Monsterland by James Crowley #BookReview

Title: Monsterland | Author: James Crowley | Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers | Pub. Date: 2017-8-15 | Pages: 384 | ISBN13: 9780399175893 | Genre: Children’s Fantasy | Language: English | Triggers: Drowning death mentioned | Rating: 4.4 out of 5 | Source: Library


Monsterland

In a middle grade adventure full of humor, heart and cinematic storytelling, a boy takes off on a once-in-a-lifetime journey through a mysterious land, with the help of some monster friends

It’s Halloween, and everyone in Charlie’s small town is excited for this year’s festivities. Charlie’s grandfather, Old Joe, is famous for his holiday haunts, and his pumpkin patch is the center of the town’s zealous celebrations. But for Charlie, Halloween’s just one more reminder that his cousin Billy isn’t around anymore. Charlie plans to keep to himself this year, hanging out in the haunted barn with his trusty dog Ringo.

But when Charlie runs into some neighborhood bullies who are after his candy, he heads off into the woods to escape. He quickly gets lost, but spots a kid who he thinks is Billy. As Charlie chases after him deeper and deeper into the woods, he finds himself entering Monsterland—a mysterious place where werewolves live amongst trolls and goblins. Here he meets the Prime Minister, a vampire who tells Charlie he may be able to see his cousin again in this strange new land. Accompanied by a hulking monster chaperone, Charlie’s determined to find out just what happened to his cousin, and sets off to explore the secrets hiding in this uncharted territory.

Book cover for Monsterland

Monsterland Review

This was a good book. Not one that you can rave about, because it doesn’t inspire that sort of passion, but a good, solid book. Monsterland is a curl up with a cup of cocoa and sink into the pages book. The fact that it’s meant for middle-graders doesn’t make a whit of difference. Crowley’s writing wrapped me up in the story, calmed me down, and enabled me to just focus on it. I read it over the course of a few days because I’ve been ill, and loved each dip into it.

I don’t think I can adequately review Monsterland. It’s a story about a child coming to terms with their grief over a lost loved one. It teaches kids that it’s okay to be sad. It’s okay to mourn. But that people that they love never really leave them. It’s gentle lessons and comfort couched in adventures. It’s not just about grief. It’s also about judging books by their covers, the value of friendship, learning that people really do care about you, and more. It’s the type of story that teaches you that you are not ever alone.

Monsterland is simply written, well-paced, and has enough action in it to keep a little thrill-seeker happy. There’s battles and some death, but not a lot of blood. It does have a very ‘film’ feel to it. I could easily see this book being made into an absolutely beautiful kids movie. I would happily pay to see it on screen. I would love to see Franklin’s fight scenes, the Prime Minister confronted the Mumiyans, and, well, the whole ending really. It would be gorgeous.

It also has a surprise in store for you at the end. It’s not something younger readers would pick up on, I think, but I definitely was expecting Monsterland to end a bit differently than it did. I would have been content with that ending, but I was happy with the one that Crowley gave us as well.

This is a wonderful book. It definitely wasn’t even close to the spooky read I was expecting, but it was a completely fulfilling read. Sometimes even adults need a beautiful story of hope, acceptance, and friendship.

Purchase on Amazon.

Deadman: Dark Mansion of Forbidden Love Review

Title: Deadman: Dark Mansion of Forbidden Love | Author: Sarah Vaughn | Illustrator: Lan Medina | Publisher: DC | Pub. Date: 2017-6-6 | Pages: 160 | ASIN: B072HXGLHV | Genre: Paranormal Fantasy Graphic Novel | Language: English | Triggers: None | Rating: 3 out of 5 | Source: Received a copy from Netgalley for review consideration.


Deadman: Dark Mansion of Forbidden Love

Boston Brand is a dead man walking. More than walking, actually—his uncanny abilities enable him to float, fly and seize control of the bodies of the living. He’s no mere ghost. He’s something more powerful, more heroic. He is Deadman! And he’s about to meet Berenice—a living woman with powers of her own.

Berenice’s complicated life and loves have driven her to the haunted halls of the sprawling mansion known as Glencourt Manor. It’s a place where the forces of darkness are known to gather—a house where a person with Berenice’s power to talk to the dead could accomplish great good…or unleash incredible evil.

Separated by the boundary between life and death, yet able to walk between both worlds, Deadman and Berenice must work together to unravel the mystery of the Manor and defeat the dark forces that threaten to erupt. Mystery, murder, resurrection and romance await. The only question is, are their hearts and souls strong enough to survive?

Unlock the answer in DEADMAN: DARK MANSION OF FORBIDDEN LOVE, from acclaimed creators Sarah Vaughn (ALEX + ADA), Lan Medina (FABLES) and José Villarrubia (SWEET TOOTH). This Gothic tale of passion and betrayal is an all-new twist on the character of Boston Brand. Collects DEADMAN: DARK MANSION OF FORBIDDEN LOVE Books #1-3. – Goodreads

Deadman Dark Mansion

Deadman: Dark Mansion of Forbidden Love Review

I went into Deadman: Dark Mansion of Forbidden Love completely blind. I had never heard of the character Deadman/Boston Brand before. I don’t think I’ve ever read anything by either the writer or illustrator for this book. So, yeah, completely unfamiliar with all aspects of it.

The art for Deadman: Dark Mansion of Forbidden Love was simple yet effective. Very straightforwardly illustrated for the most part. It served to make Deadman himself stand out that much more. The color choices went along well with the illustration style. However, one area that gave me a lot of trouble reading Deadman was the white words on the light blue background that relayed the main female character’s internal thoughts. The white on red of Deadman’s was a bit easier. Because I read this as an epub, it was hard to find a ‘just right’ setting that enabled me to easily see the character’s internal thoughts and not have to scroll inch by inch down through the pages. It made for a somewhat uncomfortable reading experience that left me with a minor headache every time I tackled the story. A more clear font might have made a world of difference.

I liked the diverse representation in Deadman: Dark Mansion of Forbidden Love. Berenice is (appears to be, at least) bi/ possibly pan-sexual, and Sam is non-binary as well as African American. I also appreciated the fact that that Berenice wasn’t your typical model-looking knockout so often found in comic books. She was actually rather plain and dressed in clothes normal women actually wear.

As for the story itself, it was interesting. Deadman: Dark Mansion of Forbidden Love is sort of a superhero and gothic ghost story mashup. It takes place inside an old mansion that had been closed up for over 150 years. The story is dark with a definite air of mystery to it. The interactions between Brand and Berenice are fun. The twist with one of the other characters caught me by surprise. (It was a good thing, as some of the other elements of the book aren’t exactly subtle.)

Given the headache that I suffered through to finish Deadman: Dark Mansion of Forbidden Love, I can’t say I’ll ever pick up another volume. However, fans of paranormal fantasy and superhero novels should definitely give Deadman a shot. If it wasn’t for the headache, I would have enjoyed the story a lot more than I did. It’s not the most well-written or meaningful, but it is entertaining nonetheless. And the message of acceptance is a nice one. 

 

Sorrow’s Turn (Marker Chronicles #3) Review

Title: Sorrow’s Turn | Series: The Marker Chronicles #3 | Author: Danielle DeVor | Publisher: City Owl Press | Pub. Date: 2017-3-14 | Pages: 258 | ASIN: B06WP4RFC4 | Genre: Horror Fantasy | Language: English | Triggers: Child Death (talked about, not witnessed) | Rating: 4 out of 5 | Source: Received a free copy from the author for review consideration |


Sorrow’s Turn

 

Some Things are Worse Than Demons.

Jimmy Holiday, reluctant exorcist, is finally getting the help he needs from the higher-ups. The Order of Markers is sending him to the Vatican’s exorcism school. Now, he’ll receive the training he should have gotten at the beginning. One problem, someone wants to sabotage him.

When his time at the school is cut short, Jimmy receives an interesting new case. It is the assignment that no one wants—a corpse has come back to life. And it isn’t a zombie.

Too bad nothing goes as expected. Armed with his usual bag of tricks, Jimmy thinks everything will eventually be all right. Well, that is until his betrayer turns out to be the person he trusts most. – GoodreadsCover for Sorrow's Turn

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City of Ghosts Review (Paranormal Fantasy)

Title: City of Ghosts | Author: J.H. Moncrief | Publisher: Death Zone Books | Pub. Date: 2017-5-20 | ISBN13: 9780987712936 | Genre: Paranormal Fantasy & Mystery | Language: English | Triggers: Drowning | Rating: 4 out of 5 | Source: Received a copy from Netgalley for review consideration |


 

City of Ghosts

On the day the villagers were forced to flee Hensu, not everyone got out alive.

Jackson Stone is touring the abandoned Chinese city when he slips away from the group to spend the night, determined to publish an account of his ghostly experiences there.


Then he meets Yuèhai, a strange, soft-spoken woman who can tell him the city’s secrets—secrets the Chinese government would kill to keep hidden.

As Jackson uncovers the truth about Yuèhai and the ghost city, he’s drawn into a web of conspiracy, betrayal, and murder. He must risk everything to save himself and bring honor back to Yuèhai and her family. – GoodreadsBook cover for City of Ghosts

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Cold Shadows Review (Paranormal Fantasy)

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


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

Book cover for Cold Shadows by J.L. Bryan

Melancholy Ghost (Paranormal Fantasy)

Book cover for Melancholy Ghost

From ghost hunter to ghost, haunted.

Barrett has a plan—help Austin regain his memory, surround him with his friends and loved ones, and lead him into the light. Unfortunately, the tragic investigation of a melancholy ghost derails everything.

As new lead investigator, Thai struggles to maintain the high ratings SCI has always enjoyed. After a few subpar investigations, the network execs demand results, even if it means the team must put their lives on the line for a house more deadly than its dead occupants.

There are worse things than being dead.

Austin knows something is wrong. Most people ignore him, time eludes him, and his hands are basically worthless. If only he could remember what happened, he would have the answers he so desperately seeks. He’s sick of Barrett’s lies and Casey’s deflections. Austin will have to figure this one out on his own. Will the truth set him free, or destroy his soul? – Goodreads


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The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer (Paranormal Fantasy)

the-unbecoming-of-mara-dyerThe Unbecoming of Mara Dyer

Mara Dyer believes life can’t get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.

It can.

She believes there must be more to the accident she can’t remember that killed her friends and left her strangely unharmed.

There is.

She doesn’t believe that after everything she’s been through, she can fall in love.

She’s wrong.


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