ARC Reviews

ARC Review: Secrets of Skin and Stone by Wendy Laine


sosas1Publisher: Entangled Publishing
Release Date: June 5, 2017
Received From: NetGalley

Something is wrong in Hidden Creek. The sleepy Alabama town is more haunted than any place fiend hunter Grisham Caso has ever seen. Unearthed graves, curse bags, and spilled blood all point to an evil that could destroy his gargoyle birthright. The town isn’t safe for anyone, and everyone says fiery Piper Devon knows why.

Piper wants to leave Hidden Creek behind. She’s had enough of secrets—they hide in the shadows of her room and tell her terrible things are coming. Too-charming city boy Grisham might be her only chance to save herself.

To survive, Piper and Grisham have to shed their secrets and depend only on each other. But what lurks in Hidden Creek still might take everything away from them, including each other.


GENDER: cisgender
SEXUALITY: heterosexual


TROPES: magical abilities, enemies to lovers, manic pixie dream girl
TAGS: fantasy, paranormal, young adult, mystery, suspense, ownvoices
WARNINGS: violence, animal death, animal cruelty, self-harm (cutting), mental health (OCD), ableism, grave robbing


Piper stared straight into my soul, without flinching. I stared back–and her darkness saw mine.

The first thing I loved about this novel is that, before it starts, there is a trigger warning for self-harm. It was incredibly helpful to know ahead of time what I could expect so I could prepare myself for it. Trigger warnings should be implemented in all media, so I really appreciated that Entangled did that, and I hope this is something they’ll do more consistently.

The Watchers of this novel were a really interesting twist on gargoyle mythology. It’s not something that is explored very often, so I was immediately intrigued by the premise. Gris is both boy and Watcher, determined to prove himself to his father, and it was so interesting to watch him work to merge the two and accept that he can’t separate them and that there are people who will want and love him despite his secrets. He was confident and intelligent, loyal and protective, and willing to do anything to save Piper from the person who would harm her, while solving the mystery of the town. Gris could’ve easily been the Alpha Male Hero in the hands of another writer and editor, but Wendy Laine and Kate Brauning did an amazing job making him a strong but sweet, affectionate boy.

Speaking of Piper, oh man, she’s everything. Piper Devon is a tough, wildly intelligent girl who takes no shit from anyone. Every instance in which she stood up for herself felt like a huge victory for heroines everywhere. She refused to let Gris take control of her life and investigation, didn’t want to be protected, and was fearless, and at times rash, in the face of danger. Piper is the kind of headstrong, brilliant, and still vulnerable, heroine that I love to see.

The self-harm and OCD representation are OwnVoices and it was really good to see a story where self-harm isn’t glorified and OCD isn’t demonized.

There were a few spots throughout the novel where the pacing felt a bit slow, but overall, the novel was a steadily building suspense novel.




sosas2At home in the Pacific Northwest, Wendy Sparrow writes for both an adult and young adult crowd in many genres but always with a happily ever after. She has two wonderfully quirky kids, a supportive husband, and a perpetually messy house because she hates cleaning. She’s an advocate both online and in her community for autistic children in addition to actively trying to raise awareness about obsessive compulsive disorder. Most days she spends on Twitter procrastinating doing the dishes.


Entangled Publishing
Barnes & Noble
Book Depository



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