Audience: Young Adult
We’re outnumbered. Outgunned. Seven of my men lie dead on their backs. Two more jumped overboard as soon as they saw the black flag of the Night Farer on the horizon.
– opening paragraph
Seventeen-year-old Alosa is not only the daughter of the Pirate King, but also a captain of her own ship, and a powerful fighter with more than a few tricks up her sleeve. She allows herself to be captured in order to complete a mission for her father – to find one-third of an ancient map which leads to a legendary treasure.
Alosa is a strong, smart, fierce fighter, and she has a secret which can bend any man to her will. I like her character, but she seems a bit cocky at times and I couldn’t figure out why (until the reveal). I love that Riden (the first mate of the pirates who unwittingly take Alosa prisoner) is clever enough to see through most of Alosa’s tricks. Their rivalry makes it impossible for them to even imagine liking each other, but they can’t deny they are both clever and strong-willed.
Alosa is easy to root for. Her relationship with Riden sometimes seems a certain disaster and other times seems meant to be. This book is well-written, exciting, and filled with action and unexpected twists. Even during the last battle, things happen that you won’t see coming.
I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a high seas adventure with a strong female lead – young adults and adults too.
It was nine-thirty on Christmas Eve.
This is a dark, gothic, ghost story. The narrator, Arthur, recounts his experience at Eel Marsh house with the Woman in Black and how it changed his life forever. The story has haunted him for years and by writing it down, he hopes to be able to forget.
Arthur goes to Eel Marsh house to settle the estate of a reclusive old woman. At first, he tries to find reasonable explanations for the noises coming from the empty marsh. Then he realizes that what he hears is an echo of something that happened years before.
This is a slow moving story that gradually builds suspense and fear. The house is isolated on a marsh that can only be reached at low tide (it reminded me of The Elementals in that sense). As in that story, the isolation makes Arthur’s experience even more terrifying.
The audio is well done and I enjoyed listening. At 4 hours and 33 minutes, it is one of the shorter audiobooks I’ve listened to, but it didn’t exactly fly by. It’s a good story, but a bit on the old-fashioned side for me.
What was the worst thing you’ve ever done?
– first sentence
This is a terrifically terrifying story. I love the way the tension builds slowly. We know something terrible happened in the past, but we aren’t quite sure what. We also know something even more terrible is coming. The feeling of claustrophobia grows as the story continues and the town is closed off from the outside world. The evil is frightening and stays with you even after you put the book down.
The prologue was a bit confusing, but it made more sense once I got to the end of the book. I actually went back and reread the prologue and understood it much better.
Without a doubt, the most insidious dangers were the ones that hid in plain sight, camoflaging themselves inside the minds of rational men.
– first sentence
At 100 fathoms, sunlight no longer penetrates the ocean. This book combines the tension of being in a US submarine inside Russian borders during the cold war and being trapped in a submarine with deadly supernatural creatures.
I thoroughly enjoyed this one. The audio is well done and I spent most of my spare time this past weekend listening to it. The tension starts early and doesn’t let up. The worst (best) part is, the reader knows there is something creepy hiding on the sub while the crew is clueless and just thinks a couple people are sick or maybe someone is losing it.
In one way, at least, our lives really are like movies.
– first sentence
During the first three-quarters of this book, we get to know the characters, especially Jamie. I was constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop. Reverend Jacobs is obsessed with electricity; okay, but what’s going to happen next. I enjoyed following the characters and feeling their emotions through the ups and downs of their lives, but I was hoping for something… more. Then, when the more finally came, I was surprised, to say the least. I know this book has been out for a while, but I try to avoid spoilers as much as possible so I didn’t really know what to expect from this book. I had recently read a couple of reviews that claimed this was his scariest book (at least in recent years). I think I was expecting the scary to be woven throughout the book, but it wasn’t – it just hit you in the face during the final part of the book.
I don’t know how I feel about what the ending says about life and death, but I wasn’t especially scared or impressed by it. I’m giving it four stars because Stephen King has been my favorite author for more years than I can count, and because I appreciate his writing and ability to scare us in so many ways. The audio was very well done and I was anxious to see what would happen next. I listened to this every night instead of reading a print book, in addition to listening during my walks and driving time.
Lynn was nine the first time she killed to protect the pond, the sweet smell of water luring the man to be picked off like the barn swallows that dared to swoop in for a drink.
– first sentence
I couldn’t wait to see how this one would end. It is the story of a young girl raised in the wilderness by her mother. In this world, water is more than scarce. The only water Lynn and her mother have comes from their pond and they will do anything to defend it. Her mother taught her not to trust anyone and to be entirely self-reliant. But how long can they survive this way?
I enjoyed the wild west feel of this one. I loved Lynn and enjoyed watching her mature and adapt emotionally as the book progressed. Her life is full of struggles and the constant threat of death, but Lynn is strong and she doesn’t give up. There was a devastating event towards the end that I totally didn’t see coming – it was tough.
Apparently, there is a “companion book”, In a Handful of Dust, that I look forward to reading after Halloween Bingo concludes.
Performed by Wil Wheaton.
This story features a creepy man (The Phoenician) with a Polaroid camera that steals memories. A teenage boy stumbles across the man and becomes tangled up in his plan.
The story is told from Michael’s memories of what happened. The narration is excellent; it was fun to listen to “Wesley Crusher” perform the story. The idea of a camera that steals memories by taking pictures is frightening. Hill relates it to Alzheimer’s in the way the Phoenician takes away pieces of the older woman’s memories and gradually destroys who she is. I liked that there wasn’t a simple fix. But I kept thinking the story was over and waiting for something cool to happen, and that was a bit of a letdown. (3 stars)
Performed by Stephen Lang
With all the gun violence in our country, this one was hard to listen to. The story follows a mall shooting and how it affects the security guard involved. I liked the reporter character who helped figure out what really happened in the mall that day. But the story was a bit too dark for me and the ending didn’t help. (2 stars)
Performed by Dennis Boutsikaris
This is a quirky story about a guy on his first skydiving excursion who somehow lands on a sentient cloud that doesn’t want to let him go. I have an open mind and appreciate fantasy as much as the next reader, but I didn’t love this story. The main problem was I couldn’t stand the main character. (2 stars)
Performed by Kate Mulgrew
In this story, one day instead of water, it rains crystal nails that shred anyone who is left out in the open. Honeysuckle tries to find her girlfriend’s father and, in the process, finds clues leading to the cause of the deadly rain. I liked following Honeysuckle’s journey and her interactions with other survivors, but there were too many coincidences and the final conclusion seemed highly unlikely. I did enjoy the narrow scope of the story and how it focused on Honeysuckle’s journey as opposed to the effects of the overall apocalypse. I must say that I love Kate Mulgrew and will happily listen to any story she performs, so that may affect my rating. (3 ½ stars)
I am where dead children go.
– first sentence
Murdered deads live in storms without season, in time without flux. We do not go because people do not let us go.
– Chapter 1
Okiku is a spirit who was murdered hundreds of years ago. She takes vengeance on child killers and releases the souls of their victims. Tark is a teenager with an evil spirit locked inside him. When they find each other, they become part of a battle between good and evil.
This book is fantastic. It was scary, bloody, and suspenseful. It is told from the point of view of Okiku and is a bit disjointed at times. It combines the troubles of teenage life with a Japanese ghost story. There is a lot of Japanese culture throughout the story, especially towards the end when the family returns to Japan.
I liked Okiku and Tark and their relationship. Okiku really knows how to deal some bloody vengeance. It’s cool that Tark and his cousin are some of the few people who can see Okiku and she is able to communicate with them. I liked hearing her backstory. And the ending was perfect.
This one started out kind of slow. The first 1/4 of the book seemed like background setup and character development (which is ok, but not what I usually expect from Patterson). Once new murders started and the flashback scenes began, the pace picked up. I wasn’t sure who the killer was – I knew who they wanted me to think was the killer and who I wanted to be the killer, but I didn’t know the truth until the very end. That part was kind of fun. There were a couple of twists I didn’t see coming, and some I saw way before Detective Jenna Murphy did, but I guess I actually did have more information to work with.
If you like twisty serial killer stories, this is a good one.
It began the night we died on the Kamikaze.
– First sentence
This is a great Creepy Carnival book. Blake, his brother Quinn, and their friends Russ & Maggie end up trapped in an otherworldly carnival. The only way out is if they can ride seven rides before dawn. But each ride taps into one of their biggest fears, and no one has ever escaped before…
I enjoyed this one. It was fast-paced and creepy with a satisfying ending. It doesn’t take long to get to the carnival part and I enjoyed watching Blake try to figure things out.