Author: Charles Dickens
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 5 stars
“The Signal-Man” is a horror story by Charles Dickens, first published as part of the Mugby Junction collection in the 1866 Christmas edition of All the Year Round. The railway signal-man of the title tells the narrator of an apparition that has been haunting him. Each spectral appearance precedes a tragic event on the railway on which the signalman works. The signalman’s work is at a signal-box in a deep cutting near a tunnel entrance on a lonely stretch of the railway line, and he controls the movements of passing trains. When there is danger, his fellow signalmen alert him by telegraph and alarms. Three times, he receives phantom warnings of danger when his bell rings in a fashion that only he can hear. Each warning is followed by the appearance of the spectre, and then by a terrible accident.
Ivan took me to London and of course I had to visit several bookstores while there. We went to Hatchards, the oldest bookstore in London. Founded in 1797, and with several floors filled with books, I geeked out. It was pretty funny to watch Ivan, he might have geeked out a little more than I did. I’m used to bookstores so my passion is little more subtle but he was gaping with his mouth hanging open! He could not get over the multiple floors and he just stared up the spiral staircase with eyes filled with wonder!
All that said, I bought a cute little booklet edition of The Signalman by Charles Dickens. I had already seen his burial place in Westminster, so it just felt right! The Signalman is a simple, straightforward read. It’s creepy without being scary. In the same style as A Christmas Carol, Dickens conjured up a spectre that chills the reader and imagined railway accidents that convey true tragedy (my gosh, who the heck is writing this review???? lol). I really liked it! The story was spooky and the characters engaging. It took me all of half an hour to read it so pretty much anyone can read it. I actually think this is a good classic to give to younger readers. It won’t overload their brains and they’ll find a ghost story appealing. An excellent little story!!
Author: Karen M. McManus
Published: May 30, 2017
Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: February 25- March 1, 2019
Jessica’s Rating: 5 stars
Pay close attention and you might solve this.
On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.
Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.
Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.
Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.
Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.
And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app.
Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention, Simon’s dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose?
Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.
One of Us is Lying (to be referred to OOUIL for the rest of this review) was quite the debut for Karen McManus. The mystery of who killed Simon never drags and you take turns suspecting each student that was in the room. They all had reasons to kill Simon, but so did most of the school…. This has a similar feel to the movie The Breakfast Club, and we have characters that you grow to like.
This is one that you do not want to put down. You want to keep reading (or in my case listening)! These characters start out as the clichés they represent and they grow out of that by the end of the novel. I did not figure out each student’s secret (one secret I was not surprised about) or who killed Simon (OMG!) until all was revealed.
I listened to the audiobook, which had four different actors narrating for Bronwyn, Addy, Nate, and Cooper. This helped with the narration as it was a little difficult keeping each student straight. I did have a post-it note in my car with the names and the stereotype they represented.
This novel has been a popular one and McManus has written a second book I will be reading (Two Can Keep a Secret). Two is not a sequel to OOUIL but McManus will have a sequel coming out in 2020. I cannot wait to read it to see what happens next. According to McMannus’ website, here is a little about the upcoming sequel:
Bronwyn’s sister Maeve gets main character treatment when Bayview High’s newest gossip game turns deadly. Bronwyn, Cooper, Addy, and Nate aren’t POV characters, but you’ll see plenty of them. As of now the book is scheduled for release in January 2020, but subject to change of course.
OOUIL is highly recommended.[Top]
The Sunday Series Review is back and today Kim reviews the Burning companion series by Danielle Rollins. She really enjoyed this series!
Books in the Series:
Published: April 5, 2016
After three years in juvie, Angela Davis is just a few months shy of release, and she’ll finally be free from the hole that is Brunesfield Correctional Facility. Then Jessica arrives. Only ten years old and under the highest security possible, this girl has to be dangerous, even if no one knows what she did to land in juvie. As strange things begin happening to Angela and her friends that can only be traced to the new girl’s arrival, it becomes clear that Brunesfield is no longer safe. They must find a way to get out, but how can they save themselves when the world has forgotten them?
Published: June 6, 2017
Monsters lurk where you least expect…
Charlotte has always felt ordinary compared to her two best friends at the prestigious Weston Preparatory Institute. Not enigmatic and daring like Ariel or beautiful and brilliant like Devon, Charlotte has never quite met the standards of the school—or those of her demanding mother. But with Ariel and Devon by her side, none of that mattered. They became the family she never had.
Until the unthinkable happens—Ariel commits suicide. And less than a month later, so does Devon.
Everyone accepts the suicides as tragic coincidences, but Charlotte refuses to believe that. And when she finds mysterious clues left behind by Ariel, Charlotte is thrust down a path that leads to a dangerous secret about Weston Prep. There’s a reason Weston students are so exceptional, and the people responsible are willing to kill to protect the truth…
Kim’s Rating of the Series: 5 Stars
I love this series so much . . . and she hasn’t written another book yet! I read Burning about 2 years ago and loved it. This year, I got Breaking for Christmas, so I read both books very quickly and loved them even more. I messaged Danielle Rollins to ask about a third book coming out and she said that nothing is currently in the works! I’ll never survive this. Thankfully, the way she said it sounded like there could possibly be a third book in the future, so I’m holding on to hope with both hands….
The thing that attracted me to Burning was the Brunesfield Correctional Facility . . . y’all know how much I love facilities!! The atmosphere was creepy without being downright scary. I actually really liked Angela, her tenacity and maturity were refreshing. Even the other girls in the facility were on the more mature side of things, being in prison and all. I fell in love with Ben so hard! This is why I need a third book, I need to see what happens!!!!!!!
Burning held me to the last page. I enjoyed Breaking because at first, I didn’t see any connection between the two books. But the more I read, the more details came out and I liked piecing the story together. I don’t really want to say too much because:
- I need the story resolved and since the series isn’t finished, I feel like my head is going to explode!!
- I don’t want to spoil anything.
This is an awesome series and I would absolutely recommend it to older teens who want to get into reading. Adults would really enjoy this series as well . . . though, hopefully if we’re all bitter loudly enough, maybe they’ll publish a third book!!