SPOILER FREE REVIEW: SCREAM ALL NIGHT BY DEREK MILMAN

Title: SCREAM ALL NIGHT

Author: DEREK MILMAN

Pub. Date: July 24th. 2018

Genre: YA Contemporary/Horror

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/Harper

Pages: 400

Content Warning: Physical Violence, substance abuse, child abuse, homophobic jokes, and Miscarriage

*HUGE thanks to Balzer + Bray/ Harper for the early review copy in exchange for my honest opinion

GOODREADS | BARNES & NOBLE | AMAZON

   

Scream All Night is one of those books that has a personality all of its own. Quirky, odd, sad, and a times very funny all rolled into one bringing the setting of Moldavia studios to life. Our MC Dario Heyward has very mixed feelings on his childhood growing up as the son of Moldavia Studio’s infamous owner/producer. Cast as Alastair the star on one of his father’s B-Horror flicks, Dario was subjected to physical violence and even emaciation at the hands of his dad. At the age of 12 after having his last near death scare, Dario decided to put distance between him and his abusive father. His father is a perfectionist and there really aren’t any boundaries he wouldn’t cross for one of his creature features. Dario is emancipated & living in a group home where he is trying to live his life away from all things Moldavia. This all changes of course when his brother Oren calls him with an invitation to Moldavia for a ceremony (being vague here cause spoilers haha!) taking place for his father & Dario wants nothing to do with it. Since his departure from Moldavia as a child, Dario has grown leaps & bounds and knows that accepting means the possibility of getting sucked back in to the world that is Moldavia studios. Perhaps because he still has some unfinished business, he accepts and sure enough finds himself sucked in by the Moldavian castle & its inhabitants who are all family to him. Although Dario has cut off all ties to Moldavia, its the people he got to know there while growing up that he is still attached to. He may not be prepared for what is asked of him but ultimately Dario is a much better man than his father. Scream All Night is a book about getting closure and new beginnings. It’s about grieving someone when they are still alive and it’s about second families, those we make along the way & those that take us in as if one of their own.

Dario- The MC of this story who has had a tough life raising himself. Having had a traumatic abusive childhood, he’s had to move away from the family he loves. This includes the girl he grew up with on the set of Zombie Children of the Harvest Sun, his co-star a the age of 11. Although he’d love to be around those he loves, he’s also not ready to return to the castle filled with painful memories at every turn. The last thing he wants is to face his 91 year old father but there’s a part of him that needs closure. Dario’s mother resides in a psychiatric facility, mental illness runs in the family & is always on Dario’s mind. Dario is loved by those cast & staff members who live in the Moldavia castle, no one expects him to return to the place that haunts him the most.

Oren- Dario’s older brother who shadowed their father in hopes of taking over Moldavia studios one day. Oren probably spends most of the book under the influence of mushrooms which means you can’t really trust anything he says or does. When we meet Oren he is fully immersed in writing the script for a movie of his own making. As much as I loved this character later on in the book, he was also frustrating and at the very beginning outright infuriating. Oren is the reason I docked this book a star, homophobic jokes left unchecked really get under my skin. I get that Oren was all shades of messed up, under the influence, and in his father’s shadow but I could’ve done without his jokes on Dario.

Hayley- The girl who saw it all & wanted more for Dario even if it meant that he’d have to leave the castle. Hayley lives & breathes Moldavia and unlike Dario she never had to experience child abuse (unfortunately that was solely reserved for prodigal son Dario) at the hands of his father. Hayley had both her parents with her in the castle and they treated Dario as if he was their own son.

Jude-Dario’s BFF from the group home who wears a wrestling mask and cape to sleep at night naked smh 😂 Jude is one of my fave characters simply for how hard he tried to protect Dario. They both hit it off while at the group home & I’ll be honest, for a minute there I thought there was chemistry between Jude & Dario.

Moldavia Studios-Yes, I put down Moldavia Studios as a character because it truly is! The cast & staff love making B-Horror movies no matter how terrible most of them are. Walking through the castle halls, seeing the set designs described as well as the costumes and makeup give a vivid image of what this Transylvanian-like castle is like. I came to really LOVE this setting and the character Moldavia Studios embodied making for one quirky strange laugh out loud read.

I’ll admit when the publicist for this book reached out, I wasn’t too sure whether it was something I’d enjoy since Horror is a genre I stay away from. That being said, for those of you who fear the creeps like me…have no fear! this isn’t scary at all. It’s a contemporary that carries a ton of quirk and isn’t like anything I’ve read before. The MC had such a messed up childhood and in a way is the black sheep of the family since he chose to emancipate himself. That doesn’t necessarily mean he doesn’t have a little of his family’s passion in him. Dario may have turned away from Moldavia Studios because of the bad memories attached to it but B- Horror flicks are a HUGE part of his life. Once he returns, all the oddness of his childhood comes back, both the good and the bad. Getting a behind the scene look at the production of these films was a TON of fun. There were parts were they ran dialogue that as ridiculous as the lines may have seemed, offered up so much entertainment and laughs. Scream All Night is easily one of those reads that’ll be hard to forget in the best of ways!


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Review: Zero Repeat Forever (The Nahx Invasions #1)

Title: Zero Repeat Forever

Author: Gabrielle Prendergast

Pub. Date: August 29th, 2017

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Pages: 496

Formats: eGalley 

Trigger Waring: Suicide & Racism 

    

He has no voice, or name, only a rank, Eighth. He doesn’t know the details of the mission, only the directives that hum in his mind.

Dart the humans. Leave them where they fall.

His job is to protect his Offside. Let her do the shooting.

Until a human kills her…

Sixteen year-old Raven is at summer camp when the terrifying armored Nahx invade, annihilating entire cities, taking control of the Earth. Isolated in the wilderness, Raven and her friends have only a fragment of instruction from the human resistance.

Shelter in place.

Which seems like good advice at first. Stay put. Await rescue. Raven doesn’t like feeling helpless but what choice does she have?

Then a Nahx kills her boyfriend.

Thrown together in a violent, unfamiliar world, Eighth and Raven should feel only hate and fear. But when Raven is injured, and Eighth deserts his unit, their survival comes to depend on trusting each other…

Zero Repeat Forever is THE book that demanded patience of me in return for a nice pay-off. Slow paced yet instantly addictive, I couldn’t quit this book. The story follows Raven, her boyfriend Tucker, his twin brother Topher, and a few other friends who were sent away to Summer Camp after getting into some trouble back home. While away, planet Earth is invaded by the Nahx aka alien forces. The killings begin and don’t show any sign of stopping. Humans are hit with darts that turn their veins black & rob them of life. Raven & her friends were informed to stay in place until they can be rescued however, that seems less likely with each passing hour. Opting instead to move in order to survive, their group finds that they know very little of the Nahx. Gathering info from Kill videos circulating on the web, they know the Nahx can be killed with much difficulty. Getting close to a Nahx however proves to be near impossible until Raven gets injured & captures the attention of one Nahx soldier. Eighth has been one directive...”Dart the humans. Leave them where they fall.” & yet the sight of Raven is enough to make him go against his very nature. Not only is he unable to dart Raven…he sets out to protect her from his own.

The heart of this story lies within its characters, with wonderful character development Zero Repeat Forever was achingly beautiful to read. Raven is considered to be a bit of a troublemaker but she’s really just your average teen. She wants to do better for her parents especially now that the world has been taken over but she’s also a free spirit. Raven is loyal to those she cares about & she also harbors a ton of anger towards the Nahx (rightfully so). Raven meeting Eighth wasn’t easy & I loved seeing the progression of their very complex relationship. I don’t want to reveal too much about Eighth for fear of spoilers so I’ll just say, this character broke my heart with his sadness and guilt. Some scenes are hard to get through because there’s a communication barrier (the Nahx can’t speak) & Raven has a ton of anger. What I loved about their story is that it wasn’t rushed & it went through stages making the reader feel all of the emotions both characters are trying to cope with.

Told in alternating POV chapters between Raven & Eighth, Zero Repeat Forever is not your typical fast paced action packed sci-fi. Instead we get a heartbreaking story of death & destruction, friendship, love, and the unlikeliest of bonds. Prendergast also covered some serious topics such as suicide & racism. Raven our MC is bi-racial & she does bring up (via internal monologue) the racism she’s experienced back home. Suicide does get introduced in the latter part of the book as a thought both Raven & Eighth have struggled with. I wasn’t expecting to love this book as much as I did because of the slow pace. However, when I finally reached the last page I was left flipping blanks looking for more story. Zero Repeat Forever with it’s melancholy tone & Edgar Allen Poe quotes sprinkled throughout is now in my very top Sci-fi favorites. I recommend to all who enjoy a good sci-fi (think SyFy’s Falling Skies), love good character development, & don’t mind a bit of melancholy every once in a while 😉

*HUGE Thanks to Simon & Schuster, Netgalley, & Gabrielle Prendergast for the eGalley of Zero Repeat Forever in exchange for an honest review

 Hello Readers! I originally planned to have this review up last week but life got in the way, Zero Repeat Forever is already on shelves! has anyone read or plan on reading? I am SO READY for the next book cuz that ending left me with eyes wide open! haha 🙂


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Waiting On Wednesday

bad-romanceTitle: Bad Romance

Author: Heather Demetrios

Book: Hardcover, 368 pages

Expected Publication: June 13th 2017

Publisher: Henry Holt & Co.

Genre: Contemporary/Young Adult

 

goodreads-synopsis-2

Grace wants out. Out of her house, where her stepfather wields fear like a weapon and her mother makes her scrub imaginary dirt off the floors. Out of her California town, too small to contain her big city dreams. Out of her life, and into the role of Parisian artist, New York director—anything but scared and alone.

Enter Gavin: charming, talented, adored. Controlling. Dangerous. When Grace and Gavin fall in love, Grace is sure it’s too good to be true. She has no idea their relationship will become a prison she’s unable to escape.

Deeply affecting and unflinchingly honest, this is a story about spiraling into darkness—and emerging into the light again.

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Bad Romance instantly caught my attention with its decaying flowers on the cover and it’s Gaga-esque title. My guess was right, this story is about abusive relationships. Although in the Goodreads synopsis we are made aware of the main protagonists abusive relationship with her love interest, it is the step-father/daughter relationship that made me add this one to my TBR. The description “wields fear like a weapon” sticks out the most. I’m hoping for some in depth character development/exploration, a realistic account of toxic relationships & its after effects and lastly i’m interested in the outcome. Of course i’m hoping for a positive outcome but i’m curious as to how it will be handled by the author.

What are you wonderful Bookish Peeps waiting on this Wednesday? Are any of you planning on reading Bad Romance?…gosh I can’t get Gaga’s song out of my head now

Review: Wrecked by Maria Padian

wreckedWrecked by Maria Padian

Published by: Algonquin Young Readers

Date of Publication: October 4th 2016

Genres: Contemporary

Pages: 368

Format: eGalley (Netgalley)

Trigger Warning: Rape

Rating: ★★★★

 

Goodreads Synopsis:

Everyone has heard a different version of what happened that night at MacCallum College. Haley was already in bed when her roommate, Jenny, arrived home shell-shocked from the wild Conundrum House party. Richard heard his housemate Jordan brag about the cute freshman he hooked up with. When Jenny formally accuses Jordan of rape, Haley and Richard find themselves pushed onto opposite sides of the school’s investigation. But conflicting interests fueling conflicting versions of the story may make bringing the truth to light nearly impossible–especially when reputations, relationships, and whole futures are riding on the verdict.

 

I’d like to thank Algonquin Young Readers for approving me to receive an eGalley of Wrecked by Maria Padian via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I requested this book from Netgalley after reading the synopsis & thinking…this sounds like an episode of Law & Order:SVU which I used to love watching! I figured that this book would have to be told from multiple points of views which is also a favorite format of mine. The book didn’t disappoint, the author handled the topic well & in doing so, she sheds some much needed light on the rape culture in colleges/universities. Another topic/theme playing in the background is sports related head injuries leading to concussions. We first get introduced to Haley who has suffered her 3rd sports related concussion on the field & is facing the very real possibility of not being able to continue playing soccer in college. Haley is sharing a college dorm room with Jenny who enters the room acting very strangely but not really saying much other than to grab some of her things. Haley & Jenny are polar opposites & don’t really know each other this being their freshmen year of college. Where Haley is more outgoing, athletic, and quick witted…Jenny is quiet, small framed, referred to as “mousy”, and always in the schools lab. Their schedules are set-up such that they barely cross paths. Jenny had accepted an invitation to attend a party with the request that she bring other freshmen females along with her. The events that took place at the party are basically given to us the readers as the story unfolds. Bits & pieces fall into place with every account that is given and just like in a game of old school Telephone, different versions start to convolute the truth.

 

We meet Richard & Carrie who have just broken up, Richard is a math tutor where Haley goes to work on her math sets & Carrie happens to be the person who works at the hotline set up for victims of sexual assault. Carrie is the person who takes Jenny’s call & quickly befriends Jenny. We also meet Jordan, the accused rapist who also happens to live in the same house as Richard. Haley & Richard find it easy to be in each others company and start seeing each other outside of math tutoring. None is the wiser to just how connected everyone in their lives are to the events that took place the night of the party. The chapters bounce back & forth between Haley & Richard as they tell their sides of the story. In between chapters there are pages that offer a different piece to the puzzle of what really happened that night. So in some pages you may read the thoughts Jenny was having as she is making her way around the party house while extremely intoxicated. These parts capture vividly what it feels like to be intoxicated at a level where you lose yourself in your surroundings. Some pages are the thoughts of other key players who witnessed Jenny stumbling around but who also never come forward. When the university begins it’s investigation, it is days after the rape took place & Jenny has forgone the option of reporting it to the police. In doing so, the university now carries a formal investigation away from the public and the possible outcomes are: expulsion for the accused OR if no evidence or witnesses can be found, a “no sanction” can be ruled & the accused would be permitted to remain in the school.

 

The way this book was written hooked me in & kept me turning the pages. I really wanted to get to those in between pages that offered a little bit of insight as to what happened the night of the rape but it was never enough. I realized that this was purposefully done by the author to give an accurate portrayal of what happens when a college student loses consciousness due to intoxication & is taken advantage of. The victim would NOT be able to recount details with absolute certainty during the time they lost conciousness (scary thought). I often found myself trying to decipher what was fact from fiction. I could NOT stop myself from thinking about the real life Broch Turner case & how that played out. I felt a range of emotions, confusion, frustration, and helplessness for Jenny. Just like Jenny, I was left feeling a whole lot of anger for many different reasons. Some ranging from where were the “friends” she came with to the party? why weren’t they trying their hardest to look for her? why is everyone keeping quiet? why is everyone more worried about the fact that they were drinking? I mean the questions in my head just kept me turning the pages faster hoping for closure. Maria Padian handled this sensitive topic really well & I honestly believe that this story should be read. Wrecked is a book that sheds light on a prevalent issue in our current day & the underwhelming attention placed on the rape culture within our colleges & universities. I would absolutely recommend this book if you’re looking for a very real take on this sensitive topic.