the fall, I think this would be a fun one to pick up. Just skip the epilogue because it's unnecessary.
|Pub Date: 9-28-21|
Adult - Horror
Horseman: A Tale of Sleepy Hollow- Christina Henry: Everyone in Sleepy Hollow knows the tale of the Horseman and how he ran a young man named Crane out of town. Many speak of the Horseman in whispers, but Ben Van Brunt has never feared him. Ben's grandfather, Brom Bones, was there twenty years ago when the events occurred, and if he says its legend, then that's what Ben believes, too. But when Ben and a friend stumble upon a headless boy in the woods, he wonders if maybe the Horseman wasn't village gossip after all. When more bodies turn up, Ben decides to investigate and discovers he can feel the presence of the Horseman and is shocked to find it's been protecting him all this time. Ben quickly realizes there are secrets about himself and his family that he never knew, and he may be the only one who can rid Sleepy Hollow of the darkness forever.
I love a reimagining of classic stories, so I knew I had to pick this up. I thought Henry did a fantastic job making this story her own. I enjoyed Ben and how sure of himself he was. He was a trans person during a period where if you were even remotely different than your peers, you'd be labeled an outcast or a witch, but still, he never hid. It was interesting seeing how Henry wove together his storyline with the Horseman's and how it all tied in with Ben's ancestry. The writing was super atmospheric and nailed the creepy, unsettling vibes. The horror elements were done well, and it was a bit gorier than I anticipated. My only issues were that the pacing felt off, and sometimes the dialogue was too wishy-washy. Other than that, I enjoyed this and would recommend it if you're looking for a spooky book to add to your TBR.
|Pub Date: 9-6-22|
Adult - Historical Romance/Fantasy
Angelika Frankenstein Makes Her Match- Sally Thorne: Every Frankenstein has found their match the old-fashioned way, except for Angelika. She's run out of potential suitors, and the clock is ticking to spinsterhood. While assisting her brother on his ground-breaking experiment to re-animate a body, Angelika has a grand idea. If she can't find a suitor, she'll make one. But Angelika wasn't ready for the disarray that would come along with her make-shift suitor. When her resurrected would-be fiancé is more focused on figuring out his true identity than courting Angelika, she decides to put her feelings aside and help him investigate. As the pair are digging up clues, Angelika catches the eye of another suitor, and she can't help but wonder if perhaps she was too hasty in building her perfect man.
Take whatever you thought you knew about Sally Thorne and throw it out the window. It was so unlike anything she's written before. It was so strange and Tim Burton-esque. Frankenstein is one of my favorite classics, so I was interested to see how Thorne would put her spin on it, but it didn't quite work for me. Angelika and Victor left such a bad taste in my mouth. I thought they were too arrogant and obnoxious. Also, I didn't love the relationship between Angelika and Will. It wasn't believable, and I felt zero chemistry between them. I felt bad for Will and everything the Frankensteins put him through. Romance aside, I couldn't get behind the plot. If you can suspend your disbelief for 384-pages then maybe it would be a fun Halloween-y read, but it wasn't for me.