Thoughts on Books (#25): THE NIGHT SHIFT • THE RESTING PLACE • INSOMNIA

“And after winter folweth grene May.” ― Geoffrey Chaucer


The Night Shift
The Night Shift by Alex Finlay
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Twisty, suspenseful, and hooked me from the start. I enjoyed trying to figure out how the past and present crimes tied together. This was one of those books that I couldn’t wait to get back to reading when real life forced me to put it down! Borrowed from the library.


The Resting Place
The Resting Place by Camilla Sten
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Chilling! THE RESTING PLACE is creepy-good quiet horror. I enjoyed the cold, atmospheric setting of the isolated estate that the protagonist inherits. What disturbing family secrets are buried there? The twists were delicious and disturbing! Borrowed from the library.


Insomnia
Insomnia by Sarah Pinborough
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I know this book has gotten a lot of buzz, but it was a miss for me — slow, repetitive & underwhelming ending. I’m still holding out hope for another Behind Her Eyes! Borrowed from the library.

☆ Click on the book title to read the synopsis on Goodreads ☆

EVENFALL WITCHES B&B ☆ Cozy Mystery Series by Auralee Wallace



Book One: IN THE COMPANY OF WITCHES
Publication Date: October 19, 2021
Publisher: Berkley
Source: Review copy from NetGalley
Rating: ★★★★½


When a guest dies in the B&B she helps her aunts run, a young witch must rely on some good old-fashioned investigating to clear her aunt’s name in this magical and charming new cozy mystery.

For four hundred years, the Warren witches have used their magic to quietly help the citizens of the sleepy New England town of Evenfall thrive. There’s never been a problem they couldn’t handle. But then Constance Graves — a local known for being argumentative and demanding — dies while staying at the bed and breakfast Brynn Warren maintains with her aunts. At first, it seems like an accident…but it soon becomes clear that there’s something more sinister at work, and Aunt Nora is shaping up to be the prime suspect.

There’s nothing Brynn wants more than to prove Nora’s innocence, and it hurts her to know that even two years ago that might have been easier. Brynn, after all, is a witch of the dead — a witch who can commune with ghosts. Ghosts never remember much about their deaths, but Constance might remember something about her life that would help crack the case. But Brynn hasn’t used her powers since her husband died, and isn’t even sure she still can. Brynn will just have to hope that her aunts’ magic and her own investigative skills will lead her to answers — and maybe back to the gift she once thought herself ready to give up forever.


If you loved the aunts in Practical Magic and Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, I highly recommend you give this new magical cozy mystery series a try. There’s also a curious uncle who reminds me a bit of “we don’t talk about” Bruno who adds to the fun.

Brynn, their niece, has been unable to use her witchy powers of communicating with ghosts ever since her husband died. Somehow Brynn needs to get her witchery back to help Aunt Nora when she’s accused of murdering a guest in their New England B&B.

I enjoyed the spirited characters and their dynamics and witty banter. The murder mystery was complex and fast paced, and I enjoyed how the family’s magical powers helped with the investigation. There are additional layers of emotion and family drama that give the story extra depth. I’m excited to see this series continue!



Book Two: WHEN THE CROW’S AWAY
Publication Date: April 5, 2022
Publisher: Berkley
Source: Review copy from NetGalley
Rating: ★★★★½


The ghost of a recently deceased chocolatier believes he was murdered, and it’s up to young witch Brynn Warren to use her magical gifts and old-fashioned sleuthing skills to find out how he really met his bitter end in this enchanting new Evenfall Witches B&B Mystery.

After spending months unable to use her powers, Brynn Warren is once again using her gift and working at her family’s bed-and-breakfast. Her heart is full, and although one of her aunts wonders if it might be a little more full with a bit of romance in her life, Brynn is certain that finding love again is not in her future. In fact, she can’t imagine anyone being more certain of anything…except for maybe, the recently deceased Mortimer Sweete. He’s certain he’s been murdered, and he wants Brynn’s help to bring his killer to justice.

Mort is positive he knows who killed him: his business partner’s wife, Cookie, who had been trying to get them to sell the candy shop for months. But Brynn doesn’t share his conviction. After all, the coroner ruled his death natural causes, and Mort did have health problems in life. But with Cookie putting up a For Sale sign for the shop already, Brynn knows she can’t just let it go.

Trying to solve a might-be murder while attempting to stop her aunt from meddling in her personal life seems like a recipe for disaster. If Brynn wants to bring Mort’s spirit peace, she’ll have to rely on all her skills — both magical and mundane — to uncover the truth.


WHEN THE CROW’S AWAY is a fantastic continuation of this paranormal cozy mystery series. Evenfall is an absolutely charming place, and it was great to be back with Brynn and her witchy aunts and uncle. This time Aunt Izzy does some meddling in Brynn’s love life, which she’s none to thrilled about. However, she does have a distraction in the ghost of a deceased candy maker who firmly believes he was murdered. Now that Brynn has her powers back, she’s ready to help.

This is one of the more emotional cozy mystery series I’ve read, because it deals with loss and grief in a deeper way. Plenty of family drama too! The murder mystery in this book was rather intriguing, and the twist at the end was totally unexpected. I love how the last chapter hinted at what’s to come in the next book and I am ready for it!

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing a free copy of both books in exchange for an honest review.

ROAD OF BONES by Christopher Golden


Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Publication Date: January 25, 2022
Source: Borrowed from the library
Rating: ★★¾


An American documentarian travels a haunted highway across the frozen tundra of Siberia in New York Times bestselling author Christopher Golden’s Road of Bones, a “tightly wound, atmospheric, and creepy as hell” (Stephen King) supernatural thriller.

Surrounded by barren trees in a snow-covered wilderness with a dim, dusky sky forever overhead, Siberia’s Kolyma Highway is 1200 miles of gravel packed permafrost within driving distance of the Arctic Circle. A narrow path where drivers face such challenging conditions as icy surfaces, limited visibility, and an average temperature of sixty degrees below zero, fatal car accidents are common.

But motorists are not the only victims of the highway. Known as the Road of Bones, it is a massive graveyard for the former Soviet Union’s gulag prisoners. Hundreds of thousands of people worked to death and left where their bodies fell, consumed by the frozen elements and plowed beneath the permafrost road.

Fascinated by the history, documentary producer Felix “Teig” Teigland is in Russia to drive the highway, envisioning a new series capturing Life and Death on the Road of Bones with a ride to the town of Akhust, “the coldest place on Earth”, collecting ghost stories and local legends along the way. Only, when Teig and his team reach their destination, they find an abandoned town, save one catatonic nine-year-old girl―and a pack of predatory wolves, faster and smarter than any wild animals should be.

Pursued by the otherworldly beasts, Teig’s companions confront even more uncanny and inexplicable phenomena along the Road of Bones, as if the ghosts of Stalin’s victims were haunting them. It is a harrowing journey that will push Teig beyond endurance and force him to confront the sins of his past.


ROAD OF BONES is a paranormal horror/thriller set during winter along the Kolyma Highway in Siberia. Until this book popped up on my radar, I had never heard of this road or its cruel, gruesome history. Possibly up to a million gulag prisoners died building this highway and their bodies were buried underneath, victims of Stalin’s cruelty.

A documentarian and his cameraman head out on this desolate highway looking for ghost stories on their way to Akhust, the coldest town on Earth. Once they get there, they find the town has been abandoned except for one little girl, and a pack of murderous wolves, that are now after them.

I have mixed feelings about this book, and I think it’s because I was expecting something different based on the synopsis. There was a fast-paced “chase” element, interesting Siberian folklore, and a few creepy moments. But where were the ghosts? Unfortunately the “road of  bones” and its tragic history were lost in the chase, except for a couple of odd disjointed parts.

ROAD OF BONES is heavy on the folktale, without a lot of whys, but I was enthralled with the descriptions of the bitter cold! (Again, where were the ghosts?)

Sunday Post | It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Linking up with Kimberly @ Sunday Post and Kathryn @ It’s Monday! What are you reading?


Hello, again! It’s been a looong time since I’ve put together a weekly recap post, so I wanted to check in and say hi. Work at the elementary school is fantastic, and that along with family things keeps me pretty busy.

Spring break starts this week, and I’m just going to ignore the lingering snow on the ground. This Thursday, St. Patrick’s Day, is a special day because it marks my 12th blogging anniversary. Twelve years!!

I wanted to share the wonderful goodies I recently won from Atria Books and Pickled Stamps.

From the publisher I received a lovely copy of THE PARIS LIBRARY by Janet Skeslien Charles that I’m excited to read. And from Pickled Stamps, I received a cool personalized library embosser. I went with “Ex Libris Book of Secrets” since that’s been my bookish identity for so long. Love it!

Now one of my spring break projects is to start embossing the hundreds of books on my shelves! Do you have a library stamp or embosser?

What I’ve Been Reading:

Here are most of the adult books I’ve read during the first quarter of 2022:

THE OVERNIGHT GUEST by Heather Gudenkauf ()
BENEATH THE STAIRS by Jennifer Fawcett (★★★½)
WOULD I LIE TO YOU? by Aliya Ali-Afzal (½)
THE IT GIRL by Ruth Ware (★★) *
ALL I WANT by Darcey Bell ()
THE ACCOMPLICE by Lisa Lutz ()
VLADIMIR by Julia May Jonas ()

* Publication date — July 12, 2022.

What I’m Currently Reading:

ROAD OF BONES by Christopher Golden

“A stunning supernatural thriller set in Siberia, where a film crew is covering an elusive ghost story about the Kolyma Highway, a road built on top of the bones of prisoners of Stalin’s gulag.”

Thanks for stopping by & have a wonderful week! — 𝓓𝓲𝓪𝓷𝓪

Thoughts on Books (#24): RECITATIF • THE ACCOMPLICE • VLADIMIR

“February, when the days of winter seem endless and no amount of wistful recollecting can bring back any air of summer.” ― Shirley Jackson


Recitatif: A Story
Recitatif: A Story by Toni Morrison
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This short story is brilliantly written! Two characters, Twyla and Roberta, one black, one white, but which is which? And what about Maggie? The reader is left to decide. At only 40 pages, this story really packs a punch. Highly recommended. Borrowed from the library.


The Accomplice
The Accomplice by Lisa Lutz
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I read the first half, then skimmed the second. While this book had an intriguing start, the constant timeline jumps, abrupt POV changes (even within the same paragraph), and numerous unappealing characters made me lose interest. I remember reading The Passenger six years ago and enjoying it, but I found The Accomplice to be underwhelming. Borrowed from the library.


Vladimir
Vladimir by Julia May Jonas
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This is a difficult book to rate, but I think it will land at 2 stars. The more I think about it, the less I like it, so there’s that. VLADIMIR wasn’t at all what I was expecting. With the blurb and title, I assumed it would be a suspenseful homage to LOLITA with the roles reversed. Nope. Instead, we got lots of meandering thoughts from an unnamed narrator. Little dialogue, unfortunately. I never quite understood or was convinced of her fixation with Vladimir. Weird ending. BOTM selection.