Posts Tagged 'ghost'

Shutter by Courtney Alameda

shutter

Genre:  Science Fiction

# of Pages:  372

RAC:  Yes

Micheline is the youngest descendant in the Helsing blood line.  Her and her friends work catching ghosts and other supernatural beings.  They each have special talents that allow them to track down and properly extinguish these harmful beings.  At the beginning of the story they are called to a particularly heinous scene where a ghost has killed people in a hospital.  They are supposed to wait for backup, but Micheline decides to go in alone and her team is forced to follow.  They are attacked by this being and contract a rare disease known as soulchain.  Soulchain will kill them if they do not kill the creature that infected them in seven days time.  Their parents wish them to lay low while they hunt the dangerous ghost, but Micheline and her team know it is them who must hunt it down to save their lives.

The plot is much more intriguing here than most readers will expect.  There is a lot of backstory on Micheline’s family and how her and her father came to be so estranged.  There is a fair amount of suspense and plot twists that keep the story active and fast paced.  The characters are interesting as their talents and personalities are revealed.  Plus, in this world no one is really ever safe, which makes the suspense all the more real.  Recommended for fans of science fiction and suspense.

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Utopia, Iowa by Brian Yansky

utopia

Genre:  Fantasy

# of Pages:  323

RAC:  Yes

Set in fictional Utopia, Iowa where the life expectancy is longer than usual and many people are believed to have “gifts,”  Jack Bell lives with his mother, father, and sister.  Jack, his mother, and his sister can all see ghosts, but they have taken extra precautions to make sure they cannot enter their home.  When Jack’s sister, Amanda, claims to see a ghost on Jack’s bed they are all naturally alarmed because more than likely it would take a much stronger spirit to enter their house than a usual ghost.  Then, a young college student is pushed from a dorm window to her death and she seeks Jack’s help in finding what happened to her.  She does not remember her death, which is unusual for ghosts, but she knows her boyfriend didn’t kill her despite his confession.  The police detective starts to become concerned that Jack is somehow connected to this case because he seems to know details he should not know, and he is not a believer in the town “gifts.”  Can Jack help this spirit find her way and clear his name?  Can he protect himself from the growing number of threats people keep prophesying about him?

This light fantasy story provides an usual spin on the ghost genre in that the reason behind the threats and mysterious deaths actually connect to an ancient story that is slowly explained throughout the book.  Jack comes in contact with several different types of gifted people who all try to help in their own ways as he deals with the ghosts that keep seeking his advice as well as the mounting danger he keeps getting warned about.  The ending is exciting and satisfying, but it’s not a story that the reader will think much about once it is over.  Recommended for fans looking for a fun fantasy.

The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson

madness underneath

Genre: Fantasy

# of Pages:  290

RAC:  Yes

In this sequel to The Name of the Star Rory is recovering from her near fatal encounter with a deadly ghost in Bristol with her parents.  After a few weeks, her therapist surprisingly advises she return to school in London to resume her schoolwork and begin to move forward.  Rory is thrilled at the idea of returning to school, but she is very far behind on her schoolwork and has no idea how she can make it up.  Meanwhile, Stephen and the other shades are trying to solve an unusual murder that occurred very close to where Rory’s attack was.  Are they connected? Did her encounter somehow trigger other supernatural attacks in the immediate area of the school where all of her friends go?

This sequel moves very quickly and has a very exciting ending.  Fans of the first novel will enjoy this title as the Shades are detailed a little more and the challenges of their group’s existence are explained in a bit more detail.  Rory’s future in London seems very unsure at this point, but there are possibilities for how she will proceed laid out that could come into play in future books.   The supporting characters from the school are still just as colorful as ever, but are not featured as much as they were in the first book.  Overall, it’s a good sequel, but a tad fast and fans will be eager to see another one sooner rather than later.

The Demon Catchers of Milan by Kat Beyer

demon catchers of milan

Genre:  Fantasy

# of Pages:  278

RAC:  Yes

When Mia is possessed by an evil spirit, it takes three exorcisms and relatives from Milan to free her from the terrible demon.  Afterwards, the long lost relatives whom she has never met convince her to come to Milan with them for her own safety.  Mia must quickly study both Italian and the history of the Italian people in order to prepare herself for a life of demon hunting.  Her relatives believe she is talented and can be a great asset to them as they constantly strive to free people from demon or ghost possessions.  Mia has some trouble fitting in because she does not know the language, the people she is living with, or the work that they do.  Slowly, her family begins to explain to her about their long history and why this particular demon wants Mia at all costs.  Her frustration with being chaperoned at every turn makes Mia wish she could break away even for a few hours to explore the city.  After all, how much danger can she really be in?

Mia’s story is definitely unique to the young adult market today.  She is physically possessed by a demon and that demon wants to come back to finish the job after her exorcism.  This book is not graphic or scary, but sheds a modern light on an ancient issue.  The characters are interesting, but there are many Italian relatives that can get confusing at times.  While the premise is indeed intriguing, the story does lag a bit at times and the ending isn’t quite as dramatic as many readers might hope for.  Still, the story itself is different enough to recommend to fantasy lovers.

The Demon Catchers of Milan by Kat Beyer

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Genre:  Realistic Fiction

# of Pages:  278

RAC:  Yes

Mia is doing homework in her bedroom when she is inhabited by an evil demon and the family has to bring in three different exorcists in order to help her.  Afterward, she learns that she has a lot of family residing in Italy who are very accomplished demon catchers and they want her to come back to Milan so that they can protect her from anymore attacks and educate her on the art of exorcism.  Moving to Milan to stay with family she has never met is quite a challenge and Mia begins to feel bored and homesick, but she does know that the demon who inhabited her is still lurking and waiting to do so again so she tries hard to study whatever she needs to to be prepared.  After witnessing some attacks on other people she learns that she may have a real talent for this and feels she may have been drawn back to her family’s roots in Milan for a reason.  Will she ever be able to walk alone and not fear the demon coming back for her?  Will she ever feel strong enough to help partake in an exorcism?

This story was interesting, but not as engaging as the reviews made it out to be.  While the characters and plot are developed and unique, it felt like the story moved without any resolution in sight.  Even the ending just seemed like a stopping point in Mia’s story and not in a way that makes you want to breathlessly reach for the next one.  It lacks action and moves at a leisurely pace which will deter some young readers.  The details about the Italian family and their lifestyle versus a typical American lifestyle is interesting.

Dark Souls by Paula Morris

dark souls

Genre:  Fantasy/Mystery

# of Pages:  292

RAC:  Yes

Miranda and her brother, Rob, are in a terrible car accident that kills Miranda’s best friend.  After the fact, Rob has some serious fears about riding in cars and claustrophobia, while Miranda is mourning her friend.  Her parents have professional reasons for visiting York, England and decide it is a perfect time for the family to get away.  Upon arrival, Miranda realizes she can now see ghosts, but is most intrigued by the one across the street that she can see in the attic of a boarded up house.    She meets a troubled young man, Nick, who can also see ghosts and invites her to some mysterious places in order to interact with them.    The more time she spends with Nick the more she suspects he is planning something big and mysterious.   Can she save him from making a terrible mistake that will change his entire future?

This story includes a lot of folklore about York which ties into the story well.  The characters are well developed, especially Miranda’s family, despite being in the story rather infrequently.  The mystery moves a tad slow at the beginning, but eventually takes off and it’s obvious that the groundwork for solving it has been laid from the beginning.  Fans of ghost and/or mystery stories will enjoy this title.

Queen of the Dead by Stacey Kade

Genre:  Fantasy

# of Pages:  266

RAC Book:  Yes

In this sequel to the Ghost and the Goth, Alona is still a ghost trying to find out why she was sent back from the light.  Meanwhile, Will is approached by a strange organization that claims to free the world of spirits or ghosts.  While Will is thrilled that he is not the only one with the gift of seeing ghosts, he is not sure he completely trusts the motivations of the organization.  A girl named Mina has been trying to become a member of the group with little success and it is clear she is annoyed by how much they want Will to join.  Alona does not trust Mina and is irritated that Will wants to learn more about her and this organization that she thinks works against ghosts instead of with them.  In order to get Will’s attention Alona attempts a risky and dramatic plan that could land both of them in serious trouble.  Can these two find out the truth behind the organization? Can they save themselves from the unexpected forces that want to tear them apart?

This sequel was very well done.  For a book with a light, funny premise it was unclear if there would be adequate plot developments for a sequel, but the story kept me interested throughout.  Alona and Will’s characters and relationship have deepened and developed over the course of the story and teenagers will respond to them.  While some of the plot points seemed a bit predictable it was not boring or repetitive in any way.  Readers who follow the series will be curious to see what happens to these characters next.


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