Super Scary Haunting Kids Book

Lockwood & Co: The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud

I really, really loved this book. It also scared the crap out of me which was kinda fun, although not my usual. I am also delighted to report that this is a series so within any luck, I’ll enjoy this exciting, frightening world again before too long.

This novel takes place in a future where ghosts have become so common that all life on earth has just adjusted to it, and humans get on with their lives by staying in after dark, lighting ghost lamps each night and development of Agencies, which can be hired to investigate and remove ghosts from private residences. Children often have more psychic abilities than adult supervisors, so they are used by these agencies to investigate ghosts. After Lucy’s supervisor makes a terrible error and all of her colleges die in a horrifying haunting, she runs away from home and ends to London looking for a job. And she finds one with Lockwood & Co, the only agency that doesn’t have adult supervisors.

There was so much to love about this book. The three members of Lockwood & Co, Lockwood, George and Lucy are each well fleshed out, have lovely banter and a genuine relationship. The world building is so careful and thorough that you can’t even pinpoint when you learned something about it because it’s worked in so subtly. The writing is terrifying, like I was worried I’d have nightmares (I am a wimp though) and the plot was twisting and interesting with quite a few twists that I didn’t see coming, or if I did, I couldn’t see how.

I would recommend this to older readers, mostly due to the horror content, nothing else there is inappropriate there, who liked Harry Potter and want a creepy twist. Definitely check it out!

Last movie I watched:

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Never gets old.

Last TV show I watched:

Things Explained, or something like that on Netflix. It’s by Vox. I liked it a lot.

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Very deep, just a little bit scary

Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

I really like John Green, his online personality as much as his books. So I was pretty excited for this.

As I side note, I listened to it as an audiobook and the reader was pretty good, if anyone’s got a long road trip ahead of them.

This book centers around Aza, a sixteen year old girl who has a great best friend Daisy who convinces her to help look for a missing billionaire in Indianapolis to get the hundred thousand dollar reward. She also has a few pretty serious mental health issues. As she struggles with her sense of herself, Aza and Daisy’s quest changes everything for both of them.

Overall it was a great read. Like most John Green books, it’s pretty philosophic and maybe a little more thought driven then plot driven, but that’s okay. There’s lots (and lots) I could say about it but I will just mention a thought or two and get on with on my day.

One of the things that I could most terrifying and wonderful was Aza’s mental health issues. John Green clearly brings his own personal experience to this book. Aza’s constant search for the perfect metaphor to describe her illness, like if she could just explain it accurately somehow she’d be better. I found (spoilers! just assume there are spoilers from here on out) her late night drinking of hand sanitizer to be a terrifying and traumatic read for me. The writing was perfect. Not only was Aza out of control, but the reader was too. It was scary.

I also really liked that Aza and her love interest, Davis, the son of the missing billionaire, did not end up together.  John Green often subverts expectations about happily ever afters (see Paper Towns) but Davis and Aza really had a connection. It felt tangible and real and built on something that mattered, not the far too common love at first sight coupling that YA so enjoys. But lots of relationships between two people who are really connected don’t work out and YA doesn’t always do a great job of showing that.

And I liked that the core relationship in the story was Aza’s and Daisy’s. Because again, YA novels often put all the focus on the romance, and not the best friend. There’s the odd exception of course, but generally it’s not. This is unfortunate, because I have found in my own experience (not a study or anything) that after high school you’re way more likely to keep in touch with your friends than anyone you dated.

So it’s not The Fault in Our Stars, but it’s a great read and I would be more than happy to recommend it to any young person.

Last movie I watched:

Golden Compass. It was good. Certainly not the movies fault they didn’t make the sequel. I blame the book.

Last TV show I watched:

Galavant. Hilarious.

The other book with vampires Edward and Alice

Greywalker by Kat Richardson

In a rare moment of adult book reading, I started this series about a young PI named Harper. In the first chapter she’s brutally beaten to death by a disgruntled client. She’s resuscitated at the hospital but when she wakes up in the hospital the world is different for her. She sees a grey mist everywhere, something only she can see, and cross into. Harper is now a Greywalker, a human who can step  into the Grey, an in-between place where the living, the dead and the monsters can all exist. Side effect: suddenly the living, the dead and the monsters want her help solving their cases.

I really enjoyed this book. Harper is a fun heroine, and has a pet ferret, with a balance of realist traits like denial, a ton of courage but also compassion. She does a great job of being the strong female lead, but also having character traits that aren’t being a strong female lead. The supporting cast is delightful too, from the eccentric computer genius who helps with alarm systems, the mentoring witch who’s husband studies magic academically and their baby son to  politically driven vampire group she gets involved in.

This book is classed adult, probably for the amount of sex in it, or possible for violence, so I’d probably think twice about recommending it to teens, mostly because their parents can get really bent out of shape, but for any readers who enjoy paranormal mystery, a dash or romance and a bit of horror, I strongly recommend. That’s all I got for now.

The last movie I watched:

Victor Frankenstien. I love James McAvoy, and certainly he was amazing in the movie, but it really wasn’t an amazing movie.

Daniel Radcliffe was great too.

Last TV episode I watched:

I have no idea but I’m guessing it was How To Get Away with Murder. Great show. Seriously great.

 

Werewolves and wizards

The Dresden Files Vol 1: Fool Moon by Jim Bitcher

Harry Dresden is the only practicing wizard in Chicago and he’s running out of money. His relationship with the police has fallen apart, but he doesn’t know how much until his contact there, Murphy, brings him in for what looks like werewolf attacks he realizes that they suspect him of being part of some of the cases he’s solved. So while dodging the police he’s tracking down a killer and making new allies or enemies as he goes.

I’m not going to say I was in love with this book. It was good, I enjoyed it but there wasn’t anything about it that made it stick out or seem special to me. I’m probably going to forget about it in a year or two.

Nothing wrong with it, just about very standard. Like watching an episode of most cop shows- it’s cool to see the individual variation or your particular favourite character but you can guess with depressing accuracy exactly what will happen. There’s no twists and turns that you don’t see coming. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t good ’cause it was. I’m not expressing myself well.

The illustrations are great and Dresden’s mix of powers are interesting and cool, particularly the Soulgaze. My favourite was the demon with the tiny glasses. Pretty funny. I will read the next one probably, whenever I get to it. I liked it that much.

Last movie I watched:

Last few minutes of Moulin Rouge. So sad.

Last TV episode I watched:

Say Yes to the Dress. I’m embarrassed but it turns out, cable isn’t all I remember it to be.

It’s getting more magical!

Cainesville Book 2: Visions by Kelley Armstrong

Everyone is really lucky I couldn’t figure out  how to spell the excited noises I shouted when I finished this book. Otherwise this blog post would have just been a string of crazy excited noises spelled out.

Because I want to encourage people to read these books (because they are awesome) I’m going to try not to spoil anything. But I’m pretty sure there’s no way to do this without spoiling a little bit of Omens, the first book in the series. So, if you think there’s the slightest change you’d enjoy this series (and if you don’t think you would, I’m sorry) leave now.Just go.

Visions takes place soon after the events of Omens, when Olivia returns to parent’s home to get some of her stuff . When she returns to her car she finds a dead body sitting in it. After this terrifying incident Gabrielle and Olivia are on the case again, not only trying to clear her biological parents of the six murders they are still serving time for but also investigating the death of this young woman. And it turns out, investigating the murder of this young women will bring them closer and closer to the secret of Cainesville, reveal some new enemies and lead them to some new allies.

Where the first book was a weird but exciting blend of science fiction and magic, this book is definitely leaning more to the magical side, and I’m pretty excited about it. The story draws on a lot of mythological history but also very subtly. As more of the residents of Cainesville start to show their real identities the mix of first person and third person narration makes it practically impossible not to speculate about who’s who and shout agitatedly at Olivia and Gabrielle as they fumble around the truth. Or maybe other people don’t talk to fictional characters. It made it nearly impossible for me not to anyway.

While I don’t necessarily advocate monitoring what children and teens are reading based on content  this book has a lot more sex than the last one, so it probably belongs in the adult section of the library. But if you are okay with the sex, like a little romance, a little mystery, a little science fiction, a little fantasy or a mix of any of these, I really can’t emphasis enough how much you’ll like this book.

That’s all I can say about that without telling everyone about all the amazing things i’m going to accidentally spoil for them.

Last movie I watched: About Time. Still a favourite

Last TV episode I watched: Love it or List It maybe? DAMN IT HILARY.

Fairy tale + detective genre = Fairly Good

Fairest: Of Men and Mice by Marc Andreyko and Shawn McManus

Fables is a graphic novel series that I have not read. I believe Fairest is a spin off series from Fables, and with the exception of Men and Mice, I haven’t read it either. I was just looking for something quickly in the graphic novel section and I grabbed it. Because that’s what I do.

Fairest focuses on the fairy tale princesses in a world that’s a mix of fantasy, gritty detective and modern. Cinderella is on the hunt for Fairy Godmother, whose being targeted by a bunch of half man, half rats. As part of a network of former princesses, Cindy has support from some other ladies, a few former lovers and the creatures from across stories and nursery rhymes.

I think it’s probably a really good story, although without the proper context it was a little hard to follow. The interesting fairy tale tie ins everywhere reminded me of a darker, grimmer, sexier Once Upon a Time.

Unfortunately that’s one of the downsides to it. Like most comics, the women are drawn in an overly sexy way, and seem to be very driven by their sexuality. I don’t really know what I was expecting but it was pretty obvious that, although it’s a graphic novel about women, it’s really written for straight men .

That’s okay I guess. I’m just a little disappointed.

Last movie I watched:

No idea. It was a long time ago.

Last TV episode I watched:

Most of  a Futurama. Which was hilarious.