In The Journals of Bob Drifter, protagonist Bob Drifter isn’t your ordinary substitute teacher. People around him keep on dying, for a very good reason, but this could make Bob’s life surprisingly complicated when the cops become suspicious of the high amount of dead people that cross his path. When his secret becomes endangered, Bob struggles to accomplish his task, fulfill his mentor’s wishes while at the same time protecting his students and just about everyone else.
What a thrilling, edge-of-your-seat read. It’s an amazing, fast-paced book that doesn’t slow down until the end. Bob is an intriguing character, very brave, cares a lot about others, and I also loved the fact he’s a teacher. The world building was intriguing and I enjoyed getting to explore this world.
If you love paranormal thrillers, I highly recommend this one....more
A book filled with fun, danger, action, and basically everything that makes urban fantasy delicious. The world building was excellent, leaving us with a vast, detailed and complex world to explore. The two love interests were great too, but Ash was my favorite. Piper is an interesting character and I enjoyed reading about her struggles. The sequel definitely goes on my to read list....more
Main character Jenine lacks personality – she’s about as interesting as a cardboard figure. Everything happens to her, and she doesn’tset anything in motion herself. Her best friend Bree is far more interesting and should’ve been the main character. The story is all right but a little predictable....more
I’m still struggling to review Broken Monsters and it’s been a few days since I finished it. In truth, the book isn’t bad, and if it were up to writing style alone, it deserved more than three stars. Lauren Beukes is an excellent writer, and knows her craft.
However, books are about more than writing style. There’s also plot, and that’s where the book drops the mark. In theory, the plot is great. A murderer connects the upper half of a boy to the lower part of a deer, and that’s only the first murder he commits. The murders grow increasingly more strange, and one of our main charcter, Gabriella Versado, a detective with the Detroit police department, has to solve the case. In theory, it sounds good. There’s also a connection with the art community, and the city of Detroit is described in great detail, giving the book more credibility and causing a better writing experience.
Then the book warps from a murder mystery into a paranormal thriller, with the mention of doors serving as gateways. Now I’m the first person to admit I love police procedurals that morph into paranormal thrillers, but here it just totally unraveled the plot. No longer were we hunting for the killer, we were trapped in a paranormal nightmare that read more like a bad acid trip. Instead of enhancing the plot, the paranormal aspect weakened it, and the murders suddenly lost most of their importance.
Then there’s the characters. Gabriella is all right. She’s your stereotypical struggling working mom who also happens to be a detective, divorced and unable to have a healthy love relationship with anyone except her daughter. Said daughter, Layla, a teenager, gets a POV too and turns out to be a major part of the plot. Next up is TK, a homeless man who we don’t really learn all that much about, and Jonno a struggling author turned film maker who is a despicable human being and does everything to become famous, even if it means not giving vital evidence to the police. Each of those characters also seemed to have a subplot going on, and that took a lot of the focus away from the main plot. I don’t mind a few subplots, but we just got too much of those here. The many characters made it hard to connect to one. I could connect with Gabriella somewhat, and if the whole book had been from her POV, I probably would’ve liked it more.
If you like paranormal thrillers or just plain strange murder mysteries, I’d recommend to give this one a shot. It’s not bad, but it just wasn’t my cup of tea either.
You don’t often get to read a YA horror book that manages to be so original as this one. Albeit having some technological mumbo-jumbo I had to wade through to understand the book, I really liked it. The prose is beautiful, the characters kick ass (how can you not if you’re a descendant from Van Helsing?) and the way these guys track down ghosts and exorcise them is in one word: awesome. I’d definitely recommend this one to all fans of YA horror. On the downside though, the book could’ve done with some more wolrd building, and the characters weren’t flawed enough. But don’t let that hold you back from giving this one a shot....more
I’ve read so many paranormal books already that it takes a lot to surprise me. Eye of the Storm: Eilida’s Tragedy managed to do just that. With an original plot, a character relationship that kept me guessing and dropping hints along the way without ever giving away the big reveal, this book is a little gem, the kind of read you just have to love.
Eilida’s curiosity gets piqued when she hears a disturbance at her neighbor’s house. Instead of minding her own business, she decides to investigate. But the scene at the house is so shocking she runs into the mountains, while a thunderstorm breaks out overhead. After slipping on the wet floor, she plummets down and slams into a large boulder. Then she’s transported to Lyden, where a woman named Sunshine becomes engrossed in her story, and their lives become more entangled than either of them thought possible.
The book left me guessing until the end. Both Eilida and Sunshine are engaging characters, but it was the plot, and the questions piling up that was most interesting to me. If the author can come up with any more of these gems, I’ll gladly read them....more
In The Color of Clouds, Pedro is a spirit guide who helps conveys messages from the deceased to the living through a psychic named Gwen. Pedro usually doesn’t interfere much in the affairs of either the living or the deceased (besides conveying the messages) but that changes when he meets a young boy who passed away just recently and is very troubled, and Pedro decided to help him. His psychic friend, Gwen, agrees to go on a cruise that could help Pedro with his quest to aid the boy.
Deanna and her husband Paul are on a relaxing cruise trip together. Or at least, “relaxing” was the point, but now they’re seated with an elderly couple and a table, Ernst and Sylvie (who keeps on calling him Ernie) and Gwen (aforementioned psychic) and her sister Jo. The six of them quickly become acquainted and realize they might have more in common than they at first thought. But when Gwen gets a message about “danger” ahead, a strange light slips past the ship, and two passangers fall into a coma, the six of them soon find themselves in danger.
As a fan of everything related to ghosts, I enjoyed The Color of Clouds. The book focuses on the six characters: Gwen and Jo, Ernst and Sylvia, and Paul and Deanna. They all have a different personality and are unique enough to merit a POV of their own. The POV sometimes shifts to other characters to, like Herman Lunz, head of security on board of the ship. All the POVs blend nicely, providing a few plot twists I did not see coming.
The writing is fast-paced, and once you start reading, it’s hard to stop. The book manages to blend science-fictoin and paranormal in a story that kept me on the edge of my seat....more
The Changeling offers compelling writing, a complex story and an engaging main character. Aoife – the nickname of Eva – is an ordinary teenager who likes texting with her BFF Carla, chatting about boys and doing all the things ordinary teens do. But when one of her friends, Sinead, invites her to the movies, en route Aoife sees a little girl hopping between the trees. She goes out to look for her, along with Carla, but the girl doesn’t show up and the others suspect it’s just in Aoife’s imagination.
But afterward, Aoife starts to develop strange powers, and when she kisses Shay, the only boy who believes her story, she discovers she can flying. After jumping / flying off the cliff, she and Shay end up in a mysterious underworld where nothing is as it seems and some of the local folklore might turn out to be real after all.
Aoife was an engaging character. I liked her fun friendship with Carla. They’re obvious best friends and I feared Carla might dump Aoife after she saw a girl no one else saw, but Carla remained a good friend. Aoife was a bit stubborn at first though, and a little slow. I wondered how many more signs she wanted that she had special powers. The pacing picked up once they entered the underworld. Her personality became more developed, she grew stronger and overall more likeable.
I loved Shay from the start and I only started loving him more as the book developed. He’s a genuine good guy, and I liked how there was no love triangle for once, like you see so many times in YA books. The romance between Aoife and Shay seemed just as geuine as either one of them was on their own. Genuine good people who deserve a relationship filled with love and care.
What I enjoyed the most were the little details: the Irish folklore, the setting, the dialect. This made the book sounds all the more real and made it all the easier to connect to Aoife and the other characters....more
Whereas the TV-series for “The Originals” focuses on the present life of our Originals family, in particularly Klaus, Elijah and Rebekah, this spin-off book series focuses much more on the past, on their history of the first time when they came to New Orleans in 1722. The book is an enjoyable read, much more so than the Vampire Diaries books that inspired the series to begin with (although, since they’re written by a different author, that probably shouldn’t come as a surprise). The characters are a little different than in the show though: Klaus is in love, for example, and he could destroy an alliance by falling for her. Klaus in love is a different kind of beast. Overall, the Originals seem a lot more hopeful and less angry and bitter than they do in the TV series. An interesting start to the new series....more
The Hawley Book of the Dead has an original, surprising premise, and delivers with great writing and outstanding characters. The book starts off with a bang, introducing us to Revelation, “Reve” Dyer, who accidentally kills her husband. They’re a duo of magicians and illusionists, but one night, one of their tricks goes wrong and she kills her husband on stage. Reve is broken up about it, and along with her three daughters, she struggles to pick up the pieces of her life. Afraid the person who murdered her husband (the intruder who switched her trick pistol) is after them, she gathers her girls and moves to Hawley Five Corners, a small town founded by her ancestors.
But living in a secluded farmhouse in the middle of a town she grew up hearing so much about, Reve discovers things about her history that she never thought possible. She finds the Hawley Book of the Dead, an ancient journal with strange power that might save her or destroy her. Reve tries to uncover the journal’s secrets, and hopes it might help protect herself and her daughters, for it seems the person who murdered her husband has chased them to Hawley…
The book has an amazing amount of lore behind it, and I enjoyed uncovering the secret of the Hawley Book of the Dead. It also has a good amount of mystery and even some thriller-aspects. The middle part lagged a bit, but I found that this helped build up the supsense. I began to really care for Reve and her daughters, and I didn’t want anything to happen to them. The characters were well-rounded and interesting. Reve’s sorrow and grief is so realistic you instantly feel bad fo her.
While the plot was interesting, it was the magic that brought this book to the next level for me. I liked the history behind it, the introduction of the book, and in general, the whole magic system. The writing was great too, with vivid descriptions and an unique setting....more
In Portraits of Celina, Bayley and her family move into the old O’Malley estate on the countryside after her father dies, to try and make a fresh start. But a fresh start might be the last thing they’ll ever get. Bayley moves into a room who used to belong to Celina O’Malley, a girl who disappeared when she was sixteen years old. It’s now forty years later, but it seems like the past won’t be put to rest. Bayley looks exactly like Celina – at least so do people tell her – and she starts wearing Celina’s old clothes, and eventually even hearing Celina’s voice. What’s going on? What does Celina’s ghost want from Bayley, and what happened that made her disappear forty years ago?
I’m a sucker for these kind of stories – YA paranormal mystery with ghosts. And Portraits of Celina is a good one at that: the mystery, while not overly-complicated isn’t too easy either (I only figured it out past the halfway mark), the ghost is genuinely chilling at times, and the title is given a whole new meaning throughout the book – which I loved. The quarrels between Bayley and her siblings were awesome too. They sounded like a real family, and although they argued often, they did have each other’s back. This made Bayley seem like a more realistic character. Her emotions seemed real too, especially her pain over losing her Dad.
Then, on to the bad stuff. The romance was too cliché. Oliver and Bayley have literally nothing in common, and Bayley acts like a weirdo for most of the book, which is no surprise considering she’s being haunted by the ghost of her deceased cousin. Yet, Oliver isn’t in the least deterred by all this weird behavior, which doesn’t sound very plausible. Their dialogue seemed childish too, and honestly, I could’ve done without the romance. The story and characters are intriguing enough without.
I enjoyed this YA paranormal mystery, some of the scenes where chilling, but for the most part, it wasn’t too scary. Fans of ghost stories will probably like it too....more
Probably Monsters is a delightful collection of spine-chilling horror and dark fiction stories by author Ray Cluley. I read a lot of short story collections in the horror genre, and I have to be honest: this is one of the best collections I’ve ever read. So if you want to crawl under a blanket and enjoy a chilling night, I would highly recommend this book.
The first story, “All Change” reminded me of classics like Poe’s stories. The protagonists finds himself battling more monsters than he wanted to take on. While a delightful read, it didn’t quite have the same amount of horror as other stories in the collection. However, it set the town nicely, and already displayed to the reader that author Ray Cluley is a master of words, and knows how to create an eerie atmosphere. The second story, “I Have Heard The Mermaids Sing” is scarier than the first, and relies heavily on atmosphere to get the horror punch across. At the same time, the story also focuses on some very real issues, and manages to describe another culture. Although a short story, by the end of it, I felt like I’d known the protagonist half my life. One needs to be a master at writing in order to achieve such a thing.
Next up was “The Festering”, and oh my, how I loved this one. It’s about a girl who has a drawer where she pours all her secrets in, and more I won’t say, but it was creepy, yucky, and intriguing at the same time. “At Night, When The Demons Come” is a tough story to read – it’s just so raw, so dark, so bleak, but at the same time it packs a powerful message, and it shows the author’s almost limitless creatviity. This was one of my favorite stories from the collection.
“Night Fishing” is a sad story more than anything, dark fiction rather than horror, and it is simple yet powerful. “Knock Knock” turns your usual ghost story upside down, providing an interesting perspective on the matter. I liked the twist toward the end. Once again, the characters came across as very realistic, like real people. “The Death Drive of Rita, Nee Carina” was wow. Just wow. I have no other way to describe it. It’s a horrible story, dark and twisting, yet the way the author tells it, one feels almost sympathetic toward the protagonist. The end seemed weird, almost too strange, but from the POV of the character, it made perfect sense.
“The Man Who Was” is haunting. Of all the stories, I think this one will stick to me the most, because at the end, well it’s just gut-wreching really. The kind of scene that stays with you longer after reading, the kind of pain and terror that crawls into your skin and doesn’t let you go. “Shark! Shark!” was a welcome reprieve after the more emotionally-loaded stories I’d just mentioned. It’s basically a story about people shooting a shark film, and the narrator is hilarious. It’s still dark, but it made me laugh out loud, so it’s not bleak or depressing, instead it’s a fun, wicked story.
“Bloodcloth” offered so much originality that my mouth hung open the entire time I read it. Seriously, I’d never read anything like it, especially with the “bloodcloth” (I won’t explain what it is, just read the story for that). Tanya, the protagonist, was a delightful character, and I was sad to see the story over. “The Tilt” is about Carcassonne, which I’ve wanted to visit since forever, so naturally, I enjoyed it too. It’s a bit more mainsteam than the other stories, but I liked it nevertheless. I’m not sure if it’s the originality of these stories, or the author’s flawless writing style, but I have trouble finding one story I didn’t like.
Next up, “Bones of Crow”. I liked the metaphores here, how the story remains vague, having an open interpretation. Had it been more straightforward, I probably wouldn’t have liked it so much, but now I could interpret it in different ways, and I always enjoy that. “Pins and Needles” was creepy because of how ordinary the story is. The way it started out, it could’ve happened to just about anyone, and that’s what really brought chills to my spine. But the ending, well, I still have nightmares about that. The creep factor is high n this one.
“Gator Moon” was all right, but again, more traditional. I didn’t find it as inspiring and scary as the other stories. “Where The Salmon Run” was another solid story, and managed to add in some cultural perspectives too, about the Kamchatka track, about the lives of people who look for salmon. It wasn’t scary as much as it was dark and depressing, but stil enjoyable. “Indian Giver” was another scary read though, and I liked the way the story was told (a story retold from one man to another, rather than the reader actually witnessing it happening). It was a nice change, and allowed for the main character’s thoughts to be analyzed too. Next up, a short one, “Mother’s Blood”. Now, this one might’ve been a bit close to home. I can understand the perspective from the main character so well that it almost scares me. Luckily, these thoughts remain in stories, not real life, and I’m certain most people, once they think it through, will be able to relate to what the protagonist is going through.
“The Travellers Stay” was an all right read. It was slightly familiar (everyone knows a horror story about a motel, I’m sure) but still, the author managed to pack enough character development and original twists to make it entertaining. “No More West” was a bit vague, and I had to read it twice to fully understand what had happened. A more traditional story, but still good. The book ends on a high note, with “Beachcombing,” one of my favorites from the collection, and while not scary, certainly leaves one in a thoughtful, dark mood.
The collection as a whole is intriguing and powerful, and it features so many different protagonists – other collections sometimes offer more generic protagonists, the standard stereotypes, but here you’ve got a whole cast passing by, from people struggling with their sexuality, to little children, to girls who want to grow up too soon, to people who have gone through terrible ordeals. The writing is excellent, and I would recommend it to just about everyone who likes horror....more
Mysticism & Myths is a paranormal sampler collection, offering samples from six books. The first is “Bound by Blood” by Margo Bond Collins. I’ve read several books by this author before, so I was excited to find a new one here. Lili, from Filipino origin has tried her entire life to adjust to the American ways When children in her area start growing ill, and nobody seems to find a cure, Lili, who has since become a doctor, tries to save them. This novella was very intriguing. The writing flowed fluently, the characters were engaging, and the ending came as a surprising twist. I also liked the inclusion of an aswang, a mythological monster not many people know about.
The second story, Isa: Gift of the Baloma by Perri Forest is a fantasy story about love, and finding it in the most unlikely of places. The chapters included here are just the start of a full-length novel. It ended rather abruptly, and I would’ve liked to read more, but as far as a start to a book goes, this was pretty interesting. The author does a good job crafting the characters and the world.
Micco, Anguta’s Reign by Dormaine G. is the story of Micco, a native American who wakes up one day at a crime scene and then laters gets chosen to work the case along with the local detective. The murders keep piling up, people start seeing wolves, and Micco’s behavior changes dramatically. A supernatural murder mystery with enough surprises to keep on being entertaining, I particularly enjoyed this one. It’s my second favorite story in the collection. Seeing Micco struggling with grasping what’s going on is intriguing.
In Cursed: A Yorkshire Ghost Story by Karen Perkins, a skeleton is dug up. The skeleton belonged to a witch, Jennet, and she’s out to get revenge. Since I’m a huge fan of ghost stories, this was my favorite story in the collection. The writing was great, the characters stood out, especially Old Ma Ramsgill.
Carnem Levare by Jaxx Summers focuses on Stefano, a man who tried to commit suicide only to find out he couldn’t die. He’s cursed, heartbroken over losing the love of his life, and now he’s forced to relive through that pain over and over again. While madness sinks in, he keeps on believing in love. The character development in this novella is the strong part of it, although the plot is original too.
The last book in the collection, The Life Keeper by Abby L. Vandiver, is another interesting one. Jessica does whatever she can to help out her family, but when her cousin shows up looking for a strigoi – some sort of vampire – her household is turned upside down while her cousin suspects the strigoi might be one of their relatives. It’s an interesting story to wrap up the collection, and while I figured out early on how it would end, I did enjoy it.
Each story has its merits, and the writing is strong throughout. If you’re in the mood for some fantasy novellas, ranging from horror and ghost stories to murder mysteries and romance, I would recommend this collection....more
The Black Lotus is an intriguing historical romance with a paranormal twist, focusing on life in the eighteenth century, and giving the reader a tale of romance, intrigue and the paranormal.
Melissa De Vire is a debutante making her first appearance in high society. Unlike what society wants her to be, Melissa is fiesty, stubborn, driven, and she’s not afraid to stand up for herself and others. As a reader, this instantly made me like her, root for her, and relate to her. Then Melissa meets Justin Lestrade, a man bored with life, who has seen it all and done it all. Nothing surprises him anymore. That is, until he sees Melissa. She’s different, and they have an instant spark. But Justin isn’t exactly marriage-material, and he hides a terrible secret that could ruin both of them.
While I loved Melissa, I liked Justin too – I thought he formed a good match for Melissa, and he had an entertaining personality. If anything bothered me about him, it would be his history, the curse, and how not all of that was explained during the course of the book. The tag line says ‘paranormal twist’, but I had liked to know more about the whole paranormal part of the book.
Apart from that, I loved it. Like I mentioned, the characters were great, but the plot was good too. It held a few surprises. The descriptions of life in eighteenth century were so vivid I could picture most of it, from the scenes and settings to the gowns and dresses. I can’t wait to read the next book in the series....more
I already reviewed two books by Wayne A.D. Kerr, Monsters and Miracles (The X+Y Files #1) and Kristin’s Ghost (The X+Y Files #2). I enjoyed both of these books a lot, so I looked forward to getting started on the third book in the series, Escape from Area 51 (The X+Y Files #3).
We meet up with Xander and Yzzie once again in this third installment. This time area, they get to go on a trip to a top secret military testing base, Area 51. For Xander, who has always been obsessed with UFOs and aliens, the trip is a dream come true, but when he starts hearing an alien voice in his mind, presumably belonging to an alien named I-pod, his dream turns into another adventure. I-pod is one of the most hilarious aliens ever, and he needs Xander and Yzzie’s help to escape Area 51. But the military base is one of the most heavily guarded facilities on earth, and breaking the alien out sounds almost impossible. But if anyone can do it, Xander and Yzzie can.
This book is easily the most fast-paced read of all three books in the series. Xander and Yzzie have grown a lot as characters, and they really shine in this book, each of them with their own strength and weaknesses. I-pod is amazing. Not only is his name hilarious, he knows how to crack a joke as well. I’m sure kids will love I-pod.
The writing is excellent, the story and plot are engaging, and the book has plenty of suspense, and a few unsurprising twists. Kids will love this fast-paced story, and all fans of middle grade books should definitely try this series....more
In School of Deaths, thirteen-year-old Suzie has been having some trouble as of late: she lost a lot of wait, and starts to look like a skeleton. When it turns out this transformation is due to her becoming a Grim Reaper, she’s less than pleased. She will go to the College of Deaths for a year, where she will learn everything there is to know about being a Death, and bringing souls to the Hereafter. She has one year to prepare for a test that’ll decide her destiny, a test almost everyone fails. On top of that, she happens to be the only girl in an all-male college, in fact the only female Death in centuries, making her a target for just about everyone.
This series is off to a promising start. Suzie is an entertaining, realistic character, who grows a lot as the book progresses, and finds her inner strength. She got a rough deal, but she manages to stay strong, no matter what. The world-building is vivid and original, and kind of reminded me of a darker version of Harry Potter. The plot is unique though, setting it apart from other books, and providing a solid start for a brand new series.
Recommended to everyone who likes young adult fantasy. I’m looking forward to the sequel....more
“The Enemy Within” is the third installment in the “Daughters of the People” series. It follows Indigo Dupree and Bobby Upton, two characters who share a history and struggle now they’re forced to meet again. After fourteen years, Indigo has returned to Tellowee, Georgia. She refuses to spend any more time hiding, or running from the past. But when Bobby shows up again in her life, the boy she fell for all those years ago, and he makes a move for her heart all over again, she might end up getting more than she bargained for.
Bobby is tasked to track down India Furia, Indigo’s twin sister. Indigo herself wants to track down India too, bring her in to atone for her own sins. But of course India has other ideas and she draws her sister and Bobby into a deadly game.
The setting and world-building is brilliant. It’s a magnificent world, with its own customs and rules, and it all makes sense somehow. Bobby’s love for Indigo is surprising, and at the same time, heartwarming. He’s been in love with her for years, and he’s not about to give up now, even though she does everything in her power to stop her own feelings.
I didn’t get everything that was going on, courtesy of not having read the previous books, but it was easy to dive into the story and pick it up, even without prior knowledge. The characters were engaging. I loved India, even though she was bad, and pretty much the exact opposite of Indigo, she offered so much personality and showed that being a villain doesn’t always mean being ‘just evil’. Even real, developed characters can be the bad guys, and do a great job at it.
I would recommend this book to everyone who enjoys a solid paranormal romance series, with great lore and an engaging story....more
After the adventures in Monsters and Miracles, I looked forward to reading the sequel, Kristin’s Ghost. The book certainly didn’t dissapoint. If anything, I loved it even more than the previous book in the series. Xander and Yzzie are back for more fun and mayhem, and this time they’ve been teamed up with Yzzie’s friend, Kristin, who gets visited every night by a ghost she’s named Cassandra. Kristin is reluctant to share her story, but when she hears Xander has been bullied before because he believed he saw an UFO, she’s more willing to open up. Kristin tells them about her ghostly visitor, who appears at the exact same time every nine, twenty minutes past one.
Kristin used to be afraid of the ghost, but she’s not anymore, she’s gotten used to it. If anything, she wants to find out who Cassandra is, and why she’s haunting her. Xander, Yzzie and Kristin team up to find out the truth about the ghost. I felt a connection to all of the characters right away – Xander and Yzzie because I got to know them in the previous book, and Kristin because the book starts out by introducing her to the reader, and makes it easy to establish a connection with her.
All the characters were well-rounded and intriguing enough to keep middle graders (and even adults) entertained. The writing was great, as in the previous book, and overall the story held a few surprising twists, and was fast-paced and engaging....more
In Monsters and Miracles, Xander is being bullied at school after he told his friend he saw a mysterious light one night. Now everyone thinks he’s seeing things, and they’re already calling him names like “Xander the Space Commander”. His parents decide to sent him to the ranch of his aunt and uncle out of town, where he meets his adventurous cousin, Yzzie. When Yzzie goes missing, Xander sets out to find her, a quest takes him to a pitch black labyrinth filled with monsters where he gets help from the most unusual of friends in order to find his cousin, and he finds out he’s much braver than he thought he’d be.
Think “The X Files for kids” and then you’re almost right. Monsters and Miracles offers a story that will appeal to both boys and girls, and middle schoolers as well as an older audience. Even as an adult, I was surprised by the many twists and turns I could find in this gem of a book. The writing started out a little slowly, but quickly found its grounding, and then started moving at a faster pace.
Imaginative and creative, this book is a great start to a brand new middle grade series and manages to catch the right tone for middle graders. I look forward to reading the sequel....more
Winter Wolf is the second book in a series, and I haven’t read the first one, so at the start, I struggled a bit with keeping the characters apart, and with figuring out what happened before this book starts. But…the book is amazing. Seriously. I couldn’t recommend it enough. It has so much lore, background story, such unique characters, and smooth, fluent writing, that you just have to read it to believe it.
The murder on a bookstore employee throws Nicole in the middle of Inquisition business, which she doesn’t like at all. Guilt-ridden for not being able to save his life, she uses forbidden magic to investigate the past (how awesome is that?) and learns it was a disease that killed him, a disease that could very well kill all werewolves, destroying their species. Nicole must find someone to trust, but in her world, that’s not as easy as it sounds. And saving the werewolves might have disastrous consequences for her. So with a choice that is anything but easy, Nicole is driven onward, having to use forbidden magic to protect herself and others.
The magic part is sublime, and it adds another dimension to this novel. The characters are complex and engaging, especially Nicole. She’s easy to relate to and with quite a few flaws, which makes her appear more realistic. The plot is fast-paced from start to finish, never giving the reader a break.
An amazing read which covers a lot of topics, and will appeal to fans of paranormal, urban fantasy and suspense alike....more
The book drops us right into the middle of the story. The action picks up from the start, and the book turned out to be a lot more fun than I thought it would be. Rachel is an intriguing protagonist. She has a great sense of humor, and she’s pretty awesome at what she does. The entire worldbuilding of this book was great, including the Order of Rescue Mediums, and the lore behind that....more
The story is inspired by the Snow Queen, one of my all-time favorite fairytales. I liked the first book, “Spork” a lot, because it had tons of original elements and although paranormal, it gave a refreshing twist to the concept. The sequel was a bit more predictable, but the Nordic folk stories were very intriguing, like the frost giants. Katla’s new skills are a little over the top though, and with the whole new range of skills, it just seems like too much....more
Imagine King George III as a vampire. Now, imagine a steampunk, dark fantasy world, in which people worship the gods of Industrialism, as opposed to the rest of Europe, which still practises christianity.
The novel starts off by introducing us to the three main characters as youngsters: Nicholas, James and Isambard. When something terrible happens, Nicholas and James are shocked, but Isambard gains a strange connection to the machines that rule their world. He becomes an engineer, and gains royal favor as a result, while he works with the mechanical creations that have him mesmerized.
Numerous years later, Nicholas returns to the Engine Ward, a district in the heart of London, where he starts to work for his childhood friend. But as Isambard wants to set up a Wall, that would shut out the dragons (yes, you read that out) that threaten the city, and he gets the approval of the King, he begins to suspect something is wrong. He informs Nicholas of his suspicious that the king wants to use the wall not to protect the citizens of London, but to keep them locked inside while he unleashed an army of Sunken: flesh-eating monsters.
You can’t say that The Sunken doesn’t have an element of originality – it’s easily one of the most original books I’ve ever read. And the most amazing part is how skillfully S.C. Green manages to combine all the elements of this book: flesh-eating monsters, vampires, alternative history, steampunk machines, and dragons. When you read it like that, you’d never think it works, but it does. The London the author creatures is a dark and threatening place, but at the same time it’s also vibrant and lively, and one of the most thrilling fantasy settings I’ve read about.
I loved Isambard – he was my favorite main character, because he’s just so complex. It ward hard to think about what he’d do next. That’s not to say the other characters aren’t complex either, for example, Nicholas has a few struggles of his own and has some tough choices to make.
The writing was excellent, the characters engaging, the plot suspenseful from start to end. There aren’t enough words to say what an amazing read this is – I’d recommend you just pick it up and see for yourself. ...more
This isn’t exactly a retelling. None of the characters from the old fairytale keep their personalities – not even the story stays the same. I would’ve been able to live with all that, had it not been for how these new characters were completely and utterly immature, especially Izzie. Dialogue was cringe worthy, and overall, I had to force myself to continue reading....more
The moment I read the synopsis for Slide, I knew I had to read this book. Everyone belives Vee is narcoleptic, but she doesn’t actually fall asleep: when she passes out, she slides into someone else’s mind and experiences the world thorugh their eyes. That’s how she’s certain that her sister’s friend Sophie didn’t kill herself, but was murdered. Now it’s up to Vee to unmask the killer before he strikes again. There were quite a few twists and surprises, and the book definitely has a high creepy factor. ...more
This was a fun, light ghost story for teens and middle graders. Heather is a great protagonist. She’s definitely not perfect – she has the habit of attracting ghosts, has multiple skin and respiratory allergies that make her stand out from the rest, and she’s geeky in a fun way. This book was light-hearted but kids will be able to relate to the characters and story just fine....more
The book had an interesting premise, but fell flat. Calder turns out to be the same stalker-type we encounter in dozens of other YA books. There’s insta-love, Calder is stuck-up, too sure of himself, and overall, not a likeable character to read about....more
I’m absolutely and utterly in love with the Lockwood & Co series. When I reviewed the first book, The Screaming Staircase, I had no choice but to give it a 5-star rating, considering it was easily one of the best books I’d ever read. The Whispering Skull, the sequel, is no different at all.
The world Jonathan Stroud has created in his books is downright amazing. It’s an alternative version of London, one overshadowed by ghosts and other entities. In the sequel, Lucy, Anthony and George are back, and they’re still struggling with Visitors, quarrelling with Kipps, and trying hard to establish a reputation for themselves amongst the other, more reputable agencies. Fortunately they’re in a better position than in the first book – after solving The Screaming Staircase case, their reputation has vastly improved, and they get more job offers.
Then a new client, Mr. Saunders, hires Lockwood & Co to be present at the excavation of Edmund Bickerstaff, a Victorian doctor with a bad reputation. The trio shows up for the excavation, and all goes well – until George’s curiosity gets the better of him, and he takes a closer look at an object hidden inside the coffin. Afterwards, George acts strange, but neither Lockwood nor Lucy looks for anything behind it. That is, until they hear the contents of the coffin have been stolen by a thief – and the object inside the coffin is potentially more dangerous than anyone realizes.
On top of that, the ghost jar starts acting up again. Lucy is the only one who can hears its whispers, but this time around, the jar seems to have an even more sinister message from the beyond.
As inspector Barnes asks for the trio’s help to locate the stolen object, he also enlists Kipps and his team – and the challenge is on. But if they want to defeat the evil hidden inside the coffin, they may have to find a way to work together, or this might be the one job that’ll get them killed.
Lucy, Lockwood and George are amazing. I loved their dynamics in the first book, and here, they’re spot on again. Lockwood is still as secretive as ever, but part of the veil covering his past, is lifted. We see him in a more positive daylight, not just some Indiana Jones-type who doesn’t care much for his companions. Lucy is a lucky girl to work with him, that’s all I’m saying. Talking about Lucy, she is still struggling with her own powers, and part of what makes her interesting is how real the struggle feels. She’s afraid of her abilities, afraid sometimes of the ghosts closing in on them, and that fear is real and palpable. I also liked her bickering with George – you’d think the two of them would get better along after what happened in the first book, and maybe they do, but only up to some point. There’s still too different to really get along.
The plot is fast-paced, and once again, completely blew me away. Everything about the book screams originality, from the setting to the plot (creepy object found in coffin, and the trio having to run all across London to retrieve it) to the characters. The world-building is hands down amazing, and the author should get an award for that feat alone. Everything matches, everything works, and the end result is simply amazing.
This is my favorite series ever, and I can’t wait to read the next part. Mr. Stroud, you better get writing, or I might have to sent a Type 3 your way. ...more
An excellent read. The author transports readers to a magical world crawling with monsters, magic, and power. The Darkling is easily one of my favorite villains of all tme. The writing is sublime, the world-building outstanding....more
I loved this book. Monstrous Beauty combines two paranormal creatures: mermaids and ghosts. While it seems a surprising combination, it actually works. The book travels between two timelines, each one equally convincing. Solid writing, amazing characters....more