Nothing But Blackened Teeth by: Cassandra Khaw

Expected Release Date: October 19th, 2021

” A Heian-era mansion stands abandoned, its foundations resting on the bones of a bride and its walls packed with the remains of the girls sacrificed to keep her company.

It’s the perfect venue for a group of thrill-seeking friends, brought back together to celebrate a wedding.

A night of food, drinks, and games quickly spirals into a nightmare as secrets get dragged out and relationships are tested.

But the house has secrets too. Lurking in the shadows is the ghost bride with a black smile and a hungry heart.

And she gets lonely down there in the dirt. “

***I was given an ARC of this book by Macmillan-Tor/Forge (via NetGalley) in exchange for an honest review***

Potential triggers…

  • Blood and gore
  • Death and murder
  • Unhealthy/toxic relationships

Who doesn’t want to have a destination wedding at a mysterious haunted mansion? I, for one, can’t see how that could go wrong at all… *said with extreme sarcasm*

We see this short story, through the eyes of Cat who is battling demons of her own and who, like me, isn’t sure this is the best place to hold a wedding.

As we meet the characters through Cat’s POV it’s hard to like any of them, as they all have a messy and complicated history with each other. Like all friend groups, there seem to be certain friendships that are stronger than others, some “friendships” that only exist for the sake of other friendships, and plenty of secrets among them.

Through the first half of the story, I felt like it was really easy to read and understand, I was fully able to immerse myself in the story like I was a sixth friend along for the ride. Once we started getting to the spookier portion though, I found myself a bit disconnected. The writing went from easy to read, to throw in a lot of big words whose meanings I had to assume since I was trying to stay engaged and didn’t want to whip out a dictionary for every other word. The wording seemed quite poetic and gruesome but didn’t feel like it fit with the earlier writing.

Due to the writing in the latter half, I feel like I wasn’t as scared as I could have been, had the writing been a little simpler. Was I creeped out? For sure! I just would have loved to have been completely immersed in the story as it fully unfolded. There was so much detail thrown in in such a small amount of time and described with unfamiliar words, that had me struggling to fully grasp the entirety of the situation they were facing.

For me, I have to start a movie from the beginning or I’m unable to connect with it fully. That’s kind of what the second half of this story felt like…like I’d walked into the room halfway through a movie…it looked great and I kept watching but I don’t feel like I fully understood what was going on.

All that being said…I still enjoyed the overall idea and concept of this story and will reread it to see if I pick up more than I did the first read-through.

***Spoilery thoughts***

Now that I’m thinking about it, when the writing did, seemingly drastically, change it was at a point in the story when all the other characters were showing signs of being off, laughing maniacally, self-harm, saying things that didn’t make sense. Was the writing so vastly different because the spirits were affecting Cat in a way that was different from her friends? Was in fact the change in the writing, the cue to tell us that the spirits were also messing with Cat’s mind? If so this adds an entire other level of depth that I hadn’t considered and am now intrigued by.

Published by Noelle Loves Books

Growing up, Japanese and Indigenous, it was hard to find books that showcased stories and worlds that accurately portrayed Noelle’s experiences. Fantasy quickly became her main love, as you could really be anyone, anywhere. As the years went on, and technology grew, Noelle was finally able to see more stories and authors that looked and felt like her. Noelle is open to all genre’s though she can mostly be found reading own voice, fantasy, and romance. Ratings: 5 Stars: Completely blew me away 4 Stars: Loved the story but didn't feel completely blown away by it 3 Stars: Liked the overall concept of the story but either had poor execution, had a lot of plot holes, or was written poorly 2 Stars: I struggled to understand the plot, poorly written, or just had really unlikeable characters along with a poor writing 1 Star: Horribly written, major plot holes, or extremely unlikeable characters and plots.

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