Book Review: Goosebumps – The Ghost Next Door

The Ghost Next Door by R. L. Stine is book ten of the original Goosebumps series. This one is rarely scary, I predicted the twist very early on, but I ended up liking the ending that saved this from being the worst Goosebumps. The scariest thing is to see the elevation of peer pressure and dares. There is a shadow creature that’s a little scary, is it real or imagined? there’s no lame jump scares that are usually littered through out Goosebumps books. This one is more tied to the Goosebumps movie than anything else, where they used the character of Hannah better than this book.

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

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

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

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

Wrap Up: July 2020 Book Reviews

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

 Five Star Reviews:

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

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

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

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

Four Star Reviews:

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

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

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

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

Three Star Reviews:

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

Two Star Reviews:

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

Book Review: Home Before Dark by Riley Sager

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Book Review: Locke and Key Volume 4: Keys to the Kingdom by Joe Jill and art by Gabriel Rodriguez

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

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

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

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

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

What I Liked: The ending, So so freaking good! One of the most shocking endings so far in the series. We get to know a lot more about what the end game of Dodge’s plotting has been about. Dodge’s upper hand finally starts slipping when he underestimates a couple of characters. Rufus can see and talk to ghost. Tyler getting upset then putting on the strength key and bust some heads playing hockey. The animal key was interesting with what it could do.

What I Disliked: is the art, it goes comical, and it didn’t need to. They have this scene where these birds put on these little pilots goggles, which makes no sense. I like that fantastical things happen in the story but they’re all grounded by rules and this breaks the rules.

Recommendations: I recommend this series to adults that crave a good story with violence and some horror elements. The narrative is so good exploring elements of tragedy and loss, in a mature way while having fun with the horror element Never have a wanted to give a story 5 stars had to deduct one for the art. I rated Locke and Key Volume 4: Keys to the Kingdom by Joe Jill and art by Gabriel Rodriguez 4 out of 5 stars.

Book Review :Locke and Key: Volume 3 Crown of Shadows by Joe Hill art done by Gabriel Rodríguez

Locke and Key: Volume 3 Crown of Shadows by Joe Hill art done by Gabriel Rodríguez This is a smaller story filled with a really long action piece and the rest is filled with long conversations. There are three keys discovered in this one, the giant key which makes you turn into a giant, the crown of shadows key, which has a key go into a crown which lets you control shadows, and the fix it key which can fix broken items in a cupboard, but can not fix the dead. The art has a lot of full page panels with lots of little details that are better than the story. The first two novels pieced a lot of the past together, this novel did not reflect on the past hardly at all.

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

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

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

What I Liked: That Sam has a backbone and stands up to dodge almost beating him and taking over his body as a ghost. The Art really shines in this novel over the others. The fix it key and the breakdown of the mom was powerful. The character of Scot Cavendish is one of my favorites, a great punk character. The heart break of the juggling scene. I liked and appreciated all the mom scenes even if they were so hard to read as she constantly makes bad choice after choice. The shadow key action was great leading to the Giant key showdown.

What I Disliked: There was no going back in the past and the writing suffered a little from it. The scenes were good but I felt the weakest story out of all the books in the series. The only thing that saves it is that the scenes matter but you don’t know that until the Volume 5.

Recommendations: This book is the weakest entry for me, in terms of story. The visuals are mind blowing in detail. This story is full of interesting conversation and some great action. I rated Locke and Key: Volume 3 Crown of Shadows by Joe Hill art done by Gabriel Rodríguez 4 out of 5 stars. I originally rated this 3 stars but upon rereading it I rated it four stars, I felt it added little substance to the plot but it added a lot, now that I know the full story.

Book Review: Locke and Key: Head Games Volume 2 by Joe Hill with Art done by Gabriel Rodríguez

Locke and Key: Head Games Volume 2 by Joe Hill with Art done by Gabriel Rodríguez is a graphic novel that will open minds literally. This is my second time through the series, now that I know the ending, it fun piecing it together knowing all the character’s pasts and knowing all the keys and where they are hidden. This series is super involved, I love Joe Hill and have read almost everything that he has written, the only thing that I have not are the off shoots of the Locke and Key series. This time I’m reading the books with my girlfriend, as I want to watch the new Netflix series called Locke and Key. Head Games is bloody, with a sense of dark humor, while dealing with complex issues like homosexuality, alcoholism, regret, and grief.

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

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

What I Liked: The mind key, it is such a cool idea. Where it makes a key hole that opens up to your brain, allowing the user to pull out manifestation of a complex emotion. I the manifestation, its self can cause trouble it can fight back and go into another hosts head. I loved Tyler using the head key to try to impress a girl and it totally backfiring. The clever way that Foreigner’s song “Head Game” was worked in. What happened to the Ellie’s Mom. Duncan’s boyfriend and his no intimidation for being who he is. Rufus the character you feel the most sorry for living in the house with Zach, and the grandmother from hell.

What I Disliked: The flow was a little disjointed, we get a random flashback from a teacher who’s interracial wife drowns, and then he gets murdered later with rarely a mention of the wife who died earlier.

Recommendations: Locke and Key is one heck of a series from the mind of Joe Hill who blends horror and tragedy so seamlessly. The art is beautiful, and telling, sometimes Hill will not use words and let the art give you the emotions you should feel. I didn’t love this Head Games as much as the first one, which is hard to top in my opinion, but it is still a great Chapter to an amazing series. I rated Locke and Key: Head Games Volume 2 by Joe Hill with Art done by Gabriel Rodríguez 4 out of 5 stars.

Wrap Up: June Book Reviews 2020

Hello dear readers, June has been quite a month. I cannot believe we have hit the mid point of the year.  Look forward to my best of books I have read so far this year, coming out soon. I managed to read 6 novels this month.  I read zero rereads  this month. I read one graphic novel, one book that has been on my TBR for years now The Shining by Stephen King. I read one new release, thanks to Netgalley. I read a couple books in a series, and was able to finish the Power of the Dog series, this year it has been my goal to finish more series, I had a bad habit of starting a series and not finishing it. So far I have finished 2 trilogies, and have made gins in on-going series.   Thank you, to all followers I just hit 2 years running this blog yesterday, and it has both inspired me and uplifted my passion for reading thanks to you.

Five Star Reviews:

The Shining by Stephen King is a truly horrific book. Alcohol and ghosts do not mix! King gets into true fear, having someone you love, a father and husband, say, “I’m going to bash your brains”, then attempt to do it. The Shining is a ghost story but the scariest monster in the book is addictions and how it changes your rational choices, to choices that jeopardize your family. This Novel has been on my TBR for 15-20 years always meaning to read it but had not, until now.  I was shocked how different the book and the movie were, liking some and loathing some choices, but all in all a scary read, with truly horrific images, that only King can deliver.

Four Star Reviews:


The Border By Don Winslow takes the epic tale of DEA agent Art Keller and his war on drugs to a worthy conclusion. The Border is book three in the Power of the Dog series. This series starts in 1975 and takes us all the way up to 2019. The Border mirrors events that happened in real life and tweek them to fit the narrative, making it feel very real and current. The previous books in the series have remained in Mexico, but this book looks at the drug war going on in America. This book reminded me of J. R. Tolkien’s Return of the King when they destroyed the ring, they go back the shire is under siege (that happens in the book not the movie). Art Keller spent so many years trying to destroy drug kingpins in Mexico, that he returns to see that drugs are all around and didn’t stop anything. I did not like The Border as much as The Power of the Dog and The Cartel which were both 5 stars, but this delivered a pretty could conclusion wrapping up the series really well.

Welcome to Camp Nightmare by R. L. Stine is book 9 in the original Goosebumps series. Welcome to Camp Nightmare is scarier than most of the Goosebumps I have read before. The ending is a good twist that is set up from the start with little hints along the way, in my last review of The Girl Who Cried Monster Goosebumps 8 this was a big complaint. The Psychological horror of being stranded and having people go missing, that no one remembers being there in the first place works really well.

Rogue Protocol by Martha Wells is the third installment of The Murderbot Diaries. This novella like the previous stories in the Murderbot Diaries follows an A.I. SecUnit that is self aware and detached from the mainframe that controls all other SecUnits. He refers to himself as Murderbot because he has murdered hundreds as he was controlled and part of the mainframe. He know tries to discover mysteries of his past. The Murderbot Diaries are part character study and part action adventure. The character study is usually the best part, but I preferred the action a little bit more in this installment.

Three Star Reviews:

Devolution: A Firsthand Account of the Rainier Sasquatch Massacre by Max Brooks, is a fiction that is written like a nonfiction having a journal, expert interviews, and family interviews. The Legend of Bigfoot is something that I have always been curious about, this book does the research on past Bigfoot sitings and makes a story out of it. I like Bigfoot but I’m not a fanatic (note: though growing up I did name one of my dog’s Bigfoot), I think fanatics and believers will get a lot more out of this book than I did. I ‘m sad to say I found the first half of this book very boring, with me only connecting with two characters. Thanks to Netgalley and Random House Publishing group Ballentine Del Rey.

 Two Star Reviews:

Injustice: Gods Among Us: Year Four Volume 2 By Brian Buccellato is all about the new Gods (Superman, Wonder Woman, Hal Jordan, and the Flash) v. the old Gods (Zeus, Hera, and Hermes). Superman kills Zeus’ son Hercules, and in retaliation Zeus strips Shazam of his powers and sends him along with Harley Quinn to the underworld. We learn more about Ares, the God of War, plan for more war and who is pulling his strings. This Volume has been my least favorite so far, there was a couple of cool moments, but the dialogue remains stale and uninspired.

Book Review: Devolution: A Firsthand Account of the Rainier Sasquatch Massacre by Max Brooks

Devolution: A Firsthand Account of the Rainier Sasquatch Massacre by Max Brooks, is a fiction that is written like a nonfiction having a journal, expert interviews, and family interviews. The Legend of Bigfoot is something that I have always been curious about, this book does the research on past Bigfoot sitings and makes a story out of it. I like Bigfoot but I’m not a fanatic (note: though growing up I did name one of my dog’s Bigfoot), I think fanatics and believers will get a lot more out of this book than I did. I ‘m sad to say I found the first half of this book very boring, with me only connecting with two characters. At the end of this novel in the acknowledgements it was said that this was a failed movie script that got novel, the way it was written a movie would have worked better. The second half is a rip roaring action/survival that does not let up. The story turns into a man verse monster book. The action is fierce and unrelenting. In the end, the unbalance and the limited characters to truly root for, made the intense action too late to totally save this story from just more than an okay from me. Devolution: A Firsthand Account of the Rainier Sasquatch Massacre by Max Brooks is Published on 6-16-20. Thanks to Netflix and Random House Publishing group Ballentine Del Rey.


The Plot: We learn early on there is a village up in the Rainer Mountains totally cut off from civilization thanks to an active volcano. The village was an experiment by tech savy artists and environmentalist, to live off nature and still be connected to tech. The village, Greenloop, is found burned down and torn to shreds with bodies of all but two members of the village who are declared missing with only a journal left behind. The journal explains that Greenloop was a attacked by Sasquatch. The journal, the journal writer’s brother, and various experts go over the tale adding insights, and analyze if it is believed to be true or not.

What I Liked: I love the man verse nature verse monster aspect. I wish this was featured through out the novel just not at the back half. The idea for Greenloop society was interesting. I loved the character of Ms. Monstar the tough older lady, artist that has seen war and knows how to survive, teaching the tech people how to go to war was interesting. I also liked the husband of Kate the journal writer that found himself as the village handy man. The brutal action, was a highlight of the book. You have never read about a Sasquatch being so vicious, it was kind of like seeing all the treats that Han gives to people about Chewbacca in Star Wars played out. The first arm rip off is a doozy. I didn’t really identify with Kate, the journal writer, but I do love the speculation of her brother, at what happened to her and the closure that he got through it.

What I Disliked: Too many chapters were dedicated to the research of other villages like Greenloop, at first it was interesting but it went on and on. It took too long for the Sasquatch to show up or even get teased. I did feel the ranger had too much information on the Sasquatch legend and mythical creatures in different countries. This book needed to have a conspiracy theorist who runs a Bigfoot watch to break up the science.

Recommendations: I think Sasquatch fans will like this more than I did, so I recommend this to them. This one is a hard one for me the beginning was hard to get through, then the second half was everything I wanted to ever see a Sasquatch do. I will barely recommend this one. I have not been this torn on a review in quite some time. This was one of my most anticipated reads of the Summer. I rated Devolution: A Firsthand Account of the Rainier Sasquatch Massacre by Max Brooks 3 out of 5 stars. I have not read a Max Brooks all the way through, I have read most of the Zombie Survival guide, and love the satirical tone, World War Z has been in my TBR pile for so long. I liked the action in this and will one day read more Max Brooks.