Review: What Grows in the Dark by Jaq Evans

What Grows in the DarkWhat Grows in the Dark by Jaq Evans
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

When I first read the synopsis for What Grows in the Dark, I was immediately intrigued. I also enjoyed the cover art and the title is compelling to me.

Then I started drowning in other new releases and sort of forgot about it for bit. Recently, as I was going through my list of unread-ARCs it piqued my interest again, so I looked it up to refresh my memory on the synopsis.

Again, it sounded interesting to me, so I was surprised to see that its rating was only around 3.01-stars. Nevertheless, I’m no stranger to being in the minority opinion on books, so I wasn’t afraid and decided to give it a go.

After I completed the first 15%, I wrote a status update to say how much I was loving it. The tone and the direction it was taking, I was really into it, really intrigued. I had a gut feeling that it was going to be at least a 4-star read for me.

Sadly, now that I’m finished, I get the overall rating. Regardless of how strong it started for me, the further I got into it, the more it started to lose steam and my attention. It got muddled and my interested definitely waxed and waned.

I think this author has great ideas and it was a fun set-up, but I feel like somewhere in translating the ideas from their head, onto the page, for the Reader to understand, something missed the mark. It’s too bad, because I do see a lot of promise here.

This is a true Supernatural Thriller/Mystery, which reads a lot like a YA story, even though it is Adult. I love YA Horror/Thriller novels, actually preferring them over Adult in a lot of instances, so that’s no shade from me, but I am guessing that does have an impact on the rating.

In my opinion, this would be a great book for Readers looking to transition more into the Adult space for the first time. For others, I would just caution this feels, at best, more New Adult, than Adult.

It also includes one of my favorite tropes, following a main character returning to their hometown, after many years away, looking to solve, or deal with, some sort of unresolved issue, mystery, or trauma. That fact alone is what initially grabbed my attention.

Unfortunately, that trope alone wasn’t enough, but just because it didn’t work for me, doesn’t mean it won’t work for you. I would urge anyone with interest to pick it up. It’s just a book. What do you have to lose?

Thank you to the publisher, MIRA, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I would absolutely give this author another try. The concepts and the writing are there, I just wanted something a little different from the execution.

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Review: The Girls on Floor 13 (Detective Maria Miller #3) by Helen Phifer

The Girls on Floor 13 (Detective Maria Miller #3)The Girls on Floor 13 by Helen Phifer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars rounded up**

Helen Phifer’s Detective Maria Miller books are all super solid, page-turning Paranormal Mysteries. These books follow Maria Miller and her partner, Frankie, as they investigate cases that lack a normal, scientific explanation, and trust, these stories get DARK.

Located in New York City, there’s certainly no lack of bizarre happenings for them to investigate. Maria and Frankie have quickly become one of my favorite detective duos.

In this, the 3rd-installment to the series, Maria and Frankie are summoned to the Parker Hotel, an infamously haunted NYC-hotel, after the bodies of two teenage girls are found murdered in one of the rooms on the 13th floor.

The girls are laid out on the twin beds, as if on display. It’s a gruesome scene. As the investigation begins, the hotel manager shares some information with Maria that surprises her. A newspaper article reporting on an almost identical double murder that occurred in the hotel decades earlier.

In fact, a lot of people have suffered a tragic end at the hotel, some of the spirits reportedly still stalk the halls. Is there possibly some connection to the past in this case?

The more time they spend at the hotel, the more it seems to be effecting Maria. It feels like something has poisoned her body. It’s truly a race against the clock as they try to find the murderer, before they have the opportunity to strike again.

I found this mystery very intriguing. Phifer wastes no time diving into the main case we’re going to be examining. I appreciate how Phifer’s not afraid to get graphic. This one is definitely not for the faint of heart.

I loved the inspiration I felt from IRL Haunted Hotels. I know the author had a particular hotel in NYC in mind, but it immediately made me think of the Cecil Hotel. I mean, the watertower connection…

There’s def some creepy imagery in this. I feel like Phifer excels in that area. Let it be known, this is a true Paranormal Mystery. It’s not one of those, is it, is it not, cases. Go into this knowing it is absolutely, 100% Paranormal.

As with many Adult Mystery series, you can read this as a standalone. I would recommend reading the other books in the series though, as there is a lot of great character development for Maria and Frankie, as well as some really fun side characters, over the course of the three books.

With this being said, you could actually read this one first and then if you loved it enough, go back and read the other two. I would certainly have no problem with doing that.

This gets absolutely wild at the end. It’s so gripping. It’s compelling throughout, but the pace and the stakes really increase the closer you get to the end.

Overall, this was an entertaining, fast-paced, creepy mystery. I love how Phifer pulls a historical perspective into her stories as well. The back and forth and the way everything builds out is just very pleasing.

I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys Paranormal Mysteries, or Horror Mysteries. Maria and Frankie are like the Mulder and Scully of the NYPD.

Thank you to the publisher, Storm Publishing, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I can’t wait to see what comes next for these characters!

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Review: The Invocations by Krystal Sutherland

The InvocationsThe Invocations by Krystal Sutherland
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars**

Jude Wolf is the daughter of a billionaire. You’d think she’s a girl that has everything, but worries. Sadly, you’d be wrong. Jude has a serious issue that is literally eating her alive.

Dabbling in the occult at the age of 15, Jude cursed herself and now her soul is slowly turning necrotic. After every remedy she’s tried has failed, she’s been looking for someone to help her purge this blasted curse.

Zara Jones lost her beloved sister, Savannah, to the hands of a vicious serial killer. Savannah was the only person she trusted and now that she’s gone, Zara would do anything to bring her back, including turn to occult methods.

Zara feels if she could bring her back, Savannah could identify her killer and he could be brought to justice.

Two girls on a desperate hunt for someone with the abilities to help them, happen by chance upon one another. Instant attraction and a kinship of need follows.

The girls see a potential ally in Emer Byrne, a witch with a tragic past, who sells spells to women looking to escape desperate situations. Emer has a lot of knowledge and power, two things that Jude and Zara hopelessly seek.

They notice women being murdered at an alarming rate in their city of London and after some thought, it seems they all have one thing in common: connections to Emer.

Now Emer, Zara and Jude must team up and figure out the identity of the serial killer before any of them end up next on his list.

I didn’t have any expectations when I picked up The Invocations. Although I have House of Hollow by Krystal Sutherland, and have heard incredible things about it, I haven’t picked it up yet.

I’m so impressed with how this played out. I loved the combination of the intriguing murder mystery mixed with all the vivid occult elements. The character work was fantastic and I truly hope this isn’t the last we see of these characters.

I was hooked into this story very quickly. Initially, we are just learning about Jude and Zara. I loved meeting both of them and Sutherland made their personal stories so believable and compelling.

I was interested to see how their paths were going to intersect and what would keep them together. I think they way Sutherland drew out this process and then their meeting, it was so impactful.

Once Emer comes in, I loved how they all needed to band together to work towards a common purpose. Even though they were very distinct individuals, with different end goals, it made sense for them to combine their efforts to achieve everything they wanted.

I found Sutherland’s writing to be highly readable. The setting was incredibly atmospheric. I loved how ‘our world’ it felt, with a touch of dark magic and stellar witchy vibes.

Additionally, I felt like the occult elements were amazing. The concepts were captivating and well thought out. I also feel like this will be accessible to a broad audience, easily enjoyed by Readers of all ages.

The feminist themes were also well presented and in this case, well received. I’m looking forward to reading more from Sutherland. I would definitely recommend this to anyone who thinks the synopsis sounds interesting. It delivers what is promised.

Thank you to the publisher, Nancy Paulsen Books, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I cannot wait to see what Sutherland creates next!

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Review: Her Lost Soul (Detective Maria Miller #2) by Helen Phifer

Her Lost Soul (Detective Maria Miller #2)Her Lost Soul by Helen Phifer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars rounded up**

Her Lost Soul is the 2nd-installment to Helen Phifer’s Paranormal Mystery series, Detective Maria Miller.

As the name suggests, this series follows Detective Maria Miller and her partner, Frankie Conroy, as they investigate possible paranormal cases, in and around NYC.

I really enjoyed the first book in the series, The Haunting on West 10th Street, so was looking forward to being reunited with Maria and Frankie.

Just to be clear, this is actually a Paranormal Mystery series. I know a lot of Readers enjoy the feel of, is it paranormal, is it not, but then when it comes right down to it, they don’t actually enjoy a paranormal conclusion, or explanation.

This isn’t a Scooby-Doo situation, where the mask is pulled off at the end to reveal the old librarian, who has been tricking everyone with mirrors and lighting effects.

The case in this novel is the disappearance of 17-year old, Riley Holt, daughter of a local Sheriff, who went missing while exploring an abandoned asylum with some friends.

Inspired by media such as Ghost Adventures, the four teens entered the asylum to explore and have some fun. Things start getting creepy though and in a sudden panic, they all flee, only noticing once they are outside that Riley is no longer with them.

Since the asylum is believed to be haunted, and after vigorous searching, no signs of Riley are found, Maria and Frankie are called in to take over the case.

As known experts in all things unexplainable, they seem like the right people for the job.

Maria and Frankie are forced to dig into the dark history of the asylum, leaving no stone unturned in their desperate search for Riley.

As with the first book in the series, this one also contains a historic perspective that is in some way connected with the current investigation.

In this case, we follow a patient at the asylum in 1960. We go back and forth between her experiences at the asylum, including the people she interacts with, and Maria and Frankie’s investigation.

I did really enjoy this. It didn’t hit as hard for me as the first book, I think because I didn’t find the mystery as creepy as that first one.

Also, it almost felt too short. I would have enjoyed a longer build-up to the final showdown and some more explanation as to how this was all resolved. I know what the results of the resolution are, but am unclear how we got there really.

With that being said though, I still found the back-and-forth perspectives intriguing and loved learning more about Maria. She’s a fun protagonist. I feel like I can relate to her and I enjoy the chemistry that she has with Frankie.

I am absolutely planning to continue on with this series. I hope there are a lot more future installments. They’re fun, light reads, that can help you forget about life for a while. Finally, two thumbs up for the audiobook format.

Thank so to the publisher, Storm Publishing and Dreamscape Select, for providing me with copies to read and review. I am looking forward to more Maria Miller!

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Review: The Haunting on West 10th Street (Detective Maria Miller #1) by Helen Phifer

The Haunting on West 10th Street (Detective Maria Miller, #1)The Haunting on West 10th Street by Helen Phifer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Haunting on West 10th Street is the 1st-book in the Detective Maria Miller Police Procedural Mystery series by Helen Phifer.

In this story we follow Detective Miller and her partner, Frankie, as they investigate a brutal crime in the attic of a Greenwich brownstone, where decades earlier a beautiful actress was murdered in the same way. The detectives are puzzled by the disturbing similarities between the crimes occurring in this house.

How could they be connected? Do they just have a sadistic copycat on their hands, or something more sinister?

Immediately upon entering the brownstone, Maria feels something dark. It’s a tickle in her senses; unpleasant and unsettling. The dramatic staging of the crime scene only enhances these feelings.

In both the past and present cases, body parts were removed from the victims and not recovered. Additionally, evidence of satanic rituals have been found. Who could possibly want to recreate something so evil?

This story is told using a dual timeline. We follow Maria and Frankie in the present, but we also get a historical perspective featuring the events leading up to the previous murder in the house. Lastly, we do get a modern perspective from an unknown individual, who appears to be our baddie.

I enjoyed getting the multi-perspectives, as well as the history. Although I did find the past sections a little slower-paced than the modern perspectives. With this being said, I still enjoyed the fact that it was told this way and I feel like it gave a lot of needed insight into the property and the characters involved.

The brownstone on West 10th feels like a haunting presence in this story. It becomes a character unto itself and I always appreciate when an author can provide us with such a vivid sense of place.

There is quite a bit of focus on the partnership between Maria and Frankie. They’ve been together for a long time and you can tell that they both care deeply for one another, but with Frankie’s marriage failing, could there be something more?

I know some Readers won’t care for the slight romance plot that’s woven throughout this story, but for me, I found it made the characters feel more realistic.

When you’re working with someone as closely as these two are, over a number of years, there’s bound to be some types of complicated feelings intrinsic to that relationship.

I didn’t feel like the author overplayed that, or let it overshadow the investigative aspects of the story. For me, it was blended in well and felt natural.

I did have the chance to listen to the audiobook for this one and I definitely recommend it as a format for this story. The back-and-forth between the timelines was handled well and the narration is fantastic.

Overall, this was super entertaining. I vibed well with Maria as a character and am definitely looking forward to going along on future investigations with these detectives. The ending was such a great set-up for the continuation of the series. I can’t wait to see what will come their way next.

I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys darker, Police Procedural Mysteries. Particularly, if you are a Horror fan like me, this may work really well for your tastes. Phifer definitely has a knack for incorporating some paranormal aspects into her mysteries.

Thank you to the publisher, Storm Publishing, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I can’t wait to continue on with this series!

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Review: It Found Us by Lindsay Currie

It Found UsIt Found Us by Lindsay Currie
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars**

It Found Us is the latest release from my personal Queen of Spooky Middle Grade, Lindsay Currie.

Upon seeing this cover, I knew I would need to get my hands on this ASAP. I mean, look how creepy it is. It’s stunning!

In this story we meet 12-year old, Hazel Woods, an aspiring detective, who puts her skills to the test while trying to solve the case of a missing teenager.

Hazel has always wanted to be a detective, but her biggest dream currently is to start her own podcast focusing on cases she’ll solve. So far, her cases have been small. That’s really all her neighborhood has to offer.

That is until the night her brother’s best friend, Everett, mysteriously disappears.

On the night Everett disappeared, he’d been at the local cemetery, playing an epic game of hide-and-seek with Hazel’s older brother, Den, and some other kids.

Hazel, who had overheard the boys plans, had sneaked after her brother, unbeknownst to him to observe what would happen in the purportedly-haunted cemetery. She saw it as the perfect opportunity to do some sleuthing on whether or not it is actually haunted.

At the conclusion of the game, all the other hiders were found by the seeker, but Everett seemed to have just vanished. As scared as they were, the kids knew they had to let some adults know and an investigation begins.

Hazel and Den believe the police aren’t looking in the right places though, so they decide to undergo their own investigation, along with Hazel’s best friend, Maggie.

The kids dive into the history of the cemetery and the lives of some the souls that may be buried there. Will their chilling search for evidence reveal what happened to Everett? And will they be able to get him back before it’s too late?

This was so cute and fun. It reminded me a lot of Scritch Scratch as far as the mystery elements went, so if you enjoyed that one, you should definitely check this one out.

Hazel was a fabulous MC. She’s so determined to start her podcast and even though she hasn’t been able to convince her parents to allow her to do it yet, she’s not giving up.

I love watching characters work hard toward a goal and Hazel was overflowing with grit and optimism. I also loved her sleuthing skills. The way she tackled the mystery and her clue journal were impressive.

Her clue journal was also a great device for helping to track the progression of the story. Hazel would go through the list of clues they had discovered so far in relation to the mystery. I thought this was a really fun aspect, particularly for the younger readers.

I also appreciated how Currie connected the history of this town and cemetery into the story. She always brings some interesting historical aspects to her stories that are so fun and compelling.

There’s also great atmosphere and healthy relationships amongst the characters. I loved the kids working together, particularly Hazel and Den. It’s always refreshing to see siblings get along and support one another.

Overall, I found this to be well-written, engaging and lot of fun. I would definitely recommend this to all readers of Spooky Middle Grade, regardless of age.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Sourcebooks Young Readers, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I will pick up anything Lindsay Currie writes and this book is a perfect example of why.

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Review: Night Will Find You by Julia Heaberlin

Night Will Find YouNight Will Find You by Julia Heaberlin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars rounded up**

Night Will Find You introduces the Reader to Vivvy Bouchet, an astrophysicist with special gifts. Since she was 10-years old, and made a predication that saved a boy’s life, Vivvy has been navigating the voices in her head.

Her visions are completely at odds with the science she is trained in, but Vivvy can’t deny the validity of either.

The boy she saved all those years ago, Mike, is now a Fort Worth cop. He’s never forgotten Vivvy’s abilities. Therefore, as he struggles to solve a high-profile cold case of a missing young girl, he reaches out to Vivvy for help.

It’s a bit of a last resort, but Mike really believes Vivvy could be able to lead them to the truth behind this girl’s disappearance. While Vivvy isn’t crazy about the idea, or the potential spotlight it could bring, she reluctantly agrees.

After Vivvy’s involvement in the case becomes known to a popular Texas podcaster, Bubba Guns ((read Alex Jones)), known for spewing inflammatory conspiracy theories, he begins talking about her on his show.

He holds nothing back, questioning Vivvy’s abilities, her career, her past, and the sanity of the police department for seeking her help in the first place. Bubba’s focus on Vivvy unfortunately brings her a lot of unwanted attention.

Unable to stomach the lies being spread about her, Vivvy decides to fight back. Of course this does nothing but get the snowball moving faster down the hill.

Vivvy needs to solve this case and quickly. Will she ever be able to get her normal life back?

This was a bit of mixed bag for me, but overall I did enjoy it. The audiobook is narrated by one of my favorites, Karissa Vacker, and I recommend that format. I think Vacker’s narration definitely contributed to my enjoyment and how quickly I was able to finish it.

The MC, Vivvy, in particular, was very interesting. I enjoyed learning about her past and her odd relationships with her family members. If there were more books with her as the main character, I would pick them up. It would be interesting to see where she goes from here.

I wasn’t necessarily into the podcaster, or conspiracy theory elements, in this context. I’ll admit, my eyes sometimes glazed over in those sections. I wish this could’ve just focused on the missing person case.

I recognize that is a personal taste issue, however, and many Readers may find that interesting. It just didn’t end up working for me.

With this being said, I did think the mystery was well plotted. That’s why I am thinking if this were a series, the next book could work even better for me, if it didn’t have the podcasting angle.

Overall, I would recommend this to Readers who enjoy stories where people with psychic abilities aid law enforcement with missing persons cases. The mystery itself was its strongest point, IMO.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Macmillan Audio, for providing me with a copy to read and review. Karissa Vacker’s narration, unsurprisingly, receives two thumbs up!

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Review: From Bad to Cursed (The Witches of Thistle Grove #2) by Lana Harper

From Bad to Cursed (The Witches of Thistle Grove, #2)From Bad to Cursed by Lana Harper

**3.5-stars**

From Bad to Cursed is the second novel in The Witches of Thistle Grove paranormal romance series.

For those unfamiliar with this series, the books are companion novels. They take place in the small, magical town of Thistle Grove following the same timeline, but each book focuses on different main characters.

In this installment, we’re treated to Isidora Avramov and Rowan Thorn in a classic enemies-to-lovers scenerio; one of my favorite romance tropes.

With the Beltane holiday approaching, the whole town of Thistle Grove is gearing up for the celebration. Unfortunately, before it even begins, their festival prep is sabotaged by a dark magical attack and a member of the Thorn family is seriously injured.

The four families end up selecting Issa and Rowan to investigate the mysterious attack. The two aren’t happy about the pairing. They have a bit of a past.

It involves a falling out at a local animal shelter that ended in Issa cursing Rowan with a batch of evil squirrels.

Nevertheless, as they begin working together, the chemistry is evident. Before long, they’re dropping their guard and getting to know one another better. Maybe they should have done this years ago.

This was a fun story. I love the feel of Thistle Grove. It’s cozy and magical, full of interesting characters and events. I will say that I’m not sure how memorable this installment will be for me, but I definitely enjoyed it.

There were some solid steamy scenes, a compelling mystery and charming magical elements. The plot itself is low-stakes, but that’s not a bad thing. It was a relaxing, fun read and everyone needs one of those occasionally.

Additionally, I appreciated the backdrop of family dynamics. Issa and Rowan both come from close-knit families, but the functioning of those families is very different.

I like how that was explored a bit. It was sort of a great example of how there is no one set way to be a loving family; it comes in all forms and functions. Every family is different, it doesn’t mean they love less.

I’m definitely planning to continue on with this series. I like returning to the town and getting to know different people every time, but also seeing a bit of the previous characters. It feels like meeting up with old friends.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Berkley, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I am looking forward to the next book, Back in a Spell.

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Review: The Girl in White by Lindsay Currie

The Girl in WhiteThe Girl in White by Lindsay Currie
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars**

Mallory has felt out of place ever since her family moved from the bustling city of Chicago to the small seaside town of Eastport in New England.

Certain aspects of the town’s local culture drive Mallory a bit crazy if she’s being honest, like the fact that it feels like Halloween 365-days a year.

While this may sound absolutely fantastic to some of us, Mallory feels very differently. The constant reminders of local ghost stories and lore weighs on her last nerve.

Her parents, who own and run a cozy restaurant known as The Hill, have bought into it hook, line and sinker. Her mother even regales visiting guests with spooky tales during meals at the restaurant. It’s like dinner and a show.

As time goes by, instead of getting better, Mallory feels like things are getting worse. She’s having a difficult time sleeping and feels like she is being watched.

The nights are the worst. She’s losing time and waking up dirty and wet; that’s how Mallory initially starts to figure out that she’s actually been sleepwalking. That paired with the nightmares, make Mallory’s nights something to fear.

When a neighbor boy, Joshua, confesses to Mallory that he has been sleepwalking as well, the two begin to share stories. It seems they are even plagued by the same dreams.

What is going on? The more they compare notes, the more they begin to fear that what is happening to them may be connected to one of the town’s most infamous legends, that of Sweet Molly.

Together with Mallory’s other friends, Emmie and Brianne, the kids begin a deep dive into the real story of Sweet Molly.

They feel like she’s connecting with them for a reason. Even though it’s scary, maybe she just needs their help. They hope that with enough information they’ll be able to help Molly achieve peace, so that she can move on and they can finally sleep through the night.

The Girl in White was my most anticipated Spooky Middle Grade release of the year and it did not disappoint.

Currie knows how to deliver that perfect, cozy, spooky small town atmosphere, all while pairing it beautifully with likable, strong-willed, curious and determined characters.

This was such a fun story and definitely had some top-notch creepy moments. I liked the investigation the kids undertook, following clues and trying to get to the truth behind the legend of Sweet Molly.

I also enjoyed the message at the heart of this story. Without giving too much away, let’s just say that it shined a light on doing the right thing, even though it might be difficult.

I did feel the ending to be a little abrupt, but that’s most likely because I didn’t want it to end. I definitely recommend this one to all Spooky Middle Grade Readers.

You know who you are…

Thank you so much to the publisher, Sourcebooks Young Readers, for providing me with a copy to read and review.

I’m obsessed with Lindsay Currie’s stories. They are so cozy, spooky and fun. All the the things I love in my Middle Grade. I’m looking forward to seeing what she comes up with next!

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Review: Hidden Pictures by Jason Rekulak

Hidden PicturesHidden Pictures by Jason Rekulak
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Mallory Quinn is in her early-20s and at a time when many of her peers are charging through the college experience, Mallory is just over a year into her new found sobriety.

After a personal injury, Mallory unfortunately plummeted down a hole many Americans before her have suffered through; opioid addiction.

She’s not proud of the choices she made in the depths of her addiction, some having life-long repercussions. Mallory harbors a lot of guilt from that time.

With the help of her sponsor, and his encouragement to return to the sport she loves, Mallory has made huge strides. Now it is time to secure some independence.

Mallory applies for a position as a summer nanny in the high-end suburb of Spring Brook, New Jersey. The Maxwells, Ted and Caroline, have a 5-year old son, Teddy, who will be her only charge. The job seems perfect.

Teddy is such a smart, sweet little boy, who seems to take a shine to Mallory right away, and the property is gorgeous. She can get used to playing poolside all day.

Even though Mr. Maxwell seems to be quite concerned about Mallory’s past drug use, she still ends up securing the position. She’s elated. Now it is time to prove herself. This is her chance to rebuild her life.

Mallory moves into a pool house on the property and begins to develop a healthy schedule with Teddy. Teddy seems to be a budding little artist and spends at least an hour a day quietly drawing.

At first, Mallory is impressed with his skill and imagination, but when Teddy’s drawings begin to take a very dark turn, she becomes concerned.

When Mallory suspects that the scenes in the drawings may tie to a alleged murder that happened on the property in the 1940s, which she initially learns about from a nosy, eccentric neighbor, things escalate quickly.

Along with her new friend, Adrian, Mallory begins to deep dive into the history of the property and the suspected murder of the woman who once lived there.

Additionally, Mallory feels like Teddy’s imaginary friend, Anya, may be the missing woman in question and she clearly is trying to communicate with them.

Seriously though, can Mallory’s opinion even be trusted? Is she using again? She definitely seems to be spiraling. Right? I mean, ghosts aren’t real…

Or are they?

I had so much fun with this story. I could not put it down once I started, finishing the audiobook in a day. I was so captivated with this story.

It’s not complicated. It’s fairly linear and I was happy to just sit with Mallory and hear her tell it. It was just classic, eerie fun. This would make a great movie!!

I really enjoyed Mallory as a character. I feel like she was super likable and relatable. I loved the sinister vibe, even though I wasn’t 100% on what I should be afraid of at first.

The way Rekulak built up the tension and then slowly revealed the truth behind what has happening at the Maxwells was really fun. It flipped what I thought was happening on its head. I wasn’t shocked, but I was pleased that it ended in a unexpected direction.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Flatiron Books and Macmillan Audio, for providing me with copies to read and review.

This is the first novel I have read from Rekulak and I am definitely excited to pick up more! Hidden Pictures is releasing tomorrow, Tuesday, May 10th.

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