City of the Dead was a whimsical audiobook I tried because I needed something for the car that was only a couple hours long. What I found was that thiCity of the Dead was a whimsical audiobook I tried because I needed something for the car that was only a couple hours long. What I found was that this book was messed up creeptastic. At the beginning of the book, Derek, his brother Ronny and father are in a terrible train accident, leaving Derek as the only one left in his family. He lives with his uncle and then miraculously Ronny shows back up, but he seems off and acts strange. Derek must figure out what is going on. City of the Dead had a good amount of creepy with mystery tied in. I really wasn’t sure where all of it was going until nearly the end of the book. I enjoyed the various plot points and it definitely was a story that kept with me as I was listening to it on my trips to and from work.
A creepy story that will surprise you and keep you reading til the end. ...more
The Graveyard Book translates brilliantly into graphic novel format. Perhaps because the author is also a graphic novelist? I read The Graveyard BookThe Graveyard Book translates brilliantly into graphic novel format. Perhaps because the author is also a graphic novelist? I read The Graveyard Book several years ago, after it became a Newbery winner. I loved the story and the characters and so when I heard they had redone it in graphic novel format, I could not wait. The illustrations are perfect, setting a dark and dreary landscape in the graveyard and I love the character designs. More realistic and sharp than most graphic novels made for younger readers, I loved the different characters and revisiting the plot in this type of format.
What I love about this story, is the way Nobody comes into his own. It’s truly a coming of age story, with paranormal and horror elements. I felt for the characters, some who still had their own journey to complete, others whose time had long passed. There’s a touch of romance, a lot of action and some really deep relationships. I love that Nobody searches out his real name only to find the one he has is all he needs. Definitely a set of graphic novels I would love to own eventually.
A beautifully illustrated graphic novel version of an award winning children’s novel that is incredible on its own. ...more
Eerie Elementary is the first in a series of beginning chapter books that combines the spooky with adventure and humor, making it a great sell for youEerie Elementary is the first in a series of beginning chapter books that combines the spooky with adventure and humor, making it a great sell for young readers. Sam has been selected to be the hall monitor, a job he is not looking forward to. When the school starts to actually attack him, he finds out he’s not the average hall monitor and must protect his classmates from the evil that lies in the walls of his school.
With the help of his mentor, a janitor who was the last hall monitor to protect the school from itself, he must figure out a way to fight the evil. His friends at first think he’s crazy until they see the school act up and then they are more than willing to help Sam out. I thought this was a great first book and had all the elements that my students love in 2nd/3rd grade. A little bit spooky, a little bit funny and jam packed with action, I’m sure I’ll have trouble keeping this new series on my library shelves.
Also, the illustrations in this book are really well drawn and I love the way situations play out in the drawn scenes. The quicksand is a favorite scene of mine.
Get ready for a spooky adventure full of laughs and action. A series your beginning chapter book readers will not want to miss....more
I have always enjoyed mixed media books, so when I picked up In the Shadows, I was excited to see a mix of actual text chapters and graphic novel formI have always enjoyed mixed media books, so when I picked up In the Shadows, I was excited to see a mix of actual text chapters and graphic novel format. The book is about two sets of siblings and another young man who lives with the set of sisters. Set in the past, the young men Thomas and Charles end up staying at a boarding house, where they are to be entertained by the sisters. Charles is the youngest and his health is waning so the girls do their best to have adventures while not overtaxing Charles.
Cora is the older, responsible sister and Minnie is her lively younger sister, who is free with her kisses and has a secret crush on Arthur, their possible relative, but with a mysterious past. Arthur is also a young man and he holds a terrible secret, one which he literally buried in the ground. What happens during the summer is both mysterious and shocking. Probably one of the most harrowing parts of the book was watching the “witch” who lives down the street, hang herself only to have disappeared from the noose an hour later when they get the local police.
The graphic novel portions of the book slowly fall into place as the story is unveiled. I actually went back through all of those sections after the book ended because you find out that that part is somewhat in the future. It was such a beautiful story and full of danger, mystery and some magic. I really fell in love with each of the characters, for their own part in the story and their wants and needs. Minnie is probably my favorite, who loves anything with a mystery and kisses Charles even when her heart is set on Arthur, who is a mystery she has yet to solve.
Highly recommended for lovers of both graphic novels and great stories. A great mix of historical setting, great characters and beautiful illustrations....more
Of Monsters and Madness is a twist on some of Edgar Allan’s Poe’s stories, our main character Annabel Lee being from a poem he wrote. She is coming toOf Monsters and Madness is a twist on some of Edgar Allan’s Poe’s stories, our main character Annabel Lee being from a poem he wrote. She is coming to live with her father since her mother passed away. She finds herself in Pennsylvania and is naive of the ways that society works in the 1800s. Her father is cold and all she wants to do is please him. Annabel finds comfort in her grandfather, but a rash of murders and her father’s strange hobbies soon make her life a bit more complicated.
One of my favorite parts of the story is the Jekyl and Hyde aspect of one of the characters. I picked up on it right away, but it takes Annabel a while to figure out what is happening. I also liked her character, she was different but not over the top. She wished to practice medicine but her father disproved so she didn’t seek out opportunities – rather she did not turn down anyone who needed her help.
The setting was grim and fit well with the story and the different plots pull from Poe’s different works. I haven’t read a lot of his stories recently but the ones I’ve read even a decade ago stuck with me, as they have some horrific tendencies. While Of Monsters and Madness didn’t blow me away, I really enjoyed the story and found myself reading it quickly.
A mix of horror, romance and classic literature that engages the reader in a dark setting and plot....more
I started The Girl from the Well late at night, home alone and I thoroughly could not put it down. I loved the creepy, horrific vibe it gave off fromI started The Girl from the Well late at night, home alone and I thoroughly could not put it down. I loved the creepy, horrific vibe it gave off from page one. Some readers may be put off by Okiku’s need to count everything, but I thought it flowed into the story seamlessly and it wasn’t an unnecessary quirk, as you later find out when her legend is revealed. Another thing that you might nitpick is sometimes the story bounces a bit to other characters, which may translate a little better in the finished copy. I would sometimes have to retrace a bit, but overall I was so engaged, this factor did not really bug me at all.
Okiku is rather frightening, but is only interested in harming those who would harm children. One day she notices Tark, a boy who hides his tattoos, ones that others have thought they saw move. His mother has tried to kill him several times and is locked away in a mental institution, so Tark has just moved to a new town, closer to his cousin Callie. Callie is a teacher’s aide and looking at taking a month off to study in another country. One of her students, Sandra, comments on the woman that is attached to Tark, a dark lady with a white mask, as well as Okiku who spends time in between seeking vengeance as child-killers to follow Tark around.
Sandra easily becomes a character that I love to see more as the book goes on. At one point, she is talking to a man while she sits on a bench and asks him why there are two boys on his back. He’s just about to chloroform and make off with her when her mother comes looking for her. There are so many disturbing scenes in this book it’s hard to get into all of them. I love watching Okiku seek revenge on those who have killed, it was frightening and often times left quite the mess of a person.
A horrible situation leads all of them to Japan, to spread the ashes of Tark’s mother at a shrine that no one has heard of. Tark is sickening and his father is still trying to manage his job while trying to seek him help, the thing attached to him literally sucking his life away. Callie’s time with her learning group ends and the trio make it to the shrine, where it gets even creepier at times and we get to the root of Tark’s problem.
Overall, I could not put this book down. I read half of it before bed and when I woke up the next morning I had to finish it. The characters had depth and I loved the creepy vibe of the book. The scenes were written beautifully, describing the insane hauntings and murders that Okiku commits and should have given me bad dreams. I seem adverse to bad dreams, but it was rather hard getting up in a dark house to use the bathroom after reading this book.
A creepy story that includes quite an intriguing plot with interesting characters and legends....more
The Night Gardener may be pegged as middle grade, but it certainly scared me as a reader at times. The story is of two Irish siblings, Molly and Kip,The Night Gardener may be pegged as middle grade, but it certainly scared me as a reader at times. The story is of two Irish siblings, Molly and Kip, whose parents were lost at sea and they are on their way to find work in England. At least they would be, if anyone would tell them where to find the house in the woods, one that no one dares to near. On the way they meet an old woman, who tells them the way in exchange for a story, she is curious as to what happens at the house they are on their way to.
Molly is a story teller herself and you can tell from the beginning that there is a secret that she is keeping from her younger brother, who limps and has to use a crutch to get around. She pretends as though her parents are on the way to them, but it seems there is more that she knows about what happened before the orphanage and leaving for this job that she wants to reveal. Upon reaching the home, there is an eerie air to it, but a darling little girl named Penny opens the door and starts to rifle through Molly’s things, breaking the mood in only a way a silly little girl could.
The mistress of the house is one not to be trifled with and she reluctantly takes on Molly and her brother, but says that Kip must sleep outside, so not to infect the rest of the family with his crippled state. She seems cruel, but is keeping her own secret. Penny has a cruel older brother Alistair, who loves sweets and bullying anything smaller than himself. Kip interferes on a couple of occasions, when he takes to bullying his younger sister. The rest of the mystery comes from the strange tree that is a part of the house itself and a room that is not supposed to be entered.
Curiosity brings Molly to find out what is behind the door, seeing the different family members go through and come out with something of value to themselves, bags of money, sweets, books about Penny’s adventures, and a ring for the mistress. Mixed in with this is the terrifying nightmares that come while sleeping in the house, and one night Molly awakes to a wild wind throwing leaves throughout and revealing a frightening man who seems to be taking care of the large tree with a watering can. What all this has to do with the family becoming paler and sicker, Molly is not sure.
I absolutely loved The Night Gardener, the suspense, the horror and the unique characters that Auxier wraps into the book. Molly is a great character, with her own strength and courage who feels the need to figure out the mystery, while keeping her brother safe. All the elements fell into place and made for a fantastic read that will keep you up all night....more
thoughtThe Whispering Skull was a book I had been anticipating since I read the first book in the series last year. Following Lucy, George and LockwoothoughtThe Whispering Skull was a book I had been anticipating since I read the first book in the series last year. Following Lucy, George and Lockwood on their adventures, this book jumps right into the action that I loved of the last book. This time, George’s lack of research puts them in a bit of a spot and they find their nemesis Fittes agents on the scene and basically save them. A wager takes place later in the book as both teams are hired to investigate missing artifacts from a graveyard and I love seeing that light a fire under Lockwood & Company. There’s just as much danger in this book as the last, although again I found the most frightening scenes towards the end of the book. I love the build up that it takes throughout the novel to reach such a peak at the end. I’m not always one for scary stories, but this series has just the right amount of it to get my blood chilling.
Probably the best part of the book was the ghost attached to the skull in the jar. It reminded me a bit of the Dresden Files and his talking skull. Of course, it only talks to Lucy, who has the ability to hear ghosts, and only when the boys are away from her. I liked the way the skull tested everyone’s patience, it made for some humorous situations as they each became more frustrated. The skull plays quite the roll in this story, even going so far as leading up to the big reveal at the end of the book. Which let me tell you, it’s quite an epic moment and one I constantly think about. I’m already dying for the next book…
This series has everything I could want in a middle grade series. Great characters, a thick plot full of turns and action orientated scenes, and a setting that I love – a historical London ridden with a ghost problem. Most of all, I’m intrigued by Lockwood and his mysterious ways, I feel Lucy’s pain in not knowing enough about him but feeling compelled to want to learn more. There’s so many great humorous moments scattered in the story as well that just wraps everything up together. If you haven’t read Stroud’s books before I highly suggest them, especially this series.
A strong follow up to a series that has everything I could ever want in it. Definitely read these books, you will not regret it....more
Extremities: Stories of Death, Murder, and Revenge is a set of short stories that are darker than most stories that David Lubar writes. The preface o Extremities: Stories of Death, Murder, and Revenge is a set of short stories that are darker than most stories that David Lubar writes. The preface of the book addresses that often times his stories can fit into a book for younger readers, but these are not them. I also suggest not reading this at night if you tend to have nightmares, which is of course when I read it. All alone in my apartment, in the dead of night – not the best plan.
Many of the stories were full of gruesome creatures, deaths and moments that made the reader feel as if they were watching a horror movie. The stories were short and to the point and some were more interesting to others to me personally. I don't care for horror itself and preferred the stories that had a paranormal element to it instead of just bloodshed and creepiness.
My first favorite story was called Feelings – which starts off with a friend of the main character abandoning fear and weaving through traffic only to get hit by a truck. His girlfriend moves on quickly and soon that boy too is dead. It's at the second boy's funeral when she comes onto the main character and soon he realizes that something is wrong. Will he realize what's happening before he's killed? I just loved this story, it had an air of mystery with all the hints to figure it out.
My second favorite story was one of the last ones - Morph. A boy is in Chinatown when he sees an albino man buying a scorpion. Curious, he follows him to see him morph the scorpion into his hand and kill a Chinese man. A pattern begins and he finds that he must warn the next victim even if he is a dangerous man. This one had a lot of action, drama, and blood in it and I simple enjoyed this story.
Final Verdict: A creepy, horrific set of stories that will possibly give you nightmares, or at least a series of the creeps. Not all the stories were amazing, but I did like several of them. Read this book if you're in the mood for creepy short stories....more