Tag Archives: Horror

The Creeping Shadow by Jonathan Stroud

The Creeping Shadow: Lockwood & Co. Book 4 by Jonathan Stroud. September 13, 2016. Disney-Hyperion, 464 p. ISBN: 9781484709672.  Int Lvl: 3-6; Rdg Lvl: 6.0; Lexile: 690.

After leaving Lockwood & Co. at the end of The Hollow Boy, Lucy is a freelance operative, hiring herself out to agencies that value her ever-improving skills. One day she is pleasantly surprised by a visit from Lockwood, who tells her he needs a good Listener for a tough assignment. Penelope Fittes, the leader of the giant Fittes Agency wants them–and only them–to locate and remove the Source for the legendary Brixton Cannibal. They succeed in their very dangerous task, but tensions remain high between Lucy and the other agents. Even the skull in the jar talks to her like a jilted lover. What will it take to reunite the team? Black marketeers, an informant ghost, a Spirit Cape that transports the wearer, and mysteries involving Steve Rotwell and Penelope Fittes just may do the trick. But, in a shocking cliffhanger ending, the team learns that someone has been manipulating them all along….

Part of Series: Lockwood & Company

Potentially Sensitive Areas: Mild language; Violence; Murder; Violent imagery; Cannibalism; Suicide

 

Book Trailer

Reviews

Booklist starred (October 15, 2016 (Vol. 113, No. 4))
Grades 5-8. Though Lucy’s making a go of it as a freelance psychic investigator, when Lockwood knocks on her door, asking for help with a case, she’s willing to work with the old firm again. Their tasks escalate from eradicating the ghost of a cannibalistic Londoner to descending, unarmed, into a den of brutal thugs and thieves. Soon the four young Lockwood agents stumble upon their most alarming and momentous challenge yet. Dispatching a vicious ghost is one thing, but uncovering a vast scheme of calculated evildoing is quite another. While the novel’s epic climax will please any lover of chills, thrills, and explosions, the simultaneous conversational counterpoint is not to be missed. A revelation in the concluding pages will leave readers wondering what dark secret lies behind the plague of spirits terrorizing England for 50 years. The wry first-person narrative is a pleasure, relating the story with an impeccable, understated sense of drama. Appearing at chapter headings, Adams’ dark, richly atmospheric, and often ghostly vignette drawings can make even a sandwich look downright sinister. Stroud’s scene setting and storytelling are second to none, but it’s his ability to create credible, idiosyncratic characters and relationships that makes avid fans of the Lockwood & Co. series.

About the Author

Jonathan Stroud is an author of fantasy books, mainly for children and youths.

Stroud grew up in St Albans where he enjoyed reading books, drawing pictures, and writing stories. Between the ages seven and nine he was often ill, so he spent most of his days in the hospital or in his bed at home. To escape boredom he would occupy himself with books and stories. After he completed his studies of English literature at the University of York, he worked in London as an editor for the Walker Books store. He worked with different types of books there and this soon led to the writing of his own books. During the 1990s, he started publishing his own works and quickly gained success.

Stroud lives in St Albans, Hertfordshire, with his two children, Isabelle and Arthur, and his wife Gina, an illustrator of children’s books.

His website is www.jonathanstroud.com.

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Hellfighters by Alexander Gordon Smith

Hellfighters by Alexanfder Gordon Smith. November 1, 2016. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 320 p. ISBN: 9780374301729.  Int Lvl: YA; Rdg Lvl: YA; Lexile: 760.

Thrown into a relentless war against the forces of darkness, fifteen-year-old Marlow Green and his squad of secret soldiers must fight for control of the Devil’s Engines―ancient, infernal machines that can make any wish come true, as long as you are willing to put your life on the line. But after a monstrous betrayal, Marlow, Pan and the other Hellraisers find themselves on the run from an enemy with horrific powers and limitless resources―an enemy that wants them dead at all costs. Failure doesn’t just mean a fate worse than death for Marlow, it means the total annihilation of the world. And when all looks lost and the stakes couldn’t be higher, just how far is he willing to go?

Sequel to: Hellraisers

Potentially Sensitive Areas: Mild language; Grotesque violence

 

Reviews

Booklist (January 1, 2017 (Online))
Grades 9-12. The second installment of the Devil’s Engine trilogy picks up after Hellraisers (2015) ended: with the battered and bruised Marlowe, Pan, and the other Engineers racing from and toward danger and destruction, in hopes of saving the world. Chapters alternate narration between Marlowe and Pan, whose relationship deepens, leading to even higher-stakes decisions for Marlowe as he seeks to locate and save his old friend Charlie. Adventure fans will be thrilled by the fast-paced, wall-to-wall action, and horror readers will delight at the supernatural terror and gore in the Engineers’ battle against chaos and pure evil.

Kirkus Reviews (September 1, 2016)
The Hellraisers have been betrayed, and all hell is threatening to break loose, quite literally.With the help of their ragtag crew, Teens Marlow and Pan are back in this follow-up to Hellraisers (2015). This time they not only battle nightmarish creatures, but must also travel between dimensions and through time to stop the Engine from releasing hell on Earth and destroying the world. Smith takes readers on another twisted, twisting journey and—to paraphrase the narrative—leaves readers with “images that belong in the sickest of horror movies.” With the exception of using skin tones to convey emotions and ailments, descriptions of race are largely avoided, leaving readers to conclude that most of the main characters are not people of color, an inherent and unfortunate trend in horror. While this sequel is certainly a page-turner and will keep readers engrossed, it’s not perfect. The imminent threat of Pan’s and Marlow’s expiring contracts with the Engine doesn’t pack enough of a gut-wrenching punch to really make readers feel it; there are a few too many pep-talk scenes with teary-eyed Hellraisers giving group hugs; and Pan and Marlow’s budding (but apparently inevitable in books for teens) romance is hard to swallow, particularly from Pan’s perspective. Nevertheless, this brings the same fear, fire, and comic relief as its predecessor, and readers will be happy enough with this sequel to the first Faustian tale to look forward to the next one. (Horror. 14 & up)

About the Author

Alexander Gordon Smith is the author of the Escape from Furnace series of young adult novels, including Lockdown and Solitary. Born in 1979 in Norwich, England, he always wanted to be a writer. After experimenting in the service and retail trades for a few years, Smith decided to go to University. He studied English and American Literature at the University of East Anglia, and it was here that he first explored his love of publishing. Along with poet Luke Wright, he founded Egg Box Publishing, a groundbreaking magazine and press that promotes talented new authors. He also started writing literally hundreds of articles, short stories and books ranging from Scooby Doo comic strips to world atlases, Midsomer Murders to X-Files. The endless research for these projects led to countless book ideas germinating in his head. His first book, The Inventors, written with his nine-year-old brother Jamie, was published in the U.K. in 2007. He lives in England.  His website is www.alexandergordonsmith.com.

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One Was Lost by Natalie D. Richards

One Was Lost by Natalie D. Richards. October 4, 2016. Sourcebooks Fire, 320 p. ISBN: 9781492615743.  Int Lvl: YA; Rdg Lvl: YA; Lexile: 610.

Damaged. Deceptive. Dangerous. Darling. Are they labels or a warning? The answer could cost Sera everything.

Murder, justice, and revenge were so not a part of the plan when Sera set out on her senior camping trip. After all, hiking through the woods is supposed to be safe and uneventful.

Then one morning the group wakes up groggy, confused, and with words scrawled on their wrists: Damaged. Deceptive. Dangerous. Darling. Their supplies? Destroyed. Half their group? Gone. Their chaperone? Unconscious. Worst of all, they find four dolls acting out a murder—dolls dressed just like them.

Suddenly it’s clear; they’re being hunted. And with the only positive word on her wrist, Sera falls under suspicion…

 

Reviews

Kirkus Reviews (July 15, 2016)
A high school senior camping trip turns into a survival nightmare when the group is targeted by a violent stalker.Separated by a flooding river, the participants’ initial plan is to camp overnight and reunite the following morning. But when Lebanese-American narrator Sera, “white trash” Lucas, black Jude, and Asian-American Emily wake up, they discover they’ve been drugged. Overnight their equipment, including an emergency GPS, was destroyed, and their teacher seems to be suffering from an overdose. More disturbingly, each student’s wrist has a Sharpie-drawn label: “Darling,” “Dangerous,” “Deceptive,” and “Damaged,” respectively. The situation exacerbates pre-existing tensions, and members immediately suspect one another. However, the gruesome discovery that the teacher and students on the other side of the river have likely been murdered brings a fragile unity to Sera’s group—motivating their attempted hike to safety. Complicating matters is Sera’s conflict about her attraction to Lucas, the classically misunderstood bad boy—a storyline that conveniently proves there’s always time for romance. Meanwhile, the killer plays cat and mouse with the teens, leading them off-course with traps and feeding them misinformation, effectively amping up the tension. The premise is exciting and the pacing effective, but the novel is unfortunately light on details of how the villain could have actually planned and executed the whole situation. Full of drama and suspicion for readers who can get past its credibility problem. (Thriller. 14-18)

School Library Journal (September 1, 2016)
Gr 9 Up-A school hiking trip turns deadly in Richards’s dark, contemporary stand-alone thriller. Participation in a hike through the West Virginia woods is mandatory for graduating high school seniors. Sera’s misery is compounded by Lucas, the crush she’s avoided. A flash flood strands the campers and their teachers Mr. Walker and Ms. Brighton on either side of a river. The next day, Sera wakes up from a drugged sleep, discovering evidence that the campers were attacked. Mr. Walker is found unconscious, and the campers are marked on their wrists: Jude, Deceptive; Emily, Damaged; Lucas, Dangerous; and Sera, Darling. Someone is targeting them for crimes, imagined or real, and they must work together to survive the hunt. Richards delivers a solid page-turner for readers who want to keep the lights on all night. With its predatory atmosphere, this book feels like The Breakfast Club folded into a Christopher Pike novel’s fight for survival. The characters’ ethnicities are refreshingly inclusive. However, the plot suffers from a weakness that holds it back from rising above average. The backstory behind the attack is based on a ghostly tale that readers are never sufficiently privy to, weakening the tension and at times causing actual confusion. The attacks are quite graphic and may be unsuitable for sensitive readers. VERDICT An enticing thriller that, despite some defects, remains a general purchase recommendation.-Jessica Bushore, formerly at Shelf Awareness, Xenia, OH

About the Author

Natalie D. Richards won her first writing competition in the second grade with her short story about Barbara Frances Bizzlefishes (who wouldn’t dare do the dishes.) She later misplaced her writing dreams in a maze of cubicles and general office drudgery. Natalie never forgot about Barbara or those dishes, and eventually she found her way back to storytelling, following the genre of her heart, teen fiction. When she’s not writing or shopping her manuscripts, you can probably find her wading through the towers of dog-eared paperbacks that have taken over her bedroom.

Natalie lives in Ohio with her amazing husband and their three children, who inspire her every day to stick with her dreams.  Her website is www.nataliedrichards.com.

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Strikeout of the Bleacher Weenies by David Lubar

Seriously Shifted by David Lubar. September 13, 2016. Starscape, 205 p. ISBN: 9780765377265.  Int Lvl: 3-6; Rdg Lvl: 5.7; Lexile: 630.

Strikeout of the Bleacher Weenies is the eighth collection of spooky short stories for ages 8 to 12 by the beloved author of the Nathan Abercrombie series, David Lubar. This is the perfect pick for reluctant young readers who like a few chills and a lot of laughs.

The appearance of a mysterious new girl in school stops her classmates cold. Black Friday shopping gets out of control for a mother and daughter. And stands full of screaming and shouting Bleacher Weenies are about to make the ultimate sacrifice.

Welcome to the Weenie Zone! Here are thirty-one hilarious and harrowing stories that will scare you, make you laugh, or get you to see the world in a whole new way. Find out where the author got the idea for each story at the end of the book.

Don’t be a weenie. Read these stories. If you dare!

Part of Series: Weenies and Other Warped and Creepy Tales.

Potentially Sensitive Areas: Violence

 

Reviews

Kirkus Reviews (July 15, 2016)
The weird, warped weenies return for an eighth collection of tiny terror tales.Vampires stalk vampires that stalk vampires (to eat of course). A spelling mistake in special writing-assistance software at school introduces Hector to the Different, where the hyperbolic descriptions on video clips (“…will make you wet your pants!”) are lethally true. With conservation in mind, Serena works successfully to get the local werewolf placed on the endangered species list…and finds she’s suddenly the go-to girl for supernatural beings tired of being hunted to extinction. Lubar, king of the quick and twisty tale, sultan of the scary (and sometimes silly) short-short story, presents 30 more diminutive dips into the strange, the bizarre, and the unexpected. Most end badly for the protagonist or narrator; boys and girls are represented in equal number. It’s to be expected in a field of well over 200 weenies stories there will be some strikeouts; there are a few here. However, the final story alone is worth the price of a ticket to this game (coulrophobes, don’t even think about reading it!). The collection concludes with a section of story notes explaining the origins of these tales of time travel, revenge, fears come to life, and bullies getting their just deserts. Fans will be shivering and laughing…evilly. (Short stories. 9-12)

About the Author

David Lubar has written more than thirty books for teens and young readers. His novels, including Hidden Talents and Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie, are on reading lists across the country, saving countless students from a close encounter with Madam Bovary. His novel, Dunk, won Pennsylvania’s Young Adult Book Award and was used by the New Jersey Library Association for their One Book New Jersey program. His Weenies short story collections have sold more than two million copies. He is a popular speaker at schools and conferences around the country. He also designed and programmed many video games in an earlier eight-bit life, including Home Alone and Frogger 2. In his spare time, he takes naps on the couch.

He grew up in New Jersey, went to Rutgers, and now lives in Nazareth, PA with one awesome female and various annoying felines. You can visit him on the web at www.davidlubar.com.

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Strikeout of the Bleacher Weenies on Amazon

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