I’m participating in The Library Looter & Anniek’s Library Blogtober challenge!
In Central NJ, there is a building named The Union Hotel. Located in downtown Flemington, NJ, The Union Hotel was constructed in 1878 and was a town centerpiece as a stagecoach stop. It became a national destination during the 1934 trial of the Lindbergh Baby death. Journalists and jurors stayed at the Union Hotel as Bruno Hauptmann was tried for his heinous crime at the county courthouse directly across the street.
The Union Hotel stopped taking guests around the 1950s, but it continued operating as a bar restaurant. During this run, there were many reports from workers and patrons of hearing unearthly voices and humming out of nowhere. One person reported seeing a disembodied pair of a child’s patent leather shoes walking up the steps. The restaurant manager reported sensing a presence while being alone in his office.
There were many attempts to revive the Union Hotel, but talks always fell in circles, and the building fell into disrepair. The Union Hotel closed for good on 2007.
Since that time, the town committee goes back and forth discussing the fate of the Union Hotel. Two years ago, there were plans to tear down the building and create a shopping center, parking deck, and a college building. On 2017, A decision was made to preserve the hotel structure, and the back and forth proceedings as to how to revive the downtown area of Flemington resumed.
Last year I was reading ‘Daughters of the Lake’ by Wendy Webb. I was in the mood to read something paranormal for October, and when I read the sypnosis for Webb’s book in the Kindle First Reads section at the time, I was immediately interested. Stories that involve paranormal activity always intrigue me. I was hooked after reading the first few chapters! It had everything I was searching for in a story: mystery, suspense, and eerie tie-ins to the past. I haven’t read Wendy Webb’s other works, but I plan to!
Synopsis (from Goodreads): After the end of her marriage, Kate Granger has retreated to her parents’ home on Lake Superior to pull herself together—only to discover the body of a murdered woman washed into the shallows. Tucked in the folds of the woman’s curiously vintage gown is an infant, as cold and at peace as its mother. No one can identify the woman. Except for Kate. She’s seen her before. In her dreams… One hundred years ago, a love story ended in tragedy, its mysteries left unsolved. It’s time for the lake to give up its secrets. As each mystery unravels, it pulls Kate deeper into the eddy of a haunting folktale that has been handed down in whispers over generations. Now, it’s Kate’s turn to listen. As the drowned woman reaches out from the grave, Kate reaches back. They must come together, if only in dreams, to right the sinister wrongs of the past.
What stories were you reading at this time last year?
Note: I’m participating in The Library Looter and Anniek’s Library Blogtober Challenge.
‘Tunnel of Bones’ by Victoria Schwab 2nd Book in the Cassidy Blake series 287 pages Scholastic Press Release Date: September 3, 2019 Genre: Middle Grade
Synopsis: Trouble is haunting Cassidy Blake . . . even more than usual. She (plus her ghost best friend, Jacob, of course) are in Paris, where Cass’s parents are filming their TV show about the world’s most haunted cities. Sure, it’s fun eating croissants and seeing the Eiffel Tower, but there’s true ghostly danger lurking beneath Paris, in the creepy underground Catacombs. When Cass accidentally awakens a frighteningly strong spirit, she must rely on her still-growing skills as a ghosthunter — and turn to friends both old and new to help her unravel a mystery. But time is running out, and the spirit is only growing stronger. And if Cass fails, the force she’s unleashed could haunt the city forever.
If there was anywhere in the world I would love to visit, it would be Paris! Going to the Eiffel Tower? Absolutely! Sitting at a cafe with my favorite reads? I’m so there!
Touring the Catacombs and search for ghosts?
Well…you only live once!
Cassidy Blake and her family do just that in ‘Tunnel of Bones’, Victoria Schwab’s second book chronicling Cassidy’s summer vacation with her famous ‘paranormal-on-screen’ parents The Inspecters. She’s also learning about her budding abilities as an ‘in-betweener’, venturing into the Veil (the world of the Dead) to send spirits back in peace, with the help of her ghost-best-friend Jacob.
In this installment, Cassidy unknowingly awakens a powerful entity while stumbling into the Veil within the Catacombs ( the perfect location for ghosts!). A series of mishaps and dysfunction ensues, and it’s up to Cassidy to figure out how to stop this mischievous spirit before Paris falls into complete disarray!
Cassidy is someone who’s truly learning her skills as an ‘in-betweener’, and we’re taken along for the ride during every discovery, misstep, and confrontation. Schwab perfectly portrays Cassidy in the throes of innocence, while confronted with forces that she’s not completely ready for. She’s a twelve year old girl struggling to balance the need to be a tourist in a new country, while getting sucked into the paranormal realm to solve the puzzle of the spirit in question.
Thanks to Lara’s periodic guidance and Jacob’s own secrets of his past (which provide its own level of intrigue), Cassidy becomes aware of an entire new layer of the paranormal world…yet all that Cassidy longs for is the simple joys of trying a crepe for the first time, and visiting the Eiffel Tower with its stunning views.
The chemistry between Cassidy and Jacob continues to grow. Jacob’s truth about his previous life is a constant weight hanging over their heads, yet they also enjoy the pleasure of maintaining the rules of their bond. The tension is maintained by Cassidy have more social encounters, which brings the loaded question of how much of her private life should she disclose.
‘Tunnel of Bones’ by Victoria Schwab was a very engaging story. If you enjoy stories that involve the paranormal and strong friendships, then this is the story for you!
‘City of Ghosts’ by Victoria Schwab is a paranormal tale with adventure, told through the eyes of a girl blessed with the gift of communicating with spirits. This story follows Cassidy Blake, an 12 year old girl with the gift of crossing over to the world of the dead, called the Veil. She is able to travel to this world after a near death experience a year earlier. Cassidy travels to Edinburgh, Scotland with her parents, ‘paranormal experts’ in writing (yet they have little awareness of ghosts) who film a show called ‘The Inspecters’ based on their successful books on ghost phenomenon. As her parents venture into popular, ‘spooky’ tourist sites within Edinburgh, Cassidy embarks on her own adventure through the Veil with Jacob, her close friend (and ghost). It is through these excursions that Cassidy becomes enlightened about her gift, and discovers some shocking surprises along the way.
‘City of Ghosts’ is
a Middle Grade novel, and I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this
story. I do love reading paranormal stories, and this story pushed my interest.
I also appreciated the fact that this
book felt like an ‘older’ book in many aspects. The scenes where Cassidy gets
better attuned with venturing into the Veil pulled at my heartstrings. She holds
a strong connection with the spirit world, and it was fulfilling to witness
Cassidy’s journey as she discovers their strengths and weaknesses. This leads
to a marked piece of advice from Lara, a girl Cassidy meets in Scotland (who
holds a special gift of her own): ‘We’re meant to cross (the Veil), because we
have a job to do on the other side’. It was also refreshing to see Cassidy have
a genuine platonic relationship with Jacob, who serves as her loyal companion
along her adventure through Scotland. Their paranormal discoveries in Edinburgh
lead to the beginning of a deeper awareness in Cassidy’s gift.
I hope to see more of Cassidy’s growth in her abilities as she travels to other destinations with her family. It will be interesting to see hers (and Jacob’s) character development as the months move forward in her journey.
Halloween is usually the best holiday, since it’s an amazing time to dress up as a different personality, and be at one with the paranormal. It’s said that Halloween is the time where the veil between the living and dead is thinnest. While I don’t run my life by following superstitions and paranormal activity, I feel that there’s a lot of validity to ghost stories and hauntings. It’s helpful to be aware of your surroundings, wherever you go.
I’m hopeful that today will be a quick day at work, and I can leave a little early. I can find the time to watch Halloween specials. And watch ‘It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown’! It’s a tradition to view the special on this holiday.
I always enjoy a good suspense story. When there’s elements of paranormal drama, it makes the tale even more appealing. ‘Daughters of the Lake’ contains these ingredients to tell a captivating story. Wendy Webb writes this tale set in two time periods: The current era, and early 20th century.
The story begins with a body washing up on the lakeshore; a woman, with a baby wrapped in her arms. Kate Granger discovers this traumatic scene and experiences a strong reaction. Shortly after the discovery, Kate experiences strange dreams and images from another time, ones she finds impossible to explain. What follows in this story is a search for the truth for this mystery woman’s identity. The novel alternates between the modern era and early 20th century, painting a picture of a family gift filled with prophesy and tragedy stretching back several generations.
As Kate spends time in Wharton with a close cousin, she also uncovers the history of the town her past descendants made a life in, while coming to terms with the path her own life journey has taken. Kate learns that while one chapter of her life closes, another opens which holds surprises of its own.
‘Daughters of the Lake’ holds the right amount of historical account with paranormal overtones. This eclectic blend takes the reader through a memorable path as the truth of the crime is uncovered. This story was very well written, and I look forward to reading Wendy Webb’s other stories.