Mini Reviews #20: Dead Djinn, Secrets, Hauntings, and Revenge

A Dead Djinn in Cairo by P. Djeli Clark, narrated by Suehyla El-Attar

Rating: 5 out of 5.
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I listened to this novella on an audiobook and it really adds to the story! The narrator did an amazing job in conveying emotions and distinctly capturing each character’s voices. I love how it describes the world; an alternate Cairo where a scientist rips open the space that otherworldly came and now living side by side with humans. Where technology and wonders live side by side with the rich culture and region of Cairo. The plot has some intriguing mystery and lively characters. I listen to it in one sitting since it’s very engaging and fun, and I can’t wait to see more from this author!

Egypt, 1912. In an alternate Cairo infused with the otherworldly, the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities investigate disturbances between the mortal and the (possibly) divine. What starts off as an odd suicide case for Special Investigator Fatma el-Sha’arawi leads her through the city’s underbelly as she encounters rampaging ghouls, saucy assassins, clockwork angels, and plot that could unravel time itself.

All Your Twisted Secrets by Diana Urban

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
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Trigger warning: bullying, suicide, drug use

I was in the mood for some YA thriller and the concept is something I’ve never read so I picked this up. It turned out to be generic (I couldn’t remember anything right now lol) but at that time, it was exactly what I need: it was fast paced, easy to read, and full of tension. The book alternates from the present (where the characters are trapped in the room) and the past, during the school year. The author did a good job in portraying the characters in such a realistic way, especially during the time they were trapped within the room. The mystery was there and there were some great twists along the way- I was so engrossed that I read it in one sitting. However, I do think the last few chapters could be tweaked because it weakened the book: the actions and the abrupt ending was really unexpected.

A thrilling debut, reminiscent of new fan favorites like One of Us Is Lying and the beloved classics by Agatha Christie, that will leave readers guessing until the explosive ending.

“Welcome to dinner, and again, congratulations on being selected. Now you must do the selecting.”

What do the queen bee, star athlete, valedictorian, stoner, loner, and music geek all have in common? They were all invited to a scholarship dinner, only to discover it’s a trap. Someone has locked them into a room with a bomb, a syringe filled with poison, and a note saying they have an hour to pick someone to kill…or else everyone dies.

Amber Prescott is determined to get her classmates and herself out of the room alive, but that might be easier said than done. No one knows how they’re all connected or who would want them dead.

As they retrace the events over the past year that might have triggered their captor’s ultimatum, it becomes clear that everyone is hiding something.

And with the clock ticking down, confusion turns into fear, and fear morphs into panic as they race to answer the biggest question: Who will they choose to die?

The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner, narrated by Lorna Bennett, Lauren Anthony, and Lauren Irwin

Rating: 1 out of 5.
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Trigger warning: infidelity, divorce, murder, poisoning (graphic depiction of the bodily effects), blood

No one was sadder that I did not enjoy this book than I am. Other than the glowing review, this book was also my first book club book 😔 But unfortunately it just wasn’t as exciting as its advertised to be. Yes it was forgotten. No it was not a secret network of women. No there was no legacy.

The plot just took so long to move forward, I listened at 1.5x speed and I still think it’s not fast enough. It was told in 3 point of view: Nella, Caroline, and Eliza. I actually find the mundane lives of Caroline and Eliza more interesting than our actual poisoner, Nella, since all she does was complaining about her aching body and her moral qualms with what she’s doing 😬 It was 32% and the plot still revolves around the same thing. I was expecting more on how Nella got away with the poisoning, how the network of women helps her and maybe some conversations about misogyny in the 1700s. But yeah, all we got was some moral crisis from Nella and Caroline’s scavenger hunt.

A forgotten history. A secret network of women. A legacy of poison and revenge. Welcome to The Lost Apothecary….

Hidden in the depths of eighteenth-century London, a secret apothecary shop caters to an unusual kind of clientele. Women across the city whisper of a mysterious figure named Nella who sells well-disguised poisons to use against the oppressive men in their lives. But the apothecary’s fate is jeopardized when her newest patron, a precocious 12-year-old, makes a fatal mistake, sparking a string of consequences that echo through the centuries.

Meanwhile in present-day London, aspiring historian Caroline Parcewell spends her tenth wedding anniversary alone, running from her own demons. When she stumbles upon a clue to the unsolved apothecary murders that haunted London two hundred years ago, her life collides with the apothecary’s in a stunning twist of fate – and not everyone will survive.

With crackling suspense, unforgettable characters and searing insight, The Lost Apothecary is a subversive and intoxicating debut novel of secrets, vengeance and the remarkable ways women can save each other despite the barrier of time.

Diary of a Haunting by M. Verano

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
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I had this book on my TBR for so long and I’m glad I picked it up because it gave me exactly what I needed! It was told in the form of a diary, so each chapters were really short and easy to read. It also gave us an insight into Paige’s head and how she feels about the whole mysterious happenings. I think the author did an amazing job of capturing Paige’s voice as a teenager who got uprooted from the glitzy LA to this town. It wasn’t the scariest, but it was VERY eerie with all the flies and glitchy phone calls (the late one was the scariest) and midnight activities.

I won’t be continuing with the series since I’m not that interested, but I highly recommend this book for some Halloween read!

In the tradition of Paranormal Activity and The Blair Witch Project, an American teen recounts the strange events that occur after she moves into a new—and very haunted—home with her family in this chilling diary that features photos and images of what she experienced.

Letters, photographs, and a journal…all left behind in the harrowing aftermath.

Following her parents’ high-profile divorce, Paige and her brother are forced to move to Idaho with their mother, and Paige doesn’t have very high hopes for her new life. The small town they’ve moved to is nothing compared to the life she left behind in LA. And the situation is made even worse by the drafty old mansion they’ve rented that’s filled with spiders and plenty of other pests that Paige can’t even bear to imagine.

Pretty soon, strange things start to happen around the house—one can of ravioli becomes a dozen, unreadable words start appearing on the walls, and Paige’s little brother begins roaming the house late at night. And there’s something not right about the downstairs neighbor who seems to know a lot more than he’s letting on.

Things only get creepier when she learns about the cult that conducted experimental rituals in the house almost one hundred years earlier. The more Paige investigates, the clearer it all becomes: there’s something in the house, and whatever it is…and it won’t be backing down without a fight.

3 thoughts on “Mini Reviews #20: Dead Djinn, Secrets, Hauntings, and Revenge

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