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review 2018-09-24 02:49
Deep and Dark and Dangerous
Deep and Dark and Dangerous: A Ghost Story - Mary Downing Hahn
This was a short read but I really enjoyed it. I can see why her novels are so popular. There was tension in the story line, an eerie feeling to the story, great characters yet by the time the novel finished, everything had come together and the novel ended on a positive note.
 
The mystery started within the first few pages when Ali found an old picture and started asking questions. Who was the other person in the photo whose name began with “T,” who was ripped out of the picture, that was with her mom and Aunt Dulcie? Why doesn’t her mother want to talk about it? The questions begin to mount when Ali discovers that they own a cottage with their Aunt Dulcie, which she has never been to.
 
When Aunt Dulcie arrives later in the novel, Ali is excited to see her. Ali wants to talk to her aunt about the picture and her aunt want Ali to babysit her daughter Emma, for the summer while she works. There is a major issue with this job for Ali, for Aunt Dulcie is working at the cottage this summer and that is where Ali will be babysitting Emma. Of course, mother doesn’t want Ali to go. Eventually though, mother ends up letting Ali go and I waited for the story to erupt.
 
I liked how slowly the story began to erode. Aunt Dulcie, Emma and Ali start to get settled into the cottage. Aunt Dulcie starts painting while the two girls spend time on the beach and hanging out together. It’s an ideal situation.
 
They met Sissy on the beach. Emma likes to play with Sissy as they are about the same age. Sissy pushes Emma to do and say things that Emma might not otherwise say or do. I wasn’t sure if it was because Sissy was a bit older or because Sissy was spoiled and at first, it was no big deal. These first issues were minor things but as they spent more time together, the activities became more intense. I started to think Sissy was bipolar.
 
I was enjoying this interaction, you could feel the energy inside the novel as Sissy started telling Emma what to do and how Emma started to question Sissy now. Ali tried to get in the middle of it and Emma wasn’t sure what to do. She wanted Sissy for a friend yet should she listen to her or should she listen to Ali, who was looking out for her?
 
As things escalated, events in the novel started coming together and it was fantastic how the story was evolving. I enjoyed how the story all came together in the end. A fantastic read and now, I can’t wait to read another novel by this author.  I love that this is a children's book. 

 

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review 2018-09-17 15:22
Good YA Ghost Story
Anna Dressed in Blood - Kendare Blake

Honestly not a lot to say besides I enjoyed this one a lot. It was a nice break from the doom and gloom of Stephen King. This book reminds me of a hybrid of "Supernatural" with a little "Charmed" mixed in for good measure. 


"Anna Dressed in Blood" follows teen Cas who has the ability to sense ghosts and also send them away if he manages to kill them (how do you kill something already dead?) with his father's enchanted athame. Ca's father was also a ghost hunter until he met a tragic end. Cas's sole mission is to get strong enough to go back one day and put to end the ghost that killed his father. When he and his mother are on the move again for him to track down and put down another ghost, Cas starts to realize that this trip is different. 

 

Cas reminds me a bit of Dean and Sam from Supernatural. Cas would be the perfect hybrid of these two characters. Cas apparently is good at research, but can also protect himself when going up against ghosts. One wonders though after what is revealed in the end, was that all him though or something else?

 

Due to the nomadic life he has lived, Cas hasn't really thought about friends or girls. However, after coming to Thunder Bay, Ontario, he starts to develop friendships with Thomas and Carmel. Thomas has some telepathic ability and Carmel is the queen bee of the school. You don't see these friendships coming, but Blake does a good job of fleshing out this threesome. You have Cas's mom who is hoping for something more with Carmel and Thomas who is hoping for something more. I kind of wanted Carmel to pop up and say I am good and keep on keeping on. That was the only part of the book I didn't care for, Carmel was not a prize to be won by Thomas or Cas. Thank God though there is no dumb love triangle in this book. Cas sees Carmel as a really cool and strong friend and I was delighted with that. 

 

We get some other characters who get a bad end. We do have some gruesome scenes here and there, but nothing too scary. We do find out eventually what happened to Anna and how she became an uber ghost. I think that the book could have easily been cut in half, but we continue on and we get some more to do with Cas's father and his legacy. I was worried there was too much going on int his book, but Blake manages to walk the line. 

 

The flow works in this one though I did want to yell at Cas for being dumb sometimes. The action slows down a bit when Cas and Anna talk. I know why Blake set it up that way (for us and Cas to get to know her) but I had a hard time with her not being that scary really. 


The ending leaves things with a slight cliffhanger. I know there's a second book in this series, but the reviews have been mixed. I may just leave things here since I really enjoyed Cas and his ghost hunting. 

 

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review 2018-07-30 21:32
Ghost Story / Jim Butcher
Ghost Story - Jim Butcher

When we last left the mighty wizard detective Harry Dresden, he wasn't doing well. In fact, he had been murdered by an unknown assassin.

But being dead doesn't stop him when his friends are in danger. Except now he has no body, and no magic to help him. And there are also several dark spirits roaming the Chicago shadows who owe Harry some payback of their own.

To save his friends—and his own soul—Harry will have to pull off the ultimate trick without any magic...

 

 

“You’re dead, son,” Jack said. “Cheer is contraindicated.”

Mr. Butcher, you are a manipulative man. Your writing made me cry, unnecessarily I might add, over a fictional character that I will never meet. And I think you took a lesson from the old TV show Dallas on how to kill a character without really committing yourself to what seems like the logical outcome.

In some ways, this also reminded me of the movie It’s a Wonderful Life in that Harry Dresden gets to find out how many people he mattered to and how much. It turns out he was more important to the whole city, including people who didn’t know him personally, that he would every have imagined. His powerful presence scared off a lot of bad guys who might otherwise have made Chicago their place of business.

Harry gets to view his life, his city, and his friends from an entirely new angle in this volume of the Dresden files. Remember the sleazy ectomancer, Mort, from an earlier volume? An almost throw-away character who served his purpose and hasn’t been seen since? Mortimer has come up in the world and I’m thinking he may continue to feature in future volumes. He makes a good addition to the cast.

I read this book much closer in time to the last one than usual because of the cliff-hanger nature of the 12th story. I had to know what happened. Butcher took so much away from Harry during the last book. Next book, we’ll see what Mr. Dresden decides to do with this new lease on life that his author has granted him.

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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.

 

Recommended!

 

 

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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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