Wrap up: November 2021 Book Reviews

Dear Readers, November was a great month, I read all my TBR list  for the month and added 3 off the list. I read 9 books this month. I read 2 graphic novel, 2 horror, 2 mystery, 1 new release thanks to netgalley, and 1 fantasy. I Read 6 books from a book series with Temple of the Winds book four in the Sword of Truth series, Marvel Masterworks: The Amazing Spiderman Volume 9 , Goosebumps book 22 Ghost Beach, The House on The Cliff, which is book 2 The Hardy Boys series and I added 2 new book series Hellboy omnibus series and The Black Echo the first book in the Harry Bosch Universe  . I read two 5 star books, three 4 star books, two 3 star books, and two 2 star books.

Five Star Reviews:

We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker is a slow burn mystery that looks at how one mistake can define a future of hurt. This mystery balances being being heart breaking, yet so so full of a beating heart that drives the narrative. You feel every death and every reveal will change your perception. This is a mystery that is character driven, I feel like if there was no mystery I still would have been interested in the characters. The characters and circumstances will give you chills and it gave me an ugly happy cry. There’s a lot of Darkness in this story but a light at the end of the tunnel that burns bright with hope. We Begin at the End reminded me of Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird in the characterization of Duchess who could easily be a modernized version of Scout. The plot moves a little slow at times but the fantastically broken characters moved me past the slow parts. The novel lays out all it’s twists and turns at the end that will hit and hurt the reader with each one. 


Ghost Beach is by R. L. Stine is Goosebumps book 22 in original published order. Ghost Beach is scary, in both its nightmare scares and real life scares. This book is hauntingly atmospheric. It sets the tone early and will give the reader goosebumps. The twist are really clever and it ask you the audience what is going on? The final twist could be the best one yet, I loved it so much. The book is paced so well and a really fast read, that is hard to put down. The Scares that really work are the hands grabbing from the grave, finding a dead body, skin peeling off bones, ghost that can kill, and the final twist. This is a good story around the campfire.

Four Star Reviews:

The Final Girl Support Group by Grady Hendrix is a slasher mystery, that uses a mash up of all our favorite final girls from the movies. It was fun to find out the girls origins and from what movie franchise they were from. The movie slashers depicted in this book are Halloween, Friday The 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Scream, and the outlier is Silent Night, Deadly Night. I like what was done with each character, and how these events were eventually made in to Slashers themselves. The dialogue is really fresh and flows so well. There’s a good deal of humor that lands for the most part. The mystery is good I don’t know if everything lined up, but it was fun. The flow of the novel is steady, when there’s slow moments in the action, the fun witty dialogue made up for it. 

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

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. 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.

Three Star Reviews:

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

Hellboy: The Complete Short Stories Volume 1 by Mike Mingola is about Hellboy’s is short stories from his discovery in 1947 with stories through to 1961. My knowledge of Hellboy is based solely on watching the films.  I liked half of the stories, some felt like repeats of stories I had just read. The art is fantastic I love, love what is done with shadowing and I love the uniqueness of the art of Hellboy. Almost half the book takes place in Mexico in 1957 and I feel the art was the best here.

Two Star Reviews:

The Woman on the Pier by B. P. Walter is a drama pretending to be a mystery, there are some mystery elements but far more drama. This is my second B. P. Walter, the publicist actually reached out to me to read this one, thank you Netgalley and Harper Collins UK, One More Chapter for the opportunity to read this book, The first book I read The Dinner Guest was a great “who done it” mystery, which The Woman on the Pier is not. The Woman on the Pier is more of a “I think you’re are responsible, but can’t punish who is so I might punish you if you did what I think you did” kind of mystery. The main character Caroline is totally unlikable, I think I rarely felt sorry for her. I have never read a mystery that involved ISIS, but can not say that now.

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. 

Wrap Up: October 2021 Book Reviews

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.

Wrap Up: September 2021 Book Reviews

Dear Readers, September was a great month, finally settled into my first house, I had more time to read.  I read 8 books this month. I read 2 graphic novels, and 2 new releases thanks to netgalley. I Read 3 books from a book series Star Wars: The High Republic second book young adult book, Goosebumps book 20, and Marvel Masterworks The Amazing Spiderman Volume 8. I read one 5 star book, five 4 star books, and two 3 star books.

Five Star Reviews:

The Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward is insanely good. The book has a twist that will change you world and open yourself to a new way of thinking. This is one of the best well rounded stories that I have read in some time, everything fits and it does not feel forced. The big twist is explained and all the loose ends are tied up so well. What is cool about the big twist is if you pay attention and open your mind you can figure it out, I was back and forth on what was coming guessing some parts but not all. I’m going to be vague on my plot details because this book is best not knowing too much. This book will be compared to Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl because you get the big twist and still have a lot of book left to explain it. This book is a book that was hyped early for reviewers to read, and I’m glad to say it has earned it’s hype. There are parts of this story that will stick with you for a while. It is being marketed as a Horror but is more of a psychological thriller with elements of horror, it leans to Thomas Harris’s Silence of the Lambs in mixing genres. The story is great you will have a couple character’s where you switch to loathing to loving them because they are so misunderstood. I was lucky to get selected to read The Last House on Needless Street early by Netgalley and Macmillan-Tor/Forge, Tor Nightfire. The Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward is published on September 28 2021.

Four Star Reviews:

A Slow Fire Burning by Paula Hawkins is back! I was not a fan of Into the Water but a big fan of Girl on the Train. This is a pretty compelling mystery about broken people. Each of the characters had something horrific that makes them all capable of murder if it was the right person which makes this mystery good and hard to find out who did it. There is no big twist but a lot of little twists act as the embers to A Slow Fire Burning. I guessed wrong on who I thought the killer was, but was okay with the killer and the outcome. This is a very fast read that sucks you in with the little twists and cliffhanger chapter writing where you have to keep reading.

August’s Eyes by Glenn Rolfe is a mind trippy horror that involves past trauma and dreams that can effect reality. The novel was fast paced and has some scenes of horror that will get under your skin. This book reminded me a lot of the Jennifer Lopez movie The Cell meets the villain from Joe Hill’s N0S4A2. This book has a lot of fun pop culture references, and little bits of odd humor. I liked and cared about the main character John or Johnny still being tormented by a mistake he made as a scared kid that represses in his living dreams. This book is pretty brutal and not for everybody with trigger warnings of rape, abduction, and child abuse, book doesn’t go into crazy detail but enough to unnerve the reader. I want to think Glenn Rolfe who reached out to me on Goodreads and asked if I would like to read his book. I want to think Flame Tree Press and netgalley for providing the book to me. August Eye’s by Glenn Rolfe was published on August 17th 2021.

Plunge by Joe Hill is a graphic novel which is heavily influenced by H. P. Lovecraft stories and John Carpenter’s The Thing. Plunge took me back to 80’s movies like The Fog, The Thing, Aliens, and The Abyss. The story starts off slow but after a lot of exposition finally gets going and does not stop. This book is gore filled. The villains are pretty terrifying. Since this story is such an amalgam of 80’s movies you almost feel as you know the story, but Hill offers a fresh and new twist to a story you already know.

The Scarecrow Walks at Midnight by R. L. Stine is book 20 in Goosebumps original publication order. This is one of the scarier Goosebumps stories the nightmare scene is pretty terrifying. The story is good and focused as it ramps up horror at the end. The characters are more memorable than most Goosebumps stories, especially Stanley that is similar to Forrest Gump, but with a twist. The twist at the end is good and fits the story, even if it is not going to be memorable. The story is the first one that takes place on a farm and R. L. Stine plays with the isolation of that.

Marvel Masterworks: The Amazing Spider-Man volume 8 by Stan Lee is Spiderman’s longest linked storyline up to date, involving Spiderman and a mysterious tablet (based on the Rosetta Stone). This storyline spans over 8 issues, once the power is revealed is is kind of forgotten about, but maybe you don’t want that in the world. The Lizard makes a great return, as the only way Dr. Connors can escape is turn into the Lizard. J. Jonah Jamison gets the scare of his life all at the hands of Spiderman. This issue dips into the civil rights movement which should get kudos for not ignoring it. The Kingpin returns and the artworks is a lot closer to what the character looks like today,

Three Star Reviews:

Horseman: A Tale of Sleepy Hollow by Christina Henry is not a retelling of Washington Irving’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow but a continuing story that takes place 3o or so years after the original. . You will learn what happened to Brom and Katrina after Ichabod Crane incident. The book acknowledges that Brom was dressed as the Headless Horseman to frighten poor Ichabod, but what if the legend created something new. The book is best when it ties into the original The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, when it drifts away it is not always good. I was given an advanced readers copy thanks to Netgalley and Berkley Publishing Group. Horseman: A Tale of Sleepy Hollow by Chistina Henry was published on September 28th 2021.

Out of the Shadows by Justina Ireland is the second Young Adult novel in The High Republic series. The High republic comes 200 years before Star Wars: A New Hope. This novel is paced so slow with only 3 battles. Reath and Master Cormac are the returning Jedi from the first YA but given background roles in this. The ending of this book saves it from being a 2 star review. There’s is only two things of significance that happen that will effect the adult Star Wars: The High Republic novels. This book was missing humor there’s one recurring event that was funny. What the book is filled with is young adult angst, which reached an annoying level, instead of being poignant. There’s a LGTBQ relationship that was good for inclusion purpose but the relationship wasn’t all that strong. I feel the adult version handled the LGTBQ relationship better. The plot is a huge long con, the pay off is all at the end which saves this novel, but I wanted to see this good writing through out

Wrap Up: July 2021 Book Reviews

Dear Readers, July was a crazy month, I moved into my first house, it is out in the country where only one internet provider reigns supreme, so it took me and my family a month to get internet.  All other services were decently fast so if you missed me and my reviews that’s what I was doing.  I read 6 books this month. I read 2 horror, 2 graphic novels, and 2 new releases thanks to netgalley . I started 1 new series and read 2 from a book series. I read one 5 star book, three 4 star books, and two 3 star book.

Five Star Reviews:

The Four Winds by Kristen Hannah is a tearjerker about two of America’s harshest times The Dust Bowl and The Great Depression.  Really blown away by this book. This Historical novel uses real events and puts here character’s through tragedy and triumph.  This novel can easily get compared to John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, but teaks it giving it a new perspective what if Tom Joad  was a single mother with kids.  The perspective changes everything the character of Elsa want to breakdown but is strong for her and her kids.  This is a novel that you will want to thank your mother after for all that she has sacrificed for her children’s happiness.

Four Star Reviews:

Surviving 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.  A big thanks to Netgalley and Dutton publishing for giving me an Advanced Reader’s Copy of Surviving the Night.  Surviving the Night is published on 7-29-21.

Hour of the Witch by Chris Bohjalian is a period piece in the mid 1600 America. It was you typical divorce stories husband beats on wife, she tries to divorce him and gets called a witch and has to defend against being a witch; so not typical at all.  This novel will have you scream at characters, that I’m sure are accurately portrayed but so one sided and biased.  The novel is set when the husband was king and they referred to the wife as the helpmate, it was not a partnership.  This novel can be seen a feminist, it’s a fight for equal rights and to have a woman with strong ideas is not a bad thing.  The trials are the best part of the book.  The story is at it’s core simple but the way the story is told is what makes it so interesting.

Marvel Masterworks The Amazing Spider-Man Volume 6 by Stan Lee is getting Spiderman in the larger story arcs.  Spiderman has had minor stories arc like turning in his costume then having to use a spare, injuring his shoulder and being in a cast, or poor Aunt May being sick and weak for a couple issues. The villains have lasted only two issues until now. Spidey fights Doc Oct. and Kingpin for 3 – 4 issues.  The main villains are Kingpin, who was just introduced in Amazing Spider-Man issue 50 and is in 5 issues in this volume, Doc Oct, Mysterio, and Allister Smythe and his Spider Slayer.  Peter Parker’s love life takes a turn where he has to choose Gwen Stacey and Mary Jane Watson.  This volume sees a death of a minor but important character, and introduces Gwen’s father Captain Stacey and Robbie Robertson who are all important to Peter Parker / Spiderman’s legacy.

Three Star Reviews:

Falling by T. J. Newman is an okay thriller on an airplane. The novel does feel authentic like you the reader are getting insider information on how the flight crew works. The author was a former flight attendant and Falling is her debut. This book has moments of thrills but it felt pretty formulaic too me. I would say this book is Airframe by Michael Crichton meets a decent James Patterson thriller. I think if you read this novel it should be on a plane, because that will amp the fear, and you couldn’t help wonder what goes on behind the door of the flight deck. You will come out respecting your fight attendants and the job they have to do. I think this book is getting over hyped, it is good but not great. Thanks to Netgalley and Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster for giving me access to Falling early. Falling by T. J. Newman is published on July 6 2021.

Fight Club 2 By Chuck Palahniuk Is a very meta tale told in graphic novel form. The first book was written as a novel, but the follow up was written as a graphic novel. This follows the film Fight Club over the actual novel. I prefer the film but this novel fall in too much fan service and too meta. Palahniuk brings everyone back, Angel Face, Robert Paulson, and even Chloe. Each character is brought back with a surprising twist. I liked some of the ideas brought on but others fall flat. The ending is way too out there and meta it is a bit of a cop out. The art and how the story uses the visual to tell that story is one of the best but the story just was just okay.

Wrap Up: February 2021 Book Reviews

Dear Readers, Febuary was a great month.  I read 8 books this month. I read 3 horror, 2 graphic novel, and 3 new releases thanks to netgalley . I started 0 new series and read 2 from a book series. I read one 5 star book, six 4 star books, and one 3 star book. I read all 8 books off my TBR. I reached over 1000 followers and have been overwhelmed in support and book conversations in my 2 and a half years in this community.

Five Star Reviews:

Basketful of Heads by Joe Hill is a great, person at the wrong place and wrong time revenge thriller, with an added supernatural element. This graphic novel is bloody, gory, funny, and thrilling. The mystery of why the victims are chose is captivating, as our hero finds out every one who is involved in this murder plot of is it all about the money heist. The element that makes it interesting is the murder weapon, an axe, holds a power that no matter what is severed the person can live and speak, there’s a lot of decapitations where people keep talking at first it is horrific, but then it turns humorous.

Four Star Reviews:

The Paris Library by Janet Skeslien Charles is a historical fiction set in the Paris American Library during World War II. The story is about the love and escapism of books during hard times, and the choices and secrets we keep. This book captures the library and the community it creates, really well while highlighting the power of books. The author, Charles heard this story secondhand when she was working for the Paris American Library making flyers, and became enamored with the story of community and survival. The story is well written and you can feel the history while reading it. I would compare this novel to Dear Mrs. Bird by A. J. Pierce and Lilac Girls by Martha Kelly Hall. I read the advanced reader’s copy of The Paris Library thanks to Netgalley and Atria Books. The Paris Library by Janet Skeslien Charles was published on February 9 2021.

The Deep by Alma Katsu is a horror that takes place on the Titanic and it’s sister ship the Britannic in 1912-1916. This horror adds the element of a well researched historical fiction. There’s a demon that wants innocent souls what better place to find them than the Titanic. It adds horror to the already real life horror of survival. I was hooked early in this one, but felt too many side characters were being introduced taking a away from the main characters then I started to really like the side characters.

The Twisted Ones by T. Kingfisher is a throwback to old score horror like Rosemary’s Baby where it is more psychological horror. The author T. Kingfisher said one device of found manuscript is straight from a 1904 called The White People by Arthur Machen, who I’ve never read and probably most people have not read. What the novel does good is set up a horror mystery, that hooked me pretty easily.

Annie and the Wolves by Andromeda Romano-Lax is fictional look at a Annie Oakley and a historical researcher who finds new letters, that will change space and time. Annie and the Wolves is grounded yet really out there. There’s a plot twist that takes this really grounded story linking Annie Oakley and Ruth the woman researching who are linked in their fight against wolves/predators, and then turns it on it’s head. The twist not revealed in any synopsis or press materials materials happens less than halfway, and is used effectively at the end. I was a little confused at the beginning which feels like Ruth has ADHD as subjects get bounced around, the plot twist helped be understand this better and I throughly enjoyed it once I got used to the bouncing around narrative. The book has an exciting yet compelling finish. Thanks to Netgalley and SOHO press for letting me read Annie and the Wolves before publication. Annie and the Wolves by Andromeda Romano-Lax was published on 2-2-21.

The Minders by John Marrs is a mind tripping science fiction adventure. It takes five strangers implants them with all of Britain’s secrets, they are provided with unlimited resources and must stay away from all family and friends for five years, and also their is a secret organization called the Hacking Collective that would kill for the information in their heads. The twist and turns are steady through out. The writing is not mind blowing, but clever and creative. We get the POV of all five minders, and we get redacted notes from the government. This novel is very engaging and hard to put down. This is my third John Marrs book, and I’ve enjoyed every one so far. Marrs is a writer who constantly thinks out side of the box to create unique stories and worlds. Thanks to Netgalley and Berkley Publishing group for letting read the ARC of the Minders. The Minders was published last year in England, but published on February 16th in America.

Marvel Masterworks: The Amazing Spider-Man Volume 2 by Stan Lee continues the early years of Spiderman. Spiderman will is introduced to some of his greatest villains Mysterio, Green Goblin, and Karaven the Hunter, and the Sinister Six will meet for the first time. We get deep into Peter Parker’s love life, and Spiderman constantly messing it up. We get the entire marvel line up to cameo in these issues of Spiderman; they are Hulk, Ironman, Captain America, Doctor Strange, Daredevil, Thor, The Fantastic Four, Antman, and Wasp. The book has challenging storylines that question manhood and doing what is right instead of what you want to do.

Three Star Reviews:

Why I’m Afraid of Bees by R. L. Stine is Goosebumps book number 17 in the original order. This book is filled with bees the first sentence warns. The story is a take on The Fly meets It’s a Wonderful Life where two people try to switch bodies but a bee gets in the mix. This story is the most twilight zone like, and the only Goosebumps book with a truly happy ending. The story is pretty focused the jump scares are rare and not too bad when happen. The story sometimes felt a bit too informational, and not enough about the scares. This story has a little elements of horror, but more science fiction than horror.

Wrap Up: December 2020 book Reviews

Dear Readers, December was a great month I had 5 books I requested at the library all show up at once.  I read 9 books this month. I read 2 science fiction, 3 books nominated for Goodreads choice, and 1 graphic novel. I started 0 new series and read 2 from a book series. I made a TBR and read every book on it and added 1.  I read two 5 star books,  five 4 star books, one 3 stars book, and one 2 star book.

Five Star Reviews:

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett is a family drama about race, focusing on the light and darkness of skin color. The book will really make you self reflect your own prejudice and bias based on skin color. Bennett doesn’t just analyze the white standard of skin bias but the black on as well. The book starts in the 1950’s and goes up to the early 1980’s. The story follows 3 generations of the Vinges family women.

Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds is a powerful story of systemic gun violence in America written in verse. The verse is written in small poems barley ever going over two pages really well painting a picture that lets you the reader control the narrative adding the details that the verse misses. The story is like a cross between Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol and Mitch Albom’s The Five People You Meet in Heaven. Ghosts of the past board the elevator on every floor starting with the 7th and talk to young Will about what he’s going to do when he gets when he gets to the bottom floor; kill the guy he thinks killed his older brother. The ending is one of the powerful endings I’ve read.

Four Star Reviews:

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V. E. Schwab is part memoir through time and history, and part present day love story. I say love story lightly because from this reader’s perspective I don’t know if one character can love. The story is great a deal with the devil gone wrong, but with a unique twist. This story will make you the reader question, what would you do in the same scenario? The story is unique, yet familar if you know Schwab’s other works like Vicious and A Darker Shade of Magic. I feel Schwab took some of the best parts out those novels and combined them.

Exit Strategy by Martha Wells is book four in The Murderbot Diaries, book series. This is the last of the 4 novellas the next books in the series is a full length novels. The fourth book comes full circle all the way back to the first book and the first humans that he saved and started to generally care about. This novel has a bit more heart because of the reunion and the character of Murderbot has grown emotionally throughout the series. The ending was perfect for this chapter in Murderbot’s life.

The Krytos Trap by Michael A. Stackplole is a novel that balances three different genres, court room drama, prison escape, and medical stopping viral spread, with X-wing action as well. The Krytos Trap is the third book in the X-wing series that follows the exploits of Rogue Squadron. The novel starts right where the last one ended. This has been my favorite novel so far in the series, it is the book with the least X-wing action, but I was really into the political intrigue. The reviews for this one have been mixed, either people really enjoy it or they complain about lack of action.

A Witch in Time by Constance Sayers is a beautifully written debut that takes a witch cursed to die young and love a man that will constantly disappoint her, time and time again. A Witch in Time tells a great love story about missteps and sacrifice. It hits the right beats in time and history as we observe four life times starting in 1890’s and ended up in present day. I loved aspects of the curse and how both the cursed and the watchers of the curse can manipulate certain aspects of it.

Snow, Glass, Apple by Colleen Doran adapted from a Neil Gaiman short story is a haunting adaptation of Snow White told in a graphic novel form. The story is told from the Stepmother’s perspective, notice I didn’t say evil stepmother. In this story it is flipped where the stepmother is good and loving, her stepdaughter is evil incarnate. The images are hauntingly beautiful and very graphic. The images leave a lasting impression with the mix of bold color with dark colors.

Three Star Reviews:

Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam is a hard book to describe. The book deals with class, race, comfort, and guidance. The story is one part dystopian and the other part is about togetherness and finding comfort in the new dystopia, sort of; that’s the best way I can describe it. Conversations rule this book over actions, what I found interesting are characters acting civil while civilization is falling apart. The book plays with the reader asking who do you trust or why don’t you trust characters? The book is tense and claustrophobic, with the ongoing pandemic adding to the tension

Two Star Reviews:

You Can’t Scare Me! by R.L. Stine is about pranking someone to admit their scared, only the prank accidentally involves real monsters. You Can’t Scare Me! is the 15th book in the original Goosebumps series. This story is 80% lead up to any actual monsters. This story was hard to identify with the group of scaredy cat’s are determined to make one girl scared. The girl isn’t horrible of mean, she does one thing with a bumblebee, but the rest of the time she doesn’t deserve them messing with her. The group is mad at themselves for being scared and lashes out on this girl to make them feel better

Wrap Up: Best Books Read in 2020

Dear Readers, 2020 is over! It was a horrible time for everything but reading. I broke new records for myself reading 103 books this year. Out of the 103 I have read 40 that were published this year.  My big goal this year was to finish up a good deal of book series. I have a bad habit of not finishing, and I finished 6 this year.  I will rate the top 10 books I have read that were published this year., the top 5 books I read not published this year, and the top three series I finished this year.

Top 10 of books published this year:

1. Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse is a groundbreaking new fantasy that is inspired by the history from Pre- Columbian Americas.  I did not know a lot about this story going in and was amazed with the world building and unique characters. Black Sun is the first book in The Between Earth and Sky trilogy. The story is rapid paced, with so much conflict, it is hard telling who exactly is on what side of the good or bad coin, but the story was a fun read. The look at politics and religion is the best thing, do you believe in the prophecy? Do you believe so much in the prophecy you will do anything to stop it?

2. What Lies Between Us by John Marrs is one crazy book that you can’t predict or put down.   I read this book back in May and it has stuck with me, the book is totally bonkers as characters flip from being good to bad, as the reader learns more secrets. This book has some of the most cringe worthy scenes, not because of gore or anything horrid, but because you are reading about a character that keeps digging themselves into holes. This is family dysfunction at its finest. What would it take for you to chain your mother in her room? The answers come quickly but the reasons behind them stay buried in lies. 

3. The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James is a nonstop thriller that mixes elements of a ghost story with a mystery. This story earned it’s spot at number 3 for pure fun, the book was a blast to read. The pace was nonstop from the beginning, and did not let up as it reached the climax. The story is really fun, I enjoyed finding out more about the ghost and why they haunted the Sun Down Motel. 

4. The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett is a family drama about race, focusing on the light and darkness of skin color.  I love a good book that will make me think long after I have read it , and this book does that.The book will really make you self reflect your own prejudice and bias based on skin color. Bennett doesn’t just analyze the white standard of skin bias but the black on as well. The book starts in the 1950’s and goes up to the early 1980’s. The story follows 3 generations of the Vinges family women.

5. Harleen by Stjepan Sejic was a fantastic Harley Quinn origin story. The approach was a romance novel gone wrong, and it works really well, so well the book earned a spot at number 5 of my favorite novels of the year. Harleen was runner-up in the Goodreads choice for graphic novels.   Harleen managed to balance all four, drama, action, romance, and comedy very evenly. The character of Harley generally wants to do good and help people, the Joker manipulates her feelings, but did she really change the Joker and make him care for her?

6.  His & Hers by Alice Feeney is a deeply psychological mystery thriller. This is a great mystery with layers upon layers. This who done it, will have you constantly changing who you think is the killer. His & Hers reminded me of the best parts of The Girl in the Train, the unreliable narrators. Both main characters lie with in the first passage already showing you the reader mistrust.

7. The Living Dead by George A Romero and Daniel Krause is a great zombie epic! It’s scary as hell, in its graphic descriptions that make you see, smell, hear, and even taste the gore. The first 200 pages don’t read while eating please take my advice. This novel is so much more than just a gorefest, it there is heartbreak, love and betrayal. The Living Dead is a morale tale, which ask what is living really?

8. 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.

9. Princess Floralinda and the Forty-Flight Tower by Tamsyn Muir is a fantastic, clever, new take on a witch locking a princess in the tower story. The one thing that is clear is Tamsyn Muir is a clever writer and thinks out side of the box. Her writing so far is all about female empowerment with this novel taking it to another level, Princess Floralinda does not need a man to save her, she’ll do it herself.

10. The Devil and the Dark Water by Stuart Turton is a historical nautical mystery that takes an Agatha Christie plot and adds the devil. The plot has so many twist and turns that all make sense. The novel is a fun who done it, with so many suspects all with murder that will make you head spin. The standouts for me is the plot, however crazy it gets there’s always a plausible reason and character work is so good giving all 20 supporting characters their unique voices who all have their own motives and actions.

Top 5 books read this year not published in 2020:

1. The Shining by Stephen King is a truly horrific book. I was shocked how much story was not covered in the movie. 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.

2. The Power of the Dog by Don Winslow is Scarface and the Godfather rolled into one. You live as the good guys the bad guys and the people in between that are casualties of the drug war. This looks at both sides like I have never read before, it shows the good guys having to cross lines they never thought they could cross and the bad guys crossing those lines to keep what they have.

3. Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman is the second book in the Arc of the Scythe series. Rarely do sequels ever make my best of list, butThunderhead ramps up the action, expands on the already great world building, it has one hell of a climax, and Dmaintains the high quality writing, that will make you think long after the book is finished. I love this series so much, it is going places I could not imagine.

4. One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus is a clever mystery that blends the characters of the Breakfast Club with the secrets of Pretty Little Liars. The storytelling was really simple with an easy to follow mystery with so many twist and turns. I’m happy to say that I did not guess the killer, kudos to those who did. The story gets going right from the beginning 5 people go to detention, but only 4 make it out alive.

5. Full Throttle by Joe Hill is comprised of 13 short stories, two are written with his dad Stephen King. Some stories are bone-chilling tales of fright, while others give whimsical insight of the unknown. All tales draw you in in some way, some let you go easily, while other try to hold you in a death grip and not let go.

Top 3 best series finished this year:

The Power of the Dog trilogy by Don Winslow which follows the birth of the DEA and the Mexican cartel.  The story starts in 1970’s and ends in our present. The story is Scarface meets The Godfather.  The first two books were 5 stars and the last was 4 stars.  The Power of the Dog trilogy is The Power of the Dog, The Cartel, and The Border.

Arc of the Scythe trilogy by Neal Shusterman an incredible young adult trilogy that looks at Earth’s future in a smart way. Arc of the Scythe takes the Grim Reaper character and humanizes it, by well making it human and showing the need of death. In a futuristic Earth human’s have beat aging. Thanks to Nano technology there is no disease and death can be reversed in most cases. Scythes bring a permanent death to curb over population. The Scythes are human’s who have been appointed, they have a kill quota must be unbiased in choosing it’s victims. The first two books are really strong earning 5 stars, with the last book falling to 3 stars. The Arc of the Scythe trilogy is Scythe, Thunderhead, and The Toll.

Stalking Jack the Ripper series by Kerri Maniscalco  Is a four novels and short stories Young  Adult series that starts in 1888 England and ends in America in the early 1900’s. It follows Audrey Rose Wadworth and Thomas Cresswell who are learning to be forensic scientist while not courting each other.  The series is romance meets serial killers.  The setting is old but feels fresh using feminist ideas from today’s society questioning what is lady-like? This series doesn’t hold back on blood and descriptions of the horrid acts. I rated the majority of books in the series 4 stars. The Stalking Jack the Ripper series is Stalking Jack the Ripper, Hunting Prince Dracula, Escaping from Houdini, Becoming The Dark Prince, and Capturing the Devil. 

Wrap Up: November 2020 Book Reviews

Dear Readers, November was a good month for reading catching up on my TBR, I ended up being bed ridden for two and a half weeks due to an emergency appendectomy.  This month was a weird one for ratings , the books I thought would be  instant 5 stars didn’t make it there  but the smaller books with a little bit of buzz did. I read 12 books this month. I read 4 graphic novel,  5 books in a series, 3 dark mysteries, 1 classic, 1 advance reader copies (thanks to Netgalley) and 3 books nominated for Goodreads choice awards in 2020. I only started 1 new series. I read every book on my TBR and added 4. I did hit my yearly reading goal of 75 books this this year my current total is 94.

Five Star Reviews:

His & Hers by Alice Feeney This book has the intriguing tag line: “There are two sides to every story: yours and mine, ours and theirs, His & Hers. Which means someone is always lying.” His & Hers is a great mystery with layers upon layers. This who done it, will have you constantly changing who you think is the killer. His & Hers reminded me of the best parts of The Girl in the Train, the unreliable narrators. Both main characters lie with in the first passage already showing you the reader mistrust. I really like the way it is told you have the perspective of him, a detective for a small town, and then you have her, a BBC news correspondent. But there is also another voice the killer’s voice, the clever thing this novel does is make you find out who the third voice belongs to is it Him, Her, or is it some one else.

Princess Floralinda and the Forty-Flight Tower by Tamsyn Muir is a fantastic, clever, new take on a witch locking a princess in the tower story. Tamsyn Muir is the best selling author of Gideon the Ninth and Harrow the Ninth both books in The Locked Tomb trilogy those books are dark, and clever about a lesbian necromancer, I was really excited to read something lighter by her, and Princess Floralinda was a little lighter with some truly brutal scenes. The one thing that is clear is Tamsyn Muir is a clever writer and thinks out side of the box. Her writing so far is all about female empowerment with this novel taking it to another level, Princess Floralinda does not need a man to save her, she’ll do it herself. A special thanks to Netgalley and Subterranean Press for allowing me to read it early. It wias be published on November 30, 2020.

Harleen by Stjepan Sejic was a fantastic Harley Quinn origin story. The approach was a romance novel gone wrong, and it works really well. Harleen managed to balance all four drama, action, romance, and comedy very evenly. The character of Harley generally wants to do good and help people, the Joker manipulates her feelings, but did she really change the Joker and make him care for him? Is the question, Batman and Alfred actually discuss it at the end. Harley does have layers to her character, and they are explored here. Harleen is written and drawn by Stjepan Sejic, with both done beautifully. The Joker and Harley have never loved better, the Joker is a little bit EMO which did take a second to get used to. Harleen is up for best graphic novel in Goodreads choice awards, and after reading it, it has my vote. 

Batman: Curse of the White Knight by Sean Gordon Murphy is a hard look at what it takes to be a hero, and Batman himself asking if he help contribute to crime. This is the sequel to the excellent Batman: White Knight where the Joker went sane and went after Batman as if he were the victim. The Joker is back to being the joker, but the things he called out were too good and could ruin crime sprees. The Joker has one more joke to pull that could blow up the Wayne legacy. The Curse of the White Knight continues its streak of being one of the best Batman stories. The story had a lot of twist and turns as it explores the birth of the Wayne dynasty and a current threat with an old score to settle. The writing will make you both laugh and almost cry.

Black Hammer Volume 4: Age of Doom, Part Two by Jeff Lemire was fantastic a perfect ending to the series. I was a little shocked that it ended I know of two other volumes to the series, but upon further research, one is short stories told in the world, and the other is a prequel. This is such a weird series that embraced the weird and did not shy away from it, but through all that weird it told a story of a dysfunctional super hero family, and the ending really nailed that aspect. This is easily one of my top series enders for a graphic novel. Characters were able to grow and the story has a nice arc that went full circle back to the beginning.

Four Star Reviews:

Mexican Gothic, by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia is one part gothic tale like Rebecca and one part like Jordan Peele’s film Get Out. The novel dip from gothic to horror easily. The novel analyses race, heredity, and class warfare making it a deep part of the story. This novel has been in the horror category, the first half I was like this is stretch to fit in this category, but the second half earned its spot in the category. The story is totally off the rails I could not have predicted where it went which was part of the fun. This book is one of the most hyped books of this year, receiving rants and raves all over the blogosphere.

One of Us is Next by Karen McManus is the sequel to the best selling One of Us is Lying. In this one the story is more complex, and the novel pulls double duty introducing us to new characters, while catching us up with the old characters from the first book. The book for the most part does a good job of blending the new characters with the old, I did feel at beginning it was too much of the new characters. The mystery is way more complex, it reminded me of the newest Veronica Mars storyline. Instead of 4 characters perspectives, we get 3 which was okay but it took away the rapid paced smaller chapters of the first one. The finale was really fun and exciting. There was a late twist almost at the end that I was not excepting.

Stone of Tears by Terry Goodkind is an epic tale of stopping the beings from the Underworld from escaping and bring hell upon the world. This is book two in the Sword of Truth series. This book waste no time to get going, action starts on page five and goes on for a good while. The story takes places a mere two days after the last one ended, with a lot of the unresolved issues getting addressed early on. The action scenes are great and unrelenting. There is a war scene that was so smart and detailed it was easily in my top ten of battle scenes I have read, where I didn’t get lost in the action and every move made sense. The finale felt a little rushed

Three Star Reviews:

Ready Player Two by Ernest Cline is the sequel to the geektastic Ready Player One. Ready Player Two is like the Matrix meets Tron: Legacy, it ups the action, and the quests (seven instead of three) . This book focuses more on overall pop culture during the 80’s while the first one was a little more about gaming, which is sure to turn some readers off. The magic is still alive in the series, the world building is expanded. The worlds explored are John Hughes, Prince, PBS, Florian (Princess Bride) and Middle Earth. John Hughes land was my absolute favorite, the whole book could have happened there and I would have been fine. I enjoyed Ready Player One more but this sequel has it’s charm and had some really cool highlights.

Hard Times by Charles Dickens is a satire written in 1854 but about the Hard Times of a mill town in 1840’s. This story is tragic as it looks at the differences of the have and the have not’s of society. It is a little crazy how some of the issues are still relevant especially about workers rights on safety. Hard Times is a satire and Dickens will find little ways to add humor, he has a lot of fun with names such as Gradgrind, Slackbridge, and M’Coakumchild to name a few. The story is told as an ensemble there is no main character, the story bounces to people mostly associated with the Gradgrind and Bounderby familes/workers. 

The Great Zoo of China by Matthew Reilly is Jurassic Park with dragons. The novel is self aware and there is references to Jurassic Park throughout. Where the novel separates it self from Jurassic Park is 300 pages of white knuckle action that does not let up until the end. Reilly does not put too much science in his science fiction unlike Michael Crichton does, leaving the story not as believable as Jurassic Park. What Reilly does really well is have detailed maps, that constantly reminds the reader where they are in relationship to others. Reilly who is known for his action delivers a pulse pounding narrative that seems to never let up.

Two Star reviews:

Suicide Squad Volume 1: Trial By Fire by John Ostrander and Kim Yale is 80’s action Suicide Squad more influenced by the 80’s TV show the A-Team then anything else. I wanted to read this in anticipation for the movie coming out that will have lots of obscure characters from the series, and I thought the 80’s Suicide Squad would be a good place to look. I got to learn a lot of the history of the squad originally called Suicide Squadron during World War II. I found out that The Penguin was briefly a member. The main members are Deadshot, Enchantress, Captain Boomerang, Bronze Tiger, Nightshade, and lead by Randall Flagg commanded by Amanda Waller.

Wrap Up: October 2020 Book Reviews

Dear Readers, October was a great month for reading scary stuff! I read 9 books. I read 1 graphic novel,  3 books in a series, 3 dark mysteries and 2 advance reader copies (thanks to Netgalley). I started 3 new series. I made a TBR and read every book on it and added 2. I did hit my yearly reading goal of 75 books this month.

Five Star Reviews:

The Devil and the Dark Water by Stuart Turton is a historical nautical mystery that takes an Agatha Christie plot and adds the devil. The plot has so many twists and turns that all make sense. The novel is a fun who done it, with so many suspects all with murder that will make you head spin. The standouts for me is the plot, however crazy it gets there’s always a plausible reason and character work is so good giving all 20 supporting characters their unique voices who all have their own motives and actions. A quick plot for The Devil and the Dark Water is what if a Sherlock like character was in chains and locked away and his Watson like compatriot who is a sympathetic giant that is more of a bodyguard than a problem solver had to solve a supernatural the crime.

Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse is a groundbreaking new fantasy that is inspired by the history from Pre- Columbian Americas. The story is rapid paced, with so much conflict, it is hard telling who exactly is on what side of the good or bad coin, but the story was a fun read. The look at politics and religion is the best thing, do you believe in the prophecy? Do you believe so much in the prophecy you will do anything to stop it? Will you set up your own candidate for murder but look like it is suicide to take over? Will you make a suicide look like murder to stop a war? These are all questions asked in this deeply engrossing novel.  This is another advance reader copy from Netgalley that is released on October 13th 2020.

One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus is a clever mystery that blends the characters of the Breakfast Club with the secrets of Pretty Little Liars. The storytelling was really simple with an easy to follow mystery with so many twist and turns. I’m happy to say that I did not guess the killer, kudos to those who did. The story gets going right from the beginning 5 people go to detention, but only 4 make it out alive. We get to live the lives through perspectives of the four survivors, the jock, the brain, the beauty, and the criminal. 

Four Star Reviews:

If It Bleeds by Stephen King is four novellas in one book, which he has done previously in Different Seasons and Four Past Midnight. As King has grown older his main focus has not been primarily horror, and this collection reflects his growth. If It Bleeds is my favorite story and the most horrific, Mr. Harrigan’s Phone reminded me a lot of his Hard Case Crime book Joyland, and how it was set up the first part was all history, but the supernatural comes at the end and well worth the wait, Rat is a story I thought was going to be a little like Secret Window just gone a different way, but it end up being a just okay modern day fable, and Like of Chuck was a story told in reverse and is more whimsical like his novella Elevation, which would have fit well in this collection.

William Gibson’s Alien 3 by William Gibson is a graphic novel based on screenplay version of Aliens 3 that did not get made that William Gibson did back in the early 90’s. It is not a wonder it didn’t get made since it barely has the character of Ellen Ripley. This story takes the supporting characters of Corporal Hicks and the Android Bishop and makes them co-leads. Newt is in this story as well, but still as supporting cast. I think Gibson nailed the voice of Hicks and Bishop really well. 

Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Manicalco is a dark story featuring witches who have the power to keep demons embodying the seven deadly sins in hell, but also possesses the power to bring them to the surface for good. Kingdom of the Wicked is the goriest and darkest story from Maniscalco and that is saying something since her last series was Stalking Jack the Ripper. This novel has throats getting slit, hearts getting ripped out, and demons tasting blood. The story opens really strong, hooking the reader from the start, the middle has nice moments here and there while keeping the pace for a pretty shocking finale. I was happy to get approved by Netgalley for the advance readers copy that is published 10-27-20.

Three Star Reviews:

Harrow the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir is the sequel to Gideon the Ninth a book I read last month.  Lesbian necromancer got me intrigued, but the great story and world building had me really excited for the next book.  Harrowhawk takes the leads in this one, which was good, but her character is no Gideon, and I missed her raunchy smart snappy dialogue. Harrowhawk learns some cool tricks with necromancy that are the highlights of this book. This book is is one of the most confusing that I have read in a while. The main story is really good, but it’s really difficult to know where you are, the bounce around space and time. 

Goosebumps: The Werewolf of Fever Swamp by R. L. Stine is book 14 in the Original Goosebumps series. What is scary in this book is the setting of a Florida swamp called Fever Swamp. The swamp seems way more dangerous than the werewolf that slowly starts killing animals. This book helps if you’ve read other goosebumps books and are looking for the twist to enjoy it because I thought my first guess was just too easy, but that was it. The story thrives on misdirection and it doesn’t work. It is also a story that once you know the twist the story makes no sense.

 The Saturday Night Ghost Club by Craig Davidson is a heart warming coming of age story about a club of adults and kids investigating local paranormal haunts. I put this on the TBR list this month because it was getting compared to Stranger Things meets Stand By Me, if you go in thinking that then you will be disappointed it is way more Standby Me than Stranger Things. This book looks at paranormal activity on a small scale, does it find ghost? the answer is sort of. This is not you typical ghost story, it is way more coming age than ghost story.

Wrap Up: September 2020 Book Reviews

Hello fellow readers. September was a good month for reading.  I read 8 books in September.  I read 1 graphic novel, 6 books in a series, 2 advanced readers copies (thanks to Netgalley).  I was able to complete two series this month The Stalking Jack the Ripper series with contained four books and DC’s Injustice: Gods Among Us that contained 11 graphic novels.  My goal this year was to finish up some series this year, I have wrapped up 5 series so far. I made a TBR for this month and read every book on it giving me more confidence for the month of October.

Five Stars Reviews:

Goosebumps: Piano Lessons Can Be Murder by R. L. Stine – This is Goosebumps 13 in the original series order. s pretty scary for a Goosebumps book; ghosts, dismemberment, and creepy teachers make this one scary. The story is pretty creepy from the start a family buys a new home, and finds a fairly new piano in the attic, but it is very haunted and only plays a sad melody that their young son Jerry can hear. This story is focused, and narrative driven. The ending is crazy!

Four Star Reviews:

The Invention of Sound by Chuck Palahniuk is released to the public on September 8th 2020 Thanks Netgalley for the early read.  The story is a crazy one that connects a serial killer, a Foley artist, con men, and a grieving father of a lost daughter. The Invention of Sound is written by the writer of Fight Club, check it out.  The writing is very good, Palahniuk makes some of the craziest observations; also he knows his history when it comes to sound editing, you will come away from this book knowing a lot about the interesting world of foley sound; which is the creation of fake sounds in movies. The cover features a watermelon getting split open which is the sound used for a skull cracking in movies. This book is mind bending, as it will make you the reader ask is this real, is this a drugged out fantasy, is this mental break, or is this a dream.

Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir – The main character was described as MTV’s Daria in an action packed Science Fiction involving necromancy. I felt like it was kind of the Tri-wizards tournament from Harry Potter with a lot more death and necromancy. Nine houses are all assembled with the best necromancer and the best sword fighter, it looks like the necromancers and sword fighters duke it out in a tournament, but when keys are found and murder committed, the game becomes a fight for survival. There’s a lot of creative world building and puts a fresh spin to necromancy and dark magic. Currently reading the sequel Harrow the Ninth

My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell – I have seen this book blow up the blogosphere and was the top five of a lot of mid-year list in July.  Stephen King and Gillian Flynn have both wrote blurbs about it. My Dark Vanessa is a hard look at abuse and the psychology of the victim that comes with it. This novel is powerful, because you can feel the truth in the words and actions. The story is fiction but yet feels so real. The novel is challenging in it’s descriptions of abuse. I found the denial of Vanessa challenging as well, you want to hug her and at the same time shaker out of her feelings to wake her up; despite all the challenging I found the psychology of it beautiful, as we see the breakdowns of each moment.

The Trials of Koli by M. R. Carey – This is the second book in the Rampart Trilogy.  I was blown away by the heart and the originality of the first book ,The Book of Koli, that I had to read the second one.  The premise is in future trees have taken over, they can walk and kill, society lives in shelter and relies on old technology to protect.  Koli dreams of being a technology user, but not knowing about technology he doesn’t know the system is rigged, with voice commands and fingerprint analysis.  He finds out and steals what ever he can find to make work he want’s a weapon, but what he gets is … a device that know one would think to use as a weapon, but in Koli’s hands he turns it into one. The second book picks up a second narrator Spinner, who is the woman he wanted to impress that lead him to stealing the tech that got him banished, that fills in all that went on in the village of Mythren Rood since Koli was vanished This book was ARC thanks to netgalley  and came out on 9-15-20.

InJustice: Gods Among Us Year Five Volume 3 by Brian Buccellato – This series is based on the video game Injustice: Gods Among Us.  In the series it ask what would the world turn into if superman lost everything and started killing his enemies and anyone who did not see the world his way.  Batman with his no kill code, is against this and friends become foes as the Justice league is broken up and heroes take sides.  This is Graphic Novel 11 in the series.   This volume takes us right up to when the Injustice: Gods Among Us Video game starts. Knowing that there was an Injustice 2 on the horizon, there was no way this series could end cleanly, the superman hate fest does not end with a hug and a hand shake but with a solution to even the score.

Three Star Reviews:

Capturing the Devil by Kerri Maniscalco – This is book four of the Stalking Jack the Ripper Series is a gothic young adult novel about romance and capturing the serial killers known as the White City Devil in the late 1800’s. This is the fourth book in the Stalking Jack the Ripper series. The series starts with Stalking Jack the Ripper 1, Hunting Prince Dracula 2, Escaping from Houdini 3, Becoming the Dark Prince 3.5 and Capturing the Devil. This book like other books in the series uses true events and famous people of the time to fit the narrative. In Capturing the Devil she use Chicago’s World’s Fair as a backdrop and features Nikola Tesla and H.H.Holmes. The novel also displays old photos of places, objects, and people to help you imagination. The story is heavy on the relationship of Audrey Rose and Thomas Cresswell taking up the first half of the book. I really like their relationship and how it has evolved over the 4 books, but I wanted at least a couple more scenes of forensic science which drew me to the series at the start.

Goosebumps: Be Careful What You Wish For… by R. L. Stine this book is number 12 in the original series order.  The ending is the only redeemable part of this book. This story is tied with Monster Blood for lack of scares. This story takes too long to get started. This is my latest review.