Just Like Home by Sarah Gailey

Why hello Internet! Welcome to my bad idea. For whatever reason (okay, probably Ghost Files) I have been obsessed with spooky this season. From binge listening to true crime and campfire story podcasts to binge watching true crime and ghost hunting videos, I have been Team Spoopy this year. I’m going into this box as I normally do with OUABC boxes, however I know that this is their spooky box for 2022, meaning it is their scary version. As I was opening up the box, I read the letter on the back of the print and just the writing was enough to get my heart racing, so this is going to be an adventure. I’m starting this at 10:30 pm because I love bad ideas, please pray for my soul. Look, let’s just jump into this, and if you are reading this, just know that I at least survived until the morning. I’ll see you soon at the first gift!

Page 26

“While her eyes were shut tight, the fingers of her right hand twitched around the screwdrivers.”

Just Like Home, page 26

Vera returns home to her childhood home because her mother is dying. Her father was obviously a bad dude because everyone knows his name (and not in the Cheers way), but we don’t know what he did yet. We know the house is creepy, but don’t know why yet.

Firstly, thank you to the OUABC team for breaking up this moment. This particular gift is both the most practical and the most me gift I could have gotten. I have the most wonderful nephew whose love I am desperately trying to buy, so the amount of tiny little screws I need to remove is crazy. I definitely will be using it every day of the week.

In regards of the book, I had a solid hour and a half of falling down the video rabbithole, so I’m a little on edge but not totally invested. Had I not opened this gift, I probably would be hooked because the lead up to this figure on the bed had me spooked.

Anyway my friends, I am going to finish this chapter, crash, then see you all tomorrow morning with the next gift!

Page 45

“She let out a sob of relief as the long gray rope fell to the floor…”

Just Like Home, page 45

Vera goes to sleep, bringing us to a memory from her childhood. In that memory, she is talking with her father about something underneath her bed. Her dad tells her there is nothing there, and they also have a conversation about how she can’t go down into the basement, that is her father’s place. Which knowing that he eventually gets arrested is a bit of a red flag. As Vera awakes, she is 1) in a closet which is weird and 2) cold which she then goes into a hole in her gut to pull out the thing that is making her cold. Yes, I recognize that is a weird sentence, but that is where we are.

I haven’t pulled this completely out yet, but I do appreciate that it isn’t the white stringy mess you normally get in a CVS. I’m hoping that it is a little cartoony spider web that I can hang on my fireplace during the season.

In terms of the story: I have had a rough go getting into this one. I want to be very clear, it has nothing to do with the wriiting, I think the writing is incredible. But with other responsibilities in front of me, I’ve lost track of trying to keep up with the story. I have about 3 hours to focus in on this book, so hopefully I can really get into this. Anyway friends, I will see you all in about 20 pages!

Page 67

“She held the thermos over the countertop and shook it hard from side to side until the little cylinder of paper stopped catching on the inside of the lip.”

Just Like Home, page 67

Alrighty friends, so Vera makes it through the night and the next day goes into town to get storage bins. While in town, she runs into her childhood best friend’s mom which does not go well. Vera meets James Duvall who is the artist staying at the Crowder House. Once she returns home, Vera begins working on the kitchen where she finds her father’s old thermos.

Friends, there are not a lot of things that get me super hyped, but water bottles and candles are my jam. This is such a cute water bottle that I 1000% am going to take to work with me. I was disappointed when the thermos was introduced in the previous pages and we didn’t get to the gift, but this guy blew me away. I’ve been getting OUABC gifts for a few years and I have received water bottles from them that were really small for my liking, but this is a full sized one that is also metal which is another plus in my heart. I cannot express how genuinely happy I am to be getting this. Okay, let’s move on.

Does it surprise anyone that I am now almost 8 hours after the last gift. I truly am so easily distracted. Anyway, I will say that I am starting to really get into this book (I promise) because my heart was hammering when Vera looked into the thermos. I was fully expecting a jump scare. But I am going to put my computer and phone away from me and see what that does, hopefully I will see you all soon!

Page 190

“…she couldn’t tell herself that she was imagining the sensation of the quilt stretching out.”

Just Like Home, page 190

Vera has continued to find more notes from her father’s journal about her. She is hoping to learn more about her father’s love since she isn’t getting it from her mother. We begin to unravel Vera’s history with her father including the time she was kissed by her male best friend and her parents’ different reactions. We also learn that Francis, Vera’s father, would kill men that he felt had a grease in them, which I am assuming is based around the adjective “slimy”. When we open this gift, we had our first real taste of something strong under Vera’s bed.

I know I said in the last gift that water bottles and candles get me hyped, but I didn’t even have blankets in my mind when I said that. Give me comfort items and you best believe I am happy. Now I know I didn’t open it up completely, but this is a woven ouija board blanket. I grew up believing that ouija boards are no joke, so I am a little hesitant around the blanket (can take the girl out of the church but can’t take the church out of the girl, am I right?) but I am surprised by the quality. It feels really soft for a woven blanket, so I am curious to see how it holds up!

We are now on night 3 and the scariest night because it is Halloween night. I as a grown adult am actively deciding to read in the dark hoping that will cause me to have less distractions. I am really starting to get into this one to the point I read past the post-it note just so I would know how the scene ended. I am so excited to keep reading, and I am hoping that since there are no more gifts that I will really fall down the rabbit-hole tonight!

Final Thoughts

We really go down memory lane to understand who Francis was and what he had done. We also learn about how he was caught. As we go, we start to really build in conflict with James, even so far as he claims that he is the rightful owner of the house. The intensity continues to build until we eventually find out what is under the bed and how we can finally reach a resolution to this situation.

Listen friends, I got really into this. I ended up finishing around 1 AM, and I wanted to end still feeling the aftereffects of a haunting. Unfortunately, the ending just didn’t do it for me. It felt to me like we were trying really hard to tie everything up in a few pages and I almost wish we didn’t. I think the story would have been so much better if we never knew what lived under the bed. Like it felt like we found out too much at the end, but I think it would have been better to have something still up in the air. Something about having so much resolve left me feeling like “oh… okay I guess” which is really disappointing for how amazing the writing was.

For someone who is looking for a spooky tale, this one’s for you. There were a few times where I was mentally preparing myself for the jump scare coming at me. The jump scares were a little obvious, I was ready a page or so ahead of them, but it hit the spooky bells for me. I don’t recommend it for my friends who have a hard time reading scary novels (no shame in the book game, I only recently started getting into scary novels), I don’t recommend this one. It is just a little too much for general audiences. Ultimately, I am going to give this a 4.5 star rating for the writing, but a 3.75 for the book as a whole.

If you guys have any thoughts or ideas, feel free to leave a comment, find me on the social medias at @elizabooksblog, or email me at elizabethslick@elizabethsbookstore.blog. And as always, I’ll see you all in the next book!

In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren

How I Read It: Print

Dates Read: 12/23/20

How I Found It: Once Upon a Book Club/ Book of the Month

The 3×5 print from the Christmas 2020 box

Hello friends and happy holidays! Before I go into this book, I want to stress that I know nothing about this book. I am going into this book with you guys as well, so let’s jump in and I will see you all at the first present!

Page 144

“Mom pulls her hair back into a bun, slips on her Mrs. Claus apron, and takes the wooden spoon from my hand, wordlessly telling me that she’ll take it from here.”

In a Holidaze, page 144

In a cabin in Utah, Mae struggles to understand how she ended up making out with her family friend, Theo, especially when she has a huge crush on his brother, Andrew. When she learns that this may be her last trip to the Utah cabin, Mae finds herself wishing for the opportunity to be happy. Suddenly, a car crash derails her, and she wakes up on the flight leading to the exact same trip she just finished. With a bit of a Groundhog Day feeling (says from someone who has never seen Groundhog Day), Mae continues to relive her trip until she reaches happiness.

As for the apron, it is a little on the cheaper side, but I have someone who absolutely loves aprons, so I will be sure to get this one to her the second that the pandemic lets up!

Page 164

“‘Dude.’ He points upward. ‘You two are under the mistletoe.'”

In a Holidaze, page 164

Okay, I am not a mistletoe person, at all. I personally think this is a really dumb tradition. But I do appreciate that this is plastic so that it can be used over and over for Christmases to come!

Page 281

“In my sketch, the figure is easily in his eighties, but clearly Andrew…. We’re sitting on the porch swing of the cabin, side by side, fingers interlaced….”

In a Holidaze, page 281

I was terrified that this was going to be a close up on people. If you know anything about me, then you know that receiving portraits of people that I don’t know is the same as inviting a ghost into my house. So I am incredibly happy that this picture is 1) not creepy and 2) not the main gift that they are trying to give us. Also, I love this frame! I can’t wait to put pictures of my nephew in this!

Page 285

“I lift my foot, pick the item off the bottom, and study the silver object.”

In a Holidaze, page 285

Fun fact about Papa Slick: he is obsessed with this type of Hershey’s Kisses. When we enter December, almost every year, he will buy 3 packs of the Candy Cane kisses, and would take handfuls of these up to his office. Truly, I grew up on these, so I am so incredibly excited by this gift.

If you guys have any thoughts or ideas, feel free to leave a comment, find me on the social medias at @elizabooksblog, or email me at elizabethslick@elizabethsbookstore.blog. And as always, I’ll see you all in the next book!

The Mary Shelley Club by Goldy Moldavsky

How I Read It: Print

Dates Read: 10/16/21-10/18/21

How I Found It: Once Upon a Book Club

Trigger Warning: There are instances of home invasion, murder, occult (including seance and ouija boards), and violence. If these are triggers for you, please read at your own discretion.

I am feeling in a spooky mood, so I decided to pick up this box! While I have no idea what is in the 5 gifts yet, I can go ahead and guess that there is a candle, purely by the overwhelming smell that comes out of this box. This thing has been stinking up my entryway for months until I have finally decided to pick this one up! That being said, this is April’s? YA box called “After School Fright Club” from Once Upon a Book Club.

Page 18

So right idea, just slightly wrong. The soap is definitely small but mighty. From what I understand from the brief glance I had of the soap, it is a completely natural soap without any of the chemicals that other name brands use. 

Rachel was in her bedroom when she sees a man outside her house. She looked away for a second, and he was gone. Alone in the house by herself, she begins to get frightened by the sound of footsteps downstairs. There were 2 intruders, one who instantly fled and the other who came straight for Rachel.

Now a year later, Rachel has moved to New York City with her mom. A junior in high school, Rachel’s mom is concerned that she doesn’t have many friends here. When Saundra, a new classmate, encourages Rachel to go to a party in an abandoned house a neighborhood over, Rachel runs into the most popular couple in the school in the middle of an argument. Trying to break away from the thoughts rushing through her head, she finds a random guy and kisses him.

I don’t think that this book will be necessarily scary, but there are obviously going to be some horror tropes touched on throughout the book. That being said, the prologue is a stroke of genius. I am hooked, and I want nothing more than to know more about that beginning scene. With that being said, I’m going to shut up and read, I’ll see you all at the next gift!

Page 67

There are so many moments that you feel like the story is going one way and it ends up driving off the road down a cliff and completely takes you by surprise. With that being said, never in a million years would I have expected to get a pair of scissors in one of these boxes.

Following the make out session with Lux’s (ex?-)boyfriend, the partygoers head to the main floor for a seance. When she realizes that it is a prank, Rachel begins laughing, which Lux assumes means Rachel is laughing at her. As Rachel begins to look into the prank to find out who is behind it, she discovers that there is a club, including who 2 of the members are. But Lux has also looked into Rachel, discovering that Rachel was looking at the Instagram of a dead boy, which leads us to our gift.

One of my favorite parts of this book is that I cannot tell you what is going to happen next. Every time I think I know where we are going, there is something that throws a wrench in the plan, which really draws me in. However, the flip side of that is at a certain point, that feeling will become a deterrent for some people. I can easily see the novelty wear off. Just a thought, but I will see you in the next gift!

Page 178

100% not what I was expecting to get! The gifts this time are so incredibly creative and out of the box (haha). It is a little on the flimsy side and the lid is a little weird, but I’m willing to try it out once to see what it is like!

Rachel inevitably joins this club, called the Mary Shelley Club, which is made up of Thayer,  Bram, Felicity, and Freddie. She learns that they complete challenges called “Fear Tests” where they will choose a target, then hone in on their worst fear until they can illicit a scream from them. These tests are designed by each of the members, and they grade each other’s test to ultimately decide a winner. At the point of this gift, we have seen Thayer’s fear test. On top of all of this, we are starting to see something going on between Rachel and Freddie, but not much has happened yet.

In terms of the idea for the book, this is pretty morbid. I’m not the hugest fan of the idea of the Fear Tests, and while I can totally see a limited series made out of this book, I seriously hope that it does not reach similar fame levels as Squid Game. We do not need copycats of this idea. But this is also incredibly inventive while being brutally honest that she is repeating horror tropes. I feel like I should praise the idea, but I also fear what this book could lead to. I don’t know, man, but I’ll think about that as we get to the next gift.

Page 239

I am flabbergasted. Holy potato sticks! I swear this box is better than any I have opened in the recent past! I am so excited to try this guy out tonight!

Since the last gift, we watched Felicity’s Fear Test. And due to that, the shoe finally drops, causing memories of Rachel’s attack from the previous year to come at full force. 

Having tried this, I will say that I was never able to make the video not blurry. As great as this is, it is a little lackluster when you live in a time of 4k. But still incredibly cool and a fun date night addition.

Page 401

If you haven’t been around for a while, you might not know that I read The Shining last year (What’s that? A link? You should click on it!). This is definitely an incredibly cool gift, though it is a little too bulky for me. I am currently trying to figure out what I can attach this to so I can justifiably keep it!

Now, it has been a little bit since I finished the book, so bear with me. As we watch more people do their fear tests, flashes of moments from Rachel’s attack keep popping up. She is starting to realize that these “coincidences” keep piling up. When things go too far during a fear test, the group has to figure out whether or not they want to continue with the fear tests.

Overall

I think that the book was really good, but I personally felt like there were so many twists at the beginning that it kinda fell off by the end. I would rather there have been consistent twists throughout the entire book than for there to be such a chaotic beginning and boring middle. While there were some twists at the end, it takes a lot of reading to get there. And it just felt like we needed a little more consistency across the board.

I also think that for a book that this book is more accurately a contemporary YA novel with some thriller aspects. The horror wasn’t really there for me, and you don’t really feel the thrill except at the very beginning and the very end. All in all, I would give it a 3.5 out of 5 stars.

If you guys have any thoughts or ideas, feel free to leave a comment, find me on the social medias at @elizabooksblog, or email me at elizabethslick@elizabethsbookstore.blog. And as always, I’ll see you all in the next book!

Today Tonight Tomorrow by Rachel Lynn Solomon

How I Read It: Print

Dates Read: 1/27/21-1/31/21

How I Found It.’ Once Upon A Book Club

In a letter to the reader, I know that this is a love story between two Jewish teens who are on the precipice of deciding on their future endeavors. Otherwise. I know very little about what is in store for us, so without further Ado, I will see you all with the first gift!

Page 7

“I’m poking a simple gold stud through one earlobe when the envelope catches my eye.”

Today Tonight Tomorrow, page 7

Honestly, I have the exact same earrings in silver on at the time of writing this, so I will definitely be incorporating these into my fashion!

Page 44

I’m not going to put a quote because that is a lot to write, but you can see it all on the gift. Fun fact: my 7th grade teacher made us write notes to our future selves and in that letter I 1) said I should go to Princeton because, as A Cinderella Story taught me, that’s where princesses go (barf), but 2) was convinced that my brother shouldn’t marry my sister-in-law (which thankfully was ignored, and now I am a proud aunt). All-in-all, an interesting memory lane to walk down.

Page 94

“He glances back at me, and with a sweet smile, I dive forward to yank off his armband.”

Today Tonight Tomorrow, page 94

Okay, let’s catch up for a minute. Rowan had a life plan for when shegraduates high school. But when nothing goes to plan, especially when her archenemy, Neil McNair wins valedictorian. with the final senior scavenger hunt looming. Rowan is determined to win her last hurrah.

Why am I obsessed with bandanas? The world may never know. But, I am a happy Elizabeth!

Page 284

“I grab his arm to look at his watch.”

Today Tonight Tomorrow, page 284

I got a WATCH?!?! It is a very beautiful, but simple watch. However, it is hard to adjust, so while I can put it on, it does pinch a little bit.

As for the story. Rowan learns that a group of the seniors are trying to knock her and Neil out of the scavenger hunt, she teams up with him to win. But as Rowan said, opposites are more similar than they think, and quickly they get all caught up in their feelings.

Page 351

“With that, he reveals the gift: a tub of Philadelphia with a red ribbon around it….”

Today Tonight Tomorrow, page 351

I saw this gift very briefly when I was scrolling through Instagram and was sure it was a candle. Let me just say, very happy to be wrong on this one. Also what does it say about me when I immediately thought about putting my wine in it? Pandemic hits hard.

Book Review

I loved this. To have an opportunity to write about something that all of us have felt (feeling like you didn’t do everything you wanted to) and add in a personal twist (stereotypes and general feeling of being the other) and add in a romance is essentially *chef’s kiss*. All in all, I absolutely enjoyed myself. I am going to rate this a 4.5 out of 5 stars.

If you guys have any thoughts or ideas, feel free to leave a comment, find me on the social medias at @elizabooksblog, or email me at elizabethslick@elizabethsbookstore.blog. And as always, I’ll see you all in the next book!

Happily Ever Afters by Elise Bryant

How I Read It: Print

Dates Read: 2/6/21-2/20/21

How I Found It: Instagram/ Once Upon a Book Club

Hello Friends! Today’s book is a rom-com for the book lovers. Other than that, as is the usual for OUABC books, I am going in blind. So I will see you all at the first gift!

Page 46

‘ ‘He laughs and reaches into the backseat to produce a muffin tin….”

Happily Ever Afters, page 46

For the 2021 year (at least I havent noticed on boxes before), OUABC is making their boxes themed. So this particular box is called Butter, Sugar, & Love Stories, so I’m curious if all of the gifts are goiinig to be baking themed. I had a pretty good idea that this was going to be a muffin tin when I picked up the present, but even more so with because with the box was a recipe for brown-butter raspberry muffins.

Page 287

“… something especially fragrant called ras el hanout in glass jars.”

Happily Ever Afters, page 287

These jars are really nice. The problem? I have literally nothing to put in them. However, we persevere, and I will either be putting candy or something else small in large quantities in them.

Page 346

“Giant color versions of all the sketches I’d seen him laboring over this year.”

Happily Ever Afters, page 346

I have always said how weird I was about receiving pictures of people in these boxes. And while I know the difference between a picture and a portrait, I truly do not feel this way about this portrait at all. Also, what an absolutely gorgeous print!

Overall Novel

So story, Tessa moves to Southern California and earns a spot in the writer’s program at Chrysalis, an arts high school. Her new neighbor, Sam, is also a student at that school, so they quickly become friends. But when Tessa realizes that she can’t get words to flow out of her the way they used to, she thinks that maybe the problem is that she needs her own romance to get the juices flowing. When there is a guy named Nico at her school who looks exactly like her character from her novel, she believes that he is the person who could give her her happily ever after, ultimately leading to her characters’ happily ever afters. Of course, as easy as this all sounds, life tends to be a little more complicated, and we follow Tessa as she tries to figure out what exactly she wants and how she can get out of the situation that she is in.

I’ll be honest, this was not my favorite book I’ve read. I personally did not like Tessa. I got probably 100 pages or so in, and I was having a great time. But at a certain point, I was not reading the book because I wanted to actually read the book, and more because I wanted to open the gifts/for glory. I don’t recommend doing this by the way, but I am a very strange breed of human. But by page 300, I truly thought about just putting it down and not finishing. To explain this feeling a little bit, there was an obvious direction for this book. We spent SO LONG building up to this moment, and ultimately that moment was extremely anti-climatic for the build up we had. If you think about your plot structure chart from English class, it was like we went up this very low grade slope to then get to a cliff, where we essentially fell off and died. What I did like about this book is that there was a resolution without adding the extra ten pages of what happens after that resolution that I also find awkward. Tessa played a really large part in this long build up based off her characteristics as a protagonist. And all in all, I felt like she could have been written to be less annoying of a character.

And while I am trashing on this character, I also want to say that I see a lot of myself in her. I too wanted to feel like I belonged when there were a lot of moments where I thought I never would be. I too struggled to find the things that I loved for periods of my life. And I too have dealt with anxiety attacks that leave me debilitated. Maybe the reason why I don’t like her as a character is more because I could see myself as her, while also realizing that there was a clear path to the end. Whatever the case may be, I probably won’t be picking this one up again, and that is disappointing to me.

(Side note: I also feel like I need to reiterate: read whatever you want to read. These are my thoughts that I felt after finishing the book. I am sure that if you look at another review, that person will say something different. It is my prerogative to say my thoughts and share that with the world, and it is okay if you think I am full of bull. I probably am.)

If you guys have any thoughts or ideas, feel free to leave a comment, find me on the social medias at @elizabooksblog, or email me at elizabethslick@elizabethsbookstore.blog. And as always, I’ll see you all in the next book!

The Love Curse of Melody McIntyre by Robin Talley

How I Read It: Print

Dates Read: 1/19/21- 1/27/21

How I Found It: Once Upon A Book Club

The only things that I know l about this book going in is that it features musicals. Considering the majority of my Spotify review for 2020 was the Hamilton soundtrack, I think that I am ready to step into this one! (Side note: the box this time around is ridiculously heavy, so my standards are high for the gifts with this box)

Page 182

“l glance at Odile. She’s sitting on the floor with her purse beside her, a thick paperback open on her lap.”

The Love Curse of Melody McIntyre, page 182


Before I get into this gift, let’s catch up on the plot of this novel. Firstly, Melody McIntyre’s immediate concern has always been for the Beaconville High School Drama Department. So it should be no surprise that her girlfriend, Rachel, thinks that she isn’t focused on their relationship. And when their relationship dissolves during the most complicated lighting pattern in the show, it became a point of distinction within the crew. Their solution? Melody should avoid falling in love so that the spring musical, which is Les Miserables, can go off without a hitch. But when the acting star of
BHS, Odile, auditions for the musical, Mel starts to realize that she isn’t as intimidating as she thought. Now Mel needs to choose between her heart and her musical.

Okay, I live. I’m going to expose myself right now, I have had Les Mis downloaded on my Kindle app since high school and I still haven’t read it. But one day! I grew up with a mom obsessed with planners and stickers. Now that I have reached adulthood, I get it. I love stationary. Now with the question of will I use it? I don’t know. I don’t really live the type of life where I can justify using this, but post- pandemic life could be completely different. we’ll see!

Page 299

“The curtain that is descending is dark-as black as the night sky-
bot all over it are twinkling stars. Hundreds of them.”

The Love Curse of Melody McIntyre, page 299

Fun fact about me: I love stars. Really I love everything to do with the skies, including sunsets, northern lights, star trails, etc. And if I had a reason to use a shower curtain, I would be all in for this. Sadly, I don’t so this will go in my resell pile, but do know I absolutely love this gift!

Page 394

“She gets up so fast her purse catches on the armrest.”

The Love Curse of Melody McIntyre, page 394

I need more excuses (post-pandemic obvi) to carry around a purse. While I have baskets in my room of this material, I’m not sure how much I want to carry this around. However, this is a really good neutral, so it could probably work with most outfits. So essentially I am trying to justify keeping this.

Book Review

This book was incredibly cute and fun to read! While I say all of that, I wasn’t able to keep my attention on this book. When I was actually trying to get through this book, I could read a lot more, but throughout the week, I would only read about 50 pages when I would pick it up. I think that all in all, I would list this book as a 3.5 out of 5 stars.

If you guys have any thoughts or ideas, feel free to leave a comment, find me on the social medias at @elizabooksblog, or email me at elizabethslick@elizabethsbookstore.blog. And as always, I’ll see you all in the next book!

15 Minutes of Flame by Christin Brecher

Side note: This is the 3rd book in a series. If you want to pick up the other two, they are also available from this link.

How I Read It: Print

Dates Read: 11/1/20

How I Found It: Once Upon a Book Club

This is the Sweet Halloween Box from Once Upon a Book Club. I haven’t opened anything in this box yet, but compared to the Spooky Box, the package was smaller and there is one less gift in this box.

Gift One

“When the candle hit the half-hour mark and extinguished, I gasped.”

15 Minutes of Flame, page 204

So this weird contraption is a set up for a candle timer. Using two identical candles, you can mark how far down the candle is a set time, and by using the pins, you can create an “alarm” from the pins falling out of the candle. It is a cool idea, even if the set up looks a little strange.

Gift Two

“As I took a sip from my glass, my eyes fell upon Leigh’s bag. Specifically, I noticed a coffee cup from The Bean, shoved into a side pocket. It was safe to the assume the drink had been given to her by Fontbutter, as part of his contribution to the morning. What I found interesting, however, was a marking on its side: HN.”

15 Minutes of Flame, page 240

Yes! Yes! A million times yes! New favorite coffee mug, 100% putting my cold brew in this in the mornings, I can’t form anything but fragments because I am happy. Thank you OUABC, you won me over!

Gift Three

“…said Andy, pulling the cobwebs off our [killer].”

15 Minutes of Flame, page 283

Okay, no one taught me how to get a picture of a table runner, so my bad. Also, I went through an entire process to try and get a better picture and the picture deleted off my phone, so whoops. Anyway, it’s a big spider web with spiders and stars on it, and it looks pretty dope.

Right, so story. Stella finds a dead body from the 1800s in the wall of an antique house. With that discovery, forensic anthropologists come out to assess to the bones, and based on that information, it leads them to another potential body from the same time period. At that excavation site, the head anthropologist is killed. Stella start piecing together who could have murdered him, which leads to a lot of antics.

Okay, storywise, it reminded me a lot of Sue Grafton’s books (keeping in mind that I have only read ABC, and not the entire alphabet. One day I will, I promise). It has a quality of cheap drugstore mystery, but is also very good. I don’t have a lot to say about the book itself, other than I don’t think it is the greatest thing in the world, but it also was an enjoyable read. I am going to put this one at a solid 3 out of 5.

If you guys have any thoughts or ideas, feel free to leave a comment, find me on the social medias at @elizabooksblog, or email me at elizabethslick@elizabethsbookstore.blog. And as always, I’ll see you all in the next book!

The Haunting of Ashburn House by Darcy Coates

Side note: Since I give you guys a link to purchase the book, I was surprised to see that she has written a bunch of these haunting books. If you are into this sort of thing (weirdos), there are a bunch of options to choose from! Happy reading!

How I Read It: Print

Dates Read: 10/31/20

How I Found It: Once Upon a Book Club

Well, well, well. Welcome to the first of the Halloween themed boxes from OUABC. This one, based on the cover, is the spooky version of this box, so I am hoping I can get through this one in a day, or else the nightmares are going to be rough tonight. TRIGGER WARNING: This book is a horror novel, so it features paranormal events, such as ghosts and occult things. Read at your discretion.

Gift One

“Adrienne lowered Wolfgang to the porch and tore open the envelope containing her key.”

The Haunting of Ashburn House, page 14

These things are super heavy. Fun fact about my family, we don’t really celebrate Halloween. As someone who has a birthday within a week of Halloween, my family has always made the holiday more about me than the spooky scary stuff, which like God bless. Anyway, I am going to be gifting these keys to someone who I think will enjoy their aesthetic, but these super heavy things are currently just noisemakers to confuse my dog.

Gift Two

“But she couldn’t stop herself from turning toward the next painting. Edith.

There was no terror in the child’s face, only a flat, cold focus. She stared directly ahead, intense attention squared on the observer, the muscles in her face tight but not from fear.

… The painted eyes blinked.”

The Haunting of Ashburn House, page 253

I cannot express to you how nauseous I am at this current moment. Also, if that painting is actually attached to the frame, I am going to have to burn it, it is the only way. Despite my body’s natural reaction to a very creepy lady, I will put this one at a 7/8 out of 10 on the spooky standard. I’ve read worse, but I also am trying to speed read this book at midnight so I won’t have to deal with this tomorrow.

Gift Three

“Adrienne pressed the flashlight against the windowpane to shine its light in the car’s path. The beam was too weak; it didn’t reach past the forest’s edge….

An idea struck her. Adrienne pulled the desk’s drawer open… to find the magnifying glass she’d seen while looking for batteries….

Adrienne shoved the window open and reached the magnifying glass outside. She then pointed the flashlight at the magnifier so that its beam passed through the glass.”

The Haunting of Ashburn House, page 273

Okay, this magnifying bookmark is super cool. Firstly, it is ACTUALLY magnifying. Secondly, it just looks dope. The tube looking thing is a flashlight, and I am not in the general vicinity of batteries, or I would try it out.

Gift Four

“Adrienne moved to the fire, placed a new log on the blaze, and picked up the novel propped on the little side table….

The woman in the mirror folded her hands tidily in her lap and smiled as Adrienne opened the novel and began to read aloud.”

The Haunting of Ashburn House, page 329

Oooof, it’s over. And listen, this might be the greatest book in the world, but right now is not the time for me to try it out. I NEED A BREAK. I am still determined that this painting they have given me is cursed and I am genuinely afraid for my family that I have this in my house. As for this story, it got me. It was creepy enough that I knew I couldn’t just stop halfway through, and I can pretty much guarantee that my sleep tonight isn’t going to be great, but that’s the point of horror, right? I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again, I HATE GHOSTS. Every year I buy this spooky box knowing I am going to be pooping my pants, and I never learn. So, I hope you enjoyed my insanity.

As for what happens in this book, Adrienne moves into the Ashburn House after it was left to her from her great aunt. The Ashburn House is known for being haunted, but Adrienne is hoping that her Aunt Edith’s life as a recluse is the main cause of that. As she accustoms herself to the house, more strange things start happening, causing Adrienne to consider the paranormal. Quickly, things fall apart, and Adrienne has to fight for her survival.

Personally, I hate this book, so I’m going to give it a 1 out of 5 star rating. But, in the effort of being fair, I will give this book a 3.5 star rating, and do know that the little girls face in the painting will haunt my dreams tonight (yes, I cannot get over the painting thing).

If you guys have any thoughts or ideas, feel free to leave a comment, find me on the social medias at @elizabooksblog, or email me at elizabethslick@elizabethsbookstore.blog. And as always, I’ll see you all in the next book!

The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell

How I Read It: Audiobook/ Print

Dates Read: 12/30/19-12/31/19

How I Found It: Once Upon a Book Club, Book of the Month

Hey guys! If this is your first time on this blog, I am obsessed with books. And I also have zero self control, because obviously. Since I knew that I had this box at home, and also trying to do the noble thing and clean the house and definitely not for selfish reasons, I am going to be opening and reviewing this box!

Page 25

Okay, here’s the thing. I am never going to do anything with this rabbit’s foot thingy. I don’t want it, and I am super grossed out by it. I had a pretty big feeling when I was listening that I was going to be getting this, but this thing freaks me out.

Page 102

Not sure if this is supposed to be a universal passport holder or if it is meant to hold a notebook, or what, but I’m still not sure if I am going to keep this. It is extremely nice quality, just not something I can see myself using.

Page 110

Okay, so this is where I got after my 8 hour work day. There is a lot I don’t understand about this book, but I will try and explain as much as I can. So there’s this girl, Libby, who finds out that she was the baby that was left after a suicide pact. She gets her parent’s house as she comes of age, and she is trying to process what happened. When she was at the house, she heard something that sounded like a cough coming from upstairs, but I don’t remember much coming from that yet. Also, there’s this lady, Lucy, who has 2 kids and a dog, that is stuck in France, but I think that she was there when the suicide pact happened. My guess is that she was the daughter of the parents who died (aka Libby’s sister), but I am completely speculating at this point. And we follow Henry, Libby’s older brother, during the events for the family leading up to the suicide pact.

Page 179

We all know by now that there is one gift in every OUABC box that is just a piece of paper or something that came right off the printer. This is that gift for this box, so moving on!

Page 265

Yooooooooooo! This is soooo nice! I am probably going to start using this wallet! I have nothing more to say, this is one of the coolest things I have gotten in these boxes!

Page 268

Another successful day at work and this is where we are at! Firstly, one of the things I dislike about the audiobook is that it doesn’t give you the time of Henry’s story so it’s hard to get a sense of time in his sections.

As for the story: Okay, there is a lot I didn’t talk about in the first section because I didn’t think it would be relevant but now it is. Okay, so originally in the house, the Lamb family was made up of Henry Sr., Martina, Henry Jr. and his sister, whose name I can’t remember being given, but I am not sure on that. When the family starts to run low on money, Martina allows Birdie and her partner, Justin, to come live in the house. Eventually, she also allows David and Sally Thomsen and their two children, Phineas and Clemency.

Over time, Henry Sr. began to lose control of the house after a stroke leaves him debilitated. David soon begins to take over the house routines, including switching everyone to a vegan diet and taking away all their liberties. Phineas begins to rebel against his father, often taking Henry Jr. down with him.

Libby seeks help from Miller Roe, the journalist that wrote about her family’s history. They end up finding out who produced the cough upstairs, Phineas. And then they get stuck in his Airbnb and get drugged in the process? IDK man, that got weird fast.

Oh, and Lucy! She ended up killing a man to get her and her kids to the house in Chelsea. We know she spent a lot of time there, but not much else.

Final Thoughts

Once I sat down and wrote down what I knew from listening all day, I realized that I had a pretty good idea about how it would end. It truly is just about putting all the pieces together, and more importantly, realizing that what you have is pieces. There were obviously things that surprised me, but if you pay attention and realize the significance of all the details, you can easily figure it more or less out.

I wasn’t a huge fan of the writing style, and if I wasn’t pushing myself to read this one, I probably wouldn’t have finished it. But I do think that it is purely because of my preferences and not because the book isn’t good. I will go ahead and say that this book is a 4 out of 5 stars, plus or minus half a star depending on how you enjoy the writing style.

If you guys have any thoughts or ideas, feel free to leave a comment, find me on the social medias at @elizabooksblog, or email me at elizabethslick@elizabethsbookstore.blog. And as always, I’ll see you all in the next book!

Regretting You by Colleen Hoover

How I Read It: Print

Dates Read: 11/28/19-

How I Found It: Amazon/ Audible/ Once Upon a Book Club

Happy New Year everyone! Today, I get to read a book that I bought 3 different times, and had to return 3 different times. Despite all of that, I’m not sure I know what is going to happen, so once again, I am going in blind! So I will see you all really soon!

Special New Year Box Gifts

Page 49

Alright guys, so Morgan met Chris when she was in high school. Having no parental supervision, and being attached to her sister and her sister’s boyfriend, the 4 of them were always together. While attending a party, Morgan realizes that her period is late and that she is most likely pregnant. 17 years later, we meet that child, Clara and we follow Clara and Morgan as they process the things around them, including boys and their futures.

This whiteboard is kinda the perfect size and fits the New Year theme, so I am all for it!

Page 349/End

Okay, so this one is kinda weird but so sweet. So Morgan’s sister, Jenny, has been having an affair with Chris. That revelation comes into fruition for Morgan and Jenny’s fianceé, Jonah (also the boyfriend from high school), when Jenny and Chris die in a car accident after spending the day at a hotel together. Now Morgan, Clara, and Jonah need to process everything and come to terms with their new realities. Clara found her support system through Miller, the son of the town bad guy, and their mutual passion for film and acting. As we follow everyone’s path through grief, we are confronted with the importance of family and time.

I feel like I need to really look at this gift, which I haven’t had the time to really do yet. From what I can gather, it is a camera, but that it only captures small tibbits at a time, but I am not completely sure. It is the only technology gift that I have ever gotten in these boxes, and probably one of the coolest, so hopefully you will be hearing back from me soon about what it does!

If you guys have any thoughts or ideas, feel free to leave a comment, find me on the social medias at @elizabooksblog, or email me at elizabethslick@elizabethsbookstore.blog. And as always, I’ll see you all in the next book!