Review: Magic for Liars by Sarah Gailey

Magic for Liars by Sarah Gailey

Author: Sarah Gailey
Released: June 4th, 2019
Received: NetGalley
Rating: 4 1/2 kitties

I received a copy of Magic for Liars through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Magic for Liars is the latest standalone novel from Sarah Gailey. Honestly, after having finished this novel, I found myself wishing that it wasn’t a standalone novel. But more on that later. Magic for Liars has so much to offer, with a rich blend of ideas and genres.

Ivy Gamble is a twin, but she and her sister are as different as you could ever imagine. Ivy grew up to be a private investigator. Tabitha grew up to be a professor at a magic high school. Yes, you did in fact read that right. Their worlds collide thanks to a grisly crime that Ivy has been called in to solve.

This novel was absolutely fascinating and so much fun to read. It was well written, but I also loved the fun twists on a certain famous magical school series (cough cough Harry Potter cough). Magic for Liars made me chuckle, but it also enchanted me and kept me anxiously turning the pages.

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Review: The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

The Cruel Prince

Publisher: Brown Books for Young Readers
Author: Holly Black
Released: January 2nd 2018
Received: Own
Warnings: Kidnapping, Choking, Poisoning
Rating: 4 kitties

The Cruel Prince is the first novel in the Folk of the Air series by Holly Black. It follows a young human girl named Jude as she desperately tries to find meaning, success, and happiness amongst the fae. None of those are easy challenges, to put it lightly.

I’ve been a fan of Holly Black for a while now. So I knew right away that I was going to have to read The Cruel Prince. I didn’t get to it as quickly as I would have liked, but at least I finally made time for it! And the sequel is already out too, so I don’t have to spend any time anxiously waiting for it. Bonus!

The Cruel Prince is exactly the sort of fae story I would hope to find. Its dark, has fae rules, laws, consequences, and isn’t afraid of showing how terrifying the fae can truly be. There’s tons of politics going on, the sort that makes human politics look kind and pretty.

This isn’t a novel full of pretty air-headed little fairies. Okay, they’re still pretty. But if you underestimate them then you’re unlikely to survive very long in their world. Even knowing how dangerous they are, the odds are still against you.

It’s so hard to find a fae novel that really delves into the darkness of the fae, so I rejoice when I come across one. To anybody else out there on the same search as me; give this series a try. It’s worth it.

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Review: Stranger Things: Suspicious Minds by Gwenda Bond

Stranger Things Suspicious Minds by Gwenda Bond

Publisher: Cornerstone Digital
Author: Gwenda Bond
Released: February 5th 2019
Received: Own
Warnings: Kidnappings, electroshock
Rating: 4 kitties

Stranger Things: Suspicious Minds by Gwena Bond is the first official novel in the world of Stranger Things. I’m sure it won’t be the last, either. The novel is set before the events of the Netflix series – instead following Terry (Eleven/Jane’s mother) through her journey.

Being a prequel, we already know where everything is going to lead. That doesn’t mean that we haven’t had questions about how events actually got to this point. The opposite, in fact. This novel gives us a chance to see exactly what Terry knew, and what was going on before the bad scientist got his hands on Eleven.

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Review: Memories of a Crappy Pooch by Marta Alonso Berna

Memories of a Crappy Pooch

Publisher: Europe Comics
Author/Illustrator: Marta Alonso Berna
Received: NetGalley
Warnings: Animal death, grieving, death of spouse
Rating: 3 1/2 kitties

I received a copy of Memories of a Crappy Pooch through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

I’m just going to go ahead and say this right now: Memories of a Crappy Pooch is not for the faint of heart. I am not afraid to confess that I cried at multiple points while reading this, so I am very well aware that it may not be for everyone.

Memories of a Crappy Pooch follows the life of Maria Fuencisla and her crappy little pooch, though I’m not sure I’d have chosen to describe him as such myself. It’s about friendship, and loss, and learning how to cope with life steadily moving onward.

I should warn you (and this is a potential spoiler, so stop reading here if you don’t want to see it) that there is animal death in this graphic novel. There are actually a lot of heavy moments in here, but my telling you how much I cried probably gave you a good idea of that already.

Through the course of this one graphic novel we see one poor woman lose so much in her life. It’s impressive how much she was actually able to cope with, and just how supportive her friends were. I think we can all hope to have friends like hers.

I will say that I found the ending to be a bit…surreal? It’s the main reason why I’m not giving this one a solid four star rating. I feel like the ending took away from some of the points made throughout the novel. Then again, sometimes life can be random, absurd, and brutal…so perhaps there was a point to it after all.


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Review: Stranger Things: Darkness on the Edge of Town by Adam Christopher

Stranger Things: Darkness on the Edge of Town by Adam Christopher

Publisher: Del Ray
Author: Adam Christopher
Released: May 28th, 2019
Received: NetGalley
Rating: 4 kitties

I received a copy of Stranger Things: Darkness on the Edge of Town through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Stranger Things: Darkness on the Edge of Town is the second novel written as a tie in to the Stranger Things Netflix series. Like the first novel (Suspicious Minds) Darkness on the Edge of Town is a prequel. Unlike the first novel, it doesn’t occur in Hawkins. Well, most of it doesn’t at least.

Darkness on the Edge of Town tells the story of Jim Hopper. Everything takes place well before the adventures in the TV series yet. In fact, this happens before Hopper settles back in Hawkins. Before that he was a homicide detective in NYC. Yes, you read that right.

This novel occurs after Hopper’s time in Vietnam, but before his daughter became ill. Just to give you an idea of where this fits in the timeline.

Don’t go into Stranger Things: Darkness on the Edge of Town expecting it to read exactly like an episode of Stranger Things. Jim Hopper is there, yes, and there are even cameos from Eleven. But that is the extent of the connection.

This novel could be best described as a procedural crime novel, with hints towards the supernatural (but even then they’re fairly slim, as they would be in any crime novel). If you go into this book expecting a crime drama, I think you’ll enjoy the read. Or if you’re hoping to learn more about Hopper. But if you’re hoping for more along the lines of Stranger Things (or even Suspicious Minds), I think you’ll be disappointed.

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Review: Longer by Michael Blumlein


Author: Michael Blumlein
Released: May 28th, 2019
Received: NetGalley
Warnings: Suicide, biological experiments/creations
Rating: 4 kitties

I received a copy of Longer through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Longer is one of those science fiction novels that’ll make you think. More than that, it’ll make you feel. I’m not ashamed to admit that Longer made me cry like a baby at times. It cut through me and forced me to view the tale on an emotional level.

This novel follows two scientists – Gunjita and Cav. Both are working on an orbiting space station run by Gleem Galatic. Their both married to their work, and are significantly older than they appear.

But there’s so much more going on than that. Gunjita has become rejuvenated in her works, while Cav is drowning in doubt and so many more complicated feelings and emotions. Their journey here will make you question so much about science and life.

In this world people have the option to juve when they hit a certain age. That is, they can set back their biological clocks to a younger version of themselves. The earlier you juve, the more time you’ve lost. But the later you juve, the riskier it becomes. And one can only juve twice in a lifetime.

Spoiler Warning


Warnings: This is a heavy and beautifully written novel. As such, it does cover some sensitive subjects. Such as human experimentation, and the decision to end one’s life.

Longer was a shockingly moving novel. It was beautifully written and contemplated some of the most difficult aspects of human life and nature. All while having very strong science fiction themes throughout.

This novel captivated me from start to finish. And I did admittedly read it all in one sitting – I just couldn’t walk away from it. I was tempted to put it down once or twice when I started to cry, but I so desperately had to see it through by that point.

In a way it reminded me of Death of a Salesman, but it had a stronger emotional impact on me. Perhaps it’s because I felt connected to both main characters? I connected to Cav more than I ever connected to Willy Lowman. And I’m not ashamed to admit that both sides of the situation made me cry.

I’m still curious about other elements introduced in this novel. Bits and pieces that didn’t have direct conclusions or answers. It was intentionally done, and I like that. But I still can’t help but wonder…which I’m sure was on purpose.

I loved the debate that was raised in Longer. Subtly at first, but with more and more force as the novel went on. It’s something that I’ve wondered and debated about myself. And I’m sure I’m not the only one. It’s a great conversation started, if nothing else.

I still can’t get over how much Longer impacted me. It was poignant and beautifully written, and it still took my completely by surprise.

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Review: Keep You Close by Karen Cleveland

Keep You Close

Publisher: Doubleday Canada
Author: Karen Cleveland
Released: May 28th, 2019
Received: Goodreads Giveaways
Warnings: Rape, control, harassment, stalking
Rating: 3 1/2 kitties

I received a copy of Keep You Close through the Goodreads Giveaways program.

Keep You Close is another thriller from the mind that brought you Need to Know. It follows Stephanie Maddox, an FBI agent who specializes in Internal Affairs. She’s not afraid to take on the big guys, even when the price to do so is high.

Keep You Close was a fast paced thriller, full of twists and turns, flashbacks, and emotional revelations. Fans of Karen Cleveland will be thrilled (no pun intended) with her latest novel.

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Review: Bird Box by Josh Malerman

Bird Box

Publisher: Ecco
Author: Josh Malerman
Released: March 27th 2014
Received: Own
Warnings: Animal death, graphic injuries and deaths, child death, suicides
Rating: 4 kitties

I’m a bit behind on the times here, but I finally got around to reading Bird Box by Josh Malerman. As a rule, when I hear about a movie coming out based on a novel, but I have not read the novel, I wait. I’ve learned the hard way that usually I’m happier seeing the movie first and then reading the novel. I’m sure that anybody who experiences the pain of watching a novel they love to get turned into a subpar movie knows exactly what I mean by that. I can’t help it with the books I’ve already read, but there’s no need to heap onto that pain.

So I watched Bird Box first. I enjoyed it, even. But I was still curious about the novel. I’d seen people in the book groups I’m part of saying that both were good, but they were also both very different from one another (I pictured something like how World War Z is completely different between the two versions).

Having read and watched Bird Box, I agree with that assessment. To an extent. There was a lot more in common between the two than I expected. I wouldn’t say that normally, but since I went into the novel expecting something almost completely different, I was surprised by how many elements were kept the same, or at least similar. But I’ll go into that in more detail down below, for sake of spoilers.

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Review: Alice Payne Arrives by Kate Heartfield

Alice Payne Arrives

Author: Kate Heartfield
Released: November 6th 2018
Received: Own
Rating: 4 kitties

Alice Payne Arrives is a new take on time. Yes, I know, time travel has been done a million times, and will likely be done a million more times. But that won’t stop me from trying new books and series. In this particular case – I’m glad that I gave it a chance.

Alice Payne Arrives is the first novella in the series, but it’s one worth following I think. There’s time travel, obviously, danger, thievery, and attempts to save the world, overly complex plans, automatons, and even an endearing relationship to follow. In short, it’s got a little bit of something for everyone.

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Review: Belle: Beast Hunter, Vol. 1

Belle Beast Hunter

Publisher: Zenoscope
Author: Dave Franchini
Illustrator: Bong Dazo
Released: January 16th 2019
Received: NetGalley
Issues: Belle: Beast Hunter 1-6
Rating: 3 1/2 kitties

I received a copy of Belle: Best Hunter Vol. 1 through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

This has got to be the most unique interpretation of Beauty and the Beast I’ve seen yet, and I feel like that’s saying something. Every trope and expectation formed from previous incarnations is torn down and stomped upon for this retelling. In some ways that felt liberating, in others horrifying.

In Belle: Beast Hunter, Belle isn’t some helpless damsel in distress. Nor is she someone I’d consider to be bookish, for the record. Instead this Belle hunts beasts. Specifically beasts of the sort that go bump in the night. It’s her family’s specialty, apparently. Think a weird mash-up of Beauty and Van Helsing, and you’ve sort of got an idea of what is going on here. Hrm. Maybe Helsing isn’t the best comparison. Think Trevor Belmont. That’s a more accurate comparison.

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