Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Calendar Girls - Oct 2017 - best paranormal novel - #CalendarGirlsBooks

Calendar Girls is hosted by bloggers, Flavia the Bibliophile and Melanie Noell Bernard – both have amazing blogs full of fun, bookish posts. Calendar Girls is a brand new monthly blog event inspired by Neil Sedaka’s 1961 song Calendar Girl. Just like in the song, we decided to use a specific theme for each month and choose a book based on these themes! The event is meant to incite discussions with other bloggers about books we’ve read and loved, is meant to help bloggers meet other bloggers, and also for bloggers and readers to find out about blogs which they normally may not have come across! Want to know more? Click on the links above! And it’s not too late to jump on the Calendar Girl train! Join now!

Best Paranormal Novel

I have been super jazzed for this month's category ever since it was announced!! A VERY large portion of what I read/own falls under the vast umbrella of paranormal/supernatural. I can't remember exactly when, how, or why my fascination with supernatural and paranormal creatures and phenomena started but it has never gone away. Ghostbusters to this day is still one of my favourite films. If you look at my top 10 favourite authors list (in no particular order after J.K.): J.K. Rowling, Rick Riordan, Kelley Armstrong, Gena Showalter, G.A. Aiken, Eoin Colfer, Patricia C. Wrede, L.J. Smith, Scott Westerfeld, and George R.R. Martin you'll notice, if you're familiar with all these names, that 4 out of the 10 regularly deal in paranormal elements characters, 5 if you consider some/most of the magic done in Harry Potter to be a paranormal ability.

So what's the exact definition of paranormal and does it differ from supernatural? Is it one of those all squares are rectangles but not all rectangles are squares arguments?  Anyway, the OED has this to say about paranormal as a term:

Designating supposed psychical events and phenomena such as clairvoyance or telekinesis whose operation is outside the scope of the known laws of nature or of normal scientific understanding; of or relating to such phenomena. Cf. supernormal adj. and n.
While it has this to say about the term supernatural:

Belonging to a realm or system that transcends nature, as that of divine, magical, or ghostly beings; attributed to or thought to reveal some force beyond scientific understanding or the laws of nature; occult, paranormal.
Seems to me what they're saying then is all things paranormal are also supernatural, and the see also references in the Oxford Essential Quotations support that, because under paranormal there's a see reference for supernatural, and vice versa.

Now that we've got the definition business taken care of, which paranormal novel did I chose as the best one then? Let's see:

 Royal Street by Edgar Cantero
For fans of John Dies at the End and Welcome to Night Vale comes a tour de force of horror, humor, and H.P. Lovecraft. The surviving members of a forgotten teenage detective club (and their dog) must reunite as broken adults to finally solve the terrifying case that ruined them all and sent the wrong man to prison. Scooby Doo and the gang never had to do this! 
1990. The teen detectives once known as the Blyton Summer Detective Club (of Blyton Hills, a small mining town in the Zoinx River Valley in Oregon) are all grown up and haven t seen each other since their fateful, final case in 1977. Andy, the tomboy, is twenty-five and on the run, wanted in at least two states. Keri, one-time kid genius and budding biologist, is bartending in New York, working on a serious drinking problem. At least she s got Sean, an excitable Weimeraner descended from the original canine member of the team. Nate, the horror nerd, has spent the last thirteen years in and out of mental health institutions, and currently resides in an asylum in Arhkam, Massachusetts. The only friend he still sees is Peter, the handsome jock turned movie star. The problem is, Peter's been dead for years.
The time has come to uncover the source of their nightmares and return to where it all began in 1977. This time, it better not be a man in a mask. The real monsters are waiting.
With raucous humor and brilliantly orchestrated mayhem, Edgar Cantero's Meddling Kids taps into our shared nostalgia for the books and cartoons we grew up with, and delivers an exuberant, eclectic, and highly entertaining celebration of horror, life, friendship, and many-tentacled, interdimensional demon spawn."
-- via Goodreads
I came across this one on a random trip to Chapters over the summer, it was the cover that initially caught my eye. Those colours!! I love them! I love how graphic and trippy the cover is. I love the title. I especially love the premise, as someone who grew up with Scooby Doo, Nancy Drew and loads of other teen/kid detectives (like almost every main character in a Joan Lowry Nixon novel) the idea of revisiting those groups as adults is highly appealing (and yet another reason why I want to read IT). Once I read the jacket summary I knew I had to have and read this novel. But I couldn't justify the cost of the hardcover at the time.

That being said as I got further and further into my Summer Reading Challenge, I was looking less and less forward to the thriller I had picked. Mostly because I wanted to listen to it and the library's audiobooks had a billion holds on them and I was like 39th in like after almost a month and a half on the holds list. But also because I just wasn't in the mood to get into Michael Crichton. So I went hunting to see if Meddling Kids could be classified as a thriller. Decided that it definitely could be. Then proceeded immediately to Audible where I used my August credit to acquire a copy. In the end, it was the final book that I read for the challenge.

Overall I loved the book. The paranormal elements were the best part. Even this long after reading it I'm still not 100% sure whether or not Nate is hallucinating Pete because of the nature of his childhood paranormal encounter, or if Pete is actually a spirit/ghost who can only manifest to Nate at this point in time. It really feels like it could go either way and that's what I think makes it a great paranormal element in this story. Same goes for whether or not the dog can actually talk (I'm PRETTY sure it can't), another definite paranormal element. I like how it combines the paranormal aspects of Scooby Doo with the eldritch horrors of Lovecraftian mythology. One of the best elements though is just revisiting the group 15 years after their paranormal encounter, watching how that encounter affected them all, and watching them face it again to try and overcome it. There's definitely sequel potential at the end, and if somebody adapted this into a tv series I would watch the shit out of it.

Do you think supernatural and paranormal are interchangeable terms?


  1. Sounds like I need to give this one a read! And I think supernatural and paranormal can be interchangeable terms.

    Here is what Dictionary.com says: Paranormal- of or relating to the claimed occurrence of an event or perception without scientific explanation, as psychokinesis, extrasensory perception, or other purportedly supernatural phenomena.

    I think that is a good definition. Supernatural phenomena and creatures can't be explained by science either.

    1. It was definitely a fun read and had a cliffhanger ending which was nice.

      I agree with you on that I think they're interchangeable and I have always used them as such!

  2. I was also on the fence about paranormal/supernatural. I think in modern culture they have definitely become interchangeable, but technically they do mean different things...

  3. My friend actually passed along a copy of this book to me at the end of last month! I didn't even know it existed until she gave it to me either, which I think is very sad! Great choice Lauren :)