Book Review: Goosebumps -The Horror at Camp Jellyjam by R. L. Stine

The Horror at Camp Jellyjam by R.L. Stine is Goosebumps at it’s weirdest and it’s great. The Horror at Camp Jellyjam is Goosebumps book 33 in the original series order. This book features a camp that just wants the kids to be the best, but when they show they’re the best the disappear. The book also has creepy cultlike camp counselors. The fear is the can’t escape mentality. I liked the brother and sister bonding, it is not filled with endless pranks it feels very real and like a family. The monster is the weirdest and very unique R.L. Stine writing and description. The opening is like One Day at Horror Land where by happenstance the siblings arrive at Camp Jellyjam. The pace is good there’s some slight repetition but better than most Goosebumps books. The climax is good and oh so weird. I’m mad at the new Goosebumps edition cover for revealing the monster and prefer the old editions no spoilers that look slightly off setting with Buddy the Camp Councilor’s intense smile.

Plot Synopsis: Wendy and Elliot are on a cross country trip with their parents and they are bored. Wendy convinces Elliot to hang out in the family’s trailer that the car is pulling along. They take a nap to wake up to the trailer unattached and them rolling down the forest. The trailer stops at the entrance to Camp Jellyjam where the motto is ONLY THE BEST. Buddy the Camp Councilor says he will call the police and since their here can have fun and games with the other kids. They reluctantly agree and find out there’s tournaments in all kinds of sports and games. Winner get a gold coins that say camp Jellyjam when you get six you get the walk the winners circle and have a party with the winners. Wendy meets a group of girls and competes in a swimming race, she lets another girl win because she wants it more and gets scolded by buddy for not doing her best. The Girl Wendy let get beat is overjoyed to win her 6th coin and join the winner circle. After they celebrate the girl doesn’t come back to the dorm and in the morning find her drawer empty. The other winners are gone too Wendy has a bad felling when she meets her brother he shows her his winning coins. What happens when you win? Is anyone reaching out to their parents? Why are the councilor’s all kind of the same? Why are there random earthquakes?

What I Liked: The weirdness is all through out and it is great. The Camp Councilor’s are weird the monster is really weird, I loved it! The descriptions are really good and was able to easily capture the pictures in my mind. The brother and sister relationship felt very real and their whole relationship was not based on pranks. To echo those thoughts this is a rare goosebumps book with no pranks. I liked the opening it was unexpected. I liked how focused and you could feel the tension and felt trapped like the characters.

What I Disliked: There’s a little repetition that was unnecessary but not too bad.

Recommendations: This is one of the better Goosebumps if you are a fan you must read it. I like the weirder stories and this one fits the bill. The writing and descriptions are really good and you kind of feel the danger. The book will remind you of the other Camp Goosebumps story Welcome to Camp Nightmare where something is going wrong and you can’t escape. I rated The Horror at Camp JellyJam by R. L. Stine 5 out of 5 stars. Before I wrote this review I was thinking 4 stars but the more I remembered there was so much this book did right and I enjoyed it right away so 5 stars. Here’s my full ranking of the 33 Goosebumps books that I have read in order to my favorite to least favorite: 1) A Night in Terror Tower, 2) Stay Out of the Basement, 3) Ghost Beach, 4) Piano Lessons Can Be Murder, 5) The Haunted Mask, 6) The Horror at Camp Jellyjam, 7) One Day At Horrorland, 8) Night of the Living Dummy, 9) Welcome to Camp Nightmare, 10) The Phantom of the Auditorium, 11) It Came From Beneath the Sink, 12) The Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb, 13) Say Cheese and Die, 14) Let’s Get Invisible, 15) The Scarecrow Walks at Midnight, 16) Welcome to Dead House, 17) Monster Blood II, 18) The Girl who Cried Monster, 19)Deep Trouble, 20) The Ghost Next Door, 21)Night of the Living Dummy 2, 22) My Hairiest Adventure, 23) Be Careful What You Wish For… , 24) Return of the Mummy, 25) Why I’m Afraid of Bees, 26)Attack of the Mutant, 27) Go Eat Worms!, 28) The Werewolf of Fever Swamp, 29) Cuckoo Clock of Doom, 30) Monster Blood, 31) The Barking Ghost, 32) You Can’t Scare Me!, and 33) Monster Blood III.

Shrines of Gaiety by Kate Atkinson

Shrines of Gaiety by Kate Atkinson is a book about corruption in 1920’s London club scene. It shows perspectives of the club owners, the cops trying to take them down and the people who get pulled down in the muck with them. The characterization has really clever tidbits about every character and what their hopes and dreams are. The story is a bit of a mess since we get about 20 character perspectives and the story is sometimes told out of order. I’m familiar with this approach and felt it was way better done in her novel Case Histories but that is only with 5 perspectives compared to 20. When you get 20 or so characters your going to get characters the reader doesn’t care for and I didn’t care for 7 out of the 20. The story was interesting but I did not gel with the way it was told pretty much from the beginning. This was one of my most anticipated books of the year because my favorite book of all time is Life After Life by Kate Atkinson. Where that book is pretty linear I prefer that writing style from her. This book would have been so much better if it followed 5 perspectives that up to 20. for those that read it I would have chose, Nelly, Frobisher, Niven, Gwendolyn, and Freda maybe add Ramsey , but that is it, cut out all the random perspectives, or family members that don’t matter. The climax was okay it jumped around a lot because of all the perspectives so we just get bits and pieces of it I much preferred the club shooting to the climax. The pace was not bad but the changes in perspective slowed it down. Thanks to Netgalley and Doubleday Books for giving me a copy to review. Shrines of Gaiety is published on September 27 2022.

Plot Summary: Nellie Coker has just been released from prison, she a club owner of 5 of the premiere clubs of London, and rival club owners, ex-lovers, and the police are trying to take her and her clubs down. Nellie has 5 kids that have been running he business while she was out and likes it that way. Frobisher is a cop that wants to take her down mainly because of the clubs deals in prostitutions of young girls. Frobisher runs into Gwendolyn of York as she is chasing down to girls who left York for London and dream of fame. Frobisher thanks Gwendolyn would be a great undercover agent since she has to go into the clubs anyway and recruits her to spy. Gwendolyn catches the eye of Niven Coker Nellie’s son and lets her get in close to the family and the clubs. Freda one of the missing girls will experience the mean streets of London as she finds out fame comes with a price.

What I Liked: Gwendolyn and Frobisher were by far my favorite characters and the most fleshed out. I did like the running gag of London is cursed by King Tut as his remains were recently found and on display in London. I thought the clubs were interesting and wish they were featured a little bit more. I like what happens to Freda and Ramsey’s characters at the end. I liked the time period of 1920’s London it is one I have not read a lot of.

What I Disliked: Too many characters ruin the momentum of the book and the extra perspectives just weren’t needed. I felt the serial killer plot was a real letdown and could have been featured more but felt like an after thought.

Recommendation: This hurts me not to recommend but this book was a miss for me on many levels. I will say this book does have it’s fans who enjoyed the book far more than me since it is nominated for Best Historical Fiction in Goodreads Choice Awards. But the book didn’t work out for me and can not recommend it to my followers. Do please read Life After Life by Kate Atkinson the book will make you think and take perspective on your own life. I rated Shrines of Gaiety 2 out of 5 stars.

Book Review: Marvel Masterworks: The Amazing Spider-Man Volume 15 by Gerry Conway and Len Wein

Marvel Masterworks: The Amazing Spider-Man Volume 15 by Gerry Conway and Len Wein is the book which introduces clones to Spiderman which will eventually lead to the Clone Saga with the Scarlet Spiderman ( that is my favorite costume in the Spiderman Video Game. In this series of stories Spiderman questions is he the clone or the real Spider man when a cloned Gwen Stacy returns remembering everything just before her death, just when stuff is starting to get real with Mary Jane. The pace is a little slower in these issues A new writer, the third writer, for the Amazing Spider-Man series is Len Wein taking over for Gerry Conway who took over from Stan Lee. The stores under Len Wein are a little more personable, and Peter Parker is a little more even tempered even when stuff goes wrong. This issue features villains such as The Jackal, The Scorpion, The Sandman, The Vulture, Kingpin, The Tarantula, and the forgettable The Twister. It features both a cured Harry Osborn who doesn’t remember being the New Green Goblin and Doctor Kurt Konnors doesn’t turn into The Lizard. Marvel Masterworks: The Amazing Spider-Man Volume 15 collects The Amazing Spider-Man (1963-1998) issues 143 – 155.

The Plot Summaries: Spiderman goes to Europe to stop a plot to kidnap J. Jonah Jamison. The Sandman is back with a new suit. The Jackal is revealed to be someone in Peter’s life. The Scorpion is on the loose and in a rage. The Tarantula terrorizes Spiderman. There’s too issues that don’t have a super villain at all and are more human stories. One is the highlight of this book where an ex-football player turned scientist will do anything to save his little girl. The most emotional story about sacrifices and giving you all to protect your kid, it was really powerful and made me gasp at what happened.

What I Liked: The Father rescuing his daughter hand tied behind his back, racing down the football field with 6-8 men with guns. Really epic storytelling a the highlight issue in this book along with the start of The Clone Saga. The emotions with Peter torn between is past love and present love. I really liked that Spider-Man questioned whether he was a clone and how he convinced himself he’s not the clone. I like that Peter and Betty Brandt have a real adult conversation about here upcoming wedding to Ned Leeds. I love the new suit and look of Sandman and those action scenes were the best in the book.

What I Disliked: I did not like the reveal of who or what the Jackal really was, it was a stretch to make that all make sense. The flow is way to slow I don’t mind a human story but not two in a row. This book was the lowest on Spidey action.

Recommendation: This issue is low on action, not that it has little too none, but low for a Spiderman comic, but is full of more personal stories, some hit and some miss. The birth of the Clone Saga was cool to read, when I started liking comics it was in the middle of the Clone Saga. I ‘ll barely recommend this book because of the birth of the Clone Saga is such a monumental story in Spiderman’s comic. I rated The Amazing Spider-Man Volume 15 by Gerry Conway and Len Weir 3 out of 5.

Book Review: Gleanings by Neal Shusterman

Gleanings by Neal Shusterman is a short story collection involving the Arc of the Scythe series. The Arc of the Scythe series is about the Earth figuring out a way where humans can no longer die, the came up with a way to limit population is that they have people called Scythes who have a quota to kill so much people as a way of population control. Goodreads has it marked as 3.5 as it has 2 out of the 13 stories that go beyond the Arc of the Scythe. But most of the stories take place during the series, with 3 taking place before the series (which I feel are the best stories) and 3 that don’t reference time and can take place anyplace where Scythes are. I liked the mix of stories some add insight to characters and events that were referenced in the series, some are about the interesting world of Scythes and what makes them tick, and we get more insight into the Thunderhead the Big Brother that watches all except Scythe business. I would recommend you read the Arc of the Scythe series before reading this but some stories do not require it. This is a book that will give you a better understanding of the fascinating world of the Scythes, but if you read this book hoping for more insight on the characters that left on the shuttles then the book only has two stories and they aren’t about the main characters, but they are mentioned. My rating for the short stories are 3 five star, 5 four star, 3 three star and 2 two star. I was selected to read Gleanings through Netgalley from Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers. Gleanings is published on November 8 2022.
Plot Summary and Ratings:

The First Swing is a poem about Scythes that okay it deals with the burden of Scythes who have a job to do. I rated it 2 out of 5 stars.

Formidable is a Story about how Scythe Curie came to be and her style and it is about the fall of the world under Scythe rule as the President of the United States doesn’t want to adapt to the new way of society. This story took a second to get into I liked the climax and what is says of this new society. I rated this story 4 out 5 stars.

Never Work With Animals coauthored by Michael H. Payne A mostly dark comedy tail about Scythe Fields gleaning a couple for there dog, but get way more than he bargained for with the dog. I t has a nice twist and an appearance by Scythe Lucifer making this short story around the Toll. I rated it 3 out of 5 stars. It was a little long and it repeated its self a little too often.

A Death of Many Colors is a tail told by the Thunderhead about Scythe Sojourner Truth infiltrating an All Hallows Eve party, that is full of doubters. The Scythe makes an example out of one guest to get more to believe. I rated it 5 out of 5 stars. A very focused story that was pretty short and sweet.

Unsavory Row is about a girl deemed unsavory after she deals with grief after Rowan (scythe Lucifer) was an apprentice killed her friend. She joins the group the Apocalyte’s as she tries to take down the Thunderhead servers and finds a secret out about the group. I rated this 4 out of 5 stars. It was very interesting story how the thunderhead watches the unsavories even though it can’t.

A Martian Minute a really cool tale that will have you guessing where in the Ark of the Scythe the story takes place and you will be wrong. It does cleverly tie -in to the series. This story is a long one but it has a cool twist and a gut punch at the end. I rated this story 5 out of 5 stars. I was hovering between 4 and 5 but the end pushed me over.

The Mortal Canvas co authored by David Yoon, a story about a class on creative art is interrupted by a scythe, that makes an art challenge, the winner will be given a year of immunity, and the losers get … they don’t know but all are thinking death. The story takes place soon after immortality is created, and Scythe’s are fairly new. I rated it 2 out 5 stars. it was too slow.

Cirri is the first story that takes place in the future of The Arc of the Scythe it is a short and sweet story about how the life vessels are maintaining life and birth. One of my favorite B characters from the Toll dies but some beautiful happens. I rated this story 4 out of 5 stars.

Anastasia’s Shadow a tale about Citra’s Brother Ben and Constantine’s plan to make Ben a scythe. we saw a quick version of this in the Toll but it was great and more emotional. It as a crazy love story. I rated this story 4 out of 5 stars. This story had the fastest pace.

The Persistence of Memory Co -Authored by Jarrod and Sopia Lapuente is about dueling scythes in Spain. This is one of my favorites, a really interesting backstory on Scythe Dali and a really good climax that was perfect. The pace was really good. The conversations on death were very poignant. I rated this story 5 out of 5 stars.

Meet Cute and Die is a romantic tale about a Scythe niece who is accident prone and meets a man who is just as accident prone. The niece doesn’t reveal who her aunt is for fear of what she might do. but when they both die the scythe visits the guy and invites him to their home. The niece is very weary and will fight for her guy even if it is with a scythe. A pretty cute and short tale. I rated it 4 out of 5 stars.

Perchance to Glean Co-Authored by Michelle Knowlden an interesting story where a Scythe can hunt in a dream an if he kills you you have 12 hours where he kills you in real life. It was an interesting take but it felt more middle grade than Young Adult. the story felt out of place. I rated it 3 out of 5 stars.

A Dark Curtain Rises is a story after Arc of Scythe Trilogy about how Scythe Curie is reborn in one of the transport vessels. The shortest story but it felt right knowing what happened at the end of The Toll. I rated this story 4 out of 5 stars.

What I Liked: The variety of stories there a lot to explore and still a lot to explore. The couple stories that were on the downfall of society after reaching immortality could easily be a book. The insight in to the main villain of the series was really cool, his story I want explored more as well. I liked all the new stories on Scythe Curie. I liked that we got something after the Arc of the Scythe trilogy even though I wanted a lot more.

What I Disliked: I wanted a lot more about Scythe Anastasia after she left earth. A Scythe Faraday story would have been nice at any time in his life we get just a taste with Scythe Curie backstory.

Recommendation: If you love Arc of the Scythe series then this book has a whole lot of insight into what makes the Scythes tick. If you just want to know about the main characters from the Arc of the Scythe series there’s only a couple of mentions and two stories involving them, so this book might not be for you. This book cover really interesting backstories on villains and supporting characters in the series. There’s an interesting variety of stories that go places that i didn’t think about like dream Scythes. I rated Gleanings by Neal Shusterman 4 out of 5 stars.

TBR: November 2022

November 2022 TBR list: last month I read 5 books and did not make a TBR list I decided to try to read 6 books If I add more I add more, this is an overtime month for me at my day and don’t know how time consuming that will be.  

Shrines of Gaiety by Kate Atkinson is a historical fiction set in 1920’s London.  It’s focus is night clubs of Soho, featuring starlets and gangsters.  Kate Actkinson is the writer of one of my favorite books ever Life After Life, so I feel honored to be selected by Netgalley and Doubleday Books. Shrines of Gaiety is published on September 27 2022.

Gleanings By Neal Shusterman is a short story collection featuring stories from the  Young Adult Arc of the Scythe series.  The Arc of the Scythe series is one of my favorite trilogies. Where the world has found out how to live forever, but to keep population at bay, there are Scythes. Once they kill you, you cannot be revived.  Thanks to Netgalley for this book. Gleanings is published on November 9 2022.

The Kaiju Preservation Society by John Scalzi is a fun Science Fiction Fantasy about an alternate universe where giant Kaiju roam free. I have not read John Scalzi before but he comes highly recommended. This book is on Goodreads Best of 2022 so far list back in July.

Trunk Music by Michael Connelly I’m following the reading order of the Harry Bosch Universe and this is book six in publication order.  I look forward to reading this book after reading the excellent The Poet but a rare story that doesn’t feature Hrry Bosch.  I have not read this book before and look forward to going in blind.

The Horror at Camp Jellyjam by R. L. Stine This Goosebumps book is a weird one my friends have warned me.  You know form my Goosebumps Reviews I’m okay when Stine goes weird.  This is Goosebumps book 33 in the original series.

Marvel Masterworks: The Amazing Spider-Man Volume 15 by Gerry Conway and Len Wein this graphic novel come the birth of the Clone Saga.  This novel the writes switch giving the 3rd writer on the Amazing Spider-Man.  This comic features the Scorpion, The Kingpin, Sandman, Tarantula, and Jackal.

Wrap Up : October 2022 Book Reviews

Dear Readers, October was an okay month for reading I went on vacation and started working more. I did not sent a goal this month but read 5 books. I broke my previous record for view counts in a month thank you followers. I read 1 horror, 1 mysteries and 1 new release thanks to netgalley. I Read 2 books from a book series with Goosebumps and The Sword of Truth Series. I read one 5 star books, one 4 star books, two 3 star books and one 2 star book.

Five Star Reviews:

Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt is a fantastic debut novel of modern day fiction, that’s is really something special. The uniqueness of the story is we get the perspective of an octopus, Marcellus, that is one of the smartest characters and has a unique perspective on life behind it’s inch of glass it desperately wants to escape from. Parts of this book reminded me of Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White how Marcellus subtly nudges the humans to connect and appreciate life. Other parts reminded me of Walking Across Egypt by Clyde Edgerton where a head strong older woman help show a young man what family is all about. The Vibe for the story was A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman. We get three character’s perspectives Tova, an older widow is grieving the loss of her young son 30 years before, gets a job cleaning the aquarium, Cameron is a man looking for his father and the replacement aquarium cleaner when Tova retires, and Marcellus the Pacific octopus that has been behind glass most of his life has found a way to escape his tank at night but really wants to escape before he dies. The pacing of this novel is pretty fast it slows down at the important parts and we get a bit of humor when Marcellus gives his thoughts on life and humans.

Four Star Reviews:

Keep It In The Family by John Marrs is a dark and deadly thriller. This book made me shake as with disgust as the reader enters the head of a child killer. There’s a lot of trigger warnings all involving children, they are, child endangerment, child torture, and child death. I have read 5 John Marrs books and this is by far the darkest it is closest to his book What Lies Between Us, and it reminded me of a couple of films Seven and Prisoners . This book is full of twists some that will make your head spin. I was able to figure out the big twist even though Marrs tries to throw a red herring in I did not bite. I still enjoyed this book even though I figured out the big twist, there was lots of little ones that added to the big one that I enjoyed and didn’t see coming. After reading 5 of his books I could be getting used to how John Marrs writes, so I don’t think everyone will be able to find out the big twist. We get five character perspectives four members of the family and one unknown perspective, which works really well and amps up the being watched by a killer factor. This book is paced really well and leaves some cliffhangers on the end of chapters that you have to read further.  I got this book sent to me from Amazon Publishing UK, Thomas & Mercer through Netgalley. I should state that I do work for Amazon and this had no baring on my review. Keep It In The Family by John Marrs is published on October 18 2022.

Three Star Reviews:

The Daughter of Doctor Moreau by Silvia Moreno-Garcia is fresh new take from elements from The Island of Dr. Moreau by H. G. Wells, and making the setting Latin America. The message of man shouldn’t play God is still the main message. In the Island of Dr. Moreau there was good and bad creature that were punished if they were human acting, this story most of the hybrid (animal and humans mixed are all good just misunderstood. Three characters from the The Island of Dr. Moreau that are in his book are: Dr. Moreau, Montgomery, and Moreau’s daughter Carlota who did not have a name in The Island of Dr. Moreau and was not his daughter. The big change in this one is how the hybrids are created inserting the mixures in the womb instead of like in the Island of Dr. Moreau where it takes humans and starts changing the genes. This book also adds the element of human rights and political uprising, which is the main point of focus in the new story. The characters of Montgomery and Carlota are really interesting and the two perspectives we follow in the story. The book is a good slow burn but the pace is too slow. The hybrids are talked about more than being seen which I felt was the biggest disappointment.

The Pillars of Creation by Terry Goodkind is an epic fantasy novel full of magic, war, and deadly creatures. The Pillars of Creation is book 7 in the Sword of Truth series. This book barely has any existing characters featured and relies heavily of introducing and focusing on two new characters. To put this book into percentages 92% is all about fresh new characters and 8 percent is focused on the old returning characters. This is very bold from Goodkind not that he hasn’t done it before but the main characters in the series were in at least 40% compared to 8%. The idea for this stories narrative is pretty smart it really shows off the two sides of war as the bad guy is the more sympathetic for a majority of the story, even though the reader knows the good guys from bad guys, an interesting argument is made for some of Richard Rahl’s decisions in war, can look borderline terroristic under the enemies view. The pace is a little slow and there is some repeating of scenes which really slows down the book. The climax puts all the characters together and is pretty tense and fulfilling.

Two Star Review:

The Barking Ghost by R.L. Stine is Goosebumps 32 in the original series order. This book has a few jump scares and one really good one done by a prank. The ghost dogs are pretty scary. The cover is one of the best, and helps me picture just how scary the dogs are. I liked the description about it’s reared yellow fangs. The twist is kind of bonkers, and bonkers bad where there was no hint or lead up to it just crazy. The final twist is really bad and kind of ruined the this book, I could feel Stine just not know how to end this one and just put ideas in a hat. That final twist comes out of now where as well. The pacing for Goosebumps is usually pretty good but it took me a while to get into this one.

Book Review: Goosebumps-The Barking Ghost by R. L. Stine

The Barking Ghost by R.L. Stine is Goosebumps 32 in the original series order. This book has a few jump scares and one really good one done by a prank. The ghost dogs are pretty scary. The cover is one of the best, and helps me picture just how scary the dogs are. I liked the description about it’s reared yellow fangs. The twist is kind of bonkers, and bonkers bad where there was no hint or lead up to it just crazy. The final twist is really bad and kind of ruined the this book, I could feel Stine just not know how to end this one and just put ideas in a hat. That final twist comes out of now where as well. The pacing for goosebumps is usually pretty good but it took me a while to get into this one.

The Plot: Cooper just moved to Maine in a remote house in the woods. He here’s howls at night that he swears are in his house, and he seems to be the only person that hears the sounds. His older brother won’t let it go and keeps pranking him. He meets a girl in the woods that his family don’t regonize the name and she keeps drifting off and talking about dogs. Copper and his new friend spot to dogs and he loses his new friend. That night he hears the howls and swears it is coming from the kitchen, and to his surprise it is The dogs look like their going to attack when Coppers older brother comes to the kitchen he doesn’t see the dogs but Cooper does as they run right through the door to leave. Cooper isn’t terrorize by normal dogs but ghost dogs.

What I Liked: The prank Coopers older brother plays on him is one of the best and pretty frightening and really smart. I liked the way the dogs were described. I liked the way the friend got set up where you doubt if she is real or not. I liked a couple of jump scares with the dogs and other objects.

What I Disliked: There’s is not one but two really random twist that really ruin this story, the end twist is so lame. The ghost dogs power to go through walls was never explained, or any of it involving the ghost dogs. The pace was kind of slow.

Recommendations: there’s so many good Goosebumps tales in this series this one is a dud, and one of the worst of the 32 that I have read. You can sadly skip this goosebumps in my opinion. There’s good description and a really good prank scare and some atmospheric scares but a horrible ending that runs all of that. I rated The Barking Ghost by R. L. Stine 2 out 5 stars. Here’s my full ranking of the 32 Goosebumps books that I have read in order to my favorite to least favorite: 1) A Night in Terror Tower, 2) Stay Out of the Basement, 3) Ghost Beach, 4) Piano Lessons Can Be Murder, 5) The Haunted Mask, 6) One Day At Horrorland, 7) Night of the Living Dummy, 8) Welcome to Camp Nightmare, 9) The Phantom of the Auditorium, 10) It Came From Beneath the Sink, 11) The Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb, 12) Say Cheese and Die, 13) Let’s Get Invisible, 14) The Scarecrow Walks at Midnight, 15) Welcome to Dead House, 16) Monster Blood II, 17) The Girl who Cried Monster, 18)Deep Trouble, 19) The Ghost Next Door, 20)Night of the Living Dummy 2 21) My Hairiest Adventure, 22) Be Careful What You Wish For… , 23) Return of the Mummy, 24) Why I’m Afraid of Bees, 25)Attack of the Mutant, 26) Go Eat Worms!, 27) The Werewolf of Fever Swamp, 28) Cuckoo Clock of Doom, 29) Monster Blood, 30) The Barking Ghost, 31) You Can’t Scare Me!, and 32) Monster Blood III.

Book Review: The Daughter of Doctor Moreau by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

The Daughter of Doctor Moreau by Silvia Moreno-Garcia is fresh new take from elements from The Island of Dr. Moreau by H. G. Wells, and making the setting Latin America. The message of man shouldn’t play God is still the main message. In the Island of Dr. Moreau there was good and bad creature that were punished if they were human acting, this story most of the hybrid (animal and humans mixed are all good just misunderstood. Three characters from the The Island of Dr. Moreau Dr. Moreau, Montgomery, and Moreau’s daughter Carlota who did not have a name in The Island of Dr. Moreau and was not his daughter. The big change in this one is how the hybrids are created inserting the mixures in the womb instead of like in the Island of Dr. Moreau where it takes humans and starts changing the genes. This book also adds the element of human rights and political uprising, which is the main point of focus in the new story. The characters of Montgomery and Carlota are really interesting and the two perspectives we follow in the story. The book is a good slow burn but the pace is too slow. The hybrids are talked about more than being seen which I felt was the biggest disappointment. The book is more of a character study but not on the hybrid’s and their the most interesting thing when we think of the Island of Dr. Moreau. There is a nice twist with the hybrids which I liked and brings this story closer to the classic. The climax is the only action the story has and it was pretty good but not worth the wait. Another highlight is the writing and the prose which is beautiful adding a gothic touch to the words. The Daughter of Doctor Moreau by Silvia Moreno-Garcia was published on July 19 2022.

Plot Summary: Montgomery is a broken man hired as a hunter and the muscle of Dr. Moreau’s complex, but he soon starts to see more in common with the hybrids than humans. Carlotta is a girl hidden away that longs for the love she’s read in her books. She’s ever left the complex and has grownup with two of the hybrid’s that are like brother’s and sister’s. When the son of the main investor comes to the complex seeking men to rise up against the indigenous rebels, he becomes smitten with Carlotta. Montgomery sees what the man is trouble and just wants her for her beauty not for love. Dr. Moreau who is not delivering on the Hybrids as slaves to the boy’s father sees a wedding with the son as a blank check and time for his resources. When the son visits Carlotta he doesn’t stay where he’s should and has it out with Montgomery, the hybrids who like Mongomery intervene in the fight and has consequences when the son knows the secret and his pride is hurt. There’s a big twist that changes the novel that I didn’t mention.

What I Liked: I liked the beauty in the words and the setting. I love what was added to Montgomery’s character and what got expanded on. I what they did with Carlotta and how her character is a part of the original novel. I liked them adding the politics of the 1800’s. I liked the twist with the serum and what it really is. The big twist was good but one I saw coming.

What I Disliked: The the hybrids are rarely featured, which is a shame. The big twist was hard to follow I get the gist but the descriptions could have been a lot better. The pace is way too slow for this novel the beautiful writing only goes so far.

Recommendations: The story was beautiful but really slow. I liked some of the elements added but felt that the biggest element of what makes the story a classic was missing. This is my second novel that I have read by Silvia Moreno-Garcia and I liked it slightly more than Mexican Gothic but it had the same pace problem. I rated The Daughter of Doctor Moreau by Silvia Moreno-Garcia 3 out of 5 stars.

Book Review: Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt

Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt is a fantastic debut novel of modern day fiction, that’s is really something special. The uniqueness of the story is we get the perspective of an octopus, Marcellus, that is one of the smartest characters and has a unique perspective on life behind it’s inch of glass it desperately wants to escape from. Parts of this book reminded me of Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White how Marcellus subtly nudges the humans to connect and appreciate life. Other parts reminded me of Walking Across Egypt by Clyde Edgerton where a head strong older woman help show a young man what family is all about. The Vibe for the story was A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman. We get three character’s perspectives Tova, an older widow is grieving the loss of her young son 30 years before, gets a job cleaning the aquarium, Cameron is a man looking for his father and the replacement aquarium cleaner when Tova retires, and Marcellus the Pacific octopus that has been behind glass most of his life has found a way to escape his tank at night but really wants to escape before he dies. The pacing of this novel is pretty fast it slows down at the important parts and we get a bit of humor when Marcellus gives his thoughts on life and humans. I do love the Marcellus chapters the best. This is a book I’ve been seeing around and thought I would give it a chance and man was I blown away this book can not get hyped enough, one of my top 5 reads of this year. I was emotionally hooked in by these characters pretty early Cameron took the longest but I got there.

Plot Summary: Tova Sullivan work at her towns aquarium in the state of Washington along the bay. Tova lost her son 30 years earlier and still dealing with the pain as he worked at the aquarium when he died. Tova likes working and talking to the fish even all her friends say she should quit and retire. But Tova loves it too much most recently she has befriended Marcellus the octopus when caught him out of his glass in the hallway trash snacking on fries, when he got caught up in chord she untangles him and doesn’t rat out that he can get out to the director. Tova curious on how he get out grabs a tool to see and connects hand to tentacle, the moment is ruined when the stool breaks and she injures her foot and can’t work for 8 weeks. Cameron is young man searching for who he is, he never knew his father and his mother left him when he was young, he finds a clue to who his father is from her mother’s small hometown in Washington. he spends every dime he has to get here and can’t get a meeting with his potential stranger and meets a member of the town who helps him get hired at the aquarium as the cleaning temp. Marcellus see something in the young man that will change everything for him if he can only understand.

What I Liked: The way the story wrapped up it didn’t feel forced it felt right. I don’t like story that go for the implausible to wrap things into a bow, but this story felt right to way it was wrapped up tying most of the loose ends. Marcellus point of view on life was so good. I liked the way the story was told and all the perspectives. I like that I was invested in the story and the characters. The story was very heart warming and hit on all notes. I love the community aspect of the story, I want to live there. The town grocer was so funny with his gossip and love for Tova, but such a good hearted person.

What I Disliked: There’s a good twist that the story has, but Marcellus figures it out and tells the reader way too soon, I thought. I need a little more figure out time to put it all together. I liked how it all worked out but it was way too soon for that reveal.

Recommendation: I loved this book everyone needs to check it out. The only warning is some light swearing, but a very wholesome book with a heartwarming ending. This is a fantastic debut and Shelby Van Pelt is and author to look out for. I ranked Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt 5 out of 5 stars.

Book Review: Keep It In The Family by John Marrs

Keep It In The Family by John Marrs is a dark and deadly thriller. This book made me shake as with disgust as the reader enters the head of a child killer. There’s a lot of trigger warnings all involving children, they are, child endangerment, child torture, and child death. I have read 5 John Marrs books and this is by far the darkest it is closest to his book What Lies Between Us, and it reminded me of a couple of films Seven and Prisoners . This book is full of twists some that will make your head spin. I was able to figure out the big twist even though Marrs tries to throw a red herring in I did not bite. I still enjoyed this book even though I figured out the big twist, there was lots of little ones that added to the big one that I enjoyed and didn’t see coming. After reading 5 of his books I could be getting used to how John Marrs writes, so I don’t think everyone will be able to find out the big twist. We get five character perspectives four members of the family and one unknown perspective, which works really well and amps up the being watched by a killer factor. This book is paced really well and leaves some cliffhangers on the end of chapters that you have to read further. I mentioned the film Seven and it has one of those what’s in the box moments but with a twist. Marrs really goes there on some scenes and gives in to darkness. I got this book sent to me from Amazon Publishing UK, Thomas & Mercer through Netgalley. I should state that I do work for Amazon and this had no baring on my review. Keep It In The Family by John Marrs is published on October 18 2022.

Plot Summary: Mia and Finn have been married for four years tired to have kids but gave up and have instead turned their time and energy into real estate buying cheap and fixing up. They have sunk all of their money into a run down Victorian home. After buying it they make it a family thing fixing it up and involve Finn’s parents. They run into a few problems Mia ends up being pregnant and they find the bodies of 7 kids in suitcases, no big thing. This draws media attention and a killer that is out to cover their tracks but Mia stumbles on to evidence that the killer could be closer than she knows part of the family.

What I Liked: This is a very entertaining thriller that is full of so many twist and turns. I liked the Title and how it works into the thriller. The writing style is so fast paced that you can not put this novel down. I liked the way that the twist were revealed and I appreciate the red herring trying to make the reader second guess their choices. I liked that despite how crazy some of the twist are Marrs backed it up making it plausible.

What I Disliked: After the big climax it took a bit too long to end it, I liked where to story went eventually but that’s the only part where the book loses it’s pace and slows down way too much. There was one moment that was so set up to go one way I think it would have benefitted the story if it went the way the audience thought it was going instead of Marrs not going that way.

Recommendation If you can handle the trigger warnings of child endangerment, child torture, child kidnapping, and child murder, and want to read a dark entertaining thriller then this is a good one. If you’re a fan of John Marrs other work then you will not be disappointed. I rated Keep It In The Family 4 out of 5 stars. Here’s the ranking of John Marrs books I’ve read from best to worst (I’ve rated them all 4-5 stars all are good and books I would recommend). 1) What Lies Between Us, 2) The One, 3) The Passengers, 4) Keep It In The Family, and 5) The Minders.