Thursday, December 6, 2012

REVIEW: "Tommy Nightmare" by J.L. Bryan

Tommy Nightmare by J.L. Bryan 
(Paranormals #2)

Paranormal -- Horror
For Ages 18+
Steam Level: Hot

Self-published --April 10, 2011
Ebook, 284 pages

Rating: 4 Stars


While Fallen Oak recovers from the Jenny pox, someone new is hunting Jenny.

Like Jenny, Ashleigh Goodling belonged to a pair of opposites with powers that mirror each other.

Now Jenny and Seth must face the opposite of love...


**WARNING: Review contains minor spoilers for the first book in the series, Jenny Pox.**

The first book in the Paranormals series, Jenny Pox, was one of my favorite reads of 2011.  It was something completely original and fresh.  I became completely absorbed in the world that J.L. Bryan had created and was extremely impressed with his writing style and plotting.  Tommy Nightmare is a very worthy sequel to Jenny Pox.  It continues with the terrifying, thought-provoking writing and complex worldbuilding that took made the first book so engrossing.

This installment begins by introducing readers to an abused foster child named Tommy who, like Jenny and Seth, discovers that he has supernatural abilities, specifically the ability to create and control fear in any who touches him.  Bryan then does a decent balancing act with multiple plots involving Tommy and his search for his "opposite" (the late Ashleigh Goodling) and the aftermath of Jenny's pox-laden revenge on her hometown.

The ending of Jenny Pox was one of the most intense, adrenaline-pumping conclusions I've read in a long time.  So I was interested to see what would happen after half of the town was killed (in pretty gruesome fashion) by the Jenny pox.  Hundreds of mysterious deaths has captured the attention of the federal government and they have sent disease specialists to check everything out.  This situation introduces readers to Heather, a CDC investigator, who seems to be figuring out the truth behind the deaths despite her superiors' suggestions otherwise.  I look forward to seeing how she continues her investigation in the next book.

I liked the way that Bryan handled the Jenny/Seth romance in this second installment.  They are beyond the first impressions part of the relationship and things are getting a bit more complicated.  I will admit that I'm not the biggest fan of Seth and his actions in this book definitely did not endear him to me, but I like how the author is portraying his character.  I don't think we are supposed to be rooting for him though that is my opinion.  

Jenny continues to be a hell of a protagonist and I just feel so badly for her at all times.  One of my favorite aspects of this book was how the author emphasized that Jenny felt guilty for her part in the deaths of all the townspeople despite the fact that they were trying to kill her and had always mistreated her.  She is a very admirable heroine and readers will find themselves easily rooting for her.

Another intriguing part of Tommy Nightmare is the way that Bryan provided more background on the Paranormals and their past lives.  We learned at the end of Jenny Pox that Jenny, Seth, Ashleigh, and others were powerful, supernatural beings that have been reincarnated throughout history with various degrees of success.  Now that Jenny and Seth are aware of this fact, we see them begin to explore this aspect of their existence which I'm very intrigued about.

In conclusion, the world of The Paranormals continues to build while existing characters are developed and new ones are introduced to create a varied, exciting cast.  Ashleigh Goodling continues to be one of the most intriguing villains I've ever read (even after death) and adding the creepy, tortured Tommy to the group just makes everything more terrifying.  Really looking forward to reading Alexander Death especially with the way this one ended!


1. Jenny Pox
2. Tommy Nightmare
3. Alexander Death
4. Jenny, Plague-Bringer

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