Survive at Midnight by Kayla Krantz

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This is an amazing book to follow after the first two. Personally, I didn’t read either, but I didn’t need to. This is one book that gives you all the details you need to truly enjoy it. There was plenty of back story and the history was easy to follow. While I wish I had been able to start from the beginning, I’m still excited that I got to read this one.

Luna is probably the loneliest girl on the planet. Only a few years out of high school and pregnant with no friends. Why? Because mostly they are all dead. Murdered in numerous and vicious ways. Even the relationship with her mother, Rose, is painfully strained. She spends her days lamenting the loss of her loved ones and developing a connection with her baby. The father is her mortal enemy, so it’s not an easy thing to do, but she grows to love her baby immensely.

So much happens in this book that it is hard to discuss it without giving anything away. Suffice it to say that it’s a roller coaster of emotions and jumps from one “No way!” moment to the next. I wondered through the entire book whether what was happening was real. It seems her enemy is not exactly who she thought he was and that revelation has dire consequences. Chance, the villain from the previous books, did a marvelous job at isolating her and destroying everything of meaning in her life. He had a grand exit in the second book, but that doesn’t mean it’s the end of Chance.

The story does an incredible job of taking someone who is despicable in every way and whose past behavior can only be described as pure evil, and turning them into someone human and a person to sympathize with. It is not a task accomplished right away, though. So much goes on that the reader must grow along with the character to get the real emotion behind it. At times it is very difficult to read and disturbing doesn’t quite cover it. The question is who is Luna really. Who is she becoming? Was she always destined to become an extension of Chance? Can she turn around from the path she has started down? The answers are only found at the end of the book, when your jaw is on the floor and you feel Luna’s pain and desolation.

From the very beginning I was sucked in. I couldn’t believe what I was reading and I only saw three ways out: prison, asylum, death. The author proved that I wasn’t thinking outside the box and I was relieved to discover that it had the perfect ending. The story remains consistent from start to finish and carries you through Luna’s journey as she evolves. There were several issues that caught my attention. The story is definitely not your everyday tale with realistic interactions, but the fantastic never bothers me. It was the little things, like Rose expecting her daughter to pull herself out of her grief in a matter of weeks, or an obstetrician doing house calls in the matter of fifteen minutes. If only that was true, then a pregnant woman’s experience would be much easier. It was only these moments of un-believability that interferred with the flow of the story. Keep in mind, though, that I’m a stickler and pay attention to the little things.

The grading:

  • Genre and general reading age – Paranormal for adults. Definitely not for teens.
  • Level of sexuality – None. Her pregnancy is already a done deal when the book begins.
  • Is there graphic language? Nothing that impacted me or my reading experience.
  • Did I cry? No, but I felt her sorrow and her confusion acutely.
  • Did I laugh? Absolutely not.
  • Is this part of a series? You bet. This is book three in The Rituals of the Night series. Book four is due out later this year.
  • Level of character development – Luna has a complete makeover. Throughout the course of the book she becomes an entirely different person. It is a fantastic example of how a character can start out as one person and, through internal and external forces, do a one-eighty.

This is a suprising and chilling tale. Do not approach this book lightly and prepare yourself for many shocking moments. I love Luna and the way she is torn between her old life and her new. At times it felt like Stockholm syndrome, but she ultimately chooses who she becomes. The ending is satisfying and this is a book that I would gladly read again. I was so engrossed that I cannot give it anything under ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ stars. Well done, Ms. Krantz.

Available here on Amazon

Dead by Morning by Kayla Krantz

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Luna is a high school student who doesn’t fit in with her classmates. She has one friend, Violet, who has been her BFF since grade school. Then there is Chance, the most popular boy in school, who attracts girls like moths to a flame. His favorite activity is stalking Luna. While Luna cannot stand him, Violet yearns for him to notice her, but he constantly seeks Luna out; after school walking home, in class where he pokes her with a pencil until she acknowledges him, even showing up at her home. Eww. Not only does he give me the creeps, he creeps her out, too, with his non-stop sneaking around and perpetual smirk.

Luna watches with helpless anger as Chance encroaches upon her life. He visits with her father, Dave, who then encourages her to show some interest in Chance. He lies to Dave and soon she finds herself in trouble with her father and pushed into Chance’s waiting arms. Well, it all just goes downhill from there. Obviously, there’s something seriously wrong with Chance and she desperately needs to be freed of him.

On top of that, Violet quickly becomes jealous and their friendship comes to an end, leaving Luna feeling completely abandoned. To add even more creepy, Luna begins having dreams and Chance is in every one of them. Her father eventually insists that Luna go out with him, since he’s such a fine fella. When he takes her to his home, she finds proof that he is a Satan worshipper. Thankfully, Max, someone she’s known for a very long time, enters the picture and enlightens her as to Chance’s super scary interest in the supernatural and explains her dreams. Chance has a plan for Luna and he is never going to let her go.

This book is obviously written for teens and I think they would enjoy it. Personally, I found it repetitive and the editing started to break down in the last few chapters. The facial expressions of the characters were rather limited. For example, there was a whole lot of glaring, pinching the bridge of the nose, cold stares, etc. Chance is a deadly dude and I’m surprised by the fact that he threatened many girls, yet not a single one had a parent or friend they could turn to in their time of trouble. I was further dumbfounded, when Chance turns Luna’s own father against her. He was a huge failure as a parent and apparently none of the other characters even had parents.

Enough of what I disliked, here is what I did. Although the characters did not evolve during this book, Luna was a steadfast friend, but to no avail. She was considered a non-entity by all her classmates and, other than keeping her head down 100% of the time, she didn’t seem to let her confidence drain away under so much negative attention. If you have to have a scary character, Chance is your man. Evil, evil, evil. How anyone slept with his presence in their dreams, is beyond me.

Now, for the rating:

  • Genre and general reading age – paranormal/suspense for older teens.
  • Level of sexuality – none.
  • Was there graphic language? Mild, if any.
  • Did I cry? No.
  • Did I laugh? I didn’t do that, either.
  • Is this part of a series? Rituals of the Night Series.
  • Level of character development – basically none.

There’s good and bad, like any book. Considering the target audience, I give it ⭐️⭐️⭐️ stars.

Available here on Amazon