Review: It Watches in the Dark (Eek! #1) by Jeff Strand

It Watches in the Dark (Eek!)It Watches in the Dark by Jeff Strand
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

๐ŸŽƒ๐Ÿ–ค๐ŸŽƒ๐Ÿ–ค๐ŸŽƒ๐Ÿ–ค๐ŸŽƒ๐Ÿ–ค๐ŸŽƒ๐Ÿ–ค๐ŸŽƒ๐Ÿ–ค๐ŸŽƒ๐Ÿ–ค๐ŸŽƒ

It Watches in the Dark is a fantastically-tense Spooky Middle Grade story, and the first book in the all-new Eek! series by veteran Horror author, Jeff Strand.

I was immediately drawn to this book because of the cover. How devilishly-divine is that scarecrow!? It’s giving me all the Autumnal vibes that I cherish in my every day life.

Jumping into this one, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but I ended up enjoying it so much. The writing is fluid and engaging, with eerie Horror imagery throughout. I loved how quickly it kicked off, and never let up.

In this story, we follow twins, Trisha and Oliver. At the start of our tale they are on a canoe trip with their Dad, which is something they do often. On this particular trip through, they hit a series of unexpected rapids and their Dad is injured, knocked unconscious.

Not knowing exactly what to do, the kids tie up to the first dock they find and go ashore in search of help.

They end up coming across a tiny town in the woods, Escrow, population 999. Everything about the place seems a little odd, but beggars can’t be choosers, right? The twins seriously need to find their Dad help.

They meet a few townspeople, who though strange, seem to be willing enough to help, and they’re adults, they have to know what they’re doing.

Their Dad is retrieved and taken to the local medical center, but from there the kids are kept away from him. Germs and all that. Oliver and Trisha are left to their own devices and the more time they spend in Escrow, the more their senses tell them to beat feet out of there.

Perhaps it’s the enormous creepy scarecrow sitting sentinel in the town square that’s giving them that feeling. It seems to be watching them and the townspeople are obsessed with it, talking about it like it’s a living being.

As dark approaches, the kids are feeling panicked. They want to leave. They do not want to spend the night in Escrow, but they can’t move their Dad on their own.

The townspeople become more threatening and it suddenly feels imperative to escape. Will the kids be able to figure out a way to rescue their Dad and flee Escrow together, or will this be the end of the road for one, or all, of them?

It Watches in the Dark is a super solid Spooky Middle Grade read. I would definitely recommend this to any Reader who enjoys Middle Grade Horror.

It does have a sort of Goosebumps charm to it, but was creepier than that, really. Especially the initial chapters. I appreciate how Strand set-up this spooky town. It was definitely getting under my skin.

The more the kids interacted with the residents of Escrow, the more tense and stressed out I felt. I just wanted them to run away, but they couldn’t after their Dad was taken to the medical center. They didn’t want to abandon him, of course, and they were still wanting to trust these adults so much.

Oliver and Trisha were great too. I liked that they worked together and appreciated each others strengths, instead of just fighting all the time, as siblings tend to do in fiction.

Overall, I found this extremely entertaining. I think Strand did a great job of making this punchy, with plenty of action and spookiness on every page. I already have an early copy of the next book in the series, Nightmare in the Backyard and I’m excited to get to it!

Thank you to the publisher, SOURCEBOOKS Kids, for providing me with a copy to read and review. This was such a fun read; very well done!

View all my reviews

Review: Goblin Monday (Goosebumps: House of Shivers #2) by R.L. Stine

Goblin Monday (Goosebumps House of Shivers #2)Goblin Monday by R.L. Stine
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars**

Goblin Monday is the 2nd-book in the House of Shivers series.

This entire franchise holds a very special place in my heart, and I was excited when I learned that Stine was adding another limb to the Goosebumps family tree.

I really enjoyed the 1st-installment, Goosebumps: House of Shivers: Scariest. Book. Ever., when I read it last year. It was fast-paced, with a great antagonist and spooky creatures. Overall, a very solid Goosebumps read.

Jumping into this one, I was feeling confident and loved how this one kicked off. The set-up was great and I was anticipating a solid ride all the way through.

In this story we follow Mario. He grew up in South Florida and has very recently moved North with his family. On his first winter break, he gets invited along a holiday trip with his new friends, Todd and Jewel.

Todd and Jewel’s grandparents live in Vermont and their parents take them up there every year. When Marco gets invited along for the trip, he is ecstatic. He’s going to get to see snow for the first time!

He’s warned on the car ride up that Grandpa Tweety and Mom Mom are a bit on the eccentric side, but they’re purportedly harmless and wickedly entertaining.

Mario enters their home with an open heart and excitement for all the adventures that lay ahead that week. Little did he know that soon he would be fighting for his life.

As the cover and synopsis indicate, this story does involve goblins. The way Stine introduced the idea of goblins being on the Vermont property, and slowly bringing them to life on the page, was engaging and admittedly, creepy as heck.

Mario didn’t notice the ominous nature of the events happening at the home as quickly as I thought he would, but once he did, it was hard watching him try to get his friends to believe in the things he had seen and experienced.

They weren’t taking him seriously, brushing off his concerns, and I was getting as frustrated as he was!

I found almost the entirety of this book gripping and fun, but the very end just blew the whole thing for me.

Ultimately, I was really conflicted on how to rate it. It’s so good, I was hooked, right up until the final two scenes. I was seriously was thinking that this could actually be a unicorn 5-star Goosebumps read.

But then, Stine just did his thing where the end is so freaking bizarre and makes no sense in context with the rest of the story. Why, Mr. Stine? Why?

Honestly though, even with that being said, it’s still absolutely worth a read. There were some genuinely scary scenes up until those final few moments.

There’s a lot of creepy content involving birds, and wandering around in a snow-filled forest feeling like something is following you. The build-up and development was great, but yeah, that ending; not good.

Obviously, I still recommend this to any fan of the Goosebumps franchise. We all know at this point the tricks that Stine oftentimes pulls at the end. To long time Readers, you’ll most likely just SYH at this conclusion.

And as far as new Readers go, I always encourage jumping in on new series from the beginning, as soon as you can. It’s fun to just read along from the start as they’re released, and I plan to continue to do so with this series.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Scholastic Paperbacks, for providing me with a copy to read and review.

It looks like the 3rd-installment is going to be a Mummy story and I’m so ready for it. I will never stop reading R.L. Stine’s work, because no matter how old I get, you’re never too old for Goosebumps!!

View all my reviews

Review: Whichwood (Furthermore #2) by Tahereh Mafi

WhichwoodWhichwood by Tahereh Mafi
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

After taking 7-months off, I’ve finally decided to return to my TBR-Haul Project. For those who don’t know, this is a self-imposed project for myself, essentially aimed at crossing books off of my backlist TBR of purchased books.

Basically, I buy a ton of books and then never read them. My Reading Journal contains a spread each month of books hauled and I have been going through them month-by-month, and picking a few off that list to finally pick up.

It had been going quite well. I’ve found quite a few 5-star reads via this project. But then it sort of sputtered out.

One of my goals for this year is to return to it, ideally, picking up at least one book for it each month. This is my first for the year and I started it on January 31st, so it’s not off to a real rousing start…

It’s not too late to reach my goal though, so I have selected Whichwood as Book #19 for the project. I hauled this back in March 2019, and of course, never read it.

This past Fall, I did pick up the first book in this duology, Furthermore, on audio through my local library. I thought it was so cute and fun, as well as fabulously narrated by the fabulous, Bronson Pinchot.

I was so excited to return to this magical Middle Grade Fantasy world, Mafi’s whimsical storytelling and Pinchot’s enchanting narration.

With this being said, I was concerned that I wouldn’t end up enjoying this one as much as the first book. I was so wrong!

Part of my hesitation was that I didn’t know how closely this book would be related to the first one. I knew we were following a new MC, Laylee, and I felt like I was really going to miss Alice and Oliver from Furthermore.

I was so delighted to discover both Alice and Oliver play a huge role in this story!

This again was emotional, heart-felt, filled with important lessons and conversations that fit nicely into magical Middle Grade. Regardless of the age level designation, this is the type of story that can be appreciated by audiences of all ages.

This duology is the first work I have read from Tahereh Mafi and it has made me beyond excited to check out more of Mafi’s work.

Leave your favorites down below in the comments!!!

View all my reviews

Review: Goosebumps: Attack of the Graveyard Ghouls (Classic Goosebumps #31) by R.L. Stine

Attack of the Graveyard Ghouls (Classic Goosebumps #31)Attack of the Graveyard Ghouls by R.L. Stine
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Attack of the Graveyard Ghouls is the 31st-book in the Classic Goosebumps reprint series. I read this one in a couple hours after receiving it for Christmas.

I am happy to report it’s definitely one of the fun ones. It’s not perfect, but as Goosebumps go, it’s pretty darn good. A great way to pass a relaxing afternoon.

In this story we meet Spencer and he’s a little awkward, not necessarily one of the popular boys. He gets picked on a bit, made worse when he is forced to read an essay he had written aloud to the class and his teacher has nothing but praise for him.

How dare she!? But when the teacher notices the kids turning on Spencer, she doubles down. Spencer’s story involved the local graveyard and the teacher comes up with the idea to take a field trip there the very next day.

In absolute Goosebumps logic, that’s exactly what they do, pre-planning and permission slips be damned!!

Her idea is for the kids to do some grave rubbings and she’ll ultimately turn it into a local history lesson, if nothing else.

As the kids are exploring the graveyard, Spencer accidentally knocks over an eerie-looking tombstone. After that, all heck hits the fan for poor Spencer.

This story involves graveyard ghouls inhabiting bodies and wrecking havoc on the town. Spencer does have one good friend, Audra, and she’s fairly involved in the action as well.

I fully expected this to be one of the stories where Stine strings you along, all to discover at the end that it was a dream, or prank. I’m not saying that that didn’t happen, but I did give it 4-stars, so…

There were a couple details that progressed the plot that I wasn’t necessarily crazy about; mostly involving animals. Overall though, that didn’t affect my enjoyment too much.

I did think that the ending was super fun. It left a sinister little smirk on my face. OMG, Stine, you tricky bugger.

I would recommend this one to Goosebumps fans. It definitely has that classic formula that made me nostalgic for the horror stories of younger years. I’ll never stop reading these books. It’s just part of who I am. Well done by Stine!

View all my reviews

Review: Sabotage on the Solar Express (Adventures on Trains #5) by M.G. Leonard and Sam Sedgman

Sabotage on the Solar Express (Adventures on Trains, #5)Sabotage on the Solar Express by M.G. Leonard
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Sabotage on the Solar Express is the 5th-book in my favorite Middle Grade series, Adventures on Trains.

If you haven’t seen me gush about this series before, let me just give you are brief overview of what it is about.

This series follows Hal, a talented young artist with a penchant for solving mysteries. Hal’s Uncle Nat is a travel writer, who specializes in trains, and he takes Hal along with him on some of his journeys.

Hence the name of the series.

In this installment, we travel to Australia, where billionaire tech mogul and train enthusiast, August Reza, is set to run the maiden voyage of the winning design of his Reza’s Rocket competition.

We first met August Reza, and his daughter, Marianne, in the second-book of the series, Kidnap on the California Comet. Having made friendships over the course of that journey, Nat and Hal are graciously invited onto this test run for the new train, dubbed the Solar Express.

A child from Australia, Boaz, designed the winning train with his hybrid locomotive, driven by hydrogen fuel cells and solar power. Reza believes this design has the potential to change the future of train travel.

But during the journey from Alice Springs to Darwin, the train is sabotaged and soon they are running out of control through the vast expanse of the Australian Outback.

Will Hal and friends be able to discover the saboteur and stop the runaway train before it runs off the tracks, no doubt with disastrous, and maybe deadly, results?

As usual, this story was such a delight to read. I loved being back with Hal and Nat. We kick off rather quickly with them already being in Australia, and before you know it, the Solar Express has started her journey.

There are a couple of different mysteries tossed our way before we even discover the sabotage. I liked how intriguing all the elements were together. Were they related, were they not? It was really well plotted.

This is definitely the biggest thrill ride of series thus far. At times this felt like a version of the movie Speed reimagined for kids. There were some real pulse-pounding moments. Through it all, Hal stayed true to his character with a cool head and analytical mind.

We had a nice set-up for the next book, which it sounds like takes place over Christmas holiday for Hal. I can’t wait to pick it up. It sounds like a perfect Winter read.

I definitely recommend this series to anyone who enjoys a solid, heart-warming, engaging Children’s Mystery. This can honestly be enjoyed by Readers of all ages!

View all my reviews

Review: Amari and the Great Game (Supernatural Investigations #2) by B.B. Alston

Amari and the Great Game (Supernatural Investigations, #2)Amari and the Great Game by B.B. Alston
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Amari and the Great Game is the 2nd-book in B.B. Alston’s Middle Grade Fantasy series, Supernatural Investigations.

The 1st-book in the series, Amari and the Night Brothers, completely stole my heart when I read it in 2021. It was one of those spectacular cases where the story meets the hype. It was just as great as I had anticipated.

It was one of the most engaging Middle Grade stories I had read in a while and I was excited for more!

Amari and the Great Game released in August of 2022 and because I had listened to, and enjoyed, the audiobook for the 1st-book, I wanted to continue with that format moving forward with the series.

Y’all, the library loan wait was real. She was long.

It finally came through at a time when I could utilize it; my annual Thanksgiving solo-road trip. Perfection.

The well-narrated audio was a great way to pass the hours, and the miles. I was swept up again into this world and loved the new aspects and feel that Alston delivered.

This story follows Amari after the tumultuous events of the 1st-book. Her life has completely changed and she finds all sorts of new responsibilities and worries on her plate.

We deal a lot in this one with magicians and the sort of negative associations many in the Bureau have of them. We also get treated to the Great Game, a magical competition, that puts all competitors at risk.

I will say, for me, this did have a different feel than the first book. I think mainly because of the nature of the story. Amari has grown up so much since the 1st-book and she’s now a fairly confident and astute young practitioner, who knows how to fight the good fight. It’s bittersweet.

In the 1st-book, her character was more the kind that you want to shelter and protect. She was like a baby bird, who has now grown so much, she’s ready to leave the nest.

Because of that, I don’t think I was able to form the same emotional attachment to the story. Hence the 4-star rating here, versus the glowing 5-stars of that 1st-book.

Also, middle book syndrome being what it is, this did feel like we were building a lot towards something. With this being said, I am really looking forward to the 3rd-book, which I expect to be absolutely epic.

Regardless of my slight, and I do mean very slight, diminished enjoyment, this is still hands-down one of the best Middle Grade Fantasy series on the market currently. If you haven’t started it yet, and love this genre, you need to.

Alston knows how to bring the action and the world-building is so well done. This is sure to have you at the edge of your seat, cheering for the heroes and wishing you were there alongside them.

I can’t wait to see where Amari’s story goes from here. She’s an absolute forced to be reckoned with and I know at the end of the day, she’s going to make me, and her family, proud!

View all my reviews

Review: 15 Secrets to Survival by Natalie D. Richards

15 Secrets to Survival15 Secrets to Survival by Natalie D. Richards
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿ’›๐Ÿ’›๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿ’›๐Ÿ’›๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿ’›๐Ÿ’›๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿ’›๐Ÿ’›๐Ÿ’š

15 Secrets to Survival is a Middle Grade Survival Thriller and is a Middle Grade debut for beloved author, Natalie D. Richards.

I have enjoyed quite a few YA-stories from Richards, including Five Total Strangers and Four Found Dead, so I was very excited when I learned she was going to be branching into the Middle Grade genre.

I always enjoying seeing what an author I have enjoyed can do in a new space. It can be hit or miss, but this one was definitely a hit for me.

As expected, Richards brought some serious thrills and intensity to this, while also bringing the humor and softer moments you would expect from a Middle Grade story.

We follow a group of four kids, Baxter, Abigail, Turner and Emerson, who have sort of been forced together their whole lives due to their parents all being friends. Truth be told though, they sort of drive each other nuts.

After they get in trouble at a school for fighting with one another, they’re forced to participate in an extracurricular project that will push them outside of their comfort zones, and will hopefully get them past their differences.

The goal is to get them to work together. At least that is what their parents and teachers want. We’ll see…

The four get taken to a remote wilderness location and dropped off with Baxter’s elderly Uncle Hornsby, who used to run a wilderness camp for kids. The parents seem to think he is just the person to get these kids in line.

The kids are shocked. It’s cold, it’s rustic, it’s in the freaking middle of nowhere. Are they seriously getting left here with this eccentric old man?

Just like that though, it happens. Their parents leave and their true adventure weekend begins. Using pages from a survival notebook, the kids begin a sort of scavenger hunt through a series of challenges that wins them more pages to the notebook as they go.

The notebook truly clues them in on how to survive on their own in the rough terrain. After Uncle Hornsby appears to go missing though, it’s a race against the clock as inclement weather closes in. They need to try to survive themselves, as well as find Uncle Hornsby before it’s too late.

Will the kids be able to work together to get everyone safely through the weekend, or will their past disagreements and hurts get in the way?

I did really enjoy this story. I found Baxter’s perspective fun to follow, although there were some repetitive jibes towards Uncle Hornsby, particularly in the beginning, that I didn’t find as funny as I think they were meant to be. Other than that though, I did enjoy getting the entire story through Baxter’s narration.

The kids each excel in different areas and that fact initially is sort of seen as a reason why they don’t get along. I liked watching each of the kids be able to bring their strengths into the weekend and I think it helped them to all gain a new respect for one another.

You definitely go on a journey with these kids and it seriously does get intense. There were moments, I wasn’t sure how they were going to get past certain things. I loved watching the evolution of their relationships through it all.

I loved the survival aspects as well. Richards included pages from the notebook the kids were following through their challenges. I liked the way those pages were displayed and the level of information they presented.

I also liked the use of a storm approaching to up the intensity of the plot. I thought Richards did a great job building-out the setting, creating a dangerous atmosphere and adding a bit of suspense. This one definitely got my pulse-racing in multiple scenes.

I also grew attached to these characters. I loved the growth they each displayed and I ended up feeling proud of them for everything they overcame by the end.

I would definitely recommend this to any Middle Grade Readers, particularly if you like Survival stories, or Thrillers that feature inclement, winter weather.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Delacorte Press, for providing me with a copy to read and review. This was a blast and I hope Richards continues to write in the MG-space. If she does, I will absolutely be reading it!

View all my reviews

Review: Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi

FurthermoreFurthermore by Tahereh Mafi
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿ’›๐Ÿงก๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿ’›๐Ÿงก๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿ’›๐Ÿงก๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿ’›๐Ÿงก๐Ÿ’œ

Furthermore has been on my shelves since its release in 2016. Y’all may remember, this was a darling of BookTube upon its release and also, look at this dang cover.

I had to have it.

But then like many books before her, she sat on my shelves, neglected for years.

Recently, I participated in a Middle Grade Readathon and one of the prompts was the read a book that had been on your TBR for a long time. I immediately thought of this one and am so happy that I finally picked it up.

This whimsical Fantasy story follows Alice Alexis Queensmeadow, who you can probably tell from her name alone, is all sorts of adorable. But as adorable as she is, Alice is grappling with a lot since her Dad disappeared.

Alice’s Mother didn’t cope well with her Dad’s disappearance and has really pushed Alice away. It’s not a warm and fuzzy relationship. Because of that, Alice feels pretty alone.

When a boy from her past, Oliver, arrives and offers her the chance to find her Dad, even though he irks her, she has to go. She has to agree and she does.

They set off on an adventure through the magical lands of Furthermore. An adventure that Alice hopes will finally reunite her with her Father. As they progress though, it becomes unclear, is Oliver being truthful with her? What is his motive? Does he actually know where her Father is?

Even though I had a hard copy of this book, I decided to listen to the audiobook. I was so delighted when I learned that Bronson Pinchot was the narrator. I had no idea that he even narrated audiobooks, but you better believe now that I do, I will be seeking more out.

He was such a fabulous narrator for this story, because the story is told by a literal narrator. His voice brought the whimsy and the fun and I felt like he was talking to me one-on-one. It was really well done and I definitely recommend.

I was swept up into this story. I loved following along with Alice and Oliver as they traveled through the different towns in Furthermore.

It’s funny, I’m not sure what it was, perhaps the smart writing and word play, but this reminded me a lot of reading The Phantom Tollbooth as a child. It was just magical.

Additionally, I loved the themes that Mafi explored. This is a story that can be read by kids, or adults. There’s so much to appreciate. I was shocked by the level of emotion I felt from this story. Seriously, I went through the gamut.

Alice is one of the most lovable characters I have read in a while. I could feel her uncertainty and loneliness. It made me want to hug her and tell her everything would be okay.

In spite of her challenges though, I loved that she never gave up. She was willing to do whatever she had to for the possibility of reuniting her Dad. It was great.

If you’ve had this one on your shelves for years like I did, don’t put it off any longer, pick it up as soon as you can. You won’t regret it!

I hit every single emotion reading this.

View all my reviews

Review: Under the Smokestrewn Sky (Up-and Under #4) by A. Deborah Baker

Under the Smokestrewn SkyUnder the Smokestrewn Sky by A. Deborah Baker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars rounded up**

Under the Smokestrewn Sky is the 4th-installment of Seanan McGuire’s, writing as A. Deborah Baker, Up-and-Under series. A magical Middle Grade series loosely-connected to McGuire’s Alchemical Journeys; an Adult SFF-mindblower.

While technically this is classified as Middle Grade Fantasy, it is actually perfect for Readers of all ages, containing quite a few philosophical and science-based elements.

Speaking of elements, each book in this quartet is constructed around one of the four classical elements: earth, air, fire and water. The first book was earth, the second, water, the third, air and then in this one, we feature fire.

The series follows two children, Avery and Zib, the A-to-Z of our tale, who upon a normal commute to school one day encounter a giant wall where it shouldn’t be. Together they decide to go up and over this wall, thus finding themselves in a magical world, known as the Up-and-Under.

Each story follows the kids as they journey through different lands in this world, journeying along the improbable road, trying to find their way home.

After a short recap at the beginning, we slip back into the story where we left off. It had a bit of a slow start for me and did seem more philosophical in nature, as far as the conversations between the various characters went.

Personally, I could have used more action, but Baker’s writing, per usual, was intentional and fluid. Every detail is there for a reason and I would love to go back at some point and read all four of these back-to-back.

I feel like I forgot so much about the functionality, history and politics of the Up-and-Under in between books, that I wasn’t able to appreciate the over-arching story as much as I could have. I would also love to reread Middlegame after I do so, to see if I can pick up more details in that as well.

And I guess this is it. I actually wasn’t sure if this was going to be the conclusion to this series, but it certainly felt like it. I’m sad to see these characters go. It’s hard not to grow attached to them after all we’ve been through.

I also have some thoughts regarding this series and a possible, or maybe even existing, connection to the Wayward Children series…

I would recommend this series to anyone who enjoys a fantastical Middle Grade Adventure story, or anyone who has enjoyed previous works from Seanan McGuire, including the Wayward Children series.

I feel like the concepts are similar to that and now that you can read the entire series at once, all the better. With likable characters, suspense, magic and intrigue, this series is sure to be a hit with Readers of all ages.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Tor and Macmillan Audio, for providing me copies to read and review. This is a great series and will live in my heart for a long time to come!

View all my reviews

Review: Slappy Birthday to You (Goosebumps Slappyworld #1) by R.L. Stine

Slappy Birthday to You (Goosebumps Slappyworld, #1)Slappy Birthday to You by R.L. Stine
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Slappy Birthday to You is the first book in the Goosebumps Slappyworld series by R.L. Stine. This book was first published in 2017 and features Stine’s iconic ventriloquist dummy character known as Slappy.

I decided to pick this one up because ventriloquist dummies, well actually, all dolls scare me. I wouldn’t be able to sleep in a room that had a doll in it, for example. That doll would find themselves shoved in a closet on the far side of the house. Preferably, a closet with a lock on it.

In this story, we meet Ian Barker, who is gifted Slappy on his 12th-birthday. He has wanted a ventriloquist doll for a few years now and can’t believe he finally has his very own.

We get the story behind Ian’s fascination with the dolls and then we follow what it’s like for him as the proud new owner of Slappy. Spoiler Alert: it doesn’t go well.

What do we know about Goosebumps? It’s nostalgic, it’s formulaic and it can be a lot of fun.

I decided to listen to the audiobook for this story and I do recommend that option. Slappy provides the Introduction, the Epilogue and some fun little observation sections in between. His voice is really well presented on the audio. It definitely sounds like it could be him.

It’s eerie and high-pitched and if I ever saw and actual doll talking I would die and then be resurrected so I could die again. So, thank goodness, so far, that has never happened.

Unfortunately, for me, Slappy is more slapstick than scary at this point. He tries to be witty and snarky, but mainly his bad puns and ill-timed one-liners are anything but funny.

That’s the thing that sort of irks me about this. I love the humor in Children’s and Middle Grade stories, and I feel like it is something that those stories in general should have. Stine’s humor just feels so out-dated and frankly, not good.

I’m not trashing him. He’s a freaking icon and we cherish Goosebumps, Fear Street and basically anything else he has touched over his decades-long career.

However, perhaps he should have someone help him with the jokes, cause these aren’t landing.

There were some fun, creepy moments in this and I did genuinely enjoy the ending. I thought it was clever and definitely gave me a little lift of the brow. It was good.

I will probably be picking up the next couple books in the series, there are 19 total, just to see if they get more engaging for me. I am actually interested to see how we transition into the next tale as far as Slappy’s character goes.

I would recommend checking out this series for hardcore Goosebumps fans, if you haven’t gotten to it already. For newbies, I recommend starting with the original series.

I could be biased, formulating opinions based solely on nostalgia, but so far, nothing touches those originals for me. Overall though, I always have fun picking up a Goosebumps books and will continue doing so for years to come!

View all my reviews