08. October 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Courtney, Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fantasy, Fiction, Paranormal, Teen Books · Tags:

Far Far Away by Tom McNeal, 384 pages, read by Courtney, on 09/03/2013

Welcome to the town of Never Better. It’s the home of young Jeremy Johnson Johnson, a teen with the unusual ability to hear ghosts. He is presently accompanied by a rather famous ghost: Jacob Grimm (of the Grimm Brothers). Jacob has been “haunting” (yes, I’m using the term very loosely) Jeremy for quite some time, protecting him from the Keeper of Occasions (an entity only Jacob seems familiar with). Jeremy, for his part, is quite content to be constantly accompanied by this ghost. Life has been rather lonely for him. His father became a shut-in after his mother ran off years ago. Jeremy has been doing his best to keep the tiny family afloat, which is rather difficult as their sole source of income is the family bookstore, The Two-Book Bookstore. The bookstore really does have only two books, volumes one and two of his grandfather’s autobiography. Needless to say, business is not good and foreclosure is imminent.
When redheaded, gregarious Ginger takes an interest in Jeremy, the two set off a series of events that will lead them into a deadly situation that only Jacob Grimm can help undo.
Narrated entirely by the ghost of Jacob Grimm, this book is one of the most original and intriguing fairy-tale-related stories I’ve come across. It takes a moment to get used to Jacob’s manner of speaking, which is appropriately didactic and peppered with German phrases, but the narration does wonders to set up the atmosphere of the book. The town of Never Better has a slightly menacing and dreamlike quality to it. For instance, there’s a Santa-like baker in town whose bakery makes a rare type of cake with superstition on the side. Whenever the green smoke rises from the chimney of the bakery, the town then knows that delicious Prince Cakes will be on the menu the next day. There’s also the matter of the town’s runaway problem. Young folks leave and never come back, yet the townspeople are largely unconcerned. All the mysteries eventually tie in together to create a truly unique and timeless world where it seems anything might happen, particularly if you have the ghost of one of the Grimm brothers on your side.

30. September 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Tracy · Tags: ,

The Haunted Tea Cosy by Edward Gorey, 66 pages, read by Tracy, on 09/12/2013

Gorey has never been funnier or more “impossible to resist” (Boston Herald) than in this peculiar retelling of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol.

24. September 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Mystery · Tags:

All That's Missing by Sarah Sullivan , 368 pages, read by Angie, on 09/24/2013

Arlo is an orphan who lives with his grandpa, Poppo. Poppo’s memory is not so good anymore. He wonders about and forgets things a lot. Poppo has a stroke and ends up in the hospital; Arlo ends up in a group home. He decides to run away and find his grandma, Ida Jones. Ida lives in Edgewater, Virginia, so Arlo hops a bus for the 350 mile trip. He hasn’t seen Ida since he was 2 years old when his parents died. There were hard feelings between Ida and her husband and Poppo. But Ida is happy to see Arlo and takes him in. He settles into Edgewater, makes new friends and starts learning more about his father. He still thinks about Poppo, who he talks to on the phone, and worries about living so far from him. Ida had planned on selling her house and moving to a retirement community, but all that changed when Arlo arrived. The prospective buyer, Mr. Grainger, is pretty insistent however and starts causing trouble for Ida.

There aren’t a lot of books like this with a kid dealing with a grandparent’s Alzheimer’s. I enjoyed the fact that even without parents Arlo had a loving family who really wanted what was best for him. The mystery surrounding Mr. Grainger was interesting and surprising. I also really enjoyed Arlo’s new friend Maywood. I liked her family and her obsession with ghosts. I also like that the supernatural occurrences were not explained. We don’t know what really happened, if anything happened or if it was all in Arlo’s imagination. Good story and mystery.

I received this book from Netgalley.com.

04. June 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fiction, Graphic Novel · Tags: , , ,

Scary Godmother by Jill Thompson, 207 pages, read by Angie, on 06/03/2013

Scary Godmother is a wonderful graphic novel all about Halloween. In the first story Hannah meets her Scary Godmother on her very first Halloween outing. She learns that monsters aren’t that scary and can be your friends and she develops a deep appreciation and love for Halloween and everything that goes along with it. I adored the illustrations of this book. I thought they definitely enhanced the text and were really the story of the book. Scary Godmother is a fantastic character. I loved the chapter where she got the boo flu and Hannah had to get everything ready for Halloween. Each chapter is its own story but they all go together very well. My only quibble, and it is a minor one, is that the chapters represent five Halloweens but Hannah doesn’t really appear to age at all. Other than that I think the stories are delightful.

20. November 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Horror, Paranormal, Tammy, Teen Books · Tags: ,

Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake, 332 pages, read by Tammy, on 11/10/2012

The sequel to Anna Dressed in Blood with all the heart-thumping suspense and clever quips you would expect from main character Cas and his friends. The ghost girl, Anna saved ghost-hunter Cas and his friends in the first book by dragging the voodoo monster, Obeahman, down into Hell. But now she’s reappearing in Cas’ dreams and in his room and her voice is coming from other ghosts. Cas realizes she is being tortured and he’s determined to rescue her despite all advice to the contrary. This sequel takes Cas and his friends to Britain and explains the creation of the athame and Cas’ connection to it.

17. July 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Tammy, Teen Books · Tags: ,

Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake, 316 pages, read by Tammy, on 07/14/2012

Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead.

He inherited this job from his father as well as Dad’s deadly athame, after his father was killed by a ghost. Cas and his mom and their spirit-sniffing cat travel the country following local legends and destroying the murderous dead. Cas doesn’t have time to worry about what he’ll do next year when he graduates from high school or to make friends. He just wants to learn more, grow stronger and avenge his father.

Following a local legend of a ghost called Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas expects things to go as usual: track, hunt and kill the ghost. What he finds instead is a spirit of a girl trapeed in a curse and rage. A powerful ghost like nothing he’s ever faced, Anna has killed every person who has dared step into her Victorian home.

Cas follows some local teens to Anna’s house and is tricked into confronting her before he is ready. Yet she doesn’t kill him. Why? She did kill one of the other teens and now Cas has to race against time to figure out where Anna’s power comes from, why she didn’t kill him, how to save his new friends from Anna and why he has this overwhelming since of doom.

15. February 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Informational Book, NonFiction · Tags: , ,

Weird History: A Twisted Tour of America's Bizarre Past by Randy Fairbanks, Matt Lake , 128 pages, read by Angie, on 02/15/2012

This book is full of weird snippets of history and I loved it. There is a lot of information in this book on ghosts, bizarre people and places, strange happenings, and just weird things that occurred in America’s history; things you aren’t told about in history books. All the segments are pretty brief so if you want more information on a topic you are going to have to find it elsewhere. But this book gives you a good overview on a lot of stuff. It is organized very well with nice concise chapters and very readable text. I think kids will find it fascinating. I know there are several things I want to know more about. I loved finding out that both Reagan and Carter saw UFOs, that there’s a cat haunting the U.S. Capital, and that George Washington was not our first president (he was our 9th)! I’m definitely going to have to read up on that one!