Thoughts on books, family, and life in one impressive package.

I am bound and determined to catch up on all outstanding reviews before the end of the year. Now that I’ve gotten all of the audiobooks out of the way, that list is much more manageable. Thankfully.

Without further ado, here is the first batch of reviews for books released in June of 2022.

Ordinary Monsters by J. M. Miro

Ordinary Monsters by J. M. Miro is a novel that did not get much attention this year, and that saddens me. To me, it is very Gothic, dark, and disturbing. One might call it a supernatural horror story because it gets so dark. At over 600 pages, Mr. Miro takes his time building the plot and establishing the characters, but the wait is well worth it. Once the story starts in earnest, the rest unfolds at breakneck speed, leaving no chance for you or the poor characters to catch their breath. I enjoyed Ordinary Monsters and hope there are enough sales for Mr. Miro to publish the second book.

Forging Silver into Stars by Brigid Kemmerer

Forging Silver into Stars is my second experience reading something by Brigid Kemmerer, and I regret waiting so long to discover her novels. In this case, having not read the Curseworkers series, I know I missed elements of this story, mainly involving magic in general and Lord Tycho, but I do not think I missed much. It certainly did not prevent me from enjoying Jax and Callyn’s adventures. I tore through this novel and can not wait to read more.

Wicked Beauty by Katee Robert

How am I just now discovering Katee Robert?!? Wicked Beauty knocked me for a loop with its spicy take on Helen of Troy, along with Achilles and Patroclus. Greek mythology retellings are a weakness of mine, but add that spice? Hot damn! I will now make it my mission to read the previous two novels in the series and any others to come.

For the Throne by Hannah Whitten

For the Throne is a fantastic ending to a book that was among my top favorite reads in 2021. Not only do we get the continuation of the fantastic romance between Red and the Wolf, but also we get another treat in the form of Solmir and Neve’s experiences in the Shadowlands. I had no idea what to expect from page to page, as Ms. Whitten keeps you guessing throughout the novel. The ending is oh-so-satisfying and solidifies my determination to read anything Ms. Whitten writes going forward.

A Mirror Mended by Alix E. Harrow

A Mirror Mended is another strong story from Alix E. Harrow continuing her version of well-known fairy tales. Instead of another princess, however, Ms. Harrow chooses to focus on the Evil Queen, which is a clever twist as we get to question what makes a person evil. I love these Fractured Fables so much. They upend these well-known fairy tales, giving them back some of the grittiness and depth lost once they were made into a Disney movie. Plus, they allow readers to fall in love with Ms. Harrow’s writing as much as I have.

Juniper & Thorn by Eva Reid

I finished reading Juniper & Thorn by Eva Reid on May 28th. It is now December 10th as I write this, and this horror story in the guise of dark fantasy still haunts me. Marlinchen’s father is despicable, and everything she faces at his hands will turn your stomach. Yet, I cannot stop thinking about it. The trauma Marlinchen overcomes provides comfort for those struggling with their demons. However, Ms. Reid does not shy away from revealing all of her heroine’s demons, so be warned. Those easily triggered by abuse in several forms, eating disorders, self-harm, blood and gore, and violence, would do well to avoid this one. For those who can stomach those triggers, what you will is a dark story that takes you to the edge before providing you a path to salvation and hope. It digs under your skin and captures your imagination so that you too can remain haunted by its feelings of despair and hope seven months after finishing it.

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