The Villa

Author Rachel Hawkins reimagines the Year Without A Summer, when Lord Byron, Mary Shelley, Percy Shelley, Claire Claremont, and John Polidori all converged on at Villa Diodati. The get-together produced FrankensteinThe Vampyr, and more. Hawkins sets her story in the present day. When the always put-together, super successful Chess invites her childhood friend Emily to join her for a six-week vacation in Italy, she barely thinks twice. Emily is a novelist with writer’s block and a cheating husband. The last thing she wants is to be at home, staring at a blank screen.

Hawkins adds another layer to the Gothic story, weaving in the tale of the another group to rent the villa in the 1970s. Their stay produced an album that changed pop culture as well as a critically-acclaimed horror novel. Emily digs through the clues to figure out what happened at their villa five decades ago. Read via NetGalley.

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press (January 3, 2023)
Language: English
Hardcover: ‎288 pages
ISBN-10: ‎125028001X


As a journalist, Erika Bolstad covered issues that collide with science, technology, climate change, land use, and more. She then uncovered a story about her great-grandmother Anna. Anna was a homesteader on the North Dakota plains at the turn of the century. When Bolstad’s mother is dying, she reveals they still own some mineral rights from that land. Bolstad sets out to learn more about their family history as well as investigate the current state of oil extraction in the U.S.

While I enjoyed the premise of this one, I wanted to know more about Anna, how she ended up in an asylum, and more about prairie life back then in general. Perhaps there simply weren’t records or letters for the writer to reference for these details. Read via NetGalley.

Publisher: ‎Sourcebooks (January 17, 2023)
Language: ‎English
Hardcover: 320 pages
ISBN-10: 1728246938

All Hallows

from the publisher: It’s Halloween night, 1984, in Coventry, Massachusetts, and two families are unraveling. Up and down the street, secrets are being revealed, and all the while, mixed in with the trick-or-treaters of all ages, four children who do not belong are walking door to door, merging with the kids of Parmenter Road. Children in vintage costumes with faded, eerie makeup. They seem terrified, and beg the neighborhood kids to hide them away, to keep them safe from The Cunning Man. There’s a small clearing in the woods now that was never there before, and a blackthorn tree that doesn’t belong at all.

I haven’t actually finished this one — the concept sounds great, but I had a hard time getting into it. The narrative style didn’t sit well with me but I will give it another go.

Publisher: ‎St. Martin’s Press (January 24, 2023)
Language: ‎English
Hardcover: 336 pages
ISBN-10: ‎125028029X