Author: JPJ

Audiobook Review: Sylvana by Sian. B Claven

Sylvana
Series: The Butcher #3
Author: Sian B. Claven

Narrator: Jacq Ainsworth
Audiobook

Reviewed By: Jessica
Date Read: May 13, 2022
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars

Book Description:

Diana and Robbie are tired of moving their family of five around. When Robbie is offered a great job, and permanent position, they must find somewhere to stay temporarily while they house hunt. Aware of the gruesome murders that happened in the Metz family house, they move in regardless and instantly regret it. With nowhere to go and no one to turn to, Diana and Robbie must face their greatest horror. A copycat killer starts to strike around their neighbourhood, just like the Butcher once did, and Diana’s family seems to be right in the centre of it.

Where is Sylvana when her tenants need answers?

The Butcher might just strike them where it hurts most before they get the answers they seek.

Jessica’s Review:

Sylvana is the third novel in the Butcher series as the story continues.  If you thought the Butcher was gone after the end of Kallista, you were wrong! The Butcher is back!

Many people have tried to move into the Metz house and failed, and now we have a new family who is temporarily moving in until they can get settled in the area. Uh oh- there were murders in the house: But there is nothing to worry about because the killer is also dead…Or is he?  Diana and Robbie along with their three children are the focus of Sylvana while Sylvana herself is a minor character. No one living or otherwise rests easily in the Metz house. Please keep in mind that there is a paranormal take in this series, it’s not just a serial killer series! 

As with the other novellas in the series, the violence is present and parts are surprising!  It is a quick read/listen and there is seemingly a conclusion as it seemed that Claven was winding down the Butcher series. But surprise: There is one more novel out called The Lady Butcher, so it seems like our killer’s story continues yet again! This last one is not currently available on audio, but I already have it on my kindle. I will be reading this one very soon.

I also have Sylvana on kindle, but Claven was kind enough to send me the audible copy to listen to, which I started right after finishing Kallista.  As with the previous novellas Jacq Ainsworth narrated. While she has done a good job previously, her voice of Charlie rubbed my ears the wrong way.  Yes, Charlie is a small child, but her narration of this character didn’t work for me as Charlie’s voice was irritating for me.  It could be because I do have a hearing issue and the higher octave sounds can hurt my hearing. Otherwise the narration was fine!

I have enjoyed this series and look forward to The Lady Butcher and the final conclusion to the Butcher series. (Or will it be the conclusion???)

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

Book Review: Kallista by Sian B. Claven

Kallista
Series: The Butcher #2
Author: Sian B. Claven     

Published: February 15, 2018
Audiobook

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: May 10-12, 2022
Jessica’s Rating: 5 stars

Book Description:

All her life Kalli thought that her sister had lost her mind, seeing a ghost everywhere and associating it with death. Kalli wants her own answers though, and spends her life working towards being granted access to the Butcher files and solving the deaths that rocked their community all those years ago.

Things take a turn for the worst when the haunting figure from her sisters’ twisted mind starts appearing to Kalli and she is left questioning her sanity and whether the Butcher is back.
Kalli must find the answers before it’s too late.

Before she sees the skeleton girl one more time.

Before she meets her own demise.

Jessica’s Review:

I have the whole Butcher series on kindle, but Claven was wonderful enough to send me Kallista on audio as I can get to audiobooks much quicker than kindle or physical books due to my daily commute. My review for the first in the series, Tatum, is here.

Kallista is the second in the Butcher series and takes place 10 years after the events of Tatum. Kallista (Kalli) is determined to find the Butcher and is working to become a profiler and we go on this journey with her!  We have two pov: Kalli and The Butcher himself!  I was invested in the whole story, and cannot decide which pov I preferred! I was rooting for Kalli but loved getting into the disturbing and depraved mind of The Butcher. And I was dying of curiosity the whole novel: Just WHO is The Butcher?!!??!!?

Besides the mystery of The Butcher, we have a horror and thriller novel with paranormal take on it that will keep you reading. I also enjoyed this as we see that the skeleton girl is back! Just an FYI:  This series deals with an extremely disturbing serial killer and Claven doesn’t hold back with the violence and goriness as she tells us her tale, so reader prepare yourself.  But I can’t help that I enjoy the dark and disturbing!  

I really enjoyed everything about this continuing story. Kallista kept building to a very intense climax and just when you think the story is over, Claven comes back with one more “gotcha” moment! I can’t wait to see where the series goes next, and thankfully Claven also sent me the audio of the third novel: Sylvana, so I can start it right away!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

[Top]

ARC Review: The Latecomer by Jean Hanff Korelitz

The Latecomer
Author: Jean Hanff Korelitz

To Be Published:  May 31, 2022
448 Pages

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: April 20- May 8, 2022
Jessica’s Rating: 3 stars

Book Description:

The Latecomer follows the story of the wealthy, New York City-based Oppenheimer family, from the first meeting of parents Salo and Johanna, under tragic circumstances, to their triplets born during the early days of IVF. As children, the three siblings – Harrison, Lewyn, and Sally – feel no strong familial bond and cannot wait to go their separate ways, even as their father becomes more distanced and their mother more desperate. When the triplets leave for college, Johanna, faced with being truly alone, makes the decision to have a fourth child. What role will the “latecomer” play in this fractured family?

A complex novel that builds slowly and deliberately, The Latecomer touches on the topics of grief and guilt, generational trauma, privilege and race, traditions and religion, and family dynamics. It is a profound and witty family story from an accomplished author, known for the depth of her character studies, expertly woven storylines, and plot twists.

Jessica’s Review: 

The Latecomer is a difficult novel to review. When I received it I saw how the tome that it is at nearly 450 pages and small font, I already knew I had a challenge ahead of me.  The premise sounded interesting for me with triplets first and then a later in life fourth child, but the delivery was also difficult to read.  We have Sal and Johanna who meet after an accident and eventually get married and have early stages IVF children.

But these children do not share a bond that you would expect with triplets, or even a shared bond as siblings at all.  These triplets (Harrison, Sally, and Lewyn) do not like each other and can’t wait to get away from them and their parents.  Due to the lack of familial bonds, when the triplets are seventeen Johanna decides to have the fourth embryo implanted into a surrogate. 

None of these characters are likeable, with Harrison being the least liked by me as a reader. I skimmed over Harrison’s chapters; I was not interested in him at all.  I was intrigued more with Sally and Lewyn with their situation of being at the same college, but not acknowledging each other at all. Of course, this situation heads to disaster. 

If you can make it through the first 300/350-ish pages, then when Phoebe (the fourth child) makes an appearance then you are in for a ride as she changes everything up when she becomes seventeen.  There is a bit of a surprise in these last pages where nothing is as you think!

This is a novel that focuses on family dysfunction, high art society, privilege, race, and secrets galore. The Oppenheimer family are Jewish, so for those not familiar with the Jewish religion and traditions, you will learn some.  The Latecomer is a slow burn that if you can make it through until Phoebe takes off then you are set!

Many thanks to the publisher for granting me a copy via Bookish First.

Pre-Order Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

[Top]