Thursday, November 02, 2017

Vampires on the Run, Alone

31321073Surrisi, C.M. Vampires on the Run
March 1st 2017 by Carolrhoda Books
Public library copy

Quinnie is ready for summer vacation, and there are some exciting things happening in her small coastal Maine town of Maiden Rock. Not only is there a new boy, Dominic, and his scientist parents moving in next door, but her friend Ella's family friends Cecil and Edgar Waterman are also spending the summer. The Watermans are authors of a vampire series, and they claim to get their stories from real vampires. They also look the part-- dark clothes, pale skin, aversion to sunlight. When the sister's cat sanctuary is attacked and odd things happen in town, Quinnie starts to wonder what is going on. With the help of friend Ben, Ella, and Dominic, she tries to uncover this new mystery. She also reads the Waterman's novel as well as Dracula, so that she and the other children can discuss them with her teacher who went missing in the first book, The Maypop Kidnapping, Ms. Stillford.
Strengths: I adore Quinnie's town and her family. Her diner owner father makes sure there is plenty of tasty sounding food around, and her sherrif/mayor/real estate agent mother is super busy but always has time to help Quinnie out. The setting is well described and makes me want to go to Maine and take a walk along the rocky beach. The dynamic among all of the children is realistic and adds some additional interest to the mystery.
Weaknesses: Very rarely, there is a book that not only defines a trend but also completely ruins it. Twilight is such a book, and is even referenced in Vampires on the Run. Now, I find it very difficult to get anyone to check out any vampire books except for titles by Darren Shan and Jason Henderson. Combined with the unattractive cover on this book, I feel that typing this mystery to a passé trend was an unfortunate choice.
What I really think: I enjoyed this, but the first book has not circulated well, so I will wait until the end of the year to buy this if I have enough money.

33918889Balog, Cyn. Alone.
November 1st 2017 by Sourcebooks Fire
E ARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline

Seda's horror film professor mother has inherited a "house of horror" from an aunt and uncle, and has moved Seda and her younger siblings there to prep it for sale. She seems to be enjoying it to much to sell it, even though it is in the middle of nowhere and Seda hates being there. It doesn't help that Seda had a twin who didn't make it, and who sort of lives in her mind, making her think she is crazy, and definitely making her an unreliable narrator. When college students get stranded near the house, the mother is reluctant to help them at all, but eventually does. Seda takes a liking to one of them, but the creepy house is creepy for a reason, and before long, things begin to go awry.
Strengths: This reminded me of Poblocki's The Ghost of Greylock, Alender's The Dead Girls of Hysteria Hall, and R.L. Stine's books set in creepy houses in the middle of nowhere. It was a bit slow to build up, but was definitely nicely creepy all the way through. The idea of a "house of horror" from the 1980s was a brilliant scheme, and I did really enjoy all of those details. Lots of twists, and definitely a surprise ending.
Weaknesses: Not a huge fan of the unreliable narrator, and the mother irritated me by her insistence on staying with the house even when it caused her husband to leave.
What I really think: A bit brutal at the end, but I will have to buy this since my readers have an insatiable desire for scary books and murder mysteries.

 Ms. Yingling

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