Tag: Ghost Story

Book Review: You Came Back by Christopher Coake

Posted September 10, 2012 by Kimberly in Book Reviews / 2 Comments

Title: You Came Back

Author: Christopher Coake

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Publication Date
: June 2012

Genre: Adult Fiction

Series or Stand Alone: Stand Alone


Synopsis can be found here.

Review
Mark Fife believes he has moved past the death of his seven year old son, and the collapse of his marriage. Living with his girlfriend Allison, and ready to propose to her, he is thrown off balance by the arrival of a strange woman who claims his dead son, Brendan, still haunts the old house they used to live in. And that Brendan is calling for him.

Mark doesn’t believe in ghosts, but the temptation is too strong to check out the house and see if his beloved boy is haunting the place. Throw in his damaged ex-wife and Mark doesn’t know what to believe anymore. And what is real.

Beautifully written, You Came Back kept me engaged until the very last page. Coake does a stunning job of portraying the complicated emotions that plague Mark and Chloe over their son’s death and the real possibility that they will have a chance to make ammends. Mark questions everything about that day, the days before and over analyses almost to obsession his failed marriage. This is not really a ghost story. It is a story about love, family and grief. And how you can convince yourself of almost anything if you want to.

The beauty and tragedy in the story stems from Mark’s own guilt. How he wishes beyond reason things were back to the way they were, when Brendan was still alive, when his ex-wife Chloe was still in love with him. Though he has moved past that, and onto his new life, when his old life comes crashing back, the temptation to settled back into the past and try again is too strong for him. And this makes Mark a human character- to want to try again so deeply, he is willing to believe almost anything, hurt almost anyone, lie even to himself.

As Mark grapples with his feelings of desire for his past, Chloe is there pulling him along. While Chloe is a huge character in the book, I feel less sympathy for her than Mark. They are suffering through similar grief and understanding, but while reading, I didn’t get a strong sense of happy, loving Chloe. There are some flashbacks, and pictures of Mark and Chloe, content, together. But a lot of Mark’s reflections is how they were around the time of the accident- fighting unhappy and spiteful with each other. Maybe that was the point. Mark’s love for Chloe was as she was before, not as she is now and you know how dangerous it is putting your love on a pedestal.

The story moves fast, the language flowing nicely and before I knew it I was over half way through the book in one sitting. Watching Mark’s journey was emotional and sad and the twists in the story were believable. No matter how deep Mark got, I was still hoping he would pull himself out from the mess.
After finishing the book, I sat there, in awe of the story I just finished. I went back, re-read certain passages, especially the end. 

 Rating 9 Ridiculously Awesome like Cookies and Ice Cream

*I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this book

Posted September 10, 2012 by Kimberly in Book Reviews / 2 Comments


Author Interview & Book Review: Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake

Posted August 6, 2012 by Kimberly in Book Reviews, Interviews / 7 Comments

Title: Girl of Nightmares

Author: Kendare Blake

Publisher: Tor Teen/Macmillan

Publication Date: August 2012

Genre: Young Adult Horror

Series or Stand Alone: Series, Book Two


Synopsis can be found here.

Review:
My review of book one can be found here.
Go on. Read it. I’ll wait.

Back now?
Great.
So…

Months after Anna Korlov disappeared, Cas Lowood still can’t get over her. She saved his life. She saved his soul, and sure she might have been under a curse that made her kill people in horrible ways, but you know what? Stuff happens. Don’t judge.

Flash to now and Cas is seeing Anna again, in dreams and hallucinations. Or are they? Cas doens’t know what to do but he has a very bad feeling that Anna is somewhere she’s not supposed to be. And she needs his help. But how do you rescue your girlfriend in hell?

You may have, and by may have I mean should have, already read my review of Anna Dressed In Blood. Therefore, you will already know that I thought it was fan-freaking-tastic.
Obviously I was chomping at the bit to get my hands on Girl of Nightmares. And it did not disappoint.

Oh, Cas, I missed you so.

Cas is back with all of his hilarious inner monologues, clever observations and bravery. He’s a little more damaged this time around and normal high school girls just aren’t very interesting to him. I mean, he did sorta fall in love with a princess ghost of destruction. And I mean that in the most loving way possible.
As always, best friend Thomas is there to lend some comedy and grounding. Cas and Thomas’s relationship really make this book for me. They both are going through some tough times and naturally lean on each other for some support. It’s easy to see why they’re best friends.
And of course, who could forget Carmel. Queen Bee by day and ghost hunter by night, she’s funny, complicated and overall adds a nice strong female touch to this boy group.

The story warms up and doesn’t let you go. Every time Anna appears, I died a little. As soon as you see her, you know Cas has to save her. You want Cas to save her. No matter what.
And that is the problem, my friend.
Because for Cas to save Anna…

Ooooh, you thought I was going to tell you! I don’t think so.


A wonderful book filled with adventure, voodoo, blood, gore and romance. Yes, all those things.
Go pick up Girl of Nightmares and Anna Dressed In Blood.
Leave the light on.

Rating 10, One of The Best
*I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this book.

Author Interview with Kendare Blake!


Thank you for stopping by Kendare!

What inspired you to become a writer?

Hmm. Well, reading, mostly. I read so much as a kid, and eventually found the worlds in the story WAY more interesting than the world we live in. I loved that writing gives you a chance to explore things.

What was the last book you read? 

The last book I read was…We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson. It’s a flippin masterpiece.

What sparked the idea for “Anna Dressed In Blood”? 

An urge to play Silent Hill. And the fear that if I played Silent Hill by myself I would cry like a tiny baby and break my TV. So I wrote Anna instead.

And when you wrote it, did you already know you would write a sequel? 

I didn’t. Well, that’s not true. I suspected all along that there might be another book’s worth of story to tell. But when Anna started to go to editor’s boards at publishers, most of them saw series potential, so I had to start really thinking about it, all the way out to expanding to a trilogy. Which I’m glad it didn’t do.

Cas’s voice is so unique, filled with dark humor, smart-ass remarks and clever observations. He is a multi-layered character and it’s awesome to have him back! How did you create Cas’s distinct voice and how do you feel he has changed from book one to book two? 

Oh! Cas would appreciate you saying such nice things! His voice was just his voice, from the start. From book one to book two, he goes through a lot. The loner slowly leaks out of him. And so does the sense that he has to complete some big journey. At the start of Girl of Nightmares, he doesn’t quite know what he’s supposed to do, now that Anna’s gone, and taken the Obeahman with her.

What are you favorite things about Anna? Do you believe in ghosts? 

I love that Anna is strong, not only in fists but in mind. As for ghosts, yes, I believe in them. Because why not? It’s more fun. Also, sad, if you think about it, but let’s stick to fun. In fact, here’s my most recent, super lame ghost story: 
Driving in my car with the windows rolled up. Hear a sound of something moving across the upholstery in the back right passenger seat. Loud sound. Loud enough to make me jump. But the back seat was empty. WOOOOOOOO!

Carmel and Thomas are loyal and trusted sidekicks. Have you ever thought of doing a spin off series involving Thomas and his witch heritage?

Oh my god, that would be so nerdy and fun! The shenanigans Thomas would get up to! I really love that boy. But no, I’d never thought of it before. Thanks!

How do you like your potato? 

Whipped, with butter, or maybe mayonnaise. Don’t judge me. Mayonnaise and I have a very special relationship.

If you weren’t a writer, what would you be? 

Institutionalized? No. I’m not sure. I was just thinking about what I might like to do after the writing dries up or I’m booted out of the industry. And I have no idea. Scary. I’d probably go back to school for something.

Batman or Superman? 

Batman. The entire Justice League exists just to prove that Batman can beat Superman. And that he’s cooler. Although, the Man of Steel teaser looks pretty cool.

Do you have a favorite literary character? 

Hector of Troy jumps to mind, but probably only because I’m currently writing about him. I also love Jane Eyre, Patrick Bateman, Morgaine, and Garfield cat.

What do you do when you’re not writing? Besides ghost hunting? 

Ha. I wish I ghost hunted. Sadly, I lack the tools. When I’m not writing, I’m reading. Or, eating. Often eating. Or hiking! Or playing really bad tennis. Hanging with my needy catsons.

Is this the end of Anna and Cas’s story? 

Yes. I think it is. And yet, I like to think it’s not…somewhere.

What are you working on now? 

My new series, releasing next August. ANTIGODDESS. I think we might call it The Goddess War Trilogy, or something. I’m doing edits now. It’s about dying greek gods and reincarnated heroes. Present day. Cassandra of Troy and Athena, pitted against each other, and things worse than each other. Lots of blood. Also love stories. Why not?

Thanks again for stopping by Kendare!
You can find Kendare here or follow her on Twitter at @KendareBlake

Posted August 6, 2012 by Kimberly in Book Reviews, Interviews / 7 Comments


Book Review: The Unquiet by Jeannine Garsee

Posted August 2, 2012 by Kimberly in Book Reviews / 3 Comments

Title: The Unquiet

Author: Jeannine Garsee

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Publication Date: July 2012

Genre: Young Adult Fiction/Ghost Story

Series or Stand Alone: Stand Alone

Synopsis can be found here.
NetGalley review.

Review:

Corrine, Rinn to her friends, moves with her mom to her mom’s hometown after a traumatic event. Rinn is bipolar and has just suffered a huge loss in her life. But an eerie prescence grips this town. The tunnel under the school may be haunted, because a girl drowned in the school’s swimming pool. And Rinn has just moved into that girl’s old house.
Is she imagining the strange happenings going on? Or is something more sinister at work?

I so wanted to like this book, but I couldn’t get into it.
I gave it over 100 pages (134 to be accurate) and while I am sure there may be a great payoff at the end, I couldn’t bring myself to continue.
Rinn is not a likeable character. I can stand the usual angry teenager routine, but many of Rinn’s outbursts seem unfounded. Her love interest, Nate, has little personality and I didn’t believe the chemistry between them at all. He’s a “farmer’s boy” and every conversation does well to remind the reader of that. Rinn’s friends are flat, mean girls. I didn’t understand why they all wanted to hang out with each other, let alone why I was hanging out with them by reading about them!

The most interesting one yet?
Annaliese, the ghost, who still hadn’t shown up by the time I put the book down.
There were some scary bits, especially when a group of them are in the tunnel performing a seance. But it didn’t scare me enough to want to keep reading. And I’m a chicken! when it comes to scary stories.

Unfortunately, this one left me feeling empty.

Rating: 3 Raisins, No Thank You!

Posted August 2, 2012 by Kimberly in Book Reviews / 3 Comments


Author Interview and Book Review: The Prophet by Amanda Stevens

Posted April 23, 2012 by Kimberly in Book Reviews, Interviews / 7 Comments

Title: The Prophet

Author: Amanda Stevens

Publisher: Harlequinn Mira

Publication Date: April 2012

Genre: Adult Mystery/Paranormal Fiction

Series or Stand Alone: Series, Book Three



Synopsis can be found here.
NetGalley review.


Review:
Amelia Gray returns to Charleston after an ordeal at Asher Falls. Being back in her town, she is ready to start work again and continue on with her life. But a ghost of a murdered cop has other plans for her. As she begins her investigation, all ties lead back to her cop, John Devlin. The man she loved and left behind. The man with his ghosts, ghosts who won’t leave Amelia alone.


A fantastic book to the Graveyard Queen series.
While books one and two read more like ghost stories, this one veered more into detective story drama. Make no mistake, the ghosts are still there and still as dangerous and down right scary as the previous installments. But this book had a different feeling, not at all unwelcome.
Amelia is investigating the murder of a copy, and in the process, investigating Devlin too. Who is he really? And how will the information she uncover change her relationship with him?


I love the third book. Amelia is still strong and clever character, real and complex. Her range of emotions is every bit believable. I loved her mixed emotions towards Devlin, this other woman who keeps showing up, her fear of uncovering the truth and what that means. The answer is right there, just outside her grasp until the very end, which makes this a very enjoyable story. 
And yes, dear readers. Our friend Devlin is back in all of his complicated, tortured glory. You may have missed him in Book Two, I know I did. His character goes through a lot in this story and by the end, I was wishing book four was available already just to see how Devlin is doing.
The storyline has some great surprises. I don’t want to give anything away, so I’ll leave it at that. But I want to say everyone has some greyness to them, which makes these characters and their story so much more interesting.


I devoured this book. Do yourself a favor, buy the series. Sit down with some tea and a blanket and start
reading. Oh, and clear your weekend. You’ll be glad you did.


Rating 10 One of The Best


 Author Interview with Amanda Stevens!












Thank you Amanda for stopping by!


What inspired you to become a writer?
Not a what but a who. Mary Stewart. I’ve always loved her romantic suspense novels and have read them so many times I can recite first lines by heart, lol. I credit her for giving me a love of visual writing. Her imagery is breathtaking, her descriptions so vivid and lush it’s like being transported to Crete or Delphi or Damascus.
A few years ago, my writing took a distinct turn into what I call creepy Southern fiction. It’s no accident this change came about after I saw The Gift, a paranormal thriller starring Cate Blanchett. The movie made such an impression that I decided right then and there I wanted to delve more deeply into my own Southern roots for inspiration.
There is also a book from my childhood that had a major impact on my writing—The Diamond in the Window, my first foray into paranormal fantasy and I loved it. 

What was the last book you read?
Die for Me, a young adult by Amy Plum about a group of revenants in Paris. Currently, I’m reading Practical Magical by Alice Hoffman. I never read it before and I’m a little taken aback at how different it is from the movie. Although that’s almost always the case so I don’t know why I’m surprised.

What sparked the idea for The Graveyard Queen series?
I really, really wanted to try my hand at a paranormal mystery/romance and I wanted my protagonist to have an unusual occupation, one that would be paramount to the story. So I Googled strange jobs and up popped cemetery restorer. It was the perfect vocation for the character I had in mind and the tagline—Every cemetery has a story; every grave, its secrets—practically wrote itself.

Amelia Gray is a cemetery restorer. I loved all of the shop talk! What kind of research did you do to become familiar with this line of work?
Exploring old cemeteries has always been a passion of mine so you can imagine how much fun I have researching these stories. Plus, there’s a wealth of information about cemetery restoration and graveyard folklore literally at my fingertips on the Internet. The deeper I dug (pun intended), the more fascinated I became with headstone symbolism and burial traditions, and I knew I had to put all of that to good use in the series.

Amelia also sees ghosts. I loved the Southern setting of your novels, the old ghost cities and the Gothic tone. How did you decide to set the series in Charleston? And did you talk to or interview any people who claim they can see ghosts? You know, for research purposes?
As I mentioned earlier, I made a conscious decision to return to my Southern roots in my writing and the setting just seemed a natural fit for these stories. I’d visited Charleston a few years ago and remembered it having some of the most beautiful graveyards I’d ever seen. I mention in The Restorer that if New Orleans is midnight, Charleston is twilight, all soft and misty and mysterious. The perfect place for ghosts.
I talked to several people who’ve had paranormal experiences, including a childhood friend. One incident she recounted freaked me out so thoroughly that it inspired one of the creepier scenes in The Kingdom.

John Devlin, dreamy haunted cop and love interest, appears again for The Prophet. In fact, the third book is mainly based around his past. How did you envision his character at the beginning and has he changed in your mind from The Restorer, Book One?
He really hasn’t changed from my initial vision at all! He and Amelia were firmly ingrained in my head at the very start of the series, and I knew their back stories—hers is revealed in The Kingdom, his in The Prophet—before I ever wrote a word. But there are still more secrets to be revealed for both of them, so stay tuned!

All of the characters in your series are well developed and may I say, a little bit haunting. Who is your favorite character to write?
Amelia. I definitely relate to her, although I don’t see ghosts, lol. But I’m a bit of a loner and I tend to live inside my own head. I also really like Dr. Shaw. That man has some deep, dark secrets and I can’t wait to revisit him in Book Four.

What was the biggest challenge you faced while writing your novels?
I’d never written a continuing character series before so the challenge was in keeping the stories fresh and the characters interesting and evolving. That’s why I took Amelia out of Charleston for the second book. I needed to shake things up a bit.

How do you like your potato?
Mashed with garlic and chives. Southern comfort food. Yum.

Do you have a favorite literary character?
Oh, that’s a great question! It’s hard to beat Sherlock Holmes for a mystery lover like me. He’s just so clever and moody and eccentric! Bohemian, according to Watson (another great character, btw).
Years and years ago I read a fantasy series called The Eternal Champion by Michael Moorcock. The hero was an albino warrior named Elric. Loved him.
This may be cheating a bit since I’m basing my admiration on the character in the movie rather than the film novelization, but Ellen Ripley from Alien is one of the strongest protagonists ever created, a real female hero rather than a heroine.

What do you do when you’re not writing?
Read, watch movies, play on the Internet, go for long walks. I like to travel, too, when time permits. I have a road trip to Marfa, Texas, coming up which will kick off the research for a new series.

Will there be more Graveyard Queen stories with Devlin and Amelia? (I hope so!)
Yes! I’ve sold three more books in the series. I’m so excited!

And what new books are you working on now?
I’m currently working on the fourth Graveyard Queen story tentatively titled, The Keeper. I’m also plotting the first book of my new YA series for Harlequin Teen.

And what is the one question you always wish someone would ask you, but haven’t yet? (Answer too please!)
If I could go back and start my life over, what would I be. I posed that question on my Facebook wall once and the responses were so interesting, but no one asked me, lol. The answer is…I’d work for the FBI. Not as a profiler or field agent, but as one of those geeky researchers that hole up in windowless cubicles pouring over mountains of data looking for the most obscure clue that would break the case. 


Thanks for stopping by Amanda!
Looking forward to reading more Graveyard Queen books and your new YA series!

You can visit Amanda Stevens here or follow her on Twitter at @AmandaStevensTX

Posted April 23, 2012 by Kimberly in Book Reviews, Interviews / 7 Comments


Book Review: The Kingdom by Amanda Stevens

Posted March 29, 2012 by Kimberly in Book Reviews / 7 Comments

Title: The Kingdom

Author: Amanda Stevens

Publisher: Harlequinn Mira

Publication Date: March 2012

Genre: Adult Mystery/Paranormal Fiction

Series or Stand Alone: Series, Book Two


Synopsis can be found here.

NetGalley review.

Review:Amelia Gray, The Graveyard Queen, takes a job at the remote and mysterious Asher Falls. But as soon as she arrives, she feels an unusual pull to the town, the people and the strange circumstances that surround the sleepy town.
Amelia is there to restore the old cemetery, but she can’t ignore the ghosts that drift through the land. And these ghosts seem awfully interested in her.

After devouring The Restorer, Book One of The Graveyard Queen series, I immediately picked up book two. Amelia has left her beloved Charleston behind to venture to Asher Falls, giving us new mystery and new suspicious characters. As the mystery unfolds slowly, ghosts hiding behind every corner, Amelia finds some secrets are better left alone.

I love Amelia. She’s incredibly smart, clever and very much haunted. She can see ghosts and tries to follow her father’s rules. But after breaking a few, or all, of them in the last book, the ghosts have become more interested in her than she is comfortable with. Her heart may belong to a certain detective back home, and he is absent in this book, but the loneliness is still there. Her feelings of isolation add to the haunting landscape and creepy people that populate Asher Falls. She’s not over her detective, but is she ready to start something new with Thane Asher? Is he to be trusted?

I loved the setting of this book. The cemetery she has to restore is eerie but no match for the older watery grave that is under the lake right outside the house she is staying in. The ghosts have grown bolder. But what is really dangerous aren’t necessarily the ghosts, but the people of Asher Falls- what they’re capable of and who or what haunts them.

There is nothing to not love about this book. I recommend reading The Restorer first, only because I think The Kingdom is even more powerful after seeing Amelia in her natural hometown.
But overall, this series has quickly become one of my favorites.

Give it a try. It’s a slow creepy feeling, the hair rising on the back of your neck, being watched when you’re alone. You know- Awesomeness.

Rating 9 Ridiculously Awesome like Cookies and Ice Cream

Posted March 29, 2012 by Kimberly in Book Reviews / 7 Comments


Book Review: Wherever You Go by Heather Davis

Posted December 22, 2011 by Kimberly in Book Reviews / 1 Comment

Title: Wherever You Go


Author: Heather Davis

Publisher: Harcourt Children’s Books

Publication Date: November 2011

Genre: Young Adult Fiction

Series or Stand Alone: Stand Alone

Synopsis can be found here.
Netgalley review.

Review:

Holly Mullen’s boyfriend died in a tragic car accident, leaving her the sole survivor. But as Holly navigates her life, she doesn’t know Rob’s ghost is following her, watching over her.
Rob, not being able to cross over, lingers in a world where the only person who can see him is Holly’s grandfather who is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
As he forges his own unique and intimate relationship with Grandpa Aldo, he watches Holly heal, fail and try again.

I didn’t know what to expect from this book. Part ghost story and part realistic fiction, Holly and her family touched my heart. I loved Holly as a character. Her confusion, loyalty and guilt was so real and honest, it made her a very sympathetic character. 
As she grows closer to Jason, one of Rob’s old friends, her journey through healing is slow coming, with setbacks along the way, but beautiful to experience. 

Grandpa Aldo’s frustrations and anxiety as his mind and communication skills falter is beautifully written. His mind is clear and whole, his experiences real but only when it comes to talking to Rob. The outside world takes much more time and patience to navigate.
Switching perspectives was confusing at first, but I think overall it paid off. I loved getting inside Holly’s head. I liked the third person narration for Jason as the outsider. And Rob’s voice was so different and detached, it merged the worlds nicely. 

I was swept away in Holly’s life almost immediately and read the book in two days! By the end, I was so invested in Holly, Aldo, Rob and Jason I didn’t want the book to end. Make no mistake- It is a hard book to read. The main characters are dealing with death, depression and Alzheimer’s disease. But Davis navigates the waters so well, I became submerged in their lives, really caring for these characters and the paths they chose and the consequences they faced.

There may have been tears. 
Just saying.


Rating: 9 Ridiculously Awesome, like Cookies and Ice Cream

Posted December 22, 2011 by Kimberly in Book Reviews / 1 Comment


***Romance Report*** Book Review: Maybe This Time by Jennifer Crusie

Posted September 12, 2011 by Kimberly in Book Reviews / 3 Comments

Title: Maybe This Time

Author: Jennifer Crusie

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Publication Date: August 2010

Genre: Adult Romance/Ghost Story

Series or Stand Alone: Stand Alone

Synopsis can be found here.

Review:

Andie is ready to get married. She’s newly engaged and ready to start over, and forget about her ex husband North Archer. But as she’s severing ties, North pulls her in to babysitting two orphans who are now in North’s care. Andie realizes these two children aren’t acting out from being neglected. Something more sinister is at work and to save the children and herself, she has to uncover what.
This is my first Jennifer Cruise book, and as I’m relatively new to the romance genre, I wasn’t sure what to expect. After being enchanted by this story, I went out and read a couple of other books by Cruise. While some reviewers thought this book was a little different from Crusies’s other works, that’s what I liked most about it. (I found Cruise’s other works to be lighter than this story.)
There is a lot to like in this story. Andie is a smart and loyal character, just doing her best and trying to stay away from her handsome and emotionally detached ex husband. She’s had enough! But oh, who could really blame her for being pulled back in…
North is sexy, standoffish and romantic all in one. As the misunderstood hero, he’s flawed and stubborn. North’s journey through the novel is the most drastic, and the most satisfying
Add that North’s fun and charming brother, Andie’s mom and North’s mom around to make trouble, two haunted children and some ghosts and you have a novel that’s not completely romance, but not just thriller/ghost story either. It’s really more than that. And did I mention the story is creepy? Children and ghosts really spook me out in general, but Cruise goes a step further making me scared for Andie and the kids. This is not Casper and his uncles. We’re not talking horror or anything, but it was way scarier than I thought it was going to be for a little romance novel.
I leant my copy out to a couple of friends, both devoured the book in less than two days. 
There are some scenes that are for mature audiences, though not as graphic as some romance novels I’ve read in the past, you have been warned.
Suspenseful and hot, this has become of my favorite romance stories. 

Rating 9, Ridiculously Awesome like Cookies and Ice Cream

Posted September 12, 2011 by Kimberly in Book Reviews / 3 Comments