Category: Review

Wait Till Helen Comes

Author: Mary Downing Hahn
Published:  November 2, 1987
184 Pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars

Book Description:

Beware of Helen…

Heather is such a whiny little brat. Always getting Michael and me into trouble. But since our mother married her father, we’re stuck with her…our “poor stepsister” who lost her real mother in a mysterious fire.

But now something terrible has happened. Heather has found a new friend, out in the graveyard behind our home — a girl named Helen who died with her family in a mysterious fire over a hundred years ago. Now her ghost returns to lure children into the pond…to drown! I don’t want to believe in ghosts, but I’ve followed Heather into the graveyard and watch her talk to Helen. And I’m terrified. Not for myself, but for Heather…

Kim’s Review:

This was the first book by Mary Downing Hahn that I read. I was looking for scary, ghost stories and this one was perfect! After I finished this book, I worked my way through most of her other books. I very much enjoyed this story, but I gave it 4 stars because of Heather. Unfortunately, I doubt she could be changed much because her awfulness is what makes Helen believable. I just don’t understand how any parent could allow their child to act the way that she does.

I think we’ve already established that I’m not a very compassionate person. I don’t have much patience for self-pity, or for the excuses people use to shift responsibility for their lives. Yes, Heather saw her mother die in a fire and I get that that would be a traumatic thing for a kid. But, why the heck was she not taken to a therapist?? Spoiling a kid is never the right course, no matter what the situation! Ok, other than that, I love this book! I always go back to it when I’m looking for a creepy read. Hahn did a great job of entwining history and ghosts. Molly is a great protagonist, she’s very believable and I couldn’t help but sympathize with her. It’s also safe for younger readers. I absolutely recommend this to anyone looking for a scary, ghost story.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

Blog Tour: Till it Stops Beating

Today I share my review on the blog tour for Till it Stops Beating by Hannah R. Goodman.  This one was published on July 5th!

Book Description:

Seventeen-year-old Maddie Hickman’s senior year begins with the good (the reemergence of The One That Got Away), the bad (a cancer diagnosis, not hers, but it might as well be) and the WTF (an anxiety attack that renders her writhing on the floor like an upside down crab).

Adding to her spiraling anxiety is Senior Project, in the form of I’ve Decided To Write A Book about The Other One That Got Away (And Crushed My Heart). Compounding it all is applying to college and keeping up with her friends. The ever mounting stress eventually rips her tight grip on all that she holds dear.

Her break down leads to an unexpected road trip where she is forced to listen to her wildly beating heart. It is only in the back of a convertible with pop music blasting, that she discovers she must risk everything in order to really live.

Author: Hannah R. Goodman
Published: July 5th, 2018
216 pages

Reviewed By: September 28-October 6, 2018
Jessica’s Rating: 3.5 stars

Jessica’s Review:

I did not realize this was book four in The Maddie Chronicles when I started it. The first three in the series are:

My Sister’s Wedding
My Summer Vacation
Fear of Falling

When I found out it was the fourth then things made sense: I felt I was ‘missing’ pieces of information during the first part of the novel. I would advise you to read the others in the series before reading Till it Stops Beating.

OK, now that that is over…..

Till it Stops Beating  is a coming of age novel for Maddie.  She is transitioning from childhood to adulthood and along the way faces some difficult issues, among them anxiety and cancer. Hannah also deals with heartbreak in relationships, family issues and of course: jelly doughnuts. The first few chapters had me craving doughnuts!

Goodman did a good job capturing a teen dealing with anxiety and an unknown future that makes up one’s senior year of high school, which really is a year of change and big decisions. Then in addition to all of that, she has to deal with a relative’s cancer diagnosis and that unknown can be heartbreaking

I enjoyed the second part immensely; I felt I really got to know Maddie through the road trip she took with friends. 

You will laugh and might tear up reading this one. The ending is a pleasant one with hope for the future. And the title just gives you all the feelings once you have finished the novel!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

About the Author:

Often referred to as “the teenage whisperer”, Hannah R. Goodman’s twenty-year career working with teenagers includes the titles teacher, tutor, coach, and, more recently, mental health counselor. Hannah has written essays about mental health for various online publications. Her work has appeared on MindBodyGreenOC87 Recovery Diaries,, and The Mighty. Though she has previously earned the title author with her first three books, the last was released in 2009 and all were self-published. This time around, indie publisher Black Rose Writing released her novel Till It Stops Beating this summer.

Hannah’s  first YA novel, My Sister’s Wedding, won the first place award for The Writer’s Digest International Self-Publishing Contest, 2004, children’s book division. She published the follow-up, My Summer Vacation, in May 2006, which went on to win a bronze IPPY in 2007. The third Maddie book, Fear of Falling, was released in the fall of 2009 and was praised by teachers and readers for tackling subjects like homophobia and coming out. She’s published young adult short stories on Amazon’s Shorts, in an anthology entitled Bound Is The Bewitching Lilith, and in the journal Balancing The Tides. She also has written columns for The Jewish Voice & Herald. Recent, previous projects include Sucker Literary, which features emerging YA authors and All The Way YA, a group blog of writers telling the real deal about writing and publishing YA fiction. 

Hannah is a member of  ARIA  (Association of Rhode Island Authors) as well as a graduate of Pine Manor College’s Solstice Program in Creative Writing where she earned an MFA in Writing For Young People. She resides in Bristol, RI with her husband, two daughters, and black and white cat named Zoe.

Contact Hannah:
Twitter @hannahrgoodman
Amazon Author Central







Graphic Novel Review: Through the Woods by Emily Carroll

Author: Emily Carroll
Published: July 15, 2014
208 Pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars

Book Description:

Journey through the woods in this sinister, compellingly spooky collection that features four brand-new stories and one phenomenally popular tale in print for the first time. These are fairy tales gone seriously wrong, where you can travel to “Our Neighbor’s House”—though coming back might be a problem. Or find yourself a young bride in a house that holds a terrible secret in “A Lady’s Hands Are Cold.” You might try to figure out what is haunting “My Friend Janna,” or discover that your brother’s fiancée may not be what she seems in “The Nesting Place.” And of course, you must revisit the horror of “His Face All Red,” the breakout web-comic hit that has been gorgeously translated to the printed page.

Kim’s Review:

Creepy as all get out!!! I mean holy crap! Ivan got me this book for my birthday this year, and that shouldn’t be surprising since he’s a horror geek. And I give him credit; he never buys me a book without reading the description first and if it doesn’t sound good to him, then he saves it for me to buy for myself. But I digress! This was a great collection of eerie stories! Most of them have a lot of implied horror, which I do like, just not as much as obvious horror, cuz I’m an obvious person! I did love the illustrations, but there were times when I felt like I was reading a kid’s picture book. Obviously, it’s not a kid’s book, it was just a little sparse for my taste. Other than that, I really liked this graphic novel! A good one to send chills down your spine! Definitely a must for anyone who loves the macabre!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK