Tag Archives: ghosts

Graphic Novel Review: Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol

Published 2011 by First Second books.

9615347Goodreads Synopsis: Anya could really use a friend. But her new BFF isn’t kidding about the “Forever” part.
Of all the things Anya expected to find at the bottom of an old well, a new friend was not one of them. Especially not a new friend who’s been dead for a century.
Falling down a well is bad enough, but Anya’s normal life might actually be worse. She’s embarrassed by her family, self-conscious about her body, and she’s pretty much given up on fitting in at school. A new friend—even a ghost—is just what she needs.
Or so she thinks. Spooky, sardonic, and secretly sincere, Anya’s Ghost is a wonderfully entertaining début from author/artist Vera Brosgol.

My Review: Anya’s Ghost was such a brilliant graphic novel! It caught my eye in the library earlier in the month, and I’d read a couple of great things online. I couldn’t wait any longer to read it… Whilst in the middle of loads of titles, I picked it up. Once I had, it was hard to put down! It’s original, compelling, and has some of the most beautiful illustrations.

I wasn’t expecting so much from the 200 page story. It deals with an insecure teenage girl who doesn’t quite fit in, paranormal murder mysteries, and above all friendship… it’s all blended together to make a really emotional and addictive story! I guess I do read a lot of paranormal books… but none that deal with friendship as opposed to a romance story which is more often seen. This story made for a really fresh look on things. And it quickly turns from heart-warming to sinister and terrifying… I really wasn’t expecting the plot twists!

Anya was a very relatable character; she’s a teenager under exam pressure, finding it hard to fit in with anyone in school, struggling to maintain a friendship with the one girl who hangs around with her. It was easy to understand her and I grew really attached to Anya! She develops so much through the book, as she discovers certain things about people in her life and begins to make different and life-changing decisions. Anya’s ghost, Emily, also develops a lot in a really unpredictable way. She’s a really complex and unpredictable character. I didn’t see the ending for the story coming.

The artwork is absolutely beautiful. The style of drawing is simple and cartoon-y, but it really just… went with the story. I loved it. I was really absorbed in the drawings, and I found myself going back over pages after I’d finished just to admire some of the panels! The colour scheme is really pretty, all dark shades of grey and purple.

Overall, I’d really highly recommend Anya’s Ghost to anyone, whether you’re a reader of graphic novels or not! The story was really complex and riveting, with some unpredictable twists that leave readers in a daze. Vera Brosgol has created some very memorable characters that I was left thinking about long after the last page. It was breathtaking, and probably one of the best débuts I’ve read in a while!

My Rating:

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I borrowed a copy of Anya’s Ghost from my local library.

The Memory Game (Buddy Read with Charli!)

Charli, who runs the fantastic TO ANOTHER WORLD book blog, buddy read this short novel with me a couple of weeks ago! We both really loved it, as it was a really heartbreaking and beautiful book. This review was meant to be up yesterday, but due to my general un-organisation is WASN’T ): So it’s here now… ;D You can click on Charli’s blog button below for her review! (Yes I am obsessed with hyper-linking stuff. It’s cool okay.)

To Another World

by Sharon Sant, self-published on the Amazon Store.

The Memory GameGoodreads Synopsis: ‘If there is a hell, I think maybe this is it.’ 

Weeks after fifteen-year-old David is killed by a speeding driver, he’s still hanging around and he doesn’t know why. The only person who can see and hear him is the girl he spent his schooldays bullying. 

Bethany is the most hated girl at school. She hides away, alone with her secrets until, one day, the ghost of a boy killed in a hit-and-run starts to haunt her. 

Together, they find that the end is only the beginning…

My Review: Wow. Seriously, wow. I was not expecting such a hard-hitting, beautiful story from a pretty short book! As Charli said- it definitely packed a punch, for a book under 200 pages!

I’ve never read a book by Sharon Sant before (I know! So many good reviews!) so I thought her latest short novel would be a great introduction to her writing, for me. I loved it so much! The pretty cover, and the mysterious synopsis drew me in, and upon starting it I really didn’t want to stop! I read this over a few days with Charli, and at a lot of points I was without my kindle. Which really sucked, because this book was so addictive!

The beginning is one you have to read over twice. What happened? Wait, he’s died- we’re only on the first page! David’s looking at his own body, and he’s a ghost. How? Why? It reminded me a lot of More Than This- by Patrick Ness, because the boy’s dead within the first chapter (They’re very different books, though!). Sharon Sant has used clever narrative hooks to keep the audience reading- they definitely worked! Lots of different twists in the story opened up brand new questions for me. All of them were answered… except for one! The one that wasn’t answered was one of the things I wanted to know the most: Who hit Dylan with their car whilst he was on his paper run- and was that related to the book somehow? It bugged me a little bit that I didn’t get to know this… however, the est of the emotional story most definitely made up for it.

Dylan’s a character you can love and hate. At first, you feel sympathetic for him; because he’s just been killed, and he can’t say sorry to his mum, and his friend has betrayed him after his death. Then, you want to hit him a bit, because he bullied Bethany, the second Protagonist of the novel. Then… you want to hug him (Though, that wouldn’t work, your hands would go straight through him…) because he’s formed a strong friendship with Bethany, and I can’t exactly talk about this much without spoiling it, but Sharon Sant is evil because she makes you love the two of them, but they can’t even hold hands because he’s a ghost. That was so, so sad. I loved David overall, though, and he made a really great main protagonist!

Bethany was an equally amazing main character. Whilst I had guessed why she was so protective of herself from quite early on, it was really heart-breaking to read on as her sad background unfolded throughout the plot. It tied in really well with David’s death and ghostly-reappearance… and the twist at the end was so shocking, so unpredictable, I was left in a bit of a shock at the ending!

The ending was really beautiful. I didn’t want the story to end, because I was enjoying it so much. When it did… I was in a bit of a whoa mode. I had to read over the last few paragraphs a good few times, in order to let the final parts of the book sink in. Sharon’s writing is really beautiful: I could visualize that ending so well- it was perfect.

Overall, The Memory Game was a really exhilarating read! It’s so original, and paced really well. Sharon’s writing brings the book and the characters to life: I wish the characters were real… I want to give Bethany a huge hug and David, too. Despite a couple of small things, the plot was very well written; complex, and had so much amazing-ness packed into it for a relatively short read. I’d really recommend this to fans of contemporary dramas, or supernatural thrillers! It’s a riveting read!

My Rating: 

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I purchased a copy of THE MEMORY GAME from the Amazon Kindle Store.

 

UNREST

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We’re drawing closer to Halloween now… and what better book to be one of the finishing Halloween Reads recommendations than a spine-chilling, ghostly thriller? This book was terrifying- great to curl up with when you’re not trick-or-treating this Halloween!

By Michelle Harrison, published by Simon & Schuster.

UnrestGoodreads Synopsis: Seventeen-year-old Elliott hasn’t slept properly for six months. Not since the accident that nearly killed him. Now he is afraid to go to sleep. Sometimes he wakes to find himself paralysed, unable to move a muscle, while shadowy figures move around him. Other times he is the one moving around, while his body lies asleep on the bed. According to his doctor, sleep paralysis and out of body experiences are harmless – but to Elliot they’re terrifying. Convinced that his brush with death has opened up connections with the spirit world, Elliott secures a live-in job at one of England’s most haunted locations, determined to find out the truth. There he finds Sebastian, the ghost of a long-dead servant boy hanged for stealing bread. He also meets the living, breathing Ophelia, a girl with secrets of her own. She and Elliott grow closer, but things take a terrifying turn when Elliott discovers Sebastian is occupying his body when he leaves it. And the more time Sebastian spends inhabiting a living body, the more resistant he becomes to giving it back. Worse, he seems to have an unhealthy interest in Ophelia. Unless Elliott can lay Sebastian’s spirit to rest, he risks being possessed by him for ever, and losing the girl of his dreams…

My Review:  UNREST was an awesome ghost story. Right from the beginning I was captivated by Michelle Harrison’s terrifying plot! This book’s perfect for a Halloween read- or if you want a serious scare…
Plot wise, the book was brilliant. It’s a bit disappointing, actually, that the synopsis gives quite a lot away. Without that blurb on the back, it would be utterly unpredictable. Apart from the parts of the book it talked about on the blurb though, it was very hard to predict! I wasn’t expecting any of what happened. Michelle is an expert at writing terrifying, layered plots, packed with plot twists.

There were a lot of intertwining parts of the story, and I was kind of scared that ends wouldn’t tie together very well. It was less than a hundred pages from the end, and not much had been resolved… there was the mysteries behind Hodge; Ophelia; Tess the ghost; Sebastian the ghost… I was scared things would be forgotten and I’d be left wanting more of the story. Well, everything was resolved and linked together in a way I can’t describe in words other that genius, and I was left wanting more for a GOOD reason!

Michelle’s writing was brilliant. I can’t remember much of her writing style in the Thirteen trilogy, sadly, thought I can remember loving those books a couple of years ago. UNREST was written superbly. Harrison’s writing conveys so much tension and suspense, and I felt like I was there. I know I probably say that a bit in reviews, but this time it was vivid- I really did feel like I was watching Tess in an out of body experience; I felt like I’d had my body stolen by Sebastian; I felt like I was watching ghosts appear on a museum tour. I found the writing so descriptive and beautiful.

Elliott was such a flawless main character. He was very realistic, and his background was really well explained. I knew exactly what had happened to him, and it made me sympathize with him throughout the whole story. His story was riveting, and scary- I’d never be able to confront ghosts like he does, in this book! I adored his relationship with Ophelia: She was, too, a really amazing character. They’re both really unique protagonists. I want to read more about them! (Hint, Michelle Harrison, hint! :D). There were multiple points when I didn’t trust multiple character. A main one was Hodge. I can’t really detail on this- but I’ll just say that some characters can’t be trusted…

Overall, Unrest was a novel I absolutely loved reading, and it’s a book I think I’ll re-read again and again. The character were unforgettable, and I didn’t want to let them go at the end of the book. The setting was interesting, and so was the ghostly aspect of the book. I’ve also gotten really interested in the subject of out-of-body experiences now! The plot is complex and clever- the twists and turns in the story will get you hooked on this book. It’s a great novel as a standalone- I don’t think anything should be added, in fear of spoiling the story- but I want to read more at the same time! I can’t wait for more books from Michelle Harrison. She’s a fantastic author… I’ll stop now. I’ve written a long enough review!

My Rating:

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My Dad received a copy of UNREST in exchange for a review. Then I stole it a while after to review it myself. In no way at all did this (The source, not the stealing-from-Dad’s-bookshelf, obviously ;D) affect my thoughts.

Lockwood & Co.

By Jonathan Stroud, published by Random House.

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Another five star review for my Halloween Reads! Yay! This one’s nothing like ZOM-B, which I reviewed earlier… it’s more for the fans of the paranormal who want a terrifying read to curl up with.

The Screaming Staircase (Lockwood & Co., #1)Goodreads Synopsis: When the dead come back to haunt the living, Lockwood & Co. step in . . .

For more than fifty years, the country has been affected by a horrifying epidemic of ghosts. A number of Psychic Investigations Agencies have sprung up to destroy the dangerous apparitions.

Lucy Carlyle, a talented young agent, arrives in London hoping for a notable career. Instead she finds herself joining the smallest, most ramshackle agency in the city, run by the charismatic Anthony Lockwood. When one of their cases goes horribly wrong, Lockwood & Co. have one last chance of redemption. Unfortunately this involves spending the night in one of the most haunted houses in England, and trying to escape alive.

Set in a city stalked by spectres, The Screaming Staircase is the first in a chilling new series full of suspense, humour and truly terrifying ghosts. Your nights will never be the same again . . .

My Review: Thanks very much, Stroud. You had me tossing and turning all night thinking about ghosts, rushing up stairs in case there were ghosts that might haunt them (no really.), and made me a MASSIVE fangirl. I’ve given it a while to write this review, so I can let it sink in a bit. No review I could write could do this enough justice… it was just simply amazing. Stroud has created a unique, imaginative world in which ghosts roam freely. They haunt so many houses- they’ve turned into some kind of infection spreading throughout England. So, agencies have sprouted up around the country, too, and Lockwood & Co. is that one with the bad reputation and the low-ish income. Luckily, with the arrival of Lucy, things begin to get a lot more exciting for them, because they’ve discovered their biggest case yet.

Despite this book being set in the modern world, for some reason I imagined it all Victorian, and I have no idea why. Maybe it was because there weren’t that many technology references? Maybe it was because Mr Lockwood reminded me a bit of Will from the Infernal Devices- cocky, arrogant, mysterious, and just loveable. Either way, I loved the future that Jonathan Stroud has crafted! It’s eerie, and quite terrifying for a Children’s book. It’s just brilliant- a rich dose of paranormal horror that will send shivers up your spine and grip you like a vice.

Lucy was a fabulous main character. The story was structured in a unique way- starting with an event that sparked their biggest mystery- then zooming back in time to build up Lucy’s back-story, then zooming ahead of time again to carry on with the book. Maybe I didn’t make that sound great… but it’s genius. I got to know Lucy so well! He accomplices, Mr Lockwood and George were also both loveable and brilliant leading characters, that I really want to read more about.

Lockwood & Co. is so gripping, also because of the writing. Jonathan Stroud’s writing is just immaculate, to say the least! His descriptions were beautiful, and the dialogue witty, mostly, to give the rather grim book an upbeat, feel-good essence. The writing drew me into Stroud’s novel so effectively that I found the book hard to put down- devouring the book in about three sittings!

Overall, Lockwood & Co. was an amazing novel. I haven’t read any ghost story as brilliant for a while! The plot was gripping, and full of ghosts and spectres that’ll keep you awake at night. One word to describe the story? Addictive. That’s what this story was! It held onto me from the first page and didn’t let me go until I had read (and re-read) the last chapter. I can’t recommend this enough to fans of the ghoulish and ghost stories. I think I’ve now got to go and hunt down Stroud’s other series, and then impatiently wait for the next book. Bring on the sequel!

My Rating:

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I purchased a copy of Lockwood & Co. from a local bookstore, but also received it on Netgalley- In no way at all did that affect my thoughts.