Christa and several strangers are on a bus to Blackstone Alpine Lodge in winter when they are stopped by a fallen tree across the road. Christa and Kiernan are on the trip so he can share with her the memories he made with his family at Blackstone Alpine Lodge in years past. The two wander off while the other bus passengers work on moving the tree. A storm hits and Christa falls out of Kiernan’s reach. She’s found later by the rest of the group but Kiernan is lost. The group soon discovers that a killer is in their midst when they’re taken out one by one and their heads are displayed on the large tree next to their cabin shelter. Creepy and surrounded in mystery to the very end! 5 stars!
Likes/dislikes: I enjoyed the double layer mystery, the creepiness factor and suspense. I thoroughly enjoyed the twists. Mature content: gentle kisses Violence: R for several bloody deaths by decapitation and heads being displayed on tree branches. Language: PG-13 for 16 swears and no f-bombs.
18 year-old Elwood runs away when he overhears his father talking about sacrificing him for the church he resides over in the Garden of Adam Community, located in the Upper Peninsula. He’s been told throughout his entire life that he’s a burden. He’s been punished and unloved by his parents. 18 year-old Wil is sure that her mother was sacrificed by the church and Elwood’s father. Wil and Elwood help each other hide from danger, investigate the community’s weird happenings, and try to find out what happened to Wil’s mother. Their lives will be thrown into chaos before it’s over.
Likes/dislikes: I enjoyed the creepy aspect of Elwood’s family and his father’s effect on the community. The prose represents beauty and pain, hurt and happiness, perfectly. The story was too quick to achieve well developed characters. Mature content: PG-13 for Underage drinking and smoking, passionate undescribed kissing (PG) Language: R for 79 swears and 6 f-bombs. Violence: PG-13 for Bloody sacrificing of a rabbit, sacrificing son by bleeding him to death, father plunges knife into son’s chest. Ethnicity: falls to white.
Soon to be a Netflix movie! 20yo Elodie is excited to meet her betrothed, Prince Henry of Aurea. Elodie is one of three princesses who will be given to the dragon during Harvest Week in exchange for Aurea’s prosperity. Each year for the last eight centuries, three princesses from different parts of the world have been brought to Aurea under the guise of marrying Prince Henry, only to be sacrificed to the dragon. After unceremoniously being sent into the dragon’s lair, Elodie keeps going by relying on her wits, her strength and the help of past princesses through clues they’ve left behind. She might just survive to save the next princess.
Likes/dislikes: The story is slow in the beginning to give the reader a sense of calm but then the action picks up once Elodie learns the secret of Aurea. I enjoyed how the author meshed the past and present princesses together and the perseverance of each. I’m impressed how the author’s 13yo daughter created a functional language for the dragons in this story. The language syntax, grammatical rules and words are in the back of the book. Mature content: PG for brief kisses. Language: R for 35 swears, no f-bombs. Violence: PG-13 for Men being eaten by dragon, detailed sounds. Being burnt by flames. Pierced through skull by dragon wing point. Ethnicity: The ethnicity of Elodie and Henry fall to white, but brown skinned characters are found in the book also.
Teen influencers arrive on an island after being invited for a fun-filled weekend to post online reviews and build excitement for the upcoming opening. The island is an amusement park and resort all in one. The six influencers have a variety of online posts and followers. Before they can enjoy much of the island, the killing starts. One by one, people are being chased and killed. Those who remain must work together to outsmart the killer and survive until help arrives.
Likes/dislikes: I enjoyed the premise of inviting influencers to review and build hype about a new place. The mystery was fun and suspenseful. I liked learning about each character’s background. Language: R for 121 swears, no f-bombs. Mature Content: none other than the violence. Violence: R for bloody deaths. Ethnicity: mixed
Three eleven year old girls entered the woods and two came out. One of them had been stabbed so the other two girls got help and testified that a serial killer rapist was to blame. Years later, when the three girls have become adults, the killer dies in prison. The three women meet and discuss how relieved but worried they are about a secret they’re hiding. The mystery of their secret becomes many mysteries buried, one on top of another. This is a delightfully twisted and unexpected mystery, 5 stars!
Small town, USA is where Didi attends school but she lives with her father in a secluded area. He’s abusive and neglects to give Didi everything she needs. Didi is terrified and on edge always, even when she’s not around her father because she’s worried she’ll do something wrong and he’ll find out somehow. Her father makes her run laps around the property so she can become as quick as possible but she doesn’t know why he cares about that. He also forces her to learn and play chess and compete in tournaments and she has to be the best. Eventually Didi understands the reason her father has made her do these things but it might be too late for her to save herself.
Likes/dislikes: The story is disturbing because of the neglect and abuse. The effects on the child’s physical and mental well-being are portrayed through the coping skills the main character develops over time to deal with her life; they were heartbreaking at times. The timeline jumps around and that was difficult to follow. The ending was the best part. Language: R for 67 swears and 22 f-bombs. Mature Content: R for physical abuse and severe neglect. Violence: R for child abuse and hunting child with a gun. Ethnicity: Didi has brown hair but other characters’ ethnicities aren’t described.
In an imaginary Britain, Anya sends her sister off to give a sacrifice to the god but when Ilva returns she has sacrificed everything and soon dies. Anya vows to kill the god so no one else will ever have to sacrifice to him again. She travels under the guise of a willing sacrifice while learning everything possible to kill the god. Along the way, she learns a great deal about herself, what it means to be a family, loyalty, dedication and love. She meets wanderers and befriends them as they teach her and protect her. She also meets the mysterious thief Tieran who is an enigma to everyone he spends time with.
Likes/dislikes: I love Anya and her determination. I enjoyed uncovering Tieran’s mysterious nature while reading the story. I like how the story ended and all that was revealed throughout the book. Language: G for no swears, bitches is used once to describe female dog. Mature Content: PG for kissing Violence: PG for mutilations and death
Starr lives in a rough part of town and after one of her best friends gets shot in a drive by shooting when they’re ten, Starr’s parents have her attend a private school that’s safer. Now Starr is sixteen and she witnesses her other childhood friend getting fatally shot by a police officer. Her friend did nothing to provoke the shooting. This is a powerful novel about much more than racism. It’s also about choices, bravery, integrity and helping others. This book has a lot of swearing which is authentic to the lifestyle of the character’s surroundings but the message of empowerment makes it a must read. 5 stars for a novel that will stick with me.
Likes/dislikes: I liked how the author shows reality and brings her characters to life to make the readers care about them. I like that two different worlds are brought together by two teens living in both and experiencing the stark differences in each. Character development is abundant and bravery and integrity are a huge factor in the main character’s life and family. I love how the main character’s family is open to discussing everything instead of keeping secrets from each other. Mature content: PG-13 Underage drinking, marijuana use Page 81 foreplay (boyfriend touching of girlfriend’s pubic region) Page 376 arousal (the boyfriend had a bulge in his pants when he kissed his girlfriend) Violence: PG-13 Fatal Shooting at a party. Police brutality and fatal shooting of a teen male. Riots, gang beatings, starting fires. Language: R for 100+ swears and 54 f-bombs
Sarah Piper is alone in the world. She lives in a little apartment and works temporary jobs for a living. In 1920’s post-war England, live is dreary. Most young adult men have injuries from the war, physically and mentally and jobs aren’t easy to find. When the temp service calls her to assist an unfamiliar male writer, Alistair, Sarah is leery but accepts the meeting and eventually the job as his ghost research assistant. They travel to a haunted barn in a small town and meet the homeowner. Mrs. Clare has told Alistair about the haunting, the ghost Maddy, and that Maddy hates men and recently chased a vicar away who was trying to perform an exorcism. Alistair is hoping for actual evidence of a haunting or manifestation and Sarah just wants the job. Both of them become part of a horrible past tragedy and the terror the tragedy caused. A haunting, spooky thriller! 5 stars!
Mattie is about twenty and lives with her much older husband, William, in the mountains in solitude. William is abusive in all ways. He treats her like a possession, not a person, and keeps her hidden on the mountain in a cabin. She’s not allowed to leave the area around the cabin. Mattie is having flashbacks and bits of her past are returning to her as memories despite William lying to her for so long. A strange, unknown creature has shown up on the mountain near the cabin and it’s killing animals and sorting their bones and organs into distinct piles inside its cave. When Mattie and William discover the cave, he believes it’s the work of a demon and that he’s destined by God to get rid of it. Hikers are searching for new animals when William threatens them to leave his mountain. They see Mattie’s injured face and one of the hikers recognizes her from news reports. She’s unsure of what he’s talking about and William denies anything about the reports and restates that Mattie is his wife and the hikers need to leave or he will harm them. Mattie continues to recall bits of her past and when William leaves for town, the strangers approach the cabin to talk to her, filling her in on who she really is. The mystery and danger are suspenseful and Mattie has great strength despite her confusion. Horror adventure thriller worth 4 stars!
*Information on book content: language content: 23 swear words and 3 f-words mature content: PG-13, mentions wifely duties and drugs are found and mentioned a small amount violence: PG-13, bloody animal found dead, gore, abuse to main character with blood involved.