I received this book for free from the Publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Black Sheep by Rachel Harrison
Narrator: Jeremy Carlisle Parker
Published by Berkley Publishing Group, Penguin Random House Audio on September 19, 2023
Genres: Fiction / Occult & Supernatural
Length: 9 hours 51 minutes
Format: ARC, Audiobook
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A cynical twentysomething must confront her unconventional family’s dark secrets in this fiery, irreverent horror novel from the author of Such Sharp Teeth and Cackle.
Nobody has a “normal” family, but Vesper Wright’s is truly...something else. Vesper left home at eighteen and never looked back—mostly because she was told that leaving the staunchly religious community she grew up in meant she couldn’t return. But then an envelope arrives on her doorstep.
Inside is an invitation to the wedding of Vesper’s beloved cousin Rosie. It’s to be hosted at the family farm. Have they made an exception to the rule? It wouldn’t be the first time Vesper’s been given special treatment. Is the invite a sweet gesture? An olive branch? A trap? Doesn’t matter. Something inside her insists she go to the wedding. Even if it means returning to the toxic environment she escaped. Even if it means reuniting with her mother, Constance, a former horror film star and forever ice queen.
When Vesper’s homecoming exhumes a terrifying secret, she’s forced to reckon with her family’s beliefs and her own crisis of faith in this deliciously sinister novel that explores the way family ties can bind us as we struggle to find our place in the world.
This was great! I love that the book took a turn that I didn’t see coming which changed everything. Vesper grew up in a cult but has left to be on her own. Her life is less than glamorous and she doesn’t have any strong connections. Most people at the restaurant she works at think she is beautiful but horrible to be around and to be honest she can be pretty mean to those around her. When she gets invited to her old friend’s wedding, a friend who happens to be marrying her old boyfriend, she decides to go and things are set into motion.
The story was entertaining and kept me guessing until the end. I liked Vesper and wanted to see things work out for her but I wasn’t sure how that could happen. I would suggest that readers go into this book as blindly as possible because any spoilers would spoil all the fun of this book. (Don’t worry, I made sure not to include any spoilers in this review.) I loved how completely this book surprised me and believe that this may be one of the best twists that I have read.
I listened to the audiobook and thought that Jeremy Carlisle Parker did a great job with the story. She did an amazing job of bringing this cast of characters to life. I found her voice to be very pleasant and had no problems listening for hours at a time. I am certain that her narration added to my overall enjoyment of the story. I would highly recommend this book and cannot wait to read more of this author’s work!
I received a review copy of this book from Berkley Publishing Group and Penguin Random House Audio.
I received this book for free from the Publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Hex Education by Maureen Kilmer
Narrator: Kimberly M. Wetherell
Published by G.P. Putnam's Sons, Penguin Random House Audio on September 19, 2023
Genres: Fiction / Women
Length: 8 hours 40 minutes
Format: ARC, Audiobook
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Nice witches finish last…
A guilt-ridden former coven is forced to tap into the magic of their past . . . if they want to stop their lives from going up in flames again.
On the outside, luxury real estate agent Sarah Nelson looks like every other mom in the suburb. But she has an edge that others don’t: She’s a witch. And no one knows . . . except her estranged ex-coven and college friends, Katrina and Alicia.
One terrible night during their freshman year, the trio accidentally burned down their dorm, and soon after they scattered. Their secret had been safe, until Sarah learns they’ve been invited back to commemorate the anniversary of the fire.
Suddenly, the magic doesn’t want to be controlled. Sarah’s orange tabby cat, Katy Purry, now argues with her. Her broom has become self-brooming, and her fridge somehow restocks thirty pounds of sliced turkey for school lunches. As it grows increasingly difficult to hide the magic and the past, Sarah, Katrina, and Alicia must harness their power together . . . before they find out if polite society still burns witches.
I had a great time with this book! After enjoying Maureen Kilmer’s debut novel, I was excited to pick up her newest book. It turns out that I might like this one even more than her previous work. Sarah is a mom, wife, and realtor living a fairly normal life. No one knows that she uses magic every once in a while. When she was in college, she discovered along with 2 friends that they were gifted but stopped when their experiments ended in an out-of-control fire. It is now 20 years later and they have reunited and their magic has sparked. Someone is asking questions and they know that they need to get the situation under control.
I had a lot of fun with this one and thought that it had some pretty exciting moments. I really liked Sarah and the rest of the key characters and couldn’t wait to see how things would work out for them. There were a few surprises worked into the story which only added to the appeal of the story. I thought that the magic of the story added a very interesting element. Overall, I thought that this story was incredibly well done.
I listened to the audiobook and thought that Kimberly M. Wetherell did a great job with the story. I believe that this was the first time that I have had the chance to listen to this narrator’s work but I must say that I was quite impressed. I loved the voices that she used for the various characters which helped to bring the story to life. I do believe that her narration added to my enjoyment of this story. I would not hesitate to recommend this book to others and cannot wait to see what this author comes up with next!
I received a review copy of this book from G.P. Putnam’s Sons and Penguin Random House Audio.