Book Review

Book Review: Small Spaces (Small Spaces #1) by Katherine Arden

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Middle Grade Horror
Length: 218 pages
Author: Katherine Arden
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Release Date: September 25th, 2018
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

New York Times bestselling adult author of The Bear and the Nightingale makes her middle grade debut with a creepy, spellbinding ghost story destined to become a classic

After suffering a tragic loss, eleven-year-old Ollie only finds solace in books. So when she happens upon a crazed woman at the river threatening to throw a book into the water, Ollie doesn’t think–she just acts, stealing the book and running away. As she begins to read the slender volume, Ollie discovers a chilling story about a girl named Beth, the two brothers who both loved her, and a peculiar deal made with “the smiling man,” a sinister specter who grants your most tightly held wish, but only for the ultimate price. 

Ollie is captivated by the tale until her school trip the next day to Smoke Hollow, a local farm with a haunting history all its own. There she stumbles upon the graves of the very people she’s been reading about. Could it be the story about the smiling man is true? Ollie doesn’t have too long to think about the answer to that. On the way home, the school bus breaks down, sending their teacher back to the farm for help. But the strange bus driver has some advice for the kids left behind in his care: “Best get moving. At nightfall they’ll come for the rest of you.” Nightfall is, indeed, fast descending when Ollie’s previously broken digital wristwatch, a keepsake reminder of better times, begins a startling countdown and delivers a terrifying message: RUN. 

Only Ollie and two of her classmates heed the bus driver’s warning. As the trio head out into the woods–bordered by a field of scarecrows that seem to be watching them–the bus driver has just one final piece of advice for Ollie and her friends: “Avoid large places. Keep to small.” 

And with that, a deliciously creepy and hair-raising adventure begins.

NO SCARECROWS FOR ME.

Wow this was SPOOKY for a middle grade read! Had me shivering a few times at the absolute creepiness of those scarecrows. Hard NOPE. I will not be hanging around a corn maze or pumpkin patch after dark, better believe that.

This was a good book though. A quick audio book read that kept me interested and worried for all involved. It was an interesting tale and strong characters. I enjoyed Ollie. She really fit the middle school narrative (in a good way). Ollie was coping with loss, friendships and finding a way to take on the fear in front of her.

It’s fast-paced and reminds me of why I love Arden’s writing [if you’re new here, The Winternight Trilogy is one of my favorite series EVER]. I will happily keep reading anything she publishes and this is no exception. An eerie atmosphere with budding friendships really brought this book home. I have definite plans to continue this series!

Overall audience notes:

  • Middle grade horror
  • Language: none
  • Romance: none
  • Content warnings: minor bullying, loss of a loved one, grief and depression

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Book Review

Book Review: The Temporary Roomie (It Happened in Nashville #2) by Sarah Adams

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: Contemporary Romance
Length: 286 pages
Author: Sarah Adams
Publisher: Self-Published
Release Date: April 1st, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

What happens when you have to play nice with your greatest enemy? Revenge.

Drew Marshall may have let me move into his spare bedroom while my house is being renovated, but don’t think for one second his kindness comes without strings. Big, ugly, fake relationship strings.

That’s okay, though, Dr. Andrew. I’ll agree to your terms, move into your house, and act like
your girlfriend when the big day comes; but I also plan to make your life miserable—make you pay for what you did to me.

I may not be good at forgiving or forgetting, but I’m excellent at getting even.

Get ready to laugh until you cry with this sizzling, hilarious, closed-door romantic comedy!

NO SURPRISE, I LOVED IT.

Sarah Adams has officially become an auto-read author for me. I want all of her books all of the time. Adams books just make you feel GOOD. They’re not high drama, high intensity. They’re full of things to make you laugh (of which I did), swoon a bit (of which also happened) and have a fantastic time reading.

I’ve never read a pregancy trope contemporary romance. As my first one I can say I really loved the way it all played out. I didn’t know quite how the storyline would work but the journey Jessie and Drew went on was perfect. I love that this doesn’t have some huge conflict that causes a break-up. There’s honest conversations, raw emotions and genuine desire.

There’s even some more tropes you might love!! Enemies to lovers, only one bed, and fake dating. You can clearly see how easy it was for me to love it. The chemistry was FIRE. I cheered for them the entire time.

And that ENDING. I teared up. It was BEAUTIFUL. Not exactly how I imagined it and I didn’t care one lick. It was even better. I loved it. Adorable, memberable, and so very tender and sweet. I love Drew. I love Jessie. I love that this had the cutest happily ever after.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary romance
  • Langauge: none
  • Romance: kisses to implied closed door scenes
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: partner abandonment, loss of parent

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Book Review

Book Review: Lost Roses (Lilac Girls #2) by Martha Hall Kelly

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Historical Fiction
Length: 432 pages
Author: Martha Hall Kelly
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Release Date: April 9th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

The runaway bestseller Lilac Girls introduced the real-life heroine Caroline Ferriday. This sweeping new novel, set a generation earlier and also inspired by true events, features Caroline’s mother, Eliza, and follows three equally indomitable women from St. Petersburg to Paris under the shadow of World War I.

It is 1914 and the world has been on the brink of war so many times, many New Yorkers treat the subject with only passing interest. Eliza Ferriday is thrilled to be traveling to St. Petersburg with Sofya Streshnayva, a cousin of the Romanov’s. The two met years ago one summer in Paris and became close confidantes. Now Eliza embarks on the trip of a lifetime, home with Sofya to see the splendors of Russia. But when Austria declares war on Serbia and Russia’s Imperial dynasty begins to fall, Eliza escapes back to America, while Sofya and her family flee to their country estate. In need of domestic help, they hire the local fortuneteller’s daughter, Varinka, unknowingly bringing intense danger into their household. On the other side of the Atlantic, Eliza is doing her part to help the White Russian families find safety as they escape the revolution. But when Sofya’s letters suddenly stop coming she fears the worst for her best friend.

From the turbulent streets of St. Petersburg to the avenues of Paris and the society of fallen Russian emigre’s who live there, the lives of Eliza, Sofya, and Varinka will intersect in profound ways, taking readers on a breathtaking ride through a momentous time in history.

TEAR-JERKER.

I don’t really cry during books, but I tend to tear up to those hard hitting ones. This would be the case here. Oh goodness, Kelly’s books just always hit me in the soul. One of the story lines really had my heart hurting and begging for those last few pages to give me a (what I would consider) hopeful ending. There’s not joyous, happy endings here. But I love that there is a semblance of a light at the end of a tunnel.

This was a powerful story that I immensely enjoyed. I loved that this was a World War 1 setting and took place all over the world. The three leading ladies had me cheering for their hope and rescue and also spitting mad at other times. I felt drawn into their lives and the paths they were being forced to walk.

I love that this is a “prequel” book and that the next book in this series will be even further back. The research and love that clearly went into this book is evident through the beautiful writing and remarkable stories. The storytelling is captivating and poignant. It’s a bit slower than Lilac Girls, but still holds that magnetism to make the pages move by.

Definitely recommend for those who love historical fiction.

Overall audience notes:

  • Historical fiction [World War 1]
  • Language: some
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: see Trigger Warnings
  • Trigger warnings: sexual assault of a minor, multiple instances of sexual harassment, kidnapping, loss of loved ones, incest (half-brother sexually assaults his half-sister multiple times), murder, depictions of war, gun violence

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Book Review

Book Review: Loved Up (Wayfair Witches #6) by A.A. Albright

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Paranormal Cozy Mystery
Length: 273 pages
Author: A.A. Albright
Publisher: Self-published
Release Date: February 9th, 2018
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

For the Wayfair Witches, the romantic season is beginning. Unfortunately, it’s beginning with a murder.

When Nancy Berry is killed during spring celebrations, the reason seems clear to her coven leader. Will Berry believes that Nancy was killed as a threat, to force him to vote the right way in an upcoming election.

But Wanda thinks there’s a far more fiendish reason for Nancy’s murder. She suspects Nancy was killed by the mysterious assassins known as the Dark Team.

Wanda and the gang are closer than ever to tracking the killers down, but they might be about to experience a slight delay …

Because while the romantic season might have begun with a murder, it hasn’t stopped the Wayfair women feeling amorous. Maybe even a little too amorous …

Could there be a love potion at work?

AT LAST.

I was hoping this installment was going to give me some things that I needed to happen to want to continue.

THEY DID. So here I am, still fully invested six books in.

In a simple story line there was a lot to unpack. This focused more on Wanda’s romance life and brought us up to speed on where we all know that’s going. I thought it was quirky with everything happening, making me very happy that this mystery was solved. Because I definitely sat here most of the book going, what is happening?!?

All of the reveals had me dropping my jaw, and also saying, I KNEW IT.

Give me a fabulous ending and I’m reading to follow Wanda onto the next mystery. I love the simplicity of these stories and seriously, the absolute coziness. These fit their genre incredibly well and have become a comfort read I can rely on to have a good time.

Overall audience notes:

  • Paranormal cozy mystery
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses; some innuendo
  • Violence: murder, kidnapping

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