Cold Shadows Review (Paranormal Fantasy)

Book cover for Cold Shadows by J.L. Bryan

Cold Shadows: Footsteps in the attic. Toys that play by themselves. A dark presence in an upstairs room.

Paranormal investigator Ellie Jordan faces a difficult new case. Her new clients are a family haunted by multiple ghosts and a poltergeist that wrecks their home at night. Their seven-year-old son’s invisible friends may not be imaginary at all, but the restless spirits of dead children.

To clear her clients’ house of the dangerous entities, Ellie must unravel the mysterious deaths of another family who lived in the old mansion more than a hundred and sixty years ago—and she must do it before the ghosts can carry out their malevolent designs on her clients and their children. – Goodreads


Cold Shadows Review

 

Cold Shadows is a great follow-up to the first Ellie Jordan book. J.L. Bryan has created an interesting team in Ellie and Stacey Rae. Calvin and Jacob (and Grant) are solid peripheral characters (though I’m really hoping the romance thread doesn’t continue too strongly in later books). Seriously, if the romance thing heads the way it’s already looking, I’ll stop reading the series. Ergh. Anyways, the interaction and relationships between all the characters are believable and mostly enjoyable. I’d love to see a flashback bit dealing with Calvin and Ellie’s first team-up.

The situation that Ellie and Stacey face in Cold Shadows was, again, not your typical ghost story. J.L. Bryan is good at putting unexpected twists on set-ups that look fairly straight forward. There was definitely a scene in here that made me sit up a bit straighter and go “What the ??” He kept everything moving along at a decent pace with plenty of action. The otherworldly presences have a few appearances that will definitely spook a gleeful scaredy-cat reader. The Paulding House was described just enough that you got a sense of the layout without having a clear cut picture of everything in your head. I think this works to make it creepier because you can see it happening in a house you know easier.

The Ghost Trapper series is a solid paranormal fantasy with creepy overtones. If the books were made into films, those would most likely be skewed towards the horror genre. They’re fast reads that will delight any readers who like their monsters to go bump in the night. Also, not to be forgotten, so far this series has been ‘clean.’ No cursing, no smoochies, no guts, and gore. While I wouldn’t recommend them for the under 13 age group, I’d have no problem recommending them to teenage readers. (Interest may vary depending on maturity level.)

Overall, Cold Shadows was a good read that thoroughly entertained me. Well worth what I paid for it! (Those covers, though…)

Cold Shadows (Ellie Jordan, Ghost Trapper #2)

Title: Cold Shadows | Series: Ghost Trapper #2 | Author: JL. Bryan (site) | Pub Date: 2014-11-24 | Pages: 179 | ASIN: B00OL1QMFQ | Triggers: Death by drowning, apparent suicide by gunshot | Language: English | Rating: 4 out of 5 | Source: Self-purchased | Purchase on Amazon

The Seance in Apartment 10 (Paranormal Horror)

The Seance in Apartment 10.jpgThe Seance in Apartment 10: Would you like to speak to the dead?

When Tori moves into a studio at the rundown Lamplight apartment complex, she gets more than she bargained for. The faucet leaks, the water heater barely functions and the lack of air conditioning makes the summer nights brutal…

But worst of all is the dark presence that stalks the building.

When she and her friends play around with an Ouija board, Tori learns first-hand why the living have no business communing with the dead. Something sinister is roused in the process, and her life begins to spiral into madness soon thereafter. She suffers terrible nightmares, hallucinations, and feels as though she’s being watched at all hours of the day.

And that’s only the beginning. If the spirit has its way, it’ll consume her completely. With a terrifying specter on her trail and only a few cryptic clues about the building’s curious past to aid her, Tori searches desperately for a way to get rid of the spirit.  What has escaped from the underworld will not go back so easily, however. – Goodreads


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Bound Review (Dark Fantasy / Action)

Book cover for Bound

Alex Caine, a fighter by trade, is drawn into a world he never knew existed – a world he wishes he’d never found.

Alex Caine is a martial artist fighting in illegal cage matches. His powerful secret weapon is an unnatural vision that allows him to see his opponents’ moves before they know their intentions themselves.

After a fight one night, an enigmatic Englishman, Patrick Welby, claims to know Alex’s secret. Welby shows Alex how to unleash a breathtaking realm of magic and power, drawing him into a mind-bending adventure beyond his control. And control is something Alex values above all else. – Goodreads

 

Bound is the second Alan Baxter title to be reviewed on this site. The first was Crow Shine, a collection of short stories. To see that review (which was done by GracieKat), click here.


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My Teacher is an Alien Review (Kids Sci-Fi)

My Teacher is an Alien: Sixth grade is just out of this world!
Susan Simmons can tell that her new substitute teacher is really weird. But she doesn’t know how weird until she catches him peeling off his face — and realizes that “Mr. Smith” is really an alien!

At first no one will believe her except Peter Thompson, the class brain. When Peter and Susan discover Mr. Smith’s horrible plans for their classmates, they know they have to act fast. Only they can get rid of their extraterrestrial visitor — and save the rest of the sixth-grade class from a fate worse than math tests! – Goodreads
Book Cover for My Teacher is an Alien

My Teacher is an Alien Review

 

My Teacher is an Alien was first published in 1989. When I was little I had no interest in reading these type of books, so My Teacher is an Alien flew completely under my radar. However, from what I’ve read on Goodreads, apparently this is the book that got a lot of kids interested in reading science fiction. After reading it, I can see why.  My Teacher is an Alien is one of those books that retains a timeless appeal. There is basically no technology mentioned in the book, so you don’t really notice anything feeling ‘dated’.  (Except for the fact that kids were actually playing together on the playground instead of texting.)

My Teacher is an Alien is one of those books that retains a timeless appeal. There is basically no technology mentioned in the book, so you don’t really notice anything feeling ‘dated’.  (Except for the fact that kids were actually playing together on the playground instead of texting.)  It’s written so that children can easily identify the children mentioned with their real world equivalents. The bully. The goody-two-shoes. The nerd that’s always reading. (I resemble that remark!) 

Let’s face it, My Teacher is an Alien is always going to be relatable. Because, whether its teacher or coworker, there’s always “aliens” amongst us. Those people that act so different you find yourself giving them the side-eye and wondering what they look like when they take off their mask. It’s a look in their eyes, the way they phrase things, or their unusual distaste of wonderful things (like reading!) that set them apart.  So, yes, imagining them going home, taking off their mask and exposing the lizard men underneath is ultimately entertaining. I mean, there’s at least one congressman I’m positive comes from a frog world!

The story in My Teacher is an Alien is told through the eyes of a sixth-grade girl named Susan. However, Susan being a girl basically never enters into the equation, and I really liked that. (In fact, when I was reading it with my child, she stopped me halfway through a chapter and said, “Susan is a girl’s name, right?”) Boy or girl, anyone who picks up this book is going to be able to enjoy it. Definitely an entertaining read, and still worth picking up years after it was published.

4 Star Rated My Teacher is an Alien Review

Title: My Teacher is an Alien | Series: My Teacher is an Alien #1 | Author: Bruce Coville | Publisher: Aladdin | Orig. Published: 1989 | Pages: 128 | ISBN13: 9781439112281 | Genre: Kids Science Fiction | Language: English | Triggers: None | Rating: 4 out of 5 | Source: Kindle Unlimited | Purchase on Amazon

Skitter Review (Horror Thriller)

skitter Tens of millions of people around the world are dead. Half of China is a nuclear wasteland. Mysterious flesh-eating spiders are marching through Los Angeles, Oslo, Delhi, Rio de Janeiro, and countless other cities. According to scientist Melanie Gruyer, however, the spider situation seems to be looking up. Yet in Japan, a giant, truck-sized, glowing egg sack gives a shocking preview of what is to come, even as survivors in Los Angeles panic and break the quarantine zone. Out in the desert, survivalists Gordo and Shotgun are trying to invent a spider super weapon, but it’s not clear if it’s too late, because President Stephanie Pilgrim has been forced to enact the plan of last resort: The Spanish Protocol. America, you are on your own. – Goodreads


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Pandora: End of Days Review (Horror Manga)

Book cover for Pandora: End of DaysPandora: End of Days: The most amazing archaeological discovery of our time– a sarcophagus from an ancient civilization that predates the Egyptian Pyramids by more than fifty thousand years–is being broadcast as a live public exhibit on national TV.

But in their haste to reveal a glimpse of what could be the origin of mankind, the scholars of the OBARI Foundation instead unleash an ancient plague upon the modern world.

This is the age-old story of the curious–and of those who must race to close the door on what should never have been opened . . .

This is PANDORA, the End of Days…


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Ararat Review (Horror / Thriller)

Book cover for Ararat by Christopher Golden

When a newly engaged couple climbs Mount Ararat in Turkey, an avalanche forces them to seek shelter inside a massive cave uncovered by the snow fall. The cave is actually an ancient, buried ship that many quickly come to believe is really Noah’s Ark. But when a team of scholars, archaeologists, and filmmakers make it inside the ark for the first time, they discover an elaborate coffin in its recesses…and when they break it open, they find that the cadaver within is an ugly, misshapen thing…and it has horns. A massive blizzard blows in, trapping them in that cave thousands of meters up the side of a remote mountain…but they are not alone.- Goodreads


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Grimm House Review (Children’s Dark Fantasy)

When Hadley’s parents leave on a cruise and then are reported lost at sea, her perfect world is turned upside down. In a flash, she is whisked away to a new life of drudgery at Grimm House where she waits on not one but two persnickety old aunts. As she grudgingly fulfills their commands of cooking, cleaning, and even after-dinner-dancing, she comes to suspect the aunts are really witches who are scheming to take the thing she loves best. With only her wits and the help of some unlikely new friends, Hadley makes a plan to escape Grimm House and find her way home before it’s too late.-Goodreads

Book cover for Grimm House

Grimm House Review

 

Grimm House was a great, creepy kids dark fantasy. Karen McQuestion used several familiar elements from fairy tales and added a few twists of her own. She does a good job of keeping it right on this side of being too creepy or sad for a kid’s book. There are definitely dark elements, but nothing that’s truly scary. The ending also nicely resolves an ‘ashes’ problem that could have worried kids later.

Hadley is a good character. She’s a budding ballerina who pretty much has it all. Her parents have the money to enable her to reach for the stars. They love her, and each other. She lives in a nice house and has best friends. Things seem pretty much perfect for her. She doesn’t know hardship. Not until the Grimm sisters show up. And then her life gets turned upside down.

The ‘lessons learned’ in Grimm House are timeless. Someone or something stepping in to give a ‘favored’ character an appreciation for what they have. Making them understand how good they really have it. The only difference is that in Grimm House, Hadley never comes across as the bratty character we want to see get her comeuppance. Instead, right from the beginning, she’s just a sad kid missing her parents. Still, she learns the lesson she’s meant to learn and is presumably all the better for it. And then, of course, there’s Hadley learning to depend on herself. To shore up her insides and become a confident little girl who realizes she has the power to help herself.

The ‘unlikely new friends’ mentioned in the synopsis really are unexpected. Their introduction made me giggle. Adults who have seen the old movie Joe’s Apartment are going to get a laugh out of this book. (And if you haven’t seen that ridiculous movie, you need too!) Help definitely does come from unexpected places.

Grimm House is well-paced and easy to lose yourself in. It is a children’s book, but a surprisingly enjoyable one for adults to read too. I found myself invested in how Hadley was going to escape the situation.  Karen McQuestion is a talented writer. Grimm House is suitable for ages 7+, I believe.

4 Star Rated Grimm House Review

Title: Grimm House | Author: Karen McQuestion (site) | Publisher: Nightsky Press | Pub. Date: 2015-12-1 | Pages: 202 | ISBN13: 9780986416460 | Genre: Children’s Fantasy | Language: English | Triggers: None | Rating: 4 out of 5 | Source: Kindle Unlimited | Purchase on Amazon

Proof of Concept Review (Sci-Fi Drama)

Book cover for Proof of Concept by Gwyneth JonesProof of Concept: On a desperately overcrowded future Earth, crippled by climate change, the most unlikely hope is better than none. Governments turn to Big Science to provide them with the dreams that will keep the masses compliant. The Needle is one such dream, an installation where the most abstruse theoretical science is being tested: science that might make human travel to a habitable exoplanet distantly feasible.

When the Needle’s director offers her underground compound as a training base, Kir is thrilled to be invited to join the team, even though she knows it’s only because her brain is host to a quantum artificial intelligence called Altair.

But Altair knows something he can’t tell.

Kir, like all humans, is programmed to ignore future dangers. Between the artificial blocks in his mind, and the blocks evolution has built into his host, how is he going to convince her the sky is falling? – Goodreads


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The Last Machine in the Solar System Review

The Last Machine the Solar System – Nearly three billion years into the future, the solar system is a very different place. Earth is long gone, and the sun is a gray, shrunken dwarf. All that remains of humanity and conscious thought is Jonathan the last machine.
Created to survive Earth’s destruction by our ever-expanding sun, Jonathan witnessed the end of life on Earth. This is his story and that of his creator, Nikolai. It is also the story of the human race, which failed to disentangle its destiny from the star that gave rise to all life-forms on Earth.” – Goodreads


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  • I love Audible. Tons of books, fantastic narrators, good prices.