Book Review – The House with a Clock in its Walls by John Bellairs

The House with a Clock in Its Walls by John Bellairs

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The House with a Clock in Its Walls by John Bellairs


The House with a Clock in it’s Walls is about Lewis, who goes to stay with his uncle Jonathan in his big and mysterious house. There, Lewis finds that there are magical mysteries hiding in the shadows, and that his uncle, and others he meets, are also of a magical and mysterious nature.

I thought it was a fun story! I liked the characters a lot, and the atmosphere was properly spooky. At first I was a bit skeptical of the plot point where the dead come back to life – I was hoping it would just be ghosts! But it ended up working pretty well. The mystery of the clock was very intriguing, though it ended up being a bit less mysterious than I had hoped.

The ending felt very anticlimactic, though I think I probably would have thought so less ten or more years ago. I think, though, that Lewis deserved an anticlimactic, peaceful ending. However, I know that he will have more adventures in the John Bellairs books I plan to read next.



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Book Review – The Ghost Garden by Emma Carroll

The Ghost Garden by Emma Carroll

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Ghost Garden by Emma Carroll


The Ghost Garden takes place just before the start of WWI. Fran is a young girl working with her father in the garden on the estate where they live. One day, Fran finds a bone in the garden. She thinks this is odd and mysterious, until more odd and mysterious things start to happen around the estate.

I wouldn’t call this a ghost story; rather, it is a coming-of-age story with ghosts in it. I really like how Emma Carroll portrays the mystery and childhood wonder in Fran’s explorations of the gardens and the mysteries they bring to her. There is a sense of whimsy, but also of fear as the mysteries turn into predictions of terrible things to come.

The writing is very beautiful. This is my first book by Carroll, but I am eager to read her other works (of which, I am happy to say, she seems to have many!). In this particular story, I get a lot of Secret Garden vibes, and, especially with the exploration of tombs and ghosts, I have ended up feeling very nostalgic for my own childhood. I usually don’t like war stories, but this one dealt with the impending war in a very healthy and subtle way.

I recommend this book to those who want some nostalgic feelings, and some sense of whimsy.



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Book Review – Stormhaven by Jordan L. Hawk

Stormhaven by Jordan L. Hawk

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Stormhaven (Whyborne & Griffin, #3)



In Stormhaven, the third installment in the Whyborne & Griffin series, the pair are tasked with solving another mystery back in their hometown of Widdershins. This time, however, the aspects of the case hit far too close to home for either of them.

As usual, Hawk does not disappoint. I love the story, the characters, the setting, all of it! I especially liked the imagery of the sea, as that was quite the theme in this book. The story was wonderfully compelling – though, thankfully, I wasn’t nervous about Whyborne and Griffin possibly getting separated or breaking up; this time, I was worried they’d both go insane (they do not, I am happy to say).

We get to meet Griffin’s parents as well, and that brings its own trials and tribulations. But Whyborne and Griffin are always there for each other, and their love continues to make me so very happy.
Christine is also there, though because of the circumstances, her skillset is not used as much. Hopefully she is doing more in the books to come.

That’s about all I have to say about this book. It was brilliant, and I am looking forward to reading more!



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Book Review – Threshold by Jordan L. Hawk

Threshold by Jordan L. Hawk

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Threshold by Jordan L. Hawk



In this sequel to Widdershins, Whyborne and Griffin are hired to look into another case, this time by Whyborne’s father. So, the two men and their friend, Christine, head to the town of Threshold to investigate supposedly paranormal disturbances in the town’s mine. However, even this investigation has its twists and turns.

Once again, Jordan L. Hawk does not disappoint. I absolutely loved the second book of this series – either as much or maybe more than the first! As I said for the first one, the characters are brilliant, and the story is compelling. Actually, I might argue that the story is more compelling this time around! The writing, of course, is excellent.

I think my favorite part about this particular story is that it feels like the original Star Trek meets the Twilight Zone meets Sherlock Holmes (three of my favorite pieces of literature and media!). All that was missing was Rod Serling narrating the twists, but Whyborne filled that role very well.

And, of course, the romance between Whyborne and Griffin was just to die for. I am so excited to keep reading this series, and I’m so happy there are many more books in it to come!



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Book Review – Hunter of Demons (SPECTR 1) by Jordan L. Hawk

Hunter of Demons by Jordan L. Hawk

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Hunter of Demons (SPECTR #1)


This first book in the SPECTR series is about Caleb, whose brother’s recently deceased corpse was hijacked by what they think is a demon. But, when an amateur investigation goes awry, Caleb finds himself sharing his body with a drakul (vampire) named Gray. Now the agents of SPECTR, especially John Starkweather, need to find out what is going on, and who the real murdering demon actually is. In the meantime, John and Caleb find they are both attracted to the other, despite their mutual hatred for each other’s situation.

So of course I started this other series by Jordan L. Hawk because he is an amazing writer and I am going to keep reading his work forever! I will say, I still like the Widdershins series best, but this was a fun read. The characters are quirky, and again Hawk’s worldbuilding is really very good. I like the fact that Hawk makes all of the paranormal aspects of his books very matter-of-fact and practical, very normal for the world of his books. This book is no exception. I really want to read more of this series so that I can see if the paranormal aspects are expanded upon – maybe a bit more history of Gray the drakul?

Not much more to say about this book I think. It’s a super fun, quick read, a bit spicy at points, just downright enjoyable.





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Book Review – The Magpie Lord by K.J. Charles

The Magpie Lord by K.J. Charles

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Magpie Lord (A Charm of Magpies, #1)



The Magpie Lord, the first book in K.J. Charles’ series, is about the reluctant Lord Crane who is the target of a malicious and magical murderer. Stephen Day, a practitioner of magic, is hired to help Crane discover who is trying to murder him and why. Their search takes them to Crane’s ancestral home, where the two discover more about magic and Crane’s ancestry, as well as possible feelings for one another.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was the perfect balance of paranormal, murder mystery, and romance. Charles is really good at writing atmospheric settings, and I could feel the cold and the dread of Crane’s ancestral home as Stephen and Crane tried to, well, not die.

I liked the way magic is portrayed, and I hope that the magic is explored even further in the next books of this series.

I like the characters. They are simple, but they have a lot of determination and emotion, especially when it comes to one another. The side characters were also well-written, though I do hope we see more of them in the following books.

And the romance, the romance! The lust definitely was not much of a slow burn, but I think the love was. It was completely worth it though, and you could see the characters’ devotion to each other by the end.

The only thing I really would criticize (Spoilers) is the fact that the murderers were people we really didn’t know throughout the story. I think it would have been just a bit cooler if it was someone we knew. But even so, this did not take too much away from the goodness that was this book.

I’m really excited to read the next books in the series!



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Book Review – Widdershins by Jordan L. Hawk

Widdershins by Jordan L. Hawk

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Widdershins (Whyborne & Griffin #1)


Widdershins is the first novel in Jordan L. Hawk’s Whyborne & Griffin mystery series. This book revolves around Whyborne, a museum philologist who is recruited by ex-Pinkerton detective Griffin Flaherty to solve a murder that turns out to be much more involved in the supernatural than either had foreseen. In the course of their time together they form a wonderful romance. Together with their Egyptologist friend, Dr. Christine Putnam, they endeavor to solve a gruesome mystery.

When I say this book had me on the edge of my seat the entire time, I mean THE ENTIRE TIME. The mystery and paranormal had me on the edge of my seat – eager to understand the evil that our heroes were fighting and whether they would make it out alive (I had read the last pages of this book so fast at that point) – and the romance between Whyborne and Griffin also compelled me so much that I feared so much for their safety at the end. Suffice to say, I became quite attached to these two goofballs.

And boy were they goofballs. Hawk could not have written them any better – I kept wanting to knock their heads together and at the same time hug them. I’m sure Christine also felt the same way.

Christine is a great character too: a doctor of archaeology in a time when women could barely do such things, she is strong and independent, but also fiercely protective of her friends. I am very excited to see more of her in the next books of this series.

The supernatural side of the mystery was an interesting choice. I have no idea whether it is based of actual ancient Egyptian mythology and folklore, but its complexity and involvement with death on many levels was very intriguing – definitely one of the reasons I kept reading this book!

I really have no criticisms for this book whatsoever. I loved the characters, as I said above, the book was very well-written, and I loved the setting and background of the mystery. Apart from the romance, what drew me to read this book was the fact that the main character is a philologist of ancient languages – much like myself! – and has to use his skills in language to defeat an ancient, supernatural entity. I hope the other books in this series use philology and ancient history as much as this book did. I know me and my classicist friends love books like these!

This is also a great book/series to start right now during Pride Month (or really any time because it’s so good!), as it is a M/M romance written by a very talented trans author.

I recommend this book to all classicists, and to those who like being kept on the edge of their seats.



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Book Review – By The Pricking Of My Thumbs by Agatha Christie

By the Pricking of My Thumbs by Agatha Christie

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

By the Pricking of My Thumbs by Agatha Christie


This was my second Agatha Christie mystery ever, and I am so happy I read it. By The Pricking Of My Thumbs is book 4 of the Tommy and Tuppence mysteries, in which Tuppence goes on a journey to a small village to solve the mystery of a missing woman from her husband’s aunt’s retirement home. This mystery, however, unravels more than she was bargaining for.

This is one of her later books, and I very much like the writing style. The fact that it takes place in the 60s, later than her more known books, is actually kind of refreshing. I love the fact that Tommy and Tuppence are solving mysteries even as older folks, and I so want to be like Tuppence as I grow older, though maybe with less murder.

I’m not making this review too long as there is not much to analyze. It’s a fun mystery and I would recommend it to everyone.

I read half of the book in hardback, and listened to the latter half on audio via Scribd, with none other than Captain Hastings himself, Hugh Fraser, narrating.



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Book Review – There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins

There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


There’s Someone Inside Your House has been the most compelling read for me so far this year.
It is full of suspense, romance, and friendship, and I was kept on the edge of my seat the whole time.

The following are what I did and didn’t like about the book – warning: may contain some spoilers.

What I liked:
-Representation: the main character, Makani, is a teenager who is both Hawaiian and black; her grandmother is black; and one of her two best friends, Darby, is a transgender man. There was also a lot of balance gender-wise: good, deep female characters, and male characters that exhibit their own deep feelings.
-The suspense: the serial killer of this novel likes to mess with his victims, so it sent my heart a’thumping whenever someone seemed to be going out of their mind.
-Perkins really tried to make the characters help each other, and I think she did a very good job. One thing I was a bit nervous about at first was that some of the friendships got a bit rocky when the killings started to happen – thankfully friendship wins over murder.
-The romance: I really loved the protagonist and her romantic interest together – I kind of wish we would have seen more of them exploring their romance, but honestly, who could with a serial killer on the loose?

What I didn’t like:
-The ending: honestly even though everything pretty much got wrapped up in the end, we did not get to see the characters go back to some kind of normalcy. While I realize that they can really never lead a normal life again, I would have wanted the characters to get a chance to go back home.
-Friends dropping each other just like that: there is that one part in the story when Makani’s friends don’t support her. Now they do end up friends again shortly after, but it was the reason for such a sudden withdrawal that didn’t sit too well with me.

As you can see, there are more positives than negatives. I truly loved this novel, and I recommend it to everyone!



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Book Review – Death in Dark Blue by Julia Buckley

Death in Dark Blue by Julia Buckley

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


I am happy to say that I am still very much enjoying the Writer’s Apprentice Mystery novels by Julia Buckley. I will say that I liked the first novel, A Dark and Stormy Murder better, but I still enjoyed this second one, Death in Dark Blue.

The story continues from the first novel, continuing the struggle of Lena London and those who love her to solve the mystery of a disappeared woman. This novel has more romance, and the mystery becomes even more entangled. I won’t say anything more about the plot so as not to give the whole story away.

What I do wish is that this story involved more about books and the library that plays a bit of an integral part in this mystery – hopefully I will see more of that when I dive into the next novel. In any case, Buckley gives us a wonderful cast of characters, and a protagonist with determination and love for all of her friends and family.

I am excited to start reading the next book.



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