The Keeper (Ellie Jordan, Ghost Trapper #8) by J.L. Bryan – Bout-of-Books 18 Review

thekeeperThe South Channel lighthouse is a crumbling antique at the mouth of the Savannah River, abandoned and forgotten for generations. Local stories still tell of a mysterious woman in white who often stood at the old lighthouse, watching the sailors come into port…even long after she died.
Now the property by the lighthouse is owned by a famous movie star in search of a remote beach getaway on sleepy Tybee Island. Unfortunately, old ghosts haunt her new retreat, stirred up by the construction of a luxurious new mansion. Ellie, Stacey, and their team must remove the ghosts, who grow more dangerous and aggressive every night, threatening the lives of the client and her family and personal staff.
The lighthouse has a dark history, with many ghosts, and mysteries to unravel before Ellie can send them on to the other side.

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1Things didn’t end well for Ellie in Lullaby, the last book in the Ellie Jordan, Ghost Trapper series. The Keeper started where Lullaby left off and unfortunately, things hadn’t gotten much better. Ellie felt betrayed by more than one person and the list of people she felt she could count on was getting smaller and smaller. *sigh*

The danger was ramped up even more in The Keeper and the tension was even higher because Ellie had some personal history with the location. She kept that to herself though, which may have made it easier for her to tell that their client was doing the same. Add to the official ghost trapping drama on Tybee Island the fact that Kara is still a danger and Ellie & Stacey’s side ghost hunting endeavors, it’s no surprise that there was little or no down time in The Keeper.

There were more than a couple of mysteries solved, twists and turns that kept you wondering who the good guys were vs. the bad guys and more than just a little emotional drama. All in a day’s work for an evil author pro like J.L. Bryan. Not sure what he has planned next for Ellie, but there’s definitely more. Even though The Keeper didn’t end in a cliff hanger, there’s still a lot of loose ends that need tying. 😉

DragonFlyRating5

Lullaby (Ellie Jordan, Ghost Trapper #7) by J.L. Bryan

LullabyLife is more difficult than ever at Savannah’s only ghost-hunting detective agency. While Ellie copes with her mentor’s departure and other unwelcome developments, she also worries about the supernatural injuries keeping her boyfriend caught in an endless slumber. 
At the same time, Ellie and Stacey are called in to investigate an eerie entity haunting a baby’s nursery room. The ghost appears late at night, its face barely visible on the baby monitor, and sings a chilling song. 
Soon, Ellie learns there are more ghosts in the house, and at least one of them is a dangerous, child-hunting monster who must be stopped before it kills again.

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1My list of authors that I currently have a love/hate relationship with is steadily growing. J.L. Bryan holds a fairly comfortable place on this list because Lullaby is far from the first book that bestowed him that honor. He’s getting really good at leaving readers hanging at the end of books in the Ellie Jordan, Ghost Trapper series and even though I’m not giving the author a compliment, but I’m pretty sure he’s going to take it that way.

Lullaby began pretty much where Maze of Souls left off and as much as I hoped things would get better, I should have known better. Not only was Michael still in a coma, but his sister was blaming Ellie for his condition. The heartbreaking part was that Ellie wasn’t arguing with her. The fact that she felt betrayed by Calvin for selling the business to PSI just added to her depression. Things were definitely not changing for the better. If not for her obsession with Anton Clay, Ellie may have given up on the company all together.

The ghost that Ellie and Stacey were assigned to take care of in Lullaby was scary and dangerous, but an even bigger threat turned out to be a lot closer to home. Turns out Kara was a lot more evil and manipulative than they could have imagined. Working with the PSI crew is not going to be easy and Ellie and her friends are going to have to watch their backs.

As low as things were for Ellie, readers were given a bit of hope by the end… almost. In true J.L. Bryan fashion he had me turning the page to see what happened next and the story was over. Finished. Done. There’s definitely more to come so I’ll just sit here and wait patiently for the next installment. (Yeah, right.) *runs off to stalk evil author*

DragonFlyRating5

Maze of Souls (Ellie Jordan, Ghost Trapper #6) by J.L. Bryan

MazeofSoulsIt’s October, and down at newly opened Pine Hollow Farm, the ghosts are running wild! This “genuine” old-time family farm offers a big heap of fun fall activities. You can drink cider fresh from the orchard, enter a pumpkin-carving contest, and explore the five-acre corn maze. At night, if you aren’t too scared, join the haunted hayride through the woods, featuring a genuine eighteenth-century cemetery. According to local legend, the ghost of a horseman has ridden the old dirt road through the woods for nearly two centuries, menacing travelers. Hayriders beware!
Then the real ghosts start to come out, threatening visitors to the farm and the family who live there. Paranormal detective Ellie Jordan travels out to the remote farm to root out the dangerous spirits. Ellie and her assistant Stacey must move fast, because the night is coming when all ghosts will be at full strength and free to roam—the night of Halloween.

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1So, it’s now officially Spring… and this book is set in October, but honestly, there’s no time set in stone to read a scary story, especially if it’s part of the Ellie Jordon, Ghost Trapper series.

As readers have come to expect from this series, there really isn’t any down time in Maze of Souls. A lot happens in this book. More than a few of those things Ellie and crew aren’t prepared for. Between the emotional moments and the scary moments, Maze of Souls may be my favorite installment in this series so far.

Ellie’s world is about to change and she’s not ready for it. She’s feeling abandoned by someone she’s close to, whether it’s logical or not, that’s how she feels. Her boyfriend semi-ignores her through a lot of the story and there are kids involved in the haunting she’s investigating, which is never a good thing. Throw in a hormonal, moody teenager and some seriously powerful ghosts and you have a story that pretty much covers it all.

There were also a few interesting twists in Maze of Souls that I never saw coming… at least not all of them. In the end (no spoilers, I promise) Ellie has to make a decision that leaves more than one person hanging in the balance. I almost forgot how good J.L. Bryan is at throwing his characters into situations that leave them just a little bit broken. (That’s an understatement in some cases – Jenny Pox (The Paranormals, #1) ) Needless to say, I’m hoping the next book can’t come soon enough.

DragonFlyRating5

House of Whispers (Ellie Jordan, Ghost Trapper #5) by J.L. Bryan

HouseOfWhispersThe luxurious Lathrop Grand Hotel is a Savannah institution that has entertained guests for more than a century and a half, offering some of the finest accommodations in the city. Famously haunted, the hotel draws tourists from around the world eager to encounter its numerous ghosts. The hotel is also known for being honeycombed with hidden doors and secret passages, enabling staff to appear and disappear quickly as they attend to the hotel’s guests.
Now some of the spirits in the Lathrop Grand have turned violent, even murderous. Ellie and Stacey must determine which ghost has become dangerous and remove it from the hotel before it can claim any more lives. They soon learn the hotel has secrets even darker than the notorious string of nineteenth-century murders that made it famous, and the powerful entities inhabiting it don’t intend to leave without a fight.

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1If I was asked to make a list of authors/books that I would recommend to readers who wanted a good October (aka scary) read, J.L. Bryan would definitely be in my top ten recs. I honestly have no idea how he comes up with this stuff. Having said that, House of Whispers was definitely scary, but it wasn’t the scariest in the Ellie Jordan, Ghost Trapper series so far. I’m not complaining, honest. The series gets better with each installment. I guess after the craziness that Ellie experienced in Terminal, a hotel full of civil war era, weapon wielding, bloody ghosts (among others) seemed kind of tame. (Sounds kind of ridiculous when I put it that way, doesn’t it?)

I think what I liked most about House of Whispers was what went on other than the ghost hunting. The future of their investigation firm is still up in the air, which has Ellie more than a little worried. Some relationships are unexpectedly strained, which added a little twist to the story line. And as I’ve come to expect, the characters continue to evolve and grow. Speaking of which, I love these characters. They’re witty, smart, loyal to each other and believe in what they do. I’m basically falling in love with them more with each book.

There were also a lot of sneaky twists in House of Whispers that I didn’t see coming. Those twists also left room for Ellie to take control. In the previous books she’s taken some unnecessary risks. I’m not saying she was being stupid, but she took those risks to protect others. In House of Whispers she was smart and proved herself capable more than once. I liked that side of her… especially given the circumstances – but those you’ll have to figure out for yourself when you read them 😉

The best part as far as I’m concerned is that J.L. Bryan has promised that there’s more to come. I can’t wait to see what he has in store for Ellie and friends. Given the way things ended (not a cliff hanger BTW) things could prove to be even more interesting… as if trapping ghosts for a living wasn’t enough.

DragonFlyRating5

 

Terminal (Ellie Jordan, Ghost Trapper #4) by J.L. Bryan

TerminalCoverSMALLEREllie Jordan and her apprentice Stacey investigate a house in an elaborate planned community that was only half-built before it went bankrupt, leaving an instant ghost town with only a few residents. The entity haunting this house is a banshee that feeds on sadness and misery.
Unfortunately for Ellie, this is no simple haunting, but just one symptom of the cursed land on which the suburban community was built. The old railroad line running through the nearby woods might just be a conduit for lost souls, including dark spirits will ill intentions toward the living. Ellie soon finds herself facing one of the most complex and difficult hauntings she’s seen in her career.

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1I’m still totally enamored by Ellie Jordan, Ghost Trapper and Terminal just reinforced that fact. The cases are getting more intense, the characters are revealing more layers and I find myself wanting the next book in the series as soon as I finish the current one. Yep, it looks like J.L. Bryan has definitely done it again 😉

As you can tell from the description, this case involved a lot more than just one unwelcome ghost. The whole community was affected by a group of spirits and they were all tied to one source. Terminal proved once again that there’s a lot more involved in Ellie’s form of ghost hunting than just tracking down and trapping the offending ghosts. It’s definitely a team effort that involves hours of research, sleepless nights, cunning and sometimes brute strength. I think that’s one of the reasons why I like this series so much. Ellie is nothing without the people who work with her. That’s also why I get so mad at her at times. She puts the job and everyone around her above her own personal safety.

I was also trying to do the math in my head. If a train leaves point A heading  west at thirty or forty miles an hour and climbing, and the tracks end in half a mile, how long until Ellie gets splattered? What if the train is a ghostly apparition that could disappear at any moment, leaving its sole living passenger hurtling through the air until she lands on a rusty iron rail? Show your work.

Okay, so Ellie is a witty character. That doesn’t mean I forgive her for doing stupid things… maybe… Some of those crazy things actually made me admire her. There’s also a fine line between ‘good’ and ‘evil’ entities that Ellie worked around. Her whole thought process about where spirits should end up said a lot about her and the people she worked with and cared about.

There were a few other things happening behind the scenes that had Ellie just a little distracted. Things may be changing and I’m not sure how I feel about that. I love the team just like they are now, which is pretty much where Ellie stands on the subject. It will be interesting to see what twists and turns J.L. Bryan has in store for Ellie and company. 😉

DragonFlyGreen4-5

The Crawling Darkness (Ellie Jordan, Ghost Trapper #3) by J.L. Bryan

CrawlingDarknessGhost removal specialist Ellie Jordan must face a dangerous, shape-shifting entity that she and Calvin have encountered once before, with tragic results. The spirit has the power to reach into the minds of living and feed on their fears, taking the shape of their worst nightmares, and it has awoken in search of new victims.

Now Ellie must try to succeed where she and her mentor failed before, and try to defeat the twisted and powerful old ghost before it can claim another soul for its collection.

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1I’ve said it before, but honestly, this series gets better with each installment. The characters are developing as more of their past is revealed. The cases are becoming just a little bit more involved as well as intense. Then there’s the titles… The Crawling Darkness? You have no idea how aptly titled this book really is. o_O

As if scaring the pants off of readers isn’t bad enough, J.L. Bryan decided to take us on an emotional roller coaster in The Crawling Darkness. Just when I thought I knew enough from a character’s past, another one would find a way to break my heart for them. *sigh*

Ellie grew a lot stronger and seemed to work a lot ‘smarter’ in The Crawling Darkness. She also gained some valuable insight about members of her team that she didn’t expect. Then there’s a certain fire fighter that I’m hoping has a recurring role in Ellie Jordan, Ghost Trapper, but that’s all I’m saying. 😉 As happy as I was for her, I was kind of sad too. Things may be changing for Ellie more than she wants or thinks she’s ready for.

The Crawling Darkness is scheduled to release on February 5. Terminal is the 4th book in the series and it’s due to be released some time in May. Which means you have plenty of time to get your read on and catch up. As an extra incentive, J.L. Bryan has generously allowed me to give away one copy of the first book in the series, Ellie Jordan, Ghost Trapper. All you have to do is mention one thing that scares you in the comments. That’s it, just one thing. Since my birthday is January 30th and it’s also a Friday, that’s when I’ll pick and announce the winner. Have fun and good luck!

DragonFlyRating5

Cold Shadow (Ellie Jordan, Ghost Trapper #2) by JL Bryan

ColdShadowsFootsteps in the attic. Toys that play by themselves. A dark presence in an upstairs room.

Paranormal investigator Ellie Jordan faces a difficult new case. Her new clients are a family haunted by multiple ghosts and a poltergeist that wrecks their home at night. Their seven-year-old son’s invisible friends may not be imaginary at all, but the restless spirits of dead children.

To clear her clients’ house of the dangerous entities, Ellie must unravel the mysterious deaths of another family who lived in the old mansion more than a hundred and sixty years ago—and she must do it before the ghosts can carry out their malevolent designs on her clients and their children.

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1I came to a couple of conclusions by the end of Cold Shadows. One… there is no limit to what J.L. Bryan will put his characters through – Two… Ellie Jordan must have a Guardian Angel somewhere, because there is no other reason why she is still alive and three… This series keeps getting better and better. 😉

I’m not sure if all the books in this series are going to include children in mortal danger, but that aspect has definitely sucked me in. Cold Shadows had two, a seven year old and a rebelling teen. That in itself could be a lethal combination. Couple it with a family of ghosts and a not so friendly possible poltergeist and this book was enough to scare the pants off of you.

Beyond the amazing story I’m also falling in love with the characters the more I get to know them. Ellie is an amazing lead character. Stacey is not only (sometimes annoyingly) adorable but she’s turning into a capable sidekick. Grant is a quirky, adorable historian. Jacob is still the reluctant psychic but becoming more and more a part of the team and I really liked seeing more of Calvin, especially working with the clients. The interactions between all of them, along with the clients, laces the horror with humor and a sense of family. I can’t wait to see where this series goes. 😉

Speaking of which, the next book can’t come soon enough. The Crawling Darkness is the 3rd book in the Ellie Jordan, Ghost Trapper series. Doesn’t that sound like fun? *shivers*

DragonFlyRating5

Ellie Jordan, Ghost Trapper (Ellie Jordan, Ghost Trapper #1) by J.L. Bryan

EllieJordanGhostTrapperEllie Jordan’s job is to catch and remove unwanted ghosts. Part detective, part paranormal exterminator, Ellie operates out of Savannah, Georgia, one of the oldest and most haunted cities in North America.

When a family contacts her to deal with a disturbing presence in the old mansion they’ve recently purchased, Ellie first believes it to be a typical, by-the-book specter, a residual haunting by a restless spirit. Instead, she finds herself confronting an evil older and more powerful than she’d ever expected, rooted in the house’s long and sordid history of luxury, sin, and murder. The dangerous entity seems particularly interested in her clients’ ten-year-old daughter.

Soon her own life is in danger, and Ellie must find a way to exorcise the darkness of the house before it can kill her, her clients, or their frightened young child. 

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1Well, it seems that J.L. Bryan has done it again. He’s hooked me on a series with the first book. *sigh*

Ellie Jordan, Ghost Trapper is told entirely from Ellie Jordan’s POV. For the record, I love her. She’s one of those real kind of characters that you instantly not only relate to, but want to hang out with. She’s snarky, honest, loyal, protective and just a little bit broken.

The rest of the cast of characters is just as real. Stacey the spunky side-kick, Calvin the no-nonsense and slightly mysterious boss and Jacob the reluctant psychic. Thank goodness this is a series because there is so much I want to learn about them all. One book is definitely not enough.

Throw in a a terrorized family (young child included), a vengeful spirit, more than a couple angry ghosts, at least one entity that isn’t quite what it seems and… well, you get the idea. This book was full of twists, turns and chill inducing scary moments. I loved every minute of it. 😉 As expected from this author, he left little to the imagination when it came to descriptions. Nothing was held back and there was just enough reality in the world building that it’s going to be a while before I hear an unexplained noise in my 100+ year old house and don’t wonder… just a little.

Cold Shadows is the next book in the Ellie Jordan, Ghost Trapper series and it’s due to be released later this month. It’s also high on my TBR list.

DragonFlyGreen4-5

 

Inferno Park by J.L. Bryan

InfernoParkCarter was only twelve when he witnessed the disaster that killed more than a hundred people at Starland Amusement Park. Five years later, Carter’s hometown is no longer a busy Florida panhandle resort, but a slowly dying town full of empty motels and attractions rusting behind chains and padlocks.

Now something evil stirs in the ruins of the old amusement park…something with an alluring siren song drawing visitors into the dark mysteries of the forbidden world behind the gate. Something with an appetite for restless, yearning souls. 

Carter reluctantly returns to the old park in the company of a new girl in town, who is obsessed with urban decay and pop-culture ruins, and discovers the evil at work. To stop it, and protect the children of the town, Carter will have to face his oldest and deepest fears.

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1You know when you watch a scary movie and you yell at the stupid characters to not go in that abandoned house, not look out the window into the shadows, not to leave their safe and warm bed to see what was making that eerie noise outside? Then, when they do it anyway, you cover your eyes and hope that they aren’t going to end up dead… or worse? Yeah, I spent a lot of time mentally yelling at the characters in this book. If I could have closed my eyes I would have, but that would have made it kind of difficult to read.

It came as no surprise to me that J.L Bryan did scary well. That’s actually part of the reason why I drug my feet in finally reading Inferno Park. His vivid descriptions and his talent at making readers squirm is evident in both his dark Paranormals series and his lighter Songs of Magic series. I had no doubt that the same vivid descriptions and attention to detail would take the horror factor in Inferno Park over the top. I wasn’t disappointed.

Besides spending a lot of time trying to mentally coax characters into doing the smart thing and stay away from the creepy abandoned amusement park, I enjoyed the story and the characters. Carter was a sweet kid at 12 and had grown into an impressive teen. He was pretty level headed as well as compassionate. He could have easily given up, especially with all he had been through. He had a goal to work his way out of town and for a lot of reasons, he took it very seriously.

Victoria was great too. I think I liked her most for bringing a spark back into Carter’s life. She shook things up. I liked her outlook and the unique way she looked at things.

As for the story itself… it was intense. No, the author held nothing back. The gore, the terror and the suspense were all there. Thankfully, there were tiny breaks in the in those moments where things seemed almost normal. There were even a couple of moments that made me smile, but not a lot of them. The different POVs that were divided between most of the characters gave the story a different kind of flow. I liked it. Well, ‘like’ may not be the correct word since most of those POVs didn’t end well…. but you get the idea.

No one came out of this one totally unscathed and there was more than one moment where I wanted to read ahead just to make sure that everyone made it out alive… but I didn’t… and you shouldn’t either. If you’re looking for something scary to read with an intriguing story line, Inferno Park is perfect.

DragonFlyGreen4-5

Tommy Nightmare (Paranormals #2) by J.L. Bryan

AssassinWhile Fallen Oak recovers from the Jenny pox, someone new is hunting Jenny. 
Like Jenny, Ashleigh Goodling belonged to a pair of opposites with powers that mirror each other. 
Now Jenny and Seth must face the opposite of love… 

Yeah, so I am WAY behind on this series. I read Jenny Pox eons ago…. well, not quite that long ago, but long enough. Then I was gifted the audio version and listened to it. That experience was just as mesmerizing. So what’s taken me so long to pick up the rest of the series? I have absolutely no idea. *sigh*

Tommy Nightmare picked up pretty much where Jenny Pox left off…. eventually. First readers had to take a little side trip and get introduced to Tommy. In the beginning I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to be sympathizing with him or not. Honestly I’m still not positive even after reading the entire book. Tommy’s background wasn’t easy. The lines between good and evil in Tommy Nightmare. Well, except when there was no question about the evil….

Okay, so I know that this review is vague and seems to be going back and forth, but it’s one of those books that you have to read and experience to understand. There’s nothing simple about this series. The lives of these characters are interwoven in so many different ways it’s impossible to explain. Just know that not everything is as it seems, there is no true ‘good’ or ‘evil’ just a lot of gray and not everyone is who or what they appear to be. The POV changed. Characters that I once liked I started to doubt and some new ones were thrown into the mix that I’m still not sure about. J.L Bryan definitely knows how to keep readers on there toes.

Alexander Death is next and I’m not exactly sure how I feel about his character. So much happened between Seth, Jenny, Tommy and other characters in Tommy Nightmare. Alexander’s character adds a whole new layer, and complication, to the mix.

DragonFlyRating4