One Day at Horrorland by R. L. Stine is one of the scariest Goosebumps stories but ends with weak ending. One Day at Horrorland is the 16th book in the Goosebumps series original order. The scares check a lot of boxes, fear of the unknown, fear of abandonment, fear of the dark, fear of being trapped, fear of confined spaces, and fear of spiders, bats, and wolves. This one drives the nostalgia as major plot point is finding a phone, and having kids not be on the phone for a long car ride with nothing but scenery to look at. Stine has fun coming up with horror filled rides and amusements, I wish they would ridden more rides, they only ride 3, one of the rides they go on twice. I really enjoyed myself and felt my pulse go up as I read. 9o% of this book is great, but man is that last 10% weak, I was thinking this could be my top Goosebump book, to finally rival Stay Out of the Basement but the ending ruined it.
The Plot: the Morris Family is heading to a Zoo amusement park, that sounds like Busch Gardens. Only the family has left the map on the table and is lost in a desert, they turn around and finally start to see trees, and a billboard to Horrorland. Because of the kids begging the family desided to check it out. When they arrive the car blows up. The monsters who the family assume are in costumes ask about a phone or assistance. The Monsters they will help, but say you’re not going to ever want to leave. The family soon begins to figure out what Horrorland is all about, but will they live to tell it.
What I Liked: The scares are good, and some effected me especially the halls of mirrors scene. I loved the Luke and Lizzie dynamic as brother and sister. I liked the friend who was terrified acting like he wasn’t sacred so Luke thought he was cool. I loved Luke deny it was real until the end. The rides a and there horror punned names.
What I Disliked: The ending was so weak, it could have went so many ways, but the choice made was so horrible I knocked off a whole star. It is not as bad as The Girl Who Cried Monster twist which was out of nowhere, there is at least some set up to it.
Recommendations: If you are looking at the books just for the scares, then this book will deliver. If you’re looking for a good Goosebump twist this book will let you down hard. I rated One Day At Horrorland by R. L. Stine 4 out of 5 stars. Here’s my full ranking of the 16 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, One Day At Horrorland, 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… , The Werewolf of Fever Swamp, Monster Blood And You Can’t Scare Me!.
Stone of Tears by Terry Goodkind is an epic tale of stopping the beings from the Underworld from escaping and bring hell upon the world. This is book two in the Sword of Truth series. This book waste no time to get going, action starts on page five and goes on for a good while. The story takes places a mere two days after the last one ended, with a lot of the unresolved issues getting addressed early on. The action scenes are great and unrelenting. There is a war scene that was so smart and detailed it was easily in my top ten of battle scenes I have read, where I didn’t get lost in the action and every move made sense. The finale felt a little rushed, the rising action, of will the characters make it in time was great, but only to see the finale wrapped up in maybe 20 pages, which could be a lot of this book wasn’t 979 pages. Some of the events did remind me of the season of Supernatural where a similar plot happened, Stone of Tears was written way before Supernatural but it was interesting to see some of the same plot points in this epic fantasy that was in Supernatural. Looking at my data Wizard’s First Rule the first book in the Sword of Truth series is the review that I get the most views from search engines, so that was part of my motivation also with the sad passing of the author Terry Goodkind it was time to read this one and continue the series.
The Plot: Two days after Richard defeated Darken Rahl. A creature from the underworld has escaped and it wants to mark Richard so he can open the underworld for the Keeper. Zedd deals with these creatures first and must find Richard and seek side in closing the veil to the underworld. Richard and Kahlan are returning a boy back to the mud people when a creature from the underworld comes for them. They defeat the creature but Richard gets migraines that make it feel like his head will explode they keep getting worse and worse. He meets 3 Sisters of Light that day they can help him but they must collar him and own him to teach him to control his new magic. He refuses and the sister creates suicide right then and there, saying that was chance one you will have two more chances to get help of you do note, you will die.
What I Liked: The epic battle scenes that you knew where every character was and their motivation for the mission. The Richard relationship with Gratch a son of a former enemy that he befriends and kind of raises. I liked that Rachael was included she was the heart of the first book. She does not have a lot to do in this one but was happy to see her. The scenes of peril are what Goodkind does best at there was more than a couple times where I did not see how characters were going to get out of situations. I liked that everything Shota saw in her visions came true, but also says they could be changed as well. I loved the scene where Kahlan tried to fix the way mud people hit on women by bluntly complement women’s breast and backside. I liked the twist and turns of this story. The opening scene is so intense I loved it.
What I Disliked: The finale was so short, it felt rushed and it didn’t have to be. Zedd’s storyline was a little weak, he had a great beginning but not much else. Kahlan and Richard’s relationship was decent but went too sappy a bit too much.
Recommendation: If you like epic fantasy then this is the series for you. If you like intense brutal action packed battle scenes the Stone of Tear delivers. Trigger warning is scenes of rape, there’s a couple. I rated Stone of Tear by Terry Goodkind 4 out of 5 stars. I will read the next book in the Sword of Truth series Blood of the Gold pretty soon, it is 300 pages shorter so a little easier to work in.
One of Us is Next by Karen McManus is the sequel to the best selling One of Us is Lying. In this one the story is more complex, and the novel pulls double duty introducing us to new characters, while catching us up with the old characters from the first book. The book for the most part does a good job of blending the new characters with the old, I did feel at beginning it was too much of the new characters. The mystery is way more complex, it reminded me of the newest Veronica Mars storyline. Instead of 4 characters perspectives, we get 3 which was okay but it took away the rapid paced smaller chapters of the first one. The finale was really fun and exciting. There was a late twist almost at the end that I was not excepting. I did not like this book as much as the first one, but this is a pretty good follow up book with a good mystery and lots of characters I already loved and a couple new ones too.
The Plot:18 months after the what happened in the last book, Bayview High is finally getting back to normal, the school has just recently allowed cell phones back after all the trouble with Simon’s gossip App. There have been a couple of copycats but nothing has stuck around until Truth or Dare, you either take a date or get a truth revealed. Phoebe is the first victim as she refuses to play and gets a huge truth bomb delivered that she slept with her sister’s boyfriend. Phoebe is ridiculed in school and soon everyone starts taking it seriously. Dares start happening over town, until death happens. Mauve who helped solve the last mystery, is with out her brainiac sister Bronwyn this time.
What I Liked: I Liked that we got to see characters from the first book still grow in this book. I liked the character of Knox most of all, and is was good to see a genuine good character get beaten down but chose to say good and ends up not finishing last. The finally was exciting and involved characters new and old. The mystery was way more involved but good, it needed better pacing, but looking at all the twist and turns it was pretty solid. The final twist was really good, there was someone that was obviously involved in the plot, that I was disappointed because of how glaringly obvious it was, but the final twist added an extra layer to it that I liked. I liked side characters like Luis getting a bigger role in this.
What I Disliked: The flow was messy at times, making chapters feel overly long. This one took too long to get the mystery started, McManus chose to catch everyone up to what characters in the last book were up to first before trying into the new mystery.
Recommendations: Not as good as the first but a worth while sequel, that lets you spend a little time with characters you loved from the first book. If you thought the mystery was too simple in the first one, then this one is way more complex. The first book blew me a way with how fun it was, this one is not as fun but that was a high bar, and remains in the fun category. I rated One of Us is Next by Karen M. McManus 4 out of 5 stars.
Black Hammer Volume 4: Age of Doom, Part Two by Jeff Lemire was fantastic a perfect ending to the series. I was a little shocked that it ended I know of two other volumes to the series, but upon further research, one is short stories told in the world, and the other is a prequel. This is such a weird series that embraced the weird and did not shy away from it, but through all that weird it told a story of a dysfunctional super hero family, and the ending really nailed that aspect. This is easily one of my top series enders for a graphic novel. Characters were able to grow and the story has a nice arc that went full circle back to the beginning. Black Hammer Volume 4: Age of Doom, Part Two collects Black Hammer Age of Doom 8-12.
The Plot: The group had figured out that their reality was false, that some of their own teammates had a vision that spelled doom. So they created a false world with false identities never to return to earth. The group found a loop hole and broke through it while others tried to stop it. Captain Weird is stuck in a weird plane of existence with superheroes that didn’t make it into existence, and the way to escape is through the minds of the writers. Everyone else is stuck where they came from in an world where there is no Super Hero, only one remembers, will they be enough to convince the team of what they truly are.
What I Liked: The finale was so great the way it was put together, I could not imagine a better ending for the series. The embrace of the weird, this volume was actually toned down but the weird superhero and villains that didn’t make it to the Black Hammer series was great. I loved grizzly man the most, with the line, the people of the 90’s would love this. I liked the showing of LGTBQ relationships on Mars and still that it still has struggles. The Mars fight scenes were great and my favorite action from this volume. Gale getting her daddy attitude back was the best. The return of Walkie Talkie was so welcomed.
What I Disliked: I can already tell the chief complaint, where is the action? For a graphic novel this series has been on the low end. I would have liked to see more, but I was very satisfied with the narrative.
Recommendation: This series is great totally original, I discovered the Black Hammer series when the second volume was up for a Goodreads choice award. If you want to read a series that got its inspiration for pile comics of the 40’s and 50’s then this is the series for you. If you want to read something totally original and frankly a little weird then this is everything you want and more. I rated Black Hammer Volume 4: Age of Doom, Part Two by Jeff Lemire 5 out of 5 stars. I will eventually read the short stories and prequel Black Hammer ’45.
Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse is a groundbreaking new fantasy that is inspired by the history from Pre- Columbian Americas. The story is rapid paced, with so much conflict, it is hard telling who exactly is on what side of the good or bad coin, but the story was a fun read. The look at politics and religion is the best thing, do you believe in the prophesy? do you believe so much in the prophesy you will do anything to stop it? Will you set up your own candidate for murder but look like it is suicide to take over? will you make a suicide look like murder to stop a war? These are all questions asked in this deeply engrossing novel. The novel features the first pansexual character that I’ve read it is a very friendly LGTBQ story. There are four revolving narrative each with its own agenda and unique backstory. A really great climax, I wanted more story closure at the but it is clear that Black Sun is the first book in Between Earth and Sky trilogy so it ends on a cliffhanger. I have known about Rebecca Roanhorse for a while, I have seen great reviews for Trial of Lightning, and bought it on a kindle deal, after Black sun that book will be jumping up my TBR. I thanks to Netgalley and Gallery books for an advanced reader copy. Black Sun was published on October 13 2020.
Plot: Serapio is blinded and carved when he is a teenager during the Black Sun, in twenty years when the next Black Sun comes he will be a God. Serapio has started gaining the ability to see and talk with crows, and he can also release a deadly shadow. Xiala, is jailed former captain, and also a Teek, whose song can calm the waters and people around her. She gets the deal of a lifetime, a ship, bailed out of jail, and a mission taking the mysterious Serapio to Tove to become Crow God. We meet the Sun Priest Nara a good leader that has an assassination attempt foiled, but she won’t retaliate, to most people displeasure, that want war and the priest to rule by war. It is prophesied that for Serapio to become Crow God he must kill the Sun Priest. Okoa has recently lost his mother, he is lead to believe at the hands of the Sun Priest, after meeting her he is convinced she was not responsible, but he is inadvertently involved with the assassination plot on Nara. There’s a lot and this is just the start of this twisty novel.
What I Liked: The backstories on everyone are really well done and reveal so much. This novel has 3 scenes of action that are super intense. The character’s are great it took me a little while to get on Nara’s side but I liked the others pretty instantly. The powers of Serapio and Xiala are really cool and keep evolving. The world building was done really well, it reminded me a lot of Scythe by Neal Shusterman, where it starts small and expands so naturally, also it reminds me of Scythe of how politics and religion work together. The visuals the words paint were easy to picture. The ship mutiny scene was so great, and everything leading up to it. I think pansexuals will be happy with Xiala’s portrayal. Serapio is like a blind Bran from Game of Thrones that actually does cool things with his power.
What I Disliked: I do wish that the ending had the closure of the story and not leave it so open ended. The Xe and Xir was really confusing to figure out. sometime it was capitalized sometimes not (I did receive an uncorrected proof, so hopefully this is made a bit clearer in the final version).
Recommendations: Black Sun is a very good piece of writing that I can’t wait to read the next book. The world building is new and fresh. If you liked Scythe like I liked that story I think they are very similar in the way the stories are told, but very different stories. This is a good little fantasy that is fun with a great story, that has a lot more to tell. I rated Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse 5 out of 5 stars.
The Werewolf of Fever Swamp by R. L. Stine is book 14 in the Original Goosebumps series. What is scary in this book is the setting of a Florida swamp called Fever Swamp. The swamp seems way more dangerous than the werewolf that slowly starts killing animals. This book helps if you’ve read other goosebumps books and are looking for the twist to enjoy it because I thought my first guess was just too easy, but that was it. The story thrives on misdirection and it doesn’t work. It is also a story that once you know the twist the story makes no sense, it reveals in the end that the Werewolf knows they are a werewolf and still has thoughts, which will make no sense when the thing or person is revealed to be a werewolf. My pet peeve in twist-telling stories is that they make sense no matter how far they go and it does not.
The Plot: Grady and Emily are siblings that have just moved to Florida and remote place called Fever Swamp. Their are parents scientist looking a swamp deers in in Florida’s Fever Swamp. The siblings explore and soon find out that the swamp can be dangerous, as they get lost, find a bog that will suck you in, and a hermit that chases them. The siblings get a fever and start possibly hallucinating as they here scratches and howling from outside. The fever only last though the night then they feel better by morning. In the morning Grady is attacked by big dog that knocks him down and keeps licking him, the dog is a stray that he wants to keep and calls him wolf, because of his size, he thinks this describes the scratching and the howls. He meets and makes a new friend in Will who wants to explore the swamp together, when they explore the find a heron torn in half. Grady learns of the werewolf and a missing neighbor. At night Wolf freaks out at the howling and tries to break out of the house waking every one up, Wolf gets put out and the family finds animals ripped in half in the morning. Is Wolf the werewolf? Or the crazy hermit? or someone else, he were wolf seems to be targeting Grady’s house.
What I Liked: Wolf the dog, is a little bit rough, but I like what Stine does with him at the end. I loved that the hermit over hears them thinking he’s a werewolf then pranks the kids as he runs after them screaming, “I’m a werewolf!” The Swamp as a character is one of the best things, the elements are against the kids. The snake bite scene was a twist on Lassie and I liked it. The final scene was good were we get to acknowledge that the werewolf still has conscience when a werewolf.
What I Disliked: Once you know who or what the werewolf is, the actions don’t make any sense at all. There is no character motivation of the werewolf. The only motivation is by writer Stine to have you not figure out what is the werewolf.
Recommendation: This is not the worst Goosebumps but it is in the bottom five. If you’re like me on a quest to read them all then you can’t skip any, but this one is a skip for any other reason. Even if you like werewolf fiction the werewolf only shows up in the final pages. I rated The Werewolf of Fever Swamp by R. L. Stine 3 out of 5 stars. Here’s my full ranking of the 14 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… , The Werewolf of Fever Swamp and Monster Blood.
Harrow the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir is a the sequel to the excellent Gideon the Ninth. Harrow the Ninth is book 2 the The Locked Tomb trilogy. Harrow was the necromancer and Gideon was her cavalier (swordswoman). The best part of Gideon was the love hate relationship between Gideon and Harrowhawk that have to work together or they could die. Harrowhawk takes the leads in this one, which was good, but her character is no Gideon, and I missed her raunchy smart snappy dialogue. Harrowhawk learns some cool tricks with necromancy that are the highlights of this book. This book is is one of the most confusing that I have read in a while. The main story is really good, but it’s really difficult to know where you are, the bounce around space and time. There’s a reason for the confusion but it did not have to take almost 65% of the book. I will give Tamsyn Muir credit, she made some bold choices in this book, that challenge and frustrate the reader for a decent payoff at the 65% mark. This book reminded me of the Twilight book New Moon where the most interesting character Edward (sorry team Edward) is gone for over half the book. This book was a challenge for me, I really enjoyed about 75% of the story, rest I was really confused.
The Plot: Harrowhawk passed the deadly challenges in the last book making some ultimate sacrifices. She has reach Lectorhood and has joined the emperor, being one of his necromatic ninjas. Harrowhark is now able to raise and animate the dead with ease and turn her own bones into a variety of weapons. Harrowhawk is now a student and has to learn a lot of hard lessons fast because someone is trying to kill her. She has to pass into the River of Souls who want to keep her and detach her soul from her body, she is also training to fight and kill the resurrecting Beast who wants to kill the emperor. This book is filled with so many twist and turns, that have deadly consequences.
What I Liked: The difficult choices Muir made, is greatly appreciated, I’ve read two authors where there second novel felt like a cookie cutter version of the first, and this book is definitely not like that. The twists keep coming and changing everything you know. Harrowhawk’s necromancer skills turning her bones to spears and turning her bone marrow into a weapon. The orgy that comes out of nowhere. Ianthe and Harrowhawk’s relationship. The huge spoiler reveal at the 75% I almost cried I was so happy. More backstory on Harrowhawk’s family and the locked tomb. Ortus’ character was a standout for me.
What I Disliked: The novel was confusing enough with figuring out where people are in space and time, could have really gone without having multiple characters with the same name, that was just cruel. The big twist was too long, it could have been teased a little more. I had a hard time with sometimes I would no people’s names and actions but get no description. The settings needed bette descriptions as well, I could not visualize the spaceship for my life.
Recommendations: This is a good sequel that expands the story and world building. This is a book where you must read the first book to read this one, you are just thrown into the story, and expected to remember character from the last book and there importance in that story. If Harrowhawk was your favorite character in Gideon the Ninth then you will love this book. The book is LGTBQ friendly with having multiple lesbian, and bisexual characters. I rated Harrow the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir 3 out of 5 stars. I was really split on this one 3.5 would be the accurate for this book.
October 2020 TBR list: last month was so successful I read all 7 books ; I decided to do it again and add another 7 and knock out some horror books I haven’t gotten too. This month will be spooktackular.
Harrow the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir is the sequel to Gideon the Ninth a book I read last month. Lesbian necromancer got me intrigued, but the great story and world building had me really excited for the next book. Gideon’s love hate relationship with Harrow made the last book work so well, so with Harrow taking the center stage, things could get interesting. I’m more than half way done with this book I went in a direction I wouldn’t have predicted. I’ll let you know if it was a good or bad decision soon.
If It Bleeds by Stephen King it is rare when I read a Stephen King book in the year it was published. This book is a 4 book novella much like his popular book Different Seasons. A story in this book acts as a stand-alone sequel to the Outsider, a recent Stephen King novel I quite enjoyed. Stephen almost always delivers the chills
William Gibson’s Alien 3 by William Gibson is a graphic novel by Dark Horse Comics that illustrates Gibson’s original screenplay for Alien 3. This story continued off Aliens the movie with all the last surivors of the film making it, where in the original movie only Ellen Ripley survived the journey and lands on a prison planet. I really want to check out the audible where stars Lance Hendrickson and Michael Biehn do the voice of their original characters.
Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Manicalco is the first book of a new series, that has the Tag lines of Two Sisters. One brutal murder. A quest for vengeance that will release hell itself… And an intoxicating romance. I like how Maniscalco write murder and the macabre. I just finished her first four book series Stalking Jack the Ripper, so I was happy to get approved by Netgalleyf or the advance readers copy that is published 10-27-20.
Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse is a book that is getting a lot of buzz and the start of a new science fiction series. I don’t know a whole lot about it, but it is inspired by pre-Columbian Americas with prophecies, politics and dark magic. This is another advance reader copy from Netgalley that is released on October 13th 2020.
Goosebumps: The Werewolf of Fever Swamp by R. L. Stine is Goosebumps book 14 on my quest to read and review all the Goosebumps books. This is a Book I don’t know too much about, I bet it has that original twist that only Stine could dream up.
The Saturday Night Ghost Club by Craig Davidson is set in the 8o’s Canada with the tag line of Stranger Things meets Stand by Me, I’m instantly in and have to experience it. It’s getting good reviews and looks like a lot of fun.
Hello fellow readers. September was a good month for reading. I read 8 books in September. I read 1 graphic novel, 6 books in a series, 2 advanced readers copies (thanks to Netgalley). I was able to complete two series this month The Stalking Jack the Ripper series with contained four books and DC’s Injustice: Gods Among Us that contained 11 graphic novels. My goal this year was to finish up some series this year, I have wrapped up 5 series so far. I made a TBR for this month and read every book on it giving me more confidence for the month of October.
Five Stars Reviews:
Goosebumps: Piano Lessons Can Be Murder by R. L. Stine – This is Goosebumps 13 in the original series order. s pretty scary for a Goosebumps book; ghosts, dismemberment, and creepy teachers make this one scary. 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!
Four Star Reviews:
The Invention of Sound by Chuck Palahniuk is released to the public on September 8th 2020 Thanks Netgalley for the early read. 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. 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.
Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir – The main character was described as MTV’s Daria in an action packed Science Fiction involving necromancy. I felt like it was kind of the Tri-wizards tournament from Harry Potter with a lot more death 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. Currently reading the sequel Harrow the Ninth
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. My Dark Vanessa is 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.
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. 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 was ARC thanks to netgalley and came 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. 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.
Three Star Reviews:
Capturing the Devil by Kerri Maniscalco – This is book four of the Stalking Jack the Ripper Series 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.
Goosebumps: Be Careful What You Wish For… by R. L. Stine this book is number 12 in the original series order. 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. This is my latest review.
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.