ARC Review: Within These Wicked Walls by Lauren Blackwood


Title: Within These Wicked Walls

Author: Lauren Blackwood

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Genre: Fantasy/Horror

Content/Trigger Warnings: For a list of potential content and trigger warnings, check out this book’s page on BookTriggerWarnings.com

Rating: ★★★★

Book Links: Bookshop::TBD::B&N::Amazon::
Goodreads

Goodreads Synopsis

What the heart desires, the house destroys…

Andromeda is a debtera—an exorcist hired to cleanse households of the Evil Eye. When a handsome young heir named Magnus Rochester reaches out to hire her, Andromeda quickly realizes this is a job like no other, with horrifying manifestations at every turn, and that Magnus is hiding far more than she has been trained for. Death is the most likely outcome if she stays, but leaving Magnus to live out his curse alone isn’t an option. Evil may roam the castle’s halls, but so does a burning desire.

Kiersten White meets Tomi Adeyemi in this Ethiopian-inspired debut fantasy retelling of Jane Eyre.

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WWW Wednesday: Sep 7, 2022


It’s time for another WWW Wednesday! This is a bookish meme hosted by Taking on a World of Words where bloggers answer the 3 Ws:

  1. What are you currently reading?
  2. What did you recently finish reading?
  3. What do you think you’ll read next?

If you’d like to learn more about any of these books, click on the cover to be taken to the Goodreads page.


Current Reads

  • The Midnight Guardians by Ross Montgomery: I’m reading this book with the Middle Grade Marvels group and, so far, I’m loving it! It’s an interesting and surprisingly intense read. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that it delves into some darker topics as it is set during WWII. I’m loving our main character, Col, and I’m excited to continue with his story!
  • Stillhouse Lake by Rachel Caine: Speaking of intense, this book is making me uncomfortable with the stuff that’s going down. But in a good way, I guess? Because I’m absolutely enthralled by what is going on in this book! I also want to fight people for Gwen because why can’t she just live?!? UGH! Sorry… I’m getting far too worked up over a fictional character 😂
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Top 5 Tuesday: Ways to Catch a Bookworm


Top 5 Tuesday is a fun, weekly meme that asks you to pick 5 books that fit that week’s theme. It was created by Bionic Bookworm and is currently being hosted by Meeghan Reads. You should check out their wonderful blog for more details and the list of prompts!


Hello, reader!

It’s time for another Top 5 Tuesday post! I’m kind of excited for the topics in September because they are all little off-the-cuff and fun. For example, this week’s topic is my top five ways to catch a bookworm. What ways would I use to try and lure one from it’s comfy, bookish home?

Well, stick around and find out!


#1. An open invitation to go book shopping

We all know the one thing a bookworm can’t resist is the prospect of being surrounded by their favorite thing. The fact that they might be able to bring two or three (or five…) home with them will only make it even more enticing! As a self-proclaimed bookworm, I know for a fact that I can spend hours browsing in a bookstore, even if I had no clear goal of what I wanted when I first walked in. Bookstores are some of my favorite places in the world, even if I don’t end up buying anything. I just love being surrounded by books!


#2. Build them a cozy reading nook

A room with plenty of bookshelves, stuffed with their favorites? Check! A big, comfy chair in which they can curl up, complete with blankets and other soft fluffy things? Check! Somewhere for them to rest a drink close to said chair so that they won’t get dehydrated whilst lost in their book? Check! Constructing the perfect bookworm nest is a necessity if you want to keep them happy. Of course, each bookworm has different preferences, but the above would definitely work for me! Add in some big windows to let in a lot of natural light and I would find it hard to leave.

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Down the TBR Hole #39


It’s time for a new round of Down the TBR Hole! This is where I go through my Goodreads ‘Want to Read’ shelf and do a bit of cleaning up. If you want to see the full description of what this post is all about, check out my first round HERE.


Hello, reader!

It’s been a hell of a Monday here in the McBookNerd house. I ended up working a double shift and just now getting a chance to sit and write my post for the day! Yet another reason that I need to work on developing an actual schedule so I won’t have to worry about it, heh. One day… when I finally manage to organize my life outside of work.

Late hour aside, I’m still eager to bring you another round of Down the TBR Hole! I’ve somehow managed to keep my ‘Want to Read’ shelf at the exact same number I left it last round: 703 books. Perhaps one day I’ll get back into the 600s. Although we’re getting to that time of year where I start looking forward to next year’s new releases… so I only see this number going up, haha. Still, at least as I go through each round of this meme, I know that I’m curating my TBR to reflect books I’m actually still interested in reading.

That said, let’s jump in!


V for Vendetta by Alan Moore

I’m actually kind of shocked that this book is still on my TBR, to be honest. I’ve wanted to read this since watching (and loving!) the movie version. That was a looong time ago and still it sits on my TBR. I’m such a slacker 😂 In my defense, for awhile after seeing the movie, I had no idea it was based on this graphic novel. All that said, I’m still very much interested in picking this up.

Verdict: Keep


House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig

Come ooooon, it’s a spooky book set near water AND it’s a fairytale retelling. There’s no way I’m kicking this one off my TBR! I’ve heard so many good things about this book and it seems like something that would be right up my alley. It sounds dark and atmospheric and just completely my vibe. I suppose we’ll find out once I finally pick it up, heh. Here’s hoping this dark retelling of the Twelve Dancing Princesses doesn’t let me down.

Verdict: Keep

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Sundays In Bed With… Stillhouse Lake by Rachel Caine


Sundays in Bed With… is a meme that dares to ask you what book has been in your bed this morning and is hosted by Midnight Book Girl. Come share what book you’ve spent time curled up reading in bed with, or which book you wish you had time to read today!


Hello, reader!

I hope everyone is having a nice Sunday. It’s my last day of my long weekend and I’m using it to be as much of a slacker as possible 😂 I’ve been hanging out downstairs, watching my daughter play Red Dead Redemption 2, and poking around on the internet. I’ve also been washing my hair which, as a Black woman, is a Whole Thing. Whilst getting my curls in check, I decided to pick up my first audiobook of the month.

So now let me tell you more about it!


My Sunday Read Is…

Stillhouse Lake by Rachel Caine

I’ve wanted to start this thriller series by Rachel Caine for some time now. I love one of her fantasy series, The Great Library, and I’ve always been curious whether or not I would like her other work. Seeming as thrillers are probably my second favorite genre, this seemed like a good choice! I found the audiobook on Scribd and now I’m digging in. This story focuses around a woman who discovers that her husband was a serial killer. Four years later, she and her kids have new names and are trying to build a new life. So far, it’s been intense and I’m really enjoying it!

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Book Blogger Hop: Sep 2 – 8


The Book Blogger Hop was originally created by Crazy-For-Books and is currently being hosted by Coffee Addicted Writer. Every Friday, a new question is posted for book bloggers to answer in the coming week. The purpose of the hop is connection and community. You can discover new blogs to follow, new books to read, and you may end up with some new followers, as well!


This Week’s Question

 Is it difficult to find new books in local bookstores? 

Submitted by Billy @ Coffee Addicted Writer.

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First Lines Friday #60


First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines?  If you want to make your own post, feel free to use or edit the banner above, and follow the rules below:

  • Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page
  • Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first (I cheat a little bit here *cough*)
  • Finally… reveal the book!

If you’re using Twitter, don’t forget to use #FirstLinesFridays!


Hello, reader!

I can’t tell you how excited I am that it’s Friday! Mostly because I have a three day weekend and, after a week of a ton of overtime, I definitely need it. Today has been so relaxing, with lots of reading and chilling and delicious breakfast sandwiches. Perfect way to kick off a holiday weekend, haha. Now, it’s time for another First Lines Friday post!

The book I’m featuring today is one I’m reading with the Middle Grade Marvels group. I literally just started it today, so I don’t have much of a feel for it yet, but I’m looking forward to continuing! Now, let me share the first lines and see if the pique your interest.


The Line(s):

“Tonight is the darkest night of the year.

It is so dark, you can barely make out the stone cottage sitting in front of you. It is the only building in the valley. A path runs right from the fields to a red front door, framed by the remains of a rose bush. In summer, when the days are long and warm, the roses flourish. But there are no roses now. It is the dead of winter and the dead of night. The door is surrounded by thorns.”


The Hints:

This is a middle grade fantasy that was released in 2020.

It is set during WWII.

It follows a young boy whose imaginary friends come to life!


The Reveal:

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Book Review: Winterset Hollow by Jonathan Edward Durham


Title: Winterset Hollow

Author: Jonathan Edward Durham

Publisher: Credo House Publishers

Genre: Fantasy Horror

Content/Trigger Warnings: Death, violence, torture, animal cruelty, blood, stabbings

Rating: ★★★★★

Book Links: Bookshop::TBD::B&N::Amazon::
Goodreads

Goodreads Synopsis

Everyone has wanted their favorite book to be real, if only for a moment. Everyone has wished to meet their favorite characters, if only for a day. But be careful in that wish, for even a history laid in ink can be repaid in flesh and blood, and reality is far deadlier than fiction . . . especially on Addington Isle. Winterset Hollow follows a group of friends to the place that inspired their favorite book-a timeless tale about a tribe of animals preparing for their yearly end-of-summer festival. But after a series of shocking discoveries, they find that much of what the world believes to be fiction is actually fact, and that the truth behind their beloved story is darker and more dangerous than they ever imagined. It’s Barley Day . . . and you’re invited to the hunt.

Winterset Hollow is as thrilling as it is terrifying and as smart as it is surprising. A uniquely original story filled with properly unexpected twists and turns, Winterset Hollow delivers complex, indelible characters and pulse- pounding action as it storms toward an unforgettable climax that will leave you reeling. How do you celebrate Barley Day? You run, friend. You run.

Jonathan Edward Durham was born near Philadelphia in one of many rust-belt communities where he read voraciously throughout his youth. After attending the College of William & Mary, where he received a degree in neuroscience, Jonathan waded into the professional world before deciding he was better suited for more artistic pursuits. He now lives in California where he writes to bring a unique voice to the space between the timeless wonder of his favorite childhood stories and the pop sensibilities of his adolescent literary indulgences.

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WWW Wednesday: Aug 31, 2022


It’s time for another WWW Wednesday! This is a bookish meme hosted by Taking on a World of Words where bloggers answer the 3 Ws:

  1. What are you currently reading?
  2. What did you recently finish reading?
  3. What do you think you’ll read next?

If you’d like to learn more about any of these books, click on the cover to be taken to the Goodreads page.


Current Reads

  • With Fire In Their Blood by Kat Delacorte: I’ve been slowly picking my way through this twisty, gothic tale for awhile and, so far, loving every minute of it. The only reason it’s taking me so long to finish this book is because my life was chaos in August and I kept focusing on readathon books 😅 But, trust me, this is a a dark and fascinating book that definitely makes me want to continue. And once I finish, there will definitely be a review!
  • Bunnicula by Deborah and James Howe: Speaking of readathon books, I’m loving my re-read of this children’s book as part of my Magical Readathon TBR! I loved this series when I was a kid and I can totally see why. It’s silly and cute and the narrator is a dog. It was made for little me to absolutely love it. Suffice it to say, the re-read is going splendidly.
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Top 5 Tuesday: Books With Bones


Top 5 Tuesday is a fun, weekly meme that asks you to pick 5 books that fit that week’s theme. It was created by Bionic Bookworm and is currently being hosted by Meeghan Reads. You should check out their wonderful blog for more details and the list of prompts!


Hello, reader!

It’s late on a Tuesday and I am just now getting to sit and write this post. School starts tomorrow and clothes shopping was accomplished today after a long day at work. Ya girl is T I R E D. Still, I can’t let this day end without joining in on the Top 5 Tuesday fun! Mostly because today’s scavenger hunt was one of the easier ones for me. I had to pick five of my favorite books with bones on the cover.

I suppose it says something about that this came so easily… 😂

Anyways! I had to tough time narrowing this down to five books, but I’m happy with the books I’ve chosen. Let’s get to the list!


#1. Hamlet by William Shakespeare

Starting off with a fairly obvious one, though not all covers feature the classic “Alas, poor Yorick…” scene. This is hands down my favorite Shakespeare play. Always has been and always will be. I’ve consumed so many renditions of this play that it’s slightly obscene, lol. Unfortunately, my version of the play has this creepy looking guy on it… but at least there’s also a skull so I can feature it on this list!


#2. Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine

This doesn’t feature any actual bones, but ‘bone’ is in the title, and I say that counts! This might also be an excuse to gush about one of my favorite series of all time. This is the first book in the Great Library series, which is criminally underrated. It features an alternate timeline in which the Great Library of Alexandria never burned down and now it’s this super shady organization that controls the flow of knowledge. The series is incredible!

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