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review 2018-07-17 10:47
The Ghost Slept Over - Jason Frazier,Marshall Thornton

How do you get close to and start a relationship with someone when you have the ghost of your ex literally following your every move?

Cal is trying.

Surprised to learn that his ex left his entire estate to him, he travels to the small town of Marlboro to meet up with Mac’s lawyer, Dewey, to discuss the details. Cal plans to stay a couple of weeks to take care of everything and during this time, both Dewey and the town and its people start to grow on him.

Unfortunately, Mac’s ghost is still around and none too happy about Cal’s plans to sell the house nor his growing relationship with Dewey.

The story was OK but it was Jason Frazier’s portrayal of Mac as a grumpy narcissist that really sold it. I did not particularly like Mac, but he was done absolutely perfectly to the point where he pretty much stole the show completely.

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review 2018-07-17 00:23
The Ghost of Follonsbee's Folly by Florence Hightower
The Ghost of Follonsbee's Folly - Florence E. Hightower,Ati Forberg

A charming story about the Stackpoles, a lively family of six and their housekeeper/cook Angela, who moves into a gothic Victorian pile in the country. 'Follonsbee's Folly' has been empty for a long time, but some members of the family discover that it isn't as empty as they thought.

This was great. A new house is a classic launch for any kid's book, and this one follows several paths successfully. Everyone in the family is delighted with the house except for Angela who has cared for the two older children all of their lives and continues to look after the infant twins. She was willing to go with the family to their new home, but there are many reasons why a crumbling old house is no place for young children, especially if you have to be the one to take care of it all. She treats the children like her own, and often talks to them about her own son who was lost in World War II. The house is in poor condition, but the adults set to renovating the house while the children explore. Elsie is entranced by the discovery of an enormous doll house, the Folly itself in exact miniature, and decides to restore it. Tom discovers the bucolic wonders of the great outdoors and even finds his own project in an abandoned rowboat. It isn't long before Tom meets a young black man out in the woods who, though a little put out about new people finding his fishing spots, is friendly and willing to show Tom around the river and help fix up the boat so they can fish together. The young man, Joe, asks that Tom not tell anybody else about him as he doesn't like to be bothered on his vacation.

Hightower fills the book with descriptions of nature and the happy bustle of a family. The descriptions of the speaking tubes in the house and the underground railroad were great additions. The children have plenty to do with their respective story lines and have some dubious babysitting tips. I was pleasantly surprised at how central of a role Angela plays in the novel. She is sympathetic and well drawn and a vital part of the family. By the end of the book, Angela is the central character of the book and it is gratifying to see how it all works out.

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review 2018-07-10 03:26
Ghostland - where we all live
Ghostland: An American History in Haunted Places - Colin Dickey

Disclosure:  I accessed this book through my local public library's digital collection.  I do not know the author nor have I ever communicated with him about this book or any other matter.  I am an author of romance fiction and assorted non-fiction.



I truly enjoyed this book, and found the author's perspective both interesting and ultimately respectful of believers and skeptics alike.


It would be impossible, of course, for a single volume to catalogue all the thousands, perhaps millions, of alleged hauntings in this country.  Dickey can probably be accused with some justification of cherry-picking the examples he used to best illustrate his theories: among them that whether ghosts -- as the more or less embodied spirits of the dead -- are real or not, we need them.  And so we would have created them anyway even if they weren't real.


The aspect of the book that fascinated me the most was the way he deconstructed some of the most well-known and even well-documented hauntings, as evidence that it's in the creation of a ghostly narrative that fits what we collectively as a culture want the haunting to be that it comes alive, pun of course intended.


Because I'm not a fan of horror fiction -- it's all I can do to get through the least horrific Lovecraft for Halloween Bingo -- I can't say if the creation of a fictional haunting narrative follows that theory.  I do, however, think it applies to the gothic romance.  The haunting, the ghostly presence, has to integrate with the living characters in an organic way for the two stories to work with each other.





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text 2018-07-09 22:05
Reading progress update: I've read 253 out of 401 pages.
Ghostland: An American History in Haunted Places - Colin Dickey

This is proving to be one of those books that brings together a lot of old friends.  There are references to James W. Loewen and Frederic Jameson and Walter Benjamin.


Loewen, of course, is contemporary and accessible.  I can't recommend enough his Lies My Teacher Told Me and Lies Across America.


Jameson is less accessible, but then he is a theorist more than a commentator, imho.


Even before Dickey mentioned Walter Benjamin, I distinctly felt his influence -- his spirit? -- from The Arcades Project, a good portion of which I read in grad school.  I still have his Reflections, one of the texts for that particular (and particularly annoying) class, because the texts were far better than the instructor.  (Yes, I'm lookin' at you, Arthur Sabatini.)


I've reached the part in Ghostland that deals with haunted cities, and it's almost impossible not to have a slideshow of abandoned Detroit buildings running through my imagination.




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text 2018-07-08 18:22
Reading progress update: I've read 136 out of 401 pages.
Ghostland: An American History in Haunted Places - Colin Dickey

Pages read are based on digital edition accessed via the public library.


When Obsidian Blue reviewed this last year, I was very much intrigued and put it on my mental list of books to track down.  Imagine my delight on finding it in he library's digital collection.  It was while trying to access Ghostland that I screwed up and ended up reading another couple chapters of that silly Breaking the Rules, but once I got into Ghostland, I was pretty well hooked.


My own current work in progress involves an allegedly haunted house, so Ghostland is sort of research.  Ah, if only all research could be this enjoyable!


As I prepared to post this status report, I read through all the reviews here on BookLikes, just to get a feeling for how other people reacted.


Even though I've had my own experiences with the strange and unexplainable, I tend to be more of a skeptic than a believer when it comes to ghosts and so on.  I'd like to believe, but I'm too rational and logical.


So I'm finding Colin Dickey's attitude less offensive than other reviewers have.  In fact, I'm finding it refreshing.

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