Happy October everyone!! The best time of the year is here, with re-watching old favorites, creepy things and the cooler weather (hopefully). I hope you all are doing well and happy and healthy during these times. I haven’t been around here as much since I’m writing my novel again! I’m actually on a new project that’s been taking over a LOT of my free time when I’m not spending it with family, work and some video games. But I’m so happy that the Halloween month is here 🙂 I also want to share with you the last two things I finished in September! I enjoyed one of these, but loved the other one so much more. Let’s jump in!
Author: Sarah Goodman
Genre: YA Historical Fiction/Fantasy/Mystery
Release Date: October 6th 2020 from Tor Teen
Format: Physical ARC via the publisher from a book club
Goodreads Synopsis: “Eventide is an evocative YA historical fantasy thriller by debut author Sarah Goodman, for fans of Jennifer Donnelly and Libba Bray.”
MADNESS, SECRETS, AND LIES
Wheeler, Arkansas, 1907
When their father descends into madness after the death of their mother, Verity Pruitt and her little sister Lilah find themselves on an orphan train to rural Arkansas.
In Wheeler, eleven-year-old Lilah is quickly adopted, but seventeen-year-old Verity is not. Desperate to stay close to her sister, Verity indentures herself as a farmhand. But even charming farm boy Abel Atchley can’t completely distract her from the sense that something is not quite right in this little town. Strange local superstitions abound, especially about the eerie old well at the center of the forest. The woods play tricks, unleashing heavy fog and bone-chilling cold…and sometimes visions of things that aren’t there.
But for Verity, perhaps most unsettling of all is the revelation that her own parents have a scandalous history in this very town. And as she tries to unearth the past, sinister secrets come with it—secrets that someone will go to violent lengths to protect….
A haunting tale of long-buried secrets, small-town scandal, and single-minded vengeance by talented debut novelist Sarah Goodman.
So I’m apart of a local book club and Tor Teen has sent physical ARCs to people in this group and when this book was one of the ones offered, I was reached out by one of the girls who runs the book club. She asked me if I wanted an ARC and I immediately said yes. I heard about this book months ago and seeing the paranormal historical fiction synopsis and great cover, I was HYPED for this book. This cover reminds me of books by Cat Winters and early Libba Bray so I was so ready. In the end, I think this book is a solid debut from an author to watch, but it did let me down and the story wasn’t exactly what I expected.
The first positive I have though is the author’s writing style. The way she describes the woods, providing the creepy atmosphere and not being sure what’s real or not was very well done. I think she builds some of the creepier atmospheric moments fantastically. She also provides a great opening chapter as Verity and her sister on the train going to Wheeler, Arkansas. I liked how you weren’t sure what was going on for a good chunk of the book. The author doesn’t give too much away in the beginning and just builds the story as Verity tries to adjust to her life, isn’t sure who to trust and feels the creeping of the woods and the well nearby. This author is one to watch and I hope she writes more of this genre and keeps growing. She has great word choices and while simple, uses effective tense and prose for the setting.
The next positive I liked was the love interest, Abel. He helps on the farm that Verity comes to live at. He’s a book person and dreams of going to college and he also isn’t afraid to call Verity out. She isn’t very nice when she first comes to Wheeler and I like how they aren’t sure about each other at first. Their meeting is a little awkward but felt normal as two people from two different backgrounds meet. But he is a good person, who is patient and teaches Verity about how to do things on the farm and honestly, he stayed himself the whole time. He does fall for Verity but he’s respectful and kind to her and continues to support her as the story unravels.
I’m personally neutral on Verity. She’s independent, doesn’t want to be in this town and doesn’t accept her circumstances at first. She’s almost 18 and she just wants to go back to New York to be her sister’s guardian. But I do appreciate how Hettie and Big Tom, whose farm she helps with, help her slowly learn to appreciate the hard work and be willing to do hard things. I also like how side characters like Abel, her sister, Hettie and Della help Verity find some peace in a town she’s not familiar with and allies as she wonders about her father and the truth behind the well. But honestly, I don’t think the book needed to be in her head. A third person POV style would’ve been just fine, since she’s very much like other historical fiction protagonists I’ve read before.
Finally, when it comes to the plot itself, as well as the actual creep factor, it was good but not fantastic. Parts of the creepy well, hallucinations and the slight magical element did provide a little more substance as the plot went on. The way the truth unfolded about the well was solid and understandable, but it didn’t completely grip me. I wonder if I just expected something more sinister? It ended up being just a darker mystery with a tiny magical element at the end. But one thing that I DO appreciate is a consequence of the ending of the book. The author did a slight twist on the fate of the main character that was nice to see and it did bump the story up half a star just for that unexpected detail at the end. The creep factor wasn’t there as much as I thought, but the little pieces I did get were good enough.
Overall: I did like this and think this is a good “Halloween light” book if you don’t like scary things. This has a touch of the paranormal and isn’t scary but should totally fill in the need for an October/fall read. The setting was fun, dealing with a small farming town and a solid enough mystery plot. But due to it feeling a little long, some details are predictable and the creep factor not being that sinister or gripping did kinda disappoint me. But if you like the genre, don’t skip on this. The author adds a nice, unexpected touch at the end and I’m going to read whatever she writes next. I do hope she writes more in this genre as well. A solid debut but I have read better entries in the creepy historical fiction sub genre.
Rating: .5 stars
Title: The Way of the House Husband Volume 1
Author: Kōsuke Ōno
Genre: Manga/Graphic Novel/Comedy
Release Date: August 9th 2018 from VIZ Media
Format: Physical library copy
Goodreads Synopsis: It’s a day in the life of your average househusband—if your average househusband is the legendary yakuza “the Immortal Dragon”!
A former yakuza legend leaves it all behind to become your everyday househusband. But it’s not easy to walk away from the gangster life, and what should be mundane household tasks are anything but!
He was the fiercest member of the yakuza, a man who left countless underworld legends in his wake. They called him “the Immortal Dragon.” But one day he walked away from it all to walk another path—the path of the househusband! The curtain rises on this cozy yakuza comedy!
I am so thankful for my library co-workers who get me into new books or series! I had seen this on the library cart and my friends talking about how funny it was. So since my reading mood needed something light and easy to get through, I read this on the 30th of September. I FLEW through this book and laughed in every chapter of this book. If this is ever an anime, I need to watch it so badly lol! I’ll keep this review much shorter, since I don’t want to talk about the chapters too much. But I loved this unexpectedly hilarious first volume and need the next ones very soon!
The creator does such a perfect job at subverting your expectations with each chapter of this first volume. The chapters are just random days in his life, being a house husband and the different things he does. I love how he appears so scary and violent to some people, but then turning the tables with humors. I love how he has a wife and how he finds things for her from her favorite anime and they even have a cat! This was a short volume but packs several punches of humor and touches of how this man, once apart of a violent gang, has seen how to live life and I am SO hoping for more depth of his past and how he changed in future volumes. If you need something to help you through a tough time and make you laugh, this should be perfect! There are at least 4 volumes out in English right now and I hope it’ll continue to be potentially a favorite series!
What have you finished recently? Have you read these books? Let me know your thoughts if you’re excited about them or read them in the comments!