Blog Tour Review: Never Coming Home by Kate Williams

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Ten influencers stranded on and island where they’re getting picked off one-by-one; who will survive?

Thank you so much to TBR and Beyond Tours and Kate Williams for allowing me to be part of this experience and also providing me with a complimentary eARC and media kit!

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#TheWriteReads #BlogTour Review: The Dark Matter of Natasha by Matthew R. Davis

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Dark, Unique, Thought-Provoking

Thank you so much to The Write Reads and Grey Matter Press for allowing me to be part of this experience and also providing me with a complimentary eARC and media kit!

Purchase this book (affiliate link): Amazon

About the Author

Matthew R. Davis is an author and musician based in Adelaide, South Australia.

His work has been shortlisted for, and sometimes won, the Shirley Jackson Awards, Aurealis Awards, Australian Shadows Awards, and the WSFA Small Press Award.

He plays bass and sings in heavy rock/metal bands such as icecocoon and Blood Red Renaissance, dabbles with poetry, video editing, and visual art, and works on projects with his photographer partner.

He is the author of Supermassive Black Mass (novelette, Demain Publishing, 2019), If Only Tonight We Could Sleep (horror stories, Things in the Well, 2020) and Midnight in the Chapel of Love (novel, JournalStone, 2021).

He loves all kinds of metal from Mötley Crüe to Pig Destroyer and his favorite Slayer album is Seasons in the Abyss.

Find out more at www.matthewrdavisfiction.wordpress.com

Review

Book CWs

For a list of warnings, tropes, and representation for this book, check out its page on BookTriggerWarnings.com.

Premise

Natasha stalks the quiet streets of dead-end Lunar Bay like doom in a denim jacket. She’s a grim reminder that some teenagers can never escape the ever-tightening noose of their lives. Burned out and benumbed by a traumatic past, dogged by scurrilous small-town gossip, she finds solace in drugs, sex and Slayer. What horrors have her flat eyes witnessed? And how far will she go in pursuit of the one tiny spark of hope that still flickers in her haunted heart?

When a naïve transplant crosses her path, he’s drawn into shadow and doubt. With his girlfriend ghosting him, Natasha’s fresh introduction to her half-lit world is darkly appealing. Now faced with confusing quandaries—connection or convenience, relationship or exploitation—can he help any of the women in his life?  Or is he just helping himself? The untold tragedies of Natasha’s lonely life may be more than he can handle. And in a town whose history is littered with dead girls, there may be no happy ending for anyone. A tar-black coming of age story, this gritty psychological thriller from Shirley Jackson Award-nominated author Matthew R. Davis, eloquently chronicles the crushing gravity of small-town hopelessness, the double-edged catharsis of sex, drugs, and heavy metal, and the brutal weight of youth’s first lessons in accountability.

Review (No Spoilers)

I don’t even know where to begin with this review! The Dark Matter of Natasha is a work of art. Described as as a psychological thriller, I’m more inclined to label it as a thought-provoking piece of genre-defying literary fiction. In fact, I don’t even know what age category this book would fall under. I’m going to go with adult strictly because of the unapologetically dark themes. Despite being a novella, the book manages to cover topics ranging from child sexual abuse, rape, suicide ideation, suicide, murder, drug abuse, and more.

The story follows a completely nameless main character as he recollects the experiences of his life as a teenager meeting a deeply-troubled, yet extremely intriguing, classmate named Natasha. Struggling to figure out who he is and what he wants, Natasha is the perfect distraction for him to focus on. As readers we discover just how much one persons traumatic past can affect so many people around them. Due to the short nature of the book and its captivating story, it is extremely easy to read in one sitting. Included in my copy was also a preview of another one of Grey Matter Press’ books (and a book I read and reviewed previously), Resembling Lepus, which was a nice little gift. If these two book are any indication of the types of stories Grey Matter Press produces, friends, they are definitely a publishing company to keep your eye on!

The Dark Matter of Natasha is as weird as it is beautiful. I have no doubt that it will leave a lasting impression on anyone who reads it.


Disclaimer: Most posts made on this blog will include affiliate links, identified by the phrase (affiliate link). As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. This comes at no additional cost to you.

Blog Tour Review: Hell Followed with Us by Andrew Joseph White

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

A post-apocalyptic/dystopian religious horror novel reminiscent of Resident Evil.

Thank you so much to TBR and Beyond Tours and Andrew Joseph White for allowing me to be part of this experience and also providing me with a complimentary ARC and media kit!

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Blog Tour Review: Summer’s Edge by Dana Mele

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I had no idea where this book was going and I honestly still don’t know how to feel about it.

Thank you so much to TBR and Beyond Tours and Dana Mele for allowing me to be part of this experience and also providing me with a complimentary ARC and media kit!

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Blog Tour Review: Places We’ve Never Been by Kasie West

Rating: 4 out of 5.

An extremely cute friends to hate to lovers romance with great family representation.

Thank you so much to TBR and Beyond Tours and Kasie West for allowing me to be part of this experience and also providing me with a complimentary eARC and media kit!

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Blog Tour Review: Two Truths and a Lie by April Henry

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

A dark and twisty thriller with an intriguing premise and excellent execution

Thank you so much to TBR and Beyond Tours and April Henry for allowing me to be part of this experience and also providing me with a complimentary ARC and media kit!

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Blog Tour Review: Primal Animals by Julia Lynn Rubin

Rating: 3 out of 5.

A horror novel full of insects and suspense that will leave your skin crawling

Thank you so much to TBR and Beyond Tours and Julia Lynn Rubin for allowing me to be part of this experience and also providing me with a complimentary eARC and media kit!

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Blog Tour Review: Hollow Fires by Samira Ahmed

Rating: 4 out of 5.

A book that brings to light several important social issues that plague society today.

Thank you so much to TBR and Beyond Tours and Samira Ahmed for allowing me to be part of this experience and also providing me with a complimentary eARC and media kit!

Book Information

Genre: YA Mystery/Thriller
Publishing Date: May 10, 2022

A powerful, gripping YA novel about the insidious nature of racism, the terrible costs of unearthing hidden truths, and the undeniable power of hope, by New York Times bestselling author Samira Ahmed. Perfect for fans of Sadie and Dear Martin.

Safiya Mirza dreams of becoming a journalist. And one thing she’s learned as editor of her school newspaper is that a journalist’s job is to find the facts and not let personal biases affect the story. But all that changes the day she finds the body of a murdered boy.

Jawad Ali was fourteen years old when he built a cosplay jetpack that a teacher mistook for a bomb. A jetpack that got him arrested, labeled a terrorist—and eventually killed. But he’s more than a dead body, and more than “Bomb Boy.” He was a person with a life worth remembering.

Driven by Jawad’s haunting voice guiding her throughout her investigation, Safiya seeks to tell the whole truth about the murdered boy and those who killed him because of their hate-based beliefs.

This gripping and powerful book uses an innovative format and lyrical prose to expose the evil that exists in front of us, and the silent complicity of the privileged who create alternative facts to bend the truth to their liking.

Content and Trigger Warnings

For a list of warnings, tropes, and representation for this book, check out its page on BookTriggerWarnings.com.

About the Author

Samira Ahmed is the bestselling author of Love, Hate & Other FiltersInternmentMad, Bad & Dangerous to Know, and  Amira & Hamza: The War to Save the Worlds, as well as a Ms. Marvel comic book mini-series.  Her poetry, essays, and short stories have appeared in numerous publications and anthologies including the New York TimesTake the MicColor Outside the LinesVampires Never Get Old and A Universe of Wishes.

She was born in Bombay, India, and grew up in Batavia, Illinois, in a house that smelled like fried onions, spices, and potpourri. A graduate of the University of Chicago, Samira has taught high school English in both the suburbs of Chicago and New York City, worked in education non-profits, and spent time on the road for political campaigns.

Samira currently lives in the Midwest. When she’s not reading or writing, she can be found on her lifelong quest for the perfect pastry.

Author Links:

Review (no spoilers)

If you’d like to follow along with the rest of the tour, you can find the tour schedule here.

It’s Friday the 13th! I don’t know why I started my review off with that, but I felt like I needed to address it.

Hollow Fires is a YA mystery/thriller perfect for fans of Holly Jackson, Diana Urban, and Karen McManus. And unlike the previous authors I’ve mentioned, it also has a great deal of important social commentary, particularly about racism and Islamophobia. The story follows a senior in high school named Safiya who seems to feel like she is being haunted by the ghost of a missing 14 year old boy named Jawad. Jawad’s disappearance (and subsequent murder) is largely ignored or misunderstood by both the public and the police, leading Safiya to take things into her own hands. As hate crimes continue to plague both Jawad’s family and Safiya’s school, Safiya learns that she may be closer to solving the case that she would prefer.

I thought that this was a great book for the young adult audience that it was intended for as long as the readers haven’t many thrillers as the villain is very predictable. So predictable in fact that I kept hoping I was wrong and that the author had pulled one over on me, but alas. The style of writing was enjoyable and kept my attention throughout. The story is not told in a linear fashion, however, so make sure to pay attention to the dates at the top of each chapter. I made the mistake of not reading them at first (because I’m lazy) and had to go back early on to get my events straight.

I will say that I found this book very triggering, particularly as a woman of color. Basically every. single. page. has an instance of someone (youth and adults alike) being absolutely disgusting. It is chock-full of graphic racism, islamophobia, and white nationalism. These are important topics to be discussed, particularly with the impressionable youth who can easily be manipulated and groomed into white nationalism online, but can definitely be overwhelming for someone who has repeatedly seen this in their everyday lives. I would highly advise that anyone who wants to read this check out the trigger warnings listed above.

Hollow Fires was released this week, so don’t forget to grab your copy at the links above!

Blog Tour Review: Dead End Girls by Wendy Heard

Rating: 3 out of 5.

A wild and entertaining, yet extremely unrealistic, ride.

Thank you so much to TBR and Beyond Tours and Wendy Heard for allowing me to be part of this experience and also providing me with a complimentary eARC and media kit!

Book Information

Genre: YA Thriller
Publishing Date: May 10, 2022

In one week, Maude will be dead. At least, that’s what she wants everyone to think. After years of research, Maude has decided to fake her own death. She’s figured out the how, the when, the where, and who will help her unsuspectingly.

The why is complex: revenge, partly. Her terrible parents deserve this. But there’s also l’appel du vide, the call of the void, that beckons her toward a new life where she will be tied to no one, free and adrift. Then Frankie, a step-cousin she barely knows, figures out what she’s plotting, and the plan seems like it’s ruined. Except Frankie doesn’t want to rat her out. Frankie wants in. The girls vault into the unknown, risking everything for a new and limitless life. But there are some things you can never run away from. What if the poison is not in the soil, but in the roots?

This pulse-pounding thriller offers a nuanced exploration of identity, freedom, and falling in love while your world falls apart.

Content and Trigger Warnings

For a list of warnings, tropes, and representation for this book, check out its page on BookTriggerWarnings.com.

About the Author

Wendy Heard is the author of two adult thrillers: The Kill Club and Hunting Annabelle, which Kirkus Reviews praised as “a diabolically plotted creep show from a writer to watch.” She’s Too Pretty To Burn, which Kirkus called “a wild and satisfying romp” in a starred review, marks her YA debut. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, International Thriller Writers, and Mystery Writers of America, is a contributor at Crimereads.com, and co-hosts the Unlikeable Female Characters podcast. Wendy lives in Los Angeles, California.

Author Links:

Review (no spoilers)

If you’d like to follow along with the rest of the tour, you can find the tour schedule here.

This book was one of the most unrealistic young adult thrillers that I’ve read, but it was also an incredibly wild and thrilling ride.

Dead End Girls follows two teenagers who decide to fake their deaths and run away. As you could imagine, there are several hitches in their plan, leading them to eventually end up on the run from the police when their scheme is discovered. There were a few things that I was skeptical about from the very beginning of the novel regarding the believability of the plot (even something as simple as the details about TSA not being right), but I do feel as though YA thrillers aren’t supposed to be the most realistic of stories. That being said, the realism only gets worse as the book progresses, so this is definitely a suspend your disbelief and enjoy the ride kind of book.

Wendy Heard does an amazing job at keeping the reader hooked. Watching Maude and Frankie’s plans slowly unravel and fall apart was like watching a car crash—you can’t look away. The fact that the characters themselves are not actually that likable contributes to this crash-and-burn effect. You kind of hope they succeed, but you also kind of hope they fail. In fact, I was reading this book late at night (around 3am) and wanted to go to sleep but just couldn’t get myself to put it down. The end 15% or so of the book in particular is sure to hold your attention hostage.

Dead End Girls was released yesterday, so don’t forget to grab your copy at the links above!