Spellbook of the Lost and Found by Moïra Fowley-Doyle

Title: Spellbook of the Lost and Found
Author: Moïra Fowley-Doyle
Series: N/A
Pages: 357
Publisher: Kathy Dawson Books
Release Date: August 8th 2017

      “One stormy summer in a small Irish town, things begin to disappear. It starts with trivial stuff—hair clips, house keys, socks—but soon it escalates to bigger things: a memory, a heart, a classmate.
      Olive can tell that her best friend, Rose, is different all of a sudden. Rose isn’t talking, and Olive starts to worry she’s losing her. Then diary pages written by someone named Laurel begin to appear all over town. And Olive meets three mysterious strangers: Ivy, Hazel, and her twin brother, Rowan, secretly squatting in an abandoned housing development. The trio are wild and alluring, but they seem lost too—and like Rose, they’re holding tightly to painful secrets.
      When a tattered handwritten spellbook falls into the lives of these six teenagers, it changes everything. The spellbook is full of charms to conjure back that which has been lost, and it lists a part for each of them to play in the calling. It might be their best chance to set everything back to rights, but only if they’re willing to pay the price.”

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“Moss became fur became dead animals on the floor of the forest. The trees became the spaces between the trees. We three held hands and made noises that weren’t words, but that Holly said later were a calling. A calling for the lost to be found.”

Moïra Fowley-Doyle’s Spellbook of the Lost and Found has a great cast of characters, but at times becomes convoluted because of said characters. After the night of the traditional bonfire, Olive wakes up unable to remember the night before. She isn’t the only one, her best friend Rose can’t remember either. Then important items begin to go missing around town. Whispers of a thief in town is the first conclusion everyone reaches. For Laurel and her friends, the world begins to shift beneath them when their diaries go missing. In a desperate attempt to get them back, they cast a spell to find what was lost, but it may have unforeseeable and lasting consequences. Hazel and her brother Jude are running from their pasts, but secrets don’t always stay hidden and these teens’ lives are about to collide.

The first thing that struck me about this book was the amount of characters involved. There are three separate stories unfolding at once, three separate narrators, and three groups of characters needed to keep track of. Early on, it was almost impossible to tell which characters were essential to the plot and which I could dismiss. Not only is it important to create narrators with distinct voices, which I discuss next, if you have a large cast of characters, it’s important to show early on who the readers should spend time investing in. Olive, Laurel, and Hazel narrator this book in alternating, first-person chapters. Their voices however are far too similar, especially early on. I had to often turn back to the beginning of a chapter or refer to my notes to remind myself which character was narrating.

I did really like characters like Olive and Rose, who felt more fleshed out than the others. More minor characters like Ivy and Holly, who did ultimately have roles to play, did not feel quite as well-rounded. I loved that this novel features so many female characters. There are arguable two relevant male characters compared to seven essential female characters. I also appreciated the different female relationships found in this novel. There are close friendships that are put to the test. Loyalty is tested and sometimes characters fail to do what is right. There are unrequited crushes where wandering gazes only end in broken hearts. And then there are characters who experience love for the first time, where the giving of oneself is both scary and exhilarating.

Moïra Fowley-Doyle’s writing is just as lyrical as her debut The Accident Season, but didn’t quite cast a spell over me like the first. Still, if you enjoyed her previous work, you may find yourself charmed by Spellbook of the Lost and Found.

3/5

★★★

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The Friday 56: Forest of a Thousand Lanterns

The Friday 56The Friday 56 is a weekly blog meme hosted by Freda’s Voice. Join us every Friday and share an excerpt from a book you’ve been reading.

Rules:

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader.
*Find any sentence (or a few, just don’t spoil it) that grab you.
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post here in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url. It’s that simple.

**Be sure to leave a link to your Friday 56 post in the comments!**

“…they’re the deadliest killers on the continent…It’s said that they paint their mouths bright red with blood when they go to war. That’s why they’re called the Crimson Army.”

I read an ARC of Julie C. Dao’s Forest of a Thousand Lanterns, so didn’t get a chance to share an excerpt from it at the time. I finally got my hands on a final copy, so now I get to share this amazing debut with everyone. As far as favorite deadly, yet intriguing female characters go, Xifeng is near the top. I loved reading her journey into villainy. You can read my review here. Cover is linked to Goodreads.

From the Goodreads Synopsis:

      “An East Asian fantasy reimagining of The Evil Queen legend about one peasant girl’s quest to become Empress–and the darkness she must unleash to achieve her destiny.
      Eighteen-year-old Xifeng is beautiful. The stars say she is destined for greatness, that she is meant to be Empress of Feng Lu. But only if she embraces the darkness within her. Growing up as a peasant in a forgotten village on the edge of the map, Xifeng longs to fulfill the destiny promised to her by her cruel aunt, the witch Guma, who has read the cards and seen glimmers of Xifeng’s majestic future. But is the price of the throne too high?
      Because in order to achieve greatness, she must spurn the young man who loves her and exploit the callous magic that runs through her veins–sorcery fueled by eating the hearts of the recently killed. For the god who has sent her on this journey will not be satisfied until his power is absolute.

Monthly Wrap-Up: October ’17

MonthlyWrap-UPGoodbye, October! I’m really sad that this month has come to an end. My blog is no longer rocking a Halloween theme and it’s time to take down all my creepy decorations. I had so much fun with October Fright this year where I put together many spooktacular posts. This month I read six novels plus three graphic novels. No five-stars this month, but still a really good reading month. Though I’m not fond of Christmas decor in stores so early, it’s time to start thinking about gifts. I have an upcoming blog hiatus that is going to take me from the middle of November into December. I’m preparing for it now, so when I get back I don’t have a ton of blogging stuff on my plate.

(Book covers below are linked to my reviews, unless otherwise specified.) 

Favorite Book This Month:

It was really hard to decide which four-star read was my favorite this month. I’m going with Kerri Maniscalco’s Hunting Prince Dracula. I loved the Gothic feel of this sequel and can’t wait for more.

Least Favorite Book This Month:

No books this month received less than three stars from me.

Reviews Posted This Month:

Read, Review Coming Soon:

(covers linked to Goodreads)

Graphic Novels Read This Month:

(These received four stars from me; covers linked to Goodreads)

Notable Blog Posts This Month:

October Fright 2017 – As mentioned before, I put together Halloween-themed posts that you can check out. My favorite from the bunch was October Fright 2017: Your Guide to Avoiding the “Just Moved Into a Haunted House and Am Now the Lead in a Horror Movie” Trope. It’s a bit wordy, but I had so much fun with this advice post.

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Long-Winded Titles That Aren’t Necessary But Are Undeniably Charming, Much Like This One — Long-Winded That Is, Maybe Not So Charming – Apparently I’m a fan of long-winded titles. Here I list some of my favorites.

FLYTIP: Make Your Mark – Got a chance to share some of my favorite bookmarks including some DIY ones. I am planning a giveaway in the future, but probably won’t announce anything until after my hiatus.

Reading Challenges:

My October reading TBR was devoted to creepy reads, so I made very little progress toward these challenges.

1. The 2017 Debut Author Challenge is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. No debuts picked up this month.

  • Challenge Goal: 12 books; Current Count: 16 books

2. Flights of Fantasy Reading Challenge 2017 is hosted by Alexa Loves Books and Hello, Cherry. This month I read Hillary Monahan’s The Hollow Girl.

  • Challenge Goal: 20 books; Current Count: 16 books

November Releases I’m Excited For:

 

Month in Review

Are you preparing yourself for the holiday season? How are your reading challenges going now that the end of the year is near? Favorite read in October? Let me know in the comments and feel free to leave me a link to your own wrap-up post and I’ll be sure to visit.

October Fright 2017: The Spine-Chilling Summary

Happy Halloween! I’ve had such a blast this month with spooky-themed posts, creepy horror movies, and frightening novels. Donning my witch leg earrings, referring to my red nail polish as the “blood of my enemies”, and delighting in a myriad of dark, twisted stories will no longer be socially acceptable tomorrow. But we have today and so I’ll close this year’s October Fright feature with a small recap of the posts I’ve put together this month. Covers below are linked to Goodreads.

October Fright 2017: The Chilling TBR

I’ve done away with monthly TBR lists, but have been making an exception for this one each year. Click here to take a peek at all the books I planned on reading this month. I got through more than half of these titles, so I consider it a success.

October Fright 2017: Seven Scary Fun T.V. Shows

In this post, I share some of the horror-esque shows I’ve been watching. A lot of these have found a way to incorporate the dark and light, balancing horror and humor, which is something I’d love to see more of. Click here to take a look.

October Fright 2017: Thriller, Thriller Night

If there’s one genre of books that I’d like to read more of, it’s thriller. All that anticipating and trepidation makes for an edge-of-your-seat kind of read. Click here to have a look at some of my favorite thrillers.

October Fright 2017: Legends and Myths and Fiends, Oh My!

There are some monsters that you can’t get enough of in the horror genre and many more that you’d like to see explored. Here I share a few myths and legends that I’d love to see star in more horror novels. Click here to check it out.

October Fright 2017: Your Guide to the “Just Moved Into a Haunted House and Am Now the Lead in a Horror Movie” Trope

This was by far my favorite post to put together this month. If you’re looking for a new home, but are scared that you might end up in horror story, check out these tips. Click here to find out more.

October Fright 2017: Keep Your TBR Frightful All Month Long

As always, I’ve composed a list of future releases that will keep you on your toes all month long. If October isn’t the only month you crave a creepy read, check out this list here.

Did you enjoy your October? Was it fantastically creepy? What was the last horror book you enjoyed? Hope you enjoy your Halloween!

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Halloween Flicks

Top Ten TuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is an original blog meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is “Halloween Freebie! (Happy Halloween! Let your creativity run wild with a themed post to celebrate!).” As you probably noticed this month, I’m a bit of a fan of Halloween. I’ve been posting Halloween-themed posts all month long and have done my best to pick up as many creepy novels as possible. In order to get myself into the Halloween spirit, I’ve also been watching some horror movies. Here is a list of some of my favorite horror (ish, because some of these are just fun) movies that are perfect for this time of year.

1. Hocus Pocus

I live for this classic movie. I wait all year long for it to be socially acceptable to watch and I just love it. It was one of my favorites as a kid and it still remains so. I already watched this one this month, but I might find an excuse to watch it again before November 1st rolls around (or even after).

2. Halloween

How could I make a list like this without including this classic? I’m not overly fond of any of the sequels or the remake, but this original movie is one of the best horror movies in my opinion. You know I watched this one already, you don’t even need to ask.

3. Beetlejuice

Why do I like this movie so much, it’s so weird. My brother used to hate this movie, but I always enjoyed how odd it was. I only kind of tormented him about it. I felt a strange kind of kinship with Winona Ryder’s Lydia in this one. I kind of still do.

4. The Nightmare Before Christmas

Is it a Halloween movie or is it a Christmas one? Does it really matter when you have an excuse to watch this one for three months out of the year? The music always get to me and I’ve kind of been singing “This is Halloween” since October 1st.

5. The Craft

I think I rewatched this movie last year and I don’t know what it is, but I feel like it really encompasses why I love witches so much. I love the idea of exploring how this kind of power can turn dark and I just need more books that are like this movie.

6. The Conjuring

The Conjuring is one of my all-time favorite horror movies. I’m really picky when it comes to horror films, but this is one that I absolutely love. I’ve watched it multiple times and still get the heebie jeebies. Still haven’t found anyone who wants to play three claps with me, can’t imagine why.

7. Practical Magic

Another witch movie that I love. I’m very aware of this movie’s shortcomings, but yet I still really love it. I’ve heard the book isn’t that great, but if you have any book recommendations that are similar to it, I’m listening.

8. Get Out

I loved this movie so much. There are so many layers and after watching it a second time recently, I might love it even more. If you haven’t had the pleasure of seeing it yet, I strongly recommend that you do.

9. The Shining

Yes, The Shining. This is such a great movie. I’ve never read the book, but I hear it’s quite a bit different. Really, Jack Nicholson makes this one great and I’m very partial to the soundtrack as well.

10. Poltergeist

Are the special effects in this one kind of cheesy now that it’s a thirty-something-year-old movie? Absolutely. Yet I still gravitate toward it this time of year.

Are any of these movies your favorite? Which horror movie do you like to watch around Halloween? Let’s discuss in the comments and leave a link to your Top Ten Tuesday post, so I can visit!

October Fright 2017: Keep Your TBR Frightful All Year Long

For those who don’t need October as an excuse for a scary read, this list is for you. Who says October is the only time you can pick up a frightfully fun book? If you’re already counting down the days until next October, stay scared with these books set to be released later this year and next. Covers are linked to Goodreads (or titles if a cover is not available).

1. Devil in Ohio by Daria Polatin

Release Date: November 7, 2017

When fifteen-year-old Jules Mathis comes home from school to find a strange girl, her mother explains that Mae is one of her patients at the hospital and will be staying with their family for a few days. But shortly after, Mae is wearing Jules’ clothes, sleeping in her bedroom, edging her out of her position on the school paper, and kissing Jules’s crush. Then things get weird.

Jules walks in on a half-dressed Mae, she’s startled to see a pentagram carved into her back. Soon white roses start turning up on the front porch, a rabid dog bites one of Jules’ sisters, and Jules’ parents, who never fight, start arguing behind closed doors.

Jules pieces clues together and discovers that Mae may be a survivor of the strange cult that has taken over a nearby town. And they will stop at nothing to get Mae back.

2. R.I.P. Eliza Hart by Alyssa B. Sheinmel

Release Date: November 28, 2017

When Eliza Hart, the most popular girl at Ventana Ranch boarding school, is found dead on the cliffs outside her dormitory, Ellie Sokoloff is determined to figure out what happened to her. After all, Eliza was Ellie’s childhood best friend.

Never mind that ever since Ellie arrived at school Eliza has spread terrible rumors about her, calling her a liar and a stalker, when all Ellie wanted to do was rekindle their old friendship. Or that Ellie’s claustrophobia limits where she can go and what she can do. Or that Ellie’s suitemate, Sam, is the only one who will help her . . . because to everyone else, Ellie looks like the top suspect.

Can Ellie clear her name and solve the mystery behind Eliza’s death? Her hunt for the truth will uncover secrets she never imagined, sending her deep into her own memories of her childhood with Eliza Hart.

3. The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert

Release Date: January 30, 2018

Seventeen-year-old Alice and her mother have spent most of Alice’s life on the road, always a step ahead of the uncanny bad luck biting at their heels. But when Alice’s grandmother, the reclusive author of a cult-classic book of pitch-dark fairy tales, dies alone on her estate, the Hazel Wood, Alice learns how bad her luck can really get: Her mother is stolen away―by a figure who claims to come from the Hinterland, the cruel supernatural world where her grandmother’s stories are set. Alice’s only lead is the message her mother left behind: “Stay away from the Hazel Wood.”.

Alice has long steered clear of her grandmother’s cultish fans. But now she has no choice but to ally with classmate Ellery Finch, a Hinterland superfan who may have his own reasons for wanting to help her. To retrieve her mother, Alice must venture first to the Hazel Wood, then into the world where her grandmother’s tales began―and where she might find out how her own story went so wrong.

4. Pitch Dark by Courtney Alameda

Release Date: February 20, 2018

Tuck Durante is a shipraider, combing space for Earth artifacts from a war that ended 500 years ago. When his parents’ ship crashes in the dead zone and the crew goes missing, Tuck hires a ragtag rescue team.

Meanwhile, curator Lana Gray is fighting to keep the US PANAM John Muir—and the remnants of its crew—alive. Their space capsule housing Yosemite National Park was hijacked. The hijacking turned ninety-five percent of her crew into nightmarish creatures called mourners who flay, dismember, or decapitate with nothing more than sharp-pitched shrieks.

Now, despite their differences, Lana, Tuck, and their crews must work together to save the John Muir. In space, nobody can hear you scream…but on the John Muir, the screams are the last thing you’ll hear.

5. The Heart Forger by Rin Chupeco

Release Date: March 1, 2018
Synopsis currently unavailable, sequel to The Bone Witch.

6. By a Charm and a Curse by Jaime Questell

Release Date: March 6, 2018

LeGrand’s Carnival Fantastic isn’t like other traveling circuses. It’s bound by a charm, held together by a centuries-old curse, that protects its members from ever growing older. Seventeen-year-old Emmaline King is drawn to the circus like a moth to a flame…and unwittingly recruited into its folds by a mysterious teen boy whose kiss is as cold as ice.

Forced to travel through Texas as the new Girl In the Box, passing out fortunes and searching for the poor soul she can transfer the curse to with one frosty kiss, Emmaline begins to fall for the quiet carnival carpenter Ben Singer. Ben is just as desperate to start a life outside the carnival as Emmaline is to escape her destiny—but giving in to their undeniable attraction means Ben’s fate would be sealed.

Breaking the curse seems like their only chance at happiness—but no curse means no charm, either, dooming every circus worker they’ve grown to care about in the process.

7. In Her Skin by Kim Savage

Release Date: March 27, 2018

Sixteen-year-old con artist Jo Chastain is about to take on the biggest heist of her life: impersonating a missing girl. Life on the streets of Boston these past few years hasn’t been easy, and Jo is hoping to cash in on a little safety, a little security. She finds her opportunity in the Lovecrafts, a wealthy family with ties to the unsolved disappearance of Vivienne Weir, who vanished when she was nine.

When Jo takes on Vivi’s identity and stages the girl’s miraculous return, the Lovecrafts welcome her back with open arms. They give her everything she could want: love, money, and proximity to their intoxicating and unpredictable daughter, Temple. But nothing is as it seems in the Lovecraft household—and some secrets refuse to stay buried. As hidden crimes come to the surface, and lines of deception begin to blur, Jo must choose to either hold onto an illusion of safety, or escape the danger around her before it’s too late..

8. Circle Unbroken by Zoraida Córdova

Release Date: April 1, 2018
Synopsis unavailable, sequel to Labyrinth Lost.

9. The Missing by Jerico Lenk

Release Date: April 3, 2018

Jane McKeene was born two days before the dead began to walk the battlefields of Gettysburg and Chancellorsville—derailing the War Between the States and changing America forever. In this new nation, safety for all depends on the work of a few, and laws like the Native and Negro Reeducation Act require certain children attend combat schools to learn to put down the dead. But there are also opportunities—and Jane is studying to become an Attendant, trained in both weaponry and etiquette to protect the well-to-do. It’s a chance for a better life for Negro girls like Jane. After all, not even being the daughter of a wealthy white Southern woman could save her from society’s expectations.

But that’s not a life Jane wants. Almost finished with her education at Miss Preston’s School of Combat in Baltimore, Jane is set on returning to her Kentucky home and doesn’t pay much mind to the politics of the eastern cities, with their talk of returning America to the glory of its days before the dead rose. But when families around Baltimore County begin to go missing, Jane is caught in the middle of a conspiracy, one that finds her in a desperate fight for her life against some powerful enemies. And the restless dead, it would seem, are the least of her problems.

10. Devils Unto Dust by Emma Berquist

Release Date: April 10, 2018

Ten years ago, a horrifying disease began spreading across the West Texas desert. Infected people—shakes—attacked the living and created havoc and destruction. No one has ever survived the infection. Daisy Wilcox, known as Willie, has been protecting her siblings within the relatively safe walls of Glory, Texas. When Willie’s good-for-nothing father steals a fortune from one of the most dangerous shake-hunters in town, she finds herself on the hook for his debt. With two hunters, including the gruff and handsome Ben, to accompany her, she sets out across the desert in search of her father. But the desert is not kind to travelers, and not everyone will pass through alive.

11. Lizzie by Dawn Ius

Release Date: April 10, 2018

When sixteen-year-old Macie O’Sullivan and her masterfully manipulative mother Aubra arrive at the gates of Witchtown—the most famous and mysterious witch-only haven in the world—they have one goal in mind: to rob it for all it’s worth. But that plan derails when Macie and Aubra start to dig deeper into Witchtown’s history and uncover that there is more to the quirky haven than meets the eye. Exploring the haven by herself, Macie finds that secrets are worth more than money in Witchtown. Secrets have their own power.

12. The Life and Death Parade by Eliza Wass

Release Date: July 12, 2018

One year ago, Kitty’s boyfriend Nikki Bramley visited a psychic who told him he had no future. Now, he’s dead.

With the Bramley family grieving in separate corners of their home, Kitty sets out to find the psychic who read Nikki his fate. Instead she finds Roan, an enigmatic boy posing as a medium who belongs to the Life and Death Parade–a group of supposed charlatans that explore, and exploit, the thin veil between this world and the next. A group whose members include the psychic… and Kitty’s late mother.

Desperate to learn more about the group and their connection to Nikki, Kitty convinces Roan to return to the Bramley house with her and secures a position for him within the household. Roan quickly ingratiates himself with the Bramleys, and soon enough it seems like everyone is ready to move on. Kitty, however, increasingly suspects Roan knows more about Nikki than he’s letting on. And when they finally locate the Life and Death Parade, and the psychic who made that fateful prophecy to Nikki, Kitty uncovers a secret about Roan that changes everything.

13. Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson

Release Date: Summer 2018

Razorbill has bought Lily Anderson’s Undead Girl Gang. Pitched as Veronica Mars meets The Craft, the novel follows teenager Mila Flores as she investigates the suspicious deaths of three classmates and accidentally brings the girls back to life, forming an unlikely vigilante girl gang.

Are any of these books on your TBR as well? Are there any future horror/paranormal/thriller books you’re looking forward to not on the list? Let’s discuss in the comments!