Friday, December 8, 2023

The Friday Face-Off: Current Read #19

            Friday Face Off New

 Welcome to The Friday Face-Off, a weekly meme at Books by Proxy. Join us every Friday as we pit cover against cover, and publisher against publisher, to find the best artwork in our literary universe.  You can find a list of upcoming topics at Lynn's Books.

This week's topic is:
Current Read #19

This week I'm working my way through Erika Johansen's The Kingdom of Sweets, a Nutcracker-inspired retelling that has been the perfect way to kick off December and the holiday season. I'm honestly not that much of a fan of holiday-themed movies and books, but I do enjoy something Nutcracker-related or that features some type of toymaker, so this sounded perfect. I've had an ARC for a little while, but I had to wait until it was the right season–reading this in summer just felt wrong, haha. There are only two different editions that I've seen out there so far, but I think they're different enough to make for a good comparison, so let's have a look. 

2023 Dutton US Edition

2023 Bantam UK Edition 

My choice(s):
I don't mind the US edition and think it has a really interesting design, but I have to say that the UK edition seems to embrace the Nutcracker theme so much more and I love all the detail. It's really beautiful and I love that it really pulls so many elements from the story. Which cover do you prefer?

Thursday, December 7, 2023

Review: Palace of Shadows by Ray Celestin

Palace of Shadows by Ray Celestin
Publication Date: October 12th, 2023 (UK)/January 9th, 2024 (US)
Hardcover. 340 pages.

About Palace of Shadows:

"'I’m not asking you to build something impossible. I’m asking you to build something that contains all the strangeness and confusion that you can muster.'

Samuel Etherstone, a penniless artist, is adrift in London. His disturbing art is shunned by patrons and critics alike, his friend Oscar Wilde is now an exile living in Paris, and a personal tragedy has taken its toll. So when he is contacted by a mysterious heiress, Mrs Chesterfield, and asked to work on a commission for the house she is building on the desolate Smugglers' Coast of North Yorkshire, he accepts the offer.

Staying overnight in the local village pub, Samuel is warned not to spend too much time there. He is told of the fate of the house's original architect, Francisco Varano, chilling tales of folk driven mad by the house, of it being built on haunted land where young girls have vanished, their ghosts now calling others to their deaths...

It is only on arrival at the Chesterfield house that he learns the sinister details of Varano's disappearance. And yet its owner keeps adding wing upon wing, and no one will tell him the reason behind her chilling obsession . . . But as Samuel delves deeper into the mysteries that swirl about the house, the nature of the project becomes terrifyingly clear."

Palace of Shadows follows out of work artist Samuel Etherstone as he accepts a job to work for the elusive, believed-to-be-mad heiress known as Mrs. Chesterfield at an isolated mansion in the grim, unforgiving Yorkshire moors. Mrs. Chesterfield has been building what is essentially a never-ending house, which many believe is due to her family relations to the Chesterfield gun company, which supplies weapons for wars. It is rumored that Mrs. Chesterfield is constructing this house filled with doors and staircases to nowhere and a maze-like interior in order to confuse any spirits of the dead who might be after her because they have been killed by her family's guns in the recent and ongoing wars.

If you know anything about the real life Winchester house and Winchester gun company, then you'll know this premise surrounding Mrs. Chesterfield is pretty much the same. Nowhere in descriptions or the author's note is there a mention of the Winchester House located in San Jose, California (which is a really neat place to visit, and you definitely should if you ever have the chance!), but Palace of Shadows is very much a Winchester House-inspired story. Once I realized this was the premise we were working with, I was excited to dive deeper into this story, as I don't think I've ever read a book that has used the Winchester House as inspiration. Samuel is hired on to construct a mausoleum for Mrs. Chesterfield due to his background as an artist known for creating optical illusions in his paintings, such as in the styles of M.C. Escher, and I think I was about as eager as Mrs. Chesterfield to see what Samuel would come up with for this task. 

I really enjoyed that this book had a somewhat substantial cast of characters to meet, as I initially expected this to be a more isolating Gothic novel. However, the construction and running of a house of this magnitude–as well as maintaining all the finances associated with the Chesterfield company and house–actually requires a lot of people to be involved, so there always seemed to be someone around the house for Samuel to interact with. 

This story is initially told from Samuel's POV, but there are two substantial sections within this book that deviate from this perspective and follow in epistolary formats. I was surprised at the length of these additional sections and how long it took to get back to Samuel's POV, but fortunately the interruptions were still compelling and provided some much needed insight into some characters and background. I also appreciated Samuel's narrative voice and found him to be a rather likable protagonist whose experiences made for a compelling reading experience. 

There are so many secrets and mysteries at play in this book for readers to uncover alongside Samuel, and these are also what helped make this book so compelling. Personally, I love a weird house, especially when the architecture of said house is a part of that, so any of the additional odd happenings related to the house only served to enhance my interest in what was happening. One of my favorite things was simply exploring this house alongside Samuel and observing the oddities and eccentricities, as well as some rather intense statues that the previous architect constructed seemingly with no pre-made plans–a feat that most other workers, as well as Samuel himself, found perplexing due to their complexity. 

Celestin captures the atmosphere of this Gothic setting and storyline perfectly. I felt as uneasy as Samuel at every turn, and found myself looking for both sanity and answers amidst the strange occurrences and behavior of some of the people living there, including Mrs. Chesterfield herself. I think this book really excelled in feeling initially dark and foreboding, but then sort of lures you into thinking you were just being silly and there's nothing that odd about it... only for you to slowly realize along with Samuel that things are far more complicated than they seem. This journey was a supremely fun one to be along the ride for.

I don't have any real complaints about this book other than that it can be a bit on the slow side at times, especially in the secondary POV segments, but there's a worthwhile conclusion that brought everything together in a way that I really appreciated. There isn't anything exceptionally shocking or crazy that happens in this book, so I can see where it might come across a bit mellow as well, but I think this is countered by the strong atmosphere, so readers' enjoyment may vary according to preferences. Also, although it didn't affect my reading experience, I'll admit that I was mildly annoyed that it isn't acknowledged anywhere within the book that this is actually based on a real person. Maybe it's to be obvious and not needing to be said, but I think some acknowledgement would be appropriate.  

Overall, I've given Palace of Shadows four stars! This is a very solid Gothic mystery that is very easy to sink into and stay hooked for every page. 

*I received a copy of Palace of Shadows courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*

Buy the book: Amazon 

Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Can't-Wait Wednesday: The Djinn Waits a Hundred Years by Shubnum Khan & The House of Last Resort by Christopher Golden


 Can't-Wait is a weekly meme hosted by Wishful Endings that spotlights exciting upcoming releases that we can't wait to be released! This meme is based off of Jill @ Breaking the Spine's Waiting on Wednesday meme.

This week's upcoming book spotlights are:

The Djinn Waits a Hundred Years by Shubnum Khan
Publication: January 9th, 2024
Hardcover. 320 pages.
Pre-order: Amazon |

From Goodreads:
"Rebecca and The House of Spirits meets Fatima Farheen Mirza in this sweeping, gorgeously atmospheric novel about a ruined mansion by the sea, the djinn that haunts it, and a curious girl who unearths the tragedy that happened there a hundred years previous.

Akbar Manzil was once a grand estate off the coast of South Africa. Now, nearly a century since it was built, it stands in ruins: an isolated boardinghouse for misfits, seeking to forget their pasts and disappear into the mansion's dark corridors. Until Sana. She and her father are the latest of Akbar Manzil’s long list of tenants, seeking a new home after suffering painful loss.

Unlike the others, who choose not to look too closely at the mansion’s unsettling qualities—the strange assortment of bones in the overgrown garden, the mysterious figure seen to move sometimes at night—she is curious and questioning and finds herself irresistibly drawn to the history of the mansion. To the eerie and forgotten East Wing, home to a clutter of broken and abandoned objects—and to the locked door at its end, unopened for decades.

Behind the door is a bedroom frozen in time, with faded photographs of a couple in love and a worn diary that whispers of a dark past: the long-forgotten story of a young woman named Meena, the original owner’s second wife, who died there tragically a hundred years ago. Watching Sana from the room’s shadows is a grieving djinn, an invisible spirit who once loved Meena and has haunted the mansion since her mysterious death. Obsessed with Meena’s story, and unaware of the creature that follows her, Sana digs into the past like fingers into a wound, awakening the memories of the house itself—and dredging up old and terrible secrets that will change the lives of everyone living and dead at Akbar Manzil."

Everything about this premise grabs me! I have an ARC of this one that I'm hoping to start soon and I can't wait.

The House of Last Resort by Christopher Golden
Publication: January 30th, 2024
St. Martin's Press
Hardcover. 304 pages.
Pre-order: Amazon |

From Goodreads:

"Across Italy there are many half-empty towns, nearly abandoned by those who migrate to the coast or to cities. The beautiful, crumbling hilltop town of Becchina is among them, but its mayor has taken drastic measures to rebuild—selling abandoned homes to anyone in the world for a single Euro, as long as the buyer promises to live there for at least five years.

It’s a no-brainer for American couple Tommy and Kate Puglisi. Both work remotely, and Becchina is the home of Tommy’s grandparents, his closest living relatives. It feels like a romantic adventure, an opportunity the young couple would be crazy not to seize. But from the moment they move in, they both feel a shadow has fallen on them. Tommy’s grandmother is furious, even a little frightened, when she realizes which house they’ve bought.

There are rooms in an annex at the back of the house that they didn’t know were there. The place makes strange noises at night, locked doors are suddenly open, and when they go to a family gathering, they’re certain people are whispering about them, and about their house, which one neighbor refers to as The House of Last Resort. Soon, they learn that the home was owned for generations by the Church, but the real secret, and the true dread, is unlocked when they finally learn what the priests were doing in this house for all those long years…and how many people died in the strange chapel inside. While down in the catacombs beneath Becchina…something stirs."

I enjoyed Golden's Road of Bones and have been meaning to check out more of his work and this sounds like it'll be a really interesting one. 

Monday, December 4, 2023

Mini-Review: The Centre by Ayesha Manazir Siddiqi

The Centre by Ayesha Manazir Siddiqi
Zando/Gillian Flynn Books
Publication Date: July 11th, 2023
Hardcover. 288 pages.

About The Centre:
"Anisa Ellahi dreams of being a translator of ‘great works of literature’, but instead mostly spends her days subtitling Bollywood films in her flat in London while living off her parents’ generous allowance and discussing the ‘underside of life’ with her best friend, Naima. Then she meets Adam, who has successfully leveraged his savant-level aptitude for languages into an enviable career. At first, this only adds to her sense of inadequacy, but when Adam learns to speak Urdu with native fluency practically overnight, Anisa forces him to reveal his secret.

Adam tells Anisa about the Centre, an elite, invite-only program that guarantees absolute fluency in any language in just ten days. Sceptical but intrigued, Anisa enrols. Stripped of her belongings and all contact with the outside world, she undergoes the Centre's strange and rigorous processes. But as she enmeshes herself further within the organisation, seduced by all that it’s made possible, she soon realizes the disturbing, hidden cost of its services.

The Centre is fascinating story of language and identity that pulls readers in to a mysterious method of language learning. We follow translator Anisa Ellahi as she aspires to become a great translator, but currently feels stuck in her role translating Bollywood films... until she meets Adam, who seems to be able to pick up languages to the point of native fluency in shockingly short time. 

What I liked: I love languages and learning languages (though I don't spend nearly as much time studying as I'd like to), so this entire story and concept centered around language was something I found myself really drawn to and enjoying. I was also completely fascinated by the Centre itself and their secretive and unique methods of teaching people in their elite language intensives. This aspect of the story is what I liked the most, probably. I was also intrigued to learn about Anisa's background with languages and how she viewed translation, and I think the author did a great job of providing some complex commentary on language and translation in the modern age. There is also a bit of a dark twist at the end of this book that I thought actually fit the story really well, though it could be hit or miss for some people. 

What I didn't like: It felt as though there was a lot of extraneous... stuff (?) in this book. There were sections where I found my attention completely drifting away from the story, and then when it returned I realized I hadn't really missed anything. I also, unfortunately, really disliked Anisa for most of the story. I found her pretty annoying and her attitude towards a lot of people and things was really frustrating. I appreciated her general curiosity and I can understand where some of her reactions to things originate due to her background, but she was just not the greatest narrator and is probably what prevented this story from getting a higher rating from me. 

Overall, I've given The Centre 3 stars.

Friday, December 1, 2023

Month in Review: November 2023


November was actually a pretty decent month (?) for once. It was surprisingly busy, but it was also the month that I finally feel like I started getting my life back on track. Since about February, my husband and I had been looking to potentially move, and long story short... for various reasons, we ended up not moving and we're both really happy about that decision! It's been a pretty stressful year full of uncertainty and I gotta say, when you're in limbo about where you're living for that long, it really takes its toll. All that being said, I've felt more relieved this past month than I have for a long time, haha. 

November is also Thanksgiving for those of us in the states, and I really hope all of you who celebrate had a wonderful time. My husband and I actually went to Disneyland with my family and it was such a fun time to spend the day with all of them. I also went to a concert last week for the first time in what feels like ages and it felt so good to be back, that will definitely be something I start prioritizing again. 

In reading news, it was also a great month! I read way more books than I expected and had such a great time with so many of them! Highlights include The Square of Sevens, Bunny, Emily Wilde's Encyclopaedia of Faeries, and Nestlings. I also started a new graphic novel series that seems very promising. All in all, I can't complain about my November reading for once–and that feels great, haha. 

So, most importantly: how was your November!?  Let me know how your month was and what you've been reading!

# books read: 16
Nestlings by Nat Cassidy
Source: NetGalley | Format: eARC
Thoughts: I have a review up for this one and I really liked it! It was really a pretty creepy horror story and well worth the read. 

Bunny by Mona Awad
Source: Owned | Format: Paperback
Thoughts: This was every bit as weird and f*cked up as I'd been led to believe, so I was extremely pleased about that. This really was a wild ride and I was definitely here for it. Can't wait to read more from Mona Awad!

Emily Wilde's Encyclopaedia of Faeries (Emily Wilde #1) by Heather Fawcett
Source: NetGalley/Owned | Format: eARC/Hardcover
Thoughts: This is just the best. I actually re-read this in preparation for the sequel and I still absolutely adore it. I cannot wait to get stared on a NetGalley eARC that has been sitting on my ebook shelf for so long.

The Square of Sevens by Laura Robinson-Shepherd
Source: Owned | Format: Hardcover
Thoughts: I was absolutely immersed in this historical fiction mystery! I loved the setting, the characters, and Robinson-Shepherd's writing style. I will be checking out more of her books as a result of how much I enjoyed this one. 

Godkiller by Hannah Kaner
Source: Library | Format: Audiobook
Thoughts: I am still not sure how I feel about this. I feel like it had everything I'd want it to have, but something about the execution didn't work for me as well as I'd hope it would. I'm still undecided on whether I want to continue the series and read the sequel, but I most likely will at some point. 

Gideon Falls, Vol. 1: The Barn by Jeff Lemire
Source: Library | Format: Ebook
Thoughts: I really enjoyed this! I've been in the mood for a new graphic novel for a while, so I was looking forward to checking this one out and it did not disappoint (and I ended up reading the next two volumes right after). 

Gideon Falls, Vol. 2: Original Sins by Jeff Lemire
Source: Library | Format: Ebook
Thoughts: This wasn't quite as good as the first book, but I still really liked it and look forward to seeing where this setup is all going. 

Gideon Falls, Vol. 3: Stations of the Cross by Jeff Lemire
Source: Library | Format: Ebook
Thoughts: I felt pretty lost through most of this installment. I'll probably still continue the series, but I have to say that this was a pretty steep drop in enjoyment compared to the previous two, especially the first one.

The Paleontologist by Luke Dumas
Source: Publisher | Format: Physical ARC
Thoughts: I have a review up for this one as well and I had a good time with the haunted museum setting. Luke Dumas is an author that I'll continue to look out for. 

Good Girls Don't Die by Christina Henry
Source: NetGalley/Publisher | Format: eARC
Thoughts: This was a fun take on horror tropes and stories while also delivering them in a fun way. It was a bit predictable at times, but overall a good time. 

The Centre by Ayesha Manazir Siddiqui
Source: Library | Format: Audiobook
Thoughts: I liked the language learning aspects of this book a lot, but other parts of it didn't click as well for me. I'll have a review up for this one next week.

Mary and the Birth of Frankenstein by Anne Eekhout
Source: Publisher | Format: Physical ARC
Thoughts: I've also just posted a review of this one and I thought it was a really beautifully written story from Mary Shelley's point of view. It's not overly plot heavy and is very much a character-driven story. 

Kagen the Damned (Kagen the Damned #1) by Jonathan Maberry
Source: NetGalley | Format: Ebook
Thoughts: I decided to reread this so I can hopefully get to the sequel finally! This is a pretty solid fantasy that leans on the grimdark side, I've really enjoyed it. 

Green Rider by Kristen Britain
Source: Library | Format: Paperback
Thoughts: This was pretty fun, sort of what I expected from a slightly older fantasy novel. I'll look forward to continuing the series, but I don't really think it'll become a favorite. 

Wrong Place Wrong Time by Gillian McAllister
Source: Library | Format: Audiobook
Thoughts: This was a fun little thriller that plays with time. I can't say it'll become a favorite, but worth a quick read. 

Riot Rules (Crooked Sinners #2) by Callie Hart
Source: Library | Format: Audiobook
Thoughts: I finally got around to reading this sequel (I think it's a standalone, but connected) and thought it was pretty fun as well. These are great for when I just need something to occupy my mind for a while. 

The Darkness Before Them by Matthew Ward
Source: Publisher | Format: Paperback
I definitely plan to come back and finish this sometime. It was one of those where I picked it up and started reading it and then realized that it seemed good, but wasn't something I was currently in the mood for. Hopefully I'll get to it soon!


Blog Memes:

Thursday, November 30, 2023

Double Mini-Reviews: The Paleontologist by Luke Dumas, Mary and the Birth of Frankenstein by Anne Eekhout

I have a little bit of catching up to do on reviews, so today I have two mini reviews to share with you all, and there will probably be more coming in the future. Let me know if you've read any of these books and what your thoughts are!

The Paleontologist by Luke Dumas
Atria Books
Publication: October 31st, 2023
Paperback. 356 pages.

About The Paleontologist:
"Curator of paleontology Dr. Simon Nealy never expected to return to his Pennsylvania hometown, let alone the Hawthorne Museum of Natural History. He was just a boy when his six-year-old sister, Morgan, was abducted from the museum under his watch, and the guilt has haunted Simon ever since. After a recent break-up and the death of the aunt who raised him, Simon feels drawn back to the place where Morgan vanished, in search of the bones they never found.

But from the moment he arrives, things aren’t what he expected. The Hawthorne is a crumbling ruin, still closed amid the ongoing pandemic, and plummeting toward financial catastrophe. Worse, Simon begins seeing and hearing things he can’t explain. Strange animal sounds. Bloody footprints that no living creature could have left. A prehistoric killer looming in the shadows of the museum. Terrified he’s losing his grasp on reality, Simon turns to the handwritten research diaries of his predecessor and uncovers a blood-soaked mystery 150 million years in the making that could be the answer to everything.

Are these the ravings of a madman? Or is there something supernatural at play? And what does this have to do with Morgan’s disappearance?

The Paleontologist centers around a haunted museum and a man on the hunt to find out just why and how his sister disappeared when they were just kids. There are some supernatural and ghostly elements, some mystery, and plenty of unpredictability to keep readers riveted. 

What I liked: I love dinosaurs, ghost stories, and museums, so this was sort of the perfect mix of all of those. Much like in Dumas' A History of Fear, the atmosphere in The Paleontologist was absolutely on target and captured the vibe of a creepy mildly abandoned (currently empty due to COVID) museum full of dinosaur bones and dark basements. I definitely felt this book's setting and was immediately transported to it. I also think Dumas managed to craft a mystery around Simon's sister's disappearance that really quite gripping and complex, and provided a variety of twists that kept me hooked. I also appreciated that the author definitely seemed to do his dinosaur research for this book and I enjoyed all the different times when we got some history lessons about various dinosaur related things.

What I didn't like: The haunting and ghost elements felt a bit underdeveloped and under-executed. I feel like there was a lot of build up about the museum being haunted and we got some pretty intense glimpses into things that happens with some, uh, bones of the dinosaurs... and then it feels like that all just was ignored? There was some mention of it at the end with a general "let's wrap this up" vibe, but it felt very underwhelming in general to me. This book didn't really end up being quite what I expected it to be based on the premise provided and the push towards making this sound like scary haunted museum/dinosaur ghost story, but it was a bit more of a mystery/thriller about a man trying to find out what happened to his sister and all the different emotions and struggles that come from that. This wasn't bad, and Dumas wrote this really well, but it just wasn't quite what I expected. 

Overall, I've given The Paleontologist 3.75 stars.

Mary and the Birth of Frankenstein by Anne Eekhout
Publication Date: October 3rd, 2023
Hardcover. 320 pages.

About Mary and the Birth of Frankenstein:
"Switzerland, 1816. A volcanic eruption in Indonesia envelopes the whole of Europe in ash and cloud. Amid this “year without a summer,” eighteen-year-old Mary Shelley and her lover Percy Bysshe Shelley arrive at Lake Geneva to visit Lord Byron and his companion John Polidori. Anguished by the recent loss of her child, Mary spends her days in strife. But come nightfall, the friends while away rainy wine-soaked evenings gathered around the fireplace, exchanging stories. One famous evening, Byron issues a challenge to write the best ghost story. Contemplating what to write, Mary recalls another summer, when she was fourteen…

Scotland, 1812. A guest of the Baxter family, Mary arrives in Dundee, befriending young Isabella Baxter. The girls soon spend hours together wandering through fields and forests, concocting tales about mythical Scottish creatures, ghosts and monsters roaming the lowlands. As their bond deepens, Mary and Isabella’s feelings for each other intensify. But someone has been watching them—the charismatic and vaguely sinister Mr. Booth, Isabella's older brother-in-law, who may not be as benevolent as he purports to be…"

Mary and the Birth of Frankenstein reimagines the life of Mary Shelley up until her creation of the well-loved Gothic classic, Frankenstein. This is a character-driven and slower paced story that is full of complex relationships and beautiful writing. 

What I liked: I liked getting to meet this reimagined version of Mary Shelley and experience some of what her life may have been like. I also enjoyed meeting a variety of the different figures (literary and otherwise) in Mary's life and seeing their different interactions, as there was a lot of complexity to many of the relationships in this book and I think the author conveyed that aspect extraordinarily well. Additionally, this is a translated work so I can't speak to the original prose itself, but the translation is really beautiful. It appears to me as though the translator managed to capture the style and mood of the author extremely well, and I thought it was written really beautifully. This was one of those novels that, even if the plot wasn't always really strong, the writing was lovely enough that I found myself captivated anyway. 

What I didn't like: Not all that much really seems to happen in this book, and I did find some of it the slightest bit hard to follow at times. Much of the story does seem to drag on, so I found that you really had to be either invested in the characters or enjoy the prose itself to really feel compelled to keep reading. I also didn't find many of the characters overly engaging, but fortunately their interactions with one another were a bit more compelling than the characters themselves, if that makes sense.

Overall, I've given Mary and the Birth of Frankenstein 3.5 stars. 

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Can't-Wait Wednesday: Tusks of Extinction by Ray Nayler & Midnight by Amy McCulloch


 Can't-Wait is a weekly meme hosted by Wishful Endings that spotlights exciting upcoming releases that we can't wait to be released! This meme is based off of Jill @ Breaking the Spine's Waiting on Wednesday meme.

This week's upcoming book spotlights are:

The Tusks of Extinction by Ray Nayler
Publication: January 16th, 2024
Paperback. 192 pages.
Pre-order: Amazon |

From Goodreads:
"When you bring back a long-extinct species, there’s more to success than the DNA.

Moscow has resurrected the mammoth, but someone must teach them how to be mammoths, or they are doomed to die out, again.

The late Dr. Damira Khismatullina, the world’s foremost expert in elephant behavior, is called in to help. While she was murdered a year ago, her digitized consciousness is uploaded into the brain of a mammoth.

Can she help the magnificent creatures fend off poachers long enough for their species to take hold?

And will she ever discover the real reason they were brought back?

A tense eco-thriller from a new master of the genre.

I was very intrigued Ray Nayler's The Mountain in the Sea, which explored the idea of sentience and contact with an octopus species, and I'm really curious and excited now to see what he does with this idea of bringing someone back from extinction. 

Midnight by Amy McCulloch
Publication: January 2nd, 2024
Hardcover. 336 pages.
Pre-order: Amazon |

From Goodreads:


Olivia Campbell has always dreamed of spending a sunlit night on the frigid Antarctic continent. But as an actuary who assesses risk for a living, she never imagined she would have the chance. So when her career takes an unexpected detour, and her boyfriend—a high-powered art dealer with a taste for the finer things in life—decides to stage an ostentatious, career-making auction on a luxury liner to Antarctica, Olivia is thrilled. That is, until things start to feel a bit strange. In addition to the scores of wealthy patrons and potential buyers, they'll also be traveling alongside a small group of beleaguered employees of Pioneer Adventures—the company responsible for managing the ship—and their charismatic, divisive CEO.

When the first bodies are discovered, it's easy enough for Olivia to write it off as a terrible accident. But as the situation heats up and the temperatures continue to plummet, she begins to wonder whether she might have booked a one-way ticket to her own demise.

A locked room mystery and set in the Antarctic? These are both things I love, so I'm excited to check this one out.