My recap for book number two in LJ Smith’s The Forbidden Game series, THE CHASE, is now up over at The Devil’s Elbow! Stakes are high when evil Shadow Man Julian comes out of his world and into Jenny’s, threatening her safety, her comfort, and her friends as he kidnaps them one by one in order to force Jenny to comply with her promise to him. The dick. Don’t miss it!

Published: October 3, 2017
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Author: Website
Info: Goodreads

Moon 2 is a space station that orbits approximately 250 miles above Earth. It travels 17,500 miles an hour, making one full orbit every ninety minutes. It’s also the only home that fifteen-year-old Leo and two other teens have ever known.

Born and raised on Moon 2, Leo and the twins, Orion and Libra, are finally old enough and strong enough to endure the dangerous trip to Earth. They’ve been “parented” by teams of astronauts since birth and have run countless drills to ready themselves for every conceivable difficulty they might face on the flight.

But has anything really prepared them for life on terra firma? Because while the planet may be home to billions of people, living there is more treacherous than Leo and his friends could ever have imagined, and their very survival will mean defying impossible odds. (

SATELLITE snuck up on me. It really did. Initially I wasn’t too thrilled with it because of the way it’s written. It’s pseudo-stream of consciousness, but only in certain words. It doesn’t have never-ending sentences or anything, but everything’s lower case, some words are in text speak (like c and u and Dr.ate for some reason) and I have no idea why. Even after finishing the book I still have no idea why it was written like this. It was incredibly distracting. I got about halfway through the book before I was able to look beyond it and even then I kept getting pulled back into the text speak. It was annoying.

But the story itself is actually really good. Kind of like reverse sci-fi. Or not really sci-fi. These three kids were born in space and they have to wait until they’re old enough for their bodies to survive re-entry in order to get brought back down to earth. I’m not going to go into too much detail because once they’re back on earth is really where the story flipped itself on its head for me. It went where I was fully NOT expecting it to go and I loved Lake for that.

I found myself trying not to ugly cry at the end, or toward the end, which probably made the whole look even uglier. Crap, there’s a lot I can’t say without spoiling the story. I will say it goes to realistic places that even my realistically-driven mind didn’t go and I ended up being surprised as a result. It was refreshing.

You don’t get a whole lot about present day earth, though. It’s not that far into the future, maybe a couple of decades, just far enough to get the shifts in the world the plot needed but not far enough that what’s being done doesn’t require a considerable suspension of disbelief. But I usually like whys and there aren’t a whole lot of those. Not really. The focus was on these three kids and how they get from space to earth and what happens to them once they get here.

A lot of feelings in SATELLITE. It’s far deeper than what it lets on. I hope this book gets the attention it deserves because it would be a shame to have it slide into obscurity. It’s gripping and touching, all of the characters, including the less likable ones, are all compelling. Aside from the text speak there isn’t much to complain about here. There really isn’t. If you’re looking for a damn good book, you’ll find it in SATELLITE.


I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Published: October 13, 2017
Publisher: WordFire Press
Author: Website
Info: Goodreads

Welcome to Monsterland—the scariest place on Earth.

Wyatt Baldwin’s senior year is not going well. His parents divorce, then his dad mysteriously dies. He’s not exactly comfortable with his new stepfather, Carter White, either. An ongoing debate with his best friends Melvin and Howard Drucker over which monster is superior has gotten stale. He’d much rather spend his days with beautiful and popular Jade. However, she’s dating the brash high-school quarterback Nolan, and Wyatt thinks he doesn’t stand a chance.

But everything changes when Wyatt and his friends are invited to attend the grand opening of Monsterland, a groundbreaking theme park where guests can interact with vampires in Vampire Village, be chased by werewolves on the River Run, and walk among the dead in Zombieville.

With real werewolves, vampires and zombies as the main attractions, what could possibly go wrong? (book back blurb)

This was such a neat concept that I couldn’t help but snap it up when it was offered to me. And the book didn’t disappoint.

I’ll start with what I didn’t like, which is pretty minimal. From an editing standpoint it was a bit head-hoppy. I definitely had to go back and re-read passages to make sure I didn’t space out in a scene or character change only to realize that I really didn’t. From one paragraph to the next you’d be bounced around from one character to another. It didn’t happen too often but often enough that it disrupted the flow of the story for me a few times.

Also the Auschwitz reference was a bit much. I don’t think it quite lines up with the objective of the story and it’s just tasteless and unnecessary. The story wouldn’t lose anything if that had been removed and I feel it was in there just for shock purposes and that kind of bothers me.

Everything else I really did like. Okon is brutal and I like that in a YA author. He’s entirely unapologetic with his nastiness and no one is safe. There’s a lot of gore going on in the story, however, it’s not over-described. I didn’t find myself getting nauseous at all while reading. Always a good thing. But that’s not needed. You get perfectly well what’s going on without all the detail and it’s more than enough.

I think Wyatt’s a great character and Carter was definitely number two in my book. I like that Okon gave us adults in YA that weren’t completely useless and just placed in the story to get out of the kids’ way. It made for a much more natural dynamic between the characters and for the story itself. I could have lived with less Sean, but I imagine that was the point. Annoying little brother.

I also liked how the story’s set in the future, but only about a step into the future, instead of hundreds of years. It gets you in the mind frame that this is something that could happen now, despite all the vampires and zombies and werewolves. And how the world he created, at least this little corner of Copper Valley, wasn’t a desolate post-apocalyptic wasteland after the outbreak. It’s normal but it has something abnormal happening really close to it. It grounded the story even more.

I think MONSTERLAND provides something different for the YA category that really isn’t otherwise present, not only in type of story but in teen/adult relationships. I think Okon balances the whole step-parent issue really well without going to extremes (evil step-parent need not apply). It’s a good book, a great story, and I think a lot of people will find it really entertaining in a sometimes creepy, sometimes funny sort of way.


I received a copy of this book from the author through The Children’s Book Review in exchange for an honest review.

Enter for a chance to win a Monsterland swag bag; plus, there are loads of runner-up prizes, too!

One (1) grand prize winner receives:

Ten (10) winners receive:

Ten (10) winners receive:

Ten (10) winners receive:

Ten (10) winners receive:

Click here to enter for your chance to win!

My recap of the first book in LJ Smith’s The Forbidden Game series, THE HUNTER, just went live at The Devil’s Elbow! Come see just how much Smith was inspired by Labyrinth and if she wasn’t I’ll eat my shoe. Not to mention, in the grander scheme of shitty YA horror from the 90s, THE HUNTER is probably one of the least shittiest. I actually enjoyed this story in all its twisted horror and Labyrinth love and Smith kept the crappy characters to a minimum. Considering the proliferation of teens-as-caricatures in 90s YA horror, I’ll take what I can get.

So come check out my recap of THE HUNTER at The Devil’s Elbow now!

My next recap is up over at The Devil’s Elbow and this time I’m recapping the next and last book in Carmen Adams’s not-series-series, SONG OF THE VAMPIRE. Adams must have loved The Lost Boys so hard because, like Wing said, this book is the most Lost Boys book ever, even with the movie novelization thrown in there! Truly, it is. But truly it also has its total derp moments and those are supplemented nicely with various gifs.

So head on over to The Devil’s Elbow and check it out!