Posts Tagged ‘Ghost stories’

Gallant

By V. E. Schwab

ISBN 9780062835772

Green Willow Books Imprint of Harpercollins

I love books. No doubt about it. I love buying them and I love borrowing them from the library. Libraries are one of the best uses of our rates money. Anyway, I preordered this new book from the library and I am so glad I did. It is beautifully written and so many times I just stopped to savour the sentences and read again.

Olivia has been raised at Merilance, a home for girls. Olivia doesn’t mix well with the others. She is mute and she can see ghouls. The only thing she owns is an old journal of her mothers and Olivia knows every line, every page by heart. Life in the school is difficult and lonely, so when a letter arrives telling her that she has a home and family who want her in a far off place called Gallant, Olivia can’t wait to get there. However, lines in her mother’s journal warn her that whatever she does, she must never go to Gallant.

The shadows are not real.

The dreams can never hurt you.

You will be safe as long as stay away from Gallant.

When Olivia arrives, her cousin tells her the letter is fake and she must go but Olivia stays and that is when life begins to unravel. There are ghouls and shadows, darkness, fear and longing, too.

Everything casts a shadow. Even the world we live in. And as with every shadow, there is a place where it must touch. A seam, where the shadow meets its source.

The book certainly has it moments of suspense and tension.The story is paced with thought and the darkness creeps in the more you read. Bit by bit, more of Olivia’s mother’s journal is revealed, secrets opened up and danger presses in. There are locked doors, ghostly figures and evilness. I do feel this is one of those top YA crossover books that many adults will love too. The imagery is vivid and I felt like I was right there with Olivia. I felt her loneliness, and her need to belong. I felt her need to know who her parents were. I could feel her frustration at not being able to be understood, not so much because she could not talk, but because other’s refused to try to communicate. I most definitely felt her fear, and I confess, I’d be too scared to go anywhere near Gallant. Her bravery, when needed, is awesome.

I loved it. I really liked the different characters at Gallant; her cousin Matthew, and Edgar and Hannah who look after the crumbling manor. They all had their flaws, making them real and relatable. Perhaps not a book to read late at night on your own.

The book has occasional illustrations which are beautiful, haunting, black, grey and shadowy.

Top read. Definitely, highly recommend this.

The top secret intergalactic notes of Buttons McGinty Book 3

By Rhys Darby

ISBN 9781775436621

Scholastic NZ

Buttons McGinty is back in yet another funny adventure. Set out in journal form with lots of drawings, this middle grade book is ideal for fans of Jeff Kinney and Dav Pilkey. It can be read as a stand alone book, but there is a good brief recap of the first two books just in case you haven’t read them. Then before you know it, we are launching quickly and madly into Buttons’ final adventure.

Buttons is in search of his missing mother. He and his Dorm 4 gang travel the universe looking for her and come face to face with danger, including Batships, and Space Cops chasing them through the universe. The action is fast-paced, lots of tongue-in-cheek humour and a quirky protagonist who rushes through everything at break-neck speed. A good ending to the trilogy of Buttons McGinity and his band of friends. I love the robot and his kind heart.

You can also have fun creating messages for your own adventures by using the Morse Code and Hieroglyphs Keys at the back of the book.

The Ghosts on the Hill

By Bill Nagelkerke

ISBN 9780995123366

Cuba Press

The year is 1884. The place is Lyttelton, a small and bustling harbour town. Elsie was one of the last to see the lost boys alive, and now she is haunted by what happened to them. When the opportunity comes for Elsie to follow in their footsteps over the Bridle Path and put their ghosts to rest, she doesn’t hesitate.

Set in the past, this story offers much in terms of the history of the settlement of Lyttelton, and Christchurch, New Zealand. As someone who grew up in Christchurch, the setting is familiar and I couldn’t help but smile at some of the places I recognised. Elsie is the main character and she is sweet and caring. However, she has a strong sense of guilt that eats away at her. While on the hills one day she met two boys and they chatted for a short time. Elsie even gave them some of her food as they had come unprepared for their hike over the Bridle path. The weather closed in but she did not stop the boys from continuing their walk and sadly they were never seen alive again. You can feel her pain and guilt and the fear of the hills she has now built up within herself. Based on truth, this story is both sweet and sad. This is not just a good ghost story but a look at the way of life back in the 1850’s. This would be a great read in class for primary school students doing studies on our early settlement. I particularly liked the Maori fairies thread, with the patupaiarehe who are wicked and dangerous.

The forever horse

By Stacy Gregg

ISBN 9780008332358

HarperCollins Children’s Books

Maisie has always loved horses. She is also a talented artist. When the opportunity arises for her to study in Paris, her two worlds collide. There, in the heart of the city, Maisie finds the childhood diary of famous horse artist, Rose Bonifait, and meets the beautiful black stallion, Claude.

As the two girls’ stories emerge, tragedies unfold – both past and present – and Maisie realises that she can’t begin to imagine life without her forever horse…

Once again Stacy Gregg seamlessly weaves two stories together to bring us an excellent read. Maisie and Rose have much in common even though they have never met. They both love drawing and they both love horses. Their stories are set in the same place in Paris, but well over 150 years apart. Rose has more confidence than Maisie and is strong-willed preferring to wear trousers rather than dresses as was expected for girls and young women of the time.

There is something very likeable about both girls and their stories are heartfelt. After an accident Rose has to deal with a huge change in her life. It is her eventual acceptance and courage to deal with her new life that makes her a good strong character. Maisie also faces changes and it is lovely to see her gain confidence and finally believe in herself.

I can’t draw, not even a straight line. I also can’t ride a horse but that didn’t stop me from enjoying this book and feeling lots of emotions as the two stories were revealed.

Answering to the caul

By Ted Dawe

ISBN 9780473528188

Mangakino University Press

There are some things you can never share with another human being. Answering to the caul is one of these.’ 

It is said that being born in a caul means that you can never die by drowning. Andrei Reti puts this prophecy to the test, time and time again.  But there is a price to be paid for each caul intervention.  This is a novel about the dark side of being special.  About the war between fact and coincidence. About the things we can never share.

This is definitely a crossover book which will appeal to young adults and adults alike. It is deep, sad, stinks of reality and the harshness of poverty and neglect but it is a very good read. Andrei, despite his dysfunctional upbringing is incredibly well-read. I love the many references to some of the literary classics, and I think many people who have enjoyed reading the classics themselves, would love Andrei.

Andrei does indeed believe that he was born in a caul and there is proof on a number of occasions where he has escaped drowning. However, each time the consequences have been fatal for some other people in his life. Andrei’s story runs over many years as he retells us his life. We see his father in prison, the death of his mother and when he is sent away to stay with relatives, his life changes. Poverty, anger, and revenge are all part of his life now and he has to live with choices he makes, as well as the choices made by his cousins. At times I wanted to hug him and others I wanted to shake him and tell him not to get involved in things. Even when he tries to do the right thing by traveling to Thailand to help out whanau, he still ends up in trouble and even danger.

Perhaps there really was something that mapped out his life. Whether you believe the caul or not, you can’t help but believe in Andrei and like him, flaws and all.

A good solid read.

Ghost Club
Book 1 : The new kid
Book 2 : The haunted school
Book 3 : A Transylvanian tale
By Deborah Abela

Deborah Abela has created another great series for children. We have had the wonderful series about secret agent Max Remy. Actually, I treasure the first book in that series, as it is personally autographed by Deborah from when she was here in Christchurch some years ago.
Now, we have ghosts and everyone knows I love ghost stories.
Edgar, Angeline and Dylan spend their time caught up in great adventures as ghost-catchers. Their latest adventure sees them going to a ghost club convention in Transylvania and I am sure it will be full of danger and excitement. I haven’t had a chance to read these yet but they are certainly on my TBR pile.

The skull in the woods
By Sandra Greaves

Yay! Another ghost story I just have to read.
I love the atmosphere and sounds of this trailer as it hooks you in just enough to make you think this could get a little scary! And who doesn’t like a good scare.

“In Old Scratch Wood on Dartmoor, quarrelling cousins Matt and Tilda find a buried skull. And from that moment black things begin to happen. Birds and animals turn bad, and there are rumours of the return of an ancient curse known as the Gabbleratchet. But what can Matt and Tilda do to stop it.” Sandra Greaves recommends this for ages 10 up.

The screaming staircase
By Jonathan Stroud

Lockwood & Co : Hauntings are our business
This is the first book in Jonathan Stroud’s chilling and ghostly new series.

Those who read this blog now and again will know how much I love a good ghost story. This one has been on my list for awhile and I can not wait until it is on the shelves in bookshops. I have been searching in vein for sometime for a trailer to this book and thanks to fellow librarian Zac who let me know via Facebook that it was finally here. And it was worth the wait. Great trailer!

There has been a terrifying epidemic of ghosts haunting the country for more than fifty years now. Lucy Carlyle is a young psychic investigator who begins working for Anthony Lockwood but after a rather disastrous case they have one chance to put things right. They have not option but to stay the night in England’s most haunted house. I can’t wait to see how they manage and just how ghostly things will get.

It is suggested that when you do read this novel – you’ll want to sleep with the lights on!

I really enjoyed The Amulet of Samarkand which I read a few years ago so I am definitely watching out for this one.

The flame in the mist

By Kit Grindstaff

I stumbled upon this trailer and love it. Within minutes of watching it I was reserving the book at my local library.  This trailer has a haunting quality to it which is fitting considering the story involves  a few ghosts.

There’s evil-a coming from up on the hill
If the Mist doesn’t get you, the Agromonds will.

—From an old Anglavian rhyme”

The land of Anglavia is shrouded in a  sinister mist created by the cruel rulers; the Agromond family. They control everything and everyone. On the night before her 13th birthday, Jemma, a girl with fiery red hair realizes she is not who she thinks she is. This realization changes everything. Ghosts, an ancient prophecy and a mysterious book all lead Jemma on a dangerous journey. The Agromonds however, have their own agenda – one which could have fatal consequences. Jemma and her  friend Digby, as well as her two telepathic golden rats, Noodle and Pie must fight for survival against all manner of enemies to defeat evil and find out the secrets of her true identity. Sounds like a good fast paced fantasy, supernatural novel and one I await with eager anticipation.

I love the music and the haunting, taunting voices in this very well produced trailer. The reviews I have read are all five out of five stars.