Friday, September 8, 2023

Feature Friday ARC Review: The Salt Road by N. Caceres

  *Feature Friday ARC Review is a meme hosted by The Tattered Page to review books not yet released.  

*Warning: This review may contain spoilers. Read at your own risk.

Publisher: Indie
Release Date: 
September 12, 2023
Pages: 227
Genre: Adult Horror
Source: ARC 

THE STORY:

Can you stomach finding out what makes a villain...a villain?

Few walk the Salt Road unscathed. Here, every wound you inflicted on earth will gouge its place in your skin — shredding your precious, pathetic human shell into ribbons.

Oh yes, you can run from your demons all you want. But in Mictlan they will stalk you, until you fall a writhing prey to their decadent promises.

And Annette Yarbrow? She has juiciest, depraved secrets that the Road longs to scrape from her insides.

And I’m thirsty. We all are. The land of the dead is parched and thrashing with anticipation to slice and claw her sadistic past into its greedy mouth.

By the time we get to the gates of the City of the Dead, I’ll have my answers. I’ll know what drives a creature to become so vile.

But there is still a price to be paid. And Annette’s debtors crave only the most brutal retribution...

The Salt Road is a single POV erotic horror that features deeply disturbing content, an affair that will redefine ‘taboo’, divine retribution, and decadent depravity in the land of the dead.

A full list of trigger warnings is available on the author’s website and in the ‘look inside’ feature. Please read responsibly.
LINK: Goodreads 


RATING

ONE-WORD REVIEW: DEPRAVED

TAG LINE: 
Can you stomach finding out what makes a villain...a villain?

OPENING LINE: The corpse before me had been lying there, twitching from its death rattles for days.


REVIEW:

𝒲𝒶𝓇𝓃𝒾𝓃𝑔: sᴏᴍᴇ sᴘᴏɪʟᴇʀs ᴀʜᴇᴀᴅ!

ʜᴜɢᴇ ᴛʜᴀɴᴋ ʏᴏᴜ ᴛᴏ ɴ. ᴄᴀᴄᴇʀᴇs ғᴏʀ ᴘʀᴏᴠɪᴅɪɴɢ ᴍᴇ ᴡɪᴛʜ ᴀɴ ᴀᴅᴠᴀɴᴄᴇᴅ ʀᴇᴀᴅᴇʀ ᴄᴏᴘʏ!

𝒯𝒽𝑒 ð’®ð’¶ð“ð“‰ 𝑅𝑜𝒶𝒹 ɪs ᴛʜᴇ sᴇᴄᴏɴᴅ ʙᴏᴏᴋ ɪɴ ᴛʜᴇ ғɪʀᴇ ᴏɴ ᴛʜᴇ ʜᴏʀɪᴢᴏɴ sᴇʀɪᴇs ᴀɴᴅ ᴏʙsɪᴅɪᴀɴ ғᴇᴀᴛʜᴇʀs ᴍᴜsᴛ ʙᴇ ʀᴇᴀᴅ ғɪʀsᴛ. ғɪʀsᴛ ᴀɴᴅ ғᴏʀᴇᴍᴏsᴛ, ᴛʜɪs ɪs ᴏɴᴇ ʙᴏᴏᴋ ʏᴏᴜ ᴅᴇғɪɴɪᴛᴇʟʏ ᴡᴀɴᴛ ᴛᴏ ᴄʜᴇᴄᴋ ᴛʜᴇ ᴛᴡ/ᴄᴡ ʙᴇғᴏʀᴇ ᴊᴜᴍᴘɪɴɢ ɪɴ—ᴇᴠᴇɴ ғᴏʀ ᴛʜᴇ ʀᴇᴀᴅᴇʀs ʟɪᴋᴇ ᴍᴇ ᴡʜᴏ sᴇᴇ ᴛʜᴇᴍ ᴀs sʜᴏᴘᴘɪɴɢ ʟɪsᴛs. ᴛʜᴇ ʙᴏᴏᴋ ɪs ᴏɴᴇ ᴏғ ᴛʜᴇ ᴅᴀʀᴋᴇsᴛ ʙᴏᴏᴋs ɪ'ᴠᴇ ʀᴇᴀᴅ ɪɴ ᴀ ᴡʜɪʟᴇ ᴀɴᴅ ᴡɪʟʟ ɴᴏᴛ ʙᴇ ғᴏʀ ᴇᴠᴇʀʏᴏɴᴇ.

𝒯𝒽𝑒 ð’®ð’¶ð“ð“‰ 𝑅𝑜𝒶𝒹 ғᴏʟʟᴏᴡs ᴀɴɴᴇᴛᴛᴇ “ᴀɴɪᴛᴀ” ʏᴀʀʙʀᴏᴡ (ᴀɴɢɪᴇ's ᴛᴇʀʀɪʙʟᴇ ᴍᴏᴛʜᴇʀ) ɪɴ ᴛʜᴇ ᴀғᴛᴇʀʟɪғᴇ ᴀs sʜᴇ ᴡᴀʟᴋs ᴛʜᴇ sᴀʟᴛ ʀᴏᴀᴅ ᴛᴏ ᴀɴsᴡᴇʀ ғᴏʀ ʜᴇʀ ᴄʀɪᴍᴇs ᴀɴᴅ ᴀᴛʀᴏᴄɪᴛɪᴇs ᴀɢᴀɪɴsᴛ ɴᴏᴛ ᴏɴʟʏ ᴏᴛʜᴇʀs ʙᴜᴛ ʜᴇʀ ᴏᴡɴ ᴄʜɪʟᴅʀᴇɴ. ᴡʜɪʟᴇ sʜᴇ ᴛʀᴀᴠᴇʟs ᴛʜᴇ sᴀʟᴛ ʀᴏᴀᴅ sʜᴇ ᴜɴᴅᴇʀɢᴏᴇs ʙʀᴜᴛᴀʟ, ᴡᴇʟʟ-ᴅᴇsᴇʀᴠᴇᴅ ᴛᴏʀᴛᴜʀᴇ ᴛʜᴀᴛ ɪ ᴡᴀs sᴏ ᴇxᴄɪᴛᴇᴅ ᴛᴏ ʀᴇᴀᴅ ᴀʙᴏᴜᴛ ᴀғᴛᴇʀ ʀᴇᴀᴅɪɴɢ 𝒪𝒷𝓈𝒾𝒹𝒾𝒶𝓃 𝐹𝑒𝒶𝓉𝒽𝑒𝓇𝓈.

“𝒱𝑒𝓃𝑔𝑒𝒶𝓃𝒸𝑒 𝓈𝑜𝓊𝓃𝒹𝓈 𝑔𝓇𝑒𝒶𝓉, 𝑒𝓋𝑒𝓃 𝓈𝑜𝓊𝓃𝒹𝓈 𝓁𝒾𝓀𝑒 𝓉𝒽𝑒 𝒶𝓃𝓈𝓌𝑒𝓇 𝓉𝑜 𝒶𝓁𝓁 𝓎𝑜𝓊𝓇 𝓅𝓇𝑜𝒷𝓁𝑒𝓂𝓈 𝓌𝒽𝑒𝓃 𝓎𝑜𝓊 𝑒𝓍𝒾𝓈𝓉 𝒶𝓈 𝓃𝑜𝓉𝒽𝒾𝓃𝑔 𝓂𝑜𝓇𝑒 𝓉𝒽𝒶𝓃 𝓎𝑜𝓊𝓇 𝒶𝒸𝒽𝒾𝓃𝑔 𝓅𝒶𝒾𝓃.”

ɪᴛ ᴡᴀs ɪɴᴛᴇʀᴇsᴛɪɴɢ ᴛᴏ sᴇᴇ ᴛʜᴇ ғʟᴀsʜʙᴀᴄᴋs ᴏғ ᴀɴɪᴛᴀ ᴡɪᴛʜ ʜᴇʀ ғᴀᴍɪʟʏ, ᴛᴏ sᴇᴇ ᴍᴏʀᴇ ᴏғ ᴀɴɢɪᴇ's ғᴀᴛʜᴇʀ, ᴀɴᴅ ᴛʜᴇ ᴅʏɴᴀᴍɪᴄ ʙᴇᴛᴡᴇᴇɴ ᴇᴠᴇʀʏᴏɴᴇ.

ᴀɴɪᴛᴀ's ɢᴜɪᴅᴇ ᴏɴ á´›Êœá´‡ sᴀʟᴛ ʀᴏᴀᴅ: ʜᴇʀ ʏᴏᴜɴɢᴇsᴛ ᴅᴀᴜɢʜᴛᴇʀ's ᴄᴀᴅᴇᴊᴏ, ᴛʜᴇ ʙᴏʀʀᴏᴡᴇʀ. ᴀ ᴄᴀᴅᴇᴊᴏ ᴛʜᴀᴛ ʜᴀs ʙᴇᴇɴ ᴏʙsᴇssᴇᴅ ᴡɪᴛʜ ʜᴇʀ ғᴏʀ ʏᴇᴀʀs ᴀɴᴅ ᴡᴏᴜʟᴅ ᴄʀᴏss ᴀɴʏ ᴀɴᴅ ᴇᴠᴇʀʏ ʟɪɴᴇ ғᴏʀ ʜᴇʀ. 

“𝒟𝒾𝓋𝒾𝓃𝒾𝓉𝓎 𝓌𝒶𝓈 𝒷𝑒𝓈𝓉 𝓈𝓊𝒾𝓉𝑒𝒹 𝓉𝑜 𝓉𝒽𝑒 𝓅𝓁𝑒𝒶𝓈𝓊𝓇𝑒𝓈 𝑜𝒻 𝓉𝒽𝑒 𝒹𝒶𝓇𝓀, 𝒶𝓃𝒹 𝐼 𝓌𝒶𝓈 𝓃𝑜𝓉 𝑜𝓃𝑒 𝓉𝑜 𝓈𝓆𝓊𝒶𝓃𝒹𝑒𝓇 𝒾𝓉.”

ɪ ᴅᴏɴ'ᴛ ᴛʏᴘɪᴄᴀʟʟʏ ʀᴇᴀᴅ ᴛʜɪs ɢᴇɴʀᴇ ʙᴜᴛ ɪ ʟᴏᴠᴇᴇᴇᴅ ᴏʙsɪᴅɪᴀɴ ғᴇᴀᴛʜᴇʀs, ɪ ᴛʜᴏᴜɢʜᴛ ɪ ɢɪᴠᴇ ð’¯ð’½ð‘’ ð’®ð’¶ð“ð“‰ 𝑅𝑜𝒶𝒹 ᴀ ᴛʀʏ. ᴡʜɪʟᴇ ɪ ᴇɴᴊᴏʏᴇᴅ ɪᴛ ғᴏʀ ᴛʜᴇ ᴍᴏsᴛ, ɪ ᴅᴏ ʜᴀᴠᴇ ᴏɴᴇ ɪssᴜᴇ. ᴄᴀᴄᴇʀᴇs ɪs ᴀ ʟʏʀɪᴄᴀʟ ᴡʀɪᴛᴇʀ ᴡʜɪᴄʜ ɪs ᴀʟᴡᴀʏs ᴀ ᴘʟᴜs. ʜᴏᴡᴇᴠᴇʀ, ʜᴇʀ ᴡʀɪᴛɪɴɢ ᴄᴀɴ ʙᴇ ʜᴀʀᴅ ᴛᴏ ғᴏʟʟᴏᴡ ᴀᴛ ᴛɪᴍᴇs ᴅᴜʀɪɴɢ ᴛʜᴇ sᴛᴏʀʏ. ɪ.ᴇ. ᴛʜᴇ ғɪʀsᴛ ᴄʜᴀᴘᴛᴇʀ ᴏʀ sᴏ ᴏғ 𝒯𝒽𝑒 ð’®ð’¶ð“ð“‰ 𝑅𝑜𝒶𝒹 ᴡᴀs ᴅɪғғɪᴄᴜʟᴛ ᴛᴏ ғᴏʟʟᴏᴡ ᴛʜᴇ ʟɪɴᴇs ᴀɴᴅ ᴍᴀᴋᴇ sᴇɴsᴇ ᴏғ ᴡʜᴏ ᴀɴᴅ/ᴏʀ ᴡʜᴀᴛ ᴛʜᴇ ʙᴏʀʀᴏᴡᴇʀ ᴡᴀs ʀᴇғᴇʀʀɪɴɢ ᴛᴏ. ɪ ᴡᴏɴ'ᴛ ᴇʟᴀʙᴏʀᴀᴛᴇ ғᴜʀᴛʜᴇʀ sᴏ ᴀs ɴᴏᴛ ᴛᴏ sᴘᴏɪʟ.

𝒯𝒽𝑒 𝒮𝒶𝓁𝓉 𝑅𝑜𝒶𝒹 ɪs ᴀ ᴡᴇʟʟ-ᴘᴀᴄᴇᴅ ᴅᴀʀᴋ ᴀᴅᴜʟᴛ ᴇʀᴏᴛɪᴄ ʜᴏʀʀᴏʀ ʟᴀᴅᴇɴ ᴡɪᴛʜ ɢᴏʀᴇ ᴀɴᴅ ᴏʙsᴇssɪᴏɴ. ᴀʟʟ ɪɴ ᴀʟʟ, ð’¯ð’½ð‘’ ð’®ð’¶ð“ð“‰ 𝑅𝑜𝒶𝒹 ᴡᴀs ᴀ ᴡɪʟᴅ, ʜᴏʀʀɪғɪᴄ ʀɪᴅᴇ ᴀɴᴅ ɪ ʟᴏᴠᴇᴅ ᴇᴠᴇʀʏ ʙɪᴛ ᴏғ ɪᴛ!



TRIGGER WARNINGS:

✨Cheating 
✨Drugging
✨Explicit content
✨Discussion of drug addiction and recovery
✨Tetratophilia
✨Graphic instances of bodily possession by an outside force in a sexual context
✨Graphic language
✨Intense depictions of child abuse by parent
✨Intense narcissism
✨Murder



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

J. ELLE is the New York Ti. This Author is a swamp goblin who has been irresponsibly released into the wilds of California to run amok, unsupervised. To perceive her is to be cursed with the eldritch knowledge.
Do not perceive the swamp goblin.

Or do…yanno…whatever you want to do with your life. Who am I to tell you what to do? No one. That’s who. Click the shiny buttons at your own peril.


Happy Reading!
 
Friday, August 18, 2023

Feature Friday ARC Review: House of Marionne by J. Elle

 

*Feature Friday ARC Review is a meme hosted by The Tattered Page to review books not yet released.  

*Warning: This review may contain spoilers. Read at your own risk.

Publisher: Penguin Teen
Release Date: 
August 29, 2023
Pages: 400
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Source: ARC 

THE STORY:

Rich is the blood of the chosen

17 year-old Quell has lived her entire life on the run. She and her mother have fled from city to city, in order to hide the deadly magic that flows through Quell’s veins.

Until someone discovers her dark secret.

To hide from the assassin hunting her, and keep her mother out of harm’s way, Quell reluctantly inducts into a debutante society of magical social elites called the Order that she never knew existed. If she can pass their three rites of membership, mastering their proper form of magic, she’ll be able to secretly bury her forbidden magic forever.

If caught, she will be killed.

But becoming the perfect debutante is a lot harder than Quell imagined, especially when there’s more than tutoring happening with Jordan, her brooding mentor and— assassin in training.

When Quell uncovers the deadly lengths the Order will go to defend its wealth and power, she’s forced to choose: embrace the dark magic she’s been running from her entire life or risk losing everything, and everyone, she’s grown to love.

Still, she fears the most formidable monster she’ll have to face is the one inside.
LINK: Goodreads 


RATING

ONE-WORD REVIEW: DECADENT

TAG LINE: 
Bury your secret or die for it.

OPENING LINE: Yagrin ran a finger along the blade and sucked in a deep breath.


REVIEW:

Huge thank you to Penguin Teen for providing me with an advanced reader copy!

HOUSE OF MARIONNE is a fantastical story that blends feminine rage, forbidden dark powers, and a magical society of debutants. There were also Dark academia vibes and a mystery with a dash of romance. The story follows Quell, who spends her life quite literally on the run from herself with her mother as she tries to keep her illicit deadly powers a secret.

But when her safe haven is snatched from her, Quell is forced to seek refuge at her grandmother’s foreboding estate. There, she must ascribe to the debutante society known as the Order and undertake 3 rites of membership in order to suppress her magic forever. Insert Jordan, her enigmatic and intimidating tutor.

Jordan is our “shadow daddy” extraordinaire. I mean, who doesn’t love a good shadow-wielding hottie? I just wished he was fleshed out a bit more and there was more chemistry between him and Quell.

As for Quell’s mother: the woman kept her on the run and was cryptic as hell. But Quell didn’t bug her with questions?

HOUSE OF MARIONNE is a well-paced YA romantic Fantasy laden with dark Bridgerton vibes. All in all, HOUSE OF MARIONNE was a very enjoyable, interesting read.


TROPES/ELEMENTS:

✨Assassins 
✨Secret magical societies
✨Enemies-to-lovers
✨Deadly magic
✨Dark academia
✨Morally gray characters



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


J. ELLE is the New York Times bestselling author of young adult and middle-grade fantasy fiction and a 2022 NAACP Image Award Nominee for Outstanding Literary Work for Youth and Teens. Her work has been translated into three languages. The former educator credits her nomadic lifestyle and humble inner-city beginnings as inspiration for her novels. When she’s not writing, Elle can be found on the hunt for new desserts sans Chocolat, looking for literally any excuse to get dressed up, and road-tripping her way across the country with her two dogs in tow.


Happy Reading!
 
Friday, June 23, 2023

Feature Friday ARC Review: The Shadow Sister by Lily Meade

*Feature Friday ARC Review is a meme hosted by The Tattered Page to review books not yet released.  

*Warning: This review may contain spoilers. Read at your own risk.

Publisher: Sourcebooks
Release Date: 
June 27, 2023
Pages: 336
Genre: Young Adult Horror/Thriller
Source: ARC 

THE STORY:

Sutton going missing is the worst thing to happen to Casey, to their family. She’s trying to help find her sister, but Casey is furious. And she can’t tell anyone about their argument before Sutton disappeared. Everyone paints a picture of Sutton’s perfection: the popular cheerleader with an entourage of friends, a doting boyfriend, and a limitless future. But Sutton manipulated everyone around her, even stole an heirloom bracelet from Casey. People don’t look for missing Black girls--or half-Black girls--without believing there is an angel to be saved.

When Sutton reappears, Casey knows she should be relieved. Except Sutton isn’t the same. She remembers nothing about while she was gone—or anything from her old life, including how she made Casey miserable. There’s something unsettling about the way she wants to spend time with Casey, the way she hums and watches her goldfish swim for hours.

What happened to Sutton? The more Casey starts uncovering her sister’s secrets, the more questions she has. Did she really know her sister? Why is no one talking about the other girls who have gone missing in their area? And what will it take to uncover the truth?
LINK: Goodreads 


RATING

ONE-WORD REVIEW: CREEPY

TAG LINE: 
She came back. Is it a miracle . . . or a curse?

OPENING LINE: My sister is a bitch, but that doesn’t mean I want her dead.


REVIEW:

Huge thank you to Sourcebooks for providing me with an advanced reader copy of THE SHADOW SISTER!

THE SHADOW SISTER follows Casey, whose sister comes back from the dead. Changed. Still, before Sutton’s strange reappearance, they have a huge fight that left Casey furious with her “perfect” sister. However mean and manipulative Sutton was, though, Casey never wanted her dead.

Now Casey must maintain her family’s image and pretend everything is great again while she tries to come to terms with Sutton’s sudden reappearance and strange behavior. All the while trying to uncover her sister’s secrets. What really happened to Sutton? And who is this creature whose taken her place? But how far will Casey go to find answers? Just how much is she willing to sacrifice?

THE SHADOW SISTER is a creepy, fast-paced YA Horror/Thriller with angst and mystery. The premise is interesting and my kind of creepy. The pacing is just right for the unfolding of the mysterious story, and the characters are dynamic. All in all, THE SHADOW SISTER was quick, interesting, and worth the read.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


I was born and raised in Washington state (the one with coffee, not congress), the second oldest and only girl of four. I like to think I was a cool kid (my mother was an ice cream lady, I mean… come on), but that is debatable. I believe stories have power. I strive to live by the motto of a life inspired by fiction. I come from a background of extreme poverty (I've been homeless twice!) and live with a chronic illness, so I know just how powerful hope can be when you're on a difficult journey. I believe anyone can achieve their own happy ending, no matter how bleak things may currently seem. I'm a passionate advocate of at risk youth outreach and reading programs. My debut novel THE SHADOW SISTER and an untitled second novel will be published by Sourcebooks Fire in 2023 and 2024 respectively. My ultimate career goal is to be hired to write a modern YA reboot of Scooby Doo.


Happy Reading!
 
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