Embassy of the Dead – Book Review

Embassy of the Dead #1 By: Will Mabbitt
Illustrated By: Taryn Knight
Published On: January 1, 2018

Embassy of the Dead is the kind of book I would have loved to read as a child. It’s spooky and ghostly, but in a fun way. Definitely never truly scary.

It all starts out when Jake accepts a package from a ghost who mistakes him for someone else. When Jake gets home he opens the package to discover it’s part of a finger. That’s yucky enough, but in the Afterworld this violation sets off alarm bells and they immediately assign someone to send Jake to the Eternal Void. Jake needs to find a way out of this fast. With the help of Stiffkey (the ghost who accidentally gave him the package) and Penny they discover that if he can get an Undoer’s license it will invalidate the law that he supposedly broke. Now all he has to do is find a ghost to ‘undo’.

In general the story has a simple and straightforward plot that will be easy for kids to follow. The book also includes a few illustrations that helps young readers visualize certain situations or characters. This is a big plus for me because I remember how much I loved when middle grade books included pictures. Then, between some of the chapters are facts about different types of ghosts, their characteristics and how to handle them.

The only issue I have is that it used a word a few times that in America may be considered a mild cuss word. The way it was used within the book put it into a grey area so it’s definitely not straight-out cussing. But generally it’s word that parents try to steer their kids away from and don’t want them to repeat.

All in all a fun story that gives young readers a hauntingly good time.

Rating: 4 stars

Description:

Jake Green is dead. Or he might as well be when he mistakenly accepts a package from the Embassy of the Dead in this hilarious adventure of the afterlife, the first in a series.

When Jake Green opens a mysterious box containing a severed finger, he accidentally summons a grim reaper intent on dragging him to the Eternal Void (yes, it’s as fatal as it sounds). Now Jake is running for his life. Luckily, he has a knack for talking to ghosts, which just might help him survive long enough to reach the Embassy of the Dead and plead his case. With the help of a prankster poltergeist and a dead undertaker, Jake dodges fearsome undead creatures, discovers his own ghostly abilities, and gets excused from the school field trip due to a terrible (and made-up) bout of diarrhea. But the Embassy has its own problems, and Jake must be very careful where he places his trust–in both the living and the dead. With a plot that zips and a colorful cast of characters, this delightful new series delivers laughs and shivers in equal measure. 

Scritch Scratch – Book Review

By: Lindsay Currie
Published on: September 1, 2020

This one gave me chills. If you are looking for some serious middle grade spooks, then this is for you. The amazing cover has the phrase “Something Terrible Followed Her Home” and indeed it did. There is no “Friendly Ghost” in this story, Claire is clearly being haunted.

I’ve known about the Great Chicago Fire since I was young. However, I never knew how many other horrific tragedies this city has faced. In Scritch Scratch, Claire’s father has a ghost bus tour where he visits potentially haunted sites. Silly me was curious to know more about all the places they visited on the tour and as a result I spent way too much time on the Internet reading about these tragedies. So beware of what you may be getting into when starting this book. It can become so much more than this one story.

The main plot follows Claire who is required to help her dad out on his ghost tour one night even though she thinks it is embarrassing and not scientific. But between stops she sees a young boy among the seats that she can’t remembering counting in her numbers (as per the job her dad gave her at the beginning of the tour). Then, he is gone. But as the days progress she slowly begins to realize it has followed her home and is haunting her in ways that are fairly scary.

Scritch Scratch is a very good middle grade horror book. What I loved is that it wasn’t a fake haunting. In the context of the story, it was serious and very real and Claire finds she needs her brother and her friends (both old and new) to help figure out who is haunting her and why. What I also loved was how the author was able to blend Chicago history into it, which gave it a very authentic feel. On the flip side, I may now be a little too scared to visit Chicago again.

This is a terrific book and one worth reading if you get the chance. Highly recommended to fans of Small Spaces as well as anyone wishing to learn a lot about Chicago history. In addition, I also wish to congratulate the cover artist for a very stunning cover.

Rating: 5 stars

Thank you Sourcebooks and Netgalley for the advanced reader copy and opportunity to provide an honest review.

Description:

For fans of Small Spaces comes a chilling ghost story about a malevolent spirit, an unlucky girl, and a haunting mystery that will tie the two together.

Claire has absolutely no interest in the paranormal. She’s a scientist, which is why she can’t think of anything worse than having to help out her dad on one of his ghost-themed Chicago bus tours. She thinks she’s made it through when she sees a boy with a sad face and dark eyes at the back of the bus. There’s something off about his presence, especially because when she checks at the end of the tour…he’s gone.

Claire tries to brush it off, she must be imagining things, letting her dad’s ghost stories get the best of her. But then the scratching starts. Voices whisper to her in the dark. The number 396 appears everywhere she turns. And the boy with the dark eyes starts following her.

Claire is being haunted. The boy from the bus wants something…and Claire needs to find out what before it’s too late.