Book Review: Remember Me by Chelsea Bobulski @ChelseaBobulski @The_FFBC @FeiwelFriends


Title: Remember Me
Author: Chelsea Bobulski
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Publication Date: August 6, 2019
Genre: Young Adult Horror


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Remember Me
Chelsea Bobulski
Feiwel and Friends, August 2019

From the publisher—

In this eerie and suspenseful YA, a teen girl discovers what connects her to the hotel she calls home as horrifying visions lead her to the truth.

Nell Martin is moving again, this time to the Winslow Grand Hotel, built in 1878. As Nell is settling in, strange things begin to happen. Doors lock of their own accord, writing appears on bathroom walls–and most horrifying of all–visions of a dead boy permeate her waking life. Thinking it was her mind playing tricks on her, she soon finds the past and the present colliding as she learns horrific details of a murder that happened at the hotel in 1905 involving a girl named Lea.

Nell and a mysterious bellboy must relive that day in hopes of finally breaking a curse that imprisons them both. And Nell discovers what truly links her to the history of the Winslow Grand Hotel.

Old houses and hotels make for good hauntings and that’s what Nell discovers when she and her dad move to the Winslow Grand Hotel, a huge Victorian posh resort, the largest hotel her dad has ever worked for. Before they even walk through the lobby door, Nell’s uneasiness turns to near-panic and for no good reason as far as she can tell. Her dad’s somewhat precarious health is her main concern but this new feeling is different.

More than a hundred years earlier, another young girl, Lea, was a guest in this same hotel and dealt with a situation far removed from anything Nell has ever, or will ever, encounter. Lea’s father is intent on marrying her off to a man she barely knows, an heir to a fortune that will return Lea’s family to financial prosperity. Much like Nell, Lea experiences a sense of dread upon entering the hotel and coming events will take her down a path of heartache.

Several days after reading this book, I’m still not quite sure what I think about it. It’s a tale that offers interesting characters but the plot is fairly derivative—not totally surprising because haunted hotel/house stories are frequently based on the same concept. Also, I understand why this is labeled as horror but I really think that’s too heavy for Remember Me and it could more accurately be called a gothic mystery. That’s not a bad thing, mind you, just my personal observation. At any rate, while I didn’t find anything particularly exciting or surprising about Remember Me, I do think it’s an enjoyable way to while away a few hours.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, August 2019.

About the Author

Chelsea Bobulski was born in Columbus, Ohio, and raised on Disney movies, classic musicals, and Buckeye pride. She’s always had a penchant for the fantastical, the stories that teach us there is more to this world than meets the eye. She has a soft spot for characters with broken pasts, strange talents, and a dash of destiny in their bones. After graduating from The Ohio State University with a degree in history, she promptly married her high school sweetheart and settled down in Northwest Ohio with her notebooks and daydreams and copious amounts of chocolate. THE WOOD is her debut novel.

Author Links:

Website // Twitter // Facebook // Goodreads // Instagram // Pinterest


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Book Reviews: The Pros of Cons by Alison Cherry, Lindsay Ribar & Michelle Schusterman and Trapped in Room 217 by Thomas Kingsley Troupe

The Pros of Cons
Alison Cherry, Lindsay Ribar & Michelle Schusterman
Point, March 2018
ISBN 978-1-338-15172-5

This quintessential Young Adult read is quirky, cubed. A mad mash-up of three (and a half) conventions under one roof results in a delightfully amusing tale that is not without substance. And it has a pretty great title, you know I love it when something can mean two things.

It isn’t Phoebe’s first time. She’s come before with her high-school percussion ensemble, to participate in the Indoor Percussion Association Convention. Perhaps there is a bit more pressure this time, though.

Vanessa is very excited to finally meet her girl-friend, face-to-face, for the first time. Sweetly naïve, she really does not know what to expect from the We Treasure Fandom con.

Callie came as her dad’s assistant for the World Taxidermy & Fish Carving Championship, but she’s only here hoping he will see her as his daughter, instead.

The story starts properly, with a literal bang. A collision in the lobby leads to a shuffling and unnoticed exchanges of carrying cases. From that point forward, nothing goes as planned.

Phoebe finds that her mallet bag is actually filled with tools for Buchannan Taxidermy, definitely not the mallets she needs. But, she’s only thrown for a second. Since she has the xylophone solo, she has to improvise. She uses the scalpels.

Vanessa is feeling confused and out-of-place. People are different in real-life than online and she’s just beginning to figure that out.

Callie is bummed that her dad continues to treat her like a disappointing assistant, but when she realizes his cold-shoulder is just the tip of the ice-berg; she plots sweet, public revenge.

I learned a lot from The Pros of Cons. I hadn’t heard of half of the percussion instruments played, nor did I know that “critical listening” is different from “analytical listening. “Fan-fic” and “cons” were familiar terms, but I had no inkling of the depth. Or that it gave way to its own language. By the way, I also know what sock-puppeting means now. Oddly, I did know a bit about taxidermy.

Reviewed by jv poore, September 2018.


Trapped in Room 217
Haunted States of America Series
Thomas Kingsley Troupe
Jolly Fish Press, September 2018
ISBN 978-1-63163-215-0

A father seldom has spare time when single-handedly raising a seventh-grade daughter and second-grade son. Jayla and Dion get that, and the late-night call did wake the whole house only hours ago. They won’t razz their dad, too much, just because the place they are staying during their impromptu Spring Break get-away doesn’t have a pool.

First sight of the historical hotel in Estes Park, Colorado, had them both second-guessing their generosity. Check-in was only slightly less than creepy. Jayla could not have imagined the murmurs when “Room 217” was spoken. But, The Stanley is beautiful and possibly interesting. Two bright and resourceful kids will find plenty to do. Although, assisting a spirit was not an item they would have imagined.

Seemingly strange occurrences compelled the siblings to research their current residence. After reviewing reading material spread throughout the common rooms, it was time to for a self-guided tour of the tantalizing tunnels below. There, Jayla and Dion may just be in over their heads.

I have always loved ghost-stories so, I was thrilled to hear about this historical-fiction series, The Haunted States of America by Thomas Kingsley Troupe. Trapped in Room 217 gave me exactly what I wanted. Cool characters (Dion packed his own suitcase, with books only, and he is my hero now) caught up in a mystery, moving at the perfect pace. Absolutely appropriate for younger readers, I will be introducing it to my favorite HS students because I believe they will dig it as much as I do.

Reviewed by jv poore, September 2018.

Book Review: The Vampire, the Hunter, and the Girl by Martin Lastrapes

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Title: The Vampire, the Hunter, and the Girl
Series: The Vampire and the Hunter Trilogy, Book One
Author: Martin Lastrapes
Publisher: Cannibal Press
Publication Date: March 18, 2015
Genres: Horror, Paranormal



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The Vampire, the Hunter, and the GirlThe Vampire, the Hunter, and the Girl
The Vampire and the Hunter Trilogy, Book One
Martin Lastrapes
Cannibal Press, March 2015
ISBN 978-0-9857043-2-2
Trade Paperback

From the author—

Adam and Jesus (the vampire and the hunter) have an innate antagonism, which is only heightened once they discover they’re competing for the affections of the same girl. Olivia (the girl) is an aspiring author struggling to write a vampire novel. What none of them yet know is there’s a menacing force looming that will change the course of their lives forever.


If ever a book had me coming and going, this one is it. It’s most certainly not your usual kind of vampire book if there even is such a thing as a usual vampire book. Here we have the dark side, a good bit of romance, more than a dash of humor but, thank heavens, no sparkly. From one moment to the next, I wasn’t sure which of these temperaments I was going to get. Then there’s a multitude of characters which was okay but, as much as I like character development, it was really overdone here. I knew more about the most obscure player than I would ever hope to and I suspect all the backstory could have been pared down by at least 15% of the book. And I could have done without the discussion of bodily functions and the overabundance of sexual activity and descriptions.

The pacing of what could be an exciting plot was almost glacial for much of the book with various chapters harking back to earlier situations but largely because so much of it is Adam telling Olivia how the vampire world works so she can write a book about vampires. Telling is just not as much fun as showing, you know? I also didn’t care much for the frequent re-telling of scenes from various characters’ points of view. I like multiple POV but not when it’s used to repeat scenes over and over.

BUT…I truly enjoyed this book in spite of all that. I mean, how can you not love a vampire who goes bowling? Throw in a bunch of wrestling, some stripping, illegal immigration, a barbershop for vampires, an exceedingly odd love triangle and a mean, nasty vampire named Victus (my favorite kind) and you’ve got a mishmash of fun and ick and horror and all the things that come with a good vampire novel. Dracula makes an appearance and it turns out he’s into superheroes 😉

And then there’s Frank who makes Victus look like a Sunday school teacher. When Adam, Olivia and Jesus find out what has to be done about this very peculiar vampire, life is not so rosy anymore. I’m really looking forward to finding out what happens next in The Vampire, the Hunter, and the Witch.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, August 2015.

About the Author

Martin Lastrapes 2MARTIN LASTRAPES won the GRAND PRIZE at the 2012 PARIS BOOK FESTIVAL for his debut novel INSIDE THE OUTSIDE.

He grew up in the Inland Empire, has a Bachelor’s Degree in English and a Master’s Degree in Composition from Cal State San Bernardino, watches his favorite movies over and over again, learned many a lesson from professional wrestling, wonders if he’ll ever be famous enough to be on “Dancing With the Stars,” thinks good stand-up comedy is rare and under appreciated, is scared of Vladimir Putin, wonders if it’s too late to learn how to play the guitar, gets depressed when he hears the theme song from “M*A*S*H,” wonders why Teen Wolf never made it to the NBA, and wants Morgan Freeman to narrate his life.

He is also the host of THE MARTIN LASTRAPES SHOW PODCAST HOUR. Subscribe on iTunes or listen on the official website New episodes every week.


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Book Reviews: The Karma of King Harald by Richard Audry and Ash by James Herbert

The Karma of King HaraldThe Karma of King Harald
A Canine Cozy
Richard Audry
Conger Road Press, 2012
ISBN 978-09850196-2-4
Trade Paperback

King Harald is a ginger dog of dubious breed. Free to roam (escape) about New Bergen at his leisure he has the nasty habit of dragging his owner Andy Skyberg into crime scene after crime scene. Someone in New Bergen wants the town’s latest addition to go right back where she came from and take her new age crystals with her. But they haven’t reckoned on Harald spoiling their fun.

I have to confess, I didn’t make a good start on this book. The first chapter had me recoiling in horror as a dog owner of 25 years. I just couldn’t imagine, no matter how hard I tried, that any dog would think or orchestrate his life in quite the same manner as King Harald. But I persevered simply because I believe that all books deserve to be read in their entirety before casting a critical eye. I’m happy that I did and even went as far as to reread that off putting first chapter to make sure I hadn’t been mistaken.

The end result is a book that I enjoyed simply because it was an innocent return to the crime and the mystery novels I read as a child. Don’t get me wrong, there are murders aplenty, arson attacks and malicious rumours, but there was little blood and gore, swearing or sex scenes that have become par for the course in modern day crime tomes. I’ll also admit that I had to look up the term ‘cozy’ since I’d never seen that on a book cover before but when I did, it helped explain the overall layout of the book and its plot.

This title was a nice break from the usual crime titles I normally read and it was full of small town charm, with a little murder thrown in of course. The plot was good, well thought out and easy enough to follow. A few red herrings here and there and an eccentric aunt and all is well so far. For those who like their crime with a little more grit and violence then this is not the book for you. It’s a polite, cleaned up story involving murder and menace with enough detail to keep the reader interested until the end. Think of it more like an Agatha Christie rather than a John Connolly or Ian Rankin, but still, a nice easy read to help pass a Sunday afternoon. I would however, clean up that opening chapter as some of the writing is a bit ‘flowery’ when describing a dog and their thought patterns otherwise it could end up putting readers off before they’ve given the book a chance. Keeping it simple would have worked much better as it did for later chapters written from Harald’s point of view. For fans of cozy mysteries I’d say this will keep them happy. Recommended.

Reviewed by Laura McLaughlin, January 2013.


AshAsh USAsh
James Herbert
Macmillan Publishers Ltd., August 2012
ISBN: 978-0-230-71126-6
Trade Paperback
Also available in the US
Tor, December 2012
ISBN 978-0-7653-2896-0

David Ash, a world renowned parapsychologist based in London has seen his fair share of unexplained phenomena. He also has his fair share of demons that dog his life, his work and his dreams. Now, he must investigate a strange castle, nestled in a secret location in Scotland and owned by an even more secretive organization. What are the secrets being help captive there? Who are the people being held captive there? And will Ash make it out alive?

The first thing that attracted me to this book was the promise of a ghost story with a difference. Someone has been viciously attacked by an unknown and unseen entity. A secret organization with more power and influence that you can shake a stick at are having huge problems keeping their wealthy ‘patrons’ safe and only one man has a chance of alleviating the problem. Enter David Ash, parapsychologist extraordinaire. This character fits perfectly into a character mould that I see very frequently in a lot of books. A troubled man, often quite brilliant at something or other and very much a loner, but one who could be quite transformed by the love of a good woman. Sound familiar? While this is a set formula, I still liked the character. What I didn’t like though was how quickly the book descended into fantasy. I was genuinely chilled and intrigued by the first few chapters and after a particularly hairy flight, I felt the chilly flicker of fear down my neck at the line ‘they know you’re coming’. However, after this point the story became more and more farcical. While the supporting characters were interesting, there were certain elements that bordered on the ridiculous and which consequently were off putting. The overall premise of the book was initially appealing and had much potential to be a gripping read but I think some characters and their back story just became too much. Having one or two potentially explosive characters would have been fine, but the book suffered for having them crawl out of the woodwork at every chapter. Just when you thought it couldn’t get any more unbelievable, out would pop another one to throw their contribution into the mix. There were some truly stomach turning and chill inducing sections in the book and maybe if the author had focused more on those then it would have been a better read.

Ultimately, this book has potential. Less controversy and more paranormal activity and Ash would have been a brilliant book. As it is, it ended up bordering on the ridiculous, which made it seem more ‘trashy’ than it should be. However, the writing is strong enough that I will give the author another go and try one of his other titles before I would consign him to the avoid pile.

Reviewed by Laura McLaughlin, January 2013.

Book Review: Malice by Chris Wooding

Chris Wooding
Dan Chernett, Illustrator
Scholastic, 2009
ISBN 054516043X

“Wow” was the first word out of my mouth when I opened the box containing Malice.

The book itself is impressive. The cover art is 3-D, raised. And, the book is heavy. You feel as though you are turning more than one page at a time as you’re reading. I haven’t seen paper like this in a book for a long time, the quality definitely reminds me of older classics. Scholastic literally pulled out all the stops for this edition and it’s well worth their efforts.  The tale within is part narrative and part graphic novel.

And, you’re definitely turning pages. Malice is the story of kids literally lost in a book. Well, a comic book or a graphic novel in the more politically-correct modern day parlance. Malice is a mythical comic series which has existed for three or four years. The mysterious creator of this comic allegedly uses the tales of missing children as the basis of his story-boards.
When Seth’s friend disappears into the world of Malice, he opts to follow and try to reclaim him. What he discovers is a whole society of lost boys and girls who ‘spelled’ themselves away from their lives by calling on Tall Jake, a character from the comics.

Malice is an excellent read for kids above the age of 12–and yes, this adult reader thoroughly enjoyed it, too. Author Chris Wooding’s created a world I’m going to be following for some time to come.

Reviewed by Rebecca Kyle, March 2010.