Haunting (The Dusty Chronicles #1)
B. J. Sheldon
Published: 29th April, 2013
Wandering in the Words Press
Age: Young Adult
From: Girls *Heart* Books Tour
When sixteen-year-old, Dusty Vermeer, moves to rural Iowa with her dad and sister at the start of her sophomore year, she undergoes major life changes – a new school, new friends, and a popular new boyfriend. But she soon discovers all is not what it appears to be. When Jack Olson, a handsome young soldier, begins to invade her dreams each night, she bears witness to the horrors of war and must determine what is real and what is just a dream. When Jack finally steps out of her dreams in ghostly form, begging for help and struggling to remember his life, Dusty makes it her mission to solve the mystery behind his death. As she draws closer to the truth, she places her own life at risk while struggling to cope with the feelings she develops for the soldier who’s been dead for nearly 60 years.
The atmosphere in my room changed the moment I crossed the threshold. I became disoriented, like I’d come down with a sudden case of vertigo. My breath hung in the air like a cloud, and the temperature dropped to near freezing. I wrapped my arms around myself to keep warm. My body tensed, instinctively sensing something wasn’t right.
A white mist flowed across the floor from left to right. Can this really be happening? My chest grew tight, and I realized I’d been holding my breath. I dashed to the bed, grabbed my cell, and bolted for the door, anxious to escape the room. Again, I sensed movement out of the corner of my eye and saw that my closet door had somehow swung wide open.
I could barely get it closed before.
My stomach bounced up into my chest. I rushed over and hastily shoved the door shut, giving the doorknob a good tug to ensure it had latched securely.
Just a drafty old farmhouse.
As quickly as it had all started, it was over. The temperature in the room went back to normal, and a sense of calm spread throughout my body. I tried to shake off the entire incident, embarrassed that I had allowed myself to get all worked up over nothing.
I descended the narrow stairwell that led directly into the kitchen and attempted to banish the mist and closet door incidents to the recesses of my mind. There were other pressing issues to worry about. In a mere two days, Sadie and I were to start over at a new high school.
What I liked: I liked the idea this novel had, though perhaps a bit strange at first. And creepy in the beginning because, hello, why was stuff being moved without her being there? I did like the characters for the most part, Jack was a fun character throughout most of the novel and seemed like a good person to me, and Dusty was a lovable main character to follow as well. I liked Dusty a lot, she was honest when she knew she could be, didn’t let anyone step on her, and was a friendly person overall. I loved the mystery part because while I could guess parts of what was going to happen, what ended up actually happening threw me for a loop and I didn’t see that particular twist coming until it happened!
What I didn’t like: I was really thrown off by the transition between the first two chapters, it was like going between a war novel with some guy getting dragged off and killed and then a semi-cheery book about a girl and her family. It was jarring to me, but it did make sense later on.
Overall Review: Haunting was a wonderful tale that, while short, developed very well and gave a very satisfying ending once it was reached. Each of the characters who played a large role in this story was interesting and managed to be complex in a way I hadn’t expected. It’s quick paced, with plenty of plot moving scenes and an ending that let room for wanting more but being satisfied with what I got.
Recommend?: Yes! It was a fun quick read that kept me on my toes and flipping the pages to find out more!
My Rating: 4/5
Imprint (The Dusty Chronicles #2)
B. J. Sheldon
Published: 4th June, 2014
Wandering in the Words Press
Age: Young Adult
From: Girls *Heart* Books Tour
Imprint is Book Two of “The Dusty Chronicles,” the sequel to BJ Sheldon’s award-winning debut novel, Haunting. Imprint follows Dusty and Jack through the next stage of their doomed romance.
Sixteen-year-old Dusty Vermeer starts off another school year as Mark Schutt’s girlfriend. At the same time, she continues to hide her feelings for Jack Olson, the ghost who haunts her heart. Other entities make an appearance, and Dusty begins to wonder if seeing ghosts has become a permanent part of her future. Tragic past events resurface and imprint themselves in Dusty’s world. When Jack is ripped from her arms and imprisoned in a dark void, his absence is more than she can bear.
An invisible enemy grows increasingly violent, and Dusty’s health and well-being deteriorate. When she tries to discover what it is that hides in the shadows, Dusty must turn to her family for help and convince her loved ones that she is not insane. Ultimately, she must battle evil, accept her fate and grieve for a love she was never allowed to keep.
The fact of the matter was I didn’t want to live without Jack. Just the thought of going the rest of my lifetime without seeing his face gave me a sick feeling somewhere just below my heart. If life was fair, Jack would be a living, breathing guy made of flesh and blood who would wrap me in his arms forever…until death do us part. But as luck would have it, death had already kept us apart. I’d fallen in love with a ghost. He had my heart, and it had become far too painful to allow him to keep it.
Sobs of complete sorrow shook me, but I continued to press on, never missing a note. My face was soaked with the salty dampness from my eyes. Tears fell indiscriminately on to the keys below.
I came to the end of the song, stood up and strode out of the room with a new resolve. It was time to figure things out once and for all. The evil that had taken over my home had to go.
Jack consumed my thoughts. He was the reason my heart beat a little bit faster each morning, the reason I opened my eyes every day, and why my brain couldn’t focus on any one thing longer than a few minutes at a time. He was my world, and as far as worlds went, he was the sole reason why my sun rose each morning. In no way could I exist without Jack at the center of my universe, but in the end, I knew I would have to figure out a way to do just that.
I was only 17 and had an entire lifetime ahead of me. Time would pass, and I would age. Jack would remain the same. I forced myself to come to grips with the fact that Jack would forever be a young soldier—a beautiful boy—while I grew older by the day. It had become apparent that I needed to stop living in a fantasy world and deal with facts.
Jack was dead.
It was time to rid my home of the darkness that had taken over and then release Jack from his perpetual prison. Then we would have to face the inevitable.
What I liked: This one has a much creepier feeling that book one didn’t, which made me even more invested in reading it. Dusty also shows that she is a protector, she tries to do it alone at first to try and protect the ones she loves from getting involved. The story did change as it moved on to show how far Dusty was willing to go to save Jack, which was both sweet and endearing to know that she would do just about anything…for a ghost. Still sounds strange but hey, love is weird like that sometimes!
What I didn’t like: Dusty makes a few stupid decisions that anyone being haunted knows you are not supposed to do. Sleeping in a room you get attacked in is one of them. That is what you do in cheesy horror movies, not when you’re trying to figure out why you’re being haunted.
Overall Review: There was plenty of tension in this book, enough to keep me reading well into the night to finish it once I started it. I loved watching Dusty grow and learn during this story as she tries to save Jack while also doing other things and eventually realizing she can’t do this alone.
Recommend?: Yes! I really liked this installment and I’m eager to see if there will be a third book with these two!
My Rating: 4.5/5
About the Author
BJ Sheldon lives near Rapid City, South Dakota with her husband, a veteran of the US military. She is the mother to 3 beautiful daughters, 2 of whom are still living at home and making her crazy.
Most days, she can be found in front of her laptop or reading a good book when she isn’t trying to keep her dog and 3 cats from taking over the world. Her hobbies include cuticle care, fighting off zombies, and traveling through space and time with a mad man in a blue box.
In 2011, BJ was awarded a silver medal in the Reader’s Favorite Award Contest in the Young Adult/Fantasy category for “Haunting”. Her first series, The Dusty Chronicles, is a paranormal trilogy that takes a different spin on “paranormal”. Future projects include Sci-fi, fantasy, and contemporary romance.
Her favorite authors include Nicholas Sparks, Isaac Marion, Hugh Howey, Suzanne Collins, JK Rowling, and Guy De’Maupassant.