Hello everybody! Today, I’m doing another review post, the theme this time being either spooky or somehow supernatural books, to fit in with the time of year (I will admit some of them are only loosely connected, but I fancied talking about them so they’re here anyway!). There’s quite a good mix of genres, I think, so hopefully something to suit everyone. Onto the post!
A Mixture of Mischief by Anna Meriano
In the final book of the Love Sugar Magic trilogy, we see young bruja Leo try to navigate dealing with rivals to her family’s bakery, as well as her newfound magical ability. As ever, the Logroños are one of my favourite fictional families- the dynamic between them is amazing, and they’re one of those ones you really want to be part of when you read these! On that note, I very much enjoyed getting to know Leo’s cousin in this installment, as well getting to see lots more of my existing favourites, and I thought her abuelo was a very interesting character indeed. I also just really love the worldbuilding and magic system; it’s so clever and well thought out and fun to learn about, and I adore how it’s intertwined with Latin American culture as well. Something else I always enjoy about this series is how releaxing I find them- the plots are always great and there are pretty high stakes, but they have such a cosy, lovely feel to them as well and I can’t recommend them enough as comfort reads, especially if you’re feeling ill and need something to cheer you up a bit. I’m very much going to miss my periodic visits with the Logroño family so much now the series is finished, but I can’t wait to see what Anna writes next too!
The Monsters of Rookhaven by Pàdraig Kenny (recieved from the publisher in exchange for my honest review)
I’ve been sitting thinking about how to try and write this review for a while now, and I still don’t think I can possibly do it justice. However, I loved it and want everyone to pick it up, so I’m going to give it my best try. It’s the story of Mirabelle, who lives with a group of monsters called ‘the Family’, as orphans Jem and Tom somehow find their way into their house, and the consequences that has for her, her family, Jem and Tom themselves and the village they live in. I loved that the narration is split between Mirabelle, Jem, Family member Piglet and also the butcher’s son Freddie, as it really allows the reader to see things from all sides, even though it’s in 3rd person. I really enjoyed getting to know all of the characters too; I was so fond of almost all of them, but the villain was utterly deplorable and genuinely quite scary, and I loved to loathe him. Some of the twists honestly just took my breath away as well, as did a few sections, particularly the climax where I was worried about whether or not the Family would manage to survive. One of the cleverest, most unique things I’ve read all year, possibly ever actually, and one I’ll remember for a very long time.
The Switching Hour by Damaris Young
I’ve been meaning to read this since it came out, and I’m so glad I finally have now because it’s such a great read. It’s the story of Amaya, whose brother Kaleb is stolen away by the sinister monster Badeko who steals children if they are out past the “Switching Hour”, and her quest to rescue him. Amaya is a wonderful character and I admired her strength so much; her love for her brother was so strong and I loved that she was willing to do anything to save him. I also really liked Mally, who she meets while searching for Kaleb, as she was so interesting as a character in her own right, and her grandmother, plus this review just wouldn’t be complete without giving Tao the goat a shout out too because he was adorable and I loved his bond with Amaya! I also really enjoyed the lyrical writing, and how emotional and complex this is- it explores a lot of different themes that apply to real life within a fantasy world. An incredibly atmospheric, moving debut.
My Life as a Cat by Carlie Sorosiak
If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you’ll know that I, Cosmo was my favourite book of 2019, and My Life as a Cat is definitely one of my favourites of this year. It’s about an alien called Leonard, who is coming to earth to live for a month as a human (as all aliens are allowed to do), and what happens when it goes wrong and he arrives as a cat instead. I loved Leonard’s narration so, so much- I was crying by the end of the first chapter because I was already so attached to him, and Olive, the human who he ends up living with- I also loved that this chapter introduces them at the end of their month together and then flashes back to the events before, because it made me even more desperate to see how their story would end than I would have been already. I cried a lot while reading this if I’m honest, because their relationship is just so special and it makes such a difference to how they view the world, although I’ll admit I was almost crying with laughter at points too because it’s very funny and wholesome and sweet as well! I didn’t want to put this down because I loved being in this world so much, and this has cemented Carlie Sorosiak as one of my absolute favourite MG writers! I’m determined to finally try some of her YA in 2021 too.
The Ghost of Gosswater by Lucy Strange (recieved from the publisher in exchange for my honest review)
I loved Our Castle by the Sea a couple of years ago, and I was so excited when I ended up adoring this new release from Lucy Strange too. This is about a girl named Aggie, who has grown up believing she is the Earl of Gosswater’s daughter, as she is sent away to live with the man claiming to be ber real dad now her cousin Clarence has become the Earl. Aggie is an amazing character and I became so attached to her throughout, and I loved Thomas and Bryn as well (eventually, in Thomas’s case, as I wasn’t sure of him at all when we first meet hi,!). I also have to point out that this is definitely a brilliant choice for this season as well, because there’s one particular point of this where I genuinely did a little jump and scream because I was so worried for Aggie, as well as lots of others that had me pretty freaked out too! Cousin Clarence is the best villain I’ve read in ages, and there were some twists in here I didn’t see coming at all that I loved, particularly with regards to who Aggie really is. Perfect for anyone who enjoys a good gothic thrill, and it’s reminded me that I really must track down a copy of the Secret of Nightingale Wood too!
The Otherwhere Emporium by Ross Mackenzie
I am such a huge fan of this series- I first read Nowhere Emporium pretty soon after it was published I think, and was incredibly lucky to receive a proof of the Elsewhere Emporium in 2018. I had no idea a third book was happening till a few months ago, but I read it fairly soon after it was released and I’m just as obsessed with it as I was its predecessors. It follows new character Mirren Feather, who must journey into the emporium with her best friend and their bully to save her mum, after the mysterious Daniel Holmes warns her she’s in terrible danger. The writing is so amazing, and I love how inventive the world is- I feel like I can picture every detail of the emporium, and I got really emotional reading this because I knew it was the last one, and also because of how things have changed so much since we saw it last. As ever, I loved the mix of past and present timelines, and how cleverly these thread together to create a really rich story, and it was wonderful seeing so many familiar faces, and I loved all the new characters too (I was particularly delighted by who the villain was, as i still think they’re one of the best villains I’ve ever read). I still can’t believe I’m never going to go on a new adventure with the shop from nowhere, but Ross Mackenzie is an incredibly talented writer and I look forward to spending time in the other worlds he creates in the future.
Shadowspring by Paul Mason (recieved from the publisher in exchange for my honest review)
In the 2nd book of the International Yeti Collective series, we meet Tadpole, who is the daughter of the sett’s leader, as she meets human Henry and they team up to save the yetis from an impending threat. Tadpole is so sweet and thoughtful and kind, and I absolutely loved her. Henry is a great character too, and I was also very fond of Shipshape and Snowdrift (Tadpole’s relationship with Snowdrift was such a highlight of the book, her love for him is so special, and I found the parts where she speaks to him very moving!). I also really enjoyed getting to see how things were a little bit different within the Greybeard sett, as the last book was about other characters altogether, although that said it was lovely to have a cameo from them too! And I don’t think the yeti naming custom will ever not make me chuckle! This is a really heartwarming read, and I do hope to see more books in this series soon!
The Haunting of Aveline Jones by Phil Hickes
This is the story of a girl named Aveline, who goes to stay with her aunt and stumbles upon a ghostly mystery when she buys a book of ghost stories that originally belonged to a girl who went mysteriously missing many years before. Things start off fairly typically for a mystery so I wasnt expecting things to get as supernatural as they did, but I really enjoyed how creepy it was and the villain is pretty chilling. The multimedia format was something I thought was brilliant as well- we get Aveline’s perspective, diary entries, ghost stories, newspaper articles etc and it’s really fun! I loved how fast paced this was, and it’s short length means it’s a great length to get through in one or two sittings (and finish it before it gets too late and you terrify yourself!) Genuinely spooky and perfect autumnal reading, and I’ll definitely be picking up Aveline’s next adventure once it’s out too.
The Bigwoof Conspiracy by Dashe Roberts (recieved from the publisher in exchange for my honest review)
I meant to read this absolutely ages ago when I first got sent it, but I’m kind of glad I didn’t till now, because it was a perfect read for autumn to get me into the mood for Halloween! It’s about a town called Sticky Pines, where people have vanishing seemingly randomly, and a girl called Lucy who decides to try and work out what’s going on with her new friend Milo when she spots a mysterious creature lurking. I did guess some of what was going on, but it’s a really interesting mystery with a sci fi twist and some twists I didn’t see coming at all, and Lucy and Milo’s bantering back and forth was really enjoyable as well. I also liked the overall solution, as well as the hints at the end about what’s to come next in the series, which were incredibly intriguing. On the whole, this is a lot of fun, and a great start to the series!
Do you have any recommendations for slightly spooky or supernatural reads? What are your thoughts on the ones I’ve mentioned? I’d love to hear in the comments!