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Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Ghostlight Blog Tour {review, guest post, giveaway}

I'm thrilled to have the Ghostlight Blog Tour stopping by today! Below, you can check out my review, an author guest post, and enter the giveaway...

by Sonia Gensler
August 1, 2015
Things that go bump in the night are just the beginning when a summer film project becomes a real-life ghost story!

Avery is looking forward to another summer at Grandma’s farm, at least until her brother says he’s too old for “Kingdom,” the imaginary world they’d spent years creating. Lucky for her, there’s a new kid staying in the cottage down the road: a city boy with a famous dad, Julian’s more than a little full of himself, but he’s also a storyteller like Avery. So when he announces his plan to film a ghost story, Avery is eager to join in.

Unfortunately, Julian wants to film at Hilliard House, a looming, empty mansion that Grandma has absolutely forbidden her to enter. As terrified as Avery is of Grandma’s wrath, the allure of filmmaking is impossible to resist.

As the kids explore the secrets of Hilliard house, eerie things begin to happen, and the “imaginary” dangers in their movie threaten to become very real. Have Avery and Julian awakened a menacing presence? Can they turn back before they go too far?


". . . a delight for readers aging out of junior horror and looking for some thematic meat in their reading. Gensler neatly captures a setting that has real history behind it instead of a stage-bound backdrop . . . Frightening and engrossing."

   —Kirkus Reviews
"Ghostlight is well paced and suspenseful with a sensitive, endearing protagonist."

   —School Library Journal
"deliciously spine tingling"

   —Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

Twelve year old Avery loves spending the summer at her Grandma’s house, but this summer is different: Avery’s older brother, Blake, says he’s too old for their imaginary world of “Kingdom”. Lucky for Avery, there’s a city boy staying with his famous father in the cottage down the way. Julian, an aspiring filmmaker, is a little hard to like, but Avery is intrigued by his desire to film a ghost story. Julian wants to film in the creepy, abandoned Hilliard House, and Avery has been strictly forbidden to enter that house...but Avery’s curiosity wins out and, along with Julian’s little sister, they set out to film an unforgettable ghostly story. Soon their ghost story starts to become all too real and scary!

Sonia Gensler’s Ghostlight is an entertaining, genuinely spooky middle-grade read, with an atmospheric setting, captivating storytelling, and likable characters. Gensler offers readers deliciously eerie frights that are scary enough to amuse and enthrall, but not too scary to give younger readers nightmares. Hilliard House provides the perfect spooktacular backdrop to both the ghost story Avery and Julian are trying to capture and the emotional story Gensler has created for her characters. Like a classic horror film, Ghostlight relies on steady pacing and subtle frights, instead of theatrical, in-your-face scares, which will keep readers eagerly and anxiously turning pages. The clever ghost story woven throughout Ghostlight is full of mystery, history, and unexpected turns.

Ghostlight isn’t all chills and thrills, though. Gensler’s characters each come with their own emotional and personal struggles, from absent parents; mental illness, regret, loneliness, etc., and, for the most part, these hard, emotional subjects are handled well. I found Gensler’s characters to be likable, engaging, and often amusing. There is quite a bit of focus on religion (both positive and negative aspects), which sometimes feels out of place or forced.

Both stories within Ghostlight (the ghost story and Avery’s story) take some interesting turns and conclude in satisfying ways.

my final thoughts: With genuine frights, an atmospheric setting, and effective storytelling, Ghostlight proves to be a captivating and enjoyable read.

4/5 yummy cupcakes

Setting in Ghostlight
by Sonia Gensler

All my story ideas start with setting. A particular building or location will tickle my fancy, and my writer brain soon kicks into gear. I daydream about the sort of people who would inhabit that place. Then I wonder about their joys and sorrows, in particular the conflicts they might face. The story evolves from there.

Ghostlight is set in Carver County, Tennessee, a fictional version of Stewart County, which happens to be where I grew up and where a large portion of my family still lives. My own grandmother had a wonderful farm (just like Avery’s grandmother), but I never thought of it as a setting for a story until I saw the Lylewood Inn Bed & Breakfast. This late 19th century brick mansion was a mere 20 minute drive from my grandmother’s house, but growing up I never knew it existed. It was only a few years ago that I stumbled across it, and it immediately struck me as a perfect story location. I mean—look at it!

To me there was something sinister about the way it perched on top of the hill, looking down with disdain on passersby. That sentient, secretive quality gave me a wonderfully creepy feeling. Because I was writing fiction, I created a little wrinkle in the map of Stewart County that would push my grandmother’s farm closer to Lylewood Inn. In that way I put something familiar and beloved very close to something that inspired dread. That sort of tension appealed to me as a writer—what could be spookier than adding an element of horror to a location that had always made me feel safe and secure?

Sonia Gensler is also the author of the young adult novels The Dark Between and The Revenant. She grew up in a small Tennessee town and spent her early adulthood collecting impractical degrees from various Midwestern universities. A former high school English teacher, she now writes full-time in Oklahoma. To learn more, and to download a free curriculum guide, visit

Win a brand new copy of
I have one new copy of this spooktacular book for one winner.
-US only
-ends 10/1
please read full rules below

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Word Spelunking is not responsible for lost, damaged, or stolen prizes in the mail. Once a prize is dropped off at the post office, it is no longer my responsibility and I will not compensate in anyway for prizes not delivered because of the USPS.
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follow the tour
Mon, Sept 14
Cracking the Cover
Tues, Sept 15
Ms. Yingling Reads
Wed, Sept 16
Charlotte's Library
Thurs, Sept 17
The Book Smugglers
Fri, Sept 18
Unleashing Readers
Mon, Sept 21
The Hiding Spot
Tues, Sept 22
Wed, Sept 23
Word Spelunking
Thurs, Sept 24
The Book Monsters
Fri, Sept 25
Mon, Sept 28
The Haunting of Orchid Forsythia
Tues, Sept 29
Kid Lit Frenzy
Wed, Oct 1
Mother Daughter Book Club


Judy said...

I love this cover. It is so eerie looking!!! I am sure I will enjoy reading this also. Thanks for your giveaways.

La La in the Library said...

This sounds like the perfect Halloween read. Thanks for posting about it! This is a wonderful giveaway. :)

Unknown said...

I also love the cover. The trailer is excellent with the old film effect. Looks like a great read.

Lynnette said...

My students are always asking for a really scary story - they'll love this!

Sonia Gensler said...

Thanks so much for featuring Ghostlight on your lovely blog -- it means the world to me!