Catch-up Reviews: Into the Crooked Place, The Cold Is in Her Bones, and The Wisdom of Sally Red Shoes

Here are a few short reviews of books I read last year, but never got around to doing longer reviews of.

Into the Crooked Place
By Alexandra Christo
Published October 8, 2019 by Feweil and Friends

This one was a 3 star read for me. I didn’t love it, but I enjoyed it. The magical system is interesting, and it worked well in the context of the story. The story is told at a breakneck INTO_THE_CROOKED_PLACE6pace, and although I usually like fast-paced books, the plot felt a bit rushed at times.

I didn’t feel much of a connection to the characters. I was mildly invested in Wesley and Tavia’s will they won’t they vibe, but I found the other two characters, Karam and Saxony, less interesting (although I appreciated the LGBT+ representation).

Into the Crooked Place falls into the gangster fantasy category, and it’s a bit derivative of Six of Crows. It’s fairly entertaining, but it doesn’t break any new ground.

I received an ARC from the publisher through Amazon Vine.


The Cold Is in Her Bones
By Peternelle van Arsdale
Published January 22, 2019 by Margaret K. McElderry Books

The Cold Is in Her Bones has been touted as a retelling of the myth of Medusa, but that’s bit misleading. Other than some snakes in hair, this book doesn’t have much to do withCold is in her bones the myth.

I had a little trouble getting into this book. The first 60 or so pages are slow, and the main character, Milla, didn’t grab me at first. She’s very sheltered and naive, and frankly a bit boring. She lives alone with her parents and brother, and she’s never left her family’s farm, not even to go to the nearby village. Things change with the arrival of Iris, who is sent to live at the farm in preparation for eventually marrying Milla’s brother. Milla and Iris quickly become friends, and Milla’s whole world is opened up. But Iris fears that she’s becoming a demon, and Milla soon finds that she’s changing as well.

The Cold Is in Her Bones an interesting exploration of how society treats women and the restrictions that are placed on them. It’s also a story of revenge and forgiveness and friendship. The part of the story that dealt with the demons and why the girls are changing didn’t quite work for me, but the friendship aspect was much more interesting, and I enjoyed the writing.

I received an ARC from the publisher through Amazon Vine.


The Wisdom of Sally Red Shoes
By Ruth Hogan
Published June 19, 2019 by Crooked Lane Books

This is really lovely story about grief. Masha lost her toddler son under tragic circumstances 12 years ago, and ever since, she’s been living a sort of half-life. She gets by, but she’s unable to move on. A couple of chance encounters lead her to some unlikely Sally Red Shoesfriendships, and she begins to come alive again.

I really enjoyed this book. Masha’s pain is really well done, and I was rooting for her to find some closure. The women Masha befriends, the eponymous Sally Red Shoes and the glamorous Kitty Muriel, are great characters, both women who just don’t care what the world thinks of them. Their don’t give a hoot attitudes help push Masha to step out of her grief.

Hogan is an engaging writer, and I was very caught up in the story. She’s also very funny, and although much of the book is about loss and grief, there are some very funny bits, including a truly terrible dinner party guest and an amateur production of the Mikado.

There’s a secondary plotline in the book about a women named Alice and her young son. It seems obvious that the two plots are going to converge at some point, but I never felt much connection to this second storyline, and I think it didn’t add much to the story and could have been left out.

I received an ARC from the publisher through Amazon Vine.

Review: Jane Anonymous

Jane Anonymous
By Laurie Faria Stolarz
Published January 7, 2020 by Wednesday Books

Publisher’s summary:
Bestselling author Laurie Faria Stolarz returns with Jane Anonymous, a gripping tale of a seventeen-year-old girl’s kidnapping and her struggle to fit back into her life after she escapes.

Then, “Jane” was just your typical 17-year-old in a typical New England suburb getting ready to start her senior year. She had a part-time job she enjoyed, an awesome best friend, overbearing but loving parents, and a crush on a boy who was taking her to see her favorite band. She never would’ve imagined that in her town where nothing ever happens, a series of small coincidences would lead to a devastating turn of events that would forever change her life.

Now, it’s been three months since “Jane” escaped captivity and returned home. Three months of being that girl who was kidnapped, the girl who was held by a “monster.” Three months of writing down everything she remembered from those seven months locked up in that stark white room. But, what if everything you thought you knew―everything you thought you experienced―turned out to be a lie?

Jane Anonymous is a gripping, highly readable book about a teen girl who was kidnapped.

Jane (we never learn her real name) was kidnapped, thrown in the trunk of a car, and Jane Anonymousthen locked up in a white room for seven months. Now she’s free, but she’s having serious trouble readjusting to her old life. Her best friend just wants things to go back to the way they were. Her parents are trying their best, but they’re still completely traumatized by her abduction and they don’t know what to do to help her.

The story switches back and forth between the present and the time Jane was in captivity. This format works really well for the story, building the suspense. It’s definitely a page turner. It’s a harrowing story, and I rooted for Jane as she tried to figure out how to move on with her life after this horrifying ordeal.

The nature of the plot deserves a content warning, but it’s worth saying that there’s very little violence in the book, and the abduction involves mostly psychological torture rather than physical.

I received an ARC from the publisher through NetGalley.