Wednesday, September 14, 2016
All Hallows' Eve
Of Ghosts and Gardens
by Sarah M. Eden
Burke Kennard stumbles across Enid Pryce when he visits her Welsh garden, trying to find out more about the ghost who is rumored to haunt the garden. A scholar of Welsh folklore, Burke is delighted to accept an invitation from Enid's family to stay until the ghost makes an appearance...but as he gets to know Enid, he finds himself wishing that the ghost will stay away so he has an excuse to be around Enid. Enid is hoping for the same thing, but neither gives voice to their feelings, instead focusing on figuring out the true identity of the ghost. Loved it. Enid was fun and delightful, and I loved seeing her interactions with Burke. There were some comical moments with the ghost, too. Five stars for this one.
by Annette Lyon
Anna Brierley gets off to a rough start when she moves in with relatives: she sees a ghost who seems to know who she is, although she has no idea who the ghost is. When she starts to clean out a storage closet at the local church, she finds out the identity of the ghost--and the ghost appears to Charlie Beck as he's walking home, drawing him into the church where he meets Anna. Although initially frightened, Anna and Charlie determine to find out what they can about the ghost--and to make the most of their meeting each other. This story had a fun twist on what the ghost needed in order to find peace. I liked both Anna and Charlie, too. 5 stars.
by Heather B. Moore
Every five years, a member of the Rousseau or Belrose families dies--and will continue to do so, according to Sophia's curse, until the families are united by marriage. Simon Rousseau has no intention of marrying and bringing a woman into his strange family curse, although he admits to being intrigued by the orphan Joan raised by nuns. When Joan encounters Monsieur Rousseau, she finds everything she knew about herself is wrong. This was an interesting mix of mystery and romance. Intriguing without being super creepy. 4.5 stars.
The Sirens' Song
by Lisa Mangum
Oliver, recently widow, is working as a doctor aboard a cruise ship and mourning his wife Cate's death. When a passenger goes overboard, Oliver jumps into save her--and then is captured by a siren and taken to an island where the sirens want to take his memories. His only chance at freedom would require him to give up his memories of Cate...and if he gives his best memory, he may just have a chance to see her one last time. Okay, after the other three stories--pretty straightforward historical fiction--I wasn't really prepared for this story. It just seemed weirder to me than the others (although, if I had read it first, it might not have stood out so much). I didn't enjoy it as much as the other stories; it just didn't pull me in the same way, although I did enjoy seeing Oliver's memories of Cate. 3.5 stars.
The Man of Her Dreams
by Jordan McCollum
Homicide detective Alex Steen dreams of the murders she goes on to solve, which is creepy enough, but when she has a dream where the murderer doesn't follow through, the change in the pattern is stranger still. And when she finds that the person who wasn't killed is none other than her ex's sister--and that her ex, Nick, was likely the intended target--she can't help but wonder what is going on. I wish this one had had a little more romance to go along with the mystery aspect; we didn't really get to see much of that, just pieces of Alex and Nick's broken past and a tiny hint at the future. 3.5 stars.
The Ghost of Millhouse Mansion
by Elana Johnson
When Naomi goes to Millhouse mansion with its owner, Colt, she's just expecting to see the rocking horse his aunt wants restored--and if she's lucky, maybe she'll get to check out the house and somehow convince Colt to let her restore the house itself. She definitely isn't expecting to see ghosts--but she does...and Colt admits that he has seen them since he was a child. This was probably the creepiest of the stories, since the ghosts aren't exactly friendly. The romance between Naomi and Colt seemed rushed, and the twist before the ending was a little strange. Didn't completely work for me. 3.5 stars.
Overall, I loved the first three stories; I liked the final three but not nearly as much as the first three. All in all, it was a fun collection--and probably readers who like creepy stories and Halloween more than I do will appreciate the whole collection more than I did.