Author: Katie Alender
Published: April 21, 2009
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars
Alexis thought she led a typically dysfunctional high school existence. Dysfunctional like her parents’ marriage; her doll-crazy twelve-year-old sister, Kasey; and even her own anti-social, anti-cheerleader attitude. When a family fight results in some tearful sisterly bonding, Alexis realizes that her life is creeping from dysfunction into danger. Kasey is acting stranger than ever: her blue eyes go green sometimes; she uses old-fashioned language; and she even loses track of chunks of time, claiming to know nothing about her strange behavior. Their old house is changing, too. Doors open and close by themselves; water boils on the unlit stove; and an unplugged air conditioner turns the house cold enough to see their breath in.
Alexis wants to think that it’s all in her head, but soon, what she liked to think of as silly parlor tricks are becoming life-threatening–to her, her family, and to her budding relationship with the class president. Alexis knows she’s the only person who can stop Kasey — but what if that green-eyed girl isn’t even Kasey anymore?
Another series that I didn’t know was a series until I was hooked . . . Just great. But the nice thing is that this first book ended without a cliffhanger, so finishing the series is not time sensitive. I enjoyed this book a lot!
My only real issue was Alexis herself. I find rebellious, lazy teens to be exasperating and obnoxious, especially when they acknowledge their rebelliousness and laziness! Unfortunately, Alexis’s bad attitude was integral to her character so I guess it was unavoidable. That’s my only real problem with this book. I actually really liked the story; I got it, I picked up all the details so I understood what was happening. I thought Kasey was the perfect “villain,” since she wasn’t the greatest chick to begin with, it was an easy throw to nasty, demon possessed girl. Carter was cool, if a little unrealistically perfect. The original story of the little bullied girl fascinated me enough that I definitely want to continue the series. Overall, good book and I look forward to the other books!
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: Amy Lukavics
Published: September 25, 2018
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars
At seventeen, June Hardie is everything a young woman in 1951 shouldn’t be—independent, rebellious, a dreamer. June longs to travel, to attend college and to write the dark science fiction stories that consume her waking hours. But her parents only care about making June a better young woman. Her mother grooms her to be a perfect little homemaker while her father pushes her to marry his business partner’s domineering son. When June resists, her whole world is shattered—suburbia isn’t the only prison for different women…
June’s parents commit her to Burrow Place Asylum, aka the Institution. With its sickening conditions, terrifying staff and brutal “medical treatments,” the Institution preys on June’s darkest secrets and deepest fears. And she’s not alone. The Institution terrorizes June’s fragile roommate, Eleanor, and the other women locked away within its crumbling walls. Those who dare speak up disappear…or worse. Trapped between a gruesome reality and increasingly sinister hallucinations, June isn’t sure where her nightmares end and real life begins. But she does know one thing: in order to survive, she must destroy the Institution before it finally claims them all.
Lukavics is easily becoming one of my favorite authors. Every book has been a home run! She is able to capture the creepy and scary so effortlessly and I’m freaked out after every reading. Nightingale even has a psychiatric facility . . . Y’all know my affinity to facilities. The 50’s setting added a nostalgic feel and actually helped to soften my one problem with the story. The only thing I didn’t like was the attitude towards traditional women’s roles. I know that during the 50’s it was expected to stick to those roles and it was greatly frowned upon to deviate from them. It just felt like Lukavics overcompensated by looking down on those traditional women. I am a wife and homemaker, in and slightly less traditional capacity, but I decided that my husband, his career and our home outweighed any job I could get. That doesn’t make me any less of a strong, opinionated, free thinking woman. But I also understand that the 50’s were a different time and women back then had to fight harder for their independence. So it did not by any means ruin this book for me.
I really enjoyed the alien element. Normally, I don’t find aliens to be that scary, but in Nightingale, I was freaked out by them!!! They were terrifying!! June was a sympathetic character that I liked and completely believed. Burrow Place Asylum had all the elements of the perfect asylum, complete with experimentation, disappearances, and lobotomies. And thankfully, the resolution was completely satisfying and answered my questions and I was content! Overall, a great, scary read with all the stuff I love in it! I would save this for older teens, due to some adult elements but I’m sure those older teens would love this book!