Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “To Summon Nightmares” as Want to Read:
To Summon Nightmares
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

To Summon Nightmares

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  76 ratings  ·  30 reviews
Three years ago, Cohen Brandwein was "Ireland's Favorite Daughter", a popular teenage author and internet celebrity. But ever since he came out publicly as trans, the media's treatment of him has been less than golden, and these days, Cohen is desperate for escape.

When he inherits an old house in the country, Cohen sees it as a perfect opportunity to escape the press and w
ebook, 164 pages
Published November 5th 2014 by Less Than Three Press LLC (first published 2014)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about To Summon Nightmares, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about To Summon Nightmares

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.79  · 
Rating details
 ·  76 ratings  ·  30 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of To Summon Nightmares
K.J. Charles
Oct 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
Absolutely cracking. Loved Cohen, a terrific character, brave and vulnerable and very human. Cohen is trans, which is not the greatest of his troubles in this book, and the way his gender dysphoria is portrayed is amazing. I don't know a lot about this but it was written in an extremely powerful and convincing way, all the more so because it wasn't the main focus of the book.

I wanted this to be longer! Why do all the best books I've read recently run short while the world is full of 800pp behem
Dec 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
This was just great! I thoroughly enjoyed reading 'To Summon Nightmares'. It was so easy to read, suspenseful, romantic and sweet, and had great characters.

Not only the protagonists were immensely lovable and three-dimensionally crafted, I thought it was remarkable that the two adversaries in the book had a lot of depth to them, too. They were both tragic figures, but villainous still. I actually loved that I had to make up my mind if I considered them evil or not.

Cohen and Niall are very sweet
Nov 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
(This is an edited review, because my original arc of the book had a major error. Reviewed from an e-arc provided by NetGalley)

3 1/2 stars. At 16, Niall helped his lover Jacky raise a demon, hoping to save him from his abusive father. Instead, both boys wound up endowed with frightening power, with their relationship permanently disrupted and a government agency called The Guild after them. Niall is hiding out in Ireland when he meets Cohen, a young trans man who's beginning to physically transi
Pam Faste aka Peejakers
Wow, fantastically gripping story! Once I started reading, I couldn't drag myself away; I found myself wanting to tear through the book to find out what happens with the suspense & horror elements of the story, yet reigning myself in to properly appreciate the characterizations & relationships & all the other great parts of this story.

I really liked Cohen & the story of his developing relationship with Niall. Cohen was an intensely sympathetic character & the parts about his gender dysphoria we
Tags: Gay, Fantasy, Trans, Explicit, Graphic Violence, Scenes of Self-Harm/Cutting (From Publisher)

The story begins with Niall and Jacky as teenagers. They are trying to summon a demon in order to have the power to stop Jacky's Dad from abusing him. The ritual works but there are consequences that neither could have anticipated. Namely, The Guild. They end up spending the next five years in a Guild facility undergoing tests. Eventually, they are able to escape but Jacky has become so angry that
Feb 23, 2015 rated it it was ok
This book is like a skeleton of the story or a small painting done with very big strokes where you can't see any details. It also has a pretty misleading summary, so if, like me, you didn't look how it was usually shelved as, you should know that it's paranormal, not contemporary. I was hooked in by a prospect of a bestselling writer who happens to be trans, but instead I've got a trans person who, as it mentioned several times, happens to be a writer. The circumstances of his career, family or ...more
Karen Wellsbury
Nov 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is the review that should have been on Scuttlebutt, but isn't.

I thoroughly enjoyed this. The combination of some totally sympathetic characters, a gentle and moving love story and a good dose of horror is pretty compelling.

There are some established elements of horror here, the old house, left by a deceased relative, the small village where everyone knows everyone else and people who have lived there for 20 years are still outsiders. Selling something to a demon, and the consequences thereo
Shira Glassman
Dec 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book in one sentence: (mostly secular) bi Jewish trans man vs. his new gentile boyfriend's Scary Past with the Occult.

I don't read a whole lot of horror/paranormal/urban fantasy, so as an outsider there I can speak to the clear and easy to follow worldbuilding of this book's magic systems, government entities, etc. In other words, if you're here for the Jewishness or the written-from-a-trans-author transness, don't be scared off by the whole 'summoning demons' and 'government conspiracy' an

3.5 stars

It’s all a bit improbable.

But it is a story about magic, after all.

Cohen is the unsuspecting new guy in a creepy small town somewhere in Ireland. He just moved into a dank and creepy house. His inheritance from a recently deceased aunt. Cohen is a popular online writer and videographer. He’s looking for peace and quiet, needs to write that next book and escape the hordes. Ever since he came out online as trans, he’s been too much in the spotlight.

The story starts with a conjuring, some
Jun 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing

What a child might use as a toy, an adult would use as a weapon…

This story could be seen as a cautionary tale about being careful what you wish for. I read ‘To Summon Nightmares’ with great enjoyment and relish. The story is intriguing, the characters likewise intriguing, interesting and likeable. The pace of the book and the created atmosphere means the reader is always slightly off balance, anything can happen and probably will.

Set in an alternate reality where magic exists unknown to so
Nov 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-e-things, queer, lgbtq
I loved this novella. It's got magic and love and murder and some quite creepy stuff and two lovely, very human Irish guys, one of whom is trans (and bi and Jewish, and the other one is vegetarian--score for diversity!). It's a vivid, exciting story and I thought it was very well done. I really liked the characters and their relationship and I loved how the gender stuff was written--it seemed honest and it was quite moving at times. This is a big story in a small package. I might even say it's m ...more
Once again, Pendragon started out so well, but had faltered by the end. There were too many unanswered questions, not enough characters were fleshed out well and the end was incredibly rushed. This is a tale that would have done better in the telling with at least a hundred more pages. And a much better synopsis on the cover; this is certainly not what I would term a mystery.
Feb 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

It's brilliant book as great magic and romance Cohen and Naill. It's interesting different name characters. J.K. Pendragon is a good writer!
Dec 02, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, spec, queer, 2014
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Meredith Katz
Feb 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
To Summon Nightmares by J.K. Pendragon was pretty much everything I wanted to read when I started it a few days ago and then it just kept right on being everything I wanted at all times. I came home and rambled about it excitedly to my wife every evening (and, sometimes, texted her on my lunch break too).

It's a paranormal story: Two boys, Jacky and Niall, are lovers. Still teenagers, they struggle with how to deal with Jacky's abusive father and ultimately decide the best option is to summon a d
Lore Graham
To Summon Nightmares is a solid romance with strong elements of mystery and fantasy. The protagonist, Cohen, is a transgender man who has just recently come out. While I'm transgender myself, I'm confident that this story is accessible to readers who may be less familiar with trans issues.

Both Cohen and his love interest are likable characters with their own struggles. The plot moves along, perhaps a bit quickly at times, but never growing dull or aimless. While I labeled this book fantasy for m
Crystal Marie
Nov 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
To be honest, I personally haven’t read a lot of trans books in my reading tenure, mainly because it’s not something that has appealed to me that much. But I have read other books by this author in the past so I was really interested in reading this book to see what it was like.

Overall, I did enjoy the story. It was a very complex story to be honest, and I was having to pay really close attention to everything because there were a few times that I was left scratching my head and had to re-read
Rachel Watts
Nov 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed, lgbt
Characters were fleshed out with a remarkable level of detail and, though I’d have liked a little less “will we, won’t we” soul searching in Cohen’s attraction to Niall, both characters were enjoyable to read and their romance genuine. I’ve never read a trans* novel like this before. Cohen struggles with his dysphoria throughout but he’s also an unintentional role model for other trans* characters. He’s a hero, he’s the character who inspires Niall to do the right thing, and he performs this rol ...more
Jun 19, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: net-galley-arc
You can find more reviews Mademoisellesnow Blog

I wasn’t quite satisfied with this book. I loved the theory of this book and it was a huge reason why I requested to read it in the first place but for me it was a huge let down. There was a lot of information about the main character that I felt would have benefited if it was less vague, such as his career, family and his transition. I also felt that Cohen could have come through much earlier then written. Don’t get me wrong I loved the idea but I
Apr 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is a well-written and interesting story, which includes an informed perspective about gender identity. I really enjoyed this and would recommend it to people who are curious about reading a story with a trans MC without the trans identity dominating the plot. This is not an "issue" book, but a supernatural/romance genre story that happens to contain a few background elements that are queer/trans. Each element is well-balanced and presented in a clear, interesting, and straight forward matte ...more
This book was amazing. Not only was the plot captivating, but the way Cohen's dysmorphia is described makes you feel it and understand maybe a little of what trans* people feel and how people react to them.

The various parts (character issues, plot, etc) were woven together so skillfully I couldn't put the book down.

Definitely a recommended read.
Jan 19, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: 3-star
I liked the writing and would love to read more about these characters. I think this suffered somewhat from trying to do too much in a relatively short book. Any element (Jacky & Niall as teenagers, the Guild, Cohen's transition, Niall as an adult with Cohen) could've been developed into a whole book. ...more
Jan 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
I loved Cohen. IMO is depicted in a realistic way. But also Niall is well written. The ending was a kind of cliff-hanger, or maybe you could just argue that it is an open end...
Disclaimer: I'm a white cis woman.
Erin Books
Nov 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
Loved this one! Great mystery/horror, and the hero Cohen has such a great voice. He's funny and self-deprecating and very brave. I'll definitely look out for more from this author.
Liked this, but wasn't quite in the mood for suspense and horror, so I think I will probably come back to it again, and enjoy it more another time.
k reads
May 14, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-2015, quiltbag
Started out strong - unique and different but ended up losing me in the second half.
Elisa Rolle
Nov 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
To Summon Nightmares by J.K. Pendragon: http://reviews-and-ramblings.dreamwid... 2015 Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention (5* from at least 1 judge)
Sep 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
Okay, where's the sequel after "that" ending?

Love Bytes Reviews
This book was read and reviewed by Elizabetta for Love Bytes Reviews.
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Heart of the Steal
  • Boyfriend Material
  • The House in the Cerulean Sea
  • Iron & Fire (Silk and Steel, #2)
  • Silk & Steel (Silk and Steel #1)
  • Nine Goblins
  • Hero
  • The Errant Prince
  • Poisonwood (Poisonwood & Lyric #1)
  • To Clan and Conquer (Clan Beginnings, #1)
  • Runescribe
  • Sock it to Me, Santa!
  • Bad Things
  • Dark Rain (The Anrodnes Chronicles #1)
  • Waiting for Clark
  • Know Not Why (Know Not Why, #1)
  • Date Me, Bryson Keller
  • Been Here All Along
See similar books…
J.K Pendragon is a Canadian author with a love of all things romantic and fantastical. They first came to the queer fiction community through m/m romance, but soon began to branch off into writing all kinds of queer fiction. As a bisexual and genderqueer person, J.K. is dedicated to producing diverse, entertaining fiction that showcases characters across the rainbow spectrum, and provides queer ch ...more

Related Articles

This June, as we observe LGBTQ Pride—the annual celebration of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning communities—we...
189 likes · 71 comments