House of Frank

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Pub Date Oct 15 2024 | Archive Date Not set
Bindery Books | Ezeekat Press

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Description

A warm and hopeful story of a lonely witch consumed by grief who discovers a whimsical cast of characters in a magical arboretum—and the healing power of found family.

Powerless witch Saika is ready to enact her sister’s final request: to plant her remains at the famed Ash Gardens. When Saika arrives at the always-stormy sanctuary, she is welcomed by its owner, an enormous, knit-cardiganed mythical beast named Frank, who offers her a role as one of the estate’s caretakers.

Overcome with grief, Saika accepts, desperate to put off her final farewell to her sister. But the work requires a witch with intrinsic power, and Saika’s been disconnected from her magic since her sister’s death two years prior. Saika gets by at the sanctuary using a fragment of a fallen star to cast enchantments—while hiding the embarrassing truth about herself.

As Saika works harder in avoidance of her pain, she learns more about Frank, the decaying house at Ash Gardens, and the lives of the motley staff, including bickering twin cherubs, a mute ghost, a cantankerous elf, and an irritating half witch, among others. Over time, she rediscovers what it means to love and be wholly loved and how to allow her joy and grief to coexist. Warm and inventive, House of Frank is a stirring portrait of the ache of loss and the healing embrace of love.

A warm and hopeful story of a lonely witch consumed by grief who discovers a whimsical cast of characters in a magical arboretum—and the healing power of found family.

Powerless witch Saika is ready...


Advance Praise

“Wow. Just wow. A heartbreaking, magnificent debut that offers space to sit with grief--and reads like a warm hug.” –Rebecca Thorne, bestselling author of Can't Spell Treason Without Tea

In House of Frank, Kay Synclaire balances the expansive experience of grief with the transformative impact of found family in a way that stirred me to my core. I will be thinking about this book for years to come. This heartwarming story is a gift to anyone searching for healing and home. –Meg Hood, Booktok influencer @megstearoom  

House of Frank bravely calls upon the fine line between love and grief, illustrating the complex emotions death dispenses. Kay Synclaire’s writing is full of hope and sorrow, creatively exhibiting the connection formed through communal grief. Brought me to tears. –Deirdre Morgan, Booktok influencer @DeirdreRoseMorgan

“Wow. Just wow. A heartbreaking, magnificent debut that offers space to sit with grief--and reads like a warm hug.” –Rebecca Thorne, bestselling author of Can't Spell Treason Without Tea

In House of...


Marketing Plan

  • Social campaign with over 5M direct reach plus paid promotions
  • National print, broadcast, and online media campaign including radio and podcast interviews
  • Extensive review copy mailings to booksellers, media, and influencers
  • Netgalley and Goodreads promotions
  • NYC launch event with broad influencer and media attendance 

Bindery partners with influential book tastemakers to identify and publish resonant stories. This book will receive continuous prepublication and post launch promotion by book tastemaker Jaysen Headley, named one of the top 5 Booktok influencers in the world with an audience of over 1M followers.

  • Social campaign with over 5M direct reach plus paid promotions
  • National print, broadcast, and online media campaign including radio and podcast interviews
  • Extensive review copy mailings to booksellers...

Available Editions

EDITION Paperback
ISBN 9781959411666
PRICE $17.85 (USD)
PAGES 320

Available on NetGalley

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Average rating from 129 members


Featured Reviews

House of Frank is a cosy fantasy about grief and love and I adored this warm hug of a book so so much.

Saika is grieving the loss of her sister, and travels to Ash Gardens to lay her to rest in the magical arboretum, but struggles to let go, and is invited by Ash Garden’s caretaker Frank (a big fluffy monster who wears knit cardigans!) to stay for as long as she needs, helping around the house, finding a new family and maybe even falling in love. :’)

I loved all the characters, especially Evette and Oli, and thought the pacing and reveals were super well done. I read this book over the span of a couple of days and every time I wasn’t reading it, I was just thinking about how much I wished I was.

I would recommend House of Frank to any fantasy/cosy fantasy readers, and especially to fans of The House in the Cerulean Sea, Legends and Lattes, and The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches.

Thank you so much to Netgalley and Bindery Books for the ARC!

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A big hearted, grief heavy, queer, cozy fantasy that was made with so much love and care it felt like the book itself was a gift crafted by Hilde. I can't wait for this to come out so I can pass it along to my fellow readers. I'll be recommending this to any cozy fantasy fan, but especially those who loved Sangu Mandanna's "The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches" , Emma Mills's "Something Close to Magic" or T. Kingfisher's "Nettle and Bone"

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"House of Frank" is a beautiful debut novel by Kay Synclaire, in which our protagonist Saika is confronted by grief and experiences healing and forgiveness in found family and community. This book is wonderfully thought out, the characters are compassionate, and even though there is no true villain, those who are perceived to be a bit "mean" are treated with empathy. This is a gentle and cosy fantasy filled with bittersweet love from the first page to the last. It wraps you in magic and feels like a warm hug.

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I absolutely loved this cozy queer fantasy about grief. This book will always hold a special place in my heart

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I really loved this quick and cozy story about love and grief. I found the narrative style of having Saika speaking directly to her lost sister added a lot to the use of grief in the story. You can really feel her pain, and see her struggling with her journey through her inner dialogue. I also loved the way the unknown elements of the story unfold themselves naturally, and the reader gets to slowly pick up the pieces as they go along. I always find that much more enjoyable than being spoon-fed the backstory.

This kind of isolated story often feels limiting in how much exploration of the fantasy world and background we get, and while that did feel present here I think the length of the story allowed it to be a minor setback rather than a large glaring issue. It feels like a small bite of a grand world, and that makes it very digestible and focused.

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This was absolutely wonderful. Cozy, heartwarming, magical... honestly, a warm hug in a book. Wonderful portrayal of grief and comforting.

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Such a beautiful exploration of grief, that readers will absolutely connect with. The voices of the characters were real and meaningful, along with authentic character development throughout the story. I loved the setting too, the house and arboretum came alive in my mind. I will be handselling this to those interested in cosy fantasy and diverse representation in the genre.

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I loved this book so much!!! I recommend everyone to read this book asap. I gave it 4 stars. Loved every single second of it.

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House of Frank is the perfect cozy fantasy book that wraps you up in a warm hug and makes you feel ALL of the feels.

Powerless witch Saika arrives at the stormy Ash Gardens to fulfill her sister’s final wish of planting her remains, where she is welcomed by Frank, a fluffy mythical beast who offers her a role as a caretaker. Desperate to avoid her grief, Saika accepts the job, despite being disconnected from her magic since her sister’s death. Using a fragment of a fallen star to cast enchantments, she hides her lack of intrinsic power while getting to know Frank, the decaying house, and its eclectic staff. Over time, Saika learns to reconcile her joy and grief, rediscovering the meaning of love, and healing in the process.

This book just swept me up in its magical world and I just adored my time with it! I read the whole book in one sitting, which is quite an impressive feat for me and speaks volumes about how all-encompassing and engrossing the reading experience was. The characters popped off the page and I felt so connected to their storylines. I was brought to tears multiple times during the book. Multiple times!! I just wanted to wrap them all up in a huge hug, they were just so wholesome.

The romance in the book was also just adorable, so if you like the dislike to love (not really hate to love) trope, this one will give you exactly what you need.

Oh, and if you are a sibling, you are in for a ride. let the tears ensue.

I do want to say that while the book is cozy, it heavily deals with grief. The story essentially follows a cast of characters grieving different losses, so it inherently feels heavy, but with that dash of magic, it balances out perfectly.

If you're looking for something to warm you up in the Fall, curl up with this one. I'm sure you won't regret it.

Thank you NetGalley and Bindery Books for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

Publication date: October 15th

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House of Frank is sort of like being wrapped in a soft blanket. This is peak cozy fantasy. At the same time, it's also heavy; it's about grief, in every aspect. It's the story of Saika, a witch who has lost her powers, and is finally fulfilling her sister's dying wish to be put to rest at Ash Gardens, a beautiful arboretum where the deceased are planted and can become something beautiful. When Saika arrives, she realizes she's still not ready to go, but Frank, the owner, offers her a job. The Ash Gardens are crumbling and need another witch to keep it going, so Saika doesn't mention that her powers aren't exactly working, and she takes the job.
The cast is beautiful. There's Oli, the half-witch who doesn't know her own strength. Phil, the silent but knowing ghost. Evette, a fairy and incredible cook. Cherubs Merry and Morose, who are twins but can't agree on anything. Hilde, the empath, Ignatius, the engineer. And Frank, who is just trying to hold Ash Gardens together in the wake of his wife's loss, trying to keep her memory alive by carrying on her life's work.
It's definitely character driven; at times, it can be slow and dense. As I said, it's heavy, but it's beautiful. It's absolutely worth it.

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This is a book that those walking through grief need to read, one that will wrap them up in a world that they will feel a little less alone in. This is a cozy fantasy but definitely a heavier one as it tackles some harder topics such as grief and loss. If you love TJ klune, and found family . Pick this one up.

Thanks to netgalley and the publisher for the ARC!

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You know you are in for a tear jerker when the main character is mourning her sister, and is carrying her ashes with her, as the story opens.

Saika has lost her sister, but we dont’ know any details, other than she is a witch, as is her family, and that in this world that is quite normal. She is a music witch, and she was asked by her dying sister to have her ashes put in the Ash Garden, where the remains will be used to grow magical trees.

But Saika isn’t ready to let go, so Frank, who is some type of mythical furry creature with horns, offers to let her stay, and work, until she is ready to bury the ashes. Everyone else who works at Ash Gardens, Saika learns, also came when they lost family members, and never left.

Although this is a sad book, there is humor. There is also a mystery. We know that something happened, we just don’t know what, or how.

And certainly there are lots of things to be sad about, throughout the book.

I enjoyed having my heart played with. Because there was such beauty in everyone, from grumpy elves to cherubs to other witches. We even have dreams that are trying to tell Saika…something.


Thanks to netgalley for making this book available for an honest review. This book will be published the 15th of October 2024.

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Overview
This book is sad, heartfelt and so beautiful. The author's love for the story and the characters just vibrates off the page. House of Frank is filled with magic, mystery, love and grief - it's almost overwhelmingly beautiful. The author portrays the sense of grief in a deep, heart-breaking way that feels so, so real. I'm not going to lie. I cried reading this. It's just beautiful.

Characters
This is one of those rare books where my favorite character was actually the main character, Saika, but honestly, it was a tough call, because I love the entire crew of Ash gardens. (Especially Frank, Phil, Oli, Merry, Morose, Evette, Bee and Ignatius 😄) Each one of them adds to the story in their own way, each one of them has their own burden to bare, yet they still manage to love each other more than anything. House of Frank is the ultimate found-family story. Not to mention that the cast of characters includes pretty much all the colors of the rainbow. 🌈

Plot
House of Frank read as cozy fantasy to me, yet it certainly had a story to it. I absolutely adored how Saika gradually uncovering the hidden secrets of the house and its inhabitants - and even herself. There was zero info dumping, (much appreciated ❤️) When I found out something about, say, the characters, it felt earned. (And trust me, there's a lot to find out.)

What did I love the most?
How the book proudly stayed true to itself until the very end, no matter what.

Anything I didn't like?
A few overused phrases. Occasional over-explaining. I could've used more worldbuilding. But that's honestly just me being a wannabe-writing professional.

Favorite quote?
"I trust you with my pain. I trust you with my heart. It's all I can give to you."

Similar books?
TJ Klune: Under the Whispering Door (Close similarity)
TJ Klune: House in the Cerulean Sea (Same type of crew of characters)
Travis Baldree: Legends and Lattes (Similar concept)
Maja Lunde: History of Bees (I don't know, just had the same, beautiful vibes)

Final thoughts
I predict a very, very bright future for House of Frank. For anyone who loves found family, uncovered secrets and sad, beautiful stories - this is for you. From now on, I will constantly recommend House of Frank (meaning I won't shut up about it) and I just feel really blessed to have been able to read it before publishing. It is truly a ride.

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Thank you to Netgalley for the ARC! This was a heartbreakingly beautiful story of love, loss, grief, and healing. I felt such a strong connection to the characters and I cried many times. Highly highly recommend.

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This novel is a gentle hug. Thank you NetGalley and Bindery Books for sending this egalley in exchange for an honest review! What a warm, cozy fantasy about a witch's grief, about the piece of Saika that passed, her sister Fiona. This book confronts that pain and the journey that follows. What I loved about this piece, apart from the found family element, was Saika's second person address to Fiona. This thread continues throughout the book, and it greatly expresses Saika's struggles with greif, love, and loss. I did, however, want to explore that aspect even more. I would highly recommend this book to cozy fantasy lovers, especially if you're looking for something healing, something comforting. 3.5 / 5.0 ⭐️

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Thank you so much for the opportunity to read and review this book. I absolutely loved it! I will be posting my review on Goodreads.

Reading this book was such a beautiful experience. Every character was so unique and their relationships with each other were intricate and wonderfully written. I’m truly in awe of how Kay managed to capture such complex emotions and share them in such whimsical and tender hearted ways. 5 out of 5 fallen stars ⭐️

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Thank you to Net Galley for the opportunity to read this amazing ARC!
I just knew I would love this book. The queer, found family, fantasy mix just really hits home every time.
The House of Frank is a beautiful story and truly a five star, must read.
The only thing that confused me a tad was the “you”, however, it just took some getting used to and made complete sense for this story.
Overall, amazing read!

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What a precious book.
It gives a whimsical look at grief and grappling with loss with carefully crafted lovable characters.
It’s cozy like a warm cup of tea or hot soup when you’re sick. I hope others find this as healing as I did.
Thank you NetGalley for the ARC.

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With all the bravado and emotional gusto of Howl's Moving Castle paired with the coziest of cozy fantasy settings, "House of Frank" is a force to be reckoned with; a no-holds-barred looking glass into which readers experience the true depths of grief, and the lengths people will take to cope with even an ounce of the darkness that grief thrusts upon us.

Each character, from Saika to each of the wonderfully diverse cast of creatures at Ash Gardens, holds a fragment of grief in different ways, manifesting in messy character choices and flawed internal rationalities. This is a story that doesn't ask for you to look BEYOND grief to see the person within, instead gently guiding readers (and Saika) to look at how grief works in conjunction to molds the person you see before you. So while Saika initially makes some dubious choices that had me questioning her morality and sense of justice, her growth as a character shines brightest as she opens up to the family at Ash Gardens, and vice versa. Most of all, I absolutely adored how the plot revolved around the found family/platonic love aspect between all the characters, and how, even though there is a sliver of romance, it doesn't monopolize the greater story of family that the book offers.

Beyond the characters, the world-building of the story is intricately detailed, while remaining light enough to cushion readers in the "cozy" aspect of this cozy fantasy. I loved all the glimpses into the greater world Saika and Oli's character offered to the story, and every aspect of the group's trip to the city felt so purposeful in expanding the world.

My one and only criticism is that I wish the book had offered more in-depth physical descriptions of the characters themselves, specifically Saika and Frank, both which I struggled a bit to picture in my mind. However, the lack thereof did not hinder my total enjoyment of the story, and I would still give this story my highest recommendation for all those who love cozy, queer (sapphic!) fantasy stories.

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This book has everything I'm searching for in a novel - magic, found family, and queer stories. As an added bonus, it also tackles grief in a way that was heartwarming and easy to digest. While it's easy to get swept up in the idea of magic and a special arboretum, the underlying need for our MC to confront her grief and begin healing is still present. It would be easy to let this consume the whole book, but the author still found moments for levity and knew exactly when to play into the magical components rather than the real-world connections.

I was unfamiliar with the author prior to this book, but I loved this and would definitely read more from them in the future.

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Thank you, NetGalley and Bindery Books. This book was so lovely!! Ash Gardens is a magical resting place for witches run by Frank. Saika is a powerless witch who comes to Ash Gardens with the remains of her sister to grieve and mourn. But while she is there as she puts off the ceremony to bury her sister, Saika learns more about Frank and the other mythical creatures who live and help run Ash Gardens. This book is a sweet story about grief and learning to be yourself and letting go. I can't believe this is a debut novel. I loved this and will definitely be on the lookout for more from this author in the future.

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The way this book is about to become my entire personality. I immediately connected with this author from the humor on the pronunciation page.
It's a beautiful story of loss and grief and finding your new place in the world. I love the way that it's written in a way that it seems like you are the sister who has passed. It's full of amazing representation and one of my favorite tropes, found family. I loved it from page one and was in tears by the end.

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This genuinely messed me up & had me sobbing on the floor. So so so so beautiful, I will treasure it forever and cant wait for the release!

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Very imaginative and cozy story, with a huge take of a found family and dealing with grief. Perfect for fans of The house in the Cerulean Sea.
4 stars

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This is a great, grief-centered cozy fantasy novel, though it wasn't quite for me (because the focus on grief was a little more than I prefer in my 'cozies', whatever genre they may be). I'm so glad this is going to be out in the world, and I know so many people will love and feel affirmed by it.

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Wow. If I could have only one book to read for the rest of my time , it would be this wonderful, heart warming novel. I absolutely loved it and it was exactly what I needed for this much dreary time of life. The world is a cold place these days, and this was the warm hug I needed to make me have hope in this world again.
Such a beautiful story. So , I will definitely be following this authors work

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I don’t often read sapphic stories, but I’m certainly glad I read this one!

Saika has a past full of heartbreak. She has arrived at Ash Gardens to inter he’s sister’s ashes. What she finds when she arrives is a magical house full of amazing characters.

This is a great story for lovers of the found family trope. It is beautifully written, and a joy to read. Sai’s growth and healing are comforting.

In this story you will encounter a mythical beast, a fairy, witches, cherubs, and more. It’s a great story for fantasy lovers!

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Thank you to netgalley and the publisher for the arc of this book. This is a cozy fantasy book that deals with the topics of love, grief and loss. I really loved the main characters journey of dealing with the loss of her sister. This story has a quirky cast of supporting characters that make the story even better. The setting of the story enhances the story being told and not just a background to it. This story drew me in and once I got about a quarter of the way through the book, I could not put it down. I recommend giving this book a read.

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I loved this book with a passion (and an amount of tears) that I was honestly not expecting. I just loved everything about it. The cover is stunning, it really captures the vibes of the story without giving anything away. And it’s just so beautiful. The characters feel extremely real and are all so so lovely. I really truly and deeply cared about them and their friendship with one another, and I found the sheer kindness of their actions, so powerful that bleeds through most of the pages of this book so heartwarming. All within a plot that is unexpected and an approach to grief and loss (two of my biggest personal triggers) that is oh-so-refreshing. Definitely a five stars read.

Normally, at this point I would summarise the plot, but I think the less you know the better it is, so I’ll tell you a story instead. It’s a bit of a long and winding story, but bear with me. My mum has this body oil that she would bring on vacations. It’s a friction oil (I think that’s what they are called in English), which you put on your legs or your arms after having done sports to soothe muscle pain. We would use it after days walking in new cities, and it would really help getting our legs to feel light again – and to be useable the day after. She calls it “the magical oil”, because what it does is “it finds the spots within your muscles where you are (going to be) most sore, and then it acts specifically there.” You know it because you feel a cooling sensation only in specific parts of your legs. Now, letting along the fact that this is EXACTLY how this oil feels, I cannot find better words to describe the experience that reading House of Frank was for me. Going through the pages really felt like a sort of balm was coating my heart and my memories, finding precisely the points that were ‘sore’ and just healing them. I felt parts of me glow after I finished the epilogue.

In the last few years, only two other books have had this effect on me: Light from Uncommon Stars by Ryka Aoki and A Psalm for the Wild Built by Becky Chambers. House of Frank is NOT a read alike for either, but the sensations that it leaves you with are absolutely comparable.
Reading this book was such a joyful and cathartic experience to get through. I had to force myself to read it at a leisurely pace (like over two days instead of one setting), because I just wanted to tear through it but the language, the feelings, the plot, and the characters needed to be savoured.

I really really really can’t wait for it to be out. I honestly can’t wait to get my hands on a hard copy and reread it, maybe even a bit slower than I did this time. Oh, and I can’t wait to see the fan art that I am sure will flourish after this book hits the shelves.

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House of Frank is a sweet and cozy story about grief and self-discovery. The main character, Saika, was a wonderful conduit to watch the story unfold- I thought the way that her grief was portrayed felt very true-to-life, and reminded me often that grief never grows smaller, but that our lives grow around that grief and make it easier to carry. The found-family aspect of this book was also really gratifying- the characters were unique and memorable, and all dealing with their own stories in different ways- I was excited to learn more about each of them and discover how they fit into the fabric of the house. I particularly loved Phil the ghost, and thought he was a really fun addition to the house. The magical aspect was also well-done; I liked the explanation of it and how it added to the overall story, though it might have been interesting to understand more about it and how it worked. I don’t think this is really a negative- the story is really cozy as is, so it wasn’t pressing that I needed to know more or anything, but I thought that the magic system that Synclaire was building was interesting!

At times, it was difficult to connect with Saika’s voice- sometimes she would fall into repetitions and spirals, and while those are understandable since we’re dealing with a story about grief, they did sometimes disconnect me from the story. In addition, I wasn’t sure how I felt about Saika relaying her thoughts throughout the book to Fiona- at first, I thought it was a sweet addition, but sometimes (and I think this ties in with the spirals) it got to be a little too much for me.

Overall, this is such a sweet read, and it left me feeling hopeful and uplifted; and I would recommend to anyone who’s looking for a sweet read about grief and growing and finding exactly where you belong.

Many thanks to Netgalley and Bindery Books for the ARC copy!

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This book is really sweet: found family vibes, emotional moments; quite reminiscent of the very secret society of irregular witches in some ways except sapphic and with the addition of exploring grief. I think it lands somewhere around a 4 star for me: there were some moments with the love interest in the beginning that had me rolling my eyes HARD (think overly grumpy mad at the world cringeyness) and then a few moments in the middle that I could tell were supposed to be grand emotional reveal type things that just didn’t hit me quite perfectly. BUT the ending really wrapped it up so well and left me feeling all the things. Overall a lovely read! So excited for it to hit the shelves- thank you to Netgalley and Bindery for this eARC

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Such a good book! Saika was a great main character. And all of the people she meets at Ash Garden are compelling in their own ways. Saika arrives in a rain storm to bury her sister’s ashes yet finds she can’t part with her right away. She stays to help around the house making friends with everyone and bringing us into their stories. Everyone was well written.

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Currently ugly crying my eyes out at 2:30 in the morning as I write this... oh god. Oh my lord. When I heard of this, and requested it on Netgalley, my first thought was oh, is it gonna give House in the Cerulean Sea/Under the Whispering Door vibes? And it did, but better. I almost don't have the words to describe how I feel about this book but hands down it is easily one of my most favorite books this year in total.

It was so painful seeing how Frank suffered throughout the book. I get the metaphor that was being made with his character. Everyone here suffered, and it was sad knowing that everyone there lost someone. It was an honest and accurate depiction of how everyone deals with grief differently. Some go mad, some lose themselves, some clam up, some get angry. Everyone reacts different, and I think it's important to know and make the distinction, but also to know that everyone is still loveable despite losing a big part of their lives and personage.

I loved how everyone's story was highlighted, at least a bit. Some, more than others, like Phil, and Hilde, but I think their stories were important and lent themselves to the overall narrative, in order to push the plot line along, or to showcase who they really were at the core of themselves behind all the oohs and aahs of it all.

I laughed, I swooned, I gasped, I cried. House of Frank took me on a rollercoaster of emotions, and it is hands down a beautiful, sad, lovely book.

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I had a real good time reading House of Frank. Would definitely recommend. Frank was my favorite character!

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oh i am in shambles, this is lovely. The main focus of this novel is healing from grief: how different individuals deal with it, how incessantly every single one of them go through each stage of it, and how important community is while grieving.

House of Frank is a story told from the point of view of Saika, a witch who is grieving her sister Fiona's death. Saika subsequently switches from regular storytelling to direct address, talking to her dead sister Fi every chance she got.
She brings Fi's ashes to Ash Gardens, where you bury your dead's ashes and they grow into trees. Saika had put this task off for the longest time because she couldn't bear officially letting go of Fiona. She went on adventures and travelled everywhere for a long time before she could face the task of burying Fi.

Saika never found out why Fi wanted to be buried in Ash Gardens, only that she did. And in there, she doesn't bury Fi's ashes right away. She puts it off, again.

And it's easy for her to, because Frank makes it abundantly clear that there's no need for her to rush through the process, and that she's free to wait for however long she needs to be ready to bury her sister.

There in Ash Gardens she meets others like her: witches, ghosts, beasts, cherubs, etc., all brought together in the same house. Eventually Saika finds out that this is a house needing help--something that she's all too willing to give.

So she does! She buries herself in work, and does everything else except bury her sister once and for all (':

In the time she spends doing so, she finds love (platonic and romantic) and re-ignites the love she has for her sister in the process.

This book tackles heavy themes for sure, but they were all handled with care.

I finished reading this during Pride month so WOOHOO Happy Pride Month to all the characters in this book--the found families depicted here resemble many found families we have out here in the queer, queer wild.

Thank you NetGalley and Bindery Books for the ARC!

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If you want a book to pull at your heart strings this is the one for you! House of Frank is possibly one of the best debut novels I’ve ever read.

We follow Saika our main character on her journey to lay to rest her sister Fi’s ashes after Fi requested to be planted at Ash Gardens in their magical arboretum.

This story is so heavily filled with grief but don’t let that put you off, despite the hard topic and theme this story is so utterly cozy, it feels like a warm hug.

For a debut novel I’m pleasantly surprised at how well this was written, it balanced the conversation of grief with light hearted banter and a beautifully written sapphic romance that felt natural and had me kicking my feet in the air, giddy. I also loved the diversity of all our characters!

Saika’s story is beautiful, the friends she makes (of the mythical kind) and the relationships she builds are heart warming and really bring the whole thing together. Her character was thought out and realistic and I instantly felt connected to her and her loss and will to keep the one she lost close.

This book is about loss and found family, it’s about magic and the cost of loving something so much but also being able to let go to move on and grow.

I’ll stop rambling before I spoil this beautiful book but please just read it for yourself because it definitely deserves the love!

Thank you to NetGalley, the publisher and the author for this arc!

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A fantastic book. Entertaining…witches, cherubs and more. I loved it and it had a much deeper course running it through it. I will think about it for a while . Thank you to #netgalley and the publisher for an ARC.

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House of Frank is a wonderful debut novel by the amazing Kay Synclaire. It is a story about grief and the process of healing while struggling to find your own self again. It has tropes and themes like Family, Sacrifices and Love. It’s a story that I believe everyone can relate to and find solstice in.

Initially I had to adjust to the point of view and Synclaire’s writing BUT once I did I really think it added to the emotions. Being a part of the story makes you feel as if you are there instead of spectating and I think it adds another level of whimsicalness and magic.

I loved the romance, its sapphic and all heart warming. Since its pride month no one is allowed to critique me when I say… Oli give me one chance. I have the biggest crush on her and no one is allowed to bully me.

The last 40% had be audibly gasping and laughing, I definitely got sent through a wave of emotions but things all worked out for the best, it was painful and unfair but real and I loved that. It’s just a beautiful example of the lengths people will go to to save and hold their chosen family dear.

Thank you NetGalley for early access, Kay for writing this and the team of people that helped support it enough to get it into my hands.

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A comfy, melancholy, whimsical tale of grief and found family.

3.75 ⭐ , rounded to 4 ⭐

Told through the voice of Saika talking to her dead sister Fiona, we experience everything along with her. How do I explain that I was so sad but in the cosiest way possible? I felt like grief and I were passengers in Saika's story, how Saika, grief and I came to Ash Gardens and how we watched it evolve into the beautiful House of Frank. I deeply loved the world that Synclaire constructed and the range of personalities that made the story. Oh how I wish I could meet all of these gorgeous characters! Hilde was a particular favourite of mine, as well as Phil the friendly ghost. This story felt cathartic and explored grief in so many ways, stretching and pulling in different directions, showing how it impacts people so diversely.

Also, as an illustrator working in books, how could I not include my love for the cover art? That's what grabbed me in the first place! Illustrator Barry Blankenship did an incredible job. 10/10 no notes.

I think what could have been improved was the narrative structure and overall storytelling. A few major plot points would be revealed but it would feel slightly anticlimactic, or a scene would end quite abruptly. With some narrative editing, this would definitely be a 4.5, or even a 5 from me!

Thank you to NetGalley for providing me an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review.

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Perhaps arriving at closure a little quickly, this book introduces us to a fascinating set of magical and mythic personalities while reflecting on how we help one another grieve and live with grief. I appreciated the range of responses to loss that the book depicts as well as the different kinds of loss, recovery, and regret that can distance us from ourselves and others. This book is a delightful addition to modern fantasy that has all the whimsy of magic while having the people in a magical world cope with otherwise very realistic and human-scale problems. Look out for capably handled queer and trans representation which are present without being the focus of the book.

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ARC Reviewer!

Wow. House of Frank is emotionally powerful. I love the representation of queerness and found family.

Saika, a witch with a secret, has to keep her promise of laying her sister, Fiona, to rest at Ash Gardens. This was her sister's dying wish and something Saika has put off for a while. She arrives and is greeted by a beastly Frank who treats her with kindness even though she didn't call ahead and was just dropping in. Saika slowly meets all of the staff of the house including Oli (a half witch), Phil (a ghost!), Hilde (an architect witch), Evette (a fairy!), Merry and Morose (two twin cherubs), and eventually Ignatius (a half elf). Each has their own role in keeping Ash Gardens afloat while a mysterious string of strong storms threatens to reduce the building and all the beautiful trees and plants around it to rubble. Saika struggles to find it in her to lay her sister to rest and instead decides to help out around the house until she is ready. Will the team be able to keep the house from crumbling or even find out why? What is Saika's secret and will it be the key to saving the house?

I could not pull myself away from this book. Kay Synclaire writes so beautifully and it was such a stunning story. I would recommend this book to anybody who wants to feel all of the feelings about death and family and what that means for you. I can't wait to read more from this author. Thank you to Net Galley and Bindery Books for providing me with this opportunity.

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3.75 rounded up.
Saika travels to Ash Gardens to plant her sister's, Fi's, ashes. The staff include two witches (one part gargoyle), two cherubs, a light fairie, an elf, a ghost, and a beast named Frank. Saika is struggling with laying her sister to rest, while trying to hide her own failing power, but she's not the only one with secrets.

Things got off to a slow start, but this grew into a somewhat cozy, melancholy fantasy story. The melange of magical beings reminds me of The House in the Cerulean Sea with the business akin to Under the Whispering Door; I think fans of TJ Klune will enjoy this book. Though it's handling some heavy topics (death, some suicidal ideation, losing loved ones) there's a strong theme of found family and some joyful moments. There's a range of friendships and queer relationships

Thank you to Bindery Books / Ezeekat Press for an ARC on NetGalley. All opinions are my own. This book is due to be published 10/15/24.

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Saika, a witch, grieving the loss of her sister and keeps her promise by bringing her sister’s ashes to Ash Gardens and Arboretum. Saika rides the train with her sister's ashes and walks to the gardens in a storm. When she arrives, she notices two cherubs eating fruit and talks with them before knocking on the red door. Frank, a gentle beast in a beige knit sweater wearing reading glasses answers the door. He convinces her to stay the night since the weather is too bad for her to leave. She decides to stay on as an employee to have more time with her sister's ashes. The story is both grief-filled and cozy, making it a must-read. Warnings: grief, death of a child, suicide, and mental illness

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This was exactly as advertised: cozy fantasy about dealing with loss, grief, and sometimes survivor's guilt. Please do check out content warnings beforehand but this book deftly deals with heavier topics like deep grief in a very wholesome way: via a found family and characters who help each other and heal slowly together.

The fantasy here is almost incidental. There are cherubs, one of which is delightfully crass and grumpy, witches, beast persons, dragons, and even ghosts. I appreciated the light touch on the magical system and the variations between general witches (nature witches) and specialised witches who studied that specialty. Saika is a deeply sad but very likeable protagonist and the non-obvious source of her shame and regret is not hard to work out before the reveal. What matters is that we can feel how much Fi was her "second half" and without her sister, Saika is just wandering the world, bereft and incomplete.

I also enjoyed how well all the supporting cast in the house are, from a silent ghost to a fairy who loves to cook to a flirty half-demon witch. Each of them has their own circumstances and history but is bound by the comfort the Ash Gardens give to those who are grieving through their ceremonies and it's honestly moving as we get to know each of them.

Simply put, this was a wholesome and moving book about loss and I would recommend it to anyone who likes cozy fantasy.

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This is a low stakes cozy fantasy novel, which is also not super long, so a very good first step into the fantasy genre! It covers grief in a thoughtful and beautiful way, and the characters are just amazingly well written. I might have put it as young adult though, instead of adult fiction.

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If you are looking for an intro into fantasy, this is the perfect book for you. This short, low stakes fantasy novel covers grief in such a beautiful way. I connected with each of these characters and want to live in The House of Frank. The development of the characters is so thoughtful and well rounded that you can’t help but fall in love with each of them.

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What a beautiful melody entangled with grief, love and magic.

Now this is a book that wraps you in a warm hug on a stormy night. I truly loved it and devoured it. Saika is mourning the loss of her sister. She had tried everything to avoid her feelings and coming to terms with her loss. That is until she takes a step towards The Ash Gardens. But she finds much more than she bargains for. This book is full of hope, found family and secrets.

I was quickly lost in the words of this book. The author did a beautiful job creating characters to love and relate to. Each reader will find a bit more inside this book than just another fantasy read. They will find a little piece of themselves. I truly wish we had a place like this in our world. But maybe we do we just have to open our eyes to those around us to find peace for our grieving hearts.

Don’t forget to wish upon a star you never know when that wish will be heard.

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This was such a beautiful cozy fantasy. Fans of Legends and Lattes will love House of Frank. I enjoyed all the representation in the book! It is a great read about grief, found family, and perseverance.

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eARC provided by Netgalley. Thank you!

I was first introduced to The House of Frank, written by Kay Sinclaire, from ezeekat, a TikTok and Instagram content creator I follow. This is the first book he acquired to publish by Bindery Books and I’m honored to be able to read it.

This novel is more than just a cozy fantasy novel. It is a journey of grief and self healing. It is about living, laughing and loving. It is about found family. It is a letter written for the dearly departed.

If you’ve ever lost someone, you can feel the anguish and heartfelt emotions conveyed by the main character Saika. It feels like you’re the only one suffering, but soon you come to terms with reality and that you can rely on others to help you through the tough times and find light in the darkness.

The cast of characters are diverse, with cherubs and witches, and mythical creatures. There is some queer romance in this as well, though not the main point of the story.

And as the title of the novel is called, it is about the house of Frank. A wonderful resting place for those who have passed on, and what a wonderful thing Frank does for those.

I would highly recommend this novel, to those who have lost a loved one in their life.

5/5 stars.

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I thought this was beautiful, and I definitely shed some tears while reading. This was a lovely cozy fantasy that dealt mainly with the topic of grief. The found family storyline was deeply touching and well done. I'm not normally a fan of a second person narrative, but I thought it really worked for this book!
The pacing of this story was perfect and the character development was just superb. I ended up loving every single character in the end.

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This book was a good read. While flawed, the characters were all loveable (or at least relatable) & you really wanted everything to work for the House of Frank. I enjoyed this story about friendship, family and the toll grief takes on us all.
I would like to read more about the characters & their stories that brought them to the House of Frank.

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An equal parts cozy and heart-wrenching read, this soft fantasy book is all about an eclectic group of people who have found each other through grief. What I loved about the book is its honesty on how grief transforms us, how we can become people who are just rather awful to be around or make drastic decisions when the world seemed to have crumbled around us due to loss. Every character, including our protagonist, Saika is flawed and deals with their personal losses in their own ways.

And the diversity! We have various queer representation, characters of various fantasy races, socioeconomic backgrounds and histories. For a book with such heavy themes, it felt like a comfort every time I read a chapter or so before bedtime, and I felt incredibly seen as someone who hasn't completely healed from losing someone even after more than a year.

Thank you Bindery Books, the author and NetGalley for the advanced reader copy. I leave this review voluntarily.

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Thanks to Bindery Books for the digital Advanced Readers Copy!
When Saika’s sister passes her one request is to be planted in the Ash Gardens but years pass before she can bring herself there to finally say goodbye. This book has a crew of characters that have all either lost someone or something. As you travel with Saika she learns the Ash gardens could use more help than it’s getting so she takes on a task that could save everything but if she fails it could all fall apart. I enjoyed this book as a view of grief and the journey it takes you on and how healing is not in a straight path.

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a very cozy fantasy about grief and love -i did get teary eyed so please purchase tissues. I wish I had the correct words to discuss this book, but it felt like a warm hug on a rough day, and i will think about it for a very long time. I cannot wait to purchase this book.
5/5 stars

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House of Frank is a delicately crafted story exploring grief and healing as Saika, a witch lost in her grief after losing her sister, begins processing how to finally honor her sister’s wish to be laid to rest (“planted”) in the magical arboretum of Ash Gardens. When Saika arrives and agrees to help out around the large estate in exchange for a place to stay - and in turn prolong the time before she completes her sister’s wish - she begins to unravel the many secrets and mysteries of Ash Gardens, the other residents, and herself.
For me, this was a beautiful story not so much about coming back to yourself, but about discovering and learning to embrace fully living as who you are NOW.


Thank you to NetGalley and Bindery Books/Ezeekat Press for this ARC in exchange for my honest review.

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This one's for the queer fantasy lovers.
A pretty cozy, magical, warm book-- a Sapphic romance with grief at its core.
The story is about death, love, and found family, with positive queer representation.

I appreciated the unique/grumpy characters-- elves, a mute ghost, bickering cherubs, a half-witch etc-- the setting and message.

For fans of The House on the Creulian Sea.

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This does not read like a debut novel. This is the first book from Jaysen or Ezeekat's imprint with Bindery and it was equal parts cozy and heart wrenching. I went into this story somewhat blind, and I appreciated it so much so I won't go into too much detail. This follows the main character Saika, and she is dealing with the loss of her older sister. Her sister Fiona's final wish was to be planted at Ash Gardens.
When she gets to the estate she meets a cast of characters that are so unique and lovable. This story is about grief, holding on to those you hold dear and the struggle of moving on with life without wanting to move on without them. It's crazy how life comes full circle, l've been following Kay since her journey writing this story, before Bindery's Pitch Fest when she tasked herself with writing this book in 30 days. I had a similar loss to the main character last year, and she was one of the people who reached out to make sure that I was okay. And just like her reaching out felt like such a kind gesture, this felt the same but even more so. People need this story. Beyond how unique the characters are, there are so many different kinds of love. This is truly a precious book. Jaysen couldn't have chosen a more perfect story, I understand why he fell in love with it, I fell in love for the very same reasons. I highly recommend.

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Grab your tissues while finding your life in this book. Kay has brought forth this heartwarming tear-jerker that is sure to keep your interest and grow your empathy. For Saika life has been no crystal stair, but she has decided to stop running from her obligations. At Ash Gardens she finds more than she bargains for in more ways than 1. I enjoyed this book, it pulled my heart out and squeezed it til there was nothing left. I laughed, I loved and I found my way within the lines of the House of Frank. Grief shows itself in many forms, how you come out on the other side or even navigate thru it is what matters most. Know that you don't have to be alone.

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This was a touching story about grief and the sacrifices we are willing to make after losing the people we love. There are so many lovable characters in this story. It was a good, comforting read that had me feeling reflective on grief and love. I’d recommend it to fans of TJ Klune and the like.

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I am a sucker for witch stories and found family. This book has them both. I really enjoyed this story and am considering it for a future read aloud for my grade 3 class.

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house of frank a fantasy driven book about a lonely witch consumed by grief which then journeys to to a place where she discovers a whimsical cast of characters.

first and foremost, i would like to give the author a round of applause because they have outdone themselves with this book! it kinds of remind me of “hotel transylvania” (the movie) as well as “the house in the cerulean sea”. but the major difference this book has for me is how well written it is!

it was sad, funny, courageous, and everything in between! i absolutely loved the characters and the main character all the most. the plot was well paced, it wasn’t rushing anybody and it just kind of lets the characters move on their own. ALSO!! *ahem there’s sapphic romance !! EVERYONE CHEERED !!!!*

definitely a great read if you are into found family and wholesomeness <3

despite every lovely detail, i gave this a 4.75 star rating because i was actually finding a bit more coziness to the story. although yes, it was cozy and wholesome but it was also really HEAVY at most times. so definitely watch out for that! overall a fun experience <3

Thank you so much to NetGalley for this wonderful ARC and for the author who kindly allowed me to review this book <3

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Don't let the harmless cover fool you - this is an incredibly sad book, exploring grief, sorrow and trauma on every single page, and I don't think I've cried this much reading a book in a long time. I'll include some other Content Warnings at the end of the review as well, but please go into this book forewarned that it is a heart-wrenching depiction of bereavement, which may be challenging for some readers (particularly those with recent experience of loss themselves).

I loved so much about this book, from the brilliant queer representation, to the heartfelt moments describing how people survive the many different forms that raw grief can take. It explores how people cope with loss (losing loved ones and losing themselves) and how they find support & love with each other - it's truly lovely to read, just also rife with tragedy.

I felt some of the characters deserved more in-depth explorations of who they are now, not just ticking off "what was your loss" one-by-one and then never addressing it again, but I still really enjoyed them all. The main character Saika's development and growth was good - I found her lack of self-awareness and empathy difficult to connect with at first, but she won me over by the end. And honestly I am all for a flawed MC, particularly when so many of their flaws likely have genuine justification like processing trauma (as Saika’s do).

I would say this is a great debut novel that I would highly recommend - and many thanks to NetGalley and Bindery Books for sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review, I'm so glad I got to read this fantastic book! - and I'm keen to see what else Kay Synclaire has in store for us.

Content Warnings for those who find them useful:

**SPOILERS BELOW**

- Bereavement and grief (throughout), including bereavement by suicide
- Sexual harassment & predatory behaviour by a man in a position of power (multiple instances - described briefly as a recollection, not depicted in detail)
- Suicide (mentioned, not depicted, and not described in any level of detail at all)
- Terminal illness

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On the surface House of Frank is telling a story of loss, grief and found family with a side of teasing, tender love that develops slowly.

Looking closer, this book may be a warm hug for those who mourn and try to find their way back to life. Like Under the Whispering Door by T.J. Klune or the animated movie Up by Pixar, it deals with the topics of loss of loved ones, the going on adventures to fulfill promises, the feeling of loneliness and the search for a new anchor.

The cozy fantasy setting and the slow pace may not be everyone's cup of tea but to me it was exactly what worked in this setting. I think this book is precious for what it does and Kay Synclaire's writing is beautiful and makes you feel perfectly welcome in the House of Frank.

Thank you to Bindery Books, NetGalley and Kay Synclaire!

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House of Frank was a book I did not expect to enjoy. Since it was a fantasy novel, I was hesitant to pick it up. However, as I read the book, I discovered it was actually a cozy fantasy which was something I grew to enjoy. The characters were flawed but lovable. They had their own charms that added to the interesting demeanor of the female lead, Saika. It was absolutely wonderful to get to know their stories and the reasons behind their stay at Ash Gardens. It was a lovely read with enough adventure, suspense, and heart to keep you going. The characters deserve a five star rating but, as for the plot, I would have to give it a four star rating overall. It was a wonderful medium paced read that could be improved. I hope this book does well upon its release. It was truly a one of a kind experience to finally dip my toes into fantasy through this book. Thank you for approving my request and I am looking forward to more books to read from this author and publisher.

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**4.5 Stars**

Oh, I loved this so much more than I anticipated considering I requested it on Netgally on a bit of a whim. I love the concept of a cosy fantasy but the few I've read have always fallen flat for me. It seems quite difficult to write a cosy fantasy with enough plot and/or character development to make the story interesting while also not relying on most of the usual fantasy conventions (since within the cosy fantasy genre, the fantasy part is generally just the backdrop). So other cosy fantasies like 'Legends & Lattes' were such a disappointment to me because they wound up being quite boring.

But oh this book did it so bloody well, the story had such heart to it and the fantasy aspect was just a really nice means of delivering the story.

Above all 'The House of Frank' is a story about love and loss, what it means to deal with such deep grief that it changes who you are as a person and how to keep living in the aftermath of such a loss. Our main character Saika arrives at the Ash Gardens to finally honour her sister's burial wishes, however, the prospect of finally saying goodbye is too much for her and so Frank (the proprietor) invites her to stay at the house until she's ready. It is here we meet our full cast of characters, each magical in their own way and each dealing with their own grief.

But when violent storms start hitting the area and the house (and Frank's mind) starts to rapidly deteriorate it becomes clear that the Ash Gardens and the House of Frank are in serious danger of being destroyed and the inhabitants must all band together to figure out what's wrong and save the home they love so much.

Add in a few deals with death, some curses, a pet dragon and a well-done allegory for dementia and we have such a beautifully written story that I think nails the premise of cosy fantasy. I think this story does a fantastic job of exploring grief in a way that isn't desperately heavy but still gives space to the weight and seriousness of the topic.

There is also a romance plot that I really loved, it was fairly well-paced and I really thought the characters were well suited to one another, and it played in nicely with the themes of choosing to keep loving after loss.

Thank you to NetGalley, Bindery Books and Ezeekat Press for an arc in exchange for an honest review.

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this book broke my heart in the best way. full of magic, tenderness, and the reality of grief. i love that this still had cozy elements while having real stakes and characters involved. i'll be thinking about this book for a long time!

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"House of Frank" is a charming debut and a welcome addition to the cozy fantasy genre, handling the subject of grief with nuance and care. Saika is a relatable and heartbreaking character who I rooted for all the way. The family she finds in Ash Gardens is incredibly heartwarming, and I loved every character. The romance in the story is super sweet, yet it doesn't overshadow the main plot. This story had my whole heart from start to finish, and was a rollercoaster of joy, sadness and loving family I didn't want to leave.

This is the first of four Bindery titles being published in October. "House of Frank" was selected by Ezeekat Press, and I highly recommend pre-ordering, requesting it at your local library, and picking it up when it comes out..

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This was a lovely story with themes of grief and found family with a background mystery. I really enjoyed it. There was a bit of a slump in the middle where the story could have been tightened, however still a very good read.

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First, thank you NetGalley for giving me this eARC!

This was a really good cozy fantasy which deals with the heavy topic of grief in such a beautiful way. It's still quite a heavy read, but it feels like the book gives you a hug while taking you through the story. This also has to do with the found family that the main character, Saika, has found. All these characters were so wonderful! They all had their own stories in dealing with grief. One thing I wasn't a fan of though, was the fact that sometimes some of these characters were just forgotten about by the others. I felt like that didn't entirely fit within the found family trope. Another interesting thing about this book, is that it refers to the reader as 'you' and as Saika's sister. While not everyone might like this, I did and found it to complement the story.

Also, it has to be said, the cover is absolutely gorgeous!!

I would definitely recommend this book, especially if you like cozy fantasies such as Legends & Lattes!

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This book felt like a warm cup of tea, a bandaid and a kiss on the forehead. This book is my definition of cozy but with serious substance. It’s beautifully written and addresses grief in a way that’s relatable, soft and kind. Anyone that has lost someone close to them will immediately relate to one or multiple characters throughout the story. It healed something inside of me that I didn’t know needed to be healed. Yes, I cried. The story is warm, beaitifil and heartwarming. I’m so excited to see what else Bindery and Ezeekat Press releases because this was a slam dunk.

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When I think of a comfort book, this is instantly the first book that comes to mind! This has instantly become one of my new favorite books and I cannot wait for others to be able to read this story!

In House of Frank we meet Saika, who is a witch that hasn't been herself since her sister's death 2 years ago, on her way to Ash Gardens to bury her sister. Upon arrival she is welcomed in by Frank who ushers her into the decaying house to get away from a large storm approaching. Frank offers her a room for the night, which she begrudgingly takes until she can hold her sister's ceremony in the morning. When the time comes to bury her sister Saika isn’t quite ready yet to let her go. With the house needing repair Frank offers her a role as a caretaker of the estate. Within the estate she meets other magical beings that help shape the gardens into the safe and comforting place many flock to to bury their loved ones. As the house repairs become more daunting, Saika must decide if she wants to share her magical struggles with her new acquaintances or if the power of the fallen star in her possession will be enough for her to get by.

I gobbled this book up, it was so good! I loved the characters from their (mental) imagery, their personalities and just the welcoming-ness each brought to the table in their own ways. It felt like I was a part of this motley crew and was anxious to see if they were able to overcome the challenges that came their way throughout the book.

Thank you Bindery Books, the author and NetGalley for the advanced reader copy!

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For anyone who has felt washed away from grief, "House of Frank" will envelope you with an embrace that you wished you had in your hardest moments.

Saika is a grief stricken witch who ends up on the doorstep of a magic funeral home, ready to lay her sisters ashes to rest. What she finds is a purpose, found family, and the lengths we will go through in our worst moments.

A cozy and queer fantasy that will pluck your heartstrings without sending you over the edge into an existential crisis. Delightfully queer and full of heart, if you're looking for something akin to Under the Whispering Door, this is your next read. 5/5 stars!

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A story full of magic that takes us along Saika’s journey through grief and the healing power of love, connection, and found family. This cast of characters is delightful as they each reveal their own grief and the ways they’ve come together at Ash Gardens and find a place where they can heal and feel loved while passing that on to the families who gather to plant loved ones in the arboretum. Parts of the beginning were difficult to read as I processed grief of my own, but what a wonderful story and thought that those we’ve loved stay with us and in this world in some form.

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My thanks to Net Galley for the digital ARC.

This book took a while to grow on me but once I spent some significant time with it, I fell hard.

This is the story of Saika, a witch mourning her sister, her best friend. Her sister's last wish was to have her ashes planted in Ash Gardens, a magical arboretum from which a tree would grow. It takes Saika two years before she can even travel there.

Saika has been grieving all alone, but at Ash Gardens she meets other people who bring healing and comfort to the bereaved even as they tend to and hide their own pain. She finds work to do and slowly learns about the community around her.

So much about this book spoke deeply to me and my own experience of grief. At times it was painful to recall, but the vulnerability and truth of Saika's thoughts and words opened a small door into light.

She does grow and change and heal on her own, but her healing is strengthened and deepened as she is supported by and supports her friends.

Some people view fantasy novels as escapism or a way to tune out the "real world," but this novel taps into raw and messy feelings that come from an authentic place. I don't often cry when I think about my sister, but I could cry for Saika and the power of her love and loss. And that's a form of magic too.

Review also posted to goodreads.

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First and foremost, thank you to NetGalley, Bindery Books, and Ezeekat Press for providing me with an eARC for an honest review!

This book, despite any flaws it may have, has become one of my favorite books. I'm always a sucker for an exploration of grief, and The House of Frank does it beautifully. Off the bat, I think my main criticism is that the world does feel like it could use a bit of an expansion, as it feels like this book is set in no particular place or time. At the same time, however, this is a strength of the book, as it allows for the themes and the story to have an ethereal and timeless quality, like many of the myths and legends that involve the creatures and people of the story. It also allows for the characters to take center stage, which is by far the greatest strength of this book. Exploring particular forms of grief, loss, and identity through each character allows for the themes to take on personality and provides a space to connect with them. On top of all of that, this is a beautiful story about the power of found family, and how grief can bring people together. I highly recommend this book!

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I really liked the premise of this book. And once reading it and meeting all the characters it was so nice. Everyonr being so understanding, giving space and time in difficult situations but also still being near and close by to help or be there for the other when they need it is so good. It was a really nice book to read. Not my favorite, but I'm still happy I got the chance to read it.

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Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC!

This was a truly lovely and cozy fantasy novel that deals heavily with themes of grief and loss, but manages to instill real hope and joy alongside it. I was reminded of books like Legends and Lattes and The House on the Cerulean Sea, for the themes of found family, the cast of different fantasy creatures, and the unquestioned queerness. I would highly recommend this book for anyone who enjoys fantasy with a bit of romance and can handle the challenging nature of grief themes. I’ll definitely be looking forward to reading more by Kay Sinclaire in the future!

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There's really not a way for me to describe this book. It's a weird and fun story that just throws it all at the reader: fantastical creatures, witches, ghosts, love, life after death, storms, magic, promises, grief, falling stars, and dealing with loss. Every character here deals with loss, memory, and love in a different way, and they all felt real (whether it be a small cherub or a purple witch covered in tattoos, or a huge beast-man of indeterminate origin).

The one thing I disliked, and the reason I took a star off, was the main character narrating in first person to her sister. It was distracting, and having to read "Fi" however many times took me out of the narrative. But otherwise, great writing, great story, great representation, wonderful feeling when I was done reading.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing an ARC of this book.

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3.75/5 ⭐️ (rounded up to 4 on NetGalley)
Thank you to NetGalley, the publishers, and the author for giving me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Just like many debuts, this book was lacking in a few areas, but was good enough that I can overlook those issues and recommend this book. My biggest gripe was with the pacing being a little off, certain scenes should’ve been cut shorter so others could have been longer and more prevalent. The ending felt a little rushed and I think the book could’ve had a stronger ending if we got another chapter or two, instead of a quick end chapter and epilogue. Also, the spell work from Saika felt a little juvenile, though I’m not sure if that was intentional or not (I do not want to speculate in a review and spoil anything).

However, all issues with standing this book made my grief filled heart full and made me feel less lonely in my grief. I’m incredibly thankful for the space the author created and cannot help but wish the House of Frank was a real place that I could visit and plant my loved ones. As well, the author nailed the found family trope. I absolutely loved the characters in this novel and felt as if I was part of their found family. If you want a book that either feels like coming home or recieving a hug this one is for you!

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House of Frank by Kay Synclaire is a beautiful, whimsical, and heart-wrenching story about grief, trust, and found family. This is Ezeekat Press’s first book published under Bindery Books, a publisher powered by the bookish community, and I was absolutely blown away by the depth and craft of Synclaire’s debut novel.
Like most of the online bookish community, I was very curious about the concept of Bindery where well-known bookish influencers publish books under their own Bindery imprints. This is the second Bindery ARC that I have read this month and so far the calibre of book that they are producing has been far more impressive that most of the new books I have picked up from big publishers in recent months. If this is the path that Bindery continue to carve out for themselves, then the publishing world may look considerably different in the next few years.
In this story we follow Saika who has come to the Ash Arboretum to finally plant the ashes of her sister after two long years of putting it off. Frank (a cardigan-wearing beast who runs the Arboretum with the help of bickering cherubs, a cantankerous elf, a fairy chef, and more) greets her at the door and welcomes her into the safest space Saika’s been in for a long time. Unable to bring herself to bury her sister right away, Saika accepts Frank’s offer to work in the Arboretum until she’s ready. With the help of her new friends, Saika gently peels away the layers of her grief and and discovers that she’s not the only one living with tragedy and regrets. Together, they might just be able to keep the Arboretum running through the constant storms and other obstacles thrown their way.
This world is introverted, warm, and welcoming while still evoking a sense of wonder and awe. If you classify fantasy as ‘cosy’ based on the setting alone, then this is definitely it. However the broader story deals with some potentially stressful and upsetting topics (check the triggers at the front), so don’t pick it up if you aren’t prepared to have your emotions utterly mangled (in a good way).
This story uses concepts that every fantasy fan will be familiar with, and therefore avoids dollops of clunky lore dumping. The characters all follow the classic rules of fantasy: witches fly brooms, ghosts are invisible, and fairies are tiny, tinkly things, but Synclaire still manages to put her own little twist on the magic system without things getting confusing.
The characters are the highlight of the book for me. There’s no shortage of them and they’re memorable and individual and they each bring their own flavours to the rich soup of comedy and tragedy. If you like the found family trope, this story practically wallows in it, as well as grumpy/sunshine dynamics and queer and trans representation. Oh, and there’s a pet dragon too.
Synclaire’s writing binds all these elements together in simple, yet evocative prose in which Saika address her dead sister, writing her letters that she’ll never read in order to process her grief and the circumstances that she had brought upon herself. This choice to write in a partial second-person narrative only adds to the emotion mangling mentioned above. This book wouldn’t work anywhere near as well without this front seat view into Saika’s thoughts and feelings and adds to the intrigue when she hints at elements of her story that she hasn’t been comfortable enough to divulge just yet. We wait patiently with Frank and the rest of the group until Saika is ready to talk, and until then we share family meals, undertake chores, and get to know the motley crew that resides in the Ash Arboretum.
This is a beautiful story for those wanting to explore themes of grief, found families, and the importance of having a variety of relationships in your life. It comes out on the 15th October 2024.

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Thank you to Netgalley and Bindery Books for the arc. I have to start off by saying I have loved every book I have read from Bindery Books and this book is no exception.

This book is cozy, heart warming and a beautiful representation of found family during grief. I really enjoyed reading this on the cozy days I have been spending with my son curled up in our rocking chair.

I loved the characters, especially the dynamic of the cherub brothers. Every character felt detailed and memorable. The representation was wonderful, I loved the chemistry between Oli & Saika. Phil had my heart. This book definitely had me in my feelings for multiple characters and how they each represented different ways of grieving. Saika’s connection to her sister was beautiful and reminded me of the love I have for my own.

This book at its root was an amazing exploration of grief, I usually do not read books that touch on the subject but I felt this book did a wonderful job at it. It felt like a hug, like your loved one tucking you into bed and telling you that everything would be okay. That our loved ones live on within us and different ways we can keep them in our thoughts and hearts.

I will be recommending this to any of my friends wanting a cozy winter read, queer representation, found family fantasy novel with witches, monsters and creatures alike.

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Finished reading House of Frank by Kay Synclaire. I've seen @ezeekat talk about it and when I saw it pop up on NetGalley I thought I'd apply. I didn't really think I'd get it and, honestly, I did no research into the book, past thinking 'oh pretty cover.' Now here I lay with my eyes red and a headache pounding, on the other side. I haven't cried this much since I watched Up.
Reading the blurb, after the fact, I realize the signs were all there that this was a book about grief, but I just blissfully ignored them and proceeded to plunge into a book where I cried almost from page one. Maybe it's just me. Maybe other people will think it's a nice, sweet, cozy fantasy. It is! But it could also wring all the moisture from your body.
It was a great story, well written, and filled with lovely characters, but be forewarned, have a lot of tissues and water on hand. Just in case.
The House of Frank doesn't come out until, I believe, October 15th. So be on the lookout.

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I found this a little too heavy personally to finish right now, but look forward to returning to it when it is released in the fall.

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cozy fantasy at its prime but filled with grief....... i loved it. if you're looking for a book that peers into your soul and reveals fears about losing loved ones, and then hugs you and tells you things will be okay... this is it.
i loved all of the characters and the found family aspect saika discovers in them. i'd honestly die (HA) to be a part of it.

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Themis cozy whimsical fantasy was so beautifully written. Do you have characters such as witches, cherubs, fairies, monsters in cardigans, ghosts and more who are all in various stages of their grief journey. They’re helping each other navigate through that journey and for anyone who’s ever been on that grief journey, this is a must read. I lost my best friend five years ago, and this helped me feel very understood in my journey.

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It's 1am and I am bawling me eyes out over a book. This book reminded me a lot of one of my favourite books of all time (Under the whispering door- TJ Klune) in that it dealt so beautifly with the concepts of grief and loss, as well as friendship, love and life. It's a comforting book that at the same time will completely tear you to shreds, but in an almost cathartic way.

The characters and found family in this book was honestly just so lovely, Each and every character was funny and enjoyable to read about while also being complex and having floors.

This book does cover some very painful topics, but it does so in a beautiful way while holding your hand through the whole journey.

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Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for this eARC!

This book is a warm hug and a genuinely moving story of grief in its many many forms. I struggled initially with the use of second person writing, as it’s not my favorite POV to read, but genuinely grew to like it’s utilization alongside first person to showcase Saika’s processing of her own grief.

There were some elements of miscommunication between members of the house that felt inconsistent with their dynamics and relationships. The biggest being the mistreatment of a dragon left behind by Frank’s late wife. It seems like someone in the house, least of all her husband, would know how to care for her most beloved creature. I also felt at times characters revealed depths of their grief to support Saika’s own processing, but were never given the opportunity within the novel to have it addressed again.

That being said, I did deeply enjoy this book, its queer representation, and its exploration of grief.

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“And I fear I still haven’t let her go.”

“Why should you?” He lifts a gentle brow. “She was a major part of you. Letting go of her would mean letting go of a piece of yourself.”

Cozy fantasy at its core, House of Frank is a book with such lovely depths. Centering around grief and shame, it had the potential to be a completely depressing book… but the earnestness of the characters, the whimsy of this magical place, and the beauty of the found family kept it from becoming so.

The protagonist and the diverse side characters felt relatable, and their reasons for coming together were heartbreaking. I would have loved a bit more to their backstories, because I truly grew to care for each of them. The house and arboretum felt like the perfect blend of solemn and whimsical, the ideal place to lay a loved one to rest after the worst has happened.

Having been dealing with grief on a huge scale this year, this book really spoke to me on how we view and handle death. There was at least one section where I cried out of sadness and a few others where I had tears when it felt like the characters were consoling me.

Some other topics dealt with included finding and accepting one’s true self, treatment of sentient creatures, vulnerability, trusting others with our whole selves, and the lengths we’d go for those we love.

This was a wonderful debut from Kay Synclaire, and I can’t wait to read future books from this author!

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Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

This was a lovely and deeply emotional book that was primarily about all the different ways that grief affects us, and the lengths we would go to get just one more day with a loved one who has passed on. I cried many times while reading this, and if you are interested in books about death/grief then I would recommend this! It is quite unique to anything I have ever read before, especially due to the the fantasy aspect. However, if you are expecting a complex fantasy with a developed history and magic system, etc. then this might not be for you.

The characters in this book are a lovable found family of fantasy creatures who are each dealing with their own grief process. They gave me the warm fuzzies, similar to how Becky Chambers' books do, so if you are a fan of her characters, then you would probably love this too! There was also so much queerness in this book, though I liked that it was not the focus of any character or their trauma, and rather just a small piece of the story for each of them.

I think I only found that Saika was a little unrealistic/chaotic at times, from helping to the point of self-destruction, to her sporadic headstrong behavior, to her too-fast-for-me-personally romance. I couldn't get really deep into her story because of that, although I still liked her and really felt the strength of the connection she has with her sister. Overall would recommend this very touching and deeply emotional book, especially if you have recently lost someone and/or have trouble letting go of people.

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CW: Grief, Suicidal Thoughts, Dementia, Death, Mentions of Past Child Death, Mentions of Past Suicide


3.5 / 5 Stars


This is a book about grief and learning to move on. It's also attempting to be a book about found family, but it's kind of not really succeding on that front, but more on that in a second.

Because the parts where we focused on the loss stuff was done greatly. I have seen people hint at spoiler stuff, so I might do the same as well. It's just hard to talk about some of the things that went down without mentioning Death. Cause Death, is very important for this story, and the consequences of getting touched by Death are too. You might have noticed that I made the effort to spell this a certain way. You might make assumptions based on that. And those assumptions might be very right. The unclusion of death is what makes this book very strong, but the inclusion of Death is also what makes some stuff not so great. Because you'd assume that Death doesn't discriminate, right? Death doesn't care who you are or how much life you've still got to life. He comes and he takes, because that's just how life is, no feeings involved. Death wouldn't gain anything from seeing you suffer, nor would Death gain anything from destroying your home. Why should he? No really??? What would that do? What exactly were we tryin to say, if something like that were to happen in our story? It makes for good stakes. Sure. But if it's just meant as symbolism, to show how deep people will fall in their grief, how intense loss can affect someone, then I'd say it kind of misses the mark a tiny bit. So let's ignore Death and focuss on the emotional aspect of things.
Because everyone in the House of Frank has felt death and loss and pain. It would make for a great found family. Trauma bonding. But some people, like our mute ghost don't get allowed to communicate at all and others are kind of forgotten until the plot recalls their existence. While I didn't mind the sapphic romance, it also asked for a lot of attention and focus, so the rest of the cast got even less page time, resulting in an ending that kind of fits, really. Cause that's what happens when you get so caught up in your own grief, that you forget that other people suffer too. Loss is hard and I love the way it hunts our MC still, even after all this time. It makes her journey exciting to watch. And the conclusiion of her arc a good one. That being said, if the only person you can think of while grieving is yourself, you might miss out on the people in the here and now who are still there and need you, too.

Final Thoughts:
I did like the book overall, I really did. There's just stuff I wished it had done better.

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This is going to be a book that stays with me for a long time. House of Frank is billed as a cozy fantasy, and that is true, but it is mainly a beautiful book written about grief and the variety of ways that people experience it.

It is set in a beautiful, fantasy world and follows a witch dealing with the grief of losing her sister. She finds community in the staff of Ash Gardens, a place to plant a loved ones' cremated remains. At Ash Gardens she meets a witch sea captain, a ghost, a cherubs, a loving beast, and a cantankerous elf.

I had a hard time putting this book down. It is very queer, and a safe space to those who need one, The world/character building was so delightful, but the story itself was a love letter to anyone who is grieving. This is a book that you need to be in the right place to read. It is heartbreaking and deals with every type of loss, but it also gives you the space and safety to grieve.

HUGE thank you to Kay Synclaire, NetGalley, and Bindery Books for the chance to read and review. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Cosy Fantasy
Magic
Found Family
LGBTQ

Reading this book feels like the warmest embrace.

It is a beautiful love story about a witch who loved her sister so much that she gave her power and her youth just to have more time with her before death finally claimed her.
It’s about learning to deal with grief with the help of her new found family who are all dealing with the same pain. Learning to say good bye to the ones you love dearly in your life and to help others say good bye to their loved ones in the best possible way.

Saika’s sister’s last dying wish is to have her ashes planted in Ash Gardens. Saika however has trouble letting go and in her time at Ash Gardens she finds love again in her new found family, all of them going through similar heartache.

If you enjoy cosy fantasy then this is a beautiful book for you.
My heart is warmed and I would read this book again and again.



I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts are my own.
A huge thank you to Netgalley and Bindery Books for this e-arc.

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Thank you to NetGalley and Bindery Books for the ARC of House of Frank! I am always happy to support new authors and I was so excited to read this, as it is being published by one of my favorite influencers. It did not disappoint!! It was such an emotional journey. I cried several times, and don't even get me started on the epilogue. I really fell in love with so many of the characters. I especially loved Phil, and to give so much personality to a ghost who doesn't talk is pretty astounding. It does give "Under the Whispering Door" vibes, but the story feels new and fresh. It does have some flaws, but overall I immensely enjoyed this story. 4.25/5 stars

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What a heartwarming and lovely book. This book gave me all the feels and felt like coming home to a nice warm hug. The pacing in this was perfect and the characters were all so wonderful. I don’t know if cozy fantasy is a genre but that’s what it felt like to me. I really enjoyed it!

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Thank you Bindery books and NetGalley for providing me with an advance copy in exchange for my honest review.

The House of Frank was an unexpectedly poignant and beautiful promenade through the process of grief, love, healing and support. The prose was so heartfelt and touching that it made this book incredibly easy to read and a delight to enjoy. I thought the book was extremely well-written and that the pacing was excellent. I loved the multiple journeys of healing, the growth of the characters and the found family moments. I also loved that the topic of death and grief did not feel overwhelming or heavy. Synclaire did a fantastic job of making the story feel accessible and for me, completely relatable. I've seen others calling this a cozy fantasy and while I agree the vibes are low-key, this book felt like more than what that genre has given me in the past. I guess wherever this book becomes categorized, at it's core, it was warm and kind and full of relationships that are representative of real people and real dynamics, not always perfect, not always present, but always there..

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