Sep 30, 2023

Review--The Unleashed by Danielle Vega


In the terrifying sequel to The Haunted, Hendricks discovers that even though Steele House is gone, the hauntings in Drearfield are far from over — and it’s up to her to stop them.

Following the devastating blaze at Steele House, Hendricks and her friends are trying to return to normal. Prom is coming up and the school is in full preparation mode. Hendricks tries to pitch in, to mimic Portia’s enthusiasm, but the events of the last few months still haunt her. Steele House. Raven. Eddie.

Hendricks believes Eddie is still out there. She just has to find a way to reach him. Together with her friends, she forms a circle of seven and attempts to summon his spirit. Suddenly things start happening again. Flickering lights in the school library. Mysterious girls roaming the halls. The same song playing on a loop wherever she goes.

It all culminates in a violent attack and Hendricks realizes what they summoned may not be Eddie at all. The one thing she does know is that Steele House was only the beginning. And whatever they’ve unleashed is more dangerous than anything they’ve ever seen before.


Having finished Danielle Vega's The Haunted, I immediately picked up The Unleashed eager to see what would happen next after that explosive ending! It was an incredible sequel overall! While I would've wished for different things to the long run, none of those things would have made sense or been truly right for the story. But man was this yet another thrill ride and creepy to boot!

We pick up a few months after the events of The Haunted, and I will warn you here and now there are spoilers for the first book since this is the sequel! After Eddie sacrificed himself to save Hendricks, Steele House was destroyed, Hendricks' friend Raven is in a coma, and things just haven't been the same since. Hendricks and her family stayed in town and are renting a place nearby while they work to rebuild Steele House despite Hendricks' convictions that it's not a good idea, but try telling your parents it's because that house was haunted and it just feels wrong to build upon it. But money is money.

Hendricks still mourns Eddie, but she believes that he's still out there and can be reached somehow. So she manages to get her friends to do a seance to try to reach Eddie, but when nothing happens she is left even sadder. But then that same night, her friend Portia is attacked and claims it was a ghost that looked very much like Eddie. Despite how everyone felt about Eddie, thinking him some dangerous criminal without a care, Hendricks knew better and she knows that Eddie would never hurt someone, even someone who made fun of him. She suspects that whatever attacked Portia is something else entirely, something truly evil.

And so begins another ghostly mystery that will bring frights and possible delights...if you like all those jump scares! I can handle it with books, but not movies, go figure! Lol. This one was positively creepy! Hendricks is being haunted with nightmares and some are quite terrifying that it sort of suspends reality, is she dreaming or is something else happening? All she knows is that whatever spirit is out and about and attacking Portia, it's something that needs to be stopped and possibly even clear Eddie's name, even in death.

I have always loved how creepy Vega's books are! They are downright spooky! I especially love when there's a paranormal element to them versus a thriller type read, though I still enjoy those too! I guess one thing that still kind of threw me was how the ghosts here always seem so corporeal. They are able to literally hurt people and throw things around, like people, so easily! I mean, don't get me wrong, I totally believe they can manipulate objects and make them move or fly across the room, I guess I thought the ability to hurt people might be a little beyond their reach, but I suppose nothing is out of the realm of possibility. I guess I just haven't encountered too many books where it seems like the ghosts can actually make physical contact with the living. I guess I can chalk it up to that fact when all is said and done. But a fictional book is still a fictional book, so I can't say that it was unbelievable that the ghosts could toss people across the room. So don't think I'm baffled at the laws of physics and such when it comes to fiction...I'm merely adding up what I've learned from other fictional books! Lol. So yes, I need more books where ghosts can do things like this with what feels like ease!

I truly felt Hendricks' pain in this one! I was devastated when Eddie died at the end last time. He was such a wonderful character and I loved seeing his development, however short it was in the first book. I wish we could've had more time with him but alas, it's just one of those things. I was, I guess, somewhat baffled that Hendricks' parents seemed even less involved this time around then last time. They were in and out in the first book but this time it just seemed like they were gone most of the time and even Hendricks' baby brother didn't seem as present either. I mean, I know these were her stories, but she's still a teenager, so I guess I thought her family would be a tad more present, especially after everything that happened to her last time around. But again, Hendricks kind of had to be on her own for the story to work. But yeah, definitely noticed that slight difference.

All in all, this was yet another wonderful ghost story! Many exciting things happened, new secrets were uncovered and revealed, that a mystery or two! Plus all the chills and thrills! Omg, so many times this book had me jumping and gasping! It was quite the exciting read and I devoured this one so quickly because I did not want to put it down for anything! Thank goodness for weekends! Lol!

If you are wanting to read something super creepy this spooky season then look no further than Danielle Vega! You can pretty much pick up any of her books and get a good old fashion thrill, but nothing's spookier than a good old fashion ghost story complete with haunted houses and graveyards!

Overall Rating 4.5/5 stars

Let's Discuss: A.I.


So todays topic is more of a mini rant but it’s one I’ve been seeing around in the world lately, so I figure why not turn it into a discussion since I haven’t had any good ideas all month long! I was hit with idea after idea last month and now…nothing! Lol. 


This whole A.I. thing that’s been taking over the world is really starting to freak me out. I mean not only is this thing taking jobs away from people but it’s been hurting artists as we’ve all seen the A.I. constructed covers, but now authors’ books are being fed to an A.I. program to teach it to write?! What the heck?! And to hear the books were basically pirated and authors weren’t even contacted regarding this is just disgusting!

I mean all this A.I. business kind of just freaks me out. I mean not only are we just eliminating jobs actual people can do, but I think we’re hurting ourselves in the long run. But I mean come on! Have none of these people seen one of the handful of Terminator movies?! Does no one think that these machines might get TOO smart because you keep feeding it information? Yes I know those are movies and fictional but there’s a little grain of truth tucked in there that I bet no one thought much of in 1984! The Simpsons even had this happening in one of their Halloween shows. It’s not a stretch to think our technology will outsmart us and do who knows what! I can only hope that’s at least 80-100 years away from now but the scary thing is I could see it happening in maybe half that!

The other weekend we went to Sam’s Club and I saw one of those forklift things driving itself! There was still a seat and steering wheel for a human but no one was there! That alone was pretty freaking! I mean I’ve seen the tall pole like sensors rolling around the grocery store taking inventory, but the forklift thing was something else! I mean it wasn’t a forklift exactly but that same kind of machine minus the fork part. Big motor vehicle driving itself. Terrifying. 

I mean I guess there are good reasons to have this A.I. I mean so far I’ve only seen and heard about the jobs it’s taking from real humans but I suppose there’s something good about it? I don’t know. I just know that it freaks me out and the handful of dystopian books I’ve read have histories that started just like this…

What’s your opinion on this A.I. business? 


Sep 29, 2023

Review--The Haunted by Danielle Vega


From Danielle Vega, YA’s answer to Stephen King, comes a new paranormal novel about dark family secrets, deep-seated vengeance, and the horrifying truth that evil often lurks in the unlikeliest of places.

Hendricks Becker-O’Malley is new in town, and she’s bringing baggage with her. With a dark and wild past, Hendricks doesn’t think the small town her parents moved her to has much to offer her in terms of excitement. She plans on laying low, but when she’s suddenly welcomed into the popular crowd at school, things don’t go as expected.

Hendricks learns from her new friends that the fixer-upper her parents are so excited about is notorious in town. Local legend says it’s haunted. Hendricks doesn’t believe it. Until she’s forced to. Blood-curdling screams erupt from the basement, her little brother wakes up covered in scratches, and something, or someone pushes her dad down the stairs. With help from the mysterious boy next door, Hendricks makes it her mission to take down the ghosts . . . if they don’t take her first.


I've been meaning to read Danielle Vega's The Haunted for a long time now and thought this was the perfect time of year to give it a go! And boy was it! If you're looking for a classic haunted house story, this is it! While I wish there might have been more of a buildup and explanation of the "haunting" part, I still found this to be an enjoyable story.

Hendricks and her family just moved into a rather stately manor, her parents are in the business of flipping houses and were going to flip this one but decided to keep it for themselves. It has an old school rustic charm to it that won them over. We get bits and pieces that Hendricks was the "reason" behind their moving. What this event was takes time, but as the picture is slowly painted, I felt like it became quite clear before she tells her story in full.

When Hendricks gets to school and everyone finds out she lives in "Steele House" everyone is amazed. Soon Hendricks learns all the rumors behind the hauntings and murders that happened. Not only are ghosts rumored to be running amok, but apparently a boy killed his sister and then himself a few years ago in her house.

As Hendricks gets immersed into a group of friends, she soon gets drawn in by the outcast boy, because of course! Eddie isn't well-liked at school and Hendricks' first meeting with him isn't what you would call pleasant. She soon learns he's her neighbor as his house sits behind her property.

The strange and spooky happenings in her house begin to escalate and Hendricks is pretty much desperate for help. Her parents are rarely home, so they don't seem to notice anything odd happening. But when her baby brother gets hurt, Hendricks decides it's time to take things seriously and find a way to rid her house of the vengeful ghosts who won't go away.

This book was decidedly good! I love a good ghost story and this one starts off with a bang too! I was deeply curious to know what it was these ghosts wanted, when you encounter the ghosts that can actually pick things up and do things, it always gets a little scarier and more real! I mean I believe in ghosts and I guess I believe ghosts can make things move and such, but I do wonder at how much power or energy they have to do things. Well, the ghosts here are pretty powerful, let's just leave it at that!

There was a budding relationship growing between Hendricks and Eddie, you could see it coming from a mile away and I didn't mind that. It was a gradual process since Hendricks was still sore over past events that have her low on trust. I felt that was a very real vibe and I'm always up for the slowly developing romance!

The one thing that I wish could've been better developed or enhanced upon was the mystery behind the ghosts. Spirits staying behind on earth instead of moving on always have a reason. So what was their reason? Why were they here? Well, the answer doesn't come until the very end and it was so quick and dirty of an explanation I felt a little whiplash! I mean, where was the depth? The nit and gritty behind what was done to cause the hauntings? It was just A then B then C.

The ending was pretty jaw dropping too! Knowing that I have one more book makes me excited as this is one of those endings where it could go either way! It's definitely a cliffhanger ending of sorts now and I am eager to dive into the next book to see what the story will be! If you're looking for a "classic" haunted house kind of ghost story, then I would highly recommend The Haunted! Every book I've read by Danielle of the many last names has been fantastic and this one just continues the trend!


Overall Rating 4/5 stars





Book Blogger Hop


This meme is hosted by Billy at Ramblings of a Coffee Addict!
This week's question is: Never judge a book by its film adaption. Do you concur? (submitted by Billy @ Coffee Addicted Writer)
MY ANSWER: Oh yes! For I almost always say "the book was better!" I think there was only ever 2 instances where I said the movie was better and that was mainly because I had watched the movie about 1000 times before I was deemed "old enough" to read the books. I mean a 7 year old watching Jaws was probably "okay" since there wasn't anything "bad" (other than violence and maybe 1 swear word!) in the movie but a 7 year old reading a bit more problematic. Lol!
But yes, there have been times when the movie appalled me because I wondered if the directors/writers even read the book they were making a movie of because the two were totally unrelated!
So in my opinion...whichever came first sets the bar! If the book was first, read it then see it! Lol. The movie never compares because there really is only so much they can do in the time allotted to the movie but yeah, the book is usually better!
And when I say "whichever came first" that's because on rare occasions I would read books based off the movie! There were a few film adaptations that I read that went along the course of the movie but may have added a few "extras" to jazz things up! I remember one of my favorite mini series had a book adaptation that followed the series pretty well but tweaked things here and there and I remember the first kiss happened sooner but wasn't like THE KISS the TV series had, but the book had that too. So yeah, there are times when the book does come second...and sometimes, I did kind of like that one better just because of the "more-ness" they added to the storyline! Lol.

Sep 28, 2023

Books from the Backlog #50


Books from the Backlog is a fun way to feature some of those neglected books sitting on your bookshelf unread.  If you are anything like me, you might be surprised by some of the unread books hiding in your stacks. This is a fun meme hosted by Carole @ Carole's Random Life in Books.


WARNING: These are SHORT STORIES written for established fans of the Jane True Series.

You know her, you love her, you wanted more of her…

Something’s not right in Rockabill. First Gus, the stone-spirit, collapses and wakes up a tit-starer. Then a human runaway is murdered, followed shortly by a vulnerable shape-shifter. Can Jane and her friends figure out who-done-it before someone else is killed? And why do these murders seem so terribly familiar? Basic Incubus takes you back to Jane’s point of view and proves that even the baddest bad hat gets his comeuppance.





Basic Incubus by Nicole Peeler was a short story set in her Jane True series that I loved! These were just little bonus stories. I think I read one or two of them...maybe just the one as I believe there was another one I featured here already! Kind of regret not reading these closer to when I bought them for then the series might have still been somewhat fresh in my head. I've very cloudy memories of it as it is, but it was a lot of fun! I remember that much!





Sep 27, 2023

Can't Wait Wednesday


Can't-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted at Wishful Endings, to spotlight and discuss the books we're excited about that we have yet to read. It's based on Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by the fabulous Jill at Breaking the Spine.


Book 2 in The Malice Compendium series by New York Times bestselling author Megan Shepherd, featuring dark magic and family secrets with a contemporary horror tone.

Immediately following the events of Malice House (Book 1), Haven and her newly found sister are on the road, trying to discover the contours of her family's curse. But while they hunt, they are also hunted by the most vile creature from the previous book: a vile, aging salesman who can compel people to do anything with but a whisper and who wants to rewrite the entire world in his image.






I still need to read the first book of this series that I didn't even realize was turning into a series! Lol! I was excited for Megan's first adult book and horror at that! 


TITLE: Midnight Showing
AUTHOR: Megan Shepherd

PUBLISHER: Hyperion Avenue
GENRE: Horror
RELEASE DATE: October 3, 2023




The much-anticipated continuation to Scions, the prequel to the Starcrossed series, the #1 international bestseller.

Presumed dead, Daphne and Ajax try to steal away what happiness they can living as Outcasts, when they discover that the Fates aren’t done with them yet. Ajax may have escaped death, but his fate is sealed, and it’s only a matter of time before it catches up with him.

Like mice in a maze, they are led back to New York City where Daphne must find a way to keep the Fates from killing Ajax. But returning to the city puts them both in grave danger, and they must seek the help in the unlikeliest of places. Daedelus, the reluctant Heir to the House of Athens, and Adonis, a prince of the House of Rome, both of whom are their mortal enemies.

But their biggest challenge will come from someone who loves them both. Tantalus, who has been busy plotting to start the war he knows he is destined to win, but who tragically finds himself caught between his devotion to his brother, and his obsession with Daphne.



I still need to read the book that came out prior to this one, but from the looks of things that one jumps back to present day while this one will jump back to the past with Daphne and Ajax just falling in love and such! I feel a bit confused skimming some of the blurbs but I'll get around to it eventually! Lol!



TITLE: Outcasts
AUTHOR: Josephine Angelini

PUBLISHER: Sungrazer Publishing
GENRE: YA Fantasy
RELEASE DATE: October 3, 2023





Sep 26, 2023

Review--A Taste of Darkness edited by Amy McCaw & Maria Kuzniar


A chilling, thrilling collection of 13 haunting tales. Perfect for every YA reader!

From supernatural thrillers to contemporary horror, creepy ancient legends to murders gone wrong - this insatiable anthology is impossible to put down, and even more difficult to forget.

From some of the most celebrated authors writing in this space, this must-have collection will keep you awake at night and inhabit your darkest dreams.

Co-curated by Amy McCaw and Mia Kuzniar, this anthology has a story for every reader out there.

Perfect for fans of Stranger Things, Wednesday, and all things scary!

Featuring stories from: Amy McCaw, Maria Kuzniar, Kat Dunn, Kat Ellis, Rachel Faturoti, Kathryn Foxfield, Dawn Kurtagich, Amy McCulloch, Cynthia Murphy, Melinda Salisbury, Louie Stowell, Rosie Talbot, Mary Watson.


If you want to read something truly terrifying and creepy than I urge you to pick up this creeptastic anthology, A Taste of Darkness! I know there’s mixed feelings when it comes to anthologies, I honestly love them! This is how I discovered favorite authors in my early days of reading and I love discovering new authors in this way too! I already plan on looking into a few new to me authors from this book because these stories were horrifying in the best spooktacular way! If you don’t want to know what the stories were about, just skip on down to the third to last paragraph as below you’ll find a short description of what was happening at the start of the story and a comment or two about it at large.

How To Disappear by Rosie Talbot was a mysterious story that followed Finch as he guided his friends into a dangerous forest on the most dangerous night of them all. The forest is rumored to be filled with deadly creatures, but for teenage boys this just means more fun!

Amy McCaw’s The House with Teeth an intriguing story that followed a teenaged girl named Violet who was excited to throw a Halloween party in her house while her parents were away. She was given a set of rules to follow and had every intention of following them until a very cute boy named Jack shows up. This one gave me some Monster House vibes, but of course, this was a bit deadlier than that one!

With a story titled like Kathryn Foxfield’s Come Find Me, you can expect something horrific and we pretty much got that with this! Avery is a teenager living with her grandmother but she has no clear cut memories of her child hood when she was eight and something happened to a girl named Lydia. While Avery tries to get her hateful grandmother to open up to her, but the grandma despises her. Then spooky things start happening when a doll appears…and it. Won’t. Go. Away. Anything with dolls in tends to creep me out! So naturally, this story had me spooked!

The Wolf and the Witch by Maria Kuzniar was another interesting one that involved a young girl trying to save her grandmother from a terrible curse. So naturally, she must seek out a powerful and terrifying witch in the woods to help save her grandma before it’s too late.

Melinda Salisbury wrote a pretty creep tale with St. Clover in which a teenaged Cicely, discovers a saint card at her grandma’s funeral. Yet it’s for a saint she’s never heard of before. St. Clover, the saint of the hungry and flowers. But after finding the card, Cicely suddenly has a hard time of sating her insatiable appetite.

The Visiting Grey by Kat Ellis was another really creepy story! I mean, any story involving a teenaged babysitter who has to be alone on a very dark night just spells trouble. This story will put the urban legends of “the call is coming from inside the house” to shame! This one was downright spooky!

I was most excited for Dawn Kurtagich’s And the Waters Crept In as I haven’t read anything new from her in ages, though I know stuff is coming! This one was based off a Welsh legend that I knew nothing about but I want to look into because the story was sinister and spooky! Set in a fantastical past, Aine takes a job as a servant in large house but the head housekeeper is not a fan of Aine at all. But late at night, Aine discovers another house resident, that of a strange and mysterious man who visits in the shadows and promises her a future beyond her dreams…if only she would have him. Another super creepy story that left me with chills!

Louis Stowell’s The Party was an odd story, I’ll admit that much. Lily was happy to be starting a new school away from her ex-girlfriend, Jess. Their relationship ended badly, but lo and behold, Jess is at her new school too. When Lily is trying to make nice with the popular girl, Sophia, Jess just keeps getting in the way. Then the unthinkable happens…a girl dies at the party but you’ll never believe what happens the next day! I guess my problem with this one was that the first half of the story was so mundane and boring. I kept wondering where’s the spooky?! Then it happens and then it’s over. So this wasn’t exactly my favorite of the stories, but it was still good once the spooky started happening! Lol.

Amy McCulloch’s The Chiming Hour was another odd story. It was hard to pinpoint what was going on in this one. Firstly, we never really got the narrator’s name. We follow this camp counselor around at what is an art camp for young students. The director, Ms. Pendell will put her favorite pieces the students create in her art gallery hall and the counselor we follow longs to have her stuff hanging there as well. Every night at three in the morning, she finds one her charges leaving her bed to work on her own art in hopes of it making it into the gallery. Shady things are happening here, but it was a hard puzzle to put together and it left me a bit baffled at the end.

Something Wicked by Kat Dunn was another odd duck. Again, we have a heroine we follow around but she has no name either. A young girl in 1899 is a witch in hiding. She knows if she’s caught it will spell bad things for her. Her mother almost caught her, but she went away some time ago. Now she only has to worry about her distant father and nosy governess. I think this not knowing who my narrator thing is really throws me off from the story. I have a hard time connecting with a nameless character, even for a short story. The story was interesting in the end though, very chilling.

Mary Watson’s The Midnight Kiss was a really spooky one! This one follows Lana and her friends as they sneak into some lady’s house to visit a haunted room where a ghost supposedly grants you a wish. Lana is eager to wish for her ex-boyfriend to come back but soon finds herself locked in the mystery room while her friends laugh outside. Lana is very aware that she’s not alone in the small room and sets out to do what she must to get her boyfriend back! This one was ultimately spooky and omg, just yikes! Lol.

The Beauty and The Beast by Rachel Faturoti is a spin on the tale that’s old as time! But an interesting one at that! Beauty is an assassin. She’s a teenager with no memory of her past, but just knows that she works for the powerful Merchants. When they tell her to kill someone, she does it. She has her own code though but sometimes her code challenges her and it’s on one of these particular hits that she sees a terrifying figure in the mirror…one that’s beastly and familiar. This was definitely an odd take on the classic tale but I rather liked it because of it being so odd!

And finally, ‘Til Death Do Us Part by Cynthia Murphy was another spooky tale that left me with chills! Laurie is about to start college but needs a weekend job to help make ends meet. She takes one in a small wedding boutique run by an odd old lady. She’s very particular about the mannequin in her front window. No one is to touch it, but when Laurie takes a peek she can’t help but how lifelike said mannequin is. You’ll probably never want to watch that movie again after reading this horrified story! I could sense what was coming as we learned more details about the mannequin and the shop owner’s past, but still…chills!

I tried to keep my mini reviews of the stories as short as possible! The one thing I dislike about anthologies is that you don’t get a mini idea of what the story is ahead of reading it. I know that would be insanely hard to do, but as a reader, I like to know characters and setting before diving in because otherwise I’m scrambling to paint the scene as it’s happening and I feel like I struggle to get into the story right away because of that.

All in all, I did enjoy each of these stories. Some were a little hard to get into and grasp at times, but every single one of them left me with a chill at least! This is the perfect read for the spooky season and if you happen to be needing to find a new favorite author, you have thirteen of them to try out! I also recommend reading the short author bios in back as you get a little idea of what inspired their story and you get to learn one of their top fears!

A Taste of Darkness is exactly as the title declares as you get a taste of the spooky and positively chilling stories within these authors’ minds! It’s not a book to be skipped this Halloween season or any time of year really!


Overall Rating 4.5/5 stars








Teaser & Top Ten Tuesdays


Teaser Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by Purple Princess of The Purple Booker

Here are the rules:

1. Grab your current read
2. Open to a page
3. Pick out 2 lines that are SPOILER FREE
4. Name the title, author, etc.


"The doll's petticoats burn first, then her hair, with an awful popping crackling noise. But even as the pain on her face bubbles, she continues to grin at me like she's the one who's won." p 81








TITLE: A Taste of Darkness; Come Find Me
Multiple; Kathryn Foxfield
PUBLISHER: Scholastic UK
GENRE: YA Horror
RELEASE DATE: September 14, 2023

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and The Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. 

This week's topic is: Top Ten Secondary/Minor Characters Who Deserve Their Own Book

*in no particular oder

10. CASSANDRA--for years I had hoped Cass would get her own story, but sadly it never came about. She did get an occasional short story though.
9. MACY--
while the series did shine a lot of light onto the secondary characters, I still couldn't help but want a little more from Macy! That poor girl went through SOO much and by the series end, I still didn't feel like she had a proper ending in her arena.
8. JANCO--
I've always loved this guy and would happily read a book of his own! He's been featured in many a short story though! But as we know, those are too short and never enough! Lol.

7. HEATHER--a massive backstory was hinted at with her and I am dying for the details!
6. LISSA--
though she was Rose's BFF I felt like she had more story to tell.
5. KATIE--
enough said...though there is a novella I need to read still that could give me more, but I can't remember if it was hinted at or not. No spoilers please! lol

4. NINA--she's definitely one I was rooting for in Six of Crows! I still need to read Nikolai's duology which I thought I heard she appears in, but alas, I doubt it will satisfy my need for more of this snarky girl!
3. ELAIN--
I think it's possible SJM might give her a book! It's so open-ended with her lol. But yeah, I felt in tune with her at times in the series so I'm hoping the girl gets her own HEA!
2. EMME--
another younger sister I felt in tune with! Cecy was just about to write her story but then she got an amazing book deal, so I think Emme's story is on hold, but after I read her "prequel" novella, I am slathering for more!

1. JACKAL--nuff said.