Book Review

Book Review: City of Ghosts (Cassidy Blake #1) by Victoria Schwab

Rating: ☆☆☆☆  
Audience: Middle-Grade Paranormal
Length: 285 pages
Author: Victoria Schwab
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Release Date: August 28th, 2018
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

They’re here.
They’re watching.

Cass can pull back the Veil that separates the living from the dead.

When Cass’s parents start hosting a TV show about the world’s most haunted places, the family heads off to Edinburgh. Here, graveyards, castles and secret passageways teem with restless phantoms.

But when Cass meets a girl who shares her “gift”, she realizes how much she still has to learn about the Veil—and herself. And she’ll have to learn fast. The city of ghosts is more dangerous than she ever imagined.

DELIGHTFUL AND SPOOKY.

And a fantastic audio book!! I really enjoyed this. I haven’t read a middle grade book in a long while and this reminded me why I like adding these into the mix. This was fun in a creepy way, and had cute friendship moments that I adored.

I thought Cass was a great main character. The writing was amazing in that I felt like she was definitely younger, but it never became annoying or drew me out of the story. I wanted to be her friend, cheer her on, and keep reading this story. The dynamic between her and Jacob was so sweet. I’m curious how that relationship will grow and evolve over the books (tears coming? MAYBE).

The plot was complex in its simplicity and I feel that really sways to middle grade. You knew exactly where things were going, but because of the writing and set-up, enjoyed the ride it took you on.

I just love Schwab’s books. And this is her first middle grade book I’ve read. After this, I have plans to read more of these!

Overall audience notes:

  • Middle grade paranormal contemporary
  • Language: none
  • Romance: none
  • Violence: a little physical, nothing intense

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Book Review

Book Review: The Whispering Skull (Lockwood & Co. #2) by Jonathan Stroud

Rating: ☆☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: Young adult paranormal mystery
Length: 435 pages
Author: Jonathan Stroud
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Release Date: September 16th, 2014
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

In the six months since Anthony, Lucy, and George survived a night in the most haunted house in England, Lockwood & Co. hasn’t made much progress. Quill Kipps and his team of Fittes agents keep swooping in on Lockwood’s investigations. Finally, in a fit of anger, Anthony challenges his rival to a contest: the next time the two agencies compete on a job, the losing side will have to admit defeat in the Times newspaper.

Things look up when a new client, Mr. Saunders, hires Lockwood & Co. to be present at the excavation of Edmund Bickerstaff, a Victorian doctor who reportedly tried to communicate with the dead. Saunders needs the coffin sealed with silver to prevent any supernatural trouble. All goes well-until George’s curiosity attracts a horrible phantom. 

Back home at Portland Row, Lockwood accuses George of making too many careless mistakes. Lucy is distracted by urgent whispers coming from the skull in the ghost jar. Then the team is summoned to DEPRAC headquarters. Kipps is there too, much to Lockwood’s annoyance. Bickerstaff’s coffin was raided and a strange glass object buried with the corpse has vanished. Inspector Barnes believes the relic to be highly dangerous, and he wants it found.

EXCELLENTLY SPOOKY.

I think I can easily say this one was better than the first. I loved getting to know these characters more and having already established themselves I was further invested in the story.

The banter and team dynamics of Lockwood & Co. is what keeps me coming back for more. They are fantastic. It reminds me of the Jackaby series I’m currently reading right now. Everyone cares of each other, but they are also not afraid to give it to another if necessary to put them back in line. A close knit group that makes me so happy every time they’re together.

I love Lucy’s inner dialogue. This girl tells it like it is. Not everyone is handsome or beautiful and things are not always going the right way. I love how she puts her world together and is smart and strong-willed. I didn’t initially like that it was from her perspective, but book two has convinced me that this is the way to go.

Since I’m personally not a big horror fan, this is right at the level that I can love. It’s creepy, spooky, and I felt it should be fall every time I picked this up. The ghosts are definitely a bit haunting and the descriptions really bring them to life.

Even when you can kind of tell what’s going to happen and who the main culprit is in the the given scenario, there’s still enough pieces missing to keep you interested. I found myself second-guessing and freaked out at what was happening. Some moments where I know I was shouting wild thoughts hoping that everything worked out in the end.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult paranormal mystery + fantasy
  • Language: none
  • Romance: none
  • Violence: swords, descriptive ghostly apparitions, description of murders and corpses, murder, explosions

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