Posted in Audiobooks, Book Reviews, Novels

REVIEW: Doctor Who: Scratchman (Adventures of the 4th Doctor #20) by Tom Baker and James Goss

*No Major Spoilers*

In his first-ever Doctor Who novel, Tom Baker’s incredible imagination is given free rein. A story so epic it was originally intended for the big screen, Scratchman is a gripping, white-knuckle thriller almost forty years in the making.

The Doctor, Harry and Sarah Jane Smith arrive at a remote Scottish island, when their holiday is cut short by the appearance of strange creatures – hideous scarecrows, who are preying on the local population. The islanders are living in fear, and the Doctor vows to save them all. But it doesn’t go to plan – the time travellers have fallen into a trap, and Scratchman is coming for them.

With the fate of the universe hanging in the balance, the Doctor must battle an ancient force from another dimension, one who claims to be the Devil. Scratchman wants to know what the Doctor is most afraid of. And the Doctor’s worst nightmares are coming out to play…


Rating: 5 out of 5.

I’ve been a fan of Doctor Who for several years. For anyone who knows me personally, I collect the Doctor Who spin-off books. I have even reviewed several of them on this blog. Even though Doctor Who isn’t as popular as it was when the reboot started, my passion for this British icon still burns strongly.

This Doctor Who Adventure features the fourth incarnation of the Doctor who is traveling with his companions Sarah Jane Smith, and Harry Sullivan. Sarah Jane is a journalist for the local paper and Harry is a surgeon-general for the secret military group U.N.I.T.

When the Doctor and crew stumbled upon some scarecrows that are infecting the local villagers with a mysterious substance that’s turning everyone into scarecrows. I thought I’d heard some version of this idea before. Interesting how the human psyche fears things that somewhat resemble ourselves.

One of the more memorable moments in this novel features Sarah Jane running back to the TARDIS to fetch a contraption for the Doctor so he can build a mechanism that’ll help defeat the scarecrows. Well, a scarecrow got in by mistake and starts chasing Sarah Jane in the many hallways and corridors of the TARDIS. Well one of the rooms had a device that shows the occupant’s life. From the day they were born up until the day they die.

Well, the scarecrow is about to corner Sarah Jane in this room and infect her with this scarecrow dust and it sees it’s life play out before it. We see the humanity in the voiceless and nameless scarecrow and it gives Sarah Jane enough time to escape the TARDIS which is coming down with this mysterious infection. I love how Doctor Who shows the humanity in the monsters/aliens when they have those characteristics.

Overall, I loved Scratchman, the atmosphere is creepy and suspenseful. I highly recommend listening to the audiobook, but either way, check this story out.

Posted in Audiobooks, Book Reviews, Novels

REVIEW: Afterlife (Ghostland #2) by Duncan Ralston

*Only Spoilers for Ghostland #1*

Six months after the “Ghostland Disaster,” Duck Falls has become a reluctant tourist trap, and a new home to the activist group Ghosts Are People Too. When the Return to Ghostland televised event ends in yet another tragedy, ghosts once again fall under scrutiny… along with the effectiveness of the Recurrence Field.

Away at college, survivor Lilian Roth has discovered she’s able to communicate with spirits. She and her best friend, Ben Laramie, use the skills they’ve acquired to free ghosts from their hauntings.

But Rex Garrote, the mastermind behind the Ghostland Disaster, is raising an army of ghosts to slaughter every living person on Earth. Left with no choice but to fight, Ben and Lilian must recruit their own army of freed ghosts, and prepare them for war.

Will it be enough to save the world?


Rating: 5 out of 5.

Last month, I reread Ghostland because I have been wanting to finish off the trilogy since the final book Infinite was released. I see Mr. Ralston’s other book Woom on TikTok and it’s encouraged me to try and finish this trilogy off. So let’s scare up this review of Afterlife.

Let me start off by saying that this is not as bloodbath driven as Ghostland. Afterlife takes more of a focus on the aftermath of the events of Ghostland and how some characters were affected by those events. A couple of characters, Lamb and Andy we meet through the events of the current story, not because of what happened at Ghostland.

One of the minor characters I really enjoyed from the first book was the detective Stan Beadle. He was at Ghostland because of a couple of cases he couldn’t close/solve. His daughter Sam, ends up following in her late father’s footsteps and chases down the clues that’s leading back to Garrote and the Ghostland park. Her story arc was my favorite besides the main characters Ben and Lilian.

Above them, Garrote’s massive face was displayed in mosaic over the entire wall of monitors, missing only the screens blacked out and cracked by the impact of Ms. Amblin’s body. He looked like a religious maniac who’d painted his face with a giant black crucifix from forehead to lips, the paint chipped and cracked. His dark grin filled the second row from the bottom.

Duncan Ralston; Afterlife

I feel the book takes more of a focus on the fact that famous/powerful psychics are committing suicide and that’s what catches Detective Sam Beadle’s attention to begin with. The ‘Ghost Brother’s’ TV show is just one of the nails in the coffin that kicks off the major event of Infinite.

I love how Ben ends up meeting Rex Garrote, and through bits and pieces of dialogue and minor characters we learn just how ambiguous Garrote actually is as a villain. I find it fascinating to try and figure out what is his master plan.

Overall, I really enjoyed Afterlife. I can’t wait to see how this series will be wrapping up. I know there’s going to be a lot of scares and trauma for all characters involved. If you enjoyed Ghostland I would highly recommend you continue the series. I wouldn’t recommend reading it out of order, although I guess you could if you wanted to.

Posted in Audiobooks, Book Reviews, Novels

REVIEW: Elysium Girls by Kate Pentecost

*No Major Spoilers*

In this sweeping Dust Bowl-inspired fantasy, a ten-year game between Life and Death pits the walled Oklahoma city of Elysium-including a girl gang of witches and a demon who longs for humanity-against the supernatural in order to judge mankind.

When Sal is named Successor to Mother Morevna, a powerful witch and leader of Elysium, she jumps at the chance to prove herself to the town. Ever since she was a kid, Sal has been plagued by false visions of rain, and though people think she’s a liar, she knows she’s a leader. Even the arrival of enigmatic outsider Asa-a human-obsessed demon in disguise-doesn’t shake her confidence in her ability. Until a terrible mistake results in both Sal and Asa’s exile into the Desert of Dust and Steel.

Face-to-face with a brutal, unforgiving landscape, Sal and Asa join a gang of girls headed by another Elysium exile-and young witch herself-Olivia Rosales. In order to atone for their mistake, they create a cavalry of magic powered, scrap metal horses to save Elysium from the coming apocalypse. But Sal, Asa, and Olivia must do more than simply tip the scales in Elysium’s favor-only by reinventing the rules can they beat the Life and Death at their own game.


Rating: 4 out of 5.

I have been discovering a lot of interesting books on TikTok, and this is another one of them. I saw this book on Arriane’s TikTok and I loved the setting and premise. So let’s cast a spell and reveal the truth of Elysium Girls.

I don’t read many books that take place in Oklahoma, and I love seeing that representation. I love how this happens during the Dust Bowl, and how we learn in the story that the rest of the world is in the middle of WWII. So being stuck in the era of the Dust Bowl and having to play to these goddesses games is interesting.

I love the characters, Sal I found to be relatable. She had her reputation torn to shreds because of no one supported her prediction of the drought ending. Even Mother Morevna shaming her and joining the rest of the town in shaming Sal was despicable to me.

Mother Morevna reminded me of the grandmother from Encanto, Abuela Alma Madrigal. Both are strong, magical women who have faced traumatic pasts and are handling things to what they think is the best way to do things, but actually aren’t.

I enjoyed getting to know the other characters such as Olivia, and the other friends they make while in exile. Although, of the new friend group, I can’t tell you who is who because of how quickly we’re introduced to the girl gang. However, that is a small complaint I have with the characters.

The ending was okay. It didn’t go the way I thought it was going to go, which is good. However, I’m feeling undecided on if I liked the way the story wrapped up. It was a solid ending overall. However I feel like I can’t delve more into it without going into spoilers and that’s no fun!

So overall, I really liked Elysium Girls. I loved the main characters, and how real the setting felt. This has small elements of steampunk, and the romance is natural and not forced into the plot. I would highly recommend if you enjoy magical realism, books that take place in Oklahoma, and historical fiction.

Posted in Audiobooks, Book Reviews, Novels

REVIEW: Throwback by Edward J. McFadden III

*Spoilers Marked*

A space cloud of unknown composition is on a collision course with Earth as the world holds its breath. 

The anomaly sails through the solar system and the International Space Station along with three astronauts and one cosmonaut are thrown back to the Cretaceous period where dinosaurs roam Earth hunting prey and great pterosaurs patrol the skies. 

Supplies on the station run low and desperation takes hold, but morale grows when the crew sees a bright multi-colored light blinking on the surface below. The astronauts decide to evacuate the station in the Soyuz escape capsule and investigate. As the adventurers struggle to survive in the primordial jungle, the party discovers artifacts of an ancient civilization that could help them find the light beacon. If they can stay alive long enough.


Rating: 3 out of 5.

I don’t remember how I found this audiobook, but the premise sounded interesting. I’m always game for sci-fi, time travel, and a good monster tale. So let’s rewind, and talk about Throwback.

First off, I felt like the beginning of this novel was rushed. There’s a ton of characters that are introduced and quickly killed off. It felt like the author was in a hurry to get to the dinosaur part and didn’t setup a decent introduction. On top of all of that, I felt like the characters we’re eventually left with were bland and unmemorable.

The only saving grace I have to say about this story is the dinosaur action. I loved how detailed the author got in to describing what they looked like and how they interacted with the world around them. Sadly, that is the only saving grace I have to say about this book.

The ending wasn’t satisfactory in my opinion. After their arduous journey and this mysterious light is just as much a mystery as when they first saw it in the spaceship. So as the typical humans do, they break it and just set up camp and proceed to live out the rest of their days in this prehistoric world.

No closure, no meaning for all the sacrifices they’ve made. Just ‘huh, I guess there’s nothing we can do, so let’s just live here now.’ I was shouting at my phone when the narrator was reading the end credits, ‘that’s it? That’s the end!?’. I feel like I wasted my time and energy with this one. The only reason this isn’t lower is because of the dinosaurs like I stated earlier in the review.

We get no answers for anything. What was the beacon? What was this ancient race doing? All we get is the astronomers guesses and assumptions. I would say to pass on this prehistoric waste of time.

Posted in Audiobooks, Book Reviews, Novels

RAPID REVIEW: The Hunchback Assignments (The Hunchback Assignments #1) by Arthur Slade

*No Major Spoilers*

The mysterious Mr. Socrates rescues Modo, a child in a traveling freak show. Modo is a hunchback with an amazing ability to transform his appearance, and Mr. Socrates raises him in isolation as an agent for the Permanent Association, a spy agency behind Brittania’s efforts to rule the empire. At 14, Modo is left on the streets of London to fend for himself. When he encounters Octavia Milkweed, another Association agent, the two uncover a plot by the Clockword Guild behind the murders of important men. Furthermore, a mad scientist is turning orphan children into automatons to further the goals of the Guild. Modo and Octavia journey deep into the tunnels under London and discover a terrifying plot against the British government. It’s up to them to save their country.


Rating: 4 out of 5.

Back in 2020, I read a graphic novel spin-off of this series called Modo: Ember’s End. I still enjoyed this novel even without knowing much about the series other than what was said in the graphic novel. So, I am thinking about making a whole post comparing the two after I reread the graphic novel so I can talk about them with fresh eyes.

I like this alternative take on The Hunchback of Notre Dame story. Modo gets found by a secret organization and gets to be trained on how to be an undercover agent. It’s so cool on top of everything being steampunk.

In my review of Modo: Ember’s End I said that I wish they didn’t make Octavia the typical dumb brute that is paired with the smart, scientific genius. However, in The Hunchback Assignments, Octavia is a smart and clever girl who catches on that Modo has a special ability. Even when she asks to see his true form she respects Modo’s boundaries when he refuses.

Overall, I found this novel to be an entertaining read. Seeing Modo go through a transformation makes me excited to read more of this series in the future. I would recommend this novel for fans of fairy tale retellings, Young Adult fiction, or fans of spy thrillers and steampunk.