ARC Review: Someone You Can Build A Nest In by John Wiswell

Genre: Cozy Horror
Length: 320 pages
Release Date: 2 April 2024
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Discover this creepy, charming monster-slaying fantasy romance—from the perspective of the monster—by Nebula Award-winning debut author John Wiswell

Shesheshen has made a mistake fatal to all monsters: she’s fallen in love.

Shesheshen is a shapeshifter, who happily resides as an amorphous lump at the bottom of a ruined manor. When her rest is interrupted by hunters intent on murdering her, she constructs a body from the remains of past meals: a metal chain for a backbone, borrowed bones for limbs, and a bear trap as an extra mouth.

However, the hunters chase Shesheshen out of her home and off a cliff. Badly hurt, she’s found and nursed back to health by Homily, a warm-hearted human, who has mistaken Shesheshen as a fellow human. Homily is kind and nurturing and would make an excellent co-parent: an ideal place to lay Shesheshen’s eggs so their young could devour Homily from the inside out. But as they grow close, she realizes humans don’t think about love that way.

Shesheshen hates keeping her identity secret from Homily, but just as she’s about to confess, Homily reveals why she’s in the area: she’s hunting a shapeshifting monster that supposedly cursed her family. Has Shesheshen seen it anywhere?

Eating her girlfriend isn’t an option. Shesheshen didn’t curse anyone, but to give herself and Homily a chance at happiness, she has to figure out why Homily’s twisted family thinks she did. As the hunt for the monster becomes increasingly deadly, Shesheshen must unearth the truth quickly, or soon both of their lives will be at risk.

And the bigger challenge remains: surviving her toxic in-laws long enough to learn to build a life with, rather than in, the love of her life.


Thank you to Syndey and the publisher for an eARC in exchange of an honest review.

It was Essa Hansen who recommended this book to me and I jumped on it immediately. The blurb gave off the cozy horror vibe I was looking for. I don’t do well with most horrors due to trigger warnings, body horror being one of them. This book is filled with body horror but the light tone and not extremely graphic writing style made it work for me.

Shesheshen’s voice is unlike any I’ve read so far. Maybe because she’s a shapeshifting monster who eats humans instead of spending time in conversation with them. You see this change over the course of the book as Shesheshen grows closer to Homily. I love the tenderness between the two of them, how gentle they are as they find out more horrific things about each other. There’s no judgment, only acceptance and support.

Halfway through the book, I was thinking about who the real monster of the story is (it’s clear who the villain/antagonist are, but ‘monster’ can be interpreted in different ways). Sometimes it’s not about what you are but about what you do, that makes you a monster.

I didn’t foresee where the book would end up. It takes wild turn after wild turn, and kept me on the edge of my seat in the last quarter. So much is happening and you can’t stop reading. all the subplots get wrapped up leading up to the climax, giving power to those that need it, and when you think you know everything, new information comes to light which made me rethink half of the book.

I can’t recommend it enough if you like horror but want something a bit more cozy, with a great ace romance.

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