Posted in Book Reviews, Novels

REVIEW: Till We Become Monsters by Amanda Headlee


*No Major Spoilers*

Monsters exist and Korin Perrin knew this as truth because his grandmother told him so. Korin, raised in the shadow of his older brother Davis, is an imaginative child who believes his brother is a monster. After the death of their grandmother, seven-year-old Korin, blaming Davis for her demise, tries to kill him. Sixteen years following the attempt on Davis’ life, racked with guilt, Korin comes to terms with the fact that Davis may not be the one who is the monster after all.

Past wrongs needing to be righted, Korin agrees to a hunting trip with his brother and father. But they, along with two friends, never make it to their destination. An accident along the way separates the hunters in the dark forests of Minnesota during the threat of an oncoming blizzard. As the stranded hunters search for each other and safety, an ancient evil wakes.


Rating: 5 out of 5.

I am a big fan of cryptids and other mythological creatures. Since I live in Oklahoma which may not be the epicenter of Bigfoot sightings, this state does have more than a few known Bigfoot hunting grounds. However, there is no Bigfoot in this story, Till We Become Monsters is focused on the Wendigo.

For those unfamiliar with the Indigenous Peoples’ Mythologies, a Wendigo is a creature that is created from the dire straits people in the northern areas can find themselves in if they get caught in a snowstorm unprepared. They say once someone gets a taste of human blood, the never-ending hunger grows and morphs the person into a monster.

Back to the book, we meet Korin who we watch grow up feeling emotionally neglected by his parents. His big brother Davis has both of his parents’ attention and love throughout childhood and into adulthood. Seeing the events from mostly Korin’s perspective makes you feel bad for him.

“We never know how far we have fallen until we become monsters.”

Amanda Headlee; Till We Become Monsters

After about halfway into the book, we see Korin’s childhood from both parents’ and Davis’ perspectives. It doesn’t negate how his parents neglected Korin and that they spoiled Davis to the point where the whole family dynamic is toxic and borderline abusive. It just provides context for the reader that the parents fumbled the parental football to the detriment of the family.

Even though no one in the family is worth rooting for, you can’t help rooting for all of them to survive the aftermath of the car accident. I think this shows that the author took the time to give each character a slight redeeming quality. I think if everything was left in Korin’s perspective, we’d want all the family to fail.

Overall, this was a good book. I got swept up in the action, and the building of Korin’s character. I think the mythological aspect of this novel was pulled off really well. I also think if you are interested in cryptids, survival horror, and just all around spookiness, then I would say give this novel a try.

Posted in Book Reviews, Novels

REVIEW: Engines of War (Doctor Who: New Series Adventures Specials #4) by George Mann


*No Major Spoilers*

The Great Time War has raged for centuries, ravaging the universe. Scores of human colony planets are now overrun by Dalek occupation forces. A weary, angry Doctor leads a flotilla of Battle TARDISes against the Dalek stronghold but in the midst of the carnage, the Doctor’s TARDIS crashes to a planet below: Moldox.

As the Doctor is trapped in an apocalyptic landscape, Dalek patrols roam amongst the wreckage, rounding up the remaining civilians. But why haven’t the Daleks simply killed the humans?

Searching for answers the Doctor meets ‘Cinder’, a young Dalek hunter. Their struggles to discover the Dalek plan take them from the ruins of Moldox to the halls of Gallifrey, and set in motion a chain of events that will change everything. And everyone.


Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

This was actually my second attempt at reading this Doctor Who novel. I don’t remember why I didn’t finish this the first time, maybe it just wasn’t the right time. So let’s jump in the TARDIS and check out this review of Engines of War.

It was interesting seeing The Doctor in a negative light in the beginning of the story. Cinder is in the middle of the Time War, and because of it Cinder sees both sides of the war as ‘the bad guys’. However, when she meets the Doctor she sees just how fruitless her attempts at beating the Daleks were.

I liked Cinder as a companion, she brought a new perspective to the mythos of The Time War. When the Doctor takes her to Gallifrey to try and alert the High Council about the Dalek’s end game, she sees that her assumptions of other Time Lords was correct.

She [Cinder] could see now that all she’d been doing was screaming into the wind. Those victories she’d notched up on the barrel of her gun had been hollow, every one of them. She hadn’t changed anything, hadn’t really made a difference. She’d wasted so much time.

George Mann; Doctor Who: Engines of War

I enjoyed getting more context for the War Doctor and the Time War. On the TV show they show bits of it, but nothing like what this novel accomplishes. We get to see what the war has not only done on a single planet, but what it has done to the people of Gallifrey.

Overall, this was an excellent Doctor Who book. There was action, exploration, and we got to see a lot of Gallifrey. I’d recommend Engines of War to all Doctor Who fans and even casual science fiction fans.

Posted in Book Reviews, Novels

REVIEW: Nancy Drew: The Curse by Micol Ostow


*No Major Spoilers*

A curse is just a mystery dressed up in a sharp, stern warning.
And everyone knows that I lovea mystery.

Nancy Drew isn’t one for ghost stories. So when the annual Horseshoe Bay Naming Day celebration is threatened by eerie warnings of an old curse, Nancy is sure someone—someone human—is behind them. And no way is she letting this person stand in the way of her best friend, Daisy, finally getting her day in the spotlight as the lead in the much-anticipated Naming Day reenactment.

But as Nancy begins investigating, the so-called marks of the curse become bolder…and more sinister. A vandalized locker and ominous notes are one thing, but soon enough lives—including Nancy’s own—are at stake. Though the dreams and eerie visions plaguing Nancy are certainly just products of her own mind…right?

All old towns have their traditions and histories, but as Nancy will soon discover, they don’t always tell the whole story.


Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

I have very fond memories of Nancy Drew. My school library had all the old Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books and that’s where I fell in love with mysteries and expanding my vocabulary. So let’s delve into this review of Nancy Drew: The Curse.

Modern Nancy Drew is still a culture shock I can’t quite get over. So seeing her using a computer and cell phone took a bit to get used to. However, one thing I liked was how the author didn’t let technology do all of the detective work for Nancy. A lot of the clues she had to track down herself whether that means snooping around the town hall archives, or traveling to a neighboring town to interview a former newspaper editor.

Blood. Science. Facts. These are the things I believe in. Things that I can quantify. Things that I can prove, that I can hold in my hand.

Micol Ostow; Nancy Drew: The Curse

Nancy is just as smart and clever as she always has been, however there were moments where I wanted to throw my Kindle because of the melodrama and romantic subplot. It got so bad that my eyes started glazing over and I had to go back and try and absorb what I missed.

The mystery overall was well constructed. I had a small list of suspects going as Nancy and her friends were preparing for the Naming Day Celebration as well as dodging bad omens and disgruntled students. Horseshoe Bay doesn’t take its own superstitions lightly for sure.

This is supposed to be the prequel for the CW’s version of Nancy Drew similar to the retellings of Riverdale and Sabrina the Teenage Witch. I haven’t watched any of these shows, so I’m not sure what to expect from the show. Maybe if this review gets enough comments and likes I’ll review the Nancy Drew show.

Overall, this was an ok novel. It’s not the old school Nancy I grew up with, but if this gets the younger generation into reading and solving mysteries, then there’s no complaints from me. This was a fun way to get back into the world of teenagers solving mysteries and having fun.

Posted in Audiobooks, Bite-Sized Reviews, Book Reviews, Graphic Novels

COMBO REVIEW: Doctor Who Edition


*No Spoilers*

So this is going to be more of a test than anything, I have read a lot of books that I thought were great, but I didn’t have enough for a full or rapid review. So, I’m going to rate and give my thoughts on these Doctor Who books I’ve recently read.


Empire of the Wolf by Jody Houser

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The art style was interesting, all of the speech bubbles were placed where characters had their mouths closed. It looked like they were communicating telepathically. Not sure if this is common or if I’m just noticing it in this comic story. Seeing the Eleventh Doctor interact with Rose has been a bit strange. In this storyline, Eleven just lost Amy and Rory and is in a major depressive episode. However, I thought he would be over the moon to see Rose again.


Doctormania by Cavan Scott

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This is a collection of stories, two small ones and one big story. I think the bigger story was the best out of this collection. However, I think Rose sounded whiney and annoying throughout the collection.


The Krillitane Storm by Christopher Cooper

Rating: 4 out of 5.

It’s always interesting seeing the Doctor on a solo adventure, and even if he’s by himself, he won’t be for long. The Krillitane are a returning enemy, and the episode they were featured in gets referenced a bit throughout this story. This story had a good twist ending, and I kind of wish we could learn more about the Krillitane. They are an interesting villain and can almost go toe-to-toe with The Doctor.

Posted in Book Reviews

REVIEW: Mastodon by Steve Stred

*No Major Spoilers*

*Trigger Warning for body horror, animal death/cruelty, and death of a parent*

17 years ago, Tyler Barton was born in the Rocky Mountains, while his parents were on a hike.

On that day, his mother disappeared, never to be seen again.

Now, history repeats itself.

On the 17th anniversary of her disappearance, Tyler’s father is flying home when the plane he’s on disappears – in the same area where his mother was last seen.

Undeterred by officials, Tyler decides to hike into the area in search of his father, hoping to find him alive and bring him back to safety.

But there’s a reason that area is prohibited to enter and even though Tyler doesn’t care, he’ll soon find out that the wilderness can hide some of the deepest, darkest fears known to man.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

I remember when I saw the promo for this book, I was so excited because the cover reminded me of a Wendigo, an Indigenous mythological creature. I couldn’t wait to dive in to it. After some time to read it, digest it, and gather my thoughts, I’m ready to explore this review of Mastodon.

This valley was wearing his rational mind down to the point of not believing anything he saw, but also accepting that anything was possible.

Steve Stred, Mastodon

This novel isn’t at all what I thought it was going to be. Not that the summary led me astray, it didn’t. It was the cover on top of my assumptions that left me unprepared for this mind-twisting read. What I thought was a simple answer, turned into something I never saw coming until it was too late.

Tyler reminded me of Brian from The Hatchet in the way there’s not much personality there so we, as the reader, can get a more fulfilling experience seeing the world through his eyes. However, there’s not much to his character other than his parents being missing and all of the hiking and camping trips he and his dad went on throughout his life.

One thing that adds to the mystery surrounding this restricted military compound is how the scale seems to shift and change to fit the current moment or situation. It felt like months for Tyler to reach the spot where his dad’s plane crashed even though it had only been three or so days.

One small gripe I have about this story is how bland and boring Kyle is as a character. Like I said previously, that might have been to give us a more open view of his world and experiences. However, it made the story drag a bit.

Another critique I have is how rushed the ending feels. It’s like the author wrote the main scene(s) that he wanted to write and then the rest was rushed just to finish writing. The final twist ending left me unsatisfied and disappointed.

Overall, this was an okay read. There’s plenty of horror elements to last you a lifetime as well as disturbing imagery. I think you’d like Mastodon if you like the horror subgenre splatterpunk, as well as those who enjoy monster tales and Kaiju stories.