Friday, July 19, 2013

Virtual Book Tour for Gold Manor Ghost House by Merry Brown

Welcome to my stop on Merry Brown’s Virtual Book Tour for Gold Manor Ghost House.  Please leave a comment or question for Merry to let her know you stopped by.  Merry will be awarding a $25 Amazon Gift Card to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour.  You can follow all of her stops here.  Please make sure to leave your email address with your comment so she can contact you if you are the winner.

How My Love of Philosophy Inspires/Challenges My Writing by Merry Brown

Philosophy.  If it’s possible to love something inanimate, it’s philosophy for me.  Philosophy is, among many things, the love of wisdom.  An age old way of gaining wisdom is through asking questions.
We all naturally wonder. You can see it most clearly in children. But we all still do it.  We wonder who we really are, what our purpose is, and what happens when we die.  As Aristotle, that brilliant ancient Greek philosopher put it, “All men, by nature, desire to know.”

Wonder leads to question asking.  If you’ve ever had a philosophy course, you know a good portion of the course is devoted to asking really tough mind blowing (and sometimes crippling) questions.

Philosophers often use thought experiments in service of getting to the questions.  The situations range from the mundane (so, you’re sitting in your office and you see your boss doing something illegal) to the outlandish (what is it like to be a bat?).

What draws me to YA paranormal and dystopian literature is that the author sets the rules of the world.  In effect, theses worlds serve as thought experiments and help us to ask good questions. 

For example, a paranormal author sets up a world in which vampires, werewolves, fairies, ghosts, super powers, etc. are real.  In such a context it seems quite natural to ask vital human questions:  what is really important? What should I do with my life?  What are my responsibilities?  What should I morally require of myself and others? 

My love of paranormal and dystopian YA lit flows from my love of philosophy, that is, a search for wisdom by asking existential questions.  

Gold Manor Ghost House
By Merry Brown
A Four Families Novel

Publisher: YA Books Imprint
Release Date: April 21, 2013

Buy Link: Amazon

Book Description:

Anna thought life was going to be awesome.  She was right…and wrong.

Won her dream job acting in a hit TV series.  Check.

Working with her best friend.  Check.

The set’s haunted and she’s in the middle of a supernatural war.  Uh, check?

Anna Rose Ellington is sixteen and living in Hollywood, hoping to be a star. Anna just landed a major role on Ghost House, TeenTV’s new fall drama.  A show promising to be so hot, Meg Sweet (the reigning teenage diva), signed on for the lead, and Adam Lewis (international rock sensation) is a principal player.

Her dreams are falling into place until she gets on set and begins questioning her sanity.  It’s true she has an unusual dream life, where once in a while her dreams literally come true.  But it’s been a while.  On top of her dreams not staying put in her brain, including the guy she’d been dreaming of for years, the house they’re filming in, Gold Manor, might actually be haunted.  But that’s the least of her worries.


“Keep your hands off her,” Corey yelled as he pulled his fist back for another hit.  A second before Corey’s hand made contact with his face, Adam’s eyes opened and quick as lightning he grabbed his fist.  Forcing it up and throwing Corey off balance, Adam jumped to his feet.

“I’m going to kill you, Lewis,” Corey growled.

I cleared my mind of everything but one thought, please don’t hurt him, please don’t hurt him. Adam instantly moved from retaliation mode to defense only.  Out of nowhere, Dom was standing in front of Adam, hands on Corey, trying to push him back and calm him down.

I was by his side, coaching him, reminding him, “Breathe, Corey.  In and out.  In and out.”

“No,” he spit back and lunged at me.

I barely escaped the blow to my jaw, but my thigh was not so lucky.  Going down with a scream, I wasn’t on the grass long before Corey was beside me, knocked out cold with Adam standing over him.

It didn’t seem possible for Adam to take Corey in a fight.  Corey was bigger, had more muscles, built like a line-backer to Adam’s thinner frame.  But no one could deny the evidence of Corey out by Adam’s fist.

My leg ached from the punch.  I’d have an ugly bruise for weeks.

“You okay?” Adam asked with an indifferent voice, but I wasn’t fooled.  I saw the hatred burning behind his eyes.

My Review

By definition a YA novel is for any reader between the ages of 12-21 or there about, with the material also being suitable for an adult reader.  While I enjoy YA books, I have to admit that I’m not big on the ones with an over abundance of angst.  While Merry Brown’s Gold Manor Ghost House was not exactly what I expected; it really isn’t about ghosts, it does showcase Ms. Brown’s developing writing style and provides us with some interesting paranormal characters and their intriguing abilities.  While the characters are “teenagers”, and there’s plenty of emotional material in the book, it’s not filled with the whiny angst I can’t stand.    

A young woman trying to break into show business, Anna Ellingwood has just received the news that she’s gotten a supporting role on the new TV show named Ghost House.  A show aimed at teenagers. Thrilled to have gotten the part, Anna is a little saddened that one of her best friend’s didn’t get the role he was hoping for on the show.  Determined to make the best of things, Anna and her mother head off to Tennessee to begin filming the show.  Everything’s going great until her dreams start coming true and interfering with what’s going on with the show.

While filming takes place in a house that comes straight out of Anna’s nightmares, it’s her fellow actors/actresses that make Anna realize nothing is like it seems.  When a fellow actor gets injured and her best friend ends up taking his place, Anna can’t believe she’s caught in a paranormal battle and realizes she's going to have to deal with more than the occasional bad dream or ghost.  Ms. Brown does a good job developing Anna’s character and I liked how she tries to make the best of everything. She really wasn't prepared to deal with what's landed on her plate but she won't let it get in the way of pursuing what she wants.    

One thing I didn’t really care for, which takes place pretty often in the book, is that while we are given everything from Anna’s point of view, we do have to deal with the “real” things taking place and the “dreams”, which are suddenly coming true.  I’m not sure if it’s Ms. Brown’s style of writing, or perhaps an editing issue, but I did find myself getting lost a couple of times between the "transitions" and having to re-read certain sections.  It's not horrible, but it was a bit distracting.  

Will Anna and the new love in her life still be together at the end of the “season”?  Will she and Corey still be best friends when they find out more about their paranormal abilities and ties?  You’ll have to read Gold Manor Ghost House to find out, it’s the first book in a new paranormal series and I do look forward to finding out what happens to Anna, her new boyfriend and the rest of the cast from Ghost House.

My Rating:  3.5 out of 5 Crowns

FTC Disclosure:  I received a complimentary copy of this book as a part of a book tour in exchange for a fair and honest review.  I did not receive any additional compensation for my opinion of the reading material provided.


Born and raised in Bakersfield, California, Merry Brown now lives in the northwest corner of Tennessee with her husband, three boys, and Daisy the cat. She teaches philosophy at the University of Tennessee, Martin, where she counts it a great privilege and joy to introduce students to perennial questions about the nature of the universe, meaning, morality, and the human condition. Merry Brown's love of philosophy and young adult paranormal and dystopian literature inspired her to write THE KNOWERS, the first book in the Exiled Trilogy. GOLD MANOR GOLD HOUSE is her latest YA paranormal romance book.

My contact info:
twitter: @merryebrown
Facebook: Merry Brown

Don't forget to leave a comment or question for Merry to let her know you stopped by.  Merry will be awarding a $25 Amazon Gift Card to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour.  You can follow all of her stops here.  Please make sure to leave your email address with your comment so she can contact you if you are the winner.


  1. Thank you for your review. I must say I see "ghost" and expect a ghost story, but I get it now.


  2. Thanks for sharing your love of philosophy with us

    fencingromein at hotmail dot com

  3. Interesting. Book sounds like a fun read.

  4. What an excellent guest post! I actually never thought about Philosophy after my PHL 100 in college. But you make some great points!!

    andralynn7 AT gmail DOT com

  5. Nice excerpt, thank you.


  6. Sounds like a good book Thanks for the review Love the cover Thanks for the chance for the gift card

  7. Very pretty cover. I think I'm your host in a few weeks.

    Melissasnark at gmail dot com

  8. Book sounds like a fun read at the beach.

  9. Awesome giveaway! Thank you so much for sharing!

    hense1kk (at) gmail (dot) com

  10. I appreciate a thoughtful and honest review. As a reader, I find that I can also get lost or distracted by transitions--time shifts, reality vs. fantasy, what character is speaking, etc. I do like a lot of YA titles and I'll actually be reading Feed my M.T. Anderson this weekend.
    catherinelee100 at gmail dot com

  11. Sounds like a great read!!
    Thanks for the chance to win!
    natasha_donohoo_8 at hotmail dot com

  12. When will this giveaway end and when will you select the winner? Here's my e-mail:


    Can you please delete my post after the giveaway?

  13. Looks like a great YA Paranormal book :)

  14. Dear blog owner,

    For security reasons, please delete my previous comment in which I gave my email address. Then, delete this comment.