Book Review

Book Review: A History of Wild Places by Shea Ernshaw

Rating: ★★★★
Audience: Mystery
Length: 368 pages
Author: Shea Ernshaw
Publisher: Atria Books
Release Date: December 7th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads


Travis Wren has an unusual talent for locating missing people. Hired by families as a last resort, he requires only a single object to find the person who has vanished. When he takes on the case of Maggie St. James—a well-known author of dark, macabre children’s books—he’s led to a place many believed to be only a legend.

Called “Pastoral,” this reclusive community was founded in the 1970s by like-minded people searching for a simpler way of life. By all accounts, the commune shouldn’t exist anymore and soon after Travis stumbles upon it… he disappears. Just like Maggie St. James.

Years later, Theo, a lifelong member of Pastoral, discovers Travis’s abandoned truck beyond the border of the community. No one is allowed in or out, not when there’s a risk of bringing a disease—rot—into Pastoral. Unraveling the mystery of what happened reveals secrets that Theo, his wife, Calla, and her sister, Bee, keep from one another. Secrets that prove their perfect, isolated world isn’t as safe as they believed—and that darkness takes many forms.

Hauntingly beautiful, hypnotic, and bewitching, A History of Wild Places is a story about fairy tales, our fear of the dark, and losing yourself within the wilderness of your mind.


If you have the option, definitely go with the full cast audio book. I’ve read Ershaw’s young adult books and liked the atmosphere, but often felt they were slow. Reading with the audio book helped speed things up and I think this was an awesome adult debut.

This story was wiiiiild. And so trippy. Started off really creepy and dove into things I didn’t see coming. I was actually blindsided by the twist at the end. An interesting choice, but I thought worked well in the case for the plot. Which is fine, I’m good with that. I thought there were plenty of likable characters. All of the main characters were easy to read their stories, I wanted to cheer for them and help them get out.

Very much bewitching, I liked the tidbits of magical realism too. It made sense and completed the story better than without those extra pieces. I liked this one soooo much better than her young adult books. This hooked me enough that I’m back to wanting to read whatever Ernshaw writes next. Always great writing, spooky atmosphere, and a small dash of romance and whimsy.

Overall audience notes:

  • Mystery / Magical Realism
  • Language: little
  • Romance: multiple vague open-ish door
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: suicide by overdose, grief/loss depiction, loss of a loved one, execution by hanging, physical altercations, manipulation and gaslighting

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Monthly Wrap-Up

Monthly Reading Wrap-Up: June 2021

My reading was a bit all of the place this month. Started off super strong and I feel like downhill was the only place to go. That’s okay! Definitely a positive month overall.

Favorites: The Poplar Falls series (of which I binged in 3 days), KULTI!!!!!, Ugly Love if you’re looking for a good cry, Southern Sun Northern Star (for crying reasons as well), The War I Finally Won, and We Free the Stars

Least favorites: The Roommate Situation, and The Trustworthy Groom

  • Stone Hearts (Poplar Falls #2) by Amber Kelly – (☆☆☆☆☆)
  • Wicked Hearts (Poplar Falls #3) by Amber Kelly – (☆☆☆☆)
  • Fragile Hearts (Poplar Falls #4) by Amber Kelly – (☆☆☆☆)
  • Crazy Hearts (Poplar Falls #5) by Amber Kelly – (☆☆☆☆)
  • The Lion’s Den by Katherine St. John – (☆☆☆☆)
  • Kulti by Mariana Zapata – (☆☆☆☆☆)
  • In the Penalty Box by Lynn Rush and Kelly Anne Blount – (☆☆☆)
  • [ARC] A Feeling Like Home by Haleigh Wenger – (☆☆☆)
  • A Fate of Wrath & Flame (Fate & Flame #1) by K.A. Tucker – (☆☆☆)
  • Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover – (☆☆☆☆☆)
  • [Graphic] Heartstopper Vol. 1 by Alice Oseman – (☆☆☆☆☆)
  • [Graphic] Heartstopper Vol 2. by Alice Oseman – (☆☆☆☆☆)
  • [ARC] Between You, Me, and the Honeybees by Amelia Diane Coombs – (☆☆☆☆)
  • Foundryside (The Founders Trilogy #1) by Robert Jackson Bennett – (☆☆☆☆)
  • A Fall from Grace (Clavering Chronicles #1) by Jennie Goutet – (☆☆☆)
  • Southern Sun, Northern Star (Glass Alliance #3) by Joanna Hathaway – (☆☆☆☆☆)
  • The War I Finally Won (The War That Saved My Life #2) by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley – (☆☆☆☆☆)
  • The Bone Thief (The Bone Charmer #2) by Breeana Shields – (☆☆☆☆)
  • At Love’s Command (Hanger’s Horseman #1) by Karen Witemeyer – (☆☆☆)
  • Pride and Premeditation (Jane Austen Murder Mystery #1) by Tirzah Price – (☆☆☆☆)
  • Eye of the Beholder (Stone Springs #1) by Gracie Ruth Mitchell – (☆☆☆)
  • [Reread] The Bridge Kingdom (The Bridge Kingdom #1) by Danielle L. Jensen – (☆☆☆☆☆)
  • The Roommate Situation (Only in Atlanta #1) by Katie Bailey – (☆☆☆)
  • Fat Chance, Charlie Vega by Crystal Maldonado – (☆☆☆☆)
  • Only When It’s Us (Bergman Brothers #1) by Chloe Liese – (☆☆☆☆)
  • [Graphic] Soppy by Philippa Rice – (☆☆☆)
  • The Trustworthy Groom (Texan Titans Romance) by Cami Checketts – (☆☆)
  • We Free the Stars (Sands of Arawiya #2) by Hafsah Faizal – (☆☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • Knitted Hearts (Poplar Falls #6) by Amber Kelly – (☆☆☆☆)
  • Hollowpox: The Hunt for Morrigan Crow (Nevermoor #3) by Jessica Townsend – (☆☆☆☆)

How was your reading month? Lets talk in the comments!

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Book Review

Book Review: Bone Crier’s Moon (Bone Grace #1) by Kathryn Purdie

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: YA Fantasy
Length: 480 pages
Author: Kathryn Purdie
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Release Date: March 3rd, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads


Bone ​Criers have a sacred duty. They alone can keep the dead from preying on the living. But their power to ferry the spirits of the dead into goddess Elara’s Night Heavens or Tyrus’s Underworld comes from sacrifice. The gods demand a promise of dedication. And that promise comes at the cost of the Bone Criers’ one true love.

Ailesse has been prepared since birth to become the matriarch of the Bone Criers, a mysterious famille of women who use strengths drawn from animal bones to ferry dead souls. But first she must complete her rite of passage and kill the boy she’s also destined to love.

Bastien’s father was slain by a Bone Crier and he’s been seeking revenge ever since. Yet when he finally captures one, his vengeance will have to wait. Ailesse’s ritual has begun and now their fates are entwined—in life and in death.

Sabine has never had the stomach for the Bone Criers’ work. But when her best friend Ailesse is taken captive, Sabine will do whatever it takes to save her, even if it means defying their traditions—and their matriarch—to break the bond between Ailesse and Bastien. Before they all die.


Fighting a tiger shark? Yeah, that’s a strong start.

I liked where things were going and how it was set-up. I was imagining a lot wider plot that would connect back into the characters..but alas, that was not the case. Everything took place in a small city, and it felt that way. There was this reiteration about a flute that went on for 450 pages. That’s mostly what I gathered from this.

Multiple POVs are my jam, and I liked having them here. I did find myself confused at times with who was speaking if I had to stop in the middle of a chapter. Their own voices didn’t resonate enough from the page to really help me grasp the character.

What was the thing with the owl?! I’m still confused, and have too many questions. This mythical owl kept showing up to further the plot by being the answer the characters needed. It was a cop-out. I’m guessing the owl plays a bigger role in book two? Maybe? I don’t know.

This is a quick read, and definitely fits in the young adult fantasy category. Besides struggling with the POVs, I did like the writing style because of it’s pace and not drawn out sentiments.

Ooooo, I haven’t even mentioned my true downfall with this one, the insta-love. Oh goodness, the instant love. We literally changed paragraphs and Bastien went from wanting to stab, to wanting to kiss Ailesse. Does not work for me.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kiss
  • Violence: swords/knives, physical altercations, explosions

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