To read an interview with Kayla Krantz, please see the February issue of Uncaged Book Reviews.
Both books reviewed, are Top Reads for February. The excerpt will be from Dead by Morning, along with a review, and also a review of Alive by Sunset, the second book in the series.
Dead by Morning
Obsession is deadly. No one learns that better than Luna Ketz, a pessimistic high school senior. She wishes more than anything to graduate but things don’t always go as planned. Luna quickly finds herself trapped in a web of lies and murders, spun by the least suspected person in her hometown. It’s not long before she realizes she’s being targeted by the person she despises most in the world. When Luna figures out who is behind the killings, things make a turn for the bizarre when she is contacted by a friend she has not heard from in years. It is then Luna realizes she is very much in danger, but although she can avoid the killer in reality, she cannot avoid him in her dreams.
Reluctantly, she set her hand in his. His skin felt clammy beneath her fingers, like he had been sweating. Luna wanted to pull her hand back, but she forced herself to keep it there. He closed his fingers around hers and pulled her onto the dance floor. The music turned to a slow, sappy song, forcing them to slow dance. He forced her arms up onto his shoulders and set his hands on her waist. As he stepped to the music, she searched his expression for any sign of compassion. “Why do you do this to me?” “Do what?” “Make me go to things like this. I mean, I know you don’t like me. What could you possibly want from me?” He looked back at her, and for a minute, he didn’t speak, as if he had been caught off-guard by her question. “I can’t tell you.” “You can blackmail me into going on dates with you, and you can have your friends kidnap me, but you can’t tell me why you do it?” she asked in disbelief. “Look, you’ll find out eventually, and you won’t like it, I know. I try hard to get you to feel something toward me so that when you find that out, you won’t fight me,” he whispered in her ear. “Find what out? What could be so bad? Do Susan and Kate and all of them know what it is?” She pulled back to watch his face carefully. “No, they don’t. No one does. Just keep quiet, okay?” “Does this have to do with the thing you hide in your pocket?” Luna asked him a bit louder. “Do you have it on you now?” She reached her hand forward to try to touch the side of his pants. A couple people around them turned to look as she raised her voice to him. Chance caught her wrist easily in his hand, returned their stares, and smiled nervously before looking back at Luna. He had to resist the urge to shake her into silence as he let go of her arm. “I don’t hide anything in my pocket okay?” he snarled. “That’s all just your imagination, Luna. Now drop it.” Part of her was frightened by his sudden anger. He was hiding something from her…and from everyone else as well. “Okay, we’re setting up to play,” a voice called from the stage. “We need a volunteer singer to help us out.” “How about Chance does it?” Luna heard a nearby girl suggest. The anger dissolved from Chance’s face as he turned to the girl who had spoken. Luna realized all of his rage had been solely directed at her, and she felt oddly cold at the thought. “Yeah, I’ll do it. Why not?” she barely heard him say. He let go of her and moved through the cheering crowd toward the stage. The band took its place, and Chance stood at the microphone. He looked completely comfortable up there, normal, as if he weren’t the center of attention. The band began to play “Every Breath You Take” by The Police, and Luna studied Chance. He began to sing the words gently, and his voice surprised her. It sounded beautiful.
As Luna watched him, she knew he looked like any other teenage boy. The girls around Luna cheered him on, but she stayed silent. His eyes flicked to her as he reached the chorus of the song, flashing in the lights. There was something bad about him. Something that separated him from all
the other teenage boys and made him a danger to the people who called him ‘friend.’
Luna is a high school student, who keeps her head down and her grades high, so when the most popular boy in school starts paying a lot of attention to her, she is completely confused and tries to get him to leave her alone. But Chance won’t take no for an answer, and is obsessed with Luna and manipulates her and her parents, and she ends up spending more time with him than she wants.
But there is an evil lurking behind Chance’s eyes, and Luna can’t quite put her finger on what’s going on. When girls from school end up missing, she starts putting it together. When she has to go to the school dance with Chance, he ends up taking her to his home, where she stumbles upon a room with pentagrams and bones.
This book is a psychological trip, and it’s not just about a serial killer, there is a paranormal/fantasy element similar to the Freddy Krueger dreams, and when Luna has her nightmares and is shackled up in her dream, her wrists are bruised the next morning. And when her old friend Max comes back to town and tells Luna of his dreams, which are almost an exact match to hers, the danger is only just beginning. If Chance can unite with his DreamWorld self, he will be unstoppable. Will Luna and Max be able to figure out his weakness before it’s too late?
It had a satisfying ending, that I did not predict, and it left it wide open for the series to continue, and it ends with a note….
The author does a great job creeping you out and having you thinking about keeping that night light on when you go to sleep. Reviewed by Cyrene
4 1/2 Stars
Alive by Sunset
Revenge can become an obsession of its own. After her high school experience, Luna Ketz moved on. She’s in college, studying to be a doctor, and lives an hour away from her old home in Lima, Ohio–where the worst of her memories lie. Three years have passed since her friend Violet’s death and the thought of that day in the woods hasn’t left her mind once. Every week, she visits the hospital where Chance Welfrey remains in a coma. She tries to move on…wants to move on…until once again, she receives a phone call from Max Cazmea warning her that things may not be over just yet.
Chance, having recovered from his recent coma, shows up on her doorstep. He has found a way into Luna’s life that she cannot escape–he’s dating her roommate, Amanda Grey. Back in her life once more, Chance has a list, and everyone on it ends up dead. As things escalate, Luna finds herself in a dangerous game of cat and mouse that will take all of her wits to survive.
*Warning: This book contains content that may be disturbing to some including rape and graphic violence.*
This book starts off three years after the events of the last book. Luna is now in college, and she’s living with her roommate Amanda. Chance has been in a coma for three years, and Luna has visited the hospital every week, just to reassure herself that he’s still there. The doctors tell her there is very little chance he’ll come around….
Luna’s friend Max is convinced that something is wrong in the DreamWorld, but with Chance in a coma, and even if he wakes he won’t know anything about his past, Luna has a hard time believing him, until killings begin again, and Chance is no longer in his hospital bed where he’s been in for three years.
The author really ramps this one up. This is an edge-of-your-seat psychological thriller, with horror and paranormal elements. And there is graphic violence. You get to see deep inside the head of this serial killer, and feel the fear of Luna and his victims. But the author also has you feeling sympathy for Chance, which I never would have believed I would, but I did. The characters are well flushed out, and the author leaves no stone unturned in taking you on this highly charged emotional sequel. Reviewed by Cyrene