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2024 Bookish Books Reading Challenge (Hosted by Yours Truly)

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My Progress:

11 / 30 books. 37% done!

2024 Literary Escapes Challenge

- Alabama (1)
- Alaska
- Arizona (1)
- Arkansas
- California (3)
- Colorado (1)
- Connecticut
- Delaware
- Florida
- Georgia (1)
- Hawaii
- Idaho (2)
- Illinois (1)
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- Kentucky (1)
- Louisiana (1)
- Maine (1)
- Maryland
- Massachusetts (2)
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- New York (2)
- North Carolina (3)
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- Ohio (1)
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- Tennessee (1)
- Texas (3)
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- Vermont (2)
- Virginia (1)
- Washington (2)
- West Virginia
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- Wyoming
- Washington, D.C.* (1)

- Australia (1)
- Canada (1)
- England (8)
- France (1)
- Indonesia (1)
- Ireland (2)
- Italy (1)
- Scotland (2)
- The Netherlands (1)

My Progress:

23 / 51 states. 45% done!

2024 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

My Progress:

16 / 50 books. 32% done!

2024 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge

21 / 50 books. 42% done!

Booklist Queen's 2024 Reading Challenge

My Progress:

43 / 50 books. 86% done!

2024 52 Club Reading Challenge

My Progress:

38 / 52 books. 73% done!

2024 Build Your Library Reading Challenge

My Progress:

25 / 40 books. 63% done!

2024 Pioneer Book Reading Challenge

15 / 40 books. 38% done!

2024 Craving for Cozies Reading Challenge

My Progress:

9 / 25 books. 36% done!

2024 Medical Examiner's Mystery Reading Challenge

2024 Mystery Marathon Reading Challenge

My Progress

6 / 26.2 miles (second lap). 23% done!

Mount TBR Reading Challenge

My Progress

22 / 100 books. 22% done!

2024 Pick Your Poison Reading Challenge

My Progress:

58 / 104 books. 56% done!

Around the Year in 52 Books Reading Challenge

My Progress

42 / 52 books. 81% done!

Disney Animated Movies Reading Challenge

My Progress

60 / 165 books. 36% done!
Saturday, December 14, 2019

Eerie House of Echoes an Enjoyable Gothic Romp

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

"Ben had wanted a house with a story, but this one had too many of them" (326).

The Tierney family is in desperate need of a change.  Ben's struggling to get his third book written, mercurial Caroline's just been laid off from her New York City banking job, and 8-year-old Charlie is being bullied at school.  It seems like the perfect time to make a move.  When they find a decaying 200-year-old mansion in the small Adirondack town of Swannhaven, they purchase the home with the aim of renovating it themselves and turning it into an inn.  The more they settle in, however, the more strange things begin to happen in the house and the deep, dark forest that surrounds it.  As the Tierneys unravel their house's mysterious history, unlocking chilling secrets from its past, they realize their dream home might just become their worst nightmare ...

All a designer really has to do to draw me to a book is put an old, crumbling house on the cover.  If the plot summary mentions a creepy forest, the possibility of ghosts, and/or the discovery of juicy secrets, I'm a goner.  House of Echoes by Brendan Duffy grabbed my attention with all of the above.  It didn't disappoint with its creepy, atmospheric setting; its sympathetic, intriguing characters; and its surprising, twist-filled plot.  Even though it's not exactly an edge-of-your-seat, adrenaline-fueled thriller (at times it's unnecessarily wordy), House of Echoes had me burning through its pages to find out what was going to happen next.  I have some issues with the ending, mostly because it left a lot of questions unanswered.  Goodreads shows that Duffy has an upcoming novel called Louder Echoes.  I can't be sure it's a sequel, but I'm seriously hoping it is.  I need answers!  All in all, though, I enjoyed this one.  I'll for sure keep an eye out for more from this talented author.

(Readalikes:  Reminds me of The Shining by Stephen King, The Invited by Jennifer McMahon, and The Widow's House by Carol Goodman)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for language (no F-bombs), violence, blood/gore, and disturbing subject matter

To the FTC, with love:  I bought a copy of House of Echoes with a portion of the millions I make from my lucrative career as a book blogger.  Ha ha.

Feral Child Novel Tells a Compelling, Stick-With-You Story

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Tiny River Valley, Washington, is nestled between the ocean and Olympic National Forest, the last hamlet of civilization before the deep, impenetrable woods take over.  When a young, feral girl walks out of the trees, Police Chief Ellie Barton is immediately drawn to the obviously traumatized child.  Although she's desperate to find the girl's identity, she soon realizes she's out of her league.  More like a wild animal than a human, the child seems unreachable.  Ferreting out her secrets will require more patience and skill than Ellie possesses.  It's time to call in a professional; her younger sister just happens to be one.

After a terrible tragedy very publicly calls into question Julia Cates' abilities as a psychiatrist, leaving her career in ruins, the 35-year-old is not quite sure how to recover.  When she receives a frantic call from her sister begging her to come back to River Valley, Julia jumps at the opportunity.  Just like Ellie, she becomes entranced with the enigmatic girl she dubs Alice.  As Julia slowly earns Alice's trust, the child's horrifying story starts to trickle out.  While Julia desires only to protect her young client, she's consumed by difficult questions.  What really happened to Alice?  How can Julia help her heal from the terror she's experienced in her short life?  And, most disturbing of all, should she be returned to her family?  Childless Julia can't bear the thought of letting Alice go.  What will happen to both of them when push comes to shove?

The topic of feral children fascinates me, so I couldn't resist picking up Magic Hour by Kristin Hannah.  The premise is intriguing, the characters are engaging, the plot is surprising, and Hannah's prose is always on par.  While there are a few story elements that struck me as far-fetched, overall I really enjoyed Magic Hour.  It's engrossing and moving, which makes it a story that has stayed in my mind even though I read it back in August.  I've been a big Kristin Hannah fan since reading and loving The Nightingale and The Great Alone and I definitely intend to keep exploring her backlist, especially if it yields more gems like this one. 

(Readalikes:  Reminds me of Leave No Trace by Mindy Mejia and If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for language (a few F-bombs, plus milder expletives), violence, mild sexual content, and disturbing subject matter

To the FTC, with love:  I bought a copy of Magic Hour with a portion of the millions I make from my lucrative career as a book blogger.  Ha ha.
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The Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain

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