Book Review: The Traveling Triple-C Incorporeal Circus

The Traveling Triple-C Incorporeal Circus by Alanna McFall

Chelsea is determined to make it to her brother’s wedding. And she’s not going to let the fact that she’s been dead for two years stop her.
Joining with her mime friend from a New York City park and her ghostly mentor with forty years of afterlife under her belt, the three women set out on foot for San Francisco. Along the way, they are faced with joy, sorrow, and the haunting surprises of the open road. This humorous and lightly macabre journey explores relationships, personal burdens, and what it means to keep moving, even when your heartbeat has stopped.
I loved this book. It was such a fun, interesting, and unique read.
Chelsea is a ghost and is friends with other ghosts in New York City, but has a ghostly best friend and mentor called Carmen. There is one woman, Cyndricka, who can see ghosts, but is a mute mime who communicates with sign language. The 3 decide to walk to San Francisco so that Chelsea can attend her brother’s wedding.
There is so much that happens along the way that bring out issues of relationship and family, forgiveness, life purpose, and what stops us. All 3 women need to learn to come to terms with issues from their past in order to move on. There are also tense moments involving both human and supernatural predators that the 3 women need to overcome.
The character development was great and felt authentic. I felt so much for all 3 women and wanted the best for them so badly. And the writing and descriptions were terrific and engaging, keeping me turning the pages.
I love how McFall dealt with big issues, but in a sensitive way. There is a lesbian character, but she is simply gay and it is one part of her character. Homelessness and how people are treated is also tackled, as is racism. Binding all of these big issues together is friendship and loyalty and purpose. It was interesting to explore these women looking back on their lives and deciding what was important and what wasn’t, and what paths to take in the future.
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for a review copy of this book.
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Book Review: Bird Box

Bird Box by Josh Malerman

Something is out there, something terrifying that must not be seen. One glimpse of it, and a person is driven to deadly violence. No one knows what it is or where it came from.

Five years after it began, a handful of scattered survivors remains, including Malorie and her two young children. Living in an abandoned house near the river, she has dreamed of fleeing to a place where they might be safe. Now that the boy and girl are four, it’s time to go, but the journey ahead will be terrifying: twenty miles downriver in a rowboat—blindfolded—with nothing to rely on but her wits and the children’s trained ears. One wrong choice and they will die. Something is following them all the while, but is it man, animal, or monster?

Interweaving past and present, Bird Box is a snapshot of a world unraveled that will have you racing to the final page.

I tore through this book in 2 sittings as I could hardly put it down. I loved how creepy it was in a non-gory way. The psychological aspect was compelling and built the tension perfectly.
Malorie is a great character and I love how we come to feel for her and feel the absolute pain of the decisions that she feels forced to make in this horrific situation. She had to act in ways that were terrible and against everything that most people would expect they would ever have to do, but she was doing the best that she could with what she had, including emotional reserves. It is always hard to have children as characters in a horror novel, but I think that the author did a great job here, using them to show how completely dire the situation was rather than victimizing them.
The book, in some ways, is slow in that there is not that much actual action, but it is the tension that is wonderful and had me racing to turn the pages. I love a book with a thoughtful, strong, fallible heroine and this one did not disappoint.
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Book Review: Skulduggery Pleasant

Skulduggery Pleasant (Skulduggery Pleasant #1)

by Derek Landy, Tom Percival (Goodreads Author) (Illustrator)

Meet Skulduggery Pleasant. Sure, he may lose his head now and again (in fact, he won his current skull in a poker match), but he is much more than he appears to be—which is good, considering that he is, basically, a skeleton. Skulduggery may be long dead, but he is also a mage who dodged the grave so that he could save the world from an ancient evil. But to defeat it, he’ll need the help of a new partner: a not so innocent twelve-year-old girl named Stephanie. That’s right, they’re the heroes.

Stephanie and Skulduggery are quickly caught up in a battle to stop evil forces from acquiring her recently deceased uncle’s most prized possession—the Sceptre of the Ancients. The Ancients were the good guys, an extinct race of uber-magicians from the early days of the earth, and the scepter is their most dangerous weapon, one capable of killing anyone and destroying anything. Back in the day, they used it to banish the bad guys, the evil Faceless Ones. Unfortunately, in the way of bad guys everywhere, the Faceless Ones are staging a comeback and no one besides our two heroes believes in the Faceless Ones, or even that the Sceptre is real.

So Stephanie and Skulduggery set off to find the Sceptre, fend off the minions of the bad guys, beat down vampires and the undead, prove the existence of the Ancients and the Faceless Ones, all while trading snappy, snippy banter worthy of the best screwball comedies.

This is a really fun book, full of interesting characters, adventure, and action. I was engaged right from the first page.
Skulduggery Pleasant is a skeleton detective with a dry wit and a quick mind and full of snappy quips. You know right away when he appears at the fringes of his friend’s funeral that he is going to be interesting and full of character. He teams up with twelve year old Stephanie to find the Sceptre of the Ancients after her uncle’s death. There is mystery and intrigue right away, pulling both Stephanie and the reader into a magical world hidden in just below the surface of the everyday world.
I liked Stephanie — she is feisty and fearless, willing to fight for what is right. She is sensitive and thoughtful, but also determined, is able to stand up for herself, and is up for adventure.
Landy has created a fantastic magical world in this book, filled with interesting characters and menacing villains. Many of the characters are stereotypes, however, with the evil ones having no redeeming qualities and the good ones very sympathetic.
This is a great start to the series and I can see kids racing through these books.


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Author Interview: Vincent Morrone

Today I am happy to introduce young adult author Vincent Morrone.

Author PicVision of Shadows was his debut novel that just came out as an Audio book.


Bristol Blackburn is a 17 year old psychic, who’s more comfortable around the ghosts that float in and out of her life, than anybody with an actual pulse. For her entire life, she’s had visions and dreams about a young man she has never met. She doesn’t know his name, has never heard the sound of his voice, and yet feels as if she’s grown up with him. She knows he’s had a difficult life, with tragedy and pain. A lot of pain. In fact, most of her dreams involve him getting hurt. Sometimes from playing the hero, sometimes from daredevil stunts and often times because someone in his life enjoys hurting him. There’s no way it could all be true, because no person could ever survive everything she’s seen him go through.

In her dreams, Bristol has seen them together. Something that’s due to happen soon. She’s witnessed intimate moments, celebrations of milestones. Her visions have shown her building a long and happy life with this dream boy, having a family and growing old together.

But Bristol’s also had another vision, one that has kept repeating itself over and over again since she was six years old.

In this vision, this mystery boy doesn’t love her, but hates her. Bristol’s seen the loathing in her eyes, as he corners her, and slowly strangles her to death.

So any day now, Bristol will meet the boy of her dreams. Literally.

Will he be the love of her life, or the end of it? Read more

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