Book Review

Book Review: The Cloisters by Katy Hays

Rating: ★★★
Genre: Mystery 
Length: 320 pages
Author: Katy Hays
Publisher: Atria Books
Release Date: November 1st, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads


When Ann Stilwell arrives in New York City, she expects to spend her summer working as a curatorial associate at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Instead, she finds herself assigned to The Cloisters, a gothic museum and garden renowned for its medieval art collection and its group of enigmatic researchers studying the history of divination.

Desperate to escape her painful past, Ann is happy to indulge the researchers’ more outlandish theories about the history of fortune telling. But what begins as academic curiosity quickly turns into obsession when Ann discovers a hidden 15th-century deck of tarot cards that might hold the key to predicting the future. When the dangerous game of power, seduction, and ambition at The Cloisters turns deadly, Ann becomes locked in a race for answers as the line between the arcane and the modern blurs.

A haunting and magical blend of genres, The Cloisters is a gripping debut that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

Thank you to Book Club Favorites and Simon & Schuster for the gifted copy.


Goooood heavens. I thought I was getting one book and got another and I’m sad about that.

Things started off well, I liked the initial vibes and was curious about how all of this was going to go down, little did I know, how monotonous it would be.

Mostly it’s Ann going to work, hanging out with coworkers and occasionally finding something interesting. THEN SOMETHING EXCITING FINALLY HAPPENED, a murder! Who’s done it?! And while for a minute there I wasn’t sure, it became pretty clear, pretty quickly, who it was.

And then I spent the rest of the book trying to speed (3x audio) read through it.

The writing itself was good, it was the organization of plot and ideas that I found lacking. Parts of the ending had some tidbits that were interesting and at last gave the book the “dark” academia vibe I was told it had.

I just really needed more in many areas.

Overall audience notes:

  • Mystery
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: closed door
  • Violence: medium
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: murder, fatmisia, drug use and abuse, car accident

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Book Review

Book Review: For Your Own Good by Samantha Downing

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Thriller
Length: 373 pages
Author: Samantha Downing
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: July 20th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads


Teddy Crutcher has won Teacher of the Year at the esteemed Belmont Academy, home to the best and brightest.

He says his wife couldn’t be more proud—though no one has seen her in a while.

Teddy really can’t be bothered with the death of a school parent that’s looking more and more like murder or the student digging a little too deep into Teddy’s personal life. His main focus is on pushing these kids to their full academic potential.

All he wants is for his colleagues—and the endlessly meddlesome parents—to stay out of his way.

It’s really too bad that sometimes excellence can come at such a high cost.


What a fantastic audiobook. Really brought the whole story to life and I devoured this easily.

But also, wow, was this a wild read. Every few chapters I was surprised by who was murdered next. I like that I got the POV of many of the characters. Nobody was exactly redeemable or likable in this tale, and yet, that really worked for this story. I didn’t know who was going to do what next and I like that aspect for thrillers.

I’m not sure how I felt about the ending? I guess I thought it was be more of a punch. Instead it turned out to be a little bit of a let down. Things happened that needed to, but not in the way I expected.

Very dark and sinister. Full of dark academia and morally grey and just plain bad souls. It’ll definitely keep you on your toes. Twisted obsessions turned murderous. Leaving many in their wake.

Overall audience notes:

  • Thriller
  • Language: a little
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: murder, poisoning, loss of loved ones, catfishing, extortion, blackmail

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Book Review

Book Review: The Atlas Six (The Atlas #1) by Olivie Blake

Rating: ★★★☆
Audience: NA Dark Academia
Length: 375 pages
Author: Olivie Blake
Publisher: Tor
Release Date: March 1st, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads


The Alexandrian Society is a secret society of magical academicians, the best in the world. Their members are caretakers of lost knowledge from the greatest civilizations of antiquity. And those who earn a place among their number will secure a life of wealth, power, and prestige beyond their wildest dreams. Each decade, the world’s six most uniquely talented magicians are selected for initiation – and here are the chosen few…

Libby Rhodes and Nicolás Ferrer de Varona: inseparable enemies, cosmologists who can control matter with their minds.
– Reina Mori: a naturalist who can speak the language of life itself.
– Parisa Kamali: a mind reader whose powers of seduction are unmatched.
– Tristan Caine: the son of a crime kingpin who can see the secrets of the universe.
– Callum Nova: an insanely rich pretty boy who could bring about the end of the world. He need only ask.

When the candidates are recruited by the mysterious Atlas Blakely, they are told they must spend one year together to qualify for initiation. During this time, they will be permitted access to the Society’s archives and judged on their contributions to arcane areas of knowledge. Five, they are told, will be initiated. One will be eliminated. If they can prove themselves to be the best, they will survive. Most of them.


I’m not really sure what to do with this read. On one hand I enjoyed it. On the other, I’m not quite sure about what I did enjoy.

This is a slowww read. And (mostly) not in a bad way. I don’t mind when fantasies take their time as long as things keep progressing. But at some point this switched over to where I felt like I wanted to skim (which I did).

The characters are divinely unique and I loved that. I hated and loved them for a myriad of reasons. Heavily character driven books are my jam. Though I did wonder why everyone was sleeping with everyone? It just didn’t seem necessary or really adding anything.

Plot wise, I needed more. It wasn’t working for me. There wasn’t enough development of WHY all of these people were together. Not until the last quarter did I start to connect some dots.

I stand undecided on reading book two. I think I’ll probably wait to see some friends reviews first. Or I might try the audio to move through it quicker.

Overall audience notes:

  • NA Urban Fantasy + Dark Academia
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: multiple vague + closed door + innuendo
  • Violence: low
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: cheating, near death experiences, extortion, suicide ideation, suicide, alcohol consumption

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