Review | Jackal by Erin E. Adams

Description

It’s watching.

Liz Rocher is coming home . . . reluctantly. As a Black woman, Liz doesn’t exactly have fond memories of Johnstown, Pennsylvania, a predominantly white town. But her best friend is getting married, so she braces herself for a weekend of awkward and passive-aggressive reunions. Liz has grown, though; she can handle whatever awaits her. But on the day of the wedding, somewhere between dancing and dessert, the bride’s daughter, Caroline, goes missing—and the only thing left behind is a piece of white fabric covered in blood.

It’s taking.
As a frantic search begins, with the police combing the trees for Caroline, Liz is the only one who notices a pattern: a summer night. A missing girl. A party in the woods. She’s seen this before. Keisha Woodson, the only other Black girl in school, walked into the woods with a mysterious man and was later found with her chest cavity ripped open and her heart missing. Liz shudders at the thought that it could have been her, and now, with Caroline missing, it can’t be a coincidence. As Liz starts to dig through the town’s history, she uncovers a horrifying secret about the place she once called home. Children have been going missing in these woods for years. All of them Black. All of them girls.

It’s your turn.
With the evil in the forest creeping closer, Liz knows what she must do: find Caroline, or be entirely consumed by the darkness.

(Goodreads)


Review

This book was one of my most anticipated books of the year. When October came around, I knew I had to use my audible credit to purchase it because I couldn’t wait for a hold from the library, and I definitely couldn’t wait for the next day to grab the physical copy. It was a cold, chilling evening, and I had to start this book that very night. And I’m so glad that I did.

Immediately, I was drawn into Adams’ world, intrigued to understand the mystery behind the missing girls and how our main character would unravel the mystery within. Given the engaging synopsis, how could I not? There was a slow build as the story progressed, which I enjoyed. There were themes such as social horror, racism, and classism that were horrifying but important to read.

As you progress, the story only gets better and better. I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but I was satisfied with the ending. I recommend reading the physical book as the middle of the book was a bit slow, and I think I may have enjoyed reading the hardcover copy even more. And I think this would have been a good one to tab, highlight, and write notes.

I highly recommend you pick this one up before October 31st, but of course, check out the content warnings and the themes. Horror readers: add this to your TBR.

Content Warnings

This Book in Three Words

Impactful, Atmospheric, Haunting

Values/Themes

  • Social horror
  • Missing girls
  • Racism
  • Classism

Favourite Part

The entire ending – you’ll want to hold until because that last quarter of the book was so chilling!

Feelings

  • Dark
  • Mysterious
  • Tense

My Ratings:

Writing Style: 3.5
Characters: 3.75
Plot Development: 4
Originality: 4.5
Engagingness: 3.75
Insightfulness: 4.5
Comprehensiveness: 3.5
Impactfulness: 3.5
Narration: 3.75

Overall Rating

Numerical Rating: 4 stars

QOTD: Do you enjoy reading
horror? Let us know!

Rave Review | Black Cake

I’ve provided the synopsis below for those who would benefit from a synopsis, but I actually recommend going into this knowing as little as possible! Except for perhaps the content warnings, if needed.

Synopsis (from Goodreads)

We can’t choose what we inherit. But can we choose who we become?
In present-day California, Eleanor Bennett’s death leaves behind a puzzling inheritance for her two children, Byron and Benny: a black cake, made from a family recipe with a long history, and a voice recording. In her message, Eleanor shares a tumultuous story about a headstrong young swimmer who escapes her island home under suspicion of murder. The heartbreaking tale Eleanor unfolds, the secrets she still holds back, and the mystery of a long-lost child challenge everything the siblings thought they knew about their lineage and themselves.

Can Byron and Benny reclaim their once-close relationship, piece together Eleanor’s true history, and fulfill her final request to “share the black cake when the time is right”? Will their mother’s revelations bring them back together or leave them feeling more lost than ever?

Charmaine Wilkerson’s debut novel is a story of how the inheritance of betrayals, secrets, memories, and even names can shape relationships and history. Deeply evocative and beautifully written, Black Cake is an extraordinary journey through the life of a family changed forever by the choices of its matriarch.


Content Warnings


Review

Wow! this was a highly impactful and near-perfect read for me.
Exactly the type of book I reserve my five-star ratings for.

Black Cake is told in a complex manner with numerous timelines and perspectives, divulging secrets the entire way through. Pair that with the central role of the black cake, layers of secrets are blended together and revealed in a satisfying way. I couldn’t stop reading the book.

I highly recommend it! This book will take you from the seashore of the Caribbean across continents, decades, and even centuries. Excellent.

(Apologies, this review is brief to prevent myself from divulging spoilers!)

This Book in Three Words

Complex

Heritage

Seaside

ocean
Photo by Haley Black on Pexels.com

Values/Themes

  • Family
  • Food
  • Protecting the ones you love
  • Courage
  • Traditions

Favourite Part

Learning about indigenous food, food culture, and history.

Feelings

  • Mysterious
  • Reflective
  • Emotional

New Words Learned

My Ratings:

Writing Style: 4.5
Characters: 5
Plot Development:5
Originality: 5
Engagingness: 5
Inisightfulness: 5
Comprehensiveness: 5
Impactfulness: 5

Overall Rating

Numerical Rating: 5 stars

QOTD: Do you enjoy book set
by the ocean?