Monday, May 16, 2011

Past Midnight series


Past Midnight and One Hundred Candles by Mara Purnhagen

I've always been a fan of ghost stories, even when they terrified me to the point of huddling under the covers with only a tiny air hole open at top, so not even a ghostly breeze could touch me.*

Thing is, I've loved good spooky stories without being overly horrifying or gory, but sadly I haven't seen many good ones crop up in middle grade or young adult fiction over the past few years.

Enter Mara Purnhagen, who has written creepy ghost stories that make me want to burn the candles late into the night as I read, even with the possibility that I won't be able to sleep in a creaking house later. The premise struck me immediately—the daughter of ghost debunkers is followed home by the spooks that apparently don't exist—the writing and characterization are solid enough to provide a captivating story.

While her books will probably be classified as paranormal romance, I prefer to think of them as magical realism. These ghosts are the goosebumpily realistic kind that could potentially happen to anyone—if you believe in ghosts. Maybe even if you didn't.

Both books are good, solid stories, though I was more captivated by the first, Past Midnight. There is also a short story, Raising the Dead, touted book 1.5, that I've downloaded to my Kindle but still waits to be read. Book 3, Beyond the Grave, comes out August 30, 2011. I have an advance copy, so expect a review to come shortly.

Overall, I enjoy this series and look forward to Purnhagen's forthcoming titles.

*I haven't done that since I was a kid. Well, not really.

Thanks to Harlequin Teen for review copies of both books.