Cover Image: Freaks


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I really enjoyed the idea of this story more than the story itself.  I enjoyed the multiple viewpoints, but I just couldn’t get behind all of the characters I felt like I should be rooting for, and that made parts of the story feel a bit slow. 

I may have enjoyed the book a bit more had I reviewed a text version rather than audio. The narrator had distinct characters and good accents, but the voice didn’t transfer well at a faster speed.  I checked, more than once, to make sure this was a casted recorded audiobook and not a synthetic recording for review purposes because the faster speed sounded computerized at times.  I listen to audiobooks, almost daily, and I’ve never had this problem when I increase the listening speed before.
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Thank you NetGalley and Imbrifex books for providing this copy of Freaks in exchange for an honest review.

Freaks follows four friends through a harrowing tale of highschool drama, with a supernatural twist. Jamie, Micah, Gabby, and Christian are all considered freaks by their classmates and especially by a trio of jocks known as B3. When Micah finds a spooky trunk in his parents shed he gets his friends to join him in larping with the robes and books inside. They begin a chant from one of the books and unleash an explosion of monsters and power that will change their lives forever. 
I enjoyed the pop culture references in this story and the Stranger Things feel of the storyline. It felt very small-town and retro when describing the town, school, sheriff, and even the bullying. Definitely a good 90's nostalgia vibe. The tropes of jocks versus geeks are cliched but there were a few twists that shook that up towards the middle. I liked the representation of Black, Jewish, Wiccan, and LGBTQ characters in the book but none of the characters were flushed out as much as I would have liked. I connected the most with Jamie and I feel like he is going to be the hero of the series. Micah and Kenneth left a bad taste in my mouth for different reasons and I thought their character arcs were the main focus of the book. I'd like to read the second book in the series to see if it brings forth more information and interest for the other Freaks. 

Overall this was an interesting YA Supernatural Horror/Thriller. The storyline was unique enough to look over some of the lackluster writing. The narration was great and added to the small town flavor.
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For lovers of Chronicle and Stranger Things, this young adult fantasy novel will keep you riveted and listening to chapter after chapter well into the night. A supernatural threat is released when a group of misfit tees read from an arcane tome. Trigger warnings: themes of violence and gore as well as bullying and foul language
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I was given an advance audiobook by #NetGalley, publisher and #author #Brett Riley.  To be fare this isn’t on my radar as a must read for me. or my friends;  However, if I was a  tween or middle school kid teenager.this fits  a niche to be a very popular gotta have book.   I think it would be a perfect fit..  In this book individual students perceived to be“misfits. Kids that don’t conform to the “cool kid” status and are therefore ostracized individually they eventually form a group call themselves freaks that plays a game, that one night comes to life it was a terrible monster unleashed to do terrible things now even the parents seem to try to distance themselves  from their children (reprehensible behavior) police and other officials get involved. You have to listen to it or read it for yourself when it is published March 1.
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Freaks - Brett Riley

🤷‍♀️ It’s a load of crap! I do not intend to finish it and I do not recommend it either.
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Thanks to NetGalley and the editors at Imbrifex books for providing this copy of Freaks in exchange for an honest review. 

This book, written by Brett Riley is about four friends who are all harassed regularly by three high school bullies. After a difficult week for the group of friends they disagree on how to handle their bullies. Eventually, they agree that it would be nice to have some more fun role playing as a group to keep their minds off their bullies.  While role playing they dress in robes and chant an ancient Latin text. Shortly after they discover that they have super powers. Unfortunately they are not the only ones who have developed superpowers. They also opened a portal allowing a monster into the world.

Some chapters were told from the monster's perspective which I found very interesting. 

I enjoyed this book and finished it in one day.
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Book Review:

FREAKS by Brett Riley

This was a fast, fun read. Bullied teens, small town Arkansas high school drama (been there) & multidimensional magic. What could go wrong? 

This is one of those “the cover made me do it” Netgalley requests. Once I started listening, I didn’t wanna stop. At first, with the bullying & helplessness of the characters, it seemed to be leading up to a school $h00ter kinda situation. It was so sad, the way everyone overlooked everything.’ The adults were oblivious & so checked out. I could see so much of this happening, except the actual way the kids were bullied. That was more like my childhood. No one does toilet dunk swirlees anymore. Pantsing someone for being a lesbian? Not likely. That’s a bit dated. I thought the book was meant to be an 80s setting until they had cell phones & were LARPing. 

These kids decide to LARP some kinda wizard scenario. They read aloud from a crazy latin magic book & suddenly there's superpowers & giant multi limbed monsters from other dimensions. Here’s some words of wisdom from you to me: never read aloud from any creepy looking book written in Latin. Have these kids never watched Charmed? Buffy? Anything with magic??? 

I think more time should have been spent giving these kids depth & updating them to today’s times. No one cares when a kid is Jewish. No one cares who’s gay. Football players read books just like “geeks”. For that matter, no one says geek anymore; at least not as an insult.

All in all I enjoyed the story & will read the next one. I see definite potential. I also taught in Waldron, Arkansas which is about as small town as you can get so I could REALLY picture this. I wanted more. I expected one of the freaks to go big bad & the way it’s looking, I'll probably be correct when the next book comes out.

ookreview #reviewtime  #teenbooks #horror #multiverse #readersofinstagram #freaks #brettriley
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I recieved an ARC (Audiobook) of this in exchange for an honest review, thank you to the publisher and Netgalley. 

This is an extremely fun superhero origin story! 
A group of 4 friends who are the outcasts in this small town school where football players rule the school, want to get away from it all one afternoon and decide to begin a L.A.R.P. using an old book from one of the families freaky uncles. 
The L.A.R.P. goes south when a portal to another place opens. Letting all hell loose in this small town. 
Amidst bullies, police and federal agents investigating can our 'Freaks' keep their identities a secret? 

This book was adorable however, it was kinda hard to place what time period this takes place in. The bullying was something like out of a 80s movie, but I don't think that it detracts much from the story, I still think it was very cute.
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The story line was interesting and the characters were raw and real but somehow the execution didn't work for me. The raw and real qualities of the characters ended up feeling abrasive and stopped me from really engaging with them. I really wasn't invested much in the action or the characters so I was tempted to just drop it and move on to something I enjoyed more, but I stuck it out to the end since this was a netgalley read. Overall it was no my favorite, I didn't hate it but I didn't like it enough to want to keep reading.
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Freaks will appeal to young readers.  The plot is a bit simplistic and outdated.  Kids don't behave exactly like this today.  Especially the bullies, who seemed more like stereotypes than real people with motives and feelings.  That aside, the idea of getting revenge and becoming powerful will appeal to anyone who has ever been made to feel victimized or powerless.  Who doesn't suddenly want to have powers?  The characters aren't especially likable but you don't want anyone to be bullied, actually physically assaulted.  These actions went so far beyond most bullying issues.
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Narration was well done but I could not, for the life of me, finish the book. 

DNF'ed around 25%. 

You need to suspend a LOT of belief when diving into this narrative and I just could not. It felt like every character outside of our main protagonists absolutely sucked or were straight up vile. It's jus unbelievable to me that there wasn't any one adult that stepped in when these kids were getting physically assaulted and/or experiencing racism, homophobia, antisemitism, derogatory slurs, etc. 

This is also a story where I should have easily felt impacted by the protagonists; by their plight and everything they endured,,,and I just didn't? All three of them fell incredibly flat for me and were starting to come across as annoying - which is something I should never feel about victims, so I quit while I was ahead. 

Thank you NetGalley for providing me with an arc of this novel in exchange for an honest review.
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Actual rating 3.5

This was definitely a fun book that I think my students would love! It has superhero vibes with a dash of creepiness, so it is appealing to teenagers. I enjoyed the premise of the book, a group of outsiders. all friends, who stick together. They are bullied a lot so they need to take solace in one another.

I always love when the underdogs get the superpowers...but also accidently let something loose out into the world. Now the bullies are the least of their problems as they try to track down a monster, hellbent on killing people.

There were a few scenes that I thought were dated or made me uncomfortable. However, I do think if we had a better understanding of the time period of the setting, it would have helped the situation.

Definitely a fun read!
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~ Excellent set up of the underdogs
~ A full mystery in a VERY small town in the US
~ Weird giant vampire monsters

When reading a randomly found grimoire, four young teens (geeks/nerds 🙄) summon aliens instead of demons 🤦. (The kids are HIGHLY questionable - one on the verge of being a murder3r, one female ALWAYS questioning every breath she makes, the others somewhat enablers of bad behaviour and bullies you seriously want to send to the desert). Not only do they summon a giant vampire freak monster, but they also develop superpowers reminiscent of MHA (My Hero Academia). Things start going to hell as the monster starts eating people, as the bullied ‘geeks’ get powers they want to use against their tormentors, as inept officers pop up to find out what is happening and as teenage hormones roar and rage.

✨Give it a read.

~ I despise the irresponsible parents of these bullies in this book 😒
~ VERY unlikeable characters - the narrator did a good job though
~ 😬 VERY stupid detectives, because wtf were those conclusions?!

♡🌱 But that’s just me ;)
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Freaks felt like a book that I was going to love. The premise of teens being bullied who then find themselves with superpowers sounded so great. However, I was disappointed in this one. The characters became annoying after a while, and I could not connect with any of them, and the story becomes more about revenge when I would have liked there to be some redemption. 

While reading I kept wanting more explanations of events taking place, but the fast pace of the story left a lot of unanswered plot holes. Perhaps the author intends to explain those in later books in the series, but it felt too unresolved in this book for me.
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(I listened to the audiobook version)
I was invested at first, a group of teens that are bullied for liking anime and roleplay, sure why not?
But then superpowers and monsters show up? . . . ok, its fantasy, nothing wrong with that I guess, I like fantasy.
Look I'm sure the author had a good idea here but the writing its just not that good.
Also the narrators accent distracted me and pulled me away from the story instead of making me part of it.
So I think its an ok story that definitely had potential at some point, but it just didn't work in combination with that narrator.
Ive seen other reviews that are not that bad, perhaps the written book is better.
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The audiobook narration just didn’t captivate me. That coupled with characters I couldn’t seem to like made it a DNF for me unfortunately. There seemed to be too much telling and not enough showing which makes the writing seem imperfect. 

The language and slurs used seem unsettling and there was just something off about the whole thing. 

Thank you to NetGalley for allowing me to listen in exchange for an honest review.
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Thanks to the publisher - Imbrifex Books for providing ARC in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley.

2/5 stars

It was cliche.

The story was quite fast-paced keeping all its motives clear in front. Although, there was not much going on in the story apart from these four friends talking about being bullied. It looked juvenile too in terms of the writing style. Personally, I'm not much into books talking about/dealing with school kids and not having any depth in the story. Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy YA, it just didn't happen with this one.

There were many things I had problems with within Freaks. To begin with, there was no build-up within the story. The characters were a little flat and simple without any development at all. There was little to no setting with a predictable storyline that didn't excite me as much as I'd intended to. Oh, and yes, the biggest issue that I faced reading Freaks was that I didn't feel emotionally connected to any of the characters. The only thing that interested me was the monster.

It didn't click with me. I'm not sure if I'm interested anymore in Freaks's future installments(I already have 'Travellers' on my shelf) that Brett has for us. I like going into the story blindly without knowing anything about the synopsis or the blurb. And, here I'm. Had I read the blurb or something about what the story was dealing with, I wouldn't have picked it up. I mostly pick up books on the basis of ratings, good recommendations, and covers. In this case, it was because of the cool cover. The good news is that I quite liked the audiobook narrator of the book.

I wouldn't recommend this to you if you like reading into well-written and developed plots. However, if you are in the mood of reading easy and simple coming-of-age stories, this one might be the one for you.

Release Date : 01 Mar 2022.

Review Posted : 02 Feb 2022.
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Relatable, fantastical, gruesome and emotional. Really great story line has everything you would want in a dark YA fantasy. Narration was perfect. Already looking forward to the sequel!
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Freaks is a story about 4 friends who are being constantly bullied. The book sets out with a scenario of how each one has been bullied and humiliated.
After that the group perform a ritual in an ancient book that gives them all super powers.. unfortunately whilst performing the ritual they manage to unleash a beastly monster into the world. But will they use their powers for revenge and let the bullied become the bullies or will they use them for good to defeat the monster.

A good point to add about this book is it is a fast paced fun little read.

But saying that I had alot of issues with it. Bullying is still a really big issue for kids these days. Children are brutalised by others for so many different things. But this book seemed really out dated on the topics. For example..
A child being branded a geek because they like marvel films... its like the biggest franchise out there.
Giving children swirlies or pantsies (wedges) it just seemed more of an 80s thing.
It brings up the topic of one of the girls being a lesbian and labeled a freak because of it. when I feel like it could of delved in deeper and shown a truer perception of what young people actually go through around this matter.

For me the four friends should of been really close. A support network for each other. But it didn't really come across as if they actually liked each other.

I did sort of block these things out throughout the story and concentrated on what was going to happen regarding the monster.
It did give me a few stranger things vibes which is a good thing.
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Freaks is an interesting new novel revolving around friendship, power dynamics, and social standing. I really enjoyed the relationship between The Freaks, and the different ways in which they dealt with their individual struggles. 
There was enough blood and suspense to keep my interest. The occult spin was a nice addition to the typical high school story.
P.J. Morgan’s narration style was pleasant. The voices for each character were different enough to bring each character to life. 
I would definitely read more from Brett Riley. 

I received a copy of this audiobook for free via NetGalley and I am leaving this review voluntarily.
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