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Blog Tour Review - The Only Way Out is Death by Varun Gwalani

 Blog Tour Review - The Only Way Out is Death by Varun Gwalani Twelve powerful people are kidnapped and imprisoned in an empty hotel. Each one of them has three choices: Live out the rest of their days peacefully in the hotel, Die by suicide so the rest of their companions can go free, Or murder one of their companions so they alone can go free. The Only Way Out is Death follows the story of these twelve people from the perspective of a young lawyer, Kiriaki, told as the events unfold. She has to forge messy alliances, navigate complex relationships and feuds, and, above all, try to stay alive. Meanwhile, the mastermind of this death game is lurking just out of view, watching them closely, making sure they are primed for murder. Will Kiriaki find the mastermind before it's too late for her? Will she outmanoeuvre the cutthroats before they cut her throat? There are twelve selfish lives in the hotel. Will it end in twelve selfish deaths? The Only Way Out is Death is a fascinating nov

Review - The Luminaries by Susan Dennard

Review - The Luminaries by Susan Dennard

Hemlock Falls isn’t like other towns. You won’t find it on a map, your phone won’t work here, and the forest outside town might just kill you…

Winnie Wednesday wants nothing more than to join the Luminaries, the ancient order that protects Winnie's town―and the rest of humanity―from the monsters and nightmares that rise in the forest of Hemlock Falls every night. Ever since her father was exposed as a witch and a traitor, Winnie and her family have been shunned. But on her sixteenth birthday, she can take the deadly Luminary hunter trials and prove herself true and loyal―and restore her family's good name. Or die trying.

But in order to survive, Winnie must enlist the help of the one person who can help her train: Jay Friday, resident bad boy and Winnie’s ex-best friend. While Jay might be the most promising new hunter in Hemlock Falls, he also seems to know more about the nightmares of the forest than he should. Together, he and Winnie will discover a danger lurking in the forest no one in Hemlock Falls is prepared for.

Not all monsters can be slain, and not all nightmares are confined to the dark. 

Good morning and happy Monday! 

Today I'm on a blog tour for Susan Dennard's fantastic monster-hunting adventure, The Luminaries! 

Monday Crest design by Jessica Khoury, © 2022 by Susan Dennard

In a world cut off from our own, Winnie is a luminary, part of a society of people dedicated to keeping the rest of us safe from the monsters in the woods. Or she was, until an incident left her, her mother and her brother as outcasts, still part of the town of Hemlock Falls but not really accepted or welcomed by anyone there.

A large part of the focus of the book is on Winnie's outcast status, and how it makes her and her family feel, the mistreatment or neglect from other members of the town and the few exceptions to that. Then, as she's welcomed back into it, that emphasis shifts to both gladness and gratitude at their new found acceptance, and also resentment and anger at how readily people can shift their opinion. It's a fascinating mix of emotions and something that I'm sure will resonate with anyone who's found themselves outcast in any kind of social circles. Adding further to this heady mix is Winnie's own guilt that her new status is built on a lie, something that escalated beyond her control. 

I particularly liked the subversion of popular tropes in the way different people treated Winnie. Some of the coolest, most popular kids weren't the "mean girls" and actually treated her really nicely, something she had a hard time accepting.  The relationship between Winnie and Jay is absolutely delicious! From the hurt, resentment, and bitterness at how easily a close friend cast her aside to the sneaked glances and forbidden thoughts and feelings, I loved every moment of them together!

There are greater dangers in here than teen emotions though. The nightmares are particularly nasty! Monsters that roam the forest at night, they're the reason there are clans of hunters patrolling and people ready to clean up the corpses in the morning. Most of them are based on mythological or folklore monsters but with some really interesting twists and changes, and whenever Winnie is in the woods the tension is palpable! There's a very real sense of danger throughout and it gets positively frantic as she's running from one nightmare only to run into yet more. It feels scary and tense and I loved it! There's also some really intriguing lore about sleeping spirits around the globe, and I'm looking forward to seeing it explored more in future books.

There's a lot left unresolved here. It's clearly written as book one of a series, with threads just starting to reveal themselves for future plotlines, and other secrets yet to be uncovered. And a lot of sexual tension just aching for release!

I really enjoyed The Luminaries, with its mix of dangerous emotions and dangerous monsters!


The Luminaries by Susan Dennard is published by Daphne Press and is out now.

I was given a review copy via Netgalley and a physical copy from Black Crow PR in return for an honest review and participation in this blog tour.

And don't forget to check out the rest of this fantastic blog tour, details below!


  1. I'm glad you enjoyed this! I've seen lots of "reveal" type videos for this book on Tiktok but very few actual reviews. This is going to have to be added to my ever-growing TBR pile!


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