Showing posts with label Horror. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Horror. Show all posts

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Death Row Apocalypse - Darrick Mackey

Genre: Adult, Horror
Source: I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

From Goodreads:

On homeland soil, a terrorist group tears up suburban life as they leave thriteen dismembered girls in their wake, and the CIA employs a vicious serial killer to eliminate the cell as the number of corpses rises. Trapped in a maze of corridors and hunted like vermin, a small group of visitors desperately seek and exit from a maximum security death row facility. Murders, rapists, and prison guards alike turn zombie and pursue the desperate gorup as their small number dwindles. Double-crossed by the CIA and sentenced to death by lethal injection, Blaine Wilken finds himself exercising his talents as he seeks a way out of the facility. When destiny laughs in the face of horror and forces the group to place their faith and trust in the most lethal serial killer in US history, one has to wonder which predator to fear as they enter the deepest shadows of a Death Row Apocalypse.

My Thoughts:
It’s funny that when I was first asked to review this book I turned it down. Zombies are just not my thing. I was curious so I read the summary. That was all it took to make me contact him and tell him to send me a copy. I will say this book is not for the faint of heart. There is plenty of blood and gore. The setting of this book is quite unique. The main character is a former CIA operative who was betrayed, tried for murder and is awaiting execution by lethal injection when he finds he and everyone else has bigger problems. Before he was betrayed by the CIA he was one of their most lethal killers for hire. That is what it seemed so appropriate that everyone in the prison who wants to survive must depend on him. How ironic. He must fight zombies if they are to survive. If you are a lover of zombie movies and books then you will love this take on the zombie genre. If you fear reading about blood and gore then stay away from this. It is fast paced. From the minute you pick it up to the minute you finish it the action keeps going. I have to say that zombies are still not my favorite, but throw in something unique like this and I’ll be more apt to read it.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Playlist of the Ancient Dead – Aaron Frale

Genre: Adult, Mystery, Science fiction, Adventure, Horror
Source: I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

I can honestly say I’ve never read a book like this.  When Caroline was walking her dog and he kept reacting strangely every time they got near a brick building I knew there was something to the building.  The building has been there for years. When Caroline sees her ex-boyfriend coming down the sidewalk she turns and walks back toward the building. She sees a door, she had not seen before and opens it. Cody catches up with her and she ends up stepping back out, but not before she sees something.  It seems that a government team had found a way in years before and disappeared and so they’ve been waiting all this time for another door to appear. Caroline and her dog are the key.  Another thing that was strange, not in a bad way, but in a unique way was the use of music throughout the book. No I’m not going to tell you what I mean.  I will tell you to expect all kinds of things. There are so many twists and turns in this book it will keep you reading from beginning to end.  This was the first book I had read by this author and I was not disappointed.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Spinner by Michael J. Bowler

Genre: Young Adult, Horror
Source:  I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

Spinner Book Summary:
Fifteen-year-old Alex is a “spinner.” His friends are “dummies.” Two clandestine groups of humans want his power. And an ancient evil is stalking him. If people weren’t being murdered, Alex might laugh at how his life turned into a horror movie overnight.

In a wheelchair since birth, his freakish ability has gotten him kicked out of ten foster homes since the age of four. Now saddled with a sadistic housemother who uses his spinning to heal the kids she physically abuses, Alex and his misfit group of learning disabled classmates are the only ones who can solve the mystery of his birth before more people meet a gruesome end.

They need to find out who murdered their beloved teacher, and why the hot young substitute acts like she’s flirting with them. Then there’s the mysterious medallion that seems to have unleashed something malevolent, and an ancient prophecy suggesting Alex has the power to destroy humanity.

The boys break into homes, dig up graves, elude kidnappers, fight for their lives against feral cats, and ultimately confront an evil as old as humankind. Friendships are tested, secrets uncovered, love spoken, and destiny revealed.

The kid who’s always been a loner will finally learn the value of friends, family, and loyalty.

If he survives…
Release: July 25, 2015

My Review:
I was intrigued by the premise of this book and was thrilled once I started it.  As a teacher I see kids kids like Alex, Roy and their friends every year.  I have always fought for those students who have been told over and over that they are stupid or a loser.  That might be why I start each year off reading a book with the class called "Loser" by Jerry Spinelli.  These kids need to know that they are not losers.  Alex and his friends have problems yet there is a part of them that are coping with the bullying and name calling.  A part of them realize they are not losers.  

Alex is in  a wheelchair because he has spina bifida.  He also has the ability to "spin" people. This means he can take their pain and heal them. Having dreamed about his parent's death the day before it happened and being pushed from one foster home after another because of his "strange ability", he finds himself in the worst foster home yet.  His foster mother is cruel and abusive and knows about his "gift".  She want to make money off of him. When Alex dreams about his teacher's death and it comes true he finds he is in the crosshairs of some very evil people.  They will do whatever it takes to get to him.  Along the way he learns a truth about his family. I don't want to give it away because I never saw it coming and want you to be just as surprised. Alex learns exactly what it means to have true friends.

I read this book the last day of school since we had nothing for the students to do in the morning. My afternoon was mine as I'd already cleaned up my room.  This was a perfect way to end my school year by relaxing with a great book.  I read this in electronic form.  I will definitely purchase a copy for my shelves.  I will mark it as more mature because of the language used.  I could see this as a movie in my head.  The author is great with his descriptions.  I felt fear, I felt the pain some of them felt.  I will definitely check out more books by this author.

About the Author:
Michael J. Bowler is an award-winning author of eight novels––A Boy and His Dragon, A Matter of Time (Silver Medalist from Reader’s Favorite), and The Knight Cycle, comprised of five books: Children of the Knight (Gold Award Winner in the Wishing Shelf Book Awards), Running Through A Dark Place (Bronze Award Winner in the Wishing Shelf Book Awards), There Is No Fear, And The Children Shall LeadOnce Upon A Time In America, and Spinner.

His horror screenplay, “Healer,” was a Semi-Finalist, and his urban fantasy script, “Like A Hero,” was a Finalist in the Shriekfest Film Festival and Screenplay Competition.

He grew up in San Rafael, California, and majored in English and Theatre at Santa Clara University. He went on to earn a master’s in film production from Loyola Marymount University, a teaching credential in English from LMU, and another master's in Special Education from Cal State University Dominguez Hills.

He partnered with two friends as producer, writer, and/or director on several ultra-low-budget horror films, including “Fatal Images,” “Club Dead,” and “Things II,” the reviews of which are much more fun than the actual movies.

He taught high school in Hawthorne, California for twenty-five years, both in general education and to students with learning disabilities, in subjects ranging from English and Strength Training to Algebra, Biology, and Yearbook.

He has also been a volunteer Big Brother to eight different boys with the Catholic Big Brothers Big Sisters program and a thirty-year volunteer within the juvenile justice system in Los Angeles. He is a passionate advocate for the fair treatment of children and teens in California, something that is sorely lacking in this state.

He has been honored as Probation Volunteer of the Year, YMCA Volunteer of the Year, California Big Brother of the Year, and 2000 National Big Brother of the Year. The “National” honor allowed he and three of his Little Brothers to visit the clear House and meet the president in the Oval Office.

He is currently outlining a sequel to Spinner.

His goal as a YA author is for teens to experience empowerment and hope; to see themselves in his diverse characters; to read about kids who face real-life challenges; and to see how kids like them can remain decent people in an indecent world.

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Saturday, December 6, 2014

Student Saturday: Scary Tales Home Sweet Horror by James Preller

Student Reviewer:  Amari B.
Genre: Middle Grade, Horror

A book called "Scary Tales" will send goosebumps up your spine! The amazing author of this book is named James Preller. He is one of my favorite authors! He eve wrote a second Scary Tales called I Scream You Scream. In this amazing book of scary tales, there is a story about how this family of three moved into this thousand year old house. They have two children named Liam Finn, and Kelly Finn. They feel uncomfortable about this spooky house. Liam is the one who is so freaked out about this house. When something strange happens....
It was fascinating to learn about the kids experience with scary things happening. I would recommend this scary book to the carers who would want to read this book in the bathroom with only candle light letting you be able to read.  I loved this book!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Flip by Michael Phillip Cash

Genre: Adult, Horror, Ghosts
Source: I received a copy to help facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

This is the first book I have read by this author.  I am so glad that I was offered the book for review.  I might never have found him.  As a middle school teacher I often have trouble finding adult books that I enjoy.  This is definitely an author whose books I will enjoy reading and recommending.

If you are like me and love a good ghost story then this is definitely the book for you.  It mixes the past and the present.  Brad and Julie flip houses.  When they find the Hemmings House on Bedlam Street, they figure this Victorian house would be the perfect project.  Brad feels something is not quite right the minute he enters the basement.  He wants to flip the house and sell it.  Julie on the other hand has fallen in love with this run down property.  She wants to keep it and turn it into a bed and breakfast. 

The other inhabitants in the house, Gerald and Tess have other plans.  Tess has design on Brad.  She wants him even if it means she has to get rid of Julie.  Sentinels in the house keep this from happening. With all of the strange happenings Julie now wants to sell the house.  It will take a lot of money to fix it up to sell.  She and Brad find a lot of valuable items left behind by the previous people.  What else does this house hold besides, ghosts, valuable possessions and secrets?  You really must read this book to find out.  This is not your bloody, gory type of horror book.  It is just creepy enough to keep you sitting on the edge of your seat turning the pages until you have finished.  

Sunday, January 26, 2014

The Carvings: A Short Story Anthology by Drake Vaughn

Genre: Horror/Thriller
Source: I received a copy in exchange for my honest review

From Goodreads:
The Carvings Collection: A selection of ten shocking tales from the crinkled mind of Drake Vaughn. The short stories span every arena of horror - from psychological tales of imagination gone wrong (“Dolls” and “Carvings”), to supernatural monsters (“Master Key,” “Sales,” and “Flatheads”), to realistic crime (“In The Chair,” “The Test,” and “Driver’s Seat”), along with a new spin on old tropes (“Trip to V-Town” and “The Garden”). All are bite-sized chunks for fans of horror and dark pulpy fiction.

My Thoughts:
I love short stories.   When I only have a few minutes to read I can sit with a good short story and get my reading fix.  This book is filled with great stories.  I must tell you that some of the language is a little rough in a couple of the stories.  However, if you can just jump over those words you will thoroughly enjoy the book.   The first story “Dolls” held the utmost creep factor.  When I read stories like this it makes me wish I could spend the day getting to know the author, just to see how they really think.  “In the Chair”  reminded me of one of those great movies you see on TV where you think the criminal is going to get caught only to have things spun around in some weird twisted way that catches you by surprise.  I mean this in a good way.  “The Garden” was one of those stories that took me by surprise.  It leads you to think one thing and then you get to the last page only to have it be something completely different than what you thought.  I would have to say my favorite of all of the stories was the one the book was named after, “The Carvings”.  Once again the author leads you down a path only to surprise you at the end.  I have to say that this was one ending that completely surprised me and I completely agreed with.  You really need to read this book to see what I am talking about because I’m not going to say anything more that I have said.

About the Author:
Drake Vaughn is the author of The Zombie Generation, along with many other pieces of dark fiction. His self-proclaimed “crinkled fiction” is a blend of horror, dark fantasy, and speculative fiction with a heavy psychological bent. His tales appear deceptively simple, but transform into a wild spree of suspense, madness, and trauma. He lives in Santa Monica, CA with his wife and a black cat named Shadow (who he is certain has come back from the dead on a number of occasions.)

To discover more of his crinkled tales, please visit his Amazon page.
Likewise, feel free to follow him on Twitter and like his page on Facebook. Or join his mailing list at his website:

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Student Saturdays: More Bones - Arielle North Olson

Student Reviewer: Jose M-M

From Goodreads:
Ready for scary?! Shhh! Have you heard about the man who marries . . . a corpse?! Or what about the magic school where one student in every class is never allowed to leave? Or the beautiful red-haired maiden whose hair is actually serpents? Many of these tales go back hundreds of years and to the farthest corners of the earth, but as diverse as they are, they also reveal one important truth: everyone loves a scary story. The authors have dug deeply?from Egypt to Iceland?to find the spookiest stories for More Bones. Listen! Can you hear the bones beginning to rattle?
Student's Thoughts:
I enjoyed reading the book.  As a kid or student I have seen so many movies that are horror, like "Paranormal 3".  Well this book talks about legends about ghosts from different countries.  These stories take place in China, Egypt, Spain and Hawaii.  I love the book because it was a bit of horror.  I can't wait to tell my teachers and friends to read this book.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Mirrors of Anguish – R. P. Kraul

Publisher:  Immortal Ink Publishing
Pages:  290
Source: Review Copy form the author
Genre:   Adult, Literary Horror

From Goodreads:
Young reporter Jill Duport returns to Belcorte, Pennsylvania, intending to sell the Victorian house that once belonged to her grandparents—the house where her grandfather allegedly mutilated and murdered a teenage girl. The house where he committed suicide.

The mystery surrounding the murder-suicide traps Jill in this small town in the Pocono Mountains. Knowing her grandfather was thought of as a serial killer by some is not enough for Jill. She wants to know why, twenty years after his death, the murders have continued.

What was her grandfather’s connection to the sadistic madman known as the Indianhead Reservoir Killer?

As Jill unravels the mystery of her grandfather, she draws herself closer to the killer, who has waited for decades to unleash his vengeance on Belcorte. His female victims are vessels for his feral children, and when Jill unknowingly enters his furtive lair, he decides to put in motion his sadistic plan to destroy the town.

My Thoughts:
If you were to look at the labels for my books  on Goodreads, you would find that I’ve read very little horror.  This is not because I don’t like horror.  It is because there is very little horror that I find to be good, and actually finish. I grew up on a farm in Indiana.  We lived in the 100+ year old farmhouse that had been my great-grandmother’s before she passed away.  It was a house that she claimed was haunted.  I grew up in that old house watching horror shows.  You know the ones that had you screaming at the character to do something, or not do something and they did THEIR OWN thing which always caused a problem.  That is what this type of book is like.  Classic Horror.  This it the type of book anyone who LOVES horror will want to read.  It transported me back to those late Friday or Saturday nights when I would sit up alone watching those shows that would scare me so much I wouldn’t want to leave my chair to go to bed.  That is what this book did for me, and yes I read it at night.   The author sets the tone for the book from the very beginning with his description of Belacort, Pennsylvania.  The town felt so real that I actually googled it to see if it existed.  His description of the town sets you on edge and keeps you there.  The characters are believable.  You have real people who have real problems that you can identify with.  Some you will love and some you will love to hate.  They are fleshed out in such a way that you can’t help it.  For me I will always choose a character driven plot because if the characters are not believable, then no matter what happens to them it makes the writing seem unbelievable.  Kraul has managed to find that delicate balance.

The horror in this book is the type that messes with your mind.  It is not your typical “slasher” type of horror. This is worse.  This is the type that will creep you out to the point you will be afraid to close the book, and afraid to continue reading.  So you want something creepy for a change?  Get this book.  It is just thing to fill that horror void in your reading.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Double Header by Joel M. Andre

Kill 4 Me – Joel M. Andre
Publisher:  Darkcountry Publications
Source:  review copy for tour
Genre:  Adult, Horror, thriller, Mystery, Suspense

Casey Dwyer is haunted.

After a horrific car accident that claimed the life of her sister, she has struggled to return to a normal life.  But on a cold winter day what seemed like a harmless text on her cell phone changed everything.

Now Casey will try to do anything to protect her and her family and friends against a vengeful spirit.  Even kill.  Who is the spirit stalking Casey and how far will it push her into the darkness of madness?

Book Trailer

My Thoughts:
This was a great book.  It had just the right amount of creep factor for me.  Casey was every parent’s dream daughter.  She  was the one who always tried to do the right thing.  She witnessed her father’s death years before.  She constantly tried to cover for her rebellious sister.  Her mother knew her youngest daughter was a problem.  She was also aware that Casey tried to cover for her sister.  On the night that Casey has to once again rescue her sister, they are involved in a horrific car accident.  Many people died including Casey’s sister.     Shortly after she returns homes she starts receiving mysterious messages on her phone and computer.  This strange being who has begun to haunt her wants her to kill for it. 

Just about the time I thought I had figured out who was haunting Casey and why, the story takes another strange turn.  I honestly never saw the ending coming.  This is a book that you must read. Find out what this spirit wants from Casey and what it is willing to do to get it.  Find out the twisted end that will leave you scratching your head.  You won’t see it coming.

Tea With Death – Joel M. Andre
Publisher:  Darkcountry Publications
Pages:  10
Source:  review copy for tour
Genre:  Adult Suspense, Mystery, Thriller, Horror

In this dark, philosophical tale of horror, a man has the opportunity to sit down with Death.  What he discovers is that the dying process is a little more complex than he imagined and that making a deal with the Grim Reaper comes with a price.

My Thoughts:
This was a very interesting short story.  The idea that someone would invite death to have tea with them made me think that the person was a little bit off in the head.  As you read you find that the main character has more on his mind than just asking Death some questions.  This was a quick and interesting read.  It worked great with Kill 4 Me.

About Joel:
Joel M. Andre was born January 13, 1981. At a young age he was fascinated with the written word. It was at fourteen that Poe blew his mind, and Andre began to dabble with darker poetry.

Between the years of 1999 and 2007 Joel was featured in various poetry anthologies and publications. In 2008 he released his first collection, Pray the Rain Never Ends.

Knowing there was something deeper and darker inside of his soul, Joel decided to take a stab at commercialism. Releasing the dark tongue in cheek, A Death at the North Pole, created a dark world among the death of Kris Kringle. Ultimately providing a tale of redemption.

October of 2008 saw Joel release his second book, Kill 4 Me. A tale in which a woman is haunted by a vengeful spirit through text messages and instant messaging.

Taking some time off and doing a lot of soul searching, Joel took things in a new direction and dabbled in the Fantasy Genre with, The Pentacle of Light. The tale dealing with five major races battling for control of Earth, and the acceptance of their God.

Finally, after missing his detective Lauren Bruni, he released the book The Return in October 2009, this time moving the action from the North Pole and placing it in the small Arizona community he was raised in.
Andre’s latest book is The Black Chronicles: Cry of the Fallen about a dead man who seeks revenge on the woman that tormented him in peaceful Northern Arizona.

Currently, he resides in Chandler, AZ.
You can visit his website at

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Student Saturdays: Revenge of the Gnomes - R.L. Stine

Publisher:  Scholastic
Pages:  144
Genre:  Middle Grade Horror
Student Reviewer:  Lauren

Goosebumps Revenge of the Gnomes is written by R.L. Stine.  It is about a family with two kids and the dad is obsessed with tacky yard decorations.  So one day they buy two gnomes.  At night the kids hear the gnomes scrumaging through the garden but the parents don't believe them.  The main characters are the two gnomes, the dad, and the two kids. In Palm Springs there was a gnome hunt and some were mean gnomes and some were nice.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Reviews from my readathon

Saturday was the first full day of Winter Break.  I told my family that I was going to be doing at least two three day readathons.  What follows are reviews for the books I have read since Saturday.  I hope you enjoy them.  This is my attempt to catch up with some of the books and reviews I've gotten so behind on.

The Orphan of Awkward Falls – Keith Graves

Publisher:  Chronicle Books
Pages:  256
Source:  I received the book from LibraryThing in exchange for a review
Genre:  MG Horror

On Amazon this book as listed for ages 8 – 12.  On the author website it states it might not be suitable for anyone under the age of 12.  I will say this.  You must know your child or students reading likes and dislikes, their ability to handle certain material.  The day after I received this book I took it to school and shared part of it with the teacher next door.  She really wanted to read it.
I was intrigued when I read the  first twosentences: “The little town of Awkward Falls was kow for two things:  its canned sauerkraut and its insane asylum.  Both had achieved notoriety for their repulsiveness.”
The asylum is home to the criminally insane, especially one known as Fetid Stenchley.  He is the worst among all of them.  He is in fact a cannibal.  It is he who killed the grandfather of our main character Thaddeus Hibble. Thaddeus lives in a Victorian mansion with only a robot butler and a pieced together, Frankenstein style, talking cat.  Things change when Josephine and her family move  to Awkward Falls and actually move in next door to Thaddeus.  Thaddeus and Josephine meet when she sees something in the fog and goes out to investigate.  She ends up snooping around the place next door and meets Thaddeus.  They become good friends.  Of course this story would not have any tension if the aforementioned cannibal had not escaped.  The problem is he is headed back to where his last crime was.  This puts Josephine, her family and new friend in jeopardy.

There are so many things that I love about this book.  It is a gross, creepy, horrifically humorous book.  Many of the scenes are possibly too frightening for younger children.  Many of my own students read more mature books and more intense horror.   For them this would be a wonderful book.  I still have some who prefer the younger books such as The Magic Tree House series.  For them this would not be an appropriate book.  This is where it is important to know your students or children.  For a book like this I usually send a note home explaining what the book is about and getting parent permission if I think there may be an issue.

The characters were wonderful, the plot moved at a great pace so that I didn’t want to put the book down.  I believe that the majority of children in middle school will love this book.  For those adult who love reading middle grade fiction this is one I recommend to you.  Get the book and find out what happens in Awkward Falls.

Playground – 50 Cent

Publisher:  Razorbill
Pages:  314
Source:  Received a copy from LibraryThing for review
Genre:  Middle Grade/Young Adult Realistic Fiction

Warning:  Although there is mild violence due to the bully issue this book contains some profanity.  Gratefully the author did not feel he needed to use the “F” word.  The language is a part of who the character is and is a part of what makes the character believable.

From Goodreads:
Thirteen-year-old Butterball doesn’t have much going for him. He’s teased mercilessly about his weight. He hates the Long Island suburb his mom moved them to and wishes he still lived with his dad in the city. And now he’s stuck talking to a totally out-of-touch therapist named Liz.
Liz tries to uncover what happened that day on the playground—a day that landed one kid in the hospital and Butterball in detention. Butterball refuses to let her in on the truth, and while he evades her questions, he takes readers on a journey through the moments that made him into the playground bully he is today.
This devastating yet ultimately redemptive story is told in voice-driven prose and accented with drawings and photographs, making it a natural successor to The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.
Loosely inspired by 50 Cent’s own adolescence, and written with his fourteen-year-old son in mind, Playground is sure to captivate wide attention— and spark intense discussion.

My Thoughts:
When I was given the opportunity to possibly win a copy of this book I signed up only because I loved the premise of the book.  I honestly knew nothing about the author except I believed he was a rapper.  After getting the book and reading it I decided to look up the author.  I read several articles on him and his reasons for writing the book.  I could not say I expected him to say he was a bully at some point in his life as I knew nothing about him or his music.  I was pleased to realize that the book came about because of a conversation with his son.  That in itself put him high on my list of parents.  We need more parents willing to have conversations with their children about tough topics.   I was glad that he chose to approach this from the bully’s perspective.  It gave me a better look at some of the reasons children bully others.  As a teacher I see bullying many times a week.  Most of it is not the violent type we saw in the book where the main character Butterball bashes in the face of his ex-friend with a sock full of batteries.  The type of bullying I see at school is just as dangerous and harmful.  Physical wounds can often heal.  It is the psychological ones that take time.  Healing has to happen not only for the victim but also for the bully.  I’ve seen a couple of those students who were “thugs” do a complete turn-around.  This book gives hope to those who know they are bullies.  I think in our society we often look at the bully and write them off.  I applaud the author for his work on this issue.  I hope we see more from him regarding tough topics.  I will not only put this on my shelves at school I will make sure our guidance department knows about this book.

Rippler – Cidney Swanson

Pubisher:  Williams Press
Pages:  288
Source:  I received a copy from LibraryThing in exchange for my honest review.
Genre:  Young Adult, Paranormal, Fantasy

From Goodreads:
Samantha Ruiz has a freak gene that makes her turn invisible, or ripple. She can’t control it, and it’s getting worse. Afraid of becoming a lab-rat, Sam keeps her ability secret, until fellow runner Will Baker sees her vanish into thin air. Will promises secrecy and help, and Sam begins to fall in love. Together, the two discover there are worse things than being a scientific curiosity. Someone’s been killing people who possess Sam's gene. A mysterious man from France sends letters that offer hope for safety, but also reveal a sinister connection with Nazi experiments. The more time Sam spends with Will, the less she can imagine life without him. When Sam uncovers secrets from her past, she must choose between keeping Will in her life or keeping Will safe.

My Thoughts:
Right from the first line this book grabs you and draws you in.  It has something for everyone.  It has a little bit of history, a mystery, some paranormal elements, realism.  What is there not to like about it so far?
Samantha Ruiz, (Sam) is a typical teenager.  She is on a rafting trip with her cross-country team when something strange happens to her.  She disappears.  Everyone believes she has fallen into the water.  That is everyone except teammate Will.  He helps her.  This rippling, has happened to her twice before, but she was alone and thought she had imagined it.  This time there was no denying it was not her imagination.  Will and his sister try to explain things to her about the “rippler gene”.  She begins reading an old Nazi journal that describes horrible tortures conducted on children.  She also learns that the accident that killed her mother might have actually been an attempt on her life.  Throw in a budding romance and you definitely have a teen winner.

There were enough different elements to keep the reader going non-stop.  I didn’t want to stop for anything.  I can’t wait to read the second book in this series.  I’m just sorry I had to take this long to get around to it.

Take Five! For Language Arts: 180 Bell-ringers That Build Critical Thinking Skills  – Kaye Hagler

Publisher:  Maupin House
Pages:  211
Source:  I won a copy
Genre:  Educational

Product Description from Amazon:

Kaye Hagler s unique bell-ringers for language arts help you transform the first chaotic five minutes of class into authentic opportunities to practice critical-thinking skills.
Students in grades 6-12 exercise their mental muscles as they work collaboratively, warming them up to tackle your standards-based lessons.
Whether your students are inventing secret codes, concocting potions, rewriting history, making conjunction paper chains, or thinking like newspaper editors, these diverse and creative prompts will have them looking forward to the part of the day when they re asked to Take Five for critical thinking.
The 180-plus prompts set up your teaching day from the minute that students step into your class.
Each ready-to-use prompt includes: corresponding standards, supply lists, language arts links, teacher tips, assessment options, rubrics, and digital connections that add more than 100 extension lessons.

My Thoughts:  I could not wait to get to school and try this out.  I was able to start with an prompt that went right along with the unit we were working on.  The students loved it.  I get deeper thinking answers and writing from my students.  I also loved the rubric created by the author.  I plan on starting off next year with this book.  I’ve encouraged the rest of the language arts department to look at purchasing this book.  I think this book should be in every Language Arts Classroom.  I am very pleased with it and happy to recommend it to other teachers.

About the Author:
Kaye Hagler is an educational consultant who mentors teachers throughout the Southeast. She has been an educator for more than twenty years, teaching middle school gifted education and high school English as well as working as an elementary library media specialist and college adjunct instructor. A former journalist and freelance writer, Hagler holds a bachelor's degree in education from Georgia State University, a master's degree with a concentration in English from Troy University and postgraduate endorsement in gifted education from the University of Alabama. She lives in Panama City Beach, Florida.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Harbor - John Ajvide Lindqvist

Publisher - Thomas Dunne Books
Pages: 512
Genre:  Adult, Horror,  Some Sexual content

From Goodreads:
From the author of the international and New York Times bestseller Let the Right One In (Let Me In) comes this stunning and terrifying book which begins when a man's six-year-old daughter vanishes. One ordinary winter afternoon on a snowy island, Anders and Cecilia take their six-year-old daughter Maja across the ice to visit the lighthouse in the middle of the frozen channel. While the couple, explore the lighthouse, Maja disappears -- either into thin air or under thin ice -- leaving not even a footprint in the snow. Two years later, alone and more or less permanently drunk, Anders returns to the island to regroup. He slowly realizes that people are not telling him all they know; even his own mother, it seems, is keeping secrets. What is happening in Domarö, and what power does the sea have over the town's inhabitants?

My Thoughts:
This was a strange book.  It starts with the disappearance of Maja.  Then the majority of the book is told not as a flashback but as back-story.  I mean we look back at the past with the present interspersed.  It is an effective way to tell a story.  They have listed this as a horror story but I thought of it more as a mystery or thriller.  The book is about a Swedish island that is full of mysterious secrets known by a few.    It includes a former magician that has bonded himself to a Spiritus, which is a centipede like creature.  When he allows his saliva to touch the body of the Spiritus they have formed a bond and he has obtained some of the powers from the Spiritus.  This is definitely one of those books that you can say nothing is as it seems.  The story is not written in the usual chronological way, which adds to the mystery.  It is told in a way that holds the reader. The people on the island  love the sea and at the same time, you can tell they fear it on some level.  The question is, why?  For the answer to this, I would suggest you read the book.  Maybe then you will find out why and how people, have for years just vanished.  Perhaps you will find out the true power of the sea.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Unthinkable - Shirley Duke

Publisher:  Darby Creek
Pages:  106
Source:  Purchase
Genre:  Young Adult, Horror

If you like horror, then this is the book for you.  Imagine being popular in high school for the horror stories you write.  This may not seem like much unless you are the teen writing them.  Omar Phillips posts his stories on Facebook.  His friends can’t wait to read the next story.  But something is wrong.  Suddenly things have changed and Omar is having visions that he must write down.  He can’t seem to stop his hands.  No matter where he is or what he’s doing he must stop and write the story.  Everyone loves it until his stories start coming true.  The police think he is responsible and his friends are beginning to stay away from him.  Then the strange and unpopular Goth girl at school seeks Omar out and tells him she knows what he is going through.  She insists they are alike and she can help him.  The question is, at what cost?
I really enjoyed this book.  The stories Omar wrote were very intense.  I could feel the fear all through the book.  This is an author I will definitely read again.

Monday, September 6, 2010

The Painted Darkness by Brian James Freeman

Publisher:  Cemetery Dance, November, 2010
Pages:  175
Source:  e-book sent to me
Genre:  Adult Horror

I sat down to read this book and couldn't stop until I got to the end. This was the first book I'd read by this author but it won't be my last. This story is written in alternating present and past chapters. The present gives us a look at the artist who "paints against the darkness" or the demons that seem to haunt him. The Past gives us a look at the artist as a child and how he came to be haunted by these demons. The fear I have of basements made this book even more scary for me as it seems the monster he must face lurks in the basement of his house. This was so good that I can foresee his books sitting on the shelf next to the names of Stephen King and Dean Koontz. This is a must read for anyone who loves horror. Just don't read it at night.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Pricker Boy - Reade Scott Whinnem

Publisher - Random House, 2009
Genre:  Horror
Age:  MG/YA
Pages: 288
Source:  Purchase

Stucks Cumberland is ready for summer vacation.  It is a time when many of his friends return to their vacation homes.  However, their vacation doesn't go the way they plan.  Something is in the woods.  No one goes beyond Widow's Stone for fear of running into the Pricker Boy.

The Pricker Boy was a young boy tricked into believing his fur trapping father was keeping his mother in a cage in the forest and feeding her raw bits of meat.  The boy goes looking for his mother.  When he doesn't return, the kids start rumors that the thorns have taken him and now he seeks revenge against those who were so cruel to him.  He has taken on the form of a being made from and covered with thorns.

This is the story that Ronnie tells around the campfire every year.  All of Stuck's friends say that it is not real but when Stucks claims to have seen the Pricker Boy, they all start wondering how much of it is true.  Mysteriously the items they have given to the forest and the Pricker Boy to keep him from getting revenge on them have all mysteriously returned.  What does it mean?

I wasn't really sure what to make of this book.  I couldn't put it down.  I still don't know if the Pricker Boy was someone they made up from legend or if he was real.  There were other issues going on and the author purposely left the ending the way he did so the reader could decide.  This is what made this such a delicious read.  I read this in e-book form and have ordered several hard copies for my shelves at school.  My students who are fans of horror will love this book.