Home :: Fantasy :: Science Fantasy (fantasy/magic in a modern world or tech in fantasy world) :: A Beth-Hill Novel: Jacob Lane Series, Book 1: The Tenth Ghost (ebook and print) by Jennifer St. Clair (Fantasy/Young Adult)

A Beth-Hill Novel: Jacob Lane Series, Book 1: The Tenth Ghost (ebook and print) by Jennifer St. Clair (Fantasy/Young Adult)

A Beth-Hill Novel: Jacob Lane Series, Book 1: The Tenth Ghost (ebook and print) by Jennifer St. Clair (Fantasy/Young Adult)
(6 reviews)  

When ten-year-old Jacob Lane's parents mysteriously vanish, she is sent to Darkbrook, the only school of magic in the United States. While there, she stumbles upon a series of mysterious deaths. Nine students have died in the past one hundred years. Nine ghosts haunt the halls of Darkbrook. Will Jacob be the tenth ghost, or will she be able to stop a witch's reign of terror with the help of her friends?

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A Beth-Hill Novel: Jacob Lane Series, Book 1: The Tenth Ghost (ebook and print) by Jennifer St. Clair (Fantasy/Young Adult)
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5 Most useful customer reviews (see all reviews):
Bitten by Books (http://bittenbybooks.com/?p=152)
4.5 Tombstones

From the first breath of intrigue to the meeting of Jacob Lane, ghost-seeing girl, I was quickly and thoroughly enchanted by this story. Jacob’s tenth birthday starts out fairly normal (for a girl who knows dragons, fairies and ghosts, that is). Her parents give her a brand new bike and she is ecstatic while sharing it with her best friend, the girl ghost Emma. By the following day, however, her life has completely changed. Her parents are missing and presumed murdered (she herself only kept safe by the quick thinking of Emma), and a boatload of relatives she never knew existed invade her house, lead by two aunts she has never met. Having lost two parents and gained a Family, Jacob is sent off to Darkbrook Academy, the premier (and only) school of magic in the United States (it is in Ohio).

Meeting new ghosts, making magical friends, and the studying intensely are enough to keep anyone busy. Add in a mystery of historic proportions, a murderous plot, and twists and turns at every other moment, and you have a wonderful story set around an interesting girl and her adventures that cross the realm of wizard and witch. The Tenth Ghost is the first story in the Jacob Lane series, followed by The Ninth Guest, The Eighth Room and The Seventh Secret.
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Christina Lewis, freelance writer and owner/editor of http://www.kidsbookshelf.com - a children's literature website
When ten-year-old Jacob Lane is awakened in the night by her friend Emma, a ghost who lives under the apple tree in Jacob's yard, she learns that her parents have mysteriously disappeared and there is a huge hole in the top of her house. During the funeral Jacob discovers that she has relatives she never knew existed. Now an orphan, Jacob is sent to Darkbrook, a school of magic in the United States her family has been attending for years. But when Jacob learns that nine students have mysteriously died over the past one hundred years, she is determined to get to the bottom of it, and make sure that she doesn't become the tenth ghost.

Can Jacob and her assortment of interesting friends stop the witch from killing anymore students, will they be able to save the Dragon Queen in time, and what really happened to Jacob's parents on that mysterious night?

"The Tenth Ghost" is a wonderfully written, exciting adventure you won't want to stop reading!
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Rita Hestand for Rita's Kid Reviews (http://www.crosswinds.net/~willysworld/Reviews.htm)
Rating: 5 Star

Usually when I do a review, it is strictly from my own viewpoint, but an interesting thing happened with this book. I put it in the "library" (bathroom) to read and before I knew what was happening, my husband was turning the pages and reading this book. Him being a Sci-Fi fan, I was surprised when he couldn't wait to finish it and I'd left pages other places. Interesting!

The book begins at a school for witches, wizards and other "gifted" children, Darkbrook. A young wizard by the name of Ash is murdered by a young girl named Clara who wants to be a wizard. That was over a hundred years ago.

A ten year old, Jacob Lane has no idea what is about to happen to her and her family. One night she's talking to her friend Emma (a ghost) in the garden and the next thing she knows her house is half blown away, and her parents are killed. Jacob is suddenly an orphan surrounded by her super-natural powered relatives that she vaguely remembers meeting.

Due to her circumstances, Jacob is whisked off to Darkbrook to study her witchcraft, and fortunately, her friend Emma comes with her.

But Darkbrook holds many dark and scary mysteries. Jacob's well meaning Uncle Lucas is trying to find her parents murderers while she attends school.

However, when Jacob encounters Ash's ghost in the tower at Darkbrook, Jacob knows she is on to some family mystery, for she is kin to Ash, and must find his killer too. It seems that Clara, who wanted to be a wizard, and not a witch killed Ash and has killed every ten years or so a student at Darkbrook. And Ash warns Jacob that she might be Clara's next victim.

Together with a new friend, Ophellia (a vampire bat) Emma, and Ash. Jacob is determined to find out who Clara has become through this long period of time. For surely Clara has never left Darkbrook.

Many students at Darkbrook befriend Jacob, including a dragon, whom she's suspected killed her parents. However, after becoming friends with Solomon she soon realizes that he could not have killed them. Solomon only wants to help Jacob survive the new Clara.

This intriguing tale of mayhem and murder will keep anyone turning the pages for more. Ms. St. Clair certainly knows how to keep her audience wanting more.

Will Jacob survive the new Clara? Will she find her parents murderers? We are totally kept in suspense with this adventure in super natural beings and a little witch that seems almost too normal for real.

Everyone will enjoy this book from 6 to 60. It is filled with wonderful magic and mayhem that keeps us on our toes and in suspense till the end. You won't want to put this one down till the last page. A must read for all ages! Highly recommended!
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Brenda Ramsbacher, Scribblers
They protected her the only way they could. Her parents named her Jacob Catherine Lane. But it wasn't enough to protect the people Jacob knew as parents. The night of Jacob's tenth birthday went from pure happiness to outright destruction. Her savior came in the form of a ghost who was her best friend. Hidden, Jacob slept the night away. Then morning came. Her Aunts arrived. But they only vaguely explained her parents' death. Still Jacob could not understand why they arrived when they did and had never visited before. The only problem was that they forgot to make sure Jacob understood the seriousness of the situation that could be her own death.

That night, the Family arrived for the funeral. It was not a normal funeral. Sorrow was not a major portion. Rather the Family grouped into circles and stopped talking whenever Jacob wandered near. The only people who would really speak to her were her Aunts and Uncle. And they caused trepidation for they talked in riddles. But at that time, the only thing Jacob understood was that nothing would ever be the same again.

A short time later, Jacob is encased at the Darkbrook Boarding School where a mystery brews. Finding her ancestor in the tower in the form of a ghost was not scary but finding out others had been killed terrified Jacob. The reason seemed simple. Ash, her ancestor, believed Jacob would be THE TENTH GHOST. To save her own life, Jacob needed to solve the mystery. And fast.

With evil haunting Darkbrook, Jacob was in danger. The only problem was that Jacob was not in the form expected. The villain expected a boy. Jacob was a girl. The villain needed a wizard. And everyone there knew girls cannot be wizards. Unfortunately, this did not mean that Jacob was safe just because of her gender.

A truly fun story, young adults will delight in this fantastical tale Jacob unknowingly unravels. St. Clair has penned a winner - don't miss this one.
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Tina Morgan for Fiction Factor (http://www.fictionfactor.com/reviews/tenthghost.html)
Perhaps the greatest compliment any writer can receive is that the public enjoys reading their work. If Jennifer St. Clair could see the line of students in my daughter's class waiting to read her YA novel, The Tenth Ghost, I'm sure she'd feel quite honored.

Reviewing a young adult or middle grade fiction novel can be difficult. I can point out the technical flaws and tell if the story worked for me, but I can't tell you if the target audience will enjoy the book unless I ask a student to read it. Fortunately for me, I have a young daughter who likes to read.

The Tenth Ghost is the story of a girl named Jacob. An unusual name for a young girl but Jacob isn't your normal student. She's a witch whose parents have been murdered by dragons. Her best friend, Emma is a ghost who lives in the apple tree behind Jacob's house. When the dragons come looking for Jacob's family, Emma hides her under the apple tree's roots.

Jacob finds herself faced with the decision of living with two of her elderly witch aunts, an uncle she's just met or attending Darkbrook School of Magic. The grownups breathe a sigh of relief when she chooses to go to the school, believing it to be the safest place for her. But the school holds not only the secret to the dragons' attack on Jacob's parents but an even darker danger that's been lurking there for more than 100 years. If Jacob can't unravel the mystery, she'll become the school's tenth ghost.

You may have picked up on a few similarities between the premise of The Tenth Ghost and another very popular children's book. This did distract me a bit, but the kids in my daughter's class don't seem to mind.

However, I would have preferred that by the end of the book, the reason Jacob is chosen to be the tenth ghost had been resolved. The author hints at the reason why she's been given a boy's name but never clarifies the issue.

Over all, The Tenth Ghost is a pleasant and enjoyable read and judging by the list of kids waiting to read it in my daughter's 5th grade class, it's a big hit with its target market.

The Tenth Ghost earns a * * * * rating.
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Sample Chapter



He heard her voice through what seemed to be an ever-deepening fog and it echoed through his head for a moment before he roused enough to reply.

"Come in." The cold that had kept him in bed for the past three days showed no signs of going away, and Ash knew he had to get better soon. He'd already missed three days' worth of lessons. If he missed many more, he'd never catch up with the rest of his class. He knew he should be worried, especially about Practical Magic, but he couldn't really summon up enough strength to care.

He watched dully as Clara maneuvered a tray into his little room. Her blond hair, piled up under a serviceable mobcap, escaped from the edges and curled prettily around her face. Of all the ten or so serving maids at Darkbrook, Clara had been the only one willing to look after Ash when he fell sick. No one else, save the professors, seemed to care all that much.

"How do you feel this evening?" she asked, setting her tray down on the bedside table. Ash craned his head around to look at the food, causing his headache to return with a vengeance. He winced.

"Not much better," he whispered, wishing he did not sound so much like a toad. "But I must feel better soon, mustn't I?" He tried to smile, but it felt odd, like a party mask stretched across his face.

"Yes, you need to get back to your studies," Clara agreed, and helped him sit up. "The professors are all worried about you, and your classmates ..."

"My classmates couldn't care less whether I lived or died." Ash coughed when she helped him sip the tea, and shied away from the odd taste. "What is this?"

Clara smiled. For a moment, Ash thought he saw something predatory in her gaze, but the moment passed as quickly as it had come and her smile contained nothing more than concern.

"Medicine, of course," she replied. "I had Cook mix up a batch of this for you. Sometimes it's nice to work in a school of magic--I did not need to buy any of the supplies for your tea."

Although it tasted oily and heavy on his tongue, Ash pushed away his reluctance and drank the thick tea down. It sat in his stomach like a brick, making his vision swim and his face feel flushed. Suddenly, the heavy blankets were hot and cloying, and he weakly tried to throw them off.

Clara stayed his hands. She was stronger than she looked; a lifetime of lifting heavy pots in the kitchen and menial work had given her muscles Ash couldn't contest in his weakened state.

"Clara?" He could hardly hear his own voice over the roaring in his ears.

She smiled again. This time, there was no mistaking the gleam in her eye. Ash shivered and tried to mask it, but her smile only widened.


"Don't worry, Ash. You'll be feeling much better soon." She turned away from him and busied herself with the tray, mixing the eggs and bacon with fresh maple syrup. Then she carried the tray to the door, as if to leave, but she only turned around in the doorway and dropped the tray. Broken crockery and breakfast splashed across the floor.

"Clara?" Ash again tried to push the covers off, but what little strength he had remaining seemed to have deserted him for the time being. He let his head fall back against the piled pillows. "Clara, what are you doing?"

"I'm doing what I should have done months ago," Clara replied in a voice he'd never heard from her before. She had always been so meek and timid. Ash stared at her. "Years, bowing and scraping to you stupid wizards. Years! And what did I get out of it?" She dumped the pitcher of water on the floor and walked back to Ash's bed, careful to leave clear footprints in the mess. "Nothing. Girls aren't allowed to be wizards."

"Girls are witches," Ash whispered, struggling with the words. "Girls can't be wizards."

"I can." Clara leaned over him and traced something on his forehead that tingled. Ash drew in a breath and smelled a mixture of herbs and the ingredients in the tea she had made him drink. He coughed. "If your precious professors won't let me be a wizard, why, then I have no choice than to learn on my own." She sat down on the edge of his bed and dimpled at him. "Shall I tell you what I've learned while dusting the library?"

Ash struggled to keep his eyes open. He felt as if something sucked him down into darkness, either by whatever spell she had cast or the tea he had so stupidly drunk. "Yes," he gasped, hoping to stall her enough for someone else to see how the invalid fared, but he feared no one else would think to come.

"I found that I can steal your powers, Ash." Clara took a small bottle from the front of her dress and uncorked it. The smell almost drove the sticky dullness from Ash's mind, but something she had done kept him immobile. He struggled uselessly. Clara smeared a thick brown paste at the base of his throat, at both temples, and over both Ash's eyes. "And it won't hurt a bit, don't worry."

"Clara ..." She grabbed his chin in one hand and carefully uncorked another bottle with the other. She poured this bottle down Ash's throat. He tried not to swallow, but the room started to swing around his head and the liquid in his mouth burned enough to bring tears to his eyes. He swallowed, gagged, and almost vomited. Clara held his mouth shut until the spasms had passed.

"You're the best student here, Ash," Clara continued, leaving him to retch as she turned back to the mess on the floor. "No one will suspect me. I'm just a serving girl." Her voice took on a mocking tone. "Oh, it was horrible! I thought he might need something to eat--He's been so sick lately--but when I opened the door, it was too late. I tried to save him, but I didn't reach him in time."

The part of Ash's mind not struggling under the darkness that threatened to bear him away realized she was probably right. No one would suspect meek little Clara. No one would suspect a mere serving girl. "What are you planning to do?" His voice scraped across the path the potion had left and he tasted blood in the back of his throat.

"You're going to jump," Clara wrestled with the heavy shutters and finally swung them back. Cold spring air swept into the room, dispersing some of the fumes, but Ash's mind was too far under her spell for the cold air to revive him enough for escape." Clara turned and smiled at him, "You're going to jump out of the window, Ash. Don't worry. You'll be dead before you reach the ground."

Ash stared at her. "What?" he croaked.

"Stand up and tell me your true name, Ash." Clara's voice woke something in his mind that sent consciousness fleeing and he was suddenly a mere observer in his own body, as if Ash-the-person was no longer present. He saw his own hand turn back the quilts, felt the first stirrings of weakness as he carefully stood.

"Your name," Clara commanded.

Ash felt his mouth open without any help from his waking mind. "Ashleigh Stephen Lane." He could find no handholds to fight against her spell--the force that separated him from his body seemed too strong for him to fight.

"Ashleigh Stephen Lane, stand before me."

He moved to stand in front of her, and she placed one callused hand on his shirt, right over his heart. Something wrenched through his chest, driving daggers of pain deep inside his mind. If he could have screamed, he would have. Even without screaming, he knew she saw the pain in his eyes.

She smiled again. "Do you realize what I'm going to do to you?"

He didn't answer. Speech had abandoned him along with reason. He struggled against the bonds she'd placed over his mind, but failed to pierce her spell. Oh, she had been planning for this moment. And she had planned well.

The pain lessened only briefly as she removed her hand from his chest and placed it on his forehead. This time he was almost ready for the burst of fire that filled his head. This time, he very nearly fought it off, holding the very core of his self close to the farthest recesses of his mind so she could not take everything away from him.

He had no thoughts for survival. He already knew he would not live to see the dawn.

When Clara ordered him to climb onto the windowsill, he could not resist. And when she ordered him to fall, the last sight that met his mortal eyes was of Darkbrook itself--that foreboding castle he had so longed to call home.

She had spoken the truth. Ash was dead long before he hit the ground.

Chapter One

One Hundred Years Later

Jacob sped across the lawn on her new bike, heedless of the clumps of dirt that flew up behind her. She skidded through a patch of melting snow and barely missed the fence. When she stopped under the apple tree and stared up through the leafy branches, Emma applauded, her grin matching Jacob's own.

"A bicycle for your birthday!" Emma had no need to scramble down the gnarled branches; she simply let go and floated to the ground. Jacob had always been silently jealous of her ability to do that. "What a wonderful present!"

She'd also been slightly jealous of Emma's exotic accent, even going so far as to mimic her in the shower when she was certain no one listened in.

"Isn't it great?" Jacob ran one hand down along the cold metal and couldn't keep the grin from reappearing. "I've always wanted a bike like this."

"I'd say your parents chose well," Emma said, and leaned over the bike. Her hand followed Jacob's, and she smiled a little wistfully. "I do so wish I could have had some of the toys you have when I was alive, Jacob."

"Do you want to go for a ride?" Jacob offered.

Emma looked askance at the bike. "How? There's only one seat. And it's getting dark. Shouldn't you ..."

"It isn't too dark yet." Jacob shrugged off the impending night and smiled. "You can sit on the handlebars just as long as you stay transparent enough for me to see through you." She picked up a fallen twig from the apple tree and stuck it in her pocket. Without it, Emma couldn't travel five feet beyond the tree. With Jacob's help, Emma had gone to school, the library, and an amusement park.

"Really?" Emma drifted up to the handlebars and gingerly sat, her wispy blonde hair flying behind her and tickling Jacob's face. Emma's hair was one thing Jacob never felt jealous about--she liked her own short wild brown curls just fine.

Jacob turned the bike around and slowly pedaled to the driveway with Emma perched on the handlebars like an odd sort of heron. She started down the sidewalk, past Ms. Peterson's white frame house, past the two empty lots and past the little stand of trees the local kids called the woods.

"Oh, Jacob, it's wonderful!" Emma clapped her hands in delight.

Jacob grinned and pedaled faster, turning down Maple Street and swerving around the worst of the cracked sidewalk. She cut up across the elementary school's yard, through the short copse of trees that ringed her own backyard, and ended up back at Emma's apple tree.

"How was that?" She leaned over the bike, a little out of breath from the ride.

"Oh, that was grand, Jacob!" Emma twirled around in midair like a fairy ballerina and clapped her hands again. "That was the most fun I've had in years. Can we do it again tomorrow?"

"Of course," Jacob said, and leaned her bike against the apple tree. "I can leave it here for you tonight, if you want," she offered.

Emma grinned. "Oh, thank you, Jacob. I'll guard it well for you."

"And we'll ride again tomorrow."

As darkness slowly crept across the yard, Jacob glanced back at Emma and her bike and shivered. Something shimmered briefly in the trees behind Emma's apple tree, and she hoped the fairies weren't on the warpath again because of the construction a few streets over.

She put out a dish of milk for them anyway and locked the door.

It was late now; she'd spent a long time outside with Emma, and her parents were already in bed. She hesitated outside her parents' door, silently thanked them again for the bike, and crawled up the ladder to the loft and her bed.

All in all, it had been the best birthday she could ever remember.

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