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 Book Reviews, Novels

REVIEW: The Last One by Alexandra Oliva

*No Spoilers*

She wanted an adventure. She never imagined it would go this far.

It begins with a reality TV show. Twelve contestants are sent into the woods to face challenges that will test the limits of their endurance. While they are out there, something terrible happens—but how widespread is the destruction, and has it occurred naturally or is it human-made? Cut off from society, the contestants know nothing of it. When one of them—a young woman the show’s producers call Zoo—stumbles across the devastation, she can imagine only that it is part of the game.

Alone and disoriented, Zoo is heavy with doubt regarding the life—and husband—she left behind, but she refuses to quit. Staggering countless miles across unfamiliar territory, Zoo must summon all her survival skills—and learn new ones as she goes.

But as her emotional and physical reserves dwindle, she grasps that the real world might have been altered in terrifying ways—and her ability to parse the charade will be either her triumph or her undoing.


Rating: 5 out of 5.

I joined TikTok to find more book recommendations (like I need more books). And this was one of them. I wish I could remember which BookTok I saw talking about it. However, I’m glad I dove straight to this dark adventure! Let’s hop into The Last One.

I listened to this one as an audiobook, and I believe this is the best way to enjoy this novel. You have two distinct voices narrating; the present from Zoo’s perspective and another narrating what happened once the filming for the TV show began. The TV show perspective is more of a third person point of view. Often referring to the contestants by stereotypical nicknames such as ‘black doctor’ and ‘cheerleader boy’.

I’ve heard believers speak of the coldness of science and the warmth of their faith. But my life has been warm too, and I have faith. Faith in love, and faith in the inherent beauty of a world that formed itself.

Alexandra Oliva, The Last One

The Last One tapped into my irrational fear of coming back from a long night shift at work and not knowing that the world is actively falling apart around you. The atmosphere is portrayed beautifully. I was actually waiting for Zoo to come across her first zombie and how she’d handle that scenario. Thankfully there’s no zombies here.

When Zoo breaks her glasses after getting attacked, that made me feel even more nervous and on edge since I wear glasses and I am like Velma when she loses her glasses. I couldn’t imagine having to survive in the wilderness without the ability to see clearly.

Overall, I really enjoyed The Last One. It’s full of suspense and a relatable main character you can really root for. I would recommend this novel for people who enjoyed Bird Box by Josh Malerman and Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. If you haven’t read those novels, that’s okay. If you like Survival Fiction, Dystopian Fiction, or stories with strong female leads. Then I would check out The Last One by Alexandra Oliva.

Posted in Audiobooks, Book Reviews

REVIEW: Those Across the River by Christopher Buehlman

*No Major Spoilers*

*Small trigger warning for brief mentions of gore and torture*

Failed academic Frank Nichols and his wife, Eudora, have arrived in the sleepy Georgia town of Whitbrow, where Frank hopes to write a history of his family’s old estate-the Savoyard Plantation- and the horrors that occurred there. At first, the quaint, rural ways of their new neighbors seem to be everything they wanted. But there is an unspoken dread that the townsfolk have lived with for generations. A presence that demands sacrifice.

It comes from the shadowy woods across the river, where the ruins of Savoyard still stand. Where a longstanding debt of blood has never been forgotten.

A debt that has been waiting patiently for Frank Nichols’s homecoming…


Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

I started this audiobook not knowing what to expect. At first it was reminding me of The Curse of Crow Hollow by Billy Coffey. The main character comes into this small town and maybe not everything is as what it seems. The end result is something dark and twisted that will leave you stunned.

“That was a mean thought, and not funny at all. I let it turn to sand and blow out of my head.”

Christopher Buehlman, Those Across the River

I love how dark, yet beautiful this story was thematically. When Frank and Eudora were just going to the store in broad daylight, you could feel the heavy and intense atmosphere. The financial strain everyone was facing, the PTSD Frank was suffering, and the aftermath of the ending of the ritual made the world feel unnerving.

One thing I didn’t like was how hard it was to keep track of most of the townsfolk. I’m not sure if that was intentional because that seems to be a trope in the horror genre. Where everyone except the main character(s) are cardboard cutouts and monster/demon fodder. I know it’s a necessary evil to convey how full and alive this town is, but even one of the minor plot twists made me feel indifferent.

Overall, this was a beautifully written novel full of small town horror, sophisticated romance, and dark suspense. Frank’s perspective on everything made the townsfolk seem sinister, even when the pastor himself fought to keep the pig ritual reinstated. Frank learns the devil lived in Whitbrow, and the devil soon destroyed the town in the end.

I would recommend this novel to fans of horror, historical fiction, and for fans of The Curse of Crow Hollow and Daughters Unto Devils by Amy Lukavics. This story is a great read and would encourage anyone thinking about either getting a fresh take on horror, or just looking for some early Halloween vibes, then I would definitely recommend this book.


Want More Horror? Click Here to see more horror novels I’ve reviewed!

Posted in Audiobooks, Book Reviews, Novels

UPDATED REVIEW: Dog on It (Chet and Bernie Mystery #1) by Spencer Quinn

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*No Major Spoilers*

Meet Chet, the wise and lovable canine narrator of Dog on It, who works alongside Bernie, a down-on-his-luck private investigator. Chet might have flunked out of police school (“I’d been the best leaper in K-9 class, which had led to all the trouble in a way I couldn’t remember exactly, although blood was involved”), but he’s a detective through and through.

In this, their first adventure, Chet and Bernie investigate the disappearance of Madison, a teenage girl who may or may not have been kidnapped, but who has definitely gotten mixed up with some very unsavory characters. A well-behaved, gifted student, she didn’t arrive home after school and her divorced mother is frantic. Bernie is quick to take the case-something about a cash flow problem that Chet’s not all that clear about-and he’s relieved, if vaguely suspicious, when Madison turns up unharmed with a story that doesn’t add up. But when she disappears for a second time in a week, Bernie and Chet aren’t taking any chances; they launch a full-blown investigation. Without a ransom demand, they’re not convinced it’s a kidnapping, but they are sure of one thing: something smells funny.

Their search for clues takes them into the desert to biker bars and other exotic locals, with Chet’s highly trained nose leading the way. Both Chet and Bernie bring their own special skills to the hunt, one that puts each of them in peril. But even as the bad guys try to turn the tables, this duo is nothing if not resourceful, and the result is an uncommonly satisfying adventure.


Rating: 4 out of 5.

I love a good mystery involving a dog or cat. So, when I stumbled upon this mystery series I knew I had to check it out. So let’s dive into Dog On It.

I thought it was a really cool idea to tell the story through Chet’s point of view. The things us humans focus on and think about vs what our canine companions must think about is so funny and heartwarming. Chet sees his best friend as the smartest guy he’s ever met and that he knows “money trouble” is a constant worry. Chet has no concept of such human things, but he is there to support Bernie through thick and thin.

“A wild-goose chase! I’d heard that expression so many times but never been on one. It sounded like the most exciting thing in the whole world. Yes, I wanted to go on a wild-goose chase, and if that meant Vegas, so be it.”

Spencer Quinn, Dog On It

One negative I have is how much Chet repeats himself. By the time I got halfway through the book it seemed like the case was in the same standstill as we were in several chapters ago. Once Bernie finally figured out a “big clue” I was yelling at my phone in joy that the mystery was finally progressing and we were going to nab the bad guys.

Overall, I liked this novel. I think if you’re a fan of David Rosenfelt then you would enjoy this series. The focus isn’t so much on the mystery in this series as it is the bond between a PI and his dog. However, I think it’s worth the read.

Posted in Audiobooks, Book Reviews

REVIEW: When the Sky Fell on Splendor by Emily Henry

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*No Major Spoilers*

Almost everyone in the small town of Splendor, Ohio, was affected when the local steel mill exploded. If you weren’t a casualty of the accident yourself, chances are a loved one was. That’s the case for seventeen-year-old Franny, who, five years after the explosion, still has to stand by and do nothing as her brother lies in a coma.

In the wake of the tragedy, Franny found solace in a group of friends whose experiences mirrored her own. The group calls themselves The Ordinary, and they spend their free time investigating local ghost stories and legends, filming their exploits for their small following of YouTube fans. It’s silly, it’s fun, and it keeps them from dwelling on the sadness that surrounds them.

Until one evening, when the strange and dangerous thing they film isn’t fiction–it’s a bright light, something massive hurdling toward them from the sky. And when it crashes and the teens go to investigate…everything changes.


Rating: 4 out of 5.

First off, I have to say that when I saw the cover of this novel at the library, I fell in love with this beautiful book cover. When I finished reading When the Sky Fell on Splendor, I can say that the story is just as beautiful as the cover.

I love how the characters were relatable and had depth. Franny and her brother Arthur grew up living in their older brother’s shadow. After the steel mill explosion and their brother Mark ends up in a coma, Franny’s mom and dad divorce and Franny and Arthur continue to live in the background of their depressed dad’s life.

“How many billions of things had to happen just right to give me this ordinary life.”

Emily Henry, When the Sky Fell on Splendor

We don’t get much from the other characters other than what is on the surface that Franny has observed. One of the key facets of their friend group is to not talk about emotional stuff. Even though some of the signs of the parents’ issues have clearly effected their kids in subtle ways.

Franny had grown close to one of the other boys in their group, and during an emotional moment he shared about how his mom’s doomsday prepping quickly spiraled into hoarding after the accident. He even took up a job at the local Walmart just so he could support his ailing mom and how he had become the sole breadwinner after his dad died in the accident.

I personally would’ve loved more insight on Sophia. I think she was left out when it came to emotional weight. She was the smartest one of the group and wasn’t an outcast like the others. She wanted to be a lawyer after a weekend with her grandmother watching Law and Order: SVU. She seemed to have a great relationship with her mom, and doesn’t understand why Franny started keeping her at arm’s length.

I read this book being compared to The Serpent King and Stranger Things as well as Super 8. I personally haven’t read or watched any of these, but they seem to have similar themes to When the Sky Fell on Splendor. So if you are familiar with any of these popular stories, I would recommend this novel for you.