Book Review: Ruined: A Ghost Story

Ruined: A Ghost Story

Ruined: A Ghost Story, by Paula Morris

When her father must go to China for work, 16 year-old Rebecca must go to live with her aunt in New Orleans for 6 months. Having lived in New York, Rebecca immediately feels out of place at her new school, full of strange customs and castes. One night, while following a group of the elite clique from school, Rebecca ventures into Lafayette Cemetery and comes face to face with a ghost.

Rebecca is a relatable character. She abhors the snobbish girls, cares nothing about popularity, feels invisible, has a natural curiosity for the history of the city, genuinely cares about the ghost Lisette, and is kind to her peers even when they don’t show her the same respect. The other characters are a bit mysterious. Rebecca can’t be sure who to trust. And as she slowly discovers the truth behind Lisette’s haunting, Rebecca uncovers a dark secret that affects her as well. Morris adds quite a bit of history of the area, which felt a little forced and unnecessary. For a girl who doesn’t want to be there, Rebecca does a lot of research into the city.

While the story is a bit predictable, it is extremely well-written, with plenty of suspense and trepidation. There’s an over-all feeling of creepiness when dealing with ghosts and curses, and Ruined holds just the right amount to stay appropriate for younger readers and yet hold the attention of adults. This is a entertaining read if you’re looking for an eerie ghost story with mystery, history, and good clean fun.

Book Review: Ranger’s Apprentice: The Siege of Macindaw

Ranger's Apprentice: The Siege of Macindaw

Ranger’s Apprentice: The Siege of Macindaw, by John Flanagan, is the 6th book in the Ranger’s Apprentice series.

Following the events in book 5, Will escaped to the forest when Keren took over Castle Macindaw. Alyss is held captive in a tower. And the evil Buttle escaped from the Skandians, returning to Castle Macindaw to work for Keren. When Horace arrives to help Will, a group of Skandians are hired to assist with the retaking of the castle as well. But Keren has plans. He has allied with the ruthless Scotti, who have plans to take over the entire area. Will and Horace must find a way to stop them before all is lost.

My hopes were high again for this installment, as the series has become one of my favorites. Will, Horace, and Alyss are fantastic characters constantly showing loyalty, conviction, and bravery. In this latest story, Will and Horace must rely upon their wits and intellect to combat an enemy with the odds stacked in favor of Keren. Circumstances also come to a head with the relationship between Will and Alyss, with whom there has always been an underlying attraction.

While this series is best read in order, don’t let the numbers trouble. These are quick, fast-paced, adventure-filled books for young readers. Though, the series has plenty of action, humor, and even a bit romance to appease fantasy fans of all ages.

DVD Review: Sanctuary: The Complete First Season

Sanctuary: The Complete First Season

Sanctuary: The Complete First Season

When forensic psychiatrist Dr. Will Zimmerman encounters Dr. Helen Magnus, he is introduced to a whole new world of creatures from dreams and nightmares. Dr. Helen Magnus has taken the responsibility of providing a safe haven for “abnormals,” to protect them from the world and the world from them.

Amanda Tapping stars as Dr. Helen Magnus, the mysterious proprietor of the Sanctuary. Dr. Magnus’ daughter Ashley is an expert fighter/sharpshooter and monster hunter, played by Emilie Ullerup. Robin Dunne is Dr. Zimmerman, new to the Sanctuary but with special gifts of his own. Ryan Robbins adds comedy relief to the show as the tech-geek in charge of keeping the Sanctuary safe as Henry Foss. And Christopher Heyerdahl makes special guest appearances as villainous John Druitt, who shares a secret past with Dr. Magnus.

Each episode is a dark, suspenseful, action-packed, and humorous, with a new creature (and mystery) to face. The characters are well-written and brilliantly cast. With each episode, more is revealed about the characters and the overlying arc of the story. When John Druitt comes on the scene, he is immediately apparent as the sinister “bad guy.” But even he has a story and a reason for his actions.

With incredibly storytelling, fantastic characters, and stunning visual effects, Sanctuary is now one of my all-time favorite shows. It’s one no science fiction fan should miss.

Bonus Features:
– Audio commentaries with Amanda Tapping, creator Damian Kindler, director Martin Wood, etc.
– 3 Making-of featurettes: Welcome to the Sanctuary, Sanctuary Residents, and Sanctuary Visual Effects
Sanctuary: The Original Webisodes
– Bloopers
– Behind-the-Scenes Photo Gallery
– Season Two Sneak Peek

Sanctuary: The Complete First Season is available in stores now.

Book Review: The 4400: Welcome to Promise City

The 4400: Welcome to Promise City

The 4400: Welcome to Promise City, by Greg Cox

The 4400: Welcome to Promise City picks up the storyline where the TV series ended. After the promiacin outbreak, thousands died in Seattle, and the surviving thousands were left with new abilities. And Jordan Collier stepped up as leader of the city. A group of mysterious undercover operatives have made it their mission to bring down Collier and stop the spread of promiacin. Meanwhile, Tom Baldwin and Diana Skouris try to track down who stole the body of Tom’s nephew, the catalyst of the recent outbreak of promiacin. NTAC is worried that someone may be using the diseased boy’s body to further spread promiacin to the unsuspecting world.

As a big fan of the TV show, I was ecstatic to hear that the novels would be continuing the story. And this latest book was a wonderful addition. All of the characters are fighting the same struggles: Tom debating on whether or not to take the shot, Kyle’s hallucinatory ability and struggling between loyalty to Jordan and his father, and Richard dealing with vengeance over the death of his daughter.

With ample suspense, action, and intrigue, fans of The 4400 will not be disappointed. A complex storyline involves all of the main characters, and offers some shocking surprises along the way. The characters have all the depth and conflicts that we’ve come to know. The danger of Collier’s followers and the opposing faction is coming to a head. And I loved every minute of it.

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