#803 The Cold Girl by Rachel Caine

The Cold Girl by Rachel CaineThe Cold Girl by Rachel Caine

Kiley always wanted to date her boyfriend, but no one else really saw why. People flat-out didn’t like him, but she did. One night,they were going out, there was a carnival in town. There was a mix up with their phones. Kiley’s ended up smashed and she ended up with her boyfriend’s phone. She knew she shouldn’t peek, but she decided to anyway. He had been really concerned about photos and videos on the phone. She saw the photos; they were of her boyfriend and another girl. She saw that there were videos, she decided to watch one. The video wasn’t what she was expecting. The video showed her boyfriend strangling this girl and then raping her.

Kiley knew she had to get away from her boyfriend. He knew she had seen the phone. He tried to take her on a ride, but the carnie people seemed to know she was in trouble. They told her to go and see the fortune-teller. Kiley’s fortune was not good. She would die tonight. It would take her two days to die. The cold girl would come for her. Her boyfriend did catch up to her and he did kill her. She lay there, for two days, no one found her, but one boy did find her ghost. The cold girl finally came. She had been with the carnival for some time. Her touch froze skin. She told Kiley she could save her. She was a vampire, of course. She liked revenge and maybe Kiley could enact some revenge on her murdering boyfriend.

What I liked

I thought this story was interesting. I’m not all into vampire stories, but this one was kind of neat. I love how this mythology seemed to follow the cold girl, who was cold not only in temperature, but in her lack of human feeling. It seems the murdering boyfriend got what he deserved, much like Rosalie’s one-time fiance in the Twilight series. The story is a bit similar between the two characters.

I, like many people, tend to like retribution stories. If the bad guy gets what’s coming to him, we feel better about the story. We have this deep-rooted sense of right and wrong. We always feel that punishment must accompany a bad deed and we can get upset when it doesn’t. Think something like the Casey Anthony case, most of us feel punishment was not meted out. In this story though, the bad guy does get what’s coming to him.

What I didn’t like

I think I would have liked a full-length book rather than just this little bit. Who knows–I may read more from the series,

Overall

Just one more reason to think carnivals are creepy, as if the Freakshow version of American Horror Story wasn’t enough.

Weigh In

Do you find the mythology of vampires interesting?

Should evil-doers always be punished or are you the bigger person for not punishing them?

#749 Welcome to Dead House by R.L. Stine

‚ÄčWelcome to Dead House by R.L. StineWelcome to Dead House by R.L. Stine

Amanda and Josh have heard some bad news from their patents–they’re moving. Some uncle or the other has died and left their father an old brick house four hours away. They don’t want to move, but the house is much bigger than their current one and their father can finally work on his writing. 

Amanda sees a boy in the house, which is odd. She assumed the house is haunted, but no one else in the family will give credence to her fears. The day comes; the family moves in. Amanda starts getting used to curtains fluttering with no wind and whispers in the night. 

Josh and Amanda finally meet other children from the town. They start playing games at the nearby school yard. Several children say something strange–they used to live in Josh and Amanda’s house. 

The dog has acted strange since moving in, but now he’s acting even stranger. The two siblings chase the dog into the graveyard. It’s there that they find a headstone of one of their friends, and then another, and another. They were dead. 

The secret came out then yes, everyone in the town was dead. There was a terrible accident with some poisonous gas. Now everyone was the living dead. The town needed fresh blood to keep on going. Every year, someone else’s long-lost uncle died and left them a house. They moved in and then they were killed. The dogs went first. 

Josh and Amanda had to get out with their parents, but was it too late for their parents?

What I liked

Nostalgia is probably my main reason to read this book. I’ve read it before, a long time ago, and there’s nothing wrong with revisiting it. 

It’s a bit campy, but why not have a house where people are invited, to die? At least it’s fairly responsible. The people moving there will have most likely sold their old house and be less likely to leave behind debt to their extended families, you know, once they’re successfully dead. 

What I didn’t like

This town sounds creepy. I’m sure nothing like this actually exists. It’s not a completely plausible story line, at least within the realm of reality. How’d they get out of their graves, if they’re the living dead? What kind of gas was this? What do they do with the blood, exactly? 

Overall

If you inherit a house from an unknown relative, maybe be careful. 

Weigh in

Would you take the house? 

What do you think about the concept of the undead?

#691 The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo

The Ghost Bride by Yangsze ChooThe Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo

Li Lan’s mother is dead and her father isn’t quite paying attention to things as he should. It’s about time Li Lan was married. There is talk here and there and a ghost marriage is mentioned. A ghost marriage is when a living person marries a dead person, so that the dead person may have the rewards of marriage. The person to whom the ghost marriage would be is not someone Li Lan is fond of, she doesn’t even know him very well, but he starts to appear in her dreams.

The dreams are not unpleasant, at first, but soon it is evident that the ghost has some unnatural sway on the land of the dead. The dreams become nightmares and Li Lan is willing to do anything to get rid of the dreams, even take a potion from a shady medium. During all of this, Li Lan develops feelings for the dead man’s cousin, who is actually the heir of the house of Lim. This all unravels when Li Lan takes a potion that makes her comatose for some time.

When she comes to, she’s not in her body. Her body is still alive, but Li Lan is not in it. She’s a spirit. Try as she might, she cannot get back inside of it. She meets other ghosts and starts asking around about what to do. Li Lan is able to see firsthand that her dead fiance has a huge sway in the ghost world. It’s because he has lots of money.

Li Lan meets a man named Er Long who tells her to go to the plains of the dead and find out what is happening. If there is evidence, the dead fiance may have to go before the courts of Hell and be punished for his misdeeds. Li Lan agrees to go. There she finds out all manner of things, including what her dead mother is like. She eventually does get back to the world of the living, despite some very narrow scrapes, but things there are not well either. Another ghost has her eye on Li Lan’s body and it’s not a good thing.

Ultimately, Li Lan must choose what type of life she wants. Does she want to parade as a regular human, who has never seen the world of the dead, or does she want to live on the fringe of the living and the dead, in a world she has now become somewhat familiar with?

What I liked

When I first started reading this book, I thought it was going to be a run-of-the-mill book about a Chinese girl who marries into some house or the other and things happen. Maybe her marriage is bad. Maybe it’s not. Whatever. This book exceeded my expectations. It was fascinating. Li Lan goes on some amazing adventures, but all the folklore is wonderful. I love how Yangsze brought the world of the dead to life. If you could see the spirit world, what would be there? Yangsze answered this question in relation to the beliefs of the area and it’s so incredibly interesting.

Li Lan is a likeable person. She’s not your typical froo-froo girl. Some of the other characters also turn out to be extremely interesting, such as Er Long, very interesting guy. Then there is the ill-fated Fan–also another highly interesting character with an evil twist. I love it.

I love folklore. This book brought folklore I have heard about to life.

What I didn’t like

Nothing. This was a great book.

Overall

I aint afraid of no ghost husband.

Weigh In

Would you marry a ghost if it gave you material gain in the current life?

Do you think you could imagine your belief of the afterlife as a real place?

#687 The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

The Graveyard Book by Neil GaimanThe Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

One dark night a man named Jack goes into a tall house and murders a father, a mother, and a daughter, but the son, who was only a toddler, escapes out the door into the night. The house is near a graveyard and all the graveyard ghosts were looking on. Mrs. Owens found the baby. The mother of the baby, who was now dead herself, came down the hill, beseeching Mrs. Owens to take care of her baby and she said she would.

The baby was hidden from Jack the murderer and taken into the graveyard. It was put to a vote. Mr. and Mrs. Owens would raise the child in the graveyard, he would have the freedom of the graveyard and be raised by all. Silas, who wasn’t dead, nor was he alive, agreed to act as a guardian. It was agreed that the baby would be called Nobody Owens, but called Bod for short.

Bod’s first several years in the graveyard were not that eventful. When he was around five, he met a little girl who was playing in the graveyard. Her name was Scarlett. She and Bod played and Bod showed her a barrow inside the graveyard itself, but there was a scary man in there. Scarlett soon moved away and Bod was alone again, well, except for all the dead people.

Bod was taught to read. He was taught to fade. He was taught many ways of the graveyard. Other people came into his life. He met a witch named Liza who helped him out in scrapes. He was locked up by a nefarious antiques dealer. He was picked up by the police. He went to school. He went out of school. He learned to dream walk. He learned what ghouls were and what their land was. He also learned who the hounds of God were.

The entire graveyard worked hard to keep Bod safe from the man named Jack. Even after such a long time, Jack was still after Bod. Ultimately, Jack did come back, but Bod was grown enough to defend himself and grown enough to outsmart Jack. The graveyard raised Bod just fine.

What I liked

Neil’s books are always so whimsical. Can you imagine living in a graveyard? Certainly there would be lots of people who stayed away purely out of superstition. It’s also an interesting concept for all the people buried in the graveyard to have become this big-extended family, or rather a tight-knit neighborhood. They all help each other out. They come together to raise  Bod and educate him.

Neil wove in various mythologies and folklore into his story, which is great, since I love mythology and folklore.

What I didn’t like

I would have liked to have known more about the organization that Jack came from. Why was Bod’s family murdered? Why did it matter?

I am not of the same opinion that this book is about the idea of death. This book states that once you are dead, your actions do not change anything, for the most part. I tend to think of death as simply another stage in a person’s life-cycle. I couldn’t say for sure, but I would want to say that even if you were dead, your actions can still have some effect somewhere.

Overall

I kind of want to visit a nice graveyard and imagine all the people who might live there Graveyard Book style.

Weigh In

Would you live in a graveyard?

Do you think a child could grow up to be an alright person having been raised by ghosts?

#686 Deadlocked by Charlaine Harris

Deadlocked by Charlaine HarrisDeadlocked by Charlaine Harris

Things in Sookie’s world are strange as usual. Her boyfriend has been betrothed to the vampire queen of Oklahoma, without his say. There is suspicion all around because of Victor’s death. Claude, Sookie’s fairy cousin, is whisked away by her grandfather Niall. Jannalynn also still has it out for Sookie.

Since Sookie has given Sam a loan to keep Merlotte’s afloat, he considers her part owner of the bar. With this, Sookie has gained more responsibility. She orders things and tries to find ways to make the bar better.

Sookie goes to a strange party at Eric’s house. There’s a strange woman there giving blood to Eric, but how did she get in? Where did she come from? Why did Eric’s day man tell her to come an hour later. When the woman ends up dead out on the front lawn, a police investigation starts. Who killed this girl, nevermind that she was a stripper, who killed her?

After the party a couple of people go missing. Bill starts an investigation to determine where they’ve gone to. Sookie helps him out in one of the plots to recover one of the missing persons. During all of this, it’s known that Sookie has powerful faye magic known as the Claviel Dor. People are looking for it and it puts Sookie’s life in added danger. She feels she should use it, but should she really use it? Couldn’t Eric figure out his own problems, because he loves her?

What I liked

Again, I love the fact that this series is a southern paranormal series. The South is an interesting place in and of itself, but add paranormal/supernatural stuff into it and it just gets better. This seems to be the book where Sookie learns some hard truths about herself. Is her fairy tale romance really that? Is Eric really the person she wants to be with?

What I didn’t like

This book makes me think that Team Eric is dead and gone. I like Eric. I think Eric is great, but maybe Sookie doesn’t end up with Eric and that makes me kind of sad, but we’ll see.

Overall

Someday, this girl is going to stop getting into trouble.

Weigh In

Which man would you choose?

If you had powerful magic, would you use it, or would you always have a fear that you used it for something that wasn’t that important?