Book Review: Sundial by Catriona Ward

You can’t escape what’s in your blood….

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Release Date: March 1, 2022

Publisher: Tor Nightfire

Price: $18.99 (hardcover)

PLOT SUMMARY:

All Rob wanted was a normal life. She almost got it, too: a husband, two kids, a nice house in the suburbs. But Rob fears for her oldest daughter, Callie, who collects tiny bones and whispers to imaginary friends. Rob sees a darkness in Callie, one that reminds her too much of the family she left behind.She decides to take Callie back to her childhood home, to Sundial, deep in the Mojave Desert. And there she will have to make a terrible choice.Callie is worried about her mother. Rob has begun to look at her strangely, and speaks of past secrets. And Callie fears that only one of them will leave Sundial alive…The mother and daughter embark on a dark, desert journey to the past in the hopes of redeeming their future.

GRADE: A

REVIEW:

Unsettling. That’s the best word I can find to describe Ward’s latest novel. It’s told in multiple POV’s in a nonlinear narrative which some readers found hard to follow, but that I personally love because it allows for the story to slowly unfold, the secrets to slowly be revealed for the picture to finally come into view, although the reader’s perspective will continuously change because much like The Last House on Needless Street, the heroes and villains aren’t so easily distinguishable.

Ward takes us deep into the Mojave Desert (a place that I already find creepy due to all the real-life disappearances that occur there every year). Rob and Jack are twins living with their research scientist parents Mia and Falcon. They live a somewhat hippy-ish life, isolated from anyone of their own age. Something terrible occurred in that desert and initially the reader isn’t sure exactly what it is or how it all ties in with Rob’s present – now married to a professor whose equal parts charming and terrifying in his subtle cruelty. But what’s got Rob worried is her older daughter Callie, who displays the typical signs of serial killers and thinks that the only way she can save her daughter is by taking her to the one place she vowed to never return to: Sundial. And so a terrible family saga unfolds.

I read this book in a matter of days, because I was so invested with wanting to know what exactly happened at Sundial, because from the very first page the prose is steeped in blood and dread and you know that the journey you’re about to embark on will be a dark one. It’s difficult to use the word “enjoyed” in terms of reading this book because of the unsettling things that occur that leave you cringing or feeling sick, but I did want to know more so it kept me flipping the pages well into the night.

There’s a story within a story, and I wish I understood the symbolism behind it because I’m quite unsure exactly what it revealed (if it revealed anything at all).

Overall I loved the darkness of this novel but if you’re a reader who detests any forms of animal cruelty in literature, then steer clear of this read – you’ve been warned.

*Thank you so much to NetGalley and Tor Nightfire for the digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

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Book Review: Just Like Mother by Anne Heltzel

A girl would be such a blessing….

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Publisher: Tor Nightfire

Price: $26.99 (hardcover)

Release Date: May 22, 2022

PLOT SUMMARY:

The last time Maeve saw her cousin was the night she escaped the cult they were raised in. For the past two decades, Maeve has worked hard to build a normal life in New York City, where she keeps everything—and everyone—at a safe distance.

When Andrea suddenly reappears, Maeve regains the only true friend she’s ever had. Soon she’s spending more time at Andrea’s remote Catskills estate than in her own cramped apartment. Maeve doesn’t even mind that her cousin’s wealthy work friends clearly disapprove of her single lifestyle. After all, Andrea has made her fortune in the fertility industry—baby fever comes with the territory.

The more Maeve immerses herself in Andrea’s world, the more disconnected she feels from her life back in the city; and the cousins’ increasing attachment triggers memories Maeve has fought hard to bury. But confronting the terrors of her childhood may be the only way for Maeve to transcend the nightmare still to come…

GRADE: A

REVIEW:

I knew that I had to read this book the moment I saw the creepy doll on the cover. This book definitely delivers on all things creepy. Crazy cult. Check. Creepy dolls. Check. Psychobitches. Check.

Maeve hasn’t seen her cousin Andrea since the night she escaped the all-female cult The Mother Collective. Whilst Maeve is still dealing with the aftermath of the cult, Andrea seems to be doing amazing and has a multi-million dollar home and enterprise.

Throughout the book, you can’t help but feel this increasing sense of dread and you begin to notice that the book is a cross between Rosemary’s Baby and The Stepford Wives. Personally, this book is one wild ride and I enjoyed every crazy second of it.

I recommend this book to anyone who loves twisty cult stories that don’t focus on a cult led by a man and if motherhood has ever terrified you. You will find this read absolutely unsettling!

*Thank you so much to NetGalley and Tor Nightfire for the digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

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Book Review: The Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward

Something strange is happening on the last house on Needless Street and Dee is going to find out….

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Publisher: Tor Nightfire

Price: $13.99 (hardback)

Release Date: September 28, 2021

PLOT SUMMARY:

In a boarded-up house on a dead-end street at the edge of the wild Washington woods lives a family of three.

A teenage girl who isn’t allowed outside, not after last time.
A man who drinks alone in front of his TV, trying to ignore the gaps in his memory.
And a house cat who loves napping and reading the Bible.

An unspeakable secret binds them together, but when a new neighbor moves in next door, what is buried out among the birch trees may come back to haunt them all.

GRADE: A

REVIEW:

This is one of those rare books that came with a TON OF HYPE and actually LIVED UP to the hype and then some! I really loved that this book started out in one direction and completely reeled you in another by the end!

Right from the very beginning, the reader knows there’s something very wrong the moment we dive into the story. This novel excels in creating this crescendo of dread and unease that by the time you’re hit with the climax, you’re questioning your own sanity.

Ted lives alone in a run-down home with his beautiful kitty Olivia while his daughter Lauren comes to visit him from time to time. When Dee moves next door to him, convinced that he had something to do with her little sister’s disappearance things really start to escalate into chaos for everyone involved. This thriller is a wild ride and one you won’t easily forget once you’re through with the final page.

I can’t recommend this book enough. Believe the hype, it’s worth reading!

*Thank you so much to NetGalley and Tor Nightfire for the digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

DID YOU ENJOY WHAT YOU JUST READ? IF YES, THEN SUBSCRIBE TO THE BLOG, GIVE THE POST A LIKE, OR LEAVE A COMMENT! NEW POSTS ARE UP EVERY TUESDAY & THURSDAY!