SpecFic Saturday | #CYBILS2023 Book Reviews 12.30.2023

Alrighty friends and bookworms! We are here. The last collection of book reviews for 2023. We’re shifting gears and polishing up the finalist lists, which will be announced Monday, 1 January 2024 at 9:00 am Pacific Time | 12:00 pm Eastern Time.

So let’s dive in!

Summary excerpts come from Goodreads. Click the cover to add this book to your TBR.


Kristen @ Goodreads – Fantastic action mythology story about Lei who doesn’t believe in the old tales her grandmother tells her about Hawaii, so when she is reunited with her old friend on the island she makes a mistake thinking nothing will happen, but he ends up getting kidnapped by the island god. Absolutely loved the mythology and adventure in this story as well as the attitude and way Lei has to really stretch herself to progress on her journey.

Beth @ Goodreads – This is a strong entry in the “middle school girl struggling with friend group issues has magical adventure and learns confidence” genre, but I had a few issues with it. I liked learning about Hawaiian legends and beliefs, and how the family worked to keep them alive. The magical friends were cool, from the boy down the street to the talking bat.


Cindy @ Kiss the Book – Delicious Monsters is a chilling and intense page-turner mostly told by Daisy, but every few chapters, there is a chapter narrated by Brittany, a black woman in her early 20s and a podcaster researching lost black girls ten years in the future and eager to prove her famous mother wrong about the “Miracle Mansion.” Most of the characters are Black and written authentically. The chapters in the second timeline help create more suspense and give hints about what Daisy and her mom’s fates might be. The swearing could definitely be toned down quite a bit, but the generational sex abuse hinted at and exposed later in the novel is even more horrifying to discover than the house and its lingering guests. Throughout the story, King demonstrates true friendship, in contrast to the toxic secrets kept by the adults in Daisy’s life. Though the story wades through some very dark territory, hope and resilience are the core message that resonates. Any mature reader who likes a mystery that keeps them on edge or who has dealt with a dysfunctional family will really enjoy this book.  

NextGenLibrarian @ Goodreads – This was a great horror book that, at its core, is more about the monsters in the real world more than the supernatural kind. It was heartbreaking and healing and an excellent comparison between the roots in the house versus the roots in our families.

CW: childhood sexual assault, childhood physical abuse, childhood neglect, kidnapping, killing of a goat, fatphobia, body horror/gore, maggots, violence, death, vomit, gaslighting, grooming, suicide