Goodwin Reads Issue #2
A demon tears a witch’s heart out, and a gangster decapitates himself. Read these stories and more.
Hey there, book buddy!
Welcome to the second issue of the Goodwin Reads Bookstack. The first issue was a major success, and we’re only going up from here. Thank you so much for being a part of the Goodwin Reads community. ❤️
In this issue, we’re going to witness a heart torn out of a witch’s chest and gangsters slicing their throats to stop parasites.
But first, I want to share some amazing stats with you.
Our community has grown from 39 subscribers for Issue #1 to 67 subscribers for Issue #2. That’s a whopping 72% increase to our community! 🎉
I couldn’t be happier to share these numbers with you. You should be proud.
In the last issue, I asked you to help me pick my next read. I received one vote for The Guest List and zero votes for The Night Swim. The Guest List won, and OMG, I love it. It’s hard for me to put it down.
Thanks, Theresa, for voting for it. I appreciate you so much. ❤️
All in all, I would have to say this has been a good reading week. How has your reading week been? Would you please tell me in the comments?
Tell Your Bookish Friends and Family
I need your help to grow our bookish community. We benefit from having a larger community with more voices and more engagement. Having fun in the comments and discussion threads is what it’s all about.
Would you please tell your bookish friends and family about it? I’ve made it easy to do. Click the button below.
My Previous Read. I DNF’d These Violent Delights. I read half of the book before I gave up. I will tell you more below.
My Current Read. My current read, The Guest List, is a fun, fast-paced guessing game. I love this book. I cannot put it down. I’m so excited to tell you all about the next issue.
My Next Read. Will you help me? Would you please vote by leaving a comment and telling me which book I should read next? Here are the contenders.
Open Discussion Thread
The open discussion threads are for premium subscribers who have committed to being active members of the Goodwin Reads community. Here we can talk about anything and everything, but generally, there will be a focus topic.
For the first open discussion thread, I’m making it a meet-n-greet. Would you please tell us who you are, where you are from, your favorite books, authors, and something unique about yourself?
Please make sure to make people feel welcome by commenting on their posts and asking follow-up questions.
I’m sure we’re all looking forward to meeting each other. Let’s dive in!
Kingdom of the Wicked
Kingdom of the Wicked is about a Sicilian woman named Emilia Di Carlo who discovered her twin sister Vittoria with her heart torn from her chest. Emilia is devastated and sets off on a mission to bring her sister’s killer to justice.
In this world, two races are living on the Earth—witches, and humans. Emilia and her family are witches. Witch-hunting humans are seeking to kill them and their kin.
The Di Carlo family blends in by operating a local eatery and making friends with the local religious brothers at the monastery. Emilia’s childhood crush recently took his religious vows. However, that doesn’t stop the feelings from creeping in when the two are together.
While visiting her religious friend, Emilia discovers her dead sister’s body in the monastery. But why was Vittoria at the monastery? Did the religious brothers kill her sister because they discovered she was a witch?
When Emilia finds her sister’s body, she isn’t alone. There is a mysterious figure kneeling over Vittoria’s corpse. The man runs off, and Emilia is dead, set on finding him.
Emilia generally doesn’t use magic. But she needs to find her sister’s killer. She accidentally summons one of the seven princes of Hell, named Wrath.
The two clash at first sight. Struggling with rudeness and negative comments coming from Wrath, somehow, Emilia finds him dashing and pleasant to the eyes. Will Emilia fall for a Prince of Hell?
There are four main aspects to this book. There is a world in which witches live amongst us. The magic system. The plot. And the love story.
The world that Maniscalco builds is pretty amazing. The setting is Scilly. She gives us a natural feel for the area. The family runs an eatery, so Maniscalco takes us into the world of Sicilian food. It makes me hungry thinking about it.
The monastery, the Catholic faith, and the areas of town come alive through Maniscalco’s writing.
The magic system Maniscalco introduces is basic but does come with rules. Spells have limitations and side effects. The rules are mainly explained to us by Wrath, as Emilia is a complete novice to casting spells.
We get parts of Di Carlo's family grimoire; however, these are more like axioms than actual spells.
The plot was well done and folds itself into a predetermined series. The ending isn’t a cliffhanger, annoying and cheap ploys to get readers to read the next book. Instead, it introduces a new adventure that I am excited to read.
The characters are well written. I liked Emilia very much. She showed bravery and a sense of commitment to finding her sister’s killer. She didn’t make any poor decisions, as characters in her position usually do.
Wrath was alright. His dialogue would get stale from time to time. There was a section of the book, in the middle, where I was like, this is getting tedious. It involved the conversations between Emilia and Wrath.
I think the romance between the two could have been more developed. The book didn’t go into deeper feelings or desires—just the surface-level attraction.
I enjoyed Kingdom of the Wicked. It was a fun and exciting read that kept me wanting to turn the pages. I was always thinking about getting back to the book when I was off doing something else.
These Violent Delights
I’m not going to mince words. I didn’t enjoy These Violent Delights. I knew right away it wasn’t for me; however, I did read it through to the halfway point before I finally gave up and awarded These Violent Delights the big DNF.
I was expecting a retelling of Romeo and Juliet—a forbidden love. But instead, I got a zombie suicide plague and two gangsters who hate each other. The closest thing to Shakespear’s masterpiece was the two main characters used similar but differently spelled names.
This book is about a city-wide plague that is wrecking the city of Shanghai. The epidemic comes in the form of parasites. Possibly manufactured, these parasites cause people to kill themselves by clawing out their throats.
Juliette and Roma are former lovers who hate each other. They are both heirs to the city’s top two gang leaders. In the interest of self-preservation against a common enemy, they agree to share information in order to figure out how to stop this parasitic plague.
Will they fall in love again, after so much of their past has caused hatred? I honestly didn’t care. Will they stop the plague? Again, I didn’t care.
This book’s characters aren’t believable. For example, Juliette is a stone-cold gangster. When her male cousin gets out of line, she overpowers him, pricks his face with a blade, and reaffirms her role as the boss. Then a few scenes later, she meets with a business associate, her uncle comes in, and she teases him by sticking her tongue out like she’s an eight-year-old girl.
In this poorly written book, the dialog falls flat. The author reminds us that the characters are switching languages, from French to Russian to Chinese. However, none of it adds to the story. We get it; it’s a multilingual society.
I found These Violent Delights to be annoying at best. I couldn’t keep my eyes open while reading, and I never wanted to return to it. I do not recommend it.
Book of the Month
I want to take a quick moment to tell you about Book of the Month. Every month, you get one hardback book of your choice delivered to your home. Not only is the price phenomenal for a hardback, you get to enjoy reading a book that many others around the world are also reading.
The book will be a special edition hardback. You can addon two hardbacks for the unheard-of price of $10.99 each. Book of the Month is something I have subscribed to for years.
Every member I know loves the service. Don’t miss out. Get your first hardback book for only $9.99 when you use my link. 🎉
December’s Buddy Read
I invite all premium subscribers to participate in the monthly buddy read. Buddy reads are fun because we read as a community and enjoy spoiler-filled discussions. You’re going to love it.
December’s buddy read book is going to be In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren. I chose this book for the holiday season. It will be a great fit and will help us all enjoy the festive month.
One Christmas wish, two brothers, and a lifetime of hope are on the line for hapless Maelyn Jones in In a Holidaze, the quintessential holiday romantic novel by Christina Lauren, the New York Times bestselling author of The Unhoneymooners.. (Goodreads)
Each week we will read 25% of the book. DO NOT read ahead. DO post in the discussion group. Here is the breakdown for the dates and the chapters.
Dec 5th: Chapters 1 - 9
Dec 12th: Chapters 10 - 15
Dec 19th: Chapters 16 - 21
Dec 26th: Chapters 22 - Epilogue
I’m looking forward to seeing what book you select for my next read.
Have a great week. I’m looking forward to hearing from you in the comments and the Open Discussion Thread.