Sunday, May 29, 2011

Review + Giveaway: Tommy Nightmare

(Jenny Pox #2)

J.L. Bryan
Paranormal Young Adult
Available Now
Received from author for review

Warning: Contains mild spoilers from
Jenny Pox

Tommy, like Jenny, has a touch that repels those around him. With the briefest contact, Tommy instills fear–so much fear that when he's not in control of it he literally scares people to death.

Escaping from a miserable foster home at a young age, Tommy grows up and begins to understand his power and how he can control and manipulate those he touches. After seeing a television interview with Ashleigh Goodling, Jenny's nemesis, Tommy makes for the small town where Jenny recently unleashed her power in all it's gruesome glory.

While Tommy searches for Ashleigh, feeling drawn to her for reasons he doesn't understand, Jenny struggles with the aftermath of her actions and her growing insecurities with Seth as he prepares to head off to college. She's also beginning to remember some of her past incarnations, making some startling discoveries as to just how she, Seth, Ashleigh, and Tommy, as well as two new individuals are all connected.

Tommy Nightmare returns us to a world that causes anxiety and dread to curl up and make themselves at home in our guts, any brief moment of happiness overshadowed by a tangible sense of unease as we know Mr. Bryan has no qualms with putting his characters through physical and emotional turmoil. We plunge forward, blowing through pages held tightly with knuckles gone white from strain, fearing what's in store next might just be worse for Jenny than what she's already experienced, and we emerge from the story with worry lines etched into our faces where there were none before as evidence of our involvement with the story. Tommy Nightmare is not an emotionally easy read, instead it's one where we know things will only get worse before they get better, but Mr. Bryan gives us a flicker of light just when the darkness starts to consume us, and we cling to its tiny brilliance as we hope for Jenny to find the happiness she so deserves.

The reappearance of Ashleigh–a character so detestable we will our hatred of her to be strong enough to singe every appearance of her name from the pages so we don't have to see it any longer–causes us to groan in disgust while begrudgingly admitting to an appreciation of a character who can inspire such an intense reaction. Every word out of her mouth and every action she takes ratchets our apprehension up a notch, knowing her every move is calculated and planned in order to inflict the most pain on the object of her wrath. She's hauntingly villainous, her ability to inspire love with a touch warped beyond all recognition as she uses it to enslave and manipulate, and we read every page hoping someone will share our immunity to her grotesque charm.

Despite being the title character, Tommy's role in this story is surprisingly small, his opening scene enough to raise our hackles and bring forth our protective instincts, but his actions after those first few pages skew our perception of him so we are left in an emotional limbo as to whether or not he's deserving of our affection. We want desperately to believe in him since he's Ashleigh's opposite and therefore capable of resisting her touch, but his easy compliance to her every suggestion without that coercion keeps us wary and defensive. In addition to Tommy, we are introduced to several new characters, each with a unique ability that piques our curiosity and makes us want to read faster in order to find out how they fit into the magnificent puzzle Mr. Bryan has so painstakingly developed.

Tommy Nightmare is highly recommended for older young adult audiences as the sexual content, though not hugely prominent, is a bit more detailed in nature, and the suffocating darkness at times threatens to overwhelm. Luckily for us however, this story, though often a heavy burden to bear when Jenny is mistreated and betrayed again and again, ends by bringing a hesitant smile to our lips as Ashleigh's plans for Jenny are temporarily interrupted by the appearance of a new character. Though we know inevitably the smile will fade as quickly as it came when we get our hands on the next book, it's enough to mildly relax the muscles we've held rigid in reaction to the emotional maelstrom into which these characters thrust us.

Rating: 4/5


Mr. Bryan has generously offered up a signed paperback copy of JENNY POX to one lucky commenter! Please note this is a copy of the first book in the series, not the second which is reviewed above (you can read my review of JENNY POX here). To enter, just leave a comment with a valid email address so I can contact you if you win. Giveaway is open to US and Canadian residents only and will run through midnight EST on Friday, June 3rd after which time a winner will be chosen and announced on the blog. Good luck everyone!


  1. Well, since I haven't read the first book in the series, I think this is a good giveaway! YAY!


  2. I've been meaning to read this one. Thanks for the giveaway!


  3. I haven't read Jenny Pox yet but it looks very interesting. Thank you for the chance!


  4. I love Jenny Pox. It is easily one of the best books I've read this year.

  5. This sounds like such an intriguing tale. Great review Jenny :)

  6. I've had Jenny Pox on my wishlist for a while now. I'm very interested, thanks!

    deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

  7. Sounds like a great series. I am always looking for new series to start reading!


  8. Thank you for the giveaway!
    Would love to read the first book.

    inga from

  9. I'm glad you enjoyed it. I'm loving this series and was so glad to read about Jenny again!

  10. I haven't read the first one so please enter me!



  11. I hear so so many awesome things about Jenny Pox and Tommy Nightmare.Pushy and Heather are crazy little fangirls over him. But I haven't had the time to pick it up yet.

    But when my fav people love it so much I need to read that soon.....

  12. Ooooh I've wanted to read Jenny Pox since I read your review about it! The second book looks WAY freaking creepy dude! How was BEA? Did you miss me?


  13. This sounds great!!!

    gfc follwer

  14. "The reappearance of Ashleigh–a character so detestable we will our hatred of her to be strong enough to singe every appearance of her name from the pages so we don't have to see it any longer"

    Holy crap woman, that's some strong feelings. I've been interested in these books, but after reading this I know that I've GOT to read them!

  15. Awesome, thanks for the giveaway :D


  16. Jenny Pox sounds interesting. Thanks for the giveaway.


  17. I absolutely Love Jenny Pox and Tommy Nightmares! I read them on my NOOKcolor, and I would love to have a actual signed copy. J.L. Bryan is a wonderfully talented Author.

  18. I Loooooooove this book. Both of them, actually, and would be thrilled to win a signed copy from my favorite indie author!

    vampirezombiesfromspace at gmail dot com

  19. Sweet! Thank you for the contest! Want want want signed copy of TOMMY NIGHTMARE by J.L. Bryan!!! Or anything by JL Bryan! Thank you~ also @PsychicOzma on Twitter.

  20. Such a twisted and beautifully dark series. Just how I like them! I'd love to be picked!

    Thanks for being dark and dreary J.L Bryan! :)

    Moonie76 at gmail dot com

  21. Feels like it's been agessss since I've visited your blog Jenny. Loved, loved, loved reading your review - I haven't read the first book in the series, but this villain sounds so vile, she's actually intriguing(Now there's a contradiction for you). All in all, it sounds like a good, creepy read that will keep you on the edge of your seat. Will have to check it out some time.

  22. This is a new author to me - thanks for posting and hosting. Please enter me - I am an old follower.

  23. Thanks for the giveaway
    jenhedger at hotmail dot com

  24. The cover does have a creepy feel. But it sounds good, still not for me

  25. Hm... this really does look creepy. I think this is also a book I'd want to throw in the freezer after she keeps getting betrayed.

    I haven't read the first one, so I'm in!
    books (dot) things (at) yahoo (dot) com

  26. Thanks for the giveaway!


  27. Great review of Tommy Nightmare! I want to read this one but want to read, need to read Jenny Pox first. I'd love to win a paper copy of this!


  28. Dying to read it!


  29. I have Jenny Pox on my Kindle. I would love to have a signed copy though! Thanks for the giveaway.

  30. I so need to read this! Thanks for the review! I love the cover and the synopsis!

    bwithbite(at) gmail (dot) com!

    Also, thanks for the giveaway!

  31. When I saw that cover I literally said, "oooooh." I love that cover. I just skimmed your review b/c I still want to read Jenny Pox.


  32. I have been wanting to read this series. Please enter me in contest.

  33. Love that it's the first in the series and not the second. I have been wanting to start this series but there's always so many books to be read I get overwhelmed.

  34. Thank you for hosting this giveaway!!

    SpadesHigh @
    TValeros18 @ gmail [dot] com

  35. Dear Jenny,

    First and foremost, I miss you. I thought you should know that because I looked around for someone to laugh at my jokes today and nobody was there to offer me extra virginity. It was sad.

    Furthermore, I feel this distance between us cannot be bridged by mere blogging, alone. Whatever will we do?! Anyhoo, in more important news, I like the sound of this one. Truly. Never would I have been interested in it otherwise, but the characterization intrigues me.

    Fabulous review, as always, and sending many hugs from the middle of nowhere, USA.



  36. Sounds like an intense sequel, Jenny. Most of the sequels tend to have "middle book" syndrome that seems to be filler until the final book arrives. Glad this one avoids that pitfall. Btw, I can't help but not think of Mia Jovaich (sp?) when I see the cover. *shrugs*

  37. I have not read the first book in the series but have heard great things about it. The series sound really compelling!

  38. I'd love to read Jenny Pox. Thanks for the giveaway!

    erinberry12 at charter dot net

  39. I've never heard of the series but it sounds interesting. A giveaway is always a great way to generate interest :) Thanks for including Canada, Jenny.

  40. I have not read this series, but have recently been hearing good things about it. Thank you for the opportunity to win the giveaway.


  41. I haven't read the first book yet so this is a really good giveaway for me! Thanks for helping out:)
    jwitt33 at live dot com

  42. Both books are truly amazing. I could actually see the characters in my mind. I loved that he gave such a big power (love to Ashleigh, b/c you would think that type of power would be good, and Jenny's (pox) would be evil, but it's the opposite. You learn just how bad it would be for something so good to be used for something so EVIL. I look forward to more. And I loved reading this blog as well.

  43. Yeah! A shot at Jenny Pox with an autograph. Love it.

  44. I have been wanting to read this. JuliannaBlake@gmail(dot)com

  45. I absolutely love J.L. Bryan. I really want to get my hands on a copy of Jenny Pox! Expecially if its got J.L.'s Signature :D

    I still gotta run out and buy Tommy Nightmare though!

    hense1kkA T cmich DOT edu

  46. I need a new series to start reading!

    snarkandwhite (at) gmail (dot) com

  47. Starting with the first one in the series is always a good start! Thanks for the giveaway!


  48. Awesome giveaway. Thanks so much!


    alterlisa AT yahoo DOT com

  49. Thank you for the chance to win!