Book Review: Survive the Night by Riley Sager

Survive the Night by Riley Sager is a twisty thriller that takes you on a ride with a serial killer.  The twist keep coming and coming, some I could foresee but others will change the way you read this novel, making you go, What! Just happened!?!.  Every character in this book has a major change of how the reader perceives them.  He ending is non-stop the last 150 pages are on the edge of your seat as the twists keep coming.  The climax is very satisfying, I saw the final twist coming for a while but the actions after that were very satisfying.  The flaw of this novel is the beginning was hard to get into, it takes a little time for this book to get into rhythm, but when it does it is really hard to put down.  I have read all 5 of Riley Sager’s novels; I look forward to them every summer.  He is the king of summer thrillers.  Sager’s writing hooks me in by taking a horror trope and making it into a thriller, he as explored slasher, summer camp horrors, creepy apartments, haunted house and now a psycho-like road trip.  A big thanks to Netgalley and Dutton publishing for giving me an Advanced Reader’s Copy of Survive the Night.  Survive the Night is published on 7-29-21.

The Plot: Charlie is leaving school, she can’t handle the pressure of school and her roommate and best friend getting murdered by a serial killer.  The Campus Killer has killed a victim every year and Charlie’s roommate was murdered two months ago.  What makes it worst is the last conversations was a fight late at night between friends saying words they will regret the next day but there is no next day.  Charlie saw or thinks she saw the killer or at least the last person to see her alive, but cannot seem to make out the face.  Charlie has breaks in reality like she’s in a movie, and she can’t know if this is reality or a movie.  She post a ride share flyer and is approached by Josh a handsome stranger who is a little bit older. She agrees but once she’s in the car, she feels that something is not right, and that Josh might not be who he says he is, he might be a killer, or is it all in her head?

What I Liked: I liked that I was surprised of the direction this novel took, there were point where I thought I knew were it was going then thrown a curve ball.   The novel was all about finding your own power and not being the victim.  The non-stop back half of this novel is so fast paced an intense, I loved almost every minute of it. I liked a lot of the movie references being a movie buff and having seen most of the movies referenced.  I enjoyed the 90’s references especially Nirvana.  I liked the twist and how character’s actions were explained after the fact.  Charlie took a while to warm up to but I did root for her at the end. Marge the waitress was my favorite character.  I liked the final twist in the prologue that explained the events we witnessed.

What I Disliked: The beginning took a while to get into; I thought it was too much exposition, right at the beginning, which gave me a detachment to Charlie at first.   I saw one of the major twists coming really early about the Campus Killer’s identity, It was a man I wish I’m wrong about who this is, but I was right.

Recommendations: Nobody writes thrillers like Riley Sager, you have to experience this intense novel.  The only drawback is a really slow beginning but man is this book setting you up for a fast-paced ending.  I rated Survive the Night by Riley Sager 4 out of 5 stars.  My ranking of every Riley Sager novel from highest to lowest is: The Last Time I Lied, Home Before Dark, Final Girls, Survive the Night, and Lock Every Door.

Book Review: Malorie by Josh Malerman

Malorie by Josh Malerman is the sequel to the best selling Bird Box. Bird box is a novel at the start of a dystopian future, where mysterious creatures on earth can make a human go insane instantly when they see them. The people of the world live sheltered boarding up there house allowing no out side light in, those that do venture out do it with a blind fold wrapped around their heads. A pregnant Malorie is just trying to survive in this new world. At the end of Bird Box she finds what she believed to be sanctuary for her new family. Is it? The first “pulse pounding” chapter answers that question. The tense moments are still there from the first book putting the reader instantly on edge. For most of the book you are behind the blind folds of various characters, relying on sound. touch, smell and feel for you the reader to get a full picture. The climax has lots of rising action to get you to the climax which was a little of a let down. The characters are the same but have really matured and grown since the first book. Malorie is somehow more untrustworthy towards others tan Bird ox, which says a lot. Bird Box was an instant 5 star review for me, Malorie is a worthy sequel, that delivers on tense situations and twist, but the climax left me wanting more. There’s room for a third book so who knows, but I don’t feel Malerman is done with these characters. Bird Box was adapted into a Netflix movie starring Sandra Bullock, the book is slightly different with a character that returns in this book but didn’t’t make it in Bird Box the movie. This is my fifth Josh Malerman book, and will not be my last.

The Plot: The book start right where the characters ended up and Malorie’s sanctuary. Tragedy happens and the book jumps 11 years in the future, where Maloria and her family live in the woods not trusting anybody. A stranger comes and brings news of a blind train and people being immune to the creatures gaze. Malorie finds news that shakes her and a little bit of hope that she has lost. Will Malorie risk everything for a chance of hope?

What I Liked: The tension in the book you can cut with a knife. Malorie is tension filled and I loved it. The book will make you not trust these new characters. I liked the way the audience has grown with Malorie and her two kids Tom and Olympia . The Blind train is a cool idea. I also loved Tom’s glasses idea. There’s some really good fun twist that change situations and pearl drastically. I liked the balance of dark and light and how some fit in the gray area. I liked the Malorie’s motivation is all about hope and happiness.

What I Disliked: There’s a character from the first book that I was really excited see because of what they did in the first book they cased such , but when they are revealed it feel kind of flat, with motivations not explained or nonexistent. I was bummed that the part about the birds sensing the creatures was dropped, I thought hat part was clever.

Recommendations: I enjoyed most of my time in Malorie. The was a great tense novel that will have other readers on the edge of their seat, turning pages late into the night.. I rated Malorie by Josh Malerman 4 out of 5 stars.

Book review: Goosebumps – Deep Trouble by R. L. Stine

Deep Trouble by R. L. Stine is the 19th Goosebumps book in the original order. Deep Trouble is more about adventure than horror. It is Stine’s take on a Dirk Pitt like character from a Clive Cussler novel. When the horrors come they are mainly in bad dreams. This book has sea creatures (both real and mythical), pirates, and danger. The story is okay it takes the first 30 pages to really get going. The story was kind of close to The Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb in the structure of the story and the way things happen. The fear part of the book is based on you don’t really know what is under you in the deep sea.

The Plot: William Billy Deep Jr. is with his sister, and their Uncle Dr.D and a research assistant in the deep sea. Dr. D has a grant from Ohio to investigate and find new deep sea creatures. Dr. D’s funds are running low and a local zoo ask him to find a mermaid for a million dollars. He’s to keep this top secret but Billy overheard and wants to help. He swims out deeper then he is supposed to and finds trouble in a hammerhead shark, Billy is saved before he is shark bait by a… Not going to tell.

What I Liked: The fear of you don’t know what is below you was set up really well, it is a shame it wasn’t followed once the real story happens. I liked Dr. D he has pretty good morals. Billy is best when he is dreaming of being a famous deep sea explorer. I liked the plot once it got going it, was not scary but it had some heart to it. The final twist was fitting and a good way to end the story.

What I Disliked: There’s a plot point about the zoo people freaking out that billy eased dropped on the zoo paying for Dr. D to find a possible mermaid, which is ridiculous the zoo wants the mermaid with in 2 days, billy lives with his uncle on a boat on the sea, who is he going to tell. The plot took too long to get going with any direction.

Recommendation: This story falls in the middle for me as good but not great. I’m going to review this the same as The Ghost Next Door it is not scary but the story has a lot of heart in it. I rated Deep Trouble by R. L. Stine 3 stars out of 5. Here’s my full ranking of the 19 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, 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, The Werewolf of Fever Swamp, Monster Blood, And You Can’t Scare Me!.

Wrap Up: May 2021 Book Reviews

Dear Readers, May was an good month for reading I got a little behind on my TBR,   I read 7 books this month out of 9 Local Woman Missing will be read next month as I am half way done with it, it is very excellent as well as a book I didn’t get to The Apocalypse Seven.   I read one graphic novels this month, 1 book in a series, 2 dark mysteries, 2 advance reader copies (thanks to Netgalley).  I read 4 books published this year. I read another Stephen king making him the dominate the most books read by an author.

Five Star Reviews:

The One my John Marrs is great science fiction, where a scientist has found a gene that links you to one over person on the planet that you’re supposed to be with, your one and only love. That scientist of course cashed in and makes it a website that you send your DNA to get the results. This premise gets black mirrored showing the horrors and doubt that can arise with this technology. It gets you the reader to wish this technology exist then shows the horrors that go with it. We follow five people that use the website, some in reluctance , some eager, and some with trepidation. What I enjoyed is that the stories all have twist some come right at the beginning, some in the middle and some at the end. So as one story will slow down another will have a huge twist and totally change it. The One has been made into a Netflix show

Marvel Masterworks: The Amazing Spider-Man Volume 4 by Stan Lee, is the best yet since the original volume. Spiderman grows a lot in this comic, PeterParker is no longer a high schooler but a college Freshmen. In this volume Peter meets his future best friend Harry Osborn, and his controlling dad Norman Osborn. Peter meets a woman that could rival Mary Jane in blonde vixen, Gwen Stacy. Peter and the readers almost see Mary Jane but she remains blocked. Peter and Betty Brandt finally call it quits when they have a blow out, that ends in Betty leaving Peter and the Daily Bugle. Peter is unmasked by his biggest rival the Green Goblin, which unmask himself when he has him captured. Doctor Octopus, Kraven the Hunter, The Green Goblin and Molten Man, who is actually becoming one of my favorite of the B list bad guys, all come back in these issues to terrorize Spiderman.

Four Star Reviews:

Later by Stephen King is a really fun ghost story, about a boy who can see ghosts and talk to them is it a gift or a curse. I would say it is the Sixth Sense meets combined with a short story he wrote in if it bleeds Mr. Harrigan’s phone, this story went in another direction and it was good. Later was part of the Hard Case Crime series, that not really a series but more of a style of books. This is my fourth so far and favorite. I have read the three that Stephen King wrote and one by Brian DiPlama. Later is a good fun ride that gets exciting and a little gruesome. King will always create characters that you can connect instantly to and Jamie the lead is no exception. The pacing is fast I was able to read it in a day and had moments where I could not put it down.

The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse is a tightly wound thriller at an isolated hotel with it’s own horrific past. The thriller gets off to a fast start with a murder. we later learn the significance of it and when it happened. This is a novel of a lot of twist that will mess with your head as to is behind all this. The setting is unique a former Sanatorium that treated female tuberculosis patients that is turned into a swanky hotel in the Swiss Alps. This book was on Reece Witherspoon’s book club which gave it some extra hype. The Sanatorium is a solid mystery, with easy to remember character’s.

Three Star Reviews:

Goblin by Josh Malerman is a collection of 6 novellas all featured in the town of Goblin. The town of Goblin is a little different with police that look and sound the same, the dead are buried standing up, and a witch live in the forbidden North woods. The stories are interesting and barely intertwined for it being in the same town. The most interesting things the police, the dead buried standing up, and the witch, are barely explored. The book focuses on the history of the town which is just okay but not nearly as interesting as the other things I had mentioned. The novellas are okay, there was only one really good one, one really predictable and the rest fall into the good category. I wanted the stories to come together more. The writing does some clever things but the pacing, and focus on the history of the town will try the patience of the reader. 

The Brief History of the Dead by Kevin Brockmeier is where there is a whole city of the dead that are still remembered by the living, which sounds a lot like Pixar’s film Coco. This is no Coco. There is a plague that wipes out all of existence except one person to our knowledge who is isolated the city of the dead shrinks to one city where all are connected in some ways. The story is more metaphorical than straight linear. The words written are beautiful, but man does this story get boring, the last person doesn’t seem to want to do really anything that makes sense. Mostly it’s wondering and you get to know her character through the people she knew. I thought it was an interesting story, but it could’ve been something more. The dead world was interesting and a metaphor for living your best life even if you’re dead.

Girl in the Walls by A.J. Gnuse is both haunting and full of heart. This is not a ghost story but a story of a girl who literally lives in the walls of her former home after tragedy strikes. She lives life trying to go unnoticed by the new family that lives there. The best part of this book is the descriptions, since the girl remains hidden she has to describes sound and only get glimpse, she paints a picture with descriptions. The novel goes in some interesting places, it does take a while to find it’s direction, but in the I was satisfied by the end. The climax is exciting and the villain is scary in a interesting way. I wanted more interaction between the girl and the family, and we don’t get enough flashbacks of the girls family. I thought the story was rather unique, but my emotional connection was lacking at times

Book Review: Goblin by Josh Malerman

Goblin by Josh Malerman is a collection of 6 novellas all featured in the town of Goblin. The town of Goblin is a little different with police that look and sound the same, the dead are buried standing up, and a witch live in the forbidden North woods. The stories are interesting and barely intertwined for it being in the same town. The most interesting things the police, the dead buried standing up, and the witch, are barely explored. The book focuses on the history of the town which is just okay but not nearly as interesting as the other things I had mentioned. The novellas are okay, there was only one really good one, one really predictable and the rest fall into the good category. I wanted the stories to come together more. The writing does some clever things but the pacing, and focus on the history of the town will try the patience of the reader. This is my 3 Josh Malerman book, I loved Bird Box and A House at the Bottom of the Lake, and I had the same problem with Inspection that I did with Goblin, pacing and focusing on the wrong things that make the story interesting. I think Malerman is still great at thinking outside of the box and creating good story ideas, the execution of those ideas doesn’t always land for me. Thanks to Netgally and Del Rey publishing for giving me this ARC. Goblin is published on May 18th 2021.

The Plots and Rankings:
The Prelude: which is a story a bout a man from another town having to deliver a package to Goblin, with a very specific instructions, if you hear any noise don’t stop, if you fail to deliver at the exact time destroy package. The driver doesn’t follow all the orders, a good introduction to a creepy town of Goblin 4 out of 5

Man in Slices is about a guys creepy best friend, who gets a creepy girlfriend who wants him to show love like Vincent Van Gough, by cutting off body parts. Friendship is put to its limits. The story was okay but the twist ending was really rushed, I gave this story 4 out of 5 stars.

Kamp is a story of a man that fears a haunting so bad he knows it will kill him. His whole family has been haunted, and he’s the last one left. I liked the bits about the history of Goblin the town. The story itself was not all that interesting and I knew how it was going to end. I did like the art work, that seems right out of Tales from the Crypt. I rate Kamp 2 out of 5 stars.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, HUNTER! was a good story about a hunter’s birthday party. The greatest Hunter in Goblin wants to hunt what hasn’t been hunted before a great owl, who lives in the forest that is forbidden. The ending was a great one filled with irony. the history of the owls and how they came to Goblin was interesting. I rated it 4 out of 5 stars.

Presto is about a magician that can do the impossible, move object with his mind. is it a trick or something more. I liked this story the most so far. really interesting backstory and intriguing present day story. The ending twist was pretty good. This story had the best flow and was always interesting. I rated it 5 out of 5

A Mix-up at the Zoo is exactly like the title a lonely man works at the Zoo which he loves and at a slaughter house, you can’t blame him if he gets mix -up from time to time. This story had the most potential, but the pace was sometimes to slow. The dreams which were interesting overstayed there welcome and lasted too long. The ending you see coming, but it was good. I rated it 4 out of 5

Te Hedges is about a big hedge maze that can not be beat, only until a young 8 year old solves what is at the center of the maze, and is horrified by her findings. She confronts the maze maker this heads to the police. I liked parts of this story a lot, the thing the little girl was horrified at was pretty lame, which was a bummer, because I was all about this story until that point. This story has the best pacing but really failed to deliver on the mystery. I rated The Hedges 4 out of 5.

What I Liked: Presto is my favorite story hands down it has a mystery that leads to the hype, and has a killer ending as well. The Hedges made you feel every dizzying turn in the maze with the little girl until she reaches the center. The Mix Up at the Zoo was probably the scariest because you see it coming, and you fear for what is going to happen when the mix up happens. The Idea for the Man in Slices is my favorite, that story had the most potential. Happy Birthday Hunter had the better ending, it wasn’t flashy but I thought it worked on a psychological level.

What I Disliked: I wanted to see a lot more connectivity in stories. I thought the town could have been a lot creepier. I fell like the police and the buried standing up are the most interesting things and they are not explored at all. the pacing could have been better in a lot of these stories.

Recommendation: I’m barely going to recommend this collection, Presto is the highlight, read that story before you give up. I’ve seen real mixed reviews and mine is pretty mixed as well, there’s good and there’s bad i this collection I feel the good out weighs the bad. If you don’t like the novellas you do have to admit that the stories are really clever. I rated Goblin by Josh Malerman 3 out of 5. I struggled on the rating more of a 3.5 than a 3, when I am so torn I rate it lower on Goodreads then higher on Amazon splitting the difference. I will continue to read Josh Malerman and will read Malorie the sequel to Bird Box next.

Book Review: Later by Stephen King

Later by Stephen King is a really fun ghost story, about a boy who can see ghosts and talk to them is it a gift or a curse. I would say it is the Sixth Sense meets combined with a short story he wrote in if it bleeds Mr. Harrigan’s phone, this story went in another direction and it was good. Later was part of the Hard Case Crime series, that not really a series but more of a style of books. This is my fourth so far and favorite. I have read the three that Stephen King wrote and one by Brian DiPlama. Later is a good fun ride that gets exciting and a little gruesome. When rating Stephen King books you can’t help but compare to his other works. I have read 26 King books so far, and this one is good. When looking at the 2000’s King books it looks better. King will always create characters that you can connect instantly to and Jamie the lead is no exception. The pacing is fast I was able to read it in a day and had moments where I could not put it down. I really enjoyed the neck out of this book.

Jamie Conklin is writing about his life as a child through teenager, he will explain some things now and somethings later, hence where the title comes from. Jamie can see and talk to ghosts, he has some power where the ghost always have to tell the truth. He uses this power for good the only one who knows about this is his single mother. His mother starts dating a cop who Jamie generally liked but in desperation his mom reveals the secret to save her career as her client dies while completing his last manuscript in the series. Jamie talks to him and gets the plot points. He fills bad about this one, and doesn’t want to use this power anymore until he is forced to.

What I Liked: This novel is so fun and easy to read. I liked the connections other books to IT through the ritual of Chud and to Different Seasons with the descriptions of Shawshank Prison. Jamie the lead character you were so easily connected to and cared about. I like that King acknowledges that Jamie is just like the kid in the Sixth Sense, he acknowledges right at the start then moves on. I liked the gruesome moments and how they were described where I could get a good mind picture. The climax was exciting, I knew where it was going but was still surprised in parts. The structure and how it kept building, It was like small short stories about Jamie building up to the conclusion. The novel within this novel about Roanoke sounds so interesting I kind of low key want Stephen King to write it with all the tawdry details.

What I Disliked: This novel was focused more than most, but their was some details that were not needed. I really disliked the ending after the conclusion, I felt that could have gone a different way.

Recommendations: Read this really fun Stephen King Novel. With his big catalog of books and me reading 26 I would say this in the top 15. He has so many five stars this on was close. I rated Later by Stephen King 4 out of 5 stars.

Book Review: Near the Bone by Christina Henry

Near the Bone by Christina Henry is one part Emma Donoghue’s Room and the other part The Relic by Preston and Child. This off mix of kidnapping slash survival works really well to the theme of one woman beating her demons literally and physically. This is the third Henry that I have read and this one was my favorite so far, I have read Alice and The Ghost Tree before this. Where I always have appreciated Henry’s overall story, this novel felt very real, and raw. I enjoyed it but there is a lot of trigger warnings on domestic abuse, kidnapping, child endangerment, and manipulation/gaslighting. This is a really fast paced novel, that is deeply psychological. Thanks to Netgalley and Berkley books for the advanced reader’s copy, Near the Bone by Christina Henry is published on April 13th 2021.

The Plot: Mattie lives with William on top of a cold mountain. William is a controlling terrifyingly frightening man that treats Mattie like a slave than a wife. He keeps her locked up and beats her regularly so Mattie is docile. William is a monster, but what they find in the woods terrifies even him, a fox ripped in half most of it organs and none are missing, with big tracks leading to it, then nothing. They investigate and find a cave that has piles of various organs and skulls. William is determined to kill it but, he’s not the only one who discovered the creature, when a group of college kids find William and Mattie in the woods, they thought was abandoned. Mattie and one the college kids Griffen has a connection with Mattie and swears he knows her from somewhere. Mattie tells them to leave but it starts her own spiral in finding out who she is and what the creature really is.

What I Liked: the mixing of genres, it was interesting, it kind of reminded me of the movie 10 Cloverfield Ln. I liked Mattie and how we got to see her find her inner strength. William was a monster, that was terrifying to read. As for the real monster, I liked the descriptions my mind was trying to fill in the gaps since no one really gets a good view of it. I like the flashbacks, especially the bathroom scene, which is so raw and you really get into Mattie’s psychology early that she cares about others and fears for them more than herself because she can take the abuse.

What I Disliked: William’s blank holes filled me with so many questions, did he want Mattie’s mother to join him on the mountain. We never found out if Heather, Mattie’s sister, is still alive.

Recommendations: This is the only Christina Henry book that I have recommended. Near the Bone is a wild ride both emotionally and scary. It has two horrors in it, each just as dangerous. I rated Near the Bone by Christina Henry 4 out of 5 stars.

Book Review: The Lost Village by Camilla Sten

The Lost Village by Camilla Sten Is a atmospheric horror that is slightly unnerving. The Lost Village is a Swedish book that has been translated to English. The descriptions make it feel like characters are constantly being watched by the village, it makes the reader feel pretty unnerved. The mystery is pretty captivating, and the way the story is told by amateur documentarians, really works since they bring their own problems, to a place that feeds off those problems. The Lost Village reminded me of parts of Shirley Jackson’s short story The Lottery meets the film The Blair Witch Project. I was slightly underwhelmed my the climax, but the rising action to it was so cool I thought of all these other cool scenarios that would have made it epic, and the climax was just good. Thanks to Netgalley and St. Martin’s Press through Minotaur books for letting me have early access to this title. The Lost Village by Camilla Sten was published in Sweden in 2019 and translated/published in America on March 23 2021.

The Plot: Alice is crowd funding for a documentary, on a village called Silvertjarn which was named for it silver mine. The other thing Slivertjarn is known for is in 1959 all 800 village members went missing and never found again with the exception of one baby found in a school house and a body strung up and stoned to death. Alice has ties to the village through her grandma’s sister, she has rare correspondence in the form of letters days before the missing village. She brings on a team of people that believe in the project but with secrets of their own some about the village but some about Alice herself.

What I Liked: The atmosphere that this horror story starts right in the beginning and goes all the way to the end. Are the documentary crew experiencing mass paranoia or are they being watched. The flow of this book made it hard to put down. It reminds me of The Blair Witch Project as little things added up slowly. The flashbacks really work and add intrigue to the story, it is told through letters and then we see what really went down through one characters eyes. The mystery of the crew members was good as well.

What I Disliked: I wanted to know a lot more about Pastor Mattias, we only learn a few things, it was too much of a mystery for the end. The climax could have been better.

Recommendation: I would recommend my readers to take this wild unnerving ride. It is a good addition to the horror genre with real people with real problems inserted into a horror village with no cell phone and civilization 45 miles away. I rated The Lost Village by Camilla Sten 4 out of 5 stars. This novel was very close to 5 stars but the climax brought it down. I will be picking up Camilla Sten’s next novel I like the descriptions and atmosphere a lot.

Book Review: Goosebumps-Monster Blood II by R. L. Stine

Monster Blood II by R. L. Stine is Goosebumbs book number 18. Monster blood is back with Evan and Andy who found the original Monster Blood in a vintage toy shop. After reading 18 Goosebumps books Monster Blood the original ranks second to last in my ranking from best to worst, I was hoping this one would be better and it was. This book is all charm with mischief and humor. This book is rarely that scary, the nightmares provide some horror and Stine has fun with them. The bully Conan is pretty terrifying and shows how chicken he really is. The ending to the climax could have been better it has a lame twist, but he leaves the final twist at the very end that was pretty great.

The Plot: Evan is at a new school in Atlanta and is already the weird kid as he talks about Monster Blood and it’s effects. When Evan gets the news of Andy his friend from summer trip is now living here. She’s the one person that can prove what he said about Monster Blood is true. She can do one better she can show them it’s real a prank creates the most unlikely monster that can not be stopped.

What I Liked: The nightmares were really fun and pretty terrifying. The Andy and Evan friendship how they are mischievous but there for one another. Conan the bad guy is a good foil to the small Evan. The handshake gag didn’t get old, I laughed every time. The breaking into Conan’s house was pretty tension filled. Cuddles transformation.

What I Disliked: The end to the Climax was really disappointing, right when the action was starting, It just stopped, with a lame excuse.

Recommendations: This story was way better than the first Monster Blood. It a good introduction to Goosebumps because it is light on the scares, but still a lot of fun. I rated Monster Blood II by R. L. Stine 4 out of 5 stars. Here’s my full ranking of the 18 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, Monster Blood II, The Girl who Cried Monster, The Ghost Next Door, Be Careful What You Wish For… ,Why I’m Afraid of Bees, The Werewolf of Fever Swamp, Monster Blood, And You Can’t Scare Me!.

Book Review: Inspection by Josh Malerman

Inspection by Josh Malerman is an interesting look at genius and distractions of the opposite sex. This is my third Josh Malerman book and man are his stories out there. which I like. This story is best if you know as little as possible going in. I actually think this story is ruined by it’s own book cover synopsis, since t cover 75% of the story, I was waiting for a twist and a greater meaning then the one we got. The climax is big and went a lot further ten I thought the story was going. We get two perspectives J a boy and K a girl. We get J first who is the least interesting of the two then the characters meet and we follow K until the meeting. The story does repeat itself a little two often. I fell the plot is brilliant but the execution was lacking, there where a couple moments I was just bored and frustrated at the material. This book is hard to classify it had science fiction elements as well as horror elements.

The Plot: J is a boy that grew up in an experiment to find genius without distraction of the opposite sex or religion. He along with 26 other boys are apart of it, A and Z have been taken out of the experiment. Everything is designed not to reveal the secret hey have a writer on hand that will right morals of right and wrong never mentioning a place or gender. The writer is having a lot of doubts and writes a story involving a woman, which he distributes behind the Parenthood’s, the organization that controls the experiment, back. J reads the entire story, when the parenthood find out he is called for inspection and lies. He now knows women exist. He keeps coming to the woods sure that there is something watching him. He gets a surprise visit from K, a girl, who sneaks around at night from the woods and is from a camp that is all girls and was not told about boys. This secret will lead him to question everything.

What I Liked: the story concepts is rally smart and out of the box. I liked the character of K and how she found out about the camp of boys. The corner reveal was shocking and well done. I liked the finally and was surprised just how far the secrets revealed can go. I wanted to know more about M.O.M. and D.A.D., before they started the experiment and their motivation. I liked the two writer for the Parenthood that are both bitter to be putting out such mediocre books for each gender. I did like a line at the end proving the experiment worked and they were genius minded.

What I Disliked: The synopsis gave way too much away. I felt like we shouldn’t know about the sister school of just girls. I wanted more twisted and turns this book does have a few, an idea I thought they were leading us two is they are all one gender and told they are what ever, but that was not the case. K is my far the more interesting character I feel she should have been first since she finds out organically, unlike J who reads a book.

Recommendations: I think the story is brilliant with a lot of possibilities, I just did not like where the Malerman went with it and can not recommend it. The story reminded me a little bit about Wool by Hugh Howley and how the secrets were revealed. I wanted to like this book more but it didn’t connect for me. I have rated Josh Malerman’s past two books Bird Box and A House at the Bottom of the Lake both five stars, but this book didn’t do it for me. I rated Inspection by Josh Malerman 3 out of 5 stars.