Tag Archives: Ghosts

Grave Dance by Kalayna Price

Overview
Grave Dance (Alex Craft, #2) by Kalayna Price

Title: Grave Dance
Author: Kalayna Price
Series: Alex Craft #2
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Fae, Ghosts, Grim reapers, Paranormal romance
Dates read: 16th – 26th April 2021
Pace: Fast
Format: Novel
Publisher: Roc
Year: 2011
5th sentence, 74th page: Small, large, winged, floral, too-many limbed, too-few – they were a dizzying display rarely seen on the streets.

Synopsis

Whoever said dead men tell no tales obviously never met Alex Craft…

After a month spent recovering from a vicious fight with a sorcerer, grave witch Alex Craft is ready to get back to solving murders by raising the dead. With her love life in turmoil, thanks to the disappearance of Fae Investigation Bureau agent Falin Andrews and a shocking “L”-word confession from death himself, Alex is eager for the distractions of work. But her new case turns out to be a deadly challenge.

The police hire Alex to consult on a particularly strange investigation in the nature preserve south of Nekros City. The strange part: There are no corpses – only fragments of them. A serial killer is potentially on the loose, and Alex has no way to raise a shade without a body, so she’ll have to rely on the magic of others to find leads. But as she begins investigating, a creature born of the darkest magic comes after her. Someone very powerful wants to make sure the only thing she finds is a dead end – her own.

Thoughts

It doesn’t matter how many times I read these novels… I love them each and every time. This read through was absolutely no different. It was fun and quirky and just an impossible to put down journal. I love Price’s writing and find myself irrevocably drawn in each and every time. It helps that I notice different parts of the storyline with each reading…

Alex seems to just keep getting herself further and further into trouble everytime I pick up one of her stories. I can’t wait to see what more trouble she gets into (I’ve only ever read up to Grave Memory before). She seems to be one of those characters that blunders into problem after problem, unable to quite stop herself. Which, of course, makes it a fun and entertaining adventure to be on with her. And seriously, very exciting. One of my favourite fast-paced books on my shelves.

I’d like to say that the love triangle in this story is getting far more complex. But, really, it’s not a triangle… it’s some kind of weird, squiggly line. But ultimately, Alex keeps finding herself stuck between two amazing guys. Honestly, I want her to end up with Death. But I’m actually not entirely sure that she will. Some series, it is easy to see who the final love interest will be. But in this one… I have no damn clue. And I love that fact. Aside from the fae politics, her ancestry and all sorts, it’s the love squiggly that makes me want to keep diving headfirst into this series.

Not only is this an amazing, kind of fast-paced story, it’s also one that is perfectly setting up many future battles and complications for the characters. It’s bringing all of the complexities of the fae courts into the complexities of attraction, debts, friendship, cops… there is so much groundwork being laid and it makes this story all that much more intriguing.

<- Grave WitchRuby Red ->

Image source: Goodreads

Delta Sly Honey by Lucius Shepard

Overview
Hauntings: Datlow, Ellen: 9781616960889: Amazon.com: Books

Title: Delta Sly Honey
Author: Lucius Shepard
In: Hauntings (Ellen Datlow)
Rating Out of 5: 3 (On the fence about this one)
My Bookshelves: Ghosts, Horror
Dates read: 16th April 2021
Pace: Medium
Format: Short story
Publisher: Tachyon
Year: 2013
5th sentence, 74th page: But it stains you alla same.

Synopsis

They’re in a warzone and constantly battling for a future. But there may be someone haunting their world.

Thoughts

This short story was a bit of a skim read for me. It wasn’t the kind of story that I’d necessarily return to and be obsessed with, but it was enjoyable all the same. Just an easy and fun read altogether.

The confusion and multiple deaths in this story definitely have a haunting feeling to them. But it was about war, so that kind of lent itself further to this storyline. I mean, war is seriously confusing and terrifying. So why wouldn’t a story about it be seriously confusing?

There is a lot of death in this tale. Mostly I just felt confused and trying to count the number of deaths in this tale. Which kind of works when it’s a story all about hauntings…

<- CargoNothing Will Hurt You ->

Image source: Amazon

Grave Witch by Kalayna Price

Overview
Grave Witch (Alex Craft, #1) by Kalayna Price

Title: Grave Witch
Author: Kalayna Price
Series: Alex Craft #1
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Fae, Ghosts, Grim reapers, Paranormal romance
Dates read: 28th February – 11th March 2021
Pace: Fast
Format: Novel
Publisher: Roc
Year: 2010
5th sentence, 74th page: Which still didn’t explain why it didn’t register as dead.

Synopsis

Grave witch Alex Craft can speak to the dead, but that doesn’t mean she likes what they have to say.

As a private investigator and consultant for the police, Alex Craft has seen a lot of dark magic. But even though she’s on good terms with Death himself – who happens to look fantastic in jeans – nothing has prepared her for her latest case. Alex is investigating a high-profile murder when she’s attacked by the “shade” she’s raising, which should be impossible. To top off her day, someone makes a serious attempt on her life, but Death saves her. Guess he likes having her around…

To solve this case Alex will have to team up with tough homicide detective Falin Andrews. Falin seems to be hiding something – though it’s certainly not his dislike of Alex. But Alex knows she needs his help to navigate the tangled webs of mortal and paranormal politics, and to track down a killer who wields a magic so malevolent, it may cost Alex her life…and her soul.

Thoughts

I’ve read this book more times than I can count. I actually am at a point where I need to buy myself a new copy… it’s just starting to fall apart quite drastically. There is just a wonderful feeling about this tale. A sense of coming home just encompasses me whenever I open the spine of this book. Alex is an amazing heroine, the storyline is full of octane and makes your heart skip a beat. And the whole tale just generally sweeps you off your feet from the very first moment…

Normally I’m not a huge fan of love triangles – they feel kind of forced, and a little bit indulgent at times if I’m being honest. Yet, there is something about Price’s writing that makes me… not mind them. For Alex, the triangle with Falin and Death is just starting to form. And it doesn’t feel like a self-indulgent, faked out story where the girl is just desirable. Rather, it is the forming of two different relationships and the ways in which they expand. Falin and Death are two different characters, ones that will draw you in and leave you wondering who Alex will ultimately choose…

I have heaps and heaps of urban fantasy books on my shelves (it’s probably the biggest section if I’m being honest). And most of them deal with witches, magic, fae, or some kind of approach to this. However, I don’t have any books which have reapers, death and grave witches as a feature. Which makes this series and book even more special. There is only one other series that has a woman who is capable to seeing death and with that strong a connection to death – Darynda Jones’ Charley Davidson series. I love the uniqueness and wonderful way that this story is approached. After all, Alex is a wonderful enigma, one that I want to find more and more out about.

This is one of those wonderfully fast paced urban fantasies. It is a great story on its own, but it also helps to set up the world of Alex Craft and all of the shenanigans that are about to follow. It is one of those stories, that no matter how many times I read it, I will find something else to enjoy. Something else that I didn’t know last time. And even though I mostly remember the storyline with each rereading… I still feel surprised and unable to put the book down with each rereading.

<- More Kalayna PriceGrave Dance ->

Image source: Goodreads

Necromancing the Stone by Lish McBride

Overview
Amazon.com: Necromancing the Stone (Necromancer Series, 2) (9781250034151):  McBride, Lish: Books

Title: Necromancing the Stone
Author: Lish McBride
Series: Necromancer #2
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Ghosts, Humour, Necromancers
Dates read: 21st – 27th February 2021
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Square Fish
Year: 2012
5th sentence, 74th page: “That god help is hard to find.”

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

“SOMEONE LEFT A KNIFE IN THE DOOR.”

Her voice was nonchalant, trying to mask her fear, trying to make it sounds as if someone had simply left flowers.

With the defeat of the evil necromancer Douglas behind him, Sam LaCroix is getting used to his new life. Okay, so he hadn’t exactly planned to be a powerful necromancer with a seat on the local magical council and a capricious werewolf sort-of-girlfriend, but things are going fine, right?

Well… not really. He’s pretty tired of getting beat up by everyone and their mother, for one thing, and he can’t help but feel that his new house hates him. His best friend is a were-bear, someone is threatening his sister, and while Sam realizes that he himself has a lot of power at his fingertips, he’s not exactly sure how to use it. Which turns out to be kind of a problem when someone close to him turns up dead.

Thoughts

As with all of the other McBride stories that I’ve read so far, this is funny, humorous and brilliantly written. It’s a fantastic ending to this duology. One that I seriously enjoyed and couldn’t put down. After all, Sam is not even remotely what you would expect as a necromancer. And, as you slowly begin to realise, he has a whole heap of other powers at his disposal… ones that I wanted to know more about.

Douglas was one scary SOB in Hold Me Closer, Necromancer. He gets worse in this. Total Voldemort vibes. Although, to be fair, he is much, much less freaky than Voldemort. And so much less devilish. Yet, there is a bit of a redemption arc – one that didn’t necessarily redeem the villain, but did make him a little less despicable. And horrifying.

As much as I loved this story, I didn’t really love the fact that this story ended with Brid and Sam being… unresolved. It was seriously frustrating. To the point that I kept turning the final page back and forth. I just thought I was missing something! Although, it does leave the end open to the interpretation that there was a happily ever after for the two of them… just one that took a little bit more work than there was time for within this story.

I love that Sam seems to jump from the frying pan into the story. Repeatedly. And consistently. Not necessarily a great thing for him and his friends, but a wonderful journey for me. You just kind of feel him blundering from moment to moment, trying to figure out what on earth he is doing. Kind of like how I feel most days of my life if I’m being truly honest here…

I can’t wait to read more McBride books. They’re all sitting on my wishlist, ready and rearing to go. I just have to find a little more funding… and I just hope that I get to have a few appearances from Sam and Brid again. They’re just too damn wonderful and cute. Even if they could both kill me with their hands tied behind their backs…

<- Hold Me Closer, NecromancerMore Lish McBride ->

Image source: Amazon

Eenie, Meenie, Ipsateenie by Pat Cadigan

Overview
Hauntings: Datlow, Ellen: 9781616960889: Amazon.com: Books

Title: Eenie, Meenie, Ipsateenie
Author: Pat Cadigan
In: Hauntings (Ellen Datlow)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Ghosts, Horror
Dates read: 11th February 2021
Pace: Fast
Format: Short story
Publisher: Tachyon
Year: 2013
5th sentence, 74th page: This was the fourth apartment they’d had since coming to the Midwest, but they’d all been the same.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

Milo didn’t want to be IT. And now he’s haunted by the fact that he’ll forever be “IT”.

Thoughts

This was a bit of a meandering story. And one that you tend to fill the gaps in on… it just makes you feel all that much more uncomfortable when you don’t quite know if you have the complete picture. Which I’m convinced is what Cadigan was going for.

There is something extra haunting about a childhood killing. A childhood ghost. I think that it’s something about that loss of potential. Plus the fact that IT is capitalized throughout this whole story made me think of the Stephen King story IT which involves a creepy clown literally feasting about children’s potential… all in all not something that is overly comfortable. And most certainly helps to file this short story safely in my horror shelf.

I finished this short story and honestly felt goosebumps. It was most definitely not a comfortable tale to read. And I kind of want to read it again and again. It may not have been comfortable… but it was intriguing. And there were so many subtleties throughout that I’m sure I totally missed. But I’m pretty sure Milo turned into a killer of children…

<- HauntingsHunger: A Confession ->

Image source: Amazon

The Mammoth Book of Ghost Stories by Women edited by Marie O’Regan

Overview
Image result for the mammoth book of ghost stories by women book cover

Title: The Mammoth Book of Ghost Stories by Women
Author: Marie O’Regan, Kim Lakin-Smith, Sarah Pinborough, Kelley Armstrong, Mary Elizabeth Braddon, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Mary E. Wilkins-Freeman, Sarah Langan, Elizabeth Massie, Alex Bell, Alison Littlewood, Nina Allan, Lisa Tuttle, Nancy Holder, Yvonne Navarro, Mary Cholmondeley, Marion Arnott, Lilith Saintcrow, Nancy Kilpatrick, Muriel Gray, Cynthia Asquith, Amelia B. Edwards, Elizabeth Gaskell, Gail Z. Martin, Edith Wharton & Gaie Sebold
Series: Mammoth Books
In: The Mammoth Book of Ghost Stories by Women (Marie O’Regan)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Ghosts, Horror, Short story collections
Dates read: 29th June – 26th November 2020
Pace: Slow
Format: Anthology
Publisher: Robinson
Year: 2012
5th sentence, 74th page: She was a sickly child, prone to unaccountable fits and agues, and her parents were convinced on more than one night that she would not live to see the dawn.

Synopsis

25 chilling short stories by outstanding female writers

Women have always written exceptional stories of horror and the supernatural. This anthology aims to showcase the very best of these, from Amelia B. Edwards’s ‘The Phantom Coach’, published in 1864, through past luminaries such as Edith Wharton and Mary Elizabeth Braddon, to modern talents including Muriel Gray, Sarah Pinborough and Lilith Saintcrow.

From tales of ghostly children to visitations by departed loved ones, and from heart-rending stories to the profoundly unsettling depiction of extreme malevolence, what each of these stories has in common is the effect of a slight chilling of the skin, a feeling of something not quite present, but nevertheless there.

If anything, this showcase anthology proves that sometimes the female of the species can also be the most terrifying…

Thoughts

This is a fantastic collection. One which I thoroughly enjoyed but learnt fairly quickly that I shouldn’t be reading this late at night… after all, some of these ghost stories are actually kind of scary. And reading them late at night with the wind blowing through the house while you’re home alone… not the best decision making of my life. To be fair, it’s also not the worst…. But that’s a whole other story.

I love that all of these ghost stories are written by women. I definitely believe that we need a collection of women-only writers more often. Or at least, I need to buy more to put on my shelves… although not all of these stories had strong women as the voice, they still felt more relatable than many of the stories that I read by men. I suppose shared experience and all that nonsense.

As a kid, I was never into ghost stories or tales of things that go bump in the night. Although I’ve gotten more into the genre over the past few years, it’s still sometimes not the most powerful driver for me. This collection though is swaying me more and more towards those horror stories.

<- The Mammoth Book of Ghost Stories 2Field of the Dead ->

Image source: Goodreads

A Silver Music by Gaie Sebold

Overview
Image result for the mammoth book of ghost stories by women book cover

Title: A Silver Music
Author: Gaie Sebold
In: The Mammoth Book of Ghost Stories by Women (Marie O’Regan)
Rating Out of 5: 2 (Managed to read it… just)
My Bookshelves: Ghosts, Paranormal fantasy
Dates read: 26th November 2020
Pace: Slow
Format: Short story
Publisher: Robinson
Year: 2012
5th sentence, 74th page: The lettering of a human hand, be it hasty scrawl or copperplate or the awkward, childlike printing of the barely literature, connected one to the writer.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

A ghost story that will draw you in and entrance you.

Thoughts

It took me a little while to get into this story and really figure out what was even going on. And even then, it was most certainly not my favourite short story in the whole collection.

I struggled with this. Actually, I thought it might be because I wasn’t really paying attention, but I tried rereading this about three times before I just pushed my way through.

Definitely not my favourite short story, but maybe I’ll have to give it another shot in the future.

<- AfterwardThe Mammoth Book of Golden Age Detective Stories ->

Image source: Goodreads

Afterward by Edith Wharton

Overview
Image result for the mammoth book of ghost stories by women book cover

Title: Afterward
Author: Edith Wharton
In: The Mammoth Book of Ghost Stories by Women (Marie O’Regan)
Rating Out of 5: 3.5 (Liked this)
My Bookshelves: Ghosts, Paranormal fantasy
Dates read: 24th November 2020
Pace: Slow
Format: Short story
Publisher: Robinson
Year: 1910
5th sentence, 74th page: What was it?

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

They wanted to move into a haunted house. But what they didn’t realise is that they wouldn’t realise that they had been haunted until Afterward. Long, long Afterward.

Thoughts

Afterward is all about the power of hindsight. Or at least, that’s what I noticed about this. Every moment is hindsight on the one before and focuses on the ways in which knowing something afterward can be wonderful. But in the moment, in kind of sucks.

This couple face a whole number of issues in their endeavor to live in a haunted house. And honestly… anyone who wants to live in a haunted house is, well, kind of an idiot. Why would you want to live in a haunted house? It seems horrifying and… just not a great idea…

This was a fun and intriguing story. I didn’t get entirely swept away by it, which is why it has a slightly lower rating than other stories, but I definitely had a good time reading it. And as the second to last story in the The Mammoth Book of Ghost Stories by Women collection, it has a great sense of winding down from all the horror of the other stories.

<- Among the Shoals ForeverA Silver Music ->

Image source: Goodreads

Among the Shoals Forever by Gail Z. Martin

Overview
Image result for the mammoth book of ghost stories by women book cover

Title: Among the Shoals Forever
Author: Gail Z. Martin
In: The Mammoth Book of Ghost Stories by Women (Marie O’Regan)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Ghosts, Pirates, Vampires
Dates read: 23rd November 2020
Pace: Medium
Format: Short story
Publisher: Robinson
Year: 2012
5th sentence, 74th page: All the while, I kept my senses keen to magic.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

Set in New Orleans, a trio of pirates work for a vampire who needs them to take down a necromancer.

Thoughts

This was a wonderfully intense and brilliant short story. I couldn’t look away, and it took me a little while to get the ghost story angle. Actually, I probably enjoyed it so much because it didn’t have such a horror aspect to the story. Sometimes its nice to not have horror in every single ghost story.

I love that this story feature Voodoo (or whichever spelling of it is required here), vampires, pirates, and necromancers. This story pretty much had everything in it that I needed for my happiness and literary desire. I loved the mish mash of different paranormal creatures marching across the pages as justice and freedom were fought for.

The happy ending of this story left me feeling very happy and content. It was something that not only rounded out a very brilliant story. But it also gave me hope for the future and just felt comfortable. I would read this again and again. And honestly, I just wish that it was a full-length novel. All of the characters were brilliant and impossible to forget.

<- The Old Nurse’s StoryAfterward ->

Image source: Goodreads

The Old Nurse’s Story by Elizabeth Gaskell

Overview
Image result for the mammoth book of ghost stories by women book cover

Title: The Old Nurse’s Story
Author: Elizabeth Gaskell
In: The Mammoth Book of Ghost Stories by Women (Marie O’Regan) & Gothic Short Stories (David Blair)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Ghosts, Horror
Dates read: 22nd November 2020
Pace: Slow
Format: Short story
Publisher: Robinson
Year: 1852
5th sentence, 74th page: Miss Furnivall was an old lady not far from eighty, I should think, but I do not know.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

A chilling tale of the horrors of the past, as told by the children’s mother’s old nurse.

Thoughts

I really loved the cadence and flow of this story. It had this amazing flow throughout that pulled me in and made me incredibly happy. I also loved the way that the storyline unfolded. It was very easy to follow, but also intricate enough that it was impossible to look away from the pages of the book.

There is something quite scary about children ghosts, which I’m sure I’ve mentioned before. But, the child that is luring the children to their death is not what I would have expected. It gives this sinister feeling to the idea that there is now an orphan left unattached and vulnerable. Something which is kind of tragic and filled with a great backstory.

The Old Nurse’s Story is a wonderful tale that sweeps you away and immerses you in a reality that will take you away from daily life for a short while. It’s gothic and intense. A wonderful story that I look forward to journeying on again in the future.

<- The Phantom CoachAmong the Shoals Forever ->

Image source: Goodreads