Slasher Girls and Monster Boys (Book Review)

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How many of you like horror stories, the kind that keep you thinking for hours, or up at night pondering what exactly is under your bed?

Then this book is for you. Each one of the tales in this short story collection takes an idea from a classic novel, song, or movie and updates it in a modern setting. Part of the fun of the book is trying to figure out what the authors were drawing from when they wrote their stories.

You’ll meet Marnie, a studious but unpopular girl that the clique has dubbed Marnie Monster. But then Damien, the fascinatingly mysterious new boy, takes an interest in her after she expresses sympathy for Frankenstein’s monster in English class. But who is Damien really, and what does he want?

Then there’s Cassidy, a young woman who adored Alice in Wonderland as a child. Follow her story through parallel child and teenage experiences as she tells us about her relationship with the March Hare, a mysterious being who lives in the woods near her town.

Lest you think that all our stories revolve around girls, let me introduce you to some of our monster boys. Like Wolfboy, a young man who manages his sleepless nights by endlessly texting young women he’s met online, much to the consternation of his very conservative mother. Or Richard, a boy haunted by the closet in his bedroom that won’t ever seem to open. Or will it?

Looking for some delicious chills and thrills? Then give Slasher Girls and Monster Boys a try.

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American Vandal Season 2 Review

AmericanVandalI first started watching American Vandal because of season 1 supporting actor Jimmy Tatro. He has a a YouTube channel that I’m a huge fan of and when I heard he was appearing in a Netflix original, I knew it’d be hillarious. While I wasn’t wrong and the show is a comedy at heart, it’s the mystery and mockumentary aspect that had me finishing the show 3 days after I had started it.

I didn’t think they were going to end up making a second season as the first season had already told it’s story. However season 2 starts up in a new direction with Peter and Sam now traveling to a Catholic School in Washington to solve a new mystery. This time instead of the crime being genitalia on staff cars, it was a poisoning of the cafeteria’s lemonade. This new crime was dubbed The Brownout by students because the lemonade was spiked with laxatives. I personally believe that poop humor still has its place in comedy and in this show it’s hilarious. Some may be grossed out or even disturbed at the sight of high schoolers defecating all over the school, and I understand where you’d be coming from, but the true humor comes in the fact that it’s treated so seriously. An Instagram user by the name @TheTurdBurgular takes credit, and the police starts pointing the finger at oddball student Kevin McClain. Similar to season 1’s Dylan Maxwell, Peter and Sam quickly realize Kevin seems to be falsely accused. The police make a very compelling case against Kevin and eventually he confesses. Peter and Sam start digging and realize a forced confession may have occurred. As they unravel the mystery we meet several charming, believable characters, and each episode get closer to solving the crime.

The season had me on the edge of my seat as each new theory seemed like the answer had finally been found, only to be proved wrong that same episode. The ending not only fully satisfies the mystery lovers in all of us but gives an interesting perspective on my generation. So, yes while maybe not as inovative as the first season, American Vandal Season 2 is must watch for fans of mystery, comedy or any teenager.

Final Score: 9.6

Fantastic.

Bullet: Part Three

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I briskly walked up the stairs and into my hallway, with Bullet right next to me. I opened my door and Bullet immediately burst inside. I entered my apartment room and shut the door, locking it behind me. I pulled out the glass bullet from my robe pocket and set it down on the kitchen table, next to my computer.

I sat down and opened my computer, quickly typing in my pass-code. Bullet laid down on the couch, his beady eyes watching me. I opened a new tab and looked down at the bullet. Not knowing its official name, or if it had one, I just decided to look up its features. Glass bullet with a dandelion seed inside of it. I clicked search and waited for the results to load.

Within the blink of an eye, I got dozens of results on what I searched. I skimmed the results to see if anything stood out, since I had no clue where to start. I didn’t have to skim for very long, because as soon as my eyes laid on the first result, I knew I should click on it. Enigma Bullets: From the First “Magic” Moon Flower.

“What on earth?” I muttered as I scrolled towards it and clicked it. A futuristic looking website popped up, with a huge article written in really tiny font slapped into the center of it. I leaned in towards the screen, squinting in the process, and began to carefully read it, not wanting to leave out anything important.

At first it was pretty boring, just a bunch of random facts about the moon, magic and modern history and blah, blah, blah. But then it got a bit more interesting. Apparently, an American astronaut had landed on the moon with a small crew and decided to take an interesting-looking moon rock back to earth to run some tests on.

As he was examining it back at NASA, he accidentally knocked it off the table and broke it open. Shockingly, inside of the moon rock was a dandelion flower with only nine seeds left on it. The astronaut then decided to study the flower and quickly realized that it wasn’t from earth.

Just playing around, the astronaut wished he could see his family, and threw one of the dandelion seeds into the air. Of course, nothing really happened. The astronaut then keep running tests on the dandelion.

A thirty minutes later, the door to the lab suddenly opened, and one of his co-workers said there was someone outside of the building waiting for him. The astronaut quickly burst outside to see his family running up to him.

The astronaut asked how they got here, and the wife explained they were going to come in two days, but she got this gut feeling thirty minutes ago that she should come and greet him now.

The astronaut quickly realized that the dandelion was somehow magic and decided to protect it. So, he inserted the remaining eight seeds into glass bullets that could only be broken by human flesh, and scattered them around the world.

To make a wish, if you find one-“ I read out loud. “you must say it out loud and then shoot the bullet at someone.

I froze as I read the last line again. “To make a wish, if you find one, you must say it out loud and then shoot the bullet at someone. A person? I don’t want to have to hurt anyone for me!”

I looked down at the bullet, laying still on the table, now slightly afraid of it. “Gosh, even if I had the gut to shoot someone for a wish, what would I even wish for?” I clicked the favorite star on the website and exited out of it, before closing the computer lid.

I stood up and made my way to my bedroom with the bullet in my hand. I reached under my bed and pulled out a small, wooden jewelry box. I set it down on my bed and opened the lid. Just as I was about to place the bullet in, there was a loud knock on the door.

 

The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West

a girl and a boy standing on a sidewalk leaning on a wrought iron fence

Kasie West has written her sixth book, The Fill-In Boyfriend. At first, I thought this book would be the typical, mushy-gushy love story. The type where the girl finds a random boy and falls in love with him in a day, and they live happily ever after. However, this was not the case. This unique story surprised me, and it also took an interesting turn. The story is set in a present day high school and is written as a first person narrative from the viewpoint of Gia Montgomery. There are complex rivalries, a too perfect family, and major boyfriend problems.

For the past two months, Jules has been working on a way to take Gia’s friends away from her. So when Gia gets a boyfriend, Jules thinks he doesn’t exist because her friends have never met him. Determined to prove her wrong, Gia tries to bring Bradley to her prom. But of course disaster strikes – Bradley breaks up with Gia in the parking lot the night of her high school prom. Personally, I was devastated by this break up! Gia does not deserve to be dumped on such a special day. As a result of this break up, Gia is left struggling with a way to save face. In desperation, Gia walks up to a cute guy who was waiting to pick up his sister, and asks him to be her fill-in boyfriend. As relationships continue to grow, this book reveals an unexpected turn of events. I would recommend this book for people who loves interesting turns and lots of drama.

Counting Down To Life Chapter 16

Four Brownish yellow chairs in a waiting room

Chapter 16

Denver, Colorado

March 31, 2017

Karter stared at his best friend with fear in his eyes. Atifa dropped down next to the young girl and attempted to heal her. Her healing was less than adequate, but she tried anyway. The Guardian would do anything to save Brooklyn’s life.

She was too important to lose now.

“Move,” Lyvlen demanded. The Guardian spawn’s hands hovered slightly above Brooklyn’s chest, a soft glow was emitted from her hands. While Atifa had nearly no talent when it came to healing, Lyvlen was best at healing. She had other abilities, but healing was the thing she was best at.

Lyvlen let out a scream. She didn’t know why, but her gift wasn’t working.

“It’s not working!” she screamed.

“What if I freeze her? It could keep her from dying completely,” Atifa suggested.

“You mean like Captain America?” Karter asked, confused.

“How would that work?” Lyvlen asked. “Do you even have that ability?”

“I mean, I can freeze anything, including humans, but I’ve never done it before, so I’m guessing it would be just like coating anything else in ice,” Atifa said.

“Don’t do it!” Laz yelled. Karter hadn’t realized the Anger Guardian had woken up. “She’ll freeze to death. This isn’t a movie.” Laz shoved his daughter out of the way and put his hands on Brooklyn’s chest. He pressed down repeatedly and then put his mouth on hers.

Karter didn’t think he would ever actually see someone doing CPR on a real person, especially someone he knew.  

Karter knew Laz was trying to save Brooklyn’s life, but he couldn’t help but feel a surge of jealousy. Karter had had feelings for Brooklyn for a while, but she never had returned his feelings.

He looked up at Atifa who had been smart enough to realize that they needed to call an ambulance.

Karter wondered what happened. One minute he was talking to Brooklyn and everything was normal, then suddenly Brooklyn was on the ground dying, literally.

He watched as the Guardian continued to press down on Brooklyn’s chest until finally he stopped and fell back on his heels, sighing in relief.

“Her heart is beating,” Laz said. “It’s barely there, but it’s beating. Karter, you carry her to the park that’s not too far from here, that’s where the ambulance should show up.”

The newest Guardian lifted the girl into his arms and began fast-walking to the park Laz had said was close.

When they reached the park, the ambulance was there. The EMTs loaded Brooklyn onto a stretcher and got her into the ambulance.

At the hospital, Karter, Lyvlen, Laz, and Atifa were sitting in the waiting room waiting for someone to come out and tell them what was going on with their friend.

Karter was worried out of his mind. He hadn’t gone in the ambulance with Brooklyn, none of them had, but he couldn’t help but feel like something had happened on the way to the hospital.

Atifa stared into space blankly. She thought about what could have caused this to happen. As far as she knew, Brooklyn wasn’t injured while fighting the monster less than two hours ago. Atifa had seen Brooklyn fall and just stop fighting, but the Empathy Guardian hadn’t thought anything of it. She should’ve checked with Brooklyn and made sure the younger girl was alright, but it wasn’t like Brooklyn would tell her anything. The Guardian remembered all the nightmares she knew Brooklyn was having and the random blackouts.

Brooklyn hadn’t talked to Atifa about them at all, and Atifa was worried about the human. If Brooklyn didn’t want to confide in Atifa about anything, then she could at least let the older girl know she was alright. If Atifa was always worried about Brooklyn, then they wouldn’t be able to do as much.

Atifa leaned back in the uncomfortable chair as a silent tear dripped down her face.

Lyvlen didn’t care for Brooklyn, in fact, she hated the girl. Well, she didn’t hate Brooklyn, Lyvlen just didn’t trust her at all. That didn’t mean Brooklyn deserved to die, and if her father and Atifa thought they needed her help then Lyvlen wouldn’t stop them, she would just argue and be a brat about it. Brooklyn being with them compromised their safety. Zora may have given the stone to them for some reason, maybe he wanted them to find the stones so he could just take them from them.

Lyvlen’s hard gaze stared straight ahead as she thought of more reasons not to trust Brooklyn, not really caring that said girl was possibly on her deathbed.

Laz stared up at the ceiling, sinking deep into his thoughts. Brooklyn had told him about her visions and nightmares, she had said not to tell anyone else about them, especially not Lyvlen, but Laz was confused. Lyvlen was an expert in this kind of thing, she specialized in everything that involved the mind, but Laz didn’t want to betray Brooklyn’s trust.

She told him about every single vision she’d had in detail, so much detail that Laz felt like he had seen the image. Laz didn’t understand the events that had occurred in the scenes though. Brooklyn had practically shown him the one scene where she was being tortured by Tamarisk, it was the same one where Zora snapped his neck.

The way she described it… It sounded like she was there the night of the previous Guilt Guardian’s death. Laz would be able to decipher the dreams when Brooklyn was with him, she would be able to see them more clearly, and Laz could look into her mind while she was picturing the same scenes.

Laz sat up and noticed someone who looked like they worked at the hospital walking towards them. When the woman was right in front of the four all-powerful beings, Laz and Karter stood immediately.

The woman, a doctor, explained to them that Brooklyn was in a coma and they didn’t know when she would wake up. It didn’t look like she needed surgery, but they would be keeping a close eye on her.

The doctor led the four of them to Brooklyn’s room and before leaving she said, “She can’t move or talk, but she can hear you. I’ll be back to take you back to the waiting room shortly.”

Karter was the first to go to Brooklyn’s bedside and grab her hand. He began talking to her softly, his sobs quiet, but there. Laz and Atifa went to the other side of the bed while Lyvlen stood at the foot of her bed. Atifa was crying and holding Brooklyn’s other hand while Laz placed his hand on Brooklyn’s forehead. They stayed there and talked to her until they were told they had to leave.

Brooklyn wasn’t going to die, and Laz was going to make sure of it.

Counting Down To Life Chapter 15

clear crystal sphere

 

 

 

 

Chapter 15

Denver, Colorado

March 31, 2017

“What the Hell was that?” Karter asked loudly.

“That was the Empathy Crystal,” Brooklyn replied. “You’re going to have one of those too. We’ll find it eventually, but after seeing what happened to Atifa, I’m kind of scared.”

“I don’t want one of those,” Karter whined.

“I can’t believe we found it on something Zora sent, though. That means something, and right now with Atifa the way she is, I don’t know when we’ll be able to figure it out,” Brooklyn groaned. Brooklyn thought about Zora for a minute, how he could’ve gotten his hands on the stone. She thought about the monster and its attack, but Brooklyn didn’t understand how Zora was able to put the crystal in the thing’s eye.

“How did the alien guy get the stone, and why would he give it back?” Karter questioned. Brooklyn looked at him and felt a pounding in her head. She began to fall, and her world went black.

Brooklyn was standing in front of a table next to someone who couldn’t be more than twenty. The person turned to look at her and Brooklyn saw someone who was familiar, but at the same time, wasn’t.

He was tall, tan and had spiky, brown hair. His eyes were green, and he was handsome, someone Brooklyn would definitely go after if she wasn’t still with Finn.

The man was studying a map and chanting. Brooklyn wasn’t sure what he was saying, but she did know that the scene was familiar. She felt like she had gone through this scenario before.

“I found it!” The man exclaimed.

“Finally,” Brooklyn sighed.

“I want you to go get it,” he commanded. “Go, now.” He pressed a kiss to Brooklyn’s forehead. She realized she was wearing a hood and a scarf was covering her nose and mouth.

“Yes, my lord,” Brooklyn bowed. It was as if Brooklyn’s mouth had a mind of its own. Somehow, it knew exactly what to say and when to say it while she, herself, was perplexed.

She left the room and let her feet carry her to a room filled with weapons. Her hands automatically flew to a gold longsword.

Brooklyn walked into another room, a garage, where there were three cars. She fished in her pockets for keys and pulled out a keychain that was filled with keys. Finally, she was able to find a button to unlock one of the cars, though she wasn’t sure which one it was until she pressed the button and the lights on the farthest car lit up.

Brooklyn jumped into the car and drove off, she didn’t know where she was going, but it seemed that her hands knew which way to steer the car.

The young girl found herself in front of a hole, large enough for a person to fall down. Her feet pulled her into the hole, and she jumped and fell for what felt like hours.

When she landed, she rolled and managed to land on her feet. In front of her was a line of giants that looked like they were made of ice. Brooklyn tried stopping her feet from pulling her forward, but she couldn’t do it. Nothing could prevent her from charging at the ice giants, her sword poised to kill.

Brooklyn sliced and jabbed until there wasn’t a single giant left. There was only one person left standing in front of Brooklyn. She mentally gasped when she realized the person in front of her was Atifa.

Brooklyn tried to stop herself from running at Atifa, but her body was her cage. The Guardian put her hands in front of her and created a twenty-foot tall giant. Brooklyn ran at it just like she did with the others, but this giant was ten times stronger than all the others, and she was already tired from fighting the other giants.

Brooklyn wasn’t able to hold her own for long. As soon as her arm began to become tired and fall from the heavy weight of her blade, the ice beast ran her through with one of its enormous frozen talons.

The human looked down at her bloody abdomen and dropped to the ground. She began coughing up spurts of hot blood. Her vision was filled with yellow spots, and everything around her was fading. Brooklyn’s heart stopped, and she went still, death filling the air around her.

Karter stared at his friend’s unconscious form. He yelled for Atifa and Lyvlen, scared for his friend. He had never seen her faint. As far as he knew, Brooklyn wasn’t injured or anything. They had been talking and then she just fell. He looked up at Lyvlen, uncertainty in his eyes.

“What do I do?” Karter panicked.

“Nothing,” Lyvlen said, bending down and placing her palm on Brooklyn’s forehead as if she was checking for a fever, but in reality, she was trying to get in Brooklyn’s head to figure out what was happening to the young girl. “I can’t sense anything. It’s like she has a wall stopping me from coming in. It’s normal for Guardians and other creatures to have a mental block that’s always there, but Brooklyn shouldn’t have one. Last time I was in her head, she didn’t have any kind of shield. Her mind was completely open to intruders.”

“When did you go through her head?” Atifa yelled.

“Calm down, she knew it was happening, we had a whole conversation in her head,” Lyvlen shrugged.

“Hold on,” Karter interrupted. “You can go through people’s head?”

“Of course. You can’t?” Lyvlen said. “Most Guardians can, as far as I know, Atifa here, is the only one wh doesn’t have that ability.”

“I don’t know, I’ve been here for, like, an hour. Almost nothing about Guardians has been explained to me,” Karter reminded, throwing his hands in the air. “Anyways, can you please just figure out what’s wrong with Brooklyn?”

Lyvlen rolled her eyes and nodded. She continued trying to find a breach in Brooklyn’s mental shield, but there was nothing until Brooklyn began seizing.

Lyvlen let out a shriek and scrambled back in surprise. Lyvlen realized what was happening and waited for the seizure to be over. When Brooklyn wasn’t shaking anymore, the Guardian spawn checked the girl’s pulse. She looked at Atifa and uttered one word.

“Crap.”

Brooklyn’s heart wasn’t beating.

My Plain Jane, by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows

girl in a white dress looking over her shoulder

My Plain Jane is a lively retelling of Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre, written by three authors, Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows. It follows the points of view of three characters, Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë, and Alexander Blackwell, as their paths intertwine in a ghost-filled mystery adventure. They do have another Jane based book called My Lady Jane, which people seemed to enjoy a bit more ( I believe it’s based on Jane Grey). If I decide to read that book I’ll do a review. There will also be another Jane book coming out in 2020 called My Calamity Jane, which I don’t know anything about besides the name.

I would not have read this book if I had not been gifted it because usually when you read a retelling you’ve already read the original, which I have not. Despite this, I decided to read the book and overall it was very entertaining and lighthearted. I would compare this book to a middle grade rather than a young adult book. After reading some other reviews I noticed that people who had read this book and the original Jane Eyre rated the book much lower due to the characteristics of Jane, Helen, and Charlotte not being accurate to how they are in the original (or real life in Charlotte’s case).

When I began the book, I found the character of Charlotte very annoying for some reason.  But as the story progressed she and Alexander became my favorite characters, while Jane began to annoy me. Both characters are incredibly stubborn, which could have slowed the book down, but the simplistic writing style made it a super-fast read. Helen, a 14-year-old ghost who died from Graveyard Disease at Lowood school and was Jane’s best friend, seemed like an unnecessary character, but her sassy commentary did help lighten the mood when it was Jane’s point of view.

There was humor in the book, nothing laugh-out-loud, but enough to make the read lighthearted and cute. The plot ran smoothly, and I personally couldn’t tell which chapters were written by which author; the ideal scenario. The authors occasionally addressed the reader with quick side comments explaining why things happened/explaining beauty standards back in Victorian times. There were twists in the story that may seem obvious if you try to solve the mystery.  But with this book, I didn’t bother trying to figure out what was going on and rather let the story reveal it to me itself. This would be a perfect book for 10-12-year-olds.

Overall, I really enjoyed the writing style and the character interactions and had a few issues with the story. If you’re looking for an enjoyable read I would recommend. I would give My Plain Jane a 5/ 10 because it wasn’t an amazing book as much as it was fun.