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emily_roamswild

emily_roamswild

Joined January 2022

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emily_roamswild
White Horse: A Novel | Erika T. Wurth
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This book—as promised—is Metal. I adored the messy main character and her cast of sorrow; her brand of repentance and punishment. I loved the complicated relationships here. I will say that the middle of the book—the pacing is off. The beginning is slow and daunting, then the middle feels weird and the end is fast a furious. Enjoyed it, but if you feel the middle drag and yet go too fast—push past it. Indigenous. Metal. Bad ass. Spooky AF.

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emily_roamswild
The Woman in the Library | Sulari Gentill
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I enjoyed it immensely. It‘s a fun little ‘Who-dunnit‘! There‘s a super creepy subplot in both stories that are essentially the same and I LOVED IT. The little details that creep me out without scaring me, delight me. There‘s so many things I adored about this book! If you like books about books about books—libraries and stories, relationships and more stories! The crack that all books are romances through me back to novel theory in a heartbeat.

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emily_roamswild
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Mehso-so

I labeled it as “so-so” because I feel like the dialogue was just off the entire time. But listen, locked room, gothic themed mysteries are just fun. There‘s ex-Spooks and ex-MMA fights! There‘s money and deep, dark secrets that go along with a CURSE. There‘s escaped asylum prisoners! There‘s fake identities! There‘s a murder in an elevator! It‘s a quick read and it‘s got fun, Agatha vibes. Read it if you are into overly complicated murders.

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emily_roamswild
Malice | Keigo Higashino
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I picked this up because someone recommended the third in this series. An easy read with a lesson in literary tension—quiet, creepy and a bit haunting. It‘s quick! But smart and I will definitely be picking up the following two. A smart murder mystery set in Japan!

BarbaraBB I just bought the second because someone recommended the third (and I already had read Malice)! Such a coincidence! But I love a good Japanese thriller! 1mo
emily_roamswild I love it because I hadn‘t read Malice and there was zero line at the library for it. Love an older read because there‘s so much to look forward to. 1mo
3 likes2 comments
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emily_roamswild
A Death in Door County | Annelise Ryan
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This is a fun cryptid murder mystery. It gets bonus points for not taking itself too seriously and the setting being in our lovely Wisconsin. Characters are enjoyable, if hard to relate to overall. But if you enjoy quick reads with mostly fluff but good writing, then this is for you. Also for fans of Nessie!

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emily_roamswild
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Cozy cozy! This is a much rougher start then the previous two—it was harder for me to fall back in line with these characters but once I did, smooth sailing. I just love this group of elderly sleuths. There‘s lots of underlying messages about love & life, but it all lies on this foundation of found family, friendship & curiosity. (Maybe wine, as well.) I would not read this as a stand alone, must read the previous two. But you‘ll enjoy the ride!

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emily_roamswild
Lavender House | Lev AC Rosen
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Oh I loved it. Some books just feel right? This is a cozy mystery, yes. But behind the “fluff” is layers of queer culture that is beautiful, heartbreaking & gorgeous. It‘s a quick read—but it packs layers of queerness into a murder mystery. When I talk about wanting to read queer genres, this is it. Queer culture, not pain, is the center of this murder/mystery/noir. Centering but not consuming. Read it. I hope this is the start of a series.

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emily_roamswild
Vicious Creatures | Ashton Noone
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Mehso-so

I enjoyed this book—physically, the pages are the perfect weight. The concept/plot was spooky & characters engaging, interesting & flawed. But I felt like I wasn‘t 100% satisfied with the ending. I love a good ambiguous ending but I didn‘t feel like I knew enough to FEEL satisfied. Lots of drugs, alcohol, ED, domestic abuse & sexual assault as well. It‘s heavy and I‘m not sure it completely carries its weight but worth the read.

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emily_roamswild
Daisy Darker | Alice Feeney
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The funny thing about this book is that the Daisy‘s voice grated on me—I couldn‘t understand why the author still made her sound so child-like. And that was my only complaint of the book. It‘s weird as hell but cast of characters is delightful. This is locked-room mystery at its finest and it‘s LOVELY. Fans of Agatha and clever mysteries will enjoy this book. It‘s just FUN!

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emily_roamswild
House Across the Lake | Riley Sager
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Now, there are a lot of twists in this book. However, I did feel like it was well done. There‘s a clever writing trick with timelines, that Sager uses establish the first two twists—really keeping you guessing who is the “true” bad guy. But it doesn‘t really set you up for the big finale—or the 2nd finale. Regardless, trust your instincts. Men are terrible! This is an easy read—enjoyable, a little nutty (um, surprise paranormal twist?) but FUN!

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emily_roamswild
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I‘m not a non-fiction fan, if I wander over there it‘s for true crime. However, this looks at a series of brutal killings in Cleveland & runs aside a bio-pic of Eliot Ness. He was involved in Al Capone‘s take down & rode his “high moral legacy” to Cleveland, where these dismemberment murders never were solved. It‘s an interesting look at Ness as a man and the murders as well. I enjoyed the composition and writing. Ness is a mess of contradiction.

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emily_roamswild
Nothing More to Tell | Karen M. Mcmanus
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I just love a good mystery! This one is fun—all the tropes oddly fit together and I really enjoyed the slow way it all played out. This is dark academia adjacent—more like, if you enjoyed Serial? Anyway, didn‘t love the multiple POVs (I never do) but I wasn‘t so annoyed that I quit. There‘s some perfectly teenage tropes and queer representation, although not main character. A solid YA mystery/thriller!

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emily_roamswild
We Lie Here: A Thriller | Rachel Howzell Hall
Bailedbailed

So I couldn‘t finish this before it became due at the library. I tried! But I couldn‘t connect with the characters well. Maybe it was the dust? I‘m a forest person. Idk. The writing is good. But I had trouble getting hooked and wanting to know what was going to happen. Not bad, just might have been my brain.

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emily_roamswild
Long Lost | Jacqueline West
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Listen to this on audio during the workday—I adore middle grade mystery/paranormal and it‘s perfect for multitasking. This story is lovely! A move prompted by a big sister‘s hobby throws a house into chaos and churns up a lot of feelings of neglect and rage from her sister. Fiona discovers a book hidden in the library that reveals a mystery—and possibly a friend/lesson on the way. Read this if you love sisters; libraries and history.

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emily_roamswild
The Clackity | Lora Senf
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This book was creepy as it gets. There were certainly times where I was very creeped out & took a break—I think because it‘s written so genuine. The characters feel alive, the suspension of disbelief so pure. Our narrator has to enter into a deal with The Clackity in order to go on an epic journey, worthy of Alice, to find her aunt. Meanwhile, a serial killer; witches and memories, both real & imaged, threaten her. It‘s a story of keeping things.

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emily_roamswild
Small Angels | Lauren Owen
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Gothic, fairytale vibes with surprise gays. A couple is fixing up the small church in the groom‘s hometown, only something sinister has been kept—secrets a whole village chose not to know, to look the other way. A family has kept their own vigilance, although it went wrong long ago. It‘s a story about narrative, our own and what others give us. It‘s beautifully written! Characters are brave and powerful. Ending is too tidy but not terrible.

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emily_roamswild
The Last to Vanish | Megan Miranda
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Honestly, enjoyed this quick read. I love a good mystery—this one is set in a small mountain town with secrets that only a small town can keep. There was only one twist that I thought was ridiculous but the rest shook out to be about what I thought. I enjoyed the sleuthing of the narrator and the “who can you trust?” bit of her inner dialogue. I thought the ending was fun—and interesting—given the possibilities. Quick, fun and enjoyable read.

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emily_roamswild
Babysitter | Joyce Carol Oates
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Bailedbailed

I wanted to like this and push through but I couldn‘t. The first few chapters are just so strangely written—even if they are hauntingly beautiful—it feels like it‘s trying to be something it‘s not. And the more I read, the more the murder/mystery aspect just feels like the background and I cannot care any less about Hannah (main character). DNF.

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emily_roamswild
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If you enjoy queer history or prison reform—this book is for you. Not normally a non-fiction gal, but read this for a book club. Enjoyed the less formal prose for these stories (very community historian).

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emily_roamswild
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Mehso-so

This book is a lot—it‘s a novel, written as a memoir with a fucking unreliable narrator and a 2nd unreliable narrator in the margins. I struggled to connect tot he characters and Art was really annoying. But I wanted to read until the end—which was good and probably the best part of the book. Read this if you‘re into punk; unreliable narrators; bleakness and ghosts.

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emily_roamswild
Patricia Wants to Cuddle | Dr Samantha Leigh Allen
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Do you need a lesbian Sasquatch book in your life? OF COURSE YOU DO. I‘m not a huge fan of this many POVs but I enjoyed the ride and unique take on both cryptids and the retreat from the world of bullshit to nature theme. This is a super cute (and short) read that I highly recommend. Pick this up if you like upbeat dystopia and watch reality TV/hate reality TV.

5 likes1 stack add
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emily_roamswild
A Flicker in the Dark | Stacy Willingham
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Fun thriller! Our main character is fairly lovable, even if she makes stupid decisions. Her father is in prison for being a horrific serial killer for 20 years. But someone is killing again—all around her. Is it her fiancé? Her brother? A reporter who makes contact? Perhaps just a coincidence & no one in her life? Memories blur with reality & it‘s very difficult to tell who she should trust. Ending was a bit neat for me but I enjoyed the twists.

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emily_roamswild
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My only complaint about this book is the rushed ending. It‘s a beautiful Bildungsroman about a Chinese America girl growing up in the 50s. It‘s a stunning story of her understanding her sexuality; her immigrant parents & the dangers of the Red Panic at the time. It‘s also a love story—but I would argue it‘s a self-love story, even though Lily and her love are adorable. It‘s not about chosen family but community & seeing yourself in the world.

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emily_roamswild
The Night Shift | Alex Finlay
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If you enjoy a Who-Dun-It with twists & turns that sound inspired by true crime events, this is for you. They did my fav character dirty (SHAME ON THEM) but that‘s my only compliant. 1999 three girls & their boss are killed—leaving 1 survivor. Years later, victims/abusers/families are living trauma-informed lives & our trusty FBI agent is brought in when another group of murders occurs, suspiciously similar to the 1999 slayings. Cue mystery!

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emily_roamswild
The Verifiers | Jane Pek
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This is just a great cozy mystery. And, it‘s gay and I will always advocate for gay. First off, the main character‘s personal drama is not annoying to me; her inner monologue is realistic & chaotically endearing. The mystery itself is interesting (dating apps & data mining) & the murder(s)—even more thoughtful in their unraveling. It‘s playful but still respectful; intellectual but fundamentally romantic & contradicting. It‘s a book about people.

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emily_roamswild
The Resting Place | Camilla Sten
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Oh I enjoyed this twisty, sick journey. I had a few guesses of how it would play out but didn‘t get it quite right—and I love that. Creepy old house with a dark, mysterious past! Grieving for complicated (and abusive) relationships! The cold unforgiving Swedish winter! Powerful name play! YES! No one in this book is who they say they are & it‘s delightful. I particularly liked Sebastian‘s realistic reactions to the bat-shit crazy stuff happening.

7 likes1 stack add
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emily_roamswild
The Bone Orchard | Sara A. Mueller
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Mehso-so

Did I know what was going on for most of this book? Absolutely not. The world is dense & under explained—Physics! Boneghosts! War Crimes! Political espionage! It made sense by page 300. The ending was too neat & rushed. But the characters, once you figure out wtf is happening, are beautiful & brilliant. This is a story about trauma & how we create pieces of ourselves to survive—some belong as part of the whole but others? They are their own.

shanaqui Yeah, I'm finding that I don't quiiite understand the world enough yet, at 30% of the way in. It's intriguing, and I don't mind putting things together myself to some extent, but, hmmmm. 9mo
emily_roamswild @shanaqui I‘m glad it wasn‘t just me. I don‘t mind putting the puzzle pieces together but since there‘s a lot of political espionage, it‘s really hard to infer the world and try to figure out the plot. I hope you enjoy the ending more than I did! Happy reading!! 9mo
6 likes2 comments
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emily_roamswild
The Book of Cold Cases | Simone St. James
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I just love Simone St. James! If you love your murder stories with a side of ghosts, read all of her novels immediately. This creepy, atmospheric gothic has it all—complicated female characters fighting against the patriarchy; so many murders; trauma; family secrets and literal ghosts. Love it. Our narrator is going through it but it‘s not distracting and the “love” story is subtle—she allows us to get caught up in the obsession.

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emily_roamswild
The Cartographers | Peng Shepherd
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A little cheesy, sure but magical! Nell is the center of this story—her parents‘ past swirls all around her & threatens her future but there is a way through it all, there‘s always a map! The breadcrumbs are clear here, & there‘s hardly a jerking twist but a slow journey, you see where it‘s going but the author still captures you along. Loved the mystery & whimsy! Also, the hardcopy has lovely pages! Read if you like libraries, romance & secrets.

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emily_roamswild
Anatomy: A Love Story | Dana Schwartz
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Panpan

An enthralling summary that fell short: plague, missing bodies & clandestine doctoring. Unfortunately, the mystery isn‘t enough to hold your attention—easily puzzled out within the 1st half of the book. Main character is a bit bland & the sudden “instant-love” is boring. The city & timeline of this novel open a lot of doors that go unexplored & the writing lacks the quality & plotting to pull off any suspension of disbelief. Quick read but eh.

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emily_roamswild
Luckenbooth | Jenni Fagan
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So I usually hate mixed timelines and too many POVs. However, this book balances both incredibly well—almost like ghost stories over a fire. It‘s a journey from the 1st story, that weaves throughout until the necessary end of how one building can hold many secrets. There was only 1 story I felt dragged but the rest pulled me in immediately. It‘s a story of the city—alive in this one tenement. A tenement gothic. Beautiful and destructive!

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emily_roamswild
Lost & Found: A Memoir | Kathryn Schulz
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Mehso-so

I have a work book club—and we vote on the monthly book. Last month, they picked a memoir. I do not enjoy memoirs, ever. This one is beautifully written. It examines death and love in such a gorgeous way but also fiddly and snobbish, as academics often do. The 2nd section (Found) was a bit too cheesy for me but the 1st section was really, really smart. Overall, if you love memoirs—RUN to read this. If you‘re like me, eh—you won‘t hate it.

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emily_roamswild
This Might Hurt | Stephanie Wrobel
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Mehso-so

I enjoyed this book! However, graphic and prolonged child abuse is hard for me to get through—particularly child abuse that centers around manipulation. However, this is like… the NXIVM cult but on a smaller scale—an origin story if you will. Loved the culty vibes and the ending (so dark and fucked up) but Rebecca‘s origin story was hard for me to sit through. However, Kit‘s evolution was more interesting and I wished there was more of her story.

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emily_roamswild
Manhunt | Gretchen Felker-Martin
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If you read one post-apocalyptic book in your life: make it this one. Fucked up & terrifyingly real, a revealing look at how power will corrupt anyone. Trans-allies, definitely learn from this book! The characters are EARTH-SHATTERING. Beth & Indi‘s story was so beautiful & Mariana was a sneaky favorite. I even loved Ramona & Fran‘s storylines, & I normally would loathe them. Even the “boring” Robbie was stunning. A book about beauty & community.

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emily_roamswild
How Lucky: A Novel | Will Leitch
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Mehso-so

I really enjoyed this book. The main character has SMA and he witnesses a kidnapping—only he doesn‘t know it yet. The family of this book is what makes it. The ending is a bit much of a fairytale that I don‘t need, nor do I need the author to spell it out for me. Daniel is a delight. He‘s funny and his narration style is great. I think the author tries to sell it too much, when the characters and story have already done the heavy lifting.

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emily_roamswild
The Red Palace | June Hur
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Oh, this book is good. A young nurse, rising above her station, is tasked with solving 4 murders. But as the past unravels, the truth about what happened might kill her. Read this! Not only is Hyeon GOING THRU IT but she does it will grace & introspection that YA often lacks. She‘s got to save her mentor, solve crimes, unravel court politics/conspiracies, figure out shit with her parents—& maybe, fall in love. This historical mystery is perfect.

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emily_roamswild
The Lock-Eater | Zack Loran Clark
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Oh! This is A LOVELY middle-grade book about found family and identity—just a really relatable and beautiful look at how we perceive humanity and what makes us human: doubt and choice. It‘s absolutely a queer story that doesn‘t center around queer issues but folds them into the character development. I adored it! It‘s a beautiful adventure with a happy ending. The twists and turns to the happy ending felt natural and not forced. Read this magic!

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emily_roamswild
Such a Pretty Smile: A Novel | Kristi DeMeester
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T book was hard to read. 1st, it‘s graphic and creepy. 2nd, it‘s theory. I knew the ending was going to be hard to swallow. Very Slenderman meets feminist revenge fantasy, without the revenge we long for. This book feels incomplete & unfair but it‘s supposed to. The patriarchy fucks shit, LITERALLY—hungry, ugly & disgustingly. Lots of warnings folks, be advised but should be required reading for femtheory alone but the writing doesn‘t disappoint.

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emily_roamswild
When The Reckoning Comes | Tanya McQueen
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This one is a doozy. Listen, it‘s amazing writing but the horror is also real and not the kind of horror that is easy to read—this horror is real. Obviously major trigger warnings for slavery and all the super fucked (and very real) horrors involved. This book is about retribution, personal histories and generational history—all wrapped up in a trauma sandwich. Read it. But understand that it might not be for you. Even so, important.

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emily_roamswild
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Listen, like my love of procedurals, I enjoy a thriller. A woman with a tragic past, who has moved on… only the puzzle pieces haven‘t always fit? Love it. I thought Olivia was relatable and likable—and there were a lot of things happening in this book (not sure the final twist is super realistic but my belief was suspended enough) and all the red herrings/complex issues fit well for me. I would definitely recommend for a short, enjoyable read.

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emily_roamswild
Ace of Spades | Faridah Abike-Iyimide
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Think… Pretty Little Liars but instead of A, it‘s a haunting story of how two Black students are being hunted in their own school. Someone is revealing all their secrets and the deeper Devon& Chiamaka dig, the darker and sicker it is. This book takes institutional racism and gives it a face, a name: Aces. I loved Von‘s love stories and the stark difference between his and Chi‘s life is heartbreaking. Pick this up—you won‘t regret it.

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emily_roamswild
The Fields | Erin Young
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I am a sucker for a procedural! If you love the Midwest, dark shit, & flawed (but not completely idiotic) protagonists, this is for you. Set in Black Hawk County, Iowa—women‘s bodies show up and their manner of death rocks the community. As the case expands & contracts, how do these brutally murdered women; a governor race; & big agriculture all twine together? Unfortunately for Riley, she‘s about to find out—both personally & professionally!

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emily_roamswild
Maidens | Alex Michaelides
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Twists and turns! Listen, the Greek bit was not to my taste but I love dark academia. I did guess the ending—the first part (the who) but CERTAINLY not the why (oh dear). I enjoyed it! The other red herrings were a bit… much? But it was interesting and captivating. Also an easy read? Lots of triggers: abuse (sexual, emotional, parental/authoritative), lots of psychology, men in general and the snobbery of academia.

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emily_roamswild
A Lesson in Vengeance | Victoria Lee
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Lesbian dark academia? Count me in. Delightful, weird, gothic and creepy. The narrator is troubled but likable—running from herself in so many directions, she‘s managing to haunt herself. I liked the twist! I loved final chapters. Warnings for murder, magic, substance abuse, childhood trauma, eating disorders, blackmail and gothic style haunting. This book could have been creepier—I recognize the YA restraint. But I very much enjoyed this!

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emily_roamswild
The Hidden | Melanie Golding
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I enjoyed this! If you like modern magic/fantasy, this is a good one because it rides the crime bandwagon as well. I don‘t love alternating POV, but I stuck with it for this book. It‘s a thriller but it‘s a selkie thriller! What is better than that? Also, I love British procedurals! There are some triggers: abuse (alcohol, physical and emotional); adoption; long term imprisonment—think that‘s it. But I enjoyed the (slightly predictable) ride!

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emily_roamswild
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Mehso-so

This is the 1st book I‘ve read in the “Magic Men Mystery” series. But it‘s the 5th book! I got it bc someone recommended the 6th book, which I also got from the library. Griffiths‘ “Post Script Murders” was one of my favorite 2021 books! These are fun in the way of fluffy, British crime shows are (this Midsomer Murders and the like) but it doesn‘t have the same substance and I struggled to connect. But possibly because of this being the 5th book!

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emily_roamswild
A Spindle Splintered | Alix E. Harrow
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Mehso-so

Super short, fun and sapphic re-imagining of “Sleeping Beauty”. A little too short for me. I struggled to connect with the main character and I enjoyed the storytelling but part of this fairytale trope is simplicity. However, I think I prefer more The Wood and the Woodsman style fairytales. But for a academic look at fairytales, it‘s a nice think piece.

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emily_roamswild
Payback's a Witch | Lana Harper
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A lighthearted magical romance to start 2022! The main character didn‘t zing off the page for me—but I appreciated this modern magic story for the supporting cast and the sapphic story-line (there‘s even a steamy scene or two). I will certainly read the additional books in this universe. Funny, light and a treat! Pick this up from the library if you enjoy modern magic, romance and Gilmore Girls!