Release Day Review – ‘Plain Bad Heroines’ by Emily M. Danforth

TITLE: Plain Bad Heroines
AUTHOR: Emily M. Danforth
GENRE: Gothic Horror, LGBT+
WORD/PAGE COUNT: 640 pages
PUBLICATION DETAILS: by Harper Collins Australia on October 21st, 2020
RRP: $32.99 AUD (paperback)

Blurb from Goodreads:

Our story begins in 1902, at The Brookhants School for Girls. Flo and Clara, two impressionable students, are obsessed with each other and with a daring young writer named Mary MacLane, the author of a scandalous bestselling memoir. To show their devotion to Mary, the girls establish their own private club and call it The Plain Bad Heroine Society. They meet in secret in a nearby apple orchard, the setting of their wildest happiness and, ultimately, of their macabre deaths. This is where their bodies are later discovered with a copy of Mary’s book splayed beside them, the victims of a swarm of stinging, angry yellow jackets. Less than five years later, The Brookhants School for Girls closes its doors forever—but not before three more people mysteriously die on the property, each in a most troubling way.

Over a century later, the now abandoned and crumbling Brookhants is back in the news when wunderkind writer, Merritt Emmons, publishes a breakout book celebrating the queer, feminist history surrounding the “haunted and cursed” Gilded-Age institution. Her bestselling book inspires a controversial horror film adaptation starring celebrity actor and lesbian it girl Harper Harper playing the ill-fated heroine Flo, opposite B-list actress and former child star Audrey Wells as Clara. But as Brookhants opens its gates once again, and our three modern heroines arrive on set to begin filming, past and present become grimly entangled—or perhaps just grimly exploited—and soon it’s impossible to tell where the curse leaves off and Hollywood begins.

A story within a story within a story and featuring black-and-white period illustrations, Plain Bad Heroines is a devilishly haunting, modern masterwork of metafiction that manages to combine the ghostly sensibility of Sarah Waters with the dark imagination of Marisha Pessl and the sharp humor and incisive social commentary of Curtis Sittenfeld into one laugh-out-loud funny, spellbinding, and wonderfully luxuriant read.

In the early 1900s, a series of deaths at the Brookhants School for Girls leads to its closure with rumors of a curse plaguing the school. In the present day, Brookhants is reopened for the filming of a movie about those tragic past events, spurring a new rash of strange and inexplicable events…

Continue reading

ARC Review – ‘Written in the Stars’ by Alexandria Bellefleur

TITLE: Written in the Stars
AUTHOR: Alexandria Bellefleur
GENRE: Contemporary Romance, LGBT+
WORD/PAGE COUNT: 384 pages
PUBLICATION DETAILS: by Harper Collins on November 10th, 2020
RRP: $35.99 AUD (paperback)

Blurb from Goodreads:

After a disastrous blind date, Darcy Lowell is desperate to stop her well-meaning brother from playing matchmaker ever again. Love—and the inevitable heartbreak—is the last thing she wants. So she fibs and says her latest set up was a success. Darcy doesn’t expect her lie to bite her in the ass.

Elle Jones, one of the astrologers behind the popular Twitter account, Oh My Stars, dreams of finding her soul mate. But she knows it is most assuredly not Darcy… a no-nonsense stick-in-the-mud, who is way too analytical, punctual, and skeptical for someone as free-spirited as Elle. When Darcy’s brother—and Elle’s new business partner—expresses how happy he is that they hit it off, Elle is baffled. Was Darcy on the same date? Because… awkward.

When Darcy begs Elle to play along, she agrees to pretend they’re dating to save face. But with a few conditions: Darcy must help Elle navigate her own overbearing family over the holidays and their arrangement expires on New Year’s Eve. The last thing they expect is to develop real feelings during a fake relationship.

But maybe opposites can attract when true love is written in the stars?

Written In The Stars is a fun and frothy queer rom-com with a nod to Pride & Prejudice. Rather than taking the form of a straight-forward retelling, the main pairing in this book is instead just loosely inspired by Darcy and Elizabeth and the disaster that is their first meeting, which is a fun choice as it means that the story isn’t as predictable as expected.

Continue reading