TinFoil Butterfly by Rachel Eve Moulton

I finished this book while I was sitting on the dude’s bed. I wanted to really allow the story to sink in while before I sat down to write a review. I wanted to digest my feelings about the subject matter and the characters etc. As I am sitting here at my desk writing it I am still not sure how I feel.

Synopsis: A troubled teenager meets up with a little boy in a snowy ghost town.

What I liked: Moulton writes a great character. You really feel a lot of emotions for the characters in the story. You want to help them. You want them to find help. During the action of the story I found myself holding my breath hoping that they would reach safety. But as with any well crafted story safety is found through self reflection and wanting to survive. While I was reading Moulton’s writing made me reflect on choices. The choice to push through and survive or the choice to stop surviving. I appreciate the way she ended the story. (no spoilers here ladies and gentleman.) I also thought how she wrote Earl was well written and sensitive.

What I didn’t like: I wanted to know more of Earl’s backstory. He played such an integral part of the story but you only get small bits and pieces.

Star Rating: 4 Stars

My Thoughts: For me….the story is about the redemption of the main character. That is really sticks for me. There is so much tragedy in this story. So much sadness. But just when you think you are going to drown in the sorrow you get hope.

A big thank you to Farrar, Straus and Giroux for a review copy.

TinFoil Butterfly will be released on September 10th, 2019.

#LOHFReadathon When I Arrived At The Castle By Emily Carroll

I wasn’t a graphic novel fan, until I got Through The Woods by Emily Carroll. It was beautiful and the story really followed a horror fairytale format. The story was lush and the illustrations were beautiful. When the announcement came through, Carroll would be releasing another book this year. I waited very patiently for my library to purchase it. I was so happy that it came just in time for the #LOHFReadathon. I am using When I Arrived at the Castle as my LGBTQIA+ choice.

Synopsis: A cat girl arrives at a castle all set to kill the “woman” that lives there.

What I liked: As always the illustrations where STUNNING. Absolutely beautiful!! I really enjoy the color palette that Carrol uses. I enjoyed the premise of the story and the gothic leanings that were present. I appreciated the nod to Dracula. But what I really get here is Elizabeth Bรกthory. There is a part in the story where the woman is talking to the girl and is discussing how many have come before her etc….which is really what firmly lodged that idea in my head. There was a tiny bit of Dracula thrown in there for good measure but the other comes through more prominently .

What I didn’t like: I feel like there is a bit of story that is missing. The beginning and the ending are fully formed but I feel like there is something missing in the middle. I wanted to know more.

Star Rating: 3 stars

My thoughts: So I feel pretty let down here as I really loved Through The Woods. The illustrations weren’t the issue it was more the story. The story just felt lacking. I wanted to love it. I really really wanted to. Alas, I didn’t. Illustrations alone can’t carry a story. There needs to be some meat to the story.

Women In Translation: Revenge by Yoko Ogawa trans. by Stephen Snyder

Can I just say I am loving Women in translation month. I have heard of Ogawa and have seen Revenge on other people’s TBRs and because it was available at the library I snatched it up. I read this book in one sitting. I would love if everyone would pick up this book and read how the stories are interwoven together.

Synopsis: 11 interrelated short stories.

What I liked: I loved Ogawa’s writing style. It is lyrical and haunting. The stories are interrelated; one thread leading to another thread. Stories discussed within stories. Books discussed within stories. Each story is like a build up. The first couple of stories are simple building up to more complex stories towards the end of the book. The complexity of the stories is what makes the ending of this book intriguing. How Ogawa is able to weave all these stories together. Whether it is a single thread that is mentioned in the next story or a story about a book it is done seamlessly. The pacing of each of the stories are perfect and leaves you wanting more.

What I didn’t like: There wasn’t anything that I didn’t like.

Star Rating: 4.5 stars

My Thoughts: The books I have read this month really highlight why women in translation month is so important. If these books hadn’t been translated I wouldn’t have been able to read them. I would have missed out on these stories. Everyone who has read these would have missed out on these stories. These heartbreaking and hard stories. These stories that were written by women in different parts of the world in different stages of life and work. I want to also thank my wonderful public library for having these books available.

Women in Translation: The End of Days by Jenny Erpenbeck trans. by Susan Bernofsky

When I started my journey into Women in translation month I knew there were going to be some questions that would pop up as I read. I have questions lots of questions. These amazing book is marketed as horror but as I read I would defiantly say it is more speculative fiction but there are truly some real life horror elements in this book. The End of Days also made me think about choices in life and where they take you.

Synopsis: Story of a women’s five lives. How small things can effect a women’s life.

What I liked: I loved this entire book. Erpenbeck is ridiculously talented. She is able to take multiple POVs and multiple story lines and weave them together with such brilliancy. The book is broken up into 5 smaller novellas with explanations between them. The writing is heart breaking at times and infuriating at times. But mostly heart breaking. Each book has real life horror elements woven into the story. Erpenbeck also leads you into a history lesson of sorts.

What I didn’t like: Why it took me so long to find out about this amazing book.

Star Rating: 5 Stars

My Thoughts: This book is the exact reason why we need more translated books. It is beautiful, heartbreaking and scary. I wish I had read this book so much sooner then I had. I want to push this into everyone’s hands and make them read it. After I got done reading it I was wondering why this it is marketed as horror. However, it makes me wonder about what constitutes horror in other countries. Is it just the difference in cultures etc. this one book has made me really curious as to horror in different cultures.

Booker Long List: My Sister the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

When the Booker awards long list came out this year I was truly surprised. A book about a serial killer on this prestige list. Then I did a bit more digging and decided I wanted to read as many of the books on the long list and review them as I could. So I started with one that had been on my radar for awhile. Prior to 2019 I had only read true crime books about women that would have qualified as serial killers. So when Emily from Book Happy liked this one I knew I had to read it. I am really glad that it is on the log list for the Booker Award.

Synopsis: A nurse’s sister keeps “accidentally” killing people….is she a serial killer or is more going on.

What I liked: This is one of those books that’s written so well you want to keep reading it. The pacing of the story is perfect. It really lets you chew on the story as it goes along. The characters in the story are so well written you really feel like the MC is talking to you throughout the story. The premise of the story is really unique and fresh. Braithwaite is a very talented. She was able to take a backstory and weave it within the narration perfectly. The end of the story was really surprising.

What I didn’t like: Absolutely Nothing

Star Rating: 5

My thoughts: I really enjoyed this story so very very much, I can totally see why this was nominated for the Booker long list. Even though it isn’t listed as Horror there are many horrific elements to the story. I really appreciated the freshness of the story and I can’t wait to read more by Braithwaite.

Shallow Graves by Kali Wallace

I recently took part in a blog blitz (I believe that is what it is called) for Salvation Day by Kali Wallace. I was talking to Jen from over at Book Den about how much I enjoyed the story and she pointed out that Wallace had also published a YA horror called Shallow Graves, as I am now reading YA and MG horror as well I got the book from my library. I am so glad that I did. I may be on the hunt for a copy to keep as well. I can’t believe that I hadn’t heard about this book before. Seriously, I can’t believe I haven’t heard all about it in the YA book community.

Synopsis: A girl wakes up in her grave and goes on a trip across the country.

What I liked: Wallace’s writing style lends itself so well to this story. This story flows so smooth and that is down to Wallace’s writing style. The character’s are well written and three dimensional. The pacing is perfect for the way the story unfolds. The plot holds together extremely well. The premise of the book was very original and Wallace’s writing really shines through out it.

What I didn’t Like: I would have loved a second book….or for this to be a series. I really want to revisit the characters!!

Star Rating: 4.5 Stars

My thoughts: I love YA/MG horror. I feel like this was a missing genre when I was growing up. So much of the YA/MG horror I am reading right now is really good. Wallace is an author that I recently reviewed, I really enjoy her writing style. I hope that everyone picks this book up!! A super big thank you to Jen for telling me about this book!!

City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab

I may be on a bit of a Schwab kick this month. But I will say this I wish when I was in grade school this book was in the library. When I was in grade school the main “horror”book that was in the library was Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. They were always checked out and hard to get your mitts on. Seriously I really wish City of Ghosts would have been an option.

Synopsis: A girl whose parents who write paranormal books goes on an adventure in Edinburgh.

What I liked: Schwab is so freaking talented!! The pacing of the story was fantastic. The premise of the story has been done before but Schwab takes the story and makes it fresh and modern. The characters are well written. The setting for the story is lovely and Schwab really captures the history and beauty of one of my favorite cities in the world.

What I didn’t like: There is nothing that I didn’t like.

Star Rating: 5 Stars!!!

My Thoughts: I really really enjoyed this story. It was so well written and the premise was great! I loved it. I can’t wait for the second story in the series. I love that Schwab started the series in Edinburgh. It is a city that is steeped in history, legend and ghost stories. It is one of my favorite cities in the world. I loved the idea that the main characters parents are writers of paranormal books. It was such a lovely part of the story.