Welcome to book spotlight where instead of giving you another book review, I’m just going to talk about books I’ve read recently that I enjoyed. Prepare yourself for the fangirl gushing.

I don’t usually read spooky stories. I’m not a fan of creepy things or scary monsters. Most of the time, they give me nightmares or keep me up at night.

But every once in a while, I’ll pick something spooky up just to see if I can finally read something that won’t leave my skin with too many goosebumps and my dreams with too many ghosts. Small Favors by Erin A. Craig is my type of scary story. It’s not gory or too gross. It’s not a heart-pounding, thrilling rush to escape from something monstrous. It’s a slow meander through a haunted woods where every detail, every moment, every event builds and builds and builds toward the ending.

Like with her first book, Erin A. Craig does such a good job with the atmosphere of a book. The details and descriptions, the writing style, the characters and setting—everything pulls together to give this book the right kind of eerie vibe. Amity Falls feels like a real town on the verge of breaking. The Downings feel like a real family. The abnormal creatures and the unhinged events are just spooky enough to up the intensity of the novel but aren’t too over-the-top or too horrific to be unbelievable. I did have a few nightmares because of this book, but for the most part, I was able to read this without being too creeped out. It has a good balance.

The premise of the story is good too. The idea is based loosely on the Rumpelstiltskin tale, but that aspect doesn’t come into play until the end. How it’s included worked, though, even if it’s a tiny part of the bigger picture.

This isn’t a fast paced story. There is a lot of stuff that happens as the story moves, but it’s slow, building one piece at a time. It was fascinating to read about this town as they slowly lose their minds to the dark presence in the forest.

My favorite aspect other than the atmospheric details are definitely the characters and relationships. There are a lot of connections and interactions happening in this story, and I like how they all play together alongside the plot. I love sibling relationships and this one had several that were complicated and realistic.

Basically, this was a good, spooky story for someone like me who doesn’t normally read spooky stuff. It’s slow, it’s interesting, it’s intense. There are a few things I guessed early on in the story, but I was happy with the reveals about what was going on. The only thing I didn’t like was the ending-ending. I felt like it moved a little too quickly and didn’t quite give me the resolution I’d been hoping for. Things get pretty crazy in the last few chapters, and this book could have benefited from having an epilogue to wrap everything up and answer a few “what happens next” questions.

But overall, I enjoyed this one and I’m definitely looking forward to more by Erin A. Craig.