The Ghost of Crutchfield Hall by Mary Downing Hahn

Oh how I LOVE a great ghost story!  and this was a GREAT one!  It had all the elements that I truly enjoy – an old mansion, a death in the family, and the mean stepmother-type character.  It was a great and easy read that always had my attention.  Florence Crutchfield, a 12-year-old orphan was found by her great-uncle Thomas Crutchfield and invited to live with him, his sister Eugenie and Florence’s cousin James at Crutchfield Hall.  Florence learns about her new family before leaving the orphanage, and discovers that her cousin James is very sick and has been ever since the death of his sister, Sophia.  Upon arrival at the Hall, Florence determines that her great Aunt doesn’t appear to care for her at all and that she strongly resembles her dead cousin Sophia.  She also discovers that a ghost lives in the Hall and how powerful it can be, especially on death-day.

I truly loved this story, it was fun to read a ghost story that wasn’t plagued with today’s expected horrors.  It was placed back in the 1800s and written in a way to reflect that time period.  I’m not one for historical type novels, but even though it was written about a time period way back it was done in a such a way that it didn’t scare me off or overwhelm me.  This is my first Mary Downing Hahn novel and having just read her website, looks like I have a few more books to read – her specialty is ghost stories and spooky mysteries – how could I have missed this!

I highly recommend this story.

Ages: 12 and over


Favourite quote:

“Odd, isn’t it?  You know when your birthday is, but not your death-day, even though you pass the date year after year, never suspecting that someday…”

Note: since this is a digital galley I will not publish page numbers until I can confirm location in the published novel.


Hahn, Mary Downing.  (2010).  The Ghost of Crutchfield Hall. Digital galley obtained from NetGalley. Publisher:  Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Author website:  www.marydowninghahnbooks.com/

Poll results (4) and new Poll question

Which of the following lead you to pick up a book?

53%     The Summary at the back of the book
24%     The cover
24%     The title

Again – another surprising result!  Looking at these numbers makes me think I should have this question first 🙂   Who knew?

If you’re wondering where my surprise and confusion lie – the last poll – most people suggested that YES the cover of the book will influence whether you’d read the summary at the back of the book or not…  Yet…  this poll you’re saying that the summary of the book is the main reason you’d pick up a book.  Hmm….

I think in the end – it’s probably a combination of title, summary and cover that will cause individuals to pick up a book and read it.  But with that let’s keep digging into this area with a new question about the summary this time…

Do you prefer a back cover that:

  • provides a synopsis of the story.
  • highlights quote(s) from the book.
  • lists publisher and author accolades.

Looking forward to your thoughts on this question….

Willow by Julia Hoban

What a powerful and yet torturous read!  I had heard about “cutting” but never understood it or even why an individual would consider it.  After reading Willow I have a better sense or rather.. I should say I know what it is now.  When I read the summary at the back of my book, I prepared myself for an emotional read, one where I was expecting to find myself crying at every turn of the page, but that just wasn’t the case.  I found that very much like Willow herself I didn’t let myself go until she did — very strange!  But I suspect that’s the way it was written – very clever now that I’m looking back – and I have no idea how the author accomplished this.

Willow is a sixteen year old who, on a rainy night while driving her parents home from dinner, lost control of the car.  The horrible accident left both of her parents dead.  She now lives with her brother, his wife and their young baby and the only way she knows how to deal with the pain is by cutting herself.  She meets Guy while working at the University library and somehow feels compelled and relieved to tell him everything.   I loved watching this relationship develop and how Willow eventually learned how to deal with her emotions again.

As I noted earlier I thought I was doomed from the beginning to be crying throughout this book – how can you not thinking about the premise of the story – a young girl just in the prime of her teens – loses both parents in a car accident while she was driving.  A great tear-jerker combination especially for someone like me – who now cries during those sad commercials!  But I’m amazed at how I didn’t shed a tear until Willow did – and I didn’t realize this until I started writing these thoughts.  Now I’m left wondering – was this somehow planned by the author?  Did writing the entire book – with the exception of the dialogues – in the third person create this effect?  I don’t know – but I am left wondering….

So as you can tell I enjoyed this book and yes I would recommend it – although I would only recommend it to the older teens – 16 years and over.


Favourite quote:

“I realized that what people say, the way they react, tells you more about them than it does anything else.  People may think that they’re offering you condolences or whatever you want to call it, but really, they’re letting you see what they’re all about.”           p. 196


Hoban, Julia.  (2009).  Willow. Toronto, ON:  Speak.

Teaser Tuesday (5)

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My teaser is from Willow by Julia Hoban:

“She’s moving faster and faster, her legs hurt, she realizes suddenly that she’s running, hurtling down the hall, rules be damned.  Her ribs ache, both from the labored breaths that she just manages to draw and the way that her backpack is slapping against her shoulder.”             p. 47

Radiant Shadows by Melissa Marr

Just as action-packed and edgy as Melissa Marr’s first three novels in the Wicked Lovely series.  I really enjoy how the series moves around amongst the main characters – yup we don’t even heard from Aislinn in this one and I enjoyed that!  Sorry Ash fans…  This installment of the Wicked Lovely series concentrates on Devil, the High Court Assassin and Ani, Gabriel’s daughter.  Reading this one – I could feel the tension that Ani carried with her – I loved it!!!

Radiant Shadows as I noted centres around Ani and Devlin.  Ani is struggling with who or what she is – is she mortal or is she a Hound?  Her father, Gabriel doesn’t acknowledge her as a Hound and has set all these restrictions that no one can come near her without feeling the wrath of Gabriel – until Devlin enters the Crow’s Nest Club.  Devlin was sent back from Faerie to ensure Seth’s safety and finds Ani.  Their attraction takes them down a path where they discover their true destiny.

Action and intrigue throughout!  Another awesome read by Melissa Marr!

Recommended

Ages:  14 and up

Check out the book trailer:


Favourite quote:

“Of course, not everything wrought of darkness was lovely, any more than everything in the light was.”     p. 114


Marr, Melissa. (2010).  Radiant Shadows.  New York, NY:  HarperCollins Children’s Books.

Author website: http://www.melissa-marr.com/

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

OMG!!!!!  I carried this book everywhere with me – so that if I had a few idle moments I could continue reading it!  I didn’t know very much about this story other than everyone else seemed to be ranting and raving about it – and yes that’s why I bought it – I had to see what the hoopla was about!  and OMG!!!  I get it!  It was awesome!!!  Well worth the ranting and raving 🙂

I’m not going to write my own synopsis of the book here – because this is one that would be easily spoiled so why take the chance.  I do however agree with the many bloggers out there that state it’s a love story – oh yes!!  That it is and a beautiful one at that – and I’ll stop there!  Trust me – I was skeptical thinking Oh another werewolf story – but oh so wrong!!!

So Linger is coming out this July and I’ll be in line to purchase this one – I’m now thoroughly hooked and after reading the little write-up of it on Maggie’s homepage – can we say hooked!!!

If you need some more convincing to read this great novel check out the Book Trailer:


Favourite quote:

“Some days seem to fit together like a stained glass window.  A hundred little pieces of different color and mood that, when combined, create a complete picture.”               p. 89


Stiefvater, Maggie.  (2009).  Shiver.  New York, NY:  Scholastic Press.

Author website:  http://www.maggiestiefvater.com

In My Mailbox (2)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren. (It was inspired by from Alea of Pop Culture Junkie.)

Looks like I’m slowing down (which my pocket book appreciates) buying books this month 🙂  But I’ve discovered NetGalley like many of you have as well…

For this week here’s what was in my Mailbox:

From the Library:

Wings by Aprilynne Pike

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Bones of Faerie by Janni Lee Simner

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From NetGalley :

Manifest by Artist Arthur

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The Ghost of  Crutchfield Hall by Mary Downing Hahn

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Tyger Tyger by Kersten Hamilton

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The Mermaid’s Mirror by L.K. Madigan

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.So now you know what’s in mine – what was in yours?

Have a great week!!!  Happy Reading!