Showing posts with label Horror. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Horror. Show all posts

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Took: A Ghost Story by Mary Downing Hahn

Genre: Middle Grade, Horror
Source: Borrowed From My Granddaughter

From Goodreads:
“Folks say Old Auntie takes a girl and keeps her fifty years—then lets her go and takes another one.”     Thirteen-year-old Daniel Anderson doesn’t believe Brody Mason’s crazy stories about the ghost witch who lives up on Brewster’s Hill with Bloody Bones, her man-eating razorback hog. He figures Brody’s probably just trying to scare him since he’s the new kid . . . a “stuck-up snot” from Connecticut. But Daniel’s seven-year-old sister Erica has become more and more withdrawn, talking to her lookalike doll. When she disappears into the woods one day, he knows something is terribly wrong. Did the witch strike? Has Erica been “took”?

My Thoughts:
I discovered at Thanksgiving that my granddaughter Haylee and I share a love of books written by Mary Downing Hahn.  She expressed a desire to read Took. She said she’d been trying to get a copy from her school library, but it was always checked out. I made sure she got one for Christmas. She and her brother Jacob spent the Wednesday through Friday with us. We took them to the library yesterday. While she sat and read books to her brother, I borrowed her book and read it. Mary Downing Hahn’s books have that special creep factor that makes all of her books good.  You have a family moving into an old and creepy house. The children don’t like it. The kids at school don’t like them, and the parents are beginning to fight more and more. The author sets you up for a great scare. As you read and see how brave Daniel is, you are thinking to yourself, ‘I wouldn’t be brave enough to do that’.  One thing that makes this book so good is it has an urban legend. Every area has their own urban legends. This legend is based on an actual disappearance that had happened fifty years before. Now it is happening again. Is there truly a witch in the woods? 
I will definitely need to get another copy for my classroom shelves.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Student Saturday: Four Great Reviews today

Four great stories just in time for Halloween

Please remember these are sixth grade students, not professional bloggers. All of their reviews are their own opinions. Please feel free to comment, but be kind.

The Ghost on the Stairs by Chris Eboch

Genre: Mystery

From Goodreads:

Thirteen-year-old Jon and his eleven-year-old sister, Tania, are typical kids—except Tania can communicate with ghosts. Their parents also happen to be the producers of a ghost-hunter television show—and have no idea one of their own kids can see ghosts. In The Ghost on the Stairs, the brother-sister duo join forces to help reunite a newlywed couple from beyond the grave. In The Riverboat Phantom, Jon and Tania try to help the ghost of a steamboat worker find peace at last—and find more than they bargained for on the river!

Student Reviewer: Stefanie
The Ghost on the stairs was a great book. I recommend this book to my sister and anyone who likes to read mysteries that gives goosebumps, with some love at the same time. When I was reading this book I thought of my sister because she loves to read books that give her goosebumps. The story's main characters are Jon, a thirteen - year-old boy, Taina an eleven-year-old girl, their mom and Bruce the TV show guy. Most of the story takes place in a haunted house. In the story Taina went to the haunted house and she could see the ghosts and her brother Jon thinks she is in danger. At the same time Bruce is trying to catch the ghost on camera. She and her brother try to free the ghost. Will they be able to do it?  This is a must read book.

Scary Tales: Home Sweet Horror by James Preller
Genre: Horror

From Goodreads:
Welcome. Have a seat. Let us tell you a story. But be warned. Home Sweet Horror isn’t just any tale. This is a Scary Tale.
Meet Liam Finn, who’s just moved into a new home with his father and sister. But this old house that seems empty, isn’t . . . Bloody Mary is here. Called back from the dead by a game, she’s just dying to talk.

Student Reviewer: Alma
I read a book about a family without a mom who moved to a new house. Their son Liam Fin knew there was something going on with the house, his sister didn't believe a word Liam was saying. Then they both worked together to figure out the mystery of the house. It was a really amazing, interesting, good book. I would recommend this book to people who really love scary and mysterious books.

The Ghost of Crutchfield Hall by Mary Downing Hahn
Genre: Mystery/Horror

From Goodreads:

When twelve-year-old Florence boards the crowded horse-drawn coach in London, she looks forward to a new life with her great uncle and aunt at Crutchfield Hall, an old manor house in the English countryside. Anything will be better, she thinks, than the grim London orphanage where she has lived since her parents' death.
          But Florence doesn't expect the ghost of her cousin Sophia, who haunts the cavernous rooms and dimly lit hallways of Crutchfield and concocts a plan to use Florence to help her achieve her murderous goals. Will Florence be able to convince the others in the household of the imminent danger and stop Sophia before it's too late?

Student Reviewer: Mayra

This book started with an eleven-year-old girl  named Florence that lived in an orphanage with a lot of girls and a lot of ladies that take care of them. Florence gets to  go live with her uncle in a big house that is out of town. She goes and finds out her cousin Sophia had died and her cousin James has been sick ever since Sophia died. It has been almost a year. Florence feels like something is following her and she is trying to find out what or who it is. I recommend this for people who like mystery books. I had a connection to this book, because sometimes I feel like something is looking and me and there is nothing there.

Shadow of Darkness by Rashad Freeman

Genre: Horror

From Goodreads:
Anthony Dimair isn't your average teenager. Anthony Dimair doesn't have your average teenage problems. Unfortunately, Anthony Dimair doesn't know that yet.

By most accounts Anthony's been a pretty normal kid his whole life. When he starts what should be a normal year of high school, he suddenly begins to change. There's something dark buried deep inside him, but it wants to get out.

As people start disappearing and unknown assailants start following him, Anthony turns to his Uncle for answers. With only the help of his friends he sets off on a quest to discover the truth. But discovering the truth may very well get him killed.

Follow Anthony on an epic adventure as he races against time and the darkness inside him. Will he survive to find out the truth? Or will he get himself and his friends killed in the process?

Student Reviewer: Darietne

The main character in this story is Anthony. There’s a mystery in his life he doesn’t know about. They were at Dr. Heizwick’s and Dr. Vorcick’s lab when Dr. Vorcick did something wrong. Anthony was just going to start school when he started hearing things. This book made me feel curious about what was going to happen next. This book is great for anyone who likes horror stories. I though of all the things that happened and why they happened. It reminded me of a movie called “The Evil Dead”.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Spinner by Michael J. Bowler

Genre: Young Adult, Horror
Source:  I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

Spinner Book Summary:
Fifteen-year-old Alex is a “spinner.” His friends are “dummies.” Two clandestine groups of humans want his power. And an ancient evil is stalking him. If people weren’t being murdered, Alex might laugh at how his life turned into a horror movie overnight.

In a wheelchair since birth, his freakish ability has gotten him kicked out of ten foster homes since the age of four. Now saddled with a sadistic housemother who uses his spinning to heal the kids she physically abuses, Alex and his misfit group of learning disabled classmates are the only ones who can solve the mystery of his birth before more people meet a gruesome end.

They need to find out who murdered their beloved teacher, and why the hot young substitute acts like she’s flirting with them. Then there’s the mysterious medallion that seems to have unleashed something malevolent, and an ancient prophecy suggesting Alex has the power to destroy humanity.

The boys break into homes, dig up graves, elude kidnappers, fight for their lives against feral cats, and ultimately confront an evil as old as humankind. Friendships are tested, secrets uncovered, love spoken, and destiny revealed.

The kid who’s always been a loner will finally learn the value of friends, family, and loyalty.

If he survives…
Release: July 25, 2015

My Review:
I was intrigued by the premise of this book and was thrilled once I started it.  As a teacher I see kids kids like Alex, Roy and their friends every year.  I have always fought for those students who have been told over and over that they are stupid or a loser.  That might be why I start each year off reading a book with the class called "Loser" by Jerry Spinelli.  These kids need to know that they are not losers.  Alex and his friends have problems yet there is a part of them that are coping with the bullying and name calling.  A part of them realize they are not losers.  

Alex is in  a wheelchair because he has spina bifida.  He also has the ability to "spin" people. This means he can take their pain and heal them. Having dreamed about his parent's death the day before it happened and being pushed from one foster home after another because of his "strange ability", he finds himself in the worst foster home yet.  His foster mother is cruel and abusive and knows about his "gift".  She want to make money off of him. When Alex dreams about his teacher's death and it comes true he finds he is in the crosshairs of some very evil people.  They will do whatever it takes to get to him.  Along the way he learns a truth about his family. I don't want to give it away because I never saw it coming and want you to be just as surprised. Alex learns exactly what it means to have true friends.

I read this book the last day of school since we had nothing for the students to do in the morning. My afternoon was mine as I'd already cleaned up my room.  This was a perfect way to end my school year by relaxing with a great book.  I read this in electronic form.  I will definitely purchase a copy for my shelves.  I will mark it as more mature because of the language used.  I could see this as a movie in my head.  The author is great with his descriptions.  I felt fear, I felt the pain some of them felt.  I will definitely check out more books by this author.

About the Author:
Michael J. Bowler is an award-winning author of eight novels––A Boy and His Dragon, A Matter of Time (Silver Medalist from Reader’s Favorite), and The Knight Cycle, comprised of five books: Children of the Knight (Gold Award Winner in the Wishing Shelf Book Awards), Running Through A Dark Place (Bronze Award Winner in the Wishing Shelf Book Awards), There Is No Fear, And The Children Shall LeadOnce Upon A Time In America, and Spinner.

His horror screenplay, “Healer,” was a Semi-Finalist, and his urban fantasy script, “Like A Hero,” was a Finalist in the Shriekfest Film Festival and Screenplay Competition.

He grew up in San Rafael, California, and majored in English and Theatre at Santa Clara University. He went on to earn a master’s in film production from Loyola Marymount University, a teaching credential in English from LMU, and another master's in Special Education from Cal State University Dominguez Hills.

He partnered with two friends as producer, writer, and/or director on several ultra-low-budget horror films, including “Fatal Images,” “Club Dead,” and “Things II,” the reviews of which are much more fun than the actual movies.

He taught high school in Hawthorne, California for twenty-five years, both in general education and to students with learning disabilities, in subjects ranging from English and Strength Training to Algebra, Biology, and Yearbook.

He has also been a volunteer Big Brother to eight different boys with the Catholic Big Brothers Big Sisters program and a thirty-year volunteer within the juvenile justice system in Los Angeles. He is a passionate advocate for the fair treatment of children and teens in California, something that is sorely lacking in this state.

He has been honored as Probation Volunteer of the Year, YMCA Volunteer of the Year, California Big Brother of the Year, and 2000 National Big Brother of the Year. The “National” honor allowed he and three of his Little Brothers to visit the clear House and meet the president in the Oval Office.

He is currently outlining a sequel to Spinner.

His goal as a YA author is for teens to experience empowerment and hope; to see themselves in his diverse characters; to read about kids who face real-life challenges; and to see how kids like them can remain decent people in an indecent world.

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