Harrow County, Vol. 1: Countless Haints by Cullen Bunn

4 stars Graphic Novel

If you’re looking for an interesting, eerie story, I might have found the right one for you.  I picked up this graphic novel based on the illustrations, which as a horror fan, I thought they were fabulous.  I can see how some readers though, might find some of them disturbing.  When you’re discussing ghosts, torturing a witch, a skinned boy, and a corpse, there’s bound to be some interesting illustrations.  I felt that the storyline jumped a round a bit but that didn’t stop me from enjoying this story. 

They didn’t just hang Hester in the tree, but they beat, shot, and stabbed the witch before finally setting her body on fire, to make sure that she would finally leave this world once and for all.  As Hester’s body scorched the tree from which she hung, she told those in attendance that she would return and they should be ready, a vow that would hang over them.  

Emmy lives with her Pa and in a few days, she’ll be turning 18.  Is it a coincidence that Emmy has dreams of a tree and she sometimes feels that there’s something beside her?  There’s something special about Emmy, she has a gift and I wasn’t quite sure what this was until I read further but I knew that she was using it for good.   Emmy begins to wonder if she should find herself a man, now that she’s turning 18, which makes sense. Her Pa knew something and was suggesting that she stay with him on the farm as he needed help.   Wait, wait, wait……what the heck is Emmy doing now?  This is some twisted stuff and why is that all happening.

https://harrowcounty.bandcamp.com/album/harrow-county-vol-1

Sweet Emmy was such a nice person and now all this!?!  Leaving me with a cliffhanger was not good either.  I absolutely loved the illustrations in this graphic novel and then, just when I finally got the storyline all in sync, I now, have to find the second volume in this series.  4 stars

How I Became a Ghost by Tim Tingle

4 stars Historical Fiction

So, how does one really become a ghost? I can’t imagine that everyone that leaves this earth, is sent in this direction.  Does Isaac come back as a helpful ghost or a ghost that has unfinished business to attend to?  A casualty of the Trail of Tears, Isaac narrates for us, how he became a ghost in 1830, while living in the Choctaw Nation in Mississippi, which I found entertaining and interesting.

Isaac begins his story as a 10-year-old child living with his family. His best friend is his dog which he does everything with.  Treaty Talk. When Isaac overhears his parents talking about the subject, he remembers that Treaty Talk and Nahullos go hand-in-hand, a serious situation for the Choctaw Nation.  Mother leads Isaac on a series of walks that day as he witnesses important events that are being held by his community.  Gracious!   What Isaac witnesses with his very own eyes is totally different from what his own mother sees, who is standing right beside him. Good heavens, Isaac is a young child and he sees this!?!  I’m with Isaac when he questions his mother about what he’s seeing, yet her response is not what I’d expect from his very own mother.  This Treaty Talk has a shattering effect on their town and the individuals inside it. 

I had a few questions as I read this book, perhaps it was because I analyzed what was happening too much instead of just going with the flow.  Why were some individuals shape shifters, some ghosts, some……?  Did that have to do with lineage?  Didn’t Isaac think it was strange as a child to hear a dog talk? Didn’t he once read in a book that dog’s go, bark, bark? Did he realize when he was little, that he was unique?  I liked learning about the Choctaw traditions and practices.  I enjoyed the relationships that Isaac built in the book and how he accepted his fate and assisted others.  There’s an engaging story inside this short book. 

“Choctaws never say “good-bye.” There is no word for it. We say “chi pisa la chike, which means, “I will see you again, in the future.””

Ghost Wood Song by Erica Waters

4 stars YA

When I read this synopsis at the library, I wondered why I hadn’t heard about this book before. I already had a mountain of books to read but what the heck, what’s one more.  A fiddle that can summon ghosts from their grave, oh yeah!  Imagine the significances of that but then again, what would be the repercussions?

Shady is the main character of this book and she’s been having nightmares since her father died in a tragic accident. Shady can’t make any sense of what these nightmares mean.  If only she could talk to her father again, he could probably answer many of Shady’s questions

Shady has an interesting family.  Her grandmother was a medium who helped individuals talk to their dead loved ones.  Her father had a fiddle that could summon spirits. Only her father’s fiddle seemed to cause more trouble than good.  Shady has not seen her father’s fiddle since the day of his accident, it was in the vehicle with him.  If only Shady could find her father’s fiddle and play it, she could talk to her father once again.

I liked the depth of this story.  The mystery surrounding the fiddle and the history of Shady’s family, I found these interesting.  I have mixed feelings about Shady though, as I liked how she believed in her family but how she treated some other individuals, I thought it wasn’t right.  Why these individuals would put up it, I didn’t understand.   As the lies and the past came to light in the story, I started to wonder if anyone knew the whole account or if they all, just had their own little part. I think the book could have been shorter, as parts of the story felt drawn out to me.  I’m glad that I found this book at the library and read it.