Tag Archive | Ghosts

REVIEW: The Broken Girls by Simone St. James

The Broken Girls Book Cover The Broken Girls
Simone St. James
Mystery, Suspense, Paranormal
Berkley
March 20, 2018
E-ARC
336
Penguin First Reads
November 12 - 23, 2017

A breakout suspense novel from the award-winning author of The Haunting of Maddy Clare.

Vermont, 1950. There's a place for the girls whom no one wants--the troublemakers, the illegitimate, the too smart for their own good. It's called Idlewild Hall. And in the small town where it's located, there are rumors that the boarding school is haunted. Four roommates bond over their whispered fears, their budding friendship blossoming--until one of them mysteriously disappears. . . .

Vermont, 2014. As much as she's tried, journalist Fiona Sheridan cannot stop revisiting the events surrounding her older sister's death. Twenty years ago, her body was found lying in the overgrown fields near the ruins of Idlewild Hall. And though her sister's boyfriend was tried and convicted of murder, Fiona can't shake the suspicion that something was never right about the case.

When Fiona discovers that Idlewild Hall is being restored by an anonymous benefactor, she decides to write a story about it. But a shocking discovery during the renovations will link the loss of her sister to secrets that were meant to stay hidden in the past--and a voice that won't be silenced. . . .

Review

BE STILL MY HEART!!!
If you read just ONE book in 2018, let it be THIS book!

I don’t even know where to begin with this. I finished reading just before Thanksgiving and I tried to tell my family how amazing this book was but I simply could NOT put all my feels into words to describe them! I’ll try my best here.

The Broken Girls is part ghost story, part mystery. It’s a dual timeline, which I loved, because every time we jumped to the other time period, I wanted to keep reading the timeline we had just left. Both story lines were equally compelling.

In 1950 we follow four boarding school girls, we know from the start of the book that one is murdered. Why we don’t know is which girl it is, why, and who did it. Was it the ghost? Was it one or all of the other girls? Another human? You’re literally guessing until almost the end.

Meanwhile, in 2014 we follow Fiona, a 30-something year old woman who’s life was torn asunder years ago when her sister was murdered and her body dumped on the property of the creepy boarding school. With the boarding school property purchased by a mysterious millionaire, Fiona—a journalist—sets out to write a story about the restoration… and maybe find a way to find closure with her own sisters murder.

This is a story filled to the brim with secrets. Every thread of this story is woven so intricately together that if you don’t read closely, you may miss a clue.

Seriously you guys, I can’t even. This book is everything. Upon finishing it, all I could think was, “Damn. I need to read EVERYTHING Simone St. James has ever written.”

Seriously. This is a must read. Though I received a digital ARC for free for review purposes, at some point I will probably go buy the actual book for my bookshelf to reread in the future.

 

I received a copy of this book from Penguin First to Read in exchange for an honest review.


Quotes

* Note: Whittling down the number of passages I highlighted to feature here was HARD. I had so many markups on my digital edition!
Also note these quotes were taken from an advanced copy and
may differ in the final book.

 

She’d always known the monsters were real.
And they were here.

 

“Fee, Fee.” He was clearly laughing at her now. “You’ve spent too long with that policeman of yours. The police don’t have all the answers, and neither does the government. The people are where you find things. Like those records you just found. The people are the ones who keep the memories and the records the powers that be would rather erase.

 

Why do I have the feeling you’re not home in bed right now? Fiona stopped, staring down at the words. How the hell did he know? She wiped tears of cold from her eyes and typed a reply. Wrong. I’m snug under my covers, asleep. His reply was immediate. Oh shit. Where are you?

 

“Anthony,” Fiona managed as they crossed the field. “I think I saw—”

But he tugged her, nearly unbalancing her, and suddenly she was so close her shoulder touched his. “Shh,” he said, his voice lowered. “Please don’t say it. I think she listens.”

 

Deb had been three years older, and Fiona had followed everything she did— she’d worn Deb’s hand‑me‑down clothes, her old shoes, her old winter jackets. She was quieter and more introverted than her outgoing sister, but she’d tried her best not to be. Deb had been a road map of what to be, and when she’d died, that road map had vanished, leaving Fiona adrift. For twenty years and counting.

 

Unable to help herself, she tugged on the first box sitting at eye level and hauled it out, placing it on the cold ground and popping the lid off. Inside were textbooks, old and yellowed. The top was titled Latin Grammar for Girls .

Jamie read the title over her shoulder. “The good old days,” he commented, “when apparently Latin was different if you were a girl.”

 

Sonia laughed, though it was a painful story. She knew that laughing at it was one of Katie’s weapons, a way for her to make the experience smaller, easier to manage.

 

Mary knew everything. Mary saw everything. Everything. Even the things you didn’t say to yourself, deep in your own mind, ever.


My (Writing) Life

We survived Christmas!

Well, mostly. The family spoils my kids so much that it looks like a toy store blew up in my living room and kitchen. I’ve got them doing some organizing their toys right now, but they’re mostly whining and throwing fits. Is it time for them to go back to school yet??? (Parents who homeschool must have infinite patience!)

I had a wonderful holiday, spent lots of time with all of my family, and gave and received all sorts of wonderful gifts. Some highlights: My kids are beyond thrilled to finally own Minecraft, no longer limited to the hour long demo that doesn’t save their progress. Hubby received some delicious Pecan Canadian Whisky and a heater for the garage. And I received a beautiful tea box for all my tea bags, season 2 of Outlander, and a design tablet for my computer. I spent four hours yesterday evening putzing around on the computer and training myself to use the stylus instead of the mouse. I’m far from a professional with the stylus, but I’m getting better. Plus, last night I created a layer mask on a book cover I’m designing in Photoshop and it was the easiest – and quickest! – layer mask today. Also the most accurate. I think I’m in love.

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday as well.

Now though, I’m ready for life to go back to normal. However if there’s one really good thing that came from the holiday season it was that it forced me to post a whole bunch of reviews (for the 12 Books of Christmas Reading Challenge) and now I’m sort of in the habit of posting a review a day. I MIGHT CATCH UP ON MY BOOK REVIEW POSTINGS BEFORE JANUARY!!!

Alright, I’ve got kids to wrangle, a house to clean up, laundry to wash, and a headache to boot.

Until next time! (When maybe I’ll even have some writing updates???)

 

REVIEW: Superstition by Lucy Fenton

Superstition by Lucy Fenton

Series: Arden St. John #1

Read: July 27 – August 16, 2016

Format: Kindle Edition

My Book Rating: 2.5 Stars

Genre: YA Paranormal

Publisher: Lucy Fenton


 

ABOUT THE BOOK

What happens when your childhood nightmares of being bitten by strange creatures in a dark wood aren’t just dreams?

Sixteen-year-old Arden St. John’s life takes a strange turn when she finds an unusual animal injured near her new house on the south east coast of Australia. When she takes it to the local vet, a terrible truth is inadvertently exposed to her. She discovers a secret underworld, where witches are commonplace and trolls masquerade as queen bees, terrorising the other students with impunity. A world where vampires traffic in the lives of children, draining their bodies once they reach maturity. Where adults auction their own children to extend their lives. Arden finds out she’s one of those kids, her life traded by the mother she never knew. Now she’s caught up in this ancient and corrupt economy operating just below the surface of modern society. She’s a hot commodity, and it’s only a matter of time before the vampire who bought her comes to claim his prize. But Arden’s not going down without a fight.


REVIEW

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

 

Superstition is an ambitious novel. There’s a lot going on and I respect the author for what she tried to do.

Arden is a teenage girl who has moved with her dad to a seaside town, what she soon discovers is that she’s actually a witch. There are also vampires. And she falls for a boy, who happens to be dating the resident mean girl, who happens to be a total troll. (Seriously.)

All of that sounds fabulous, doesn’t it? It is. And the author tackles each subplot just fine. The trouble I have is that it felt like I was reading pieces of multiple books. The subplots weren’t woven together as seamlessly as I’d have liked. First we deal with the witch thing, then the mean girl, then the vampires, add in some ghosts, then back to the witch thing, and so on. It felt like when Arden was dealing with one problem, all of the other problems ceased to exist. They conveniently moved to the back burner. Weaving together so many subplots is not easy though, so I give her points for the effort. I know she must have worked her butt off at it.

I also had trouble connecting with Arden, especially because we’re told that she’s sort of gloomy and never smiles. Somehow she had friends at her old school, but can’t figure out why she doesn’t have friends at her new school. It actually took me by surprise when Arden realizes why nobody wants to be her friend, there really wasn’t much foreshadowing, which sort of blindsided me. Ultimately, I just really couldn’t connect with Arden at all.

Despite not connecting with Arden, I loved her interactions with Nick. He was a genuinely nice guy, and I think he was the Yin to her Yang. I loved their friendship / relationship / connection / whatever. I really don’t see what Nick sees in her, but I like her better when he’s with her.

What I did love was the lore the author has written into this book. The witches powers are awesome. Each witch is different, their powers unique to them. It was really interesting to see this unique take on magic. It was also super cool when Arden’s powers were finally unleashed. I also loved her version of vampires (no, they don’t sparkle, but they’re also not Dracula!)

My favorite character was probably the resident mean girl, Georgia. I loved to hate her. I loved her interactions with Arden, especially…. Well, I can’t reveal my favorite part, because it’s kind of spoilery. 😉 But ultimately, I think Georgia was the most developed character.

I think readers who love paranormal YA novels and can overlook an overabundance of exclamation marks and other editing issues would probably enjoy this book. It really left me with mixed feelings in the end, so I would consider reading the next book in the series, but I wouldn’t put it at the top of my TBR pile.



Get the Superstition here:

Amazon (Free on Kindle Unlimited!)

~ Add to Goodreads ~


QUOTES

 Arden rode home slowly, the warmth of the setting sun on her back, struggling to make sense of what Sophie had said. She said Arden was a witch, though she didn’t seem to be able to do anything but look antisocial and disappear.

But if witches were real, why not vampires too?

Focusing on him, she could sense hostility and defiance and drew them gently away.

The words sliced through Arden’s protective mental layer to bleed the soft flesh beneath.

(The vampires) are ugly as sin and suck the life out of you to sell it to other people.”

When nothing more came by, she went in search, wanting more of this intoxicating, exhilarating feeling. Nothing had ever felt this good, this freeing.

 

REVIEW: Tiger Lily by Wende Dikec

Tiger Lily by Wende Dikec

Read: March 8 – April 17, 2016

Format: Print Book (Goodreads First To Read WIN)

My Book Rating: 3.5 Stars

Genre: YA – paranormal

 

I won a signed copy of this book from the Goodreads First Reads program.

 

First, I have to get this out of the way. When I saw this book on the list of giveaways, I had no clue its as a YA. For whatever reason, this cover doesn’t look YA for me. The cover is very dark and serious IMO, and the book is more light and comedic, though it does address some serious subjects. That said, I was pleasantly surprised when I realized that it WAS in fact teen fiction, because that’s primarily what I read.

The basic premise of this story is a teen girl named Lily crashes her car and dies for a few minutes. Upon being resuscitated, she realizes she’s now plagued by their weird blobby things. They follow her everywhere and are super distracting. Soon after, with the help of Zoe, a psychic medium goth from her school, she realizes they’re ghosts that have come back with her from the Other Side. There’s another presence, that of a really hot teen boy named Nick. She’s sure he’s a ghost, but he claims he’s not dead. He doesn’t look like the other ghost blobs, so what is he? Things are just starting to get weird for her.

Lily was a tough character for me to warm up to. She’s very prissy and OCD. She hordes hand sanitizer like it’s going out of style and likes things prim and proper. The story starts out with her being stupid and crashing her car because she’s staring at the polish on her fingernails instead of watching the road. (It was a really terrible color on her, or so she claims.)

I did eventually warm up to Lily, by about 30% in I was kind of liking her. By the end I did really like her. So, that was kind of cool, going from not really caring about her to actually feeling strong emotions over what she’s going through.

Actually, I think the author did a really good job with all of the characters. At first they appear one way, but then as you get to know them, you realize that there are layers beneath them that make them the way they are. Lily is OCD and perfect because her baby sister died at 3 months old and her parents have never been able to move on, even after 9 years. Afraid to step on any toes, she overcompensates by trying to be perfect. Then there’s Zoe, the goth girl from school who can see the ghosts. Lily always thought she was a super weird freak, but she soon realizes that Zoe is not only super nice, but also sort of insecure. Her parents don’t really seem to care, so perhaps she dresses in the goth style in order to get attention.

Rating this book was really hard. It started off with me not being so keen on the book, we were thrown instantly into the action and I almost felt like I was missing something. Then as it went on, I warmed up to the characters and the plot. But then it would drag for a while and I didn’t feel that “I NEED TO READ” feeling after putting the book down until the very end. I did read the last 45% of the book (some 80 pages) over the course of about 2 hours just because A. I wanted to be done reading this book, and B. There was suddenly a lot of action and I HAD to know what would happen next. If there had been more of that during the beginning/middle of the book, this would have been a 4-5 star read.

In the end, I was left with warm and tingly feelings, so when forced to choose a solid star rating, I will round up to a 4.

(I really liked Nick. I want to read more books with guys like Nick.)