Horseman by Christina Henry – Review

Published: September 28, 2021

Publisher: Berkley Books

Series: Standalone

Genre: Horror, Fantasy

Pages: 320 (Paperback)

My Rating: 3.5/5.0

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis:
Everyone in Sleepy Hollow knows about the Horseman, but no one really believes in him. Not even Ben Van Brunt’s grandfather, Brom Bones, who was there when it was said the Horseman chased the upstart Crane out of town. Brom says that’s just legend, the village gossips talking.

Twenty years after those storied events, the village is a quiet place. Fourteen-year-old Ben loves to play Sleepy Hollow boys, reenacting the events Brom once lived through. But then Ben and a friend stumble across the headless body of a child in the woods near the village, and the sinister discovery makes Ben question everything the adults in Sleepy Hollow have ever said. Could the Horseman be real after all? Or does something even more sinister stalk the woods?


I’ve had decent luck with Christina Henry’s other titles, so I was really quite excited to see that she was writing a Sleepy Hollow retelling. It was ultra creepy, not at all what I expected, and a really refreshing take on the tale. 

Horseman takes place two decades after the events of the original Headless Horseman tale and stars Ben van Brunt, grandchild of Brom and Katrina. Ben’s parents died when Ben was just a babe, supposedly of a fever. This is the generally accepted story, but it becomes clear something suspicious is afoot when a child’s body, missing head and hands, is discovered in the woods. The reaction of certain adults who were around the first time this happened is a dead giveaway that not all is as it seems. Something dangerous is in the woods, and it has a hunger that only hands (and a head) can satisfy. Ben is determined to investigate this mystery, but between the spine tingling presence in the woods, and the ghostly drumming of a horse’s hooves it’s quite a terrifying thought.

I loved the first ~85% of the book. There was a creeping dread that really fit the tale well, I loved Ben, Brom, and Katrina, and the little reveals of what actually happened during the original Headless Horseman tale were great. The dead bodies devoid of head and hands were absolutely ghastly and the thing eating them was honestly way creepier than it had any right to be. It was fantastic! And then the book jumped forward in time and I didn’t care for that portion all that much. It yanked me out of the story and while I can understand why it was executed that way, I was a little let down by the ending. The creeping dread was gone and only sadness remained. 

Overall, this was a really good story with plenty of creep factor. I love reading spooky retellings as Halloween gets ever closer and Sleepy Hollow is one of my favorites! The landing didn’t quite stick (for me) but I’d definitely recommend this if you’re looking for a good Sleepy Hollow retelling.

Waiting on Wednesday: A Swift and Savage Tide by Chloe Neill

“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly meme originally hosted on Breaking the Spine but has since linked up with “Can’t Wait Wednesday” at Wishful Endings now that the original creator is unable to host it anymore. This is a great way to share upcoming releases you’re excited about!

I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed the first book in this series last year and have been keeping an eye out for news of the sequel. A Swift and Savage Tide will continue Kit Brightling’s adventures in helping stop Gerard Rousseau, bane of the Saxon Isles. I’m expecting adventure and a delightful continuation of Kit’s romance with Rian Grant, the Viscount Queenscliffe. This will be released November 30, 2021.

Stacking the Shelves: 9/26/20

Stacking The Shelves is a weekly (or in my case monthly) meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews and it’s all about sharing the books you’ve added to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. You can include books you buy in a physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts, and of course ebooks!


Received for Review: 

Orbit is just way too awesome!

The Trouble with Peace by Joe Abercrombie
This latest Abercrombie book is amazing – definitely a series I have to have in lovely hardcover! Review forthcoming.

The Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea Stewart
This was an amazing read as well, featuring unique magic and fantastic characters. You can read my review here.

The Trials of Koli by M.R. Carey
I’m looking forward to diving back into this wild, strange post-apocalyptic world. Koli and his motley crew of companions are headed towards London this time around.

The One and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow
This is an interesting one – set during the suffragist movement, a group of sisters must delve into their history and old magic to protect themselves. I couldn’t resist the synopsis or that gorgeous cover!

Nophek Gloss by Essa Hansen
I admit, I probably wouldn’t have requested a copy of this myself, but an ARC showed up unexpectedly. I’m curious about the synopsis and besides, you never know when you may find a new favorite read!

People of the City by Marshall Ryan Maresca
This is the final installment in the first Maradaine arc and it has been an awesome journey! This will really bring the entire cast of characters from the various series into one action packed adventure. Thanks to DAW for the eARC!

The Bright and Breaking Sea by Chloe Neill
This year has been full of sea-faring adventure books and I LOVE this trend! I’m very excited to have a copy of this book, which has great early reviews. Thanks Berkley Books!

Daughter of the Serpentine by E.E. Knight
I was shocked at how much I loved the first book in this series and am really looking forward to picking this up soon. It has a dragon riding school! How could I not love it?? Thanks to Ace for the eARC.

The Camelot Betrayal by Kiersten White
This installment of the Camelot Rising trilogy will make or break the series for me. I enjoyed the first book, but didn’t love it and I’m curious to see how this installment will play out. Thanks to Delacorte Press for the eARC.

The Mask of Mirrors by M.A. Carrick
New series alert!! Could this be the next Lies of Locke Lamora? Well, I’ll find out when I pick it up soon! Thanks to Orbit for the eARC.

My Purchases:

The Black Song by Anthony Ryan
This is my only book purchase (aside from what arrived in OwlCrate boxes) in the last month and a half. It’s also taken me FOREVER to get through it because I’ve been in a reading slump (partially due to the game Ark Survival). As I type this I am ALMOST finished! It’s a good book, I’ve just been so slow lately.

Waiting on Wednesday: The Bright and Breaking Sea by Chloe Neill

“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly meme originally hosted on Breaking the Spine but has since linked up with “Can’t Wait Wednesday” at Wishful Endings now that the original creator is unable to host it anymore. This is a great way to share upcoming released you’re excited about!


Cover- The Bright and Breaking Sea

I am so on board (PUN INTENDED) with all the seafaring fantasies that are being published this year!! The Bright and Breaking Sea sounds like a rollicking good adventure. Kit Brightling is one of few female captains and has a magical affinity with the sea. She’s also been saddled with an unwanted partner and an assignment to rescue a spy from a den of pirates. SO EXCITING!! This will be released in November 2020 so keep your eye to the spyglass.

Stacking the Shelves: 6/15/19

Stacking The Shelves is a weekly (or in my case monthly) meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews and it’s all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. You can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!


Woops, it’s been like two months since I’ve done a Stacking the Shelves post so I’ve got just a few books to share with you guys! Also, it’s distinctly possible that I might forget a book since it’s been so long and I’ve been uncharacteristically unorganized.

Received for Review:

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A Brightness Long Ago by Guy Gavriel Kay

A new GGK book is always good news in the fantasy world and this one was excellent. You can check out my review HERE.

The Wolf’s Call by Anthony Ryan

Anythony Ryan is returning to the world of Vaelin al Sorna and there are no complaints from me! I do hope Vaelin stays the main focus in this series. Many thanks to Orbit for the ARC!

Howling Dark by Christopher Ruocchio

The first book in this series really awed me last year and I’m looking forward to checking out this one as well. It’s quite the tome. Thanks to DAW for the ARC.

The Girl in Red by Christina Henry

This is actually my current read and it’s like Cormac McCarthy decided to rewrite The Road with a fairytale influence. Thanks to Berkley for the finished copy.

Unraveling by Karen Lord

This book had a very intriguing synopsis, but wasn’t quite the book for me. You can check out my review HERE.

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Queenslayer by Sebastien de Castell

This series has continual been a joy to read and I’m looking forward to reading this installment soon! Orbit always send such great books.

Fray by Rowenna Miller

I seriously need to climb my way out of this ball pit of unread books and get on to reading this one. I must see if it’s a good as the first and hopefully get some resolution!

The Gameshouse by Claire North

This is a collection of novellas that I’ve been wanting to read for a few years but it kept getting pushed down my TBR. It was really cool though and I’ll have a review up soon!

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Now for my latest acquisitions that all arrived in the same box yesterday! Thanks to Ace, DAW, and Berkley for sending these over

Beneath the Twisted Trees by Bradley P. Beaulieu

The finished copy of this is just lovely and I hope it’s as good as all the previous books!

Salvation Day by Kali Wallace

This sounds really fascinating – viruses, mysterious ships, etc. Don’t think I could have gone wrong with this one.

Priest of Lies by Peter McLean

Let me just say, this book was FANTASTIC. I couldn’t wait any longer and read the eARC I had, so the review won’t be long in coming!

Crowfall by Ed McDonald

This may be one of the books I was most excited about getting. This will be the conclusion to the Raven’s Mark trilogy and I expect Ed McDonald to wow me with his writing once again.

My Purchases:

My audiobook pace had slowed down for a bit (especially with The Clockmaker’s Daughter) but I’m back on a roll now! I’ve flown through both Skyward and The Wicked King and am currently devouring Sorcery of Thorns. Keep and eye out for reviews in the near future.

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I also received my lovely finished copy of Age of Legend yesterday! Michael and Robin are the most efficient and communicative Kickstarter users that I’ve ever seen. The book arrived well packed and in excellent condition and now, since I read the digital copy already, this can join it’s brethren on my shelves.

Stacking the Shelves: 6/9/18

Stacking The Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews and it’s all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. You can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!


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Age of War by Michael J. Sullivan

Can it just be stated that I was rather surprised when my request for this was granted? Such an excellent surprise! If you’re a regular here, you already know my feelings on MJS’s books, so no need to repeat again. Thanks uber-much Del Rey!

The Empire of Ashes by Anthony Ryan

The grand conclusion folks! I still haven’t decided if I’m rooting for the humans, the dragons, or the lizard people… The cover indicates some epic dragon battles and I couldn’t be more thrilled to find out how this wraps up. Thanks to Ace for the finished copy, which will looks absolutely dashing on my shelves.

Empire of Silence by Christopher Ruocchio

I so hope this book is as amazing as I hope it will be. It features gladiatorial combat and whenever a book has the arena style thing going on I turn into a blood-thirsty Roman patrician screaming from the seats of the Colosseum. Bonus points for it being space-gladiators in this one. Thanks to DAW for the finished copy.

Smoke and Iron by Rachel Caine

I loved the first three books in this series so I’m hoping that the extension on this series will pan out well. I’m sure things are going to get wild in this book and I can’t wait to see if the Great Library of Alexandria will end up burning to ash at last. Thanks to Berkley for the finished copy.

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Sparrow Hill Road by Seanan McGuire

I’ll be honest… I don’t remember if I requested this book or not. Either way, it sounds pretty interesting and I’ve never read a Seanan McGuire book (though I’ve read books under her pen names). It’s the story of a hitch-hiker ghost which seems cool. Thanks to DAW for this one.

Redemptions Blade: After the War by Adrian Tchaikovsky

I’ve read (well, listened to) two of Adrian Tchaikovsky’s books this year and enjoyed both. I had the opportunity to get my hands on a copy from Solaris and jumped on it! Thanks for posting this all the way from the UK, Solaris!

The Mermaid by Christina Henry

This is another author I’ve heard praised pretty frequently, so I decided this was a good book to start with. I devoured this book in a couple days and will post a review eventuallY! Thanks to Berkley for the lovely finished copy!

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After spending some time browsing around Books-A-Million I picked up Tower of Dawn and One Blood Ruby from their discount section. I had to keep my SJMaas collection up to date, especially since this installment is one of the best in the series. The other book has fairies, so yeah. I bought it and intend to read this series when there’s a slower book release month.

I also picked up this awesome new National Wildlife Federation Field Guide to Trees of North America. It has good quality pictures of bark, leaves, flowers, etc and it’s a decent size to haul around in a hiking bag.

I also picked up a few new audiobooks. Children of Time and Jane Steele were great and I”ll be posting reviews at some point in the future (been kind of slow lately). Warlock Holmes is weird and funny and a nice tribute to the Sherlock Holmes legacy.

Lastly, I have sort of an honorable mention. The pre-order for Golden Son cam up on Subterranean Press AT LONG LAST and you better believe I pre-ordered that sucker. It’s even more beautiful than the first one and it’s not sold out yet if you’re interested!

Ash and Quill by Rachel Caine – Review

Cover- Ash and Quill

Published: July , 11, 2017

Publisher: Berkley

Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult

Series: The Great Library #3

Pages: 368 (Hardcover)

My Rating: 4.5/5.0

A review copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis:

Hoarding all the knowledge of the world, the Great Library jealously guards its secrets. But now a group of rebels poses a dangerous threat to its tyranny….

Jess Brightwell and his band of exiles have fled London, only to find themselves imprisoned in Philadelphia, a city led by those who would rather burn books than submit. But Jess and his friends have a bargaining chip: the knowledge to build a machine that will break the Library’s rule.

Their time is running out. To survive, they’ll have to choose to live or die as one, to take the fight to their enemies—and to save the very soul of the Great Library….


Ash and Quill is the third installment in Rachel Caine’s The Great Library series, where the Library of Alexandria never fell and instead became the world’s biggest power. This may be my favorite book about books that I’ve ever come across and it continued to impress in this installment just as much as it did in the first. Rachel Caine’s story is wonderfully imaginative, fraught with peril and corruption, and shows the fierceness of the bonds of friendship.

Having just escaped the figurative frying pan of the Archivist, Jess and company are now in the fire that is Philadelphia, home of the Burners. This is another, equally perilous form of imprisonment, though the rogue group of scholars and High Garda are now without plans of their own. You see, they want to use the Burners to get out knowledge of the printing press that both Thomas and Scholar Wolfe invented to change the game. By introducing it, they can take away some of the Library’s power and that is merely the first step in their plan to take down the Archivist and reform the institution that has done much good and evil. There’s been quite a bit of action in each of the books, but this one felt more like all-out war rather than a pitched battle or narrow escape. The scale of the story seems to grow with each book, which leaves me wondering if there will be a Library vs. the world sized war in the last book.

Our rogue scholars continue to grow in personality and skillset. Thomas has become a bit terrifying since his captivity- months of torture and loneliness in a dark cell will do that to a person. Morgan has the potential to be a powerful weapon since her Obscurist’s abilities have been developed, though they are dangerous to her as well. Jess, Morgan, and Thomas seem to have the stage in this book more so than the others. Dario, Khalila, Glain and even Wolfe and Santi seem to take on more background roles. Yes, they are secondary characters, but prior to this book, they had a more equalized presence. Perhaps I am the only one who thinks this, but we all judge what we read differently.

Ash and Quill was a really great book with an exciting yet thought provoking storyline. The introduction of new environments and new characters was executed very organically, and really helped to provide new perspective on the Burners and how life was lived in America. Oh and by the way, The Great Library series has been extended from three to five books! I was hesitant to rejoice about this news at first because the quality tends to slip when a story is dragged out, but after finishing Ash and Quill, I think the additional two books will actually be a wonderful thing.

Stacking the Shelves: 6/17/17

Stacking The Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews and it’s all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. You can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!


Received for Review:

The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O by Neal Stephenson and Nicole Galland

YAY for bookmail surprises! I had requested this months ago and lo and behold, it showed up! I really can’t wait to read this mash up of fantasy, history, and government agencies. Thanks to William Morrow for the finished copy.

The Song of the Orphans by Daniel Price

I was approached about this book and despite it being the second book in a series, I accepted because the premise was SO intriguing. I can’t wait to check this one out. Thanks to Blue Rider Press for the finished copy.

Age of Swords by Michael J. Sullivan

Anything from Michael J. Sullivan is an automatic add to the TBR, thus the second installment in The Legends of the First Empire series made its way into my possession. I’m excited to see how the story continues to develop. Thanks to Del Rey Books and NetGalley.

Ash and Quill by Rachel Caine

I recently caught up on The Great Library series just in time for the third installment. This turned out to be a haul full of great sequels! Thanks to Berkley and NetGalley.

One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake

This is probably in the top 5 for most anticipated YA sequels for 2017 and I snagged an eGalley! I’ll probably read this one as soon as my schedule allows and I’m sure it will involve a binge read session. Thanks to Harper Teen and Edelweiss.

The Library of Fates by Aditi Khorana

Books with libraries + Indian cultural influence = potential awesomeness. Sounds like it has some pretty basic themes underlying, but hopefully the author will have made it something really special. My thanks to Razorbill and Penguin First to Read.

Purchased Books:

Dreams of Gods & Monsters by Laini Taylor

By now it’s no secret that I love Laini Taylor’s books and I’ve already featured this as my current read… and now I’ve finished it. I highly recommend the audio version of this series! Review to come in a few weeks.

The Flight of the Silvers by Daniel Price

After receiving a copy of The Song of the Orphans I decided that I should probably read the first book (duh). The overview I read was thorough, but still didn’t satisfy my desire for details!

The Space Between the Stars by Anne Corlett – Review

Cover- The Space Between the Stars

Published: June 13, 2017

Publisher: Berkley

Genre: Science Fiction

Series: Standalone

Pages: 368 (Hardcover)

My Rating: 4.5/5.0

I received a review copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis:

In a breathtakingly vivid and emotionally gripping debut novel, one woman must confront the emptiness in the universe—and in her own heart—when a devastating virus reduces most of humanity to dust and memories.

All Jamie Allenby ever wanted was space. Even though she wasn’t forced to emigrate from Earth, she willingly left the overpopulated, claustrophobic planet. And when a long relationship devolved into silence and suffocating sadness, she found work on a frontier world on the edges of civilization. Then the virus hit…

Now Jamie finds herself dreadfully alone, with all that’s left of the dead. Until a garbled message from Earth gives her hope that someone from her past might still be alive.

Soon Jamie finds other survivors, and their ragtag group will travel through the vast reaches of space, drawn to the promise of a new beginning on Earth. But their dream will pit them against those desperately clinging to the old ways. And Jamie’s own journey home will help her close the distance between who she has become and who she is meant to be…


If you haven’t heard of The Space Between the Stars or you’re on the fence about whether or not to read it, allow me to give you my humble opinion. You should seriously check this one out- it’s got that “end is nigh” vibe, but without the typical imminent demise aspect and you get a brief tour of the inhabited worlds. There’s even a bit of internal strife, long distance love, and all the characters seem to struggle with their pasts to some degree or another, plus it lacks any sort of zombie which takes away the scary/creepy vibes!

This isn’t a story about the whole of humanity, but rather a story about a group of survivors and how they deal with the loss of most of their fellow humans. Every human inhabited planet was struck by a virus with a survival rate purported to be one in a million leaving human conversation to become something of a rarity. Jamie Allenby is on a remote planet working as a livestock veterinarian when the virus hits and doesn’t know if there’s another living person on the planet. Having livestock as your only company for the rest of your life isn’t very promising. Eventually, she gets off planet with the goal of going to Earth, her home planet and where her ex-significant other (unsure of actual relationship) Daniel had been traveling to when disaster struck.

What I’ve just written is the most basic summary of the plot and doesn’t even begin to cover the richness of the characters in The Space Between the Stars. Jamie in particular is quite interesting. She struggles with her past and her continuous effort to run from every problem and hardship has failed, because now she’s running back to the man she left. This story really brings her full circle and is almost a story of personal reconciliation with the viral apocalypse as a background theme rather than the reverse. The other characters were almost equally interesting, though obviously much less defined than Jamie. Rena and Lowry are members of a non-denominational religious order and have a long history with each other. Mila struggles to see a place for herself in a world were skills other than her limited set are required.  Finn is probably incapable of surviving by himself and struggles with the ever-changing situations. The inter-group strife was quite believable given the circumstances and really helped keep the story moving, though some bits of the plot were wrapped up very conveniently.

The Space Between the Stars was just a really good book and so difficult to put down! Anne Corlett has successfully written a book about the destruction of society that wasn’t bleak and awful, but rather focused on personal reconciliation and new beginnings. This is a book that will definitely be placed on my shelf of keepers for more than just that lovely cover. I hope her future books will only continue to get better!