A Midsummer Night’s Scream by R.L. Stine

16075935Title: A Midsummer Night’s Scream

Author: R. L. Stine

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Publication Date: July 2013

Pages: 250

Genre: Young Adult Horror

Book Summary (from Goodreads)

Oh, what fools these actors be!

it was a horror movie that turned into real horror: Three young actors lost their lives while the cameras rolled. Production stopped, and people proclaimed the movie was cursed.

Now, sixty years later, new actors are venturing onto the haunted set. In a desperate attempt to revive their failing studio, Claire’s dad has green-lit a remake of Mayhem Manor, and Claire and her friends are dying to be involved.

At first, Claire laughs at Jake’s talk of ghosts and curses. He’s been too busy crushing on her best friend, Delia, or making out with that slut, Annalee, to notice that she’s practically been throwing herself at him. What does he know anyway? This is her big chance to be a star!

But then, Claire runs into a creepy little man named Benny Puckerman, and gets her hands on a real love potion! Unfortunately, the course of true love never did run smooth…

Get ready for laughter to turn into screams as the Grandmaster of Horror, R.L. Stine, takes on the Master of Theater in this modern reimagining of Shakespeare’s classic romantic comedy, A Midsummer Night’s Dream.(

Review

Oh, R.L. Stine….

I bought this because it had a reference to Shakespeare and because it was Stine. I saw him speak a few years ago at a conference and he was AMAZING. I knew what to expect. We all read Goosebumps in our youth. (even if we don’t want to admit it) I was expecting a YA version of his campy horror. Entertaining, if not great literature. (Like those stupid Syfy movies that suck you in on late nights….)

I didn’t even get that. It is very rare that I can’t finish a book. Even rarer –  I can’t remember ever doing this – that I don’t make it past the first five chapters.

The book is awful. Not even in a fun way. I read through the beginning and kept waiting for the “Gotcha!” moment so we could all laugh and move on with the story. But there wasn’t one.

If I could give less than a star, I would. I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone. I’ve held onto it for three months, hoping I could give it another try, but I just can’t.

Rating: starcolorunlabeled

Where to Find the Book

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16075935-a-midsummer-night-s-scream?ac=1

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/125002434X?ie=UTF8&tag=httpwwwgoodco-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=125002434X&SubscriptionId=1MGPYB6YW3HWK55XCGG2

Book was purchased by reviewer.

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The Funeral Singer by Linda Budzinski

18276977Title: The Funeral Singer

Author: Linda Budzinski

Publisher: Swoon Romance

Publication Date: Sept 2013

Pages: 188

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Romance

Book Summary (from Goodreads)

Being a funeral singer was a dead-end job until it led her to him … Seventeen-year-old Melanie Martin has witnessed her share of lame eulogies and uninspired epitaphs while singing part-time at her dad’s funeral home. She’s determined to be more than a funeral singer, more than just someone’s “beloved wife” or “loving mother.” When Mel’s impromptu rendition of “Amazing Grace” at a local rock star’s graveside service goes viral on YouTube, she becomes an Internet sensation, gains thousands of fans and followers, and snags a hot rock star boyfriend–Zed Logan, bass player for The Grime. But instant fame isn’t easy—and neither is love. Especially when Mel realizes she’s falling for another guy—one who may just want her heart more than her voice …

Review

I had looked at the description for this book several times, but hadn’t decided on buying it because I am not usually a contemporary young adult genre reader. When Mrs. Budzinski contacted me and asked if I’d be interested in reviewing the novel, I took it as a sign and jumped in.

The premise itself is really intriguing. A teenage girl who sings at her father’s funeral parlor getting discovered? That has the potential to be a wild combination. And it was. I enjoyed Melanie’s character (though, I must admit, I kind of wanted her to be smacked by the time the ending came around) and the way that she changes over the course of the novel. She isn’t perfect. She’s a typical teenager who lets fame and notoriety go to her head. I work with teenagers, and I can totally see them acting like this.

She forgets who she is, and in the end she has to deal with what she has allowed herself to become. In the process she finally sees that it isn’t all about her all the time. Which I was thrilled about. By the time the end of the book rolled around, you want her to get that comeuppance. I like that the author puts the reader in a position that is much like what you would imagine her friends, Lana and especially Peter, are in. She’s their friend, but she damages her relationship with them and then has to fix it. I do wish there had been a little more of that in the end, with Peter in particular. That relationship needed fixed, and I didn’t feel like it was dealt with at the end of the book.

The romance portion of the novel is important and tied into Melanie’s behavior and eventual downfall. You see where it is headed from the halfway point on. It’s just a matter of waiting to see when Melanie is going to realize what happened. Without giving too much away, I enjoyed the twist that it took, though it was a little bit out of left field for me. That is probably a personal preference. Highlight between the astericks for a spoiler – skip if you don’t want to know!

***

Her attraction to Bruno is another case of the snarky, jerky boy getting the girl in the end and he suddenly becomes “softer.” In this case, I can overlook that characteristic which usually irritates me because his behavior makes sense after the loss of his band mate and friend.

***

Anyway – the book is a great read for anyone who enjoys contemporary YA romance and wants to read something fun. Definitely check it out! Looking forward to whatever Budzinski puts out next!

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Where to Find the Book

Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18276977-the-funeral-singer?ac=1

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/The-Funeral-Singer-Linda-Budzinski-ebook/dp/B00FDWYBRS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1398274694&sr=8-1&keywords=The+Funeral+Singer

Book was provided by author/publisher in exchange for an honest review.

 

Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman

17668473Title: Prisoner of Night and Fog

Author: Anne Blankman

Publisher: Balzer + Bray

Publication Date: April 22, 2014

Pages: 416

Genre: Young Adult Historical

Book Summary (from Goodreads)

In 1930s Munich, danger lurks behind dark corners, and secrets are buried deep within the city. But Gretchen Müller, who grew up in the National Socialist Party under the wing of her “uncle” Dolf, has been shielded from that side of society ever since her father traded his life for Dolf’s, and Gretchen is his favorite, his pet. Uncle Dolf is none other than Adolf Hitler. And Gretchen follows his every command. Until she meets a fearless and handsome young Jewish reporter named Daniel Cohen. Gretchen should despise Daniel, yet she can’t stop herself from listening to his story: that her father, the adored Nazi martyr, was actually murdered by an unknown comrade. She also can’t help the fierce attraction brewing between them, despite everything she’s been taught to believe about Jews. As Gretchen investigates the very people she’s always considered friends, she must decide where her loyalties lie. Will she choose the safety of her former life as a Nazi darling, or will she dare to dig up the truth—even if it could get her and Daniel killed? From debut author Anne Blankman comes this harrowing and evocative story about an ordinary girl faced with the extraordinary decision to give up everything she’s ever believed . . . and to trust her own heart instead.

 

Review

PRISONER OF NIGHT AND FOG was a book I’ve been waiting for awhile. I bought it today, after having marked my calendar with the release date, and I’m glad to say I wasn’t disappointed.

World War II era novels and history are things I enjoy, though I don’t know as much as I wish. (Someday I’ll get around to fixing that…) That being said, I really loved the way Blankman makes history unfold and shows us a well known and despised figure in a way that is slightly… uncomfortable. Hitler is not portrayed as a sympathetic figure – don’t get me wrong. But he isn’t an evil puppet out for blood from the beginning either. Gretchen sees him as Uncle Dolf, and we get to see him through her eyes as well. The whole time you kind of want to scream at her and demand why she doesn’t see things, but it’s a great example of how people then would have seen him. All the reports say that he was a charismatic speaker and someone who could mesmerize a crowd with his words.

The historical details were great, and I really enjoyed the characters. Gretchen, while sometimes frustratingly naïve, is a likeable character, and I wanted her to succeed. Reinhard was frightening (I’m not saying more than that – don’t want to give anything away!) and Daniel…ah, Daniel. I really loved his character. I liked the romance and I liked that it wasn’t a “love at first sight” moment. It took awhile, and while it was slow to come at first and then moved quickly, I enjoyed it. It felt authentic, especially given their circumstances.

The secondary characters were well thought out, and the way that Blankman has woven fiction in with fact is masterful. You know that “artistic liberties” have been taken, but it doesn’t detract from the history at all. I also enjoyed that there are many plot threads. There’s the one about Gretchen coming into her own and knowing her own mind, finding her place in the world. There’s her relationship with Hitler and how that changes. Her family dynamics, her relationship with Daniel, her aspirations (though I must admit, I wanted her to pick something. She was a little too changeable and passive about that one for me), and her relationship with others in her world and outside of it.

Overall, this is a great book for anyone who enjoys historical novels, especially WWII settings. You don’t need any prior knowledge about the history here – all is given over the course of the book. A really great read, and highly recommended.

Ratingstarcolorunlabeledstarcolorunlabeledstarcolorunlabeledstarcolorunlabeledstarcolorunlabeled

Where to Find the Book

Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17668473-prisoner-of-night-and-fog

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0062278819?ie=UTF8&tag=httpwwwgoodco-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0062278819&SubscriptionId=1MGPYB6YW3HWK55XCGG2

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/prisoner-of-night-and-fog-anne-blankman/1117005032?ean=9780062278814&itm=1&usri=9780062278814&cm_mmc=AFFILIATES-_-Linkshare-_-GwEz7vxblVU-_-10:1&r=1,%201

Book was purchased by reviewer.