The Mesmerist by Ronald L. Smith


I received a copy of this book from Netgalley/the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

The Mesmerist is a middle grade novel written by Ronald L. Smith. It contains elements of several of my favorite things, so I was very excited about the opportunity to read this book.

Thirteen-year-old Jess lives with her mother. They earn their living from conducting séances, using trickery to put on a good show for their wealthy clients. However, that all changes when they receive an actual supernatural message. It turns out that Jess’ mother has been keeping secrets, and Jess learns more about her parents’ past on a trip to London. Continue reading


Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatty

I received this book from Netgalley/the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

I had started to hear wonderful things about Serafina and the Black Cloak, so I was very excited about the opportunity to read it. This middle grade novel was written by Robert Beatty.

Serafina lives in the basement of the Biltmore Estate with her father, who works as a mechanic. No one knows they live there, and no one knows that Serafina even exists. She is supposed to stay hidden, but she cannot resist sneaking around at night. Serafina takes pride in her “role” as chief rat catcher, but one night, she sees something utterly terrifying in the vast basement of the estate. She sees a man in a black cloak chase down a little girl, and make her disappear. Continue reading


Little Girls by Ronald Malfi

I received this book from Netgalley/the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

I was not familiar with Ronald Malfi’s work when I received the opportunity to review Little Girls, but the premise was intriguing. By the end of the book, I had become a fan and will be seeking out more of Malfi’s books.

Little Girls is the story of Laurie Genarro, who has returned to her childhood home after her father’s passing. He was an old man, but there was nothing natural about the manner in which he died. Laurie moves into the house with her husband and daughter, with the intention of preparing the old home for sale. Her father’s caretakers tell Laurie about her father’s ranting in the throes of his dementia, and she can’t help but wonder if there was any truth to his fear. What if something was trying to get into the house? Laurie is also unsettled by her daughter’s new friend; Abigail looks exactly like her own childhood friend Sadie, who died thirty years ago. Continue reading


Finders Keepers by Stephen King

I am a big fan of many of Stephen King’s books. I prefer the ones that are not horror stories, like 11/22/63 and novellas like The Body and Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption. When Entertainment Weekly published an excerpt from King’s latest novel Finders Keepers, I knew I had to get my hands on a copy. I placed a hold through the library network, but so did 186 other people. Luckily, I stopped at the library last Friday and found the book on the special 7 Day Checkout shelf. These books can only be checked out for a week, and they can’t be renewed. I had several books in my reading queue, but I bumped Finders Keepers to the top. Thanks to my children being distracted by the video game Splatoon, and a mini road trip to the Lacrosse Jamboree an hour away, I was able to finish Finders Keepers in a couple of days.

Finders Keepers opens in 1978, with reclusive author John Rothstein’s home being invaded by three masked bandits. They are not only after his money; Morris Bellamy, the ringleader, is convinced that the aged author has a vast collection of unpublished writings. The hunch is correct- they load the Moleskine notebooks into a trunk, and Bellamy shoots Rothstein before leaving.

Thirty-five years later, a teenager named Pete Saubers discovers the trunk with the notebooks and cash. They have gone untouched for all those years because Morris Bellamy has been in prison, but for a different crime than Rothstein’s murder. But then Bellamy is released, and he goes back to his home (that the Saubers family is now living in) and when he realizes that his treasures have been stolen, he is determined to recover what (in his mind) is rightfully his, no matter the cost. Continue reading