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Pick-a-Shelf: Monthly -Archive > 2017-10-Ghosts Reviews

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Lyn (Readinghearts) (lsmeadows) | 2834 comments Mod
'Tis the season for spooky and scary. Thanks to Jayme for picking Ghosts as our monthly shelf. Please let us know how you felt about your choices by posting a review. What was ghostly about the book? Do you think you would have shelved it on this shelf? Did it scare you, or was it about some other subject that included a ghost or spirit?

Remember, in order to be considered for December shelf picker, you must post a review here!


message 2: by Karin (new)

Karin | 811 comments The Ghost Brigades by John Scalzi (NB since the recorded consciousness was put into one of these people made up of the DNA of dead people, he was even told he was a ghost, even if it's not ghost as we normally think of the word)

2.5 stars

The first half of this was 2 stars, but the second half just above 3 stars.

I am not going to give a summary, but suffice to say that while I liked the second part, the premise did nothing for me and some of the science things were based on is already outdated (I am glad that it was a theory I thought made no sense, but it was the pervasive theory, that of junk DNA, but now it's been realized it's not junk at all). Since I liked the first one, I may read the third depending one what the summary says.

But if you like lots of fighting, tough guys, aliens and space opera, then disregard my negatives and try it if you liked the first one.


Lyn (Readinghearts) (lsmeadows) | 2834 comments Mod
Karin wrote: "The Ghost Brigades by John Scalzi (NB since the recorded consciousness was put into one of these people made up of the DNA of dead people, he was even told he was a ghos..."

I like the way you reviewed the book...what you liked as well as what someone else might like. :)


message 4: by D.G. (new)

D.G. | 1370 comments Karin wrote: "But if you like lots of fighting, tough guys, aliens and space opera, then disregard my negatives and try it if you liked the first one. "

LOL, totally up my alley!!! Hahahaha!!


message 5: by Joyce (last edited Oct 12, 2017 06:09PM) (new)

Joyce (eternity21) | 611 comments Second Grave on the Left (Charley Davidson, #2) by Darynda Jones
Second Grave on the Left by Darynda Jones
Finished: 10/12/2017
Rating: 4 of 5 stars
What was ghostly about the book? She helps souls cross over to the other side that are stuck here.
Do you think you would have shelved it on this shelf? Yes definitely.
Did it scare you, or was it about some other subject that included a ghost or spirit? No it wasn't scary.

Review: Charlotte aka Charley Davison is a grim reaper. She helps souls cross over. So is her boyfriend Reyes who comes to her usually in ghost form. In this installment her friend Cookie is looking for another friend Mimi who has disappeared. It seems there are other disappearances related to this one. Charley of course gets into PI mode and then people are trying to kill her. I love that she is snarky and doesn't take most stuff too seriously. Sometimes she annoys me though with going off half-cocked and not thinking some things through before acting. But I guess that's what makes it seem so real. At the same time she is trying to find Reyes body as he is being attacked by demons. Reyes doesn't want her to find him as he is trying to keep her away from these demons. I'll read the next one in the series.


message 6: by Marina (new)

Marina (sonnenbarke) | 1430 comments I've just finished The Empty House and Other Ghost Stories and I feel dumbstruck. This truly was a wonderful collection of short stories. I had never read anything by Algernon Blackwood before, but I decided to pick up something by him because in another group people spoke very highly of this author. Well, they were totally right!

This is a collection of ghost stories, except the last one which is a bit lame and not about ghosts at all. However, the other nine ones were amazing.

I can't really say what my favorite was, because I loved them all equally, but perhaps "Keeping His Promise" might win my personal "best story award". A medical student lives in a decrepit little room, and one evening he's visited by an old school friend. This friend is so thin that the student immediately realizes he's starving, so he offers him the little food he has, and the friend starts gorging without ever saying a word, then goes to sleep in the student's bed. The student keeps hearing his friend's heavy breathing all night long, only to realize the next morning that there's no one in the room! The ending is quite a creepy one...

That's what it is: all these stories are incredibly creepy, and, unlike M.R. James ghost stories', which I read last month, they are creepy right from the very beginning - a sense of foreboding immediately starts to tell the reader something is very wrong indeed.

This is probably the best "horror/gothic" author I've read so far, and I most definitely want to read something else by him.

Definitely a great Halloween read.


message 7: by Rosemary (last edited Oct 18, 2017 07:52AM) (new)

Rosemary | 871 comments I read Conversations with Spirits by E.O. Higgins Conversations with Spirits by E.O. Higgins

It was shelved as Ghosts once, but there weren't actually any ghosts in it. (I also read a book that had a ghost in it, but wasn't shelved ... but that's another story.)

My review:
A fun story set during the First World War but nowhere near the battlefields. Trelawney Hart, once the owner of a very sharp mind but with no social skills, has fallen into heavy drinking after the death of his wife. He's dragged out of the London club where he leads his drunken existence by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who wants him to investigate a man who claims to be a medium. Off he goes to the seaside town of Broadstairs, where he makes an unlikely friend, drinks a great deal, and does a little investigating.

I read one review that described Trelawney Hart as "deeply unlikeable", but I thought he was lovely. It probably depends whether you mind reading about someone who drinks, falls over, drinks, passes out, drinks, attends a seance, drinks ... etc.


message 8: by Susan (new)

Susan | 3477 comments Mod
Only one person shelved Timekeeper on the ghosts shelf, and I probably wouldn't have, either, if I had such a shelf. But it's a great book, so I thought I should mention it here. It's a steampunk young adult novel, and the premise is that time is actually controlled by clocks in towers placed in every town. If something goes wrong with a clock in a particular town, time gets messed up there. It turns out that the each clock tower has a spirit (hence the choice to shelve it with ghosts?). It's a fun story, and the characters are intriguing. I gave it 4 stars.


message 9: by CluckingBell (last edited Oct 22, 2017 01:14PM) (new)

CluckingBell | 327 comments I read Midnight Riot (a.k.a. Rivers of London), by Ben Aaronovitch. The basic premise is that an unfocused young constable sees a disappointing desk job in his future, but after interviewing a witness who turns out to be a ghost is suddenly whisked away to apprentice in a tiny, semi-secret magical division of London's police force. It would be hard to say much more about the nature or amount of ghostliness without being spoilery, so I'll just confirm that "ghosts" is indeed an appropriate shelf, assuming one treats shelves as tags, and that I personally would not classify it as spooky or scary.

In the end, I only rated this book 2 stars. I usually (but not always) have to be a bit angry at a book to rate it any lower than that, and this book didn't tick me off so much as have a soporific effect. Despite some initially promising elements (POC as main character, lighthearted tone, women characters not described exclusively as sexual objects despite a first-person hetero male POV, interesting magic system and lore, etc.), I found the storytelling and plot cohesion lacking. After the first 100 pages I could barely get through a single chapter without dozing off. This may have been owing in part to the frequent descriptions of driving, walking, or otherwise commuting around London, and it reading more like a transportation journal offering logistics than a tourist's guide offering an authentic feel for a dynamic city. A compelling plot and some narrative tension would surely have counteracted that.

So I started off finding it a bit clunky, expecting the bumps to even out as the world unfolded and a new novel writer found his footing, but instead it got sloppier and less compelling as it went. BUT I am clearly in the minority with this view, as it has a 3.92 average rating and everyone I follow gave it at least 3 stars!


message 10: by Elvenn (last edited Nov 01, 2017 01:16PM) (new)

Elvenn | 721 comments For this month's shelf I read Scottish Ghost Stories by Elliott O'Donnell, a book that can be found for free here (in Project Gutenberg).

The book- published apparently in 1911- gathers Scottish ghost stories that- according to the author- were referred to him in his various travels, both by friends and strangers.

The book is full of stories about apparitions and strange happenings and, even if some of them are quite traditional, I still found them interesting, perhaps because of the huge amount of details given by the author, who seems to have invested a great deal of time in gathering information about the towns, families and castles in which the events take place, trying sometimes to find the cause- either natural or supernatural- of what was described. Also, I was pleased to discover the language used to convey the stories- probably because the book was published in the 20th century and not in the 19th or the 18th- is quite straightforward and helps one get into the story without having to read long romantic descriptions of moor, dark and moonshine (there are a few shorter descriptions of nightly promenades but, well, it's a book about Scottish ghosts...).

Rating: 4.5 stars


message 11: by Bea (last edited Nov 22, 2017 06:57AM) (new)

Bea | 4803 comments Mod
Well, I am getting closer to catching up on my reading for the monthly shelf. I read Eighth Grave After Dark during the readathon in November. I gave this fun book 4*. I love the character of Charley Davidson who has fallen in love with the devil's son and now has discovered that she is a goddess from another galaxy. I just cannot image where this series will end up going. BUT, it is fun, imaginative, and thought-provoking.


message 12: by Susan (new)

Susan | 3477 comments Mod
Wow! I'm late adding this here, but I only just realized I'd never reviewed Oscar Wilde's The Canterville Ghost. I didn't enjoy it all that much, but it was short, so no big loss.


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