Today Kim and I bring you a double review of The Lost Village by Camilla Sten. This was Kim’s first read of 2022 and my first audiobook listen of the year. Sadly, this one was not for either of us.
The Lost Village
Author: Camilla Sten
Published: March 23, 2021
Audiobook/ 340 Pages
Documentary filmmaker Alice Lindstedt has been obsessed with the vanishing residents of the old mining town, dubbed “The Lost Village,” since she was a little girl. In 1959, her grandmother’s entire family disappeared in this mysterious tragedy, and ever since, the unanswered questions surrounding the only two people who were left—a woman stoned to death in the town center and an abandoned newborn—have plagued her. She’s gathered a small crew of friends in the remote village to make a film about what really happened.
But there will be no turning back.
Not long after they’ve set up camp, mysterious things begin to happen. Equipment is destroyed. People go missing. As doubt breeds fear and their very minds begin to crack, one thing becomes startlingly clear to Alice:
They are not alone.
They’re looking for the truth…
But what if it finds them first?
Kim’s Rating: 3 stars
I got this book for Christmas and I was so excited because this book has been on my list for months. So of course I chose it as my first book of 2022. Overall, I was … disappointed. This book had so much potential! A village that was just abandoned with no trace of where the people went and a dead body hanging in the middle of the square!! Why do I never stumble upon places like that?? But everything was just so difficult in this book. The writing style was actually hard to read and my mind wandered a lot. The main character was just difficult to be around; she took every little thing so personally and was so sensitive about everything that it just got annoying.
Then the mystery, which I was so looking forward to, became more predictable by the page. I had one section where I was actually turning pages quickly because of the abandoned building and the suspense, but then everything kinda plunked into place long before the big reveal. It wasn’t a total loss, I actually enjoyed a good portion. It was just too anticlimactic for me. Though there is one reveal that was pretty fun to watch unfold, so like I said, not a total loss. I think there are many people who could read this book and really like it, I just thought it was ok.
Jessica’s Rating: 2.5 Stars
Dates Read: January 2-7, 2022
Format Read: Audiobook
An interesting premise with similarities to The Blair Witch Project, and the story taking place in two time periods (1959 and present day), but my thoughts on The Lost Village ended up being “Meh”…..
Starting with promise, but failing to deliver, the 1959 time period was much more interesting than the present-day time. I was not attached to the characters in present-day in the slightest, and the 1959 period was more intriguing for me as it was more of a suspense thriller for me. The present day tried to be horror but just wasn’t scary. I was intrigued by the connections of characters to the town’s past and when the crew arrived to the town was eerie: Everything was left as if people were coming back at any moment. The ending also did not work for me.
Sadly, I cannot recommend this one, but what did not work for me may be a book you enjoy!
Today Kim and I bring you a double review of The Santa Suit by Mary Kay Andrews! You guys know we both will read practically anything she writes! We both gave The Santa Suit 5 stars and it also touched me in a personal way, which will be in my review. I listened to the audiobook while Kim read the physical book.
The Santa Suit
Author: Mary Kay Andrews
Narrator: Kathleen McInerney
Published: September 28, 2021
When newly-divorced Ivy Perkins buys an old farmhouse sight unseen, she is definitely looking for a change in her life. The Four Roses, as the farmhouse is called, is a labor of love—but Ivy didn’t bargain on just how much labor. The previous family left so much furniture and so much junk, that it’s a full-time job sorting through all of it.
At the top of a closet, Ivy finds an old Santa suit—beautifully made and decades old. In the pocket of a suit she finds a note written in a childish hand: it’s from a little girl who has one Christmas wish, and that is for her father to return home from the war. This discovery sets Ivy off on a mission. Who wrote the note? Did the man ever come home? What mysteries did the Rose family hold?
Ivy’s quest brings her into the community, at a time when all she wanted to do was be left alone and nurse her wounds. But the magic of Christmas makes miracles happen, and Ivy just might find more than she ever thought possible: a welcoming town, a family reunited, a mystery solved, and a second chance at love.
Kim’s Rating: 5 Stars
What a perfect way to start out the holiday season!! This is a Hallmark Christmas movie in book form … except it’s better than the movies! The best way to describe it is “feel good”. It’s not a long book, nor is it complicated with lots of drama or conflict. It’s just a sweet story that probably won’t happen in real life, but stirs up all those warm and fuzzy feelings you want around Christmas time. I wasn’t expecting it, but I was in tears by the end. My heart felt so big and happy that I wanted to tell Ivan that we should buy a fixer upper farm house in the country and keep it decorated all year long! I might just add this book to my annual Christmas reading list!
Jessica’s Rating: 5 Stars
Dates Read: November 9-12, 2021
Format Read: Audiobook
The Santa Suit is a cute novella that will get you all ready for Christmas! As with many of her more recent novels, MKA has characters that deal with houses that are ‘fixer uppers’, this time newly divorced Ivy buys an older farm house called The Four Roses without seeing it. Unaware of how much work needs to be done on the house until she sees it firsthand, Ivy finds herself overwhelmed as the previous owners left their personal possessions. This includes a Santa suit which she just can’t throw away. Inside the suit she finds a very old letter written by a little girl wanting her daddy to come from the war. Ivy then becomes determined to find out what happened to the little girl and her family.
Ivy becomes friends with a local girl who is engaged to a man she has never actually met, and she isn’t exactly how she described herself to him. There is also a potential romance and starting over for Ivy.
This is an enjoyable Christmas tale without a complex story to it and everything wraps up nicely in a sweet and cute novella that we need after the last couple of years. If you are a fan of MKA, do yourself a favor and read The Santa Suit this Christmas season!
The Santa Suit touched me personally, from when I was in middle school on, my own dad played Santa every Christmas. It was something he loved doing. Listening to the audiobook brought back those memories.
The Santa Suit is recommended!
Here are some pictures of my dad in action as Santa:
It’s Riley Sager week here at Jessica’s Reading Room and we will bringing you reviews of all five of his books this week! Today Kim and I bring you a double review of Final Girls. Kim gave it 4 stars while I gave it 3 stars.
Author: Riley Sager
Published: July 11, 2017
Ten years ago, college student Quincy Carpenter went on vacation with five friends and came back alone, the only survivor of a horror movie–scale massacre. In an instant, she became a member of a club no one wants to belong to—a group of similar survivors known in the press as the Final Girls. Lisa, who lost nine sorority sisters to a college dropout’s knife; Sam, who went up against the Sack Man during her shift at the Nightlight Inn; and now Quincy, who ran bleeding through the woods to escape Pine Cottage and the man she refers to only as Him. The three girls are all attempting to put their nightmares behind them, and, with that, one another. Despite the media’s attempts, they never meet.
Now, Quincy is doing well—maybe even great, thanks to her Xanax prescription. She has a caring almost-fiancé, Jeff; a popular baking blog; a beautiful apartment; and a therapeutic presence in Coop, the police officer who saved her life all those years ago. Her memory won’t even allow her to recall the events of that night; the past is in the past.
That is, until Lisa, the first Final Girl, is found dead in her bathtub, wrists slit, and Sam, the second, appears on Quincy’s doorstep. Blowing through Quincy’s life like a whirlwind, Sam seems intent on making Quincy relive the past, with increasingly dire consequences, all of which makes Quincy question why Sam is really seeking her out. And when new details about Lisa’s death come to light, Quincy’s life becomes a race against time as she tries to unravel Sam’s truths from her lies, evade the police and hungry reporters, and, most crucially, remember what really happened at Pine Cottage, before what was started ten years ago is finished.
Kim’s Rating: 4 Stars
Holy. Crap. I didn’t see that twist coming at all. Normally, I get a sense, even just a twinge, but not with this book! And thankfully, it’s not a twist that made me feel stupid for not getting it. This is the second Riley Sager book I’ve read and I liked this one best. It didn’t feel like a recycled story and I was much more satisfied with the ending. My only real problem is that I really didn’t like Quincy. She was just prickly and kinda dumb acting. For claiming strength after surviving as a “final girl”, she seems weak and like she doesn’t really think for herself. She’s a follower and that clashes with her survivor persona. But it’s definitely a page turner that I couldn’t put down! This is another good one for Criminal Minds fans, with more of a focus on the victims. I liked it a lot!
Jessica’s Rating: 3 Stars
Dates Read: September 23-30, 2021
Format Read: Audiobook
Final Girls is Riley Sager’s debut novel, but I am glad I did not read it first. I’ve basically been going backwards and have read his books 5,4, and 3, followed by this one and I still have his second one to go. His novels have gotten better than his first with books 3-5 all getting 5 stars and this one getting 3 stars from me.
As we read, we get two time periods with Quincy: The past where she survived the massacre that left her friends all dead, and present-day Quincy dealing with life in general and then the effects of final girl Lisa committing suicide and meeting another final girl Sam and them forming some kind of relationship. It helped that I did like Quincy and was rooting for her, while Sam just rubbed me the wrong way so many times!
I was interested in this novel the whole time and it will keep you on your toes. I also had several different thoughts as to who the ultimate villain was, and there were several twists that occurred towards the end. But that final reveal of the villain I guessed wrong, but I was also not surprised by. I do read lots of thrillers and enjoy NOT guessing the twist and getting my mind blown, so for me Final Girls was a decent novel and I did like the ultimate ending.
With only his second book left to read, I do really enjoy Sager, but recommended his third novel Lock Every Door the most! We will see what happens once I have finished The Last Time I Lied to see if my favorite Sager novel changes!