Tag: 4 stars

Book Review: You’ve Reached Sam by Dustin Thao

You’ve Reached Sam
Author: Dustin Thao

Published: November 9, 2021
298 Pages

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: December 11-24, 2021
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars

Book Description:

How do you move forward when everything you love is on the line?

Seventeen-year-old Julie has her future all planned out—move out of her small town with her boyfriend Sam, attend college in the city, spend a summer in Japan. But then Sam dies. And everything changes. Desperate to hear his voice one more time, Julie calls Sam’s cellphone just to listen to his voicemail. And Sam picks up the phone.

What would you do if you had a second chance at goodbye?

Filled with a diverse cast of characters, the heartache of first love and loss, and the kind of friends that can get you through anything, plus a touch of magic, You’ve Reached Sam will make an instant connection with anyone looking for a big emotional romance of a read.

Jessica’s Review:

You’ve Reached Sam is a novel that deals with something we all have dealt with: loss and grief. Whether the loss is a boyfriend such as this novel or a family member which includes pets, we have all experienced grief and Thao deals with this in a superb way.  Julie has lost Sam due to a car accident and she feels partly responsible. Julie and Sam had planned their life together and now that is gone. Julie experiences grief in many ways, and while she is facing it she feels the needs to hear Sam’s voice so she calls him.  And instead of it going to voicemail Sam himself answers.

Neither one really knowing how they in fact have this connection or how long they will have it, in some ways Julie has Sam again all to herself.  But will this unknown connection keep her in the past and from moving on without Sam?

We do get the beginning of their relationship through flashbacks, so we see it evolve over time.  There were some situations brought in dealing with Sam’s music that did not have a conclusion for me. I was wanting more from that side story to come into play, but it was left open. 

The last chapter and Epilogue made this novel for me.  I had some issues with Julie, and found closure with the ending Thao gave us along with Julie and Sam. Fair warning:  If you have recently lost someone, I would stay clear of this novel until you have come to terms as best you can with your grief. Grief can be an overwhelming thing, and Thao shows us this with multiple characters and situations and how one person reacts with their grief affects others. 

You’ve Reached Sam is recommended

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

Audiobook Review: Jessica’s Thoughts on Horrorstör by Grady Hendrix

Grady Hendrix

Bronson Pinchot
Tai Sammons
Published:  September 23, 2014

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: December 21-22, 2021
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars

Book Description:

Something strange is happening at the Orsk furniture superstore in Cleveland, Ohio. Every morning, employees arrive to find broken Kjerring bookshelves, shattered Glans water goblets, and smashed Liripip wardrobes. Sales are down, security cameras reveal nothing, and store managers are panicking.

To unravel the mystery, three employees volunteer to work a nine-hour dusk-till-dawn shift. In the dead of the night, they’ll patrol the empty showroom floor, investigate strange sights and sounds, and encounter horrors that defy the imagination.

A traditional haunted house story in a thoroughly contemporary setting, Horrorstör is designed to retain its luster and natural appearance for a lifetime of use. Pleasingly proportioned with generous French flaps and a softcover binding, Horrorstör delivers the psychological terror you need in the elegant package you deserve.

Jessica’s Review:

Grady Hendrix’s novels have not worked for me in the past and the sole reason I gave this one a shot was because it made Kim’s Top 10 of 2021 (And it was free on Audible).  After listening to Horrorstör I can say this: A Grady Hendrix novel that worked for me!!!

I think the main reason why it resonated for me so much was because after I graduated college, I worked at a Target store for almost 3 years until I got my government job, and I still work for local county government.  I identified with the employees of Orsk and understood what they go through each day. 

I know I most likely missed some things listening to the audiobook since the physical novel itself is set up like an IKEA catalog.  Kim even said “If you had read the physical book, then you would have given it 5 stars!” The audiobook did have a PDF document attached, so I did get some of the illustrations that included the featured product at the beginning of each chapter.  One thing to note with the photos, as the novel progresses each featured item becomes creepier than the previous one that corresponds with the story.  

We have two narrators: Bronson Pinchot and Tai Sammons. Pinchot did the narrations that accompanied each photo at the start of each chapter and Sammons narrated the novel.  One character is Amy and I pictured her as America Ferrera from Super Store. These two characters have the same name and attitude! Both narrators did a great job with their narrations!  Pinchot has that voice that is the commercial type but also adds the needed creepiness as the novel progresses. 

Horrorstör doesn’t take itself seriously and you are in for a ride with this novel as it mixes working in the retail environment and the daily nightmares that brings in of itself, along with horror and humor. It’s a fun novel in the creative way it was put together. Hopefully one day I can get a physical copy of it and see what I missed.

Bravo to Hendrix for finally writing a novel that works for me! 

Horrorstör is recommended.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK



Book Review: Krampus: The Yule Lord by Brom

Krampus: The Yule Lord
Author: Brom

Published: October 30, 2012
357 Pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars

Book Description:

Santa Claus, my dear old friend, you are a thief, a traitor, a slanderer, a murderer, a liar, but worst of all you are a mockery of everything for which I stood. You have sung your last ho, ho, ho, for I am coming for your head. . . . I am coming to take back what is mine, to take back Yuletide . . .

One Christmas Eve in a small hollow in Boone County, West Virginia, struggling songwriter Jesse Walker witnesses a strange spectacle: seven devilish figures chasing a man in a red suit toward a sleigh and eight reindeer. When the reindeer leap skyward, taking the sleigh, devil men, and Santa into the clouds, screams follow. Moments later, a large sack plummets back to earth, a magical sack that thrusts the down-on-his-luck singer into the clutches of the terrifying Yule Lord, Krampus. But the lines between good and evil become blurred as Jesse’s new master reveals many dark secrets about the cherry-cheeked Santa Claus, including how half a millennium ago the jolly old saint imprisoned Krampus and usurped his magic.

Now Santa’s time is running short, for the Yule Lord is determined to have his retribution and reclaim Yuletide. If Jesse can survive this ancient feud, he might have the chance to redeem himself in his family’s eyes, to save his own broken dreams, . . . and to help bring the magic of Yule to the impoverished folk of Boone County.

Kim’s Review:

This was my first book by Brom and absolutely not my last! The artwork alone is worth it. I’ll admit that I felt a little lost on the Nordic mythology. I’m starting to think that I need to do more research; it definitely sounds fascinating. But thankfully, it was a minor part so I still understood the plot and characters. It also felt a little drawn out to me. There were some places where I started to wonder if the book would ever end. But also too minor to hurt my feelings much.

Overall, this was an intelligent and engaging book! Half the time, I wasn’t sure who was the villain. A lot moral ponderings that I enjoyed pondering. I’m excited to read more Brom!!!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK