The Healing Star

The Healing Star

The Healing Star by A. Kidd

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

What a magical story! Chasing falling stars, magical stardust, a ladder to the stars & cloud people all in one fantastical story of young girl’s adventure to save her dying grandmother.
Julia is a 4th grader whose most favorite person in the world, her grandmother, Grammu, is dying from the invisible disease. The only thing that can save her is a falling star. But catching one isn’t easy. Only one person in the history of their small town has ever actually caught a falling star, but Julia is certain that she can catch one to save Grammu. When things don’t quite go as planned, Julia embarks on a journey to find the legendary ladder to the stars & has several interesting adventures along the way.
I normally don’t review children’s books, but The Healing Star stood out to me as a unique & magical story dealing with childhood adventure, disappointment & loss. I highly recommend this to young readers in 3rd-5th grade age range & is definitely a great story to be read to younger kids.
*Thank you to the author, A. Kidd, for the free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.*
View all my reviews

The Toilet Zone

The Toilet Zone

The Toilet Zone by Bret McCormick

⭐⭐⭐⭐

I will be completely honest…I almost declined reading this book. I’m ashamed to admit, I totally judged a book by its title. But I’m glad I changed my mind & gave it a chance. The 32 short stories in this anthology are well written & quite a few are scary as hell.
The premise of the book is each story is just long enough for your daily trip to the bathroom & each story has a reminder at the end to make sure you wash your hands. Although I am not sure I’d really recommend reading this in the bathroom, as I kept reading to the point that my legs probably would have gone numb. I enjoyed almost every story, but there were a few stand out stories that actually gave me nightmares… which is kind of difficult to do.
My 3 favorite stories:
1. The Itch by Mark Towse
2. Reclaimed by DJ Tyler
3. Crow by Ian Bain
I really want to give a description of each of these stories, but I feel like it would totally ruin the stories if I did. I’ll just say they are totally nightmare fuel.
*Thank you to Hellbound Books for the free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.*
View all my reviews

The Stepfather ~ TubiTv

⭐⭐⭐

The Stepfather was one of my favorite scary movies in my early teenage years. Terry O’Quinn (Lost) plays such a creepy guy, desperately searching for his “perfect” family. When his family disappoints him, they are brutally murdered & he moves onto the next unsuspecting divorcee or widow.

The film begins with Terry O’Quinn changing up his appearance & leaving his brutally butchered family behind. We fast forward a year later and we meet a new family, Susan & her teenage daughter, Stephanie, and the newest member of the family, the stepfather, Jerry Blake. Stephanie, of course, wants nothing to do with her new stepfather & acts out in defiance. She becomes suspicious of him after seeing his reaction to an article in the paper about the manhunt for Henry Morrison, the stepfather that murdered his family. Once Jerry gets wind that he is about to be found out, he abruptly quits his job & begins preparing a new life in another town as Bill Hodgkins. He plans to rid himself of Susan & Stephanie & they are left to try to survive his brutal attacks.

The movie is a great 80s slasher type film, but certain aspects of Jerry’s attempts at creating new identities only hold up because the internet doesn’t exist. For example, when Stephanie suspects Jerry is really Henry Morrison, she writes a letter to the newspaper to request a picture of him. Said picture is mailed to her house, which Jerry is able to intercept & he switches out his photo. Stephanie is none the wiser. A simple Google search would have easily pulled up Henry’s photo, especially considering he only moves a quick ferry ride over to a new town. The guy doesn’t even try for a different state. That would never be able to happen today.

Terry O’Quinn is what makes this movie. He is utterly charming and creepy all at the same time. His goal of having the “perfect” family & witnessing the rage inside him when the family disappoints him is quite scary. I considered binging all the sequels as well, but then I remembered how terrible they were.

The German House

The German House

The German House by Annette Hess

⭐⭐⭐⭐

The German House takes place in 1960s Germany, where many are trying to forget about the war & it’s tragedies. The story centers around Eva, a young woman in her 20s, helping out at her her family’s restaurant, The German House, & working as a Polish translator. Eva is too young to have known what transpired during the war herself, & everyone she knows refuses to talk about it. As she is living her life of finding herself, as well as finding a husband, she is pulled into translating during the Frankfurt trials. Naturally, her family & boyfriend vehemently oppose to Eva taking part in the trials.

Eva’s boyfriend, Jurgen, is one of the worst characters in the book (although her sister, Annegret, is by far the most awful person in Eva’s world.) However, it is to be taken into consideration that the time frame this takes place, a woman’s role is very different and Eva struggles with becoming an independent woman or a potential & traditional wife. She is also at odds with her family, who begins acting strangely when she accepts the job to translate during the trial. She wonders what secrets they are keeping from her.

I love historical fiction, but there are so many historical fiction novels that take place during WWII that I almost avoid them at this point. But, The German House is a different take on the horrific aspects of the war, specifically from the German viewpoint. It is a story of a country with a generation trying to heal & rebuild, while ashamed of the atrocities that occurred & the juxtaposition of a modern generation trying to moving forward, while forcing those to acknowledge their actions as well as those who chose subservience.

I really enjoyed The German House as both a historical retelling of the Frankfurt trials, as well as Eva’s personal story & her family.

*Thank you to BookishFirst & HarperVia for the advanced reading copy in exchange for an honest review.*

View all my reviews

#31DaysofHorror Reviews: Eli & Gothika

Eli ~ Netflix

⭐⭐⭐

Eli is a new Netflix movie released a few weeks ago. It has a horrible score, 43%, on Rotten Tomatoes. But, I oddly enjoyed this movie. There’s a lot going on in this film. One minute it’s a haunted house, the next it’s mad scientist experiments & then, totally out of left field is… well, I won’t spoil it.

The plot is about a boy, Eli, that is allergic to everything, air, water, pretty much everything. The family has resorted to an experimental treatment to try to cure Eli of his genetic disorder that is causing him to live in the plastic bubble & go outside in Hazmat suits. They find a promise of a cure through Dr. Isabella Horn, who has apparently cured other children afflicted with similar illnesses. Once Eli & his family arrive at the super creepy house /medical facility, things start going downhill rather fast. Eli starts seeing ghosts, which, naturally, are dismissed by the doctor & his parents as a side effect of his medications. Eli progressively gets worse, hence the mad scientist & weird experiments part. Then the movie just goes off the rails.

It’s a fun movie to watch. It isn’t great, or super scary, but I was entertained enough the entire film. There are some good jump scares & I totally did not have any idea the movie would end the way it did. So that is a bonus in my book.

Gothika ~ Amazon Prime

⭐⭐

I used to love this movie. I don’t know why anymore. This is the first time I have watched it again in years. And it is just bad. A suspension of disbelief is always required when watching horror films, but the plot holes in this movie are just beyond plausible. The acting, is also terribly disappointing from such a fantastic cast. Halle Berry, Robert Downey, Jr., Penelope Cruz are just bad in this movie.

Trigger warning: Below are spoilers of the film that depict rape & abuse.

I gave two stars because I really like the story. A highly respected criminal psychologist, Dr. Miranda Grey (Halle Berry) treats dangerous & mentally ill patients at the Woodward Penitentiary for Women. Her husband is also the warden of the prison. One patient is spotlighted, Chloe (Penelope Cruz), who claims she is being raped by the devil in her cell & her pleas are dismissed as paranoid delusions. After an intense encounter with Chloe, Miranda heads home only to almost run into a nude woman standing in the middle of the road. She gets out of the car to help & the next thing she knows she is in the very penitentiary that she works in. And she awakens days later to find out that her husband has been brutally murdered & she is the prime suspect. And of course she has no memory of it at all.

The story itself is not terrible. It is a good thriller with a supernatural twist. Spoilers ahead: Halle Berry’s character is tormented by a ghost that was also raped & tortured same as Chloe. However, it is the implausible plot holes, which includes time jumps where major events that should happen that are not even mentioned & just really bad dialogue throughout that make the film just terrible. I’m sad that I once paid for & owned this movie on DVD.