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review 2017-08-13 05:23
In a Dark, Dark Room and Other Scary Stories by Alvin Schwartz
In a Dark, Dark Room and Other Scary Stories - Alvin Schwartz,Dirk Zimmer

Genre:  Short Stories / Horror / Drama / Monsters


Year Published: 1984


Year Read:  2017

Publisher:  HarperCollins Publishers

 

 

Dark



Now, I have been introduced to Alvin Schwartz’s works before through his famous and controversial “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” series and after I found out that Alvin Schwartz had written another pair of horror stories for children called “In a Dark, Dark Room and Other Scary Stories,” of course I had to give this series a whirl!

This is a collection of horror stories for children and there is a total of seven stories being told in this book. The stories featured in this collection are:

1. The Teeth
2. In the Graveyard
3. The Green Ribbon
4. In a Dark, Dark Room
5. The Night it Rained
6. The Pirate
7. The Ghost of John
 


Wow! Alvin Schwartz really knows how to create stories that are both scary and tame for any child and all of these horror stories contain a mixture of humor and horror that made me both smile and cringe at the same time. I loved the fact that Alvin Schwartz did some research on these stories and allows the readers to understand where these stories came from as he mentions it in the “Where the Stories Come From” section at the end of the book as I wanted to know where these stories came from. I also enjoyed many of the stories in this book with my favorites being “The Green Ribbon” and “In a Dark, Dark Room” as I believe that those are the creepiest stories in this collection, especially “The Green Ribbon!” Dirk Zimmer’s artwork conveys both horror and comedy in this book as the characters have exaggerated features which includes some of the characters have large noses and wide eyes and I also loved the way that the characters look so pale and frightened in most of the images as it shows what kind of horrors the readers will be introduced to when they start reading this book!

Dark

The reason why I took off a half point from the star rating was because I felt that there were too many abrupt endings in each story and I wanted to see some closure in these stories, although given the short length of this book, that was to be expected. Also, even though I have enjoyed Alvin Schwartz’s work on “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark,” I felt that this collection of horror stories was not as scary as “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark.” Maybe it is because the artwork was not as scary as Stephen Gammell’s artwork in “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” and that took away the creepiness of the stories, although stories like “The Green Ribbon” still remained creepy no matter how the illustrations looked like.

Overall, “In a Dark, Dark Room and Other Scary Stories” is a great collection of horror stories that children will gladly enjoy during Halloween time! I would recommend this book to children ages six and up since there are some scary stories in this book that might creep out younger readers.

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

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review 2017-01-08 21:01
Camp Midnight by Steven T. Seagle
Camp Midnight - Steven T. Seagle,Jason Katzenstein

Genre: Horror / Humor / Camp / Friendship / Self Esteem

Year Published: 2016

Year Read: 11/27/2016

 

Publisher:  Image Comics

 

Camp

I would like to thank NetGalley and Image Comics for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Introduction:

Ever since I started using NetGalley to read some new books online, I have been on a NetGalley reading binge ever since I started and this book “Camp Midnight” by Steven T. Seagle along with artwork by Jason Adam Katzenstein were among my reads from NetGalley that I wanted to read through and I must say that I was quite impressed with this story!

What is this story about?

The story starts off with a young girl named Skye being taken to her divorced dad’s house by her mom as Skye is going to spend her summer vacation with her dad and his new wife Gayle, who Skye takes an immediate dislike to and even calls her “step-monster.” Things get worse when Skye discovers that her dad and her “step-monster” are going to make her go to summer camp for that year in order for her to discover herself and even though Skye was against the idea, they still forced her to go to summer camp. When Skye got on the bus to camp, she discovers that something is weird about the bus she went on as all the campers are monsters such as vampires, werewolves and witches and it was then that Skye realizes that she went on the wrong bus and is heading to the scary and mysterious camp, Camp Midnight. While Skye spent some time at Camp Midnight, she found that she did not belong in that camp due to her being human, even though she became fast friends with a shy and mysterious girl named Mia. It was then that Skye has to prove to everyone that she is happy with being herself even if she is different from everyone else.

What I loved about this story:

Steven T. Seagle’s writing: When I found out that Steven T. Seagle was involved in big animated projects like “Ben 10” and “Big Hero 6,” I was like “OH GREAT!!! We have not had a big time TV writer writing comic books since Joss Whedon’s run on “Astonishing X-Men!” So, I was quite interested to see what kind of story Steven T. Seagle was going to write for this comic book and I was quite impressed by how this story turned out! I liked the way that Steven T. Seagle combine both horror and slice of life elements into this story as it made the story unique to read since it is rare that I read horror stories that mostly focus on the characters’ personal lives rather than trying to scare the readers. I also like the way that Steven T. Seagle wrote most of the characters, especially Skye and Mia and even though there were times where I was a bit annoyed with Skye’s attitude, I can actually sympathize with her situation as she was thrown into a new experience that she did not want to be in at the first place and she is having trouble trying to cope with being in a new environment and trying to discover herself in the process. Steven T. Seagle has also done a great job at providing humor in this story as I found myself laughing at some of Skye’s sarcastic remarks about her situation as it made her experience much funnier to read about!

Jason Adam Katzenstein’s artwork: Jason Adam Katzenstein’s artwork is quite expressive, especially whenever the artwork goes through different shades of color to convey the mood of the scenes, such as most of the artwork being shaded in blue when Skye’s dad and step-mom tell her that she is going to summer camp, conveying the sad mood of the scene; also another scene when Skye goes on the Camp Midnight bus and the artwork is shaded in green to convey the horrifying mood of the scene. I also like how zany Jason Adam Katzenstein’s artwork is as the characters are drawn in an exaggerated way that makes the story both humorous and creepy to read through.

Camp

What made me feel uncomfortable about this story:

The reason why I gave this book a four star rating was because I felt that the story was a bit rushed and the artwork was a bit too chaotic at times. In regards to the story being a bit rushed, I felt like we did not get enough information about why Skye’s parents divorced and when her father met Gayle, his new wife. Also, I would have liked to know where Camp Midnight came from since it seemed a bit odd to have Camp Midnight show out of nowhere. As with the artwork, as much as I like how zany Jason Adam Katzenstein’s artwork is, I felt that there were many scenes where the artwork got a bit too chaotic and I often had trouble trying to figure out what was going on in the scene due to the artwork being all over the place.

Final Thoughts:

Overall, “Camp Midnight” is a great comic book about the importance of being yourself that comic book fans will enjoy!

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

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review 2016-02-08 03:40
The Dangerous Alphabet by Neil Gaiman
The Dangerous Alphabet - Gris Grimly,Neil Gaiman

Genre:  Horror / Adventure / Fantasy / Alternate World


Year Published: 2008


Year Read:  2016

Publisher: Harper Collins Publishers

 

 

Now, I have read many of Neil Gaiman’s books and I usually loved his adult and young adult fantasy novels since they are so full of excitement! So it is rare that I read any of Neil Gaiman’s children’s books and I just happened to stumble upon his children’s book “The Dangerous Alphabet” along with illustrations by Gris Grimly!

 

The story starts out with two children and their cute pet gazelle sneaking past their father and going to a world that is located beneath the surface. It was here that the two children ended up meeting a group of monsters and pirates, who then ended up kidnapping the girl and taking her to their lair where they plan to eat her.

 

Can the boy and their pet gazelle save the girl from the pirates and monsters?

 

Read this book to find out!

 

What I always loved about Neil Gaiman’s books is that they are so imaginative and you actually feel like you are living in the worlds that he has woven for the readers. “The Dangerous Alphabet” is no exception as this is clearly the most imaginative children’s book about the alphabet that I had ever read! I loved the fact that Neil Gaiman presented the alphabet in a more narrative tone rather than just stating some random objects that happened to start with whatever letters they are representing. It made the story more creative and interesting to read and I was literally sitting on the edge of my seat trying to see if the boy and the gazelle would rescue the girl in time. Gris Grimly’s artwork is delightfully creepy and fits well with the horrific and intense tone of this story. I loved seeing the creepy creatures that pop up in the background such as seeing a dead rat floating in the river and some other children getting kidnapped as it gives the situation an intense and chaotic feel. I also liked the fact that Gris Grimly drew the children’s pet gazelle as being adorably cute as the gazelle contrasts strongly with the grim artwork of the book.

 

 

Parents should know that Gris Grimly’s artwork might be a bit creepy for some children as there are images of monsters and pirates terrorizing the two children and their pet gazelle throughout the whole story. Some of the creepy images that might stand out for some children are the images of the dead rat floating in the moat and of the children being chained up by the pirates and monsters. These images might be unsettling for not only children, but also for parents who do not want to see children chained up.

 

Overall, “The Dangerous Alphabet” is a fantastic book that is full of dark moments and imagery that any child who enjoys a good horror story would easily enjoy! I would recommend this book to children ages seven and up since the disturbing imagery and intense storyline might be scary for some children.

 

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

 

 

 

 

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text 2015-10-28 01:35
Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Horror Books I Really Enjoyed
It - Stephen King
I Am Not A Serial Killer - Dan Wells
Something Wicked This Way Comes - Ray Bradbury
Pinocchio: Vampire Slayer - Van Jensen,Dusty Higgins
Batman/Dracula: Red Rain - Doug Moench,Dennis O'Neil,Malcolm Jones III,Kelley Jones,Les Dorscheid,Eric Van Lustbader
Unwind - Neal Shusterman
Anna Dressed in Blood - Kendare Blake
Frenzy - Robert Lettrick
The Birds & Other Stories - Daphne du Maurier
Feed - Mira Grant

This entry is brought to you as part of the theme sponsored by The Broke and the Bookish.  I'm pretty sure that since this is Halloween themed, there are going to be many interesting entries for this one.

 

So, on Halloween, many would think of candy, Halloween goodies, and dressing up in all kinds of costumes (my personal favorite was dressing up as Esmeralda from The Hunchback of Notre Dame - Disney version.  The costume I had actually had coins sewn onto the sash of the skirt.)  They would also think of spooky stories.  I wouldn't consider myself the kind of person who scares easily (*knocks on wood in the hopes that she doesn't end up eating her words later on*), but there's something cathartic about being scared in a good book.

 

So this entry's dedicated to some horror (either themed or genre) reads that I personally enjoyed.  No particular order here, just going with the flow.

 

It - Stephen King 

 

1. "It" by Stephen King

 

Seriously, is anyone surprised I'd put Stephen King on this list?  I could probably list many of his books, but "IT" genuinely scared me while at the same time leaving me not terrified of clowns for life.  (I'm serious - I do not find clowns horrifying. I actually like creepy carnival environments or carnipunk themed stories.  It's the theme to one of the manuscripts I've been working on the past year.  Living animatronics- a la Five Nights at Freddy's, though? That...does terrify me to a certain extent, but depends on how it's done.)  I'm due for a re-read of this book (and basically many of SK's early works), because many of them I haven't read since my teens/early 20s.

 

I Am Not A Serial Killer - Dan Wells 

 

2. I Am Not a Serial Killer by Dan Wells

 

Basically, I could put the whole John Cleaver series on this list, but there's something about "I Am Not a Serial Killer" that left its mark on me.  There are genuinely terrifying moments in this YA crossover series, and some of it is a battle of internal and external demons (some literal, some not).  I enjoyed it because John's voice appealed to me with dark, candid humor, blended with harrowing moments the serial killer struck (and yeah, I knew its genre leaning from the get go).

 

Something Wicked This Way Comes - Ray Bradbury 

 

 

3. Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury

 

I thoroughly enjoyed "Something Wicked This Way Comes" - it's part horror, part coming of age, and the writing - to me - was beautifully poetic while having some genuinely creepy tones to it throughout the narrative.  I also probably loved this one given my love for creepy carnival environments (see explanation above for "IT").  The movie adaptation I thought was very well done for this.

 

Pinocchio: Vampire Slayer - Van Jensen,Dusty Higgins 

 

4. Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer by Van Jensen and Dusty Higgins

 

I honestly did not even know this book was a thing until I browsed the first volume of this comic at my local library, then got a galley for the entire series from NetGalley (which I've yet to review).  But OMG, this was dark.  And funny.  Pinocchio breaking off his nose to use as an attack stake to kill vampires?  The concept of it was brilliant, and kudos for the creativity in the backstory.  This was a mashup of a classic story with a horror theme that worked rather well, and I'm glad I read it.

 

Batman/Dracula: Red Rain - Doug Moench,Dennis O'Neil,Malcolm Jones III,Kelley Jones,Les Dorscheid,Eric Van Lustbader 

 

5. Batman - Red Rain

 

While on the subject of comics, I remember Batman - Red Rain rather vividly. The Batman franchise has had a number of holiday themed comics that stood out to me (I think I remember the one called "Haunted Knight" that I liked as well.)  But this was the first where I looked at the story drawn between Batman and Dracula and went "Well...darn.  That's a good parallel."  It had some dated elements to it, but I was drawn into the story and I'll admit it didn't let me go even in this first part of a respective series.

 

Unwind - Neal Shusterman 

 

6. "Unwind" by Neal Shusterman

 

So I know that this is a YA dystopian series, but it counts as horror.  Namely because once you read the process of what "unwinding" is like...it's horrifying.  I loved this book so much.  Shusterman just does description so well.

 

Anna Dressed in Blood - Kendare Blake 

 

7. Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

 

I found the first book in this series to be the best and the most successful in creating its creepy and distinctive characters, and it's one of my favorites in terms of establishing a narrative ghost story as well.  It was fun in moments too.

 

Frenzy - Robert Lettrick 

 

8. Frenzy by Robert Lettrick

 

"Frenzy" was middle grade horror done right, especially in the vein of rabid animals attacking and killing off the cast of characters in the midst of a camp site.  I didn't expect to be so emotionally drawn into it.  It was one of those narratives where I'm like "NOOOOOO, PLEASE DON'T DIE! DON'T SAY HE'S/SHE'S DEAD!"  Yeah.  It was like that.

 

The Birds & Other Stories - Daphne du Maurier 

 

9. The Birds by Daphne DuMaurier

 

This story is the reason why I look up to the sky and hope a flock of birds do not come swooping down to peck me to death.   I'm not especially terrified of birds, but I mean, the narrative gives one second thoughts.

 

Feed - Mira Grant 

 

 10. Feed by Mira Grant

 

Because bloggers saving the world from zombies equals...a whole lot of chaos and political turmoil.  The Newsflesh series had many harrowing moments, and the ending of this really got to me on an emotional level (though arguably, with events of the series, one could say it's not the whole story, but it still packed a punch for me).

 

Until next entry,

Rose

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review 2015-07-23 15:36
Cinderella Skeleton by Robert D. San Souci
Cinderella Skeleton - Robert D. San Souci

Genre: Fairy Tale / Horror / Retelling


Year Published: 2000


Year Read:  2010

Publisher Harcourt, Inc.

 

 

“Cinderella Skeleton” is a Halloween version of the classic fairy tale by the master of storytelling, Robert D. San Souci, along with spooky illustrations by David Catrow. This book is about a young and beautiful according to her spooky world) skeleton named Cinderella Skeleton who wants to go to the Halloween Ball and dance with Prince Charnel. “Cinderella Skeleton” might be a bit too scary for smaller children, but older children will definitely love this creepy retelling of the classic fairy tale.

Robert D. San Souci has done a terrific job at retelling this classic fairy tale in a more Halloween spirited tone as all the characters in this book are skeletons and monsters instead of human beings that the original story portrayed, which makes this book extremely creative to read since it is Halloween themed. Robert D. San Souci makes the story perfectly spooky yet creative as the story is told through a rhyming prose while using such effective words such as “mausoleum” and “bombazine” to describe the haunting world that Cinderella Skeleton lives in. David Catrow’s illustrations are delightfully creepy yet beautiful at the same time as the world around Cinderella Skeleton is dark and bleak and Cinderella Skeleton herself is beautiful (as opposed to the dark world she lives in) as she wears a white torn silk dress that looks like it is made of spider webs which makes her look hauntingly elegant. Also, the image of Prince Charnel himself is somewhat frightening yet he has a handsome physique and he w;s uniform that is covered with roaches and he carries a large red, white and black striped snake around the left side of his shoulders, giving him an elegant yet eerie appearance.

 

 

 

Parents should know that there are some genuinely frightening images in this book such as the images of the various monsters that attend the Halloween Ball as some of them have eyeballs missing from their heads and even the skeleton characters look somewhat frightening as they have holes in their eye sockets that look empty and eerie. Another image that might scare smaller children would be the image where Cinderella Skeleton losses her foot at the ball (even though she is a skeleton) and small children might worry that they might lose their feet too. Parents might want to read this book first before they show it to their children to see what their reactions are to such haunting images.

“Cinderella Skeleton” is a truly uplifting and haunting retelling of the classic fairy tale that many children will love for a long time. I would recommend this book to children ages six and up due to the frightening images and some complicated words like “mausoleum.”

 

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

 

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