Review: DRIVE YOUR PLOW OVER THE BONES OF THE DEAD by Olga Tokarczuk (trans. Antonia Lloyd-Jones, 2019)

Genre: Adult Mystery
Year Release in English: 2019
Source: Physical Copy

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Content warnings: violence against animal, dead pets, hunting, misogyny, blood, bore, vomiting, blood in stool (mentioned), alcoholism

A woman with a deep love for animals is at the center of this mystery where men with violent tendencies towards the local wildlife start appearing dead in her vicinity. The source material for the movie, Spoor (2017), I definitely had to give this one a read, and it’s incredible how well both versions of the story work in their respective media.

Much smaller in scope than The Books of Jacob, Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead is a character study of a recluse who loves animals living among hunters and

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Author to Author with Victor Manibo (The Sleepless)

Happy debut day to Victor Manibo and The Sleepless. If you’ve ever been in the depths of toxic productivity and wondered, “what if I just stopped sleeping,” well, this twisty science fiction mystery presents several arguments as to why that’s a terrible idea. Add in a layer of biohacking, and Jamie, our intrepid journalist protagonist, is in for a bad time when his boss turns up dead, and it looks like he might be the culprit.

I’m thrilled to have Victor on the blog today to talk about putting together a compelling mystery as a mystery lover, adding the speculative elements, what he’s working on now, and what he’s reading next.

Buy Links: | Unabridged Bookstore |

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ARC Review: THE SLEEPLESS by Victor Manibo (2022)

Genre: Adult Science Fiction
Year Release: August 23rd, 2022
Buy Links: | Unabridged Bookstore |

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Read an Advanced Bound Manuscript obtained from ALA AC 2022
Trigger/Content warning: suicide, burnout, gun violence, beating, alcoholism, drug abuse

In the year 2043, the world has passed through a plague like any other, one that rendered a quarter of the population Sleepless. We follow Jamie Vega, a reporter, who didn’t develop hyperinsomnia via the illness. He got it by biohacking, and it leads to some serious problems. Like forgetting the details of what happened the night before he found his boss, Simon, dead. Mysteries and a global conspiracy unravel, with twists on twist on twist.

This sharp examination of the cost of non-stop productivity at a personal and a global level includes a personal character journey as Jamie tries to clear his own name and get to the truth of what really happened that night.

An interview with the author will be going up on release day, August 23rd, 2022.

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Author to Author with Francesca Tacchi (Let The Mountains Be My Grave)

Happy debut day to Let The Mountains Be My Grave by Francesca Tacchi! I had the pleasure of reading an early copy of this Nazi-killing historical fantasy novella where the partisans get by with a little help from Etruscan gods.

Join me in celebrating this release with an interview with the author, where xe discusses the inspiration behind the novella, the kinds of research xe did, the fun xe had writing it, and what Tacchi is working on next.

Buy Links: Barnes & Noble | Unabridged Books

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Author to Author with Ren Hutchings (Under Fortunate Stars)

Happy UK debut day to Under Fortunate Stars by Ren Hutchings! A fun space heist that leads to the trappings of two ships in a time rift. There’s a Miguel-and-Tulio dynamic between the captains of the Jonah, plus compelling history fanning from the cast of the Gallion. It’s a fun space opera about people trying their best to preserve the future and then some.

Join me in welcoming this book with Ren Hutchings. She talks about bringing the Jonah and the Gallion together, fabricating a galaxy-sized collective mythos, the evolutions this story has taken, and what she’s working on next.

Buy Links: | Unabridged Books | Audiobook

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Author to Author with Maya MacGregor (The Many Half-Lived Lives of Sam Sylvester)

Happy YA debut day to The Many Half-Lived Lives of Sam Sylvester by Maya MacGregor. This book requires major tissues, as we watch the titular character move into a new school around people who get them all while haunted by personal trauma and the ghost of a teen murdered thirty years prior.

Join me in welcoming this book with an interview with the author. Like Sam, Maya MacGregor is non-binary and autistic, and they took the time to share with me the inspiration for the story and the back stories found within, a sneak peek at their next project, and what’s on their TBR.

Buy Links: | Unabridged Books | Audiobook

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Genre: Young Adult Thriller
Year Release: May 3, 2022
Buy Links: | Unabridged Books | Audiobook

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Read an eARC from NetGalley
Content warning: hate crime, homophobia, misgendering (challenged), racism, stalking, murder, anaphylaxis, death of a child, PTSD, anxiety

Autistic, non-binary Sam Sylvester left Montana with their single dad, Junius, after nearly escaping a hate crime with their life. They move into the former home of Billy Clement, a teen who died of an allergic reaction thirty years prior. Sam collects half-lived lives, stories about teens who didn’t live to nineteen. They take the opportunity for not only a fresh start but also to solve the murder with their group of queer friends. But when they get closer to the truth, someone works really hard not to ensure they don’t reach it.

With an excellent, multi-dimensional cast and incredible exploration of chosen family, this mystery will tug at the heartstrings and frazzle the nerves until its very deserved happy-for-now ending.

I am so excited to have the author on my blog on May 3rd, release date.

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Review: GOOD GIRL, BAD BLOOD (A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder #2) by Holly Jackson (2021)

Genre: Young Adult Mystery
Year Release: 2021
Source: Library Audiobook

Read my review of the first book, A Good Girls’ Guide to Murder.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Listened to the audiobook
Content warnings: gaslighting, missing person, rape (mentioned, not depicted), murder, gun shots

I dragged my feet a bit on listening to this one. I’m having a hard time with fiction, but something that’s a mystery with a structure that has to deliver on certain beats could fix some of it. Wow, was I correct.

In this sequel, there’s another mystery to solve and Pippa tries to have nothing to do with it. But when the police are true-to-life useless, it’s up to her and her podcast to come to the rescue.

Predictable in a masterful way that the author lays out everything that’s coming, really fun to listen to on audiobook, especially give the full cast performance in multi-format.

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Manga ARC Review: UNDEAD GIRL MURDER FARCE Vol. 1 by Yugo Aosaki & Haruka Tomoyama (2021)

Genre: Fantasy Mystery Seinen
Year Release in English: 2021

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Read a NetGalley eARC
Content warnings: Blood, murder, nudity, disembodied head

In 19th Century France, vampires are allowed to live alongside humans. Detectives are called in but little does anyone expect, it’s the disembodied head who’s also a demon.

This manga opens up with a dead vampire, a family member suspected, and a kooky trio consisting of a maid, a himbo, and a disembodied head in a cage. It is wonderfully strange and not very deep. It ends on a cliff-hanger, and I’m eager to see what the cage user has hidden behind his kind lack of sense.

The art style is really neat, though at times, the background work gets in the way of comprehending the words on the page. I’m unfamiliar with the differences between ARC manga and finished copies, so perhaps it is cleared up, and I hope so. I had a ton of fun during this read.

If you’re looking for something with cheek, thought-out world-building, and engaging action, definitely give this a shot.

ARC Review: THE GOOD GIRLS by Claire Eliza Bartlett (2020)

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Thriller
Year Release: December 2020
Buy Links:| Unabridged Books |

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Read an ARC from NetGalley
Trigger warning: sexual assault, rape culture, predatory teacher, murder, suicide, substance abuse, guns

This twisty read follows the investigation for four girls. Three of them perhaps have something to do with the fourth’s murder. Secrets come out, and to protect each other and their truths, they have to stand up to a police department which doesn’t believe them and a school administration actively working against them.

Complex, evenly paced with compelling, complicated characters who are neither “good” nor “bad,” The Good Girls is a layered read that delivers a satisfying mystery and catharsis.

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