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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

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 wi…


by Sara Holland

Overall Book Review:

In a world filled with mystery and centuries of history, Haven Fall Inn sounds like an enchanting place to explore.  Thankfully, the author, Sara Holland, is a master of the descriptive story.  It’s a bit like being at the inn with the characters.   

The story is narrated by Maddie.  Much of our time with her is spent inside her head while she shares her heart, her hurt, and her honest impressions of the people that surround her.  Unfortunately, Maddie is no stranger to personal pain.  Tragedy, heartache, and sadness hang off her like cold, searing chains.  Along with unexpected changes, she discovers leadership is way harder than she imagined and that along with lies and deception come consequences.  In the end, somebody has to pay the price and Maddie’s just hoping that it won’t be her again.

Maddie’s dad has always tried to help her through the tough times.  He often told her, “One bite at a time.”  That becomes Maddie’s mantra as she also remembers her dad finishing with, “So you’d better choose carefully, and whatever you do, do it well.”

The story line is strong; however. it took a few pages to get to the action.  Thankfully, when it takes off, it’s solid until the end.  Suspenseful and full of unexpected action, the pages fly by quickly and kept me wanting to come back and see what happens next.  There are several main characters in the book who become more than just words on a page.  They each have a special place in Maddie’s heart and are integral to the story line.  The story ends in a way that there could easily be a sequel but this book comes to a good conclusion that’s satisfying to the reader on its own.  

This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Bloomsbury YA

Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language: 16 mild obscenities; 1 religious profanity; 14 scatological words; 2 anatomical terms; 3 F-word derivatives. 

Violence/Gore:  Several mentions that a mom was accused of killing her son several years before, descriptive with blood but not gory; a story from the 18th century that a village disappeared; story from the 18th century that a cult leader let a group of his followers off a cliff, implied all dead, no descriptions; story of a woman who was killed by a monster, some gory description; a dead man, mention of blood but no gory descriptions; a man is killed by another man, kinda gross but no descriptive gore; a deer is found dead and half eaten, not descriptive; a teen girl shoots at a beast and harms it, not descriptive; a young woman is attacked by a beast and badly hurt, a little descriptive and bloody; a teen boy is attacked and hurt, minor descriptions; mention that an ancestor executed traitors; a beast is captured, mention of wounds and blood; a teen girl is hurt by a man (not sexually), taken prisoner and finds an 8 yr old young girl already captured; a teen girl is thrown in the trunk of a vehicle and taken to be murdered, she almost drowns; a lengthy battle between several people, all characters are in danger, some wounds but not bloody. 

Sex/Nudity:  Two teens are making out, several kisses mentioned, some touching but limited to bathing suit areas; mention of a young woman who is naked, non-sexual and not descriptive; female character flirts with another female character. 

Mature Subject Matter:

Mother is accused of murdering a child, homosexuality, bisexuality, death row in prison, magic, monsters, racial conflicts, death of a child, abduction and confinement of a child, history of war and death. 

Alcohol / Drug Use:

A seventeen-year-old is drinking wine; several people at a party are drinking alcohol. 

Overall Book Rating

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About the Reviewer

Reading a good adventure story has always been a vacation in the theater of my mind. When I’m stressed or just need to get away for a few minutes, I love the opportunity to climb into somebody else’s world. I didn’t enjoy reading until I was in the Air Force and building bombs in Korea; it was a wonderful distraction from the real world. (I tried bull riding, but it wasn’t exciting enough.)