Reviews: The Castle Blues Quake

Wonderful reviews for The Castle Blues Quake

“I am definitely looking forward to seeing what kinds of ghosts or other supernatural beings Pepper meets next!”

Review by Long and Short Review, December 2015

They say that music is a universal language. Is this true even when you’re speaking to a ghost?

The scenes that dealt with paranormal activity were well done. They were scary but never gory or disturbing. They also showed me a lot about what kind of person Pepper is. Her brave personality came through much stronger in these scenes than they did anywhere else in the storyline, so I was glad to have them. From what I’ve read, this sounds like it is the first in a series of books about this character’s adventures. I am definitely looking forward to seeing what kinds of ghosts or other supernatural beings Pepper meets next!

I would have liked to see more character development, especially when it came to Corey. There were a few thing about his personality and backstory that never quite made sense to me. While I really liked this character as an individual, the missing pieces of his life were distracting because there were so many of them. The ones that were present also didn’t always fit together. Had this not been the case, this tale would have easily earned a much higher rating. It was a great read otherwise.

The parts of this story that had to do with music were so much fun. I liked the descriptions of the different musicians as well as the various styles of music they played. They were all so colorful and unique! It was also interesting to see how Pepper reacted to all of these things because she didn’t seem to have a lot of experience with any of them.

I’d recommend The Castle Blues Quake to anyone who is in the mood for something spooky.

“Even the most reluctant readers will find this book intriguing”

(The Castle Blues Quake has received a Silver Medal and the Seal of Approval from Literary Classics and is highly recommended for home and school libraries.)

Review by Literary Classics, August 2015:

The Castle Blues Quake is the story of Pepper, a young girl whose family moves across the country to Santa Cruz where she knows no-one. Her mom is thrilled to be moving into her dream house, while her dad is happy to be starting his dream job in California, but Pepper is just sorry to be leaving the big apple and her best friend Chrissie. Soon after settling into their new home Pepper meets a mysterious boy, Corey, who is living in her backyard shed. He tells her he needs her help to find his lost grandfather, a traveling musician, before Social Services finds him.

Linda Covella has written a teen mystery full of unique twists which keep this story moving at a pace that will keep readers engaged clear through to the suspenseful finish.  The Castle Blues Quake is the first book in the Ghost Whisperer Series.  Even the most reluctant readers will find this book intriguing and are sure to anxiously await the next book in this series.

The Castle Blues Quake is highly recommended for home and school libraries and has earned the Literary Classics Seal of Approval.

ghost flourish

5.0 out of 5 stars “A must read”November 15, 2014

By Jessica  Strong

I really loved this book – not just a kids book but as a well written story. Its not often I cry in book, but I did in this one. A family moves from New York to California and that means big changes for the children of the family. Changes that no everyone could anticipate but as it turns out for one of the characters the family’s move saved him. Beautifully written with a genuine understanding of kids today.

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5.0 out of 5 stars

‘A fun story filled with friendship’ October 26, 2014

By Chelsey McQuitty (Amazon)

This review is from: The Castle Blues Quake (The Ghost Whisperer Book 1) (Kindle Edition)

As a kid moving from one place to the next this book really spoke to me. I always dreamed of having an exciting adventure like Pepper did, but it isn’t too often you find a boy in your shed. I loved the relationship between Pepper and Corey, especially as it began to progress.

I guess I would consider this a coming of age story, especially since Pepper learned that sometimes you have to do things because it’s right, even though you may not want to. It definitely spoke bounds to the truths of friendship, especially in the eyes of children.

The story had a lot of great characters, but I would have loved to know more about them. They don’t really come to life as much as Pepper and Corey did, which is a disservice on their part. All the same, the book was a fun read and I’d pass it along to any parent looking to make their child a bit more comfortable about moving. Of course, the story is also good just for a little fun reading.

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4.0 out of 5 stars

‘A heartwarming story about family and friendship’ October 24, 2014

by Paranormal Romance and Authors That Rock

Pepper Connelly’s family move from New York City to Santa Cruz leaving her best friend and everything she knows behind.  After a few days Pepper discovers a boy called Corey who is hiding in her garden shed while looking for his grandfather Boppie. Pepper thinks Corey is a friend that understands her and offers to help him, what she doesn’t realize are that Corey is a ghost.

While helping Corey locate his grandfather, Pepper meets a new friend and starts to settle into her new home. Pepper really wants to find Boppie for Corey but worries that if Corey is successful he leave town and she will have to say goodbye to another good friend.

This is a heartwarming story about family and friendship.  Pepper feels lost after having to leave her best friend in New York so meeting Corey helps her to see that new friendships can be made. The characters are well written allowing a true understanding of how they feel. Corey’s sorrow and Peppers loneliness are easy to recognize but they are balanced with lighter moments that make a well-rounded story. The twist of Corey being a ghost is a unique touch that allowed for some truly funny moments.

This is a charming book that I would happily recommend for older children and teens alike.

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4.0 out of 5 stars

‘Good lessons on acceptance, sharing friends, facing bullies’ October 23, 2014

by Martha’s Bookshelf

Pepper is a bright 12 year-old who is typically mourning leaving her best friend across country in New York when her family moves to Santa Cruz, CA. Not only did she they move her across country, they have moved into a dilapidated house that looks like something in a horror movie.
Pepper braves the spiders and spooky noises and soon meets a boy named Corey. She realizes he is alone and needs help when she sees his bruises and the sunken eyes in his white face. She doesn’t realize he is a ghost and he decides not to tell her.

Corey is a young boy who lived in the house with friends while waiting for the return of his grandfather, Boppie, a blues musician who has sheltered the boy since the death of his parents. Boppie has taken Corey on tour with him but this time he’d been left behind. Corey is insistent on getting word to Boppie that he was killed in the quake that took down the Castle Blue music theatre. Corey wants to reassure Boppie that he is ‘okay’ before he moves to ‘the other side’ where he knows his parents are waiting.

At first Corey tried to scare the new family away but then he decided to seek help after sensing that the brave, young girl could see him. Corey and Pepper quickly become friends as she helps to hide him from social workers while also helping to hunt down Boppie. Corey at first thought she wouldn’t help if she knew he was a ghost. Soon he starts to feel bad because he knows it will hurt when he leaves her behind.

I enjoyed the simple friendship that developed between the primary characters. The author uses the story to share feelings of loneliness, loss of old friends and finding new ones that are often experienced by young people when they move away from established schools and friends to new territory. I didn’t care for the extent of lying to parents but there are other good lessons on acceptance, sharing friends, facing bullies, and thinking of others, not just one’s self.

The story is shared in alternating chapters from the views/voices of Corey and Pepper. Corey has a bit of an unschooled vocabulary and style of speech which fit a young teen who had shared life on the streets with Boppie. The writing style is very clear and crisp, with nice descriptions, making it an easy read. It would certainly be suitable for middle grades as well as young teens and it is nice, easy entertainment for adults too.

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‘A very compelling paranormal tale’ October 20, 2014

by Maria Dehar

From the two excerpts of this book I’ve read — both from the Amazon reader — I can tell that this is a very compelling paranormal tale. That’s pretty obvious from the synopsis, as well.

Regarding Chapter One, the voice of the character,  Corey, is just perfect. The way he expresses himself, the swaggering, “tough act” tone of his language, identifies him as someone who has seen a lot of trouble in his life. Although he’s no longer in the world of the living, Corey’s personality is still clearly very much that of a boy who won’t be intimidated.

In Chapter Two, Pepper takes over the narration, and the tone is completely different. She’s obviously a very sensitive, observant, girl, as any writer would have to be, and she definitely is one. She’s also a very curious person, braving the spookiness of the shed in the backyard to see what might be inside.

I love it when an author so skillfully shifts voices and perspectives from one character to another, as Ms. Covella does. These are two very engaging narrators, and I imagine the rest of the novel will be alternately told from each of their viewpoints.

This is a book I definitely want to read from cover to cover, and it’s just perfect for the Halloween season, too!

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4.0 out of 5 stars

‘A good read for young audience like Pepper and Corrie!’ October 18, 2014

By iShareDesigns

A soulful narration of the bonding between the living and the dead, the narrators being none other than the very much alive protagonist Pepper Connelly, and her companion the unwillingly dead Corey Ballentine. And then the reader is very subtly turned to see above and beyond the possibilities of what a living person so shallowly cares about, moving from the materialism of the big city life to another small city as against the impossibilities of what the dead soul so deeply yearn for, journeying from before life to after death.

Pepper, as much as she hates her transition from an apartment in New York to an upscale Victorian mansion in Santa Cruz, finds herself with very little to complain about as the life of her new found friend in the backyard shed, Corrie unfolds before her. Of course she is missing the clutter of her shallow friends that she has left behind, back in New York, but then she still has all the belongingness, care, warmth and comfort of her loving family around her here in Santa Cruz. On the other hand, Corrie having lost his parents quite some time ago, has solely his grandfather Boppie for family. Also, unbeknownst to Pepper, and perhaps unbeknownst to himself, Corrie has also lost his life and is the ghost of a boy now.

But then Boppie is not around and its quite some time that Corrie has been desperately waiting for Boppie to return. The only thing Corrie is lingering for is to see Boppie just one more time.

Corrie finds help in Pepper to bring his grandpa back home. Sadly, bringing Corrie and Boppie together would mean tearing Corrie and Pepper apart, the distance made inconsolable and unbearable by their belonging to two different worlds, the worldly and the otherworldly.

But then, what are true friends for? Because irrespective of times, peoples and places, true friendships are meant to last in this life and beyond.

A good read for young audience like Pepper and Corrie!

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5.0 out of 5 stars

‘Great Read For Tweens and Teens’ October 18, 2014

By im1rarebird

Pepper Connelly is like so many young people today, dealing with upheaval and loss early on in their lives. Her attachment to Corey is an attempt to ward off loneliness as her relationship with her best friends dwindles due to absence and distance. The fact that Corey is a ghost is not as relevant as the lessons he helps to teach Pepper. Buy this one for the kiddies but enjoy too…

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4.0 out of 5 stars

`Shadows creep across the walls, moaning comes from the halls, thud! a dead rat hits its mark, a white face looms in the dark’ October 15, 2014


California author Linda Covella writes for young adults and that fortunate bridge for readers who as adults enter the world of young adult novels for enlightenment. Born in Ohio she moved to California at age 5 and now lives in Santa Cruz, California. Her educational background is solid: associate degrees in art, business and mechanical drafting & design and a BS degree in Manufacturing Management. She has served as a freelance writer, a newspaper columnist, has published articles in children’s magazines (she is a member of Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators), and now offers a full-length children’s paranormal book and broadens her horizons further.

Linda Covella, likely due to her extensive background in children’s literature, takes a chance with her readers – making a ghost story that includes enough informative ideas about life after death and paranormal concepts to capture the attention of her young readers and yet not be a source of nightmares. It is all in the writing style that she is able to accomplish this – keep the story flowing at a clip that makes the whole idea of ghosts and the beyond simply a line in the overall story. Transplanting from New York to Santa Cruz, California 12-year-old Pepper Connelly moves into a spooky Victorian house and discovers a boy, Corey Ballentine, hiding in the backyard shed. Without realizing he’s a ghost, she agrees to help him make contact with his grandfather Boppie, a wonderful musician of a man who is about to pass over. Pepper befriends Corey, shares her love of music with him and Corey in return teaches Pepper how to play the harmonica. As their friendship builds, Pepper realizes that the more she helps Corey the likelier it is that she will lose him to travel with his Boppie. Earthquakes, haunted house rides, poltergeist activity, and crystal ball readings propel her toward the shocking end of her search, and an understanding of what it means to be a true friend.

This little book is a charmer and young readers will find it a treasure. For the adult reader there are some missing parts, some clarification of character building and other editorial challenges, but those do not detract from this sweet little `ghost story’. Grady Harp, October 14

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5.0 out of 5 stars

‘character development was fabulous’ October 14, 2014

By Books and Beyond Fifty Shades

The last thing Pepper wants to do is move away from her home, her friends, everything she has ever known. Pepper and her family move across the country from New York to California. Pepper is a loner, an introvert. She prefers to write lyrics, and cook, rather than hang out with the ‘in’ crowd. She befriends Corey, a boy her age who is living in the shed in her family’s new property. Corey’s caretakers died in last year’s earthquake, and he is desperate for his grandfather Boppie.

Pepper notices some things about Corey; he never eats, and looks sicker and sicker every time she sees him. She thinks he is simply worried about his grandfather. They have many adventures together, exploring the boardwalk, getting back at the ‘in’ crowd for bullying Ally, a library volunteer. Once Pepper makes friends with Ally, Corey is more comfortable with his coming departure that he has always alluded to. Can Ally and Pepper help Corey find Boppie, and what does the future hold for Pepper and Corey’s friendship?

While I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, it is geared toward a younger, pre-teen/teen audience. The author described scenes so vividly, you could imagine yourself right there, right in the Castle Blues. Her character development was fabulous, you really got to know Pepper, and how each of her relationships affects her.

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a haunting good ghost story, but if that is not your cup of tea, you should still give this book a chance. Like I said before, I think this is a perfect book for young readers, but still enjoyed it myself. Two thumbs up, Linda!

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4.0 out of 5 stars

‘Interesting, Solid Middle Grade Novel’ October 11, 2014

By Mama

My son and I received this novel for an honest review. He’s six but enjoys reading middle grade novels with my help. I asked him to rate it honestly, and he said he liked it a whole lot, so based on Amazon’s rating scale of 4 being “liked it” and 5 being “loved it” we rated it a 4.5.

He giggled about the girls being named Pepper and Sage, and he liked that Pepper helped her friend Corey. He said he liked that it wasn’t really scary too. I asked him if he would want to read it again sometime, and he said he would.

From a mom point of view, it’s a solid middle grade novel, with plenty of twists and turns to keep a young reader (or an older one!) engaged. It is definitely geared for a child eight and up, but we enjoyed it very much and had a cool conversation when we were done about the afterlife. I enjoyed it and will read it again for pleasure at some point in the future.

We both look forward to more of Pepper’s adventures! 🙂

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5.0 out of 5 stars

‘Fabulous Job’ October 8, 2014

By slim shady

Linda Covella has written several middle grade and young adult books and according to her, what she really wants to do with her stories is entertain and that she successfully did in this book. Her writing style was fabulous. A few rhymes here and there, but throughout the entire story the language was very simple and made the story easy to read and follow. Just like any child, 12 year old Pepper gets lonely after her parents decided to move the family from New York City to Santa Cruz. Soon she meets her new friend Corey, whom she has no idea is the house ghost. He seeks her help to make contact with his beloved grandfather, Boppie, one last time before he crosses over to which she agreed.

The author did a fabulous job on this book. She avoids sensationalism and hyperbole, and presents the events in a tone that are soothing to middle age kids along with mesmerizing characters.

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5.0 out of 5 stars

‘Five Stars’ October 2, 2014

By S. Yost

Great book, great mystery. Could not put it down.

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4.0 out of 5 stars

‘A Decent Middle Grade Novel’ September 16, 2014

By The Mad Reviewer

This is definitely a middle grade novel, probably one that’s not really all that suited for teens, but I decided to give The Castle Blues Quake a try anyway. It wasn’t a bad decision in the end either.

Even though some characters are walking stereotypes, the main characters are at least a little fleshed out. Pepper has had to move to a new house in Santa Cruz from New York City so she’s understandably not happy with the situation. She’s drifting apart from her big city friend but then she makes a new friend: the house ghost, Corey. The only problem? She doesn’t know he’s a ghost and he’s not about to tell her he is either. He’s waiting for his grandfather the whole novel (which would normally make him a boring character) but Corey is actually quite proactive. He and Pepper essentially set out on a quest to bring his grandpa back home, not knowing that grandpa has secrets of his own.

My only real ‘complaint’ about the book is that the secondary characters should have been fleshed out more. Sage, Pepper’s parents, the psychic, etc. Even for a middle grade novel they were surprisingly stiff, like they were cardboard cutouts. All they really served was to move the plot forward at convenient intervals. Pepper’s parents especially seemed pretty oblivious to the goings on of their twelve-year-old so there was a little of that believability factor missing. Still, this is not a bad novel. It’s just not a great one.

I’ve read quite a few stories like this before so the plot was really no surprise at all for me. I don’t want to give spoilers away, but I think it will probably be predictable even for the targeted audience. Still, I like that Linda Covella maintained a decent pace throughout the novel and didn’t belabour the point in her descriptions yet the reader knows what’s going on. As an older reader I felt the believability factor was a little low, but then again I’m not a 9-12 year old and haven’t been for a number of years.

The Castle Blues Quake is not a book made for my demographic, but it’s not a bad book for middle grade children. There are better novels out there, but there are also a lot worse ones. This book didn’t make me gasp in surprise or struggle to catch my breath because it was so beautiful, but it was a solid, generally well-written novel.

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5.0 out of 5 stars

‘A thoroughly enjoyable read’ August 20, 2014

By Silvia Villalobos

Captivating characters and setting, great writing, this book has it all. Pepper is one of the most likeable young characters I’ve read in some time. The conflict between these kids (to leave or not to leave) is done so well, it brings all sorts of emotions to the surface. I highly recommend this book. Also, read Yakimali’s Gift, by the same author.

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5.0 out of 5 stars

‘Enchanting for kids and adults alike!’ August 17, 2014

By Gigi Schlueter

The Castle Blues Quake was a fabulous book! I really enjoyed it. She has such a way of writing that you feel like you are right there. I always thought there were no such thing as ghosts but after reading this, I’m not so sure!!! Although this book was written for young adults it is equally enchanting for adults. I highly suggest reading it. You’ll be very happy you did!

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5.0 out of 5 stars

‘A interesting read!’ July 21, 2014

By emilyk5228

‘The Castle Blues Quake’ by Linda Covella is a interesting read. I enjoyed this story and all the characters. This is a great book for older children and teens. Adults will also enjoy this book.

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