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Notes from Ghost Town

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  • Posted March 13, 2014

    Notes From Ghost Town is a mix of different genres, a contempora

    Notes From Ghost Town is a mix of different genres, a contemporary featuring a mystery with a paranormal aspect, mixed all together with an intriguing concept to make one fantastic story.




    Olivia has a Mother who is schizophrenic, ten months ago she was arrested for the murder of Olivia's best-friend Stern, with only nine days to go until her trial, the ghost of Stern appears to tell Olivia that her Mom is not his killer, of that he's sure, although he can't remember who it was exactly.




    So after believing all this time that her Mom was guilty she sets out to investigate and find the truth about who set her Mom up to take the fall, but when she starts to look into it she'll find that the killer will do anything to make sure that their identity is never revealed, even if it means killing Olivia in the process.




    While I did guess the killer and most of the motive, there was still a bit that I hadn't figured out myself, but still it made for a very gripping reveal once we do discover the perpetrator and their reasons why.




    I do like the fact that we had a heroine with a bit of a disability in the fact that at the start of the book she goes color-blind which she never tells anyone about for nearly eleven months, the fact that she's an artist who was a student at an art school having to cope with that kind of an affliction was a nice touch, especially as she lost her sense of color during the one and only time Olivia and Stern kissed before his untimely death.




    So many factors made this such an exciting book to read, amazing plot and storyline and add to that intriguing characters to help the story along.




    I hope in the future to discover more of Kate's books, I really enjoyed what I read here and I'd love to read more.




    Loved this book, I recommend it to everyone who likes a bit of mystery with ghostly apparitions making an appearance.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 21, 2013

    (Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a re

    (Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Egmont USA and Netgalley.)
    16-year-old Olivia used to have a bright future, but 10 months ago everything changed. Her best friend (and the boy she was in love with) was murdered, her mother was sent to prison for killing him, and Olivia lost her ability to see colours, and consequently her place at art school. Now Olivia’s life is shades of gray, and she must get her little sister to help her choose matching clothes.

    Nobody knows about Olivia’s total colour blindness, she doesn’t want to tell people because she doesn’t want them to think that she’s going crazy like her mother, as her mother has schizophrenia, and everyone tells her that it’s hereditary.

    But now it’s Olivia that’s wondering if she’s going crazy, because Stern (the boy that died) keeps appearing to her, and telling her that her mother didn’t kill him, and that his killer is still out there.

    Now Olivia’s on a crazy journey, trying to find who really killed Stern before her mother’s hearing in 9 days. Can Olivia find out who really killed Stern? Is she going crazy? And can she save her mother?


    This book was really good. There was plenty of mystery, and I really liked Olivia and Stern.

    Olivia was a strong character, and continued to try and find out the truth, even when she wondered if she really was crazy. She tried to hold on to the belief that her mother was innocent, and did her best to hold things together.
    I felt really sorry for Olivia, not only had she lost her best friend, her mother, and her place at art school, she’d also lost her father to his new fiancé, lost her colour vision, and lost her friends who believed that her mother was a murderer. Things really weren’t easy for Olivia, and seeing Stern was both a blessing and a curse. While she longed to have him back, and to tell him how she felt about him, she couldn’t help but worry that Stern was really proof that she was developing schizophrenia the same as her mother.

    Olivia’s colour blindness came on after kissing Stern, but she never got to tell him that she loved him because he died. Other than this one moment, there wasn’t really all that much romance to this story. Stern was a ghost for most of the book, and they couldn’t touch each other because of this, so the romance between Olivia and Stern was pretty limited.

    I liked the storyline in this book; I didn’t guess who the real killer was, though like Olivia I didn’t think that it was her mother. I made a few guesses as the story progressed, but I didn’t guess who the killer was, although when the killer was revealed it made sense. I thought that the mystery aspect was done well, although I wasn’t quite so sure about the whole colour-blindness thing.
    While Olivia was supposed to be unable to see colours, I kept forgetting that; I’m not sure why. When she kept speaking of ‘The Gray Space’, I wasn’t sure if that was literal or figurative, especially as she said that her mother had talked about a similar thing. As far as I’m aware, her mother didn’t have this same loss of colour vision, so this was a little confusing.
    I did like the other storyline plots though – the fact that Olivia can’t paint because of her colour loss, and that Stern was a pianist applying to Julliard.

    Overall; I enjoyed this book, and I thought that the mystery element was done well.
    7.5 out of 10.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 18, 2013

    I was extremely pleasantly surprised by Notes From Ghost Town. O

    I was extremely pleasantly surprised by Notes From Ghost Town. Originally, I wasn't quite sure were I stood with this one before I read it. There are some books that you know your excited about the instant you come across them, and then there are the others that immediately seem like something might be missing although your interest is still peeked. This one fell in between both feelings; for one (I will admit I'm a cover snob) I was immediately drawn in by the hauntingly eerie cover that screamed out to me in an artfully displayed loneliness. I know they say don't judge a book by it's cover, but to me it's like an important interview where first impressions are extremely imperative to get right. I don't honestly believe that all covers will accurately depict what the book is about or even how good or bad it will be, but I do believe it is just as important as the way the summary is written. To get on with the review though I will save the rest of my thoughts of the age old cover debate for another post at another time. The reason I wasn't sold on this one before I read it was partially the summary, not the cover (in terms of the cover I was already sold). It wasn't that it didn't sound interesting or original, but rather you couldn't quite discern which genre it was particularly taken to. It sounded paranormal in context, but also like it was intended to possibly be a drama where there really is no paranormal aspect just a primary character who is completely out of their mind.

    Now, having read Notes From Ghost Town, I would say that this was one of the best elements of the book was the fact you didn't know if what Olivia (the primary character) was feeling/seeing was real or figments of her paranoia and potentially beginning signs of schizophrenia. The teetering back and forth between believing she was crazy and believing something otherworldly was taking place most definitely made this one a quick read you couldn't put down until you knew the truth of her dear friend's death. Kate Ellison did an amazing job with securing her chosen setting, no matter how many times I had to put the book down for work or such, whenever I picked it back up I was immediately snapped back into her world. This was a big deal for me, because I find there are many authors out there that struggle with this area of writing in particular in my opinion, and Kate Ellison is most definitely not one of them. To be specific, her creativeness in capturing a suddenly color-blind world carried for me throughout the entire novel, and I could actually see it in my mind all these gray shades devoid of feeling and warmth crushing the main character's spirit and ability to emotionally heal. It was an extremely emotional journey reading along with Olivia's internal battles.

    I'm not going to spoil this intense story by giving away all the juicy details, but I will say that if you read Notes From Ghost Town I truly hope that if you take anything away from the experience, I hope it is the same as what I believe this story is really about... life after death. I don't mean the spiritual aspects of life after death, but the real raw biting truth about dealing with life after experiencing death. Kate Ellison mentions chaos and obtaining order several times, sometimes directly and other times more subtly, throughout her book and I think she nailed it. Olivia's experiences show us how everyone processes death differently as well as their own recovery and ability to live while the ones we love don't. This story will grip your heart and turn it several ways, and you won't envy a single character throughout, but if you have ever lost someone you loved you will most likely understand or at the least relate to some aspects of the story. I strongly advise giving it a chance and I don't believe Kate Ellison will let you down.

    I hope this was helpful, and if you read Notes From Ghost Town, I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 17, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Notes from Ghost Town by Kate Ellison was a book that takes a re

    Notes from Ghost Town by Kate Ellison was a book that takes a reader deep into the mind of a Schizophrenic.    With the knowledge that Schizophrenia is genetic, we witness the effect this knowledge has on main character Olivia Tithe and how every change that she experiences has her comparing it to the early signs/stages of Schizophrenia.

    Notes from Ghost Town was both compelling and heart moving.  The fact that the story touches base on the loss of her long time best friend and potential boyfriend, as well as the loss of her mother.  But not in the sense that you think…Olivia’s mother suffers from Schizophrenia.  And her mother has been accused of murdering said best fried/potential boyfriend.

    Not only does Olivia now become an art school dropout, but she must now come home to face a town that knows the darkness of her past and her mother.  Having to leave the comfort of the only home she has ever known (Oh, Suzanna) due to constant harassment by fellow residents (i.e. spray painting of super harsh words and slogans all over the door/house).  And on top of that, Olivia’s father is apparently moving on as well.  Planning a wedding of his own with a woman he met at a support group.

    So with all of these stressful things happening in Olivia’s life, it’s only reasonable that she thinks she is actually following the same footsteps as her mother.  Especially when her eyesight starts to act funky, and she becomes colour blind.  AND let’s not forget the part where said deceased best friend/potential boyfriend, Lucas Stern (aka Stern), pays Olivia a visit from beyond the grave.

    Whether her mind is playing tricks on her, or she truly is doing down the path towards Schizophrenia, Olivia starts to converse with Stern and begins to believe that her mother had nothing to do with Stern’s death.  That she was set up, and the powers that be have allowed Stern the chance for Olivia to find the truth.

    But is it really that?  Was her mother truly set up to take the fall for Stern’s death?  Or is Olivia’s mind so fragile, that the pleas and concerned questions from her friends and family have her so paranoid that she is trying to make this allegation real.

    Notes from Ghost Town by Kate Ellison was a fantastic read that had me on the edge of my seat and un able to put the book down.  The characters created by author, Kate Ellison, were so real and had so much of their own personality that readers will not find it difficult at all to relate to one of them, or to at least find a special place for them in their heart.

    It was truly heart breaking witnessing the pain and suffering that Olivia has to go through with the events that happened in her life.  And to even have her one joy, her love for painting, to be ripped away from her due to her “all of a sudden” inability to see colours.  It was also very emotional for me to witness Olivia’s interaction with her mother in prison.  For Olivia to witness her mother breakdown and crack under the pressure had me teary eyed.  I can’t even imagine what an impressionable teenager would feel after witnessing that.  How torn up Olivia would feel inside to see a woman that she held so high up on a pedestal…a woman who was so strong in her eyes…to crumble as she did.

    I also really enjoyed the mysterious element in Notes from Ghost Town.  Kate Ellison does a fantastic job of weaving a mysterious twist into this book.  And although I did have my guesses on the who or what, the perfectly placed twist and turn would thwart me time and time again.  I loved how I wasn’t quite sure I could trust!  I kept doubting the sincerity of the characters in this book towards Olivia.  And that made this read even more entertaining for me.

    What bothered me about Notes from Ghost Town was that there was a little bit too much of the movie “Ghost” starring Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore.  Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely loved that movie, but the whole part with the piano had me shaking my head.  And how yummy is Austin?  His cocky attitude, but ye underneath all that he is such a sweetheart!    He reminded me a little bit of a richer Jordan Catalano from a little show called “My So-Called Life”.  Especially since he kept calling Olivia “Red”, because as you should know, Jared Leto’s character, Jordan Catalano, called Claire Dane’s character, Angela Chase, “Red.

    Fans of thrillers and of tales with a paranormal twists will really enjoy Notes from Ghost Town by Kate Ellison.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 27, 2014

    Really good book

    This book is SO good! I will definitely recommend it!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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