BOOK REVIEW: In Every Generation by Kendare Blake #Buffy #BTVS #NetGalley #InEveryGeneration #fantasy #youngadult

The first in an all-new series by New York Times best-selling author Kendare Blake continues the world of Buffy the Vampire Slayer featuring the next generation of Scoobies and Slayers who must defeat a powerful new evil.

A new Slayer for a new generation…

Frankie Rosenberg is passionate about the environment, a sophomore at New Sunnydale High School, and the daughter of the most powerful witch in Sunnydale history. Her mom, Willow, is slowly teaching her magic on the condition that she use it to better the world. But Frankie’s happily quiet life is upended when new girl Hailey shows up with news that the annual Slayer convention has been the target of an attack, and all the Slayers—including Buffy, Faith, and Hailey’s older sister Vi—might be dead. That means it’s time for this generation’s Slayer to be born.

But being the first ever Slayer-Witch means learning how to wield a stake while trying to control her budding powers. With the help of Hailey, a werewolf named Jake, and a hot but nerdy sage demon, Frankie must become the Slayer, prevent the Hellmouth from opening again, and find out what happened to her Aunt Buffy, before she’s next.

Get ready for a whole new story within the world of Buffy!

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MY REVIEW – 3 1/2 stars

I can’t remember feeling quite so conflicted over a review before. The writing itself was good, and the story entertaining. But here’s my dilemma …

If you’re a huge Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan, to the point you grew up watching the show (back when DVR and streaming services weren’t a thing – you were home to watch it or you were out of luck), and have read the comics, there’s a lot in this book that will be hard to swallow. Quite a few times I found myself screaming “that would never happen” or “what the heck was that?” … A time or two I contemplated not finishing the book. If you pick up this book and expect it to follow the Buffy-verse canon, you’ll likely be disappointed. Or outright angry.

That being said…

Once I realized all the things that happened in the comics, beyond the TV series ending, hadn’t even been taken into consideration when this book was written, I decided to try and enjoy it as a separate series altogether. If I had never been a Buffy fan, what would I have thought?

After tossing aside all my expectations, and reading this as someone who wasn’t familiar with Buffy, I enjoyed quite a bit of the story. I loved the addition of the Countess and Grimlock. With the new “scooby” gang in place and an unfinished story ARC, it’s clear there will be more to this than just one book. So many questions are left unanswered. The writing style was easy to follow and I could picture the scenes in my head. There was just enough description to let my imagination fill in the rest.

Frankie doesn’t feel like a strong character starting out. She’s quiet. Very much a “behind the scenes” sort. Until her slayer powers are activated. Even then, she’s so focused on how much she’s not like Buffy, she doesn’t stop to enhance the skills she has that are uniquely hers. It was enjoyable, watching her grow as a character. I also enjoyed the secondary characters of Hailey, Jake, and Grim.

I think teens will enjoy this story, and it’s clean enough for even tweens to read it, even if there are a few bloody scenes and quite a bit of fighting (hello! Vampire slayer!).

*Disclaimer: I received an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Disney Hyperion for the chance to review this title. The review above is only my opinion.

BOOK REVIEW: Bleed More, Bodymore by Ian Kirkpatrick #horror #bookreview

HORROR IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN EVIL OVERTAKES THE HEART.

Joey’s a mechanic. One night, she receives a call from her best friend, asking for his car to be picked up from the infamous body dumping grounds of Baltimore: Leakin Park. When she arrives, there’s little more around than a stalled-out car and a couple of ravens, so she leaves only with the car. Back at the body shop, it doesn’t take long for the smell of rot to permeate the trunk. Inside? A corpse. The cops say her friend did it. His absence is his guilt, but Joey knows better. She will find her missing friend and she will prove his innocence.

But something isn’t right in Baltimore. It’s not just the feeling that someone is always watching from the city’s abandoned buildings… Her search for her friend reveals something much worse hiding under the city. A ghost town, a reaper, regret. Suddenly, the city’s rage and the stink rising out of the dirt make much more sense.

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MY REVIEW – 3 stars

The cover snagged my attention first then the description. It took me about a chapter to settle into the author’s style. I wanted to love this book, and there was enough action at first to keep me reading… until things got weird. Or weirder…

At first Joey came across as a male character, which left me feeling confused. She’s so masculine at times it was hard to picture her and Jag together. With the way she constantly pushes him away, I’m not sure she genuinely cared about him as more than a friend. There wasn’t much about Joey, or even Jag and Donny, that I found even slightly likable.

The book starts with a murder mystery, and Joey trying to find her missing friend. And then it takes a strange turn. While I think the paranormal aspect of the book had potential, it was so randomly thrown in and rushed, it comes across as more of a square peg being jammed into a round hole. I found Val and Charon to be the most interesting characters in the book. They stole the show, casting Joey, Jag, and Waylon into the shadows.

Too many questions left unanswered. There was entirely too much crammed into the book in not enough pages. It didn’t give the author room to adequately complete the various story threads and tie everything up.

Since the book ends with an unfinished feeling, I hope the story will continue. Preferably with Charon and Val as the main characters.

*Disclaimer: I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The review above is only my opinion.

BOOK REVIEW: Hetty by Eddie Generous #horror #bookreview #NetGalley

Hetty Stanley was a schoolteacher. Hetty Stanley was a prudish spinster. Hetty Stanley was a murderer. Hetty Stanley has been dead for more than a century.

Dane Butler is doing his best and his best isn’t enough, but a little luck puts him into an inherited home that shares a property line with a woman and her son. Winona and her son Casey are no better off than Dane, forcing the strangers to rely on one another.

One day, Dane looks up from his computer at the sound of Winona shouting in through his door. Her four-year-old son is missing—no boots and no coat, January in Minnesota. Hours pass. Police scour the woods and begin pointing fingers at the only plausible suspects, but one high-ranking officer knows the painful history. Children have been disappearing from the old schoolhouse property for decades, and although it is impossible, there’s only one likelihood: Hetty Stanley.

To save Casey, Dane and Winona must find the link to Hetty and follow it, no matter how impossible the route seems or what trials they might face and what stakes they must overcome.

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MY REVIEW – 3 stars

I’ve struggled over my review and rating for Hetty the last two days… and finally decided on 3 stars. Here’s why…

The book got off to a decent start, letting us meet Hetty right off. It went downhill a bit from there until about 60% into the story.

While I understand and appreciate a more active way of getting Dane’s and Winona’s backstories, the constant flip flopping, and time warps, made it confusing quite a bit if the time. It also made the story lag quite a bit. We went from immediate action to humdrum daily life for such a large chunk of the book. Had this not been called the scariest book ever by quite a few people, I’d have never made it to the “scary” bits.

Admittedly, the sex scenes in Winona’s point of view with “the Cowboy” very nearly made this a two star read for me. They were unrealistic and had I not known going into the book it was written by a man, those scenes would have made it glaringly obvious. I think I actually cringed a few times.

The creepy factor would spark then die again as the dead kids made their appearances. I’d get excited, thinking things were about to take off, only to go back to the humdrum parts that lagged. Until Casey disappears. That’s when the magic happens …

I wouldn’t call this the scariest book, in fact, I would call it slightly creepy and at times a bit chilling, but as horror goes, it didn’t make my heart race or make me want all the lights on. It was a decent story and seems to be set up for a potential spinoff.

I just don’t think this author’s writing is quite to my taste, even though the idea behind Hetty was rather fabulous.

*Disclaimer: I received an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The review above is only my opinion.

Book Review: Lakesedge by Lyndall Clipstone #gothic #youngadult #NetGalley

A lush gothic fantasy about monsters and magic, set on the banks of a cursed lake. Perfect for fans of Naomi Novik and Brigid Kemmerer.

There are monsters in the world.

When Violeta Graceling arrives at haunted Lakesedge estate, she expects to find a monster. She knows the terrifying rumors about Rowan Sylvanan, who drowned his entire family when he was a boy. But neither the estate nor the monster are what they seem.

There are monsters in the woods.

As Leta falls for Rowan, she discovers he is bound to the Lord Under, the sinister death god lurking in the black waters of the lake. A creature to whom Leta is inexplicably drawn…

There’s a monster in the shadows, and now it knows my name.

Now, to save Rowan—and herself—Leta must confront the darkness in her past, including unraveling the mystery of her connection to the Lord Under.

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MY REVIEW – 5 stars

Full of magic, darkness, hope, and love, Lakesedge is a gripping tale you won’t soon forget. It will pull you in, hold you in it’s grasp, and leave you feeling emotionally wrung out.

What would you give to save those you love? It’s a question Violeta must answer, multiple times, as she begs Lord Under for help. This dark tale has a Hades and Persephone feel to it. The more we see Lord Under, the more I became convinced what he truly wanted was for Violeta to offer herself to him. The dynamic between the two is quite compelling, and while Violeta’s love for Rowan is something more pure and utterly human, I often felt her place was truly meant to be beside Lord Under.

The secondary characters add a depth to the story, giving it a richer feel. The author created an interesting world where boys crushing on boys and girls crushing on girls seemed to be the norm. With Arien preferring romances where the prince and knight fall in love, and Clover openly flirting with Thea, it set the story in a world where people were more accepting of one another — as long as you weren’t a monster.

With the book ending with a bit of an unfinished feel to it, I’m hopeful there will be a continuation. And yes, I will definitely buy it! Lakesedge may be Ms. Clipstone’s first novel, but I’m already a huge fan!

*Disclaimer: I received an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

BOOK REVIEW: Artie and the Wolf Moon by Olivia Stephens #graphicnovel #ArtieandtheWolfMoon

After sneaking out against her mother’s wishes, Artie Irvin spots a massive wolf—then watches it don a bathrobe and transform into her mom. Thrilled to discover she comes from a line of werewolves, Artie asks her mom to share everything—including the story of Artie’s late father. Her mom reluctantly agrees. And to help Artie figure out her own wolflike abilities, her mom recruits some old family friends.

Artie thrives in her new community and even develops a crush on her new friend Maya. But as she learns the history of werewolves and her own parents’ past, she’ll find that wolves aren’t the scariest thing in the woods—vampires are.

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MY REVIEW – 5 stars!

Artie and the Wolf Moon is a fast-paced, thrilling read!

While the first chapter started a bit slow, the story quickly picked up. I enjoyed the dynamic between Artie and her mom. They weren’t just mother and daughter, but had a special friendship too. She supported Artie, and encouraged her love of photography.

The werewolf aspect didn’t kick into high gear until nearly the halfway point, but things really took off afterward. The action between the wolves and vampires added the right amount of excitement.

The artwork is both beautiful and eerie at times. Overall, a nicely done graphic novel.

*Disclaimer: I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley. The review above is only my opinion.

BOOK REVIEW: The Case of the Cursed Crop by Michael Anthony Steele #childrensfiction #TheCaseoftheCursedCrop #NetGalley

When Batman and Mystery Inc. arrive at the same farm outside of Gotham City, they soon find themselves in for the fright of their lives! Every time an eerie fog rolls in, fearsome farm monsters come out to play. Can the Caped Crusader help Scooby and the gang crack this case of cursed cropland before the creepy creatures carry them away?

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MY REVIEW – 4 stars

Cute story for kids who love Scooby and Batman.

Mystery Inc is off to solve another case, this time near Gotham City. They accidentally use the Bat Signal and the Dark Knight arrives. The story just spooky enough to thrill young readers, but not scary enough to cause nightmares. If your children love solcing crime with Batman and mysteries with Mystery Inc, they’ll enjoy The Case of the Cursed Crop!

*Disclaimer: I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley. The review above is only my opinion.

BOOK REVIEW: Songbird by Jenn Larson #childrensfiction #NetGalley #Songbird

A Story About Having the Courage to DREAM BIG!

In Songbird, author Jenn Larson encourages kids to believe in their dreams—even when no one else does. With delightful illustrations and an inspiring message, this book shows kids what it looks like to set a goal and work hard to reach it.

While most birds dream of being seed gatherers or nest builders, Sydney Sparrow has a dream that is a little bit out of the ordinary. She wants to be a great conductor with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra! But when the other birds start questioning her dream, Sydney wonders if she has set her sights too high.

With a little courage and determination—and a whole lot of practice—can Sydney Sparrow turn her dream into a reality?

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Published by National Center for Youth Issues

Book illustrator: Polona Lovšin

E-Book – 9781953945389

MY REVIEW – 5 stars

Songbird is a delightful read that will leave readers full of hope and excitement!

Sydney Sparrow has a dream, different from any other sparrow. Her family and her teacher discourage her from trying to become a music conductor… because sparrows are meant to build nest, gather seeds, and guard eggs. But Sydney refuses to give up, and through hard work and determination, she’s able to realize her dream.

All too often, children (and adults) are told their dreams are impractical. I love the fact this story encourages readers to chase their dreams, no matter what others might think. Anything is possible with hard work and determination.

*Disclaimer: I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley. The review above is only my opinion.

BOOK REVIEW: Memento Monstrum by Jochen Til #childrensfiction #fantasy #NetGalley

A biting memoir with an over the top package! 

This is your warning!

This book contains Count Dracula’s memoirs. And as you would expect, there are plenty of hideous creatures in it—giant yetis, insidious werewolves, slimy fish monsters—maybe you shouldn’t read it!

You might learn things you didn’t know about monsters before. Hair-raising things that make these monsters appear . . .friendly . . .even downright human. So, take my advice. Put the book down and move on before you get caught in its clutches.

Sincerely, Van Helsing

PS-But if you do read this book, you will be enchanted by the incredibly imaginative full-color illustrations through out, the fabulously appealing cover, and the original wit captured within.

Available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble

BOOK REVIEW – 4 stars!

Such a cute, fun book! Full of positive messages and a bit of humor, kids will enjoy reading aboud Dracula’s life as he tells the stories to his grandchildren. I enjoyed the unique spin on VanHelsing, and his ineptitude in killing Dracula. The artwork was an added bonus and very well done!

*Disclaimer: I received an ARC via NetGalley in exchance for an honest review. The review above is only my opinion.

BOOK REVIEW: The Redwood Asylum by L.A. Detwiler #paranormal #horror @ladetwiler1

From the USA Today Bestseller L.A. Detwiler comes a new eerie horror filled with secrets, ghosts, and murder.

The dead do talk … if you’re brave enough to hear their sinister secrets.

In a thick forest sits a forgotten stone building, The Redwood Asylum. Once inside, the criminally insane, the darkly disturbed, and the eternally confused residents learn one thing very quickly: they are at the mercy of ruthless evil in many forms.

At twenty-six, Jessica Rosen starts a new job at Redwood in the hopes of forgetting an insidious past. She quickly realizes, however, that Redwood harbors malevolent secrets and beings in every chilly corner. On her second day adjusting to her job, the unstable man in 5B quickly latches onto Jessica in an unsettling way. When his rantings and warnings start to make sense, though, Jessica will be taken on a ride of secrets, murder, and dangerous beings. As she begins to uncover the horrifying truths behind the man’s past , the terrors of Redwood Asylum will follow her home and make her question her own sanity.

Can Jessica solve the secrets of the man in 5B in time to save herself, or will the terrors trap her in Redwood’s evil clutches forever?

A spine-tingling page-turner by USA Today Bestseller L.A. Detwiler perfect for paranormal horror fans.

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Release Date: March 12, 2021

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MY REVIEW:

5 stars!

Who doesn’t love a good horror story involving ghosts?

The way the story is narrated reminds me of Stephen King’s Rose Red, which happens to be a favorite of mine. Yes, there have been countless books about haunted asylums, and there will certainly be more. The ramblings of a mad man, locked away at Redwood, make nurse Jessica sympathetic. She wants to help him find peace, not realizing she’s placing herself in danger.

Jessica’s role in the story wasn’t just that of a nurse who wanted to help others. She had a dark secret in her past, one that would play a prominent role in her future. She also seemed to fancy herself a detective, and with determination, dug into the patient’s past trying to find the truth. Sadly, some things are better left buried.

Overall, I enjoyed the story. I’d definitely be interested in more stories featuring Redwood, and I want to know more about the other staff.

*Disclaimer: I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review. The review above is only my opinion.

BOOK REVIEW: A Debt of Dishonor by Lillian Marek #historicalromance #bookreview

Kate Russell is furious.

It was bad enough that her father had let her grow up in virtual poverty, but now her dissolute brother wants to use her as payment for his debts. She runs away, determined to make her way so that she will never again be at the mercy of powerful men.

Then she encounters the Duke of Ashleigh.

He has overcome the shame of his parents’ scandalous lives and has a well-deserved reputation for honorable behavior. Then he encounters Kate, the niece of an old friend. There is some mystery about her background.

She is not the sort of well-bred lady of impeccable reputation that he plans to marry someday, but he can’t get her out of his mind.

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MY REVIEW

3 1/2 stars

The first romance I read was a Regency, back when I was only twelve or thirteen and I had to sneak it from my mother’s room. I’ve loved them ever since. The description for A Debt of Dishonor immediately intrigued me, and I knew I needed to read it.

The story flowed well, and I enjoyed the characters. Especially Kate’s fire! The banter between her and the Duke made me smile and at times outright laugh. It was clear from the beginning something was brewing between them, even when they wouldn’t admit it to themselves. As far as villains go, Farnsworth was dastardly and completely insane. A truly vile man I wanted to bash over the head every time he entered a scene.

There were so many characters! And not just small parts either. Mrs. Darling, the Duke’s family, his friends, and Kate’s friends from back home all had their parts to play. At times, I found it a bit tedious to suddenly be in the point of view of a minor character. Instead of driving the story forward, it made it feel as if it had stalled while I had to wait and find out what was going on with Kate and the Duke. I can appreciate the minor characters’ perspectives of what was happening, but it seemed completely unnecessary. As did the side romance with the Duke’s sister. It would have been better served in a book of their own. For me, it detracted from Kate and Peter’s romance.

Overall, A Debt of Dishonor kept me entertained and I enjoyed the book. I’m not quite certain if I liked it enough to necessarily read more in this series. It would depend on how much focus was given to the main characters. I give A Debt of Dishonor 3 1/2 stars.

*I received a copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The review above is only my opinion.