Book Review

Witches Abroad – Book Review

Book Rating: ★★★★☆ (4/5 stars)
Audio Book Rating: ★★★★☆ (4/5 stars)
Total Rating: ★★★★☆ (4/5 stars)

Stories exist independently of their players. If you know that, knowledge is power.

Certainly, understanding the power of a story, you have undeniable power. Terry Pratchett explores the mere power of the story through the adventure of Magrat Garlick, Granny Weatherwax, and Nanny Ogg across the Discworld to Genua after Fairy Godmother Desirata passes away. But why would they go to stop a servant girl from marry a prince? Isn’t that every girl’s dream?

Not when the girl is merely a player entwined in her fake destiny.

My knowledge of Terry Pratchett comes initially from his collaboration with Neil Gaiman on Good Omens. A friend of mine recommended this book to me as a fun, lighthearted story to dive into Terry Pratchett’s Discworld. And what a way to enter it!

A world where stories are brought to life by a rogue fairy godmother means chaos ensues: a frog prince, a sleezy cat-turned-man, and a fairy godmother with a knack for pumpkins, just to name a few. Plus with characters as endearing and witchy as Magrat, Granny Weatherwax, and Nanny Ogg, you’ll want to go on this wacky adventure with them.

Pratchett’s writing can get a little cumbersome, and part of this may be due to the audio book performance, but I found myself zoning out in some parts…not that it was hard to find my way back into the story. Just like the stories they are trying to stop, the three witches are a product of their own tale…and ultimately, as tales are supposed to go, they reach Genua to stop the rogue fairy godmother. Perhaps, really, they were just pawns in the story Desiderata wanted to tell before her death.

So be wary of the stories around you. Because perhaps, you’re just a mere pawn in the game.

What’s it about?

Once upon a time there was a fairy godmother named Desiderata who had a good heart, a wise head, and poor planning skills—which unfortunately left the Princess Emberella in the care of her other (not quite so good and wise) godmother when DEATH came for Desiderata. So now it’s up to Magrat Garlick, Granny Weatherwax, and Nanny Ogg to hop on broomsticks and make for far-distant Genua to ensure the servant girl doesn’t marry the Prince.

But the road to Genua is bumpy, and along the way the trio of witches encounters the occasional vampire, werewolf, and falling house (well this is a fairy tale, after all). The trouble really begins once these reluctant foster-godmothers arrive in Genua and must outwit their power-hungry counterpart who’ll stop at nothing to achieve a proper “happy ending”—even if it means destroying a kingdom.

Book Review

Thorunn – Book Review

Book Rating: ★★★★☆ (4/5 stars)

I was honored to be a beta reader for Thorunn as well as receive an ARC copy of the book prior to publication. Neither of these experiences have impacted my review.

Imagine being whisked away from Earth, relocated to a foreign planet where you’re expected to start anew. Of course, in most cases this would be uneventful, but this is not the case of Laine Riven whose parents whisked him away against his will to the planet of Thorunn. Yet, he manages to make the best of his new life…until the Outpost Terrorist attacks. And that’s when everything begins to change.

Esther T. Jones introduces us to the “shocking” world of Thorunn – literally. The unique landscape is known for its electric storms, as well as creatures reminiscent of dinosaurs, as well as cat-like shifter people known as klia’ans (or lokians). In an action packed adventure, Laine, as well as Kenton and Bo, uncover secrets about their families, the government, and in a series of correlated events, unintentionally come together to bring peace to Thorunn.

Yet, the journey to Thorunn is not without its hiccoughs. The start of the book is notably slow. It takes about 150 pages (or 25%) for the book to really pick up. This is not uncommon it fantasy or sci-fi adventures, where the author is trying to establish the world. Some dialogue is clunky, and Jones’s notably wordiness does get in the way of the story.

On the second read through, the world building was much stronger, but I am struggling to tell if it was because it’s my second read-through or because Jones took criticism. I believe some of it is due to changes she made between the beta draft and the final draft.But, I’ll let first time readers make that judgment themselves.

But, if you can get through those first 150 pages, the story really takes off. Wrapped in action, friendship, unique aliens, and unwinding twists and mysteries. Reminiscent of James Cameron’s Avatar, John Scalzi’s Fuzzy Nation, and dystopian novels like The Hunger Games, as well as elements from Star Trek, Star Wars, and Firefly. While some parts of the story are predictable, that doesn’t make it bad! In fact, it means that Jones did a fantastic job weaving in the hints, and in the end, I picked up on them!

So, if you want a fun sci-fi adventure, go check it out! You’ll be on the edge of your seat the whole time, holding your breath as Laine, Kenton, and Bo escape, attack, and save the day on countless occasion! So definitely check out this new book.

I’ve also expressed some of my additional thoughts in the video below.

What’s it about?

Nine years ago, Skytown soldiers brutally murdered Kenton’s family. Now those same men aim to return and destroy Kenton’s hard-won, idyllic life amongst the peaceful shifter people of the Hinnom Forest.

Meanwhile, Laine Riven–dragged from Earth to Thorunn against his will–is stuck navigating an unfamiliar school, his jerk of an uncle, and the rising threat posed by the Outpost Terrorist.

When their paths clash amidst tragedy and betrayal, Kenton realises he and his best friend Bo may have rushed headlong into a situation too impossible to fix.

Time is running out as frix season closes in, and their only shot at victory hinges on outrunning the seasoned bounty hunters, savage creatures, and unpredictably violent weather trying to kill them every step of the way. . . 

Book Review

Howl’s Moving Castle – Book Review

Book Rating: ★★★★★ (5/5 stars)
Audio Book Rating: ★★★★☆ (4/5 stars)
Total Rating: ★★★★★ (5/5 stars)

Most people know Howl’s Moving Castle from the 2004 Miyazaki Film. While I was certainly aware of the movie, and had it on my “to-watch” list for many years, I actually had not watched it prior to reading this book. In retrospect, I am glad that I hadn’t, because it only made the book so much better – and much fresher.

Some people might disagree with me on this of course, but personally I liked the book way more than the movie, which is true with many stories, but I wanted to state that right away.

Don’t get me wrong, the movie is wonderful on its own. One recommendation I heard was to think of the book as Sophie’s point-of-view and the movie as Howl’s point-of-view, and that serves as a great analysis between the two.

The book, especially when narrated by Jenny Sterlin, shows a story of a whiny wizard who gets whipped into line by a young-turned-old woman who has little confidence in herself. Imagine a young man throwing fits over ever possible scenario, not the smooth “sexy” fellow represented by the movie (I mean, Christian Bale as Howl…come on!): this is the true Howl, and the Howl that Sophie sees.

A whimsical world follows Sophie through her adventures with Howl, Calcifer, Michael (whom Mikhal replaced in the movie), her sisters, a scary scarecrow, and a dog-man. The witch of the waste and her demon are sinister villains who haunt the landscape. It leaves much of the world to the reader’s imagination though: doors connecting to our world, steampunk elements flowing through the landscape, and bustling cities. No wonder Miyazaki took some creative liberty with airships and other technology, because there’s no reason those pieces of equipment couldn’t exist.

Dianna Wynne Jones creates a wonderful story that I didn’t want to put down (or, stop listening to) leaving hints along the way. In the end, all the pieces of the puzzle come together seamlessly, leaving no stone overturned in Sophie’s adventure to find herself.

I think what makes the book so much better than the movie is Sophie’s autonomy. Her jealousy of Howl with other girls is slowly building in the background, while she focuses on forcing herself into the life of the castle. While these elements of Sophie survive in the movie, many of her motivations are around protecting Howl…not others. Sophie is selfless and relentless, and the book is a jewel at showing thos.

So, if you look at the tale between these two lenses, you’ll enjoy both the book and the movie. For while the book is about Sophie, the movie is about Howl…and how he would ultimately see himself: a hero.

Although, that notion would just cause Sophie to laugh!

What’s it about?

Sophie has the great misfortune of being the eldest of three daughters, destined to fail miserably should she ever leave home to seek her fate. But when she unwittingly attracts the ire of the Witch of the Waste, Sophie finds herself under a horrid spell that transforms her into an old lady. Her only chance at breaking it lies in the ever-moving castle in the hills: the Wizard Howl’s castle. To untangle the enchantment, Sophie must handle the heartless Howl, strike a bargain with a fire demon, and meet the Witch of the Waste head-on. Along the way, she discovers that there’s far more to Howl—and herself—than first meets the eye.

Book Review

Fuzzy Nation – Book Review

Book Rating: ★★★★★ (5/5 stars)
Audio Book Rating: ★★★★★ (5/5 stars)
Total Rating: ★★★★★ (5/5 stars)

John Scalzi is the type of author who can repurpose any storyline and make it, well, hilarious and relevant to the times. Fuzzy Nation retells the story of Little Fuzzy by H. Beam Piper (which I have not read, unfortunately) and puts a more modern twist on it. This is outside of just the technology, but also the treatment of women (and there are multiple powerful women throughout the story) as well as environmentalism.

In true Scalzi fashion, the story is easy to read (or in this case, listen to) and will keep you begging for more with each chapter. He constructs a narrative surrounding arrogant ex-lawyer Jack Holloway, and Jack’s own unreliability will keep the reader wondering what his next move with be. Will he save the small little animals on the planet, which he endearingly called the Fuzzies? Is he only out for himself? What DOES he really believe?

While the story itself is a predictable tale of colonialism gone awry and deterred by the native species, Fuzzy Nation takes an intricate look at law, witnesses, and the uniqueness of a potential new life form to tell its tale. Jack Holloway is a smart character, and while equally fooling the reader, he does the same to his fellow acquaintances. Although, he never manages to fool his bomb-exploding dog Jack.

I would like to applaud Scalzi in a few aspects, primarily with Isabel. It would have been so easy for Isabel to leave Mark Sullivan and prance over to Jack Holloway after he saved the fuzzies. But that’s not realistic, is it? No, Scalzi kept Isabel true to her character and did make Jack Holloway the knight in shining armor. Their friendship stayed just as that: friends. As soon as she appeared, I had a knot in my throat that her presence would add an unnecessary romance element to the plot. But it didn’t. So kudos to Mr. Scalzi on keeping a friendship that is also professional.

Finally, Wil Wheaton’s performance on the audio book is spectacular. He gives each character it’s own voice, which is sometimes necessary with the way Scalzi write dialogue. Men, women, lawyers, security officers, etc. each speak differently, including the titular character of the novel.

If you want a fun novel, I would recommend picking up or listening to Fuzzy Nation because you will be waiting for the surprises Jack Holloway has in store with each page. Plus, who want to hear about smart fuzzy creatures…as well as a dog who detonates bombs?

What’s it about?

Jack Holloway works alone, for reasons he doesn’t care to talk about. Hundreds of miles from ZaraCorp’s headquarters on planet, 178 light-years from the corporation’s headquarters on Earth, Jack is content as an independent contractor, prospecting and surveying at his own pace. As for his past, that’s not up for discussion.

Then, in the wake of an accidental cliff collapse, Jack discovers a seam of unimaginably valuable jewels, to which he manages to lay legal claim just as ZaraCorp is cancelling their contract with him for his part in causing the collapse. Briefly in the catbird seat, legally speaking, Jack pressures ZaraCorp into recognizing his claim, and cuts them in as partners to help extract the wealth.

But there’s another wrinkle to ZaraCorp’s relationship with the planet Zarathustra. Their entire legal right to exploit the verdant Earth-like planet, the basis of the wealth they derive from extracting its resources, is based on being able to certify to the authorities on Earth that Zarathustra is home to no sentient species.

Then a small furry biped—trusting, appealing, and ridiculously cute—shows up at Jack’s outback home. Followed by its family. As it dawns on Jack that despite their stature, these are people, he begins to suspect that ZaraCorp’s claim to a planet’s worth of wealth is very flimsy indeed…and that ZaraCorp may stop at nothing to eliminate the “fuzzys” before their existence becomes more widely known.

Book Review

Blame It on Bianca Del Rio: The Expert on Nothing with an Opinion on Everything – Book Review

Book Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3/5 stars)
Audio Book Rating: ★★★★☆ (4/5 stars)
Total Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3.5/5 stars)

Bianca del Rio: Season 6 RuPaul’s Drag Race Winner is a true star that I fell in love with as I watched season 6 recently (yes, yes, I’m behind on the times). So when I found out she wrote a book, I immediately downloaded it on Audible. The book is exactly like her: crude, judgmental, and amusing.

Yet, if you do not know who Bianca del Rio is, and are not familiar with her very crude sense of humor, I would not recommend this book. Her humor is the type that attacks everyone and everything…and she does not filter at all. While a good portion of the book is quite funny, there are some portions (primarily in the section on “Health”, which is unfortunately the first section of the book) that are quite crude and (in some cases) offensive rather than funny.

That being said, if you enjoy that more crude sense of humor and you know who Bianca del Rio is, you’ll have some fun. It combines her usual sense of humor with subtleties of advice (think “Dear Abby”). But…don’t go reading this book for real advice, because that’s not the point.

If I hadn’t listened to the audio book version of this, narrated by Bianca herself, this probably would have sat at a solid 2.5 to 3 stars for me. While it is amusing, some of the jokes can get cumbersome, and with the more rehearsed, less natural version of her humor some of it falls flat. But, with Bianca narrating it brings to life her true comedic nature. With her telling it, it brings the rating up to 3.5 stars.

Overall though, it is a fun listen/read, and if you’re looking for some crude humor to laugh to, definitely check it out.

Book Review

The Umbrella Academy (Vol. 1, 2, & 3) – Book Review

Series Rating: ★★★★☆ (3.75/5 stars)


Comic books are not my forte, but I fell in love with the Netflix edition of The Umbrella Academy, so I had to pick up Gerard Way and Gabriel Ba’s comics. This is one of the odd takes where I can say that I like the TV show better than the book.

Perhaps it’s because I’m not accustom to comics, or since there are only three volumes and I didn’t purchase any of the supplemental materials, but the benefits of the Netflix show was the ability to explore the relationship between the seven siblings in a much deeper light. The comic left some of that to the imagination, and having watched the TV show first, I was able to fill in the gaps.

The comics themselves are super fun. In fact, I’d go to say that while the TV show takes weirdness to heart, the comics out-do it! I never thought I would say that, but somehow the comic puts the multiplier on x10 to weirdness.

The first two comics, Apocalypse Suite and Dallas, are much more polished than Hotel Oblivion, and I think that comes from the fact that the volumes 1 and 2 were written years ago, while Hotel Oblivion was only written in 2019 (perhaps to provide more content for the TV show). The less impressive third volume – with a cliffhanger that I hope will be addressed in a fourth volume – is what gives the comic series the rating of 3.75 overall.

From here on out, there may be a few spoilers for those who haven’t watched the TV show or read the comics.

It is fair to note that the TV show does not follow the comics to the letter, bouncing around and changing how things occur – as well as altering some characters for the sake of variety and sanity (such as turning the Handler from a talking goldfish into a woman in a sleek business outfit), so I won’t be analyzing all that too much.The heart of The Umbrella Academy is truthfully, the characters. The Netflix series manages to make most (I say most, which I’ll address shortly) of the siblings far more likable, giving them a well rounded humanity that isn’t as evident in the comics. This is probably true of other comics as well. I think the best way to approach this would be to look at each of these characters briefly.

Starting with Number One: Spaceboy, Luther

He’s the reason why I say that “most” of the characters are more likable in the Netflix series. In the comic, he is the titular Number One, a leader with daddy issues. True, he holds onto this in the Netflix series, but he is just not as likable, holding his trauma above all the others. It might be that he really hasn’t changed much between the comics and the show, and while the show makes the other characters more easily to connect with, Luther stays the same.

Next, Number Two: The Kraken, Diego

In the comic, I’d hate to say it, but Diego is actually quite flat. He’s angry. He can hold is breath for a long time. And he likes knives. By the end of Dallas, you start to see some of his emotions come out, but unlike the Diego in the Netflix series, he does not carry the weight of loving his mother, a stutter, or defending his family for his dear life.

Number Three: The Rumor, Allison

Allison doesn’t change too much between both the comic and the TV show. I’d say there’s a deeper sympathy for her though in the TV show since we see a glimpse of time with her daughter, how her and Luther’s relationship formed, and her sisterhood with Vanya. In the comics, there’s a bitterness there…which begins to fall at the end of Dallas where she forgives Vanya for nearly killing her. Her motivation always remains the same though: she wants to do everything for her daughter, and that in itself is noble.

Number Four: The Seance, Klaus

Oh Klaus, you sweet disaster child. In both the comic and the TV show, he is probably the most likable and the biggest disaster of the bunch. He’s my favorite by a long shot. The TV show does investigate his drug addiction and the fall out of his powers a bit more, as well as his relationship with Ben (more on that later), the comic actually gives us a deeper dive into his powers and personality beyond the drugs. He’s smart (not as book smart as Five or emotionally in tune as Ben, but he can think sometimes), resourceful…and kind of crazy powerful. We only saw a glimpse of it at the end of Season 1 of the TV show (where he summons Ben), but in the comics we see some of his other abilities: floating as his primary source of travel, communicating through electronics (such as when he gets beaten up by Hazel and Cha-Cha), and…oh yeah, he’s kind of the one who stops the meteorite from destroying the world.

Did I mention God hates him?

Number Five

Number Five stays true to one thing in both the comic and the TV show: he’s a little prick. He’s smart and he knows it. The TV show benefited by making him older (13 rather than 10) and having a friendship with Vanya as well as keeping a connection to Dolores. In the comic, Five is every man for himself. Obviously he wants to save the world, but in the comic he holds much more of a “whatever it takes” attitude. Either way, comic or TV, don’t cross paths with him.

Number Six: The Monster, Ben

In the comics, Ben is unfortunately a shadow. He is mentioned, but unlike in the TV show, he does not follow Klaus around or make snarky remarks until Hotel Oblivion. Adding Ben into the TV show as a wonderful addition though, as it helps the Hargreeve appear more real.

Number Seven: The White Violin, Vanya

Finally, there is Vanya, poor misunderstood Vanya. While the show does her justice and shows her naturally falling into the overwhelming abilities of her powers, the comic makes her switch occur under the hand of a less calculative, nefarious villain. The whole time, she is bitter, and without the show to back up why…it is harder to understand. It was interesting how the comic addressed her relationship with Diego though: the two wanted to be musicians together. I wish they showed that in the TV show as it would have been a nice addition. There’s a lot left to explore of Vanya in the comics though, especially with the ending to Hotel Oblivion, so I hope we get to see more.

All in all, the comics are wonderful. Really. A little bit like taking an acid trip, but true to themselves and the strangeness expected from Gerard Way. I don’t know if I would have picked it up without the TV show though. In addition, if I didn’t love the show like I do (it’s the last show I binge watched, 5/5 star rating), I’m not sure what my review of the comics would have been.

So if you like The Umbrella Academy on Netflix and want an idea of what *might* just happen next, I totally recommend picking up the comics.


Book Review

Ms. Infinity: Where Infinity Begins – Book Review

Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3.5/5 stars)

No one has as much infinite power as Ms. Infinity. She is the equivalent to superman, yet rather than being hindered by kryptonite, she is instead hindered by her own stubbornness, inexperience, and pride. Kirschner introduces Ms. Infinity to us – A.K.A. Bonnie Boring – through an origin story controlled solely by Ms. Infinity’s own cunning and guile, than by pure accident and luck.

It is rare to see a female character as strong as Ms. Infinity. She has everything that superman has, and more, addressing issues of injustice and sexism along the way. But she is not the only super hero in the story. We’re introduced to the average superheroes of the world to, through Lisa Lin, Hal Holstein, and Jenna Storm. In this story, Kirschner does not only tell the tale of a super human…but of humans who are also super.

Ms. Infinity, especially under her alterego of Bonnie, has a strong personality: she is stubborn, but kind; smart, but not wise; a superhero, but vulnerable. Yet, while the characterization of Ms. Infinity is amazing, the rest of the characters fall a bit more flat. Yet, perhaps, that’s the essence of a superhero based story: all the focus is on the heroes, while the side cast is there as support and not much else.

Throughout the book there were some novice grammatical errors that could have been avoided, but they do not take away from the overall story. The story, as a whole, was relatively predictable, but you don’t typically go into a super hero story expecting a twist. The characters, with names like Bonnie Boring, Betty Boring, Lisa Lin, Hal Holstein, Jenna Storm, and Johnny Gunn are suited for a comic book, with similar scenes to follow.

In times like today, sheltering in place under a pandemic, I think we all need a little bit of Ms. Infinity.

I look forward to picking up the next book in the series Ms Infinity: Earth’s Greatest Hero in the near future.

And don’t forget the power that’s inside you.

What’s it about?

Twenty-four years old with no direction in life, she spends her days as a cashier at The Big Box in Queens with her best friend, Lisa Lin. But there is more to her than meets the eye. She and her mother are really super-powered alien refugees from a distant planet. For years, her mother has made her hide her powers, insisting that they live as ordinary humans. But now, America is falling under the influence of the tyrannical billionaire Johnny Gunn. As freedoms begin to slip away, Bonnie decides it’s time to act. After painstakingly getting her mother’s blessing, she creates a new alter-ego as the superhero Ms. Infinity. Her first appearance, saving a school bus from a deadly accident, causes a stir all over New York. Yet as soon as she appears on the scene, she is verbally attacked by Gunn, and her identity pursued by a reporter. Meanwhile, her double life creates tension with Lisa.

Gunn ruthlessly spreads his influence over all of America, and will soon take shocking measures to become its sole ruler. Only Ms. Infinity can stop him, but he is also determined to destroy her. And he might just have the weapons to do it.

Presenting a youthful update on classic superheroes, Where Infinity Begins mixes science fiction with humor and social satire, and a female lead with power, sass, and personality.

Book Review

Chlorophyll & Gasoline – Book Review

Chlorophyll & Gasoline by SJ Flemings

Rating: ★★★★☆ (4/5 stars)

Imagine a world long after humanity has been eradicated, replaced by another group more in tune with nature than their ancestors, with little technology, resorting to the resources in their home. In Chlorophyll and Gasoline, this is exactly the world you are introduced to through the point-of-view of Willow, a young Gaian with the task of exploring the undergrowth. But, while accustomed to finding mushrooms and other goods for her home, she comes across a unique find – an individual made of metal, who when awoken from a deep slumber resembles a Gaian…but isn’t one. 

In this short novella reminiscent of a Pixar-like short, Willow befriends an “iron-one” named Suzy, who after awakening long past humanity’s destruction. The Gaians are wary of the “iron-one” though, and it’s Willow’s job to prove her new friend is safe.

With a friendship budding into deeply woven affection, the base story is a wonderful and almost peaceful tale of a newcomer adapting to its new home. That being said, it does lack some of the character development to really stick the tale home. Some of this could merely be due to the short nature of this story. 

Willow is a rather bland protagonist on the front, reacting to most situations than being proactive. Meanwhile Suzy, while lovable, has never been given firm characterization. She fluctuates between being overly robotic to almost human and back again. Some of the development of their relationship moved oddly, without showing a more human (or, erm, Gaian) side of Suzy. It would have been beneficial seeing their friendship bloom a bit more, rather than Willow’s back and forth to the Stamen.

That being said, the author did a wonderful job showing Willow’s slow internal conflict over falling in love with Suzy. It was never what she was that caused Willow to hesitate, but her own uncertainty. And that in itself was beautiful. 

This world that SJ Flemings created has a lot of potential, and it feels like it belongs right in the heart of an animated film. That in itself is a pure compliment. 

So go read this book for the beautiful world, the soft W|W romance, and for a pleasurable ending that will leave you smiling.

What’s it about?

Willow is a curious young woman who lives in the Yggdrasil, a city-sized tree host to dozens of villages eking out a living in the post-collapse world. On occasion, she plunges down into the dark and unmapped roots of Yggdrasil, trying to find rare plants or technological relics from the past. On a sortie to a new location, Willow finds a strange living statue that calls itself Suzy. In speaking to this statue, Willow starts to feel compelled towards helping this lost soul. However, before she can help Suzy, she must deal with the pushback at home, as not everyone believes Suzy to be the same kind person that Willow does

Book Review

ALiCE – Book Review

ALiCE by Avalon Roselin

Rating: ★★★☆ (4/5 stars)

This story is not for the faint of heart. Delve deep into the terror of psyche and of nightmares in the world of ALiCE.

The tale takes the common elements of Alice in Wonderland and spins them into a distorted story that questions sanity. Is it a dream? Are you a dream? Am I? Is there any escape from this madness?

ALiCE follows the protagonist, Christopher Robinson as he awakens in a hospital and finds himself on an island of no escape, full of nightmares while searching for one of the children at the Asylum – Mickey, a disturbed boy with few friends. He meets many interesting and terrifying individuals – Morgan the cop, Matthew the Deli Owner, Mary & Joseph and their creepy dolls, Able the gardener, and of course…Michael, the terrifying, manipulative man that appears at all the wrong moments at all the right times. 

To an extent, Christopher is a sleeve, which is exactly the type of protagonist needed for this type of story. The reader spirals with him and meanders in the same confusion while wanting what he wants. Avalon does an amazing job in pulling us along with Christopher and leaving an air of trepidation in his wake. 

Now I can’t finish this review without raving about the ending! Without going into spoilers, let me say that it was not something I was expecting! So if you think this will be your typical Alice in Wonderland ending, think again.

But as I said, it’s not for the faint of heart. So be wary, be careful…and as Avalon writes towards the end: sleep well

What’s it about? 

Christopher was a simple man with a simple goal: to make sure his charges at Woodrow Children’s Asylum were as healthy and happy as possible.  Not an easy task, and running out of medicine on the stormiest night of the year didn’t make it any easier.

The car accident made it impossible.

Now stranded on a nearly-deserted island with no clue as to how or why he and one of his patients were brought there, Christopher’s goal has changed: get the child and himself out of Wonderland.  Faced with the cruel inhabitants of the island and his own dwindling sanity, Christopher must find a way to escape before he becomes a victim of one of the island’s many lunatics… or joins them.

Book Review

Maple Street – Book Review

Rating: ★★★☆ (4/5 stars)

You’ll never notice Maple Street, but it’s there, like any road you might drive on during the day or at night. It’s filled with monsters, witches, ghosts and mummies…all the creatures from your dreams (or your nightmares).

But the creatures of Maple Street aren’t out to hurt you; no, they’re just like you and me, with neighbors, lives, and adventures behold. 

Written like an informative newspaper article, with a Twilight-zone like feel to it, A.M. Dorhauer takes us down Maple Street in a story fit for Halloween. You’ll meet each of the neighbors, and come away feeling more bewitched. Dorhauer’s descriptions are lovely, leaving a luscious image in your mind of Maple Street. In fact, next time you’re out and about, you may even look for Maple Street yourself – I know I did!

It’s a fast read which leaves you with a warm feeling, like warm pumpkin pie. Definitely a good read for anyone looking to get into the spooky spirit. 

What’s it about? 

Halloween isn’t at all what you’ve read in stories. As it turns out, witches aren’t warty old women (for 2/3rds of the day), and werewolves don’t need the full moon to hunt. Vampires hoard their treasures worse than any dragon, and mummies see more than most as they stalk the woods at night. For the first time, humans are allowed a glimpse into this world, and the true essence of not just the holiday, but the creatures we think we know. Enter the street where Halloween lives every day and see for yourself what lies beyond. And who knows? You may find friends waiting for you.

[Author/Book Recommendation Form]