Book Review: The Puppeteer

The Puppeteer by Kathryn Ann Kingsley

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Cora is now trapped in a world she had believed to be impossible. Yet, she refuses to accept her fate. She will fight until she is free but will it cost more than she bargained for?

The second installment of the Harrow Faire series did not disappoint. Kingsley is gifted with story-telling and creating complex characters that I never thought I would root for. I was looking forward to learning more about our insane Puppeteer and I was delighted by the outcome.

Although Simon is insane and by no means innocent, he is full of charm and wit that pulls you in for more. I loved that despite his misgivings, there were lines that he was not willing to cross which made him more likable and sympathetic.

Cora was amazing. Simply amazing. I love her so much and I am more than happy that she recognizes how to pick her battles and when she picks them? She goes all out. I chuckled more than once during some of her interactions with Simon and loved that she was sensible as always.

I was also charmed by the romance. I am usually not so forgiving when it comes to toxic relationships but Kingsley has masterfully handled this one very well. Both characters are imperfect but they both grow and learn together. It’s dark but also complex enough to keep me interested.

Overall, I cannot get enough of this series and am off to read book three!

Tata!


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Content Warning

Language and suggestive, sexual conversations. 18+

Favorite Quote

“I’m not brave. All I’ve done is panic since I got here.”

“Is that so?” He was still stroking her cheek. She didn’t know when she stopped being afraid of his touch. All it left behind now was warmth, and a strange electricity that crackled through her. He hummed thoughtfully. “I am not so sure. You came here to save your friend, knowing it would be your own demise. You have stood up to me at every opportunity. I think you are not as weak as you have come to believe.”

Book Blurb

Silver strings she can’t outrun…her trouble now has just begun.

After Cora Glass’s life was stolen by Harrow Faire, things just keep going from bad to worse. Unable to run, unable to escape, there seems to be no way to avoid what she’s become—the Contortionist. But a girl can only take so much.

Haunted by an abandoned and seemingly sentient circus? Fine.
The life of her best friend threatened unless she sacrificed herself? Fine.
Tormented and stalked by a grinning madman who wanted to kill her, and now wants to do worse? That’s where Cora has to draw the line.

As she struggles with the knowledge that magic is real and she will never go home again, she is also forced to contend with the advances of a man who may be the devil himself. And just like the tales of old, she finds herself drawn to him. If only Harrow Faire would slow down and give her a second to catch her breath.

Too bad that doesn’t seem to be in the cards.

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If you’re drawn to compelling villains and sinister love stories, The Puppeteer—book two of the Harrow Faire series by Kathryn Ann Kingsley—is your next book obsession! Dark fantasy and occult horror blend seamlessly with romance in this gripping page-turner!

Book Review: Contortionist

The Contortionist by Kathryn Ann Kingsley

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Cora lives a mundane life, plagued by chronic pain. All of her dreams and goals have been put to a halt and she resigns herself to a boring job that she’s overqualified for. But when a certain circus comes to town, Cora wishes to relive some of her childhood joy. However, things are not what they seem and something strange lurks within. 

Read this just in time for Valentine’s Day weekend. Kathryn Ann Kingsley has captivated me again with this dark, horror romance. I have not read any circus themed books before and boy was I missing out. Kingsley crafts a tale that perfectly blends mystery and creepiness that devoured me whole.

Cora is an extremely likable and sympathetic character. Her voice throughout the story was well-balanced and interesting to read. I was also impressed by the way her chronic pain was portrayed throughout the story. I myself do not suffer from any chronic pain, but I have a brother in law who does. I applaud the author for the raw, and honest portrayal of such afflictions. 

And the Puppeteer? Oooh! Talk about creepy. This character is deliciously insane with a mysterious past that I am dying to read about. I love that his possessiveness of Cora turns her off and she is ready to GTFO. All of their interactions together felt real. There was never a moment where I rolled my eyes and said, “girl, really?” Cora is very level-headed and she knows danger when she sees it. She is not stupid and she reacts like a normal person. 

However, I am genuinely curious to see how their relationship develops in the sequel. I finished the book in one day and I downloaded the sequel equally as fast. I cannot wait. 

To end, all I have to say is, “don’t go through the dark path!”

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Content Warning

Dark, creepy shenanigans. But, otherwise clean read.

Favorite quote

Not all monsters needed a scary backdrop to be terrifying. In fact, some were more frightening without one.

Book Blurb

Come one, come all, to Harrow Faire…and greet your sweetest nightmare.

Cora Glass’s humdrum existence as a bank teller flips upside down when a long-abandoned circus mysteriously returns to life. But the entry fee to this big top show is far more than Cora bargained for.

A deal struck.
A soul…stuck.

As Harrow Faire shines a spotlight on Cora, she discovers there are far more secrets in that three-ring nightmare than she could possibly imagine. Trapped in the world of the fiendish and alluring man known as the Puppeteer, Cora finds herself caught in a war between him and the reclusive Mr. Harrow. Both parties will stop at nothing—even murder—to get what they want.

And what they want…is her.

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If you’re drawn to compelling villains and sinister love stories, The Contortionist—book one of the Harrow Faire series by Kathryn Ann Kingsley—is your next book obsession! Dark fantasy and occult horror blend seamlessly with romance in this gripping page-turner!

ARC Review: Spires

Spires by Briar Lee Mitchell

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Something lurks beneath an old, German Cathedral–something dangerous and predatory. Vampire. When an explosion of fire releases Villicus from his prison, the creature escapes bent on revenge. His bloodlust cannot be contained and those who cruelly imprisoned him will be punished.

If you are looking for your next classic vampire story, look no further. From the first page, I was captivated. The premise grabbed me and I wanted to read more about Villicus and his plight of revenge. Although omniscient, the story is a well-crafted horror story filled with mysteries and violence. Add a dash of romance and you have Spires: a modern, gothic tale of vampires who seek power, money, and blood.

I love some good ol’ fashion horror in my books from time to time and Mitchell’s vampires did not disappoint. These creatures are terrifying and they hold no love in their hearts for humans. I love that they are actually monsters transformed and are not your typical, sympathetic creatures that are popular in media today.

Even though the story is told from multiple points of view, I was never confused about who we were following next. It was well executed and made for a well-rounded story.

I did dock points for my feelings about the ending which I felt was a little rushed and confusing.

In all, if you want to read something modern, a little frightening, and a little romantic, Spires is the book for you.

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Content Warning

Violence, sexual themes, and death

Favorite Quote

The years of waiting were over. Those who had imprisoned him, the same who had made him, must be found and dealt with. Villicus had a purpose again. He had survived.

Book Blurb

An explosion in a chemical factory turns an ancient German cathedral into an inferno. Unable to save the centuries-old structure, firemen and townspeople watch in horror and sadness as the venerable building, standing since the time of Charlemagne, crumbles to the ground in flames, smoke and ash.

The true horror though, is what had been imprisoned deep beneath the stone monstrosity and is released into an unsuspecting world. Villicus Shanks, a powerful vampire during the Middle Ages, a time when vampires warred amongst themselves to feed on the few humans left alive during the plague, was imprisoned by those who feared him the most—his own kind.

Let loose back into a world brimming with money, greed, power, and huge herds of people, Villicus’s thirst for blood and revenge seems unquenchable until he meets Amanda Brax, a human woman, who steals the heart he thought he no longer possessed. His love for her is tested when he finds the two vampires who imprisoned him, Bale and Nikonar. The two bloodsuckers, who are shocked at his surviving such a lonely and devastating imprisonment, seek his destruction once more by trying to take Amanda from him.