Posted in Book Reviews, Novels

REVIEW: The Devil Makes Three by Tori Bovalino

*Spoilers Incoming!*

**This novel contains descriptions of magic, blood, gore, and violence. Rated for 14+**

Tess Matheson only wants three things: time to practice her cello, for her sister to be happy, and for everyone else to leave her alone.

Instead, Tess finds herself working all summer at her boarding school library, shelving books and dealing with the intolerable patrons. The worst of them is Eliot Birch: snide, privileged, and constantly requesting forbidden grimoires. After a bargain with Eliot leads to the discovery of an ancient book in the library’s grimoire collection, the pair accidentally unleash a book-bound demon.

The demon will stop at nothing to stay free, manipulating ink to threaten those Tess loves and dismantling Eliot’s strange magic. Tess is plagued by terrible dreams of the devil and haunting memories of a boy who wears Eliot’s face. All she knows is to stay free, the demon needs her… and he’ll have her, dead or alive.


Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

When I found this novel at my local library it sounded like an interesting premise. Haunted library, demonic possession, and chaos all around; sounds fun right? Well, I tend to be picky about my Young Adult fiction sometimes. When I read a novel, I am more of a ‘don’t beat around the bush and say what you want to say’ kind of person. This whole ‘oh he has to hate me for my simple mistake’ and ‘she doesn’t want me. She wants boy X,Y, or Z.” When they are both clearly into each other is annoying and aggravating. Maybe that’s just me getting old, or maybe I’m not much of a romantic.

This novel is Ms. Bovalino’s debut novel, and I have a difficult time just completely tearing down this book. It has it’s good qualities and it’s bad qualities. My complaints lay with things I consider to be a major factor in my enjoyment of reading. Those being character dialogue and character development.

Now, I can tell that she put a lot of love and care into Eliot. I clearly understood his motives and his backstory. Tess on the other hand, I never fully understood her motives, even though she kept repeating them at least once a chapter. Maybe Tess and I got off on the wrong foot in the beginning, and I’m blowing this out of proportion.

If you wanted peace, you wouldn’t wear the devil’s face.

The Devil Makes Three by Tori Bovalino

Tess’s reasons for going to this boarding school revolve around her parents being bad with money and making poor business decisions while the economy is struggling. She is giving up her dreams of going to her dream college just to make sure she can protect her little sister Natalie. I felt that not only keeping Natalie, who’s 13, in the dark about everything is naïve. I think a 13 year old has the capacity to understand that her parents made bad financial decisions. However, her older sister will still be there for her when she needs someone to talk to.

Tess throughout the story is so concerned about paying for this prep school, surely she would qualify for financial aid or scholarships because of her parents’ financial situation. If she discussed that I must’ve missed it because doing so would’ve helped ease the stress a bit.

Now with Eliot, his parents are wealthy enough he could’ve gone to any school he wanted. However, he goes to the one where his dad used to be on the school board, even though he is closer with his mother. He wants to learn more about the magic he shares with his mother, even though he is the reason he and Tess unleash a demon into the world he is still more than willing to help Tess destroy the book and the devil right along with it.

Overall, I thought this book was okay. The premise was promising, but the execution of the characters and their dynamics wasn’t my cup of tea. If you enjoy YA romance with their paranormal activity then I’d say give this book a shot. Just because it isn’t my cup of tea doesn’t mean you shouldn’t borrow it from a friend or local library.


Posted in Book Reviews

REVIEW: The Mistress of Illusions (The Dreamscape Trilogy #2) by Mike Resnick

*No Major Spoilers*

Her name is Lisa, and ever since Eddie Raven hooked up with her, strange things keep happening.

How strange? Lisa can take on any role at a moment’s notice. She’s Maid Marian. She’s Elizabeth Bennett from Pride and Prejudice. In an instant, she can become the sexy, gum-chewing secretary to his hard-boiled detective. She can even become Doc Holliday’s frontier lady, Big Nose Kate.

But who is she really? That’s something Eddie’s got to find out before this series of strange adventures, which began in The Master of Dreams, overtakes him. And if Lisa’s not enough of a problem, there’s also the powerful creature who claims to be the chief demon in hell, who seems convinced that he, Eddie, and Lisa are on the same side.

Is Eddie being told the truth? He’d better decide quickly, because the one thing that’s clear is that he’s running out of time.


Rating: 3 out of 5.

I have read Mr. Resnick’s works before. I own the whole Weird Wild West series, as well as owning some others of his works. I learned while writing this review that he passed away in January 2020 after a long battle with cancer. So on to brighter topics, let’s dive in to The Mistress of Illusions!

I haven’t read the first novel in the trilogy. Normally, I’d be concerned with starting in the middle of the series, but I thought I’d give it a chance. Well, I don’t think much goes on in the first book besides the introduction of the main characters and the event that brings them all together. So if that’s a concern for you, then don’t worry on skipping Masters of Dreams.

I listened to this on audio and I made a bookmark before I fell asleep, and I think I forgot to go back to the bookmark to see what I missed. Sad to say is that I didn’t miss much. I think the first two books could be trimmed down and compacted into one book. Near the end Lisa gives Raven a recap on the adventures he’s gone on and what lessons he was supposed to gather from them.

For example, in one of the adventures he’s Robin Hood after being arrested and locked in the sheriff’s jails. Well, what he was supposed to learn from this was how to escape a jail/prison without using any weapons.

Throughout this story, the communication between Raven, Lisa, and the demon is very poor. Raven keeps wanting to know what all of this “training” is for and Lisa’s and the demon’s answers are continually vague until the end. Even when the big explanation comes we still don’t learn all that much. Raven throughout doesn’t understand why he’s been chosen for this mission. All of this frustration eventually started making me frustrated as well.

So overall, I thought it was fun getting to see Raven go through all of these micro adventures through literary and historical events. However, the banter about his self-doubt and Lisa’s tight lips made this an irritating read. I’m not going to read the finale to be honest. Not really that interested with how poor these characters were not likable.


Posted in Book Reviews

REVIEW: The Joy Machine (Star Trek: The Original Series #80) by James E. Gunn

*No Major Spoilers*

Timshel was once the vacation spot of the galaxy, full of culture, natural beauty, and friendly, hospitable inhabitants. But now Timshel has cut itself off from the universe. No one is allowed to enter or leave. Concerned, the Federation has sent agents to investigate, but none have returned.
Captain Kirk and the crew of the Starship EnterpriseTM are shocked to discover the truth: the people of Timshel have succumbed to an insidious new technology that guarantees every citizen total pleasure, a soul-destroying ecstasy that has enslaved their entire civilization. Kirk and Spock have faced many threats before, but now they face the most seductive menace of all: perfect happiness.

And the rest of the Federation may soon fall under the irresistible control of the Joy Machine.


Posted in Book Reviews, Novels

REVIEW REDUX: Mammoth Island (Grant Coleman Adventures #5) by Russell James

*No Major Spoilers*

As paleontologist Grant Coleman waits to board a plane for a much-needed Hawaiian vacation, thugs knock him out and kidnap him. He awakens on a cargo aircraft in flight to find he’s an unwilling member of an expedition to a secret Arctic location called Mammoth Island.

Unscrupulous fossil dealer Angelo Destro has assembled the expedition to steal the fruits of a Russian oligarch’s labors The oligarch’s scientists have resurrected extinct wooly mammoths at the island’s laboratory. But from the moment the plane lands, the plan goes to pieces. The lab’s scientists are missing, the compound is a shamble, and it looks like something enormous has crushed the perimeter fence.

Even worse, Destro isn’t the only one after this prehistoric prize. Before Grant and the others solve the destroyed lab’s mysteries, Russian soldiers arrive. Destro’s group is forced to flee into the surrounding forests, where killer mammoths lurk, ready to hunt more human prey.

Trapped between the twin tips of Russian bayonets and mammoth tusks, who among them will survive and escape Mammoth Island?


Rating: 4 out of 5.

I discovered Mammoth Island through the horror authors community that I follow on Twitter. I love how social media can help authors get the word out about their novels, and that’s where I find a lot of my horror books. So let’s dive into Mammoth Island and see what monstrosities await us!

Why doesn’t anyone try and resurrect Pleistocene bunny rabbits? Am I the only person who’s seen the Jurassic Park movies?

Mammoth Island by Russel James

Even though this is the latest novel in this series, I didn’t have a problem jumping in to the story. Grant has been a lot of places and seen a lot of things that some would say were unbelievable. Some of his adventures are so unbelievable to most people that he writes them as monster stories. He seems to be making a decent living off of the profits, but I’m glad he’s still teaching. Grant is a teacher I wish I had.

As for foul language and blood and gore, I didn’t find it to be that offensive compared to other horror novels I read. Only brief descriptions of body horror and mentions of blood. Not much foul language if any at all. Overall, I found this an approachable story.

I love how in the afterword, the author goes into detail about the research he’s done on wooly mammoths and other extinct animals. I mean, it’s fun for some who are interested in archeology and biology. I just appreciate the amount of research that’s gone into this book.

Even though I try and avoid spoilers, I would say that I enjoyed the ending. It wasn’t an “everybody dies” trope ending, but a majority of the characters meet a grisly end.

I would recommend this novel for readers who enjoy monster/kaiju stories, horror fans, and lovers of the wooly mammoth.


Posted in Personal Blogs

Binge Reading 2021 Challenge

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

So every year I try and set a yearly reading goal for myself. Most people are strict and particular about their challenges. However, I tend to be more lax with mine. I try and read 50 books a year. Audiobooks, Graphic Novels, and Children’s chapter books are included in my challenge.

Well here it is November and I’ve only met the halfway point of my goal. Considering how poor my mental health has been this year, and the fact that I’ve been working a part time job on top of more personal matters I’m more than surprised that I even made it halfway.

So this is where the challenge comes in. My fiancé has challenged me to read 24 books by the New Year. If I achieve this I will get $100. No audiobooks, and all books must be more that 100 pages. Since I’m temporarily leaving my job in a few days, I can’t wait to fully dive into this challenge.