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FAIRYTALE by Stephen King 🎧

Charlie Reade looks like a regular high school kid, great at baseball and football, a decent student. But he carries a heavy load. His mom was killed in a hit-and-run accident when he was ten, and grief drove his dad to drink. Charlie learned how to take care of himself—and his dad. 

Then, when Charlie is seventeen, he meets Howard Bowditch, a recluse with a big dog in a big house at the top of a big hill. In the backyard is a locked shed from which strange sounds emerge, as if some creature is trying to escape. When Mr. Bowditch dies, he leaves Charlie the house, a massive amount of gold, a cassette tape telling a story that is impossible to believe, and a responsibility far too massive for a boy to shoulder. 

 Because within the shed is a portal to another world—one whose denizens are in peril and whose monstrous leaders may destroy their own world, and ours. In this parallel universe, where two moons race across the sky, and the grand towers of a sprawling palace pierce the clouds, there are exiled princesses and princes who suffer horrific punishments; there are dungeons; there are games in which men and women must fight each other to the death for the amusement of the “Fair One.” And there is a magic sundial that can turn back time. 

 A story as old as myth, and as startling and iconic as the rest of King’s work, Fairy Tale is about an ordinary guy forced into the hero’s role by circumstance, and it is both spectacularly suspenseful and satisfying.

Title : Fairy Tale
Author : Stephen King
Narrator : Seth Numrich
Format : Audio
Page Count : 24 hours, 6 minutes
Genre : Fantasy
Publisher : Hodder Books
Release Date : September 6, 2022

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★.5

Micky’s 3.5 star review

This book had phases
A sort-of many retellings
Radar was the star

This book reeled me in quick fast but the goodness promised in that first third didn’t pan out. This is a book with phases, the first third was completely contemporary fiction and surprisingly, that was my favourite part. Seeing Charlie and his struggles, meeting and getting to love the grumpy Mr Bowditch and all that wrapped up with the old fluff of Radar, had me connected.

I knew this story was going to get fantastical, after all, that title says it all. When it did delve into the other worldy place, it was interesting but suprisingly, not as engaging as the first part. However, I was still invested mostly for Radar.

When the book hit the final third, it went really slow. The pacing was off, the plot was unwieldy and my investment waned. The resolution was ultimately satisfying apart from Charlie’s relationships with the Empis people.

Narration wise, this was well narrated. Some of the dialogue had irritating moments but some voices were meant to be annoying.

Overall, if this had been shorter and had more later plot direction, I would have enjoyed it more. This was a bookclub read and a good one for upcoming discussion.

A SHADOW IN THE EMBER by Jennifer L Armentrout

Born shrouded in the veil of the Primals, a Maiden as the Fates promised, Seraphena Mierel’s future has never been hers. Chosen before birth to uphold the desperate deal her ancestor struck to save his people, Sera must leave behind her life and offer herself to the Primal of Death as his Consort.

However, Sera’s real destiny is the most closely guarded secret in all of Lasania—she’s not the well protected Maiden but an assassin with one mission—one target. Make the Primal of Death fall in love, become his weakness, and then…end him. If she fails, she dooms her kingdom to a slow demise at the hands of the Rot.

Sera has always known what she is. Chosen. Consort. Assassin. Weapon. A specter never fully formed yet drenched in blood. A monster. Until him. Until the Primal of Death’s unexpected words and deeds chase away the darkness gathering inside her. And his seductive touch ignites a passion she’s never allowed herself to feel and cannot feel for him. But Sera has never had a choice. Either way, her life is forfeit—it always has been, as she has been forever touched by Life and Death.

Title : A Shadow In The Ember
Authors : Jennifer L Armentrout
Series : Flesh & Fire #1
Format : ebook
Page Count : 695
Genre : Fantasy Romance
Publisher : Blue Box Press
Release Date : October 19, 2021

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ 

Micky’s 5 star review

Finished 2022 with a bang
Off shoot series gold
Dragon alert

Flesh and Fire series started blew From Blood and Ash out of the water for me. I think some of this was because I am comfortable and knowledgable in this world, I know most how it works, who are the good and bad guys, so there was limited world building needed. But more than that, I just adored the two main characters in this book so much.

Sera came from interested progeny but boy, did that evolve. Her life in some ways had similarities to Poppy. She was fierce, wreckless but loyal. I hated her brother and really liked Sir Holland, but wanted to know more.

As to Ash, he was mystery but I knew all along who he really was…that didn’t make it any less delicious in execution. These two together were irreverant, argumentative, quietly caring and literally oozing chemistry. How both their family lines evolved and mapped out their future was brilliant reading.

I’m gutted I don’t have the next two books just to roll straight into because these plots are intricate and I’m pretty obsessed with knowing what happens next.

I loved ending 2022 with five stars!


Happy “where’d all my money go?” new release Tuesday, everyone!

As you know, the most exciting day of the week in this community is the day that follows the one we all dread (Mondays for the nope) and today we’re going to highlight some of the new books chipping away at our bank accounts — but each one is so worth it.

The Stolen Heir: A Novel of Elfhame reunites us with Holly Black’s beloved Cruel Prince world in the start of a new duology.

Highly Suspicious and Unfairly Cute by Talia Hibbert is this fan-favourite author’s YA debut but don’t you worry, it’s just as packed with diversity and chemistry as her adult releases.

This Book Kills by Ravena Guron won’t be out until January 5, 2023, in the UK but we can’t wait for this twisty murder mystery set at a boarding school.

Are there any titles out today you’re excited for? Let us know in the comments below! 


From the New York Times bestselling author of the Brown Sisters trilogy, comes a laugh-out-loud story about a quirky content creator and a clean-cut athlete testing their abilities to survive the great outdoors–and each other.

Bradley Graeme is pretty much perfect. He’s a star football player, manages his OCD well (enough), and comes out on top in all his classes . . . except the ones he shares with his ex-best friend, Celine.

Celine Bangura is conspiracy-theory-obsessed. Social media followers eat up her takes on everything from UFOs to holiday overconsumption–yet, she’s still not cool enough for the popular kids’ table. Which is why Brad abandoned her for the in-crowd years ago. (At least, that’s how Celine sees it.)

These days, there’s nothing between them other than petty insults and academic rivalry. So when Celine signs up for a survival course in the woods, she’s surprised to find Brad right beside her.

Forced to work as a team for the chance to win a grand prize, these two teens must trudge through not just mud and dirt but their messy past. And as this adventure brings them closer together, they begin to remember the good bits of their history. But has too much time passed . . . or just enough to spark a whole new kind of relationship?

Title : Highly Suspicious and Unfairly Cute
Author : Talia Hibbert
Format : eARC
Page Count : 336
Genre : YA contemporary romance
Publisher : Joy Revolution
Release Date : January 3, 2023

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★ 

Hollis’ 4 star review

If there’s one (or two.. or three) thing(s) you can count on when picking up a Hibbert? It’s banter. Also, chemistry. Also also a variety of diverse representation. And while she’s shifted gears to a younger target audience in this, her debut YA, all of those things are still very much present here.

I don’t think this is going to be a very long or articular review because I’m swimming in that glowy squishy “I have no notes” feeling. Though honestly? My one complaint might be the ending. In the sense that.. it ended. Rude. But also it is one of those quicky endings that does maybe feel, just a bit, abrupt.

Everything else? So great. The aborted friendship, which became a nemesis slash enemies situation, only to revert back to friendship, and then more? Each stage was so well done, feeling gradual, natural, and genuine. These characters felt so real, so alive, but that’s typical Hibbert, too. I will say, though, that I think Bradley was my favourite of the two leads. He is just such a sweet cinnamon roll of a human and I appreciate everything about him.

Also, while there was some element of a complicated family dynamic present, it was a different spin of things I’ve seen done in YA before and I loved it. I loved all the dynamics, actually, familial and sibling. Big win there.

How many other things can I say I enjoyed or loved? Probably lots more. But instead, I’ll just say this : read this book!

Side note, I’m not saying I am a conspiracy theorist like Celine but both my blog buddy and my name were present in this book. And so was the book title our blog took homage from. This is (hah) highly suspicious. Stay tuned for a breakdown of our theory on TikTok (just kidding! we love you, Talia! stalk us all you want).

** I received an ARC from the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **