Category: Review

Short Story Review: The Ritual: A Holiday Folk Horror Story by Michael R. Goodwin

The Ritual: A Holiday Folk Story
Author: Michael R. Goodwin

Published: December 25, 2021
17 Pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4.5 stars

Book Description:

“Let us bow our heads and close our eyes,” the villagers chanted, “for the Bell waits not for the one who dies.”

In the square, the villagers had gathered for The Ritual, which hasn’t been performed in more than thirty years. Only those old enough to have been at the last one knew the full gravity of what was to come. Everyone (even the children) knew why they had gathered, but there was only so much that could be conveyed through the retelling of a tale.

Some things you had to see for yourself to truly understand.

Kim’s Review:

I’m a huge Shirley Jackson fan: I remember reading The Lottery back in high school and I loved it. (See mine and Jessica’s double review here). For some reason, my mom is still freaked out by that story. But that’s neither here nor there. The Ritual was simple and effective. Similar to The Lottery, but definitely its own story. I know y’all know exactly what I’m gonna say, “I need more information!” Well, you’re right. This could easily be stretched out to a full length novel and I would totally read it! But, it’s an easy to read short story that I really enjoyed!! Definitely a good one for any level horror fan!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

Book Review: Apples Never Fall by Liane Moriarty

Apples Never Fall
Author: Liane Moriarty

Published:  September 14, 2021

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: December 7-16, 2021
Jessica’s Rating: 2.5 stars

Book Description:

The Delaney family love one another dearly—it’s just that sometimes they want to murder each other . . .

If your mother was missing, would you tell the police? Even if the most obvious suspect was your father?

This is the dilemma facing the four grown Delaney siblings.

The Delaneys are fixtures in their community. The parents, Stan and Joy, are the envy of all of their friends. They’re killers on the tennis court, and off it their chemistry is palpable. But after fifty years of marriage, they’ve finally sold their famed tennis academy and are ready to start what should be the golden years of their lives. So why are Stan and Joy so miserable?

The four Delaney children—Amy, Logan, Troy, and Brooke—were tennis stars in their own right, yet as their father will tell you, none of them had what it took to go all the way. But that’s okay, now that they’re all successful grown-ups and there is the wonderful possibility of grandchildren on the horizon.

One night a stranger named Savannah knocks on Stan and Joy’s door, bleeding after a fight with her boyfriend. The Delaneys are more than happy to give her the small kindness she sorely needs. If only that was all she wanted.

Later, when Joy goes missing, and Savannah is nowhere to be found, the police question the one person who remains: Stan. But for someone who claims to be innocent, he, like many spouses, seems to have a lot to hide. Two of the Delaney children think their father is innocent, two are not so sure—but as the two sides square off against each other in perhaps their biggest match ever, all of the Delaneys will start to reexamine their shared family history in a very new light.

Jessica’s Review:

I read The Husband’s Secret eight years ago and really enjoyed it, so I was looking forward to another of Liane Moriarty’s novels.  I have one friend who adores her and reads all of her novels and was loving this one, the newest novel. I just wish I agreed with her.

Apples Never Fall  has an interesting premise, but fell flat for me.  It seemed too long and I was a little bit surprised with a couple of the twists, but not floored with shock.  It just kind of seemed like “ok, next”.  I will still be interested in reading Moriarty’s other novels and hope they work out better for me.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK



A Double Review of The Lost Village by Camilla Sten

Today Kim and I bring you a double review of The Lost Village by Camilla Sten.  This was Kim’s first read of 2022 and my first audiobook listen of the year.  Sadly, this one was not for either of us.

The Lost Village
Author: Camilla Sten

Published: March 23, 2021
Audiobook/ 340 Pages

Book Description:

Documentary filmmaker Alice Lindstedt has been obsessed with the vanishing residents of the old mining town, dubbed “The Lost Village,” since she was a little girl. In 1959, her grandmother’s entire family disappeared in this mysterious tragedy, and ever since, the unanswered questions surrounding the only two people who were left—a woman stoned to death in the town center and an abandoned newborn—have plagued her. She’s gathered a small crew of friends in the remote village to make a film about what really happened.

But there will be no turning back.

Not long after they’ve set up camp, mysterious things begin to happen. Equipment is destroyed. People go missing. As doubt breeds fear and their very minds begin to crack, one thing becomes startlingly clear to Alice:

They are not alone.

They’re looking for the truth…
But what if it finds them first?

Kim’s Rating: 3 stars
Kim’s Review:

I got this book for Christmas and I was so excited because this book has been on my list for months. So of course I chose it as my first book of 2022. Overall, I was … disappointed. This book had so much potential! A village that was just abandoned with no trace of where the people went and a dead body hanging in the middle of the square!! Why do I never stumble upon places like that?? But everything was just so difficult in this book. The writing style was actually hard to read and my mind wandered a lot. The main character was just difficult to be around; she took every little thing so personally and was so sensitive about everything that it just got annoying.

Then the mystery, which I was so looking forward to, became more predictable by the page. I had one section where I was actually turning pages quickly because of the abandoned building and the suspense, but then everything kinda plunked into place long before the big reveal. It wasn’t a total loss, I actually enjoyed a good portion. It was just too anticlimactic for me. Though there is one reveal that was pretty fun to watch unfold, so like I said, not a total loss. I think there are many people who could read this book and really like it, I just thought it was ok.

Jessica’s Rating: 2.5 Stars
Dates Read: January 2-7, 2022
Format Read: Audiobook

Jessica’s Review:

An interesting premise with similarities to The Blair Witch Project, and the story taking place in two time periods (1959 and present day), but my thoughts on The Lost Village ended up being “Meh”…..

Starting with promise, but failing to deliver, the 1959 time period was much more interesting than the present-day time.  I was not attached to the characters in present-day in the slightest, and the 1959 period was more intriguing for me as it was more of a suspense thriller for me.  The present day tried to be horror but just wasn’t scary. I was intrigued by the connections of characters to the town’s past and when the crew arrived to the town was eerie:  Everything was left as if people were coming back at any moment.  The ending also did not work for me. 

Sadly, I cannot recommend this one, but what did not work for me may be a book you enjoy!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK