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All Book Reviews by Genre: Paranormal/Supernatural

Boys of Blur
Wilson, Nathan D.
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Out of the putrid slime of a Florida swamp emerges a tale that is oozing with a sense of place. The reader feels as though a thin line of sweat is trickling down the side of his face while he bakes beneath a relentless Florida sun. As one reads, one can nearly feel the smoke blinding the eyes and burning the nostrils next to a blazing cane field, while cool mud squishes between the toes. Before too long, the reader finds that this obscure, out of the way place, a place he never gave any thought to, a place no one would ever think to visit…is a place he begins to love.

Any skilled author intuitively knows that the setting of a well-told story is so intimately woven into the legend itself, that to rip the tale out of its setting would unravel the very threads of the narrative itself. Can you imagine what would be left of To Kill a Mockingbird if it was removed from a 1930’s Alabama small town? Imagine the Tale of Two Cities not taking place in England and Paris during the French Revolution? Similarly, this glorious story is its place and the place is the story.

But the brilliance of a master storyteller is not only to nurture a sense of place, but to use this backdrop as the means to develop universal themes that speak to the deepest yearnings of all people in all places. This book adeptly portrays true fatherhood as not being a matter of mere biology, but of heart loyalties. One’s affections are moved to esteem the courage of a mother who saves her son from a cycle of violence. But most importantly, the book reminds the reader of the timeless need, in all corners of the earth, no matter how remote, how obscure, how removed—the universal need for a hero.
The true hero faces the danger head on, with no thought of his own skin, purely out of love and loyalty to the helpless who need him. He can arise from an unlikely place, from a checkered past, from outside the “in crowd.” This is the message the world will always long to hear; the message of Beowulf.

Reviewer's Name: Leslie Taylor
Dracula
Raven, Nicky
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This book is an adaptation to Bram Stoker’s novel, which was designed to make it an easier read for teens. The art is amazing, but the book did not hold my attention very well because the plot is slow to start. I recommend the age to be 13+ because of the word choice used. It is more of a teen/adult book. The book is in 3rd person which makes it easier to connect with the characters because you can get everyone’s perception of the story.
Beware Count Dracula!

Reviewer's Name: Kaitlyn S
The Gunslinger
King, Stephen
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

With the recent release of The Dark Tower (2017), I became interested in the book series that inspired the movie. I already knew the books would likely take a different direction from the film, and I was prepared for them. Up until now, I’ve enjoyed many of King’s other works, including The Shining, On Writing , and The Green Mile. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy The Gunslinger; it’s more that most of his books have not been part of a larger series. I still want to know what happens in the next book of the Dark Tower series, so The Gunslinger certainly succeeded in that aspect.

Stephen King’s talent for description is in high form here as he crafts a world unlike our own but still linked to it via the wandering boy, Jake. Considering King’s background in describing all sorts of evil creatures and villains, the calm and calculating “Man in Black” is more terrifying than any violent antagonist, mostly with how psychological he is in his assaults against the eponymous Gunslinger. I also found following the main character of the Gunslinger led to an exciting journey as he overcomes the hurdles that prevent him from accomplishing his goal.

I understand that the first book in a series has a heavy burden to bear. It must introduce the characters and enough of their backstory to understand their motivation. It must also have a hook and be interesting enough by itself to warrant further reading. I probably could have done without some of the flashbacks and/or hallucination/memories, as they almost distracted from the action. I also felt this book didn’t necessarily cover enough ground, but I suppose that’s what the next books in the series will do: flesh out the conflict between the Gunslinger and the Man in Black.

A good foundation for a series that I hope improves over time; I give The Gunslinger 4.0 stars out of 5.

Reviewer's Name: Benjamin
Jackaby
Ritter, William
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

The year is 1892. Abigail Rook has just arrived in New Fiddleham, England, in search of work when she meets the strange young detective R. F. Jackaby. After a series of unusual murders strike the town, Abigail and Jackaby work to crack the case and catch the killer. "Jackaby" is a fun, engrossing read that I couldn't put down. Every twist and turn left me dying to know more. The plot, characters, and setting were very interesting and excellently crafted. That said, I will admit that the end was a little predictable. I figured out who was the killer about half-way in, but the details surrounding the truth were unexpected enough for me to forgive that. If you are a fan of "Sherlock" and/or "Supernatural", this book is for you.

Reviewer's Name: Gillian P.
Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children
Riggs, Ransom
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

"Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children" is an adventurous book about a young boy named Jacob who wants more. He had grown up in a normal town with a normal family, feeling different. His grandfather felt the same when he was a kid, and when he dies, Jacob uncovers a huge power that he has. That power helps him find Miss Peregrine and her peculiar children, and they all need to work together to fight evil. This book is part of a trilogy, and gets better with every page. At first it can be hard to get into, but once you start to read, you can not go back. This story is filled with plot twists, cliffhangers, and exciting events to keep the reader engaged. This book is fictitious and takes place in both modern and past times. If you love interesting tales, a little bit of creepiness, and an amazingly well written novel, this book is for you!

Reviewer's Name: Siena G
Salem's Lot
King, Stephen
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

One of King's most famous books, Salem's Lot is a story about vampires that doesn't exactly rival King's other books in terms of plot and suspense. However, it's still a great book that is very enjoyable. The book is about a vampire that eventually turns the entire town into vampires themselves, and a small group consisting of a doctor, a priest, a writer, and a little boy all fight back against the outbreak. The book does a good job of building up the villain and the characters, but the horror is not exactly the preliminary theme here. Instead, it is more focused on the drama and action, which is fine, but for an author who is famous for his horror novels, this book was slightly underwhelming. However, I would still recommend it to Stephen King fans or anyone looking for a good book.

Reviewer's Name: Peter C
Awards:
The Iron King
Kagawa, Julie
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Review: The book The Iron King by Julie Kagawa tells the story of Megan Chase and her quest to rescue her step-brother form the Iron King. Megan was a normal girl, she was shy, unpopular, and smart. She lived in a small town with her family and only friend, Robbie, until one day, her step-brother is taken by the Iron King to the land of Nevernever. She and Robbie decide to face the challenges that Nevernever has to throw at them. Will Megan rescue her step-brother or die trying? I would rate this book a 5 out of 5 because it kept me in suspense and I enjoyed its many twists and turns. A good friend recommended this book and I loved it so much that I'm reading the rest of the series. I would recommend this book to people who like exciting fantasies.
Grade 9 Age 15

Reviewer's Name: Gabrielle F
Book Review: Night Sky
Brockmann, Suzanne; Brockmann, Melanie
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

"Night Sky" is a joint effort Between mother and daughter Suzanne and Melanie Brockman. Despite the fact that two different minds worked on this title, It is smooth polished and a well unified work of fiction. This is a fantastic young adult novel that I would recommend well before Titans of the genera such as "Divergent".Within its pages we follow a girl by the name of Skylar who develops from a pent up and unconfident teen with an over bearing mother to a strong young woman with the courage to stand up not only to her mother but also to the shadow organization that orchestrates horrible events the world over that no one will dare defy. Like most young adult novels it has a romantic sub plot that you can see coming from one hundred miles away while facing the other directions with your eyes closed. Thankfully however, this fact does little if anything to detract from the quality of this book. The characters feel real and alive, each with their own personalities. The descriptive language is detailed enough that the world easily paints its self in the readers mind. With elements of horror, mystery, action, fantasy, and romance this is a well rounded first effort from the duo that I recommend wholeheartedly.

Reviewer's Name: Jaydon K.
Book Review: The Goddess Test
Carter, Aimee
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Goddess Test by Aimee Carter
When I was searching for a book, this one caught my eye because of the title and cover. I have an interest in Greek mythology and this book was an amazing refresher. Even if you don't know much about the myths to begin with this book covers the need to know basics, especially with the story of Persephone. I enjoyed the modern twist to the original stories I grew up with as a child. This book held surprises and turns to the plot I would never have expected. I recommend this book for the teen girls. I could really relate to all the emotions and thoughts which seem to fly through Kate's mind.
There is romance, challenges, and life threatening situations the main character Kate Winters must face to save the lives of her dying mother, and a mysterious dark handsome stranger who seems to believe he's a god. All the while she tries to save the lives of the people around her, someone wants her dead and that someone has succeeded in killing eleven girls before her. She must become immortal or die trying.
This book is one of three in a series, with other connecting books on the side I highly recommend. Once I started reading I could not put it down until I finished the entire series.

Reviewer's Name: Amber H.
Scorched
Mancusi, Mari
2 stars = Meh
Review:

Scorched by Mari Mancusi can be summed up in one word. Meh. The story fell flat from its interesting premise. I expected a book where the main character was teetering on the edge of sanity. Someone who would snatch up a dragon egg and fight to protect it herself. But I didn't get that. I got a girl who had to be pulled and prompted by other characters. The museum scene was disappointing. I expected her to attack the boy, and run away with the egg. Instead he rescued her and she just kind of floated along with the story. It wasn't a horrible story, it had enough action and interest in it. But the characters felt flat and the main character was dependent on others.
Reviewer Grade: 10

Reviewer's Name: Morgan J.
Awards:
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
Riggs, Ransom
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs is a captivating story about a very odd home for a select group of young children.
When Jake’s grandfather mysteriously dies, he goes off on an adventure to find Miss Peregrine and solve the mysteries of his grandfather’s past life.
The answers to the mysteries are found at this special home. It is a book about adventure, family- both biological and situational, and being different. This book is definitely one of my favorites. It is an amazingly unique book unlike any I have read before. I enjoyed Ransom Riggs’s writing style and I loved seeing the photographs in between chapters. The photographs helped convey the story realistically. The peculiarities that the children had were also very interesting and unique. For example, one child had bees living inside of him, another was as light as air, and yet another could bring dead things back to life. It is an extremely fun reading experience that keeps you engaged and on your toes at all times. There is mild swearing in this book. I would recommend this book to everyone and would encourage people to read it before seeing the movie. Even better, have a group of friends read this book then watch the movie together so you can discuss and compare the two.

Reviewer's Name: Sophie L.
Awards:
Hold Me Closer, Necromancer
McBride, Lish
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

I chose to read this book because it was featured on a list of horror books.
I wouldn't really call it horror but I really enjoyed reading it even if it wasn't what I expected. It's about a fast-food worker named Sam who lives in Seattle and is a necromancer, though he doesn't know it. There is another powerful necromancer in the area who wants to find and destroy Sam. I loved all of the characters, particularly Sam's sidekick Ramon and the evil necromancer Douglas. This book is a perfect balance of humor and dark fantasy and I aboslutely loved it. The only reason I give it 4 stars instead of 5 is because of the ending. So much was just left open and it left me unsatisfied and wanting more. That aside, however, I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes horror and fantasy and is looking for a laugh. This is totally one of my favorite books!
Reviewer grade: 10

Reviewer's Name: Lizzie W.
White Tiger
Chan, Kylie
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Kylie Chan mixes modern life with traditional Chinese mythology in her enthralling tale. The story follows Emma, a nanny for a young girl of a wealthy business man living in Hong Kong. As Emma becomes more and more connected with her charge, she become more entangled with a mystery that surrounds the household. She soon discovers that her employer is an ancient Chinese God, and is pursued by demonic forces. Kylie Chan writes with a faced-pace adventurous quality that keeps readers on their feet.
(Reviewer Grade: 12)

Reviewer's Name: Lynzie M.
Ghostly Echoes
Ritter, William
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Ghostly Echoes is the third book in the Jackaby series. It covers the death of the resident ghost of 926 Augur Lane, Jenny Cavanaugh. She was murdered ten years ago, and her fiancé (a scientist involved with some suspicious
people) disappeared. She has hired Abigail and Jackaby to investigate her death. But when a similar crime happens, they realize Jenny's case is connected.
Because of the fact that this not only deals with the murder of a liked character, but also includes peeks into Jackaby's past and how he became the seer, this is the darkest book in the Jackaby series. But it also has plenty of humor, mainly in the bantor between Jackaby and Abigail. They feel like The Doctor and their companion from Doctor Who, if they had to take up the role of Holmes and Watson for a day. This also tackles a whole new part of the world building. This always had folklore involved, but now it includes mythology.
As good as this was, there were some problems. I feel like this book series needs more details; I can't see the character's faces all that well. Also, it is implied that Jackaby has feelings for Jenny, which I think needed much more foreshadowing. I only got close friend vibes from them in the first two books. And the side characters still needed some development; they were important parts in the book, but they didn't make much of an impact on me.
Overall, I think this was the best book in the series thus far, and sets up the events for the fourth (and final) book well.

Reviewer's Name: Kate D.
A boy flies through the air while riding a griffin
Riordan, Rick
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

In the second book of the Trials of Apollo series, the former god (currently human) Apollo teams up with Leo Valdez and Calypso to search for a way to restore his godhood, find a missing friend, and stop an evil emperor's plot to take over the world. This sequel was every bit as good as the first book. Fun, action-packed, and surprising. I'd highly recommend to those who love the Percy Jackson books and the Heroes of Olympus series.

Reviewer's Name: Gillian P.
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
Riggs, Ransom
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar children focuses in on a teenager trying to uncover the mysteries of his grandfather's life. Common sense makes Jacob want to believe that though his grandfather's experiences were horrible and gruesome, they were in no way magical, or 'peculiar.' However, a series of mystical photographs and eerie stories from his grandfather convince him that there was something strange about his life after all. This book, with a tone reminiscent of Harry Potter, takes us on Jacob's adventure to find out the truth. It is fascinating, intriguing, and makes the reader fall instantly in love with all of the characters. This was a very fun read.
The one thing I did not like about this book was how unrealistic it is.
However, this is very much personal preference. It tilts slightly towards fantasy, a genre with which I am very picky. Nonetheless, I thought it was very well-written, and I will most likely read the following books after having read this one.
Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: Sabrina J.
Awards:
The Rook
O'Malley, Daniel
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

One of the nice things about listening to audiobooks from my library (via the
Overdrive app), is that I can pick up a book and listen to it without really
knowing what it’s about other than a title and a cover. In this way, I
often have no preconceived notions about the book other than first
impressions. At this point, all I’m giving up to “read” the book is the
time it takes me to listen to it, and I have plenty of that driving to and
from work every day.

Since I had no idea what this book was really about, I was surprised at how
humorous it was. If I were to combine a few, better-known series together,
I’d say this is X-Men mixed with James Bond, with just a dash of Jason
Bourne all blended together in Monty Python’s Flying Circus. An odd
combination, I know. But somehow, it works here. The humor is markedly
British, but the characters and their powers are supernatural, to say the
least. Since this was merely the first in a developing series, I can’t wait
to get to book #2: Stiletto.

All this being said, there were a few structural choices to this book that I
often found confusing, which may just be part of listening to it in audiobook
form instead of reading it. First off, the decision to have the main
character afflicted with amnesia was an interesting way to essentially give
the audience what the character already would have known but had conveniently
forgotten. Secondly, because the letters from her former self were used as
backstory, these “flashbacks” were often confusing because it was easy to
lose track of which Mfwany Thomas (glad I had the audiobook for the
pronunciation of this name) was “speaking” at the moment.

An interesting premise with plenty of potential in future iterations, I give
The Rook 4.0 stars out of 5.

Reviewer's Name: Benjamin M. Weilert
Awards:
Practical Applications for Multiverse Theory
Scott, Nick
2 stars = Meh
Review:

As someone who enjoys learning about the many interesting unknowns in our universe, the mere title of Practical Applications for Multiverse Theory (2016) caught my attention from the get-go. The ideas of parallel universes coexisting in an invisible space next to our own is something I eventually want to cover in my own writing (tentatively titled The Slumberealm Saga). And while this book somewhat delivered on the premise of its title, it unfortunately did so through an incredible plethora of clichés. Due to the authors’ background in improv comedy, it’s clear that they merely wrote this book to capitalize on the style’s random nature.

I’m not sure who the target audience for this book might be, since the main characters are high school students who use an awful lot of foul language. I would think it’s aimed at being a Young Adult (YA) comedy, but most of the laughs seem forced and trite. Told from two different perspectives, Scott and Davey, both characters aren’t really that likeable, and neither of them change that much (if at all) by the end of the book. In fact, it’s almost obnoxious how Davey is essentially a jerk to everyone, especially Scott, even though it becomes incredibly clear she should be more accepting of him earlier on in the plot.

Speaking of plot, it seems to drag in quite a few places, especially in the beginning as both characters start noticing the multiverse collapsing in on their school. Unfortunately, due to the aforementioned clichés, the entire rest of the plot was pretty predictable, even if the different universes were quite random (and even that randomness was cliché). Nosebleeds indicating a fracture in spacetime, narcissistic cheerleaders, nerdy loners. Everything fits nice and squarely into the formula for a YA book (despite the obscenities). The problem with this is that the authors clearly saw they were writing clichés, because there were a few points that could have been cliché (like the two main characters falling in love), but just weren’t there at the end, thus leaving the reader somewhat unfulfilled. If you’re going to follow a formula, it needs to be followed in its entirety.

An easy and fast read with nothing much to offer, I give Practical Applications for Multiverse Theory 2.0 stars out of 5.

Reviewer's Name: Benjamin M. Weilert
Ghosts
Telgemeier, Raina
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

I really liked this book! I have read a few of Raina's books before, so I found this one and said why don't i try it!

This book is about a girl and her sister, and they have to move to a new city. At this town their are rumors about ghosts.These ghosts live at one special place in the town called, Bahia de la luna. Maya Cat's sister really wants to meet one,though Cat DOES NOT. One year every year the people of that town have a celebration. Remembering their loved one that died. All of the ghosts celebrate with the people. Those people are able to speak to their loved ones and catch on with their beloveds. Maya seeing that they celebrate this makes her think, maybe these ghosts aren't so bad.

Reviewer's Name: Noa
Stiletto
O'Malley, Daniel
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

I’ll be the first to admit that I like sequels. Or, more accurately, well-done sequels. While the first book in a series can be great by itself, it carries the burden of exposition and world-building. A good sequel gives a light refresher of the important points and gets right into the action. I would certainly consider Stiletto to be a well-done sequel to the first book in the Checquy Files series, The Rook. Not only does it expand upon the central conflict in the first book, but it throws in the twist of the warring factions of the Checquy and the Grafters coming together to form a truce.

In making enemies into teammates, Daniel O’Malley shows the differences between them are almost superficial. The chess-based supernatural soldiers of the Checquy almost have the same strength of powers that the genetically and surgically enhanced members of the Grafters do. Since the whole plot usually revolves around a pawn of the Checquy and a young woman from the Grafters as they try and maneuver treaty negotiations, the reader gets to see both sides of the argument. Of course, as was the case in The Rook, much of the story is divided into episodic events with an overarching storyline connecting these loosely-related moments together.

Even if the humor is often bodily-related, the style continues to be quintessentially British. It casts a delicate balance between action and humor while also moving the story along to an exciting conclusion. I would almost think such a series would be perfect for a Television show adaptation since its episodic nature lends itself to be easily broken up into smaller pieces. One last thing I would like to mention is that the narration given by Moria Quirk in this book was outstanding. With many different European accents and a variety of unique characters to voice, Quirk made the story understandable and engaging in all the best ways.

A perfect sequel to one of my new favorite series, I give Stiletto 4.5 stars
out of 5.

For more reviews of books and movies like this, please visit
www.benjamin-m-weilert.com

Reviewer's Name: Benjamin

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