Rosi’s Time by Edward Eaton

ROSI
Rosi’s Time by Edward Eaton
Publisher: Dragonfly Publishing
Genre: Young Adult, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Contemporary, Historical, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (246 pages)
Age Recommendation: 14+
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Rosi Carol has managed to settle into her Uncle Richard’s New England castle, despite having her family’s so-called gift thrust upon her. Rosi has the ability to step through time, which means she also bears the responsibility to be time’s Guardian. Or rather Apprentice Guardian, as her Uncle Richard keeps pointing out. When she and her friends are dragged through a time portal into the past, Rosi must determine not only where they are but when they are and how to restore the timeline.

It’s one thing to read about the past. It’s quite another to suddenly be sucked into it.

Uncle Richard plays a slightly more prominent role in this plot. He was such a mysterious and aloof figure in Rosi’s first adventure that I was pleased to get to know him a little better. The relationship between these two characters seems like it is terribly complex for reasons that have been hinted at along the way. I would have liked to have even more information about Uncle Richard’s gruff persona and why he made certain decisions, but I was glad to finally have answers to some of my questions about him.

Rosi hasn’t grown or changed at all since I first met her. The first novel in this series sets up her personality and history so well that I was sure she would have had a chance to correct — or at least acknowledge — some of her faults along the way by now. By no means do I expect her to be perfect, but it was disappointing to see that she was as self-centered and critical as ever given all of the opportunities she’s had to learn from her experiences.

Some of the most interesting scenes discuss the differences between linear and non-linear time. This concept was addressed in detail in Rosi’s Castle, but I was glad to see them brought up again. I’m so used to thinking about time as something that is measurable, concrete and not able to be revisited that the refresher was helpful.

The pacing was slow at first. It would have worked better if this my was first introduction to Rosi’s world, but as someone who was already familiar with the background information I was antsy for the introductions to wrap up so the real action could begin. Approximately the first quarter of the plot is focused on this material. For me that was a little too much.

While I would have preferred that the most important details from Rosi’s Castle were recapped more quickly, writing it this way does make it convenient to read this book out of order or on its own. The reader doesn’t need to know anything in advance. That is a good thing for this particular series, and I would suggest going back to the beginning to catch up on previous events to anyone who enjoys this tale.

I’d recommend Rosi’s Time to anyone who like time travel stories.

Rosi’s Castle by Edward Eaton

CASTLE
Rosi’s Castle by Edward Eaton
Publisher: Dragonfly Publishing
Genre: Young Adult/Middle Grade, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Suspense/Mystery, Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (200 pages)
Age Recommendation: 14+
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Orphaned, Rosi Carol is sent to live with her mysterious Uncle Richard in his eerie castle on the New England coast. Rosi feels even more of an outcast when she discovers the townspeople believe the Carol family has some kind of magical hold over New Richmond. Even her new friends are afraid of her. She soon discovers there may be some truth to the rumors. The castle seems to have a mind of its own with lights turning off and on and doors locking and unlocking with no one in sight. A strange dark cloud has dogged her since the train station. The ghosts of the Widows from New Richmond’s past blame Rosi for their husbands never returning from the sea. Her only allies are a Girl in Black (gone as suddenly as she appears) and Jesse (a paranormal reporter no one else can see). Can Rosi discover what the Widows want? What about the Girl in Black? Can Jesse help her find the answers or is he another big mystery? And why can’t her watch keep proper time?

The nice thing about moving to a new town is that it usually offers the opportunity to turn over a new leaf. If only Rosi knew why all of her new neighbours were acting so strangely around someone they’ve just met.

Rosi has several serious personality faults that reveal themselves early on in the plot. Her strengths were a little more challenging to figure out because they weren’t highlighted quite as much. I’ll admit that it took me some time to warm up to Rosi due to her tendency to judge things before gathering all of the facts, but once I got to know her better I was curious to see what would happen to her next.

It took me a long time to begin to figure out what was going on with Rosi’s uncle and his property. I understand that this is the first book in a trilogy, and I definitely wouldn’t expect the author to give away all of his secrets about the characters so early on. Having a few more clues early on about what Rosi was up against would have been incredibly helpful, though, due to the large percentage of the plot I spent feeling confused.

The atmosphere was deliciously spooky. One of the things I like the most about paranormal stories is how they bend the rules of physics in ways that don’t immediately make sense. Figuring out how and why those rules have been shifted is almost as interesting as learning what lead them to be altered in the first place.

Rosi’s Castle is a good choice for anyone who likes paranormal, young adult fiction.

Nice Girls Don’t Have Fangs by Molly Harper

NGS
Nice Girls Don’t Have Fangs by Molly Harper
Publisher: PocketStar
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Suspense/Mystery, Contemporary
Length: Full Length (355 pgs)
Heat: Spicy
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Cactus

Maybe it was the Shenanigans gift certificate that put her over the edge. When children’s librarian and self-professed nice girl Jane Jameson is fired by her beastly boss and handed twenty-five dollars in potato skins instead of a severance check, she goes on a bender that’s sure to become Half Moon Hollow legend. On her way home, she’s mistaken for a deer, shot, and left for dead. And thanks to the mysterious stranger she met while chugging neon-colored cocktails, she wakes up with a decidedly unladylike thirst for blood.

Jane is now the latest recipient of a gift basket from the Newly Undead Welcoming Committee, and her life-after-lifestyle is taking some getting used to. Her recently deceased favorite aunt is now her ghostly roommate. She has to fake breathing and endure daytime hours to avoid coming out of the coffin to her family. She’s forced to forgo her favorite down-home Southern cooking for bags of O negative. Her relationship with her sexy, mercurial vampire sire keeps running hot and cold. And if all that wasn’t enough, it looks like someone in Half Moon Hollow is trying to frame her for a series of vampire murders. What’s a nice undead girl to do?

Being mistaken for a deer, shot, and left for dead wasn’t even Jane’s worst day. The fact that it all happened on a day she was fired from her dream job and given a gift certificate for potato skins at the local dive bar did not help matters. However being turned into a vampire certainly gave Jane’s life, now unlife, new perspective. Now she has a sexy but somewhat unstable Sire to contend with along with small details such as blood sucking, flameablilty in sunlight, and the usual quagmire of crazy relatives of both the living and ghostly kind. Trying to navigate her new undead existence is not easy and that all happens before she starts to be framed for a series of vampire murders. A girl just can’t catch a break.

Nice Girls Don’t Have Fangs is book one of the Jane Jameson series by Molly Harper. The main character of Jane is well developed and three-dimensional. She’s snarky, witty, and irreverent. The highlights of the book for me are not the female leads, since they are predictable, but the fun plot and use of secondary characters. Here the idea that Jane is bumping off other vampires and has to figure out who is framing her actually works because while the culprit is obvious very early on, Jane herself seems to go about the detecting work in a reasonable fashion. She’s clueless until the long monologue revealing exactly who did what and how by the “bad guy”, but I forgave her.  She’s intelligent but lacks serious common sense and the ability to put clues together. The writing relies on quips and Jane’s sense of humor to really carry the book, which works decently well even if it’s slightly repetitive.

I’ve read other books by the author set in Half Moon Hollow that revolve around the same group of characters but star different female protagonists. Now having read numerous books by Harper, both set in HMH and others, they are all remarkably similar to the point of formulaic. The heroines are almost exactly the same in each book. They are in their late 20s, single without significant past relationships, hard working, beautiful but they don’t think so, quirky, witty, sassy, and all have a penchant for a different kind of junk food which is usually a variation on candy. The females in the books are interchangeable and have few differences but the male leads are no different. They are all sexy, mysterious, rich, and totally enamored of the heroines to the point of silliness even as the heroine never believes it can be true. It’s classic romance and clearly is exactly what Harper’s readers want. I admit I find her sense of humor entertaining and I enjoy the books but I need long periods of time between them so I can forget that I already know everything about the book before I even start it. They’re predictable down to the details so I think your enjoyment hinges on whether that kind of formula romance appeals to readers.

I think Nice Girls Don’t Have Fangs works well because the mystery carries the book since the romance is more lukewarm. Jane and her sire, Gabriel, don’t really have a solid happy ending but they are together and there are more books in the series. The vampire lore is basic and nothing special, even if all the good parts and very few drawbacks are included. For first time readers of this author that like humor in their vampire romance, I think this will be a real treat. For repeat readers it all depends on how much repetition is tolerable. I find the author’s voice and books nearly identical to one another but at least I always know what I’m getting.

Fatal Consequences by JG Faherty

FATAL
Fatal Consequences by JG Faherty
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Horror, Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (57 pages)
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

“Every decision carries a price.”

Alec Winter is a man haunted by his own cowardice. When a bear attacked his family during a camping trip, he ran and hid. When he returned, his children were dead and his wife badly injured. But everyone believes he s a hero because he led rescuers back in time to save her. Ever since then, his children’s deaths have haunted him. Now, on the anniversary of the attack, strange things begin happening. The people who helped Alec are dying in very violent ways, leaving him to wonder if guilt has finally driven him crazy…or if something far worse is coming for him.

Everyone feels guilty over something in their past, but not everyone tries to hide what really happened. If only Alec knew how to make everything right again.

One of the most important things I look for in good horror is smart writing. This wasn’t the first thing I’ve read from this author, but it is my favorite book from him so far. What I like the most about his writing style is how much effort he puts into developing his ideas. I get the impression that Mr. Faherty spends a great deal of time working behind the scenes to wring out every last drop of horror from his premise before he releases his newest creation into the world.

I was able to figure out the ending fairly early on in the plot. There were a few too many clues about what was happening to Alec and the other characters, and some of them were shared too soon. Had I needed more time to put all of the pieces together, this tale would have easily earned a much higher rating.

Take my advice and don’t read this right before bedtime. This is one of the creepiest things I’ve read in a long time. Normally I’m less frightened once I figure out what’s happen in a horror story, so it was deliciously unnerving to have the opposite experience. Trying to sleep a few hours after I finished it was an exercise in futility.

Fatal Consequences is a great choice for anyone who loves the scary side of fiction.

Baymo by Seth C. Kadish

BAYMO
Baymo by Seth C. Kadish
Publisher: LadyBee Publishing
Genre: Young Adult/Middle Grade, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Contemporary, Action/Adventure
Length: Short Story (74 pages)
Age Recommendation: 8+
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

“Baymo” is the story of a young dog who longs for the freedom and excitement of human life without comprehending the responsibility and worries that go along with such a life. Through a bit of magic from Father Moon, Baymo’s wish comes true – he becomes a man – but his subsequent misadventures teach him that being a man has its price.

But he was a man, a man, a man! Baymo was in a state of bliss, filled with joy and radiant. He stood, he fell, he pushed himself back up again. Tottered, veered, spun, teetering, toppling, a spinning top, out of control, overcome with pleasure.

He was so involved in this new game that he did not notice Spike enter the yard. The little pug stared at him with pop eyes, amazed at the sight of a tall, wobbly, naked, golden-haired man, wearing a grin, weird noises bursting out of his mouth. Spike was so startled by the bizarre apparition that he forgot to be scared.

That is, until the naked man took a step towards Spike and smiled. Spike gave a nervous bark. What to do? And where was Baymo to tell him what to do? Where was his best friend, the golden dog?

Baymo teetered and tottered toward Spike, croaking with pleasure at his newfound manhood. To his amazement, the little dog raced back to the safety and sanity of his house, an escapee from the clutches of the horrible stranger.

If wishes were dog bones, Baymo’s stomach would be filled to the brim.

Strong character development is one of the most important things I look for when reviewing a book. I love connecting with the protagonist so deeply that I feel like I’m experiencing their world alongside them. Baymo amused me from the beginning, but it was the way he reacted to everything that happened to him that captured my attention. He was incredibly well-developed. His personal evolution was so gradual and tied to the plot that I was actually caught off-guard by how much information the author was able to pack into something this length.

The vast majority of the plot seemed perfectly suited for kids in early elementary school, but there were a few scenes that made me hesitate. The violence in them wasn’t graphic, but it happened often enough that I raised my age recommendation by two years. It’s definitely something that should be screened beforehand by parents or teachers. If these scenes had been toned down, I would have chosen a much higher rating for this tale.

This was my first introduction to Mr. Kadish’s work. I enjoyed his storytelling so much that I actually read all of Baymo’s adventures over the course of a single afternoon. While I don’t know if the author has any intention of writing a sequel, there is certainly room here to do so. If he does follow up with these characters again, this reader would be quite curious to see what happens next.

I’d recommend Baymo to dog-lovers of all ages.

Eagle En Garde by Olga Godim

EAGLE
Eagle En Garde by Olga Godim
Publisher: Burst Books
Genre: Action/Adventure, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full Length (303 pgs)
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Poinsettia

Darin, a mercenary officer, lives in Talaria, a kingdom surrounded by a magic-resistant spell. While some people wish to break the spell and invite magic back into the country, the fanatical sect of Cleaners is determined to prevent the return of magic. Darin doesn’t agree with the Cleaners’ doctrine but he doesn’t dispute it either. He is a soldier, not a philosopher. Then he accidentally overhears the Cleaners’ hidden agenda to destroy all magic workers in Talaria, including witches and elves, and his orderly life is turned upside down. His sweetheart is a witch, his daughter is a half-elf, and he has many elven friends. He can’t allow the Cleaners’ murderous scheme to succeed, can’t allow innocents to suffer from the rabid zealots. But what can a lone mercenary do against a horde of extremists? His only choice lies in trickery and deceit to outsmart his enemies. And the anti-magic spell on the border suddenly becomes his only ally.

Can one man change the fate of an entire country?

Darin knows that the odds are against him when he decides to take on the traitorous sect of Cleaners, but he absolutely cannot ignore a plot that would endanger his country and the people he loves. Darin abhors the Cleaners and their agenda. He’ll do whatever he can to stop them, even at the cost of his own life.

Darin exemplifies what a true hero should be. He is smart, brave, and fierce when he needs to be. However, he is also kind and considerate. He’s the sort of man who stands up for those in need and does not tolerate bullying of any kind. I particularly like that he treats others with respect and generally tries to give others the benefit of the doubt. While Darin always strives to do the right thing, he does have moments when he is selfish, rash, or makes poor decisions that cost him dearly. These flaws only serve to make Darin a wonderfully well rounded character. Perhaps the thing I like most about Darin is his genuine appreciation of life and the world around him. Darin’s time as a mercenary hasn’t hardened him. His curiosity and delight in discovering and learning new things was a pleasure to watch. I would be proud to call him my friend.

I love the world that Ms. Godim has created. As I followed Darin on his journeys, I could clearly see all the places he traveled through. I particularly like the description of Neazdal, a city where elves live. “Every house…glowed with its own color. The number of different shades was unbelievable…The colors blended in the middle, coalescing into each other. Violet transformed into gold, azure into dawn-pink, malachite into orange.” With descriptive language like this, Ms. Godim painted a picture of an absolutely breathtaking city that I dearly wish I could visit.

The pacing of Eagle En Garde is excellent. There is plenty of page turning action and adventure, but Ms. Godim sprinkles in some slower moments throughout the story when Darin spends time with loved ones or simply needs to recover after his many battles. The mix of the mundane and the epic gives this fantasy a realistic feel.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Eagle En Garde. Darin is a great character, and I had so much fun following him on his adventures. I must admit that I was a little sad when I finished reading. I hope that Ms. Godim has plans for a sequel because I wasn’t quite ready to leave Darin and the beautiful world of Talaria behind. I highly recommend Eagle En Garde to anyone looking for a compelling and engaging tale of adventure.

Asbury Dark: Haunting Tales from the Jersey Shore by Lori Bonfitto

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Asbury Dark: Haunting Tales from the Jersey Shore by Lori Bonfitto
Publisher: Self-published
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Paranormal, Historical, Contemporary, Horror, Holiday
Length: Full Length (236 pages)
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

A telekinetic teenager. A doomed ocean liner. A haunted bed & breakfast. A zombie-fighting real estate developer. These are but a few of the eerie people, places and things that go bump in the pages of Asbury Dark: Haunting Tales from the Jersey Shore.

Spanning six decades, Asbury Dark will thrill and delight anyone who’s ever ridden the rides on the fabled boardwalk, searched for Bruce at The Stone Pony, or shambled along in the Zombie March.

Mystery and suspense author Lori Bonfitto delivers seven unforgettable tales of fright and fantasy, transforming Asbury Park from a nostalgic playland into a world fraught with obsession, reincarnation, and the paranormal.

Get ready to be scared.

“Dead and Breakfast” shows what happens when a woman teams up with her cousin and his friend to flip an old house. Few things go as planned when home renovations are mixed with a fickle real estate market. I was surprised by how many plot twists I didn’t see coming in this one. They all make perfect sense based on what I’d figured out about the characters. This is the kind of storytelling that keeps me coming back for more.

Some stories in this collection were much longer than I expected them to be, especially “Harbinger.” In it a businessman who is putting off his retirement sees something terrifying on his morning commute that is invisible to everyone else around him. His attempts to figure out what he’s seeing and why no one else can see it kept me guessing until the end. The premise would have worked equally well expanded into a novel or contracted into something that only takes up a few pages. It would have been slightly less scary but still satisfying in the shorter version due to what would have needed to be cut out. The novella format didn’t leave quite enough room to fully explore all of the themes that are included. This pattern repeated itself a few different times and was my major reason for not selecting a higher rating.

If I had to pick one favorite, it would be “Waves.” The plot follows a couple named Denise and Steve whose young daughter has begun remembering things she couldn’t possibly know. I had an inkling of what might be going on fairly quickly, but the dialogue was so entertaining that I didn’t mind knowing what was happening so soon. Strong, even pacing also kept my interest high. The incredible ending is what really made a fan of this tale though!

I’d recommend Asbury Dark: Haunting Tales from the Jersey Shore to anyone who likes a little social commentary mixed in with their science fiction.

The Endless Land: A Continuing Tale of Fantasy, Lies and Rebellion by Rob Gregson

 

LAND
The Endless Land: A Continuing Tale of Fantasy, Lies and Rebellion by Rob Gregson
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full Length (370 Pages)
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Reviewed by Cyclamen

The trouble with riding off into the sunset is that it very quickly goes dark.

In this, the second and final part of ‘The Written World’, Myrah and her only-sometimes-intrepid friends discover that averting wars, surviving demonic encounters and evading the clutches of determinedly genocidal relatives is no guarantee of a simpler, easier life.

Ahead of our three reluctant adventurers lie barbarians, pirates and the dark, ineffable power of the Incubus Beast. In pursuit are a rebel army, a great war fleet and a rival horde of murderous wizards. All in all, then, the future looks unlikely to be dull. There will be fire, there will brimstone and there will be occasional bouts of seasickness.

Nevertheless, if Myrah, Nev and the mighty Alaethar are ever to uncover the truth about their worryingly obscured histories, then they must press on and find their way to the remote and suitably mysterious Diegesis Gate. But seeking the truth can be a dangerous business; in a world of fantasy, there is only one Ultimate Truth and discovering it can spell the end of everything.

If you love books that are exciting, funny, and make you think, then this is the book for you. Myrah, Nev, and Alaethar try to uncover the truth about their various histories, which requires them to find the Diegesis Gate. But in the end, discovering the truth might lead to the end of their world. Still, Myrah wants to know and in a discussion with her friends about their mysterious past histories, she says, “But what if it went further than that? Not just this history but every history? What if none of it was real?” Nev, the augur, answers, “Oh, well then there are only thoughts,” put in Nev, who clearly felt as though he was on home territory with this one. “That’s all you can really know to be real.”

Alaethar is the mighty warrior with little bent for philosophy, so Nev always confuses him and Myrah frequently does as well. But they are his friends and he learns to trust them even when what they’re saying makes no sense to him at all.

And so the three friends journey onwards, finding notes and clues from their past histories, meeting lady pirates and murderous barbarians. Obstacle after obstacles come their way, but they keep going, certain that eventually they will find the ultimate truth.

The Endless Land is the sequel to Unreliable Histories, and while it can be read as a stand-alone, I personally think it is better to start with the first book. After all, who would want to miss a moment of this series. Many questions will be answered and many more left unanswered. If you have ever wondered what happened to your favorite characters after the book is finished, well, then, you’ll definitely want to join Myrah, Nev, and Alaethar as they work to discover the answer to that very question.

Fantasy lovers who enjoy philosophical mind games as well as great characters with many adventures and a healthy dash of humor are sure to fine The Endless Land to be completely delightful.

The Star Catcher by Molly Dean

STAR
The Star Catcher by Molly Dean
Publisher: Wild Child Publshing
Genre: Contemporary, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Action/Adventure, Suspense/Mystery, YA
Length: Full Length (239 pages)
Age Recommendation: 10+
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Orchid

When fifteen year-old Hawke feels fed up with not being able to walk, he escapes in his mind to a misty island filled with moorlands, ancient forests, and monolithic stones: a place where he can move and run and accomplish heroic quests.

His life is turned upside down, though, when he’s thrust into this dream world and finds it real! He becomes ‘Star Catcher.’ The job? Track and collect shooting stars or meteors sent from a more advanced civilization, which have powers that protect the island from approaching evil. He finds many helpers along the way: a serving girl who can communicate with animals and create light, an alluring mermaid, a savvy one-eyed crow, and an old farmer with a secret.

Hawke must also discover what’s going on inside the imposing mansion called Moon House. Why do rooms change? Why do objects mysteriously shift? Who lives inside the old forest behind the place—and why is the Star Catcher forbidden to enter it? And most importantly, who are Hawke and his stars really battling against? An evil genius? A pirate-like group called the Shrikers who have taken over the island? An Ancient Magic? Or, maybe an aspect of himself?

Hawke’s life sucks – his legs are paralyzed, he’s confined to his bed, his father has left, his mother is unhappy and trying to find solace. Hawke escapes the real world and dives into a world of dreams where he becomes the star catcher. He has to catch five stars as they fall from the sky – one every other day – and when he has caught the last star the magic will return to the strange land.

The world of Hawke’s dreams is very well thought out and each trip to find a star is like a different jewel in a necklace. Similar but each an individual in its own right. Hawke is typical of a young teenage boy but Emma, the girl servant at the Moon House, has several different facets to her character. Evil is easy to recognize as it comes in the guise of the Shrikers and Facsimiles but working out who the good guys are takes a little more time.

This story has a smattering of various animals, humans and mythical creatures. They confuse, assist or act against Hawke and as the reader I never knew which way each character would go.

I found this book to be very attention grabbing. At first it dragged a little but once Hawke started his travels in the other world I had to keep reading to see what happened next. While not the usual mystery and adventure, this fantasy certainly has a hint of magic, mystery and adventure. All make this a worthwhile read.

The Monster on Top of the Bed by Alan H. Jordan

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The Monster on Top of the Bed by Alan H. Jordan
Publisher: Jordan Press
Genre: Childrens, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Contemporary
Length: Short Story (36 pages)
Age Recommendation: 3+
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Both Karrit and Suzy want to go to bed without being afraid, but when the lights go off at bedtime, the world is a scary place.

Then, Karrit visits Suzy . . . to make friends with “the monster” that had been scaring him.

Suzy is scared, but treats him the way that she would like to be treated. They both use Suzy’s grandmother’s mantra:
You’re welcome to stay, until I say “nay” Then, you’ve got to go, and You can’t say no.

There are no scary Halloween monsters in The Monster on Top of th Bed, and it doesn’t have destructive aspects like a monster truck jam. It won’t make your kid stay up at night like monster energy drinks. In fact, The Monster on Top of The Bed quells night fears, and makes it easy for children to fall asleep, unafraid. Karrit, the monster below the bed, doesn’t look like it, but he’s a substitute for a bedtime bear.

It’s hard to go to sleep when you hear funny noises coming from underneath the bed.

I’m a big fan of puns, alliterations, and other forms of wordplay, so this story was right up my alley. By far my favourite section involved what Suzy says to Karrit just after they meet for the first time. The rhyming schemes were all so much fun that I actually ended up going back and rereading the whole thing. It worked just as well the second time around.

This picture book switches among a few different fonts as the plot progresses. Most of them were easy to read and worked well with the illustrations, but I did have occasional trouble figuring out where one word ended and the next one began with the most flowery of the fonts. It was visually interesting, but a simpler style would have worked better for reading everything aloud.

The discussion questions at the end are well worth checking out. One of them pointed out a detail in the plot that I’d overlooked, and another one made me flip back a few pages to see if my response to it was correct. It was also amusing to think about potential answers to the questions that were open-ended. I’d imagine that the response to them could change every time, which would make rereading this tale even more rewarding for families that revisit it often.

The Monster on Top of the Bed made me smile. This is a good choice for anyone in the market for something fun to read at bedtime.