Archive for the ‘Horror’ category

Be in the sequel to Skeleton Creek!

April 27th, 2009

Did you like Skeleton Creek? (Creepy, right?) In October Ghost in the Machine is coming out. I’m very excited.

Yes. How does that book have a sequel? Perhaps it’s a companion book.

But would you like to be one of the video stars in the book? Patrick Carman’s studio will be holding auditions on May 1. Click on the link for more information.

Choose whether you want to read for the guy script or the girl script and it will open the audition PDF file. Videotape your audition and put it on YouTube following their directions.

Even if you don’t want to audition, it’s still pretty fun to read parts of the script ahead of time.

I can’t find where to audition as the bearded librarian…

Heather Brewer’s 10th Grade Bleeds

April 21st, 2009

I just finished 10th Grade Bleeds by Heather Brewer.

I will be completely forthright: I’m not a fan of vampire books. I read Bram Stoker’s Dracula as well as saw it performed at the Herberger and I broke into cold sweats.

I know that blood is necessary, but I’m just not a fan.

What I love about the Vladimir Tod series is that it takes your vampire cliches and has some fun with it. Nelly, Vlad’s guardian, sneaks home expired blood packets from the blood bank to put in his Twinkies. The ancient superweapon is a giant tube of condensed sunlight. Vlad can walk around with the lowly humans after he wears tons of sunscreen.

But book three breaks from some of the comedy elements (don’t worry, there still are some funny parts) and delves into some darker issues. Can Vlad survive off of just blood packs? Should Henry still be his drudge, forced to obey any command? Is it okay to lie to the people trying to take care of you?

10th Grade Bleeds takes the issues that teenagers struggle through and adds a vampire spin to it. What happens when friends grow apart? Can you make that sacrifice in letting people choose their own paths? Can a vampire date a popular girl?

It also has many more action sequences. Where before it was one battle in the middle and then a major fight at the end, every time you turn a corner you’ve got some vampire being thrown significant feet into a wall.

I’m a fan.

I will warn you, though – much like Ranger’s Apprentice Book 5 and The Hunger Games, be looking for a cliffhanger ending.

Hunger by Michael Grant

February 26th, 2009

I just finished book two of the Gone series today. Hunger continues life in The Fayz where everyone 15 and older jumps out. To where, we don’t know, and we still don’t know by the end of this book.


We do get to see what The Darkness is, we do get to see Drake take on Caine, and we get introduced to even more characters. The story plays out like a TV show, with little segments introducing new characters. Sometimes these characters are developed, and sometimes a new grave has to be dug in town square.

What’s great about the series is that, like I mentioned at AzLA, it’s Lord of the Flies with superpowers. Tough issues like addictions and eating disorders are amplified when adults are gone and the world is mutating. What I appreciate, though, is that Michael Grant maintains a decent balance between edgy and respectful with serious issues that teens face.

Expect this one in late May/early June. Definitely add it to your collection. It’s good to see a series improve with each book. I read 300+ pages, immersed in the book, this weekend while my wife was out of town. Never before have I eaten so much food, like my food supply would be in shortage.

Check out Sinder’s blog at (for when the Internet comes back up).

Hear from Jeffrey Townsend, director of Skeleton Creek

February 20th, 2009

If you remember, Skeleton Creek has quite a bit of spooky videos important to the plotline. Hear from Jeffrey Townsend on Monday, February 23 at 4:30pm on his Internet broadcasting channel. Click here to visit the channel.

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

February 6th, 2009

At first I thought this was a pretty gutsy choice for the Newbery (and some of me still says that) but The Graveyard Book is awesome. It’s inspired by many classic works, like The Jungle Book and Robinson Crusoe.

The premise is that Nobody Owens escaped from a killer and was orphaned at 18 months old. He is raised by the denizens of the graveyard who adopt him. What makes it work is that as we’re reading about death, life is observed. There are some great quotes:

Bod had allowed himself no friends among the living. That way, he had realized back during his short-lived schooldays, lay only trouble.

Really…if you couldn’t trust a poet to offer sensible advice, who could you trust?

But if I Unfade for one person, it makes it easier for other people to see me…

“You didn’t kill them?”
“Of course not.” Bod sad, “This is my home. Why would I want them hanging around for the rest of time?”

There was a smile dancing on his lips, although it was a wary smile, for the world is a bigger place than a little graveyard on a hill…

Love it.

Skeleton Creek by Patrick Carman – Only if you don’t want to sleep tonight

January 23rd, 2009

I’m watching the final video and it’s cool to finally see Ryan, the narrator. Skeleton Creek is a stepping stone to change how stories are told.

This is not an ordinary YA book. Sure, you’ve got the boy and girl who have been forbidden to see each other. You have the adults who have no clue/you can’t trust. But the execution of these elements is what’s beautiful from Patrick Carman.

Have you seen his virtual touring? Intriguing…

Skeleton Creek is set up in part as Ryan’s journal. It’s from here that you see his thoughts and feelings on the situation. There is some plot, but for the most part it is character development as we see him interact with the people around him while he’s injured.

The creepier parts of the book, for me, were the online videos hosted at (if you have an ARC, it’s not I freaked out that I might miss some videos.) The craziest video is the last video, and I wouldn’t want it any other way. Showing some of the earlier videos to students and staff made them jump. Mission accomplished.

The premise is that there’s a land-based dredge used in a small town to dig for gold. One of the workers may have gotten caught in the gears and could be the cause of the Old Joe Bush ghost stories. Ryan and Sarah are trying to investigate the dredge, but Ryan is seriously injured.

What’s crazy is that with so many sites out there and with the ability to put anything online, we don’t know how much is history and how much is Carman’s story. (Unless you use

It’s for that reason that I jumped at the videos (picture no soundtrack but only frogs, wood creaking, and trickling water). I love the ending, but you can’t skip to it. The only hang-up that I can think of would be if your school has a silent reading time and you’re not able to get to the computer to watch the videos. You can still piece together what happened from the journal, but you definitely can’t miss the first and last videos.

Update: One of the Science teachers took home my copy of the book over the weekend. She was just going to read a couple of entries and then spend the rest of the weekend working on grades. Instead, she read the whole book.

This is a must-have for your library when it hits in February.

Patrick Carman’s Spooky New Project

December 7th, 2008

Skeleton Creek comes out in February, but he’s got a great website leading up to the book’s launch. How much is real and how much is fiction?

Barnaby Grimes: Curse of the Night Wolf

November 5th, 2008

From the creators of the Edge Chronicles, Paul Stewart and and Chris Riddell, comes the story of Barnaby Grimes. In book one, Curse of the Night Wolf, we follow a pseudo-Victorian Gothic horror hero through the rooftops of a dark city.

It’s got the same great names/descriptions as the Edge books as well as the detailed illustrations. These add to the feel and accentuate just how ridiculous high society can look and a hint how horrifying werewolves can get. It’s a little bit of an edgier (sorry…had to do it) story than the other series, but I liked it.

My only complaint was that it was too short. I know that there’s book two scheduled for release in February and that in the UK they’re already at book three. Definitely excited for the next books. I started and finished this one on election day.

Generation Dead by Daniel Waters

September 24th, 2008

The book cover. That’s the big draw for Generation Dead by Daniel Waters. Even author P. J. Haarsma’s attention was grabbed by the cover when it was on display at my school. Many students saw me reading the book and kept hounding me to finish it.

This is Waters’s first YA book and I’m excited for more. The concept is that teenagers who have died recently are starting to come back. Where it branches from the horror norm is that these “biotically different” (zombie not being politically correct) teens want equal rights.

It’s a great allegory where readers are challenged without knowing it. Sure, we want Tommy (one of the living-impaired kids) to be allowed to try out for the football team, but wasn’t it spring of 2007 when Turner County High finally had a prom where races were integrated? There’s still work to be done in real life that Generation Dead may inspire.

There’s actually some spooky sections mixed in with the humor. The high school is surrounded by a forest and not everyone who goes in comes back out. Also, Pete Martinsburg is now one of the best villains I’ve read this year. He’s the perfect antagonist to Adam. Both are football stars: Adam learning self-control and respect over the summer, Pete harboring hatred and betrayal since his girlfriend wasn’t able to come back from the dead.

It’s a great plotline that moves at a decent pace to keep you engaged over the 400+ pages. (Definitely a connection for your Twilight fans.)

TIM: Defender of the Earth

August 11th, 2008

Sometimes you just want to read about a giant dinosaur fighting a robot.

TIM: Defender of the Earth by Sam Enthoven is that book.

This is a fun read, especially if you liked Cloverfield or any Godzilla movie. The story focuses on mainly the mad scientist and the giant dinosaur’s perspectives. (Yep. You get to jump into the mind of a rampaging reptile as it swats helicopters and jets.)

It reads like a movie. I made a new rule. If you promise to be a monster book, some part of the city needs to get stepped on by page 30. By page 30, that hope was fulfilled.