Showing posts with label book review. Show all posts
Showing posts with label book review. Show all posts

Monday, December 2, 2019

Review - An Amish Second Christmas

*This is a sponsored review. All opinions are 100% mine.

An Amish Second Christmas
by Shelley Shepard Gray, Patrica Johns, and Virginia Wise

Christian authors Shelley Shepard Gray, Patrica Johns, and Virginia Wise have come together to bring us a new anthology - An Amish Second Christmas. Published by Kensington Books, the book features three romantic tales:

Their Second Chance
by Shelley Shepard Gray
New York Bestselling Author
There's no way a relationship between Amish nanny Hannah Eicher and the handsome English fireman could overcome her family's objections—and their personal differences. But when she saves her from a sudden blaze, Hannah longs to see if they can turn holiday hope into a lifetime of happiness.

His Amish Angel
by Patricia Johns
As advice columnist "Miss Amish," outspoken Maggie Lapp helps Amish and English with their romantic problems. When her tradition-minded former fiance accidentally reveals her secret, she'll need more than a miracle to make things right—and find a perfect love for all the Christmases to come . . .

An Heirloom Christmas
by Virginia Wise
Rachel Miller won't let her disability keep her from being independent. She certainly doesn't need reckless Joseph Webber working at her greenhouse—and their surprising holiday partnership might just blossom into forever joy.

Where To Purchase?

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Review - The Institute by Stephen King

*This is a sponsored review. All opinions are 100% mine.

There are many book bloggers who'll crank out a review as soon as they finished reading the final pages of whatever they're reading. Well, that's not me! I tend to reflect on what I've just read. If I'm not emotionally connected to the story, then I'll write my review within a few days. However, if I am emotionally connected, it takes me a bit longer to gather up my final thoughts.

I finished reading The Institute by Stephen King nearly a month ago and it's one of those reads I needed to sit on before talking about.

The Institute is a mix of Carrie and Firestarter, and centers around Luke Ellis, a bright young boy who's taken from his suburban Minneapolis home in the middle of night and wakes up at the Institute in a room that closely resembles his own. It seems a government organization is experimenting on children with telekinesis and telepathy and Luke happens to be one of them.

Along with the other kids, Kalisha, Nick, George, Iris and Avery, in the Front Half, Luke tries his best to play by the rules which are set by the sinister Institution's director, Mrs. Sigsby. However, one by one, each kid is moved to the Black Half and are never seen again. To save himself, as well as Avery, the youngest of the group, Luke must find away to escape this hell.

Final Thoughts

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Back to School Reads: Max Einstein: Rebels With A Cause

*This is a sponsored review. All opinions are 100% mine.

Yeah, I know what you're thinking - "Why is Billy featuring a Back to School Reads!" post in November?

Well, that's a great question and I do have an explanation for it. I had requested a review copy from the publisher prior to the book's release date, which was Sept. 9th. I never received a reply from the publisher. Due to my past experiences with publishers, I just naturally assumed there were no review copies available. It was a not big deal to me as I'm a James Paterson fan so I would eventually buy the book anyway. However, the publisher did send me an uncorrected proof copy in early October. By that point in time, I was a little busy getting ready for my 13 Reads of Horror! event, so I pushed the review for this title until the beginning of November.

Max Einstein: Rebels With A Cause (Jimmy Patterson; 336 pages; $14.99) is the sequel to last year's Max Einstein: The Genius Experiment, which both are co-written by James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein with illustrations by Beverly Johnson. It's the first children book series to be official authorized by the Albert Einstein Archives.

Max Einstein is a twelve-year-old genius orphan who used her hacking abilities to enroll herself into college. How did she get the last name Einstein? She's a huge Albert Ein­stein fan and is constantly referring to his theories. She even imagines having conversations with him. To make a long story short, Max is recruited by the Change Mak­ers Insti­tute, an organization with a headquarters in Jerusalem, who collect the best young intelligent minds from around the globe in the effort of making the world a better place. And then there's the evil Dr. Zimm, who will do anything he can to persuade Max into joining his "Corporation" so he can use her mind to wreck havoc upon mankind.

Rebels With A Cause centers around Max and her young genius pals going on a quest to fix a water crises in India and Ireland. Max is always up for finding a solution to any problem but she might be a little bit over her head this time as her nemesis, Dr. Zimm has a kidnapping scheme up his sleeve.

Final Thoughts

Thursday, October 31, 2019

13 Reads of Horror! - Halloween II by Jack Martin

It should be no shock to anyone that I'm featuring the Halloween II novelization as my 13th and final review of 2019's 13 Reads of Horror! as my favorite movie of all-time is the original 1978 classic slasher John Carpenter's Halloween.

Halloween II, directed by Rick Rosenthal based on a screenplay by John Carpenter and Debra Hill, was released to theatres on October 30, 1981, which I was just short of being two-months-old at the time. I wouldn't go on to watch the movie until I was seven-years-old. Nice babysitting, Grandma!

Like many other films in the 1980s, Halloween II received a novelization written by Dennis Etchison under the pseudonym Jack Martin and published by Kensington Books, featuring several black & white pictures from the movie. Unlike 1979's novelization of 1978's Halloween written by Curtis Richard (which attempted to explain why Michael Myers kills), Halloween II stays pretty close to sequel's screenplay.

Halloween II has a short introduction to set up the"Halloween" atmosphere. Then first chapter shows shows Dr. Loomis scaring Lonnie and his pals near the Myers home (from the first movie), followed directly with Dr. Loomis running into Tommy Doyle and Lindsay Wallace (a.k.a. the two little kids from Halloween). Then Dr. Loomis saves Laurie Strode by shooting Michael Myers six times.

Laurie is sent to Haddionfield Memorial Hospitial. Dr. Loomis goes a bit nuts on his quest to hunt down and kill the Boogeyman. Meanwhile, Michael gets a new knife and heads to the hospital to continue his killing spree.

Final Thoughts

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

13 Reads of Horror! - Hell-O-Ween by David Robbins

Whenever I run across a book with a jack-o-lantern on the cover, there's a really good chance I will buy it. That pretty much sums up how I got my hands on the 1992 horror novel Hell-O-Ween by David Robbins.

When I write reviews, I typically do a little research on the authors if I'm not already familiar with their writings. To my shock, I learned David Robbins has written many westerns under several pen names, including Ralph Compton, David Thompson, and Jon Sharpe. More than likely I have probably read one or two of his westerns. David has always written several other horror novels, including Prank Night and The Wraith.

Hell-O-Ween centers around eight high school students going into the "Caverna del Diablo" (a.k.a. The Cavern of the Devil) late at night to play a cruel trick on the class nerd. However, things go horribly wrong and six of the eight teenagers are murdered by 7' tall nude demons.

Final Thoughts

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

13 Reads of Horror! - The Bad Place by Dean R. Koontz

I have a bad habit of buying Dean Koontz thrillers each and every time I stumble across one at a thrift store, which has resulted in me accumulating many duplicates. Strangely, I have only read two or three Koontz novels over the years. That's why I wanted to read The Bad Place as one of the 13 Reads of Horror! because at least I'll have had read at least one book from my Koontz collection in 2019.

Originally published in 1990, The Bad Place centers around Frank Pollard, a man who's deeply afraid of falling asleep because if he does, he will wake up the next morning somewhere else with no clue of how he got there. And, there's a twist - he always finds something weird, such as blood on his hands. Could it get any weirder?

To solve his nighttime activities, Frank hires Bobby and Julie Dakota, a husband and wife security duo, to follow him around at night to unravel the mystery. Sounds simple enough. Right?

Final Thoughts

Monday, October 28, 2019

13 Reads of Horror! - The Pet by Charles L. Grant

I don't have a clue how long I have owned an old paperback copy of The Pet by the late author Charles L. Grant but I have had it quite a long time, and I'm going to take a wild guess I'd probably bought it at a thrift store.

The Pet (pub. 1986) centers around Donald "Don" Boyd, a seventeen-year-old who would rather be spending his time with animals than doing typical teenage stuff, such as playing football. His father (Norm) is the principal at the local Ashford, New Jersey high school and he's always giving Don slack about not having a girlfriend and questing  his choice of wanting to attend a veterinarian school. To make matters even worse, Norm is frustrated with the teachers' contract negotiations and takes out all of his anger on Don. Add in some bulling from a few football jocks, I guess you can say Don's life isn't exactly perfect.

Late one autumn night, Don runs into the serial the killer "The Howler" and barely survives the encounter. The Howler is later found dead in a park. The authorities come to the conclusion that Don killed The Howler in self-defense, which leads to everyone calling the boy a hero. The truth is Don is not even close to being a hero.

It seems a black horse, which looks oddly similar to the horse in a poster on Don's bedroom wall, was the one that saved him that night. And this is no normal horse! The horse is supernatural and will attack anyone who threatens Don's well being.

Final Thoughts

Sunday, October 27, 2019

13 Reads of Horror! - Strange Weather by Joe Hill

I've been starring at my computer screen for several minutes pondering whether or not I bought Joe Hill's Stranger Weather last year or early this year at my local library for $2. I guess the older I get the more my memory starts to disappear. Or I might just need some more sleep!

Stranger Weather contains four short novels by Joe Hill (a.k.a. Stephen King's son) - Snapshot, Loaded, Aloft, and Rain.

Set in 1988, Snapshot centers around Michael Figlione, a kid who finds himself crossing paths with the "The Phoenician" who uses a Polaroid Instant Camera to erase his victim's memories.

Loaded centers around a mall security guard named Kellaway, a racist who's down on his luck. Then one morning a shooting incident occurs at the mall that will change his life forever.

Aloft centers around a group of friends going skydiving. After something goes wrong with their plane, they have to jump out sooner than expected, which leads to a bizarre trip through the clouds.

Rain takes place in Boulder, Colorado and centers around a storm that rains splinters (or needles).

Final Thoughts

Saturday, October 26, 2019

13 Reads of Horror! - The Place by T.M. Wright

I have many books in my library (a.k.a. - cheap bookshelves and closets) that I'd purchased at used book stores or thrift shops and I picked put these titles because I loved their covers. One of these titles happens to be "The Place" by T.M. Wright, a 1989 horror-fantasy that I've been meaning to read to read for quite a long time.

The Place centers around the Galway King, his wife Ella, and their children, Justin and Greta, coming across a "terrifying" event in the woods that leads a madman, Harlan DeVries, to hunt them down. To deal with the trauma, Greta goes to her imaginary world called The Place, where she believes she would be safe. However, The Place's bright blue sky has turned black-red and the magical felines there will no longer talk.

The evil of the real world has found its way into The Place and Greta must find a way to survive.

Final Thoughts

Friday, October 25, 2019

13 Reads of Horror! - Ravensridge by Jennifer Hale

Gothic horror-romances are my favorite books to collect. The genre is pretty much defunct but these types of books were very popular in the 1960s and 1970s. I started collecting Gothic horror-romances because of their creepy covers, which always features a young woman wearing a dress or nightgown and running away from a mansion or castle. The cover arts reminds me of the "Hammer" horror movie posters.

I found Ravensridge by Jennifer Hale at a thrift store several years ago and today marks the very first time I have read it. Before writing this review I attempted to do a bit of research on the author and I learned Jennifer Hale one of the pseudonyms used by Frank E. Smith. All of his Gothic were published under that name.

The 189-page novella centers around a twenty-something photographer named Melissa Manion, who had left her life in Washington, D.C. to travel to the Virginia mountains for a photo gig at the Ravensridge mansion. The previous day, she had called her good friend Charles Courtney and he gave her a weird warning about Ravensridge, which is his ancestral home. The phone had gone dead before he could explain to her what was wrong.

Melissa's arrival at Ravensridge isn't a welcoming one by the Courtney family due to the fact Charles never mentioned she was going to take photos of the estate. She's shocked to learn that Charles has gone missing. There's something very strange occurring at Ravensridge.

Once upon a time, Ravensridge was dubbed "Hangman's Hill" because the mansion was owned by Jason Courtney, a powerful judge who sent many men to the gallows.

Melissa is determined to find the whereabouts of her friend and to do so she must deal with Ravensridge's haunted past. Many young woman have gong missing over the years and she might be its next victim.

Final Thoughts

Thursday, October 24, 2019

13 Reads of Horror! - The Other by Thomas Tryon

I found a paperback of the 1971's psychological horror novel "The Other" by Thomas Tryon 12 or 13 years ago at a Salvation Army Thrift Store for 10 cents. I was more than thrilled at the time as I had seen parts of the 1972 film adaptation several times on AMC late at night in the early 2000s. To this day, I have never seen all of the movie, which, to me, seemed to be edited so badly that the story was extremely confusing. Thus, I wanted to read the book, and like many other titles I own, I never took out the time to actually read it.

Well, that's until I read the entire novel yesterday afternoon.

Set in 1935, the film centers around identical 13-year-old twins Holland and Niles Perry. Their father had died in an accident in the apple cellar on their family's farm earlier in the spring, which sent their mother into a deep depression. Their Uncle George and his wife, Winnie, are now taking care of the farm. Additionally, their pregnant older sister, Torrie, lives nearby with her husband, Rider, as well as their grandmother.

Despite the recent tragedies, Holland and Niles have seemed to move on with their lives by playing on the farm. However, the apple cellar has been locked up and it's off limits for everyone. Holland doesn't like to obey by the rules and removes the lock so they can play in there. As the summer rolls on, many accidents and deaths occur around the farm and all the evidence points towards Niles, who had somehow gotten ahold of the Perry family ring, which was supposed to have been buried.

Remember, this is a horror novel and things, including the dead, never stay buried!

Final Thoughts

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

13 Reads of Horror! - Psycho House by Robert Bloch

Believe it or not there's a Psycho III that isn't titled Psycho III, and,no, I'm not referring to the 1986 horror sequel starring Anthony Perkins. Actually, I'm referring to Robert Bloch's third novel Psycho House.

Unlike the film franchise, which focused on the serial killer Norman Bates, author Robert Bloch killed off the character at the beginning of Psycho II (not the 1983 movie), so he pretty much ruined any chances of another sequel. However, that's not the case, as he published a third and final sequel, Psycho House, in 1990.

Psycho House centers around the fully-restored Bates Motel and "psycho" house being turned into a tourist attraction in Texas with animatronic copies of Norman Bates. Guess what happens shortly after the attraction opens?

Yep, a few murders occur that leads the public to believe either Norman Bates is alive or there's another copycat killer on the loose.

The story mostly focuses on Amy Haines, a nonfiction crime author who's researching her next novel, which is going to be about Norman Bates. Of course, as soon as she arrives at the Bate Motel attraction, the murders begin. With the help of Dr. Steiner (the psychiatrist from Psycho and Psycho II), Amy is determined to unmask the killer.

Final Thoughts

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Review - Stranger Things: Suspicious Minds

I don't recall if I had previously mentioned that I'm a big fan of Netflix's Stranger Things, which is a science fiction horror series full of '80s nostalgia.

At the beginning of the year, Del Rey released the first fictional tie-in novel, Stranger Things: Suspicious Minds, which is a prequel set in between 1969 and 1970. I knew the title was being released but due to life issues, it had slipped my mind until I ran across the book at my local library.

The novel centers around Terry Ives (a.k.a. Eleven's birth mother), who agreed to be a test subject for a top secret government experiment (code-named MKULTRA) at the Hawkins National Laboratory, which is operated by Dr. Martin Brenner. To her, it seems like an easy to way to earn money. However, something is a fowl at Hawkins Lab that will jeopardize the life of her unborn child.

Final Thoughts

13 Reads of Horror! - Psycho II by Robert Bloch

One of the greatest horror sequels happens to be 1983's Psycho II starring Anthony Perkins. What many people probably don't know is that there's another Psycho II! Yep, Robert Bloch (the author of the original Psycho novel) wrote a sequel that was released in 1982. He had finished writing the book before Universal Studios had finished the screenplay for their sequel film. The sequels have two completely different plots. Robert Bloch's sequel is more of a satire about Hollywood gory horror films. The 1983 film involved Norman Bates being released from a mental institution and reenters society. Universals Studios didn't like Robert Bloch's sequel and desperately attempted to stop him from publishing it. They feared it would hurt their movie. Bloch went ahead with his novel and Universal Studios refused to invite him to any Psycho II screenings.

Robert Bloch's Psycho II is set 20 years after the original novel and during this time Norman Bates has been in a mental hospital receiving treatment for his multiple personalities, which seems to have finally been cured. However, after two visiting nuns arrive at the hospital, Norman snaps. He kills one of the nuns, puts on her hammock, and escapes in a van. The authorities finds the charred remains of the van along with two bodies - one female and one male, which the latter being believed to be Norman Bates.

Later, somebody goes on a killing spree, starting with Sam and Lilia Loomis in Fairvale. Then the killer heads to Hollywood, where a movie studio is making a movie about Norman Bates.

Has "Mother" returned to protect Norman again?

Final Thoughts

Monday, October 21, 2019

13 Reads of Horror! - Psycho by Robert Bloch

I believe I was eight or nine-years-old when I first saw the classic Albert Hitchcock's Psycho. It aired on a local channel so it was edited a bit. Nevertheless, I became a huge fan of the Psycho movie series at an early age.

For those of you who aren't already aware of this, Psycho was based on the 1959 novel of the same name by Robert Bloch, who would later go on to write two sequel novels, Psycho II and Psycho House. And, no, sequel books' plots were never used for the sequel films.

Psycho centers around an overweight 40-year-old Norman Bates who runs his mother's motel. On a late stormy night, a young beautiful woman, Mary Crane, arrives at the motel looking for a room for the night. Let's just say things to go to well for Mary as she's brutally murdered by what look likes Norman's mother, Norma.

Unknown to Norman, Mary had stolen $40,000 from her boss and now many people are searching for her, including her boyfriend - Sam Loomis, her little sister - Lila, and a private investigator - Milton Arbogast. All the evidences points Mary's whereabouts to Bates Motel!

Final Thoughts

Sunday, October 20, 2019

13 Reads of Horror! - The Hellbound Heart by Clive Barker

For the life of me, I cannot remember when I first read The Hellbound Heart by Clive Barker, which is the novella that inspired the classic horror film Hellraiser (and its many sequels). I'm going to take a wild guess that I'd purchased the book at Barnes & Noble during my teenage years (a.k.a. the mid-'90s). This was probably right after I first saw the edited versions of Hellraiser and Hellbound: Hellraiser II on cable.

The Hellbound Heart is a dark twisted fairy tale with lots gore. It begins with Frank Cotton, a pleasure seeker searching for the Lemarchand Configuration, which is a puzzle box that's supposed to open up a gate to another realm full of carnal pleasures. However, pleasure is the last thing Frank receives after solving the box. The Cenobites, former humans turned into disfigured creatures, are released from the box. A price must be paid for anyone who calls upon them and for Frank, that price is his soul.

Sometime later, Rory Cotton (Frank's brother) and his wife Julia move into his later mother's home (and the last place Frank was seen alive). Prior to the their marriage, Julia had an intense affair with Frank. She has no romantic feelings for Rory and only stays with him for his money.

After Rory cuts his thumb, a few drops of his blood drips on the attic floor where Frank was tortured and taken by the Cenobites. The blood mixes in with Frank's dead sperm that was left on the floor from his torment. This causes Frank to be reborn as a fleshly creature. With Julia's help, she lures unsuspecting men from bars to the attic so she can murder them and let Frank feed on their blood. The more Frank feeds, the faster his body heals.

The only person standing in their way is Kristy - a dear friend of Rory's who finds the Lemarchand Configuration and makes a deal with the Cenobite leader.

Final Thoughts

Saturday, October 19, 2019

13 Reads of Horror! - Rosemary's Baby by Ira Levin

I'm taking a wild guess that almost every horror fan has heard or seen the 1968 classic Rosemary's Baby starring Mia Farrow, which is one of the scariest films ever made. The movie is an adaptation of the 1967 novel of the same name by Ira Levin.

I had stumbled up on Rosemary's Baby while searching for a novel to read for a book report for an English class during my freshman year of high school in the mid-1990s. Originally, the book belonged to my grandmother, who had moved away after the death of my grandfather, and most of her books were being stored at my parent's house. It was a first-print hardback edition minus the original cover jacket. I still have this book as well as "The Stephen King Horror Library" edition.

Shortly after reading the book, the movie adaptation aired on TNT late at night. I recorded it on a VHS (Remember those?) and I later watched it. It's one of the best book-to-film adaptations ever produced as it goes exactly by Ira Levin's original story.

Rosemary's Baby is a psychological horror tale centered around Rosemary and Guy Woodhouse, a newly married Manhattan couple who move into a new apartment building, the Bramford, which has a deadly past involving witchcraft and murder. Usually, this would be a turn off for just about anybody else but Guy and Rosemary don't believe in superstitious. Shortly after moving into the apartment, they meet their odd elderly neighbors - Roman and Minnie Castevet.

While not planned, Rosemary becomes pregnant after having a bizarre nightmare involving a satanic ritual. Being young and naive, she takes advice from the Castevets and uses their doctor - Dr. Abraham Sapirstein, who insists she should drink homemade "health" drinks made by Minnie instead of taking prenatal vitamins. Let's just say the next few months aren't very good experiences for Rosemary. Instead of gaining pounds like all expecting mother's do, she quickly loses weight near to the point that she almost resembles a skeleton. Plus, she has a horrible pain coming from her womb. Over time, the pain magically disappears and she puts on baby weight.

With her due date just around the corner, Rosemary learns her neighbors are not who they say they are and that her unborn child is in danger.

Final Thoughts

Friday, September 27, 2019

Review - Unearthed: A Death Seeker Novel

*This is a sponsored review. All opinions are 100% mine.

Amazon * B&N * Kobo * iTunes
With October just days away, there's nothing better to get me in the mood for the Halloween season than reading a supernatural tale, which is exactly what I did this week.

What title did I read?

I read the supernatural fantasy Unearthed: A Death Seeker Novel by Cecy Robson. It centers around Olivia Finn, a pixie who's hiding on Earth from Death! Yes, I said Death! Pixies are from a paradise realm called Fae that was destroyed by Death itself. The survivors of Fae took refuge on Earth. Olivia, like many pixies, tries her best to blend into society so she can avoid the death hounds.

However, she cannot hide forever!

Eventually, Death discovers Olivia's location and learns she might be immune to its deadly grip. Word gets out about Olivia's power over Death and, now, other Faes see her as a savior.

No longer able to run and hide from Death, the only way Olivia can survive is for her to embrace her true self.

“Death is only the beginning.”- Unearthed, Cecy Robson

Final Thoughts

I have a poor habit of wanting to review books based only on their covers, so I chose to read Unearthed without even looking at the actual blurb. As a result, I didn't realize this book was about Faes (also known as fairies and pixies) until I had already begun reading it. I have nothing against Fae stories, but I haven't read a novel concerning mythical beings in a long time. But this is the first time I've ever seen Faes coexisting with dragons, gargoyles, elves, and the Grim Reaper! 

Fortunately, the two main problems I've always had with the genre—narrative and pacing—are not present in this story, so it's a good thing the writing is excellent. Olivia, the protagonist, is a very likable person, and I found it easy to relate to her right away. I thought the dialogue was pretty mediocre; nothing revolutionary, but adequate nonetheless.

Unearthed: A Death Seeker Novel is a fascinating beginning to a new fantasy series. Mythical creatures that exist in our world have been included in the author's distinctively imagined universe.╌★★★★✩


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About the Author

Cecy Robson is an international and multi-award-winning author of over twenty-five character driven novels. A registered nurse of eighteen years, Cecy spends her free time creating magical worlds, heart-stopping romance, and young adult adventure. After receiving two RITA® nominations, the Maggie Award, the Award of Excellence, and a National Reader’s Choice Award nomination, you can still find Cecy laughing, crying, and cheering on her characters as she pens her next story. 

Connect with Cecy online at:   

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Back To School Reads - Goosebumps SlappyWorld: The Dummy Meets The Mummy!

*This is a sponsored review. All opinions are 100% mine.

AMAZON; Barnes & Noble;
I'm feeling a bit old while I'm writing this review as it has come to my attention that R.L. Stine's Goosebumps franchise just turned 27-years-old last month! And this also means it's been 27 years since I read my very first Goosebumps - Welcome to Dead House.

Despite that fact I'm soon to be a 38-year-old in just a few weeks, I still read each and every new Goosebumps title that's published. Yes, I'm well aware I'm way past the Grade 4 reading level but I like nostalgia and that's exactly the feeling I get every time I read a Goosebumps book. Plus, I just love horror stories, even the kid-friendly ones.

The newest entry in the franchise is titled Goosebumps SlappyWorld: The Dummy Meets The Mummy! (a.k.a. - the eighth installment of the spinoff SlappyWorld series). And as you can probably guess by the art cover, this story centers around everyone's favorite villainous ventriloquist dummy - Slappy! There's also a creepy mummy in this tale. No, it's not the same mummy from the classic Goosebumps titles The Curse of the Mummy's Tomb and Return of the Mummy. Instead it's a brand new character named Arragotus.

Of course Goosebumps stories don't just center around the villains as there's always one or two young protagonists, typically around 12-years-old, who have to stop the bad guys from doing some evil deed. For The Dummy Meets The Mummy!, there are in fact two main characters - Cathy O'Connor and Aaron Riggles. 

The plot involves a middle-grade class having a supervised sleepover in the Haunted Horror Museum, which is owned by Cathy's father. The museum's newest attraction is Arragotus the mummy. Just before the kids arrive, the museum received a rather odd donation - a ventriloquist dummy named Slappy! 

Let's just say having Arragotus and Slappy under the same roof isn't a very good thing!

Final Thoughts

Monday, August 12, 2019

Review - Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark Trilogy

If you grew up in the 1980, then mostly likely you would remember the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark books written by Alvin Schwartz and illustrated by Stephen Gammell.

There are three titles in the series - Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (pub. 1981), More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (pub. 1984) and Scary Stories 3: More Tales to Chill Your Bones (pub. 1991). As of 2017, the books have sold more than 7 million copies; though that number is probably a bit higher thanks to recent release of the PG-13 film adaptation.

All three books have "retellings" of folklores and myths, but they're all written in a kid-friendly way. However, the American Library Association has challenged the books several times over the years for stories featuring nightmarish topics such as disfigurement and murder. Plus, there has been criticism over the creepy drawings by Stephen Gammell. Besides from us horror fans, the American Library Association and the The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Book have defended the books.

I remember my mother ordering all three Scary Stories books from Scholastic book flyers - you know the ones you get from your elementary classes - back when I was a little bitty kid. Many of the stories are interactive and I have fond memories of my mother reading several of the stories to me. Never once did she believe the stories were harmful. They're just stories!

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark features 29 stories: The Big Toe, The Walk, What Do You Come For?, Me Tie Dough-ty Walker!, A Man Who Lived in Leeds, Old Woman All Skin and Bone, The Thing, Cold as Clay, The White Wolf, The Haunted House, The Guests, The Hearse Song, The Girl Who Stood on a Grave, A New Horse, Alligators, Room for One More, The Wendigo, The Dead Man's Brains, May I Carry Your Basket?, The Hook, The White Satin Evening Gown, High Beams, The Babysitter, The Viper, The Attic, The Slithery-Dee, Aaron Kelly's Bones, Wait till Martin Comes, and The Ghost with the Bloody Fingers.

More Stories to Tell in the Dark features 28 stories: Something was Wrong, The Wreck, One Sunday Morning, Sounds, A Weird Blue Light, Somebody Fell from Aloft, The Little Black Dog, Clinkity-Clink, The Bride, Rings on Her Fingers, The Drum, The Window, Wonderful Sausage, The Cat's Paw, The Voice, Oh, Susannah!, The Man in the Middle, The Cat in a Shopping Bag, The Bed by the Window, The Dead Man's Hand, A Ghost in the Mirror, The Curse, The Church, The Bad News, Cemetery Soup, The Brown Suit, BA-ROOOM!, and Thumpity-Thump.

Scary Stories 3: More Tales to Chill Your Bones features 25 stories: The Appointment, The Bus Stop, Faster and Faster, Just Delicious, Hello, Kate!, The Black Dog, Footsteps, Like Cat's Eyes, Bess, Harold, The Dead Hand, Such Things Happen, The Wolf Girl, The Dream, Sam's New Pet, Maybe You Will Remember, The Red Spot, No, Thanks, The Trouble, Strangers, The Hog, Is Something Wrong?, It's Him!, T-H-U-P-P-P-P-P-P-P!, and You May Be Next....

Final Thoughts