Sunday, August 28, 2016

Dr. Fell and the Playground of Doom Blog Tour: Guest Post

I'm so excited to take part in this blog tour today :) My post is the final one of the tour. And I'm having an awesome guest post by the author :) I love it. I haven't read this book yet, but I'm hoping to do it one day. It looks so awesome. I love that cover. Plus it sounds pretty exciting too. You should all get this one :) Thank you so much to Josh at Random House Children's Books for letting me take part in this awesome blog tour. The blog tour has been going on for all of August, you should see the full schedule for it here :D

A Little Bit of Scary
By David Neilsen

My debut novel, Dr. Fell and the Playhouse of Doom, is a Middle Grade horror/comedy/adventure featuring three kids who must deal with an enigmatic stranger and, in doing so, find themselves drawn into a dark place they may or may not be ready to experience. I very purposefully worked to make it creepy and dark (while still allowing for some humor), writing it in many ways for those kids ready to--as I say in the dedication--peer into the darkness.

I was not one of those kids.

If you had approached my 10-year-old self and told him that I’d eventually write not only creepy Middle Grade books but full-on adult horror short stories, I would have looked at you, confused. Well, first I would have asked if you had a time machine and if I could maybe go for a ride, and then I would have laughed in your face. Unless you had a time machine and offered me a ride. Then I’d still laugh, just not in your face.

Growing up, horror was the last thing I was interested in. I had no desire to be scared. Ever. I remember one Halloween when I was maybe 11 or 12. The big sister of a neighborhood friend put together a ‘haunted house’ and all the kids went in. I didn’t want to, told anyone who would listen that I didn’t want to, and ended up in line anyway because all of my friends were in line and because the girl (who was one of my babysitters) promised it wasn’t so bad. When it was my turn, she opened the front door and led me down into the dark basement, talking about the dead bodies she’d found and asking me to stick out my hand to touch the brains or guts or whatever.

I screamed holy terror and wouldn’t stop screaming until she turned on the lights and showed me the bowls of noodles (intestines), wet sponges (brains), chilled grapes (eyeballs), and all the other various grocery items she’d gathered up for her show. Didn’t help. Even with the lights on and a bowl of limp spaghetti staring at me in the face, I continued screaming.

When I got into high school, horror movies were all the rage. Specifically the slasher flicks. Nightmare on Elm Street. Friday the 13th. Halloween sequels. Child’s Play. All my friends went to see them without me. They gave up asking me to join them after the first or second attempt. Even my girlfriend would go see one with our friends and we’d meet up later. Nothing could get me to see those movies. I did not want to be scared.

But something odd started happening as all my friends saw Freddy and Jason and Michael and Chucky and Pinhead do their dirty work. After the films, they’d talk about what they’d seen. I would try to tune them out as they described Freddy performing various cruelties, but every now and then they’d mention something about where Freddy came from. The story behind the horror. The mythologies of the films.

I got intrigued. I still wasn’t going to see the movies, but I wanted my friends to see them and then tell me all the origin stories. The curses or myths or legends behind the nastiness. I wanted to learn about the worlds created within the films. Meanwhile I was a huge fan of science fiction and fantasy. Yes, sometimes those films had horrific elements here and there (I still have trouble watching the snake come out of the skeleton’s mouth after Indiana Jones and Marion escape from the Well of Souls), but I could always cover my eyes and ears during those parts and know that it wouldn’t stay scary for very long.

During and after college, I saw a few almost-horror or classic-horror films on video. I survived the original Halloween pretty well, made it through first Aliens and then Alien, left the room when Nightmare on Elm Street started (still haven’t seen it). But the movie that probably did more to shift my thoughts regarding horror may have been The Blair Witch Project. This was a seriously scary movie, and there was no gore. No scenes of people being opened like a can of sardines. It was just seriously scary. And it had a marvelous mythology to go along with it. Who was the Blair Witch? Where did she come from? What was the curse? What was with all those stick-figure tree men? A couple of other atmospheric horror films came along like The Sixth Sense and The Others and I found myself enjoying them quite a bit.

I’d found my niche. It turned out I didn’t mind being scared, I just didn’t want to see a lot of people killed in nasty and imaginative ways.

My writing eventually evolved along the same lines. I enjoyed coming up with creepy backstories and creating different worlds in which to play, each with their own rules. I wanted a dash of wonder to go along with my skin-crawling creepiness. This led me to Middle Grade Horror, which is where I have nestled in and made myself a home.

The skepticism of my 10-year-old self is understandable, particularly when you consider that I was a teenager in the 1980s, when horror was synonymous with “crazy people killing teenagers.” I like my horror bloodless and filled with tension. Forget the unkillable madman stalking people, give me a sinister old man, a creepy house, and a terrible secret any day.

“Such deliciously creepy fun! I fell in love with Dr. Fell! So will urchins and whippersnappers everywhere.” —Chris Grabenstein, author of the New York Times bestsellers Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library and The Island of Dr. Libris

When the mysterious Dr. Fell moves into the abandoned house that had once been the neighborhood kids’ hangout, he immediately builds a playground to win them over. But as the ever-changing play space becomes bigger and more elaborate, the children and their parents fall deeper under the doctor’s spell.

Only Jerry, Nancy, and Gail are immune to the lure of his extravagant wonderland. And they alone notice that when the injuries begin to pile up on the jungle gym, somehow Dr. Fell is able to heal each one with miraculous speed. Now the three children must find a way to uncover the doctor’s secret power without being captivated by his trickery.

David Neilsen is the author of Dr. Fell and the Playground of Doom, and several other odd, weird, supernatural, and occasionally slightly disturbing books and stories. David is also a professionally trained actor who works as a professional storyteller up and down the Hudson River Valley and in New York City. His one-man performances based on the work of H.P. Lovecraft have sent many screaming into the hills in search of their sanity.

Where to find David Neilsen:

We hope you enjoyed the blog tour for David Nielsen’s DR. FELL AND THE PLAYGROUND OF DOOM! In case you missed part of it, you can head over to My Brain on Books to start again. Thanks for joining us!

Saturday, August 27, 2016

In My Mailbox #252

Time has been moving so fast this year. Feels like it is almost Christmas already. Gosh. I have so not read as much as I wanted to this year. Sad face. But hoping to read more these next few months :) Fingers crossed. I have just had a difficult year. Sigh. Being so sick all the time. Ugh. But yeah. I did read a little bit this week, and starting Metaltown later today :D I'm excited. I had a good week; despite not feeling the best. And I got some amazing mail too :D Some gorgeous trade books. <3 Ahh. I am in love. Also blogged a bit too :) I posted my review of The Possibility of Somewhere. Ugh. This week I'm waiting on The Burning World :D Then I read The Little Prince :) Which was a bit meh. I then read The Return of the Young Prince, which was awful. Ugh. My newest Book Collection is books by Michelle Hodkin :D Eee. Anyway. I got some gorgeous mail. I had a good week. Still obsessed with Pokemon Go, haha :D Sister and I have started watching The Fall, which only has a few episodes. It's pretty amazing and awful. Gah.

Vassa in the Night + Nemesis. Thank you so much Tracy for trading with me :D SO happy about these.
Going Wild + This Savage Song. Thank you so much Emily for trading with me :D Ahhh! I am so thrilled.
Zootopia. This tin box thingy is all kinds of gorgeous. I own many from other movies too, hih :) So cute.
Heartfire. Ahh. I loved book 1. Have yet to read book 2. And now book three is out :D I shall read soon.
The Bronze Key. Eee :D UK edition arrived a week before US publication. <3 So excited to read this one.
Hermione Pop. Ahh :D It was finally a bit on sale, so I got to buy this train :D Now just need the other two.

Happy Hello Bookmarks. I simply love buying bookmarks from this amazing woman. She is the best :D Ahh. I own so many, haha. I shall share my collection soonish :) They are all on my wall. Love. Still missing some. Anyway. I adore Criminal Minds :D And Harry Potter. <3 I'm never ever reading any books by Sarah, though.. but I couldn't help but buy this bookmark. Because it is gorgeous. Love :D

More Instagram photos here. <3

Friday, August 26, 2016

Book Collection #26

26th week of my new Book Collection posts. I will be doing this every Friday. And I am loving it. I own so many amazing books, and I love that I get to share my collection of many of them. I will be posting all my collections randomly, but I love them all. I hope you will all enjoy these posts of mine. Would love to know if you have any collections like mine; if you own and love these books too. Let me know. I love my books.

Books by Michelle Hodkin.

I love this collection of mine. Eee. I simply adore these books. Okay, fine, I haven't yet read the third one. Ack. I'm not sure why. I loved book one and two oh so much. I just haven't had the time yet. Because I need to re-read the first two books first. Which I'm super excited about. I will get it done soon. But yeah. These books are beyond gorgeous. And I love the story. And the characters. And oh gosh, I own a bunch of these signed. Eee. Just missing book three personalized to me. And, uhm, I have four copies of book one personalized to me. Heh. One is my precious ARC. One is a paperback. And two hardcovers. One ordered, and the other because I met Michelle in Orlando years back. Ack. She's awesome. I just adore these books. Wait. I just looked at my reviews of the first two books. And it has been four whole years since I read them. Oh gosh. Yeah. I must re-read them very soon. I cannot wait to do that. So excited.

Review: The Return of the Young Prince by A. G. Roemmers

Okay. This book was bad. Like, really, truly bad. I just feel so disappointed. I had really hoped to love this one. I read The little Prince for the first time today. I didn't love it, but I liked it a little. And so I was excited about read this sequel too. But gosh. It was so awful. I'm even giving it one star. Which I don't do often. Sigh.

I'm not going to write a long review for this book either. It is longer than The Little Prince, this one being less than 160 pages. I'm just so thankful it wasn't above 200 like it says. Sigh. I had so much trouble reading this book. I wanted to quit all the time. I almost fell asleep even. Ugh. It was just so bad. Which sucks.

I wish I could say that I enjoyed some parts of this book. But I really didn't. I thought it would be a sequel to The Little Prince. And, sure, the prince is in this book. Now a teenager, having left his small planet once more. But this is not his story. At all. This is the story of the man he meets in the road, as he is telling the story. And this whole book felt like a big lecture or whatever about everything in life. It was the single most boring thing I have ever read. I read it, then I forgot it the same second. It was so awful. Ugh. I'm so upset about it, lol. I wanted it to be so much better. But it wasn't. There are a few days of road trip. All they do is talk boring stuff. So disappointed. I had a bunch of issues with the writing. Not good. And I felt nothing for the story. At all.

I guess I could write a longer review for this book. But I don't want to. I don't want to at all. Because it was pretty short, despite me feeling like I would never stop reading it. It didn't actually take me that long to read, lol. But it was the most boring thing. And I'm so disappointed in all of it. So not really mentioning the rest of the plot, because I felt like there wasn't any. Summary mentions that there would be parts of the prince's stories. Not true. He talks for a couple of pages in this one. That's it. Ugh. Wanted more of him.

I feel badly about it, but I wouldn't recommend that anyone read this book. I just found it to be so bad. I mean, sure, some could enjoy it. But I don't understand why at all. Sigh. I just feel so disappointed. I really had wanted to love it. One plus side, it looks gorgeous. Shrugs. But that's it. Anyway. Huge thank you to Cailin at Oneworld Publications for sending me this gorgeous book to read. I'm sorry I ended up disliking it so much, lol. It means the most that I got the chance to read it. Though I'm never re-reading it.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Review: The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

I have finally read this classic book. Which I'm pretty sure that everyone has read by now, lol. I have heard a bunch about it. Yet I haven't really felt the need to read it before now, after getting The Return of the Young Prince from the UK publisher to read. And so I finally gave it a try. I think I liked it a little bit. It was interesting.

But yeah. I didn't love this story. Which makes me a bit sad. I had some issues with the writing, and I just didn't think the book was all that exciting. But I also did like it a bunch. So I'm giving this book three stars. I found the little Prince to be pretty adorable and I was curious about getting to know him better. So I did like that.

I'm not going to write such a long review for this book, because it really is pretty short. And not all that much happened. But I'm going to try to talk a little bit about it. First, I think I read the wrong version of this book, lol. I only own one copy, which is this small paperback that I got on sale online a few years ago. It is a 1995 version of the book. And the illustrations inside did not have any color. Sad face. And when I search, it looks like they were all supposed to have colors. Aw. But still. I did like the drawings. They were pretty cute. I had a few issues with the writing, though. I just didn't manage to connect with the story. Aw. But then again. I did enjoy reading the story. And I do recommend reading this book. And I'm glad that I finally got to read this book.

I'm unsure what to say about this book. It is about a man crashing his plane in the desert. He's all alone, but then a little boy shows up. They start talking, with the boy telling him about his life and how he is living alone on a small planet. I felt so sorry for this boy. Sniffs. I did like his stories. I just felt like the book might have been too short, lol. I'm pretty excited about reading The Return of the Young Prince next. Hoping I will like that book more than I did this one. Fingers crossed. Though I did like this one too, just no love.