REVIEW – The Doll Factory by Elizabeth Macneal

The Doll Factory is an incredible book, meant for the patient reader. The buildup is slow, but oh boy does it pay off at the end.

Macneal does an amazing job of placing the reader right in the middle of gloomy, grimy 1850s London. Each chapter flawlessly leads into the next (seriously. When you start a chapter, go back and read the last sentence from the previous one.)

There are subtle, but terrifying, details that suggest not all is right with Silas “the Cadaver” Reed, but you have no idea the depths of his depravity until it all comes together at the end. There’s a revelation in the last few chapters that made me audibly gasp. It’s THAT good (and THAT horrible).

It’s almost impossible to believe that this is a debut. The way Macneal slowly builds to certain reveals is absolutely masterful.

Also, Guinevere is clearly the best character 😉

Thank you Atria for providing me with a copy of this book.

REVIEW – Your Life is Mine by Nathan Ripley

Your Life is Mine reads like an episode of Criminal Minds. There are twists you will likely predict, but others that will be a gut punch.

The best way to summarize this book is: You’re in a cult, call your dad. (Fellow Murderinos will understand!) The cult aspect of this book was eerie – Chuck Varner is like a cross between Charles Manson and a Columbine shooter. The mindset of those who will blindly follow a deranged, violent cult leader is chilling.

Overall, it’s an interesting, gritty thriller. I would recommend this to anyone who has an interest in true crime – there’s definitely some true crime elements in this story.

Thank you to Atria Books for providing me with an ARC to read and review!

REVIEW – Vessel by Lisa A. Nichols

I have been looking forward to reading Vessel since I first read the synopsis. I’ve been wanting to try out the sci-fi genre a bit more, and I love creepy stories about space (Alien is one of my favorite movies!)

Vessel isn’t what I expected, but I still enjoyed it. It’s a relatively complex and rich story, with interesting characters. Some parts in the book definitely creeped me out!

However, it does read more like women’s fiction than sci-fi. (That didn’t stop me from enjoying the book.) There’s a lot of focus on how Catherine adjusts to life back on earth, and how her return impacts her family. This isn’t a negative at all, just an observation.

I was expecting this to be a bit creepier, and a bit darker, but I think it’s a great choice for readers who are interested in a book with a sci-fi theme without being too heavy handed.

Thank you to Atria for sending me a review copy of this book!

REVIEW – The Last by Hanna Jameson

If I could describe this book in one word, it would be: claustrophobic.

I’m so used to post-apocalyptic books involving a lot of movement and travel and discovery, but we spend the majority of The Last inside L’Hotel Sixieme – and it WORKS.

I don’t want to say too much because I think it’s worth going into only knowing the synopsis. I know it’s probably being compared to Station Eleven, but this also gives me some Bird Box vibes.

One of the blurbs on the back of the book says “It’s Stephen King meets Agatha Christie” and I think that’s fairly accurate. The Last features a cast of characters who aren’t all what they seem, and also there’s horror in the mundane and routine (which is the most chilling part of this book).

We only know what’s happening from the perspective of one character, so I’m sure there’s a lot going on at the hotel that we miss. He also seems to be unreliable at times, but that just adds to the feelings of isolation and insanity that run underneath the main plot.

Don’t sleep on this book – it’s a great one (and make sure you visit the dentist regularly!)

Thank you to Atria for providing me with a copy of this book.