Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find: Reviewing The Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward

Hey everyone! I’m back sooner than I thought I would be with another review. I also realized that I read a lot of books that deal with pretty dark subject matter. If you mind that at all, I completely understand. I don’t always intentionally seek out dark books, but I do have an inherently morbid sense of curiosity. This is also another book I saw circulating on people’s must reads for horror/suspense novels. If that is what you are looking for, stick around and listen to my review for The Last House of Needless Street.

Content Warning: Death of Children, Graphic Bodily Injury, Discussions and Depictions of Mental Illness, Alcohol Abuse, Death of Animals, Self-Harm

Ted Bannerman has done his best to live a quiet life. He keeps his daughter, Lauren, safe despite how much she fights him. His cat Olivia lives her own life, napping and reading the Bible when no one is around. A terrible secret is what keeps them together. Their secret is at risk when a neighbor moves in across the street and seems to know that Ted is hiding something. The thing is he is trying so desperately to hide, however, no longer wishes to be buried.

I am just going to come right out and say that I felt that this book was also a bit of a swing and a miss for me, as far as being a compelling horror or thriller. That is not to be too negative, either. I really did enjoy the different character voices that Catriona Ward utilizes and the ways that those voices begin to blend together was one of the best parts of the novel. It is also an atmospheric read with plenty of visceral and unique details that make the writing all the more interesting. I am, however, unsure how obvious the “twist” of the novel was supposed to be. I’m honestly feeling a little conflicted overall on this book. Spoiler Warning: The main “twist” comes from one of the character’s mental health conditions. I always get wary whenever something along those lines is being used as shock factor, in any capacity. I understand that the author was coming from a place of sympathy, based on the afterword. I tend to stay away from any sort of horror media that utilizes metal health or mental illness as something “shocking” or “scary.” I am not going to say to not read this book since, overall, it wasn’t a bad book by any means. I am saying, though, that sometimes we need to step back and think about what we find “shocking” or “scary.”

This is the way the world ends. For the last time: Reviewing The Fifth Season (Book 1 of The Broken Earth Trilogy) by N.K. Jemisin

Hi everyone! I hope you are all doing great. Everything is doing alright in my little corner of the world. I’m about to be pretty busy soon, but I do have some shorter books I can read so there isn’t as much of a lull between reviews. I try to vary the lengths of the books I read since some people have more specific preferences about that. To be completely honest, though, I go into a majority of the books I read with little to no details about the contents. Sometimes, I don’t even know the plot outside of a single line or it’s a genre I like. I prefer to remain as unbiased as possible. I will stop rambling now and get into The Fifth Season.

Content Warning: Death of Children, Harm Towards Children, Graphic Violence, Sexual Content, Some Harsh Language, Apocalyptic Imagery

This isn’t the first time that the world ended for Essun. It will be the last, though. One seemingly ordinary day, she comes home to find her youngest son dead and her daughter missing along with her husband. The Earth begins to fall apart soon after. With nothing to lose, Essun goes on a journey to find her daughter and must face the past as old wounds are reopened.

I normally try not to be hyperbolic but this was truly an incredible book. N.K. Jemisin does an amazing job creating a narrative that twists and flows in a way that is unpredictable, yet satisfying in the end. The world building is so intricate and it honestly threw me off for a bit. I loved, however, being thrown into such an intense scenario. I also loved Jemisin’s use of second person perspective (“you” pronouns) and the way all of the different stories flow together seamlessly in the end. If I really had to compare to something, it gave me similar vibes to The Locked Tomb series. I am honestly regretting not buying the trilogy as I so want to know where this story is going. Go put this book straight to the top of your TBR. Believe the hype surrounding The Fifth Season.

I have sensed a disturbance in the Force:Reviewing Star Wars: Thrawn: Alliances by Timothy Zahn

Hi everyone! I hope everything is looking up for you all. The weather is finally nice and I finally have some good life updates. I also am kind of hyper-fixated on all things related to Star Wars. I am reading some other books but wanted to finish this one since the first trailer for Ahsoka where Thrawn will be making his live-action debut. I hope you all like my Star Wars-related reviews. There are quite a few more I want to read in the future and I promise that not all of them will have to do with Thrawn. But, for now, we will talk about the sequel in Timothy Zahn’s series.

Emperor Palpatine has sensed that a new threat against the Empire lurks in the Unknown Regions. In order to stamp out this opposition, he orders his ruthless right hand Darth Vader, and brilliant tactician Grand Admiral Thrawn to work together. The two are hesitant to work together as both vie for the Emperor’s favor. This isn’t the first time that the two have encountered each other. Years ago, General Anakin Skywalker went on a mission to find Padme Amidala after she disappeared while visiting a friend. During this mission, he met Commander Mitth’raw’nuruodo and together they uncovered a deadly conspiracy together against the Republic. Now, the two find themselves working together once again. Darth Vader must face his past and Thrawn must face his future.

Timothy Zahn has done it again with a compelling and action-packed entry in this particular series. I loved the drama and tension between Vader and Thrawn. I also greatly appreciated the inclusion of Padme in the flashback portions of this novel. While I am normally not a diehard fan of flashbacks, Zahn does an excellent job building on the lore of Star Wars and further fleshes out the characters. I’ve always enjoyed a complicated protagonist and, while you don’t want the Empire to win, you still find yourself fascinated by the inner-workings of one of the most famous villainous forces in pop culture. Overall, this was a successful sequel in this trilogy and I look forward to reading more from Zahn.

A Ghost Ship, A Salvage Crew, Unspeakable Horrors: Reviewing Dead Silence by S.A. Barnes

Hey everyone! I hope all is going well for you. Things are starting to look up in my little world so I’ve been in a better mood as of late. I am starting some longer fantasy series and have finally started Priory of the Orange Tree, but don’t expect that review any time soon as I still have a ways to go on that book. Dead Silence, however, has been on my TBR for a hot minute now. I’ve been really getting into horror and I definitely plan on reading some intense novels in the future. If that is not your type of thing, I totally understand. I do have other non-horror novels I intend to read soon. In the meantime, let’s talk about Dead Silence.

Content Warning: Graphic Depictions of Death and Bodily Injury, Violence and Gore, Self-Harm, Depictions of Mental Illness Involving Hallucinations, Harsh Language, Drug Use

Claire Kovalik is the captain of the LINA, a small salvage ship that is meant to go back to Earth soon. Doing that means that Claire will no longer have a job and no longer have a purpose. That is what ultimately drives her to investigate a strange distress signal. The stress signal is coming from the Aurora, the first luxury space cruiser that disappeared over twenty years ago with no explanation. This discovery would give Claire and her team instant fortune and fame. When the crew goes onboard the Aurora, they find that all of the crew and passengers had met with a horrific and mysterious fate. In order to find out what happened onboard the luxury cruise liner, Claire must hold onto her sanity during her investigation, or else face the same gruesome fate.

I am still on the hunt for a mind-blowing, spooky sci-fi horror novel. I had really high hopes for Dead Silence as I kept seeing it popping up on almost everyone’s recommendations for horror novels. I will say that I thought the writing was good and that the first 80% of this novel was really suspenseful and seemed to be heading for a good plot twist. While, yes, there is a plot twist, I found it kind of underwhelming. There is a rather abrupt shift in the novel and, while I get why it happened, I just felt that it took away some of the “investigation” portion of the story. When it comes to a novel that involves some sort of haunted location, I always look forward to the investigation part and seeing that mystery unravel. This novel just didn’t deliver as much as it could have, in my opinion. I’m definitely not going to call this novel “bad” at all, but I will call it “mid,” as the kids say nowadays.