Book Review: Halloween Girl Book One: Promises to Keep by Richard T. Wilson

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

A series full of intriguing and complex stories and characters

Book Information

Book CWs: For a list of content/trigger warnings, tropes, and representation found in this book, check out its page on BookTriggerWarnings.com!

Blurb:

‘Death is a lot of damned work’, thinks 18 year old ghost, Charlotte Williams, as she braves the unsettled world of the In-Between. It’s here the rebellious teen finds the clues she so desperately needs in her battle against diabolic, secret society, The Hollow (who took her life, and just happen to be trying to end the world!). With wise-cracking, goth ghost, Poe at her side, the duo work to decipher the latest clues to thwart the evil sect at every turn. However, things get hairy when The Hollow kidnap Charlotte’s young son, Luke in retaliation. A devastated Charlotte then suffers with the guilt of screwing up his young life ‘even in death’, before forming a plan with Poe to get him back – and make The Hollow pay.

Purchase Volume 1 (affiliate link): Amazon

Check out the graphic to learn more about how you can win a copy of the short film that this graphic novel is based on!

About the Author

Emmy® Award Winner, Richard T. Wilson serves as the President /Writer-Filmmaker of RTW Productions, Inc., home to nationally recognized educational film company, OutreachArts, Inc. and its award-winning, sister company, Mad Shelley Films/Comics (‘Under the Flowers’, ‘The Halloween Girl’ film & graphic novel series). To date, he has had over 70 of his plays and films produced and seen some this same work featured on ABC World News Tonight, National Public Radio, PBS and The Independent Film Channel. However, Wilson is probably best known for creating both the critically acclaimed, multi-award-winning TV/DVD series, ‘Maple Ave’ and the hit, supernatural web series, ‘Under the Flowers’.

Review (No Spoilers)

Hello all! If you’ve been following my blog for a bit, you might have seen my previous review for volumes 1 and 2 of Halloween Girl that I posted back in July. I recently was gifted book one of Halloween Girl that includes volumes 1-7, so I’ll be giving my honest review of that collection here.

Before I get started, I want to preface this review by mentioning again that this book is based off of a series of short films that you can watch online for free. I don’t think it’s 100% necessary to do so (you can generally guess who the characters are without needing the full backstory), and I personally found the video shorts very confusing to understand, but here is the link to find them if you’d like to check them out.

The basic premise of Halloween Girl follows a ghost named Charlotte, who died when she was young, shortly after giving birth to her son, Luke. Since her death, she has developed a few supernatural powers in the afterlife that include the ability to take on human form when necessary. With the help of her ghost-friend Poe and an organization known as “The Resistance”, Charlotte is on a mission to stop an evil society known as “The Hollow” from taking over the world (and killing a lot of people along the way).

Overall, Halloween Girl has a very intriguing premise that will vibe with fans of dark fantasy and horror. In book one, readers are introduced to several fascinating characters whose stories range from being innocent bystanders, to vigilante ghost warriors, to servants of the Devil himself. I thought this first installment did a great job with introducing people to the story while also providing us with an ending that felt both closed and open at the same time. The main plot came to a conclusion, but it is clear that these characters’ stories are far from over. Personally, I’d recommend reading this with a buddy or a group because sometimes the plot can get a bit hard to follow and I think those little pockets of confusion could make for great discussion material.

Another thing that I do feel the need to mention is the fact that the graphic artist (as this is a graphic novel) often changes between volumes. I’ve never seen this happen before—and I’m still not sure why it did—so I was very confused as to why the art kept changing until I realized that the artists themselves were changing as well. I was a fan of literally all of the art styles, though, so I surprisingly wasn’t actually bothered by the shifts. I’ve put a gallery of page excerpts below so that you can have a little sneak peak of what I mean. Each picture is a different artist.

If you’re looking for a new graphic novel series to satisfy your spooky needs, definitely give Halloween Girl a browse! And if you’re a book reviewer interested in connecting with Richard and his team, you can find them at @MadShelleyFilms on Twitter. Whenever I’ve received one of these volumes, it’s always come with a nice personalized letter from Richard. He and his publishing crew have honestly been a huge pleasure to work with.


Disclaimer: Most posts made on this blog will include affiliate links, identified by the phrase (affiliate link). As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. This comes at no additional cost to you.

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Blog Tour Review: Five Survive by Holly Jackson

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Thrilling, frustrating, devastating.

Thank you so much to TBR and Beyond Tours and Holly Jackson for allowing me to be part of this experience and also providing me with complimentary eARC and media kit!

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Blog Tour Review: An Ear for Trouble by K.T. Lee

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

A solid follow-up novel in the Riverbend K-9s series.

Foreword

Thank you so much to Rachel at https://www.rachelsrandomresources.com/ and K.T. Lee for allowing me to be part of this experience and also providing me with a complimentary eARC and blog tour media kit!

Purchase on Amazon (affiliate link): https://amzn.to/3AHEokm

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Book Review: A Bounty of Love by Willow Walker

Rating: 4 out of 5.

A short, but cute, love story in a science-fiction setting

Book CWs: For a list of content/trigger warnings, tropes, and representation found in this book, check out its page on BookTriggerWarnings.com!

Premise (from Goodreads)

In another time, in a galaxy on the far side of another universe, you can find love between the stars.

Yeva Hawthorne is a bounty hunter looking to fill a bank account with 20 million credits to repay a debt.

Tobias Hawk is also a bounty hunter and he is going after money to fund a secret he has kept for over a decade.

They are going after the same bounty and things are about to get tricky.

Purchase this book (affiliate link): Amazon

Review (No Spoilers)

Before I get into this review, I want to point out that there are only 3 ratings for this book on Goodreads (one of which is mine), so definitely give this book some love if you are interested in it! One of the ratings is a 1 star with no review, so it’s drastically bringing down the rating average. The book is very short (approximately 90 pages), so you could easily read it in one sitting.

The plot follows two bounty hunters who are after the same artifact for their own personal reasons. While on the hunt for it, however, they get trapped in a remote location with no one but each other to keep them company. Coming to terms with the fact that they’ll have to work together to retrieve the bounty, Tobias and Yeva find themselves getting closer than they ever could have imagined.

I thought this novella was very cute. I usually have to really psych myself up in order to retain interest in science fiction and fantasy novels, but the fact that this was such a quick read allowed me to enjoy it in its entirety. It’s actually opened me up to the idea that I should explore novellas in genres that I don’t typically read as it might be a good segue into getting me to read more of them.

Speaking of length, I have to commend Willow Walker on her ability to write a descriptive and atmospheric world using so few pages. I think sometimes novellas will sacrifice writing power for the sake of brevity, but I didn’t feel like that was the case with this book. With the way this was written, I managed to feel connected to the characters and the setting without ever feeling like I was missing anything. This is the first book in a series, so I’d definitely be interested in seeing where this story is headed.

Thank you to Lucy Turns Pages for providing me with a complimentary audiobook in exchange for an honest review!


Disclaimer: Most posts made on this blog will include affiliate links, identified by the phrase (affiliate link). As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. This comes at no additional cost to you.

Book Review: The Door of No Return by Kwame Alexander

Rating: 4 out of 5.

A powerful and well-written book.

Book CWs: For a list of content/trigger warnings, tropes, and representation found in this book, check out its page on BookTriggerWarnings.com!

Premise (from Goodreads)

Young Kofi lives and dreams on the banks of the river Offin. He loves these things above all else: his family, the fireside tales of his father’s father, a girl named Ama, and, of course, swimming. It is in the river that he feels invincible and where he thinks he can finally prove himself in a race against his schoolyard rival. But the river also holds dark secrets that Kofi will soon discover. Told never to venture there after nightfall but never told why, Kofi seeks his own answers.
 
One night is all it takes to transform a life. As his world turns upside down, Kofi ends up on a harrowing journey that steals him away from everything he loves.
 
In The Door of No Return, master storyteller Kwame Alexander spins an epic and unforgettable tale of adventure, family, betrayal and bravery

Purchase this book (affiliate link): Amazon

Review (No Spoilers)

The Door of No Return is a novel-in-verse that is classified as a middle grade, but I honestly think that it reads as more of an adult novel. It’s extremely well-written, and presents the reader with many things to reflect upon once they flip past that last page. As I was reading this book, I kept thinking about how it felt like a book that should be read in classrooms, particularly to inform students about the history of the slave trade and the lives that it disrupted.

That being said, the book deals with a lot of difficult themes. They don’t go into graphic detail (after all, it is an MG), but there are implications and mentions of things like bullying, murder, kidnapping, slavery, and rape. This is something I think people, especially parents and children, should be aware of before picking up this book. There is, in fact, a very good chance that you’ll get emotional as you follow Kofi through the timeline of his life.

Before I end this review, I do want to explain that I actually think this is a 5-star book. As with most novel-in-verse books that I read, the writing was immersive and flowed beautifully. The only reason I rated it 4 stars is because I like to incorporate my engagement level in my ratings. While I felt the writing was 5-star worthy, I found myself a bit bored at the very beginning and it took me a while before my interest picked back up. This tends to happen to me with most historical fiction novels, though, so it’s definitely a personal problem and likely not something that you’re guaranteed to experience as well.

If you are a parent, teacher, or facilitator of a book club, I think this book would be great for prompting ideas and discussion. The ending is pretty open, so it should provide decent fuel for students and communities to explore different interpretations.


Disclaimer: Most posts made on this blog will include affiliate links, identified by the phrase (affiliate link). As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. This comes at no additional cost to you.

Blog Tour Review: Terry’s Crew by Terry Crews & Cory Thomas

Rating: 4 out of 5.

A fun read about chasing your dreams, despite what other people tell you.

Thank you so much to TBR and Beyond Tours, Terry Crews, and Cory Thomas for allowing me to be part of this experience and also providing me with complimentary ARC and media kit!

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Blog Tour Review: Daisy Woodworm Changes the World by Melissa Hart

Rating: 3 out of 5.

A good coming-of-age novel for younger middle grade readers

Thank you so much to TBR and Beyond Tours and Melissa Hart for allowing me to be part of this experience and also providing me with complimentary ARC and media kit!

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Blog Tour Review: Maybe an Artist by Liz Montague

Rating: 4 out of 5.

A coming-of-age graphic memoir with important lessons about identity

Thank you so much to TBR and Beyond Tours and Liz Montague for allowing me to be part of this experience and also providing me with complimentary ARC and media kit!

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Blog Tour Audiobook Review: Riverside by Glenda Young & Ian Skillicorn

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

A unique podcast-mixed-with-audiobook experience.

Foreword

Thank you so much to Rachel at https://www.rachelsrandomresources.com/ and the authors for allowing me to be part of this experience and also providing me with a complimentary audiobook and blog tour media kit!

Purchase on Amazon (affiliate link): https://amzn.to/3Se61XY

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Blog Tour Review: The Truth About Everything by Bridget Farr

Rating: 4 out of 5.

What counts as knowledge? What counts as truth?

Thank you so much to TBR and Beyond Tours and Bridget Farr for allowing me to be part of this experience and also providing me with complimentary ARC and media kit!

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