Mary Hallberg's

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Movie review: ‘Thankskilling’ (2009)

Happy Thanksgiving, horror fans! Before you chow down on some turkey and stuffing, why not gather your family around the television for the greatest American tradition? No, not football...slasher movies! But be forewarned -- after you watch 2009's surprise so-bad-it's-good hit ThanksKilling, you may never want to eat turkey again. College students Ali (Natasha Cordova), Kristen (Lindsey Anderson), Johnny (Lance Predmore), Darren (Ryan E. Francis), and Billy (Aaron Ringhiser-Carlson) are carpooling home from college for Thanksgiving break. But surprise, surprise…

Book review: ‘Fangirl’ by Rainbow Rowell

Even though author Rainbow Rowell doesn’t even know I exist, I’m convinced I was the inspiration for her novel Fangirl. I’m sure there are thousands of girls out there who feel the same way. But that’s a good and bad thing. Fangirl’s title character is 18-year-old Cath Avery. Cath and her twin sister, Wren, are huge fans of Simon Snow, a popular book-to-movie franchise clearly akin to Harry Potter. They spent most of their high school years writing Simon Snow…

Book review: ‘Across the Universe’ by Beth Revis

Across the Universe is not about the Beatles song of the same name (though it is quoted at the beginning), nor does it have any connection to the musical. It's a dystopian space opera told from alternating points of view. 17-year-old Amy is accompanying her parents to the new planet Centauri Earth, a 350 year journey from our Earth (which these characters know as Sol-Earth). Amy and her family, along with others, are being cryogenically frozen so they’ll wake up…

My top 5 horror and paranormal TV shows from childhood

We’ve all seen Supernatural, American Horror Story, and the 8 trillion ghost hunting shows that cropped up over the past few years. But my favorite horror and paranormal TV shows are from the late 90’s and early 2000’s. Do you remember watching these shows, or have any to add to the list? Please, let me know.   Are You Afraid of the Dark? I watched this show all the time as a kid, and it's what first got me interested…

Happy Halloween! STATE OF EMERGENCY is free today

It's the greatest day of the year! Or is that Christmas? My birthday? Oh, who knows. Anyway, in celebration of this great holiday, STATE OF EMERGENCY is free for one day and one day only. So if you're short on cash and haven't grabbed it yet, now's your chance. Go over to Amazon and get it before the clock strikes twelve and all those jack o' lanterns turn back into pumpkins...or something like that.

Book review: ‘The Program’ by Suzanne Young

Dysripian fiction became pretty saturated in the early 2000’s, but every now and then something fresh came along. Suzanne Young’s The Program blends popular dystopian tropes with very real issues. In the future, teen suicide has become an epidemic. To reduce the stats, anyone between 13 and 17 who shows troubling or over emotional behavior is flagged and sent to The Program, which wipes their memories clean. They come back cured, but a shell of their former selves. Teens live in…

Book review: ‘The Fault in our Stars’ by John Green

The Fault in Our Stars was one of the most buzzed about books of 2011, and author John Green has already cultivated an impressive following. His latest novel is perhaps an even bigger hit than his others, and for good reason. But The Fault in Our Stars is not without its...well, faults. The protagonist is 16-year-old Hazel Lancaster, who has been suffering from lung cancer since age 13. Hazel’s prognosis was grim from the start: A miracle drug bought her…

Movie review: ‘A Cure for Wellness’ (2016)

A Cure for Wellness is the latest horror movie from director Gore Verbinski. I'm a huge fan of Pirates of the Caribbean and The Ring, two movies he's well known for, so, even though reviews for this one were pretty mixed, I wanted to check it out. And I wasn't disappointed. Protagonist Lockheart (Dane DeHaan) is an ambitious but rude young executive moving up the ranks of his company. When he's caught in some shady business dealings, he's blackmailed into…

Book review: ‘Scored’ by Lauren McLaughlin

Teens: Have you ever felt judged by others based on your grades, your friends, and even your own personality and habits? How would you like all of these things to be wrapped up in one neat little number? Lauren McLaughlin’s novel Scored explores this dystopian possibility but makes the concept of being scored look surprisingly appealing. High school senior Imani LeMonde lives in a not-too-distant future; so close to ours, in fact, that her own parents remember things like the…

Book review: ‘Pretty Girl-13’ is predictable but entertaining

[caption id="attachment_841" align="aligncenter" width="198"] Photo: Katherine Tegen Books[/caption] Pretty Girl-13 is not a feel good book. It tells the gritty story of a teenage girl who is kidnapped and abused for three years, only to lose all memories of what happened to her. Angie Chapman is 13 when she’s abducted on a girl scout camping trip. She is 16 when she stumbles out of the woods near her home with no memory of the past three years, no realization that…