Letters to the Lost #2: More Than We Can Tell – Brigid Kemmerer

I’m so late to the party with this book and it had already well and truly sucked me in before I realised it was a sequel to a book I haven’t read. Thankfully this didn’t matter.

I fell for Rev and Emma straight away. I can’t go past an outcast, troubled teen story, especially when the characters are dealing with so many huge things on top of simply surviving adolescence.

“Thank you.”

“For what?”

“Seeing me.”

Rev was fostered and eventually adopted by Geoff and Kristin after he was removed from his preacher father’s care. Rev’s father has made contact with him for the first time in ten years and it’s bringing back all of the emotions and memories he’s tried so hard to bury. Rev hides beneath his hoodie.

Emma’s mother is critical of her and her father, who she adores, is too busy with technology to be aware of anything that’s happening in her life. Emma is really proud of the game she designed but online isn’t the safe space it used to be. Emma hides behind her computer.

“I think I need someone real, too”

Rev and Emma worked so well together. I am a tad obsessed with the scene where they sit back to back texting because it’s easier than sitting face to face talking.

“I’m not good at this.”

“Not good at what?”

He gestures between us. “This. I’m not – I’m not good with people.”

“I’m not either.”

Their awkwardness endeared them to me. Their courage to face their past and present encouraged me. The fact that they retained some softness rather than being made up entirely of sharp edges inspired me. I love underdog stories!

Where Emma’s arc led her was predictable and we never found out for sure who N1ghtmare was, although I suspect they were the person she was in the car with when she sent Rev her location.

I would step in front of a speeding train for Texas, Emma’s Labrador. She can have as many chicken nuggets as she wants.

I hurt for Matthew. The secrets he’s been carrying are absolutely heartbreaking. I need to know what his life looks like in the years after this book.

I spent most of the book wanting to know more about Declan, wishing I could read his story. Lo and behold, the author has already worked their magic. Dec is one of the stars of the first book, which I bought as soon as I finished reading this one. It’ll be my next read. Because Dec and Rev are best friends, I’ll also get to hang out with Rev some more.

My main niggle was with Cait’s character. She had so much potential, yet she was pushed to the background for most of the story. I need her to teach me how to do makeup.

Once she made her face look like she was unzipping her skin

I’ll be her guinea pig whenever she wants to experiment with new weird and wonderful makeup ideas.

As usual, I sent a test email to Robert and Rev’s email addresses. Neither of them wanted to talk to me; both emails were undeliverable.

Favourite no context quote:

“We all push sometimes, just to make sure someone is on the other side, pushing back.”

Content warnings include emotional abuse, foster care, miscarriage, online harassment, physical abuse, religious abuse, sexual assault and stalking. Readers with emetophobia may have trouble with one scene.

Thank you so much to NetGalley and Bloomsbury Children’s Books, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing, for the opportunity to read this book.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

Every day Rev struggles with the memories and demons of the time before he was adopted. He’s always managed just fine, until a letter from his birth father brings hellfire, fear and danger back into his life.

Emma escapes her life in an online game she built herself. Virtual reality is so much easier than real life. But then another player joins the game and suddenly ultra-violent threats start to stream in…

When Rev and Emma meet, they are fighting a darkness they can’t put into words. But somehow they hear each other and together they might be able to find a way out…

Worst Week Ever! #3: Wednesday – Eva Amores & Matt Cosgrove

When we join Justin on his wacky Wednesday, he’s stranded with his arch-nemesis, Marvin. Marvin adds the arch to nemesis quite well. He’s always perfectly put together even when the situation calls for being covered in mud and he doesn’t fight fair. It’s not beneath him to pull out the dreaded, “I know you are, but what am I?” and he’s a “finders keepers” type of person.

Unfortunately, he’s also Justin’s only company right now, except for the bunch of fins coming closer and closer to their precarious inflatable raft. Wait, did I just say fins? Don’t tell me our intrepid accidental adventurers are on the menu!

I’m quite partial to the biggest audience possible witnessing Justin’s most embarrassing moments so this wasn’t my favourite day of the week so far, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy the ride.

There are some Indiana Jones adjacent moments, a chatty parrot and some ghastly, ghostly pirates to contend with. Arr!

While Nan doesn’t have much page time today, her crocheting lessons came in handy in an unexpected way.

Keep an eye out for Justin’s mermaid impression and a sneak peek of Captain Fluffykins. That cat’s pure evil, I tell you.

I absolutely loved the rubber ducky paddle boat, probably in part because it reminded me of the Penguin’s mode of transportation.

I need to commission Mia to draw something for me. Here’s her unicorn-shark hybrid:

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Today’s deleted scenes feature goats, cows, ducklings and pandas. While I was quite partial to top hat duckling and flower kid, the cow in a onesie won my heart.

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The original Wednesday plan was postponed to Thursday because of our almost stepbrothers’ impromptu detour. However, if I know this series like I think I do, the 11:56pm door knock seems to indicate that Thursday’s plans will be thwarted. I’m looking forward to finding out how thorny Thursday turns out to be.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

Have YOU ever had a BAD WEEK?

Justin Chase sure has, and THIS is it!

Monday really socked, Tuesday blew up, but now it’s … WEDNESDAY!

His cat is still mysteriously missing. He’s an unintentional internet sensation. And right now sharks are circling as he’s stranded in a heart-stopping, skin-crawling, jaw-dropping, seriously shocking S.O.S situation with his unbelievably annoying arch-enemy!

Afterlife #3: A Sucker For You – Marlene Perez

“I should have staked you when I had the chance”

Tansy, vampire queen of California, is going on a road trip. She’s bringing an eclectic bunch with her: her best friend (the only human), her two assassin sisters, her boyfriend (a werewolf who’s trained as a vampire slayer) and his pack (minus the one who stayed behind to study). They’re headed to Vegas to stop a wedding.

Besides the obvious ickiness associated with the idea of their parents being married, Tansy’s mother, Vanessa (AKA, the Executioner), has compelled Vaughn’s father, so it’s not exactly a free will decision as far as Adam Sheridan is concerned. Tansy and Vaughn are determined to prevent this happily ever after.

“Do you think it’s a coincidence that I follow Vanessa to Vegas and all hell breaks loose?”

It’s been six months since Tansy attended the worst part of her life and became a striga vie, a witch/vampire hybrid, and her witch is at war with her vampire. Granny’s tonic isn’t working as well as it used to so her allergy to the sun has been getting worse.

Tansy has the Blood of Life ruby with her but she doesn’t know what it does yet or even who gave it to her. All she knows for sure is she needs to do whatever it takes to ensure Vanessa doesn’t get her hands on it. Besides the priceless gemstone, Tansy has brought along her parasol and her trusty drumstick (all the better for slaying vampires).

It’s family reunion time in Vegas. While Vanessa is doing her best to evade her daughter and get on with her dastardly deeds, Tansy finally gets to meet her absentee father. Mason Alicante, the head of the Paranormal Activities Committee, is also Rose and Thorn’s father. He’s one character who certainly lives up to his reputation. Rose and Thorn need their own series.

The Drainers, who reinvented themselves in the sequel as the Thirsty Thieves, are at it again. This time, they’re the Bleeding Hearts and they’re trying another new style of music, pop.

Hecate, the best hellcat ever, makes an appearance. She’s such a good kitty.

Granny and her Old Crones Book Club stayed home for this adventure but Granny still has her part to play. She’s my favourite character of the series, not that it was ever a close call.

My main question mark in this book related to Wanda, the healer. When we first meet her, she says she’s not going to be around for the next few weeks because she’s going to a deserted island. In the next chapter, the group have dinner at Wanda’s World and chat to Wanda, who is clearly not on holiday.

This book has action scenes where vampires meet their doom via drumstick, parasol and other lethal means. There are werewolves with ginormous appetites. The characters stay in luxury accommodation and visit specialty hidden world stores. There are mushy lovey doves scenes and mysterious tattoos.

This is my favourite book of the series. It’s unusual for me but I enjoyed each book more than the one that preceded it.

I’m not usually into books that feature vampires and I don’t generally read romance novels but this series hooked me. They’re light reads but they were fun and a great escape. I’m definitely keen to read more books by this author.

Content warnings: Readers with emetophobia may have trouble with some scenes.

Thank you so much to NetGalley and Entangled Teen, an imprint of Entangled Publishing, for the opportunity to read this book.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

Vampire-witch hybrid Tansy Mariotti has exactly one goal: to stop her mother’s Vegas wedding.

It’s not because she hates weddings. It’s not because the groom is her boyfriend’s dad (although yuck). It’s not even because Vegas weddings are cliché as hell. It’s because her mum is an evil incarnate vamp known as the Executioner. Nothing good can come of someone marrying a person named the Executioner. Nothing.

With the help of her werewolf boyfriend, her bestie, her granny’s no-crave-blood tonic, and her favourite stake – a drumstick – Tansy is Vegas-bound and ready to raise hell, all while hoping her witch side can keep her fangs at bay. Only suddenly, her witch side is fading … fast.

Tansy’s running out of time to stop her mum and save herself – before what happens in Vegas stakes in Vegas. 

Ghostwritten – Ronald Malfi

In the beginning of The Neverending Story movie, the bookseller tells Bastian that the books he reads are safe. The books you’ll encounter in the four novellas that comprise Ghostwritten are most certainly not safe.

The Skin of Her Teeth

Gloria’s client, Davis McElroy, has been adapting a bestseller into a screenplay. He’s usually reliable but he’s missed his deadline and it’s up to Gloria to salvage the deal. This book doesn’t like change.

“The simplest thing,” Finter said, “is to give it what it wants.”

The Dark Brothers’ Last Ride

Danny and Tommy Drake have been hired to deliver a package. There are specific rules they need to follow:

  • Don’t open the briefcase.
  • Don’t touch the contents of the briefcase.
  • Follow the route that has been mapped out by the client to get to the drop off location.
  • Ignore anyone who asks to see the book.

The rules are very important. This book is out of this world.

“How can a book be dangerous?”

“Because they contain all the powers of the universe.”

This Book Belongs to Olo

Olo is having a birthday. He will be ten years old. At his party there will be cake, games, prizes and surprises. This book has no words.

“Well, everybody knows how to play hide and seek, I think,” said the girl. “It’s just that, it’s kind of a baby game.”

“Not the way I play,” he said, then tugged the clown mask back down over his face.

The Story

Grady is determined to figure out what story Taryn was working on when she died. This book is Choose Your Own Adventure.

You have been approved to read the Story.

The four novellas have common themes but there are other connections to be found between them. Your attention to detail will be rewarded and I expect a reread will help me discover crossovers I missed the first time around.

It’s difficult for me to choose a favourite story but I definitely had a favourite character, chronically lonely but ever enthusiastic Olo. I’m always a sucker for books about books and here I was treated to four compelling reads. This may only be my second read by this author but Ghostwritten has confirmed my suspicions that I’ve been missing out on something special. I have lots of catching up to do.

Content warnings include death by suicide.

Thank you so much to NetGalley and Titan Books for the opportunity to read this book.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

From the bestselling author of Come with Me, four standalone horror novellas set in a shared universe!

In The Skin of Her Teeth, a cursed novel drives people to their deaths. 

A delivery job turns deadly in The Dark Brothers’ Last Ride

This Book Belongs to Olo sees a child wielding dangerous control over an unusual pop-up book. 

A choose your own adventure game spirals into an uncanny reality in The Story

Full of creepy, page-turning suspense, these collected novellas are all about books, stories, and manuscripts. The written word has never had sharper teeth…

The Dangerous Business of Being Trilby Moffat – Kate Temple

‘Excuse me, but are you going to try and murder me, again?’

A Dream Sickness is sweeping the land. Those afflicted suddenly speak in ancient languages and bake strange cakes. This all sounds very fascinating and delicious until someone hands you a flamingo-tongue pie.

As the illness progresses, the time for showing off their new old skills diminishes as they begin to sleep. And then sleep some more.

Trilby’s mother now has the ability to recreate ancient Egyptian hairstyles. When she’s not sleeping, that is.

Trilby’s quest for a way to help her mother leads her to Lost in Time Antiques at Nowhere Else Pier. Before long Trilby becomes the Time Keeper, travels to the Island Between Time, finds the Passage of Time and experiences both lots of time and no time at all. It’s actually all very timely.

During her quirky, unusual, unconventional, out of the ordinary travels, “reasonably nice” Trilby meets the Time Guild and bureaucrats from the Office of the Ministry of the Board of the Department of the Appropriate Division for the Committee of the Commission for the Corporation of the Agency of Association for Managers Administering Time. I’m pretty sure the pencil-pusher responsible for the unpronounceable acronym that allegedly shortens this title also named the departments at my previous workplace.

I really liked Thumbelina and the narrator, but my favourite character was shut up Brian. I definitely want to spend more outside of time with him.

Trilby’s love of crosswords is reflected in the chapter headings and I loved playing along. Handy hint: If you’re stuck, you may find the answer as you read the chapter. Although sometimes you won’t because … reasons. No, I’m not going to tell you. You can figure it out for yourself. My apologies; I must have been spending too much time around the rude cats.

There’s only one niggle my brain is still trying to work out: if time doesn’t pass on the Island Between Time, how does day become night?

When you finish reading this book please feel free to join me at the edge of the cliff I’m currently hanging onto. The first in a series, this book introduces the characters and the world, explains how time does and doesn’t work here and answers some of the questions it raises.

There’s still plenty of fun, entertainment, enjoyment, delight to look forward to. I’ll definitely be accepting my invitation to join Trilby and her new friends when they continue their adventure.

You are never as trapped as a man in a top hat would have you believe.

And there’s always time for cake.

Thank you so much to Hachette Australia for the opportunity to read this book.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

This is NOT just any old book. THIS is a legal document. It contains a truthful record of how Trilby Moffat was accidentally promoted to the most important job that ever existed. The job of Time Keeper.

A mystery illness is making people bake ancient cakes, speak dead languages and then fall asleep and never wake up. When Trilby Moffat’s mother catches this strange sickness, Trilby must find her only other surviving relative, a 300-year-old aunt who lives in a secret antique shop on the edge of time.

Ahead of Trilby lies an unusual inheritance, an opportunity that will never be repeated and a man in a top hat who will try to kill her … more than once.

This is the story of how one ordinary girl finds herself on a deliciously fast-paced adventure, fleeing to an island where time doesn’t exist, cats are particularly rude and cake is always on the menu. Here she will take on the most treacherous job of all time. Well … outside of time, to be precise.

Which Way to Anywhere – Cressida Cowell

K2 is a seemingly unremarkable boy who does his best not to stand out. Izzabird, his twin, is smart, funny and chatty. Their family has a strange Magical history –

‘There’s nothing strange about US!’

but the twins are under strict instructions not to tell anyone.

The stepfather doesn’t suspect he married into such an interesting family. Neither does Theo, his intelligent and sporty son, or Mabel, his quiet and kind daughter.

The magical secrets are bound to get out, though, because the four older children are about to go on a rip-roaring adventure twenty gazillion miles away. Annipeck, their baby sister, has been kidnapped and they’re getting some family bonding time, whether they want it or not.

There’s nothing like an adventure to find out whether you are a Hero or not.

This book is chock full of illustrations that bring the human earflings and their out of this world adventure to life. There are some great chapter titles, like A Stranger Enters the Story and the Story Gets Stranger Still, that really drew me in.

The narrator addresses the reader but not often enough that it becomes annoying. I had some trouble deciphering a few of the words that accompanied the illustrations during the early chapters but didn’t have any problems with this once I got used to the handwriting.

There’s an environmental message and I witnessed some pretty impressive courageous acts. A number of characters were vying for the coveted title of Big Bad.

Amongst all of the arguments and chaos there was a surprise misty eyed moment that had me trying to figure out how to get myself grafted into the O’Hero-Smith family.

‘This is what being a family means.’

Thankfully this is the first in a new series. I absquo-lootely adore books where someone can say, ‘Something’s spooked the toothbrushes …’ and it makes perfect sense.

I have so many questions, including those raised by the story’s narrator. I’m looking forward to getting to know the Aunts better; they have the potential to be fabulously fun to follow around. I definitely need to borrow one of their vacuum cleaners.

The sky’s the limit here, with as many worlds to explore as the author can imagine. This book has given me a taste for what magic is possible but it’s clear we’ve only just scratched the surface.

Make sure to put your thinking cap on and spritz some Steri-gas on yourself before you step into this Otherworld.

Thank you so much to Hachette Australia for the opportunity to read this book.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

K2 O’Hero is a seemingly ordinary boy from a truly extraordinary family – he and his twin sister Izzabird have been sworn to keep their family’s history of magical explorers a secret. Not even their infuriating stepsiblings, Theo and Mable, know magic exists. They believe K2 to be the most hopeless person they have ever known.

But K2 has a secret gift.

He draws maps of worlds that are beyond the wildest of imaginations. Worlds with six hundred moons, burning rivers, armoured robots and dark, twisty jungles alive with cannibal plants who hunt by the smell of fear. But what K2 doesn’t know, is that the maps he draws are real. They are worlds beyond the world we know, and the maps he draws make up an Alternative Atlas showing the exact spot where the worlds cross.

K2 and his warring siblings are going to have to use this gift to cross over into another world on a daring rescue mission to save the one thing they agree on: their baby sister Annipeck who they all adore. And with a terrible beast and a petrifying robot assassin in their way, they must work together and learn how to be brave – because the future of their family is at stake …

The Lighthouse – Alex Bell

Don’t go near the lighthouse.

There’s not much to do on Bird Rock. The island has no shops, locals or phone reception. What it does have are thousands of gannets, some stone bothies, a lighthouse and an abundance of guano.

Fifteen year old Jess Oliver is definitely not keen on spending two weeks of her summer vacation there. Rosie, her twelve year old sister, is more positive about the trip and hopes to take an award winning photo while she’s there.

Their father and his new wife, Kate, both ornithologists, are working on the island. The sisters will be meeting Charlie, their stepbrother, for the first time.

“The lighthouse is haunted. Cursed. It’s a dangerous place. Something will happen if you stay here. Something bad-”

Because this is an Alex Bell book, and a Red Eye one at that, it’s not long before strange things begin to happen. This was a compulsive read, with a centuries old mystery at its heart, some great creepy moments and a dose of sadness.

I enjoyed the gradual reveal of the history of the lighthouse and absolutely loved that I wasn’t able to figure out what was behind the mystery ahead of time.

Knowing what I now know, I want to return to Bird Rock and experience it all over again.

“I know you’re there.”

Content warnings include mention of death by suicide and mental health. Readers with emetophobia may have trouble with some scenes.

Thank you so much to NetGalley and Stripes Publishing, an imprint of Little Tiger Group, for the opportunity to read this book.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

On Bird Rock, gannets circle and thick mist surrounds the lighthouse at its centre, hiding the secrets of a tragic past within …

From the second they set foot on the island to join their dad and his new family, Jess and Rosie feel that something’s wrong. Nightmares haunt their dreams and there seems to be someone, or something, else with them in the lighthouse – their home for the summer.

Counting down the days until they can leave, Jess and Rosie decide to investigate. But when Rosie disappears, the countdown takes on a new meaning. Especially when no one but Jess remembers Rosie at all…

The Creeper – A.M. Shine

They were just meant to be stories.

Doctor Sparling’s email couldn’t have come at a better time. Stuck in a retail job since completing his masters in history, Ben is both bored and broke. Doctor Sparling wants to pay Ben and Chloe, an archaeologist, to visit a village where time has stood still. Of particular interest to Doctor Sparling is the legend of the creeper.

Confident in his interviewing abilities, Ben expects this job to be easy money but the locals aren’t exactly welcoming.

‘You shouldn’t have come here. There are some things that you shouldn’t know. Nobody should.’

The Watchers made me want to read more books by this author. The Creeper has confirmed that I need to read everything they ever write. Both books major in atmosphere, with a practically tangible dread and claustrophobic feel to them.

You see him three times.

This is a book that takes on superstition and the fear that accompanies it, but it’s not immediately clear if the threat is human or supernatural. The body horror in this book was cringeworthy in the best possible way.

As was my experience with The Watchers, I was conflicted as I read The Creeper, unsure if I was hoping everyone would die so I could witness the horror firsthand or if I wanted the characters to find a loophole that could possibly spare them.

Sometimes hope fades with the light.

Some beliefs are dangerous.

‘Don’t forget about the uh-oh,’ he said

‘Oh, the uh-oh is the best part.’

Thank you so much to NetGalley and Head of Zeus for the opportunity to read this book.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

Superstitions only survive if people believe in them…

Renowned academic Dr Sparling seeks help with his project on a remote Irish village. Historical researchers Ben and Chloe are thrilled to be chosen – until they arrive.

The village is isolated and forgotten. There is no record of its history, its stories. There is no friendliness from the locals, only wary looks and whispers. The villagers lock down their homes at sundown.

It seems a nameless fear stalks the streets, but nobody will talk – nobody except one little girl. Her words strike dread into the hearts of the newcomers. Three times you see him. Each night he comes closer…

That night, Ben and Chloe see a sinister figure watching them. He is the Creeper. He is the nameless fear in the night. Stories keep him alive. And nothing will keep him away…

Things Have Gotten Worse Since We Last Spoke And Other Misfortunes – Eric LaRocca

Julia Lloyd’s cover art might have been what brought me here in the first place but I was sucked in by each of the three stories included in this collection.

Things Have Gotten Worse Since We Last Spoke

Over the course of three months, Agnes and Zoe exchanged a series of emails and instant messages. This redacted communication give you unprecedented access to their relationship, which continually ups the ante in its toxicity. It’s compelling and cringey and unsettling, and I couldn’t look away. And to think, this all happened because of an apple peeler.

“What have you done today to deserve your eyes?”

The Enchantment

Parents grieving the loss of their son become winter caretakers on an island. A knock at the door changes everything.

“I’m here to share a message”

You’ll Find It’s Like That All Over

Mr. Fowler finds something in his backyard that shouldn’t be there. His discovery leads him to his neighbour’s home, where the stakes are raised.

“But I bet you’d fancy another bet.”

I flew through this book. While I wish there were more stories included, I enjoyed all three. There’s a common theme of connection and some very memorable scenes of body horror.

The son’s manner of death in The Enchantment didn’t seem physically possible but, because it fit with one of the themes of the story, I wasn’t overly concerned about the question marks that popped up over my head when I read about it.

The story that’s going to stay with me the longest is Things Have Gotten Worse Since We Last Spoke, especially the scene describing Agnes’ dinner. I definitely want to read more books by this author.

Content warnings include mention of child abuse, death by suicide, death of animals, homophobia, miscarriage, racism and suicidal ideation. Readers with emetophobia may have trouble with some scenes.

Thank you so much to NetGalley and Titan Books for the opportunity to read this collection.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

Three dark and disturbing horror stories from an astonishing new voice, including the viral-sensation tale of obsession, Things Have Gotten Worse Since We Last Spoke. For fans of Kathe Koja, Clive Barker and Stephen Graham Jones.

A whirlpool of darkness churns at the heart of a macabre ballet between two lonely young women in an internet chat room in the early 2000s – a darkness that threatens to forever transform them once they finally succumb to their most horrific desires. 

A couple isolate themselves on a remote island in an attempt to recover from their teenage son’s death, when a mysterious young man knocks on their door during a storm…

And a man confronts his neighbour when he discovers a strange object in his back yard, only to be drawn into an ever-more dangerous game.

From Bram Stoker Award finalist Eric LaRocca, this is devastating, beautifully written horror from one of the genre’s most cutting-edge voices.

What have you done today to deserve your eyes?

Far Out Fairy Tales: The Snow Queen’s Gaming Quest – Kesha Grant

Illustrations – Omar Lozano

I read every Far Out Fairy Tales graphic novel I could get my hands on in 2018. When my library stopped buying them I assumed the series had finished and thought no more of it. Boy, was I wrong. I have so many to catch up on! Woohoo!

Getting the twisted treatment this time around is Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen, which I haven’t read. Yet.

We meet best friends, Gabby and Kaden, in the not-too-distant future. They love doing fun things together like building robots, virtual reality (VR) gaming and hoverboarding. Incidentally, Kaden’s hoverboard design isn’t all too dissimilar from Marty McFly’s so we know the kid has good taste.

Feeling insecure because Gabby always wins at gaming, Kaden is on the lookout for something that will level the playing field. Enter the Megabrain 2000!

Unbeknownst to Kaden, he’s about to get trapped inside the game with S.N.O.W., a lonely AI. Now it’s up to Gabby to play the game of her life to rescue her friend before it’s too late!

This is a fun, action packed addition to the series. The story was engaging and the characters were easy to connect with.

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I did wonder how “ultra-secret” the VR headset could be if Kaden learned of its existence from a magazine. I don’t remember ever finding out what the acronym S.N.O.W. stood for. These are only quibbles, though.

I adored Omar Lozano’s illustrations. The colours are vibrant, the characters are expressive and the urgency of Gabby’s quest is evident.

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The gutters change from white to black whenever the characters are in the VR world. I loved the snow bees and the Rose Boss but the character that delighted me the most was Prince.

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I always enjoy the bonus material at the end of Far Out Fairy Tales: a summary of the original story, some of the differences between the original and Far Out versions, questions to encourage the reader to think about what they’ve read and a glossary that explains potentially tricky words.

I can’t wait to catch up on the stories I’ve missed.

Thank you so much to NetGalley and Stone Arch Books, an imprint of Capstone, for the opportunity to read this graphic novel.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

Best friends Gabby and Kaden do everything together: hoverboarding, robot-building, and virtual reality gaming. Then one day Kaden goes off alone and gets his hands on experimental VR tech. When he powers on the headset, a rogue AI called S.N.O.W. takes hold of his mind and locks the boy deep in her digital realm! But Gabby isn’t about to abandon her best bud. Can she enter the game, fight through the levels, and solve the final puzzle to save Kaden before he’s lost to S.N.O.W. forever?

Enjoy a modern twist on the Hans Christian Andersen classic “The Snow Queen” as it’s retold for kids in this exciting Far Out Fairy Tales graphic novel.