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Home Sweet Horror

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Welcome. Have a seat. Let us tell you a story. But be warned. Home Sweet Horror isn't just any tale. This is a Scary Tale. Meet Liam Finn, who's just moved into a new home with his father and sister. But this old house that seems empty, isn't . . . Bloody Mary is here. Called back from the dead by a game, she's just dying to talk. Welcome. Have a seat. Let us tell you a story. But be warned. Home Sweet Horror isn't just any tale. This is a Scary Tale. Meet Liam Finn, who's just moved into a new home with his father and sister. But this old house that seems empty, isn't . . . Bloody Mary is here. Called back from the dead by a game, she's just dying to talk.


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Welcome. Have a seat. Let us tell you a story. But be warned. Home Sweet Horror isn't just any tale. This is a Scary Tale. Meet Liam Finn, who's just moved into a new home with his father and sister. But this old house that seems empty, isn't . . . Bloody Mary is here. Called back from the dead by a game, she's just dying to talk. Welcome. Have a seat. Let us tell you a story. But be warned. Home Sweet Horror isn't just any tale. This is a Scary Tale. Meet Liam Finn, who's just moved into a new home with his father and sister. But this old house that seems empty, isn't . . . Bloody Mary is here. Called back from the dead by a game, she's just dying to talk.

30 review for Home Sweet Horror

  1. 4 out of 5

    Mansuriah Hassan

    This is a quick, just spooky enough read aimed for young readers. Author James Preller's take on the classic scary story `Bloody Mary' is nicely balanced. When I first looked at this book in the store for my nephew, I thought it was a collection of stories, but it's a very short novel. It will probably take you less than an hour to read it. But that's part of its charm actually. Short and sweet. Additionally, Iacopo Bruno's black and white art suits the mood well. To summarize, Liam's mom died t This is a quick, just spooky enough read aimed for young readers. Author James Preller's take on the classic scary story `Bloody Mary' is nicely balanced. When I first looked at this book in the store for my nephew, I thought it was a collection of stories, but it's a very short novel. It will probably take you less than an hour to read it. But that's part of its charm actually. Short and sweet. Additionally, Iacopo Bruno's black and white art suits the mood well. To summarize, Liam's mom died two years ago. His Dad moves him and his sister, Kelly to a new home for a fresh start. The scares, thrills and chills start when Kelly's friend summons the ghost of Bloody Mary into the house. I would recommend this book to any young Goosebumps fans out there.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    Fun, scary story. Just perfect for kids or anyone, really.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Cameron Chaney

    The story is a little flat with random paranormal happenings that don't really connect. Had they connected, I think this could have been a strong story. But considering this is aimed at early readers, I can't be too picky. It does its job of entertaining and has some fantastic illustrations. FINAL VERDICT: 3 stars The story is a little flat with random paranormal happenings that don't really connect. Had they connected, I think this could have been a strong story. But considering this is aimed at early readers, I can't be too picky. It does its job of entertaining and has some fantastic illustrations. FINAL VERDICT: 3 stars

  4. 4 out of 5

    Rachel's Book Reviews

    Bloody Mary scared the crap out of me as a kid. I read this one pretty fast. Meh. I won't be writing an official review, because there really isn't anything to say. Kidlit horror. That's it. :) Bloody Mary scared the crap out of me as a kid. I read this one pretty fast. Meh. I won't be writing an official review, because there really isn't anything to say. Kidlit horror. That's it. :)

  5. 5 out of 5

    Raina

    Read 72/97 pages, and loved the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark creepiness of the illustrations and the general look of the book. But then, I was reading along, and a new character was introduced, on page 68, who was described as "heavyset." There was a few pages of dialog, and then, in the last two sentences of the chapter, the character leaves the scene as follows: He saluted them with a grin, pushed off with one foot, rose up stylishly on a pedal, and was gone. Pretty smooth for a big guy.P Read 72/97 pages, and loved the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark creepiness of the illustrations and the general look of the book. But then, I was reading along, and a new character was introduced, on page 68, who was described as "heavyset." There was a few pages of dialog, and then, in the last two sentences of the chapter, the character leaves the scene as follows: He saluted them with a grin, pushed off with one foot, rose up stylishly on a pedal, and was gone. Pretty smooth for a big guy.Pretty smooth for a big guy?!? SRSLY? I'm not promoting a book to children with sizeist crap like that inside.

  6. 5 out of 5

    n

    The illustrations are nice.

  7. 5 out of 5

    amelia Davies

    this was a brilliant book I was hooked from the start It is about bloody Mary and ghosts if you like Goosebumps you will love this book xx

  8. 4 out of 5

    Laura Salas

    I loved this early chapter book--it's a classic ghost story featuring Bloody Mary. Here are 5 of my favorite things about it: The art is dark and creepy and spectacular! Even though this is clearly a plot-centric story, there are emotional elements, too, mostly centering on the grief of the loss of Mom two years before. There’s nice foreshadowing in furnace problems and such that give leeway for various interpretations/explanations, but… it’s really a ghost story. There is no easy answer, and the gh I loved this early chapter book--it's a classic ghost story featuring Bloody Mary. Here are 5 of my favorite things about it: The art is dark and creepy and spectacular! Even though this is clearly a plot-centric story, there are emotional elements, too, mostly centering on the grief of the loss of Mom two years before. There’s nice foreshadowing in furnace problems and such that give leeway for various interpretations/explanations, but… it’s really a ghost story. There is no easy answer, and the ghost is not satisfied and expunged. The family leaves, which is what I always think while watching scary movies—Get out! Now! The voice is just distant enough that you can read it without being scarred for life:>) A few nitpicks: Preller did the art, too, so there is no excuse for the art not matching the text. On page 23, it says, "Transfixed, Liam took one cautious step down the stairs. There was no railing, nothing to grip." But on pages 18-19, Liam is clearly gripping the railing going down the basement stairs. And then, when Kelly was sick, I had a hard time telling how much time was going by. At first, I thought perhaps weeks or even months were going by. It gradually became clear that just a day or two had gone by. I didn't like that momentary unmoored feeling. But really, I just totally enjoyed the book. A truly creepy, scary story is SUCH a rarity for this age range. So many kids love scary stories, and I'm delighted to see this well-done offering for them!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Gwen

    A fast read. Liam Finn just moved into a haunted house and Bloody Mary lives in the walls. Will the Finn family survive the mysterious phone calls, noises in the basement, moving letters on the fridge, and their dog, well just...being gone? I liked the book but if you get scared easily, read this in day light.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Ann Keller

    I love the revealing of the spirit leaving messages for the two children. That was awesome.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    This is a good introduction to horror for kids. The story is fast and good with just the right amount of creepy. I would have really enjoyed this book as a kid...I still enjoy horror now!

  12. 4 out of 5

    zoë ❅ (fallxnrobin)

    The first time I picked this book up was at night. I only had a nightlight on. The first page gave me chills and I went back to reading fanfic. Now I'm reading this in broad daylight and I'm yawning. 2.5 stars The writing felt really awkward to me, like it doesn't flow well. There were so many things in the book that were rushed by or simplified. Bloody Mary is just a nameless young girl who got killed in a hit-and-run incident (refer to How To Write A Back Story In Two Pages Or Less). The family The first time I picked this book up was at night. I only had a nightlight on. The first page gave me chills and I went back to reading fanfic. Now I'm reading this in broad daylight and I'm yawning. 2.5 stars The writing felt really awkward to me, like it doesn't flow well. There were so many things in the book that were rushed by or simplified. Bloody Mary is just a nameless young girl who got killed in a hit-and-run incident (refer to How To Write A Back Story In Two Pages Or Less). The family dog disappeared for awhile and then suddenly appeared again like????? What happened to it during its disappearance??? And how does the dead mum come into play in this story??? The illustrations tho were pretty good. (Was thinking of letting my six y/o brother read this for a fairer review, considering that I'm probably like twice or thrice the targeted age of this book, but... he's not the kindest when it comes to books and kind of a scaredy cat.) Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Tumblr

  13. 5 out of 5

    Sean McBride

    I picked this up years ago when I still worked with Barnes and Noble as an ARC. It has always sat on my shelf and for some reason I never got around to it (I think it's because based on the cover it looked like it was a poor ripoff of Scary Tales to Tell in the Dark). I thought it was a collection of short stories and I was going to read it this October between other books, but when I opened it to the first page, I was surprised to notice that it was a slow pace for a seven page short story. It I picked this up years ago when I still worked with Barnes and Noble as an ARC. It has always sat on my shelf and for some reason I never got around to it (I think it's because based on the cover it looked like it was a poor ripoff of Scary Tales to Tell in the Dark). I thought it was a collection of short stories and I was going to read it this October between other books, but when I opened it to the first page, I was surprised to notice that it was a slow pace for a seven page short story. It was only when I got halfway through the first chapter that I realized it was a whole book, so what better than to just read the entire thing? This was a pretty fun little story, but it resolves too quickly and cleanly for my liking (literally has no resolution till the last page and then it's a happy conclusion). There are elements that are keep vague and dont really make any kind of sense as a part of the whole story. The tale is a great scary story for kids though, and now that I know there are six books in the series, I highly recommend it as a Halloween read for your kiddos.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jessica (The Mortal Jessica)

    I hung out with my friend today and read this book while I was at her house, it's really short and a little childish but I read it in about 30 minutes. It was a fun little story about a house haunted by none other than Bloody Mary. However, the ending was very stupid and unresolved. It felt like it ended way too quickly and I just really didn't appreciate it. Loved the rest of the story, but hate the ending. I hung out with my friend today and read this book while I was at her house, it's really short and a little childish but I read it in about 30 minutes. It was a fun little story about a house haunted by none other than Bloody Mary. However, the ending was very stupid and unresolved. It felt like it ended way too quickly and I just really didn't appreciate it. Loved the rest of the story, but hate the ending.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Carly

    so i definitely got chills. a thriller/horror for youngsters this book is. what a good way to introduce children to these awesome genres. what i liked: *that there is a second one (because who doesnt like a sequel) *the creepiness it brings (adreniline rushes from words ... yes please) what i didnt like: *it was really short (if it were longer we could get slightly more detailed accounts for the events here) until next time ~Carly

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jayla

    In this Scary book called Home Sweet Horror by James Preller, this boy named Liam and his sister is living with their dad because their mom died. They live in the house the BLOODY MARY lives in and there was message on the mirror that said Mine. Then they had some friends over and they knew that they were going to get in trouble and then Kelly Liam sister said BLOODY MARY 13 times and she was in the mirror. Will they make it out??

  17. 4 out of 5

    Dawn

    Liam and his family move into a new house in a new town for his dad's new job. The house is creepy AF, and everyone says it's haunted. Spoiler alert: it is. Luckily the dog doesn't die, and the ending is kind of sweet for such a creepy story. Good easy chapter series for budding horror fans. It has the potential to by too scary though, so recommend with caution. Also the bloody mary business, would likely be a turnoff to more religious families. Liam and his family move into a new house in a new town for his dad's new job. The house is creepy AF, and everyone says it's haunted. Spoiler alert: it is. Luckily the dog doesn't die, and the ending is kind of sweet for such a creepy story. Good easy chapter series for budding horror fans. It has the potential to by too scary though, so recommend with caution. Also the bloody mary business, would likely be a turnoff to more religious families.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Christy

    Welcome. Have a seat. Let us tell you a story. But be warned. Home Sweet Horror isn’t just any tale. This is a Scary Tale. Meet Liam Finn, who’s just moved into a new home with his father and sister. But this old house that seems empty, isn’t . . . Bloody Mary is here. Called back from the dead by a game, she’s just dying to talk.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    This book is one in a series of books by James Preller called Scary Tales. These books are good for kids in Grades 3-5 who enjoy the horror genre. They are all short stories. Home Sweet Horror is a chilling, creepy story that I think kids will enjoy. Kids who like Goosebumps will probably like this series as well.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Leymy

    I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. Great for children who like scary stories.

  21. 5 out of 5

    J

    This is a good quick-read "lite-horror" story for Bloody Mary fans. I read it to my fourth graders are probably scared them too much so stick to 5th grade and above. This is a good quick-read "lite-horror" story for Bloody Mary fans. I read it to my fourth graders are probably scared them too much so stick to 5th grade and above.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Simone

    Good scary story for 2nd+, and the illustrations are wonderfully creepy.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Rini Rahmayani

    This is very great as a beginning to the series

  24. 4 out of 5

    Mireille Wojtanek

    This is a fun scary story for kids. It's scary but not super scary. It touches on the importance of family. All the Scary Tales by James Preller seem to have morals and lessons to teach. This is a fun scary story for kids. It's scary but not super scary. It touches on the importance of family. All the Scary Tales by James Preller seem to have morals and lessons to teach.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Radia Fineska

    For a children book, this book is quite terrifying and thrilling. I might be afraid to go to bathroom or look into a mirror if I read this when I was a child.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Queen of Swords

    This is really fun to read! I like the characters, and the story about the family. I enjoy it so much. I'm looking forward to read another children fiction tho. This is really fun to read! I like the characters, and the story about the family. I enjoy it so much. I'm looking forward to read another children fiction tho.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Katie Fitzgerald

    Home Sweet Horror kicks off a brand-new series of scary stories for chapter book readers. When Liam Finn, his sister, Kelly, and his widower dad relocate to upstate New York, they move into a dilapidated house that Mr. Finn calls a “fixer-upper.” From the very first night in the new house, Liam senses that something is very wrong. After a game of Bloody Mary takes a terrifying turn, only the spirit of Liam's late mother can save the family. Many kids love to be scared, and one of the most common Home Sweet Horror kicks off a brand-new series of scary stories for chapter book readers. When Liam Finn, his sister, Kelly, and his widower dad relocate to upstate New York, they move into a dilapidated house that Mr. Finn calls a “fixer-upper.” From the very first night in the new house, Liam senses that something is very wrong. After a game of Bloody Mary takes a terrifying turn, only the spirit of Liam's late mother can save the family. Many kids love to be scared, and one of the most common requests I've always heard in libraries is for more scary stories for early elementary readers. This new book will undoubtedly be a dream come true for those budding horror fans. To start with, the design of the book itself creates a spooky atmosphere. The illustrations are done entirely in black and gray. Figures are portrayed as shadows, and on many pages, only a character’s eyes appear to show their terror at what is happening in the house. Occasionally, haunting sounds are also written in large black letters to emphasize their force and volume. Spiders hang down the margins of the pages, and even the messages to the reader at the start and end of the book are written in ghostly, otherworldly handwriting. Before a child even reads a word, he is definitely in the right mindset to be scared. The writing, too, is quite chilling. The story’s matter-of-fact tone and strong sense of suspense help to create a creepy atmosphere that engrosses the reader in the story. Though the text is simplified to make it easy enough for second and third graders to read, the description is still vivid and effective. I love the way Preller sets the stage early on in the first chapter: The road was quiet, with dim streetlights and a few darkened homes across the way. Each house was set apart on high, rolling lots, not as crowded as Liam’s old neighborhood. He looked back at the battered old house on the hill. It was big, larger than he’d imagined from the photographs. The two windows on the second floor - with half-drawn shades like yellow eyelids - reminded Liam of watchful eyes. He imagined that the house looked down upon them out of those eyes. Looming, waiting, watching. The front door’s brass knocker looked like a nose. Readers are prepared from the start to keep an eye on that house, and they are even encouraged to consider that it might be alive. I also especially like the way Preller describes Kelly: Kelly was outside, her long hair pulled back in an athletic ponytail, shooting baskets at a rusted rim in the driveway. This is a simple sentence, but it paints a clear image of the scene in the reader’s mind. Even the moments of the story that are not scary are well-written and contribute important details to the overall plot. I am a big chicken, and scary books usually upset me to the point of keeping me up at night. I was pleased to note that while this book dives head-first into the horror genre, it ties everything up at the end in a way that is comforting and not likely to encourage nightmares. Young readers should still be able to fall asleep after enjoying this book, though I might not recommend it as regular bedtime reading. Kids who enjoy Home Sweet Horror will also want to check out the other two titles in the Scary Tales series: I Scream, You Scream and Goodnight Zombie.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Amy Holland

    "They say there used to be a lady who lived there, long ago," Marco said. He leaned in, spoke softly. "They say she was crazy, 'dama loca' they called her. She wandered these streets, lost as a little girl, howling at the moon. Anyway, one night, she got nailed by a hit-and-run driver - didn't even slow down to see if she was okay. Which she wasn't, on account of she was dead." "What was her name?" Kelly asked. "Bloody Mary, that's all I know," Marco said. "On account of all the blood. Ever since, "They say there used to be a lady who lived there, long ago," Marco said. He leaned in, spoke softly. "They say she was crazy, 'dama loca' they called her. She wandered these streets, lost as a little girl, howling at the moon. Anyway, one night, she got nailed by a hit-and-run driver - didn't even slow down to see if she was okay. Which she wasn't, on account of she was dead." "What was her name?" Kelly asked. "Bloody Mary, that's all I know," Marco said. "On account of all the blood. Ever since, lots of different people have tried living in that house. But nobody's ever stayed for long." "Why not?" Liam asked. Marco laughed. "By the looks on your faces, you already know the answer. Good luck, fellas. You're gonna need it." I like that this book introduces kids to the myth of Bloody Mary -- although I think the actual origin of the myth comes from Mary, Queen of Scots, who was beheaded (?). Regardless of her origins, I think learning about Bloody Mary is an essential part of any kid's childhood. I still remember learning about Bloody Mary when I was in elementary school, and my subsequent inability to use the bathroom at night without being terrified (because of our big bathroom mirror). I'm glad that books like this will ensure that she'll persist in terrifying the current generation of kids. This book (and this series) would be ideal for younger readers who are looking for scary books. There are thrills and chills, but nothing ever gets too scary -- kind of like the book equivalent of the Haunted Mansion ride at Disney World. As a horror afficionado, I can't say this title will rank as a favorite in the genre, but it's good enough for me to confidently recommend to younger readers.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Dachokie

    Kid’s Horror Story with Substance … This book was reviewed as part of Amazon's Vine program which included a free advance copy of the book. James Preller’s HOME SWEET HORROR opens the door to a series of scary stories that gives younger kids something to think about when they go to bed at night. Just enough thought-provoking chills to keep them excited when reading, but not too much to drive them into Mom and Dad’s bed every night. This book centers on a brother and sister (Liam and Kelly), their f Kid’s Horror Story with Substance … This book was reviewed as part of Amazon's Vine program which included a free advance copy of the book. James Preller’s HOME SWEET HORROR opens the door to a series of scary stories that gives younger kids something to think about when they go to bed at night. Just enough thought-provoking chills to keep them excited when reading, but not too much to drive them into Mom and Dad’s bed every night. This book centers on a brother and sister (Liam and Kelly), their father (Mr. Finn) and their dog (Doolin) moving into an old, creepy house that needs some work. Shortly after moving in, Liam and Kelly notice strange and spooky things occurring within the house, giving the impression that the house is alive. Some of the more hair-raising experiences are strange noises luring Liam into the darkness of the basement, mysterious messages left on the fridge in magnetic letters, grabbing arms coming from a mirror and Doolin suddenly disappearing. Only at the end do Liam and Kelly figure out what’s behind the mayhem. HOME SWEET HORROR is a fun read. The chapters are brief, but action-filled and creepy (not horrifying or gory). The accompanying artwork is excellent and a big enhancement to the text and the drawings are spooky enough to intrigue both kids and adults. HOME SWEET HORROR reminds me of the old Hardy Boys series of books I read as a kid … good stuff. I look forward to the next installments of the series (there is a preview of the next book, I SCREAM YOU SCREAM, at the end of this book).

  30. 5 out of 5

    Arnela

    I'd give it a 3.5 but I'm trapped in this full star rating system First lemme talk about presentation. The dust jacket and interior illustration look like they're done on scratch board. That stark black and whiteness of the imagery can really add to the creepiness of a story if the artwork matches the tone. I just really love the art medium, and plenty of the illustrations were very well matched to the story. I also really love the way they did the cover of the book itself, the stark white cracki I'd give it a 3.5 but I'm trapped in this full star rating system First lemme talk about presentation. The dust jacket and interior illustration look like they're done on scratch board. That stark black and whiteness of the imagery can really add to the creepiness of a story if the artwork matches the tone. I just really love the art medium, and plenty of the illustrations were very well matched to the story. I also really love the way they did the cover of the book itself, the stark white cracking edges leading to this pitch black center with eyes staring at you, definitely invokes a couple of goosebumps. Kudos to the people working on that. Since it's a horror story for kids, to me it feels pretty simple, it ups the tension in some areas, but for me it falls flat soon after, delving into the after of the scare. I know that kids also like being scared, that's why Roald Dalh made it big, he didn't shy away from telling kids something was scary in certain stories, because it was genuinely scary, that's why Coraline was such a huge hit, creepy yes, but also interesting, with a good plot that kids wanted to see the end of. So even if I feel this first one fell a little short on the creep-o meter, I'm glad that they're trying to make a series of horror books for all those young horror junkies out there. here's hoping the next few are even better.

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