Posted in Audiobooks, Book Reviews, Novels

REVIEW: Afterlife (Ghostland #2) by Duncan Ralston

*Only Spoilers for Ghostland #1*

Six months after the “Ghostland Disaster,” Duck Falls has become a reluctant tourist trap, and a new home to the activist group Ghosts Are People Too. When the Return to Ghostland televised event ends in yet another tragedy, ghosts once again fall under scrutiny… along with the effectiveness of the Recurrence Field.

Away at college, survivor Lilian Roth has discovered she’s able to communicate with spirits. She and her best friend, Ben Laramie, use the skills they’ve acquired to free ghosts from their hauntings.

But Rex Garrote, the mastermind behind the Ghostland Disaster, is raising an army of ghosts to slaughter every living person on Earth. Left with no choice but to fight, Ben and Lilian must recruit their own army of freed ghosts, and prepare them for war.

Will it be enough to save the world?


Rating: 5 out of 5.

Last month, I reread Ghostland because I have been wanting to finish off the trilogy since the final book Infinite was released. I see Mr. Ralston’s other book Woom on TikTok and it’s encouraged me to try and finish this trilogy off. So let’s scare up this review of Afterlife.

Let me start off by saying that this is not as bloodbath driven as Ghostland. Afterlife takes more of a focus on the aftermath of the events of Ghostland and how some characters were affected by those events. A couple of characters, Lamb and Andy we meet through the events of the current story, not because of what happened at Ghostland.

One of the minor characters I really enjoyed from the first book was the detective Stan Beadle. He was at Ghostland because of a couple of cases he couldn’t close/solve. His daughter Sam, ends up following in her late father’s footsteps and chases down the clues that’s leading back to Garrote and the Ghostland park. Her story arc was my favorite besides the main characters Ben and Lilian.

Above them, Garrote’s massive face was displayed in mosaic over the entire wall of monitors, missing only the screens blacked out and cracked by the impact of Ms. Amblin’s body. He looked like a religious maniac who’d painted his face with a giant black crucifix from forehead to lips, the paint chipped and cracked. His dark grin filled the second row from the bottom.

Duncan Ralston; Afterlife

I feel the book takes more of a focus on the fact that famous/powerful psychics are committing suicide and that’s what catches Detective Sam Beadle’s attention to begin with. The ‘Ghost Brother’s’ TV show is just one of the nails in the coffin that kicks off the major event of Infinite.

I love how Ben ends up meeting Rex Garrote, and through bits and pieces of dialogue and minor characters we learn just how ambiguous Garrote actually is as a villain. I find it fascinating to try and figure out what is his master plan.

Overall, I really enjoyed Afterlife. I can’t wait to see how this series will be wrapping up. I know there’s going to be a lot of scares and trauma for all characters involved. If you enjoyed Ghostland I would highly recommend you continue the series. I wouldn’t recommend reading it out of order, although I guess you could if you wanted to.

Posted in Book Reviews, Novels

REVIEW: Ghostland by Duncan Ralston

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*No Spoilers*

After a near-death experience caused by the park’s star haunted attraction, Ben has come to Ghostland seeking to reconnect with his former best friend Lilian, whose post-traumatic stress won’t let her live life to the fullest. She’s come at the insistence of her therapist, Dr. Allison Wexler, who tags along out of professional curiosity, eager to study the new tech’s psychological effect on the user.

But when a computer virus sets the ghosts free and the park goes into lockdown, the trio finds themselves trapped in an endless nightmare.

With time running short and the dead quickly outnumbering the living, the survivors must tap into their knowledge of horror and video games to escape… or become Ghostland’s newest exhibits.

”If they didn’t get out of there soon, they would all die at the hands of the exhibits, then they too would become a part of Ghostland, a part of Garrote’s ghost army.” – Ghostland

I found this novel when I renewed my Kindle Unlimited subscription. I found the concept of a haunted amusement park to be intriguing and exciting. The thought of ghosts being the museum exhibits instead of the objects or buildings being the exhibits.

I will warn you upfront, this novel gets to be a gorefest at points. So if you are the squeamish type, I’d pass on this one. Otherwise, it is clearly a love letter to the classic horror movies that weren’t afraid of showing blood and letting out curse words.

I love how the author built this universe from the ground up. He even included footnotes for the ghosts and exhibits in case you wanted to know more about these fictional ghosts. Even though you learned about the barebones of the universe through dialogue and the main characters’ knowledge of the exhibits, it was nice to read more into each of the famous attractions. I think my favorite one was about a guy who got lost in his own mirror maze and ended up cutting off pieces of himself to try and keep from going around in circles.

I don’t want to spoil too much, but each character has depth and personality. Both Ben and Lillian change throughout the novel. Not only through witnessing so much trauma and horror, but just by trying to survive the murderous park. Lillian was so affected by Ben’s near-death that she stopped living life.

I was gripped to the edge of my seat until the epilogue. The anticipation of wanting to know who was going to survive, and who was going to have a gruesome demise kept me guessing until the end. One thing I did like was that the author wasn’t afraid to kill any characters. I often wondered if no one was safe.

I often found myself forgetting that Ben and Lillian were only able to see the ghosts through the artificial reality headsets they wore throughout the majority of the story. I kept forgetting about this and was amazed at how the fictional technology seamlessly blended into the background.

Overall, I really enjoyed Ghostland it was a breath of fresh air to the horror genre for me, the author wasn’t afraid to kill off characters, and even though the story is from the perspective of two teenagers, I feel like it was written for adults. If you are looking for a novel to help with your horror genre burnout, then I would highly recommend Ghostland.

Click here to read an interview I did with Duncan Ralston.

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Posted in Book Reviews, Novels

REVIEW: The Other Side of Midnight by Simone St. James

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*No Major Spoilers*

This thrilling novel follows Ellie Winter, a psychic/medium in 1920s London. Many are searching for answers for the loved ones they lost in the war. There are both real psychics who want to help people and those who feed off of the grieving to make a living.

When one of Ellie’s colleagues is a victim of a gruesome murder, it’s up to Ellie to investigate. She uses her powers and receives help from a couple of resources; James Hawley and George Sutter, to interview people who were at the scene of the crime.

As she closes in on who the killer is, other psychic mediums start dropping dead or fleeing London for safety in Paris. Will she be able to solve this mystery before she becomes a victim too?

In anticipation of her upcoming novel The Broken Girls. I wanted to review one of Simone St. James’ past works. Broken Girls will be hitting bookstores March 20, 2018.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I loved this book! The well-written atmosphere, the attention to detail of the characters made it easy to put me in Ellie’s shoes and solve the mystery with her. The romance between Ellie and James felt natural and real. To be honest, this book would have been fine without the romance angle, but it’s nice to find a genuine story where the guy saves the girl.

The ending was a huge plot twist! I did not expect where that was going to go, but it does make sense on how it worked out in the end. I had to chew on the ending for a bit to see if it felt right to me. The book wrapped up nicely and left no loose ends.

She looked nothing like she had been—and everything like it. I would have known her anywhere, even across the divide of life and death, the divide that she and I had been able to travel, that we now traveled together. She was in the shadows, but still I knew. My mind was sure, and my heart—all of me was certain.

Simone St. James; The Other Side of Midnight

I would recommend this book who loves historical London. Those who love mysteries and the paranormal. The romance was PG-13, so don’t expect a filthy romance here. This book is getting my Choice Award (I’m trying to be critical I promise). So if you’re looking for an awesome read, this is where you’ll find it!