Read an eARC from NetGalley Content warning: realities of pregnancy, child abandonment, adoption, miscarriage, suicidal ideation, death by suicide, child harm, child murder, self-harm, racist microaggressions, self-harm
Alejandra is a woman who is trapped in an ideal life that she isn’t sure is at all what she wanted for herself. A stay-at-home mother to three children, she and her husband recently moved to Philadelphia and a demonic presence adopting the visage of La Llorona haunts her shortly upon their arrival.
A horror that leans heavily into women’s fiction, this is a story about reckoning with generational trauma, the bonds that tie families together, and the resentments fueled by unrealistic expectations of perfect motherhood that threaten to tear them all apart, both literally and figuratively.
Genre: Adult Paranormal Romance Year Release: April 11, 2023 Buy Links: Amazon | eBook
Rating: 5 out of 5.
Read an eARC from the author Content warning: Past sexual abuse, depiction of PTSD and flashbacks, past forced prostitution. past abuse, blood kink, self-harm (for vampire bloodletting)
Sometimes marriage is a burlesque dancer, a former soldier, and a silver-haired vampire.
Dante definitely understands the assignment of writing a decadent story featuring vampires. There’s sexual excess, there’s the danger and allure of the supernatural, and personal histories steeped in tragedy. This work almost feels like a slice-of-life with its singular focus on the couple and their introduction to the high strangeness of encountering a literal supernatural creature. There’s a genre savvy that’s super evident on the page, and there’s enough historical detail to ground the piece in its time period, particularly each character’s backstory and the metaphorical demons chasing them.
At once familiar and fresh, A Flame in the Night shines with romance while never forgetting the dark allure of creatures of the night.
Read an eARC from NetGalley Content warning: necromancy, drinking, drug use, dead parent (father), classism, colonialism, blood, body horror, vomiting, torture, violence against animals (cats, dogs)
Ren Monroe is top of her class at Balmerick University, but in terms of family status, she’s towards the bottom. Hoping to elevate her prospects, she’s interviewing with the city’s top families for a job. Her plans get put on hold, however, when an argument in one of the waxways, travel portals, sends her and a handful of her classmates on an adventure trying to get back to Kathor, despite the deadly magic and fantastic beasts interrupting their journey.
A fun magic system with something to say about class differences between students for whom success is guaranteed by family connections and those who claw their way to the top, this dark academia has all the trappings of a fantasy adventure including kobolds & wyverns as well as an exploration of the opportunities and privileges unevenly doled out
Read an eARC from the publisher Trigger warnings: graphic depictions of gun violence in the workplace, gore, death by bludgeoning, suicidal ideation. A portion of all sales goes to the Sandy Hook Foundation.
Two office workers channel their worst impulses in casual conversation in a twisted friendship that makes those daydreams a reality through a loophole that acts almost like Groundhog Day for the unhinged. Violent, mind-bending, with a breathtaking ending that hasn’t stopped bouncing within my brain since I finished.
This is one of those books where the main characters are absolutely repulsive. They’re in jobs that pay the bills and, on the surface, seem relatively adjusted, until you, the reader, get insight into their conversations, mostly revolving around how great the break in routine in the form of tragedy would be. This novella definitely serves as a character study of the worst type of white collar worker: someone with lots of ideas but who fundamentally does not contribute much to society or culture. They’re so realistic, I found myself getting mad at them like actual people and not people within a work of fiction.
The writing and development of these two is something incredible, especially given the book’s length. I will not spoil the journey, but the amount of self-awareness that emerges is masterful, especially following the restraint-less self-indulgence of the Tide – the unreality that strikes our main characters like a cyclical storm. It’s Office Space for the twenty-first century in ways both painfully true and deeply upsetting.
Intense and horrifying in its mundanity; absolutely proceed with caution give the subject matter.
Read a physical ARC from the publisher Content warning: mentions of a dead family member (father), gun violence, necromancy, gore, body horror, blood, depression, anxiety, intergenerational trauma, catfishing, homophobia, depictions and discussions of racism, attempted sexual assault, attempted vehicular manslaughter, emotional and mental manipulation
Cris and Clem are twins and the heirs to a powerful magical legacy, which may or may not have been usurped in the aftermath of a series of murders which took place thirty years before the start of the story. Cris has distanced herself from magic, while Clem uses it to connect with his family and ancestors. But when it’s discovered that magic caused their mother’s sickness, not natural causes, they race against crimes of the past to protect their future and the ones they love.
Equal parts epic fantasy and contemporary fantasy, magic is a force not to be trifled with as a pair of twins come into their own despite the conflict and tensions circling the families around them.
An interview with author Terry J. Benton-Walker is coming up on the blog on release day, April 4th, 2023.
Read a NetGalley eARC Content warning: AIDS epidemic, child abuse, human sacrifice, murder, human trafficking, gaslighting, mental illness, explicit sexual content, body horror, blood, dead parent (the mother), dictatorship, mentions of political uprising, nonconsensual medical experimentation, suicidal ideation, knives, cutting, there is a dog and terrible things happen to the dog
At its core, this book is a horror. It’s got cults, it’s got something akin to a vampire that fuels the world’s most rich and powerful at the expense of local children, and there’s a heart-wrenching exploration of the ways parental protection can actually cause more harm than good. Gaspar and his father, Juan, are on the run from their family and the terrifying legacy they weave. Upsetting in its horror, heart-wrenching in the depiction of parents trying their best but failing miserably, and the tension between moving on and finding normalcy.
A great cult book, a great family saga, with mysteries and supernatural treats galore.
I had the immense privilege of reading this book early. It’s about a haunted house, a broken relationship, mysticism, and genuine scares. It’s also incredibly hot, and the healing but horrifying journey these characters go through made my heart swoon.
I’m incredibly excited to be part of today’s cover drop. You are completely unprepared.
Listened to a NetGalley AudioARC Content warning: intergenerational trauma, domestic violence, divorce, blood, vehicular manslaughter
Fifteen-year-old Sara is really going through it between her parents’ impending divorce, her Bibi Jan’s dementia, and the house her mother is flipping that is unequivocally haunted by a ghost which may be a part of Sara’s past. Family secrets and a truth hidden for generations come together in this contemporary fiction that’s as much about community within an immigrant family as it is about Sara’s personal coming of age.
If you’re looking for a YA book with a younger protagonist and no romance arc that’s as heart-wrenching as it is spooky, you are in for a treat. Definitely among the best books I’ve read this year.
Genre: Adult Fantasy Romance Year Release: 2022 Buy Link: NineStar Press
Rating: 5 out of 5.
Read a NetGalley eARC Content warnings: blood used in a ritual, necromancy, depiction of anxiety pertaining to pregnancy, conversation surrounding fertility
Ethan and Peter live a pretty idyllic life in the village of Casper as a lighthouse keeper and fishing captain, respectively. One day, a selkie gets tangled in Peter’s net and Ethan uses necromantic ritual to bring another person back to life. Full of healing, intimacy, and interpersonal devotion, this autumnal read is perfect for people looking for some magic and tenderness a la a Miyazaki film that also fucks.
I love the exploration of family here. Ethan and Peter are very devoted husbands at a kind of crossroads in their lives. The selkie does not help in the immediate situation, but opens up the opportunity for something else. There is a mishap with some marrow that leads to heat, but the relationships among the three develop long before ignition. I really enjoyed the dynamic between the husbands, but especially their interactions with others in town. It feels slice-of-life even though there’s definitely an inciting event, a middle, and an end.
The worldbuilding is also rad. The rules of the magic are fairly hand-wavey, but there’s a nice folkloric aspect to Ethan’s rituals that add a layer of dreaminess to the entire narrative. Overall, this quick read is atmospheric, magical, and romantic.
Read an eARC from NetGalley Content warning: gun violence, ritualistic sacrifice, implied and period-appropriate homophobia
All magical detective Helen Brandt wants is to live out her days in peace Edith Jarosky. But her time is running out and an opportunity comes to get her soul back in exchange for solving a serial murder. With mischievous devils and devious angels, this Chicago fantasy noir has great worldbuilding and intricate character development.