The Little Archies in The Secret of the Betsy Belle

I found this old Archie comic and had to share:

They should have known he was bad when they heard his name was Khan:

For more Archie Comics, go to Detection Predilection

For more Little Archie, go to Little Archie: Man of the House

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The Shadow Garden

The Shadow Garden by Andrew Matthews

Thoughts Before Reading:

So I spotted this book when shelving and it immediately caught my eye as it looked like a spooky version of The Secret Garden. I just had to read it!

Plot Synopsis:

Matty Brand can see and speak the dead, a skill that runs in her family. Her mother asks her to keep it hidden, as others don’t understand it.

They tend to become one of these.

One day she is speaking to her dead father at his grave, spilling her worries on money and about her mother. She is overheard by a villager who speaks to the minister about it. The minister let’s them know that he’s been looking for a way to help them and has secured a job and new home for them at Tagram House.

Tagram House is run by a creepy man who cares for it while raising his ward. Matty can’t stand him as she senses the evil in him, evil that is further extended when she finds the spirit of two murdered children and that the the man running it is the cause of it!

Thoughts After Reading:

I could not get into this book. I found it incredibly boring.

For more children’s books, go to Garfield in The Case of the Mystery Mail

For more ghosts, go to Lowcountry Boil

Lowcountry Boil

Lowcountry Boil (A Liz Talbot Mystery #1) by Susan M. Boyer

So I first became aware of the Liz Talbot Mysteries with the third book, Lowcountry Boneyard. I was a book reviewer for a blog, we didn’t get paid but I did get free books to read, like that gum commercial.

I tried to get the rest of the series but the libraries didn’t have it and I thought about buying it but I really wanted to read it first. I finally got my hands on the first book, so here we go!

Liz Talbot left Stella Maris Island, her hometown, for college and marriage and has hardly been back. Her high school sweetheart, Michael Devlin, married her evil cousin Marci Miller (seriously she has some screws loose), and then she married, Scott Andrews, turned out to e a narcissistic conman.

She is divorced and now runs a successful private investigator team with her ex-brother-in-law Nate Andrews. (It is obvious he has feelings for her but Liz doesn’t see it and still carries a torch for her high school sweetheart).

Everything changes when she sees the ghost of her high school friend, Colleen Stevens. She warns her to come back to the island as her grandmother, Gram is dead.

At first Liz thinks her grandmother died by accident, but soon she and her brother. Blake Talbot, Police Chief, decide there was something more happening.

Liz inherits her Gram’s house and Colleen, a guardian spirit who is connected to the island. As long as Liz remains on the island, Colleen is there to guide and protect her-but if Liz doesn’t stay then terrible things will happen.

As Liz says goodbye to Nate and her other life, she sets out to make Stella Maris her new home and solve who killed Gram.

She finds herself in a wasp nest of developers, fighting city council, blackmail, hired guns, domestic violence, choosing between her old flame or starting something new, and more! Will she find out the truth, or end up joining Colleen in the spirit world?

Thoughts After Reading:

It was a great read. I love how classy and ladylike Liz is, as a Southern woman should be, along with how tough and resourceful she is.

This novel is great read as it gets intense in the middle and I was flipping pages trying to get to what happened next.

I loved it and can’t wait for book 2!

For more private investigators, go to The Case of the Invisible Dog

For female private investigators, go to Innocent in Las Vegas

For more Southern mysteries, go to Design for Murder

For more supernatural mysteries, go to Christina’s Ghost

Wuthering Heights

So this year it has been really hard to find Christmas themed mysteries. I’m starting off with this one as it does have a ghost and mystery of what happened, the main character wanting to know more and the whole story. It also has a Christmas scene in it, so it counts.

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

I know it is unusual but there is a Christmas scene so it does count!

I love Wuthering Heights, it has always been one of my favorite books. I used to be in love with Heathcliff.

So the book has one of the best beginnings ever. A man, Mr. Lockwood, has been renting a house in the country as he wants to get away from everyone and everything.

However, he realizes that the hermit life is not cut out for him. He visits with his landlord, finding him hospitable, if a little brusque. He decides to surprise him one day and visit and finds his host angry-the house Wuthering Heights to be very unhappy. Mr. Heathcliff is angry, there is a Mrs. Catherine Heathcliff who is also angry and says she is a witch, Haerton Earnshaw who is an illiterate Neanderthal, and Joseph a grumpy hand. The snow keeps him from leaving and he has to stay the night.

Mr. Lockwood is goes to a room no one uses, it has been untouched for years. He finds himself unable to fall asleep and stays up reading a diary by Catherine Earnshaw, who lived in that room. Then we have one of the spookiest, chillingest, best writings:

I heard distinctly the gusty wind, and the driving of the snow; I heard, also, the fir bough repeat its teasing sound, and ascribed it to the right cause: but it annoyed me so much, that I resolved to silence it, if possible; and, I thought, I rose and endeavoured to unhasp the casement. The hook was soldered into the staple: a circumstance observed by me when awake, but forgotten. ‘I must stop it, nevertheless!’ I muttered, knocking my knuckles through the glass, and stretching an arm out to seize the importunate branch; instead of which, my fingers closed on the fingers of a little, ice-cold hand! The intense horror of nightmare came over me: I tried to draw back my arm, but the hand clung to it, and a most melancholy voice sobbed, ‘Let me in—let me in!’ ‘Who are you?’ I asked, struggling, meanwhile, to disengage myself. ‘Catherine Linton,’ it replied, shiveringly (why did I think of Linton? I had read Earnshaw twenty times for Linton) ‘I’m come home: I’d lost my way on the moor!’ As it spoke, I discerned, obscurely, a child’s face looking through the window. Terror made me cruel; and, finding it useless to attempt shaking the creature off, I pulled its wrist on to the broken pane, and rubbed it to and fro till the blood ran down and soaked the bedclothes: still it wailed, ‘Let me in!’ and maintained its tenacious gripe, almost maddening me with fear. ‘How can I!’ I said at length. ‘Let me go, if you want me to let you in!’ The fingers relaxed, I snatched mine through the hole, hurriedly piled the books up in a pyramid against it, and stopped my ears to exclude the lamentable prayer. I seemed to keep them closed above a quarter of an hour; yet, the instant I listened again, there was the doleful cry moaning on! ‘Begone!’ I shouted. ‘I’ll never let you in, not if you beg for twenty years.’ ‘It is twenty years,’ mourned the voice: ‘twenty years. I’ve been a waif for twenty years!’ Thereat began a feeble scratching outside, and the pile of books moved as if thrust forward. I tried to jump up; but could not stir a limb; and so yelled aloud, in a frenzy of fright. To my confusion, I discovered the yell was not ideal: hasty footsteps approached my chamber door; somebody pushed it open, with a vigorous hand, and a light glimmered through the squares at the top of the bed. I sat shuddering yet, and wiping the perspiration from my forehead: the intruder appeared to hesitate, and muttered to himself. At last, he said, in a half-whisper, plainly not expecting an answer, ‘Is any one here?’ I considered it best to confess my presence; for I knew Heathcliff’s accents, and feared he might search further, if I kept quiet. With this intention, I turned and opened the panels. I shall not soon forget the effect my action produced.

Heathcliff stood near the entrance, in his shirt and trousers; with a candle dripping over his fingers, and his face as white as the wall behind him. The first creak of the oak startled him like an electric shock: the light leaped from his hold to a distance of some feet, and his agitation was so extreme, that he could hardly pick it up.

‘It is only your guest, sir,’ I called out, desirous to spare him the humiliation of exposing his cowardice further. ‘I had the misfortune to scream in my sleep, owing to a frightful nightmare. I’m sorry I disturbed you.’

A ghost of Catherine Earnshaw Linton.

Mr. Lockwood heads home and falls ill. He questions the housekeeper Nelly about Heathcliff and she tells them the story:

So Mrs. Earnshaw died years ago and left the gentry Mr. Earnshaw with a son, Hindley, and daughter, Catherine. Mr. Earnshaw was very abusive and so are his children-wild-like the weather on the moors.

They are like storms

Nelly lived in the house as well, taken in by Mr. Earnshaw. One day everyone’s life changed when Mr. Earnshaw returned home with a boy! A curly-hair, dark-skin (most likely Spanish, Italian, or Russian) and raises him with the family. He hates his own son and lifts up Heathcliff. 

Nelly, Hindley, and Catherine all hate him on sight. They pinch, hurt, annoy, accuse, etc.; him-although Catherine ends up growing to like him. Soon Catherine and Heathcliff are thick as thieves and never want to spend any time apart from each other.

Mr. Earnshaw dies, and Hindley becomes the head of the household. He abuses both his sister and Heathcliff, taking no interest at all in how they are raised. Catherine is a gentry daughter, a lady, but she is actually more like a wild animal-no instruction in becoming a lady.

Hindley marries a very simple. childlike woman who dies in childbirth. He then hates his son, becomes an alcoholic, and is even more abusive.

Oh no!

Catherine and Heathcliff’s relationship is changed when one day she gets injured and taken in by the Linton family. There she learns how to pretend to be ladylike-still wild and crazy and abusive when things aren’t her way. 

Even though she loves Heathcliff she will not marry him. She will not chain herself to a man who has no family, no last name, he can’t do or become anything. She marries Edgar Linton and Heathcliff runs away. 

When he returns years later he comes to get his revenge on all-He will take Wuthering Heights and his son from the high and mighty Hindley, get revenge and hurt Edgar, and lastly-break Catherine’s heart like she broke his…

Thoughts After Reading:

So Wuthering Heights is a book about passion, not just passion but unbridled passion. All these characters do whatever feels right to them, without thinking of what may come with their actions or the price they or other will pay for their passion.

Often the Bronte’s books are compared with Jane Austen’s. Austen’s books take place more inside sitting rooms, while the Bronte’s on the moors. The Bronte’s are much darker than Austen work’s playing with similar themes but much deeper.

The term wuthering means decaying, blustery, turbulent, etc-the personalities being wuthering as much as the house, and as wild as the moors they reside.

I have always loved this book, but it was hard to read as what I had gone through with my husband. He abused me in many ways, like Heathcliff and Catherine do to each other and others. I understand how Heathcliff feels-with no last name and known family-he is essentially without a social security card and has no way of really doing anything. However, because he is hurt he then hurts others-and no matter what happened to him that behavior is never okay.

Cathy is just as abusive and very conniving. With her brother as her guardian she knows she will meet no one and grabs at Edgar to get away-bringing pain and destruction and heartbreak to him.

“Edgar Linton, as multitudes have been before, and will be after him. was infatuated: and believed himself to be the happiest man alive on the day he led her to Gimmerton Chapel…”

I know how that feels, and how it feels to discover you are 100% wrong and the person you married crazy. After the abuse I suffered from my husband I defintely do not sympathize with Heathcliff as much as I do Mr. Rochester. I too married a crazy person who tried to kill me.

It still is a good story and one I recommend reading in your lifetime.

Now a while back I reviewed The Madwoman Upstairs, by Catherine Lowell, she says that the only reason that the abusive horrible Mr. Earnshaw would adopt Heathcliff and treat him good was because he was his illegitimate son-making the reason why Catherine won’t marry Heathcliff because of incest. But I don’t believe it is true. Mr. Earnshaw “adopts” Nelly and brings her into his home. If he did that and treated her well and she is of no relation, why not Heathcliff? Plus he probably likes the savageness of Heathcliff, as it made him think of himself more than his “pansy” son.

Boom

Still a worthwhile read with so many great quotes-still a favorite no matter what, just not while I’m healing.

For more on Wuthering Heights go to,The Madwoman Upstairs

For more classic literature, go to The Sign of the Four

For more Christmas mysteries, go to The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle

For more ghosts, go to Christina’s Ghost

On a sad note, given the context of this book I wanted to add this:

Are you being abused?

It’s abuse when someone who should care about you does or says things that hurt you or make you feel afraid, helpless or worthless. Here are only a few examples:

  • Slapping, hitting, punching, choking, grabbing, shoving, kicking you or your kids, your pets
  • Threatening you, your kids, friends, family or pets
  • Hitting, kicking, slamming walls, doors, furniture, possessions
  • Forcing you to have sex
  • Calling you names, swearing at you, yelling
  • Controlling all the money, even money you earn
  • Blaming you or your kids for everything
  • Putting you down, making you feel like nothing you do is ever good enough
  • Treating you like a servant or slave
  • Controlling where you go, what you do, what you wear
  • Controlling who you see, who you talk to
  • Humiliating you in front of other people
  • Refusing to let you leave the relationship

If you are in danger call 911, a local hotline, or the U.S. National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 and TTY 1-800-787-3224.

Christina’s Ghost

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 Christina’s Ghost by Betty Ren Wright

Christina and her sister are supposed to be spending time with Grandma while their parents are off vacationing in Alaska, but it turns out the trip won’t work as Grandma is in surgery. Aunt Grace takes Christina’s sister, while Christine is forced to go with her Uncle Ralph.

Ralph is an unmarried, workaholic, who only cares about himself. He doesn’t like children, especially those who don’t look or act like how girls are supposed to. Yes, Christine has short hair, wears baggy boyish clothing, and is a tomboy.

Seriously!

Ralph is really weird just ignoring her, while expecting her to entertain herself in a house that is far from everything.

However, Christine gets more entertainment than she bargained for when she finds a ghost boy. There is something not right with the house, a murder occurred there years earlier. Is the boy trying to warn them or was he the instigator of the crimes?

At first Ralph thinks that Christine is making it up, but he soon becomes a chief officer in the ghost hunt.

Thoughts After Reading:

I thought it was an okay story. It wasn’t super developed and the mystery was pretty boring and bad.

But I did like how the relationship with the uncle and niece grew.

For more by Betty Ren Wright, go to The Dollhouse Murders

For more ghosts, go to Midnight in Austenland

For more young adult mysteries, go to Beyond the Grave: A Choose Your Own Ending Mystery Adventure

For more supernatural mysteries, go to Dracula (Graphic Novel)

For more mysteries not in a series, go to Weak Flesh

Midnight in Austenland

So I wanted to write a post on this book, but my sister blog already did it. So I thought I would just reblog it on my site! Thanks sis for doing the work for me. 🙂

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Day 10) J is for Jane Austen: Choose a book based on, a sequel to, or a retelling of one of Jane Austen’s works

So I know I said I wasn’t going to review one of Austen’s works as that isn’t really fair as I talk about her books all the time.

reading Jane Austen

But I never said anything about a retelling!

Go on... Go on…

So I’m going to review my absolute favorite out of all the books I have read so far.

Austenland

Midnight in Austenland (Austenland #2) by Shannon Hale

So I one day I was going through Goodreads and looking at if any authors I liked had published anything new. I really enjoyed reading Shannon Hale, and thought Austenland was pretty good except for a few things, so when I saw that she did a sequel I decided to check it out.

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I got the book and started reading it…but then I couldn’t…

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The Cat Who Turned On and Off

Merry Christmas! Let’s celebrate with our final Christmas Mystery!

CatWhoWroteABlog

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“Why don’t you go ahead, Qwill, and do a Christmas series on antiquing?’ ‘I hate antiques [Qwill said]…Look, Arch, I wanted to write something with guts! What can I do with antiques?” (pgs. 13-14)

Book three picks up several months after The Cat Who Ate Danish ModernQwill’s family has extended to include a a female feline friend for Koko, Yum Yum. The trio have moved out of the VV, as they were only watching Harry’s place for a month, and Qwill is currently searching for an apartment as the motel he is living in isn’t the best place for him and his animals. It is almost Christmas and Qwill is a little depressed ar his prospects as Cokey broke up with him for an engineer. Qwill now has no date for the Christmas Eve party, he is still writing about interior design, his ex’s parents are begging him…

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Beyond the Grave: A Choose Your Own Ending Mystery Adventure

Beyond the Grave: A Choose Your Own Ending Mystery Adventure

Beyond the Grave: A Choose Your Own Ending Mystery Adventure (Up2u Adventures #1)

Thoughts Before Reading:

When I was looking at books to get my niece I thought this would be a great choice. The fact that we got to choose our own ending made me think of the Choose Your Own Adventure series that I grew up with.

I thought it might even be better as it seemed that you were actually in the story before you made a choice. I always hated how of you choose wrong in the first question the story was over before it even began.

So let’s see how this went.

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Plot Synopsis:

Dylan and Michael are teamed up for their class project on doing a report on a famous town person. Michael doesn’t like being teamed up with Dylan at all because of his hobby, rubbling gravestones.

Now In personally don’t think that is that creepy at all, as lots of people do that, but Michael think it is strange.

So they start searching out famous people from the past. Michael wants to do the report on a newspaperman called Snoop, however Dylan found something more interesting; Snoop’s story.

Snoop did a whole series on Dr. Naper, the town’s own Dr. Frankenstein.

He was caught trying to experiment on creating life. And he is buried in Dylan’s favorite cemetery.

Dylan decides that the best way to get an A+ is to not only include the pictures that Snoop took, but a grave rubbing of Dr. Naper’s headstone.

Dylan decides that the two should head out there. Only problem is that he isn’t allowed to be there. Only way to do it, sneak out there after dark.

Always watching

What happens next? You decide!

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Thoughts After Reading:

I didn’t like how you weren’t able to choose until the very end and that your decision didn’t really have an effect. I like the Choose Your Own Adventure series better.

For more young adult mysteries, go to Spring Breakdown

For more ghosts, go to The Chocolate Chip Mystery

For more mad scientists, go to Ticker

Secrets Can Kill

Where I live, school starts tomorrow, so I thought what better way to get “back to school” than with a school centered mystery.

Secrets Can Kill (The Nancy Drew Files #1) by Carolyn Keene

So I know most people started with the original Nancy Drew books, but I never grew up reading those. My first introduction to Nancy Drew was The Nancy Drew Files. And of course, the TV show.

In fact, I was first introduced to Nancy Drew by accident. I was looking for a Sweet Valley High book to read and someone had mis-shelved a Nancy Drew Files. 

I first was interested in Nancy Drew when I picked up a copy on accident, as it was mis-shelved with Sweet Valley High. 

Why not try it out?

I read it and loved it and immediately wanted to read the whole series.

Unfortunately, when I started reading them, they were out of print and the library only had a few books in the series. It then became a treasure hunt as I tried to find copies in thrift stores and library book sales.

Background Information:

So this series began in the ’80s and have some updates from the original series. Nancy Drew originally was a 16 year-old, high school, amateur detective, but in this version she has been aged up to 18, and a high school graduate.

She still lives in River Heights, IL and is in a long distance relationship with Ned Nickerson, who is a student at Emerson College.

Yes that is Rick Springfield. He played Ned in the Christmas episode which you can check out on Netflix or youtube.

Her friends are still cousins Bess Marvin and George Fayne; Bess being the beautiful blonde shopaholic who is always eating and George the super athlete in every way. Instead of a blue roadster, in this book she gets a blue mustang convertible.

One of the best things I love in this series are the clothes, the author (as Carolyn Keene is a pseudonym), always gives great detail to what she wears. I’m totally going to add a special section at the end.

One other thing that this series does a little differently is that every book cover has a handsome guy on it, someone who appears in the book. Some people hate that, but I always think of it as a fun guessing game as we try and figure out which of the characters it is.

Hmm…

Another thing this book series does, is that since it is a “case file” there is a little information sheet at the very beginning. Sometimes the suspects mentioned turn out to be who did it, while other times the person whodoneit is someone Nancy never saw coming.

ASSIGNMENT:To pose as a student, go undercover, and investigate a series of thefts at Bedford High.

CONTACT: Daryl Gray, a gorgeous senior with sexy, blueberry colored eyes and an instant attraction to Nancy.

 SUSPECTS: 

  • Jake Webb, a genuine creep who seems to have something on half the kids at school.
  • Walt “Hunk” Hogan, the tough football captain who’s acting strangely paranoid.
  • Carla Dalton, who hates Nancy on sight. Mere jealousy–or something more sinister?
  • Hal Morgan, the class “brain” who Nancy catches cheating on a test.

COMPLICATIONS: There’s more going on at this school than meets the eye. Much more. If Nancy isn’t careful, she could get herself into serious trouble…She could get herself killed.

Nancy thinks this will be a simple job, a few rooms at the school have been broken into, one or two things were stolen. The police can’t do anything as the fingerprints don’t match any of the adults, and the offenses are so minor.

The principal turned to Nancy to pretend to be a student and search who did it, as it is most likely a student. She bought new clothes, will take some easy classes, etc. However, things take a dark turn quickly.

After her shopping trip with Bess she discovers a VHS on her porch. When she puts it in to watch, she sees HERSELF!

What?!

Someone videotaped her, which means whoever she is out to investigate, knows who she is.

The next day, Nancy gets into a race with a handsome guy. When she goes to see the principal and report for her job, it turns out that her contact to know who she really is, is the guy she was racing!

He’s cute!

Daryl Gray is cool, handsome, rich the student body president, and drives a porsche. He and Nancy spend a LOT of time together, and things start heating up between them…

Smirkity smirk smirk

Nancy starts investigating and discovers that they call the strange happenings in the school “the ghost”.

As she searches further she discovers this case involves a kleptomaniac, hidden injuries, false test scores, blackmail, cut brake lines, and espionage!

Nancy figures out who the is responsible for the break ins, but when she goes to confront them the next day-they turn out to be dead! Will Nancy solve the mystery or turn out to be next?

Outfits-

This book doesn’t have as many as later ones do. There is one that caught my eye, when Nancy goes to the dance near the end of the novel. I always imagine her in something like this:

And let’s not forget the cover, I love the purple leather jacket and would totally wear that of I could find one.

Thoughts After Reading:

Loved it! From beginning to end. It had a great twist I didn’t see coming as well.

Nancy’s next case:

Another thing I loved about these mysteries is that they were designed like radio shows and TV episodes. They always made sure to leave you with a little preview of what will come next:

Nancy’s next case:

When she investigates a rock star’s mysterious disappearance, Nancy once again finds herself probing perilous secrets! Her only lead takes her straight to Bess’ new boyfriend. What is he hiding? Finding out my kill her friendship with Bess. But not finding out may kill the kidnapped rock star–with Nancy and her friends next on the hit list.

Can Nancy survive the dark side of the rock scene? Find out in DEADLY INTENT–Case #2 in The Nancy Drew Files,™ available now!

For more Nancy Drew, go to Betty and Veronica: Stranger Than Fiction

For more private investigators, go to Sam the Cat: Detective

For more female private investigators, go to B is for Burglar

For more ’80s mysteries, go to C is for Corpse

For more undercover mysteries, go to The Hyde Park Murder

For more espionage, go to The Manchurian Candidate

The Chocolate Chip Mystery

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The Chocolate Chip Mystery by John McInnes

Thoughts Before Reading:

Well I thought I would try something new, and start reviewing Children’s books on Wednesday instead of putting them with the regular novels on Tuesdays.

Peppino visits the ice cream store, Max, every day after school. He works with the owner, Max, and also helps care for the dog that choose the ice cream parlor to be its home, Fat Dog.

One day Max becomes disheartened and when Peppino asks, it turns out that the building is going to be destroyed to be a office building. What will Max do?

The postman tells him of a ice-cream store that is for sale and the two go check it out. It turns out to be the Gravely store! Max doesn’t want that it is haunted!!!

He goes to see Mr. Gravely to ask about the store and Mr. Gravely is a tall, skeletal, man dressed as an undertaker! Creepy.

He tells him that his uncle used to run an ice-cream store, but it had to be given up as funny things kept happening. Hmmmmmmm?

They fix the store all up nice, but no one is coming. They think it might be because the story of it being haunted is turning people away.

Then to add to it, the ice-cream is disappearing, only Chocolate Chip though.

Peppino offers to stay and see what might be the cause of it. That night he sees a ghostly figure!

It turns out tat Max is sleep eating! That solves the mystery and problem, but what about the other one?

Peppino comes up with a fantastic idea, to market the parlor as a horror one.

Max’s Haunted Ice Cream Store

This Week’s Flavor:

GHOST AND GINGERSNAP

The store is all decorated as Max and Peppino dress up in costumes,. Soon all kinds of people come to visit and all ends well.

Yay!

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Thoughts After Reading:

Adorable. Such a cute book, I loved it!

For more Supernatural mysteries, go to The Winter People

For more ghosts, go to The Barter

For more reviews, go to Spring Breakdown