Book Reviews by Today, I Read…

February 24

Comments: 1

Short Story Review: The Imaginary Friend by D.W. Cropper

by Ann-Katrina

Bonechillers cover The Imaginary Friend is a 16 page short story from the anthology Bonechillers: 13 Twisted Tales of Terror by D.W. Cropper.

Short Synopsis

After moving into an old house on Hudson street, Henry, the youngest, makes a new friend named Bonnie. His parents believe Bonnie is imaginary, but Henry’s older sister suspects otherwise…and she’s right.

My Thoughts on The Imaginary Friend

There was an air of familiarity to the story—family moving into an old house with a restless spirit seeking something it once lost—but it didn’t feel stale.

Although I could easily predict that Henry’s imaginary friend wasn’t imaginary and that bad things would happen, I still held my breath at certain sections and even gasped at a certain revelation about Bonnie. That’s how this story garnered my respect, because it’s not easy to write a truly creepy story while still respecting your audience’s sensibilities.

Rather than rely on blood and guts for scares, Cropper uses vivid language that gets under your skin and for truly young (or sensitive) readers it could cause nightmares.

Final rating: B+

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February 14

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Short Story Review: The Wrong Grave by Kelly Link

by Ann-Katrina

Pretty Monsters cover The 23 page short story The Wrong Grave is from the anthology Pretty Monsters by Kelly Link.

Short Synopsis

A boy regretting his decision to bury some of his poetry with his deceased girlfriend decides to dig her up and get them back, but receives a shocking surprise when he does.

My Thoughts on The Wrong Grave

I didn’t know what to expect from Kelly Link’s writing, but having read this story I can say it was a pleasant experience. This story was so many things—comical, dark, and poignant—and her writing style and subject matter aligned well with my own morbidity. (Dealing with Death has a way of skewing one’s personality; what one, who has not dealt with Death, might find disturbingly dark another may find amusingly dark.)

Each of the characters’ personalities were delineated, naturally flawed, and none of them seemed stock. I even found myself wanting to know more about the story’s anonymous narrator who had me chuckling every few pages.

As far as a plot or point to the story, there really wasn’t one that I could discern, but that was OK. It was just a charming sliver of another, longer story that I won’t ever know—unless, of course, Link ever decided to write it, at which time I would eagerly read it. Instead, I’m left to wonder and speculate and dwell on what happened to Miles and that girl he dug up.

Final rating: B+

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April 21

Comments: 6

Review: Morpheus Road: The Light by D. J. MacHale

by Ann-Katrina

Morpheus Road: The Light Cover

Title: Morpheus Road: The Light
Author: D. J. MacHale
ISBN: 978-1-4424-0438-0
Story Length: 344 pages
Genre: Young Adult/Psychological Horror

Back Cover of Morpheus Road: The Light

It begins with mysterious sounds, a fleeting face outside a window–all things that can be explained away. That is, until he comes face-to-face with a character who only exists on the pages of a sketchbook–a character Marshall himself created.

Marshall is quickly convinced these strange incidents have something to do with his best friend, Cooper, who has gone missing. Together with Cooper’s beautiful but aloof sister, Sydney, Marshall searches for the truth about his friend while ultimately uncovering a nightmare that is bigger and more frightening than he ever could have imagined.

Three Quick Points About Morpheus Road: The Light

  • Point 1: More of a creepfest than a gorefest. Although I’d definitely place this book in the horror category, there’s a relatively small amount of blood and guts.
  • Point 2: So. Much. Tension. It just didn’t stop. Right when you think all is well–BAM!–something else jumps out at you.
  • Point 3: There’s a mystery begging to be solved. Too bad the second book isn’t out yet, because (and I can’t believe I’m going to say this…) OMG I can’t wait for it!

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March 10

Comments: 6

(Illustrated) Review: The Devouring by Simon Holt

by Ann-Katrina

The Devouring Cover

Title: The Devouring
Author: Simon Holt
ISBN: 978-0-316-03573-6
Story Length: 231 pages
Genre: Young Adult

Back Cover of The Devouring

When dark creeps in and eats the light.
Bury your fears on Sorry Night.
For in the winter’s blackest hours
Comes the feasting of the Vours.
No one can see it, the life they stole.
Your body’s here but not your soul…

Three Quick Points About The Devouring

  • Point 1: A bit chilling. At least, the beginning was. What would you do if some dark creature offered to eat your fears?
  • Point 2: Mmmm, cheesy cliché filling. The entire middle section of the book is devoted more to shock value than fear factor.
  • Point 3: Curiosity inducing. If I didn’t know better, I’d say I’ve been brainwashed because I’m anxious to read the next installment.

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September 3

Comments: 4

Review: Being Dead by Vivian Vande Velde

by Ann-Katrina

Being Dead Cover

Back Cover of Being Dead

They may be dead, but thee certainly not gone. They dance with the living, sleep under your bed, and follow you home from school.

In this deliciously creepy collection of seven stories, Vivian Vande Velde follows the haunted souls of yesterday beyond the grave into our world–a place they just aren’t ready to leave.

Three Quick Points About Being Dead

  • Point 1: The cover is creepier than the stories. Of course, that doesn’t mean there isn’t some level of nerve-altering in at least one of the stories.
  • Point 2: A mixed bag. A few of the stories seem like incomplete thoughts, but the remainders have the power to make one gasp, laugh, or misty-eyed.
  • Point 3: Smooth and fast reads, all. Each story flows from one page to the next making this book an exceptionally fast read.

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