Author: Kat Ellis
Published: August 25, 2020
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 3 stars
Things I know about Harrow Lake:
1.It’s where my father shot his most disturbing slasher film.
2.There’s something not right about this town.
Lola Nox is the daughter of a celebrated horror filmmaker–she thinks nothing can scare her.
But when her father is brutally attacked in their New York apartment, she’s quickly packed off to live with a grandmother she’s never met in Harrow Lake, the eerie town where her father’s most iconic horror movie was shot. The locals are weirdly obsessed with the film that put their town on the map–and there are strange disappearances, which the police seem determined to explain away.
And there’s someone–or something–stalking her every move.
The more Lola discovers about the town, the more terrifying it becomes. Because Lola’s got secrets of her own. And if she can’t find a way out of Harrow Lake, they might just be the death of her.
Hmmmm… what an odd read.
It had a lot of good things in it, but it also has some pretty confusing things. I felt lost a good portion of the time. The pacing at the beginning was so fast that I started to think that something was up. But then, Lola ends up in Harrow Lake where everything slowed down to a snail’s pace. I’m all for a slow burn, but this just dragged. I was having a hard time connecting everything that was happening. The horror film, Night Jar, that was set in Harrow Lake felt like an extra element that did more to muddy the waters than to clear them. While Mary Ann fascinated me, I couldn’t really figure out her place in the story either.
Nothing really made any sense until the very end. I’m mostly happy with the way things turned out, most of the loose ends were tied up. I also like the horror elements that Ellis included in the book. There were some places where I felt the goosebumps.
Overall, this was an ok book. I’m glad I read it and I love the cover … but I’m also probably not gonna read it again.
Author: Katrina Leno
Published: September 15, 2020
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars
Following her father’s death, Jane North-Robinson and her mom move from sunny California to the dreary, dilapidated old house in Maine where her mother grew up. All they want is a fresh start, but behind North Manor’s doors lurks a history that leaves them feeling more alone…and more tormented.
As the cold New England autumn arrives, and Jane settles in to her new home, she finds solace in old books and memories of her dad. She steadily begins making new friends, but also faces bullying from the resident “bad seed,” struggling to tamp down her own worst nature in response. Jane’s mom also seems to be spiraling with the return of her childhood home, but she won’t reveal why. Then Jane discovers that the “storage room” her mom has kept locked isn’t for storage at all–it’s a little girl’s bedroom, left untouched for years and not quite as empty of inhabitants as it appears….
Is it grief? Mental illness? Or something more…horrid?
This. Cover. There, that’s all I have to say: Review over. J/K! You can’t judge a book by its cover, even though we do a lot here at Jessica’s Reading Room. Thankfully, the story does indeed deliver! The only reason I gave it 4 stars is because the slow burn is really slow. I finished this book in a day so I didn’t have any trouble reading it, there were just some places where I started wondering if stuff was gonna happen or not. But other than that, I really enjoyed this story. There was enough mystery to keep me guessing, enough spooky to keep me creeped out, and good characters to keep me invested.
Bell’s Haven is one of those little New England towns that you just wanna go visit. Then you throw in a crazy old manor that everyone thinks is haunted and creepy- I’d go there. I love Leno’s use of Agatha Christie throughout the story and now I want to go read some of Christie’s books. I don’t want to say much more about the plot because I don’t want to give anything away.
Considering that there is some language, I would say that teens would like this book! Overall, it’s a great read, perfect for raising just a few goosebumps!
Author: K.R. Alexander
Published: August 28, 2018
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars
Josie always liked visiting her grandmother in the countryside. But when her mother loses her job in the city and they’re forced to relocate along with Josie’s sister, Annie, she realizes she doesn’t like the country that much. Especially because Grandma Jeannie has some strange rules: Don’t bring any dolls into the house. And never, ever go near the house in the woods behind their yard. Soon though, Josie manages to make friends with the most popular girl in the sixth grade, Vanessa. When Vanessa eventually invites Josie back to her house to hang out, Josie doesn’t question it. Not even when Vanessa takes her into the woods, and down an old dirt road, toward the very house Grandma Jeannie had warned her about.
As Josie gets caught up in her illicit friendship with Vanessa, Annie is caught in the crossfire. What follows is a chilling tale of dark magic, friendship, and some verrrrrry creepy dolls.
This might be the scariest kids’ book I have ever read! I was seriously creeped out during the whole thing! And I was very impressed with the unique story, I felt like I was reading something new. Beryl is a terrifying villain! I could totally see her in my head and she scared me. I did feel like some loose ends were left and that keeps me from giving it 5 stars. I still don’t know who Clara is … and it makes my head want to explode! I don’t like unanswered questions! But the story still resolved itself satisfactorily and was even left open ended in a way that doesn’t bother me.
I’m a little surprised that this could be considered a kids’ book considering how mature it felt. Then again, any future children of mine will be weird enough to start out with scary books so what do I know! I think this is a great read for anyone who likes creepy stories!