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Other Words for Smoke

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  681 ratings  ·  165 reviews
When the house at the end of the lane burned down, none of the townspeople knew what happened. A tragedy, they called it. Poor Rita Frost and her ward, Bevan, lost to the flames. Only Mae and Rossa, Rita’s niece and nephew, know what happened that fateful summer.

Only they know about the owl in the wall, the uncanny cat, the dark powers that devour love and fear
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ebook, 352 pages
Published March 12th 2019 by Greenwillow Books
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Average rating 3.93  · 
Rating details
 ·  681 ratings  ·  165 reviews


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Kai
Oct 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Love is love no matter what kind of soul you are or where you're from."

I love messy, helpless queers crushing hard on people they can't have. Oh the bittersweet taste of unrequited love. I also love unapologetic female characters that don't take shit from anyone. This is exactly my kind of book.

My heart was lost from the very beginning. Sarah Maria Griffin writes with a voice that is one part beautiful, the other part fiercely intelligent, both parts dangerous. You'll cut yoursel
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Gabriela Pop
Jan 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Yet another mindblowing novel from one of Ireland's most promising voices. Sarah really outdoes herself in this one. I'd loved her previous work and was highly anticipating this novel, so my expectations were set high from the get-go, yet it felt like they were somehow exceeded despite that.
At the core of it all, this is a novel about power, love, fear and the marks our actions leave onto the world, all interwoven with complex threads of family and magic. The book follows the story of a set of
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Amybibliophile
Jun 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I finished this a week or 2 ago and have been trying to get my thoughts in order to leave some sort of review.

I have to say I was expecting an all together different story when going into this without reading the synopses and from first impressions of the cover, I also don't think I have read anything that I could compare it to.

It is a coming of age story and one that contains lust, betrayal, magic & witchcraft. Not to forget Bobby Dear - the talking cat, and Sweet Ja
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Jackie
Aug 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
An interesting tale filled with magic, betrayal and the lengths people will go to get what they want.

“Other Words for Smoke” creates a twisted fairy tale like story when a set of twins are sent to live with their Aunt for the summer and upon their arrival they find that things are not quite what they seem with a game in progress between two forces with everyone who crosses the threshold becoming the unwilling participants.

This book creates a world where fantasy and reality sit side by side wit
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destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries]
This is so cool so far! ... buuuuut it was my "finish or set aside/DNF" title for the week, and sadly, I do not have the motivation to finish it tonight, so I'll pick it back up soon. ♥ (pls don't hate me Lauren!)
Aly (In Wonderland)
"It won't. It'll get huge, for a while. It'll walk around your veins and your stomach. You might even feel it in your rib cage, or your heart, like the songs say. But eventually it'll get smaller and smaller and will run out of steam, until it's a tiny thing that you barely remember. It'll get replaced by other loves."


I came close to DNFing at least 40 times whilst reading this book. Don't get me wrong, Other Words for Smoke is beautifully written. Griffin has talent in making even the most boring of sc
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Aoife
I received this book from Titan Press in exchange for an honest review.

Mae and Rossa are staying with their Great-Aunt Rita and her teenage ward Bevan for a whole summer, and neither of them know what to expect - until they get there and realise that Rita and Bevan are witches and a talking cat lives in the house as well as an evil entity called Sweet James who takes the form of a terrifying owl.

This is a really interesting tale with subtle magic that flashes powerful at
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Ashleigh (a frolic through fiction)
* Rated 3.5/5 stars!
Charlie Anders
This is a fascinating coming-of-age story with magical elements that feel both grounded and properly mystifying. Mae and Rossa are twins whose parents are slowly coming apart, and they get sent to live with their great aunt Rita and her teenage ward, Bevan, for two separate summers. They soon discover that Rita's house is no ordinary place --- it's one of those spooky houses with a mind of its own, where the rooms change shape and configuration sometimes. Plus there's a talking cat named Bobby, ...more
Chloe
Jun 10, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
Other Words for Smoke is a compelling, dark, magical story that makes the haunted house trope into something quite new and fresh.

This was an interesting book to read. In the end I don't think it's a book that will leave a lasting impression on me, and I'll likely forget some plot points that I couldn't follow as well, but I did enjoy reading it because the writing style was both beautiful and very fast and easy to fly through.

I enjoyed the weirdness of it. The writing was
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Museofnyxmares
Apr 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
(Gifted)
Blog Post: https://museofnyxmares.wordpress.com/...

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/museofnyxma...

*I was provided with a copy by the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.

This was without a doubt one of the most unique books that I’ve ever read. There are just certain special books that manage to create an atmosphere when they are read, that surround you and submerge you deeper into the story, and this was definitely one of those books. I don’t think that I could accurately convey the affect that this book had on one when rea
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Beverley Lee
Apr 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I started this book with absolutely no idea what it was about. And that, I think, is the very best way. I'm not going to give you a brief outline because that would mean you go into it with expectations, just trust me when I say that the writing is strong and lyrical, the story rich and diverse and enchanting.

It had a very Gaiman-esque feel to me with layers of magical realism pulsing through the narrative. I loved all of the characters, which is very rare. The author has a wonderful
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Renee Godding
Nov 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Took me over a month to finish this relatively short novel, but it was worth it! 4/5 stars from me.
Full review to come
Ellie (faerieontheshelf)
“A girl handing it all over to the beasts. Maybe she wanted freedom, too, or maybe something else, something bigger. She was a house for the monsters, herself.”

Because of the prose in this story, which is beautiful and heavily florid, this story can sometime seem like it drags. But because if the prose, it also has a sense of the liminal: it transgresses the border between reality, and magic.

This is a really beautiful story, and sometimes I loved it and sometimes I didn’t. With this
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Francesca
Jun 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What an absolute stunner of a book. Impossible to pin down and describe read this book for the unbelievable use of language. Narrative poetry - is that a thing? I forget but this book is it.
A treasure of family relationships, love, fear, a wretched history and magic realism this was a joy to read. I took my time because it is so well written that rushing through it would be a disservice. I got the impression each word was carved out exactly so and the results are stunning.

Highl
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Isabelle | BookwyrmBites
Recommended by Lauren @ Northern Plunder.

I'm so grateful Lauren put this book on my radar again and again until I finally caved and read it, because holy wow I needed this in my life. Full review to come!

content warnings: (view spoiler)
rep: (view spoiler)
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CONVERSION : 13.7 / 15 = 5 stars

Prose: 8 / 10
Characters & Relationships: 10 / 10
Emotional Impact: 9 / 10
Develo/>/>/>content
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Susannah
Three and a half stars for this inventive take on practicing witches. For fans of Alice Hoffman who can handle writing that’s a little more grit and a little less whimsical, Other Words For Smoke presents a coming of age tale that makes you question everyone’s motives. While the story follows our protagonists for a few years, a lot of the character development is left to the reader’s imagination. Despite this, the creative mysterious elements kept me reading until the last page, where the conclu ...more
Emma
Friends. Ladies. Gals and pals. Do you like reading stories about sapphic girls? Can I interest you in some lightly-drawn but still absolutely heartrending allegories about the history of women's rights (or previous lack thereof) in Ireland? How about some WITCHCRAFT, and the most deliciously spooky vibes of any book I've read in months, if not years? THEN DO I HAVE A REC FOR YOU!!!

Other Words For Smoke begins at the end, with the prologue taking place after all the other events of the novel hav/>Other
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Lauren
Apr 03, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thank you so much to Titan Books for sending me a free copy of this book to review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
I've just this minute finished reading this book and I'm at a loss for how to review it but I'm going to give it a go. At the heart of this book is a story about love, obsession, manipulation, fear and betrayal.
This books follows Mae and her twin brother Rossa over two summers who go and stay with their Great Aunt Rita and her teenage
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AJ
Apr 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
We've been blessed with another fantastic book by Sarah Maria Griffin!

There is honestly so much to love about this book. I could rave on and on about it for a long time. It's so atmospheric and has such a strong voice. The characters are so palpably real. Even though the book is about a haunted house and magic and witches, the bits that shine the strongest are how real the characters are. You can really feel their fears, anxieties, desires, leaping off of the page.

Also, obviously, I loved that
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Kyra Leseberg (Roots & Reads)
DNF at 50%

I wanted to love this book.

A coming of age story taking place inside a haunted house powered by living creatures in the wall and plenty of magical elements held the promise of a compelling and atmospheric read.

I found the actual story was only beginning at the half way point of the novel. Just as things began to pick up and I thought I'd have a better understanding of the sinister spirit in the home, the author set the story aside to offer up brief vignettes of
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Kayleigh
At its core, this book is a story of love and fear, magic and betrayal.
When twins Mae and Rossa spend a summer at their great aunt Rita’s, they unknowingly become pawns in a game being played by two powerful forces.

I found Other Words For Smoke a strange yet totally compelling read. I was hooked from the beginning and barely put it down.
The haunted house aspect gave it a chilling air that kept you captivated throughout and the characters were interesting and not always what they seemed.

Other
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Sana
Jun 25, 2018 marked it as anti-library  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arcs
Sarah Maria Griffin wrote Spare and Found Parts, the post-apocalyptic sci-fi about bisexual Nell with a mean streak and a mechanical heart so of course, I'm reading this book about twins and dark secrets and other interesting things mentioned in the super long blurb LOL
Emer O'Toole
Jul 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I gobbled up this witchy YA novel, which balances sophisticated social metaphor with captivating, fleshy (or feathery as the case may be) characters. A terrible event, which anyone familiar with Ireland’s historic treatment of unmarried mothers will recognize, tears a cut in the fabric of things, letting new powers into the world. Our twin teenage heroes, Mae and Rossa, must learn to navigate a house haunted by the energies of the past if they are to find a place for themselves in the future. A ...more
Lauren ✨ (YABookers)
I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you kindly to Titan Books for my proof.

I absolutely adore witchy books. Some of my favourites include Toil & Trouble edited by Tess Sharpe and Jessica Spotswood, Wild Beauty by the talented Anna-Marie McLemore, The Spellbook of Lost & Found (also Irish YA lit) by Moïra Fowley-Doyle, and the Wicked Deep by Shea Earnshaw. Other Words For Smoke has cemented itself amongst my favourites.

Other Words Fo
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Zaide
I doubt this review will be much use to anyone, I have no idea what to write and that’s basically because I’m not even sure what I just read. This book made next to no sense to me and I’m looking at all these 4 and 5 star reviews on here and wondering if I even read the same book?? Clearly this was just very much not for me.

One of the POV’s is written in second person and honestly the weirdness pretty much started there. I really dislike second person. Also this character was such a selfish bra
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Caylynn Bleess
Jun 10, 2019 rated it it was ok
The twins knelt there at the feet of witches and titans.

I honestly have absolutely no clue what to say about this book. It was SO CONFUSING. And anti-climatic. And boring. And completely unsatisfactory.

The thing that sucks is that the premise of this story was fantastic. Otherworldly entities hidden in the walls of the house? Sign me up. Witches and tarot cards? Hell yeah.

I got heavy Gravity Falls vibes (my second favorite animated TV series of all time) in the first few chapters- two twins,
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Adele
Apr 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I’m not sure where to start with this review, it has been days since I finished reading this book and I’ve yet to pick up another. I’m generally what I would consider to be quite a slow reader but I read this in about a day and a half, every time I put it down it beckoned me back. This is also the first book not written by a Japanese author that gave me the same magical and thought-provoking feelings as reading Japanese authors does, I was hooked. (or perhaps ensnared by a certain owl)
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Phillip
Jan 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
I can think of books to compare this to, but seriously this amazing work of YA wordsmithing is unique. Part Haunted House, part coming of age, the tale goes from 14 year old twins coping with the slow falling apart of their parents marriage to the menace of a house possessed by ancient powers in the blink of an eye. Every character is carrying some kind of heartache, from needing to belong, to first love (or crush or lust), of their previously stable world falling apart, of long lost loves.
Mae
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Sarah Maria Griffin lives in Dublin, Ireland, in a small red brick house by the sea, with her husband and cat. She writes about monsters, growing up, and everything those two things have in common. Her first book, SPARE AND FOUND PARTS, is out now.