Blogtober Book Review: The Hollow Places by T. Kingfisher

GoodReads Summary:
A young woman discovers a strange portal in her uncle’s house, leading to madness and terror in this gripping new novel from the author of the “innovative, unexpected, and absolutely chilling” (Mira Grant, Nebula Award–winning author) The Twisted Ones.
Pray they are hungry.
Kara finds these words in the mysterious bunker that she’s discovered behind a hole in the wall of her uncle’s house. Freshly divorced and living back at home, Kara now becomes obsessed with these cryptic words and starts exploring the peculiar bunker—only to discover that it holds portals to countless alternate realities. But these places are haunted by creatures that seem to hear thoughts…and the more you fear them, the stronger they become.
With her distinctive “delightfully fresh and subversive” (SF Bluestocking) prose and the strange, sinister wonder found in Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth, The Hollow Places is another compelling and white-knuckled horror novel that you won’t be able to put down.
The Hollow PlacesReview:
Thank you NetGalley and publishers for providing me with this eARC in exchange for an honest review. I adored this book and every single minute I spend reading it was a ride.
The Hollow Places follows Kara (or Carrot) after she moves into the spare room of her Uncle Earl’s Wonder Museum. She’s gotten divorced from her husband and doesn’t want to move in with her mother. When her Uncle offers his spare room, she accepts. The Wonder Museum is a place full of bizarre things like taxidermized animals (read: otters, bears, mice), knick-knacks from around the world (some authentic and some with ‘made in china’ stickers), and of course, Wonder Museum memorabilia. But Kara grew up in this museum, so she’s not afraid or creeped out by any of these oddities. But one day, Kara finds a hole in the wall so she enlists the barista from the coffee shop next door, Simon, to help her fix it. This is when they discover that there’s something weird about what’s on the other side of this hole. They find themselves in a world that is not our own. Simon and Kara can’t help but explore, but they find more than they wanted to.
This story was delightfully creepy and suspenseful. Certain parts of the story had me gripping my Kindle so hard and my whole body tense. The writing was nothing short of incredible. I felt transported into this story. Kingfisher made this world come to life. It was so atmospheric. I was scared while Simon and Kara were in this other world, holding my breath when they did, but I just couldn’t get enough. I really loved that there was a ‘why’ to all of this. There was a reason this had happened and while it wasn’t wholly explained, there was enough to satisfy me.
Kara and Simon were characters I really enjoyed. At first, Kara is upset about her divorce. She’s disappointed that her life isn’t what she wants it to be, but once she finds another world, a horrifying one, it really puts things in perspective for her. I loved that the creatures of the museum love and protect Kara (you’ll know what I’m talking about when you get to this part of the story). Simon is gay. He’s the barista at the coffee shop his sister owns. He’s full of wild stories that you almost don’t believe. I loved that Kara and Simon went from acquaintances to friends. They bonded through their shared experiences of the horrors of the willow world and I really enjoyed their friendship.
Overall, I loved this book. It was perfect for the spooky season. The atmospheric setting with the horror of the things Kara and Simon encounter made for a spectacularly spooky reading experience. I loved everything about this story and I will definitely be picking up more books by Kingfisher.

Quotes:

“Do objects that are loved know that they are loved?”

“I did not look at the words on the wall. If I didn’t look at them, they didn’t matter. Words are meaningless until you read them.”

“The Wonder Museum, for all its strangeness, was never haunted. If there were ghosts, they were benevolent ones. But perhaps skin and bones have a little memory to them, even after the soul is gone to greater things. And the bones in this museum had spent decade after decade marinating in my uncle’s fierce, befuddled kindness.”

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Majesty by Katharine McGee

GoodReads Summary:
Is America ready for its first queen?
Power is intoxicating. Like first love, it can leave you breathless. Princess Beatrice was born with it. Princess Samantha was born with less. Some, like Nina Gonzalez, are pulled into it. And a few will claw their way in. Ahem, we’re looking at you Daphne Deighton.
As America adjusts to the idea of a queen on the throne, Beatrice grapples with everything she lost when she gained the ultimate crown. Samantha is busy living up to her “party princess” persona…and maybe adding a party prince by her side. Nina is trying to avoid the palace–and Prince Jefferson–at all costs. And a dangerous secret threatens to undo all of Daphne’s carefully laid “marry Prince Jefferson” plans.
A new reign has begun…
Majesty (American Royals, #2)Review:
Majesty wasn’t as dramatic as the first book, but I still enjoyed it. This story follows several characters as their lives change after the events in book one.
Beatrice is now the Queen of America. She faces unexpected hurdles and also finds some happy surprises. There are challenges to being the first Queen, certain people are purposefully getting in her way and undermining her. It takes her a while, but she finally stands up and stops letting others tell her what she should or shouldn’t be doing. I really liked seeing Beatrice figure out how to be the Queen she wanted, to be what her father would have wanted her to be. I also really liked seeing Beatrice fall in love. I was really happy about how Beatrice and Teddy’s relationship developed. I enjoyed seeing them become better friends and then gain stronger feelings. I also like how everything happened with the wedding (I won’t say more because of spoilers).
Now Samantha is my favorite. She ends up fake dating a guy that’s actually mostly acceptable for her to date. It starts with both Samantha and Marshall fake dating to make their ex’s jealous, but somewhere in there, they realize that they like one another and they don’t want to pretend anymore. This was my favorite romance. Marshall is a part of the nobility, but he is also black. I liked that this was addressed. It’s acknowledged that slavery still existed, but I think there should have been more to this part of the conversation. I liked Samantha and Marshall’s relationship but I wanted more of it.
The author did Nina dirty. I understand why her storyline was like this. Nina has wanted to get out of the spotlight. She wanted to get back to her regular college life and stay out of the tabloids. That’s one of the big reasons that she and Jefferson broke up. But her chapters were boring and her break up with Jefferson really affected her friendship with Samantha and that was upsetting. Some of the best parts of Nina’s story were her adventures with Samantha. I was just bored with her story this time.
Daphne is still terrible. She’s still trying to win Jefferson back. But she also still shows these moments where it’s clear she just doesn’t want to do any of this anymore. There’s so much pressure from her mom. When she regains a friend from the past, I really thought things were going to change with her, but they didn’t. I just think she could have ended better and that didn’t happen. Daphne is just painted as a villain with no growth.
Overall, this was an entertaining read with some parts that I liked and others that I didn’t. I’ve read that this is the final book and I’m very unhappy about that. The ending of this book was not a strong series ending. Too many things were left open, leaving the reader thinking that more will be coming.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray

GoodReads Summary:
Marguerite Caine’s physicist parents are known for their groundbreaking achievements. Their most astonishing invention, called the Firebird, allows users to jump into multiple universes—and promises to revolutionize science forever. But then Marguerite’s father is murdered, and the killer—her parent’s handsome, enigmatic assistant Paul— escapes into another dimension before the law can touch him.
Marguerite refuses to let the man who destroyed her family go free. So she races after Paul through different universes, always leaping into another version of herself. But she also meets alternate versions of the people she knows—including Paul, whose life entangles with hers in increasingly familiar ways. Before long she begins to question Paul’s guilt—as well as her own heart. And soon she discovers the truth behind her father’s death is far more sinister than she expected.
A Thousand Pieces of You (Firebird, #1)Review:
A Thousand Pieces of You was a reread for me. I read this book years ago, closer to its release date. I borrowed it from my library because I loved Gray’s Evernight series when the vampire craze was still ongoing. Also, the cover totally jumped out at me because it is just stunning.
The premise of this story is an interesting one. Traveling to parallel universes sounds wild and exciting and slightly terrifying. All of that is shown in Marguerite’s adventure. I wanted more of that. We get to see her travel to three alternate realities. Some were almost identical to Marguerite’s home reality, and others were incredibly different. I wanted more of the different possible realities (though I expect we will get more in the next two books.)
I loved the science in all of it. We’re learning everything from Marguerite who is less involved in the sciences than the rest of her family and more interested in painting and the arts. I find myself really enjoying books that feature painters and artists as the main character because they just have a way of looking at the world in terms of colors and textures and it always makes a more beautiful and visual story. So, we get to know the science as Marguerite understands it and I think that was a great way to make it a more accessible story. I’m not one to understand physics or science in any in-depth manner, so this was great for me.
After finishing this story, I feel like so much happened but also like not much happened. It’s such a short book that things happened pretty quickly. It’s all action all the time right from the very first page. It was a pretty fast-paced story, almost rushed but right on the border of too fast and just fast enough.
Overall, I enjoyed this book but I’m excited to see where the next book goes and if we can delve further into the other realities. I’m interested to see where Marguerite’s story will go next and how the big bad will be defeated. If you’re a fan of lighter science fiction, or newly trying to get into science fiction this might be a good book for you.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.