Cover Image: Everyday Monsters

Everyday Monsters

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TW: Drugging, Drug use, violence, animal cruelty, 

Almost eighteen year old Derek Stabbers life changed when his parents were arrested and labeled “The Cannibal Couple”. And although his parents did sample pieces of their victims, Derek thinks there is more to the story and decides to investigate things on his own. Derek starts noticing the most popular girl at school, Lotti, has been acting strange and decides to follow her. What he finds out changes everything. 

Pax is what she likes to refer to as an ‘inside vampire’. She prefers to stay inside, binge television and only go outside when she desperately needs to feed. 

This novel takes a magical, although slightly dark, look on paranormal creatures and their lives. It was an emotional roller coaster. The storyline and plot are amazing. I was pleasantly surprised with this novel. I’ve been a fan of Betz since his work on Lo and he never ceases to amaze me with his works. 

I received an ARC of this book on NetGalley in return for an honest review. This review is based on my own thoughts and feelings.
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This book has good intentions and many interesting takes on the vampire and werewolf genre. 

Unfortunately the story even though it started being fairly straightforward and slowly introducing the characters, it also quickly developed into a very confusing plot. The story is told from a different perspective and we end up following a bunch of different characters. The editing did not help the reader to really tell apart which character was talking to you and it all ended up mashed together making the story more and more confusing and harder to follow.

I loved to see the vampire myth being explored and bringing something new to the table and appreciated that they tried to make a fun horror comedy full of gory scenes and bizarre moments. However the jokes did not always land and the plot got just so ridiculous towards the end that I lost all interest and did not care about what happened to any of the characters anymore.

There was just so much that was trying to be done in this book that it ended up being a huge mess of different ideas that ended up being lost along the way.
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**I received an ARC from the publisher on Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

This book was amazing!! And it had it all...vampires, werewolves, ghosts, ghouls, witches, vampire hunters, cannibals, tons of other monsters, and one hell of a plot. I couldn't stop reading this book. It was well written and the characters were vivid. You can't help but fall in love with Pax and Derek and be obsessed with their crazy adventure. And then you have Axe, who is a badass that you hate but end up rooting for. The monsters aren't who you think they are... 
This will be a book I'll be reading again
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This book was not a terrible book by any means, but it was definitely not for me.

I was expecting comedy-horror, but this felt much more like horror-satire to me. It felt like the story was laughing at the tropes it was using instead of laughing with, and that just isn't what I'm looking for from a story. The humor itself also just wasn't for me - it was much more raunchy or gory than anything, and I really don't like humor that focuses on shock value. 

I liked Derek and Pax's shared-body-dialogue best in this story - it gave me a hint of what I'd been hoping to get. But there was so much going on in the story that I didn't feel like I got enough of it to make up for what disappointed me. This was a surprisingly plot-focused book when I was anticipating a more character-driven one.

If I look past my discomfort with the humor, the writing itself was not bad, so if you're into crude humor, it may still be worth the read.
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Everyday Monsters, as the name suggests is an enigmatic Supernatural Dark Comedy penned by Travis Betz. I would love to go into the plot of the story, but I won’t because I’d rather you guys enter the novel blind. The kind of narration the author brings forth is commendable and I ought to admit, the book was so cleverly written that I couldn’t put it down once I started reading it. I know the blurb makes it sound as if it’s an easy read, but don’t be fooled, for it’s not

As the plot progressed, the story became rather complex and it took me a little longer to read the book as compared to my generic reading speed. The world building was amazing and it was as if I am watching a movie rather than reading a book. There were too many characters but I didn’t have much difficulty keeping track of them. The characters were all pretty well penned and I enjoyed reading this book a lot. The climax was something really graphic, and I LOVED IT.
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This isn’t the usual genre of book I would choose for myself, but since I received it through NetGalley in exchange for an honest opinion, I decided to give it a shot.

This book was... weird.
There’s so much happening at the same time that it’s hard to keep up. Vampires, werewolves, ghosts, witches, mermaids, trolls, titans (???), and that doesn’t even cover the whole thing.

- I think the premise of the book is interesting but it’s kind of all over the place.
- I didn’t connect with any of the characters.
- Some chapters were huge and then others were barely a page long.
- Again this so weird... I don’t even have words for it.

The good thing about is that you also have a bit of humor to lighten it up, it’s one of the only things that made me not DNF-ing it.
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This story has a lot going on, so much so, that it’s easy to get lost in the plot. There are so many perspectives in this book that I started to get confused. Also, the book has a tendency to switch perspectives with no notice (maybe this is just an ARC thing). I liked parts of the story (mostly the parts between Paxton and Derek), but as the story gets bigger and more characters are introduced you start to lose some of the plot. The story did remind me of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and I liked the comedy horror element, but it bit off more than it could chew. 

I didn’t care for the details of Paxton getting her new body (a little too much detail for me). I also didn’t care for how the author used the word fat, it just seemed unnecessary. Fat shaming can just go away, other descriptors can be used.
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ALL the stars I can give possible!
[Thanks to Travis and his Publisher, etc. who have allowed us an opportunity to read/review]

I am probably going to be one of those outlier reviewers who kind of stare at this book in some kind of mild case in awe and wonder... asking, "Where has this book, and/or Author, been all my life?"... and then stalk them like a crazy person stalker for their next endeavor.

Look, my track record here shows me basically a fan-girl for Romance, but you gotta understand the scope of me, especially from my past goes way-deeper than surface appearance.

I grew up with a steady diet of Stephen King, watching and reading. My life as a movie viewer hit a deep-dive into the macabre... even when it's THE Best in horror, or the Classics... to those lowest of lows, when the horror is cliched and schlockey, the Grade Z so-bad-it's-good movie nightmares--more likely in the making of, than in the watching of...

This book is something I always fall back on and say..."what a breathe of fresh air". Here is an Author Voice that has needed to be brought forth because there have been so few out there doing this kind of an amazing job. This book presents a lot of social commentary to unpack, but wrapped in this horrific, gorey and macabre trappings.

I know that most of the reviews here make the claim... the book is confusing and it is too crowded [w/too many characters]. uhm, yeah, it's true, not going to lie outright or sugarcoat, but there is also something here that I believe comes out once you understand where this Author comes from.

And, yeah... it is basically movie-making. He writes like he is making a movie, or that he has oodles of scriptwriter experience... and what a gem this becomes because it fits right into my own reading attempts-->> I READ like I am watching a movie.

As I sit here, a few hours after finishing my ARC...I am kind of trying to piece together what was flowing through my mind that helped guide me in the midst of how easily I fell into admiration for how this whole tale began unfolding.

I hate those Author or Reviewer/Blogger blurbs where they try to utilize... it's a little bit THIS, with some THIS or THAT. And I dislike this form of reviewing because it somehow lessens the brilliance of what Travis has done here, all on his own.

Everyday Monsters is, to me... BUFFY, THE VAMPIRE SLAYER [the movie, not the show] the camp-y-ness that isn't afraid to be cliched or tropey, but also nuanced in ways that feel or breathe "new life" into the old... mixed with THE PRINCESS BRIDE-style of wry and witty humor. There is also some mode of humorous macabre like in DEATH BECOMES HER, certainly the moments where Hawn and Streep try every damn avenue to keep on livin' despite being so-DEAD... in this book, the poor MCs [Derek & Pax] have to keep on dyin' just to keep on livin'... and it's what makes this story stand-out for me... what makes it such a delicious riotous romp.

eh, now that I have used a bunch of meaningless movie references... I suppose I will need to let you in on why exactly this book works for me.

There is Good vs Evil... but sometimes what was once Good is now Evil... and then what was once thought Evil is now... uh, Good. Sounds so simple and easy, but within this mode of storytelling there are such intricacies given to each moment of revelation... this enriches everything once thought to every moment popping off the pages. I enjoy this onion-layer peeling... and it was done so well here.

The summary leads one to believe... there is a Boy who meets a Girl... and this is their nightmare on Earth come to Life. That is just about 15% of what is truly going on.

Travis makes you feel like even the minor-est of characters are needed to not simply world-build but flesh-out exactly what is going on behind-the-scenes, or behind very tightly shut closed doors...

This is why it reminds me so subtlety of BUFFY... because a Hellmouth exists and Monsters of every walk of life keep coming in... to Rainy Mood... the Nothing Happens Here But Boredom and Population Growth town Derek Stabbers has lived in and now feels like he can somehow become the Hero of.

Paxton was an unexpected likable and deeply engaging heroine... but let's not also forget... her Family nest of Vampires, helmed by her awesome Vamp Mom, Clem... and the cacophony of fantastic bad-ass siblings---I SEE you, Gretel!!... and Pax's "Shade"/Human, Lottie... who really felt like the TV SHOW version of the "Buffy" role to me--the Popular Girl turned Bad-Ass Slayer... but then later becomes somewhat of a really fascinating character in a minor role I kept wanting to see more and more of. Anyone else would've made Lottie 1-dimensional, but under Travis's deft hand... she wields some wonderfully awesome moments... I found myself smiling more when she showed up... her backstory is just... it leaves me breathless even now, thinking about her after I closed out the book.

Each MC has a background set of minor peeps... who also have the spotlight shown on them... and the opportunities for Redemption arcs... wow, man, I am always here for this set-up. This is what I mean by Good turning Evil/ Evil turning Good... not everything once thought is Black or White... we must always consider the Grays, too.

Travis does something wonderful as a creator where he breathes humanity and a stable sense of morality... but when the Stakes are so high... Death is nearby... so many of his characters are finally learning THE REAL TRUTH. I almost feel like it is a bit like those who build their real lives around Conspiracy Theories and suddenly one day... something wakes them up, learning they cannot trust someone thought of as a Great Leader any longer... because he's a grifter and outright crook, who has been getting away with such evil doings, sometimes plain ole murder...

There is so much Travis sculpts, in minuscule ways, then weaves in and out of the simple story of a Boy & Girl... granted... they are a Monster Hunter and a Vampire... who becomes a Werepire [werewolf-vampire]... and then becomes...ghost-werepire... yeah, there is endless subjection of poor Paxton, or Pax... as she... who was once called "Oh, you're The Couch Vampire" has suddenly gotten off her couch and decided to live life... a Dead Life, sure. But then an even more Dead-er life once she and Derek start "becoming one"... hehe, I find that wording kind of chuckle-worthy. They genuinely DO, become one.

See, it is really tough to sit here and go through every single step Travis takes us down, because it's an experience a reader should want to learn on their own. If I tell you, then it spoils the fun...'cuz I wanna tell you about the chapter, late in the book... when Pax "haunts/possess" Derek's sperm... and Travis eloquently writes one of the most beautiful explanations of just how ONE sperm "wins" the race and makes a baby... hehe, so, yeah... BUY THE BOOK [to coin a Time-Life phrase]... you won't regret it.

I really don't know what else to say except... I laughed out loud so much during this book and when a book or its blurb warn me ahead of time this is LOL-y... or I will honestly hold-my-belly with raucous laughter, laughing-out-loud at every chapter???... usually it's a selling point that never gets fulfilled.

This book never promised me that experience... and I found myself laughing out loud so much more than I ever have [I think the last time I did was Ann Aguirre's STRANGE LOVE].

When a book can tickle my funny bone or make me adore its ability to make me envision every damn scene... and every character Travis introduced readers to was a knock-out-punch... the back history to old BFFs Lottie and Jazz was just... heartfelt and amazingly powerful... oh, yeah... book's rating shoots right to the top.

I also want to commend Travis on his type of writing style... which is highly immersive and why I kept picturing not just how to SEE this book... how to see characters, actions, scenes play out... but also how to use my other senses to enjoy a book that is sometimes horrific and gorey, with shards of such detailed narratives that it personally makes me drool to actually visualize the Special Effects any SE Artist/Company can render to make this come alive on-screen...

I expect, in a few years, to see... "Optioned for a movie..." somewhere blurbed on this cover one day... eh, maybe I should shoot off some good vibes to Netflix or someone with some Squillions in their back pocket.

I am simply one voice in the darkness damn-near enjoying myself to death...and I cannot wait for this book to adapt to film. Can we get on that Travis, huh? You have one Insta-ticket buyer right here.

**I received this e-ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.**
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DNF


I'm disappointed because this book had the potential to be really great. It was weird in a good/fun way and the premise was really unique. But ultimately it did not deliver. The writing was awkward and clunky. Scenes would end abruptly before they were even over and the next scene would be an exact continuation instead of it all being a single scene. The phrasing was also off. It got to the point where I could not ignore these things no matter how hard I tried. Basically, this book was not for me.
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Reminiscent of Christopher Moore and A. Lee Martinez, Everyday Monsters is a thrilling, fun ride in the comedy horror genre.  Vampires, Werewolves, Ghosts, Ghouls, Killer Robots, Evil Scientists, Squirrels, and more this book has them all.  I will definitely be on the lookout for more from this author.
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This book was a lot, and was confusing in a couple different ways. At first, the writing seemed more middle grade, at least to me, but this book is definitely not for young readers - it has a lot of mature content and language. Besides this, there's a lot happening plot-wise. Personally, I was most interested in the plot following Pax and Derek, and the other chapters didn't appeal as much to me. The side plots made it a bit difficult to follow what was going on, and some of the short chapters even felt like fillers.

I liked the short chapters, and the fast pacing of the story. The conversations between Pax and Derek while they're using the same body were also very entertaining. It was a fun adventure story, but I also feel like there was a lot of information and action packed into the last 25% of the book.

I was originally going to rate this 3 stars but then went with 2 because of the ending. The plot is weird but fun in the beginning, but I could have never guessed where it would go later in the book. The few chapters dedicated to describing how they created a new body for Pax were way too detailed for my tastes, and made me uncomfortable. I ended up skimming parts of those scenes, and I was not expecting that kind of content in a book that I understood to be a comedy.
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This is a fun comedy horror story with some really great original ideas.  However, for me there was a bit too much going on, almost like it was trying too hard at times.  A decent read all the same.
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Derek Stabbers and Paxton Hellswood have no reason to be near each other at all - until after a number of violently unfortunate events Paxton finds herself sharing Dereks body and they're stuck together for the forseeable future now. 

Derek wants nothing more than for Paxton to be gone - the monsters were the reason his parents were wrongly convicted of murder and blamed it on mental illnesses. Paxton wants to go back to her life alone, she's spent the last hundred years since she rose from the dead minding her own business and she'd much rather be alone than with him.

Now Paxton and Derek need to take the next steps of their journey together whether they like it or not and maybe they'll learn something about what a monster really is along the way. 

This was a very funny horror-comedy with excellent world building and a really sweet, poignant message about human connection and loneliness. For me, it moved so quickly that at times it was hard to get invested in the story and I found it personally jarring at times but this was still a fun read and anyone who loves zany, vibrant versions of a classic monster story will absolutely love this!
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I’m really glad I gave this a chance and stuck with it. The story was a little hard to get into and the ending is A LOT. However this turned out to be a very smart and funny satire of monster stories. It was immensely enjoyable.
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If you've ever entered the world of Travis Betz, then you likely won't be much surprised by his latest effort "Everyday Monsters." I first became acquainted with Betz through his work as an actor on the indie film "Little Big Top," a dark yet sentimental film in which the Indiana-born actor excelled and set the tone for the career as an actor and filmmaker to follow.

He's directed such films as "Lo," "Joshua," and "The Dead Inside" while his work on the "Paper Cuts" series is imaginative and awesome.

Betz is a unique voice and once you know that and accept it, the complex yet surprisingly simple story that unfolds in "Everyday Monsters" won't be a surprise at all.

At his best, Betz taps into both intimate and universal concerns rather sublimely. The same is true with "Everyday Monsters." It's also not surprising given Betz's film background that "Everyday Monsters" is an incredibly visual film to an almost exhausting degree. I personally had to read the book slower than I usually read because, quite simply, it's a book that requires energy and investment in its story and in its characters.

The characters start with Derek Stabbers, a young man left alone to live with his slightly older brother after his parents are institutionalized following their conviction for brutally murdering several neighbors. The State called it mental illness. Derek knows otherwise - he blames monsters.

The characters continue with Paxton Hellswood. She's barely been out of the house in at least a 100 years since she was afforded a second chance at life that she's perfectly fine wasting away on the comfort of her couch.

After a series of violent mishaps, Paxton's incorporeal form becomes stuck inside Derek and the two enemies have to find a way to semi-peacefully co-exist.

Together, they embark on a weird but wonderful journey that that is simultaneously dark and violent, a little perverse, and frequently rather sweet.

In other words, it's a Travis Betz creation.

The truth is I've always had an appreciation for the worlds created by Betz. Perhaps it's a result of my own frequently dark life turned into something resembling Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, but I love the way Betz is able to explore both the best and the worst of us as human beings and as monsters. While Betz is an experienced writer, you can tell at times he's still sort of fumbling his way around figuring out how to make the images and the story in his mind fit within the confines and structure of an actual novel. It's safe to say Betz has a very freestyle sense of creativity and, at times, you can sense that he's feeling his way around how to make that creativity fit within the novel format.

While the book's description sounds rather straightforward, rest assured that "Everyday Monsters" actually gets quite a bit more complex. For the most part, however, "Everyday Monsters" stays cohesive as characters intertwine and storylines crossover and eventually the story itself winds down with something resembling resolution for darn near everyone involved.

The truth is I enjoyed "Everyday Monsters" quite a bit. While it required quite a bit of an investment, it was worth that investment and characters like Derek, Pax, Lotti, and Jordan linger in my mind still. This is really not a book for children, though late teens and young adults won't read anything in here they haven't talked about in school or with their buddies. Admittedly, they probably haven't actually done these things. At least I hope not.

With "Everyday Monsters," Betz continues what in many ways has been an underlying theme of many of his works - there really are no monsters other than the ones we create and the vast majority of us are just really starved for something resembling genuine connection. It's a theme that's particularly powerful in this pandemic-influenced world and it's a theme that Betz has brought to life in a dark, humorous, violent, sexual, sentimental, sarcastic, and weirdly sweet way in "Everyday Monsters."
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While entertaining at times, there is a lot going on in this book. So much so that it’s hard to follow exactly what’s going on. I love comedy horror, but I feel even if this were a movie I’d struggle keeping up. 

I do feel the worldbuilding was not bad. It felt like an east coast counter part to Sunnydale. In fact the whole book made me think of Buffy the Vampire Slayer mixed a bit with the Umbrella Academy, though with more bizarre situations. 

All in all I think there was promise in the book but it would’ve done better with “less is more”.
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I wanted to love this book, but it was all over the place. It has a promising premise of a vampire hunter and a vampire stuck in one body on an adventure. But it quickly becomes a confusing mess. A world in which monsters are supposedly a secret and tons of humans know about them. It makes an attempt to be a romance, adventure, sci-fi, horror, adult and YA? I wasn't sure what to make of the confusing plot, in which a werepire is killed and her spirit goes into a vampire hunter and her shade and him (them) try to figure out what to do to have both their needs met. I'm all about suspension of belief when it comes to supernatural stories but the solution was so nonsensical that I was honestly speechless. Overall, it wasn't very well written and I was over it maybe 15% of the way in. It reads like an angsty teen fanfiction of classic horror or an EARLY draft of a b-movie.
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