Another month in which I surpassed my goal! Only one book was a short read. The other four were average length for their genres. Two took me a little longer to read because I wasn’t as into them, while I read quickly for the other two because I wanted to know what had happened!

How was your February? What book(s) was your favorite? Least favorite? Let me know in the comments!

Norse Magic for Beginners by Frank Bawdoe


The book was well-written, and the sentences were short and easy to digest. It was easy to understand and follow, and I could easily implement some ideas. Most of the ideas were very surface-level, and I feel like I need to read more books to dig into the topic. 

I feel like the author has a very superficial understanding of Norse magic and may not actually practice it. It felt like a book anyone with the internet could have put together. I was hoping for something a little deeper on the topic.

The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan


When I started this book, I wasn’t sure I would like it or want to keep reading. It wasn’t bad; it just didn’t seem like a genre I liked. But I was wrong. After the first couple of chapters, I really got into it!

There wasn’t a strong description of place or world-building. It could have been set anywhere (I think it was London). The homes it was set in weren’t really described either. It’s not necessarily a bad thing. I just prefer more details about the houses, at least since they are characters in the book. 

The character arcs were slow but made sense as the book takes place over many years. The pacing was too slow for the first half and rushed in the second. I liked all of the characters and their relationships with each other. They had good dynamics and motivation and cared what happened to them. 

The point of view switched throughout the book but it worked well and was easy to follow. 

The Broken Girls by Simone St James


Simone St James does an excellent job of creating a spooky atmosphere. I could picture the town and run-down school. The past and present locations were compared and contrasted well. I felt immersed in the story and wanted to keep reading. I thought it followed the tropes for the genre, and I really wanted to figure out the story. I did figure out the twist early, but I was kept guessing if I was right up until the reveal. 

I loved all of the characters and could see their development and growth over the course of the book. The dialogue felt realistic and relatable. I could see this as a limited series or movie.

The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley


Despite the title, this didn’t feel like it was Paris. It could have been any insular apartment building in any large city, such as London, New York, or LA. There were little bits of French dialogue that were immediately translated into English by the character, which kept taking me out of the story. I’d have preferred no French or leave the simple phrases as is. 

The only character that seemed to have any real growth was Jess. The rest were insufferable and not in a way that I wanted to read more about them. I had hoped the other characters had gotten what they deserved.

There was good tension throughout, but the resolution felt rushed, and the twists cliched. The pacing seemed off; some were great, but other parts were either too slow or too fast. The switching point of view switched too often, and the flow between the past and present was jilted and hard to follow at times. 

Horror Movie by Paul Tremblay


Are monsters born or created?

In Horror Movie, Paul Tremblay explores the idea of creating monsters. He sets up the world of 1993, a low-budget horror movie set, and contrasts it with the present time when the movie is being rebooted. The tension builds throughout, and I kept checking doorways for the Thin Kid as I read.

The structure of Horror Movie is more unique than most horror books. It flashes between the past and present, using chapters titled Then or Now, making it easy to follow. What makes it unique is the screenplay interspersed throughout the book to help tell the story. 

Horror Movie was an enjoyable, easy read. The dialogue was relatable, and I could imagine the early 90s and how the movie could achieve cult status without ever being released. The characters were flawed from beginning to end but still seemed to have some growth. You don’t necessarily like these characters, but you like reading about them.

The biggest downfall was the ending. It didn’t feel like it fit the build-up of tension and the climax. It seemed… too easy of an ending for what felt like a complicated theme. I thought there would be a less obvious ending, for lack of a better word. 

Horror Movie fit the genre and tropes of horror but not in a cliched way. I wanted to keep reading to discover what would happen to the characters. I could see a couple of the arcs but wasn’t sure how they would end. It was the perfect mix of familiar yet different.

If you like horror that makes you think, this might be the book for you!

Thank you, NetGalley and William Morrow, for sending me an ARC of Horror Movie. All opinions are my own. 


Jenna Volden has a degree in business and has spent the last 10 plus years working for others. She believes it is time to start her own photography and writing business. She enjoys running, coffee and helping others achieve their goals. Gluten-free foods are a lifestyle, not a choice, for her due to celiac disease. She is currently based in Phoenix, Arizona.