Book Review: Goosebumps – Revenge of the Lawn Gnomes by R. L. Stine

Revenge of the Lawn Gnomes by R. L Stine is Goosebumps book 34 in the original series order. This book is not that scary but does have some terrifying moments. The book does have a twist that is pretty good but after the twist it looks like Stine ran out of ideas for how to end it. The most terrifying moment is when the Gnomes want to fold the kids up into squares. After reading 34 Goosebumps books you start to see patterns Welcome to Dead House and Ghost Beach are pretty much the same story, and this book and Night of the Living Dummy 2 have the same set up. What is with Stine and painting things as a prank. This book is all about the pranks in the last Goosebumps book The Horror at Camp Jellyjam there were no pranks so Stine had to double and almost triple down on pranks. Some are funny but the majority are annoying. Revenge of the Lawn Gnomes was published on August 1 1995.

Plot Summary: Joe Burton is a jokester and loves pestering his older sister who is so gullible and always falling for his jokes. Joe’s Father and the neighbor have competing gardens and a healthy competitive nature, the problem is Joe’s dog who like to lie in the neighbors garden could damage the plants. this has been a contention as the neighbor threatens the pound. Joe’s dad has an obsession with lawn ornaments and has just gotten two ugly lawn gnomes, which no one in the family likes except the dad. Joe and the next door neighbor kid moose involve them in their pranks of the older sister. The dog almost gets busted by the neighbor, that Joe has to blow his dog whistle to get him to move but he swears he saw a lawn gnome react as well. The next day the neighbor’s fruits from the garden are smashed and Joe’s dog get’s punished, but Joe can’t figure out what happened until he finds a seed in a gnome’s mouth. Joe is pretty sure they are alive and sets up a plan that backfires and Joe gets in trouble. Can he prove they’re alive before he gets into more trouble.

What I Liked: The plot twist was unexpected involving the gnomes, but the cleverness doesn’t last long after it. The Gnome chants could be pretty terrifying especially, “fold them!” I liked how crazy the garden war got with Joe’s dad and the neighbor dad. This story is the rare one where a parent has something to do in the story, is part of the narrative. I did like the way the lawn ornament store was described.

What I Disliked: Too many pranks and it’s pranks about being injured that I didn’t care for, that’s just mean, and the others are too much. At the end the gnomes reveal the secret to their power which they could have stolen at anytime, and should have been. the Gnomes had no plan what so ever and it really hurt the ending.

Recommendations: This one is a miss for me it was way to similar to the set up of Night of the Living Dummy about an object coming to life, and pranking people with paint. This book is low on the fears and could have been so much better. Not the worst of the Goosebumps but not a very good one which is a shame because my favorite scene in the Goosebumps movie starring Jack Black is The Gnomes scene. I rated Revenge of the Lawn Gnomes 3 out of 5 stars. Here’s my full ranking of the 34 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) Revenge of the Lawn Gnomes, 29)The Werewolf of Fever Swamp, 30) Cuckoo Clock of Doom, 31) Monster Blood, 32) The Barking Ghost, 33) You Can’t Scare Me!, and 34) Monster Blood III. (less)

Book Review: Trunk Music by Michael Connelly

Trunk Music by Michael Connelly is a mystery that looks simple enough until it starts involving the mob and a woman from Harry’s past that might or might not be involved. Trunk Music is the 5th book in the Harry Bosch Series and the 6th book in the Harry Bosch Universe. This story took me a while to get into it, but there’s a twist half way that totally changes the novel for the better and makes it a lot more exciting. I like the mob angle and the lengths the police and the bureaucrats have to go to take them down and Harry Bosch shakes all that up. The climax is super exciting and a lot elements clash together which was a lot of fun. Harry’s personal life was a big part of this book and happy the character made the right choice and didn’t let any of his baggage get in the way. I figured out the final little twist but was still really happy how it was revealed and how it worked for the story. If you’r a fan of the Bosch on Amazon, Trunk Music’s story line is the basis for the Season 2 but changes a lot of the story I liked the book’s story way better than Bosch season 2. Trunk Music was published January 28 1997.

Plot Synopsis: Harry is back on duty after his leave in the last book. Harry is now the lead detective in a 3 man team, he’s back with his old partner Jerry Edgar and a new young detective Kiz Rider. Harry arrives first on the scene to find a body in the truck, Harry chastises the beat cop who touched and opened the trunk without gloves. The whole team feels the murder is mob related and gets the runaround from the division that investigates mob ties. Harry is happy to have his first murder case since returning and ready to solve it. The Body is a famed low budget movie producer. They alert the wife you reported her husband missing from a Las Vegas trip. Things get really interesting when they investigate his office and check the tapes, and find the officer of the mob division earlier at the office. Harry confronts him to reveal that they were watching him but did it illegally and the producer was a money launder for a Las Vegas mob. Bosch travels to Vegas where he runs into a criminal from his past, one he was in love with, and she might be tied to the victim. The novel gets really intriguing from here.

What I Liked: The mob tie in really worked and was interesting what goes into making a case. I liked that we get to see a character return from the first Harry Bosch book The Black Echo someone I did not think we would see again. I liked that we meet Grace Billets as the new captain, she’s such a big part of Bosch, the show, it was nice to see her here. I loved the second half of this book so much and the twist that lead to it. The support characters are really good and pretty memorable. I liked to see both the clash between inner agencies and the respect that is shown when all is revealed. When two characters both think the other is dirty and both try to get the other arrested then come together once they both know the other is not dirty.

What I Disliked: The first part of this book was slow and I didn’t know if this case was going to hold my interest, it did eventually when there is a twist. The chapters were way too long, which was really annoying. The first one ends at 25% of the book. When one Character comes back from the first book it takes the book a little while to remind us just what happened to that character at the end of the first book.

Recommendations: The Bosch series is really good and I recommend reading in order, especially when a character comes back from the first book which is 4 books ago. Trunk Music is a pretty good entry into the series and important for Harry Bosch going forward. I rated Trunk Music by Michael Connelly 3.5 out of 5. I usually hate to give 3.5 but was so torn could not decide between 3 and 4 stars.The order of the Harry Bosch Books so far 1) the Black Echo, 2) The Black Ice, and 3) The Concrete Blonde, 4) The Last Coyote and 5) Trunk Music. The order in which I rank them from best to worst is 1) The Concrete Blonde, 2) The Black Ice, 3) Trunk Music 4)The Last Coyote and 5) The Black Echo.

Book Review: The Kaiju Preservation Society by John Scalzi

The Kaiju Preservation Society by John Scalzi is a short novel seeped in pop culture references and take a fun approach to what if Kaijus were real. What is a Kaiju? a giant monster, think Godzilla and King Kong. The book uses a lot of mythos from Godzilla created from a nuclear blast and all Kaiju’s are radioactive. I liked that this wasn’t a Jurassic Park rip off it’s it’s own thing, though there are references to Jurassic Park littered throughout. This novel is hard in it’s science fiction and trying to make the science work, there’s some science that went over my head. The character that we the reader follow is in over his head which really works he is a grunt a person who lifts things. But in another life he has a Master’s in fiction and did his thesis on science fiction novels. The pace is really good in this smaller novel of 264 pages, their are more than a few unputdownable moments. The Climax is really exciting. The opening is really great and had me hooked in record time.The Kaiju Preservation Society is up for Best Science Fiction in Goodreads Choice Award and gained my vote over the 3 other books I read in the category. The Kaiju Preservation Society was published on March 15 2022.

Plot Summary: Jamie worked as an executive for rip off food delivery service like Doordash and Uber Eats, until he was fired and they still used his idea, as a constellation prize they let him be a delivery driver for the service, with Covid hitting he becomes it. On his last delivery since the company got bought out by one of the competitors, He runs into Tom a guy he knew from college, they have a good talk and Tom has a job opportunity where that requires him to lift things and he will take care of big animals, but it’s more that that, an escape from Covid in a remote location. Tom takes the job and finds out the location is not on this earth but another and those big animals he will take care of are hundred feet in the air Kaijus.

What I Liked: The opening was great how it slowly reveals the world was incredible and made me totally hooked. Jamie is a great perspective since the audience is just over their head as he is. I’m just a person that lift things joke always gave me a chuckle. The helicopter pilot was my favorite character by far, and has a lot of great moments. The enemy was so easy to hate reminded me of a swarmmy 80’s villain. The climax had some incredible moments where I couldn’t put down the book even though I was tired.

What I Disliked: Before we get in to the climax I could feel the book slowing down and I did ask myself where’s the conflict in the novel, moment later it was delivered, but there was a small lull. The science does go over my head and thank goodness for Jamie because the have to explain it to him, but sometimes he’s not there and I got a little lost in the plan and the science. I will say most things get explained not too far after.

Recommendations: This was my favorite Science Fiction novel of 2022 easily. The book reminded me of Jurassic Park meets All Systems Red. Really good Science fiction company to be in. I say read this book now it is fun, funny and exciting. I will say I’m not that big of a Kaiju movie fan I’m not a fan of Pacific Rim films and most Godzilla films, but I loved this book. I rated The Kaiju Preservation Society by John Scalzi 5 out of 5 stars.

TBR: December 2022

December 2022 TBR list: last month I read 4 books out of my 6 book TBR list. I’m going to read 5 books If I add more I add more, but 5 books lets me hit my 80 book goal, this is an overtime month for me 60 hour weeks are hard to sneak in reading.

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, and a contender for Best Science Fiction in the Goodreads Choice Awards. This book I started in November but did not get to finish it.

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 Harry Bosch.  I have not read this book before and look forward to going in blind. This book was a hold over from last month.

Naked Empire by Terry Goodkind is the 8th book in the Sword of Truth series.  Richard Rahl is poisoned and the only way to survive is make a deal with the enemy the Dreamwalker, for his wife in exchange for the cure.  This series has gotten pretty epic and been fun to read.

Batman ’89 Volume 1 by Sam Hamm is a graphic novel comic book series that continues the gothic Gotham that Tim Burton created and continues it. I was 9 years old when the movie came out and was everything for a kid. So I’m really looking forward to it continuing in comic form.

Goosebumps – Revenge of the Lawn Gnomes by R. L. Stine I’m looking forward to Goosebumps book 34 in the original series order.  The Lawn gnomes were the highlight of the first Goosebumps movie, so I have hopes it will be great and fun.

Wrap Up: November 2022 Book Reviews and Goodreads Choice Award Voting

Dear Readers, November was an okay month for reading I started the Christmas overtime schedule so not as much time to read. I set my goal of 6 book but only read 4. I read 1 horror, 1 Young Adult, 1 Graphic Novel and 2 that were new releases thanks to Netgalley. I Read 2 books from a book series with Goosebumps and The Arc of the Scythe series. I read one 5 star books, one 4 star books, one 3 star books and one 2 star book.  I did Vote in Goodreads Reader’s Choice Awards and Will tell you who i voted for, how many titles I read in each category, and why I chose the book for my vote.

Five Star Reviews:

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.

Four Star Reviews:

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. 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.

Three Star Reviews:

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.

Two Star Review:

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. 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.

GOODREADS CHOICE AWARDS VOTING 2022:

Best Fiction: Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin – I read 2 books in this category this and Remarkably Bright Creatures By Shelby Van Pelt both books were my favorites and will take my 1 and 2 spots for best books this year.  It was a bit of a toss up but feel Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow more in my soul.

Best Mystery/ Thriller: The Maid by Nina Prose – I read 2 books in this category this and The Golden Couple by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen.  The Maid was a clear winner The Golden Couple was just okay I’ve read almost every book by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen and thought this was their weakest.

Best Historical Fiction: The Diamond Eye by Kate Quinn – I read 4 books in this category this, Violeta by Isabel Allende, Black Cake by Charmaine Wilkerson, and Shrines of Gaiety by Kate Atkinson.  This was between The Diamond Eye and Violeta, and the Diamond Eye was just a tad more fun and enjoyable.

Best Science Fiction: The Kaiju Preservation Society by John Scalzi – I read 4 books this and Upgrade by Blake Crouch, The Daughter of Doctor Moreau by Silvia Moreno Garcia, and Dead Silence by S. A. Barnes.  This one was going to be Upgrade but I’m reading The Kaiju Preservation Society now and it is fantastic, I’m 90% finished and really impressed for my first John Scalzi book.

Best Horror: Sundial by Catriona Ward – I only read this book in the category.  I liked it but thought is nowhere near as good as Last House on Needless Street her book last year. This book did not make it into the final round.

Best Young Adult Fantasy and Science Fiction: Gallant by V. E. Schwab I only read one book in this category, But this book was in my top 5 books read this year.

Best Debut Novel: Remarkably Bright Creatures By Shelby Van Pelt – I read 3 book in this category, this and The Maid by Nina Prose and Black Cake by Charmaine Wilkerson. Remarkably Bright Creatures was an easy pick for me, such a great book.

All other Categories I did not read any books that made the list.

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.