Posted in Audiobooks, Book Reviews, Novels

REVIEW: The Dark Deception (Daphne and Velma #2) by Morgan Baden


*No Major Spoilers*

Despite their differences, Daphne and Velma were able to solve the mystery of The Vanishing Girl. But there are a lot of secrets buried in the town of Crystal Cove. And the biggest case of all still remains unsolved… why did the town’s original settlers all disappear? What happened to them?

Velma is determined to find out… especially because her family’s ancestors were among the disappeared. And now that she and Daphne have started to get a reputation for solving mysteries, everyone in town is looking to them for answers.

But digging up the past can be dangerous… especially when some people in town have profited from the mystery for so long. Can these two intrepid teen detectives crack the case… and escape with their lives?

~~ Trigger Warnings for mentions of bullying ~~

As you know, I love Scooby-Doo and, the franchise is something near and dear to me. When I found out about this series existence, I read and reviewed The Vanishing Girl in March. I loved the novel overall, and I couldn’t wait to read the sequel Dark Deception. So let’s see how the sequel stands up. 

Since the previous book tackled most of the drama between Velma and Daphne, that’s now resolved. Though there are hints here and there that times haven’t healed things completely, overall things are better. 

This novel takes place shortly after the previous one. I loved how there was a smooth transition back into Crystal Cove and, hijinks abound. Shaggy is in trouble and, it’s up to Velma and Daphne to figure out what has their childhood friend troubled. Don’t worry, no mention of child abuse!

However, Shaggy’s family troubles are the least of their worries when gems start washing up on the shores of Crystal Cove. It seems like Velma and Daphne have more investigating to do!

If teenage drama is not your thing, then I would say to start with this novel. There’s a little high school drama, but it’s nothing like the previous entry in the series. Velma continues to deal with the insecurities that high school gives. Daphne received an internship to work at the local paper and quickly develops a crush on one of her coworkers.

Overall, I liked this sequel. I think this one was a bit of a letdown because the mystery was predictable. Of course, I am a twenty-something reading a book series meant for kids. Even though the case was easily solvable for me, it doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy the story.

I enjoyed the characters and the familiar nostalgia that the Scooby-Doo series brings. I am already looking forward to the next entry in this series! I would recommend this novel for lovers of Scooby-Doo, mysteries, YA fiction, and female detectives. 

~~

Ways to Support Elisha’s Book Review:

Click Here to “Buy Me A Coffee”! Not only will you be receiving member-exclusive blog posts, but I will also do a monthly shoutout on Twitter, Elisha’s Book Review, and BMC. I am also working towards a goal, and if we reach that goal before the end of the year I will do a month-long feature on Oklahoma authors.

Posted in Audiobooks, Book Reviews, Novels

REVIEW: The Vanishing Girl (Daphne and Velma #1) by Josephine Ruby

GUEST_d316951b-bca2-42d3-94ec-5122e8a90d20

*No Major Spoilers*

Popular Daphne Blake and über-nerd Velma Dinkley are not friends. They aren’t enemies either, but they don’t have any reason to speak to each other, and that’s how they prefer it. The two girls grew up together—they’d been best friends since pre-K—but when they hit middle school, Daphne dropped Velma and never looked back.

These days, Daphne’s deep in the popular crowd, daughter of the richest family in town, while Velma’s an outsider, hiding from the world behind her thick glasses. When they run into each other in the halls of Crystal Cove High, they look the other way.

But then Daphne’s best friend, Marcy—who happens to be Velma’s cousin—goes missing. A century ago, there was a wave of disappearances in Crystal Cove, and many local people believe that supernatural forces were behind it. Now the whole town believes those same forces are back…and up to no good.

Daphne and Velma may be the only ones who can solve the mystery and save Marcy—if they can trust each other enough to try. Especially since the truth might be stranger—and scarier—than either girl can imagine…

~

If you are a fan of the Scooby-Doo franchise, the fan service is all here. You have references to fan-favorite characters, as well as characters the author created herself. So let’s see how The Vanishing Girl stands up to the typical Scooby-Doo formula.

This novel handles a lot of difficult topics in a very realistic way. Daphne is dealing with the hurt of her parents being divorced and co-parenting. Velma is dealing with being an outcast to everyone around her while her dad is suffering from crippling depression and her mom is the manager at the local theme park. Not only that, but Velma is also working at the same amusement park just to help her family make ends meet.

I felt the issues were handled as any teenager would handle something they couldn’t see the big picture of. Wounds take time to heal, and this novel shows us this throughout the unraveling mystery. After so many hurtful words and actions between Velma and Daphne, they’re not going to be going back to being BFFs overnight.

The mystery of who or what is haunting Crystal Cove is your typical Scooby mystery, a case that seems complex but actually, once solved and explained, is pretty simple. However, since it’s primarily Velma and Daphne working on the case, Shaggy, Scooby, or Fred make many appearances throughout the story.

Even though I was able to solve the mystery before Velma and Daphne, I felt the emotional ride the author took us on was more important and more valuable than the mystery itself. I had to take small breaks at points in the novel to keep myself from getting upset. So get those tissues ready when you read this one!

Overall, as easy as it is to write this off as glorified fanfiction, I really enjoyed The Vanishing Girl. The mystery is well thought out and the drama feels genuine and realistic. I would highly recommend this novel to fans of the Scooby-Doo franchise, fans of female detectives, and young adult readers alike.

Read more of my Scooby-Doo reviews if you enjoyed this review.

~

If you would like to support me CLICK HERE to become a member and receive exclusive blog posts only members will get to read!

Posted in Book Club Reads, Book Reviews, Novels

REVIEW: Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson

617V1xMhMRL

*No Major Spoilers*

Mila Flores and her best friend Riley have always been inseparable. There’s not much excitement in their small town of Cross Creek, so Mila and Riley make their own fun, devoting most of their time to Riley’s favorite activity: amateur witchcraft.

So when Riley and two Fairmont Academy mean girls die under suspicious circumstances, Mila refuses to believe everyone’s explanation that her best friend was involved in a suicide pact. Instead, armed with a tube of lip gloss and an ancient grimoire, Mila does the unthinkable to uncover the truth: she brings the girls back to life.

Unfortunately, Riley, June, and Dayton have no recollection of their murders, but they do have unfinished business to attend to. Now, with only seven days until the spell wears off and the girls return to their graves, Mila must wrangle the distracted group of undead teens and work fast to discover their murderer…before the killer strikes again.

In this month’s book club read, I was interested in the premise of this novel. A unique twist on the zombie/paranormal genre. Teen Wiccans or “witches” as society calls the group. Solving a possible murder case with no help from friends or family.

“A scoop of dried rosemary goes into the bag, followed by salt. Sometimes, magic looks a lot like how my mom prepares chicken”- Undead Girl Gang

When I found out that this was a young adult novel, I was hesitant. With my book readings, I find most young adult fiction to be immature and drama that is unnecessary to the plot. This novel does have patches of teen drama, but it’s not too much to break the immersion. I groaned and complained when I felt like the drama was going on for too long. But overall, it sticks with the main story fairly well.

I know a lot of adolescents go through with body image issues, but it still bothered me how the main character kept saying that she was a “fat witch” or paints herself in a negative light.

One of my favorite parts that I found to be clever in the storytelling was how the girls couldn’t be further than 100 paces apart without the undead girls to turn into actual-looking zombies.

The only character I found to be likable was Xander, who is Riley’s older brother. Over the course of the book, Mila and Xander become close as they both mourn the loss of their friends and his sister. He seems to be a likable guy who I can relate to somewhat from real life experience.

This book’s plot twist blew me away in that I didn’t see it coming! I won’t spoil who the killer is, but if it’s someone I didn’t guess then you won’t see it coming either.

The bad guy’s motives I found to be realistic and relatable. I was worried about how the author was going to explain the motive for doing the evil deeds. Sometimes authors try and pull a huge plot twist, and they make a weak motive or don’t explain the motive very well.

“Most magic is just telling the universe that you’re thankful to be here”- Undead Girl Gang

Overall, I found this book to be a good read if you want a fun read that doesn’t take itself too seriously. If you like paranormal, zombies, high school crushes, and a good mystery, this is the book for you!