Tag Archive | ghost

Review : Past Midnight

Past Midnight by Mara Purnhagen
Pages : 216
Genre : YA, Paranormal
Series : Past Midnight, Book 1
My Rating :

What it’s about :

Charlotte’s life is anything but ordinary : her parents are ghost-hunters tv celebrities, traveling around the country to investigate paranormal cases and documenting it all. Charlotte isn’t really a believer – that is, until some ghost gets attached to her, ruining her chance of a normal life.

As she starts a new school year in a new school with new friends, Charlotte tries to understand what is going on : how are her strange dreams linked to the ghosts hunting her? And what is her friend Avery’s secret?

I hadn’t heard of Past Midnight prior to getting a copy of it, so I was pleasantly surprised with it! Charlotte and her family were fun characters to read about, and the ghost scenes were definitely scary!

Honestly, the storyline isn’t anything super original, but it’s extremely refreshing to read just a good old ghost story, without heavy romance going on between the scary scenes! And scary, they were. While I sometimes thought the writing was a bit awkward, the author really wrote some chilling scenes. I’m thinking about one scene in particular, in Charlotte’s bedroom, where she feels someone sitting beside her, but there’s no one : I suddenly felt really small in my huge, badly lit living room!

I liked Charlotte as a character. Charlotte was a normal teen living her family’s different lifestyle, which made her easy to relate to but also interesting. I loved her relation with her sister, which was full of love but not necessarily without some conflict. Same thing with her parents : sometimes you try the best for those you love, which doesn’t mean you can’t make mistakes. Also, I have to say, I love a teen book where the parents aren’t dead or disappeared or just conveniently absent. As peculiar as their occupation is, Charlotte’s parents were really present and concerned with their daughter’s life. I loved that they worked with each other instead of against each other.

I really enjoyed this one, and I’ll be getting the next book as soon as I can.

Series Reading Order :

  1. Past Midnight
  2. One Hundred Candles
  3. Beyond the Grave (2011)

Book number two, One Hundred Candles, is coming out this week. But before getting your hands on it, make sure to read Raising the Dead, a short novella taking place between book one and two. You can find it at Harlequin.

Review : Give up the Ghost

Give up the Ghost by Megan Crewe
Pages : 241
Genre : YA, Paranormal
Stand Alone
My Rating :

From the back of the book :

Cass McKenna much prefers ghosts over “breathers”. Ghosts are uncomplicated and dependable, and they know the dirt on everybody… and Cass loves dirt. She’s on a mission to expose the dirty secrets of the poseurs in her school.
But when the vice president of the student council discovers her secret, Cass’s whole scheme hangs in the balance. Tim wants her to help him contact his recently deceased mother, and Cass reluctantly agrees.
As Cass becomes increasingly entwined in Tim’s life, she’s surprised to realize he’s not so bad — and he needs help more desperately than anyone else suspects. Maybe it’s time to give the living another chance…

Give up the Ghost was the perfect way to spend an afternoon : the story is straight to the point, the characters are a bit stereotyped but with enough personality, and parts of the story alternate between entertaining and heartbreaking. Megan Crewe did a great job of taking the usual clique system of high-school and adding to it a paranormal twist.

I liked Cass, and the fact that the story begins with her already at ease with her particular talent. Seeing ghost is part of the routine for her. It might remind you of the show Ghost Whisperer, but Cass isn’t trying to help the ghosts cross over to a better place : she’s more concerned in using their secrets to take her revenge on the other students. I thought this would make me dislike her, but it wasn’t the case. Even though I didn’t approve of her decisions, I understood why she was taking them.

I think the most surprising aspect of the book for me was the lack of romance. Cass does develop a strong relationship with Tim, but it’s more friendship than anything else. The story is more focussed on the two characters’s individual stories than on the possibility of what they could develop together. It was such a nice change not to have the teen romance thrown into the mix! I admire Crewe for not taking the easy route of the “dork girl and popular hot guy fall in love” storyline.

While Give up the Ghost wasn’t the most memorable story, it was definitely a character-centric book I enjoyed. If you take the ghosts out of the book, it was just “regular” people in a “regular” setting. It made it easy to relate to Cass and Tim and to enjoy Crewe’s writing. For a fun afternoon of ghostly activity, you might want to give this book a chance!

Review : The Reckoning

The Reckoning by Kelley Armstrong
Pages : 391
Genre : YA, Urban Fantasy
Series : The Darkest Powers, Book 3
My Rating :

From the author’s website :

Only two weeks ago, life was all too predictable. But that was before I saw my first ghost. Now, along with my supernatural friends Tori, Derek, and Simon, I’m on the run from the Edison Group, which genetically altered us as part of their sinister experiment. We’re hiding in a safe house that might not be as safe as it seems. We’ll be gone soon anyway, back to rescue those we’d left behind and to take out the Edison Group . . . or so we hope.

I’m a bit disappointed that this is the final book of this trilogy, even though the author is working on a second series in the same setting. Leaving Chloe and her group makes me a bit sad, but I enjoyed their adventure. I thought The Reckoning offered a solid conclusion to the story.

I know many readers have preferred the second book, but to me The Awakening felt, to quote myself, “like it was a bridge between book one and book three”. My impression is confirmed by this third novel. The gang has finally arrived to destination and are getting ready to “make their move”, after running around for a short while.

Though I enjoyed the book, I thought there was a lot of insistence on Chloe’s romantic life – which always feels a bit weird to me when characters are making life-or-death decisions! She spends as much time thinking about love than she spends time making plans to save the world. Maybe it’s a teenager thing? It’s not the main focus of the book though, and I loved how it was a part of the whole instead of a separate storyline. I was also happy to see how the author resolved the love triangle! It was pretty much what I expected, but I appreciated how down-to-earth the conclusion was on that point, without over-dramatic scenes.

To me though, the most interesting parts were those about the kids’ various abilities and the Edison Group. “Evil Scientists” groups have been done many times I know, but somehow Armstrong made hers interesting and somewhat different. I was extremely intrigued by what they were doing and I would have loved to know even more. Her world is imaginative and unique, and its richness is a great setting for more varied storylines.

If you enjoy urban fantasy and are looking for a good YA series of the genre, this one is a good place to start!

Series Reading Order :

  1. The Summoning
  2. The Awakening
  3. The Reckoning

Review : The Awakening

The Awakening by Kelley Armstrong
Pages : 357
Genre : YA, Urban Fantasy
Series : The Darkest Powers, Book 2
My Rating :

What it’s about :

A few weeks ago, Chloe was nothing more than a normal teenage girl : thinking about school, boys, and her dreams of one day directing movies. But after discovering she was anything but normal, her life changed dramatically. Not only is she really seeing ghosts and raising the dead, she also discovered the truth about where her abilities come from. As a result, Chloe and her friends must now run for their life…

The Summoning was a mysterious novel, and The Awakening gives you that with even more action. With more ghosts, more creatures, more powers and definitely more romance, there is no doubt Chloe’s life has gotten infinitely more complicated!

I heard many positive reviews on this book, many readers having preferred it to the first. While I certainly thought it had a better pace, I still preferred the previous book. For me, The Awakening suffered the “curse of the second book of a series”. I felt like it was a bridge between book one and book three, and I didn’t get as many answers I wished for. There were also a few elements of the plot that seemed too far-fetched.

But enough with the negative points! I enjoyed the book and could hardly put it down, which is always a good sign! Scientific groups like the Edison Group always make for interesting stories, and this one didn’t fail. The Summoning having ended on a huge cliffhanger, I was glad I could know where this was going, but also glad to see that the story moved along fairly quickly.

I also loved to get to know the characters some more. I really like Tori, even though she was first portrayed as the “mean girl”. As for the guys, if I have to pick a side, it’s definitely Derek. He has his faults, yes, but Simon is just a little too bland for me, in a “kind-and-predictable-guy” type. The author still narrates with Chloe’s friendly voice, with a few hints of humor without it taking over the story. Another thing I love about Armstrong’s writings is that, even though there is some romance, the characters still mainly focus on the danger they’re in. This is how it should always be : stay alive, then think about love and such.

The Darkest Powers series is definitely a series that will be best appreciated if read in order. If you have read The Summoning though, this one should note disappoint!

Series Reading Order :

  1. The Summoning
  2. The Awakening
  3. The Reckoning

Review : The Summoning

The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong
Pages : 390
Genre : YA, Urban Fantasy
Series : The Darkest Powers, Book 1
My Rating :

From the author’s website :

Chloe Saunders sees dead people. Yes, like in the films. The problem is, in real life saying you see ghosts gets you a one-way ticket to the psych ward. When a particularly violent ghost haunts her, she gets noticed for all the wrong reasons. Her seemingly crazed behaviour earns her a trip to Lyle House, a centre for ‘disturbed teens’.

At first Chloe is determined to keep her head down. But then her room mate disappears after confessing she has a poltergeist, and some of the other patients also seem to be manifesting paranormal behaviour. Could that be a coincidence? Or is Lyle House not quite what it seems…? Chloe realizes that if she doesn’t uncover the truth, she could be destined for a lifetime in a psychiatric hospital. Or could her fate be even worse…? Can she trust her fellow students, and does she dare reveal her dark secret?

The Summoning wasn’t my first Armstrong novel : in my pre-blog era, I read four books of the author’s Otherworld adult urban fantasy series. Two of them I really enjoyed, two of them really disappointed me. So I was a bit unsure where her YA series would fall. I am happy to report that I really enjoyed the first book, enough to go on reading the second one right after finishing this one! And if I didn’t read the third book right away, it was only because it wasn’t out at the time.

From beginning to finish, The Summoning is a book filled with action and mystery, lighten with a pinch of humor. Though Chloe isn’t immune to boys’ charms, romance isn’t really part of this first book of the series. Instead, the author chose to focus on Chloe’s discovery of her abilities and the characters surrounding her. Romance seems to be a primordial aspect or paranormal and urban fantasy YA novels, probably even more since Twilight appeared, and I really appreciated to see that Chloe was able to concentrate on her ghostly problems instead of thinking only about boys. (Still, romance fans, don’t despair! There are clear hints indicating love is hanging around, maybe even in the form of a love triangle.)

As a main character, I found Chloe to be a solid one though not that original one. Still, she’s a good voice to carry the story, intelligent, independent and curious enough to keep things interesting. She’s also a movie buff, which gives her personality but could be annoying to certain readers, I guess. She often refers to her favorite movies or to their various attributes and characters. I found it mostly fun, as I often do the same thing with books!

The ending was pure cliffhanger, so as I said before, I was glad I had book number two on hand when I finish reading this one! So, if you plan on reading The Summoning, be prepared for that! 🙂

Series Reading Order :

  1. The Summoning
  2. The Awakening
  3. The Reckoning

Review : Bad Girls don’t Die

Bad Girls don’t Die by Katie Alender
Pages : 346
Genre : Horror, YA
My Rating : 

Lately, Alexis’ sister has been acting weirder and weirder. Let alone the fact that her eyes inexplicably seem to change color from time to time, she’s been acting strange, using words she normally wouldn’t and loosing track of time.

Soon, Alexis realizes something evil is taking over her sister, and she’ll need all the help she can get to get rid of it.

Bad Girls don’t Die was your typical horror story : old house, weird temperature changes, doors opening and closing by themselves, creepy dolls, etc. If your looking for a good ghost story, this could be the one for you!

Alender’s writing flows easily and creates the creepy ambiance any ghost book would need. I read it at night, and I was truly scared at times (although, to be honest, I am easily scared when it comes to ghost stories!) Still, I enjoyed the author’s style; it was easy to read, uncomfortable when it needed to be and Alexis’ voice sounded right. Although the story was slightly predictable, I was curious to see what the ghost would come up with next!

Another thing I appreciated was the use of photography through the book. I know a thing or two about photography, and Alender clearly knows a thing or two about it, too. I really, really enjoyed how close to reality its description was. Finally a photographer who doesn’t take pictures in the dark as if in the light of day!

I don’t have much more to say about the book, but I did enjoyed reading it and went through it quick. It’s to be enjoyed for what it is, but it doesn’t reinvent the genre. Still, a good old ghost story is always good from time to time, and this one perfectly fit my end-of-October-start-of-November mood.