Book Reviews

Secrets of Skin and Stone Review + Excerpt and Giveaway

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Title: Secrets of Skin and Stone

Author: Wendy Laine

Format: Digital ARC

Published: June 5, 2017 by Entangled Teen

Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult

Reading Period: June 6-8, 2017

Rating: ★★★☆☆


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.



Thank you NetGalley and Entangled Teen for a free digital copy. Also, thank you YA Reads for letting me join the blog tour.

I decided to read this not only because I run out of time into posting a review for this but because I need something different from what I’ve read in the past weeks. Plus I haven’t read much about gargoyles. I’ve read fantasy novels and it is actually my first time read a book with a gargoyle character.

Grisham or Gris Caso, a Watcher that hunts and kills Fiends. He is in Hidden Creek because his great-uncle Critch called his attention that the town is haunted and there are fiends. Gris is an okay character. He fights and fiend them. A typical teenage boy who had attraction with a special girl. What I like about him is that he cares about Piper and he stood for her even though he knows that Piper is extraordinary.

Piper is haunted. Town folks talks about her being abnormal. Her dog got killed and she wants to find the truth behind it. She knew that there is something different in Hidden Creek.

How Ms. Wendy Laine wrote Piper’s character is commendable especially the parts wherein Piper is showing symptoms of her disorder. This book also fascinates me because I didn’t expect to read a fantasy novel integrated with psychological disorder. I am stunned how Ms. Wendy did it. As a reader, I’m also confused if what I read is a symptoms of the disorder or maybe what’s really happening in the town.

Moreover, there are twists in the story and I find them okay but not really surprising or shocking. As for the ending, it is another okay.

The story and how it was written is good but I think that it could be better. I could be drowned into this if I’m into the characters. I mean, if I can feel or relate them more. But I’m looking forward to read more gargoyle stories soon.

A thrilling and exciting story about a gargoyle and an extraordinary town girl.

“Sometimes, that’s the best way to deal with unpleasantness. You move on.”

Check at: Goodreads 

Buy links: Amazon / B&N / iBooks / Kobo


About the Author:


Wendy Laine is the penname of author Wendy Sparrow. Writing is in Wendy’s blood as are equal parts of Mountain Dew and chocolate. Wendy has been telling tales since she was a child with varying amounts of success. Her parents clearly anticipated her forays into the paranormal because she heard “The Boy Who Cried Wolf’ over and over. She lives in Washington State with a wonderful husband and two quirky kids and is active in Autism and OCD support networks. She can usually be found on Twitter where she’ll talk to anyone who talks to her and occasionally just to herself.

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Excerpt from SECRETS OF SKIN AND STONE by Wendy Laine

“The fiends here aren’t like anything I’ve ever seen. The way they’re behaving means something is happening in this town.” Hidden Creek had hidden depths—that was for certain.

Danny’s eyes were on me when I looked up. He’d complained that Piper stared, but I felt like he was staring at me in a way I didn’t care for.


“There is something about this place. Critch says so anyway. He says Watchers are born where Watchers died. That’s how he got the birthright. That’s why he lived here. The birthright lingers, haunts, maybe even taints the soil.”

A chill ran up my spine, and I abandoned my bag search. “A Watcher died here?”

“Sure did. A whole family line died here. Fiends ripped a Watcher to shreds here. He’s buried in the cemetery on Old Hill road.” He shrugged. “That sorta violence don’t let up—maybe it makes people crazy—do things they might not normally. And Critch says that Watchers and fiends are drawn to each other.” Danny continued spinning the keys on his keyring as we left the mill and walked toward his truck. “There are things here in Hidden Creek, Gris. Things that won’t go quietly. You’re in over your head. You better watch yourself or Hidden Creek will get you, too.”

I didn’t like his smile—didn’t trust it.

Maybe there was something wrong lurking in Hidden Creek. Something dangerous and evil. But it wasn’t Piper.

It couldn’t be.

With Piper pressed up against my back, every rise and shallow of her body brushed mine as the bike bumped along the dirt roads around Hidden Creek. She had her fist bunched up in the fabric of my shirt. Was she scared? Her sudden burst of laughter ratchetted up my body’s temperature and then she yelled, “Go faster, Gris!”

I went faster. Her excitement was nearly tangible. Her fidgety shifting was for a whole different reason. A good reason.

The sunlit fields full of newly blooming wildflowers seemed to match Piper’s new mood. She was carefree—something I hadn’t seen in her yet, and I liked it. That I’d thought of this and dragged my bike over made me like it even more. It was feeling more like a date and less like an attempt to interrogate her.

Piper laughed again, tightening her legs on either side of me.

Even though it was still cool and not even noon, I started to sweat under my helmet. The humidity and heat of summer would be unbearable, but I planned to be long gone before this spring season had passed. I shouldn’t get too attached to the girl with me.

I was up to about 95 percent certain she wasn’t roping in the fiends—purposefully. The curse pouches I’d removed from her room last night had different ingredients than the one I’d found at the mill—nothing uncommon or unusual. But they still drew in fiends. I’d killed three outside her room and shoved two more out her window.

Piper somehow managed to scoot even closer. Her legs were right up against my thighs, and I could see her knees out of the bottom of my helmet.

I went faster.

“Do you believe in ghosts?” I asked abruptly, in a much softer voice. Some folks in Hidden Creek might not mind a ghostbuster around. A few of them had their businesses blessed by Pastor Green before they’d even think about opening up.

“I believe there’s a lot more than what meets the eye. I believe people can be haunted.”

“By ghosts?”

“By a lot of things.”

When I looked up, he was staring at me as if he knew. He couldn’t. I was being paranoid and stupid. But his gaze fell to my shoulder as if he could see the cuts through my shirt. Nothing had made me feel more naked than his piercing eyes on my shoulder. I covered my shoulder with my hand.

Maybe he was psychic. That made me even more uncomfortable. The things that strayed through my brain everyday would scare a saint.

“Are you haunted?” I asked him, trying to shift his attention.

His lips tipped up on one side and he gave me a considering look. “Sure am. Not as haunted as some around, but you live long enough and see enough, you get ghosts and memories following you that’ll make you shiver on dark nights. I imagine there are a lot of older folks in this town who are good and haunted.”

When you notice everything, you notice when a casual comment isn’t casual. Gris was fishing for information. He’d thrown out a line to see if I’d bite. Maybe this was why he was paying attention to me, trying to charm me. He wanted information. It made my heart sick—which was ridiculous. Knowing why Gris was interested in me was useful and kept me from getting in too deep with him. “You mean like by actual ghosts?”

“Maybe. Maybe just by dreams. Maybe it’s sickness. Maybe it’s bad luck. People explain things in all sorts of ways. My cousin says weird things happen here. Sometimes.”

I wanted to call Danny a liar, but I shook my head instead.

“You’re saying they don’t?” Gris’s eyebrows raised.

“I’m saying it’s not sometimes.”



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