After the Final Curtain: America’s Abandoned Theaters – Matt Lambros

I’ve loved abandoned places photography since I first learned of its existence. Although I’ve enjoyed poring over photographs of many abandoned places, including castles, hospitals and amusement parks, this is the first book I’ve read that focuses exclusively on theatres.

Featuring the history and photographs of twenty abandoned theatres, Matt Lambros took me on a journey through America. The theatres included in this book are located in California, Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

My favourite photograph is from the interior of Loew’s Majestic Theatre in Bridgeport, Connecticut. There’s a haunting quality to this image, with its blend of light and shadow, and it makes me want to ascend those stairs to find out what’s beyond them.

One thing I absolutely adored in this particular book is a feature I haven’t come across in other abandoned places photography books I’ve loved – images that highlight what a building looked like in its prime contrasted with ones that show its decay over time. Somehow being able to view the before and after side by side is both fascinating and even sadder than seeing the after in isolation.

The passage of time has caused RKO Proctor’s Theatre in Newark, New Jersey to be almost unrecognisable when compared to its heyday.

Then there’s Detroit, Michigan’s United Artists Theatre, whose Spanish Gothic interior had a creepiness to it even before time stripped away some of its shine. This is the theatre I most want to see in person.

Thank you so much to NetGalley, Jonglez Publishing and Xpresso Book Tours for the opportunity to read this book.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

In the early 20th century the streets of small towns and cities across America were filled with the lights and sounds of movie theaters. The most opulent – known as “movie palaces” – were designed to make their patrons feel like royalty; people would dress up to visit. But as time went on it became harder and harder to fill the 2,000+ seat theaters and many were forced to close.

Today, these palaces are illuminated only by the flicker of dying lights. The sound of water dripping from holes in the ceiling echoes through the auditoriums. In After the Final Curtain (Volume 2) internationally-renowned photographer Matt Lambros continues his travels across the United States, documenting these once elegant buildings.

From the supposedly haunted Pacific Warner Theatre in Los Angeles to the Orpheum Theatre in New Bedford, MA, which opened the same day the Titanic sank, Lambros pulls back the curtain to reveal what is left, giving these palaces a chance to shine again.

Swirl #1: Pumpkin Spice Secrets – Hillary Homzie

A book with a name that includes a type of muffin and frappé, both of which feature in the book? Sold!

This is one of those cliché tween first crush books that follows the usual script:

  • Shy girl meets first crush / dreamy boy of her dreams.
  • Shy girl plans on gushing about dreamy to her outgoing friend.
  • Outgoing friend gets in first and tells shy girl about dreamy new crush.
  • Turns out dreamy 1 and dreamy 2 are actually the same boy. What’s a shy girl to do?!
  • Shy girl pretends not to be crushing on dreamy while internally cringing every time outgoing girl openly crushes.
  • Dreamy starts spending more time with shy girl and develops his own crush. Aargh! Panic stations!
  • Outgoing girl finds out she’s not the only girl in the world and some boys will actually like someone other than her. Oh, no! The sky’s falling!
  • Friend break up scene …
  • Drama, drama, drama.
  • Friends make up. Aww!
  • Shy girl and dreamy are free to live happily ever after – until one of them develops a new crush.

The moral of the story: If you can communicate openly and honestly you will never secure a leading role in a romance novel.

Snarky, anti-romance, I’m going to die alone surrounded by my cats sarcasm aside? This was actually quite a sweet story. Sure, I wanted to strangle shy girl and outgoing girl, and tell them to wake up to themselves and actually talk, but I accidentally enjoyed reading this one.

I loved that dreamy wasn’t a pretentious pretty boy. I liked that shy girl had an older sister who came through with some sisterly love and had a surprisingly rebellious attitude beneath her studious exterior. There’s a café in this book so major props for that. The school sounded like one I’d like to attend. I loved the birthday locker idea. The girls play soccer.

My favourite thing about this book is that the tweens actually acted their age, and even a tad younger sometimes. It bugs me when the 12 year olds are really 20 year old characters in disguise. The tweens in this book spoke and acted like kids. They didn’t sound like walking thesauruses. They got cranky and grounded. They planned sleepovers. There weren’t any drugs or tween sex or even any swearing that I can remember. It was just a really sweet book.

And did I mention the pumpkin spice muffins and pumpkin spice frappés with whipped cream, caramel swirls and sprinkles?? Yum! 😋 I definitely need to find more books with food items included in the title.

Favourite sentence:

“Mom doesn’t get angry very often, but when she does, she spews like a shaken-up soda can.”

Thank you so much to NetGalley, Sky Pony Press and Xpresso Book Tours for the opportunity to read this book.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

Just as Maddie picks up her favorite pumpkin spice drink from the coffee shop counter, she spills it all over the cute guy standing behind her! Luckily, her embarrassment evaporates into a crush when she starts chatting with him – his name is Jacob, and he’s just starting in her grade at her middle school. 

But before Maddie can tell her best friend Jana about him at lunch the next day, Jana announces her huge new crush – on the same guy! Maddie doesn’t want to cause trouble, so she keeps her feelings hidden. Jana will get over her crush soon, right? 

Add major school stress to Maddie’s secret, and it’s a recipe for disaster. Can she keep her cool and work things out with both Jacob and Jana before it all turns into a total mess?

Midnight Show – Mira Day

Spoilers Ahead!

Unfortunately, while I was very interested in this book based on its blurb, it wasn’t for me. While Brandon and Jenny’s early friendship was sweet and lovely to read about, I found their character development didn’t sit right with me. Maybe I’ve read too much about mental illness but I picked up on Brandon’s Dissociative Identity Disorder in the prologue and found the turn of events too predictable, except for the final twist which just seemed implausible.

Thank you to NetGalley and Xpresso Book Tours for the opportunity to read this book.

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

Brandon and Jenny have been best friends since they were 5. When Brandon’s mum dies in a horrific accident, his dad’s behaviour darkens and Brandon turns to Jenny and her mum for everything. But dealing with such intense issues so young aren’t what our minds are meant to do. The mind needs help to cope.

Jenny loves Brandon, but as a brother. She notices how quickly Brandon falls into himself while she’s away for college. And even more so when she brings her boyfriend home to Las Vegas. 

One fateful night, Brandon breaks down and confesses his love to Jenny, sending their relationship into a whirlwind of chaos and destruction.