Category Archives: Supernatural

Frances and the Monster – review

Litercurious Book Review

TitleFrances and the Monster
AuthorRefe Tuma
PublisherHarperCollins (August 23, 2022)
FormatKindle, Audiobook, Hardcover, Audio CD
Pages352 pages
GenreChildren’s Robot Fiction Books / Children’s
Spine-Chilling Horror / Children’s Mystery,
Detective, & Spy
LanguageEnglish
ISBN 10/130063085763 / 978-0063085763

AUTHOR

Refe Tuma is an author in his own right, and a Co-author with his wife. He lives in Kansas City with his family and their plastic dinosaurs.

SYNOPSIS

Frances is a super-smart scientist little girl. Her mother and father are great scientist and she wants to be just like them, only better. Raised in an overprotective environment, Frances couldn’t even leave the house. She spent her days studying and doing experiments with her mother and father. When her parents leave to go to a symposium; Frances, left on her own with just the robot nanny, finds her grandfathers secret laboratory.

Studying her grandfathers notes, she quickly picks up his experiments where he left off. She wants to succeed where her grandfather failed. She uses the robot body from her nanny to enhance the cadaver left in the laboratory. Then BOOM! The monster awakens! He goes on a rampage and escapes the laboratory and starts to terrorize the town. Frances has to catch him and bring him back. What follows is an adventure through a town she has never been in. Being chased by the local constable, Frances has to stay one step ahead of him while trying to track down and capture the monster. Can she stay out of jail? Will she capture the monster before it kills someone? The chase takes her through seedy alleyways, in the sewers and over the rooftops. Her adventure has just begun.

CONCLUSION

Frances and the Monster is targeted at kids 8-12 years old, but will appeal to most ages. It is a high paced thriller with a bit of horror; especially at the end. The prose is appropriate for anyone 8 or older, while the plot is both interesting and engaging.

Refe has done a great job with this story. I was unable to put it down and almost finished the entire book in one sitting. The last 2 chapters really threw me for a loop. The plot twist and the horror element was surprising and disturbing (in a good way).

I definitely recommend this book. If you like thrills, suspense, excitement and a little horror, then you will love this book.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would like to thank Refe Tuma, NetGalley and HarperCollins for affording me the opportunity to review Frances and the Monster.

BADGER IS BORED – REVIEW

Badger is alone and at a loss to find a distraction for his listlessness. Soon however, a cast of animal characters arrives and together they manage to conquer tedium through group participation and collaboration. 

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A Dragon Named Egg

A Dragon Named Egg is written for children 4 to 7 years old. The tale revolves around Egg and makes up a wholesom morality and ethical tale. A Dragon Named Egg not only entertains but also delivers a life lesson. The work is age appropriate, picturesque and short, this book is the perfect length for a brief children’s bedtime story.

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Jubilee – Review

Jubilee: The First Therapy Horse and and Olympic Dream is a book about courage, determination, overcoming insurmountable obstacles, and a love for horses. This book is an inspiration to all those who not only love horses, but to those who are undergoing extreme hardships.

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WARRIOR’S RANSOM – Review

Litercurious Book Review

Warrior’s Ransom written by Jeff Wheeler
TitleWarrior’s Ransom – The First Argentines
AuthorJeff Wheeler
Publisher47North (May 18, 2021)
FormatKindle, Paperback, Audiobook, Audio CD
Pages411
GenreHistorical Fantasy, Coming of Age Fantasy,
Sword & Sorcery Fantasy (Books)
LanguageEnglish
ISBN 10/131542027381 / 978-1542027380

Currently Warrior’s Ransom is Free-to-Read on Kindle Unlimited

AUTHOR

Jeff Wheeler is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He majored in History at the San Jose State University. He worked at Intel while attending college but retired early to write full time. Learn all about Jeff, his books, and his new projects on his website here.

SYNOPSIS

Warrior’s Ransom starts where Knight’s Ransom ended. Sir Marshall Barton, A.KA. Ransom, is on a pilgrimage to the “Chandleer Oasis.” There he hopes to discover some answers about his extraordinary abilities. He wants to find out if he is genuinely “Fountain Blessed.”

Ransom discovers that not only is he “Fountain Blessed,” but he has been chosen to defend the Argentine line. The Lady of the Fountain presents him with a scabbard with immense restorative powers to aid him in his quest.

Once Ransom arrives back in Kingfountain, he is quickly put in the service of King Devon the Elder. What follows are more deceit, rebellion, war, intrigue, battles, death, and love. How will Ransom fare? Read the story and find out!

CONCLUSION

Warrior’s Ransom is another fantastic tale. In book two, we resume Ransom’s journey as a Knight and Lord. The story is brilliantly concocted with plenty of loyalty, action, suspense, intrigue, love and betrayal.

Once again Jeff Wheeler has done a great job of mixing fantasy with history. He’s taken some historical events and employed them as a backdrop to design this world in which Ransom lives. The picture he depicts is so effectively presented that I can visualize the scenery in my mind without any issues. The castles, the battles and the environment are all described in exquisite detail.

Another incredible book from Jeff Wheeler. I heartily recommend this book to all readers who enjoy historical fantasy. If you like Knights, chivalry, ancient kingdoms, intrigue, betrayal, fantasy, suspense and massive battles, then is the book for you.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

OUR OTHER REVIEWS OF BOOKS BY THIS AUTHOR

KNIGHT’S RANSOM – Review

Knight’s Ransom is a truly awesome book! It is full of Knightly Honor, sword play, jousting, loyalty, and betrayal. It has plenty of suspense, thrills, intrigue, and action. Written to please the fantasy reader, Knight’s Ransom has just the right amount of history mixed with magic and fantasy.

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THE KILLING FOG – Review

The Killing Fog is the first in The Grave Kingdom series. Magic, mystery, intrigue and betrayal are all included in this fantasy. Bingmei must use all her wit, skill, and abilities to stay ahead of the ancient entity determined to capture and kill her. With the help of her friends and colleges, she embarks on a mission of survival.

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THE BURIED WORLD – REVIEW

This book continues Bingmei’s quest for survival. With the help of her friends, she continues a mission to evade the evil she unwittingly released in the first book. She has many adventures, experiences great loss and witnesses more unspeakable horrors.

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Sol Invictus – Review

Litercurious Book Review

TitleSol Invictus (book 2 “Eye of Ra” series)
AuthorBen Gartner
PublisherCrescent Vista Press (February 1, 2021)
FormatKindle, Paperback
Pages / File300 / 3901 KB
LanguageEnglish
GenreChildren’s Historical Fiction
ISBN 10/13173415523X/ 978-1734155235

AUTHOR

Find out about Ben Gartner and The Eye of Ra series here.

SYNOPSIS

Sol Invictus is the second book in the Eye of Ra series. It continues the adventures of its two main characters Sarah and John.

Sarah and John are pre-teens that are transported through time to the ancient Roman frontier. There they must unite the Roman Emperor Caesar Constantius with an enemy to save the time line and return home. This proves to be a difficult task since his enemy, the Alemanni teen Crocus, was made a slave after the Emperors soldiers killed his father. Crocus hated the Romans and only wanted revenge for his father death.

Sarah and John go through a lot of death-defying adventures to accomplish their task and return home. They fight in the arena, go on the run from the Romans, are turned into slaves, fight wild wolves and much more. The odds seem insurmountable, but they must endure if they ever want to get back to their own time and family.

CONCLUSION

Sol Invictus is an action-packed adventure into ancient Roman times. Mixed with a little history and a lot of imagination this book has it all for a young reader. There are ancient sword and shield battles, arena fighting with wild animals, chases through rough mountainous country, the defeat of capture and slavery, and the joy of friendship and camaraderie. This book has plenty to keep a young reader enthralled.

My only criticism is the constant referral to the first book in this series. My OCD wanted me to stop reading this book and start at the beginning of the series. Sol Invictus is a strong book and can stand on its own without the constant reminder of the previous book. If you can get past this little inconvenience, then you will truly enjoy this story.

My final thoughts on this book are: it is a great read. It has a lot of action and suspense, there are times of joy and sorrow, but overall, I’m glad I read it. Now, I must go get the first book, so I can appease my OCD.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

I would like to thank Ben Gartner, NetGalley, and Crescent Vista Press for affording me the opportunity to review Sol Invictus.

HEART-SHAPED BOX – Review

LITERCURIOUS AUDIOBOOK REVIEW

TitleHeart-Shaped Box
Author/NarratorAuthor Joe Hill / Stephen Lang
PublisherShadow Mountain (Sep 8, 2020)
FormatAudiobook
Length11.1 Hours
GenreHorror / Thriller / Suspense
Language:English
ASINB002SQBG70

AUTHOR

To learn about Joe Hill, check out our authors spotlight here.

NARRATOR

Stephen Lang is an American actor, playwright co-artistic director. He received a Tony Award and the Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor. He is best known for his role in Avatar. He has a long and distinctive film and television career. He has done voice-over work on video games and narrates a wide variety of audiobooks.  

SYNOPSIS

Heart-Shaped Box is a paranormal tiptoe though the life of a 50 something rock-star named Jude Coyne; aka Judas. Judas lives a semi-reclusive existence in Piecliff, New York. At the story’s inception, he has a small retinue consisting of his girlfriend Georgia and his loquacious Californian Personal Assistant, Danny.

Judas has a macabre occult and disturbing collection of objet d’art. At Danny’s suggestion, he decides to purchase another item for his assemblage from a popular online bidding site. It is an unusual item; as it is claimed to be a haunted suit. Unknowingly to Judas, the suit belonged to the stepfather of his dead ex-girlfriend. With the arrival of the artifact; a perfect storm of past and present events conspires together to propel Judas into a living nightmare.

The paranormal antagonist is a literal Swiss Army Knife of the supernatural realm. Craddock McDermott was the stepfather of Florida, who committed suicide after her breakup with Judas. The specter uses his life skills to bring hell into the head, heart and soul of Jude Coyne. In an all out blood vendetta from the grave; only the death of Coyne and his helpers will satisfy the lust for revenge. Judas seems ill equipped to defend himself. No matter how far or how fast he runs from McDermott, he can never escape. McDermott is not only behind him, but also in him; in his mind.

Florida’s decline after her breakup with Judas and the impact of subsequent events pulls at the heartstrings with just the right amount of pathos. I found the telephone call from Florida’s sister to be among the most chilling chapters of the book. Easy banter, quickly replaced with unrestrained vitriol and a promise of rightful revenge to follow.

CONCLUSION

Heart-Shaped Box is another winner from the pen of Joe Hill.

Overtly graphic, unflinchingly morose and disturbingly dark, the characters are perfectly sculpted. “The Devil is in the details,” as they say and this is never truer than when describing Heart-Shaped Box. It is every bit as much of a psychological thriller as a paranormal tale of terror. It is always unpredictable, atmospheric throughout with taut tracts that will haunt you in your dreams.

The narrator Stephen Lang was engaging and performed his role with some élan. He managed to bring a sophistication and an angle to the tale by enhancing the written word and bringing the characters to life.

Listening to Heart-Shaped Box, there is an inevitability and a fatality to the whole thing; a feeling that you are on an out of control roller-coaster in Christmasland. Most perverse of all is; you never want to jump off until the ride is over.

Does Judas manage to prevent the death of those who help or support him? I guess you will have to listen or read for yourself to find out.

The whole package works. Just lay back, listen and let the story take you with the help of a fine up and coming writer and a magnificent narrator. If you love skillfully written tales of horror with a twist why not let Heart-Shaped Box be your next audiobook journey? With Hill’s work, the chills come as standard.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

OTHER AUDIOBOOKS BY THIS AUTHOR

PREVIOUS REVIEW OF A WORK BY THIS AUTHOR

Select image to read our review of NOS4A2.

NOS4A2 – REVIEW

Litercurious Book Review

TitleNOS4A2
AuthorJoe Hill
PublisherWilliam Morrow & Company (October 31, 2013)
FormatPaperback
GenreHorror
Page720
LanguageEnglish
ASIN #B00QQ198Z0

“An inscape, a world of thought. In a world made of thought—in an inscape—every idea is a fact. Emotions are as real as gravity. Dreams are as powerful as history. Creative people, like writers, and Henry Rollins, spend a lot of their time hanging out in their thought-world. S-s-strong creatives, though, can use a knife to cut the stitches between the two worlds, can bring them together. Your bike. My tiles. Those are our knives.”

Joe Hill, NOS4A2 (October 31, 2013). Ch. The Librarian, Loc. 1417-1427

AUTHOR

See our Authors Spotlight here.

SYNOPSIS

NOS4A2 is a horror novel written by Joe Hill. It is every horror aficionados dream. The central characters are Vic McQueen, an intuitive wild child with a penchant for two wheels, an infinite curiosity, a need for speed, and a special skill. Charlie Manx a sinister otherworldly psychic vampire. Bing is a sociopath with a dark past and darker future. Margret Leigh is a librarian with unique talents. Louis Carmody is a friend to Vic and father to their child. In addition are McQueen’s dysfunctional extended family.

When the story begins Vic lives with her parents in Haverhill, Massachusetts, not far from Lake Winnipesaukee; a favorite family getaway. 

Victoria McQueen – AKA Vic or The Brat

NOS4A2 is a standout in every way as a horror product. Set in contemporary times. The key character, Vic McQueen, is an 8-year-old child living in Haverhill with her dysfunctional mother and father who are in a combative relationship. Vic is a wild-child with an extraordinary gift. She is an exceptional artist, but that is not her only trait. She soon discovers her other talent, a symbiotic relationship between her and her bicycle; her ‘knife’ (a psychic tool that can act as a portal via the Shorter Way over a psychic bridge to anywhere she wants to go). Together they can traverse the ethereal plane.  

Hill’s novel steers us through the life of Vic from her days as a child, her teenage years and struggles, to her maturation. A life altering event; a clash with Charlie Manx, leads Vic on a personal and dramatic course that defines her life thereafter.

Charles Talent Manx – AKA Charlie Manx

Charles Talent Manx is the principal evil protagonist. He is a filicidal psychopath and mass killer. He has a distinctive overbite, ancient appearance, dresses strangely, and drives a vehicle from another era; a Rolls Royce Wraith. The Wraith is more than just a car, it is part of his Manx-scape, his inner-verse, it is his “knife.” The automobile is implicated in Manx’s unhealthy interest in children. He seemingly spirits them away in his Rolls Royce to his inscape, which he calls Christmasland. In an accident of synchronicity, Vic McQueen and Manx cross paths; from there the game is afoot. 

Bing Partridge

Bing Partridge is a rotund, bespectacled man from Sugarcreek, PA. Bing was tried and convicted of parricide for both of his parents. He is a sexual deviant and fascinated with using sevoflurane (Gingerbread scented gas). Sevoflurane is one of the volatile gases that includes: halothane, isoflurane, and desflurane. Partridge employs the gas as an anesthetic to render his victims insensible. He utilizes a military gas mask, given to him by his father when he was a child, to prevent himself from suffering the analgesic affects.

Bing is Manx’s most recent assistant; there have been many over the years. Bing has a fascination for Christmas, gas masks, and mature adult women; although his interests range too much lower age groups. He is dull, has a complex range of paraphilias and appears to suffer from an insufficiency of intellect with elements of psychopathy, and sociological illness. Cunning like a fox and yet barely able to operate in society, Bing shares Manx’s abnormal love of Christmas and Christmasland. Bing can, and will, do anything to attain Christmasland with its promise of eternal life surrounded by gingerbread and all the accoutrements, including access to children.

Ms. Margret Leigh – AKA Maggie

Ms. Margret Leigh is a scrabble maven with a special bag and a spluttering stammer. Maggie has a sapphic nature and works as a librarian in a small town. She is fascinated with scrabble. Maggie has her own “knife,” involving the use of her scrabble bag. She can retrieve messages that aid her in seeing future events.

Louis Carmody – AKA Lou Carmody

Lou is Vic’s significant other and father to Bruce Wayne McQueen. He is an all-around nice guy, dedicated father, and part-time hero.  

CONCLUSION

Joe Hill could be the best contemporary horror writer of our time. 

NOS4A2 is a strong tale, perfectly paced, and totally engrossing. It has a stupendous narrative, is skillfully written with superior character definition, and has a compelling chronology. It is a mythos all its own and I would not be surprised if it becomes a timeless favorite of many horror story lovers. 

NOS4A2 is replete with numerous literary Easter-eggs. He doffs his hat throughout the book to his illustrious literary family and references locations from their works. A reference to Shawshank is just one example. Notable locations: The House of Sleep, The Shorter Way, Manx The Sleigh House, the Graveyard of What Might Be.

I have seen the television show featuring a screenplay adapted from the book. My recommendation is that you should forget the show and read the book. The written form is far superior and elaborates much more than the TV version. There is simply no comparison between the two experiences. 

I have already identified my next Joe Hill book and decided on his award-winning number one best seller Heart-Shaped Box. What will your next Joe Hill novel be?

Take a look below where I have provided a read-for-free link to four of his works on KindleUnlimited. 

Rating: 5 out of 5.

OTHER BOOKS BY THIS AUTHOR

Other books by this author are included on his Author’s Spotlight here. There is a range of his works that are currently free-to-read on KindleUnlimited – as of 1 July, 2020. Select the image below to view: