ghosts

Horrorstor by Grady Hendrix

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I’ve never been to an Ikea. I always kind of wanted to go to one, if they ever expanded and came to my area. But now… I don’t know.

Horrostor is a fun, gimmicky horror-esque novel. Basically, employees work in this Ikea-like store called Orsk somewhere in Ohio and they start noticing damage occurring overnight while the store is closed- broken dishes, knocked over furniture, defiled sofas, etc. The store manager selects two other people to pull an overnight shift with him in order to catch the vandals. But the vandals might not be human. Dun dun DUNNNNNNN.

As far as Halloween-reading goes, this was a good pick. It’s quick, it’s entertaining, and it’s creepy as all hell. The actual book is laid out kind of like a store catalog, which is just fun and quirky. I mean, I don’t really have anything to other than that it was a fun read, so if you’re still looking for a Halloween book to fit in this week – here you go.

 

 

Also, I pictured Basil, the store manager, as Moss from The I.T. Crowd. I don’t know why, but it possibly made it even more fun. I like Moss.

 

Sarah Says: 3.5 stars

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Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill

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Alriiiight, completed my first R.I.P. IX read!  Joe Hill is a delightfully creepy dude.

Jude used to be a famous rock star. Now, getting older and tired of the rock star life, he’s just a guy who maintains a stream of out-of-state girlfriends, takes care of his dogs, and has a collection of weird. He has a trepanned skull, a noose from the 19th century, a snuff film. One day his assistant points out that a website has a suit-inhabited-by-a-ghost for sale, and Jude jumps at it. Of course, he doesn’t believe that the suit he purchases actually comes with a ghost. At first…

This was, weirdly, an enjoyable read. It creeped me the hell out at times, but it was evenly paced with enough really disturbing, anxious moments to keep me interested. Jude is a generally likable character, which I didn’t expect. He has a dark story, and despite his initial, kind of gross attitude towards women, I ended up cheering for him and wanting him to be happy. That’s asking a bit much when there’s an angry ghost after you and anyone who’s close to you. The ghost is that of Craddock McDermott, and he’s blaming Jude for his stepdaughter’s suicide. But things aren’t always what they seem, and Jude needs to figure out how to save himself – both literally, and figuratively.

Unfortunately, the coolest twists and the things that gave me the shivers are the exact things that I’m not going to mention, because it wouldn’t be as fun a read if you went in knowing so much. If you’re looking for something dark and haunting for Halloween-time, this is a good pick. The only reason I’m rating it as average is because it might be my least favorite Joe Hill so far – It’s hard to beat Horns.

 

Sarah Says: 3 stars

Beloved by Toni Morrison

Beloved by Toni Morrison

I read my first Toni Morrison!

I tried reading Beloved like 6 years ago, but I remember being really, really freaked out in the beginning and having to stop it. Like I distinctly remember that I was living at my sister’s house, reading on my bed, and it was scaring me and I had to quit. This is why it was on my R.I.P. VIII pile*, although now that I’ve successfully read it I realize it wasn’t THAT scary… definitely creepy, and horrifying overall because of the consequences of slavery… but now I’m getting ahead of myself. You might want to know what the book is about.

Sethe. Proud and beautiful, she escaped from slavery but is haunted by its heritage – from the fires of the flesh to the heartbreaking challenges to the spirit. Set in rural Ohio several years after the Civil War, this profoundly affecting chronicle of slavery and its aftermath is Toni Morrison’s greatest novel – a dazzling achievement and a spellbinding reading experience.

That’s from the back of the book, and it honestly doesn’t tell much, but it also sums things up really articulately. Sethe IS proud and beautiful, and she IS haunted by her years as a slave. It IS profoundly affecting – I can’t say that it’s an enjoyable book to read, but it’s an important book to read, and disturbed me in several different ways.

But I’m going to tell you a little bit more, without being too spoiler-y. Sethe escaped from slavery 18 years ago, and she now lives in her mother-in-law’s house with her daughter Denver, and the house is haunted by an angry baby ghost. (Seriously, this isn’t a spoiler – it’s on the first page.) One day Paul D. shows up at the house – he was one of the slaves Sethe knew at Sweet Home, and his arrival changes everything. From there, the plot slowly unfolds – the story of Sethe’s escape from slavery, her arrival at her mother-in-law’s house, who the baby ghost is, and why it’s haunting them.

The things that happen in this book, to Paul D and to Sethe and her whole family, are fucked up. And that’s because slavery is fucked up, and this book shows that perfectly. Beloved excels at showing some of the darkest psychological impacts of slavery, which make it intense, uncomfortable, and terrifying to read. You know how sometimes you read a classic or an award-winning book and you think “Why? Why in the world would this win an award?” Well I totally get why Beloved won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. I wish it was on all the high school reading lists, although I’m sure it would immediately be protested and stupid book-banning parents would fight it, but it’s IMPORTANT. The whole point of the book is the horrible, upsetting things that happen and students should read it and discuss it. It’s a tragic story, full of pain and sadness and regret, and that’s why it’s a really good book.

Sarah Says: 4.5 stars

 

 

*Seriously, there’s an angry baby ghost. You guys know that babies/dolls/small children/gnomes/any small creatures freak me out, so obviously that was the scariest.

The Graveyard Book Readalong Ch. 7 & 8

Awwwww! It’s over! *tears up* I’m sad that this is the last post, this was a really fun book to readalong with and discuss every week!

So how does Bod’s story end?

Well, first he’s a bit mopey because Silas and Miss Lupescu have been gone for what seems like ages and he’s a bit lonely. And THEN we find out that Scarlett is back in town! Hooray! Her and her mom have moved back and she’s kind of forgotten about Bod and the graveyard until she winds up there one day and meets a nice little old man named Mr. Frost and then that night her and Bod have a reunion in her dream. So of course her and Bod kind of meet again and catch up and he shares with her his sad family story and Scarlett asks Mr. Frost to help her learn more about that family 13 years ago that was murdered, you know, for a friend. (Meanwhile, Silas and Miss Lupescu are off doing mysterious but dangerous things.) Then Mr. Frost says he learned a lot and for Scarlett to bring her friend over so he can share what he learned and it turns out Mr. Frost is Mr. Stabby Jack Frost and HOW DID I NOT SEE THAT COMING???  And then some other Jacks show up and chases and stuff ensue… and of course Bod comes out alright and then it’s time for him to leave the graveyard and finally experience life.

So, questions!

1. We see the return of Scarlett, were you happy to see her again? Do you think her mother paid her enough attention?

Yes! Yay Scarlett! And her mother seemed more attentive this time around, although she was a little over-protective now. Oddly, she let her 5-year old daughter do whatever she wanted but now that she’s a teenager she has all these rules. I’m a little sad at how Bod’s friendship with her ended, but in my head I like to imagine they meet again someday.

2. Getting a ride from a “friendly” stranger when it’s raining…yay or nay?

Oh hell no. NO. And this is exactly the kind of situation that makes me think ALL GIRLS SHOULD CARRY WEAPONS. What if he had tried to force her?

3. Did you figure out “Stabby Jack’s” (best nickname ever, Sarah!!) new tactic before it was revealed? Evil genius or just creepy evil?

Thanks Jenn 🙂 And no, I did not see if coming. This creepy random old guy introduces himself as Jay Frost and lives in Bod’s old house, and I STILL never saw it coming. I’m ridiculous. It was creepy evil genius.

4. Final thoughts on Ms. Lupescu?

😦

5. Do you think it’s a good idea to send Bod into the world at age 15?

I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad idea… He’s definitely more mature than a normal 15 year old boy. And at least Silas hooked him up with money and a passport. I am a bit confused as to why he had to leave the graveyard at 15 though… was he no longer welcome there because he was no longer in danger? If so, why did he slowly lose his abilities over the course of a month or two?

6. Were you touched by any goodbye more than the others?

Silas and Bod’s goodbye was sad. I was hoping they would head off into the world together, at least for a while so Silas could teach him a bit more about the ways of the world.

7. Where do you think Bod will go and what will happen to him?

I like to think that he goes off into the world to read all the books and see all the places, before coming back to his hometown as a fit and healthy old man who meets up with Scarlett, gets married, dies, and gets to live in his graveyard again.

8. Final thoughts on Silas? Is he a vampire or some supernatural other?

Vampire! Vampire! Vampire!

9. Are you glad you read The Graveyard Book and would you take a chance on reading Gaiman’s other YA works?

I really, really enjoyed The Graveyard Book and I am looking forward to reading his other YA / childrens books. I liked this a whole lot more than I did American Gods. I wonder if I should try Stardust next? Or maybe there will be a Stardust readalong in the future? (She says hopefully.)

Thanks so much for hosting Jenn! This was a blast!

Sarah Says: 4 stars

>Maybe This Time by Jennifer Crusie

>Maybe This Time, Jennifer Crusie, book review

I really like Jennifer Crusie, she’s probably my favorite romance author. ((Seriously, if you haven’t read Bet Me, you need to right now. Even my boyfriend read and loved it.)) Normally I’m not big on the “mystery” romances, but the whole ghost-story thing in this one was fun and interesting.

Andie and North divorced 10 years ago because North was too involved in his law-firm job. Andie’s now engaged again, and goes to see North to sever ties for good, but instead he offers her a job; 1 month in an old, remote castle trying to take care of two orphan kids that he’s the legal guardian of. The kids refuse to leave and have some behavioral problems, and he offers her $10,000 to stay there a month and try to fix the issues there. (Complicated with the rumors that there are ghosts at this old house.) And now that they’re back in touch, they’re reminded of all the good times…

I liked Andie, I thought she was fun and smart and she usually said what she was thinking. Plus she seemed really tough, independent, and sure of herself.

North is a good guy, can admit when he’s wrong and is still crazy about Andie, and literally will do all he can to please her (which is always good in a man).

I liked the orphans too, Carter and Alice. They had a rough time and it was fun watching Andie turn them from “problem-child” kids to sweet, kinda-normal kids.

All around, a sweet story and the ghost element was really fun. This is actually perfect for the fall / Halloween season – a little bleak and creepy, but cute and sweet too.

4 stars :o)

~Sarah