What Lives in the Woods | An ARC Review

Hi everyone! I hope you’re doing well. Today I’ll be reviewing an ARC of What Lives in the Woods by Lindsay Currie. Enjoy!

**Thank you SOURCEBOOKS Kids, and Netgalley for the eARC in exchange for an honest review.

What Lives in the Woods: Currie, Lindsay: 0760789294259: Books - Amazon.ca

(Synopsis from goodreads)

Welcome to the decrepit Woodmoor Manor…where something in the woods is always watching. From the author of Scritch Scratch comes a chilling middle grade story about a creepy mansion and sinister creatures in the woods. All Ginny Anderson wants from her summer is to relax. But when Ginny’s father—a respected restoration expert in Chicago—surprises the family with a month-long trip to Michigan, everything changes. They aren’t staying in a hotel like most families would. No, they’re staying in a mansion. A twenty-six room, century-old building surrounded by dense forest. Woodmoor Manor. Locals claim the surrounding woods are inhabited by mutated creatures that escaped a mad scientist over a hundred years ago. And some say campers routinely disappear never to be seen again. When the creaky floors and shadowy corners of the mansion seem to take on a life of their own, Ginny uncovers the wildest mystery of all: there’s more than one legend roaming Saugatuck, Michigan, and they definitely aren’t after campers. They’re after her.

First, let’s talk about the plot. What Lives in the Woods promises a story about a girl who uncovers secrets within the woods around the creepy manor she’s staying at over the summer. However, I found that this wasn’t the case when reading my ARC of the novel. The main character Ginny is being haunted, and most of it happens within the mansion. Unfortunately, the woods around the manor has very little to do with the story.

In addition, the main character Ginny is really fun! She’s imaginative and passionate. Although, her brother was portrayed in a very stereotypical way. The majority of the jokes made in the book revolve around how Ginny’s brother Leo acts. I understand that he was used as comic relief, but the jokes were overused. Luckily, I adored Ginny’s parents, along with her new friend Will. They were wonderful supporting characters.

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Moreover, the dialogue was just okay. As mentioned previously, I didn’t find the jokes to be very appealing.

Fortunately, the writing was done well. It was gorgeously eerie, and really made my skin crawl! However, Ginny mentions Agatha Christie way too often. Her character development towards the end of the story felt very on the nose as well. On a more positive note, I’m happy that the story’s message was very sweet. It’s about making the most of one’s situation, which I thought was really nice.

Overall, I enjoyed What Lives in the Woods. While it wasn’t my favorite read, I definitely encourage young readers to pick up this thriller!

Age Rating: 10 and up

Trigger Warnings: Talk of death, scary imagery

Overall Rating: 3.25 out of 5 stars or 6.5 out of 10. 

⭐⭐⭐

Who’s your favorite author that writes thrillers? Have a wonderful day!

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Twenty Spooktacular Fall Reads You Need to Checkout! 🍂

Hey everyone! Today’s post is a bit overdue, but will hopefully be a worthwhile one because I’m going to be giving you some books to read this fall season! I’ve separated the books into four categories; Middle Grade, Young Adult, Adult, and of course, the Classics. I hope you enjoy!

PS: Press the book covers for the goodreads links. I also summarised most of the book synopsis’ myself. However some I took from goodreads.

If you’re a bit of a scaredy cat like me, than I suggest these middle grade titles! But don’t let their innocent demeanor fool you…

1. Small Spaces by Katherine Arden

Small Spaces: Arden, Katherine: 9780525515029: Books - Amazon.ca

This is a gorgeously creepy story about a girl whose field trip to a farm goes wrong.

2. Ophie’s Ghosts by Justina Ireland

Ophie's Ghosts: Ireland, Justina: 9780062915894: Books - Amazon.ca

Set in 1922, Ophie’s Ghosts follows a girl named Ophie. She has no choice but to work as a maid in an old manor as her mother is tight on money. Little does she know that the manor holds secrets of its own.

3. What Lives in the Woods by Lindsay Currie

What Lives in the Woods by Lindsay Currie

When Ginny Anderson’s dad takes the family on a month long trip to a decrepit manor known as Woodmoor Manor, things take an uneasy turn. For the woods surrounding the mansion, hold a secret.

4. Thirteens by Kate Marshall

Thirteens by Kate Alice Marshall: 9780593117040 | PenguinRandomHouse.com:  Books

After the death of her mother, twelve-year-old Eleanor moved to a town called Eden Eld where an eerie Mr. January collects his payment of three thirteen-year-olds every thirteen years. The kids are sacrificed in exchange for the town’s unending good fortune. This Halloween, Mr. January is back, and has their eyes on Eleanor and her friends. Will they break the curse before Halloween ends?

I feel like Young Adult thrillers are harder to find than YA mysteries, so here are some to add to your TBR!

5. The Woods Are Always Watching by Stephanie Perkins

The Woods Are Always Watching: Perkins, Stephanie: 9780525426028: Books -  Amazon.ca


Best friends Neena and Josie spent high school as outsiders, but at least they had each other. Now, with college and a two-thousand-mile separation looming on the horizon, they have one last chance to be together—a three-day hike deep into the woods of the Pisgah National Forest. Simmering tensions lead to a detour off the trail and straight into a waking nightmare; and then into something far worse. Something that will test them in horrifying ways.

(Synopsis from goodreads)

6. Perfect on Paper by Sophie Gonzales

Perfect on Paper by Sophie Gonzales

While this one isn’t entirely a thriller, it gives me such fall and back to school vibes!

Darcy Phillips gives relationship advice to her fellow students. However, one day she is hired by the popular guy at school who wants to get his ex back. What could possibly go wrong?

7. Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas

52339313. sy475

Cemetery Boys is a fall classic!

When his traditional Latinx family has problems accepting his gender, Yadriel becomes determined to prove himself a real brujo. With the help of his cousin and best friend Maritza, he performs the ritual himself, and then sets out to find the ghost of his murdered cousin and set it free. However, the ghost he summons is actually Julian Diaz, the school’s resident bad boy, and Julian is not about to go quietly into death. He’s determined to find out what happened and tie up some loose ends before he leaves. Left with no choice, Yadriel agrees to help Julian, so that they can both get what they want. But the longer Yadriel spends with Julian, the less he wants to let him leave.

(Synopsis from Goodreads)

8. The Taking of Jake Livingston by Ryan Douglass

The Taking of Jake Livingston by Ryan Douglass: 9781984812537 |  PenguinRandomHouse.com: Books

Sixteen year old Jake Livingston can see the dead. However, what happens when you become haunted by a ghost, and are able to see it?

9. Alice by Heart by Steven Sater

Alice By Heart: Sater, Steven: 9780451478139: Books - Amazon.ca

In this Alice and Wonderland retelling, Alice and her best friend Alfred must take refuge in a London Tube station during WWII. Alfred is gravely ill with Tuberculosis, and might not survive the night. So to cheer him up, Alice tells her favorite story; The Story of Alice in Wonderland. But what happens when wonderland is her only escape from the harshness of World War Two?

10. I Hope You’re Listening by Tom Ryan

I Hope You're Listening by Tom Ryan

In her small town, seventeen year-old Delia “Dee” Skinner is known as the girl who wasn’t taken. Ten years ago, she witnessed the abduction of her best friend, Sibby. And though she told the police everything she remembered, it wasn’t enough. Sibby was never seen again. At night, Dee deals with her guilt by becoming someone else: the Seeker, the voice behind the popular true crime podcast Radio Silent, which features missing persons cases and works with online sleuths to solve them. Nobody knows Dee’s the Seeker, and she plans to keep it that way. When another little girl goes missing, and the case is linked to Sibby’s disappearance, Dee has a chance to get answers, with the help of her virtual detectives and the intriguing new girl at school. But how much is she willing to reveal about herself in order to uncover the truth? Dee’s about to find out what’s really at stake in unraveling the mystery of the little girls who vanished.

(Synopsis from goodreads)

11. The Forest of Stolen Girls by June Hur

The Forest of Stolen Girls : Hur, June: Amazon.ca: Books

Hwani’s family has never been the same since she and her younger sister went missing and were later found unconscious in the forest near a gruesome crime scene. Years later, Detective Min―Hwani’s father―learns that thirteen girls have recently disappeared from the same forest that nearly stole his daughters. He travels to their hometown on the island of Jeju to investigate… only to vanish as well. Determined to find her father and solve the case that tore their family apart, Hwani returns home to pick up the trail. As she digs into the secrets of the small village―and collides with her now estranged sister, Maewol―Hwani comes to realize that the answer could lie within her own buried memories of what happened in the forest all those years ago.

(Synopsis from goodreads)

12. The Dead and the Dark by Courtney Gould

The Dead and the Dark by Courtney Gould

Something is off about Snakebite. Teens keep going missing, and Ashely Barton’s boyfriend is one of them. When Logan Oritz-Woodley and her family move in town, they aren’t exactly met with a warm welcome. Logan frequently wonders why the town hates her family so much. Could Snakebite be hiding a secret?

13. A Dark and Starless Forest by Sarah Hollowell

Separated by the rest of the world, Derry and her eight siblings live on a lake near a merciless forest. One day Derry’s siblings start to go missing, forcing her to confront the forest once again.

So maybe Middle Grade and Young Adult aren’t your jam. If so, then that’s totally okay! Here are some adult reads instead.

14. Donut Fall in Love by Jackie Lau

Donut Fall in Love by Jackie Lau

This book isn’t necessarily spooky, but it’s most definitely cozy!

Actor Ryan Kwok is back in Toronto after the promotional tour for his latest film, a rom-com that is getting less-than-stellar reviews. After the sudden death of his mother and years of constant work, Ryan is taking some much-needed time off. But as he tries to be supportive to his family, he struggles with his loss and doesn’t know how to talk to his dad—who now trolls him on Twitter instead of meeting him for dim sum. Innovative baker Lindsay McLeod meets Ryan when he knocks over two dozen specialty donuts at her bakery. Their relationship is off to a messy start, but there’s no denying their immediate attraction. When Ryan signs up for a celebrity episode of Baking Fail, he asks Lindsay to teach him how to bake and she agrees. As Lindsay and Ryan spend time together, bonding over grief and bubble tea, it starts to feel like they’re cooking up something sweeter than cupcakes in the kitchen.

(Synopis from goodreads)

15. The Ex Hex by Erin Sterling

The Ex Hex eBook by Erin Sterling | Rakuten Kobo

Nine years ago, young witch Vivienne Jones ‘pretended’ to curse Rhys, the guy who dumped her. Fast forward almost a decade, and he’s back in town to represent his prestigious family, and also to recharge the town’s ley lines. However, will the curse Vivienne thought she never placed on Rhys endanger the town she’s always called home?

16. Dead Dead Girls by Nekesa Afia

Dead Dead Girls : Afia, Nekesa: Amazon.ca: Books

Harlem, 1926. Young black girls like Louise Lloyd are ending up dead. Following a harrowing kidnapping ordeal when she was in her teens, Louise is doing everything she can to maintain a normal life. She’s succeeding, too. She spends her days working at Maggie’s Café and her nights at the Zodiac, Manhattan’s hottest speakeasy. Louise’s friends might say she’s running from her past and the notoriety that still stalks her, but don’t tell her that. When a girl turns up dead in front of the café, Louise is forced to confront something she’s been trying to ignore–several local black girls have been murdered over the past few weeks. After an altercation with a local police officer gets her arrested, Louise is given an ultimatum: She can either help solve the case or let a judge make an example of her. Louise has no choice but to take the case and soon finds herself toe-to-toe with a murderous mastermind. She’ll have to tackle her own fears and the prejudices of New York City society if she wants to catch a killer and save her own life in the process.

(Synopsis from goodreads)

17. The Empress of Salt and Fortune by Nghi Vo

The Empress of Salt and Fortune: Vo, Nghi: 9781250750303: Books - Amazon.ca

If you’re a fantasy lover, then this is definitely the book for you!

A young royal from the far north is sent south for a political marriage in an empire reminiscent of imperial China. Her brothers are dead, her armies and their war mammoths long defeated and caged behind their borders. Alone and sometimes reviled, she must choose her allies carefully. Rabbit, a handmaiden, sold by her parents to the palace for the lack of five baskets of dye, befriends the emperor’s lonely new wife and gets more than she bargained for. At once feminist high fantasy and an indictment of monarchy, this evocative debut follows the rise of the empress In-yo, who has few resources and fewer friends. She’s a northern daughter in a mage-made summer exile, but she will bend history to her will and bring down her enemies, piece by piece.

(Synopsis from goodreads)

Can’t forget about the classics!

18. Dracula by Bram Stoker

ARC CLASSICS DRACULA, Book by Bram Stoker (Paperback) | www.chapters.indigo .ca

Dracula is a story about the infamous Van Helsing, a guy named Harker, and of course, evil. Filled with incredibly atmospheric writing, and a deliciously eerie setting, Dracula is a classic you don’t want to miss this Halloween!

19. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

ARC CLASSICS FRANKENSTEIN, Book by Mary Shelley (Paperback) | www.chapters. indigo.ca

This is the insane story of Dr. Frankenstein and his experiment that lead to the creation of the iconically creepy monster Frankenstein.

20. The Honjin Murders by Seishi Yokomizo

In the winter of 1937, the village of Okamura is abuzz with excitement over the forthcoming wedding of a son of the grand Ichiyanagi family. But amid the gossip over the approaching festivities, there is also a worrying rumour – it seems a sinister masked man has been asking questions around the village. Then, on the night of the wedding, the Ichiyanagi household are woken by a terrible scream, followed by the sound of eerie music. Death has come to Okamura, leaving no trace but a bloody samurai sword, thrust into the pristine snow outside the house. Soon, amateur detective Kosuke Kindaichi is on the scene to investigate what will become a legendary murder case, but can this scruffy sleuth solve a seemingly impossible crime?

(Synopsis from goodreads)

🎃 Still not sure what to read this autumn? Feel free to check out my spooky book reviews below for some ideas! 🎃

Alrighty, that’s a wrap! I hope you found some cozy books to read this fall season. What’s your favorite mystery or thriller? Have a spooktacular day!

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Summer TBR 2021

Hey everyone, I hope you’re doing amazing. I for one am very excited for the summer because it finally means I can read outside!

(PS: Click on the covers of the books to add them to goodreads.)

First, let’s recap!

In my Spring TBR post, I said I’d read nine novels, and complete one manga series. Well I’m happy to report that I read all of them! This is actually why I love seasonal TBRs. You feel so much less stressed, and you can read at your own pace. I mean, let’s face it. How many of us will constantly read 10+ a month? Then again, some of you amazingly fast readers have really proven me and my slow reading skills wrong. 😆 I guess what I’m trying to say is, don’t feel pressured to go by strict TBRs. Read at your own pace, and read what you want. But hey, to each their own.

With that said, onto the TBR!

1. The Dead and the Dark by Courtney Gould 

The Dead and the Dark by Courtney Gould

I received an ARC for this book via Netgalley, and I can’t wait to dive in!

2. Any Day with You by Mae Respicio

Any Day with You by Mae Respicio: 9780525707608 | PenguinRandomHouse.com:  Books

Any Day With You looks like such a sweet summer read, so of course I had to add it to my Summer TBR!

3. Alice By Heart by Steven Sater

Alice By Heart: Sater, Steven: 9780451478139: Books - Amazon.ca

I believe this novel was based off of a musical, which is really cool!

4. I Love You So Mochi by Sarah Kuhn

I Love You So Mochi: Kuhn, Sarah: 9781338302882: Books - Amazon.ca

This will be a re-read for me, which is rare considering I never re-read. But I’m feeling ~adventurous~ this summer so why not!

5. Be Dazzled by Ryan La Sala

Be Dazzled by Ryan La Sala

This has been on my library shelf for quite some time, so I should probably get to it sooner or later. 😅

6. Luck of the Titanic by Stacey Lee

Luck of the Titanic by Stacey Lee

I’m currently reading this one as loving it! This is also a buddy read with the amazing Rukky @ Eternity Books.

7. Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

Red, White & Royal Blue: A Novel : McQuiston, Casey: Amazon.ca: Books

After disliking One Last Stop, I unfortunately have low expectations for Red, White and Royal Blue. But second time’s a charm?

8. Hazel and the Deep Blue Sea by Ashley Herring Blake

Hazel Bly and the Deep Blue Sea: Blake, Ashley Herring: 9780316535458:  Books - Amazon.ca

I’ve heard such amazing things about Ashley Herring Blake’s books, so when I saw this one at the library, I just knew I had to check it out!

9. Glitter Gets Everywhere by Yvette Clark

Glitter Gets Everywhere: Clark, Yvette: 9780063034488: Amazon.com: Books

This book is, in a way, outside of my comfort zone. So all the more reason to read it!

10. This May End Badly by Samantha Markum

This May End Badly | Samantha Markum | Macmillan

Samantha Markum’s debut looks incredible! So when I saw that it was available to request on Netgalley, I immediately requested it. Luckily, I was approved to read it and I’m so excited to dive in!

11. When You Get the Chance by Emma Lord

When You Get the Chance by Emma Lord

Sorry about the blurry image, but essentially, I picked this one up on a whim and am excited to see where it takes me!

12. The Bones of Ruin by Sarah Raughley

The Bones of Ruin | Book by Sarah Raughley | Official Publisher Page |  Simon & Schuster

I picked this one up mainly because the premise sounded so unique, and that cover is just beautiful!

13. What Lives in the Woods by Lindsay Currie

What Lives in the Woods by Lindsay Currie

After loving Lindsay Currie’s Scritch Scratch, I just knew I had to pick this one up too!

13. Sunkissed by Kasie West

Sunkissed: West, Kasie: 9780593176269: Books - Amazon.ca

I’ve never read a Kasie West novel before, but this seems like such a fun summer read!

14. Fifteen Hundred Miles from the Sun by Jonny Garza Villa

Fifteen Hundred Miles from the Sun by Jonny Garza Villa

Fifteen Hundred Miles from the Sun is one of my anticipated releases for 2021. So I can’t wait to read it!

15. Perfect on Paper by Sophie Gonzales

Perfect on Paper by Sophie Gonzales

I’ve seen so many bloggers rave about this one, so of course I had to pick it up!

16. Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas

Cemetery Boys: Thomas, Aiden: 9781250250469: Books - Amazon.ca

I put this one on hold at the library about six months ago, and it was finally ready to read last week! Cemetery Boys was my most anticipated release of 2020, so I’m super excited to finally read it.

17. Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé 

Ace of Spades : Àbíké-Íyímídé, Faridah: Amazon.ca: Books

The page count of this book is intimidating, but I’m hoping to get to it sometime this summer nonetheless.

18. More to the Story by Hena Khan

More to the Story: Khan, Hena: 9781481492096: Books - Amazon.ca

I’ve been wanting to read more middle grade lately, so I’m hoping to pick this one up soon. It just looks so adorable!

19. From Little Tokyo with Love by Sarah Kuhn

From Little Tokyo, with Love by Sarah Kuhn

I’ve been waiting for this one to release, so I’m really excited to start reading it! And doesn’t that cover look stunning?

20. Shortcake Cake by Suu Morishita

Shortcake Cake, Vol. 1 (Volume 1) : Morishita, suu: Amazon.ca: Books

I’m hoping to finish this manga series before October, as it’s a fast and fun series!

I hope you enjoyed reading my Summer TBR. Feel free to read spring’s TBR here. I’d love to know what’s on your TBR this summer too! Have a great day!

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Scritch Scratch | A Review

Hey everyone! I hope you are well. Today I’ll be reviewing Stritch Scratch by Lindsay Currie. I must say, this one scared me quite a bit. Yes, yes, I’m a scaredy cat. We’ve established that by now. 😆 Anyways, I hope you enjoy!

Scritch Scratch: Currie, Lindsay: 0760789294242: Books - Amazon.ca

(Synopsis from goodreads)

Claire has absolutely no interest in the paranormal. She’s a scientist, which is why she can’t think of anything worse than having to help out her dad on one of his ghost-themed Chicago bus tours. She thinks she’s made it through when she sees a boy with a sad face and dark eyes at the back of the bus. There’s something off about his presence, especially because when she checks at the end of the tour…he’s gone.
Claire tries to brush it off, she must be imagining things, letting her dad’s ghost stories get the best of her. But then the scratching starts. Voices whisper to her in the dark. The number 396 appears everywhere she turns. And the boy with the dark eyes starts following her.
Claire is being haunted. The boy from the bus wants something…and Claire needs to find out what before it’s too late. 

Deliciously eerie and mysterious, Lindsay Currie brings us a story all thriller fans will adore! The plot hooked me right from the beginning, and kept my attention till the end! Scritch Scratch is fast-paced and gripping, so it’s definitely the perfect read to get out of a slump.

Furthermore, the characters were not that interesting. Although I respect the author’s ability to create semi-realistic kids without throwing in a gazillion references, I did not feel any connection to the characters. None of them were annoying per se, they were just lacking in development. Fortunately, the main character’s parents were very well developed. They each had their own unique personalities. The MC’s dad is a ghost story author, and runs his own spooky tour bus company. While their mom runs a baking business. How cool is that?!

“Love Ms. Mancini. She’s the only teacher I have who wouldn’t shame a student for falling asleep in class. I think she remembers what it was like to be in seventh grade and that’s what makes her so good at her job.”
― Lindsay Currie, Scritch Scratch

In addition, the dialogue fell short on personality. Most of it was trope-y, and uneventful. However, it’s the writing that really grabbed me.

Man oh man does Lindsay Currie know how to write a chilling story! I was very frightened, yet so intrigued throughout the book. What I found interesting, was that the writing was not very descriptive. This fascinated me as typically thrillers are quite descriptive. Luckily, this didn’t have a negative affect.

The overall enjoyment level of Scritch Scratch is very high. If you’re looking for a thrilling story with a wonderful message about friendship, and never forgetting those who came before us, then this is definitely the novel for you!

Age Rating: 10 and up

TW: Some scenes might scare younger children, lots of talk of a drowning accident, talk of abandonment

Final Rating: 7.5/10 or 3.75 stars

⭐⭐⭐⭐

What’s your favorite thriller? I’d love to know. Have a lovely day, and thank you for reading!

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