Book Review: Injustice: Gods Among Us: Year Five Volume 1 by Brian Buccellato

Injustice: Gods Among Us: Year Five Volume 1 by Brian Buccellato get to a quick start, in the last volume, all the prisoners that Superman had captured at the beginning are released. 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. Tom Taylor the first writer of the series was great at making everything connect, with Brian Buccellato this issues are more stand alone with loose connections. I wanted to like this one a little more not the worst of the series, but not the way I wanted for the final year of Injustice to start. Injustice: Gods Among Us is based on a video game that starts at Year Five, so it’s pretty cool to show how they get there.

The Series Plot leading up to Year Five: 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.

The Plot of Injustice: Gods Among Us Year Five Volume 1: 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. 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. 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.

What I Liked: Bane getting involved, and the context of him breaking Bruce once before. Bizarro’s intro, I loved that he freaks out at the mirror reflection thinking the S is backward, and changing it so it displays the same way in the reflection. I loved the Frankenstein reference, when Bizarro freaks out about fire, then realize he does not burn.

What I Disliked: Hawkgirl and Hawkman storyline, absolutely pointless. Doomsday was wasted. I have a pet peeve of writers making Babe dumb and not intelligent, and it happens here.

Recommendation: The overall story is really good even if all the issues aren’t. I wanted he series to go out with a bang not a whimper. Two volumes left until the series is finished, I’m not going to stop. I rated Injustice: Gods Among Us: Year Five Volume 1 by Brian Buccellato 3 out of 5 stars.

Book Review: Goosebumps – The Ghost Next Door

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’s no lame jump scares that are usually littered through out Goosebumps books. This one is more tied to the Goosebumps movie than anything else, where they used the character of Hannah better than this book.

The Plot: It’s Summer and Hannah is bored, she spends all day watching her 2 twin brothers and writing letters to her friend at camp. her summer turns adventurous when she meets Danny the neighbor boy, the only thing is she’s pretty convinced he’s a ghost. Danny says he’s lived here for a while but Hannah rode her bike through the back yard the other day and there was no family. Now she has to prove it to him. Danny is if he’s a ghost or not is hanging out with a group of kids that haunt their local mail man. Hannah tries to stop them but, she seems to be haunted herself by a shadow creature.

What I Liked: The ending is the saving grace of this story, I liked it a lot, it’s and ending that I’ve seen before but I thought it was done very well. I liked the character of Hannah especially how she writes letter with her little treats of harm if they do not write back. I liked the reveal of what the shadow creature was. The biggest horror element was the peer pressure and man does it get to an intense level fast.

What I Disliked: Not really scary maybe slightly more than Monster Blood (Monster Blood is the worst) the twist is really easy to predict, I see most kids figuring it out as well.

Recommendations: If you’re on a quest like me to read them all then read it. if you are looking for fun and scary for the kids, I would skip this one. The only thing this story has going for it is how heavily this story is featured in the 2015 Goosebumps movie starring Jack Black and Dylan Minnette. I rated The Ghost Next Door by R. L. Stine 3 out of 5 stars. Here’s my full ranking of the 10 Goosebumps books that I have read in order to my favorite to least favorite Stay Out of the Basement, 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, and Monster Blood.

Book Review: The Eighth Detective by Alex Pavesi

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, I’m sure for legal reasons the story could not mention her by name. The short stories are good with some being great, but I enjoyed the conversations after the stories more, where the story is broken down and discussed. Thanks to Netgalley and Henry and Holt Company for granting me a copy. The Eighth Detective was published on 8-4-2020.

Favorite Quote: “Chess is a cheap metaphor. It’s what men use to talk in a grandiose way about conflict.”

The Plot: Grant McAllister, a professor of mathematics, worked out a theory thirty years ago about how to create the perfect murder mystery stories. After the theory was published, he quietly wrote a book of 7 short stories testing the theory called The White Murders . The book has came and went, but now 30 years later a young editor Julia is interested in republishing the book and wants access to the Grant McAllister who lives a quiet life away as a recluse. Grant is real iffy on his past not really wanting to discuss it. They start reading his short stories and breaking them down after exposing little truth and some he can’t or won’t answer like the similarity in the title and the real murders called The White Murders.

What I Liked: The conversations on the breakdown of stories are so good. The first short story is really good and immediately had me hooked. There’s one short story that takes place on the remote island after the aftermath of one of my favorite Agatha Christie stories And Then There Were None. I liked this one it intrigued me because it would be so hard to figure out what happened, and the perfect place for murder. This story was the only direct clone the ending’s of The Murder on the Orient Express and The Murder of Roger Ackroyd are part of the perfect endings. The language and lines of dialogue are good and through out the short stories. The main twist is really good with how clever it is.

What I Disliked: The first thing that intrigued me was the comparison to the White Murders, it’s kind of answered but I wanted more facts. How do you not think or acknowledge Agatha Christie in the Foreword or Afterword. I thought at the end there was too many twist that did not involve the short stories we just analyzed.

Recommendations: I’m going to barely recommend this one, the short stories for the most part are good and the conversations after are even better. If you like classic murder mystery that involves thought and deduction and not forensics then this novel is for you. You’re never going to be as good as Agatha Christie but it is still enjoyable. This book is getting unfairly compared to The 7 and a half Murders of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton who reinvented the murder mystery and told it in a unique way, the Eighth detective just has a unique telling. This was another hard review for me to place, I kept going back and forth between 3 and 4 stars, but eventually settled on a number barely making it to the threshold. I rated The Eighth Detective by Alex Pavesi 4 out of 5 stars. I will look for Pavesi books in the future, I see a lot of promise in the writing.

Book Review: Florida Man by Tom Cooper

Florida Man by Tom Cooper takes a look the mythos of the crazy stories surrounding the various news story dubbed “Florida man” (this term was brought to my attention from the TV show Atlanta). 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 it’s problem but it is filled with so much charm, it’s hard not to fill satisfied when i finished it. I felt like the characters were straight out of an Elmore Leonard novel, but with enough originality to make them unique. 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 Plot: When Reed Crowe was a teenager he watched a plane go down in the Florida Everglades. The plane was filled full of weed from Columbia, he thought everyone was dead but he was wrong. Reed Crowe took drugs and sold a lot, he sold enough to buy and build a seedy motel, an run down zoo and amusement park on the remote Emerald Island. He’s a beach bum that hired his friends to help him run the place, all who would rather do drugs and get laid. His world is turned upside down when a Cuban that goes by the name of Catface because of his scars, recognizes Reed when he gets his friend and employee out of jail. Catface was there in the 60’s when reed found the drugs, and blames reed for not noticing and leaving him stuck with the scars. This vicious gangster will stop at nothing to kill Reed.

What I Liked: The humor is constant through out, it sometimes guys doing horrible things but for the most part it is funny. Catface is scary and relentless, almost a pincushion literately, they character takes a licking and keeps on ticking. This novel is not known for it’s descriptions but I felt it described this character perfectly. Wayne Wade is another crazy character that would make so many bad choices but it was a train wreck that was entertaining to watch. I enjoyed the ending, it did something very unexpected, where I was super iffy if tis was the right choice but I was satisfied with the ending, that was very true to one character’s character.

What I Disliked: The descriptions are really lacking, it will name this exotic Florida animal and not describe it at all. The book has an over 10 year jump and doesn’t catch the reader up with anything that has happened in the last 20 years, which I found really frustrating. I did wonder the point of this novel about midway through, and it’s more of a character study than a narrative story.

Recommendation: This novel is not going to be for everybody, the beginning is a little bit of a mess with it’s weird time jump. I often wondered the point and where it was going. That being said, the novel is funny if you like show like swamp people, and shows about redneck culture then this book may be right up your alley. There is a trigger warning on violence and a character liking girls too young. I would slightly recommend this one on humor alone. I rated Florida Man by Tom Copper 3.5 out of 5 stars . This one is the most torn I’ve been on a review in a while, I will read another novel by Tom Cooper.

Wrap Up: July 2020 Book Reviews

Hello dear readers, July has come and gone.  This month I was able to read 10 books. 2 books were advanced reader copy thanks to Netgalley, 5 were from one of my favorite Graphic Novel book series Locke and Key, books that have made my favorites list off books read in 2020 with The Sun Down Motel and Home Before Dark.  I read one of the weirdest books ever called Antkind written by Charlie Kaufman.  I can’t wait to share some of these mini reviews with you.

 Five Star Reviews:

The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James is a nonstop thriller that mixes elements of a ghost story with a mystery. The pace was nonstop from the beginning, and did not let up as it reached the climax. The story is really fun, I enjoyed finding out more about the ghosts and why they haunted the Sun Down Motel. The twists are plausible and well thought out to fool the audience. This book has been hyped recently, and I have to say I really enjoyed it, it doesn’t reinvent the genre, just tells a good story in a way that is easy to read and picture. I recently put this book as number 2 in my favorite of the year so far.

Home Before Dark by Riley Sager is a top-notch thriller wrapped in a ghost story. Home Before Dark reminded me of why I love Riley Sager so much, good writing that for the most part keeps me guessing while adding that level of believability, that it could happen that way. I felt like this book was a good return to form after I was let down by Lock Every Door which was released last year. Home After Dark offers two accounts one of a book written 25 years ago that is a nonfictional ghost story called House of Horrors that written by Ewan Holt that tells of the Baneberry House haunting of him and his family; the other is Maggie Holt that was five at the time of House of Horrors returning after 25 years to see what was real as her family won’t speak of the book.

Locke and Key Volume 5: Clockworks by Joe Hill and Art by Gabriel Rodriguez is the book that I have been waiting for finally getting a flashback to the past, one to colonial times where we get the origins of Keyhouse and the keys. There’s another flashback that will change everything you thought you knew about the villain, Zach/Dodge, and his origin. This book is easily my second favorite since the beginning. There’s a really good opening that had me hooked from the start. It wrapped up a lot of story lines and made complete sense. Stuff that was hinted at in the beginning got to become full circle. Almost every question I had was answered with great explanations.

Locke and Key Volume 6: Alpha and Omega by Joe Hill art by Gabriel Rodriguez. It’s the series finally, the Omega Key has been found and we know what opening that door will bring, creatures from another world that possess what they touch, but if the door is somehow closed, every creature has magic metal that can be used for more keys. I liked this one, a fitting ending; one of my favorite characters’ bit the dust. I do like that there’s a twist in Dodge’s end result, his plan wasn’t as obvious as an army; it’s more than that.

Four Star Reviews:

Wedge’s Gamble by Michael A. Stackpole takes the X-wing pilots out of the X-wing and has them go undercover on Coruscant. Wedge’s Gamble is book two in the X-wing Saga series that is a part of the Star Wars Legends series ( Star Wars Legends is a division that was considered cannon, but with The Force Awakens not following the trajectory of The established novels they were called Star Wars Legends). The last X-wing novel Rogue Squadron review, I used a Tom Cruise movie to describe it as Top Gun, this novel I would describe as Mission Impossible. Wedge’s Gamble refers to two things a plan to bring criminals from Black Sun to give the Imperials trouble on Coruscant and the undercover operation to take down the twin shields.

Locke and Key: Head Games Volume 2 by Joe Hill with Art done by Gabriel Rodríguez is a graphic novel that will open minds literally. This is my second time through the series, now that I know the ending, it fun piecing it together knowing all the character’s pasts and knowing all the keys and where they are hidden.

Locke and Key: Volume 3 Crown of Shadows by Joe Hill art done by Gabriel Rodríguez This is a smaller story filled with a really long action piece and the rest is filled with long conversations. There are three keys discovered in this one, the giant key which makes you turn into a giant, the crown of shadows key, which has a key go into a crown which lets you control shadows, and the fix it key which can fix broken items in a cupboard, but can not fix the dead. 

Locke and Key Volume 4: Keys to the Kingdom by Joe Jill and art by Gabriel Rodriguez was the best story since the first volume, but the art was one of the weakest. This volume has guest artist Bill Watterson of Calvin and Hobbs do an issue, which is great at first I felt it lost the seriousness the previous books had set. I will say this has one of the most fulfilling climaxes I read in a long time, where everything goes to hell all at once and things are not the same

Three Star Reviews:

Antkind by Charlie Kaufman is a truly out of this world adventure about a film critic experiencing and trying to remember a film that last 30 days. It consumes him and his dreams as he figures out what was the film and what was his life. The book relies heavily on how film affects the watcher, and that the film can become a part of you. This book is deeply funny mind trip that only the writer of such films as Being John Malkovich, Adaptation, and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind could write. This is Charlie Kaufman’s first novel and it is a doozy. This is the kind of novel that I think could be heavily discussed in college literature classes, because there’s a lot to explore and debate about, what is part of the film and what is a dream?

Two Star Reviews:

Mayhem by Estelle Laure is a send up to the 80’s with a story about feminism and powerful versus powerless. This story is a mash up of plots from 80’s and 90’s movie plots Lost Boys, Sleeping with the Enemy, and The Craft. The results should be amazing but instead a lot of formulaic plot with ideas on feminism throughout that only take root at the end.

Book Review: Home Before Dark by Riley Sager

Home Before Dark by Riley Sager is a top notch thriller wrapped in a ghost story. Home Before Dark reminded me of why I love Riley Sager so much, good writing that for the most part keeps me guessing while adding that level of believability, that it could happen that way. I felt like this book was a good return to form after I was let down by Lock Every Door which was released last year. Home After Dark offers two accounts one of a book written 25 years ago that is a nonfictional ghost story called House of Horrors that written by Ewan Holt that tells of the Baneberry House haunting of him and his family; the other is Maggie Holt that was five at the time of House of Horrors returning after 25 years to see what was real as her family won’t speak of the book. This book is high suspense with more twist than a Tilt-A-Whirl.

The Plot: Maggie Holt has just been called to her father’s will reading. Maggie’s dad is infamous because he wrote a book 25 years ago called House of Horrors about him and his family buying their first home the Baneberry house. The family only last 25 days as they were haunted by ghost. Maggie has asked her father and mother many times through her life what was real? What really went down? Even on her father’s death bed when asked all he could say was he’s sorry? Maggie is shocked when goes to the will reading and the Baneberry house is in the will to her. She still can’t believe he had it in his name still for 25 years, and shocked further still when she finds out her father visited one day everyone of those 25 years. Maggie who is in real estate plans to fix up the house and sell it, while also investigating what is real or not. Maggie unearths secret after, secret, was every word written true? or a clever lie?

What I Liked: The twist were really good I had a couple of the theories, but all were proven false, I liked the end. The narrative of bouncing back from Maggie to her dad’s voice was a little disjointed at first but I really enjoyed it as we would learn more about what was true. I liked the conspiracy theories that came out of the ending. I liked Maggie and the closure she got at the end. The snake scene is terrifying, both of them. I loved the ghost aspect.

What I Disliked: Petra and what was theorized especially in the beginning, and the justification being how much she is in the book, but she’s barely in the book. I thought there was going to be more than one alone time with Ewan, but that’s it. I liked everything else but I wanted more scenes of Ewan and Petra together.

Recommendations: I really enjoyed this one it’s a good mix of horror and mystery. The twist are good and through out, which makes for an easy fast paced read. This was my second favorite out of four that Riley Sager has written, and already can not wait until next summer to read another one. He remains the king of summer. I rated Home Before Dark by Riley Sager 5 out of 5 stars. Since I have read all other books written by Riley Sager here’s mr order of best to worst: The Last Time I Lied, Home Before Dark, Final Girls, and Lock Every Door.

Book Review: Locke and Key Volume 6: Alpha and Omega by Joe Hill art by Gabriel Rodriguez

Locke and Key Volume 6: Alpha and Omega by Joe Hill art by Gabriel Rodriguez. It’s the series finally, the Omega Key has been found and we know what opening that door will bring, creatures from another world that possess what they touch, but if the door is somehow closed, every creature has magic metal that can be used for more keys. I liked this one, a fitting ending, one of my favorite character’s bit the dust. I do like that there’s is a twist in Dodge’s end result, his plan wasn’t as obvious as an army, it’s more than that. Locke and Key is published by IDW comics.

Plot of Locke and Key: Welcome to Lovecraft Volume 1 – The novel starts off with two teenagers showing up at the summer home in California with bloody weapons and bodies in the bed of a truck looking for Mr. Locke and whereabouts of keys. Mr and Mrs. Locke are home, with Mrs. Locke opening the door. They have three kids Tyler the oldest, Kinsey the middle, and Bode the youngest who are all at the neighbors lake, when the hear a gun shot in the direction of the house. The book jumps around from there showing the aftermath of the shooting and what happened after at the of funeral of one member of the Locke family. The novel shifts as the family what’s left of it move to Lovecraft, Massachusetts to live in the old family mansion called Keyhouse. The house is filled with rooms and secret keys that will open up doors that only the kids can use. Bode, the youngest, figures out the house and it’s many secrets, he tells the family but they just laugh him off. He is the key to the truth the family doesn’t see and he has found either an enemy of a friend who lives trapped in the well. The novel bounces back and forth showing how the rest of the family survived the first murder as they find the new secrets that connect the house to the incidents. The family finds out the threat has only just begun, as more mysteries arise.

The Plot of Locke and Key: Head Games Volume 2 – Bode finds a head key, that let’s you open your mind right up, so you and others can see what is inside of it. You can pick the parts out, you don’t want and even add knowledge, like books and information. The thoughts grow into living breathing manifestations that you can pick out of your Brain. Kinsey picked fear and sadness and placed them both in a bottle with a stopper, that sits on her vanity. We get to see the bad guy Dodge/Zach Wells/ The Woman in the Well’s manifestation and how dangerous it can be. the Manifestations can go into any mind as well and manipulate it. We find out that that is how the Woman in the Well got her powers back to reach the two killers in Washington. Zach kills an old teacher that remembered him from years back, and starts investigating Zach’s student file. Kinsey admits she has a crush on Tyler’s new best friend Zach, and he uses this to steal the mind key.

The Plot of Locke and Key: Volume 3 Crown of Shadows Dodge only cares about two keys which he does not possess the Well key and the Black/Omega key, and creates a nightmare of shadows to torture Tyler, Kinsey, and Bode. The mom finally discovers the fix it key and figures out what it can do, which leads to disastrous results. When Sam died while going through the ghost door that he’s still a ghost, but the manipulation that dodge once had over him is gone, and he vows revenge. When the ghost form of Dodge talked and fought Sam, it revealed there is a key inside him. Kinsey is starting to fall out of Luke/Dodge/Zach’s influence, as she makes new friends who are a bit of outsiders that show her a link to her father.

Plot of Volume 4 Keys to the Kingdom: Dodge/Luke? Zach has became more vicious in his pursuit of keys, as he tortures the Locke family for the Omega key. There a key is in ghost Dodge is controlling him, we get to see the real Dodge for a second and he is very remorseful. There’s a lot more keys discovered. Dodge and Tyler get get’s recognized, sort of, Erin Voss thinks Tyler is his father and her former high school boyfriend as she is wheeled out of a mental health facility. Dodge doesn’t want her remembering anything and is determined to break into to the mental facility and erase them. Kinsey and Bode also want to talk to talk to her and see if she remembers the keys. Dodge breaks into the facility killing an orderly and open Erin’s head with the mind key, and he finds it empty except a monstrous image of Dodge. Before he can kill her or grab the memory Kinsey and Bode come in having him hide. With her head open they get a look at the almost empty head and realize this image is fresh, and then they find the body of the orderly. Looking at the monster they end up learning the features of the who the monster really is. Dodge, Kinsey’s boyfriend, gets close and she starts telling him what she knows of the Omega key. Dodge is closer than ever, then Kinsey wants to place her favorite in Dodge’s head which he can’t let her see knowing he is the real monster. This makes Kinsey get closer to Jamaal. Duncan’s boyfriend Mike wakes up from a coma and give s a description of Dodge who was in the middle of taking Duncan’s memories of him, when Mike chases him out of the house and gets hit by a car. The ghost of Sam is back, and he plots with someone in the Locke House about Dodge. Dodge’s identity starts to unravel as the Locke family starts paying attention their new friend of the family Zach/Dodge.

The Plot of Locke and Key Volume 5: Clockworks After the big shocking moment final moments of Locke and Key: Keys to the Kingdom, Tyler and Kinsey find the time lapse key, which allows them to se events of the past. We learned how Dodge turned evil, and how Mr. Locke and friends were involved, Duncan played a part in the change as well. We got to see how all the keys got used not for evil but for good. We found more about the well house how the well key works, which I think the last novel will rely on. We finally go to find out what the omega key unlocks and why Dodge would kill anyone to get to it.

The Plot Of Lock And Key 6 Alpha and Omega We learn Dodge’s master plan, and it’s not what you think. Duncan even though he’s an adult can still dream about the magic. Erin Voss has some memories that survived and those tiny manifestations help out, Scot does an ode to Carrie at the prom, it’s excellent. Kinsey gets to go to Prom with Jamal. There’s way more to Jordan than seems, she does have a heart. Rufus talks to a ghost and is convinced to attack Bode. The prom after party just so happens in the caves right where the Omega Door is found.

What I Liked: Scot as Carrie for prom is so great and a perfect nod to Stephen King from Joe Hill. Rufus is slowly becoming my favorite character in this series, his mental ward break out is so great; the way the panels switch from the real Rufus to the way he see’s himself as an army commando. The Character work on Jordon and explaining a little bit about why she jilted Tyler so hard. Dodge’s plan is a great final twist, when you think he’s going typical bad guy he diverts from where you think it is going. The final scene and the closure you get is amazing.

What I Disliked: The climax could have been better, I was a little bit underwhelmed and felt it ended too fast.

Recommendation: I would recommend this whole series it is so so good, the series as a whole gets 5 stars no doubt, everything makes since and is resolved, It’s funny, it’s scary, gory and heart warming. Locke and Key is about real emotions and feeling personified. The last book was my third favorite book, it brought the shadow people back, and shows what the keys can do if someone evil is behind them. I rated Locke and Key Volume 6: Alpha and Omega by Joe Hill 5 out of 5 stars. I’m intrigued enough about Keyhouse to read the off shoot novels. I have recently finished the first season of the Netflix series and have a whole lot of thoughts on it. It’s different but also the same. I like how it ended with a great reveal and would love to see what they do with the second season of Locke and Key.

Book Review: Mayhem By Estelle Laure

Mayhem by Estelle Laure is a send up to the 80’s with a story about feminism and powerful versus powerless. This story is a mash up of plots from 80’s and 90’s movie plots Lost Boys, Sleeping with the Enemy, and The Craft. The results should be amazing but instead a lot of formulaic plot with with ideas on feminism throughout that only take root at the end. The powers are all over the place with some history to back it up but not enough. I was really thrown off about the author having two fictional characters of the Frog Brothers from the movie the Lost Boys inserted in the plot to do nothing other than make you think the plot was going to be about vampires, which it is not. I feel I would have liked this story more if it wasn’t about gaining special powers and it was about a girl finding her internal strength to stand up to abuse. Thanks to St. Martin Publishing for sending me a copy for review through Netgalley.

The Plot: Mayhem, a 16 year old girl, also referred to as May, is traveling with her mom, Roxy, to Santa Maria looking for a fresh start, after taking years of abuse from her husband, Lyle. Lyle turned his abuse from Roxy to Mayhem, which was the final straw. They end up moving into the Brayburn home with Roxy’s sister Elle who has three adopted kids of her own, Neve and Jason are Mayhem’s age and Kidd is 9. Roxy fears something but May can’t pull it out of her, May thinks this is for the best and wants her mom safe and to detox the drugs she has been taking to cope with the abuse out of her system. Mayhem loves the small costal town of Santa Maria, the beach the ongoing carnival, but there is a dark side, women have been banishing on the beach night after night. Mayhem feels sorry for them and feels something more a feeling she has never felt before she has to swim to get rid of it, and feels herself drawn to something in the water. The adopted kids take her to a cave with a deep history rooted to the Brayburn’s Mayhem drinks the sacred water and develops powers.

What I Liked: I loved the character of Kidd how she balances sweet with ferocious. I liked reading about the Brayburn history, I felt this section could have been expanded. The cave and the water and the origin surrounding it were really interesting. Marcy and the video store called VHYes. I liked the majority of 80’s references. Mayhem as a character before the water I liked a lot, after the water I was a little lost more on the power than emotional aspect. I liked the thirst for the sacred water making them vampire light. I like where Neve’s character ended up, I would’ve liked to see her character progress this way the whole book, and not at the final moment.

What I Disliked: Having the Frog Brothers not do anything, if you bring iconic characters into your world have them do something. The powers were not explained well at all.

Recommendations: I will not recommend this one, I feel there are plenty of original Young Adult that take this story and make it original. There are some bright spots in the ways of speaking about a woman’s power, but they were few and far between. I wanted to like this one a whole lot more, just didn’t work for me. I Rated Mayhem by Estelle Laure 2 out of 5 stars.

Second Year Anniversary And Best of the First Half of 2020 in Books

Hello, to all my fellow readers it is past the half of the year and my 2 year anniversary of starting my WordPress blog. I’m very grateful for all my followers and shared connections and correspondence or comments. I love to do my best of book read this year so far and compare it to my final list of the year, which book stayed and occupied my thoughts? I have two categories books published this year and books not published this year.  I have read a total of 50 books so far with 13 being books published this year. Cannot wait to read all of your’s and see what I missed. There is still a lot of books on my upcoming list the new Riley Sager book Home Before Dark, Martha Wells new Murderbot novel Network Effect, The Ghost Tree by Christina Henry, The Invention of Sound by Chuck Palahniuk and The Devil and the Dark Water by Stuart Turton.

Top Five Books Published this year:

1. What Lies Between Us By John Marrs this one of the craziest books I’ve read period. You cannot predict what will happen or put this book down! Characters flip from being good to bad so fast, as the reader learns more secrets. There is some of the most cringe worthy scenes, not because of gore or anything horrid, but because you are reading about a character that keeps digging themselves into holes. This is family dysfunction at its finest. What would it take for you to chain your mother in her room? The answers come quickly but the reasons behind them stay buried in lies. This is the second novel that I have read from John Marrs, last years The Passengers was also very good.

2. The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James is a nonstop thriller that mixes elements of a ghost story with a mystery. The pace was nonstop from the beginning, and did not let up as it reached the climax. The story is really fun, I enjoyed finding out more about the ghost and why they haunted the Sun Down Motel. I was not expecting this book to be so good.  I’ve seen it gaining hype but the level of fun is through the roof.  Riley Sager does the blurb on the cover, which fits because the writing style is so similar.

3. The Holdout By Graham Moore is as good as a legal thriller can get, it is one very entertaining and will keep you guessing, and two makes a statement about how our current legal system is broken and can be manipulated. The Holdout is two mysteries in one, as we get two different mysteries one is a did they or didn’t they murder? And the other is a who done it? The book is separated by a ten year span having a jury trial and then ten years later doing a retrospective documentary of what happened during the trial. This book was part 12 Angry Men combined with an Agatha Christie murder mystery (there’s one I’m thinking about but the plot could be a hint to where it goes, and would hate to spoil anything) with a dash of John Grisham. This book makes me want to check out other works by Graham Moore.

4. The Book Of Koli by M.R. Carey this book is all heart, you can’t help but fall for Koli as he wants something more in this world, and he manages to get a piece in the most unlikeliest of ways. He is the unlikeliest of hero with a weapon to match. The Book of Koli is science fiction book after an apocalyptic battle where we tried to fix the environment but the world created trees that can walk and kill for nourishment. This book is the first book in the proposed Rampart Trilogy. The novel has a couple of good twists and turns and went in a direction I didn’t see it going. I have been approved for the second book and cannot wait to see the direction the Rampart Trilogy heads in.

5. You Are Not Alone by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen is a great thriller about power and manipulation of a young woman who doesn’t want to fell so alone. This novel did not let down, it had the twist I was looking for, great main characters, compelling reason behind the crimes, and it was a fun unpredictable ride. You Are Not Alone is the third book collaboration between Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen. Anonymous Girl was in my top five of new novels from last year.

Top Five books not Published this year:

1. The Power of the Dog by Don Winslow is Scarface and the Godfather rolled into one. You live as the good guys the bad guys and the people in between that are casualties of the drug war. This looks at both sides like I have never read before, it shows the good guys having to cross lines they never thought they could cross and the bad guys crossing those lines to keep what they have. There’s a scene that will leave you floored as a bad guy does the unthinkable to take down a rival, think Red Wedding from Game of Thrones. This book goes through 3 decades of drug traffic starting in the 1970’s to the 2000’s, from Mexico, Columbia and the United States. The Cartel the second book is just as good and gets a little but more fan fare, but the book I like The Power of the Dog more.

2. Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman is the second book in the Arc of the Scythe series. Thunderhead ramps up the action, expands on the already great world building, it has one hell of a climax, and maintains the high quality writing, that will make you think long after the book is finished. I love this series so much; it is going places I could not imagine. This book has a lot of callbacks to the first novel that are really big payoffs with a couple of characters that end up coming back.  The first book is Scythe, and is 5 stars as well, but this book expands on the first book and ideas.

3. Speaks the Nightbird by Robert R. McCammon is one of my favorite stories by one of my favorites authors. This is my second reading of this epic tail that combines Historical Fiction with Murder Mystery, and adding a dash of Horror. We get a tale about witchcraft only 7 years after the Salem Witch Trials in 1699. Where witchcraft was in murky waters of being real or not.

4. The Shining by Stephen King is a truly horrific book. Alcohol and ghosts do not mix! King gets into true fear, having someone you love, a father and husband, say, “I’m going to bash your brains”, then attempt to do it. The Shining is a ghost story but the scariest monster in the book is addictions and how it changes your rational choices, to choices that jeopardize your family. 

5. Full Throttle by Joe Hill is comprised of 13 short stories, two are written with his dad Stephen King. Some stories are bone chilling tales of fright, while others give whimsical insight of the the unknown. All tales draw you in in some way, some let you go easily, while other try to hold you in a death grip and not let go. A couple of the the short stories are odes to his favorite authors like Ray Bradbury, Richard Matheson, Lawerence Block, David Mitchell, and Stephen King. Over half of the stories have a five star rating.

Book Review: Locke and Key Volume 5: Clockworks by Joe Hill and Art by Gabriel Rodriguez

Locke and Key Volume 5: Clockworks by Joe Hill and Art by Gabriel Rodriguez is the book that I have been waiting for finally getting a flashback to the past, one to colonial times where we get the origins of Keyhouse and the keys. There’s another flashback that will change everything you thought you knew about the villain, Zach/Dodge, and his origin. This book is easily my second favorite since the beginning. There’s a really good opening that had me hooked from the start. It wrapped up a lot of story lines and made complete sense. Stuff that was hinted at in the beginning got to become full circle. Almost every question I had was answered with great explanations.

Plot of Locke and Key: Welcome to Lovecraft Volume 1 – The novel starts off with two teenagers showing up at the summer home in California with bloody weapons and bodies in the bed of a truck looking for Mr. Locke and whereabouts of keys. Mr and Mrs. Locke are home, with Mrs. Locke opening the door. They have three kids Tyler the oldest, Kinsey the middle, and Bode the youngest who are all at the neighbors lake, when the hear a gun shot in the direction of the house. The book jumps around from there showing the aftermath of the shooting and what happened after at the of funeral of one member of the Locke family. The novel shifts as the family what’s left of it move to Lovecraft, Massachusetts to live in the old family mansion called Keyhouse. The house is filled with rooms and secret keys that will open up doors that only the kids can use. Bode, the youngest, figures out the house and it’s many secrets, he tells the family but they just laugh him off. He is the key to the truth the family doesn’t see and he has found either an enemy of a friend who lives trapped in the well. The novel bounces back and forth showing how the rest of the family survived the first murder as they find the new secrets that connect the house to the incidents. The family finds out the threat has only just begun, as more mysteries arise.

The Plot of Locke and Key: Head Games Volume 2 – Bode finds a head key, that let’s you open your mind right up, so you and others can see what is inside of it. You can pick the parts out, you don’t want and even add knowledge, like books and information. The thoughts grow into living breathing manifestations that you can pick out of your Brain. Kinsey picked fear and sadness and placed them both in a bottle with a stopper, that sits on her vanity. We get to see the bad guy Dodge/Zach Wells/ The Woman in the Well’s manifestation and how dangerous it can be. the Manifestations can go into any mind as well and manipulate it. We find out that that is how the Woman in the Well got her powers back to reach the two killers in Washington. Zach kills an old teacher that remembered him from years back, and starts investigating Zach’s student file. Kinsey admits she has a crush on Tyler’s new best friend Zach, and he uses this to steal the mind key.

The Plot of Locke and Key: Volume 3 Crown of Shadows Dodge only cares about two keys which he does not possess the Well key and the Black/Omega key, and creates a nightmare of shadows to torture Tyler, Kinsey, and Bode. The mom finally discovers the fix it key and figures out what it can do, which leads to disastrous results. When Sam died while going through the ghost door that he’s still a ghost, but the manipulation that dodge once had over him is gone, and he vows revenge. When the ghost form of Dodge talked and fought Sam, it revealed there is a key inside him. Kinsey is starting to fall out of Luke/Dodge/Zach’s influence, as she makes new friends who are a bit of outsiders that show her a link to her father.

Plot of Volume 4 Keys to the Kingdom: Dodge/Luke? Zach has became more vicious in his pursuit of keys, as he tortures the Locke family for the Omega key. There a key is in ghost Dodge is controlling him, we get to see the real Dodge for a second and he is very remorseful. There’s a lot more keys discovered. Dodge and Tyler get get’s recognized, sort of, Erin Voss thinks Tyler is his father and her former high school boyfriend as she is wheeled out of a mental health facility. Dodge doesn’t want her remembering anything and is determined to break into to the mental facility and erase them. Kinsey and Bode also want to talk to talk to her and see if she remembers the keys. Dodge breaks into the facility killing an orderly and open Erin’s head with the mind key, and he finds it empty except a monstrous image of Dodge. Before he can kill her or grab the memory Kinsey and Bode come in having him hide. With her head open they get a look at the almost empty head and realize this image is fresh, and then they find the body of the orderly. Looking at the monster they end up learning the features of the who the monster really is. Dodge, Kinsey’s boyfriend, gets close and she starts telling him what she knows of the Omega key. Dodge is closer than ever, then Kinsey wants to place her favorite in Dodge’s head which he can’t let her see knowing he is the real monster. This makes Kinsey get closer to Jamaal. Duncan’s boyfriend Mike wakes up from a coma and give s a description of Dodge who was in the middle of taking Duncan’s memories of him, when Mike chases him out of the house and gets hit by a car. The ghost of Sam is back, and he plots with someone in the Locke House about Dodge. Dodge’s identity starts to unravel as the Locke family starts paying attention their new friend of the family Zach/Dodge.

The Plot of Locke and Key Volume 5: Clockworks After the big shocking moment final moments of Locke and Key: Keys to the Kingdom, Tyler and Kinsey find the time lapse key, which allows them to se events of the past. We learned how Dodge turned evil, and how Mr. Locke and friends were involved, Duncan played a part in the change as well. We got to see how all the keys got used not for evil but for good. We found more about the well house how the well key works, which I think the last novel will rely on. We finally go to find out what the omega key unlocks and why Dodge would kill anyone to get to it.

What I Liked: The flashbacks are brilliant and reveal so much of the secrets that have been hinted at for so long. The madness is portrayed so well. The twist and turns are really great, and start on the first panel. The writing is really great one Joe Hill’s better dialogue moments. The art is incredible and very vivid. The gore is horrific, and applied with glee.

What I Disliked: there was one question that I had that went unanswered involving Dodge, but there’s one more book so maybe it will explain.

Recommendations: I can not recommend this series enough, it is so good!! This book in particular is one of my favorites. If you love horror with a gothic feel then this book is for you! I rated Locke and Key Volume 5: Clockworks by Joe Hill and Art by Gabriel Rodriguez 5 out of 5 stars.