While technically this should be a 3.5, I had to bump it down for a number of reasonOriginal Review at Jaunts & Haunts
I gave this book three stars.
While technically this should be a 3.5, I had to bump it down for a number of reasons.
Alright, so this time around we're in Cassie's POV. On a mission to stop the Yeerks from recovering a chunk of one of their ships, Cassie finds herself separated from the others. Seeking safety, she hides in a cargo hold, waking up to the nightmare that she's on a plane headed for God knows where. Can Cassie find a way out of this bind and make it home?
This book did have a lot of potential but I was a bit disappointed.
As usual, Cassie is, well, Cassie. Her character is portrayed very well throughout the book, and I felt that she had to make some tough decisions and didn't torture herself quite as much as she usually does. That being said, the other Animorphs are something of an afterthought. They're present at the beginning and end, but that's about it and there's nothing wrong with that. What I did feel was lacking was their teamwork effort. In the mission at the beginning Cassie is all on her own basically begging for her friends to answer her, and they only come in at the last minute to leave her stranded once again. It was really frustrating. Why didn't they tell her about the plan? And even if there is danger around, how could they just leave her hanging like that? It didn't make sense to me after all they've been through.
The plot was alright, but disjointed if you ask me. Nearly half of the book we spend getting Cassie to her destination, meaning we only get the last half to let the story fully develop. I would've preferred they cut down on the airport hijinks and spend more time on the main plot point.
Also, I feel that this book shouldn't be occurring this late in the game. What I mean is, these one-character journeys of survival would be better placed at the beginning. I would've loved to see this one as #14 instead of the actual #14, which was quite disappointing. It's just too late in the game for Cassie to go off on this relatively lower-stakes adventure. There are only ten books left. We need an amp up for the big finish, but we're not really getting that with this story or the other recent ones, and that is dragging my score down.
Is this book well-written? Sure! Just don't expect it to change the trajectory of this series by any means....more
In a nutshell, a transcriptionist has trouble believing an accident is truly a suicide when the recording from within the cab says differently. What he finds shocks his world to the core.
I liked the character Anderson. He cares about what happened to this poor victim, and that pushes him along this brief journey. Though he receives some serious warnings from his Sarge to let things go, Anderson goes with his gut and does the right thing. All around, Anderson is a good guy, and I was all for it.
The plot was simple but interesting. Anderson is trying to find out the true source of the victim's demise, which leads him along a dark path. Painter really captures the five senses in this story. Also, the writing was really great and easy to follow.
I will say that I wanted this story to be a bit longer and for Anderson to get even more ingrained in this strange happening, but that's my only real reservation here. I simply didn't want it to end.
If you're looking for a great lead-in to Halloween this may just be the perfect story for you!...more
Unfortunately I did not finish reading this book and stopped at 41%.
I've loved vampires ever since reading Anne ROriginal Review at Jaunts & Haunts
Unfortunately I did not finish reading this book and stopped at 41%.
I've loved vampires ever since reading Anne Rice back in high school. So it wasn't much of a stretch for me to give this one a go. Sadly, I couldn't continue on any further than where I got for several reasons, though I will say there were some positives to take away from my experience.
First and foremost, I did like Oskar and Eli as characters. I think that their interactions were strange and interesting, and that largely kept me going. Oskar is a victim of the bullies at school, and doesn't really know what else to do until his life is changed by meeting Eli. Eli has plenty of mystery built around them, and I enjoyed that element.
That being said, there are a lot more POV's than just Oskar and Eli, and I think overall these additional characters really slowed down the pace of the book to the point where I just wanted things to move forward. I do understand that they are a part of the story, but there's just too much back and forth and it took me away from what made the book most interesting.
The plot was intriguing and I was already familiar given that I had watched the movie years ago, but I felt that it was extremely similar to the film, so much that I often wandered why I didn't just watch the movie and be done with it. Don't get me wrong, there are interesting developments and not everything is exactly the same, but reading it is just a different experience, one that I didn't enjoy as much.
A central theme of this book besides bullying is pedophilia, and that also impacted my experience negatively. This theme was explored to an extent that made me uncomfortable, and I just don't think a lot of people will appreciate that.
Overall, this book was interesting, but due to an abundance of characters, a slow-moving plot, and the unnerving theme of pedophilia I cannot recommend this book....more
Mystery surrounds Arlen Hall, a supposedly haunted place that our main characOriginal Review at Jaunts & Haunts
I gave this short story four stars!
Mystery surrounds Arlen Hall, a supposedly haunted place that our main character has pined over most of her life. When she gets a chance to own this paranormally active site, her persistence seems to have paid off. But as her dream comes to fruition, she learns she may have gotten much more than she bargained for.
This was a fun spooky read that got me in the Halloween spirit.
The setting was perfect. I mean, who doesn't love a haunted house? Arlen Hall has plenty of history, and I enjoyed exploring that aspect and all the drama and heartache it brought with it.
The main character is obsessed with this place, and I get that, especially since her ancestors owned it and it had backstory. I do wish that the character had a smidgeon more depth. I wanted there to be more behind the obsession than was present, but at just twelve pages, I think Tammie Painter did a pretty good job.
The chills and the mystery really kept me going, and I loved that ending!
Definitely worth a read if you're in the mood for a haunting! ...more
This book was a fun nostalgic read. I love vampires and the eighties, so why not havOriginal review at Jaunts & Haunts
I give this novel four stars!
This book was a fun nostalgic read. I love vampires and the eighties, so why not have both?
In a nutshell this book is about a young guy named Rocky. He's never had a girlfriend, and when summer rolls around that's all he can think about. So when dark-haired, pale November enters his life, he's mesmerized. There's something about her that's just ... different. But as people start to go missing in his peaceful tourist-trap town, Rocky begins to fear for his life, November's, and his family's. This is going to be one summer he will never forget.
For a vampire-themed novel, this was pretty good.
The characters worked pretty well. Rocky is your average teenage kid. The hormones, the embarrassment from family, wanting to be liked. There's a lot about him to relate to, and that felt real. To be honest, I didn't like Rocky all that much at first, but he did grow on me. His POV was good, but not always the most entertaining if you ask me. Sometimes he got a little mopey, and while that's realistic given his age, I just wasn't all about it.
Enter Gabriel. He was my favorite at first and a big reason why this book worked. I enjoyed his little jaunts here and there. Definitely a hungry, flawed character, and I liked that he knew what he wanted and went for it. He struck out most vividly.
I also think Julie was written well as his sister.
The writing was simple and easy to read, and there wasn't too much purple prose going on.
Also, the plot was intriguing. I was worried this was going to be all about the romance, but far from it. The romance does come into play but it doesn't overpower the plot, and I commend the author for that. There was a good mix of horror, gore, and action throughout, and that's a big selling point for me. I did think that the climax near the end of the story felt a little underwhelming, but overall I was really pleased with almost everything.
All in all, this was a good solid read, and if you like vampires I think you'll enjoy this one. Definitely worth a peek!...more
Eternal Myths is a two-part short story cOriginal review at Jaunts & Haunts
I gave this ebook five fantastic stars!
Man oh man did I love this book!
Eternal Myths is a two-part short story collection focused on a main character Nimue and other recognizable characters from Camelot. Magic has made Nimue and others immortal, but just because life has been drab for a century or two doesn't mean something crazy isn't lurking around the corner!
I enjoyed everything about these stories.
The characters were great. Nimue is a no-nonsense character who is loyal to her friends but honestly wants to enjoy the rest of her immortality in peace. She's arguably the most grown up of the characters, although I also think she projects that image of herself. Either way, it's great, and I loved her personality and how it differed with each character based on their history. Other characters were executed well like Morgan, Merlin, and the Lady of the Lake.
The plot was intriguing for both stories and had plenty of magic and mayhem. The first was a bit shorter and was more personal for Nimue, while the second was longer and finished out what the first story started flawlessly. I loved all the little twists and turns in each story, and I was captivated the entire time.
I am so glad I gave this author's work a chance. Her spin on mythology was mesmerizing, and her skill with the written word is amazing. Definitely give this one a shot!...more
I have to say, this was a phenomenal ending to the series, and I am veOriginal Review at Jaunts & Haunts
I gave this novel four and a half stars.
I have to say, this was a phenomenal ending to the series, and I am very happy I finished this series.
Continuing from the second book, a lot is up in the air. Citra and Rowan are seemingly gone, and Scythe Goddard is now in control of North Merica. With this new world order, the planet seems to be teetering on the edge of something chaotic. Can anyone stop Goddard and his insatiable lust for power and control before things get even worse?
There are so many great things about this book.
The characters, first and foremost were what really made this journey a great one. There are plenty of characters in this book, maybe technically too many, but Shusterman spins an interconnected web between them that makes each of them vital, salient to the plot. Obviously, Citra and Rowan are my favorites, and I enjoyed seeing them continue to fight for a better world. I will say that they didn't have as much progression as they did in books one and two, but that didn't bother me. I think they simply plateaued as people.
Greyson was probably the biggest shock for me. In the second book, he kind of came off as a poser to me, and going in I still had that feeling. But he really did grow on me and I think he had some great progression, enough to make me think at the end 'You're okay kiddo, you're okay.' I also loved Jeri's gender fluid character. They get major kudos for bringing attention to non-binary individuals as well as some major support through this novel.
The plot was riveting. We kind of start the book with a hard reset. The way back to a better world is going to be a rollercoaster ride, and that's exactly what we got. Mystery, action, and double crosses in spades!
I will admit that the first half of the book definitely had its slower moments, but at a certain point there's a shift and things just keep amping up. And those last 100 pages? That's why this is a four and a half star and not just four stars. I was blown away in those last pages. Obviously I can't spoil it for you, but I thought I knew what was going to happen and I was so wrong! I loved the shift that happened and the ending that resulted.
Overall, this book and series are unforgettable, and it ranks right up there with Lois Lowry's Giver series. If you like YA/Dystopian with a thoughtful twist, give this series a read! ...more
This book was a fun continuation of the series, though in my opinion it wasn't quiteOriginal Review at Jaunts & Haunts
I gave this novel four stars!
This book was a fun continuation of the series, though in my opinion it wasn't quite as great as the first one was.
Continuing from where we left off, our characters continue their journeys. Rowan has become a vigilante of sorts, seeking out Scythes who abuse their power, while Citra tries to uphold morality in her scythely ways. But a threat looms, ready to test not just Citra and Rowan, but the entire scythehood. Can they figure out who is behind the sinister events that unfold, or are these the last days of the scythedom?
There were plenty of great things about this novel, albeit with their own drawbacks.
Overall, the character were pretty decent. Citra hands down took the spotlight and shined. She stayed true to herself and strived to uphold her ideals. With the events that occur in this book, I think she does a pretty good job at damage control, even though she does show her young age here and there. No one's perfect, and her narrative showcased that.
Rowan's POV was fun. I especially enjoyed following his vigilante adventures in the beginning. However, things change at a certain point and I didn't have the best time. It was still mildly entertaining but I wasn't wowed by the direction it went in.
We also have a new MC named Greyson, but overall I felt his narrative was a bit vanilla. He's an average Joe kind of character that's been coddled by the Thunderhead, but I never really liked him all that much. Yeah, he goes through plenty of things, but he just came across to me as a poser. His role in this book is important, yes, but I just didn't get a real feel for him. He didn't stand out.
The plot was overall entertaining. It took a while for things to pick up (with the exception of Rowan), but once they did I really enjoyed it. We got some added immersion into this universe, and I liked all the added history and information on the scythes we were given. That being said, I wasn't the happiest about the events near the end. I'm not 100% convinced of what happened was all that realistic given the dystopian world they live in, but it was still a bunch of fun, and I'm curious to see where things go after the climax. I have a bad feeling!
Overall, this was a solid adventure and continuation of the series. It wasn't perfect, but it delivered an exciting journey filled with heartache, action, and ever-increasing stakes. Can't wait to read the next one!...more
I'm a big fan of Harmon's, and I was overall really happy with this book. Original Review at Jaunts & Haunts
I gave this novel four fantastic stars!
I'm a big fan of Harmon's, and I was overall really happy with this book.
In a nutshell, Suburban Secrets is a light mystery set in suburbia. Angela, a single mother, has enough of a hard time supporting her kid Grace and fitting into the landscape of overbearing parents, but when her best friend's kid goes missing, she scrambles to do the right thing. Can they find the child? Did he simply run off, or could something much darker have happened?
Let's start with characters. I personally liked the main character Angela. She has a lot of great traits. Intelligence, determination, resiliency. But she's also a good mom, and that resonated with me. She doubts herself in the sea of seemingly perfect parents, but she does what's right for her family and I had a lot of respect for her. I do feel like in small spots she may have overguessed herself a smidgen, but that's just my opinion and it didn't really hurt the journey of reading this book. Major shout out to Kate for being a great supporting character.
The plot was simple and started out pretty cozy, blossoming into something a bit more harrowing. I'm actually a fan of suburbs, so I enjoyed the surroundings and situations that were presented. It was easy to envision what was going on in each scene, and Harmon does it with ease. I enjoyed the mystery element presented and it really kept me turning those pages quickly.
The writing was nice and simple without too much fluff, so major kudos for Harmon using the KISS method. I'm big on that.
Overall, this was a solid mystery debut novel from this author and I can't wait to see what she comes up with next. She's definitely got a bright future. Give this one a shot!...more
Can Travis Liebert do any wrong with his writing? Hmm, I don't thinOriginal Review at Jaunts & Haunts
I gave this anthology four and a half stars!
Can Travis Liebert do any wrong with his writing? Hmm, I don't think so.
Having read several short stories by this author, Halloween seemed the perfect time of year to dig into this horror-themed novel of short stories, and I'm very glad I did. Here are my brief thoughts on each story within:
A fun, disturbing letter from a concerned father about his son and his 'guardian angel.' This reminded me of Rosemary's Baby, and I shudder to think what will happen next to this worried parent's son.
How powerful are the thoughts and energy we put into things? If you create something and disregard it does it fade away forever, or could it come back to haunt you? Very creepy!
When two college students venture into their campus's forbidden forest, their worlds are changed forever. But when they test how far to take this new secret things take a dark turn. Loved this one!
A police officer inherits a parrot after its former owner committed suicide. He quickly learns that it is far from an ordinary bird and may have dark, sinister intentions. Gripping and scary!
When a son moves in with his father suffering from dementia, he hardly takes a second glance at the old clown costume his dad used to wear. But when strange happenings take place, he begins to wonder if there might be something more ominous at work.
A diver investigates an ongoing set of disappearances near a local river, uncovering a dark and grisly evil. Atmospheric and mesmerizing.
After losing a close family member, a man searches out an estranged uncle and finds himself in a bizarre world filled with an irresistible darkness. I really enjoyed the progression of this one.
A man signs up on an app for odd jobs, only to realize much more is at play. Much, much more. The terror of this really struck me.
After attending his grandma's funeral, a man finds that there is more to his family than meets the eye, and it's nothing he could've ever imagined. Brief, but the plot moved very quickly and I enjoyed that.
Each of these stories was well thought out, expertly written, and most importantly, scary in some way or another. You can really tell that the author loves horror, and it makes all the difference. I would easily give at least six of the nine stories a 5 star rating, hence my rating of 4.5.
Overall, I'm continually impressed with how passionate Liebert is with the concept of horror, and I can't wait to read more of his work. Definitely give this anthology a read if you need some great scares!...more
This short story was great, and I enjoyed every murky minute of it.
In this tale, we follow a diver in his investigation of an ongoing set of disappearances near a local river. Through his sleuthing skills, he discovers a dark and grisly evil, one that he desperately hopes to thwart.
This story had it all. Mystery, chill factor, excitement.
I liked the main character. He's kind of your average Joe diver at first, but when he starts noticing odd things about these disappearances he can't let it go. In that way, he's a hero, and I found myself rooting for him the entire time. He desperately wants these disappearances to stop, and his heart's in the right place.
The plot was intriguing from the get go. I was curious about this river and why so many disappearances happened. I mean, people can be stupid, but the number of disappearances implies maybe something else is at work. That element of mystery really kept me going, and layer by layer we get further insight as the MC discovers small, startling truths.
This wasn't hardcore horror but more atmospheric in nature, and that really worked for me. You don't have to have tons of gore to have a scary story, and Liebert is proof of that.
This was a stunning read, and I can't wait to read more!...more
Unfortunately, I just don't think Holly Black's writing is for me.
This story is about a pair of siblings who have grown up around a mystery. An elven prince (they assume) has slept within a glass coffin in the woods for years. The local youth have parties out there, dancing, drinking, and making poor decisions. But when the coffin is found smashed open, the siblings decide to track the prince down.
I want to say I enjoyed what I read of this book, but I'd be lying to myself.
I think the one thing that kept me going was the premise. There are all sorts of mention of fae folk, and I wanted to see just how diverse these magical creatures were and how that fit into the siblings' world. Who doesn't like magic?
Unfortunately, we don't really get enough of it.
The book starts with a party in the woods. Hazel is there, sizing up guys because she wants to be a flirt and make out with somebody. Oh, the coffin? Yeah, it's there, but the author just wants to talk about how lonely Hazel is and how desperate she is for attention. Um, okay? Maybe they'll focus on the coffin later. Nope, that doesn't happen, at least not enough.
The plot just really wasn't moving anywhere for me. There's way too much description about the characters' clothing and meaningless whatnot and not enough happening. It was very boring to me and hard to keep going. Even when the plot does get going, we're randomly interrupted by poorly placed flashbacks that end up being an entire chapter.
Um, that's not how you execute a flashback. It totally took me out of the main plot and didn't give enough to the story. The flashbacks were just more dull high school drama, and as much as I love drama, its significance was minor at best.
The writing itself could've been a lot better. People say show vs. tell for a reason, and there were way too many info dumps along the way. I don't need someone to tell me how/why someone is the way they are. Let the reader discover that through the plot. I felt like I was being lectured the whole time. Certain events are clearly placed to try to make the reader feel sympathetic, but honestly I didn't really care all that much.
Which ties in to the character. I didn't really like any of them. Hazel is basic, and so is Ben. Hazel's desperation and lack of any admirable traits just bored me, and Ben wasn't much better. Both just seemed so intensely focused on a relationship to the point where it felt childish, especially when they lived in a magical part of the world. Who cares about a relationship when there's magic all around you?
It's hard for me to understand how this has a rating of 4+ after so many reviews, and I'm glad I didn't waste any money purchasing this.
Overall, this was a very disappointing read that lacked plot and character depth. It may be for you, but I would seriously consider reading a preview or borrowing it from your library before buying....more
The blurb pretty much explains it all. A husband named Jonah comes home one Original Review at Jaunts & Haunts
I gave this short story three stars.
The blurb pretty much explains it all. A husband named Jonah comes home one night to find that his wife has apparently lost her marbles and is trying to sacrifice his daughter. Chaos ensues.
I wanted to love this story, but there were several things that just didn't hit the mark for me.
First off, the characters. The story centers around Jonah, his wife, and his daughter Madeline. I felt that overall the characters were perhaps a bit too simple. Yes, this is a short story, but we still have to have enough backstory to connect the dots and establish their personalities.
We did get a bit of backstory with his wife as far as how strange she was being, but there's not much more than that. By fleshing it out just a bit more, this story would've felt more complete. As is, the characters feel two-dimensional.
The plot was simple and definitely horror, but again, I wanted more. We get a smidgeon of buildup, then the rest of the story is gore and chaos. As much as I love my chaos, we went balls to the wall too quickly. I didn't have enough time to build any feelings towards the characters. On the gore, some of the extent of the physical damage from what happens didn't make enough sense to me. I also don't believe the chronology of the ending made complete sense either.
I do have to say that the technical level of writing was pretty solid, and that kept me going along. This was pretty easy to read, and I like that in anything I read. No purple prose here!
Overall, while this short story was fun, gory, and ambitious, the plot and characters could've been done better. On to the next read!...more
This is my first time reading this author's work, and it was very good!
The blurb pretty much explains the gist of the story, but in a nutshell, a son moves away from his mother and her crazy occult conspiracies only for her to contact him years later spouting the same insane ideas. Jason makes moves to ensure her mental health, but soon learns that everything may not be what it seems.
I really liked this story.
For me, the main thing was the writing. It was expertly done, didn't have any purple prose, and was exciting.
Jason's POV was handled well and I think a lot of people can sympathize with his plight. We all have that relative that we just can't stand for various reasons. We got a little bit of depth and backstory to Jason's life when he was younger, and I think it fleshed out the story without feeling info dumpy. Very hard to do with a short story, so major props to the author there.
Oh, and his mom? Creepy and a bit batshit crazy, which really intrigued me. There was an element of mystery about her that I enjoyed. I had a bad feeling from the start.
The horror itself didn't necessarily dominate the whole way through, but it's definitely there, and I think the author approached this in the right way.
I honestly don't have any complaints with this story. The only reason I didn't give this five stars is that I wasn't completely blown away, but this is an extremely solid story, and I look forward to reading more from this author.
Unfortunately I only gave this short story two stars.
Just for clarification, I get no gratification out of givingOriginal Review at Jaunts & Haunts
Unfortunately I only gave this short story two stars.
Just for clarification, I get no gratification out of giving low scores. Being an author myself, I know a lot of hard work goes into each work presented. However, there were a lot of things that didn't work for me on this read.
Before I take a trip down constructive criticism road, what did work for me was the concept. Haunted houses are a frequently visited theme in the realm of horror, and for good reason. They're super creepy and you never know what evil lurks in the darkness. Going in, I had high hopes but was quickly disappointed.
Overall I felt that the writing could be improved upon. The sentences don't flow as well as they could, and the metaphors/similes used are a bit weak. Since haunted houses are now somewhat cliche, this work needed to set itself apart, and on this level it didn't. It's not terrible, but has a lot of room for improvement.
The main character Heather was alright, but I didn't really develop any feeling for her. That's often the case with short stories, so I'm not surprised.
The plot was super simple, which I typically like. Friend gets dared into going into a haunted house and chaos ensues. Unfortunately, what does end up happening in the house wasn't really scary to me. I'll admit it is hard to scare me, but it didn't even come close. The 'scary' bits we do get are okay, but are just not executed as well as they could be on a writing level.
In the end, I just didn't have much of a reaction to this story. If it was revised and the flow improved upon, it may become a three or even four star read, but until that day comes this story is forgettable in my opinion and I cannot recommend in its present form....more
I give this short story four and a half fangtastic stars!
This was a great short story.
In a nutshell, a vampire struggles with his marriage while trying to make sure his son succeeds at school, all while resisting the urge to feed. What a nightmare!
The characters were great. We got a lot of great information about Vlad our MC, and none of the backstory felt like an info dump. He's been so used to his 9 to 5 life that when his hunger and restlessness comes back with a vengeance it's really hard for him to control. It was great seeing that struggle as well as the strained interactions with his family and others.
The concept and plot was simple. Dysfunctional family with a vampire dad? Sign me up! Vlad's feeling a bit estranged and is going through the motions of figuring out what he needs and why he's feeling so off. While this wasn't too action-packed, we get little displays of Vlad's power, and I seriously enjoyed every bit of that. The story had depth, which is hard to pull off for a short story.
I really enjoyed the writing style, which felt poetic at times, but didn't have much purple prose if any.
If I had to pick at anything, there were bits in the beginning that tripped me up with the writing, but it wasn't anything too serious.
In the end, this was a great short story that blew me out of the water. Can't recommend more!...more
I really enjoyed this read. It came at the recommendation of a Original Review at Jaunts & Haunts
I gave this book four and a half fabulous stars!
I really enjoyed this read. It came at the recommendation of a friend, and I was sold after noticing the genres presented were a combination of apocalyptic, horror, and superpowers. I love all of those things, so I was super excited.
In a nutshell, this book is about a post-apocalyptic world where a group of super-powered 'apostles' and their 'prince' have caused the end of the world. Now the world is an echo of what it once was, and the prince spends his time ensuring no one else threatens his supremacy over New York City. But when a young girl is visited by the prince, it sets off a series of events that threaten to topple his empire.
There were so many great things about the book.
I think my favorite element was the characters. There was a large cast of characters, and though that usually is a negative for me, it really worked well in this story. I had this childlike excitement about getting to know all the apostles and what their powers were. I guess some things never cease to mesmerize me. Each character had a distinct personality that set them apart, which can be hard to pull off given the length of this book.
The plot was extremely fascinating. I mean, you have a world that already ended, and with that comes a ton of questions. What happened? What is life like now? Will the world recover? There's a whole world to explore in this novel, and I enjoyed the apocalyptic theme immensely. The prince is convinced that someone is trying to take away his empire, and there's a huge element of mystery throughout where he and his disciples are trying to figure it out. It was a fun ride!
I also liked the dark theme in the writing. It can be quite hard to pull off, but through the characters we get to experience their unique losses, and that helped flesh out this despairing world in a somber view.
If I had to pick at anything, I would say near the end I think the writing might've gotten a smidge clunky here and there, and Dina's viewpoint, while strong, didn't really capture my attention all that much, although I could easily blame it on the amazing superpowered apostles that I loved.
All in all, this was a wonderful book, and I'm excited to read more of this author's works in the future. Definitely worth a read!...more
I haven't read too many scary camp stories, but it's a niche in Original Review at Jaunts & Haunts
I give this short story three and a half stars!
I haven't read too many scary camp stories, but it's a niche in the horror genre I really love, so I had to check this out. I boosted this read with camp sounds and nighttime forest sounds to really get the ambience going.
I did enjoy this read despite some flaws that I couldn't overlook during my experience.
Starting off positive, the characters.
The characters worked very well for me. These four girls are clearly in their early to mid twenties, and that shows in the writing. Aisley's the nature expert, Piper the winey one, Elizabeth the perverted storyteller, and May the voice of reason.
May was my favorite as throughout the events of this story she stuck hard to her personality and never completely freaked. At first I did have minor trouble keeping up with who was who, but as the characters' personalities shine through the dialogue it became much easier.
The concept and plot is what really drew me in. Like I said, I haven't really read any scary camp stories, and I wanted to experience that. There's definitely some strange stuff happening throughout this story, and though it wasn't crazy intense for me, there was enough chill factor to keep me going. I was entertained.
I kept thinking what I would do in their situation. It was really creepy!
Where things fell apart for me was the ending. I mean, what the heck man? We got all this good buildup just for it to kind of fizzle out at the end. I was a little miffed at that. When you read a story, you want the end to justify you reading it, and there wasn't much of a payoff here. If the ending was better, I probably would've at least rated a four.
In the end, this story was fun but could have been a bit better with the ending. I would definitely give this author another chance for future works, but I'm gonna be eyeballing that ending skeptically. ...more
I did not finish this book, and it didn't take me long to drop it. For that reason, I'm not giving it a raOriginal review at Jaunts & Haunts
DNF at 10%
I did not finish this book, and it didn't take me long to drop it. For that reason, I'm not giving it a rating but am expressing my opinion.
This novel is about two girls who turns themselves into witches when they find this old book in a Free Box nearby. One of the girl's boyfriend disappears, and they drift apart over time. But when one of the girls says she has found a way to communicate with him, the hunt is back on.
I had a severe disconnect with this book from the beginning.
Based on the blurb describing this book as Sabrina meets the Craft, I expected this novel to center more strongly on the witchcraft aspect and magic. While I can't completely verify that it's not about that, I wasn't very impressed with what I did read.
The beginning scene was good, probably the strongest passage I read, but that was where the fun ended for me.
Each chapter potentially jumps around in time, which gets extremely confusing and annoying at the same time. Why put the reader through that? I guess some people like that, but it makes it extremely difficult to follow along with what's going on, and I would've rather read everything in a linear fashion. After the first passage, why not just focus on them beginning to learn the craft and enjoy it in all its glory, leading up to the incident with the boyfriend? That would've been more fun to read about.
Instead, after the first passage we skip around in time where things are very different. The girls aren't really friends anymore and they don't really use magic anymore. Okay, so you promise magic in the first passage just to veer away from it in the next chapter? Not cool.
What's worse is that there is a lot of teen drama that takes precedence over the magic aspect. Great, just what we need. Not! I got very tired of the bickering back and forth and decided not to continue on.
Friends practicing magic together can get very dramatic I'm sure, but the disjointed flow of the story and lack of magic just killed it for me.
This may be the book for you, but if you don't like it, don't say I didn't warn you!...more
I had really high hopes for this one, but by the time I finished I feOriginal Review at Jaunts & Haunts
I gave this novel three bloodsucking stars.
I had really high hopes for this one, but by the time I finished I felt more ... annoyed?
Don't get me wrong, there are great things about this book, but there are just about as many not so great things.
In a nutshell, this book is about a gay teen named Auggie Pfieffer living in Fulton Heights, a hotspot for vampires due to the Nexus present. Still, like any gay kid his age he wants to find his place in the world and his first boyfriend. But when he receives a bizarre warning from a vampire, his life is turned upside down. According to the vampire, he is going to end the world. Is this all just one big joke, or is there really something to be concerned about?
I enjoyed the writing style of this book. It's witty, full of sarcastic metaphors, and blends pretty well for the most part. That was the thing that really drew me in at first.
Also, how could you not like Auggie? A sassy gay main character? We need a lot more of those in the world! His viewpoint made sense in the beginning. He just wants to live his life without all the supernatural craziness of the town getting to him. But when stuff really starts hitting the fan, Auggie made quite a few bad decisions.
Obviously I don't expect him to be a saint. He is a teen after all, but I found he was a bit too willing to put himself in danger or make hasty decisions, which made certain situations worse or didn't make enough sense.
As for other characters, I liked the best friend Adriana and her abuela, as well as Daphne. They stuck to their personalities pretty well.
The plot was intriguing at first, but I think by the halfway point I felt there was too much going on. There were way too many interested parties in Auggie's plight, and that really muddied things up and made it confusing. Also, I found that at a certain point the plot followed an annoying pattern, which was plot point, drama fest, plot point, drama fest.
Yes, yes, Auggie is a gay teen and that often includes drama, but there's only so much a reader can take. After a while it felt like he was just whining about his circumstances for the hell of it.
Lately the new YA books I've been reading have followed this trend of teens being overly emotional like this, but I don't completely buy it. Not all teens are complete emotional messes, and it would've been nice to see Auggie calm down and get his crap together at some point.
Was this book fun? Yes. Annoying? Yes. Worth a read? Not completely sure, but it could be the right reading journey for you if you like all things YA, LGBT, and vampire. ...more
This book centers on a group of LGBT teenage kids sent to a gay Original review at Jaunts & Haunts
I give this novel four and a half bloody stars!
This book centers on a group of LGBT teenage kids sent to a gay rehabilitation camp. Most of them are pissed that they're there in the first place, but when kids start to disappear, several of the kids take matters into their own hands in an effort to stop the kidnappings and locate their missing friends. Can they locate the perpetrator before it's too late, or will they become the next victims?
I immensely enjoyed this book.
The way it was written felt like an 80's slasher flick, only written down, and that really worked for me.
The characters were overall pretty great. Billy and Jem were my favorite, but others had distinct personalities like Kyle and Michaela. Obviously they kids are not happy about their families sending them over to gay camp, and their reactions felt authentic. I wouldn't be happy either, and I'm glad my parents didn't sent me to a gay camp back in the day. Inherent to a slasher flick, the characters in this book did lack a little bit of depth and could've had more development, but I didn't judge very harshly due to the apparent vision of the authors.
The plot is captured pretty well in the blurb. It's a bunch of gay teens at a gay camp. People start to go missing, and while some blow it off to teenage hormones, some of the smarter characters start to wonder what's really going on. Besides the main plot, there are still some amusing camp antics like the crushes and rivalries, and that made this experience feel so much more real to me. Who doesn't have a thing for the hottest guy at camp?
I did have a couple little quips. The ending kind of left things too open for me as far as what happened with the perpetrator, and I wanted to know more. I also wanted verification of the actual deaths for certain characters, but we didn't get that.
Altogether, this book was a great LGBT slasher experience, and I enjoyed every minute of it. We definitely need more books like this out in the world!...more
Following the events of Small Spaces, Ollie and her dad, her two best frOriginal Review at Jaunts & Haunts
I give this novel four frightening stars!
Following the events of Small Spaces, Ollie and her dad, her two best friends, and Coco's mom journey to a newly renovated Mount Hemlock Ski Resort during a winter storm. When they arrive, everything seems nice and cozy. That is, until strange things start happening.
With the storm keeping them indoors, can Ollie and company figure out what's behind these spooky happenings before something truly horrific happens?
This was a solid continuation of the Small Spaces series.
This time around we read in two POVs, Coco and Ollie's. I can't quite remember if things were split like this in the first book, but sometimes their POVs were a little too similar for me. That being said, it was a joy to get into both of their headspaces for a more immersive experience.
Our characters were overall pretty great. Ollie, Coco, and Brian stick to their personalities quite well, and I enjoyed the comradery between them. There was a smidgeon of character progression, but I have to say I would've liked a tad bit more. I also felt that in small spots the thinking process of characters seemed to be a little below their age.
The plot and concept really drew me in. I love all things winter, and the beginning reminded me of The Shining, which really excited me. This one is more centered on a ghostly vibe, and I really loved that. The plot did keep me guessing pretty much the whole time, and things took some serious sudden turns that kept me blazing through those pages.
This sequel was a strong installment to Arden's series, and I can't wait to see what happens next!...more
Original Review at The blurb pretty much explains it, but this story is about a group of individuals living in this small fishing town. One of the citizens, Eli, found something at a 'yard sale' and plans on showing the others in the tight-knit group, but emotions run high as they debate on his actions and what he plans to do.
This was very intriguing I have to say.
The characters were all very unique with their own personalities and quirks, and it showed in just a short time.
I enjoyed the setting. The small-town vibe really worked for me, and it makes sense that the rumor mill is on full blast the second people start talking about Eli. I mean, what else do you do in a small town?
There was a prominent mystery element the whole time that propelled me forward. We get little inklings here and there, and I had to know exactly what was going on.
If I had to pick at anything, I would say that there are a bunch of characters for a short story, but it wasn't really all that confusing because each character was well-defined in the writing.
All in all, this is another great story by Tammie Painter, filled with mystery and excitement. Can't wait to read more!' rel='nofollow noopener'>Original Review at ...more
This is my first read by Iseult Murphy, and I had a great time!
This book centers on two twin sisters going on vacation. Many people dream of the beach, but they get stuck with Basard, a small village with quiet folks and strange stone circles. Trying to make the best of their situation, they explore the town, but as odd things begin to happen, the sisters begin to worry that more is afoot. Can they figure it out, or should they just run for the hills?
I enjoyed many things about this book.
The characters were portrayed well. The twins especially felt real to me. Irene is intelligent, studious, and no-nonsense, while Vicky is more carefree and lackadaisical. I liked how they interacted with one another. Like all siblings they fought quite a bit, but in the end they had each other's backs. That's family, and it was very believable.
The plot had me from the get go. Weird vacation spot? Check. Peculiar townsfolk? Check check. Strange happenings? Check check check! I enjoyed the small town atmosphere of Basard. It had this underlying eeriness to it that kept me flipping through those pages. Is there something supernatural, paranormal, or is it all in the twins' heads? Once things intensify, you won't want to stop reading. There was a lot of great action in this book.
If I had to pick at anything, I would say that here and there the writing could got a little choppy or too long-winded, mainly towards the later half of the book. Still, that didn't take away too much from my experience, and I ultimately thought this was a great read.
I'm excited to dive into the next book that comes out in October. I have a feeling some terrible stuff is about to happen! ...more
In this book, we follow a young girl Sarah and her dad as they hire a dragon to tend to their farm to get by. Dragons are shunned by human society, and it isn't long before people start judging them for hiring a blue dragon. However, this dragon seems to have taken an interest in her and claims to have secrets. What are those secrets, and will they put her in more danger than she's already been in?
I didn't quite love this story, but I did enjoy it.
I think what really drew me in was the concept. I mean, hello! Dragons are awesome, and if you don't think they are then I don't think we can be friends. I also liked the alternate history timeline that I got to see. It was distinct and while a bit depressing, still vivid.
This book has two parts. The first half differed a lot from the later half, and I have to say I have mixed feelings about it. I liked the mystery aspect of the first half. This 'prophecy' and what it means, the characters' interactions, the sensitive time element. All good things. Something happens (no spoilers, promise!), and the other half is very different. A lot of it I can't really talk about because it would give things away, but I kind of felt that by the end of the book, a certain character or two accepted what happened in the first half and were a little too okay with the results. Like ... how in the hell are you okay with that? Do you even understand ... I can't.
While I enjoyed the characters in this book, I have to say that they didn't have a ton of progression, especially for the main character. She just kind of fell a bit flat for me. I get that she's not the most vibrant character, but she felt vanilla. She didn't really stand up enough for herself until a certain point, and I didn't feel too attached to her. Kazimir was entertaining, he was probably my favorite.
And Malcolm ... well, I'm a bit confused by Malcolm's narrative parts. This book seems to be young adult until we get to his viewpoint. When I read certain sections I just kind of tilted my head and said "Well, that's not YA, that's adult." I think his narrative confused the genre this book should be rightfully placed in, but his character easily had the most progression overall.
Having read this book, I can't say it's perfect, but I can definitely say that it's entertaining and fun. If you like dragons and fantasy, this may be the book for you! ...more
Continuing on from the first book, Harper Raine has survived the summerOriginal Review at Jaunts & Haunts
I gave this novel four and a half stars!
Continuing on from the first book, Harper Raine has survived the summer and now hunts malevolent spirits in her free time, although maybe a little too enthusiastically.
After her grandma helps her vanquish a formidable threat, Harper begrudgingly goes with her family and friend Dayo to a tropical island for a vacation just around Halloween time. The only problem is that there's a dark energy surrounding the island, an energy that may threaten all of their lives. Can Harper figure out the mystery behind it all and protect those she loves?
This book was really great, and this series has made me a fan of Ellen Oh's for life! Yet again, so much is done right at the hand of this great author.
The characters were a big pro for me. Harper is growing up bit by bit, and I enjoyed her progression through this novel. It's hard to accept that you can't win every little battle in life, and Harper has to come to terms with that a bit here. She's coming into her own as an adolescent and breaking out of her shell, as well as developing her abilities as a Spirit Hunter.
Her little brother Michael was so adorable throughout, and Dayo was again a great supporting character as well.
The plot was great, and the second I saw this had a Halloween theme, I wanted to read it even more. The plot was riveting, and I couldn't help but blaze through the pages. Monsters? On a remote tropical island? Sign me up!
If I had to pick at anything, I would say the 'flashbacks' of sorts (seriously trying not to give anything away here) could be a little cheesy with the diction, but given that this is a middle-grade book I didn't judge very harshly.
In the end, this was a great continuation of the Spirit Hunters series, and I can't wait to see what adventures Harper gets into next!...more
This book is written by a 15-year old, and I don't think that I've ever read something by someone this young before, but it takes a lot of oomph and dedication to write something, especially at that age. Major kudos there.
However, on a fundamental level I had some issues with this book.
Let's start with the positive.
The main things that I liked were the concept and action. I love the concept of superheroes, and with that usually comes many a great fight scene.
Unfortunately that's about where the good stuff ended for me.
The characters, while intriguing felt two-dimensional at the end. They had decent backstories that made sense, but it didn't go any further than that. I wanted more depth from them.
The plot started off fairly well, but went off the rails a bit for several reasons. For starters, I didn't completely buy Voltage's acquisition of superpowers. It was too random for me.
There was a lack of conflict for me, and Voltage discovers the extent of his powers way too easily. It just wasn't believable that his friend could look up powers on Wikipedia and say 'try this' and everything just works. If this control was discovered over the course of several novellas that would've made more sense.
The action scenes felt too rushed for me, and I wanted to see more grit and have it slowed down a bit so we can really see all the details.
Overall, this novel didn't work for me and I won't be continuing the series, but I think that with time and experience, this author will get better and bring something really great into the world. Keep reaching for your dreams, Nicholas!...more
I've never read anything in the Wild Cards universe and found thiOriginal Review at Jaunts & Haunts
I gave this short story five superpowered stars!
I've never read anything in the Wild Cards universe and found this free read on Tor's website. Man was I blown away!
In this story, we follow Rikki, a superpowered 'joker', who wants to go on an adventure with her friends outside of Jokerstown. She's never been to Central Park, and why can't she and her joker friends go, even if the nats will stop and stare?
This was truly great. The characters were relatable, unique, and had their own quirks about them. I loved each of their unique powers, even if some of them weren't quite so useful. They made a great rag-tag team of buddies.
The plot was simple but handled expertly, and I couldn't get enough. There is obviously so much more to this universe and I have to know more!
Though there were terms I didn't understand at first, the writing explained it pretty easily and there was no confusion after that.
All in all, this is a perfect read whether you're a fan of the Wild Cards Universe or just a noob like me.