Welcome to the July episode of the Spines With Wines live book club. Yes, that’s right, the July episode.
Spines With Wines is made up of myself (Cassie-la) and book blogger/BookTuber Kristin Hackett and is your typical drunken book club … you know, except online.
This month, we finally got around to discussing Eliza and her Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia!
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A dark horror fantasy, Albert’s debut novel is about a fairy tale author turned cult phenomenon, and her granddaughter Alice, who has been raised as far away from everything to do with Althea Proserpine and the Tales from the Hinterland as possible. That is until her mother is kidnapped and she’s forced to learn the horrible truth of her past. From the dark fairy stories within the book, to a trip to a magical land and a journey of self-discovery, The Hazel Wood is three amazing tales all rolled up in one.
Both funny and horrifying, Grady Hendrix’s re-released novel is one giant walk down nostalgia lane, but with 100% more demonic possession. Abby and Gretchen have been best friends since a disastrous roller rink party, that is until Gretchen goes missing one night and returns possessed by a demon. With everyone else snowed by Demon Gretchen, it is up to Abby to save her bestie with the power of friendship.
The Deep Dark Fears collection is a humorous look at humanity’s strangest and darkest fears. A webcomic turned into two collected editions, Deep Dark Fears and The Creeps are unique looks at strangers’ most horrifying and baseless fears, submitted through Tumblr and illustrated by Krause himself. Get ready to feel slightly less crazy!
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Nevernight by Jay Kristoff (★★★★☆½)
Be warned, Nevernight is not your grandma’s fantasy revenge novel. The first in a new series from Jay Kristoff, Nevernight follows a bad ass orphan named Mia who is on a quest to avenge her family. A quest that takes her to the famed Red Church, where would-be assassins are trained by the world’s deadliest killers. It’s basically if Arya went to Hogwarts, but with even more murder. And more humorous footnotes.
The sequel to The Thousandth Floor, The Dazzling Heights is a slightly less fun version of its predecessor, but is still 100% future Gossip Girl. From an intriguing new character to a new murder mystery, McGee’s latest novel is a fun and frothy diversion from real life that suffers from too many POVs and the loss of the best character in the series (because they didn’t survive book one).
Invictus by Ryan Graudin (★★★★★)
This standalone young adult novel — are those making a comeback!?! — from Ryan Graudin has it all: time travel heists, period clothing, paradoxes, teen romances and red pandas. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and for once, you’ll be upset that it’s only one book. Don’t let the cover scare you away, Invictus is the super fun and super smart young adult novel you should have read yesterday.
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Who is The Walking Dead‘s most enigmatic villain, and how exactly did he become the psychopathic dick we love to hate? Here’s Negan collects the origin story of the man, the myth, the terrible husband, including the creation of his weapon of choice: Lucille. Rushed at times, the prequel story suffers from its original format (it was released four pages at a time over 16 months and is far too short to fully explain this complex character), but won me over with some great Negan one-liners.
Touted as Supernatural meets Buffy and The Craft, Spell on Wheels is about three fashionable young witches who go on an East Coast road trip to retrieve their stolen magical belongings. While the adorable artwork and two of the side adventures were super enjoyable — I’m looking at you goat man and haunted gal pals — I didn’t find the arc as a whole entirely successful. A real shame, since fashionable witches on a road trip is basically my dream comic book series.
In real life, Eliza Mirk is a painfully shy teenager with her nose stuck in a sketch book. Online, she’s LadyConstellation, the anonymous creator of the enormously popular webcomic Monstrous Sea. But when a Monstrous Sea fanfiction author moves to Eliza’s school, she’s forced to confront the real world and her self-imposed loneliness. A fun look at the world of fandom, Eliza and Her Monsters is, at its heart, a touching exploration of depression and anxiety.
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Final Girls by Riley Sager (★★★★☆½)
A decade ago, Quincy Carpenter became a final girl, the sole survivor of a horror movie-esque massacre. Struggling to move past the title, Quincy is dragged back into the spotlight when one of her fellow final girls is found dead. Deemed “the first great thriller of 2017” by Stephen King, Riley Sager’s Final Girls is a suspenseful thrill ride that will have you guessing* until the very end.
love, and you by Gretchen Gomez (★★★☆☆½)
Much like Milk and Honey, I didn’t find love, and you nearly as fulfilling as The Princess Saves Herself in This One — both of which were recommended based on my fondness for Amanda Lovelace’s poetry. However, much like with the work of Rupi Kaur, Gomez has some really great and touching pieces toward the end of her collection.
Lord Henry Montague (AKA Monty) is a fashionable rake about to embark on a Grand Tour of Europe alongside his best friend and the secret love of his life, Percy. It’s the 18th century road trip novel you never knew you wanted! While I greatly enjoyed Monty’s hijinks and his slow-burn romance with Percy, I was a little thrown by the strange, almost supernatural turn the story took.
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Welcome to the June episode of the Spines With Wines live book club, because sometimes you get in reading slumps beyond your control.
Spines With Wines is made up of myself (Cassie-la) and book blogger/BookTuber Kristin Hackett and centers around talking about a previously chosen book while drinking wine. Just like a real book club … except it’s virtual and everyone actually reads the book.
This time around we discussed the most recent Shadowhunter novel/the second book in The Dark Artifices series at length: Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare!
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The dynamic writing duo known collectively a Erin Watt are back with another poor girl falls in love with rich guy romance. This time around, 17-year-old Vaughan Bennett is forced to save her struggling family by pretending to be the girlfriend of famous pop star Oakley Ford (a Justin Bieber type). Will their fake love turn into real love? Don’t be stupid, of course it will.
Shenanigans abound in this short story set during the tail end of Cassandra Clare’s Lady Midnight. Watch as all your fan favorites act totally out of character and do incredibly rude things like propose during someone else’s engagement party. While not a necessary read, this short story does bridge the gap between events in Lady Midnight and Lord of Shadows, so at least there’s that.
Set in a world where murder is commonplace and gods are real, Sarah Ahiers debut novel starts off incredibly strong, but the world building goes a bit too far when literal ghosts are introduced. Not to mention that horse named Butters. While I ultimately enjoyed the story and any non-ghostly world building, the novel was too uneven for my tastes.
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