Tuesday, October 10, 2023

Mini Thoughts

Hello, all!

Pub Date: 10-10-23
YA - Mystery

Bittersweet in the Hollow- Kate Pearsall: The James women of Caball Hollow were each born with a unique gift. Most call it witchcraft, but Linden often views it as a burden. Her ability to taste the emotions of others has always made it hard for her to interact with people and seemed to ruin her relationship with Cole Spencer. After spilling her deepest secret to Cole, Linden vanished into the forest surrounding their town and was found the next morning, with no memory of what happened. A year later, another girl goes missing in the woods, unlike Linden, who doesn't make it home. When Linden starts regaining some memories of that night, she realizes something dangerous is lurking in the woods, and some secrets should stay buried.

The first thing about this that caught my eye was the cover, but then I read the synopsis and was hooked. This had so many elements that I loved. Creepy small-town setting? Check. A family with generational magic? Check. A murder mystery? Check. Character-wise, I liked Linden and her family a lot. They felt like such a staple in this town, and I liked how rooted they were in the old mountain ways. I thought it was cool how they all had their own ability, but I wished it was more prominent in the plot. I liked seeing Linden unravel the mystery of what happened to her, and how it tied into her family's history. My only complaint was that the pacing felt very slow until the last 15-20%, and then it wrapped up super fast. I still found it enjoyable, and recommend it if you like atmospheric reads.

Rating: 3/5

*Big thanks to the publisher for the copy!

Pub Date: 9-5-23
Adult - Horror

The September House- Carissa Orlando: Once Margaret and her husband Hal stepped inside the sprawling Victorian home on Hawthorn Street, they knew they found their perfect match, and at such a reasonable price. The house was perfect, with a large study where Hal could write his books and a sunny room where Margaret could paint. But then September rolled around, and the walls started bleeding. Margaret and Hal aren't the only inhabitants in the house, and they're terrified of what lurks in the basement. After four years of hauntings, Hal decides he's had enough and leaves abruptly, but Margaret stays behind. But things begin to escalate once their concerned daughter visits, and Margaret decides it's time to take back her house.

I love a good haunted house story, and this was so fun. There were so many macabre elements like bleeding walls, disfigured ghosts, and incessant moaning. I liked how it only seemed to happen one month out of the year so that alone made this story feel different from others I've read. I liked Margaret as a character. She was resilient and strong, and I admired the lengths she'd go for a prime piece of real estate. I found her relationship with Katherine annoying at times (but that could be because I didn't particularly like Katherine), but their mother/daughter bond grew on me by the end. I thought some of the plot was predictable and was a touch campy, but overall, I enjoyed this and think it would be a good read for Grady Hendrix fans.

Rating: 3/5

Pub Date: 10-4-22
Adult - Horror

Such Sharp Teeth- Rachel Harrison: Rory Morris left her small town and all the bad memories attached as soon as she could, intending to never look back. But when her pregnant twin sister needs help, Rory reluctantly agrees to return. After a night out, Rory hits a large animal with her car. When she gets out to investigate, she's attacked and wakes in the woods differently. Rory is now unnaturally strong, with a keen sense of smell and an aversion to silver. She can feel herself changing with the moon, shifting into something powerful. Rory refuses to become a monster or put her family in danger, but will she be able to tame the animal within?

I thought this was a horror story, but it read more like women's fiction. It wasn't necessarily a bad thing, just not what I expected. I liked Rory as a character. She had that dry sense of humor I always appreciated. I enjoyed her relationship with her sister. There's a lot of family drama between Rory and her mom that I thought got brushed to the side, but I get that it wasn't the main focus. I also liked the relationship between Rory and Ian. I think my issue with this was that I wanted more werewolf-y bits. There are a few instances when Rory changes, and there's a cool fight scene at one point, but I feel like it could've been ramped up more. Still, it was a quick read and would be good for the spooky season.

Rating: 3/5

1 comment:

  1. All 3 of these are on my library list, but I'm especially looking forward to The September House! The synopsis of Bittersweet in the Hollow is also what really grabbed me initially!