Posts tagged ghosts

Lockwood and Co.: The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud

When the dead come back to haunt the living, Lockwood & Co. step in . . .For more than fifty years, the country has been affected by a horrifying epidemic of ghosts. A number of Psychic Investigations Agencies have sprung up to destroy the dangerous apparitions.Lucy Carlyle, a talented young agent, arrives in London hoping for a notable career. Instead she finds herself joining the smallest most ramshackle agency in the city, run by the charismatic Anthony Lockwood. When one of their cases goes horribly wrong, Lockwood & Co. have one last chance of redemption. Unfortunately this involves spending the night in one of the most haunted houses in England, and trying to escape alive.

The Screaming Staircase is one of the most exciting books I’ve read this year. Jonathan Stroud had me on the edge of my seat, anticipating a ghost to jump out at me around every twist and turn of the plot.  Jonathan has created such a chilling atmosphere in the book that you hear the creaks and groans of the old houses and almost feel the temperature drop in the room as the characters get closer to the ghosts.  You get caught up in the mystery of the lives of the living and the dead and Jonathan keeps you in suspense.

I love the world that Jonathan has created in the book; one much like ours but one plagued by ghosts of all sorts.  There are different types of ghosts, from a Type One Shade to a Type Two Wraith.  There are Physic Investigation Agencies (of which Lockwood and Co. is one) which specialise in the ‘containment and destruction of ghosts.’  These are run by adult supervisors but rely on the strong physic Talent of children.  It is only children who can see and hear the ghosts so it is up to them to capture them.  There is no mention of when the story is set (which I think just makes the story even better), but there is a mixture of both old-fashioned clothes and weapons, and modern technology.  The ghost hunters’ kit includes an iron rapier, iron chains and magnesium flares, all of which prove extremely necessary when facing the spectral threats.  Jonathan has even included a detailed glossary of terms and types of ghost, which I found really interesting to read after I had finished the book.
The three main characters, all members of Lockwood and Co., are all fantastic characters who really grew on me as the story progressed.  They each have their quirks, especially Lockwood and George, but they make a brilliant team and have each others’ backs when it counts.  There’s no love triangle here, just good old-fashioned camaraderie and getting the job done (if it doesn’t kill them first).  Lockwood, George and Lucy are building their relationship in this book, so there are some tense moments between them (especially George and Lucy) but Jonathan’s dialogue is brilliant.  I’m looking forward to seeing how their relationships develop in the further books.
I can’t wait for more Lockwood and Co.!  If you want a book that you won’t want to put down, that you’ll want to read with the lights on, then Lockwood and Co.: The Screaming Staircase is perfect.  I can’t recommend it highly enough.

Comments (5) »

Meet Joseph Delaney in Christchurch

If you love The Spook’s Apprentice series come along and meet Joseph Delaney in Christchurch this Wednesday (20 February).  You can come and meet him at Upper Riccarton Library, from 7:00-8:00pm on Wednesday 20 February.  He’ll talk about his books, you can ask him questions, and even get your book signed.

It’s a free event but you need to book a space.  Just call the library on 03-941-7923 to book.

To find out more about Joseph Delaney and the Spook’s Apprentice series, visit

Comments off

Guest Author: Joseph Delaney’s Top 5 Scariest Creatures in the Spook’s Stories

Joseph Delaney is the author of one of my favourite series, The Spook’s Apprentice.  It’s seriously creepy and full of all sorts of horrible creatures.  As the Spook’s Apprentice, Thomas has to keep the County safe from the evil that lurks in the dark.  The latest book in the series, Spook’s: Slither’s Tale, has just been released, and to celebrate Joseph has joined us today to talk about his Top 5 scariest creatures in the Spook’s stories.

The Haggenbrood

This creature is used in ritual combat to determine the outcome of disputes between citizens of Valkarky (See ‘Slither’).  It has three selves which share a common mind and they are, for all intents and purposes, one creature. It is fast and ferocious with fearsome teeth and claws.


This is the witch assassin of the Malkin Clan (See ‘The Spook’s Battle’ and also ‘I am Grimalkin’). She is deadly with blades and stores powerful dark magic in the thumb-bones that she cuts from her dead enemies with her snippy scissors in order to wear around her neck.

The Bane

This creature from ‘The Spook’s Curse’ is trapped behind a silver gate in a labyrinth of dark tunnels under Priestown Cathedral. It is a shape-shifter with a terrible power; the Bane is able to press a victim so hard that his blood and bones are smeared into the cobbles.


This ‘Lord of Winter’ from ‘The Spook’s Secret’ has the power to plunge the world into another Ice Age. If summoned from the dark he can freeze you solid and shatter you into pieces like an ice stalactite falling on to a slab of rock.


She is the most powerful of the water witches (See The Spook’s Mistake). Fathered by the Fiend, she has a blood-filled eye which is usually closed, the lids fixed together with a sharp thin bone. But anyone she gazes upon with that eye is immediately paralyzed and she is able to drink that victim’s blood at her leisure.

Best wishes,
Joseph Delaney

Reserve your copy of the latest book in the Spook’s Apprentice series, Slither’s Tale, from your library now.

Comments off

My favourite seriously spooky authors

Some of my favourite stories are ones that creep me out and send a chill down my spine.  When I was a kid there weren’t many authors who wrote horror stories or ghost stories.  R.L. Stine’s books were about the creepiest I could find and he’s still writing them today.  If you look up R.L. Stine in the library catalogue, you’ll find we have 97 of his books in the library!

If you like horror stories, ghost stories or stories about the supernatural there are now lots of authors who write these stories. Some of my favourite seriously spooky authors are:

Who are your favourite seriously spooky authors?

Comments (3) »

The Spook’s Blood Book Trailer

If you’re a fan of The Spook’s Apprentice series by Joseph Delaney, you’ll be excited to hear the latest book in the series, The Spook’s Blood is released this month.  To make sure you’re one of the first to get your hands on The Spook’s Blood, reserve your copy at the library now.

Comments off

Liesl and Po by Lauren Oliver

Imagine living in a world where the sun hasn’t shone for many months.  Because there is no sun, the colour has gone out of the world so everything is grey and gloomy, plants and trees have withered and everyone is miserable.  There is still magic in the world though and this magic has the power to change everything.

Liesl hasn’t left her house in several months.  After her father died, her cruel stepmother locked her in the tiny bedroom in the attic and she’s never allowed out.  Her only friends are the shadows and the mice, until one night a ghost appears.  His name is Po and he comes from a place called the Other Side. Will is an alchemist’s apprentice, helping his mean master gather the ingredients for his strange magical experiments.  One night Will makes a dangerous mistake when he accidentally switches a box containing the most powerful magic in the world with one containing Liesl’s father’s ashes. Will’s mistake has tremendous consequences for Liesl and Po, and it draws them together on an extraordinary journey.

Liesl and Po is one of the most unique and magical books I’ve read. Lauren Oliver’s writing is amazing and she transports you to this weird and wonderful world where the sun hasn’t shone for years and the colour has gone out of the world.  She writes in such a way that it makes you think she must have gone through the whole story picking out the perfect words to describe her characters and the world they live in.  Here’s her description of Will,

“He was wearing a large lumpy coat that came that came well past his knees and had, in fact, most recently belonged to someone twice his age and size.  He carried a wooden box – about the size of a loaf of bread – under one arm, and his hair was sticking up from his head at various odd angles and had in it the remains of hay and dried leaves…”

Lauren Oliver says in the authors note that she wrote Liesl and Po after the death of her best friend, so it is a bit dark in places.  She wrote it in two months and didn’t think it would be published, but I’m certainly glad it was.  If you like Kate DiCamillo’s books, like The Magician’s Elephant and The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, you’ll love Liesl and Po.

Comments off

Liesl and Po book trailer

Liesl and Po by Lauren Oliver is one of the fantastic books I’m reading at the moment.  It’s a really magical book and one of those stories that you can get lost in.  If you like books like The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane and The Magician’s Elephant by Kate DiCamillo, I highly recommend it.  Reserve it at your library now.

Comments off

Organ Music by Margaret Mahy

Reading Organ Music by Margaret Mahy is like being stuck in a really weird, creepy dream.  I had chills running down my spine and the whole time I was trying to figure out what was going on.  All these things combine to make a thrilling story.

As Harley and David make their way home one night, through a dodgy part of town, they come across a battered old car parked on the side of the road with the keys in the ignition but nobody else about.  They get in the car and drive off, but when they try to stop they realize the car is actually driving itself.  The car eventually stops in the middle of a forest at a place called the Willesden Experimental Station, but what sinister secret does this place hide?

One thing I really liked about this book is its brilliant cover that is illustrated by Gavin Bishop.  It really tells you a lot about the story.

If you like creepy, scary stories about ghosts and secret experiments then you should read Organ Music by Margaret Mahy.

Comments (4) »

10 / 10 from Zac for my book!

Hi there Christchurch kids and other kids who also read this blog!
You kids who live in Shaky Town are very brave. I hope reading this blog and reading lots of wonderful books helps you escape to nice places in your minds.
My name is Sandy Nelson. As I wrote in my first post, I am honoured to be invited to be the Star Author for August, particularly because I have only had one book published and it didn’t win any awards (boo-hoo) and it seems as if all the other Star Authors have great long lists of published titles and awards. So I feel very humbled.

So, thanks Zac for choosing me. It must be because you liked my book so much. I was very excited when you gave it 10 out of 10 (I had a very big smile for days!)
And even though my book didn’t get any awards, it was nominated for the N.Z. Post Awards, and lots of reviewers and other writers, and most importantly young people, have said they really liked it. My editor, Kate Stone, at Harper Collins, says that’s what is the most important.


As a new writer, I just love those words ‘My Book.’ I think they sound fantastic!

For those who haven’t read THE GHOSTS OF IRON BOTTOM SOUND yet, I’ll tell you a bit about it in my next post.

Ka kite ano – and hey, I hope you have had a good start to Term Three.
From your newest Star Author, Sandy Nelson

Comments (2) »

Ghostopolis by Doug TenNapel

I went to the very cool new Central South City Library last weekend and amongst the shiny new books that I borrowed was a fantastic new graphic novel called Ghostopolis by Doug TenNapel.  It’s about a boy called Garth Hale who gets accidentally zapped into the ghost world by Frank Gallows, an agent for the Supernatural Immigration Task Force.  Frank has messed up big time and gets fired from his job, but he promises Garth’s mum that he’ll find him in the ghost world and bring him home.  Meanwhile, in the ghost world Garth makes friends with Skinny, a skeleton horse, and a ghost boy who just happens to be his grandpa.   They meet all of the groups that inhabit Ghostopolis, including the Mummies, the Wisps, the Specters, the Zombies, the Boogeymen and the Bone People.  Soon they’re on the run from Vaugner the evil ruler of Ghostopolis, who wants to use Garth’s newly discovered abilities to increase his control of the spirit world.  Will Garth find a way home and will Frank Gallows keep his promise?  Find out in Ghostopolis.

Ghostopolis is a spooky, adventure-filled story with plenty of laughs thrown in.  I really liked Doug TenNapel’s style of illustration because it’s colourful and the panels are not overcrowded with detail.  I particularly like how Doug has presented his characters (Frank Gallows looks worried alot of the time, Vaugner just looks plain evil with his blank eyes and spiky hair, and Garth just looks like an ordinary kid).  If you like graphic novels like Tintin, Asterix or The Rainbow Orchid and want something a little different, you’ll love Ghostopolis.

Comments (1) »

Reading Crusade Challenge – Week 5

Week 5 Challenge – Scary Stories

Try a scary story.  There are stories about ghosts, vampires, werewolves, witches and other monsters that lurk in the dark.  Some of my favourite scary stories are the Skulduggery Pleasant series, the Spook’s Apprentice series, the Invisible Fiends series and the brand new, Department 19.

Check out our If you like Ghost Stories and our Book Buzz page for lots of scary stories you could read.

Tell us about your favourite scary story and you’ll go into the draw to win a copy of the scarily good new book, Department 19 by Will Hill.

See below for Terms and conditions  Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (2) »

The Ghosts of Iron Bottom Sound by Sandy Nelson.

Paddy, a boy living in New Zealand, is intrigued by a library book about the sunken warships of the World War Two battles at Guadalcanal, and horrified that he can hear voices in his head.  He is so absorbed in the book that he is lucky not to have been hit by a car whilst crossing the road.  His parents take the book off him.  Still, he can hear the ghostly men…talking to him… He comes to realise that the voices are Australian, like his grandfather, who served in HMAS Canberra, an Australian ship that sunk in the war. Could they have died on that ship, while his grandfather survived? How can he, Paddy, help them rest?

My favourite character was probably the grandfather, because of his tale in the book.  Part of the book is his story, and I think that he was very brave.  The grandfather is only a fictional character, of course, but the war and sunken ships are only too real. I loved the description- it made me feel as if I was there, hearing the ghosts of Iron Bottom Sound, too.  I thought that this book was best for both boys and girls, but others might think that it’s just for boys. I liked how the book didn’t go on for ages, nor get to the point too quickly.  I think that Sandy Nelson is one of my favourite New Zealand authors.  This book is best for children from about 9 to 13, and I give it an 8 out of 10.


Comments (7) »

Scare yourself silly with the Invisible Fiends

Did you have an invisible friend when you were younger?  If you did you probably can’t remember what they looked like now.  Kyle had an invisible friend when he was younger whose name was Mr Mumbles.  Mr Mumbles lived in the loft and would come and tap on Kyle’s bedroom window when he wanted to play.  Kyle had completely forgotten about him until, one night, Kyle hears the tapping on his window.  This time though, Mr Mumbles doesn’t want to play, he wants to kill Kyle and he’ll stop at nothing to do so.  With the help of a mysterious girl called Ameena, Kyle races to escape his invisible fiend.  Kyle realizes that the only way to defeat Mr Mumbles is to use the thing that created him – his imagination.

Mr Mumbles is the first in the series of Invisible Fiends books by Barry Hutchison.  The second book, Raggy Maggie is also out, with the third book due soon.  These books are great for anyone who likes creepy horror stories, especially fans of Skulduggery Pleasant.  They’re creepy, gruesome, suspenseful and action-packed.  Invisible Fiends is definitely my new favourite series!   Recommended for 9+ DON’T READ AFTER DARK! 10 out of 10

Comments off

Give yourself a fright this Halloween

This Sunday it’s Halloween, a time when people enjoy the thrill of being scared by witches, ghosts, goblins, and things that go bump in the night.  In America, kids go trick-or-treating, where they go around their neighbourhood and collected candy.  We don’t really celebrate Halloween in New Zealand, although some of you might still go trick-or-treating. 

We have lots of scary stories in the library to give you a fright this Halloween.  My favourites are:

To find out more about Halloween, check out our Halloween page, and to find more scary stories to read, try our If you like Ghost Stories booklist.

What’s your favourite scary story?

Comments (1) »

Skulduggery’s latest adventure – Mortal Coil

One of the books that I’ve been reading through our earthquake crisis is Derek Landy’s latest Skulduggery Pleasant book, Mortal Coil.  We’ve seen Skulduggery and his butt-kicking companion, Valkyrie, fighting all sorts of evil so far, but Mortal Coil has even more in store for them.  As I was reading I kept wondering ‘how the heck are they going to get out of this situation?’

In the last book, Dark Days, Valkyrie found out a terrible secret that she couldn’t bear to tell Skulduggery.  In Mortal Coil she is doing all she can to try to change her terrible destiny, without the help of Skulduggery.  If that wasn’t enough to deal with, the Remnants have escaped the Midnight Hotel and foreign powers are threatening to take over the Irish Sanctuary.  The Remnants believe that Valkyrie is their saviour and will possess any body to get to her.  Will Skulduggery be able to save the day this time?

I loved Mortal Coil!  As always, the story is fast-paced, the characters (and their names) are interesting, the humour is witty, and it’s scary and pretty gory in parts.  Derek Landy can make me laugh or make my skin crawl (sometimes in the same sentence).  If you’ve read the other Skulduggery books you’ll love Mortal Coil, but if you haven’t read them yet, get them from the library.   Age 10+      10 out of 10

You can also read our interview with Derek Landy and Derek’s Writing Tip of the Week.

Comments (3) »

The Ghosts of Iron Bottom Sound by Sandy Nelson

Cover imageWhat would you do if the ghosts of World War Two were stuck inside your head and wouldn’t leave you alone?  Paddy is an ordinary New Zealand kid who becomes obsessed with a book that he gets from the library about the wrecks of warships sunk in World War Two at Guadalcanal.  This book is special – the ghosts of men who were killed in these battles are trapped inside and they want everyone to remember why they died.  The ghosts call out to Paddy but only he can hear their voices.  Whose voices are they and why are they reaching out to him?  The ghosts tell him he has to ask his grandfather about the battle at Guadalcanal, but his grandfather has never talked about the war so how will Paddy get him to tell him his story?

The Ghosts of Iron Bottom Sound is a fantastic and unique book about the horrors of war and how it affects people.  The ghosts of the war talking to Paddy is a really interesting way to tell the story and Sandy Nelson makes you really care about what happens to the characters.  This is now one of my favourite war stories.    10 out of 10

Comments (9) »

Spook’s Nightmare book trailer

The Spook’s Nightmare by Joseph Delaney is due out in August so reserve your copy now.  But BEWARE – they’re not to be read after dark!

Comments (4) »

%d bloggers like this: