Cirque Du Freak A Living Nightmare Book Review

Cirque Du Freak A Living Nightmare Book Review

Darren Shan is a regular boy—besides his love for spiders—with regular friends, and regular problems. But everything normal in his life turns upside down when he discovers a mysterious flyer informing him of a forthcoming circus. Excited, he shows the flyer to his friends, and they begin plotting a way to attend.

Audiobook Sample:  CLICK HERE

Darren and his friends learn about the circus little by little, until they are so intrigued with going that they amass the means, and manufacture the truth they need to tell to attend. But what they find is no normal circus—its full of freaks—and the danger they pose is all too real…especially the Vampire!

The book touches on the meaning of friendship, and loyalty, and explores the meaning of love, and sacrificing one’s self for the greater good.

I listened to the audiobook version of the story, narrated by Ralph Lister. He did a phenomenal job with the storytelling, and the voice acting.

I give this book 4 deflated soccer balls out of 5. Recommended!


I Am Number Four Book Review

I Am Number Four Book Review

I Am Number Four

by Pittacus Lore

I’d give I Am Number Four 4.5 Legacies out of 5

I Am Number Four Summary

Ihad been wanting to get to this book for a while now. I know, I know… I’m late to the game. This book came out back in 2011 or so. At some point, I had listened to a portion of the audiobook, which I did find enjoyable, if not intriguing, but for some reason, I didn’t continue with it. I’m usually listening to and/or reading several books at a time, so my guess is that another book jumped ahead of the rest of my stack at the time, and took over my attention. This isn’t abnormal, per se. So, I Am Number Four merely got leap-frogged, I suppose.


It might be that, around that time, I had also seen the movie. The movie wasn’t great, which may have deterred me a bit. The acting, particularly from the lead, wasn’t fantastic. The bad guys were also kind of, well… chumps in black cloaks. They are much scarier in the book. For those that judged this book based on the silver screen—the book is much better than the movie. We should now that by now, though, shouldn’t we? So, if you have passed judgment on the book because of the movie, you might want to reconsider. The characters are accessible and relatable, and the story is well written.

At some point, I finally got around to reading the book. I think I had seen enough positive reviews that I just made it a priority. I’m glad I read it.

I Am Number Four is a fun, modern sci-fi story bent toward the teenage market. I love the writing style. Its clean, simple, and present, literally. More than just being written in the 1st person, it was super engaging. I can always tell a book tracking to be good if it has “gravity.” If I’m away from the book and I find myself looking for ways to get back to it, it has gravity. I’m happy to report that I’ve already gotten around 30% through book 2. So, now the series has “gravity” for me.

The book revolves around a small group of humanoid aliens that left their home planet of Lorien as it came under attack by a ruthless breed of aliens known as the Moggadorians. Once they arrived on earth, the Lorien’s were separated, and as they became aware of each other, sought each other out. The Moggadorians followed them to earth, and sought to hunt them down. Only, there’s a catch. The Moggadorian’s can only kill them in a particular order. If they kill them out of order, the Moggadorians pay the price.

The book starts out with an action scene on Lorian that changes pace quickly, and sets the setting and tone for the book. Then, it transitions to high school. Yup, you gotta get that teenage angst in there, right? There is a hint of a love triangle. Good girl, humanoid alien that’s just trying to find a place he can stay, and ex-boyfriend turned jealous when good girl’s attention turns to the new boy at school, who happens to have super powers. The boys fight a bit over the girl, and you can guess who wins that fight. Fortunately, the writing, and the storytelling far make up for any of those typical mechanics. 

While all this teenage drama is happening, of course, the real bad guys, the Moggadorians, are closing in. Ultimately, John Smith, our alien hero-boy, and owner of the most generic name he could think to give himself, befriends someone at school, and they band together to thwart the Moggadorians. 

If you want more details, you’ll need to go get the book 🙂

I really enjoyed this book. The characters are fleshed out well, and the pace is fun. If there was one part of the book I would have watered down, its the teen romance. There’s nothing too over the top here, but once it revs up, it seems like its constantly there. I never put the book away, so it wasn’t THAT bad, but I was aware of it constantly being in my face, so it was annoying a bit. Have you read the book? If so, comment and let me know what you thought. In the mean time, I’m back to book number two. 

Throne of Glass Book Review

Throne of Glass Book Review

Throne of Glass

by Sarah J. Maas

I’d give this book 4 out of 5 daggers.

Ihad been wanting to get to this book for a while. The positive reviews raving about the world that Sarah J. Maas had created; about the royals, and the nobles, and the intrigue that ensued in the book got my attention. What I had heard about the world building alone would likely have been enough to get my attention, but throw on top of it all that there was supposed to be some elements of magic, and I was sold. It probably didn’t hurt, either, that when I picked this up I was feelng like mixing up my reading a bit, and going for a book with a strong female protagonist for a change.

So, what was the book about?

The beautiful Celaena Sardothien,  a former assassin left to rot in the salt mines of Endovier, had quite the reputation. Enough to warrant a visit from Prince Dorian himself, and the Captain of his guard to attempt to strike a deal with her. What could she possibly want from them? As it turns out, her freedom in exchange for her unique skills. The offer: If she successfully fought on the King’s behalf in as his “Champion” in the upcoming competition, she would be granted a pardon, and her freedom after four years of service as said Champion. While Celaena loathed the king, the offer was too good to turn down.

As she travels with the Prince and the Captain, some of Celaena’s backstory is revealed: her familiarity with the forest, hints of magic history, and other little clues that come to her memory.  Once at the castle, Celaena is given some of the niceties of court life that show another side of her. Dresses, jewelry, and attention from the other ladies that are vying for the Prince’s affections. These things seem all too familiar to the cold, hard, killer, and juxtaposed to her personality, make the reader wonder about who she was in a former—pre-assassin life.

The story gets interesting when the author begins to leave behind all the training and court life that Celaena has concerned herself with for a mysterious evil that begins to influence the competition. One by one, Celaena’s competitors are gruesomely murdered by what would seem to be some kind of beast. Celaena gets involved in the investigation, despite being warned not to, and tries to help solve the mysteries that would lead her to the killer, before the killer finds its way to her. 

Ultimately, this is a good book. Let’s start with the positives. I liked the bit of magic it contained, although I was hoping for more, to be honest. I liked the fights, and the warriors, and even the politics. It was the romantic part that I struggled with, in a way. It almost felt that it was just there to be there…to check a box that says “I’m a YA paranormal romance novel.”  I don’t mean that in a way that takes away from the writing—it was very good. It was just the literary device, I guess. In other words, this didn’t bother me from a genre perspective, because that’s not why I picked up the book, but for those that thought this was a paranormal romance, I could see it bothering them. I assume one of the reasons the author did this, from her perspective, was to round off Celaena’s character. 

The book’s worth a read. Check it out! 4/5 stars.


Ready Player One Book Review

Ready Player One Book Review

Ready Player One Book Review

by Author Ernest Cline

I’m giving this book 4.5 easter eggs out of 5.

One of the ways I judge a book is by its gravity, so to speak. Do I feel pulled toward it? In other words, when I was away from the book, did I feel like I needed to get back to it. If a day went by without reading it, did it bother me? I listened to the audiobook version of Ready Player One, and let me tell you, it pushed all my buttons (ha!) When my wife asked me if I’d be willing to go pick my daughter up from dance, or to go to the store or (fill in the blank) I quickly said, “yes,” thinking that it was another opportunity for me to flip the audiobook on and keep plugging away at it or a few more minutes. Set in the future, Ready Player One is, in so many ways, a homage to 80’s culture. Movies, music, styles, and especially video games all play a critical role in the plot. When a former video game developer, and rich business mogul learns that he only has a short time to live, he constructs an elaborate contest that he has placed inside the Oasis (online MMORPG type world). There are three phases (gates/keys) to the contest, and the first one to get through them all, wins “the egg,” or his ultimate prize—all his wealth and assets—billions. The story revolves around a less fortunate, yet brilliant, young guy named Wade that spends all his time on the Oasis. Like many others, he is devouring anything he about the 80’s in an attempt to figure out how to progress in the contest. James Halliday, the billionaire that created the contest that would take over just about everyone’s heart and mind,  loved the 80’s, and was rumored to have based the whole contest on 80’s pop culture. So, everyone studied up in order to be able to play the game, including Wade. This was Halliday’s way of resurrecting the 80’s, maybe buying it an extra life, as it were—deposit your quarter, right here, thank you very much. The author does a fabulous job world building not only interesting things about the 80’s, but the futuristic world that would obsess about a dead man’s fortune, and stop at nothing to get it. He’s included the folks that dedicate themselves to hunting down the egg, the commerce system inside the Oasis, a military group established by an evil corporation with ulterior motives, epic battles,   PVP vs non-PVP worlds, and even the naming and description of artifacts and epic weapons in the game…and so much more. This book was a wild ride down memory lane. I’m proud to say that I got most of the book’s references. I did have to look a few up, however, especially the Pac-Man trick (cool!) Ready Player One is well-written, and the plot was good fun.  It has murder, mystery, tons of 80’s backstory, and even romance. The ending was even enjoyable 🙂 If you like gaming, good writing, and the 80’s, and you haven’t read this book yet, once you have, you’ll wonder what took you so long.

Vampirates: Demons of the Ocean Book Review

Vampirates: Demons of the Ocean Book Review

Vampirates: Demons of the Ocean Book Review

by Justin Somper

I’d give this book 4 donors out of 5.


Vampirates…the concept… the title… its one of those things that I wished I had come up with. It’s a great concept.  I must say, though, that I feel bad for the author. As I gathered my thoughts for this review I took a look at other reviews of the book, and some of them are just cruel. The book was a good book, in my opinion, even though it had a few quirks.

This book has a ton of covers. Perhaps that a function of being originally published in 2005, and refreshing the book cover is a way to make it new again (marketing) and drive sales. Either way, the book has several fantastic covers, and as you know, I love a good cover.

The story follows Connor and Grace Tempest, a couple of humble children that live with their father, who man’s the lighthouse. One of their bonding traditions is for him to sing them a shanty as they go to bed. The thing is, its a little bit creepy, as its about Vampirates. Here it is:

Vampirates Shanty

I’ll tell you a tale of Vampirates,
A tale as old as true.

Yea, I’ll sing you a song of an ancient ship,
And its mighty fearsome crew.

Yea, I’ll sing you a song of an ancient ship,
That sails the oceans blue…
That haunts the oceans blue.

The Vampirate ship has tattered sails,
That flap like wings in flight.

They say the captain, he wears a veil
So as to curtail your fright.

At his death pale skin
And his lifeless eyes
And his teeth as sharp as night.

Oh, they say the captain, he wears a viel
And his eyes never see the light

You’d better be good, child- good as gold,
As good as good can be.

Eles I’ll turn you in to the Vampirates
And wave you out to sea.

Yes, you’d better be good child- good as gold,
Because- look! Can you see?

There’s a dark ship in the harbor tonight
And there’s room in the hold for thee!
(Plenty of room for thee)

Well, if pirates are bad,
And vampires are worse

Then I pray that as long as I be
That though I sing of Vampirates
I never one shall see.

Yea, if pirates are danger
And vampires are death

I’ll extend my prayer for thee-
That thine eyes never see a Vampirate…
…and they never lay a hand on thee.

The children’s father abruptly passes away one night and, unfortunately, he has left them with nothing. The children, after listening to the local banker offer to take the children in, or to be forced into the orphanage, decide that their only chance is to steal their father’s ship (it no longer belongs to him) and to test their luck on the open seas.

They do this for some time, and get some distance out into the ocean, until a great storm brews and dashes their boat into pieces. The twins are separated,  each scooped up by a different pirate ship. One crew consists of normal pirates, and the other, you guessed it, the Vampirates.

The rest of the tale explores each of the twin’s experiences on their respective ships, and their efforts to not give up hope of finding each other again.

I felt the quality of the writing was very good, and so was the storytelling, even though the plot seemed to have some holes that could be addressed. The characters were fun, and distinct, even though some of the more critical reviews underscored the characters as something they wanted more from.

Overall, I enjoyed the book, but the one thing that I found strange was the ending. The climax built up to what felt like might be an awesome pirate brawl, but it ended up getting resolved by simply correcting a character’s identity, and then all was well. It was a little anti-climactic. Overall, though, it was a good read. I’ll probably continue on with the next book at some point. Happy reading!

Ferals Book Review

Ferals Book Review

Ferals Book Review

by Jacob Grey

I give this book 3.5 crow talkers out of 5. What? I liked it…

  Ferals Alternate Book Cover

First of all, let’s start with the book cover. The cover above is absolutely beautiful (the one above.) I say its one of my favorite covers of all time. The color palette is tight, the typography plays into the scene and helps create an effective ambiance. In fact, it was the cover that attracted me to the book initially. To the left is the alternate cover. I assume the intent here was to try to target the Young Adult demographic, and make the story feel bigger. It, too, is nice, but I prefer the original cover. Ferals is a book about a boy named Caw (I know you caught the crow reference there…) who was abandoned by his parents at a young age, and raised by the crows. Talking to them is nothing out of the ordinary to him as that is all he has known. He and the crows live in the “nest,” and they scavenge the city for food and their upkeep. The inciting incident initially starts as a bully scene, but then turns into a scenario where some escaped convicts of the worst kind show up, and Caw takes note. He ends up intervening, something he doesn’t typically do, and saves the day initially. The first theme brought up is whether his loyalties are to the people, or the crows. The crows end up supporting him, but his interference tangles him in this adventure with the escaped convicts. He’ll end up finding out that they are more similar to him than he thought. Caw partners with the Prison Warden’s daughter and they try to hunt down the criminals while protecting their families, and learning about Caw’s past, and parents in the process. The world becomes a bigger place as Caw learns he has more to do with all of it than he had originally thought. The writing in this book is pretty good. This twists and turns were okay, but the writing was good. There is a slightly creepy element to Jacob Grey’s style, and I like that. I didn’t feel it ever really went overboard, but it was darker, for sure. Overall, Ferals is a good book. The pacing was smooth—moved along nicer than most books I’ve read recently—the writing was clean, and ambiance was moody and palpable. The characters surrounding the protagonists were okay. I wouldn’t call them flat, but they were just what they needed to be to move things along. All in all, I think I will be reading book #2 when it comes out. On that note, I got a look at its cover today, and it turned out pretty good, too!  

Where Should I Send Your Editing Checklist?

Join thousands of readers in my tribe! I send some freebies, and only infrequent updates.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest