I'm an avid reader, who enjoys writing book reviews once I finish a book, I tend to read 60 to 70 books a year. My process when finishing a book is to review it and thought I should start a blog. I love being a book blogger and would love to be apart of a book tour. I love recommendations of all sorts. I was a screenwriter back in the day and I sold two scripts.
Piano Lessons Can Be Murder by R. L. Stine is pretty scary for a goosebumps book; ghosts, dismemberment, and creepy teachers make this one scary. This book is number 13 in the original goosebumps series. The story is pretty creepy from the start a family buys a new home, and finds a fairly new piano in the attic, but it is very haunted and only plays a sad melody that their young son Jerry can hear. This story is focused, and narrative driven. The ending is crazy, and only one that R.L. Stine could come up with. I remembered this episode from the TV show and I usually say the TV show was better, but this story is pretty good, and it let my mind go to some scary places. I liked this book better than the TV episode.
The Plot: Jerry or Jerome is 12 and just moved to a new home just before winter. The home is a big two floor with a giant attic. Jerome explores and finds a piano that looks pretty new despite being found in the dusty attic. His dad wants to bring it down to the family room, where Jerome can take lessons. Before the piano can be moved Jerome hears a sad melody from up in the attic. The piano is moved downstairs to the family room. Jerome still heres the same sad melody coming from the piano, he investigates but finds nothing. Jerome starts is own lessons form a Mr. Shreek who despite the name is nice but something is not quite right with him. He has nightmares about Mr. Shreek and wakes up to the piano playing, when he goes down this time he finds a ghost playing, and gives a warning or a threat he can’t tell. “don’t play anymore!”
What I Liked: This is a very plot driven story, there is one scene where Jerry goes to a shrink because he keeps seeing the ghost, that could’ve been cut but everything else really flows. The horror is more of the mind, but works really well. A sad melody that keeps getting played in darkness, get me out of that house. I also found the hallways of the school that all look the same pretty terrifying. The climax is totally bonkers and outrageous but it fits well with the theme of the story. I didn’t mind the jump scares they all sort of fit.
What I Disliked: The floor cleaner monster was kind of a stretch. I did feel like the end would have been better if it was sort of a cult then what it turned out to be.
Recommendations: If you want a good scary Goosebumps book than this is the one for you. If you also want to scare your kid about asking for piano lessons then this is the book for you. For some reason this is the only Goosebumps book not on Amazon kindle for some reason, so tracking it down will be a little hard but so worth it. I rated Piano Lessons Can Be Murder by R. L. Stine 5 out of 5. Here’s my full ranking of the 13 Goosebumps books that I have read in order to my favorite to least favorite: Stay Out of the Basement, Piano Lessons Can Be Murder, The Haunted Mask, Night of the Living Dummy, Welcome to Camp Nightmare, The Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb, Say Cheese and Die, Let’s Get Invisible, Welcome to Dead House, The Girl who Cried Monster, The Ghost Next Door, Be Careful What You Wish For… , and Monster Blood.
Capturing the Devil by Kerri Maniscalco is a gothic young adult novel about romance and capturing the serial killers known as the White City Devil in the late 1800’s. This is the fourth book in the Stalking Jack the Ripper series. The series starts with Stalking Jack the Ripper 1, Hunting Prince Dracula 2, Escaping from Houdini 3, Becoming the Dark Prince 3.5 and Capturing the Devil. This book like other books in the series uses true events and famous people of the time to fit the narrative. In Capturing the Devil she use Chicago’s World’s Fair as a backdrop and features Nikola Tesla and H.H.Holmes. The novel also displays old photos of places, objects, and people to help you imagination. The story is heavy on the relationship of Audrey Rose and Thomas Cresswell taking up the first half of the book. I really like their relationship and how it has evolved over the 4 books, but I wanted at least a couple more scenes of forensic science which drew me to the series at the start. There’s drama and tension (most of it sexual) in the relationship which I did enjoy, maybe I’m greedy but I wanted the relationship with a lot of blood and murder in between. The writing, descriptions, and dialogue were really good and maybe the best of the series. The ending is 60 pages of full of bloody tension and conflict saving everything up until the end. This book made me want to reread The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America by Erik Larson that tells the nonfiction story of the World’s Fair and how the White City Devil came to be.
The Plot: Audrey Rose and Thomas Cresswell have made it to America, but they might have brought from England, a terror that rivals Jack the Ripper, When a corpse is found on the ship that brought them. Audrey and Thomas investigate a body they think could be linked, but what’s on their mind even more is each other. Thomas sent a telegram to Audrey’s dad asking for his daughter’s hand in marriage. Audrey receives an anonymous note that either ties to the murder or the wedding, or maybe both. Will Audrey and Thomas get the happy ending they so deserve? Or will the Devil ruin everything?
What I Liked: The writing has never been better, I was often blown away by the descriptions that belonged in a gothic poem. The love of Audrey Rose and Thomas Cresswell was very rewarding after seeing there little flirts here and there through the series. The wedding vows were especially beautiful I might have to borrow some of those words one day. The ending was super exciting, I liked the dilemma and the choice of action taken. Liza, the cousin, remains my favorite side character and truly missed her when her character was not in the scene. The day before the wedding scene was such an important moment that was written so well. Cresswell’s obsession with cake had me laughing. The book cover, actually the whole series book covers are one of the best. The work and detail on the time period and history and how it fit in with the story.
What I Disliked: The first half of the books dreadful pace, can they finally investigate another murder, in between the love story. I appreciated the attempt to connect the White City Devil and Jack the Ripper, but the White City Devil was so good at covering up his crimes, it almost makes the story boring with series lack of investigations. The end was exciting but the build up was slow.
Recommendations: I really recommend reading this series in order, I think this book would bore a new reader thrust into the relationship of Audrey and Thomas. I’f you have read all the books then this book is a good end to the series where we see characters return from all books and look at something major that happened in the first book in a fresh new way that adds to the mystery of Jack the Ripper. I rated Capturing the Devil by Kerri Maniscalco 3 out of 5 stars. Here’s how I rank the whole series from best to worst Hunting Prince Dracula, Becoming the Dark Prince, Stalking Jack the Ripper, Capturing the Devil, and Escaping from Houdini. I would rate the whole Stalking Jack the Ripper series 4 out of 5.
My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell a hard look at abuse and the psychology of the victim that comes with it. This novel is powerful, because you can feel the truth in the words and actions. The story is fiction but yet feels so real. The novel is challenging in it’s descriptions of abuse. I found the denial of Vanessa challenging as well, you want to hug her and at the same time shaker out of her feelings to wake her up. despite all the challenging I found the psychology of it beautiful, as we see the breakdowns of each moment. My Dark Vanessa could be a good outlet for those who need it, but there are a lot of triggers, that will be too much for some. This is one of those books that I acknowledge that it is good but never want the reread and be in that head space again.
The Plot: Vanessa is a bright young student, with big dreams. She begs her parents to go to a prestigious boarding school. We meet Vanessa at 15 in her second year of boarding school in 2000, her roommate Jenny and used to be best friend, has a boyfriend and no time for Vanessa. She finds a kinship in a middle aged literature teacher Jacob Strane. Vanessa’s adoration for Strane soon turns to lust. He makes a passing gesture of layered with innuendos, his knee touches hers, and his hand rest on her lap. He gives her the infamous book Lolita. Vanessa young and naive thinks this is a love story. The novel move to 2017 at the height of the Me Too movement, where a journalist has tracked Vanessa at 34 down as a former students and students have came forward with abuse charges against Strane. Vanessa must answer hard truths about herself and her past.
What I Liked: How raw the emotions are throughout the novel. The flipping back and forth in time worked, with the me too movement going on in present day and the abuse happening in order in the past. I liked the ending, It doesn’t ended in a big revelation, it ends with a slight acknowledgement, and more work to do. I liked all the literature and poetry references. I liked how the me too movement was worked in too the story and how it never felt forced. Me TOO wasn’t mentioned but hinted at. I liked the coping mechanism was telling herself it was a great love story.
What I Disliked: I found the dialogue to be stale. I felt Strane with his love of great works and education would have a bigger vocabulary than what was for his dialogue.
Recommendation: I think people should read this book for the psychology of abuse alone. The story is not the easiest to handle at times, and those with past traumas should tread lightly. There’s a truth to the story that is undeniable. I rated My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell 4 out of 5 stars.
The Trials of Koli by M. R. Carey is an aptly titled books as that is what Koli and his group face, as they try to make it to London. The Trials of Koli is book the second book in the Rampart trilogy. The first book, The Book of Koli, was brimming with heart and the second one is too. Koli is trying to figure out a world he was sheltered and lied against by the village of Mythren Rood. The second book picks up a second narrator Spinner, who is the woman he wanted to impress that lead him to stealing the tech that got him banished, that fills in all that went on in the village of Mythren Rood since Koli was vanished. This book filled in one gap that the first book did not, they’re locked in this village because trees can now kill, but the first book doesn’t show us, then comes the introduction to the choker trees and their seeds. Choker trees are trees that shed and drop seeds every couple of years, if the seeds touch body in flesh they will immediately take root in a person’s body. I think the people at Netgalley and Orbit books for giving me ARC for The Trials of Koli that is published on 9-15-20. The Book of Koli made it into my top ten of best books last year.
The plot of The Book of Koli – the world we know has long been dead nature is what most are afraid of as a type of tree can walk and kill. Most stay protected in their little village, Mythren Rood and are forbidden from leaving the protection. Koli is a woodsmith in a family of woodsmiths that works at the lumber mill. When he is older he plans to take a test to be a rampart. A rampart is special class of citizen that rules the others, they use tech of yester-years to protect the village. To become a rampart you have make the old tech work on first touch. The tech is a flame thrower, a laser, bolt gun, and some other devices. Koli and his best friend Haijon dream of being ramparts, Haijon’s mother, aunt, grandfather, and cousin are all ramparts. Koli is tested with four other young adults with Haijon being the only one who can make the tech work, becomes a rampart, and gets Spinner the girl he wanted to wed. Koli is devastated, thrown into wood work, this all changes when Ursula a visiting healer, who is charge of pregnancy and other abrasions, uses and knows tech she scavenges is saved by Koli holding back a rampart from accidentally hurting Ursula. She tells him how tech really works through access codes and fingerprint analysis and that the ramparts are rigged. Koli knowing this is determined to be a rampart, breaks in to the hold and steals a piece of tech that is not exactly a weapon, that he gets to work. Under the rampart rules he is a rampart, but if the ramparts are rigged what will they do when they find out what Koli has done? They vanish him one of the Rampart that wanted more power grabs the tech that Koli stole and demands he make it work or will kill him. Koli figures he’s dead anyway and uses the tech to over power the rampart killing him and Koli is reunited with the tech. The noise draws in a group of shunned that capture him and want him join their cult. Koli finds that Ursula has been kidnapped as well. they escape and end up taking a prisoner in Cup and decide to go to London.
The Plot of The Trials of Koli this books take right off where the last one ended, with Ursula, Koli, and a still bound Cup heading for London and a beacon that is still up and running. They don’t make it very far until they run into Half-Ax who scour for new tech and claim this land as theirs, as they escape Koli cuts Cup’s bonds which lets her flee and Koli get caught. with Ursula and Cup escaping Cup and Ursula hate each other so he has no chance in them working together to save him. Spinner is a girl that Koli once mated with and is the main reason he wanted to be a Rampart to begin with so they can wed and not his former best friend Haijon. We see through Spinner’s eyes as Koli displays the tech he got to work at her wedding, to all the rumors surrounding him. We get to see the fall out after the Rampart that Koli killed and their tech destroyed, effects Haijon since the tech was going to go to him and Spinner. Spinner finds out the deadly secret that Ramparts aren’t called upon to use the tech, but chosen by the Ramparts already. A plaque has effected the village of Mythren Rood they’re looking to Rampart Remember who uses a tablet for information, he is suffering from dementia, and with the help from Spinner uses the technology in secret, as more people die. Rampart Remember decides to give her the tech as he has an old non-working one to fool the other Ramparts. She solves it but as she does she is busted with the stolen tech, will she suffer the same fate as Koli?
What I Liked: The heart of these book sticks out more and more, we all want to see the world as Koli. The book dealing with Cup who is transgendered during the Apocalypse, and what that is like. The villages acceptance of Cup and how they explain it is beautiful. The rescue attempt at the Half Ax and the plotting leading up to that. Spinner and her story development was exciting to see. The sea bear fight was a highlight. I liked seeing the traditional healer’s jealousy at Ursula and her tech healing and the trial she makes for Ursula. The big show down with Half Ax was great. I liked the dual storytelling at first I was on the fence, then I started enjoying Spinner’s story more than Koli’s.
What I Disliked: The pacing was not always great, the middle stalls for a bit with the Koli storyline. I wanted to see more of Koli and his thoughts, I felt Cup kind of took over at the back half of the book.
Recommendations: This is turning out to be a pretty good trilogy with the unlikeliest of heroes and weapons. Spinner storyline was a breath of fresh air. The story ends with a pretty good cliffhanger that can change everything. I rated The Trials of Koli by M. R. Carey 4 out of 5 stars.
Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir is bloody and dark. I felt like it was kind of the Tri-wizards tournament from Harry Potter with a lot more death, horror, and necromancy. Nine houses are all assembled with the best necromancer and the best sword fighter, it looks like the necromancers and sword fighters duke it out in a tournament, but when keys are found and murder committed, the game becomes a fight for survival. There’s a lot of creative world building and puts a fresh spin to necromancy and dark magic. This is a novel I found really frustrating at the beginning, because we are thrown into this book, with no backstory, no since of how worlds and magic are set up, but then we get the backstory and I was blown away by how clearly all the strife between the two main characters of Gideon and Harrow was explained and made sense for all the hatred. The one thing in my TBR that really got me to check out this book was the lesbian necromancy. The book delivers very solidly on the necromancy, but the lesbianism is really lacking thee’s looks, there’s hand holding, and maybe barely a thought, and that’s it. So is there a lesbian necromancer? yes there’s more questioning and slight longing, and representation does matter but be warned you could be disappointed.
The Plot: Gideon is on her 87th escape from the ninth world, she has secrets that will not stop her from getting out. She faces challenges from some, but she is determined. Gideon is almost at the ship that will take her off world when she is met by the world’s ruler Harrowhawk or just Harrow. She makes her a deal she can leave or she can and hear a proposal. Harrow sweetens the deal if she lays a blade on her she will give her coin and send her on the way, but if she loses then she has to hear the proposal. Gideon agrees and Harrow unleashes hundreds of skeletons from the ground, Gideon gets close and manages to take a glove off to reveal a dirty hand. Gideon can’t believe she lost when it is revealed that Harrow spent all night burying one to set up this trap. Harrow and Gideon hate each other to the core, but a proposal has them working together, with Gideon getting her wish to go off world as Harrow’s caviler and Harrow get’s a her world to get recognized and a chance to save the dying world by becoming the emperor’s hand. Gideon agrees and leaves with Harrow her first order is don’t talk to a soul, Gideon saves a girl from the seventh house only to have her caviler put a sword to her throat. This is a lesson to Gideon that she is playing a dangerous game. A tournament is set up amongst caviler’s and necromancers. Gideon does okay but soon learns she is out of her element. Harrow goes missing as a pair of bodies from one house show up and a set of hidden keys. It is quickly realized that the hidden keys are the goal and the secrets they unlock. Gideon and Harrow who are mortal enemies must work together to win and for their lives.
What I Liked: Necromancy in the form of Dark magic is really well thought out, and I liked that each house had a different speciality. The big reveal on why Gideon and Harrow hate each other was so well thought out, it worked for the plot and it made sense emotionally how those actions can lead to hate. The forty page climax is intense, I will complain that is was sometime hard to follow, but what I could picture was excellent. The scene where skeletons are created using the necromancer’s own bones was really cool and terrifying. The Gideon and Harrow relationship was special, and the highlight of the book about trusting someone you hate. My favorite side character was Sextus his morality and trust were great to see in such a warrior. Gideon’s one liners, didn’t always land but the couple times they did I laughed. I loved the Sex Pal line the best. Such a haunting cover that demands the reader to check it out.
What I Disliked: The first part of the book takes a little bit to get going because you are so in the dark to how their world and magic work. I did have a little trouble always picturing the action. The guy waited a little too long to show their full power. Keeping up with all the characters was really hard, the main ones are easy but some of the houses blend together.
Recommendations: Read this truly original dark book. Gideon the Ninth is book one in a proposed trilogy called The Locked Tomb Series. I think this is one of those good hybrid of Science Fiction and Fantasy with a little bit of Horror. This book say the F-word a fair amont, but I would recommend this to a mature young adult. I rated Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir 4 out of 5 stars. Gideon the Ninth was pretty close to a five star for me, I already put a hold on Harrow the Ninth, and am looking forward to where this series goes.
Injustice: Gods Among Us: Year Five Volume 3 by Brian Buccellato is the last issues of Injustice but wait there’s an Injustice 2. This volume takes us right up to when the Injustice: Gods Among Us Video game starts. Knowing that there was an Injustice 2 on the horizon, there was no way this series could end cleanly, the superman hate fest does not end with a hug and a hand shake but with a solution to even the score. This book is action packed with some of the best writing that Brian Buccellato has done thus far. He keeps exploring that Batman does not kill, even driven to the edge, he resist, and this Graphic Novel puts him there, where he considered it. The Batman and Damian dynamic explodes as Damian is all for killing, but Batman teaches him a lesson as he hold Clarks throat in his hands. The Flash and Green Lantern start casting doubts. Batman tries to expose Superman with video evidence that would turn the public and some of his teammates against him. Injustice: Gods Among Us Year Five Volume 3 collects issues of Injustice: Gods Among Us Year Five 13-20.
The Series Plot leading up to Year Five Volume 3: The Joker tricks Superman into killing Lois and his unborn child, when her heart stops a nuclear bomb destroys Metropolis. Superman distraught kills The Joker and declares martial law on the whole world, vowing that no one should die needlessly. Lex Luthor develops a pill that will make ordinary people super to start an army of supermen that Superman controls. Batman steals the super humans pills and gives them to every hero and a few villains to make them equal. Superman’s action have drawn attention to the Green Lantern Corps who’s power is all about will power. Martian Man hunter died as he was fighting Wonder Woman from the inside when Superman used his heat vision, and sent Wonder Woman into a coma. Sinestro is manipulates Superman telling his own story and the way the Green Lantern Corps will attack, he makes an alliance that brings Sinestro and his minions as added protection, both Hal Jordan and Superman put on the yellow rings of fear to win against the Green Lantern Corps. Batman list the help all of his friends with magical abilities in a plan to put Superman asleep forever. The plan worked but Wonder Woman’s mother makes a deal with Athena to wake Superman and Wonder Woman. The sleep was supposed to give Superman clarity but he wakes up madder than ever because of what he missed out on. Batman makes a deal with Ares as well that has the old Gods and Amazon’s joining his side. The Amazon’s are missing Wonder Woman’s mother who is taken prisoner by Hera and made to sit this fight out, as per her deal. Batman ends up tricking Wonder Woman to fight Superman to the death a a champion of the Amazon’s. Sinestro interferes when it looks like Superman could lose. Zeus Sees this as deal breaker and declares all out war on the New Gods. Superman kills Hercules in the conflict which makes Zeus angry and kills Shazam and Harley who spoke out. Superman retreats as the remaining Justice League are beat. Zeus declares himself God of the world, wanting to get rid of every other form of religion. Ares makes a deal with Superman to bring a jealous Poseidon to fight his brother Zeus. This brings Aquaman into the battle, as Poseidon wants to wipe out Wonder Woman’s home with a giant tidal wave. Batman knowing this has got out of control and he got played by a vengeful Ares, seeks a help and offers enough hints to Superman to figure out who Ares is doing his bidding for, Darkseid. Plastic Man risk all to save his son from being a prisoner of Superman, he saves his son and rescues every other rogue in the process. All the men Superman deemed bad guys are released out into the world, some vow to be good, some want to be bad, and some want revenge. Superman works on two things recapturing all of the criminals and taking down Batman. Superman has deal for a set of villains take down the Bat, and get your freedom. Superman finds out about a resistance that uses the image of the Joker to fight back. Superman sees read and uses heat vision murdering every one of them. Bane the man who has broken the Batman before, Killer Frost and Killer Croc. They know they can’t reach the bat so the grab the Cat. Catwoman is tortured to reveal where Batman is, she’s saved eventually but quits seeing no end to this fight. Lex’s Superman clone is found, but there’s something not right about him almost bizarre. Bizarro is born and the Trickster is manipulating him. Bizarro accidentally kills the Trickster in a hilarious way, Bizarro starts to remember being made in a lab by Lex and ask lex to fix his friend. Lex convinces Bizarro to gains access to the Fortress of Solitude for real answers on who he is. A Lex controlled Doomsday waits there, the plan is to have Doomsday kill Bizarro so Superman doesn’t find out he is working to stop him. Superman wants answers from the clone and shows up to the fortress of Solitude where Lex turns Doomsday and Bizarro who he controls against Superman. Batman is running out of allies and confidence he turns to his surrogate father/butler Alfred who assures him that he is on the right side of this difficult path. After Alfred gets done talking to Bruce, he turns around expecting Damian, but gets instead Victor Zsasz with a long knife in the Bat Cave saying, “the devil sent me.” Zasaz murders Alfred, Bruce gets there. He beats him to a bloody pulp but can not kill him. Damian arrives telling Batman to get out of the way so I can kill him.
The Plot of Injustice: Gods Among Us: Year Five Volume 3 – Batman fights his son, protecting Zasaz from death. They both give everything they have got until Superman arrives. Batman says he sent him Damian that’s the true enemy. Damian his mind still on Zasaz tries to kill him once again with Batman stopping him and Superman knocking him through a wall. Batman takes the last super powered pill he has left and Superman and Batman fight. Batman gets the upper hand gets his arm around Superman’s neck, and ask Damian is this what you want, you want me to kill him or give him a chance to change. Damian tries to kill Batman to save Superman but Batman sees it coming and blocks it dropping Superman. The Flash comes and sees the damage he takes Zasaz to prison and Batman away. Superman gets angry and threatens The Flash and his disloyalty. he took Batman to grieve for Alfred and said we owed it to Alfred not to fight. The Flash’s loyalty is questioned again when Iris is threatened with death for going against the regime. The Flash kills Killer Shark in an attempt to save Iris, and she’s not happy at what he’s become. Batman and The Flash meet to discuss ending this, and using the speed force to change time. The Flash won’t do it saying we deserve this. Hawkman blames Superman for Hawkgirl betraying him and follow him, he fights Superman with a Kryptonite club that he forged he strikes Superman deep, making Superman get a Kryptonite sickness. Batman finds a recording of Superman murdering the Joker cult that he blamed on Bizarro, but the recording clearly shows Superman. Batman has to take Cyborg down to expose the world of Superman’s crimes and turn them against him. Will he succeed?
What I Liked: The Batman versus Superman fight is epic and something I truly wanted to see, it has something the series has been promising and we got it full, plus Batman had to deal with Damian trying to kill Zasaz as well. The Flash scenes were written really well, he hasn’t gotten a good storyline since Injustice Year One. The ending I was very satisfied, I did know it wouldn’t end, so saying that I think it ended with hope and a bit of chaos. They were able to do two things show how to eventually stop the Injustice League and create a new threat.
What I Disliked: much of the criminals have re-escaped storyline is pushed to the side. I was 50/50 on the Hawkman storyline, I really didn’t like how it almost came out of nowhere with not much storyline leading into it.
Recommendation: I recommend you check out this series, it has been an interesting ride seeing some characters acting out of character. This book has one heck of a Batman versus Superman fight that cannot be missed. There’s some really good character study going on. I rated Injustice: Gods Among Us: Year Five Volume 3 by Brian Buccellato 4 out of 5 stars. The story picks back up in Injustice 2, what I’m really excited about is it is bringing the original writer of Injustice, Tom Taylor back. I will continue but take a small break from this series as well.
September 2020 TBR list: I haven’t made a TBR list in some time, the last time I did it for dual months, now I ‘m confident in my reading and my work schedule. Here is what I will be reading this month.
The Invention of Sound by Chuck Palahniuk, this is a novel that I have already finished and placed my review it is released to the public on September 8th 2020. The story is a crazy one that connects a serial killer, a Foley artist, con men, and a grieving father of a lost daughter. The Invention of Sound is written by the writer of Fight Club, check it out.
Goosebumps Be Careful What You Wish For… by R. L. Stine this book is number 12 in the original series order. I have already read this book as well, I t was clever writing but with no real scares. This is my latest review.
Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir – The cover drove me to this book, probably one of the most haunting yet beautiful covers. After the cover awed me I started reading the reviews and book descriptions. Lesbian Necromancer is how a character in the book was described, which is pretty much all I needed to pick up the book. The main character was described as MTV’s Daria in a action packed Science Fiction involving necromancy.
My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell – I have seen this book blow up the blogosphere and was the top five of a lot of mid-year list in July. Stephen King and Gillian Flynn have both wrote blurbs about it. Friends have told me, it is best to know as little as possible going in.
Capturing the Devil by Kerri Maniscalco – This is book four of the Stalking Jack the Ripper Series. I have reviews for all three novels and a in-between short story bridging the gap into Capturing the Devil. The covers are gorgeous for all these books. The story follows Audrey Rose and Thomas Cresswell two apprentices in early forensic science in the late 1880’s- 1890’s. There’s romance, danger, and murder all through out this book series. I was drawn to the cover and the staff reviews at Barnes and Noble for the second in the series. This is the final book in the Stalking Jack The Ripper Series.
The Trials of Koli by M. R. Carey – This is the second book in the Rampart Trilogy. I was blown away by the heart and the originality of the first book ,The Book of Koli, that I had to read the second one. The premise is in future trees have taken over, they can walk and kill, society lives in shelter and relies on old technology to protect. Koli dreams of being a technology user, but not knowing about technology he doesn’t know the system is rigged, with voice commands and fingerprint analysis. He finds out and steals what ever he can find to make work he want’s a weapon, but what he gets is … a device that know one would think to use as a weapon, but in Koli’s hands he turns it into one. This book is an ARC and comes out on 9-15-20.
InJustice: Gods Among Us Year Five Volume 3 by Brian Buccellato – This series is based on the video game Injustice: Gods Among Us. In the series it ask what would the world turn into if superman lost everything and started killing his enemies and anyone who did not see the world his way. Batman with his no kill code, is against this and friends become foes as the Justice league is broken up and heroes take sides. This is Graphic Novel 11 in the series so far and the last Volume before InJustice 2 starts. I have reviewed all ten before it on my site.
Goosebumps Piano Lessons Can Be Murder by R. L. Stine – This is Goosebumps 13 in the original series order. I have enjoyed reading these, and have a gotten a great response from my followers that have enjoyed reminiscing with me. This book I can barely remember the episode from the Goosebumps TV show, so I will be mostly blind going into to this book, which is preferred.
Be Careful What You Wish For… by R. L. Stine is book 12 in the original Goosebumps series. This is an episode of the classic Goosebumps TV Show that I remember little bits and pieces of the name of the main character Samantha Byrd, the cruelty of kids (it’s even worse in the book), and the ending. The ending is the only redeemable part of this book. This story is tied with Monster Blood for lack of scares. This story takes too long to get started. The story is like that of the Monkey Paw where wishes go bad what makes this story worse, is Samantha does a good deed and still has two out of her three wishes go bad without her fault.
The Plot: Samantha Byrd is a tall awkward 12 year-old, who gets made fun of constantly by mean girl Judith. Judith is the ring leader who likes to torment Samantha. She calls her “Stork”, spills stuff on here accidentally on purpose, and trips her at every occasion. Samantha is on the basketball team for her height alone, she can’t shoot or catch a pass. Judith the star of the team, torments her again tripping her further, telling her to, “fly away Byrd and don’t come back.” Judith in all her rudeness ask Samantha not to show up to the game so they can win. On her way home she meets an old lady wondering the streets clearly lost. Samantha talks to her finds the right direction, the woman thanks her and says, for your help I will give you three wishes. Samantha tries to say that’s okay, but the old woman persists until Samantha says, I wish I was the strongest player on the basketball team. The woman holding a little crystal ball grows bright red. She doesn’t think any thing of it, she plays her brother and gets beat pretty bad. At the basketball game the next day, Samantha doesn’t feel any different, noting she shoots goes in, but the rest of her team can’t either. The rest of her team starts getting drowsy and felling weak making Samantha the strongest player on the team, at first she has fun with this, but the next day when her entire team doe not come to school for being to weak, she fears that her wish could kill them eventually, that’s not what she wanted. She visits Judith to see how bad it has gotten, Judith calls her a witch, and says she cast a spell on the team. since she’s the only one who didn’t get sick, Samantha admits to the wish which makes Judith only taunt her more calling her witch. She leaves in a huff and wishes out of anger only to have the old lady right around the corner, say as you wish.
What I Liked: The wish to be the strongest player on the basketball team is pretty funny, how it plays out on the basketball court, I liked R. L. Stine’s clever trickery there. The third wish is pretty good just how extreme it gets and backfires. The ending is good and is telegraphed well, and was pretty perfect. I do like the message, which is literally, be careful what you wish for. Judith as a mean girl is very effective, she was a nightmare that is instantly disliked.
What I Disliked: The story takes way too long to get to the wishes, and it takes a long time to see the effect of the first wish. I felt that the wish should be a punishment for a mean girl, not for a good deed, and the wish maker is just horrible at doing her job, saying, I’m doing my best.
Recommendations: This one is a pass for me, it does a couple clever things and does have a god ending, but really lite on the actual fright. The Goosebumps TV episodes was a lot better than the book. I rated Be Careful What You Wish For… by R.L. Stine 3 out of 5 stars. Here’s my full ranking of the 12 Goosebumps books that I have read in order to my favorite to least favorite Stay Out of the Basement, The Haunted Mask, Night of the Living Dummy, Welcome to Camp Nightmare, The Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb, Say Cheese and Die, Let’s Get Invisible, Welcome to Dead House, The Girl who Cried Monster, The Ghost Next Door, Be Careful What You Wish For… , and Monster Blood.
The Invention of Sound by Chuck Palahniuk is one crazy story that connects a serial killer, a foley artist, con men, and a grieving father of a lost daughter. If you have ever read anything by Palahniuk who is most famous for writing the mind bending Fight Club, you know you will experience something totally unique and that is what is delivered here, a story I cannot imagine anyone else producing other than Palahniuk. The writing is very good, Palahniuk makes some of the craziest observations; also he knows his history when it comes to sound editing, you will come away from this book knowing a lot about the interesting world of foley sound; which is the creation of fake sounds in movies. The cover features a watermelon getting split open which is the sound used for a skull cracking in movies. This book is mind bending, as it will make you the reader ask is this real, is this a drugged out fantasy, is this mental break, or is this a dream. I would read something in this this story and ask that question and read a little further to find out if it was real or not. There is some readers who will driven mad by this, I for one enjoyed it because you who always get the answer on what was real. This wasn’t my favorite Palahniuk which is Choke and Lullaby but it is up there for me. Thanks to Netgalley and Grand Central Publishing for giving me an Advanced Reader Copy. The Invention of Sound is Published on 9-8-20.
The Plot: Gates Foster lost his daughter 17 years ago, when she was only 7, he has spent that lifetime wonder if she is alive or dead. Lately he has been obsessed with child predators and working on tracking them down like a vigilante. On a plane he has a breakdown, swearing he heard his little girl call for him. he then accuses a fellow passenger of being a kidnapper because the girl looks so much like his daughter. A friend of a local support group for kids that have died early bail him out. Mitzi is a foley artist known for creating a realistic scream, she learned the technique from her dad and has since taken over the business. Gates Foster is on the brink of madness when he realizes where he heard the his daughter from a movie, is he paranoid, crazy, or is he on the right track to discovering the truth about his daughter.
What I Liked: the twist, there’s so many, and it keeps changing you perception of people. The history of Sound design I found really interesting, me, having worked on a couple of independent short films doing foley sound, loved the history, and how it was told. The flipping back and forth from Mitzi to Gates works great while they’re stories don’t intertwine. The uniqueness of the story is so refreshing for some one who reads so much, I had no way of knowing where this story was going, and just enjoyed the ride. The wild subplot about the conmen, I don’t know if it is was really necessary to the overall story but man was that plot crazy.
What I Disliked: Flipping back and forth between Gates and Mitzi while they are in the same place, listening to different things was super confusing for no reason. Why wouldn’t you just listen together.
Recommendations: I recommend this crazy, crazy, story. If you enjoy stories that are wild ride that you can’t predict, then this is the story for you. The story is mainly mystery, which too my knowledge is Palahniuk’s first, even though all his stories have an aspect of mystery. I rated The Invention of Sound by Chick Palahniuk 4 out of 5 stars.
Hello dear readers, Last month was a great month for reading for me, I read 12 books this month. I read 4 advance reader copies all from Netgalley. My reading was all over the place this month, I read 4 horror (Yes I’m counting Goosebumps as horror), 1 nonfiction, 2 mysteries, 1 young adult, 1 general fiction, and 2 graphic novels. I read some books of quality 3 five stars, 5 four stars, and 4 three stars I would like to thank everyone who visits, views, and interacts with my readingwithmyeyes site. Happy reading to all.
Five Star Reviews:
The Living Dead by George A Romero and Daniel Krause is a great zombie epic! It’s scary as hell, in its graphic descriptions that make you see, smell, hear, and even taste the gore. Please take my advice, and don’t read while eating for the first 200 pages. This novel is so much more than just a gore fest, it there is heartbreak, love and betrayal. The Living Dead is a morale tale that asks, what is living really? Is it a person going through the motions more glued to their phone than the real world? Or is it a Zombie that longs for a connection. This book is a huge 600 hundred pages, and I was entertained the whole time. From the Master of Zombies who started a craving for the undead in the 1960’s when he wrote and directed The Night of the Living Dead. The Living Dead comes from an unfinished screenplay. Thanks to netgalley and Tor books for the advance copy that was published in August.
Bird Box by Josh Malerman is a nail-biting horror story full of suspense. The horror isn’t in the monster but what the sight of the monster will do to the human. Malerman to his credit never describes the monster, and leaves it totally to the imagination of the reader. The monster’s sight will make the watcher full of rage and for most be driven to commit suicide, by any means necessary. We spend most of this story in the dark, literally, as the only way the creature is effective is through sight, so character’s cover their site through blind folds. The only way they use their eyesight is it every window is covered and know exactly who is in the house. This novel makes a simple task of going to the well to get water a suspense filled ride where every bump or trip hazard could mean doom.
The Haunted Mask by R. L. Stine is Goosebumps books number 11 in the original series order. This book was good sort a revenge plot gone bad. Carley Beth is scaredy cat, tired of everyone picking on her because she gets scared buys a mask that scares people but the mask is haunted and can’t be removed. This one is actually pretty scary for a Goosebumps book. The monster mask’s voice that the mask puts out and the personality attached is kind of terrifying. ” I’ll eat you up!” was one of the lines, too scared kids.
Four Star Reviews:
The Guest List By Lucy Foley is slow build thriller filled with lies and secrets bursting at the seems. A wedding party on a remote island, what can go wrong. A scream to the sight of murder is what starts off The Guest List. By the end you will know who is murdered and who the murder or murders are. The book is told through 6 perspective wedding guest each with his or her own secret and motive. It’s a fun who done it? Where “you” the reader get to play the detective.
The Eighth Detective by Alex Pavesi is about murder stories taken place before World War II. The Eighth Detective is a story within stories, it works as both a short story anthology and an over-arching narrative. The novel is very clever in the way twist are laid out, the end is filled with so many twists they actually where’s out their welcome. There are 7 short stories in this novel all involving murder and a mathematic formula to make a murder mystery work. The short stories are borrowed from mainly Agatha Christie stories. Thanks to Netgalley and Henry and Holt Company for granting me a copy. The Eighth Detective was published on 8-4-2020.
Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell is a great book that made me think after I finished about my own outliers. An outlier is described as a scientific term to describe things or a phenomena that lies outside normal experience as described by Gladwell. The book is smart but written really well, that it is easy to follow. I was blown away how easy Gladwell will break down a person’s history so easily.
We Were Liars by E. Lockhart is a beautifully written Young Adult novel dealing with class struggles, growing up, the sacrifices we make to keep family together, and love. This novel was written 6 years ago I was warned it had a good twist, but was not prepared for what it was, and it makes this beautifully written novel mean so much more. The words used flow like poetry, the stories with in a story are great and act as metaphors for what is going on. This is not a book that was on my radar at all so thanks to the book blog community for the rave reviews that got me to take a chance.
Injustice: Gods Among Us: Year Five Volume 2 by Brain Buccellato is action packed has improved it’s writing since last volume. This is the second to last Graphic novel in the series, and it’s starting to take direction for a pretty epic Batman and Superman fight. iI’s great to see this series, which I have stuck with for 10 volumes so far get better under him and go into the epic ending I wanted for the series.
Three Star Reviews:
The Ghost Tree by Christina Henry is a modern day fairy tale set in the 80’s. A town is cursed by a monster that lives in the woods is it a serial killer or something more. This book is creepy it is a combo of the original Pied-Piper tale, that lead children away with his tune, and the Legend of Sleepy Hollow in a totally 80’s world. I’ve read a lot of books about the 80’s recently, and I feel this book nailed the grime and dirt of the 80’s; the rampant smoking underage, the cool cars, the mischief of parents letting kids run wild through the neighborhood, and the torn/ripped jeans. The Ghost tree had a great opening scene that carries the book, there’s clever writing about the curse on the town and the towns people. I wanted a little bit more from this novel than I got. I would like to thank Berkley Publishing and Netgalley for the advanced copy. The Ghost Tree by Christina Henry is published on 9-8-20.
Florida Man by Tom Cooper takes a look the mythos of the crazy stories surrounding the various news story dubbed “Florida man.” This novel is awfully hilarious in it’s character studies of Floridian rednecks, Cuban refugees, and American Indians. Most of the stories involve sex, drugs, violence, theft, and sometimes all four. The novel spans for the 1960’s to present spending most of the time in the 1980’s. The novel has its problems, but it is filled with so much charm, it’s hard not to fill somewhat satisfied when I finished it. Thanks to Random House and Netgalley for giving me a copy for review. Florida Man by Tom Copper is published on 7-28-20.
The Ghost Next Door by R. L. Stine is book ten of the original Goosebumps series. This one is rarely scary, I predicted the twist very early on, but I ended up liking the ending that saved this from being the worst Goosebumps. The scariest thing is to see the elevation of peer pressure and dares. There is a shadow creature that’s a little scary, is it real or imagined? There are no lame jump scares that are usually littered through out Goosebumps books. This one is more tied to the first Goosebumps movie with Jack Black than anything else; I liked how they used the character of Hannah better than this book.
Injustice: Gods Among Us: Year Five Volume 1 by Brian Buccellato the action gets to a quick start, thanks to guest writer Tom Taylor’s short story in the the last volume, where all the prisoners that Superman had captured were released on a prison break. Superman and team works on recapturing them, but in some of those criminals he sees an opportunity. How do you break the Bat, with the only man that has done it before, Bane. Lex Luthor’s secret clone with superman’s DNA rises, and we witness the birth of Bizarro who is being manipulated by the Trickster. This volume is filled by great ideas, but the execution is really lacking.