Starter House by Sonja Condit

Book Description:

Published: december 31, 2013

Format: Audio/OverDrive

In the vein of Heart-Shaped Box and The Thirteenth Tale, Starter House is a haunting and skillfully told debut novel about a newlywed couple and their first home — a home that seems to be haunted by a very malicious ghost.

Lacey Miszlak grew up homeless; her crazy mother dragged her from one terrible living situation to the next. But now she thinks the pieces of her life have finally come together. She’s pregnant with her first child, and she and her husband Eric have moved into the home of their dreams. She knows soon its beautiful sunlit rooms will be filled with the joy of the new family she will build there.

But there’s a strange darkness on the stairway and an odd little boy who won’t leave Lacey alone, and soon she’s forced to realize that a danger she never suspected is lurking in the hallways of her beautiful new home. She’s going to have to solve a decades-old mystery to save her family from an evil that has lingered in wait for them for years.

Review –

In Condit’s creepy debut, a young couple’s dream home turns out to be haunted.

The cottage at 571 Forrester Lane in the Southern town of Greeneburg is perfect for Lacey and Eric Miszlak. She’s pregnant and wants to be near the best schools; he wants a 20-minute commute to his uncle’s law firm. Lacey brushes aside the spooked reaction of their broker (who knows more than she’s telling) but discovers after they move in that the house harbors a ghost: Drew, a needy little boy who asks her to be his mother. Lacey, a former elementary school teacher, prides herself on being good with difficult children, but she quickly learns to fear Drew’s rages and his hostility toward her unborn child. “The thing in the house. It eats babies,” blurts out the broker’s daughter. The trouble started in 1972, when Andrew Halliday killed his wife, three of his four children and himself. Only Andrew Junior survived the massacre; he’s changed his name to Lex Hall and has retained Eric in a custody battle over his young daughter. Yes, it’s a lot of coincidences to swallow, and Drew’s ability to travel as far afield as Australia seems more convenient than likely even within the parameters of a ghost story, but Condit paints such a convincing portrait of the Miszlaks’ tension-riddled marriage and does such a good job of escalating the menace in Lacey’s encounters with Drew that readers won’t care much about probability. The novel has unusually strong characterizations as well, in particular the depiction of Lacey’s New Age–y mother, Ella, who proves to be stronger and more protective than her daughter could understand in childhood. Eric too, controlling and overcautious though he is, comes through with flying colors in the violent denouement at the top of the stairs that have seen so many previous deaths.

Good, scary fun, packed with emotional nuance.” Kirkus Reviews

Fantastic read!

 

 

 

The Wish Collector by Mia Sheridan

Book Description:

Published: November 26, 2018

Format: Audio/Audible

When ballet dancer Clara Campbell arrives in New Orleans, lonely and homesick, she is immediately captivated by the story of Windisle Plantation and the tragic tale that is said to have transpired beyond its gate. Legend has it that it is abandoned by all living souls, but to Clara’s great surprise, it is not a ghost she hears through the stone wall surrounding the property, but a flesh and blood man. A scarred stranger with a pain deeper and darker than the churning waters of the Mississippi river that flows beside his self-imposed prison.

The ruined man behind the wall hides himself from the world. The last thing he expects is to find a friend in the selfless girl who speaks to him through the cracks in the rock. The girl who keeps returning week after week. The girl who makes him wish for things he has long since given up on. The girl who strikes both fear and hope within his wounded heart. But there can be no future for them, no life beyond Windisle, for no one knows better than him that monsters only live in the dark.

The Wish Collector is the story of shame and triumph, of loneliness and love, and the miracle of two hearts connecting despite the strongest of barriers between them.

Review –

“Amongst the city streets of New Orleans you’ll find Clara Campbell, a ballerina. She just arrived to this mysterious and magical city, still trying to find herself and she pursue her dreams. She hears a legend of an abandon house and a love that ended in tragedy making her curious and wanting to know more. The talks of Windisle Plantation lead her to a wall and ultimately to the stranger behind the wall. The Wish Collector as she called him. A enigmatic and dark man hiding behind the fence of the property she is so curious about.

They’re both lonely for very different reasons and she begins a weekly visit to the man behind the weeping wall. They strike up an unusual friendship. Build a delicate companionship. Their story is equal parts heartbreaking and heartwarming.

The man who deemed himself undeserving and broken beyond repair and the girl with a heart of gold and a spirit that shines off the pages take a journey that will tear them down and lift them up as they uncover all the secrets of the plantation and their hearts too.

A fairy tale dust mixed with New Orleans’s dark magic and mystery of present and past will keep you pulled in till the last page. I was mesmerized, enchanted, completely put under the spell of this unique plot with exquisite story-telling that made this book fascinating and engrossing.”schemexygirlbookblog.com

Loved this book!   Five stars.

The Evening Spider by Emily Arsenault

Book Description:

Published: January 26, 2016

Format: Audio/OverDrive

A gripping blend of psychological suspense and historical true crime, this riveting novel—inspired by a sensational real-life murder from the 1800s—by critically acclaimed author Emily Arsenault delivers a heart-stopping mystery linking two young mothers from different centuries.

Frances Barnett and Abby Bernacki are two haunted young mothers living in the same house in two different centuries.

1885: Frances Barnett is in the Northampton Lunatic Hospital, telling her story to a visitor. She has come to distrust her own memories, and believes that her pregnancy, birth, and early days of motherhood may have impaired her sanity.

During the earliest months of her baby’s life, Frances eagerly followed the famous murder trial of Mary Stannard—that captivated New Englanders with its salacious details and expert forensic testimony. Following—and even attending—this trial, Frances found an escape from the monotony of new motherhood. But as her story unfolds, Frances must admit that her obsession with the details of the murder were not entirely innocent.

Present day: Abby has been adjusting to motherhood smoothly—until recently, when odd sensations and dreams have begun to unsettle her while home alone with her baby. When she starts to question the house’s history, she is given the diary of Frances Barnett, who lived in the house 125 years earlier. Abby finds the diary disturbing, and researches the Barnett family’s history. The more Abby learns, the more she wonders about a negative—possibly supernatural—influence in her house. She becomes convinced that when she sleeps, she leaves her daughter vulnerable—and then vows not to sleep until she can determine the cause of her eerie experiences.

Frances Barnett might not be the only new mother to lose her mind in this house. And like Frances, Abby discovers that by trying to uncover another’s secrets, she risks awakening some of her own.

Review –

“In 2014, high school history teacher and new mom Abby Bernacki worries over “odd” happenings in her 19th-century house, such as her baby daughter’s mysterious bruise. After consulting with a past owner, Abby obtains a historic resident’s journal and befriends a local archivist, who introduces her to a trove of puzzling artifacts. In 1878, another new mother who lived in the house, Frances Barnett, was ordered to a month’s “rest” in bed to cure her nervous condition. Once she’s out of bed, Frances fakes enthusiasm for domestic tasks while concealing from her husband her obsession with the trial of a gruesome murderer. The historic parts of the novel draw on the tale of a real-life 1879 murder and trial, even including several real New York Times articles that covered the story. Readers will squirm at the courtroom scenes involving a removed and preserved face and experiments with arsenic and donated stomachs. In another bit of historical accuracy, Frances toils in the Northampton Lunatic Hospital in Massachusetts, which at the time turned a profit on the work of its residents. The novel consists of three threads: Abby’s 2014 perspective, where she reads notes Frances kept in a cooking journal in 1878; Frances’ mental-hospital monologue to her visiting brother in 1885; and the 1998 death of a college student in Abby’s dorm. The college thread is minimally developed and seems incidental, until it ties in as the foundation of an emotionally satisfying ending. Abby’s and Frances’ mirrored stories are the stars of the show; despite their very different circumstances, both women are humbled by the pressures of new motherhood before they find empowerment in the hunt for justice.” Kirkus Reviews

I love this type of book where the past and present collide. Great read! Five stars!!!!!

Perdition House-Part 1 An Erotic Saga by Bonnie Edwards

Book Description:

Published: June 25, 2014

Perdition House…

When Faye Grantham inherits Perdition House, her family’s secret shame, she expects to sell the property for millions and marry her long time fiancé.
But the spirits who still reside in the mansion have other ideas. Trapped in the bordello, the women who lived and worked there wait to tell their stories to Faye.
The “girls” don’t just hang around waiting, though. They control Faye’s libido, influence her decisions and drive her into the arms of two very different men.
Liam Watson wears comfort like most men wear cologne, but with an interest in adventurous sex, he’s a lot more man than he first seems.
Mark McLeod is a strong, decisive businessman who was not meant to be more than a hot one-night stand. But Mark is in no hurry to end their liaison, and hopes to continue her lessons in sensuality.
As Faye becomes enthralled with her family mansion, she’s soon embroiled in a life-changing situation that has her re-examining her engagement, her business decisions, and her beliefs about herself.
As the spirits reveal themselves one by one, Faye learns their stories: how they came to Perdition House, why they joined the women there and some of the secrets that only a high-class bordello could hold.
But can decades-old secrets affect Faye’s life today?
Ghost stories are not always frightening. Sometimes they’re cheeky, naughty and often erotic…

Welcome to Perdition House: a house of sin, secrets and seduction.

Review –

I’m fast learning that I AM NOT a fan of paranormal erotic romance.

This story line is just a bit much for me and I found my mind wondering, unable to stay connected with the plot. Somehow Ghosts in an old house that used to be a brothel is hard for me to swallow. I won’t be reading Part 2.

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Rooms by Lauren Oliver

Book Description

September 23, 2014

The New York Times bestselling author of Before I Fall and the Delirium trilogy makes her brilliant adult debut with this mesmerizing story in the tradition of The Lovely Bones, Her Fearful Symmetry, and The Ocean at the End of the Lane—a tale of family, ghosts, secrets, and mystery, in which the lives of the living and the dead intersect in shocking, surprising, and moving ways.

Wealthy Richard Walker has just died, leaving behind his country house full of rooms packed with the detritus of a lifetime. His estranged family—bitter ex-wife Caroline, troubled teenage son Trenton, and unforgiving daughter Minna—have arrived for their inheritance.

But the Walkers are not alone. Prim Alice and the cynical Sandra, long dead former residents bound to the house, linger within its claustrophobic walls. Jostling for space, memory, and supremacy, they observe the family, trading barbs and reminiscences about their past lives. Though their voices cannot be heard, Alice and Sandra speak through the house itself—in the hiss of the radiator, a creak in the stairs, the dimming of a light bulb.

The living and dead are each haunted by painful truths that will soon surface with explosive force. When a new ghost appears, and Trenton begins to communicate with her, the spirit and human worlds collide—with cataclysmic results.

Elegantly constructed and brilliantly paced, Rooms is an enticing and imaginative ghost story and a searing family drama that is as haunting as it is resonant.

Review –
Two days into the new year and I have read my first five-star rated book. *****
I had the audio version of the book and the narration was done by multiple readers, which made it like listening to a play. The Walkers are a dysfunctional family and are back to bury the father/husband of the family and the two ghosts of the house are not at all mentally balanced and throw in a run-away and a third ghost and you have the makings of a dramatic ending to say the least. I loved it beginning to end and I highly recommend it.
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Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama

Book Description

September 4, 2012
Fierce, seductive mermaid Syrenka falls in love with Ezra, a young naturalist. When she abandons her life underwater for a chance at happiness on land, she is unaware that this decision comes with horrific and deadly consequences. Almost one hundred forty years later, seventeen-year-old Hester meets a mysterious stranger named Ezra and feels overwhelmingly, inexplicably drawn to him. For generations, love has resulted in death for the women in her family. Is it an undiagnosed genetic defect . . . or a curse? With Ezra’s help, Hester investigates her family’s strange, sad history. The answers she seeks are waiting in the graveyard, the crypt, and at the bottom of the ocean – but powerful forces will do anything to keep her from uncovering her connection to Syrenka and to the tragedy of so long ago.
Review –
This is a wonderful story that is really two stories in one. One about mermaids and the other about ghosts and combines them flawlessly.  The story is also told in flashbacks so we learn the back story of some of the ghosts and the main mermaid. It also tells of a curse and of folklore of sea creatures. The mermaid depicted in Monstrous Beauty are not the “little mermaid” type but instead dark, driven, fierce and deadly.
Saying all that, it was a beautiful story of love and loss and I recommend  it to those who enjoy books about mermaids and those who never thought of reading a book about mermaids.

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Death Comes To Town (A Darcy Sweet Cozy Mystery #1)by K.J. Emrick

Book Description

 December 11, 2013
Darcy Sweet would like to think that she is just an ordinary woman, happy in her life running the Sweet Read bookstore. But she isn’t ordinary. She has a connection to the other side that seems to draw her into mysterious situations more often than not. Add to the mix the antics of a rather naughty, slightly psychic cat and the eccentric ghost of her great-aunt Millie, and you have a recipe for anything but the ordinary.

When Darcy’s neighbor is murdered she is drawn into the mystery against her will when she finds the body. She tries to leave the investigation to the police, one of which is her sister, but an overheard conversation and a small nudge from the other side has her investigating the murder. The stakes are raised when the murderer strikes again. Who was killing the people in her life?

Things are complicated even more by her building attraction to her sister’s new cop partner, who makes it clear he does not appreciate Darcy’s interference in the investigation. Sparks fly between the two of them as they get further into the mystery surrounding the deaths.

With a town full of suspects how will Darcy work out who the murderer is? None of the pieces to the puzzle fit. Things become more complicated and dangerous as Darcy’s own life is threatened. Will she survive to see justice served?

Review –
I love cozy mysteries because they don’t strain the brain are just a refreshing read. This one is a fast read and perfect for any lazy afternoon.
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Crescendo (Hush Hush Saga #2) by Becca Fitzpatrick

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Published: 2010

Nora Grey’s life is still far from perfect. Surviving an attempt on her life wasn’t pleasant, but at least she got a guardian angel out of it. A mysterious, magnetic, gorgeous guardian angel. But despite his role in her life, Patch has been acting anything but angelic. He’s more elusive than ever (if that’s possible) and what’s worse, he seems to be spending time with Nora’s archenemy, Marcie Millar.

Nora would have hardly noticed Scott Parnell, an old family friend who has moved back to town, if Patch hadn’t been acting so distant. Even with Scott’s totally infuriating attitude, Nora finds herself drawn to him – despite her lingering feelings that he is hiding something.

If that weren’t enough, Nora is haunted by images of her murdered father, and comes to question whether her Nephilim bloodline has anything to do with his death. Desperate to figure out what happened, she puts herself in increasingly dangerous situations to get the answer. But maybe some things are better left buried, because the truth could destroy everything – and everyone – she trusts.

Review –

So good I read it in one sitting.

Poor Nora (good girl) thinks her boyfriend,Patch (bad boy) likes someone else(bad snotty girl) and now Scottie the Hottie has caught her eye AND he thinks she’s being contacted by her dead, murdered father. She also finds out that the bad snotty girl’s father is HER father too and he is not nice.  Wow!

Now, on to the third book.

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The Heart Shaped Box by Joe Hill

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Book Description

Publication Date:October 13, 2000

Judas Coyne is a collector of the macabre: a cookbook for cannibals . . . a used hangman’s noose . . . a snuff film. An aging death-metal rock god, his taste for the unnatural is as widely known to his legions of fans as the notorious excesses of his youth. But nothing he possesses is as unlikely or as dreadful as his latest discovery, an item for sale on the Internet, a thing so terribly strange, Jude can’t help but reach for his wallet.

I will “sell” my stepfather’s ghost to the highest bidder. . . .

For a thousand dollars, Jude will become the proud owner of a dead man’s suit, said to be haunted by a restless spirit. He isn’t afraid. He has spent a lifetime coping with ghosts—of an abusive father, of the lovers he callously abandoned, of the bandmates he betrayed. What’s one more?

But what UPS delivers to his door in a black heart-shaped box is no imaginary or metaphorical ghost, no benign conversation piece. It’s the real thing.

And suddenly the suit’s previous owner is everywhere: behind the bedroom door . . . seated in Jude’s restored vintage Mustang . . . standing outside his window . . . staring out from his widescreen TV. Waiting—with a gleaming razor blade on a chain dangling from one bony hand. . . .

A multiple-award winner for his short fiction, author Joe Hill immediately vaults into the top echelon of dark fantasists with a blood-chilling roller-coaster ride of a novel, a masterwork brimming with relentless thrills and acid terror

Review –

Joe Hill can tell a great ghost story that leaves you looking over your shoulder and leaving the light on when you go to bed. I there is a moral to this story, it is be careful what you buy off the internet.  I love it and highly recommend it  if you like the horror genre.

 

Full Bloom by Janet Evanovich and Charlotte Hughes

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Book Description

Publication Date:May 6, 2008
Dear Reader,
The temperature’s on “sizzle” again in Beaumont, South Carolina, where peach trees are in season and ripe for the picking. So is its newest entrepreneur, Annie Fortenberry, who has inherited her grandmother’s B&B (and its eccentric handyman Erdle Thorney). According to a local psychic she also inherited a spirit from its glory days as a brothel-not the kind of publicity the Peach Tree Bed & Breakfast needs if it’s hosting millionaire Max Holt’s upcoming wedding! If rumors of a naughty, prank-playing ghost aren’t stressful enough, a mysterious man has arrived with an eye on Annie and her master suite. Wes Bridges is all leather and denim, sporting a two-day beard, straddling a Harley, and sending the B&B’s testosterone level through the roof. Annie’s cool demeanor may be dropping as fast as Wes’s jeans, but leave it to her missing ex-husband to dampen the passion! Turns out someone has done him in, and all evidence points to Annie! Wrapped up in a murder plot, Annie must find the killer, save her own neck, and get back to where she was-wrapped up in Wes’s strong loving arms…
We guarantee that you’re going to have as much fun reading Full Bloom as we had writing it! (Even if we were surprised by the ending!) And you won’t want to miss the hair-raising shenanigans when Fleas, the hound dog, meets the most cantankerous, snooty, bad-tempered, twenty-two pound orange cat….
Janet and Charlotte
Review-
This is only the second book I’ve read by this author. The first was Manhunt  in May of 2009.  To me they are good as “fluff” reading or listening because you don’t have to think while time passes. After reading The Infection by Craig DiLouie I was ready for something less deadly,menacing, and world ending so I choose this and besides our local public library has a horrible selection of audio books and I didn’t have much choice.
It was a murder mystery mixed with romance and a ghost.  It was pleasant to listen to and I didn’t have to work my brain too hard, which is nice once  in awhile.