Friday, October 20, 2017

Scary October: University of Montevallo

It's October, which means every Friday, I bring you a new spooky story!

The University of Montevallo is a four-year university located in Alabama.



Established in 1896, the university is highly respected, ranking as one of the top higher education institutions in the South. But the college also boasts a spooky side, with students having passed around stories for decades.



The university has a long and interesting history. The above building, Reynolds Hall, served as a Confederate hospital during the Civil War, where it was overseen by Captain Henry Clay Reynolds. Hearing troops were about to attack a nearby ironworks facility, he left the building unattended, at which point troops descended, killing the wounded soldiers inside. Today, Captain Reynolds is one of the most interesting spirits haunting the campus. A portrait of him is often moved without explanation and a breeze can sometimes be felt across a stage in the building with no known source.


Captain Reynolds

But there's an even spookier story haunting the university. In 1908, a 17-year-old student named Condie Cunningham and her roommate were in their room in the main dormitory when an alcohol lamp caught Condie's clothing on fire. Desperate to extinguish the fire, she ran into the hallway, but by the time the fire was out, her burns were too severe. She died soon after. Below is a picture of the sophomore class, but names weren't labeled at that time. many believe Condie is one of the women pictured.



Today, there are reports of an apparition seen running down the hall. But the biggest legend comes from her image being seen in a door. The door was replaced numerous times, but the face always appeared. Finally they removed the wooden door and replaced it with a metal one. One of the doors is on display in the campus library.



Whether or not the University of Montevallo is actually haunted, the legends surrounding its history are certainly interesting. Do you know of a haunted campus?

Check out last week's post on the Hermitage Hotel. And be sure to come back next week for the next stop on my ghost tour:


Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Introducing Pumpkin Spice Secrets by Hillary Homzie

Fall is my favorite season...and it wouldn't be fall without pumpkin spice EVERYTHING! If you're a super-sweet cafe coffee drink lover like me, the cup of coffee on Hillary Homzie's new book will bring some cravings! Hillary is a fellow Aladdin author who is releasing her first book with Sky Pony Press's Swirl line. Scroll down to read all about it.



Blurb:


Sometimes secrets aren't so sweet...


Just as Maddie picks up her pumpkin spice frappe from the coffee shop counter, she spills it all over the cute boy behind her. Talk about mortifying! Luckily, the boy -- Jacob -- is also friendly and easygoing, and soon Maddie is deeply in crush.

But before she can tell her best friend Jana about him at lunch the next day, Jana announces her huge new crush -- on Jacob! Maddie doesn't want to cause trouble, so she keeps her feelings hidden. Jana will get over him soon, right?

Add major school stress to Maddie's secret, and it's a recipe for disaster. Can she stay true to both her friend and her heart... without it all turning into a sticky mess?


Buy Links:



Bio:


Hillary Homzie is the author of the tween novels Queen of Likes, The Hot List, and Things Are Gonna Get Ugly, as well as the comedic chapter book series Alien Clones From Outer Space, which is being made into an animated television series. During the summers, Hillary teaches in the graduate program in children's writing at Hollins University. A former sketch comedy performer in NYC, Hillary currently lives with her family in Northern California.



Author Links:

Website | Twitter Facebook MySpace Blog

Monday, October 16, 2017

Mystery Monday: Chelsea Bruck

It's Monday, which means it's time for another...



Although most of the stories I post here are mysteries, sometimes I like to post stories that have a resolution. On May 16, 2017, this story had an arrest. But even when someone's arrested, so many questions still remain...


For young adults, Halloween means costumes and alcohol, usually in a party setting. For 22-year-old Chelsea Bruck, that costume was Poison Ivy, a popular character in the Batman franchise. On the night of October 25, 2014, Chelsea joined about 600 other people at a party in Monroe, Michigan.


Chelsea as Poison Ivy

At 12:45 a.m., Chelsea walked into a pole, injuring her forehead and nose. However, she remained at the party and was seen at around 3 a.m. near the parking lot. She'd left her cell phone and purse in the car of the person who had brought her, but that friend was no longer at the party. Several friends had offered her rides earlier in the evening and she'd declined. Now it looked like all those friends were long gone.



One witness reported seeing Chelsea having what appeared to be a cordial conversation with a man. They were last seen walking across the parking lot together, but nobody saw them get into a car.



For a while, it looked like her disappearance might remain a mystery. But in April of 2015, Chelsea's remains were found in rural Carleton, Michigan, which is a short drive from where the party was held.



In July of 2016, Daniel Clay was taken into custody after blood evidence matched him to the crime. Police said Clay knew information that only the killer would know.



According to Clay, he accidentally choked Chelsea during sex. However, authorities say Chelsea had injuries consistent with a violent attack. The medical examiner listed her cause of death as blunt trauma to the head.



In August 2016, Clay was also charged in the rape of a Monroe woman earlier that year. Was Clay the man seen speaking to Chelsea near the parking lot? Did she get in the car with him, hoping for a ride, only to realize too late that she'd made a mistake?

Friday, October 13, 2017

Scary October: Hermitage Hotel

It's October, which means every Friday, I bring you a new spooky story! This is my scary ghost picture to go with this month's posts:



Opened in 1910, the Hermitage Hotel was the third skyscraper to be built in downtown Nashville. The interior design remains breathtaking to this day, but one thing they won't tell you at check-in is that this upscale hotel is haunted.



The most interesting story involves a crying infant. Legend says that a baby died in the hotel and the baby's spirit remains to this day. The sound happens in Room 912, which once was Room 910. When someone gets up to find the source of the sound, it stops. Sometimes the ghost of a woman is seen trying to soothe the baby.



Guests have also reported seeing a lady in white in different areas of the hotel, as well as a woman dressed in Victorian clothing on the first floor. Others have reported seeing a young girl standing on one of the balconies on the top floor:



Another interesting story involves a mirror in the lobby. Guests have reported seeing a crack form at the top of the mirror, only to mend itself as they watched.

Check out last week's post on The Gray Man. And be sure to come back next week for the next stop on my ghost tour:


Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Introducing Molly in the Middle by Ronni Arno AND The Peculiar Incident on Shady Street by Lindsay Currie

It's another multi-book birthday. Today two great books release on the same day, and I'm so excited, I've already read one of them! Can you guess which one?

First up is this one from the very lovable Ronni Arno. The cover of this one makes you wish you were in middle school again! The blurb is every bit as adorable as the cover.





Blurb:

A girl finds herself in the middle of a big decision—follow the crowd or follow her heart—in this hilarious M!X novel.

Twelve-year-old Molly Mahoney is in the middle of everything. She’s in the middle of her parent’s impending divorce. She’s in the middle of her rebellious older sister and her lazy younger sister. She’s in the middle of her class, ranked at exactly 143 out of 286. Even her name (first and last!) places her right in the middle of the alphabet. And after a morning where her parents forget to drive her to school, and the field trip she was supposed to be on leaves without her, Molly decides it’s time to figure out how she can finally be in the spotlight—and stop being invisible.

But her new, outlandish ways put her in a different middle altogether. She now finds herself in the middle of her new, popular group of friends, who think the New Molly is amazing and bold, while her old BFF, Kellan thinks the New Molly is mean and aloof and headed for trouble. What’s worse, Kellan doesn’t hide his feelings. Faced with a probable future in a wheelchair, Kellan doesn’t understand why Molly would risk getting in trouble just to be popular. So when Molly has to choose between going to the year’s biggest party with her new pals, or participating in the Muscular Dystrophy Walk with Kellan, she’s stuck in the middle once again. Can Molly reconcile the Old Molly with New Molly—and figure out the best way to make her mark?


Buy Links:



Bio:


Ronni Arno Blaisdell is the author of Ruby Reinvented. She has written for several magazines, blogs, and websites. In a previous life she worked as a publicist in Hollywood, and eventually built a home in Maine. She is a keen SCBWI member and contributor to the KidLiterati.com blog.







Author Links:

Website | Blog Facebook Twitter Goodreads Pinterest


The second book today is from Lindsay Currie, who writes children's and young adult books. I've been waiting a while for this one. It seems so fun and spooky! Scroll down to read all about it and buy your copy.




Blurb:


A girl unravels a centuries-old mystery after moving into a haunted house in this deliciously suspenseful mystery.

Tessa Woodward isn’t exactly thrilled to move to rainy, cold Chicago from her home in sunny Florida. But homesickness turns to icy fear when unexplainable things start happening in her new house. Things like flickering lights, mysterious drawings appearing out of nowhere, and a crackling noise she can feel in her bones.



When her little brother’s doll starts crying real tears, Tessa realizes that someone—or something—is trying to communicate with her. And it involves a secret that’s been shrouded in mystery for more than one hundred years.



With the help of three new friends, Tessa begins unraveling the mystery of what happened in the house on Shady Street—and more importantly, what it has to do with her!


Buy Links:



Bio:


Lindsay Currie lives in Chicago, Illinois, with one incredibly patient hubby, three amazing kids, and a 160-pound lap dog named Sam. She’s fond of tea, Halloween, Disney World, and things that go bump in the night!




Author Links:

Monday, October 09, 2017

Mystery Monday: Arlis Perry

It's Monday, which means it's time for another...



In celebration of October, my favorite month, I'm tackling especially spooky mysteries. Today's mystery has a bit of a Satanic theme to it.




Arlis K. Perry was a 19-year-old newlywed who had recently moved to California to be with her husband, a pre-med student at Stanford. Just before midnight on October 12, 1974, Arlis and her husband got into an argument about their car's tire pressure. She exited the car and entered the nearby Stanford Memorial Church, saying she wanted alone time to pray.


Stanford Memorial Church

Arlis's husband, Bruce, became concerned when she hadn't come home by 3 a.m. He reported her missing to the police, who checked the church's doors and found everything locked. Just before 6 a.m., a church security guard found Arlis's body near the altar.


Arlis Perry
Her body was positioned in a way that led many to speculate her killing may have been related to Satanism. Her jeans were removed and placed over her legs in the below design:



According to the security guard, soon after Arlis entered the church, he locked the doors. He reported seven people having entered the church that night. One of those seven has never been identified. He was described as a young man, approximately 5'10" in height and medium in build.



Although Arlis's killer was never found, some believe the Son of Sam (David Berkowitz) was responsible somehow. Berkowitz mentioned Arlis's murders in some letters. However, investigators interviewed him in prison and said he had nothing to contribute. Arlis's husband was also cleared. Unknown DNA was found near Arlis's body.



Arlis's husband has gone on to an esteemed career working with children who have suffered trauma. He has gained attention for saying ADHD is not a real disease.

Do you think the Son of Sam was connected to Arlis's murder? Or is there another explanation?

Friday, October 06, 2017

Scary October: The Gray Man

Welcome to October!!!

This is my favorite month. If you've been a reader of mine for more than a year, you know what every Friday in October is on my blog...



Scary October means every Friday, I'll bring you a new spooky story. And today's story is about a ghost who haunts this beautiful place:



Like many coastal locations, Pawley's Island, South Carolina has had its fair share of storms. Yet some say they have a warning when a storm is coming that has nothing to do with the Weather Channel. Locals call him "The Gray Man."



According to legend, the story of the Gray Man began in the 1800s. An unidentified young man was on his way to Charleston to see his fiancee when he and his horse became stuck in the marsh and gradually sunk. His fiancee, devastated, wandered the beach for years, pining for her lost love.



One day, while walking the beach, she saw a man dressed in gray. He was staring out at the ocean. As she drew closer to him, she realized he was her lost love.



Instead of greeting her excitedly, though, he issued a warning. He told her the island wasn't safe and she should leave. Before she could respond, he disappeared. The next day, she and her parents left for the mainland and when they returned, a hurricane had destroyed much of the island. (Possibly the 1822 hurricane mentioned on the sign below?)



In the years that have followed, the Gray Man has reportedly made several repeat appearances. He always appears prior to a catastrophic storm and is always seen dressed in gray. One of these appearances was in 1893, when a family saw the Gray Man and understood it was a warning, even though he didn't speak. They evacuated and survived the Sea Islands Hurricane, which killed more than 2,000 people.



The last known sighting of The Gray Man was 1989, when Hurricane Hugo caused mass destruction in the area.



The couple shared their story with Unsolved Mysteries:

“We were talking a walk late in the afternoon which we usually do,” Jim Moore said. “You see so many people walking on the beach at this time of the day. That particular afternoon we only saw the one, and he was coming directly toward us. When I got within speaking distance, I raised my hand to say ‘hi’ or ‘beautiful evening’ or whatever, and he disappeared.” 

Hurricane Hugo decimated Jim and Clara’s neighborhood, but the couple’s home suffered little damage. Clara attributes their good fortune to the Gray Man, and the Lord.

Be sure to come back next week for the next stop on my ghost tour:



Monday, October 02, 2017

Mystery Monday: Hyun Jong ‘Cindy’ Song

It's Monday, which means it's time for another...



In celebration of October, my favorite month, I'm tackling a Halloween-themed mystery today. This mystery involves a beautiful young woman who disappeared after a Halloween party at this nightclub in 2001, which was called Players Night Club at that time.




Hyun Jong Song, who went by the name "Cindy," moved to America in 1995, after being raised in Seoul, South Korea. At the time of her disappearance, she was studying integrative arts at Pennsylvania State University.



Cindy left the party around 2 a.m., at which time she was heavily intoxicated. After spending two hours at a friend's apartment, another friend dropped her off at her apartment around 4 a.m. It was the last time she was ever seen. This photo was taken of her the evening she disappeared:



On November 4th, Cindy's friends contacted the police, saying they hadn't heard from her. Inside her apartment were her cell phone and the false eyelashes she'd worn with her costume.



There have been no credible leads in the case, although some believe Cindy may have fallen victim to Hugo Selenski, a convicted murderer in northeastern Pennsylvania. Twelve bodies were found on Selenski's property. Selenski admitted to killing Cindy, but some of the bodies couldn't be identified because they'd been burned.





Another mystery possibly solved, although we may never know for certain...

Friday, September 29, 2017

Best Books of September

Since it's the last Friday of the month, it's time to tell you all about the great books I read this month.




I fell in love with this first book the second I saw the red glitter on the cover. Actual red glitter on a book cover. I love this!!! Plus, Dee Romito is an amazing person and extremely talented writer. I couldn't wait to dig into this one.




No Place Like Home tells the story of Kenzie, a 12-year-old girl who lives a glamorous life. After her mom's death, Kenzie's father swore he'd no longer let his business trips keep them apart. This has led to a life of hotel rooms and tourist attractions. When Kenzie's dad gets a short-term gig in Vegas, she gets to try out life as a middle school student for six weeks. But instead of telling all her new friends she's only there temporarily, she gets caught up in the courage being a short-termer gives her, trying out for the school play and running for class VP. I loved the father-daughter relationship in this one, as well as the lesson that kids can learn from Kenzie's bravery.

Next up is this fun chapter book from Debbie Dadey. I love this Mermaid Tales series and I know you will, too!



Ready, Set, Goal! takes us under the sea for another exciting adventure in the Mermaid Tales series. Shelly and her school's athletic team are going to the "Shell Wars Championships," but first they take a tour of Atlantis. When Shelly looks at something she shouldn't, she's sure she's cursed, thanks to a story her friend tells her. The friends must work together to reverse the curse in time to win the championship. The important lessons about friendship and teamwork are important for young readers, but most importantly, the story is just all kinds of fun!

Jenny Lundquist is another writer whose books I always love. Her latest story is a middle grade sequel to a book I reviewed last year, The Charming Life of Izzy Malone.



The star of The Wondrous World of Violet Barnaby is Violet, a sixth grader who is celebrating her second Christmas without her mother. Weeks before the holiday, she finds a letter her mom wrote before she died, which included a list of tasks Violet should complete during the holiday season. But Violet's father has remarried and she's dealing with the challenges of integrating into a stepfamily, as well as her first crush on a boy her friend used to like. You'll fall in love with Violet and love every minute of living in her wondrous world!

Jessica Therrien is a new bloggy friend of mine, so I was excited to download and read her latest book. She's a best-selling author, so I knew I'd be in for a treat!



Carry Me Home is a full journey, following three women as they endure years of hardships. We meet Lucy, Ruth, and their mom as they're escaping the clutches of an abusive man--Lucy's and Ruth's father. They move into their grandmother's trailer in San Jose, but Lucy goes through some heavy-duty struggles that once again put them on the run. The heart-wrenching journey of these three souls is only more powerful because of the love they have for each other. By the end, you'll be rooting for them while wiping away tears.

Barbara Dee is getting loads of attention in the kidlit world...attention that is very deserved. Her latest book continues that trend, with accolades rolling in months before it released. And now you can see what all the buzz is about!




Halfway Normal follows Norah as she returns to school following a two-year cancer battle. As she tries to force everything back to normal, though, she quickly learns that it isn't as easy as she thought. The dynamics of Norah's friendships (as well as a new crush!) show just how complex a serious illness can be. Plus, the overall lesson about how we should embrace our past rather than run from it is something we can all relate to.

Who can resist a new twist on an old myth? Brenda Drake's latest young adult novel, Thunderstruck, is just that. Plus, it has a cover that makes you just want to read what's inside!



Thunderstruck is an intense YA fantasy that combines mythology with a contemporary love story. Stevie is a high schooler with a heart issue. Blake is the son of the Norse god Thor. Blake has feelings for Stevie and those feelings are returned...until Stevie learns Grace has feelings for her, too. Grace is not the most likable person, but Stevie feels an obligation toward her and, because of that, she pushes Blake toward Grace. The love triangle is compelling, but even more compelling is Blake's race to complete his mission...and the danger it puts Stevie in. If you love fantasies based on mythology, you have to read this book!

What are you reading this month?