Tag: 4.5 stars

Short Story Review: Gretel by Annalee Adams

Author: Annalee Adams

Published: October 31, 2018
78 Pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4.5 stars

Book Description:

Trapped in a cage, fighting for her life, will she survive the night?

Gretel is a blood-curdling serial killer thriller, that tells the story of seventeen-year-old Lucy, taken against her will five years ago. Caged up with no-one left to protect her she must survive the night or become the killer’s latest victim.

After he killed her, she wept. Body bags and chainsaws stripped the night clean. Her mind a mess of revulsion, as the silence took over and the girls pleaded for their lives. Had it been five years already? Trapped down in the darkness, away from reality. Now Jess was gone, brutally murdered; she was like a lamb to the slaughter… and tonight was the feast.

Halloween had arrived and that meant only one thing, candy bars, and corruption as he took her screaming soul from the cage and introduced her to her former best friend. This short story is a novelette of nightmares, forgotten victims and surreal realities.

Kim’s Review:

I’m not sure what I expected from this little book, but it’s nuts! It’s the perfect short story for those Criminal Minds fans. The cover is amazing, the story is simple and effective, the characters are interesting and easy to sympathize with. My only real criticism is that I’d like more overall info; I also acknowledge that it’s just a short story. Gretel just left me shaking my head. It was terrifying and nasty and engaging and I have to say that the twist was pretty crazy! A very good book!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

Book Review: The Witches of Harbour by Sian B. Claven

The Witches of Harbour
Series: Hex Duology #1 (Prequel to Hex)
Author: Sian B. Claven

Published: March 15, 2020
198 Pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4.5 stars

Book Description:

Harbour is a quiet small town with a big bad secret.

Sara doesn’t understand why she is running away in the cover of darkness from her hometown, or who the baby is that her mother is giving her to care for, but she trusts her mother enough to leave and not look back.

Christine knows that there may be a time that Sara is convinced to come back so she pens a letter to her explaining Harbour’s well kept secret, so her daughter can understand why she and the baby are in danger.

It all started years ago…

A prequel to Hex.

Kim’s Review:

Another great one by Claven! This is the prequel to Hex so of course I had to read it first. And now I can’t wait to read Hex! This was a very unique story that I felt I hadn’t read before. But let’s start with that half star: the character names got a little confusing. I felt like Christine would randomly mention a name and I had no idea who she was talking about. However, I think a chart would fix this … I’m all about charts! This also became a little bit of a problem once the resolution hit, but I also can’t really talk much about that cuz I don’t wanna give it away! Thankfully, everything made sense and I didn’t notice any loose ends. The plot was quick and engaging and I spent the book trying to work it out in my head before everything worked out. I didn’t, but that’s the sign of a good mystery! The characters were interesting and dynamic and I liked watching them grow and change throughout the story. The fact that I’m so excited to read the next book in the series shows how great this one is!!

Excellent book and I recommend it to any horror/thriller fan!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK


Audiobook Review: Wish You Were Here by Jodi Picoult

Wish You Were Here
Author: Jodi Picoult

Published:  November 30, 2021

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: March 9-16, 2022
Jessica’s Rating: 4.5 stars

Book Description:

A deeply moving novel about the resilience of the human spirit in a moment of crisis.

Diana O’Toole is perfectly on track. She will be married by thirty, done having kids by thirty-five, and move out to the New York City suburbs, all while climbing the professional ladder in the cutthroat art auction world. She’s not engaged just yet, but she knows her boyfriend, Finn, a surgical resident, is about to propose on their romantic getaway to the Galápagos—days before her thirtieth birthday. Right on time.

But then a virus that felt worlds away has appeared in the city, and on the eve of their departure, Finn breaks the news: It’s all hands on deck at the hospital. He has to stay behind. You should still go, he assures her, since it would be a shame for all of their nonrefundable trip to go to waste. And so, reluctantly, she goes.

Almost immediately, Diana’s dream vacation goes awry. The whole island is now under quarantine, and she is stranded until the borders reopen. Completely isolated, she must venture beyond her comfort zone. Slowly, she carves out a connection with a local family when a teenager with a secret opens up to Diana, despite her father’s suspicion of outsiders.

Diana finds herself examining her relationships, her choices, and herself—and wondering if when she goes home, she too will have evolved into someone completely different.

Jessica’s Review:

I have read some novels that deal with Covid, but Wish You Were Here brings it to a whole different level with the intensity and reality that we still face with this disease two years later.  I had heard that Wish dealt with Covid, but I was not prepared for this level of it! I did enjoy the novel but it is just to real too soon, especially since we are not out of the woods with this disease yet.

We have Diana and Finn. Diana works in the art auction world and Finn is a surgical resident. Diana is working with a Yoko Ono type woman whose partner was killed many years ago like John Lennon was. There is a famous painting that she is debating on selling at auction just before Covid reaches New York City where part of the novel is based. 

Finn and Diana have planned a holiday to the Galapagos Islands.  But then Covid happens and Finn has to stay working at the hospital.  Together they decide she should still go and does. And OMG, my feelings about this! They know what’s coming but still decide for Diana to go?  When she lands on the island it is starting to shut down and yet she decides to still stay! I wanted to just strangle her: who would go overseas when things are starting to go crazy in the world!?!?   And things go crazy for Diana: no luggage, her hotel is closed, its just a worst-case scenario for her, and she is stuck half a world away from home until who knows when!  And there is not really Wi-Fi- so she can’t really communicate with Finn.  But Diana is taken in by some locals and she comes to learn about and see the island not from the tourist side, but from the native side.

And then we have a side story of Diana’s mother and dementia. This brings a whole other level to Covid for Diana. 

Yes, I had issues with Diana and her decisions she makes. And then Picoult takes the novel in a direction I did not expect or would have thought possible!  It was a shocking moment.

Picoult definitely did her research and brings the reader into Finn’s world of working in the hospital in the height of the pandemic.  It was just too much reality in a fictional novel for me. I enjoyed the novel, but for me it is too soon. 

I am conflicted with this one.  I feel it should have 5 stars, but it had too much real-life intensity when reading is for pleasure, so it was too much for me.  It is an extremely powerful novel that makes you think about what we are still going through, and not sure when we may get ‘back to normal’ or if we have to adjust to what may end up being our ‘new normal’.  It also gave me a new appreciation for those front-line workers who are in the medical field.  You hear about it on the news, but Wish gives you a whole new perspective and realization of what those workers have been going through for just over two years now. I also liked how we discover the Galapagos islands with Diana.  We learn about the beauty of it and the people, history, and culture.  Through Picoult’s descriptions I felt I was on the islands with Diana. 

Be sure to read the author’s note to give you more perspective on Picoult’s research and reasoning for writing this novel. 

I listened to the audiobook version which was narrated by Marin Ireland. She did a fabulous job narrating as she always does. 

Wish You Were Here is recommended, but take heed and be cautious if you chose to read it. Be prepared for what you might be about to read.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK