March 2021 Wrap Up

In March I read five books and only watch a couple of documentaries. I’m also currently playing Persona 5 The Royal but I know that it will take me a while to finish it.


The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz by Erik Larson is Larson’s newest nonfiction historical book. This time he focuses on Churchill during the first year as Prime Minster and the air attacks from Germany. Erik Larson is one of those historians that can write history like its fiction and he’s just telling a story which makes his book far easier to understand even if you don’t know much about the history he is writing about. Though this is very well written, to me it focuses on too many people at times which made me question why he was writing about them. Overall, a great book for anyone who loves history especially the history of World War II.

Chopping Spree by Angela Sylvaine is a short horror novel set in a 1980s style mall and is very reminiscent of the slasher movies from that time. I received a copy though NetGalley and have a full review posted. It very much reminded me of the teen horror books by R.L. Stine and Christopher Pike and I think that you would like it if you liked those. The main plot revolves around Penny and her friends as they run from a killer that they are trapped in a mall with but does have some twists. I only thing I wish is that it was a little longer as I think the twist would have worked better in a longer format.

A History of the Vampire in Popular Culture: Love at First Bite by Violet Fenn is exactly what it sounds like. This is a nonfiction book about vampires and how vampires are portrayed in popular culture. I received a copy through NetGalley and I have a full review posted. I’ve never read any books about vampires in popular culture but most of this information can be found in other places but as its newer there more focus on more recent movies and tv shows featuring vampires. I good book for those who love vampires and the many way that they are used in different mediums.

Velveteen vs. The Junior Super Patriots by Seanan McGuire is McGuire’s take on superheroes in a world that when a kid finds out they have powers a cooperation that controls most of the hero’s lives gets them to join one of their groups. We follow Velma, who has the power to animate toys and used to be a hero by the name Velveteen, as she attempts to drive from California to Portland for a job interview. As she travels though California she needs up using her powers to help several people and get attention from the marketing department of The Super Patriots Inc who she is trying to stay away from and then agrees to be a superhero for Portland. An interesting take on superheroes and the image of being a hero. Though this is all one connected story each “chapter” is more like a short story but they need to be read in order to be understood. I liked this and plan to read the rest of the series but not my favorite of Seanan McGuire’s works.

Monstress volume five by Marjorie Lu and Sana Taked is the next volume in the graphic novel series Monstress. I love this seires and the amazing artwork. This volume we follow Maika as she helps defend the Arcanic city of Ravenna from the war that is starting. The only thing that I didn’t really like is the fact that Kippa can be an idiot though I understand her reasoning behind the actions she takes.

Book Review: Chopping Spree by Angela Sylvaine

Chopping Spree by Angela Sylvaie is a short horror story set in an 1980s inspired fashion mall. This book is part of the Rewind or Die horror series which is a series of unconnected stories that are meant to invoke the 70s and 80s slasher movies. The title and cover where enough that I wanted to read this book before reading the synopsis. I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.

We follow Penny, a high schooler who works at the mall her dad built with her best friend Yelena. When Penny arrives at the mall one day she runs into a guy wearing a wolf mask and talking about hunting pigs and the evils of capitalism but ends up not thinking much about it and going to work. At the end of the shift she and the others are staying late to do inventory and party some. Penny hears a scream and finds a guy who works at another store stabbed and talking about the wolf.

The group realizes that the guy dressed in the wolf mask plans to kill the workers at the mall and blow the mall up. While all this is going on Penny has noticed that many of the people she works with are all wearing a strange symbol and they tell her that it has to do with working at the mall.

The group ends up capturing the guy in the wolf mask and bring him down to a hidden room where Penny’s father is and some of the others parents. They tell Penny that they’re in a cult that worships the god Plutus, who they give sacrifices to become wealthy. They tell Penny that she has to kill the man in the wolf mask, Howard Gregory, and it come out that they killed his daughter and that’s why he is trying to destroy the mall. Penny doesn’t want to kill him and helps him escape during this her father confesses that he killed he mother and Penny decides that she will help Howard blow up the mall.

The story ends with Penny waking up in the hospital with the new that she was the only one who survived the mall bombing but finding out that there are other members of the Order of Plutus still out there.

I like the concept of this book and the horror elements but I felt like the twist with the cult came to fast. If the book was even twenty pages longer I would have liked the twist more. It felt like slasher movie set in a mall and then all of a sudden everyone’s in a cult that uses human sacrifices. The story does remind me of R.L. Stine’s Fear Street books and works by Christopher Pike, and I would recommend this story to fans of those books.

September 2020 Wrap Up

September was a fairly good reading month for me having read nine books. My physical To Be Read pile is pretty big and is always changing but I have started to work my way through the eBooks that I have as well.


Final Girls by Mira Grant is a horror novella about a therapy treatment where dreams are created and shared to deal with past trauma. When the technology get hijacked while a reported and the creator of the technology they must try to survive together. I love Mira Grant’s work and this was no exception. Though I do wish this was a longer novel what we are given is just the right amount and a great horror story.

The Last Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff is a short story set in the Lotus Wars series. This short story is a prequel to the rest of the series and gives some of the back story to the world that is introduced in the first novel. While I liked this story I would have enjoyed it more if I had read it around the same time as the other books in the series. There has just been too much time between each book for me to really connect to the series or story at the moment.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid is an adult historical fiction novel following the life of Hollywood star Evelyn Hugo and her relationships with her seven husbands. I really liked this book as Evelyn changed as a person and found her own way through the world. The twist near the end surprised me but I loved the characters and it speaks to the fact that you should live your life the way you want to as you never know what could happen.

The Hallow Places by T. Kingfisher is a horror novel about a young woman who finds a path to a world full of willow trees that might connect to other worlds from a hole in the wall of her grandfathers museum. However, there is something in the trees of this world that will find and hurt you it you think about them. Very creepy and unsettling but perfect for the Halloween season. I have a full review for this book as well.

Five Nights at Freddy’s Fazbear Frights vols. 3, 4, and 5 by Scott Cawthon are the next three volumes in the FNAF’s short story collections. Several years ago I got pulled into the lore of the video games and then the books so while they are not the best I still read them when new books come out. Each volume contains three short stories that connect different characters to the animatronics and other creations of Fazebear Entertainment. Great for those already interested in the series thought some stories are much more gruesome and confusing than others they are all creepy horror stories aimed at young adults.

Praying for Rain by Jay Kristoff is the last short story connected to the Louts Wars series that I needed to read. Very short story focusing on a Miho, a girl living in Kigen, and the boy she starts to fall in love with. However, when he finds out her secret her life is put in danger. This story adds a little more to the world and the people that are affected by the war. But once again if I had read this when I read the rest of the series I would have liked it more.

Labyrinth Coronation vol.1 is a graphic novel that tells the story about how Jareth become the Goblin King that we see in the movie. The story parallels Sarah’s journey in the movie with Jareth being wished away and his mother trying to get him back. Very good art and I plan to continue on with the series.

September 2020 OwlCrate

Owl Crate is a young adult book subscription box where every month you receive one new hardcover book and an assortment of bookish goodies connected to the monthly theme. Some of these items are very practical and some are better suited as decor or for a pin/builtin board. September’s theme is A Glorious Haunting.IMG_0583

Each box includes different bookish goodies that fit the theme of the month and are connected to other books. This months items include a throw blanket that features the full text of Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven which is very soft and I love. Other items included were a set of three skull spoons, a Sleepy Hollow inspired lip balm that smells like pumpkin spice, a Black Flame candle inspired by Hocus Pocus, and an enamel chain bookmark.IMG_0586

Every month Owl Crate has a new young adult hardback book that has an exclusive cover, is signed and comes with a letter from the author. The enamel pin that is in every box is also inspired by that months book. This months book is Horrid by Katrina Leno which also included exclusive artwork on the reverse of the dust jacket. The story follows Jane and her mother who move back to New England after her fathers death. But the house that they are living in might house more secrets and horrors than Jane was expecting.

October’s theme is Legends and Lore.

Book Review: The Hollow Places by T. Kingfisher

The Hollow Places by T. Kingfisher is an adult horror novel that is inspired by the 1907 novella by Algernon Blackwood, The Willows. The story follows Kara a recently divorced young woman who is working and living in her uncles small town museum full of old taxidermy and other oddities. One day a hole is busted into a wall in the museum which opens a door way to a different world of islands surrounded by willows with bunkers on some of the islands. When Kara and her friend, Simon, venture into the world they find a place that connects many worlds but house creatures that hear your thoughts and the more that you think of them the stronger and more deadly they become.

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley and I absolutely loved it. The writing is very good and Kingfisher created a amazing horror atmosphere that made me feel physically anxious and fearful for the characters. It one of those books that I had to stop reading at points because of how creepy and unsettling everything was but at the same time I wanted to keep reading to find out what happened next.

Kara is one of those characters that is written in a way that makes her feel very relatable and someone you want to root for. Simon is mostly there for some add comic relief during some of the most tense situations but I loved this quirky character. There were a few moments that I felt like the characters had to do things that in reality no one would do just to move the story and plot along but it didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the story. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in horror and those who love creepy stories.

TV Show Review: Black Summer

p16715506_b_v8_aaBlack Summer is a zombie TV show from Netflix that is a prequel to the events of Z Nation. Black Summer starts about six weeks after the start of the zombie apocalypse and focuses on Rose who is separated from her daughter, Anna, and a small group of survivors as they attempt to get Rose back to her daughter.

Though technically in the same world as Z Nation this show is much more realistic and more in line with our world today as people have yet to figure out how they will survive and live in this new world. The show is much shorter at the moment than Z Nation with only one season of eight thirty minute episodes but a second season is in the works.

Black Summer is a much slower show that focuses more on the interaction between people and how the world has change would effect people. Though Rose is essentially the main character because of the plot following her journey. The show does allow itself to give some focuses to other characters primarily Julius James, a criminal who is using the name Spears as it is the name of the guard who’s uniform he took. Also even though we can’t understand her I love the development given to Sun a Korean woman who can’t speak any English. Black Summer is very good at showing how those who can’t communicate with other members of the group or those with disabilities would survive or not in this new world. However, I wish Netflix had subtitled Sun’s lines as I think it would allow the audience to understand her better and maybe give us some information to her back story.

Overall, I like Z Nation more as a series but I do plan to watch the next season of Black Summer as I think that it will become a very good series in time.

Alien Echo by Mira Grant

40776737Alien Echo by Mira Grant is a young adult book set in the Alien franchise and is cannon to the rest of the series. It follows the story of twin sisters, Olivia and Viola, on a new world where their parents work as xenobiolgists but when an Alien threat that no one has ever seen rips their world apart they must adapt to survive.

The book stars out slow like most movies in the alien franchise. For the first 90 pages or so its more of a teen drama set on an alien world than a science fiction or horror story but when the Xenomorphs arrive it become a true Alien story with all the problems that entails. The thing about Mira Grant books is there is always a twist that changes everything that makes me love the book more or makes me fall in love with a book that doesn’t have the greatest beginning. The characters are interesting and well written for the world, though there is some romantic drama that is over done near the beginning and if you know the Alien franchise you know whats coming. So there doesn’t see to be a point to it and the slang is little over used.

Considering the characters are teenagers shove into a situation that no one can predict with Aliens that are evolving to be better killers most of the reactions make sense. The action of the characters worked and were as though out as the situation allowed for and the book overall fits within the rest of the Alien Franchise. I gave the book a 3/5 stars because of the slow start and some minor problems that make it seem a little disconnected to the Alien series at the beginning.

The Cloverfield Paradox Review

Cloverfield_paradox_posterSo I finally sat down and watched The Cloverfield Paradox which I liked the most out of the Cloverfield movies so far. The movie starts out with some info dumping about how Earth is running out of power sources and so the world has sent a team to a space station to work with a massive particle accelerator to attempt to find a new power source. When the experiment works all hell breaks loose on the space station has they ended up breaking the fabric of reality. Though it is a science fiction movie I would classify it more as a body horror such as Alien or the Thing than just straight sci-fi.

I’ve never loved any of the Cloverfield movies and this ones no exception though I do like it better than the others. In Cloverfield, I felt like the characters were very annoying and I didn’t care what happen. It doesn’t help that I have never been a fan of found footage movies either. 10 Cloverfield Lane on the other hand was a movie that I like the concept of but found the movie as a whole very boring. So, I didn’t have high expectations for Cloverfield Paradox. Though I don’t think Paradox was needed as part of the Cloverfield series I did like the concept of the movie and I wasn’t bored. If any of the Cloverfield movie got direct squeals I would want it to be Paradox as I feel like it has the most that could be done with it given how the story and ending is set up. It is the only Cloverfield movie that has any real horror in my opinion. 

As the movie progresses it starts to feel like they characters are trapped in space where no one can help them which preys on the fear of the dark and unknown. The one thing that I’ve always disliked about theses movies is that most of the characters are just unlikable with few redeeming factors. For instance in Paradox, Ava’s arc does work  as she wants to stay in an alternate world where her children are still alive but she doesn’t think what thorough the consequences of if she stays and there is a version of her in the world. And then there’s Jensen who was on the other ship and who’s reality is in jeopardy who comes off as a bitch who just wants everyone dead so, I was very happy that she ends up dying.

Paradox also is the movie where the explanation for how the alien invasions happened in the other movies is supposed to exist. This is never really explained, just that in accidentally ending up in an alternate reality and then jumping back to their own unleashed horrible monsters. I do feel like Paradox has the best ending out of all the Cloverfield movies just because its slightly more hopeful than the other two but the ending of these movies are never very good.

Rolling in the Deep and Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant Review

Mira Grant aka Seanan McGuire is one of my favorite authors and these books are no exception. Under Mira Grant, McGuire writes Science Fiction and Science Fiction Horror novels which if your a fan of Michael Crichton I feel like you will love.

23634011Rolling in the Deep by Mira Grant is a novella about a research vessel going to the Mariana Trench to find Mermaids. Commissioned by the Imagine Network (which feels to me like if you combined the Discovery Channel fake documentaries with Asylum the creators of Sharknado),  the scientist think that the company sponsoring the trip is just going to film a mockumentary but they end up finding real mermaids who are not kind or beautiful. This book is technically a prequel to Into the Drowning Deep but it works as a stand alone. However, if you want to have no information about what the mermaids are like and the twist at the end of In to the Drowning Deep read the full length novel first. I didn’t know about the novella when I first read the novel so they work in either order. I didn’t connect to the characters as much due to how short the book is but what is there is great. It made me want more from this world and story.

34523174Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant is a science fiction horror novel about a research ship going out to the Mariana Trench to find mermaids and what happened to the ship, the Atargatis, that went out seven years previously. This is a reread for me and I loved it just as much as the first time I read it. The characters are amazing and complex from the woman who convinced Image that mermaids existed, the sister of one of the missing from the previous expedition, two big game hunters and many others. The wonderful thing about McGuire’s stories is she adds diverse characters in a way that is natural, they are diverse because our world is, this includes deaf sisters and a journalist who is both a lesbian and autistic.

The best way I can describe it is the book is everything I didn’t know I wanted out of murderous mermaids. These are not the pretty ladies of the sea but monsters from the deep that humanity has long feared. The character that you dislike or hate have a reason to be there and get what they deserve and those that you love must survive horrible circumstances to make one of the biggest discoveries of the world. The ending is left open ended enough for a possible squeal but doesn’t leaving anything hanging. I absolutely love these books and hope that a squeal will happen.