Posts Tagged ‘Ghosts’

There’s a ghost in this house

By Oliver Jeffers

ISBN 9780008298357


I love Oliver Jeffers books and have quite a collection of them. His latest book is simply delightful.

A young girl lives in a haunted house, but has never seen a ghost. Are they white with holes for eyes? Are they hard to see? She’d love to know!

The book has a tracing paper dustjacket with two peepholes where we can see the young girl standing in front of the door, and a little ghost peeking out from the attic window. It is a perfect way to highlight our main characters and entice the reader to pick up the book.

The story begins with the young girl opening the door and inviting the reader in.


Please come in.

So we enter the world of a haunted house but the girl there just can’t find any ghosts, even though she is sure there must be some. She searches everywhere, every nook and cranny but still cannot find any.

Between some pages there are tracing paper pages that when turned over, very cleverly reveal ghosts that only the reader can see. Children and adults too, will giggle over this funny play.

There are definitely ghosts. They are hiding behind old furniture, swinging from a chandelier, even rattling chains. The ghosts are playing hide and seek, though she has no idea. I love the ghosts giggling in the bedroom.

The illustrations are black and white with an authentic look and feel to the historical layouts. It adds atmosphere to the story. The ghosts are white sheet figures with peephole eyes. The girl herself, in green and yellow, is the only colour, apart from the front and back cover, which matches the girl’s clothing.

This is interactive, it is unique in many ways, but mostly, it is fun. I love it. Absolutely!

Spellbound Ponies

Magic and Mischief

By Stacy Gregg

ISBN 9780008402815


The first book in a new series by award-winning author, Stacy Gregg, introduces us to the main characters. Olivia, her mum and sister, Ella move to a place in the country. It is in the “middle of nowhere” according to Ella but Olivia is excited. It means she will have a chance to ride horses.

The ivy-covered Pemberley Stables are not what Olivia expected. They are empty and appear to be abandoned. However, all is not as it seems and from a mist in the stables, a ghostly girl appears. Eliza is a ghost, having died a few hundred years ago in a riding accident but she is very friendly and the two girls quickly become best friends. With Eliza’s help, Olivia discovers a spell carved into the wall.

The deepest magic binds these stables

Unless two brave girls can turn the tables.

The curse on each horse must be found,

Then break their spell to be unbound.

Long, long ago, a spell was cast on the stables and bound all the horses in their ghostly form. The only way to change things and free the horses is to work out what each horse needs to do to be a better horse. In the first book, we meet Bess, a big black horse that roams at midnight robbing people of their jewels. The girls realise they have to try and convince Bess that stealing is not the right thing to do. If they succeed, then Bess will be freed and become real again. Like all good books, there is always someone trying to ruin their plans. Horace the Hunt Master tries to get in the girls way. Will he succeed?

The books are an easy read for independent readers, especially those who love horses, spells, ghosts and best friend stories. They offer short chapters, with many illustrations throughout. You can’t escape the fact that these books do have lessons in them, but that said, I know there are many young readers who will love these books.

Stacy Gregg has books now for everyone. Her picture books suit much younger readers, and we now have these early chapter books which can be followed by her middle-grade novels.

Sugar and Spice

ISBN 9780008402907

Olivia and Eliza are back again. This time we meet Prince, a rather overweight horse with a penchant for all things sweet and yummy. His downfall, is greed and it is up to the girls to change his ways but of course, Horace the Hunt Master is back and will do everything he can to stop the girls.

Olivia and Eliza realise that if they manage to break the spell, one horse at a time, and change the horses from ghost to real, the horses will need feeding. Feeding costs money and Olivia has to work out ways to make money. This adds an extra plot to the story as Olivia considers entering a baking competition with money as first prize. The trouble with that is her older sister Ella also wants to win the money.

A good mix of magic, mischief and sibling rivalry.

The House of Madame M

By Clotilde Perrin

Translated by Daniel Hahn

ISBN 9781776572748

Gecko Press

This large format picture book is top quality and pure delight. Not just for children, but adults too will be entertained by this latest wonder from Clotilde Perrin. I certainly know I have spent ages lifting and pulling every flap to reveal hidden creatures and secret messages.

The House of Madame M is haunted and there are monsters, ghosts and other creatures lurking on every page. We are invited in, told to take our shoes off but we must be quiet and “very, very careful” and we must not “touch a thing”. And of course, that is exactly what we do when we open each cupboard or draw. Even the toilet lid can be lifted, if you dare! Gorgeous, yet scary illustrations completely cover every inch of every page. Every tiny detail has been carefully thought out. A real treasure and a good choice with Christmas just around the corner.

Paper engineering is an art form and Perrin does it perfectly. The last page, with the large monster arms, and the phoenix rising from the ashes is pretty cool.




Winner of the Joy Cowley Award

The little ghost who lost her boo!

By Elaine Bickell

Illustrated by Raymond McGrath

ISBN 9781775435754

“I’ve lost my Boo! I’ve lost my Boo!

Where has it gone? What will I do?”

What do you do when you are a little ghost and somehow you’ve lost your boo? You go searching of course, and that is exactly what little ghost does. She searches everywhere and asks all her friends if they have seen her boo. We meet lots of different animals and birds, but do they know where her boo is? It doesn’t seem like she is having much luck at first but wait for the ending which requires reader participation to complete the story.

The illustrations are quite adorable, especially poor little ghost’s looks of disappointment, worry, sadness and of course, happiness. I do love the rooster’s feathers all beautiful and detailed and taking up a whole page.


Picture book reprint

Grandmas McGarvey joins the scrum

By Jenny Hessell

Illustrated by Trevor Pye

ISBN 9781775436034

Grandmother McGarvey has been around for 30 years and this reprint brings her back for a whole new generation of readers. It’s not everyday you see a Grandma toughing it out on the rugby field, head down in the middle of a scrum with a rugby team, but that is exactly what Grandma McGarvey does. Totally by accident, of course. Why she is there will all be revealed when you find a copy of this latest edition. The story is funny and with a good kiwi feel to it.

Junior novel reprint

Lily has a secret 

(Book 2 in the Lily the Littlest Angel series)

By Elizabeth Pulford

ISBN 9781775435921


First chapter books carry a lot of responsibility. They need to have a good story to capture the imagination of newly independent or emerging readers. Short chapters, decent size font, illustrations to help break up the text, and words readers are familiar with as well as a few new words to challenge. The Littlest Angel series of books  provides all that and more.

Lily has a secret. A warm, fluffy, cute and injured kitten. How will she keep it a secret, especially when one of the rules, is no animals allowed? There is also the matter of a performance to put on, which is quite difficult when you are trying to hide a kitten.  Lily somehow always manages to break things, or get herself into some sort of trouble but she is sweet and likeable and really only wants to do the right thing. Good first chapter book and beyond.


How to hang a witch

By Adriana Mather

ISBN 9780553539479


It has been sometime since I posted a YA trailer. Not sure if they are not being made as often but seeing this one, I am glad there are some people out there who still believe in the power of a good trailer. After watching this one I am very keen to get hold of a copy of the book when it comes out next month. Will be down to the bookshops for sure.

Sam  Mather is a descendent of Cotton Mather who was one of the men responsible for the famous witch trials of Salem. When Sam ends up moving to Salem and attending the high school, she is confronted by descendents on the other side who see her as trouble. Being an outsider is never easy and the folks here are not keen to help her. There is also a ghost and a centuries old curse to deal with. Sounds intriguing and one to look out for. Ghosts, witches and curses is striaght up my alley!




The house on the hill

By Kyle Mewburn

Illustrated by Sarah Davis

ISBN 9781775430841




What a treasure! 

This story begins with two young ghosts as they near the entrance to a very haunted looking house at the top of a hill. Eerie lights, slamming doors and even shrunken skulls are just some of the dangers in their way. 

Will they be brave enough to enter?

“Pray, flee now, flee now if you will!

Or dare ye brave this house on the hill?”

The language and illustrations marry up perfectly to create a suitably creepy atmosphere.  The use of sepia tones in the illustrations adds to the tension and pulls readers in. The first double spread is just stunning. There are two large, golden-eyed owls peering down from a tree watching as the two ghosts slowly make their way through the night and up the street towards the lone house on the hill. The language definitely has the Gothic style of Edgar Allan Poe which helps build suspense and add so much more to the story.

I also love the moths and their somewhat cheeky smiles and a special mention must be made of the raven on the back cover (surely a nod to E A Poe). This highlights the perfect collaboration of the author and illustrator who understand each other. Not always successful with many picture books but this is just wonderful.

I love the end pages which create a beginning and an end to the story with all the spookiness trapped inside. Beautifully written, gorgeously illustrated, this book is going to be a hit! This will be a great one to read aloud to children.

For those that dare – check out Kyle reading The House on the Hill.

A warning though, maybe, just maybe, keep the lights on!

I confess when watching this clip I actually jumped at one part but you will have to watch it yourself to see if you jump too.

The word ghost
By Christine Paice

ISBN 9781743318263


While technically on the contemporary fiction stands, this book will also appeal to many young-adult readers.
We begin in the year 1973 when Rebecca Budde aka Abes is fifteen. We feel her angst as she falls in love with Dave. Dave whom she hasn’t even spoken to yet is all she thinks of. Eventually they connect but then like all good stories, they are pulled apart.
A move to the tiny village of Brightley separates Rebecca and Dave. She struggles to cope but it isn’t long before strange things begin happening, strange appearances from ghosts. I did find myself falling in love with the ghost Algernon Keats who inhabits her wardrobe and his sense of humour but not so much his deranged sister Augusta!
And then of course there is the not-so-nice Alex March for whom Rebecca walks his dog.
For those who love the poetry from the romantic era of Keats, Byron and Wordsworth this is one to read as short bursts of poetry are shared throughout the novel.
I love how the author brings in all that made the seventies good – depending on your opinion of the times of course. David Cassidy, flares, even Donny Osmond gets a mention and admitting that I remember all of them is, I fear, giving away my age but a great book to enjoy.

Monkey boy
By Donovan Bixley

I am excited about this book and hope it is just the first of many. This is one of those books that capture the attention of so many readers for so many different reasons. It is as the blurb says, part comic, part novel and from the looks of it all action, with full on humour as well.
Donovan Bixley is well known for some wonderful illustrations and art work and this book is no different. Dad’s will giggle too if reading this to their children. The trailer is a great introduction to this book about Jimmy Grimholt the youngest sailor aboard the warship H.M.S. Fury which is bound for bloodcurdling battle.
Do hunt out for it but be prepared for battle and even a ghost or two!

Blood eagle tortures
Book 4 in the CRYPT series
(Covert Response Youth Paranormal Team)
By Andrew Hammond


This book has been on my TBR pile waiting for the holidays to read it and it was well worth the wait.
I love this series and have devoured each book. What makes this book great is that as readers we are let in to a little more of Jud’s past. There are still plenty of secrets and Jud has to navigate his past with his present. We also see more of the relationship building between Jud and Bex but I really don’t want to give anything away. I will say though, tension is building between them!!
Jud and Bex work for a secret division of MI5 where a group of gifted teens investigate paranormal events. They have met many horrible, nasty ghosts in their investigations and are always only just lucky enough to escape with their lives.
In this particular book, horror is unleashed when a lone diver discovers items that should have stayed buried forever and bodies begin to pile up. Gruesome deaths have the team all over the place looking for clues and answers to the ghostly horrors. And in the midst of all the horrors is someone with a face Jud just can’t place. There is more danger than just the ghosts if Jud’s secret is let loose.
I love the way the chapters are short, sharp and go back and forth between characters so that we sense the tension building and become privy to possibilities that leave us guessing.
However, I wasn’t prepared for the ending and have to say Mr Hammond, you need to hurry up with book number 5 because I am desperate to know what happens next.

The madness underneath
By Maureen Johnson
Shades of London Book 2

I loved the first book in this series. Love a good ghost story. There were definite edge of your seat moments and I am thrilled there is more to come.

“After her near-fatal run-in with the Jack the Ripper copycat, Rory Devereaux has been living in Bristol under the close watch of her parents. So when her therapist suddenly suggests she return to Wexford, Rory jumps at the chance. But Rory’s brush with the Ripper touched her more than she thought possible: she’s become a human terminus, with the power to eliminate ghosts on contact. She soon finds out that the Shades—the city’s secret ghost-fighting police—are responsible for her return. The Ripper may be gone, but now there is a string of new inexplicable deaths threatening London. Rory has evidence that the deaths are no coincidence. Something much more sinister is going on, and now she must convince the squad to listen to her before it’s too late.” From the Goodreads site.
I really am looking forward to getting my hands on a copy of her latest book.

The name of the star
A reminder of the trailer for the first book in the series.

Girl of nightmares
by Kendare Blake

“Just your average boy-meets-girl, girl gets sucked into Hell story”.

I am so excited about this book. I didn’t even know there was going to be a sequel. I think I actually gave a squeal of delight when I read there would be a new book in March. I loved the first book Anna dressed in blood which was a great ghost story with blood and gore, murder and mayhem. Cas the ghost hunter, and Anna, the ghost. (See my review for the first book on the reviews tab).
Anna is a ghost but that’s okay – sort of. She had her reasons for what she did and the murders she committed. It came at a price though and Anna ended up in Hell.
In Girl of nightmares ghost hunter, Cas Lowood is determined to rescue Anna and bring her back. Guilt or something more! But in order to rescue Anna they must face even more danger than before. Really can’t wait. Roll on March!

This is the sequel to Hereafter (trailer below)where Amelia is still stranded and caught in the in-between. Caught between living and dead and fighting for her love of Joshua. In New Orleans, searching for answers, Amelia meets other spirits also caught in the in-between and they tempt her to join them. But what of her love for Joshua and even more dangerous, what of the evil spirits who may just ending up taking any choice away.

Amelia has been stranded in an everlasting nightmare, stuck for years in the in-between where no-one knows of her existence. No-one that is until the day Joshua falls in to the water almost drowning and she rescues him. Can he help her?

By Michelle Harrison
Simon and Schuster UK 2012

The cover alone is enough to make me want to read this book. It sounds so intriguing.

Elliot is 17 and has hardly slept in the six months since he had an accident which nearly killed him.
Some nights he wakes up unable to move at all. Suffering from paralysis he is forced to watch ghostly figures move around him. Other nights he has out-of-body experiences where he is moving around while his body sleeps on the bed. He believes this connects him to the spirit world so he eventually finds a job working in one of England’s most haunted places. It is there that he discovers Sebastian, the ghost of a servant boy hanged many years ago for stealing bread. But Sebastion is dangerous. As Elliot leaves his body, Sebastion begins to occupy it and the more he takes over his body, the more resistant Sebastion is to give it back. Sebastion also has an unhealthy interest in Ophelia, the new girl in Elliot’s life. This will be another must read and I have just ordered it at the library.

The house of dead maids
By Clare B. Dunkle

I loved this book. I absolutely love the cover. It’s a very haunting face of a young dead girl. The language is perfectly suited to the times the story takes place. Gothic type mansion, eerie comings and goings. Orphan girl Tabby is nursemaid to a young boy – wild, stroppy and nameless. There are many ghosts and many secrets. Great book. This story is suggested as a prologue to Wuthering Heights.

“Young Tabby Aykroyd has been brought to the dusty mansion of Seldom House to be nursemaid to a foundling boy. He is a savage little creature, but the Yorkshire moors harbor far worse, as Tabby soon discovers. Why do scores of dead maids and masters haunt Seldom House with a jealous devotion that extends beyond the grave?

As Tabby struggles to escape the evil forces rising out of the land, she watches her young charge choose a different path. Long before he reaches the old farmhouse of Wuthering Heights, the boy who will become Heathcliff has doomed himself and any who try to befriend him”

The name of the star

By Maureen Johnson

The start of Rory’s new life in London is thrown into chaos when a series of brutal murders happen. What makes the murders stand out even more is their resemblance to Jack the Ripper murders of years ago. The only witness to the possible suspect is Rory, even though her room mate was with her at the time. How can Rory be the only one to see him and just why is she his next target.