Roots of Corruption Review

Roots of Corruption by Laura Laakso

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I am a big fan of The Wilde Investigations series. You can find my review for Fallible Justice here and for the second book, Echo Murder, here. The general thing I like is how big the magical world is and how it mingles with the non magical world in the books. Another great thing si the amount of representation here of so many things (class divide, EDS, chronic illness, familiar pressures, duties, LGBTQ+, etc.) There’s a lot to explore and a lot to learn in each of the books.

Now specifically for Roots of Corruption, it is focused on Lady Bergamot (who despite the fact that it centers around her, is actually off page for a big part of the book) and it is a window into a little bit more about who she is, and the mystery of her garden.

When Lady Bergamot is attacked in her own garden, Wishearth reaches out to Yannia for help. What they find is not exactly what they expected, and Yannia starts having to do some quick decisions and trusting Wishearth a LOT. (And breaking some rules).

What seemed likean attack to Lady Bergamot becomes a race to try to find a serial killer with a purpose. Each kill brings the killer closer to something and they all seem to point at Lady Bergamot, but is she innocent or playing Yannia for a fiddle?

Karrion, Wishhearth and even Dearon make an appearance in the book, and we get to learn a little more about the politics of Old London, a little about the Fae Court, Selkies and Lady Bergamot. But Yannia is also trying to find who to trust and how far she does. It is hard to investigate objectively when it is a friend that has been ttacked and who may be the one behidn the crimes!

Of course, I had theories and theories about who it was and what was going on, and I still didn’t figure it out completely, but I enjoyed the whole story and it went by too fast. Partly because the way Laura writes is so immersive that you are instantly there in Yannia’s world and that’s it, you go along as part of the team, as if you were just strolling with them and riding in the car, beign a part of it. It isn’t just happening to them, you’re in it too.

Higly recommend this botanically focused book with murder, mystery and a heckload of magic!

Grimoire Noir Review

Grimoire Noir by Vera Greentea and Yana Bogatch

It tells the story of a town where every woman is a witch, and what happens when one of them goes missing.

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With a name like that, it ewas hard to resist and the artwork caught my eye even further. This was a preorder and it cameon a grey day so it was the perfect read.

The book is a witchy mystery in a town full of secrets where every female (girls at a certain age and women) has some kind fo magic power, but they can’t leave the town or they will lose their powers and may not survive the “barrier” that keeps them in.

It is an interesting world, and it made me wonder if it was worth having magic if you’re stuck to a small town and area? I guess it’d depend on what the people in town are.

The story follows a young man, who’s sister has disappeared, and she was a very powerful witch even if a little bit young. He thinks it is foul play and something is going on, but the police aren’t really helping so he decides to investigate on his own.

As he investigates you get to see more and more fo the inhabitants of the town and the town itself. I thoroughly enjoyed it and it had a tiny bit of scary but mostly it was trying to solve the mystery of what happened to his sister and why.

The ending is interesting as it can be the end but there could be another book. I hope there’s another but if there isn’t, I am happy a is.

If you like graphic novels, witchy stuff or magic, and/or mysteries in small towns and close knit communities, this is a great one to read.

Spectacle Review

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Spectacle by Jodie Lynn Zdrok

A YA murder mystery in which a young reporter must use her supernatural visions to help track down a killer targeting the young women of Paris.

Paris, 1887.

Sixteen-year-old Nathalie Baudin writes the daily morgue column for Le Petit Journal. Her job is to summarize each day’s new arrivals, a task she finds both fascinating and routine. That is, until the day she has a vision of the newest body, a young woman, being murdered–from the perspective of the murderer himself.

When the body of another woman is retrieved from the Seine days later, Paris begins to buzz with rumors that this victim may not be the last. Nathalie’s search for answers sends her down a long, twisty road involving her mentally ill aunt, a brilliant but deluded scientist, and eventually into the Parisian Catacombs. As the killer continues to haunt the streets of Paris, it becomes clear that Nathalie’s strange new ability may make her the only one who can discover the killer’s identity–and she’ll have to do it before she becomes a target herself.

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Paris, a young journalist woman with an interesting “gift”, a morgue, a mystery… all sound good to me!

The very first thing I have to say is that the Paris we are led to is very “period” accurate and I liked that. It was fun to read about references to things yet to come, and things that are already there. All of it made it more immersive.

The second thing is that for a mystery, this one definitely was. It kept me guessing over and over and over and I was never ahead of our heroine’s own discoveries. This is a little unusual, and I have to say it was a good thing. It didn’t leave me frustrated but more like “oh wow, I genuinely have no clue, but I need to know, please, let’s find out more”.

It also made me hungry and I want pain au chocolat in a quaint cafe while I write notes.

Natalie is a heroine with depth, and I don’t know if I would be okay with visiting the morgue to go looking at the corpses to “report” on them. That was interesting, because it gave a view on what could pass as entertainment. (I admit I find cemeteries interesting with the headstones and mausoleums, but I am not so sure about seeing the actual dead bodies).

It starts with one body and an accident that makes Natalie find out she can see what happened before the victim died, but she wonders if she hallucinated it or not. This gift she has, costs something, and it was something I liked. She can’t just plunge headlong and use it willy nilly, but instead has to consider the fact that it costs her something (won’t spoil what) and she can’t control that cost. Makes for a more complex conundrum, help solve this and sacrifice something or stay as I am but let this murderer get away with it? Tricky right?

It was a good book, and I just have to say that the last two pages completely confused me, but other than that, it was superb.

 

This Splintered Silence Review

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This Splintered Silence by Kayla Olson

Lindley Hamilton has been the leader of the space station Lusca since every first-generation crew member on board, including her mother, the commander, were killed by a deadly virus.

Lindley always assumed she’d captain the Lusca one day, but she never thought that day would come so soon. And she never thought it would be like this—struggling to survive every day, learning how to keep the Lusca running, figuring out how to communicate with Earth, making sure they don’t run out of food.

When a member of the surviving second generation dies from symptoms that look just like the deadly virus, though, Lindley feels her world shrinking even smaller. The disease was supposed to be over; the second generation was supposed to be immune. But as more people die, Lindley must face the terrifying reality that either the virus has mutated or something worse is happening: one of their own is a killer.

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This book came in December’s Book Box Club box, and I wasn’t sure how keen I would be about it. For some reason I kept thinking it might be similar to “The Loneliest Girl in the Universe”, and I wasn’t really up to reading a similar book.

On the good side, it was a buddy read, so it was easier to get going and it was thankfully not the same feel. Instead we meet Lindley and we learn a little about her small world (quite literally, because all she’s known is the station she’s in, so yeah).

They’ve just come out of a terrible epidemic where all the humans that were native to Earth died and were affected by it, whereas the ones born in the station have survived. ut that means that they are not older than 19, which is a bit of a tricky situation as they’ll have to “grow up” a little bit faster. The station still needs to be kept working, they all need food, and oh wait, someone’s dead and it looks almost as if the same virus is back!

Poor Lindley starts investigating it and keeps finding it just doesn’t add up, maybe it mutated? Plus there’s a lot of other issues going on in the station (I found this good, because yes, there would be and it is annoying sometimes when things just go smoothly on the vessel/place that would need people to keep it going).

Slowly, as the deaths pile up and the upkeep of the station gets too high, Lindley realises it isn’t a virus that’s killing them, because what’s killing them isn’t an “it” but rather a who. Someone in the station is killing them, but who? why? how? are very big questions and very difficult to answer when you’re also desperately trying to keep everyone alive (by providing food, water, ensuring they sleep, etc.)

For the mystery part I wasn’t that surprised, as I suspected who it was, but I wasn’t sure of the motive (I had a few theories), but despite guessing the culprit, it was still wuite good at keeping you hooked, and wanting to keep on reading, and it has a good flow so you don’t feel bored about it, or have too slow parts.

My least favourite part was the romance bits, but there were some good details about it that saved it. And it isn’t the main focus of the story, so all good.

Moon recommends

I’d give this a go, or maybe The Loneliest Girl in the Universe (because it isn’t the same but it gives a good similar vibe) or maybe any of the recent thrillers I have reviewed.

Disclaimer: All links either link back to other review posts, or to an Amazon affiliates link. You don’t have to buy it, I just do it because I was still going to try to link it to amazon so you’d know what it looks like, or if you wanted to buy it, so decided to give the Affiliates a go, which yeah, doesn’t bring me anything of revenue, but now it’s a habit.

This Lie Will Kill You Review

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This Lie Will Kill You by Chelsea Pitcher

Tell the truth. Or face the consequences.

Clue meets Riverdale in this page-turning thriller that exposes the lies five teens tell about a deadly night one year ago.

One year ago, there was a party.
At the party, someone died.
Five teens each played a part and up until now, no one has told the truth.

But tonight, the five survivors arrive at an isolated mansion in the hills, expecting to compete in a contest with a $50,000 grand prize. Of course…some things are too good to be true. They were each so desperate for the prize, they didn’t question the odd, rather exclusive invitation until it was too late.

Now, they realize they’ve been lured together by a person bent on revenge, a person who will stop at nothing to uncover what actually happened on that deadly night, one year ago.

Five arrived, but not all can leave. Will the truth set them free?
Or will their lies destroy them all?

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I picked this book as a nice extra while I was preordering Darkdawn (and falling down a book buying black hole, but shhhh, that never happened). It sounded interesting, plus I had really enjoyed One of Us Is Lying so I was looking forward to it.

The book has several points of view, one per character (though Doll Face doesn’t really have a main point of view). All five of them have a secret and all may have a motive for killing Shane at the party that happened last year. But did they gang up and kill him? Or did one of them do it on their own?

It has a very definite CLUE vibe which made it easy to follow, but it has it’s own modern tint and some other twists. One of the side plots, has an interesting twist, and that one I guessed early on, and I had an idea of where the story was going and who the “killer” was. But that didn’t spoil the book in itself, as I was intrigued to find what had pushed each character to be at the first party and then to come to the second one.

There was also one “twist” that did surprise me, because it added a new layer and I hadn’t expected it at all. But it wasn’t bad.

There are a lot of references to “horror” films, YA books, kind of how we know a Mean Girls reference o a Legally Blonde one, you can find some references hidden here which make it nice, but also, it isn’t too stuck in referencing things by name, so it will age better than other mysteries that stick to “this is in the exact day we’re living and I will name drop all the books, songs, artists, things of the moment”. Having this ultra specific time frame was a nice thing as it meant I wasn’t getting annoyed by it trying to convince me it is legit contemporary in the here and now.

All in all, it was an enjoyable quick read (just a few hours for me) that helped me relax, rather than stress after work.

Moon recommends

You can try this book here, or you can try One of Us is Lying. I will also keep on recommending It Ends With You or Easy Prey which are recent reads.

It Ends With You Review

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It Ends With You by S. K. Wright

‘If I’d told the truth, it would have been fiction’

Everyone loves Eva. Beautiful, bright, fun, generous – she’s perfect.

So when her dead body is found in a ditch in the local woods the only thing anyone wants to know is: Who could have done this?

It has to be Luke, her boyfriend. He has the motive, the means, the opportunity and he’s no stranger to the police.

Even though the picture is incomplete, the pieces fit. But as time passes, stories change.

Told from six narrative strands, this cleverly woven and utterly compulsive novel challenges preconceptions; makes you second, third and fourth guess yourself; and holds an uncomfortable mirror up to the way societies and systems treat those they perceive to be on the outside

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The best way to describe this book is to say that it started not too creepy and then it kept throwing plot twists at you that were surprising.

I loved finding out all of Eva’s “dirty” secrets and seeing how even then everyone was still sure Luke had done (despite the evidence that was shown). It was also sad to see how people react when someone comes from a less privileged background or are just different and that was quite interesting to read too.

The many relationships between families, between friends, between couples, and teachers, students, figures of authority and in general society were quite interesting to see.

The format made it fun to read (I do wonder if it will “age” well, as who knows how long some of the things used will stay). And even though I usually do not like having too many POV, this book makes the most of it and does it well.

Moon recommends

Read It Ends With You, I read it really fast and didn’t want to put it down. You may also enjoy One of Us is Lying or A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder (coming out next year). They’re all along the same vibe and lines and all good to read.

 

Blackbird (Proof) Review

So during YALC we were standing just next to the HQ stand while they were unpacking the Proofs for Blackbird so by fluke we were the first in line for it.  Then, as we were in line for a signature from another author, I saw ND Gomes was signing next to us, so we queued to have our Proofs signed. Talk about being lucky!

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Blackbird by N.D. Gomes

My name is Alex. I am fifteen years old, and I don’t know where my sister is. Or if she will ever come back.

On New Year’s Eve 5,000 blackbirds dropped dead. The same day Olivia McCarthy went missing from a small coastal village in Orkney.

Now Her younger sister Alex is on a mission to find out just what happened to Olivia. But does she really want to know all the answers?

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I keep saying this was an easy, light read and then everyone (bookish friends and non bookish boyfriend) corrects me to say the topic isn’t light and fluffy. But the writing is the kind of writing you can read quickly, without needing to re-read, or having to think too much. It is perfect for when you’re feeling a bit down and don’t want to struggle through a very complex read (LOTR anyone?).

Story wise, I do not understand the relevance of the blackbirds, except that it happened the same day and once or twice Olivia is compared to one, there is no connection with the murder or the events otherwise.

But that is my only real complaint. The murder flows well without going too slow or going too quick, and I liked how it explores the wreckage in the family, people forgetting Alex is kinda still alive and around, but also, the rest of the world is moving on, so this is well displayed.

I did guess soon enough who was the murderer but I didn’t know why, and a few other small twists, so that was good.

Moon Recommends

I don’t read many thrillers, suspense and such books in YA genre, but I do in adult fiction and the queen for me is Mary Higgins Clark. It is very hard for me to pick just one, since they are extremely amazing, so I will suggest Weep No More, My Lady mostly because it introduces her writing style but some of her characters that appear more than once (each book is usually standalone but some characters reappear in a few of them).

Of course, if you haven’t read Blackbird, go ahead and give it a go. You can find it here.

Disclaimer: There is an Amazon Associates link, but if you choose to use them and buy from them, know that you’re just helping me buy more books and feed my reading needs. Book synopsis is from Good Reads.