Wet Hot Vampire Summer (The Traveling Vampire Show – A Book Review)

The Traveling Vampire Show
Author: Richard Laymon
Published: 2001

On Goodreads

Scarlet Reader - Traveling Vampire Show

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt

Rated: M for mature themes.

 

See.

Watch.

Tremble.

Scream.

A hot summer of 1963, there are flyers tacked up all over Grandville, advertising for the Traveling Vampire Show for one night only. The main event: the alluring and blood-draining Valeria.

After a bet is made, three teenagers: Dwight, Slim, and Rusty, are determined to get in to see the show even though only those who are over eighteen are admitted. The day is long and after a dog attack, deceiving friends, and strange break-ins, they wonder if they should go and what might await if they do.

 

This was a pretty good book. Definitely not your typical summer adventure. I’ve never read Richard Laymon before. I’m glad I got too.

Scarlet Reader

Slipping into the paranormal/horror genre, this book takes place in the small town of Grandville and everybody knows everybody’s business. By the end of this book, hell, not even, a good quarter of the way in, I knew the ins and outs of this town. The description, imagery, and world-building was superb! The entire book took place during the course of an entire day and it was so in depth and extended without a boring drag. It was warm, dry, and breezy during a time when you didn’t have to be afraid that somebody would break into your home. It was safe.

Pretty campy and fun and even humorous at times; yes, these are a few of my favorite things. Such a good Fright Night vibe. I was digging it.

Scarlet Reader - Traveling Vampire Show

I really liked Dwight and Slim, but found Rusty to be a horrifying little troll I wanted to shove off of a bridge. His little sister was a needy little imp too. They both made my jaw drop to the ground with horror. Cruel, liars, and completely spineless, the two of them are vicious and I couldn’t believe that Dwight was friends with them. Slim however, was so kick-ass. Tomboy with the curves, she’s gone through her own hell and is so strong for it! And she’s so smart. It’s is my absolute favorite thing about this book that she takes up the names of literary characters over her own name. I am in complete awe of her.

Scarlet Reader

This book really took me for a ride. There was nothing cut and dry about it. Shockers and sharp turns were around every page and really got me feeling paranoid. Laymon really got my skin creeping with goosebumps on the way to the book’s main event. Fantastic with the build-up and extra side stories that allowed me to get to know the characters so much more. I love it when there’s side stories, and he wrote them so well! I’m mind-blown. So fantastically done without breaking the flow or steering away from the main story i.e. getting to this vampire show.

 

Overall

A pretty good read. I was addicted. It’s not like it was some life-defining read, but it was a good book. Great for a summer time read. Certainly, for mature audiences too.

 

Quotables:

“Most of us tell ourselves we don’t believe in that sort of stuff, but maybe that’s because we’re afraid to they might exist. Vampires, werewolves, ghosts, aliens from outer space, black magic, the devil, hell…maybe even God.” (Slim, p. 43)

“And even if you could somehow sort out the whys and find the truth, maybe it’s better if you don’t.” (Dwight, p. 51)

“The blood’ll bring vampires like chum brings sharks.” (p. 352)

More to come soon…

  -K.

 

Song today? House of the Rising Sun by The Animals

 

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Summer of ’82 (The Sacrifice Box – A Book Review)

The Sacrifice Box
Author: Martin Stewart
Published: 2018

On Goodreads

Scarlet Reader - The Sacrifice Box

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt

 

Never come to the box alone.

Never open it after dark.

Never take back your sacrifice.

During the summer of 1982, five kids—Sep, Arkle, Hadley, Lamb, and Mack—all brought together under different circumstances. With nothing in common, they spend the summer together as unexpected band of friends. On the last day of summer, when they’ve been drawn to this mysterious box in the woods, they each put something into the box and the repeat the rules of the box.

The summer of 1986, the five haven’t spoken since the summer four years ago, but now, they wrangle together because something dreadful has happened. Somebody has broken the rules of the box. Now, the things they’ve given to the box are coming after them, trying to kill them. They have to figure out who before the evil within the box

You broke the rules. Now you’ll have to pay.

 

First off, if I love a cover, if it’s eye-catching, I have to gush about it, and that’s the case here. The cover is originally what caught my attention with this mysterious Stranger Things spin-off vibe with the red letter glow. The eyes staring out of the box at me were creepy too! Dark and ominous and such a classic feel. Definitely a fantastic work of art. Then after reading the inside slip, I was intrigued.

The 80s!! WOO!! A good time period. Before cell phones and computers. Geez, hard to think about that. While this book is set in the 80s and during the summer, (the best of the four seasons—fight me on it), the book takes place in the UK/England is what I’m guessing at because there weren’t major specifics, and I was just trying to pick it up from the description. The imagery brought to the story was vivid and lush, and I was soaking it up like a sponge (much like this plotting cat). Just stunning visuals. I could see it all so clearly like I was there.

Currently

I really enjoyed this book. It was quirky, filled with humor, friendship, and fun. Quite campy. Also, September Hope is an awesome name! Each of the five are interesting, but I didn’t feel very much chemistry. I couldn’t understand what really brought them together even outside of having nothing to do that summer. I’ve had plenty of summers where I didn’t have people to hang out with and I was all good with hanging out with myself. The intensity between them all was great. It added growth to the story, but I didn’t get very attached to any of them, and I love to get attached. Attachment makes the heart break or flood and drown you in emotions. I just didn’t get enough to make me feel much for the characters. If anything I felt bad that these kids were having a shit time after screwing around with bad juju.

The build-up to the sacrifice box and its evils were making me curious. Kudos on keeping me intrigued. It got gritty and horrific pretty quickly too. That, and hilarious. You can’t say you wouldn’t laugh a bit if your teddy bear was chasing you everywhere. I understand that that’s also creepy because that fluffy little sucker was vicious and just not right in the head, but I couldn’t stop giggling at times.

Scarlet Reader

While there were many mysteries that I feel like didn’t get quite figured out, I was still engrossed in this. It was fast-paced and unique and original. And, it was dimensional. While the current five struggle trying to figure who among them is responsible for putting them all at risk, you learn about the group that sacrificed to the box before them. I liked the fluctuation between both times. It added an interesting history. BUT. I will say this. It wasn’t important to have that history. Not in my opinion. It just beefed up the story, giving it some interesting flavor.

However, I won’t say that this is some profound book. There are a few moments that get you thinking, but it doesn’t extend into something deep.

As for the box?

Scarlet Reader - Sacrifice Box

Your guess is a good as mine. It’s the biggest mystery. Where it came from and where it’s going and what’s really inside, nobody knows.

 

Overall

This was both creepy and beautiful with a dash of funny. Granted, there are still a lot of questions that I have surrounding the box and these kids, I still thoroughly enjoyed this. I’ve also come to the conclusion that sometimes, there are things that will never be known. Does that bug me? Yes. Was it super imperative to the plot? No. That’s because the plot was deadly, but not solely fixed on being anything other than entertaining and it succeeded. LOL. A fun read.

 

Quotables:

“A crow on the thatch, soon death lifts the latch.” (Sep’s mum, p. 11)

“We’re all little miracles. Everything about us: all our stupid habits and our jokes and our weird faces, on a spinning ball that’s the perfect distance from the sun. And now here we are, you and me, sitting on top of a million years of history.” (Hadley, p. 137)

 

More to come soon…

  -K.

 

P.S. Song today? In the Shadows by The Rasmus.

 

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You Don’t Know Me From Adam (The Space Between – A Book Review)

The Space Between
Author: Brenna Yovanoff
Published: 2011

On Goodreads

Space Between

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt

21/25

 

Once, my mother told a whole host of angels that she rather die than go back to a man she didn’t love.

When you’re half-angel and half demon from Lilith and Lucifer life can be…complicated. Daphne’s life is nothing but an endless expanse of time filled with soap operas and knick-knacks from Earth. When her brother, Obie, goes missing up on Earth, she thinks she may be to blame. She’ll do anything to get him back.

She sets out to find her Obie, but she’ll need the help of possibly the last person to see him. Truman. Together they trek through the cold streets of New York City in search of her brother. It grows increasingly dangerous for them. Daphne delves more into her demonic half as Truman tries to figure out his strange dreams. The both of them struggle with their growing feelings for one another while hoping they’re not too late to rescue Obie.

 

This book marks 21 out of 25 authors, from my New Year’s resolution, that I’ve never read from before. Brenna Yovanoff is an author that I’ve heard quite a bit about, so I was glad to find a few YA novels by her.

 

Angels and demons. Some think of this as quite the taboo subject when it comes to fiction of any kind because of how it reflects on the Bible and beliefs. I, however, get fascinated. It’s got a mythos base just like Egyptian Gods and Greek Gods. So, I was pretty intrigued when I spotted this book. The cover art was pretty freaky too.

Given the notion of a hellish ride, I’m not sure it got that far for me. If it didn’t seem to jump all over the place, I think I would’ve been much more immersed it it. The story jumped between first person POV of Daphne two third person POV of Truman and that was really conflicting.

Scarlett Reader

More so, I couldn’t get a grasp on any chemistry between Truman and Daphne. That was a bit of a downer. Her desperation to find her brother, and his inner turmoil was stronger than the attempted pairing of them. I was in this for the adventure!

The details and depictions in the book were really interesting. Yovanoff really pulled me into this realistic world of heaven, hell, bringing it to our world in a very real sense. It was dank and dark with a sliver of hope. The creatures that slithered in the darkness were creepy! However, this world only felt scary when with the characters. They gave it life more than any other element.

The ending of the book made reading it all worth it. Quite a few surprises. Even a special cameo by the one and only Lucifer. It was chilling! I’m not talking about the dapper, heart-melting grinner that we’re waiting to reappear on Netflix either. This Lucifer’s presence made me stop breathing. He didn’t make any other appearance in the book, but the build-up around him throughout the story was so good!

 

Overall

This was a nice little page-turner with freakishly, hellish originality. The Winchesters would approve. I enjoyed the mythos that was touched on as well as the side of depression I feel like some people don’t understand. I do wish some parts had been more clear

 

Quotables:

“Open your eyes and look at yourself. That’s you, undisguised. That’s your black, revolting heart.” (shadow man to Truman, p. 125)

“All my life, I’ve understood the nature of where I come from, but I never thought I might be wicked until now.” (Daphne, p. 143)

“Love. The word makes me feel unsteady, like something is moving under my skin. I’m not about any kind of love, but I don’t tell him that. Love is for people with a certain amount of humanity.” (Daphne, p. 160)

 

More to come soon…

-K.

 

P.S. Song today? Feels Like Falling by Digital Daggers.

 

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When the Bees are Long Gone (Stung – A Book Review)

Stung (Stung #1)
Author: Bethany Wiggins
Published: 2013

On Goodreads

Stung - The Scarlet Reader

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull bolt

 

There is no cure for being stung.

One minute Fiona is thirteen and being put to sleep for her safety and the safety of everyone else, the next she wakes up older and confused. There’s a strange tattoo on her hand, but these tattoos marked the infected, mindless, violent beasts.

Worse, she’s on the wrong side of the wall. She doesn’t know why or how, except that she’ll have to conceal her tattoo by any means necessary, especially after she’s caught by the militia. Now she’ll have an old friend and a new, shaky ally to stay alive as it becomes more obvious that she isn’t like the other tattooed beasts.

In this world, where a bee sting was more dangerous than anything else, Fiona may just help save it. That is, if she doesn’t end up dead first.

 

Fiona reawakens in a world that has completely crumbled because of the extinction of bees. People have to self-pollinate their fields. Women are scarce. Violent being that were once people roam the desolate world, destroying any living thing that crosses its paths.

 

How was this book? It is straight down the middle for me. It was good, but it wasn’t great. Call me psycho or morbid or anything, but I’ve always wondered about a world without the bees. It’s a real possibility. They’re going extinct and it sucks. I love bees. They help gives all kinds of things we need from food to beauty to life. So, I was pretty amped up. BUT. Yep, a but. Everyone has them and we all like to shake them. So, here’s a little shake-shake. There were pros and cons to this book.

Fiona was an interesting character. She struggled with her new reality because in her head she still felt like she was thirteen. I found that to be one of the COOLEST things in this book. It was so unique and incredibly realistic. Fiona had to play catch-up really fast and she had some help from her old neighbor/slash friend, Bowen, who’s no longer thirteen either, but seventeen, nearly eighteen. While there’s a spark between them, the progression between them went from subtle and gentle to suddenly macho speed and was very weird. He was so guarded against her and by the end of the book it was as if he couldn’t live without her. Just the way it came about was too rushed for my liking.

Scarlet Reader - Slow Down

The plot of the story was predictable and reminded me of The Maze Runner, but I loved it anyway. The way it came about was unique and bleak. I was thriving to see more of it. Wiggins did such a great job creating this dead world. I could imagine the dead and barren, grey wasteland and the vibrant, tech city behind a great wall. The law and lack thereof in this universe were horrifying. You don’t want to be a girl here. Although, not going to lie, I wouldn’t mind reading a book where men are the rare ones alive. Just saying.

Some parts of the book came off as ridiculous and filler. Not good filler either, sadly. The flashbacks on Fiona’s life really added to her backstory, but it was some of the interaction between her and Bowen that felt like too far of a stretch. Like, it was forced. However, there were some lines that were so good they took my breath away.

As I said, this book was right down the middle.

 

Overall

I like and didn’t like this. It’s really a 50/50. I may read the sequel just to see how it goes for Fiona and see if she and Bowen could have a life together. This wasn’t a mind-blower, just a decent read to pass the time.

 

Quotables:

“I don’t remember going to sleep. All I remember is waking up here—a place as familiar as my own face.” (Fiona, p. 1)

“I will not die without fighting for a life I am not yet done living.” (Fiona, p. 253)

 

More to come soon…

-K.

 

P.S. Song today? Crave by Tove Lo.

 

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The Black Tidal Wave (The Hatching – A Book Review)

The Hatching (The Hatching #1)
Author: Ezekiel Boone
Published: 2016

On Goodreads

The Hatching

My Rating: Full boltFull bolt

 

There is no waking up from this nightmare…

An ancient species, long dormant, is now very much awake. A nuke is dropped in China. A strange  and fatal plane crash is investigated by the FBI in America. Strange earthquakes in India. As the series of events increase, they come to a head.

A species thought long dead wakes up and begin swallowing the world, turning into a horrifying  apocalypse that’ll haunt waking dreams.

 

First, the cover art is wicked. Webbing over a black cover really gave a great idea that the book was about spider and that it would be creepy. I got a copy that actually came with a slip on case that enhanced the ominous vibe. It really got my hopes up! Which kind of sucked.

This book straight-up comes off as a SyFy (or if you still remember the original tag-SciFi) movie. No joke. The terrible graphics and bad puns, all done on purpose, and completely unbelievable. Come on, guys. You know what I’m talking about. Sharknado. Lavalantula. And this one, of course, is about ancient spiders waking up, ready to take over the world.

the hatching - The Scarlet Reader - tumblr

I found this book unrealistic and not as scary as I was hoping. It wasn’t scary at all actually, and I’m jumpy around spiders. With how the characters came off—overly vulgar and over the top—I couldn’t take this book seriously. It dimmed my interest.

This book jumped all over the planet. From where the ancient spiders breached the earth in South America and devoured a tourist group to a nuke drop in Asia to the oval office, the book really circulated around the important parts, tying them together in a unique way that seemed random, but wasn’t. Was it clear all of the time? No. Did it seem pointless sometimes? Yes. But it wasn’t. It was just incredibly expansive, showing how dangerous this ancient species had and in such a short time. That a shoe wasn’t going to be enough to stomp them out.

the hatching -The Scarlet Reader - tumblr

 

Overall

This was not what I excepted. I just couldn’t get into this book, but I started it and then finished it. Now I will go ahead and donate it, because maybe somebody else will enjoy it more than me.

 

More to come soon…

-K.

 

P.S. Song today? Pinch Me by The Barenaked Ladies.

 

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Midnight Tease

Midnight Tease - Giphy

Happy Midnight Hour, my precious booknerds!

Shall I begin this post with the tradition song of Halloween???

Halloween

This is my month! So excited. I look forward to dressing up this Halloween.

Reading this month will be filled with all kinds of spookiness. From witchiness to facing up to a curse that makes your worst fears come true. I can’t wait! There’s something about things that go bump in the night. It’s my kind of normal. Bring on the scary books, scary movies, overdose of sugar, and pumpkins!

Mum and I have put up our Halloween tree. It’s creeping and crawling with spiders and pumpkins and skeletons.

Halloween tree - The Scarlet Reader

We’d gotten the idea last year and then got really lucky to find a black Christmas tree. And yes, that’s a witch hat on top.

Anyway, here’s what’s coming for October!

 

 

Coming Soon…

Book browsing

 

Stung
Author: Bethany Wiggins

Stung - The Scarlet Reader

The sting of a bee turning people into mindless beasts and a girl stuck on the wrong side of it. I’m intrigued.

 

What a Girl Wants
Author: Lindsey Kelks

What a Girl Wants - The Scarlet Reader

Finishing up that summer reading!

 

A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares
Author: Krystal Sutherland

Semi Definitive List of worst Nightmares - The Scarlet Reader

Halloween isn’t Halloween without curses and fears!

 

Caraval
Author: Stephanie Garber

Caraval

A deadly game. I like games!

 

The Rules of Magic & Practical Magic
Author: Alice Hoffman

The Scarlet Reader

Googly-eyed here. Finally getting to read the books my FAVORITE MOVIE is based from. Can’t tell I’m EXCITED can you?

 

 

Currently…

Unbreakable yes

 

black bird of the gallows
Author: Meg Kassel

black bird of the gallows - The Scarlet Reader

 

Ragwitch
Author: Garth Nix

Ragwitch - The Scarlet Reader

 

Bloodlines
Author: Richelle Mead

Bloodlines - The Scarlet Reader

 

Up For Review…

Up for Review

 

Bold Tricks
Author: Karina Hale

Bold Tricks - Scarlet Reader

 

The Hatching
Author: Ezekiel Boone

The Hatching

 

Ender’s Game
Author: Orson Scott Card

Ender's Game

 

to make monsters out of girls
Author: amanda lovelace

to make monsters our of girls - The Scarlet Reader

 

More to come soon…

-K.

 

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Even In Your Sleep (Down a Dark Hall – Book Review)

Down a Dark Hall
Author: Lois Duncan
Published: 1974

On Goodreads

Down a Dark Hall

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt

The terror is real only in her dreams.

Kit is dropped off at Blackwood School for Girls along with others. Each of them possess unique traits. Strange things begin happening around the grounds. Kit is having weird dreams and sleep walking. With each passing day, it gets stranger. She knows evil lurks down the dark halls, but she only sees it when she’s asleep. How can she escape? How can she get free if no one will believe her when her fears are only in her dreams? Or are they?

Like Duncan’s other books that I’v read, this was pretty good. She brought the supernatural element again to one of her novels. The dark halls of Blackwood are chilling and creepy. There are many unexplainable instances. Sleepwalking. Dreams of dead people. And becoming oddly talented and skilled at something you typically aren’t.

Kit experiences all of this and she’d love to run away. Her parents dumped her on the doorstep of this private school and didn’t look back as they to go on their honeymoon. Jerkfaces. Lucky for Kit, she made some friends. I really like the story. As you progress, the story intensifies until BAM! Everything breaks loose and Kit is feeling helpless.

With supernatural forces at work, I’m a little unnerved. Losing control is scary. It’s a feeling that can make anybody go over the edge, which is exactly what happens with Kit and her friends.

I found the characters to be quite like-able…except for Headmistress Madame Duret. She can go jump in a ditch because there is a special place for a person that lets ghosts possess teenagers. Kit was a strong-headed girl and has no time for bullshit. She also doesn’t leave her friends behind, which puts her in a high place on my list.

Each of the girls were having different things happening to them that were unexplainable. Kit was hearing music everywhere. Her closest friend, Sandy, was creating poetry, which doesn’t seem all that bad, but it was in foreign languages. The other girls, too. It was alarming and I wanted to figure this book out more. When I did, I was surprised. They weren’t just experiencing supernatural events but were pulled into them, getting possessed by ghosts. And being in the front seat of that was crazy!

This also just came out as a movie. I’m kind of intrigued. Ghosty movies are always chilling to me and I would love to see the differences between it and the book.

Down a Dark Hall

The style Duncan has with her books is one that I love. Incredibly simple and attention grabbing. She knows all the tricks to make a person go investigate the dark and creepy places, though they probably shouldn’t. There’s bread crumbs of curiosity behind with a twist of scary. And the TWIST! There always a twist, and Duncan did NOT disappoint. It gets me going and like it. This was also a quick read. Her novels aren’t usually long.

Overall

While I can’t say this is some epic literary piece, it was pretty epic. Period. She really approached the teen slasher/supernatural genre with great skill. These are instant classics in my opinion. A fun read to indulge in when you want goosebumps, like a story you tell around the campfire.

Quotables:

“Somewhere in the quiet dormitory someone had shrieked, In pain? In terror? Perhaps only from a nightmare, and yet, perhaps for some other reason. For—help?” (p. 42)

More to come soon…

-K.

P.S. Song today? Help I’m Alive by Metric

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