“Shady Hollow” by Juneau Black | Book Review

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“In the woodland village of Shady Hollow, animals live side by side, predator and prey alike. Life is quiet, and the harmony is threatened by nothing bigger than local gossip. Reporter Vera Vixen is a recent transplant, and she doesn’t let anything stand in the way of getting the scoop. The most recent piece of news was the crowning of a new spelling bee champion, eight-year-old Ashley Chitters. When local grouch Otto Sumpf is found dead in the mill pond, the suspicious circumstances shake up the town and bring several issues to light. Vera is hot on the trail of the killer, putting herself in the direct path of danger. Has Miss Vixen met her match in murder, or will her nose for news solve the case before more bodies appear?”

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I’m going to keep my spiel short and sweet, just like “Shady Hollow. If you’re the kid who grew up watching Franklin and Little Bear on Nick Jr., this is the adult version with a pinch of murder and a dash of sleuthing. The setting is just as charming as the book cover advertises, and the story is the embodiment of cozy. Did I mention there’s a map of the town à la Hundred Acre Wood? My ideal day now has a new look: coffee at Joe’s Mug, hours of shopping at Nevermore Books, and lunch at the Bamboo Patch.

I flew through 219 pages and bought the other three books in the series before the ink had a chance to dry on Vera Vixen’s newspaper article. The pace is so soothing, and my only regret is picking this up during the heat of summer because it’s much more suited to a blanket nest and pumpkin spice latte; I would add chilly weather to the list, but I live in California so that only happens on one random week day in February, if we’re lucky. I’m struggling not to award this book with every star in existence, but the big reveal broke up the comfortable rhythm, not bad but more abrupt than it needed to be. My rating is an optimistic four stars, and I’m fully prepared for this to become a new favorite series and obsession I won’t shut up about. I’m dying from the adorableness as I speak so I’m leaving now to pick up the sequel because life outside Shady Hollow isn’t worth living.

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Content Breakdown: 

*Disclaimer: This section of my review is thorough and might contain SPOILERS.

Alcohol & Smoking: Mentions of Alcohol, Beer, Cigars, Cigar Smoking, Cordial, Intoxication, Liquor, Pipe Smoking, Spirits, & Wine

Blood, Death, & Violence: The murder investigation involves blood, drowning, a head wound, poison, stabbing by knife, & descriptions of dead bodies. 

A character is revealed to be a former surgeon whose license was revoked after a patient died during what should’ve been a routine surgery. 

There’s an attempted attack, the attacker loosening a boulder to roll down a hill & crush the victim; the victim suffers a few bruises from jumping out of the way. 

During a knife attack, the victim suffers a paw wound & multiple cuts from broken glass after an escape attempt through a window. 

Religion/Spirituality: Brief mention of spending one year living & praying in silence at a monastery 

During Otto’s funeral at the cemetery, we’re introduced to Parson James “Dusty” Conkers, a clergyman from Shady Hollow Church. 

Sensual/Sexual: There’s a character who’s treated with contempt due to her reputation as a serial dater who entertains many different men at her home, at least one of them married. Throughout the book, she’s referred to as “Home Wrecker,” “Hussy,” “Mistress,” & “Lover.”

Single Parenthood: Joe has been a single father to his son Joe Jr. ever since his wife left them without reason or warning.

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🌟 Find author Juneau Black here:

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*Note: “Juneau Black” is the pen name of authors Jocelyn Cole and Sharon Nagel.

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– Lauren Michele ❤️

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Dr. Quinn, Neopets, & Sonic

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My last post was a bit of a downer so tonight I’m focusing on sources of joy from my Thursday. Even though I’m exhausted & don’t feel good, I was productive with my work tasks. I got some reading & note-taking done for the book review I’m currently working on. Pssst, I’ll let you in on what I’m reading: “Gilded” by Marissa Meyer. ❄️ I placed an order for an exciting, TikTok-approved YouTube video. I watched Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman which is one of my comfort shows; obviously I love it for the strong female lead & beautiful Colorado mountain views. 😉 My parents treated my brother & I to Sonic ice cream, which I can never say no to; if anyone’s curious, I got an M&Ms blast. 🍦 I listened to some throwback Disney songs while doing a Lucy Wyndham-Read arm workout; I’m on day 3 of the 7-day challenge, & I finally managed the whole thing without stopping for a break. FEEL THE BURN! 🔥 Last but certainly not least,I purchased the brand new Neopets Faerie AOP T-Shirt from Cakeworthy. I wear their all-over-print shirts every single day so you can imagine how extensive my collection is. When I saw a teaser for their Neopets collection, I IMMEDIATELY marked my calendar. If you need me, I’ll be looking out the window, impatiently waiting for my package. 🧚‍♂️

When life gives you lemon after lemon after lemon, it’s nice to set aside time to make lemonade. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the bad & forgot about all the good that’s right there. Writing all this down was very therapeutic so I thank you for indulging me. 💕 I’ll try & do these casual updates more often, especially after good days like today. I hope you had a great Thursday too. Good Night! 🌙

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Subscribe to my blog to receive email notifications, and check out my other links listed below.

– Lauren Michele ❤

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Live From New York, It’s Saturday Night

SNL 40(Source: https://www.facebook.com/snl/photos/a.10150716644436303.459282.10714086302/10153109418346303/?type=1&theater)

Hopefully I am not the only person whose life has revolved around the Saturday Night Live marathon on VH1 Classic for the past  three weeks.  The mega marathon is leading up to the Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary Special airing tomorrow night at 8/7 central on NBC.  Because my mind is consumed with all things SNL, that is what we are discussing tonight.

Favorite Era: The 90s & 2000s

Favorite Host: Justin Timberlake

Favorite Cast Member(s): Amy Poehler, Ana Gasteyer, Andy Samberg, Bill Hader, Bobby Moynihan, Cheri Oteri, Chris Farley, Jason Sudeikis, Jimmy Fallon, Kate McKinnon, Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Molly Shannon, Nasim Pedrad, Rachel Dratch, Taran Killam, and Will Ferrell.

Favorite Impression(s): Amy Poehler as Hillary Clinton, Andy Samberg as Nicolas Cage, Justin Timberlake as Jimmy Fallon, Kate McKinnon as Ellen DeGeneres, Jane Lynch, & Penelope Cruz, Maya Rudolph as Beyonce & Donatella Versace, Nasim Pedrad as Arianna Huffington, Taran Killam as Christoph Waltz, Brad Pitt, Eminem, & Michael Cera, Tina Fey as Sarah Palin, and Will Ferrell as George W. Bush & Robert Goulet.

Favorite Character(s): Bobby Moynihan as Drunk Uncle, Cheri Oteri as Rita DelVecchio, Chris Farley as Matt Foley, Dana Carvey as Church Lady, Jason Sudeikis as The Devil, Kristen Wiig as Target Lady, and Mike Myers as Linda Richman.

Favorite Sketch(es): “Chippendales”, “Get Off the Shed”, “Homelessville”, and “More Cowbell.”

Favorite Sketch Series: “Bronx Beat”, “Celebrity Jeopardy”, “Delicious Dish”, “Get in the Cage With Nicolas Cage”, “The Californians”, “The Culps”, “The Lovers”, “Two A-Holes”, and “Wake up Wakefield.”

Feel free to comment with your favorites.  Have a great Sunday & don’t forget to clear your schedules for 7 pm, NBC.  “LIVE FROM NEW YORK, IT’S SATURDAY NIGHT!!!”

– Lauren Michele :)

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