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Tag Archives: supernatural

Book of Shadows

Title: Book of Shadows
Author: M. Verano
Series: Dairy of a Haunting
Recommended for: 7th grade & up
Pages: 288
Call Number/Link:  Teen Fiction Verano

Synopsis: All Melanie wants is a blank book to keep a journal of her private thoughts. One day while browsing in a used bookshop, she finds the perfect blank book—smooth black leather with strange symbols in gold embossing. But once she gets home, Melanie finds herself too intimidated by the heavy vellum pages to write her trivial thoughts on them. Her Wiccan friend Lara tells her it’s better suited to be a magical spell book, called The Book of Shadows.

Melanie doesn’t know much about that stuff, but Lara, her boyfriend Caleb, and his friend Lucas, get her started by writing their own made up spells inside the book’s tempting pages. What they didn’t expect was a new spell showing up inside the book—and in handwriting none of them recognize.

Soon they discover that the spells suggested by The Book of Shadows itself do work—but not without wreaking havoc on the lives of the four teenagers.

Review: Normally, I love this series. It’s usually this weird supernatural mix with “it’s it real or not” type vibe. This one sadly fell flat, but I’m not quite sure why. It still had a very solid supernatural feel with the black magic, but it lacked the “keeping you guessing” element. Also, I’m not sure the “diary” format really worked this time. The past two books really only dealt with one main character/one person experiencing the supernatural, but this one really has four. It generally worked okay, but did feel as if something was missing. Overall, it was a middle of the road read. I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t love it either.

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Posted by on September 24, 2017 in Horror, Teen

 

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The Screaming Staircase

lockwoodTitle: The Screaming Staircase
Author: Jonathan Stroud
Series: Lockwood and Co.
Recommended for: 4th grade and up
Pages: 416
Call Number/Link:  J STR

Synopsis:  A sinister Problem has occurred in London: all nature of ghosts, haunts, spirits, and specters are appearing throughout the city, and they aren’t exactly friendly. Only young people have the psychic abilities required to see-and eradicate-these supernatural foes. Many different Psychic Detection Agencies have cropped up to handle the dangerous work, and they are in fierce competition for business.

In The Screaming Staircase, the plucky and talented Lucy Carlyle teams up with Anthony Lockwood, the charismatic leader of Lockwood & Co, a small agency that runs independent of any adult supervision. After an assignment leads to both a grisly discovery and a disastrous end, Lucy, Anthony, and their sarcastic colleague, George, are forced to take part in the perilous investigation of Combe Carey Hall, one of the most haunted houses in England. Will Lockwood & Co. survive the Hall’s legendary Screaming Staircase and Red Room to see another day?

Review: Lockwood and Co. is a great combination of scary and funny with a steampunk vibe.  Lockwood, Lucy and George are young, talented, and fearless, but their jobs often end in mass destruction.  On one assignment they get rid of the ghost but end up burning down the house.  Agents of the much larger, adult run agencies constantly mock them and try to steal their clients.  The humor is balanced by the dark world Stroud has created.  London has become overrun with ghosts whose touch can kill you and children are sent in to fight the deadly creatures.  (They are the only ones who can see the ghosts.)  In this world Stroud has placed interesting, complex characters.  George seems slovenly and lazy but is an incredible researcher and loyal to the end.  Lucy has seen her share of tragedy and also wrestles to control her talent to communicate with ghosts.  And Lockwood is hiding a dark secret.  What happened to his parents?  How did he manage to inherit their estate and start and agency while still a young teen?  What lies behind the locked bedroom door?  

‘The Screaming Staircase’ is the first book in the Lockwood and Co. series.  There are three books so far and I recommend them all.

 

 
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Posted by on October 3, 2015 in Adventure, Juv, Scary

 

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Scarlett Undercover

23197297Title: Scarlett Undercover
Author: Jennifer Latham 
Series: N/A
Recommended for: 6th grade and Up
Pages: 320
Call Number/Link:  Teen Fiction Latham, J.

Synopsis: Meet Scarlett, a smart, sarcastic, kick-butt, Muslim American heroine, ready to take on crime in her hometown of Las Almas. When a new case finds the private eye caught up in a centuries-old battle of evil genies and ancient curses, Scarlett discovers that her own family secrets may have more to do with the situation than she thinks — and that cracking the case could lead to solving her father’s murder.

My thoughts: First, let me say YAY for diversity, because YAY! It’s awesome to see a Muslim main character. Other than that, this one falls into the okay category for me. It’s fast paced and pulls you in right away, but then takes this sort weird supernaturally/mythological turn. By the end, I’m not sure if I should believe the legend that her family and many other for years and years and years have been a part of or if it’s simply the madness of an overzealous cult. I lean more towards the first, but still I would have enjoyed it had it not added in that craziness. Also, it seemed super convenient how everything ended up.

Scarlett herself is a great character. She has a lot of sass and spunk, but sometimes the way she though/spoke drove me insane (think old time detective stories). The side characters, especially her sister and a friend or two, held a lot of potential, but felt kind of one-dimensional. I just wanted MORE, but never really got it. Even the love/romance just sort of felt there.

 

If you can get pass the flaws, this is one worth checking out. While it’s a stand alone at the moment, there is room to make this into a series. Should that happen, I would totally pick it up as there is quite a bit of potential to tap into.

Read-a-likes:
Deadly Cool by Gemma Halliday
Dance of the Shadows by Yelena Black (If they want the supernatural spin mystery)

 
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Posted by on July 30, 2015 in Mysteries, Realistic, Teen

 

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