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Sanctuary

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Morgan’s home is a sanctuary for ghosts. The once-grand, now dilapidated old house they live in has become a refuge for their found family. From Morgan’s partner Araminta, an artist with excellent dress sense, to Theo, a ten-year-old with an excess of energy, to quiet telekinesthetic pensioner Denny, all of them consider this haunted house their home. In a world that wasn’t Morgan’s home is a sanctuary for ghosts. The once-grand, now dilapidated old house they live in has become a refuge for their found family. From Morgan’s partner Araminta, an artist with excellent dress sense, to Theo, a ten-year-old with an excess of energy, to quiet telekinesthetic pensioner Denny, all of them consider this haunted house their home. In a world that wasn’t built for their queer, neurodivergent selves, they’ve made it into a place they belong. Together they welcome not just the ghosts of the house’s former inhabitants, but any who need somewhere to belong. Both the living and the dead can find themselves in need of a sanctuary. When a collection of ghosts trapped in old bottles are delivered to their door, something from the past is unleashed. A man who once collected ghosts – a man who should have died centuries before – suddenly has the house under his control. Morgan must trust their own abilities, and their hard-won sense of self, to save their home, their family, and the woman they love.


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Morgan’s home is a sanctuary for ghosts. The once-grand, now dilapidated old house they live in has become a refuge for their found family. From Morgan’s partner Araminta, an artist with excellent dress sense, to Theo, a ten-year-old with an excess of energy, to quiet telekinesthetic pensioner Denny, all of them consider this haunted house their home. In a world that wasn’t Morgan’s home is a sanctuary for ghosts. The once-grand, now dilapidated old house they live in has become a refuge for their found family. From Morgan’s partner Araminta, an artist with excellent dress sense, to Theo, a ten-year-old with an excess of energy, to quiet telekinesthetic pensioner Denny, all of them consider this haunted house their home. In a world that wasn’t built for their queer, neurodivergent selves, they’ve made it into a place they belong. Together they welcome not just the ghosts of the house’s former inhabitants, but any who need somewhere to belong. Both the living and the dead can find themselves in need of a sanctuary. When a collection of ghosts trapped in old bottles are delivered to their door, something from the past is unleashed. A man who once collected ghosts – a man who should have died centuries before – suddenly has the house under his control. Morgan must trust their own abilities, and their hard-won sense of self, to save their home, their family, and the woman they love.

30 review for Sanctuary

  1. 4 out of 5

    Mary ♡ (Elfhame Enthusiast)

    Thank you to Booksirens and the publishers for providing me with a free digital arc, to leave a voluntary and free review. TRIGGER WARNINGS: homophobia, ableism, suicide, mentions of abuse, violence, and death. This novel follows a paranormal take on the found family trope, as these ghosts live together in their shared house. Things appear to move smoothly, until one day a higher force is awakened and the peaceful existence of this family is threatened, and they must stay strong to survive the loo Thank you to Booksirens and the publishers for providing me with a free digital arc, to leave a voluntary and free review. TRIGGER WARNINGS: homophobia, ableism, suicide, mentions of abuse, violence, and death. This novel follows a paranormal take on the found family trope, as these ghosts live together in their shared house. Things appear to move smoothly, until one day a higher force is awakened and the peaceful existence of this family is threatened, and they must stay strong to survive the looming threat above them. I went into this book with extremely high expectations, due to my love for almost every trope that was used in this story. However, it did not fit my standards very well. The plot itself is very interesting, but I am not a huge fan of the way it was executed, as well as some of the characterization. I definitely think that the plot could have been paced better. I checked and the real story started to slowly pick up around 48% into the book, which means that until then, all the substance present was loving family moments and fun conversations at the dinner table. Which is not exactly what I signed up for. The whole paranormal and the undead system was barely explained as well, which made me confused for the majority of the book, and the climax fight barely resonated with me because it was really slowly executed. Some of the certain flashback chapters were also written to be a bit jarring, and the flow greatly affected my opinion of this book. The characters as well, there were a lot of them. I think this is one of those cases where quality definitely matters more than quantity. I could barely remember the details about each character and their individual attributes, and this made me not connect with their personalities as well as I wanted. I think the premise is good, but some polishing would be greatly beneficial. Overall it was a great idea, and I'm sure that there are people that would love all of the paranormal drama and character representation, but it just wasn't for me. I hope that others will enjoy this book when it becomes more popular, but I am disappointed in myself for not loving it as much as I could have.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Bogi Takács

    I blurbed this one :) (A while ago, but now I can put it up in public.) "An intricate exploration of community and consent, now with ghosts! Andi C. Buchanan's SANCTUARY presents neurodivergent and disabled found family in a haunted house where people can feel welcome regardless of their corporeality. But can and should people trust every newcomer? When unexpected phenomena rattle the house, even those who aren't easily spooked have a cause for concern... SANCTUARY is unapologetic about being tru I blurbed this one :) (A while ago, but now I can put it up in public.) "An intricate exploration of community and consent, now with ghosts! Andi C. Buchanan's SANCTUARY presents neurodivergent and disabled found family in a haunted house where people can feel welcome regardless of their corporeality. But can and should people trust every newcomer? When unexpected phenomena rattle the house, even those who aren't easily spooked have a cause for concern... SANCTUARY is unapologetic about being true to yourself, thoughtful about being kind, and it provides you with new ways of fitting into the world when the world doesn't quite fit. An indispensable book in the new wave of neurodivergent speculative fiction, and a refreshing take on ghost stories too; don't miss it." - Bogi Takács, Hugo and Lambda award winning author and editor

  3. 5 out of 5

    mila

    This is a story about a queer, neurodivergent, found family, who shares a home, a sanctuary, with a bunch of ghosts besides their living, human members. Morgan, the person we follow, shares the house with their partner Araminta, Vinnie, and their kid Theo, Denny, Holly, Saeed, and Alison. They are all neurodivergent, they all see ghosts and they're each other's family. They also provide a safe space for the ghosts living with them. But when a mysterious man leaves a bunch of old, old bottles con This is a story about a queer, neurodivergent, found family, who shares a home, a sanctuary, with a bunch of ghosts besides their living, human members. Morgan, the person we follow, shares the house with their partner Araminta, Vinnie, and their kid Theo, Denny, Holly, Saeed, and Alison. They are all neurodivergent, they all see ghosts and they're each other's family. They also provide a safe space for the ghosts living with them. But when a mysterious man leaves a bunch of old, old bottles containing trapped ghosts, something sinister starts happening in their house. And now Morgan and the rest of their family need to figure out how to save both the ghosts and themselves. I really enjoyed this story a lot! For the majority of the book, this is a very character-driven story, and that truly is its strong point. I loved all of the characters, and I enjoyed learning about them and their little safe haven. They are all autistic and range in age from 10 years old (Theo) to Denny, who's an older man. They all have their struggles and strengths, and I like how they're all appreciated in their household. I love how they include the ghosts, like when eating meals (even though ghosts don't eat - but some just like to be included), and respecting the ghosts' autonomy the best they can, given the limited communication. In terms of the plot and the action, it is a very quiet book. I found myself more enjoying the first half, which was intentionally such. The author took their time introducing the characters and their personalities, dynamics, and their stories. The main conflict in the book is slowly introduced and felt quite secondary even when the situation heated up. The main conflict of the story culminates in a fight between the main characters and the villain of the story, and that scene felt drawn-out but also it didn't have enough build-up. I mentioned how I very much enjoyed just getting to know the characters for the first half of the book, and while that is absolutely true, it still left something to be desired in the build-up of the main conflict. I am being purposefully vague, so as to not spoil anything. My main issue seems to be with the plot, and somewhat with the pacing. As I mentioned, the book is very slow to build, which while doing a service to the characters, is doing a disservice to the overall plot. So the book suffers from being slightly inconsistent. There are topics that are explored in-depth, such as the matter of ghost corporeality but also the question of consent (which I am all for, I am not complaining about that!) but some questions were definitely left open and unanswered. So, while I really enjoyed that some topics were well incorporated into the book, I feel like balancing those with the other themes a bit more would have been better. Ultimately, what I loved the most about the book, and what drew me to it in the first place, were the characters. Their dynamics are unconventional, and exactly what I wanted and hoped for in this book. I think the characters are really the main focus, but I will say that I wish they got introduced a bit better. It took me a moment to follow along with who's who - as all of the living people and ghosts are named at the very beginning, but we're not given proper introductions for all of them. As I mentioned, the action scenes and the lack of build-up are what, in the end, made me lower my rating. I will say, I think the way it was written is intentional, as we follow the story through Morgan's experiences. So, in a way, it would make sense that something awful happening to them would be presented as something disjointed and messy, as that is how those situations must feel. However, I still wish, from a reader's perspective, that it was written a bit differently. All in all, I did enjoy this book, and I would recommend it! It has a great found family aspect, and that is one of my favorite tropes, so reading this was a no-brainer for me. If you are interested in it, and you love more quiet and understated action, I say give it a go, you might enjoy it even more than I did!! Thank you to Book Sirens for providing me with an eARC!

  4. 5 out of 5

    aimee

    I received an ARC from Net Galley in exchange for my honest review. This book had potential. The premise was exciting, and the cast of characters was diverse and endearing, however that’s where things fell flat for me. To start, the ensemble was so vast that it felt that you didn’t really get to know any of them past their disabilities and challenges operating in a neurotypical, cisgender, heterosexual world. I believe in an attempt to highlight these differences in the characters, they were mad I received an ARC from Net Galley in exchange for my honest review. This book had potential. The premise was exciting, and the cast of characters was diverse and endearing, however that’s where things fell flat for me. To start, the ensemble was so vast that it felt that you didn’t really get to know any of them past their disabilities and challenges operating in a neurotypical, cisgender, heterosexual world. I believe in an attempt to highlight these differences in the characters, they were made one-note. The novel also had very little in terms of plot. The majority of the writing was focused on the characters, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but when you couple it with writing that is blanketed by monotonous descriptions of the characters’ struggles, it leaves something to be desired. Plot points seemed glossed over or quickly described and then we move on. Third, and perhaps most glaring, was the need for another revision. The writing had typos, potentially misgendered one of the characters more than once (though that could be misunderstanding on my part from unclear writing structures), was repetitive, and relied too heavily on fractured sentences. I believe this book had promise, but the execution was faulty for me.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    I was pulled into the hallways of Casswell Mansion with the promise of a fantastic story: a neuro-divergent found-family comprised of those both living and deceased. While I did get to know some beautifully unique characters, the overall plot, unfortunately, fell a bit flat towards the end. But first, the things that I liked! I'm not sure if it was intentional on the author's part, but I appreciated how slowly we got to know the characters - methodically unpacking their various personalities and I was pulled into the hallways of Casswell Mansion with the promise of a fantastic story: a neuro-divergent found-family comprised of those both living and deceased. While I did get to know some beautifully unique characters, the overall plot, unfortunately, fell a bit flat towards the end. But first, the things that I liked! I'm not sure if it was intentional on the author's part, but I appreciated how slowly we got to know the characters - methodically unpacking their various personalities and traits. Neuro-divergent or not, I feel like people have the habit of putting characters in a box based on whatever unique attribute they might display at the beginning of a book. So it was refreshing to get to know them more organically. Another thing I enjoyed a lot was the parallels and comparisons made between neurodivergency, queerness, race, and ghosts. Morgan, our main character, makes several comments about how ghosts, while on a different plane of existence, are still people and should be treated with the same care and respect as anyone else. The book's overarching theme is that our differences, even those less corporeal, shouldn't give license to being treated differently or unfairly. As amazing as it was to get to know the characters, the book's actual plot is where it seemed to be lacking. While slow, I'd say the first 60-ish% of the book was enjoyable because it was so heavily character-driven, but once we started to get to the more plot-driven aspects, it took a bit of a nosedive. What was supposed to be the most climactic and exciting scene in the book felt disjointed. The only way I can describe it is that instead of sitting to watch a movie yourself, it feels more like someone else is watching a movie in the next room with the door cracked, and you only get bits and pieces of what's going on. Furthermore, there are breaks in the writing and fragmented sentences that don't at all fit what's happening in the story. I don't know if that was a stylistic choice on the author's part, but the narrative loses a lot of fluidity and gets muddled and confusing. Overall, I think the story's premise was fascinating and had a lot of potential, but the actual execution was lacking for me. Rating: 2.5/5 stars rounded up to 3! Thank you, NetGalley and Robot Dinosaur Press, for the ARC!

  6. 5 out of 5

    mimo

    I'm always down to read about queer people, neurodivergent people, and ghosts. So this book is right up my alley! I appreciate the safe space the author has dreamt up in the big house of Casswell Park. The characters support and accommodate one another, trying to live in (though a little apart from) a world that tends to be unwelcoming of them. We love to see it. The author is evidently committed to portraying life as a neurodivergent person. I think it's great to see autistic and socially anxiou I'm always down to read about queer people, neurodivergent people, and ghosts. So this book is right up my alley! I appreciate the safe space the author has dreamt up in the big house of Casswell Park. The characters support and accommodate one another, trying to live in (though a little apart from) a world that tends to be unwelcoming of them. We love to see it. The author is evidently committed to portraying life as a neurodivergent person. I think it's great to see autistic and socially anxious characters; casual representation can be a great way to normalise these experiences. On the other hand, I did find the exposition about various neurodivergent traits a bit didactic at times. I was a little frustrated by how the main thrust of the plot is quite a self-inflicted problem. I felt like Morgan was quite genre-unsavvy. There's also a climactic fight sequence that is vaguely written and goes on longer than it needs to. This novel has its flaws, for me at least, but above all I value its compassion. One minor way this manifests is in the short snippets about Isobel's story. I must say that those wrap up in a very satisfying way. Of course, this is all subjective. Your mileage may vary. I think part of the reason I didn't enjoy this book more is that the characters' relationships don't develop much on-page. They start off as a found family and they end off that way too, albeit after a trial that sees them growing a little closer. So there's a lot that the reader just has to accept being told about, rather than shown. I received an advance review copy via BookSirens for free, and I am leaving this honest review voluntarily.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Neamhain

    Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for an advanced copy in exchange for my honest review! (Please be warned there are minor spoilers for the plot and scenes that happen within the book in my review! Caution advised!) I wanted to like "Sanctuary" so much. An intriguing premise and an amazingly diverse cast just made me want to dive right in! Unfortunately, I wanted to get out of the swimming pool of "Sanctuary" only three chapters in. There is barely any plot to this novel, and when you do g Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for an advanced copy in exchange for my honest review! (Please be warned there are minor spoilers for the plot and scenes that happen within the book in my review! Caution advised!) I wanted to like "Sanctuary" so much. An intriguing premise and an amazingly diverse cast just made me want to dive right in! Unfortunately, I wanted to get out of the swimming pool of "Sanctuary" only three chapters in. There is barely any plot to this novel, and when you do get some plot piece, it feels like only snatches of it. It takes about forty percent into the book for ANYTHING of plot relevance to happen. (I checked) There was a lot of focus on the characters, which is normally the thing I love! But everything about the characters felt like surface-level descriptions of their appearance and disabilities and almost sounded performative at points. I feel like I know nothing about these characters beyond their race, gender, and disability. I know Araminta is plus size, a redhead, an artist, and is Morgan's (the character who the story is told through) girlfriend. That's about it, besides the small snippets of Araminta's life prior to coming to Casswell. The only thing I know about Vinnie is that they're trans, a mom, and black. That's it. Another issue is that there are so many named characters, both living and dead alike, within this cast, I keep forgetting who is a human and who is a ghost! Also, the author seems to keep forgetting who is in what scene?! At the beginning of the scene where they talk to the ghost hunters, Morgan states that “Saeed has gone to catch up with classmates – I’m cynical enough to suspect he may have timed it strategically to avoid this meeting” but after Morgan has ANOTHER internal introspection (she does this A LOT), says those speaking have come to an agreement. Logan (The ghost hunter brother) asks if they can record their conversation with the ghost and SAEED says no? Saeed is stated to not be present during this meeting at the beginning of this scene. Was there a scene change? This has happened before, with the author starting the scene with Morgan talking to Callum online and Callum asking if they can meet in person, in the first part of the sentence. The second part of the sentence has them in the city meeting Callum at a coffee shop. The scene changes are far too abrupt and sometimes I don’t even realize there HAS been a scene change, which leaves me incredibly confused. These scene changes are VERY abrupt and disorienting. I kept thinking I accidentally skipped forward a few pages or accidentally skimmed over a paragraph. But no, the scene changes do suddenly change in the blink of an eye like that. There were minor plot points that annoyed me, such as Morgan wondering, “I wonder even if the pendant was once his, perhaps he thinks we stole it from him. Perhaps he doesn’t understand how much it is Araminta’s, how much it is my gift to her.” when the ghost gets pissed she took the pendant from the bottle. Like girlie pop, you DID steal it from him! It was locked away in a bottle that you had to BREAK to get it out, and you watched a ghost poof out when you did it! That pendant was stuck in the same bottle as the ghost for who knows how long, so obviously taking it was a bad idea! Did this girl never read “The Teeny-Tiny Woman”?! Also, I apologize, but I'm going to be very blunt. The final fight scene was one of the worst I have ever read. I have barely any idea what was going on because I was literally only told "We're fighting! Oh no [Name] has been injured! (Morgan goes on another long introspection monologue) We're back to fighting! (Another long Morgan internal monologue) FIGHTING!" and so on. It also dragged on FOREVER. I have no idea how long their fight was supposed to be in real-time (Was it hours? Days? Minutes?) but in reading time, it was long. All in all, I really didn't like Sanctuary. It has plenty of potential; in fact, I could see it being made into a television series or a movie, but it just didn't work for me as a book. Also, this is a random minor nitpick, but this book keeps referring to ADHD as "ADD". But they did away with the term "ADD" in the DSM-4 (pub. 2000) and simplified it to ADHD with three sub-types. The DSM-5 (pub. 2013) changed it to "ADHD with presentations", so now it is just ADHD and the ways it presents, but I would admit for some that is fairly new. But still, you had at least twenty years to learn the correct term. It's possible that they still called it ADD in the UK, where this book is set, so I apologize if that's why the author keeps using what the DSM considers to be an outdated term. Also, was having a ghost named Lydia Martin a Teen Wolf nod or a coincidence? Also, what is a house wiki?!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Kaitlyn

    Thank you to BookSirens for an eARC of Sanctuary by Andi C. Buchanan. I wanted to like this book so much, but it, unfortunately, fell flat for me. What this book could benefit from is another round of macro-editing. The bare bones of the story are all there, I just think a little more tweaking could really make this story something big. The synopsis is unique and exciting. There are tropes and representations that make this a real gem. It, however, was not executed to its full potential. My main t Thank you to BookSirens for an eARC of Sanctuary by Andi C. Buchanan. I wanted to like this book so much, but it, unfortunately, fell flat for me. What this book could benefit from is another round of macro-editing. The bare bones of the story are all there, I just think a little more tweaking could really make this story something big. The synopsis is unique and exciting. There are tropes and representations that make this a real gem. It, however, was not executed to its full potential. My main two issues with this book were the number of characters and the overall plot. Starting with the characters, there are so many of them that it makes it hard to follow and track them, and it waters down the representation that the author is aiming for. Because of the sheer volume and the struggle to follow along, it sort of defeats the point of representation if you can't remember who is who and what their character represents. I remember that Araminta is plus-sized and that a lot of the people are autistic, but I wouldn't be comfortable trying to tell you exactly who every person is. This story could have benefited from fewer characters, as we get our solid group of people, then our abundance of ghosts, and then the ghost hunters, and other side characters that pop in from time to time that provide nothing for the plot, like Theo's dad and someone's (can't remember who) parents or grandparents. We only scratch the surface and it ultimately makes it hard to really get to know them, and therefore, care about them. Also, for the flashback scenes, I wish the voices/grammar would have been noticeably different. People in the 1700s would not speak the same way as someone in 2018. The next was the plot. The idea is great, but it didn't come to fruition. I'd say about 20% of the book is spent with us reading about them eating at the kitchen table or hanging out in their bedrooms. I wish all of this would have been cut and more dialogue added in, as the author tends to say "We talked about this" instead of showing us with dialogue. There were also tons of repetitions that were mentioned throughout that had already been explained to us, like how ghosts fade over time and into nothingness, from what is assumed. I think adding some more plot points, especially them breaking away from the house, and getting more help and information from the ghost hunters, would have been really beneficial and filled out some space. That, or it could have worked as a novella. I think maybe making it so they could find a way to communicate with the ghosts would have been beneficial too, that's where I thought it was initially going, but it didn't. Also, the fight scene with the ghost eater was just... very drawn out and not very convincing to me. I wish it would have been more paranormal/intricate rather than a group fight. There were also lulls where they would take breaks, which just felt too odd to me. There was also only one confrontation, and I think it would have been good to space the confrontations out. The stakes just seemed too low, and it really didn't feel like the characters cared all that much when something happened. I can see the heart of the story, and what the author wanted. I think there is promise here and that with some more time and practice, this author will make a knock-out story/series/etc. I was just a bit underwhelmed. BUT I do see the appeal it would have to certain readers. Found family, creepy eerie house, paranormal, tons of characters with representation that normally doesn't get represented. This is going to be someone's favorite book, for sure. It just wasn't for me.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Ann Dudzinski

    2.5 stars rounded up. I’ll jump straight into the blurb: Morgan has created a home for herself in what remains of a once-grand estate, now a dilapidated house surrounded by townhomes. But it’s perfect for its occupants - a group of neurodivergent friends who, like the house, don’t quite fit into modern society. In addition to being a refuge for people, the house is a place where ghosts are safe and respected. Morgan and her crew welcome all ghosts who need a sanctuary and do their best to keep th 2.5 stars rounded up. I’ll jump straight into the blurb: Morgan has created a home for herself in what remains of a once-grand estate, now a dilapidated house surrounded by townhomes. But it’s perfect for its occupants - a group of neurodivergent friends who, like the house, don’t quite fit into modern society. In addition to being a refuge for people, the house is a place where ghosts are safe and respected. Morgan and her crew welcome all ghosts who need a sanctuary and do their best to keep the ghost hunters out. Everything goes haywire when a stranger drops off a crate of bottled ghosts and Morgan unwittingly releases an evil entity known as the Ghost Eater. Not only are the ghosts in danger, but so are Morgan’s corporal family. There was a lot to love about this book. The way the occupants of the house built a life for themselves that worked for their own particular issues and quirks, and for the way that ghosts are treated with the same respect afforded to the living. The theme of found family was well presented and beautiful. I also appreciated that this novel was written from Morgan's point of view. I’m not sure if it’s a coincidence that I’ve read several novels lately presented from a neurodivergent point of view or if it’s becoming more prevalent, but I appreciate the opportunity to widen my own perspective. One of the things I had issues with was, oddly, the point of view. Often, Morgan went into her own head and I read how she perceived events rather than the author showing the said events. For example, important dialogue would take place and I’m told how Morgan reacts to it, but the actual dialogue isn’t provided so I wasn’t able to make up my own mind about what was happening. This was particularly problematic during the main fight scene - I couldn’t follow the action because the narrator kept dipping into her own thoughts rather than showing in a coherent fashion what was happening. It made for a disjointed and unmemorable scene. Lastly, there were so many characters (both corporeal and ghosts) that they were hard to keep track off. Once they’d all been firmly established, the author didn’t flesh the living occupants out beyond their disabilities. I wondered if a few couldn’t have been combined and presented beyond a surface level. This was an enjoyable story but I felt the execution fell short. Thank you to BookSirens for providing the ARC of this novel. I’ve left my review voluntarily and honestly.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Serpenthesia

    I received this book as an ARC, but I could not finish the book before it was published. In any case, here comes my honest review. At first, this book seemed to have a good potential: a house where living and ghosts coexist together, even showing the rights of ghosts. The cast of characters was diverse, a neuro-divergent family. I liked how you start knowing the characters and how they are introduced: showing the personalities and how they operate, but in a more human and organic way. However, the I received this book as an ARC, but I could not finish the book before it was published. In any case, here comes my honest review. At first, this book seemed to have a good potential: a house where living and ghosts coexist together, even showing the rights of ghosts. The cast of characters was diverse, a neuro-divergent family. I liked how you start knowing the characters and how they are introduced: showing the personalities and how they operate, but in a more human and organic way. However, there were so many with so little participation along the story that I tended to forget who was who. I would say no doubts that the main point of this novel are the characters and the differences and similarities made in terms of queerness, race and ghosts. Nevertheless, and the reason I am only giving this book 3 stars is because of the story per se and the plot. The story and the narrative is completely covered by the characters. It is okay to focus on the characters, but if you let them blanket the writing with endless descriptions of their feelings, it just gets boring. The story at the end is just a very basic one with no intrigue. It is slow, and the plot is simply meh. I just felt like I was reading and reading and nothing was really happening. It lost its track and we just got a supposedly climatic scene that feels like disjointed. Furthermore, the story feels fragmented losing fluidity. Last, I just caught some typos and broken sentences that should have received another revision. I hated the font and the not justified margins. Sorry not sorry. I believe this book had potential and a very good and original premise, but the execution was not for me at all.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Dilliemillie

    Please note: This is my honest review of an ARC provided by Netgalley and Robot Dinosaur Press. The final publication may have changes made since the time of my reading. This could be a truly fantastic book! but it needs some heavy revision. I love the setup - a diverse group of neuro divergent people live in a huge haunted estate as a family. How great is that? Instead of one or two token characters, basically the entire cast of characters represents marginalized groups. But by book's end, I co Please note: This is my honest review of an ARC provided by Netgalley and Robot Dinosaur Press. The final publication may have changes made since the time of my reading. This could be a truly fantastic book! but it needs some heavy revision. I love the setup - a diverse group of neuro divergent people live in a huge haunted estate as a family. How great is that? Instead of one or two token characters, basically the entire cast of characters represents marginalized groups. But by book's end, I could tell you all about how mental and physical health impact the characters from day to day and next to nothing about who those people are outside their struggles. Some characters never got introductions and were mentioned in a manner implying readers already knew who they were (can anyone tell me who Denny is?!) The writing style is very fragmented and overuses incomplete sentences. While this may have been an intentional choice on the part of the author, moderation is key! There are a few spelling and grammar errors and occasional continuity mistakes. Some concepts (ghost corporeality and consent) are reiterated ad nauseam, while others are barely explained (ghost hunters? Morgan's connection with the pendant?). Dramatic and/or action scenes are described with so little detail that I was at a loss to picture - or sometimes even understand - what had happened. While I began reading with great excitement, my enthusiasm cooled and I struggled to reach the final pages. This story is imaginative and awesome! I trust that some editing will help it succeed in the way it deserves.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I wanted to love this one. I like it, but didn’t love it. Pros: very inclusive. Includes both trans and non binary characters. Lots of character development. Cons: plot is slow and very repetitive. We get it, the MC doesn’t have a job. I don’t need to be told that at least 20 times. There are a few mistakes (at least in the ARC I received from Booksirens for free and am reviewing voluntarily), both in a character’s name and another’s pronouns, within the same couple of pages. Also, I may be miss I wanted to love this one. I like it, but didn’t love it. Pros: very inclusive. Includes both trans and non binary characters. Lots of character development. Cons: plot is slow and very repetitive. We get it, the MC doesn’t have a job. I don’t need to be told that at least 20 times. There are a few mistakes (at least in the ARC I received from Booksirens for free and am reviewing voluntarily), both in a character’s name and another’s pronouns, within the same couple of pages. Also, I may be missing something, but Isobel’s whole situation just confuses me. Especially the last bit she shows up in.

  13. 4 out of 5

    J.C. Hart

    I loved the diversity in this book, the found family, the gorgeous old house, the hauntings. Magic!

  14. 4 out of 5

    K.M.

    A gentle start to the book turned into a tense second half. However, what I liked about this book was the characters, who felt like people I knew. The care they all had for each other was palpable. A beautiful found family story! I received an ARC and this is an honest review.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Gyalten Lekden

    This is an insightful and emotional novel, unlike almost anything else I have read. It’s a haunted house story, sure, but that’s incidental, in some ways. Because it is actually a story about family—more specifically, it’s a story about queer, neurodivergent, found family, and that story is about which ghosts you escape, which you conquer, and which you invite in. The range of characters in this novel is broader and more diverse than most novels, but it never feels performative. I have been part This is an insightful and emotional novel, unlike almost anything else I have read. It’s a haunted house story, sure, but that’s incidental, in some ways. Because it is actually a story about family—more specifically, it’s a story about queer, neurodivergent, found family, and that story is about which ghosts you escape, which you conquer, and which you invite in. The range of characters in this novel is broader and more diverse than most novels, but it never feels performative. I have been part of queer friend groups and communities that mirror the one at the heart of this story, communities which have an entire spectrum of gender identities and presentations, sexualities, ages, races, physical dis/ability, and neuro-normativity/divergency. Sure, I haven’t been in a group of ten such folks living full-time together in a pseudo-commune, but I have been close enough. This family felt real. it felt complicated, and damaged, and optimistic, and most of all genuine. It never felt like diversity just for the sake of it. What is most compelling to me, and this is what may make-or-break you on the story, and it was something I didn’t quite sync up with myself until I was about halfway through, is that the plot of this story is somewhat secondary. There is a plot, there. Action, reaction/conflict, resolution, congratulations. But as far as conventional plotting goes, the pacing is a little off, and if you are approaching this with a prioritization of conventional plotting you will probably want the first half to be condensed by about two-thirds, and you might say the climactic scenes actually seemed to last pages longer than they needed to. If conventional literary plotting is all you care about, sure, say what you want. Because this novel is actually giving you an experience. The entire novel is told from a single point-of-view, and it is a look into the life and mind of a neurodivergent person in a way that I haven’t seen in print before. The competing mental and emotional processes that race before and behind every decision, the unruly impulses of stimming and isolation, reading this novel is an experience. It isn’t just moving from point A to point B, but it is offering a portrait of a life from the inside out. A life that is still regularly dismissed by normative society, one that exists in overlapping marginalized identities and yet still finds empathy and kindness as their guiding principals instead of anger or resentment. In the end, I really, really enjoyed this novel. The plot moved along and around the inner experiences of the primary character, which forced me to experience the narrative in a way outside of how I normally experience narrative. On top of that it had a diverse and inclusive cast, one that was proudly other, refusing to let normative society dictate the conditions of their happiness, and it has a novel and interesting take on ghosts, and ghost-human relationships/responsibilities, one that is different than I have seen before. I will say that from a conventional literary point of view there are places to nitpick the novel. The plotting seems out of balance, and sometimes it seems like there are too many characters, an information overload. Plus, the way the major conflict emerges and is dealt with seems almost rushed, an afterthought. So, if you find yourself bound by normative presuppositions of how speculative fiction should “work,” and your enjoyment of a novel hinges on that kind of normative/expected literary experience, then parts of this novel may fall flat for you. That’s okay, it takes all kinds. But if you are interested in the idea of experience-as-narrative, and you’re interested in what it may be like to see the world through the eyes of a neurodivergent queer person who happens to not only be able to see ghosts but also lives in a house that serves as a sanctuary for ghosts, a sanctuary for those most forgotten and most discarded, then you will find a world of riches in this novel. I want to thank NetGalley and Robot Dinosaur Press, who provided a complimentary eARC in exchange for an honest review.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Aja! (The Overall Showman)

    I received an advanced digital review copy for free from Robot Dinosaur Press through BookSirens and I am leaving this review voluntarily. Let it be known that it pains me to rate this book less than four stars. It has everything I want in a book and more: my favorite trope (found family), a diverse set of characters, a neurodivergent MC and side characters, nonbinary characters, queer characters, supernatural abilities, and ghosts. And yet. And yet it fell flat for me. Please know that this revi I received an advanced digital review copy for free from Robot Dinosaur Press through BookSirens and I am leaving this review voluntarily. Let it be known that it pains me to rate this book less than four stars. It has everything I want in a book and more: my favorite trope (found family), a diverse set of characters, a neurodivergent MC and side characters, nonbinary characters, queer characters, supernatural abilities, and ghosts. And yet. And yet it fell flat for me. Please know that this review is fully subjective and your experience could be different! The house is full of people and it is full of ghosts. It is a world where we live separately and together. Sanctuary follows Morgan, an adult living with their girlfriend Araminta, and some of their friends. Living in an old massive house full of ghosts, they all made it their goal for their house to become a sanctuary not only for the ghosts but also for each other. After a collection of ghosts were brought to their house in need of a sanctuary, they are faced with challenges rooted in centuries back. I love the dynamics between these characters. They are not conventional, and I guess neurotypicals could find themselves annoyed at their relationship dynamics because they would not understand it, but I loved it. It does seem kind of idealistic, and I found myself wanting this sort of connection, which brings us back to how this book does its job of providing a safe space for queer and neurodiverse readers as well. However, I found the individual characterization stiff and two-dimensional. A few chapters in and I started struggling to continue. This book features a huge set of characters and they are all named, both living and ghosts alike. My problem is that the way they are introduced—or not because some of them suddenly just got casual mentions—could lead to confusion for the reader. The transitions between settings seemed very abrupt and rough at times too, which is another factor to that. The main conflict didn't start until later on, and the event that triggered it—however heavy—seemed lackluster to me. Because it's character-driven and dare I say very introspective, the climax appeared to be quiet and slow. I have mixed opinions about it because I did love how the characters interacted and worked with each other but I dreaded how low the stakes felt. Reading the action scenes felt like watching a strangely written flashback in the middle of an anime fight scene, where the idea goes somewhere else entirely, taking us out of the moment instead of letting the sequence flow and allowing us to feel for the characters more. This may appeal to other readers, but I fear it's not for me. Ultimately, I do appreciate the heart of this book. If one looks at this symbolically, it's easy to see that the way this book is written—away from the cis-heteronormative, ableist, racist, classist society—is, by itself, a representation of its title: a Sanctuary. Had I connected to any of the characters and felt for them more than I do, this would have been my new comfort read. Who knows, this could be yours if you give it a try! This is being released today and I'd say check it out to see what you think. I'd still recommend this if you're a huge fan of a found family trope that features queer individuals, want to read an authentic neurodiverse representation, and want to read a fresh, character-driven take on ghost stories. Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Ko-fi | Carrd

  17. 4 out of 5

    Marlene

    I received an ARC of this book through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. First, the positives. I was astounded at how much diversity there was in this book. There was plenty of representation for characters of color, characters who were neurodivergent, characters with disabilities, and LGBTQ+ characters. I loved the setting of the dilapidated haunted house inhabited by a found family working hard to renovate it and take care of themselves and the ghosts, and the care they all had for ea I received an ARC of this book through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. First, the positives. I was astounded at how much diversity there was in this book. There was plenty of representation for characters of color, characters who were neurodivergent, characters with disabilities, and LGBTQ+ characters. I loved the setting of the dilapidated haunted house inhabited by a found family working hard to renovate it and take care of themselves and the ghosts, and the care they all had for each other and their respect for each other's differences. The author had an interesting take on ghosts and hauntings and explored the concept of ghosts in a way I haven't seen before; namely, the question of how to best treat ghosts humanely since they're sentient but far enough removed from the living that it can be difficult to communicate with or interact with them. Unfortunately, there were too many aspects of this book that detracted from the story. One of my main issues was that the characters could get preachy with messages that are valid and should be addressed in real life but were out of place in the way the characters talked about them in the story. A good example is when Keira and her brother are caught inside the house and Vinnie (I think it was Vinnie) goes on a tangent about why they won't be calling the police because of systematic injustices in the police system. Fair--but that whole explanation seems to be more for the reader's benefit and not something anyone would actually take the time to explain in the moment to someone they were upset at for breaking into their house. There are other similar situations where characters explain their takes on social justice issues more for the benefit of the reader than for each other. In the way they're presented, they pulled me out of the story. There are some other details in the story that could have been eliminated in order to tighten it up. A couple of the living characters have supernatural abilities like telekinesis, which is barely addressed. It does come up a little more towards the end to help the protagonists, but for the most part feels out of place. Also, the fact that (view spoiler)[ Morgan is related to the ghost eater (hide spoiler)] doesn't end up to be all that relevant to the story and is another distracting, odd detail that could have been left out. There are also some continuity errors that could be easily fixed (and might be when the final version of the book is released), like when the family decides to meet with one of the ghost hunters and it's mentioned specifically that Saeed isn't there, only to have him chime in in the conversation just two pages later. There are also odd skips in time where Morgan is one place doing one thing, and then is suddenly in another place doing something else, without a transition. This book had a great premise, some cool ideas and a diverse cast and I was ready to enjoy this book, but the execution was lacking and I couldn’t justify giving it more than 2 stars in the end.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Maggie

    Please note: This is my honest review from my copy provided by Netgalley. The final book may have changes since the time of my reading. 2.5/5 This book had everything that should make me like it, a spooky old house and main character with supernatural powers? Sold, right? Sadly, the tropes fell super flat for me. The most interesting parts of the novel weren't explored enough. All of the human house inhabitants are autistic along with some other neuro-divergent social anxieties - which is all fin Please note: This is my honest review from my copy provided by Netgalley. The final book may have changes since the time of my reading. 2.5/5 This book had everything that should make me like it, a spooky old house and main character with supernatural powers? Sold, right? Sadly, the tropes fell super flat for me. The most interesting parts of the novel weren't explored enough. All of the human house inhabitants are autistic along with some other neuro-divergent social anxieties - which is all fine, that was one of the things I most enjoyed about the main character (Morgan, her name is only said maybe only about three times, so I often forgot who I was reading out). Anyway, with all the intricacies of each character, I still was never sure who I was reading about and why. How did this found family find one another? Are they only friends because they understand one another, would they be friends if they weren't in the circumstances they were? There was very little depth to their actual relationships with one another outside of them not being neuro-typical which is reminded to the reader numerous times but never shown to us. There is absolutely no chemistry between Morgan and Araminta and up until the last few chapters you never realize that Saeed is Morgan's best friend, what? They barely interact! And when they do they seem to despise each other. All the relationships, and most of the characters, are extremely cardboard. There isn't a whole lot of dialogue within the book (I get it, they don't like to talk to each other much) so many of the chapters is the main character thinking about things that don't really matter, theories about other people's feelings or past, their day-to-day lives which are usually repeat tellings of them doing laundry, spending time alone and the main character generally feeling nauseous all the time and telling us about it. There was some spooky ghost stuff but the action happened so far apart from each other that I lost interest again quickly. It felt that that whole book had ADHD and didn't know where it was going which I appreciated in the beginning, thinking it was written with Morgan's train of thought but it couldn't keep me following, it was too disjointed (ah get it, Saeed?) It was also riddled with typos and grammar issues, it could still use quite a bit of editing. The sentence flow was odd which again, I thought was intentional but it didn't hit the mark for me.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Liz (Quirky Cat)

    Before I begin my review, I want to take a moment to talk about this cover: it is gorgeous! I'm in love. Seriously, if there was a print available for this beauty, I would buy it in a heartbeat. Moving on, Sanctuary is the latest novel by Andi C. Buchanan, though it is the first book I've read by them. We've heard of foster homes for imaginary friends, but what about a sanctuary for ghosts? That is what Morgan's home has become. However, Morgan is not the only...living occupant within this home Before I begin my review, I want to take a moment to talk about this cover: it is gorgeous! I'm in love. Seriously, if there was a print available for this beauty, I would buy it in a heartbeat. Moving on, Sanctuary is the latest novel by Andi C. Buchanan, though it is the first book I've read by them. We've heard of foster homes for imaginary friends, but what about a sanctuary for ghosts? That is what Morgan's home has become. However, Morgan is not the only...living occupant within this home. In total, there are four of them. Each has reason to feel like they don't quite fit in with society. Perhaps this is why they opened their hearts and home to the lingering and lost spirits. After all, what is the point of finding a sanctuary if you aren't willing to share it with others in need? However, one day a shipment will change this perfect balance. Sanctuary was such a delightful change of pace – and that's coming from someone who's read a fair amount of ghostly novels as of late. Sanctuary has something so unique that it's hard to put my finger on it. If you love novels full to the brim of characters and personality, then the odds are good that you'll love Sanctuary. This book has so much of both. There are at least a dozen notable characters (most likely more – I didn't take the time to count). Not everyone likes that many characters, so it feels relevant to mention it earlier in my review. I wouldn't have minded more time to get to know the characters. I know that this wouldn't have been possible for all of them (not without it turning into a multi-novel series), but at least three or four of them. By the end of the book, I knew a lot of them only a little bit. Which, for this novel, is perfectly fine. I just feel like it could have been more. I absolutely adore that this book is primarily made up of LGBT+ and neurodivergent characters. It made their home feel like, well, a home and a sanctuary. It also helped make the novel feel that was as well – make it feel like a sanctuary. Thanks to Robot Dinosaur Press and #NetGalley for making this book available for review. All opinions expressed are my own. Read more reviews over at Quirky Cat's Fat Stacks

  20. 5 out of 5

    leo

    One thing about me is that I am an absolute sucker for the found family trope, and despite this being established from the beginning, it was still such a joy to read about the relationships the residents of Casswell Park shared. Each character in this book was well fleshed out, and we got a vast amount of representation including; an entire cast of neurodivergent characters, transgender and nonbinary characters, disabled characters, lesbian characters, queer characters, Black characters, and a S One thing about me is that I am an absolute sucker for the found family trope, and despite this being established from the beginning, it was still such a joy to read about the relationships the residents of Casswell Park shared. Each character in this book was well fleshed out, and we got a vast amount of representation including; an entire cast of neurodivergent characters, transgender and nonbinary characters, disabled characters, lesbian characters, queer characters, Black characters, and a South Asian character. The shared experiences that these characters had made for a loving and understanding environment, with each character having a clear understanding of the boundaries and needs of the others. This isn't to say that the group was completely perfect - arguments were had as in any family, but they worked through those easily. As for the plot, it was an interesting one. Casswell Park is not only home to our cast of humans, but to a cast of various ghosts too. These ghosts - unlike how they're usually portrayed - aren't tethered to where their death occurred but can move from location to location, choosing to tether themself to a building should they wish. When an old man arrives with a collection of glass bottles and the information that they contain ghosts within them, the residents of Casswell Park devise a plan to free them from their confinement - slowly so as not to overwhelm the current ghostly residents of their home. What ensues after this is a mixture of spooky happenings and some bad decision-making. Overall, I really enjoyed this read. The strongest point of this book from me was definitely the characters - they're well written and feel incredibly real, and at times are very relatable. The plot was interesting and moved at a good pace, and I especially loved the chapters where we followed Isobel, as the insight they gave to the story was a nice touch, and they helped set the plot up pretty well. My only criticism would be that (view spoiler)[the fight at the end of the novel felt a little long and at times I struggled to visualise it (hide spoiler)] but other than that, everything was great! [ARC provided by NetGalley.]

  21. 5 out of 5

    Bea

    This book drew me in for several reasons, an amazing cover that just pops, hearing it heavily focused on queer characters, neurodivergent characters, disabled characters and of course plenty of supernatural circumstances had me wanting to pick it up in an instant. I love how much the author focused on making this book such a safe place for queer and neurodivergent people, representation is so important and there is honestly not enough of it in more mainstream published books. However, I did feel This book drew me in for several reasons, an amazing cover that just pops, hearing it heavily focused on queer characters, neurodivergent characters, disabled characters and of course plenty of supernatural circumstances had me wanting to pick it up in an instant. I love how much the author focused on making this book such a safe place for queer and neurodivergent people, representation is so important and there is honestly not enough of it in more mainstream published books. However, I did feel for much of it she made the characters who personalities just about those specific parts of their personalities and didn’t develop the characters as well as they could have, this may just be an annoyance of mine though, it may not bother others. I really liked the take on ghosts in this story, a great little way to make them unique to this authors interpretation. I won’t say more about them as I don’t want to spoil it but it was well done. I felt the book had such amazing potential, but it fell a little short in terms of a plot that flowed well, and the interactions between the various characters. I found all the characters quite likeable, but the lack of any real growth for any of them meant the story felt a little flat. It’s like I was getting more snippets of a story as opposed to a fully fleshed out tale. All in all I enjoyed it well enough but it’s probably not one I would pick up again unless I knew it had gone through a revision and had a bit more chunk added to the story to flesh it out a bit more. 2 ½ stars bumped up to 3 for Goodreads. I was gifted a digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review by NetGalley.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    Morgan’s home is also a sanctuary for ghosts and both humans and apparitions have existed peacefully together side by side. But when a bunch of bottles containing ghosts is left at the house, the subsequent releasing of the trapped ghosts unleashes a force that threatens the existence of everything in the house. I absolutely loved this book. Morgan was a wonderful narrator, and I really appreciated their viewpoint on autism - it was really interesting to get an inside view, and it was fascinating Morgan’s home is also a sanctuary for ghosts and both humans and apparitions have existed peacefully together side by side. But when a bunch of bottles containing ghosts is left at the house, the subsequent releasing of the trapped ghosts unleashes a force that threatens the existence of everything in the house. I absolutely loved this book. Morgan was a wonderful narrator, and I really appreciated their viewpoint on autism - it was really interesting to get an inside view, and it was fascinating to see how they experienced different things. Found family is also a trope I enjoy, and I loved the idea that this group of people (who were on the fringes of society for a variety of reasons) had found each other and a space to coexist in peace, even if things were difficult at times. A wonderful diverse group of characters, but their differences weren’t the whole sum of their personalities. The story was slow paced, but that didn’t mean it was slow. The balance between what was going on inside the house with the ghosts and the day to day existence of a neurodiverse person living in a world that pushes them out at every opportunity was really well done, and I liked how the book didn’t brush over the traumas that the people in the house had experienced due to their gender identify, sexuality, neurodiversity, or physical limitations/disabilities but it also didn’t focus on those - there was joy to be found as well. A beautiful, lyrical book where every sentence has a reason for being there. I’m absolutely insisting all my friends need to read this! I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sarah (Bright & Bookish)

    3 Stars This is the story of a group of people who for a variety of reasons are excluded by society at large and have found a sanctuary in an old mansion filled with ghosts. When someone drops off a bunch of bottles, each with a ghost inside, the delicate balance of their lives is disrupted and they have to come together and fight for their safe place. This book didn’t exactly hit the mark for me. I loved that pretty much every character was neurodivergent and that there was a ton of diversity, di 3 Stars This is the story of a group of people who for a variety of reasons are excluded by society at large and have found a sanctuary in an old mansion filled with ghosts. When someone drops off a bunch of bottles, each with a ghost inside, the delicate balance of their lives is disrupted and they have to come together and fight for their safe place. This book didn’t exactly hit the mark for me. I loved that pretty much every character was neurodivergent and that there was a ton of diversity, disability rep, LGBTQ+ rep, etc. but we spent so much time learning about each of the characters that the actual plot was underdeveloped. The plot was also full of plot holes and the end was incredibly confusing and just strange. Also, the ghosts didn’t feel like ghosts, they just felt like more characters who couldn’t talk and wandered through walls occasionally. I can appreciate that the author wanted to explore the idea of consent and what it means to treat people with respect and dignity even when they can’t advocate for themselves, but I don’t think the plot of having a nefarious ghost makes sense if this is the idea that you want to explore. Overall I think if you are feeling desperate for good representation of marginalized groups and don’t mind if the plot is a little bit nonsensical than this might work for you. (A vlog discussing this book will be going up soon on my YouTube channel, Bright and Bookish, check back here for the link). Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing a free eARC in exchange for my honest review.

  24. 4 out of 5

    AuntieYorgaReads (Laura)

    I received an advance review copy of this eBook for free from the author and BookSirens, and I am leaving this review voluntarily as a courtesy. An old dilapidated mansion full of ghosts that serves as a sanctuary for a group of queer and neurodivergent folks who have to come together to save their house from a malevolent "spirit" let loose from a Victorian bottle? Yes, please! The world needs more books like this one! Not only are the characters and storyline likable and engaging, but the queer I received an advance review copy of this eBook for free from the author and BookSirens, and I am leaving this review voluntarily as a courtesy. An old dilapidated mansion full of ghosts that serves as a sanctuary for a group of queer and neurodivergent folks who have to come together to save their house from a malevolent "spirit" let loose from a Victorian bottle? Yes, please! The world needs more books like this one! Not only are the characters and storyline likable and engaging, but the queer and neurodivergent representation is also quite refreshing. I loved just about everything about this book. There were so many times when I could relate to how certain characters were feeling and the respect and compassion between them made my heart super happy. Honestly, that's how I felt throughout the entirety of the book and I was smiling at the end! To be honest, I wanted more! The only downsides to the book were that I really wanted to get to know the characters more deeply and read about more of their history. I also wanted to know how all the ghosts felt after the climax of the book! I almost wish this book was longer to allow for more, OR that it was the beginning of a Sanctuary series. This one was a feel-good read for me all around. I would definitely recommend it, not only to my queer and neurodivergent friends but to others who would know more about people they may not totally understand.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Tabatha Wood

    It’s no secret that I am a fan of the author’s work, and I was delighted to receive an ARC of SANCTUARY for an honest review. The premise pulled me in from the start: a queer, neurodiverse found-family plus ghosts ticks off all my favourite things, and from the very first chapter I was hooked. The pace and progression is very good and the descriptions were excellent at painting a unique image of the house and its unusual occupants. I thoroughly enjoyed the style in which it is written and while It’s no secret that I am a fan of the author’s work, and I was delighted to receive an ARC of SANCTUARY for an honest review. The premise pulled me in from the start: a queer, neurodiverse found-family plus ghosts ticks off all my favourite things, and from the very first chapter I was hooked. The pace and progression is very good and the descriptions were excellent at painting a unique image of the house and its unusual occupants. I thoroughly enjoyed the style in which it is written and while initially the inclusion of multiple characters seemed a little daunting at first, I very quickly had a clear idea of who everyone was and their motivations. I loved how the different voices and timeframes were weaved together, and I felt a strong connection with a number of the characters across the book. It was truly delightful to see these character traits that are often misrepresented or fleeting, celebrated and explored in a way that wasn’t forced or sugar-coated; just different people who see the world in different ways coming together and supporting one another. I thoroughly enjoyed SANCTUARY and found the story both compelling and joyous to read and I would recommend it highly, especially to those who know first-hand how life changing and affirming found-families can be to marginalised individuals. A fabulous novel.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Andrea

    The (extremely necessary) content warnings are very helpfully at the start of the book when you open it, but not in the description here for readers to see before they click in and decide they'd like to read it. So I'm including them here: From the author’s content note at the beginning: “Sanctuary includes physical violence and injury, suicide both completed and attempted, self harm, loss of a sibling, imprisonment (outside the state system), and magical control of a person. There is also discus The (extremely necessary) content warnings are very helpfully at the start of the book when you open it, but not in the description here for readers to see before they click in and decide they'd like to read it. So I'm including them here: From the author’s content note at the beginning: “Sanctuary includes physical violence and injury, suicide both completed and attempted, self harm, loss of a sibling, imprisonment (outside the state system), and magical control of a person. There is also discussion of emotional, physical, and ableist abuse of young people, including through therapeutic and educational systems. Several characters experience difficulties relating to ongoing illness including physical pain and anxiety. A scene in which a character’s creative work is destroyed is deeply linked to trauma. Some characters have had negative experiences with police and the medical system, and others fear these. This leads to avoidance of medical care, and discussion of possible negative outcomes. There is mention of racism and other oppressions, and briefly of slavery (in a historical context).” And then literally the first words in the actual book are: “The ghost of Henrietta Casswell (died in childbirth,” …..which is exactly when I closed the book again. I received an advanced copy for review

  27. 4 out of 5

    Ken Foxley

    This book took me by surprise. I didn't know what this was about going into it and I was pleasantly surprised by how the author wrote the characters. There was so much representation in this, different characters who all have different neurodivergent characteristics. Autism, ADHD, ADD, anxiety, depression, disabilities, physical or otherwise. I found the ending extremely wordy when they were fighting the ghost eater. But at the same time, the main character wasn't much of a talker either. They c This book took me by surprise. I didn't know what this was about going into it and I was pleasantly surprised by how the author wrote the characters. There was so much representation in this, different characters who all have different neurodivergent characteristics. Autism, ADHD, ADD, anxiety, depression, disabilities, physical or otherwise. I found the ending extremely wordy when they were fighting the ghost eater. But at the same time, the main character wasn't much of a talker either. They communicated a lot with text messages or writing things down and no one gave them crap for it. I think it had to be wordy because the character themselves did not really speak. I give this 4.25 stars just because I felt like the ending was too rushed. Half the time I didn't really realize what was happening. How do you fight a ghost that is taking over humans? How do you take the life force of a ghost that makes it fade faster? Maybe I don't know that much about ghosts after all, or this is just someone's take on ghosts and how they respond to their environment and live through time. But overall I did enjoy it! I love that this wasn't your typical "ghost story" but rather how to get along with them and live among them.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Sue Wallace

    Sanctuary by Andy C Buchanan. Morgan’s home is a sanctuary for ghosts. The once-grand, now dilapidated old house they live in has become a refuge for their found family. From Morgan’s partner Araminta, an artist with excellent dress sense, to Theo, a ten-year-old with an excess of energy, to quiet telekinesthetic pensioner Denny, all of them consider this haunted house their home. In a world that wasn’t built for their queer, neurodivergent selves, they’ve made it into a place they belong.Togethe Sanctuary by Andy C Buchanan. Morgan’s home is a sanctuary for ghosts. The once-grand, now dilapidated old house they live in has become a refuge for their found family. From Morgan’s partner Araminta, an artist with excellent dress sense, to Theo, a ten-year-old with an excess of energy, to quiet telekinesthetic pensioner Denny, all of them consider this haunted house their home. In a world that wasn’t built for their queer, neurodivergent selves, they’ve made it into a place they belong.Together they welcome not just the ghosts of the house’s former inhabitants, but any who need somewhere to belong. Both the living and the dead can find themselves in need of a sanctuary.When a collection of ghosts trapped in old bottles are delivered to their door, something from the past is unleashed. A man who once collected ghosts – a man who should have died centuries before – suddenly has the house under his control. Morgan must trust their own abilities, and their hard-won sense of self, to save their home, their family, and the woman they love. I really enjoyed this book. Couldn't put it down. Great story and characters. different. 5*.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Shelby

    I liked this book and found the premise pretty interesting. The main issue I had with it was that it read like a sequel where you already know the characters. There wasn't enough exposition for them, and it had the unfortunate side effect of reducing what seemed like excellent characters to their disabilities/neurodivergence/queerness and a handful of quirks. However, I feel like I still got a good sense of them despite this. I also felt like there were a lot of unanswered questions at the end, I liked this book and found the premise pretty interesting. The main issue I had with it was that it read like a sequel where you already know the characters. There wasn't enough exposition for them, and it had the unfortunate side effect of reducing what seemed like excellent characters to their disabilities/neurodivergence/queerness and a handful of quirks. However, I feel like I still got a good sense of them despite this. I also felt like there were a lot of unanswered questions at the end, which could just be set up for a possible sequel, perhaps? There were some grammar issues, but they didn't take away from the story too much. As a whole, I really enjoyed this. I liked Morgan as a main character, and I enjoyed how empathetic and compassionate the whole book was. I've never seen ghosts framed in a disability rights light, so seeing "ghost rights" as a huge part of this novel was incredibly compelling.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    George’s home is a haunted mansion in need of repairs but they find it a safe haven to live in. They have become a family including the ghosts who live there. In a world that wasn’t built for them, they have a home. Their special abilities separate them from the “normal” world. They welcome anyone who needs a sanctuary. However, they suddenly have a man who have lived years collecting ghost who has taken over the house. Is it still a sanctuary? The author has written a novel that reminds me of ho George’s home is a haunted mansion in need of repairs but they find it a safe haven to live in. They have become a family including the ghosts who live there. In a world that wasn’t built for them, they have a home. Their special abilities separate them from the “normal” world. They welcome anyone who needs a sanctuary. However, they suddenly have a man who have lived years collecting ghost who has taken over the house. Is it still a sanctuary? The author has written a novel that reminds me of how quickly people are afraid of something different than what is consider the norm. I liked the story but at times found it lacking something. I can’t honestly say what but that is the reason I am giving it three stars. Is a good story. Disclaimer: I received an arc of this book from the author/publisher from Netgalley. I wasn’t obligated to write a favorable review or any review at all. The opinions expressed are strictly my own.

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