The Alice Network
Author: Kate Quinn
Published: June 6, 2017
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 3 stars
In an enthralling new historical novel from national bestselling author Kate Quinn, two women—a female spy recruited to the real-life Alice Network in France during World War I and an unconventional American socialite searching for her cousin in 1947—are brought together in a mesmerizing story of courage and redemption.
1947. In the chaotic aftermath of World War II, American college girl Charlie St. Clair is pregnant, unmarried, and on the verge of being thrown out of her very proper family. She’s also nursing a desperate hope that her beloved cousin Rose, who disappeared in Nazi-occupied France during the war, might still be alive. So when Charlie’s parents banish her to Europe to have her “little problem” taken care of, Charlie breaks free and heads to London, determined to find out what happened to the cousin she loves like a sister.
1915. A year into the Great War, Eve Gardiner burns to join the fight against the Germans and unexpectedly gets her chance when she’s recruited to work as a spy. Sent into enemy-occupied France, she’s trained by the mesmerizing Lili, code name Alice, the “queen of spies”, who manages a vast network of secret agents right under the enemy’s nose.
Thirty years later, haunted by the betrayal that ultimately tore apart the Alice Network, Eve spends her days drunk and secluded in her crumbling London house. Until a young American barges in uttering a name Eve hasn’t heard in decades, and launches them both on a mission to find the truth…no matter where it leads.
I hate to say it, but I was rather disappointed in this book. Thankfully, most of the plot and the characters saved it from being a total loss, but after the success of The Huntress, I was expecting much more. Charlie was the true downfall of this book. I didn’t understand the beginning of her search for Rose. Was it truly her hallucinations that drove her? And I know that slut shaming is looked down upon nowadays, but damn girl! A lot of people lost family in the war and they didn’t hop in the sack with every available person! I didn’t respect her and frankly, I didn’t care what happened to her. I feel bad about that, but actions have consequences and she also didn’t seem to grasp that completely.
I liked all the other characters well enough! Eve and Finn were great! Eve’s history of a female spy during WW1 was fascinating and entertaining. And her big heart while helping Charlie search for her cousin just made me like her more. I even liked the way it ended, which is good because I didn’t like the way it started at all.
Overall, it was ok, just ok.
**This one made Kim’s Top 10 of 2020, but we ran out of days to have it posted, so fittingly her review for Dark Halls is our first review of 2021! **
Author: Jeff Menapace
Published: October 31, 2019
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 5 stars
Highland Elementary has a dark and disturbing past. . .so disturbing that locals ultimately burned the school to the ground.
Years later, Pinewood Elementary is the future, and for new teacher Ryan Herb, a chance at a fresh start. But the townspeople don’t believe that rebuilding the school and changing its name is enough. They believe that whatever evil inhabited the halls of Highland still dwells at Pinewood.
Ryan is a realist and isn’t the type to be affected by local lore. But when Ryan begins to experience horrifying visions of past tragedies, he starts to question his own beliefs. Something in the school is reaching out to Ryan for help, a potentially lethal request as something else – or someone else – in the school is keen on keeping the evil therein very much alive.
Can a skeptical Ryan unearth the origins of the evil’s true source and put an end to it? Or will he, like many before him, become a permanent resident of the school himself?
Rife with supernatural terror and intrigue, ‘Dark Halls’ blurs the lines between horror and mystery – a whodunit that, when solved, proposes the even greater question of: How do you stop it?
Creepy AF! I was attracted by the cover, which I didn’t include in the 2020 tournament cuz I knew no one else shares my love of the creepy horror covers. Then the description pulled me in and was it worth it!! I was creeped out from the beginning! Barely 20 pages in and I was scared. Spirits appearing, kids with abnormally large smiles and white eyes, murders and suicides, a haunted school … is anyone really surprised that I read this book? (Shout out to Alana for getting it for me for Christmas!) I wouldn’t call the story predictable, even though I guessed the identity of the villain relatively early. The easy reveal was in exchange for an engaging plot and crazy atmosphere! I’d even say the ending is considered open, yet I was happy and fulfilled with it! I read this book quickly and easily and it held me till the very end! I would absolutely recommend Dark Halls to anyone looking for a good horror book!
One for Sorrow
Author: Mary Downing Hahn
Published: July 18, 2017
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars
Against the ominous backdrop of the influenza epidemic of 1918, Annie, a new girl at school, is claimed as best friend by Elsie, a classmate who is a tattletale, a liar, and a thief. Soon Annie makes other friends and finds herself joining them in teasing and tormenting Elsie. Elsie dies from influenza, but then she returns to reclaim Annie’s friendship and punish all the girls who bullied her. Young readers who revel in spooky stories will relish this chilling tale of a girl haunted by a vengeful ghost.
Another chilling tale from Hahn! My gosh she is the queen of kids’ horror! This one seemed appropriate for the times since it takes place during the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918. Seems a bit more romantic than covid, but I guess we’ll take what we can get.
I really liked this book. The atmosphere of Baltimore in winter and the cemetery in the snow and the mental hospital were vivid and interesting. The story was unique and satisfying and it gave me goosebumps in several places. And considering how annoying I find kids, I actually really liked Annie. She seemed sincere and relatable. My one issue is my complete and utter discomfort caused by Elsie! Hahn does this thing where she puts the nastiest kids down on paper and I spend half my time wishing they never existed! I know the point is to make them unlikable and downright unbearable … but dang, sometimes it’s just too much! But her horribleness added to the story so I was mostly ok. I would definitely recommend this to horror fans and even to kids who like the scarier stories.