Review: The Babysitters Coven by Kate Williams

The Babysitters Coven (The Babysitters Coven, #1)The Babysitters Coven by Kate Williams
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

We all know babysitting comes with a lot of responsibility. You are literally responsible for maintaining the health and wellness of little humans. But did you also know that some babysitters are responsible for protecting the entire Earth from evil forces?

It’s true and when Esme Pearl formed her Babysitter’s Club, she didn’t know that either. Unfortunately for Esme, she’s about to find out the hard way.

I feel weird sort of giving that away but it’s nothing you won’t read in the synopsis of the book. Part Buffy the Vampire Slayer, part the good ole’ Babysitter’s Club series, this book brings horror comedy to a whole new level.

I was giggling to myself for over half of this novel. Apparently, the author and I share a brain and have exactly the same sense of humor.

Esme was such a fun character to read about and although parts of this were predictable, I had a great time reading it. The culminating scene does occur on Halloween as well, so perfect for the Fall Spooky season.

I loved all the pop culture references, the definite homage to Buffy and that fun teen horror atmosphere. I would definitely recommend this to anyone looking for a fast and funny teen scream.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Delacorte Press, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I look forward to seeing what this author comes up with next!!!

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Review: Hex by Thomas Olde Heuvelt

HexHex by Thomas Olde Heuvelt
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars rounded up**

A town cursed by a witch or a woman cursed by a town?

This was an odd book that has certainly provided me with a lot to think about.

Welcome to Black Spring. A charming little village set in the Hudson River Valley. As picturesque as can be, an outsider would have a hard time imagining the horror that this town’s citizens endure every day.

The Black Rock Witch, a 17th-Century woman, murdered by her contemporaries after having her mouth and eyes sewn shut, lurks amidst the townsfolk to this day. Not a hazy apparition that only certainly people sense or see, she’s there, in the flesh. They can touch her and even harm her if they choose.

No one ever does though as they anticipate her vengeance would be swift and brutal. Why don’t they just move away, you wonder?

Well, that’s just it. They can’t. No one can. Once you are settled in the town and privy to its secrets, you can never leave. As in, a supernatural force literally blocks you from escape.

This was a really unique take on a haunting. I really enjoyed that aspect of it. I also really enjoyed the way the town dealt with it. They had developed, as town, a great system for tracking and monitoring the spirit. They used high tech surveillance to make sure all was well with her, but in turn, ending up tracking a lot of the citizen’s actions as well.

When some of the teenagers become frustrated with living under strict regulations they start acting out towards the spirit. Their cruel actions ultimately cause all hell to break loose.

Although, I was never able to fully sink into this one, I still decided to round up to 4-stars due to the unique nature of the overall story. Haunting stories have been done numerous times but this one did offer up something new in my opinion.

Also, I am wondering if the difficulty I had connecting to the story was more due to the fact that it is translated from the original Dutch than the actual story itself. The writing style seemed very blunt. I was always aware I was reading a book instead of being told a story, if that makes sense.

Overall though, I would definitely recommend this to horror lovers. Especially people who are looking for something out of the ordinary. This story is definitely worth giving a shot!

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Review: Campfire by Shawn Sarles

CampfireCampfire by Shawn Sarles
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars rounded up because I feel this book deserves a higher overall rating**

((How’s that for honesty?))

When Maddie Davenport heads on a friends and family camping trip she has no idea that it is a trip that will change her life. But we all know what happens when teens go camping.

Y’all, this book is a teen slasher flick come to the page. If you enjoy the campy, bloody, sometimes ridiculous movies like Cabin Fever, I Know What You Did Last Summer, Friday the 13th, House of Wax or Wrong Turn, I think you could enjoy this.

It’s all about the mindset you go into a book with. I was looking for a campy, silly slasher that would make me nostalgic for my Junior High years, devouring every Fear Street book I could get my hands on. This did that. It gave me exactly that.

This does definitely read on the younger side of YA so if you aren’t into Tween reads, I would steer clear. I would put this at a target audience of 7th through 10th grade, which is completely fine. People in that age group deserve to have books too and for a fun, Spooktober read, this is great.

The writing is simplistic and the storyline was easy to follow. There are a ton of flawed characters to hate on so when bodies start dropping, you probably won’t shed too many tears.

If you are looking for a quick read, something to remind you of your younger years, when you first started to learn that scaring yourself was fun, you should probably check this one out. I was laughing out loud to the cheesy lines at the end. It was a good time. Glad I picked it up and I feel like you should too!

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Review: All the Bad Apples by Moira Fowley-Doyle

All the Bad ApplesAll the Bad Apples by Moïra Fowley-Doyle
My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Break the stigma, break the curse.

An absolutely enchanting feminist tale!

I was so enthralled by this story, I could not put it down. As Deena begins to unravel the mysteries of her family tree whilst on a search to find her sister, Mandy, assumed dead, I was completely swept up in their family lore. I wanted to know everything about the Rys family.

Fowley-Doyle seamlessly blended past and present together as the narrative unfolds. The reader takes a front seat as history repeats itself again and again. Women and girls are stripped of their power and choice, made to live false lives. It was heart-wrenching and felt extremely genuine.

At the beginning of the novel, Deena, our teenage protagonist comes out to her family with a mixed reaction. She is a student at a Catholic school and has been raised within a conservative household. She is struggling with her identity and being able to live her truth.

I thought this aspect of the story was so well done, as were all aspects really, but the feelings evoked as Deena questions whether or not she is a ‘nice, normal girl’, were just so powerful. That’s how the story kicks off and as far as gut-punching, hard-hitting topic choices, never lets up.

I loved the format the author chose to slowly reveal the truth at the heart of this tale. I am going to be thinking about this one for a long time to come. I am not going to say anything else in regards to the plot because I think it would best serve the story, and your reading experience, to go into this with as little information as possible.

A story of family, identity, secrets, truth and power, I am still reeling by how much this story has impacted me. Truly stunning.

While this is a fully fictional story, the topics explored within were well researched by the author and are based on true events that happened throughout the course of Ireland’s history. As the author lives in Ireland and is Irish herself, that is where the story is focused, however the issues the girls and women faced are universal.

Please read this book. Please read this book. Please read this book and as always, this includes the Author’s Note at the end. Read that too!!

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Review: One By One by D.W. Gillespie

One by OneOne by One by D.W. Gillespie
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars rounded up**

When the Easton family moves into a decrepit old house they are divided as to whether it is a good thing. Alice, the youngest, and her father, Frank, are excited to learn the secrets of the old house, while older brother, Dean, and mother, Debra, are less enthused.

Frank insists the fixer-upper is exactly what the family needs. A project to draw them closer together. As they start to settle in, Alice, discovers a child’s drawing under some tattered wallpaper. She calls the rest of the family to look and after the entirety of the drawing is revealed it becomes clear it is a drawing of a family. A family exactly like theirs.

When the family pet in the drawing is mysteriously drawn over with a giant black X and their aloof cat, Baxter, disappears, you are hit with the reality that something is very wrong with this house.

As with any horror story, the Easton family doesn’t initially react to this as you would expect them too. They each suspect that someone in the family has done it as a sort of misguided trick. However when the X appears over Dean, they start to take things a little more seriously.

This story has a nice, eerie intensity running throughout, making it a perfect read for Spooktober. There is a found diary element to this that I also really enjoyed. You learn a bit about the mysterious family that lived in the house prior to the Eastons. As that is filled it, the horrific truth is finally revealed to the reader and it was pretty disturbing!

The Epilogue really tied everything together and I loved that the author chose to include that portion of the story. It was a really satisfying conclusion. This was my first Gillespie book and I definitely look forward to reading more from him in the future.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Flame Tree Press, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review. If you are looking for a quick spine-chiller to round out your October TBR, you should definitely check this one out!

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Review: Dread Nation by Justina Ireland

Dread Nation (Dread Nation, #1)Dread Nation by Justina Ireland
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Set in a historical United States, where the country is plagued by the walking dead, Jane McKeene is just trying to get by at Miss Preston’s School for Girls. Life hasn’t always been kind to Jane and she has developed a thick resolve to help push through hardships.

Being trained as an attendant means not just etiquette and other basic schooling, it means weapons training as well. A lot of it. You see, Jane’s job will someday be to protect some rich family she’s not a part of.

But before she knows it, things go a little…astray. She gets caught in the midst of some snooping on some powerful people and is punished by being sent away from Baltimore Country entirely. A prisoner aboard a train with her picture-perfect frenemy, Kate, and her ex-beau, Red Jack, Jane finds her situation pretty helpless.

Their destination, Summerland. A sort of Western outcrop community reminiscent of Deadwood. Once there a whole host of drama ensues, including standoffs with the undead, known throughout the novel as ‘shamblers’.

There were so many compelling things about this story. The historical landscape was wonderfully done, I thought, as well as the frank representation of race relations in this time period and place. In fact, I feel that the level of historical elements woven throughout the story was perfect.

I also really enjoyed the relationship between Jane and Katherine, who Jane always calls Kate, even though she is asked not to do so. They start out not caring for one another but their relationship evolves so much over the course of the story. It was truly moving. I always enjoy that kind of friendship in a story, particularly female/female.

I also thought the zombie element was really tastefully done. It is descriptive enough, and concept-driven enough, to make this a full-fledge tale of a world fighting zombies, without overwhelming and negating some of the other important plot points.

It’s like zombie-light and I do mean that in a good way.

My only, very slight critique, is that it seemed a little long to me. I would have been just as happy with this story if 30 or 40-pages, or so, had been edited out. As I always say, however, that is 100% personal preference and opinion.

I do think this left off at an incredible spot for a continuation. California here we come! I will definitely be continuing on with this series and look forward to watching Jane be her brutal, badass self.

If you are looking for a fun, zombie-inspired tale to pick up this Spooktober, I would definitely recommend this!

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October Reading Plans

IT’S THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR!!!

That’s right, witches! It’s OCTOBER!!!

Many bookworms will tell you that October is by far the best month of the year to be a reader. There is nothing better than getting cozy in your nice warm house, in your comfy clothes, lighting a bookish inspired candle and reading a creepy story well into the night.

To be frank, it is my absolute favorite activity. I generally read a lot of creepy, scary things but for October, I feel extra inspired to pick up exclusively eerie content. With this being said, it will come as no surprise to anyone that my October theme is: SPOOKTOBER READS!!

As with my previously themed reading months, the goal is to complete 10-books that are spooky, creepy, eerie, scary, all my favorite adjective things. DARK. I want to be afraid to turn my lights out at night.

I also hope to participate in Spookathon, hosted by Kayla over at the YouTube channel, Books and Lala. To view her Spookathon announcement video, click here: Spookathon 2019 Announcement where she will list the dates, challenges, etc. I won’t have a specific TBR for that week but will try to meet all of the challenges.

So, that’s it for now! Are you planning to read a lot of creepy books this month? What is your favorite scary book or movie? I want to know. Leave a comment below or contact me through any of my social media links.

Until my next post, Cheers & Happy Reading~

Review: Two Can Keep A Secret by Karen M. McManus

Two Can Keep a SecretTwo Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManus
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

QUESTION:

Did I just read this book in June?

ANSWER:

Yes.

QUESTION:

Am I heavily considering reading this again in October?

ANSWER:

Yes.

**4.5-stars**

O.M.G.

I don’t think I have ever been that chilled by a final line.
Well played, McManus.

I seriously don’t even feel like I can review this.

Just know, she good and she has hella Autumnal vibes. A great one to pick up this September/October!

Get it on your Spooktober list, y’all.

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FAVORITES: Dracula Appreciation Post!!!

DraculaDracula by Bram Stoker
My rating: 5 of 5 stars


A true masterpiece.

Believe it or not, I am still considering how to best write a ‘review’ for this, one of my favorite novels of all time.

I annotated this most recent time reading, in the hopes that it would help when it came to composing my final thoughts.

What I am really struggling with is the idea of little ole’ me ‘reviewing’ a masterpiece.

I guess my goal is more to compel people to read this amazing piece of world literature as opposed to providing a critique of Stoker’s work. Let me think on this a while longer. In the meantime, have a gander at this The Lost Boys gif — a movie greatly inspired by Dracula:

Review or not, I am so happy to have reread this for the 3rd time. Dracula is a book I will continue to reread periodically for the rest of my life.

If you haven’t read this yet, please give it a go, it may surprise you. You may think you know this story…

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Review: What We Buried by Kate A. Boorman

What We BuriedWhat We Buried by Kate A. Boorman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Jory and Liv Brewer are as opposite as siblings can get.

The one thing they seem to have in common: horrible parents.

Liv: Paraded through the kiddie pageant circuit by their domineering mother, Liv is known to be spoiled and full of rage. Once followed everywhere by cameras as part of a reality television show, now Liv’s star seems to be dimming.

Jory: Older brother, Jory, has been pushed into the background of the ‘Princess Liv’ show his whole life. Jory suffers from Moebius Syndrome which displays itself outwardly through partial facial paralysis. This makes speech difficult for him and he struggles to be understood. Constantly in the shadow of his sister, Jory has come to resent her and everything her vapid life stands for.

The book begins as the family heads to court. Liv is suing her parents for emancipation and her earnings from beauty contestant days. Estranged from the family, she has been living outside of the home for months.

You quickly come to understand, through their dialogue and recollections, that both Liv and Jory have been traumatized by their unconventional upbringing. Their mother is manipulative and superficial and their father is an emotionally abusive and unavailable drunk.

Over the course of this narrative there is not one fleeting moment of humanity to be found in either parent. Is it any wonder the kids are full of resentment and rage? But what happens when the parents disappear?

Forced to work together to try to figure out where their parents have gone, Jory and Liv undertake a late night road trip into the desert because, honestly, what could go wrong?

I will admit, the first couple of chapters, building up to the road trip, I did not think I was going to like this. The story is told in alternating perspectives between Jory and Liv. They both seemed so negative and angry, I didn’t like them at all but once the road trip started, I couldn’t put it down. Literally, could not stop thinking about it.

Reading like an episode of The Twilight Zone this book played on my anxieties. A dark road, late at night, nothing around, getting lost, not having enough water, etc. It built some serious tension. There were definitely scenes that chilled me to the bone.

I do feel that this book will not necessarily be for everyone. There isn’t a lot of action. We have two characters in a car for most of the book, hashing out their differences and then we have both of them recollecting their childhood. As I got farther and farther in, I really began to connect to the characters. I understood more of where they were coming from and why it drove them to hold such resentments against one another.

I felt real growth with both characters and towards the end I was rooting for them. I had theories on where this was going, it’s an odd little story, but it didn’t end the way I thought it was going to. It played nicely with temporality in a way I found unique.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I would recommend it for people who don’t need to instantly fall in love with every character and who like their stories a bit on the eerie side.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Henry Holt and Co., for providing me with a copy of this book to read and review. I always appreciate an opportunity to read a book early. I look forward to hearing what others readers this of this one!

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