March was a weird month for me! I was sick throughout a lot of March and was in a bit of a reading slump, but I still read some books I am excited to talk about!
A Mind Imprisoned Is The Greatest Of Hells.
1853. South China Sea. While on patrol between the Opium Wars, the crew of the steam frigate HMS Charger pursues a fleet of pirates that have been terrorizing the waters surrounding Hong Kong.
But now the hunters have become the hunted. Something else has come to the South China Sea, something ancient and powerful and malevolent. Now, the crew of the Charger must face their worst nightmares in order to survive the terrible creature they come to know as the Darkstar.
A Song For The Void is a haunting, terrifying historical horror novel that will keep you turning the pages and jumping at the shadows.
A Song for the Void is another SPFBO book, so again I will tell you more in the future, but this is my least favourite of the finalists so far. I have learned that cosmic horror is hit or miss for me and I find it interesting that this book found its way into a fantasy competition!
A man with an unknown past
For years, Amar has traveled the Kavoran empire, seeking a way to recover his lost memories and end the curse that plagues him. With support from loyal friends, Amar may finally be on the verge of finding answers, but to do so, he’ll need to enlist the help of an unexpected guide.
A girl afraid of her own powers
Kesari is a Tarja, granted magical abilities through her Bond with a spirit named Lucian. Haunted by past mistakes that have left her desperate to sever her Bond, Kesari has her own reasons for agreeing to help Amar. But in doing so, she may finally have to face the fears she’s carried ever since leaving home.
A woman on a vital mission
Meanwhile, a young refugee named Aleida is in hot pursuit, hoping the secret behind Amar’s curse can save her brother from a fatal illness. With so much at stake and little left to lose, Aleida will stop at nothing to get what she wants.
And when their paths collide, all three are set on a journey to unravel a mystery far deeper than they ever suspected.
Tethered Spirits is a SPFBO book, so I will talk about it more in a future post. I will say that this was an interesting fantasy and I was enamoured with the world that this author created. It was a little bit too much of a quest story for my liking, but it was well done and I am open to continuing with the series.
Pitted against one another, with the people and country they love in jeopardy, the daughter of a deserter and the son of the king have a chance to fulfill their forebears’ legacy—or destroy it entirely.
Twisted monsters called saja lurk in the shadows of the mountains. Rumors say the Fidelis, human wielders of an ancient elemental magic, again walk the plains. Not all in Avaron believe, and not all welcome the return of legend.
Kura’s a skeptic. But, she’ll cross and befriend centaurs, talking animals, and worse to save her family after the rebellion mistakes her for the land’s prophesied savior. And, while he’d rather negotiate with rebels than fight them, Triston can’t ignore prophecy. That was the sham his father used to steal the crown in the first place.
Over a century ago, their ancestors sailed the oceans in search of peace and died as heroes fighting for it. But heroes—and villains—aren’t always what they seem to be.
Fire of the Forebears was intimidating to me and so far out of my comfort zone, so I was nervous going into this one! Though it is long, it was much more accessible than I anticipated. That said, it read like a classic fantasy, which just isn’t my thing. I am also not sure if I am in to talking animals unless it is done in a quirky or cozy way!
Miss Mildred Percy inherits a dragon.
Ah, but we’ve already got ahead of ourselves…
Miss Mildred Percy is a spinster. She does not dance, she has long stopped dreaming, and she certainly does not have adventures. That is, until her great uncle has the audacity to leave her an inheritance, one that includes a dragon’s egg.
The egg – as eggs are wont to do – decides to hatch, and Miss Mildred Percy is suddenly thrust out of the role of “spinster and general wallflower” and into the unprecedented position of “spinster and keeper of dragons.”
But England has not seen a dragon since… well, ever. And now Mildred must contend with raising a dragon (that should not exist), kindling a romance (with a humble vicar), and embarking on an adventure she never thought could be hers for the taking.
Miss Percy’s Pocket Guide to the Care and Feeding of British Dragons is another SPFBO finalist and is my favourite so far! Amongst the readers I am doing this project with, that is an unpopular opinion, which doesn’t surprise me because I think of most of them as being more epic or high fantasy readers than I am. I think Miss Percy’s Pocket Guide is for a very specific audience and that audience is me. So much so that I already bought the sequel!
I will talk about the rest of the books in order from my least favourite to my favourite read of the month!
What does it mean to “be-in-kind” with a nonhuman animal? Or in Dr. Sean Kell-Luddon’s case, to be in-kind with one of the last remaining wild wolves? Using a neurological interface to translate her animal subject’s perception through her own mind, Sean intends to chase both her scientific curiosity and her secret, lifelong desire to experience the intimacy and freedom of wolfishness. To see the world through animal eyes; smell the forest, thick with olfactory messages; even taste the blood and viscera of a fresh kill. And, above all, to feel the belonging of the pack.
Sean’s tireless research gives her a chance to fulfill that dream, but pursuing it has a terrible cost. Her obsession with work endangers her fraying relationship with her wife. Her research methods threaten her mind and body. And the attention of her VC funders could destroy her subject, the beautiful wild wolf whose mental world she’s invading.
I loved Lee Mandelo’s last release, Summer of Sons, so I was thrilled to see that he was releasing a horror novella! Feed Them Silence had Mandelo’s signature writing style and I was transfixed by it, but it was a difficult read for me. I guess I should have known that a book about testing on wolves would have a lot of violence against animals but I struggled with that. I do think there was an interesting conversation about parasocial relationships and ethics in general but because it is a novella it leaves a lot up to the reader’s own interpretation. I also found the main character frustrating and was not all invested in her marriage. That said, this book has stayed with me and I continue to ponder it, which definitely says something!
Production for the tenth season of Bake Week is ready to begin at the gothic estate of host and celebrity chef Betsy Martin, and everything seems perfect. The tent is up, the top-tier ingredients are aligned, and the crew has their cameras at the ready.
The six contestants work to prove their culinary talents over the course of five days, while Betsy is less than thrilled to share the spotlight with a new cohost—the brash and unpredictable Archie Morris. But as the baking competition commences, things begin to go awry. At first, it’s merely sabotage—sugar replaced with salt, a burner turned to high—but when a body is discovered, everyone is a suspect.
A deliciously suspenseful thriller for murder mystery buffs and avid bakers alike, The Golden Spoon will keep you guessing until the very last page.
The Golden Spoon is being marketed as a thriller but it definitely reads cozier than your average thriller, so I think in order to enjoy this one you have to go into it with the right expectations! I am also not sure if I would have had as much fun with this if I hadn’t listened to the audiobook. The story follows all of the contestants on this baking show and they each have their own perspectives. The audiobook is full cast, so they each have their own narrator. There was a level of predictability to this story but it was one of those solid three star reads that I feel like I need once in a while. I cannot wait to watch the Hulu adaptation!
Amelia Rose, known as Rae Rose to her adoring fans, is burned-out from years of maintaining her “princess of pop” image. Inspired by her favorite Audrey Hepburn film, Roman Holiday, she drives off in the middle of the night for a break in Rome . . . Rome, Kentucky, that is.
When Noah Walker finds Amelia on his front lawn in her broken-down car, he makes it clear he doesn’t have the time or patience for celebrity problems. He’s too busy running the pie shop his grandmother left him and reminding his nosy but lovable neighbors to mind their own damn business. Despite his better judgment, he lets her stay in his guest room–but only until her car is fixed–then she’s on her own.
Then Noah starts to see a different side of Rae Rose–she’s Amelia: kindhearted and goofy, yet lonely from years in the public eye. He can’t help but get close to her. Soon she’ll have to return to her glamorous life on tour, but until then, Noah will show Amelia all the charming small-town experiences she’s been missing, and she’ll help him open his heart to more.
Amelia can’t resist falling for the cozy town and her grumpy tour guide, but even Audrey had to leave Rome eventually.
I was sick near the end of March and not in the reading mood. I had DNFed one of my most anticipated reads and just needed something light and fun. When in Rome was calling to me and I am so happy I decided to go for it! A Part of Your World by Abby Jimenez is my favourite romance and I felt like When in Rome was a more silly and lighthearted version of that, which is exactly what I needed. I love romances set in small towns, romances between and celebrity and a normal person, and foodie romances, so this was perfect for me! I cannot wait for the next book!
IN AMERICA, DEMONS WEAR WHITE HOODS.
In 1915, The Birth of a Nation cast a spell across America, swelling the Klan’s ranks and drinking deep from the darkest thoughts of white folk. All across the nation they ride, spreading fear and violence among the vulnerable. They plan to bring Hell to Earth. But even Ku Kluxes can die.
Standing in their way is Maryse Boudreaux and her fellow resistance fighters, a foul-mouthed sharpshooter and a Harlem Hellfighter. Armed with blade, bullet, and bomb, they hunt their hunters and send the Klan’s demons straight to Hell. But something awful’s brewing in Macon, and the war on Hell is about to heat up.
Can Maryse stop the Klan before it ends the world?
Ring Shout is everything that I love in horror. It is a novella and it has a lot to say! I also love my horror to be historical and speculative. It did take me a second to get used to P. Djeli Clark’s writing because he definitely has a unique style and I think it is a book I will have to reread to fully appreciate, but I thought it was brilliant.
While the Iskat Empire has long dominated the system through treaties and political alliances, several planets, including Thea, have begun to chafe under Iskat’s rule. When tragedy befalls Imperial Prince Taam, his Thean widower, Jainan, is rushed into an arranged marriage with Taam’s cousin, the disreputable Kiem, in a bid to keep the rising hostilities between the two worlds under control.
But when it comes to light that Prince Taam’s death may not have been an accident, and that Jainan himself may be a suspect, the unlikely pair must overcome their misgivings and learn to trust one another as they navigate the perils of the Iskat court, try to solve a murder, and prevent an interplanetary war… all while dealing with their growing feelings for each other.
I was lying in bed feeling sick and wishing I could read. I figured I would start an audiobook but didn’t know what I was in the mood for. That is when I remembered Winter’s Orbit was on my TBR for the month, so I downloaded the audiobook and gave it a try. Then I couldn’t stop listening! The tone was darker than I was expecting and I think it is important to know that there are conversations about domestic abuse and they are heavy. I think that this book is truly for fans of SciFi romance. If you go into it solely for the romance, you might be disappointed and the same goes for if you are looking for something more SciFi. That said, I thought the world Everina Maxwell built was compelling and I adored the characters and their love story!
A haunting Southern Gothic from an award-winning master of suspense, A House With Good Bones explores the dark, twisted roots lurking just beneath the veneer of a perfect home and family.
“Mom seems off.”
Her brother’s words echo in Sam Montgomery’s ear as she turns onto the quiet North Carolina street where their mother lives alone.
She brushes the thought away as she climbs the front steps. Sam’s excited for this rare extended visit, and looking forward to nights with just the two of them, drinking boxed wine, watching murder mystery shows, and guessing who the killer is long before the characters figure it out.
But stepping inside, she quickly realizes home isn’t what it used to be. Gone is the warm, cluttered charm her mom is known for; now the walls are painted a sterile white. Her mom jumps at the smallest noises and looks over her shoulder even when she’s the only person in the room. And when Sam steps out back to clear her head, she finds a jar of teeth hidden beneath the magazine-worthy rose bushes, and vultures are circling the garden from above.
To find out what’s got her mom so frightened in her own home, Sam will go digging for the truth. But some secrets are better left buried.
Another month, another T. Kingfisher. When I received an email saying I was approved for an ALC of A House With Good Bones, I actually screamed and then I dropped everything else I was reading to listen to it. This might be my favourite of T. Kingfisher’s horror novels and I think she has this special way of bringing quirkiness to her stories, no matter what genre. I think if you are a T. Kingfisher fan who has been avoiding her horrors because it is not your usual genre, this is the one to try!
I am a Weyward, and wild inside.
2019: Under cover of darkness, Kate flees London for ramshackle Weyward Cottage, inherited from a great aunt she barely remembers. With its tumbling ivy and overgrown garden, the cottage is worlds away from the abusive partner who tormented Kate. But she begins to suspect that her great aunt had a secret. One that lurks in the bones of the cottage, hidden ever since the witch-hunts of the 17th century.
1619: Altha is awaiting trial for the murder of a local farmer who was stampeded to death by his herd. As a girl, Altha’s mother taught her their magic, a kind not rooted in spell casting but in a deep knowledge of the natural world. But unusual women have always been deemed dangerous, and as the evidence for witchcraft is set out against Altha, she knows it will take all of her powers to maintain her freedom.
1942: As World War II rages, Violet is trapped in her family’s grand, crumbling estate. Straitjacketed by societal convention, she longs for the robust education her brother receives––and for her mother, long deceased, who was rumored to have gone mad before her death. The only traces Violet has of her are a locket bearing the initial W and the word weyward scratched into the baseboard of her bedroom.
Weaving together the stories of three extraordinary women across five centuries, Emilia Hart’s Weyward is an enthralling novel of female resilience and the transformative power of the natural world.
Weyward was almost the perfect book for me! If there are two things I love most in fiction they are witches and multi-generational stories, and this book has both! I think it is important to know that this book largely focuses on male violence, so be aware of that going in. It was a harrowing yet beautiful read and the book that I continued to think about most throughout the month.
6 thoughts on “March Wrap Up”
Cosmic horror really is a difficult genre, isn’t it? I don’t intentionally read it (because horror) but it does seem to be put all over the place, genre-wise, and so sometimes it ends up getting called science fiction.
I love the cover for Tethered Spirits! It looks really cool. I haven’t heard of the book before this, though.
And darn it. I’ve been avoiding Kingfisher’s horror books. I know they will creep me right out. But I’m also so tempted…
It is! I can’t quite wrap my mind around what cosmic horror is.
Tethered Spirits was definitely interesting! I’ll be curious to see where the rest of the series goes.
There are creepy things in A House With Good Bones but I think if you can handle a LOT of ladybugs you’ll be okay 😂. The humour makes it lighter than your typical horror!
I guess maybe I’ll try one of her horror books… in the middle of a sunny summer day though, not at night…
Glad you are feeling better! It’s horrible to be sick for almost a month. Looks like you at least find some good books to read even if you weren’t in the mood for reading. I hope April is a better month for you!
Sounds like a lot of interesting books.
I’m in the midst of rebuilding my website since I messed it up but know what I did now.
I’d like to read Miss Percy’s Pocket Guide to the Care and Feeding of British Dragons too. I keep thinking it might be a cozy read. And same here on Ring Shout: I think I’ll like it more on reread.