Secrets of the Bloody Tower

GhostersSecrets of the Bloody Tower is the third book in the Ghosters series written by Diana Corbitt. This book finds Kerry, Theresa, and Joey in Kerry’s home country of England. What are they doing there? Visiting Kerry’s family of course! And ghost hunting!

While Theresa and Joey’s dad goes on a two-week book tour in England, Theresa and Joey are invited to stay with Kerry at her grandmother’s house. Unfortunately, an illness puts Kerry’s grandmother in the hospital, so the three kids are left to explore England alone. During their tour of the Tower of London, they meet the ghosts of two young boys who implore the trio to find their bones and give them a proper burial. Thus, Theresa, Joey, and Kerry traverse the streets of London in search of the missing bones, meeting many other ghosts and making important ghost hunting discoveries along the way.

My favorite character in this book is still Joey. I like how he is treated as a valuable member of the team despite having Asperger’s. I know I’ve said it before, but so often characters with special needs are relegated to the background, or their importance isn’t realized by other characters until the conclusion of the story. One thing I really like about Joey is his perseverance and courage. He knows certain things are difficult for him like making eye contact or being touched, but instead of avoiding those things, he works hard to push through the uncomfortable feelings he experiences when making eye contact or being touched.

While Joey is my favorite character, I still like the other characters as well. I find Theresa and Kerry to be respectful of the adults in their life and considerate of those around them. They eagerly pitch in and help Kerry’s aunt, who checks in on them periodically while Kerry’s grandmother is in the hospital. Like all children, Kerry, Theresa, and Joey aren’t perfect, but overall, they are good kids.

It may sound weird to talk about the behavior of the characters especially when it is not central to the story, but these little traits – being considerate, respectful, responsible, courageous, and imperfect – are what make these children a positive role model for young readers.

As with Ms. Corbitt’s other books, Secrets of the Bloody Tower is well written and interspersed with humor, mostly in Joey’s attempts to use common idioms. Some parents may want to know that this book delves a bit more into the spirit world with the trio attempting to hold a séance and visiting a Wican store to purchase an ovilus. It is by no means dark like the Harry Potter books, but some parents might not be comfortable with those references.

Overall, this is another solid book by Ms. Corbitt that is sure to be enjoyed by children (or adults) who enjoy ghost stories or a good scare.

*I was provided with Ghosters free of charge in exchange for my review of it. I received no monetary compensation, only the privilege and enjoyment that comes with reading a well-written story.

Ice Forged by Gail Z. Martin

IceForgedI just finished reading The Ascendant Kingdoms Saga by Gail Z. Martin. I’m not entirely sure what to say other than I really enjoyed it and couldn’t put it down.

This is a four book fantasy series (first book: Ice Forged) about a group of convicts who ultimately find themselves responsible for restoring a kingdom destroyed by the collapse of magic. Sent away to prison for various crimes, this group of convicts soon finds that being exiled to Velant was the only thing that saved their life when magic broke and destroyed their home country of Dondareth. Determined to find answers, they return to Dondareth and discover that the loss of magic isn’t the only problem that Dondareth faces.

From humans to vampires to mages to necromancers to ghosts to wraiths, this book has a host of characters that will either endear themselves to you or make you hate them.

Like I said, I couldn’t put the series down. I read all four books within the span of 2 or so weeks. This is definitely going on my “favorites” list for young adults.

Ghosters 2: Revenge of the Library Ghost

Ghosters2.jpgI enjoyed Ghosters 2: Revenge of the Library Ghost* (by Diana Corbitt) more than Ghosters because this story was more light-hearted than the first book.

This book is written from Joey’s point of view, which initially confused me, having just finished reading the first book, which was written from Theresa’s point of view. However, it did not take long before I made the mental switch to Joey’s point of view, and I was lost in the story.

Like with the first book, my favorite aspect is how people with disabilities/disorders are portrayed. Joey has Asperger’s; his best friend, Elbie, has ADHD. Both characters are portrayed as real people. Yes, they have their quirks, but each character has value and worth in this story.

Reading this book from Joey’s point of view, you get to see the effort he makes to practice techniques his teachers want him to work on, such as making eye contact and reading facial expressions, something particularly challenging for people with Asperger’s. You see Joey’s attempts to use figures of speech, which aren’t always effective and lead to good laughs. You see Joey’s internal struggle as he strives to do the right thing when confronted with gray-area situations during his investigation.

Having a couple of main characters who struggle with Asperger’s and ADHD yet end up being the heroes of the story sends a message to children that no matter what you are struggling with in life, you can accomplish great things.

P.S. It is not necessary to read the books in order; however, their will be some details that might make more sense if you did.

*I was provided with Ghosters and Ghosters 2 free of charge in exchange for my review of it. I received no monetary compensation, only the privilege and enjoyment that comes with reading a well-written story, and this story is indeed well-written.