I read this one for the Southern Gothic square.
The story begins with a funeral and an unusual tradition. Afterward, the Savage & McCray families escape to Beldame where there are 3 identical Victorian houses and nothing else. One house for each family and the third house which is being devoured by the sand.
I love the way the author introduces the characters and gradually gets you invested in them. He brings you into their world and the little quirks in their relationships. Then the supernatural gradually creeps up on you and bam!
I liked that the strongest characters were the oldest (the black maid/good witch) and the youngest (13-year-old girl skeptic) and the relationship that developed between them. The atmosphere is so descriptive that I felt like I was on the beach with them.
Great choice for Southern Gothic horror. Thanks to all of you who read this for previous Halloween Bingos and brought it to my attention with your amazing reviews.
Audience: Young Adult
Farway is part of a crack team that travels back in time to liberate priceless artifacts before they are destroyed or lost to disaster. On an expedition to the Titanic, another time traveler (Eliot) takes the piece they were there to retrieve. Eliot says all she wants is to be part of their team, but can they trust her?
I loved this book. The characters are likable and relatable, including typical human flaws. The world-building is fantastic, both the future time and the pasts they travel to. The twist at the end is surprising, but not completely unexpected.
The narration is very well done. I never wanted to stop listening.
Recommended to: Fans of sci-fi stories with non-stop action and snarky humor.
This is a historical horror/thriller story revolving around Robert Louis Stevenson, the story of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, and Jack the Ripper. It alternates between 1880’s London and “present day” California. My favorite parts were in the 1880’s where Stevenson creates the story of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde and deals with the consequences. The present-day story revolves around Rafe, an environmental scientist who is working to save the coyotes and stumbles across a mysterious steamer trunk.
The part with Stevenson is intriguing and suspenseful and was hard to put down. But, the present day part with Rafe is a bit tedious and took a while to get going. I kept trying to figure out how it connected with the Stevenson story but was more interested in getting back to the 1880’s. The narration is well done even though the accent irritated me a bit.
This is a brilliant premise for a story but lacks a bit in the execution. Overall I enjoyed it and recommend it to fans of history and horror (as combining the two is a bit unusual).
Audience – Young Adult
I loved this book. It was a fantastic end to the series. I highly recommend it. The narrator is different for this book, but she did an amazing job. There is less sex in this one than in the previous book (which was sort of a relief – it was a bit much in the last one but it did make sense in the context of the story).
After 64 hours in the world of Prythian, I am ready for something new. But I’m thrilled to have met Feyre & Rhysand and the rest of their family. This series is a must-read for fans of Maas, and of fantasy.
So… I’ve listened to over 4 hours and I’m still not really feeling this one. I’ve heard it’s good but it takes a long time to get into it. Maybe half the book – that’s another 4 hours before it gets good. I’m not sure if it’s worth it.
I just had a library hold become available. I’m going to listen to that one first.
Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray
This was a bad idea.
– First sentence
I loved the first book so much and the cliffhanger ending got me, so I jumped directly into this when I finished The Ark Plan. The change in narrator was a bit jarring because I was accustomed to the way the characters “spoke” in the first book, but the story is just as good, if not better.
Sky, Shawn, and Todd continue their journey to solve the mysteries of the topside world and the Noah. Why is the military so set on catching them and will Sky be able to complete her dad’s mission? Oh and don’t forget all the deadly dinosaurs.
I thought one character was going to be traitorous, but it wasn’t as bad as I thought. (In an adult book, I might have been right.) Any kid who liked The Ark Plan will be thrilled with this sequel. The audio is a delightful way to experience the thrills and adventure of this fantastic story.
Recommended to: Grades 4 and up – fans of sci-fi, adventure, dinosaurs, and kids saving the day.
This is book one in The Library series, about a magical library that helps spirits whose stories have been disrupted by supernatural events. After Marcus finds the key that opens the door to the library, he is confronted by a creepy old lady who demands that he “Surrender the key.” Along with his friends, Lu and Theo, Marcus must fight an ancient enemy and protect the library.
I listened to the audiobook and the narrator did an excellent job. The forward gave interesting information about the author and the other books in this series, complete with creepy laugh. The only slightly annoying part was when the narrator read for the librarian who has a Scottish accent. It was a bit distracting.
While this book was much shorter than what I’m used to, the length is perfect for young readers. I was a bit disappointed when it ended so soon. Middle-grade readers will want more of this scary, thrilling adventure. Some may find they want to leave the lights on after reading, but the story is worth it.
This book has also been released as Surrender the Key. There is one more book in the series so far (Black Moon Rising), and book 3, The Oracle of Doom, will be released in October of this year. After reading this book, I am interested in checking out other series by this author including The Pendragon series, and The Morpheus Road series.
Has anyone out there read either of those or something else by MacHale?
Recommended to: Readers in grades 5-8 who are looking for a scary adventure series.
I wasn’t a fan of this book at all. I didn’t expect much to start with, I was just curious because I’ve seen the movie. Anyway, the voices the narrator did for certain characters were annoying. The characters themselves were flat and shallow and I didn’t like any of them or care if (when) they died. There was very little to the plot and it ended too suddenly.
My suggestion – watch the movie instead (but don’t expect more than a teenage slasher movie). 🍿
At nine years old, Tessa and Callie were the prime witnesses in the trial of a serial killer (the Ohio River Monster). Now a teenager, Tessa returns to her hometown to confront her past and find out the truth.
This book was just okay for me. I didn’t care for any of the characters and I didn’t enjoy the narration. The main plot was okay, but the end felt contrived and unbelievable. The subplot involving Tessa’s mother and sister was unnecessary and distracting.
Bottom line: Take out the subplot, make the characters a bit likable or relatable, and this story would be better. As it is, there are better thrillers to spend your time on.
The dreamer controls the dream.
Imagine having a friendly monster as your best friend and protector. Sophie’s parents own a dream shop in the basement of their bookstore where they secretly sell liquid dreams. Sophie’s best (and only) friend is a cupcake-loving monster named Monster, who she once pulled out of a dream. Monster is a bit sarcastic and a lot overprotective, but he would do anything for Sophie. Then, Mr. Nightmare arrives, the shop is robbed, and Sophie’s parents go missing. With the help of Monster, some new friends, and some fierce, but friendly creatures, Sophie just might be able to find and save her parents.
This is an enchanting and quirky story that reminds us it’s okay to be different. And our most courageous friends may look all fluffy and cute on the outside, but they have fierce hearts.
I listened to the audio and the narrator was excellent. I loved the voice she used for Monster. I highly recommend the book and the audio.
Recommended to: Ages 9-13, fans of fantasy and adventure stories.