*First Line Friday 3/13/13* The Best Week That Never Happened- Dallas Woodburn

48902976What if, when you died, you got to relive The Best Week of Your Life—but you died too soon, and The Best Week of Your Life hadn’t happened yet?

After her parents’ bitter divorce, family vacations to the Big Island in Hawaii ceased. But across the miles, eighteen-year-old Tegan Rossi remains connected to local Kai Kapule, her best friend from childhood. Now, Tegan finds herself alone and confused about how she got to the Big Island. With no wallet, no cell phone, purse, or plane ticket, Tegan struggles to piece together what happened. She must have come to surprise-visit Kai. Right? As the teens grow even closer, Tegan pushes aside her worries and gets swept away in the vacation of her dreams.

But each morning, Tegan startles awake from nightmares that become more difficult to ignore. Something is eerily amiss. Why is there a strange gap in her memory? Why can’t she reach her parents or friends from home? And what’s with the mysterious hourglass tattoo over her heart?

Kai promises to help Tegan figure out what is going on. But the answers they find only lead to more questions. As the week unfolds, Tegan will experience the magic of first love, the hope of second chances, and the bittersweet joy and grief of being human.

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“When I open my eyes and sit up, everything is dark. My brain is cottony, and my eyes won’t focus. I can’t rememebr where I am or how I got here. I’m not afraid. I mostly feel…. empty.”

 

*ARC Review* The Best Week that Never Happened- Dallas Woodburn

48902976What if, when you died, you got to relive The Best Week of Your Life—but you died too soon, and The Best Week of Your Life hadn’t happened yet?

After her parents’ bitter divorce, family vacations to the Big Island in Hawaii ceased. But across the miles, eighteen-year-old Tegan Rossi remains connected to local Kai Kapule, her best friend from childhood. Now, Tegan finds herself alone and confused about how she got to the Big Island. With no wallet, no cell phone, purse, or plane ticket, Tegan struggles to piece together what happened. She must have come to surprise-visit Kai. Right? As the teens grow even closer, Tegan pushes aside her worries and gets swept away in the vacation of her dreams.

But each morning, Tegan startles awake from nightmares that become more difficult to ignore. Something is eerily amiss. Why is there a strange gap in her memory? Why can’t she reach her parents or friends from home? And what’s with the mysterious hourglass tattoo over her heart?

Kai promises to help Tegan figure out what is going on. But the answers they find only lead to more questions. As the week unfolds, Tegan will experience the magic of first love, the hope of second chances, and the bittersweet joy and grief of being human.

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My Review:

“I am not certain of anything. Life is a mystery, just as death is a mystery. The best answers come from listening to the murmurs of your heart. Your heart is wise. Your heart is strong. Let yourself love, dear one. Let yourself, love, hugely and bravely. That is all any of us can do.”

This is a book that made me think about my own life while I was reading it and way after I was done reading it. Have I lived my best week yet? Or is it still to come? We never know when our time is up but that doesn’t mean that we should stop trying to live our best lives.

From the start, you know that something about this book is going to make you emotionally break. I felt the weight of that the entire time while reading. You know that the devastating truth was going to fall but not really sure when. I was sitting on pins and needles with my heart in my throat.

Kai and Tegan are our star-crossed lovers who find their way back to each other after a tragic accident strikes. Their relationship seems perfect and they fit easily together. The week they spent together was the sweetest thing that I’ve ever read. But I was waiting for my heart to drop when one or both of them find out the truth. When it happens, it wrecks you. Even though I knew it was going to happen and I waited for it. The emotion that drips through these pages will make you weep.

The Best Week that Never Happened was heartbreaking and mesmerizing. Words escaped me when I finished because I was so enthralled by the beauty of this book. Nothing has ever made me feel this way after reading. Prepare yourselves for a book that will make you appreciate everything that you have in your life and you’ll fall in love all over again.

stacy

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? 3/2/20

Wow, it’s Monday again and I almost forgot to post what I plan on reading this week.

What are you reading this week?

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Flowers in the Attic- V.C. Andrews

43448. sx318 sy475 Such wonderful children. Such a beautiful mother. Such a lovely house. Such endless terror!

It wasn’t that she didn’t love her children. She did. But there was a fortune at stake—a fortune that would assure their later happiness if she could keep the children a secret from her dying father.

So she and her mother hid her darlings away in an unused attic.

Just for a little while.

But the brutal days swelled into agonizing years. Now Cathy, Chris, and the twins wait in their cramped and helpless world, stirred by adult dreams, adult desires, served a meager sustenance by an angry, superstitious grandmother who knows that the Devil works in dark and devious ways. Sometimes he sends children to do his work—children who—one by one—must be destroyed….

‘Way upstairs there are four secrets hidden. Blond, beautiful, innocent struggling to stay alive….

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Everything’s Not Fine- Sarah Carlson

49186332. sy475 Seventeen-year-old Rose Hemmersbach aspires to break out of small town Sparta, Wisconsin and achieve her artistic dreams at Belwyn School for the Arts after she graduates. Painting is Rose’s escape from her annoying younger siblings and her family’s one rule: ignore the elephant in the room, because talking about it makes it real. That is, until the day Rose finds her mother dying on the kitchen floor of a heroin overdose. Kneeling beside her, Rose pleads with the universe to find a heartbeat. She does – but when her mother is taken to the hospital, the troubles are just beginning. Rose and her dad are left to pick up the pieces. Now all that matters are her siblings. Rose doesn’t have room to do her schoolwork, let alone pick up a paintbrush. Until Rose is forced to do the homecoming mural with Rafa, a new senior at Sparta High. Rose and Rafa don’t have an ounce of school spirit between them, but Rose discovers her brain still has room to paint. As Rose fights to hold everything together, and her dreams of the future start to slip from her grasp, she must face the question of what happens when – if – her mom comes home again. And if, deep down, if Rose even wants her to.

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Camp Spirit- Axelle Lenoir

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Summer camp is supposed to be about finding nirvana in a rock garden… But Elodie prefers Nirvana and Soundgarden. Can she confront rambunctious kids, confusing feelings, and supernatural horrors all at once?

Summer 1994: with just two months left before college, Elodie is forced by her mother to take a job as a camp counselor. She doesn’t know the first thing about nature, or sports, of kids for that matter, and isn’t especially interested in learning… but now she’s responsible for a foul-mouthed horde of red-headed girls who just might win her over, whether she likes it or not. Just as Elodie starts getting used to her new environment, though — and close to one of the other counselors — a dark mystery lurking around the camp begins to haunt her dreams.

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The Best Week That Never Happened- Dallas Woodburn

48902976What if, when you died, you got to relive The Best Week of Your Life—but you died too soon, and The Best Week of Your Life hadn’t happened yet?

After her parents’ bitter divorce, family vacations to the Big Island in Hawaii ceased. But across the miles, eighteen-year-old Tegan Rossi remains connected to local Kai Kapule, her best friend from childhood. Now, Tegan finds herself alone and confused about how she got to the Big Island. With no wallet, no cell phone, purse, or plane ticket, Tegan struggles to piece together what happened. She must have come to surprise-visit Kai. Right? As the teens grow even closer, Tegan pushes aside her worries and gets swept away in the vacation of her dreams.

But each morning, Tegan startles awake from nightmares that become more difficult to ignore. Something is eerily amiss. Why is there a strange gap in her memory? Why can’t she reach her parents or friends from home? And what’s with the mysterious hourglass tattoo over her heart?

Kai promises to help Tegan figure out what is going on. But the answers they find only lead to more questions. As the week unfolds, Tegan will experience the magic of first love, the hope of second chances, and the bittersweet joy and grief of being human.

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*Blog Tour + Review* Havenfall by Sara Holland

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Title: Havenfall (Havenfall #1)

Author: Sara Holland

Publisher: Bloomsbury YA

Release Date: March 3rd 2020

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Synopsis: 

A safe haven between four realms. The girl sworn to protect it–at any cost. New York Times bestselling author Sara Holland crafts a breathtaking new contemporary fantasy perfect for fans of Melissa Albert and Holly Black.

Hidden deep in the mountains of Colorado lies the Inn at Havenfall, a sanctuary that connects ancient worlds–each with their own magic–together. For generations, the inn has protected all who seek refuge within its walls, and any who disrupt the peace can never return.

For Maddie Morrow, summers at the inn are more than a chance to experience this magic first-hand. Havenfall is an escape from reality, where her mother sits on death row accused of murdering Maddie’s brother. It’s where Maddie fell in love with handsome Fiorden soldier Brekken. And it’s where one day she hopes to inherit the role of Innkeeper from her beloved uncle.

But this summer, the impossible happens–a dead body is found, shattering everything the inn stands for. With Brekken missing, her uncle gravely injured, and a dangerous creature on the loose, Maddie suddenly finds herself responsible for the safety of everyone in Havenfall. She’ll do anything to uncover the truth, even if it means working together with an alluring new staffer Taya, who seems to know more than she’s letting on. As dark secrets are revealed about the inn itself, one thing becomes clear to Maddie–no one can be trusted, and no one is safe . . .

Sara Holland takes the lush fantasy that captured readers in Everless and Evermore and weaves it into the real world to create a wholly captivating new series where power and peril lurk behind every door.

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Purchase Links

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Google Books 

Apple Books | Book Depository

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Author Information

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Sara Holland grew up in small-town Minnesota among hundreds of books. She graduated from Wesleyan University and worked in a tea shop, a dentist’s office, and a state capitol building before heading to New York to work in publishing. These days, she can be found exploring the city’s bookstores or finding new ways to put caffeine in her bloodstream. EVERLESS is her debut novel.

Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram

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My Review

“Lots of things that can kill you are beautiful.”

I’ll start off by saying Sara Holland is one of my favorite authors. Everless, her first book, had me hooked from the first sentence and from there, she easily became an auto-buy author. So, you can probably imagine my excitement when she announced her next book, Havenfall. And to me, this book did not disappoint.

In Havenfall, Holland introduces a new world to her readers, one filled with many magical worlds and captivating people. And a storyline that quickly takes a dark turn. It’s a book filled with hidden darkness and intriguing interactions; it’s a story that may easily capture the hearts of many readers, like it captured mine.

“The great thing about Havenfall–well, one of them–is that I’m the least remarkable person here.”

Maddie is the protagonist in Havenfall, and throughout the whole story, she felt real, even if most of her problems had to deal with magical beings and hidden worlds. She’s always wanted to be the Innkeeper of Havenfall (a place where magical beings can seek refuge), it’s been her big dream for as long as she can remember. And it was still her dream after her brother was murdered and her mom was placed on death row. But when that position is unexpectedly handed to her, she doesn’t know what to do. She’s not ready for the role but she accepts it to keep the peace and to figure out what exactly happened that fateful night a Solarian escaped.

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One of the things I liked about Maddie is that she fought for what she wanted, even if nothing turned out how she expected. She’s a fighter and a survivor and those things made her a strong character in her story. Her relationships with some of the characters, like Brekken and Taya (especially Taya), really brought her characterization to light and I really enjoyed those heartfelt interactions. Taya was most definitely my second favorite character. She’s spunky and sassy and I was rooting for her the whole time (and, yes, she is very much a love interest :D). But overall, I found everyone’s characterizations to be on point and fit well with the story, even if some did prove to have a dark and dangerous past.

“What happened to her family was no one’s fault. Mine, though–those secrets are ugly. And looking down at the water, at who I could be, I know I want none of those memories at Havenfall. They are my past, but this place is my future. It has to be.”

I loved the whole idea behind the concept of these ancient worlds being held behind doors, and that they’re hidden unusual, yet beautifully scenic, inn. The depictions of each world were great, and I liked how Holland included many worlds, but only focused on four (the fourth being Earth). I didn’t know I was craving a book about multiple worlds until I read Havenfall, and Holland easily brings a unique idea to life with her storytelling.

Holland’s writing, as usual, is elegant and visually stunning. It’s a book filled with beautiful prose and lush world building. I could easily picture the many worlds and characters. I loved her world building, especially with the depictions of each world outside of Haven (Earth). The worlds felt magical, and Holland created some beautiful scenery that easily made Earth feel magical. I will say I found the pacing to be a tad slow, but I felt that the characters and the plot twists made up for that. There were a few plot twists I guessed were coming but there was one that threw me through a loop and, because of that twist, I immediately devoured the last several chapters.

All in all, Havenfall is an exciting new addition from Sara Holland, filled with some illustrious magical characters, a charming scenery that readers are sure to get lost in, dark secrets that beg to be let out, and unforgettable prose that will have Everless readers remembering why they fell in love with Holland’s writing.

With how this book ended, I can’t wait for the sequel. I’m so excited for my hardcover preorder to arrive on Tuesday because this book is definitely going to be part of my 2020 favorites collection.

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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Tour Schedule

Check out the amazing bloggers on this tour!

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Thank you, Fantastic Flying Book Club, for having us on this wonderful blog tour!

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*Book Review* Light as a Feather- Zoe Aarsen

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It was supposed to be a game…

Junior year is shaping up to be the best of McKenna Brady’s life. After a transformative summer, McKenna is welcomed into the elite group of popular girls at Weeping Willow High, led by the gorgeous Olivia Richmond. For the first time in a long time, things are looking up.

But everything changes the night of Olivia’s Sweet Sixteen sleepover. Violet, the mysterious new girl in town, suggests the girls play a game during which Violet makes up elaborate, creepily specific stories about the violent ways the friends will die. Though it unsettles McKenna, it all seems harmless at the time.

Until a week later, when Olivia dies…exactly as Violet predicted.

As Violet rises to popularity and steps into the life Olivia left unfinished, McKenna becomes convinced Olivia’s death wasn’t just a coincidence, especially when a ghost haunting her bedroom keeps leaving clues that point to Violet. With the help of her cute neighbor, Trey, McKenna pledges to get to the bottom of Violet’s secrets and true intentions before it’s too late. Because it’s only a matter of time before more lives are lost.

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My Review:

“Violet had suggested that we play a game….
She hadn’t mentioned that in her game, she was always the winner. Or that playing could cost you your life.”

Heathers meets The Craft in this twisted story that takes place around a middle school horror game. Or for the younger generation, Riverdale meets The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.

Light as a feather, stiff as a board is a game most kids played at slumber parties. Where we tried to outdo our friends with the most terrifying tales of death and hauntings. It never seemed to work but what happens when it does?

McKenna is now part of the popular clique and was invited to attend the birthday slumber party of the most popular girl at school. After discussing plans for the upcoming dance and guys in horror movies, things go from exciting to drab quickly. That is until the new shy girl at school mentions a scary game that she played with old friends.

One girl lays flat on her back, the other girls place their fingers beneath her and chant light as a feather, stiff as a board. After a while, the person on the floor starts to levitate with the power of concentration from the others. Before this happens, the head girl goes into gory details about how that person will die. Most of the girls go through it that night except McKenna.

After the party, things start to line up in a really disturbing way. One of the girls die and it happens exactly the way it was described at the slumber party. Now every girl who was there is on high alert and the clock is ticking for them to stop this force from ending their lives.

This book was seriously dark and creepy. The way the hypothetical deaths were described was really gory. Now I’m excited to actually see the show and read the other books in this series.

Light as a Feather was a fantastic read. YA horror is something that is looked past but we need more of this in our lives. There was something about this book that made me uneasy in my own house and I loved it.

stacy

*Blog Tour + Review* Oasis by Katya de Becerra

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Title: Oasis

Author: Katya de Becerra

Publisher: Imprint Macmillan

Release Date: January 7th 2020

Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction

Synopsis:

The oasis saved them. But who will save them from the oasis?

Alif had exciting summer plans: working on her father’s archaeological dig site in the desert with four close friends . . . and a very cute research assistant. Then the sandstorm hit.

With their camp wiped away, Alif and the others find themselves lost on the sands, seemingly doomed . . . until they find the oasis. It has everything they need: food, water, shade—and mysterious ruins that hide a deadly secret. As reality begins to shift around them, they question what’s real and what’s a mirage.

The answers turn Alif and her friends against one another, and they begin to wonder if they’ve truly been saved. And while it was easy to walk into the oasis, it may be impossible to leave . . .

Katya de Becerra’s new supernatural thriller hides a mystery in plain sight, and will keep you guessing right up to its terrifying conclusion.

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Purchase Links

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Google Books 

Apple Books | Kobo

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Author Information

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Katya de Becerra was born in Russia, studied in California, lived in Peru, and then stayed in Australia long enough to become a local. She was going to be an Egyptologist when she grew up, but instead she earned a PhD in Anthropology and now works as a university lecturer and a researcher. Katya is a short version of her real name, which is very long and gets mispronounced a lot. What The Woods Keep was her first novel (out now), which is followed by another standalone Oasis in 2020. She has also authored and co-authored academic articles, book chapters, guest posts and opinion pieces.

Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram

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Tour Schedule

Check out the amazing bloggers that are part of this tour!

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My Review

Oasis is a story that will capture your attention and intrigue you; you’ll be sitting on the edge of your seat as you try to figure out the mysterious happenings that plaque this group of friends. Oasis provides nonstop tension with a touch of the supernatural. Katya’s first book, What the Woods Keep, was a favorite of mine last year, so you can imagine my excitement at the release of her second book. Which, I will say, did not disappoint. The idea of mixing science fiction with archaeology is a wonderful and unique idea. And with those two combined, Katya brought to the table a thrilling read.

When Alif and her friends join her dad on his architectural dig site, none of them expect there to be a sandstorm. None of them expect to end up so far away from the campsite that they lose their sense of direction. And none expect to find a beautiful, yet mysterious oasis in the middle of the desert. This intriguing oasis gives the group of friends a safe haven, with food and water and shade from the sun. But only a few of the friends question the surprising popup of this oasis, Alif included.

Alif and Tommy, the guy Alif likes, start to notice strange happenings while they stay at the oasis: delicious fruit and salivating water and beautiful sceneries are great, but something’s not right. But then strange things start to happen: they’re water supply gets poisoned and their rescue seems to never be able to find them, even when they’re in clear site. And there’s this mysterious, yet creepy cave that holds an unknown object that intrigues this group of friends. That’s when they all start to realize that something isn’t quite right with this oasis, that something dark and possibly sinister is taking place. And then tragedy hits this group of friends, which ends up binding them all together. But what that tragedy brings is their rescue and with it, a sense of change in their world and their minds. So, that then poses the question: What really happened at the oasis and was that sandstorm a fluke or a coincidence? And what, exactly, happened at the oasis?

When it comes to Katya’s writing, her writing is descriptive and provides that eerie creepy feeling she had in her first book. As the reader, I was questioning everything and trying to make sense of everything. I enjoyed how Katya de Becerra only released hints of the supernatural plot at certain times and not all at once. Her writing and story structure kept me intrigued and waiting for more.

As with the characters, I was hoping for more character development from the group of friends, as I didn’t feel a true connection with any of them. However, the experience of reading this story and seeing the effects it has on each person physically and mentally did prove for an enjoyable read. There were descriptive scenes with tension and betrayal, where friends were pitied against one another. And I enjoyed how Katya depicted how each experience effected each friend differently.

Overall, Oasis was an interesting and intriguing read with descriptive scenes that illustrated what supernatural traumas can do to the mind. I was pulled into the lush scenery and the mysterious oasis. This was an unique read and a great second book from Katya de Becerra, one that I would recommend to readers that are looking for their next archaeological supernatural read.

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Giveaway

Prize: Win finished copy of OASIS by Katya de Becerra (US Only)

Starts: January 1st 2020

Ends: January 15th 2020

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Thank you, Fantastic Flying Book Club, for having us on this wonderful blog tour!

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It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? 12/2/19

It’s December already! Where has this year gone?

This week I’m going to read two arcs that my friends picked me up at ALA, and a book that was donated to me from a library patron.

What are you reading?

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A Heart So Fierce and Broken- Brigid Kemmerer

42952728In the sequel to New York Times bestselling A Curse So Dark and Lonely, Brigid Kemmerer returns to the world of Emberfall in a lush fantasy where friends become foes and love blooms in the darkest of places.

Find the heir, win the crown. 
The curse is finally broken, but Prince Rhen of Emberfall faces darker troubles still. Rumors circulate that he is not the true heir and that forbidden magic has been unleashed in Emberfall. Although Rhen has Harper by his side, his guardsman Grey is missing, leaving more questions than answers.

Win the crown, save the kingdom. 
Rumored to be the heir, Grey has been on the run since he destroyed Lilith. He has no desire to challenge Rhen–until Karis Luran once again threatens to take Emberfall by force. Her own daughter Lia Mara sees the flaws in her mother’s violent plan, but can she convince Grey to stand against Rhen, even for the good of Emberfall?

The heart-pounding, compulsively readable saga continues as loyalties are tested and new love blooms in a kingdom on the brink of war.

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Hearts, Strings, and Other Breakable Things- Jacqueline Firkins

43261131In this charming debut about first love and second chances, a young girl gets caught between the boy next door and a playboy. Perfect for fans of To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before.

Mansfield, Massachusetts is the last place seventeen-year-old Edie Price wants to spend her final summer before college. It’s the home of wealthy suburbanites and prima donnas like Edie’s cousins, who are determined to distract her from her mother’s death with cute boys and Cinderella-style makeovers. Edie has her own plans, and they don’t include a prince charming.

But as Edie dives into schoolwork and applying for college scholarships, she finds herself drawn to two Mansfield boys who start vying for her attention. First, there’s Sebastian, Edie’s childhood friend, and first love. He’s sweet and smart and . . . already has a girlfriend. Then there’s Henry, the local bad boy, and all-around player. He’s totally off-limits, even if his kisses are chemically addictive.

Both boys are trouble. Edie can’t help but get caught between them. Someone’s heart is going to break. Now she just has to make sure it isn’t hers.

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The Saturday Night Ghost Club- Craig Davidson

42378784A short, irresistible, and bittersweet coming-of-age story in the vein of “Stranger Things” and “Stand by Me” about a group of misfit kids who spend an unforgettable summer investigating local ghost stories and urban legends.

Growing up in 1980s Niagara Falls–a seedy but magical, slightly haunted place–Jake Baker spends most of his time with his uncle Calvin, a kind but eccentric enthusiast of occult artifacts and conspiracy theories. The summer Jake turns twelve, he befriends a pair of siblings new to town, and so Calvin decides to initiate them all into the “Saturday Night Ghost Club.” But as the summer goes on, what begins as a seemingly lighthearted project may ultimately uncover more than any of its members had imagined. With the alternating warmth and sadness of the best coming-of-age stories, The Saturday Night Ghost Club examines the haunting mutability of memory and storytelling, as well as the experiences that form the people we become.

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