Monthly Archives: October 2014

Posting something new: a Haunted House list in time for Halloween


The Haunted House / Das Geisterhaus

A family’s sanity and lives are threatened by a ‘bargain’ rental house in Burnt Offerings by Robert Marasco.

A physicist and two psychics paid to prove/disprove the supernatural encounter horror in Hell House by Richard Matheson.

A housing development wreaks havoc on five strangers in House of Bones by Dale Bailey.

Teenager Amy Priestly battles a hotel haunted by the mental patients in Nazareth Hill by Ramsey Campbell.

A grandfather’s bequest threatens his grandson’s life in Nightmare House by Douglas Clegg.

Innkeeper Maurice Allington is haunted by a ghost no one else sees in The Green Man by Kingsley Amis.

A woman must banish an evil spirit connected to her family before it destroys them in The Good House by Tananarive Due.

Four people drawn by circumstance are haunted by malevolent spirit in The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson.

Evil threatens an ex-alcoholic and his family at an isolated hotel in The Shining by Stephen King.

Neighbors feel danger from a newly built house in The House Next Door by Anne Rivers Siddons.


Book sources: Hooked on Horror III: A Guide to Reading Interests, Genreflecting, A Few Good Books, and

Image courtesy of Wikipedia.


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Night of the White Buffalo by Margaret Coel

Night of the White BuffaloResidents of the White River Reservation celebrate when a white buffalo is born on nearby Dennis Carey’s ranch. The buffalo’s appearance could also be a warning because soon after Carey is murdered. Things become more ominous when Carey’s death reveals a mystery. Why have cowboys who worked for him disappeared?

Protagonists Father O’Malley and Vicky Holden are relatable characters. Each has past struggles and strives to make the best of the present. They show life on a Native American reservation in Wyoming: the land’s beauty, insight into customs such as the meaning of the white buffalo, and challenges. Coel communicates emotions and images in a vivid and visual way. For instance, Vicky describes a memory becoming clearer as like “a pebble in a creek starting to reflect sunlight” (55). The mystery offers a couple of plausible solutions but the reader isn’t sure which is correct until the end. Night of the White Buffalo offers relatable characters, a look into Native American (specifically Arapahoe) culture, and an interesting mystery with a touch of spirituality.

Want other books like Night of the White Buffalo?

Lt. Joe Leaphorn faces spirituality and murder when witchcraft seems responsible for a ‘monster slayer’s’ death in The Blessing Way by Tony Hillerman.

A medical examiner who returns to a Tewa Pueblo reservation must find out if murder is being caused by a curse or worldly motives in The Pumpkin Seed Massacre by Susan Slater.

Interested in learning more about the white buffalo and its place in custom? Coel was inspired by Seeing the White Buffalo by Richard B. Pickering.

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Legend by Marie Lu

Legend (Legend, #1) Republic prodigy June vows revenge when rebel Day is blamed for her brother’s death. Instead she finds a person she could relate to if he wasn’t against everything she stands for. As Day struggles to save his family and June to avenge hers they find unsettling secrets. What will June do when it seems everything she stands for is a lie? Will Day and her die because of the truth?

June and Day fit the profile of glamorous heroes. They are strong, intelligent, and creative in a harsh world. Children face a trial that determines their futures and natural disasters are a fact of life in the Republic. The Republic’s harshness, secrets, and origin create an intriguing world. June and Day’s quest to discover the truth provides a suspenseful story with some hope in a harsh world. As Day says, “each day means everything is possible again…you try to walk in the light” 304. Legend offers glamorous heroes, an intriguing alternate world, and suspense with some romance.

Want other books like Legend?

When Juneau’s family is kidnapped she finds out her whole life has been a lie and must team up with the son of one of her pursuers to find the truth in After the End by Amy Plum.

Two teens with a unique gift must fight to save the innocent in Divergent by Veronica Roth.

A teen finds an elite academy is a really a faction split place holding dangerous secrets in Variant by Robison Wells.

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Backlands by Michael McGarrity

Backlands (Kerney Family, #2)

Matt Kerney is the son of complicated parents and living in a changing West. He must make his own path amid the turmoil of Prohibition, the Great Depression, and WWII. What mark will he make on the West and what marks will it leave in  him?

Backlands portrays the historic and the everyday in a harsh, bittersweet, and compelling way. It is a tale of a family and the West between after WWI to during WWII. One theme is change of the West as the beautiful, vast and stark backlands of New Mexico are affected by modern life. Another theme is surviving, and trying to thrive, amidst challenges like the Depression and the dangers of WWII. The characters can fit into ‘typical’ Western molds- like Patrick Kerney being an independent rancher- but have dimensions to them that can make them seem real. Backlands offers a West in transition, a family saga, interesting characters, 20th century historical fiction, and a harsh/bittersweet tale.

Want other books like Backlands?

The tumultuous history of the West is seen through how various characters touch one place in Centennial by James A. Michener.

A rancher’s murder trial offers a look at the past and how the West has changed in Stand Proud by Elmer Kelton.

McGarrity used books like Brave Men by WWII columnist Eric Pyle to portray Matt Kerney’s experiences during WWII.

Matt Kerney works as part of the Civilian Conservation Corps. McGarrity used books Coming of Age in the Great Depression: The Civilian Conservation Corps Experience in New Mexico 1933-1942 to write about Matt’s experience with this program.

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