The House on the Cliff by Franklin W. Dixon is the second Hardy Boys adventure/mystery. This book is way more adventure while the first Hardy Boys The Tower Treasure was more mystery. I have been enjoying the Hulu’s The Hardy Boys and Only Murders in the Building which rely on the old Hardy Boys stories and I thought I would start reading the series that was published in 1927 and updated in 1959. The story’s adventure still holds up nicely, the bad guys have that dated Scooby Doo, “I’ll get you meddling kids quality.” One bad guy laments about if he had a father like that when he was a kid that he wouldn’t have turned out so bad then wants to turn his smuggler’s house into a Boy’s home, after he had threatened to kill the Hardy’s the whole time. The House on the Cliff features their Dad, Detective Fenton Hardy more, you understand a lot about the Hardy Boys and why they are so enamored by their dad and want to be just like him. The Hardy’s friend’s Chet and Biff really help them out and have their own chapter, after getting briefly introduced in the first book. This book is filled with danger, kidnapping and drug smuggling.
Fun Fact the author of the Hardy Boys Franklin W. Dixon is a pen name the story was created by Edward Stratemeyer and written by Leslie McFarlane, thinking that the books wouldn’t sell if written by a woman. The through the years it has had a mix of men and women but the pen name has stuck with it form 1927 to present day.
Plot Summary: The Hardy Boys ask for anyway they can help their dad, Detective Fenton Hardy and his next case. He gives the boy’s a task to take his telescope to the house on the cliff that looks out over the bay and look for the boats of smugglers, and report the name of boats back to him. They see suspicious boats but have the wrong angle, they wait and watch waiting for them to turn around, but the boys are distracted my calls from help coming from the house on the cliff. The previous owner of the house died in there, and there is a spooky quality. They investigate and find hidden stairs but no people yet can still hear the calls from help. The calls for help stop as the boys get trapped and have to break out, when they return to the telescope the eye pieces are gone and tools from their tool kit are missing. The boys see distress in the Bay with a boat on fire, they race down the cliff to save the man that was blasted out. They save him but can tell there is something off about the man. When they tell their father about the man, and he’s curious but when they return they find the house a mess and find the people that took the man in tied to chairs and gagged. There father senses the danger of the case and tells his boys to lay low they do until there father is missing.
What I Liked: The adventure is top notch and still thrilling to this day. The trick for getting out of ropes is so smart, if I’m ever tied up I will have to remember that. I like the myth the criminal’s have for Fenton Hardy, he never misses when he targets you and he’ll break out but we will be gone when he does. The like the Hardy Boys friends and how will they are to risk danger to help. I like how I was able to picture everything with really simple descriptions. I loved all the hidden place with in the house on the cliff. I liked that the Hardy Boys don’t win all the time, they lose pretty spectacularly. I like that we kind of get two stories the stopping of the smugglers and the mystery of the ghost on the House on the Cliff. I liked how much sense the ghost made and the resoning behind it.
What I Disliked: The ending was too sappy, the villain when caught totally turns personalities. I rolled my eyes hard at this, he just keeps admitting to everything, I’m like dude you have a trial, shut up.
Recommendation: I liked The House on the Cliff more than The Tower Treasure. The mystery and adventure blended together a lot better. This story is fun. I rated The House on the Cliff by Franklin W. Dixon 4 out of 5 stars.
The Black Echo by Michael Connelly is the first appearance of detective Harry Bosch and the birth of the Harry Bosch Universe. The story for The Black Echo is used for the main story of Bosch Season 3 on Amazon Prime. I recently watched that season and wanted to know the original story. I had read The Black Echo 15 years ago, I still remembered some beats to the story but was still shocked by the twist and turns in the story. The thing I like about this book is we get to detect with Harry Bosch, the reader discovers all the clues with him, the story is very detailed, sometimes too detailed. I liked the twist and thought they fit with the narrative. The Black Echo overall story was good and compelling. This is Connelly’s debut so there is a little issue of pacing. There’s a final twist that I saw coming and I had to wait 50 pages to get it, which was way too long. But for this novel being a debut it is really good the character of Harry Bosch is special, and it is awesome that the character has expanded to 25 novels. We get to learn Bosch’s code and which rules he’s willing to bend and which he’s willing to break, at the end of this novel his morals are put to the test. The Black Echo was published in 1992.
The Plot: Harry Bosch has just came off a suspension for an officer involved shooting. He has just got a call about a body being in a water main pipe. The 9-1-1 call was anonymous. Bosch finds a heroin needle in his arm and a tattoo, that Bosch also has the is military and special for a tunnel division in Vietnam. Bosch I.D.s the body on the spot as Meadows and rushes the corner to determine cause of death since the heroin marks are all old except the one that supposedly killed him. Bosch goes to the bodies home and can tell it was searched over, he finds a hidden pawn ticket, and goes to the pawn shop to find it has been robbed and the item on the pawn ticket was taken. Bosch does some investigating and finds the item was stolen from a bank robbery involving tunnels. Bosch goes to the FBI who are investigating and they reluctantly let him join after he threaten to go to the press. They look for the anonymous 9-1-1 caller to find out if he saw the killers and is not being hunted by the killers. Bosch himself is being hunted my 2 internal affairs officers that are willing to bend the same rules Bosch does to catch him. This starts a wild ride of twist and turns that involve events that took place in Vietnam 20 years ago.
What I Liked: How the reader follows the detective process along with Bosch. I love the character of Bosch who is drawn to detective work because his since of write and wrong, we learn that his mother was a prostitute that was murdered and Bosch went to foster homes. This in stilled him with a code and an empathy for those that have the same fate, he never wants to see someone go through what he went through. I liked the internal affairs investigation angle that was interesting to see especially the way it all played out. I liked the twist and turns and how everything was backed up narrative that explained everything, and the twist make sense once we have the character’s background. I liked the descriptions of Los Angeles cityscape, and the word choice on average descriptors. I liked that the Black Echo referred to the tunnel system, and being so dark all you see is black and your own echo.
What I Disliked: The Pacing wasn’t always the best, the strength of the mystery lets you put up with a lot. I felt the Vietnam angle was a little bit confusing, and it seems like too many people knew what was going on. I still wanted to know more about how everything was set up, the tunnel crew and how they met up could have needed a little more explaining, this is the only part I feel did not get explained enough or over explained.
Recommendations: If you are a fan on the show Bosch and have to read things in order you have to read this one. Having read a couple of Bosch stories I can’t remember the Vietnam coming up again. I think this was a good debut but if you are a casual reader of Connelly this could be one you skip and read another Bosch adventure The Concrete Blonde which is the 3rd Bosch is my favorite and one I intend to reread and review for the blog. I rated The Black Echo 3 out of 5 stars.
Temple of the Winds by Terry Goodkind is an epic high fantasy with dark desires and tough choices. Temple of the Winds is book 4 in the Sword of Truth series. This book was light on the action, but filled with so much high stakes drama instead. These last two books The Blood of the Fold and Temple of the Winds has some of the best writing your characters into corner writing. Goodkind perfected that kind of writing with this story; He will have a scenario that is life or death with two options both are bad one involves this bad thing happening this betrayal and the other option is even worse. Goodkind masterfully handles his characters suffering with a pin prick of light at the tunnel. This book flowed better than the others in the series it starts off a little slow then at page 200 the story bounces from characters we have met in the series and the threats they are facing. This book manages to bring most of the characters together at some point, most of these characters have been distant from each other since the first book. The finale works really well and establishes a new threat for the next book. I have a couple of family members hooked on this series so I will read one every couple months. This show came on my Radar because of the TV Show Legend of the Seeker, which does not do the series justice, even though I have a spot spot for the show. These books are filled with raunch, sex, and violence, and the show needs to capture that. I included the plots for all 4 books in the series, feel free to skip if you do not want a summary overview of the Sword of Truth series.
The Plot of Wizard’s First Rule: Richard Cypher is a wood guide that that has recently lost his father to a brutal murder with no suspects. His father and him had a code where one would leave an item in a jar my the door, the item is a rare vine that should not grow in his land. Richard is on a mission to find the vine and it takes him on the outskirts of the boundary of Westland. While investigating he finds a beautiful woman, Kahlan being chased by four big men. Richard knowing the trails can get to the woman first. He gets to the woman first and ends up defending her and defeating the men. they become fast friends as the woman in mystified by Richard and the way he treats her, it is revealed she is from the other side of the boundary, the Midlands, the boundary is protected by miles of border wall of the underworld, and not used to the kindness from men. Richard takes her to an old healer/ cloud reader friend, Zedd. Quickly Richard finds out that his old friend is not what he seems but a powerful wizard, one of the last of his kind. Kahlan is very important to the cause and Richard is special and anointed the Seeker of Truth, which comes with a powerful weapon the Sword of Truth that is a powerful magical item that focuses emotion into the blade. Richard finds out the true nature of the world that there is a Threat in Darken Rahl that involves tearing down the boundaries and ruling the world. It is up to Kahlan, Zedd and Richard to stop him.
The Plot of Stone of Tears: 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.
The Plot for Blood of the Fold: A funeral is held at the Palace of the Prophets for the Prelate and the Prophet. They were burned by Sisters of the Dark who have infiltrated the Sisters of the Light. Sister Verna who is the a good Sister of the Light and a friend to Richard Rahl the Seeker of Truth, is set up to be the new Prelate she doesn’t know if this is for real or a trick of the Sisters of the Dark, the prophesies foretold that the false Prelate will destroy the Palace of the Prophets. She believes this to be free when she unravels a conspiracy that makes the prophesy come to pass. Richard having just came from seeing Kahlan and confirming she is alive when the world thinks she is dead. Richard waits at the Mother Confesser’s temple and fights the Mriswith a deadly snake like creatures that he saw and killed in the old world but has never seen one in this world. The Mriswith have now started to plague the land, they are being lead by something Richard must find out. Richard has started to embrace the Rahl part of his name he believes that the only way to unite the Midlands is be the supreme ruler, with all of Midland under his rule. He tries for peace by strong arming The Blood the Fold leader, the very same man who thinks he murdered Kahlan, but the Mriswith help him as their ruler wants him to live, and has a purpose for him. The ruler is known as the Dreamwalker and quickly takes over the Sister of the Dark and the Blood of the Fold, he wants Richard defeated and the Palace of the Prophets to be his especially the slow aging spell attached to it. Richard and Verna must fight the Dreamwalker on to different fronts.
The Plot for this book Temple of the Winds: Richard and Kahlan are finally reunited and talking wedding. They get three very special visitors One is a man claiming to be Richard’s brother an illegitimate son of Richard’s father Darken Rahl. The second visitor is Nadine a girl from Richard’s village who was sent by the witch woman Shota to marry Richard. The final visitor is an assassin who’s job it is to kill Richard. Through interrogation of the assassin they find that he was not alone, and with a sister of the dark that work for the Dreamwalker. The Sister has started a plague which starts a prophesy for Richard if he does nothing millions will die, if he wants to fight Kahlan will betray him . and Ricard will be no more. When the first victim of the plague dies his spirt takes over his body and talks about the winds This leads them to find out of a spiritual place called the Temple of the Winds that could hold the key to the cure and stop the plague. The price to enter the Temple of the Winds might be too high?
What I Liked: The high stakes writing, a couple times I was like how are these characters going to get out of this? The overall story keeps surprising me. The Kahlan and Richard romance is the heart of the story, you just want them to be together with so much getting in the way. The humor, when the book does a joke it usually works every time to give me a chuckle. The deaths had meaning, one death in particular really got to me. I liked the reveals of Shota and how that character has evolved. The conclusion of this story was so fulfilling and perfect. There wasn’t much action but when it was their it was intense. There was a couple of really great twist and turns.
What I Disliked: I wanted to see the moment where Nadine found out, I felt very cheated sense we get the aftermath but don’t see how it went down. I thought one character turned to the darkside too fast, it was explained after the fact but I would have wanted to see the gradual change. The beginning was a little slow, we stay with only Kahlan for the first 200 pages and it need to switch.
Recommendation: This book was especially good it had me twisting a turning with some character’s decisions.This book will make you invest in these character’s. This book was my second favorite in the series so far. I rated Temple of the Winds by Terry Goodkind 4 out of 5 stars.
Marvel Masterworks: The Amazing Spider-Man Volume 9 by Stan Lee is an okay collection of Spiderman stories. This is the weakest volume so far in terms of story and memorable action and storylines. There’s a lack of long form storytelling, which is explained and does make sense, if you had a long form story and miss one issue there were no comic book stores in the 1960’s to get the missed issue, but it was definitely a step back in storytelling. The adds to the Marvel universe in this issue are the The Prowler who is not bad just misunderstood, he ends up donning the spider suit once in this volume and to a greater effect later, we also meet Vanessa Fisk the woman behind The Kingpin, and The Black Widow makes an appearance where she changes costume which is pretty close to the outfit she wears today. The only villains in Spiderman’s rogue gallery appearing in these issues are Electro, The Chameleon and the Kingpin. The notable issue that is also on the cover is Spiderman unmask in front of Harry Osborn, Mary Jane Watson, Gwen Stacey, Gwen’s father Captain Stacey, when he come’s to his senses he fixes it but this issue will place doubt in some that find the truth later. Marvel Masterworks: The Amazing Spider-Man Volume 9 by Stan Lee collects Amazing Spider-Man issues 78-87.
Plots: The Prowler is born and runs into peter parker who tries to stop him fearing he shows to much strength in front of J. Jonah Jamison throws himself out the window, with the Prowler believing he killed him, the Prowler get set straight and vows to do only good. Electro works at a tv studio that just booked Spiderman for an interview, this will not be good. The Schemer takes away all of Kingpin’s old property while he is in hiding, the Kingpin comes out of it to deal with the Schemer. Spiderman want the bounty for The Schemer and things end up getting personal for the Kingpin. Black Widow after having been in a relationship with Hawkeye and briefly joining The Avengers wants to go on her own she wants to learn the secrets to Spiderman’s powers. The Kangaroo is an Australian villain that can jump high. Spiderman thinking he lost his powers shows his friends that he is Peter Parker, only to realizes what the problem is and having to fix what they just saw. Spiderman stays with Aunt May and sneaks out makes a dummy out of web which Aunt May finds and has a passed out, Peter has no choice to lie to her making her think she’s starting to go crazy.
What I Liked: The lying to Aunt May was pretty soul crushing and was done really well. The internal monologue was written really well showing the indecision of the moment. The way Peter Parker fixed the reveal that he was Spiderman was clever and desperate. The Electro Fight was the only real good one this issue, but it was really good. Gwen and Peter’s relationship is so up and down but you see what he falls for.
What I Disliked: there’s some really dated sexism and it is from the smartest most thought provoking character Captain Stacey. “You know Peter women are not like men, they think only with their heart”, this line is said twice, causing me to role my eyes both times. The Black Widow and Kangaroo storylines are horrible. Stan Lee even admits this is a promo for Black Widow’s own book and that is what it feels like.
Recommendation: Most of this book is skippable because it does not impact the larger story for what Spiderman becomes and it is just not as fun as the previous issues. I would recommend reading the 2 issue Prowler Issues 78-79 and the reveal of Spiderman’s identify issue 87. The Chameleon and Electro issues are fun as well. But the 5 other issues are skippable. I rated Marvel Masterworks: The Amazing Spider-Man Volume 9 by Stan Lee 2 out of 5 stars.
November 2021 TBR list: I took a couple months off to find my groove back after moving in my house; I decided to shoot for 6 , with one of the books fairly long. I have 9 books left from hitting my goal of 80 books this year. I plan to read one advanced reader’s copy thanks to Netgalley. I will read 3 books from existing book series: Goosebumps, Marvel Masterworks Amazing Spiderman, and The Sword of Truth Series. I plan to start one new book series Hellboy graphic novels.
The Final Girl Support Group by Grady Hendrix is going to be a fun slasher filled novel. About a group of final girl’s mirrored after survivors of horror movies like Halloween, Friday the 13th, and Scream have a support group that is about to be targeted who will be the final, final girl? Last month I read my Heart is a Chainsaw by Stephen Graham Jones, which I have heard has similarities. I have read My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix before which was a lot of fun and very tongue in cheek about the horror genre. I hope this is as good. Netgalley did provide me this copy.
The Woman on the Pier B. P. Walter is going to me a fun mystery. The Tag line is Two Strangers meet on a pier one walks away… I had the pleasure of reading The Dinner Guest by B. P. Walter, which was the author’s debut. The publisher reached out and asked if I would like to read the follow up, I was let down by my last mystery The Maidens by Alex Michaelides, so I hope this one does the trick. This is an advanced readers copy from Netgalley and Harper Collins, One More Chapter. The Woman on the Pier by B. P. Walter is published on November 11 2021.
The Temple of the Winds by Terry Goodkind is the Sword of Truth book 4. This epic fantasy series has been a lot of fun. It is very detailed and very easy to picture. The characters are well written and fell the stress and strain of each decision. I was a fan of the TV series based on the books Legend of the Seeker, but that series only scratched the surface this dark and very adult book series.
Marvel Masterworks: The Amazing Spider-Man Volume 9 by Stan Lee collects Amazing Spider-Man issues 78-87. This series I have been having a lot of fun with reading a comic book series I loved as a kid. I read the Spiderman of the 90’s is has been fun going all the way back to the beginning with Spiderman in the 1960’s. I didn’t know how deep Peter Parker’s love for Gwen Stacey meant since I only knew Mary Jane. I got a killer deal and bought over 20 issues of Marvel Masterworks for 1.99 on kindle. It has been fun reading this comic series in order.
Goosebumps: Ghost Beach by R. L. Stine is issue 22. This is another Series I have loved exploring since I was a kid when I read it. I like looking back on all the things that are totally 90’s. I have my nephew’s hooked so I give the books to them when finished. I’m close to the halfway mark on the series, I rate and rank putting them in order from best to worst, which has lead to some fun debate. I am looking forward to see where Ghost Beach ranks up.
Hellboy: The Complete Short Stories Volume 1 by Mike Mignola I have never read a Hellboy comic but it has been highly recommended to me. I found another great deal on kindle and got the whole series. I’m staring with the short stories since it take the character arch to 1947 to 1961. I will read not in publication order, but character development order.
Dear Readers, October was a great month, finally got my reading groove back, that was lost a little after moving into my house. I read 7 books this month. I read 2 graphic novel, 3 horror, 2 mystery and 1 new release thanks to Netgalley. I Read 3 books from a book series with Star Wars: The High Republic graphic novel volume 1, Goosebumps book 21 Go Eat Worms!, and I added a new book series The Hardy Boys 1 The Tower Treasure. I read two 5 star book, two 4 star books, and three 3 star books. I started linking all my full book reviews to the cover pictures.
Five Star Reviews:
Alright, Alright, Alright: The Oral History of Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused by Melissa Maerz is look at what led up to the cult classic film Dazed and Confused getting made and how it became a cult classic. The film Dazed and Confused has been a favorite of mine for some time. The book is very detailed and doesn’t shy away from controversies both on set and off. Over 3o crewmembers were interviewed and over 20 cast members. The story of the making of film is very David and Goliath-like as Writer/Director Richard Linklater battles the corporate entity that is Universal Studios, to make and independent minded movie. How the unsupervised cast partied their way through the shoot and each other. How much of the movie was improved. How Matthew McConaughey was cast and what he added to the character.
The Thief of Always by Clive Barker is a wonderful modern day fable, yet the writing feels timeless. This story has so much heart, you can’t help but feel for the characters. The writing is really good very poetic, one of the best first lines to a story in a long time. When I read that first line, I knew this was going to be a special story and I was not wrong. This story is very fast paced I read it in two days but could easily finished it in one sitting. The illustrations for this book are pretty perfect, they go very well with the descriptions, it made me think of Jim Henson’s Labyrinth and illustrations done by Shel Silverstien. The novel reminded me of Coraline by Neil Gaiman meets There’s Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury
Four Star Reviews:
Star Wars: The High Republic, Vol. 1: There Is No Fear by Cavan Scott is a lot of fun and high stakes adventure. This graphic novel makes up for one of my complaints in most books in the High Republic little to no action. This book is filled with action and light saber duels. This graphic novel is a page-turner and over way too fast. This novel features for the most part characters that were referred to only briefly in Light of the Jedi, Into the Dark, The Gathering Storm, and Out of the Past (the two adult and two young adult High Republic novels).
The Tower Treasure by Franklin W. Dixon is a fun action adventure mystery aimed at middle grade boys, but fun for adults too. I thought the writing would be horrible but the mystery was really fun and really smart. The twists are clever and keep you guessing. The story is kind of a double mystery, since one mystery leads to another.
Three Star Reviews:
The Maidens by Alex Michaelides is a thriller that plays out like a Greek tragedy. This is Michaelides second novel since his incredible debut novel The Silent Patient. This book takes place in the same universe as The Silent Patient. The flow of this book is good but the story is lacking. I wasn’t all that compelling the people getting murdered I really didn’t care about and it takes so long for characters that I care about to be in danger.
My Heart is a Chainsaw by Stephen Graham Jones is a retelling of The Boy Who Cried Wolf but this time it is The Girl Who Cried Slasher. This book is a huge homage to the Slasher movie genre and the final survival girl filled with history, facts, and opinions. Where Slasher movies are not known for there characterizations this novel is all about character. The ending was great and everything you want in a Slasher (high body count). The story is good, but I did not like the way it was told. Jade has ADHD and at a moments notice will focus on something else usually a Slasher, and then circle back 7 paragraphs later which I found extremely frustrating. I also found that this novel missed key descriptors and was at time hard to vision what was going on. Thank you Netgalley Gallery / Saga Press for letting me read and review this book. My Heart is a Chainsaw was published on August 31 2021.
Go Eat Worms! by R. L. Stine is Goosebumps book 21 in the original order. Go Eat Worms is more gross than scary. The title is based on a character’s phrase to tell other kids off, Go Eat Worms! I am very picky when it comes to food so biting into a sandwich and and eating half of a worm would be my nightmare. The story is more a series of pranks with a small hint of supernatural. The ending I saw for a mile away, and was let down by it.
The Thief of Always by Clive Barker is a wonderful modern day fable, yet the writing feels timeless. This story has so much heart, you can’t help but feel for the characters. The writing is really good very poetic, one of the best first lines to a story in a long time. When I read that first line, I knew this was going to be a special story and I was not wrong. This story is very fast paced I read it in two days but could easily finished it in one sitting. The illustrations for this book are pretty perfect, they go very well with the descriptions, it made me think of Jim Henson’s Labyrinth and illustrations done by Shel Silverstien. I have not read much Clive Barker, just a story or two from the Books of Blood. Where I liked them and appreciated the writing I wasn’t blown away, this story blew me away. The novel reminded me of Coraline by Neil Gaiman meets There’s Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury. This is a story that young and old can both appreciate. I think a child as old as 11 can handle the danger, the mystery, and the horror element. I would love to see a movie of this book it has been talked about for sometime now.
The Plot: Harvey Swick is so bored by the dreary February weather, he feels like he could die. He wish for better weather and to never be bored again, when a creature, Rictus breezes into his room. Rictus says he can take him away to a place he will never get bored. Harvey has questions, but when he ask to many Rictus says “questions rot the mind.” The place that he is going can not be questioned. Harvey is brought to the Holiday House that goes through all the seasons in a single day they celebrate, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas everyday. At first this is wonderful but he starts to see a darker side of the place that won’t let him leave.
What I Liked: The writing is incredible, so lyrical, yet simple. The descriptions are just enough, for this reader to picture the characters so clearly and with the help of Barker’s great drawings. The drawings are haunting yet beautiful. I liked all the creatures that could be friendly yet frightening. I loved the climax and what it ended up being about. I loved the twist about returning to the real world. Te final scene was great and such a good wrap up. The horror element was great and at times pretty frightening.
What I Disliked: Mrs. Griffin is the only character I had a hard time imagining. I wanted to know more about the house and how it came to be.
Recommendation: This is a fantastic book, I’m a little bummed by how old i am when I discovered it since it was published when I was twelve, and would have loved every second of it at that age. I will be actively looking to read more Clive Barker in the future since this book was so incredible. I think an 11 year old can handle this book, or at least me at 11 could handle it. This would be a great book to read with your kids. I rated The Thief of Always by Clive Barker 5 out of 5 stars.
Go Eat Worms! by R. L. Stine is Goosebumps book 21 in the original order. Go Eat Worms is more gross than scary. The title is based on a character’s phrase to tell other kids off, Go Eat Worms! I am very picky when it comes to food so biting into a sandwich and and eating half of a worm would be my nightmare. Which is why I always lift the bread to see but still seeing a worm on my sandwich would ruin me. The nightmare scene of the worm bath was well done and the only scene of any horror. The story is more a series of pranks with a small hint of supernatural. The ending I saw for a mile away, and was let down by it. The final twist was lame too. The totally 90’s thing in this book is the Trapper Keeper. At the bottom of the review check out were Go Eat Worms! stacks up against all 21 goosebumps books so far.
The Plot: Todd is worm obsessed, when he is not putting worms down his sister’s shirt and in her soup, he studies them. He a worm farm he thinks is a shoe in to win the science fair, until the new rich kid in town wants to copy Todd’s idea and do something with worms. Todd needs to know what he’s doing, his sister being friends with the rich kid ask her for the address, but his sister tired of all the worms down the shirt gives the wrong address. This is the starting of a prank filled story that turns gross.
What I Liked: Some of the pranks are pretty funny, the one at the fair is the best one. I did think the wrong house was good and would have loved for that scene to continue, but it goes back to pranks. I did like the shower of worms nightmare, which was the only thing terrifying. The worm in the sandwich was gross but effective, and sets the tone for as far as they will go.
What I Disliked: The ending is too projected and really lame. Their was barely a supernatural element but would have been so much better if the story went in this direction. The final twist was one of the worst so far.
Recommendation: Go Eat Worms! is more gross over scary. it’s is more like an episode of prank wars than a full story. I recommend you skip this Goosebumps book. I rated Go Eat Worms! by R. L. Stine 3 out of 5 stars. Here’s my full ranking of the 20 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, The Scarecrow Walks at Midnight, Welcome to Dead House, Monster Blood II, The Girl who Cried Monster, Deep Trouble, The Ghost Next Door, Be Careful What You Wish For… ,Why I’m Afraid of Bees, Go Eat Worms!, The Werewolf of Fever Swamp, Monster Blood, And You Can’t Scare Me!
The Tower Treasure by Franklin W. Dixon is a fun action adventure mystery aimed at middle grade boys, but fun for adults too. I have been enjoying the Hulu’s The Hardy Boys and Only Murders in the Building which rely on the old Hardy Boys stories and I though I would read the very first written in 1927 and updated in 1959. I thought the writing would be horrible but the mystery was really fun and really smart. The twist are clever and keep you guessing. The dialogue is bad at times but I was prepared for it by watching the Venture Brothers, which were also heavily influenced by the Hardy Boys, so instead of when they repeatedly say “swell” it is more humorous than bad.
Fun Fact: the author of the Hardy Boys Franklin W. Dixon is a pen name the story was created by Edward Stratemeyer and written by Leslie McFarlane, thinking that the books wouldn’t sell if written by a woman. The through the years it has had a mix of men and women but the pen name has stuck with it form 1927 to present day.
The Plot: The Hardy Boys, Frank 18 and Joe 17, on motorcycles are practically driven off the road by a crazed red headed driver. The Hardy boys make a delivery for their detective father, and find the crazed man’s car wrecked with the license plate missing. Just up the hill is the boys friend Chet who’s hot rod was just stolen, and here starts the mystery that will end with a jewel theft, that only the Hardy Boys can solve.
What I Liked: the Mystery was really clever, it is almost a two in one mystery where they have to solve the stolen car which leads to a mystery about a stolen jewels involving a tower. The humor is a little hokey but generally works, there’s a scene where they ask old farmers if they have seen a missing car which was pretty funny. The adventuring was fun.
What I Disliked: The dialogue is dated and in a time capsule, which is not the problem, it is that the dialogue coming from Joe and Frank is hard to tell apart, it like they have a hive mind.
Recommendation: This book is really fun for all ages. It shows a fun mystery in a time between World Wars. If you are enjoying Hulu’s The Hardy Boy’s then you will enjoy the books series it is based on. I rated The Tower Treasure by Franklin W. Dixon 4 out of 5 stars.
The Maidens by Alex Michaelides is a thriller that plays out like a greek tragedy. This is Michaelides second novel since his incredible debut novel The Silent Patient. This book takes place in the same universe as The Silent Patient and will see a character or two make a cameo and one setting is the same, it is a nice reward for readers of The Silent Patient but has nothing to do with the pot of this book. The flow of this book is good but the story is lacking. I wasn’t all that compelling the people getting murdered I really didn’t care about and it takes so long for characters that I care about to be in danger. The misdirection in this novel is in full force, but once it was known who the mastermind those other character were forgotten and never returned. The last twist was really, really good, and shocking, but I didn’t feel satisfied with the build up and the history behind the explanation.
The Plot: Edward Fosca is a murderer. Of this Mariana is certain, is the first lines of the novels. Mariana a group therapist, gets a call from her adopted daughter Zoe, about her roommate who goes missing and ends up murdered. The roommate was in a groups that was called the Maidens who have a cult like following of Edward Fosca the Greek Tragedy professor at Cambridge University. Zoe points fingers at Fosca as the police look at the kind but troubled boyfriend. Mariana plays detective as the bodies start adding up.
What I Liked: The greek tragedy elements how the stories with in the book match the plight of the characters in the story. I liked how loose connections in The Silent Patient tied into the Maidens storyline. I loved the final twist in the story. I liked the quick pace of the story. I loved the sometimes breath taking descriptions of people, places, and things,Alex Michaelides has a way with words.
What I Disliked: I found the main character annoying, and didn’t really like any side characters. There’s characters whose soul purpose is to distract the reader, once they serve their purpose they are gone. The final twist was great but the setup could have been better, after the reveal could have a more detailed explanation.
Recommendations: The Maidens is a good story overall but it could have been told a lot better. I can not recommend it. Alex Michaelides is a fantastic writer some of his descriptions floored me, and The Silent Patient showed me he can write a complex mystery with a jaw dropping twist, The twist in The Maidens is the only thing this novel had going. I rated The Maidens by Alex Michaelides 3 out of 5 stars.