Series: The Paranormals #2
Publisher: J.L.Bryan Books
Source: Won from the author!
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...
Tommy Nightmare takes place pretty much right where Jenny Pox left off. There is a brief introduction to Tommy as a child, and let me just say that if you cry easily, you will want a box of tissues and some ice cream for when you begin this book. Poor Tommy is ostracized by the other kids in his foster family for something he can't help. His touch inspires fear and nightmares in others, so naturally no one wants to associate with him and that is a horrible way for a child to grow up. J.L. once again accurately captures some of the evils that still exist in today's homes and families like emotional abuse, fanatical religious practices, and psychosis. I knew from the introduction that Tommy would be an adversary to Seth and Jenny for at least part of the book, but seeing him be turned from a caring and innocent little boy into a cold and cruel man hardened by the world was awful. You really get to see inside his head and see the transformation taking place even though you are powerless to stop it. I feel like this makes you side with Tommy despite how seemingly evil he becomes. Something from the first few chapters sticks and makes you hope that he sees the error of his ways and recovers from his horrible past. Well...that doesn't happen in this book but fingers crossed for book three!
One thing I thought was really interesting was that you could really tell that J.L. was a male author...nothing too overt or distracting, but you could definitely see the difference in turn of phrase and description. Forgive my language right now...but for one thing...I've never heard of female authors referring to boobs as "tits" unless they were deliberately being crude. The way that certain parts of the female anatomy were referred to implies a certain amount of locker-room talk in the author's background. ahaha. There were other little things like that, such as the heavy-handed way that Seth dealt with talking to Jenny about their futures that just screamed male author. I'm not saying that all men don't know how to talk about emotions and the future...but females tend to do it much more eloquently and with a lot more feeling and description. Nothing too noticeable like I said, but there were some interesting things that caught my notice. I found myself wondering if all male authors described certain things in certain ways, or if it was specific to J.L. I feel like I don't read enough male authors to have an accurate opinion so I will have to try harder in the future to do so.
There wasn't a whole lot of action in this book, but there really didn't need to be. There was a lot of traveling, a lot of each character using their designated power, and a whole lot of unveiling of each character's psyche and inner thoughts. I thought J.L. did a brilliant job of switching point of view. Sometimes when the switch is done clumsily or in a weird spot, the transition between characters can jar you out of the moment and make the book take longer to finish. That was so not the case here. I found myself caught up in each character's individual voice and thoughts. Speaking of that, the characterization is really strong all across the board and I was really excited to get a glimpse into all of the kid's past lives. You really learn a lot about people when you view them in different lives for thousands of years lol. The only character I felt was a little neglected was Esmeralda. I feel like her character could have been a little more fleshed out and thoughful, though I do have hopes for her in the next book. There was some dream-memories, some real memories, and a lot more of Ashleigh Goodling than I wanted...
Oh. My. God. Ashleigh Goodling seriously has to be the most evil villain that I have ever met. I remember her being horrible from the first book in the Paranormals trilogy...but in this one. Just wow. I can't even think of the words to describe how awful she is. It's not blood-curdling, it's not ice-cold...ok...just go with me for a minute...she's like...the most delicious thing you can think of. Are you thinking of it? (mine is a delicious German chocolate cupcake with chocolate chips and that awesome caramel/coconut topping) Ashleigh is that treat, laced with cyanide, and little barbed spikes. She will kill you, painfully and slowly, and you will enjoy it the whole time. Even that semi-convoluted description can't describe this she-devil. Never in my life have I found a character that gave me creepy chills the way that Ashleigh does. Not any of Stephen King's terrifying monsters, not Dean Koontz's...no one...seriously J.L.Bryan writes characters like they are living, breathing, incarnations of pure emotion and I can't get enough. Ashleigh may be so evil she's like choking down fire and brimstone...but you love that she's there giving Jenny, Seth, and now Alexander a run for their money. As weird as it is to say this, but the villain truly makes this series so great. I totally love to hate her.