What We've Been Reading
Book Reviews,  Reading Recommendations

What We’ve Been Reading #131

We have three recommended reads for your tbr pile today! Our team members review books by Kanae Minato, Sara Tantlinger, and April-Jane Rowan. We hope you find something new to love!

Click either tag above to read more team recommendations.


Penance by Kanae Minato

The tense, chilling story of four women haunted by a childhood trauma.

When they were children, Sae, Maki, Akiko and Yuko were tricked into separating from their friend Emily by a mysterious stranger. Then the unthinkable occurs: Emily is found murdered hours later.

Sae, Maki, Akiko and Yuko weren’t able to accurately describe the stranger’s appearance to the police after the Emily’s body was discovered. Asako, Emily’s mother, curses the surviving girls, vowing that they will pay for her daughter’s murder.

Like Confessions, Kanae Minato’s award-winning, internationally bestselling debut, Penance is a dark and voice-driven tale of revenge and psychological trauma that will leave readers breathless.

Goodreads | Amazon | Bookshop

Cassie’s Teaser Review

Although this is a story about tragedy and revenge, there are also underlying – and maybe even more lasting – themes of forgiveness at the end, not just for other people, but for yourself.

Read Cassie’s entire review at Goodreads.


To Be Devoured by Sara Tantlinger

To Be Devoured by Sara Tantlinger

What does carrion taste like? Andi has to know. The vultures circling outside her home taunt and invite her to come understand the secrets hiding in their banquet of decay. Fascination morphs into an obsessive need to know what the vultures know. Andi turns to Dr. Fawning, but even the therapist cannot help her comprehend the secrets she’s buried beneath anger-induced blackouts.

Her girlfriend, Luna, tries to help Andi battle her inner darkness and infatuation with the vultures. However, the desire to taste dead flesh, to stitch together wings of her own and become one with the flock sends Andi down a twisted, unforgivable path. Once she understands the secrets the vultures conceal, she must decide between abandoning the birds of prey or risk turning her loved ones into nothing more than meals to be devoured.

Goodreads | Amazon | Bookshop

Tracy’s Review

I adore Tantlinger’s poetry and I could hear her lyricism in her prose. This book is absolutely disgusting . . . Its beauty parallels the disgust and I LOVE that the author goes there when the story demands it. Nothing is held back and the book is all the better for it.

Read Tracy’s review at Goodreads.


Lovelorn by April-Jane Rowan

In Victorian England, within the sprawling countryside, a small village borders Lovelorn, a crystal kingdom inhabited by the Fair Folk that masquerades as a dense wood. Two unsuspecting mortals stray into the depths of this hidden world.

Harry, a disgraced jockey, stumbles upon a Kelpie and seeks to bind him, intending to use him to regain his former glory at horse racing. He is dancing a dangerous waltz however as Kelpies are a sly and deadly folk, his actions bringing him steadily closer to a grave at the bottom of a lake.

Mabel, a grieving wife abandoned by her husband, searches for her young son, Peter, who was stolen by the Fair Folk, simply wanting to bring her family together again. She makes a bargain with a knight from Lovelorn, entrusting her quest to him, all the while fearful that his word cannot be trusted.

Unbeknownst to them, their paths run parallel. They struggle to navigate the unbalanced and crumbling kingdom, while being opposed by creatures they thought resided only in fables. Can they play by the strange rules of the Fair Folk and win their freedom, or are they fated to lose themselves within the trees?

Goodreads | Amazon | Bookshop

Laurie’s Teaser Review

This book isn’t screwing around and hiding from its horrors both physical and emotional and there are even some moments of humor and that’s what I love the most about Rowan’s writing. It’s filled with pain and beauty and has a darkly romantic thread running through it and I can’t wait to read more. Highly recommended to anyone who finds this type of dark world endlessly fascinating.

Read Laurie’s entire review at Bark’s Book Nonsense.


Thank you for joining us today! We hope you found something to add to your tbr list. Please share your recent reads with us in the comments below.

If you are a LOHF writer and have a book you’d like us to consider for a review please visit our review submission page here.


Laurie is one of our LOHF Admins. Laurie creates our review posts, coordinates review requests, oversees the Ladies of Horror Fiction directory, and manages our LOHF Goodreads group.

You can find Laurie on her blog Bark’s Book Nonsense, on Twitter as @barksbooks, on Instagram as @barksbooks, and on Goodreads.

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