The Skeletons of Scarborough House – The Chapelwick Mysteries #1 by Kitty French

Melody Bittersweet is no ordinary woman.  Of course, she does everything that normal women do, she eats anything high in sugar, she fantasises about hot superhero sex, she has a cool best friend and at least one crazy family member, but where Melody is different is that – she can see ghosts!

When she turns twenty-seven, Melody decides that it’s time for a change.  She no longer wants to be a go between, a messenger if you will, for spirits to convey their final thoughts to their loved ones. She wants to help the living to eradicate pesky immortals who cause problems, and so she begins – The Girls Ghostbusting Agency.

On her first case she finds herself in direct competition with the one man who broke her heart and also a fellow ghost-seer, Leo Dark. Along with a non-believing reporter who is out to discredit her entire family, but also happens to be as sexy as hell, Melody is in for a bumpy ride.

REVIEW

Fantastically funny!

The whole concept is brilliantly put together and Melody is such a great character. Teaming up with her best friend Marina, Artie and a pug called Lestat, to form the Girls Ghostbusting Agency (yes, I know, Artie is not a girl but all will be explained when you read the book) leads to the investigation of Scarborough House.

The current owner is trying to sell but has a small issue with his buyers being scared out of their wits every time they enter the premise.  Following a T.V. broadcast by her ex-boyfriend, Leo, who is covering the ghostly going-on at Scarborough House, Melody decides to “lend a hand”.  Going head-to-head with Leo could be the beginning and the end of her agency but when she uncovers the reason for the current infestation of Scarborough spirits she knows she must uncover the truth to allow them the release they need.

A great who-done-it with comical undertones.

Looking forward to reading the next in the series –  Mystery at Maplemead Castle

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Ascension of the Whyte – The Afterland Chronicles #1 by Karen Wrighton

She died. Normally that would be the end, nothing more. But for Sara Carson her life was just about to begin.  Everything she knew before is now forgotten. The land is strange, the people unfamiliar, and the powers intriguing – Cognitio, Morphology, Alchemy and Magica. Soon she would find that there is more to death than she ever believed possible.

 

REVIEW

Loved this book.  It was recommended to me by my husband who is friends with the author and, although it is not my usual read, I do enjoy trying something different from time to time.  It first struck me as very ‘Harry Potter’ish but as I read further and became more engrossed in the story that was soon put out of my mind.  The premise of the story is that once a year some people who have died are chosen to ascend to a different realm. The Ascendents are primarily of three different races who then specialise in one of the four powers.  Along comes Rose (Sara) who is from a race that hasn’t existed for over a thousand years and everything is thrown into turmoil.

As well as the differing powers and races, there are dragons, djinn, wolfmen and Twocasts. The story line is engaging and well written and had me picking up my kindle at every opportunity. There are friendships that are made, betrayals and losses. Happy times are few but when they do happen you can guarantee that Ash is somewhere in the mix – love his character.   There is no sexual content included and therefore makes this book suitable for a younger reading age, probably from around 13-14 upwards.  Although it is classed as young adult I think adults of any age who enjoy the fantasy genre would appreciate this series.

I will be reading book two very soon,  looking forward to seeing what happens with Rose and her cell.

Dracula by Bram Stoker

Following the journey of Jonathan Harker, a solicitor from London, who embarks on a visit to Castle Dracula to finalise the purchase of a property in London.  During his stay, Harker encounters many strange and unexplainable events and fights for his very existence to escape.

Lucy Westenra and Mina Murray have been best friends for a long time. Mina is engaged to Jonathan Harker, whilst Lucy receives three engagement proposals from three friends, Dr. John Seward, Quincey Morris and Arthur Holmwood, but it is only Arthur who Lucy loves. 

Strange occurrences happen when the two girls are holidaying in Whitby and Lucy seems to descend into a trance and sleepwalk.  Upon returning to London she seems quite well until the sleepwalking begins again.  Dr. Seward enlists the help of his former tutor, Professor Van Helsing.

This story is written from the diary entries and journal notes of Mina Murray, Jonathan Harker, Dr. John Seward and Lucy Westenra.  Put together in near chronological order they explain the peculiar behave and eventual discovery of Count Dracula and Vampires.

 

REVIEW

Gripping from beginning to end.

I have long since had a fascination with vampires. I’m not ashamed to say that Buffy, The Vampire Slayer was on of my favourite shows.  I have watched many films  around the concept of vampires – Interview with a vampire, Blade,From Dusk til Dawn,Van Helsing, Dracula, and for my sins, Twilight (I know that I shouldn’t judge a book by its film but do not get me started on that one). I am very old school in my thinking of the undead – stake through the heart, sunlight, garlic, no reflection or shadow, turning to bats, controlling the will of the weak. This story encompasses it all. The way it is written brings a certain excitement to an already exciting story.  The thoughts and views of the key characters are produced within their writings and this brings forth a connection to each that would probably not exist if the story was written in a contemporary manner.

Having never read this book before I can honestly say that I wish I had read it years ago, but then I may not have appreciated it as much then as I do now. Definitely a classic within its own right and, in my opinion, a must-read.

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Victor Frankenstein is a young and brilliant scientist who, through curiosity and a desire to investigate, created a being from dead body parts and brought it to life through the power of electricity.  Fleeing the sight of horror before him, Frankenstein committed his creation to a life of solitude. The once gentle and innocent creature turned vengeful against Frankenstein and plagued his life with death and misery. Upon his attempt to capture the ‘monster’, Frankenstein met an explorer, Robert Walton, whom he relayed his entire story to.  This book is the narrative as told by Frankenstein and relayed by Walton to his sister.

 

REVIEW

There is a reason this book is a classic. Written by, the then 18 year old, Mary Shelley in 1817 (published in 1818) it has raised many a debate about the advancements of science. Whilst reading the story I was completely lost in the narrative and found myself sympathising with the creature who had not asked for life but had it thrust upon him, only to be turned away, with looks of horror, from all civilization he encountered.  When his request for companionship is denied it then brought forward even more questions to my mind – was Frankenstein right in his decision?   I wonder if Mary Shelley had any idea at the time of writing this that it would become such an iconic piece of literature.  There is so much I want to say in this review but I really don’t want to spoil the story for anyone who has not read it.

No matter what your reading preference I would highly recommend this book.  The language used, even though it has obviously been updated since originally published, has kept to the era as much as possible, which to me lends to the beauty of the story.  The descriptive narrative is rarely found these days where everything has to be fast-paced for fear that the reader will be bored.  Take time to read this. Lose yourself in the wonders of the world as it was when Frankenstein and his companion traveled from country to country in a time that we cannot relate to.  And always, as I was reading, was in the back of my mind…an 18 year old girl, in a time of men, wrote this wonderful story.