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Station Eternity by Mur Lafferty

Mallory is a self-aware mystery magnet, seemingly causing murders that only she can solve to happen spontaneously around her, to the point that she now feels responsible for the murders. To stymie her mysterious power, she escapes to the space station Eternity to be one of three humans among throngs of aliens. This works for months until a shuttle of humans is scheduled to arrive from Earth and the cycle of murders and mysteries starts anew around Mallory. The world-building is impeccable, with multiple alien species bringing their own biology, culture, and politics into the narrative. Lafferty also manages an intricate, compelling mystery by weaving together multiple viewpoints with a web of connections and "coincidences," yet still wrapping up the mystery without dangling loose ends. I look forward to more tales of Mallory’s exploits in this intriguing world Lafferty built.

Station Eternity by Mur Lafferty, (List Price: $17, Ace, 9780593098110, October 2022)

Reviewed by Kelly McLeod, The Haunted Book Shop in Mobile, Alabama

The Second Death of Edie and Violet Bond by Amanda Glaze

When I say I inhaled this book…Edie and Violet are twins. And mediums like their mother was. When they were forced between being institutionalized in an 1880s asylum and leaving in the dead of the night, they of course chose to run. And they joined a traveling Spiritualist show—a group of women who buck the oppressive treatment of females (which unfortunately we’re feeling again ??) by hiding their real talents (like oration, doctoring, etc) under the pretense of trances where they commune with spirits. The turn-of-the-century Spiritualism movement has always been a fascination of mine and the sister bond between Edie and Violet is wonderful. Sometimes I wanted to shake some sense into Edie when she treats Violet more like a little sister but of course that added to the suspense & tension. The romance between Edie and Laws was perfect. It didn’t take over the story nor read weird with the feminist vibes.

The Second Death of Edie and Violet Bond by Amanda Glaze, (List Price: $18.99, Union Square & Co., 9781454946786, October 2022)

Reviewed by Candice Conner, The Haunted Book Shop in Mobile, Alabama

The Weight of Blood by Tiffany D. Jackson

Tiffany Jackson’s newest novel, The Weight of Blood, is a retelling of the King novel, Carrie. I have not read Carrie, but I have seen the movies, so I had that as a base to go off of when I was reading ‘The Weight of Blood’. I really enjoyed the modern take on how race is still an issue in our communities and schools. I was interested to see how Jackson tied in dumping a bucket of something on Maddy’s head, and I was not disappointed to find out what it was and what it symbolized. The whole scene where Kenny is trying to get the police officers involved and how they react….it was beautifully written and heartbreaking. I also enjoyed the writing style where it would break away from the telling of Maddy’s story and show pieces of interviews from different witnesses of Maddy’s destruction. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. I read the entire book in about 3 days. It isn’t necessarily an original story (being that it is a retelling), but the references to race and police brutality are incredible. It is also just a dang good horror! There are grisly parts that make you want to keep turning the pages and you are drawn in to Maddy’s character.

The Weight of Blood by Tiffany D. Jackson, (List Price: $18.99, Katherine Tegen Books, 9780063029149, September 2022)

Reviewed by Kait Layton, The Haunted Book Shop in Mobile, Alabama

Rooster Fighter, Vol. 1 by Shu Sakuratani

Rooster Fighter is a mad little manga about a rooster who kills demons. This inherently silly premise is played straight and hilariously so–the art and the fights are often epic and without gags: The gag is the premise itself. It’s a wonderful manga for people who don’t take things too seriously. Or keep chickens.

Rooster Fighter, Vol. 1 by Shu Sakuratani, (List Price: $12.99, VIZ Media LLC, 9781974729845, August 2022)

Reviewed by Alex Mcleod, The Haunted Book Shop in Mobile, Alabama

A Strange and Stubborn Endurance by Foz Meadows

The closeted son of a nobleman has his life completely up-ended in one day. After being informed of his betrothal to a noblewoman of a neighboring country to cement a trade alliance, Val is forcibly outed by his abusive ex-lover in the worst possible way. Fortunately for him, the neighboring country is much more accepting than his own and the ambassador’s response to this new information is to switch Val’s intended marriage partner to the brother of the previous woman. The story from there unfolds on two plot lines: the very sweet romance between Val and his husband-to-be and the very bloody political intrigue that erupts due to objections to the political alliance their marriage represents. Overall excellent and I highly recommend it.

A Strange and Stubborn Endurance by Foz Meadows, (List Price: $27.99, Tor Books, 9781250829139, July 2022)

Reviewed by Kelly McLeod, The Haunted Book Shop in Mobile, Alabama

Insomnia by Sarah Pinborough

I watched the Netflix Series Behind Her Eyes and loved the suspense and supernatural themes. So, when I saw that Sarah Pinborough wrote Insomnia I knew that I had to read it! The story itself reminded me of Behind Her Eyes and the movie Hereditary. You have a mother as the main character who is doing everything she can to find out about her estranged mother’s life as she tries to uncover family secrets to protect her family. But, is she protecting her family from the impending danger, or is she the danger her family needs protecting from? The whole story you are in just as much disbelief as the main character…she doesn’t know if she is awake or asleep, if she is sane or going mad like her mother, and as things twist and turn deeper into the story a mind-bending and time-bending twist is added!

Insomnia by Sarah Pinborough, (List Price: $27.99, William Morrow, 9780062856845,  April 2022)

Reviewed by Kait Layton, The Haunted Book Shop in Mobile, Alabama

Saint Death’s Daughter by C. S. Cooney

I snagged the book because of the necromancy, but the tagline of “fun, froofy, and glorious: a coming-of-age story” is absolutely correct. The comparisons to Gideon the Ninth will be inevitable, but the tone of this book tends more towards the cheerful morbidity of the Addams family than the grimness I felt at the core of Gideon.The story follows Miscellaneous Stones, a necromancer born with an allergy to violence into a house of assassins and murderers as she grows into her power. As important to the book as her growing necromancy is the way she comes to terms with her family’s legacy and the burden of their sins. Despite the solemnity of the topic, Lanie herself has such a joyous attitude that infects the book and makes me smile even now. I really enjoyed the entire book and look forward to reading her continued adventures. In particular, I can usually predict story beats long before they happen but the author managed to surprise me with the depth and complexity of the characters, especially the antagonists.

Saint Death’s Daughter by C. S. Cooney, (List Price: $27.99, Henry Holt and Co., 9781786184702,  April 2022)

Reviewed by Kelly McLeod, The Haunted Book Shop in Mobile, Alabama

Nettle & Bone by T. Kingfisher

A wonderfully bent fairy tale from T. Kingfisher, the princess is not out to marry the prince, instead she’s out to kill him for his sins.This is a darker-than-usual Kingfisher title–the wit and sharp writing is there, but usual laughs she provides aren’t nor should they be. This is not a story where laughter would be right. It’s a story about endurance and necessity in a situation where there’s precious little to laugh about. Highly recommended dark fantasy for the genre-savvy who want their fairy tale with blood and bite to it.

Nettle & Bone by T. Kingfisher, (List Price: $25.99, Tor Books, 9781250244048,  April 2022)

Reviewed by Alex Mcleod, The Haunted Book Shop in Mobile, Alabama

An Arrow to the Moon by Emily X.R. Pan

I picked up this book because 1. it has a full moon on the cover. I’m a complete sucker for a moon and as I have yet to be steered wrong by this, it will continue to be an indicator of a great story to me. And 2. I am adoring this retelling trend YA is on right now. Romeo and Juliet meets Chinese mythology had me swiftly plucking this from the arc box. Other favorite motifs include: unearthly fireflies, a mysterious and magical book, & unexplainable “natural” happenings. The romance between Luna and Hunter is so sweet and swoon-worthy and doesn’t veer outside the plot (which is a pet peeve of mine).The story takes place in the early 90s which I forget until someone mentions a windbreaker, lol. I learned SO MUCH about Chinese versus Taiwanese culture–I never knew there was/is an identity issue and found it fascinating as Pan expertly weaves it into the Romeo & Juliet narrative. And speaking of R&J, the closer I got to the ending, the more anxious I was about how close to the play Pan would go. No spoilers here, but the ending is chef’s kiss.

An Arrow to the Moon by Emily X.R. Pan, (List Price: $18.99, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 9780316464055,  April 2022)

Reviewed by Candice Conner, The Haunted Book Shop in Mobile, Alabama

The Kaiju Preservation Society by John Scalzi

This book was exactly what it needed to be. It’s fun, it takes familiar ideas about kaiju and puts a fresh spin on them, and adds in entertaining characters who care about what they do. It’s so very much an antidote and relief from things taking themselves too seriously, but landed the narrative beats when it needed them. Here, Scalzi show the artistry of solid craftsmanship, and I want more.

The Kaiju Preservation Society by John Scalzi, (List Price: $26.99, Tor Books, 9780765389121,  March 2022)

Reviewed by Alex Mcleod from The Haunted Book Shop in Mobile, AL

Nothing But Blackened Teeth by Cassandra Khaw

A Fall Read This Next! Selection

Well. That was nuts. Khaw threw together a fast-paced ghost story, the bitter lyricism of her writing conveying the complexity of feelings when you have History with someone, as well as the surreal when an offended ghost decides it’s making an example out of you.

Nothing But Blackened Teeth by Cassandra Khaw, (List Price: $19.99, Tor Nightfire, 9781250759412, October 2021)

Reviewed by Alex Mcleod, The Haunted Book Shop in Mobile, Alabama

Barefoot Dreams of Petra Luna by Alda P. Dobbs

I read this Fourth of July weekend which was the perfect book to give me a different perspective on what America means to a family fleeing a war-torn country in search of a better life. Dobbs’ great-grandmother inspired this heart-wrenching, incredible story of 12 yo Petra Luna’s “barefoot dreams” of learning to read and write and protecting her family. I loved the earnest determination and bravery of Petra, her closeness with her 2 younger siblings, and how her abuelita taught her to listen to the natural world to survive the harsh desert conditions to make their way to the U.S. border. It was such a beautiful mix of mythology and holding tight to dreams. The war brutality was presented realistically–the danger wasn’t glossed over, but instead presented in a child-thoughtful way. I learned so much about a time in history that I didn’t know much about. My 10-year-old daughter and I highly recommend!

Barefoot Dreams of Petra Luna by Alda P. Dobbs, (List Price: 17.99, Sourcebooks Young Readers, 9781728234656, September 2021)

Reviewed by Candice Conner, The Haunted Book Shop in Mobile, Alabama

Ghost Girl by Ally Malinenko

Ghost Girl is another 2021 debut on my Much Anticipation list and did not disappoint! I loved how Zee was a storyteller even if she got teased for it, and her and Elijah’s friendship was awesome. I REALLY disliked Nellie and couldn’t see how they’d ever get to a point where they could work together, so Malinenko did an amazing job with her characters. And plot and pacing. I did think the scene when the ghost first appeared to Zee was a little scary (even to late 30s me, lol) so I personally would recommend it more for 10 and up but every child reader is different! (And once Zee figured out who the ghost was, it wasn’t as scary anymore, but you had to read through to get to that part, of course.)My absolute favorite part of this book (besides the library-love which I am always here for) was that CONSENT is the secret weapon. (I don’t think that’s spoilery because I’m keeping it out of context for this review.) I was cheering as I read and think it’s such a great message to make consent so powerful. Love, love, love.

Ghost Girl by Ally Malinenko, (List Price: 16.99, Katherine Tegen Books, 9780063044609, August 2021)

Reviewed by Candice Conner, The Haunted Book Shop in Mobile, Alabama

A Dragonbird in the Fern by Laura Rueckert

I loved the world-building in this fantasy debut! Rueckert created two different religious systems and blended them expertly into the cultures of the different countries. Newly-queened Jiara must understand both if she’s to lead in peace, AND find out who murdered her sister Scilla, who is quickly becoming a pretty scary earthwalker, a ghost consumed by revenge to find her killer. There’s a lot going on with high stakes but the pacing flows well so it is never overwhelming. Jiara is an awesome protagonist you want to follow to the ends of worlds. She’s brave and kind and is constantly on herself for not living up to her older sister’s legacy due to her undiagnosed dyslexia. But she always looks for the Next Best Thing and by opening her heart to her new people, their Watcher religion (while still embracing her own) she learns so much about her own capabilities. Her relationship with King Raffar is awesome and sweet and so refreshing.

A Dragonbird in the Fern by Laura Rueckert, (List Price: 9.99, Flux, 9781635830651, 2021-08-03)

Reviewed by Candice Conner, The Haunted Book Shop in Mobile, Alabama

The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood

A Summer Read This Next! Selection!

If, like me, your catnip is the taciturn, brainy, hot hero who is secretly a big squishy marshmallow at heart, you can look nor further than this awesome debut! It’s also sexy, witty, and features a well-rounded cast of characters in a STEM environment.

The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood, (List Price: 16, Berkley, 9780593336823, September 2021)

Reviewed by Angela Trigg, The Haunted Book Shop in Mobile, Alabama

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