Book Review- Wait Till Helen Comes

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Wait Till Helen Comes by Mary Downing Hahn
Published by Harper Collins on November 2, 1986
Genres: Young Adult, Horror, Mystery, Fiction, Paranormal
Pages: 184
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Beware of Helen…

Heather is such a whiny little brat. Always getting Michael and me into trouble. But since our mother married her father, we’re stuck with her…our “poor stepsister” who lost her real mother in a mysterious fire.

But now something terrible has happened. Heather has found a new friend, out in the graveyard behind our home — a girl named Helen who died with her family in a mysterious fire over a hundred years ago. Now her ghost returns to lure children into the pond…to drown! I don’t want to believe in ghosts, but I’ve followed Heather into the graveyard and watch her talk to Helen. And I’m terrified. Not for myself, but for Heather…

Wait Till Helen Comes is spooky, haunting, and an all around amazing ghost story.

I love the complexity of this novel. It is so short and easy to read, yet there is so much emotion packed into it. I don’t want to go into too much detail, because it would give away too much of the plot, but the way the plot progresses and changes is amazing. Every scene is important and interesting, and I love how the tensions between the characters change and shift as the novel moves forward.

The protagonist, Molly, and is only 12, and is the oldest of the three kids, so this book does feel a little young. I remember reading it for the first time when I was 8 or 9 and loving it. So it’s not necessarily a book aimed for older teens or adults. But, reading it now, I found myself enjoying it just as much, even though I remembered what happened.

I would definitely recommend this to anyone who loves a good ghost story. This one is timeless.

I am going to give Wait Till Helen Comes five out of five hearts.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

 

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Book Review- Hunting Prince Dracula

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Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco
Expected publication by Little, Brown on September 19th, 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Mystery, Horror, Romance
Pages: 448
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Amazon

Following the grief and horror of her discovery of Jack the Ripper’s true identity, Audrey Rose Wadsworth has no choice but to flee London and its memories. Together with the arrogant yet charming Thomas Cresswell, she journeys to the dark heart of Romania, home to one of Europe’s best schools of forensic medicine…and to another notorious killer, Vlad the Impaler, whose thirst for blood became legend.

But her life’s dream is soon tainted by blood-soaked discoveries in the halls of the school’s forbidding castle, and Audrey Rose is compelled to investigate the strangely familiar murders. What she finds brings all her terrifying fears to life once again.

Stalking Jack the Ripper was one of my favorite books, so when I was able to get my hands on a copy of Hunting Prince Dracula (through a trade) I was over the moon!

Hunting Prince Dracula was every bit as dark, spooky, haunting, and swoon worthy as promised. Audrey Rose and Thomas travel to Romaina, only to find there is a murderer on the loose, and the dead bodies are drained of blood.

I loved this book, but not quite as much as I liked the first one. There were some things throughout the book that put me a little off (nothing major or worth mentioning, but still, every once in a while I would pause and go like “what? why would you put that in there? That does absolutely nothing for the plot/characters/novel at all”). But I was able to get past that pretty easily, and it didn’t really bother me that much.

As in Stalking Jack the Ripper, I picked out the killer the first time they were introduced. Literally the second that character met Audrey Rose I said to myself “and there’s the killer.” I only doubted that thought once in the book (which was some pretty good plotting on Maniscalco’s part), but in the end I turned out to be right.

I would definitely recommend this series to anyone who likes spooky, thrilling, mysterious, or gothic/dark books. These are amazing!! I honestly can not wait for the next book to come out (and this one to come out so more people can read it!), and I’m going to spend every second from now until the title is announced trying to guess just what legend Wadsworth and Cresswell are going to be chasing next.

ALSO THE SWOONS GUYS. SO MANY SWOONS I DIED.

I am going to give Hunting Prince Dracula four out of five hearts.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Book Review- Stalking Jack the Ripper

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Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco
Published by Jimmy Patterson on September 20 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Historical, Mystery, Horror
Pages: 326
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Amazon

Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord’s daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life.

Against her stern father’s wishes and society’s expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle’s laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world.

HOLY ALKKJDNVQERGNALJAL MY LIFE IS OVER. THIS BOOK HAS KILLED ME.
Phew, okay I think I got that out of my system…. (but seriously a girl named Emma was killed so like…. I was killed?)

As you can probably tell, I loved this book. Just everything about it was so beautiful and dark and mysterious and sexy and beautiful (yes, it needs to be said twice).

Audrey Rose is amazing. Just everything about her. She is such a strong and independent person, yet she is still very feminine. She is witty and strong minded and sassy and just all together a really fun person to read about.

Now Thomas *sigh*. He is adorable. I literally want to just burst with adoration for him and his relationship with Audrey Rose. By himself, Thomas is amazing, but the whole courtship between the two of them just added this romantic side to the story that was just TOO CUTE. I AM LITERALLY DYING OVER IT.

All of the characters are just so dimensional and interesting and amazing. Even the characters that don’t play a major role are well developed. They each had a unique voice and story that were somehow conveyed even if they were only present for a scene or two. I loved how the victims of Jack were given a story and a voice as well. And I loved how Audrey Rose reacted to the murders. It was just perfect.

The historical aspect to the book was also breathtaking. I felt as if I was thrown back in time to London circa 1888. Everything was so exquisitely described and portrayed. And I loved how historically accurate everything was regarding Jack the Ripper (all of the liberties taken by Maniscalco were disclaimed at the end) and how seamlessly Audrey Rose and all the other characters were put into the story to solve the mystery of Jack the Ripper.

There was a lot of rather graphic descriptions of the murdered girls, but honestly I can’t imagine the book without them. They added this darker element to the story that balanced out the light flirtations between Audrey Rose and Thomas. They also added an urgency and realness to the story that it would have been incomplete without.

So, I kind of guessed who Jack was in the beginning, but that really didn’t take anything away from the story. Everything about this book was just amazing. I don’t know how many times I’m going to say that, but seriously that is the only thing going through my mind right now. It really was just so amazing.

I waited wayyyy too long to read this book, and unless you really don’t like graphic descriptions of mutilated bodies (okay, that sounds really bad but I promise its not that bad) you need to go get this now and understand the beautifulness of this wonderful book. Seriously, just get it. Read it. Love it.

Stalking Jack the Ripper is easily one of my favorite books. So, it should be no surprise that I am giving it five out of five hearts.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Book Review- Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?

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Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? by Joyce Carol Oates
Published October 1966
Genres: Literature, Contemporary, Horror
Pages: 20
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Her name was Connie. She was fifteen and she had a quick, nervous giggling habit of craning her neck to glance into mirrors or checking other people’s faces to make sure her own was all right. Her mother, who noticed everything and knew everything…

It took a couple re-reads of the short story to understand what was going on. Connie is an interesting character, battling with her boundaries and where she stands in the world. When she is left home alone and a man named Arnold Friend dives up to her house, she begins to see a darker side of the world.

This story was intriguing, and definitely worth the read. It is short enough to read in one sitting, although it is packed full of events. I loved the complexity of the story, and how more and more about the characters was revealed through their actions rather than through being told.

The ending of the story was a bit vague, so it is hard to know exactly what happens. It is left more open ended, which just adds to the mystery and intrigue of the story.

I would recommend this story to lovers of horror, who are looking for something a little more classic than what they are used to. This is also a great story for people who love when books get them thinking. This one will definitely stay in the back of your mind for quite a while.

I am going to give Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? four out of five hearts.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

 

Book Review- The Yellow Wallpaper

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The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Stetson
Published January 1892
Genres: Classics, Short Story, Fiction, Horror, Gothic, Feminism
Pages: 16
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First published in 1892, “The Yellow Wallpaper” is written as the secret journal of a woman who, failing to relish the joys of marriage and motherhood, is sentenced to a country rest cure. Though she longs to write, her husband and doctor forbid it, prescribing instead complete passivity. In the involuntary confinement of her bedroom, the hero creates a reality of her own beyond the hypnotic pattern of the faded yellow wallpaper–a pattern that has come to symbolize her own imprisonment. Narrated with superb psychological and dramatic precision, “The Yellow Wallpaper” stands out not only for the imaginative authenticity with which it depicts one woman’s descent into insanity, but also for the power of its testimony to the importance of freedom and self-empowerment for women.

The more I think about this book the deeper my mind wanders. This book has such a powerful message and a shocking execution. The book is written like a diary by a woman (who is unnamed, but I suspect her name might be Jane because of something she says near the end) who goes to stay in a state house. She says from the beginning that she is ill, and she hopes to get better, but does not say how she is sick. She does say however that her husband is a physician who is taking care of her.

From the first page the short story is dark and gripping. It spirals down into insanity as it goes on, and it becomes hard to differentiate between what is happening and what the woman believes is happening. She keeps talking about the yellow wallpaper in her room, and as the story progresses she begins to see it differently, which I found extremely interesting.

This story touches on many types of imprisonment: that of the mind, of the physical world, of society, of her husband, etc. As the story progresses and the woman begins to loose her mind, the story gets a bit confusing, although it is still very interesting. The only part I had a problem with was the ending, considering it’s not quite clear what happened. However, I do highly recommend this book. It is a short read and definitely worth the time.

I am going to give The Yellow Wallpaper four out of five hearts.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Book Review- Girl of Nightmares

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Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake
Published by Tor Teen on August 7, 2012
Genres: Young Adult, Horror, Paranormal, Fantasy
Pages: 332
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It’s been months since the ghost of Anna Korlov opened a door to Hell in her basement and disappeared into it, but ghost-hunter Cas Lowood can’t move on.

His friends remind him that Anna sacrificed herself so that Cas could live—not walk around half dead. He knows they’re right, but in Cas’s eyes, no living girl he meets can compare to the dead girl he fell in love with.

Now he’s seeing Anna everywhere: sometimes when he’s asleep and sometimes in waking nightmares. But something is very wrong…these aren’t just daydreams. Anna seems tortured, torn apart in new and ever more gruesome ways every time she appears.

Cas doesn’t know what happened to Anna when she disappeared into Hell, but he knows she doesn’t deserve whatever is happening to her now. Anna saved Cas more than once, and it’s time for him to return the favor.

Kendare Blake has done it again. Girl of Nightmares picks up six months after Anna Dressed in Blood ends, and immediately launches into the ghost hunting world of Cas, Thomas, and Caramel. Only Cas keeps seeing Anna everywhere.

One reason I love Girl of Nightmares is that it feels like a real continuation of the story. I didn’t need to “get back into it” like I need to with other series. The second I started reading it, it felt like I was in familiar territories. It gradually eased into the new plot line in a natural progression.

I also loved the development of the characters. Cas changed so much (in a good way, I might add) in the first book, and his character continues to develop in the second. He’s not perfect, but he is determined and loyal and not afraid to do what he believes is right. Thomas and Caramel also continue to grow, and although they both change in surprising ways, it is all for the best.

Girl of Nightmares is one of those books where you get to the last few pages and say to yourself: “There is no way all of this is going to be tied up in this many words”. Only it is. And the ending is beautiful (although certainly not what I expected). Although I have to admit that I wish there was a third book. I’m not ready to leave Cas and his friends quite yet.

Girl of Nightmares gets five out of five hearts from me!

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Book Review- Anna Dressed In Blood

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Anna Dressed In Blood by Kendare Blake
Published by Tor Teen on October 17, 2011
Genres: Young Adult, Horror, Paranormal, Romance
Pages: 320
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Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead.

So did his father before him, until he was gruesomely murdered by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father’s mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. They follow legends and local lore, destroy the murderous dead, and keep pesky things like the future and friends at bay.

Searching for a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas expects the usual: track, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he’s never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, now stained red and dripping with blood. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home.

Yet she spares Cas’s life.

Anna Dressed in Blood is probably my favorite book ever. There is just something about it that keeps drawing me back… and I have read it more times than I can count. It is exactly what Cassandra Clare’s blurb says: Spellbinding and romantic.

It’s hard to choose one thing to love in the book. That’s mostly because I love everything about it so much. I love how real the story feels and how honest and raw the characters are. It’s almost as if Kendare plucked them out of real life and trapped them in the pages.
The story line keeps me on the edge of my seat no matter how many times I reread it. It’s like I notice a new detail every time, and it just keeps adding to the story.

I love how vividly everything is described. It’s like reading a movie… I can see the scenes unfolding in front of me. I can make out Cas and Thomas and Caramel and Anna and everyone else and all the houses and shops and the school and everything.

One thing I love, perhaps most of all, is how Cas isn’t made out to be some sort of superhero. He is vulnerable and has struggles of his own. He has his weak moments, and has to ask for help sometimes.

I could probably go on all day about Anna Dressed In Blood. And I can’t express enough how much I think everyone in the world should read it because it is just that good. It should be no surprise that I am giving Anna Dressed In Blood five out of five hearts!

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Also, a while back I had the chance to interview Kendare Blake! If you are interested in that, feel free to check it out here!