The Honeys Review

*SOME SPOILERS*

Mars has always been the lesser twin, the shadow to his sister Caroline’s radiance. But when Caroline dies under horrific circumstances, Mars is propelled to learn all he can about his once-inseparable sister who’d grown tragically distant. Mars’s genderfluidity means he’s often excluded from the traditions — and expectations — of his politically-connected family. This includes attendance at the prestigious Aspen Conservancy Summer Academy where his sister poured so much of her time. But with his grief still fresh, he insists on attending in her place.

Mars as a character I enjoyed but didn’t connect with as much as I would of liked to. I think because the start of the book is so jarring and intense it took me a little longer to get situated in the plot and understand what was happening. I thought Mars’ reasonings for wanting to go back to Aspen Academy was fair and if was in his place I would of wanted to go back too. I just thought it took him too long to really make a move and start to fully investigate the honeys and Aspen as a whole.

All the other characters aside from Mars were kind of hard to distinguish between. None of them really felt fleshed out to me and were kind of blurred together (I’m even having a hard time remembering any of their names). I just felt like because this was titled as the honeys and they were the ones who were closest to Caroline before she died we would of got to know them a lot more than what we did.

I could in no way predict how this book was going to end. It took a turn for the weird and strange and I wasn’t prepared for it so it definitely took me by surprise! I liked how broad the scope of the book got and it wasn’t just isolated to Aspen and the fact that Mars wasn’t able to escape from the inevitability of this organisation.

The prose was very lyrical and beautiful but almost a little too flowery for me. I think the overly descriptive language and the perceptive shifts that occur throughout the course of the plot kept confusing me which may have been intentional by the author. I don’t really enjoy for the most part not fulling knowing and understanding what was going on so that kind of pulled me out of the story a bit.

⭐️3/5 stars Loved the premise, the pacing was just a bit off

Near the Bone Review

*SPOILERS AHEAD*

Mattie can’t remember a time before she and William lived alone on a mountain together. She must never make him upset. But when Mattie discovers the mutilated body of a fox in the woods, she realizes that they’re not alone after all. There’s something in the woods that wasn’t there before, something that makes strange cries in the night, something with sharp teeth and claws. When three strangers appear on the mountaintop looking for the creature in the woods, Mattie knows their presence will anger William. Terrible things happen when William is angry.

Mattie’s character broke my heart in this book. Just how much she has retreated into her mind, blocking out all her old memories and just becoming accustomed to the truly terrible treatment she has had to endure from William. Just the cavalier way her mind just accepts that she is going to be beaten and tortured by this man and yet will still continue to be his dutiful wife was horrifying. I was so proud of her for talking to the strangers when they came to the cabin and listened to herself and escaped when she did.

The fantastical element to the story with the monster I would of liked to be explored a little more. Maybe go into the lore of this creature and why it’s come now. Is it just a coincidence that Mattie comes across the dead fox and can subsequently feel when it’s near or is she just more in tune with her surroundings than everyone else. Is it just a physical representation of William and how monstrous his nature is which turned on him in the end?

The setting and atmosphere really played a big role in this book. The insular setting really showcases just how isolated Mattie has been from the rest of the world and restricts her from any chance of escape most of the time. There was just this overlying sense of dread and helplessness woven into the story that sets the tone of the rest of the plot and how it plays out.

⭐️4/5 stars This was heart wrenching!

House of Hunger Review

Marion Shaw has been raised in the slums, where want and deprivation is all she knows. Despite longing to leave the city and its miseries, she has no real hope of escape until the day she spots a peculiar listing in the newspaper, seeking a bloodmaid. Though she knows little about the far north–where wealthy nobles live in luxury and drink the blood of those in their service–Marion applies to the position. In a matter of days, she finds herself the newest bloodmaid at the notorious House of Hunger. There, Marion is swept into a world of dark debauchery–and at the center of it all is her.

I really liked Marion as our main protagonist. I thought she was quite strong and resilient and doesn’t back down despite the situations she finds herself in. Although in that same vein I thought she pushed the boundaries a little too much and thought she was above all the rules and didn’t have to adhere to them like the other blood maids. I liked the evolution of Marion’s character throughout the course of the book and even though she succumbs to Lisavet and gives herself wholly to her I liked that she regained some sense to investigate when things felt off.

I just kind of wish we got to explore more of the court and debauchery that takes place, I just feel like we were always just adjacent to that side of the house and I wanted to see more of Lisavet in her element as the Countess. I also wish we get to know the other blood maids a little more, we do get introductions to them and a little bit of a back story but not enough for me to feel a connection to them.

I really enjoyed the atmosphere of this book, the setting was wonderful and the pacing was fast and consistent. I was pulled into this world right from the start and the intrigue continued to build as we progressed through the plot with all of the twists and turns.

⭐️4/5 stars This was a ‘bloody’ good time!

The Weight of Blood Review

*SPOILERS BEWARE*

An outcast at her small-town Georgia high school, Madison Washington has always been a teasing target for bullies. And she’s dealt with it because she has more pressing problems to manage. Until the morning a surprise rainstorm reveals her most closely kept secret: Maddy is biracial. She has been passing for white her entire life at the behest of her fanatical white father, Thomas Washington. After a viral bullying video pulls back the curtain on Springville High’s racist roots, student leaders come up with a plan to change their image: host the school’s first integrated prom as a show of unity. The popular white class president convinces her Black superstar quarterback boyfriend to ask Maddy to be his date, leaving Maddy wondering if it’s possible to have a normal life.

I quite enjoyed Maddy’s character. I think the way she chose to deal with everything that has happened to her so far has been quite realistic. There is definitely that sense of not belonging to any one particular group at school and also the horrific treatment from her father has really stunted her maturity and also her confidence which leads to her inevitable psychotic break.

I wasn’t all that invested in any of the other characters to be honest. I think they were all meant to be unlikeable as we know that none of them survive prom night. Kenny’s character got on my nerves a little bit. I know it would be quite hard to not stick to the status quo when your in high school but he should of stuck up for Maddy and called out the quite obvious racists acts that his friends were pulling. His sister was one of my favourite characters and I loved how she wouldn’t stand for it and made a fuss! Wendy was totally selfish and even though her intentions might of been to help smooth everything over she was doing it all for herself and her image.

I haven’t read the original Carrie or watched the movie before so I honestly had no preconceived notions on how this should be written or how close or far from the original it is or should be. I thought it was well written and the format with the added podcast element was fun and made it easier to get through. The pacing was quite fast and I was highly entertained throughout. The prom night scene did feel a little rushed though so I wish we could of had more time to really get a grasp of what was happening and how horrible it would of been to witness.

⭐️4/5 stars seeing these characters get what they deserve was fun!

Hyped Horror Books

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is a Halloween freebie.  Last year I posted about 10 hyped horror books on my TBR and I’ve actually completed a few of the books in the last year so I figured I’d do a follow up on what I rated them!

Things Have Gotten Worse Since We Last Spoke by Eric LaRocca⭐️4/5 stars

The Final Girl Support Group by Grady Hendrix⭐️3/5 stars

Clown in the Cornfield by Adam Cesare⭐️4/5 stars

Night of the Mannequins by Stephen Graham Jones⭐️3/5 stars

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