Holiday Book Haul

Hey guys! Time for me to share what I got during my holiday!

**I didn’t actually get any books for Christmas aside from my amazing gift from Secret Santa, so these are books I bought and had mailed ahead and a couple of giveaways and an ARC as well, the rest are ones we bought with holiday money mostly from used bookstores lol**

**You don’t need to spend money to be a book blogger, so don’t let this haul affect your opinion on that, you’re valid as long as you enjoy reading!**

 

Book Mail

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I bought this off one of the many FB groups I’m on, I bought it when I thought I wasn’t going to be able to get my hands on the FairyLoot edition but now I have this beautiful OwlCrate edition and the magnificent FairyLoot edition.

 

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Words cannot express how fortunate and happy I felt to be sent an ARC for one of my absolute favorite releases of 2019. Holding this made me feel like tearing up and then I also bought someone’s OwlCrate edition.

 

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My OwlCrate edition of Crown of Feathers I bought off eBay and again the Owlcrate of House of Salt and Sorrows. ❤

 

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I have the Waterstones Special Signed Edition of Volume II but they no longer had Volume I on sale, so I nabbed this one instead ❤

 

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I’m still a HUGE Tamora Pierce fan and I’ve had the other two books of this trilogy forever, but finally, I now own the third one!

 

Giveaway Books

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I won a couple of books from an Instagram giveaway, Aileen Erin is a new fave author of mine so I was really excited. I asked them to mail them to a certain address and they addressed it to the person who lives there…so…lol they’re personalized but not to me!

 

Presents

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This was my gift from my wonderful Secret Santa ❤ A book off my wishlist that I cannot wait to read!

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My Sister got this for my husband and it cracks me up so I wanted to share it, he really got a kick out of it too!

 

Book Buys!

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I scored this half Price on sale and couldn’t help myself, I loved StepSister and had really wanted to read Call Down the Hawk

 

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I own a signed UK version of this but I really was drawn to this cover so I bought it too.

 

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I scored this one at the Goodwill for 1.00 and I was pretty excited lol I haven’t read any of her books yet! I know, I know, bad Haley.

 

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MEMORY LANE FOLKS, MEMORY LANE. I plan on getting an Aldrea Tattoo, for a long time my username on everything was Aldrea for years lol, also found this at GoodWill.

Join These Bookstagram Challenges

Hey guys!

So, I’m hosting a bookstagram challenge this month in honour of Harley in the Sky as I’m part of the street team for Akemi Dawn Bowman.

The hashtag for this one is #hitsjanchallenge


The other one is for another street team I’m part of but, I’m just one of the cohosts who did like none of the work, the other brilliant people of this team did that. For this bookstagram challenge use #phoenixridersga so we can see your entries! This is also for a giveaway so, keep those eyes peeled, it’s one prompt a week as is my Harley challenge.

View this post on Instagram

Posted @withrepost • @magic.within.pages *Giveaway* Happy Fri-yay book elves! A couple of us from the #firstridersstreetteam have gotten together to bring you a fun photo challenge to get you all excited for the release of Heart of Flames next month! So, the details 👇🏽 *. PRIZES: 🔥One winner will receive a copy of Crown of Feathers and Heart of Flames 🔥Another winner will receive a copy of Heart of Flames (this option is for those that already have crown of feathers and still want a chance to win a book!) *. RULES: 🔥Follow Us, @hollibrarybooks @thecaffeinated.reader @love2dazzle @madamepincers @chapter_break @magic.within.pages @stfusara @bookishbrianna (we are all fun people!) 🔥Comment what prize you would want- This only has to be done on one hosting account’s page (no need to comment on all eight) 🔥Post at least one photo following a weekly prompt using #phoenixridersga *. EXTRA ENTRIES: 🔥Post up to two photos that fit the week's prompt, including the hashtag #phoenixridersga (for up to +8 entries total into the giveaway) 🔥Follow @nickipaupreto and let us know you did this in a comment *. FINE PRINT: 🔥Must be 18 yrs or older, or have a parents permission 🔥Must be willing to give our address so we can ship you the prizes 🔥Must be a public account 🔥Open Internationally, as long as Book Depository must ship to your country 🔥This giveaway is not associated with Instagram, Book Depository, or @nickipaupreto 🔥Winners will be selected by random drawing based on entries 🔥Don't follow to unfollow. If you are not following all hosts by time of drawing, you will be disqualified from this giveaway and future ones *. *. *. #giveaway #heartofflames #crownoffeathers #nickipaupreto #bookcommunity #readingisfundamental #fortheloveofbooks #booklover #2019reads #yabookstagram #yafantasy #wereadfantasy #yabooks #youngadultreads #yalover #bookcommunity #bookstagram #bookworm #booknerd #fantasy #bookobsessed #youngadultbooks #youngadultbook #bookstagramfeatures #cozyreads

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Anyway, it’s Saturday and I have Ikea furniture to put together, so, pray for me/cross fingers/sacrifice a goat, whatever it is you do. Actually not that last one, but either way, I’m sure no matter where you are in the world you’ll hear me cursing at the Ikea instructions.

Someone Close to Home Blog Tour

 

 

Someone Close to Home

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GoodReads:
Talented pianist Megan Youngblood has it all – fame, fortune and Gideon.

But Gideon isn’t good enough for Megan’s ambitious, manipulative mother, whose meddling has devastating repercussions for Megan and for those close to her.

Now, trapped inside her own body, she is unable to communicate her needs or fears as she faces institutional neglect in an inadequate care home.

And she faces Annie. Sadistic Annie who has reason to hate her. Damaged Annie who shouldn’t work with vulnerable people.

Just how far will Annie go?

‘Someone Close To Home’ is a story of love, malice and deadly menace.

Book Information:
Paperback:
252 pages
Publisher: Ashford Carbonel Publishing (9 Dec. 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0995696608
ISBN-13: 978-0995696600
Amazon UK Link

My Review

Content/Trigger Warnings: Rape, sexual, emotional/mental, and physical abuse. Violence/murder, and elder/medical abuse.

This book, this was nothing like I expected! I thought it was going to be more of a thriller, but that’s not to say it’s not, it’s just, so much more than that.

The past and present collide as Megan Youngblood after suffering a stroke is put into a rather low funded care home by her two children. This does give her time to think about her past though, the journey that led her to this moment, especially as she’s left unable to communicate. She is under the mercies of the caregivers, some who are sweet and caring, some who treat it sim[ly as a job, and others. Others who use their position to abuse her and others in the home.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t seem to be anything new for Megan, her life has been rife with pain. She’s been under the care of those who would do her harm before, only this time she cannot even protest it if she wanted to.

Each chapter gives us the present and the past, and I was caught up in both timelines and it was almost weird to come upon them joining to just have the present but I’m so happy it was done this way, you see just how much Megan has been through. But I also feel as if she’d been through too much. It was a very hard and heavy read, as much as I loved it, it was not something I expected to make me so emotional; in the best and worst of ways haha, you can’t help but cry for Megan and her life, but I do think the ending made it all worthwhile, but, telling would be spoilers.

The main issue I had with this, and that’s not that it was a hard read, that’s just a warning that you will be probably too invested in Megan’s life, but that it felt disjointed between the ‘scarier’ thriller part and the rest of it.

I expected Annie to be featured more prominently given her role in the book, instead that huge plot of the story doesn’t come in till 70+ % through, so that was a bit of a shock to the system and by that time it made it feel like two different stories, but, the culmination of it all brings it all back on track.

Great, difficult read. Thank you to Anne Cater and the publisher for a chance to read and review this as part of my honest opinion. Four cups from me!

 

About the Author

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Alex Craigie was ten when her first play was performed at school. It was in rhyming couplets and all she can remember about it is that:
  • it was written in pencil in a book with weights and measures on the back
  • the two heroes were Prince Rupert and his brother (whose name was changed to Sam to facilitate the rhyming process.)      
  • as writer, producer and director she ‘bagged’ the part of female lead. 
When her children were young, she wrote short stories for magazines and since then has fulfilled her ambition to write a novel.
Someone Close to Home has won two ‘Chill with a Book’ awards – The Reader’s Award and the Book of the Month Award.
Alex lives in a small village in Pembrokeshire, Wales, and knows that she and her husband are lucky to have their children and grandchildren living nearby. It’s often chaotic and noisy but these are her most treasured moments and she savours them – even if she’s reduced to an immovable heap after they’ve gone.  
As an independent author, without a big publishing machine behind her, she is very grateful to all the people who have found and bought her first book – and a huge thank you to those who’ve gone out of their way to write a review on Amazon or Goodreads. These reviews make a massive difference to ‘Indies’ and the positive ones encourage other readers to risk buying a copy.
What else can she say?  Nothing, really. Writing this personal promotion has been very, very hard and she needs to go away now and lie down in a darkened room, preferably with a big bar of chocolate…  
She looks forward to any contact from fellow lovers of books and any honest feedback is very welcome.

 

The Rest of the Tour

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The God Game Blog Tour

 

 

The God Game

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GoodReads:
You are invited!
COme inside and play with G.O.D.
Bring your friends!
It;’s fun!
But remember the rules. Win and ALL YOUR DREAMS COME TRUE.™ Lose, you die!
With those words, Charlie and his friends enter the G.O.D. Game, a video game run by underground hackers and controlled by a mysterious AI that believes it’s God. Through their phone-screens and high-tech glasses, the teens’ realities blur with a virtual world of creeping vines, smoldering torches, runes, glyphs, gods, and mythical creatures. When they accomplish a mission, the game rewards them with expensive tech, revenge on high-school tormentors, and cash flowing from ATMs. Slaying a hydra and drawing a bloody pentagram as payment to a Greek god seem harmless at first. Fun even.
But then the threatening messages start. Worship me. Obey me. Complete a mission, however cruel, or the game reveals their secrets and crushes their dreams. Tasks that seemed harmless at first take on deadly consequences. Mysterious packages show up at their homes. Shadowy figures start following them, appearing around corners, attacking them in parking garages. Who else is playing this game, and how far will they go to win?
And what of the game’s first promise: win, win big, lose, you die? Dying in a virtual world doesn’t really mean death in real life—does it?
As Charlie and his friends try to find a way out of the game, they realize they’ve been manipulated into a bigger web they can’t escape: an AI that learned its cruelty from watching us.
God is always watching, and He says when the game is done.

 

My Review

Content/Trigger Warnings: Physical abuse, cancer, racial slurs, homophobia, bullying, depression/mental health issues, suicidal thoughts/attempt(s), violence/murder, death of an animal.

Want to play a game?

Want that phrase to terrify you for the rest of your life? Then read this book!

I only half-joke. To give you all an idea of what this book did to me, I got a DM asking if I wanted to join in with a book review group and have fun with their games, I internally screeched and immediately deleted the message lol.

This book is fast paced and despite its length [449 pages in my edition] I barely felt like it lasted that long. I was quickly turning each page to find out what was going to happen next.

Be forewarned, these characters are not easily likeable after like the first few chapters, I liked them, but I’m a Slytherin, so, I liked them probably more than I should have the whole way through. I mean at least three of them to have continually redeemable qualities, you can see them struggling with this game, which, is a dark and terrifying contender to deal with.

An AI thinks its god, or, god has infiltrated an AI, either way, the Vindicators find themselves pulled into this game only known to those on the Dark Web. It starts off fun enough, A bit like a super dark version of Pokemon Go, think Black Mirror meets Pokemon Go in fact lol.

This Game will make you or break you, and it wants to break you. You can earn ‘Goldz’ in the game or, if it isn’t feeling gracious, you gain ‘Blaxx.’ The problem is though, there are no rules, and so any choice you make could result in a reward or a punishment, there’s no pause, and worst of all, there’s no way out.

Charlie, one of the Vindicators is at first determined to find a way out because every game has to have an exit or a way to win, but anytime the group thinks they’ve done the last thing that will set their lives right, God comes up with something new.

Not to mention, there were a group of high schoolers that had an eerily similar experience with a dark twisted period, did they play the Game too in the 90s?

This book is not about character development in that they grow necessarily, some do, some don’t, but they each hit a low and dark point, they each make scarier choices and are backed into corners and they react like real people, trying to survive, wanting more than they have, wanting to one-up the bullies in life, but, it’s never as simple as that.

God knows all, God sees all, and it rewards you for each time you do its bidding. So who in the group will want to win, to please God, and who will want out?

Stephen King meets Ready Player One, you get a dark gritty and terrifying tale about what happens when not only an AI is God but also what happens when people are given too much power.

Tobey does a great job of chilling you to your core and using theology and philosophy to do so too, I love that he had these elements in it and they weren’t so heavy that I couldn’t keep up. [Philosophy and I do not always get along]

The ending was amazing, the book was overall chilling, creepy, and oddly hopeful for me considering the end choices of the Vindicators.

But just because you’re done with the Game, doesn’t mean it’s done with you.

Four cups from me, thank you so much to Gollancz for sending me a copy of this in exchange for my honest opinion as part of the tour.

 

About the Author

Danny Tobey

Danny Tobey is the author of THE GOD GAME, arriving January 7, 2020 from St. Martin’s press. He is a fifth-generation Texan and a graduate of Harvard College, Yale Law School, and UT Southwestern medical school. Harvard gave Danny the Edward Eager prize “for the best creative writing.” He wrote and edited the Harvard Lampoon and was anthologized in The Best of the Harvard Lampoon: 140 Years of American Humor. Danny’s first novel, the sci-fi fantasy thriller The Faculty Club, came out from Simon & Schuster. Danny is a noted expert on Artificial Intelligence. In 2019, the Library of Congress gave Danny the Burton Award for his work on AI and the law.

 

The Rest of the Tour

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Love Lettering Blog Tour

 

 

Love Lettering

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GoodReads:
The thing is, the letters don’t always tell me truths about myself. Sometimes they tell me truths about other people. And Reid Sutherland is – was – one of those people.
In the last year, Meg Mackworth’s beautiful hand-lettering skills have seen her rocket to social media fame, and now she has a booming business crafting stationery for the stars. But she has a secret: sometimes, she just can’t resist hiding messages in her work. Slightly unprofessional, maybe – but harmless. Right?
Analyst Reid Sutherland and his gorgeous fiancée had their future mapped out. Until he noticed a pattern in his wedding invitation that made him think twice.
When Meg looks up from her desk one day and sees Reid standing in front of her with no wedding ring, holding the invitation she created, she thinks that her career is over.
But her life may be about to begin . . .

Purchase Links

Amazon UK | Amazon US

**The links to the book used in this post are Affiliated links, should you click on my links and use them to purchase this book, it will gain me some monies, and will cost you nothing, but gotta disclose this first.**

 

My Review

This book is pure adorable fluff wrapped in witty humor, sarcasm, and ‘codes.’ To say I loved this book would be an understatement.

First off, I thought Meg was a brilliant character and the fact that we get to see the story through her eyes is just so great.

Following this thought, I actually loved Meg and Reid so much because they seemed so much like REAL people. They had faults, they had quirks, they had problems between each other in communicating and it felt like a real relationship because of this.

Reid is someone who loves numbers, and he is direct and such a solid presence in this book. I loved him as much as I loved Meg, he wasn’t just ‘swoon-worthy’ [though he was that too] he was loveable and endearing.

Meg loves letters, she is an artist, a small business owner, and someone who has learned to go with the flow no matter her feelings to avoid conflict, she isn’t direct, but she has a softness to her that really balances out Reid while still seeing her as this independent force of her own.

**This book also has some extremely steamy and satisfying scenes lol.**

I loved how much letters and Meg’s artistic sense of them came into play in this book and I love that her love of letters did not diminish just because this was a love story. Such a perfect balance, that Clayborn gives us this ultimate/perfect RomCom where you laugh, fall in love and stay on the edge of your seat through it all.

I think my only issue was that the climax of the story happened so late in the game that I wanted to see more of the aftermath of it, but the epilogue still provided me with the right sense of closure I like to have in a book.

This novel also really had me wanting to update my planner and have better handwriting haha, Meg inspires us all!

There are hardships for our lovers, and there are obstacles, but nothing that made them incompatible, and I really appreciated that. I mean I love drama, don’t get me wrong [I mean my twitter handle is Dramahuman after all…] but sometimes what happens between two people is just too much for a relationship to sustain. So the fact that this was really grounded with how their relationship worked, for the most part, made me extremely happy.

Clayborn also nails the atmosphere of Brooklyn, and I mean that she makes me want to go back to 90s RomComs, watch them all based in Manhattan and New York while binging on chocolates.

There are other characters to love, I adored the people in Meg’s life, her friends and colleagues, and I’m so glad Clayborn put together such a well rounded and amazing book.

If you can’t tell, I loved this. Four huge cups of hot chocolate for this, and guess what? It’s going on my ‘to reread’ shelf.

Thank you to Hodder & Stoughton for an ARC of this in exchange for my honest opinion as part of the tour.

The Rest of the Tour

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One Year Blogiversary & INTL. Giveaway

 

Guess what January 3rd was?

My Blogiversary

Guess who had no clue until I looked it up on January 3rd?

This girl.

So, I did a Twitter poll, and a few people did it, so it’s been decided that today I’ll do my blogiversary post and celebrate by…

Giving you all a tour of my bookshelves.

Prepare yourselves, we still haven’t really worked out how many shelves we need and we’re still trying to find space to put all this crap that we own so the pictures will be scary in the sense that there’s no sense of order, it’s just chaos. Pure chaos. And mess.

Also, to celebrate my blogiversary I would like to do an international giveaway for a book depository gift card worth £10. It’s not much but I wanted to do something, and I promise there’ll be more giveaways to come this year.

My Bookshelves

First up, my Ikea cube shelf, which, I’m not putting a full picture of because it’s basically blocked by random game consoles and accessories and random pairs of shoes…oh…and a drill. [Looking right at it as I type, shuddering as I realize how messy I am]

 

The Cube shelf is mostly for my YA books as they’re the ones I own the most of, but we also have had to use this shelf for board games and puzzles and videogames which is why everything’s so smooshed in it. Oh and random videos apparently. Yea, that’s right that bottom right corner picture is Star Wars IV-VI on VHS. Boom.

I try to kinda keep it by genre, generally, but this go it’s literally been like ‘if it it fits, it sits’

You’ll note a Harry Potter lego set, may I just say that was a Christmas present to myself and the husband from my sister-in-law? She knows me too well.

I…I can’t get over how messy this all is! I couldn’t even take a picture of one of the cubes cause it was blocked by so much shite. Bahaha. Okay upward and onward [well downward shelf wise]

On the plus side, these shelves are slightly neater? Maybe?

Anyway, I have a whole shelf dedicated to Cassandra Clare cause she turns out books like I eat chocolates. Also, Mortal Instruments holds a special place in my heart as it was the first YA series I really read after the Harry Potter books.

I also have some books I’ve bought for the spawn AND myself, and I’ve kept them here for now such as Artemis Fowl and Percy Jackson [not pictured here]. The Worst Teachers book is hers too, spawn prefers humorous books and graphic/comic books, I love seeing her develop her own tastes. Anyway, you’ll also see I have a cube of manga, that’s right, all manga there, and it’s three rows deep of manga lol. [Why does that sound dirty?]  I’m actually surprised by how many books I’ve actually read in these four cubes, go me, but haha the rest is all like 50% read, 50% forgot I owned.

Onto the other shelf in our tiny living room!

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Fortunately, this one is public appropriate to show you the full shelf lol. You’ll notice this is mostly classics, and hey, what can I say, I do love classics, as does the husband so this is more our shelf whereas the black cubicle one is definitely like all me lol.

I also love to collect older books so the first few shelves are the ones I find in charity shops while the bottom shelf as like our B&N pretty editions lol

And now we’re off to the basement/ground level!

 

Here we have historical fiction, ‘chick lit’ and more classics. As well as one set of my HP books and my Tamora Pierce books. ❤ The bottom shelf is like all Agatha Christie behind those other mystery books.

On the right we have….wait for it, nonfiction. There are reference books for musicology studies and the general nonfiction that the hubs and I can both bond over. Except he reads boring things like Napoleon stuff while I’m like ‘hey let’s read about actors and the Romanov dynasty’ lol.

Where will we go next? To our bedroom! [Bookshelves only, pervs]

Now, the bottom right picture is actually a different shelf, it’s a small one we keep our TBR books on, and you know, whatever else needs to go on there. You’ll spy Wolf Light and Curses & Kisses on the top of that shelf, I’m so excited to read those lol. The taller shelf holds signed/special edition books and my husband’s Hemingway and philosophy books as they’re important to him ❤

I know I’ve got multiple editions of some books on there, but, these books really made an impression on me so I have more than one copy.

I’ve got Goldsboro and Illumicrate editions of Kingdom of Souls, Fairyloot editions of Girls of Storm and Shadow, The Beautiful, The Merciful Crow, and Serpent and Dove on the first shelf. There’s also the Goldsboro editions of The Gods of Jade and Shadow and Aurora Rising. Pan’s Labyrinth is a signed Forbidden Planet edition, and that’s the Waterstones exclusive edition of The Deathless Girls. The rest of the books are regular editions but they’re all signed and most are personalized to me, they’re the authors I’ve been lucky enough to meet!

Second and third shelf are mostly Waterstones or even Barnes and Noble special editions, and more signed by the author/signed bookplate books. There’s also a Faecrate edition of The Red Labyrinth because I really thought that book was awesome and underrated. Finally the bottom shelf, I want to point out my Goldsboro and Illumicrate editions of Blood Heir, man, I thought that book was pretty great.

There we go, I have shown you all my horribly messy bookshelves, and consider these all ‘before’ photos as we are going to be getting wall/floating shelves for the mess that is the living room.

One Year

I’ve met so many amazing people, and read so many equally amazing books, that I can’t imagine my life without some part of the bookish community. I’ve joined street teams, I’ve found friends, met lovely people in publishing, authors, and book reviewers who have influenced my bookshelves.

I could go on and on about what I’ve done, but I already did a year in review, I read a lot, over 240+ books, put up over 174 book review posts, participated in readathons, blog tours, and Book Ending events, and really all that I can think to write about is how happy it’s all made me and how much fun I’ve had. This is all thanks to the people I’ve encountered and without them, there wouldn’t be this post.

Wouldn’t be here without you either.

Sending love and wishing you all the best, let’s see what another year will do on this blog. [Still updating my Patreon stuff, and will be bringing back Comparing Notes, just for starters]

Now onto the important stuff!

Giveaway Information

Giveaway is for a 10 gift card for book depository, it is open internationally, to be entered for it just comment on my blog OR F/RT the tweet about it. That’s it! [If you comment on here but don’t want to be entered in the giveaway for any reason, just state that you’d like to be exempt]

 

 

Starve Acre eARC Review

 

 

Starve Acre

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GoodReads:
The worst thing possible has happened. Richard and Juliette Willoughby’s son, Ewan, has died suddenly at the age of five. Starve Acre, their house by the moors, was to be full of life, but is now a haunted place.

Juliette, convinced Ewan still lives there in some form, seeks the help of the Beacons, a seemingly benevolent group of occultists. Richard, to try and keep the boy out of his mind, has turned his attention to the field opposite the house, where he patiently digs the barren dirt in search of a legendary oak tree.

Starve Acre is a devastating new novel by the author of the prize-winning bestseller The Loney. It is a novel about the way in which grief splits the world in two and how, in searching for hope, we can so easily unearth horror.

Purchase Links

Amazon UK | Amazon US

**The links to the book used in this post are Affiliated links, should you click on my links and use them to purchase this book, it will gain me some monies, and will cost you nothing, but gotta disclose this first.**

 

My Review

What can I say? This book was creepy, dark, and mysterious. I loved it, and it did have an aspect of horror that though chilling was also okay for cowards like me to read, haha.

There was a really raw feel to the grief in this story, both husband and wife affected in different ways. Not to mention this whole while there’s darkness encroaching, what you think is just grief eventually twists. It’s amazing and I cannot express how delightfully creepy I found this book. It’s more of a novella really in terms of length but there was no denying the fact that this is one fully fleshed out story of grief, creepy hares, and the folklore of a village still alive in the mystery under the field.

It also felt a bit reminiscent of Cujo, in the way the child is experiencing things, the flashbacks in ‘Starve Acre’ help to draw on this horrifying dread.

This book was amazing. The prose was completely haunting and this story left you chilled to the bone from start to finish. It was brilliant how Hurley made you as the reader always sense this looming/impending doom. You weren’t sure what would happen, you weren’t sure what exactly happened before the start of this but you watch this creepy tale slowly unravel the past and come together with the future to give you something horrific and breathtaking.

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for an eARC in exchange for my honest opinion. 4.5/5 Cups of Hot chocolate from me, sorry for the short review but basically: IT’S DARK, SCARY, AND AMAZING, GO READ IT.