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review 2017-09-11 22:00
Quick Thoughts: The Nightmare Charade
The Nightmare Charade - Mindee Arnett,Cassandra Morris

The Nightmare Charade
by Mindee Arnett
Book 3 (final) of The Arkwell Academy
audio book narrated by Cassandra Morris

 

 

It’s her junior year at Arkwell Academy, and Dusty Everhart just wants to be alone with her boyfriend, Eli Booker.  But fate is literally keeping them apart.  See, Dusty is a Nightmare, who can enter Eli’s dreams to find clues to the future, but an ancient curse predicts that any romance between them is doomed to end in tragedy.  Dusty and Eli are willing to take that risk, but the authorities disagree—and have assigned a chaperone to make sure their relationship is strictly platonic.

As if that’s not bad enough, they’ve been recruited by the Department of Intelligence for Magickind Secrecy (D.I.M.S.) to use their dream-seer bond to help recover the most powerful object of black magic known to magickind.  The Animus Mortem can raise the dead by stealing the souls of the living…which makes tracking it down a genuine matter of life and death.

To make matters worse, one of Dusty’s friends is accused of murder and is counting on her to clear his name.

Dusty has too many dreams, too many commitments, and too many people looking over her shoulder, but a Nightmare seldom plays by the rules.  Curse or no curse, chaperone or not, she has to go deep into Eli’s dreams if she’s going to find the truth—and discover a way for them to truly be together at last!



The concluding book of this young adult Arkwell Academy is a pretty great round up of the trilogy altogether.  My thoughts about this last book is really no different than what I'd thought of the first two books:  The Nightmare Charade is very enjoyable, and it has a lot of great potential to expand upon its world.  I still feel like it's missing something to make it rank more in the awesome category, but I DO have to give the book props for managing to keep my attention so well.  Whether that's because it's a mystery, or simply because of how easy it is to read, I'm not sure; however, I DO know that I gleaned a good amount of entertainment from it, and even got some feels wrenched out of me towards the end.

The truth, though, is that there is little about this book I can think of to complain about.  Maybe that Dusty still seems so easy to push around by her teachers and her ex-boyfriend.  Or maybe that there were some moments wherein I got a little lost as to what was going on (although that could have been because I was listening to the audio book and lost focus at some points).  The ending certainly felt a little more angst-ridden than I would have liked, but I sort of saw it coming miles away.

The main villain--the guy who killed the previous book's villain, as well as kidnaps two Nightmares--was a bit of a surprise to me, however, and I DID find myself a bit blindsided; though whether this was in a good way, or a bad way... I'm really not sure.

Once again, the characters, our kids, are great when they get together to investigate the murder and kidnappings--Dream Team, indeed.  I'm just glad there's so much camaraderie between our main couple and their "side-kick" best friends.

And maybe I've thought of one more thing to quibble about:  Our two main characters kind of fall flat compared to the two "side-kicks," if I were really to be honest with myself.  Dusty has a way of sounding kind of dull in her narration, and aside from the fact that Eli isn't a typical, young adult novel broody teenage boy, he's actually a bit ordinary and boring.  While it's true that I like that he's not the standard YA main male character, I also wish there was more to him in this book--he feels less interesting than he did in previous books.

In contrast, Lance and Selene are both pretty awesome and cool, especially Selene with her badassery, trying out for the Gladiator team and flying around with her Siren wings, owning the battle with just her badass, badassery alone...  Selene was always a great character from the beginning, and I love that she stays true, as the supportive best friend throughout.

Note to author:  Selene needs her own book.

As far as the romance between Eli and Dusty is concerned, while I'm glad that the two of them never faltered in their feelings or their determination to be together in spite of the Dream Seer Curse, I DID feel like Dusty dwelt a little too much on Eli and their love and their entire "Fated to be Torn Apart" scenario.

Otherwise, The Nightmare Charade is still a readily enjoyable book that doesn't have all those over-exhausted YA cliches to bog it down.  I'm certainly content with what I got out of it, book, series, and all!


***

Halloween Bingo 2017


This book may also work for these other squares:

  • Murder Most Foul:  The murder actually happens off-stage, and only mentioned at the beginning of the book, so this might be a stretch.
  • Amateur Sleuth:  Dusty, Eli, Selene, and Lance are definitely not law enforcement, as young teenage students investigating a murder, a kidnapping, and the possible rebirth of an old nemesis.
  • Monsters:  There are any number of creatures mentioned in this book, including Dusty, who is a Nightmare (or a half-kind Nightmare), which is a creature who feeds on people's dreams.  Then there is Selene, who is a Siren; and a phoenix is even presented; mermaids are mentioned... I mean, basically, The Arkwell Academy is a school for different kinds of magic creatures.  (On a separate note, I may or may not use this book for the Monsters square instead, depending on my mood.)

 

 

Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2017/09/quick-thoughts-nightmare-charade.html
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text 2017-08-18 11:32
Halloween Bingo 2017 | Ani's Tentative Reading List!
The Nightmare Charade (Arkwell Academy) - Mindee Arnett
Just Past Midnight - Amanda Stevens
The Dead Travel Fast - Deanna Raybourn
Saving Fish from Drowning - Amy Tan
On the Night of the Seventh Moon - Victoria Holt
Smoke and Mirrors: Short Fictions and Illusions (Audio) - Neil Gaiman
Blue Dahlia - Nora Roberts
Black Rose - Nora Roberts
Red Lily - Nora Roberts
The Lotus Palace - Jeannie Lin

 

Halloween Bingo 2017



So, obviously, instead of finishing up books I'm currently reading, I've spent the past two days looking for book possibilities for all of my Halloween Bingo squares.

I've already been making a tentative listing of books I'd like to read for my own customized Bingo card above, courtesy of Moonlight Reader and picmonkey!  Thanks Moonlight!

Tentatively, this is what I'm planning on reading, four books of which are from my 2017 Reading Assignment list, and most of the other books are pre-owned TBR, and seriously just need to be read.

Please excuse my drawn out ramblings.


Magical Realism:  Saving Fish From Drowning by Amy Tan
-- I have had this book for a very, very long time and have never read it.  As I read through the summary, it struck me that this particular book could count as magical realism.  I had considered reading this book for the Diverse Voices square, as well, so if it doesn't seem at all like magical realism, I might shuffle it off onto some other square.

Other possibilities:  Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen; The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker


Classic Noir:  Undecided
-- I've never read books in this genre before, but am open to trying something new.  Also, keeping this square allows me to cut out some of the 'horror' squares, and I'm more partial to mystery anyway.  The first group read for September will hopefully find me a nice book I can read for this square!


Ghost:  Blue Dahlia by Nora Roberts
-- There are a lot of possibilities for this broad category, but I have recently acquired a lot of Nora Roberts books and would like to get through them.  I read something by Nora Roberts for last year's Halloween Bingo (Dark Witch), so it wouldn't hurt to read another something (or three somethings) for this year's bingo.

Other possibilities:  Devil May Ride by Wendy Roberts; Haunted by Heather Graham; An Inquiry Into Love and Death by Simone St. James; This House is Haunted by John Boyne


Supernatural:  The Nightmare Charade by Mindee Arnett
-- The Nightmare Charade is a book off of my Reading Assignment list, and this, unfortunately, is the only square it will fit on the card (unless I use the Free Space, of course).  And yes, I DO want to have it read, as I've been planning to read it in either September or October for the longest time now.  Otherwise, there are many other possibilities to pick from.


Diverse Voices:  The Lotus Palace by Jeannie Lin
-- This was the next book I thought about after the Amy Tan book listed above.  In fact, if Saving Fish From Drowning does not actually work for Magical Realism, then I may just shuffle it back down here.  But, in the meantime, I AM quite interested in reading The Lotus Palace, a book written by an Asian author, that takes place in historical China, and is a mystery novel as well!

Other possibilities:  Saving Fish From Drowning by Amy Tan


Cozy Mystery:  Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters
-- Oh, the possibilities for this game square!  There are any number of cozy mysteries that I am quite interested in, so the above may not be my final choice.  It is just the first book that popped into my mind when I thought of cozy mysteries.

Other possibilities:  Grave Sight by Charlaine Harris; Die Buying by Laura DiSilverio; The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde; Frozen Stiff by Annelise Ryan; Shadowland by Meg Cabot


Witches:  Undecided
-- I am not a hundred percent familiar with witch books, but I think I should be able to find something.  If all else fails, I think Nora Roberts has a few books about witches.  There are two books in particular that I own that have a witch, so I may just pick one of them.

Possibilities:  Jaxson by Alisa Woods; Protecting His Witch by Zoe Forward; Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman


Vampires:  The Dead Travel Fast by Deanna Raybourn
-- I'm not big on vampire books, so I had considered doing a Dracula reread via the full-cast audio that I own.  Then, while I was going through my shelves, I stumbled upon this little gem by Deanna Raybourn, of which I had just purchased with an Audible credit not long ago.  The book takes place in Transylvania, and there is talk of creepy castles and charming vampires.  I'm totally reading this one for this square!  And to think, I almost decided to exclude it from my choices!


Country House Mystery:  Undecided
-- The truth is, I'm not sure I know what a 'Country House Mystery' is, but I'm willing to find out.  Recommendations are welcome!  Though one of the books I found that was listed as a popular country house mystery was Agatha Christie's The Mysterious Affair at Styles.  I'd been meaning to get some more of Dame Agatha's work read.  What does everyone else think?


Haunted House:  Black Rose by Nora Roberts
-- Once again, the possibilities are endless.  But I'm starting a trilogy, and I'll be damned if I leave another series unfinished for a long time.  Black Rose continues the the trilogy, In the Garden by Nora Roberts, following behind Blue Dahlia, and there is talk of a ghost being present in the setting of the book's house for over a hundred years.  I'd call that a haunted house!

Other possibilities:  This House is Haunted by John Boyne; Ghost Horse by Patricia Rosemoor; Haunted by Heather Graham


Aliens:  Undecided
-- I don't know why I kept this square, however, I DO have one book that will definitely fit, if nothing else will.  For the meantime, I'm going to keep my options open, but chances are, I'm going to read my one and only possibility for this game square so far:  The Intrigues of Haruhi Suzumiya by Nagaru Tanigawa.  You wouldn't think that this book would fit, but one of the characters is an alien, even if not the creepy weird aliens of space invaders and horror.


Genre: Horror:  Smoke and Mirrors by Neil Gaiman
-- Halloween wouldn't be complete without a book by Neil Gaiman.  Smoke and Mirrors is a short story collection that is tagged as 'horror,' so I'm going to go with that.  The summary gives a great description that comes off kind of horror-like anyway.  Again, this is a tentative pick, I might change my mind later if I stumble upon something else.  But I own this in audio, so the chances of me changing my mind is a bit slim.


Free Space:  Red Lily by Nora Roberts
-- I can't find another spot to place this book so that I can finish off the trilogy.  So it will go here unless I can find a different place for it that I don't already have another book lined up for.


Monsters:  Undecided
-- Okay... this is another square I'm not entirely sure why I kept.  I thought I'd be able to find something to fit, but I can't come up with anything outside of dragons (mythological creatures), which there are plenty of books for.  Do random animal shifters count?  Feline shifters?  Bear shifters?  Unknown animal, possible monster shifter?  I suppose I could always read something about Bigfoot...

One possibility:  His Majesty's Dragon by Naomi Novik -- because, dragons.
Another possibility:  The Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett -- because giant turtles, and dragons.
Last possibility (that I can think of):  Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Newt Scamander
-- because, fantastic beasts and mythical/magical creatures... which probably include dragons.


In the Dark, Dark Woods:  On the Night of the Seventh Moon by Victoria Holt
-- I picked up about three Victoria Holt books from a library sale a long time ago and have been looking for a chance to introduce myself.  Ever since my first Gothic romance, I've been paying more attention to author names that come up in connection with the genre.  On the Night of the Seventh Moon's summary mentions something about the significance of a forest.  I'm going to go with that.


Amateur Sleuth:  Just Past Midnight by Amanda Stevens
-- I have a feeling that this category was created probably for a cozy mystery of some sort, where the protagonist is often times NOT in law enforcement.  But as the description isn't entirely restrictive, I decided to go with another Reading Assignment selection, wherein there is a mystery, there is a murder, and the protagonist is a psychologist.


Werewolves:  Undecided
-- I probably have the same love for werewolf books as I do vampire books, but if I were honest, I'd be more likely to pick up a werewolf book than a vampire book.  So this square remained in my choices, and now I'm trying to figure out which of my wolf shifter books I want to read... if wolf shifter = werewolf, that is.

Possibilities:  In the Company of Wolves by Paige Tyler; Jaxson by Alisa Woods


Gothic:  The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley
-- There are a number of books that I'm considering reading for this space, if only because I'd recently been drawn to Gothic romance and the genre appeals to me.  I've been shuffling around possible books by Mary Stewart, Susanna Kearsley, Simone St. James, and maybe even Kate Morton.  On the other hand, I DID pick up three Victoria Holt books at a library sale, and having already chosen one for one of my game spaces (see Dark, Dark Woods), I have two more I could try.  So this is a tentative selection.

Other possibilities:  Nine Coaches Waiting by Mary Stewart; Houses of Stone by Barbara Michaels; The Splendour Falls by Susanna Kearsley; The Visitor by Amanda Stevens; Mistress of Mellyn by Victoria Holt; The Black Opal by Victoria Holt; An Inquiry into Love and Death by Simone St. James; The Secret Garden by Kate Morton


Romantic Suspense:  Hit and Run by Allison Brennan and Laura Griffin
-- Frankly, this is a 'Free Space' for me since romantic suspense is my go-to genre.  I have so many possible picks that I my biggest problem is figuring out which book I want to read for this category.  So, to make life easier on myself, I went and chose one more Reading Assignment book, one of the books that I kept telling myself I wanted to read during the summer, but because of REASONS, I never got to it.  I'm not even going to give myself other possible reads, because I'd just end up becoming wishy-washy in my choices.

How much we want to bet that I'll end up changing my mind and reading something else anyway?


Darkest London:  Undecided
-- I had a few books I was interested in reading for this space until I realized that the books I'd been choosing were set in England, but not in London.  Well, that ended up being a problem I figured I could easily remedy, so another search had to be done.

And would you look at that?  Goodreads has a nifty list I decided to peruse:  Books Set in London.
However, since that list has anything from contemporary romance to Paddington Bear, I decided to do a more narrowed search of 'mysteries set in London' and came up with this list:  Best London Mysteries.

Possibilities:  Garden of Lies by Amanda Quick; Mistress by Amanda Quick; What Angels Fear by C.S. Harris; The Sign of Four by Arthur Conan Doyle; London Falling by Paul Cornell; And Only to Deceive by Tasha Alexander; The Face of a Stranger by Anne Perry; A Study in Scarlet Women by Sherry Thomas


Murder Most Foul:  Every Secret Thing by Emma Cole (a.k.a. Susanna Kearsley)
-- So I'm not entirely certain if this book fits--the summary mentions a murder, the book is tagged 'mystery.'  I really DO want to read this book (or rather, listen to it since I have it on audio).  But I'm not entirely sure that this is a murder mystery, per se, because some parts of the summary hint that this is a death that occurred in history.  Nonetheless, I obviously have a lot of books to choose from considering how broad a category this one is, requiring only that we read a murder mystery, any murder mystery.  So I might just include a few alternate options.

Other Possibilities:  Hit and Run by Allison Brennan and Laura Griffin; Chasing Evil by Kylie Brant; The Prey by Allison Brennan; In the Woods by Tana French; Midnight Exposure by Melinda Leigh; The Lotus Palace by Jeannie Lin; The Jade Temptress by Jeannie Lin; The First Victim by J.B. Lynn; A Study in Scarlet Women by Sherry Thomas


Serial/Spree Killer:  Dear Maggie by Brenda Novak
-- Another category that has a lot of possible books I could read.  But to keep things simple, I'm inserting another Reading Assignment book on this space.  Dear Maggie's summary mentions the presence of a serial killer--that's good enough for me.

Other Possibilities:  Chasing Evil by Kylie Brant; The Hunt by Allison Brennan;


Classic Horror:  Undecided
I don't know what to pick.  Maybe a reread of Dracula, although, the truth is, I'm sort of waiting out for the October group read and will probably just use it to fill this square since the group reads are wild cards.


Terrifying Women:  Undecided
-- Amanda Stevens has written a book that I recall being tagged as 'horror.'  Then again, I can always pick up another Shirley Jackson book, or maybe something by Barbara Michaels... Daphne du Maurier...

Possibilities:  The Lottery by Shirley Jackson; Houses of Stone by Barbara Michaels; The Yellow Wall-Paper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman; Nine Coaches Waiting by Mary Stewart; The Devil's Footprints by Amanda Stevens


Locked Room Mystery:  Undecided
-- I've only done a cursory search of the books that would fit this category and narrowed my choices down to a few, though I'm not entirely sure what I want to read.  All of these titles I found at the Goodreads Locked Room Mystery list.

Possibilities:  The Mystery of the Yellow Room by Gaston Leroux; The Sign of Four by Arthur Conan Doyle; The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins; The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie;  Cover Her Face by P.D. James; The Tokyo Zodiac Murders by Soji Shimada

 

 

Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2017/08/halloween-bingo-2017-anis-tentative.html
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review 2017-07-30 05:30
Old concept made new again...
Nightmare Escape (Dream Jumper, Book 1) - Greg Grunberg,Lucas Turnbloom,Lucas Turnbloom

 

 

In Dream Jumper: Nightmare Escape Ben learns that he has a gift. He can jump into the dream world and see other people’s dreams. When Kaylee (his not girlfriend), falls into sub-rem sleep and can’t wake up, Ben decides he must find a way to save her. While asleep, Ben meets Lewis, a mysterious rabbit who helps him fight evil forces in the dream world.

 

There are currently two books in the Dream Jumper series. The idea for this series came from a dream that author (and actor) Greg Grunberg’s son had. The drawings are bright and cinematic feeling. They match perfectly with the story’s sense of adventure and mystery.

 

I really enjoyed this one. The concept reminds me of the Freddy Kruger movies, but this is much tamer - meant for the younger set. Ben is a great character and I really like him. I will try to read the second book too. I also think I will suggest we add this to our elementary school library.

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text 2017-07-27 15:03
Reading progress update: I've read 121 out of 246 pages.
Nightmare Syndrome - William Marshall

read a little bit more, before work--shall finish this up tonight, I think. a bit sad that I will only have one--earlier--book in the series to track down and enjoy.

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text 2017-07-27 14:49
Reading progress update: I've read 106 out of 246 pages.
Nightmare Syndrome - William Marshall

Harry actually starts to entertain the notion that these Chinese millionaires are being scared to death by the Dalagangan, who occasionally leaves the Philippines to visit other places going through transition periods of great import. the legend says when this happens, a demon is summoned to sit on the chest of a sleeping man, who wakes from a nightmare to see the most terrifying creature sitting on top of him and dies of a heart attack..after clawing at his own eyes.

 

Harry even thinks back to the death of his father...

 

"Bangungot: nightmare syndrome..."

 

The series is going out with a frightful bang...(ungot!).

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