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Whatcha-Readin-Wednesday: Halloween, horror, monsters, and zombies, oh my! Part 1

Halloween is just a few days away. If you like to scare yourself silly, why not try one of these?

Coraline Coraline by Neil Gaiman
Let me introduce myself. I am Coraline and I’d like to tell you a story but first we have to get something straight. This is not a fairy tale or a ghost story. It all started when we (Mom, Dad, and myself) moved into a new apartment building. My parents work from home and are always busy so I get bored a lot. I had taken to exploring the neighborhood and hanging out with my neighbors, who wouldn’t normally have been my first choice of companions. The old guy upstairs says he is training a mouse circus and the mice have a message for me, “Don’t go through the door”. The two old ladies next door used to be actresses and they want to read my tea leaves, which say I’m in danger. Well, I’m not too inclined to believe anything from these three elderly residents who can’t even get my name right (it’s CORALINE not Caroline!).
So anyway there is one other apartment in the complex and it is empty. Strangely enough there is a door in our dining room that appears to have once led to that apartment. Now it opens only to a brick wall but we still keep it locked. Well, I guess I should say that it usually opens to a brick wall. Once I opened it and it led to a dark hallway. Being bored and inquisitive, I walked down the hallway and emerged into my own apartment. At least it looked like my apartment complete with my mother and father. Except they weren’t really my mother and father. My other mother had paper white skin, long fingers with even longer blood red fingernails and flowing black hair. The most striking difference of all was their eyes, because in place of eyes they had big, black, shiny buttons. My other parents were very nice, feeding me a wonderful dinner and paying extra special attention to me. And they even invited me to stay forever, with one condition. Just one little thing and they promised it wouldn’t hurt a bit. And that’s when I caught a glimpse of the black cotton spool of thread, long silver needle, and two large black buttons my other mother was holding.

Why I finished it: I love it and never bore of reading it again. The other mother’s hand is best described in the words and seen in your mind than in the graphic novel or movie. Plus who wouldn’t love a talking cat.
I’d give it to: readers looking for a little creepy without too much gore.

Want to read it? Click here to place the book on hold!

CoralineCoraline (graphic novel) by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by P. Craig Russell
Adapted from the book of the same name, Coraline is the story of a girl who discovers a whole new world behind the doorway in the family room. Coraline must decide whether she is willing to leave her “real” family for this other world, a world in which her other parents lavish her with love and attention. A world where cats speak, rats sing, and her other mother’s long spindly fingers with blood red nails aren’t nearly as creepy as her shiny black button eyes. Will Coraline choose to stay “for ever and always”?

Why I picked it up: I’m a fan of the novel so I wanted to see how this illustrator would interpret the story.
Why I finished it: I love the story… even if the graphic novel doesn’t quite get the creepiness of the other mother’s hand.
I’d give it to: fans of the book. Graphic novel readers who like horror/creepy but won’t necessarily read the book.

Want to read it? Click here to place the book on hold!


Lockdown (Escape From Furnace, #1)Lockdown by Alexander Gordon Smith
What is your worst nightmare? I would be willing to bet that you could never dream of a place as horrible as Furnace. Furnace Penitentiary was built following the “Summer of Slaughter” when teenage gangs reigned, terrorizing and murdering, sending society into a state of fear and panic. Now it is a state of zero tolerance. You do the crime, you will do hard time, forever. If you are convicted, you are sentenced to life in this underground prison, where horrors beyond your wildest dream exist. Muscular, meat-eating guard dogs. A warden with black eyes like vortexes that seem to suck out your soul. Guards who wheeze due to the gas masks covering their faces, the gas masks that appear to be sewn into their skin, the guards that come for you in the dark of night.

In exchange for safety and security, the government and society have turned a blind eye to the prison. If they only knew what was really going on, would they allow the teenage prisoners, who are children really, to be treated this way? Don’t they deserve a second chance, especially if, like Alex, they maintain their innocence?

Welcome to Furnace, where there is no escape. Or is there?

Why I finished it: I was hooked from the first page as Alex is running up the prison stairs to avoid whatever monstrous thing is chasing him and the other prisoners. I’m underwater claustrophobic so I know the threat of spending my life in an underground prison would do me in. I will definitely be picking up the sequels (will be 5 in the series by 2013).
I’d give it to: fans of horror, like Stephen King or Darren Shan. In fact I gave it to my King/Shan fan the minute I saw her. Definitely teen boys, especially those looking for a new series, although I’ve had girls like it too.

Click here to read Serina’s review of Lockdown.

Want to read it? Click here to place the book on hold!


The Enemy (The Enemy #1)The Enemy by Charlie Higson
It has been a year since the disease ravaged London, Those over 16 either died or became horrible disgusting monsters. The children and teenagers left behind have found shelter in abandoned buildings and have had to adapt in order to survive. They must hunt and scavenger for food and do whatever it takes to protect themselves.

If it is possible, things are getting worse. While they don’t know what caused the disease and why only adults were affected, they have known how to survive up until now. The “Grown-ups”, the zombies in human shells, have always been easy to kill but now they appear to be getting stronger, more organized, and even more dangerous.

When a teen named Jester shows up telling the Holloway gang that there is a thriving community living at Buckingham Palace, raising animals and growing food, the group must decide whether to stay in their relatively safe, known environment with dwindling food rations or make their way across the unknown dangerous city to the promise of a better life.

What or who is the real Enemy? Will they be able to survive?

Why I finished it: I had to know if they were going to survive, especially Small Sam. I think I would have a hard time surviving for a year with limited food and no electricity, so it is amazing to me that teens and children can adapt and try to survive. (Yeah, yeah I know. I’m an adult so the disease would have either killed me or turned me into the feared grown-ups!)
I’d give it to: teenagers, especially boys. Fans of zombies.

Want to read it? Click here to place the book on hold!


Slice of Cherry Slice of Cherry by Dia Reeves
Kit and Fancy Cordelle are the teenage daughters of the infamous “Bonesaw Killer”. The sisters live in Portero, Texas where weird is the norm. Monsters lurk and destroy at will, and no one seems a bit surprised by odd and mysterious happenstances just as long as you don’t mess with one of their own. While Daddy is behind bars awaiting execution for his crimes, Kit and Fancy are receiving fan mail, hate mail and the occasional prowler looking for a piece of memorabilia. What fans, hatemongers, and their own Madda don’t realize is how much like Daddy Kit and Fancy really are.

Kit and Fancy have decided to move from dissecting animals to carving, slicing, and dicing bad guys. The prowler gives them the perfect opportunity to try out their new interests. But they have also learned from Daddy’s mistakes. They don’t want to get caught and need a way and a place to hide the evidence. Thankfully in Portero, Texas, it isn’t unusual to find invisible, magical doorways. And the happy place in Fancy’s mind might provide the opportunity they need to make the bad just disappear.

Why I picked up the book: My book club at Roosevelt High School wanted something that was horror, graphic, with lots of detail and that would hook you. I read the first scene online, where Kit & Fancy are awakened by the prowler lurking in their room and it seemed to fit the bill perfectly. Plus the cover of the book is fascinating.
Why I finished it: I’m a fan of the HBO series Dexter, so the premise is intriguing to me (killing bad guys as a service to the public). Even though the book is 500 pages, I felt the ending was a bit rushed. I’d love it if the author wrote a companion novel about Daddy so we knew more about him and the motivations behind his crimes. The world the author creates is odd and quirky, but you just have to let that go and remember that it isn’t real and isn’t supposed to make complete sense.
I’d give it to: high school and adult readers, who won’t be offended or scared off by the serial killer aspects. Fans of the TV show Dexter.

Want to read it? Click here to place the book on hold!


Click here to read my review of Rot and Ruin by Jonathan Maberry.

Want to read it? Click here to place the book on hold!

Reviews by Jenn, YA Librarian (View all my Goodreads reviews)



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