Tag: 3 stars

Book Review: The Girl in the Locked Room by Mary Downing Hahn

The Girl in the Locked Room: A Ghost Story
Author:  Mary Downing Hahn

Published:
200 Pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 3 stars

Book Description:

A family moves into an old, abandoned house. Jules’s parents love the house, but Jules is frightened and feels a sense of foreboding. When she sees a pale face in an upstairs window, though, she can’t stop wondering about the eerie presence on the top floor—in a room with a locked door. Could it be someone who lived in the house a century earlier?

Her fear replaced by fascination, Jules is determined to make contact with the mysterious figure and help unlock the door. Past and present intersect as she and her ghostly friend discover—and change—the fate of the family who lived in the house all those many years ago.

Kim’s Review:

Not my favorite of her books. Normally she goes all out with the scary, even though she’s writing for kids. This one was just … weird. Ok, it has a ghost but then Hahn throws in some science fiction stuff about alternate realities and there’s kinda sorta time travel but not really. As a kids story, it was ok. As a ghost story, eh; I prefer my ghosts to be scary. As a horror story,  it was no good. I wasn’t scared. I doubt anyone who reads it would be scared. The characters are ok, nothing really stands out about them. Oak Hill is fabulous but other than a few descriptions, it doesn’t even play a big part in the story. This book was just alright. Sure, I’d give it to a kid to read, but I wouldn’t expect an adult to get much out of it.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

Book Review: Save Me by Lisa Scottoline

Save Me
Author: Lisa Scottoline
Narrator: Cynthia Nixon

Published: April 12, 2011
Audiobook

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read:  September 9-15, 2021
Jessica’s Rating: 3 stars     

Book Description:

Save Me will have readers wondering just how far they would go to save the ones they love. Lisa Scottoline is writing about real issues that resonate with real women, and the results are emotional, heartbreaking and honest.

Rose McKenna volunteers as a lunch mom in her daughter Melly’s school in order to keep an eye on Amanda, a mean girl who’s been bullying her daughter. Her fears come true when the bullying begins, sending Melly to the bathroom in tears. Just as Rose is about to follow after her daughter, a massive explosion goes off in the kitchen, sending the room into chaos.

Rose finds herself faced with the horrifying decision of whether or not to run to the bathroom to rescue her daughter or usher Amanda to safety. She believes she has accomplished both, only to discover that Amanda, for an unknown reason, ran back into the school once out of Rose’s sight. In an instance, Rose goes from hero to villain as the small community blames Amanda’s injuries on her. In the days that follow, Rose’s life starts to fall to pieces, Amanda’s mother decides to sue, her marriage is put to the test, and worse, when her daughter returns to school, the bullying only intensifies. Rose must take matters into her own hands and get down to the truth of what really happened that fateful day in order to save herself, her marriage and her family.

In the way that Look Again had readers questioning everything they thought they knew about family, Save Me will have readers wondering just how far they would go to save the ones they love. Lisa Scottoline is writing about real issues that resonate with real women, and the results are emotional, heartbreaking and honest.

Jessica’s Review:

I am a Lisa Scottoline fan, and will read anything written by her. I have read books I love and others that were just ok for me.  Save Me was just an ok read for me, though this will be a book for all the parents out there to read. 

Rose McKenna has volunteered as a lunch mom at her daughter Melly’s school.  Melly was born with a large birthmark on her face and has dealt with bullying; so much so that Melly just switched schools. But the bullying continues, especially from one specific girl: Amanda. One day during lunch Rose is trying to talk to Amanda about the bullying when there is an explosion in the kitchen, which causes chaos.  Rose escorts Amanda and a couple other girls to the door to go outside then goes back to find Melly, who has locked herself in the bathroom.

Rose ends up on the news as a “mother hero” saving her daughter, until it is found out that Amanda went back inside and was severely injured. Then Rose becomes a pariah to the small community.  As information unfolds Rose realizes she faces several legal battles in addition to being determined to find out what actually happened to Amanda and what caused the explosion.

Anyone can say that they would do this or they would do that in an emergency, but you don’t truly know until you are in said emergency.  We see what Rose does and you can make your own conclusion as to what she did.  Some things that Rose did came off as naïve to me: I mean if your husband is a lawyer, wouldn’t you take his advice to do or not do certain things??? Ummm yes, but did Rose listen to her husband?  No, and thus made things worse for herself.

I am giving Save Me a solid 3 stars, which is a decent read, but I had issues with many things that Rose did. I was into the story and was fully invested on if Amanda was going to survive or not.  I adored Melly, she is a sweet child who loves reading and Harry Potter. The actual cause of the explosion was a bit of left field for me and it seemed like Scottoline was running out of ideas and wanted a happy ending.  For the most part the ending did work for me with everything being tied together.

I listened to the audiobook which was narrated by Cynthia Nixon who did a great job!  Though this is not my favorite written by Scottoline, I do say to look into her library of many novels! For me her legal dramas/thrillers series of Rosato & Associates  and Rosato & DuNunzio are my favorites and I look for more of those novels to come. 

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

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Book Review: The Perfect Place to Die by Bryce Moore


The Perfect Place to Die
Author:
Bryce Moore
Published: August 3, 2021
320 Pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 3 stars

Book Description:

Zuretta never thought she’d encounter a monster—one of the world’s most notorious serial killers. She had resigned herself to a quiet life in Utah. But when her younger sister, Ruby, travels to Chicago during the World’s Fair, and disappears, Zuretta leaves home to find her.

But 1890s Chicago is more dangerous and chaotic than she imagined. She doesn’t know where to start until she learns of her sister’s last place of employment…a mysterious hotel known as The Castle.

Zuretta takes a job there hoping to learn more. And before long she realizes the hotel isn’t what it seems. Women disappear at an alarming rate, she hears crying from the walls, and terrifying whispers follow her at night. In the end, she finds herself up against one of the most infamous mass murderers in American history—and his custom-built death trap.

Kim’s Review:

This is simply a murder mystery with a tiny paranormal element. Unfortunately, it turns predictable relatively quickly. It’s also rather slow. I mostly enjoyed it so I’m glad I read it. But I’m not sure I can recommend it. However, that cover though. That cover almost pushed it up to 4 stars. Unfortunately, the “twist” which was actually obvious to everyone but the main character, brought it back down to 3. I just thought that Etta was so unrealistic. Too afraid to stand up to her abusive father, too scared to run away with her sister, too dumb to avoid the con woman her first day in Chicago, but then all of a sudden confident enough to stand up to Pinkertons, cops, the suspected killers … just not believable. So I can’t recommend it. I’m glad I read it, but the pros don’t outweigh the cons.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

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