Author: Cyn Balog
Published: November 7, 2017
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 5 stars
When her mom inherits an old, crumbling mansion, Seda’s almost excited to spend the summer there. The grounds are beautiful and it’s fun to explore the sprawling house with its creepy rooms and secret passages. Except now her mom wants to renovate, rather than sell the estate―which means they’re not going back to the city…or Seda’s friends and school. As the days grow shorter, Seda is filled with dread. They’re about to be cut off from the outside world, and she’s not sure she can handle the solitude or the darkness it brings out in her. Then a group of teens get stranded near the mansion during a blizzard. Seda has no choice but to offer them shelter, even though she knows danger lurks in the dilapidated mansion―and in herself. And as the snow continues to fall, what Seda fears most is about to become her reality…
Holy. Crap. I was speechless after closing this book. And I’ve been procrastinating writing this review because I really don’t know what to say. All the things I want to say will give away too much so I can’t say any of it! There are so many twists and turns in this book, the atmosphere is creepy, yet again I had to turn lights on while reading it . . . I mean dang! I really have nothing bad to say about this book. I read it in one day and I had the shivers after finishing it.
My husband is a horror freak. His DVD shelf is filled with horror movies that range from classic Dracula and Frankenstein to Nightmare on Elm Street to random old-time movies that no one but other horror freaks have ever heard of. As soon as I was done with Alone, I told Ivan that he needs to read it.
I really wish I could say more in this review and it feels so incomplete, but all I can say is that this is a great book and you should read it. Ok, let me try: Seda is a character I enjoyed, the twins were funny, Mom sounds cool, and the story was fascinating and page-turning. That’s it, I can’t say anymore! This is the perfect book for that teen that you’re trying to get into books. Horror freaks will love this book. I would recommend Alone to pretty much everybody!
Today is Publication Day for Vicky & Lizzie’s First Period by Andrew Mackay and I am helping to get the word out on it by sharing a sneek peek of part of the first chapter.
All together now…
There were two girls called Vicky & Lizzie
Who kept the Academy busy
Causing trouble and mirth
For all they were worth
Sending teachers right into a tizzy
They kicked-off a false, nasty rumour
That one of the staff was a groomer
For everyone knows
Gossip spreads out and grows
But the school didn’t quite see the humour
Would Vicky & Lizzie regret
All the damage they caused? Nah, not yet
The girls kept on vying
A dangerous precedent was set
Vicky & Lizzie delivered a blitz
On a school at the end of its wits
Did they care? Did they f**k
They were common as muck
Those nasty, vindictive young s#!ts
This might cause upset and uproar
It’s a musical satire, what’s more
For the first time ever
We promise you’ve never
Read anything like this before
So pick up your copy today
Of a story about which you will say
That I wanted to barf
But so hard I did laugh
Vicky & Lizzie have just made my day!
Purchase NOW on Amazon
Here is the sneek peak you have been waiting for:
(The Waddling Gate Theatre)
Mr Foster took to the stage. He stepped behind the podium and adjusted the microphone.
Close to one thousand students sat in rows of chairs in front of the stage.
‘Hello? Is this on?’ Mr Foster’s voice flew around the room at high volume. ‘Can you hear me?
The children squealed and held their fingers in their ears as the feedback wailed back and forth.
‘Ah, good. I thought that might get your attention.’
A teacher stood with the forms at the end of each row of chairs. They surveyed the children in the seats, ensuring they weren’t being disruptive.
‘Shh!’ whispered Mr Holbrook to a row of year eleven students.
Mr Pond, the woodwork teacher, stood at the end of a row of year eleven children. ‘Chloe, be quiet, please!’
‘Sorry, sir!’ She whispered through her chewing gum.
‘Are you chewing, Chloe?’
Vicky and Lizzie giggled to themselves. They watched the feisty multi-coloured hair teenager swallow her chewing gum down.
A morbidly obese girl started sobbing from the second row. She was easy to spot. Her buttocks seemed to try to escape down both sides of the chair.
The fat girl looked up and wiped her eyes. ‘Yes, sir?’
‘Are you crying gravy?’ Mr Foster lost his patience. ‘Stop doing that, you super-sized wench. You’re putting me off.’
Mr Foster rolled his shoulders and cleared his throat. Belinda’s crying died down and he began the assembly.
‘It’s been brought to my attention just now that a few rumours are going around the school about Mr Galigan, from Geography. I’d like to remind you all that rumours are nothing but vindictive attempts to muddy the truth. They will not be tolerated.’
Stevie’s hand went up in the air. ‘But, sir!’
‘What is it now?’
‘We want to know what happened. Where is Layla?’
‘That’s not up for discussion, Stevie,’ Mr Foster said, somewhat annoyed by the interruption. ‘It is none of your concern. Layla Quick has been relocated to another school while the police continue their investigation. That’s all anyone need know at the moment.’
‘Sir!’ Another hand went into the air. It belonged to Freddie al-Burhan, in year eleven.
‘Why is Mr Galigan not here?’
‘He’s had a family matter to attend to. A temp has been appointed until he’s back.’
‘He’s not been suspended, then?’
Mr Foster raised his eyes in suspicion. Faced with the unenviable task of either lying to save his colleague’s face, or imparting the truth (a value which he and the school upheld most sincerely) he chose the former.
‘Okay. Thanks, sir.’
‘Any other questions before I continue?’ Mr Foster surveyed the ocean of adolescent faces before him.
‘No? Good. So, this week, our key word is motivation. The derivation of which comes from the Latin cognition, meaning the way the brain processes information…’
The teachers at the end of each row, including Mr Parker, folded their arms. The children looked utterly confused as Mr Foster continued his lecture.
Vicky scanned each teacher one-by-one and muttered under her breath. ‘Mr Pond… Mr Parker… Mr Bloom…’
Lizzie caught her friend sizing up each teacher. ‘What are you doing?’
‘Shut up, I’m thinking,’ Vicky whispered and returned to the teachers behind her. ‘Mr Sinclair… Quack-Quack… Mr Langham…’
Mr Bloom snapped his fingers at Vicky. ‘Psst. Vicky!’
She turned to him and offered her innocence. ‘Huh?’
‘Be quiet and listen, Hopper.’
‘Sorry, sir…’ She leaned back in her chair and faced the stage. Her brain worked overtime.
Join Andrew Mackay on Facebook for a virtual launch party TONIGHT for a selection of author takeovers and giveaways.
17:00 – 20:00 CST (5:00-8:00 PM CST; 6:00-9:00 EST)
The party will be here. Come join in on the fun!
About the Author:
Some authors are afraid to cross the line.
Me? Oh, I’m glad you asked! I make “the line” my starting point…
My brand is satire.
I hop between genres like madman on crack because my razor-sharp literary knife is hungry for political and social commentary. One genre just can’t cut it (if you’ll forgive the pun.) I’m obsessed, I tell you!
I write straight-up humor and farce, horror, crime, romance… all under the banner of satire.
My novels often contain a ruthless commentary on society, delving into the darker machinations of modern life. They can be uproarious, funny, outrageous and shocking. Make no mistake, though. They are this way for a reason, and always come equipped with a sense of humanity and wit.
My influences include John Cleese, Tom Sharpe, Kurt Vonnegut, James Patterson, Hunter S Thompson, Douglas Adams, Imogen Edwards-Jones, Michael Frayn, Chris Morris, Jerry Sadowitz, Christopher Hitchins, Bill Maher, George Carlin, Jordan Peterson, Pat Condell, and writer/director Larry Cohen.
My obsessions include (and are essentially limited to) obscene amounts of: smoking, drugs, alcohol, caffeine, sex, debating, daydreaming and writing about himself in the third person.
**Thunderhead is the sequel to Scythe by Neal Shusterman. Kim’s review of Scythe is here. Jessica will be listening to the audiobook of Scythe very soon.
Author: Neal Shusterman
Published: November 21, 2017
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 5 stars
Rowan and Citra take opposite stances on the morality of the Scythedom, putting them at odds, in the chilling sequel to the Printz Honor Book Scythe from New York Times bestseller Neal Shusterman, author of the Unwind dystology. The Thunderhead cannot interfere in the affairs of the Scythedom. All it can do is observe—it does not like what it sees.
A year has passed since Rowan had gone off grid. Since then, he has become an urban legend, a vigilante snuffing out corrupt scythes in a trial by fire. His story is told in whispers across the continent. As Scythe Anastasia, Citra gleans with compassion and openly challenges the ideals of the “new order.” But when her life is threatened and her methods questioned, it becomes clear that not everyone is open to the change. Will the Thunderhead intervene? Or will it simply watch as this perfect world begins to unravel?
A year has passed since I read Scythe for the first time. I counted down the days until Thunderhead would be released. I jumped up and down when I opened the box and there it sat in all its gorgeous glory. I opened it and descended into the world of Scythes gleaning and the Thunderhead guiding and the human population living. Scythe Lucifer spends his time trying to save Scythedom from corruption and murder. Citra tries to embrace Scythe Anastasia and grow into her own method of gleaning. Scythe Curie carefully guides and teaches her former apprentice, turned junior Scythe while trying to keep up with her own gleaning. And in this book, the Thunderhead is revealed. Its thinking, and strangely, its feeling comes out in great detail! It cares for the world and humans and it works constantly to care for them and protect them, all while trying to preserve privacy and freedom.
I was fascinated by the way Shusterman compares Thunderhead to God, yet focuses on the differences between the two. And then, at page 450, when I realized that there weren’t enough pages to resolve the story, my stomach started to clench. And no, the story didn’t resolve, this isn’t a duology, there’s another book in the series . . . and it doesn’t come out until 2019!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I wanted to throw the book across the room and curse the name of Neal Shusterman with every evil thing and swear word I could possibly think of!!!!!!!! I’m never going to make it, I’m gonna die of anticipation, that’s it. I would talk about all the philosophy and logic and ethics and deep thinking that were in Thunderhead, but I’m just too mad. I would highly suggest waiting to read this series until the next book comes out . . . oh gosh, what if that’s not the last book in the series????
GRRRRRRRRRRR!! That’s it, no more reading!!! I can’t take the stress!!! Ok, let’s get back to a professional review. I would absolutely recommend this series to anybody. I would save this for more mature teens, not because of objectionable elements, but because more mature thinking is required. An excellent book and series . . . so excellent that it draws you in and envelops you just to keep you hanging off a dang cliffhanger!
Kim and Neal Shusterman at a recent book signing in Charleston: