Thursday, March 23, 2017

Kayla Krantz Presents Horror, Paranormal and More in Dead by Morning!

LUNA NOTICED HOW sweet the air seemed as she stuck her hands in her pockets. She took a deep breath, enjoying the feeling. Her walks always gave her a sense of freedom that she missed during the routine of her weekly activities. She let the feeling engulf her as she headed around the grass lining the park. It was her favorite part of town—quiet with less traffic. She could hear the birds in the nearby trees as she stepped into the park. 
Like every Monday, a group of teenagers surrounded the swing set, talking and laughing amongst themselves. Luna bowed her head to avoid making eye contact. A normal teenager would have been excited to see her classmates out of school; Luna felt anything but. She scurried past them like a rodent, hoping with all her might that none of them would notice her. 
But one did. One always did. His excitement showed as he jumped off the swing he had been sitting on. The last words spoken by the brunette beside him fell on deaf ears as he focused on Luna. 
“Hey, there,” he said, smiling as his stride fell into step with hers. Luna clenched her hands in frustration. I need a new route, she thought blankly as she glanced at him through glassy eyes. He raised his eyebrows, exaggerating the scar on his left cheek. “Nothing for me today?” 
“No. I don’t wanna waste my breath, Chance.” 
“Telling me you’re not gonna say anything is still saying something,” he pointed out. Luna glared at him. She would give anything to have him leave her alone, but history said he wouldn’t. 
“Are you gonna follow me again?” The cocky smile made another appearance. 
“I prefer to think of it as walking you home. It’s too dangerous for a girl like you to walk around town alone.”
“Chivalry? Really?” Luna rolled her eyes. He was anything but a gentlemen. His string of girlfriends at school was proof of that. “It doesn’t hurt.”
“Please leave me alone.” 
Chance yawned. “Nah, I don’t think so.” Luna gritted her teeth. Einstein’s definition of insanity ran through her mind. There was no reason today would be any different from previous ones. Chance didn’t seem to mind the silence. He strode beside her, his stance tall and lithe as he pretended to be her guardian. Luna hated the feeling of intimacy the forced walks created between the two of them. They weren’t even friends, but Chance’s attitude could easily convince someone otherwise. Why does he push this so much? she wondered. 
Their social statuses at school lie at opposite ends of the spectrum. They had nothing in common…yet every day she was forced to face him. That was a question for which she was sure she would never get an answer. Luna peered at him from the corner of her eye. “Can I ask you something?” 
Chance seemed surprised. “Yeah, sure.” 
“Why do you make me walk with you?” 
“Why do you always walk the same route if you hate this so much?” he countered. Luna didn’t blink as she broke the gaze, once again reminding herself to change her route during her next walk. In her small hometown, it would be impossible to avoid him forever. 
“I should be able to walk wherever I want,” she said as they closed in on her block. 
“And you can,” he said. “I’m merely watching out for you.” Luna didn’t respond. Twenty more steps and she would be free. Chance would surely stay one step behind all the way to her door. His dark clothes exaggerated her shadow as she opened the door and went inside without a parting word.

Dead by Morning:
Ritual of the Night Series

By Kayla Krantz

While keeping me reading and in suspense on what was going to happen, there were a number of things that were off in my opinion. And really detracted from the storyline. Specifically, the role of the parents of the main character, Luna. For me, it felt that the author had not done a good job of developing the father, even though he played a relatively important character. The way he acted was just not what would be normally expected from a father. Then I wondered whether it was me who just didn't have experience with today's fathers, sad to say... Even if that is true, I have to say that I couldn't accept that he did what he did. I can say that it added to the methodology of the villain and to the potential of perhaps some kind of paranormal ability he had...Still, I'll be commenting on this again in the review of the sequel...

If we were talking just about regular teens, we might say that Luna had a stalker--one that intuitively she didn't like, yet he followed her and harassed her continuously. Chance is a boy who is all charm...everybody loves him...except, it seems, Luna. So we start out thinking that his attraction to Luna is just because she hasn't fallen for his charm.

But as things move on, the horror starts... Because Luna is not only being stalked by a fellow student, Chance, she is being stalked in her nightmares - Think Freddie Krueger...
You've entered Dreamworld...
Where those creating dreams can pretend to be another person, looking like somebody else, and they can bring into the dream just about anybody they want and torture them, kill, or mutilate, etc. Luna is imprisoned and chained to the wall in a lonely cabin and sees her best friend, Violet murdered!
Her dreams start at the same place the next night... and the next...

At the same time I felt the pull of the suspense of what was going to happen, I was also repelled by the violence, especially the deaths and how they were done. This is definitely a "teen slasher" movie, so you'll have to decide your preference.

Action continues as Chance continues to stalk Luna, as well as classmates. There are scenes that sometimes are done outside of dreams, as well as inside dreams. Luna, for instance, is first dreaming of a cabin in the forest and then winds up chained to the wall there...and this story flows through like a television program serial that picks up where she was when she woke...

She at least has one individual with whom to talk. There were some issues for Max, who is described as mean when he is first introduced and miles away in another town...but then as the story goes, there is no further reference of his being mean, is described as a best friend, and he seems to be able to get to Luna quickly when needed. In any event, Max knows something about the Dreamworld, at least more than Luna, and he starts providing her feedback on what is happening.

But many of Luna's classmates begin to be murdered but no police action seems to be possible...? Luna, for instance, sees one of the girls who broke her word to Chance and told Luna about what he'd done...only to be later burned to ashes in front of Luna at the forest cabin...

Of course, it would be hard to explain to other people that you see all these things in your nightmares, but that the results are real to the involved people! That's why the suspense and intrigues keep readers involved...

I won't say that I'd highly recommend this book, given the issues I've raised, but I would at least recommend that you check for more information and read other reviews... There is both something mesmerizing as the author is quite able to creatively imagine and write suspenseful scenes... But a lot of confusion as to why characters are not developed sufficiently to not disrupt attention by the inconsistencies.  Probably an indepth content editing would have fixed this novel easily...


Proud author of Dead by Morning, fascinated by the dark and macabre. Stephen King is her all time inspiration mixed in with a little bit of Eminem. When she began writing, she started in horror but it somehow drifted into thriller. She loves the 1988 movie Heathers. She was born and raised in Michigan but traveled across the country to where she currently resides in Texas.
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